This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
183811 May 30, 2011
ROSALIA N. ESPINO, Petitioner, vs. SPOUSES SHARON SAMPANI BULUT and CELEBI BULUT, Respondents. DECISION CARPIO, J.: The Case This is a petition for review1 of the 14 April 2008 Decision2 and 8 July 2008 Order3 of the Regional Trial Court of Trece Martires City, Branch 23 (trial court). In its 14 April 2008 Decision, the trial court set aside its 4 September 2006 Decision and dismissed petitioner Rosalia N. Espino’s (Espino) petition for issuance of new owner’s copies of Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. T-72654, T-72655, T-72656, T-72657, T-72658, T72659, T-72660, T-72661, T-72662, T-72663, and T-72664. In its 8 July 2008 Order, the trial court denied Espino’s motion for reconsideration. The Facts Spouses Rosalia and Alfredo C. Espino (spouses Espino) are the registered owners of eleven adjacent lots situated in Tanza, Cavite and covered by TCT Nos. T-72654 to T-72664. Sometime in January 2006, Espino lost the owner’s duplicate copies of the eleven TCTs. On 23 March 2006, Espino reported the loss to the Register of Deeds of Trece Martires City. Espino also filed a petition for issuance of new owner’s copies of the eleven TCTs before the trial court docketed as LRC Case No. 6832-462. On 4 September 2006, the trial court granted Espino’s petition. On 27 October 2006, new copies of the eleven TCTs were issued to Espino under Section 1094 of the Land Registration Act. On 4 January 2007, respondent spouses Sharon Sampani Bulut and Celebi Bulut (respondents) filed with the trial court a petition for relief from judgment.5 Respondents claimed that they had actual possession of the owner’s copies of the eleven TCTs which had been declared lost and cancelled by the trial court. Respondents explained that on 12 April 2003, spouses Espino sold a parcel of land covered by TCT No. T-279982 to a certain Beauregard E. Lim (Lim).6 Thereafter, Lim allegedly subdivided the property into eleven lots but the title remained in the name of spouses Espino because Lim lacked the funds to transfer the titles in his name. On 21 March 2006, Lim sold the eleven lots to respondents 7 and gave them the eleven owner’s copies of the TCTs.8 When respondents tried to register the properties in their name, they discovered the trial court’s 4 September 2006 Decision and this prompted them to file the petition for relief from judgment. On 9 January 2007, the trial court issued an ex-parte temporary restraining order. 9 Subsequently, on 30 January 2007, the trial court granted respondents’ prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. 10 On 23 March 2007, the trial court issued the writ of preliminary injunction which provides: NOW THEREFORE, you are hereby RESTRAINED or PROHIBITED from accepting/registering any document executed by respondent Rosalia N. Espino and any person authorized by her that will in any way encumber or cause the transfer of the property covered by the following certificates of title, to wit: 1. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72654; 2. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72655; 3. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72656; 4. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72657; 5. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72658;
6. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72659; 7. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72660; 8. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72661; 9. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72662; 10. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72663; and 11. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72664. Until and after the injunction is ordered revoked and/or will be made permanent. 11 On 14 April 2008, the trial court granted respondents’ petition for relief from judgment and declared the writ of preliminary injunction permanent. The trial court’s 14 April 2008 Decision provides: WHEREFORE, the Decision dated September 4, 2006 is set aside and the petition for the issuance of new owner’s copies of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. T-72654, T-72655, T-72656, T-72657, T-72658, T-72659, T-72660, T-72661, T-72662, T-72663 and T-72664 is DISMISSED. The owner’s copies of the above listed transfer certificates of title issued by the respondent Registry of Deeds for the City of Trece Martires by virtue of the Final Decision dated September 4, 2006 is declared null and void. Respondent Rosalia Espino is likewise directed to pay petitioners Sps. Sharon and Celebi Bulut moral damages in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand (Php 200,000.00) Pesos; exemplary damages in the amount of One Hundred Thousand (Php 100,000.00) Pesos; and attorney’s fees in the amount of Sixty Thousand (Php 60,000.00) Pesos. SO ORDERED.12 The Ruling of the Trial Court The trial court declared that Espino did not have possession of the eleven owner’s copies of the TCTs because respondents had been in possession of the eleven titles from the time respondents bought the properties from Lim in 2006. The trial court said that "when the original owner’s copy of the title is in fact not lost but is in the possession of a new owner, being the alleged buyer," the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over Espino’s petition for issuance of new owner’s copies of the eleven titles. The trial court also awarded respondents moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees after it declared that Espino had the intent to defraud respondents when she executed the affidavit of loss and filed the petition. The Issues Espino raises the following issues: 1. Whether the trial court erred in recognizing and defending the alleged ownership rights of respondents as possessors of the eleven TCTs as against Espino, the registered owner of the properties; and 2. Whether the trial court erred in awarding damages to respondents. The Ruling of the Court The petition is partly meritorious. According to Espino, the trial court decided on the issue of ownership of the properties when it permanently enjoined the Register of Deeds from accepting or registering any kind of conveyance that may be executed by Espino to any person except as to respondents. Espino adds that the trial court recognized the status of respondents as the "buyer" and "new owners" of the properties. Espino also denies that she deceived the trial court and defrauded respondents as there was no privity of contract between Espino and respondents. Espino maintains that she had no knowledge of the unregistered sales of the properties to Lim and the respondents. Espino adds that there was no fraud, bad faith or malice when she applied for the new owner’s copies of the eleven TCTs.
Contrary to Espino’s allegation, the trial court’s 4 September 2006 Decision and the 23 March 2007 Writ of Preliminary Injunction did not declare that respondents are the "new owners" of the properties. While the trial court did restrain the Register of Deeds from accepting or registering any document executed by Espino and any person authorized by her that will in any way encumber or cause the transfer of the properties, the trial court did not adjudge respondents as the owners of the properties. Moreover, the trial court does not have jurisdiction to declare respondents as the "new owners" of the properties because this is not an issue in a petition for relief from judgment. In Strait Times, Inc. v. Court of Appeals ,13 we stated: It is judicially settled that a trial court does not acquire jurisdiction over a petition for the issuance of a new owner’s duplicate certificate of title, if the original is in fact not lost but is in the possession of an alleged buyer. Corollarily, such reconstituted certificate is itself void once the existence of the original is unquestionably demonstrated.Nonetheless, the nullity of the reconstituted certificate does not by itself settle the issue of ownership or title over the property; much less does it vest such title upon the holder of the original certificate. The issue of ownership must be litigated in appropriate proceedings. It cannot be determined in an action for the issuance of a new owner’s duplicate certificate of title or in proceedings to annul such newly issued duplicate.14 (Emphasis supplied) In this case, respondents’ possession of the eleven TCTs is not necessarily equivalent to ownership of the lands covered by the TCTs. The certificate of title, by itself, does not vest ownership; it is merely an evidence of title over a particular property.15 Again, the issue of ownership of the eleven properties must be litigated in the appropriate proceedings. We, however, delete the award of moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees for lack of factual and legal basis. There is nothing in the records that supports an award of moral damages. The trial court only said: The intention of respondent Rosalia Espino was to defraud the buyer of the land as in fact by her act of executing such affidavit of loss (Exhibit "E") she almost deceived this Court.16 In order that moral damages may be awarded, there must be pleading and proof of moral suffering, mental anguish, fright and the like.17 While respondents alleged sleepless nights and mental anguish in their petition for relief, they failed to prove them during the trial. Mere allegations do not suffice. They must be substantiated. Furthermore, the trial court made no reference to any testimony of the respondents on their alleged physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury as would entitle them to moral damages. lawphi1 Likewise, since respondents failed to satisfactorily establish their claim for moral damages, respondents are also not entitled to exemplary damages. Article 2234 of the Civil Code provides: ART. 2234. While the amount of the exemplary damages need not be proved, the plaintiff must show that he is entitled to moral, temperate or compensatory damages before the court may consider the question of whether or not exemplary damages should be awarded. x x x x As to the award of attorney’s fees, Article 2208 of the Civil Code provides: ART. 2208. In the absence of stipulation, attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation, other than judicial costs, cannot be recovered, except: 1. When exemplary damages are awarded; 2. When the defendant’s act or omission has compelled the plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to protect his interest; 3. In criminal cases of malicious prosecution against the plaintiff; 4. In case of a clearly unfounded civil action or proceeding against the plaintiff; 5. Where the defendant acted in gross and evident bad faith in refusing to satisfy the plaintiff’s plainly valid, just and demandable claim; 6. In actions for legal support; 7. In actions for the recovery of wages of household helpers, laborers and skilled workers;
8. In actions for indemnity under workmen’s compensation and employer’s liability laws; 9. In a separate civil action to recover civil liability arising from a crime; 10. When at least double judicial costs are awarded; 11. In any other case where the court deems it just and equitable that attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered. In all cases, the attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation must be reasonable. An award of attorney’s fees is an exception and there must be some compelling legal reason to bring the case within the exception and justify the award. 18 In this case, none of the exceptions applies. Moreover, we already deleted the trial court’s award of exemplary damages which might have served as its basis for awarding attorney’s fees. WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM with MODIFICATION the 14 April 2008 Decision and 8 July 2008 Order of the Regional Trial Court of Trece Martires City, Branch 23. We DELETE the award of moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. SO ORDERED. ANTONIO T. CARPIO Associate Justice
. N-140485. the present recourse to the Supreme Court. 1991. N-140486 and 156454 on file with the Register of Deeds of Rizal had been cancelled and. judgment is hereby rendered: (a) Declaring the owner's duplicate copy of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. On April 16. FELIX S. COURT OF APPEALS. 1991. 1993 and the subsequent Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration. Finding the petition "to be sufficient in form and in substance. a "Petition for Judicial Reconstitution of the Lost Owner's Duplicate Certificates of TCT Nos. ORLANDO S.found out about the reconstitution proceeding in the respondent trial court. DECISION PANGANIBAN. HON. 25434 and in effect affirmed the "order"3 of the Regional Trial Court. So. DURAWOOD CONSTRUCTION AND LUMBER SUPPLY CO. Surprised by this cancellation.. TCT Nos. petitioner filed7 suit in the Court of Appeals docketed as CA-G. 111732 February 20. 200101 and 200102). this case along with several others was transferred to THIRD DIVISION. as Judge. On May 31. 140486. 1995.R. "represented by its Branch Manager." respondent Judge set the case for hearing on March 18. (b) Hereby orders and directs that new copy of the said titles be issued to the petitioner giving them the same faith and credit and carrying over the same terms and conditions appearing on the originals thereof. 1991 in LRC Case No. 25434 praying for the annulment of the assailed order in LRC Case No. SP No. Gaw. vs. 1990 6 of respondent Orlando S.R. 200100. BONGAT . RTC of Antipolo. on July 17. SO ORDERED. Hence. Sometime in May. Antipolo. INC. 1996 NEW DURAWOOD CO. petitioner . 1993. the Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration.after investigation . the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. Antipolo. 140486. INC. Rizal by petitioner-corporation. Branch LXXI. No. in fact and in truth. Branch LXXI. 1990. WILSON M. J. Rizal 4 dated April 16. one of the stockholders of petitioner-corporation. the respondent Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision and on August 30. After due consultation and deliberation. in lieu thereof. Branch 71. The Issues 5 . upon payment of the required fees.: The main issue here is: does a court have jurisdiction to issue a new owner's duplicate of a Torrens certificate of title if it is shown that the existing owner's copy has not. 200100. Bongat. petitioner discovered that the original TCT Nos. Wilson M. the Court assigned the undersigned ponente to write this Decision. been lost or destroyed? The Court resolved this issue in the negative in this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. It also prayed for the cancellation of the new certificates (TCT Nos.. 1991. The Facts On February 14." Attached to said petition was an "Affidavit of Loss" dated December 31. 156454 and 140485" 5 was filed in the Regional Trial Court. GAW. petitioner. 91-924 penned by respondent Judge. 91-924..R. respondents. 15645 and 140485 which were lost. .Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. 1991. Rizal. Inc. null and void and of no further force and effect and in lieu thereof. 200101 and 200102 had been issued in the name of respondent Durawood Construction and Lumber Supply. 1993. of the Decision1of the Court of Appeals 2 promulgated on May 31. By Resolution of the First Division dated November 15. premises considered. respondent Judge issued the questioned order. CABALLES. The said Rulings dismissed the petition in CA-G.
at the hearing. No." It also argues that the owner's duplicate copies of the TCTs were all along in the custody of Dy Quim Pong.A. at the expense of the petitioner. and to be posted on the main entrance of the provincial building and of the municipal building of the municipality or city in which the land is situated. twice in successive issues of the Official Gazette. the issues may be summed up as follows: (1) Which law governs the issuance of new owner's duplicate certificates of title in lieu of lost ones? (2) Did the respondent trial court have jurisdiction to order the issuance of the new owner's duplicate certificates? (3) Was the reconstitution of the said owner's duplicate certificates of title obtained through fraud? The First Issue: Law Governing Issuance of Lost Owner's Duplicate Titles To resolve this issue." (2) Section 109 P. 26. petitioner claims that respondent Wilson Gaw had no authority to institute the petition for reconstitution in the trial court because "(t)he Court of Appeals itself. at the expense of the petitioner. In their Comment. but the sale in their favor could not be registered because "the certificates of title. The petitioner shall." From the foregoing. N-140486. 26:8 Sec. and not Sec. which they (private respondents) insist is the applicable provision of law in the matter. the location. Republic Act No. in its questioned resolution stated that said board resolution (authorizing Gaw) was passed without the required quorum. private respondents aver that in 1990. these three lots were sold by petitioner to Durawood Construction and Lumber Supply. were lost. The court shall cause a notice of the petition. it is necessary to reexamine the following provisions referred to by the parties: (1) Section 13. the name of the registered owner. 496. by registered mail or otherwise. . 109. submit proof of the publication. area and boundaries of the property." They also allege that the applicable law is Section 109 of R. It also alleges that fraud is manifest (1) from the insufficient allegations of the petition filed before the trial court. Finally. as it (the petition) does not mention the names of adjoining land owners and interested persons.D.D. N-140485 and 156454 was obtained through fraud. " who allegedly executed the deed of sale of the lots and who allegedly claimed that the owner's copies of the TCTs were lost. the names of the occupants or persons in possession of the property. posting and service of the notice as directed by the court. . 13. Said notice shall state. was not strictly followed . at least thirty days prior to the date of hearing. as amended by P. and the date on which all persons having any interest therein must appear and file their claim or objections to the petition. 91-924 null and void for want of jurisdiction and in not declaring that the reconstitution of the owner's duplicate transfer certificates of title Nos. 496): 6 . the owners of the adjoining properties and all other interested parties. 26. and that fraud. the President and General Manager Francis Dytiongsee . 1529 (amending R. as well as (2) from the affidavit of loss attached to the petition. who constitute the majority of the stockholders and directors of (herein petitioner-corporation). filed under the preceding section. Republic Act No. In its Reply. to disclose the whereabouts (of) there (sic) son. whom private respondents should have sued to compel him to surrender the same in order that the alleged deed or sale in favor of private respondent could be registered. to every person named therein whose address is known.Petitioner brought up the following ground as basis for its petition: The Court of Appeals gravely abused its authority in not declaring the order of respondent Judge Caballes in LRC Case No. 13 of R. . if known. . . PD 1529. No. .A. which is not the case in the action before the court a quo. in order to serve as basis for the annulment of a judgment "must be extrinsic or collateral in character". at least thirty days prior to the date of hearing. Petitioner argues that a reconstitution proceeding is one in rem and thus jurisdiction can be acquired only through publication and notice sent pursuant to Section 13. 1529. to be published.A. They also fault "(t)he deliberate failure of Dy Quim Pong (petitioner's board chairman) and his family. The court shall likewise cause a copy of the notice to be sent. among other things. petitioner contends that "the very procedure provided under Sec. Inc. the number of the lost or destroyed certificate of title.
Court of Appeals. On the other hand." (emphasis supplied). In case of loss or theft of an owner's duplicate certificate of title. there was no necessity for the petition filed in the trial court for the "issuance of New Owner's Duplicate Certificates of Title: . after notice and due hearing. which shall contain a memorandum of the fact that it is issued in place of the lost duplicate certificate.to surrender the owner's duplicate certificate of title. they had no other recourse but to file a petition for reconstitution. 1529 is the law applicable in petitions for issuance of new owner's duplicate certificates of title which are lost or stolen or destroyed. Notice and replacement of lost duplicate certificate . as already stated. Hence. . the petitioner . Section 109 of said law provides. further. states that the remedy. a sworn statement of the fact of such loss or destruction may be filed by the registered owner or other person in interest and registered. Consequently the decision may be attacked any time. in case of the refusal or failure of the holder . In this case. 26 applies only in cases of reconstitution of last or destroyed original certificates on file with the Register of Deeds. the said court never acquired jurisdiction to order the issuance of new certificates. that "due notice under oath" of the loss or theft of the owner's duplicate "shall be sent by the owner as by someone in his behalf to the Register of Deeds . Reconstitution of lost or destroyed original of Torrens title . Private respondents tried to convince the Court that by their failure to locate Francis Dytiongsee. Sec.Original copies of certificates of title lost or destroyed in the offices of Registers of Deeds as well as liens and encumbrances affecting the lands covered by such titles shall be reconstituted judicially in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Republic Act No . emphasis supplied) The Second Issue: Jurisdiction In Demetriou vs. 1529 which. R. et al. is a "petition in court to compel surrender of the same to the Register of Deeds". 6732. The procedure relative to administrative reconstitution of lost or destroyed certificate prescribed in said Act may be availed of only in case of substantial loss or destruction of land titles due to fire. 107 of P.Sec. It is obvious that this lapse happened because private respondents and respondent judge failed to follow the procedure set forth in P. while an affidavit or loss was attached to the petition in the lower court. 109. on facts analogous to those involved in this case. inter alia.A.in this case.D. 1529. That in no case shall the number of certificates of titles lost or damaged be less that five hundred (500). No. . or cannot be produced by a person applying for the entry of a new certificate to him or for the registration of any instrument. this Court already held that if a certificate of title has not been lost but is in fact in the possession of another person. If a duplicate certificate is lost or destroyed. This is expressly provided for under Section 110 of P. Upon the petition of the registered owner or other person in interest. the petitioner's chairman of the board and whose family controls the petitioner-corporation. Notice of all hearings of the petition for judicial reconstitution shall be furnished the Register of Deeds of the place where the land is situated and to the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority. however. the reconstituted title is void and the court rendering the decision has not acquired jurisdiction. That the number of certificates of titles lost or damaged should be at least ten percent (10%) of the total number in the possession of the Office of the Register of Deeds: Provided. A reading of both provisions clearly shows that Section 109 of P. the owner's duplicate certificates of title were in the possession of Dy Quim Pong. 1529 as follows: Sec. flood or other force majure as determined by the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority: Provided. and not a petition for reconstitution.A. 26 insofar as not inconsistent with this Decree. no such notice was sent to the Register of Deeds. due notice under oath shall be sent by the owner or by someone in his behalf to the Register of Deeds of the province or city where the land lies as soon as the loss or theft is discovered. 110. but shall in all respects be entitled to like faith and credit as the original duplicate. . Since said certificates were not in fact "lost or destroyed". governs the issuance of new owner's duplicate certificates of title. 7 .D. . direct the issuance of a new duplicate certificate.D. In the instant case." (As amended by R. Court of Appeals (195 SCRA 482 ). the newly issued duplicates are themselves null and void. and shall thereafter be regarded as such for all purposes of this decree.D." In fact. the court may. . No order or judgment ordering the reconstitution of a certificate of title shall become final until the lapse of fifteen (15) days from receipt by the Register of Deeds and by the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority of a notice of such order or judgment without any appeal having been filed by any such officials.9 this Court ruled: In Serra Serra v.
and the order issued therein dated April 15. Be that as it may. Neither will estoppel prevent the corporation from questioning Gaw's acts. TCT Nos. Gaw enabled respondent corporation to acquire the certificates of title in a manner contrary to law. this did "not mean however. he could not be looked upon as a corporate officer clothed with the implied or "apparent" power to file suit for and in behalf of a corporation 11. in its own words. 8 .of his employer. 1984 when a resolution authorizing Gaw to sue on its behalf was allegedly passed. necessarily its judgment must fall. Inc. Narvasa. The appellate Court was of the belief that petitioner-corporation ratified Gaw's "authority" by acquiescence to his acts. Upon the other hand. In petitions for issuance of new owner's duplicate copies of Torrens titles. 1991 as well as the reconstituted Transfer Certificates of Title issued pursuant thereto. "confine(d) its discussion" 10 in the assailed Decision only to the ground of fraud. Otherwise. when the fraudulent acts prevented a party "from exhibiting fully his side of the case . Melo and Francisco and Francisco. How then can estoppel attach? 12 Suffice it to say then. petitioner is estopped from questioning Gawls acts. complaint or denial came from (said corporation)". Jurisdiction is and remains the main issue. The appellate court explained that while there may not have been a quorum during the board meeting of petitioner-corporation on May 10. 1529 as amended (supra) . Davide..D. It ruled that the Rte's decision could be annulled only where extrinsic or collateral fraud is shown . .". Jr.J. Precisely. namely. JJ. Since we already concluded earlier that the trial court did not have jurisdiction.. . Hence. petitioner could not claim extrinsic fraud inasmuch as it was duly represented by Gaw in the reconstitution proceeding.. WHEREFORE. 200100.that is.The Third Issue: Fraud The respondent Court of Appeals. in the case before us. hypothecate or otherwise deal in and with real estate in mockery of the Torrens system of titling properties. these acts were hidden from the company and its top officers. Hence. the petition is GRANTED. new owner's duplicate certificates might be issued in favor of impostors who could fraudulently dispose. 200101 and 200102 in the name of private respondent declared NULL and VOID. 109 of P. The respondent Court thus concluded that petitioner-corporation's "claim of being a victim of extrinsic fraud is baseless. C. the board of directors could not have validly given Gaw any express authority to file the petition.as provided under Sec." We are appalled by this rather novel interpretation of corporate law. there having been no quorum present during the meeting in question. the assailed decision SET ASIDE and REVERSED. it is essential . that New Durawood Co. that by his surreptitious filing of the petition for reconstitution without authority . concur. SO ORDERED. cannot be bound by Gaw's action'' because "no howl of protest. 91-924 ANNULLED.express or implied . It is clear that. being a mere branch manager. and that said corporation in fact had taken advantage of the benefits therefrom. Costs against private respondents. whether Gaw was authorized to file the suit or not is of little significance in finally resolving this case. the proceedings in LRC Case No. the doctrine of "apparent authority" cannot apply as to Gaw because.that the trial court take steps to assure itself that the petitioner is the "registered owner or other person in interest".
R-799 issued in 1961 6 and D-2247 issued in 1974. and the spouses Beduya personally executed another mortgage over the land in favor of petitioner to secure a loan of P1.4 hectares of land embraced in TCT No.4 Mumar sold the land to private respondent who was issued Tax Declaration No. and he was asked to vacate the property.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. offering his 19.00.. petitioner found that the land mortgaged by private respondent was included in the land covered by TCT No. It was then discovered that private respondent was occupying a portion of said land.512.5 The tax declaration was later superseded by Tax Declaration Nos. the SAAD Investment Corp. MENDOZA.: This is a petition for certiorari seeking to reverse the decision1 and resolution2 of the Court of Appeals dated August 30. dated March 18. mortgaged the land covered by TCT No. 10101 and ordering the segregation and reconveyance of said portion to him. J. 23 which after trial. represented by Gaudencio Beduya. 10 in his name for which he was issued OCT No. the mortgage on the property was foreclosed. 1989. 22petitioner filed a complaint for recovery of possession with damages against him. Petitioner. Private respondent was informed that petitioner had become the owner of the land he was occupying. a representative of petitioner. rendered a decision. Province of Bohol. 8 planting cassava and camote in certain portions of the land. D-2247 as security for the loan. 19 However after releasing the amount of the loan to private respondent. 12 In 1972.4 hectare property under Tax Declaration No. 18 It appears that private respondent had also applied for a loan from petitioner in 1978. petitioner.00 square meters. unknown to private respondent. inspected the land and appraised its value.4 hectares located in San Miguel. 1997. No. COURT OF APPEALS and CARLOS CAJES. 129471 April 28. 1985. was originally owned by Ulpiano Mumar. 14 In 1978. therefore. respondents. Olano. Alvarez sold the land to the spouses Gaudencio and Rosario Beduya to whom TCT No. declaring petitioner the lawful owner of the entire land covered by TCT No. The case was assigned to Branch 1 of the Regional Trial Court. 3 In 1950. 20 Private respondent paid the loan to petitioner for which the former was issued a Cancellation of Mortgage. a re-appraisal of the property covered by TCT No. whose ownership since 1917 was evidenced by Tax Declaration No. petitioner was the highest bidder. vs. 1996 and April 23. more than a year after the foreclosure sale. as a result of which. As private respondent refused to do so. 15 The spouses Beduya later failed to pay their loans.7 Private respondent occupied and cultivated the said land. Private respondent's loan application was later approved by petitioner. declaring private respondent Carlos Cajes the owner of 19. 10101 on the ground that the decree of registration was binding upon the land. respectively. 21 Sometime in April of 1986. petitioner consolidated its ownership. consisting of 19. 16 In the resulting foreclosure sale held on January 31. Inc. Jose Alvarez succeeded in obtaining the registration of a parcel of land with an area of 1. 3840. the spouses Beduya obtained a loan from petitioner Development Bank of the Philippines for P526.R..00 and. As part of the processing of the application. Alvarez never occupied nor introduced improvements on said land.9 In 1969. 13 That same year. The antecedent facts are as follows: The land in dispute. 17 As the spouses Beduya failed to redeem the property. cancelled the loan and demanded immediate payment of the amount. 10101 to the bank. 1969.430. 11 The parcel of land included the 19. Tagbilaran City. dated August 22.468.4 hectares occupied by private respondent. 10101 was conducted by petitioner's representatives. and the SAAD Agro-Industries. 10101 in the name of the spouses Beduya. 1981. R-1475 that same year. as security. 2000 DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES. 546 on June 16. Patton R. 10101 was issued.000.000. 24 The dispositive portion of the decision reads: 9 . releasing the property in question from encumbrance.
and from committing any such act as would tend to mitigate. They asked that they be declared the owners and lawful possessors of said lands. the portion of which he claims to belong to him for without basis in fact and law. 735 covering two parcels of land called the Sta.M. Inc. Benin is distinguished from this case. three sets of plaintiffs filed separate complaints against Mariano Severo Tuason and J. 3 Ordering defendant to vacate from the land in question. when the claimants' ancestors occupied the lands in question and declared them for tax purposes in 1944. The dispositive portion of the appellate court's decision reads: WHEREFORE.617. SO ORDERED. PARTICULARLY IN THE CASE OF BENIN VS. Dismissing the complaint. In 1914. the appealed decision is hereby REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. OCT No. no possession could defeat the title of the registered owners of the land. Declaring the disputed 19.00 square meters.. THE RESPONDENT COURT OVERLOOKED THE ISSUES ABOUT THE DBP BEING AN INNOCENT MORTGAGEE FOR VALUE OF THE LAND IN QUESTION AND OF HAVING PURCHASED LATER THE SAME DURING A PUBLIC AUCTION SALE. 735 had already been recognized by this Court in several cases 29 and. or Parcel 2. Petitioner contends that: I. In the first place. 4 Ordering defendant. cease and desist from disturbing. SO ORDERED. Petitioner invokes the ruling of this Court in Benin v. Tuason & Co. Thirdly. TUASON.246. 2. III. 27 First. Benin involved vast tracts of lands which had already been subdivided and bought by innocent purchasers for value and in good faith at the time the claimants obtained registration.4 hectares of land erroneously included in TCT No. as a result thereof. ordering its segregation from plaintiff-appellee's title and its reconveyance to appellant. Tuason & Co. 25 Petitioner moved for a reconsideration but its motion was denied in a resolution dated April 23. II. foregoing considered. with an area of 8. 10101 farm of Gaudencio Beduya.961. Secondly. On appeal. A new decision is hereby rendered: 1. the lands were already covered by the tax declarations in the name of J. this petition. and the Diliman Estate. became the owner of the land by virtue of the decree of registration issued in his name. Jose Alvarez. Inc. praying for the cancellation of OCT No. THE RESPONDENT COURT'S RULING DECLARING DBP IN ESTOPPEL IS ILLOGICAL. 57 SCRA 531. the Court of Appeals reversed and gave judgment for private respondent. the validity of OCT No.00 square meters. molesting and interfering plaintiff's possession of the land in question. M. No pronouncement as to costs. 2 Dismissing defendant's counterclaim. declaring him the owner of the 19. his agents or any person representing him or those who may claim substantial rights on the land to vacate therefrom..WHEREFORE.4000 hectares of land embraced in TCT 10101 as exclusively belonging to defendant-appellant. from that time on. deny or deprive plaintiff of its ownership and possession over said land.. Mesa Estate. In Benin. 1997.798. the transfer certificates of title acquired by 26 Hence 10 . THE DECISION OF THE RESPONDENT COURT IS NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF LAW (Sections 38 and 46 of ACT 496) AND THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT. 10101. or Parcel 1. the court renders judgment: 1 Declaring plaintiff bank Development Bank of the Philippines the true and legal owner of the land in question covered by TCT No. with an area of 15. 735 was issued in the name of Tuason so that. Tuason 28 in support of its claim that its predecessorin-interest.
If such prescription was completed before the registration of the land in favor of the Tuasons. and shall be held to pass with the land until cut off or extinguished by the registration of the servient estate.M. viz. even conceding arguendo that such an easement has been acquired. having filed the complaint only in 1955. or rights arising or existing under the laws of Constitution of the United States or of the Philippine Islands which the statutes of the Philippine Islands cannot require to appear of record in the Registry. But if there are easements or other rights appurtenant to a parcel of registered land which for any reason have failed to be registered.4 hectares of land for more than 30 years cannot overcome the decree of registration issued in favor of its predecessor-in-interest Jose Alvarez. . or 41 years after the issuance of OCT No. or any Government irrigation canal or lateral thereof. 33 the Court already ruled on the purpose of registration of lands. it was not solely the decree of registration which was considered in resolving the Benin case. by virtue of the decree of registration. it had been cut off and extinguished by the registration of the servient estate under the Torrens system without the easement being annotated on the corresponding certificate of title. despite the fact that they neither possessed nor occupied these lands. Second. M. Thus. Liens. Taxes within two years after the same became due and payable. 1âwphi1. Jose Alvarez and those claiming title from him (i. . Hence. Every person receiving a certificate of title in pursuance of a decree of registration.e. namely: First. claims. 735 to J. Petitioner quotes the following statement in the Benin case: It follows also that the allegation of prescriptive title in favor of plaintiffs does not suffice to establish a cause of action. or irrigation canal or lateral thereof. Javier. in Cid v. the spouses Beduya) acquired ownership of the 19. such easements or rights shall remain so appurtenant notwithstanding such failure.nêt Petitioner maintains that the possession by private respondent and his predecessor-in-interest of the 19.: 11 . the prescription was either begun or completed after the decree of registration. it conferred no title because. Tuason & Co. 39. But to make this principle applicable to a situation wherein title acquired by a person through acquisitive prescription would be considered cut off and extinguished by a decree of registration would run counter to established jurisprudence before and after the ruling in Benin.4 hectares of land. Tuason & Co. 496 provides: Sec. by express provision of law. Act No. It was held that neither could the claimants file an action to annul these titles for not only had these actions prescribed. This principle was reiterated in Purugganan v. private way established by law. Inc. or in any other manner. and any of the following encumbrances which may be subsisting.. If. prescription can not operate against the registered owner (Act 496). This view is mistaken. As early as 1911. the resulting prescriptive title was cut off and extinguished by the decree of registration.. Lack..the innocent purchasers for value were also declared valid. and every subsequent purchaser of registered land who takes a certificate of title for value in good faith shall hold the same free of all encumbrances except those noted on said certificate. 30 Petitioner would thus insist that. way. Any public highway. A consideration of the cases shows that a decree of registration cut off or extinguished a right acquired by a person when such right refers to a lien or encumbrance on the land — not to the right of ownership thereof — which was not annotated on the certificate of title issued thereon. and that of the other innocent purchasers for value and in good faith compared to the failure of the claimants to show their right to own or possess the questioned properties. where the certificate of title does not state that the boundaries of such highway. Consequently. 31 it was held: . Paredes 32 which also involved an easement of light and view that was not annotated on the certificate of title of the servient estate. Third. but the fact was that the claimants were also barred from doing so by laches. way. Inc. on the contrary. Thus. have been determined. registration has never been a mode of acquiring ownership over immovable property. Indeed. What was considered decisive was the valid title or right of ownership of J. in the case of City of Manila v. pursuant to Section 39 of the Land Registration Act.
the Court held: . It simply confirms a title already created and already vested. with or without bad faith on his part. It cannot be otherwise because.. who resorts to the provisions thereof. which gave rise to said anomaly. It appearing that said certificate granted her much more than she expected. This is permitted by section 112 of Act No. 1961 and 1974. as stated in the case of Domingo vs. 1933. and the land which he really owns and desires to register in the registry is only 80 ares. In the present case. in the case of Angeles v. more land than he really owns. 48 Phil. if the plan of an applicant for registration or claimant in a cadastral case alleges that the land referred to in said plan is 100 or 1.000 hectares. Court of Appeals 36 wherein we ruled that the fact that a party was able to secure a title in his favor did not operate to vest ownership upon her of the property.The Court of Land Registration was created for a single purpose. 41 Clearly. its latest application being in the case ofReyes v. more than 30 years had elapsed before a decree of registration was issued in favor of Jose Alvarez." The sole purpose of the Legislature in its creation was to bring the land titles of the Philippine Islands under one comprehensive and harmonious system. at least. and of course. having been in possession of the land since 1950. from December 15. be corrected (City of Manila vs. Ulpiano Mumar. he cannot claim to be the owner of the existing difference if afterwards he is issued a certificate of title granting him said area of 100 or 1. these tax declarations constitute strong evidence of ownership of the land occupied by him. private respondent has been in actual.. In other words. his possession tacked to that of his predecessor-in-interest. 11 of Bacolor. Angelo vs. R-1475. If he happened to obtain it by mistake or to secure. Santos. 496. 1921. they remained passive without even attempting to make the least showing of ownership over the land in question until after the lapse of more than eleven years. 49 Phil. Court of Appeals: 40 Although tax declarations or realty tax payments of property are not conclusive evidence of ownership. that is. Such an act strengthens one's bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. This fact was corroborated by the testimony of Eleuterio Cambangay who personally knew that Ulpiano Mumar transferred the land covered by Tax Declaration No. 361). (55 Phil. but to confirm and register title already created and already vested. said original certificate of title No. . 19 Phil. to the prejudice of the actual occupant. . open. R-799 and D-2247 39 which were issued in his name in 1950. rendering it forever indefeasible. Lim y Cia. 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. More importantly. which dates back to 1917. the certificate of title. 838). Samia 34 where land was erroneously registered in favor of persons who neither possessed nor occupied the same. do not annul the decree of registration on the ground that it is not the plan but the land itself which is registered in the registry. The Act is entitled "An Act to provide for the adjudication and registration of titles to lands in the Philippine Islands. 38 Private respondent's claim based on actual occupation of the land is bolstered by Tax Declaration Nos. This is evidenced by the fact that. with the resultant increase in the use of land as a business asset by reason of the greater certainty and security of title. 442. Saleeby. They constitute at least proof that the holder has a claim of title over the property. or that one should enrich himself at the expense of another (Gustilo vs. 35 The principle laid down in this 1938 case remains the prevailing doctrine. naturally to the prejudice of another. Maravilla. which may have been issued to him under the circumstances. is not to create or vest title. Ongsiako.. 590). The Land Registration Act as well as the Cadastral Act protects only the holders of a title in good faith and does not permit its provisions to be used as a shield for the commission of fraud. ever since. This uninterrupted adverse possession of the land for more than 30 years could only ripen into ownership of the land through acquisitive 12 . . a better title than he really and lawfully has. came to know that it was through error that the original certificate of title in question was issued by the court which heard cadastral case No. it is but just that the error. The defendant and her coowners knew or. The above-stated Acts do not give anybody. it was established that private respondent. which is applicable to the Cadastral Act because it is so provided expressly by the provisions of section 11 of the latter Act. 3840 37 in favor of private respondent in 1950. they are good indicia of possession in the concept of owner for no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or at least constructive possession. may and should be cancelled or corrected (Legarda and Prieto vs.000 hectares. errors in the plans of lands sought to be registered in the registry and reproduced in the certificate of title issued later. not only in or prior to March. Again. Lack. Together with his actual possession of the land. respectively. nevertheless. 8995 could not have vested in the defendant more title than what was rightfully due her and her coowners. the cardinal features of which are indefeasibility of title and the intervention of the State as a prerequisite to the creation and transfer of titles and interest. 324). but also the intention to contribute needed revenues to the Government. 31 Phil. . It does not create a title nor vest one. as this court has had occasion to so state more than once. Director of Lands.. The purpose of the Land Registration Act. As we said in the case of Republic vs. was the owner of the property when it was registered by Jose Alvarez in 1969. but from the time said certificate was issued in their favor.. to the prejudice of his neighbor. peaceful and continuous possession of the property since 1950.
prescribes in 10 years from the date of issuance of decree of registration. The fact of registration in their favor never vested in them the ownership of the land in dispute. private respondent may seek reconveyance of his property despite the lapse of more than 10 years. the land in question must be reconveyed in favor of private respondent. 955) "The reconveyance is just and proper in order to terminate the intolerable anomaly that the patentees should have a torrens title for the land which they and their predecessors never possessed which has been possessed by Novo in the concept of owner. The Court reasoned that since all the facts of the case are before it. . reconveyance being clearly the proper remedy in this case. the original complaint is for recovery of possession filed by petitioner against private respondent. but this rule applies only when the plaintiff or the person enforcing the trust is not in possession of the property. Such prescription is called ordinary prescription. 10101 for the counterclaim can be considered a direct attack on the same. To rule on the issue of validity in a case for recovery of possession is tantamount to a collateral attack. because it is an innocent purchaser for value in the foreclosure sale held in 1985. 13 .4 hectares included in the area covered by TCT No. . the reason for the rule being. without ordering the cancellation of the Torrens title issued upon the patent. In fact. However. 90 Phil." (Bustarga v. Prescription requires public. it is the original defendant who becomes the plaintiff. the right to seek reconveyance. was erroneous. In the instant case. does not prescribe. he does not. It is true that the indefeasibility of torrens titles cannot be collaterally attacked.4 hectares of land presently occupied by private respondent was already vested in him and that its inclusion in OCT No. it should not be overlooked that private respondent filed a counterclaim against petitioner. in case the possession is in good faith and with a just title. may direct the defendants. 10101. not an original action filed by the latter to question the validity of TCT No. in TCT No. It stands on the same footing and is to be tested by the same rules as if it were an independent action. subsequently. Amore. it can be concluded that neither Jose Alvarez nor the spouses Beduya ever exercised any right of ownership over the land. by virtue of the said certificate alone. 47 Having been the sole occupant of the land in question. .prescription which is a mode of acquiring ownership and other real rights over immovable property. which includes by mistake or oversight land which can no longer be registered under the system. 10101. . we could rule on the question of the validity of TCT No. Third. to direct the party to institute cancellation proceedings would be needlessly circuitous and would unnecessarily delay the termination of the controversy which has already dragged on for 20 years. since if a person claiming to be the owner thereof is in actual possession of the property. 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. 546 and. "A counterclaim is considered a complaint. 10101. Petitioner nonetheless contends that an action for reconveyance does not lie against it. 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. this rule does not apply when the plaintiff is in actual possession of the land. Generally. Accordingly. as distinguished from extraordinary prescription which requires possession for 30 years in case possession is without just title or is not in good faith. an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust. [A]n action for reconveyance of a parcel of land based on implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten years. Novo. 129 SCRA 125). 46 However. "If a person obtains a title under the Torrens system. despite knowledge by Gaudencio Beduya that private respondent occupied this 19. claiming ownership over the land and seeking damages. peaceful." 48 In an analogous case. . Hence. it has been shown that neither Jose Alvarez nor the spouses Beduya were at any time in possession of the property in question. become the owner of the lands illegally included. uninterrupted and adverse possession of the property in the concept of an owner for ten (10) years. therefore." (Vital vs. 49 we ruled on the validity of a certificate of title despite the fact that the original action instituted before the lower court was a case for recovery of possession. The true owner may bring an action to have the ownership or title to the land judicially settled and the Court in the exercise of its equity jurisdiction." 44 Considering the circumstances pertaining in this case. 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. Hence. it has been held: . Thus. 10101 on which petitioner bases its right. the true and actual owner thereof. only this time. which right can be claimed only by one who is in possession. 45 Second. Nor is there any obstacle to the determination of the validity of TCT No. as the defendants are in the instant case. which in effect seeks to quiet title to the property. we hold that ownership of the 19. such as the instant case. 42 In contrast to private respondent. 43 he never instituted any action to eject or recover possession from the latter. the registered owner to reconvey the parcel of land to the plaintiff who has been found to be the true owner thereof.
the innocent mortgagee for value has the right to rely on what appears on the certificate of title. this is subject to the right of a person deprived of land through fraud to bring an action for reconveyance. 10101. Although Article 2085 of the Civil Code provides that absolute ownership of the mortgaged property by the mortgagor is essential. including the portion occupied by private respondent: (1) petitioner was already informed by Gaudencio Beduya that private respondent occupied a portion of the property covered by TCT No. petitioner's representative. the subsequent declaration of a title as null and void is not a ground for nullifying the mortgage right of a mortgagee in good faith. an innocent mortgagee is not expected to conduct an exhaustive investigation on the history of the mortgagor's title. indicates that petitioner is not a mortgagee in good faith. Thus. but shall remain in full force and effect forever. Banks. subject only to the right of appeal hereinbefore provided: Provided. 3. "It is a well-settled rule that a purchaser cannot close his eyes to facts which should put a reasonable man upon his guard. said mortgagee is under no obligation to look beyond the certificate and investigate the title of the mortgagor appearing on the face of said certificate. 1. a decree of confirmation and registration shall be entered. That no decree or certificate of title issued to persons not parties to the appeal shall be cancelled or annulled. and quiet title thereto. 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. no investigation had been made by petitioner. provided that it does not prejudice the rights of an innocent purchaser for value and in good faith. petitioner cannot be considered an innocent purchaser for value when it bought the land covered by TCT No. therefore. nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments or decrees. or other disability of any person affected thereby. Act 3621. including the Insular Government and all the branches thereof. A person who deliberately ignores a significant fact which would create suspicion in an otherwise reasonable man is not an innocent purchaser for value. Patton R. especially in the case of a banking institution. two circumstances negate petitioner's claim that it was an innocent purchaser for value when it bought the land in question. however. It is clear. §38 provides that a certificate of title is conclusive and binding upon the whole world. Upon the expiration of said term of one year. Olano. Whenever the phrase "innocent purchaser for value" or an equivalent phrase occurs in this Act. we held: Where the certificate of title is in the name of the mortgagor when the land is mortgaged. 38 of Act No.This contention has no merit. This means that when the land was mortgaged by the spouses Beduya in 1972.51 The evidence before us. 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." Such decree shall not be opened by reason of the absence. their business being impressed with public interest." 50 The same rule applies to mortgagees. infancy. that petitioner failed to exercise due care and diligence in establishing the condition of the land as regards its actual owners and possessors before it entered into the mortgage contract in 1972 with the Beduyas. a mortgagee must exercise due diligence before entering into said contract. like petitioner. To be sure. In the absence of anything to excite suspicion. Consequently. or citation. Indeed. 52 In this case. Act No. before approving a loan. In other words. the Land Registration Act. the decree of registration shall not be opened. 10101. subject only to the exceptions stated in the following section. whether mentioned by name in the application. or included in the general description "To all whom it may concern. are expected to exercise more care and prudence than private individuals in their dealings. Had it done so. admitted that he came to know of the property for the first time in 1979 when he inspected it to determine whether the portion occupied by private respondent and mortgaged by the latter to petitioner was included in TCT No. Nonetheless." 53 14 . a buyer need not look behind the certificate of title in order to determine who is the actual owner of the land. Every decree of registration shall bind the land. Sec. even those involving registered lands. 10101 in 1985 at the foreclosure sale. (As amended by Sec. provided no innocent purchaser for value has acquired an interest. provides: 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. and Sec. every decree or certificate of title issued in accordance with this section shall be incontrovertible.4 hectares. and (2) petitioner's representative conducted an investigation of the property in 1979 to ascertain whether the land mortgaged by private respondent was included in TCT No. it shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee. 496. however. or other encumbrancer for value. 10101. However. and then claim that he acted in good faith under the belief that there was no defect in the title of the vendor. notice. to send representatives to the premises of the land offered as collateral and to investigate who are the real owners thereof. It shall be conclusive upon and against all persons. mortgagee. subject. For this reason. however. 3630. it would not have failed to discover that private respondent was occupying the disputed portion of 19. petitioner was already aware that a person other than the registered owner was in actual possession of the land when it bought the same at the foreclosure sale. If there is any such purchaser.) Succinctly put. Judicial notice is taken of the standard practice for banks. "It is a condition sine qua non for an action for reconveyance to prosper that the property should not have passed to the hands of an innocent purchaser for value.
As we ruled: The failure of appellees to take the ordinary precautions which a prudent man would have taken under the circumstances. by his acts. From the foregoing.4 hectares occupied by him. induces another to believe certain facts to exist and such other rightfully relies and acts on such belief. land registration or cadastral case has been filed or instituted before the court affecting the validity of Tax Declaration No. the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto.) xxx xxx xxx One who purchases real property which is in the actual possession of another should. petitioner simply proceeded with the foreclosure sale. when private respondent entered into a mortgage contract with petitioner. specially in buying a piece of land in the actual. Rather. 57 Indeed. Considering these circumstances. 10101 must be segregated and reconveyed in his favor. or by his own silence when he ought to speak out. He can scarcely. the purchaser is required to go beyond the certificates of title and ma[k]e inquiries concerning the rights of the actual possessor. 10101. pretending that no doubts surround the ownership of the land covered by TCT No. intentionally or through culpable negligence. as in this case. WHEREFORE. constitutes gross negligence amounting to bad faith. such portion of land included in TCT No. so that he will be prejudiced if the former is permitted to deny the existence of such facts. Instead of inquiring into private respondent's occupation over the land. at least. visible and public possession of another person. As a necessary consequence thereof. petitioner immediately demanded full payment of the loan and thereafter cancelled the mortgage contract. private respondent believed in good faith and with good reason that he was the owner of the 19. nothing in record indicates that petitioner impliedly acquiesced to the validity of private respondent's title when it found out that the latter was occupying a portion of the land covered by TCT No.1âwphi1 "Estoppel in pais arises when one." 56 In the case at bar. other than the vendor. It cannot feign ignorance of private respondent's claim to the land since the latter mortgaged the same land to petitioner as security for the loan he contracted in 1978 on the strength of the tax declarations issued under his name. be regarded as abona fide purchaser as against such possessors. Private respondent made no misrepresentation with regard to the land occupied by him as he is actually the real owner thereof. As to the question of estoppel. for reasons aforestated. D-2247 covering the land located in Bugang. The claim has no basis. SO ORDERED. the land sold is in the possession of a person other than the vendor.1âwphi1. at least put the purchaser upon inquiry.4 hectares covered by tax declarations issued under private respondent's name does not mean that it is estopped from questioning the latter's title.Petitioner deliberately disregarded both the fact that private respondent already occupied the property and that he was claiming ownership over the same. We cannot consider the submission of these documents as misrepresentations by private respondent as to the actual ownership of the land. Bohol and declared in the name of Carlos Cajes. petitioner cannot be deemed an innocent mortgagee/purchaser for value.4 hectares occupied by him. it has been held that where. Petitioner accuses private respondent of having made misrepresentations which led it to believe in his valid title and ownership.nêt However. Moreover. representations or admission. upon learning that the land occupied by private respondent was also covered by TCT No. 55 These documents were relied upon by private respondent in support of his claim of ownership. in the absence of such inquiry. a fact that is admitted by private respondent himself. (Citations omitted. San Miguel. 10101. 10101. make some inquiry concerning the right of those in possession. we uphold private respondent's ownership of 19. 15 . we find that the resolution of the issue of estoppel will not affect the outcome of this case. his claim of ownership was supported not only by the tax declarations but also by a certification of the Clerk of Court of the Court of First Instance of Bohol that no civil. In this connection. Petitioner claims that the fact that it approved a loan in favor of private respondent and executed a mortgage contract covering the 19. The actual possession by other than the vendor should. we do not find petitioner to be estopped from questioning private respondent's title. 54 Fourth.
it was served on the Office of the Solicitor General. which served as the notice for the hearing of the Petition for reconstitution. 1993 RTC Order. is the failure to send those notices fatal to a trial court's final and executory decision granting the reconstitution? In other words. The Petition. Branch 80. appeared and cross-examined petitioner. Br. the RTC rendered its Decision dated February 11. however. the Order was also posted at the entrance of the Quezon City Hall Building and on the bulletin board of the trial court. after payment of the prescribed legal fees. J. 2001 EVANGELINE L.R. The dispositive part of the Decision reads: "WHEREFORE. LUCIA REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT. 1994. The decision dated February 11." The Facts On June 11. 1994. the original copies of petitioner's Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) Nos. was published in two (2) successive issues of the Official Gazette. 139518 March 6. petitioner. SO ORDERED.: Are notices to owners of adjoining lots and actual occupants of the subject property mandatory and jurisdictional in petitions for judicial reconstitution of destroyed original certificates of title. both located in the District of Capitol. PANGANIBAN."3 Accordingly. may the decision be annulled on the ground of lack of jurisdiction? The short answer to all of these questions is "No. 1994 in LRC Case No. the Register of Deeds for Quezon City. TCT Nos. the Land Registration Authority (LRA). The court disposed as follows: "WHEREFORE. vs. which were in petitioner's possession. docketed as LRC Rec. After trial. as well as its July 21.836 square meters respectively. No. A representative from the Office of the Solicitor General. RT-78673 (240131) and RT-78672 (213611). Q-6436 (93). the Court hereby GRANTS the petition. During the trial which commenced on January 17. Puzon.. Together with a copy of the Petition. and the Office of the City Prosecutor for Quezon City. a fire in the office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City destroyed. 1999 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA). 213611 and 240131 from and on the basis of the owner's duplicate copies thereof in possession of petitioner Evangeline L. Quezon City is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. These TCTs were for the lots covered by the destroyed certificates. 1999 Resolution 2 denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration. no opposition was registered. Q-6436 (93) of RTC. Accordingly. 16 . Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. STA. Puzon are declared cancelled and null and void for being in violation [of] Republic Act No. covering two lots with areas of 109. the Register of Deeds of Quezon City is ordered to reconstitute the original copies of TCT Nos. the Land Management Bureau." The Case Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. RT-78673 (240131) and RT78672 (213611) reconstituted in the name of private respondent Evangeline L. 240131 and 213611 issued by the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. The October 26. Quezon City. respondent. No. was based on the owner's duplicate copies of the TCTs. the Register of Deeds of Quezon City issued to herein petitioner TCT Nos. PUZON. when the source for such reconstitution is the extant owner's duplicate transfer certificate of title? More specifically. the petition is granted. 80.038 and 66. 26. petitioner filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City. INC. whose numbers are indicated in the parentheses. Thirty days before the date of hearing. 1988. a Petition for the judicial reconstitution of the two destroyed titles. assailing the April 30. among others. In October 1993.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. 7-96 and Land Registration Authority circulars. who was the sole witness.
No. The Court of Appeals grossly erred in holding that petitioner's TCT No. Marasigan. 3(d). RT-87672 (213611) covering lot 119 is fake and spurious. a Complaint for Accion Reinvindicatoria with Damages and Prayer for the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order/Writ of Injunction. area and boundaries of the property.After discovering in 1996 that Sta. Republic Act No. and to be posted on the main entrance of the provincial building and of the municipal building of the municipality or city in which the land is situated. RT-78672 (213611) was fake. Inc. They cite as authority Section 13 of Republic Act No. Ruling of the Court of Appeals Annulling the Decision of the RTC (Branch 80). at the expense of the petitioner. posting and service of the notice as directed by the court. Lucia Realty and Development. Finally. No. Notices to adjoining owners and actual occupants of the land are not mandatory and jurisdictional in reconstitution of titles based on the owner's duplicate copy. the names of the occupants or persons in possession of the property. 1998. Citing Republic v. which is applicable only in relation to Section 12 of R. was occupying a portion of the land covered by TCT No. RT-78673 (240131). The Honorable Court of Appeals grossly erred in applying the provisions of Section 13 of R. and the date on which all persons having any interest therein must appear and file their claim or objections to the petition. at least thirty days prior to the date of hearing. while the accion reinvindicatoria was still pending before the RTC of Quezon City (Branch 104). at the hearing. by registered mail or otherwise. 7 which we reproduce hereunder: "SEC. submit proof of the publication. First Issue: Notice Requirement Respondent and the CA contend that notices to owners of adjoining lots are mandatory in the judicial reconstitution of a title. petitioner filed against it and Garsons Co. to every person named therein whose address is known. The Court of Appeals grossly erred in holding that 'clearance from the land registration authority' is a jurisdictional requirement. 2(f). 26. the number of the lost or destroyed certificate of title. the owners of the adjoining properties and all other interested parties. to be published at the expense of the petitioner. respondent filed before the CA a Petition for Annulment of Judgment. The petitioner shall. Hence. shall be filed with the proper Court of First Instance. if known. 12."6 The Court's Ruling The Petition is meritorious. filed under the preceding section. 2(e). 2(d). The first sentence of Section 13 provides that the requirements therein pertain only to petitions for reconstitution filed under "the preceding section. and/or 3(f) of this Act. 13. 3(c).5 The Issues Petitioner raises the following issues for the consideration of this Court: "1. 26. Petition for reconstitution from sources enumerated in Section 2(c). the location.. The Court shall cause a notice of the petition. 26. Inc. the CA held that petitioner had failed to comply with the requirements of Section 13. 26. It also opined that the RTC Decision had been rendered without requiring a clearance from the LRA. at least thirty days prior to the date of hearing.4 it ruled that notices to adjoining owners and actual occupants of the land were mandatory and jurisdictional in an action for the judicial reconstitution of a certificate of title. seeking to annul and set aside the earlier Decision of the RTC of Quezon City (Branch 80) in the reconstitution case. which in turn governs those petitions based on specified sources. it referred to earlier findings of the land registration commissioner that petitioner's TCT No. herein respondent.A." The clear language of the law militates against the interpretation of respondent and the appellate court. We quote Section 12 below: "SEC. 3(e). "3." Section 12.A. The court shall likewise cause a copy of the notice to be sent. among other things. this Petition. On March 25. by the registered 17 . the name of the registered owner. "2. twice in successive issues of the Official Gazette. Said notice shall state.
pursuant to which the original certificate of title was issued. on file in the registry of deeds. mortgagee's or lessee's duplicate of the certificate of title. That in case the reconstitution is to be made exclusively from sources enumerated in Section 2(f) or 3(f) of this Act. by which the property the description of which is given in said documents. if any had been issued. "SEC. in the judgment of the court. (e) A document. 3(e). if there be any. (b) that no co-owner's. (e) A document. (e) the name and addresses of the occupants or persons in possession of the property. as yet. The petition shall state or contain. which do not belong to the owner of the land. and (f) Any other document which. and the names and addresses of the owners of such buildings or improvements. previously issued by the register of deeds or by a legal custodian thereof. is mortgaged. 2(e)." Sections 2 and 3 of RA 26 provide as follows: "SEC. or an authenticated copy of said document showing that its original had been registered. on file in the registry of deeds. of the owners of the adjoining properties and of all persons who may have interest in the property." In other words. in the judgment of the court. and/or 3(f) of this Act.owner. in the following order: (a) The owner's duplicate of the certificate of title. 2(d). leased or encumbered. or an authenticated copy thereof. mortgagee's. leased or encumbered. in the following order: (a) The owner's duplicate of the certificate of title. "sources enumerated in Section 2(c). previously issued by the register of deeds or by a legal custodian thereof. (c) A certified copy of the certificate of title. that is. (d) The deed of transfer or other document on file in the registry of deeds. Original certificates of title shall be reconstituted from such of the sources hereunder enumerated as may be available. or authenticated copies thereof. containing the description of the property. showing that its original had been registered. if any. All the documents. and (f) Any other documents which. 3(d). the following: (a) that the owner's duplicate of the certificate of title had been lost or destroyed. the registration thereof has not been accomplished. among other things. the requirements under Sections 12 and 13 do not apply to all petitions for judicial reconstitution. to be introduced in evidence in support to the petition for reconstitution shall be attached thereto and filed with the same: Provided. or. mortgagee's or lessee's duplicate had been issued. is mortgaged." (italics supplied) 18 . or. Transfer certificates of title shall be reconstituted from such of the sources hereunder enumerated as may be available. the same had been lost or destroyed. (b) The co-owner's. 3. (c) the location area and boundaries of the property. or lessee's duplicate of the certificate of title. but only to those based on any of the sources specified in Section 12. (d) An authenticated copy of the decree of registration or patent. as the case may be. the petition shall be further accompanied with a plan and technical description of the property duly approved by the Commissioner of Land Registration. 2. 3(c). is sufficient and proper basis for reconstituting the lost or destroyed certificate of title. 2(f). and (g) a statement that no deeds or other instruments affecting the property have been presented for registration. or an authenticated copy of said document showing that its original had been registered. the description of which is given in said document. by which the property. or with a certified copy of the description taken from a prior certificate of title covering the same property. (c) A certified copy of the certificate of title. or any person having an interest in the property. is sufficient and proper basis for reconstituting the lost or destroyed certificate of title. his assigns. (d) the nature and description of the buildings or improvements. (b) The co-owner's. and pursuant to which the lost or destroyed transfer certificate of title was issued.
2(d). 2(b). while for Group B. That certificates of title reconstituted pursuant to this section shall not be subject to the encumbrance referred to in Section Seven of this Act. but by Section 10 of RA 26. 3(b). To repeat. (4) the location of the property. notices to adjoining owners and to the actual occupants of the land are mandatory and jurisdictional. the notification of adjoining owners is hardly necessary. There is no question that in such actions. before hearing and granting the same. however. Marasigan. 3(d). 10. 3(b) and 4(a). the Petition is governed. the cases cited by respondent -. It follows that the applicable provision of law is Section 10 in relation to Section 9 of RA 26. which does not apply to petitions based on an existing owner's duplicate TCT. 3(c). Nothing hereinabove provided shall prevent any registered owner or person in interest from filing the petition mentioned in Section Five of this Act directly with the proper Court of First Instance. as in the present case. not Sections 12 and 13. In sum. 3(b). that requirement is found in Section 13. which denote a "restoration of the instrument which is supposed to have been lost or destroyed in its original form and condition. (1) a notice be published in two successive issues of the Official Gazette at the expense of the petitioner. and all other persons who may have an interest in the property. she should not be burdened with meaningless formalities in the prosecution of her property rights. because they all involve judicial reconstitution under Sections 12 and 13 of RA 26. The purpose of the reconstitution of title or any document is to have the same reproduced. In this light. 3(a). the source is the owner's duplicate copy. 3(d). the mandate of the courts is simply to apply it.In the present case.particularly Republic v. Finally. based on sources enumerated in Section 2(a). Possession of a 19 . For petitions based on sources enumerated in Sections 2(c). 2(f). even in this instance. Sources enumerated in Sections 2(a). Court of Appeals 11-. and (2) such notice be posted at the main entrances of the provincial building and of the municipal hall where the property is located. and/or 4(a) of this Act : Provided. the interests of creditors. as in the present case. 3(e) and 3(f). The adjoining owners or actual occupants of the property covered by the TCT are hardly in a position to determine the genuineness of the Certificate. Let it also be remembered that the TCT holder in this case had no fault at all in the destruction of the original Certificate in the office of the Register of Deeds. and 4(a) of RA 26 are lumped under one group (Group A). However. owners of adjoining lots. mailing the notice is not required for a petition based on Sections 2(a). are addressed by the publication requirement. We quote said Section 10 in full: "SEC. Section 13 adds another requirement: that the notice be mailed to occupants. whose liens may have been registered in the original Certificate on file with the Register of Deeds but not annotated in the owner's copy. 3(c). 2(f). 2(d). (2) the name of the registered owner." 12 We emphasize that these actions do "not pass upon the ownership of the land covered by the lost or destroyed title. to be published in the manner stated in Section Nine 8 hereof: And provided. 2(b). Put differently. When the reconstitution is based on an extant owner's duplicate TCT. Clearly. the main concern is the authenticity and genuineness of the Certificate. When the law is clear. Giving them notice and inviting them to participate in the reconstitution proceeding is not only illogical. the source of the reconstitution of petitioner's TCT is the extant owner's copy. 3(a). Moreover. which could best be determined or contested by the government agencies or offices concerned.are not applicable. must appear and file such claims as they may have. In the present case. 2(e). the source of the Petition for the reconstitution of title was petitioner's duplicate copies of the two TCTs mentioned in Section 3(a). including the reconstitution of her original TCT. not by Sections 12 and 13. and sources enumerated in Sections 2(c). Moya10and Director of Lands v. and (5) the date on which all persons having an interest in the property. principally the Office of the Solicitor General. 3(e). but constitutes a useless effort to clog the dockets of courts.9 Manila Railroad Co. and 3(f) are placed together under another group (Group B). which falls under Section 3(a). notices to adjoining owners and to actual occupants of the land are not required. 2(e). RA 26 separates petitions for reconstitution of lost or destroyed certificates of title into two main groups with two different requirements and procedures. not to interpret or to speculate on it. Hence. the requirements for judicial reconstitution are set forth in Section 10 in relation to Section 9 of RA 26. That the Court shall cause a notice of the petition. Sections 9 and 10 of RA 26 require that 30 days before the date of hearing. For Group A. But in petitions for reconstitution falling under Sections 9 and 10 of RA 26 where. 2(b). further. (3) the names of the interested parties appearing in the reconstituted certificate of title. The notice shall state the following: (1) the number of the certificate of title. the parties must not lose sight of the nature of judicial reconstitution proceedings. after proper proceedings in the same form they were when the loss or destruction occurred. the requirements are in Sections 12 and 13 of the same law." Nothing in this provision requires that notices be sent to owners of adjoining lots. vs. 3(a). Verily.
20 . or while the examination. JJ. SO ORDERED. 14 It is not mandatory. deals with the subject of original land registration cases. it may validly issue an order or judgment granting reconstitution. not reconstitution of titles. Vitug. RT-87672 (213611) is fake. neither was the Petition for reconstitution affected nor was the RTC divested of its jurisdiction by the fact that the trial court rendered the judgment ordering the reconstitution of a lost or destroyed certificate of title without awaiting the report and recommendations of the land registration commissioner and the register of deeds of Quezon City. Thus. which states: "16. Also. None of the circulars mentioned in Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. the fact that none were sent to the owners of adjoining lots or to the alleged actual occupants of the subject property did not negate the jurisdiction of the RTC. and likewise the Register of Deeds to write a report of his or her findings after verifying the status of the title. Evidently. It had no authority to do so. If none is forthcoming on or before the date of the initial hearing. WHEREFORE. its ruling with respect thereto was merely an obiter dictum that did not. The certificate of title. and cannot be used to reopen the entire controversy. 7-96 ("Circular 7-96") requires any clearance from the Land Registration Authority for the judicial reconstitution of certificates of title under Section 10 of RA 26. We stress that the Petition filed by respondent before the CA was for the annulment of judgment on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. for the reconstitution court to wait for such reports indefinitely. which is the subject of the reconstitution. This is implied from the provisions of Section 16 of the same Circular. Gonzaga-Reyes. the land registration commissioner and the provincial or city fiscal. it requires the Chief of the Clerks of Court Division to make a report. Even LRC Circular No. Thus. Should an order or judgment granting reconstitution be issued by the Court without awaiting the report and the recommendations of this Commission as well as the verification of the Register of Deeds concerned." 13 Second Issue: Pertinent Circulars Petitioner also contends that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that an LRC clearance is a jurisdictional requirement. No costs. In debunking the genuineness of petitioner's TCT. by itself. rule on such matter. a motion to set aside the order/judgment granting reconstitution or to stay the period of finality of said order/judgment shall be filed by the Land Registration Commissioner and/or the Register of Deeds thru the Solicitor General or the provincial or city fiscal concerned. however. Verily. 15 But nowhere does it require that such notices be sent also to owners of adjoining properties and actual occupants of the land. concur.lost certificate of title is not necessarily equivalent to ownership of the land covered by it. in the present case. 16 The CA was not being called upon to determine the character of petitioner's TCT. Both reports are to be submitted to the reconstitution court on or before the date of the initial hearing. 35. Rather. it was going beyond the ambit of the case before it: the alleged lack of jurisdiction of the RTC to render the questioned judgment. the Petition is GRANTED. and indeed could not. which is also mentioned in Circular 7-96. 35 requires that notices of hearings be given to the register of deeds of the place where the property is located. Circular 91 is not applicable to this case. LRC Circular No. NALTDRA Circular No. does not vest ownership. Third Issue: The Character of Petitioner's TCT Lastly. which is mentioned in Circular 7-96 and has the word "clearance" in its heading. and it appears that there is a valid ground to oppose the reconstitution. and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.. therefore. Such recourse is limited to the grounds provided by law. not the correctness of the latter's Decision which had become final and unappealable. verification and preparation of the report and recommendation are still pending in the said Offices due to the failure of the Clerk of Court or the petitioner to comply with all the necessary requirements as called for herein. 91 ("Circular 91"). we find merit in her submission." In the present case. and Sandoval-Gutierrez. petitioner questions the finding of the Court of Appeals that her TCT No. does not require any clearance. the only issue before the CA was the jurisdiction of the RTC. We agree. Melo. Again. it is merely an evidence of title over a particular property.
J. La Union. the trial court Decision granting the reconstitution is void. the petition is hereby GRANTED. 26 requires that a petition for reconstitution of a lost or destroyed certificate of title must be published in the Official Gazette and posted at the main entrance of the provincial and the municipal buildings of the place where the property is situated.: Republic Act No. La Union. with an area of 6. respondent. DECISION PANGANIBAN. As the land was already declared and distributed to ten persons who have succeeded him. The said Certificate of Title was either destroyed or burned as a result of the burning of the Register of Deeds of La Union during the last World War. However. The factual and the procedural antecedents of the case are summarized in the assailed CA Decision as follows: "In her Petition for Reconstitution of Title. This requirement is mandatory. in favor of Fermin Estipular. REPUBLIC OF vs. The Case This is the principle used by this Court in granting the Petition for Review before us. premises considered. the National Printing Office advised the lower court to reschedule its original date of hearing as it could not meet the schedule of publication (Records. No. The dispositive portion of the challenged Decision reads as follows: "WHEREFORE. The destroyed/burned original copy of Certificate of Title No. the court a quo ordered that a Notice of Hearing be published for two successive issues of the Official Gazette and be posted at the main entrance of the Municipal Building of Caba.p. another Notice of Hearing was issued by the trial 21 . 136588 July 20. which shall bear the annotation that the same is being issued in place of the destroyed/burned original copy in exactly the same terms and conditions using as basis the corresponding Owner’s Duplicate Certificate of Title previously issued by the Registry of Deeds of La Union but shall in all respects be entitled to like faith and credit as the destroyed/burned original copy filed with the Registry Office. 154 duly registered in his own name by the Register of Deeds of La Union covering a parcel of land located at Barrio Liquicia. who died intestate in Caba. "On June 15. 1994 ( Records. On August 12. and shall thereafter be regarded as such for all purposes of the Property Registration Decree. the Court finds the petition to be well-taken and supported by evidence. assailing the December 9. 1994. La Union at least thirty (30) days from the initial hearing set for September 8. 1994. Without such publication and posting at the main entrances of both the municipal and the provincial edifices. strict compliance therewith is jurisdictional. declared that she [was] the only surviving legal heir of the late Fermin Estipular. petitioner. 154 is declared cancelled and the Register of Deeds of La Union is hereby directed to reconstitute in lieu thereof. the Original Certificate of Title No. 154. it was alleged that the aforesaid parcel of land was declared for taxation purposes by Fermin and his heirs. p.1253 hectares. that said estate is not mortgaged to any financial institution. 53846. 2000 THE PHILIPPINES.R. A Certificate of Posting was submitted by Branch Sheriff Romeo Obiena proving that copies of the Petition and Notice of Hearing were posted at the main entrance of Municipal Building of Caba. 8).Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. Further." 5 The Facts This case is rooted in a Petition for Reconstitution of Title filed by Pilar Estipular before the Regional Trial Court of La Union. PILAR ESTIPULAR. the petitioner. La Union ( Records. Hence. 9). 1998 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals2 (CA) in CA-GR CV No. Pilar Estipular. Caba. During his lifetime."3 The decretal part of the Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court affirmed by the CA is worded thus: "WHEREFORE. 11). nor is there any document pending registration affecting the said land. p. the appealed judgment is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. Fermin was issued Certificate of Title No. the petitioner prayed that the said Certificate of Title be reconstituted in accordance with law.
Exhibit "A-1". (Records.16). Thus.. the National Printing Office issued a Certificate of Publication showing that the said petition for reconstitution was published in the Official Gazette for two successive weeks on October 17 and 24.. 1995. Court of Appeals.. Petitioner Pilar Estipular’s testimony was offered to prove that she caused the reconstitution of Certificate of Title No. . It ruled: "It is a settled rule that proceedings for judicial reconstitution of certificates of title are proceedings in rem. Juvenal Estacio. The purpose of such publication is to apprise the whole world that such a petition has been filed and that whoever is minded to oppose it for good cause may do so within thirty (30) days before the date set by the court for hearing the petition. The grandson of the petitioner.. . Mr.20). but nobody registered his/her opposition. Exhibit "D".. January 24. Since there was a valid publication of the Notice of Hearing in the Official Gazette.Certification of the Provincial Assessor. 1994.court. 154 of the Register of Deeds of La Union. p.. Exhibit "H"." The CA Ruling Although the Notice of Hearing had not been posted at the main entrance of the provincial building. It is the publication of such notice that brings in the whole world as a party in the case and vests the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide it ( Republic vs. Exhibit "C". Exhibit "F".Notice of Appearance of the Solicitor General.Survey Plan for the Titles. The petitioner and the public prosecutor appeared [i]n such hearing. emphasis ours). resetting the initial hearing to December 7. 154. the representative of the Register of Deeds of La Union. .Technical Description. 231 SCRA 88.. the Office of the Solicitor General entered its appearance as counsel for the respondent Republic and deputized the Provincial Prosecutor of La Union to appear [o]n its behalf in connection with the subject case (Records. Exhibit "I". the lower court rendered the questioned decision. In the same manner. the petitioner presented the jurisdictional facts with the corresponding documentary requirements prescribed by law. "On November 2. the latter was allowed to establish jurisdictional facts at the next hearing date. 1994.. all the exhibits were admitted. 218 SCRA 773). Due to the absence of the counsel for the petitioner. a second Certificate of Posting was issued by Branch Sheriff concerning the administrative case ( Records.. to wit: "Exhibit "A".Verification of petition.. . p... stated that the land covered by the title in question (owner’s duplicate) [was] existing and that the original title was burned in the Register of Deeds of La Union."6 xxx xxx xxx 22 . . .Certified True Copy of Certificate of Title No. destroyed or stolen during the last World War. "After the presentation of evidence.. p...Certificate of Publication issued by the National Printing Office... "Two (2) other witnesses. Davidson Estipular and Juvenal Estacio. Exhibit "G". Exhibit "E". In view thereof.Notice of Hearing." "When the Exhibits were offered in evidence.... . then it is sufficient to vest jurisdiction upon the court to hear and determine the petition. Davidson Estipular.Certificate of Posting. 1994. 1994.. testified for the petitioner. . 13). the CA held that there was substantial compliance with the requirements of the law.. .. hence.... Register of Deeds of Quezon City .. Exhibit "B". testified that all the pre-war records in the said office were either burned. NOTICE OF HEARING BY PROPER PUBLICATION IS SUFFICIENT TO CLOTHE THE COURT WITH JURISDICTION (Calalang vs. the Public Prosecutor never interposed any objection. On the latter date. 1994.. "The initial hearing materialized on December 7. .Petition dated June 9... The case was called to invite private oppositors to come forthwith.
26 is sufficient to confer jurisdiction on the trial court over the case. enlarged or diminished by any act or omission of the parties. [That] the notice of the petition be published. The purpose of the reconstitution is to have. the owner of the adjoining properties. to every person named therein whose address is known. x x x" Thus. 26. at the expense of the petitioner. waived. This directive is mandatory. this recourse by the Republic. Said notice shall state. the name of the occupants or persons in possession of the property. filed under the preceding section. to be published. and to be posted on the main entrance of the provincial building and of the municipal building of the municipality or city in which the land is situated. pp. at least thirty days prior to the date of hearing.8 The Issue Petitioner submits this lone issue for the resolution of this Court: "The sole issue for resolution is whether or not supposed substantial compliance with the requirements of Republic Act No. On the other hand. area and boundaries of the property. in the context of Republic Act No. The petitioner shall. No other claimant x x x came forward. the failure of the petitioner to post the Notice of Hearing at the main entrance of the provincial capitol building does not detract from the fact that there was a substantial compliance with the provisions of the law. the number of the lost or destroyed certificate of title if known."7 Hence. Coupled with the successive publications in the Official Gazette. The court shall likewise cause a copy of the notice to be sent. twice in successive issues of the Official Gazette. compliance with the following requisites is imperative: "1. at the expense of the petitioner."Viewed in proper perspective." 9 The Court’s Ruling The Petition is meritorious. among other things. the name of the registered owner. at the expense of the petitioner. (2) acquired. 2611 lays down the special requirements and procedure that must be followed before jurisdiction may be acquired over a petition for reconstitution of title. It cannot be (1) granted by the agreement of the parties. In Section 13 of said Act. the title reproduced in exactly the same way it has been when the loss or destruction occurred. 9 and 16) at the main entrance of the municipal building where the land [lay]. 13." These requirements are mandatory and compliance with them is jurisdictional. indeed. Main Issue: Requirements for Reconstitution of Title Are Mandatory and Jurisdictional Jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of the action is conferred only by the Constitution or by law. no private parties opposed the petition. or (3) conferred by the acquiescence of the courts. 23 . In Republic v. at the hearing. the government was ably represented by the Public Prosecutor so the appellant Republic was not in any manner deprived of the opportunity to protect its rights or interests over the land subject of the petition. it was more than enough to serve the purpose of notifying all the parties concerned that a petition ha[d] been filed and that whoever ha[d] an interest therein to oppose it for good cause should come to court and prove his claim. Among the conditions explicitly required by the law is publication of the petition twice in successive issues of the Official Gazette. and the date on which all persons having any interest therein must appear and file their claim or objection to the petition. at least thirty days prior to the date of hearing. 10 Republic Act No. twice in successive issues of the Official Gazette. and posted on the main entrance of the provincial building and of the municipal building of the municipality or city in which the land is situated. after observing the procedures prescribed by law. these requirements and procedure are provided as follows: "Sec. It must be noted that the Branch Sheriff issued two (2) Certificates of Posting ( Records. submit proof of publication. its compliance has been held to be jurisdictional. before the trial court can acquire jurisdiction to hear and decide a reconstitution case. As it [was]. by registered mail or otherwise. the location. and its posting at the main entrance of the provincial building and of the municipal building of the municipality or city in which the land is situated. denotes the restoration in the original form and condition of a lost or destroyed instrument attesting [to] the title of a person to a piece of land. at least thirty days prior to the date of hearing. at least thirty days prior to the date of the hearing. Court of Appeals. The Court shall cause a notice of the petition. posting and service of the notice as directed by the court.12the Court held: "Reconstitution of a certificate of title.
the name of the registered owner. It merely held that the absence of personal notice to a person purporting to have a legitimate claim on the property was not a sufficient ground to invalidate the proceedings. However. [That] the notice state among other things."2. which failed to include a directive that the Notice of Hearing be posted at the main entrance of the provincial building. and to give them enough time to intervene in the proceeding. the name of the occupants or persons in possession of the property. at the expense of the petitioner. SO ORDERED. 24 . the Petition is hereby GRANTED. and the date on which all persons having any interest therein must appear and file their claim of objection to the petition. The purposes of the stringent and mandatory character of the legal requirements ofpublication. posting and mailing are to safeguard against spurious and unfounded land ownership claims. as the trial court’s acquisition of jurisdiction over the Petition hinged on a strict compliance with the requirements of the law. [That] a copy of the notice also be sent. this oversight cannot excuse noncompliance with the requirements of RA No. 26.e. the publication of a notice of hearing in the Official Gazette is not enough. it is undisputed that the Notice of Hearing of respondent’s Petition for Reconstitution was not posted at the main entrance of the provincial building. The Court in Calalang did not rule on whether the posting requirement was mandatory. petitioner submit proof of publication."13 In the present case. the occupants or persons in possession of the property. the location. area and boundaries of the property. the owner of the adjoining properties and all other interested parties. Register of Deeds . it is clear that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the case because of its own lapse. the owner of the adjoining properties and all other interested parties) whose address is known at least thirty days prior to the date of the hearing. the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the case. Under the circumstances. Clearly. But the appellate court. by registered mail or otherwise. [That] at the hearing. to every person named therein (i. citing Calalang v. the root of this failure may be traced to the June 15. No costs. 1994 Order of the trial court. the number of the lost or destroyed certificates of title if known.16 It must be emphasized that under the law. which respondent failed to cure.17 The publication of the Notice of Hearing in the Official Gazette does not justify the respondent’s failure to comply with the legal requirement of posting the Notice at the main entrance of both the municipal and the provincial buildings. True. The principle of substantial compliance cannot be applied to the present case. WHEREFORE.14 opined that the publication of the Notice of Hearing in the Official Gazette was "sufficient to vest jurisdiction upon the court to hear and determine the Petition. The posting of said notice at the main entrances of both the municipal and the provincial building is another equally vital requisite. to apprise all interested parties of the existence of such action. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSEDand SET ASIDE. and "4."15 We disagree. posting and service of the notice as directed by the court. "3.
of the Registry of Deeds of Iloilo City covering Lots 3244 and 3246.. vs. 1974 alleging that he is the sole surviving heir of the previous owner. on proper grounds. the respondent judge issued a Decision6 dismissing petitioner's complaint and private respondent's counterclaim. Maria Luis de Tiongco. reconveyance and damages. 1993. Tiongco and Antonio Doronila. considering 25 . sales. Presiding Judge. which reinstated an earlier order cancelling the notice of lis pendens annotated on the back of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 1994. JR. 1994. on three separate occasions. cited in Vda. this was denied in an Order dated January 10.R. TCT Nos.: Before us is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 assailing the Order dated March 17. 2000 ESTRELLA TIONGCO YARED (now deceased) substituted by one of her heirs. 1994. 19408. the amended complaint alleged that respondent Tiongco. After respondent Jose B. 114732 August 1. succeeded in having the subject properties registered in his name. TIONGCO and ANTONIO G. T-92383 and T-5050 were derived or transferred from TCT Nos. As before. 1993. T-4666 and T-52546. and both were among several heirs of Maria Luis de Tiongco.9 He filed a "Second Motion for Reconsideration" 10 which was also denied in an Order dated January 26. trial ensued during which. respectively. to the prejudice of the other surviving heir of the previous owner. The trial court found that petitioner's cause of action had already prescribed. Tiongco filed his answer. T-92383 and T-5050. located in Iloilo City.11 Displaying remarkable tenacity. 1994 1 of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City. respondents. JR.5 On December 14. Petitioner filed a notice of appeal7 on December 17. transfer certificates of title. Branch XXVI. 1993. ILARDE. the respondent judge ruled to wit: In the light of the ruling laid down in Magdalena Homeowners Association Inc.4 All these motions were denied. petitioner caused to be annotated on Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. De Kilayko vs. J. against private respondents Jose B. the action was one for "annulment of affidavit of adjudication. In an Order13 dated February 14. To protect her interest in the properties during the pendency of the case. Court of Appeals. his arguments proved persuasive. which finding is based on the admitted fact that the questioned deed of adjudication was registered way back of May 10." In brief. 1974. Petitioner prayed that the properties be reconveyed to the original registered owners. 614-615 (1992). vs. be cancelled notwithstanding the non-finality of the judgment of this Court brought about by plaintiff's appeal and considering the finding of this Court that plaintiff's action had already prescribed. 330 (1990). 184 SCRA 325.respectively. HON. DORONILA."12 This time. subject to partition among the lawful heirs. DECISION DE LEON. RICARDO M. 3246 and 1404. TIONGCO petitioner. 207 SCRA 600. 6th Judicial Region. The relevant facts are summarized as follows: On October 17. and that respondent Tiongco be ordered to pay damages and costs. T-52547 and T4666 respectively and registered in the name of Tiongco. T-52547. he filed motions seeking the cancellation of the notices of lis pendens. 3 which covered Lot Nos. 1990. respondent Tiongco filed a "Third Motion for Reconsideration. 26. Petitioner and respondent Tiongco's father were siblings. however. petitioner among them. Tengco. respondent Tiongco filed a motion for cancellation of the notices of lis pendens8 dated December 21.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.. on the basis of an affidavit of adjudication dated April 17. Branch 26. The aforesaid affidavit of adjudication was registered with the Office of the Register of Deeds of Iloilo City on May 10. petitioner Estrella Tiongco Yared filed an amended complaint2 before the Regional Trial Court. that "the continuance or removal of a notice of lis pendens is not contingent on the existence of a final judgment in the action and ordinarily has no effect on the merits thereof" so that the notices of lis pendens in the case at bar may. Docketed as Civil Case No. No. 3244. 1974 so that the possibility of this finding being reversed is quite remote if not totally nil and. Regional Trial Court of Iloilo. CARMEN MATILDE M. Br. JOSE B. Jr.
Tiongco based on the same deed of adjudication had already been dismissed with finality also on the ground of prescription. Tiongco. b) An action to quiet title thereto. The doctrine of lis pendens is founded upon reasons of public policy and necessity. and serves as a warning that one who acquires an interest over said property does so at his own risk. and (3) that.587 square meters where the area of 64 square meters claimed by plaintiff can very well be taken. (2) the notice of appeal has been approved. if at all. T-92383 covering lot 3244 and on TCT No. hereby reconsiders its stand on the subject matter of lis pendens and so holds that the continued annotation of subject notices of lis pendens is intended to molest the defendant. Tiongco. Jose B. T-5050 covering lot 3246 and considering further. or that he gambles on the result of the litigation over said property. much less. may issue orders for the protection and preservation of the rights of the parties which do not involve any matter litigated by the appeal and considering that in the case at bar. it is clear that such a notice is proper only in: a) An action to recover possession of real estate. the public respondent issued an Order15 reversing himself on the ground that (1) it had already lost jurisdiction over the case due to the expiration of the last day to appeal of both parties. petitioner filed the instant special civil action for certiorari. which is quoted hereunder: Considering that under Section 9. (2) that the occupants of the property who were alleged as formerly paying rentals to herein plaintiff. Rule 41 of the Rules of Court. Tiongco was declared with finality as the true and lawful owner of Lots Nos. 1994 is hereby reconsidered and set aside and the Order of February 14. From these provisions. had already recognized defendant's ownership and had long stopped paying rentals to plaintiff without the latter intervening.further. 18 The notice of lispendens is an announcement to the whole world that a particular real property is in litigation. 1994 cancelling the notices of lis pendens annotated on TCT No. are now foreclosed by prescription. and is not necessary to protect the rights of plaintiff as such rights. 1404 which contains a total area of 1. 14 On March 4. the Order of March 4. the present claim of plaintiff covers but a very small portion of subject lots consisting only a total of about 64 square meters hence. 3244 and 3246. 1529. and (3) the records had been ordered elevated to the Court of Appeals. On April 5. and 26 . This time. in view of all the foregoing considerations and upon further review of the records. the Court. 1994. T-89483 covering Lot no. it would be unfair to the defendant who has torrens title covering the parcels of lands solely in his name to have the same subjected to the harsh effect of such a encumbrance. 1994 is hereby reconsidered and set aside and the Order of February 14. contesting the decision in Civil Case No. although appeal had already been perfected. Section 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure 20 and Section 76 of Presidential Decree No. 15421 where defendant Jose B.21otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree provide the statutory bases for notice of lis pendens. T-92383 covering Lot 3244 and on TCT No. 1994 cancelling the notices of lis pendens on TCT No. Estrella Tiongco Yared. it was petitioner's turn to seek reconsideration. 19408. 1994.17 Feeling that a motion for reconsideration would be fruitless.19 Rule 13. the respondent judge issued the order. subject of this petition. the circumstances obtaining in this case. alleging that: THE HONORABLE RESPONDENT JUDGE ACTED CAPRICIOUSLY. prior to the transmittal of the records to the appellate court. On March 17. lis pendens is not a matter litigated in the appeal and the records have not as yet been transmitted to the appellate court so that this Court still has jurisdiction to issue the Order of February 14. that the said Order does not direct cancellation of lis pendens annotated on TCT No. as prayed for by the defendant Jose B. Private respondent Tiongco filed another motion for reconsideration 16 against the Order dated March 4. among which are: (1) that the criminal complaint for perjury filed by plaintiff against defendant Jose B. d) An action for partition. WHIMSICALLY AND WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ORDERING THE CANCELLATION OF THE NOTICES OF LIS PENDENS ANNOTATED AT THE BACK OF THE CERTIFICATES OF TITLE THAT ARE THE SUBJECT OF THE CIVIL CASE NO. the Register of Deeds cancelled the annotation of notices of lis pendens. if any. T-5050 covering lot 3246 is hereby reinstated. the purpose of which is to make known to the whole world that properties in litigation are still within the power of the court until the litigation is terminated and to prevent the defeat of the judgment or decree by subsequent alienation. c) An action to remove clouds thereon. 1994. AS THESE ARE AMONG THE DOCUMENTS THAT ARE SOUGHT TO BE DECLARED NULL AND VOID BY THE HEREIN PETITIONER. 1994. the Court.
unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which application therefor will be directed.23 It is not necessary for her to prove ownership or interest over the property sought to be affected by lis pendens. Hence. 26 The petition should be dismissed. and should also serve as a general determinant of the appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs. mandamus. This Court's original jurisdiction to issue writ of certiorari (as well as prohibition. a policy that courts and lawyers must strictly observe. We reaffirmed this policy in People v. It is shared by this Court with Regional Trial Courts (formerly Courts of First Instance).28 thus: xxx A last word. Indeed. and sometimes even their appeals. clearly and specifically set out in the petition. which may issue the writ. and those against the latter. parties persisted in disregarding the judicial hierarchy. enforceable in any part of their respective regions. Suelto27 that: [t]he Supreme Court is a court of last resort. namely (1) if the annotation was for the purpose of molesting the title of the adverse party. or before constitutional or other tribunals. there being a clear violation of the doctrine of judicial hierarchy that we have taken pains to emphasize in past jurisprudence. for the information and guidance of all concerned. This is established policy. that jurisdiction should generally be exercised relative to actions or proceedings before the Court of Appeals. The Court feels the need to reaffirm that policy at this time. to be taken as according to parties seeking any of the writs an absolute. it is in either of these courts that the specific action for the writ's procurement must be presented. passed upon and adjudicated directly and. or (2) when the annotation is not necessary to protect the title of the party who caused it to be recorded. quo warranto. however. but will require a more strict observance thereof. and by the Regional Trial Court. immediately by the highest tribunal of the land. The application for the writ of certiorari sought against a City Court was brought directly to this Court although there is no discernible special and important reason for not presenting it to the Regional Trial Court. we ruled in Vergara v. bodies or agencies whose acts for some reason or another." This concurrence of jurisdiction is not.22 Thus.29 27 . of procedure 24 or substance. Cuaresma. Vasquez. The Court therefore closes this decision with the declaration.25 the rule is that a notice of lis pendens may be cancelled only on two (2) grounds. It is a policy that is necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the Court's time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction. A direct invocation of the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction to issue these writs should be allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefor. habeas corpus and injunction) is not exclusive. That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals. and to enjoin strict adherence thereto in the light of what it perceives to be a growing tendency on the part of litigants and lawyers to have their applications for the so-called extraordinary writs. although prior to the effectivity of Batas Pambansa Bilang 129 on August 14. and to prevent further over-crowding of the Court's docket. There is after all a hierarchy of courts. It cannot and should not be burdened with the task of dealing with causes in the first instance. would have had to be filed with it. As we noted inSantiago v. all petitioner has to do is to assert a claim of possession or title over the subject property to put the property under the coverage of the rule. Thus. 1981.e) Any other proceedings of any kind in Court directly affecting title to the land or the use or occupation thereof or the building thereon. the removal of the restriction on the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals in this regard. Whether as a matter. The proceeding at bar is a case in point. are not controllable by the Court of Appeals. with the Court of Appeals (formerly Intermediate Appellate Court). with the Court of Appeals. It is also shared by this Court. and must so remain if its is to satisfactorily perform the functions assigned to it by fundamental charter and immemorial tradition. "in aid of its appellate jurisdiction"-was evidently intended precisely to relieve this Court pro tanto of the burden of dealing with applications for the extraordinary writs which. Where the issuance of an extraordinary writ is also within the competence of the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial Court. Its original jurisdiction to issue the so-called extraordinary writs should be exercised only where absolutely necessary or where serious and important reasons exist therefor. A becoming regard for that judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against first level ("inferior") courts should be filed with the Regional Trial Court. but for the expansion of the Appellate Court's corresponding jurisdiction. the latter's competence to issue the extraordinary writs was restricted to those "in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. supra-resulting from the deletion of the qualifying phrase. This is and should continue to be the policy in this regard. that it will not only continue to enforce the policy. (emphasis supplied) Notwithstanding these pronouncements.
Socrates. to wit: The notice of lis pendens-i. We. apparently are unmarried maiden of a certain age. Tiongco.32Only the presence of exceptional and compelling reasons justified a disregard of the rule. And its continuance or removal-like the continuance or removal or removal of a preliminary attachment of injunction-is not contingent on the existence of a final judgment in the action.One final observation." 39 and a "horned spinster and man-hungry virago and female bull of an Amazon who would stop at nothing to molest. to repeat. and who stampedes into the courtroom like a mad fury and who speaks slang English to conceal her faulty grammar."35 is impelled by less than less than noble reasons in serving as counsel for petitioner. or warn. the disposition of the instant case will be incomplete without a reference to the improper and unethical language employed by respondent Jose B. even before final judgment.42 Respondent Tiongco predicts that nothing good will come out of opposing counsel's scheme since. or. in the adjudication of the case which often has to be remanded or referred to the lower court as the proper forum under the rules of procedure. all people who deal with the property that they so deal with it at their own risk.the deeply desired object of her unreciprocated affections . Court of Appeals34 we ruled. reiterate the judicial policy that this Court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts or where exceptional and compelling circumstance justify availment of a remedy within and calling for the exercise of our primary jurisdiction. considering all the more that the appeal of the main case was already before it. The rule that no questions may be raised for the first time on appeal have reference only to those affecting the merits of the action. 1âwphi1 In the case at bar. or is even mandated by law to be sought therein. "outside of virtue. including the incidents thereof. Deguma. Atty. intended or otherwise. ther's (sic) no happiness. InMagdalena. v. Deguma. not only because of the imposition upon the precious time of this Court but also because of the inevitable and resultant delay.e. and ordinarily has no effect on the merits thereof." 40 He claims that Atty. Atty. in that "she happens to be ambitious enough to secretly (that what she thought) plot to put one over her office-mate who simply netted a corporal (if not a private) by aiming at no lest than an IMDC major hoping to catch him by sheer brass and audacity. There is no reason why the instant petition could not have been brought before the Court of Appeals. 28 . the same may be said of a number of litigants who initiate recourses before us. in his pleadings and motions filed both before us and the court a quo. cancellation of notices of lis pendens. This policy found further application in People v."431âwphi1 Respondent Tiongco has achieved a remarkable feat of character assassination."36 a retired police major described by respondent Tiongco as Atty. thereby bringing under the competence of the said court all matters relative to the action.if only to please and attract police-major Carmelo Tiongco Junior . It therefore had power to deal with and resolve any incident in connection with the action subject of the appeal. Marciana Deguma. The notice is but an incident in an action. is variously described by respondent Tiongco as "a love-crazed female Apache [who] is now ready to skin defendant alive for not being a bastard. Deguma is using the PAO as a "marriage bureau for her own benefit. or as better equipped to resolve the issues since this Court is not a trier of facts. are cast with little regard for truth. and his reliance on the fool's gold of gossip betrays only a shocking absence of discernment. have been consolidated with the appeal. Inc. and not to mere incidents thereof. It is his belief that counsel for petitioner. an extrajudicial one. The cancellation of such a precautionary notice is therefore also a mere incident in the action. albeit entertaining in a fleeting way. Velez. e. quoting Voltaire." 41 In so doing."37 an unmarried mestizo with curly hair who lives with plaintiff for being houseless" 38 who rents a place on the subject property sought to be recovered by petitioner. 33 Petitioner has failed to advance a satisfactory explanation as to her failure to comply with or non-observance of the principle of judicial hierarchy. the case had properly come within the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals in virtue of the perfection of the plaintiff's appeal. and would. and whatever rights they may acquire in the property in any voluntary transaction are subject to the results of the action. and. he does nothing more than to obscure the issues. However. to be sure. It is intended merely to constructively advise. that real property is involved in an action-is ordinarily recorded without the intervention of the court where the action is pending. therefore. Prescinding from the foregoing discussion. the grant or dissolution of provisional remedies. We discern in the proceedings in this case a propensity on the part of petitioner.30 Aleria v. and may well be inferior and subordinate to those which may be finally determined and laid down therein. [emphasis supplied] Had petitioner brought the instant petition before the Court of Appeals. It does not affect the merits thereof.. for that matter. His verbal darts.. Tiongco. who is also counsel for private respondents. a lawyer with the Public Attorney's Office. 31 and Tano v.who happens not to miss every chance to laugh at her behind her back. the same could. "a rambunctious wrestler-type female of 52 who does not wear a dress which is not red. Homeowners Association. This practice must be stopped. is engaged in a game of one-upmanship with a fellow employee. and may be ordered by the Court having jurisdiction of it at any given time. to disregard the hierarchy of courts in our judicial system by seeking relief directly from this Court despite the fact that the same is available in the lower courts in the exercise of their original or concurrent jurisdiction. Her ulterior motive? "[T]o please and tenderize and sweeten towards her own self the readily available Carmelo M. Court of Appeals. harrass (sic) and injure defendant .g. Atty. Deguma's "niño bonito.
concur. on leave. Valle. do not find a ready audience in us. In Romero v. Bellosillo. AND SHALL AVOID HARASSING TACTICS AGAINST OPPOSING COUNSEL. use languages which is abusive. gestores linguis. without pronouncement as to costs. auditores auribus. and Buena. 29 . warned accordingly:Homines qui gestant. (Chairman)..44 we stated that a lawyer's actuations. and he should be. et a1. though entertaining. Quisumbing. Deguma and even the latter's superior at the Public Attorney's Office. Napoleon G.. the petition fir certiorari is hereby DISMISSED. his arguments. should be gracious to both court and opposing counsel and be of such words as may be properly addressed by one gentleman to another. Atty. These provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility are pertinent: CANON 8-A LAWYER SHALL CONDUCT HIMSELF WITH COURTESY. Rule 8. his use of intemperate language invites the disciplinary authority of the court. offensive or menacing language before the courts. omnis pendeat. si meo arbitratu liceat. it will be wise to give him an object lesson in the elementary rules of courtesy by which we expect members of the bar to comport themselves. although it is of public record that in Tiongco v.01-A lawyer shall not.03-A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous. in his professional dealings. as he is hereby. xxx xxx xxx Rule 11. FAIRNESS AND CANDOR TOWARD HIS PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES. SO ORDERED. Tiongco concocts accusations against the opposing party and her counsel. quiqui auscultant crimina.46 we dismissed as totally unfounded his charge of fraudulent conspiracy and public scandal against petitioner. Mendoza. Atty. JJ. offensive or otherwise improper. Jose B. both written or oral. Deguma.To this end. J. Major Tiongco.47 WHEREFORE.. "[a]lthough allowed some latitude of remarks or comment in the furtherance of the cause he upholds. Pagtanac." Otherwise. His lexicon of insults. 45 We are aghast at the facility with which respondent Atty.
1996. 1994 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cavite. that the said owner’s duplicate copies of said titles were misplaced and could not be found despite diligent efforts to locate the same. David. to include as respondent Paramount Development Corporation of the Philippines (Paramount. The facts are as follows: Respondent Alex L. T-72537 and T-72538 in the name of Alex L. vs. J. HON.253 square meters. RTC JUDGE (Cavite City). the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. Cavite covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. No.801 and 42. Branch 16. JR. On February 18. a notice of hearing was issued by the RTC ordering its branch Deputy Sheriff to post copies of the same at the Provincial Capitol Building. and that said owner’s duplicate copies have not been delivered to any person or entity to secure payment or performance of any obligation. in lieu of the two (2) lost titles.R.4 Petitioner Rexlon then filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for annulment of the said Decision of the trial court on the ground that respondent David allegedly employed fraud and deception in securing the replacement owner’s duplicate copies of the subject TCTs. David. which are hereby declared null and void and of no further force and effect. the instant petition is hereby granted and the Register of Deeds for the Province of Cavite is accordingly directed. DE GUIA. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS. The new duplicate titles shall contain all subsisting encumbrances. The petition was later amended. petitioner Rexlon Realty Group. Consequently. new certificates of title designated as TCT Nos. Branch 16.. with leave of court. 1997 of the Court of Appeals dismissing the petition for annulment of the Decision 3 dated March 1.: Before us is a petition for review of the Decision 1 dated November 19. 1996 and Resolution2 dated February 7. The said Deputy Sheriff then issued his Certificate of Posting stating that he has duly posted the Notice of Hearing at the said three (3) public places. T-525664 and T-525665 were issued in the name of respondent Paramount in lieu of TCT Nos. 1989. On March 1. On November 19. and the Barangay Hall of the locality where the properties are located. BRANCH 16. (Rexlon. David alleged that he entrusted his owner’s duplicate copies of the said TCTs to a friend and member of his staff for the purpose of showing them to a prospective developer who was interested in developing the subject parcels of land for commercial and/or industrial use. David in L. the public market.R. David is the registered owner of two (2) parcels of land located in Molino. if any. INC. which granted the petition of respondent Alex L. T72537 and T-72538 of the Registry of Deeds of the Province of Cavite. T-72537 and T-72538. and. for brevity) entered into an agreement with respondent David for the purchase of the said two (2) parcels of land as evidenced by a document denominated as "Absolute Deed of Sale". the dispositive portion of which reads: 30 . The initial hearing proceeded ex-parte inasmuch as nobody appeared to oppose the same. 128412 March 15. respectively.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. with areas of 7. public respondent Court of Appeals rendered a decision dismissing the petition of petitioner Rexlon. 1994. 1994. respondents. ARTURO T. On August 17. No. Rec. DE LEON. T-72537 and T-72538 to petitioner Alex L. 1994. for brevity) upon discovering that respondent David had executed on September 20. THE REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR THE PROVINCE OF CAVITE AND PARAMOUNT DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF THE PHILIPPINES. petitioner. a petition for the issuance of owner’s duplicate copies of TCT Nos. Bacoor. upon payment of the corresponding fees. David filed with the Regional Trial Court of Cavite City. to issue another duplicate copies of TCT Nos. ALEX L. DAVID. Inc. 2002 REXLON REALTY GROUP. that there was absence of due process. As a result of that sale. 8843 for the issuance of new owner’s duplicate copies of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. a deed of sale of the subject parcels of land in favor of Paramount..C. that the decision of the trial court was tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. T-72537 and T-72538 to replace the owner’s duplicate copies which were allegedly lost. the RTC granted the said petition in a decision.
petitioner failed miserably to discern that Republic Act No. 7 Hence. this Court may not determine the rights of any of the parties in this case to the said properties. 26 have not been complied with. 1529. 224 SCRA 673). since he claimed that only his duplicate copy was lost and could not be found. On the other hand. II THE ISSUANCE OF NEW OWNER’S DUPLICATE CERTIFICATES OF TITLE TO DAVID WAS DONE WITHOUT ACCORDING DUE PROCESS TO. pursuant to Section 109 of Presidential Decree No. Rollo) shows that the Deputy Sheriff posted the said notice of hearing in three public places where the properties are located. Besides. For fraud to serve as a basis for the annulment of a judgment. it must be extrinsic or collateral in character. Presidential Decree No. otherwise.6 In regard to petitioner’s argument that the jurisdictional requirements set forth in Section 13 of Republic Act No. Court of Appeals. The Certificate of Posting (p. 1529). the appellate court held as insignificant the contention of petitioner Rexlon that David had misled the trial court in alleging that his owner’s duplicate copies of the said TCT Nos. Petitioner claims that it had acquired the titles of ownership over the said properties from respondent David pursuant to a perfected contract of sale between them.nêt xxx xxx xxx The aforesaid provision entails a minimum requirement of notice and hearing. a judgment can be annulled only on two (2) grounds: (a) that the judgment is void for want of jurisdiction or for lack of due process of law. T-75237 and T-75238 of the Register of Deeds of the Province of Cavite. 224 SCRA 673). In the present case. 102. this petition based on the following assignment of errors: I RESPONDENT COURT MANIFESTLY ERRED IN GRANTING DAVID’S PETITION FOR ISSUANCE OF NEW OWNER’S DUPLICATE CERTIFICATES OF TITLE TO THE PROPERTIES IN HIS NAME. not in the present case. Hence. the appellate court held that: Said contention is not impressed with merit. Furthermore. the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.1âwphi1. which is not what private respondent sought below. Refuting this allegation. these grounds do not obtain in the instant case. Any adjudication of rights over the properties in question may only be done by the proper court where the appropriate action may be filed but definitely. in view of the foregoing. and not the original with Register of Deeds. Section 110. the appellate court ruled that: As private respondent points out. 101. Unfortunately. In such a case. It must be remembered that the decision sought to be annulled concerns the issuance of owner’s duplicate copies of TCT Nos. 26 has no application to the proceedings commenced below. Said law applies to reconstitution of lost or destroyed transfer certificates of title. Court of Appeals. or (b) that it has been obtained by fraud ( Santos v. No fraudulent misrepresentation can be imputed against private respondent in seeking the petition for the issuance of an owner’s duplicate of the subject certificate of title. this Court finds that the proceedings below were valid and legal. 1529. David merely sought the issuance of another owner’s duplicate copy of his certificates of title under the provisions of Section 109 of Presidential Decree No.8 31 .5 In ruling in favor of respondents David and Paramount. It appearing that the same were observed. T-72537 and T-72538 were lost. Rollo) has been issued by the court. T-75237 and T-75238 when said petition was filed. private respondent Alex David appeared to be the registered owner of TCT Nos. AND BY PERPETRATING A FRAUD UPON. Said provision prescribes a different set of procedure xxx. Consequently. the procedure prescribed under Republic Act No. 26 would have to be observed. it appears on record that a notice of hearing (p. Reconstitution presupposes the loss or destruction of the original copies of the certificate of title on file with the Register of Deeds (Cf.WHEREFORE. It did not in any manner dwell on the issue of whether or not the alleged deed of sale in favor of petitioner executed by private respondent has any force and effect. PETITIONER REXLON. there would be no end to litigations (Santos v. SO ORDERED. he has the personality to file the same.
T-75238 were lost when petitioner entrusted said Owner’s Duplicate of said titles to a trusted friend and member of his staff for the purpose of showing said certificates of title to a prospective developer who was interested in developing said parcels of land for commercial and/or industrial use.9 xxx xxx xxx However. the grounds to annul a judgment of a lower court are extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. T-75237 and T-75238. T-75237 and No. who explicitly acknowledged receipt thereof on the face of that document. for and in consideration of the foregoing premises and the mutual covenants of the parties herein contained and of the sum of PESOS: FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND ONLY (P500. These procedural infirmities. They also repeat the appellate court’s ruling that the issue of the ownership over the parcels of land and of the validity of the sale is irrelevant in a petition for the issuance of a new owner’s duplicate certificate of title. 1529 is basically similar to the procedure followed in Section 13 of Republic Act No. However. We rule in favor of the petitioner. as vendee. the said pertinent provision of the said Absolute Deed of Sale is quoted hereunder. Pursuant to Section 2 of Rule 47 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.The petitioner alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in failing to annul the decision of the trial court on the ground of fraud and lack of jurisdiction. 10 The claim of respondents David and Paramount that the sale is void for lack of consideration after the petitioner allegedly failed to pay the down payment cannot prevail over the uncontroverted contractual provision in the notarized Deed of Absolute Sale regarding the full payment of the consideration of Five Hundred Thousand (P500. The respondents also threw back the charge of fraud to petitioner Rexlon for the latter’s possession of the owner’s duplicate copies of the said certificates of title without the knowledge of respondent David. participation and title. according to the petitioner. that it is entitled to said specific notice for the reason that the procedure in Section 23 of Presidential Decree No. receipt of which is hereby confessed and acknowledged to the total and full satisfaction of the VENDOR. and that respondent David misled the trial court in alleging in his petition before the RTC that his owner’s duplicate of TCT Nos. interest. We find that the issuance of new owner’s duplicate certificates of title by the trial court in favor of respondent David is indeed tainted with extrinsic fraud. No 1529 upon which respondent David’s petition before the trial court is based. it was not served with a specific notice of the hearing of the petition. That said Owner’s Duplicate of Transfer Certificate of Title No. attended the proceedings and eventual issuance of the new owner’s duplicate copies of the subject certificates of title. the procedure followed in posting the general notice was fatally flawed because of the failure to comply with the three (3) week publication requirement. T-75237 and No. For emphasis. Second. interest. respondents David and Paramount reiterate the findings of the appellate court that the petitioner is not entitled to a specific notice inasmuch as the said notice is not required by Section 23 of P. THEREFORE. free from all claims.00) Pesos made by Paramount. The petitioner likewise alleges that it was denied due process in view of certain procedural lapses that attended the proceedings in the trial court. the same were misplaced and could not be found despite diligent efforts to locate said titles. states that the latter has fully received payment for the said sale and has bound himself to cede and deliver to petitioner Rexlon. to respondent David. to wit: NOW.000. while the abovementioned Owner’s Duplicate of said titles were in the custody and possession of the prospective developer. Respondent David was therefore well aware that 32 .000. affected the jurisdiction of the trial court in the sense that it deprived the petitioner of its statutory right to oppose the petition and to present evidence in support of its opposition. Fraud. 26. according to the petitioner. the document denominated as "Absolute Deed of Sale" where the signature of respondent David as seller has not been controverted. participation and title over the said parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. Philippine currency. First. liens and encumbrance whatsoever. 4. T-75238 have not been delivered to any person or entity to secure the payment or performance of any obligation whatsoever or used for any illegal or fraudulent transaction. CEDES and DELIVERS unto the VENDEE. CONVEYS. as vendor.D. Respondent David in his petition before the RTC alleged that: xxx xxx xxx 3. That the Owner’s Duplicate of the aforementioned Transfer Certificate of Title No.00). its successors and assigns all his rights. as vendee. T52537 and T-52538 were lost when in fact he had delivered the said owner’s duplicate of those certificates of title to the petitioner pursuant to a contract of sale executed between them. his rights. In response to the aforementioned allegations of the petitioner. TRANSFERS. the VENDOR hereby unconditionally and absolutely SELLS.
16 In the case at bar. as we now rule in the case at bar. or where it operates upon matters pertaining. respondent Paramount was impleaded for the reason that the prayer therein sought the nullification of the new titles issued 33 . Extrinsic fraud contemplates a situation where a litigant commits acts outside of the trial of the case. Straight Times. the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction and the new titles issued in replacement thereof are void. claimed that Peñalosa misrepresented before the trial court that the said owner’s duplicate copy of the title was lost when in fact it was in the possession of the former pursuant to a contract of sale between Peñalosa and a certain Conrado Callera. we rule in the affirmative. 14 However. Had it done so. Firstly. it would have been able to oppose the issuance of the new duplicate title. v. T-52537 and T-52538 were lost and that they were not delivered to any person to secure the performance of any obligation. We ruled therein. He alleged therein that his copy was lost and was not pledged or otherwise delivered to any person or entity to guarantee any obligation or for any purpose. that extrinsic fraud did not attend the proceedings before the trial court for the reason that: xxx It is well-settled that the use of forged instruments or perjured testimonies during trial is not an extrinsic fraud. and prove that it already bought the land in issue. in the amended petition of Rexlon for annulment of judgment. because such evidence does not preclude the participation of any party in the proceedings. The alleged fraud in this case was perpetrated during the trial. As there is no proof to support actual loss of the said owner’s duplicate copies of said certificates of title." 11 The overriding consideration is that the fraudulent scheme of the prevailing litigant prevented a party from having his day in court. Hence. (2) applies for and obtains adjudication and registration in the name of a co-owner of land which he knows has not been allotted to him in the partition. filed a petition to annul judgment based on extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. (5) induces another not to oppose an application. Furthermore. It was not impleaded as a party to the case before the trial court because it failed to effect the timely registration of its Deed of Sale. When the trial court issued a new owner’s duplicate title. respondent David’s act of misrepresentation. in these cases. (6) deliberately fails to notify the party entitled to notice. causing the latter to withdraw his opposition. T-52537 and T-52538 in the possession of petitioner Rexlon and the Absolute Deed of Sale in its favor have not been disputed. (4) deliberately makes a false statement that there are no other claims. the reconstituted title is void and the court rendering the decision has not acquired jurisdiction. a decision rendered on the basis of such fraud becomes subject to annulment. but to the manner in which it was procured so that there is not a fair submission of the controversy. Inc.1âwphi1. because of a deliberate misrepresentation that the lots are not contested when in fact they are. Inc. though not constituting extrinsic fraud. Inc. The Court is presented in the case at bar with the issue of whether such misrepresentation or fraud of respondent David can be characterized as extrinsic fraud so as to merit the annulment of the trial court’s decision granting respondent David’s petition for the issuance of new owner’s duplicate certificates of title of TCT Nos. While a perjured testimony may prevent a fair and just determination of a case. in consonance with the Straight Times case.there was no truth in his allegation in his petition for issuance of new owner’s duplicate copies of said certificates of title on the false and fraudulent ground that his owner’s duplicate copies of TCT Nos.12 In the case of Strait Times. we held that if an owner’s duplicate copy of a certificate of title has not been lost but is in fact in the possession of another person.nêt On whether this Court can rule on the validity or nullity of the titles issued in the name of respondent Paramount in the light of the facts of this case. Fraud. therein respondent Peñalosa filed a petition for the issuance of a new owner’s duplicate certificate of title. or from presenting all of his case to the court. "the effect of which prevents a party from having a trial. the Court has held that extrinsic fraud is present in cases where a party (1) is deprived of his interest in land. Consequently. or (7) misrepresents the identity of the lot to the true owner. it must be remembered that. Besides. the decision may be attacked any time. is still an evidence of absence of jurisdiction. Court of Appeals. it does not bar the adverse party from rebutting or opposing the use of such evidence. the authenticity and genuineness of the owner’s duplicate of TCT Nos. so that the latter would include in the survey plan the bed of a navigable stream. (3) intentionally conceals facts and connives with the land inspector. therein petitioner Strait Times.13 where this Court was faced with the same facts and issue. T-52537 and T-52538. it should be stressed that extrinsic fraud pertains to an act committed outside of the trial. Callera later sold the lot represented by the alleged lost title to therein petitioner Straight Times. thus. a real contest. Inc. In the Straight Times case and inDemetriou v.15 also on facts analogous to those involved in this case. not to the judgment itself. goes into and affects the jurisdiction of the court. rebut Espinosa’s testimony. Court of Appeals. the failure of petitioner to present its case was caused by its own inaction.
The certificate of title. T-72537 and T-72538 in the name of Alex L. by itself. in LRC Rec. No pronouncement as to costs. we simply annulled the decision of the RTC. to issue new owner’s duplicate copies of TCT Nos. acting as a land registration court in L. the RTC. does not vest ownership. and an indispensable party in the action for the declaration of nullity of the titles in the name of respondent Paramount. David issued by virtue of the said Decision of the Regional Trial Court as well as the replacement thereof. To require another proceeding only for the purpose of annulling the said new titles when the same could be decided in this very petition would promote judicial bureaucracy. As we have ruled in Gayos v. respondent Paramount is barred from raising any objection over the power of this Court to nullify its titles. Gayos20. namely.R. new causes of action intimately related to the resolution of the original petition. by way of an amendment to the petition.17 the said court can admit. has no jurisdiction to pass upon the question of actual ownership of the land covered by the lost owner’s duplicate copy of the certificate of title.21 WHEREFORE. 1994 of the Regional Trial Court of Cavite. respondent Paramount became a necessary party in the petitioner’s original cause of action seeking a declaration of the existence and validity of the owner’s duplicate copy of the subject certificate of title in the possession of the latter. SO ORDERED. there can be no complete relief that can be accorded as to those already parties.19 Secondly. 8843. acting only as a land registration court. respondent Paramount has not made any jurisdictional objection as regards its inclusion in the appeal to the petition for annulment of judgment. it is a cherished rule of procedure that a court should always strive to settle the entire controversy in a single proceeding leaving no root or branch to bear the seeds of future litigation. In its Memorandum and respondent David’s comment that it adopted. Hence. In this case at bar. Indeed. The Decision dated March 1. Record No. Based on the principle of estoppel. and even participated in the discussion of the merits of the case.C. or for a complete determination or settlement of the claim subject of the action. Possession of a lost owner’s duplicate copy of a certificate of title is not necessarily equivalent to ownership of the land covered by it. speedy and inexpensive disposition of the case. and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing the Petition for Annulment of Judgment is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. is ANNULLED. In a petition for the issuance of a new owner’s duplicate copy of a certificate of title in lieu of one allegedly lost. respondent Paramount has duly consented to put in issue the validity of its titles by invoking in this appeal the reasons espoused by the appellate court and respondent David for the dismissal of the petition to annul the decision of the trial court. in order for a just. we must decide on the effect of void duplicate copies of a certificate of title that served as a basis for the sale of the property it represents and the eventual issuance of titles in the name of respondent Paramount. Thirdly. T-52537 and T-52538. for lack of jurisdiction. T-525664 and T-525665 in the name of Paramount Development Corporation of the Philippines. 8843. a practice abhorred by our legal system. TCT Nos. The Rules of Court compels the inclusion of necessary parties when jurisdiction over the person of the said necessary party can be obtained. No. Non-inclusion of a necessary party when there is an opportunity to include him would mean waiver of the claim against such party. 34 . Inasmuch as a petition for annulment of judgment is classified as an original action that can be filed before the Court of Appeals. The dispute between petitioner Rexlon and respondent David regarding ownership over the parcels of land will have to be threshed out or determined in a more appropriate proceeding. are hereby declared VOID. Branch 16. the petition for review is hereby GRANTED. 18 if we do not touch upon the necessary consequence of the nullity of the new duplicate copy of the subject certificate of title.in the name of respondent Paramount. and the new owner’s duplicate copies of TCT Nos. it is merely an evidence of title over a particular property.
P50.: Between two buyers of the same immovable property registered under the Torrens system. The Case Before us is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. the law gives ownership priority to (1) the first registrant in good faith. 2. 4. P50. 3. 62391. respondent. the first possessor in good faith.000. (2) then. The Facts 35 . P300. 2004 Spouses NOEL and JULIE ABRIGO. This provision.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. the buyer who in good faith presents the oldest title. promulgated on November 19. and (3) finally. is SET ASIDE and another one is entered AFFIRMING in part and REVERSING in part the judgment appealed from.00 as exemplary damages. Declaring [Respondent] Romana de Vera the rightful owner and with better right to possess the property in question. 154409 June 21. P30. ROMANA DE VERA. 3.000. Declaring Gloria Villafania [liable] to pay the following to [Respondent] Romana de Vera and to [Petitioner-]Spouses [Noel and Julie] Abrigo. P50. DECISION PANGANIBAN. seeking to set aside the March 21. to wit: As to [Respondent] Romana de Vera: 1. the dispositive part of the original D E C I S I O N of this case.000.00 as moral damages. The Amended Decision disposed as follows: "WHEREFORE. 2001. does not apply if the property is not registered under the Torrens system. 4. petitioners. as follows: "1. P50. 2002 Resolution 3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No.00 as attorney’s fees."4 The assailed Resolution denied reconsideration.000.R. 2.00 as attorney’s fees. vs. As to [Petitioner-]Spouses [Noel and Julie] Abrigo: 1. however.000. No.00 plus 6% per annum as actual damages. 2002 Amended Decision2 and the July 22.000. and 5.00 as exemplary damages. Cost of suit. J. "2. P30.000. being an innocent purchaser for value therefor. Cost of suit.00 as moral damages.
Romana de Vera filed an action for Forcible Entry and Damages against [Spouses Noel and Julie Abrigo] before the Municipal Trial Court of Mangaldan. P-30522]. "After the trial on the merits. 2001. The said sale became a subject of a suit for annulment of documents between the vendor and the vendees. the lower court rendered the assailed Decision dated January 4. The CA also dismissed the appeal of Petitioner-Spouses Abrigo and found no sufficient basis to award them moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. sold the house and lot to the herein [Petitioner-Spouses Noel and Julie Abrigo]. awarding the properties to [petitioners] as well as damages. 1993. Pangasinan docketed as Civil Case No. the CA narrated the facts as follows: "As culled from the records. the CA issued its March 21. Gloria Villafania was given one year from the date of the Compromise Agreement to buy back the house and lot. Hence the ejectment case was dismissed. 7 Since Gloria Villafania had already transferred ownership to Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go. [petitioners] filed the instant case [with the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City] for the annulment of documents. on November 21. Gloria Villafania sold a house and lot located at Banaoang. 1999. 36 . the CA held that a void title could not give rise to a valid one and hence dismissed the appeal of Private Respondent Romana de Vera. the subsequent sale to De Vera was deemed void. Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go. ‘On December 7."6 Ruling of the Court of Appeals In its original Decision promulgated on November 19. 2002 Amended Decision. "Not contented with the assailed Decision. both parties [appealed to the CA]. In the said Decision. 212598 on April 11. the Regional Trial Court. ‘On November 12. Gloria Villafania sold the same house and lot to Romana de Vera x x x. restraining order and damages [against respondent and Gloria Villafania]. ‘On October 16. 1406 to Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go. Pangasinan and covered by Tax Declaration No. 1997. 1452. 1988 as evidenced by OCT No. The said free patent was later on cancelled by TCT No. 1997. 22515 was issued in her name. 1997. 1997. On February 25.9 Issues Petitioners raise for our consideration the issues below: "1. On reconsideration.’5 "Thus. TCT No. The appellate court ruled that she had relied in good faith on the Torrens title of her vendor and must thus be protected. preliminary injunction. so the [vendees] declared the lot in their name. the parties therein submitted a Motion for Dismissal in view of their agreement in the instant case that neither of them can physically take possession of the property in question until the instant case is terminated. Mangaldan. 1996. 1993. finding Respondent De Vera to be a purchaser in good faith and for value. ‘Unknown. 8 Hence. 1998. the following are the pertinent antecedents amply summarized by the trial court: ‘On May 27. injunction. Gloria Villafania failed to buy back the house and lot. this Petition. ‘On October 23. however to Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go. and failure to do so would mean that the previous sale in favor of Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go shall remain valid and binding and the plaintiff shall voluntarily vacate the premises without need of any demand. Romana de Vera registered the sale and as a consequence. Whether or not the deed of sale executed by Gloria Villafania in favor of [R]espondent Romana de Vera is valid.Quoting the trial court. Moreover. Branch 40 of Dagupan City rendered judgment approving the Compromise Agreement submitted by the parties. x x x Gloria Villafania was ordered to pay [petitioners and private respondent] damages and attorney’s fees. Gloria Villafania obtained a free patent over the parcel of land involved [on March 15.
both Petitioners Abrigo and respondent registered the sale of the property. Subsequently. 11 They further claim that the sale could not be validated. to the person who presents the oldest title."2. Whether or not the [R]espondent Romana de Vera is a purchaser for value in good faith. as amended.12 Law on Double Sale The present case involves what in legal contemplation was a double sale. as the term is used under Art. This principle is in full accord with Section 51 of PD 1529 14 which provides that no deed. lease or other voluntary instrument -. in turn.purporting to convey or affect registered land shall take effect as a conveyance or bind the land until its registration. respondent registered the transaction under the Torrens system18 because. and it is sold but the subsequent sale is registered not under the Land Registration Act but under Act 3344. and (3) finally."10 In the main."20 37 . De Vera relies on the following insight of Justice Edgardo L. on October 23. the ownership shall be transferred to the person who may have first taken possession thereof in good faith. "3. during the sale. 1544. Article 1544 of the Civil Code states the law on double sale thus: "Art. since respondent was not a purchaser in good faith and for value. such sale is not considered REGISTERED. 17 For her part. "Should it be immovable property. Paras: "x x x If the land is registered under the Land Registration Act (and has therefore a Torrens Title).19 Respondent De Vera contends that her registration under the Torrens system should prevail over that of petitioners who recorded theirs under Act 3344. from whom petitioners. derived their right. Main Issue: Better Right over the Property Petitioners contend that Gloria Villafania could not have transferred the property to Respondent De Vera because it no longer belonged to her. 1997. 15 Thus. 1993. mortgage. The Court’s Ruling The Petition is bereft of merit. Who between the petitioners and respondent has a better title over the property in question.except a will -. and.13 There is no ambiguity in the application of this law with respect to lands registered under the Torrens system. If the same thing should have been sold to different vendees. the law provides that a double sale of immovables transfers ownership to (1) the first registrant in good faith. a second sale was executed by Villafania with Respondent Romana de Vera. On May 27. if the sale is not registered. they registered their respective sales under Act 3344. (2) then. the first possessor in good faith. the buyer who in good faith presents the oldest title. in the absence thereof." Otherwise stated. "Should there be no inscription. Since neither petitioners nor their predecessors (Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go) knew that the property was covered by the Torrens system.16 In the instant case. provided there is good faith. Villafania had presented the transfer certificate of title (TCT) covering the property. Gloria Villafania first sold the disputed property to Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go. the ownership shall pertain to the person who in good faith was first in the possession. it is binding only between the seller and the buyer but it does not affect innocent third persons. the ownership shall belong to the person acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the Registry of Property. 1544 x x x. if it should be movable property. the issues boil down to who between petitioner-spouses and respondent has a better right to the property.
"Applying this principle. inasmuch as the registration of the sale to Respondent De Vera under the Torrens system was done in good faith. P-30522. It is undisputed that Villafania had been issued a free patent registered as Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. also in Villafania’s name. Knowledge gained by the first buyer of the second sale cannot defeat the first buyer’s rights except where the second buyer registers in good faith the second sale ahead of the first. the "priority in time" principle was not applied. The first sale was made by the original owners and was unrecorded while the second was an execution sale that resulted from a complaint for a sum of money filed against the said original owners. this sale must be upheld over the sale registered under Act 3344 to Petitioner-Spouses Abrigo. v. and no one can plead ignorance of the registration. Applying [Section 33]. good faith must concur with the registration.e. to register first her purchase as against the second buyer. because the land was already covered by the Torrens system at the time the conveyance was registered under Act 3344. In that case.32We explained the rationale in Uraca v. 212598 was subsequently cancelled and TCT No. potior jure (first in time. in Naawan Community Rural Bank v. For the same reason. that before the second buyer can obtain priority over the first. and merely acquires the latter’s interest in the property sold as of the time the property was levied upon. More recently. 496. 29 All persons must take notice. Such knowledge of the first buyer does not bar her from availing of her rights under the law. by delivery of possession. Court of Appeals26 is a case in point. among them. the prior registration of the disputed property by the second buyer does not by itself confer ownership or a better right over the property. Article 1544 requires that such registration must be coupled with good faith.27 this Court held that Article 1544 of the Civil Code cannot be invoked to benefit the purchaser at the execution sale though the latter was a buyer in good faith and even if this second sale was registered. This is the price exacted by Article 1544 of the Civil Code for the second buyer being able to displace the first buyer. Court of Appeals. or failing registration. Since the property in dispute in the present case was already registered under the Torrens system. A Torrens title.from the time of acquisition until the title is transferred to him by registration. TCT No. x x x the execution sale of unregistered land in favor of petitioner is of no effect because the land no longer belonged to the judgment debtor as of the time of the said execution sale. Carumba dealt with a double sale of the same unregistered land. Soriano v.24 the Court upheld the right of a party who had registered the sale of land under the Property Registration Decree. serves as a notice to the whole world. he must show that he acted in good faith throughout (i. stronger in right). registration of instruments affecting unregistered lands is ‘without prejudice to a third party with a better right. But inconverso. Radiowealth Finance Co. petitioners’ registration of the sale under Act 3344 was not effective for purposes of Article 1544 of the Civil Code. as provided by the Civil Code.31 Mere registration of title is not enough. as opposed to another who had registered a deed of final conveyance under Act 3344.We agree with respondent. Court of Appeals . knowledge gained by the second buyer of the first sale defeats his rights even if he is first to register the second sale. once registered. It was held therein that Article 1544 of the Civil Code has no application to land not registered under Act No. Palileo 25 explained the difference in the rules of registration under Act 3344 and those under the Torrens system in this wise: "Under Act No. 22515 thereafter issued to respondent.21 The OCT was later cancelled by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No.33 which we quote: "Under the foregoing.’ The aforequoted phrase has been held by this Court to mean that the mere registration of a sale in one’s favor does not give him any right over the land if the vendor was not anymore the owner of the land having previously sold the same to somebody else even if the earlier sale was unrecorded. in ignorance of the first sale and of the first buyer’s rights) ---. "The case of Carumba vs. Heirs of Magali23 held that registration must be done in the proper registry in order to bind the land. since such knowledge taints his prior registration with bad faith. Like in the case at bar.30 Good-Faith Requirement We have consistently held that Article 1544 requires the second buyer to acquire the immovable in good faith andto register it in good faith.’"34 (Italics supplied) 38 . 212598. Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court. 3344.22 As a consequence of the sale. Jurisprudence teaches us that ‘(t)he governing principle is primus tempore. It was explained that this is because the purchaser of unregistered land at a sheriff’s execution sale only steps into the shoes of the judgment debtor."28 Petitioners cannot validly argue that they were fraudulently misled into believing that the property was unregistered.
As stated in the Santiago case. 107 Phil. 31 SCRA 558). Smith. 132 SCRA 700). Court of Appeals . Tibe.37 Citing Santiago v. Cabana (G.35 Thus. which was omitted in Santiago. This omission was evidently the reason why petitioner misunderstood the context of the citation therein: "The registration contemplated under Art. G. InBayoca. the property was still unregistered land. Crisostomo vs. 1 O. 42 There was no registration under Act 3344.38 petitioners contend that their prior registration under Act 3344 is constructive notice to respondent and negates her good faith at the time she registered the sale. Art. On lands covered by the Torrens System. The purchaser is not required to explore farther than what the Torrens title. upon its face. 708-709. which are cited in Santiago.G. G. 95843. Bell & Co. cannot improve his standing since Act 3344 itself expresses that registration thereunder would not prejudice prior rights in good faith (see Carumba vs. Court of Appeals. Santiagoaffirmed the following commentary of Justice Jose C. as can be inferred from the issuance of the TCT in their names. Furthermore. 31 SCRA 558. Garcia vs. 3344 can have the effect of constructive notice to the second buyer that can defeat his right as such buyer. Revilla and Taguba. CA. second paragraph. 1544 has been held to be inapplicable to execution sales of unregistered land. Taguba vs. On account of the undisputed fact of registration under Act No. Gonzales. Civil Code. it was held that it is essential. and every subsequent purchaser of registered land taking such certificate for value and in good faith shall hold the same free from all encumbrances. 480. 1544 has been held to refer to registration under Act 496 Land Registration Act (now PD 1529) which considers the act of registration as the operative act that binds the land (see Mediante vs.R. Rosabal. 69 SCRA 99.44 In Taguba. 56232. there is absent good faith in the registration of the sale by the [second buyers] for which they had been issued certificates of title in their names. as in this case. . to merit the protection of Art. 73 Phil 694). Court of Appeals. the purchaser acquires such rights and interest as they appear in the certificate of title. Court of Appeals. potior jure (first in time. 1544. unaffected by any prior lien or encumbrance not noted therein. Peralta. Galindez. see also Revilla vs. Conversely. 02 September 1992).40 which held: "Verily. 3344 by [the first buyers]. the first buyer did not register the sale. We quote below the additional commentary of Justice Vitug. 496) or when there is only one sale (Remalante vs. Registration. this Court has consistently held as regards registered land that a purchaser in good faith acquires a good title as against all the transferees thereof whose rights are not recorded in the Registry of Deeds at the time of the sale. Rosabal. 129 SCRA 656). Vitug: "The governing principle is prius tempore.Equally important. that the second realty buyer must act in good faith in registering his deed of sale (citing Carbonell vs. registration by the first buyer under Act No. by the first buyer under Act 3344 can have the effect of constructive notice to the second buyer that can defeat his right as such buyer in good faith (see Arts."41 Santiago and Bayoca are not in point. since such condition is noted on the face of the register or certificate of title. x x x. see also Fabian vs. 158 SCRA 138). In Revilla. 8 Phil.R.R. No 58530. knowledge gained by the second buyer of the first sale defeats his rights even if he is first to register. providing for the registration of all instruments on land neither covered by the Spanish Mortgage Law nor the Torrens System (Act 496).  900. 22 June 1984. are not on all fours with the present case. a person dealing with registered land is not required to go behind the registry to determine the condition of the property. registration was not an issue. Knowledge by the first buyer of the second sale cannot defeat the first buyer's rights except when the second buyer first registers in good faith the second sale ( Olivares vs.43 Such registration was therefore considered effectual.45 As can be gathered from the foregoing. stronger in right). when the first buyer registered the sale under Act 3344. Court of Appeals. since such knowledge taints his registration with bad faith (see also Astorga vs. however. except those noted and enumerated in the certificate. xxx xxx xxx "Registration of the second buyer under Act 3344. No. the first buyers registered the sale under the Torrens system. The only exception is 39 .36 Following this principle. there is absence of prior registration in good faith by petitioners of the second sale in their favor."39 (Emphasis supplied) Santiago was subsequently applied in Bayoca v. 159 SCRA 33). Nogales. In Santiago. constructive notice to the second buyer through registration under Act 3344 does not apply if the property is registered under the Torrens system. 26 December 1984) In Cruz vs. indicates. every registered owner receiving a certificate of title pursuant to a decree of registration. necessarily. since the purchaser merely steps into the shoes of the debtor and acquires the latter's interest as of the time the property is sold ( Carumba vs. under Section 44 of PD 1529.
and only then when she bought the same. IAC. Gloria Villafania. who had not been shown to have notified respondent of the first sale when she conducted an ocular inspection.where the purchaser has actual knowledge of a flaw or defect in the title of the seller or of such liens or encumbrances which.47 After its factual findings revealed that Respondent De Vera was in good faith.50The family members may reasonably be assumed to be Villafania’s agents. and only then when she brought an ejectment case with the x x x Municipal Court of Mangaldan. as to him. WHEREFORE. Court of Appeals. To the [Respondent] De Vera. when Respondent De Vera purchased the property. The subject land was.R. that she did not know anything about the earlier sale and claim of the spouses Abrigo. registered in the name of Gloria Villafania. L26677. and that her title under the law. good faith on respondent’s part stands. 1452. her vendor. known as Civil Case No. by the spouses’ own admission that the parents and the sister of Villafania were still the actual occupants in October 1997. [Respondent] De Vera’s vendor. 75336. 40 .49 This argument is contradicted. Branch 40. G. until after she had bought the same. 27 March 1981). is equivalent to registration (see Sec."46 Respondent in Good Faith The Court of Appeals examined the facts to determine whether respondent was an innocent purchaser for value. appears to be the registered owner. she knew or had the slightest notice that the same was under litigation in Civil Case No. She ascertained and verified that her vendor was the sole owner and in possession of the subject property by examining her vendor’s title in the Registry of Deeds and actually going to the premises. is absolute and indefeasible. without any contrary evidence presented by the [petitioners]. In sum. Thus. There is nothing in her certificate of title and in the circumstances of the transaction or sale which warrant [Respondent] De Vera in supposing that she need[ed] to look beyond the title. 69 Phil 744. 1997. Act 496. 18 October 1988. She was not even a party to said case. and still is. however. she would have found petitioners to be in possession. Tajonera vs.Hernandez vs. x x x. it explained thus: "x x x. the only legal truth upon which she had to rely was that the land is registered in the name of Gloria Villafania. she testified clearly and positively. Sales. which petitioners have not rebutted. There is no evidence in the record showing that when she bought the land on October 23. D-10638 of the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City. They argue that had she inspected the property. between Gloria Villafania and [Petitioners] Abrigo. Spouses Abrigo base their position only on the general averment that respondent should have been more vigilant prior to consummating the sale. SO ORDERED. Costs against petitioners. 39."48 We find no reason to disturb these findings. the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Bernales vs. She had no notice of the earlier sale of the land to [petitioners].
the Ordinary Decree Book. is presumed to have been regularly issued by the accountable public officers who enjoy the legal presumption of regularity in the performance of their functions. being a public document. MUNICIPALITY OF CABUYAO. HERCE. of the Decision dated November 11. O-2099. and (d) Decree No. LAGUNA and JOSE B.R. has no legal basis and should be nullified. No. 4244. 1997 in favor of petitioner.: For resolution is the Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioner Vicente D. 4244. Petitioner. Herce. showing that Decree No. Petitioner thus prayed that: (a) The parcel of land identified as Lot Plan II-2719-A and Cadastral Lot No. vs. No. Respondents. petitioner principally claimed that the entries in the Ordinary Decree Book of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) did not categorically state that the property covered by Decree No. O-2099 was included in Decree No. (c) Jose B. are declared NULL and VOID. 0-2099 and Decree No.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SPECIAL FIRST DIVISION G. petitioner is now barred from claiming the subject land. In his Motion for Reconsideration. then OCT No. 4244 issued in favor of the Municipality of Cabuyao. No. JR. the proceedings that led to the issuance of Decree No. 166645 January 23. In denying the petition. 3484 be declared as not included in Decree No.. because it had not been shown by competent proof that the lot covered thereby was included in Decree No. 2005. the decree of registration issued by the LRA on January 28. 4244 was issued on March 3. N-216115 and OCT No. the title issued in his favor could not be declared void. 0-2099 issued in favor of petitioner should be declared as valid. 6763. SO ORDERED. If found to be included. issued in the name of petitioner Herce. 4244 was issued on March 3. 4244 in favor of the Municipality of Cabuyao cannot be overturned without any countervailing proof to the contrary. 0-2099. pertaining to the same parcel of land covered by Decree No. the dispositive portion of which states: WHEREFORE. 4244 issued in favor of the Municipality of Cabuyao. Jr. whereas Decree No. the petition is DENIED. RESOLUTION YNARES-SANTIAGO. The validity of Decree No. petitioner prayed that the assailed Decision be partially reconsidered by remanding the case to the trial court for the determination of whether the property subject of litigation was included in Decree No. 4244 issued in favor of the respondent municipality in 1911 has become indefeasible. CARPENA. 1911 and that Lot I Plan II-2719 was one of the six parcels of land previously applied for registration by the Municipality of Cabuyao in LRC (GLRO) Record No. Carpena should be declared as having been barred by laches from asserting ownership over the subject property. 4244 issued on March 3. N-216115 and Original Certificate of Title No. x x x xxxx In the absence of evidence to the contrary. 6763. 2007 VICENTE D. followed by the issuance of OCT No. As such. LRC (CLR) Rec. LRC (CLR) Rec. showing that Decree No. N216115 and OCT No. 1911. N-216115 issued in favor of petitioner should be declared as void. 1991 in favor of respondent Municipality of Cabuy[a]o. the Ordinary Decree Book is prima facie proof of the entries appearing therein. Although the municipality’s claim of ownership is based on the entry in the Ordinary Decree Book. J. x x x xxxx Accordingly. 4244. Thus. In the alternative. as such. 6763. (b) The Municipality of Cabuyao be declared as having been barred by laches from recovering the title and ownership over the subject property. Laguna is AFFIRMED. we held that: [I]t is clear that Decree No. 41 .
It must be recalled that on August 21. Plan II-2719-A. it ruled that: It should be recalled that the basis of the issuance of the Decree in favor of the petitioner in the case at bar is the May 30. the LRA interposed no objection thereto. 1998. As 42 . in favor of the Municipality of Cabuyao for apparently the same parcel of land applied for herein. N-438. We have given the assailed Decision as well as the parties’ respective evidence and arguments a hard second look. Every court has the power and the corresponding duty to review. was included in Decree No. stating that Plan SWO-25706 (II-2719-A) was presented as evidence in the "Carpena case. 4244 issued on March 3. 4244 issued in the name of the Municipality of Cabuyao. Set this case for presentation of evidence for claimant Vicente Herce. the Court of Appeals denied the petition. the dispositive portion of which states: In view of the foregoing rule. insofar as Lot 1. hence. The Decision of this Court dated May 29. Finding that the latter met all the requirements to reopen the decree of registration. the controversy could have easily ended at this point had LRA exercised prudence in checking its records and would have found out the existence of Decree No. 1980 narrating the history of the subject property. and (e) Survey Plan over Lot 3484. and considering the Report dated December 2. Noticeable from the said May 30. this Court resolves to open the decree of registration issued herein. we are constrained to partially grant petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Neither was it mentioned in the petitioner’s motion to modify decision dated June 26. (b) Certification issued by Mr. The inherent power of a court to amend and control its processes and orders includes the right to reverse itself if only to make its findings and conclusions conformable to law and justice.1 From the foregoing Order. 1980. 4244 in favor of the Municipality of Cabuyao. 1911 over the Lot 1." (c) Entries in the Ordinary Decree Book of the LRA. respondents maintained that Lot 1. 6763. LRC Record No. he filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals where the sole issue for resolution was whether the trial court gravely abused its discretion in granting respondent municipality’s motion to reopen the decree of registration. in Land Registration Case No. N-651 instituted by the Republic of the Philippines denying the latter’s petition for registration which is in turn based on the opposition filed by the petitioner alleging therein that he is the rightful owner of the property having acquired the same from Jose Carpena. 4244 was issued in favor of the Municipality of Cabuyao on March 3. 1996 are both set aside. At the same time. of the Acting Commissioner of Land Registration x x x that Decree No. It appearing that we have overlooked certain crucial points and arguments and calling to mind the Court’s duty to rectify its mistakes when warranted by the facts and the law at hand. the trial court issued an Order. when asked to comment on the petitioner’s motion to modify decision. Plan II-2719-A. 1980 Decision of Branch I of the Court of First Instance of Laguna in Cad. 10514. 1911 was never mentioned. 1911 in LRC (GLRO). 1995. After a careful and more circumspect re-evaluation of the evidence before us. on September 28. (d) LRA Report dated December 2. 1980 decision however is that the existence of Decree No. it is clear that petitioner must still present evidence to prove his claim over the subject property. Case No. N-B-1-LRC Cad No. as shown by the following pieces of evidence. Plan II-2719 only is concerned. 1957.In its Opposition/Comment to petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration. we are convinced that the case should be remanded to the trial court. In fact. 1998 at 8:30 a. but with the caveat that "xxx provided it will not adversely affect the government as well as third parties. then Administrator of the Land Registration Authority. and the Order of this Court dated May 3. The motion is partially granted. the property subject of litigation. Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the Order was denied. Record No. 4244 was issued on x x x March 3. amend or reverse its findings and conclusions whenever its attention is seasonably called to any error or defect that it may have committed. Teodoro Bonifacio. SO ORDERED. Jr.m. to wit: (a) Survey Plan conducted by the Bureau of Lands with notation at the bottom portion indicating that Decree No." Of course.
4244 issued in favor of the Municipality of Cabuyao.3 It is elementary that a court must render judgment confirming the title of the applicant only if it finds that the latter has sufficient title proper for registration. if it were found out that indeed. the court properly granted the reopening of the decree of title in order to finally settle the issue of ownership over the property subject of the instant controversy and to end this litigation which has dragged on for decades. N-216115. LRC Cadastral No. While the court ruled in favor of the petitioner in the said case and ordered a decree of registration in his favor. 0-2099 and Decree No. As such. xxxx In the case at bar. a previous decree (Decree 4244) dated March 3. based on the records before us. there is no doubt that Decree No. in the Municipal Index Map. Considering the existence of two conflicting titles – one in favor of petitioner. the assailed Decision is PARTIALLY RECONSIDERED. N-651 that after plotting the technical descriptions of Lot 3484. there is insufficient information to conclude that Decree No. there is a need to remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings. 0-2099 and Decree No. but the court may at any time order an application to be amended by striking out one or more of the parcels or order a severance of the application. the property has already been earlier titled in the name of the municipality. the decree was issued upon the petitioner’s manifestation before the trial court that it was the rightful owner of the property subject of the controversy and that as transferee and therefore the successor-in-interest of the original applicant Juanita Carpena. the ground relied upon by the municipality in seeking the reopening of the decree of registration is the Report dated December 2. N-216115 issued in favor of petitioner is included and within the scope of Decree No. As we have ruled in the assailed Decision. the respondent municipality in its petition/motion to reopen/review decree alleged that as early as March 3. it was found that said lot is more or less identical to the parcel of land described in Plan II-2719-A for which no final decree of registration has as yet been issued. and the other in the name of the Municipality of Cabuyao. Clearly. An application for land registration may include two or more parcels of land. In 1975. the court properly granted the reopening of the decree of title in order to finally settle the issue of ownership over the property subject of the instant controversy and to end this litigation which has dragged on for decades. petitioner entered his opposition to the case claiming to be the possessor of the said parcel. SO ORDERED. notwithstanding the fact that the 1957 decision of the trial court directing the issuance of the corresponding decrees over the 44 parcels of land applied for by the group of Juanita Carpena had already attained finality. WHEREFORE. and that the property subject of the present case was not issued a decree in view precisely of the existence of Decree 4244.2 The foregoing pronouncements of the Court of Appeals do not expressly state that the property covered by OCT No. The case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Laguna. that decrees over the 42 of these parcels have already been issued. and the other in the name of the Municipality of Cabuyao. N-B-1.it were. Branch 24 for the determination of whether the subject property is included in Decree No. Specifically. 1980 that the decree ordered by the court could not be issued as it appears in the Ordinary Decree Book of the LRC Record 6763. 4244 issued in favor of the municipality has become indefeasible. As correctly noted by the Court of Appeals: Considering the existence of two conflicting titles – one in favor of petitioner. To hold otherwise would result in a situation wherein the LRA would be compelled to issue a decree of registration over a piece of land which has already been decreed and titled in the name of another. he was entitled to the issuance of a decree of registration as decreed in the 1957 Decision of the CFI of Laguna. However. the motion to modify decision was granted. 4244 over Lot I Plan II 2719-A (now Lot 3484. Cabuyao Cadastral 455-1). 4244 earlier issued in 1911 in favor of respondent municipality. 1911 was already issued in favor of the Municipality which is the same parcel of land sought to be registered by the oppositor in his name. 4244 includes the property covered by OCT No. CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO Associate Justice WE CONCUR: 43 . 1980 of the Land Registration Authority in Cadastral Case No. it was subsequently found out in a report dated December 2. it has been issued Decree No. however. 1911.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.