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G.R. No.

L-14641
THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
EUSTAQUIO DE LUNA, ET AL., respondents.,
EUSTAQUIO DE LUNA, respondent-appellee.
Asst. Solicitor General Antonio A. Torres and Solicitor D.L. Quiroz for appellant.
McClure, Salas and Gonzales for appellee.
BARRERA, J.:
On February 19, 1958, petitioner ire!tor o" Lands, "iled #it$ t$e %ourt o" First &nstan!e o"
Oriental 'indoro a petition alle(in(, inter alia, t$at on )pril *8, 1955, respondent +usta,uio de
Luna "iled #it$ $is o""i!e, an appli!ation "or "ree patent over a par!el o" land, desi(nated as Lot
No. 44**, %ad. No. *-- +.t., in Nau/an, Oriental 'indoro !lai0in( t$at $e 1de Luna2 is in a!tual
o!!upation o" said land, $avin( a!,uired it "ro0 +usebia and 3ernardina %astillo, #$o $ad been
in possession and !ultivation t$ereo" sin!e 19445 t$at relyin( on t$e state0ents 0ade by
respondent de Luna in $is said appli!ation t$at $is o!!upation o" t$e land #as 0ade prior to 6uly
4, 1945, $e 1ire!tor2 approved it as Free 7atent )ppli!ation No. 8-45154 1+-8-*1*912,on
9epte0ber :, 1955 and t$erea"ter (ave it due !ourse5 t$at on O!tober 4, 1955, $e issued Free
7atent No. 8-*1168 "or t$e land, in "avor, and in t$e na0e o" respondent, and t$e sa0e #as
trans0itted to t$e Re(ister o" eeds o" %alapan, Oriental 'indoro, #$o re(istered it and issued
t$e !orrespondin( Ori(inal %erti"i!ate o" ;itle No. 7-154:, in a!!ordan!e #it$ 9e!tion 1**
o" )!t No. 4965 t$at, subse,uently, upon !o0plaint 0ade by one &(0edio Gaa a(ainst said "ree
patent issued to respondent, $e !ondu!ted an investi(ation t$ereon and, "ro0 t$e result t$ereo", it
#as "ound t$at respondent and $is alle(ed prede!essors-in-interest, $ave never been in
o!!upation o" t$e land !overed by t$e patent and title, but on t$e !ontrary, it is in t$e a!tual and
e.!lusive !ultivation o" said &(0edio Gaa, #$o $as been in possession t$ereo" sin!e prior to t$e
last #ar up to t$e present, openly, adversely, and in t$e !on!ept o" an o#ner5 t$at said patent and
title #ere issued to respondent by virtue o" $is said appli!ation, #$i!$ #as approved and (iven
due !ourse due to respondent<s 0isinterpretation and "alse state0ent 0ade in said appli!ation5
and t$at inas0u!$ as respondents is not entitled to a "ree patent, on a!!ount o" $is "ailure to
"ul"ill t$e !onditions pres!ribed by t$e 7ubli! Land )!t, said patent and title issued to $i0 "or t$e
land, are null and void said patent and title issued to respondent.
Respondent, on )pril 16, 1958, "iled a 0otion to dis0iss, on t$e (round t$at petitioner $as no
le(al !apa!ity to sue, t$e real party in interest bein( &(0edio Gaa, #$ose ri($ts are adversely
a""e!ted by t$e issuan!e o" said patent and title to $i0 1respondent2. On 6une *, 1958, petitioner
"iled an opposition to said 0otion to dis0iss, #$i!$ opposition #as duly ans#ered by respondent
on 6une 4-, 1958.
On )u(ust 16, 1958, t$e !ourt dis0issed t$e petition "iled, in an order #$i!$ in part reads=
;$e alle(ations !ontained in t$e petition !learly s$o#s t$at t$e a!tion "or t$e reversion o" t$e lot
in ,uestion to t$e (overn0ent is pre0ised on t$e (round o" "alse representation. >o#ever, a!tion
instituted pursuant to 9e!. 1-1 o" t$e 7ubli! Land )!t 0ust be in t$e na0e o" t$e
1%o00on#ealt$2 Republi! o" t$e 7$ilippines and prose!uted by t$e 9oli!itor General. 9in!e t$e
present petition is instituted in t$e na0e o" t$e ire!tor o" t$e Lands, it stands to reason t$at t$e
petition is "unda0entally de"e!tive. >en!e, under Rule 8, t$e petition s$ould be dis0issed, on t$e
(round t$at t$e ire!tor o" Lands is not le(ally aut$ori?ed to institute t$e present petition.
On 9epte0ber 4, 1958, petitioner "iled a 0otion "or re!onsideration o" said order, but t$e sa0e
#as denied by t$e !ourt on 9epte0ber 4-, 1958. >en!e, t$is appeal.
;$e only issue to be resolved in t$is appeal is #$et$er petitioner $ad t$e aut$ority to "ile t$e
petition in ,uestion.
&t is not disputed t$at t$e "ree patent to t$e land in ,uestion #as issued to respondent on O!tober
4, 1955, on t$e basis o" #$i!$ Ori(inal %erti"i!ate o" ;itle No. 7-154: #as, li@e#ise, issued to
$i0, pursuant to 9e!tion 1** o" t$e Land Re(istration )!t.
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Cell settled is t$e rule t$at on!e
t$e patent is re(istered and t$e !orrespondin( !erti"i!ate o" title is issued, t$e land !ases to be
part o" t$e publi! do0ain and be!o0es private property over #$i!$ t$e ire!tor o" Lands $as
neit$er !ontrol nor /urisdi!tion. 19u0ail vs . 6ud(e o" t$e %ourt o" First &nstan!e o" %otabato, et
al., 96 7$il., 9465 51 O"". Ga?. A5B *4145 Republi! vs. >eirs o" %iria!o %arle, 1-5 7$il., 1*412.
;$ere is, li@e#ise, no !ontroversy as to t$e "a!t t$at t$e present a!tion #as instituted by
petitioner on February 19, 1958, or 0ore t$an * years a"ter t$e issuan!e o" t$e a"ore0entioned
"ree patent to respondent, or 0ore t$an 1 year a"ter t$e e.piration o" t$e 1-year period provided
in 9e!tion 48 o" t$e Land Re(istration )!t "or revie# o" t$e !erti"i!ate o" title, on t$e (round o"
"raud. ) publi! land patent #$en re(istered in t$e !orrespondin( re(ister o" t$e deeds o""i!e, is a
veritable torrens title 1a(da( vs. Nepo0u!eno, 1-5 7$il., *165 56 O"". Ga?. A48B :*942 and
be!o0es as inde"easible as a ;orrens title 1Ra0oso vs . Obli(ado, :- 7$il., 86 2, upon t$e
e.piration o" 1 year "ro0 t$e date o" t$e issuan!e t$ereo" 1Lu!as vs. urian, G.R. No. L-:886,
pro0. 9epte0ber *4, 195:2. )s su!$ it !an no lon(er be !an!elled or annulled. &n t$e 9u0ail
!ase (supra), #e stated=
Ce a(ree #it$ t$e ire!tor o" Lands and trial !ourt t$at t$e latter $ad no /urisdi!tion to entertain
%ivil %ase No. 4*-
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#$i!$ #as "iled "or t$e purpose o" !an!ellin( t$e 7atent issued by t$e
ire!tor o" Lands on lot No. 4644, and, also "or t$e !an!ellation o" t$e Ori(inal %erti"i!ate o"
;itle 8-*4 issued to Gepuliano on t$e basis o" $is "ree patent. Dnder se!tion 1** o" )!t No.
496 @no#n as t$e Land Re(istration )!t, #$en any publi! lands in t$e 7$ilippines are alienated,
(ranted, or !onveyed to persons or publi! or private !orporations, t$e sa0e s$all be brou($t
"ort$#it$ under t$e operation o" t$e said )!t and s$all be!o0e re(istered lands and t$at t$e
instru0ent o" !onveyan!e in t$e "or0 o" t$e 7atent, be"ore its delivery to t$e (rantee s$all
be!o0e re(istered t$erein a !erti"i!ate o" title s$all be issued as in ot$er !ases o" re(istered land.
;$at is t$e reason #$y an ori(inal !erti"i!ate o" title #as issued to Gepuliano so0eti0e in 195-
on t$e basis o" $is "ree patent issued in 1994.
... ... ...
)s already stated, "ree patent No. 4*- #as "iled in !ourt only on 6uly *1,195*, or al0ost t$ree
years a"ter t$e issuan!e o" t$e "ree patent. &t is, t$ere"ore, !lear t$at t$e trial !ourt no lon(er $ad
/urisdi!tion to entertain t$e !o0plaint in %ivil %ase No. 4*- "or t$e reasons already stated, but
not as !ontended by t$e ire!tor o" Lands t$at it involved publi! land, over #$i!$ $e $ad
e.!lusive and e.e!utive !ontrol, be!ause on!e t$e patent #as (ranted and t$e !orrespondin(
!erti"i!ate o" title #as issued, t$e land !eased to be part o" t$e publi! do0ain and be!o0e private
property over #$i!$ t$e ire!tor o" Lands $as neit$er !ontrol nor /urisdi!tion.
Not#it$standin( t$e a"ore0entioned do!trine o" inde"easibility o" a torrens title a"ter t$e
e.piration o" t$e 1-year period provided in 9e!tion 48 o" t$e Land Re(istration )!t, 9e!tion 1-1
o" t$e 7ubli! La#
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provides a re0edy #$ereby lands o" t$e publi! do0ain "raudulently
a#arded to t$e appli!ant 0aybe !overed or reverted ba!@ to its ori(inal o#ner, t$e Govern0ent.
9aid se!tion provides t$at=
9e!. 1-1. )ll a!tions "or t$e reversions to t$e Govern0ent o" Lands o" t$e publi! do0ain or
i0prove0ents t$ereon s$all be instituted by t$e 9oli!itor General or t$e O""i!er a!tin( in $is
stead, in t$e proper !ourts in t$e na0e o" Republi! 1%o00on#ealt$2 o" t$e 7$ilippines.
&t is ,uite !lear "ro0 t$e provision /ust ,uoted t$at a!tions "or reversions o" publi! lands
"raudulently a#arded are to be instituted by t$e 9oli!itor General or t$e o""i!er a!tin( in $is
stead, and t$at t$e sa0e 0ust be brou($t in t$e na0e o" t$e Republi! o" t$e 7$ilippines. 19ee
9u0ail !ase, supra2.
&n support o" t$e vie# t$at petitioner 0ay brin( t$e present a!tion, $e !ited 9e!tion 91 o"
t$e 7ubli! Land La#. 9u""i!e it to say t$at said provision is only appli!able #$ere t$e patent or
title is sou($t to be !an!elled or annulled, "or $avin( been pro!ured t$rou($ "raud or
0isrepresentation, prior to t$e e.piration o" t$e 1-year period provided in 9e!tion 48 o" t$e Land
Re(istration )!t, "ro0 its issuan!e and re(istration, and not #$ere, as in t$e instan!e !ase, said
period $ad already elapsed.
>o#ever, #e note t$at petitioner<s error in t$is !ase 0erely one o" "or0 #$i!$ is non-pre/udi!ial.
&n "urt$eran!e o" /usti!e, and to t$e end t$at t$e real 0atter in dispute #it$in t$e parties 0ay be
!o0pletely deter0ined in t$is pro!eedin( 19e!. *, Rule 1:, Rules o" %ourt2, #e $ave de!ided to
re0and t$is !ase to t$e !ourt o" ori(in "or "urt$er pro!eedin(s, allo#in( petitioner to a0end $is
pleadin(s a!!ordin(ly, in !o0plian!e #it$ t$e re,uire0ent o" la#. Cit$out pronoun!e0ent as to
!osts. 9o ordered.