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Alba vs.

Dela Cruz
1. REGISTRATION OF LAND; NOTICE TO DEFENDANTS BY DUE
PUBLICATION. In the original proceedings for the registration of land
under Act No. 496, the appellee herein was made a party defendant by
publication, but was not personally served with notice: Held, That the
decree of the Court of Land Registration is conclusive against him as well as
all the world.
2. ID.; NATURE AND EFFECT OF PROCEEDINGS "IN REM;" DUE
PROCESS OF LAW. The proceedings for the registration of land, under
Act No. 496, are in rem, and not in personam. A proceeding in rem, dealing
with a tangible res, may be instituted and carried to judgment without
personal service upon the claimants within the State or notice by name to
those outside of it. Jurisdiction is secured by the power of the court over the
res. Such a proceeding would be impossible were this not so, for it would
hardly do to make a distinction between the constitutional rights of
claimants who were known and those who were not known to the plaintiff,
when the proceeding is to bar all. (Tyler v. Judges, 175 Mass., 71; see also
People v. Simon, 176 Ill., 165; Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U. S. 714; The Mary, 9
Cranch, 126; Mankin v. Chandler, 2 Brock (U. S. Circuit), 125; Brown v.
Levee Commission, 50 Miss., 468; 2 Freeman, Judgments, 4th ed., secs.
605, 611.)
3. ID.; PROCEEDINGS "IN REM" AND "IN PERSONAM," DISTINGUISHED.
if the technical object of the suit is to establish a claim against some
particular person, with a judgment which generally, in theory at least, binds
his body, or to bar some individual claim or objection, so that only certain
persons are entitled to be heard in defense, the action is in personam,
although it may concern the right to or possession of a tangible thing. If, on
the other hand, the object is to bar indifferently all who might be minded to
make an objection of any sort against the right sought to be established,
and if anyone in the world has right to be heard on the strength of alleging
facts which, if true, show an inconsistent interest, the proceeding is in rem.
(Tyler v. Judges, 175 Mass., 71.)
4. ID.; FRAUD; SECTION 38, LAND REGISTRATION ACT; REOPENING,
AND MODIFICATION OF DECREES. By fraud is meant actual fraud,
dishonesty of some sort. This meaning should be given to the word "fraud"
in section is not sufficient to authorize the Court of Land Registration to
reopen a case and modify its decree. Specific acts intended to deprive and
deprive another of his right, or to in some manner injure him, must be
alleged and proved.

5. ID.; ID.; ID. The question whether any particular transaction shows
fraud within the meaning of the word as used in section 38 of the Land
Registration Act, will, in each case, be a question of fact.
FACTS: The petitioners herein are the he only heirs of Doa Segunda Alba
Clemente and Honorato Grey. The four petitioners, as co-owners, on Dec.
18, 1906 sought to have registered a parcel of agricultural land in Bulacan.
The petition was accompanied by a plan and technical description of the
said lot. After hearing the court, on Feb. 12, 1908, entered a decree
directing that described in the petition be registered in the names of the 4
petitioners.
On June, 1908, Anacleto Ratilla de la Cruz filed a motion in the Court of
Land Registration (CLR) asking for a revision of the case, including the
decision, upon the ground that he is the absolute owner of the 2 parcels of
land described in said motion and which he alleges to be included in the
lands decreed to the petitioners. He alleges that the decree of Feb. 12,
1908 was obtained maliciously and fraudulently by the petitioners,
thereby

depriving

him

of

said

lands. For

him, The

petitioners deliberately omitted to include in their registration his name as


one of the occupants of the land so as to be given notice of registration. He
further alleged having inherited the 2 lots from his father, Baldomero R. de
la Cruz, who had a state grant for the same (was duly inscribed in the old
register of property in Bulacan on April 6, 1895.)
He therefore asked a revision of the case, and that the said decree
bemodified so as to exclude the two parcels of land described in said
motion. The Land Court upon this motion reopened the case, and after
hearing the additional evidence presented by both parties, rendered, on the
Nov. 23, 1908, its decision modifying the former decree by excluding from
the same the two parcels of land claimed by Anacleto Ratilla de la Cruz.
From this decision and judgment the petitioners appealed.
The court below held that the failure on the part of the petitioners to
include the name of the appellee in their petition, as an occupant of

these two parcels of land, was a violation of section 21 of Act No. 496, and
that thisconstituted fraud within the meaning of section 38 of said Land
Registration Act. The trial court further held that the grant from the estate
should prevail over the public document of purchase of 1864.
ISSUE:
1.

Did the court below commit an error in reopening this case in June,
1908, after its decree had been entered in February of the same year?

2.

Whether or not,the petitioners did obtain the decree of Feb 12, 1908,

by means of fraud.
HELD: The

judgment appealed

from

should be,

and the

same is

herebyreversed and judgment entered in favor of the petitioners in


conformity with the decree of the lower court of February 12, 1908.
1. The said decree of February 12, 1908, should not have been opened on
account of the absence, infancy, or other disability of any person affected
thereby, and could have been opened only on the ground that the said
decree had been obtained by fraud.
2. The application for the registration is to be in writing, signed and sworn
to by the applicant, or by some person duly authorized in his behalf. It is to
contain,

among

other

things, the

names

and

addresses of

all

occupants of land and of all adjoining owners, if known.

The subject land was first rented to Baldomero de la Cruz by petitioners


uncle Jose Grey and this contract was duly executed in writing. (While the
appellee admits that his father and brother entered into these rental
contracts and did, in fact, cultivate the petitioners land, nevertheless he
insists that the two small parcels in question were not included in these
contracts)

The subsequent State grant was obtained by Baldomero after the death of
the petitioners parents and while he petitioners were minors. So it is clear
that the petitioners honestly believed that the appellee was occupying the
said parcels as their lessee at the time they presented their application for
registration. They did not act in bad faith, nor with any fraudulent intent,
when they omitted to include in their application the name of the appellee
as one of the occupants of the land. They believed that it was not necessary
nor required that they include in their application the names of their
tenants.
Indeed, the Land Registration Act requires that all occupants be named in
the petition and given notice by registered mail. However, this did not do
the appellee any good, as he was not notified; but he was made a party
defendant, as we have said, by means of the publication to all whom it may
concern.Every decree of registration shall bind the land and quiet title
thereto, subject only to the [given] exceptions. It shall be conclusive upon
and against all persons, including the Insular Government, and all the
branches thereof, whether mentioned by name in the application, notice, or
citation, or included in the general description to all whom it may
concern.
As to whether or not the appellee can succesfully maintain an action under
the provisions of sections 101 and 102 of the Land Registration Act (secs.
2365, 2366, Compilation) we do not decide.
NOTES:
1.

The main principle of registration is to make registered titles


indefeasible.

1.

The element
rights constitutes

of

intention
the

essential

distinguished from legal-fraud

to

deprive

another

characteristics

of

of actual

just
as

1.

Looked at either from the point of view of history or of the necessary


requirements

of

justice,

proceeding in

rem dealing

with

tangible resmay be instituted and carried to judgment without personal


service upon claimants within the State or notice by name to those
outside of it, and not encounter any provision of either constitution.
Jurisdiction is secured by the power of the court over the res. As we have
said, such a proceeding would be impossible, were this not so, for it
hardly would do to make a distinction between the constitutional rights
of claimants who were known and those who were not known to the
plaintiff, when the proceeding is to bar all. (Tyler vs. Judges, supra.)
1.

action in rem vs. action in personam:

If the technical object of the suit is to establish a claim against some


particular person, with a judgment which generally, in theory at least, binds
his body, or to bar some individual claim or objection, so that only certain
persons are entitled to be heard in defense, the action is in personam,
although it may concern the right to or possession of a tangible thing. If, on
the other hand, the object is to bar indifferently all who might be minded to
make an objection of any sort against the right sought to be established,
and if anyone in the world has a right to be heard on the strenght of
alleging facts which, if true, show an inconsistent interest, the proceeding
is in rem. (Tylervs. Judges, supra.)
5. Proof of constructive fraud is not sufficient to authorize the Court of Land
Registration to reopen a case and modify its decree. Specific, intentional
acts to deceive and deprive anther of his right, or in some manner injure
him, must be alleged and proved; that is, there must be actual or positive
fraud as distinguished from constructive fraud
6. Advantages of the Torrens System:
1. It has substituted security for insecurity.

2. It has reduced the costs of conveyances from pounds to shillings, and the
time occupied from months to days.
3. It has exchanged brevity and clearness for obscurity and verbiage.
4. It has so simplified ordinary dealings that he who has mastered the
three Rs can transact his own conveyancing.
5. It affords protection against fraud.
6. It has restored to their just value many estates held under good holding
titles, but depreciated in consequence of some blur or technical defect, and
has barred the reoccurrence of any similar faults. (Sheldon on Land
Registration, pp. 75, 76.)

Legarda vs Saleeby
1. REGISTRATION OF LAND; REGISTRATION OF SAME LAND IN THE
NAMES OF TWO DIFFERENT PERSONS. L obtained a decree of
registration of a parcel of land on the 25th of October, 1906. S, on the 25th
of March, 1912, obtained a certificate of registration for his land which
joined the land theretofore registered by L. The certificate of title issued to
S included a narrow strip of the land theretofore registered in the name of
L. On the 13th of December, 1912, L presented a petition in the Court of
Land Registration for the adjustment and correction of the error committed
in the certificate issued to S, which included said narrow strip of land. Held:
That in a case where two certificates of title include or cover the same land,
the earlier in date must prevail as between the original parties, whether the
land comprised in the latter certificate be wholly or only in part comprised
in the earlier certificate. In successive registrations where more than one
certificate is issued in respect of a particular interest in land, the person
holding under the prior certificate is entitled to the land as against the
person who obtained the second certificate. The decree of registration is
conclusive upon and against all persons.

2. ID.; PURPOSE OF THE TORRENS SYSTEM. The real purpose of the


torrens system of land registration is to quiet title to land; to put a stop
forever to any question of the legality of the title, except claims which were
noted, at the time of registrations in the certificate, or which may arise
subsequent thereto. That being the purpose of the law, it would seem that
once the title was registered, the owner might rest secure, without the
necessity of waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting in the "mirador de
su casa," to avoid the possibility of losing his land. The proceeding for the
registration of land under the torrens system is a judicial proceeding, but it
involves more in its consequences than does an ordinary action.
3. ID; ID.; EFFECT OF REGISTRATION AND CERTIFICATE OF TITLE.
The registration under the torrens system and the issuance of a certificate
of title do not give the owner any better title than he had. He does not
obtain title by virtue of the certificate. He secures his certificate by virtue of
the fact that he has a fee simple title. If he obtains a certificate of title, by
mistake, to more land than he really and in fact owns, the certificate should
be corrected. If he does not already have a perfect title, he can not secure
his certificate. Having a fee simple title, and presenting sufficient proof of
that fact, he is entitled to a certificate of registration. The certificate of
registration simply accumulates, in one document, a precise and correct
statement of the exact status of the fee simple title, which the owner, in
fact, has. The certificate, once issued, is the evidence of the title which the
owner has. The certificate should not be altered, changed, modified,
enlarged or diminished, except to correct errors, in some direct proceedings
permitted by law. The title represented by the certificate can not be
changed, altered, modified, enlarged or diminished in a collateral
proceeding.

FACTS:
Plaintiffs and the defendant occupy, as owners, adjoining lots in the district
of Ermita in the city of Manila. That there exists and has existed for a
number of years a stone wall between the said lots. Said wall is located on
the lot of the plaintiffs. That the plaintiffs, on the 2nd day of March, 1906,
presented a petition in the Court of Land Registration for the registration of
their lot. After a consideration of said petition the court, on the 25th day of
October, 1906, decreed that the title of the plaintiffs should be registered
and issued to them the original certificate provided for under the torrens

system. Said registration and certificate included the wall. Later the
predecessor of the defendant presented a petition in the Court of Land
Registration for the registration of the lot now occupied by him. On the 25th
day of March, 1912, the court decreed the registration of said title and
issued the original certificate provided for under the torrens system. The
description of the lot given in the petition of the defendant also included
said wall. Several months later (the 13th day of December, 1912) the
plaintiffs discovered that the wall which had been included in the certificate
granted to them had also been included in the certificate granted to the
defendant. They immediately presented a petition in the Court of Land
Registration for an adjustment and correction of the error committed by
including said wall in the registered title of each of said parties.
The lower court however, without notice to the defendant, denied said
petition upon the theory that, during the pendency of the petition for the
registration of the defendants land, they failed to make any objection to the
registration of said lot, including the wall, in the name of the defendant.
That the land occupied by the wall is registered in the name of each of the
owners of the adjoining lots. The wall is not a joint wall.

ISSUE:
W/N the plaintiffs are entitled to have the stone wall to be registered
in their own name
HELD:
While the proceeding is judicial, it involves more in its consequences than
does an ordinary action. All the world are parties, including the
government. After the registration is complete and final and there exists no

fraud, there are no innocent third parties who may claim an interest The
rights of all the world are foreclosed by the decree of registration. The
government itself assumes the burden of giving notice to all parties. To
permit persons who are parties in the registration proceeding (and they are
all the world) to again litigate the same questions, and to again cast doubt
upon the validity of the registered title, would destroy the very purpose and
intent of the law.
the torrens system affords us no remedy. There is no provision in said Act
giving the parties relief under conditions like the present. There is nothing
in the Act which indicates who should be the owner of land which has been
registered in the name of two different persons.
The rule, we think, is well settled that the decree ordering the registration
of a particular parcel of land is a bar to future litigation over the same
between the same parties. In view of the fact that all the world are parties,
it must follow that future litigation over the title is forever barred; there can
be no Persons who are not parties to the action. This, we think, is the rule,
except as to rights which are noted in the certificate or which arise
subsequently, and with certain other exceptions which need not be
discussed at present. A title once registered can not be defeated, even by an
adverse, open, and notorious possession. Registered title under the torrens
system can not be defeated by prescription (section 46, Act No. 496). The
title, once registered, is notice to the world. All persons must take notice.
No one can plead ignorance of the registration.
. Article 1473 of the Civil Code provides, among other things, that when one
piece of real property has been sold to two different persons it shall belong
to the person acquiring it, who first inscribes it in the registry. This rule, of
course, presupposes that each of the vendees or purchasers has acquired
title to the land. The real ownership in such a case depends upon priority of
registration

Government of Philippine Islands v. Abural


1. LAND REGISTRATION; TORRENS SYSTEM; PURPOSE. The prime
purpose of the Torrens System, as established in the Philippine Islands by
the Land Registration Law (Act No. 496), is to decree land titles that shall
be final, irrevocable, and indisputable.
2. ID.; CADASTRAL SYSTEM; PURPOSE. The purpose of the offspring of
the Torrens System here known as the Cadastral System, as established in
the Philippine Islands by the Cadastral Act (No. 2259), is, like the purpose
of the Torrens System, proper incontestability of title. As stated in Section 1
of the Cadastral Act, the purpose is to serve the public interest, by requiring
that the titles to any lands "be settled and adjudicated."cralaw virtua1aw
library
3. ID.; ID.; PROCEEDINGS. Many precautions are taken to guard against
injustice.
4. ID.; ID.; ID. After trial in a cadastral case, three actions are taken. The
first adjudicates ownership in favor of one of the claimants. This constitutes
the decision the judgment the decree of the court. The second action is
the declaration by the court that the decree is final and its order for the
issuance of the certificates of title by the Chief of the Land Registration
Office. Such order is made if within thirty days from the date of receipt of a
copy of the decision no appeal is taken from the decision. The third and last
action devolves upon the General Land Registration Office.
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; FINALITY OF DECREE. For a decree to exist in legal
contemplation, it is not necessary to await the preparation of a so-called
decree by the Land Registration Office.
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. Cadastral proceedings commenced. Notice published
in the Official Gazette. Trial judge also issued general notice. S asks for the
registration in his name of lot No. 1608. Hearing had. On September 21,
1916, the court in a decree awarded the lot to S. On November 23, 1916,
the time for an appeal having passed, the court declares the decree final.
On July 23, 1917, before the issuance by the Land Registration Office of the
so-called technical decree, V and G ask that the case be reopened to receive
proof relative to the ownership of the lot. Motion denied by the trial court.
Held: That since the judgment of the Court of First Instance of September
21, 1916, has become final, and since no action was taken within the time
provided by law for the prosecution of an appeal by bill of exceptions, the
Supreme Court is without jurisdiction, and the appeal must be dismissed.

7. ID.; ID.; RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT. Whether Sections 113 and 513 of
the Code of Civil Procedure apply to cadastral proceedings, quare.
8. GENERAL LAND REGISTRATION OFFICE. The General Land
Registration Office has been instituted "for the due effectuation and
accomplishment of the laws relative to the registration of land."
(Administrative Code of 1917, Sec. 174.)

Cadastral proceedings were commenced in the municipality of Hinigaran,


Occidental Negros, upon an application of the Director of Lands. Notice of
the proceedings were published in the Official Gazette as provided by law.
The trial judge also issued general notice to all interested parties. Among
others, Victoriano Siguenza presented an answer asking for registration in
his name of lot No. 1608. The instant petitioners, Antipas Vazquez and
Basilio Gayares, although said to reside in this municipality, and although
said to have participated in other cadastral cases, did not enter any
opposition as to this lot. Hearing was had during September, 1916. On
September 21 of this year, the court issued a decree declaring a general
default due to lack of parties to the cadastral proceeding and decreed the
land "Lot No. 1608 with the improvements thereon to the conjugal
partnership of Victoriano Siguenza and Marcela Guanzon."cralaw virtua1aw
library
Subsequently, the court declared final the decree and ordered the Chief of
the General Land Registration Office issue the decrees corresponding to the
lots adjudged by said decision.
An appeal having has been interposed as to the lots and decree of title was
suspended.
Eight months later, but before the issuance by the Land Registration Office
of the technical decree, Antipas Vazquez and Basilio Gayares, the latter as
guardian of the minor Estrella Vazquez, came into the case for the first
time. The petitioners, after setting forth their right of ownership in lot No.
1608, and that it was included in their "Hacienda Santa Filomena," and
after stating that they were in complete ignorance of the proceedings,
asked that the judgment of the court be annulled and that the case be
reopened to receive proof relative to the ownership of the lot.

Counsel for Victoriano Siguenza answered by counter-motion, asking the


court to dismiss the motion presented on behalf of Vazquez and Gayares.
The court denied the motion for a new trial on the theory that there being a
decree already rendered and no allegation of fraud having been made, the
court lacked jurisdiction. It may also be stated parenthetically that counsel
for Vazquez and Gayares made an unsuccessful attempt in the Supreme
Court, through mandamus, to have the record completed by the taking of
evidence.
Counsel for petitioners have not raised the question of fraud as provided for
in Section 38 of the Land Registration Law, nor have they asked to be
relieved from a judgment or order, pursuant to Section 113 of the Code of
Civil Procedure, because of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable
neglect.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the appeal, since if
the judgment and the supplemental decree issued by the Judge of the Court
of First Instance have become final, petitioners may no bring their appeal
before this court, because the time for the filing of their bill of exceptions
has expired; while, if the cadastral proceedings did not become final until
the formal decree was issued by the Land Registration Office, then it was
proper for them to ask for a reopening of the case, and it would,
consequently, be just as proper for this court to order the trial court to
permit the same.

HELD:
The prime purpose of the Torrens System is, as has been repeatedly stated,
to decree land titles that shall be final, irrevocable, and indisputable.
Incontestability of title is the goal. All due precaution must accordingly be
taken to guard against injustice to interested individuals who, for some
good reason, may not be able to protect their rights. Nevertheless, even at
the cost of possible cruelty which may result in exceptional cases, it does
become necessary in the interest of the public weal to enforce registration
laws. Section 38 of the Land Registration Law (Act No. 496) wherein it is
said that: "Every decree of registration shall bind the land, and quiet title
thereto. . . . It shall be conclusive upon and against all persons, including
the Insular Government and all the branches thereof, whether mentioned by
name in the application, notice, or citation, or included in the general
description To all whom it may concern, Such decree shall not be opened

by reason of the absence, infancy, or other disability of any person affected


thereby, nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments or
decrees; subject, however, to the right of any person deprived of land or of
any estate or interest therein by decree of registration obtained by fraud to
file in the Court of Land Registration (Court of First Instance) a petition for
review within one year after entry of the decree, provided no innocent
purchaser for value has acquired an interest."

As a general rule, registration of title under the cadastral system is final,


conclusive and indisputable, after the passage of the thirty-day period
allowed for an appeal from the date of receipt by the party of a copy of the
judgment of the court adjudicating ownership without any step having been
taken to perfect an appeal. The prevailing party may then have execution of
the judgment as of right and is entitled to the certificate of title issued by
the chief of the Land Registration Office. The exception is the special
provision providing for fraud.
It appearing that the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Occidental
Negros of September 21, 1916, has become final, and that no action was
taken within the time provided by law for the prosecution of an appeal by
bill of exceptions, this court is without jurisdiction. Accordingly the appeal
is dismissed with costs against the appellants.

Petitioner Sta. Lucia Realty & Development, Inc. (Sta. Lucia) is the
registered owner of several parcels of land with Transfer Certificates of
Title (TCT) Nos. 39112, 39110 and 38457, all of which indicated that the
lots were located in Barrio Tatlong Kawayan, Municipality of Pasig. The
parcel of land covered by TCT No. 39112 was consolidated with that
covered by TCT No. 518403, which was situated in Barrio Tatlong
Kawayan, Municipality of Cainta, Province of Rizal (Cainta
). The two combined lots were subsequently partitioned into three, for
which TCT Nos. 532250, 598424, and 599131, now all bearing the Cainta
address, were issued. The lot covered by TCT No. 38457 was not
segregated, but a commercial building owned by Sta. Lucia
East Commercial Centre, Inc., a separate corporation, was built on it.Upon
Pasigs petition to correct the location stated in TCT Nos. 532250, 598424,
and 599131, the Land Registration Court, on June 9, 1995, ordered the
amendment of the TCTs to read that the lots with respect to TCT No. 39112
were located in

Barrio Tatlong Kawayan, Pasig City. On January 31, 1994, Cainta filed a
petition for the settlement of its land boundary dispute with Pasig before
the RTC, Branch 74 of Antipolo City (Antipolo RTC). This case, docketed as
Civil Case No. 94-3006, is still pending up to this date. On November 28,
1995, Pasig filed a Complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 65420, against
Sta. Lucia for the collection of real estate taxes, including penalties and
interests, on the lots covered by TCT Nos. 532250,598424, 599131, 92869,
92870 and 38457, including the improvements thereon (the subject
properties).Sta. Lucia, in its Answer, alleged that it had been religiously
paying its real estate taxes to Cainta, just like what its predecessors-ininterest did, by virtue of the demands and assessments made and the Tax
Declarations issued by Cainta on the claim that the subject properties were
within its territorial jurisdiction. Sta. Lucia further argued that since 1913,
the real estate taxes for the lots covered by the above TCTs had been paid
toCainta.Cainta was allowed to file its own Answer-in-Intervention when it
moved to intervene on the ground that its interest would be greatly affected
by the outcome of the case. It averred that it had been collecting the real
property taxes on the subject properties even before Sta. Lucia acquired
them. Cainta further asseverated that the establishment of the boundary
monuments would show that the subject properties are within its metes
andbounds.Sta. Lucia and Cainta thereafter moved for the suspension of the
proceedings, and claimed that the pending petition in the Antipolo RTC, for
the settlement of boundary dispute between Cainta and Pasig, presented a
prejudicial question to the resolution of the case.
The RTC denied this in an Order dated December 4, 1996 for lack of
merit. Holding that the TCTs were conclusive evidence as to its ownership
and location, the RTC, on August 10, 1998, rendered a Decision in favoured
Pasig. On October 16, 1998, Pasig filed a Motion for Execution Pending
Appeal, to which both Sta. Lucia and Cainta filed several oppositions, on the
assertion that there were no good reasons to warrant the execution pending
appeal. On April 15, 1999, the RTC ordered the issuance of a Writ of
Execution against Sta. Lucia. On May 21, 1999, Sta. Lucia filed a Petition
for
Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with the Court of
Appeals to assail the RTCs order granting the execution. Docketed as CA-G.R.
SP No. 52874
, the petition was raffled to the First Division of the Court of Appeals,
which on September 22, 2000, ruled in favour of Sta. Lucia. In affirming the
RTC, the Court of Appeals declared that there was no proper legal basis to
suspend the proceedings. Elucidating on the legal meaning of a prejudicial
question, it held that there can be no prejudicial question when the cases
involved are both civil. The Court of Appeals further held that the elements
of litis pendentia

And forum shopping, as alleged by Cainta to be present, were not met.Sta.


Lucia and Cainta filed separate Motions for Reconsideration, which the
Court of Appeals denied in a Resolution dated January 27, 2005.
Undaunted, Sta. Lucia and Cainta filed separate Petitions for
Certiorari
With this Court. Caintas petition, docketed as G.R. No. 166856 was denied on
April 13, 2005 for Caintas failure to show any reversible error.
Sta.Lucias own petition is the one subject of this decision
Whether the RTC and the CA were correct in deciding Pasigs Complaint without
waiting for the resolution of
the boundary dispute case between Pasig and Cainta
HELD:
Certificates of Title as
Conclusive Evidence of Location
While we fully agree that a certificate of title is conclusive as to its ownership and location, this does not
preclude the filing of an action for the very purpose of attacking the statements therein. In DePedro v.
Romasan Development Corporation, [34] we proclaimed that:
We agree with the petitioners that, generally, a certificate of title shall be conclusive as to all matters
contained therein and conclusive evidence of the ownership of the land referred to therein. However, it bears
stressing that while certificates of title are indefeasible, unassailable and binding against the whole world,
including the government itself, they do not create or vest title. They merely confirm or record title already
existing and vested. They cannot be used to protect a usurper from the true owner, nor can they be used as
a shield for the commission of fraud; neither do they permit one to enrich himself at the expense of
other. [35]
In Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation v. Heirs of Vicente Coronado, [36] we set aside the lower courts'
ruling that the property subject of the case was not situated in the location stated and described in the TCT,
for lack of adequate basis. Our decision was in line with the doctrine that the TCT is conclusive evidence of
ownership and location. However, we refused to simply uphold the veracity of the disputed TCT, and
instead, we remanded the case back to the trial court for the determination of the exact location of the
property seeing that it was the issue in the complaint filed before it. [37]
In City Government of Tagaytay v. Guerrero, [38] this Court reprimanded the City of Tagaytay for levying
taxes on a property that was outside its territorial jurisdiction, viz:
In this case, it is basic that before the City of Tagaytay may levy a certain property for sale due to tax
delinquency, the subject property should be under its territorial jurisdiction. The city officials are expected to
know such basic principle of law. The failure of the city officials of Tagaytay to verify if the property
is within its jurisdiction before levying taxes on the same constitutes gross negligence. [39]
(Emphasis ours.)
Although it is true that "Pasig" is the locality stated in the TCTs of the subject properties, both Sta. Lucia and
Cainta aver that the metes and bounds of the subject properties, as they are described in the TCTs, reveal
that they are within Cainta's boundaries. This only means that there may be a conflict between the location
as stated and the location as technically described in the TCTs. Mere reliance therefore on the face of the

TCTs will not suffice as they can only be conclusive evidence of the subject properties' locations if both the
stated and described locations point to the same area.
The Antipolo RTC, wherein the boundary dispute case between Pasig and Cainta is pending, would be able to
best determine once and for all the precise metes and bounds of both Pasig's and Cainta's respective
territorial jurisdictions. The resolution of this dispute would necessarily ascertain the extent and reach of
each local government's authority, a prerequisite in the proper exercise of their powers, one of which is the
power of taxation. This was the conclusion reached by this Court in City of Pasig v. Commission on
Elections, [41] and by the First Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 52874. We do not see any
reason why we cannot adhere to the same logic and reasoning in this case.

REPUBLIC vs SANTOS
Respondents purchased three (3) parcels of unregistered land situated in Barangay Carasuchi, Indang,
Cavite. The 3 parcels of land were previously owned by one Generosa Asuncion (Generosa), one Teresita
Sernal (Teresita) and by the spouses Jimmy and Imelda Antona.
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Sometime after the said purchase, the respondents caused the survey and consolidation of the parcels of
land. Then it was consolidated.
The respondents filed with the RTC an Application for Original Registration of Lot 3. On the same day, the
RTC issued an Order setting the application for initial hearing and directing the satisfaction of jurisdictional
requirements pursuant to Section 23 of Presidential Decree No. 1529. The same Order, however, also
required the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to submit a report on the status of
Lot 3.
The DENR Calabarzon Office submitted its Report to the RTC. The Report relates that the area covered by
Lot 3 "falls within the Alienable and Disposable Land, Project No. 13 of Indang, Cavite. Later, the
respondents submitted a Certification from the DENR-Community Environment and Natural Resources Office
(CENRO) attesting that, indeed, Lot 3 was classified as an "Alienable or Disposable Land" as of 15 March
1982.
After fulfillment of the jurisdictional requirements, the government, through the Office of the Solicitor
General, filed the lone opposition to the respondents application.
The respondents allege that their predecessors-in-interest i.e., the previous owners of the parcels of land
making up Lot 3, have been in "continuous, uninterrupted, open, public and adverse" possession of the said
parcels "since time immemorial." It is by virtue of such lengthy possession, tacked with their own, that
respondents now hinge their claim of title over Lot 3.
During trial on the merits, the respondents presented, among others, the testimonies of Generosa and the
representatives of their two (2) other predecessors-in-interest. The said witnesses testified that they have
been in possession of their respective parcels of land for over thirty (30) years prior to the purchase thereof
by the respondents in 1997. The witnesses also confirmed that neither they nor the interest they represent,
have any objection to the registration of Lot 3 in favor of the respondents.
In addition, Generosa affirmed in open court a Joint Affidavit she executed with Teresita. In it, Generosa
revealed that the portions of Lot 3 previously pertaining to her and Teresita were once owned by her father,
Mr. Valentin Sernal (Valentin) and that the latter had "continuously, openly and peacefully occupied and tilled
as absolute owner" such lands even "before the outbreak of World War 2."
To substantiate the above testimonies, the respondents also presented various Tax Declarations covering
certain areas of Lot 3 the earliest of which dates back to 1948 and covers the portions of the subject lot
previously belonging to Generosa and Teresita.
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The government insists that Lot 3 still forms part of the public domain and, hence, not subject to private
acquisition and registration. The government, however, presented no further evidence to controvert the
claim of the respondents.
RTC rendered a ruling granting the respondents Application for Original Registration of Lot 3.
The government promptly appealed the ruling of the RTC to the Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals affirmed
the RTC s decision on appeal.
ISSUE:
W/N the respondents were able to prove with sufficient evidence their claim over the lot 3 in order to
overthrow the Regalian Doctrine.
HELD:
Jura Regalia and the Property Registration Decree
We start our analysis by applying the principle of Jura Regalia or the Regalian Doctrine. 33 Jura Regalia simply
means that the State is the original proprietor of all lands and, as such, is the general source of all private
titles.34 Thus, pursuant to this principle, all claims of private title to land, save those acquired from native
title,35 must be traced from some grant, whether express or implied, from the State. 36 Absent a clear
showing that land had been let into private ownership through the State s imprimatur, such land is
presumed to belong to the State.37
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Being an unregistered land, Lot 3 is therefore presumed as land belonging to the State. It is basic that those
who seek the entry of such land into the Torrens system of registration must first establish that it has
acquired valid title thereto as against the State, in accordance with law.

Section 14(1) of Presidential Decree No. 1529 refers to the original registration of "imperfect" titles to public
land acquired under Section 11(4) in relation to Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act No. 141, or the Public
Land Act, as amended.38 Section 14(1) of Presidential Decree No. 1529 and Section 48(b) of Commonwealth
Act No. 141 specify identical requirements for the judicial confirmation of "imperfect" titles, to wit: 39
rbl r l l lbrr

1. That the subject land forms part of the alienable and disposable lands of the public domain;.
2. That the applicants, by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest, have been in open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the subject land under a bona fide claim of
ownership, and;
3. That such possession and occupation must be since June 12, 1945 or earlier.

First. The testimonies of respondents predecessors-in-interest and/or their representatives were patently
deficient on this point.
None of them testified about possession and occupation of the subject parcels of land dating back to 12 June
1945 or earlier. Rather, the said witnesses merely related that they have been in possession of their lands
"for over thirty years" prior to the purchase thereof by respondents in 1997.

Second. The supporting tax declarations presented by the respondents also fall short of proving possession
since 12 June 1945 or earlier. The earliest declaration submitted by the respondents i.e., Tax Declaration No.

9412,43 was issued only in 1948 and merely covers the portion of Lot 3 previously pertaining to Generosa
and Teresita. Much worse, Tax Declaration No. 9412 shows no declared improvements on such portion of Lot
3 as of 1948 posing an apparent contradiction to the claims of Generosa and Teresita in their Joint Affidavit.
Notwithstanding their inability to comply with Section 14(1) of Presidential Decree No. 1529, the
respondents claim that they were at least able to establish possession and occupation of Lot 3 for a
sufficient number of years so as to acquire title over the same via prescription.

In this case, the respondents were not able to present any "express declaration" from the State, attesting to
the patrimonial character of Lot 3. To put it bluntly, the respondents were not able to prove that acquisitive
prescription has begun to run against the State, much less that they have acquired title to Lot 3 by virtue
thereof. As jurisprudence tells us, a mere certification or report classifying the subject land as alienable and
disposable is not sufficient.57 We are, therefore, left with the unfortunate but necessary verdict that the
respondent are not entitled to the registration under Section 14(2) of Presidential Decree No. 1529.
There being no compliance with either the first or second paragraph of Section 14 of Presidential Decree No.
1529, the Regalian presumption stands and must be enforced in this case. We accordingly overturn the
decisions of the RTC and the Court of Appeals for not being supported by the evidence at hand.

Yu Chang vs. Republic


FACTS:
Petitioners' father, L. Yu Chang and the Municipality of Pili, Camarines Sur, through its Mayor, Justo
Casuncad, executed an Agreement to Exchange Real Property wherein the former assigned and transferred
to the Municipality of Pili his 400-square-meter residential lot in Barrio San Roque, Pili, Camarines Sur, in
exchange for a 400-square-meter piece of land located in San Juan, Pili.
Thereafter, L. Yu Chang and his family took possession of the property, erected a residential house and a
gasoline station. He also declared the property in his name under Tax Declaration and paid the real property
taxes thereon as evidenced by twenty-eight (28) official receipts from February 21, 1951 up to March 10,
1976. When L. Yu Chang died on September 30, 1976, his wife, Donata Sta. Ana and his seven children
inherited the property and succeeded in the possession of the property.
On March 1, 1978, a Deed of Transfer and Renunciation of their rights over the property was executed by L.
Yu Chang's five children, Rafaela, Catalina, Flaviana, Esperanza, and Antonio, in favor of herein petitioners.
After the transfer, petitioners had the subject property surveyed and subdivided into two lots, Pili Cadastre.
Petitioners also declared the lots in their names for taxation purposes as shown in Tax Declaration and paid
the real property taxes thereon.
On February 21, 1997, petitioner Soledad Yu Chang, for herself and in representation of her brother and copetitioner, Vicente Yu Chang, filed a petition for registration of title over the lots under the Property
Registration Decree. In their petition, they declared that they are the co-owners of the subject lots; that
they and their predecessors-in-interest "have been in actual, physical, material, exclusive, open, occupation
and possession of the above described parcels of land for more than 100 years"; and that allegedly, they
have continuously, peacefully, and adversely possessed the property in the concept of owners. Hence, they
are entitled to confirmation of ownership and issuance and registration of title in their names.
In support of their application, petitioners submitted the following documents, to wit:
1.

Agreement to Exchange Real Property;

2.

Deed of Transfer and Renunciation;

3.

Approved Plan of Lot 2199 and Lot 2200, Cad. 291, Pili Cadastre;

4.

Approved Technical Description of Lot 2199;

5.

Approved Technical Description of Lot 2200;

6.

Field Appraisal and Assessment Sheet (FAAS) A.R.P. No. 026-044 for Lot 2199 Cad. 291; and

7.

Field Appraisal and Assessment Sheet (FAAS) A.R.P. No. 026-043 for Lot 2200 Cad. 291 Pili
Cadastre.

The Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed an Opposition to the application,
alleging, inter alia, that: (1) neither the applicants nor their predecessors-in-interest have been in open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of the land since June 12, 1945 or prior thereto; (2) the
muniments of title, tax declarations and tax receipts do not constitute competent and sufficient evidence of
a bona fide acquisition of the land; and (3) that the parcels of land applied for are portions of the public
domain and are not subject to private appropriation.
No other parties filed their opposition. Thus, on December 14, 1998, an Order of General Default[15]was
issued by the trial court.

ISSUE:
W/N

HELD:
Section 48 (b) of the Public Land Act as amended by PD 1073 provised that:
The following described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of
public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein, but
whose title have not been perfected or completed, may apply to Regional
Trial Court of the province or city where the land is located for confirmation
of their claims and the issuance of a Certificate of title thereof, under the
Property Registration Decree.

In order that petitioners application for registration of title my be granted,


they must first establish the following:
1.
That the subject land forms part of the disposable and alienable lands
of the Public Domain
2.
That they have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
possession and occupation of the same under a bona fide claim of
ownership, since June 12, 1945.

Jose Amunategui vs Director of Forestry provides that: A forested area


classified as forest land of the public domain does not lose such

classification simply because loggers or settlers may have stripped it of its


forest cover.

The classification of land is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does
not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like.