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VDA DE AVILES v CA
November 21, 1996
FACTS:
Petitioners: Anastacia Vda. De Aviles et. al.
Respondents: Court of Appeals and Camilo Aviles
Eduardo Aviles family has been in actual possession of a parcel of land
described as a fishpond, cogonal, unirrigated rice and residential land, situated in
Malawa, Lingayen, Pangasinan since 1957.
This property is his share in the estate of his deceased parents. The respective
areas allotted to them had been agreed upon and were measured before the
execution of the agreement. Because he had several children to support,
Eduardo asked for a bigger share and Camilo agreed to have a smaller area.
Eduardo mortgaged the property with the Rural Bank and Phil. National Bank
branch in Lingayen. When the property was inspected by a bank representative,
Eduardo, in the presence of the boundary owners (defendant Camilo Aviles,
Anastacio Aviles and Juana and Apolonio Joaquin) pointed to the inspector the
existing earthen dikes as the boundary limits of the property and nobody
objected.
The real estate mortgage was foreclosed and the property was sold at public
auction, but it was redeemed by plaintiffs mother and the land was subsequently
transferred and declared in her name.
In 1983, defendant Camilo Aviles moved the earthen dikes and constructed a
bamboo fence on the northern portion of Eduardos property, thereby molesting
and disturbing the peaceful possession of the plaintiffs over said portion.
Petitioners filed this special civil action for quieting of title
TC: dismissed the complaint
CA: affirmed TC decision, reasoning that a special civil action for quieting of title
is not the proper remedy for settling a boundary dispute, and that petitioners
should have instituted an ejectment suit instead.
ISSUE/HELD: WON a complaint for quieting of title is not the proper remedy but
rather it should be a case for ejectment - YES
The facts presented unmistakably constitute a clear case of boundary dispute,
which is not cognizable in a special civil action to quiet title.
To avail of the remedy of quieting of title, a plaintiff must show that there is an
instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which constitutes or casts
a cloud, doubt, question or shadow upon the owners title to or interest in real
property. In this case, the only controversy is whether these lands were properly
measured. There is no adverse claim by the defendant which constitutes a cloud
thereon.
Documents (those executed by private respondent and his brothers, as well as
the Deed of Sale evidencing the redemption by petitioner Anastacia of the
subject property in a foreclosure sale) in no way constitute a cloud or cast a
doubt upon the title of petitioners. Rather, the uncertainty arises from the parties
failure to situate and fix the boundary between their respective properties.
Petition DENIED and decision appealed from is AFFIRMED.











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ONO VS VICENTE LIM
The subject of controversy is Lot No. 943 of the Balamban Cadastre in Cebu City,
covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. RO-9969-(O-20449), over which the
contending parties in this action for quieting of title, initiated by respondent Vicente N. Lim
(Lim) in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Cebu City, assert exclusive ownership, to the
exclusion of the other. In its decision dated July 30, 1996,[1] the RTC favored Lim, and
ordered the cancellation of OCT No. RO-9969-(O-20449) and the issuance of a new
certificate of title in the name of Luisa Narvios-Lim (Luisa), Lims deceased mother and
predecessor-in-interest.
On appeal (CA-GR CV No. 57823), the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the RTC
on January 28, 2002.[2] It later denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration through
the resolution dated June 17, 2002.[3]
Hence, this appeal via petition for review on certiorari.
Antecedents
On October 23, 1992, Lim filed in the RTC in Cebu City a petition for the
reconstitution of the owners duplicate copy of OCT No. RO-9969-(O-20449), alleging that
said OCT had been lost during World War II by his mother, Luisa;[4] that Lot No. 943 of
the Balamban Cadastre in Cebu City covered by said OCT had been sold in 1937
to Luisaby Spouses Diego Oo and Estefania Apas (Spouses Oo), the lots registered
owners; and that although the deed evidencing the sale had been lost without being
registered, Antonio Oo (Antonio), the only legitimate heir of Spouses Oo, had executed
on April 23, 1961 in favor of Luisa a notarized document denominated as confirmation of
sale,[5]which was duly filed in the Provincial Assessors Office of Cebu.
Zosimo Oo and petitioner Teofisto Oo (Oos) opposed Lims petition, contending that
they had the certificate of title in their possession as the successors-in-interest of Spouses
Oo.
On account of the Oos opposition, and upon order of the RTC, Lim converted the
petition for reconstitution into a complaint for quieting of title,[6] averring additionally that
he and his predecessor-in-interest had been in actual possession of the property since
1937, cultivating and developing it, enjoying its fruits, and paying the taxes corresponding
to it. He prayed, inter alia, that the Oos be ordered to surrender the reconstituted
owners duplicate copy of OCT No. RO-9969-(O-20449), and that said OCT be cancelled
and a new certificate of title be issued in the name of Luisa in lieu of said OCT.
In their answer,[7] the Oos claimed that their predecessors-in-interest, Spouses
Oo, never sold Lot No. 943 to Luisa; and that the confirmation of sale purportedly
executed by Antonio was fabricated, his signature thereon not being authentic.
RTC Ruling
On July 30, 1996, after trial, the RTC rendered its decision,[8] viz:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered quieting plaintiff's title
to Lot No. 943 of the Balamban (Cebu) Cadastre, and directing the Register of Deeds of
Cebu
(1) To register the aforestated April 23, 1961 Confirmation of Sale of Lot No. 943 of the
Balamban, Cebu Cadastre by Antonio Oo in favor of Luisa Narvios-Lim;
2) To cancel the original certificate of title covering the said Lot No. 943 of the
Balamban, Cebu Cadastre; and,
(3) To issue in the name of Luisa Narvios-Lim, a new duplicate certificate of title No. RO-
9969 (O-20449) of the Register of Deeds of Cebu, which shall contain a memorandum of
the fact that it is issued in place of the lost duplicate certificate of title, and shall in all
respects be entitled to like faith and credit as the original certificate, and shall be regarded
as such for all purposes of this decree, pursuant to the last paragraph of Section 109,
Presidential Decree No. 1529.
Without special pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.[9]
The RTC found that the Lims had been in peaceful possession of the land since
1937; that their possession had never been disturbed by the Oos, except on two
occasions in 1993 when the Oos seized the harvested copra from the Lims caretaker;
that the Lims had since declared the lot in their name for taxation purposes, and had paid
the taxes corresponding to the lot; that the signature of Antonio on the confirmation of
sale was genuine, thereby giving more weight to the testimony of the notary public who
had notarized the document and affirmatively testified that Antonio and Luisa had both
appeared before him to acknowledge the instrument as true than to the testimony of the
expert witness who attested that Antonios signature was a forgery.
CA Ruling
On appeal, the Oos maintained that the confirmation of sale was spurious; that
the property, being a titled one, could not be acquired by the Lims through prescription;
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that their (the Oos) action to claim the property could not be barred by laches; and that
the action instituted by the Lims constituted a collateral attack against their registered title.

The CA affirmed the RTC, however, and found that Spouses Oo had sold Lot No.
943 to Luisa; and that such sale had been confirmed by their son Antonio. The CA ruled
that the action for quieting of title was not a collateral, but a direct attack on the title; and
that the Lims undisturbed possession had given them a continuing right to seek the aid of
the courts to determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and its effect on
their own title.
Nonetheless, the CA corrected the RTC, by ordering that the Office of the Register of
Deeds of Cebu City issue a new duplicate certificate of title in the name of Luisa,
considering that the owners duplicate was still intact in the possession of the Oos.
The decree of the CA decision was as follows:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED for lack of merit. However, the dispositive
portion of the decision appealed from is CORRECTED as follows:
(1) Within five (5) days from finality of the decision, defendants-appellants are directed
to present the owner's duplicate copy of OCT No. RO-9969 (O-20449) to the Register of
Deeds who shall thereupon register the Confirmation of Sale of Lot No. 943, Balamban
Cadastre, Cebu, executed on April 23, 1961 by Antonio Oo in favor of Luisa Narvios-Lim,
and issue a new transfer certificate of title to and in the name of the latter upon
cancellation of the outstanding original and owner's duplicate certificate of title.
(2) In the event defendants-appellants neglect or refuse to present the owner's copy of
the title to the Register of Deeds as herein directed, the said title, by force of this decision,
shall be deemed annulled, and the Register of Deeds shall make a memorandum of such
fact in the record and in the new transfer certificate of title to be issued to Luisa Narvios-
Lim.
(3) Defendants-appellants shall pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.[10]
The CA denied the Oos motion for reconsideration[11] on June 17, 2002.[12]
Hence, this appeal.
Issues
The petitioners raise the following issues:
1. Whether or not the validity of the OCT could be collaterally attacked through an
ordinary civil action to quiet title;
2. Whether or not the ownership over registered land could be lost by prescription,
laches, or adverse possession;
3. Whether or not there was a deed of sale executed by Spouses Oo in favor of Luisa
and whether or not said deed was lost during World War II;
4. Whether or not the confirmation of sale executed by Antonio in favor of Luisa
existed; and
5. Whether or not the signature purportedly of Antonio in that confirmation of sale was
genuine.
Ruling of the Court
The petition has no merit.
A.
Action for cancellation of title s not an attack on the title
The petitioners contend that this action for quieting of title should be disallowed because
it constituted a collateral attack on OCT No. RO-9969-(O-20449), citing Section 48 of
Presidential Decree No. 1529, viz:
Section 48. Certificate not subject to collateral attack. A certificate of title shall not be
subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified, or cancelled except in a direct
proceeding in accordance with law.
The petitioners contention is not well taken.
An action or proceeding is deemed an attack on a title when its objective is to nullify the
title, thereby challenging the judgment pursuant to which the title was decreed.[13]The
attack is direct when the objective is to annul or set aside such judgment, or enjoin its
enforcement. On the other hand, the attack is indirect or collateral when, in an action to
obtain a different relief, an attack on the judgment is nevertheless made as an incident
thereof.[14]
Quieting of title is a common law remedy for the removal of any cloud, doubt, or
uncertainty affecting title to real property.[15] Whenever there is a cloud on title to real
property or any interest in real property by reason of any instrument, record, claim,
encumbrance, or proceeding that is apparently valid or effective, but is, in truth and in fact,
invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title, an
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action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet the title.[16] In such action, the
competent court is tasked to determine the respective rights of the complainant and the
other claimants, not only to place things in their proper places, and to make the claimant,
who has no rights to said immovable, respect and not disturb the one so entitled, but also
for the benefit of both, so that whoever has the right will see every cloud of doubt over the
property dissipated, and he can thereafter fearlessly introduce the improvements he may
desire, as well as use, and even abuse the property as he deems fit.[17]

Lims complaint pertinently alleged:

18. If indeed, the genuine original of the Owner's Duplicate of the Reconstituted Original
Certificate of Title No. RO-9699 (O-20449) for Lot 943, Balamban Cadastre xxx is in
Defendant's (Oos) possession, then VNL submits the following PROPOSITIONS:
xxx
18.2. Therefore, the Original of Owners Duplicate Certificate (which Respondents
[Defendants Oos] claim in their Opposition is in their possession) must be surrendered to
VNL upon order of this Court, after the Court shall have determined VNL's mother's
acquisition of the attributes of ownership over said Lot 943, in this action, in accordance
with Section 107, P.D. 1529, Property Registration Decree xxx
xxx
[t]hat OCT 20449 be cancelled and new title for Lot 943 be issued directly in favor of
LUISA NARVIOS, to complete her title to said Lot;[18]
The averments readily show that the action was neither a direct nor a collateral attack on
OCT No. RO-9969-(O-20449), for Lim was asserting only that the existing title registered
in the name of the petitioners predecessors had become inoperative due to the
conveyance in favor of Lims mother, and resultantly should be cancelled. Lim did not
thereby assail the validity of OCT No. RO-9969-(O-20449), or challenge the judgment by
which the title of the lot involved had been decreed. In other words, the action sought the
removal of a cloud from Lims title, and the confirmation of Lims ownership over the
disputed property as the successor-in-interest of Luisa.
B Prescription was not relevant
The petitioners assert that the lot, being titled in the name of their predecessors-in-
interest, could not be acquired by prescription or adverse possession.
The assertion is unwarranted.
Prescription, in general, is a mode of acquiring or losing ownership and other real rights
through the lapse of time in the manner and under the conditions laid down by
law.[19] However, prescription was not relevant to the determination of the dispute herein,
considering that Lim did not base his right of ownership on an adverse possession over a
certain period. He insisted herein, instead, that title to the land had been voluntarily
transferred by the registered owners themselves to Luisa, his predecessor-in-interest.
Lim showed that his mother had derived a just title to the property by virtue of sale;
that from the time Luisa had acquired the property in 1937, she had taken over its
possession in the concept of an owner, and had performed her obligation by paying real
property taxes on the property, as evidenced by tax declarations issued in her
name;[20]and that in view of the delivery of the property, coupled with Luisas actual
occupation of it, all that remained to be done was the issuance of a new transfer certificate
of title in her name.
C.Forgery, being a question of fact, could not be dealt with now
The petitioners submit that Lims evidence did not preponderantly show that the
ownership of the lot had been transferred to Luisa; and that both the trial and the appellate
courts disregarded their showing that Antonios signature on the confirmation of sale was
a forgery.
Clearly, the petitioners hereby seek a review of the evaluation and appreciation of
the evidence presented by the parties.
The Court cannot anymore review the evaluation and appreciation of the evidence,
because the Court is not a trier of facts.[21] Although this rule admits of certain
exceptions, viz: (1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation,
surmises, or conjecture; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken; (3) where
there is a grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a
misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when the Court
of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case, and the findings
are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee; (7) when the findings of the
Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court; (8) when the findings of fact are
conclusions without specific evidence on which they are based; (9) when the facts set
forth in the petition as well in the petitioners main and reply briefs are not disputed by the
respondents; and, (10) when the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on
the supposed absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on record,[22] it
does not appear now that any of the exceptions is present herein. We thus apply the rule
without hesitation, and reject the appeal for that reason.
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It is emphasized, too, that the CA upheld the conclusion arrived at by the RTC that the
signature of Antonio had not been simulated or forged. The CA ruled that the testimony of
the notary public who had notarized the confirmation of sale to the effect that Antonio and
Luisa had appeared before him prevailed over that of the petitioners expert witness. The
concurrence of their conclusion on the genuineness of Antonios signature now binds the
Court.[23]
In civil cases, the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a
preponderance of evidence. Preponderance of evidence is the weight, credit, and value of
the aggregate evidence on either side, and is usually considered to be synonymous with
the term greater weight of the evidence or greater weight of the credible
evidence.Preponderance of evidence is a phrase that means, in the last analysis,
probability of the truth.[24] It is evidence that is more convincing to the court as worthy of
belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto.

Lim successfully discharged his burden of proof as the plaintiff. He established by
preponderant evidence that he had a superior right and title to the property. In contrast,
the petitioners did not present any proof of their better title other than their copy of the
reconstituted certificate of title. Such proof was not enough, because the registration of a
piece of land under the Torrens system did not create or vest title, such registration not
being a mode of acquiring ownership. The petitioners need to be reminded that a
certificate of title is merely an evidence of ownership or title over the particular property
described therein. Its issuance in favor of a particular person does not foreclose the
possibility that the real property may be co-owned with persons not named in the
certificate, or that it may be held in trust for another person by the registered owner.[25]
WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is denied, and the decision
dated January 28, 2002 is affirmed.
The petitioners are ordered to pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
NEY VS SPS QUIJANO
On appeal is the June 29, 2007 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R.
No. CV. 86047, setting aside the August 25, 2005 Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Manila, Branch 45.
Petitioners Manuel P. Ney and Romulo P. Ney (petitioners) are the registered owners of a
residential lot located at 1648 Main Street, Paco Manila, with an area of 120 square
meters more or less, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 122489.[3] A three
(3) door apartment was constructed on the subject lot one for Manuel, the other for
Romulo; and the last one for their sister Mina N. Quijano and her husband Celso Quijano
(respondents).
On October 8, 1999, respondents filed with the RTC of Manila a suit for reconveyance,
partition and damages against petitioners. They averred that they are co-owners of the
subject property having paid part of its purchase price; that Celsos name was
inadvertently omitted as one of the buyers in the execution of the deed of
sale. Consequently, TCT No. 122489 covering the subject property was issued only in the
names of Manuel and Romulo. To obtain a separate certificate of title, they requested
from petitioners the segregation of the portion allotted to them, but the latter
refused. They later discovered that the entire property was mortgaged with Metropolitan
Bank & Trust Company, prompting them to execute and register their adverse claim with
the Register of Deeds; and to file the instant complaint.[4]
Petitioners, in their answer,[5] denied respondents allegation of co-ownership. They
averred that Celso Quijano was not a vendee of the subject lot; thus, his name did not
appear on the title. They asserted that respondents cannot validly maintain an action
against them because the latter possessed the property by mere tolerance; and even
assuming that respondents had a valid cause of action, the same had already been barred
by prescription and/or laches. Petitioners, therefore, prayed for the dismissal of the
complaint.
After trial, the RTC rendered a Decision[6] dismissing the complaint. It rejected
respondents claim of co-ownership, and declared their documentary and testimonial
evidence unreliable. The RTC sustained petitioners assertion that respondents
possessed part of the property through mere tolerance; and that their cause of action, if
any, already prescribed. The RTC thus ruled that respondents can no longer demand the
segregation or reconveyance of the claimed portion of the property. Finally, the RTC
granted petitioners counterclaim and ordered the reimbursement of the expenses they
incurred in defending the case.
The dispositive portion of the RTC decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the [respondents] Complaint is hereby
DISMISSED.
On the other hand, finding merit in the [petitioners] Counterclaim, the [respondents] are
hereby ordered to pay the [petitioners]:
a) The reduced amount of P50,000.00 for attorneys fees; and
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b) The costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.[7]
From the aforesaid Decision, respondents went to the CA. They faulted the RTC for
dismissing their complaint and insisted that they are co-owners of the subject lot; and that
their share was erroneously included in petitioners title. Respondents also took exception
to the trial courts declaration that their action was already barred by prescription and
laches. Citing Heirs of Jose Olviga v. Court of Appeals, respondents asserted that their
right to institute an action for reconveyance is imprescriptible because they are in
possession of the claimed portion of the property.[8]
On June 29, 2007, the CA rendered the now challenged Decision,[9] reversing the
RTC. The CA found sufficient evidence to support respondents claim that they are
indeed co-owners of the property; and were excluded by petitioners in the deed of sale
and certificate of title. The CA considered respondents complaint as one for quieting of
title which is imprescriptible; and granted to respondents the reliefs that they prayed for.
The CA disposed, thus:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED. The appealed Decision dated August 25, 2005
of the Regional Trial Court Branch 45, Manila is hereby SET ASIDE. In its stead, a NEW
ONE IS ENTERED, declaring [respondents], spouses Celso and Mina Quijano, as co-
owners of the subject lot to the extent of one-third (1/3) thereof which corresponds to that
portion where their house stands.
Accordingly, [petitioners] are hereby ordered:
1) to partition the subject lot into three (3) equal portions of forty square meters (40
sq.m.) each, specifically allotting to [respondents] the portion where their house stands;
2) to reconvey to [respondents] the clean title to their portion of the subject lot;
3) to surrender the owners copy of TCT No. 122489 to the Register of Deeds of Manila
for the annotation of [respondents] share thereon; and
4) to pay [respondents] attorneys fees and the costs of suit in the reasonable amount
of P50,000.00.
SO ORDERED.[10]
Undaunted, petitioners took the present recourse. They ascribe reversible error to the
CA for treating respondents action as one for quieting of title. They claim that nowhere in
the complaint does it state that respondents seek to quiet their title to the property. All that
respondents averred and prayed for in their complaint was for petitioners to surrender
their certificate of title, and for the partition of the subject property. Petitioners assert that
the CA ruled on an issue not raised in the pleadings; and substituted the respondents
action with an entirely new action for quieting of title.
The argument is specious.
The allegations in respondents complaint read in part:
2) That [respondents] are co-owners of one-third (1/3) portion pro indiviso of
the residential lot where their residential house was constructed known as 1648 Main
Street, Paco, Manila, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 122489; x x x
3) That in their agreement with the lot owner, the name of the [respondent]
Celso P. Quijano appears as one (1) of the Second Party [sic] who purchased the lot at
the purchase price ofP50,000.00 with P40,000.00 as down payment and the balance
of P10,000.00 shall be paid on or before July 14, 1976, wherein the [respondent] Celso P.
Quijano have (sic) paid the sum of P5,000.00 on the same due date of July 14, 1976;
4) That when the Deed of Absolute Sale was executed by the Vendor, the
name of the [respondent] Celso P. Quijano, marr[ie]d to Mina Ney Quijano was omitted
and the purchase price appeared to be only P20,000.00 and not P50,000.00 as appearing
in their Agreement, thus when the Absolute Deed of Sale was presented to the Register of
Deeds of Manila, only the names of Manuel P. Ney and Romulo P. Ney appeared as the
registered owners in the above-mentioned Transfer Certificate of Title No.122489;
5) That Celso Quijano, however, was able to secure a Certification from the
Vend[o]r Luz J. Lim the true and correct selling price agreed upon is P50,000.00 and the
Vendees were Manuel P. Ney, Romulo P. Ney and [respondent] Celso Quijano and that
the amount of P20,000.00 put in the Deed of Sale was at the instance of the Vendor with
the consent of the Vendees;
6) That sometime in March 1991, [respondents] requested from the
[petitioners] to segregate their Title to the one-third (1/3) portion of the lot [sic] where their
house was constructed with an area of about forty (40) square meters more or less and
[petitioners] agreed and executed a Deed of Reconveyance, but when [respondent] Celso
P. Quijano presented the document to the Register of Deeds of Manila it [sic] was rejected
because he can not present the Owners copy;
x x x x
8) That from the records of the Register of Deeds of Manila, [respondent] Celso
P. Quijano discovered that the whole property was mortgaged with [sic] the Metropolitan
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Bank & Trust Company, thus [respondents] were constrained to execute and register their
adverse claim that they are co-owners of one-third (1/3) portion of the lot and their
residential house therein;
9) That after the registration of the [respondents] adverse claim, the Register of
Deeds through Expedito A. Javier notified the [petitioners] to surrender the Owners
duplicate copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 122489 in order that a Memorandum be
made thereon for the Notice of Adverse Claim, but the request of the Register of Deeds
was not honored by the [petitioners];
x x x x
12) That by reason of the[petitioners] refusal to surrender the Owners copy of
the Title to the Register of Deeds of Manila for partition and reconveyance, [respondents]
were constrained to engage the services of counsel to protect their interest at an agreed
amount of P50,000.00 as and for attorneys fees.
These allegations make out a case for reconveyance. That reconveyance was one of the
reliefs sought was made abundantly clear by respondents in their prayer, viz.:

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that after due hearing judgment be rendered in
favor of the [respondents] and against the [petitioners] ordering the latter as follows:
a) To surrender the Owners copy of TCT No. 122489 to the Court or if refused that an
Order be issued ordering the Register of Deeds of Manila to issue to the [respondents]
their co-owners copy if [sic] the Title;
b) Ordering the partition of the lot into equal shares of forty (40) square meters more or
less and the lot where the [respondents] residential house is constructed known as 1648
Main Street, Paco Manila be awarded and be reconveyed to the [respondents] as their
share;
c) Ordering the [petitioners] to settle their obligations to [sic] the mortgagee bank, if any,
and to reconvey to the [respondents] clean Title over their property.
d) Ordering [petitioners] jointly and severally to pay [respondents] moral damages in the
amount of P100,000.00, exemplary damages in the sum of P100,000.00 and the sum
of P50,000.00 as and for attorneys fees and costs.
[Respondents] further pray for such other reliefs and remedies as may be just and
equitable in the premises.
Undoubtedly, respondents did not only seek the partition of the property and the delivery
of the title, but also the reconveyance of their share which was inadvertently included in
petitioners TCT.
An action for reconveyance is one that seeks to transfer property, wrongfully registered
by another, to its rightful and legal owner.[11] Indeed, reconveyance is an action distinct
from an action for quieting of title, which is filed whenever there is a cloud on title to real
property or any interest therein, by reason of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance
or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact, invalid,
ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title for purposes of
removing such cloud or to quiet title. [12] However, we find nothing erroneous in the CAs
ruling treating respondents action for reconveyance as an action to quiet title.
In Mendizabel v. Apao,[13] we treated a similar action for reconveyance as an action to
quiet title, explaining, thus:
The Court has ruled that the 10-year prescriptive period applies only when the person
enforcing the trust is not in possession of the property. If a person claiming to be its owner
is in actual possession of the property, the right to seek reconveyance, which in effect
seeks to quiet title to the property, does not prescribe. The reason is that the one who is in
actual possession of the land claiming to be its owner may wait until his possession is
disturbed or his title is attacked before taking steps to vindicate his right. 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, which right can be claimed only by one who is in possession.
The ruling was reiterated in Lasquite v. Victory Hills, Inc.,[14] viz.:
An action for reconveyance based on an implied trust prescribes in 10 years. The
reference point of the 10-year prescriptive period is the date of registration of the deed or
the issuance of the title. The prescriptive period applies only if there is an actual need to
reconvey the property as when the plaintiff is not in possession of the property. However,
if the plaintiff, as the real owner of the property also remains in possession of the property,
the prescriptive period to recover title and possession of the property does not run against
him. In such a case, an action for reconveyance, if nonetheless filed, would be in the
nature of a suit for quieting of title, an action that is imprescriptible.
Indubitably, the characterization by the CA of respondents action as in the nature of an
action for quieting of title cannot be considered a reversible error.
Petitioners next fault the CA for sustaining respondents claim of co-ownership. They
denied that Celso Quijano is a co-owner of the property. Unfortunately for petitioners, the
records speak otherwise.
8

The Deed of Reconveyance[15] executed by Manuel and Romulo explicitly states that:
[W]e acknowledge and recognized the rights, interests and participation of Celso P.
Quijano, Filipino, of legal age, married to Mina P. Ney and resident of 1648 Main Street,
Paco, Manila, as a co-owner of the one-third (1/3) portion of the said lot wherein his
residential house is now constructed at the above-stated address, having paid the
corresponding amount over the said 1/3 portion of the property for the acquisition costs
but whose name does not appear in the Deed of Sale executed in our favor, thus resulting
in the non-conclusion (sic) of his name in the above-stated Transfer Certificate of Title
when issued as a co-owner.
NOW, THEREFORE, for and in consideration of the foregoing premises WE, MANUEL P.
NEY and ROMULO P. NEY, do hereby transfer and convey unto said Spouses Celso P.
Quijano and MINA P. NEY their one-third (1/3) portion share of the aforedescribed (sic)
parcel of land where their residential house is now situated at their above-given address
with an area of forty (40) square meters more or less by virtue of this Deed of
Reconveyance.
Petitioners never denied the due execution of the Deed of Reconveyance. In fact they
admitted that the signatures appearing therein are theirs.[16] The CA cannot, therefore,
be faulted for declaring respondents as co-owners of the subject property because it
merely confirmed and enforced the Deed of Reconveyance voluntarily executed by
petitioners in favor of respondents.
As aptly pronounced by the CA:
T]he Deed of Reconveyance, duly signed by [petitioners] themselves, put to rest the focal
issue between the parties. There is no denying that it outweighs the evidence relied upon
by [petitioners] despite the fact that they have the transfer certificate of title over the entire
subject lot. It is settled that it is not the certificate of title that vests ownership. It merely
evidences such title. x x x[17]
In a number of cases, the Court has ordered reconveyance of property to the true owner
or to one with a better right, where the property had been erroneously or fraudulently titled
in another person's name. After all, the Torrens system was not designed to shield and
protect one who had committed fraud or misrepresentation and thus holds title in bad
faith.[18] Thus, the CA acted correctly in rendering the challenged decision.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CV No. 86047 is AFFIRMED. Cost against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 161122 September 24, 2012
DARE ADVENTURE FARM CORPORATION, Petitioner,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, MANILA, HON. AUGUSTINE VESTIL, as Presiding
Judge of RTC-CEBU, Br. 56, MANDAUE CITY, SPS. FELIX NG AND NENITA NG, and
SPS. MARTIN T. NG AND AZUCENA S. NG AND AGRIPINA R. GOC-
ONG, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
BERSAMIN, J.:
A decision rendered on a complaint in a civil action or proceeding does not hind or
prejudice a person not impleaded therein, for no person shall he adversely affected by the
outcome of a civil action or proceeding in which he is not a party. 1 Hence, such person
cannot bring an action for the annulment of the judgment under Rule 47 of the 1997 Rules
of Civil Procedure, except if he has been a successor in interest by title subsequent to the
commencement of the action, or the action or proceeding is in rem the judgment in which
is binding against him.
Antecedents
The petitioner acquired a parcel of land with an area of 65,100 square meters situated in
San Roque, Lilo-an, Metro Cebu known as lot 7531-part (the property) through a deed of
absolute sale executed on July 28, 1994 between the petitioner, as vendee, and Agripina
R. Goc-ong (a respondent herein), Porferio Goc-ong, Diosdado Goc-ong, Crisostomo
Goc-ong, Tranquilino Goc-ong, Naciancena Goc-ong and Avelino Goc-ong (collectively,
the Goc-ongs), as vendors.2
The petitioner later on discovered the joint affidavit executed on June 19, 1990 by the
Goc-ongs, whereby the Goc-ongs declared that they were the owners of the property, and
that they were mortgaging the property to Felix Ng, married to Nenita N. Ng, and Martin T.
Ng, married to Azucena S. Ng (collectively, the Ngs) to secure their obligation amounting
to P 648,000.00, subject to the condition that should they not pay the stipulated 36-
monthly installments, the Ngs would automatically become the owners of the property.3
With the Goc-ongs apparently failing to pay their obligation to the Ngs as stipulated, the
latter brought on January 16, 1997 a complaint for the recovery of a sum of money, or, in
the alternative, for the foreclosure of mortgage in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 56, in
Mandaue City (RTC) only against respondent Agripina R. Goc-ong.4 The action was
docketed as Civil Case No. MAN-2838.
9

With Agripina R. Goc-ong being declared in default for failing to file her answer in Civil
Case No. MAN-2838,5 the RTC rendered its Decision on October 16, 1997, disposing:
In the light of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered:
1) Declaring herein Plaintiffs the owners of lot 7531-part, situated at San Roque, Liloan,
Cebu containing an area of Sixty Five Thousand One Hundred (65,100) square meters
and assessed for P 22,240.00 and
2) Directing Defendant to pay Plaintiff the sum of P 10,000.00 as attorneys fees and
3) P 10,000.00 as litigation expenses.
SO ORDERED.6
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
In 2001, the petitioner commenced in the Court of Appeals (CA) an action for the
annulment of the October 16, 1997 decision of the RTC.
On June 19, 2001, however, the CA dismissed the petition for annulment of judgment, viz:
We are constrained to DISMISS OUTRIGHT the present petition for annulment of
judgment under Rule 47 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, considering
that nowhere therein is there an allegation on why "the ordinary remedies of new trial,
appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no
fault of the petitioner.["]7
The petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the outright dismissal, but the CA denied
its motion for reconsideration on October 24, 2003 on the basis that petitioner did not
show why it had not availed itself of the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for
relief or other appropriate remedies as provided in Section 1, Rule 47 of the Rules of
Court.
Issues
Hence, the petitioner ascribes to the CA the following errors, to wit:
I.
THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT
PETITIONER FAILED TO EXPLAIN WHY IT DID NOT AVAIL OF THE OTHER
REMEDIES ENUMERATED UNDER SECTION 1 RULE 47 OF THE 1997 RULES ON
CIVIL PROCEDURE.
II.
THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT
PETITIONER COULD HAVE ASSAILED THE DEED OF SALE AND QUESTIONED THE
FORECLOSURE PROCEEDINGS OR SOUGHT THE QUIETING OF TITLE TO THE
SUBJECT PROPERTY.
The decisive query is whether the action for annulment of judgment under Rule 47 was a
proper recourse for the petitioner to set aside the decision rendered in Civil Case No.
MAN-2838.
Ruling
We deny the petition for review.
I.
A petition for annulment of judgment is a remedy in equity so exceptional in nature that it
may be availed of only when other remedies are wanting, and only if the judgment, final
order or final resolution sought to be annulled was rendered by a court lacking jurisdiction
or through extrinsic fraud.8 Yet, the remedy, being exceptional in character, is not allowed
to be so easily and readily abused by parties aggrieved by the final judgments, orders or
resolutions.9 The Court has thus instituted safeguards by limiting the grounds for the
annulment to lack of jurisdiction and extrinsic fraud, and by prescribing in Section 110 of
Rule 47 of theRules of Court that the petitioner should show that the ordinary remedies of
new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available
through no fault of the petitioner.11 A petition for annulment that ignores or disregards any
of the safeguards cannot prosper.
The attitude of judicial reluctance towards the annulment of a judgment, final order or final
resolution is understandable, for the remedy disregards the time-honored doctrine of
immutability and unalterability of final judgments, a solid corner stone in the dispensation
of justice by the courts. The doctrine of immutability and unalterability serves a two-fold
purpose, namely: (a) to avoid delay in the administration of justice and thus, procedurally,
to make orderly the discharge of judicial business; and (b) to put an end to judicial
controversies, at the risk of occasional errors, which is precisely why the courts
exist.12 As to the first, a judgment that has acquired finality becomes immutable and
unalterable and is no longer to be modified in any respect even if the modification is meant
to correct an erroneous conclusion of fact or of law, and whether the modification is made
by the court that rendered the decision or by the highest court of the land.13 As to the
latter, controversies cannot drag on indefinitely because fundamental considerations of
public policy and sound practice demand that the rights and obligations of every litigant
must not hang in suspense for an indefinite period of time.14
10

II.
We uphold the CAs dismissal of the petitioners action for annulment of judgment based
on the foregoing considerations.
It is elementary that a judgment of a court is conclusive and binding only upon the parties
and those who are their successors in interest by title after the commencement of the
action in court.15 Section 47(b) of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court explicitly so provides, to
wit:
Section 47. Effect of judgments or final orders .The effect of a judgment or final order
rendered by a court of the Philippines, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or
final order, may be as follows:
xxxx
(b) In other cases, the judgment or final order is, with respect to the matter directly
adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in relation
thereto, conclusive between the parties and their successors in interest by title
subsequent to the commencement of the action or special proceeding, litigating for the
same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity; xxx.
The principle that a person cannot be prejudiced by a ruling rendered in an action or
proceeding in which he has not been made a party conforms to the constitutional
guarantee of due process of law. The operation of this principle was illustrated in Muoz v.
Yabut, Jr.,16 where the Court declared that a person not impleaded and given the
opportunity to take part in the proceedings was not bound by the decision declaring as null
and void the title from which his title to the property had been derived. We said there that
the effect of a judgment could not be extended to non-parties by simply issuing
an alias writ of execution against them, for no man should be prejudiced by any
proceeding to which he was a stranger. In the same manner, a writ of execution could be
issued only against a party, not against a person who did not have his day in court.17
Accordingly, the petitioners resort to annulment of judgment under Rule 47 was
unnecessary if, after all, the judgment rendered in Civil Case No. MAN-2838 did not
prejudice it.
Moreover, Section 1 of Rule 47 extends the remedy of annulment only to a party in whose
favor the remedies of new trial, reconsideration, appeal, and petition for relief from
judgment are no longer available through no fault of said party. As such, the petitioner,
being a non-party in Civil Case No. MAN-2838, could not bring the action for annulment of
judgment due to unavailability to it of the remedies of new trial, reconsideration, appeal, or
setting the judgment aside through a petition for relief.
The petitioner probably brought the action for annulment upon its honest belief that the
action was its remaining recourse from a perceived commission of extrinsic fraud against
it. It is worthwhile for the petitioner to ponder, however, that permitting it despite its being a
non-party in Civil Case No. MAN-2838 to avail itself of the remedy of annulment of
judgment would not help it in any substantial way. Although Rule 47 would initially grant
relief to it from the effects of the annulled judgment, the decision of the CA would not
really and finally determine the rights of the petitioner in the property as against the
competing rights of the original parties. To be borne in mind is that the annulment of
judgment is an equitable relief not because a party-litigant thereby gains another
opportunity to reopen the already-final judgment but because a party-litigant is enabled to
be discharged from the burden of being bound by a judgment that was an absolute nullity
to begin with.18
We agree with the CAs suggestion that the petitioners proper recourse was either an
action for quieting of title or an action for reconveyance of the property. It is timely for the
Court to remind that the petitioner will be better off if it should go to the courts to obtain
relief through the proper recourse; otherwise, it would waste its own time and effort, aside
from thereby unduly burdening the dockets of the courts.
The petitioner may vindicate its rights in the property through an action for quieting of title,
a common law remedy designed for the removal of any cloud upon, or doubt, or
uncertainty affecting title to real property. The action for quieting of title may be brought
whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest in real property by reason
of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding that is apparently valid or
effective, but is, in truth and in fact, invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, and
may be prejudicial to said title. In the action, the competent court is tasked to determine
the respective rights of the plaintiff and the other claimants, not only to put things in their
proper places, and make the claimant, who has no rights to the immovable, respect and
not disturb the one so entitled, but also for the benefit of both, so that whoever has the
right will see every cloud of doubt over the property dissipated, and he can thereafter
fearlessly introduce any desired improvements, as well as use, and even abuse the
property.19
The other proper remedy the CA suggested was an action for reconveyance of
property.1wphi1 According to Vda. de Recinto v. Inciong,20 the remedy belongs to the
landowner whose property has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another
persons name, and such landowner demands the reconveyance of the property in the
proper court of justice. If the property has meanwhile passed into the hands of an innocent
purchaser for value, the landowner may seek damages. In either situation, the landowner
respects the decree as incontrovertible and no longer open to review provided the one-
year period from the land coming under the operation of the Torrens System of land
registration already passed.
11

WHEREFORE the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on
June 19, 2001; andDIRECTS the petitioner to pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
G.R. No. L-38745 August 6, 1975
LUCIA TAN, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ARADOR VALDEHUEZA and REDICULO VALDEHUEZA, defendants-appellants.
Alaric P. Acosta for plaintiff-appellee.
Lorenzo P. de Guzman for defendants-appellants.
CASTRO, J.:
This appeal was certified to this Court by the Court of Appeals as involving questions
purely of law.
The decision a quo was rendered by the Court of First Instance of Misamis Occidental
(Branch I) in an action instituted by the plaintiff-appellee Lucia Tan against the
defendants-appellants Arador Valdehueza and Rediculo Valdehueza (docketed as civil
case 2574) for (a) declaration of ownership and recovery of possession of the parcel of
land described in the first cause of action of the complaint, and (b) consolidation of
ownership of two portions of another parcel of (unregistered) land described in
the second cause of action of the complaint, purportedly sold to the plaintiff in two
separate deeds of pacto de retro.
After the issues were joined, the parties submitted the following stipulation of facts:
1. That parties admit the legal capacity of plaintiff to sue; that defendants herein, Arador,
Rediculo, Pacita, Concepcion and Rosario, all surnamed Valdehueza, are brothers and
sisters; that the answer filed by Arador and Rediculo stand as the answer of Pacita,
Concepcion and Rosario.
2. That the parties admit the identity of the land in the first cause of action.
3. That the parcel of land described in the first cause of action was the subject matter of
the public auction sale held on May 6, 1955 at the Capitol Building in Oroquieta, Misamis
Occidental, wherein the plaintiff was the highest bidder and as such a Certificate of Sale
was executed by MR. VICENTE D. ROA who was then the Ex-Officio Provincial Sheriff in
favor of LUCIA TAN the herein plaintiff. Due to the failure of defendant Arador Valdehueza
to redeem the said land within the period of one year as being provided by law, MR.
VICENTE D. ROA who was then the Ex-Officio Provincial Sheriff executed an ABSOLUTE
DEED OF SALE in favor of the plaintiff LUCIA TAN.
A copy of the NOTICE OF SHERIFFS SALE is hereby marked as 'Annex A', the
CERTIFICATE OF SALE is marked as 'Annex B' and the ABSOLUTE DEED OF SALE is
hereby marked as Annex C and all of which are made as integral parts of this stipulation
of facts.
4. That the party-plaintiff is the same plaintiff in Civil Case No. 2002; that the parties
defendants Arador, Rediculo and Pacita, all Valdehueza were the same parties-
defendants in the same said Civil Case No. 2002; the complaint in Civil Case No. 2002 to
be marked as Exhibit 1; the answer as Exhibit 2 and the order dated May 22, 1963 as
Exhibit 3, and said exhibits are made integral part of this stipulation.
5. That defendants ARADOR VALDEHUEZA and REDICULO VALDEHUEZA have
executed two documents of DEED OF PACTO DE RETRO SALE in favor of the plaintiff
herein, LUCIA TAN of two portions of a parcel of land which is described in the second
cause of action with the total amount of ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED PESOS
(P1,500.00), Philippine Currency, copies of said documents are marked as 'Annex D' and
Annex E', respectively and made as integral parts of this stipulation of facts.
6. That from the execution of the Deed of Sale with right to repurchase mentioned in the
second cause of action, defendants Arador Valdehueza and Rediculo Valdehueza
remained in the possession of the land; that land taxes to the said land were paid by the
same said defendants.
Civil case 2002 referred to in stipulation of fact no. 4 was a complaint for injunction filed by
Tan on July 24, 1957 against the Valdehuezas, to enjoin them "from entering the above-
described parcel of land and gathering the nuts therein ...." This complaint and the
counterclaim were subsequently dismissed for failure of the parties "to seek for the
immediate trial thereof, thus evincing lack of interest on their part to proceed with the
case. 1
The Deed of Pacto de Retro referred to in stipulation of fact no. 5 as "Annex D" (dated
August 5, 1955) was not registered in the Registry of Deeds, while the Deed of Pacto de
Retro referred to as "Annex E" (dated March 15, 1955) was registered.
12

On the basis of the stipulation of facts and the annexes, the trial court rendered judgment,
as follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff:
1. Declaring Lucia Tan the absolute owner of the property described in the first cause of
action of the amended complaint; and ordering the herein defendants not to encroach and
molest her in the exercise of her proprietary rights; and, from which property they must be
dispossessed;
2. Ordering the defendants, Arador Valdehueza and Rediculo Valdehueza jointly and
severally to pay to the plaintiff, Lucia Tan, on Annex 'E' the amount of P1,200, with legal
interest of 6% as of August 15, 1966, within 90 days to be deposited with the Office of the
Court within 90 days from the date of service of this decision, and that in default of such
payment the property shall be sold in accordance with the Rules of Court for the release of
the mortgage debt, plus costs;
3. And as regards the land covered by deed of pacto de retro annex 'D', the herein
defendants Arador Valdehueza and Rediculo Valdehueza are hereby ordered to pay the
plaintiff the amount of P300 with legal interest of 6% from August 15, 1966, the said land
serving as guaranty of the said amount of payment;
4. Sentencing the defendants Arador Valdehueza and Rediculo Valdehueza to pay jointly
and severally to the herein plaintiff Lucia Tan the amount of 1,000.00 as attorney's fees;
and .
5. To pay the costs of the proceedings.
The Valdehuezas appealed, assigning the following errors:
That the lower court erred in failing to adjudge on the first cause of action that there
exists res judicata; and
That the lower court erred in making a finding on the second cause of action that the
transactions between the parties were simple loan, instead, it should be declared as
equitable mortgage.
We affirm in part and modify in part.
1. Relying on Section 3 of Rule 17 of the Rules of Court which pertinently provides that a
dismissal for failure to prosecute "shall have the effect of an adjudication upon the merits,"
the Valdehuezas submit that the dismissal of civil case 2002 operated, upon the principle
of res judicata, as a bar to the first cause of action in civil case 2574. We rule that this
contention is untenable as the causes of action in the two cases are not identical. Case
2002 was for injunction against the entry into and the gathering of nuts from the land,
while case 2574 seeks to "remove any doubt or cloud of the plaintiff's ownership ..."
(Amended complaint, Rec. on App., p. 27), with a prayer for declaration of ownership and
recovery of possession.
Applying the test of absence of inconsistency between prior and subsequent
judgments, 2 we hold that the failure of Tan, in case 2002, to secure an injunction against
the Valdehuezas to prevent them from entering the land and gathering nuts is not
inconsistent with her being adjudged, in case 2574, as owner of the land with right to
recover possession thereof. Case 2002 involved only the possession of the land and the
fruits thereof, while case 2574 involves ownership of the land, with possession as a mere
attribute of ownership. The judgment in the first case could not and did not encompass the
judgment in the second, although the second judgment would encompass the first.
Moreover, the new Civil Code provides that suitors in actions to quiet title "need not be in
possession of said property. 3
2. The trial court treated the registered deed of pacto de retro as an equitable mortgage
but considered the unregistered deed of pacto de retro "as a mere case of simple loan,
secured by the property thus sold underpacto de retro," on the ground that no suit lies to
foreclose an unregistered mortgage. It would appear that the trial judge had not updated
himself on law and jurisprudence; he cited, in support of his ruling, article 1875 of the old
Civil Code and decisions of this Court circa 1910 and 1912.
Under article 1875 of the Civil Code of 1889, registration was a necessary requisite for the
validity of a mortgage even as between the parties, but under article 2125 of the new Civil
Code (in effect since August 30,1950), this is no longer so. 4
If the instrument is not recorded, the mortgage is nonetheless binding between the parties.
(Article 2125, 2nd sentence).
The Valdehuezas having remained in possession of the land and the realty taxes having
been paid by them, the contracts which purported to be pacto de retro transactions are
presumed to be equitable mortgages, 5 whether registered or not, there being no third
parties involved.
3. The Valdehuezas claim that their answer to the complaint of the plaintiff affirmed that
they remained in possession of the land and gave the proceeds of the harvest to the
plaintiff; it is thus argued that they would suffer double prejudice if they are to pay legal
interest on the amounts stated in the pacto de retro contracts, as the lower court has
directed, and that therefore the court should have ordered evidence to be adduced on the
harvest.
13

The record does not support this claim. Nowhere in the original and the amended
complaints is an allegation of delivery to the plaintiff of the harvest from the land involved
in the second cause of action. Hence, the defendants' answer had none to affirm.
In submitting their stipulation of facts, the parties prayed "for its approval and maybe made
the basis of the decision of this Honorable Court. " (emphasis supplied) This, the court did.
It cannot therefore be faulted for not receiving evidence on who profited from the harvest.
4. The imposition of legal interest on the amounts subject of the equitable mortgages,
P1,200 and P300, respectively, is without legal basis, for, "No interest shall be due unless
it has been expressly stipulated in writing." (Article 1956, new Civil Code) Furthermore, the
plaintiff did not pray for such interest; her thesis was a consolidation of ownership, which
was properly rejected, the contracts being equitable mortgages.
With the definitive resolution of the rights of the parties as discussed above, we find it
needless to pass upon the plaintiffs petition for receivership. Should the circumstances so
warrant, she may address the said petition to the court a quo.
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment a quo is hereby modified, as follows: (a) the amounts of
P1,200 and P300 mentioned in Annexes E and D shall bear interest at six percent per
annum from the finality of this decision; and (b) the parcel of land covered by Annex D
shall be treated in the same manner as that covered by Annex E, should the defendants
fail to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P300 within 90 days from the finality of this decision.
In all other respects the judgment is affirmed. No costs.
Makalintal, C.J., Makasiar, Esguerra and Muoz Palma, JJ., concur.
Teehankee, J., is on leave.
Martin, J., took no part.






PHIL-VILLE DEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING
CORPORATION,
Petitioner,



- versus -




MAXIMO BONIFACIO, CEFERINO R. BONIFACIO,
APOLONIO B. TAN, BENITA B. CAINA, CRISPINA
B.PASCUAL, ROSALIA B. DE GRACIA, TERESITA S.
DORONIA, CHRISTINA GOCO AND ARSENIO C.
BONIFACIO, in their capacity as the surviving heirs of the late
ELEUTERIA RIVERA VDA. DE BONIFACIO,
Respondents.
G.R. No. 167391

Present:

CARPIO MORALES, J.,
Chairperson,
BRION,
BERSAMIN,
VILLARAMA, JR., and
SERENO, JJ.

Promulgated:

June 8, 2011
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
This petition for review on certiorari[1] seeks to set aside the Decision[2] dated
January 31, 2005 and Resolution[3] dated March 15, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. SP No. 62211. The Court of Appeals dismissed the Complaint[4] for Quieting of Title
and Damages filed by Phil-Ville Development and Housing Corporation (Phil-Ville) and
denied its Motion for Reconsideration.[5]
The factual antecedents, as culled from the records, are as follows.
14

Phil-Ville Development and Housing Corporation is the registered owner of three
parcels of land designated as Lots 1-G-1, 1-G-2 and 1-G-3 of the subdivision plan Psd-1-
13-006209, located in Caloocan City, having a total area of 8,694 square meters and
covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. 270921,[6] 270922[7] and
270923.[8] Prior to their subdivision, the lots were collectively designated as Lot 1-G of the
subdivision plan Psd-2731 registered in the name of Phil-Ville under TCT No. T-
148220.[9] Said parcels of land form part of Lot 23-A of the Maysilo Estate originally
covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 994[10] registered on May 3, 1917 in the
name of Isabel Gil de Sola as the judicial administratrix of the estate of Gonzalo Tuason
and thirty-one (31) others. Phil-Ville acquired the lots by purchase from N. Dela Merced
and Sons, Inc. on July 24, 1984.
Earlier, on September 27, 1961, a group composed of Eleuteria Rivera, Bartolome
P. Rivera, Josefa R. Aquino, Gregorio R. Aquino, Pelagia R. Angeles, Modesta R.
Angeles, Venancio R. Angeles, Felipe R. Angeles Fidela R. Angeles and Rosauro R.
Aquino, claiming to be the heirs of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal, a co-owner to the extent
of 1-189/1000% of the properties covered by OCT Nos. 982, 983, 984, 985 and 994 of the
Hacienda Maysilo, filed a petition with the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Rizal in Land
Registration Case No. 4557. They prayed for the substitution of their names on OCT No.
994 in place of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. Said petition was granted by the CFI in an
Order[11] dated May 25, 1962.
Afterwards, the alleged heirs of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal filed a petition for the
partition of the properties covered by OCT Nos. 982, 983, 984, 985 and 994. The case
was docketed as Civil Case No. C-424 in the CFI of Rizal, Branch 12, Caloocan City. On
December 29, 1965, the CFI granted the petition and appointed three commissioners to
determine the most equitable division of the properties.[12] Said commissioners,
however, failed to submit a recommendation.
Thirty-one (31) years later, on May 22, 1996, Eleuteria Rivera filed a Supplemental
Motion[13] in Civil Case No. C-424, for the partition and segregation of portions of the
properties covered by OCT No. 994. The Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 120, of
Caloocan City, through Judge Jaime D. Discaya, to whom the case was transferred,
granted said motion. In an Order[14] dated September 9, 1996, Judge Discaya directed
the segregation of portions of Lots 23, 28-A-1 and 28-A-2 and ordered the Register of
Deeds of Caloocan City to issue to Eleuteria Rivera new certificates of title over
them. Three days later, the Register of Deeds of Caloocan, Yolanda O. Alfonso, issued to
Eleuteria Rivera TCT No. C-314537[15] covering a portion of Lot 23 with an area of
14,391.54 square meters. On December 12, 1996, the trial court issued another Order
directing the acting Branch Clerk to issue a Certificate of Finality of the Order dated
September 9, 1996.
Thereafter, one Rosauro R. Aquino filed a petition for certiorari contesting said Order
of December 12, 1996 and impugning the partial partition and adjudication to Eleuteria
Rivera of Lots 23, 28-A-1 and 28-A-2 of the Maysilo Estate. The case was docketed as
CA-G.R. SP No. 43034 at the Court of Appeals.
Meanwhile, a writ of possession[16] was issued in Eleuteria Riveras favor on
December 26, 1996 upon the Order[17] of Judge Discaya issued on the same
date. Accordingly, Sheriff Cesar L. Cruz served a Notice to Vacate[18] dated January 2,
1997 upon Phil-Ville, requiring it to vacate Lots 23-A and 28. Bonifacio Shopping Center,
Inc., which occupied Lot 28-A-2, was also served a copy of the notice. Aggrieved,
Bonifacio Shopping Center, Inc. filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition, docketed as
CA-G.R. SP No. 43009, before the Court of Appeals. In a Decision[19] dated February
19, 1997, the appellate court set aside and declared as void the Order and Writ of
Possession dated December 26, 1996 and the Notice to Vacate dated January 2,
1997. The appellate court explained that a party who has not been impleaded in a case
cannot be bound by a writ of possession issued in connection therewith.
Subsequently, on February 22, 1997, Eleuteria Rivera Vda. de Bonifacio died at the age of
96.[20]
On April 23, 1997, the Secretary of Justice issued Department Order No. 137
creating a special committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the issuance of
OCT No. 994 and its derivative titles.
On April 29, 1997, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision[21] in CA-G.R. SP No.
43034 granting Rosauro R. Aquinos petition and setting aside the RTCs Order of
September 9, 1996, which granted Eleuteria Riveras prayer for partition and adjudicated
in her favor portions of Lots 23, 28-A-1 and 28-A-2 of the Maysilo Estate. The appellate
court likewise set aside the Order and the Writ of Possession dated December 26, 1996.
Nonetheless, on June 5, 1997, petitioner filed a complaint for quieting of title and
damages against the surviving heirs of Eleuteria Rivera Vda. de Bonifacio (namely
Maximo R. Bonifacio, Ceferino R. Bonifacio, Apolonia B. Tan, Benita B. Caina, Crispina B.
Pascual, Rosalia B. de Gracia, Teresita S. Doronia, Christina B. Goco, Arsenio C.
Bonifacio, Carmen B. Bernardino and Danilo C. Bonifacio) and the Register of Deeds of
Caloocan City. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. C-507 in the RTC of Caloocan
City, Branch 122.
On October 7, 1997, then Senator Marcelo B. Fernan filed P.S. Resolution No. 1032
directing the Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights and on Urban Planning,
Housing and Resettlement to conduct a thorough investigation, in aid of legislation, of the
irregularities surrounding the titling of the properties in the Maysilo Estate.
15

In a Decision[22] dated March 24, 2000, the Caloocan RTC ordered the quieting of
Phil-Villes titles over Lots 1-G-1, 1-G-2 and 1-G-3, declaring as valid TCT Nos. 270921,
270922 and 270923 in Phil-Villes name. The fallo of said Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, and in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
1. Ordering the quieting of title of the plaintiff over Lots 1-G-1, 1-G-2 and 1-G-3, all the
subd. plan Psd-1-13-006209, being a portion of Lot 1-G, Psd-2731, LRC Rec. No. 4429,
situated in Kalookan City, as owner thereof in fee simple and with full faith and credit;
2. Declaring Transfer Ce[r]tificates of Title Nos. 270921, 270922 and 270923 in the
name of Phil-Ville Development and Housing Corporation over the foregoing parcels of
land issued by the Registry of Deeds for Kalookan City, as valid and effective;
3. Declaring Transfer Certificate of Title No. C-314537 over Lot 23, being a portion of
Maysilo Estate situated in Maysilo, Kalookan City, in the name of Eleuteria Rivera, issued
by the Registry of Deeds for Kalookan City, as null and void and with no force and effect;
4. Ordering the private defendants to surrender to the Registry of Deeds for Kalookan
City, thru this Court, the Owners Duplicate Certificate of said Transfer Certificate of Title
No. C-314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera;
5. Directing the public defendant, Register of Deeds of Kalookan City to cancel both
Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. C-314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera on file with the
Register of Deeds for Kalookan City, and the Owners Duplicate copy of Transfer
Certificate of Title No. C-314537 being required to be surrendered by the private
defendants; and
6. Ordering the private defendants to pay plaintiff, jointly and severally, the sum
of P10,000.00, as and by way of attorneys fees, plus the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.[23]
In upholding Phil-Villes titles, the trial court adopted the conclusion in Senate Committee
Report No. 1031[24] dated May 25, 1998 that there is only one OCT No. 994, registered
on May 3, 1917, and that OCT No. 994, purportedly registered on April 19, 1917 (from
which Eleuteria Riveras title originated) does not exist. The trial court also found that it
was physically impossible for respondents to be the heirs of Eleuteria Riveras
grandmother, Maria de la Concepcion Vidal, one of the registered owners of OCT No.
994, because Maria de la Concepcion was born sometime in 1903, later than Eleuteria
Rivera who was born in 1901.[25] Lastly, the RTC pointed out that contrary to the
contentions of Riveras heirs, there is no overlapping of titles inasmuch as Lot 23 lies far
from Lot 23-A, where Phil-Villes lands are located.
On April 13, 2000, Atty. K.V. Faylona, on behalf of respondents, addressed a letter[26] to
the Branch Clerk of Court of the Caloocan City RTC requesting the complete address of
Phil-Ville and its counsel. Supposedly, respondents counsels of record, Attys. Nicomedes
Tolentino and Jerry D. Baares, had abandoned the defense but still kept the records of
the case. Thus, the Notice of Appeal[27] on behalf of respondents was filed by Atty.
Faylona while two of the heirs, Danilo Bonifacio and Carmen Bernardino, filed a separate
Notice of Appeal[28] through their own counsel. The appeals were consolidated and
docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 66547.
On April 17, 2000, respondents withdrew their appeal and instead filed before this Court a
Petition for Review on Certiorari,[29] which was docketed as G.R. No. 142640. In a
Resolution[30] dated September 25, 2000, the Court referred the petition to the Court of
Appeals for adjudication on the merits since the case does not involve pure questions of
law. Respondents moved for reconsideration of the Resolution, but the Court denied their
motion. Thus, respondents petition was transferred to the Court of Appeals and docketed
as CA-G.R. SP No. 62211.
Meanwhile, on October 17, 2002, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision[31] in CA-
G.R. CV No. 66547, dismissing the appeal as regards Danilo Bonifacio and Carmen
Bernardino. Yet, along with Danilo and Carmen, respondents moved for reconsideration
on the contention that they are not bound by the judgment since they had withdrawn their
appeal therein. The Court of Appeals denied said motion in a Resolution dated June 7,
2004. Danilo, Carmen and respondents elevated the case to the Supreme Court through
a Petition for Review on Certiorari, which was docketed as G.R. No. 163397. Said
petition, however, was denied by this Court in a Resolution dated September 8, 2004 for
being filed out of time.
Subsequently, on January 31, 2005, the Court of Appeals promulgated its assailed
Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 62211, setting aside the RTC judgment and dismissing Phil-
Villes complaint. The appellate court held that the RTC had no jurisdiction to hear Phil-
Villes complaint as it effectively seeks to annul the Order dated May 25, 1962 of the CFI
in LRC No. 4557, which directed the substitution of the late Eleuteria Rivera and her co-
heirs in place of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal as registered owners on OCT No. 994. The
appellate court likewise affirmed the validity of OCT No. 994 registered on April 19, 1917
citing the Supreme Court Decisions in Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems v.
Court of Appeals[32] and Heirs of Luis J. Gonzaga v. Court of Appeals[33] as precedents.
Phil-Ville sought reconsideration[34] of the decision, but the Court of Appeals denied its
motion in the assailed Resolution dated March 15, 2005. Hence, this petition.
Petitioner alleges that:
I.
16

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (FORMER NINTH DIVISION) ACTED
WITHOUT JURISDICTION ON THE PETITION FOR REVIEW OF RESPONDENTS
MAXIMO BONIFACIO, ET AL. IN CA-G.R SP NO. 62211 BECAUSE OF THE EARLIER
DISMISSAL OF THEIR APPEAL IN CA-G.R NO. 66547.
II.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (FORMER NINTH DIVISION) ACTED
WITHOUT JURISDICTION ON THE PETITION FOR REVIEW FILED BY
RESPONDENTS MAXIMO BONIFACIO, ET AL. IN CA-G.R. NO. SP 62211 WHICH
DOES NOT RAISE PURE QUESTION[S] OF LAW OR ISSUE[S] OF JURISDICTION
AND THEREFORE THE PROPER REMEDY AVAILABLE TO THEM IS ORDINARY
APPEAL WHICH, AS STATED, HAD ALREADY BEEN DISMISSED IN CA-G.R. CV NO.
66547.
III.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (FORMER NINTH DIVISION) COMMITTED
GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF
JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE TRIAL COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION ON
THE COMPLAINT FOR QUIETING OF TITLE FILED BY PETITIONER PHIL-VILLE IN
CIVIL CASE NO. C-507, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, IN FAILING TO DECLARE
RESPONDENTS MAXIMO [BONIFACIO], ET AL. ALREADY IN ESTOPPEL TO RAISE
THE SAID ISSUE OF JURISDICTION.[35]
Condensed, petitioner puts in issue the following: (1) whether the Court of Appeals
committed grave abuse of discretion in taking cognizance of respondents petition; and (2)
whether the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in declaring that the
trial court had no jurisdiction over Civil Case No. C-507.
Pertinently, however, the genuine issue in this case is whether TCT No. C-314537 in
the name of Eleuteria Rivera constitutes a cloud over petitioners titles over portions of Lot
23-A of the Maysilo Estate.
Petitioner argues mainly that the Court of Appeals acted without jurisdiction in
resolving respondents petition for review since it had dismissed their appeal in CA-G.R.
CV No. 66547 for failure to file brief. Petitioner also points out that respondents petition is
defective because Maximo Bonifacio alone signed its verification and certification of non-
forum shopping without proof that he was authorized to sign for the other respondents. It
contends that the ruling in MWSS v. Court of Appeals and Heirs of Gonzaga v. Court of
Appeals will not invalidate its titles because it is not a party to any of said cases. As well,
petitioner invokes the finding in the joint investigation by the Senate and the Department
of Justice (DOJ) that there is only one OCT No. 994, that is, the one registered on May 3,
1917. It maintains that the trial court had jurisdiction to hear its action since it is one for
quieting of title and not for annulment of the CFI Order dated May 25, 1962.
Conversely, respondents rely on MWSS v. Court of Appeals and Heirs of Gonzaga
v. Court of Appeals that upheld the titles emanating from OCT No. 994 registered on April
19, 1917. Therefore, they insist that petitioner has no cause of action to seek the
nullification of their title which is a derivative of said OCT. Respondents reiterate that
since they had withdrawn their appeal in CA-G.R. CV No. 66547, the Court of Appeals
decision therein applies only to Danilo Bonifacio and Carmen Bernardino. Lastly, they
believe that petitioners action is one for annulment of judgment, which is foreign to the
jurisdiction of the trial court.
Petitioner argues in its first two assignments of errors that the Court of Appeals
acted with grave abuse of discretion in entertaining respondents petition. However, said
contention deserves scant consideration since the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No.
62211, properly assumed jurisdiction over respondents case after the same was referred
to it by this Court through our Resolution dated September 25, 2000. The issue raised by
respondents, as petitioners in G.R. No. 142640, was purely a question of fact that is
beyond the power of this Court to resolve. Essentially, respondents asked the Court to
determine the ownership of the lots purportedly covered by petitioners titles.
Neither do we find merit in petitioners contention that the dismissal of the appeal in
CA-G.R. CV No. 66547 is binding on respondents. The appellate court itself recognized
the withdrawal of appeal filed by respondents, thus:
However, defendants Maximo R. Bonifacio, et al. withdrew their appeal so that the only
appellants herein are defendants-appellants Danilo R. Bonifacio, et al.[36]
So did the trial court err in taking cognizance of petitioners action for quieting of title
contrary to respondents assertion that it is actually one for annulment of the CFI Order
dated May 25, 1962? To this query, we rule in the negative.
The nature of an action is determined by the material allegations of the complaint and the
character of the relief sought by plaintiff, and the law in effect when the action was filed
irrespective of whether he is entitled to all or only some of such relief.[37]
In its complaint, petitioner alleges:
27. That said TCT No. C-314537 of the late Eleuteria Rivera, although apparently valid
and effective, are in truth and in fact invalid and ineffective[;]
27.1. An examination of Decree No. 36455 issued on April 19, 1917 in LRC Case
No. 4429 and also of OCT No. 994 which was issued pursuant thereto will show that
17

Lot 23 covered by the said TCT No. C-3145[3]7 of the late Eleuteria Rivera is not one of
the 34 parcels of land covered by said Decree No. 36455 and OCT 994;
27.2. That, as hereinbefore stated, the same TCT No. C-314537 of the late
Eleuteria Rivera is a direct transfer from OCT No. 994 which was registered on April 19,
1917. The fact, however, is that there is only one OCT No. 994 which was issued
pursuant to Decree No. 36455 in LRC Case No. 4429 and said OCT 994 was registered
with the Register of Deeds of Rizal on May 3, 1917. The Office of the Register of Deeds of
Caloocan City or of Malabon or of Pasig City has no record of any OCT No. 994 that was
allegedly registered on April 19, 1917;
27.3. That said TCT No. C-314537 of the late Eleuteria Rivera could not cover Lot
23-A or any portion/s thereof because, as hereinbefore recited, the whole of Lot 23-A had
been totally disposed of as early as July 24, 1923 and she and/or any of her alleged
predecessors-in-interest is not among those named in the memorandum of encumbrances
of OCT No. 994 as vendees or vendors of said Lot 23-A;[38]
Ultimately, petitioner submits that a cloud exists over its titles because TCT No. C-
314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera purports to cover the same parcels of land
covered by petitioners TCT Nos. 270921, 270922 and 270923. It points out that what
appears to be a valid and effective TCT No. C-314537 is, in truth, invalid because it
covers Lot 23 which is not among those described in the OCT No. 994 on file with the
Register of Deeds of Rizal and registered on May 3, 1917. Petitioner notes that the OCT
No. 994 allegedly registered on April 19, 1917 and from which TCT No. C-314537 was
derived, is not found in the records of the Register of Deeds. In other words, the action
seeks the removal of a cloud from Phil-Villes title and/or the confirmation of its ownership
over the disputed properties as the successor-in-interest of N. Dela Merced and Sons, Inc.
Quieting of title is a common law remedy for the removal of any cloud upon, doubt,
or uncertainty affecting title to real property. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real
property or any interest in real property by reason of any instrument, record, claim,
encumbrance, or proceeding that is apparently valid or effective, but is, in truth and in fact,
invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title, an
action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet the title. In such action, the
competent court is tasked to determine the respective rights of the complainant and the
other claimants, not only to place things in their proper places, and make the claimant,
who has no rights to said immovable, respect and not disturb the one so entitled, but also
for the benefit of both, so that whoever has the right will see every cloud of doubt over the
property dissipated, and he can thereafter fearlessly introduce any desired improvements,
as well as use, and even abuse the property.[39]
In order that an action for quieting of title may prosper, two requisites must concur:
(1) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or equitable title or interest in the real property
subject of the action; and (2) the deed, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding claimed to be
casting cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite
itsprima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy.[40]
As regards the first requisite, we find that petitioner was able to establish its title over
the real properties subject of this action. Petitioner submitted in evidence the Deed of
Absolute Sale[41] by which it acquired the subject property from N. Dela Merced and
Sons, Inc., as well as copies of OCT No. 994 dated May 3, 1917 and all the derivative
titles leading to the issuance of TCT Nos. 270921, 270922 and 270923 in petitioners
name as follows:
Title No. Registration Date Holder
8004 July 24, 1923 Vedasto Galino
8059 September 3, 1923 -ditto-
8160 October 24, 1923 -ditto-
8164 November 6, 1923 Juan Cruz Sanchez
8321 February 26, 1924 -ditto-
8734 September 11, 1924 Emilio Sanchez
12946 November 21, 1927 -ditto-
28315 July 16, 1935 Eastern Syndicate Mining Co., Inc.
39163 November 18, 1939 Royal Lawrence Rutter
43559 July 26, 1941 Mapua Institute of Technology
18767 June 16, 1950 Sofia Nepomuceno
57541 March 13, 1958 Leona N. de Jesus, Pacifico
Nepomuceno, Sofia Nepomuceno,
Soledad Nepomuceno de Jesus
81679 December 15, 1960 Pacifico Nepomuceno, Sofia N.
Jugo, Soledad N. de Jesus
(81680) 17745 December 15, 1960 Pacifico Nepomuceno & Co.
C-13794 April 21, 1978 Pacifico Nepomuceno & Co. Inc.
C-14603 May 16, 1978 N. de La Merced & Sons, Inc.
T-148220 April 22, 1987 Phil-Ville Development and
Housing Corp.[42]
Petitioner likewise presented the Proyecto de particion de la Hacienda de Maysilo[43] to
prove that Lot 23-A, of which petitioners Lots 1-G-1, 1-G-2 and 1-G-3 form part, is among
the 34 lots covered by OCT No. 994 registered on May 3, 1917. It produced tax receipts
accompanied by a Certification[44] dated September 15, 1997 issued by the City
Treasurer of Caloocan stating that Phil-Ville has been religiously paying realty taxes on
the lots. Its documentary evidence also includes a Plan[45] prepared by the Chief of the
Geodetic Surveys Division showing that Lot 23-A of the Maysilo Estate is remotely
situated from Lot 23 portion of the Maysilo Estate. Petitioner ties these pieces of evidence
to the finding in the DOJ Committee Report[46] dated August 28, 1997 and Senate
Committee Report No. 1031 dated May 25, 1998 that, indeed, there is only one OCT No.
994, that is, the one registered on May 3, 1917.
18

On the other hand, respondents have not adduced competent evidence to establish
their title to the contested property or to dispute petitioners claim over the same. It must
be noted that the RTC Order dated September 9, 1996 in Civil Case No. C-424, which
resulted in the issuance of TCT No. C-314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera had long
been set aside by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 43034. Clearly, respondents
claim anchored primarily on TCT No. C-314537 lacks legal basis. Rather, they rely simply
on the Courts pronouncement in MWSS v. Court of Appeals and Heirs of Gonzaga v.
Court of Appeals that OCT No. 994 registered on May 3, 1917 and all titles emanating
from it are void.
The Supreme Court sustained said decisions in the case of Manotok Realty, Inc. v.
CLT Realty Development Corporation[47] promulgated on November 29, 2005. In said
case, the Court declared void the titles of the Manotoks and Aranetas which were derived
from OCT No. 994 registered on May 3, 1917 consistent with its ruling
in MWSS andGonzaga. The Court disregarded the DOJ and Senate reports on the
alleged anomalies surrounding the titling of the Maysilo Estate.
However, on motion for reconsideration, the Court issued a Resolution[48] dated
December 14, 2007 which created a Special Division of the Court of Appeals to hear the
consolidated cases on remand. The Special Division was tasked to hear and receive
evidence, conclude the proceedings and submit to the Court a report on its findings as
well as recommend conclusions within three months from the finality of said
Resolution. However, to guide the proceedings before the Special Division, the Court laid
the following definitive conclusions:
First, there is only one OCT 994. As it appears on the record, that mother title was
received for transcription by the Register of Deeds on 3 May 1917, and that should be the
date which should be reckoned as the date of registration of the title. It may also be
acknowledged, as appears on the title, that OCT No. 994 resulted from the issuance of the
decree of registration on [19] April 1917, although such date cannot be considered as the
date of the title or the date when the title took effect.
Second. Any title that traces its source to OCT No. 994 dated [19] April 1917 is void, for
such mother title is inexistent. The fact that the Dimson and CLT titles made specific
reference to an OCT No. 994 dated [19] April 1917 casts doubt on the validity of such
titles since they refer to an inexistent OCT. This error alone is, in fact, sufficient to
invalidate the Dimson and CLT claims over the subject property if singular reliance is
placed by them on the dates appearing on their respective titles.
Third. The decisions of this Court in MWSS v. Court of Appeals and Gonzaga v. Court of
Appeals cannot apply to the cases at bar, especially in regard to their recognition of an
OCT No. 994 dated 19 April 1917, a title which we now acknowledge as inexistent.
Neither could the conclusions in MWSS [and] Gonzaga with respect to an OCT No. 994
dated 19 April 1917 bind any other case operating under the factual setting the same as or
similar to that at bar.[49] (Emphasis supplied.)
Eventually, on March 31, 2009, the Supreme Court issued a
Resolution[50] reversing its Decision of November 29, 2005 and declaring certain titles in
the names of Araneta and Manotok valid. In the course of discussing the flaws of Jose
Dimsons title based on his alleged 25% share in the hereditary rights of Bartolome
Rivera, Eleuteria Riveras co-petitioner in LRC No. 4557, the Court noted:
However, the records of these cases would somehow negate the rights of Rivera to
claim from Vidal. The Verification Report of the Land Registration Commission dated 3
August 1981 showed that Rivera was 65 years old on 17 May 1963 (as gathered from the
records of Civil Case Nos. 4429 and 4496). It can thus be deduced that, if Rivera was
already 65 years old in 1963, then he must have been born around 1898. On the other
hand, Vidal was only nine (9) years in 1912; hence, she could have been born only on
[1903]. This alone creates an unexplained anomalous, if not ridiculous, situation wherein
Vidal, Riveras alleged grandmother, was seven (7) years younger than her alleged
grandson. Serious doubts existed as to whether Rivera was in fact an heir of Vidal, for him
to claim a share in the disputed portions of the Maysilo Estate.[51]
The same is true in this case. The Death Certificate[52] of Eleuteria Rivera reveals
that she was 96 years old when she died on February 22, 1997. That means that she
must have been born in 1901. That makes Rivera two years older than her alleged
grandmother Maria de la Concepcion Vidal who was born in 1903. Hence, it was
physically impossible for Eleuteria Rivera to be an heir of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal.
Moreover, the Partition Plan of the Maysilo Estate shows that Lot 23-A was
awarded, not to Maria de la Concepcion Vidal, but to Isabel Tuason, Esperanza Tuason,
Trinidad Jurado, Juan O Farrell and Angel O Farrell.[53] What Vidal received as her
share were Lot 6 and portions of Lots 10 and 17, all subject to the usufructuary right of her
mother Mercedes Delgado. This was not at all disputed by respondents.
On the other hand, Vedasto Galino, who was the holder of TCT No. 8004 registered
on July 24, 1923 and to whom petitioner traces its titles, was among the successful
petitioners in Civil Case No. 391 entitled Rosario Negrao, et al. v. Concepcion Vidal, et al.,
who sought the issuance of bills of sale in favor of the actual occupants of certain portions
of the Maysilo Estate.
Be that as it may, the second requisite in an action for quieting of title requires that
the deed, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title must
be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity
or legal efficacy. Article 476 of the Civil Code provides:
19

Art. 476. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein, by
reason of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently
valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable,
and may be prejudicial to said title, an action may be brought to remove such cloud or to
quiet the title.
An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from being cast upon title to real
property or any interest therein.
Thus, the cloud on title consists of: (1) any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or
proceeding; (2) which is apparently valid or effective; (3) but is in truth and in fact invalid,
ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable; and (4) may be prejudicial to the title sought to be
quieted. The fourth element is not present in the case at bar.
While it is true that TCT No. C-314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera is an instrument
that appeared to be valid but was subsequently shown to be invalid, it does not cover the
same parcels of land that are described in petitioners titles. Foremost, Riveras title
embraces a land measuring 14,391.54 square meters while petitioners lands has an
aggregate area of only 8,694 square meters. On the one hand, it may be argued that
petitioners land could be subsumed within Riveras 14,391.54-square meter
property. Yet, a comparison of the technical descriptions of the parties titles negates an
overlapping of their boundaries.
The technical description of respondents TCT No. C-314537 reads:
A parcel of land (Lot 23, being a portion of Maysilo Estate) situated in Maysilo, Caloocan,
Metro Manila, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the NW., along line 1-2 by Blk. 2; on the SW.,
along line 2-3 by Jacinto Street, along lines 3-4-5 by Blk. 4; along line 5-6 by Bustan St.,
and San Diego St., on the S., along lines 6-7-8 by Blk. 13, all of Caloocan Cadastre; on
the NE., along line 8-9 by Caloocan Cadastre; and on the N., along line 9-1 by Epifanio de
los Santos Avenue. Beginning at a point marked 1 on plan, being S. 28 deg. 30E.,
530.50 m. from MBM No. 1, Caloocan Cadastre; thence S. 07 deg. 20W., 34.00 m. to
point 2; S. 17 deg. 10E., 12.00 m. to point 3; (0/illegible)
S. 15 deg. 31E., 31.00 m. to point 4; S. 27 deg. 23E., 22.50 m. to point 5;
S. 38 deg. 41E., 43.20 m. to point 6; S. 71 deg. 35E., 10.60 m. to point 7;
N. 84 deg. 30E., 38.80 m. to point 8; N. 11 deg. 40W., 131.20 m. to point 9;
N. 89 deg. 10W., 55.00 m. to the point of beginning; containing an area of FOURTEEN
THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED NINETY ONE SQUARE METERS AND FIFTY FOUR
SQUARE DECIMETERS (14,391.54). more or less. All points referred to are indicated on
the plan and are marked on the ground by Old Ps. cyl. conc. mons. 15 x 60 cm.; bearings
true;[54] (Emphasis supplied).
On the other hand, the technical description of petitioners lands before they were
subdivided under TCT No. T-148220 is as follows:
A parcel of land (Lot No. 1-G of the subdivision plan Psd-2731, being a portion of Lot 23-
A, Maysilo Estate, GLRO Rec. No. 4429), situated in the Municipality of Caloocan,
Province of Rizal. Bounded on the North., by Calle A. Samson; on the East., by properties
of Gregoria de Jesus, Arcadio de Jesus and Felix de Jesus; on the South., by properties
of Lucas Bustamante and Patricio Galauran; and on the West., by property of Patricio
Galauran; and Lot No. 1-E of the subdivision plan. Beginning at a point marked 1 on
plan, being N.69 deg. 27E., 1600.19 m. from BLLM No. 1, Mp. of Caloocan, more or less,
thence S. 21 deg. 25E., 44.78 m. to point 2; thence S. 14 deg. 57E., 37.24 m. to point 3;
thence S. 81 deg. 11W., 20.28 m. to point 4; thence S. 86 deg. 06W., 15.45 m. to point 5;
thence N. 67 deg. 20W., 15.91 m. to point 6; thence N. 35 deg. 19W., 37.56 m. to point 7;
thence N. 27 deg. 11W., 12.17 m. to point 8; thence N. 19 deg. 26W., 23.32 m. to point 9;
thence N. 13 deg. 08W., 28.25 m. to point 10; thence S. 78 deg. 45W., 13.00 m. to point
11; thence N. 0 deg. 56E., 48.92 m. to point 12; thence N. 89 deg. 13E., 53.13 m. to point
13; thence S. 21 deg. 24E., 67.00 m. to the point of beginning; containing an area
of EIGHT THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED NINETY FOUR (8,694) SQUARE METERS, more
or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and are marked on the ground
points 1,2,3 and 13 by Old PLS conc. mons. point 4,6,7,8 and 9 by Old PLS stone mons.;
points 5 to 10 and old stakes points 11 and 12 by PLS conc. mons. bearings true,
declination 1 deg. 08E., date of the original survey, Sept. 8-27, Oct. 4-21 and Nov. 17-18,
1911 and that of the subdivision survey, Oct. 14 and 15, 1927.[55](Emphasis
supplied).
Such disparity in location is more vividly illustrated in the Plan prepared by Engr.
Privadi J.G. Dalire, Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division, showing the relative positions
of Lots 23 and 23-A. As it appears on the Plan, the land covered by respondents TCT
No. C-314537 lies far west of petitioners lands under TCT Nos. 270921, 270922 and
270923. Strictly speaking, therefore, the existence of TCT No. C-314537 is not prejudicial
to petitioners titles insofar as it pertains to a different land.
Significantly, an action to quiet title is characterized as a proceeding quasi in
rem.[56] In an action quasi in rem, an individual is named a defendant and the purpose of
the proceeding is to subject his interests to the obligation or loan burdening the
property. Actions quasi in rem deal with the status, ownership or liability of a particular
property but which are intended to operate on these questions only as between the
particular parties to the proceedings and not to ascertain or cut off the rights or interests of
all possible claimants. The judgment therein is binding only upon the parties who joined in
the action.[57]
20

Yet, petitioner was well aware that the lots encompassed by its titles are not the
same as that covered by respondents title. In its complaint, Phil-Ville alleges:
27.4. That Lot 23, being a portion of Maysilo Estate, as described in said TCT No. C-
314537 of the late Eleuteria Rivera when plotted using its tie line to MBM No. 1, Caloocan
Cadastre is outside Lot 23-A of the Maysilo Estate. This must be so because Lot 23 is not
[a] portion of Lot 23-A, Maysilo Estate.[58]
This brings petitioners action within the purview of Rule 63 of the Rules of Court on
Declaratory Relief. Section 1 of Rule 63 provides:
SECTION 1. Who may file petition.-Any person interested under a deed, will, contract or
other written instrument, whose rights are affected by a statute, executive order or
regulation, ordinance or any other governmental regulation may, before breach or
violation thereof, bring an action in the appropriate Regional Trial Court to determine any
question of construction or validity arising, and for a declaration of his rights or duties,
thereunder.
An action for the reformation of an instrument, to quiet title to real property or remove
clouds therefrom, or to consolidate ownership under Article 1607 of the Civil Code, may
be brought under this Rule. (Emphasis supplied).
An action for declaratory relief presupposes that there has been no actual breach of
the instruments involved or of the rights arising thereunder. Since the purpose of an
action for declaratory relief is to secure an authoritative statement of the rights and
obligations of the parties under a statute, deed, or contract for their guidance in the
enforcement thereof, or compliance therewith, and not to settle issues arising from an
alleged breach thereof, it may be entertained before the breach or violation of the statute,
deed or contract to which it refers. A petition for declaratory relief gives a practical remedy
for ending controversies that have not reached the state where another relief is
immediately available; and supplies the need for a form of action that will set controversies
at rest before they lead to a repudiation of obligations, an invasion of rights, and a
commission of wrongs.
In the present case, petitioner filed a complaint for quieting of title after it was served
a notice to vacate but before it could be dispossessed of the subject properties. Notably,
the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 43034, had earlier set aside the Order which
granted partial partition in favor of Eleuteria Rivera and the Writ of Possession issued
pursuant thereto. And although petitioners complaint is captioned as Quieting of Title and
Damages, all that petitioner prayed for, is for the court to uphold the validity of its titles as
against that of respondents. This is consistent with the nature of the relief in an action for
declaratory relief where the judgment in the case can be carried into effect without
requiring the parties to pay damages or to perform any act.[59]
Thus, while petitioner was not able to demonstrate that respondents TCT No. C-
314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera constitutes a cloud over its title, it has
nevertheless successfully established its ownership over the subject properties and the
validity of its titles which entitles it to declaratory relief.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The Decision
dated January 31, 2005 and Resolution dated March 15, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 62211 are SET ASIDE. The Decision dated March 24, 2000 of the
Caloocan RTC in Civil Case No. C-507 is hereby REINSTATED and UPHELD.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
SPS HIPOLITO VS CINCO
Findings of fact by administrative agencies are generally accorded great respect, if not
finality, by the courts[1] by reason of the special knowledge and expertise of said
administrative agencies over matters falling under their jurisdiction.

Challenged in this Petition for Review on Certiorari[2] are the May 19, 2006
Decision[3] and August 15, 2006 Resolution[4] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R.
SP No. 89783 which dismissed petitioners Petition for Review and denied their Motion for
Reconsideration respectively. Said assailed CA Decision which affirmed the February 28,
2005 Resolution[5] of the Office of the President (OP), in O.P. Case No. 04-F-262,
states, viz:
In fine, we hold that public respondent Office of the President, in affirming the resolution of
the Secretary of the DPWH which sustained the resolution and the demolition order of the
OBO, committed no grave abuse of discretion, the same being supported by evidence and
having been issued in accordance with law and jurisprudence.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The assailed Resolution dated February 28,
2005 of the Office of the President of the Philippines, issued through the Deputy Executive
Secretary for Legal Affairs in O.P. Case No. 04-F-262, is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.[6]
Petitioners beseech this Court to reverse and set aside said Decision and consequently,
to alter a string of consistent Resolutions issued by the OP in the said O.P. Case No. F-
262, the Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in NBC
21

Case No. 17-03-I-MLA,[7] and the Office of the Building Official (OBO) of the City of
Manila in NBC Case No. NG-2002-06.[8]
Factual Antecedents
Petitioner-spouses Ricardo Hipolito, Jr. and Liza Hipolito (petitioners) allege that on June
15, 1989, Edeltrudis Hipolito y Mariano (Edeltrudis)[9] entered into an agreement[10] with
Francisco Villena[11] (now deceased) to rent a portion of the property located at 2176
Nakar Street, San Andres Bukid, Manila and to construct an apartment-style building
adjacent to the existing house thereon. The contract was for a period of 20
years. Pursuant to the agreement, Edeltrudis built a three-storey apartment building
without securing a building permit. Petitioners inherited the apartment building upon the
death of Edeltrudis.
In 2002 or 13 years after the execution of the agreement, petitioners and the heirs of
Francisco Villena, all residing in the property, were informed that respondent Atty. Carlos
D. Cinco (Atty. Cinco) acquired the subject property through a deed of sale sometime in
1976.
On June 17, 2002, herein respondents Atty. Cinco, Teresita Cinco and Dr. Carlota Balde
Cinco (respondents) filed with the OBO a verified request[12] for structural inspection of
an old structure located at 2176 Nakar Street, San Andres Bukid, Manila.
Acting on the request, Building Inspector Engineer Leonardo B. Rico (Engr. Rico)
conducted an initial inspection. In his memorandum Engr. Rico reported that two old and
dilapidated buildings made of wooden materials were found in the premises and
recommended that the matter be referred to the Committee on Buildings (Committee) for
further appropriate action and disposition.
Deemed as a petition for condemnation/abatement pursuant to the National Building
Code (NBC) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the verified request of the
respondents was referred to the Committee for Hearing/ Investigation.
With prior notices to the parties and the tenants, three hearings were subsequently held
from August 12, 2002 to September 20, 2002 for purposes of resolving the focal issue of
the structural stability, architectural presentability, electrical and fire safety aspect to
determine [whether] or not the subject buildings are still safe for continued
occupancy.[13] On September 20, 2002, Victoria Villena, wife and heir of Francisco
Villena and owner of one of the two buildings, filed a counter manifestation questioning
respondents personality to file the petition for condemnation, and refuting the technical
evaluation reports of Engr. Rico and respondents commissioned engineer. Whereupon,
the Committee was constrained to schedule an ocular inspection of the subject buildings
on October 7, 2002. A report on the ocular inspection conducted was thereafter submitted
through a Memorandum[14] dated October 8, 2002, which states:
x x x The subject structure is a 3-storey at the rear portion and Two (2)[-] storey at the
front made up of wooden materials with G.I. sheet roofings.
II. Findings:
1. Corrugated G.I. sheet roofings and its accessories incurred extensive
deterioration/[dilapidation] due to weathering.
2. Ceiling boards [bulging] attributed to water leaks from defective roofing.
3. Exterior and interior wooden boards deteriorated.
4. Doors/windows including its jambs deteriorated/[dilapidated].
5. No provisions of firewall on the sides abutting private lot.
6. Rafters, purlins, and girts deteriorated due to neglect of maintenance.
7. Vibrations were felt on the wooden flooring when exerting wt. An indication that
its support suffered [material] fatigue due to wear and tear and termite infestation.
8. Wooden columns incurred deterioration/[dilapidation] due to weathering and
termite infestation.
9. Open wiring installation/fire hazard.
10. With notices of condemned installation No. 2K3-62042 EPM issued by OIC, City
Electrical Division, DEPW.
11. Inadequate water supply and drainage system.
12. Outmoded T & G due to neglect of maintenance.
13. Inadequate sanitary/plumbing installation.
III. RECOMMENDATION:
From the foregoing, the subject buildings [appear] to have incurred extensive
deterioration/[dilapidation] [attributed] mainly to long weather exposure, poor maintenance
and termite infestation on its architectural and structural components by 60-80% which
constitutes an Architectural eyesore, structurally unsafe as well as fire and electrical
hazard thereby endangering the life, safety, health and welfare [of] the general public
22

specifically the tenants thereat, hence, it is strongly recommended that the subject
building be declared dangerous and ruinous in pursuance of Sec. 214 and 215 and Rules
VII and Rule VIII of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of P.D. 1096.
Ruling of the Office of the Building Official
In a Resolution[15] dated March 26, 2003, the OBO declared the buildings dangerous
and ruinous, and recommended their demolition, to wit:
x x x x
On the basis of the ocular inspection report submitted by the Committee on Buildings and
the findings of the OIC, City Electrical Division DEPW which form part of this resolution, it
appearing that the subject structures incurred an extensive degree of
[dilapidation]/deterioration by 60-80% attributed mainly to long weather exposure, termite
infestation and neglect of maintenance on its architectural and structural component which
constitute architectural eyesore, structurally unsafe as well as electrical hazards thereby
endangering the life, health property and welfare of the general public particularly the
tenants thereat [sic].
Such sorry condition of said structures exist to the extent that remedial/ rehabilitation
which is no longer practical and economical as it would entail/ necessitate a total
overdone thereof [sic].
WHEREFORE, premises considered the Committee on Buildings and in consonance with
the findings of the OIC, City Electrical Division DEPW the subject buildings are hereby
found and declared Dangerous and Ruinous and strongly recommending the issuance of
the corresponding Demolition Order in pursuance of Section[s] 214 and 215 of the
National Building Code and Rule VII and VIII of its Implementing Rules and Regulations
further directing the tenants/ occupants thereat to vacate the premises within fifteen (15)
days from receipt hereof to pave the way for its peaceful and orderly [d]emolition activity.
SO ORDERED.
A Demolition Order[16] addressed to the respondents was accordingly issued on even
date with petitioners and their tenants duly furnished with a copy thereof.
Petitioners thus appealed[17] to the DPWH.
Ruling of the Department of Public Works and Highways
In their appeal, petitioners prayed for the reversal of the Resolution of the OBO and for
the setting aside of the Demolition Order on the ground that same were anomalously
issued. They likewise contended that respondents petition for condemnation was actually
an attempt to circumvent their rights as builders in good faith. Petitioners prayed for a
separate inspection of the two buildings by an impartial body.
Thus, another ocular inspection was conducted by the Inspectorate Team of the DPWH
to determine the actual physical condition of the subject buildings. The Inspectorate Team
reported thus:
There are two (2) Buildings/Structures subject of this appeal. For proper identification of
the two (2) Storey Residential Building located at front No. 2176 Nakar Street, San Andres
Bukid, is designated as Building I while the Three (3) Storey Residential Building located
at the rear portion is designated as [B]uilding 2.
Building 1
Building I is pre-war vintage (t)wo (2)[-](s)torey structure generally made of
wooden materials. Corrugated G.I. roofing sheets and its accessories are extensively
corroded and deteriorated due to long existence, weather exposure and improper
maintenance. Gutters and [down spouts] are already missing. Interior and exterior wooden
board partitions are deteriorated by about eighty percent (80%). Roof eaves and media
agues are deteriorated and some wooden members are ready to collapse. Doors and
windows including [their] jambs are deteriorated by about eighty percent (80%). Wooden
stair[s] leading to second floor is rotten and deteriorated due to long existence and termite
infestation. Wooden board floorings are sagging and vibration can be felt when walking on
it. Plywood ceiling boards are deteriorated by about eighty percent (80%).
The wooden roof framing parts such as rafters, purlins, and girts are rotten.
Majority of the wooden posts are termite infested and deteriorated. The wooden beams
and floor joists are noted to have incurred deterioration. Vibration is felt at the second floor
wooden flooring when walked upon, an indication that its wooden structural supports show
signs of material fatigue due to wear and tear and termite infestation. Structural
components of the structure were observed to have deteriorated by about seventy five
percent (75%).
Sanitary/Plumbing fixtures and systems within the building are noted outmoded,
inadequate and not properly maintained. Inadequate water supply and drainage system
within the building is noted. The comfort room is useable and functioning but is not
properly ventilated and unsanitary.
The electrical wiring insulation shows sign of brittleness due to excessive
exposure to ambient heat, moisture and time element. Excessive octopus connections
and dangling of wires/extensions [sic] cords are observed. Some switches and
convenience outlets are detached and defective. Junction/pullboxes are not properly
covered thus exposing electrical wiring connections. Some electrical wiring installations
23

are attached to deteriorated parts of the building. The electrical wiring installations are
already old, not properly maintained and inadequate to conform to the rules and
regulations of the Philippine Electrical Code (PEC).
Building 2
Building 2 is a three (3)[-](s)torey structure located at the back of the Building I,
and the usage is purely for residential purposes. The building is constructed [out] of
wooden materials, corrugated G.I. roofing sheets and plain G.I. sheets for its accessories.
The said building was constructed sometime in 1989, however, the construction is not in
accordance with the standard and the requirements of the National Building Code (PD
1096). Corrugated G.I. roofing sheets are corroded and deterioration is about seventy
percent (70%). [Down spouts] and gutters are no longer in place. Interior and exterior
wooden board sidings have incurred about sixty percent (60%) deterioration. Some rooms
have no proper ventilation due to excessive partitioning. Eaves [have] no ceiling. Wooden
board floorings are sagging and vibration is felt when walked upon due to undersized
wooden framing. Substandard ceiling height. Plywood ceiling boards are bulging. No fire
resistive wall provided between the two buildings.
As to the Structural, Sanitary/Plumbing and Electrical aspects, Building 2 has
the same findings as in Building I.
From the foregoing, it appears that the subject building attained a degree of
dilapidation that repair works are no longer practical and economical to undertake.
Therefore, it is recommended that the Demolition Order issued by the
OBO, Manila be sustained.[18]
On May 19, 2004, the Secretary of the DPWH rendered a Resolution[19] dismissing the
appeal of the petitioners for lack of merit and affirming the Resolution of the OBO and the
issuance of the Demolition Order.
In the same Resolution, the Secretary of the DPWH opined:
In condemnation proceedings of dangerous and ruinous building pursuant to the National
Building Code (NBC) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), the authority of
the Building Official is confined to the assessment of the physical condition of the building
sought to be condemned and abated, and depending on the degree of its deterioration
and dilapidation, to issue appropriate order, taking into consideration the welfare and
safety not only of its occupants, but the public in general as well. Corollary thereto, said
official is mandated under the Code, even in the absence of a petitioner or complainant, to
motu propio initiate condemnation proceedings of reported dangerous and ruinous
buildings. The inclusion thereof of the 3-storey building which appellant claims to have
been built by Ediltrudis Villena on the subject property in the hearing/investigation of the
case was within the bounds of the duties and responsibilities of the OBO. In the said
proceedings, the Building Official shall not delve on issues affecting contract involving the
property or of the building subject of the case or of lessee-lessor relationship, since those
are matters within the competence of the court to pass upon.
Appellants allegation that inspection of the premises was done without their participation
and [that they were] not given the chance to engage the services of an engineer deserves
scant consideration. Records revealed that appellants who actively participated in the
proceedings of the case were duly furnished with copies of appellees petition for
condemnation and the technical evaluation report of their (appellees) commissioned
engineer, and were enjoined to submit their counter technical report. They however failed
to comply. Appellants who at the same time are residents of the building subject of the
proceedings could have easily participated or hire[d] an engineer to represent them in the
inspection conducted by the Committee on Buildings on the premises as they were duly
notified about it and of which they signified their conformity during the hearing on
September 20, 2002. x x x[20]
Undaunted, petitioners filed an appeal[21] with the OP.
Ruling of the Office of the President
Before the OP, the petitioners asserted that the findings of the DPWH Inspectorate Team
is erroneous and that they are builders in good faith. However, the OP found no
reversible error to justify the reversal or modification of the DPWH Resolution, and thus
resolved to dismiss the appeal in a Resolution[22] dated February 28, 2005.
The OP likewise subsequently denied with finality petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration[23] in an Order[24] dated April 25, 2005.
Aggrieved, petitioners filed a Petition for Review[25] with the CA.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Before the CA, petitioners again raised the issues they advanced before the
administrative bodies, particularly the issue regarding the ownership of the lot vis--vis
their right as builders in good faith.
However, the CA dismissed the petition for review and affirmed the OP Resolution
without addressing the issue of ownership. Petitioners filed a Motion for
Reconsideration[26] but same was denied in a Resolution[27] dated August 15, 2006 for
being a mere rehash or repetition of the issues raised in the petition.
24

Unwilling to concede, petitioners now come before this Court by way of Petition for
Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
Issues
Petitioners raise the following issues:
A.
WHETHER X X X THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
RESOLUTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES SUSTAINING THE
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE OFFICE OF THE BUILDING OFFICIAL OF MANILA.
B.
WHETHER X X X THE OFFICE OF THE BUILDING OFFICIAL GRAVELY ERRED IN
NOT OBSERVING THE CARDINAL PRIMARY RIGHTS/DUE PROCESS
REQUIREMENTS IN THE CONDUCT OF THE HEARING AND IN THE CONTENTS OF
THE INSPECTION REPORT SUBMITTED BY THE INSPECTION TEAM INCLUDING
THE RESOLUTION OF THE OBO.
C.
WHETHER X X X [THE] OFFICE OF THE BUILDING OFFICIAL (OBO)
OF MANILA OVERSTEPPED THE BOUNDS OF ITS AUTHORITY IN NOT APPLYING
ARTICLE 482 AND ARTICLES 694 TO 707 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE IN
IMPLEMENTING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 215 OF THE BUILDING CODE P.D.
1096 IN THIS CASE.
D.
WHETHER X X X THE PETITIONER[S] OR THEIR PREDECESSOR IN INTEREST
[ARE]/IS A BUILDER IN GOOD FAITH OF THE 3[-]STOREY APARTMENT BUILDING
LOCATED AT THE REAR PORTION OF THE PROPERTY AND REFERRED TO AS
BLDG. 2.
E.
WHETHER X X X THE ACTION FOR EXTRAJUDICIAL ABATEMENT OF NUISANCE IS
PROPER IN THIS CASE.[28]
Our Ruling
The petition lacks merit.
At the outset, [i]t bears stressing that in a petition for review on certiorari [under Rule 45
of the Rules of Court], the scope of this Courts judicial review of decisions of the [CA] is
generally confined only to errors of law, and questions of fact are not
entertained.[29] The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts and it is not duty-bound to
analyze and weigh again the evidence considered in the proceedings below.[30] More so,
this Court is not duty-bound to analyze and weigh evidence pertaining to factual issues
which have not been subject of any proper proceedings below. Well-entrenched and
settled is the rule that points of law, theories, issues and arguments not brought to the
attention of the trial court adequately and on time need not be, and ordinarily will not be,
considered by a reviewing court as they cannot be raised for the first time on
appeal.[31] The determination of who owns the subject property, the authenticity of the
evidence of both parties, and whether petitioners are builders in good faith are questions
of fact, the resolution of which requires the examination of evidence that should be
ventilated in a separate action brought before a proper forum.
As correctly stated by the Secretary of the DPWH in its Resolution,[32] the administrative
agencies jurisdiction in this case is confined to the assessment of the physical condition
of the building sought to be condemned and the issuance of the appropriate order relative
thereto. Issues affecting contract involving the property or of the buildings subject of the
case are not within their competence to rule upon. Lest this Court becomes a court of first
instance instead of a court of last resort, we decline to act on matters that have not run the
proper legal course.
Nevertheless, we note that petitioners purported right to occupy the property has already
ended two years ago when the 20-year period of the lease agreement expired in year
2009. There being no provision in the contract, tacit or otherwise, for renewal or extension
of the lease, petitioners no longer have basis to keep hold of Building 2. Hence, the
determination of whether petitioners are builders in good faith is no longer necessary.
As to the other issues, suffice it to say that they boil down to the question of whether the
issuance of the OBO Resolution and Demolition Order was proper, and whether the CA
erred when it affirmed the Resolutions of the OP and the Secretary of the DPWH, which in
turn, likewise affirmed the said OBO Resolution.
A Building Official has the authority to order the condemnation and demolition of buildings
which are found to be in a dangerous or ruinous condition.
[I]t is unquestionable that the Building Official has the authority to order the
condemnation and demolition of buildings which are found to be in a dangerous or ruinous
condition.[33] This authority emanates from Sections 214 and 215 of the National
Building Code (Presidential Decree [P.D.] No. 1096) which provides:
Section 214. Dangerous and Ruinous Buildings or Structures
25

Dangerous buildings are those which are herein declared as such or are
structurally unsafe or not provided with safe egress, or which constitute a fire hazard, or
are otherwise dangerous to human life, or which in relation to existing use, constitute a
hazard to safety or health or public welfare because of inadequate maintenance,
dilapidation, obsolescence, or abandonment; or which otherwise contribute to the pollution
of the site or the community to an intolerable degree.
Section 215. Abatement of Dangerous Buildings
When any building or structure is found or declared to be dangerous or ruinous, the
Building Official shall order its repair, vacation or demolition depending upon the degree of
danger to life, health, or safety. This is without prejudice to further action that may be
taken under the provisions of Articles 482 and 694 to 707 of the Civil Code of
the Philippines.
There is, therefore, no question as to the authority of the OBO to render the challenged
issuances. Here, the Building Official was authorized to issue the questioned Demolition
Order in view of his finding that the disputed structures are dangerous and ruinous
buildings within the purview of P.D. No. 1096, in relation to its Implementing Rules and
Regulations. Correspondingly, no irregularity in the process in which the resolution and
demolition order were issued is evident. As found by the CA, the records show that the
OBO issued the resolution and Demolition Order only after ocular inspections and
hearings were conducted. Notably, the Inspectorate Team of the DPWH came up with the
same conclusion as the OBO when it conducted its own ocular inspection of the premises,
that is both Buildings 1 and 2 had structural, sanitary, plumbing and electrical defects of
up to 80%.[34]
What is more, contrary to the position of the petitioners that the provisions of the
Civil Code on abatement of nuisances should have been applied in their case, the fact that
the buildings in question could also constitute nuisances under the Civil Code does not
preclude the Building Official from issuing the assailed Demolition Order. As provided by
P.D. No. 1096, the authority of the Building Official to order the repair, vacation or
demolition, as the case may be, is without prejudice to further action that may be
undertaken under the relevant provisions of the Civil Code.[35]
The position taken by petitioners that the OBO is duty-bound to first order the
repair of ruinous and dangerous buildings is erroneous. Petitioners, in their
Memorandum,[36] quoted Section 215 of the National Building Code, thus:
Section 215. Abatement of Dangerous Buildings
When any building or structure is found or declared to be dangerous or ruinous, the
Building Official shall order its repair, vacation or demolition depending upon the degree of
danger to life, health, or safety. This is without prejudice to further action that may be
taken under the provisions of Articles 482 and 694 to 707 of the Civil Code of
the Philippines.[37]
A careful reading of the provision shows that it does not require the OBO to take actions
in the same order or sequence that Section 215 enumerates them. Instead, it authorizes
the Building Official to order either the repair, vacation, or demolition of the building
depending on the circumstances presented before it, particularly on the degree of danger
to life, health and safety. In the case at bench, the OBO, based on its assessment of the
buildings, deemed it necessary to recommend and order the demolition of the said
buildings, having found them dilapidated and deteriorated by up to 80%.
The Court of Appeals correctly affirmed the resolution issued by the Office of the
President
Petitioners find error in the CAs reliance on the report of the OBO in affirming the
resolution of the OP. Petitioners contend that the initiation of the proceedings in the OBO
was calculated to oust them from the property and to circumvent their rights as builders in
good faith thereby making the findings and issuances of the OBO unreliable. Petitioners
thus beseech this Court to ascertain facts that have already been determined by the
administrative agencies involved and thereafter reviewed and affirmed by the CA.
We find the contention without merit.
The mandate of the OBO is to act motu proprio, or upon petition validly received, on
reported dangerous and ruinous buildings and structures that pose a threat to the life,
health and well-being of the inhabitants, and the general public. Hence, the OBO, based
on its findings, can still act on the matter pursuant to such mandate, notwithstanding
petitioners claim that respondents initiated the proceedings to circumvent their rights
under the law as builders in good faith. Otherwise stated, respondents motive in initiating
the proceedings which led to the issuance of the challenged OBO Resolution and
Demolition Order is immaterial as far as the OBO is concerned, so long as it is satisfied
that a building or structure is dangerous and ruinous.

Remarkably, both the DPWH and the OP found no irregularities in the manner that
officials of the OBO performed their duties and in coming up with its Resolution and
Demolition Order. This conclusion was affirmed by the CA when it resolved the petition
before it.
We find no error on the part of the CA when it relied on the findings of fact of the OBO and
the other administrative bodies. As correctly stated by the CA in its Decision:
26


The powers granted by law, particularly the National Building Code to the Building Official
regarding demolition of buildings are executive and administrative in nature. It is a well-
recognized principle that purely administrative and discretionary functions may not be
interfered with by the courts. In general, courts have no supervising power over the
proceedings and actions of the administrative departments of the government. This is
generally true with respect to acts involving the exercise of judgment or discretion and
findings of fact. The established exception to the rule is where the issuing authority has
gone beyond its statutory authority, exercised unconstitutional powers or clearly acted
arbitrarily and without regard to his duty or with grave abuse of discretion. None of these
obtains in the case at bar. (Citations omitted.)[38]


By reason of the special knowledge and expertise of said administrative agencies over
matters falling under their jurisdiction, they are in a better position to pass judgment
thereon; thus, their findings of fact in that regard are generally accorded great respect, if
not finality, by the courts.[39] Such findings must be respected as long as they are
supported by substantial evidence, even if such evidence is not overwhelming or even
preponderant.[40] It is not the task of the appellate court to once again weigh the
evidence submitted before and passed upon by the administrative body and to substitute
its own judgment regarding sufficiency of evidence.[41]

Similarly, this Court will not disturb these factual findings absent compelling reasons to do
so. This Court, in numerous occasions, has cited exceptions to the general rule that it is
not a trier of facts. None of the said exceptions is present in this case. The conclusion
reached by the administrative agencies involved after thoroughly conducting their ocular
inspections and hearings and considering all pieces of evidence presented before them,
which finding was affirmed by the CA, must now be regarded with great respect and
finality by this Court.

We take this opportunity to inform petitioners that the appellate court cannot be expected
to actually perform the inspection itself for purposes of validating the findings of the
administrative bodies. Reliance on findings of fact of the lower courts or, in this case,
administrative bodies, does not mean that the appellate court does not conduct its own
review. In fact, the appellate court painstakingly studies every piece of document that
comes into its hands, putting together every piece of the puzzle to come up with the whole
picture of the controversy brought before it. That is no easy task.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated May 19, 2006 and the
Resolution dated August 15, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 89783
areAFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.