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Topic: Registration of Title over a parcel of land: requisites

Ponente: Justice Diosdado M. Peralta


Republic of the Philippines v. Cecilia Grace L. Roasa, married to Greg Ambrose Roasa, as herein
represented by her Attorneys-in-Fact, Bernardo M. Nicolas, Jr. and Alvin B. Acayen, G.R. No. 176022,
February 2, 2015
Facts: Cecilia L. Roasa filed an application for registration of title over a parcel of land and was represented by her
attorneys-in-fact, Bernardo M. Nicolas, Jr. and Alvin B. Acayen. It was alleged that she is the owner in fee simple of the
subject lot, having acquired the same by purchase as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale ; that the said property is
an agricultural land planted with corn, palay, bananas, coconut and coffee by respondent's predecessors-in-interest;
that respondent and her predecessors-in-interest had been in OCEN possession and occupation of the land under bona
fide claim of ownership since the 1930's and that they have declared the land for taxation purposes. The application,
likewise, stated the names and addresses of the adjoining owners.
Subsequently, the OSG opposed the application contending that the muniments of title, such as tax
declarations and tax payment receipts, did not constitute competent and sufficient evidence of a bona fide acquisition
of the land applied for nor of the alleged OCEN possession by respondent and her predecessors-in-interest as owners
for the period required by law. The OSG also argued that the subject lot is a portion of the public domain belonging to
the Republic of the Philippines which is not subject to private appropriation.
The instant petition is anchored on the sole ground, to wit: Failure to comply with the required 30 year
adverse possession since the subject land was declared alienable and disposable land of the public domain only on
March 15, 1982 per CENRO Certification, and the application was filed only on December 12, 2000. Any period of
possession prior to the date when the subject land was classified as alienable and disposable is inconsequential and
should be excluded from the computation of the 30- year period of possession. Petitioner argues that respondent's
possession of the disputed parcel of land, prior to its re-classification as alienable and disposable, cannot be credited
as part of the required period of possession because the same cannot be considered adverse.
Issue: Should the application for registration of title be granted?
SC: Yes.
An applicant for original registration of title based on a claim of exclusive and continuous possession or
occupation must show the existence of the following:
1. Open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession, by themselves or through their predecessors-ininterest, of land;
2. The land possessed or occupied must have been declared alienable and disposable agricultural land of
public domain;
3. The possession or occupation was under a bona fide claim of ownership;
4. Possession dates back to June 12, 1945 or earlier.
In the case of Republic v. Naguit [409 Phil. 405], the more reasonable interpretation of Section 14(1 )of P.D. No.
1529 is that it merely requires the property sought to be registered as already alienable and disposable at the time
the application for registration of title is filed.
In the resolution of the MR of the case of Heirs of Malabanan, it was held that the law imposes no requirement
that land should have been declared alienable and disposable agricultural land as early as June 12, 1945. Therefore,
what is important in computing the period of possession is that the land has already been declared alienable and
disposable at the time of the application for registration. Upon satisfaction of this requirement, the computation of the
period may include the period of adverse possession prior to the declaration that land is alienable and disposable.
Roasas right to the original registration of title over the subject property is, therefore, dependent on the
existence of (a) a declaration that the land is alienable and disposable at the time of the application for registration
and (b) open and continuous possession in the concept of an owner through itself or through its predecessors-ininterest since June 12, 1945 or earlier.
In the present case, there is no dispute that the subject lot has been declared alienable and disposable on
March 15, 1982. This is more than eighteen (18) years before Roasa's application for registration, which was filed on
December 15, 2000. Moreover, the unchallenged testimonies of two of Roasa's witnesses established that the latter
and her predecessors-in-interest had been in adverse, open, continuous, and notorious possession in the concept of an
owner even before June 12, 1945.
Topic: Jurisdiction of RTC over land registration cases
Ponente: Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe
Nicomedes Lozada v. Eulalia Bracewell, et al.
G.R. No. 179155

02 April 2014
Facts: On December 10, 1976, Nicomedes Lozada filed an application for registration and confirmation of title over a
parcel of land which was granted on February 23, 1989 by the RTC of Makati City, Branch 134, acting as a land
registration court. Consequently, on July 10, 1997, the Land Registration Authority issued Decree No. N-217036 in the
name of Lozada, who later obtained an original certificate of title.
Subsequent thereto, James Bracewell, Jr. filed on February 6, 1998 a petition for review of a decree of
registration under Section 32 of PD 1529 (Property Registration Decree) before the RTC of Las Pias City claiming that
a portion of his property was fraudulently included in Decree No. N-217036. He allegedly filed on September 19, 1963
an application for registration and confirmation of the subject lot situated in Las Pias City, which was granted by the
RTC of Makati City on May 3, 1989.
Lozada opposed the same arguing that the Las Pias City-RTC had no jurisdiction over a petition for review of a
decree of registration under Section 32 of PD 1529, which should be filed in the same branch of the court that
rendered the decision and ordered the issuance of the decree. He added that his survey plan was approved in 1951
while Bracewells plan was surveyed in 1960.
Issue: Whether or not the Las Pias City-RTC has jurisdiction over the petition for review of Decree No. N-217036,
which was issued as a result of the judgment rendered by the RTC of Makati City, Branch 134.
SC: Yes.
Under both Act No. 496 (Land Registration Act, as amended) which was the law in force at the time of
the commencement by both parties of their respective registration proceedings and PD 1529 (Property
Registration Decree), which updated and codified land registration laws, jurisdiction over all applications for
registration of title was conferred upon the Courts of First Instance (now RTC) of the respective provinces or cities in
which the land sought to be registered is situated.
In this case, however, the applications of Lozada and Bracewell were cognizable by the RTC of Makati City since
during those times, there were no RTC branches yet in Las Pias City.
Subsequently, pursuant to BP 129 (The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980) which took effect on August 14,
1981, the RTC of Las Pias City was established in 1994. Hence, Bracewell filed his petition for review before the Las
Pias City-RTC in 1998, considering that the subject lot is situated in Las Pias City.
NOTE: With the passage of PD 1529, the distinction between the general jurisdiction vested in the RTC and the
limited jurisdiction conferred upon it as a cadastral court was eliminated. RTCs now have the power to hear and
determine all questions, even contentious and substantial ones, arising from applications for original registration of
titles to lands and petitions filed after such registration.
Topic: Action for Reconveyance
Ponente: Diosdado M. Peralta
Rodolfo V. Francisco v. Emiliana M. Rojas
GR No. 167120
23 April 2014
Facts: The entire hacienda used to be owned by one Don Buenaventura Guido y Santa Ana upon whose death left a
portion thereof, consisting of the said 3,181.74 hectares, to his two sons Francisco Guido and Hermogenes Guido.
Sometime in September 1911, Decreto No. 6145, covering the same 3,181.74-hectare portion of Hacienda de Angono
was issued in favor of the brothers Francisco and Hermogenes. Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 633 over the same
3,181.74 hectares was issued in the names of the two brothers. On May 12, 1933, OCT No. 633 was cancelled,
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 23377 was issued. Nine years later, or sometime in 1942, the heirs of Francisco and
Hermogenes adjudicated among themselves the same 3,181.74 hectares and transferred the one-half portion thereof
to Jose Rojas. Allegedly, the adjudication was formalized by the heirs of Francisco and Hermogenes only on December
17, 1973, when they purportedly executed an Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate With Quitclaim.
On March 29, 1976, Alfredo Guido, Sr., representing the other heirs, filed with the Registry of Deeds of Morong
a petition for reconstitution of TCT No. 23377, alleging that the original of the same title could not be located in the
files of the Registry of Deeds of Rizal when he and his co-heirs sought the registration of their aforementioned [Extra]Judicial Settlement of Estate With Quitclaim. The petition was supported by the owners duplicate copy of the title
sought to be reconstituted. On the same date that Guido, Sr. filed the petition for reconstitution, the same was granted
and a reconstituted certificate of title TCT (23377) RT-M-0002 was issued.
Thereafter, the heirs who executed the aforesaid document of extra-judicial settlement, including the now
spouses Jose Rojas and Emiliana Rojas, sold the property to Pacil Management Corporation, and new titles were issued
in favor of Pacil on June 26, 1976. Three months later, or on August 26, 1976, Pacil reconveyed all the 21 lots to the
former owners. On August 25, 1978, fourteen of the 21 lots were exchanged for shares of stock of Interport Resources
Corporation. On April 25, 1980, all the named heirs in the same Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate With Quitclaim

renounced their rights over the remaining portion of the 3,181.74 hectares in favor of their co-heir Alfredo Guido, Sr.,
in exchange for monetary considerations.
It appears, however, that on August 13, 1976, barely five months from the time Alfredo Guido, Sr. filed his petition for
reconstitution of TCT No. 23377 on March 29, 1976, which petition was approved on the same date, an Application for
Registration of Title over four parcels of land (lots 1, 2, 3 and 4), which lots are presently alleged by the Rojases to be
"overlapping a portion of the area covered by TCT No. 23377," x x x was filed with the then Court of First Instance of
Rizal, Branch 10, by Rosalina, Rodolfo, Carmela and Carmen, all surnamed Francisco, about which petition the Rojases
now claim to be unaware of.
Issue: Whether or not an Action for Reconveyance is the appropriate proceeding.
SC: Yes.
The "appropriate proceeding" referred to in Guido is a case where the Franciscos must present specific acts of
ownership to substantiate their claim that they are bona fide occupants of Lots 1-4 of Psu-04-001463 while, at the
same time, respondents are accorded due process of law by availing of the opportunity to oppose and refute the
representations made by the Franciscos. Whatever the "appropriate proceeding" may be, the decisive factor is that the
same should be a proceeding in personam wherein personal service of summons and copy of the complaint/petition is
necessary.
Truly, one of the appropriate legal remedies that should have been availed of by the Franciscos is an action for
reconveyance. Contrary to petitioners declaration, proof of actual fraud is not required as it may be filed even when
no fraud intervened such as when there is mistake in including the land for registration. In the action for reconveyance,
the decree of registration is highly respected as incontrovertible; what is sought instead is the transfer of the property
wrongfully or erroneously registered in anothers name to its rightful owner or to the one with a better right.
An action for reconveyance resulting from fraud prescribes four years from the discovery of the fraud and if it
is based on an implied or a constructive trust it prescribes ten (10) years from the alleged fraudulent registration or
date of issuance of the certificate of title over the property. However, an action for reconveyance based on implied or
constructive trust is imprescriptible if the plaintiff or the person enforcing the trust is in possession of the property. In
effect, the action for reconveyance is an action to quiet the property title, which does not prescribe. In this case, the
Franciscos claim to be in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of the subject lots. It
appears that they never lost possession of said properties, and as such, they are in a position to file the complaint to
protect their alleged rights and clear whatever doubts has been cast thereon.

Topics: Land transfer; Encumbrances - Annotations; Liens - Registration and Effect; Buyer in good faith
and for value; Contract of Sale v. Contract to Sell; Ripening of Ownership; Laches; Builder in Good Faith
Ponente: Jose Catral Mendoza
Saberon, et al. v. Ventanilla, Jr.
G.R. No. 192669
21 April 2014
Facts: This case is an offshoot of two (2) cases involving the same property, which had been decided, respectively, by
the Supreme Court with finality.
Manila Remnant Co., Inc. (MRCI) owned several parcels of land constituting a subdivision. It entered into a
contract with A.U. Valencia & Co. Inc. (AUVC), whereby for a consideration, the latter was to, among others, develop
the aforesaid subdivision with authority to manage the sales thereof and execute contracts to sell to lot buyers. At that
time, the president of AUVC, was Artemio U. Valencia (Valencia)*.
Subsequently, MRCI and AUVC executed two (2) contracts to sell in favor of Oscar C. Ventanilla, Jr. and Carmen
Gloria D. Ventanilla (Ventanillas).
Afterwards, Valencia, holding out himself as president of MRCI*, and without the knowledge of the Ventanillas,
resold the same property to Carlos Crisostomo (Crisostomo), without any consideration. Valencia transmitted the
fictitious contract with Crisostomo to MRCI while he kept the contracts to sell with the Ventanillas in his private office
files. All the amounts paid by the latter were deposited in Valencias bank account and remitted to MRCI as payments
of Crisostomo. The Ventanillas continued to pay the monthly installment.
Thereafter, MRCI terminated its business relationship with AUVC on account of irregularities discovered in its
collection and remittances. Consequently, Valencia was removed as president by the Board of Directors of MRCI*. He
then stopped transmitting the Ventanillas monthly installments, which appearing in MRCIs records as credited under
the name of Crisostomo.

AUVC sued MRCI to impugn the abrogation of their agency agreement. AUVC then informed the Ventanillas
that it was still authorized by the trial court to collect the monthly amortizations and requested them to continue
remitting their payment, with the assurance that said payments would be deposited later in court.
For AUVCs failure to forward its collections to the trial court as ordered, MRCI caused the publication of a
notice cancelling the contracts to sell of some lot buyers including those of Crisostomo in whose name the payments
of the Ventanillas had been credited.
It was only after some time when the Ventanillas discovered Valencias deception. Believing that they had
already remitted a substantial amount for the lots, the Ventanillas offered to pay the balance to MRCI. To
their shock, their names as lot buyers did not appear in MRCIs records. Instead, MRCI showed them a copy of the
contract to sell signed by Valencia, in favor of Crisostomo. MRCI refused the Ventanillas offer to pay for the
remainder of the contract price.
Aggrieved, the Ventanillas commenced an action for specific performance, annulment of deeds and damages
against MRCI, AUVC, and Crisostomo. The then CFI rendered a decision declaring the contracts to sell in favor of the
Ventanillas as valid and subsisting, and annulling the contract to sell in favor of Crisostomo.
On separate appeals filed by AUVC and MRCI, the CA sustained the CFI Quezon Citys decision in toto.
The 1990 Case
MRCI then filed before the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari. The decision of the CA was affirmed and
declared the judgment of the CFI Quezon City immediately executory.
Encouraged by the seeming triumph of their cause, the Ventanillas moved for the issuance of a writ of
execution, and was duly issued. A notice of levy was annotated in the titles of MRCI on May 31, 1991.
In a manifestation and motion, however, MRCI alleged that the subject properties could no longer be delivered
to the Ventanillas because they had already been sold to Samuel Marquez (Marquez) on February 7, 1990, while its
petition was pending. Nevertheless, MRCI offered to reimburse the amount paid by the Ventanillas, including legal
interest plus damages. MRCI also prayed that its tender of payment be accepted and that all garnishments on their
accounts lifted. The Ventanillas accepted the amount of P210,000.00 as damages and attorneys fees but rejected the
reimbursement.
MRCI then moved for reconsideration praying that it be ordered to reimburse the Ventanillas and that the
garnishment of its bank deposit be lifted. This plea was denied twice by the trial court prompting MRCI to file another
petition for certiorari with the CA, which ruled that the contract to sell in favor of Marquez did not constitute a legal
impediment to the immediate execution of the judgment.
The 1994 Case
From the CA, the case was elevated to the Supreme Court where MRCI argued that the sale of the properties to
Marquez was valid because at the time of the sale, the issue of the validity of the sale to the Ventanillas had not yet
been resolved. Further, there was no specific injunction against it re-selling the property. As a buyer in good faith,
Marquez had a right to rely on the recitals in the certificate of title. The subject matter of the controversy having been
passed to an innocent purchaser for value, the execution of the absolute deed of sale in favor of the Ventanillas could
not be ordered by the trial court.
The Ventanillas countered that the validity of the sale to them had already been established even while the
previous petition was still awaiting resolution. The petition only questioned the solidary liability of MRCI to the
Ventanillas. Hence, the portion of the decision ordering MRCI to execute an absolute deed of sale in their favor had
already become final and executory when MRCI failed to appeal it to the Court. Thus, an order enjoining MRCI from
reselling the property in litigation was unnecessary. Besides, the unusual lack of interest, on the part of Marquez, to
protect and assert his right over the disputed property was, to the Ventanillas, a clear indication that the alleged sale
to him was merely a ploy of MRCI to evade the execution of the absolute deed of sale in their favor.
The Court settled the controversy in favor of the Ventanillas and cited circumstances that cast suspicion on the
validity, not to say the very existence, of the contract with Marquez.
Yet, Samuel Cleofe, Register of Deeds for Quezon City (ROD Cleofe) revealed to them, that on March 11, 1992, MRCI
registered a deed of absolute sale to Marquez who eventually sold the same property to the Saberons
(herein petitioners), which conveyance was registered in July 1992. ROD Cleofe opined that a judicial order for the
cancellation of the titles in the name of the Saberons was essential before he complied with the said writ of execution.
Apparently, the notice of levy, through inadvertence, was not carried over to the title issued to Marquez, the same
being a junior encumbrance which was entered after the contract to sell to Marquez had already been annotated.
Civil Case No. Q-96-26486
Once again, the Ventanillas were constrained to go to court to seek the annulment of the deed of sale
executed between MRCI and Marquez as well as the deed of sale between Marquez and the Saberons, as the fruits of
void conveyances. The case was filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), which ruled for the Ventanillas.
The defendants filed separate appeals. The Saberons relied on one central argumentthat they were
purchasers in good faith, having relied on the correctness of the certificates of title covering the lots in question; and
therefore, holders of a valid and indefeasible title.
The CA said that MRCI and the other defendants were found guilty of bad faith for selling the lots to Marquez at
a time when litigation as to the validity of the first sale to the Ventanillas was still pending. In other words, MRCI was
sufficiently aware of the Court decision confirming its failure to supervise and control the affairs of its authorized
agent, AUVC, which led to the explicit pronouncement that the first sale to the Ventanillas was valid. This should have

served as a warning to MRCI that it could no longer deal with the property in deference to the Courts ruling and
affirmation of the trial courts order to execute the deed of sale in favor of the Ventanillas.
Thus, the Saberons filed the instant petition, reiterating that they were innocent purchasers for value and in
good faith. It was only upon receipt of the summons in the case filed by the Ventanillas with the RTC that they learned
of the present controversy.
Issues: 1. Whether or not the registration of the notice of levy had produced constructive notice that would bind third
persons despite the failure of the ROD-QC to annotate the same in the certificates of title.
2. Whether or not the rights or interests of the Ventanillas in the subject properties ripened into ownership.
3. Whether or not laches could be attributed to the Ventanillas.
4. Whether or not the Saberons were builders in good faith.
SC: 1. Yes.
Sections 51 and 52 of P.D. No. 1529 explain the purpose and effects of registering both voluntary and
involuntary instruments, to wit:
Section 51. Conveyance and other dealings by registered owner. An owner of registered land may convey, mortgage,
lease, charge or otherwise deal with the same in accordance with existing laws. He may use such forms of deeds,
mortgages, leases or other voluntary instruments as are sufficient in law. But no deed, mortgage, lease, or other
voluntary instrument, except a will purporting to convey or affect registered land shall take effect as a conveyance or
bind the land, but shall operate only as a contract between the parties and as evidence of authority to the Register of
Deeds to make registration.
The act of registration shall be the operative act to convey or affect the land insofar as third persons are
concerned, and in all cases under this Decree, the registration shall be made in the office of the Register of Deeds for
the province or city where the land lies.
Section 52. Constructive notice upon registration. Every conveyance, mortgage, lease, lien, attachment, order,
judgment, instrument or entry affecting registered land shall, if registered, filed or entered in the office of the Register
of Deeds for the province or city where the land to which it relates lies, be constructive notice to all persons from the
time of such registering, filing or entering.
These provisions encapsulate the rule that documents, like the certificates of title do not effect a conveyance
of or encumbrances on a parcel of land. Registration is the operative act that conveys ownership or affects
the land insofar as third persons are concerned. By virtue of registration, a constructive notice to the whole
world of such voluntary or involuntary instrument or court writ or processes, is thereby created.
The Court is thus beckoned to rule on two conflicting rights over the subject properties: the right of the
Ventanillas to acquire the title to the registered land from the moment of inscription of the notice of levy on the day
book (or entry book), on one hand; and the right of the Saberons to rely on what appears on the certificate of title for
purposes of voluntary dealings with the same parcel of land, on the other.
The Saberons maintain that they had no notice of any defect, irregularity or encumbrance in the titles of the
property they purchased. In its decision, however, the RTC pointed out that their suspicion should have been aroused
by the circumstance that Marquez, who was not engaged in the buy-and-sell business and had the property for only a
few months, would offer the same for sale. Although the RTC found that the Saberons may not be considered as
innocent purchasers for value because of this circumstance, it, nonetheless, ruled that they, who might well be
unwilling victims of the fraudulent scheme employed by MRCI and Marquez, were entitled to actual and compensatory
damages.
To this latter finding, the Court agrees. The Saberons could not be said to have authored the
entanglement they found themselves in. No fault can be attributed to them for relying on the face of the
title presented by Marquez. This is bolstered by the fact that the RTC decision shows no categorical
finding that the Saberons purchase of the lots from Marquez was tainted with bad faith. That the Saberons
should have harbored doubts against Marquez is too high a standard to impose on a buyer of titled land. This is in
consonance to the rule that the one who deals with property registered under the Torrens system is charged with
notice only of such burdens and claims as are annotated on the title. All persons dealing with property covered by
Torrens certificate of title are not required to explore further than what the Torrens title upon its face indicates in quest
for any hidden defect or inchoate right that may subsequently defeat his right thereto. These rules remain as essential
features of the Torrens system. The present case does not entail a modification or overturning of these principles.
Be that as it may, no fault can likewise be imputed to the Ventanillas.
It has already been established in the two previous cases decided by the Court that the contracts to sell executed in
favor of the Ventanillas are valid and subsisting. Clearly, it has been acknowledged, even by MRCI, as can be seen in
the latters own choice to only question their solidary liability in the 1990 case and its failure to assign the same as an
error in the 1994 case. In the same vein, the issue on Marquezs title had already been passed upon and settled in the
1994 case. That he purchased the lots prior to the annotation of the notice of levy in MRCIs title was of no moment. In

fact, the Court explicitly declared that MRCIs transaction with Marquez "cannot prevail over the final and executory
judgment ordering MRCI to execute an absolute deed of sale in favor of the Ventanillas."
These favorable findings prompted the Ventanillas to register the notice of levy on the properties. The records
show that on the strength of a final and executory decision by the Court, they successfully obtained a writ of execution
from the RTC and a notice of levy was then entered, albeit on the primary entry book only. The contract to sell to
Marquez was registered on May 21, 1991, while the notice of levy was issued ten (10) days later, or on May 31, 1991.
In February 1992, MRCI executed the Deed of Sale with Marquez, under whose name the clean titles, sans the notice of
levy, were issued. A year later, or on March 11, 1992, MRCI registered the deed of sale to Marquez who later sold the
same property to the Saberons.
This complex situation could have been avoided if it were not for the failure of ROD Cleofe to carry over the
notice of levy to Marquezs title, serving as a senior encumbrance that might have dissuaded the Saberons from
purchasing the properties.
Distinctions between a contract to sell and a contract of sale are well-established in jurisprudence. In a
contract of sale, the vendor loses ownership over the property and cannot recover it until and unless the
contract is resolved or rescinded; whereas, in a contract to sell, title is retained by the vendor until full
payment of the price. In the latter contract, payment of the price is a positive suspensive condition, failure of which
is not a breach but an event that prevents the obligation of the vendor to convey title from becoming effective.
It is undeniable, therefore, that no title was transferred to Marquez upon the annotation of the contract to sell
on MRCIs title. As correctly found by the trial court, the contract to sell cannot be substituted by the Deed of Absolute
Sale as a "mere conclusion" of the previous contract since the owners of the properties under the two instruments are
different.
Considering that the deed of sale in favor of Marquez was of later registration, the notice of levy
should have been carried over to the title as a senior encumbrance.
Corollary to this is the rule that a levy of a judgment debtor creates a lien, which nothing can subsequently
destroy except the very dissolution of the attachment of the levy itself. Prior registration of the lien creates a
preference, since the act of registration is the operative act to convey and affect the land. Jurisprudence dictates that
the said lien continues until the debt is paid, or the sale is had under an execution issued on the judgment or until the
judgment is satisfied, or the attachment is discharged or vacated in the same manner provided by law. Under no law,
not even P.D. No. 1529, is it stated that an attachment shall be discharged upon sale of the property other than under
execution.
Additionally, Section 59 of P.D. No. 1529 undoubtedly speaks of the ministerial duty on the part of the
Register of Deeds to carry over existing encumbrances to the certificates of title.
From the foregoing, ROD Cleofes theory that a deed of sale, as a mere conclusion of a contract to sell, turns
into a senior encumbrance which may surpass a notice of levy, has no leg to stand on. It was, in fact, properly rejected
by the courts a quo. Verily, the controversy at hand arose not from the Ventanillas fault, but from ROD Cleofes
misplaced understanding of his duty under the law.
Surely, the Ventanillas had every right to presume that the Register of Deeds would carry over the notice of
levy to subsequent titles covering the subject properties. The notice was registered precisely to bind the properties
and to serve as caution to third persons who might potentially deal with the property under the custody of the law.
While the Court is not unmindful that a buyer is charged with notice only of such burdens and claims as are
annotated on the title, the RTC and the CA are both correct in applying the rule as to the effects of involuntary
registration. In cases of voluntary registration of documents, an innocent purchaser for value of registered land
becomes the registered owner, and, in contemplation of law the holder of a certificate of title, the moment he presents
and files a duly notarized and valid deed of sale and the same is entered in the day book and at the same time he
surrenders or presents the owner's duplicate certificate of title covering the land sold and pays the registration fees,
because what remains to be done lies not within his power to perform. The Register of Deeds is duty-bound to perform
it. In cases of involuntary registration, an entry thereof in the day book is a sufficient notice to all persons even if the
owner's duplicate certificate of title is not presented to the register of deeds. Therefore, in the registration of an
attachment, levy upon execution, notice of lis pendens, and the like, the entry thereof in the day book is
a sufficient notice to all persons of such adverse claim.
Thus, the Court must sustain the notice of levy registered by the Ventanillas notwithstanding the nonfeasance
of ROD Cleofe. Again, the prevailing rule is that there is effective registration once the registrant has fulfilled all that is
needed of him for purposes of entry and annotation, so that what is left to be accomplished lies solely on the Register
of Deeds.

Suffice it to say, no bad faith can be ascribed to the parties alike. Nevertheless, the equal footing of
the parties necessarily tilts in favor of the superiority of the Ventanillas notice of levy, as discussed.
2. Yes.
It bears stressing that the previous decisions discussed herein already sealed the validity of the
contract to sell issued to the Ventanillas decades ago. As found by the RTC, it was MRCIs obstinate refusal to
accept their tender of payment, not to mention the devious transfer of the property, which caused the decade-long
delay of the execution of the deed of sale in their favor. This is a finding that the Court, which is not a trier of facts, will
have to respect.
3. No.
Their failure to learn about the structures being built on the subject lands and the payment of real property
taxes by the Saberons is not sufficient justification to withhold the declaration of their ownership over it. Against a
different factual milieu, laches may be said to have set it but not so in this case. While the Ventanillas may have been
unaware that improvements were being erected over the lots, this obliviousness can, by no means, be treated as a
lack of vigilance on their part. It bears stressing that the Ventanillas are now of advanced age and retired as university
professors. Considering the length of litigation which they had to endure in order to assert their right over the property
which they have painstakingly paid for decades ago, to hold now that they have been remiss in the protection of
their rights would be the height of impropriety, if not injustice. To exact from them an obligation to visit the land in
litigation every so often, lest they be held to have slept on their rights, is iniquitous and unreasonable. All told, the
Ventanillas remain as innocent victims of deception.
4. Yes.
No less than the court a quo observed that "no actual evidence that the Saberons connived with the MRCI and
Marquez to have the titles registered in their names to the prejudice of the (Ventanillas)" and that what was obvious
was that "the Saberons dealt with clean certificates of titles."
Consequently, Article 448 in relation to Article 546 of the Civil Code will apply. The provisions respectively read:
Article 448. The owner of the land on which anything has been built, sow or planted in good faith, shall have the right
to appropriate, as his own the works, sowing, or planting, after payment of the indemnity provided for in Article 546
and 548, or to oblige the one who built or planted to pay the price of the land, and the one who sowed, the proper
rent. However, the builder or planter cannot be obliged to buy the land and if its value is considerably more than that
of the building or trees. In such case, he shall pay reasonable rent, if the owner of the land does not choose to
appropriate the building or trees after proper indemnity. The parties shall agree upon the terms of the lease and in
case disagreement, the court shall fix the terms thereof.
Article 546. Necessary expenses shall be refunded to every possessor; but only the possessor in good faith may retain
the thing until he has been reimbursed therefore.
Useful expenses shall be refunded only to the possessor in good faith with the same right of retention, the person who
has defeated him in the possession having the option of refunding the amount of the expenses or of paying the
increase in value which the thing may have acquired by reason thereof.
Thus Two options available to the Ventanillas:
1) they may exercise the right to appropriate after payment of indemnity representing the value of the improvements
introduced and the necessary and useful expenses defrayed on the subject lots; or
2) they may forego payment of the said indemnity and instead, oblige the Saberons to pay the price of the land.
Consequences:
1. Should the Ventanillas elect to appropriate the improvements, the trial court is ordered to determine the
value of the improvements and the necessary and useful expenses after hearing and reception of evidence.
Should the Ventanillas, however, pursue the option to oblige the Saberons to pay the "price of the land," the trial
court is ordered to determine said price to be paid to the Ventanillas.
Depending on the option exercised by the Ventanillas, the Court remanded the case to the court of origin for
further proceedings as to the determination of reimbursement due to the petitioners or of the "price" of the subject
lots due the Ventanillas.
*Which is which?
Topic: Alienable Lands
Ponente: Jose Catral Mendoza
Republic v. Sese, et al.
G.R. No. 185092, June 2, 2014
Facts: In 2002, respondents filed with the MTC an application for original registration of land over a parcel situated in

Pulilan Bulacan. Respondents alleged that on July 22, 1972, they acquired, through a donation inter vivos from their
mother, the subject agricultural land; that they, through their predecessors-in-interest, had been in possession of the
subject property; and that the property was not within a reservation.
As part of their evidence, they submitted a survey plan certified by the Bureau of Forestry stated that it is
outside any civil or military reservation.
The OSG interposed an appeal and argued that there was no proof that the subject property was already
segregated from inalienable lands of the public domain. Verily, it was only from the date of declaration of such lands as
alienable and disposable that the period for counting the statutory requirement of possession would start. Also, there
was absolutely no proof of respondents supposed possession of the subject property.
Issue: Whether or not the land is alienable and disposable.
SC: No.
For the original registration of title, the applicant must overcome the presumption that the land sought to be
registered forms part of the public domain. Unless public land is shown to have been reclassified or alienated
to a private person by the State, it remains part of the inalienable public domain. Indeed, "occupation
thereof in the concept of owner, no matter how long, cannot ripen into ownership and be registered as a title." To
overcome such presumption, incontrovertible evidence must be shown by the applicant. Absent such evidence, the
land sought to be registered remains inalienable.
In the present case, petitioners cite a surveyor geodetic engineers notation indicating that the survey was
inside alienable and disposable land. Such notation does not constitute a positive government act validly changing the
classification of the land in question. Verily, a mere surveyor has no authority to reclassify lands of the public
domain. By relying solely on the said surveyors assertion, petitioners have not sufficiently proven that the land in
question has been declared alienable."
The burden of proof in overcoming the presumption of State ownership of the lands of the public
domain is on the person applying for registration (or claiming ownership), who must prove that the land subject
of the application is alienable or disposable. To overcome this presumption, incontrovertible evidence must be
established that the land subject of the application (or claim) is alienable or disposable. The applicant must establish
the existence of a positive act of the government such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order; an
administrative action; investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators; or a legislative act or a statute. The
applicant may also secure a certification from the government that the land claimed to have been possessed for the
required number of years is alienable and disposable.
Topic: Reconstitution Proceedings
Ponente: Jose Catral Mendoza
Paulino, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.
G.R. no 205065, June 4, 2014
Facts: The late Celso Fernandez purchased, in a public auction conducted by the Quezon City government, a real
property owned and registered in the name of Lolita G. Javier (Javier),married to Pedro Javier, as evidenced by a
certificate of sale of delinquent property. The subject property appeared to be covered by an owners duplicate of TCT
No. 301617 of the QCRD.
After his death, the surviving heirs of Celso Fernandez executed an Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate with
Absolute Sale covering the subject property, selling it in favor of the petitioners, spouses Vergel L. Paulino and Ciremia
Paulino (Spouses Paulino),for a consideration of P1,805,000.00.
On June 11, 1988, a fire broke out in the Quezon City Hall which burned a portion thereof which included the
office of the QCRD.
Consequently, on March 9, 2010, Spouses Paulino filed a petition for reconstitution of the original copy of TCT
No. 301617 with the RTC, alleging that its original copy was among those titles that were razed during the fire.
Meanwhile, on August 17, 2010, the RTC received the LRA Report, stating that TCT No. 301617was registered in
the name of a certain Emma B. Florendo and that it was previously the subject of an application for administrative
reconstitution. It was also discovered that the original copy of the title on file in the Registry of Deeds was among
those saved titles from the fire that gutted the office of QCRD on June 11, 1988.
The case was appealed to the CA and the decision of the RTC was later annulled; hence, this recourse.
Issue: Whether or not the RTC lacked jurisdiction over the petition for reconstitution.
SC: Yes.
The governing law for judicial reconstitution of title is R.A. No. 26. The following must be present for
an order for reconstitution to issue:
(a) that the certificate of title had been lost or destroyed;
(b) that the documents presented by petitioner are sufficient and proper to warrant the reconstitution of the

lost or destroyed certificate of title;


(c) that the petitioner is the registered owner of the property or had an interest therein;
(d) that the certificate of title was in force at the time it was lost and destroyed; and
(e) that the description, area and boundaries of the property are substantially the same as those
contained in the lost or destroyed certificate of title.
In reconstitution proceedings, the Court has repeatedly ruled that before jurisdiction over the case can be
validly acquired, it is a condition sine quo non that the certificate of title has not been issued to another
person. If a certificate of title has not been lost but is in fact in the possession of another person, the reconstituted
title is void and the court rendering the decision has not acquired jurisdiction over the petition for issuance of new title.
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. The existence of a prior title ipso facto nullifies the reconstitution proceedings. 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.
In the case at bench, the CA found that the RTC lacked jurisdiction to order the reconstitution of the original
copy of TCT No. 301617, there being no lost or destroyed title over the subject real property, the respondent
having duly proved that TCT No. 301617 was in the name of a different owner, Florendo, and the technical description
appearing on that TCT No. 301617 was similar to the technical description appearing in Lot 939, Piedad Estate covered
by TCT No. RT-55869 (42532) in the name of Antonino. In fact, TCT No. RT-55869 (42532) was already cancelled by TCT
Nos. 296725 to 296728 also in the name of Antonino. The Court, thus, finds no reversible error in the findings of the
CA.
Topics: Accion Publiciana; Torrens Title
Ponente: Jose Mendoza
Paul P. Gabriel, Jr., Ireneo C. Calwag, Thomas L. Tingga-an and Heirs of Juliet B. Pulkera vs. Carmeling
Crisologo
G.R No. 204626, June 9, 2014
Facts: Crisologo alleged, among others, that she was the registered owner of two parcels of land with a total area of
approximately 2,000 square meters, described in, and covered by, two (2) certificates of title Transfer Certificate of
Title (TCT) Nos. T-13935 and T-13936; that the properties were covered by an Assessment of Real Property; that the
payments of realty taxes on the said properties were updated; that sometime in 2006, she discovered that petitioners
unlawfully entered, occupied her properties by stealth, by force and without her prior consent and knowledge, and
constructed their houses thereon; that upon discovery of their illegal occupation, her daughter, Atty. Carmelita
Crisologo and another, personally went to the properties and verbally demanded that petitioners vacate the premises
and remove their structures thereon; that the petitioners begged and promised to buy the said properties for
P3,500.00 per square meter; that she gave petitioners time to produce the said amount, but they reneged on their
promise to buy them; that petitioners refused to vacate the subject properties despite several demands; that the
petitioners knew full well that the subject premises they were occupying were titled properties but they insisted on
unlawfully holding the same; and that she was unlawfully dispossessed and displaced from the subject properties due
to petitioners illegal occupation.
The petitioners countered that Crisologo's certificates were void since she did not comply with the legal
requirements. They added that they had been in open, actual, exclusive, notorious, uninterrupted, and continuous
possession of the subject land, in good faith, and that Crisologo was never in prior possession and had no valid title
over the subject land.
Issues: 1. Whether the petitioners or the respondent have/has the right of ownership over the properties.
2. Whether or not the action of petitioners in questioning respondent's title was correct.
SC: 1. The respondent.
The testimonial and documentary evidence on record prove that respondent Crisologo has a preferred claim of
possession over that of petitioners. It cannot be denied that she bought the subject properties from the previous owner
in 1967, which was why the transfer certificates of title were subsequently issued in her name. Records further show
that she has been paying the realty taxes on the said properties since 1969. She likewise appointed her attorney-infact, Isican, as administrator of the disputed lands. More importantly, there is no question that she offered to sell to
petitioners the portions of the subject properties occupied by them. Hence, she deserves to be respected and restored
to her lawful possession as provided in Article 539 of the New Civil Code.
2. No.
Accion publiciana is an ordinary civil proceeding to determine the better right of possession of realty
independently of title. It refers to an ejectment suit filed after the expiration of one year from the accrual of the cause
of action or from the unlawful withholding of possession of the realty.
The objective of the plaintiffs in accion publiciana is to recover possession only, not ownership. When
parties, however, raise the issue of ownership, the court may pass upon the issue to determine who between the
parties has the right to possess the property. This adjudication, nonetheless, is not a final and binding determination of
the issue of ownership; it is only for the purpose of resolving the issue of possession, where the issue of ownership is

inseparably linked to the issue of possession. The adjudication of the issue of ownership, being provisional, is not a bar
to an action between the same parties involving title to the property. The adjudication, in short, is not conclusive on
the issue of ownership.
In respondent Crisologo's action, she prayed that she be declared the lawful possessor of the land. Thus,
clearly, her intention pertains to an accion publiciana. When the petitioners raised the question on the legality of the
titles, this by nature is a collateral attack on the question of ownership. This cannot be entertained since the
action is essentially only on the question of possession.
In addition to the above reason, as a holder of a Torrens certificate of title, the law protects Crisologo from a
collateral attack on the same. Section 48 of P.D. No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree,
provides that a certificate of title cannot be the subject of a collateral attack. Thus, under Sec. 48: Certificate not
subject to collateral attack. A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered,
modified, or canceled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law.
Registration of land under the Torrens system, aside from perfecting the title and rendering it indefeasible after
the lapse of the period allowed by law, also renders the title immune from collateral attack. A collateral attack
transpires when, in another action to obtain a different relief and as an incident of the present action, an attack is
made against the judgment granting the title.
Topic: Disposable and alienable lands of public domain
Ponente: Martin Villarama, Jr.
Republic of the Philippines vs. Crisanto Raneses
G.R No. 189970, June 9, 2014
Facts: Crisanto S. Raneses (respondent) filed an Application for Original Registration of Land Title over two parcels of
land, near the Laguna Lake. He said his parents had been in continuous possession and occupation of the same as
early as June 1945. He said that his predecessors-in-interest planted crops in the area and irrigated the same using
the water from the lake. Respondent claimed that he acquired ownership over the subject properties when his mother,
Nina Raneses, and his sisters, Annabelle R. San Juan and Belinda R. Bayas, executed an Extrajudicial Settlement of
Estate with Deed of Waiver. Respondent also testified that there were no other persons or entities who occupied the
subject properties. Correlatively, a Conversion Subdivision Plan covering the subject properties was prepared by a
private Geodetic Engineer named Andrew DG.Montallana. Said Plan noted that the subject properties were surveyed
and according to such survey the subject properties were inside alienable and disposable land area as certified by the
Bureau of Forestry.
In its Opposition to the application, the Laguna Lake Development Authority alleged that the subject properties
are below the 12.50-meter elevation, hence, forming part of the bed of Laguna Lake and are, therefore, inalienable,
indisposable and incapable of registration.
Issue: Whether or not the properties involved are land alienable and disposable.
SC: No.
Under Section 14 (1) of P.D. No. 1529, a petition may be granted upon compliance with the following
requisites: (a) that the property in question is alienable and disposable land of the public domain; (b) that the
applicants by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and
notorious possession and occupation; and (c) that such possession is under a bona fide claim of ownership since June
12, 1945 or earlier.
The Regalian doctrine, embodied in Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, provides that all lands of the
public domain belong to the State, which is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land. All lands not
appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. Unless public land is shown to
have been reclassified or alienated to a private person by the State, it remains part of the inalienable public domain
for land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed. It must be proved. And the applicant bears the
burden to overturn, by incontrovertible evidence, the presumption that the land subject of an application for
registration is alienable and disposable.
Respondent failed to hurdle this burden.
It bears noting that in support of his claim that the subject properties are alienable and disposable, respondent
merely presented the Conversion Subdivision Plan which was prepared by Engr. Montallana with the annotation that
the subject properties were "inside alienable and disposable land area Proj. no. 27-B as per LC Map No. 2623 certified
by the Bureau of Forestry on January 3, 1968" and the Inter-Office Memorandum from the LLDA.
Respondents reliance on the said annotation and Inter-Office Memorandum is clearly insufficient. Absent
any clear declaration from the government for the alienability and disposability of such lands, then all
lands shall still belong to the State.
Topic: Quieting of Title/Proving Equitable title or ownership
Ponente: PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Vilma Quintos, represented by her Attorney-in-Fact Fidel I. Quintos, Jr., et.al v. Pelagia I. Nicolas, et.al.
G.R. No. 210252, June 16, 2014
Facts: Petitioners Vilma Quintos, Florencia Dancel, and Catalino Ibarra, and respondents Pelagia Nicolas, Noli Ibarra,
Santiago Ibarra, Pedro Ibarra, David Ibarra, Gilberto Ibarra, and the late Augusto Ibarra are siblings. Herein petitioners
Bienvenido and Escolastica Ibarra were the owners of the subject property located in Tarlac. By 1999, both Bienvenido

and Escolastica had already passed away, leaving to their ten (10) children ownership over the subject property.
Subsequently, sometime in 2002, respondent siblings brought an action for partition against petitioners which was
dismissed by the trial court and such decision became final.
Having failed to secure a favorable decision for partition, respondent siblings instead resorted to executing a
Deed of Adjudication to transfer the property in favor of the ten (10) siblings. Subsequently, respondent siblings sold
their 7/10 undivided share over the property in favor of their co-respondents, the spouses Recto and Rosemarie
Candelario.
Petitioners filed a complaint for Quieting of Title and Damages against respondents wherein they alleged that
during their parents lifetime, the couple distributed their real and personal properties in favor of their ten (10)
children.
Issue: Whether or not the petitioners were able to prove ownership over the property;
SC: No.

Quieting of title is a common law remedy for the removal of any cloud, doubt, or uncertainty
affecting title to real property.

For an action to quiet title to prosper, two indispensable requisites must concur, namely:
(1) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or equitable title to or interest in the real property subject of
the action; and
(2) the deed, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on the title must be shown
to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or efficacy.
In the case at bar, the CA correctly observed that petitioners cause of action must necessarily fail mainly in
view of the absence of the first requisite.
The cardinal rule is that bare allegation of title does not suffice. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to
establish his or her case by preponderance of evidence. Petitioners, as such plaintiff, in this case failed to discharge
the said burden imposed upon them in proving legal or equitable title over the parcel of land in issue.
Topic: Period of redemption in Land Registration Proceeding
Ponente: ARTURO BRION
680 HOME APPLIANCES, INC. v. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 206599, September 29, 2014
Facts: The case arose from the extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings commenced by the creditor of petitioner 680
Home, Deutsche Bank AG London, after the former defaulted in paying a loan secured by a real estate mortgage over
its commercial lot and building.
In the foreclosure sale, the respondent FSAMI emerged as the highest bidder of 680 Homes mortgaged
properties. A certificate of sale was issued to FSAMI and later FSAMI consolidated its ownership after 680 Home failed
to redeem the property. A new certificate of was issued in FSAMIs name.
Petitioner filed an action to annul the mortgage and foreclosure with the RTC. On the other hand, FSAMI filed a
petition for the ex parte issuance of a writ of possession. Petitioner moved to intervene and filed an opposition but the
RTC denied the motion. RTC granted FSAMIs application for a writ of possession.
As the current occupant of the property, respondent Aldanco intervened in the petition of FSAMI, claiming that
it possessed the property as lessee of 680 Home.
Petitioner filed a petition to cancel the writ of possession, invoking Section 8 of Act No. 3135. It alleged the
nullity of the foreclosure as well the adverse possession of Aldanco that supposedly barred the ministerial issuance of
the writ of possession. The RTC denied.
On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC ruling and declared 680 Homes petition to cancel the writ as prematurely
filed. The CA ruled that under Section 8 of Act No. 3135, a judgment debtor may file a petition for cancellation of the
writ of possession within 30 days only after the purchaser has obtained possession of the property. Although a writ of
possession was issued, the property remained in the possession of Aldanco as 680 Homes lessee. Since FSAMI did not
obtain possession of the property, the 30-day period to file a petition to cancel the writ under Section 8 of Act No. 3135
has not yet commenced. The CA relied on the Courts ruling in Ong v. CA, which held that the purchaser must first be
placed in possession of the mortgaged property pending proceedings assailing the issuance of the writ of possession.
Hence, this petition.
Issue: Whether or not Section 8 of Act No. 3135 shall apply.
Held: No.
As the CA correctly pointed out, a debtor may avail of the remedy under Section 8 of Act No. 3135 only after
the purchaser has obtained possession of the property. What it missed, however, is that this rule is applicable only
to a unique factual situation, when the writ of possession sought to be cancelled was issued during the
redemption period. Thus, Section 8 of Act No. 3135 finds no application when the redemption period has expired
without the debtor exercising his right, and the purchaser in the foreclosure sale has already consolidated his
ownership over the property and moved for the issuance of the writ of possession.

Upon the lapse of the redemption period without the debtor exercising his right of redemption and the
purchaser consolidates his title, it becomes unnecessary to require the purchaser to assume actual possession thereof
before the debtor may contest it. Possession of the land becomes an absolute right of the purchaser, as this is merely
an incident of his ownership. In fact, the issuance of the writ of possession at this point becomes ministerial for the
court. The debtor contesting the purchasers possession may no longer avail of the remedy under Section 8 of Act No.
3135, but should pursue a separate action e.g., action for recovery of ownership, for annulment of mortgage and/or
annulment of foreclosure. FSAMIs consolidation of ownership therefore makes the remedy under Section 8 of Act No.
3135 unavailable for 680 Home. 680 Home cannot assail the writ of possession.
Topic: Torrens Title in relation to execution of judgments
Ponente: Arturo D. Brion
Juanario G. Campit vs. Isidra B. Gripa, et al.
G.R. No. 195443, September 17, 2014
Facts: Subject of this case is a 2.7360-hectare agricultural land situated in Umangan, Mangatarem, Pangasinan,
presently occupied by respondents Isidra B. Gripa, Pedro Bardiaga, and Severino Bardiaga, represented by his son
Rolando Bardiaga, but covered by a Transfer Certificate of Title issued in the petitioners name. The petitioner claimed
to have purchased the property from his father Jose Campit in 1977.
On the other hand, respondents Isidra Gripa, Pedro Bardiaga and Severino Bardiaga (as represented by his son,
Rolando Bardiaga) claimed to be the rightful owners of the subject property, as earlier adjudged by the court in Civil
Case No. 11858 decided on June 12, 1961, and in Civil Case No. 15357 decided on August 8, 1978.
The Court, in these cases, cancelled the titles of the petitioner and his father Jose because they were obtained
through the misrepresentation of the petitioners grandfather, Isidro Campit. The respondents further contended that
they have long desired to divide the subject property among themselves, but the petitioner adamantly refused to
surrender his title to the property to them, or to the Register of Deeds, despite their formal demand.
Due to the petitioners continued refusal to surrender the subject TCT, the respondents filed anew an action for
annulment and cancellation of title. The petitioner opposed the respondents action and argued that the August 8,
1978 decision in Civil Case No. 15357, which declared his title null and void, could no longer be enforced because its
execution was already barred by the Statute of Limitations, as the said decision was never executed within 10 years
from July 19, 1979 - the date of finality of the judgment.
The CA affirmed the RTC and held that: Not being the true owner of the subject property, the subsequent
issuance of a certificate of title to the defendant-appellant does not vest him ownership over the subject land.
Registration of real property under the Torrens System does not create or vest title because it is not a mode of
acquiring ownership.
Issue: Whether or not the petitioners title to the subject property was cancelled.
SC: Yes.
The issue on the validity of the petitioners title to the subject property has long been settled in Civil Case No.
15357, where the court, in its decision dated August 8, 1978, which became final and executory on July 19, 1979, had
found and declared the petitioners title null and void by reason of fraud and misrepresentation. A matter adjudged
with finality by a competent court having jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter already constitutes res
judicata in another action involving the same cause of action, parties and subject matter.
The doctrine of res judicata provides that a final judgment on the merits rendered by a court of competent
jurisdiction, is conclusive as to the rights of the parties and their privies and constitutes as an absolute bar to
subsequent actions involving the same claim, demand, or cause of action. Thus, the validity of petitioners title, having
been settled with finality in Civil Case No. 15357, could no longer be reviewed in the present case.
The August 8, 1978 decision in Civil Case No. 15357, however, was not executed or enforced within the time
allowed under the law. Under Section 6, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, a final and executory judgment may be
executed by the prevailing party as a matter of right by mere motion within five (5) years from the entry of judgment,
failing which the judgment is reduced to a mere right of action which must be enforced by the institution of a
complaint in a regular court within ten (10) years from finality of the judgment.
It appears that no motion or action to revive judgment was ever filed by the respondents - the prevailing party
in Civil Case No. 15357, to execute and enforce the August 8, 1978 decision. The title to the subject property,
therefore, remained registered under the petitioners name. As the petitioner argued, his title had already become
incontrovertible since the Torrens system of land registration provides for the indefeasibility of the decree of
registration and the certificate of title issued upon the expiration of one (1) year from the date of entry of the
registration decree.
Petitioner, however, cannot be allowed to maintain his title and benefit from the fruit of his and his
predecessors fraudulent acts at the expense of the respondents who are the rightful owners of the
subject property. The Torrens system of registration cannot be used to protect a usurper from the true owner,
nor can it be used as a shield for the commission of fraud, or to permit one to enrich oneself at the
expense of others.
Notwithstanding the indefeasibility of the Torrens title, the registered owner can still be compelled under the
law to reconvey the property registered to the rightful owner16 under the principle that the property registered
is deemed to be held in trust for the real owner by the person in whose name it is registered. The party

seeking to recover title to property wrongfully registered in another persons name must file an action for
reconveyance within the allowed period of time.
General Rule: An action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten (10)
years from the issuance of the Torrens title over the property.
Exception: When the plaintiff is in possession of the subject property, the action, being in effect that of
quieting of title to the property, does not prescribe.
In the present case, the respondents, who are the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 18421 (the action for annulment
and cancellation of title filed in 2003), have always been in possession of the subject property. Petitioner never did
dispute the respondents' possession; neither did he even possess the land in question.
Therefore, considering that the action for annulment and cancellation of title filed by the respondents is
substantially in the nature of an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust, combined with the
fact that the respondents have always been in possession of the subject property, Civil Case No. 18421 was
treated as an action to quiet title, the filing of which does not prescribe. Accordingly, the respondents filing
of Civil Case No.18421 is proper and not barred by the time limitations set forth under the Rules of Court in
enforcing or executing a final and executory judgment.
Topic: Cause of Action for Quieting of Title
Ponente: MARIANO DEL CASTILLO
Residents of Lower Atab & Teachers' Village, Sto. Tomas Proper Barangay, Baguio City, Represented By
Beatrice T. Pulas, Cristina A. Lapp Ao. Michael Madiguid, Florencio Mabudyang And Fernando Dosalin vs.
Sta. Monica Industrial & Development Corporation
G.R. No.198878, October 15, 2014.
FACTS: Residents of Lower Atab & Teachers Village, Sto. Tomas Proper Barangay, Baguio City (Residents) filed a civil
case for quieting of title with damages against respondent Sta. Monica Industrial and Development Corporation (Sta.
Monica) with the RTC of Baguio City. Petitioners alleged that they are successors and transferees-in-interest of Torres,
the supposed owner of an unregistered parcel of land in Baguio City which Torres possessed and declared for tax
purposes in 1918; that Residents are in possession of the subject property in the concept of owner, declared their
respective lots and homes for tax purposes, and paid the real estate taxes thereon; that in May 2000, Sta.Monica
began to erect a fence on the subject property, claiming that it is the owner of a large portion thereof by virtue of a
Transfer Certificate of Title which is null and void, as it was derived from a void Original Certificate of title which was
declared void pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1271 (PD 1271) and in the decided case of Republic v. Marcos; and
the Transfer Certificate Title is a cloud upon their title and interests and should therefore be cancelled.
On the other hand, Sta. Monica claimed that Residents have no cause of action; that the Transfer Certificate
Title is a valid and subsisting title; that the case for quieting of title constitutes a collateral attack upon the title; and
that Residents have no title to the subject property and are mere illegal occupants thereof.
Residents acknowledged that while they declared their respective lots for tax purposes, they applied for the
purchase of the same through Townsite Sales applications with the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR).
The RTC ruled in favor of Sta. Monica. It held that the quieting of title case constituted a collateral attack upon
Sta. Monicas title which became indefeasible after one year from the entry of the decree of registration thereof. A
direct proceeding should have been filed by the State to annul it and to secure reversion of the land; petitioners have
no standing to do so through a quieting of title case. An appeal was made to CA, which affirmed RTCs decision.
ISSUE: Whether or not Residents have cause of action for quieting of title of Sta. Monica.
SC: No.
An action to quiet title will prosper, if the following indispensable requisites are present:

the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property subject of
the action; and

the deed, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title must be shown to be in
fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy.
"Legal title denotes registered ownership, while equitable title means beneficial ownership."
Beneficial ownership has been defined as ownership recognized by law and capable of being enforced in the
courts at the suit of the beneficial owner. Blacks Law Dictionary indicates that the term is used in two senses: first, to
indicate the interest of a beneficiary in trust property (also called "equitable ownership"); and second, to refer to the
power of a corporate shareholder to buy or sell the shares, though the shareholder is not registered in the
corporations books as the owner. It is distinguished from naked ownership, which is the enjoyment of all the
benefits and privileges of ownership, as against possession of the bare title to property.
Residents do not have legal or equitable title to the subject property. Evidently, there are no certificates of title
in their respective names. They acknowledged that they applied for the purchase of the property from the
government, through townsite sales applications coursed through the DENR. Thus, they admitted that they are not the
owners of the subject property; the same constitutes state or government land which they would like to acquire by
purchase. It would have been different if they were directly claiming the property as their own as a result of acquisitive
prescription, which would then give them the requisite equitable title. By stating that they were in the process of
applying to purchase the subject property from the government, they admitted that they had no such equitable title,
at the very least, which should allow them to prosecute a case for quieting of title.
Therefore, Residents recognize that legal and equitable title to the subject property lies in the
State. Thus, as to them, quieting of title is not an available remedy.
Lands within the Baguio Townsite Reservation are public land. Laws and decrees such as PD 1271 were passed

recognizing ownership acquired by individuals over portions of the Baguio Townsite Reservation, but evidently, those
who do not fall within the coverage of said laws and decrees the Residents included cannot claim ownership over
property falling within the said reservation. This explains why they have pending applications to purchase the portions
of the subject property which they occupy; they have no legal or equitable claim to the same, unless ownership by
acquisitive prescription is specifically authorized with respect to such lands, in which case they may prove their
adverse possession, if so.
Topic: Ejectment Suit
Ponente: Jose Mendoza
Mangaser, v. Ugay
G.R. No. 204926, December 03, 2014
Facts: Petitioner was the registered owner and possessor of a parcel of land situated in Santiago Sur, Caba, La Union,
with an area of 10,632 square meters and covered by OCT No. RP-174 (FP-13787) and Tax Declaration No. 014-00707.
On October 31, 2006, petitioner, discovered that respondent stealthy intruded and occupied a portion of his property
by constructing a residential house. He referred the matter to the Office of Lupong Tagapamayapa for conciliation, but
no settlement was reached, hence, a certification to file action was issued by the Lupon. Demand letters were sent to
respondent but he still refused to vacate the premises, thus, he was constrained to seek judicial remedy. Petitioner
filed a complaint for Forcible Entry with Damages.
Issue: Whether the action for forcible entry shall prosper.
SC: Yes.
For a forcible entry suit to prosper, the plaintiffs must allege and prove: (a) that they have prior physical
possession of the property; (b) that they were deprived of possession either by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or
stealth; and, (c) that the action was filed within one (1) year from the time the owners or legal possessors learned of
their deprivation of the physical possession of the property.
General Rule: The word "possession" in forcible entry suits indeed refers to nothing more than prior physical
possession or possession de facto, not possession de jure or legal possession in the sense contemplated in civil law.
Title is not the issue, and the absence of it "is not a ground for the courts to withhold relief from the parties in an
ejectment case."
Exception: The Court, however, has consistently ruled in a number of cases that while prior physical possession is an
indispensable requirement in forcible entry cases, the dearth of merit in respondent's position is evident from the
principle that possession can be acquired not only by material occupation, but also by the fact that a thing is subject to
the action of one's will or by the proper acts and legal formalities established for acquiring such right.
Jurisprudence also stresses this doctrine. Possession can be acquired by juridical acts. These are acts to which
the law gives the force of acts of possession. Examples of these are donations, succession, execution and registration
of public instruments, inscription of possessory information titles and the like. The reason for this exceptional rule is
that possession in the eyes of the law does not mean that a man has to have his feet on every square
meter of ground before it can be said that he is in possession. It is sufficient that petitioner was able to subject
the property to the action of his will. Here, respondent failed to show that he falls under any of these circumstances.
He could not even say that the subject property was leased to him except that he promised that he would vacate it if
petitioner would be able to show the boundaries of the titled lot.
In the case at bench, the Court finds that petitioner acquired possession of the subject property by juridical
act, specifically, through the issuance of a free patent under Commonwealth Act No. 141 and its subsequent
registration with the Register of Deeds on March 18, 1987.
First, the juridical act from which the right of ownership of petitioner arise would be the registration of the free
patent and the issuance of OCT No. RP-174(13789). Apparently, the Torrens title suggests ownership over the
land. Second, respondent also asserts ownership over the land based on his prior, actual, continuous, public,
notorious, exclusive and peaceful possession in the concept of an owner of the property in dispute. Because there are
conflicting claims of ownership, then it is proper to provisionally determine the issue of ownership to settle the issue of
possession de facto.
The Court cannot agree with the CA that petitioner's OCT No. RP-174(13789) and his tax declarations should
absolutely be disregarded. The issuance of an original certificate of title to the petitioner evidences ownership and
from it, a right to the possession of the property flows. Well-entrenched is the rule that a person who has a Torrens title
over the property is entitled to the possession thereof.
Moreover, his claim of possession is coupled with tax declarations. While tax declarations are not
conclusive proof of possession of a parcel of land, they are good indicia of possession in the concept of
an owner, for no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or
constructive possession. Together with the Torrens title, the tax declarations dated 1995 onwards presented by
petitioner strengthens his claim of possession over the land before his dispossession on October 31, 2006 by
respondent.
Topic: Requirements for the application for original registration of land based on a claim of open and
continuous possession of alienable and disposable lands of public domain [Section 14(1) of Presidential
Decree No. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree]
Ponente: Marvic Mario Victor Leonen
AFP Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS) v. Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No.180086

02 July 2014
Facts: On July 10, 1997, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS)
filed an application for original registration of parcels of land in Silang, Cavite. .The parcels of land were designated as
Lot Nos. 2969-A, 2969-B, and 2969-C, and had a total area of 48,151 square meters. These were allegedly acquired
from Narciso Ambrad, Alberto Tibayan, and Restituto Tibayan on March 13, 1997. It was also alleged that their
predecessors-ininterest had been in possession ofthe properties since June 12, 1945.
In a decision dated July 28, 2001,the Municipal Circuit Trial Court approved AFP-RSBSs application for original
registration. The Register of Deeds was directed to cause the registration of the properties in the name of AFP-RSBS.
The Republic of the Philippines moved for the reconsideration of the decision; however, the motion was denied.
Subsequently, the Republic appealed the decision and order of the trial court, alleging improper identification
of the properties, noncompliance with SC Administrative Circular No. 7-96 dated July 15, 1996 requiring that copies of
a list of lots applied for be furnished to the Bureau of Lands, non-submission of a tracing cloth plan, and lack of the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources certification showing that the properties were already declared
alienable and disposable at the time of possession by the predecessors-in-interest. The Court of Appeals reversed the
decision of the trial court and dismissed AFP-RSBSs application.
According to the Court of Appeals, the other requirements were complied with, but since Lot 2969 was
declared alienable and disposable only on March 15, 1982, the period of possession of the predecessors-in-interest
before that date should be excluded from the computation of the period of possession. Hence, AFPRSBSs and its
predecessors-in-interests possessions could not ripen into ownership.
The Court of Appeals also ruled that AFP-RSBS, as a private corporation or association, may not own alienable
lands of the public domain pursuant to Section 3, Article XII of the Constitution.
Issue: Whether or not the period of possession before the declaration that land is alienable and disposable agricultural
land should be excluded from the computation of the period of possession for purposes of original registration.
SC: No.
The period of possession prior to the declaration that land is alienable and disposable agricultural land is
included in the computation of possession for purposes of acquiring registration rights over a property if the land
has already been declared as such at the time of the application for registration.
The requirements for the application for original registration of land based on a claim of open and continuous
possession of alienable and disposable lands of public domain are provided in Section 14(1) of Presidential Decree No.
1529 or the Property Registration Decree. A similar provision can be found in Section 48 of Commonwealth Act No. 141
or Public Land Act.
Based on these provisions, an applicant for original registration based on a claim of exclusive and continuous
possession or occupation must show the existence of the following:
1) Open, continuous, exclusive,and notorious possession, by themselves or through their predecessorsin-interest, of land;
2) The land possessed or occupied musthave been declared alienable and disposable agricultural land of
public domain;
3) The possession or occupation was under a bona fide claim of ownership;
4) Possession dates back to June 12, 1945 or earlier.
Cited Jurisprudence - Principles:
Republic v. Naguit Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree should be interpreted to include
possession before the declaration of the lands alienability as long as at the time of the application for
registration, the land has already been declared part of the alienable and disposable agricultural public
lands. In that case, the absurdity that would result in interpreting Section 14(1)as requiring that the
alienability of public land should have already been established by June 12, 1945. Thus, the Court said in
Naguit:
"Besides, we are mindful of the absurdity that would result if we adopt petitioners position. Absent a
legislative amendment, the rule would be, adopting the OSGs view, that all lands of the public domain which were not
declared alienable or disposable before June 12, 1945 would not be susceptible to originalregistration, no matter the
length of unchallenged possession by the occupant. Such interpretation renders paragraph (1) of Section 14 virtually
inoperative and even precludes the government from giving it effect even as it decides to reclassify public agricultural
lands as alienable and disposable. The unreasonableness of the situation would even be aggravated considering that
before June 12, 1945, the Philippines was not yet even considered an independent state.
Instead, the more reasonable interpretation of Section 14(1) is that it merely requires the property sought tobe
registered as already alienable and disposable at the time the application for registration of title is filed. If the State, at
the time the application is made, has not yet deemed it proper to release the property for alienation ordisposition, the
presumption is that the government is still reserving the rightto utilize the property; hence, the need to preserve its
ownership in the State irrespective of the length of adverse possession even if in good faith. However, if the property
has already been classified as alienable and disposable, as it is in this case, then there is already an intention on the
part of the State to abdicate its exclusive prerogative over the property. "
This Naguit interpretation allows more possessors under a bona fide claim of ownership to avail ofjudicial
confirmation of their imperfect titles. This balancing fact is significant, especially considering our forthcoming
discussion on the scope and reach ofSection 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree.
There was no other legislative intent that could be associated with the date, June 12, 1945, as written in our
registration laws except that it qualifies the requisite period of possession and occupation. The law imposes no

requirement that land should have been declared alienable and disposable agricultural land as early as June
12, 1945 (Heirs of Malabanan, )
Therefore, what is important in computing the period of possession is that the land has already
been declared alienable and disposable at the time of the application for registration. Upon satisfaction
of this requirement, the computation of the period may include the period of adverse possession prior to
the declaration that land is alienable and disposable.
Persons are entitled to the registration of their titles upon satisfaction of all the requirements enumerated
under our laws. No presumption or doctrine in favor of state ownership candeprive them of their titles once all the
conditions are satisfied. Our Constitution contains no such limit upon our citizens or privilege upon the state. Neither
was this doctrine extended to our organic acts.
Respondent argued that "[s]ince the land subject of petitioners application for registration was classified
alienable and disposable only on March 15, 1982, it follows that petitioner could not have possessed the same in the
concept of owner, earlier than the said date."
Respondent is mistaken. Although adverse, open, continuous, and notorious possession in the concept of an
owner is a conclusion of law to be determined by courts, it has more to do with a persons belief in good faith that he
or she has just title to the property that he or she is occupying. It is unrelated to the declaration that land is alienable
or disposable. A possessor or occupant of property may, therefore, be a possessor in the concept of an owner prior to
the determination that the property is alienable and disposable agricultural land. His or her rights, however, are still to
be determined under the law.
Petitioners right to the original registration of titleover the property is, therefore, dependent on the existence
of:
a) a declaration that the land is alienable and disposable at the time ofthe application for registration,
and
b) open and continuous possession in the concept of an owner through itself or through its predecessorsin-interest since June 12, 1945 or earlier.
In this case, there is no dispute that the properties were already declared alienable and
disposable land on March 15, 1982. Hence, the property was already alienable and disposable at the time
of petitioners application for registration on July 10, 1997.
As to the required period of possession, petitioner was able to show that it, through itself or its predecessorsin-interest, has been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession before 1945 through testimonies and
documents.
Respondent argues that although petitioner is a government-owned and -controlled corporation, it cannot
acquire title through acquisitive prescription. This argument is unmeritorious. The type of corporation that
petitioner is has nothing to do with the grant of its application for original registration. Petitioner also
acquired title to the property under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree or Section 48(b) of the Public
Land Act, and not through acquisitive prescription.
If respondents argument stems from the Court of Appeals ruling that petitioner cannot acquire title to the
property because of Section 3, Article XII of the Constitution, which prohibits private corporations from acquiring public
land, respondent is, again, mistaken. The prohibition in Section 3, Article XII of the Constitution applies only
to private corporations. Petitioner is a government corporation organized under Presidential Decree No.
361, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1656.
Therefore, petitioner corporation is entitled to own such lots.
Topic: Property Registration Decree (Adverse Claim)
Ponente: Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen
Cathay Metal Corporation v. Laguna West Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc.
GR No. 172204
02 July 2014
Facts: Respondent Laguna West Multi-Purpose Cooperative is a cooperative recognized under Republic Act No. 6657 or
the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. It allegedly entered into a joint venture agreement with farmer-beneficiaries
through Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) in Silang, Cavite. While respondent was negotiating with the
farmer-beneficiaries, petitioner Cathay Metal Corporation entered into Irrevocable Exclusive Right to Buy (IERB)
contracts with the same farmer-beneficiaries. Under the IERB, the farmer-beneficiaries committed themselves to sell to
petitioner their agricultural properties upon conversion to industrial or commercial properties or upon expiration of the
period of prohibition from transferringtitle to the properties.
Thus, respondent caused the annotation of its adverse claim on the farmer-beneficiaries certificates of title.
Thereafter, the Department of Agrarian Reform issued an order converting the properties from agricultural to
mixed use.
Petitioner and the farmer-beneficiaries executed contracts of sale of the properties. Transfer certificates of
titlewere also issued in the name of petitioner in the same year. The annotations in the original titles were copied to
petitioner's titles.
Respondents Vice-President, Orlando dela Pea, sent two letters to petitioner, informing it of respondents
claim to the properties. Petitioner did not respond.

Rather, petitioner filed a consolidated petition for cancellation of adverse claims on its transfer certificates of
title. This petition was granted. The Register of Deeds of Cavite was ordered to cancel the annotations onthe
certificates of title.
The Regional Trial Court ordered the Register of Deeds to cancel the annotations on the transfer certificates of
title. It held that Section 70 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree declares that "an
adverse claim is effective [only]for a period of thirty (30) days and may be cancelled upon filing of a verified petition
after the lapse of this period." Since the 30-day period had already lapsed, the annotations were already the subject of
cancellation.
Issue: Whether or not respondent indeed legally has adverse claims.
SC: No.
Rights still under negotiations are not adverse claims.
The purpose of annotations of adverse claims on title is to apprise the whole world of the controversy involving
a property. These annotations protect the adverse claimant's rights before or during the pendency of a case involving a
property. It notifies third persons that rights that may be acquired with respect to a property are subject to the results
of the case involving it.
Section 70 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree governs adverse
claims. It describes an adverse claim as a statement in writing setting forth a subsequent right or interest claimed
involving the property, adverse to the registered owner. Thus:
Section 70. Adverse claim. Whoever claims any part or interest in registered land adverse to the registered owner,
arising subsequent to the date of the original registration, may, if no other provision is made in this Decree for
registering the same, make a statement in writing setting forth fully his alleged right or interest, and how or under
whom acquired, a reference to the number of the certificate of title of the registered owner, the name of the registered
owner, and a description of the land in which the right or interest is claimed.
The statement shall be signed and sworn to, and shall state the adverse claimants residence, and a place at which all
notices may be served upon him. This statement shall be entitled to registration as an adverse claim on the certificate
of title. The adverse claim shall be effective for a period of thirty days from the date of registration. After the lapse
ofsaid period, the annotation of adverse claim may be cancelled upon filing of a verified petition therefor by the party
in interest: Provided, however, that after cancellation, no second adverse claim based on the same ground shall be
registered by the same claimant.
Before the lapse of thirty days aforesaid, any party in interest may file a petition in the court of First Instance where
the land is situated for the cancellation of the adverse claim, and the court shall grant a speedy hearing upon the
question of the validity of such adverse claim, and shall render judgment as may be just and equitable. If the adverse
claim is adjudged to be invalid, the registration thereof shall be ordered cancelled. If, in any case, the court, after
notice and hearing, shall find that the adverse claim thus registered was frivolous, it may fine the claimant in an
amount not less than one thousand pesos nor more than five thousand pesos, in its discretion. Before the lapse of
thirty days, the claimant may withdraw his adverse claim by filing with the Register of Deeds a sworn petition to that
effect.
A claim based on a future right does not ripen into an adverse claim as defined in Section 70 of
Presidential Decree No. 1529. A right still subject to negotiations cannot be enforced against a title holder or against
one that has a legitimate title to the property based on possession, ownership, lien, or any valid deed of transfer.
Respondents claim was not based on any of those. Its claim was based on a deal with the CLOA
farmer-beneficiaries, which did not materialize.
Respondent alleged that had there been a trial, it could have "[p]resented documentary evidence that its
negotiation with the former landowners had earned for it part-ownership of the properties, or . . . the exclusive
authority to deal with potential buyers or developers."110 Respondent contradicts itself. For there to be a contract, there
must be a meeting of the minds between the parties. There could not have been any contract earning for respondent
part-ownership or any right since it was still undergoing negotiations with the farmer-beneficiaries. At that stage,
meeting of the minds was absent. The terms were not yet final.
Thus, no right or obligation could attach to the parties. In essence, parties cannot claim, much
less make an adverse claim of any right, from terms that are still under negotiations.
Topic: Property registration under P.D. 1529
Ponente: Peralta, J.
Republic v. Lualhati, GR No. 183511, March 25, 2015
Facts: On August 12, 2004, respondent Emeteria G. Lualhati filed with the RTC of Antipolo City an application for
original registration covering Lots 1 and 2 situated in C-5 C-6 Pasong Palanas, Sitio Sapinit, San Juan, Antipolo, Rizal,
consisting of an area of 169,297 and 79,488 square meters, respectively. Respondent essentially maintains that she,
together with her deceased husband, Andres Lualhati, and their four children have been in possession of the subject
lands in the concept of an owner since 1944.
In support of her application, respondent submitted both documentary evidence such as the blueprint of the survey
plan, tracing cloth plan, certified true copy of the surveyors certificate, technical descriptions of the lot, tax
declarations, real property tax register and certifications from the DENR and CENRO Antipolo City that no public land
application/land patent covering the subject lots is pending nor are the lots embraced by any administrative title, and
a letter from the Provincial Engineer that the province has no projects which will be affected by the registration.
Respondent also presented several witnesses to prove her claim. The first of which was respondent herself. She
testified that she and her late husband have been occupying the subject lots since 1944. The other witnesses
presented are: Juanito B. Allas (65 - year old son in law of the respondent), Aurelio Garcia (compadre of the
respindents husband), and Remigio Leyble (close friend of the respondent). All of them testified that the respondent

and her family own the lots in question; that the family has been planting crops on the said lots; that they know the
adjoining owners of the adjacent lot; and that they dont know of any person having interest adverse to that of the
respondents family.
On October 4, 2005, the RTC granted respondents application finding that she had been in open, public, continuous,
exclusive, adverse, and notorious possession and occupation of the lands for more than 50 years under a bona
fide claim of ownership even prior to June 12, 1945, as required under Section 14 (1) of Presidential Decree (PD) No.
1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree.
The CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC.
Hence, this petition.

Issues:
1. Did the respondent fail to prove the alienable and disposable character of the land applied for registration?
2. Did the respondent fail to prove possession over the property applied for registration in the concept of an
owner and within the period required by law?
Ruling:
1. YES.
Section 14 (1) of PD 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree provides that Those who by
themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of
ownership since June 12, 1945, or earlier may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration of
title to land, whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives.
Pursuant to the abovementioned provision, applicants for registration of title must prove that:
(1) the subject land forms part of the disposable and alienable lands of the public domain; and
(2) they, by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest, 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, or earlier.
Under the Regalian Doctrine, all lands of the public domain belong to the State, which is the source of any asserted
right to any ownership of land. All lands not appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong
to the State. Accordingly, public lands not shown to have been reclassified or released as alienable agricultural land,
or alienated to a private person by the State, remain part of the inalienable public domain. The burden of proof in
overcoming the presumption of State ownership of the lands of the public domain is on the person
applying for registration, who must prove that the land subject of the application is alienable or
disposable. To overcome this presumption, incontrovertible evidence must be presented to establish that the land
subject of the application is alienable or disposable.
Respondents reliance on the CENRO certifications is misplaced. In the oft-cited Republic v. T.A.N. Properties, it
has been held that it is not enough for the CENRO or the PENRO to certify that a certain parcel of land is alienable and
disposable.
DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2018 dated 30 May 1988, delineated the functions and authorities
of the offices within the DENR. Under DAO No. 20, series of 1988, the CENRO issues certificates of land
classification status for areas below 50 hectares. The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENRO)
issues certificate of land classification status for lands covering over 50 hectares. DAO No. 38, dated 19 April 1990,
amended DAO No. 20, series of 1988. DAO No. 38, series of 1990 retained the authority of the CENRO to issue
certificates of land classification status for areas below 50 hectares, as well as the authority of the PENRO to issue
certificates of land classification status for lands covering over 50 hectares. In this case, respondent applied for
registration of Lot 10705-B. The area covered by Lot 10705-B is over 50 hectares (564,007 square
meters). The CENRO certificate covered the entire Lot 10705 with an area of 596,116 square meters
which, as per DAO No. 38, series of 1990, is beyond the authority of the CENRO to certify as alienable
and disposable.
Further, it is not enough for the PENRO or CENRO to certify that a land is alienable and disposable. The
applicant for land registration must prove that the DENR Secretary had approved the land classification
and released the land of the public domain as alienable and disposable, and that the land subject of the
application for registration falls within the approved area per verification through survey by the PENRO
or CENRO. In addition, the applicant for land registration must present a copy of the original
classification approved by the DENR Secretary and certified as a true copy by the legal custodian of the
official records. These facts must be established to prove that the land is alienable and disposable.
Respondent failed to do so because the certifications presented by respondent do not, by themselves,
prove that the land is alienable and disposable.
The CENRO is not the official repository or legal custodian of the issuances of the DENR Secretary
declaring public lands as alienable and disposable. The CENRO should have attached an official
publication of the DENR Secretarys issuance declaring the land alienable and disposable.

Thus, as it now stands, an application for original registration must be accompanied by:
(1) CENRO or PENRO certification; and
(2) a copy of the original classification approved by the DENR Secretary and certified as a true copy by the
legal custodian of the official records, in order to establish that the land is indeed alienable and disposable.
Here, respondent failed to establish, by the required evidence, that the land sought to be registered has
been classified as alienable or disposable land of the public domain.
2.
YES
The testimonies of respondent and her close friend, Remigio Leyble, insofar as they allege possession of the subject
properties since 1944, fail to convince. The tax declaration submitted by respondent dates back only to the year
1947. In fact, as the records reveal, said tax declaration is the oldest piece of documentary evidence submitted in
support of the application. Hence, at best, the same can only prove possession since 1947. Other than the bare
allegations of respondent and her witness, as well as the 1947 tax declaration, respondent did not present any other
proof to substantiate her claim of possession beginning in 1944. Neither did she provide any explanation as to why, if
she has truly been occupying the properties as early as 1994, it was only in 1947 that she sought to declare the same
for purposes of taxation.
In addition to this, the real property tax register presented by respondent evidenced payment of realty taxes only from
1949 up to 1958. Consequently, this Court cannot concede to respondents assertion that she had been adversely
possessing the properties beginning in 1944 up until the filing of her complaint in 2004, or for a duration of sixty full
years, when the evidence presented depicts payment of taxes for only nine years. Payment of realty taxes for a brief
and fleeting period simply cannot be considered sufficient proof of ownership. It is clear, therefore, that respondents
assertion of possession before 1945 will not suffice for applicants for registration must present proof of specific acts of
possession and ownership and cannot just offer general statements which are mere conclusions of law rather than
factual evidence of possession.
Furthermore, it bears stressing that tax declarations and receipts are not conclusive evidence of ownership or of the
right to possess land when not supported by any other evidence. The disputed property may have been declared for
taxation purposes in the names of the applicants for registration, or of their predecessors-in-interest, but it does not
necessarily prove ownership. They are merely indicia of a claim of ownership.
Moreover, as petitioner aptly points out, respondent failed to provide any other proof of acts of dominion over the
subject land other than the fact that she, together with her husband and children, planted fruit-bearing trees and
constructed their home thereon considering the vastness of the same.
The law requires open, exclusive, continuous and notorious possession by petitioners and their
predecessors-in-interest, under a bona fide claim of ownership, since June 12, 1945 or earlier. Thus, it is
imperative for applicants for registration of property to prove, by sufficient evidence, each requisite
character and period of possession and occupation for the failure to do so will necessarily prevent the
land from being considered ipso jure converted into private property even upon the subsequent
declaration of the same as alienable and disposable.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Decision and Resolution dated March 31,
2008 and June 18, 2008, respectively, of the Court Appeals which affirmed the Decision dated October 4, 2005 of the
Regional Trial Court in LRC Case No. 04-3340 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Action for quieting of title; trial court had no jurisdiction to determine who among the parties have better right over the
disputed property which is admittedly still part of the public domain. Having established that the disputed property is
public land, the trial court was therefore correct in dismissing the complaint to quiet title for lack of jurisdiction. The
trial court had no jurisdiction to determine who among the parties have better right over the disputed property which
is admittedly still part of the public domain. As held in Dajunos v. Tandayag (G.R. Nos. L-32651-52, 31 August 1971, 40
SCRA 449):
x x x The Tarucs action was for quieting of title and necessitated determination of the respective rights of the
litigants, both claimants to a free patent title, over a piece of property, admittedly public land. The law, administration,
disposition and alienation of public lands with the Director of Lands subject, of course, to the control of the Secretary of
Agriculture and Natural Resources.
In sum, the decision rendered in Civil Case No. 1218 on October 28, 1968 is a patent nullity. The lower court did not
have power to determine who (the Firmalos or the Tarucs) were entitled to an award of free patent title over that piece
of property that yet belonged to the public domain. Neither did it have power to adjudge the Tarucs as entitled to the
true equitable ownership thereof, the latters effect being the same: the exclusion of the Firmalos in favor of the
Tarucs. Heirs of Pacifico Pocido, et al. v. Arsenia Avila and Emelinda Chua, G.R. No. 199146, March 19, 2014.
Action for quieting of title. In an action for quieting of title, the complainant is seeking for an adjudication that a claim
of title or interest in property adverse to the claimant is invalid, to free him from the danger of hostile claim, and to

remove a cloud upon or quiet title to land where stale or unenforceable claims or demands exist. Heirs of Pacifico
Pocido, et al. v. Arsenia Avila and Emelinda Chua, G.R. No. 199146, March 19, 2014.
Action for quieting of title; two indispensable requisites. Under Articles 476 and 477 of the Civil Code, the two
indispensable requisites in an action to quiet title are: (1) that the plaintiff has a legal or equitable title to or interest in
the real property subject of the action; and (2) that there is a cloud on his title by reason of any instrument, record,
deed, claim, encumbrance or proceeding, which must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima
facie appearance of validity. Heirs of Pacifico Pocido, et al. v. Arsenia Avila and Emelinda Chua, G.R. No. 199146, March
19, 2014.
Land registration; Classification of land; evidence of a positive act from the government reclassifying the lot as
alienable and disposable agricultural land of the public domain. Accordingly, jurisprudence has required that an
applicant for registration of title acquired through a public land grant must present incontrovertible evidence that the
land subject of the application is alienable or disposable by establishing the existence of a positive act of the
government, such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order; an administrative action; investigation reports
of Bureau of Lands investigators; and a legislative act or a statute. Sps. Antonio Fortuna and Erlinda Fortuna v.
Republic of the Philippines,G.R. No. 173423, March 5, 2014.
Land registration; Classification of land; Executive prerogative.Under Section 6 of the Public Land Act, the classification
and the reclassification of public lands are the prerogative of the Executive Department. The President, through a
presidential proclamation or executive order, can classify or reclassify a land to be included or excluded from the
public domain. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary is likewise empowered by law to
approve a land classification and declare such land as alienable and disposable. Sps. Antonio Fortuna and Erlinda
Fortuna v. Republic of the Philippines,G.R. No. 173423, March 5, 2014.
Land registration; it is essential for any applicant for registration of title to land derived through a public grant to
establish foremost the alienable and disposable nature of the land. The Constitution declares that all lands of the
public domain are owned by the State. Of the four classes of public land,i.e., agricultural lands, forest or timber lands,
mineral lands, and national parks, only agricultural lands may be alienated. Public land that has not been classified as
alienable agricultural land remains part of the inalienable public domain. Thus, it is essential for any applicant for
registration of title toland derived through a public grant to establish foremost the alienableand
disposable nature of the land. The Public Land Act provisions on the grant and disposition of alienable public lands,
specifically, Sections 11 and 48(b), will find application only from the time that a public land has been classified as
agricultural and declared as alienable and disposable. Sps. Antonio Fortuna and Erlinda Fortuna v. Republic of the
Philippines,G.R. No. 173423, March 5, 2014.
Land registration; Judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title; cut-off date for applications. As mentioned, the
Public Land Act is the law that governs the grant and disposition of alienable agricultural lands. Under Section 11 of
the PLA, alienable lands of the public domain may be disposed of, among others, by judicial confirmation of
imperfect or incomplete title. This mode of acquisition of title is governed by Section 48(b) of the PLA, the original
version of which states:
Sec. 48. The following-described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own
any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply to the Court
of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a
certificate of title therefor, under the Land Registration Act, to wit:
xxxx
(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and
notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition
or ownership, except as against the Government, since July twenty-sixth, eighteen hundred and ninety-four,
except when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the
conditions essential to a government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this
chapter. [emphasis supplied]
On June 22, 1957, the cut-off date of July 26, 1894 was replaced by a 30-year period of possession under RA No. 1942.
Section 48(b) of the PLA, as amended by RA No. 1942, read:
(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and
notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition
of ownership, for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title,
except when prevented by war or force majeure.
On January 25, 1977, PD No. 1073 replaced the 30-year period of possession by requiring possession since June 12,
1945. Section 4 of PD No. 1073 reads:
SEC. 4. The provisions of Section 48(b) and Section 48(c), Chapter VIII of the Public Land Act are hereby amended in
the sense that these provisions shall apply only to alienable and disposable lands of the public domain which have
been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation by the applicant himself or thru his
predecessor-in-interest, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, since June 12, 1945.
Under the P.D. No. 1073 amendment, possession of at least 32 years from 1945 up to its enactment in 1977 is
required. This effectively impairs the vested rights of applicants who had complied with the 30-year possession
required under the RA No. 1942 amendment, but whose possession commenced only after the cut-off date of June 12,
1945 was established by the PD No. 1073 amendment. To remedy this, the Court ruled in Abejaron v. Nabasa that
Filipino citizens who by themselves or their predecessors-in-interest have been, prior to the effectivity of P.D.

1073on January 25, 1977, in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural
lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, for at least 30 years, or atleast
since January 24, 1947 may apply for judicial confirmation of their imperfect or incomplete title under Sec. 48(b) of
the [PLA]. January 24,1947 was considered as the cut off date as this was exactly 30 yearscounted
backward from January 25, 1977 the effectivity date of PDNo. 1073.
It appears, however, that January 25, 1977 was the date PD No. 1073 was enacted; based on the certification
from the National PrintingOffice, PD No. 1073 was published in Vol. 73, No. 19 of the Official Gazette, months
later than its enactment or on May 9, 1977. Thisuncontroverted fact materially affects the cut-off date for
applications forjudicial confirmation of incomplete title under Section 48(b) of the PLA.Although Section 6 of PD No.
1073 states that [the] Decree shalltake effect upon its promulgation, the Court has declared in Taada, et al.v. Hon.
Tuvera, etc., et al. that the publication of laws is an indispensablerequirement for its effectivity. [A]ll statutes,
including those of localapplication and private laws, shall be published as a condition for theireffectivity, which shall
begin fifteen days after publication unless a differenteffectivity date is fixed by the legislature. Accordingly, Section 6
of PDNo. 1073 should be understood to mean that the decree took effect onlyupon its publication, or on May 9, 1977.
This, therefore, moves the cut-off date for applications for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete
title under Section 48(b) of the PLA to May 8, 1947. In otherwords, applicants must prove that they have
been in open, continuous,exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands ofthe
public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership,for at least 30 years, or at least since
May 8, 1947. Sps. Antonio Fortuna and Erlinda Fortuna v. Republic of the Philippines,G.R. No. 173423, March 5, 2014.
Land registration; Possession; as a requirement for the application for registration of title.Notably, Section 48(b) of the
PLA speaks of possession and occupation. Since these words are separated by the conjunction and, the clear
intention of the law is not to make one synonymous with the other. Possession is broader than occupation because it
includes constructive possession. When, therefore, the law adds the word occupation, it seeks to delimit the allencompassing effect of constructive possession. Taken together with the words open, continuous, exclusive and
notorious, the wordoccupation serves to highlight the fact that for an applicant to qualify, his possession must not be a
mere fiction. Nothing in Tax Declaration No. 8366 shows that Pastora exercised acts of possession and occupation
such as cultivation of or fencing off the land. Indeed, the lot was described as cogonal. Sps. Antonio Fortuna and
Erlinda Fortuna v. Republic of the Philippines,G.R. No. 173423, March 5, 2014.
Public Land Act; Sec 48(b), as amended by P.D. 1073; requirements for judicial confirmation of title.The requirements
for judicial confirmation of imperfect title are found in Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as amended by Presidential
Decree No. 1073, as follows:
Sec. 48. The following described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own
any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply to the Court
of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a
certificate of title therefor, under the Land Registration Act, to wit:
xxxx
(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in the open, continuous, exclusive,
and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain, under a bona fide
claim of acquisition or ownership, since June 12, 1945, or earlier, immediately preceding the filing of the application for
confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have
performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the
provisions of this chapter.
Republic of the Philippines represented by Aklan National Colleges of Fisheries (ANCF) and Dr. Elenita R. Adrade, in her
capacity as ANCF Superintendent v. Heirs of Maxima Lachica Sin, namely: Salvacion L. Sin, Rosario S. Enriquez,
Francisco L. Sin, Maria S. Yuchintat, Manuel L. Sin, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Ramon L. Sin, and Ceferina S. Vita,G.R. No.
157485, March 26, 2014.
Regalian Doctrine; all lands of the public domain belong to the State and that lands not appearing to be clearly within
private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. As this Court held in the fairly recent case of Valiao v. Republic
(G.R. No. 170757, November 28, 2011,): Under the Regalian doctrine, which is embodied in our Constitution, all lands
of the public domain belong to the State, which is the source of any asserted right to any ownership of land. All lands
not appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. Accordingly, public lands not
shown to have been reclassified or released as alienable agricultural land or alienated to a private person by the State
remain part of the inalienable public domain. Unless public land is shown to have been reclassified as alienable or
disposable to a private person by the State, it remains part of the inalienable public domain. Property of the public
domain is beyond the commerce of man and not susceptible of private appropriation and acquisitive prescription.
Occupation thereof in the concept of owner no matter how long cannot ripen into ownership and be registered as a
title. The burden of proof in overcoming the presumption of State ownership of the lands of the public domain is on the
person applying for registration (or claiming ownership), who must prove that the land subject of the application is
alienable or disposable. To overcome this presumption, incontrovertible evidence must be established that the land
subject of the application (or claim) is alienable or disposable. Republic of the Philippines represented by Aklan
National Colleges of Fisheries (ANCF) and Dr. Elenita R. Adrade, in her capacity as ANCF Superintendent v. Heirs of
Maxima Lachica Sin, namely: Salvacion L. Sin, Rosario S. Enriquez, Francisco L. Sin, Maria S. Yuchintat, Manuel L. Sin,
Jaime Cardinal Sin, Ramon L. Sin, and Ceferina S. Vita, G.R. No. 157485, March 26, 2014.
Public Land Act; two requisites for judicial confirmation of title. The two requisites for judicial confirmation of imperfect
or incomplete title under CA No. 141, namely: (1) open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and

occupation of the subject land by himself or through his predecessors-in-interest under a bona fide claim of ownership
since time immemorial or from June 12, 1945; and (2) the classification of the land as alienable and disposable land of
the public domain. Republic of the Philippines represented by Aklan National Colleges of Fisheries (ANCF) and Dr.
Elenita R. Adrade, in her capacity as ANCF Superintendent v. Heirs of Maxima Lachica Sin, namely: Salvacion L. Sin,
Rosario S. Enriquez, Francisco L. Sin, Maria S. Yuchintat, Manuel L. Sin, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Ramon L. Sin, and Ceferina
S. Vita, G.R. No. 157485, March 26, 2014.
Regalian Doctrine; failure of Republic to show competent evidence that the subject land was declared a timberland
before its formal classification as such in 1960 does not lead to the presumption that said land was alienable and
disposable prior to said date. Accordingly, in the case at bar, the failure of petitioner Republic to show competent
evidence that the subject land was declared a timberland before its formal classification as such in 1960 does
not lead to the presumption that said land was alienable and disposable prior to said date. On the contrary, the
presumption is that unclassified lands are inalienable public lands. It is therefore the respondents which have the
burden to identify a positive act of the government, such as an official proclamation, declassifying inalienable public
land into disposable land for agricultural or other purposes. Since respondents failed to do so, the alleged possession
by them and by their predecessors-in-interest is inconsequential and could never ripen into ownership. Republic of the
Philippines represented by Aklan National Colleges of Fisheries (ANCF) and Dr. Elenita R. Adrade, in her capacity as
ANCF Superintendent v. Heirs of Maxima Lachica Sin, namely: Salvacion L. Sin, Rosario S. Enriquez, Francisco L. Sin,
Maria S. Yuchintat, Manuel L. Sin, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Ramon L. Sin, and Ceferina S. Vita, G.R. No. 157485, March 26,
2014.