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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 1!! "anua#$ %&' %(()
REPU*+IC O, T-E P-I+IPPINES' Petitione#'
.s.
+OURDES /*IER/ NI++/S' Respon0ent.
D E C I S I O N
TING/' ".1
The cent#al 2uestion #aise0 in this Petition fo# Re.ie3 is 3hethe# p#esc#iption o# laches
4a$ ba# a petition to #e.i.e a 5u064ent in a lan0 #e6ist#ation case. It is a ha#0l$ no.el
issue' $et petitione# Republic of the Philippines 7Republic8 plea0s that the Cou#t #ule in a
4anne# that 3oul0 unsettle p#ece0ent. 9e 0en$ ce#tio#a#i an0 instea0 affi#4 the assaile0
#ulin6s of the cou#ts belo3.
The facts bea# little elabo#ation. On 1( /p#il 1!!)' #espon0ent +ou#0es /bie#a Nillas
7Nillas8 file0 a Petition fo# Re.i.al of "u064ent 3ith the Re6ional T#ial Cou#t 7RTC8 of
Du4a6uete Cit$. It 3as alle6e0 the#ein that on 1) "ul$ 1!:1' the then Cou#t of ,i#st
Instance 7C,I8 of Ne6#os O#iental #en0e#e0 a Decision /0icional in E;pe0iente Ca0ast#al
No. 1:' captione0 as El Di#ecto# De Te##enos cont#a Esteban /bin6a$an $ Ot#os.1 In the
0ecision' the C,I' actin6 as a ca0ast#al cou#t' a05u0icate0 se.e#al lots' to6ethe# 3ith the
i4p#o.e4ents the#eon' in fa.o# of na4e0 opposito#s 3ho ha0 establishe0 thei# title to
thei# #especti.e lots an0 thei# continuous possession the#eof since ti4e i44e4o#ial an0
o#0e#e0 the Chief of the Gene#al +an0 Re6ist#ation Office' upon the finalit$ of the
0ecision' to issue the co##espon0in6 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation.% /4on6 these lots 3as +ot
No. ))1 of the Sibulan Ca0ast#e' 3hich 3as a05u0icate0 to Eu6enia Calin6acion 74a##ie0
to ,austo Esto#as8 an0 En6#acia Calin6acion' both #esi0ents of Sibulan' Ne6#os O#iental.&
Nillas fu#the# alle6e0 that he# pa#ents' Se#apion an0 "osefina /. /bie##a' e.entuall$
ac2ui#e0 +ot No. ))1 in its enti#et$. *$ 3a$ of a Dee0 of /bsolute Sale 0ate0 )
No.e4be# 1!))' En6#acia Calin6acion sol0 he# un0i.i0e0 one<half 71=%8 sha#e o.e# +ot
No. ))1 to the Spouses /bie##a' the pa#ents of Nillas. On the othe# han0' the one<half
71=%8 sha#e a05u0icate0 to Eu6enia Calin6acion 3as also ac2ui#e0 b$ the Spouses /bie##a
th#ou6h .a#ious pu#chases the$ effecte0 f#o4 the hei#s of Eu6enia bet3een the $ea#s
1!) to 1!>%. These pu#chases 3e#e e.i0ence0 b$ th#ee sepa#ate Dee0s of /bsolute Sale
all in fa.o# of the Spouses /bie##a.:
In tu#n' Nillas ac2ui#e0 +ot No. ))1 f#o4 he# pa#ents th#ou6h a Dee0 of ?uitclai4 0ate0
&( "une 1!!:. Despite these 4ultiple t#ansfe#s' an0 the fact that the /bie##a spouses ha.e
been in open an0 continuous possession of the sub5ect p#ope#t$ since the 1!)) sale' no
0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation has e.e# been issue0 o.e# +ot No. ))1 0espite the #en0ition of the
1!:1 C,I Decision. Thus' Nillas sou6ht the #e.i.al of the 1!:1 Decision an0 the issuance
of the co##espon0in6 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation fo# +ot No. ))1. The #eco#0s 0o not p#ecisel$
#e.eal 3h$ the 0ec#ee 3as not issue0 b$ the Di#ecto# of +an0s' thou6h it 0oes not escape
attention that the 1!:1 Decision 3as #en0e#e0 a fe3 4onths befo#e the co44ence4ent of
the "apanese in.asion of the Philippines in Dece4be# of 1!:1.
No #esponsi.e plea0in6 3as file0 b$ the Office of the Solicito# Gene#al 7OSG8' althou6h
it ente#e0 its appea#ance on 1& Ma$ 1!!) an0 si4ultaneousl$ 0eputi@e0 the Cit$
P#osecuto# of Du4a6uete Cit$ to appea# 3hene.e# the case 3as set fo# hea#in6 an0 in all
subse2uent p#ocee0in6s.
T#ial on the 4e#its ensue0. The RTC hea#0 the testi4on$ of Nillas an0 #ecei.e0 he#
0ocu4enta#$ e.i0ence. No e.i0ence 3as appa#entl$ p#esente0 b$ the OSG. On %A /p#il
%(((' the RTC #en0e#e0 a DecisionA fin0in6 4e#it in the petition fo# #e.i.al of 5u064ent'
an0 o#0e#in6 the #e.i.al of the 1!:1 Decision' as 3ell as 0i#ectin6 the Co44issione# of
the +an0 Re6ist#ation /utho#it$ 7+R/8 to issue the co##espon0in6 0ec#ee of confi#4ation
an0 #e6ist#ation base0 on the 1!:1 Decision.1a..phi1.net
The OSG appeale0 the RTC Decision to the Cou#t of /ppeals' a#6uin6 in 4ain that the
#i6ht of action to #e.i.e 5u064ent ha0 al#ea0$ p#esc#ibe0. The OSG fu#the# a#6ue0 that at
the .e#$ least' Nillas shoul0 ha.e establishe0 that a #e2uest fo# issuance of a 0ec#ee of
#e6ist#ation befo#e the /04inist#ato# of the +R/ ha0 been 0ul$ 4a0e. The appeal 3as
0enie0 b$ the appellate cou#t in its Decision) 0ate0 %: "ul$ %((&. In its Decision' the
Cou#t of /ppeals #eite#ate0 that the p#o.isions of Section A' Rule &! of the Rules of
Cou#t' 3hich i4pose a p#esc#ipti.e pe#io0 fo# enfo#ce4ent of 5u064ents b$ 4otion' #efe#
to o#0ina#$ ci.il actions an0 not to BspecialB p#ocee0in6s such as lan0 #e6ist#ation cases.
The Cou#t of /ppeals also note0 that it 3oul0 ha.e been especiall$ one#ous to #e2ui#e
Nillas to fi#st #e2uest the +R/ to co4pl$ 3ith the 1!:1 0ecision consi0e#in6 that it ha0
been establishe0 that the o#i6inal #eco#0s in the 1!:1 case ha0 al#ea0$ been 0est#o$e0 an0
coul0 no lon6e# be #econst#ucte0.
In the p#esent petition' the OSG st#on6l$ a#6ues that cont#a#$ to the opinion of the Cou#t
of /ppeals' the p#inciples of p#esc#iption an0 laches 0o appl$ to lan0 #e6ist#ation cases.
The OSG notes that /#ticle 11:: of the Ci.il Co0e establishes that an action upon
5u064ent 4ust be b#ou6ht 3ithin ten $ea#s f#o4 the ti4e the #i6ht of action acc#ues.>
,u#the#' Section A of Rule &! of the 1!!) Rules of Ci.il P#oce0u#e establishes that a final
an0 e;ecuto#$ 5u064ent o# o#0e# 4a$ be e;ecute0 on 4otion 3ithin fi.e 78 $ea#s f#o4
the 0ate of its ent#$' afte# 3hich ti4e it 4a$ be enfo#ce0 b$ action befo#e it is ba##e0 b$
statute of li4itations.! It bea#s notin6 that the Republic 0oes not challen6e the
authenticit$ of the 1!:1 Decision' o# NillasCs ac2uisition of the #i6hts of the o#i6inal
a3a#0ees. Neithe# 0oes it seeD to establish that the p#ope#t$ is inalienable o# othe#3ise
still belon6e0 to the State.
The OSG also e;tensi.el$ #elies on t3o cases' Shipsi0e Inc. .. Cou#t of /ppeals1( an0
-ei#s of +ope@ .. De Cast#o.11 Shipsi0e 3as cite0 since in that case' the Cou#t 0is4isse0
the action institute0 b$ the Go.e#n4ent seeDin6 the #e.i.al of 5u064ent that 0ecla#e0 a
title null an0 .oi0 because the 5u064ent sou6ht to be #e.i.e0 ha0 beco4e final 4o#e than
% $ea#s befo#e the action fo# #e.i.al 3as file0. In Shipsi0e' the Cou#t #elie0 on /#ticle
11:: of the Ci.il Co0e an0 Section A' Rule &! of the 1!!) Rules of Ci.il P#oce0u#e in
0ecla#in6 that e;tincti.e p#esc#iption 0i0 lie. On the othe# han0' -ei#s of +ope@ in.ol.e0
the 0ouble #e6ist#ation of the sa4e pa#cel of lan0' an0 the subse2uent action b$ one set of
applicants fo# the issuance of the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation in thei# fa.o# se.en 7)8 $ea#s afte#
the 5u064ent ha0 beco4e final. The Cou#t 0is4isse0 the subse2uent action' hol0in6 that
laches ha0 set in' it in .ie3 of the petitione#sC o4ission to asse#t a #i6ht fo# nea#l$ se.en
7)8 $ea#s.
Despite the in.ocation b$ the OSG of these t3o cases' the#e e;ists a 4o#e 6ene#al but
0efinite 5u#isp#u0ential #ule that fa.o#s Nillas an0 bolste#s the #ulin6s of the lo3e# cou#ts.
The #ule is that Bneithe# laches no# the statute of li4itations applies to a 0ecision in a lan0
#e6ist#ation case.B1%
The 4ost e;tensi.e e;planation of this #ule 4a$ be foun0 in Sta. /na .. Menla'1&
0eci0e0 in 1!A1' 3he#ein the Cou#t #efute0 an a#6u4ent that a 0ecision #en0e#e0 in a lan0
#e6ist#ation case 3he#ein the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation #e4aine0 unissue0 afte# %A $ea#s 3as
al#ea0$ Bfinal an0 enfo#ceable.B The Cou#t' th#ou6h "ustice +ab#a0o#' e;plaine01
9e fail to un0e#stan0 the a#6u4ents of the appellant in suppo#t of the assi6n4ent Eof
e##o#F' e;cept insofa# as it suppo#ts his theo#$ that afte# a 0ecision in a lan0 #e6ist#ation
case has beco4e final' it 4a$ not be enfo#ce0 afte# the lapse of a pe#io0 of 1( $ea#s'
e;cept b$ anothe# p#ocee0in6 to enfo#ce the 5u064ent o# 0ecision. /utho#it$ fo# this
theo#$ is the p#o.ision in the Rules of Cou#t to the effect that 5u064ent 4a$ be enfo#ce0
3ithin $ea#s b$ 4otion' an0 afte# fi.e $ea#s but 3ithin 1( $ea#s' b$ an action 7Sec. A'
Rule &!8. This p#o.ision of the Rules #efe#s to ci.il actions an0 is not applicable to
special p#ocee0in6s' such as a lan0 #e6ist#ation case. This is so because a pa#t$ in a ci.il
action 4ust i44e0iatel$ enfo#ce a 5u064ent that is secu#e0 as a6ainst the a0.e#se pa#t$'
an0 his failu#e to act to enfo#ce the sa4e 3ithin a #easonable ti4e as p#o.i0e0 in the
Rules 4aDes the 0ecision unenfo#ceable a6ainst the losin6 pa#t$. In special p#ocee0in6sE'F
the pu#pose is to establish a status' con0ition o# factG in lan0 #e6ist#ation p#ocee0in6s' the
o3ne#ship b$ a pe#son of a pa#cel of lan0 is sou6ht to be establishe0. /fte# the o3ne#ship
has been p#o.e0 an0 confi#4e0 b$ 5u0icial 0ecla#ation' no fu#the# p#ocee0in6 to enfo#ce
sai0 o3ne#ship is necessa#$' e;cept 3hen the a0.e#se o# losin6 pa#t$ ha0 been in
possession of the lan0 an0 the 3innin6 pa#t$ 0esi#es to oust hi4 the#ef#o4.
,u#the#4o#e' the#e is no p#o.ision in the +an0 Re6ist#ation /ct si4ila# to Sec. A' Rule &!'
#e6a#0in6 the e;ecution of a 5u064ent in a ci.il action' e;cept the p#ocee0in6s to place
the 3inne# in possession b$ .i#tue of a 3#it of possession. The 0ecision in a lan0
#e6ist#ation case' unless the a0.e#se o# losin6 pa#t$ is in possession' beco4es final
3ithout an$ fu#the# action' upon the e;pi#ation of the pe#io0 fo# pe#fectin6 an appeal. ; ;
;
; ; ; ; The#e is nothin6 in the la3 that li4its the pe#io0 3ithin 3hich the cou#t 4a$ o#0e#
o# issue a 0ec#ee. The #eason is ;;; that the 5u064ent is 4e#el$ 0ecla#ato#$ in cha#acte#
an0 0oes not nee0 to be asse#te0 o# enfo#ce0 a6ainst the a0.e#se pa#t$. ,u#the#4o#e' the
issuance of a 0ec#ee is a 4iniste#ial 0ut$ both of the 5u06e an0 of the +an0 Re6ist#ation
Co44issionG failu#e of the cou#t o# of the cle#D to issue the 0ec#ee fo# the #eason that no
4otion the#efo# has been file0 can not p#e5u0ice the o3ne#' o# the pe#son in 3ho4 the
lan0 is o#0e#e0 to be #e6iste#e0.1:
The 0oct#ine that neithe# p#esc#iption no# laches 4a$ #en0e# inefficacious a 0ecision in a
lan0 #e6ist#ation case 3as #eite#ate0 fi.e 78 $ea#s afte# Sta. /na' in -ei#s of C#istobal
Ma#cos' etc.' et al. .. De *anu.a#' et al.1 In that case' it 3as si4ila#l$ a#6ue0 that a
p#a$e# fo# the issuance of a 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation file0 in 1!A% pu#suant to a 1!&>
0ecision 3as' a4on6 othe#s' ba##e0 b$ p#esc#iption an0 laches. In #e5ectin6 the a#6u4ent'
the Cou#t 3as content in #estatin6 3ith app#o.al the abo.e<cite0 e;ce#pts f#o4 Sta. /na.
/ si4ila# tacD 3as a6ain a0opte0 b$ the Cou#t so4e $ea#s late# in Ro0il .. *ene0icto.1A
These cases fu#the# e4phasi@e0' citin6 De4o#an .. Ibane@' etc.' an0 Po#as1) an0
Manlapas an0 Tolentino .. +lo#ente'1> #especti.el$' that the #i6ht of the applicant o# a
subse2uent pu#chase# to asD fo# the issuance of a 3#it of possession of the lan0 ne.e#
p#esc#ibes.1!
9ithin the last %( $ea#s' the Sta. /na 0oct#ine on the inapplicabilit$ of the #ules on
p#esc#iption an0 laches to lan0 #e6ist#ation cases has been #epeate0l$ affi#4e0. /pa#t
f#o4 the th#ee 7&8 cases 4entione0 ea#lie#' the Sta. /na 0oct#ine 3as #eite#ate0 in anothe#
th#ee 7&8 4o#e cases late#' na4el$1 V0a. 0e *a##o6a .. /lbano'%( Cacho .. Cou#t of
/ppeals'%1 an0 Pa0e#es .. Cou#t of /ppeals.%% The 0oct#ine of sta#e 0ecisis co4pels
#espect fo# settle0 5u#isp#u0ence' especiall$ absent an$ co4pellin6 a#6u4ent to 0o
othe#3ise. In0ee0' the appa#ent st#ate6$ e4plo$e0 b$ the Republic in its p#esent petition
is to fei6n that the 0oct#ine an0 the cases that spa3ne0 an0 e0uce0 it ne.e# e;iste0 at all.
Instea0' it is insiste0 that the Rules of Cou#t' 3hich p#o.i0es fo# the fi.e 78<$ea#
p#esc#ipti.e pe#io0 fo# e;ecution of 5u064ents' is applicable to lan0 #e6ist#ation cases
eithe# b$ analo6$ o# in a suppleto#$ cha#acte# an0 3hene.e# p#acticable an0
con.enient.%& The Republic fu#the# obse#.es that P#esi0ential Dec#ee 7PD8 No. 1%! has
no p#o.ision on e;ecution of final 5u064entsG hence' the p#o.isions of Rule &! of the
1!!) Rules of Ci.il P#oce0u#e shoul0 appl$ to lan0 #e6ist#ation p#ocee0in6s.
9e affi#4 Sta. /na not out of si4ple #efle;' but because 3e #eco6ni@e that the p#inciple
enunciate0 the#ein offe#s a con.incin6 #efutation of the cu##ent a#6u4ents of the
Republic.
Rule &!' as in.oDe0 b$ the Republic' applies onl$ to o#0ina#$ ci.il actions' not to othe# o#
e;t#ao#0ina#$ p#ocee0in6s not e;p#essl$ 6o.e#ne0 b$ the Rules of Ci.il P#oce0u#e but b$
so4e othe# specific la3 o# le6al 4o0alit$ such as lan0 #e6ist#ation cases. UnliDe in
o#0ina#$ ci.il actions 6o.e#ne0 b$ the Rules of Ci.il P#oce0u#e' the intent of lan0
#e6ist#ation p#ocee0in6s is to establish o3ne#ship b$ a pe#son of a pa#cel of lan0'
consistent 3ith the pu#pose of such e;t#ao#0ina#$ p#ocee0in6s to 0ecla#e b$ 5u0icial fiat a
status' con0ition o# fact. -ence' upon the finalit$ of a 0ecision a05u0icatin6 such
o3ne#ship' no fu#the# step is #e2ui#e0 to effectuate the 0ecision an0 a 4iniste#ial 0ut$
e;ists aliDe on the pa#t of the lan0 #e6ist#ation cou#t to o#0e# the issuance of' an0 the +R/
to issue' the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation.
The Republic obse#.es that the P#ope#t$ Re6ist#ation Dec#ee 7PD No. 1%!8 0oes not
contain an$ p#o.ision on e;ecution of final 5u064entsG hence' the application of Rule &!
of the 1!!) Rules of Ci.il P#oce0u#e in suppleto#$ fashion. ?uite the cont#a#$' it is
p#ecisel$ because PD No. 1%! 0oes not specificall$ p#o.i0e fo# e;ecution of 5u064ents
in the sense o#0ina#il$ un0e#stoo0 an0 applie0 in ci.il cases' the #eason bein6 the#e is no
nee0 fo# the p#e.ailin6 pa#t$ to appl$ fo# a 3#it of e;ecution in o#0e# to obtain the title'
that Rule &! of the 1!!) Rules of Ci.il P#oce0u#e is not applicable to lan0 #e6ist#ation
cases in the fi#st place. Section &! of PD No. 1%! #ea0s1
SEC. &!. P#epa#ation of Dec#ee an0 Ce#tificate of Title. < /fte# the 5u064ent 0i#ectin6 the
#e6ist#ation of title to lan0 has beco4e final' the cou#t shall' 3ithin fifteen 0a$s f#o4
ent#$ of 5u064ent' issue an o#0e# 0i#ectin6 the Co44issione# to issue the co##espon0in6
0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation an0 ce#tificate of title. The cle#D of cou#t shall sen0' 3ithin fifteen
0a$s f#o4 ent#$ of 5u064ent' ce#tifie0 copies of the 5u064ent an0 of the o#0e# of the
cou#t 0i#ectin6 the Co44issione# to issue the co##espon0in6 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation an0
ce#tificate of title' an0 a ce#tificate statin6 that the 0ecision has not been a4en0e0'
#econsi0e#e0' no# appeale0' an0 has beco4e final. The#eupon' the Co44issione# shall
cause to be p#epa#e0 the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation as 3ell as the o#i6inal an0 0uplicate of the
co##espon0in6 o#i6inal ce#tificate of title. The o#i6inal ce#tificate of title shall be a t#ue
cop$ of the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation. The 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation shall be si6ne0 b$ the
Co44issione#' ente#e0 an0 file0 in the +an0 Re6ist#ation Co44ission. The o#i6inal of
the o#i6inal ce#tificate of title shall also be si6ne0 b$ the Co44issione# an0 shall be sent'
to6ethe# 3ith the o3ne#Hs 0uplicate ce#tificate' to the Re6iste# of Dee0s of the cit$ o#
p#o.ince 3he#e the p#ope#t$ is situate0 fo# ent#$ in his #e6ist#ation booD.
The p#o.ision la$s 0o3n the p#oce0u#e that inte#poses bet3een the #en0ition of the
5u064ent an0 the issuance of the ce#tificate of title. No obli6ation 3hatsoe.e# is i4pose0
b$ Section &! on the p#e.ailin6 applicant o# opposito# e.en as a p#econ0ition to the
issuance of the title. The obli6ations p#o.i0e0 in the Section a#e le.ie0 on the lan0 cou#t
7that is to issue an o#0e# 0i#ectin6 the +an0 Re6ist#ation Co44issione# to issue in tu#n
the co##espon0in6 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation8' its cle#D of cou#t 7that is to t#ans4it copies of
the 5u064ent an0 the o#0e# to the Co44issione#8' an0 the +an0 Re6ist#ation
Co44issione# 7that is to cause the p#epa#ation of the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation an0 the
t#ans4ittal the#eof to the Re6iste# of Dee0s8. /ll these obli6ations a#e 4iniste#ial on the
office#s cha#6e0 3ith thei# pe#fo#4ance an0 thus 6ene#all$ be$on0 0isc#etion of
a4en04ent o# #e.ie3.
The failu#e on the pa#t of the a04inist#ati.e autho#ities to 0o thei# pa#t in the issuance of
the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation cannot oust the p#e.ailin6 pa#t$ f#o4 o3ne#ship of the lan0.
Neithe# the failu#e of such applicant to follo3 up 3ith sai0 autho#ities can. The ulti4ate
6oal of ou# lan0 #e6ist#ation s$ste4 is 6ea#e0 to3a#0s the final an0 0efiniti.e
0ete#4ination of #eal p#ope#t$ o3ne#ship in the count#$' an0 the i4position of an
a00itional bu#0en on the o3ne# afte# the 5u064ent in the lan0 #e6ist#ation case ha0
attaine0 finalit$ 3oul0 si4pl$ f#ust#ate such 6oal.
Clea#l$' the peculia# p#oce0u#e p#o.i0e0 in the P#ope#t$ Re6ist#ation +a3 f#o4 the ti4e
0ecisions in lan0 #e6ist#ation cases beco4e final is co4plete in itself an0 0oes not nee0 to
be fille0 in. ,#o4 anothe# pe#specti.e' the 5u064ent 0oes not ha.e to be e;ecute0 b$
4otion o# enfo#ce0 b$ action 3ithin the pu#.ie3 of Rule &! of the 1!!) Rules of Ci.il
P#oce0u#e.
,ollo3in6 these p#e4ises' it can e.en be posite0 that in theo#$' the#e 3oul0 ha.e been no
nee0 fo# Nillas' o# othe#s un0e# si4ila# ci#cu4stances' to file a petition fo# #e.i.al of
5u064ent' since #e.i.al of 5u064ents is a p#oce0u#e 0e#i.e0 f#o4 ci.il p#oce0u#e an0
p#ocee0s f#o4 the assu4ption that the 5u064ent is susceptible to p#esc#iption. The
p#i4a#$ #ecou#se nee0 not be 3ith the cou#ts' but 3ith the +R/' 3ith 3ho4 the 0ut$ to
issue the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation #e4ains. If it is sufficientl$ establishe0 befo#e that bo0$
that the#e is an authentic stan0in6 5u064ent o# o#0e# f#o4 a lan0 #e6ist#ation cou#t that
#e4ains uni4ple4ente0' then the#e shoul0 be no i4pe0i4ent to the issuance of the
0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation. -o3e.e#' the Cou#t sees the p#actical .alue of necessitatin6
5u0icial #ecou#se if a si6nificant nu4be# of $ea#s has passe0 since the p#o4ul6ation of the
lan0 cou#tCs uni4ple4ente0 0ecision o# o#0e#' as in this case. E.en thou6h p#esc#iption
shoul0 not be a cause to ba# the issuance of the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation' a 5u0icial
e.aluation 3oul0 allo3 fo# a tho#ou6h e;a4ination of the .e#acit$ of the 5u064ent o#
o#0e# sou6ht to be effecte0' o# a 0ete#4ination of causes othe# than p#esc#iption o# laches
that 4i6ht p#eclu0e the issuance of the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation.
9hat about the t3o cases cite0 b$ the Republic' Shipsi0e an0 -ei#s of +ope@H E.en
thou6h the Cou#t applie0 the 0oct#ines of p#esc#iption an0 laches in those cases' it shoul0
be obse#.e0 that neithe# case 3as inten0e0 to o.e#tu#n the Sta. /na 0oct#ine' no# 0i0 the$
4aDe an$ e;p#ess 0ecla#ation to such effect. Mo#eo.e#' both cases 3e#e 6o.e#ne0 b$ thei#
uni2ue set of facts' 2uite 0istinct f#o4 the 6ene#al situation that 4a#De0 both Sta. /na an0
the p#esent case.
The 5u064ent sou6ht belate0l$ fo# enfo#ce4ent in Shipsi0e 0i0 not a#ise f#o4 an o#i6inal
action fo# lan0 #e6ist#ation' but f#o4 a successful 4otion b$ the Republic seeDin6 the
cancellation of title p#e.iousl$ a05u0icate0 to a p#i.ate lan0o3ne#. 9hile one 4i6ht a#6ue
that such 4otion still a#ose in a lan0 #e6ist#ation case' 3e note that the p#onounce4ent
the#ein that p#esc#iption ba##e0 the #e.i.al of the o#0e# of cancellation 3as 4a0e in the
cou#se of 0ispensin6 3ith an a#6u4ent 3hich 3as ulti4atel$ pe#iphe#al to that case.
In0ee0' the po#tion of Shipsi0e 0ealin6 3ith the issue of p#esc#iption 4e#el$ #estate0 the
p#o.isions in the Ci.il Co0e an0 the Rules of Ci.il P#oce0u#e #elatin6 to p#esc#iption'
follo3e0 b$ an obse#.ation that the 5u064ent sou6ht to be #e.i.e0 attaine0 finalit$ %
$ea#s ea#lie#. -o3e.e#' the Sta. /na 0oct#ine 3as not a00#esse0' an0 pe#haps 3ith 6oo0
#eason' as the si6nificantl$ 4o#e e;tensi.e #ationale p#o.i0e0 b$ the Cou#t in ba##in6 the
#e.i.al of 5u064ent 3as the fact that the State no lon6e# hel0 inte#est in the sub5ect
p#ope#t$' ha.in6 0i.este0 the sa4e to the *ases Con.e#sion De.elop4ent /utho#it$ p#io#
to the filin6 of the action fo# #e.i.al. Shipsi0e e;poun0s on this point' an0 not on the
applicabilit$ of the #ules of p#esc#iption.
Notabl$' Shipsi0e has attaine0 so4e 4easu#e of p#o4inence as p#ece0ent on still anothe#
point' #elatin6 to its p#onounce4ents #elatin6 to the p#ope# e;ecution of the ce#tification
of non<fo#u4 shoppin6 b$ a co#po#ation. In cont#ast' Shipsi0e has not since been utili@e0
b$ the Cou#t to e4plo$ the #ules on p#esc#iption an0 laches on final 0ecisions in lan0
#e6ist#ation cases. It is 3o#th 4entionin6 that since Shipsi0e 3as p#o4ul6ate0 in %((1'
the Cou#t has not hesitate0 in #eaffi#4in6 the #ule in Sta. /na as #ecentl$ as in the 4i00le
of %(( in the Pa0e#es case.
9e no3 tu#n to -ei#s of +ope@' 3he#ein the cont#ollin6 factual 4ilieu p#o.e0 e.en 4o#e
uncon.entional than that in Shipsi0e. The p#ope#t$ in.ol.e0 the#ein 3as the sub5ect of
t3o sepa#ate applications fo# #e6ist#ation' one file0 b$ petitione#s the#ein in 1!!' the
othe# b$ a 0iffe#ent pa#t$ in 1!A). It 3as the latte# 3ho 3as fi#st able to obtain a 0ec#ee of
#e6ist#ation' this acco4plishe0 as ea#l$ as 1!A>.%: On the othe# han0' the petitione#s 3e#e
able to obtain a final 5u064ent in thei# fa.o# onl$ in 1!)!' b$ 3hich ti4e the p#ope#t$
ha0 al#ea0$ been #e6iste#e0 in the na4e of the othe# clai4ant' thus obst#uctin6 the
issuance of ce#tificate of title to the petitione#s. The issues of p#esc#iption an0 laches
a#ose because the petitione#s file0 thei# action to enfo#ce the 1!)! final 5u064ent an0 the
cancellation of the co4petin6 title onl$ in 1!>)' t3o 7%8 $ea#s be$on0 the fi.e 78<$ea#
p#esc#ipti.e pe#io0 p#o.i0e0 in the Rules of Ci.il P#oce0u#e. The Cou#t 0i0 cha#acte#i@e
the petitione#s as 6uilt$ of laches fo# the 0ela$ in filin6 the action fo# the e;ecution of the
5u064ent in thei# fa.o#' an0 thus 0enie0 the petition on that sco#e.
-ei#s of +ope@ note0 the settle0 #ule that B3hen t3o ce#tificates of title a#e issue0 to
0iffe#ent pe#sons co.e#in6 the sa4e lan0 in 3hole o# in pa#t' the ea#lie# in 0ate 4ust
p#e.ail ; ; ;'B an0 in0ee0 e.en if the petitione#s the#ein 3e#e so4eho3 able to obtain a
ce#tificate of title pu#suant to the 1!)! 5u064ent in thei# fa.o#' such title coul0 not ha.e
stoo0 in the face of the ea#lie# title. The Cou#t then co##elate0 the laches of the petitione#s
3ith thei# patte#n of beha.io# in failin6 to e;e#cise 0ue 0ili6ence to p#otect thei# inte#ests
o.e# the p#ope#t$' 4a#De0 b$ thei# inabilit$ to oppose the othe# application fo#
#e6ist#ation o# to seeD enfo#ce4ent of thei# o3n 5u064ent 3ithin the fi.e 78 <$ea#
#e6le4enta#$ pe#io0.
Still' a close e;a4ination of -ei#s of +ope@ #e.eals an unusual 0ile44a that ne6ates its
application as p#ece0ent to the case at ba#' o# to 0et#act f#o4 Sta. /na as a 6ene#al #ule fo#
that 4atte#. The e;ecution of the 5u064ent sou6ht fo# belate0 enfo#ce4ent in -ei#s of
+ope@ 3oul0 ha.e entaile0 the 0istu#bance of a 0iffe#ent final 5u064ent 3hich ha0
al#ea0$ been e;ecute0 an0 3hich 3as shiel0e0 b$ the le6al p#otection affo#0e0 b$ a
To##ens title. In li6ht of those ci#cu4stances' the#e coul0 not ha.e been a B4iniste#ial
0ut$B on the pa#t of the #e6ist#ation autho#ities to effectuate the 5u064ent in fa.o# of the
petitione#s in -ei#s of +ope@. Neithe# coul0 it be sai0 that thei# #i6ht of o3ne#ship as
confi#4e0 b$ the 5u064ent in thei# fa.o# 3as in0ubitable' consi0e#in6 the ea#lie# 0ec#ee
of #e6ist#ation o.e# the sa4e p#ope#t$ acco#0e0 to a 0iffe#ent pa#t$. The Sta. /na 0oct#ine
#ests upon the 6ene#al p#esu4ption that the final 5u064ent' 3ith 3hich the co##espon0in6
0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation is ho4olo6ous b$ le6al 0esi6n' has not been 0istu#be0 b$ anothe#
#ulin6 b$ a co<e;tensi.e o# supe#io# cou#t. That p#esu4ption obtains in this case as 3ell.
Unless that p#esu4ption is o.e#co4e' the#e is no i4pe0i4ent to the continue0 application
of Sta. /na as p#ece0ent.%
9e a#e not incline0 to 4aDe an$ p#onounce4ents on the 0oct#inal .iabilit$ of Shipsi0e o#
-ei#s of +ope@ conce#nin6 the applicabilit$ of the #ules of p#esc#iption o# laches in lan0
#e6ist#ation cases. Suffice it to sa$' those cases 0o not ope#ate to 0et#act f#o4 the
continue0 6oo0 stan0in6 of Sta. /na as a 6ene#al p#ece0ent that neithe# p#esc#iption no#
laches ba#s the enfo#ce4ent of a final 5u064ent in a lan0 #e6ist#ation case' especiall$
3hen the sai0 5u064ent has not been #e.e#se0 o# 4o0ifie0' 3hethe# 0elibe#atel$ o#
ina0.e#tentl$' b$ anothe# final cou#t #ulin6. This 2ualifie# stan0s not so 4uch as a ne3l$<
ca#.e0 e;ception to the 6ene#al #ule as it 0oes as an e;e#cise in statin6 the ob.ious.
,inall$' the Republic faults the Cou#t of /ppeals fo# p#onouncin6 that the 1!:1 Decision
constitute0 #es 5u0icata that ba##e0 subse2uent attacDs to the a05u0icatesH title o.e# the
sub5ect p#ope#t$. The Republic sub4its that sai0 0ecision 3oul0 ope#ate as #es 5u0icata
onl$ afte# the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation 3as issue0' 3hich 0i0 not happen in this case. 9e
0oubt that a final 0ecisionHs status as #es 5u0icata is the i4pellin6 6#oun0 fo# its .e#$ o3n
e;ecutionG an0 in0ee0 #es 5u0icata is 4o#e often in.oDe0 as a 0efense o# as a facto# in
#elation to a 0iffe#ent case alto6ethe#. Still' this fault$ te#4inolo6$ asi0e' the RepublicHs
a#6u4ents on this point 0o not 0issua0e f#o4 ou# cent#al hol0in6 that the 1!:1 Decision
is still susceptible to effectuation b$ the stan0a#0 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation not3ithstan0in6
the 0ela$ incu##e0 b$ Nillas o# he# p#e0ecesso#s<in<inte#est in seeDin6 its effectuation an0
the #easons fo# such 0ela$' follo3in6 the p#ost#acte0 failu#e of the then +an0 Re6ist#ation
Co44issione# to issue the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation. In this case' all that Nillas nee0e0 to
p#o.e 3as that she ha0 0ul$ ac2ui#e0 the #i6hts of the o#i6inal a05u0icates H he#
p#e0ecesso#s<in<inte#est<in o#0e# to entitle he# to the 0ec#ee of #e6ist#ation albeit still in
the na4es of the o#i6inal p#e.ailin6 pa#ties 3ho a#e he# p#e0ecesso#s<in inte#est. *oth the
t#ial cou#t an0 the
Cou#t of /ppeals 3e#e satisfie0 that such fact 3as p#o.en' an0 the Republic 0oes not
offe# an$ co4pellin6 a#6u4ent to 0ispute such p#oof.
9-ERE,ORE' the Petition is DENIED. No p#onounce4ent as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
D/NTE O. TING/
/ssociate "ustice
9E CONCUR1
+EON/RDO /. ?UISUM*ING
/ssociate "ustice
Chai#pe#son
/NTONIO T. C/RPIO
/ssociate "ustice CONC-IT/ C/RPIO MOR/+ES
/sscociate "ustice
PRES*ITERO ". VE+/SCO' "R.
/ssociate "ustice
/ T T E S T / T I O N
I attest that the conclusions in the abo.e Decision ha0 been #eache0 in consultation befo#e
the case 3as assi6ne0 to the 3#ite# of the opinion of the Cou#tHs Di.ision.
+EON/RDO /. ?UISUM*ING
/ssociate "ustice
Chai#pe#son' Secon0 Di.ision
C E R T I , I C / T I O N
Pu#suant to Section 1&' /#ticle VIII of the Constitution' an0 the Di.ision Chai#4anHs
/ttestation' it is he#eb$ ce#tifie0 that the conclusions in the abo.e Decision ha0 been
#eache0 in consultation befo#e the case 3as assi6ne0 to the 3#ite# of the opinion of the
Cou#tHs Di.ision.
REIN/TO S. PUNO
Chief "ustice