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TORRENS SYSTEM

maintaining that the s#b/ect lot had long been e0propriated in favor of the government. Altho#gh it does not present an* title over the propert*, the Rep#blic invo5es the e0propriation proceedings which are the Commonwealth and ;aldeh#e<a cases. =owever, the Rep#blic9s reliance on the proceedings does not in an* wa* bolster its ca#se.

Director of Lands vs. CA The Torrens Titles of the Intervenors Greenfield Development Corp., Alabang Development Corp., and Ramon D. Bagatsing which are derived from Certificate of Title No. !" iss#ed in $eptember %&, '(') clearl* antedate that of the private respondent who can trace her title onl* to an alleged sales patent awarded to her mother on $eptember '+, '("% and to ,riginal Certificate of Title No. "%)(% iss#ed $eptember %(, '("% p#rs#ant to said sales patent. -nder these facts, the applicable and governing r#le or doctrine which is well.established in this /#risdiction is that when two certificates of title are iss#ed to different persons covering the same land in whole or in part, the earlier in date m#st prevail as between the original parties, and in case of s#ccessive registration where more than one certificate is iss#ed over the land, the person holding #nder prior certificate is entitled to the land as against the person who relies on the second certificate.

There is no showing that the Rep#blic complied with the aforestated registration re2#irement. 1itho#t s#ch compliance, it cannot be said that 8RC had notice of the Rep#blic9s adverse claim s#fficient to consider the former in bad faith, for the law gives the p#blic the right to rel* on the face of the Torrens title and to dispense with the need of f#rther in2#ir*, e0cept onl* when one has act#al 5nowledge of facts and circ#mstances that sho#ld impel a reasonabl* ca#tio#s man to in2#ire f#rther into its integrit*.6"&7 $#ch is the ver* essence of o#r Torrens s*stem as r#led in >egarda v. $aleeb*, )' ?hil. +(&, th#s@ AThe real p#rpose of the s*stem is to 2#iet title of landB to p#t a stop forever to an* 2#estion of the legalit* of the title, e0cept claims which were noted at the time of registration, in the certificate, or which ma* arise s#bse2#ent thereto. That being the p#rpose of the law, it wo#ld seem that once a title is registered, the owner ma* rest sec#re, witho#t the necessit* of waiting in the portals of the co#rts, or sitting in the Cmirador de s# casa,9 to avoid the possibilit* of losing his land. 0 0 0 The certificate, in the absence of fra#d, is the evidence of title and shows e0actl* the real interest of its owner. The title once registered, with ver* few e0ceptions, sho#ld not thereafter be imp#gned, e0cept in some direct proceeding permitted b* law. ,therwise, all sec#rit* in registered titles wo#ld be lost.D

The efficac* and integrit* of the Torrens $*stem m#st be protected and preserved to ens#re the stabilit* and sec#rit* of land titles for otherwise land ownership in the co#ntr* wo#ld be rendered erratic and restless and can certainl* be a potent and veritable ca#se of social #nrest and agrarian agitation. The co#rts m#st e0ercise ca#tion and vigilance in order to g#ard the indefeasibilit* and imprescriptibilit* of the Torrens Registration $*stem against sp#rio#s claims and forged doc#ments concocted and foisted #pon the destr#ction and loss of man* p#blic records as a res#lt of the last 1orld 1ar. The real p#rpose of the Torrens $*stem which is to 2#iet title to the land m#st be #pheld and defended, and once a title is registered, the owner ma* rest sec#re, witho#t the necessit* of waiting in the portals of the co#rt or sitting in the mirador de s# casa to avoid the possibilit* of losing his land.

PR NC PLES OF TORRENS SYSTEM Mirror Principle . A person dealing with registered land ma* safel* rel* on the correctness of the certificate of title and the law will not in an* wa* oblige him to go behind the certificate to determine the condition of the propert* in search for an* hidden defect or inchoate right which ma* later invalidate or diminish the right to the land. This means that, if a person sells an estate, the new title has to be identical to the old one in terms of description of lands, e0cept for the owner3s name.This is the mirror principle of the Torrens $*stem of land registration. C!rtain Principle E one does not need to go behind the Certificate of Title as it contains all the information abo#t the title. This means that ownership need not be proved b* long complicated doc#ments that are 5ept b* the owner, as in the ?rivate Conve*ancing s*stem. All of the necessar* information regarding ownership is on the Certificate of Title. ns!rance Principle . provides for compensation of loss if there are errors made b* the Registrar of Titles.

Claims of ownership and title to lands previo#sl* of the p#blic domain which as in the instant case private respondent3s predecessor in interest, her own mother, admittedl* ac2#ired b* a sales patent iss#ed d#ring the 4apanese ,cc#pation on $eptember '+, '("% can be verified, chec5ed and co#nter.chec5ed from government offices or agencies entr#sted with the filing, acceptance, processing and approval of sales application as well as the sales award, the recording and registration of the patent itself, the iss#ance and filing of the Torrens Title based on the sales patent itself. 1e have not been shown a scintilla or shred of evidence proving that private respondent3s predecessor in interest had ac2#ired the properties herein involved, m#ch less the slightest showing that private respondent3s predecessor in interest had in tr#th and in fact ac2#ired the properties from the Government #nder a sales application d#l* processed, approved and granted.

Federated Realty Corporation vs. CA Time and again, we have #pheld the f#ndamental principle in land registration that a certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible and incontrovertible title to the propert* in favor of the person whose name appears therein.6)&7 It becomes the best proof of ownership of a parcel of land.6)'7 ,ne who deals with propert* registered #nder the Torrens s*stem ma* rel* on the title and need not go be*ond the same.6)%7 $#ch principle of indefeasibilit* has long been well.settled in this /#risdiction and it is onl* when the ac2#isition of the title is attended with fra#d or bad faith that the doctrine finds no application.6))7 LAND RE" STRAT ON #EFORE $%&'

ntestate Estate of Don Mariano San Pedro vs. CA The Tit#lo is n#ll and void. It has been defeated b* the title of the defendants #nder the Torrens s*stem. It is settled that b* virt#e of ?residential Decree No. !(% which too5 effect on 8ebr#ar* ' , '(F , the s*stem of registration #nder the $panish Gortgage >aw was abolished and all holders of $panish titles or grants sho#ld ca#se their lands covered thereb* to be registered #nder the >and Registration Act +) within si0 H I months from the date of effectivit* of the said Decree or #ntil A#g#st ' , '(F . +" ,therwise, non.compliance therewith will res#lt in a re.classification of their lands. ++ $panish titles can no longer be co#ntenanced as ind#bitable evidence of land ownership. ?roof of compliance HCertificate of TitleI with the said decree sho#ld have been presented d#ring trial.

In the instant case, it is #ndisp#ted that 8RC is a holder of a certificate of title over the lot in 2#estion. Records show that each of 8RC9s predecessors.in.interest was li5ewise a holder of an indefeasible title. 8#rthermore, no patent irreg#larit* can be gleaned on the face of 8RC9s title. :et, the Rep#blic challenges the validit* of the same b*

ADM N STRAT ON OF LAND RE" STRAT ON >RC, now >RA, is the agenc* tas5ed to e0ec#te laws relative to the registration of lands. $ee $ections ".') of ?D '+%(

RE" STER OF DEEDS

involving the e0ercise of discretion.6%)7 >i5ewise, the writ of mandam#s can be awarded onl* when the petitioners9 legal right to the performance of the partic#lar act which is so#ght to be compelled is clear and complete. A co#rt ma* be compelled b* mandam#s to pass and act #pon a 2#estion s#bmitted to it for decision, b#t it cannot be en/oined to decide for or against one of the parties.6% 7 As stated earlier, a /#dicial act is not compellable b* mandam#s.In view of the foregoing, it is not legall* proper to re2#ire the >RA to iss#e a decree of registration. =owever, to avoid m#ltiplicit* of s#its and needless dela*, this Co#rt deems it more appropriate to direct the >RA to e0pedite its st#d*, to determine with finalit* whether >ot ).A is incl#ded in the propert* described in TCT No. +(+, and to s#bmit a report thereon to the co#rt of origin within si0t* H &I da*s from receipt of this Decision, after which the said co#rt shall act with deliberate speed according to the facts and the law, as herein disc#ssed.

Feliciano Ra(os vs. Francisco Rodri)!e* It is also arg#ed b* petitioners that the iss#ance of the decree of registration and the certificate of title b* the >RA is a ministerial d#t* which follows as a matter of co#rse the order of the co#rt directing it to iss#e said decree. In the case at bench, Administrator Bonifacio filed his report as an officer of the co#rt precisel* to inform the latter that the N>TDRA cannot compl* with the order to iss#e a decree beca#se the s#b/ect lot so#ght to be registered was discovered to have been alread* decreed and titled in the name of the ?a*atas Jstate. -nder these circ#mstances, the >RA is not legall* obligated to follow the co#rt3s order. RE" STER OF DEEDS

Non Re)istera+le nstr!(ents ?roperties of p#blic dominion have been described as those which,#nder e0isting legislation, are not the s#b/ect of private ownership and arereserved for p#blic p#rposes, as held b* the $C in Rep#blic vs. Co#rt of Appeals, ')' $CRA +)%, +)F H'(!"I .

-nder the Administrative Code of '(!F, the $olicitor General is bo#nd to K6r7epresent the Government in all land registration and related proceedings.K ) Add to this the fact that ?.D. '+%( itself, specificall* $ection thereof which en#merates the f#nctions of the Commissioner of >and Registration, is bereft of an* grant of power to the >RA or to the Commissioner to ma5e the same representation as the ,ffice of the $olicitor General in behalf of the government in land registration proceedings.

The following things are propert* of p#blic dominion, according tothe Civil Code Art. "%&, to wit@

The co#rt a 2#o co#ld not have committed grave ab#se of discretion beca#se it was merel* following the earlier recommendation of the >RA which was then acting as an agent of the co#rt.

'. Those intended for p#blic #se, s#ch as roads, canals, rivers, torrent,ports and bridges constr#cted b* the $tate, ban5s, shores, roadsteads,and others of similar characterB%. Those which belong to the $tate, witho#t being for p#blic #se, andare intended for some p#blic service or for the development of thenational wealth.DIt has been held that s#ch properties of the p#blic dominion are heldb* the $tate b* Regalian Right. The* are things res p#blicae in nat#re,incapable of private appropriation.

Nevertheless, even granting that proced#ral lapses have been committed in the proceedings below, these ma* be ignored b* the Co#rt in the interest of s#bstantive /#stice. " This is especiall* tr#e when, as in this case, a strict adherence to the r#les wo#ld res#lt in a sit#ation where the >RA wo#ld be compelled to iss#e a decree of registration over land which has alread* been decreed to and titled in the name of another.

Accordingl*, the '(!F Constit#tion provides thatAwith the e0ception of agric#lt#ral lands, all other nat#ral reso#rces shall notbe alienatedD, Art. LI, $ec. %

Cons!ltas $ection ''F. ?roced#re. 1hen the Register of Deeds is in do#bt with regard to the proper step to be ta5en or memorand#m to be made in p#rs#ance of an* deed, mortgage or other instr#ment presented to him for registration, or where an* part* in interest does not agree with the action ta5en b* the Register of Deeds with reference to an* s#ch instr#ment, the 2#estion shall be s#bmitted to the Commissioner of >and Registration b* the Register of Deeds, or b* the part* in interest thr# the Register of Deeds.

It m#st be noted that petitioners failed to reb#t the >RA report and onl* alleged that the title of the ?a*atas Jstate was sp#rio#s, witho#t offering an* proof to s#bstantiate this claim. TCT No. !!' , however, having been iss#ed #nder the Torrens s*stem, en/o*s the concl#sive pres#mption of validit*. As we declared in an earl* case, + K6t7he ver* p#rpose of the Torrens s*stem wo#ld be destro*ed if the same land ma* be s#bse2#entl* bro#ght #nder a second action for registration.K The application for registration of the petitioners in this case wo#ld, #nder the circ#mstances, appear to be a collateral attac5 of TCT No. !!' which is not allowed #nder $ection "! of ?.D. '+%(.

Spo!ses Mariano and Erlinda La+!rada vs. LRA The iss#ance of a decree of registration is part of the /#dicial f#nction of co#rts and is not a mere ministerial act which ma* be compelled thro#gh mandam#s.Indeed, it is well.settled that the iss#ance of s#ch decree is not compellable b* mandam#s beca#se it is a /#dicial act

1here the instr#ment is denied registration, the Register of Deeds shall notif* the interested part* in writing, setting forth the defects of the instr#ment or legal gro#nds relied #pon, and advising him that if he is not agreeable to s#ch r#ling, he ma*, witho#t withdrawing the doc#ments from the Registr*, elevate the matter b* cons#lta within five da*s from receipt of notice of the denial of registration to the Commissioner of >and Registration.

The Register of Deeds shall ma5e a memorand#m of the pending cons#lta on the certificate of title which shall be canceled mot# proprio b* the Register of Deeds after final resol#tion or decision thereof, or before resol#tion, if withdrawn b* petitioner.

Felipe Seville vs. National Develop(ent Co(pany $emantics aside, petitioners are effectivel* see5ing the modification of >$BDA3s ,CT, which allegedl* encompassed even a parcel of land allegedl* belonging to them. =ence, the present s#it, p#rportedl* filed for the Krecover* of real propert* and damages,K is tantamo#nt to a collateral attac5 not sanctioned b* law. $ection "! of ?D '+%(, the ?ropert* Registration Decree, e0pressl* provides@ K$JC. "!. Certificate not s#b/ect to collateral attac5. .. A certificate of title shall not be s#b/ect to collateral attac5. It cannot be altered, modified, or cancelled e0cept in a direct proceeding in accordance with law.K If petitioners believe that the* have been defra#ded b* :ap, the* sho#ld see5 redress, not in these proceedings, b#t in a proper action in accordance with law. -icente Divina vs. CA $ection '+ of ?.D. '+%(6'%7 is e0plicit in re2#iring that in the application for registration of land titles, the application Ashall also state the f#ll names and addresses of all occ#pants of the land and those of the ad/oining owners if 5nown, and if not 5nown, it shall state the e0tent of the search made to find them.D As earl* as 8rancisco vs. Co#rt of Appeals, (F $CRA %% 6'(!&7 we emphasi<ed that a mere statement of the lac5 of 5nowledge of the names of the occ#pants and ad/oining owners is not s#fficient b#t Awhat search has been made to find them is necessar*.D The trial co#rt was correct when it too5 notice that respondent9s sister >*dia Ga/o.Anon#evo admitted that she had a conversation with petitioner9s co#sin Jlena D#malaon abo#t the latter9s apprehension that their land ma* have been incl#ded in respondent9s application for registration of the disp#ted land.6')7 Respondent9s omission of this material information prevented petitioner from having his da* in co#rt. The trial co#rt in its decision more than ampl* s#pported its concl#sion with /#rispr#dence to the effect that it is fra#d to 5nowingl* omit or conceal a fact #pon which benefit is obtained to the pre/#dice of a third person.6'"7 $#ch omission can not b#t be deliberate misrepresentation constit#ting fra#d, a basis for allowing a petition for review of /#dgment #nder $ection )! of Act No. "( , The >and Registration Act. RP vs. 0ere(ias and David /er+ieto

The Commissioner of >and Registration, considering the cons#lta and the records certified to him after notice to the parties and hearing, shall enter an order prescribing the step to be ta5en or memorand#m to be made. =is resol#tion or r#ling in cons#ltas shall be concl#sive and binding #pon all Registers of Deeds, provided, that the part* in interest who disagrees with the final resol#tion, r#ling or order of the Commissioner relative to cons#ltas ma* appeal to the Co#rt of Appeals within the period and in manner provided in Rep#blic Act No. +")".

,RDINAR: >AND RJGI$TRATI,N

'.

8iling of Application in Co#rt

Rep!+lic of t,e P,il. -s. Candy Ma.er nc Applicants for confirmation of imperfect title m#st, therefore, prove the following@ HaI that the land forms part of the disposable and alienable agric#lt#ral lands of the p#blic domainB and HbI that the* have been in open, contin#o#s, e0cl#sive, and notorio#s possession and occ#pation of the same #nder a bona fide claim of ownership either since time immemorial or since 4#ne '%, '("+. The applicant is b#rdened to offer proof of specific acts of ownership to s#bstantiate the claim over the land. Act#al possession consists in the manifestation of acts of dominion over it of s#ch a nat#re as a part* wo#ld act#all* e0ercise over his own propert*. A mere cas#al c#ltivation of portions of the land b* the claimant does not constit#te s#fficient basis for a claim of ownershipB s#ch possession is not e0cl#sive and notorio#s as to give rise to a pres#mptive grant from the $tate. RP vs. CA and Circ!lo #antaya Fo!ndation It is tr#e that #nder both the '(F) and the '(!F Constit#tion, ) a private corporation Heven if a domestic oneI cannot ac2#ire Hand therefore cannot registerI lands of the p#blic domain, b#t in the present case the land involved, at the time it was ac2#ired b* the corporation in '(F", was no longer part of the p#blic domainB long *ears of e0cl#sive contin#o#s, and adverse possession of the same b* its predecessors. in.interest had given ownership thereof ipso /#re to said predecessors, enabling the latter to conve* title to said corporation. Tr#e, the Corporation3s ac2#isition was in '(F", or after the '(F) was alread* in effect. B#t then as of that time, the land was no longer p#blic land, It was private land. /eirs of Cle(ente Er(ac vs. /eirs of -icente Er(ac According to the appellate co#rt, K6t7he fact that 6petitioners7 have in their possession certificates of title which apparentl* bear o#t that it 6was7 Clemente Jrmac alone who claimed the entire propert* described therein 6has7 no discrediting effect #pon plaintiffs9 claim, it appearing that s#ch titles were ac2#ired in derogation of the e0isting valid and adverse interests of the plaintiffs whose title b* s#ccession were effectivel* disregarded. 1hile it is tr#e that $ection )%'% of ?D '+%( provides that the decree of registration becomes incontrovertible after a *ear, it does not altogether deprive an aggrieved part* of a remed* in law. The acceptabilit* of the Torrens $*stem wo#ld be impaired, if it is #tili<ed to perpet#ate fra#d against the real owners. 8#rthermore, ownership is not the same as a certificate of title. Registering a piece of land #nder the Torrens $*stem does not create or vest title, beca#se registration is not a mode of ac2#iring ownership. A certificate of title is merel* an evidence of ownership or title over the partic#lar propert* described therein. Its iss#ance in favor of a partic#lar person does not foreclose the possibilit* that the real propert* ma* be co.owned with persons not named in the certificate, or that it ma* be held in tr#st for another person b* the registered owner.

%. ). ". +. . F.

?#blication of Notice of Initial =earing ,pposition to Application =earing of the Application and ?resentation of Jvidence 4#dgment b* the Co#rt Iss#ance of Decree of Registration Iss#ance of ,riginal Certificate of Title