You are on page 1of 172

[G.R. Nos. 162335 & 162605. December 12, 2005.

]
SEVERINO M. MANOTOK IV, FROILAN M. MANOTOK, FERNANDO M. MANOTOK, FAUSTO MANOTOK
III, MA. MAMERTA M. MANOTOK, PATRICIA L. TIONGSON, PACITA L. GO, ROBERTO LAPERAL III,
MICHAEL MARSHALL V. MANOTOK, MARY ANN MANOTOK, FELISA MYLENE V. MANOTOK, IGNACIO
MANOTOK, JR., MILAGROS V. MANOTOK, SEVERINO MANOTOK III, ROSA R. MANOTOK, MIGUEL
A.B. SISON, GEORGE M. BOCANEGRA, MA. CRISTINA E. SISON, PHILIPP L. MANOTOK, JOSE
CLEMENTE L. MANOTOK, RAMON SEVERINO L. MANOTOK, THELMA R. MANOTOK, JOSE MARIA
MANOTOK, JESUS JUDE MANOTOK, JR. and MA. THERESA L. MANOTOK, represented by their
Attorney-in-fact, Rosa R. Manotok, petitioners, vs. HEIRS OF HOMER L. BARQUE, represented by
TERESITA BARQUE HERNANDEZ, respondents.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J p:
These consolidated petitions for review assail, in G.R. No. 162335, the February 24, 2004 Amended Decision 1 of
the Third Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 66642, ordering the Register of Deeds of Quezon
City to cancel petitioners' TCT No. RT-22481 and directing the Land Registration Authority (LRA) to reconstitute
respondents' TCT No. 210177; and in G.R. No. 162605, the November 7, 2003 Amended Decision 2 of the
Special Division of Five of the Former Second Division in CA-G.R. SP No. 66700 directing the Register of Deeds of
Quezon City to cancel petitioners' TCT No. RT-22481, and the LRA to reconstitute respondents' TCT No. T210177 and the March 12, 2004 Resolution 3 denying the motion for reconsideration.
The facts as found by the Court of Appeals 4 are as follows:
Petitioners, (respondents herein) as the surviving heirs of the late Homer Barque, filed a petition with the LRA
for administrative reconstitution of the original copy of TCT No. 210177 issued in the name of Homer L. Barque,
which was destroyed in the fire that gutted the Quezon City Hall, including the Office of the Register of Deeds of
Quezon City, sometime in 1988. In support of the petition, petitioners submitted the owner's duplicate copy of
TCT No. 210177, real estate tax receipts, tax declarations and the Plan FLS 3168 D covering the property.
Upon being notified of the petition for administrative reconstitution, private respondents (petitioners herein) filed
their opposition thereto claiming that the lot covered by the title under reconstitution forms part of the land
covered by their reconstituted title TCT No. RT-22481, and alleging that TCT No. 210177 in the name of
petitioners' predecessors-in-interest is spurious. jurcd06
On June 30, 1997, Atty. Benjamin M. Bustos, as reconstituting officer, denied the reconstitution of TCT No.
210177 5 on grounds that:
1. Lots 823-A and 823-B, Fls-3168-D, containing areas of 171,473 Sq. Mtrs. and 171,472 Sq. Mtrs., respectively,
covered by TCT No. 210177, appear to duplicate Lot 823 Piedad Estate, containing an area of 342,945 Sq. Mtrs.,
covered by TCT No. 372302 registered in the name of Severino M. Manotok, et. al., reconstituted under Adm.
Reconstitution No. Q-213 dated February 01, 1991;
2. The submitted plan Fls-3168-D is a spurious document as categorically stated by Engr. Privadi J.G. Dalire,
Chief, Geodetic Surveys Division, Land Management Bureau, in his letter dated February 19, 1997. 6
Respondents' motion for reconsideration was denied in an order 7 dated February 10, 1998 hence they appealed
to the LRA.
The LRA ruled that the reconstituting officer should not have required the submission of documents other than
the owner's duplicate certificate of title as bases in denying the petition and should have confined himself with
the owner's duplicate certificate of title. 8 The LRA further declared:

1

Based on the documents presented, petitioners have established by clear and convincing evidence that TCT NO.
210177 was, at the time of the destruction thereof, valid, genuine, authentic and effective. Petitioners duly
presented the original of the owner's duplicate copy of TCT No. 210177 . . . . The logbook of the Register of
Deeds of Quezon City lists TCT No. 210177 as among the titles lost . . . . The Register of Deeds of Quezon City
himself acknowledged the existence and authenticity of TCT No. 210177 when he issued a certification to the
effect that TCT No. 210177 was one of the titles destroyed and not salvaged from the fire that gutted the
Quezon City Hall on 11 June 1988 . . . .
It is likewise noteworthy that the technical description and boundaries of the lot reflected in TCT No. 210177
absolutely conform to the technical description and boundaries of Lot 823 Piedad Estate . . . as indicated in the
B. L. Form No. 28-37-R dated 11-8-94 and B. L. Form No. 31-10 duly issued by the Bureau of Lands . . . .
It therefore becomes evident that the existence, validity, authenticity and effectivity of TCT No. 210177 was
established indubitably and irrefutably by the petitioners. Under such circumstances, the reconstitution thereof
should be given due course and the same is mandatory. 9
xxx xxx xxx
It would be necessary to underscore that the certified copy of Plan FLS 3168 D was duly issued by the office of
Engr. Ernesto Erive, Chief, Surveys Division LMS-DENR-NCR whose office is the lawful repository of survey plans
for lots situated within the National Capital Region including the property in question. Said plan was duly signed
by the custodian thereof, Carmelito Soriano, Chief Technical Records and Statistics Section, DENR-NCR. Said
plan is likewise duly supported by Republic of the Philippines Official Receipt No. 2513818 Q dated 9-23-96 . . . .
Engr. Erive in his letter dated 28 November 1996 addressed to Atty. Bustos . . . confirmed that a microfilm copy
of Plan FLS 3168D is on file in the Technical Records and Statistics Section of his office. Engr. Dalire, in his letter
dated 2 January 1997 addressed to Atty. Bustos even confirmed the existence and authenticity of said plan. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
The claim of Engr. Dalire in his letter dated 19 February 1997 that his office has no records or information about
Plan FLS 3168-D is belied by the certified copy of the computer print-out duly issued by the Bureau of Lands
indicating therein that FLS 3168D is duly entered into the microfilm records of the Bureau of Lands and has been
assigned Accession Number 410436 appearing on Page 79, Preliminary Report No. 1, List of Locator Cards and
Box Number 0400 and said computer print-out is duly supported by an Offical Receipt . . . .
The said Plan FLS 3168D is indeed authentic and valid coming as it does from the legal repository and duly
signed by the custodian thereof. The documentary evidence presented is much too overwhelming to be simply
brushed aside and be defeated by the fabricated statements and concoctions made by Engr. Dalire in his 19
February 1997 letter. . . . 10
Nevertheless, notwithstanding its conclusion that petitioners' title was fraudulently reconstituted, the LRA noted
that it is only the Regional Trial Court (RTC) which can declare that the same was indeed fraudulently
reconstituted. It thus opined that respondents' title may only be reconstituted after a judicial declaration that
petitioners' title was void and should therefore be cancelled. 11
The dispositive portion of the LRA's decision reads: CcAIDa
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, it is hereby ordered that reconstitution of TCT No. 210177 in the name of
Homer L. Barque, Sr. shall be given due course after cancellation of TCT No. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of
Manotoks upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
SO ORDERED. 12
Petitioners' filed a motion for reconsideration which was opposed by respondents with a prayer that
reconstitution be ordered immediately.
2

On June 14, 2001, petitioners' motion for reconsideration and respondents' prayer for immediate reconstitution
were denied. 13
From the foregoing, respondents filed a petition for review 14 with the Court of Appeals docketed as CA-G.R. SP
No. 66700 and praying that the LRA be directed to immediately reconstitute TCT No. 210177 without being
subjected to the condition that petitioners' TCT No. RT-22481 [372302] should first be cancelled by a court of
competent jurisdiction. 15 Petitioners likewise filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals docketed as
CA-G.R. SP No. 66642.
In CA-G.R. SP No. 66700, the Second Division of the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision 16 on September 13,
2002, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered the assailed Resolution of the LRA dated June 24, 1998 is
AFFIRMED in toto and the petition for review is ordered DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. 17
Respondents moved for reconsideration. 18 On November 7, 2003, the Special Division of Five of the Former
Second Division rendered an Amended Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 66700, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, our decision dated 13 September 2002 is hereby reconsidered. Accordingly, the Register of Deeds
of Quezon City is hereby directed to cancel TCT No. RT-22481 of private respondents and the LRA is hereby
directed to reconstitute forthwith petitioners' valid, genuine and existing Certificate of Title No. T-210177.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. 19
Petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the amended decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 66700 was denied, 20 hence,
this petition docketed as G.R. No. 162605.
Meanwhile, in CA-G.R. SP No. 66642, the Third Division of the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision 21 on
October 29, 2003, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The Resolution of the LRA dated 24 June 1998 is hereby
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED. 22
In so ruling, the Third Division of the Court of Appeals declared that the LRA correctly deferred in giving due
course to the petition for reconstitution since there is yet no final judgment upholding or annulling respondents'
title. 23

Respondents' motion for reconsideration was granted by the Third Division of the Court of Appeals on February
24, 2004, thus:
WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of this Court dated 29 October
2003 is RECONSIDERED and a new one is entered ordering the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel
petitioners' TCT No. RT-22481 and directing the LRA to reconstitute forthwith respondents' TCT No. T-210177.
SO ORDERED. 24
From the foregoing decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 66700 and CA-G.R. SP No. 66642,
petitioners filed separate petitions for review before this Court docketed as G.R. No. 162605 and G.R.
No. 162335, respectively.
In G.R. No. 162605, petitioners argue that:
3

AS A RESULT OF THE RECONSTITUTED TITLE ISSUED IN THE NAME OF MOLINA. AS STATED. BY ALLOWING A "SHORT CUT". HENCE. REAL PROPERTY. THE MAJORITY JUSTICES DEPRIVED THE PETITIONERS OF THEIR PROPERTY AND THEIR CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW. THERE WAS SUFFICIENT GROUND TO ANNUL MOLINA'S TITLE OUTRIGHT.R. OR ANY INTEREST THEREIN. and c. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (THIRD DIVISION) COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND GROSS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IN INVOKING EQUITABLE CONSIDERATION TO JUSTIFY ITS CHALLENGED AMENDED DECISION DATED FEBRUARY 24. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (THIRD DIVISION) COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND GROSS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IN ORDERING THE LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY TO CANCEL TCT NO. ONLY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS HAVE EXCLUSIVE ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OVER CIVIL ACTIONS WHICH INVOLVES TITLE TO. CONSIDERING THAT: a. b. petitioners raise the following issues: I. THERE WERE SEVERAL DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT WHICH PREVIOUSLY RESOLVED THE ISSUE OF OWNERSHIP OF ORTIGAS' PROPERTY. CASE NO. III. IN ORTIGAS. CONSIDERING THAT: a. REAL PROPERTY.I THE MAJORITY JUSTICES ACTED WITHOUT JURISDICTION IN ORDERING THE CANCELLATION OF PETITIONERS' EXISTING TITLE. IN THE INSTANT CASE. 2004 DIRECTING LRA TO CANCEL PETITIONERS MANOTOK'S TITLE NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT. b. 1998 OF RESPONDENT LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY IN LRC ADMIN. ONLY PETITIONERS HOLD TITLE TO THE PROPERTY IN QUESTION. IN RESOLVING AN APPEAL OF THE DECISION OF THE LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN FAILING TO ORDER THE SETTING ASIDE OF THE CHALLENGED RESOLUTION DATED JUNE 24. SINCE ONLY A PROPER REGIONAL TRIAL COURT CAN ORDER THE ANNULMENT/CANCELLATION OF A TORRENS TITLE. RT-22481 OF PETITIONERS MANOTOK NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT SAID COURT WAS FULLY COGNIZANT THAT IT HAS NO JURISDICTION TO EXERCISE SUCH AUTHORITY AND POWER AND THE LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY IS EQUALLY DEVOID OF JURISDICTION ON THE MATTER BECAUSE UNDER THE JUDICIARY REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1980 SPECIFICALLY SECTION 19 (2) THEREOF. DOES NOT HAVE JURISDICTION TO ORDER THE CANCELLATION OF TITLE. AS RESPONDENTS ARE MERELY TRYING TO HAVE TITLE RECONSTITUTED IN THEIR NAMES. THEY ORDERED THE CANCELLATION OF TITLE DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE SAME IS NOT PART OF THE RELIEF SOUGHT IN A RECONSTITUTION PROCEEDINGS. THE LAW EXPLICITLY VESTS EXCLUSIVE ORIGINAL JURISDICTION TO THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS OVER CIVIL ACTIONS WHICH INVOLVES TITLE TO. OR POSSESSION OF. THERE WERE TWO TITLES EXISTING OVER THE SAME PARCEL OF LAND. VELASCO. II. THEY ALLOWED A COLLATERAL ATTACK ON A TORRENS CERTIFICATE OF TITLE. IN THE ORTIGAS CASE. OR ANY INTEREST THEREIN. Q-547 [97] VIEWED FROM THE FACT THAT SAID RESOLUTION OF LRA IS PATENTLY AT WAR WITH LAW AND CONTROLLING JURISPRUDENCE THAT PROHIBITS RECONSTITUTION OF TITLE BY THIRD PARTY 4 . II THE MAJORITY JUSTICES GRAVELY MISAPPLIED THE RULING OF THIS HONORABLE COURT IN ORTIGAS V. THE COURT OF APPEALS. 25 In G. OR POSSESSION OF. No. THERE ARE NO SUCH DECISIONS IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENTS WHICH WOULD JUSTIFY THE CANCELLATION OF THE TITLE OF PETITIONERS WITHOUT ANY HEARING. 162335. IN THE INSTANT CASE.

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN ALLOWING RESPONDENTS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION WHICH WAS CLEARLY FILED OUT OF TIME. It should remain undisturbed since only questions of law may be raised in a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The LRA properly ruled that the reconstituting officer should have confined himself to the owner's duplicate certificate of title prior to the reconstitution. THE LRA COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN ORDERING THE RECONSTITUTION OF THE TITLE OF HOMER BARQUE. . petitioners contend that (a) the LRA has no authority to annul their title. By enumerating the hierarchy of sources to be used for the reconstitution. 162605 was consolidated with the petition in G. No. In addition. 26 On August 2. it is the intent of the law to give more weight and preference to the owner's duplicate certificate of title over the other enumerated sources. much less deny the petition on the ground that the submitted plan appears to be spurious. 162335.R. in the following order: (a) The owner's duplicate of the certificate of title. or with a certified copy of the description taken from a prior certificate of title covering the same property. (c) they were not given the opportunity to be heard. 26. real estate tax receipts and tax declaration. the same should have more than sufficed as sources for the reconstitution pursuant to Section 3 of RA No. while petitioners' title is sham and spurious. 27 In sum. and (e) the ruling in Ortigas was misapplied. there is no need for the reconstituting officer to require the submission of the plan. specifically the chance to defend the validity of their Torrens title. and existing. SUBJECT ONLY TO THE CONDITION THAT THE TITLE OF PETITIONERS MANOTOK SHOULD FIRST BE ORDERED CANCELLED BY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION IN THE FACE OF THE GLARING FACTS THAT SAID TITLE IS HIGHLY SUSPECT AND BEARS BADGES OF FABRICATION AND FALSIFICATION AND THEREFORE NO OTHER LOGICAL AND CREDIBLE CONCLUSION CAN BE DRAWN EXCEPT THAT IT IS A FAKE AND SPURIOUS TITLE. is conclusive before this Court. as affirmed by the two divisions of the Court of Appeals. xxx xxx xxx When respondents filed the petition for reconstitution. Plainly. 26 28 clearly provides: SDHETI Section 3. genuine.R. 5 .ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN LOST OR DESTROYED IF ANOTHER VALID TITLE IS EXISTING COVERING THE LAND SUBJECT THEREOF. IV. they submitted in support thereof the owner's duplicate certificate of title. . Provided. The petitions must be denied. SR. 26 which explicitly mandates that the reconstitution shall be made following the hierarchy of sources as enumerated by law. Transfer certificates of title shall be reconstituted from such of the sources hereunder enumerated as may be available. V. has no jurisdiction to order the cancellation of petitioners' title. . 29 Since respondents' source of reconstitution is the owner's duplicate certificate of title. the petition in G. the petition shall further be accompanied with a plan and technical description of the property duly approved by the Chief of the General Land Registration Office. Section 3 of Republic Act (RA) No. (b) the reconstitution of respondents' Torrens title would be a collateral attack on petitioners' existing title. Thus: Section 12. The factual finding of the LRA that respondents' title is authentic. That in case the reconstitution is to be made exclusively from sources enumerated in section 2(f) or 3(f) of this Act. No. (d) the Court of Appeals. in resolving the appeal from the LRA. valid. 2004. Section 12 of the same law requires that the petition shall be accompanied with a plan and technical description of the property only if the source of the reconstitution is Section 3(f) of RA No.

is valid or spurious. . whether or not certain documents presented by one side should be accorded full faith and credit in the face of protests as to their spurious character by the other side. Court of Appeals. Without such authority. In Mendoza v. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals made a factual finding that petitioner's title to the land is of doubtful authenticity. of law. . 33 this Court categorically declared: Second. whether or not inconsistencies in the body of proofs of a party are of such gravity as to justify refusing to give said proofs weight — all these are issues of fact. it can declare a title as sham or spurious. when supported by substantial evidence. whether the appeal involves questions of fact. 34 In the reconstitution proceedings. Whether or not the body of proofs presented by a party. or valid on its face. petitioners' or respondents'. may be said to be strong. Otherwise. if it cannot make such declaration. Having jurisdiction only to resolve questions of law. Basic is the rule that factual findings of agencies exercising quasi-judicial functions . or whether or not the proofs on one side or the other are clear and convincing and adequate to establish a proposition in issue. . . technically. even finality by this Court and. aside from the consideration that this Court is essentially not a trier of facts. Under Sections 1 and 3. since all the facts are now before this Court. and it is not within de los 6 . confines its review of cases decided by the Court of Appeals only to questions of law raised in the petition and therein distinctly set forth. the appellate court has jurisdiction on appeals from judgments or final orders of the LRA. The findings of fact of the LRA. the LRA is bound to determine from the evidence submitted which between or among the titles is genuine and existing to enable it to decide whether to deny or approve the petition. Logically. 32 In Dolfo v. weighed and analyzed in relation to contrary evidence submitted by adverse party. The LRA has the jurisdiction to act on petitions for administrative reconstitution. the LRA would be a mere robotic agency clothed only with mechanical powers. clear and convincing. After all. when affirmed by the Court of Appeals. However. then there would be no basis for its decision to grant or deny the reconstitution. 30 Such questions as whether certain items of evidence should be accorded probative value or weight. it is no longer necessary to remand the case to the RTC for the determination of which title. the revocation and cancellation of the deed of sale and the title issued in virtue thereof in de los Santos' favor should be had in appropriate proceedings to be initiated at the instance of the Government. Indeed. reverse. This has been ruled upon by the LRA and duly affirmed by the two divisions of the Court of Appeals. Questions of fact are not reviewable. this Court is bound by the factual findings of the trial court and the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals also properly exercised its appellate jurisdiction over the judgment of the LRA. shall be binding on the Court of Appeals. it would be needlessly circuitous to remand the case to the RTC to determine anew which of the two titles is sham or spurious and thereafter appeal the trial court's ruling to the Court of Appeals. as in this case. Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. . Questions like these are not reviewable by this court which. In view of the foregoing. The function is adjudicatory in nature — it can properly deliberate on the validity of the titles submitted for reconstitution. revise. are no longer reviewable except only for very compelling reasons. It has the authority to review. are without doubt questions of fact. or mixed questions of fact and law.Findings of fact of administrative bodies are accorded respect. 35 we ruled that: Now. are accorded not only respect but even finality. or rejected as feeble or spurious. the LRA and the two divisions of the appellate court have already declared that petitioners' title is forged. Register of Deeds for the Province of Cavite. 31 A petition for review should only cover questions of law. as a rule. modify or affirm on appeal the decision of the reconstituting officer.

. Upon the facts. or the verdict made inevitable by said facts. it cannot even be discerned if the property subject of the Spouses Cayetano case refers to the property subject of the instant controversy. 36 The Register of Deeds. et al. have affirmed their title over the disputed property. for this Court to direct at this time that cancellation proceedings be yet filed to nullify the sale to de los Santos and his title. As already discussed. To defer adjudication thereon would be unwarranted and unjust. . . 41 There was no adjudication on ownership. As already discussed. . cannot be the subject of petitions for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles filed bythird parties without first securing by final judgment the cancellation of such existing titles. In the instant case. In Alabang. such a remand and subsequent appeal proceedings would be pointless and unduly circuitous. The doctrine laid down in Alabang Dev. A careful examination of the case of Spouses Cayetano. 37 does not apply in the instant case. CA. . The very concept of stability and indefeasibility of titles covered under the Torrens System of registration rules out as anathema the issuance of two certificates of title over the same land to two different holders thereof. Hon. v. which were wrongly disallowed. 40 where this Court. This. . would be needlessly circuitous and would unnecessarily delay the termination of the controversy at bar. et al. is a relief alternatively prayed for by petitioner Ortigas. even without a direct proceeding in the RTC. et al. As expressly declared in Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership v. Q5405) to the Court of origin with instructions that Ortigas' and the Solicitor General's appeals from the judgment rendered therein. There is no basis in the allegation that petitioners were deprived of "their property" without due process of law when the Court of Appeals ordered the cancellation of their Torrens title. . . evident from the records before this Court. No useful purpose will be served if a case or the determination of an issue in a case is remanded to the trial court only to have its decision raised again to the Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court. Corp.. . Velasco: 39 Ordinarily. . Valenzuela. The same rationale should apply in the instant case. The courts simply have no jurisdiction over petitions by such third parties for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles over lands that are already covered by duly issued subsisting titles in the names of their duly registered owners. v. the validity of respondents' and petitioners' title have been squarely passed upon by the LRA and reviewed and affirmed by the Court of Appeals. . Considering however the fatal infirmities afflicting Molina's theory or cause of action. as it has done in other cases in similar premises. 38 The Alabang ruling was premised on the fact that the existing Torrens title was duly issued and that there is only one title subsisting at the time the petition for reconstitution was filed. This Court will therefore make the adjudication entailed by the facts here and now. .. The remand of the case or of an issue to the lower court for further reception of evidence is not necessary where the Court is in position to resolve the dispute based on the records before it and particularly where the ends of justice would not be subserved by the remand thereof. which factual findings are no longer reviewable by this Court. the Court stressed that: . it is not possible for Molina's cause to prosper.Santos' power in any case to alter those facts at any other proceeding. without further proceedings. the LRA and the Court of Appeals have jurisdiction to act on the petition for administrative reconstitution. etc. be given due course and the records forthwith transmitted to the appellate tribunal. In fact. The Court of Appeals properly applied the doctrine laid down in Ortigas in refusing to remand the case to the trial court. as claimed by petitioners. the relief indicated by the material facts would be the remand of the reconstitution case (LRC No. there is no need to remand the case to the RTC for a re-determination on the validity of the titles of respondents and petitioners as the same has been squarely passed upon by the LRA and affirmed 7 . [L]ands already covered by duly issued existing Torrens Titles . in fact. would reveal that the sole issue resolved therein is whether or not a tenancy relationship exists between the parties. et al. . . it cannot be said that petitioners' title was duly issued much less could it be presumed valid considering the findings of the LRA and the Court of Appeals that the same is sham and spurious. .

xxx xxx xxx Thus. the November 7. Register of Deeds for the Province of Cavite: 44 The rule that a title issued under the Torrens System is presumed valid and. it appearing from the records that in the previous petition for reconstitution of certificates of title. Jr. the petitions are DENIED. the LRA and the Court of Appeals. All the evidence presented was duly considered by these tribunals. . Ong Hing Lian: 42 Therefore. SO ORDERED. In G. 66642. 2003 Amended Decision of the Special Division of Five of the Former Second Division in CA-G. 162335. Under similar circumstances. SP No. Davide. consisting of the LRA report . C. . T-210177 and the March 12. 2004 Amended Decision of the Third Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the adjudication of the issue of ownership was valid and binding. see dissenting opinion Carpio. this presumption is overcome by the evidence presented. are AFFIRMED. No.. 162605.R. Quisumbing. J.R.R.. see dissenting opinion. The reconstitution would not constitute a collateral attack on petitioners' title which was irregularly and illegally issued in the first place. it is equally true that this rule applies only where there exists no serious controversy as to the authenticity of the certificate. that a land registration court has no jurisdiction over parcels of land already covered by a certificate of title. In this case. and that the evidence presented was sufficient and adequate for rendering a proper decision upon the issue. the February 24. and the Land Registration Authority to reconstitute respondents' TCT No.R. 2004 Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration.. the parties acquiesced in submitting the issue of ownership for determination in the said petition. petitioner anchors her arguments on the premise that her title to the subject property is indefeasible because of the presumption that her certificate of title is authentic. hence. By opposing the petition for reconstitution and submitting their administratively reconstituted title. ordering the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel petitioners' TCT No. and they were given the full opportunity to present their respective sides of the issues and evidence in support thereof. petitioners acquiesced to the authority and jurisdiction of the reconstituting officer. RT-22481. which is the essence of due process. . There is thus no basis to petitioners' claim that they were deprived of their right to be heard and present evidence. concurs. . RT-22481 and directing the Land Registration Authority to reconstitute respondents' TCT No... Thus.by the appellate court. T-320601 was issued without legal basis . However. As held in Yusingco v. this Court has ruled that wrongly reconstituted certificates of title secured through fraud and misrepresentation cannot be the source of legitimate rights and benefits. while it may be true. is the best proof of ownership of a piece of land does not apply where the certificate itself is faulty as to its purported origin. J. 45 WHEREFORE. as petitioner argues. petitioner cannot invoke the indefeasibility of her certificate of title. Azcuna. No. that TCT No. Separate Opinions 8 . and recognized their authority to pass judgment on their title. It bears emphasis that the Torrens system does not create or vest title but only confirms and records one already existing and vested. SP No. 210177. J. and in G. 43 As pertinently held in Dolfo v. 66700 directing the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel petitioners' TCT No. I concur in separate opinion.J.

the property is purportedly located in barrio Payong. Veloso. Manotok. Jesus Jude Manotok. cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law. Felisa Mylene V. Manotok.R. Manotok ("Manotok. therefore. ."). Sison. Manotok. or any interest therein. concur with Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago and vote to DENY the petitions. in her opinion and I join Davide. 129. Manotok IV. represented by Teresita Barque-Hernandez ("Barque-Hernandez"). against the Heirs of Homer L. and Azcuna. George M. et al. Thelma R. in all civil actions. 3 In the present cases.. Rosa R. Manotok. And yet the majority opinion cancels petitioners' Torrens title.. I thus find applicable the ruling of this Court in Ortigas and Company Limited Partnership v. The cases were consolidated in the Court's Resolution of 2 August 2004. in my view. whereas no such barrio existed or exists therein. Manotok III. The majority opinion patently violates Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree 1 which expressly states that a Torrens title "cannot be . 66642. . as would ordinarily be required. No.. . in an action directly attacking the validity of a Torrens title.B. J p: From the record it appears undisputed that. The Court of Appeals ordered the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel the 9 . Mary Ann V. can cancel a Torrens title after trial on the merit. remand of this case for trial at this late stage would only be a time-consuming and pointless exercise. J p: I concur in the result reached by Ynares-Santiago. only the proper trial court.. and Ma. Sison. or possession of. Cristina E. Bocanegra. AZCUNA. petitioners Manotoks' TCT No. represented by their attorney-in-fact. as the LRA ruled and the CA affirmed. RT-22481 [372302] is sham and spurious. therefore. Manotok. CARPIO. Rosa R.J. which involve the title to. Milagros V. real property. Ignacio V.R. dissenting: I dissent because the majority opinion deprives petitioners of their immensely valuable property — worth billions of pesos — without due process of law. Jr. J. Michael Marshall V. Manotok. The Cases Before the Court are two petitions for review 4 filed by Severino M. The majority opinion cancels the Torrens title of petitioners in these cases which originated from an administrative reconstitution petition filed by respondents before the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. in the majority vote to DENY the petitions. Fausto M. unnecessary to go though the exercise of proving this matter again in the regular courts. a trial by the Regional Trial Court would have been in order. J. . Theresa L. Pacita L." 2 Thus. While at the inception of this controversy. Froilan M. Miguel A. Manotok. Fernando M. Ramon Severino L. Ma. Severino Manotok III. since the point is indubitable. there is no such direct attack on the Torrens title of petitioners. Barque ("Heirs of Barque"). "Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction . assail the 24 February 2004 Amended Decision 6 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Jr. It is." Under Section 19 of Batas Pambansa Blg. Manotok. Jr. Roberto Laperal III. C. J. Manotok. Go. For one thing. Tiongson. Manotok. Jose Clemente L. et al. Mamerta M. Manotok. Manotok. Jurisprudence has aptly termed thishornbook doctrine. Manotok... 162335. Ma. SP No. Quezon City. Philipp L. Patricia L. Manotok.QUISUMBING. Jose Maria Manotok. 1 as it would be unjust in the circumstances to require respondents to undergo a time-consuming and pointless exercise to cancel an evidently sham and spurious title. I. Prompt resolution of the controversy is in order to avoid further delay. 5 In G. Manotok. covering thirty-four hectares of prime land located in Quezon City conservatively estimated at more than One Billion Seven Hundred Million Pesos..

Sr. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. bearing the name of this office and the Chief of Geodetic Surveys is not the same stamp we are using. Technical Records and Statistical Section of the National Capital Region 10 . Dalire informed Atty.9 The Court of Appeals directed the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel the TCT of Manotok. SP No. ("Barque. 66700. In the 29 October 1996 letter. Atty. addressed to the LRA Administrator. Dalire. Dalire that his office has no record of Fls-3168-D. In support of the petition. Chief of the Surveys Division of the LMS-DENR-NCR. Atty. Bustos ("Atty. and the LRA to reconstitute the TCT of the Heirs of Barque. Barque. Erive"). LRA. wrote a letter dated 29 October 1996 10 addressed to Engineer Privadi J. No. please forward to us the copy on file in that office (DENR-NCR) from where the Chief of Technical Records and Statistics Section reproduced a copy he issued to LRA for our evaluation. Erive confirming the existence of a microfilm copy of Fls-3168-D conflicted with the letter of Engr. In a letter dated 5 December 1996. In this regards (sic). 1996 and our letter dated November 7. et al. was handcarried to. Dalire requested the Regional Technical Director of LMS-DENR-NCR for a copy of Fls-3168-D for evaluation. Bustos wrote a similar but undated letter addressed to the Chief of the Surveys Division of the Land Management Services. In the machine copy of Fls-3168-D (furnished to us by LRA) from the copy of that office issued to LRA. Sr. Bustos"). Engr. The letter of Engr. Real Estate Tax Receipts and Tax Declaration. 1996 that we have no record of Fls-3168-D. 15 Engr. informed Atty. Homer L. et al. and received by the LRA General Records Section on 7 January 1997. Dalire ("Engr. et al. Bustos that a microfilm copy of Fls-3168-D is on file in the Technical Records and Statistical Section of their office. 16 purportedly from Engr.") represented by Barque-Hernandez filed a petition for administrative reconstitution of the original copy of TCT No. In a letter dated 28 November 1996. Bustos sent another letter dated 2 December 1996 14 to Engr. Manotok.Transfer Certificate of Title ("TCT") of Manotok. The Antecedent Facts On 22 October 1996. The letter states: In reply to your letter dated December 2. the said copy on file in your office did not emanate from this Office.R. Bustos that the Land Management Bureau has no record of Fls-3168-D. Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the Lands Management Bureau. 12 Engr. Dalire requesting for clarification. Binondo. 1996 of the Reconstituting Officer and Chief Reconstitution Division of LRA relative to the certified reproduction plan Fls-3168-D (microfilm) issued by the Chief. 1996. Please forward to us the said plan for evaluation and comment. Erive ("Engr. Dalire for a certified copy of Subdivision Plan Fls-3168-D ("Fls-3168-D"). Sr. 13 Engineer Ernesto S. Benjamin M. Atty. Thus. Dalire wrote: In connection with the letter of clarification dated December 2. The stamp. 162605.R. Technical Records & Statistical Section on September 23. Barque. Reconstituting Officer and Chief of the Reconstitution Division. assail the 7 November 2003 Amended Decision 7 and the 12 March 2004 Resolution 8 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 210177 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City. and the Land Registration Authority ("LRA") to reconstitute the TCT of the Heirs of Barque. submitted the owner's duplicate certificate of title. 11 In his reply dated 7 November 1996. In G. Dalire"). (Emphasis supplied) A letter dated 2 January 1997. TCT No. 210177 was allegedly destroyed when a fire gutted the Quezon City Hall on 11 June 1988. National Capital Region ("LMS-DENRNCR"). Bustos requested Engr. particularly. please be informed that the copy of the subject plan was forwarded to this office by the Chief. Manila. Atty.

We reiterate that we have no records (sic) of Fls-3168-D. 1996 to the LRA that we have no records of Fls-3168-D. Homer L. Chief of Technical Records and Statistics Section) on September 23. 1996. 1996 to Teresita Hernandez and our letter dated November 7. 1996 we indicated the status thereof because we failed to verify from our index cards then for our last result. (Emphasis supplied) Interestingly. 1996 to your letter dated October 29. 11 . you attached for our reference the following: 1. (Emphasis supplied) Engr.Lands Management Sector for our evaluation. Xerox copy of a certified true copy of plan Fls-3168-D. May we request you again to please forward to us the said copy of plan Fls-3168-D on file in your office for our evaluation and comment. 1996 informing them that the plan Fls-3168-D filed in that Office from where the reproduced copy furnished to LRA did not emanate from our office. Erive. The letter states: TEcHCA In your letter dated December 2. 1997. The Land Registration Authority however. our Microfilm Computer list of plans available for decentralization all show that we do not have this plan Fls-3168-D. As per verification and comparison made in our microfilm records. Petitioner) you requested us to clarify the fact that the Regional Office has a microfilm copy of plan Fls-3168-D. Represented by Teresita Barque-Hernandez. they did not respond. We requested for the copy in their file last 05 December 1996 and 05 January 1997 but until this writing. dated Nov. LMS-DENR-NCR. please be informed that we wrote on December 5. 1996 (IN RE: Administrative Reconstitution of the Original Transfer Certificate of Title No. In view hereof. Sr. We are sure that the copy did not come from this Office. reiterating that we have no records (sic) of Fls-3168-D and requesting them to forward the plan for our evaluation and comment. NCR has not sent us the copy for authentication as required by DENR Administrative Order. Soriano. 28. Engr. b. it is further informed that in our reply letter dated Nov. it was found out that they are identical and bore the same stamps and initials used in this office. Reply letter of Engr. 1996 of the Reconstituting Officer and Chief Reconstitution Division of the Land Registration Authority relative to the certified reproduction of plan Fls-3168-D (microfilm) issued by that office (signed by Carmelita A. We requested them to forward to us the said plan for our evaluation and comment. on January 5. it is certain that the source of the copy is a spurious plan which may have been inserted in the file. Ernesto S. issued by the TRSS. we made a follow-up. 7. 1996 the DENR-NCR about your letter dated December 2. furnished us with machine copy of Fls-3168-D reproduced from the copy issued by that Office and we found out that the copy of Fls-3168-D file (sic) in your office did not emanate from this Office. The reasons are: a. 210177 in the Register of Deeds of Quezon City.. barely three days after his purported letter of 2 June 1997. Upon examination of the copy of Fls-3168-D allegedly issued by DENR-NCR. 1996 In this connection. NCR. while our office does not have a record of the same. 2. Our reply letter dated November 7. The copy of the plan Fls-3168-D shows visible signs that it is a spurious copy. Dalire sent another letter dated 31 January 1997 18 to the LRA Administrator. this case be given due course for Administrative reconstitution (sic). logically we cannot issue any copy. In that letter. 3. Likewise. It is regretted. thus: This is a follow-up to our previous request dated 05 December 1996 to that Office in connection with the letter of clarification dated December 2. Dalire wrote a letter dated 5 January 1997 17 addressed to the Regional Technical Director. Barque. Our inventory of approved plans enrolled in our file. hence.

40. please be informed that as per the inventory of approved surveys which are officially enrolled in our file. 12 . their (sic) is Survey without the "s" plural. 1991. thus: In reply to your query whether or not a) the copy of plan Fls-3168-D submitted to you involving lot 823.1) The certification (rubber stamp) serves a two piece stamp. Meanwhile. xerox copy attached to your letter of December 2. Thus: In reply to your letter dated January 28. With respect to the questioned plan of Fls-3168-D. 1996. (Emphasis supplied) Finally. we requested our Records Division to find out to whom lot 823 (or portion thereof) Piedad Estate was conveyed. is the subject of our reply to you dated 07 November 1996 (copy attached). Piedad Estate as surveyed for Emiliano Setosta. Ours is one-piece. the use of the spurious copy of Fls-3168-D for the reconstitution of title will create land problem involving prime lots in that area. xerox copy attached to your letter. was forged. list of plans on file which were decentralized to our regions. M. The statement that the subject plan was forwarded to us by the Chief. In view of the foregoing. it is a forged document. 5) The copy bears forged initials of my section officer and myself. 4) The size of the lettering in the rubber stamp "Not for Registration/Titling For Reference Only" is smaller than our stamp. I sign completely certification. It is also incomplete as an (sic) Stamp. we are retrieving the plan allegedly in the file of NCR for investigation and/or validation under DENR Administrative Order No. Bustos to disregard Fls-3168-D for being spurious. our detailed findings tending to prove it is a spurious copy have been discussed in our letter-reply dated 31 January 1997. purportedly written by him. 20 Engr. and Chief in the syndicates (sic) stamp differ from our stamp. (Emphasis supplied) In a letter dated 13 February 1997 19 to the LRA Administrator. With respect to the letter dated 02 January 1997. Geodetic Surveys Division is our stamp. Meanwhile. GEODETIC. 7) Again. the locator cards. Engr. Dalire explained that the 2 January 1997 letter. Technical Records Statistics Section of the NCR-LMS is not true. in a letter dated 19 February 1997.473 Sq. hence there is none to decentralize to our National Capital Region. The non-existence of plan Fls-3168-D in our file. 3) We do not stamp the plan twice as the syndicate did on the copy. Until now the NCR has not turned over the plan they reproduced in compliance with our urgent requests dated 03 January 1996 and followed up by our letters 03 January 1997 and 06 February 1997 (copies attached). 2) The alignment of: Lands. This involves the reconstitution of title allegedly lot 823-A of Fls-3168-D with an area of 171. Privadi. s. it is certified that this Bureau does not have copy of Fls-3168-D. this letter definitely did not come from this office. in addition to the above is "of ________". Chief. that are on file in this Bureau show that plan Fls-3168-D is not among the plans in our file. the copy of Fls-3168-D furnished your Office as well as the alleged letter authenticating it should be disregarded or rejected as they come from spurious sources. Surely. the microfilm. 1997 which we received today. Dalire requested Atty. this. The certification and the signing official are separate. 6) The name of the claimant is very visible to have been tampered in the master copy.

Our record books and file attest to this. Definitely this letter was never prepared and issued by this Office. and the microfilm all show that we have no records or information about Plan Fls3168-D. For all intent and purposes. These are not present in the spurious copy of plan. and c) the letter dated 02 January 1997 are authentic and really coming from this office. among others. FOR REFERENCE ONLY" is smaller than our rubber stamp. Bustos denied the reconstitution of TCT No. Our Inventory Record of Approved Surveys. Apparently our letter of 31 January 1997 (copy attached) was intercepted and did not reach you. I firmly deny having prepared and issued the letter dated 02 January 1997 stating that copy of subject plan (Fls-3168-D) was forwarded to us by the Chief Technical Records and Statistics Section of the NCR and that as per verification. are: 1) We have no copy of Fls-3168-D on file so how can we issue a copy of plan that is non-existing? 2) The copy of plan bears two "Certifications" at the top and at lower half. We do not use letterheads for letters involving this topic. 03 January 1997 and 06 February 1997 (copies attached). 6) The spurious copy of plan you furnished us does not carry our rubber stamp "GOVERNMENT PROPERTY NOT TO BE SOLD: FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY OF __________________ "This is stamped on all microfilm copies we issue because all microfilm copies are for official use only of our LMS. one for the certification and another for the signing official. We have shown you our rubber stamps to prove that the copy of Fls-3168-D in your possession is a spurious plan. The Ruling of the Reconstituting Officer In an Order dated 30 June 1997. filed their formal opposition to the petition for reconstitution upon learning of the petition. Manotok. our computerized list of plans officially filed in this Bureau. 4) The plan shows only initial. I sign in full copies of plans with the initials of my action officers and their codings below my signature. please disregard the plan Fls-3168-D and the letter dated 02 January 1997 as they are proven to be spurious documents. Reasons. the plan is identical to the microfilm and that the case be given due course for administrative reconstitution. The alignment of the letters/words of one rubber stamp is different from this marking on this spurious plan. The letter dated 07 November 1996 (copy attached) stating that this Bureau has no records of Fls-3168-D is authentic. 210177 on the following grounds: 13 . 1996 is not issued by this Office. (Emphasis supplied) On 14 April 1997. This is the subject of our letters to NCR dated 05 December 1996. There are many markings on the copy to prove it did not come from LMB.b) the letter dated 07 November 1996. How can this be when NCR has never given us the alleged copy in their file for validation. et al. Certainly this is not true. 5) The letter size of the rubber stamp "NOT FOR REGISTRATION/TITLING. This is not our practice. 3) The rubber-stamp shows there are two pieces. the Locator Cards. 49 for our validation. The copy of Fls-3168-D attached to your letter dated December 2. We use one piece rubber stamp. 21 Atty. The forwarding of the copy to us is mandatory under DAO No. This is the handiwork of forgers.

Dalire failed to deny or question the genuineness of his signature in the letter of 2 January 1997. reconstituted under Adm. Quezon City.945 Sq. RT-22481 [372302] is sham and spurious. The LRA further ruled that Engr. There was never any mention of 14 . The claim of the oppositors that the property in question per TCT No. it is highly irregular that TCT No. Granting arguendo that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate has not yet been subdivided into two [2] lots from the date of original survey in 1907. Dalire. et al. 1997. Dalire. covered by TCT No. Land Management Bureau.. Lot 823-A and Lot 823-B. The LRA held that the 2 January 1997 letter is an official communication from Engr.1. 1991. The Ruling of the Land Registration Authority In a Resolution dated 24 June 1998. Lot 823-A and Lot 823-B. Geodetic Surveys Division. in his letter dated February 19. the property in question. This is highly questionable and likewise highly irregular. L. Form No. the property in question covers two [2] lots. In an Order dated 10 February 1998. It must likewise be noted that there is a Barrio Culiat but the same is separate and distinct from Barrio Matandang Balara and they do not adjoin each other. in all respects. 28-37-R and B.473 Sq. 2. RT-22481 [372302] would have Lot 822-A Psd 2498. Quite perplexing though is the fact that the real estate tax receipts for payments made after the Quezon City Hall was gutted by fire on 11 June 1988 would show that the property covered thereby is already situated at Barrio Matandang Balara [Annexes "91" to "104" inclusive of Opposition]. The same is being buttressed and corroborated by the certified copy of the tax map over the property in question issued by the Quezon City Assessor's Office [Annex "H" of Petitioners' Position Paper].G. conform to the certified technical description and boundaries of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate [property in question] which are the B. respectively. moved for reconsideration of the Order. "84" and "85" of Opposition] which is grossly inaccurate. Finally.. Reconstitution No. covered by TCT No. Q-547-A [97]. docketed as Admin. 13. Lots 823-A and 823-B. Plan FLS 3168D shows that the property in question indeed consists of two [2] lots. Mtrs. the LRA ruled that Manotok. 210177 and Plan FLS 3168D. 22 Atty. Bustos erred in requiring the submission of documents other than the owner's duplicate of the TCT. The map of Quezon City [Annex "N" of Petitioners' Position Paper] would show that there is no such barrio as Payong. Hence. containing areas of 171. The LRA ruled that under LRA Circular No. L.'s TCT No.472 Sq. Several documents submitted by oppositors particularly the several Deeds of Sale and Unilateral Deed of Conveyance including the real estate tax receipts would show that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate is located at Barrio Payong. Manotok. 31-10 issued by the Bureau of Lands [Annexes "I" and "J" of Petitioners' Position Paper]. Mtrs. Examination of the technical decription and boundaries appearing in TCT No. Recons. 23 the LRA gave due course to the appeal. No. The submitted plan Fls-3168-D is a spurious document as categorically stated by Engr. the LRA ruled that Atty. It is highly irregular that the tax declaration numbers indicated therein would vary and those tax declarations which appear to have been canceled would again be revived. (Emphasis supplied) Barque. while in other tax payment receipts [Annexes "103" to "114" inclusive of Opposition]. RT-22481 [372302] covers only one [1] lot is also inaccurate and without any basis. and 171. is located at Barrio Matandang Balara. Bustos denied the motion for lack of merit. 210177. thus: It is undisputed that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. Said tax map shows that similar to TCT No. Barrio Capitol is indicated as the location of the property in question. The said real estate tax receipts also reflect the tax declarations of the property covered thereby. Lot 818-A and Lot 818-C Psd 2507 as boundaries when at the time of the original survey. appear to duplicate Lot 823 Piedad Estate. Q-213 dated February 01.. 372302 registered in the name of Severino M. Form No. containing an area of 342. and/or Barrio Culiat [Annexes "2" to "77" inclusive "79". The Heirs of Barque filed an appeal with the LRA. RT-22481 [372302] would show that the same do not. there were no such Psd's yet. Chief. Privadi J. Mtrs. et al. Fls-3168-D. 24 only the owner's or co-owner's duplicate of an original or transfer certificate of title could be used as a source of administrative reconstitution. Sr.

33 the Court of Appeals dismissed the Heirs of Barque's petition and affirmed the LRA Resolution of 24 June 1998. 66700 In a Decision promulgated on 13 September 2002. filed a motion for reconsideration. RT-22481 and directing the LRA to reconstitute forthwith respondents' TCT No. Manotok had authority to sign the verification and certification against forum shopping in behalf of the other petitioners. Their petition was docketed as G. No. Sr. et al. et al. the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby GRANTED. RT-22481 [372302]. SO ORDERED. as follows: 15 . RT-22481 (372302) in the name of [the] Manotoks upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. 1923 as per certification issued by the LMSDENR-NCR [Annex "L" Petitioners' Position Paper]. 25 However. upon motion for reconsideration of the Heirs of Barque.R. et al. 34 the Court of Appeals reconsidered its 13 September 2002 Decision. T-210177. SP No.R. It was not. the LRA ruled that TCT No. 66700 praying for the modification of the 24 June 1998 Resolution and 14 June 2001 Order of the LRA. SP No. 27 the LRA denied the motion.'s petition and affirmed the LRA Resolution of 24 June 1998. 32 Manotok. The Heirs of Barque moved for reconsideration of the Decision. Manotok.R. 66642 before the Court of Appeals challenging the 24 June 1998 Resolution and 14 June 2001 Order of the LRA. et al. SP No. however. filed a petition for review docketed as CA-G. 29 In its Decision of 29 October 2003. Barque.R. The Heirs of Barque prayed for the immediate reconstitution of TCT No. The dispositive portion of the LRA Resolution reads: WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. indicated whether or not it was Lot 822 of the Piedad Estate. The Decision of this Court dated 29 October 2003 is RECONSIDERED and a new one is entered ordering the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel petitioners' TCT No. 210177 in the name of Homer L. appealed to this Court for relief. RT-22481 [372302]. SP No. it is hereby ordered that reconstitution of TCT No. Lot 822 was mentioned as one of the boundaries of TCT No. 31 the dispositive portion of which reads: CASIEa WHEREFORE. The Heirs of Barque filed a petition for review docketed as CA-G. the Court of Appeals reinstated the petition in the Resolution of 27 November 2001. RT-22481 [372302] by a court of competent jurisdiction. 66642 The Court of Appeals initially dismissed CA-G.R. 210177 without prior cancellation of TCT No. 26 Manotok. 66642 in the Resolution of 23 October 2001 28 for failure to show that Rosa R. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals CA-G. SP No.. shall be given due course after cancellation of TCT No.Payatas Estate nor Tuazon Estate as the boundaries of the lot in question. et al.R. the Court of Appeals promulgated an Amended Decision on 24 February 2004. CA-G. However. 210177 could only be reconstituted after a court of competent jurisdiction has cancelled TCT No. As correctly pointed out by petitioners. 30 the Court of Appeals denied Manotok. In an Amended Decision promulgated on 7 November 2003. 162335. In an Order dated 14 June 2001. The lot in question does not at all adjoin the Payatas Estate which was surveyed only on January 12. Upon motion for reconsideration filed by Manotok. in view of the foregoing.

RT-22481 of private respondents and the LRA is hereby directed to reconstitute forthwith petitioners' valid. 6732. he shall issue an order 16 . 1529 39 ("PD 1529"). et al. 40 governs the administrative reconstitution of lost or destroyed certificates of titles. Bustos' Order. 36 the Court of Appeals denied the motion. docketed as G. which states: 8. genuine and existing Certificate of Title No. Whether the Land Registration Authority has jurisdiction to rule on the validity of Manotok. Notice of all hearings of the petition for judicial reconstitution shall be furnished the Register of Deeds of the place where the land is situated and to the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority. Bustos should have confined himself to TCT No. — Only the owner's or co-owner's duplicate of an original or transfer certificate of title may be used as a source of administrative reconstitution. et al. Manotok. 13 41 when he required the submission of documents other than the owner's duplicate of TCT No. flood or other force majeure as determined by the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority: Provided. Order of Reconstitution. 35 Manotok. 2. No. et al. — Original copies of certificate of titles lost or destroyed in the offices of Register of Deeds as well as liens and encumbrances affecting the lands covered by such titles shall be reconstituted judicially in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Republic Act No. thus: 4. our decision dated 13 September 2002 is hereby reconsidered. 38 may order the cancellation of Manotok. The Issues In their Memoranda. The LRA cited paragraph 4 of LRA Circular No. Whether the Court of Appeals may assume equity jurisdiction over the cases. et al. 13.R. after appropriate verification. Sources of Reconstitution. The procedure relative to administrative reconstitution of lost or destroyed certificate prescribed in said Act may be availed of only in case of substantial loss or destruction of land titles due to fire.'s title and the reconstitution of the Heirs of Barque's title. That in no case shall the number of certificates of titles lost or damaged be less than five hundred (500). Section 110 of PD 1529 provides: SEC. The LRA. Administrative Reconstitution under PD 1529 Section 110 of Presidential Decree No. filed a petition for review with this Court.'s title. ruled that Atty. Velasco. 3. Whether the Court of Appeals. et al. 13 should be read in conjunction with its paragraph 8.WHEREFORE. No pronouncement as to costs. Reconstitution of Lost or Destroyed Original of Torrens Title. the Register of Deeds of Quezon City is hereby directed to cancel TCT No. In its Resolution of 12 March 2004. applying Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership v. SO ORDERED. 110. No order or judgment ordering the reconstitution of a certificate of title shall become final until the lapse of fifteen (15) days from receipt by the Register of Deeds and the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority of a notice of such order or judgment without any appeal having [been] filed by any such officials. Accordingly. paragraph 4 of LRA Circular No. raise a number of issues which may be summarized as follows: 1. is convinced that the certificate of title may be reconstituted. Bustos blatantly disregarded LRA Circular No. 210177. in reversing Atty. That the number of certificates of titles lost or damaged should be at least ten percent (10%) of the total number in the possession of the Office of the Register of Deeds: Provided. T-210177. — If the Reconstituting Officer or the Register of Deeds of another registry. further. as amended by Republic Act No. The LRA ruled that Atty. 162605. However. 37 Manotok. filed a motion for reconsideration of the Amended Decision. 210177. 26 insofar as not inconsistent with this Decree.

210177. General Functions — (1) The Commissioner of Land Registration shall have the following functions: (a) Issue decrees of registration pursuant to final judgments of the courts in land registration proceedings and cause the issuance by the Registers of Deeds of the corresponding certificates of title. or lessee's duplicate of the certificate of title. the petitioner must submit the owner's or co-owner's duplicate of the certificate of title as required by Section 3 of RA 26 and paragraph 4 of LRA Circular No. he was not only exercising caution but more importantly. Thus. Atty. stating his reasons therefor. it was part of the verification process prior to reconstitution of the title. The process of verification allows the reconstituting officer to countercheck with other government agencies to determine the validity of the title to be reconstituted. In accordance with paragraph 8 of LRA Circular No. Bustos shall issue an order of reconstitution only after appropriate verification. Dalire to furnish his office with a copy of Fls-3168-D. 45 as follows: SEC. subject to the approval of the Secretary of Justice. it was part of the verification process under paragraph 8 of LRA Circular No. 13. 13. (d) Exercise executive supervision over all clerks of court and personnel of the Court of First Instance throughout the Philippines with respect to the discharge of their duties and functions in relation to the registration of lands. Hence. 13. (e) Implement all orders.of reconstitution. (c) Resolve cases elevated en consulta by. However. The reconstitution of a certificate of title is far from being a ministerial act. When Atty. Bustos conducted a verification of TCT No. mortgagee's. Otherwise. The Heirs of Barque filed the petition for reconstitution only in 1996. Atty. 26 43 ("RA 26") enumerates the sources for reconstitution of transfer certificates of title. or on appeal from decision of. 13. In an administrative reconstitution. 210177 pursuant to paragraph 8 of LRA Circular No. Bustos requested Engr. 6. For administrative reconstitution of title. (Emphasis supplied) When Atty. Bustos requested for a copy of Fls-3168-D. Bustos was merely exercising caution to avoid the reconstitution of spurious titles. the reconstituting officer or the Register of Deeds shall issue an order of reconstitution only after appropriate verification which means that he must be convinced that the certificate of title is genuine and not spurious. The Jurisdiction of the Land Registration Authority Section 6 of PD 1529 enumerates the general functions of the Land Registration Commissioner. 13 mandates that Atty. the submission of the source documents does not mean that the reconstituting officer must forthwith grant the petition for reconstitution. the reconstituting officer must go beyond the owner's or co-owner's duplicate certificate of title to determine whether the title is genuine. decisions. Section 12 44 of RA 26 does not apply in the present cases since Section 12 refers to judicial reconstitution of title. The Register of Deeds concerned and the petitioner shall be furnished with copies of the order. Considering the numerous petitions for reconstitution due to the destruction of the Quezon City Hall. and decrees promulgated relative to the registration of lands and issue. It does not also mean that the reconstituting officer must confine himself with the owner's or co-owner's duplicate of the certificate of title. he shall deny the petition. all needful rules and regulations therefor. the only source documents are the owner's duplicate of the certificate of title and the co-owner's. Bustos should have confined himself to the owner's duplicate of TCT No. Registers of Deeds. the LRA erred in ruling that Atty. Paragraph 8 of LRA Circular No. eight years after the alleged destruction of the original TCT in 1988. (b) Exercise supervision and control over all Registers of Deeds and other personnel of the Commission. 17 . Section 3 42 of Republic Act No. The reconstituting officer should not be blamed for verifying if he should grant the petition for reconstitution.

a situation anathema to the very concept of stability and indefeasibility of a Torrens title. The LRA declared: Notwithstanding the foregoing. The LRA also preempted whatever decision the RTC may render on the matter. It is thus presumed valid until ordered declared null and void by a court of competent jurisdiction. 957. and consolidation-subdivision survey plans of properties titled under Act No. the same is existing as a reconstituted title at the Office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. . et al. No.D. (Emphasis supplied) To allow the cancellation of Manotok. the LRA and the Court of Appeals have no jurisdiction to act on the petition for reconstitution filed by the Heirs of Barque in view of the existing Torrens title of Manotok. it is only the Regional Trial Court which can declare that the same was fraudulently reconstituted. 49 which is not the situation in the present cases. Rodriguez. modified or cancelled in a direct proceeding. Calalang vs. the LRA assumed the function of the RTC. modified or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law (Section 48. Although it is now being claimed that the title of the Manotoks was wrongly reconstituted. 48Section 48 of PD 1529 provides: Section 48. much less an administrative body. No court. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of the Manotoks is alleged to cover a property with an "expanded area" and that the same was fraudulently reconstituted. or any interest therein. consolidation. 244 SCRA 418). . real property. Blg. 1529.P. or possession of. The Register of Deeds. 46 Clearly. it is noted that although TCT No.'s title. To allow such reconstitution is to allow a collateral attack on the existing Torrens title in violation of Section 48 of PD 1529. Such reconstitution will result in an anomalous situation where two Torrens title in the name of two different owners cover one property. et al. Register of Deeds of Quezon City. By ruling on the validity of Manotok. . 129 ("BP Blg.D. it is not within its powers and functions to declare a title void. . It cannot be altered. Certificate not Subject to Collateral attack. recognized that only the Regional Trial Court ("RTC") could declare a title fraudulently reconstituted. (Emphasis supplied) The LRA has jurisdiction to review on appeal decisions on petitions for reconstitution. — A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack.s' title is sham and spurious. The only exception is when the Torrens title has been issued for less than one year." The LRA. The LRA exceeded its jurisdiction when it declared that Manotok. Under Section 19 of Batas Pambansa Blg. particularly Section 19(2) thereof . . unless there is a final judgment first cancelling such Torrens title. However. in its 24 June 1998 Resolution. P. 129"). "Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction . . et al. which involve the title to. or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law.'s title in an administrative reconstitution proceeding will permit an indirect attack on the certificate of title in violation of Section 48 of PD 1529. The LRA itself acknowledged that only the RTC could declare a title fraudulently reconstituted. LRA's jurisdiction to act on petitions for administrative reconstitution does not include the power to declare a title sham or spurious or to order the cancellation of a certificate of title. 496 except those covered by P. 231 SCRA 88. Well-settled is the rule that a certificate of title cannot be altered. AHCTEa The settled rule is a certificate of title cannot be subject to collateral attack. 47 A certificate of title may only be altered. 106). can entertain a petition for reconstitution of lost or destroyed title if the land is already covered by a Torrens title in the name of another party. modified. . A title issued under the Torrens system enjoys the presumption of validity (Ramos vs. xxx xxx xxx It must likewise be stressed that questions affecting title to real property fall within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts as expressly provided for under B. et al. . In Alabang Development Corporation v. Valenzuela 50 the Court ruled: 18 .(f) Verify and approve subdivision. 129. in all civil actions.

by itself. the Court of Appeals originally ruled that the LRA is without jurisdiction and cannot determine which of the two titles is valid. The reconstitution of a title is simply the re-issuance of a lost duplicate certificate of title in its original form and condition. Equity Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals In its original Decision in CA-G." In other words. even a reconstituted title. the reconstituting officer in an administrative proceeding has no authority to deprive a third party of his property by cancelling his Torrens title to the property. land officials and judges who disregard these basic and fundamental principles will be held duly accountable therefor. Cebu Country Club. The courts simply have no jurisdiction over petitions by such third parties for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles over lands that are already covered by duly issued subsisting titles in the names of their duly registered owners. does not determine or resolve the ownership of the land covered by the lost or destroyed title. . A fortiori. Equity jurisdiction aims to attain complete justice in cases where a court of law is unable to render judgment to meet the special circumstances of a case because of the limitations of its statutory jurisdiction. of their property without due process of law. In reversing itself. et al. 55 Where the law prescribes a particular remedy with fixed and limited boundaries. 54 However. is "evidence of an indefeasible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. A Torrens title. 66642. like the original certificate of title. by itself does not vest ownership of the land or estate covered thereby. the court 19 . the Court of Appeals insists that it may decide the cases on the merits based on the records before it "in the pursuit of expeditious administration of justice. 52 : Respondent relies solely on its reconstituted title which. A reconstituted title.The Court stresses once more that lands already covered by duly issued existing Torrens Titles (which become incontrovertible upon the expiration of one year from their issuance under Section 38 of the Land Registration Act) cannot be the subject of petitions for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles filed by third parties without first securing by final judgment the cancellation of such existing titles. RT-22481 even without a direct proceeding before the proper RTC as mandated by Section 48 of PD 1529 and Section 19 of BP Blg. Yet. in the two Amended Decisions. equity follows the law.R. in the Amended Decisions. and upholding the TCT of the Heirs of Barque. et al. 51 By cancelling the TCT of Manotok.. Moreover. The very concept of stability and indefeasibility of titles covered under the Torrens System of registration rules out as anathema the issuance of two certificates of title over the same land to two different holders thereof. such third party is not even required to be impleaded as a respondent.'s TCT No. In CA-G. the Court of Appeals deprived Manotok. The reconstituting officer has no power to decide questions of ownership. 129. such proceedings for "reconstitution" without actual notice to the duly registered owners and holders of Torrens Titles to the land are null and void. This is grave error because ownership is never in issue in a petition for reconstitution of title. (Emphasis supplied) The Court has repeatedly reiterated this ruling in subsequent cases. Inc. . SP No. (Emphasis in original) In a petition for reconstitution of title. Clearly. the only relief sought is the issuance of a reconstituted title because the reconstituting officer's power is limited to granting or denying a reconstituted title. the Court of Appeals sustained as conclusive the LRA's finding that the title of the Heirs of Barque is the genuine and authentic title." 53 Certainly. and courts exercising equity jurisdiction must still apply the law and have no discretion to disregard the law. As this Court ruled in Alonso v. SP No.R. the Court of Appeals ordered the Register of Deeds to cancel Manotok. 66700. the Court of Appeals resolved in the administrative reconstitution case the issue of ownership over the property in dispute. et al. In a petition for reconstitution. . Applicants. et al. the Court of Appeals assumed equity jurisdiction over the cases.'s title is presumed valid until annulled by a court of competent jurisdiction. It does not determine or resolve the ownership of the land covered by the lost or destroyed title. the Court of Appeals held that Manotok.

However.725. the Court of Appeals may not extend jurisdiction to the LRA where the law has not granted such jurisdiction. However. they should pre-empt and prevail over all abstract arguments based only on equity. through Atty. The parties question the authenticity of each other's documents. The determination of the authenticity of the documents and veracity of the claims of both parties requires a trial on the merits. Court Appeals and Macaya. Perpetua Bocanegra. with an area of more or less one hectare. statutory law or.000. which as agreed upon between them is set on June 23. as in this case. had been. the Clerk of Court is hereby direct to conduct an ocular inspection of the landholding in question situated at Payong. The property in question contains an area of 342. At a conservative estimate of P5. before the filing of the complaint in this case. Old Balara. judicial rules of procedure. the Court of Agrarian Relations made an ocular inspection of the property. 57 (Emphasis supplied) Hence. This Court accords respect. which is as follows: "Conformably with 'Urgent Motion For An Ocular Inspection' filed with this Court on even date and as stated in paragraph 2 thereof.000 per square meter. 58 shows that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate is located at Barrio Payong. (sic). worked on by Victorino Macaya and returned by him to the defendants.945 square meters. The Court of Appeals may not also allow a collateral attack on a Torrens title.cannot.M. et al. claim that they and their predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the property since 1919 while the Heirs of Barque allegedly have never set foot on the property. The pertinent positive rules being present here. (f) Portions burned by the plaintiff. (a) Portions of the property planted to rice (sic) by the plaintiff and/or his children. The Court of Appeals should not have resolved the factual issues by adopting as its own the LRA's finding. The documents submitted by the parties are conflicting. On June 27. 129.714. this rule does not apply when the administrative body has no jurisdiction to make a conclusive factual finding particularly when the findings might conflict with findings of the tribunal or agency which has jurisdiction on the matter." Upon accomplishment thereof. (b) Portions of the property where the rice paddies are located. Quezon City. (d) Portions of the property where the houses of the plaintiff and/or his children are built and located. 1978. the Clerk of Court submitted his "REPORT". which is as follows: 20 . to factual findings of an administrative body. and never against. Quezon City. Respondents claim that there is no Barrio Payong in Quezon City. in gross violation of Section 48 of PD 1529. 56 Thus. Manotok. by exercising equity jurisdiction. 1978 at 8:30 o'clock A. if not finality. extend the boundaries further than the law allows. the Decision of the Court of Agrarian Relations. according to the defendants.' this is applied only in the absence of. 59 Indeed. the court of origin in Spouses Tiongson. either before the LRA or before itself. the value of the property amounts to P1. Aequetas nunguam contravenit legis. The present cases involve a vast tract of land in a prime district. the Court issued an Order directing the Clerk of Court to conduct an ocular inspection of the landholding in question. said Clerk of Court is hereby directed to submit his report as well as his sketch plan for further disposition of the Court. which has been aptly described as 'a justice outside legality. wherein the parties shall meet at the site of said landholding and to determine. et al. Such function falls under the "exclusive original jurisdiction" of the RTC under Section 19 of BP Blg. (e) Portion of the property which. v. the Court ruled: As for equity. 1977. The LRA exceeded its jurisdiction when it made a conclusive finding on the validity of the titles of the parties. (c) Portions of the property planted to (sic) corn and vegetables. Respondents point to the 24 June 1998 Resolution of the LRA stating that Barrio Payong is non-existent. thus: aDHScI On June 20.

The LRA recognized that in an administrative reconstitution. InOrtigas. this Court has stressed "that lands already covered by duly issued existing Torrens titles (which become incontrovertible upon the expiration of one year from their issuance under section 38 of the Land Registration Act) cannot be the subject of petitions for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles filed by third parties without first securing by final judgment the cancellation of such existing titles. Velasco. 1978. 61 The Court of Appeals ruled that it would be unjust to the Heirs of Barque to initiate a new proceeding before the RTC for the sole purpose of seeking the cancellation of Manotok. the Heirs of Barque filed before the Register of Deeds an administrative petition to reconstitute their allegedly destroyed TCT. Quezon City on June 23. So. Clearly. 63 The Court ruled that Ortigas' documents of ownership have been passed upon. et al. This is because the records showed that Ortigas' titles had already been upheld and affirmed in three other cases. et al. decided in 1906. . denied the petition of the Heirs of Barque because. The majority opinion adopts the findings of the LRA. . . to conduct an ocular inspection of the landholding involved in this case. the Court of Appeals relied on Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership v. On the other hand." (Emphasis supplied) This is the specific ruling in Ortigas that applies to the present cases. although the LRA believed that the TCT of Manotok. Velasco In ordering the Register of Deeds to cancel Manotok. based on official records. The LRA affirmed the Register of Deeds. 129 which confer on the proper trial court exclusive original jurisdiction to cancel a Torrens title in an action directly attacking the 21 . never to cancel the Torrens title of a third party. et al. the Court of Appeals deprived Manotok. the Ortigas case. The Register of Deeds. the Court ruled that a remand of the case would be pointless and unduly circuitous. argue that if ever the Ortigas case is applicable. et al. involving either the original registration or direct attacks on the titles. the property involved is already registered under the Torrens system in the name of Manotok. et al. This peculiar circumstance is absent in the cases before us. . which the Heirs of Barque insist applies to the present cases. the decision of the reconstituting body is either to deny or approve the reconstitution of the applicant's title. of their property without due process of law. The Applicability of Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership v. sanctioned and sustained by the Court more than once. This issue. Quezon City. and that to defer adjudication on the matter would be unwarranted and unjust. The Court of Appeals blatantly disregarded Section 48 of PD 1529 and Section 19 of BP Blg. was a sham. proceeded to Barrio Payong. . too. Manotok. et al. In contrast. 1978." 60 (Emphasis supplied) The findings of the LRA that Barrio Payong does not exist is based merely on LRA's evaluation of the documents. the LRA and the Court of Appeals have no jurisdiction to entertain the petition for reconstitution filed by the Heirs of Barque.'s title and the LRA to reconstitute the title of the Heirs of Barque. 1985 and 1987. et al. Victor Flores of this Branch. should be threshed out by the proper trial court in an action directly attacking the validity of the Torrens title of Manotok. is authority to hold that the Register of Deeds. on appeal. et al. . However. it will apply in their favor since this Court in a prior decision 62 involving tenancy relationship affirmed their right to the property in question. is based on ocular inspection. however. void and the TCT of the Heirs of Barque valid. undersigned together with Mr. as reconstituting officer. However. the findings of the Court of Agrarian Relations that the property of the Spouses Tiongson is located in Barrio Payong."In compliance with the Order of the Honorable Court dated June 20. In summary. The Heirs of Barque claim that the pendency of the cases for a long period of time justifies the application of the Ortigas case in their favor. . of their right to a direct proceeding before the proper court concerning the validity of their Torrens title.'s title. et al. The Ortigas case is not authority to deprive Manotok. The Court held in Ortigas: 64 . . . et al. stating that only the proper trial court could cancel the TCT of Manotok. the Court of Appeals declared the TCT of Manotok.

petitioners. THERESA L.B. SEVERINO MANOTOK III. MANOTOK. SP No. they afford this Court the opportunity to again defend the Torrens system against unscrupulous elements who use its formalities to actualize the theft of property. MANOTOK. 2005]) [G. MILAGROS V. JR.R. FERNANDO M. the parties presented their various contentions before the Court in an oral argument held on 24 July 2007. Rosa R. MANOTOK. and to exert judicial might in ensuring that fraud does not prevail in the end. they call for the correct application of entrenched principles in land registration. IGNACIO MANOTOK. vs. the titles issued under the system are indefeasible. MIGUEL A. MANOTOK. MANOTOK. GEORGE M. JOSE CLEMENTE L. 66642 and the 7 November 2003 Amended Decision and the 12 March 2004 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. While the cases were under consideration of the Court en banc. ROBERTO LAPERAL III. JESUS JUDE MANOTOK. TIONGSON.R. J p: The perceived advantages of the Torrens system of registration of land titles have helped stabilize land ownership in the Philippines. MARY ANN MANOTOK. 5 and a set of new parties was allowed leave to intervene. MANOTOK. 2008. MA.R. but are summarized herein for convenience. 1 Its fundamental purpose is to quiet title to land.R. Heirs of Barque. [December 12. MANOTOK. Q-547-A [97] until after the proper Regional Trial Court shall have rendered a final judgment on the validity of the titles of the parties. 4 They were accepted by the Court en banc in a Resolution dated 26 July 2006. PACITA L. MANOTOK. Its underlying principle is security with facility in dealing with land. G.] SEVERINO M. ROSA R. SISON. BOCANEGRA. Nos. FELISA MYLENE V. MANOTOK III. 6 The antecedent facts are stated in full in our 2005 Decision. Yet the Torrens system is imperfect in that it remains susceptible to fraud. JR. Subsequently. At the same time. The resulting effects of that blaze on 22 . MANOTOK. and MA. Manotok. immolating. SP No. 3 These petitions feature apparently fraudulent practices relating to the attempts at registration of the subject property. The Court should not countenance this gross injustice and patent violation of the law. I vote to grant the petitions and set aside the 24 February 2004 Amended Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. MANOTOK. Recons. HEIRS OF HOMER L. BARQUE. On 11 June 1988.validity of the Torrens title. among others. JOSE MARIA MANOTOK. to perpetually enjoin any question in the legality of the title. PATRICIA L. followed by the submission of their respective memoranda. THELMA R. Nos. RESOLUTION TINGA. which were destroyed as a consequence. MAMERTA M. Necessarily. SISON. December 18. 2 hence. records stored in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. either in the original registration proceedings or in subsequent transactions. No. the participation of the Office of the Solicitor General was required. ||| (Manotok IV v. That fire has attained notoriety due to the numerous certificates of title on file with that office. GO.. MICHAEL MARSHALL V. Accordingly. These petitions were referred to the Court en banc by the Special First Division which had initially ruled on them. RAMON SEVERINO L. MANOTOK. The Land Registration Authority must defer its ruling in Admin. 162335 & 162605. Represented by TERESITA BARQUE HERNANDEZ. a fire gutted portions of the Quezon City Hall. FROILAN M. 66700. MA. PHILIPP L. 162335 & 162605. most comprehensively in a Decision dated 12 December 2005. MANOTOK IV. respondents. CRISTINA E.. represented by their Attorney-in-fact.

. . the Barques submitted copies of the alleged owner's duplicate of the Barque title. The Register of Deeds of Quezon City himself acknowledged the existence and authenticity of TCT No. tax declarations and a Plan FLS 3168-D covering the property. Learning of the Barques' petition. Bustos. The logbook of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City lists TCT No. (the Manotoks) filed their opposition thereto. Mtrs.. respectively. It observed that: Based on the documents presented. valid. et al. . 210177 was. Bustos on appeal. genuine. Mtrs.. if not the most contentious of those cases thus far. 1997. In support of their petition.945 square meters.945 Sq. the Barques appealed to the LRA. 210177. hence. Q-213 dated February 01. . Privadi J. L.specific property registration controversies have been dealt with by the Court in a number of cases since then. RT-22481 [372302] (the Manotok title) in the name of Severino Manotok. CAaDSI xxx xxx xxx The Barques' motion for reconsideration was denied by Atty. reconstituted under Adm. A brief description of the property involved is in order. Chief. 210177 . It is likewise noteworthy that the technical description and boundaries of the lot reflected in TCT No. Bustos in an Order 10 dated 10 February 1998. . The Barque title actually involves two parcels of land as part of Lot No. but with a similar area of 342. . Dalire. Form No. Lots 823-A and 823-B. It ruled that the reconstituting officer should not have required the submission of documents other than the owner's duplicate certificate of title as basis for denying the petition and should have confined himself to the owner's duplicate certificate of title.472 Sq. . Geodetic Surveys Division. 28-37-R dated 11-8-94 and B. Both the Barques' and the Manotoks' titles advert to land belonging to Lot No. as reconstituting officer of the LRA. Manotok. declaring that: xxx xxx xxx 1. Form No. .. while the Manotok title concerns only one parcel of land. The LRA reversed Atty. Reconstitution No. et al. . Manotok IV. The LRA further found anomalies in the Manotoks' title. They alleged that the Barque title was among the records destroyed by the 1988 fire. On 30 June 1997. Land Management Bureau. petitioners have established by clear and convincing evidence that TCT No. 7 These petitions are perhaps the most heated. et al. . containing areas of 171. Atty. Mtrs. Province of Rizal. with an aggregate area of 342. containing an area of 342. 2. 210177 as among the titles lost . . Fls-3168-D. as indicated in the B. authentic and effective. Severino M. They further alleged that the Barque title was spurious. . Respondents Heirs of Homer Barque (the Barques) filed a petition 8 with the Land Registration Authority (LRA) for administrative reconstitution of the original of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No.945 square meters. covered by TCT No. Petitioners duly presented the original of the owner's duplicate copy of TCT No. .G. 823 of the Piedad Estate. real estate tax receipts. The submitted plan Fls-3168-D is a spurious document as categorically stated by Engr. in his letter dated February 19. 1991. 372302 registered in the name of Severino M. covered by TCT No. 823 of the Piedad Estate situated in the then Municipality of Caloocan. L. . 31-10 duly issued by the Bureau of Lands . 210177 was one of the titles destroyed and not salvaged from the fire that gutted the Quezon City Hall on 11 June 1988 . 210177 (the Barque title) issued in the name of Homer Barque.473 Sq. denied 9 the petition for reconstitution of the Barque title. 23 . 210177 when he issued a certification to the effect that TCT No. 210177 absolutely conform to the technical description and boundaries of Lot 823 Piedad Estate . appear to duplicate Lot 823 Piedad Estate. Benjamin M. The Manotoks claimed that the lot covered by the Barque title formed part of the land covered by their reconstituted title TCT No. and 171. at the time of the destruction thereof.

it is hereby ordered that reconstitution of TCT No. which was opposed by the Barques with a prayer that the reconstitution be ordered immediately. in CA-G. the Second Division of the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision 16 in CA-G. Sr. DENR-NCR. Dalire in his letter dated 19 February 1997 that his office has no records or information about Plan FLS 3168-D is belied by the certified copy of the computer print-out duly issued by the Bureau of Lands indicating therein that FLS 3168D is duly entered into the microfilm records of the Bureau of Lands and has been assigned Accession Number 410436 appearing on Page 79. 66700 and CA-G. Bustos even confirmed the existence and authenticity of said plan.It therefore becomes evident that the existence. CTacSE On 13 September 2002. Carmelito Soriano. 2513818 Q dated 9-23-96 . List of Locator Cards and Box Number 0400 and said computer print-out is duly supported by an Official Receipt . authenticity and effectivity of TCT No. CacEIS It would be necessary to underscore that the certified copy of Plan FLS 3168 D was duly issued by the office of Engr.R. Engr. Felicitas Manahan filed a motion for leave to intervene. The said Plan FLS 3168D is indeed authentic and valid coming as it does from the legal repository and duly signed by the custodian thereof.R. Engr. . Erive in his letter dated 28 November 1996 addressed to Atty. . xxx xxx xxx The claim of Engr. 210177 in the name of Homer L. The Barques' petition for review 13 was docketed as CA-G. the Manotoks argued in their own petition that the LRA erred in imputing that the Manotok title was spurious and fake. . the LRA noted that only the Regional Trial Court (RTC) could cancel the Manotok title as a Torrens title. Said plan is likewise duly supported by Republic of the Philippines Official Receipt No. . in his letter dated 2 January 1997 addressed to Atty. the Special Division of Five of the Former Second Division rendered an Amended Decision18 dated 7 November 2003 wherein it held that: 24 . 66642 and claimed ownership over the subject property. SP No. Notwithstanding its conclusion that the Manotok title was fraudulently reconstituted. SO ORDERED. The Barques prayed that the LRA be directed to immediately reconstitute the Barque title without being subjected to the condition that the Manotok title should first be cancelled by a court of competent jurisdiction. Ernesto Erive. . SP No. . 17 Subsequently. Barque. Bustos . 66700.R. SP No. Chief.R. . The Barques filed a motion for reconsideration. . . The documentary evidence presented is much too overwhelming to be simply brushed aside and be defeated by the fabricated statements and concoctions made by Engr. SP No. Said plan was duly signed by the custodian thereof. 66642. validity. 66700. . The Manotoks filed a motion for reconsideration. while the Manotoks' petition for review 14 was docketed as CA-G. SP No. SP No.R. confirmed that a microfilm copy of Plan FLS 3168D is on file in the Technical Records and Statistics Section of his office. Chief Technical Records and Statistics Section. Dalire in his 19 February 1997 letter. Preliminary Report No. Surveys Division LMS-DENR-NCR whose office is the lawful repository of survey plans for lots situated within the National Capital Region including the property in question.R. It thus ruled. denying the Barques' petition and affirming the LRA Resolution. . . On the other hand. 210177 was established indubitably and irrefutably by the petitioners. Both the Manotoks and the Barques appealed the LRA decision to the Court of Appeals (CA). The LRA denied 12the Manotoks' motion for reconsideration and the Barques' prayer for immediate reconstitution. 15 She sought the dismissal of the cases in CA-G. 11 that: WHEREFORE. . . the reconstitution thereof should be given due course and the same is mandatory . 66700. Meanwhile. Under such circumstances. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of Manotoks upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. in view of the foregoing. 1. . . . shall be given due course after cancellation of TCT No. Dalire.

steps be taken in the proper court for the cancellation of TCT No. entry of judgment was made in the Book of Entries of Judgment. the Manotoks filed an Urgent Motion to Refer Motion for Possession to the Supreme Court En Banc (with prayer to set motion for oral argument). Vicente Manahan. No. was issued Sales Certificate No. On 2 August 2004. the intervenors. SP No. 33 Movants alleged that the property subject of the petition in G. RT-22481 and directing the LRA to reconstitute forthwith respondents' TCT No. respectively.R. 162335 and G. the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby GRANTED. 162335. 23 As had occurred with the Barques' petition. and the Court further ordered that entry of judgment be made. They claimed that their predecessor-in-interest. SP No. the Manotoks filed separate petitions for review before this Court docketed as G. T-210177. the Register of Deeds of Quezon City is hereby directed to cancel TCT No. directing the OSG to file its Comment. the Manotoks filed a Motion for Leave to File a Second Motion for Reconsideration. as to the Manotoks' petition.R. and on 26 July 2006. 162605 with G. No. 32 On 7 September 2006.WHEREFORE. .R.R. the Court found it necessary to involve the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in these cases. promulgated its Amended Decision 24wherein it held that: WHEREFORE. 28 Thereafter. genuine and existing Certificate of Title No.R. The Barques filed a motion for reconsideration of this ruling. Felicitas Manahan and Rosendo Manahan filed a motion to intervene. 66642. The Court denied the same in a Resolution dated 19 June 2006. the Court's First Division rendered its Decision 26 affirming the two decisions of the Court of Appeals. 34 The Director of the Legal Division of the Land Management Bureau (LMB) recommended to the Director of the LMB that: . since there was as yet no final judgment upholding or annulling the Barque title. the Court ordered the consolidation of G. 30 The Barques filed multiple motions with the Court's First Division concerning the execution of the judgment.R. 20 On the other hand. 66700. with their Motion for Reconsideration attached. Accordingly. 19 The Manotoks filed a motion for the reconsideration of the amended decision in CA-G. to which was attached their petition in intervention. including a Motion for Issuance of Writ of Possession or For Execution. RT-22481(372302) and all its derivative titles so that the land covered may be reverted to the State. No.R. Oral arguments were eventually held on 24 July 2007. TDSICH After the oral arguments. the Special First Division referred these cases to the Court en banc. the Third Division of the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision 21 on 29 October 2003 which affirmed the resolution of the LRA.35 Ultimately. No. The Decision of this Court dated 29 October 2003 is RECONSIDERED and a new one is entered ordering the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel petitioners' TCT No. both ordering the cancellation of the Manotok title. SP No. the Third Division of the Court of Appeals granted the Barques' motion for reconsideration and on 24 February 2004. 66700 and CA-G. In a Resolution dated 19 July 2006. RT-22481 of private respondents and the LRA is hereby directed to reconstitute forthwith petitioners' valid. but this was denied. No. 162335. 25 On 12 December 2005.R. SP No. Moreover. the Court en banc promulgated a Resolution accepting the cases.R. which the Court's First Division denied in a Resolution dated 19 April 2006. 25 . The OSG filed its Comment on 04 April 2007. 29 Thus on 2 May 2006. 27 The Manotoks filed a motion for reconsideration. 31 In response. CA-G. the Court required the parties. 22 The appellate court held that the LRA correctly deferred in giving due course to the Barques' petition for reconstitution. 66642. 162605 and G. 162605 was owned by them. T-210177. Aggrieved with the twin decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. . and the Solicitor General to submit their respective memoranda. 511 which covered lot 823 of the Piedad Estate.R. they attached to their petition the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that the documents of the Manotoks were not as old as they were purported to be. our decision dated 13 September 2002 is hereby reconsidered. No.

the Barques have sought that the LRA exercise the power to cancel the Manotok title and forthwith cause the reconstitution of their own title. for example. such as. 36 The power to suspend or even disregard rules of procedure can be so pervasive and compelling as to alter even that which this Court itself has already declared to be final. 37 The militating concern for the Court en banc in accepting these cases is not so much the particular fate of the parties. even by the parties. these petitions are attended by a few procedural unorthodoxies. and] cannot be altered. that since the Court en banc resolved to accept these petitions in 2006. modified. This Resolution is the result of that review. . Upon appellate review of that LRA decision. and leaving that decision alone without the imprimatur of the Court en banc would lead to undue confusion within the bar and bench. The obvious question is whether the Court of Appeals was empowered to direct the annulment of the Manotok title through the petitions raised before it by the Barques and the Manotoks. academics and judges quibbling over whether the earlier ruling of the Division constitutes the current standard with respect to administrative reconstitution of titles. the cancellation of the Manotok title cannot arise incidentally from the administrative proceeding for reconstitution of the Barque title even if the evidence from that proceeding revealed the Manotok title as fake. Most urgently. also known as the Property Registration Decree. The Office of the Solicitor General correctly pointed out that this Court before had sanctioned the recall entries of judgment. 1529. As earlier stated. The LRA refused to do so. but ultimately. Nor could it have emerged incidentally in the appellate review of the LRA's administrative proceeding. Our land registration system is too vital to be stymied by such esoteric wrangling. II In the context of an administrative reconstitution proceeding before the LRA. both assailed Amended Decisions of the Court of Appeals notably directed the cancellation of the Manotok title even as it mandated the reconstitution of the Barque title. the Court of Appeals initially upheld the LRA's position. upon motion for reconsideration. the Court had felt that the previous rulings by the First Division and the Special First Division warranted either affirmation or modification by the Court acting en banc. or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law". . we have effectively been reviewing the 12 December 2005 Decision of the Court's First Division. as well as the Resolutions dated 19 April and 19 June 2006 of that same Division. There are good reasons for the Court to act in such rare manner in these cases. provides that "[a] certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack [. It has been argued that the 2005 Decision of the First Division is inconsistent with precedents of the Court. Our succeeding discussion centers on the ordered mechanism for the cancellation of Torrens titles in the Philippines. although it did rule that the Manotok title was spurious and thus subject to cancellation through the proper judicial proceeding. and the administrators and courts which implement that system do not deserve needless hassle. 26 . the Court en banc's move on the Special First Division's referral for reevaluation of these petitions when an entry of judgment had already been made in favor of the Barques. with lawyers. Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. To recall. directed the cancellation of the Manotok title and the reconstitution of the Barque title. It is beyond contention. but the stability of the Torrens system of registration by ensuring clarity of jurisprudence on the field. It could not. Yet the prevailing consensus within the Court en banc was to proceed with the re-evaluation of these cases on a pro hac vice basis. we have opted to do so on a pro hac vice basis to lend much needed jurisprudential clarity as only the Court en banc can constitutionally provide. 38 Clearly. It is a constitutional principle that "no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the [C]ourt in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the court sitting en banc".I As can be gleaned from the foregoing statement of facts.

also pursuant to Section 9 of B. In fact. refutes the contention that the LRA has jurisdiction to cancel the Manotok title. all needful rules and regulations therefor.P. (c) Resolve cases elevated en consulta by. 129." That the RTC has "exclusive original jurisdiction" over actions seeking the cancellation of title to real property is so cardinal in our remedial law that it is reflected in hundreds if not thousands of examples in jurisprudence. decisions. even under Republic Act (R. Blg. conditional as it may have been. the LRA itself must have statutory authority to cancel a Torrens title in the first place. It invokes the exclusive original jurisdiction of the RTC under Paragraph 2. albeit in the exercise of its exclusive appellate jurisdiction 40 over the ruling of the LRA. 1529 enumerates the general functions of the Land Registration Commissioner. there is statutory basis for the LRA to exercise jurisdiction over the cancellation of Torrens titles.A. . The next matter of inquiry is whether the LRA had acted correctly in ordering. conferring jurisdiction on the RTC over "all civil actions which involve the title to or possession of real property.) No.D.P.D. and consolidation-subdivision survey plans of properties titled under Act No. Section 19 of B. (f) Verify and approve subdivision. or any interest therein .P. or on appeal from decision of. 26 as amended by Rep. . 27 . particularly by Batas Pambansa (B. as we shall see shortly such laws take great care to ensure that a petition for administrative reconstitution of title will not disturb existing Torrens titles. If there is. as follows: SEC. much less jurisdiction to rule on the validity of a certificate of title. subject to the approval of the Secretary of Justice. 496 except those covered byP. Note that the Office of the Solicitor General. — (1) The Commissioner of Land Registration shall have the following functions: (a) Issue decrees of registration pursuant to final judgments of the courts in land registration proceedings and cause the issuance by the Registers of Deeds of the corresponding certificates of title. (e) Implement all orders. (b) Exercise supervision and control over all Registers of Deeds and other personnel of the Commission. (d) Exercise executive supervision over all clerks of court and personnel of the Court of First Instance throughout the Philippines with respect to the discharge of their duties and functions in relation to the registration of lands. Indeed. 129). and decrees promulgated relative to the registration of lands and issue. Blg. Nonetheless.There is no doubt that the Court of Appeals does not have original jurisdiction to annul Torrens titles or to otherwise adjudicate questions over ownership of property. 6. consolidation. . which acts as counsel for the government and its agencies including the LRA.P. we can perhaps assess such law separately from B. Thus. which authorizes the administrative reconstitution of titles in limited cases. No. It is thus clear that neither the Court of Appeals nor the LRA had jurisdiction to cancel the Manotok title. 957. Registers of Deeds. 6732. 39 Still. Its exclusive original jurisdiction is determined by law. 129. Act No. the Barques are unable to point to any basis in law that confirms the power of the LRA to effect such cancellation. Nowhere in the aforecited provision is it stated that the LRA has the power to cancel titles. No. 129. notwithstanding the statutory delineation of "exclusive original jurisdiction of the RTC". Blg. the administrative reconstitution of the Barque title. for the appellate court to be able to direct the cancellation of a Torrens title in the course of reviewing a decision of the LRA. Section 6 of P. as amended. Section 9 of that law restricts the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to special civil actions and to actions for annulment of judgments of the regional trial court. the Court of Appeals did acquire jurisdiction over the Barques' and the Manotoks' petitions. we may inquire whether. General Functions.

after due notice and hearing. Act No. shall be liable for imprisonment for a period of not less than two years but not exceeding five years or the payment of a fine of not less than Twenty thousand pesos but not exceeding Two hundred thousand pesos or both at the discretion of the court. fire and other force majeure".Under Rep. shall be liable for imprisonment of not less than five years but not exceeding ten years or payment of a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos but not exceeding One hundred thousand pesos or both at the discretion of the court and perpetual disqualification from holding public office. is not in the name of the same person in whose favor the reconstituted certificate of title has been issued. administrative or judicial. or. The petitioner in such a case is required to execute an affidavit. as well as the names of the parties. which. as may have been on the latter. and subsequently found or recovered. A reconstituted title obtained by means of fraud. (5) That the certificate of title is covered by a tax declaration regularly issued by the Assessor's Office. and whether the registration of such deed or instrument is still pending accomplishment. 6732. 26 as amended by Rep. 6732 itself also states: Section 11. 43 These provisions indubitably establish that the administrative reconstitution of Torrens titles is intended for noncontroversial cases. the procedure prescribed above. the nature thereof. deceit or other machination is void ab initio as against the party obtaining the same and all persons having knowledge thereof. Any person who by means of fraud. and to such new liens and encumbrances. or especially where the subject property is not covered by an existing title in favor of a person other than the applicant. Act No. Act No. whether voluntary or involuntary. if any. and a new certificate of title has been issued. if there be any. with respect to the memoranda of new liens and encumbrances. or by an order of the court. as amended by Rep. 44 28 . 26. with respect to the memorandum of new liens and encumbrances made on the reconstituted certificate of title. upon conviction. the date of its presentation. Such an implication is consonant with the rule that the reconstitution proceedings are not the venue for confirmation or adjudication of title. deceit or other machination obtains or attempts to obtain a reconstituted title shall be subject to criminal prosecution and. Any public officer or employee who knowingly approves or assists in securing a decision allowing reconstitution in favor of any person not entitled thereto shall be subject to criminal prosecution and. Act No. Act No. 6732. If the certificate of title considered lost or destroyed. shall be followed with respect to the new certificate of title. after its reconstitution. (4) That the certificate of title was in full force and effect at the time it was lost or destroyed. if any. shall order the cancellation of the reconstituted certificate of title and render. but merely a means by which a previously adjudicated title whose original has been lost or destroyed may be reissued to its owner. regarding its genuineness or due execution or issuance. however. (3) That the certificate of title is not the subject of litigation or investigation. 41 Section 19 of Rep. such judgment as justice and equity may require: Provided. That if the reconstituted certificate of title has been cancelled by virtue of any deed or instrument. upon conviction. containing the following averments: AEIHaS (1) That no deed or other instrument affecting the property had been presented for registration. made in the reconstituted certificate of title. administrative reconstitution of titles is permitted where the certificates of titles have been lost due to "flood. (2) That the owner's duplicate certificate or co-owner's duplicate is in due form without any apparent intentional alterations or erasures. 19. after the issuance thereof. and (6) That real estate taxes have been fully paid up to at least two (2) years prior to the filing of the petition for reconstitution. Section 12. the Register of Deeds or the party concerned should bring the matter to the attention of the proper regional trial court. further provides: Sec. after its reconstitution. 42 Rep.

in ruling on the Barques' petition. Velasco. but the only relevant inquiry in such appellate proceeding is on whether or not there is a previously existing title covering that property. with the ultimately correct resolution which was the annulment of Molina's titles. The dismissal of such petition is subject to judicial review. Ortigas was forced to institute a special civil action of certiorari and mandamus with this Court. the LRA in such case is powerless to void the previous title or to diminish its legal effect. the corrective recourse lies with the courts. which had been improvidently disallowed by the trial court. 45 which we held that "[t]he courts simply have no jurisdiction over petitions by such third parties for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles over lands that are already covered by duly issued subsisting titles in the names of their duly registered owners". 46 That such doctrine was established for cases of judicial reconstitution does not bar its application to cases of administrative reconstitution. After all. even while reviewing the LRA's ruling. None of the provisions pertaining to administrative reconstitution in Rep. or the more immediate remedy of bypassing the appellate process and the Court itself by directly annulling Molina's titles. Valenzuela. the Court itself nullified the reconstituted titles issued by the trial court. cSTDIC III The 2005 Decision placed heavy reliance on Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership v. whether by the competing claimant or by the OSG on behalf of the Republic. unlike in Ortigas.The Solicitor General pertinently cites the rule in Alabang Development Corporation v. Clearly. and it appears from the official records that the subject property is already covered by an existing Torrens title in the name of another person. The unusual "shortcut" that occurred in Ortigas had become necessary because in that case the trial court had denied or stricken out the notices of appeal respectively filed by Ortigas and the Solicitor General from the order for reconstitution of Molina's titles. If a petition for administrative reconstitution is filed with the LRA. the Court of Appeals would have then reviewed the trial court's decision on appeal. IV The 2005 Decision accepted the findings of the LRA and the Court of Appeals that the Manotok title was spurious and accordingly sanctioned its cancellation. it follows that the Court of Appeals had no jurisdictional competence to extend the same relief. owing to the "fatal infirmities" of Molina's cause of action. since the LRA had no original jurisdiction to cancel the Manotok title. The Court of Appeals herein could not have equated its annulment of the Manotok title with that undertaken by the Court in Ortigas since. Had these notices of appeal been allowed. That the 2005 Decision erred in that regard is a necessary consequence following our earlier 29 . Act No. Even assuming that the previously issued title is obviously fraudulent or attended by flaws and as such cannot be countenanced by the legal system. Neither the LRA nor the Court of Appeals at that point may inquire into the validity of the title or the competing claims over the property. The only remedy is an action before the RTC for the cancellation of the existing title. Instead. there is nothing further the LRA can do but to dismiss the petition. 47 where in the course of reviewing an action for judicial reconstitution of title. and not with the LRA. praying for either of these alternative results — the more prudent recourse of directing the trial court to act on the notices of appeal and to forward the case records to the Court of Appeals. the Court opted not to remand the reconstitution case filed by Molina to the court of origin in order to permit the appeals of Ortigas and the Solicitor General. Ortigas had been cited by the Court of Appeals and also by the 2005 Decision. the Court of Appeals was not endowed with the proper appellate jurisdiction to annul the Manotok title. 26 or 6732 extraordinarily empowers the LRA to exercise jurisdiction over a petition for reconstitution. Ortigascannot be applied as a binding precedent to these cases. even though no direct attack on the title had been initiated before a trial court. where the property is already covered by a Torrens title. The fundamental jurisdictional defects that attended the actions of both Divisions of the Court of Appeals have effectively diminished Ortigas as a persuasive authority. As earlier pointed out.

explanation of why the mere existence of the Manotok title necessarily barred the LRA from inquiring into the
validity of that title. ASIDTa
Moreover, it would have been pointless for the LRA or the Court of Appeals to have ruled definitively on the
validity of the Barques' claim to title. After all, since neither the LRA nor the Court of Appeals could cause the
cancellation of the Manotok title, any declaration that the Barque claim was valid would be inutile and
inoperable. Still, in order to effectively review and reverse the assailed rulings, it would be best for this Court
to test the premises under which the LRA and the Court of Appeals had concluded that the Barques
had a valid claim to title. The available record before the Court is comprehensive enough to allow us to
engage in that task.
The Barque title, or TCT No. 210177, under which the Barques assert title to Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate, states
that it was transferred from TCT No. 13900. 48 The Barques assert that they bought the subject property from a
certain Setosta. Thus, it could be deduced that TCT No. 13900 should have been registered under the name of
Setosta. However, it was not. TCT No. 13900 was registered under the name of Manotok Realty, Inc. 49 This
detracts from the Barques' claim that the Manotoks do not have title to the property, as in fact the Barque title
was a transfer from a title registered under the name of the Manotoks. The Barques have failed to explain the
anomaly.
The Barques hinge their claim on a purported subdivision plan, FLS-3168-D, made in favor of Setosta. However,
based on the records, it appears that there is a conflict as to its actual existence in the files of the government.
Revelatory is the exchange of correspondence between the LMB and the LRA. The LMB did not have any copy of
FLS-3168-D in the EDP listing, 50 nor did the LMB have a record of the plan. 51 However, a microfilm copy of
FLS-3168-D was on file in the Technical Records and Statistical Section of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources Capital Region (DENR-NCR). 52 The copy with the Technical Records and Statistical Section,
which bore the stamp of the LMB, was denied by the LMB as having emanated from its office. 53
Further, the letter dated 2 January 1997 from the LMB stated that the copy of FLS-3168-D as verified from its
microfilm file was the same as the copy sent by the Technical Records and Statistics Section of the National
Capital Region Lands Management Sector. 54 The LMB, however, denied issuing such letter and stated that it
was a forged document. 55 To amplify the forged nature of the document, the LMB sent a detailed explanation
to prove that it did not come from its office. 56 In a letter to the administrator of the LRA, the hearing officer
concluded that "it is evident that there is an attempt to mislead us into favorable action by submitting forged
documents, hence it is recommended that this case [be] referred to the PARAC for investigation and filing of
charges against perpetrators as envisioned by this office under your administration". 57 IEaCDH
There are significant differences between the technical description of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate as stated in
FLS-3168-D, the subdivision plan relied on by the Barques, and the technical description provided by the
DENR. 58 The DENR-confirmed technical description reads:
Bounded on the E., along line-2 by Payatas Estate; on the SE., by Tuazon Estate; along line 3-4 by Lot 824;
along line 4-5 by Lot 818; and on the N., along line 5-1 by Lot 822, all of Piedad Estate. 59
However, if we examine the subdivision plan, there are critical changes with respect to the boundaries named
therein. In effect, the boundaries as described in the subdivision plan would read:
Bounded on the E., along line-2 by Diez Francisco; on the SE., by Diez Francisco; along line 3-4 by Lot 824;
along line 4-5 by Lot 826; and on the N., along line 5-1 by Lot 822, all of Piedad Estate. 60
The Barques offered no credible explanation for the discrepancy between the subdivision plan it relies on and
the DENR record. They also do not contradict the finding of the National Archives that there is no copy in its files
of the deed of sale allegedly executed between Setosta and Barque. 61
Lastly, in the 1st indorsement issued by the Land Projection Section of the LRA dated 23 August 2006, that
Section stated that upon examination it was found out that the land as described in the Barque title "when
30

plotted thru its tie line falls outside Quezon City". This is material, since Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate is within the
boundaries of Quezon City. 62 A similar finding was made by the Land Management Bureau (LMB). It attested
that the line or directional azimuth of Lot No. 823 per the Barque title locates it at 5,889 meters away from point
1 of Lot No. 823 of the Piedad Estate. 63
These discrepancies highlight the error of the LRA and the Court of Appeals in acknowledging the right of the
Barques to seek reconstitution of their purported Barque title. Even assuming that the petition for reconstitution
should not have been dismissed due to the Manotok title, it is apparent that the Barques' claim of ownership is
exceedingly weak.

V
In the course of fully reevaluating these cases, the Court could not turn a blind eye on the evidence and points
raised against the Manotok title. The apparent flaws in the Manotoks’ claim are considerable and disturbing
enough. The Court, as the ultimate citadel of justice and legitimacy, is a guardian of the integrity of the land
registration system of the Philippines. We will be derelict in our duty if we remain silent on the apparent defects
of the Manotok title, reflective as they are of a scourge this Court is dedicated to eliminate.
Many of these flaws have especially emerged through the petition-for-intervention of Felicitas and Rosendo
Manahan, whom we have allowed to intervene in these cases. The Manahans had filed a petition with the OSG
seeking that it initiate cancellation/reversion proceedings against the Manotok title. That petition was referred by
the OSG to the LMB of the DENR, which duly investigated the claim of the Manahans. The Chief of the Legal
Division of the LMB recommended that the appropriate proceedings be taken in the proper court for the
cancellation of the Manotok title, through a Memorandum dated 17 April 2000. 64
Around the same time, the LMB referred to the DENR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Roseller S. dela Peña a
query on whether a deed of conveyance could be issued to Felicitas Manahan. The DENR Undersecretary, in
answering that query through a Memorandum dated 6 July 2000, pointed out that the titles of the Manotoks
could not have been derived from OCT No. 614, the mother title of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. 65 The chain
of transfers leading from OCT No. 614 to the Manotok title was a TCT No. 22813, purportedly issued by the
Office of the Register of Deeds for the Province of Rizal. The copy of said TCT No. 22813 submitted to the Court
is truncated in the upper half, to the point that it is not visually discernible what year the same was issued. More
crucially, a certification was issued by the Register of Deeds of Rizal dated 7 January 2000 stating thus:
After a thorough verification from the files of this Office, it appears that the documents leading to the issuance
of TCT No. 22813, Blk. T-92 cannot be found from the files of this Office. 66
These findings were twice verified with due diligence and reconfirmed by the DENR, according to Undersecretary
dela Peña. 67 TIADCc
The DENR also requested the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in conducting the said
investigation. The NBI examined various sales certificates and assignment of sales certificates in the names of
the purported predecessors-in-interest of the Manotoks Regina Geronimo, Modesto Zacarias, and Felicisimo
Villanueva — certificates that were all dated prior to 1930. In its Chemistry Report No. C-99-152 dated 10 June
1999, the Forensic Chemistry Division of the NBI concluded that the said documents "could not be as old as it
(sic) purports to be". 68

According to the Manahans, the LMB did eventually forward to the Office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City
a Deed of Conveyance for registration and mandatory issuance of title to Felicitas Manahan as grantee, pursuant
to Section 122 of the Land Registration Act. The registration of said Deed of Conveyance was referred to the
Administrator of the Land Registration Authority en consulta in 2001.

31

Also on record 69 is an Investigation Report on Lot No. 823 of the Piedad Estate dated 5 July 1989, authored by
Evelyn C. dela Rosa, Land Investigator of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO),
NCR-North Sector and addressed to the CENRO Officer, North CENRO. It was narrated therein that Lot No. 823
had actually been in the possession of a Valentin Manahan beginning in 1908. In 1939, Valentin Manahan
applied for the purchase of the land, and he was issued Sales Certificate No. 511. The Investigation Report
stated:
Records show that the Sale Certificate No. 511 covering Lot 823, Piedad Estate, was issued to Valentin Manahan
as purchaser and transferred to Hilaria de Guzman Manahan as (Assignee) and sold to Felicitas Manahan by way
of Deed of Absolute Sale dated August 23, 1974. Based on my research at the Land Management Bureau (LMB),
Central Office, it appears that original claimant of lot 823 was Valentin Manahan. 70
All told, these apparent problems with the Manotoks' claim dissuade us from being simply content in reflexively
dismissing the administrative petition for reconstitution filed by the Barques. Indeed, we have to take further
action.

VI
The most formidable impediment to the Court reacting to the problems apparent in the Manotok title is the fact
that we are not engaged in the review of an original action for the cancellation of such title. If, as in Ortigas, the
validity of the questionable title were now properly at issue, the Court would without hesitancy rule on such
question. Because it is not, the matter of how next to proceed warrants more deliberation.
The conservative approach would be to still affirm the continuing validity of the Manotok title until the proper
case for its cancellation is filed with the regional trial court. Within that context, it would also be a plausible
recourse for us is to direct the Solicitor General to duly investigate the circumstances behind the transmission of
Lot No. 823, formerly a Friar Land, to private persons. Thereafter, the Solicitor General can file the appropriate
proceedings for cancellation if warranted. However, it is already apparent, following the evaluation of these
cases, that there is evidence — unrefuted thus far — indicating that the Manotoks' claim to title is just as flawed
as that of the Barques.
Can the Court declare the Manotok title void? In the 2002 decision in Alonso v. Cebu Country Club, 71 the
subject property therein had originally formed part of the Banilad Friar Lands. Cebu Country Club had
undertaken the administrative reconstitution of the title to the property, leading Alonso to file a complaint for
nullification of such title in order to vindicate his own claims to the property. Alonso's complaint was dismissed
by the trial court and the Court of Appeals. While the case was pending with this Court, the Solicitor General was
required to comment on the validity of Cebu Country Club's administratively reconstituted title. Ultimately, the
Court concluded that Cebu Country Club had not been able to establish a clear title over the contested estate,
and in the dispositive portion of its decision declared "that Lot No. 727 D-2 of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate
covered by Original Certificate of Title Nos. 251, 232, and 253 legally belongs to the Government of the
Philippines".
The following year, the Court, acting on the motions for reconsideration in Alonso, 72 extensively discussed why
it had taken that extraordinary step even though the Republic of the Philippines, through the Solicitor General,
had not participated or intervened in that case before the lower courts.
It must be borne in mind that the disputed property is part of the "Friar Lands" over which the Government
holds title and are not public lands but private or patrimonial property of the Government and can be alienated
only upon proper compliance with the requirements of Act No. 1120 or the Friar Lands Act.
xxx xxx xxx
It was thus primordial for the respondent to prove its acquisition of its title by clear and convincing evidence in
view of the nature of the land. In fact, it is essential for both respondent and petitioners to establish that it had
32

as it is an iron-clad dictum that prescription can never lie against the Government. 75 Our following explanation in Manotok equally applies to this case: Under Section 6 of Rule 46. the Court of Appeals is sufficiently able to undertake such function. xxx xxx xxx Neither may the rewards of prescription be successfully invoked by respondent." The Court of Appeals therein received the evidence of the parties and rendered a "Commissioner's Report" shortly thereafter. the Court recognizes that there is not yet any sufficient evidence for us to warrant the annulment of the Manotok title.' determining in the process the validity of such postulates and the respective measurements of the areas referred to. the lengthy possession and occupation of the disputed land by respondent cannot be counted in its favor. The Court of Appeals generally has the authority to review findings of fact. more particularly to determine "the actual area reclaimed by the Republic Real Estate Corporation. In fact. This Court is not a trier of fact or otherwise structurally capacitated to receive and evaluate evidence de novo. In Republic v. applicable to all governments alike. Its conclusions as to findings of fact are generally accorded great respect by this Court. petitioners have not succeeded to prove their claim of ownership over the subject property. remained part of the patrimonial property of the Government. which forbids that the public interests should be prejudiced by the negligence of the officers or agents to whose care they are confided. To arrive at an ultimate determination. The remand of cases pending with this Court to the Court of Appeals for reception of further evidence is not a novel idea. It has been undertaken before — in Republic v. the subject property therein was a Friar Land which under the Friar Lands Law (Act No. including documentary evidence. as in this case. Court of Appeals. can not ipso facto ripen into ownership. 1120) may be disposed of by the Government only under that law. whether spanning decades or centuries. The disputed property is a Friar Land and both parties failed to show that it had ceased to belong to the patrimonial property of the State or that it had become private property. the formal reception of evidence is in order. and the areas of the Cultural Center Complex which are 'open spaces' and/or 'areas reserved for certain purposes. At the same time. agency or office. whenever necessary to resolve factual issues." DEAaIS xxx xxx xxx Finally. 33 . 80 The delegate need not be the body that rendered the assailed decision. Thus. unless therein expressly provided. which is applicable to original cases for certiorari. our declaration that Lot 727-D-2 of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate legally belongs to the Government does not amount to reversion without due process of law insofar as both parties are concerned. the Court may. there is greater concern on the part of this Court to secure its proper transmission to private hands. resort to the Court of Appeals is not a deviant procedure. Moreover. 73 The Alonso approach especially appeals to us because. Possession of patrimonial property of the Government. delegate the reception of the evidence on such issues to any of its members or to an appropriate court. this Court commissioned the former Thirteenth Division of the Court of Appeals to hear and receive evidence on the controversy. It is a body that is fully capacitated and has a surfeit of experience in appreciating factual matters. as the subject property being a friar land. Thus. Court of Appeals 74 and more recently in our 2007 Resolution in Manotok v. As we have held earlier.become private property. Since respondent failed to present the paper trail of the property's conversion to private property. Court of Appeals. is founded on "the great principle of public policy. All that the record indicates thus far is evidence not yet refuted by clear and convincing proof that the Manotoks' claim to title is flawed. if at all. the rule that statutes of limitation do not run against the State. the Court had actually resorted to referring a factual matter pending before it to the Court of Appeals. Both parties failed to do so. However.

Azcuna. TcSICH The instant cases are hereby REMANDED to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings in accordance with this Resolution. The same result can obtain herein. to allow said parties. Santiago. may have an impact on the correct determination of the status of the Manotok title. 76 The primary focus for the Court of Appeals.The provisions of Rule 32 should also be considered as governing the grant of authority to the Court of Appeals to receive evidence in the present case. and Brion. and the Resolutions of the Land Registration Authority dated 24 June 1998 and 14 June 1998 in Admin. To assist the Court of Appeals in its evaluation of the factual record. C. Under Section 2. J. which was a Friar Land. the commissioner's report formed the basis of the final adjudication by the Court on the matter. Q-547-A[97] are all REVERSED and SET ASIDE. JJ.. please see Separate Opinion. SP No. 66700. other than upon the pleadings. and the Resolutions dated 19 April and 19 June 2006 of the Court's First Division are hereby SET ASIDE. and the Entry of Judgment recorded on 2 May 2006 is RECALLED. Carpio. On that evidence. The order of reference can be limited exclusively to receive and report evidence only. Puno.J. or for carrying a judgment or order into effect. joins in the dissent of J.. motu proprio. J. similar to the annulment of the Cebu Country Club title in Alonso. to participate in the proceedings before the Court of Appeals. J.. J.R.R. please see Dissenting Opinion. along with the OSG. In Republic. joins the dissent of Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago. in assuring the accurate evaluation of the question. 34 . 823 of the Piedad Estate. and the commissioner may likewise rule upon the admissibility of evidence. direct a reference to a commissioner when a question of fact. The Amended Decision dated 24 February 2004 in CA-G. This Resolution is immediately executory. the Decision dated 12 June 2005. No. Recons. see separate concurring opinion. as an agent of this Court. Austria-Martinez. Ynares-Santiago. concur.. Jr. arises upon motion or otherwise. Corona.. If the final evidence on record definitively reveals the proper claimant to the subject property. 66642. in receiving and evaluating evidence should be whether the Manotoks can trace their claim of title to a valid alienation by the Government of Lot No.. in any stage of a case. Rule 32 of the Rules of Court. the Amended Decision dated 7 November 2003 and the Resolution dated 12 March 2004 in CA-G. the Court of Appeals is tasked to hear and receive evidence. the Court recognizes that the respective claims to title by other parties such as the Barques and the Manahans.. the Court would take such fact into consideration as it adjudicates final relief. Velasco. also concurs with J. The Court of Appeals is directed to raffle these remanded cases immediately upon receipt of this Resolution. and the evidence they may submit on their behalf. this Court may ultimately decide whether annulment of the Manotok title is warranted. The commissioner is likewise mandated to submit a report in writing to the court upon the matters submitted to him by the order of reference. Carpio-Morales. At the same time. Carpio's Separate Opinion.. It would thus be prudent. For the purposes above-stated. the Office of the Solicitor General is directed to secure all the pertinent relevant records from the Land Management Bureau and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and submit the same to the Court of Appeals. J. SP No. J. WHEREFORE. Quisumbing. a court may. conclude the proceedings and submit to this Court a report on its findings and recommended conclusions within three (3) months from notice of this Resolution.

Erive (Engineer Erive). Bustos that a microfilm copy of Fls3168-D is on file in the Technical Records and Statistical Section of their office. Nachura. J. In the machine copy of Fls-3168-D (furnished to us by LRA) from the copy of that office issued to LRA. Atty.. Dalire (Engineer Dalire). J. Atty.. Took no part.M. Bustos (Atty. J.) represented by Teresita Barque-Hernandez filed a petition for administrative reconstitution of the original copy of TCT No. Atty. M. 2 In his reply dated 7 November 1996. (Barque. concurring: The Antecedents On 22 October 1996. The letter states: TcDAHS SUBJECT: Copy of Plan FLS-3168-D Caloocan. Bustos sent another letter dated 2 December 1996 5 to Engineer Dalire requesting for clarification. was handcarried to. Barque. 1996 of the Reconstituting Officer and Chief Reconstitution Division of LRA relative to the certified reproduction plan FLS-3168-D (microfilm) issued by the Chief. Please forward to us the said plan for evaluation and comment. Real Estate Tax Receipts and Tax Declaration..Chico-Nazario. In a letter dated 5 December 1996. Santiago. Technical Records & Statistical Section on September 23. Bustos requested Engineer Dalire to furnish him with a certified copy of Subdivision Plan Fls-3168-D (Fls3168-D). Manila. submitted the owner's duplicate certificate of title. Sr. 1 addressed to Engineer Privadi J. Thus. Separate Opinions CARPIO. Sr. the said copy on file in your office did not emanate from this Office. addressed to the LRA Administrator. J. Benjamin M. Homer L. Bustos). Department of Environment and Natural Resources. please forward to us the copy on file in that office (DENR-NCR) from where the Chief of Technical Records and Statistical Section reproduced a copy he issued to LRA for our evaluation. Barque. Land Registration Authority (LRA) wrote a letter dated 29 October 1996. joins the dissent of J. 7 purportedly from Engineer Dalire. The letter of Engineer Erive confirming the existence of a microfilm copy of Fls-3168-D conflicted with the letter of Engineer Dalire that his office has no record of Fls-3168-D.. 210177 was allegedly destroyed when a fire gutted the Quezon City Hall on 11 June 1988. Reconstituting Officer and Chief of the Reconstitution Division. 4 Engineer Ernesto S. A letter dated 2 January 1997. informed Atty. related to one of the counsel. Atty. 3 Engineer Dalire informed Atty. Engineer Dalire wrote: In connection with the letter of clarification dated December 2. Leonardo-de Castro. Bustos wrote a similar but undated letter addressed to the Chief of the Surveys Division of the Lands Management Services. In this regards (sic). The stamp. bearing the name of this office and the Chief of Geodetic Surveys is not the same stamp we are using. In a letter dated 28 November 1996. Reyes. 1996 and our letter dated November 7. Binondo. 210177 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City. Sr. Bustos that the Lands Management Bureau has no record of Fls-3168-D. particularly. 35 .. and received by the LRA General Records Section on 7 January 1997. J. 6 Engineer Dalire requested the Regional Technical Director of LMS-DENR-NCR for a copy of Fls-3168-D for evaluation. TCT No. National Capital Region (LMSDENR-NCR). Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the Lands Management Bureau. 1996 that we have no record of Fls-3168-D. In support of the petition. Chief of the Surveys Division of the LMS-DENR-NCR. joins the dissent of Justice Santiago. joins the dissent of Justice Consuelo Santiago in addition to her dissenting opinion.

LMS-DENR-NCR. Geodetic Surveys Division Interestingly. Quezon City Sir: 36 . Chief of Technical Records and Statistics Section) on September 23. We reiterate that we have no records (sic) of Fls-3168-D. this case be given due course for Administrative reconstitution (sic).02 January 1997 The Administrator Attn: The Reconstituting Officer & Chief. 1996 to the LRA that we have no records of Fls-3168-D. Reconstitution Division Land Registration Authority East Avenue. 1996 to Teresita Hernandez and our letter dated November 7. The Land Registration Authority however. 7. Lands Management Bureau (SGD. Technical Records and Statistical Section of the National Capital Region Lands Management Sector for our evaluation. please be informed that the copy of the subject plan was forwarded to this office by the Chief. For the Director. The letter states: 31 January 1997 The Administrator Attn: The Reconstituting Officer and Chief. Engineer Dalire sent another letter dated 31 January 1997 9 to the LRA Administrator. Quezon City Sir: In reply to your letter dated December 2. G. Very truly yours. furnished us with machine copy of Fls-3168-D reproduced from the copy issued by that Office and we found out that the copy of Fls-3168-D file (sic) in your office did not emanate from this Office. As per verification and comparison made in our microfilm records. thus: This is a follow-up to our previous request dated 05 December 1996 to that Office in connection with the letter of clarification dated December 2. Soriano.) PRIVADI J. 1996 we indicated the status thereof because we failed to verify from our index cards then for our last result. Reconstitution Division Land Registration Authority East Avenue. 1996. Engineer Dalire wrote another letter dated 5 January 1997 8 addressed to the Regional Technical Director. Diliman. In view hereof. May we request you again to please forward to us the said copy of plan Fls-3168-D on file in your office for our evaluation and comment. DALIRE Chief. 1996 of the Reconstituting Officer and Chief Reconstitution Division of the Land Registration Authority relative to the certified reproduction of plan Fls-3168-D (microfilm) issued by that office (signed by Carmelita A. it was found out that they are identical and bore the same stamps and initials used in this office. hence. it is further informed that in our reply letter dated Nov.

2. Likewise. 1) The certification (rubber stamp) serves a two piece stamp. Xerox copy of a certified true copy of plan Fls-3168-D. 1996. please be informed that we wrote on December 5. dated Nov. Ours is one-piece. The copy of the plan Fls-3168-D shows visible signs that it is a spurious copy. Erive. in addition to [the] above is "of _________". it is certain that the source of the copy is a spurious plan which may have been inserted in the file. logically we cannot issue any copy. Geodetic Surveys Division is our stamp. Barque. issued by the TRSS. In that letter. 1997. reiterating that we have no records (sic) of Fls-3168-D and requesting them to forward the plan for our evaluation and comment. this. Represented by Teresita Barque-Hernandez. Meanwhile. 1996 (IN RE: Administrative Reconstitution of the Original Transfer Certificate of Title No. 1996 the DENR-NCR about your letter dated December 2. it is certified that this Bureau does not have copy of Fls-3168-D. 4) The size of the lettering in the rubber stamp "Not for Registration/Titling For Reference Only" is smaller than our stamp. 1996 to your letter dated October 29. you attached for our reference the following: 1. Surely. I sign completely certification. Chief..In your letter dated December 2. Our inventory of approved plans enrolled in our file. our Microfilm Computer list of plans available for decentralization all show that we do not have this plan Fls-3168-D. NCR. ADCTac 2) The alignment of: Lands. NCR has not sent us the copy for authentication as required by DENR Administrative Order. Our reply letter dated November 7. and Chief in the syndicates (sic) stamp differ from our stamp. 28. 3) We do not stamp the plan twice as the syndicate did on the copy. 210177 in the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. b. This involves the reconstitution of title allegedly lot 823-A of Fls-3168-D with an area of 171. we requested our Records Division to find out to whom lot 823 (or portion thereof) Piedad Estate was conveyed. We requested for the copy in their file last 05 December 1996 and 05 January 1997 but until this writing. 37 . Reply letter of Engineer Ernesto S. We requested them to forward to us the said plan for our evaluation and comment.473 Sq. their (sic) is Survey without the “s” plural. 6) The name of the claimant is very visible to have been tampered in the master copy. Homer L. on January 5. The certification and the signing official are separate. We are sure that the copy did not come from this Office. 7) Again. we made a follow-up. It is regretted. Privadi. the use of the spurious copy of Fls-3168-D for the reconstitution of title will create land problem involving prime lots in that area. In view of the foregoing. Petitioner) you requested us to clarify the fact that the Regional Office has a microfilm copy of plan Fls-3168-D. 5) The copy bears forged initials of my action officer and myself. while our office does not have a record of the same. GEODETIC. M. It is also incomplete as an (sic) Stamp. the copy of Fls-3168-D furnished your Office as well as the alleged letter authenticating it should be disregarded or rejected as they come from spurious sources. The reasons are: a. Upon examination of the copy of Fls-3168-D allegedly issued by DENR-NCR. 3. 1996 informing them that the plan Fls-3168-D filed in that Office from where the reproduced copy furnished to LRA did not emanate from our office. they did not respond. Sr. 1996 In this connection.

please be informed that as per the inventory of approved surveys which are officially enrolled in our file. the microfilm. Lands Management Bureau: (SGD.) PRIVADI J. HCISED Very truly yours. we are retrieving the plan allegedly in the file of NCR for investigation and/or validation under DENR Administrative Order No. The statement that the subject plan was forwarded to us by the Chief. Benjamin M. our detailed findings tending to prove it is a spurious copy have been discussed in our letter-reply dated 31 January 1997. Meanwhile. Until now the NCR has not turned over the plan they reproduced in compliance with our urgent requests dated 03 January 1996 and followed up by our letters 03 January 1997 and 06 February 1997 (copies attached). Geodetic Surveys Division Finally.G. this letter definitely did not come from this office. xerox copy attached to your letter. Engineer Dalire explained that the 2 January 1997 letter was forged. Technical Records Statistics Section of the NCR-LMS is not true. DALIRE Chief. 40.) PRIVADI J. 1996. Bustos Reconstituting Officer Sir: In reply to your letter dated January 28. is the subject of our reply to you dated 07 November 1996 (copy attached). Thus: 13 February 1997 The Administrator Land Registration Authority East Avenue. in a letter dated 19 February 1997. With respect to the questioned plan of Fls-3168-D. 11 Engineer Dalire requested Atty. Benjamin M. DALIRE Chief. Geodetic Surveys Division In a letter dated 13 February 1997 10 to the LRA Administrator. Bustos Reconstituting Officer 38 . NIA Road Quezon City ATTN: Atty. list of plans on file which were decentralized to our regions.Very truly yours. xerox copy attached to your letter of December 2. (SGD. For the Director. it is a forged document. the locator cards. 1997 which we received today. thus: 19 February 1997 Atty. 1991. With respect to the letter dated 02 January 1997. that are on file in this Bureau show that plan Fls-3168-D is not among the plans in our file. hence there is none to decentralize to our National Capital Region.G. The non-existence of plan Fls-3168-D in our file. s. Bustos to disregard Fls-3168-D for being spurious.

are: 1) We have no copy of Fls-3168-D on file so how can we issue a copy of plan that is non-existing? 2) The copy of plan bears two "Certifications" at the top and at lower half. 49 for our validation. How can this be when NCR has never given us the alleged copy in their file for validation. b) the letter dated 07 November 1996. I firmly deny having prepared and issued the letter dated 02 January 1997 stating that copy of subject plan (Fls-3168-D) was forwarded to us by the Chief Technical Records and Statistics Section of the NCR and that as per verification. The forwarding of the copy to us is mandatory under DAO No. Our Inventory Record of Approved Surveys. 1996 is not issued by this Office. FOR REFERENCE ONLY” is smaller than our rubber stamp. There are many markings on the copy to prove it did not come from LMB. the plan is identical to the microfilm and that the case be given due course for administrative reconstitution. our computerized list of plans officially filed in this Bureau. Quezon City Dear Atty. This is not our practice. The alignment of the letters/words of one rubber stamp is different from this marking on this spurious plan. We have shown you our rubber stamps to prove that the copy of Fls-3168-D in your possession is a spurious plan. one for the certification and another for the signing official. 3) The rubber-stamp shows there are two pieces. 6) The spurious copy of plan you furnished us does not carry our rubber stamp "GOVERNMENT PROPERTY NOT TO BE SOLD: FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY OF ___________________ "This is stamped on all microfilm copies we issue because all microfilm copies are for official use only of our LMS. 4) The plan shows only initial. I sign in full copies of plans with the initials of my action officers and their codings below my signature. 5) The letter size of the rubber stamp “NOT FOR REGISTRATION/TITLING. Apparently our letter of 31 January 1997 (copy attached) was intercepted and did not reach you. Certainly this is not true. and c) the letter dated 02 January 1997 are authentic and really coming from this office. and the microfilm all show that we have no records or information about Plan Fls3168-D. This is the handiwork of forgers. 03 January 1997 and 06 February 1997 (copies attached). The letter dated 07 November 1996 (copy attached) stating that this Bureau has no records of Fls-3168-D is authentic. among others. Reasons. the Locator Cards. The copy of Fls-3168-D attached to your letter dated December 2. Our record books and file attest to this. 39 . This is the subject of our letters to NCR dated 05 December 1996. These are not present in the spurious copy of plan. Piedad Estate as surveyed for Emiliano Setosta. We do not use letterheads for letters involving this topic. please disregard the plan Fls-3168-D and the letter dated 02 January 1997 as they are proven to be spurious documents. Definitely this letter was never prepared and issued by this Office. Bustos: In reply to your query whether or not a) the copy of plan Fls-3168-D submitted to you involving lot 823.Land Registration Authority East Avenue. We use one piece rubber stamp. HcISTE For all intent and purposes.

The same is being buttressed and corroborated by the certified copy of the tax map over the property in question issued by the Quezon City Assessor's Office [annex "H" of Petitioners 40 . 15 the LRA gave due course to the appeal. Bustos erred in requiring the submission of documents other than the owner's duplicate TCT. the property in question. The Ruling of the Land Registration Authority In a Resolution dated 24 June 1998. STHAaD The claim of the oppositors that the property in question per TCT No. Bustos denied the motion for lack of merit. 14 Atty. 210177.. "84" and "85" of Opposition] which is grossly inaccurate.Very truly yours. 16 only the owner's or co-owner's duplicate of an original or transfer certificate of title may be used as a source of administrative reconstitution. Barrio Capitol is indicated as the location of the property in question. The LRA ruled that under LRA Circular No. Reconstitution No. Mtrs. covered by TCT No. covered by TCT No. respectively. Mtrs. This is highly questionable and likewise highly irregular. Recons. is located at Barrio Matandang Balara. 13 (Boldfacing and underscoring supplied) Barque. and/or Barrio Culiat [Annexes "2" to "77" inclusive "79".. containing areas of 171. Dalire. 372302 registered in the name of Severino M. Fls-3168-D. In an Order dated 10 February 1998. reconstituted under Adm. The LRA held that the 2 January 1997 letter is an official communication from Engineer Dalire. DALIRE Chief. The LRA Administrator personally opined that the Manotoks' TCT No. 2. Lands Management Bureau. Bustos denied the petition for administrative reconstitution of TCT No. RT-22481 [372302] covers only one [1] lot is also inaccurate and without any basis. Manotok. 1991.473 Sq. RT-22481 [372302] is sham and spurious. appear to duplicate Lot 823 Piedad Estate.472. 210177 on the following grounds: 1.945 Sq. Several documents submitted by oppositors particularly the several Deeds of Sale and Unilateral Deed of Conveyance including the real estate tax receipts would show that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate is located at Barrio Payong. The LRA further ruled that Engineer Dalire failed to deny or question the genuineness of his signature in the letter of 2 January 1997. docketed as Admin. It must likewise be noted that there is a Barrio Culiat but the same is separate and distinct from Barrio Matandang Balara and they do not adjoin each other. containing an area of 342. Plan FLS 3168D shows that the property in question indeed consists of two [2] lots.G. Q-547-A [97]. The map of Quezon City [Annex "N" of Petitioners' Position Paper] would show that there is no such barrio as Payong.G. 1997. 12 Atty. and 171. The submitted plan Fls-3168-D is a spurious document as categorically stated by Engineer Privadi J. The Heirs of Barque (Barques) filed an appeal with the LRA. Q-213 dated February 01. while in other tax payment receipts [Annexes "103" to "114" inclusive of Opposition]. Quezon City.) PRIVADI J. The said real estate tax receipts also reflect the tax declaration of the property covered thereby. in his letter dated February 19. moved for reconsideration of the Order. Hence. 13. Atty. Lots 823-A and 823-B. It is highly irregular that the tax declaration numbers indicated therein would vary and those tax declarations which appear to have been canceled would again be revived. Chief. Geodetic Surveys Division. Quite perplexing though is the fact that the real estate tax receipts for payments made after the Quezon City Hall was gutted by fire on 11 June 1988 would show that the property covered thereby is already situated at Barrio Matandang Balara [Annexes "91" to "104" inclusive of Opposition]. Lot 823-A and Lot 823-B. Geodetic Surveys Division The Ruling of the Reconstituting Officer In an Order dated 30 June 1997. For the Director of Lands: (SGD. No. et al. Sr. Thus: It is undisputed that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate.

R. 210177 may only be reconstituted after a court of competent jurisdiction cancelled TCT No. the Court of Appeals promulgated an Amended Decision on 24 February 2004. 210177 in the name of Homer L. indicated whether or not it was Lot 822 of the Piedad Estate. There was never any mention of Payatas Estate nor Tuazon Estate as the boundaries of the lot in question. in view of the foregoing. SO ORDERED. it is hereby ordered that reconstitution of TCT No.R.R. 210177 and Plan FLS 3168D. L. The dispositive portion of the LRA Resolution reads: WHEREFORE. Said tax map shows that similar to TCT No. 21 In its Decision of 29 October 2003. SP No. L. RT-22481 [372302]. Upon motion for reconsideration filed by the Manotoks. there were no such Psd's yet. Lot 822 was mentioned as one of the boundaries of TCT No. the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby GRANTED. The Manotoks filed a petition for review docketed as CA-G. The Barques filed a petition for review docketed as CA-G. RT-22481 [372302] would have Lot 822-A Psd 2498. 24 41 . the property in question covers two [2] lots. 210177 without prior cancellation of TCT No. As correctly pointed out by petitioners. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of the Manotoks upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. however. it is highly irregular that TCT No. the petition was reinstated in the Resolution of 27 November 2001. upon motion for reconsideration of the Barques.R. 18 (Emphasis supplied) The Manotoks filed a motion for reconsideration. Lot 823-A and Lot 823-B. In an Order dated 14 June 2001. conform to the certified technical description and boundaries of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate [property in question] which are the B.Position Paper]. It was not. shall be given due course after cancellation of TCT No. 1923 as per certification issued by the LMSDENR-NCR [Annex "L" Petitioners' Position Paper]. However. SO ORDERED. Granting arguendo that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate has not yet been subdivided into two [2] lots from the date of original survey in 1907.aHTcDA The Ruling of the Court of Appeals CA-G. RT-22481 and directing the LRA to reconstitute forthwith respondents’ TCT No. 31-10 issued by the Bureau of Lands [Annexes "I" and "J" of Petitioners' Position Paper]. Form No. 22 the Court of Appeals denied the Manotoks' petition and affirmed the LRA Resolution of 24 June 1998. Barque. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of the Manotoks. in all respects. The Barques prayed for the immediate reconstitution of TCT No. Lot 818-A and Lot 818-C Psd 2507 as boundaries when at the time of the original survey. The Decision of this Court dated 29 October 2003 is RECONSIDERED and a new one is entered ordering the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel petitioners' TCT No. 66642 was initially dismissed in the Resolution of 23 October 2001 20 for failure to show that Rosa Manotok was authorized to sign the verification and certification against forum shopping in behalf of the other petitioners. Sr. No. SP No. the LRA ruled that TCT No. 17 However. 28-37-R and B. The lot in question does not at all adjoin the Payatas Estate which was surveyed only on January 12. RT-22481 (372302) by a court of competent jurisdiction. Form No. 23 the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. T-210177. RT-22481 [372302] would show that the same do not. Examination of the technical description and boundaries appearing in TCT No. 19 the LRA denied the motion. 66642 before the Court of Appeals challenging the 24 June 1998 Resolution and 14 June 2001 Order of the LRA. 66642 CA-G. 66700 praying for the modification of 24 June 1998 Resolution and 14 June 2001 Order of the LRA. No.

The Barques moved for reconsideration of the Decision. Antonio and Genoveva Balanon-Anicete. the Court en bancaccepted the cases. Does the Court of Appeals or the LRA have jurisdiction to decide the ownership of the disputed property in the administrative reconstitution of title filed by respondents? The Ruling of This Court We set aside the 12 December 2005 Decision of the First Division of this Court. 162335. In an Amended Decision promulgated on 7 November 2003.R. the First Division of this Court cancelled the Torrens title of the Manotoks and declared the title of the Barques not only reconstituted. 66642 and CA-G. No pronouncement as to costs. as the final resolution of the Barques' simple petition for administrative reconstitution. Manahan and Rosendo Manahan (Manahans). genuine and existing Certificate of Title No. RT-22481 of private respondents and the LRA is hereby directed to reconstitute forthwith petitioners’ valid. this Court. such as the decision in Sps. In a Decision dated 12 December 2005. the 12 December 2005 Decision of the First Division of this Court overturns well-entrenched doctrines of this Court. SP No. Does the LRA have jurisdiction to administratively reconstitute the allegedly lost TCT No. Their petition was docketed as G. cDTSHE First. No. RT-22481 without a trial before the proper regional trial court in a proceeding directly assailing the validity of petitioners' title? 2. CA-G. RT-22481 in the administrative reconstitution case filed by respondents with the LRA? 4. In a Resolution dated 12 September 2006. Yet. our decision dated 13 September 2002 is hereby reconsidered. the Special First Division of this Court referred the cases to the Court en banc. the Register of Deeds of Quezon City is hereby directed to cancel TCT No.The Manotoks came to this Court for relief. In its 26 July 2006 Resolution.R.R. In its Resolution of 12 March 2004. RT-22481 of the petitioners over the same property? 3.R. 25 the Court of Appeals dismissed the Barques' petition and affirmed the LRA Resolution of 24 June 1998. 29 the First Division of this Court denied the petitions and affirmed the Amended Decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. SP No. The cases were consolidated in the Court's Resolution of 2 August 2004. 66700. the Court en banc considered the following issues: 1. 26 the Court of Appeals reconsidered its 13 September 2002 Decision. Pedro 42 . 28 the Court of Appeals denied the motion. 66700 In a Decision promulgated on 13 September 2002. In its 19 April 2006 Resolution. but also valid. The Manotoks filed a petition for review with this Court. as follows: WHEREFORE. SP No. In a Resolution dated 19 July 2006. Does the LRA have jurisdiction to adjudicate on the validity of petitioners' TCT No. 210177 in the name of respondents despite the previously reconstituted TCT No. et al. No. 30 the Special First Division of this Court denied the Manotoks' motion for reconsideration. among others. 27 The Manotoks filed a motion for reconsideration of the Amended Decision. Accordingly. Does the Court of Appeals have jurisdiction to cancel petitioners' TCT No. No proceeding of any kind took place before any trial court assailing the validity of the Torrens title of the Manotoks. docketed as G. granted the Motion for Leave to Intervene filed by Felicitas B. T-210177. v. 162605.R. In the Oral Argument on 24 July 2007. SO ORDERED.

The reconstituting officer or court has no jurisdiction to decide the issue of ownership over the property or the validity of the title. 39 Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership v. 42 The three well-established doctrines that the Decision of the First Division has overturned are: 1. whether judicial or administrative.. a Torrens title can only be cancelled if a direct proceeding assailing its validity is filed before the proper Regional Trial Court. 35 MWSS v. Court of Appeals. Estiandan. et al. etc. it is the first decision in Philippine jurisprudence where the petitioner in an administrative petition praying for a simple reconstitution of title received an unexpected and undeserved windfall — the declaration of validity of his reconstituted title and the cancellation of a previously issued Torrens title in the name of another person over the same property. DOCTRINE OF IMMUTABILITY NOT APPLICABLE The dissenting opinion asserts that the 12 December 2005 Decision of the First Division has already become final and executory. Third. etc.. 33 Republic v. Velasco. Sison. et al. First. Fourth. 31 Second. reconstituted or not.34 Alabang Development Corporation. the LRA has no jurisdiction to reconstitute the Barques' title because of the pre-existing Torrens title of the Manotoks. LANDMARK DOCTRINES OVERTURNED The Decision of the First Division overturns three doctrines firmly established in numerous decisions of this Court. Inc. and even in the attachments to their Memorandum of 23 August 2007. 36 Liwag v.Balanon. A reconstitution of Torrens title. it is the first decision in Philippine jurisprudence where the issue of ownership of land is decided with finality in a petition for administrative reconstitution of title. Cebu Country Club. 41 and Alonso v. The reconstituting body or court has no jurisdiction to issue another Torrens title over the same property to the petitioner. and thus has become immutable and unalterable. 32 Magay. v. 44 The existence of a prior title ipso facto nullifies the reconstitution proceedings. etc. Court of Appeals. Valenzuela. The dissenting opinion states that there is no compelling reason to depart from the doctrine of immutability and unalterability of decisions. Court of Appeals. The doctrine of immutability and unalterability of decisions necessarily applies only to final and executory decisions. And fourth. many of them landmark rulings. Hon. On the contrary. A Torrens title can be cancelled only in a proceeding directly attacking the title's validity before the proper regional trial court. 2... the 12 December 2005 Decision never became final and executory. Saleeby. 43 This is the bedrock principle that provides enduring stability to Torrens titles. Heirs of Santiago. To name a few of these decisions starting in the year 1915: Legarda and Prieto v. it is the first decision in Philippine jurisprudence authorizing the LRA to reconstitute administratively a Torrens title despite the existence of a previously issued Torrens title over the same property in the name of another person. is a separate issue from the reconstitution of title. the Barques submitted patently forged documents in the administrative reconstitution of their title. et al. 37 Ybañez v. Third. 40 Heirs of Santiago v. 38 Serra Serra v. 3. 45 The proper recourse is to assail directly in a proceeding before the regional trial court the validity of the Torrens title already issued to the other person. Second. it is the first decision in Philippine jurisprudence where an administrative reconstitution of title resulted in the cancellation of the Torrens title of another person without a direct attack of the cancelled title in any trial court. FOUR FIRSTS IN PHILIPPINE JURISPRUDENCE The 12 December 2005 Decision of the First Division made four "firsts". If the decision 43 . 46 The purpose of reconstitution is solely to replace a certificate of title that was lost or destroyed in the same legal status it existed at the time of the loss or destruction. both en banc and in division. cannot proceed once it is shown that another Torrens title has already been issued to another person over the same property. Intermediate Appellate Court. The validity of a Torrens title. v.

has no jurisdiction to entertain a collateral attack 53 on a Torrens title. Dr. any one. the First Division has no jurisdiction to overturn a doctrine laid down by the Court en banc or in division. Before finality of a decision.never became final and executory. creates no obligation. 54 THE MANOTOKS' PRIOR TITLE NULLIFIES RECONSTITUTION PROCEEDINGS OF BARQUES In fact. 49(Emphasis supplied) A void decision vests no right. Philippine Army v. a void decision cannot become final and executory against. In Serra Serra v. A void decision protects no one and is subject to attack. the LRA has no jurisdiction to reconstitute administratively the title of the Barques because such reconstitution constitutes an indirect or collateral attack on the pre-existing Torrens title of the Manotoks over the same property. 26. Rep. this Court already held that if a certificate of title has not been lost but is in fact in the possession of another person. Mendoza. First. the same shall prevail over the reconstituted certificate of title". at any time before the decision becomes final. Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. grants no title. The Manotoks' prior title must be deemed valid and subsisting as it cannot be assailed through collateral attack in the reconstitution proceedings. Act No. the Court held: Section 4. or in favor of. Therefore. The Court en banc has ruled in Group Commander. therefore. sub-paragraph (3). Indeed. the reconstituted title is void and the court rendering the decision has not acquired jurisdiction. § 18 provides that "in case a certificate of title. or even any court for that matter. 56 penned by Justice Vicente V." 47 There are two compelling jurisdictional reasons why the 12 December 2005 Decision of the First Division never became final and executory. error for the Court of Appeals to dismiss the petition for annulment of judgment of the petitioners. the doctrine of immutability and unalterability of decisions has no application. Court of Appeals. 55 Demetriou v. and even order a new trial. a court has "plenary power to alter." A Decision rendered by a Division of this Court in violation of the above constitutional provision would be in excess of jurisdiction and. invalid. on facts analogous to those involved in this case. considered lost or destroyed be found or recovered. A void decision has no existence in law. this Court had already ruled in Republic v. the decision may be attacked any time. Consequently. ETDHaC Second. thus: The existence of the two titles of the Government for Lots Nos. provides: ". 915 and 918 ipso facto nullified the reconstitution proceedings and signified that the evidence in the said proceedings as to the alleged 44 . Court of Appeals 58 that the existence of a prior Torrens title ipso facto nullifies the reconstitution proceedings. Malvar 48 that a decision of a division is void if it overturns a doctrine established by the en banc or another division. It was. the doctrine of immutability and unalterability of decisions applies only if the trial court or hearing officer has jurisdiction over the subject matter. 51 In these cases. Such decision cannot even become res judicata because there can be no conclusiveness of judgment if the trial court or hearing officer has no jurisdiction over the subject matter. Intelligence and Security Group. and settles no issue. no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the (Supreme) Court en banc or its Divisions may be modified or reversed except by the Court sitting en banc. therefore. Court of Appeals. . the existence of a prior Torrens title over the same property in the name of another person ipso facto nullifies the reconstitution proceedings and renders the reconstituted title void. There. is instructive and summarizes the law on this matter: But a judgment otherwise final may be annulled not only on the ground of extrinsic fraud but also because of lack of jurisdiction of the court which rendered it. Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree 52 states that a "certificate of title shall not be subject to a collateral attack". its own decisions. . 57 (Emphasis supplied) Even before Demetriou. The LRA. modify or even set aside. A decision rendered by a trial court or hearing officer without jurisdiction over the subject matter is void and cannot become final and executory.50 at any time. directly or collaterally.

62 The issuance of a reconstituted title vests no new rights and determines no ownership issues. 83 SCRA 453. It is a patent absurdity to reconstitute existing certificates of title that are on file and available in the registry of deeds. G. to undermine the stability and security of Torrens titles and to impair the Torrens system of registration. Section 48 of the Property Registration Decreeprovides: cTACIa Section 48. C-677 and C-763 are void because they are contrary to Republic Act No. . . per J. The reconstitution proceedings in Civil Cases Nos. Court of 45 .. acts executed against the provisions of mandatory laws are void (Art. not a judicial or quasi-judicial function. or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law. The two proceedings were sham and deceitful and were filed in bad faith. 1978. 480. the LRA can revoke its issuance of a reconstituted title if the lost or destroyed title is subsequently found. L-31303-04. Republic Act No. .except by order of the proper Court of First Instance (now the Regional Trial Court). alteration or amendment shall be made upon the registration book after the entry of a certificate of title . Court of Appeals. An administrative reconstitution of title is merely a restoration or replacement of a lost or destroyed title in its original form at the time of the loss or destruction. v. moreover. . modified. A TORRENS TITLE CAN ONLY BE CANCELLED IN A DIRECT ACTION ASSAILING ITS VALIDITY BEFORE THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT The LRA has also no jurisdiction to cancel the Torrens title of the Manotoks because the exclusive original jurisdiction to cancel a Torrens title belongs to the Regional Trial Court. 59(Emphasis supplied) These rulings of the Court are so essential in providing stability to land titles that overturning them now would be catastrophic to our Torrens system of land registration. (Emphasis supplied) Section 19 of the Judiciary Act 61 provides that the "Regional Trial Court shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction . in all civil actions. 26 and beyond the purview of that law since the titles reconstituted are actually subsisting in the registry of deeds and do not require reconstitution at all. Civil Code). Santos) or to sanction fraudulent machinations for depriving a registered owner of his land. which involve the title to . . 64 The issuance by the LRA of a reconstituted title is an executive function. Development Corp. To sustain the validity of the reconstituted titles in these cases would be to allow Republic Act No. Ocampo and Anglo. — A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. real property". 5. Section 108 states that "no erasure. Certificate not subject to collateral attack. has no jurisdiction to decide the ownership dispute over a parcel of land 60 between the Barques and the Manotoks because jurisdiction to adjudicate ownership of disputed real properties belongs to courts of justice. Two specific provisions of law confer exclusive original jurisdiction on Regional Trial Courts to cancel a Torrens title.ownership of Laborada and Bombasi cannot be given any credence. 26 provides for a special procedure for the reconstitution of Torrens certificates of title that are missing and not fictitious titles or titles which are existing." LRA DECISION ON RECONSTITUTION DOES NOT BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY The doctrine of immutability and unalterability of decisions applies only to decisions that are capable of becoming final and executory. May 31.G. 26 to be utilized as an instrument for landgrabbing (See Republic vs. . As a rule.63 At any time. The LRA. Such humbuggery or imposture cannot be countenanced and cannot be the source of legitimate rights and benefits. Only judicial or quasijudicial decisions can become res judicata. It cannot be altered. This Court stated in A.S. Decisions of the LRA on administrative reconstitutions of title never become final and executory. That the proper Regional Trial Court has exclusive original jurisdiction to entertain any action to cancel a Torrens title is reinforced by Section 108 of the Property Registration Decree.

Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the Lands Management Bureau National Office. 71 In his 19 February 1997 letter. executive or ministerial determination". awards ownership over the disputed property to the Barques. Engineer Dalire stated that there is no plan Fls-3168-D in the files of the Lands Management Bureau National Office. Second: Forged 2 January 1997 Letter On 13 February 1997. it is a forged document". Both the Manotoks and the Barques claim the same original Lot 823. These forgeries alone are more than sufficient grounds to deny the reconstitution of the Barques' title. The Manotoks' title covers only one lot." 69 Engineer Dalire urged the LRA that plan Fls-3168-D and the accompanying authentication letter "be disregarded or rejected as they come from spurious sources". had rejected as a forgery in his 31 January 1997 and 19 February 1997 letters to Atty. without subdivision. Dalire. These forgeries provide compelling reasons for this Court to require compliance with Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree in determining the validity of the Manotoks' title. On 31 January 1997. wrote the LRA reconstituting officer that the 2 January 1997 letter. The Decision of the First Division grants the reconstitution. During the oral argument of these cases. Section 48 requires a proceeding before the proper Regional Trial Court directly assailing the validity of the Torrens title before such title can be cancelled. purportedly coming from Engineer Dalire. First: Forged Plan Fls-3168-D The Barques submitted to the LRA reconstituting officer patently forged documents in support of their petition. Engineer Dalire also informed the LRA reconstituting officer that the 2 January 1997 letter purportedly coming from him was the"handiwork of forgers". 66 The 12 December 2005 Decision of the First Division grants to the Barques much more than what the Barques prayed for in their petition for administrative reconstitution of title. This violates the "cardinal principle that (a court) cannot grant anything more than what is prayed for" 67 in the petition. In their petition before the LRA. Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the Lands Management Bureau National Office. declares the reconstituted title valid. counsel for the Barques was asked if the Barques have ever secured a copy of plan Fls-3168-D as certified by the Lands Management Bureau National Office. Engineer Dalire wrote the LRA reconstituting officer that the copy of the Barques' plan Fls-3168-D submitted to the LRA "bears forged initials of my section officer and myself". Counsel for the Barques showed the Court a copy of what purported to be plan Fls-3168-D but on closer examination the copy was certified not by the Lands Management Bureau National Office but by the NCR Regional Office. Lot 823. then the Barques' title is spurious. Bustos. 68 and that the Lands Management Bureau National Office "does not have copy of Fls-3168-D. A SURFEIT OF FORGERIES AND BADGES OF FRAUD Equally disturbing. there are patent forgeries.Appeals: 65 "[T]he doctrine of res judicata applies only to judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings and not to the exercise of administrative powers or to legislative. What counsel for the Barques showed was the same copy of plan Fls-3168-D that Engineer Privadi Dalire. badges of fraud. which contains two lots as subdivided by plan Fls-3168-D from the original Lot 823. 70 Plan Fls-3168-D is vital in establishing the authenticity of the Barques' Torrens title. If there is no record in the Lands Management Bureau National Office of plan Fls-3168-D showing the subdivision of Lot 823 into two lots. Engineer Dalire allegedly stated that the Chief of the 46 . the Barques only prayed for the reconstitution of their allegedly destroyed title. 72 In the questioned 2 January 1997 letter 73 addressed to the LRA reconstituting officer. and cancels the Torrens title of the Manotoks. Engineer Privadi J. and other dubious circumstances that the First Division inexplicably brushed aside in its Decision. "definitely did not come from this office. In his letters.

Lot 823. Binondo. Xerox copy of which is herewith attached. de Castro. states: August 2. AcHCED Third: Plan Fls-3168-D Is Void Unless Validated by the Geodetic Surveys Division During the oral argument. OIC. for their reference/file purposes. EDP's Listing has available record with Fls-3168-D. The form letter (Annex "J") from the Records Management Division of the Lands Management Bureau National Office. Chief. Accession No. Rizal (Now Quezon City). they went to said National Office to secure said certified true copy of Fls-33168-D but were instead given a copy of a form letter (Annex "J") issued in reply to a prior request for transmittal of Plan FLS-3168-D with the information that records of said plan had already been turned over to the National Capital Region. Lands Management Bureau National Office. In their Memorandum dated 6 September 2007. Balbuena.Technical Records and Statistics of the National Capital Region-Lands Management Bureau (NCR Regional Office) had forwarded a copy of Fls-3168-D to Engineer Dalire's office. Lands Management Bureau National Office although someone whose signature is not legible signed for Rainier D. As per our inventory we found out the following: Survey No. stating: This is to certify that according to the verification of the Records Management Division. in the name of Survey Claimant Emiliano Setosta. Tondo Manila S i r /M a d a m: This is in connection with your request on the verification of survey plan. the Manotoks attached to their Memorandum dated 23 August 2007 a certification signed by three persons from the Lands Management Bureau National Office. Technical Services & Survey Records Documentation Section. situated in Caloocan. 1979 as recorded in our file no. Balbuena. Chief. Balbuena. 2007 LUISA T. NCR-199. dated 2 August 2007. plan FLS-3168-D covering parcel/s of and situated in Caloocan Rizal was among those survey records already turned-over/decentralized to DENR-National Capital Region (NCR). researcher. but also because his office never received a copy of Fls-3168-D from the NCR Regional Office. Geodetic Surveys Division. In sharp contrast. Manila on April 5. Engineer Dalire has repeatedly denounced this 2 January 1997 letter as a forgery. counsel for the Barques then undertook to present to the Court a copy of plan Fls3168-D as certified by the Lands Management Bureau National Office. Records Management Division. The Barques also submitted a Certification dated 19 June 2007 (Annex "E-I") signed by Rainier D. This certification. PADORA 2830 Juan Luna St. Lands Management Bureau. not only because he never signed this letter. counsel for the Barques explained why they could not present a copy of plan Fls-3168-D as certified by the Lands Management Bureau National Office: Following the order of the Honorable Justice Carpio for respondents to secure a certified true copy of Fls-3168-D from the Land Management Bureau. Bienvenido F. states — . Records Management Division. namely. that the Barques attached to their Memorandum. . . Cruz. Rodel Collantes. OIC. and Teodoro A. The form letter bears the printed name of Rainier D. Location Fls-3168-D Not listed in EDP listing. 47 . Manila. National Office. Roxas Boulevard.

series of 1991. Balbuena. Records Management Division. like the Barques' Fls-3168-D plan. that: . xxx xxx xxx . copies of plans. under DENR Administrative Order No. . Our Inventory Record of Approved Surveys.4 of Lands Memorandum Order No.Verified By: (Sgd) RODEL COLLANTES Chief.4 further states that unless validated by the Geodetic Surveys Divisions. SEDaAH Thus. 49. Geodetic Surveys Division OR#: 3041650 Date: 08/02/07 Amt. . The inescapable conclusion is that the form letter (Annex "J") issued by the Records Management Division of the Lands Management Bureau National Office. . both of which refer to the existence of the Barques' Fls-3168-D plan. How can this be when NCR has never given us the alleged copy in their file for validation. The Barques' explanation is further belied by the 19 February 1997 letter of Engineer Dalire. blue prints or photographic copies of plans shall be issued unless said secondary copies have been validated by the Geodetic Surveys Division". which have not been validated by the Geodetic Surveys Division. like the Barques' Fls-3168-D plan. no secondary copies of plans. . Under paragraph 2. CRUZ Chief. Records Management Division. are deemed "expunged from the Records of the Records Division". No copy of the survey plan can be issued by 48 . 03 January 1997 and 06 February 1997 (copies attached). . DE CASTRO Very truly yours. Geodetic Surveys Division prevails over the certification of the OIC. (Sgd) BIENVENIDO F. The same paragraph 2. The forwarding of the copy to us is mandatory under DAO No. More importantly. our computerized list of plans officially filed in this Bureau. OIC. and the microfilm all show that we have no records or information about Plan Fls-3168-D.00 The certification of the Chief. Php 40. can have any evidentiary value unless validated by the Geodetics Surveys Division of the Lands Management Bureau National Office. . Lands Management Bureau National Office. This is the subject of our letters to NCR dated 05 December 1996. and the Certification dated 19 June 2007 (Annex "E-I") signed by Rainier D. . 74 (Emphasis supplied) As pointed out by Engineer Dalire. Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the Lands Management Bureau National Office. the Locator Cards. 368-92 dated 17 August 1992. Technical Services & Survey Records Documentation Section Researched by: (Sgd) TEODORO A. are absolutely worthless and are mere scraps of paper. "no copies of white print. copies of such plans "should be temporarily expunged from the records of the Records Division until they are validated and returned for official file". . 49 for our validation. the copy of plan Fls-3168-D must be forwarded by the NCR Regional Office for validation by the Geodetic Surveys Division of the Lands Management Bureau National Office.

correct and exact replica of the original plan. (Emphasis supplied) The NCR Regional Office failed to submit to the Geodetics Survey Division a copy of plan Fls-3168-D despite repeated requests from Engineer Dalire. reiterating that we have no records (sic) of Fls-3168-D and requesting them to forward the plan for our evaluation and comment. DENR A. We requested them to forward to us the said plan for our evaluation and comment. s-1991).3.5 of DENR Administrative Order No. Despite the decentralization of the records of survey plans. blue. 1996 informing them that the plan Fls-3168-D filed in that Office from where the reproduced copy furnished to LRA (sic) did not emanate from our office. 368-92 dated 17 August 1992. 75 (Emphasis supplied) TcADCI 49 .O. The latter can be done thru microfilming or reproduction of the original records. . Engineer Dalire stated: . Sections 4. Bustos. SIGNED) shall not be used for the issuance of patent or certified true copy or titling purposes. These copies should temporarily be expunged from the records of the Records Division until they are validated and returned for official file.3 and 4. xxx xxx xxx 4. the Lands Management Bureau National Office retained "back-up files" of the decentralized records.3 Decentralized whiteprints or photographic copies of plans especially those marked "SGD" (i. Atty. have no evidentiary value because they are "temporarily . Likewise. please be informed that we wrote on December 5. expunged from the records of the Records Division". secondary copies of survey plans.the NCR Regional Office without the validation of the Geodetic Surveys Division. 1997. . In his 31 January 1997 letter to the reconstituting officer. xerox) copies and photographic copies in its file to the Geodetic Surveys Division for examination. thus: 2. (Emphasis supplied) The requirement of validation by the Geodetic Surveys Division is reiterated and amplified in Lands Memorandum Order No. The Geodetic Surveys Division validates the survey plans based on the "back-up file in the Central Records Office". It is regretted. — The following considerations on the preparation of Certified True Copies of Approved Plans shall be observed: xxx xxx xxx 4. 1996 the DENR-NCR about your letter dated December 2. we made a follow-up. 49. . Lands Memorandum Order No.1 It is the general policy that all isolated survey plans and other survey records be decentralized immediately to the Lands Management Sector for their reference and file after establishing a back-up file in the Central office for records preservation. blue prints or photographic copies of plans shall be issued unless said secondary copies have been validated by the Geodetic Surveys Division (see paragraph 4. The Survey Records Section shall turn over all print (white. they did not respond. EXCEPT.e. investigation and/or validation. such as the Barques' plan Fls-3168-D. upon or prior authentication by the Lands Management Bureau (LMB) after diligent comparison with the records of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) and other depository of surveys records. 49 states: Section 4.5 The Chief of the Regional Surveys Division of the Lands Management Service in the concerned Regional Office shall certify all copies for land registration and for other purposes as true. on January 5. 368-92 states: 1. General Policy 1. (Boldfacing and underscoring supplied) Unless validated by the Geodetic Surveys Division of the Lands Management Bureau National Office.4 No copies of white print. . Preparation of Certified True Copies of Approved Plans.

as they had promised to the Court during the oral argument.) PRIVADI J. Inc. In Fil-Estate Golf and Development. DALIRE Chief. Reed covering a piece of land in Malate. Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the Bureau of Lands. While the explanation may be considered.3 and 4. white prints and photographic copies sent by the Central Records Division to be returned to LMB for validation by this Division.This repeated and manifest failure by the NCR Regional Office is echoed by the glaring failure of the Barques to submit. Region IV dated 12 November 1992 and 15 December 1992. s-1991 which requires that the white prints or photographic print of the plan other than the original plan which have been decentralized must first be authenticated by this Bureau before a certified true copy is issued by the region. Certified copies may now be issued based on the reconstructed and approved plan. Court of Appeals. In the letter dated 27 November 1992. Privadi Dalire. contained in his letters to the Regional Technical Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The white print of Psu-201 should therefore be subjected to ocular inspection. Consider also that if the record of the Bureau is different from the print copy is subjected to field ocular inspection of the land and on the basis of the findings. private respondents' cause of action against petitioner is defeated by the findings of Mr. and considered void ab initio. That plan was heavily damaged and its reconstruction was not finalized. This Court has already recognized that copies of survey plans are void unless validated by the Geodetic Surveys Division in accordance with DENR Administrative Order No. v. For the Director of Lands: (SGD. the region may reconstruct the plan to be approved as usual. Our records of inventory of approved plans show Psu-201 as a survey of J. series of 1991.G. 49. It is evident therefore that the issuance of a certified true copy of Psu-201 from a white print is premature.3 of DENR Administrative Order No. 77 (Emphasis supplied) 50 . 49. Region IV L & S Building. This should be included in the investigation. We returned the white print plan prepared by Engineer Pangyarihan because we should examine the "tracing cloth plan" and it is the tracing cloth plan. a copy of plan Fls-3168-D as certified by the Lands Management Bureau National Office. 76 the Court held: Finally. Geodetic Surveys Division. Manila. respectively: 12 November 1992 xxx MEMORANDUM: 15 December 1992 FOR: The Regional Technical Director of Lands The Chief. yet the preparation of the plan is not yet in accordance with Sections 1. Roxas Boulevard Manila FROM: LMB SUBJECT: Psu-201 Records show that the region furnished us a white print copy certified by Engineer Robert Pangyarihan to have been "prepared from a tracing cloth plan on file in the NCR" for validation. Engineer Pangyarihan explained that he prepared the copy which he certified from a white print plan on file in the region as the applicant claims to have lost the tracing cloth. Regional Surveys Division DENR.

The letter size of the rubber stamp “NOT FOR REGISTRATION/TITLING. Annex G. Annex "H" hereof. among others. thus: HETDAC The copy of Fls-3168-D attached to your letter dated December 2. Soriano for the Chief.Engineer Privadi Dalire has categorically declared this copy of Fls-3168-D as "spurious" in his 19 February 1997 letter to Atty. The inescapable conclusion is that the Barques' plan Fls-3168-D is void ab initio. thus: c. I sign in full copies of plans with the initials of my action officers and their codings below my signature. certified by the NCR Regional Office. did not come from his office. . Annex "H" is the same copy of Fls-3168-D that purportedly originated from the office of Engineer Privadi Dalire. These are not present in the spurious copy of plan. the Barques have failed to submit a copy of their plan Fls-3168-D as certified by the Geodetic Surveys Division. in his 31 January 1997 letter to Atty.5 of DENR Administrative Order No. to support the authenticity of the plan Fls-3168-D that the Barques had earlier submitted to the reconstituting officer. The alignment of the letters/words of one rubber stamp is different from this marking on this spurious plan. We are sure that the copy did not come from this Office.Clearly. there does not appear in Annex "H" a signature over the printed name Carmelito A. Bustos. 78 (Emphasis supplied) Engineer Dalire ended his letter by advising Atty. Annex "H" is also the same copy of plan Fls-3168-D that counsel for the Barques showed to the Court during the oral argument. Atty. the Barques submitted to the Court a copy of plan Fls-3168D. The copy of plan bears two "Certifications" at the top and at lower half. This microfilm copy is exactly the same as the Tracing Cloth Plan copy. Up to this time. The plan shows only initial. Annex "H" is not certified by the Chief of the Regional Surveys Division. This is not our practice. Reasons. Photo Copy of Plan FLS-3168 (microfilm) duly certified by Carmelito A. Bustos. We use one piece rubber stamp. NCR. We have no copy of Fls-3168-D on file so how can we issue a copy of plan that is non-existing? 2. Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the Lands Management Bureau. 6. Second. Soriano. The reasons are: 51 . in the present cases the copy of the Barques' plan Fls-3168-D issued by the NCR Regional Office is likewise void unless validated by the Geodetic Surveys Division in accordance with DENR Administrative Order No. 49. We have shown you our rubber stamps to prove that the copy of Fls-3168-D in your possession is a spurious plan. one for the certification and another for the signing official. Regional Technical Director. which purportedly was certified by him. Engineer Dalire stated in his 31 January 1997 letter: . Third. 79 Again. 4. In their Memorandum dated 6 September 2007. The spurious copy of plan you furnished us does not carry our rubber stamp "GOVERNMENT PROPERTY NOT TO BE SOLD: FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY OF ___________________ "This is stamped on all microfilm copies we issue because all microfilm copies are for official use only of our LMS. First. Bustos to "disregard the plan Fls-3168-D and the letter dated 02 January 1997 as they are proven to be spurious documents". 3. Lands Management Service of the NCR Regional Office as required by Section 4. 368-92. 1996 is not issued by this Office. FOR REFERENCE ONLY” is smaller than our rubber stamp. NCR National Office. 5. Engineer Dalire reiterated that plan Fls-3168-D. Bustos. There are many markings on the copy to prove it did not come from LMB. are: 1. . 49. The rubber-stamp shows there are two pieces. series of 1991. as amplified in Lands Memorandum Order No. Regional Technical Director. Chief.

aESIDH Fourth: The Barques Submitted a Tampered Copy of Administrative Reconstitution Order No. Q-535(96) On 7 February 1997. . On 14 February 1997. In view of the foregoing. In his 14 February 1997 reply to the LRA Administrator. Bustos approving the reconstitution of the Barques' TCT No. the Barques had written the LRA Administrator complaining against the LRA reconstituting officer's alleged "pattern of effort to delay the administrative reconstitution". There is no effort to delay the administrative reconstitution of the aforesaid title. the very person whom the Barques claim certified their copy of Fls-3168-D. 7) Again. it is certified that this Bureau does not have copy of Fls-3168-D. It is also incomplete as an (sic) Stamp. Surely. DENR. the Chief. (and) Microfilm Computer list of plans available for decentralization". 4) The size of the lettering in the rubber stamp "Not for Registration/Titling for Reference Only" is smaller than our stamp. to give due course to the said reconstitution". Our inventory of approved plans enrolled in our file. 81 The Barques attached to their 7 February 1997 letter an alleged order of reconstitution signed by Atty. in addition to [the] above is "of _________". the office that has the "inventory of approved plans . Geodetic Surveys. the LRA reconstituting officer wrote the LRA Administrator that: 83 1. disowned this 2 January 1997 letter as a forgery. this. Manila. Geodetic Surveys Division is our stamp. 2) The alignment of: Lands. What we are doing is a thorough check of the authenticity of the submitted documents. their (sic) is Survey without the "s" plural. However.a. logically we cannot issue any copy. Atty. 1997 by the Chief. Privadi. Chief. 3) We do not stamp the plan twice as the syndicate did on the copy. in his 13 February 1997 letter 82 to the LRA reconstituting officer. 6) The name of the claimant is very visible to have been tampered in the master copy.Engineer Dalire. Lands Management Bureau. the use of the spurious copy of Fls-3168-D for the reconstitution of title will create land problem involving prime lots in that area. 1) The certification (rubber stamp) serves a two piece stamp. Ours is one-piece. 5) The copy bears forged initials of my action officer and myself. the copy of Fls-3168-D furnished your Office as well as the alleged letter authenticating it should be disregarded or rejected as they come from spurious sources. I sign completely certification. and Chief in the syndicates (sic) stamp differ from our stamp. 52 .473 Sq. . but also because he is the Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the Lands Management Bureau National Office. Lands Management Bureau. The Barques also informed the LRA Administrator that there was a "recommendation dated January 2. 80 (Emphasis supplied) The Barques have the temerity to foist on this Court their copy of plan Fls-3168-D which has been repeatedly denounced as a forgery by Engineer Dalire. M. 210177. b. Bustos exposed the alleged order of reconstitution submitted by the Barques as a "tampered document". Geodetic Surveys. Engineer Dalire is the best person to determine the authenticity of Fls-3168-D not only because he allegedly signed it as claimed by the Barques. The certification and the signing official are separate. GEODETIC. our Microfilm Computer list of plans available for decentralization all show that we do not have this plan Fls-3168-D. This involves the reconstitution of title allegedly lot 823-A of Fls-3168-D with an area of 171. The copy of the plan Fls-3168-D shows visible signs that it is a spurious copy.

and on the following additional grounds. The Barques justified the authenticity of the copy they presented by claiming that their copy was "initialed in each and every page. 210177.945 Sq. containing areas of 171. Bustos. Geodetic Surveys Division. Piedad Estate. really purchased the subject property in the year 1975. Manotok. Lots 823-A & 823-B. and (2) the title number "210177" in Administrative Reconstitution No. m. attached to the aforesaid letter is a tampered document. the Barques explained the circumstances of the order of reconstitution they submitted to the LRA in this manner: The said resolution was issued on January 27. & 171. Chief. Attached for your reference is a copy of the letter which is self-explanatory. Q-535(96). Q-535(96)? 86 (Emphasis supplied) The LRA reconstituting officer ended his Comment by urging the LRA Administrator that "this case be referred to the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission for investigation". covered by TCT No. Bustos. Barque". In their Memorandum dated 6 September 2007. The tampering refers to the insertion of (1) the name of "Homer L. to wit: 2. On 13 August 1998. Barque. Q-535(96) differed from the original of Administrative Reconstitution No. 3. LMB-DENR. For your comparison. Fls-3168-D. no opposition from anyone to the Barques' petition for reconstitution and after the Barque had already submitted their Owner's Duplicate Copy of 53 . the Oppositors and their predecessors have been paying realty taxes on the property since the year 1965. Barque. 2. and up to now his descendants. 210177 and the name of Homer L. Q-535(96). herewith is a copy of the genuine order of reconstitution. 1997. together with its enclosures. by the Chief.. m. containing an area of 342. Indeed. Atty. the Barques' copy 85 of Administrative Reconstitution No. Dalire. Q-535(96) that the LRA reconstituting officer himself signed on 27 January 1997. Geodetic Surveys Division. as yet. 1997.473 Sq. Reconstitution Order No. (Boldfacing and underscoring supplied) In his 14 February 1997 letter. why did he not take possession of it upon purchase. purportedly covered by TCT No. The Barques also failed to explain why they still pursued their petition for administrative reconstitution of their title if indeed they had already obtained an approved reconstitution on 27 January 1997 under their copy of Administrative Reconstitution Order No. That we maintain our position denying the reconstitution of TCT No. registered in the name of Severino M. copy of which is hereto attached as annex "C". 210177.3 Why did the Petitioner try to mislead us by submitting a tampered copy of Adm. on the grounds stated in our Order dated June 30. Q-535(96) was an order issued and signed by the LRA reconstituting officer. the LRA reconstituting officer filed before the LRA Administrator the following Comment: 2. marked as annex "A". 1997 when there was.2 Why was the property declared. the Petitioners. Q-535(96) shows that it was signed by the same LRA reconstituting officer. handling the Barques' then pending petition for administrative reconstitution. To repeat. only in the year 1996? Whereas.1 If the late Homer L. Atty. LMB-DENR. is also a forged document. the original of Administrative Reconstitution No. marked as annex "B". 372302. The order of reconstitution containing TCT No. 472 Sq. and realty taxes were paid in the name of Barque. et al. the LRA reconstituting officer complained to the LRA Administrator that "there is an attempt to mislead us into favorable action by submitting forged documents". respectively.. directly received by the undersigned from Engineer Privadi J. but the Oppositors?. appear to duplicate Lot 823. are not in possession of the property. The alleged letter-recommendation dated January 2. 2. 4.2. the Barques' copy of Administrative Reconstitution No.G. m." 84 However.

genuine and untampered. (Emphasis supplied) In short. The Barques do not claim or even mention this now. If their copy of Administrative Reconstitution Order No. apparently had the motive to delete the title and name of the Barques from his resolution. as one of the titles approved for reconstitution by Atty. These patent forgeries are grounds to render the Barques' reconstituted title void ab initio. At any rate. Bustos' aforesaid Resolution. The last letter of Engineer Dalire to Atty. 210177 which entitled them. 87 the law allowing administrative reconstitution of titles. Clearly. said resolution of Bustos was completely irrelevant to the LRA proceedings since it is his Order denying Barques' petition for reconstitution that was raised on appeal before the LRA Administrator. 1997. like the several other petitioners listed in Mr. RT-22481 (372302). Bustos himself signed. Bustos signed the order on 27 January 1997. In their Memorandum dated 6 September 2007. 6732. contrary to their claim that Atty. Atty. Bustos denied their petition. Bustos was on 31 January 1997. Atty. to a reconstitution thereof under R. instead they agree that Atty. Before such deletion. Q-535(96) is truly authentic and untampered. He. therefore. Sr. The Barques are now accusing Atty. the Barques put the blame on Atty. This is contrary to the categorical declaration of Atty. he was still corresponding with Engineer Dalire on the forgery found in the Barques’ plan Fls-3168-D. Q-535(96) is now "completely irrelevant" because what was raised on appeal to the LRA was the order of Atty. 210177 in the name of Homer L. Atty. Section 11 of Republic Act No. Q535(96). there was no reason whatsoever for Atty. listing their TCT No. 6732 (RA 6732). Q-535(96) submitted by the Barques is a "tampered document". Bustos of falsification by deleting the Barques' name and title in Administrative Reconstitution No. Barque. is authentic. Turgano surmised that: "The animosity and bias of Mr.TCT No. Sr. the Barques insist that Administrative Reconstitution No. Q-535(96). In the first place. Bustos could not have included the Barques' title and name in Administrative Reconstitution No. Barque. the Barques should insist that their petition for administrative reconstitution was in fact approved by the reconstituting officer Atty. Bustos against petitioners may be explained by the fact that he was responsible in giving due course and approving with dispatch the administrative reconstitution of the Manotok title which is TCT No. On 14 February 1997. 210177 in the name of Homer L. Bustos even wrote the LRA Administrator about the "attempt to mislead us (LRA) into favorable action by submitting forged documents". which original is on file in his office in the LRA. Q-535(96). Ironically. Bustos.A. Mr. Bustos' bias was likewise shown when he alerted the Manotoks of the Barques' Petition for Reconstitution which prompted them to file their opposition to the Barques' petition on April 14. Bustos to include the Barques' title and name in Administrative Reconstitution No. Bustos. Q-535(96). Q-535(96) included the Barques' name and title. Bustos that the copy of Administrative Reconstitution No. Bustos for "delet(ing) the title and name of the Barques from the resolution". Q-535(96) that Atty. the Barques gave the lame excuse that Administrative Reconstitution No. Bustos denying the Barques' petition for reconstitution. The Barques cannot simply brush aside their submission of tampered or forged documents. does not include TCT No. which is the copy that the Barques submitted to the LRA Administrator. and that the original Administrative Reconstitution No. Bustos granted their petition by including the Barques' title and name in Administrative Reconstitution No. provides: 54 . When Atty. the Barques represent to this Court that their copy of Administrative Reconstitution No. Q-535(96). In his letter.

. Sixth: The Barques Cannot Explain Erasure of Notation on their Tax Declarations The Manotoks claim that the Barques erased the following notation in the tax declarations they submitted to the LRA reconstituting officer: "Memo: This property appear (sic) to duplicate the property of Manotok Realty. that is a serious accusation. no. Justice Carpio: How about the tax declaration on file with the Assessor's Office? Atty. thus: Justice Carpio: . the Manotoks again submitted copies of the Barques' tax declarations containing the same notation. Flaminiano: There is none that I know. counsel for the Barques admitted that he has not seen the original tax declarations on file with the Assessor's Office. three years after the fire and just one year after the effectivity on 17 July 1989 of RA 6732 allowing again administrative reconstitution of titles under certain circumstances. Your Honor. removed annotation in the tax declaration of the Barques that in the tax declaration on file with the Assessor's Office the tax declaration of the Barques is supposed to contain annotation that this property appears to be registered in the name of Manotok Realty Inc. The present cases involve 34 hectares of prime land located beside the Ayala Heights Subdivision in Quezon City. declared under TD No. Its value is estimated conservatively at P1./P.SEC. .m. Justice Carpio: But does the tax declaration of the Barques contain that notation? Atty. is that correct? Atty.I. eight years after the original of their Torrens title was allegedly burned in the 11 June 1988 fire that destroyed the records of the Quezon City Register of Deeds. deceit or other machination is void ab initio as against the party obtaining the same and all persons having knowledge thereof. A reconstituted title obtained by means of fraud. 214202. The Manotoks are claiming that the Barques erased. (Emphasis supplied) This Court would never countenance these blatant and glaring forgeries. During the oral argument.. However.945 sq. CIcTAE Fifth: The Barques’ Title Surfaced Eight Years after the Quezon City Hall Fire The Barques filed their petition for administrative reconstitution on 22 October 1996.. Flaminiano: Well.7 billion. 11. In their Memorandum of 23 August 2007. the Manotoks submitted certified true copies of the Barques' Tax Declarations 06892 89 and 06895 90 containing this notation. B-067-02136 with area of 343. Flaminiano: I have not seen those. Justice Carpio: You have not seen those? 55 . In contrast. Your honor and I have no knowledge about that. Your Honor. the Manotoks administratively reconstituted their Torrens title on 1 February 1991." 88 In their Petition For Review dated 30 March 2004. counsel for the Barques denied the erasure of the notation on the Barques' tax declarations. Inc.

thus: CADacT On June 20. oppositors (Manotoks) had introduced substantial improvements. Obviously. the Court of Agrarian Relations made an ocular inspection of Barrio Payong in Quezon City. the map of the Barques who were the petitioners before the LRA Administrator assailing the LRA reconstituting officer's denial of their reconstitution on the ground of pre-existence of the Manotoks' title and the submission of a spurious document by the Barques. the LRA reconstituting officer found that the Manotoks have been paying realty taxes on the property since 1965. as early as in 1960. 92 for realty taxes for the years 1987 to 1996. Counsel for the Barques admitted this when he stated during the oral argument that the Barques merely "went around" the walled property. The Manotoks further claim: [A]s owners of said Lot 823. attaching to their Memorandum representative copies of their realty tax payments. the LRA Administrator cited the non-existence of Barrio Payong in Quezon City. 96 involving the same property under dispute in these cases. On the other hand. The existence of Barrio Payong in Quezon City has been judicially acknowledged almost three decades ago in the Decision of the Court of Agrarian Relations. 95 This is a finding of fact that is based not only on self-serving and suspect evidence. In their Memorandum dated 23 August 2007. 94 (Emphasis supplied) During the oral argument. Ninth: LRA Administrator Relied only on Map Submitted by Barques In calling the Manotoks' title "sham and spurious". but also on a patently erroneous claim. the Court issued an Order directing the Clerk of Court to conduct an ocular inspection of the landholding in question. The Barques have not paid any realty tax after 1996. the Manotoks claim that they paid their realty taxes on the property from 1933 until the present. The LRA Administrator stated: "The map of Quezon City [Annex "N" of Petitioners' Position paper] would show that there is no such barrio as Payong". high wall hollow block fence. 93 In contrast. among others. Seventh: The Barques Paid Realty Tax only for 1987 to 1996 The Barques first paid real estate tax on the property only in 1996. who had earlier submitted forged documents to the LRA reconstituting officer. the court of origin in Spouses Tiongson. In Spouses Tiongson. or before 1987. their respective houses. 91 In their Memorandum dated 6 September 2007. buildings and concrete perimeter fence that the Manotoks constructed on the property since 1960. photographs of which are hereto attached as Annexes "115" to "134". The LRA Administrator relied on Annex "N" of "Petitioners". et al.Atty. the Barques ignored completely the Manotoks' claim that the Barques erased the notation. this Court should not rely on the LRA Administrator's findings which were admittedly based on the map of the Barques. the Clerk of Court is hereby directed to conduct an ocular inspection of the landholding in 56 . 1978. Eighth: The Barques Have Never Set Foot on the Property The Barques have never set foot on the property since the time Homer L. Flaminiano: I have not seen those. the Manotoks assert that the property is publicly known in their neighborhood as the Manotok Compound. offices and employees quarters. that is. v. apartments. which is as follows: "Conformably with 'Urgent Motion For An Ocular Inspection' filed with this Court on even date and as stated in paragraph 2 thereof. allegedly purchased the property in 1975. Court of Appeals and Macaya. because the Barques were required to pay the current and preceding years’ realty taxes before they could file their petition for administrative reconstitution. thereon consisting of. amounting to several millions. Sr. Barque. the Manotoks showed on the projector screen the pictures of the various houses.

Ma.B." Upon accomplishment thereof. Bocanegra. 98 Of these 28 petitioners. In contrast. Setosta go to the land to investigate the ownership of Mr. (sic). proceeded toBarrio Payong. Philipp Manotok. Cristina E. through Atty. which was filed only on 22 October 1996. said Clerk of Court is hereby directed to submit his report as well as his sketch plan for further disposition of the Court. according to the defendants. (e) Portion of the property which. wherein the parties shall meet at the site of said landholding and to determine: (a) Portions of the property planted to rice (sic) by the plaintiff and/or his children. eight — Miguel A. there were 28 petitioners. George M. Maria Theresa Manotok. before the filing of the complaint in this case.. Jr. Of these sixteen petitioners. (b) Portions of the property where the rice paddies are located. and Jose Maria Manotok — were then minors at the time of Spouses Tiongson and were thus represented by judicial guardians. . to conduct an ocular inspection of the landholding involved in this case. 97 (Boldfacing and underscoring supplied) The recognition of the Court of Agrarian Relations that Barrio Payong exists in Quezon City is based on the ocular inspection conducted on 23 June 1978 by the Clerk of Court of the Court of Agrarian Relations.M. at least sixteen are petitioners composing part of the Manotoks in these cases. (d) Portions of the property where the houses of the plaintiff and/or his children are built and located. the Manotoks showed on the projector screen a picture of the 34-hectare Manotok compound completely surrounded by a high concrete perimeter wall. 1978 at 8:30 o'clock A. had been. In Spouses Tiongson. Ramon Severino Manotok. Barques' counsel answered as follows: Justice Velasco: Did your client prior to buying the lot from Mr. Victor Flores of this Branch. Quezon City. . which as agreed upon between them is set on June 23. which is as follows: "In compliance with the Order of the Honorable Court dated June 20. Tenth: The Barques Bought the Property Knowing the Manotoks Had Constructed Buildings and Perimeter Wall on the Property During the oral argument. 197[8]. (f) Portions burned by the plaintiff. the Clerk of Court submitted his "REPORT". 1978. Jesus Jude Manotok. When counsel for the Barques was asked if his clients made an ocular inspection of the property at the time his clients purchased it in 1975. (c) Portions of the property planted to (sic) corn and vegetables.question situated at Payong. 1978. . Perpetua Bocanegra. Quezon City on June 23. the statement of the LRA Administrator that there is no Barrio Payong in Quezon City is based merely on the map that the Barques submitted in their petition for administrative reconstitution. Justice Velasco: 57 . worked on by Victorino Macaya and returned by him to the defendants. Flaminiano: The one who bought the property was the father of Barques now. undersigned together with Mr. These eight are now of age in these cases. On June 27. Sison. Sison. Setosta? Atty. with an area of more or less one hectare.

did they file ejectment suit? Atty. Your Honor. Did the father of Mr. Flaminiano: Went around the property to take a look at the property but after that they left for the United States and for one reason or another they have not been able to take the proper steps (interrupted) Justice Carpio: So. when did they take possession of the property since Mr. Justice Carpio: So. AEHTIC Justice Carpio: Went around the property (interrupted) Atty. Barque died already. Setosta? Atty. I think he was the manager of one of the businesses of Mr. Antonio Florendo. 99 xxx xxx xxx Justice Carpio: Now. they never filed any suit to recover possession of the property. Barque purchased it in 1975. I understand that the property was mortgaged for something like One Million to Two Million Pesos. is that right? Atty. Florendo in Davao City having to do with accessory parts of cars and trucks and he was at one time also the operator of a public transportation company. Barque find any building or structures on the land now subject of this dispute? Atty. Justice Velasco: Okay. Homer L.Would you know if the father of respondent visit and inspect and investigate the ownership of Mr. Flaminiano: I was told that he visited the property because the father of the Barques used to work for Mr. from 1975 to the present they have not taken possession of the property? Atty. Your Honor. Justice Carpio: What kind of attempts. Barque to whom the property was mortgaged before he died. Justice Carpio: 58 . Flaminiano: In fact Your Honor I understand that some of the Barque girls even went around the property. Flaminiano: We would not know because Mr. Flaminiano: There were attempts to take possession. Flaminiano: None that I know. Flaminiano: The reason why they could not take really possession of the property because they were trying to get some papers from an Aunt of Mr. when did he take possession of the property? Atty. Your Honor.

a Friar land. Regina Geronimo and Feliciano Villanueva of Lot 823 from the Philippine government on March 10. the Government could not have sold directly to Setosta the disputed property in the 1940s. Attached hereto as Annex E is a Land Management Bureau-certified xerox copy of Sale Certificate No. outside of 59 . 1987 in the names of all of the Manotoks. Teodoro assigned his share and interests over Lot 823 to Severino Manotok. the Barques have never set foot on the property from 1975 up to the present. Teodoro and Severino Manotok. 823 of the Piedad Estate. 9.6 In 1923. who the Barques claim bought the property directly from the Government in the 1940s. 1920. Sr. On the other hand. Bureau of Lands.. . 1988) the Manotoks filed reconstitution proceedings before the LRA. Thus.The claim of the Barques that Setosta purchased the property directly from the Government in the 1940s is belied by the 1927 Annual Report of the Director of Lands. 1923 is attached hereto as Annex H. RT-22841 (372302). 372302 on October 16. with attachments. Santa Cruz de Malabon. purchased the property from Emiliano Setosta. 9. 100 (Emphasis supplied) At the end of 1927. The Barques merely "went around" the fully fenced property. stating that: With the exception of the estates of Calamba.5 The Manotok chain of titles began with the purchase by Zacarias Modesto. 372302 (the title sought to be reconstituted in this petition) is attached hereto as Annex J-1. on August 31. and were issued a reconstituted certificate of title. Lot 823 was titled under TCT No. by the ROD of Quezon city in 1991. Ownership over Lot 823 was later consolidated in Modesto.8 Fire gutted the Quezon City ROD on June 11. 1054 issued by the Friar Lands Division. . is attached hereto as Annex J. The Barques never sent a demand letter to the Manotoks to vacate the property. 1054 dated May 4. the Barques can trace their chain of title only up to 1975 when Homer Barque. Naic. with sub-annexes. to Modesto. A xerox copy of the petition for reconstitution filed by the Manotoks with the ROD. Geronimo and Villanueva. The Barques never filed an ejectment or any action to recover possession of the property. 1988. who in 1920 assigned his interests thereon to M.6 Kilometers from Piedad Estate Intervenors Felicitas and Rosendo Manahan (Manahans) have submitted a relocation survey made by the Lands Management Bureau NCR Regional Office of the Barques' plan Fls-3168-D showing that the Barques' property is located "some 5. 9. Flaminiano: None that I know. A certified xerox copy of Assignment of Certificate of Sale No. Lolomboy. a company owned by petitioners. Santa Maria de Pandi. the Manotoks state: 9. the Government had already sold all of the Piedad Estate. Eleventh: The Barques' Chain of Title Stops in 1975 The Manotoks can trace their Torrens title to the purchase by their predecessors-in-interest of the property from the Government in 1919. TCT No. while a certified true copy of TCT No. Attached hereto as Annexes F and G are Land Management Bureau-certified xerox copies of Assignments of Certificate of Sale No. where there are still some vacant lands. The Manotok's chain of titles to the property. Twelfth: Lands Management Bureau Relocation Survey Shows Barques' Property Located 5. Inc. Clearly. all the others of the 23 Friar land estates had already been entirely disposed of. are attached hereto as Annex I. In their Memorandum dated 23 August 2007. M. Imus. making him the sole and exclusive owner of Lot 823. The Barques have not presented the deed of conveyance by the Government to Setosta. 1054 dated March 11.7 Through a series of transfers within the Manotok family and the Manotok Realty. Isabela. Your Honor. and Talisay-Minglanilla.. 1919 and June 7. 1919.Did they send any demand letter to the Manotoks to vacate the property since they were the owners? Atty. San Francisco de Malabon. with deeds of conveyances. .6 kilometers away from Lot No. and shortly thereafter (i.e.

any party may introduce in evidence the LRA Administrator or the NBI's findings. Valenzuela.Quezon City". it is the Barques' still pending reconstitution that can no longer proceed because of the existing title of the Manotoks. When the Barques filed the reconstitution of their title. the Court held that a "duly issued existing Torrens title . The Alabang ruling necessarily involves a situation where there is an existing title issued by the Register of Deeds at the time of filing of a petition to reconstituteanother title over the same property in the name of another person. In the meantime. Aromin. SHaIDE A DULY ISSUED TORRENS TITLE IS ONE ISSUED BY THE REGISTER OF DEEDS IN THE REGULAR PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES This Court ruled in Alabang Development Corporation. and Engineer III Evelyn G. Once the reconstituting court or officer establishes that the Register of Deeds has in fact issued an existing title in the name of another person. at the time of the reconstitution of the Manotoks' title. on file with the Register of Deeds. and even up to now the reconstitution of the Barques' title is still pending resolution in the instant case. In fact. The Barques' owner's duplicate certificate of title could not be verified with the Register of Deeds of Quezon City because the Barques' title has no corresponding original title. The phrase "duly issued existing Torrens title" simply means a title verifiably issued by the proper Register of Deeds. In such proceeding.101 The relocation survey plan is signed by Ludivina L. What is material is whether the Register of Deeds actually issued the title as part of his regular functions. The validity or invalidity of the title is not material at that point. The Manotoks' title could be verified against the reconstituted original title on file with the Register of Deeds. Chief of the Technical Services Division. et al. whether reconstituted or not. the LRA Administrator has admitted that the Manotoks' title "is existing as a reconstituted title at the Office of the Register of Deeds. This is an egregious error. In their Memorandum dated 22 August 2007. Celzo. the proper step is to file an action before the Regional Trial Court to annul such title. the Manotoks' title had already been finally reconstituted and existing. which is still pending in this case. which was the only "duly issued existing Torrens title" over the property issued by the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. .. no reconstitution proceeding can prosper until after the cancellation by final judgment of such existing title. cannot be the subject of petitions for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles by third parties without first securing by final judgment the cancellation of such existing titles". et al. the Barques' title had not been reconstituted. When the Manotoks’ title was reconstituted in 1991. the Manotoks already had a prior title. when the Barques filed their reconstitution in 1996. The dissenting opinion claims that the Barques' title was already existing at the time of the reconstitution of the Manotoks' title in 1991. It is in such proceeding before the regional trial court that the validity or invalidity of the title is determined. the Manahans attached as Annex "M" a copy of the Lands Management Bureau relocation survey of plan Fls-3168-D. the reconstitution of the Barques' title. Thus. can no longer proceed. In contrast. the Barques had no "duly issued existing Torrens title" from the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. The Alabang ruling states that in such a situation the reconstituting authority has no jurisdiction to proceed with the reconstitution until a final judgment cancels the other title. . v. Clearly. In Alabang. This is clear from the Court's ruling in Alabang: The Court stresses once more that lands already covered by duly issued existing Torrens titles (which become incontrovertible upon the expiration of one year from their issuance under Section 38 of the Land Registration Act) cannot be the subject of petitions for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles filed by third parties without first securing by final judgment the cancellation of 60 . Clearly." 103 The Barques could not produce even up to now a "duly issued existing Torrens title" from the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. etc. 102 that courts have no jurisdiction over petitions for reconstitution of title involving a property already covered by an existing Torrens title in the name of another person.

being an alien. does not confirm or adjudicate ownership over a property. as a rule. The Decision states that the "function of the (LRA) is adjudicatory in nature — it can properly deliberate on the validity of the titles submitted for reconstitution". That should be threshed out in a proper action. vs. 108 (Boldfacing and underscoring supplied) The fallacy in the dissenting opinion's argument is that it assumes that the LRA Administrator can adjudicate on the validity of a Torrens title. . Whether the petitioner has the right to acquire the land or not. However. The rule on this matter is that this issue can only be raised in an action expressly instituted for that purpose (Legarda vs. What the LRA Administrator or agencies like the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) can issue are administrative. which alone has the power to adjudicate whether the title is void. (And as the Court reiterated in the recent case of Silvestre vs. Not even the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court can usurp this exclusive original power of the Regional Trial Court. 61 Phil. To our mind. and this power to first decide is to the exclusion of all other organs of the State. "in cases of annulment and/or reconveyance of title.. as when the land covered is part of the public forest. 590).) The courts simply have no jurisdiction over petitions by such third parties for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles over lands that are already covered by duly issued subsisting titles in the names of their duly registered owners. we find this claim untenable in the light of the theory that a Torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked. Act No. is irrevocable and indefeasible (Bachrach Motor Co. A fortiori. This is grave error. The very concept of stability and indefeasibility of titles covered under the Torrens System of registration rules out as anathema the issuance of two certificates of title over the same land to two different holders thereof. That is the only purpose of the law (Rep. 31 Phil. non-adjudicatory findings on whether a Torrens title is spurious or authentic. Findings by the LRA or the NBI that a title is spurious are merely administrative opinions. 104 (Emphasis supplied) The Decision of the First Division misapplies the Alabang ruling by holding that the LRA Administrator can adjudicate on the validity of a Torrens title by a finding that the title was not "duly issued". 504). Moreover. Any judgment resulting from such usurpation is void. a party seeking it should establish not merely by a preponderance of evidence but by clear and convincing evidence that the land sought to be reconveyed is his". nothing more. then it is the duty of the court to comply with its mandate. These findings are mere evidences that must be submitted to the Regional Trial Court. This means the Regional Trial Court first decides the validity of the Torrens title. this Court has ruled that reconstitution. the only issue here is whether there is a title to be reconstituted. such proceedings for "reconstitution" without actual notice to the duly registered owners and holders of Torrens Titles to the land are null and void. is not entitled to have his title reconstituted for the reason that. even if he complied with all the requirements of the law. Kane. 26). and our duty is to see to it that this title is maintained and respected unless challenged in a direct proceeding.such existing titles. it is a well known doctrine that a Torrens title. Section 19 of the Judiciary Act vests in the Regional Trial Court the "exclusive original jurisdiction" to decide factual and legal issues "which involve the title to .. . If the original title had a legal defect at the time of the loss or destruction. land officials and judges who disregard these basic and fundamental principles will be held duly accountable therefor. real property". 106 the reconstituted title does not cure such defect. DHIaTS Time and again. 105Reconstitution merely restores a missing certificate of title in the same condition that it was when lost or destroyed. even judicial reconstitution. Saleeby. Gan Tan: 107 But the lower court claims that petitioner. he is not qualified to acquire the land covered by said title under our Constitution. As this Court held inDirector of Lands v. The two proceedings are distinct and should not be confused. Court of Appeals. Even the Register of Deeds. is beyond the province of this proceeding. The original jurisdiction to adjudicate or to decide the validity of a Torrens title is vested by law exclusively in the Regional Trial Court pursuant to Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree. cannot adjudicate on the validity of a title. Applicants. who physically issues a Torrens title as part of his regular functions. If there is. not a judicial determination that settles rights and 61 .

111 The Barques have submitted patently forged documents to the LRA reconstituting officer. it was the Barques. by itself does not vest ownership of the land or estate covered thereby. First. The reconstitution of a title is simply the re-issuance of a lost duplicate certificate of title in its original form and condition. in administrative reconstitution proceedings. who lost before the LRA reconstituting officer and who assailed the adverse decision before the LRA Administrator. and then assail the adverse decision of that court. real property". . Moreover. 62 . (Emphasis supplied) aSCHIT Second. A reconstituted title. The dissenting opinion asserts that the Manotoks failed to question in the proceedings before these LRA officials their jurisdiction to reconstitute administratively the Barques' title. This invocation of equity jurisdiction in favor of the LRA Administrator and the LRA reconstituting officer — for the benefit of the Barques — is grossly erroneous. et al. 110 (Emphasis in original) Thus. not the judgment itself of validity or invalidity which can only come from the Regional Trial Court.: 112 Pagasa cannot rely on equity because he who comes into equity must come with clean hands. Section 19 of the Judiciary Act vests in courts of justice the "exclusive original jurisdiction" to decide factual and legal issues involving "the title to .: 109 Respondent relies solely on its reconstituted title which. This Court has ruled in Alonso v. by itself. who sought the affirmative relief of a reconstituted title. Equity refuses to lend its aid in any manner to one seeking its active interposition who has been guilty of unlawful or inequitable conduct in the matter with relation to which he seeks relief 113 (30 C. not the Manotoks.S. the constant principle from which there was no deviation was that equity could never be used to reward those who commit fraud. It does not determine or resolve the ownership of the land covered by the lost or destroyed title.obligations between parties over a disputed property. These findings are merely evidences. Cebu Country Club. or who between two claimants over the same property is the lawful owner. to rule which between two titles over the same property is valid. who invoked the jurisdiction of the LRA.J. the principle of jurisdiction by estoppel applies only to those who have sought affirmative relief in the wrong court. like the original certificate of title. which had no jurisdiction over the Barques' petition because of the pre-existing title of the Manotoks. 1009). This estoppel applies against a party "who has invoked the jurisdiction of a court in a particular matter to secure an affirmative relief. The Barques even lost before the LRA Administrator who refused to reconstitute the Barques' title without the intervention of a "court of competent jurisdiction". The Barques received an undeserved windfall when the First Division declared their reconstituted title valid when the only relief they sought in the administrative reconstitution was the restoration of their title in its condition at the time of the alleged loss or destruction. lost there. not the Manotoks. negative relief — that the Barques' petition "be dismissed for lack of merit". it was the Barques. jurisdiction by estoppel cannot apply to the Manotoks. to afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape an adverse decision". the grant of a reconstituted title is not an adjudication of the title's validity. while the judgment of the Regional Trial Court can become res judicata. Court of Appeals. These findings do not become res judicata. does not determine or resolve the ownership of the land covered by the lost or destroyed title. This Court should not depart from the noble intention that motivated the development and use of equity jurisdiction. the settled doctrine is "he who seeks equity must come to court with clean hands". EQUITY JURISDICTION DOES NOT APPLY The dissenting opinion further argues that the Manotoks are estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the LRA Administrator or the LRA reconstituting officer. Inc. the LRA has no jurisdiction. In the development of equity jurisdiction through the ages. In their Opposition 115 before the LRA reconstituting officer. 114 However. the Manotoks sought a defensive. Clearly. . As this Court aptly stated in Pagasa Industrial Corporation v. not the Manotoks. Clearly. It was also the Barques.

the Court declared in People v. if the lower court had jurisdiction. as ruled in People v. there is no assumption of jurisdiction that this Court can now recognize and validate through equity principles. the principle of equity jurisdiction arising from estoppel or any other reason applies only to courts of justice. there was no assumption of equity jurisdiction that the Manotoks could have questioned. for instance. executive. The jurisdiction of courts of justice arises from either statute or equity. .As held by the Supreme Court. Casiano: 118 4. 861-863). or ministerial functions cannot assume equity jurisdiction because they do not exercise judicial functions. 210177 in question found which. Here. 116 the Manotoks stated: Moreover. on appeal. (Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership vs. it is not disputed that herein oppositors are the holder of an existing valid and effective TCT No. The LRA Administrator denied the Barques' petition because of the existence of the Manotoks' title. the party who induced it to adopt such theory will not be permitted. In their Motion for Reconsideration dated 27 August 1998 before the LRA Administrator. The operation of the principle of estoppel on the question of jurisdiction seemingly depends upon whether the lower court actually had jurisdiction or not. these LRA officials admitted that they had no jurisdiction over the Barques' petition. The LRA reconstituting officer also denied the Barques' petition because of the existence of the Manotoks' title which the LRA had already reconstituted. as stated. 119 (Emphasis supplied) The LRA never had jurisdiction to rule on the validity of the Torrens title of the Manotoks. . or both. No amount of estoppel can vest jurisdiction on an officer or court that the law has not conferred jurisdiction. who previously claimed that the LRA had no jurisdiction. Thus. equity is an inherent power of courts by virtue of their duty to dispense justice to the full extent possible. to wit: So too. Casiano. from later taking a contrary position. Since these LRA officials refused to assume jurisdiction. Fifth. and the case was heard and decided upon a given theory. it is gross error to invest on the LRA Administrator and the LRA reconstituting officer equity jurisdiction because these LRA officers perform administrative or executive functions in petitions for administrative reconstitution of titles. 63 .Third. but the case was tried and decided upon the theory that it had jurisdiction.J. Thus. Fourth.S. and may not be conferred by consent of the parties or by estoppel" (5 C. the LRA Administrator and the LRA reconstituting officer refused to assume jurisdiction to reconstitute administratively the Barques' title. this Court has stressed "that lands already covered by duly issued existing Torrens titles (which become incontrovertible upon the expiration of one year from their issuance under section 38 of the Land Registration Act) cannot be the subject of petitions for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles filed by third parties without first securing by final judgment the cancellation of such existing titles". In short. Given said fact. For the same reason. In legal systems which recognize equity jurisdiction. the parties are not barred. on appeal. so as to bar the Manotoks. the principle of estoppel applies. Administrative agencies or officers exercising administrative. It is axiomatic that only the law can confer jurisdiction. is non-existing and spurious. from assailing such jurisdiction.. and may not be conferred by consent of the parties or by estoppel". the Manotoks did in fact raise the issue of the LRA Administrator's jurisdiction in relation to the LRA Administrator's opinion that the Manotoks' title was "sham and spurious". to assume an inconsistent position — that the lower court had jurisdiction. the principle of estoppel applies only if the LRA had in fact jurisdiction to rule on the validity of the Torrens title of the Manotoks. Velasco. 234 SCRA 458 [1994]) 117 (Emphasis supplied) Sixth. such. no administrative reconstitution of TCT No. RT22481 (372302) covering the same land embraced by TCT No. If it had no jurisdiction. Jurisdiction. However. Equity jurisdiction is a judicial power. 210177 should proceed. which in the words of the LRA Administrator must first be cancelled by "a court of competent jurisdiction" before the Barques' petition may be given due course. "must exist as a matter of law. as that the court had no jurisdiction. . for the same "must exist as a matter of law.

A TORRENS TITLE CAN ONLY BE CANCELLED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 48 OF THE PROPERTY REGISTRATION DECREE In cancelling the Manotoks' Torrens title without any trial before any court. and in the process overturning wellentrenched doctrines of this Court. real property". 122 Thus. . which has been aptly described as ‘a justice outside legality. . 121 Where the law prescribes a particular remedy with fixed and limited boundaries. equity jurisdiction cannot be used for this purpose. and most important of all. or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law". and courts exercising equity jurisdiction must still apply the law and have no discretion to disregard the law. can also allow a collateral attack on a Torrens title. Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree provides that a Torrens title "cannot be altered. in all civil actions.The LRA Administrator expressly admitted that only the proper Regional Trial Court has the jurisdiction to cancel the Torrens title of the Manotoks. 120 However. enacted specifically to foreclose any possible collateral attack on a Torrens title. This rule has special application to Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree. as well as any possible cancellation or modification of a Torrens title without a proceeding in the Regional Trial Court directly assailing the validity of the title. they should pre-empt and prevail over all abstract arguments based only on equity. the court cannot. preventing confusion and fraud in land ownership. either before the LRA or before itself. No court. and never against. this Court has ruled: As for equity. Strict compliance with Section 48 is what gives Torrens titles enduring stability. WHETHER ASSAILED AS FRAUDULENTLY ISSUED OR NOT. statutory law or. extend the boundaries further than the law allows. Aequetas nunquam contravenit legis. . by exercising equity jurisdiction. as in this case. the Court of Appeals committed a gross violation of Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree and Section 19 of the Judiciary Act when it ordered the cancellation of the Torrens title of the Manotoks without a prior proceeding before the proper Regional Trial Court directly assailing the validity of the Manotoks' title. judicial rules of procedure. 123 (Emphasis supplied) Hence. SaIHDA Seventh. equity jurisdiction can never be used to violate the law. no court can extend equity jurisdiction to the LRA where the law has expressly reserved exclusive original jurisdiction to the Regional Trial Court. Only the Barques insist that the LRA has jurisdiction to cancel a Torrens title of a third party in an administrative reconstitution proceedings filed by another party. equity follows the law. 64 . Any extension of equity jurisdiction that operates to negate Section 48 will destroy the most basic safeguard in the Property Registration Decree. These two provisions mandate that no Torrens title can be cancelled unless there is a proceeding in the proper Regional Trial Court directly assailing the validity of such title. invoking equity jurisdiction. Thus. . modified. a contention that is patently baseless. Likewise. the First Division of this Court completely disregarded Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree and Section 19 of the Judiciary Act. The pertinent positive rules being present here. That law is Section 19 of the Judiciary Act which states that the "Regional Trial Court shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction . which involve the title to . in gross violation of Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree expressly prohibiting collateral attacks on Torrens titles. the First Division of this Court committed the same violation — totally disregarding Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree and Section 19 of the Judiciary Act. Equity jurisdiction aims to attain complete justice in cases where a court of law is unable to render judgment to meet the special circumstances of a case because of the limitations of its statutory jurisdiction.' this is applied only in the absence of. To extend equity jurisdiction to LRA officers to allow them to entertain collateral attacks on a Torrens title is a gross and blatant violation of the clear and express command of a positive law. Certainly.

. To reiterate. What Rexlon Realty questioned was the jurisdiction of the trial court in issuing replacement titles to the properties in the name of Alex David who claimed that he lost the titles. The dissenting opinion cites Rexlon Realty Group. . . [based on] fraud and lack of jurisdiction". "Section 2. Rexlon Realty did not question the validity of the titles of Alex David. .The validity of a Torrens title. Thus. In assailing as void the trial court's judgment. which is at issue in direct proceedings under Section 48. Court of Appeals. can be assailed only in a direct proceeding before the proper Regional Trial Court in accordance with Section 48. which provides "the grounds to annul a judgment of a lower court . and if so. et al. 129 as authority that the Court of Appeals and this Court "have jurisdiction to declare the title void even if the appealed case was not originally filed with the Regional Trial Court for nullification of title" under Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree. 383675. whether fraudulently issued or not. that the prior title of the Manotoks is spurious. but if the titles were not lost. also on facts analogous to those involved in this case. or cancelled except in a direct proceeding instituted in accordance with law. is a separate and distinct issue from the propriety of a reconstitution of title. Rexlon Realty invoked. which covered properties that Rexlon Realty had purchased from Alex David. It cannot be altered. 124 the Court declared: What is worse. and cannot be ignored. Rexlon Realty's obvious interest was to maintain the validity of the titles to the properties it had purchased. . respondent Court of Appeals acted without jurisdiction. it is hornbook law that a torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked. 1529. still under Ladignon v. the law requiring a direct proceeding in the proper regional trial court in any attack assailing the validity of a Torrens title. Consequently. . the reconstituted title is void and the court rendering the decision has not acquired jurisdiction. Thus. Rexlon Realty did not invoke Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree. we held that if an owner's duplicate copy of a certificate of title has not been lost but is in fact in the possession of another person. Rexlon Realty was a petition filed with the Court of Appeals for annulment of judgment of the Regional Trial Court on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction to grant the reconstitution of lost owner's duplicates of titles to respondent Alex David. ECTSDa Rexlon Realty does not involve two conflicting titles over the same property. modified. 126 The law recognizes that the Manotoks' Torrens title is "evidence of an indefeasible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein". In Ladignon v. 127 Even assuming. Inc. . is the germane provision of Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. the validity of a Torrens title. Rexlon Realty also proved that Alex David delivered the titles to Rexlon Realty pursuant to the sale. then the trial court had no jurisdiction to grant the reconstitution of titles. In the Strait Times case and in Demetriou v. the trial court had jurisdiction to grant the reconstitution of the titles. 128 such title can only cancelled by the proper Regional Trial Court in a direct proceeding assailing its validity. whether fraudulently issued or not. for the sake of argument. as stated by the Court. Court of Appeals. the opposing parties agreed that there was only one set of titles covering the same properties. The ponente has obviously misread Rexlon Realty. Rexlon Realty proved that the titles were not lost but were in its possession as the first buyer of the properties from Alex David who had later sold again the properties to Paramount Development Corporation. In Rexlon Realty. The issue of validity of a torrens title. Unmistakable. the decision may be attacked any time. The only issue in Rexlon Realty was whether the titles were lost. Court of Appeals. the titles to which were in Rexlon Realty's possession. In the case at 65 . After all. Court of Appeals. v. in ordering the cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 125 (Emphasis supplied) The LRA Administrator has admitted that the Torrens title of the Manotoks "is thus presumed valid". of Rule 47 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure". may be posed only in an action brought to impugn or annul it. the Court in Rexlon Realty ruled: . which is the situation in the present case. that a certificate of title can never be the subject of a collateral attack.

all security in registered titles would be lost. Possession of a lost owner’s duplicate copy of a certificate of title is not necessarily equivalent to ownership of the land covered by it. . does not vest ownership. the reconstituting officer or court has no jurisdiction to reconstitute a title that has never been lost or destroyed. 133 (Boldfacing and underscoring supplied) This Court has reiterated the doctrine in Legarda and Prieto v. . In one stroke. xxx xxx xxx In this case at bar. to put a stop forever to any question of the legality of the title. . it would seem that once a title is registered the owner may rest secure. the reconstitution cannot proceed for either of two reasons. T-52537 and T-52538. The certificate of title. Section 48 guarantees every landowner with a Torrens title that his title can never be cancelled unless the validity of his title is first directly assailed in court where he can adduce evidence in his favor. . The dispute between petitioner Rexlon and respondent David regarding ownership over the parcels of land will have to be threshed out or determined in a more appropriate proceeding. T-52537 and T-52538 in the possession of petitioner Rexlon and the Absolute Deed of Sale in its favor have not been disputed. acting as a land registration court in L. whether administrative or judicial. . Without Section 48. Rexlon Realty categorically ruled that in reconstitution proceedings.R. with very few exceptions. 8843. changed. except claims which were noted at the time of registration.bar. to issue new owner's duplicate copies of TCT Nos. to avoid the possibility of losing his land. the authenticity and genuineness of the owner's duplicate of TCT Nos. in innumerable decisions. this Court waxed poetic in Legarda and Prieto v. . our land registration system will crumble. The Decision of the First Division erases this guarantee. the reconstituting officer or court has no jurisdiction "to pass upon the question of actual ownership of the land" covered by the lost title because the "certificate of title. Rexlon Realty supports the Manotoks' contention that once it is shown that there is a pre-existing title duly issued by the Register of Deeds over the same property which is the subject of reconstitution proceedings. has no jurisdiction to pass upon the question of actual ownership of the land covered by the lost owner’s duplicate copy of the certificate of title. the reconstituting officer or court has no authority to decide which of two conflicting titles is valid. In a petition for the issuance of a new owner's duplicate copy of a certificate of title in lieu of one allegedly lost. In 1915. the RTC. 134 a decision penned by Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago. we simply annulled the decision of the RTC. GUARANTY OF STABILITY OF THE TORRENS SYSTEM Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree is the cornerstone of our land registration system providing stability to land titles. Otherwise. or diminished. acting only as a land registration court. Record No. That being the purpose of the law. or sitting in the "mirador de su casa". Saleeby. First. The title once registered. does not vest ownership". As there is no proof to support actual loss of the said owner's duplicate copies of said certificates of title. it is merely an evidence of title over a particular property. . for lack of jurisdiction. after the introduction in 1903 131 of the Torrens system in this country. by itself. Thus. In the 2003 case of Heirs of Santiago v. enlarged. except in some direct proceeding permitted by law. altered. . Heirs of Santiago. or which may arise subsequent thereto. the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction and the new titles issued in replacement thereof are void. The real purpose of that system is to quiet title to land. modified. should not thereafter be impugned. without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court. the Decision of the First Division has overturned over a century of jurisprudence fortifying a guarantee essential to the stability of our land registration system. .C. . by itself. now embodied in Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree. Declared the Court: . 130 (Emphasis supplied) Indeed. in the certificate. Second. this Court declared: DcCITS 66 . . Saleeby 132 in describing the cornerstone of the then new system of land registration.

The Decision of the First Division. Through fraudulent reconstitution proceedings. Saleeby is now before us — a situation where "all security in registered titles [is] lost". in an action to obtain a different relief. 138 (Emphasis supplied) Accordingly. I vote to (1) GRANT petitioners' letter motion for reconsideration dated 19 July 2006. The patently forged documents presented in these cases remind us of what this Court stated in Heirs of Pedro Pinote v. or constantly watch in the balcony of his house. 26. gross and shocking violation of a fundamental constitutional right. an attack on the judgment or proceeding is nevertheless made as an incident thereof. I respectfully submit the following opinion. 135 (Emphasis supplied) The Decision of the First Division cancels a Torrens title without any proceeding in a trial court directly attacking the title as required by law. On the other hand. (2) REVERSE the Court's First Division Decision dated 12 December 2005 and Resolution dated 19 April 2006.D. or enjoin its enforcement. will usher in an era of land disputes. modified. in Proper Instances. specially this Court. the attack is indirect or collateral when. which before the advent of the Torrens system were often violent and bloody. Every landowner holding a Torrens title will now have to camp in the corridors of the courts. This Court should never allow such blatant. An action is an attack on a title when the object of the action is to nullify the title. CORONA. A FINAL WORD ON RECONSTITUTION OF TITLES This Court has often warned of the pitfalls of reconstitutions of titles. 1529. the Property Registration Decree. 1 It is therefore the duty of courts. Order the Cancellation of a Certificate of Title in an Appeal of the Land Registration Authority's Decision in an Administrative Reconstitution Proceeding 67 . The attack is direct when the object of an action is to annul or set aside such judgment. The Court of Appeals May. which have resulted in innocent landowners losing their titled lands to crime syndicates specializing in forged titles and documents. Experience has shown that this proceeding has many times been misused as a means of divesting a property owner of the title to his property. (3) RECALL the Entry of Judgment dated 2 May 2006. he wakes up one day to discover that his certificate of title has been cancelled and replaced by a reconstituted title in someone else's name. to tread carefully and cautiously in cases where its adjudication will allow or tend to allow doubts on the integrity of the Torrens system to linger. With this in mind.Section 48 of P. and (4) DENY the petition for administrative reconstitution of TCT No. and thus challenge the judgment or proceeding pursuant to which the title was decreed. transactions involving registered lands will be utterly confusing and public faith in the Torrens system and the value of certificates of titles may be seriously impaired. Sr. provides that a certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack and can not be altered. J p: The integrity of the Torrens system of land registration should be zealously guarded. The Decision of the First Division denies to the Manotoks a basic guarantee under the Constitution — that no person shall be deprived of his property without due process of law. by destroying the stability of land titles. Otherwise. What this Court warned against in Legarda and Prieto v. 210177 filed by respondents Heirs of Homer L.A.7 billion property without any trial in any court contrary to the clear and express mandate of Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree. Dulay: 137 There is no gainsaying the need for courts to proceed with extreme caution in proceedings for reconstitution of titles to land under R. Barque. just to avoid losing his titled land. or canceled except in a direct proceeding. 136 The Decision deprives the Manotoks of their P1.

and (c) Be the central repository of records relative to original registration of lands titled under the Torrens system. 11 Nonetheless. (b) Exercise supervision and control over all Register of Deeds and other personnel of the Commission. the separate opinions on the December 12. (c) Resolve cases elevated en consulta by. (e) Implement all orders. all needful rules and regulations therefore. (f) Verify and approve subdivision. decisions. this Court’s duty is to apply or interpret the law. 957. waived. the LRA nonetheless did not acquire any authority to declare a certificate of title void. consolidation. General Functions. 2 It cannot be (1) granted by the agreement of the parties. under PD 1529. It is not within the Court’s power to enlarge or abridge laws. 2005 decision. — (1) The Commissioner of Land Registration shall have the following functions: HESAIT (a) Issue decrees of registration pursuant to final judgments of the courts in land registration proceedings and cause the issuance by the Register of Deeds of the corresponding certificate of title. While Section 9 6 of RA 7 6732 vested the LRA with the quasi-judicial 8 power to "review. reverse. more important than anything else is that this Court be right. enlarged the scope of the authority of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) in administrative reconstitution proceedings when it recognized the authority of the LRA to rule that petitioners' certificate of title was a sham. Jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is conferred by law. With due respect. Such power properly and exclusively pertains to the Regional Trial Court (RTC). (2) The [LRA] shall have the following functions: (a) Extend speedy and effective assistance to the Department of Agrarian Reform. otherwise. spurious and not duly issued. Section 6 of PD 4 1529 5 limits the LRA’s functions to the following: SEC. (d) Exercise executive supervision over all clerks of court and personnel of the [RTCs] throughout the Philippines with respect to the discharge of their duties and functions in relation to the registration of lands. and other agencies in the implementation of the land reform program of the government. After all. 496 except those covered byPD No. 9 Indeed. modify or affirm any decision of the reconstituting officer or Register of Deeds" on appeal in administrative reconstitution proceedings. the Court will be guilty of usurping the exclusive prerogative of Congress. 6. 3 I submit that the First Division. the said opinions stated that to remand these cases for trial at this stage would only be "a time-consuming and pointless exercise".In resolving controversies. and decrees promulgated relative to the registration of lands and issue. 2005 decision recognized that these cases should have been tried by the RTC. including subdivision and consolidation plans of titled lands. in its December 12. (2) acquired. justice should not be sacrificed for expediency. while the LRA cannot rule on the authenticity and validity of a certificate of title. the LRA has no authority to rule on the authenticity and validity of a certificate of title. It cannot make or amend the law without treading the perilous waters of judicial legislation. enlarged or diminished by any act or omission of the parties or (3) conferred by the acquiescence of the courts. the Land Bank. Thus. and consolidation-subdivision survey plans of properties titled under Act No. revise. subject to the approval of the Secretary of Justice. 10 However. Register of Deeds. (b) Extend assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral land registration proceedings. or on appeal from decision of. the Court of Appeals possesses such power when presented with an appeal of the decision of the LRA in a case such as this where the validity and authenticity of a certificate of title covering a particular property is challenged in the 68 .

while its jurisdiction to review the judgment. title is generally used to describe either the manner in which a right to real property is acquired. modified. This also supports the view that the Court of Appeals has the power to pass upon the authenticity and validity of a certificate of title covering a particular property (and to order its cancellation) when the same is put in issue in connection with the reconstitution of another certificate of title covering the same property. decision. 18 Legally defined. Section 108 13 of PD 1529 expressly states that petitions for amendment or alteration of a certificate of title covering a particular property after original registration of that property should be filed in the then Court of First Instance. now the RTC. In the first sense. The issuance of a certificate of title does not give the owner any better title than what he actually has. the certificate of title is distinct from the title itself. burned or destroyed and later on reconstituted but the title subsists all the while and remains unaffected unless transferred or conveyed to another or subjected to a lien or encumbrance. CSTEHI Title is the "union of all the elements (as ownership. 15 It is the "legal link between a person who owns property and the property itself". given the rights. orders or awards of the LRA in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions. "Title" to real property is not the same as the "certificate of title". He secures his certificate of title by virtue of the fact that he has a fee simple title. to exercise exclusive original jurisdiction "[i]n all civil actions which involve the title to. as amended. Thus. This neither runs counter to nor encroaches on the power of the RTC under Section 19 (2) of BP 129. the legal consequences or rights follow as of course. a Torrens certificate of title is the certificate of ownership issued under the Torrens system of registration by the government thru the Register of Deeds naming and declaring the owner in fee simple of the real property described therein. but inseparable: given the requisite conditions. or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law". order or award of the LRA in an administrative reconstitution proceeding.course of and in connection with the administrative reconstitution of another certificate of title purportedly covering the same property. 16 Though employed in various ways. it is noteworthy that while Section 48 12 of PD 1529 provides that a certificate of title "cannot be altered. conditions necessary for the creation of those rights must have been satisfied. free from all liens and encumbrances except such as may be expressly noted thereon or otherwise reserved by law. In contrast. Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. the loss or destruction and 69 . decisions. resolution. 20 To reiterate. or the right itself. resolutions. This is reflected in Section 1. the other sense is necessarily implied. In this connection. 19 Whereas title is the claim. 17 On the other hand. it refers to the legal consequences of such conditions. the Court of Appeals is vested under Section 9 (3) of BP 129 (in connection with RA 5434) with exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments. the Court of Appeals actually exercises original jurisdiction (in its traditional sense) as it is the first time that the said case becomes the subject of a judicial action. right or interest in land. This difference in the treatment between cancellation of a certificate of title and the alteration or amendment/modification thereof shows the legislative intent to distinguish between these actions. decision. The certificate of title may get lost. the Court of Appeals does not resolve a civil action involving title to real property. courts other than the RTC. a certificate of title is the transcript of the decree of registration made by the Registrar of Deeds in the registry. These two senses are not only interrelated. when the word 'title' is used in one sense. 14 This is the proper character of the authority exercised by the Court of Appeals in an appeal of the judgment. However. a certificate of title is the document evidencing that right. in the second. such as the Court of Appeals. or possession of. have the authority and jurisdiction to order the cancellation of a certificate of title which may be found to be false or fraudulent when this is necessary in the adjudication of a controversy brought before them. it is silent as to the specific court where the petition for cancellation of a certificate of title should be instituted. real property or any interest therein". resolution or award of the LRA is designated under BP 129 as "appellate". it refers to the conditions necessary to acquire a valid claim to land. Thus. Specifically. possession and custody) constituting the legal right to control and dispose of property". In so canceling a certificate of title.

subsequent reconstitution of a certificate of title does not affect the subsistence of the title unless it (the title) is
transferred or conveyed to another or subjected to a lien or encumbrance.

These Cases Should Be Remanded
to the Court of Appeals for Consideration
of Contentious Factual Issues
Having affirmed the authority of the Court of Appeals to order the cancellation of a certificate of title in this
instance, does it follow that this Court should uphold the December 12, 2005 decision of the First Division? I do
not believe so.
Considering the serious and grave imputations against the respective certificates of titles of the contending
parties, it would be precipitate as well as imprudent for the Court to simply adopt the findings of the Court of
Appeals in CA G.R. SP Nos. 66642 and 66700. A "surfeit of forgeries, badges of fraud and other dubious
circumstances" 21 is alleged to have attended respondents' administrative petition for reconstitution of their TCT
No. T-210177. Similarly, significant irregularities and fatal defects 22 have been cast on petitioners'
reconstituted TCT No. RT-22481. Indeed, the parties trade serious accusations of fraud and deceit. Similarly,
both parties invoke Section 11 of RA 6732 in support of their respective positions:
SEC. 11. A reconstituted title obtained by means of fraud, deceit or other machination is void ab initio as against
the party obtaining the same and all persons having knowledge thereof.
Any decision in favor of one party at this moment will be a declaration (express or implied) that there is prima
facie evidence that the other party obtained or sought to obtain his certificate of title by means of fraud, deceit
or other machination. Such statement will give this Court no legal option but to order the criminal
prosecution of the losing party pursuant to Section 12 of RA 6732:
SEC. 12. Any person who by means of fraud, deceit or other machination obtains or attempts to obtain a
reconstituted title shall be subject to criminal prosecution and, upon conviction, shall be liable for imprisonment
for a period of not less than two years but not exceeding five years or the payment of a fine of not less than
Twenty thousand pesos but not exceeding Two hundred thousand pesos or both at the discretion of the court.
Any public officer or employee who knowingly approves or assists in securing a decision allowing reconstitution
in favor of any person not entitled thereto shall be subject to criminal prosecution and, upon conviction, shall be
liable for imprisonment of not less than five years but not exceeding ten years or payment of a fine of not less
than Fifty thousand pesos but not exceeding One hundred thousand pesos or both at the discretion of the court
and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Since any declaration of fraud or deceit on the part of one party will expose that party to criminal prosecution,
this Court should refrain from making any such declaration until and unless the complicated and contentious
maze of factual matters is clearly resolved. While these matters have been brought to the attention of the Court
of Appeals in CA G.R. SP Nos. 66642 and 66700, the Court of Appeals at that time was not able to exhaustively
evaluate and analyze them.
The controversial factual matters were, however, brought to light extensively and in great detail during the oral
arguments of these cases as well as in the respective memoranda submitted by the parties and by Office of the
Solicitor General after the oral arguments.
To reiterate, what is crucial and critical in these cases is the complete determination of contentious factual
issues.
However, the investigation and appreciation of facts is beyond the province of this Court as it is neither a trier of
fact nor capacitated to appreciate evidence at the first instance. 23 On the other hand, the Court of Appeals has
70

the competence to perform that task. Indeed, we stated in Manotok Realty, Inc. v. CLT Realty Development
Corporation: 24
Under Section 6 of Rule 46, which is applicable to original cases for certiorari, the Court may, whenever
necessary to resolve factual issues, delegate the reception of the evidence on such issues to any of its members
or to an appropriate court, agency or office. The delegate need not be the body that rendered the assailed
decision.DcCIAa
The Court of Appeals generally has the authority to review findings of fact. Its conclusions as to findings of fact
are generally accorded great respect by this Court. It is a body that is fully capacitated and has a surfeit of
experience in appreciating factual matters, including documentary evidence.
There are indeed many factual questions looming over the respective certificates of title of the contending
parties. These can only be threshed out in a remand to the Court of Appeals. Hence, I respectfully submit that
the proper and prudent course now is for the Court to constitute a special division of the Court of Appeals to be
composed of three associate justices to be designated by us for the purpose of hearing these cases on remand.
The special division will hear and receive evidence, conclude the proceedings and submit to this Court a report
on its findings and recommended conclusions within three months from finality of the Court’s resolution in this
case.
Accordingly, I vote that these cases be REMANDED to a special division of the Court of Appeals for further
proceedings.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J., dissenting:
I maintain that the December 12, 2005 Decision 1 of the Court's First Division in G.R. Nos. 162335 & 162605
became final and executory. The same had been recorded in the Book of Entries of Judgments in a Resolution
dated May 2, 2006.
Despite the Entry of Judgment, the Court en banc took cognizance of the cases when counsel for petitioners,
Ret. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano wrote the Court and prayed for the suspension of the effects of the Entry of
Judgment. Thereafter, the cases were set for Oral Argument.
From the presentations made by the parties and the questions propounded by the members of the Court during
the oral argument held on July 24, 2007, two main factual issues emerged, to wit: 1) Whether or not Plan Fls3168-D which is reflected in the technical description of respondents' TCT No. 210177 duly exists in the official
records of the Lands Management Bureau (LMB); and 2) Whether or not Barrio Payong, which is indicated in
petitioners’ various documentary exhibits as location of the property allegedly covered by their TCT No. RT22481 (372302) exists as a barrio in Quezon City or Caloocan City.

Re Plan Fls-3168-D:
During the Oral Argument, the following discussion took place on the issue of whether Plan Fls-3168-D duly
exists, to wit:
JUSTICE CARPIO:
When the Barques filed their petition for reconstitution, on 22 October 1996, they attached a copy of their TCT,
TCT 210177 and in TCT 210177 it says there that property is subdivided into two lots, lot 823A and lot 823B per
subdivision plan FLS-3168-D approved by the Bureau of Lands on 10 January 1941. Okay, so Atty. Bustos of
course he knows how to verify whether this approved plan is genuine or not because there are two
agencies in the government that would possibly have files of this approved plans and one of that is
the National Office, the Land Management Bureau, National Office where all approved plans are
stored. It is a repository of all approved plans all over the country. When the Land Management
Bureau decentralized for NCR they transmitted to the NCR all the approved plans covering NCR.
71

RET. JUSTICE FELICIANO:
Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE CARPIO:
So, Atty. Bustos wrote the two offices, the national office and the regional office asking for their comment on
whether this FLS-3168D exist in their files. Now, it looks like Atty. Bustos was zeroing in on the authenticity of
FLS-3168D. Of course, the national office said, we don't have this on file. The regional office said, we have this
on file but they could not give a copy to Atty. Bustos and they refused to answer Atty. Bustos despite several
demands or request for the copy. They never replied to Atty. Bustos. My question is this, why did Atty. Bustos
think or consider the authenticity of FLS-3168D important for the purposes of the reconstitution of the Barques
title.
RET. JUSTICE FELICIANO:
Yes, Your Honor. If the division or subdivision of lot 823 were genuinely and truly, honestly undertaken they
should have applied for two certificates of title, they applied only for one certificate of title and it is for that
reason that Atty. Bustos wanted to determine the correctness or authenticity of that subdivision plan because
the same piece of land or substantially the same piece of land was covered only, constituted only one lot per the
title already reconstituted of the Manotoks. So the . . .
JUSTICE CARPIO:
Atty. Bustos was of the mind that if FLS-3168-D is not authentic, is not on file, then there could have been no
subdivision of lot 823 and therefore the title of the Manotoks specifying only one lot 823 would seem to be in
order. aSHAIC
RET. JUSTICE FELICIANO:
Correct, sir.
JUSTICE CARPIO:
But if there is on file FLS-3168-D then it will be the title of Barque that would seem to be in order rather than
the title of the Manotok because the approved subdivision is on file, is that correct?
RET. JUSTICE FELICIANO:
I would think so, sir. I would think so.
JUSTICE CARPIO:
Okay, thank you. 2
Thereafter, the Court required counsel for respondents to submit a certified copy of plan Fls-3168-D from the
LMB, National Office. This is in addition to the certified photocopy of the Tracing Cloth plan 3 and certified
photocopy (microfilm) of Plan Fls-3168-D 4 which respondents obtained from the LMB, Department of
Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) and already submitted before the
Court.
In compliance with the directive, respondents submitted a copy of a letter 5 furnished them by the LMB,
National Office, explaining why it could not issue a certified copy of Fls-3168-D, thus:

In reply to your letter dated April 24, 2006, please be informed that according to the verification made by the
Survey Records Section, Records Management Division from their Lists of Transmittal of Survey Records, plan
FLS-3168-D covering parcel/s of land situated in Caloocan, Rizal was among those survey records already
72

A photo copy of Plan Fls-3168-D (microfilm) issued on September 23. which shows Fls-3168-D of E. L & S Bldg. It is therefore suggested that you address your letter-request to the Chief. 1996 and duly certified by Carmelito A. 1999 by Teofilo R. "plan FLS-3168-D covering parcel/s of land situated in Caloocan. Laguardia. Chief. NCR. followed by Fls-3169-D of Chua. for their reference/file purposes. Roxas Boulevard. LMB. Head Office. 1987.turned-over/decentralized to DENR-National Capital Region (NCR). Regional Exec. 10 The computer print-outs show that Plan Fls-3168-D is the second plan in said list. NCR-199. 2007 from the Records Management Division of DENR Head Office that its Electronic Data Processing (EDP) Listing includes plan Fls-3168-D. Dalire’s claim that the documents presented by the respondents were forgeries was disregarded as frivolous and baseless. The same computer print out. EDP's Listing has available record with Fls-3168-D. This is unfortunate considering that Dalire's credibility was completely repudiated by the LRA. A certified true photocopy of a computer print out earlier issued by the Land Management Bureau. situated in Caloocan. Pursuant to Executive Order No. LMB. they were able to obtain a Certification dated June 19. Chief. showing that Plan Fls-3168-D is listed in its EDP listing of approved plans and Official Receipt #8994774 issued in payment for the Certification. Thus. Manila on April 5. A photocopy of a File Copy of the Tracing Cloth Plan of Fls-3168-D. However. Asst. Hence. Notwithstanding the above certifications which clearly show the existence of Plan Fls-3168-D. Lot 823. as expressly mentioned in the above-quoted letter. 192 6 dated June 10. thus: This is to certify that according to the verification of the Records Management Division. relative to the said plan. Lands Management Bureau. Soriano for Ernesto S. the Majority Opinion chose to lend credence to petitioners' claim that Fls-3168-D does not exist in the government files based solely on Engr. Rizal was among those survey records already turned-over/decentralized to DENR-National Capital Region". namely: 1. Respondents also furnished the Court photo copies of Plan Fls-3168-D issued by the Land Management BureauNational Capital Region (LMB-NCR) and certified by different officials: 1. 7 The functions of a unit in the national office were transferred to the newly established regional office. 8 The Certification reads. duly certified on July 9. Regional Office. 1515 Roxas Boulevard. then Fls-3170-D of Loyola. which likewise include the transfer of records to said regional office. NCR. Technical Records and Statistics Section. thus: ECaTDc 73 . Regional Technical Director. Said official list is a credible piece of evidence proving the existence of Stetson's Plan Fls-3168-D. Setosta as one of those listed therein duly certified by Melchor Magsanoc. 1979 as recorded in our file no. the reason why respondents could not be furnished by the LMB Head Office with a certified copy of Plan Fls-3168-D. Lot 823 in the name of Emiliano Setosta. Surveys Division. as that attached as Annex F. DENR-National Capital Region (NCR). DENR was reorganized and regional offices of the Bureau of Lands were established in each of the country's 13 administrative regions. DENRNCR. Rizal (now Quezon City). in the name of Survey Claimant Emiliano Setosta. xerox copy of which is herewith attached. 11 2. xxx xxx xxx The certification by the Records Management Division of the DENR-Head Office also confirmed the authenticity of the other computer print-outs submitted by respondents showing Fls-3168-D as among those listed. Binondo. Director for Operation. Ermita. Erive. 1997 letter.. 9 2. Manila. Manila. Dalire’s allegations in his February 19.

as indicated in the B. . . in his letter dated 2 January 1997 addressed to Atty. Laguardia. The documentary evidence presented is much too overwhelming to be simply brushed aside and be defeated by the fabricated statements and concoctions made by Engr. thus: The claim of Engr. Erive in his letter dated 28 November 1996 addressed to Atty. . 210177 was. 1. . . Engr. . . 28-37-R dated 11-8-94 and B. DENR-NCR. petitioners (Barques) have established by clear and convincing evidence that TCT NO. . Preliminary Report No. 210177 as among the titles lost . The logbook of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City lists TCT No. genuine. . . . 210177 was established indubitably and irrefutably by the petitioners. . However. this claim was categorically debunked by the LRA. . this allegation was belied upon presentation of a photocopy of the tracing cloth plan of Fls-3168-D duly certified by Teofilo R. Bustos even confirmed the existence and authenticity of said plan. . However. . 210177 when he issued a certification to the effect that TCT No. . Form No. authentic and effective. 210177 absolutely conform to the technical description and boundaries of Lot 823 Piedad Estate . Chief of the Technical Records and Statistics Section of the LMB-NCR. . . Chief Technical Records and Statistics Section. . The said Plan FLS 3168D is indeed authentic and valid coming as it does from the legal repository and duly signed by the custodian thereof. Dalire in his letter dated 19 February 1997 that his office has no records or information about Plan FLS 3168-D is belied by a certified copy of the computer print-out issued by the Bureau of Lands indicating therein that FLS 3168D is duly entered in the microfilm records of the Bureau of Lands 74 . . confirmed that a microfilm copy of Plan FLS 3168D is on file in the Technical Records and Statistics Section of his office. xxx xxx xxx The claim of Engr. The Register of Deeds of Quezon City himself acknowledged the existence and authenticity of TCT No. the reconstitution thereof should be given due course and the same is mandatory. It therefore becomes evident that the existence. Dalire alleged that plan Fls-3168-D was not included in the inventory of approved plans enrolled in their file. 210177 was one of the titles destroyed and not salvaged from the fire that gutted the Quezon City Hall on 11 June 1988 . 210177 . Chief.Based on the documents presented. L. . . Dalire. authenticity and effectivity of TCT No. It is likewise noteworthy that the technical description and boundaries of the lot reflected in TCT No. 12 In his letter dated January 31. . Under such circumstances. Said plan is likewise duly supported by Republic of the Philippines Official Receipt No. . Engr. Ernesto Erive. 1997. . Form No. . Surveys Division LMS-DENR-NCR whose office is the lawful repository of survey plans for lots situated within the National Capital Region including the property in question. Carmelito Soriano. Dalire next claimed that plan Fls-3168-D was not included in their computer list of plans available for decentralization. valid. 2513818 Q dated 9-23-96 . Dalire in his letter dated 19 February 1997 that his office has no records or information about Plan FLS 3168-D is belied by the certified copy of the computer print-out duly issued by the Bureau of Lands indicating therein that FLS 3168D is duly entered into the microfilm records of the Bureau of Lands and has been assigned Accession Number 410436 appearing on Page 79. at the time of the destruction thereof. . Petitioners duly presented the original of the owner's duplicate copy of TCT No. Bustos . Dalire in his 19 February 1997 letter. xxx xxx xxx It would be necessary to underscore that the certified copy of Plan FLS 3168 D was duly issued by the office of Engr. List of Locator Cards and Box Number 0400 and said computer print-out is duly supported by an Official Receipt . Said plan was duly signed by the custodian thereof. 31-10 duly issued by the Bureau of Lands . . validity. L.

List of Locator Cards and Box Number 0400 . I completely agree with the conclusion reached by the LRA that the "evidence presented is much too overwhelming to be simply brushed aside and be defeated by the fabricated statements and concoctions made by Engr. whether in the form of official documents or otherwise. considering petitioners' failure to prove facts contrary to the LRA findings. JUSTICE FELICIANO: Barrio Culiat. 75 . ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: That's 1933. Preliminary Report No. which describes Lot 823 as subdivided into Lots 823-A and 823-B in accordance with Fls-3168-D. The long-settled rule is that factual findings of an administrative agency which are not shown to be unsupported by substantial evidence can be validly sustained and. Moreover. 1. DENR. Significantly. in order. petitioners' reconstituted title. the Court of Appeals and this Court. 1997 letter". 14 as in this case. RT-22481 (372302) is spurious. RET. TCT No. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: So. . HSTaEC Re Location of the Property: Petitioners' documentary exhibits simultaneously and/or alternately referred to Barrio Payong and Barrio Culiat as the location of the property covered by their title. RT-22481 (372302) does not state the barrio where the property described therein is located. why the location of the property supposedly covered by their title was transferred from Barrio Payong and Barrio Culiat to Barrio Matandang Balara. However. Sir. Accordingly. can you flash on the screen again the 1940 Tax Declaration of the Manotoks? It says there. was shown or presented by the petitioners before the LRA. Dalire in his February 19. on the issue of due existence of Fls-3168-D.and has been assigned Accession Number 410436 appearing on Page 79. he readily agreed with the possible rationalization provided during the Oral Argument: ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: Counsel. in fact. 1941 is okay. . I find respondents' title. as noted by the LRA. no basis or explanation. the receipts for realty taxes of the property covered by petitioners' title already indicated the location of the property as Barrio Matandang Balara. In light of the evidence on record. TCT No. I find no justifiable basis to disturb the LRA finding that Plan FLS-3168-D indeed exists in the official files of LMB. However. The 1940. 13 especially when affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Sir. 210177. that's 1933. Petitioners' counsel failed to give any explanation for this seemingly anomalous situation. JUSTICE FELICIANO: Yes. the LRA correctly found that petitioners' reconstituted title TCT No. What is the barrio there? RET. it started as Barrio Payong became Barrio Culiat later on it became Matandang Balara the present name. after the fire that burned the records of the Quezon City Register of Deeds on June 11. . Therefore. what barrio is that now? RET. JUSTICE FELICIANO: Payong. are oftentimes binding on the court. However. 1988.

Since petitioners presented the said documentary evidence to prove their ownership of the property and the source of their title. is Payong. JUSTICE FELICIANO: That's right. bound by said admissions. 26 It is also important to note that. Piedad Estate. 16 This is pure speculation which deserves no credence at all. especially in the light of evidence in the form of official certifications from relevant government offices in Quezon City 17 and Caloocan City 18 that Payong had not existed as a barrio in Quezon City or in Caloocan City before the property became a part of Quezon City. is that correct? RET. SaTAED In any event. Similarly. 24 did not make a finding as to the existence and location of Sitio Payong but merely referred to the Information filed which alleged that the crime was committed in Sitio Payong. The relevant portion of the technical description of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate in Manahans' Memorandum 20 which shows Barrio Culiat as the location of the property is quoted below: A parcel of land (Lot 823. they have thereby judicially admitted that the location of the property covered by their title. there was nothing in the Agrarian Court’s Order stating exactly where. 5975). as shown in said exhibits. situated in the Barrio of Culiat. which indicates that petitioners themselves may have brought the inspecting parties to the property they were occupying.ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: Because the themes 15 of barrios changed overtime and we're talking of eighty-five (85) years. Siguin. Moreover. 22 I do not agree with the claim that Spouses Tiongson v. Culiat was created on March 26. Municipality of Caloocan. the Court in the case of People v. The map of Quezon City. the official mapping agency of the government. it also appears from Intervenors Manahans' Memorandum that the property covered by their alleged Deed of Conveyance dated October 30. Matandang Balara. 21 Intervenors Manahan also alleged that petitioners Manotoks' TCT No. but was later converted into Barangay Culiat and finally as Barangay Matandang Balara. 76 . Culiat or simply Barrio Payong or Barrio Culiat. or simply Barrio Culiat. Sir. The simultaneous creation of Culiat and Matandang Balara as barangays thus showed the fallacy of petitioners' claim during the Oral Argument that the disputed property was originally located in Payong. Quezon City. constitutes credible evidence as to the location of the property. or Barrio Payong. in Quezon City. Quezon City. also shows that both Barangay Culiat and Barangay Matandang Balara are existing Barangays of Quezon City but are clearly far away from each other. except for Tax Declarations and realty tax payments that were issued after the fire that gutted the records of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. Quezon City. Culiat. RT-22481 is fake and spurious for not being based on authentic documents. Barangays Culiat and Matandang Balara were almost simultaneously created as barangays. 19 as prepared by NAMRIA. Barrio Payong was located. 1962. Payong does not exist in the map. They are. petitioners did not present any credible evidence showing that the property they are occupying and covered by their reconstituted TCT No. Court of Appeals 23 which mentioned the Agrarian Court's order to its clerk of court to conduct an ocular inspection of the landholding in question situated at Payong. Moreover. There was no mention at all as to how the said court made the determination of the location of the property. Metro Manila. 25 especially since they have neither alleged nor proven that said admissions were made through palpable mistake. 1962 while Matandang Balara was created as a barangay on May 10. therefore. Significantly. RT-22481 (372302) is located in Barrio Matandang Balara. LRC Record No. petitioners are bound by their own documentary evidence and verbal admission during the Oral Argument that the property is located in Payong. 2000 is likewise located in Barangay Culiat.

The Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals. the trial court ruled in favor of petitioners. 210177 to Homer Barque. No. 210177 sought to be reconstituted is genuine. applying the presumption that official duty has been regularly performed. Eliseo Razon does not reflect the said Deed of Sale executed by Emiliano Setosta in favor of Homer Barque. The Court's ruling in Santiago v. The Deed of Sale between Emiliano Setosta and Homer Barque. I find that the Deed of Sale was duly notarized as otherwise the instrument would not have been registrable and the Register of Deeds of Quezon City would not have issued TCT No. Granting that the Notarial Register of Atty. the proverbial legs of evidence are broken. Moreover. 11. shall be binding on the Court of Appeals". rejoinder. 77 . even if true. Sr. respondents submitted a Certification under oath of Mr. . being the tribunal to which the appeal was elevated pursuant to Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. deceit or other machination is void ab intio as against the party obtaining the same and all persons having knowledge thereof. was not a public document because the document does not appear to be recorded in the Notarial Register Records of Atty. Faraon 28 attesting to the existence of said Deed of Sale in the records of the Clerk of Court of the Manila Regional Trial Court. 31 the Court of Appeals committed no error of jurisdiction when it confirmed such findings. RT-22481 was spurious and a sham and that respondents' TCT No. The Decisions of the two Divisions of the Court of Appeals both affirmed the LRA findings that petitioners' reconstituted TCT No. Eliseo Razon. it necessarily follows that they are not the owners of such property. Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to cancel petitioners' TCT No. filed by the parties. but over the adjoining parcels of land. Thus: Documents proving ownership such as transfer and original certificates of title are the legs on which petitioners' case stands. Gregorio B. comment. Such presumption cannot be overcome by the mere failure. nonetheless. A reconstituted title obtained by means of fraud. when supported by substantial evidence.A. . 30 Section 10. However. Sr. 27 is pertinent. Since petitioners were not able to show that the LRA findings of fact were unsupported by evidence. Section 11 of R. RT-22481. In any event. Rule 43 of the Rules of Court specifically mandates that "the findings of fact of the court or agency concerned. Sr. Razon to record the deed in his Notarial Register since said failure does not make the notarization less genuine.) No. 6732. The technical descriptions in the titles presented by petitioners betray them as adjacent and adjoining owners of the land claimed by MWSS for registration. has the corresponding authority and jurisdiction to decide the appealed case on the basis of the uncontroverted facts and admissions contained in the petition. such ownership is not of the land claimed. which provides that final Orders or Resolutions of the LRA may be appealed to the Court of Appeals. and memoranda. . 6732 provides that: SEC. Neither could the respondents be faulted for said failure. Premised on the relevance of these documents. of Atty.: Petitioners alleged that the deed of sale between Emiliano Setosta and Homer Barque.A.. reply. since the property covered by petitioners’ reconstituted title is not the property in Matandang Balara that they are occupying as clearly shown by their own documentary evidence. 29 and to apply the law applicable in administrative reconstitution proceeding which is Republic Act (R. valid and existing. on the basis of said Deed of Sale.Consequently. Sr. While the titles presented by petitioners show ownership.

xxx xxx xxx The stringent concept of original jurisdiction may seemingly be neutered by Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Section 108 thereof clearly provides that only the Court of First Instance (now RTC) can order anerasure. by explicitly using the phrase "appellate jurisdiction". where the Court of Appeals has the power to take judicial cognizance of a case for the first time through its review powers. is genuine. we must decide on the effect of void duplicate copies of a certificate of title that served as a basis for the sale of the property it represents and the eventual issuance of title in the name of respondent Paramount. the Court has ruled in Rexlon Realty Group. and that: [I]n order for a just. To require another proceeding only for the purpose of annulling the said new titles when the same could be decided in this very petition would promote judicial bureaucracy. the basic law of jurisdiction. Inc. are possessed with authority and jurisdiction to order the cancellation of a Torrens title which they confirmed to be spurious. TCT No. 129 (B. when an administrative reconstitution proceeding is appealed to the Court of Appeals under Rule 43. RT-22481 (372302) of petitioners after it confirmed the LRA finding that said title is fake and spurious. It must be noted that Section 48 of Presidential Decree (P. boards or commission. Thus. Significantly.D. speedy and inexpensive disposition of the case. Batas Pambansa Blg. Court of Appeals 33 that it has jurisdiction to declare the title void even if the appealed case was not originally filed with the Regional Trial Court for nullification of title. when this is necessary in the disposition of a case elevated before them on appeal. instrumentalities. courts other than the Regional Trial Court. valid and existing. .) No.Thus. 34 78 . On the other hand. under Section 48. Appellate jurisdiction is the authority of a Court higher in rank to re-examine the final order or judgment of a lower court which tried the case now elevated for review. hence. AECcTS The variance is a clear indication of the intent to distinguish between these two actions. Moreover. .P. Having also affirmed the LRA finding that respondents' title. as in this case. Consequently. 129). there has been a change in the traditional concept of "original jurisdiction" on account of Rule 43. a practice abhorred by our legal system. We held that the Court can rule on the validity or nullity of the title issued in the name of Paramount in the light of the facts of this case. the Court of Appeals had the authority to order the cancellation of petitioners' reconstituted TCT No. ineluctably confers appellate jurisdiction on the Court of Appeals over final rulings of quasi-judicial agencies. Rules of Court. Section 1 of which lists a slew ofadministrative agencies and quasi-judicial tribunals or their officers whose decisions may be reviewed by the Court of Appeals in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. the Court of Appeals would be acting as a court of original jurisdiction with regard to said appealed cases. 1529 (or The Property Registration Decree) does not expressly provide for the specific court that can order the cancellation of a certificate of title. Gayos. Thus. v. As we have ruled in Gayos v. the Court of Appeals likewise had the authority to order its reconstitution since this was the final step in the administrative reconstitution process. However. it is a cherished rule of procedure that a court should always strive to settle the entire controversy in a single proceeding leaving no root or branch to bear the seeds of future litigation. RT22481 after it affirmed the findings of the LRA that petitioners' TCT No. RT-22481 is spurious and void ab initio. this Court said in Yamane v. . such as the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. the Court of Appeals correctly acted within its jurisdiction when it ordered the cancellation of TCT No. In view of the foregoing. 210177. BA Lepanto Condominium Corporation 32 that: Original jurisdiction is the power of the Court to take judicial cognizance of a case instituted for judicial action for the first time under conditions provided by law. alteration or amendment in a certificate of title. BP 129 would not apply.

RT-22481. 210177 so as to deprive the LRA of jurisdiction over respondents’ petition for reconstitution. the reconstituted title of petitioners. respondent Paramount has not made any jurisdictional objection as regards its inclusion in the appeal to the petition for annulment of judgment. and even participated in the discussion of the merits of the case. Furthermore. Respondents' title. does not indicate the barrio where the property described therein is located. To resolve this issue. TCT No. they caused the administrative reconstitution of their TCT No. As petitioners themselves admit. therefore. we rule in the affirmative. 6732. TCT No. 35 Jurisdiction of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) to administratively reconstitute the allegedly lost TCT No. the technical description of respondents' title shows that it covers two lots while petitioners' title covers only one lot. Will the LRA just accept any title and order its reconstitution although it is facially void? Such an absurd interpretation would necessarily result in the reconstitution of a patently fake and spurious title and the consequent proliferation of fake titles. As shown by petitioners' documentary evidence. Based on the principle of estoppel. 210177. 1975 by the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. RT 22481 in 1991 under R. 210177 in the name of respondents despite the previously reconstituted TCT No. a situation that the legislature could not have contemplated when it enacted R. More importantly. 210177 shows that it was issued on September 24.More pertinently. the Court ruled in Rexlon. misleading and baseless for petitioners to assert that their previously reconstituted title. thus: On whether this Court can rule on the validity or nullity of the titles issued in the name of respondent Paramount in the light of the facts of this case. RT-22481 (372302) covers the same property as that identified and described in respondents' TCT No.A. covers the same property identified and described in respondents' TCT No. indicates boundaries totally different from those stated in petitioners' title. TCT No. No.A. However. RT-22481. TCT No. the technical description in respondents' title. which contains the list of titles lost during the fire that destroyed its records in 1988. On the other hand. the LRA would still have jurisdiction over respondents' petition for reconstitution. 6732 authorizing the administrative reconstitution of titles. the property which they claim to be covered by their TCT No. It is. RT-22481 is located in Barrio Payong. respondent Paramount is barred from raising any objection over the power of this Court to nullify its titles. respondent Paramount has duly consented to put in issue the validity of its titles by invoking in this appeal the reasons espoused by the appellate court and respondent David for the dismissal of the petition to annul the decision of the trial court. respondents' TCT No. Its existence was likewise confirmed by the LRA in its Resolution of June 24. Quezon City. xxx xxx xxx Secondly. 210177. 1998 based on the logbook of the Register of Deeds. In its Memorandum and respondent David’s comment that it adopted. On the other hand. No. in fact. or Barrio Culiat. TCHEDA The claim that the LRA has no authority to pass upon the genuineness of a certificate of title in an administrative reconstitution proceeding is an absurdity. 210177. RT-22481 of the petitioners over the same property. indicates Barrio Matandang Balara as location of the property. TCT No. it is relevant to first consider whether petitioners' TCT No. RT-22481. 79 . even assuming that both petitioners' and respondents' titles cover the same property.

In Alipoon v. Valenzuela 38that: The Court stresses once more that lands already covered by duly issued existing Torrens Titles (which become incontrovertible upon the expiration of one year from their issuance under Section 38 of the Land Registration Act) cannot be the subject of petitions for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles filed by third parties without first securing by final judgment the cancellation of such existing titles. 663 in the name of petitioners' parents Fausto Alipoon and Silveria Duria is rendered legally doubtful. . it is limited for the purpose of determining whether or not the certificates of title sought to be reconstituted are valid. therefore. . this Court has consistently held that while an order or decision rendered without jurisdiction is a total nullity and may be assailed at any stage. follows that petitioners' reconstituted title. the Court held in Alabang Development Corp. but also to parties who are defendants or respondents. Jurisdiction of the LRA to adjudicate on the validity of petitioners' reconstituted TCT No. 37 Pertinently. RT-22481 (372302) in the administrative reconstitution case filed by respondents. 40 There is. Court of Appeals. it is undisputed that petitioners actively participated in the proceedings and submitted evidence in support of their claim. therefore. complainants or others who initiated the case by actually filing the action. in existence at the time petitioners filed their petition for reconstitution. they cannot thereafter turn around and impugn such jurisdiction after the LRA ruled against their prayer for the denial of the petition for reconstitution. . Court of Appeals: 39 In a long line of decisions. Moreover. It. in the exercise of their quasi-judicial powers over petitions for administrative reconstitution. the Office of the Solicitor General categorically declared that: While it is true that the Register of Deeds and the Administrator of the LRA. even assuming the same to have been duly reconstituted. 210177 was. In its comment dated March 30.) over Lot No.Respondents' TCT No. We ruled in Salva v. v. . It equally applies to defendants who actively participate in the proceedings. have the authority to receive evidence. genuine and in force at the time they were lost or 80 . in utter disregard of elementary principles of right dealing and good faith. RO 12890 (N. since petitioners recognized the jurisdiction of the LRA when they filed their opposition to respondents’ petition for reconstitution and submitting evidence therein. was deemed nullified by the mere existence of respondents' title at the time of the administrative reconstitution of petitioners' title. authentic. if the latter fail to timely raise the jurisdictional issue and instead actively participate in the proceedings. a party's active participation in the proceedings in the tribunal which rendered the order or decision will bar such party from attacking its jurisdiction. Estoppel does not apply only as against plaintiffs who sought affirmative reliefs. . 210177. thus: Public policy dictates that this Court must strongly condemn any double-dealing by parties who are disposed to trifle with the courts by taking inconsistent positions.A. therefore. and the reconstituted title is void. the issuance in 1989 of a reconstituted original certificate of title bearing the number OCT No. 36 the Court ruled that: [I]nasmuch as TCT No. This applies not only to parties who are plaintiffs. no further need to require another proceeding for the cancellation of petitioners' reconstituted title before the LRA can proceed to reconstitute respondents' TCT No. T-17224 has been in existence as early as March 16. 1933. In the instant cases. Hon. 2007. .

Narvasa issued on July 15. upon elevation of the issue before it. ventilated before the LRA the issue of validity or genuineness of their title and submitted evidence in support thereof. their jurisdiction to hear administrative petitions for reconstitution does not encompass any other title except that which is the subject matter of the petition. in fact. it necessarily had to examine the title of the parties. Thus. . It said: DHIcET In recognition of these developments that have placed under a cloud the integrity of the once unassailable Torrens Title. No useful purpose will be served if this case is remanded to the trial court only to have its decision raised again to the Court of Appeals and from there to this Court . this year. all controversies relating to the subject matter pertaining to its specialization are deemed to be included within the jurisdiction of said administrative agency or body. Chief Justice Andres R. using its technical expertise.Administrative Circular No. 44 that: Petitioner is also estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman. Court of Appeals 47 is likewise applicable. it has been held that participation in the administrative proceedings without raising any objection thereto bars the parties from raising any jurisdictional infirmity after an adverse decision is rendered against them. . even assuming that the Regional Trial Court should have had a first chance at resolving the issue of validity of the title. Office of the Ombudsman. We ruled in Laxina. under the circumstances. nonetheless. Split jurisdiction is not favored. 210177. Sr. 42 Since the LRA had the duty to resolve the petition for reconstitution as well as petitioners' opposition thereto. . We deem it proper to decide the controversy right at this instance. under the same rationale relied upon by this Court in Board of Commissioners (CID) v. A perusal of the records shows that he participated in the proceedings by filing his counter-affidavit with supporting evidence.destroyed. . even assuming that petitioners are correct in claiming that the LRA had no jurisdiction to resolve the issue of validity of title in a petition for reconstitution. to determine if the petition for reconstitution should be given due course. dela Rosa: 46 Ordinarily. . had the unquestionable jurisdiction to declare petitioners' reconstituted title void and order its cancellation. and to the end of either granting or denying the prayer of the petition. v. Considering the voluminous pleadings submitted by the parties and the evidence presented. Thus: [W]hen an administrative agency or body is conferred quasi-judicial functions. nonetheless. Otherwise. spawned the proliferation of fake land titles and encouraged the mushrooming of land grabbers and squatters on legitimately-titled lands. or denied as prayed for by the petitioners. instead of going to the courts to enjoin the LRA proceedings on account of their possession of a purported reconstituted title over the same property covered by respondents' TCT No. 7-96 addressed to all judges of all court levels and their Clerks of Court enjoining the strict observance of Land Registration Authority (LRA) circulars on reconstitution and land registration cases. . But not in the case at bar. the case would then be remanded to the Regional Trial Court. The ruling in Islamic Directorate of the Philippines v. they exceed their jurisdiction. 41 Furthermore. to wit: The resolution of the question as to whether or not the SEC had jurisdiction to declare the subject sale null and void is rendered moot and academic by the inherent nullity of the highly dubious sale due to lack of consent of 81 . And this course of action is not without precedent for "it is a cherished rule of procedure for this Court to always strive to settle the entire controversy in a single proceeding leaving no root or branch to bear the seeds of future litigation. 45 Again. petitioners are estopped from raising the issue of jurisdiction. this Court. 43 Moreover. since petitioners opposed respondents' petition for reconstitution and. Also. the technical expertise of the LRA with regard to reconstitution of titles is such that the Court has long directed the lower courts to strictly observe the LRA circulars on reconstitution and land registration cases.

the IDP, owner of the subject property. No end of substantial justice will be served if we reverse the SEC’s
conclusion on the matter, and remand the case to the regular courts for further litigation over an issue which is
already determinable based on what we have in the records.
Beyond all that, however, is the unalterable fact that this Court's First Division had already resolved in its
Decision of December 12, 2005, the jurisdictional issues raised by petitioners.

Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals
or the LRA to decide the ownership
of the disputed property in the
administrative reconstitution of
title filed by respondents.
Petitioners raised the issue of ownership before the LRA when they presented evidence in the form of a Deed of
Sale, five (5) Unilateral Deeds of Conveyance, tax declarations, and realty tax receipts to prove their ownership
of the property allegedly covered by their reconstituted TCT RT No. 22481. Petitioners supported their claim of
genuineness of their reconstituted title with documentary evidence showing their supposed acquisition of
ownership of the land.
However, the LRA gave no credence to the evidence of ownership submitted by the petitioners, mainly because
the property described therein appears to be located in a barrio different and far from the barrio where the
property in dispute is actually located.
In their appeal to the Court of Appeals, petitioners again adverted to the same documentary evidence they
presented before the LRA in support of their claim of ownership of the property covered by their TCT No. RT
22481 and to buttress their contention that their title is genuine and authentic.
However, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the Resolution of the LRA which found their reconstituted title a
sham and spurious and respondents' title, genuine, authentic and existing. In addition, the Court of Appeals also
ordered the cancellation of petitioners' TCT No. RT22481 and the reconstitution of respondents' TCT No.
210177. AHTICD
In short, since petitioners themselves laid before the LRA and the Court of Appeals all their evidence to prove
the genuineness of their reconstituted title and their ownership of the property in dispute, the Court of Appeals
had the corresponding authority and jurisdiction to pass upon these issues.
In Yusingco v. Ong Hing Lian, 48 the Court ruled, thus:
Therefore, it appearing from the records that in the previous petition for reconstitution of certificates of title, the
parties acquiesced in submitting the issue of ownership for determination in the said petition, that they were
given the full opportunity to present their respective sides of the issues and evidence in support thereof, and
that the evidence presented was sufficient and adequate for rendering a proper decision upon the issue, the
adjudication of the issue of ownership was valid and binding. It being a valid judgment, res judicata applies.
Indeed, petitioners are barred from thereafter impugning the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to rule on these
issues. In the leading case of Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, 49it was stressed that:
It has been held that a party can not invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief against his
opponent and, after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question the same jurisdiction . . . .
Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an adverse
decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or the power of the court. . . . [I]t is
not right for a party who has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a court in a particular matter to secure an
affirmative relief, to afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape a penalty.

82

. . . [W]e frown upon the “undesirable practice” of a party submitting his case for decision and then accepting
the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction when adverse . . . .
In the light of all the foregoing, I find no compelling reason or overriding consideration to further require the
referral of these cases to the Regional Trial Court or the Court of Appeals for a re-litigation of the issues already
raised and resolved by the two divisions of the Court of Appeals and affirmed by the Court's First Division in its
final and executory Decision dated December 12, 2005.
More importantly, the doctrine of immutability of final and executory decisions which became part of our legal
system almost a century ago and reiterated time and again by this Court precludes the Court from taking this
unprecedented action.
As held in Anuran v. Aquino and Ortiz, 50 every consideration of expediency and justice is opposed to the
uncontrolled exercise of discretion by the courts in opening up cases after judgments entered therein have
become final. 51 The interest of the individual, as well as of the community, demands there should be a definite
end to every litigation; and nothing could be more impolitic than to leave it to the discretion of every court to
revise and review and reconsider its judgments without limit. 52
Furthermore, the question of whether the Court can reopen a final and executory judgment has constitutional
implications since a reopening of the final and executory December 12, 2005 Decision would violate the
prevailing parties' right to due process. As the Court said in Insular Bank of Asia and America Employees' Union
(IBAAEU) v. Inciong: 53
A final judgment vests in the prevailing party a right recognized and protected by law under the due process
clause of the Constitution. . . ..
Thereafter, in Fortich v. Corona, 54 the Court ruled against a reopening of a final and executory judgment since
this is not a mere question of technicality but that of substance and merit, thus:
It should be stressed that when the March 2, 1996 OP Decision was declared final and
executory, vested rights were acquired by the herein petitioners . . . .Thus, we repeat, the issue
here is not a question of technicality but that of substance and merit. . . .

Considering all the foregoing and the fact that these cases do not involve an issue of transcendental importance,
such as life, liberty or the security of the state, no compelling reason exists to depart from this well-settled
doctrine, nor to ignore the fundamental public policy behind it.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote that these cases be referred back to the Court's Special First Division for final disposition
in accordance with its Decision of December 12, 2005.
CHICO-NAZARIO, J., dissenting:
This is to express my dissent in the majority opinion which set aside the final and executory Decision dated 12
December 2005 of the First Division of this Court, recalled the Entry of Judgment recorded on 2 May 2006 in the
present cases, and remanded the same to the Court of Appeals for reception of further evidence.
I emphatically call attention to the fact that the Decision, dated 12 December 2005, the fallo of which reads —
WHEREFORE, the petitions are DENIED. In G.R. No. 162335, the February 24, 2004 Amended Decision of the
Third Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 66642, ordering the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to
cancel petitioners' TCT No. RT-22481 and directing the Land Registration Authority to reconstitute respondents'
TCT No. 210177; and in G.R. No. 162605, the November 7, 2003 Amended Decision of the Special Division of
Five of the Former Second Division in CA-G.R. SP No. 66700 directing the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to
cancel petitioners' TCT No. RT-22481, and the Land Registration Authority to reconstitute respondents' TCT No.
T-210177 and the March 12, 2004 Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration, are AFFIRMED[,] AIcECS
83

had become FINAL AND EXECUTORY. The two Motions for Reconsideration of the petitioners were both denied
in Resolutions dated 19 April 2006 and 19 June 2006. The Entry of Judgment was already made on 2 May 2006.
Nothing is more settled in law than that when a final judgment is executory, it thereby becomes immutable and
unalterable. The judgment may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct
what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law, and regardless of whether the modification is
attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest Court of the land. The doctrine is founded on
considerations of public policy and sound practice that, at the risk of occasional errors, judgments must become
final at some definite point in time. 1
Litigation must at some time be terminated, even at the risk of occasional errors. Public policy dictates that once
a judgment becomes final, executory and unappealable, the prevailing party should not be denied the fruits of
his victory by some subterfuge devised by the losing party. Unjustified delay in the enforcement of a judgment
sets at naught the role of courts in disposing justiciable controversies with finality. 2
Apparent from the foregoing are the two-fold purposes for the doctrine of the immutability and inalterability of a
final judgment: first, to avoid delay in the administration of justice and thus, procedurally, to make orderly the
discharge of judicial business; and, second, to put an end to judicial controversies, at the risk of occasional
errors, which is precisely why courts exist. Obviously, the first purpose is in line with the dictum that justice
delayed is justice denied. But said dictumpresupposes that the court properly appreciates the facts and the
applicable law to arrive at a judicious decision. The end should always be the meting out of justice. As to the
second purpose, controversies cannot drag on indefinitely. The rights and obligations of every litigant must not
hang in suspense for an indefinite period of time. It must be adjudicated properly and seasonably to better serve
the ends of justice and to place everything in proper perspective. In the process, the possibility that errors may
be committed in the rendition of a decision cannot be discounted. 3
The only recognized exceptions to the foregoing doctrine are the corrections of clerical errors or the making of
the so-called nunc pro tunc entries, which cause no prejudice to any party, and, where the judgment is
void. 4 Void judgments may be classified into two groups: those rendered by a court without jurisdiction to do
so and those obtained by fraud or collusion. 5 Petitioners assert, and the majority opinion effectively sustains,
that the Decision dated 12 December 2005 of the First Division of this Court, affirming the decisions of the Court
of Appeals and the LRA rendered without jurisdiction, may be set aside for belonging to the first group of void
judgments. I cannot subscribe to such a view.
It is argued that the Land Registration Authority (LRA) has no jurisdiction to reconstitute administratively the
respondents' title because such reconstitution supposedly constitutes an indirect or collateral attack on the
petitioners' pre-existing Torrens title over the same property.
It is worthy to note that the LRA itself, despite finding clear and convincing evidence that respondents' title was
valid, genuine, authentic, and effective, while concluding that petitioners' title was fraudulently reconstituted,
held back from actually canceling the petitioners' title. According to the dispositive portion of the LRA Decision —
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, it is hereby ordered that reconstitution of TCT No. 210177 in the name of
[herein respondents' predecessor] Homer L. Barque, Sr. shall be given due course after cancellation of TCT No.
RT-22481 (372302) in the name of [herein petitioners] Manotoks upon order of a court of competent
jurisdiction.
From the said LRA Decision, the parties filed separate appeals with the Court of Appeals.
Respondents' petition for review was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 66700, which the Special Division of Five of
the Former Second Division of the Court of Appeals, in its Amended Decision, dated 7 November 2003, resolved
as follows —
WHEREFORE, our decision dated 13 September 2002 is hereby reconsidered. Accordingly, the Register of Deeds
of Quezon City is hereby directed to cancel TCT No. RT-22481 of [herein petitioners] and the LRA is hereby
84

which should have been initiated with the RTC. SP No. After all. as well as the First Division of the Court. T210177. the LRA and the two divisions of the appellate court have already declared that petitioners' title is forged.directed to reconstitute forthwith [herein respondents'] valid. it would be needlessly circuitous to remand the case to the RTC to determine anew which of the two titles is sham or spurious and thereafter appeal the trial court’s ruling to the Court of Appeals. on the other hand. The remand of the case or of an issue to the lower court for further reception of evidence is not necessary where the Court is in a position to resolve the dispute based on the records before it and particularly where the ends of justice would not be subserved by the remand thereof. not to speak of delay in the disposal of the case." 7 Sound practice seeks to accommodate the theory which avoids waste of time. resolution or order and remand the case thereto for further appropriate action. Petitioners contend. effort and expense. The Decision of this Court dated 29 October 2003 is RECONSIDERED and a new one entered ordering the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel [herein petitioners'] TCT No. 85 . While the Court. consistently finding that it is respondents' title to the land which is authentic and genuine. 66700 and CA-G. such as where the ends of justice would not be subserved by the remand of the case. disposed by the Third Division of the Court of Appeals in its Amended Decision. SP No. Thus. 8 The decisions of the LRA. in the following manner — WHEREFORE. in the public interest and for the expeditious administration of justice. Petitioners' petition for review.R. dated 24 February 2004. . both to the parties and the government. T210177. when it finds that a lower court or quasi-judicial body is in error. genuine and existing Certificate of Title No. the Court of Appeals and the First Division of the Court had all the material facts before them and evidence on record to already render judgment on the merits in the instant cases. thus — Indeed.R. 6 Such a course of action is not without precedent for "it is a cherished rule of procedure for this Court to always strive to settle the entire controversy in a single proceeding leaving no root or branch to bear the seeds of future litigation. was docketed as CA-G. and that of the petitioners is false and fraudulent. are sufficiently supported by the evidence on record. of the First Division of the Court already addressed the said arguments. the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby GRANTED.R. 66642. . although the proceedings canceling petitioners' title to the land did not follow the ordinary course. the two Divisions of the Court of Appeals. . A marked characteristic of the judicial set-up in this country is that where the dictates of justice so demand. SP No. it is well within the conscientious exercise of its broad review powers to refrain from doing so and instead choose to render judgment on the merits when all material facts have been duly laid before it as would buttress its ultimate conclusion. may simply and conveniently nullify the challenged decision. The Decision. Petitioners' evidence to prove their title to the land was already considered and weighed by the LRA and the courts as against the respondents' evidence. ICESTA It was not the LRA which ordered the cancellation of petitioners' title but the two Divisions of the Court of Appeals which separately decided CA-G. No useful purpose will be served if this case is remanded to the trial court only to have its decision raised again to the Court of Appeals and from there to this Court. however. RT-22481 and directing the LRA to reconstitute forthwith [herein respondents'] TCT No. dated 12 December 2005. 66642. and act with finality. xxx xxx xxx No useful purpose will be served if a case or the determination of an issue in a case is remanded to the trial court only to have its decision raised again to the Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court. There is no showing that petitioners had any other significant evidence that they can only present before the RTC in another proceeding directly attacking their title. that even the Court of Appeals had no jurisdiction to order the cancellation of their title. the Supreme Court should act. They maintain that their title can only be attacked in a direct action before the Regional Trial Court (RTC).

210177 in the name of respondents despite the previously reconstituted TCT No. on the basis of their prior existing title to the same piece of land. in fact. in promulgating their respective Amended Decisions. Does the Court of Appeals have jurisdiction to cancel petitioners' TCT No. the petitioners and the respondents. Does the Court of Appeals or the LRA have jurisdiction to decide the ownership of the disputed property in the administrative reconstitution of title filed by respondents? Even just a cursory reading of the foregoing issues would readily reveal that these are mainly legal and jurisdictional issues. have the right to rely on the adherence by the Court en banc to the said issues in its determination of whether or not to still subject the said parties to more litigation proceedings. in accordance with public policy and the dictates of justice. the First Division of the Court properly found. These issues were: 1. and as a result thereof. cDSaEH It is time that the Court finally put an end to the controversies between petitioners and respondents in these cases. Before the LRA can issue a decision. but also complicates the same by giving undue consideration to the evidence and points raised by Felicitas and Resendo Manahan (Manahans) in their much delayed petition-in-intervention. An act by an executive agency or officer becomes quasi-judicial in nature when the parties involved are given the opportunity to be heard and to produce evidence. it must consider and weigh the arguments and evidence presented by those seeking and those opposing the reconstitution. either granting or denying petitions for reconstitution of title. The LRA could not dismiss respondents' petition for reconstitution of title on the mere presentation by petitioners of their supposed title. dated 12 December 2005. When the Court en banc reopened the present cases. RT-22481 of the petitioners over the same property? 3. While under ordinary circumstances. Unfortunately. declining to remand the instant cases to the RTC and affirming the Amended Decisions of the Court of Appeals therein. despite its finding that petitioners' title was fraudulent. It not only protracts the litigation. irrefragably. The parties. Does the LRA have jurisdiction to adjudicate on the validity of petitioners' TCT No. so as to preclude the reconstitution of respondents' title over the same piece of land. it cannot be simply said that the issuance by the LRA of reconstituted titles is a purely executive function. that the instant cases need no longer be remanded to the RTC for further proceedings. the LRA had to examine and weigh the evidence of both the respondents and the petitioners in support of their own respective titles. petitioners submitted their title to the scrutiny of the LRA. such a court of competent jurisdiction would have been the RTC. is a valid decision which could and had. Given the foregoing. 10 Again. namely. RT-22481 without a trial before the proper Regional Trial Court in the proceeding directly assailing the validity of petitioners' title? 2. 9 The fact that the LRA is a quasi-judicial agency exercising quasi-judicial function becomes incontestable especially considering that its decisions are among those explicitly identified in the Supreme Court Revised Administrative Circular No. when petitioners opposed respondents' petition for reconstitution of title. Does the Land Registration Authority [LRA] have jurisdiction to administratively reconstitute the allegedly lost TCT No. and such evidence is weighed before a decision is rendered thereon. To make such a determination. genuineness and authenticity of petitioners' title. and thwart further attempts by any party to still prolong the same. Hence. 1-95 as appealable to the Court of Appeals. it must be stressed that. RT-22481 in the administrative reconstitution case filed by respondents with the LRA? 4. the LRA came to the conclusion that petitioners' title was fraudulently reconstituted. it expressly delineated the four issues to be resolved and upon which the parties were to be heard in the oral arguments. attained finality. the Decision. the LRA left the cancellation of their title to a court of competent jurisdiction. For the Court en banc to consider and rule upon issues which are outside 86 . the Resolution of the majority opinion has the contrary effect. of the First Division of the Court. It was still incumbent upon the LRA to determine the existence. already had all the material facts and evidence before it to render judgment on the validity of petitioners' title. The two Divisions of the Court of Appeals.Moreover. a quasi-judicial function.

MILAGROS V. MANOTOK.. Nos. and remanded to the Court of Appeals (CA) for further proceedings these cases which shall be raffled immediately. SISON. The Manahans were not even allowed to intervene in the oral arguments nor submit issues for the oral arguments. SEVERINO MANOTOK III. recalled the Entry of Judgment recorded on May 2. CRISTINA E. MA. BARQUE.R. which contradict the claims of both the petitioners and the respondents. [December 18. JOSE CLEMENTE L. similar to the annulment of the Cebu Country Club title in Alonso v. RAMON SEVERINO L." On the other hand. ROBERTO LAPERAL III. MANOTOK. MANOTOK. 2006.R. Rosa R.. 3 The Barques and Manahans were likewise allowed to present evidence on their respective claims "which may have an impact on the correct determination of the status of the Manotok title. The matter of whether or not the factual issues in the instant cases should again be relitigated cannot be anchored on the factual allegations of the parties. respectively. IGNACIO V. vs. I also vote to GRANT the motions for execution and possession filed by the respondents pursuant to the same Decision. represented by their Attorney-in-fact. MANOTOK. TIONGSON. 2005 rendered by the First Division. EAcTDH The CA was specifically directed to receive evidence with primary focus on whether the Manotoks can trace their claim of title to a valid alienation by the Government of Lot No. we set aside the Decision 2 dated December 12. 2008]. MAMERTA M. SP Nos. since a judicial review of executive decisions does not import a trial de novo. MANOTOK. PACITA L. and whether they find reasonable support in the evidence. MARYANN MANOTOK. 595 PHIL 87-264) [G. JR. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) was directed to secure all the relevant records from the Land Management Bureau (LMB) and the 87 . 66700 and 66642. 2010. moreso. MANOTOK. JR. PHILIPP L. ||| (Manotok IV v. 162335 & 162605. Wherefore. MANOTOK. The courts are bound to look no further than the record and cannot even consider contrary evidence to determine where the preponderance thereof lies. petitioners. FROILAN M. JOSE MARIA MANOTOK.] SEVERINO M. MANOTOK. 2003 and March 12. 162335 & 162605. BOCANEGRA. I vote to DENY all motions and prayers of the petitioners for the setting aside of the Decision dated 12 December 2005 of the First Division of this Court and the remand of the present cases to the Court of Appeals for the reception of further evidence. 2008. MANOTOK. DECISION VILLARAMA. JR. G. 11 These cases must be resolved upon the evidence submitted to the LRA. reversed and set aside the Amended Decisions dated November 7. GO. MANOTOK III. in my firm belief that the said Decision must stand and be honored for already being final and executory. MIGUEL A. GEORGE M. THELMA R. FERNANDO M. 2004 in CA-G.B. Thus. when such allegations were made by the Manahans. Inc. August 24. would undoubtedly be tantamount to a new trial and investigation. SISON. ROSA R. HEIRS OF HOMER L. J p: In our Resolution 1 promulgated on December 18. JESUS JUDE MANOTOK. and MA. Cebu Country Club. THERESA L. MICHAEL MARSHALL V. 12 Further proceedings before the Court of Appeals following the remand of the instant cases thereto.of the four afore-stated and on which the parties were heard during the oral arguments is a denial of due process. MANOTOK. the original parties in the cases at bar. Nos. which was a Friar Land. MANOTOK IV. PATRICIA L. respondents. MANOTOK. Heirs of Barque. 823 of the Piedad Estate. represented by TERESITA BARQUE HERNANDEZ. this Court may ultimately decide whether annulment of the Manotok title is warranted. FELISA MYLENE V. MANOTOK. MA.R. On that evidence. the majority opinion palpably erred in remanding the cases to the Court of Appeals for further reception of evidence on the basis of the assertions of the Manahans. Manotok. but only an ascertainment of whether the executive findings are not in violation of the Constitution or of the laws. and are free from fraud or imposition.

Quezon City. 823 is a part of the Piedad Estate. tax declarations and a Plan Fls 3168-D covering the property. 7 Controversy arising from conflicting claims over Lot 823 began to surface after a fire gutted portions of the Quezon City Hall on June 11. Q-213 dated February 1. Geodetic Surveys 88 . 372302 which was reconstituted under Adm." 6 The evidence adduced by the parties before the CA. 1903. the parties were no longer furnished copies thereof in order not to delay the promulgation of the Court's action and the adjudication of these cases. Privadi J. Ltd. alleging that TCT No. In 1996. 11 On June 30. 823 of the Piedad Estate situated in the then Municipality of Caloocan. real estate tax receipts. 1904. 8 Sometime in 1990. La Sociedad Agricola de Ultramar. 210177. 823 is already registered in the name of the Manotoks and covered by TCT No. RT-22481 (372302) pertains only to a single parcel of land." 4 After concluding the proceedings in which all the parties participated and presented testimonial and documentary evidence. Dalire. Atty. The present petitions are perhaps the most heated.945 square meters.945 square meters. Ltd.945 square meters was filed by the Manotoks with the Land Registration Authority (LRA) which granted the same. 210177 was spurious. The resulting effects of that blaze on specific property registration controversies have been dealt with by the Court in a number of cases since then. Reconstitution No. denied Barques' petition declaring that Lot No. 210177 in the name of Homer Barque and covering Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. a brief restatement of the antecedents set forth in our Resolution.. and the Recoleto Order of the Philippine Islands on December 23. a petition for administrative reconstitution 9 of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. In support of their petition. 1120 (Friar Lands Act) enacted on April 26. a Friar Land acquired by the Philippine Government from the Philippine Sugar Estates Development Company. But first. the Court would take such fact into consideration as it adjudicates final relief. TCT No. and that the submitted plan Fls 3168-D is a spurious document as categorically declared by Engr. the Manotoks filed their opposition thereto. Although both titles of the Manotoks and the Barques refer to land belonging to Lot No. 10 Learning of the Barques' petition. which are exhaustively discussed in the Commissioners' Report. RT-22481 (372302) in 1991. resulting in the issuance of TCT No. including the judicial affidavits and testimonies presented during the hearings conducted by the CA's Special Former First Division. Quezon City. If the final evidence on record "definitively reveals the proper claimant to the subject property. 210177 actually involves two (2) parcels with an aggregate area of 342. the CA's Special Former First Division rendered a Commissioners' Report 5 consisting of 219 pages on April 12. eight (8) years after the fire which razed the Quezon City Hall building.Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). 614 and was placed under the administration of the Director of Lands. the Barques filed a petition with the LRA for administrative reconstitution of the original of TCT No. 2010. are herein summarized.. 1988 which destroyed records stored in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. Rule 135 of the Rules of Court to adopt any suitable process or mode of proceeding which appears conformable to the spirit of the Rules "to carry into effect all auxiliary processes and other means necessary to carry our jurisdiction into effect. The Piedad Estate has been titled in the name of the Government under Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. if not the most contentious of those cases thus far. alleged to be among those titles destroyed in the fire. 823 with an area of 342. Upon receipt of the sealed Report submitted to this Court. That fire has attained notoriety due to the numerous certificates of title on file with that office. which were destroyed as a consequence.G. and pursuant to our power under Section 6. Bustos. the reconstituting officer. 1991. Chief. with a similar area of 342. Benjamin M. the Barques submitted copies of the alleged owner's duplicate of TCT No. while TCT No. as well as memoranda setting forth their respective arguments. Province of Rizal. 1997. the British-Manila Estate Company. 372302 in the name of the Manotoks covering Lot No. as indicated inAct No. Antecedents Lot No.

Thereafter. The Court denied the same in a Resolution dated June 19. 2003. Nos. SP No.R. In a Resolution dated July 19.R. 2006. 66700). with their Motion for Reconsideration attached. SP No. 2003. Bustos and declared that the Manotok title was fraudulently reconstituted. 210177. Subsequently. which the Court's First Division denied in a Resolution dated April 19. the Court en banc promulgated a Resolution accepting the cases. Both the Manotoks and the Barques appealed the LRA decision to the CA. The Manotoks filed a motion for reconsideration but this was denied.Division of the LMB. this Court's First Division rendered its Decision affirming the two (2) decisions of the CA. the Barques filed multiple motions with the First Division for execution of the judgment. They alleged that their predecessor-in-interest. to which was attached their petition in intervention. 66700. Felicitas Manahan and Rosendo Manahan filed a motion to intervene. Felicitas Manahan filed a motion to intervene and sought the dismissal of the cases in CA-G. 66700 and CA-G. The Manotoks filed a motion for reconsideration. SP No. 66642). It ordered that reconstitution of TCT No. 13 In the petition for review filed by the Barques (CA-G. the CA's Third Division granted the Barques' motion for reconsideration and on February 24. the Special Division of Five of the Former Second Division reconsidered its Decision dated September 13. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of the Manotoks upon order of a competent court of jurisdiction. Thereafter. in an Amended Decision 15 dated November 7. SP No. the Court required the parties. and on July 26. the intervenors and the Solicitor General to submit their respective memoranda.R. 162605 and 162335) which were ordered consolidated on August 2. 2007. 66700 and affirmed the LRA Resolution. 2008 wherein we ordered the remand of the cases to the CA for further proceedings. 18 Aggrieved by the outcome of the two (2) cases in the CA. RT-22481 (372302) and all its derivative titles so that the land covered may be reverted to the State. 89 . the Special First Division referred these cases to the Court en banc. 823 of the Piedad Estate and attached to their petition the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that the documents of the Manotoks were not as old as they were purported to be. 2005. 19 On September 7. 511 covering Lot No. the Manotoks filed the present separate petitions (G." In compliance with the directive of this Court. Barque shall be given due course after cancellation of TCT No.R.R. As what happened in CA-G.R. 2003 which affirmed the resolution of the LRA. the CA's Third Division rendered a Decision 17 on October 29. Consequently. the CA's Second Division denied the petition in CA-G. The LRA denied the Manotoks' motion for reconsideration and the Barques' prayer for immediate reconstitution. 12 EcICDT The LRA reversed the ruling of Atty. 2006 and eventually entry of judgment was made in the Book of Entries of Judgment on May 2. the December 12. 2002 and directed the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel TCT No. pursuant to our Resolution promulgated on December 18. 210177 in the name of Homer L. the Manotoks filed a Motion for Leave to File a Second Motion for Reconsideration. promulgated its Amended Decision wherein it reconsidered the decision dated October 29. was issued Sale Certificate No. The Barques filed a motion for reconsideration. 2004. Valentin Manahan. In the meantime. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of the Manotoks and the LRA to reconstitute the Barques' TCT No. 210177. As already mentioned.R. 16 As to Manotoks' petition (CA-G. 66642 as she claimed ownership of the subject property. SP No. the Director of the Legal Division of the LMB recommended to the Director of the LMB that "steps be taken in the proper court for the cancellation of TCT No. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of the Manotoks and to reconstitute the Barques' "valid. while the Manotoks filed an Urgent Motion to Refer Motion for Possession to the Supreme Court En Banc (with prayer to set motion for oral arguments). and ordered the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel TCT No.R. 2006. 66642 and 66700 were reversed and set aside. On December 12. 14 By Decision of September 13. 2006. 2004. The Barques' motion for reconsideration having been denied. genuine and existing" TCT No. 2005 Decision of the Court's First Division was set aside. the OSG filed its Comment and oral arguments were held on July 24. 2006. SP No. entry of judgment recalled and the CA's Amended Decisions in CA-G. 2006. SP Nos. they appealed to the LRA. 2002.

18OSG [LMB]). Celzo. 2-OSG [LMB]). V-200022 for verification as to its authenticity (Exh. (m) Memorandum dated July 6. (g) Letter dated December 3. identified her signature in Technical Descriptions (Lot No. Land Investigator. Defensor referring to the latter Deed No. (p) Letter dated November 24. (i) 1st Indorsement dated February 23. 511 covering Lot No. assignor. 823 of Piedad Estate (Exh. 823 of Piedad Estate. Fe T. (e) Investigation Report on Lot No. 21 which is on file at the Technical Services Section. brought the original copy of the Lot Description of Lot No. 1983 (Exh. 20 Engr. (b) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. She admitted that she does not have the record of the field notes of the survey conducted in 1907. testified that she was designated OIC on January 13. 15-OSG [LMB]). 2000 issued by the DENR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs to the Director of the LMB on the issue of whether a Deed of Conveyance may be issued to Felicitas Manahan by virtue of Sale Certificate No. 7-OSG [LMB]). Sketch/Special Plans (Exhibits 30 and 31-OSG [DENR]) were prepared for Felicitas Manahan after she had purchased Lot No. 823 of Piedad Estate (Exh. (j) Chemistry Report No. 1998 filed by Felicitas Manahan before the OSG (Exh. (f) Petition for cancellation/reversion of TCT No. certified copies of previously certified copies which were marked as OSG exhibits: (a) Survey Card for BL Survey No. 2009. 13-OSG [LMB]). Fls-3164 in the name of Valentin Manahan (Exh. Infante forwarding documents pertaining to Lot No. she made a thorough research of the property and she was able to see only the sale certificate of the Manahans (Exhibit 2-OSG [LMB]) but not those of the Manotoks and the Barques. She explained that there is no discrepancy because the lot description "64. As land investigator. North CENRO (Exh. Estoesta referring the petition filed by Felicitas Manahan to the LMB for investigation and/or appropriate action (Exh. She identified the following documents on file at their office. C-99-152 dated June 10. 3-OSG [LMB]). Quezon City. a certified copy of which was marked as Exhibit 28-OSG [DENR]. 823 of the Piedad Estate. She also identified Land Use Map (1978). 1998 of Assistant Solicitor General Cecilio O. (k) Office Memorandum dated October 2000 from LMB Land Administration and Utilization Division Chief Arthus T. Piedad Estate. Abueg-Sta. 823. Records Custodian of DENR-NCR. 1939 in the name of Valentin Manahan. 511 dated June 24. 1999 issued by the NBI Forensic Chemistry Division (Exh. 1989 prepared by Evelyn C. Piedad Estate dated July 5. Exhibit 32-OSG [DENR]. (n) Order dated October 16. Fls-3164. 2005 of DENR Secretary Defensor addressed to LRA Deputy Administrator Abueg-Sta. Evelyn G. Tuanda.Evidence Submitted to the CA A. and Hilaria de Guzman. Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Records Management Division (RMD). 1999 and 2nd Indorsement dated March 26.OSG Engr. Fls-3164. 823. 12-OSG [LMB]). 2004 from LRA Deputy Administrator Ofelia E. showing the location of Lot No. 16-OSG [LMB]). 823. 2000 issued by the LMB transferring Sale Certificate No. 1-OSG [LMB]). 823 of Piedad Estate at Matandang Balara. 4-OSG [LMB]). Tenazas forwarding records of Lot No. 511 in the name of Valentin Manahan and ordering the issuance of Deed of Conveyance in favor of Felicitas Manahan (Exh. (l) Memorandum dated April 17. 2000 issued by the Chief of the Legal Division of the LMB to the OIC-Director of the LMB regarding the petition filed by Felicitas Manahan (Exh. 5-OSG [LMB]). 1998 designating investigators for the petition filed by Felicitas Manahan (Exh. LMB. 2005 from DENR Secretary Defensor to the Director of LMB 90 . 823. Piedad Estate) marked as Exhibit 29-OSG [DENR]. Piedad Estate to the LMB-RMD for numbering and notarization of the Deed of Conveyance (Exh. Maria addressed to then DENR Secretary Michael T.45" appearing in Exhibit 28-OSG should read "644. dated November 25. (d) Technical Description of Lot No. (q) Letter dated January 3. dela Rosa. 1974 executed by Hilaria de Guzman in favor of Felicitas Manahan covering Lot 823.5" (as reflected in Exhibit 29-OSG [DENR]) and they used this computation as otherwise the polygon will not close. V-200022 dated October 30. Piedad Estate dated May 27. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of Severino Manotok. assignee (Exh. 11-OSG [LMB]). 14-OSG [LMB]). Geodetic Engineer III of the Technical Services Section of DENR-NCR. Judith Poblete. Piedad Estate (Exh. et al. (r) Memorandum dated January 3. 2004 (Exh. 6-OSG [LMB]). Maria acknowledging receipt of the latter's letter dated November 24. in favor of Felicitas Manahan covering Lot No. (o) Deed No. 17-OSG [LMB]). Quezon City to the Director of LMB (Exhs. 8OSG [LMB]). 22 TaHDAS Atty. (c) Deed of Absolute Sale dated August 23. 1999 issued by DENR Lands Sector Regional Technical Director Mamerto L. 9 and 10-OSG [LMB]). (h) LMB Special Order No. 98-135 dated December 18. 823. 2000 issued by the LMB and signed by the OIC Director of Lands Management.

17-OSG had stamp received by the Office of the Assistant Director of LMB. These were signed by Engr. 3-OSG. 2-OSG). She asserted that Volume 2 of the records of Lot No.. DENR-NCR. Aromin. 30 and 31-OSG [DENR] 25 ). (s) Office Memorandum dated January 19. 24 Engr. She had verified the metes and bounds of Lot No. Exh. Volume 2 contained the following documents: (a) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 2005 from LMB Director Concordio D. Crisalde Barcelo. 1054 dated May 4. 34-OSG [LMB]). 23-OSG [LMB]). Tolentino. 25-OSG [LMB]). and Felicisimo Villanueva as assignee (Exh. and not "644. Tuanda said she was not the one (1) who placed the page numbers on the documents. the Director and Handling Officer of the LMB. 823. Atty. (x) Memorandum dated November 9. Piedad Estate. 823 would not be "342. identified the Sketch/Special Plans prepared for the Manahans for reference purposes (Exhs. V-200022 (Exh. 10-OSG.945 square meters" and the Special Plans would not have been approved by the LMB. 1054 dated March 11. 2007 from DENR Undersecretary for Administration. 23 On cross-examination. 27 cEHITA Recalled to the witness stand. Almira. as well as its metes and bounds (Exh. (t) Memorandum dated January 20. Berones as assignee (Exh. 13-OSG. 2005 from LMB-RMD OIC Leonido V. 823 taken from results of the original survey conducted in 1907. 36-OSG [LMB]). Tuanda testified that the allegation of the Manotoks in their Tender of Excluded Evidence with Proffer of Proof that she suppressed the release of LMB records to Luisa Padora is misleading. to the DENR Secretary regarding the launching of "Operation 614" (Exh. Ludivina L. 19-OSG [LMB]). on file with the LMB: (a) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. she allowed the Manotoks to photocopy all the records pertaining to Lot No. Reyes to LMB Legal Division OIC Manuel B. and (z) Memorandum dated November 28.45". 651 issued by the Government of the Philippine Islands in favor of Ambrosio Berones (Exh. the Executive Director of Land Administration and Management Project. Jr. 9-OSG. 1930 executed by Ambrosio Berones as assignor.requiring the latter to take immediate appropriate action on the letter dated November 24. 1930 covering Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate executed by Ambrosio 91 . 2005 issued by DENR Secretary Defensor (Exh. Bordeos to LMB OIC Assistant Director Ricalde stating the results of their records verification conducted pursuant to Office Memorandum dated January 19. 22-OSG [LMB]). 35-OSG [LMB]). Tacorda providing a history of OCT No. based on the technical description of Lot No. Finance and Legal Atty. 823. 2009. 823 is not missing. 2004 of LRA Deputy Administrator Abueg-Sta. 2007 from LMB OIC Director Gerino A. 14-OSG. 651 dated April 19. As ordered by the court on July 28. Regional Technical Director of DENR-NCR. 1923 executed by M. the area of Lot No. explaining that if the distance used between points 2 and 3 is "64. 2007 from LMB Land Administration and Utilization Division. and (d) Sale Certificate No. Piedad Estate. 823. 1919 executed by Regina Geronima and Zacarias Modesto. 24-OSG [LMB]). (b) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. assignors. (y) Memorandum dated November 26. 2-OSG. Ricalde to the LMB-RMD referring to the latter the Memorandum dated January 3. (u) Letter dated January 21. Teodoro and Severino Manotok as assignors. (w) Memorandum dated November 23. calling for a conference regarding the launching of a project called "Operation 614" (Exh. 651 dated April 19. Sering addressed to the Regional Executive Director and Regional Technical Director for Lands of the DENR-NCR. there were no such stamp mark on Exhibits 1-OSG. (v) Inventory of Claims/Conflicts Cases involving the Piedad Estate (Exh. and Severino Manotok as assignee (Exh. Maria (Exh. 97-24 dated July 30. 511 (Exh. (c) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Chief of the Technical Services Section. Atty. Maria indicating the results of their records verification on Deed No. 2007 from Legal Division OIC Tacorda to the LMB Director regarding the conference for the launching of "Operation 614" (Exh. Jr. When asked why the pagination in Exh. 2009. as in fact she produced it in court. 26-OSG [LMB]). and Andres C. 2005 from LMB OIC Assistant Director Alberto R. 26 On November 17. the OSG submitted the following certified true copies of documents contained in Volume 2 of the records pertaining to Lot No. 614. Mary Ann Lucille L. as she was merely complying with DENR Administrative Order No. Friar Lands Unit Chief Ariel F. 20-OSG [LMB]). 33-OSG [LMB]).5". Atty. 19-OSG and 25-OSG. 13-OSG is not consecutive. 2005 (Exh. Chief of Surveys Division. and noted by Atty. Tuanda said that while all documents received by the RMD are stamped received. 21-OSG [LMB]). She clarified that the sale certificate in the name of Valentin Manahan she was referring to is actually the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 27-OSG [LMB]). Ignacio R. 1997 on the release and disclosure of information. Zuñiga addressed to LRA Deputy Administrator AbuegSta.

823. Lands Sector. 823 as indicated in the Barques' title are not mentioned in OCT No. and the NBI Chemistry Report (Exh. 2OSG was filed or received by the DENR. However. and 28-OSG [DENR] to 32-OSG-DENR. 1941 for Fls-3004-D. 31 On re-direct examination. 11-OSG [LMB]). but he is not sure whether their Exhibits VII. in favor of Andres C. 29 Nemesio Antaran. 1939 in the name of Valentin Manahan. there is no indication when the documents in Volume 2 were received for filing but their index cards will show those dates. 1940 (Exh. prepared for Emiliano Setosta. he plotted the technical descriptions of Lot No. 614. 1940 is more than six (6) months ahead of the date of survey on February 16.Manotoks Jose Marie P. 511 dated June 24. 511. 1979 by the Director of Lands. he said that the Indorsement dated February 23. LMB. On the other hand. brought to the court original copy of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 823 of the Piedad Estate. the Barques' title describes Lot 823 as subdivided into Lots 823-A and 823-B bounded on the Northeast and Southeast by the property of Diez Francisco. cdrep B. It is highly irregular that a survey executed at a later date would have a lower plan number 92 . 32 The OSG formally offered Exhibits 1-OSG [LMB] to 27-OSG [LMB]. 1054 dated March 11. She cannot remember if there was a Deed of Conveyance either in favor of the Manotoks or the Barques. When he compared Subdivision Plan Fls-3004-D dated February 16. Volume 2 contains only four (4) thin documents and she personally supervised its pagination. Using coordinate geometry and/or computer aided design. the lot he surveyed covering Lot 290-B which is a portion of Lot 290 of the Piedad Estate covered by TCT No. Lot 826 is actually located far north of Lot 823 based on the Lot Description Sheet (Exh. (b) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Assistant Chief of the RMD. these applications are forwarded to the Office of the Director. LMB and not to the OSG. He saw in the record sale certificate in the name of the Manotoks but did not see sale Certificate No. examined the survey plans and titles covering Lot No. LMB for processing. 2-OSG [LMB]). The documents in Volume 2 were borrowed by the NBI and were inadvertently inserted in Volume 1 when it was returned by the NBI. he said that such document was included in the Indorsement dated February 23. RT-120665. assignor. 818-A and 818-C. Berones as assignee. 45 34 ). Regional Technical Director. Psd-16489. Bernabe. DENR-NCR. 4562 in the name of the Barques. he noticed that Fls-3168-D dated June 21. and on the West by Lots 824-A. 1999 signed by Mamerto L. 1939 but only the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 511 dated June 24. After the requirements are completed. 9-OSG [LMB]) was addressed to the Director. and concurrently Chief of the General Public Land Records Section. Infante. Exhibits I to VI. Tuanda said that she assumed office only on January 16. Psd-6737. 614. a geodetic engineer who had worked in both public and private sectors and was hired as consultant in cases involving disputed lots. 1941. she cannot answer for the pagination of Volumes 1. Psd-22842 and Psd-291211). 823 was originally registered under OCT No. XXVI to XXXIV are on file with the RMD. 1999 (Exh. 43 33 ) certified correct and reconstructed on December 17. 1923 executed by Teodoro and Severino Manotok covering Lot No. 823 with the following boundaries: on the East by Payatas Estate. V-321 and Deed of Conveyance No. He found some unusual irregularities in the Barques' Subdivision Plan Fls-3168-D dated June 21. they contain significantly different technical descriptions of the same property. RT-22481 and Barques' TCT No. but as shown in the Barques' title. on the Southwest by Lot 824. 823. 1919 executed by Regina Geronimo and Zacarias Modesto. on the Southeast by the Tuazon Estate. X to XXII are faithful reproduction of the originals on file with the RMD. assignee (Exh. and on the Northwest by Lot 826. 823 based on the technical descriptions appearing in OCT No. and Hilaria de Guzman. 28 On cross-examination. 30 On crossexamination. Atty. He further explained that the DENR-NCR has documents pertaining to Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate because the application to purchase friar land begins with or emanates from the NCR office. Lot 818 is the correct lot to the west of Lot 823 together with Lot 824. Lots 824 and 826 are cited as adjacent lots to the west of Lot 823. the southeast and northeast boundaries of Lot No. 2009. (c) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 614.Berones as assignor. They have in their records not the Sale Certificate No. He found that although both titles indicate that Lot No. He cannot ascertain when Exh. She cannot recall if there are other papers in the RMD involving Lot No. 210177. The Manotoks' title indicates an unsubdivided Lot No. Using Google Earth. Manotoks' TCT No. as shown in the various approved survey plans in the area (such as Psd-16296. 3 and 4. 1054 dated May 4.

1054 dated March 11. Chief of Geodetic Surveys Division. and Severino Manotok as assignee. bounded on the East by Payatas Estate. Teodoro and Severino Manotok as assignors. LMB (Exh. 3. 47-A 39 ). Zacarias Modesto and Felicisimo Villanueva covering Lot 823 (Exh.Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Severino Manotok bought Lot 823 in the 1920s and "obtained a transfer certificate of title under a direct transfer from the Government". consistent with the technical descriptions appearing in the nine (9) certificates of title of the Manotoks. no record of Subdivision Plan Fls-3168-D exists in the LMB and LMS-DENR-NCR. 818-A and 818-C. 12). 1923 entered into between M. The property was fenced with concrete walls to secure it from outsiders and bar the entry of trespassers. FLR67-D for Lot 823 as surveyed for Severino Manotok on April 18. Lot 823 became publicly known and referred to as the Manotok Compound.OCT No. 9). 1920 entered into between Zacarias Modesto as assignor. and the machine copy of Fls-3168-D purportedly issued by the LMS-DENR-NCR is spurious and did not emanate from LMB. 6. 818-New-B and 818-C the western boundaries of Lot 823. and M. Based on his research. shows that Lot 823 is an undivided piece of property (Exh. covering Lot 823 (Exh. employed as legal assistant in the various corporations of the Manotoks whose responsibilities include securing. Privadi Dalire. 1054 dated June 7. based on the totality of the documents he examined. 1912 in the name of "Gobierno de las Islas Filipinas" covering the Piedad Estate. 11). 46 36 ) showed that to the east of Lot 824-A is undivided Lot 823 (Exh. 13). on the Southeast by the Tuazon Estate and on the West by Lots 824-A. preparing and safekeeping of all documents such as titles. conveyances. 35 Engr. 1054 dated May 4.Sale Certificate No. 1928 (Exh. and Zacarias Modesto as assignee. 44 Milagros Manotok-Dormido declared that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate where she also resides was acquired by their grandfather Severino Manotok from the Government. 26 to 27-EEEEEEE. 1919 issued by the Bureau of Lands to Regina Geronimo. 47 38 ). 93 . Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate is an undivided piece of land with an area of 342. etc.Description of Relocation Plan for Lot 823 prepared by Deputy Public Land Surveyor A. tax declarations. the witness said she has in her possession copies of the following documents: cTDaEH 1. 21 and 21-A). pertaining to the properties of the Manotoks.945 square meters. They have since built several houses and structures on the property where they live up to the present. 1919 entered into between Regina Geronimo. Manahan and approved by the Bureau of Lands on August 27. identified the documents marked as Exhibits 1 to 13. covering Lot 823 (Exh.since the plan numbers are issued consecutively by the Bureau of Lands. 10). and as shown in the Report signed by Engr. As a result of the lengthy ownership of the Manotoks and their occupancy. and Survey Plan for Lot 818-A-New (Exh. 43 Luisa Padora.Relocation Plan No. the Survey Plan for Lot 822-A (Exh. which is located north of Lot 823. 7. Teodoro and Severino Manotok as assignees. 49 41 ) and the latter's Affidavit dated November 18. covering Lot 823 (Exh. 46-A 37 ). 614 issued on March 12. 4. 20). 48 40 ) shows Lots 818-New-A. they have declared it for real property tax purposes and religiously paid the taxes since 1933. Manahan for Severino Manotok with accompanying receipt (Exhs. 1054 dated March 10. 2006 (Exh. Bernabe pointed out that his examination of Survey Plan for Lot 824-A done in 1947 (Exh. prepared in 1991 and approved in 1992. tax payment receipts. Zacarias Modesto and Felicisimo Villanueva as assignors.Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 1928 by Deputy Public Land Surveyor A. 2. He likewise found that the errors and discrepancies pertaining to Fls-3168-D show that the regular procedures and requirements for preparing subdivision plans were not followed. which is consistent with the description in Manotoks' title. including Lot 823 (Exh. Thus. Tracing the acquisition of ownership by the Manotoks of Lot 823. 50 42 ). 5.Assignment of Sale Certificate No.

15. 7-A).TCT No. 198833 of the Registry of Deeds for Quezon City issued on May 27. Jr. 12. 17. covering Lot 823 (Exh. Inc.TCT No. Rosa. 18.TCT No. 22813 of the Registry of Deeds for the Province of Rizal indicating Lot 823. 19. 3-A). 26 to 26-N). (Exh. 24.Deed of Absolute Sale dated October 8. Filomena. 9. and Milagros (Exh. 823 (Exhs.TCT No. 21. covering Lot 823.TCT No. 1986 executed by Ignacio R.Page of the Notarial Register of Notary Public Angel del Rosario for the year 1946 issued by the National Archives reflecting the Deed of Donation executed by Severino Manotok (Exh. Perpetua M. 1988 (Exh. 5-A). Jr. 354241 issued in the name of the Manotok children and grandchildren as a result of the Unilateral Deed of Absolute Sale dated December 22. 1974 executed by Manotok Realty. Elisa.8. Bocanegra. photographs of the 94 . Jesus and Rahula Ignacio) and grandsons Severino III and Fausto.Unilateral Deed of Absolute Sale dated December 22. Manotok. 1950 executed by the Manotok children and grandchildren in favor of Manotok Realty. several declarations of Real Property covering Lot No. Jr. its area and boundaries. 1987 Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Fausto Manotok (Exh. in favor of the Manotok children and grandchildren.TCT No. Bocanegra in 1984 covering the remaining 1/2 of her 1/9 undivided interest in Lot 823 in favor of her son George M. 372302 of the Registry of Deeds for Quezon City issued on October 17..Deed of Sale executed by Perpetua M. 1974 in the name of the Manotoks (Exh. covering Lot No. (Exh. 10. 4-A to 4-E). 13900 of the Registry of Deeds for Quezon City issued on August 31. 6).Unilateral Deed of Conveyance dated January 31. 4). 27 to 27-EEEEEEE. Manotok (Exhs. Perpetua. 16. Inc. 1986 executed by Ignacio R.TCT No. Mary Ann. 1946 in the name of the Manotok children and grandchildren (Exh. RT-22481 (372302) of the Registry of Deeds for Quezon City issued in the name of the Manotok children and grandchildren in 1991 upon their application for reconstitution of TCT No. Bocanegra. 1976 in the name of the Manotoks (Exh. 1976 by Purificacion Laperal Rosa R. 20. 534 of the Registry of Deeds for the Province of Rizal issued on September 4. 1987 in the name of the Manotok children and grandchildren as a result of the October 8. the lower half of this document is torn (Exh. Ignacio. 2-A).Deed of Donation dated August 23. Severino. 221559 of the Registry of Deeds for Quezon City issued on August 9. Inc. 7).TCT No. covering Lot 823 (Exh. 1950 in the name of Manotok Realty. Manotok covering his 1/9 undivided interest in Lot No.Deed of Assignment dated August 25. 23. 14. 823 in favor of his children (Exh. aCSTDc 22. Bocanegra. 11. 8). 13. Severino Manotok. 330376 issued in the name of the Manotok children and grandchildren in 1984 as a result of the Deed of Sale executed by Perpetua M.. 7-B). Jr. numerous Real Property Tax Bills and Real Property Tax Receipts from 1933 to the present (Exhs.TCT No. 372302 after the same was destroyed by a fire that razed the Quezon City Registry of Deeds office on June 11. 2). and Jesus R. Milagros Manotok-Dormido also identified those documentary exhibits attached to their pre-trial brief. 823 in favor of his children Michael Marshall. 1).Deeds of Absolute Sale separately executed on May 8. 27-YYYYYY). 5). Manotok. 1946 executed by Severino Manotok in favor of his children (Purificacion. Felisa Mylene. 823. 6-A). 1987 executed by Fausto Manotok covering his 1/18 undivided interest in Lot No.

Eliseo Razon shows that neither Document Nos. 823 as "Manotoc Compound" (Exh.) identifying Lot No. 22183) after a deed of conveyance was issued on December 7. Page 98. After the Bureau of Lands issued the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 1991 (Exh. 46 On cross-examination. the Deed of Absolute Sale between Hilaria de Guzman Manahan and Felicitas B. Elisa R. 29204 from the National Archives. Luisa Padora. They asked for a certified true copy of Deed of Conveyance No. 15. 36) signed by the Reconstituting Officer Benjamin Bustos granting her application for reconstitution. Book No. 1974. respectively. 415 nor 416 was the supposed Deed of Sale dated September 24. Province of Rizal. Barque but a Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Magdalena Reyes and a Special Power of Attorney executed by Victorio Savellano. 35 to 35-YY). in February 1991. 34). She identified the documents they submitted in their application. Milagros Manotok Dormido said she cannot answer it because said document they recovered is truncated and cut under. 29 52 ) supposedly notarized by Santiago R. 1515. and the Deed of Absolute Sale between Emiliano Setosta and Homer K. 47 As a layman. 1988. 1975 between Emiliano Setosta and Homer K. in her Judicial Affidavit dated December 9. But the Manotoks were the recognized owners under TCT No. 49 Susana M. longtime employee of the Manotoks. the daughter of Severino Manotok. 1920. She asserted that Severino Manotok acquired Lot No. the witness declared that she is testifying in lieu of Rosa Manotok. The changes of location of the property in the tax declarations and tax receipts from Barrio Payong. 21) indicated its location at Barrio Payong. 51-A45 ) from the National Archives of the Philippines. some letters from government offices recognizing their grandfather as the owner of the property (Exhs. 16. her affidavit is the same as the affidavit of Rosa Manotok. and later to Barangay Matandang Balara was caused by the City Assessor (the Manotok Compound and Barrio Culiat are two [2] distinct locations). she considered as sales certificate the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. obtained from the National Archives certifications (signed by an archivist) stating that said office has no copy on its file of the following: Sale Certificate No. 634" she said that she has not seen that title. 28 51 ). 823 after it was destroyed in a fire which razed the Quezon City Registry of Deeds on June 11. 56 95 . 1974 (Exh. Reyes on August 23. 17. She had secured a copy of Deed of Conveyance No. Cuilao. Promissory Note and Payment Receipt executed by Reynaldo Cornejo on August 23. Caloocan and Rizal. Barque (Exh. 1054. 18 and 25). 48 When asked who is the registered owner under TCT No. LMB. 29204 from the Bureau of Lands. Piedad Estate which they were also claiming. 35-A to 35-UUU). they were not able to secure a copy of Deed of Conveyance No. 1932. The Manahans never demanded from the Manotoks nor sued the latter for the return of Lot 283. 2009. Manotok received a copy of the Order dated February 1. Municipality of Caloocan. then to Barrio Culiat. 50 One (1) of the rebuttal witnesses for the Manotoks. Despite a diligent search. VI. RT-22481 (372302) from the Quezon City Registry of Deeds. testified that she assisted Elisa R. Manahan (Exh. 120 and 121 55 ) of the notarial register of Atty. she received original duplicate copy of TCT No. 372302 covering Lot No. it could be a human error somewhere in that document. photographs of the houses and structures built by the Manotoks on the property over the years (Exhs. series of 1974 entered in the notarial register is a Memorandum of Agreement. After several follow-ups. As to the notation "cancelled by TCT No. Relocation Plan of Lot No. Sale Certificate No. 634 covers a lot in Cavite with an area of about 500 square meters registered in the name of Mamahay Development Corporation. 29204 dated December 7. LRA and the Registry of Deeds offices of Quezon City. 823 (Exh. 1932 (Exh. 30 54) as certified true copies of pages 84 and 85 (Exhs. 22813 supposedly dated August 1928 while the Deed of Conveyance was issued later in 1932. 119 53 ) as Doc. 22813 by the Provincial Assessor. she believes that it is an internal document of the Bureau of Lands. When confronted with TCT No. In December 1993. her grandfather Severino Manotok fully paid the installments and was able to obtain a title (TCT No.perimeter walls surrounding Lot No. 1054 was not annotated on OCT No. 22813. Manotok in filling the application for reconstitution of TCT No. 614. She also had no knowledge that TCT No. 823 (Exhs. 823 of the Piedad Estate by direct transfer from the Government. 511 executed by Valentin Manahan in favor of Hilaria de Guzman (Exh. and Metro Manila Street Map (2003 ed. the witness said that the title must have been issued in 1933. 1054 on June 7. No.

When she went to the Friar Lands Division of the LMB. and she presumed that the record-keeping facilities at the LMB are not as good as that of the National Archives based on the difference in the appearance of the documents from these offices. Sorra said that at the National Archives she saw the duplicates of the originals of documents "Q-1" and "Q-2" and had examined and photographed them. only 416 pages were released to her upon orders from the OIC of the RMD. She also went to the National Archives for comparison of the appearance of documents dated 1919. Tuanda. Philippine National Police (PNP). "Q-2" and "Q-3. OIC of the RMD. 117 61 ) from Mr. 1923 (Exh. 2007 addressed to the Manotoks (Exh. and that out of the 1000 pages of available records of Lot No. Luisa Padora stated that she brought the letter-request (Exh. 823) only after she was ordered by the Court to provide the Manotoks with copies of the documents. 138 64 ) contains the findings of the microscopic. Director and rec'd by Charie Sale on 12.21. 1054 dated March 11. she presented LMB Office Memorandum (Exh. 2009 requesting for copies of all LMB documents pertaining to Lot No." When the documents were subjected under ultraviolet light examination. 823 was not missing and is available. 1054 dated May 4. which states that out of all the records pertaining to Lot 823. OIC. at the Manotok's warehouse in the compound: a 1929 certified copy of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Atty. and the original Official Receipt dated February 20. 1923. Dr. ultraviolet (UV) transmitted light and physical examinations. Luisa Padora stated that she received a letter-reply dated October 15. 1054 dated May 4. However. but she admitted that she cannot tell the age of said documents. 823. Atty. As additional proof. Teodoro and Severino Manotok (assignors) and Severino Manotok (assignee) covering Lot No. 823. With respect to the documents relating to Lot No. She merely determined the age through the browning and discoloration. She did not examine contemporaneous documents in the records of the LMB because she believes that the National Archives is the repository of all the documents in the Philippines and because the three (3) questioned documents came from the LMB. 139 signed by Atty. 2009 hearing that Volume II of the records of Lot No. tears or tattered condition of the paper. Mely F. 1054. among others. The LMB released some of the requested documents after her first affidavit was submitted before the court on July 20. 511 dated June 24. III and IV were officially returned/received by the RMD on October 5. 60 CcTIDH As to the statement of Atty. 14 58 ) issued by the Government of the Philippines Islands for the cost of the certified copy of the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 2009 three (3) questioned documents: "Q-1" — Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Sorra. 1919 executed by Regina Geronimo. The entries that were in ballpoint pen ink were the written entries on the stamp pad bearing the words "Department of Environment and Natural Resources. 2007 which contains a note at the bottom left hand corner which states "Volume II not yet returned as of this writing (charged to Office of the Asst. she concluded that the documents were old because they are attested/notarized and because of their physical appearance. the particular ink which evaporates refers to a fountain pen ink. Land Management Bureau-RMD Manila. 1923 and 1932 with "Q-1"." She found the three (3) documents authentic being old and because of their discoloration and tattered condition. 1939 (transmittal letter marked as Exh. and "Q-3" — Assignment of Sale Certificate No. "Q-2" — Assignment of Sale Certificate No. which was certified by the Chief Clerk of the Bureau of Lands. Rainier D. she was not able to see how the documents are 96 . 2006 and that Volume II was not returned to the RMD. 13-A 57 ) between M. and photographic procedure she performed on the questioned documents. 823 which were in the LMB. 122 59 ) dated July 9. Tuanda during the November 10. they appeared newer than those copies submitted by the LMB because of good storage. 1929 (Exh. Tuanda. the ink of the signatures appearing on the documents had evaporated and the color is brownish. Modesto Zacarias and Felicisimo Villanueva. Tuanda released all the withheld documents (only 416 pages out of 1000 pages of available records of Lot No. 118 62 ) dated September 19. Document Examiner V and presently the Chief of Questioned Documents Division. she located two (2) old documents. she noticed that there was no Volume II. Piedad Estate.Luisa Padora further declared that sometime in 1999. She noticed there was no Volume II. RMD). 823. 65 On cross-examination. testified that the LMB submitted for examination on December 1. they gave a dull fluorescence reaction as opposed to a very bright fluorescence reaction of a new coupon bond. such as the ink used in the signatures was already fading and had evaporated/oxidized. only Volumes I.00). 2009. Balbuena." 63 Dr. III and IV. nor the age of the paper used. Fe T. and went through the folders marked Volumes I. In this case. Because of age. Her laboratory report (Exh.

does not pertain to Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate but to a property located at Miller St. 21-22020 which was submitted by the Barques marked as Exh. 86-98 72 ). the questioned documents are old. On January 29. 1946 (August 23. and that it has no record of any order directing the reconstitution of said title (Exh. submitted by the Manahans as Exh. 1932. Jose P. Bienvenido F. 66 Dr. (c) Letter dated August 7. Privadi J. Dalire (former Chief of Geodetic Surveys Division) from Chief of Geodetic Surveys Division. 2009 by the National Archives stating that it has no copy on file of the Deed of Absolute Sale allegedly executed between Emiliano Setosta and Homer K. Don Vicente St. She explained that her conclusion that the document is authentic does not mean that the signatures are also authentic because she had no basis for comparison. Assignment of Sale Certificate No. (b) Certifications from the National Archives that it has no copy on file of Sale Certificate No. Chief. 25 to 27-YYYYYY). Based on her findings. 51-A) validly certified by the National Archives (Exhs. 80 76 ). 67 In her Rebuttal Judicial Affidavit. 28. Said Deed of Conveyance is genuine as shown by the certified copies of Deeds of Conveyance issued on the same date and which contain deed numbers immediately preceding and succeeding the Deed of Conveyance No. cor. the witness presented the following documents: (a) Certification issued on February 10. Filinvest II Subdivision. 81 As to the claim of Manahans. attesting that Fls-3168-D is not recorded in the Inventory Book of Fls Plans (Exh. She agreed that the best and more accurate way of determining the age of a paper or a document is through carbon dating. and succeeding transfer certificates of titles.. 68 Milagros Manotok-Dormido declared that the completion of Severino Manotok's installment payments was evidenced by official receipts (Exhs. 511. 2009 issued by Jose M. Quezon City (Exh. (d) Certificates of 97 . (c) Certification dated October 14. 2007 addressed to Engr. 100 80 ). the witness submitted the following documents: (a) the same Letter from the Quezon City Assistant Assessor. and that she would not be able to determine the age of a document when there was an artificial aging. 823 of the Piedad Estate but to a property located at Don Wilfredo St. 1998 but the petition and other documents transmitted therewith could not be located. (b) Property Identification issued by the Quezon City Assessor's Office showing that Lot No.. C-138-06951. which also certified page 97 of the Notarial Register for the year 1932 that on December 20. she also did not refer the documents to the DOST.G. 106 85 ). Sorra admitted that she did not conduct a chemical examination of the questioned documents because the PNP Crime Laboratory has no scientific equipment for chemical analysis. and that she did not refer the said documents to the Chemistry Division of the PNP because the carbon dating equipment is with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). 1. Quezon City (Exh.B. 82 79 ). stating that an administrative petition for reconstitution of the purported original of TCT No. 823 of the Piedad Estate remains unsubdivided (Exh. 75aIcDCH With respect to the claim of the Barques. 79 77 ). 64 to 78 74 ). 100 82 ). 2009 from the Quezon City Assistant Assessor confirming that Property Index No. 823 covered by TCT No. does not pertain to Lot No. also shown by a certified copy of page 351 of the Inventory Book of Plans (Exh. she had seen documents dated 1919 and 1923 on file with the National Archives. Bagong Silangan. it was confirmed that Tax Declaration No. Severino Manotok executed a Deed of Donation conveying Lot No. 35. 511 and Deed of Sale between Hilaria de Guzman-Manahan and Felicitas Manahan (Exhs. 99 78 ). 1975 before Notary Public Eliseo A. Don Enrique Subdivision. 1946 73 ). Documents "Q-1 and Q-2" were from 1919 based on their copies at the National Archives and her examination thereof. Barque ratified on September 24. Cabatu. The Manotok's ownership of the property is further evidenced by tax declarations in the name of Severino Manotok and later his children and grandchildren as co-owners (Exhs. 84 and 85 70 ). 29204 (Exh. 83 104 and 105 84 ).being stored at the LMB as she was not able to visit said office. 83 71 ). Engr. Reconstitution DivisionLRA. building permits secured by Elisa Manotok for the construction of buildings and structures on the land (Exhs. tax payment receipts. 29204 (Exhs. and (d) Letter dated August 6. 112-115 69 ) and acknowledged by the Deed of Conveyance No. Barangay Holy Spirit. Dans appeared and acknowledged the due execution of this Deed of Conveyance (Exh. and explained that through microscopic and physical examination she will be able to tell whether the document is old but not its exact age. Cruz. 22813 to his children and grandchildren. Razon (Exh. 250215 of the Registry of Deeds for Quezon City was filed by a certain Felicitas Manahan and transmitted to the LRA on or about January 7.

1989 was living in San Gabriel and the husband was Jose Cruz. 1933). 94 Other documentary evidence formally offered by the Manotoks are the following: (a) Exh. referred her to a man she knew as "Mang Atoy" who showed her the Book of Deads. 64 to 69 90 ). 102. He further declared that the Certificate of Death of Valentin Manahan married to Francisca Lucas (Exh. 149 are intact while page or Folio 147 of Book 4 covering the record of deaths in the month of February 1955 is missing. Angelito Santiago. 89 Milagros Manotok-Dormido further declared that the building permits applied for by her aunt refer to the houses appearing in the photographs attached to her Judicial Affidavit. thus refuting the claim of Rosendo Manahan that he is the son of Lucio Manahan and Hilaria de Guzman-Manahan (Exhs. Cornejo on August 23. Carmel. 145. 119 97 — certified copy of page 98 of the Notarial Register of Atty. (c) Exh.Death issued by the Parish of Our Lady of Mt. The certifications she obtained were not signed by the Executive Director but only by an archivist who was authorized to sign in behalf of Dr. Carmel in Barasoain. 534 covering Lot No. Hilaria de Guzman who was living in Bulihan was the wife of Lucio Manahan who died on August 19. 10387 ). 1939 (Exhs. the location of the property subject of the building permits in Exhs. Malolos. As to the lack of signature of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources in the certified copy of Deed of Conveyance No. the Office of the Civil Registrar of Malolos City and the National Statistics Office (NSO). and also Liber Defunctorum 5-Entry No. Santiago Reyes which shows that document no. as in fact they were issued TCT No. 146. 1931. 1515 is a Memorandum of Agreement-Promissory Note & Payment Receipt executed by one (1) Mr. Bulacan stating that Valentin Manahan died on September 21. They did not apply to build residences inside a golf club and there is no golf course inside the Manotok Compound. the preparation and approval of survey plan Fls-3164 and executed the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 91 She went to Malolos about four (4) times to confirm the story of the Manahans. Teresita Ignacio. at that time. Chief of the Archives Collection and Access Division. she asserted that it is still a complete document being just a copy of the duplicate original. "Hilaria de Guzman" appearing in Book 7 is different from Hilaria de Guzman found in Book 5. 61. (d) Exh. 1963 at the age of 20. 511. thus refuting the claim that Valentin Manahan caused the property survey of Lot No. Carmel in Malolos City. was forwarded to the Register of Deeds for Quezon City. Based on the index cards (Exhs. 534 issued in the name of Purificacion Manotok. Bulacan. which must have been signed by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 62 86 ). 61 93 ) does not cover the death of Valentin Manahan married to Placida Figueroa. Hilaria de Guzman who died on June 19. et al. 109 and 57 88 ). Piedad Estate in the name of the Manotok children. 534. while in Book 7. Carmel. She borrowed three (3) books and returned them right away after xeroxing. 1974. the witness said it was because that was a notarized document. 92 The Manotoks also presented as witness Msgr. 108. At the Parish of Our Lady of Mt. 68 and 69 is Capitol Golf Club. 1955. There she saw (for a brief time) the tombstone of Lucio Manahan. 1931 in Malolos City (Exh. Capitol. she was sure of this. 22813 dated 1933 (not August 1928 as erroneously reflected in the title because the Deed of Conveyance was issued in 1932 and her grandfather was notified by the Provincial Assessor of Rizal that he can start paying his tax on August 9. which is offered to prove that said title is a transfer from TCT No. When asked why she did not go to the LMB or other government office instead of the National Archives to secure a certification in the records concerning Sale Certificate No. 823. (e) Negative Certification of Death issued by the Office of the City Civil Registrar of Malolos stating that the records of deaths during the period January 1931 to December 1931 were all destroyed by natural cause and for that reason it cannot issue a true transcription from the Register of Deaths relative to Valentin Manahan who is alleged to have died on September 21. Said witness testified that based on their record book. (e) Documents obtained from the Parish of Our Lady of Mt. 19 96 — certified copy of a Certification dated November 18. the custodian of the records. 7 95 — a photocopy of TCT No. 823. (b) Exh. showing that Rosendo Manahan died on July 30. 148. 10. 67. Parish Priest of Our Lady of Mt. She asked "Mang Atoy" where the Catholic cemetery is and he pointed to the back of the church. Teodora Dinio. the location of the properties described therein is Capitol Golf Club. 29204 from the National Archives. 511 in favor of Hilaria de Guzman on June 24. Capitol. 120 98 — certified copy of page 84 of the Notarial 98 . and not the alleged Deed of Sale between Hilaria de Guzman and Felicitas Manahan. 22813 which was cancelled by TCT No. 1950 issued by Register of Deeds for Pasig Gregorio Velazquez that the original of TCT No. she did not see that of Valentin Manahan. 107. He could not explain why Folio Nos.

she said that her father bought the property in 1975 and the money borrowed by her father was used for the hospitalization of her mother. she applied for the issuance of a tax declaration. Her father left the title of the subject lot to her Lola Felisa before his death in 1991. 210177 in the name of Homer L. she replied that it was sometime in 1989 after the fire which gutted the Register of Deeds in 1988. Asked again as to when she learned for the first time of the purchase of the subject lot by her father. (b) Certified true copy of the File Copy from the Bureau of Lands of said Subdivision Plan now bearing the typewritten notation "VALIDATION DENR A. also obtained from the Bureau of Lands (Exh. 1054 dated May 4.Register of Atty. 823. 210177 before the LRA because the original copy thereof was among those titles destroyed in a fire which struck the Quezon City Hall in 1988. the tax declaration she secured was "new" and the property "undeclared". the Manotoks also formally offered the following: Exh.G. 102 C. she replied that the OIC of the Assessor's Office in the person of Mr. (Exh. 142 — Certified copy issued by the National Archives of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. cCSDaI As part of their rebuttal evidence. She was able to obtain the following documents from the LRA and Bureau of Lands: (a) Certified true copy of the approved Subdivision Plan of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate for Emiliano Setosta dated June 21. Cortez. Eliseo Razon for 1975 which shows that doc. 1998. the witness said that she is engaged in selling subdivision lots and many attempted to sell Lot 823 but nobody buys it. 3 104 ). 110 On cross-examination. Viloria told her 99 . 6 107 ). In filing a petition for administrative reconstitution. (d) Certified true copy of the survey plan (microfilm enlargement of Fls-3168-D with the signatures of Privadi J. 13900 but despite diligent efforts she could no longer locate it. Setosta was issued TCT No.Barques Teresita Barque-Hernandez identified and affirmed the contents of her Judicial Affidavit declaring that she caused the filing of an application for administrative reconstitution of TCT No. 1975 between Homer Barque and Emiliano Setosta. Ordinary and Cadastral Decree Division stating that "as per Record Book of Decrees for Ordinary Land Registration Cases. 5975. 6667 on March 8. no. 1912". 28-37-R dated 11-8-94 which shows the lot boundaries. In 1985. Emiliano P. 144 — Certified copy issued by the National Archives of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 1975 (Exh. 415 is not the supposed Deed of Sale dated September 24. 101 and Exh. which she got from the Bureau of Lands (Exh. 1940. containing an area of 342. no. 7 108 ). Barque. Fls-3168-D dated April 24. 1054 dated March 11. Chief. 5 106 ). which appears in TCT No. Setosta pursuant to a Deed of Absolute Sale dated September 24. (OLD) CLR Record No. she answered it was wayback in 1985. When asked why it was only in 1989 that she discovered that her father purchased thirty four (34) hectares of land from Emiliano Setosta. 824 and 826 (Exh. 1054 dated June 7. covering Lot 823 of Piedad Estate. 1920 between Zacarias Modesto (assignor) and M.O. and (f) BL Form No. 12 109 ). she presented copies of various Tax Declarations from 1986 up to 1996 and Plan of Lots 823-A and 823-B. Regina Geronimo and Felicisimo Villanueva (assignors) and Zacarias Modesto (assignee). 1919 between Zacarias Modesto.945 square meters (Exh. but a Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Magdalena Reyes. Sr. her father borrowed money from her Lola Felisa to purchase the subject lot. Dalire and Carmelito Soriano. 14 103 ). After her father's death. 1996 from the LRA issued by Felino M. 4 105 ). 49 1991" (Exh. she said that the lawyer of her father who is 89 years old told them how to do it because "we do not have tax declaration". covering Lot 823 of Piedad Estate. (c) Certification dated April 11. No. 143 — Certified copy issued by the National Archives of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Her father acquired the property from Emiliano P. Teodoro and Severino Manotok (assignors) and Severino Manotok (assignee). 823 of the Piedad Estate. When asked why. (e) Exh. Eliseo Razon for 1975 which shows that doc. 1975 between Homer Barque and Emiliano Setosta. Emiliano Setosta was introduced to her by her father in 1974 or 1975 when she was in her 30s. 416 is not the supposed Deed of Sale dated September 24. but a Special Power of Attorney executed by Victorino Savellano. 1923 between M. when her mother was sick of cervical cancer. Her father did not discuss with the family his transaction with Emiliano Setosta and she learned about it when her father was sick and dying in 1989. When asked about such money borrowed by her father in 1985. 100 Exh. Teodoro and Severino Manotok (assignees) covering Lot 823 of Piedad Estate. Rizal was issued Decree No. As proof that her father Homer Barque owned Lot No. her sister found a tax declaration covering Lot 823 which was burned by her sister along with other belongings of their father. 121 99 — certified copy of page 85 of the Notarial Register of Atty. (e) Certified photocopy of BL From 31-10 showing the technical descriptions of Lots 822. When asked again why the property is "undeclared".

1937 (Exh. verifying if she had an approved plan. Mr. Almira is not the custodian of the records of the LMB but Chief of the Regional Surveys Division certifying documents with the DENR. 511 in favor of Valentin Manahan as assignor and Hilaria de Guzman Manahan . Exhibits 34. 30 117 ). The caption of this document dated May 4. Castor Viernes. Department of Agriculture and Commerce. Lee wanted to be ahead of Ayala. 111 As for the title of the Manotoks. Erive. Ignacio R. 10 119 ). 2009 issued by Ignacio R. Bragado. 823. she just went there for a visit with her friends to boast that her father bought something that is big. After two (2) days she returned and the person in-charge gave her a certified xerox copy of Deed of Conveyance No. 1054. 35-A and 35-B 113 pertaining to the claim of Manahans were given to him not by Atty. she got a Certification dated June 8. 4562 dated May 4. 1 112 ). Her sister was to be operated at that time and she was forced to borrow money. (c) Certification issued by Ernesto S. Office of the Secretary": she agrees though that the Republic of the Philippines was not yet established at the time the document was executed. identified in court the following documents he obtained through his research: (a) Certification dated June 19. They were then employed and had a bus line (Mariposa Express). as per attached xerox copies of the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. She only learned there was somebody occupying their land after she had paid the taxes and submitted documents which were transmitted to the LRA. and others. Manila" (Exh. Lot 823. the office has no available record of F-30510 and F-87330. "EDP's Listing has available record with Fls-3168-D. xerox copy of which is herewith attached. 24 120 ). She never saw the title of Emiliano Setosta as her father transferred immediately the title in his name (TCT No. it was the reconstituting officer who told her that the title has been reconstituted already. nobody told her about it when she was securing a new tax declaration. stating that "according to our Registry Book upon verification that Lot No. 2007 issued by Rainier D. according to the general index card" (Exh. Megaworld. 26 121 ). in the name of Survey Claimant Emiliano Setosta" (Exh. It also mentioned the "Civil Code of the Philippines" and the purchase price being fully paid with Japanese war notes in July 1942. 210177 because it was mortgaged on June 15.000. In the early part of 1999. Binondo. She had not seen before any structure inside the property. (b) Certification dated June 19. 35. 2 116 ). 2003 100 . he gave her copies of a tax declaration and title in the name of Felicitas Manahan married to Rosendo Manahan. Binondo. she had visited the property which had no fence then. Teodoro as Assignor. . a certain Atty. and Severino Manotok as Assignee. The reconstituting officer made it hard for her to have administrative reconstitution of her title. she did not yet know its number or date when she asked for a copy in the LMB (she went there accompanied by Castor Viernes).that the tax declaration of her father was lost because of "saksak-bunot". RMD. She was not actually interested. in offering to buy the property. which documents were later authenticated by the LMB. neither is Ignacio R.118 Engr. 4562 (Exh. LMB. further verification should be made from Land Management Bureau. OIC. 114 aIcDCT As to the Sale Certificate and Deed of Conveyance in the name of Emiliano Setosta. Chief. She later clarified that Ignacio R. Before 1979. 2009 from Mr. situated in Caloocan. She also secured the Certification dated April 13. Castor C. in the name of M. 1). Balbuena stating that "according to verification of their records. V-321 (Exh. However. V-321 (Exh. 2007 issued by LMB-RMD OIC Rainier D. Balbuena. 2007 and the same is in the possession of Cedric Lee (president of Isumo Corporation) from whom she received P10. Quilala of the Register of Deeds told her that another person filed a petition for reconstitution. (d) Letter dated January 10. they just located it. Rizal.000. her father bought other properties but she was not privy to this. Together with Engr. Mr. 4562 and Sale Certificate No. had no available record in this Office" (Exh. Viernes. She was not able to bring with her the original copy of TCT No. a former employee of the Bureau of Lands (1961-1972). Almira which states that his office has available record of Deed of Conveyance No. Almira. She admitted that they never tried to occupy Lot No. Rizal (now Quezon City). DENR-NCR stating that "plan Flr-67-D is not among those existing records on file in the Technical Records and Statistics Section of this Office. Manila stating that according to verification of their records. 1941. Quilala but by Atty. Surveys Division. Almira the custodian of the records of the DENR.00. 823 after learning that her father owned it in 1985. Cedric Lee will buy the property. the lot was paid in Japanese war notes despite the fact that the war started only on December 8. She admitted that as shown in the Deed of Conveyance No. situated in Piedad Estate. Piedad Estate under Sales Certificate No. . 210177). 1937 reads: "Republic of the Philippines. 1 115 ) and Sale Certificate No.

it falls away from the map of Quezon City. Viernes to make a similar request with the LMB which has jurisdiction over friar lands (Exh. Cruz. Barikwa (sic) and report made by Engr. As to the Barques' Exh.4 meters from monument 16. 1. Regina Geronimo and Felicisimo Villanueva. 32 127 ). (h) Certification dated August 27. OIC. he was holding the position of Computer II in-charge of the verification of cadastral survey returns. 2003 (Exh. (e) Plan of Lot 823. (i) Letter dated March 12. the son of his client Mr. married to Rosendo Manahan issued on May 25. Reyes for authentication. (g) Certification dated April 13. 2003 from Atty. 210177 (Barques' title) is not located in Quezon City allegedly because when plotted to its tie line it appears to be 5. and (m) Letter dated February 27. 511 in the name of Valentin Manahan and Sale Certificate No. the Payatas Estate was not yet existing because it was surveyed only in 1923. Hernandez when it was handed to her. (f) TCT No. Piedad Estate is situated at Old Balara. Domingo Que. 35. The witness said he showed his computation to his officemate. 30 125 ). He also did not see Ignacio R. Teresita J. Hernandez.786. who asked him to help verify the authenticity of the Barques' title. DENR-NCR stating that their office has no record on file of Sale Certificate No. indicating Payatas Estate as a boundary in the survey made in 1912 when Payatas Estate did not exist until 1923 (Exh. 35-A and 35-B 129 ). it seems to be 9. Viernes denied that he was employed by the Barques for a fee. Mariano Flotildes. Geodetic Surveys Division. the document was already signed when it was handed to Mrs. Gregorio Que. Almira sign the Certification dated June 8. the Sketch Plans for Lots 823-A and 823-B (Exhs. Hernandez presented a document to Mrs. Piedad Estate. 2002 issued by Bienvenido F. 1979 covering Lot 823.097. something like more than five (5) kilometers away from the plotting using the tie line of the original Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate of 4. 1998 (Exh. 2003 from Emelyne Villanueva-Talabis. (j) Copy of TCT No. Piedad Estate with an area of 342. When he was still in the Bureau of Lands from 1961 to 1972. 31 126 ). Hernandez. 34 128 ). Geodetic Engineer Teresita Sontillanosa who agreed with his computation. stating that Flr-67-D is not listed in the EDP listing (Exh. Special Assistant to the LMB Director informing Mr. Cruz. and also the plotting of Marco Castro seems to be erroneous. he was not then involved in the actual survey of lots because he was a Civil Engineer and not a Geodetic Engineer. Assistant Regional Executive Director for Technical Services.945 square meters given to Felicitas Manahan by the Register of Deeds of Quezon City (Exh.000 kilometers and not 4. a friend of Mrs. confirming the absence of any record in the DENR of Sale Certificate No. The other parties claimed that the property described in TCT No. The computation made by Engr. It was Mr. 132 Engr. covering Lot 823. RT-22481 and TCT No. 39 and 41 133 ). In the submitted title of the Barques. Viernes asserted that the subject property is not bounded by the Payatas Estate considering that when the Piedad Estate was surveyed in 1907. Evelyn Celzo. Mrs. 28 123 ). 37 131 ). et al. He admitted that he was not able to conduct an actual survey of Lots 823-A and 823-B of the Piedad Estate. He obtained copies of TCT No. Geodetic Surveys Division. LMB. Bordeos. 29 124 ). OIC. Almira. That is why when they plotted the tie line of Lot 823-A using the 9. 250215 in the name of Felicitas Manahan. (l) Letter dated February 21. Viernes that the latter's request cannot be granted because "the said records are still not in the custody of this Division" and suggesting that a similar request be made with the DENR-NCR (Exh.from Bienvenido F. (k) Tax Declaration No. 1054 in the name of Modesto Zacarias. 511 and 1054 was forwarded to the RMD on February 21. 511 issued to Valentin Manahan (Exh. but he did not see the latter sign the certification because he was at the ground floor of the LMB talking to a friend. and advising Mr. 2). Holy Spirit/Capitol.50 meters away from Lot 823. 2009 issued by Ignacio R. with tax receipt and certification (Exhs. Regional Director Surveys Division. Piedad Estate prepared by Geodetic Engineer Teresita D. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of Severino Manotok IV.000 kilometers. Quezon City for the year 1996. Barcelo. 135 SETaHC 101 . Sontillanosa on April 23. 2003 from Leonardo V. Lot 823-A of Fls-3168-D as described in the title is not readable. 36 130 ). 2009 (Exh. 27 122 ).637. He identified Comparative Report on TCT No. 41). 134 Engr. D-138-07070 in the name of Felicitas Manahan indicating that Lot 823. Chief. 250215 and tax declaration of the Manahans from Engr. 210177 (Exh. Crizaldy M. OIC of LMB-RMD informing Mr. he denied having a hand in securing said document but admitted he was with Teresita B. Viernes that his letter requesting for a certified copy of Sales Certificate Nos. LMB stating that Fls-3164 is not listed in the EDP Listing (Exh.6 meters from monument 16.

Tuanda. However. Inc. she was sure of the authenticity of Exh. She admitted that Exh. As to the statement on the reverse side of Exh. from whom she secured a loan of the same amount. thereafter. 1 was a forgery and after Teresita Reyes testified that the latter's signatures thereon were forged. Cedric Lee. 4562 marked as Exh. Sampaloc. She described the practice of "saksak-bunot" wherein documents are inserted in the records of the LMB. 4562 marked as Exh. Dante M. Sampaloc. She paid the loan to Mr. Fe T. Viernes explained that the Deed of Conveyance was not among those he would be testifying and was not mentioned in the previous affidavit that he had signed. which has existed as a separate barangay from Barangay Culiat even before they were transferred from Caloocan City to Quezon City in 1939. If the name of the place where the property is located is incorrect. but based on the maps it is situated in Matandang Balara.I. No. was suspended from the practice of law. he affirmed that if such memo is written on a tax declaration. 139 He testified that it is the technical description of the property that determines its identity. 44 is dated May 4.m.00 from Mr. When asked why he did not include Deed of Conveyance No. Setosta who was resident of 2800 Santolan St./P. Mr. A copy of said deed of conveyance (Exh. and people submit documents from their own personal file after which they would ask for certification or a certified copy thereof. Blg. and her credibility is in question after having been charged with violation of B. neither was he aware that the name and address mentioned in the two (2) documents are also different (in Exh. She affirmed that she went to Mr. the witness vacillated and said he is not certain as he has to see first the tax declaration of the Manotoks to determine which came ahead. 1997. Engr.000.945 sq. the technical description should be corrected to conform to the lot's actual location. 1 which was presented by her lawyer was a falsified document. and was asked if that meant that the tax declaration in the name of Manotok Realty Inc. 1 it stated that Jose Setosta who was named therein was a resident of Bustillos.000. which was mortgaged by her father to the sister of her lola in 1985. 1938 — and did not know what really happened. a highranking official of the LMB. 138 Dante M. despite his earlier testimony that he got a copy thereof from the LMB on March 14. 44 it is Emiliano T. 06895 in the name of the Barques (Exh. 44. When confronted with Exh. Hernandez was claiming the lot which she said is located in Culiat. Que had asked him to verify Lot 823 because Mrs.. When asked why Deed of Conveyance No. retired City Assessor of Quezon City. witness explained that it means that there was no tax declaration for the same property in the name of the Barques prior 102 . she lamented that she was not yet born at the time of the transaction — January 25. declared under [Tax Declaration Number] D-067-02136 with area of 342. she went to another lender. existed before the tax declaration in favor of the Barques. 136 Teresita Barque-Hernandez testified that she did some research on the alleged practice among employees of the Bureau of Lands of issuing fake documents and was dismayed to discover that Atty. Que. Mariano Flotildes. However.850.The Barques presented as witnesses in rebuttal Engr. She received a total of P2.45 but only 50% thereof was paid allegedly by Emiliano Setosta. Jesus Lim. Mrs. 22. 21-4202". 1938 while the Deed of Conveyance No. Viernes declared that Mrs. 137 as it came from Mr. Que in the early part of 1997 to borrow money in order to redeem the property covered by TCT No.P. 44) was given to him by the LMB sometime in March 1997 which he in turn submitted to Mr. and that she was fooled by somebody from the Bureau. Castor Viernes. Que. 4562 among the fourteen (14) documents he found pertaining to the property of Homer L. Teresita Barque-Hernandez. 124 141 — Manotoks on the portion indicating the tax declaration cancelled there is an entry "new" ("undeclared"). Teresita Barque Hernandez wanted to borrow money from him on the title of said lot. Villoria. Hernandez had told him that it appeared during her cross-examination in court that the alleged Deed of Conveyance No. Mr. regardless of the name of its location. Engr. Sr. 44 which stated that the price of Lot 823 was P2. he answered that he does not know. 210177. Barque. Upon the objection of his counsel. 1937. She denied asking for re-authentication after the conduct of her cross-examination which tended to show that her Exh. declared in his Judicial Affidavit that Lot 823 is located in Barangay Matandang Balara. Lim with the proceeds of yet another loan from Mr.. He was shown Tax Declaration No. 1 is dated January 25. Villoria and Engr. it means that the information stated in the memo was already available on the date of the tax declaration. while in Exh. 123 140 — Manotoks) which contains a memo on the lower left hand portion which reads "this property appear[s] to duplicate the property of Manotok Realty. 4562 is spurious. Que.

Quezon City. 410436 appearing on page 79. complete lot survey data. City Assessor's Office. LMB-RMD. OIC of LMB-RMD 103 . 34). and Sales Certificate No. Karim. 152 Exh. 511 in the name of Felicitas Manahan are fake and spurious. 25 — Certification dated July 19. located in Matandang Balara. 22 — Certification dated August 10. 15 — Acknowledgment Receipt dated September 24. 153 Exh. 1975 and entered in his Notarial Register. After signing the relocation plan in March 1998. 1997 issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila stating that an instrument entitled "Deed of Absolute Sale" between Emiliano P. 48 146 ) and the plan itself. It was Rosendo Manahan who gave him a copy of TCT No. Book No. 1998 from Dante M. 1984. 210177 was not included as among those saved from the fire of June 11. Barque. He admitted that their office will issue several tax declarations covering the same property even with the knowledge that the tax declaration can be used as evidence for ownership because the main concern is to collect more taxes. Mr. Barque. 823-A and 823-B. there is no Barrio Payong in Quezon City". 155 Exhs. Relocation Survey Number Rel-00-000822 was issued in favor of Felicitas Manahan. 159 Exhs. List of Locator Cards by Box Number. photocopy of TCT No. the relocation plan for the Manahans was not approved by the Bureau of Lands.00 for the purchase of Lots 823-A and 823-B. Manahan submitted the Relocation Survey and the related documents to DENR-NCR. Quezon City. Eliseo Razon on September 24. 16 — Certification dated August 13. 21 — Letter dated April 14. 1. 250215 in the name of Felicitas Manahan. Balbuena. Matandang Balara was created on May 10. traverse computation and azimuth computation. 20 — Certification issued by Nestor D. 46 147 ). 19 to 19-H — Tax Declaration Nos. in the amount of P350. TCT No. 2007 issued by Rainier D. Area 15 as of May 2000 (NSO) issued by the Office of the City Mayor. Thereafter. 1962 pursuant to Ordinance No. 142 Engr. 143 He testified that he was commissioned by Rosendo Manahan sometime in 1998 to conduct a relocation survey of a property owned by his wife. 823 (Exh. Barque. which was shown to him together with the full print survey returns. 210177 in the name of Homer L. Culiat. 158 Exh. 1982" to prove that Fls-3168-D has been duly entered in the microfilm records of the Bureau of Lands and assigned with Accession No. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of Severino Manotok IV.. District II. 1988. 45 144 ). 2007 issued by the City Assessor. 156 Exh. field notes cover of the survey returns. traverse computation (Exh. 150 Exh. Kagawad/Official-OnDuty of Bgy. 149 Exh. 8 — "Certified copy of Logbook Entries of Destroyed and Salvaged Documents" in the fire which razed the office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City on June 11. under Doc. 250215. from which was derived the information found in the plot data of Lot No. Barque. 250215 (Exh. Felicitas Manahan. Reyes. 13 — Certification dated 27 September 1996 issued by the Register of Deeds of Quezon City attesting that "based on the List of Salvaged Titles prepared by the Land Registration Authority. duly certified by the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. 11 — Certified Xerox Copy of the Tax Map of Quezon City dated April 21. 5068 and describes the barangay's boundaries. confirming the payment given to him by Homer L. 151 Exh. Quezon City. attesting that there is no Payong Street or place in the barangay. 160 Exh. Preliminary Report No. District III. et al. these were not based on documents from the Bureau of Lands. 47 145 ) and azimuth computation (Exh. VIII. 9 — "Certified Copy of the Bureau of Lands' Computer Printout of the List of Locator Cards by Box Number as of February 4. Surveys Division. Villoria. Quezon City to prove the veracity of the subdivision of Lot No. 1988". 157 Exh. copy of EDP Listing certified by Teresita J. 1975 issued by Emiliano Setosta. Assistant City Assessor of Quezon City addressed to the Law Division.000.to the said tax declaration. covered by TCT No. Quezon City stating that "there is no Barangay or Barrio Payong in Quezon City as per office record". field notes cover (Exh. 18 — Certified True Copy of the Owner's Duplicate Copy of TCT No. LRA affirming that "[a]s per our record. Sr. 823 Piedad Estate into Lots No. Sr. which shows that Bgy. 416. OIC. tax declaration. However. plot data computation. Setosta (vendor) and Homer L. 154 Exh. He then clarified by saying that while there is an existing tax declaration. 23 to 23-L — Barangay Profile of Matandang Balara. His findings coincided with the technical description of said title. (vendee) was notarized by Atty. 148 AIDSTE Other documentary evidence formally offered by the Barques are the following: Exh. 1998 issued by the Tax Mapping Division. Sr. Series of 1975. Sr. 06893 (1996) and 06892 (1987) in the name of Homer L. and thus prove that TCT No. 85. Area XII. m/to Matilde Reyes and Real Property Tax Bills/Receipts. as of February 4. Page No. Mariano Flotildes declared in his Judicial Affidavit that Rosendo Manahan engaged his services in 1998 and gave him a relocation plan. they still issued another tax declaration because the documents presented as basis therefor were legal and binding.

13900 in the name of said corporation on August 31. Bureau of Lands" when in fact the Department of the Interior was abolished pursuant to Act No. DANR despite the fact that said department was renamed Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) pursuant to Executive Order No. 164 Exh. Setosta (vendor) and Homer L. 43 — Certification dated March 14. 162Exh. Tuanda has been suspended from the practice of law as imposed in a Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 17 October 1988 in CA-G. Book No. DENR-NCR for the Regional Technical Director. with approval recommended by Veronica S. Exh. under Doc. Deputy Clerk of Court & Bar Confidant.512. Sr. Regional Surveys Division. 2666 on November 18. as surveyed for the Payatas Estate IMP Co. among others. Surveys Division.m. Barque. and which also shows Lots 823-A and 823-B subdivided lots. Sr. Supreme Court. 511 — June 24. 32 — Letter dated March 12. 1916 and its transfer and functions were transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR). Barcelo. 1998 issued by Ernesto S. 38 — Certification dated May 12. 167 Exh. and originally approved on Jan. Teodoro and/or Severino Manotok covering the property situated in Piedad Estate. 1923 is among those existing reconstructed records on file in the Technical Records and Statistics Section of this Office". 4562 dated January 25. 2000 by the Director of Lands. Crizaldy M. stating that "Atty. V-2000-22 dated October 30. Regina Geronimo and Felicisimo Villanueva covering Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. situated in Montalban and San Mateo. his wife filed a petition formandamus with the CA to compel the LRA to 104 .. 12. 169 and Exh. to prove that the Payatas Estate could have been claimed by the Manotoks as a boundary of Lot 823. Ardina Remolar. Barque. Piedad Estate embodied in TCT No. 33-A — Deed of Conveyance in the name of Felicitas Manahan. 42 — Certification dated August 24.. Cristina B.952 sq. DENR-NCR stating that they have no record on file of Sale Certificate No. Page No. 210177 in the name of Homer L. Ma. 823. 1997 issued by Amando Bangayan stating that "the only available record on file in this Office is the Deed of Conveyance/Sales Certificate issued to Emiliano Setosta covering Lot No. No. Thus. C. 165 Exh. Layusa. Fe T. 2009 issued by Ignacio R. VII. which was after the issuance of TCT No. 1950.Manahans Rosendo Manahan declared in his Judicial Affidavit that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate belongs to his wife by virtue of Deed of Conveyance No. 1938 (Exh.stating that according to their records. married to Rosendo Manahan purportedly issued on December 3. 2009 issued by Atty. Piedad Estate. Assistant Regional Executive Director for Technical Services. 511 in the name of Valentin Manahan (assignor) and Hilaria de Guzman (assignee). Technical Records and Statistics Section. 37 — Certified true copy of the Property Identification Map of Barangay Matandang Balara issued by the City Assessor of Quezon City to prove that the records of the Bureau of Lands conform to and confirm the metes and bounds contained in the full technical description of Lot 823. 44). DENR). Eliseo A. 33 — Copy of Sale Certificate/Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Inc. 163 Exh. (vendee) exists in the notarial files and was among the documents notarized. issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showing its date of incorporation as of September 11. Erive. 416. 1987. V-321 in the name of Emiliano Setosta. there is no available record of a Deed of Sale No. with an area of 36. Chief. Rizal" 168 with attached copy of Deed of Conveyance No. 2003 from Atty. 1923. 51 — Certified Microfilm Copy of the Articles of Incorporation of Manotok Realty. series of 1975. Cr # 05093. stating that "plan Psu-32606. 13900 in the name of Emiliano Setosta and TCT No. and 2 (Certification dated June 8. 511 in the name of Valentin Manahan and Sale Certificate No. 170 Exhibits 1 (certified copy of Deed of Conveyance Record No. and in 1932 another reorganization act was passed providing. 2000 issued to her by the LMB. Piedad Estate since Payatas Estate was created only on June 12. 1950. with same date as Sale Certificate No. 1054 allegedly in the name of M. Rizal. 166 Exh. reported and submitted by Atty. 49 — Certification dated November 23. and the Heirs of Homer L. 1939 showing the "Department of the Interior. Chief. 4562 with Sale Certificate No. his wife has no certificate of title because the LRA Administrator declared that her deed of conveyance is nonregistrable at this time because there are two (2) other claimants to the lot — Severino Manotok IV. 192issued on June 10. marked during the pre-trial were not formally offered by the Barques. et al. in his notarial book for the month of September 1975. for renaming of the DANR to Department of Agriculture and Commerce (DAC). Rizal. 85. 2007 issued by Gregorio Faraon of the RTC of Manila stating that the document entitled "Deed of Absolute Sale" executed between Emiliano P. Barque. Caloocan. Almira. Caloocan.R. 1054 in the name of Modesto Zacarias. Chief. Razon. Office of the Secretary. However. Sr. 161 Exh.

The claim of the Barques that they own Lot 823 is likewise false considering that the files of the LMB and DENR do not have Sale Certificate No. 29204 of the Manotoks had no signature of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce. Lot 823. XXXII. and they filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court where the case is still pending. XXVIII. 171 Moreover. The Deed of Conveyance No. not the sale certificate itself. As to the Barques who claimed that their plan has accession number. he was also born and lived there almost his life.000. However. not a relocation plan but he could not recall who prepared it. XXIX. and so he tried to get a copy from the LMB but they could not 105 . it was the Manotoks who filed for administrative reconstitution of their alleged title. His wife secured a special plan. 511 from his mother in Malolos and furnished the LMB with a copy thereof as reference. the witness asserted that Accession No. his grandfather Valentin Manahan brought him to Lot 823. The Manotoks have no valid claim over Lot 823 as their documents have been found to be spurious and not authentic by the NBI and LMB. However. despite a thorough search for the document in the LMB and DENR. He denied having filed a reconstitution proceeding. these were not the same as those filed by his wife but he did not bother about it as they were spurious. he had sent letters — the last being in 1998 — asking for a certification. he obtained a xerox copy of Sale Certificate No. Piedad Estate. and his parents took over Lot 823 when his grandparents Valentin Manahan and Placida Figueroa after 1939 went back to Malolos. the witness declared that he is claiming. V-321 and Deed of Conveyance No. 511". he noticed in the penultimate paragraph stating "Documentary evidence hereto attached: [1] Sale Certificate No. Baricua. Felicitas told Celzo that Hilaria de Guzman went to the property but she was denied entry by heavily armed men. 174 TcHCIS On cross-examination. A very thorough search of documents covering Lot 823 by the LMB and DENR yielded only documents in the name of the Manahans but no genuine document in the name of the Manotoks. His wife Felicitas bought Lot 823 for P350. Culiat was just a part of Matandang Balara before it was split into several barangays. He cannot recall if Evelyn Celzo asked his wife about Valentin Manahan's application and assignment of Lot 823. they had no intervention in the preparation of her report. His grandfather died in 1948. XXX and XXXI 173 ). 172 Rosendo Manahan testified that the documents relied upon by the Manotoks were submitted for verification by the LMB to the NBI and found to be fake and spurious. The tax declarations submitted by the Barques caught them by surprise. et al. He and his wife secured tax declarations in 1997 upon the advice of people who were helping them pursue their case with the LMB. When she read the report of Evelyn dela Rosa Celzo. Based on his study. 177 On redirect examination. the main purpose of the National Archives is to keep and preserve documents of historical and cultural value. his father would take him from Malolos to Quezon City to see Lot 823. V-2000-22 and issuance of the corresponding title in the name of Felicitas Manahan. He did not think of obtaining copy of the document from the National Archives because as far as his layman's understanding. and he had not seen any copy thereof in the records of the LMB. When he was about eight (8) years old. the technical description of the lot being claimed by the Barques when verified and plotted by DENR-NCR. he actually saw an assignment of sale certificate. he had verified its existence in the records of the LMB. nor of the death of Lucio Manahan. 4562. Rosendo Manahan testified that his father Lucio Manahan and mother Hilaria de Guzman were born in Malolos. XXXVII 176 ) was issued as early as 1913. In 1945 or 1946 when he was about seven (7) years old. the CA denied the petition. regardless of what the place it is located is called.00 because his other siblings had no money to buy the property. XXX and XXXI. He had knowledge of the tax declarations that his wife filed for Lot 823 in 1997.allow the registration of Deed of Conveyance No. 175 Rosendo Manahan asserted that Sale Certificate No. Sometime in 1974.8 kilometers away from Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate (Exhs. as described in the technical description. is outside Quezon City and 5. specifically Barrio Pulilan. XXIX. to no avail. LRA and private surveyor Jose R. He had assisted his wife in working for the issuance of a certificate of title and did a lot of record searching. When he verified with the LMB in 1997. it could not be found. as shown in Exh. He met Evelyn Celzo when he accompanied his wife to the regional Office. Bulacan.8 kilometers away from Lot 823 as shown in Exhs. 410436 is in the name of Nicolas Apo. XXVIII. showed that it is outside Quezon City and 5. his grandmother died later at the age of 93. 511 (Exh. when plotted by the private prosecutor Jose Baricua and the DENR-NCR as well as LRA. The technical description of the lot claimed by the Barques.

Hilaria de Guzman declared the property for taxation purposes under TD No. XXX and XXXI). III 180 ). and had it surveyed on November 16.R. Tuanda. Manahan declared in her Judicial Affidavit that her grandfather-in-law Valentin Manahan occupied and cultivated Lot 823. is outside Quezon City and 5. XXXIX 187 ). To protect her rights. The LMB. Piedad Friar Lands Estate (Exh. 99177. 823. Deed of Conveyance No. 4562 (Sale Certificate No.show him any sale certificate. The lot being claimed by the Barques. X) believing that she could take effective measures in recovering the property. XXXVII 188 ) which was given to her by her mother-in-law when the latter signed the deed of sale. With the aid of caretakers. She then paid the real property tax and after making follow-up with the LMB and Malacañang thru then First Lady Imelda Marcos and LRA. Cavite identified as Lot No. Hilaria de Guzman and Lucio Manahan occupied Lot 823. on the other hand. what they showed him was an assignment of sale certificate. stating that a photocopy of the sale certificate was transmitted to the LMB. XXVIII. 1939. The DENR likewise conducted an investigation confirming the findings of the LMB embodied in its report (Exh. Piedad Friar Land Estate. under Deed of Absolute Sale (Exh.docketed as CA-G. 1540-N. 29204 purportedly issued on December 7. Deed of Conveyance No. 1974. Reyes stating that "Deed of Conveyance No. 511 and also Index card of Fls-3164. 184748) where the case is pending for decision. On December 13. V-200022 was issued in her name by the LMB on October 30. XX 182 ). 185 TIAEac Felicitas Manahan identified the following documents in court: (a) Letter dated July 10.8 kilometers away from Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate (Exhs. Rizal. married to Rosendo Manahan. Naic Friar Land Estate containing an area of 1. 250215 in the name of Felicitas Manahan. When he learned about the 2nd Indorsement dated March 26 from Mamerto L. Hilaria de Guzman sold her rights to Lot 823 in her favor. identified as Lot No. V-200022. the NBI concluded that they were not old as they purport to be (Exh. XXV 183 ). V-321) purportedly issued in the name of EMILIANO SETOSTA supposedly covering a parcel of land identified as Lot No. letter of the LMB Director to the Register of Deeds of Quezon City). The documents on which the Manotoks base their claim is "false and untrue" because after conducting a "chemistry test" on those documents submitted by the LMB. 1932 supposedly covering a parcel of land situated in Caloocan. he was issued Sale Certificate No. but it found only documents issued to the Manahans and no genuine document covering Lot 823 in the name of Severino Manotok or his alleged predecessors-in-interest. 1913 (Exh. 511 dated June 24. 2000 (Exh. 17624 effective 1959 and TD No. He also tried to ask a copy of Fls-3164 but they only showed him the index card.00." the LRA Administrator declared that it is not registerable because of the existence of the titles of the Manotoks and the Barques. No. 1938. to compel the LRA to allow the registration of Deed of Conveyance No. in the middle of 1950s. survey plan Fls3164 prepared in his name was approved by the Director of Lands. Regional Technical Director. 511. a group of armed men ousted Hilaria de Guzman's caretaker on the lot. as plotted by private surveyor Jose Baricua and the DENR-NCR as well as LRA. However. Tax Declaration of Real Property No. 179 Felicitas B. Infante. 823. he was able to get a photocopy of Sale Certificate No. Fe T. based on their technical description. LMB-RMD stating that "this Office has no record of the alleged Deed of Conveyance No. 2009 of Atty. On August 23.140. and that the same was transmitted to the Register of Deeds of Cavite on July 13. conducted a thorough search of its files for documents covering Lot 823. but in a "Consulta. Valentin Manahan's application to purchase Lot 823 was approved and after paying in full the purchase price of P2. Hence.R. Land Sector of DENR-NCR (Exh. 1751 effective 1965. XXIX. now Quezon City. the CA denied her petition. XXXVIII 186 ). 2009 of Teresita J. prompting her to file a petition for review with the Supreme Court (G. D-138-07070. 1955" and that further verification disclosed that "this Office has no record/copy of the alleged Deed of Conveyance No. OIC Chief. SP No. and (c) xerox copy of Sale Certificate No. Valentin Manahan assigned his rights over Lot 823 to his daughter-in-law Hilaria de Guzman. However. V-200022 was forwarded to the Register of Deeds of Quezon City for registration and issuance of the corresponding title (Exh. 511 with the LMB. wife of his son Lucio Manahan and mother of her husband Rosendo Manahan (Exh. He discovered later that there was no more original or certified copy of Sale Certificate No. XIV 178 ). 1955 in favor of PAULINO DIGALBAL covering a parcel of land situated in Naic. XVI 184 ) that the documents of the Manotoks were spurious. she filed a petition for mandamus. situated in Quezon City" (Exh. the witness denied having anything to do with those documents.1396 hectares. (b) Letter dated August 27. 183999 which were secured by the Barques. as repository of all records of all friar lands. V-4562 was issued on June 28. As to TCT No. and tax Bill Receipt No. IV 181 ). 106 .

It appears that on November 25. 2000 (Exh. Rogelio Mandar. declared in his Judicial Affidavit that in June 2000. 511 in the name of Valentin Manahan. V-321 and Deed of Conveyance No. lost it. Thus. When Atty. assignment of sale certificate and a sketch plan. she obtained from Hilaria the sale certificate. 511 mentioned in Exh. 1981 and in 1989. Felicitas Manahan testified that her mother-in-law was living in Malolos. she was told by an elderly man not to return and aspire to recover the land because it belonged to Imee Manotok. (3) 107 . 1998 to conduct an investigation regarding Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. However. (2) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. he received a query from LMB Director Ernesto D. 1. Jr. Felicitas Manahan filed a petition with the OSG for the cancellation/reversion proceedings against TCT No. Regional Technical Director of DENR-NCR's Lands Sector (Exh. XIII 190 ). 511 issued to Valentin Manahan. which was referred by the OSG to the LMB for investigation and/or appropriate action. Infante. 189 On cross-examination. Since 1976. et al. on whether a deed of conveyance for Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate may be issued to Felicitas B. 1054 dated March 11. The documents sent to the NBI were the following: (1) Sale Certificate No. She gave the owner's duplicate copy of Sale Certificate No. her father-in-law Lucio Manahan frequently visited Lot 823 to oversee the caretakers. Manahan Deed of Conveyance No. 4562 are also not found in the records of the LMB and DENR. On that occasion. He affirmed the comments and recommendations contained in Exh. 1999.The witness explained that they did not attach a copy of Sale Certificate No. In accordance with his recommendation. In response to this query. the LMB issued to Felicitas B. RT-22481 (372302) issued in the name of Severino Manotok IV. Director Pelayo. she saw men with firearms. declared that he. 511 but the LMB and DENR could not give her the same. 1998. When she went there in 1979. She met Evelyn dela Rosa in March 1979 and again in the year 2000 at the DENR. 511 mentioned in the 1st Indorsement dated February 23. XVII 192 ) recommending the issuance of a deed of conveyance to Felicitas Manahan. as per verification with the LMB and the DENR-NCR.000. 191 Atty. 10Manotoks). 1054 in the name of Regina Geronimo. there was no such sale certificate issued in the name of the Manotoks. Sale Certificate No. Legal Division of LMB. Manahan by virtue of Sale Certificate No. Legal Division. 2000. 11-Manotoks). 98-135 dated December 18. V-200022 on October 30. Manuel B. Despite having seen Lot 823 vacant in 1979. Hilaria de Guzman told her she wanted to sell Lot 823 and after Hilaria had signed the deed of sale and was paid in cash P350. former Undersecretary for Legal Affairs of DENR and now Dean of the College of Law of Polytechnic University of the Philippines. they also scheduled an ocular inspection of the land on July 15. de la Peña. However. 1999 of Mamerto L.. 511 because the CA ordered that only certified copies are to be attached to the pre-trial brief. she tagged along Policeman Fernandez from Parañaque as bodyguard because she knew of the presence of armed men in the property. XIII refers to the assignment of sale certificate. Roseller S. they collated all the pertinent available records and referred these to the NBI on April 21. she did not report the matter to the Quezon City Police. she and her husband continued to live in Levytown.00. Chief of the Claims and Conflicts Section. together with Atty. Evelyn dela Rosa asked questions about the property and her grandfather-in-law Valentin Manahan. Tacorda. LMB. 1999 and set the petition for hearing on December 13. A bona fide settler can acquire a friar land only through conveyance by the LMB which is the agency authorized under Act 1120 to administer and dispose friar lands. when she visited the land in 1981. and also said that she tried to secure a certified copy of Sale Certificate No. were authorized by the LMB Director under Special Order No. he issued a Memorandum dated July 6. she and her husband resided in Manila where they rented a house. Assistant Chief. Series of 1997 issued by the DENR Secretary. In 1974. 193 EHcaDT Atty. The signing of deed of conveyance had been delegated effective 1997 to the Director of the LMB by means of General Memorandum Order No. She had seen the original copy of Sale Certificate No. except for the subsisting records of Sale Certificate No. 1919 (Exh. Bulacan but occupied Lot 823 in 1939 by hiring caretakers to till the land. 511 which she got from Hilaria to DENRNCR Director Pelayo in March 1989 without asking for a receipt. Rogelio Mandar accompanied her for a site inspection of Lot 823 in 1997 or 1998. Adobo. there is no record in said offices to show that the Manotoks filed an application for the property. XVII. the property was not fenced and it seemed to her there were no occupants. 1999 for determination of the age of the documents. Modesto Zacarias and Felicisimo Villanueva (Exh. The witness clarified that the original copy of Sale Certificate No. After the assignment of Lot 823 from Valentin Manahan to Hilaria de Guzman. however.

After the assignment of the sale certificate. A report from the field to determine the location of the land is required for the issuance of a deed of conveyance. Piedad Estate. that records pertaining to Sale Certificate No. Thus. C-99-152 (Exh. She prepared a written Investigation Report dated July 5. There was a hearing held wherein the Manahans and the Manotoks agreed to submit the case for resolution on the basis of memoranda with supporting documents. 511 in the name of Valentin Manahan — Assignment of Sale Certificate No. told her that Lucio and Hilaria lived in Malolos. Their recommendation that steps be taken in the proper court for the cancellation of the Manotoks' title was approved by the LMB Director and sent to the DENR. C-99-152. Adobo. She categorically stated that there was no Sale Certificate No. As to the requirements of an investigation report. 1989 (Exh. Recalde which served as the basis of the latter's Memorandum dated April 17.Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 199 On cross-examination. RT-22481 (372302) has no legal and factual basis. it also exhibited a "water mark" which is distinct under transmitted light. V-321) in the name of Emiliano Setosta and Fls-3168-D in the name of Emiliano Setosta existing in the records of the LMB Central Office. the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. III-Manahans). nee Evelyn C. 2000 (Exh. these are provided in the Surveying Manual. (5) Sale Certificate No. 12-Manotoks). 511 dated June 24. she did not record the names of the persons she interviewed. 1930 in favor of Andres Berones who is the alleged predecessor-in-interest of Severino Manotok. 1054. Manahan did not supply all the information contained in her report. 1939 in the name of Valentin Manahan. LMB OIC-Director Ernesto D. the adhesive tapes were attached along creases and tears. dela Rosa. Mrs. 511 dated June 24. a property she owned and given by Valentin Manahan. She confirmed the truth of her findings contained in said report. 194 Atty. (6) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Alberto R. 2000 for registration and issuance of corresponding title. 1939 — had been authenticated by both the report of investigation of Land Investigator Evelyn dela Rosa and NBI Chemistry Report No. Land Investigator/Geodetic Engineer of DENR-NCR declared that she conducted an investigation of Lot 823. Deed of Conveyance (Sale Certificate No. There was an old man in his 60s. XXV-Manahans) dated June 10. Celzo. whose name she cannot remember. (4) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. and the paper did not exhibit the characteristics which were observed on the questioned documents. 197 Evelyn G. 1054 dated May 4. 1923 (Exh. 1939 showed "natural aging and discoloration of paper. XV 198 ). the predecessor-in-interest of Felicitas Manahan (Exh. and therefore void ab initio. 1999 stating that the first six documents "could not be as old as it [sic] purports to be". a written report was submitted to the Legal Division Chief Atty. 1054 dated June 7. XVIII 196 ) which was forwarded to the Office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City on December 13. Mandar further declared that they were not able to conduct the ocular inspection of Lot 823 because armed men prevented them. 651 dated April 19. The information that Lot 823 was an agricultural land when Valentin Manahan took possession thereof as a farmer in 1908 came from the people she personally interviewed in the adjoining lots. 2000 (Exh. 651 in the name of Ambrosio Berones is unauthenticated. Evelyn Celzo testified that she is not acquainted with Hilaria de Guzman but she knew her to be one (1) of the heirs of Lot 823. and that Sale Certificate No. 651 in the name of Ambrosio Berones. while the seventh document. Neighbors told her that Hilaria only visited the land. Jr. She made a very thorough search of the records of LMB Central Office but found no sale certificate covering Lot 823 other than that issued to Valentin Manahan. She admitted that she did not see the application for the purchase of the land stated in her report nor the Sale Certificate issued to Valentin Manahan. Hilaria de Guzman and her husband Lucio Manahan were not able to enter Lot 823 because they were prevented by some people. she also could not recall the name of the record officer whom she asked about the application of Valentin Manahan. 13-Manotoks). then issued an Order dated October 16. The NBI submitted its Chemistry Report No. She had not referred the results of her interview nor the statements in her report to Felicitas. Lot 823 is covered by Fls3164 in the name of Valentin Manahan. she had no more notes of the interview she conducted. During her investigation. who held that TCT No. pursuant to Travel Order dated May 15. Quezon City. no other individual can claim that property. she met and talked to Rosendo and Felicitas Manahan in her office. and (7) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. She maintained that if one (1) already has a sale certificate given by the government. 1989 issued by North CENRO. 511 dated June 24. As to Valentin 108 . XVI 195 ). 1920 (Exh. She conducted an ocular inspection of the land and interviewed witnesses. Bulacan. However.

she was not able to obtain information on whether or not there are other claimants of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. Felicitas Manahan never told her that she had a transfer certificate of title over Lot 823 as early as 1979. Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate had several folders in the RMD. 1979 (Exh. XL 202 ) showing that the land claimed by the Barques is 5639. is different from the technical description of Lot 823 appearing on Manahan's Exhibit VII 200 (Technical Descriptions of Lot 823). In their conversation.097. 10 and 25 207 ). 2009 (Exh. The sales registry books in the regional office are copies of appropriate pages of the sales registry books in the main RMD. she categorically denied that the signatures appearing on the certifications/authentications of documents presented by the Barques (Exhs.60. They also have a logbook listing the lots. Fls-3164. for registration and issuance of title. they no longer have it at the RMD. since no deed of conveyance has been issued to the above applicant. 250215 dated May 25. it is hereby recommended that appropriate action be issued. 1939. Cavite. She had been requested to authenticate or certify copies of records of Lot 823. located at Naic.1396 hectares. XXXVIII 205 ) addressed to Felicitas Manahan and confirmed the truth of its contents.736. 292 issued in 1987.40. but the sale certificate itself would still be with the RMD in the file folders of particular lot number. and forwarded to the Office of the Register of Deeds of Naic. the tie line of Lot 823 of the Manahans is only 4. were her signature. V-321 issued to Emiliano Setosta mentioned in Exh. 206 caSEAH On cross-examination. Carao. 1540-N of the Naic Friar Land Estate. She pointed out that the technical description appearing in TCT No. These deeds of conveyance are not bound separately but are inside the folder of the particular lot number. From her research in the LMB. 34-Barques) in the name of Felicitas Manahan married to Rosendo Manahan. She cannot anymore remember the number of persons she had interviewed. These documents were instead issued to Paulino Bagalbal covering a parcel of land with an area of 1. She did not know for sure what records were decentralized because she was assigned to the RMD only in 1997. Evelyn Celzo corrected a typographical error in the last paragraph of her report. 208 109 .).00. The RMD-LMB has an inventory of deeded books or lots subject of deeds of conveyance. 210177.Manahan's survey plan. the sales registry books were decentralized to the regional offices of the bureau pursuant to Executive Order No. Her signature on the document (Deed of Conveyance No. she in fact walked around the property consisting of about thirty four (34) hectares. it was approved on December 13. the respective lot numbers and area. 204 Teresita J. Piedad Estate. She identified her signature on the letter dated July 10. Responding to clarificatory questions from the court. Sales registry books contain the names of the claimants. Reyes. Valentin Manahan was issued a sale certificate. Cavite. was formerly OIC-Assistant Chief. while the tie line of the Barques is 9." She also identified her signature and the signature of Engr. It is a very big and heavy book and is turned over to the regional offices. Jr. RMD. 201 On redirect examination. 4562 in the name of Emiliano Setosta covering Lot 823) is a forgery. LMB declared in her Judicial Affidavit that Exh. Teresita Reyes testified that a party requesting for a certified true copy of the records in the LMB had to file a written request which will be forwarded to the unit concerned and then to the Division. She did not conduct another survey of Lot 823 because she is an investigator. 1 is on file in the records of the LMB. The signature appearing in her affidavit is her genuine signature. V-4562 and Sale Certificate No. 2009. 1 of the Barques is not in the records of the LMB and that no Deed of Conveyance No. Lot 823 was not fenced in 1989. after which he applied for the purchase of Lot 823.140. the records would be in a folder. Evelyn Celzo said that they have copies of titles in their office and she could not make a decision whether it is the same title being shown to her by counsel (Atty. However. After paying the sum of P2. in which the word "no" should be inserted between the words "since" and "deed" to read: "In this regard. Ludivina Aromin appearing on the sketch plan (Exh. Evelyn Celzo admitted that she was not able to obtain information as to whether there are other claimants over Lot 823 aside from the Manahans and her investigation report was based on her ocular inspection of Lot 823 and research at the LMB. 203 When confronted with the discrepancy in her computation based on the tie lines of Lot 823-A and Lot 823-B appearing on the technical description on TCT No. If there is already a deed of conveyance. identified as Lot No. who retired on July 14. With respect to the records pertaining to friar lands.As for sales registry book.59 meters from the lot claimed by the Manahans based on the tie line. 9.

2009 (Exh. 239 showing close-up portions of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. XXV-F. XXV 211) on the following specimen documents: (1) Sale Certificate No. 1919). 228 the front close-up of the tear on top of the page of Sale Certificate No. 1920). 1054 dated May 4. 1939. 215 back). XXV-L. Exh. 223 back).Atty. Exh. XXV-R. 213 back). C-99-152 (Exh. 1054 dated March 11. 1054 dated June 7. 511 dated June 24. XXV-U. 236 showing the aniline (violet) stamp pad ink entries that are clear and distinct with handwritten entries and signatures in black ballpoint pen ink. XXV-Z. XXV-A. under UV light. 242 water mark on Assignment of Sale Certificate No. addressed to him informing that the signatures appearing in Exh. Exh. viewing the documents under direct light. XXV-V. Almira Jr. 110 . 218 front and Exh. 1054 dated May 4. XXV-BB. Only these physical and chemical examinations were done on the questioned documents. 225 back). 1939. XXVI. XXV-S. 30 (Certification dated April 13. (3) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. LMB. and then chemical examinations to determine the kind of paper or reaction of the paper. 1919). 238 showing the sharply cut line along letter/s and a distinct scratch/tear along the loop of the signature (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. (2) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Modesto Zacarias and Felicisimo Villanueva (Exh. 1054). 226 Explaining the word "examinations" in her report. the witness said that first. Legal Division. 216 front and Exh. Romeo C. XXV-C. Exh. XXVO. 2 (Certification dated June 8. 230 front page browning and discoloration of tears and creases along the edges of document (Sale Certificate No. black ballpoint pen ink and sign pen ink (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. V-321 covering Lot 823 in the name of Emiliano Setosta has available record in this office) and Exh. 1054 dated March 11. Exh. testified that the documents examined were submitted to the Forensic Chemistry Division from the LMB by Evelyn Celzo and the requesting party was Atty. 511 in favor of Valentin Manahan (assignor) and Hilaria de Guzman (assignee) had no available record in this office) of the Barques are not his signatures. 1923). 1939) was used as the standard (Exh. The seventh document (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Exh. 1923). 511 dated June 24. XXV-D. XXV-H. 511 dated June 24. testified in court and identified the letter dated July 4. 237 showing the adhesive tape used to hold tears or cuts. XXV-AA. 234 showing the aniline (violet) stamp pad ink entries that are clear and distinct (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 1054. 511 dated June 24. 2009 attesting that Sale Certificate No. 1920). XXV-J. 1930 (Exh. XXV-E. XXVP. She explained her findings in Chemistry Report No. 1939. 235 showing the aniline (violet) stamp pad ink entries that are clear and distinct with handwritten entries and signatures in blue. 241 standard brown even discoloration of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Visualization includes photography. Exh. XXVF. 221 back). 511 dated June 24. 1919. XXV-G. 1054 dated June 7. 2009 attesting that Deed of Conveyance record No. 222 front and Exh. 214 front and Exh. XXV-G. 224 front and Exh. front 212and Exh. and Exh. (5) Sale Certificate No. IR and direct light examinations. A stereoscope enables one (1) to view the whole sheet of paper by just tilting the mouse (macro viewing). 231 front of the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. uneven brown discoloration (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. After examination over UV. 232 back portion of Assignment of Sale Certificate dated March 11. under infrared (IR) light using the stereoscope. 240 standard brown even discoloration of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 1054 dated May 4. 210 Aida R. XXV-Q. and the reaction of the ink strokes that are on the questioned documents. 1054 dated June 7. 1919. XXV-T. blue-black. Exh. Manuel Tacorda. and (6) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. chemical examination is done on a paper wherein punch holes are taken from the pieces or sides of the document. XXV-W. 243 water mark on Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 1920 (Exh. Exh. 227 CEDScA The following photographs taken of the questioned documents were also presented: Exh. (4) Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 1054 in the name of Regina Geronimo. XXV-K. counsel for the Manahans. Exh. 1054). 1054 dated March 11. 651 in the name of Ambrosio Berones (Exh. whereas for the microscope. they did an ocular examination. XXV-B. XXV-N. Exh. XXXV 209 ) of Ignacio R. 217 back). XXV-M. 1939. 219 back). 1919 (Exh. you could view just a very small portion. NBI Forensic Chemist III. 4562 and Sale Certificate No. 1939. XXV-Y. XXV-X. Exh. 220 front and Exh. Exh. 651 dated April 19. Viloria-Magsipoc. 233 showing the staple wire marks that are clear and firm (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 229 front close-up of uneven browning and discoloration of paper (Sale Certificate No. sign pen ink (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Exh. Dela Cruz. 1923 (Exh. Assistant Chief. 511 dated June 24. 1054 dated March 11.

1930). an indication that the documents are not as old as they purport to be and therefore spurious." Again. the standard document (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Finding No. 1930). 245 IDcAHT In contrast. 1923 and 1930. XXV-C. The witness denied having been influenced by anybody in arriving at these findings. XXV-C wherein the edge. 3 states that "Folds on specimens 1 to 4 are irregular and inconsistent while on specimen 5 and 6 folds across show whiteness in color indicating that they are recent. it states that "Aniline (violet) stamp pad ink entries are clear/distinct with handwritten entries in Blue/ Blue-Black BALLPOINT PEN INK and SIGN PEN INK. Finding No. and even on the tear that was allegedly torn because of age. 1054 dated June 7. XXV-U. XXV-S and XXV-R. Finding No. she had read an article in the New 111 . 244 the witness testified that "printed entries on all the documents showed similarities but differ in font size. 1054 dated March 11. 651 in the name of Ambrosio Berones and Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 10 refers to specimen 2 (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. it also exhibited a "water mark which is distinct under transmitted light". 1919) and specimen 3 (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 1939) was found to have "showed natural aging and discoloration of paper". 651 in the name of Ambrosio Berones) and 6 (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. XXV-J). those appear to have been artificially placed on the edges. even in storages. XXV-V and XXV-W is authentic and as old as the date indicated therein. 1920. Ms. even if it is not so. 8 states that "The notarial dry seal of the notary public is clear and firm on specimen 2. and "the paper did not exhibit the characteristics which were observed on the questioned documents. she has not done any work under the Questioned Documents Division. 651 dated April 19." The witness noted there are cuts along the line of the ink entries of the signature (Exhs. 511 dated June 24. from which it can be concluded that the tape was just placed over to show that the document is old. its edges would have insects or mites." The irregular folds on the first four (4) documents would indicate that these documents could not be that old. 6 refers to "punch holes and staple wire marks are clean and firm which could be attributed to its being recent." This is notably shown on the close-up photo of Exh. 5 states that "Adhesive tapes used to hold tear/s or cut/s are placed on areas even without apparent tear but only a fold or a crease". a sharp instrument was used to cut a portion of the ink in the signature. around 1945. Under Finding No. Finally. in this case. 1913) and 6 (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. This case was assigned to her by the Chief of the Forensic Chemistry Division and it took her about thirty (30) working days to finish the work. 12. "the adhesive tapes were attached along creases and tears". XXV-I. they could have aged and there should already be iron residue that adhered to the paper. On Finding No. 11 states that "[I]nsect bites/tears are superficial in nature especially on specimen 5 (Sale Certificate No. to make an impression that the document has aged already. Finding No. In 1919. 9. The witness explained that as paper ages. there were no ball point pens yet at the time. Viloria-Magsipoc admitted that while she had attended a training course for questioned documents. hence they are spurious." which pertains to Assignment of Sale Certificate No.On the particular findings in her report. 1920) — "A signature of an assignor/assignee on specimen number 2 showed a sharply cut line along the letter/s and distinct 'scratch/tear' appear along the loop of the signature of one (1) witness on specimen 3 with an adhesive attached to make it firm. Finding No. which indicates that both documents could have been done at the same time. Finding No. which are mechanical in nature. If the documents were bound by staple wires. Sale Certificate No. 1054 dated March 11. Regarding handwritten entries in ballpoint pen ink. 651. XXV-H." The witness thus concluded that Exhs. it was observed that "[T]he browning and discoloration of the documents are uneven and whitening are very prominent even on its sides/areas which are supposedly exposed during storage. 651 dated April 19. 246 On cross-examination. insect bites or cuts. on Finding No." which are found in Exhs. 1919. This fact indicates the documents could have been executed after 1945. it is even clearer than in the inner portion of the document. 5 and 6. the typescript entries are clear/distinct/uniform especially on specimens 5 (Sale Certificate No." The font size would indicate if there were insertions or corrections that have been made on the typewritten entries on the document. XXV-T. Uneven discoloration from the edges to the center of the document would indicate that they are not as old as they purport to be. 651 dated January 8. it was noted that "[A]ttached/adhering torn sheet/s at the center/topmost portion/back of specimen 2 and on the upper left hand corner of specimen 3 are lighter in color than the document itself. Age of BALLPOINT PEN INK could not be determined." The witness pointed out that ball point pen inks were commercially manufactured after World War II. 7. Next. the uppermost edge of the document is very very white and clear.

XXV) and also her conclusion that the questioned documents were not as old as they purport to be. were separated or folded in such a way that they were less exposed than the rest of the documents before they were re-attached. 7 does not bear any stamp mark of the LMBRMD. 1930. Richie Q. There is no known method in chemistry to determine the age of ballpen writing. 651 dated April 19. Jacinto Ramos de Guzman and Felix S. she does not know the exact date when bond paper was introduced in the Philippines. Assignment of Sale Certificate No. it could survive without any insect bites. Caranto. 7 (Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Viloria-Magsipoc pointed out that ball point pens were commercially used in the Philippines in 1953. it depends on the quality of the seals. The LMB chose specimen No. Javier. the preservation of paper may be affected by storage conditions and a very old paper can be well-preserved. A recently stapled or punched paper has a "very. she had used both physical and chemical examination. the witness declared that water marks on documents would indicate the possible manufacturing date of the paper. As to type of paper. 1054 dated May 4. No water marks were found on the documents presented by the Manotoks which she had examined. sign pen and other ink entries. Recent document means 10 years or less. and that commercial models appeared in 1895. As to the quality of the impression made by dry seals. sign pens came later in the early 60s. and the quality of the paper itself. Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 249 Responding to clarificatory questions from the court. Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Sale Certificate No. 511 dated June 24. the witness declared that the NBI does not have carbon dating. very firm" impression while an old document would have some tear or a reaction of the mechanical impression. As to punch holes and staple wires. C-99-152 (Exh. while specimens 1 to 6 are the questioned documents. regardless of whether the paper is old or new. 1054 dated March 11. 250 As sur-rebuttal evidence. 1923. 1939) as the reference standard. 248 On redirect examination. 1919. It is allowed to be diluted to a solvent system and the results would be a chromatogram that would indicate what dyes or what kind of ink is on the ink stroke that is being analyzed. Chromatologic analysis was used in this case to determine whether the entries in the questioned documents were written in ballpoint pen ink. She had used paper and thin layer chromatography of the questioned documents in determining the ink entries.HAECID 112 . 1920. After the chemical examination. 651 in the name of Ambrosio Berones. she did not see a copy of the following documents: Sale Certificate No.247 The witness declared that when she went to the National Archives. The discoloration of documents is caused by the reaction of paper to air. fountain pen. she found that the handwritten entries in the questioned documents were all in ballpoint pen ink and sign pen ink. 1054. the Manahans presented the affidavit/deposition of Rosendo Manahan. However. Ms. Specimen No. or the hair fiber would be flaky already because of the brittleness of the paper. which were lighter in color than the document itself. In determining the possible age of the paper. It is possible that the torn portions of the document. She affirmed the findings contained in her Chemistry Report No. she said that bond paper was used in the questioned documents. Ink strokes are taken from the handwritten entries and they are spotted on a chromatographic plate both in paper and thin layer of silica gel. Ballpoint pens and sign pens were not yet commercially used at the time the documents were supposedly executed. The marks of staple wire or puncher on a recent document are different from those on an old document. such that even if created in 1911. She opined that it was possible that tears and creases along the edges of the subject documents are mechanical in nature. the force exerted on the seal lever when the seal is being pressed on paper. Paper chromatography and thin layer chromatography methods were used only in determining whether the ink was ballpen ink. She did a comparative analysis of papers and went to the National Library to look at documents which are 5 to 10 years prior to a particular date and 5 to 10 years after said date. 1054 dated June 7. Because of their characteristics. As to carbon dating. she was able to conclude that the questioned documents are of recent paper and they could not have possibly been executed on the dates indicated. as well as to dust and exposure to strong light. these are used to determine the characteristic of paper so that if the marks and holes are clean and clear. Atty. Water mark that is on the manufacturer of the paper is different from the water mark being placed on those government paper for official use only.Encyclopedia Britannica stating that ballpoint pens came in the late 19th century. they were made recently. and Assignment of Sale Certificate No.

his wife has not secured a tax declaration and title over Lot 823 nor filed a petition for reconstitution of title. Jacinto de Guzman. Tuanda. Evelyn dela Rosa Celzo and Atty. Malolos. Parish Priest of the Barasoain Parish dated June 24. XLVI 253 ). said office replied to her wife that they do not have Exh. returned it with the half of pages 147 and 148 already missing. 1540-N of the Naic Friar Land Estate (Exhs. which he had photographed (Exhs. BIR Tax Identification Card (Exh. 254 Rosendo Manahan said that he tried to get a certificate of death from the Parish of Our Lady of Mt. LII 261 ). However. He denied having commissioned Engr. 4562 marked as Exh. 1963 at age 20. who borrowed the book as she wanted to photocopy some pages thereof. he declared that it was a mistake since it was his brother Clodualdo de Guzman who died on July 30. These facts are shown by the certifiedPartida de Bautismo issued by Rev. Bulacan. LIV 263 ). 2009 by the PNP Firearm Explosives Unit (Exh. XLVII-A and XLVIIB 255 ). 2006 (Exh. he explained that the Valentin Manahan mentioned in those documents is not the same Valentin Manahan who was his grandfather. 1955. 44 on their files and that Deed of Conveyance No. As to Deed of Conveyance No. the parish records custodian. To prove that he is still alive. XLVII. Jr. XLV). Felix Javier told him he was surprised when Milagros. Carmel but half-page of pages 147 and 148. erred in reporting the matter to the Local Civil Registrar as shown by his Affidavit (Exh. 61 and 102) was married to Francisca Lucas and was residing at Guinhawa. This was the information relayed to him by the custodian of the parish records. 1890 whose parents were Luis Manahan and Rita Giron. XLVIII 257 ) in support of this fact. On the certificates of death submitted by Milagros Manotok-Dormido. 61/102. he submitted copies of his Philippine passport issued to him on December 12. the tombstone was freshly vandalized. the sepulturero of the Roman Catholic Cemetery of Malolos City and inquired about the tomb of the Manahan family. Malolos. Bulacan (Exh. He was married to Placida Figueroa as shown by the certified Partida de Bautismo of his son Lucio Manahan issued on November 5. 1955 as shown by the Certification dated December 11. executed an Affidavit (Exh. 2010. As to the certificate of death (Exhs. and Emilio V.Rosendo Manahan in his Judicial Affidavit dated January 5. Fe T. for the simple reason that the documents have the same number but different dates and varying details issued by the Bureau of Lands for the same lot and in favor of the same party (Emiliano Setosta). 252 Valentin Manahan's residence at the time he died was Bulihan. 44-Barques). 1963 at age 20 but his uncle. Jr. 4562 was issued to Paulino Bigalbal on June 28. the date of his death and middle initial of his wife Placida Figueroa Manahan were chiselled off. XLIX 258 ). L 259 ). 1931 is not correct. 266 113 . Emilio V. It was Milagros Manotok-Dormido and her brother who went to Felix Javier. 1955 covering a 1. were torn off and missing after Milagros Manotok-Dormido borrowed it. 1939 because Valentin Manahan died on September 21. 2009 issued by the Office of the Civil Registrar of Malolos City. LI 260 ). as evident in the remaining half-pages 147 and 148 (Exhs. 264 Rosendo Manahan further declared that the claim of Milagros Manotok-Dormido that she was able to obtain a copy of Sale Certificate No. Reyes. 1 in the Barques' Pre-Trial Brief. Upon verification with LMB. declared that the statement made by Milagros Manotok-Dormido in her Rebuttal Judicial Affidavit that Valentin Manahan could not have caused the survey of Lot 823 in 1938 and executed the Deed of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. The Valentin Manahan subject of the Certificates of Death (Exhs. Felix Javier. 4562 (Exh. 1054 from the LMB is contradicted by the testimonies of former DENR Undersecretary Roseller dela Peña. 2007 (Exh. but just a namesake. He asserted that Valentin Manahan died on February 5. The missing pages cover deaths during the period January 26 to February 16. Flotildes (rebuttal witness of the Barques) to conduct a relocation survey for him and his wife. US Visa issued to him on February 20. 2011 (Exh. 1945 by the Parish Priest of the Iglesia Catolica Apostolica Romana in Barasoain. Book IV of their Liber Defunctorum in which the death of his grandfather is supposedly entered/recorded. He also went to the Roman Catholic Cemetery of Malolos City to look at the tombstone (lapida) of his grandfather Valentin Manahan and see the date of his death inscribed thereon. Pangindian. Bulacan at the time of his death as shown in Manotoks' Exhs. 1949 (Exh. LV and LVI 265 ). His grandfather Valentin Manahan was born on May 21. Contrary to the assertions of Milagros Manotok-Dormido. Bulacan (Exh. Malolos. Mariano V. XLII and XLIII 256 ). XLIV 251 ). and Firearm License Card issued on April 2. it is a spurious document like Deed of Conveyance No. Pangindian. Fr. 108 and 109) showing that he died on July 30. LIII 262). Driver's License issued by the Land Transportation Office to expire on March 1. Arsenio C.1396hectare land identified as Lot No. 511 in favor of Hilaria de Guzman on June 24.

namely: Clodualdo. Lands Sector. XII — Certified photocopy of letter-reply dated November 16. V — Letter dated January 21. 267 On cross-examination. Regional Technical Director. He admitted that he has no knowledge as to whether it is the same Valentin who died in 1931. Regional Technical Director. undersecretary of Parish of Our Lady of Mt. Javier. Piedad Estate".. Gerochi. San Juan told "Din" not to make a categorical statement in the report but just state therein that ballpoint pen was already existing for commercial use as early as 1895. Clodualdo was buried the following day after his death. San Juan and the person he called talked about documents. 275 Exh. the Director of Lands was the one (1) approving the issuance of deed of conveyance over friar lands pursuant to General Memorandum Order No. Abueg-Sta. and further stating that "[t]he subject deed of conveyance does not contain the signature of then DENR Secretary Antonio Cerilles. that is recorded in the books of the parish. report and recommendation. series of 1977". Estoesta. 276 Exh. DENR-NCR to the Director of LMB 114 . he noticed that he toned down his voice and told "Din" to state his findings and recommendations in the report. XLII and XLIII). 270 SEIcAD Other documents formally offered by the Manahans are the following: Exh. Rosendo Manahan who is still alive is the son of his sister Hilaria de Guzman and Lucio Manahan. He was five (5) meters away from Atty. Manahan. identified Milagros Manotok-Dormido during the taking of the deposition. Maria attesting to the authenticity of Deed of Conveyance No. IX — Certified photocopy of the original of Real Property Tax Bill Receipt No. is his sister and the wife of Lucio Manahan who is also now deceased. A few minutes later. 1963 instead of Clodualdo. Carmel residing at Barasoain Church. 272 Exh. Lands Sector. LMB. San Juan told "Din" that the findings should be that the writings in the documents were written in fountain pen ink and not ballpoint pen ink. Flaviana and Leonarda (all deceased). 2005 of Concordia D. DENR-NCR forwarding to the LMB Director "the only available records in our office of Lot 823. 1998 of Cecilio O. 1999 from Mamerto L. Roberto San Juan. Assistant Solicitor General. 273 Exh. The children of his sister other than Maria are. San Juan who called a person whose name sounded like "Din. RT-22481 (372302) filed by Felicitas B. Manahan with the OSG. He explained the mistake in the Certificate of Death (Exh 56-Manotoks) saying he was dizzy for lack of sleep attending to the wake of Clodualdo and he was confused about the names of his nephews that he committed an honest mistake in reporting that Rosendo de Guzman died on July 30. 1. 712650 issued to Felicitas Manahan in 1989 by the Office of the Treasurer of Quezon City for payment of property tax covering Lot 823 for the year 1990-1991." Atty. Manahan taken of the tombstone that was vandalized (Exhs. he went inside the hearing room and relayed what he heard to Solicitor Omar Diaz who was sitting in the last row near the door. Atty. He then overheard Atty. San Juan saw him. Bulacan. Lot 823 of Piedad Estate is not available in their file but which verification "must not be construed as a confirmation that the said lot is still vacant or open for disposition/sale to any person as title thereto might have already been obtained" and further advising that "a verification be made to the DENR-CENR Office and to the Register of Deeds concerned to avoid any confusion as to the present status of the said lot". 1998 of Director Manuel D. 1999 from Mamerto L. Atty. in his Judicial Affidavit declared that at about 2:15 in the afternoon of December 10. I — Certified copy of the Petition dated November 25. XIII — Certified copy of 1st Indorsement dated February 23. V-200022 covering Lot 823 issued in favor of Felicitas Manahan on October 30. Jr. to Felicitas Manahan stating that per verification of their records. 2009 wherein he declared that Hilaria de Guzman who is now deceased. he said that Clodualdo had been ill for more or less one (1) year (tuberculosis) and he took care of him before his death. 271 Exh. Caranto. Zuñiga. II — Certified photocopy of the letter dated December 3. San Juan during the incident and thereafter. came out and the latter did not notice him because his view was blocked by the Court Security. Rosendo Manahan is married to Felicitas B. XIV — Certified photocopy of the 2nd Indorsement dated March 26. counsel of the Manotoks.Jacinto Ramos de Guzman identified Rosendo Manahan as his nephew during the taking of deposition and his Judicial Affidavit dated December 14. GNo. he stepped out of the hearing room to call their office messenger. to the Director of LMB referring the petition filed by Felicitas Manahan for investigation. He also identified two (2) pictures shown to him by Mr. Fls-3164. His sister is not married to Jose Cruz. Richie Q. Infante. 2009. 1998 for the cancellation of Manotoks' TCT No. 2000. When Atty. Director. Malolos. LMB to LRA Deputy Administrator Ofelia E. Atty. because during the incumbency of Director Ernesto Adobo. Infante. 274 Exh. 269 Felix S. 268 Atty.

511 covering Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate on June 24. XXXII — photocopy of the Bureau of Lands' transmittal of Survey Records (decentralizing of records) showing that Accession No. Land Management Services informing that copy of approved Fls-3168-D is not on file in the Technical Records Section. Evelyn Celzo of Lot 823. 286 and Exh. 1913. 2009 of Ignacio R. Book T-92 (Pre-War Title) can no longer be found from the files of this office as of this date". Fernando R. 1120 otherwise known as the "Friar Lands Act". Manuel Abrogar. the CA found that none of the parties were able to prove a valid alienation of Lot 823 of Piedad Estate from the government in accordance with the provisions of Act No. et al. 2008. XXXV — Letter dated July 4. XXIV — Original of Certification dated January 10. Deed of Conveyance No. Notably lacking in the deed of conveyance of the Manotoks is the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce as required by Section 18 of the said law. 2006 of Marco A. XXIII — Certified true copy of TCT No. was found to be previously plotted under TCT No. Acting Chief. V-321 and no available record of Sale Certificate No. Jr. OIC-Chief. 279 Exh. as the ultimate citadel of justice and legitimacy. 210177. XXXVII — Photocopy of Sale Certificate No. married to Rosario Tech and covers a land in Pasig with an area of 428 square meters. 282 Exh. Upon close scrutiny. . LMB to the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. XXII — Certified true copy of truncated TCT No. thus: . 210177 when plotted thru its tie line falls outside Quezon City". XXXIII — Original of the letter dated October 3. 280 Exh. 511 dated June 24. 2009 stating that DENR-NCR has available record of Deed of Conveyance Record No. XXX — photocopy of 1st Indorsement dated August 23. 22813 issued by the Register of Deeds. V-200022 of Felicitas Manahan and TCT No. We will be derelict in our duty if we remain silent on the apparent defects of the Manotok title. 284 Exh. LRA Land Projection Section referring to the Chief. Verbo. The apparent flaws in the Manotoks' claim are considerable and disturbing enough. Chief. 277 Exh. DENR-NCR. .. 115 . Piedad Estate.. Almira. Manotoks' Claim In our Resolution promulgated on December 18. XXXVI — Letter dated June 22. XX — Certified photocopy of the letter dated December 13. it appears that the document/s leading to the issuance of TCT No. Castro.287 CA Findings Examining the entire evidence on record. the Court already made initial observations when we reevaluated the points raised against the Manotok title and found these to be serious enough. Land Management Services. Jr. The Court. 278 Exh. reflective as they are of a scourge this Court is dedicated to eliminate. 2005 of DENR-NCR OIC Regional Technical Director. and stating that the deed of conveyance is covered by Consulta No. 2000 issued by Atty. 1913 offered as secondary evidence to prove that Valentin Manahan was issued Sale Certificate No. Jr. 281 Exh. 285 Exh. OICDirector. Province of Rizal with notation "Cancelled See TCT No. while TCT No. 22813. 4562 and Sale Certificate No. Salcedo.. Deputy Register of Deeds of Rizal stating that "after a thorough verification from the files of this office. 634 dated September 17. 634 is in the name of Enrique Miguel. 1946 which is offered to prove that TCT No. forwarding Deed of Conveyance No. 2009 of Engr. Regional Surveys Division stating that the Certifications dated June 8. Geodetic Survey Division. LRA.transmitting additional documents in connection with the investigation by Engr. Almira. 410436 which the Barques claimed as the accession number of their Fls-3168-D is in the name of Nicolas Apo. Roberto B. the factual allegations and voluminous documentary exhibits relating to the purchase of Lot 823 by the predecessors-in-interest of the claimants revealed badges of fraud and irregularity.. is a guardian of the integrity of the land registration system of the Philippines. 372302. stating that Fls-3168-D is not listed in the EDP listing. Adobo. V-200022 in the name of Felicitas Manahan for registration and issuance of certificate of title to Felicitas Manahan covering Lot 823 of Piedad Estate. 283 Exh. Legal Division. and what is on file is only a photocopy of Plan Fls-3168-D covering Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate which is not a duly certified one (1). 2282. LMB. 511 in the name of Valentin Manahan (assignor) and Hilaria de Guzman (assignee) were not issued by the LMB and the signatures appearing thereon are not the signatures of Ignacio R. and that "when said Deed of Conveyance was plotted in our Municipal Index Map thru its tie line. 2009 and April 13. 634". 2000 of Ernesto D. to Atty.

That petition was referred by the OSG to the LMB of the DENR. 823 of the Piedad Estate dated 5 July 1989. 1054 dated March 11. 823 had actually been in the possession of a Valentin Manahan beginning in 1908. 511. 22813. It was narrated therein that Lot No. In 1939. authored by Evelyn C. Blk. which duly investigated the claim of the Manahans. the mother title of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. 288 But since the Court recognized there was yet no sufficient evidence to warrant the annulment of the Manotok title. and Felicisimo Villanueva — certificates that were all dated prior to 1930. In its Chemistry Report No. dela Rosa." All told.Many of these flaws have especially emerged through the petition-for-intervention of Felicitas and Rosendo Manahan. a certification was issued by the Register of Deeds of Rizal dated 7 January 2000 stating thus: "After a thorough verification from the files of this Office. as well as the Barques and Manahans. The NBI examined various sales certificates and assignment of sales certificates in the names of the purported predecessors-in-interest of the Manotoks Regina Geronimo. dela Peña a query on whether a deed of conveyance could be issued to Felicitas Manahan. The Chief of the Legal Division of the LMB recommended that the appropriate proceedings be taken in the proper court for the cancellation of the Manotok title. 1974. Around the same time. Evaluating the documentary and testimonial evidence adduced by the Manotoks. Valentin Manahan applied for the purchase of the land. according to Undersecretary Dela Peña. Modesto Zacarias. 614. C-99-152 dated 10 June 1999." aDSHCc These findings were twice verified with due diligence and reconfirmed by the DENR. More crucially. the Forensic Chemistry Division of the NBI concluded that the said documents "could not be as old as it (sic) purports to be. these apparent problems with the Manotoks' claim dissuade us from being simply content in reflexively dismissing the administrative petition for reconstitution filed by the Barques. the CA concluded that they still failed to establish a valid claim over Lot 823. to prove a valid acquisition from the Government of Lot No. 614 to the Manotok title was a TCT No. The Investigation Report stated: "Records show that the Sale Certificate No. Based on my research at the Land Management Bureau (LMB). Indeed. It cited the finding of the NBI Forensic Chemistry Division that the result of the chemical analysis of the documents of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. through a Memorandum dated 17 April 2000. in answering that query through a Memorandum dated 6 July 2000. pointed out that the titles of the Manotoks could not have been derived from OCT No. The DENR Undersecretary. The copy of said TCT No. whom we have allowed to intervene in these cases. The DENR also requested the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in conducting the said investigation. the case had to be remanded to the CA for further reception of evidence for the Manotoks. was issued to Valentin Manahan as purchaser and transferred to Hilaria de Guzman Manahan as (Assignee) and sold to Felicitas Manahan by way of Deed of Absolute Sale dated August 23. 823. Central Office. Land Investigator of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO). 116 . NCR-North Sector and addressed to the CENRO Officer. T-92 cannot be found from the files of this Office. it appears that the documents leading to the issuance of TCT No. Piedad Estate. 22813. North CENRO. 511 covering Lot 823. to the point that it is not visually discernible what year the same was issued. The Manahans had filed a petition with the OSG seeking that it initiate cancellation/reversion proceedings against the Manotok title. and he was issued Sales Certificate No. 22813 submitted to the Court is truncated in the upper half. The chain of transfers leading from OCT No. it appears that original claimant of lot 823 was Valentin Manahan. the LMB referred to the DENR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Roseller S. purportedly issued by the Office of the Register of Deeds for the Province of Rizal. we have to take further action." xxx xxx xxx Also on record is an Investigation Report on Lot No.

Atty. Naic Friar Land Estate containing an area of 1. 43) of Amando V. 290 As to Manotoks' longtime possession evidenced by tax declarations. found Dr. but such signature is absent in the supposedly certified true copies obtained from the National Archives (Supplemental offer of Rebuttal Evidence. artificial tears on the edges to make the document appear much older. 4562 issued to Emiliano Setosta covering Lot 823 of Piedad Estate. however. Homer L. SETOSTA supposedly covering a parcel of land identified as Lot No. The CA found that the Manotoks' documentary evidence even showed a discrepancy since the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. Sale Certificate No. Manahans). 292 The Barques themselves realized their mistake in presenting Exh. and she did not subject these to chemical analysis or other more reliable procedures. LMB categorically declared that ". 1540-N. this document dated May 6. 4562 dated January 25. Manahan (Exhibit LV. however. V-321) is a fake and spurious document. June 7. 1 291 (certified true copy of Deed of Conveyance Record No. To contradict the findings of NBI Chemist Magsipoc. a photocopy of Deed of Conveyance No. please be informed that according to our verification. Caloocan. 1923 and April 19. and other tell-tale marks on the punch and staple wire holes. Chief. the CA considered these immaterial. Quezon City. whose name appears in Exh. 614. Exhs. Fe Tuanda. . 4562 with Sale Certificate No. . 1946. this Office has no record/copy of the alleged Deed of Conveyance No. Sorra's opinion of less probative value as it was based merely on the physical appearance of the questioned documents. 289 The most fatal defect stressed by the CA in its Commissioners' Report is the lack of signature of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (now Director of Lands) on Sale Certificate No. Teresita J. The CA. Manahans) to the letter of Felicitas B. 29204. In her reply. Sorra of the PNP Crime Laboratory who testified that she examined the questioned documents of the Manotoks and found them to be genuine and authentic. 143 and 144). 1937 is spurious considering that while its heading indicated "Republic of the Philippines Department of Agriculture and Commerce" and the consideration for the conveyance in Japanese war notes. 1938 (Exh. Moreover. Barques' Claim With the admission made by Teresita Barque-Hernandez that their Exh. . 142. 823. 1054 cannot thus be the source of any legal right over Lot 823 and no valid transfer or assignment could have been made by the original claimants in favor of Severino Manotok. For being null and void ab initio. 1120. Reyes. Records Management Division. 4562 lacks the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce.1919. Cavite identified as Lot No. thus: DTAHEC . 11. tax receipts and buildings constructed on the land as early as 1933. 1930 executed by the original claimants of Lot 823 in favor of Severino Manotok showed they were not really as old as they purport to be considering that (1) the handwritten entries were found to be made in ballpoint pen and sign pen inks. 1955 in favor of PAULINO BIGALBAL covering a parcel of land situated in Naic. LMB-RMD stating that the only available record on file with their office is the said Deed of Conveyance No. Piedad Estate. The CA noted that on its face. as required under Act No. the Manotoks presented Dr. l and so they submitted another document. 1 as the officer who certified and verified the documents in the records of the LMB. which were not yet commercially available in the Philippines until 1953 and 1965. 4562 purportedly issued in the name of EMILIANO P. Bangayan. 1054 marked as Exhs. May 4. Fe Tuanda further declared that "(F)urther verification of our records shows that the Deed of Conveyance No. particularly as the Deed of Conveyance No. 1054 and approval by the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture and Commerce on the Manotoks' Sale Certificate No.1396 117 . 1920. OIC. it is of judicial notice that the Republic of the Philippines was established only on July 4. 293 The CA. gave scant weight to the aforesaid documents. Fe Tuanda (Exhibit LVI. 12 and 13 showed a signature at the dorsal portion above the printed words "Director of Lands". V-4562 was issued on June 28. no legal right was acquired over Lot 823 by their predecessor-in-interest Emiliano Setosta who allegedly sold the lot to her father. the property being friar land which forms part of the State's patrimonial property." Atty. 44) with accompanying Certification dated 14 March 1997 (Exh. The veracity of the certification is seriously contradicted by the reply letter of Atty. Barque. denied that the signature appearing above her printed name was her signature. . and (2) the physical signs in the paper itself such as the uneven discoloration. and the identified owner of Piedad Estate should be "Gobierno de las Islas Filipinas" as stated in OCT No. Rizal. 1054 and Deed of Conveyance No.

the letter dated 2 January 1997 from the LMB stated that the copy of FLS-3168-D as verified from its microfilm file was the same as the copy sent by the Technical Records and Statistics Section of the National Capital Region Lands Management Sector. 4562" which also appeared as "Deed No. 2008: The Barque title. The Barques assert that they bought the subject property from a certain Setosta. Barque is further put seriously in doubt in view of the Barques' failure to prove the existence of Subdivision Plan Fls-3168-D duly authenticated by the Geodetic Surveys Division. 13900 should have been registered under the name of Setosta. as in fact the Barque title was a transfer from a title registered under the name of the Manotoks. The copy with the Technical Records and Statistical Section. purportedly a transfer from TCT No. a microfilm copy of FLS3168-D was on file in the Technical Records and Statistical Section of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources — National Capital Region — (DENR-NCR). it must be pointed out that the attachment to Exhibit 43 marked and offered as Exhibit 44 is a mere photocopy of the so-called "DEED No. The Barques have failed to explain the anomaly. . the basis for the issuance of TCT No. or TCT No. Also. 294 (Italics supplied. 2009. V321 and a Deed of Conveyance in the name of Emiliano Setosta. the LMB sent a detailed explanation to prove that it did not come from its office. . states that it was transferred from TCT No. and the same was transmitted to the Register of Deeds of Cavite on July 13. 4562" in the left upper portion of the spurious document pre-marked as Exhibit 1 for the Barques and offered as Exhibit XLI for the Manahans. DENR-NCR Land Investigator Evelyn G. 13900 was not issued in the name of Emiliano Setosta but Manotok Realty. denied issuing such letter and stated that it was a forged document.) Aside from the absence of a valid deed of conveyance and/or sale certificate in the name of the Barques' predecessor-in-interest. The Barques hinge their claim on a purported subdivision plan. the BARQUES should have presented Amando Bangayan as a witness in Court to confirm the veracity of her certification. This detracts from the Barques' claim that the Manotoks do not have title to the property. However. it was not. 210177. 2009. Revelatory is the exchange of correspondence between the LMB and the LRA. made in favor of Setosta. Inc. however. 1955. LMB National Office.hectares." In his Judicial Affidavit dated July 17. The LMB. but which nonetheless was erroneously accorded credence by the First Division in its December 12. Inc. We quote from our Resolution dated December 18. declared in her Judicial Affidavit dated July 15. To amplify the forged nature of the document. . 4562 and Sales Certificate No. TCT No. the same is null and void ab initio for the same lacks the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce as explicitly required by law. 210177. it could be deduced that TCT No. former DENR Undersecretary Roseller de la Peña declared that Deed of Conveyance Record No. FLS-3168-D. considering that TCT No. However. TCT No. under which the Barques assert title to Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. even if Exhibit 44 will be considered as a secondary evidence. Exhibit 44 refers to a photocopy of "DEED NO. The accuracy of the certification should be confirmed by Amando Bangayan on the witness stand wherein the other parties would be given the opportunity to crossexamine him on the veracity of his certification. At any rate. nor did the LMB have a record of the plan. Curiously. 13900. Emiliano Setosta. which bore the stamp of the LMB. 2005 Decision. Celzo. In a letter to the administrator of the LRA. 296 We recall that the evidence of the Barques in support of their claim over Lot 823 was found by this Court to be "exceedingly weak". V-321 are not in the records of the LMB and DENR. With the foregoing evidence seriously controverting the veracity of Exhibit 43. the hearing officer concluded that "it is evident that there is an attempt to mislead us into favorable action by submitting forged documents. 210177 in the name of Homer L. based on the records. Thus. However. 4562" which has no probative value. 13900 was registered under the name of Manotok Realty. The Barques has not accounted for the original copy for them to be allowed to present a photocopy as secondary evidence. that she made a thorough research in the files of the Central Office of the LMB but did not find Sales Certificate No. Further. Also. was denied by the LMB as having emanated from its office. hence it is recommended that this case [be] referred to the PARAC for investigation and filing of charges against perpetrators as envisioned by this office under your administration. The LMB did not have any copy of FLS-3168-D in the EDP listing. it appears that there is a conflict as to its actual existence in the files of the government." 118 . 13900 295 — which title until now the Barques said they could no longer find a copy despite diligent search — is itself questionable.

and the technical description provided by the DENR. 1996 prepared by Romy A. 2. seeking clarification as to why the Land Management Services. the subdivision plan relied on by the Barques. xxx xxx xxx The Barques offered no credible explanation for the discrepancy. 2006 letter is attached as Annex A. A copy of my November 7. 119 .G. 1940. A similar finding was made by the Land Management Bureau (LMB). Bustos later wrote me again. DENR-National Capital Region ("LMS-DENR-NCR") apparently had a microfilm copy of Fls-3168-D while the LMB does not have a record of the same. Engr. and attesting that after having scrutinized all records while he was still Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division. had earlier prepared a Report 299 and also executed an Affidavit dated November 18." This is material. . contained a certification dated September 23. A copy of Atty. when I was still Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the LMB. 298 However. I received a letter requesting a certified true copy of Subdivision Plan Fls-3168-D ("Fls-3168-D") in connection with the examination/verification of a petition for administrative reconstitution of TCT No. 823 per the Barque title locates it at 5. 2006 300 setting forth the exchange of correspondence with the LRA relative to Fls-3168-D. 823 of the Piedad Estate. I then wrote the Regional Technical Director of the LMS-DENR-NCR. . Sr. that Section stated that upon examination it was found out thatthe land as described in the Barque title "when plotted thru its tie line falls outside Quezon City. The pertinent portions of Engr. ScTIAH Lastly. it is apparent that the Barques' claim of ownership is exceedingly weak. Felipe that it is allegedly "the Microfilm enlargement of Fls-3168-D" with the signatures of Privadi J. since Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate is within the boundaries of Quezon City. They also do not contradict the finding of the National Archives that there is no copy in its files of the deed of sale allegedly executed between Setosta and Barque. I informed Atty. It attested that the line or directional azimuth of Lot No. 297 The Barques' Exh. Bustos's October 29. Benjamin M. who served as Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the LMB. 1996) to the LMS-DENR-NCR is attached as Annex D. 1996 reply-letter is attached as Annex B. Dalire's affidavit stated: xxx xxx xxx Sometime in October 1996. The letter came from Atty. DENR from 1988 to 1998.There are significant differences between the technical description of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate as stated in FLS-3168-D. Atty. 1996) is attached as Annex C. 6. . 210177 allegedly registered in the name of Homer L. he found that no such Fls-3168-D exists.889 meters away from point 1 of Lot No. ScAHTI Atty. stating that the LMB had no record of Fls3168-D and requesting a copy of the alleged Fls-3168-D on file with the LMS-DENR-NCR for LMB's evaluation. Dalire. who was then the Reconstituting Officer and Chief of the Reconstitution Division of the Land Registration Authority ("LRA"). Dalire and Carmelito Soriano. Bustos.. A copy of my letter (dated December 5. These discrepancies highlight the error of the LRA and the Court of Appeals in acknowledging the right of the Barques to seek reconstitution of their purported Barque title. Even assuming that the petition for reconstitution should not have been dismissed due to the Manotok title. Barque. in the 1st Indorsement issued by the Land Projection Section of the LRA dated 23 August 2006. Bustos' letter (dated December 2. . Bustos that the LMB has no record of Fls-3168-D. Fls-3168-D dated June 21.In my reply.

did not emanate from the LMB for the following reasons: 120 . 1996). Bustos' letter dated January 28. 1997. I wrote the LRA Administrator stating that despite repeated requests. based on the LMB's examination of the machine copy of Fls-3168-D (which was attached to Atty. NCR [referring to LMS-DENR-NCR] has not sent to us the copy [of Fls-3168-D] for authentication as required by DENR Administrative Order. In the same letter. 1996 letter. Bustos. 1997. It is also incomplete as an (sic)Stamp.3. GEODETIC. 1997 are attached as Annexes G and H. 2)The alignment of: Lands. which I allegedly wrote. logically we cannot issue any copy. 1997.The copy of the plan Fls-3168-D shows visible signs that it is a spurious copy. I stated that LMS-DENR-NCR had not forwarded any copy of Fls-3168-D to the LMB. The certification and the signing official are separate." I also stated that "until this writing. 1997. their (sic) is Survey without the 's' plural. Bustos' December 2. "it is certain that the source of the copy [of Fls-3168-D] is a spurious plan which may have been inserted in the file[s]. Annex D. and Chief in the syndicates (sic) stamp differ from our stamp. aAHTDS 5)The copy bears forged initials of my section officer and myself. Bustos' letter of December 2. I again wrote Atty.Our inventory of approved plans enrolled in our file. A copy of the letter dated January 5. 1)The certification (rubber stamp) serves a two piece stamp. 1997 is attached as Annex E. in addition to the above is 'of __________'. Bustos. 1997 is attached as Annex F. LMS-DENR-NCR had not furnished the LMB a copy of Fls-3168-D which had been alleged to be in their files. I replied to Atty.On February 13. 4." A copy of my letter dated January 31. 5." I likewise confirmed that the copy of Fls-3168-D. Geodetic Surveys Division is our stamp. Bustos. reiterating that I did not prepare or issue the letter dated January 2. which I received from Atty. I received a letter from Atty.On February 19. The January 2. Bustos. 6. our Microfilm Computer list of plans available for decentralization all show that we do not have this plan Fls-3168-D. respectively. Privadi. 4)The size of the lettering in the rubber stamp 'Not for Registration/Titling for Reference Only' is smaller than our stamp. 1997. 1997. so I wrote them again on January 5. I advised the LRA Administrator that. I also stressed that the letter dated January 2. Chief. did not emanate from the LMB for the following reasons: "a. Copies of Atty. it is certified that this Bureau does not have copy of Fls-3168-D. A copy of my letter (dated February 13. 1997 and my alleged letter of January 2. purporting to have been written by me to him. 7)Again.On January 31. 1997 repeating my request for a copy of their alleged Fls-3168-D. b. which was attached to Atty. I also explained that the copy of Fls-3168-D. 3)We do not stamp the plan twice as the syndicate did on the copy. requesting that I authenticate an enclosed letter dated January 2. 6)The name of the claimant is very visible to have been tampered in the master copy. I sign completely certification. reiterating that Fls-3168-D does not exist in the files of LMB.LMS-DENR-NCR did not respond to my letter. this. 1997) is attached as Annex I. 1997 "letter" states that LMS-DENR-NCR has forwarded a copy of Fls-3168-D to the LMB and that this copy is identical with that contained in the LMB's microfilm records. Ours is one-piece. is a forged document.

These are not present in the spurious copy of plan. Bustos. and for the repeated failure of LMS-DENR121 . Moreover.) 9. 1997 letter to Atty. 7. (2) the Locator Card prepared for each plan contained in the Logbooks (The Locator Card indicates the location of the land. HcISTE 5)The letter size of the rubber stamp 'NOT FOR REGISTRATION/TITLING. the Survey Number and the Accession Number. the surveyor. This is not our practice. the deck of Locator Cards does not contain a Locator Card pertaining to Fls-3168-D. 4)The plan shows only initial. Fls. 8. I prepared a report which discusses in greater detail why the LMB and the LMS-DENR-NCR did not have. We have shown you our rubber stamps to prove that the copy of Fls-3168-D in your possession is a spurious plan. The signature appearing in that letter is not my signature. which I have thoroughly scrutinized while I was Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division. 6)The spurious copy of plan you furnished us does not carry our rubber stamp 'GOVERNMENT PROPERTY NOT TO BE SOLD: FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY OF _______________' This is stamped on all microfilm copies we issue because all microfilm copies are for official use only of our LMS. Consequently. 1997 letter to Atty. Hence. sign and/or send the January 2.The LMB's Geodetic Surveys Division is the depositary of vital records containing information on survey plans. I also confirm that the LMB did not. and that any representation purporting to produce a copy of it from the LMB files is false. inventoried and microfilmed by the LMB after World War II. This simply means no Fls-3168-D was salvaged. series of 1991. We use one piece rubber stamp. the forwarding of the copy of Fls-3168-D to their office for validation is mandatory under DENR Administrative Order No. the roll of microfilm containing the survey plan cannot be located. the location. The alignment of the letters/words of one rubber stamp is different from this marking on this spurious plan. have any copy of Fls-3168-D. These records consist of. 10. I sign in full copies of plans with the initials of my action officers and their codings below my signature. The Logbook of Fls surveys.All these records. (1) the Logbooks for Psu. A copy of this report is attached as Annex L and forms an integral part of this affidavit. The Accession Number stamped on the Locator Card is also stamped on the survey plan before microfilming so that authentic microfilm copies of plans should indicate an Accession Number). the condition of all plans salvaged after World War II. and until now could not have. Psd. xxx xxx xxx 301 As pointed out by Engr. shows that the portion for Fls-3168-D was left blank. Bustos is attached as Annex J. any genuine microfilm copy or any other genuine copy of Fls-3168-D. Dalire. 49. 3)The rubber-stamp shows there are two pieces." A copy of my February 19. inventoried. this shows that Fls-3168-D was not salvaged after World War II. (3) the Microfilms of microfilmed survey plans. accession numbered and microfilmed (The EDP listing was made before the decentralization of the survey plans to the various offices of the LMS. I hereby confirm the truthfulness of the contents of the report.Previously. it is impossible for LMSDENR-NCR to have a microfilmed copy thereof. one for the certification and another for the signing official. it simply means that no such plan was decentralized/forwarded to the LMS. inter alia. and survey plans containing the survey number. and until now does not. if a particular survey plan is not included in the EDP Listing. no such Fls-3168-D could have been decentralized/forwarded by the LMB to LMS-DENR-NCR and therefore. Again. and (4) the EDP Listing of plans which were salvaged. write. more specifically page 351 thereof (attached as Annex K).I hereby affirm under oath that I did not prepare. It should be emphasized that the Locator Card indicates the Accession Number for a particular survey plan so that without the Locator Card. revealed that no such Fls-3168-D exists."1)We have no copy of Fls-3168-D on file so how can we issue a copy of plan that is non-existing? 2)The copy of plan bears two 'Certifications' at the top and at lower half. FOR REFERENCE ONLY' is smaller than our rubber stamp.

Q. are the following notations. NO. Novaliches. Dans. INFANTE OIC. marked as Exhibit "3-A" is the "CERTIFICATION" which reads: "This is to certify that this is a true and correct reproduction of plan Fls-3168-D(W P). marked as Exhibit 4-A. Mamerto L. 2009 by Ignacio G. Requested by:Castor Viernes Address:55 Quirino Hi Way Talipapa. 2009: ADTEaI "Sir: According to the verification of FLS-3168-D.:342945 sq. 1940 by Deputy Public Land Surveyor Tomas Colmenar and approved on January 30. 1991" and above the signature over the same "Ignacio G. trs (Sgd. Signing(sic) of Engr. A visual comparison of Exhibits 3 and 4 will readily show that both are reproduction of the same Subdivision Plan. nonetheless. Almira" is the notation which reads: "This print copy of FLS-3168-D is cross-checked with other records and the microfilm of the original and it is found the same. Regional Technical Director" Under it.) Prepared by: Norma C. marked as Exhibit 3-B. it appears to be an exact reproduction of the same Subdivision Plan. Almira. the inescapable conclusion is that said plan is spurious and void. the Barques presented before the CA another purported copy of Fls-3168-D containing an alleged certification of more recent date (Exhs. allegedly surveyed on June 21. Also. is the date June 8.NCR to comply with the request of Engr.R. Claimant:Emiliano Setosta Location:Caloocan City Area/Nos. purportedly authenticated on June 8. Has available record and files. 302 cSDIHT To cure this anomaly. on the other hand. situated in Caloocan City dated October 13. Infante 122 .Although. 49. Dalire to forward to the Geodetic Surveys Division their purported copy of Fls-3168-D. 1998. 1996. it is perplexing to note the existence of different notations on the same Subdivision Plan." Exhibit "3". Regional Surveys Division.O. since their filing of a petition for administrative reconstitution on October 22.) MAMERTO L. "AUTHENTICATE" June 8.m. below the stamp "FOR OFFICIAL USE". in a desperate attempt to cure the absence of a certified true copy of Subdivision Plan Fls-3168-D validated by the Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division. have failed to submit an authenticated and validated copy of Fls-3168-D. further noting that the Barques. 1941 by the Director of Lands Jose P. the CA found no probative value in their additional evidence.# 6437394-A (Sgd. City Purpose:Reference Date issued:10-13-98 O. below the stamp "FOR OFFICIAL USE". the BARQUES offered as their Exhibits 3 and 4 an alleged copy of Subdivision Plan Fls-3168-D covering Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. In Exhibit 4. But still. 2009 and the "VALIDATION DENR A. to National Capital Region. Chief. 3 and 4303 ).

Crizaldy M. Barcelo in his letter of 08 August 2005. but also subject the malefactor to criminal liability. Lot 823. respectively. the tampering of documents not only affect the probative value thereof. Castor Viernes. Barcelo was verified to be on file in the Technical Records Section. Infante and Ignacio G. is also null and void. However. Lastly. we regret to inform you that your request cannot be granted. DENR-NCR. As such. XXXIII). Piedad Estate which is not a duly certified one. thus: 123 . with the plan designated as Fls-3164 approved by the Director of Lands on December 13. 511 in the name of Valentin Manahan subsequently issued.(Sgd. Land Management Services. 1938. Such failure on their part to present said witnesses. verification revealed that there is no record of receipt of the original copy of plan Fls-3168-D. Crizaldy M. xxx xxx xxx 304 The CA observed that the Barques should have presented Mamerto L. Land Management Sector of the DENR-National Capital Region. as well as the veracity of their claim of actual possession before armed men allegedly barred their caretakers from the premises in the 1950s. 3 and 4. the only logical conclusion is that the different notations on the same Subdivision Plan was a result of tampering of documents. 1939. And in the absence of a duly approved subdivision plan. thus: This pertains to your letter dated 22 September 2005 requesting for a duly certified copy of the original approved plan Fls-3168-D which. xxx xxx xxx 305 (Emphasis supplied. may we inform you that. Atty. TCT No. fake and non-existent sale certificate or deed of conveyance. even a million times. NCR. On record. the CA cited the following letter-reply dated 03 October 2005 of Samson G. Land Surveys Division. according to the appellate court.) IGNACIO G. certified on 28 November 2000 by then Chief. from the testimonies of Teresita Barque Hernandez and Engr. Regional Surveys Division" The mere existence of different notations on the same Subdivision Plan creates serious doubt on the existence and veracity of the said Subdivision Plan. it would still reflect or replicate the same notations. LMS-DENR-NCR addressed to Felicitas B. contrary to the claim of Atty. ALMIRA Chief. the CA concluded that no valid transfer or assignment can be used by them as basis for the reconstitution of title over the subject lot. Crizaldy M. 511. In view thereof. At present. Regional Surveys Division and on 04 June 2005 by then Regional Technical Director for Lands Management Services. Almira to identify their signatures on Exhs. as per letter dated 08 August 2005 of the Regional Technical Director for Land Management Services. Barcelo.) DEICaA The Barques' claim being anchored on a spurious. Further. what is on file is ONLY a PHOTOCOPY of Plan Fls-3168-D covering Lot 823. the Barques' title. could be considered eloquent evidence of the absence of Fls-3168-D in the name of Emiliano Setosta duly approved by the Director of Lands and authenticated by the Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division of the LMB. it appears that the original claimant/applicant over Lot 823 of Piedad Estate was Valentin Manahan who supposedly had the lot surveyed on November 10. Atty. no explanation was offered in their Judicial Affidavits and when they testified in Court on the above divergent notations on the same Subdivision Plan. De Leon. the CA seriously doubted the existence of Sale Certificate No. 210177. and Sale Certificate No. copy of approved plan Fls-3168-D is not on-file in Technical Records Section. In addition. OIC Regional Technical Director. This is so because common experience will tell us that if one and the same document is reproduced several times. Certainly. without an acceptable explanation. categorically denying that a copy of approved plan Fls-3168-D exists in their files. Manahans' Claim From the existing records in the DENR and LMB. Piedad Estate is covered by approved plans Sp-00-000360 and Sp-00-000779 are likewise on-file in the Technical Records Section. Manahan (Exh. In connection thereto.

25-26). Thirdly. it is quite perplexing to note where and how Hilaria de Guzman secured a photocopy of Sale Certificate No. No explanation was offered by Felicitas Manahan and Rosendo Manahan when they testified in Court. pp. Therefore. pp. Rollo. the earliest of which was dated July 28. 1989 and her Investigation Report dated July 5. but despite a thorough search for the said document. nonetheless.. who also relied on the Investigation Report of Evelyn dela Rosa. Severino Manotok declared the subject lot for taxation. Also. Jr.140. who in turn adopted the same unsupported findings in his Memorandum dated April 17. no certified copy of Sale Certificate No. 1989 (Exhibit XV. . Although.) The CA thus assailed the adoption by Attys. Manotoks). as a farmer. the claim of actual possession in 1908 up to about 1948 when allegedly armed men forcibly wrested possession from the caretakers of Lucio Manahan is negated by the absence of tax declarations and receipts showing that the MANAHANS who claimed to be owners of the subject lot declared the subject lot for taxation and paid the real property tax during the said period.00 stated in the Investigation Report of Evelyn de la Rosa. 991-995) for cancellation/reversion of TCT No. 1913 as secondary evidence for the simple reason that it is of questionable existence and of dubious origin. Sale Certificate No. 1933 per Tax Declaration No. 2000 309 issued by then DENR Undersecretary Roseller de la Peña. 511 in the files of the LMB and DENR. 2009. Rogelio Mandar and Manuel Tacorda of the unsubstantiated findings of Evelyn dela Rosa regarding the claim of the Manahans in their Memorandum dated April 3. Evelyn de la Rosa conducted the ocular inspection only on May 15. Manahans). . 511 issued to Valentin Manahan was presented and formally offered as evidence in Court. On the other hand. no original or certified true copy is on file in the records of the LMB and DENR (TSN. . 511 dated June 24. The only documentary evidence offered by the MANAHANS is Real Property Tax Bill Receipt No. 511" allegedly issued to Valentin Manahan after paying the purchase price of P2.22. 712650 (Exhibit IX. Manahan) did not mention nor identify the person who allegedly gave her the above information when she conducted an ocular inspection of the subject lot. LMB OIC-Director Ernesto Adobo. . Indubitably. Celzo) that Valentin Manahan. the Investigation Report is dovetailed to portray actual possession of the predecessor-in-interest of Felicitas Manahan. 12265 (Exhibit 26. RT-22481 in the name of Severino Manotok she filed before the OSG and forwarded to the LMB. as shown in various tax declarations (Exhibits 26-A to 26-N. 511 was not among the documents secured from the LMB and DENR by the OSG and formally offered as evidence in Court. It is no coincidence that the Investigation Report is practically a replica or summation of Felicitas Manahan's allegations embodied in her petition (Exhibit "1". . Rosendo Manahan declared in Court that he tried on several occasions. There is no competent evidence showing that Felicitas Manahan and/or her predecessor-in-interest have ever been in actual possession of the subject lot. 2000 308 addressed to the LMB OIC-Director. Manahans. cEaSHC xxx xxx xxx . 306 (Italics supplied. Sale Certificate No. 2000 307 addressed to the Chief of the Legal Division Alberto R. 511 dated June 24. November 19.319. No evidence was even formally offered by the MANAHANS showing that they declared the subject lot for taxation purposes in 1948. issued an Order 124 . Manotoks). Possession of a tax declaration and payment of real property tax will certainly bolster the claim of possession and ownership over a parcel of land. On the basis of Memorandum dated July 6. . . Recalde. The Investigation Report of Land Investigator Evelyn de la Rosa (Evelyn G. Sans a copy of Sale Certificate No. after reading the Investigation Report. took possession of the subject lot in 1908 is not supported by credible evidence. Manotoks) and paid the real property tax as evidenced by tax bill receipts (Exhibits 27 to 27-KKKKKKK. 1913 (Exhibit XXXVII. We cannot accord probative value on the said photocopy of Sale Certificate No. 511 was mentioned as one of the documents attached to the Investigation Report. 511. the Court entertains serious doubt on the existence of "Sale Certificate No. As a matter of fact. to secure a certified true copy of Sale Certificate No. A closer examination of her Investigation Report narrating specific events in 1948 like the lingering illness of Lucio Manahan who died in 1955 and the alleged reports of caretakers of heavily armed men taking the subject lot by force are tell-tale evidence of a scripted report of Land Investigator Evelyn de la Rosa. One who claim to be the owner of a parcel of land should declare it and pay the corresponding real property tax. Manahans) showing payment of real property tax only for the taxable year 1990-1991 in the sum of P102.

) It is clear from the foregoing provision that the sale of friar lands shall be valid only if approved by the Secretary of the Interior (later the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce). 1919 (Exh. certified by the LMB Records Management Division (Exh. 2000. it was established that while records of the DENR-LMB indicate the original claimant/applicant of Lot 823 as a certain Valentin Manahan. Jr. 11. EcSaHA As to DENR Memorandum Order No. Court of Appeals. On the other hand. 1939. 16-05 issued by then Secretary Michael T. 1923 (Exhs. 29204 (Exh. the same being inconsistent with Act No.No lease or sale made by Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by the Secretary of the Interior. 1923 (Exhs. sourced from the National Archives. Clearly. Jr. V-200022 dated October 30. just like the Manotoks. 56 125 . 10) was not signed by the Director of Lands nor approved by the Secretary of the Interior. OIC-Director Ernesto Adobo. 511 in the name of Valentin Manahan would be considered stale at the time of issuance of Deed of Conveyance No. Defensor. V-200022 as more than eighty six (86) years had passed from the execution of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 10). which name is illegible. 51-A) which likewise lacks the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources as it was signed only by the Director of Lands. V-200022 dated October 30. the Manotoks submitted photocopies of original documents entitled Assignment of Sale Certificate dated March 11. This was reiterated in Liao v. 313 where sales certificates issued by the Director of Lands in 1913 were held to be void in the absence of approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. and above it an even more poorly imprinted impression of what may be a stamp of the Secretary's approval. The Manotoks belatedly secured from the National Archives a certified copy of Deed of Conveyance No. IaCHTS Sale Certificate No. 1054 and Deed of Conveyance No. Section 18 of Act No. shows on the second page a poorly imprinted typewritten name over the words "Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources". (Emphasis supplied. Considering that the particular copy of said deed of conveyance on which the transfer certificate of title was issued by the Register of Deeds in the name of the buyer Severino Manotok is required by law to be filed with and retained in the custody of the Register of Deeds in accordance with Sec. In addition. according to the appellate court. In their Memorandum. Sale Certificate No. 1932 (Exh. 1919 and May 4. 1120 provides: SECTION 18. 312 this Court categorically declared that the approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce is indispensable for the validity of the sale of friar lands. committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing said deed of conveyance. 1919. June 7. may not invoke it to cure the lack of approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce in their respective sale certificate/deed of conveyance. Exhibits 33 and 34-OSG-LMB contained only the signature of the Director of Lands. 1120. the CA held that its validity cannot be sustained considering that it lacked the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources (now Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources) and was signed only by LMB OIC-Director Ernesto Adobo. 33 and 34-OSG-LMB). 2000 in favor of Felicitas Manahan. From the proceedings in the CA. 29204 warrants the annulment of the Manotok title. Court of Appeals. In Solid State Multi-Products Corporation v. 311 As to the Deed of Conveyance No. 2000 310 for the issuance of Deed of Conveyance No. the Manotoks pointed out that their photocopy of the original Deed of Conveyance No. 1920 and May 4. the CA ruled that the Manahans. 56 of Act No. The Court's Ruling The core issue presented is whether the absence of approval of the Secretary of the Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources in Sale Certificate No. 1054 dated March 10. 496 and Sec. only two (2) of these documents were submitted by the OSG certified as available in the files of LMB: Assignment of Sale Certificate dated March 11.dated October 16. only the Manotoks were able to produce a sale certificate in the name of their predecessors-in-interest. 29204 dated December 7. 12 and 13). 51-A). In any event. 511 dated June 24.

petitioners' claim of ownership must fail in the absence of positive evidence showing the approval of the Secretary of Interior. Approval of the Secretary of the Interior cannot simply be presumed or inferred from certain acts since the law is explicit in its mandate. however. Court of Appeals and reiterated in Liao vs. EcHIAC These arguments fail. Petitioners have not offered any cogent reason that would justify a deviation from this rule. said Deeds of Conveyance were only issued by the then Bureau of Lands (now the Land Management Bureau) after full payment had been made by the applicants thereon subject to the approval of the Secretary of the then Department of Interior. Applying the rule laid down in Solid State Multi-Products Corporation v. The Manotoks' reliance on the presumption of regularity in the statutorily prescribed transmittal by the Bureau of Lands to the Register of Deeds of their deed of conveyance is untenable. Cebu Country Club. Inc. Court of Appeals. we held in Alonso v. 1529. WHEREAS.of P. in this case. 22813 in the name of the buyer Severino Manotok. requirements for the issuance of" that deed of conveyance had been obeyed. in accordance with Act 1120. HSDaTC WHEREFORE. This is the settled rule as enunciated in Solid State Multi-Products Corporation vs. provided. . 2005 by then DENR Secretary Michael T. The presumption of regularity therefore stands as uncontradicted proof. some of these Deeds of Conveyance on record in the field offices of the Department and the Land Management Bureau do not bear the signature of the Secretary despite full payment by the friar land applicant as can be gleaned in the Friar Lands Registry Book. Cebu Country Club. the Manotoks contend that "we can assume that the Manotok deed of conveyance was in fact approved by the Department Secretary because the register of deeds did issue TCT No. In our Resolution 315 denying the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners in Alonso v. Court of Appeals. the Secretary of Natural Resources). Department Memorandum Order No. xxx xxx xxx 316 DENR Memorandum Order No. Court of Appeals and Liao v. 314that the absence of approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce in the sale certificate and assignment of sale certificate made the sale null and void ab initio.. WHEREAS. then Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. it appears that there are uncertainties in the title of the land disposed of by the Government under Act 1120 or the Friar Lands Act due to the lack of the signature of the Secretary on the Deeds of Conveyance. states: WHEREAS. it is hereby declared that all Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the signature of the Secretary are deemed signed or otherwise ratified by this Memorandum Order. 317 invoked by both the Manotoks and the Manahans. we underscored the mandatory requirement in Section 18. it is only a ministerial duty on the part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the applicant had already made full payment on the purchase price of the land. for and in consideration of the above premises." It is also argued that since the Bureau of Lands was required by law to transmit the deed of conveyance directly to the Register of Deeds. No. 1120 or the Friar Lands Act unequivocally provides: "No lease or sale made by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (now the Director of Lands) under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by the Secretary of the Interior (now. and presently the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. the Manotoks assert that even if we were to ignore the presumption of validity in the performance of official duty. that full payment of the purchase price of the land and compliance 126 . WHEREAS. 16-05 issued on October 27. as follows: Section 18 of Act No. there can be no valid titles issued on the basis of such sale or assignment.Necessarily. . Inc. In any event. supplies the omission of approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources in deeds of conveyances over friar lands..D. and in order to remove all clouds of doubt regarding the validity of these instruments. 16. said office is legally presumed to have observed the law's requirements for issuing that deed. Thus. Defensor. that "all .

or the so-called certificate of sale. the title. 322 Such certificate of sale must. This Memorandum Order. 29204 issued in 1932. 320 we held: SICaDA This is well-supported in jurisprudence. is a conveyance of the ownership of the property. retroacts to the time he first occupied the land. 321 (Emphasis supplied. All told. 1120. and shall be 127 ." Subsequently. in Pugeda v. even before the payment of the full price and before the execution of the final deed of conveyance is considered by the law as the actual owner of the lot purchased. for the Manotoks. 319 we declared that "the conveyance executed in favor of a buyer or purchaser. does not modify. however. any portion of said lands at the time the same is conveyed to the Government of the Philippine Islands desire to purchase the land so occupied by him. be signed by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. he shall be entitled to do so at the actual cost thereof to the Government. In Dela Torre v. xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied. the equitable and beneficial title to the land passes to the purchaser the moment the first installment is paid and a certificate of sale is issued. which has consistently held that under Act No. 318 this Court ruled that in the sale of friar lands under Act No. Court of Appeals. transfers and/or transactions made by the applicant or his successors-in-interest or any rights arising therefrom after the issuance of a Transfer Certificate of Title by the concerned Registry of Deeds. in the early case of Director of Lands v. "the purchaser. paid the first installment and was issued the corresponding certificate of sale. and any sale or encumbrance made by him shall be invalid as against the Government of the Philippine Islands and shall be in all respects subordinate to its prior claim. Trias.The Government hereby reserves the title to each and every parcel of land sold under the provisions of this Act until the full payment of all installments or purchase money and interest by the purchaser has been made. They point out that the Friar Lands Act itself states that the Government ceases reservation of its title once the buyer had fully paid the price.) Clearly. subject only to the resolutory condition that the sale may be cancelled if the price agreed upon is not paid for in full.Should any person who is the actual and bona fide settler upon.) Indeed. at least in equity.with all the other requirements for the issuance of the Deed of Conveyance under Act 1120 have been accomplished by the applicant. Rizal. the role or position of the Government being that of a mere lien holder or mortgagee. Memorandum Order No. The CA opined that the Manotoks cannot benefit from the above department issuance because it makes reference only to those deeds of conveyance on file with the records of the DENR field offices. Furthermore. 1120. Apparently. alter or otherwise affect any subsequent assignments. of course. The first paragraph of Section 15 states: SECTION 15. when the purchaser finally pays the final installment on the purchase price and is given a deed of conveyance and a certificate of title. and occupant of. 16 provides the remedy for an inequitable situation where a deed of conveyance "unsigned" by the Department Secretary could defeat their right to the subject lot after having fully paid for it. as evident from Sections 11. in relation to Section 18. 12 and the second paragraph of Section 15. was sourced from the National Archives. of Act No. notwithstanding the failure of the government to issue the proper instrument of conveyance in favor of Mamerto or his heirs. under obligation to pay in full the purchase price. it is the execution of the contract to sell and delivery of the certificate of sale that vests title and ownership to the purchaser of friar land. The Manotoks' copy of the alleged Deed of Conveyance No. 1120: SECTION 11. the latter still acquired ownership over the subject land.

remained part of the patrimonial property of the Government. The decades-long occupation by the Manotoks of Lot 823.. The terms of purchase shall be agreed upon between the purchaser and the Director of Lands. The Manotoks did not offer any explanation as to why the only copy of TCT No. payable as provided in this Act . are of no moment. can not ipso facto ripen into ownership. the rule that statutes of limitation do not run against the State.. at the price so fixed. nor any information on the year of issuance and name of registered owner. unless therein expressly provided. SECTION 15. should he so desire paying interest at the rate of four per centum per annum on all deferred payments. Sale Certificate No. Possession of patrimonial property of the Government. This hiatus in the evidence of the Manotoks further cast doubts on the veracity of their claim. their payment of real property taxes and construction of buildings. 5-A) as "DILAPIDATED" without stating if the original copy of TCT No. When the cost thereof shall have been thus ascertained. . as the subject property being a friar land. conspicuously lacks the signature of the Director of Lands and the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 22813 was mentioned in certain documents such as the deed of donation executed in 1946 by Severino Manotok in favor of his children and the first tax declaration (Exh. 22813 actually existed in their records. 10 was not included among those official documents submitted by the OSG to the CA. subject to the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Since respondent failed to present the paper trail of the property's conversion to private property. . .) TSaEcH In the light of the foregoing. pending final payment and the issuance of title. The right of possession and purchase acquired by certificates of sale signed under the provisions hereof by purchasers of friar lands. this Court has no alternative but to declare the Manotok title null and void ab initio. . which shall be issued and become effective in the manner provided in section one hundred and twenty-two of the Land Registration Act. SECTION 12. these do not stand as secondary evidence of an alleged transfer from OCT No. . . . As we stressed in Alonso: Neither may the rewards of prescription be successfully invoked by respondent. (Emphasis supplied. the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall give the said settler and occupant a certificate which shall set forth in detail that the Government has agreed to sell to such settler and occupant the amount of land so held by him. 26). 323 This they failed to do. . the lengthy possession and occupation of the disputed land by respondent cannot be counted in its favor. . and that upon the payment of the final installment together with all accrued interest the Government will convey to such settler and occupant the said land so held by him by proper instrument of conveyance. It was thus primordial for the Manotoks to prove their acquisition of its title by clear and convincing evidence. is founded on the "the great principle of public policy. It must be noted that the Manotoks miserably failed to prove the existence of the title allegedly issued in the name of Severino Manotok after the latter had paid in full the purchase price. whether spanning decades or centuries. which forbids that the public interests should 128 . Moreover. . We underscore anew that friar lands can be alienated only upon proper compliance with the requirements of Sections 11. 1120. 614. 10) purportedly on file with the DENR-LMB. shall be considered as personal property for the purposes of serving as security for mortgages. . 1919 (Exh. While TCT No. Exh. applicable to all governments alike. As to the certification issued by the Register of Deeds of Caloocan. as recommended by the CA. as it is an iron-clad dictum that prescription can never lie against the Government. 12 and 18 of Act No. Accordingly. . 1054 dated March 10. 22813 was torn in half and no record of documents leading to its issuance can be found in the registry of deeds.granted fifteen years from the date of the purchase in which to pay for the same in equal annual installments. we hold that the Manotoks could not have acquired ownership of the subject lot as they had no valid certificate of sale issued to them by the Government in the first place. In fact. it simply described the copy presented (Exh. and shall be considered as such in judicial proceedings relative to such security. and Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate as still part of the Government's patrimonial property.

Bersamin. SO ORDERED. Separate Opinions CARPIO. Barque and Deed of Conveyance No.. concur. are all hereby declared NULL and VOID. as an agent of this Court. WHEREFORE.. I dissent. HISAET Even assuming arguendo the existence and validity of the alleged Sale Certificate No. 511 and Assignment of Sale Certificate No. At the same time. Court of Appeals. took no part. Leonardo-de Castro. V-200022 issued to Felicitas B. without prejudice to the institution of REVERSION proceedings by the State through the Office of the Solicitor General. and Brion. The Register of Deeds of Caloocan City and/or Quezon City are hereby ordered to CANCEL the said titles. as amended. JJ..J. Del Castillo.) With respect to the claim of the Manahans. LMB or National Archives. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of Severino Manotok IV." 324 (Emphasis supplied. Manahan. 210177 in the name of Homer L. this Court may ultimately decide whether annulment of the Manotok title is warranted. or paid the taxes due thereon. Although the OSG submitted a certified copy of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. and Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate as still part of the patrimonial property of the Government. in receiving and evaluating evidence should be whether the Manotoks can trace their claim of title to a valid alienation by the Government of Lot No. 823 of the Piedad Estate. As this Court held in Liao v. 1120.. J. J. Jr. legally belongs to the NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Nachura. as well as the petition-in-intervention of the Manahans. Carpio Morales. TCT No. JJ. 511 allegedly executed by Valentin Manahan in favor of Hilaria de Guzman. are DENIED. the petitions filed by the Manotoks under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. there is no competent evidence to show that the claimant Valentin Manahan or his successors-in-interest actually occupied Lot 823. Carpio. J. similar to the annulment of the Cebu Country Club title in Alonso.. TCT No. we concur with the finding of the CA that no copy of the alleged Sale Certificate No. C." 325 Considering that none of the parties has established a valid acquisition under the provisions of Act No. declared the land for tax purposes... which was a Friar Land. as amended. we therefore adopt the recommendation of the CA declaring the Manotok title as null and void ab initio. J. The Court hereby DECLARESthat Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate.be prejudiced by the negligence of the officers or agents to whose care they are confided. On that evidence. Carpio. Corona. Perez and Mendoza. 511 can be found in the records of either the DENR-NCR. J. and observe my right to issue a separate opinion. join the dissent of J. With costs against the petitioners. . "the certificates of sale .. The petition for reconstitution of title filed by the Barques is likewise DENIED. this Court remanded these cases to the Court of Appeals. et al. please see my concurring and dissenting opinion. the CA correctly observed that the claim had become stale after the lapse of eighty six (86) years from the date of its alleged issuance. Sereno. 511 presented by the Manahans. Quezon City. the court recognizes that the respective claims to title by other parties such as the Barques 129 . became stale after ten (10) years from its issuance" and hence "can not be the source documents for issuance of title more than seventy (70) years later. with the following directive: The primary focus for the Court of Appeals. see dissenting opinion. Velasco. Abad. dissenting: In its 18 December 2008 Resolution. Peralta. ..

130 . the Register of Deeds of Quezon be directed to cancel TCT No. the Court of Appeals is tasked to hear and receive evidence. premises considered. and the evidence they may submit on their behalf. as amended. 2000 issued to Felicitas B. the Court would take such fact into consideration as it adjudicates final relief. as well as the petition-in-intervention of the Manahans. TCT No. in assuring the accurate evaluation of the question.and the Manahans. the Court of Appeals submitted its Commissioners' Report recommending the following: WHEREFORE. legally belongs to the NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. 2. and declares void TCT No. may have an impact on the correct determination of the status of the Manotok title. 3. are DENIED. 29204 warrants the annulment of the Manotoks' title. 1 Acting on the Commissioners' Report. V-200022 dated October 30.To deny the reconstitution of the title of Homer L. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of Severino Manotok IV. DcHaET With costs against petitioners. The dispositive portion of the majority opinion states: WHEREFORE. is hereby declared NULL and VOID. RT-22481 (372302) and all its derivative titles. without prejudice to the institution of REVERSION proceedings by the State through the Office of the Solicitor General. et al. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of Severino Manotok IV. conclude the proceedings and submit to this Court a report on its findings and recommended conclusions within three (3) months from notice of this Resolution. the Office of the Solicitor General is directed to secure all the pertinent relevant records from the Land Management Bureau and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and submit the same to the Court of Appeals. As such. If the final evidence on record definitely reveals the proper claimant to the subject property. 2 which provides: Section 18. I dissent from the opinion of the majority insofar as it declares that the absence of approval by the Secretary of the Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources of Sale Certificate No. to allow said parties. it is respectfully recommended to the Honorable Supreme Court En Banc: 1. 210177 null and void ab initio. along with the OSG. RT-22481 (372302) in the names of the Manotok children and grandchildren as well as all other derivative titles null and void ab initio. After a series of hearings and after evaluating the documentary evidence submitted by the parties.To declare reconstituted title TCT No.No lease or sale made by Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by the Secretary of the Interior. et al. The majority opinion is premised on Section 18 of Act No. to participate in the proceedings before the Court of Appeals. Manahan. 4. 1120. cCSTHA To assist the Court of Appeals in its evaluation of the factual record. SO ORDERED. Quezon City. It would thus be prudent. Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. and the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City is hereby ordered to CANCEL the same. Respectfully submitted. the petitions filed by the Manotoks under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.To declare Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate as still part of the patrimonial property of the National Government and for the Solicitor General to take appropriate action to recover the subject lot from the MANOTOKS. Barque and to declare TCT No. the Court in its majority opinion denies the petitions of the Manotoks and the interventions of the Manahans. For the purposes above-stated.To declare null and void the Deed of Conveyance No. 1054 and Deed of Conveyance No.

It shall be the duty of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands by proper investigation to ascertain what is the actual value of the parcel of land held by each settler and occupant. under Section 18. taking into consideration the location and quality of each holding of land. in each instance where a certificate is given to the settler and occupant of any holding. The Deed of Conveyance. 5 In short. any sale of friar land by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (now Director of Lands) shall not be valid until approved by the Secretary. This means that the Secretary. take his formal receipt showing the delivery of such certificate. This is the settled rule as enunciated in Solid State Multi-Products Corporation vs. 9 131 . Alonso categorically held that "(a)pproval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce is indispensable for the validity of the sale. The Sales Certificate operates as a contract to sell which. The Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall. thus: Section 18 of Act No. Approval of the Secretary of the Interior cannot simply be presumed or inferred from certain acts since the law is explicit in its mandate. The basis of valuation shall likewise be.' Thus. On the other hand. including the cost of surveys." 8 The majority further cite the resolution of the motion for reconsideration in Alonso. the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall give the said settler and occupant a certificate which shall set forth in detail that the Government has agreed to sell to such settler and occupant the amount of land so held by him. it is only the Director of Land who signs the Sales Certificate. at the price so fixed. which shall be issued and become effective in the manner provided in section one hundred and twenty-two of the Land Registration Act. and that upon the payment of the final installment together with all accrued interest the Government will convey to such settler and occupant the said land so held by him by proper instrument of conveyance. approves the sale and thus signs the Deed of Conveyance upon full payment of the purchase price. 3 Section 12 of Act No. payable as provided in this Act at the office of the Chief of Bureau of Public Lands. the Director of Lands signs the Sales Certificate upon payment of the first installment. under Section 18. The Deed of Conveyance operates as a deed of absolute sale which the Secretary signs upon full payment of the purchase price. when presented. However.Under Section 18. so far as practicable. 4 (Boldfacing and italicization supplied) cEaDTA Under Section 12. The majority cite the ruling in Alonso v. 1054 and Deed of Conveyance No. Inc. Following the ruling in these cases. the Director of Lands is authorized to sign and thus bind the Government as seller of the friar land. Cebu Country Club. Petitioners have not offered any cogent reason that would justify a deviation from this rule. the majority hold that Sale Certificate No. 1120 or the Friar Lands Act unequivocally provides: 'No lease or sale made by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (now Director of Lands) under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by the Secretary of Interior (now. in gold coin of the United States or its equivalent in Philippine currency. administration and interest upon the purchase money to the time of sale. petitioners' claim of ownership must fail in the absence of positive evidence showing the approval of the Secretary of Interior. under the law. 1120. When the cost thereof shall have been thus ascertained. the law expressly authorizes the Director of Lands to sell private or patrimonial property of Government under a contract to sell. such that the aggregate of the values of all the holdings included in each particular tract shall be equal to the cost to the Government to the entire tract. signed by said settler and occupant. 1120 provides: Section 12. This transaction is a sale of private property because friar lands are patrimonial properties of the Government. Court of Appeals. the Secretary signs the Deed of Conveyance because the Secretary must approve the sale made initially by the Director of Lands. the Secretary of Natural Resources). 29204 are void. Court of Appeals and reiterated in Liao vs. is authority for the Register of Deeds to issue a new title to the buyer as provided in Section 122 of the Land Registration Act. under Section 12 ofAct No. and any other circumstances giving its value. 6 and other cases 7 which held that the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce is indispensable for the validity of the sale of friar lands.

Field Offices of the Department. the Environment and 132 . the ruling in Alonso was superseded with the issuance by then Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Michael T. and should not be limited to those on file in DENR "field offices. 16-05 erroneous. WHEREAS. DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05. Defensor of DENR Memorandum Order No. The word "all" means everything. that only records on file in the DENR "field offices" are covered by DENR Memorandum Order No. This "field office" in Manila is the DENR's Regional Office for the NCR. the majority still hold that the memorandum order does not apply to the Manotoks' title. as declared in its dispositive portion. alter or otherwise affect any subsequent assignments. 16-05. in accordance with Act 1120. it is only a ministerial duty on the part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the applicant had already made full payment on the purchase price of the land. 16-05 refers to Deeds of Conveyance on record in the "field offices" of the DENR. however. 10 which provides: WHEREAS. WHEREFORE. however. which is one of the country's 17 administrative regions. SACTIH WHEREAS. aHATDI While the third WHEREAS clause of DENR Memorandum Order No." Assuming. the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. the DENR has a "field office" in Manila 11for land titles in the National Capital Region (NCR) region. — The field offices of the Department are the Environment and Natural Resources Regional Offices in the thirteen (13) [now seventeen (17)] administrative regions of the country. then Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources and presently. transfers and/or transactions made by the applicant or his successors-in-interest or any rights arising therefrom after the issuance of a Transfer Certificate of Title by the concerned Registry of Deeds. and in order to remove all clouds of doubt regarding the validity of these instruments. without exception. said Deeds of Conveyance were only issued by the then Bureau of Lands (now the Land Management Bureau) after full payment had been made by the applicants thereon subject to the approval of the Secretary of the then Department of Interior. it is hereby declared that all Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the signature of the Secretary are deemed signed or otherwise ratified by this Memorandum Orderprovided. the dispositive portion categorically states that "all Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the signature of the Secretary are deemed signed or otherwise ratified" by the Memorandum Order. however. it appears that there are uncertainties in the title of the land disposed by the Government under Act 1120 or the Friar Lands Act due to the lack of the signature of the Secretary on the Deeds of Conveyance. 16-05 should apply to all Deeds of Conveyance. 16-05 because the memorandum order refers only to deeds of conveyance on file with the records of DENR "field offices. that full payment of the purchase price of the land and compliance with all the other requirements for the issuance of the Deed of Conveyance under Act 1120 have been accomplished by the applicant. In fact. The majority assert that the Manotoks could not benefit from DENR Memorandum Order No. does not modify. some of these Deeds of Conveyance on record in the field offices of the Department and the Land Management Bureau do not bear the signature of the Secretary despite full payment by the friar land applicant as can be gleaned in the Friar Lands Registry Book." I find the majority's limited application of DENR Memorandum Order No. there is no city or municipality in the Philippines that is not under a "field office" of the DENR. This Memorandum Order. WHEREAS.However. for and in consideration of the above premises. 192 12provides: Section 20. (Italicization and boldfacing supplied) Despite the issuance of DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05. Executive Order No.

067. including the Regional Office in NCR.73 Malinta8.50 Dampol2. (Boldfacing and italicization supplied) Clearly." In 1919. when the Government sold the subject friar land to the Manotoks' predecessors-in-interest. A Regional Office shall be headed by a Regional Executive Director (with the rank of Regional Director) and shall be assisted by five (5) Regional Technical Directors (with the rank of Assistant Regional Director) each for Forestry. and Bureau of Lands in each of the thirteen (13) administrative regions and the research centers of the Forest Research Institute are hereby integrated into the Department-wide Regional Environment and Natural Resources Office of the Department.33 Guiguinto2.88 Biñan9.060. are "field offices" of the DENR.21 Imus45.935. including the conveyance to the Manotoks." Indisputably. 16-05 only to Deeds of Conveyance on record in the "field offices" outside of NCR.943. The first WHEREAS clause clearly states that what DENR Memorandum Order No. where the land in question is situated. Land Management. is under DENR's NCR "field office. The total number of areas covered by friar lands is 396. are covered by DENR Memorandum Order No.50 Muntinlupa7.812.Natural Resources Provincial Office in every province and the Community Office in municipalities whenever deemed necessary.50 Naic19.727. and Ecosystems Research. all DENR Regional Offices. as expressly stated in Section 20 of Executive Order No.50 Lolomboy12.50 Binagbag736. 14 which also has a "field office. conveyances of land within the NCR. DENR Memorandum Order No.20 acres 15 divided as follows: SCHATc EstateArea (in acres) Banilad4. 13 The regional offices of the Bureau of Forest Development. the purpose of the issuance of DENR Memorandum Order No. Environmental Management. Quezon City.364.182.50 Calamba34.322. 16-05 applies to all Deeds of Conveyance of friar lands anywhere in the Philippines without exception. Thus.607. Bureau of Mines and Geo-sciences.147. 16-05. 16-05 seeks to cure are the "uncertainties in the title of the land disposed by the Government under Act 1120 or the Friar Lands Act due to the lack of signature of the Secretary on the Deeds of Conveyance.290.00 Orion2.690. 192. 16-05 will not be fully accomplished. in accordance with Section 24(e) hereof." If we apply DENRMemorandum Order No.50 Isabela49. Mines and Geo-sciences. the land was part of the province of Rizal.00 Matamo29.00 133 . The Regional Executive Directors and Regional Technical Directors shall be Career Executive Service Officers.

00 Santa Rosa13. for valid classification.00 16 ————— Total396.487. San Francisco de Malabon.00 Tala16.00 Talisay-Minglanilla20. 17 The groupings must be characterized by substantial distinctions that make for real differences so that one class may be treated and regulated differently from another. the Manotoks became owners of the land upon their full payment of the purchase price to the Government on 7 December 1932. specifically in Muntinlupa. the Court will be disquieting the titles held by generations of landowners since the passage in 1904 of Act No. 1120." Once it is shown that the full purchase price had been paid. and (4)It must apply equally to all members of the class. of landowners could be dispossessed of their lands in these areas. 16-05 will not be applied to these areas. 19 Pursuant to Section 12 of Act No. the Court has held that in cases of sale of friar lands.00 San Francisco de Malabon28.50 San Jose58. the issuance of the proper 134 .624 hectares. The majority opinion's limited application of DENR Memorandum Order No.690. the only recognized resolutory condition is nonpayment of the full purchase price.032. 1120. the following: (1)It must be based upon substantial distinctions. which shall be issued and become effective in the manner provided in section one hundred and twenty-two of the Land Registration Act.567.740. (3)It must not be limited to existing conditions only.00 San Marcos218.] the Government will convey to [the] settler and occupant the said land so held by him by proper instrument of conveyance.50 Santa Maria de Pandi25.55 Santa Cruz de Malabon24. This is the law and jurisprudence on friar lands. (2)It must be germane to the purposes of the law. 16-05 to Deeds of Conveyance in the "field offices" outside of NCR would be discriminatory as there is no substantial distinction between the files on record in the DENR "field offices" outside of NCR and the files on record in the DENR "field office" in NCR. the Manotoks had the right to demand conveyance of the land and issuance of the corresponding title to them. CaAIES Thus. If DENR Memorandum Order No. and Tala is 86.675.855. 18 To limit the application of DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05 is violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution which requires. Santa Cruz de Malabon.50 acres or35. Thousands.650.050. "upon payment of the last installment together with all accrued interest[. Piedad. More importantly.Piedad9.622.20 ========= The total area of friar lands in NCR.165. if not hundreds of thousands. Upon such full payment.

Deed of Conveyance No.certificate of conveyance necessarily follows. Filipino. (Italicization supplied) To repeat. Luna. the title. shall be valid until approved by the Secretary of Interior" refers to the approval by the Secretary of the Deed of Conveyance. receipt whereof is acknowledged. residing at 2318 J. then the majority must also necessarily admit that the approval of the Secretary is a mere 135 . Deed of Conveyance No. do hereby grant and convey to SEVERINO MANOTOK. Section 18 of Act No. . the deed of conveyance is issued. 16-05 refers only to the Deed of Conveyance. the majority expressly admit that it is the ministerial duty of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the purchaser of friar land. the purchase price having been fully paid. the Acting DIRECTOR OF LANDS. in consideration of TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED SIXTY THREE AND 00/100 pesos (P2. as the document that is "deemed signed" by the Secretary. 29204 expressly and unequivocally acknowledged that Severino Manotok had fully paid the purchase price to the Government. 1120 which states that "(n)o . 614 of the land records of the province." The majority expressly admit in their Reply to the Dissenting Opinion thatMemorandum Order No. Province of Rizal. 823 of the PIEDAD Friar Lands Estate. DENR Memorandum Order No.363. 16-05 expressly acknowledges that "it is only a ministerial duty on the part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the applicant had already made full payment on the purchase price of the land. the purchaser of friar land still acquired ownership over the subject land. 22 Thus. 29204 states: cDCHaS I. the land. married to Maria Ramos. pays in full the purchase price. Tondo.00). The majority also expressly admit that upon such full payment the purchaser acquires ownership of the land"notwithstanding the failure" of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance. and paid for in full. retroacts to the time he first occupied the land. Manila in the City of Manila and his heirs and assigns. 21 The sequence then is that a certificate of sale is issued upon payment of the first installment. situated in the Municipality of Caloocan. There is nothing more that is required to be done as the title already passes to the purchaser. title thereto being evidenced by Certificate No. 1913 and described on the back hereof of which land the government OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS is the registered owner in accordance with the provisions of the Land Registration Act. .00 in consideration for Lot 823 granted and conveyed to Severino Manotok. like the Manotoks. . The Court has ruled that equitable and beneficial title to the friar land passes to the purchaser from the time the first installment is paid and a certificate of sale is issued.Since the majority expressly admit that upon full payment of the purchase price it becomes the ministerial duty of the Secretary to approve the sale. A-6 as approved by the Court of Land Registration on the 25th day of July. The Manotoks proved beyond any doubt that they purchased. 29204. Philippine Islands. This is why DENR Memorandum Order No. . according to subdivision plan No. correctly stated that it is only a ministerial duty on the part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the applicant had made full payment on the purchase price of the land. DASEac It is the Deed of Conveyance that must bear the signature of the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture because it is only when the final installment is paid that the Secretary can approve the sale. . paid the first installment and was issued the corresponding certificate of sale. Deed of Conveyance No. dated 7 December 1932. on its face expressly acknowledged receipt by the Government of the amount of P2. of legal age. 29 ares and 45 centares. 20 When the purchaser finally pays the final installment on the purchase price and is given a deed of conveyance and a certificate of title.363. acting for an on behalf of the GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. at least in equity. 23(Emphasis supplied) To repeat. Upon payment of the final installment. sale . and not to the Sale Certificate. . Jurisprudence teaches us that notwithstanding the failure of the government to issue the proper instrument of conveyance when the purchaser finally pays the final installment of the purchase price. containing 34 hectares. 16-05: . In short. Lot No.

the purchase price for the land subject of Deed of Conveyance No. 29204 was signed by the Director of Lands but lacked only the signature of the Secretary. 29204 had been fully paid on 7 December 1932. 29204 was signed by the Director of Lands and lacked only the signature of the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture. 29204 secured from the National Archives which is the official repository of government and public documents." Indisputably. In short. The Manotoks should not be punished if the documents leading to the issuance of TCT No. The absence of the Secretary's signature in the Deed of Conveyance in Alonso was never cured and hence the Court in Alonso voided the Deed of Conveyance. 16-05 speaks of "all Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the signature of the Secretary" and thus includes Deed of Conveyance No. The fact remains that the Manotoks were able to present a certified true copy of Deed of Conveyance No. Section 122 of Act No. and it becomes the ministerial duty of the Secretary. ." Moreover. 16-05 must conform to and must not contravene existing laws. 29204. . considering that these were pre-war documents and considering further the lack of proper preservation of documents in some government agencies. who cannot otherwise refuse. 16-05 cannot supersede or amend Section 18 of Act 1120. The majority argue that Memorandum Order No. However. 16-05 was not yet issued when the Court decided Alonso. to be filed with the register of deeds for the province where the land lies and to be there registered like other deeds and conveyances. 26 In sharp contrast. Besides. and whose ownership retroacted to 10 March 1919. full and absolute ownership passes to the purchaser of friar land. whereupon a certificate shall be entered as in other cases of registered land. First. HICATc 136 . or conveyance in behalf of the Government to cause such instrument. to sign Deed of Conveyance No. 16-05. to sign the Deed of Conveyance. Memorandum Order No. the buyer ipso facto becomes the absolute owner of the friar land. Second. such Deeds of Conveyance "are deemed signed" by the Secretary. which expressly states that "all Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the signature of the Secretary are deemed signed or ratified . The Office of the Provincial Assessor declared the title in Severino Manotok's name for tax purposes on 9 August 1933 25 and assessed Severino Manotok "beginning with the year 1933. 16-05. 16-05." TCT No. despite the failure of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance. 29204. 22813 could no longer be found in the files of the government office. the majority categorically admit that upon full payment of the purchase price. In the case of the Manotoks' title. more than 77 years ago. In fact. here the lack of the Secretary's signature in the Manotoks' Deed of Conveyance No. the Deed of Conveyance was issued except that it lacked the signature of the Secretary which the majority erroneously hold is still indispensable pursuant to Alonso. 29204 had not been delivered to the Register of Deeds of the Province of Rizal to which the land covered by the Manotoks' title then belonged. As absolute owners of the land who have fully paid the purchase price to the Government. the Manotoks have been issued their torrens title way back in 1933. This Deed of Conveyance No. The majority likewise state that administrative issuances such as Memorandum Order No. 16-05 applies squarely to the Manotoks' title for two reasons. then the majority must also necessarily admit that the Manotoks became the absolute owners of the land upon their full payment of the purchase price on 7 December 1932.Alonso should not be applied to the Manotoks' title because DENR Memorandum Order No. before its delivery to the grantee. 24 the Manotoks have the right to compel the Secretary. 22813 would not have been issued in the name of Severino Manotok if Deed of Conveyance No. Under Memorandum Order No.formality that has been complied with by the issuance ofMemorandum Order No. grant. 496 27 states that "[i]t shall be the duty of the official issuing the instrument of alienation. Clearly. in Alonso the corresponding torrens title was never issued even after a lapse of 66 years from the date of the Deed of Conveyance. upon full payment of the purchase price. and an owner's duplicate certificate issued to the grantee. Memorandum Order No. 29204 was cured by the issuance of DENR Memorandum Order No. . Deed of Conveyance No. and the Secretary has the ministerial duty. Since the majority further expressly admit that upon full payment of the purchase price ownership of the friar land passes to the purchaser. the Manotoks have been paying the real estate taxes on the land since at least 1933.

29204 because the land was already fully paid and the Deed of Conveyance was signed by the Director of Lands but only lacked the signature of the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture. 1605 only supplies a formality because as the majority expressly admit. The majority assert that Section 18 of Act No. 1054 dated 10 March 1919 in the names of Regina Geronimo. 1120 should be read in conjunction with Section 15 and that "[w]here there is no valid certificate of sale in the first place. for and in consideration of the sum P receipt whereof is acknowledged. 16-05 complies with Section 18 of Act No. Memorandum Order No. assigns and transfers to the said ASSIGNEE all right. dated 11 March 1919. the purchaser does not acquire any right of possession and purchase. Memorandum Order No. Modesto Zacarias and Felicisimo Villanueva (the original grantees). the signature of the Secretary is merely a ministerial act upon full payment of the purchase price. for some reason or another. 1054 between Regina Geronimo. Zacarias Modesto and Felicisimo Villanueva as assignors and Zacarias Modesto as assignee. the existence of the Manotoks' Sale Certificate No. hereby sells. states: Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Bureau of Lands Friar Lands Division PIEDAD ESTATE } RIZAL PROVINCE} ASSIGNMENT OF SALE CERTIFICATE 1054 This Assignment. 16-05 and Section 18 of Act No. provided of course that the purchase price had been fully paid." The majority state that "the existence of a valid certificate of sale must first be established with clear and convincing evidence before a purchaser is deemed to have acquired ownership over a friar land notwithstanding the non-issuance by the Government. TCaEAD Witnesseth: That the Assignor. 29204 to the Manotoks. 33 The Assignment of Sale Certificate. 1054 dated 4 May 1923 32 between M. the existence of which the Government does not dispute. Teodoro and Severino Manotok as ASSIGNOR. Here. 1054 dated 7 June 1920 31 between Zacarias Modesto as assignor and Severino Manotok and M. which is an official form document of the Bureau of Lands. Moreover. 29 and approved by the Director of Lands on 22 March 1919. 1054 has been established beyond any doubt by the existence of three succeeding Deeds of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 30 The National Archives has a copy of the Assignment of Sale Certificate No.There is no conflict between Memorandum Order No. 28 the LMB has on its file the original of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. by the Secretary. and interest in and to lot 823 of the said Estate. 16-05 applies to Deed of Conveyance No. To repeat. Teodoro and Severino Manotok as assignors and Severino Manotok as assignee and approved on 23 June 1923 by the Acting Director of Lands. Memorandum Order No. Friar Lands Division. The LMB also has on its file the original of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. title. Teodoro as assignees. 1054. 1120. the Government issued Deed of Conveyance No. for one reason or another." It is as if the DENR Secretary signed each and every Deed of Conveyance that lacked the signature of the Secretary. made in duplicate. 16-05 does not dispense with the Secretary's signature bur rather cures the absence of such signature by stating that "all Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the signature of the Secretary are deemed signed. of a deed of conveyance after completing the installment payments. Memorandum Order No. and SEVERINO MANOTOK as ASSIGNEE. 137 . While the Land Management Bureau (LMB) has no copy of the original Sale Certificate No. together with all buildings and improvements on the said lot belonging to the said ASSIGNOR. acquired under and by the terms of sale certificate numbered 1054 dated March 10. between M. Memorandum Order No. 1919." The majority grossly misappreciate the facts. 16-05 recognizes the formality of the signature of the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture on Deeds on Conveyances. 1120 by ratifying the Deeds of Conveyances that were not signed.

on the date and at the place above written. we hereunto set our hands. 31.The said ASSIGNEE hereby accepts the said assignment and transfer and expressly agrees to be bound by and to keep and perform all the covenants and conditions expressed in the said sale certificate to be kept and performed by the VENDEE therein. 31. 1924 PHILIPPINE ISLANDS} Province of Manila} ss. who acknowledged it to be his free act and deed and exhibited his certificate of registration numbered F-87330 & F-30510 issued at Manila. 1923.) Severino Manotok Assignor Manila Manila Province. 1923 Before me. In Testimony Whereof. 28. 1924 APPROVED: JUN 23 1923 (Sgd. who acknowledged it to be his free act and deed and exhibited his certificate of registration numbered F-30510 issued at Manila.) Severino Manotok Assignee Signed in the presence of: (Sgd. May 5. 1923. May 4.) no printed name PHILIPPINE ISLANDS} Province of Manila} ss. 1001Notary Public. May 5. 1923 & Feb. personally appeared the ASSIGNEE executing the foregoing instrument. and dated February 28. Teodoro (Sgd.) no printed name Register No.Commission expires on Dec. (Sgd. City of Manila Page 34. AcTHCE (Sgd. on the date and at the place above written. May 4. 1001Notary Public. personally appeared the ASSIGNOR executing the foregoing instrument.) no printed name Acting Director of Lands 34 138 . (Sgd. City of Manila Page 34. (Sgd. 1923 Before me. and dated March 12.) no printed name Register No. Manila Manila Province.) M.) no printed name (Sgd.Commission expires on Dec. 1923. 1923. & Manila.

675257 dated 20 February 1929 36 issued by the Special Collecting Officer/Friar Lands Agent to Severino Manotok "For certified copy of Assignment of S. 9443 37 (RA 9443) which provides: Section 1. if not identical. Fe T. in which case the solicitor general or his duly designated representative shall institute the necessary judicial proceeding to cancel the certificate of title or reconstituted certificate of title as the case may be.All existing Transfer Certificates of Title and Reconstituted Certificates of Title duly issued by the Register of Deeds of Cebu Province and/or Cebu City covering any portions of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate. in a given case involving a certificate of title or reconstituted certificate of title. In that case. v. C. RA 9443 should be extended to lands similarly situated. Tuanda. now on file with the Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO). For the principles is that equal protection and security shall be given to every person under circumstances which. the sale is not valid and the purchaser has not acquired ownership of the friar land." While RA 9443 refers only to the Banilad Friar Lands Estate. 1054 dated 4 May 1923 to Severino Manotok is on file with the Land Management Bureau as confirmed in the letter dated 1 December 2009 of Atty. as the case may be. the Court stated that "[a]likes are being treated as unalikes without any rational basis. OIC of the Records Management Division. 18. 40 As such. Favoritism and undue preference cannot be allowed. obtained through such fraud. 1054 for lot no." 39 That is the situation in the present case if RA 9443 shall apply only to the Banilad Friar Lands Estate. the Manotoks proved beyond any doubt the existence of Sale Certificate No.. Inc.. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Indeed. under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. those that fall within a class should be treated in the same fashion. Congress found it imperative to pass a new law in order to exempt the already titled portions of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate from the operation of Sec. Congress passed Republic Act No. are hereby confirmed and declared as valid titles and the registered owners recognized as absolute owners thereof. there is clear evidence that such certificate of title or reconstituted certificate of title was obtained through fraud. Cebu City." These documents indubitably show that. 35 The Manotoks also submitted the original of Official Receipt No. The Court further stated in Central Bank Employees Assoc. 139 . 823. 823. The majority state that after the ruling of this Court in Alonso. to limit its application solely to the Banilad Friar Lands Estate will result in class legislation. the benefits of the law should apply to other lands similarly situated. notwithstanding the lack of signatures and/or approval of the then Secretary of the Interior (later Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and/or the then Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (later Director of Public Lands) in the copies of the duly executed Sale Certificates and Assignments of Sales Certificates. are analogous. In Central Bank Employees Assoc. whatever restrictions cast on some in the group is equally binding on the rest.The original of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. DcITHE The majority declare that "[t]he enactment of RA 9443 signifies the legislature's recognition of the statutory basis of the Alonso ruling to the effect that in the absence of signature and/or approval of the Secretary of Interior/Natural Resources in the Certificates of Sale on file with the CENRO.: [I]t must be emphasized that the equal protection clause does not demand absolute equality but it requires that all persons shall be treated alike. There is no substantial distinction between the sale of friar lands in Banilad and the sale of friar lands in other places except for their location. This confirmation and declaration of validity shall in all respects be entitled to like effect and credit as a decree of registration. binding the land and quieting the title thereto and shall be conclusive upon and against all persons. Inc. 1054 and the valid alienation by the Government of Lot No. if the lack of signatures and approval of the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture and the Director of Lands were cured with the passage of RA 9443. including the national government and all branches thereof. No. contrary to the majority's view. except when. 38 the Court ruled that the grant of a privilege to rank-and-file employees of seven government financial institutions and its denial to BSP rank-and-file employees breached the latter's equal protection. If law be looked upon in terms of burden or charges.

and not from the DENR. the ponencia does not clearly declare. and there is no legal basis for requiring another signature of the Department Secretary on the Sale Certificate. The core issue. I vote to (1) sustain the validity of Deed of Conveyance No. There is no absence of approval to speak of.Accordingly. 29204. It does not. and DECLARE the Manotoks' title. 1054 and Deed of Conveyance No. says the ponencia. since it (the ponencia). CADSHI CARPIO MORALES. the applicability of Order 16-05. It does not uphold the appellate court's reasoning denying. I submit. deemed signedby the Department Secretary." the ponencia concedes that it merely mentions in passing the appellate court's observation that the Deed of Conveyance was secured from the National Archives. the ponencia finds that petitioners were able to produce 1) a sale certificate in the name of their predecessorsin-interest as certified by the Records Management Division of the Land Management Bureau. 1120) enacted in 1904 is in order. (2) DENYthe reconstitution of the title of Homer L. 1120 have been accomplished by the applicant[. VALID. The Manotoks' copy of the alleged Deed of Conveyance No. ManahanVOID. . Simply put. Barque and DECLARE TCT No. for and in consideration of the above premises. on the basis of the source of the document. 210177 VOID. An examination of Order 16-05 vis-Ã -vis the Friar Lands Act (Act No.. 1 In the present case. It does not. and in order to remove all clouds of doubt regarding the validity of these instruments. 29204 issued in 1919 and 1932. 29204 issued in 1932. 2 It does. V-20022 issued to Felicitas B. 16-05 of October 27. ascribe any legal consequence to it.provided. Whether the source or remaining repository of the document is material for the applicability of Order 16-05. since petitioners' Deed of Conveyance is. that full payment of the purchase price of the land and compliance with all the other requirements for the issuance of the Deed of Conveyance under Act No. Order 16-05 disposes: WHEREFORE. 3 (underscoring supplied) The ponencia thereafter digresses to the effect of a deed of conveyance "unsigned" by the Department Secretary. 2005 (Order 16-05) is significant in resolving the issue of validity of titles over friar lands. concurring and dissenting: DENR Memorandum Order No. and (3) DECLARE Deed of Conveyance No. After sifting through the evidence and rejecting spurious and stale documents. and 2) a deed of conveyance signed by the Director of Lands. . . pursuant to Order 1605. is whether the absence of approval of the Secretary of the Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources (Department Secretary) in petitioners' Sale Certificate No. warrants the annulment of their title.] (emphasis. however. italics and underscoring supplied) 140 . namely. Its relevance cannot be ignored. was sourced from the National Archives. the confusion stems from the immediately-quoted two barren sentences of theponencia. three sets of claimants over Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate submitted their respective evidence. respectively. as defined by the ponencia. merely "underscored" 4 such observation. however. Previous pronouncements state that all lots in the Piedad Estate have been disposed of even before the Second World War. J. RT-22481 (372302). by the ponente's admission. as it briefly states: The CA opined that the Manotoks cannot benefit from the above department issuance [-Order 16-05] because it makes reference only to those deeds of conveyance on file with the records of the DENR field offices. it is hereby declared that all Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the signature of the Secretary are deemed signed or otherwise ratified by this Memorandum Order. On the purportedly limited applicability of Order 16-05 to instruments "on file with the records of the DENR field offices. TCT No.

6 The ponencia maintains that one still needs to present a Sale Certificate that bears the signature of the Department Secretary. 1120. Thus Section 11 reads: SECTION 11. branch. execute a lease or proceed to make the said sale with preference. Upon receipt of such notification by said municipal president or municipal presidents the latter shall publish the same for three consecutive days.Should any person who is the actual and bona fide settler upon. he shall be entitled to do so at the actual cost thereof to the Government. and (2) compliance with all the other requirements for the issuance of the Deed of Conveyance.Contrary to the ponencia's position. Order 16-05 did not dispense with the requirement of the Department Secretary's approval. to the purchaser who has been a tenant or bona fide occupant at any time of the said lands or part thereof. and occupant of. But the "approval" mentioned in the second paragraph of Section 11 refers to sales contracted prior to the enactment in 1904 of Act No. other conditions being equal. the Director of Lands shall notify the municipal president or municipal presidents of the municipality or municipalities in which said lands lie of said lease or sale before the same takes place. pending final payment and the issuance of title. and not before.The Government hereby reserves the title to each and every parcel of land sold under the provisions of this Act until full payment of all installments or purchase money and interest by the purchaser has been made. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) As to what provisions under Act No. 1120. shall be considered as personal property for the purposes of serving as security for mortgages and shall be considered as such in judicial proceedings relative to such security. precisely "to remove all clouds of doubt regarding the validity of these instruments" which do not bear his signature. It recognizes that the approval of the Secretary is still required. 1120. that the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to leases or sales made to any provincial or municipal government or any subdivision. (emphasis. And the contracts of sale made prior to the approval of this Act may be extended. for a period of not more than ten years from the date on which said contracts must expire under the provisions of Act Numbered Eleven hundred and twenty. the ponencia 8 points to Section 11. since Order 16-05 refers only to a Deed of Conveyance. 7 citing Section 15 of Act No. 1120 which reads: SECTION 15. in the discretion of the Director of Lands. Order 16-05 does not contravene Act No. any portion of said lands at the time the same is conveyed to the Government of the Philippine Islands desire to purchase the land so occupied by him. and if there has been more than one occupant to the last tenant or occupant: Provided. The right of possession and purchase acquired by certificates of sale signed under the provisions hereof by purchasers of friar lands. further. and shall be granted fifteen years from the date of the purchase in which to pay for the same in equal annual installments. should he so desire paying interest at the rate of four per centum per annum on all deferred payments. by bandillos. subject to the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Both in case of lease and of sale of vacant lands under the provisions of section nine of this Act. 1120 require the signing by the Department Secretary of the Certificate of Sale. 5 The fulfillment of the conditions must be proven to be extant in every case. The variance lies in determining "compliance with all other requirements for the issuance of the Deed of Conveyance" under Act No. The terms of purchase shall be agreed upon between the purchaser and the Director of Lands. however. The grant of approval under Order 16-05 is premised on two conditions: (1) full payment of the purchase price of the land. That no lease or sale of vacant lands made in accordance with this section shall be valid nor of any effect without the requisite as to publication by bandillos. or entity of the Government. above provided: Provided. in the poblacion and barrio or barrios affected. and shall certify all these acts to the Director of Lands who shall then. There is no dispute as to the manner of determining full payment of the purchase price. and any sale or encumbrance made by him shall be invalid as against the Government of the Philippine Islands and shall be in all respects subordinate to its prior claim. italics and underscoring supplied) 141 . the grant or ratification of which is made subject only to certain conditions.

A deeper consideration of the operative act of compliance with the requirement in Section 18 that "[n]o lease or sale made by Chief of the Bureau Public Lands under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by the Secretary" is in order. In the event that any such settler and occupant may desire to pay for his holding of said lands in cash. but no such lease shall be for a longer term that three years. That the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands in this discretion may require to any settler and occupant so desiring to purchase that. such that the aggregate of the values of all the holdings included in each particular tract shall be equal to the cost to the Government to the entire tract. apart from a strained deduction of Section 18. taking into consideration the location and quality of each holding of land. however. The basis of valuation shall likewise be. SECTION 12. But if purchase is made by installments. administration and interest upon the purchase money to the time of sale. in gold coin of the United States or its equivalent in Philippine currency. and he shall be ousted as above provided and thereafter his holding may be leased or sold as in case of unoccupied lands: And provided further. the certificate shall so state in accordance with the facts of the transaction. (emphasis. in each instance where a certificate is given to the settler and occupant of any holding. there is no statutory basis for the requirement of the Department Secretary's signature on the Certificate of Sale.The acceptance by the settler and occupant of such certificate shall be considered as an agreement by him to pay the purchase price so fixed and in the installments and at the interest specified in the certificate. which cannot simply be presumed or inferred from certain acts. the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall give the said settler and occupant a certificate which shall set forth in detail that the Government has agreed to sell to such settler and occupant the amount of land so held by him. pending the investigation requisite to fix the precise extent of his holding and its cost he shall attorn to the Government as its tenant and pay a reasonable rent for the use of his holding. 10 The general proposition is that a petitioner's claim of ownership must fail in the absence of positive evidence showing the Department Secretary's approval. and the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall proceed to oust him as in this Act provided. which shall be issued and become effective in the manner provided in section one hundred and twenty-two of the Land Registration Act. The Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall. signed by said settler and occupant. and if payment be made in cash the lands shall at once be conveyed to him as above provided. and refusal on the part of any settler and occupant so desiring to purchase to execute a lease pending such investigation shall be treated as a refusal either to lease or to purchase. so far as practicable. But the signature referred to therein is that of the "settler" or "occupant. SECTION 13." to be affixed on the delivery "receipt" (not on the Certificate of Sale). at the price so fixed. or within a shorter period of time than that above specified. 11 Jurisprudential review is gainful only insofar as settling that the "approval" by the Department Secretary is indispensable to the validity of the sale. That every settler and occupant who desires to purchase his holding must enter into the agreement to purchase such holding by accepting the said certificate and executing the said receipt whenever called on to do so by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands. italics and underscoring supplied) IN FINE.The ponencia 9 also points to Section 12. Case law does notcategorically state that the required 142 . and that upon the payment of the final installment together with all accrued interest the Government will convey to such settler and occupant the said land so held by him by proper instrument of conveyance. Provided. take his formal receipt showing the delivery of such certificate. including the cost of surveys. and a failure on the part of the settler and occupant to comply with this requirement shall be considered as a refusal to purchase.It shall be the duty of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands by proper investigation to ascertain what is the actual value of the parcel of land held by each settler and occupant. and any other circumstances giving its value. payable as provided in this Act at the office of the Chief of Bureau of Public Lands. When the cost thereof shall have been thus ascertained. and he shall from such acceptance become a debtor to the Government in the amount together with all accrued interest. he shall be allowed to do so. as confirmed by Section 13.

The cloud of doubt regarding the validity of the conveyance to petitioners' predecessors-in-interest having been removed by Order No. 16-05. J. formalistic technical requirement into the system of acquisition of friar lands that trumps satisfaction of all the other elements of lawful." To require another signature of the Department Secretary on the Certificate of Sale.. Thus a decision that introduces instability without an overweening legal reason that has emanated from the people themselves or from the legislature should instinctively be avoided by the Supreme Court. on top of that deemed placed by Order 16-05 on the Deed of Conveyance. 15 In Liao v. just to satisfy himself with an explanation in the withholding of the signature. WHEREFORE. or affirm an earlier approval shown to be apparent and consistent by a credible paper trail. SERENO. Court of Appeals 14 simply found that the Department Secretary "approv[ed] th[e] sale without auction" and returned or referred the "application" to the Director of Lands. I VOTE to declare the Manotoks' Transfer Certificate of Title No. The Majority Decision accomplished only the following: (1) it introduced a stale. 1120. aspiring modern democracies collectively assign to the State the function of keeping order. The Order aims to rectify a previous governmental inaction on an otherwise legally valid claim. Court of Appeals. that the certificate of sale must be signed by the Department Secretary for the sale to be valid. but in a more fundamental way — in meeting expectations that have been spelled out in the legal system. Manahan's Deed of Conveyance No."approval" must be in the form of a signature on the Certificate of Sale. valid. I submit that the Department Secretary's signature on the certificate of sale is not one of the "requirements for the issuance of the Deed of Conveyance under Act No. not only in the streets. 12 merely declared that the "deed of sale" was "not approved" by the Department Secretary. The meat of Order 16-05 contemplates such bone of contention as in the present case. Obviously. This the majority failed to do. especially that of the Philippine Supreme Court within the State apparatus. Dela Torre v. effective possession and ownership thereof. What then is the positive evidence of "approval" to lend validity to the sale of friar lands? The ponencia 19 concludes. Cebu Country Club. The function of courts. is to impose a redundant requirement and render irrelevant the spirit of said Order. as the instrument of conveyance was yet to be issued. V-200022. dissenting: The function of law in modern societies is to allow a people to forge its common destiny and uphold its shared values in a predictable and orderly manner. It bears emphasis that Order 16-05 is a positive act on the part of the Department Secretary to remedy the situation where. Court of Appeals 18 mentioned nothing about the signature of the Department Secretary. as a matter of course on the strength of Sections 11. is to issue judicial edicts that consistently uphold legitimate expectations to promote stability and not chaos. these three Sections neither support the theory that such signing is required in the sale certificate nor shed light to the specifics of approval. petitioners having complied with the conditions for the applicability of Order 16-05. 16 the sale certificates were "approved" by a different 17 Department Secretary. or unearth irretrievably tattered documents at a time when the country and its records had long been torn by war. v. I submit. I CONCUR with the denial of the Barqueses' petition for reconstitution of title. RT-22481 (372302) VALID. As discussed earlier. Except in authoritarian regimes where the consent of the governed is immaterial from the point of view of the ruler and where illegitimate force compels obeisance. the signature of the Department Secretary is lacking. 13 Solid State Multi-Products Corp. Alonso v. IN FINE. their Deed of Conveyance is "deemed signed or otherwise ratified" by said Order. and the declaration of nullity of Felicitas B. petitioners' title over Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate is. (2) it imbued a rigid meaning into the term "approval" by the Secretary of 143 . Inc. 12 and 15. all other conditions having been establishedby competent evidence. the incumbent Department Secretary can no longer probe into the deep recesses of his deceased predecessors.

the holders of rights to property). In Article II. Should the legal system fail to promote the stability of property rights. (3) it enabled forgers of documents to land to take advantage of the antiquity of a land system. and as a result. When the Court in effect says that the following features of the Manotoks' claims are trumped by the lack of affixation of a signature — which the law in any case pronounces as but ministerial and thus superfluous — it in effect contradicts the logic of the Torrens system and the property rights system on which it is based. economic growth will drop. Contrary to the presumed intent of the majority of my brethren. as well as the inefficiencies of outcomes brought about by an uneven application of distributive arrangements of property rights.Agrarian and Natural Resources that ignores the wealth of jurisprudence in administrative law including the notion of operative facts and tacit approval. While the private parties are expected to seek reconsideration of the Majority Decision. This respect for the sanctity of such transactions is supposed in turn to create a virtuous cycle of commerce. or the fact that the land system had endured massive destruction of its records due to fire. when. It can assert that DENR Memorandum Order No. when the Order tries to supply a legal solution to the problems created by the failure of the Secretary of the Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources to affix his signature to Deeds of Conveyance of friar lands. the end result being that of a prosperous wealth-creating system. 16-05. Article II. Thus. The Majority Decision throws into disarray the functional order of property laws. it is simply wrong for the Court to ignore the remedial intent of DENR Memorandum Order No. I lend my voice to the Dissenting Opinions of Justices Carpio and Carpio Morales. to attack land titles made vulnerable by these circumstances. the country's economic development process and the pursuit of each man's right to happiness will in the long run be negated. and (5) it left open to attack the established legal principles on sales and perfection of contracts. section 1 in effect guarantees that the possession of all the requisites for title-holding by persons not be disturbed save by superior legal bases. the Government is faced with a choice created by the unexpected windfall this Court has granted it in the form of the reverted land — whether to live with and profit by the Majority Decision. After all. It must carefully and correctly assess the situation arisen from the Majority Decision that now confronts the State. 144 . being hampered by these disincentives. payment of realty taxes. it conveys a message to the public that 77-year possession. the protection of property is deemed essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy. What the Majority Decision did is exactly opposite the intent of our Constitution. or to seek its reconsideration because of the over-all danger that the decision poses to the system of property rights. section 5 of the Constitution. (4) it encouraged a microscopic scrutiny of all the technical requirements 106 years after the system of disposition of friar lands was set up. The majority should have considered the reasoning and objectives behind the Carpio and Carpio Morales Dissenting Opinions as promotive of property rights. thus endangering the property rights of all title holders to friar lands. their opinion has not succeeded in clarifying the legal regime on friar lands but has instead created dangers for the system of property rights in the Philippines. in various provisions. it makes a stable market mechanism equivalent to economic due process. If stability cannot be ensured and there is a lack of credible commitment on the part of the ruling body to safeguard the rights of the right-bearers (i. The choices economic entities make will be severely limited. it will be the Government that will need to face the economic fall-out from an unstable property rights regime. This in turn up-ends expectations on the part of the body politic that transactions between property right holders and transferees of such rights will be respected.e. and a plethora of documentary evidence are not enough to overturn a single technical detail which should have been in the first place supplied by the Government. Unpredictability and uncertainty with regard to future values. there will be an increase in the uncertainty surrounding economic outcomes. not by the Manotoks. 16-05 is the State's remedial measure intended to set to rest whatever doubts may have lingered regarding the legal requirements on friar lands. The just and dynamic social order described in Section 9 of the same Article envisions a market system where transactions validly entered upon are upheld by courts.. For one. will assail the very foundations of our economic system. the value of property is undermined by risk and there is far less incentive for investment. Secondly. Without stability of property rights.

162335 and 162605 were an appeal from administrative reconstitution proceedings before LRA Reconstitution officer Benjamin Bustos. PATRICIA L.B. MANOTOK. The Court hereby DECLARES that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. MANOTOK.These G. MANOTOK. ROBERTO LAPERAL III. represented by their Attorney-in-fact. affirmed the denial by Bustos of the application for administrative reconstitution of the Barques' 145 . MANOTOK. 162335 & 162605. Nos. MANOTOK. Quezon City legally belongs to the NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.The annulment of Friar Land sales. PACITA L. V-200022 issued to Felicitas B. MANOTOK IV. But the Resolution dated 18 December 2008 which finally reversed the CA's rulings. MICHAEL MARSHALL V. may void transactions involving thousands of hectares of land.R. 162335 & 162605. FROILAN M. GEORGE M.The Manotoks were given no due notice of the issue of reversion. March 6. With costs against the petitioners. TCT No. MANOTOK. JOSE MARIA MANOTOK. The Register of Deeds of Caloocan City and/or Quezon City are hereby ordered to CANCEL the said titles. JR. GO. Manahan. 2010. IACDaS 3. SO ORDERED. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. simply because physical evidence of the Secretary's ministerial approval can no longer be found. PHILIPP L.] SEVERINO M. G. 4. Barque and Deed of Conveyance No.R. THELMA R. Nos. without prejudice to the institution of REVERSION proceedings by the State through the Office of the Solicitor General. [August 24. as amended. on nothing more than the assumed failure of the State's agents to inscribe a ministerial "approval" on the transaction deeds. among others. 2. Rosa R. TIONGSON. JR. Nos. which this case on appeal did not include. MANOTOK. are DENIED. MANOTOK. 210177 in the name of Homer L. as well as the petition-in-intervention of the Manahans. and affect possibly millions of people to whom the lands may have since been parceled out. Heirs of Barque. MIGUEL A. TCT No. MANOTOK.. and which was thrust upon the Manotoks only in the final resolution disposing of the appeal. ROSA R. JESUS JUDE MANOTOK. RESOLUTION VILLARAMA. It would be error for the Honorable Court to let this matter go without a serious and full re-examination. SEVERINO MANOTOK III. sold and resold. et al. Barques and Manahans of our Decision promulgated on August 24. MILAGROS V. SISON.. THERESA L. petitioners. MARYANN MANOTOK. J p: At bar are the motions for reconsideration separately filed by the Manotoks. MAMERTA M. MANOTOK. and MA. JR. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of Severino Manotok IV. CRISTINA E. and under registered title issued by the State itself. BOCANEGRA. MANOTOK III.It is unjust and oppressive to deprive the Manotoks of property they have long held and acquired from the State. MANOTOK. 2010]) [G. vs. FERNANDO M. MA. MA. HEIRS OF HOMER L. MANOTOK. SISON. respondents. on consideration fully paid and received. Manotok. by allowing this motion for reconsideration to be heard on oral argument. JOSE CLEMENTE L. The Manotoks raised the following grounds in their motion for reconsideration with motion for oral arguments: 1. IGNACIO V.||| (Manotok IV v. 2012. FELISA MYLENE V. are all hereby declared NULL and VOID. BARQUE. represented by TERESITA BARQUE HERNANDEZ. to try to permit all pertinent considerations to be aired before the Court and taken into account.. This can be accomplished. The petition for reconstitution of title filed by the Barques is likewise DENIED.R. the petitions filed by the Manotoks under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. RAMON SEVERINO L.

in the first instance.The Manotoks objected to the "remand" on jurisdictional and due process grounds. which Severino Manotok acquired by assignment in 1923. an alleged ownership controversy over the Manotok property. to the Manotoks and the Piedad Estate. 5. may be compelled to produce the deeds by which the Government had transferred the property to them. 8. 1054. The Department Secretary's (assumed) failure to affix his signature on the deed of conveyance could not defeat the Manotoks' right to the lot after they had fully paid for it.The Honorable Court erred in proceeding to judgment divesting the Manotoks of their title to Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. 16-05 dated October 27. 6. despite being owners in possession under a registered title.The Honorable Court erred in denying their right to be informed of the CA's report and be heard thereon prior to judgment. and in awarding their title to the Government who has not even sued to contest that ownership.purported transfer certificate of title. would be discriminatory. We presume that the copy thereof actually transmitted to and received by the register of deeds did contain the Secretary's signature because he in fact issued the TCT. 10. MANAHAN'S TITLE. 9. even if the latter has not demanded a reversion or brought suit for that purpose. 11. on the erroneous interpretation that it covered only those found in the records of the "field offices" of the DENR and LMB. 12. and in finding that a Sale Certificate without the Secretary's approval is void.The Honorable Court erred in imposing on the Manotoks. RESPONDENTS HEIRS OF BARQUE'S TITLE TCT NO. 9443 must be applied. which is required by law to be filed with and retained in the custody of the register of deeds. 541 of the Civil Code. 146 . 29204 the register of deeds received did not bear the Department Secretary's signature. The original of Deed of Conveyance No. The original and exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case is vested by law on the regional trial courts. as basic requirements of due process.The Honorable Court erred in concluding that the Manotoks had no valid Deed of Conveyance of Lot 823 from the Government.Assuming arguendo that the original Deed of Conveyance No.The Honorable Court erred in concluding that the Manotoks. 7. THIAaD II THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN INSTANTLY DECLARING IN THE DISPOSITIVE PORTION OF THE DECISION THAT ALONG WITH FELICITAS B. and terminated the appeal introduced a new "case" on the Manotok property. It ordered evidence-taking at the CA. and "failing" which can be divested of their ownership in favor of the Government. the obligation to prove their ownership of the subject property. mutatis mutandis. To deny the Manotoks the benefit of ratification under said MO. 210177 IS LIKEWISE NULL AND VOID. 2005 cured the defect. contrary to Art. on which the Supreme Court proposed itself to decide. and in disregard of process which the law accords to all owners-in-possession. 29204 gave the register of deeds the authority to issue the transfer certificate of title in the name of the buyer Severino Manotok. DENRMemorandum Order No.The Honorable Court erred in finding that Sale Certificate No. The Barques anchor their motion for reconsideration on the following: I THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN DENYING THE PETITION FOR RECONSTITUTION FILED BY RESPONDENTS HEIRS OF BARQUE WITHOUT STATING THE GROUNDS FOR SUCH DENIAL. was not approved by the Director of Lands and the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. WITHOUT STATING A CLEAR AND DEFINITE BASIS THEREFOR. And we rely on this presumption because the document itself can no longer be found. Republic Act No. without a trial in the courts of original and exclusive jurisdiction.

511 because of mere doubt and suspicion as to its authenticity and in the absence of contradicting evidence. documents and other evidence are hardly or no longer available.As the original of Sale Certificate No. It was error for the Commissioners to ignore the evidence of the intervenors. 511 and Sworn Explanation of Evelyn G. As to the Manahans. stating the following grounds: I. IV THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS' FACTUAL FINDINGS. 210177 IN THE NAME OF HOMER L. 511. 147 . The administrative determination of the status of Valentin Manahan as "actual settler and occupant" can not now be reviewed after the lapse of about eight (8) decades when parties. Manahan's allegations embodied in her petition. 2010. V THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT'S FINDINGS IN THE DECISION DATED 24 AUGUST 2010 ARE CONTRARY TO LAW. V. Intervenors made continuing efforts to secure a deed of conveyance based on Sale Certificate No. VII. Defensor. BARQUE NULL AND VOID. The Petition. as in this case when the LMB which had the sole authority under Act No. furnished intevenors with a certified true copy of Sale Certificate No. 1120 to convey friar lands. The Commissioners erred in ignoring secondary evidence of the contents of Sale Certificate No.The Commissioners committed palpable error in not according evidentiary value to the Investigation Report of Evelyn dela Rosa because it is allegedly "practically a replica or summation of Felicitas B. Piedad Estate. V-2000-22. witnesses. 511 which it obtained from the DENR-NCR on September 11. being the "actual settler and occupant" who under the law enjoyed preference to buy the lot. II. the existence of the certificate was proven by secondary evidence. 511 could not be found in the files of the LMB or the DENR-NCR at the time of the hearings before the Commissioners. Celzo attached as Annexes "I" and "II". IV.The pronouncement of the Commissioners that Sale Certificate No. DTcACa VI.The requirement of Act No. 1120 that a deed of conveyance of friar land must be signed by the Secretary of Interior was dispensed with pursuant to law and Presidential issuances which have the force of law. (Certified true copy of Sale Certificate No. 511 is stale is incorrect. his status as "actual settler and occupant" must have been verified by the Bureau of Public Lands because the presumption is that official duty has been regularly performed. III. together with the explanation of DENR-NCR why the document is available only now. VIII. is based on the Investigation Report. It can also be waived. it is only that party who can raise it. ADOPTED BY THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT IN THE DECISION DATED 24 AUGUST 2010.Abundant evidence was submitted by intervenors that they and their predecessors-in-interest occupied and possessed Lot 823 up to 1948 when they were dispossessed by armed men. Piedad Estate. they seek a partial reconsideration and to allow further reception of evidence.The OSG which has been tasked by the Honorable Court to obtain documents from the LMB and DENR-NCR relative to the conveyance of Lot 823. ARE CONTRARY TO THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED. therefore. Manahan Deed of Conveyance No." Examination of the dates of the documents will show that the Investigation Report preceded the Petition.Deeds of conveyance lacking the signature of the Department Secretary were ratified by President Joseph Estrada and DENR Secretary Michael T. Defense of staleness or laches belongs to the party against whom the claim is asserted. there being no contradicting proof.III THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN DECLARING TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. issued to intervenor Felicitas B.When Valentin Manahan offered to purchase Lot 823. and not the other way around.

it was necessary for this Court to resolve the same for the complete determination of the present controversy involving a huge tract of friar land. for the Manotoks to prove their presumed just title over the property also claimed by the Barques and the Manahans. 10 was actually sourced from the DENR-LMB. the Manotoks contend that our Resolution of December 18. in the first instance. 1 also involving a Friar Land.The motions are bereft of merit. the Court deemed it proper to give all the parties full opportunity to adduce further evidence. none of the parties were able to establish by clear and convincing evidence a valid alienation from the Government of the subject friar land. The Manotoks further assert that this would imply that the LMB either did not produce the genuine article. And even assuming that Exh. Nonetheless. in the course of which the Barques' claim of ownership was found to be exceedingly weak. Bustos of the application for administrative reconstitution of the Barques' Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. Court of Appeals 2 and Manotok Realty. 2005 Decision rendered by the First Division and recalled the entry of judgment. Cebu Country Club. Maintaining their objection to the order for reception of evidence on remand. Republic v." But such presumption is prima facie. In our December 18. CLT Realty Development Corporation. 4 In the light of serious flaws in the title of Severino Manotok which were brought to light during the reconstitution proceedings. they had no further duty to defend their title pursuant to Article 541 of the Civil Code which states that: "[a] possessor in the concept of owner has in his favor the legal presumption that he possesses with a just title and he cannot be obliged to show or prove it. It was thus not the first time the Court had actually resorted to referring a factual matter pending before it to the CA. and therefore it prevails until the contrary is proved. the Manotoks argue that as owners in possession. Piedad Estate in the resolution of the present controversy. As it turned out. Indeed. 10) at the Manotoks' request was a deliberate fraud in order to give them either a false document. or a fake copy. 3 the majority resolved to remand this case for reception of evidence on the parties' competing claims of ownership over Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. The declaration of ownership in favor of the Government was but the logical consequence of such finding. The appeal having been terminated. the usual unsigned copy of the signed original. The argument is untenable. there were controversial factual matters which emerged as the parties fully ventilated their respective claims. was "planted evidence" or evidence inserted in the LMB files to discredit the Manotok title. Reevaluation of the evidence on record likewise indicated that the Manotoks' claim to title is just as flawed as that of the Barques. 1054 in the records of the DENR-LMB was not duly established. the Manotoks hinted that the LMB's certifying the document (Exh. Upon the theory that this Court had no power to cancel their certificate of title over Lot 823. we set aside the December 12. an "alleged" ownership issue over the property. Such action is legally infirm since the law has vested exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions involving title to real property on the trial courts. No officer of the DENR-NCR or LMB having official custody of sale certificates covering friar lands testified as to the issuance and authenticity of Exh. 10 submitted by the Manotoks. 210177. Following the approach in Alonso v. a relief sought by the Barques in the administrative reconstitution proceedings. the Manotoks argued that the remand to the CA for evidence-taking had introduced a new "case" in which this Court will decide. On this point. v. During the oral arguments. there was no showing that it was duly issued by the Director of Lands and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DENR). if this Court accepts that finding. 2008 terminated the appeal from the Land Registration Authority (LRA) administrative reconstitution proceedings by reversing the CA's rulings and affirming the denial by LRA Reconstitution Officer Benjamin M. Given the contentious factual issues. Inc. The Court En Banc proceeded with the reevaluation of the cases on a pro hac vice basis. This could only mean that the document which the NBI "found" to be fake or spurious. We ruled that neither the CA nor the LRA had jurisdiction to cancel the Manotok title. the Manotoks insist there were independent evidence which supposedly established 148 . both the LRA and CA erred in ruling that the Barques had the right to seek reconstitution of their purported title. 2008 Resolution. Inc. and in particular. EDSHcT We have ruled that the existence of Sale Certificate No. or could not produce it.

no Register of Deeds had testified and attested to the fact that the original of TCT No. as witness for both the OSG and the Manahans. 22813 was under his/her custody. Moreover. were entered. and the approval of the Secretary of Natural Resources in the Sale Certificate and Assignment of Sale Certificate. 511 of the Manahans. (b) official receipt of payment for said certified copy. as well as the assignment documents. Even the existence of the official receipts showing payment of the price to the land by Severino Manotok does not prove that the land was legally conveyed to him without any contract of sale having been executed by the government in his favor. The CA's findings and recommendations with respect to the claims of all parties. IADaSE As to the motion of the Manahans to admit an alleged certified true copy of Sale Certificate No. were unable to produce an authentic and genuine sale certificate. the sudden emergence of this unauthenticated document is suspicious. categorically admitted that she never actually saw the application to purchase and alleged Sale Certificate No. they assert that it is the Register of Deeds himself "who should be in a position to explain that condition of the TCT in his custody. the majority declared that no valid titles can be issued on the basis of the sale or assignment made in favor of petitioner's father due to the absence of signature of the Director of Lands and the Secretary of the Interior. and at best speculative. (e) file copies in the National Archives of the Deed of Conveyance No. 511 was not among those official documents which the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) offered as evidence. as in fact no copy thereof can be found in the records of either the DENR-NCR or LMB. The Manotoks until now has not offered any explanation as to such condition of the alleged title of Severino Manotok. the claim of the Barques who. Such stance hardly satisfies the standard of clear and convincing evidence in these cases. 22813 came about. as evident in our disquisitions on the indispensable requirement of a validly issued Certificate of Sale over Lot 823. Cebu Country Club. which is null and void. the absence of such approval made the sale null and void ab initio. 1054. Neither can it be deduced from the alleged issuance of the halftorn TCT No. much less the veracity of its recitals because the name of the registered owner and date of issuance do not appear at all. Inc. 6 In the light of the foregoing. 29204. we thus held that no legal right over the subject friar land can be recognized in favor of the Manotoks under the assignment documents in the absence of the certificate of sale duly signed by the Director of Lands and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. itself a doubtful document as its authenticity was not established. have been fully adopted by this Court. That a valid certificate of sale was issued to Severino Manotok's assignors cannot simply be presumed from the execution of assignment documents in his favor. The Decision discussed extensively the findings of the CA that the Barques' documentary evidence were either spurious or irregularly procured. 2008 Resolution." In that case. This belatedly submitted copy of Sale Certificate No. hence. Celzo. 511 dated June 23. (c) photocopies of the other assignment deeds dated 1923. The Manotoks consistently evaded having to explain the circumstances as to how and where TCT No. (d) official receipts of installment payments on Lot 823 issued to Severino Manotok. Applying the Alonso ruling to these cases. The contentions have no merit. 22183 in his favor vest ownership upon him over the land nor did it validate the alleged purchase of Lot 283. 1054 made the supposed sale null and void ab initio. Piedad Estate. The relevant portions of the transcript of stenographic notes of the cross-examination of said witness during the hearing before the CA are herein quoted: 149 . nor that said certificate of title in the name of Severino Manotok existed in the files of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan or Quezon City. The absence of the Secretary's approval in Certificate of Sale No." But then.. 5 "approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce of the sale of friar lands is indispensable for its validity. the latter had inadvertently failed to attach to her Investigation Report forwarded to the CENRO. must likewise fail. as alleged in the attached Sworn Explanation of Evelyn G. considering that Celzo who testified. which even buttressed the earlier findings mentioned in the December 18.the prior existence of Sale Certificate No. and (f) the notarial registers in which the said Deed of Conveyance. 22813. 1913 in the name of Valentin Manahan which. As this Court categorically ruled in Alonso v. this Court cannot grant said motion. 1054 dated 1929. just like the Manahans. they urge this Court to validate their alleged title on the basis of the disputable presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty. Instead. Neither did the alleged issuance of TCT No. These documents are: (a) photocopy of Assignment of Sale Certificate No.

ATTY. Only the Records Section. xxx xxx xxx ATTY. sir.140? WITNESS: No. that Valentin Manahan applied. sir. sir. 511 after completing the payment of the price of P2. Sir. sir. sir. SAN JUAN: Did they tell you that they saw the application? WITNESS: I did not go further. ATTY. is that correct? WITNESS: Yes. but I asked only. ATTY. sir. SAN JUAN: You did not see Valentin Manahan's application but only the Records Section saw it? WITNESS: Yes. SAN JUAN: And this report of yours says that Valentin Manahan was issued Sale Certificate No. sir. SAN JUAN: How about this part concerning Valentin Manahan having applied for the purchase of the land? Did you get this from the neighbors or from Felicitas Manahan? xxx xxx xxx WITNESS: No.140? WITNESS: Yes. SAN JUAN: You did not see the sale certificate? WITNESS: Yes. SAN JUAN: You actually saw the sale certificate that was issued to Valentin Manahan after he paid the price of P2. ATTY. ATTY. SAN JUAN: You also got this from the records of the LMB.ATTY. I did not go further. 150 . sir.

cannot be given credence. 2010 addressed to the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) requesting that Deed of Conveyance No. Jr. Indeed. dela Cruz. V-200022 issued on October 30.) In view of the above admission. which reads: This has reference to your letter dated August 20. of the Department of Natural Resources on January 17. Even her testimony regarding the conduct of her investigation of Lot 823. The Office of the DENR Secretary in turn referred the letter to us for appropriate action.ATTY. failed to impress the CA on the validity of the Manahans' claim. Barcena (OIC. Piedad Estate and the Investigation Report she submitted thereafter. sir. In their Offer of Additional Evidence. Adobo. Manahan be ratified or confirmed for reasons stated therein. Allan V. 2000. on October 30. 511 was issued after the price was fully paid? WITNESS: Yes. 2010 allegedly sent by Atty. sir. SAN JUAN: cDaEAS Who did you ask? WITNESS: The records officer. to approve contracts of sale and deeds of conveyance affecting Friar Lands. Records of this Office on Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. Sir. ATTY. SAN JUAN: Whose name you can no longer recall. records showed that Celzo's findings in her report were merely based on what Felicitas Manahan told her about the alleged occupation and possession by Valentin Manahan of the subject land. The Deed was issued based on General Memorandum Order (GMO) No. the Manahans submitted a photocopy of a letter dated December 21. now Director of LMB. Celzo's explanation that the copy of Sale Certificate No. ATTY. Jr. SAN JUAN: And the information to you was the Sale Certificate No. 2000 over Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate in favor of Felicitas B. now Undersecretary Ernesto D. SAN JUAN: And it was only after he applied for the purchase of the lot sometime after the survey of 1939 that he was issued Sale Certificate No.. 511? WITNESS: I am not aware of the issuance of sale certificate. 1 issued by then Secretary Jose J. It is stressed that the confirmation of the Deed by this office is only as to the execution and issuance based on the authority of LMB Director under GMO No. which authorized the Director of Lands. correct? WITNESS: I can no longer recall. Director) to their counsel. Romeo C. xxx xxx xxx 7 (Emphasis supplied. sir. This is without prejudice to the final decision of the Supreme 151 . 511 signed by the Director of Lands and Secretary of the Interior was originally attached to her Investigation Report. Atty. 1. Leido. ATTY. I am aware only of the deed of assignment. 1977. V200022 covering said lot in favor of Felicitas Manahan was issued by then Director of the Land Management Bureau (LMB). show that the Deed of Conveyance No.

The explanation of Secretary Defensor stated the avowed purpose behind the issuance. perform other functions as may be assigned by the Minister of Natural Resources. Barque" (G. the Manahans reiterated their earlier argument that the LMB Director himself had the authority toapprove contracts of sale and deeds of conveyance over friar lands on the basis of General Memorandum Order No. which have the force of law. the Manotoks submitted an affidavit supposedly executed on November 11. in the absence of a valid certificate of sale duly signed by the Secretary of Interior or Agriculture and Natural Resources. Eventually. Aquino issued Executive Order No. HICcSA In a Supplemental Manifestation dated November 18. V-2000-22 (2000) was issued and approved by the Director of Lands upon prior authority granted by the Secretary. and as sellers in good faith. et al. it is the obligation of the Government to deliver to said applicants/purchasers the friar lands sold free of any lien or encumbrance whatsoever. 2000 is still insufficient to prove the Manahans' claim over the subject land. 1 issued in 1977 by then Secretary of Natural Resources Jose J. the Manahans contend that deeds of conveyance not bearing the signature of the Secretary can also be ratified. however. their Deed of Conveyance No. thus depriving the parties including the government of the right to cross-examine him regarding his allegations therein.Court as to its validity in the case of "Severino Manotok IV. Defensor ("Defensor Affidavit") clarifying that MO 16-05 applies to all Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the signature of the Secretary of Natural Resources. 8 (Emphasis supplied." Moreover. particularly EO 131. 1317 9 of the Civil Code. and are otherwise not shown to have committed any wrong or illegality in acquiring such lands. Title XIV of theAdministrative Code of 1987 which provides that the Director of Lands shall "perform such other functions as may be provided by law or assigned by the Secretary. The Solicitor General contends that said document is hearsay evidence.) However. contrary to the CA and this Court's statement that said issuance refers only to those deeds of conveyance on file with the records of the DENR field offices. 15. the Solicitor General filed his Comment on the Defensor Affidavit submitted by the Manotoks. but pointed out that unlike the Manotoks' Deed of Conveyance No. 1987 reorganizing the LMB and providing that the LMB Director shall. considering that MO 16-05 is based on law and presidential issuances. And even assuming arguendo that such affidavit is admissible as evidence.R. Please be guided accordingly. Jr. versus Heirs of Homer L. in compliance with our directive. 2010. Further.162335 & 162605). MO 16-05 covered only deeds of conveyances and not unsigned certificates of sale. 2010. 2010 by former DENR Secretary Michael T. He points out that former DENR Secretary Defensor was not presented as a witness during the hearings at the CA. hence inadmissible and without probative value. 131 dated January 20. when MO 16-05 was issued by Secretary Defensor. On the basis of Art. delegating such function to the Director of Lands. No. Barques and Manahans still 152 . which is "to remove doubts or dispel objections as to the validity of all Torrens transfer certificates of title issued over friar lands" thereby "ratifying the deeds of conveyance to the friar land buyers who have fully paid the purchase price." The Manahans propounded the same theory that contracts of sale over friar lands without the approval of the Secretary of Natural Resources may be subsequently ratified. such alleged confirmation of the execution and issuance by the DENR-LMB of Deed of Conveyance No. In their Consolidated Memorandum dated December 19. the Solicitor General is of the view that the Manotoks. they cite Proclamation No. among others. 172 issued by former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada which declared that there should be no legal impediment for the LMB to issue such deeds of conveyance since the applicants/purchasers have already paid the purchase price of the lot. By its express terms. Leido. 1120 which requires that a deed of conveyance must be signed by the Secretary. This delegated power can also be gleaned from Sec. all these deeds of conveyance lacking the signature of the Secretary of Natural Resources are thus deemed signed or otherwise ratified. Chapter 1. Meanwhile. V-00022 in favor of Felicitas Manahan on October 30. former President Corazon C. The CA accordingly erred in holding that MO 16-05 cannot override Act No. 29204 (1932).

SECTION 12. The argument that the Director of Lands had delegated authority to approve contracts of sale and deeds of conveyances over friar lands ignores the consistent ruling of this Court in controversies involving friar lands. 11 and Alonso v. consistent with Act No. Carpio disagreed with the majority's interpretation of Section 18 of Act No. ASTIED The Court is not persuaded by the "ratification theory" espoused by the Manotoks and Manahans. and any other circumstances giving [it] value. this Court held in Solid State MultiProducts Corporation v. Since none of the parties has shown a valid disposition to any of them of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. He then emphasizes that this Court has ruled that it is not only the deed of conveyance which must be signed by the Secretary but also the certificate of sale itself. Justice Antonio T." It was pointed out that the majority itself expressly admit that "it is only a ministerial duty on the part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the applicant had made full payment on the purchase price of the land".No lease or sale made by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by the Secretary of the Interior. 1120. Section 12 did not mention the requirement of signature or approval of the Secretary in the sale certificate and deed of conveyance.It shall be the duty of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands by proper investigation to ascertain what is the actual value of the parcel of land held by each settler and occupant. Section 18 of Act No. 1120 and that the procedure laid down by said law must be strictly complied with. . the purchase of the friar land still acquired ownership. it is the Deed of Conveyance that must bear the signature of the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources "because it is only when the final installment is paid that the Secretary can approve the sale. and also because the curative effect of MO 16-05 is intended only for friar land buyers whose deeds of conveyance lack the signature of the Secretary of the Interior or Agriculture and Natural Resources. to carry into effect all the provisions [thereof] that are to be administered by or under [his] direction. We are unable to agree with the view that it is only the Director of Lands who signs the Certificate of Sale. The aforementioned presidential/executive issuances notwithstanding. 18 of Act No. 1317 of the Civil Code. These forms had been prepared and issued by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior. as amended. have fully paid the purchase price and are otherwise not shown to have committed any wrong or illegality in acquiring the friar lands. 1120 mandated the approval by the Secretary for a sale of friar land to be valid. In his dissenting opinion. we maintain that contracts of sale lacking the approval of the Secretary fall under the class of void and inexistent contracts enumerated in Art. As to the applicability of Art. this Court therefore correctly held that said friar land is still part of the patrimonial property of the national government. citing jurisprudence to the effect that "notwithstanding the failure of the government to issue the proper instrument of conveyance when the purchaser finally pays the final installment of the purchase price.cannot benefit from the remedial effect of MO 16-05 in view of the decision rendered by this Court which ruled that none of the parties in this case has established a valid alienation from the Government of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. The official document denominated as "Sale Certificate" clearly required both the signatures of the Director of Lands who issued such sale certificate to an applicant settler/occupant and the Secretary of the Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources indicating his approval of the sale." 14 We reiterate that Section 18 of Act No. is plain and categorical in stating that: SECTION 18. and proposed that based on Section 12 of the same Act. 10 Liao v. 1120. . taking into consideration the location and quality of each holding of land. Cebu Country Club 12 that approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce (later the Natural Resources) is indispensable to the validity of sale of friar land pursuant to Sec. the purchase price having been fully paid. 1409 13 which cannot be ratified. and for the conduct of all proceedings arising under such provisions. 1120 "as may be necessary . Court of Appeals. CA. The basis of valuation 153 .

18 also covering Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate and forming part of the official documents on file with the DENR-LMB which was formally offered by the OSG as part of the official records on file with the DENR and LMB pertaining to Lot 823. 1930 was also signed by the Director of Lands. We have also held that it is the execution of the contract to sell and delivery of the certificate of sale that vests title and ownership to the purchaser of friar land. the specific parcel of friar land. By the mandatory language of Section 18. so far as practicable. such [as] the aggregate of the values of all the holdings included in each particular tract shall be equal to the cost to the Government to the entire tract. or consent to some act or thing done by another. the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall give the said settler and occupant a certificate which shall set forth in detail that the Government has agreed to sell to such settler and occupant the amount of land so held by him. It is worth mentioning that Sale Certificate No. 19 Following the dissent's interpretation that the Secretary is not required to sign the certificate of sale while his signature in the Deed of Conveyance may also appear although merely a ministerial act. to confirm. ratify. which could 154 . the first paragraph of Section 15 provides for the reservation of title in the Government only for the purpose of ensuring payment of the purchase price. it would result in the absurd situation wherein the certificate of sale and deed of conveyance both lacked the signature and approval of the Secretary. courtesy of DENR Memorandum Order (MO) No. Justice Conchita Carpio Morales' dissent asserted that case law does not categorically state that the required "approval" must be in the form of a signature on the Certificate of Sale. in each instance where a certificate is given to the settler and occupant of any holding. and terms of payment. These provisions read together indicate that the approval of the Secretary is required in both the certificate of sale and deed of conveyance. the official forms being used by the Government for this purpose clearly show that the Director of Lands signs every certificate of sale issued covering a specific parcel of friar land in favor of the applicant/purchaser while the Secretary of Interior/Natural Resources signs the document indicating that the sale wasapproved by him. take his formal receipt showing the delivery of such certificate. and yet the purchaser's ownership is ratified." As already stated. 651 in the name of one Ambrosio Berones dated June 23. although the lack of signature of the Secretary in the latter may not defeat the rights of the applicant who had fully paid the purchase price. signed by said settler and occupant. to sanction officially. the purchaser does not acquire any right of possession and purchase. at the price so fixed. contains the signature of both the Director of Lands and Secretary of the Interior. in gold coin of the United States or its equivalent in Philippine currency.shall likewise be. as implied from Section 15. The Assignment of Sale Certificate No. sanction." The certificate of sale evidences the meeting of the minds between the Government and the applicant regarding the price. 16 Where there is no certificate of sale issued. 16-05. and that there is no statutory basis for the requirement of the Secretary's signature on the Certificate of Sale "apart from a strained deduction of Section 18. DCAHcT On the other hand. payable as provided in this Act at the office of the Chief of Bureau of Public Lands. 17 The Secretary of Interior/Natural Resources signs and approves the Certificate of Sale to confirm and officially sanction the conveyance of friar lands executed by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (later Director of Lands). which means that the sale was subject only to the resolutory condition of non-payment. which shall be issued and become effective in the manner provided in section one hundred and twenty-two of the Land Registration Act. The Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall. 651 dated April 19. When the cost thereof shall have been thus ascertained. Court of Appeals. and that upon the payment of the final installment together with [the] accrued interest the Government will convey to such settler and occupant the said land so held by him by proper instrument of conveyance. while the second paragraph states that the purchaser thereby acquires "the right of possession and purchase" by virtue of a certificate of sale "signed under the provisions [thereof]. 15 we explained that the non-payment of the full purchase price is the only recognized resolutory condition in the case of sale of friar lands. In Dela Torre v. To approve is to be satisfied with. including the cost of surveys. It is also not farfetched that greater chaos will arise from conflicting claims over friar lands. the absence of approval of the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources in the lease or sale of friar land would invalidate the sale. administration and interest upon the purchase money to the time of sale. 1913.

23DENR Memorandum Order No. no right can be recognized in favor of the applicant. First. 1120 as to dispense with the requirement of approval by the Secretary of the Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources of every lease or sale of friar lands. In case of conflict between a statute and an administrative order. while those functions and powers not absorbed by the LMB were transferred to the regional field offices. DacASC Second. there can be no valid titles issued on the basis of such sale or assignment. such certificate being duly signed under the provisions of Act No." 26 155 . 24 the functions and powers previously held by the Bureau of Lands were absorbed by the Lands Management Bureau (LMB) of the DENR. Act No. Neither would any assignee or transferee acquire any right over the subject land. pursuant to Act No. In this case. 29204 sourced from the National Archives. 16-05 must conform to and not contravene existing laws. is that MO 16-05 would apply even to those deeds of conveyances not found in the records of DENR or its field offices.not be definitively settled until the genuine and official manifestation of the Secretary's approval of the sale is discerned from the records and documents presented. as the dissent suggests. such as the Manotoks' Deed of Conveyance No. DENR MO No. The Bureau of Lands was originally charged with the administration of all laws relative to friar lands. opined that the ruling in Alonso "was superseded with the issuance by then Department of [Environment] and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Michael T. 25 As pointed out by the Solicitor General in the Memorandum submitted to the CA. 21 the Court categorically ruled that the absence of approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce in the sale certificate and assignment of sale certificate made the sale null and void ab initio. for some reason or another. the purchaser of friar land acquires the right of possession and purchase pending final payment and the issuance of title. or which are in derogation of. administrative agencies may not make rules and regulations which are inconsistent with the statute it is administering. EaISDC In Alonso v." It was argued that the majority had construed a "limited application" when it declared that the Manotoks could not benefit from said memorandum order because the latter refers only to deeds of conveyance "on file with the records of the DENR field offices". 20 The existence of a valid certificate of sale therefore must first be established with clear and convincing evidence before a purchaser is deemed to have acquired ownership over a friar land notwithstanding the non-issuance by the Government. it must be stressed that in those instances where the formality of the Secretary's approval and signature is dispensed with. 16-05 which supposedly cured the defect in the Manotoks' title.. 2711. under the express language of Section 15. 16-05. allegedly the original claimants of Lot 823. Under Executive Order No. We disagree with the view that Alonso is no longer applicable to this controversy after the issuance of DENR MO No. Piedad Estate. In the interpretation and construction of the statutes entrusted to them for implementation. since the LMB and DENR-NCR exercise sole authority over friar lands. 22 Justice Carpio. 1120. not to Sale Certificates by which. 16-05 correctly stated that it was only a ministerial duty on the part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the applicant had made full payment on the purchase price of the land. But what is worse. 16-05 cannot supersede or amend the clear mandate of Section 18. it is basic that an administrative issuance like DENR Memorandum Order No. It would then cover cases of claimants who have not been issued any certificate of sale but were able to produce a deed of conveyance in their names. they are naturally the "sole repository of documents and records relative to Lot No. Inc. 823 of the Piedad Estate. of a deed of conveyance after completing the installment payments. Necessarily. 16-05 explicitly makes reference only to Deeds of Conveyances. This state of things is simply not envisioned under the orderly and proper distribution of friar lands to bona fideoccupants and settlers whom the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands was tasked to identify. the former must prevail. In the absence of such certificate of sale duly signed by the Secretary. 2657 and Act No. Cebu Country Club. however. there is no indication in the records that a certificate of sale was actually issued to the assignors of Severino Manotok. Defensor of DENR Memorandum Order No. or defeat its purpose. Although the whereas clause of MO No. 192. there was a valid certificate of sale issued to the purchaser or transferor.

suggesting several other owners of lands formerly comprising the Piedad Estate who are supposedly similarly situated. As consistently held by this Court. DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05 would serve as administrativeimprimatur to holders of deeds of conveyance whose acquisition may have been obtained through irregularity or fraud. petitioners (Manotoks) failed to demonstrate how the awardees or present owners of around more than 2. In any event. its continued operation must be interpreted in a manner that does not collide with the equal protection clause. the sale is not valid and the purchaser has not acquired ownership of the friar land. the Court simply adhered strictly to the letter and spirit of the Friar Lands Act and jurisprudence interpreting its provisions. 1120. Cebu Country Club. 156 . as the case may be. Contrary to the dissent of Justice Maria Lourdes P." 28 Petitioners failed to discharge their burden of proving their acquisition of title by clear and convincing evidence. it is contended that there is no reason to exclude the Piedad Estate from the ambit of RA 9443. There is nothing sacrosanct about the landholdings in the Piedad Estate as even prior to the years when Lot 823 could have been possibly "sold" or disposed by the Bureau of Lands. subsequent to the promulgation of our decision in Alonso. considering the nature of the land involved. the validity of existing TCTs and reconstituted certificates of title covering the Banilad Friar Lands Estate situated in Cebu. Republic Act No. in denying with finality the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner in Alonso v. This Court. 1120. arguing that for said law to be constitutionally valid. Indeed. Congress found it imperative to pass a new law in order to exempt the already titled portions of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate from the operation of Section 18. 27 reiterated the settled rule that "[a]pproval by the Secretary of the Interior cannot simply be presumed or inferred from certain acts since the law is explicit in its mandate. now on file with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO). The issuance of a valid certificate of sale is a condition sine qua non for acquisition of ownership under the Friar Lands Act. the perceived disquieting effects on titles over friar lands long held by generations of landowners cannot be invoked as justification for legitimizing any claim or acquisition of these lands obtained through fraud or without strict compliance with the procedure laid down in Act No. (RA) 9443 was passed by Congress confirming and declaring. 16-05) would be sufficient to cure the lack of signature and approval by the Secretary in Certificate of Sale No. the Manotoks now seek the application of RA 9443 to the Piedad Estate.000 hectares of land in the Piedad Estate can be embroiled in legal disputes arising from unsigned certificates of sale. friar lands can be alienated only upon proper compliance with the requirements of Act No. Cebu City". On the other hand. Otherwise. This runs counter to the dissent's main thesis that a mere administrative issuance (DENR MO No. there were already reported anomalies in the distribution of friar lands in general. remains in the realm of speculation. IECcAT The enactment of RA 9443 signifies the legislature's recognition of the statutory basis of the Alonso ruling to the effect that in the absence of signature and/or approval of the Secretary of Interior/Natural Resources in the Certificates of Sale on file with the CENRO. 1054 covering Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. RA 9443 validated the titles "notwithstanding the lack of signatures and/or approval of the then Secretary of Interior (later Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and/or the then Chief of the Bureau of Public lands (later Director of Public Lands) in the copies of the duly executed Sale Certificate and Assignments of Sale Certificates. and upon that ground we declared the registered owner as not having acquired ownership of the land. whenever necessary in the complete adjudication of the controversy before it or where apparent irregularities and anomalies are shown by the evidence on record. Sereno that our decision has "created dangers for the system of property rights in the Philippines". this Court must take on the task of scrutinizing even certificates of title held for decades involving lands of the public domain and those lands which form part of the Government's patrimonial property. Inc. A. subject to certain exceptions. Alonso involved a friar land already titled but without a sale certificate. Such imagined scenario of instability and chaos in the established property regime. Considering that the facts in Alonso from which RA 9443 sprung are similar to those in this case.Third. Apart from their bare allegations. 29 Significantly.

RA 9443 supposedly should be extended to lands similarly situated. binding the land and quieting the title thereto and shall be conclusive upon and against all persons. v.) Without ruling on the issue of violation of equal protection guarantee if the curative effect of RA 9443 is not made applicable to all titled lands of the Piedad Estate. and reasonable grounds exist for making a distinction between those who fall within such class and those who do not. Thus. Article II of RA 7653 (the New Central Bank Act). there is clear evidence that such certificate of title or reconstituted certificate of title was obtained through fraud. it is clear that the Manotoks cannot invoke this law to 157 . 31 TIaCAc We are of the opinion that the provisions of RA 9443 may not be applied to the present case as to cure the lack of signature of the Director of Lands and approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Sale Certificate No. the Court extended the benefits of subsequent laws exempting all rank-and-file employees of other government financing institutions (GFIs) from the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) to the rank-and-file employees of the BSP. if it applies alike to all persons within such class. (Emphasis supplied. constitutes "invidious discrimination on the 2. in a given case involving a certificate of title or a reconstituted certificate of title. stating that to limit its application to the Banilad Friar Lands Estate will result in class legislation. under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike. as well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality. Cebu City. as the case may be.) Section 1 of RA 9443 provides: Section 1. It does not demand absolute equality among residents. 32(Emphasis and underscoring supplied. This confirmation and declaration of validity shall in all respects be entitled to like effect and credit as a decree of registration.994 rank-and-file employees of the [BSP]". We upheld the position of petitioner association that the continued operation of Section 15 (c). Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. we declared that there were no characteristics peculiar only to the seven GFIs or their rank-and-file so as to justify the exemption from the SSL which BSP rank-and-file employees were denied. 30 In the aforesaid case. The Court has explained the nature of equal protection guarantee in this manner: The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and individual or class privilege. It is not intended to prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by territory within which it is to operate. 1054. obtained through such fraud. Inc. citing the case of Central Bank Employees Association. The equal protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class. arbitrary and not based on substantial distinctions that make real differences between BSP rank-and-file and the seven other GFIs. are hereby confirmed and declared as valid titles and the registered owners recognized as absolute owners thereof. as regards the exemption from the SSL. in which case the solicitor general or his duly designated representative shall institute the necessary judicial proceeding to cancel the certificate of title or reconstituted certificate of title as the case may be. notwithstanding the lack of signatures and/or approval of the then Secretary of the Interior (later Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and/or the then Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (later Director of Public Lands) in the copies of the duly executed Sale Certificates and Assignments of Sales Certificates. except when.Justice Carpio's dissent concurs with this view. including the national government and all branches thereof. The distinction made by the law is superficial.All existing Transfer Certificates of Title and Reconstituted Certificates of Title duly issued by the Register of Deeds of Cebu Province and/or Cebu City covering any portion of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate. now on file with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO). which provides that the compensation and wage structure of employees whose position fall under salary grade 19 and below shall be in accordance with the rates prescribed under RA 6758 (SSL).

for registration in accordance with law. 675257 dated 20 February 1920 for certified copy of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. the Manotoks' title to the subject friar land. as above provided. (Section 1. Unfortunately. 33 CTHDcE The dissent reiterates that the existence of Sale Certificate No. 9470 enacted on May 21. The Court cannot allow them now to invoke the benefit of confirmation and validation of ownership of friar lands under duly executed documents. The dissent even accused the majority of mistakenly denigrating the records of the National Archives which.A. if not millions. when executed and delivered by said grantors to the Government and placed in the keeping of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands. As the reconstitution and remand proceedings in these cases revealed. Moreover. as well as the Deed of Conveyance No. It was stressed that if MO 16-05 is not applied to these huge tracts of land within and outside Metro Manila. the original of Official Receipt No. the particular 158 . which could have clearly shown the names of claimants. of landowners would surely be dispossessed of their lands in these areas. SEC. Strict application by the courts of the mandatory provisions of the Friar Lands Act is justified by the laudable policy behind its enactment — to ensure that the lands acquired by the government would go to the actual occupants and settlers who were given preference in their distribution. 1933 assessing him beginning with the year 1933. The dissent further listed some of those alleged sale certificates. 22813 in the name of Severino Manotok was not established by the evidence on record. RA 9443 expressly excludes from its coverage those cases involving certificates of title which were shown to have been fraudulently or irregularly issued. 1054 dated May 4. which they never had in the first place. Teodoro and Severino Manotok as assignors and Severino Manotok as assignee (approved by the Director of Lands on June 23. "[H]undreds of thousands. the LMB failed to produce the sales registry book in court."confirm" and validate their alleged title over Lot 823. and instruments of conveyance in this section mentioned to the register of deeds of each province for registration. 2007. in the light of established precedents interpreting the provisions of the Friar Lands Act.The title. is mandated to store and preserve "any public archive transferred to the National Archives" and tasked with issuing certified true copies or certifications on public archives and for extracts thereof. 1054 on Lot 823 and the original of the Provincial Assessor's declaration of title in Severino Manotok's name for tax purposes on August 9. There is likewise no copy of a "duly executed certificate of sale" "on file" with the DENR regional office. deeds. But before transmitting the title. It is thus the primary duty of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands to record all these deeds and instruments in sales registry books which shall be retained in the Bureau of Public Lands. is seriously flawed. under R. 1054 was clearly and convincingly established by the original of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. there is nothing to confirm and validate through the application of RA 9443. 1923 between M. No. just like the Barques and Manahans. gathered by the Manotoks from the LMB. the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall record all such deeds and instruments at length in one or more books to be provided by him for that purpose and retained in the Bureau of Public Lands." "a blow to the integrity of our Torrens system and the stability of land titles in this country. 1923). deeds and instruments of conveyance pertaining to the lands in each province. 1287). Act No." The Court has thoroughly examined the evidence on record and exhaustively discussed the merits of the Manotoks' ownership claim over Lot 823. assignment deeds and deeds of conveyance either signed by the Director of Lands only or unsigned by both Director of Lands and Secretary of Interior/Natural Resources. In the absence of an existing certificate of title in the name of the predecessor-in-interest of the Manotoks and certificate of sale on file with the DENR/CENRO. shall be by him transmitted to the register of deeds of each province in which any part of said lands lies. 29204 secured from the National Archives which is the repository of government and official documents. It must be stressed that the existence and due issuance of TCT No. which has come to be known as the Friar Lands Sales Registry. The Friar Lands Act mandated a system of recording all sale contracts to be implemented by the Director of Lands. 6. which is on file with the LMB. when duly certified by him shall be received in all courts of the Philippine Islands as sufficient evidence of the contents of the instrument so recorded whenever it is not practicable to produce the originals in court.

without prejudice to the institution of REVERSION proceedings by the State through the Office of the Solicitor General. are DENIED. TCT No. Titles with serious flaws must still be carefully scrutinized in each case.. LMB who was presented by the Manahans. without doubt.. 210177 in the name of Homer L. These consisted of copies of the appropriate pages of the sales registry books in the LMB RMD main office which has an inventory of lots subject of deeds of conveyance and sales certificates. Manahan. Sereno. a legitimate one. Thus.lots and areas applied for. Whether the friar lands registry book is still available in the LMB or properly turned over to the regional offices remains unclear. SO ORDERED. The court's duty is to apply the law. as amended. the present motions for reconsideration are all hereby DENIED with FINALITY. The Register of Deeds of Caloocan City and/or Quezon City are hereby ordered to CANCEL the said titles. V-200022 issued to Felicitas B. The petition for reconstitution of title filed by the Barques are likewise DENIED. join the Dissent of J. 9443 sought to rectify. TDcCIS WHEREFORE. Del Castillo. Bersamin. Brion. With costs against the petitioners. Leonardo-de Castro. Separate Opinions CARPIO. I certify that J.. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of Severino Manotok IV. a retired Assistant Chief of the Records Management Division (RMD). the sales registry books pertaining to friar lands were supposedly turned over to the regional offices.A. SO ORDERED. JJ.. J. C. or such deeds or records from which the Secretary's signature or approval may be verified were lost or unavailable. JJ. Reyes and Perlas-Bernabe. Peralta..J. the Court held: WHEREFORE. are all hereby declared NULL and VOID. the alleged affidavit of Secretary Defensor dated November 11. testified that when the LMB was decentralized. The remedy though lies elsewhere — in the legislature. The motions for oral arguments and further reception of evidence are likewise DENIED. Carpio. Let entry of judgment be made in due course. we find that the approach in Alonso remains as the more rational and prudent course than the wholesale ratification introduced by MO 16-05.. See Dissenting Opinion. Jr. 2010 states that MO 16-05 was intended to address situations when deeds of conveyance lacked the signature of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce. Witness Teresita J. Petitioners' concern for other landowners which may be similarly affected by our ruling is. With the statutorily prescribed record-keeping of sales of friar lands apparently in disarray. as what R. The Court hereby DECLARES that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. Reyes. 159 . concur. Quezon City legally belongs to the NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Carpio. Barque and Deed of Conveyance No. Reyes said that the sales registry book itself is no longer with the RMD. However.. the sale certificates issued and other pertinent information on the sale of friar lands within the Piedad Estate. as well as the petition-in-intervention of the Manahans. J. Velasco. the petitions filed by the Manotoks under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Abad.. it behooves on the courts to be more judicious in settling conflicting claims over friar lands. TCT No. The prospect of litigants losing friar lands they have possessed for years or decades had never deterred courts from upholding the stringent requirements of the law for a valid acquisition of these lands. On the other hand. Corona. Del Castillo sent his vote concurring with Justice Villarama. J. dissenting: In its 24 August 2010 Decision. Perez and Mendoza. et al.

that full payment of the purchase price of the land and compliance with all the other requirements for the issuance of the Deed of Conveyance under Act 1120 have been accomplished by the applicant. 4.] provided.In view of these. the Manotoks submitted the Affidavit.Sometime in the third quarter of 2005. as the case may be. to examine the records on file with the LMB. Thus. on October 27.DENR Memorandum Order No. situated in the Banilad Estates — have raised concerns on the continuing validity of their Torrens titles over these lots in view of the Supreme Court's resolution in Alonso v. hereby depose and state: 1. 3. MICHAEL T. which held that: HDITCS Section 18 of Act No.The Manotoks. the Barques and the Manahans filed their respective motions for reconsideration of the Decision. the Secretary of Natural Resources). 16-05. I reiterate my dissent to the majority opinion. where such doubts or objections arise either from the lack of signature of then Secretary of Interior or then Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources on the 160 . Approval of the Secretary of the Interior cannot simply be presumed or inferred from certain acts since the law is explicit in its mandate. which declared that: "[A]ll Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the signature of the Secretary are deemed signed or otherwise ratified by Memorandum Order [No. It was determined that all of the deeds they examined did not have the signature of the Secretary.s. Cardinal Vidal. brought to the attention of the DENR that several land owners whose properties formed part of the friar lands sold by the government pursuant to Act No. petitioners' claim of ownership must fail in the absence of positive evidence showing the approval of the Secretary of Interior. of former DENR Secretary Michael T. Archbishop of Cebu. in particular. and. and of the implications of the Alonso decision on the Torrens titles issued to buyers of friar lands.I then ordered the personnel of the Land Management Bureau ("LMB") to look into these concerns. La Vista Subdivision. 2005. G.R. 5. CENRO or National Archives and verify if the deeds of conveyance of friar lands in their custody bear the signature of the Secretary. 2. 16-05. 16-05..Cardinal Vidal. for which the full purchase price had already been acknowledged received by the government. AFFIDAVIT I. the DENR. No. together with several land owners whose properties were contiguous to the disputed parcel of land in Alonso. 1120 or the Friar Lands Act unequivocally provides: "No lease or sale made by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (now Director of Lands) under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by the Secretary of Interior (now. after having been sworn in accordance with law. Cebu Country Club. issued Memorandum Order No.I was the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources ("DENR") from July 2004 to February 2006. 1 The Affidavit states: REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES) CITY OF MAKATI ) s." ECHSDc 6. These title holders expressed concern about the effect of the Alonso decision on their ownership of those lots. 16-05 was intended to remove doubts or dispel objections as to the validity of all Torrens transfer certificates of title issued over friar lands. Filipino. Defensor who issued DENRMemorandum Order No. DEFENSOR. of legal age. Quezon City. dated 11 November 2010. with residence at 10 Ifugao St. His Eminence Ricardo J. In their motion for reconsideration. 2003. informed the DENR that available copies of the Government's deeds of conveyance over the friar lots sold to them lacked the signature of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 130876. however. 1120 or the Friar Lands Act — including a property of the Roman Catholic Church. December 5.

Thus: 1. regardless of where located. where such doubts or objections arise either from the lack of signature of then Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources on the deed of conveyance that have led to the issuance of said titles.deeds of conveyance that have led to the issuance of the said titles. the Manotoks also submitted to the Court some of the Sale Certificates which similarly do not bear the signature of the Director of Lands or the Secretary of Interior. DEFENSOR Affiant 2 In short. I hereby attest to the truth of the foregoing and hereunto set my hand this [11th] day of November 2010.Sale Certificates involving friar lands obtained from the National Archives which do not bear the signatures of the Director of Lands and the Secretary of Interior: Sale Certificate No. or because of the loss or unavailability of such deeds or of the records from which the Secretary's signature or approval may be verified. MICHAEL T. the former DENR Secretary states in his Affidavit that all the deeds examined by LMB personnel on file with the LMB. and are otherwise not shown to have committed any wrong or illegality in acquiring such lands. To repeat. by ratifying the deeds of conveyance to the friar land buyers who have fully paid the purchase price. 7. 16-05 was not limited to the Banilad Estate but applied to all friar lands in the Philippines because all deeds of conveyance. all deeds of conveyance involving friar lands did not have the signature of the Secretary.Name of Vendee Estate/Province 909Placido MendozaLolomboy/Bulacan 1228Mario MateoLolomboy/Bulacan 3 2. DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05 was issued precisely to "remove doubts or dispel objections as to the validity of all Torrens transfer certificates of title issued over friar lands. In the motion for reconsideration and subsequent manifestations they submitted. did not have the signature of the Secretary. former DENR Secretary Defensor states that upon examination.Name of Vendee Estate/Province 5411[Illegible] CruzLolomboy/Bulacan 5412Pedro CruzLolomboy/Bulacan 5413[Illegible] HaliliLolomboy/Bulacan 5414Monica UrrutiaLolomboy/Bulacan 5415Emiliano LorenzoLolomboy/Bulacan 4 161 . Further I say none. Hence." DENR Memorandum Order No. or because of the loss or unavailability of such deeds or of the records from which the Secretary's signature or approval may be verified. 16-05 was intended to preserve the integrity of the Torrens system and affirm the Government's obligation as seller. CENRO and the National Archives do not have the signature of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources.DENR Memorandum Order No.Sales Certificates involving friar lands from LMB records which do not bear the signatures of the Director of Lands and the Secretary of Interior: Sale Certificate No.

Sale Certificates from the LMB and the National Archives that do not bear the signatures of both the Director of Lands and the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources/Interior: CAaSHI Sale Certificate No.Sales Certificates to Friar Lands obtained from the LMB that do do bear the signatures of both the Director of Lands and the Secretary of the Agriculture and Natural Resources/Interior: HAaDcS Sale Cert.3.Name of VendeeEstate/Province 386Enrique MatosPiedad/Rizal Assignment dated-same16 December 1914 4595Matea FranciscoLolomboy/Bulacan Assignment dated 1-sameAugust 1917 Assignment dated 6-sameFebruary 1920 Assignment dated 1-sameNovember 1926 Assignment dated 6-sameJanuary 1931 387Francisco DiazLolomboy/Bulacan 908Placido MendozaLolomboy/Bulacan 1220Maria del CastilloLolomboy/Bulacan 6 162 . ClementeTala/Rizal 52Mariano de la CruzTala/Rizal 144Sotero GalganaPiedad/Rizal 704Ignacio SamsonPiedad/Rizal 1065Felisa Santos de GuiaPiedad/Rizal 811Pascual MateoLolomboy/Bulacan 910Placido MendozaLolomboy/Bulacan 1723Calixto MendozaLolomboy/Bulacan 1724Calixto MendozaLolomboy/Bulacan Assignment dated 25-sameJune 1912 Assignment dated 10-sameNovember 1924 5310Isabel MarquezLolomboy/Bulacan 5 4. No.Name of Vendee Estate/Province 83Juan J.

5.Sale Certificates from the LMB that do not bear the signatures of the Director of Lands and Secretary
of Agriculture and Natural Resources/Interior:

Sale Certificate No.Name of VendeeEstate/Province
294Arcadio PlacidoBinagbag/Bulacan
324Guillermo de la CruzBinagbag/Bulacan
333Pablo MamosBinagbag/Bulacan
310Agustin PlacidoBinagbag/Bulacan
2492Engracio RojasToro-Lolomboy/
Bulacan 7
6.Sale Certificates and Assignments of Sale Certificates that do not bear the signatures of the Director of
Lands and Department Secretary:

Sale Cert. No.Name of VendeeEstate/Province
636 (old)Francisco ZacariasPasolo-Lolomboy
Assignment dated-sameJanuary 6, 1933
186Assignment datedPiedad/Rizal
December 29, 1919
284Assignment datedPiedad/Rizal
December 29, 1919
5309Celedonia DilagLolomboy/Bulacan
3340Felicidad M. De BagtasS.C. De Malabon/
Cavite 8
7.Sales Certificates and Assigment of Sale Certificates that do not bear the signatures of the Director of
Lands and Department Secretary:

Sale Cert. No.Name of VendeeEstate/Province
728Assignment datedNaic/Cavite
December 29, 1919
1308Assignment datedMalinta/Bulacan 9
December 29, 1919
8.Deeds of Conveyance in the records of the National Archives that bear the signature of the Director of
Lands but not that of the Secretary of Interior: CSEHIa

Deed of ConveyanceName of VendeeEstate/Province
No.
5800Gabriel LazaroTala/Rizal
5865The Roman CatholicMuntinlupa/Rizal
Archbishop
26345Juan Arciaga EstoleMuntinlupa/Rizal
163

27648Salud A. YatcoMuntinlupa/Rizal
28779Juan ClaridadMuntinlupa/Rizal
29164Juliana BarizoImus/Cavite
29163Rufina JoseImus/Cavite
29162Luisa SabaterImus/Cavite
29161Lina OctavoImus/Cavite
29212Gregoria AlcantaraImus/Cavite
29225Alejandro VasquezNaic/Cavite
29226Alejandra MerlanNaic/Cavite
29227Jovita ManalaysayNaic/Cavite
29228Alejandra PobleteNaic/Cavite
29229Marcela GarciaNaic/Cavite
29230Andres FortunoS.F. De Malabon/
Cavite
29180Mariano ParadinaBiñan/Laguna
29179Pascual MarquinaBiñan/Laguna
29178Sps. BelisarioBiñan/Laguna
29177Julio CasamataBiñan/Laguna
29176Sps. BelisarioBiñan/Laguna
29175Macario PresbiteroBiñan/Laguna
29213Felicidad LuzadaMalinta/Bulacan
19308Agustin PlacidoBinagbag/Bulacan
8906Pablo RamosBinagbag/Bulacan
7616Guillermo de la CruzBinagbag/Bulacan
29211Adriano de GuzmanBinagbag/Bulacan
25110Andres AvendañoLolomboy/Bulacan
34305Francisco MendozaLolomboy/Bulacan
34473Antonio Mendoza, et al.Lolomboy/Bulacan
34569Clotilde MendozaLolomboy/Bulacan
34374Pedro Mendoza, et al.Lolomboy/Bulacan
34484Exequiel MendozaLolomboy/Bulacan
34485Matias AlbertoLolomboy/Bulacan
29214Apolonio YamcoLolomboy/Bulacan 10
164

9.Deed of Conveyance from the National Archives that bears the signature of the Director of Lands but
not of the Secretary of Interior:

Deed of ConveyanceName of VendeeEstate/Province
No.
5867The Roman CatholicMuntinlupa/Rizal 11
Archbishop
10.Deeds of Conveyance that bear the signature of the Director of Lands but not the Department Secretary:

Deed of ConveyanceName of VendeeEstate/Province
No.
5864Filomena YatcoBiñan/Laguna
5866The Roman CatholicMuntinlupa/Rizal
Archbishop
5868Faustino ArciagaMuntinlupa/Rizal
5869Faustino ArciagaMuntinlupa/Rizal
5870G. ChalmersMuntinlupa/Rizal
5871G. ChalmersMuntinlupa/Rizal
5872Juana DuqueTala/Rizal
5873Vicente PascualTala/Rizal
5874Primo SusanoTala/Rizal
5875Eustaquio BordadorTala/Rizal
5876Gregorio MauricioTala/Rizal
5883Eusebio EvangelistaTala/Rizal
5884Anastasia UnabiaTalisay-Minglanilla/
Cebu
5885Andres VelezTalisay-Minglanilla/
Cebu
5886Epifanio V. CañaresTalisay-Minglanilla/
Cebu
5887Lope ZafraTalisay-Minglanilla/
Cebu
7140Cornelio LazaroPiedad/Rizal
7141Fabian FrancoPiedad/Rizal
7142Manuel de GuiaPiedad/Rizal
7613Evaristo de la CruzBinagbag/Bulacan
7614Jose IllescasBinagbag/Bulacan
7615Doroteo MarceloBinagbag/Bulacan
165

de GanaCalamba/Laguna 26343Vicente Q.C. De Pandi/Bulacan 28511Basilio NifuenteMuntinlupa/Rizal 28780Teodoro Almera. GanaBiñan/Laguna 26344Vicente Q. De Malabon/ Cavite 27721Engracia Claudel. Rosa/Laguna Arambulo 166 .Santa Rosa/Laguna 28681Francisco RubioBanilad/Cebu 28682Felipa del MarBanilad/Cebu 28683Ines JoseImus/Cavite 28774Benita DisongloBiñan/Laguna 28891Rufina de Mesa.7617Cosme FiloteoBinagbag/Bulacan 19307Agustin PlacidoBinagbag/Bulacan 19309Petra SombilloBinagbag/Bulacan 19310Emiterio S. De Malabon/Cavite 26341Leoncio LantacaCalamba/Laguna 26342Susana T.Muntinlupa/Rizal 27750Bartola RamosS.C.Muntinlupa/Rizal 34306Luis FernandoLolomboy/Bulacan 34307Dionisio VillanuevaLolomboy/Bulacan 34308Legal Heirs of AnacletaSta.M. et al. CruzaBinagbag/Bulacan 19311Alfonso MarceloBinagbag/Bulacan 24865Leoncio SenecaS. et al. et al. Rosa/Laguna Zambra 34309Legal Heirs of FrancisoSta. GanaBiñan/Laguna 26346Juan Arciaga EstoleMuntinlupa/Rizal 27585Maria DiasMuntinlupa/Rizal 27646Vicente TensuanMuntinlupa/Rizal 27647Legal Heirs of LeonciaMuntinlupa/Rizal Gaurico 27649Mariano GauricoMuntinlupa/Rizal 27650Esteban AquinoS.

C.M.C.M. et al.C. de Pandi/ Bulacan 34471P.A.Deeds of Conveyance that bear the signature of the Director of Lands but not the Department Secretary: CITcSH Deed of ConveyanceName of VendeeEstate/Province No. de Malabon/Cavite 27748Nemecio PrincipeS. DaneLolomboy/Bulacan 34488Ambrocio TrinidadLolomboy/Bulacan 34565Diego Bartolome. de Malabon/Cavite 24864Santiago ResusS. 7143Jose de la CruzPiedad Estate/Rizal 23407Marcelino SalcedoNaic/Cavite 23408Juan de OcampoS.Isabela 34472Oliva ManelaImus/Cavite 34486Legal Heirs of JustoLolomboy/Bulacan Herrera 34487Gonzalo P. GarciaS.C. et al.34372Miguel Lim-AcoBiñan/Laguna 34373Miguel Lim-AcoBiñan/Laguna 34375Candido BintolNaic/Cavite 34376Luis dela CruzS. de Pandi/Bulacan 28775Leon GuicoBiñan/Laguna 28776Guido YaptinchayBiñan/Laguna 28777Diego AlunasBiñan/Cavite 28778Lazaro GonzalesBiñan/Laguna 29165Maximiana MonzonImus/Cavite 34566Juana LorenzoLolomboy/Bulacan 5882Gabriel LazaroTala/Rizal 13 167 . de Malabon/Cavite 24862Buenaventura AlarcaS. de Malabon/Cavite 24863Rufino P.Lolomboy/Bulacan 34567Juana LorenzoLolomboy/Bulacan 34568Marcelino de JesusLolomboy/Bulacan 34645Maxima GarciaMuntinlupa/Rizal 12 11. Roldan.

v. There is no substantial distinction between the lands in the Banilad Estate and the other friar lands all over the country except for their location. 168 . Significantly. 17 the Court ruled that the grant of a privilege to rank-and-file employees of seven government financial institutions and its denial to BSP rank-and-file employees breached the latter's right to equal protection. those that fall within a class should be treated in the same fashion. the Court stated that "[a]likes are being treated as unalikes without any rational basis. the validity of existing TCTs and reconstituted certificates of title covering the Banilad Friar Lands Estate situated in Cebu. and Government Service Insurance System.. there will be violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. 19 Since the lack of signatures and absence of approval by the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture and the Director of Lands were cured with the passage of RA 9443. Santa Cruz de Malabon. under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. Inc. if not identical. the sale is not valid and the purchaser has not acquired ownership of the friar lands. of landowners would surely be dispossessed of their lands in these areas. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.567. Hundreds of thousands. the former friar lands in Metro Manila comprise more than one-half of Metro Manila. Home Guaranty Corporation and Small Business Guarantee. if not millions. the Court did not annul the provisions in the charters of Land Bank of the Philippines." The majority added that "[t]he enactment of RA 9443 signifies the Legislature's recognition of the statutory basis of the Alonso ruling to the effect that in the absence of signature and/or approval of the Secretary of Interior/Natural Resources in the Certificates of Sale on file with the CENRO. The Court further stated in the BSP case: ASHaDT [I]t must be emphasized that the equal protection clause does not demand absolute equality but it requires that all persons shall be treated alike. the Court will be disquieting titles held by generations of landowners since the passage in 1904 of Act No.These are only some of the titles that could also be declared void under the majority decision.. the benefits of the law should also apply to other lands similarly situated. Makati City has an area of 2. In that case. whatever restrictions cast on some in the group is equally binding on the rest. Favoritism and undue preference cannot be allowed. and Tala is 86. specifically in Muntinlupa. 16 Congress passed Republic Act No. otherwise. 1120. The majority stated that subsequent to the promulgation of the Court decision in Alonso v. Finance Corporation. subject to certain exceptions. This is a disaster waiting to happen — a blow to the integrity of our Torrens system and the stability of land titles in this country. In Central Bank Employees Assoc. in BSP.736 hectares. Piedad. are analogous. 9443"confirming and declaring. and Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation exempting their employees from the Salary Standardization Law but extended the same exemption to the Bangko Sentral employees to place them in equal footing with employees of other government financial institutions even if they did not question the law. For the principle is that equal protection and security shall be given to every person under circumstances which.600 hectares.624 hectares. to limit its application solely to the Banilad Estate will result in class legislation. If we do not apply DENR Memorandum Order No. Development Bank of the Philippines. 14 and the entire Metro Manila has an area of 63. The total area of friar lands in NCR. RA 9443 should be extended to lands similarly situated. Inc. In denying the motion for reconsideration filed by the Manotoks. Cebu Country Club. In the present case. 1054 in the records of the DENR-LMB was not duly established. the Court should similarly extend the benefits of RA 9443 to all conveyances of friar lands all over the country." While RA 9443 refers only to the Banilad Estate. If law be looked upon in terms of burden or charges. the majority also maintain that the existence of Sale Certificate No. For comparison.50 acres or 35." 18 That is the situation in the present case if RA 9443 will apply only to the Banilad Estate. The Manotoks are still examining the other records of the LMB and the National Archives. in terms of area.032. San Francisco de Malabon. 15 Thus. Social Security System. 16-05 to these areas.

25 The majority assert that the dissent suggests that Memorandum Order No. held by either government offices or private collections. Culture & Sports v. 30 the Court ruled that filiation was not proved citing a certification from the Records Management and Archives Office of the non-availability of information about petitioner's birth certificate because the Register of Births was not on file with the National Archives. whether national or local. 1054 are supported and confirmed by the records of the LMB. the original grantees. 24 The existence of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 1054 dated 11 March 1919 between Regina Geronimo. 20 showing that the Assignment was approved by the Director of Lands on 22 March 1919. Zacarias Modesto and Felicisimo Villanueva as assignors and Zacarias Modesto as assignee. Del Rosario. 1054 dated 4 May 1923 between M. 22 and third. Philippine embassies." cTDaEH Jurisprudence is replete with cases showing that the Court gives great weight to the presence or absence of documents in the National Archives. Teodoro and Severino Manotok as assignors and Severino Manotok as assignee 23 and approved by the Acting Director of Lands on 23 June 1923. 26 which seeks to strengthen and establish the National Archives of the Philippines. In Premier Development Bank v. in a letter dated 1 December 2009. 32 the Court cited the trial court's finding based on a certification from the Bureau of National Archives that there was no notarial records of Atty. the original of the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. after all. and shall also cover archival and records management programs and activities in all branches of government. It cannot be disputed that the National Archives is the official repository of government and public documents. 9470 (RA 9470). Fernandez. preserve and conserve any public archive transferred to the National Archives. 29204 sourced from the National Archives. certified true copies or certifications on public archives and for extracts thereof.It is unfortunate that the LMB no longer has a copy of the original Sale Certificate No. transmit and authenticate reproduced copies. dated 10 March 1919. covers "all public records with archival value. Teodoro as assignees which is on file with the National Archives. 21 second. store. In Department of Education. a copy of the Assignment of Sale Certificate No. are the source of the archived documents. CA. Republic Act No. OIC of the LMB Records Management Division.In short. GOCCs. 1054. 33 The LMB has also on its file the other documents mentioned above that prove the existence of the succeeding Certificates of Sale except that the 169 . Court of Appeals. state universities and colleges. 16-05 "would apply even to those deeds of conveyance not found in the records of DENR or its field offices. Teodoro and Severino Manotok as assignors and Severino Manotok as assignee and approved on 23 June 1923 by the Acting Director of Lands." RA 9470 mandates the National Archives to "[a]ccept. in the names of Regina Geronimo. The records of the National Archives on the existence of Sale Certificate No. such as the Manotoks' Deed of Conveyance No. 1054 dated 4 May 1923 between M. which is on file with the LMB. government financial institutions. consulate and other Philippine offices abroad. 31 the Court rejected the claim that copies of a deed of sale were lost or could not be found in the National Archives due to lack of certification from the said office. constitutional offices. 1054. Modesto Zacarias and Felicisimo Villanueva." 28 Section 6 (8) of RA 9470 specifies. It would then cover cases of claimants who have not been issued any certificate of sale but were able to produce a deed of conveyance in their names. In Heirs of Dela Cruz v. the Court recognizes that documents from the National Archives have the same evidentiary value as public documents from government offices which. First. 29 the Court held that petitioner failed to prove the due execution or existence of the Deed of Donation because there was no evidence that petitioner looked for a copy of the Deed of Donation from the Clerk of Court concerned or from the National Archives." 27 RA 9470 also mandates the National Archives to "[o]btain. Fe T. 1054 dated 7 June 1920 between Zacarias Modesto as assignor and Severino Manotok and M. as one of the functions of the National Archives. Armando Pulgado in Manila. the original Assignment of Sale Certificate No. The LMB has on its file the original of Assignment of Sale Certificate No." The majority mistakenly denigrate the records of the National Archives. In Fernandez v. 1054 dated 4 May 1923 on file with the LMB was confirmed by Atty. However. that it shall "[i]ssue. Tuanda. the Manotoks presented three incontrovertible documents to establish the existence of Sale Certificate No. which is on file with the LMB. transfer and have custody and management of all the public archives not in the custody of the National Archives. recover.

36 any sale of friar land by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (now Director of Lands) shall not be valid until approved by the Secretary.Certificate of Sale to the original assignors is not on file with the LMB for reasons that could not be attributed to the Manotoks' fault. including the cost of surveys. it is only the Director of Lands who signs the Sales Certificate. Under Section 18.S. is authority for the Register of Deeds to issue a new title to the buyer as provided in Section 122 of the Land Registration Act. administration and interest upon the purchase money to the time of sale. in gold coin of the United States or its equivalent in Philippine currency. must approve the sale initially made by the Director of Lands. (2) the original of Official Receipt No. when presented. at the price so fixed. the Manotoks were able to present certified true copies of the following: (1) the Deed of Conveyance No. the Manotoks' incontrovertible proof of existence of the three Assignments of Sale Certificate. and that upon the payment of the final installment together with all accrued interest the Government will convey to such settler and occupant the said land so held by him by proper instrument of conveyance. under Section 12 of Act No. clearly and convincingly establishes beyond any doubt the existence of Sale Certificate No. the purchaser does not acquire any right of possession and purchase. the Director of Lands is authorized to sign and thus bind the Government as seller of the friar land. under the law. 675257 dated 20 February 1929 34 issued by the Special Collecting Office/Friar Lands Agent to Severino Manotok "For certified copy of Assignment of C." and (3) the original of the Provincial Assessor's declaration of title in Severino Manotok's name for tax purposes on 9 August 1933 35 assessing Severino Manotok beginning with the year 1933. 1120. only the Director of Lands signs the Sales Certificate upon payment of the first installment. which shall be issued and become effective in the manner provided in section one hundred and twenty-two of the Land Registration Act. the Secretary signs the Deed of Conveyance because the Secretary must verify if full payment has been made. taking into consideration the location and quality of each holding of land. and any other circumstances giving its value. The Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall. such that the aggregate of the values of all the holdings included in each particular tract shall be equal to the cost to the Government to the entire tract. payable as provided in this Act at the office of the Chief of Bureau of Public Lands. as well as the existence of the other supporting documents. 823. under Section 18.It shall be the duty of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands by proper investigation to ascertain what is the actual value of the parcel of land held by each settler and occupant. In addition. take his formal receipt showing the delivery of such certificate. the purchase price having been fully paid. 1054. 1054 for lot no. The Sales Certificate operates as a contract to sell which. The basis of valuation shall likewise be. signed by said settler and occupant. 38 (Boldfacing and italicization supplied) caADSE Under Section 12. 39 The law expressly authorizes the Director of Lands to sell private or patrimonial property of the Government under a contract to sell. However. No. Under Section 18 of Act No. 29204 secured from the National Archives which is the repository of government and official documents. 170 . This transaction is a sale of private property because friar lands are patrimonial properties of the Government. approves the sale and thus signs the Deed of Conveyance upon full payment of the purchase price. The Deed of Conveyance. This means that the Secretary. so far as practicable. When the cost thereof shall have been thus ascertained. the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall give the said settler and occupant a certificate which shall set forth in detail that the Government has agreed to sell to such settler and occupant the amount of land so held by him. and if so. Contrary to the majority opinion. The majority insist that where there is no certificate of sale issued. The Deed of Conveyance operates as a deed of absolute sale which the Secretary signs upon full payment of the purchase price. 37 Section 12 of Act No. 1120 provides: Section 12. I further reiterate that it is the Deed of Conveyance that must bear the signature of the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture because it is only when the final installment is paid that the Secretary can approve the sale. in each instance where a certificate is given to the settler and occupant of any holding. 1120.

40 Thus. Deed of Conveyance No. DENR Memorandum Order No. the sale certificates issued and other pertinent information on the sale of friar lands within the Piedad Estate. The majority cite the ruling in Alonso 42 that approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce of the sale of friar lands is indispensable for its validity. the purchaser of friar land still acquired ownership over the subject land. the particular lots and areas applied for.]" DENRMemorandum Order No. Reyes." The majority in their Reply to the Dissenting Opinion expressly admit that Memorandum Order No. the Government will convey to [the] settler and occupant the said land so held by him by proper instrument of conveyance. However." The Manotoks paid the full purchase price to the Government on 7 December 1932. on its face acknowledged receipt by the Government of the amount of P2. The majority also expressly admit that upon such full payment the purchaser acquires ownership of the land "notwithstanding the failure" of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance. 1120 provided that "upon payment of the last installment together with all accrued interest[. the LMB could no longer produce the sales registry book because it was no longer with the Records Management Division of the LMB. The only resolutory condition. . This is the situation of the Manotoks. Jurisprudence teaches us that notwithstanding the failure of the government to issue the proper instrument of conveyance when the purchaser finally pays the final installment of the purchase price. which could have clearly shown the names of the claimants. can no longer happen because the full purchase price had already been paid. The majority states: TEcCHD It is thus the primary duty of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands to record all these deeds and instruments in sales registry books which shall be retained in the Bureau of Public Lands. which is the non-payment of the full purchase price 41 which results in the cancellation of the contract to sell. 16-05 — . the LMB failed to produce the sales registry book in court. however.]. a retired Assistant Chief of the Records 171 . (Italicization supplied) The majority expressly admit that it is the ministerial duty of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the purchaser of the friar land pays in full the purchase price. There is nothing more that is required to be done as the title already passes to the purchaser. . the Manotoks had already acquired ownership of Lot 823. 29204. that full payment of the purchase price of the land and compliance with all the other requirements for the issuance of the Deed of Conveyance under Act 1120 have been accomplished by the applicant[. 16-05 superseded the Alonso ruling. correctly stated that it is only a ministerial duty on the part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the applicant had made full payment on the purchase price of the land. DENR Memorandum Order No. Unfortunately. However. dated 7 December 1932. despite the failure of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance. 16-05 declared that "all Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the signature of the Secretary are deemed signed or otherwise ratified by this Memorandum Order provided. then the majority must also necessarily admit that the approval by the Secretary is a mere formality that has been complied with by the issuance of Memorandum Order No.362 in consideration for Lot 823 granted and conveyed to Severino Manotok.Section 12 of Act No. Once it is shown that the full purchase price had been paid. Since the majority expressly admit that upon full payment of the purchase price it becomes the ministerial duty of the Secretary to approve the sale. 16-05 acknowledges that "it is only a ministerial duty on the part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the applicant had already made full payment of the purchase price of the land. The majority states that it is the primary duty of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands to record all deeds and instruments in a sales registry books which shall be retained in the Bureau of Public Lands. the issuance of the proper certificate of conveyance necessarily follows. then the majority must also necessarily admit that the Manotoks became the absolute owners of the land upon their full payment of the purchase price on 7 December 1932. 16-05. which shall be issued and become effective in the manner provided in section one hundred and twenty-two of the Land Registration Act. Since the majority further expressly admit that upon full payment of the purchase price ownership of the friar land passes to the purchaser. Witness Teresita J.

29204. LMB who was presented by the Manahans. The title to Lot No. the sales registry books pertaining to friar lands were supposedly turned over to the regional offices. then hundreds of thousands. These consisted of copies of the appropriate pages of the sales registry books in the LMB RMD main office which has an inventory of lots subject of deeds of conveyance and sales certificates. Titles with serious flaws must still be carefully scrutinized in each case. Reyes said that the sales registry book itself is no longer with the RMD. I vote to GRANT the motion for reconsideration of the Manotoks. I reiterate that the Manotoks should not be punished if the documents leading to the issuance of TCT No. On the other hand. sustain the validity of Deed of Conveyance No. they should not be dispossessed of their titles. 823 from the time of full payment. Deed of Conveyance No. However. 823. As long as landowners can show other evidence to prove their ownership. Heirs of Barque. namely TCT No. it behooves on the courts to be more judicious in settling conflicting claims over friar lands. which are government-issued documents. ||| (Manotok. 2012]. Whether the friar lands registry book is still available in the LMB or properly turned over to the regional offices remains unclear. There would be nothing to assign if the original Sale Certificate No. considering that these were pre-war documents and considering further the lack of proper preservation of documents in some government offices.Management Division (RMD). it should not set aside documents which establish the existence of Sale Certificate No. 1054 considering that these documents were sourced from the National Archives and. we find that the approach in Alonso remains as the more rational and prudent course than the wholesale ratification introduced by MO 16-05. While the Court must exercise prudence in settling claims over friar lands. 513 PHIL 455-511) 172 . RT-22481 (372302). The Manotoks were able to prove full payment of the purchase price and they thus acquired full ownership of Lot No. and DECLARE the Manotoks' title. Accordingly. VALID. or because the original certificates of sale or deeds of conveyance do not bear the signature of the Secretary. 2010 states that MO 16-05 was intended to address situations when deeds of conveyance lack the signature of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce or such deed or records — from which the Secretary's signature or approval may be verified — were lost or unavailable. Thus. The safekeeping of the original sale certificates is the responsibility of the government. G. of landowners would be rendered homeless or propertyless by the majority decision. Nos. Here. 1054 was not conveyed by the government to the original assignors. from the records of the National Archives and the LMB itself. testified that when the LMB was decentralized. The Certificate of Sale to the original assignors is not on file with the LMB for reasons that could not be attributed to the Manotoks' fault. 29204 on its face acknowledges this. the Court could not insist on the presentation of the original sale certificate from the Manotoks. the Manotoks were able to present copies of the Assignments of Sale Certificate No. Again. With the statutorily prescribed record-keeping of sales of friar lands apparently in disarray. 162335 & 162605. 1054. if not millions. these documents have the same evidentiary value as public documents from government offices. 22813 could no longer be found in the files of the government office. 823 already passed to the Manotoks who became the absolute owners of the land on 7 December 1932. more than half of Metro Manila used to be part of friar lands.R. Further. It is only optional for the landowners to keep them. the date the Manotoks fully paid Lot No. [March 6. as earlier stated. If the torrens titles to these former friar lands are declared void because their current owners could not present the original certificates of sale. How many landowners can present copies of their original sale certificates? These landowners should not be blamed if the government fails to properly preserve these documents. the alleged affidavit of Secretary Defensor dated November 11. IV v.