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G.R. No. 167707 October 8, 2008
FACTS: On November 10, 1978, then President Marcos issued Proc. No. 1801 declaring Boracay Island, among other islands, caves
and peninsulas in the Philippines, as tourist zones and marine reserves under the administration of the Philippine Tourism
Authority (PTA). President Marcos later approved the issuance of PTA Circular 3-82 dated September 3, 1982, to implement
Proclamation No. 1801.
Claiming that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No 3-82 precluded them from filing an application for judicial confirmation
of imperfect title or survey of land for titling purposes, respondents-claimants Mayor . Yap, Jr., and others filed a petition for
declaratory relief with the RTC in Kalibo, Aklan
In their petition, respondents-claimants alleged that Proc. No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 raised doubts on their right to
secure titles over their occupied lands. They declared that they themselves, or through their predecessors-in-interest, had been in
open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation in Boracay since June 12, 1945, or earlier since time
immemorial. They declared their lands for tax purposes and paid realty taxes on them. Respondents-claimants posited that
Proclamation No. 1801 and its implementing Circular did not place Boracay beyond the commerce of man. Since the Island was
classified as a tourist zone, it was susceptible of private ownership. Under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, they had the right
to have the lots registered in their names through judicial confirmation of imperfect titles.
The Republic, through the OSG, opposed the petition for declaratory relief. The OSG countered that Boracay Island was an
unclassified land of the public domain. It formed part of the mass of lands classified as “public forest,” which was not available for
disposition pursuant to Section 3(a) of the Revised Forestry Code, as amended. The OSG maintained that respondents-claimants’
reliance on PD No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 was misplaced. Their right to judicial confirmation of title was governed by
Public Land Act and Revised Forestry Code, as amended. Since Boracay Island had not been classified as alienable and disposable,
whatever possession they had cannot ripen into ownership.
On July 14, 1999, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondents-claimants, declaring that, “PD 1810 and PTA Circular No. 382 Revised Forestry Code, as amended.
The OSG moved for reconsideration but its motion was denied. The Republic then appealed to the CA. On In 2004, the appellate
court affirmed in toto the RTC decision. Again, the OSG sought reconsideration but it was similarly denied. Hence, the present
petition under Rule 45.
On May 22, 2006, during the pendency the petition in the trial court, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No.
1064 classifying Boracay Island partly reserved forest land (protection purposes) and partly agricultural land (alienable and
On August 10, 2006, petitioners-claimants Sacay,and other landowners in Boracay filed with this Court an original petition for
prohibition, mandamus, and nullification of Proclamation No. 1064. They allege that the Proclamation infringed on their “prior
vested rights” over portions of Boracay. They have been in continued possession of their respective lots in Boracay since time
On November 21, 2006, this Court ordered the consolidation of the two petitions
ISSUE: the main issue is whether private claimants have a right to secure titles over their occupied portions in Boracay.
HELD: petitions DENIED. The CA decision is reversed.
Except for lands already covered by existing titles, Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain prior to Proclamation No.
1064. Such unclassified lands are considered public forest under PD No. 705.


Each case must be decided upon the proof in that particular case. A positive act declaring land as alienable and disposable is required. the courts were free to make corresponding classifications in justiciable cases. 1064. NOTES: 1. Proc. 2006. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. to determine the classification of lands of the public domain. the exclusive prerogative to classify or reclassify public lands into alienable or disposable. Section 3(a) of PD No. in the context of both the Public Land Act and the Constitution classifying lands of the public domain into “agricultural. Whatever the land involved in a particular land registration case is forestry or mineral land must. mineral or forest. Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain. such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order. are ipso facto considered public forests. in the absence of evidence to the contrary. however.” Applying PD No. such classification modified by the 1973 Constitution. In the case at bar. prior to 2006. Its superior value for one purpose or the other is a question of fact to be settled by the proof in each particular case Forests. having regard for its present or future value for one or the other purposes. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR PD No. 1801.” do not necessarily refer to large tracts of wooded land or expanses covered by dense growths of trees and underbrushes. The 1987 Constitution reverted to the 1935 Constitution classification with one addition: national parks. They call for proof. that in each case the lands are agricultural lands until the contrary is shown. executive order. through the President. depending upon the preponderance of the evidence. The records are bereft of evidence showing that. forest or timber. therefore. Since then. and national parks. and agricultural. 705. We believe. he would have identified the specific limits of each. who must prove that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable. No. Private claimants’ reliance on Ankron and De Aldecoa is misplaced. Act No. as President Arroyo did in Proclamation No. the Court has time and again emphasized that there must be a positive act of the government. 705. PD No. or certification was presented to the Court. Ankron and De Aldecoa were decided at a time when the President of the Philippines had no power to classify lands of the public domain into mineral. all unclassified lands. gave the Executive Department. The 1935 Constitution classified lands of the public domain into agricultural. forest or timber. only agricultural lands may be alienated. whether express or implied. 705 defines a public forest as “a mass of lands of the public domain which has not been the subject of the present system of classification for the determination of which lands are needed for forest purpose and which are not. however. 1064 of May 22. In keeping with the presumption of State ownership. courts no longer had the authority. and a legislative act or a statute. promulgated in 1919 and reproduced in Section 6 of Public Land Act. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually 2 . investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators. an administrative action. statute. This was not done in Proclamation No. The burden of proof in overcoming such presumption is on the person applying for registration (or claiming ownership). mineral lands. Of these. The discussion in Heirs of Amunategui v. the portions of Boracay occupied by private claimants were subject of a government proclamation that the land is alienable and disposable. 2. respects titles already existing prior to its effectivity. If President Marcos intended to classify the island as alienable and disposable or forest. Prior to Proclamation No. no such proclamation. including those in Boracay Island. 705 issued by President Marcos categorized all unclassified lands of the public domain as public forest. Swampy areas covered by mangrove trees. “Forest lands” do not have to be on mountains or in out of the way places. The applicant may also secure a certification from the government that the land claimed to have been possessed for the required number of years is alienable and disposable. or both. be a matter of proof. administrative action. report. and other trees growing in brackish or sea water may also be classified as forest land. Director of Forestry is particularly instructive: A forested area classified as forest land of the public domain does not lose such classification simply because loggers or settlers may have stripped it of its forest cover. nipa palms. timber. 1801 cannot be deemed the positive act needed to classify Boracay Island as alienable and disposable land. 2874. or were vested with implicit power to do so. considering the fact that it is a matter of public knowledge that a majority of the lands in the Philippine Islands are agricultural lands that the courts have a right to presume. At that time. Boracay Island had never been expressly and administratively classified under any of these grand divisions.

and not look into its physical layout. continuous. the said areas are still classified as forest land. it has not been automatically converted from public forest to alienable agricultural land. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the lands in question since 12 June 1945 or prior thereto. even if its forest cover has been replaced by beach resorts. for private claimants. however long. Petitioner Republic opposed on the ground that neither the applicant nor her predecessors-in interest have been in open. considering the fact that she has not established that the lands in question have been declassified from forest or timber zone to alienable and disposable property. occupation thereof in the concept of owner. The applicant alleges that she is the owner of the said parcels of land having acquired them by purchase from its previous owners and their predecessors-in-interest who have been in possession thereof for more than thirty (30) years. No. For one thing. Zambales. such as by homestead or sales patent. or in possession thereof. For.R.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR looks like. Lack of title does not necessarily mean lack of right to possess. They can take steps to preserve or protect their possession. ISSUE: Did the areas in question cease to have the status of forest or other inalienable lands of the public domain? HELD: No. The issue of whether or not respondent and her predecessors-in-interest have been in open. 2006 FACTS: Celestina Naguiat filed an application for registration of title to four parcels of land located in Panan. All is not lost. 3. Congress may enact a law to entitle private claimants to acquire title to their occupied lots or to exempt them from certain requirements under the present land laws. There is one such bill now pending in the House of Representatives. Hence. commercial. those with lawful possession may claim good faith as builders of improvements. said lots suffer no mortgage or encumbrance of whatever kind nor is there any person having any interest. REPUBLIC V. 134209 January 24. "Forest lands" do not have to be on mountains or in out of the way places. exclusive and continuous possession of the parcels of land in question is of little moment. More realistically. unclassified land cannot be acquired by adverse occupation or possession. A forested area classified as forest land of the public domain does not lose such classification simply because loggers or settlers have stripped it of its forest cover. For another. The classification is merely descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. and other areas they possess now classified as agricultural. While they may not be eligible to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Section 48(b) of CA No. Unless and until the land classified as “forest” is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that it may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. At any rate. as amended. There is a big difference between “forest” as defined in a dictionary and “forest or timber land” as a classification of lands of the public domain as appearing in our statutes. Botolan. the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply. this does not denote their automatic ouster from the residential. however. the Court is tasked to determine the legal status of Boracay Island. 3 . 141. cannot ripen into private ownership and be registered as title. NAGUIAT G. legal or equitable. restaurants and other commercial establishments. Neither will this mean the loss of their substantial investments on their occupied alienable lands. a classification for legal purposes. One is descriptive of what appears on the land while the other is a legal status. and that to the best of her knowledge. they may look into other modes of applying for original registration of title. subject to the conditions imposed by law.

SEC OF DENR G. After deliberation they voted and reached a 7-7 vote. Cruz et al content that. or which may arise subsequent thereto. without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court. in the certificate. or sitting in the “mirador de su casa. Cavite. The real purpose of the Torrens system of registration is to quiet title to land. Saleeby applied for registration of his lot under the Torrens system in 1912. 8936. Hence. a noted constitutionalist. 1976.R. the person holding under the prior certificate is entitled to the land as against the person who obtained the 2nd certificate. which was covered by a Certificate of Title issued on February 24. October 2. 135385 December 6.R.” to avoid the possibility of losing his land. 1991 Facts: Petitioner. it can be construed that where two certificates purports to include the same registered land. 83383 May 6. HELD: Cruz’s petition was dismissed and the IPRA law was sustained The SC deliberated upon the matter. to put a stop forever to any question of the legality of the title. In successive registrations where more than 1 Certificate is issued in respect of a particular interest in land. Issue: Who should be the owner of a land and its improvement which has been registered under the name of two persons? Held: The earlier date must prevail. once a title is registered the owner may rest secure. SOLID STATE MULTI PRODUCTS CORP V. except claims which were noted at the time of registration. assailed the validity of the RA 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act on the ground that the law amount to an unlawful deprivation of the State’s ownership over lands of the public domain as well as minerals and other natural resources therein. The IPRA law basically enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over ancestral domains which may include natural resources. Cruz’s petition was dismissed and the IPRA law was sustained. 1915 Facts: A stone wall stands between the adjoining lot of Legarda and Saleeby. The Land Registration Act (Act 496) affords no remedy. 2000 FACTS: Cruz. and the decree issued in favor of the latter included the stone wall and the strip of land where it stands. a domestic corporation. that Virata. in violation of the regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2. However. Since there was no majority vote. by providing for an all-encompassing definition of “ancestral domains” and “ancestral lands” which might even include private lands found within said areas. No. ISSUE: Whether or not the IPRA law is unconstitutional. during his lifetime thru the use of fraud. filed an action for quieting of title against the respondent estate of Virata alleging that it is the registered owner of a parcel of land (a friar land) located at Imus. Sections 3(a) and 3(b) of said law violate the rights of private landowners. That being the purpose of the law. The law guarantees the title of the registered owner once it has entered into the Torrens system. SALEEBY GR No. For the issue involved. They deliberated again and the same result transpired. caused the issuance of Certificate of Title on 4 . ancestral domains may include natural resources – somehow against the regalian doctrine. DAY 3 TORRENS SYSTEM OF REGISTRATION LEGARDA V. Six years after the decree of registration is released in favor of Legarda. The said wall and the strip of land where it stands is registered in the Torrens system under the name of Legarda in 1906. the holder of the earlier one continues to hold title and will prevail. Article XII of the Constitution. No.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR CRUZ V. CA G.

the RD administratively reconstituted the original TCT based on owner's duplicate certificate. For him. The issuance of a certificate of title in favor of Mabini Legaspi did not vest ownership upon respondent over the land nor did it validate the alleged purchase of the lot. respondent Virata denied the allegations in the complaint. 1969 by virtue of a sales contract executed in his favor.R. Sale of the subject land to Mabini Legaspi. it has been held that registration does not vest title. destroying land records and titles in d registry among which were the records relating to the subject property. It is merely evidence of such title over a particular property. Hence. 1906 sought to have registered a parcel of agricultural land in Bulacan. He alleges that the decree of Feb. Such deed was then registered with the Register of Deeds. Anacleto Ratilla de la Cruz filed a motion in the Court of Land Registration (CLR) asking for a revision of the case. 1908. 18. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------GREY ALBA V. The petition was accompanied by a plan and technical description of the said lot. On Jun. The four petitioners. petitioners predecessor. de la Cruz. which is null and void. upon the ground that he is the absolute owner of the 2 parcels of land described in said motion and which he alleges to be included in the lands decreed to the petitioners. there now exists a cloud on the title of petitioner. The ownership or title over the subject land remained in the government until Peñaranda. Further. After hearing the court. 12. He further alleged having inherited the 2 lots from his father. 1959 thru an administrative reconstitution of a nonexistent original title covering the same parcel of land. bought the subject property through a public bidding. the petitioner herein is in possession of the land in dispute. Issue: Whether petitioner’s contention is meritorious Held: Yes. Time and again. 5246 Sept. respondent’s predecessor is void There was neither allegation nor proof that the sale was with the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce. wherein consequently. that by reason of the said reconstitution and subsequent issuance of TCT. lawfully acquired ownership over the same lot on February 28. entered a decree directing that described in the petition be registered in the names of the 4 petitioners. The absence of such approval made the supposed sale null and void ab initio. 1908 was obtained maliciously and fraudulently by the petitioners. On the other hand. No. 1908. 1910 FACTS: The petitioners herein are the he only heirs of Doña Segunda Alba Clemente and Honorato Grey. Baldomero R. contending that his predecessor. on Feb. as co-owners. said title does not become incontrovertible but is null and void since the acquisition of the property was in violation of law. DELA CRUZ G. the Provincial Capitol building of Cavite which housed the Registry of Deeds was burned.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR September 1. its action to quiet title is imprescriptible. thereby depriving him of said lands. and that subsequently a deed of sale was executed in favor of Virata. he did not in any manner acquire ownership over the land in 1943. who had a state grant for the same (was duly inscribed in the old register of property in Bulacan on April 6. who later on issued a TCT to Virata. a TCT was issued in his name. The petitioners deliberately omitted to include in their registration his name as one of the occupants of the land so as to be given notice of registration.) 5 . Hence. 12. However. on Dec. Our land registration laws do not give the holder any better title than that what he actually has Did petitioner’s action prescribe? NO Although a period of one year has already expired from the time the certificate of title was issued to Mabini Legaspi pursuant to the alleged sale from the government. including the decision. one Mabini Legaspi. Without the certificate of sale to prove the transfer of the ownership of the land from the government Mabini Legaspi and without the required approval of the sale by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce. 16. 1895.

Compilation) we do not decide. whether mentioned by name in the application. so that only certain persons are entitled to be heard in defense. 2366.” As to whether or not the appellee can successfully maintain an action under the provisions of sections 101 and 102 of the Land Registration Act (secs. show an inconsistent interest. the proceeding is in rem.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR He therefore asked a revision of the case. subject only to the [given] exceptions.) 6 . or to bar some individual claim or objection. was a violation of section 21 of Act No. supra. a proceeding in rem dealing with a tangible res may be instituted and carried to judgment without personal service upon claimants within the State or notice by name to those outside of it. such a proceeding would be impossible.) action in rem vs. in theory at least. However.” Every decree of registration shall bind the land and quiet title thereto. the object is to bar indifferently all who might be minded to make an objection of any sort against the right sought to be established. ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioners did obtain the decree of Feb 12. notice. The trial court further held that the grant from the estate should prevail over the public document of purchase of 1864. when the proceeding is to bar all. action in personam: If the technical object of the suit is to establish a claim against some particular person. when they omitted to include in their application the name of the appellee as one of the occupants of the land. Judges. The Land Court upon this motion reopened the case. although it may concern the right to or possession of a tangible thing. From this decision and judgment the petitioners appealed. NOTES: The main principle of registration is to make registered titles indefeasible. They did not act in bad faith. or citation. They believed that it was not necessary nor required that they include in their application the names of their tenants. and if anyone in the world has a right to be heard on the strenght of alleging facts which. and all the branches thereof. by means of the publication “to all whom it may concern. binds his body. this did not do the appellee any good. 496. It shall be conclusive upon and against all persons. The Land Registration Act requires that all occupants be named in the petition and given notice by registered mail. As we have said. and not encounter any provision of either constitution. if true. 2365. supra. as he was not notified. on the other hand. including the Insular Government. HELD: NO The petitioners honestly believed that the appellee was occupying the said parcels as their lessee at the time they presented their application for registration. were this not so. as an occupant of these two parcels of land. (Tyler vs. 1908. and after hearing the additional evidence presented by both parties. (Tyler vs. The element of intention to deprive another of just rights constitutes the essential characteristics of actual – as distinguished from legal-fraud Looked at either from the point of view of history or of the necessary requirements of justice. as we have said. nor with any fraudulent intent. but he was made a party defendant. rendered. and that this constituted fraud within the meaning of section 38 of said Land Registration Act. The court below held that the failure on the part of the petitioners to include the name of the appellee in their petition. its decision modifying the former decree by excluding from the same the two parcels of land claimed by Anacleto Ratilla de la Cruz. with a judgment which generally. by means of fraud. on the Nov. and that the said decree be modified so as to exclude the two parcels of land described in said motion. or included in the general description “to all whom it may concern. 23. Judges. the action is in personam. for it hardly would do to make a distinction between the constitutional rights of claimants who were known and those who were not known to the plaintiff. 1908. Jurisdiction is secured by the power of the court over the res. If.

a deed of donation inter vivos was executed by the Spouses Arceo bestowing the 4 parcels of land in favor of Jose. 1990 FACTS: Spouses Abdon and Escolastica were the owners of four parcels of unregistered land in Bulacan. Since 1942. The cadastral court rejected all the documents and distributed the properties according to the law on intestate succession. Virginia and their children are the petitioners. the siblings of Jose are the private respondents herein while Jose's widow. It has reduced the costs of conveyances from pounds to shillings. took personal possession. the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court. and ANTONIO ARCEO G. PEDRO M. Private respondents for their part. RODOLFO ARCEO and MANUEL ARCEO vs. and notorious possession since 1941 or by acquisitive prescription. Virginia and her children filed with the cadastral court an application for registration in their names of the subject lots on the strength of the deed of donation inter vivos. or in some manner injure him. On 1972. the Spouses allegedly revoked the deed of donation inter vivos by signing a deed of donation mortis causa. No. opposed the application on the basis of the deed of donation mortis causa which revoked the first deed. Hence. Under Section 2 of the Property Registration Decree. It has so simplified ordinary dealings that he who has mastered the “three R’s” can transact his own conveyancing. COURT OF APPEALS (Former 16th Division). and Sotera. continuous. Jose.R. Private respondents. Then on October 3 (or 30). (Sheldon on Land Registration. It affords protection against fraud. Esteban. Whether the cadastral court had the power to determine conflicting claims of ownership YES 2. LORENZO ARCEO. Specific. It has exchanged brevity and clearness for obscurity and verbiage. 1941. and that the deed of donation inter vivos was rescinded by the deed of donation mortis causa. They had one son.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR Proof of constructive fraud is not sufficient to authorize the Court of Land Registration to reopen a case and modify its decree. Issue: 1. and the time occupied from months to days. 1941. intentional acts to deceive and deprive anther of his right. contend that the cadastral court had the jurisdiction to decide questions of ownership of property. all the lots should have been awarded to them by virtue of open. married Virginia. one of Esteban’s children. and Sotera. 4. Pedro. 81401 May 18. and has barred the reoccurrence of any similar faults. and claimed them as owner thereof. The petitioners argue that the cadastral court was bereft of the power to determine conflicting claims of ownership. worked. Pedro. SOTERA ARCEO. ROMEO ARCEO. It has substituted security for insecurity. sitting as a land registration court. Lorenzo. there must be actual or positive fraud as distinguished from constructive fraud Advantages of the Torrens System: 1. must be alleged and proved. 6. exclusive. It has restored to their just value many estates held under good holding titles. ZENAIDA ARCEO. Antonio. with whom he fathered six children. 76. 496. Virginia and her children went to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the decision of the cadastral court. Jose. the former land registration law. who then had five children. pp. ARCEO. but depreciated in consequence of some blur or technical defect. CARMELITA ARCEO. which gave away the subject parcels of land in favor of all his grandchildren. 75. HON. That the Decree "has eliminated the 7 . Jose had been paying taxes thereon. Lorenzo. Antonio. this petition. and that its authority was solely to confirm an existing title.) DAY 4 JURISDICTIONS OVER LAND REGISTRATION CASES VIRGINIA FRANCO VDA. 5. 2. DE ARCEO. is no longer as limited as it was under Act No. Who has the right over the subject lots? PETITIONERS HELD: 1. On October (or September) 27. 3. that is. They also assert that the deed of donation inter vivos had validly transferred the subject lands to them. and that anyway.

the court a quo had dismissed the petition motu proprio on the ground of improper venue. 8 . The petition impleaded as respondent the Registry of Deeds of Pasay City.. Jose’ possession thereof. one of jurisdiction. as. the change has simplified registration proceedings by conferring upon the required trial courts the authority to act not only on applications for 'original registration' 'but also 'over all petitions filed after original registration of title. we have also stated that the limited jurisdiction rule governing land registration courts is subject to recognized exceptions. of ownership. Nonetheless. he had the right of enjoyment.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR distinction between the general jurisdiction vested in the regional trial court and the limited jurisdiction conferred upon it by the former law when acting merely as a cadastral court. however. Subsequently. of mere procedure. THE REGISTRY OF DEEDS OF PARAÑAQUE CITY G. 133240.'" At any rate. the lower court also denied the Ex-Parte Motion to Admit Amended Petition. it has been held that the rule is not. apparently because the titles sought to be amended. 2000 NATURE: A petition for review on the decision rendered by RTC of Parañaque City. i. is ineluctably tied up with the question of right of registration. and alleged that its lands are located in Parañaque City. The weight of authority is that a valid donation. (1) where the parties mutually agreed or have acquiesced in submitting controversial issues for determination. November 15. but rather. was in possession of a legal ground for annulment. Metro Manila involving questions of law." The amendment was "aimed at avoiding multiplicity of suits. Petitioner filed with the lower court a Motion for Reconsideration but was denied. the cadastral court commits no error in assuming jurisdiction over it. The Deed of donation inter vivos appears to have been executed in compliance with legal requirements. except on account of officiousness. as to form and acceptance. in reality. We cannot say that the subsequent deed had validly revoked the first deed. registration would not be possible or would be unduly prolonged unless the court first decided it. in view of the dismissal of the petition. The evidence for Virginia et al. It is not amiss to state likewise that where the issue. all of which were under the old name. to wit. Hence. 2. For this purpose. in this case. 13 By the same token. and such was approved by SEC. where both parties rely on their respective exhibits to defeat one another's claims over the parcels sought to be registered. once accepted. say. There is simply no proof that Abdon when he executed the deed of donation mortis causa. do not persuade us that they have acquired the lots by lapse of time. In the meantime. it appearing therein that the respondent is the Registry of Deeds of Pasay City and the properties are located in Pasay City. Inc. No. petitioner instituted a petition for amendment of titles with the RTC Parañaque City. (2) where they have been given full opportunity to present their evidence. As a consequence of its change of name. does not amount to adverse possession because as a co-owner. becomes irrevocable. in which case. On the other hand. petitioner filed an Ex-Parte Motion to Admit Amended Petition impleading instead as respondent the Registry of Deeds of Parañaque City. and his use thereof can not by itself prejudice the right of his fellow co-owners. Incorporated to Rudolf Lietz Holdings.R. all state that they were issued by the Registry of Deeds of Pasay City. or by reason of ingratitude. Petitioner likewise inadvertently alleged in the body of the petition that the lands covered by the subject titles are located in Pasay City. petitioner sought the amendment of the transfer certificates of title over real properties owned by them. The fact that in 1941. for instance. RUDOLF LIETZ HOLDINGS. the Court grants the petition on the finding that the lots had been conferred to Jose by a valid donation inter vivos. INC vs. The next question refers to acquisitive prescription. and (3) where the court has considered the evidence already of record and is convinced that the same is sufficient for rendering a decision upon such controversial issues. FACTS: Petitioner Corporation amended its Articles of Incorporation to change its name from RudolfLietz. petitioner learned that the subject titles are in the custody of the Register of Deeds of Parañaque City. which may be waived.e. failure by the donee to comply with charges imposed in the donation. with power to hear and determine all questions arising from such applications or petitions.

or a portion thereof. the Register of Deeds with the approval of the Commissioner of Land Registration. The trial court.Judicial proceedings for the registration of lands throughout the Philippines shall be in rem and shall be based on the generally accepted principles underlying the Torrens system. This liberality is greatest in the early stages of a lawsuit. Amendments as a matter of right A party may amend his pleading once as a matter of right at any time before a responsive pleading is served or. it was grossly erroneous for the trial court to have taken a procedural short-cut by dismissing motu proprio the complaint on the ground of improper venue without first allowing the procedure outlined in the rules of court to take its proper course. Dismissing the complaint on the ground of improper venue is certainly not the appropriate course of action at this stage of the proceedings. is provided for by Section 108 of P. --. --. Petitioner correctly invoked the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court in seeking the amendment of its certificates of title. jurisdiction over petitions for amendments of certificates of title.D. or interest therein. it would have allowed the actual merits of the case to be speedily determined. such as the one brought below. should have allowed the amendment proposed by petitioner for in so doing. LRC Case No. HELD: YES. without regard to technicalities. viz: Nature of registration proceedings. The courts should be liberal in allowing amendments to pleadings to avoid multiplicity of suits and in order that the real controversies between the parties are presented. therefore. hence. it could not have acted on the motion to admit amended petition. shall be commenced and tried in the proper court which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved. 9 . and may order the entry or cancellation of a new certificate. Since it had no jurisdiction over the case. or amendment shall be made upon the registration book after the entry of a certificate of title or of a memorandum thereon and the attestation of the same by the Register of Deeds. may apply by petition to the court upon the ground xxx that the name of any person on the certificate has been changed. especially in this case where the amendment to the complaint was made before the trial of the case thereby giving petitioner all the time allowed by law to answer and to prepare for trial. jurisdiction of courts. at any time within ten (10) days after it is served. Courts of First Instance (now Regional Trial Courts) shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all applications for original registration of title to lands. and over all petitions filed after original registration of title. and allows the trial to be held and a decision to be rendered. in proper cases. or. alteration. 1529. More specifically. outside the jurisdiction of the Parañaque court. --. Indeed. Amendments to pleadings are liberally allowed in furtherance of justice. 1529. Venue of real actions. their rights determined and the case decided on the merits without unnecessary delay. ISSUE: Whether or not RTC Parañaque City has jurisdiction over the petition for amendment of titles filed by petitioner. requiring security or bond if necessary.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR The Solicitor General filed his Comment contending that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the res because it appeared from the original petition that the lands are situated in Pasay City. as it may consider proper: xxx. and in order to speed the trial of cases or prevent the circuitry of action and unnecessary expense. in order that every case may so far as possible be determined on its real facts. Where the defendant fails to challenge timely the venue in a motion to dismiss as provided by Section 4 of Rule 4 of the Rules of Court. except upon order of the proper Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court). xxx or upon any other reasonable ground and the court may hear and determine the petition after notice to all parties in interest. thus: Amendment and alteration of certificates.Actions affecting title to or possession of real property. including improvements and interest therein. he cannot on appeal or in a special action be permitted to belatedly challenge the wrong venue.No erasure. and in the most expeditious and inexpensive manner. with power to hear and determine all questions arising upon such applications or petitions. which is deemed waived. The Property Registration Decree. A registered owner or other person having an interest in registered property. in the case of a reply. or grant any other relief upon such terms and conditions. 97-0170 is ordered REINSTATED. is situated. The jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court over matters involving the registration of lands and lands registered under the Torrens system is conferred by Section 2 of Presidential Decree No.

the solicitor general submitted his compliance with the above resolution. for the LRA unlawfully neglected the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office. this case will be submitted to the Court for dismissal to avoid duplication of title over the same parcel of land.R. petitioners filed an urgent motion. considering that the Court of First Instance has no jurisdiction to decree again the registration of land already decreed in an earlier land registration case and so a second decree for the same land is null and void. acting as a land registration court. Eutropio Migrio. LRA FACTS: Petitioners applied for the registration of a parcel of land located in Mandaluyong City. issued an order dated March 15. the LRA refused. The State consented to its being sued in this case. as land registration is an in rem proceeding. HELD: NO. San Jose vs. Hon. Hence. and thus contravene the policy and purposes of the Torrens registration system. Petitioners claim that they have a clear legal right to the act being prayed for and the LRA has the imperative duty to perform because. LRA’s contention: The decision of the trial court is not valid. the jurisdictional requirement of notices and publication should be complied with. 1. Hence. b. However. No. confirmed and ordered the registration of their title in the name of spouses Mariano and Erlinda Laburada After the finality of the decision. 63189 Pedro K. After the filing of memoranda by the parties. The trial court. 1991 requiring the LRA to issue the corresponding decree of registration. It was also informed that for this Authority to issue the corresponding decree of registration sought by the petitioners pursuant to the decision dated January 9. Under this circumstance. separate action whatever claim they may have against the property subject of petitioners application for registration. it cannot refuse to issue the corresponding decree.). 1991. Petitioners contend that they suffered from the delay in the issuance of their title. petitioners filed an action for mandamus. because of the failure of the Register of Deeds of Pasig. may the LRA be compelled by mandamus to issue such decree? NO. d.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR DAY 5 CHAPTER II. the legislature must recognize any judgment that may be rendered in this case as final and make provision for its satisfaction. 6595 notwithstanding the lack of opposition from the holders of said titles. Since there was no showing that the LRA filed an opposition in this proceeding. the Land Registration Authority (LRA) may refuse to issue a decree of registration if it has evidence that the subject land may already be included in an existing Torrens certificate of title? NO. 1995. 101387. to institute in a proper. thus. the trial court. citing four reasons why the writ should be issued: a. director of the LRA Department of Registration. et. Petitioner’s Contention: Petitioners contend that mandamus is available in this case. Perez.R. would result in the duplication of the title over the same parcel of land. It is not the LRA’s concern. for an early resolution of the case. The petition is not meritorious. Judgment Is Not Yet Executory 10 . Metro Manila to furnish LRA with the certified copies of TCT No. 29337 and TCT No. ISSUES: WoN in an original land registration proceeding in which applicants have been adjudged to have a registrable title.SECTIONS 4-13 (G. c. which explained public respondent’s refusal to issue the said decree. On December 29. but the private person-holders’ of said titles. No. upon motion of petitioners. 1991 and order dated March 15. and destroy the integrity of the same (O. Attached to the LRAs comment on the petition is a report signed by Silverio G. March 11. found the application meritorious. 1998) LABURDA V. and so it declared. al.

irrespective of whether they were personally notified of the application for registration. TCT No. Act No. the judgment they seek to enforce in this petition is not yet executory and incontrovertible under the Land Registration Law. a decree of confirmation and registration shall be entered. We have unambiguously ruled that a judgment of registration does not become executory until after the expiration of one year after the entry of the final decree of registration. Block 159. A second decree for the same land would be null and void. LRA officials act not as administrative officials but as officers of said court. the proceedings being in rem. Court of Appeals: “This Court. (As amended by Sec. the LRAs refusal to issue a decree of registration is based on documents which. Whenever the phrase innocent purchaser for value or an equivalent phrase occurs in this Act. 29337 was issued in lieu of TCT No. nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments or decrees. If the court after hearing finds that the applicant or adverse claimant has title as stated in his application or adverse claim and proper for registration. and whether they filed an answer to said application. is a portion of Lot No. It is settled that a land registration court has no jurisdiction to order the registration of land already decreed in the name of another in an earlier land registration case. but shall remain in full force and effect forever. the title is not finally adjudicated and the decision in the registration proceeding continues to be under the control and sound discretion of the court rendering it. Such decree shall not be opened by reason of the absence. and Sec. Rodriguez. the title to the land thus determined is already a res judicata binding on the whole world. We explained this in Gomez vs. and PD 1529. or other encumbrancer for value. if verified. and quiet title thereto. The registration of the property in the name of first registered 11 . or citation. 38 of Act 496 which provides: SEC. This stance of petitioners finds support in Sec. subject only to the right of appeal herein before provided: Provided. 3. Considering the probable duplication of titles over the same parcel of land. in regard to Lot 3-B of said Lot 3. It shall be conclusive upon and against all persons. the decree of registration is binding upon and conclusive against all persons including the government and its branches. The property which petitioners are seeking to register -. 3. In this respect. subject only to the exceptions stated in the following section. and their act is the act of the court. or included in the general description To all whom it may concern. however. of the Torrens system of registration. In a quite impressive line of decisions. Sec. Land registration is an in rem proceeding and. infancy. 38. 3630.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR Contrary to the petitioners’ allegations. may render the judgment of the trial court void. mortgagee. 6595 has already been issued. 1. in several decisions. provided no innocent purchaser for value has acquired an interest. 6595.[19] since the principle behind original registration is to register a parcel of land only once. because when once decreed by a court of competent jurisdiction. and thereby destroy the integrity. it shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee. or other disability of any person affected thereby. Upon the other hand.Lot 3-A. this Court ruled that the LRA is mandated to refer to the trial court any doubt it may have in regard to the preparation and the issuance of a decree of registration. whether mentioned by name in the application. subject. This is so. 39). to the right of any person deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by decree of registration obtained by fraud to file in the competent Court of First Instance a petition for review within one year after entry of the decree. including the Insular Government and all the branches thereof. has held that as long as a final decree has not been entered by the Land Registration Commission (now NLTDRA) and the period of one (1) year has not elapsed from date of entry of such decree. notice. They are specifically called upon to extend assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral land registration proceedings. But any person aggrieved by such decree in any case may pursue his remedy by action for damages against the applicant or any other person for fraud in procuring the decree.” 2. therefore. they do not have any clear legal right to implement it. over which TCT No. If there is any such purchaser. That is. however. it has been well-settled that a Court of First Instance has no jurisdiction to decree again the registration of land already decreed in an earlier land registration case and a second decree for the same land is null and void. the decree of registration shall not be opened. Upon the expiration of said term of one year. such issuance may contravene the policy and the purpose. Every decree of registration shall bind the land. Thus. Act No. 3621. every decree or certificate of title issued in accordance with this section shall be incontrovertible. A Void Judgment Is Possible That the LRA hesitates in issuing a decree of registration is understandable. In Ramos vs. That no decree or certificate of title issued to persons not parties to the appeal shall be cancelled or annulled.

the writ of mandamus can be awarded only when the petitioners legal right to the performance of the particular act which is sought to be compelled is clear and complete. The said free patent (OCT NO. 1997. Likewise. Villafania failed to buy back the house and lot. 6595. LRA is ORDERED to submit to the court a quo a report determining with finality whether Lot 3-A is included in the property described in TCT No. 12 . If the right is clear and the case is meritorious. but it cannot be enjoined to decide for or against one of the parties. In the said Decision.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR owner in the Registration Book is a standing notice to the world that said property is already registered in his name. the land registration court. to settle the issue of whether the LRA may issue the decree of registration. As stated earlier. To declare the later title valid would defeat the very purpose of the Torrens system which is to quiet title to the property and guarantee its indefeasibility. mandamus cannot issue. as in this case. 6595. with deliberate and judicious speed. 2004 FACTS: Villafania sold a house and lot located Pangasinan and Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go covered by a tax declaration. Under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. De Vera registered the sale and as a consequence a TCT was issued in her name. it is well-settled that the issuance of such decree is not compellable by mandamus because it is a judicial act involving the exercise of discretion. 154409 June 21. it is not legally proper to require the LRA to issue a decree of registration. and failure to do so would mean that the previous sale in favor of Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go shall remain valid and binding and the plaintiff shall voluntarily vacate the premises without need of any demand. Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go. to determine with finality whether Lot 3-A is included in the property described in TCT No. In view of the foregoing. sold the house and lot to the Spouses Abrigo. as herein discussed. however to Tigno-Salazar and a Cave-Go. Villafania sold the same house and lot to de Vera. 1997. Indeed. this Court deems it more appropriate to direct the LRA to expedite its study. No. and to submit a report thereon to the court of origin within sixty (60) days from receipt of this Decision. objections raising merely technical questions will be disregarded. the latter applicant is chargeable with notice that the land he applied for is already covered by a title so that he has no right whatsoever to apply for it. Petition is DISMISSED but the case is REMANDED to the court of origin in Pasig City. Issuance of a Decree Is Not a Ministerial Act The issuance of a decree of registration is part of the judicial function of courts and is not a mere ministerial act which may be compelled through mandamus.R. After receipt of such report. Villafania obtained a free patent over the parcel of land involved. The court has to decide a question according to its own judgment and understanding of the law. after which the said court shall act with deliberate speed according to the facts and the law. However. to avoid multiplicity of suits and needless delay. The RTC rendered judgment approving the Compromise Agreement submitted by the parties. But where the right sought to be enforced is in substantial doubt or dispute. in turn. a judicial act is not compellable by mandamus. so the [vendees] declared the lot in their name Unknown. DE VERA G. within sixty (60) days from notice. Spouses ABRIGO vs. Villafania was given one year from the date of the Compromise Agreement to buy back the house and lot. On Oct 16. a clear legal right is a right which is indubitably granted by law or is inferable as a matter of law. is ordered to ACT. P. A court may be compelled by mandamus to pass and act upon a question submitted to it for decision. 212598). according to the facts and the law as herein discussed. The said sale became a subject of a suit for annulment of documents between Villafania (vendor) and Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go (vendees). On Oct 23.30522) was later on cancelled by a TCT (TCT NO. Hence.

Villafania had presented the transfer certificate of title (TCT) covering the property. Since the property in dispute in the present case was already registered under the Torrens system. they registered their respective sales under Act 3344. during the sale. and the assailed decision affirmed. Spouses Abrigo filed a case with the RTC for the annulment of documents. Hence. In that case. “Should it be immovable property. Double Sale Article 1544 of the Civil Code states the law on double sale thus: “Art. In its original Decision. because the land was already covered by the Torrens system at the time the conveyance was registered under Act 3344. 13 . The appellate court ruled that she had relied in good faith on the Torrens title of her vendor and must thus be protected. both parties [appealed to the CA]. On reconsideration. De Vera registered the transaction under the Torrens system because. the Court upheld the right of a party who had registered the sale of land under the Property Registration Decree. In Soriano v. In the instant case. The CA also dismissed the appeal of Petitioner-Spouses Abrigo and found no sufficient basis to award them moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. The RTC rendered the assailed Decision awarding the properties to Spouses Abrigo as well as damages. For her part. The parties submitted a Motion for Dismissal in view of their agreement in the instant (RTC) case that neither of them can physically take possession of the property in question until the instant case is terminated. if it should be movable property. preliminary injunction. ISSUE: Who between petitioner-spouses and respondent has a better right to the property? HELD: DE VERA The petition is denied. both Petitioners Abrigo and respondent registered the sale of the property. If the same thing should have been sold to different vendees.” There is no ambiguity in the application of this law with respect to lands registered under the Torrens system. provided there is good faith. More recently. the subsequent sale to De Vera was deemed void. found Respondent De Vera to be a purchaser in good faith and for value. 1544. injunction. restraining order and damages Villafania. in the absence thereof.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR De Vera filed an action for Forcible Entry and Damages against Spouses Abrigo before the MTC. Hence the ejectment case was dismissed. Not contented with the assailed Decision. this Petition. Moreover. “Should there be no inscription. For the same reason. Villafania was ordered to pay [petitioners and private respondent] damages and attorney’s fees. the CA held that a void title could not give rise to a valid one and hence dismissed the appeal of Private Respondent de Vera. the Court held that registration must be done in the proper registry in order to bind the land. the “priority in time” principle was not applied. petitioners’ registration of the sale under Act 3344 was not effective for purposes of Article 1544 of the Civil Code. the ownership shall belong to the person acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the Registry of Property. Court of Appeals. to the person who presents the oldest title. as opposed to another who had registered a deed of final conveyance under Act 3344. in Naawan Community Rural Bank v. Heirs of Magali. and. the ownership shall pertain to the person who in good faith was first in the possession. Since Villafania had already transferred ownership to Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go. the ownership shall be transferred to the person who may have first taken possession thereof in good faith. Since neither petitioners nor their predecessors (Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go) knew that the property was covered by the Torrens system.

Article 1544 requires that such registration must be coupled with good faith. Court of Appeals is a case in point. Good-Faith Requirement We have consistently held that Article 1544 requires the second buyer to acquire the immovable in good faith and to register it in good faith. stronger in right). mortgage. Carumba dealt with a double sale of the same unregistered land. the Court has consistently held as regards registered land that a purchaser in good faith acquires a good title as against all the transferees thereof whose rights are not recorded in the Registry of Deeds at the time of the sale 14 . Knowledge gained by the first buyer of the second sale cannot defeat the first buyer’s rights except where the second buyer registers in good faith the second sale ahead of the first. Palileo. since such condition is noted on the face of the register or certificate of title. Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court. to register first her purchase as against the second buyer. Jurisprudence teaches us that ‘(t)he governing principle is primus tempore. But in converso. as provided by the Civil Code.’”34 (Italics supplied) Equally important. by delivery of possession.LAND TITLES AND DEED CASE DIGESTS BALDERAS ǀ FABULA ǀ PASTOR inasmuch as the registration of the sale to Respondent De Vera under the Torrens system was done in good faith. This is the price exacted by Article 1544 of the Civil Code for the second buyer being able to displace the first buyer. It was explained that this is because the purchaser of unregistered land at a sheriff’s execution sale only steps into the shoes of the judgment debtor. knowledge gained by the second buyer of the first sale defeats his rights even if he is first to register the second sale. “The case of Carumba vs. potior jure (first in time. and every subsequent purchaser of registered land taking such certificate for value and in good faith shall hold the same free from all encumbrances. that before the second buyer can obtain priority over the first. the prior registration of the disputed property by the second buyer does not by itself confer ownership or a better right over the property. a person dealing with registered land is not required to go behind the registry to determine the condition of the property. We explained the rationale in Uraca v. and merely acquires the latter’s interest in the property sold as of the time the property was levied upon. since such knowledge taints his prior registration with bad faith. “Applying this principle. Mere registration of title is not enough. lease or other voluntary instrument — except a will — purporting to convey or affect registered land shall take effect as a conveyance or bind the land until its registration. registration of instruments affecting unregistered lands is ‘without prejudice to a third party with a better right. Applying [Section 33]. 2. Thus. if the sale is not registered. good faith must concur with the registration. In Radiowealth Finance Co.’ The aforequoted phrase has been held by this Court to mean that the mere registration of a sale in one’s favor does not give him any right over the land if the vendor was not anymore the owner of the land having previously sold the same to somebody else even if the earlier sale was unrecorded. Court of Appeals. it is binding only between the seller and the buyer but it does not affect innocent third persons. x x x the execution sale of unregistered land in favor of petitioner is of no effect because the land no longer belonged to the judgment debtor as of the time of the said execution sale. The first sale was made by the original owners and was unrecorded while the second was an execution sale that resulted from a complaint for a sum of money filed against the said original owners. among them. the Court explained the difference in the rules of registration under Act 3344 and those under the Torrens system in this wise: “Under Act No. It was held therein that Article 1544 of the Civil Code has no application to land not registered under Act No. under Section 44 of PD 1529. or failing registration. except those noted and enumerated in the certificate. every registered owner receiving a certificate of title pursuant to a decree of registration. 496. Following this principle. Such knowledge of the first buyer does not bar her from availing of her rights under the law. he must show that he acted in good faith throughout (i.from the time of acquisition until the title is transferred to him by registration. which we quote: “Under the foregoing. v. 3344.e. Like in the case at bar. this sale must be upheld over the sale registered under Act 3344 to Petitioner-Spouses Abrigo. this Court held that Article 1544 of the Civil Code cannot be invoked to benefit the purchaser at the execution sale though the latter was a buyer in good faith and even if this second sale was registered. NOTES: The principle in Article 1544 of the Civil Code is in full accord with Section 51 of PD 1529 which provides that: no deed. in ignorance of the first sale and of the first buyer’s rights) —. Thus.