EN

BANC

[G.R.

No.

L-16761.

October

31,

1964.]

JOHN M. MILLER and EMILIO ESPINOSA, JR., applicants-appellees, v. THE DIRECTOR
OF LANDS, ET AL., oppositors; ANSELMO IRENEA, ARTURO DE LA CRUZ, DOMINADOR
MANGCAO, LUCAS FRANCISCO, CIPRIANO SEQUILLO, PEDRO TAGALOG, PONCIANO
GARCIA,
RODOLFO
DE
DIOS,
ET
AL.,
private
oppositors-appellants.
A.P.

Mayor

&

C.P.

Mayor

for

private

oppositors-appellants.

E. Espinosa, Jr. & J. Ma. Francisco for applicants-appellees.
SYLLABUS
1. LAND REGISTRATION; REQUIREMENT OF VERIFYING OPPOSITION; WAIVED BY
APPLICANTS’ PROCEEDING WITH TRIAL WITHOUT OBJECTION. — Where the applicants
for registration of land proceeded with the trial, presented evidence and rested their case,
without objecting to the unverified oppositions, and only after the first witness of the private
oppositors had testified and applicants’ counsel had cross- examined him, was lack of
verification brought up, it is held that the applicants had failed to invoke the requirement of
verification under Sec. 34 of Art 496 seasonably, and that by that time the applicants had waived
the
said
defect.
2. ID.; ID.; UNVERIFIED OPPOSITIONS SUFFICIENT TO CONFER STANDING IN COURT. —
Unverified oppositions in land registration proceedings are sufficient to confer standing in court
to oppositors, who may be allowed to verify their oppositions, especially where said defect is
deemed waived by the applicants’ failure to invoke said requirement seasonably.
DECISION
BENGZON, J.P., J.:
A parcel of land in Tigbao, Milagros, Masbate which after survey, appeared to contain 411
hectares as per plan PSU-143798 was applied for registration in the Court of First Instance of
Masbate on June 18, 1956 by John M. Miller and Emilio Espinosa, Jr.
After notice and publication, initial hearing was held on June 20, 1957. The Director of Lands
and Bureau of Public Highways filed written oppositions. Thirty-five individuals appeared and
expressed verbal oppositions. All persons, except the abovementioned oppositors, were
declared
in
default
on
July
8,
1957.
On July 24, 1958 applicants started presenting evidence and the private oppositors were given
five days to file written opposition (Tsn., p. 5). Of the 35 oppositors 28 filed written but unverified
opposition on July 29, 1958. On August 20, 1958 applicants finished adducing evidence and
rested
their
case.

On August 27, 1958 the private oppositors presented their first witness. After his crossexamination, counsel for applicants called the court’s attention to the lack of verification in the
opposition filed by the private oppositors and moved to dismiss the same.
The private oppositors offered to verify their opposition. After parties had filed memoranda, the
court issued an order on January 13, 1959 dismissing the unverified opposition, without
pronouncement as to costs (Rec. on App., p. 26). Motion for reconsideration was denied by
order dated November 18, 1959. The private oppositors have appealed from both orders.
The requirement of verifying oppositions in land registration proceedings is based on Sec. 34 of
Act
496

"Any person claiming an interest, whether named in the notice or not, may appear and file an
answer on or before the return day, or within such further time as may be allowed by the court.
The answer shall state all the objections to the application, and shall set forth the interest
claimed by the party filing the same and apply for the remedy desired, and shall be signed and
sworn to by him or by some person in his behalf."cralaw virtua1aw library
Applicants failed to invoke this provision seasonably. Without objecting to the unverified
opposition, they proceeded with the trial, presented evidence and rested their case. Only after
the first witness of the private oppositors had testified and applicants’ counsel had crossexamined him, was the defect of lack of verification brought up. By that time, applicants had
waived
the
defect

"An objection to A want of verification must be seasonably made. . . . The objection must be
taken before trial . . . The question cannot properly be raised by an objection to the introduction
of evidence.
x

x

x

"Lack of, or defect in the verification of a pleading may be waived by the adverse party’s failure
to make a proper and timely objection thereto . . . Where a party proceeds with the case as
though his adversary’s pleading were verified, he waives the lack of verification of such
pleading.
x

x

x

"The act of . . . proceeding to trial on the merits without objection, is generally a waiver of all
uncertainties, ambiguities, irregularities, formal defects, or faults or defects of any kind in the
pleadings of the adverse party.
x

x

x

"By . . . going to trial without objection, . . . a party may waive the right to urge that his
adversary’s pleading is not subscribed or verified . . ." (46 G. J. S. 1120, 1129, 1133, 1137.)
Applicants contend that the defect could not be waived because it resulted in the private

oppositors’

lack

of

standing

in

the

case

from

the

start.

This Court has already held unverified oppositions sufficient to confer standing in court to
oppositors. In Malagum v. Pablo, 46 Phil. 19, a written opposition not made under oath was
dismissed by the lower court. When oppositors sought from this Court mandamus to have their
opposition reinstated, this Court denied the same for the reason that petitioners "had appeared
in the case, had therefore standing in court, and the order excluding their answer was in effect a
final determination of their rights" so that appeal and not mandamus was their proper remedy.
In Nicolas v. Director of Lands and Camungao, L-19147-8, December 28, 1963, the lower court
dismissed a petition for review of its judgment adjudicating the land to an applicant, filed by an
oppositor who was not notified of the hearing, for the reason that —
"In the first place, the opposition filed by him was not a valid opposition because it was not
sworn to as required by the Land Registration Act. It was simply a written appearance. In other
words, he failed to file his answer in due form."cralaw virtua1aw library
On

appeal

this

Court

held

"The written appearance with opposition presented by petitioner herein, on November 7, 1951
(R.A.) was a valid one, and sufficient to give him legal standing in court and would entitle him to
notice, as a matter of right. The lower court erred in choosing to ignore the written appearance
with opposition, which was a substantial compliance with the law, that requires a formal
answer."cralaw
virtua1aw
library
For purposes of record, the private oppositors should be allowed, as they had requested, to
verify their opposition because, in any event, the supposed defect is deemed waived.
WHEREFORE, the orders appealed from are set aside and the case is remanded to the court a
quo
for
further
proceeding,
without
cots.
So
ordered.
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon, Regala,
Makalintal and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.

N...: The Case Before the Court is a petition for review [1] assailing the 21 August 2002 Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.. CV No... Chairperson. with an area of 564.. Sto. CARPIO... covering Lot 10705-B of the subdivision plan Csd-04-019741 which is a portion of the consolidated Lot 10705. is located at San Bartolome... Inc. G.4007 hectares..CORONA..... Tomas Cadastre. 66658.versus . Properties...... Batangas. 154953 Petitioner. . Sto.. Cad-424.. 2008 x...N. or 56...x DECISION CARPIO..A.REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES..J.. . No..... PROPERTIES... The Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the 16 December 1999 Decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court of Tanauan... J. T.. The Antecedent Facts This case originated from an Application for Original Registration of Title filed by T. Tomas. INC.007 square meters. The land.R..... JJ.R. Promulgated: Respondent. Batangas. June 26..... Branch 6 (trial court) in Land Registration Case No. C.. T-635..... AZCUNA. Present: PUNO.. and LEONARDO-DE CASTRO.A.

and continuous possession of the land in the concept of an owner since 1942.[4] and in the 18 October 1999 issue of Peoples Journal Taliba. the trial court set the case for initial hearing at 9:30 a. During the hearing on 19 November 1999. a 72-year old resident of San Bartolome. pages 6793 to 6794. respondent presented three witnesses: Anthony Dimayuga Torres (Torres). Records Officer II of the Land Registration Authority (LRA). on 11 November 1999. Tomas. Sto. and Regalado Marquez. Batangas since birth. Upon his . During the hearings conducted on 13 and 14 December 1999. adverse. 38. 20 September 1999 issue. [9] Carandang failed to file his written opposition and to appear in the succeeding hearings. Quezon City. Batangas.m. Volume 95. The trial court gave Carandang until 29 November 1999 within which to file his written opposition. The Notice of Initial Hearing was published in the Official Gazette.On 31 August 1999. No. Primitivo Evangelista (Evangelista). In an Order[10] dated 13 December 1999. there was no oppositor other than the Opposition dated 7 October 1999 of the Republic of the Philippines represented by the Director of Lands (petitioner). Tomas. respondents Operations Manager and its authorized representative in the case. open. On 15 November 1999. the trial court reinstated the Order of General Default.[6]All adjoining owners and all government agencies and offices concerned were notified of the initial hearing. when the trial court called the case for initial hearing. as well as in a conspicuous place on the land.[5] a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. the trial court issued an Order[8] of General Default against the whole world except as against petitioner. [7] On 11 November 1999. The Notice of Initial Hearing was also posted in a conspicuous place on the bulletin board of the Municipal Building of Sto. Ceferino Carandang (Carandang) appeared as oppositor. The testimonies of respondents witnesses showed that Prospero Dimayuga (Kabesang Puroy) had peaceful.

N. Province of Batangas. Properties. identical toLot 13637. Inc. Hence. in favor of and in the name of T. 8737 Paseo de Roxas. Prospero Dimayuga (Porting). Once this Decision shall have become final.A. The Ruling of the Trial Court In its 16 December 1999 Decision. situated in Barangay of San Bartolome. Antonio executed a Partial Revocation of Donation. let the corresponding decree of registration be issued. the Court hereby adjudicates and decrees Lot 10705-B. The trial court ruled that the facts showed that respondents predecessors-in-interest possessed the land in the concept of an owner prior to 12 June 1945. however. and upon previous confirmation of the Order of General Default. Antonio executed a Deed of Donation covering the land in favor of one of his children.. Later.007 square meters. Makati City. On 27 September 1960. Municipality of Sto. . Tomas.death. which possession converted the land to private property. PDCP Bank Building. on plan Csd-04-019741. Sto. the trial court adjudicated the land in favor of respondent. and the land was adjudicated to one of Antonios children. Antonio gave Fortunato another piece of land. Porting sold the land to respondent. with an area of 564. The trial court ruled that a juridical person or a corporation could apply for registration of land provided such entity and its predecessors-in-interest have possessed the land for 30 years or more. Cad-424. a domestic corporation duly organized and existing under Philippine laws with principal office at 19 th Floor. Kabesang Puroy was succeeded by his son Antonio Dimayuga (Antonio). on 26 April 1961. Tomas Cadastre. The dispositive portion of the trial courts Decision reads: WHEREFORE. Fortunato Dimayuga (Fortunato).[11] On 8 August 1997.

[12] Petitioner appealed from the trial courts Decision. On Evangelistas failure to mention the name of his uncle who continuously worked on the land. The Court of Appeals further ruled that the events regarding the acquisition and disposition of the land became public knowledge because San Bartolome was a small community.SO ORDERED. Petitioner alleged that the testimonies of Evangelista and Torres are general in nature. the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the trial courts Decision. The Court of Appeals ruled that Evangelistas knowledge of the possession and occupation of the land stemmed not only from the fact that he worked there for three years but also because he and Kabesang Puroy were practically neighbors. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals In its 21 August 2002 Decision. the Court of Appeals ruled that Evangelista should not be faulted as he was not asked to name his uncle when he testified. On the matter of additional witnesses. but this did not affect Evangelistas statement that Fortunato took over the possession and cultivation of the land after Kabesang Puroys death. The Court of Appeals further ruled that Torres was a competent witness since he was only testifying on the fact that he had caused the filing of the . petitioner argued that additional witnesses should have been presented to corroborate Evangelistas testimony. Petitioner alleged that the trial court erred in granting the application for registration absent clear evidence that the applicant and its predecessors-in-interest have complied with the period of possession and occupation as required by law. The Court of Appeals also ruled that at the outset. Considering the area involved. the Court of Appeals ruled that petitioner failed to cite any law requiring the corroboration of the sole witness testimony. Evangelista disclaimed knowledge of Fortunatos relation to Kabesang Puroy.

The Ruling of this Court The petition has merit. Respondent Failed to Prove that the Land is Alienable and Disposable . exclusive. exclusive. Petitioner raises the following grounds in its Memorandum: The Court of Appeals erred on a question of law in allowing the grant of title to applicant corporation despite the following: 1. Disqualification of applicant corporation to acquire the subject tract of land. Whether the land is alienable and disposable. continuous. 2.[13] The Issues The issues may be summarized as follows: 1. Petitioner comes to this Court assailing the Court of Appeals Decision. and 2. and 3. Whether respondent or its predecessors-in-interest had open. and notorious possession and occupation of the land in the concept of an owner since June 1945 or earlier. and notorious possession and occupation in the concept of an owner since 12 June 1945 or earlier. Whether respondent is qualified to apply for registration of the land under the Public Land Act. continuous. Absence of showing that it or its predecessors-ininterest had open.application for registration and that respondent acquired the land from Porting.

[20] In this case. respondent submitted two certifications issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). series of 1990 retained the authority of the CENRO to issue certificates of land classification status for areas below 50 hectares. 1925 per LC No.[19] dated 19 April 1990. amended DAO No. [14] The onus to overturn. DAO No.[15] In this case. Cad-424. Sto. The well-entrenched rule is that all lands not appearing to be clearly of private dominion presumably belong to the State. Under DAO No. 582. the CENRO issues certificates of land classification status for areas below 50 hectares. The second certification[17] in the form of a memorandum to the trial court. 38.[16] certified that lot 10705. The certifications are not sufficient. Petitioner insists that respondent failed to prove that the land is no longer part of the public domain. Forest Management Services of the DENR (FMS-DENR). series of 1988. Sto. 582 certified [on] 31 December 1925. . The 3 June 1997 Certification by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENRO). Tomas Cadastre situated at Barangay San Bartolome. which was issued by the Regional Technical Director. DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 20. 31. Batangas certified on Dec. Land Classification Map No. stated that the subject area falls within an alienable and disposable land.Petitioner argues that anyone who applies for registration has the burden of overcoming the presumption that the land forms part of the public domain. 38. Tomas. 20. Tomas. Batangas with an area of 596. delineated the functions and authorities of the offices within the DENR. series of 1988.[18] dated 30 May 1988.116 square meters falls within the ALIENABLE AND DISPOSABLE ZONE under Project No. by incontrovertible evidence. Project No. The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENRO) issues certificate of land classification status for lands covering over 50 hectares. the presumption that the land subject of an application for registration is alienable and disposable rests with the applicant. DAO No. Batangas City. 20. as well as the authority of the PENRO to issue certificates of land classification status for lands covering over 50 hectares. 30. 30 of Sto.

FMS-DENR: 1. 2. 2. 3. in the form of a memorandum to the trial court. and lumber dealers. 38. The CENRO certificate covered the entire Lot 10705 with an area of 596. Further. 20.116 square meters which. Approves renewal of resaw/mini-sawmill permits. 3. has no probative value. The area covered by Lot 10705-B is over 50 hectares (564. Approves renewal of special use permits covering over five hectares for public infrastructure projects. and piles and lumber dealers. FMSDENR.007 square meters). FMS-DENR: 1. is beyond the authority of the CENRO to certify as alienable and disposable. Issues renewal of certificate of registration for logs. Under DAO No. Hence. as per DAO No. Issues original and renewal of ordinary minor products (OM) permits except rattan. it is not enough for the PENRO or CENRO to certify that a land is alienable and disposable. FMS-DENR. and 5. series of 1990. The applicant for land registration must prove that the DENR Secretary had approved the land classification and released . 38. 20 and 38 to issue certificates of land classification. and 4. the Regional Technical Director. poles. Approves renewal of resaw/mini-sawmill permits. Approves original and renewal of special use permits covering over five hectares for public infrastructure projects. poles. 4. the Regional Technical Director. Issues public gratuitous permits for 20 to 50 cubic meters within calamity declared areas for public infrastructure projects. piles. the certification issued by the Regional Technical Director. has no authority under DAO Nos. Issues original and renewal of ordinary minor [products] (OM) permits except rattan. Under DAO No.respondent applied for registration of Lot 10705-B. Issues renewal of certificates of registration for logs. The Regional Technical Director.

Respondent failed to do so because the certifications presented by respondent do not.the land of the public domain as alienable and disposable. official bodies and tribunals. (b) Documents acknowledged before a notary public except last wills and testaments. and (c) Public records. or by his deputy x x x. and that the land subject of the application for registration falls within the approved area per verification through survey by the PENRO or CENRO. whether of the Philippines. identified the certifications submitted by respondent. Applying Section 24 of Rule 132. or of a foreign country. These facts must be established to prove that the land is alienable and disposable. Only Torres. kept in the Philippines. prove that the land is alienable and disposable. The trial court should not have accepted the contents of the certifications as proof of the facts stated therein. by themselves. The government officials who issued the certifications were not presented before the trial court to testify on their contents. The CENRO is not . respondents Operations Manager. Rule 132 of the Revised Rules on Evidence as follows: (a) The written official acts. of private documents required by law to be entered therein. when admissible for any purpose. Public documents are defined under Section 19. and public officers. the record of public documents referred to in Section 19(a). 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. may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having legal custody of the record. they have no probative value in establishing that the land is alienable and disposable. or records of the official acts of the sovereign authority. In addition. Even if the certifications are presumed duly issued and admissible in evidence.

prove the facts stated therein. [26] Such government certifications may fall under the class of documents contemplated in the second sentence of Section 23 of Rule 132. Rule 132 of the Revised Rules on Evidence provides: Sec. or by a ship captain in the ships logbook. Documents consisting of entries in public records made in the performance of a duty by a public officer are prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. All other public documents are evidence. FMS-DENR.the official repository or legal custodian of the issuances of the DENR Secretary declaring public lands as alienable and disposable. [25] Certainly. and thus have no probative value. of the fact which gave rise to their execution and of the date of the latter. certifications do not fall within the class of public documents contemplated in the first sentence of Section 23 of Rule 132. Such government certifications do not.The certifications are not even records of public documents.[24] The certifications are conclusions unsupported by adequate proof. The CENRO and Regional Technical Director. As such. The certifications do not reflect entries in public records made in the performance of a duty by a public officer. The CENRO and Regional Technical Director. FMS-DENR. certifications do not prove that Lot 10705-B falls within the alienable and disposable land as proclaimed by the DENR Secretary. the certifications are prima facie evidence of their due execution and date of issuance but they do not constitute prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. The CENRO should have attached an official publication [21] of the DENR Secretarys issuance declaring the land alienable and disposable. Section 23. Public documents as evidence. 23. [23] The certifications are not the certified copies or authenticated reproductions of original official records in the legal custody of a government office. . such as entries made by the Civil Registrar [22] in the books of registries. the certifications cannot be considered prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. even against a third person. by their mere issuance.

the land became alienable and disposable on 31 December 1925. LRA Records Officer II. As such. Torres.The Court has also ruled that a document or writing admitted as part of the testimony of a witness does not constitute proof of the facts stated therein. He did not explain the discrepancy in the dates. [29] Torres did not prepare the certifications. Marquez. [27] Here. [28]The contents of the certifications are hearsay because Torres was incompetent to testify on the veracity of the contents of the certifications. a private individual and respondents representative. The DENR Secretary certified that based on Land Classification Map No. and he did not conduct any verification survey whether the land falls within the area classified by the DENR Secretary as alienable and disposable. respondent should have at least presented proof that would explain the discrepancy in the dates of classification. We agree with petitioner that while the certifications submitted by respondent show that under the Land Classification Map No. the certificate on the blue print plan states that it became alienable and disposable on 31 December 1985. 582.[30] It is true that the notation by a surveyor-geodetic engineer on the survey plan that the land formed part of the alienable and disposable land of the public domain is not sufficient proof of the lands classification. testified that the documents submitted to the court consisting of the tracing cloth plan. identified the certifications but the government officials who issued the certifications did not testify on the contents of the certifications. and the Geodetic Engineers certification were faithful reproductions of the original documents in the LRA office. the land became alienable and disposable on 31 December 1925. Petitioner also points out the discrepancy as to when the land allegedly became alienable and disposable. he was not an officer of CENRO or FMS-DENR.[31] However. Neither was the Geodetic Engineer presented to explain why the date of classification on the blue . the technical description of Lot 10705B. However. the approved subdivision plan. Respondent alleged that the blue print plan merely serves to prove the precise location and the metes and bounds of the land described therein x x x and does not in any way certify the nature and classification of the land involved. the certifications cannot be given probative value. 582. the blue print plan states that it became alienable and disposable on 31 December 1985.

print plan was different from the other certifications submitted by
respondent.
There was No Open, Continuous, Exclusive, and Notorious
Possession and Occupation in the Concept of an Owner
Petitioner alleges that the trial courts reliance on the testimonies of
Evangelista and Torres was misplaced. Petitioner alleges that Evangelistas
statement that the possession of respondents predecessors-in-interest was
open, public, continuous, peaceful, and adverse to the whole world was a
general conclusion of law rather than factual evidence of possession of
title. Petitioner alleges that respondent failed to establish that its
predecessors-in-interest had held the land openly, continuously, and
exclusively for at least 30 years after it was declared alienable and
disposable.
We agree with petitioner.
Evangelista testified that Kabesang Puroy had been in possession of the
land before 1945. Yet, Evangelista only worked on the land for three
years. Evangelista testified that his family owned a lot near Kabesang
Puroys land. The Court of Appeals took note of this and ruled that
Evangelistas knowledge of Kabesang Puroys possession of the land
stemmed not only from the fact that he had worked thereat but more so that
they were practically neighbors.[32] The Court of Appeals observed:
In a small community such as that of San Bartolome, Sto. Tomas,
Batangas, it is not difficult to understand that people in the said
community knows each and everyone. And, because of such
familiarity with each other, news or events regarding the
acquisition or disposition for that matter, of a vast tract of land
spreads like wildfire, thus, the reason why such an event became
of public knowledge to them.[33]

Evangelista testified that Kabesang Puroy was succeeded by
Fortunato. However, he admitted that he did not know the exact
relationship between Kabesang Puroy and Fortunato, which is rather

unusual for neighbors in a small community. He did not also know the
relationship between Fortunato and Porting. In fact, Evangelistas testimony
is contrary to the factual finding of the trial court that Kabesang Puroy was
succeeded by his son Antonio, not by Fortunato who was one of Antonios
children. Antonio was not even mentioned in Evangelistas testimony.
The Court of Appeals ruled that there is no law that requires that the
testimony of a single witness needs corroboration. However, in this case,
we find Evangelistas uncorroborated testimony insufficient to prove that
respondents predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the land in
the concept of an owner for more than 30 years. We cannot consider the
testimony of Torres as sufficient corroboration. Torres testified primarily on
the fact of respondents acquisition of the land. While he claimed to be
related to the Dimayugas, his knowledge of their possession of the land
was hearsay. He did not even tell the trial court where he obtained his
information.
The tax declarations presented were only for the years starting 1955. While
tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of ownership, they constitute
proof of claim of ownership.[34] Respondent did not present any credible
explanation why the realty taxes were only paid starting 1955 considering
the claim that the Dimayugas were allegedly in possession of the land
before 1945. The payment of the realty taxes starting 1955 gives rise to the
presumption that the Dimayugas claimed ownership or possession of the
land only in that year.
Land Application by a Corporation
Petitioner asserts that respondent, a private corporation, cannot apply for
registration of the land of the public domain in this case.
We agree with petitioner.
Section 3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution provides:
Sec. 3. Lands of the public domain are classified into agricultural,
forest or timber, mineral lands, and national parks. Agricultural
lands of the public domain may be further classified by law

according to the uses to which they may be devoted. Alienable
lands of the public domain shall be limited to agricultural
lands. Private corporations or associations may not hold such
alienable lands of the public domain except by lease, for a period
not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than
twenty-five years, and not to exceed one thousand hectares in
area. Citizens of the Philippines may lease not more than five
hundred hectares, or acquire not more than twelve hectares
thereof by purchase, homestead or grant.
Taking into account the requirements of conservation, ecology,
and development, and subject to the requirements of agrarian
reform, the Congress shall determine, by law, the size of lands of
the public domain which may be acquired, developed, held, or
leased and the conditions therefor.

The 1987 Constitution absolutely prohibits private corporations from
acquiring any kind of alienable land of the public domain. In Chavez v.
Public Estates Authority,[35] the Court traced the law on disposition of lands
of the public domain. Under the 1935 Constitution, there was no prohibition
against private corporations from acquiring agricultural land. The 1973
Constitution limited the alienation of lands of the public domain to
individuals who were citizens of the Philippines. Under the 1973
Constitution, private corporations, even if wholly owned by Filipino citizens,
were no longer allowed to acquire alienable lands of the public domain.
The present 1987 Constitution continues the prohibition against private
corporations from acquiring any kind of alienable land of the public domain.
[36]
The Court explained in Chavez:
The 1987 Constitution continues the State policy in the 1973
Constitution banning private corporations from acquiring any kind
of alienable land of the public domain. Like the 1973
Constitution, the 1987 Constitution allows private corporations to
hold alienable lands of the public domain only through lease. x x
xx
[I]f the constitutional intent is to prevent huge landholdings, the
Constitution could have simply limited the size of alienable lands
of the public domain that corporations could acquire. The

The available alienable public lands are gradually decreasing in the face of an ever-growing population. since the vehicle to circumvent the constitutional intent is removed. it would seem. under the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions. This constitutional intent is safeguarded by the provision prohibiting corporations from acquiring alienable lands of the public domain. An individual could own as many corporations as his means would allow him. This would prevent the continuing break-up of farmlands into smaller and smaller plots from one generation to the next. his heirs would inherit shares in the corporation instead of subdivided parcels of the farmland.[37] . If the farmland is registered in the name of a corporation. An individual could even hide his ownership of a corporation by putting his nominees as stockholders of the corporation. the constitutional ban strengthens the constitutional limitation on individuals from acquiring more than the allowed area of alienable lands of the public domain. If the constitutional intent is to encourage economic family-size farms. individuals who already acquired the maximum area of alienable lands of the public domain could easily set up corporations to acquire more alienable public lands. Without the constitutional ban. is the practical benefit arising from the constitutional ban. The constitutional intent. and not more than 12 hectares under the 1987 Constitution. who could acquire not more than 24 hectares of alienable lands of the public domain under the 1973 Constitution. upon the death of the owner.Constitution could have followed the limitations on individuals. placing the land in the name of a corporation would be more effective in preventing the break-up of farmlands. is to transfer ownership of only a limited area of alienable land of the public domain to a qualified individual. The corporation is a convenient vehicle to circumvent the constitutional limitation on acquisition by individuals of alienable lands of the public domain. This. In actual practice. The most effective way to insure faithful adherence to this constitutional intent is to grant or sell alienable lands of the public domain only to individuals.

and thus Acme acquired a registrable title. at the most limited to ascertaining whether the possession claimed is of the required character and length of time. . but simply recognize a title already vested. in truth be little more than a formality. Under the 1935 Constitution. [39] In Director of Lands. IAC. ipso jure and without the need of judicial or other sanction ceases to be public land and becomes private property. No proof being admissible to overcome a conclusive presumption.139 hectares. and undisputed possession of alienable land for the period prescribed by law created the legal fiction whereby the land.In Director of Lands v.The issue in that case was whether the title could be confirmed in favor of Acme when the proceeding was instituted after the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution which prohibited private corporations or associations from holding alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed 1. exclusive. which Acme acquired from members of the Dumagat tribe. confirmation proceedings would. but only confirm such a conversion already effected by operation of law from the moment the required period of possession became complete. private corporations could acquire public agricultural lands not exceeding 1.390 square meters.. The Court ruled: Nothing can more clearly demonstrate the logical inevitability of considering possession of public land which is of the character and duration prescribed by statute as the equivalent of an express grant from the State than the dictum of the statute itself that the possessor(s) x x x shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title x x x.024 hectares while individuals could acquire not more than 144 hectares. The Court ruled that the land was already private land when Acme acquired it from its owners in 1962.000 hectares. (Acme) for five parcels of land with an area of 481. and registration thereunder would not confer title. or 48. upon completion of the requisite period. Inc. The proceedings would not originally convert the land from public to private land.[38] the Court allowed the land registration proceeding filed by Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. the Court further ruled that open.

and adverse possession of the land for 30 years since 12 June 1945. has not shown to have been.[41] the Court declared: Under the facts of this case and pursuant to the above rulings. In Director of Lands. the parcels of land in question had already been converted to private ownership through acquisitive prescription by the predecessors-ininterest of TCMC when the latter purchased them in 1979. In this case. when respondent acquired the land from Porting.x x x [A]lienable public land held by a possessor.[40] (Emphasis supplied) Director of Lands is not applicable to the present case. there being at the time no prohibition against said corporations holding or owning private land. continuously and exclusively for the prescribed statutory period of (30 years under The Public Land Act. the land was not yet private property. x x x. Acme thereby acquired a registrable title. in open. For Director of Lands to apply and enable a corporation to file for registration of alienable and disposable land. In short. All that was needed was the confirmation of the titles of the previous owners or predecessors-in-interest of TCMC. ipso jure. the corporation must have acquired the land when its transferor had already a vested right to a judicial confirmation of title to the land by virtue of his open. continuous. openly. . personally or through his predecessors-in-interest. respondent acquired the land on 8 August 1997 from Porting. who. in Natividad v. as amended) is converted to private property by the mere lapse or completion of said period. Following that rule and on the basis of the undisputed facts. as of that date. continuous and adverse possession of the land in the concept of an owner for at least 30 years since 12 June 1945. along with his predecessors-in-interest. Thus. the land subject of this appeal was already private property at the time it was acquired from the Infiels by Acme. Court of Appeals. the land x x x was already private property at the time it was acquired x x x by Acme.

Only an individual can avail of such acquisitive prescription since both the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions prohibit corporations from acquiring lands of the public domain. That the several periods of time designated by the President in accordance with Section Forty-five of this Act shall apply also to the lands comprised in the provisions of this Chapter. as amended. Republic Act No. Section 11. the prohibition in the 1973 Constitution against corporations acquiring alienable lands of the public domain except through lease (Article XIV. but this Section shall not be construed as prohibiting any of said . What is determinative for the doctrine in Director of Lands to apply is for the corporate applicant for land registration to establish that when it acquired the land. Chapter VIII of the same Act. 2020 within which to avail of the benefits of this Chapter: Provided.Being already private land when TCMC bought them in 1979. The persons specified in the next following section are hereby granted time. 2. further. 9176[42] (RA 9176) further amended the Public Land Act [43] and extended the period for the filing of applications for judicial confirmation of imperfect and incomplete titles to alienable and disposable lands of the public domain until 31 December 2020. the same was already private land by operation of law because the statutory acquisitive prescriptive period of 30 years had already lapsed. not to extend beyond December 31. Section 47. a corporation can at present still apply for original registration of land under the doctrine in Director of Lands. Admittedly. Thus: Sec. That this period shall apply only where the area applied for does not exceed twelve (12) hectares:Provided. 1973 Constitution) did not apply to them for they were no longer alienable lands of the public domain but private property. 47. is hereby further amended to read as follows: Sec. The length of possession of the land by the corporation cannot be tacked on to complete the statutory 30 years acquisitive prescriptive period.

that the corporation acquired the land. Sec. respondent. Under RA 9176. . and thus void ab initio. not exceeding 12 hectares.A. All pending applications filed before the effectivity of this amendatory Act shall be treated as having been filed in accordance with the provisions of this Act. as successor-in-interest of an individual owner of the land. SO ORDERED. Properties. WHEREFORE. of course. Inc. In applying for land registration. consistent with Section 3. T-635. Since respondent applied for 56. the application for the excess area of 44. 66658 and the 16 December 1999 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Tanauan.R. Batangas. CV No. we SET ASIDE the 21 August 2002 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. respondent has failed to prove that any portion of the land was already private land when respondent acquired it from Porting in 1997.4007 hectares is contrary to law. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution that a private individual may only acquire not more than 12 hectares of alienable and disposable land. This assumes. In the present case. the application for judicial confirmation is limited only to 12 hectares.N. We DENY the application for registration filed by T.4007 hectares. a private corporation cannot have any right higher than its predecessor-in-interest from whom it derived its right. when the land had already become private land by operation of law. Branch 6 in Land Registration Case No.persons from acting under this Chapter at any time prior to the period fixed by the President. 3. Hence. cannot apply for registration of land in excess of 12 hectares.

“Checked and verified against the cadastral records on file in this office and is for registration purposes. Iba. 3-H certified by Director of Forestry on June 20. RTC-N-92-I and denying the motion for reconsideration. DECISION CARPIO. SPS. Zambales. This survey is within the Alienable and Disposable land proj. In 1978. respectively.G. No. The petition challenges the 26 March 2012 Decision 2 and 14 August 2012 Resolution 3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. J. The Facts Andres Valiente owned a 3. On 21 May 2003. the Spouses Castuera filed with the RTC an application5 for original registration of title over the property.” Petitioner Republic of the Philippines (petitioner). The three witnesses were (1) former barangay captain and councilman Alfredo Dadural. he sold the property to respondents Jose and Perla Castuera (Spouses Castuera).135-square meter land in Barangay Siminublan. 203384. San Narciso. 669 Sheet 1. 85015. 1927 per LC Map No. The Spouses Castuera also presented documentary evidence to support their application. Petitioner. they have shown preponderantly that they are the lawful owners in fee simple and the actual possessors of Lot 6553 of the San Narciso Cadastre. January 14. the RTC granted the application for original registration of title over the property. They are entitled therefore to a judicial confirmation of their . affirming the 31 January 2005 Decision 4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC).R. No. 2015 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.Respondents. Branch 70. CV No. in Land Registration Case No.R. Zambales. v. All witnesses testified that the Spouses Castuera owned the property. The RTC held:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary From the evidence submitted by the applicants.: The Case This is a petition1 for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. through the Office of the Solicitor General. The RTC’s Ruling In its 31 January 2005 Decision. (2) Senior Police Officer 2 Teodorico Cudal. and (3) Perla Castuera. The Spouses Castuera presented three witnesses to support their application. The documents included tax receipts and an advance plan 6 with a notation. filed an opposition to the application for original registration. JOSE CASTUERA AND PERLA CASTUERA.

and (2) that they have been in open. We find and so rule that the trial court is correct in granting appellees’ application for original registration of the subject land.7 Petitioner appealed the RTC Decision to the Court of Appeals. sheet No. 669. 1927 per LC Map No. certified by then Director of Forestry. Jose Castuera and Perla Castuera was found to be within the Alienable or Disposable. 669. 3-H certified by Director of Forestry on June 20. Applying the foregoing in the present case. Zambales containing an area of ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN (1847. 1529. continuous. applicants for registration of title must prove the following: (1) that the subject land forms part of the disposable and alienable lands of the public domain. Section 14(1) of the law requires that the property sought to be registered is already alienable and disposable at the time the application for registration is filed. 1.[”] “This survey is within the alienable and disposable land proj. provides for the instances when a person may file for an application for registration of title over a parcel of land:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary “Section 14. 3-H. San Narciso. otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree. or earlier. the Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC Decision. continuous. Project No. The Spouses Castuera attached to their appellees’ brief a certification 8 from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO).” Accordingly. no. Delgado for Sps. A scrutiny of the records shows that there is substantial compliance with the requirement that the subject land is alienable and disposable land. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the land under a bona fide claim of ownership since 12 June 1945 or earlier.imperfect title to the said land pursuant to the provisions of the new Property Registration Decree (PD 1529). whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives: Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. Sheet 1. It bears to emphasize that the Advance Plan has the following notations:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary “Checked and verified against the cadastral records on file in this office and is for registration purposes. — The following persons may file in the proper Court of first Instance an application for registration of title to land. 9 The Court of Appeals’ Ruling In its 26 March 2012 Decision. Who May Apply. The Court of Appeals held that:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Presidential Decree No. manila [sic] on June 20. 1945. 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. Siminublan.” .00) SQUARE METERS as shown and described in this sketch as verified by Cart. pursuant to the aforequoted provision of law. 1927 per LC Map No. Nestor L. stating:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary THIS IS TO CERTIFY that the tract of land situated at Brgy.

pro hac vice. in the recent case of Republic vs.In Republic v. in its sound discretion.A. Loriega. et al. It must be noted that the present case was decided by the trial court only on January . Vega.. T. by themselves.. These facts must be established to prove that the land is alienable and disposable. constitutes substantial compliance with the legal requirement: “While Cayetano failed to submit any certification which would formally attest to the alienable and disposable character of the land applied for. Serrano. This exception shall only apply to applications for registration currently pending before the trial court prior to this Decision and shall be inapplicable to all future applications. the benefit of the Certification may thus be equitably extended in favor of respondents. constitutes substantial compliance with the legal requirement. the Supreme Court. as annotated on the subdivision plan submitted in evidence by Paulita. It clearly indicates that Lot 249 had been verified as belonging to the alienable and disposable area as early as July 18.” However. It held that a DENR Regional Technical Director’s certification.. which is annotated on the subdivision plan submitted in evidence. Carlos R. Respondent failed to do so because the certifications presented by respondent do not. Properties.N. the Certification by DENR Regional Technical Director Celso V. and that the land subject of the application for registration falls within the approved area per verification through survey by the PENRO or CENRO. It bears noting that no opposition was filed or registered by the Land Registration Authority or the DENR to contest respondents’ applications on the ground that their respective shares of the lot are inalienable. 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.” While in the case of Republic v. on the ground of substantial compliance showing that there has been a positive act of government to show the nature and character of the land and an absence of effective opposition from the government. 1925. as an exception to the strict application of the stringent rule imposed in the above pronouncement that the absence of these twin certifications justifies a denial of an application for registration. may approve the application. it is not enough for the PENRO or CENRO to certify that a land is alienable and disposable.[”] “The DENR certification enjoys the presumption of regularity absent any evidence to the contrary. prove that the land is alienable and disposable. Inc. the Supreme Court overturned the grant by the lower courts of an original application for registration over a parcel of land in Batangas and ruled that a CENRO certification is not enough to certify that a land is alienable and disposable:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary [“]Further. and based solely on the evidence on record. Jr. the Supreme Court affirmed the findings of the trial court and this Court that the parcel of land subject of registration was alienable and disposable. There being no substantive rights which stand to be prejudiced. 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. In addition.

2005. T. The Issue Petitioner raises as issue that the advance plan and the CENRO certification are insufficient proofs of the alienable and disposable character of the property. 1999. Zambales containing an area of ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN (1. CV No. These facts must be established to prove that the land is alienable and disposable. Properties. 1927 per LC Map No 669. and that the land subject of the application for registration falls within the approved area per verification through survey by the PENRO or CENRO.11 citing Republic v. appellees had attached to their appellees’ brief a Certification from the DENR-CENR Office issued on December 2. the Court GRANTS the petition and SETS ASIDE the 26 March 2012 Decision and 14 August 2012 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Besides. T. 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. Siminublan. .. Project No. Delgado for Sps. Jose Castuera and Perla Castuera was found to be within the Alienable or Disposable. 1. Inc.. Inc. 3-H.N. the present petition. Heirs of Juan Fabio. the Court of Appeals denied the motion.] We believe that the same rule shall apply to the present case allowing the registration of the subject property as there is substantial compliance with the requirement that the land subject of registration is an alienable and disposable land. San Narciso. In addition. Hence. Sheet No. prior to the above pronouncement[.A. The Spouses Castuera. as declared by the DENR Secretary. must present a certified true copy of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary’s declaration or classification of the land as alienable and disposable. In its 14 August 2012 Resolution. 85015. the applicant must present a copy of the original classification of the land into alienable and disposable. In Republic of the Philippines v.12 the Court held that:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary In Republic v.847) SQUARE METERS as shown and described in this sketch as verified by Cart. we ruled that it is not enough for the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) or CENRO to certify that a land is alienable and disposable. Properties. Nestor L. certified by then Director of Forestry. as applicants for registration of title.” 10 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration.N.31. Manila on June 20. which states the following:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary “THIS IS TO CERTIFY that the tract of land situated at Brgy.A.13 WHEREFORE. or as proclaimed by the President. The advance plan and the CENRO certification are insufficient proofs of the alienable and disposable character of the property. Such copy of the DENR Secretary’s declaration or the President’s proclamation must be certified as a true copy by the legal custodian of such official record. Respondents Jose and Perla Castuera’s application for registration is DISMISSED. The Court’s Ruling The petition is meritorious.R.

.SO ORDERED.

Salandanan conveyed the property to Pedro Alora. which denied the appeal of the Republic of the Philippines (petitioner) and affirmed the 3 July 2012 Resolution of the Regional Trial Court. Inc. CV No. No. ALORA. 99280. and was transferred to Pedro Salandanan.Respondent.4 They further claimed that they had been planting crops on the parcel of land from 1969 to 2010. Subsequently.R. under a Special Power of Attorney dated 26 November 2010.R. respondents filed a verified application for registration of title before the RTC. 24-0017-00507. and covered by Tax Declaration No. J.5 The respondents further claimed that they paid all taxes on the property and registered the Deed of Conveyance with the Registry of Deeds and Assessor's Office. 210341. Petitioner. 2015 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. In the application.G. Laguna to their sons Josefmo O. SPL-0697-10. ALORA AND OSCAR O.000. On 6 June 2010. respondents submitted the following as evidence:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary . spouses Pedro and Rafaela Alora sold a parcel of land with an area of 12. and had traced back the tax declarations of their predecessors-in-interest from 1935. located in Barangay San Vicente. July 01.cralawlawlibrary The Facts On 6 May 1969. In order to prove that the parcel of land was disposable and alienable. Branch 31 of San Pedro. Alora and Oscar O. 3 The parties to the sale executed a Deed of Conveyance dated 8 May 1969. which was docketed as LRC Case No. DECISION CARPIO. Laguna (RTC) in LRC Case No.. Alora (respondents) for P5.710 square meters.00. San Pedro. authorized his brother Josefino to represent him in the proceedings. v. Oscar. respondents claimed that they purchased the parcel of land. respondents' father. The approved plan showed six lots which respondents intended to develop as a commercial property. SPL-0697-10. who was in the United States. 2 This parcel of land is more particularly described under Plan Psu-119876. The parcel of land originally belonged to Colegio de San Jose.: The Case Before this Court is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the 5 December 2013 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. JOSEFINO O. and that they had no knowledge of any mortgage or encumbrance or any person having any interest over the same property.

9 and 5. 8. Chief of Forest Management Service of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which stated that the parcel of land is part of "Alienable and Disposable (A & D) land under Project No. Affidavit of Transfer of Real Property executed by Colegio de San Jose.1. Land certification mark 304 consisting of sheets 1 and 2 from the National Mapping Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) which bears a certification that the areas set aside are alienable and disposable for cropland and fishpond development under Forestry Administrative Order No. 4-1627 dated 28 September 1981. Copy of the Deed of Conveyance dated 8 May 1969 executed by Pedro Alora in favor of respondents. 2466 issued to Pedro Salandanan on 17 December 1952.. Inc. 4. Duplicate original copy of Tax Declaration No. 3. Certified photocopies of Tax Declaration Nos. Inc. 5. Certified copy of the polyester film copy (SEPIA) of approved Plan Psu-119876 dated 20 April 1949.V. Certified photocopy of Tax Declaration No. 8594515 dated 14 September 2010. 7 3.". Certified photocopy of Tax Declaration No. Certified photocopy of Tax Declaration No. 10-A. 1794. Official Receipt No. 2. 2206 (dated 28 December 1950). 8707 issued to respondents in 1985. 2352 (dated 22 January 1952) and 2381 (dated 28 January 1952) issued to Colegio de San Jose. 10. Sinclair. Certification in lieu of Geodetic Engineer's Certificate for Registration Purposes. Certified technical description of Plan Psu-119876. Certified copy of the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Pedro Salandanan in favor of Pedro Alora dated 22 September 1953. Certification dated 17 May 2010 issued by Jovito Oandasan. 7. Official Receipt No. 1981. per BFD Land Classification Map No.10 Respondents were also able to present the following documents:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary 1. 9. 6. in favor of Pedro Salandanan and N. 3004 certified and declared as such on September 28. 3820443 dated 18 March 2010.6 2. 2946 issued to Pedro Alora on 21 December 1964. 017-0592 issued to respondents in .8 4.

and that he was able to secure a land certification mark 304 from the NAMRIA which bears a certification stating that the areas set aside are alienable and disposable for cropland and fishpond development under Forestry Administrative Order No. 11 The following persons also testified to support claim:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary 1. He conducted an ocular inspection of the property as well as examined documentary evidence relating to respondents' application. Special Investigator I of the DENR. 3. Jr. 2. helpers. Los Banos. The dispositive portion of the Resolution dated 3 July 2012 reads:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary WHEREFORE. Rolando Marlon Rosal. as shown on Plan Psu-119876 situated in Barangay San Vicente. Rodolfo Gonzales. P004 released on 28 September 1981. Jovito Oandasan. Certified photocopy of Tax Declaration No. 0017-000507 issued to respondents in 2006.710 square meters in favor of and in the names of Josefino O. 9454614 dated 9 February 2010. his professional duties included issuing certifications as to the status of lands.16 . and 5. through Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Jose De Leon."14 Petitioner. Laguna containing an area of 12. SO ORDERED. did not present any evidence to oppose the application.. Official Receipt No.2000. and 12. San Pedro. 11. 15 The Ruling of the RTC The RTC ruled in favor of the respondents. Alora and Oscar O. the Court hereby adjudicates and decrees a parcel of land (subdivided into Lots 1 to 6). Gonzales' report stated that the property is "not within a previously patented title or any public land application or administrative title. Laguna. one a of licensed respondents' Geodetic Engineer. 13 Gonzales testified that he was tasked with investigating public land applications. 4-1627 also dated 28 September 1981. and upon previous confirmation of the Order of General Default. Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO). Engineer 4.12 Oandasan testified that as chief of CENRO. Chief of Forest Management Service respondents' of CENRO. Respondent Josefino Alora. He also claimed that the subject parcel of land is alienable and disposable under BFD Land Classification No. Climaco. Alora.

The RTC stated that under the Regalian Doctrine, all lands of the public domain belong
to the State. Thus, the applicant bears the burden of proving "through incontrovertible
evidence that the land sought to be registered is alienable and disposable based on a
positive act of the government."17 The RTC also cited Sections 14 and 48 of Presidential
Decree (P.D.) No. 1529 which provide that an application for land registration must fulfill
three requisites: (1) the land is alienable public land; (2) the applicant has been in open,
continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of the land since 12
June 1945 or earlier; and(3) the applicant's possession must be under a bona fide claim
of
ownership.18
The RTC held that while Republic v. T.A.N. Properties, Inc. 19 clearly stated that "the
applicant for land registration must present a copy of the original classification approved
by the DENR Secretary and certified as true copy by the legal custodian of the official
records,"
the
applicable
doctrine
is
that
inRepublic
v.
20
Serrano: ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
xxx However, in the case of Republic v. Serrano, which is [on] all fours with this case,
the Court held that a DENR Regional Technical Director's certification, which is
annotated on the subdivision plan submitted in evidence, constitutes substantial
compliance with the legal requirements. Applying the said precedent, this Court finds
that a DENR Regional Technical Director's Certification annotated on the subdivision
plan and attested to by the CENRO and DENR official representatives declaring under
oath that the property subject of this application is within the areas set aside as
alienable and disposable for cropland and fishpond development under Forestry
Administrative Order No. 4-1627 dated 28 September 1981 constitutes sufficient
compliance with the above-stated requirements. 21
The RTC also held that the applicants had satisfactorily shown that they and their
predecessors-in-interest had been in open, continuous, exclusive, adverse, and
notorious possession of the property under a bona fide claim of ownership for the period
required
by
the
Property
Registration
Decree. 22
Thus, petitioner, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, filed an appeal
before the CA.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The Ruling of the CA
Petitioner argued that the RTC erred in applying the doctrine in Republic v.
Serrano,23 which was decided on 24 February 2010, and the applicable doctrine
is Republic v. T.A.N. Properties, Inc. which was decided on 26 June 2008 and has been
reiterated
in
subsequent
cases.
The CA, however, denied the appeal. The court a quo cited the case of Republic v.
Vega,24 which harmonized the conflicting rulings in Republic v. Serrano and Republic v.
T.A.N. Properties, Inc. InRepublic v. Vega, this Court ruled that the doctrine enunciated
under Republic v. Serrano applies pro hac vice and "it does not in any way detract from
our rulings in Republic v. T.A.N. Properties, Inc.,and similar cases which impose a strict

requirement to prove that public land is alienable x x x." 25The CA based its ruling on the
express declaration in Republic v. Vega, to wit:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
As an exception, however, the courts — in their sound discretion and based solely on
the evidence presented on record — may approve the application, pro hac vice, on the
ground of substantial compliance showing that there has been a positive act of the
government to show the nature and character of the land and an absence of effective
opposition from the government. This exception shall only apply to applications for
registration currently pending before the trial court prior to this Decision and shall be
inapplicable to all future applications. 26 (Underscoring and boldfacing in the original)
Hence, the instant petition.cralawlawlibrary
The Issues
Petitioner

alleges

that:

1. The CA erred in holding that respondents were able to substantially establish that the
subject
parcel
of
land
is
alienable
and
disposable;
and
2. The CA erred in holding that the respondents were able to sufficiently prove that they
and their predecessors-in-interest were in possession of the subject property since 12
June 1945 or earlier.cralawlawlibrary
The Ruling of the Court
The

petition

is

granted.

To
reiterate,
under
Section
14
of
the
Property
Registration
Decree:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Section 14. Who May Apply.— The following persons 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:
(1) 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.
xxxx
Thus, applicants for registration must prove the following: (1) that the subject land forms
part of the disposable and alienable lands of the public domain; and (2) that they have
been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of the
land under a bona fide claim of ownership since 12 June 1945 or earlier.
In order to prove that the parcel of land is part of the disposable and alienable lands of
the public domain, respondents rely on the certification issued by the CENRO. The
issue is whether this is sufficient evidence to show that the subject parcel of land falls

within

the

disposable

and

alienable

lands

of

the

public

domain.

Petitioner claims that the CA and the RTC should have applied our ruling in Republic v.
T.A.N. Properties, Inc., which was promulgated on 26 June 2008. In that case, we held
that applicants for land registration must present a copy of the original classification
approved by the DENR Secretary and certified as true copy by the legal custodian of
the official records. If this standard were to be applied in the instant case, the CA
decision should be overturned because respondents failed to present a certified
classification from the DENR Secretary. Petitioner argues that the standard inRepublic
v. T.A.N. Properties, Inc. has been applied in more recent decisions of this Court.
The CA, however, did not follow the ruling in Republic v. T.A.N. Properties, Inc. Instead,
it followedRepublic v. Serrano (decided on 24 February 2010) and Republic v.
Vega (decided on 17 January 2011). In Republic v. Serrano, we allowed the approval of
a land registration application even without the submission of the certification from the
DENR Secretary. As this ruling presented an apparent contradiction with our earlier
pronouncement in Republic v. T.A.N. Properties, Inc., we sought to harmonize our
previous rulings in Republic v. Vega. We then said that the applications for land
registration may be granted even without the DENR Secretary's certification provided
that the application was currently pending at the time Republic v. Vega was
promulgated. Since respondents' application was pending before the RTC at the
time Republic v. Vega was promulgated, the CA ruled in favor of the respondents,
despite
the
lack
of
certification
from
the
DENR
Secretary.
Admittedly, we declared in Republic v. Vega that trial courts may grant applications for
registration despite the absence of a certification from the DENR Secretary. It should be
emphasized, however, that Republic v. Vega applies on a pro hac vice basis only.
After Republic
v.
Vega, we
pointed
out
inRepublic
v.
San
27
Mateo that:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
In Vega, the Court was mindful of the fact that the trial court rendered its decision on
November 13, 2003. way before the rule on strict compliance was laid down in T.A.N.
Properties on June 26, 2008. Thus, the trial court was merely applying the rule
prevailing at the time, which was substantial compliance. Thus, even if the case
reached the Supreme Court after the promulgation of T.A.N. Properties, the Court
allowed the application of substantial compliance, because there was no opportunity for
the registrant to comply with the Court's ruling in T.A.N. Properties, the trial court and
the CA already having decided the case prior to the promulgation of T.A.N. Properties.
In the case here, however, the RTC Decision was only handed down on November 23,
2010, when the rule on strict compliance was already in effect. Thus, there was ample
opportunity for the respondents to comply with the new rule, and present before the
RTC evidence of the DENR Secretary's approval of the DENR-South CENRO
Certification. This, they failed to do.
In the instant case, the RTC Resolution was issued on 3 July 2012, after the
promulgation of Republic v. T.A.N. Properties, Inc. Thus, following our ruling in Republic
v. San Mateo, the rule requiring certification from the DENR Secretary should be

It is important to emphasize that the more recent case of Republic v. CV No.applied. SPL-0697-10 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 99280 and the 3 July 2012 Resolution of the Regional Trial Court.R. The 5 December 2013 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.N. without any qualification. Spouses Castuera. T. applied the rule in Republic v. Inc. the petition is GRANTED.cralawred WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED.A. .28 decided on 14 January 2015. Branch 31 of San Pedro. Laguna in LRC Case No. Properties.

J. and Lot No. Petitioner.2 Antecedents The respondent was the purchaser for value of the parcel of land known as Lot No. all situated in Barangay Rizal.000) square meters. BLANCO. stationed in Ibajay. the MCTC rendered judgment on the application on January 31. Province of Aklan. No. Cad. 169710. with an area of 35. more or less.037 square meters. Aklan granting the application of the respondent for the registration of five parcels of land with a total area of 213. Exhibit "D-l" with an area of FORTY NINE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED NINETY NINE (49. REPRESENTED BY HIS ATTORNEY-IN-FACT. more or less. Lot No. in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines. 1 whereby the Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the judgment rendered on January 31. more or less.758-D. continuous. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the lands in question since June 12. v. premises considered. 2001 by the 7 th Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Ibajay-Nabas. Municipality of Nabas. 9100-C.G.000 square meters. Municipality of Nabas. JR. and subdivided and designated in the approved survey plan as Lot No. with an area of 50. Nabas Cadastre and described in the Technical Description (Exhibit "D") with an area of FIFTY THOUSAND (50.999) Exhibit "D-2" with an area of FIFTY THOUSAND (50.001) square meters. 3 The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). Exhibit "D-3" with an area of THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND ONE (35. 9100. Respondent. 9100-A.001 square meters. more or less. Lot No. August 19.000 square meters. more or less.000) square meters. contending that the respondent and his predecessors-in-interest had not been in open. 9100-D. 9100-B.. MANUEL C. 9100 situated in Barangay Rizal. more or less. 2001. 1945. Lot No. 4 After trial. opposed the application for original registration of title. 2005.R. with an area of 50. with an area of 28. JOSE ALBERTO ALBA. He applied for the original registration of title over the parcels of land in the MCTC. more or less. judgment is hereby rendered GRANTING the application for registration of the parcel of land designated in the approved Survey Plan (Exhibit "C") known as Lot No. DECISION BERSAMIN. more or less. more or less. more or less. and Exhibit "D-4" with an area of TWENTY EIGHT THOUSAND THIRTY SEVEN (28. Province of Aklan. 9100-E.999 square meters. 2015 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.: Under appeal is the decision promulgated on September 8.037) square meters. or a total area of TWO HUNDRED THIRTEEN THOUSAND THIRTY SEVEN (213. with an area of 49.037 square meters. disposing:cralawlawlibrary WHEREFORE.037) .

White Plains. applicant-appellee's failure to show that the land subject of the application falls under the jurisdiction of the MCTC. After this decision shall have become final and executory. an order for the issuance of Decree of Registration of Title shall issue in favor of the applicant. and that there was no cogent reason to disturb its factual findings. Municipality of Nabas. and presently residing at 34 Derby. finding that the trial court did not disregard evidence that affected the results of the case. applicant-appellee's failure to adduce the Official Gazette as evidence. That the lower court did not acquire jurisdiction over the application for registration due to the following:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary a. more or less. under the Property Registration Decree (PD 1529). 2001 rendered by the lower court in LRC Case No. situated at Barangay Rizal.SQUARE METERS. ORDERED. married to Maria Beatris Morales.6 Decision of the CA On September 8.5 SO chanrobleslaw The OSG appealed the judgment to the CA upon the following errors.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary c. LRA Record No. N-057.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary b. Andagao. to wit:cralawlawlibrary 1. in view of the foregoing premises. Kalibo. Island of Panay. Metro Manila. whose residence is at Viscarra Subdivision. Aldan. Blanco. Province of Aldan. Philippines. and herein represented by his attorney-in-fact Manual C. and title thereto registered and confirmed in the name of JOSE ALBERTO ALBA. That the lower court erred in granting the application for registration when the applicant-appellee failed to prove possession of an alienable and disposable land of the public domain for the period and in the concept required by law. decreed thusly:cralawlawlibrary WHEREFORE. Quezon City. Filipino citizen. . of legal age.7 the CA. 2005. and 2. applicant-appellee's failure to submit the original tracing cloth plan of the land subject of the application. judgment is hereby rendered by usDISMISSING the appeal filed in this case and AFFIRMING the Decision dated January 31.

that the submission of the tracing cloth plan was a statutory requirement of mandatory character. 11 held that the respondent satisfied this purpose by submitting the approved plan and the technical descriptions of Lot No. the CA nonetheless ruled in favor of the respondent upon the authority of jurisprudence.14 the purpose of submitting the tracing cloth plan was fully served. Court of Appeals. rendering the non-submission fatal to the application. The OSG maintains. RESPONDENT FAILED TO PROVE POSSESSION OVER THE PROPERTY APPLIED FOR REGISTRATION IN THE CONCEPT REQUIRED BY LAW. 16 that to fix . that:cralawlawlibrary I.9chanrobleslaw Ruling The appeal is meritorious. citing the purpose for the requirement of submitting the tracing cloth plan to be the establishment of the true identity and location of the land subject of the application for registration in order to avoid boundary overlaps with adjacent lands. THE COURT A QUO DID NOT ACQUIRE JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION OF TITLE FOR FAILURE OF RESPONDENT TO SUBMIT THE ORIGINAL TRACING CLOTH PLAN OR SEPIA OF THE LAND APPLIED FOR REGISTRATION II. 9100. including Director of Lands v. through the OSG. SO chanrobleslaw ORDERED. with the petitioner insisting.12 that the approved plan and the technical descriptions settled the identity and location of Lot No. 13 and that considering that there was no glaring and irreconcilable discrepancy. however.8 Issues Hence.10 wherein the Court. 9100 (and its derivative lots). this appeal. I Requirement for the submission of the approved tracing cloth plan may be excused if other competent means of proving identity and location of the lands subject of the application are available and produced in court Although conceding the mandatory requirement for the tracing cloth plan.15 that the submission could not be waived expressly or impliedly.N-69758.

The clerk of court shall not accept any application unless it is shown that the applicant has furnished the Director of Lands with a copy of the application and all annexes. there stands to be no reason why a registration application must be denied for failure to present the original tracing cloth plan. chanrobleslaw To the same effect were the rulings in Republic v. 17 and that upon the respondent's failure to "actually" present the tracing cloth plan. indeed. rendering the proceedings a nullity. together with the application.the exact or definite identity of the land as shown in the approved plan and technical descriptions was the primary purpose of the submission. that it is mandatory for the applicant for original registration to submit to the trial court not only the original or duplicate copies of the muniments of title but also the copy of the duly approved survey plan of the land sought to be registered. Did the respondent's submission of the approved plan and technical description. all original muniments of titles or copies thereof and a survey plan of the land approved by the Bureau of Lands. The survey plan is crucial because it provides reference of the property's exact identity and location.20Recto v. What and where to file. The applicant shall file.19 this Court has relaxed the requirement for the submission of the tracing cloth plan by holding that:cralawlawlibrary Yet if the reason for requiring an applicant to adduce in evidence the original tracing cloth plan is merely to provide a convenient and necessary means to afford certainty as to the exact identity of the property applied for registration and to ensure that the same does not overlap with the boundaries of the adjoining lots. especially where it is accompanied by pieces of evidence—such as a duly executed blueprint of the survey plan and a duly executed technical description of the property—which may likewise substantially and with as much certainty prove the limits and extent of the property sought to be registered. the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the res. Hubilla22 where the Court has pointed out that although the best means to identify a piece of land for registration purposes is the original tracing cloth plan approved by the Bureau of Lands (now the Lands Management Services of . 18 Section 17 of Presidential Decree No. satisfy the requirement? The answer is in the affirmative. Court of Appeals.-The application for land registration shall be filed with the Court of First Instance of the province or city where the land is situated. Guinto-Aldana. In Republic v. both of which had been approved by Regional Technical Director of the Land Management Services. chanrobleslaw Section 17 shows. 1529 (The Property Registration Decree of 1978) provides:cralawlawlibrary Section 17. Republic21 andRepublic v.

for "no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or at least constructive possession. duly approved by the Bureau of Lands. the testimonial and documentary evidence submitted and offered by the applicant-appellee were admitted as unrebutted and unopposed. marked.24 and were subsequently identified. In particular. no person appeared and answered within the time allowed by the trial court to oppose the application filed by the applicant-appellee except the oppositorappellant. It observed that although the tax declarations or realty tax payments relevant to the lands were not conclusive evidence of ownership. during the hearing of the case. 9100. the Court has said in Hubilla. and through evidence showing possession in the concept of an owner for over 50 years. 25 chanrobleslaw II Respondent did not establish his required possession The CA upheld the finding of the MCTC that the respondent had established his title through documentary evidence like the tax declarations and the deed of sale from his predecessors-in-interest. Thus. Verily. other evidence could provide sufficient identification. In previous cases. this Court ruled that blueprint copies of the original tracing cloth plan from the Bureau of Lands and other evidence could also provide sufficient identification to identify a piece of land for registration purposes. they were good indicia of his possession in the concept of owner."26 The OSG counters that the CA should not have upheld the application for registration on the basis of mere tax declarations and the testimonies of respondent's attorney-in-fact . Another point to consider is the fact that there is no glaring and irreconcilable discrepancy of the actual area of Lot No. is a mandatory requirement. 9100 constituted a substantial compliance with the legal requirement of ascertaining the identity or location of the lands subject of the application for registration. citingRecto:cralawlawlibrary While the petitioner correctly asserts that the submission in evidence of the original tracing cloth plan. As a result thereof.the Department of Environment and Natural Resources). The plan and technical description had been approved by the Regional Technical Director of the Land Management Services. the submission of the approved plan and technical description of Lot No. there is no need to present in evidence the original tracing cloth plan. and offered in evidence during the trial. this Court has recognized instances of substantial compliance with this rule. x x x 23chanrobleslaw Here. no error can be attributed to the CA when it declared that:cralawlawlibrary It is our view that the original tracing cloth plan need not be presented in evidence because the identity and location of Lot No. 9100 were clearly established by the approved plan and the technical description thereof It must be noted that.

that is. namely: (1) that the property in question is alienable and disposable land of the public domain. continuous. exclusive and notorious possession of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bonafide claim of ownership since June 12. 1945. or earlier. . and that their testimonies of possession since time immemorial did not meet the standard required by law to warrant the grant of the application. 1529 provides:cralawlawlibrary SEC.D. Who may apply. 28he should not simply declare such possession as his and that of his predecessor-in-interest. Gideon de Pedro. The respondent did not satisfactorily demonstrate that his or his predecessors-ininterest's possession and occupation were of the nature and character contemplated by the law. The general statements of his witnesses on the possession and occupation were mere conclusions of law that did not qualify as competent and sufficient evidence of his open. None of his witnesses testified about any specific acts of ownership exercised by him or his predecessors-in-interest on the lands. continuous. that the respondent did not sufficiently prove his and his predecessors-in-interest's open. No. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation. Section 14(1) of P. exclusive and uninterrupted. and (3) that such possession is under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12. the OSG controverted only the second. continuous. the OSG contends that in order for the respondent as the applicant for the original registration of title to prove possession of alienable public land for the period prescribed by law that was open. 32 We agree with the insistence of the OSG. (2) that the applicant by himself or through his predecessors-in-interest have been in open. 29 that general statements or phrases were nothing more than conclusions of law that were not evidence of possession. accordingly. Anent the aforecited requisites. by reason of the claimant's open.27 Essentially. As we see it. whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary (1) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. 1945. the right to file the application for original registration derives from a bona fide claim of ownership dating back to June 12. 31 and that. 14. he did not discharge his burden of substantiation of his application. xxxx There are three requisites for the filing of an application for registration of title under Section 14(1) of PD 1529. or earlier.The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration of title to land. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation. In short. the OSG has correctly observed . continuous. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the lands. continuous. exclusive and notorious possession of alienable and disposable land of the public domain.30 that instead the respondent as the applicant should present specific acts showing the nature of the alleged possession. 1945. or earlier.Manuel Blanco and Atty.

In sum. de Pedro alleged that his uncle. That the lands were cogonal or planted with coconut trees did not conclusively disclose that the lands had been actively and regularly. the clear intention of the law is not to make one synonymous with the other. Since these words are separated by the conjunction and. in the absence of actual public and adverse possession.that his witnesses did not testify on the specific acts of possession of the respondent or of his predecessors-in-interest. thus:cralawlawlibrary The law speaks of possession and occupation. Possession is broader than occupation because it includes constructive possession.37 It is well-settled that tax declarations are not conclusive proof of possession or ownership. and their submission will not lend support in proving the nature of the possession required by the law. his possession must not be a mere fiction. Basilio de Pedro. The respondent's claim of ownership on the basis of the tax declarations alone did not also suffice.35 the Court has pointed out that only when tax declarations were coupled with proof of actual possession of the property could they become the basis of a claim of ownership. Atty.33 this Court has explained that the intent behind the law's use of the terms possession and occupation is to emphasize the need for actual and not just constructive or fictional possession. exclusive and notorious. Gideon de Pedro only testified of their possession since time immemorial but did not offer any details of specific acts indicative of possession and occupation. Taken together with the words open. Bolante. the offer of general statements or phrases is a merely self-serving. 36Indeed. development. Actual possession of a land consists in the manifestation of acts of dominion over it of such a nature as a party would naturally exercise over his own property. and used them for pasture and planting of coconut trees. Witnesses Manuel Blanco and Atty. not merely casually or occasionally. Hence. the declaration of the land for tax purposes did not prove ownership. but did not adduce any specific details indicating such activities as manifestations of ownership or possession that could be ultimately attributed to the respondent. his application for original land registration fails. continuous. cultivated and maintained. therefore. cultivation or maintenance of the lands subject of his application. The respondent did not competently account for any act of occupation. 34 chanrobleslaw The Court reverses the CA. either on his part or on the part of his predecessors-in-interest for the entire time that they were supposedly in possession of the lands. To prove possession. In Republic v. the respondent did not prove that he and his predecessors-in-interest have been in continuous. the law adds the word occupation. the word occupation serves to highlight the fact that for an applicant to qualify. and adverse possession and occupation thereof in the concept of owners. Alconaba. exclusive. unsubstantiated assertion. had once possessed the lands that were cogonal. . InCequeña v. When. it seeks to delimit the all encompassing effect of constructive possession.

the Court GRANTS the petition for review on certiorari.WHEREFORE. REVERSES and SETS ASIDEthe decision promulgated on September 8. and ORDERS the respondent to pay the costs of suit. DISMISSES the application for land registration of the respondent.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary . 2005. SO ORDERED.

of a parcel of land identified as Lot 9250 Cad-355. 2006 of Branch 18. together with a copy of the complaint. they argued that they were also entitled to a writ of preliminary injunction in order to restrain or enjoin petitioner.R. petitioner filed an Entry of Appearance with Motion for . they claimed the presence of misrepresentation amounting to actual or extrinsic fraud. 1998. ELINO FAJARDO. For having been in continuous. respondents stated that they were not aware of any person or entity who had a legal or equitable interest or claim on the same lot until the time they were requesting that the lot be declared for tax purposes. and adverse possession as owners of the said lot for at least thirty years. Branch XVIII. its privies. and all other persons acting on its behalf. 1998. N-62686. Summons. are the following: Respondents Azucena Garcia. AZUCENA GARCIA.R. thus. Tagaytay City against petitioner Eland Philippines. Inc.112) square meters. AND HEIR OF TIBURCIO MALABANAN NAMED TERESA MALABANAN. 141. Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tagaytay City. N217313.G. 1999 and June 28.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Respondents claimed that they are the owners. Plan Ap-04-008367. J. Tagaytay City. They averred that they were not notified of the said land registration case. to refrain from committing acts of dispossession on the subject lot. and Teresa Malabanan. the heir of Tiburcio Malabanan. CV No. Tagaytay Cadastre. situated in Barangay Iruhin. They found out that the lot was the subject of a land registration proceeding that had already been decided by the same court4 where their complaint was filed. containing an area of Two Hundred Forty-Four Thousand One Hundred Twelve (244. seeking to reverse and set aside the decision1 dated February 28. On April 29. Elino Fajardo. were served on the petitioner on April 7. 1997 to the petitioner pursuant to the Decision dated June 7. vs. 1998 for Quieting of Title with Writ of Preliminary Injunction with the RTC. filed a Complaint 2 dated March 2. 173289 February 17. LRC Record No. 67417. agents. Respondents. public. as amended. representatives. Inc. 48 (b) 3 of the Public Land Law or Commonwealth Act No. Petitioner. 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. No. was already issued on August 20. INC.. DECISION PERALTA. They also found out that Decree No. which dismissed the appeal of petitioner Eland Philippines. in fee simple title. 1994 of the same court. as shown in the records. The facts of the case. 2010 ELAND PHILIPPINES. and affirmed the Resolutions dated November 3. Thus. by occupation and possession under the provisions of Sec.

On the date of the hearing. 1998. 1998. the trial court issued an Order22 dated January 11. Respondents filed a Motion to Admit Comment/Opposition to Defendant Eland. . the trial court denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration in an Order18 dated January 11. 1998. 1998. as well as a Comment (on Plaintiff's Motion to Expunge Eland's Answer from the Records)28dated January 26. 1999. 1998. petitioner filed a Motion for Final Extension of Time to File Answer 17 dated November 6. on November 9. Petitioner filed its Opposition (to Plaintiff's Motion to Expunge Eland's Answer from the Records) 27 dated December 21. Petitioner filed a Second Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer7 dated April 29. 1998. On December 4. 1998. On the scheduled hearing of September 23. and that the latter were not entitled to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. Respondents countered by filing a Motion to Expunge Eland's Answer from the Records26 dated December 2. stating that the pleading asserting the claim of respondents stated no cause of action. while respondents filed a Reply to Comment (on Plaintiff's Motion to Declare Defendant Eland in Default)21 dated December 29.11together with the corresponding Comment/Opposition12 dated June 8. the trial court admitted petitioner's Answer Ad Cautelam. In the same Order.13 considering the Motion to Dismiss submitted for resolution due to the nonappearance of the parties and their respective counsels. 1999. Subsequently. 1998. and set the date of the hearing on July 23. 1999. The trial court in an Order 24 dated March 18.15 Petitioner. 1998. 1999 on the trial court's denial of its motion to dismiss and in declaring it in default. 1998. 1998 Petitioner Eland filed its Comment (on Plaintiff's Motion to Declare Defendant Eland in Default) 20 dated December 2. 1998. denying the former's Motion to Dismiss. setting the same for hearing on May 21. Petitioner then filed two Motions for Extension to File an Answer. Again. Earlier. filed a Motion for Reconsideration 16 of the trial court's Order dated September 25. petitioner filed its Answer Ad Cautelam (With Compulsory Counterclaim)25 dated November 12. Meanwhile. 1998. petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss 9 dated May 9. the trial court issued an Order. Thereafter. 1999 declaring the petitioner in default and allowed the respondents to present evidence ex parte. 1998. denied the former and granted the latter. 1998.5 which the trial court granted6 for a period of ten (10) days within which to file a responsive pleading. 1998. 1998.10 which granted the respondents ten (10) days from that day to file a comment. 1998. ruling that the allegations in the complaint established a cause of action and enjoined petitioner Eland to file its answer to the complaint within ten (10) days from receipt of the same. respondents filed a Motion to Declare Defendant Eland in Default 19 dated November 17. Respondents filed their Comment/Opposition to Motion for Reconsideration dated November 24. The said motion was eventually denied by the trial court in an Order 14 dated September 25. 8 Thereafter. which the trial court likewise granted. the trial court issued an Order.Extension of Time. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration (of the Order dated 11 January 1999) 23 dated February 5.

1999. 31However. 1999. 1999. the motion for summary judgment is hereby GRANTED and it is hereby adjudged that: 1. 1999 of the trial court and for the affirmation of its earlier Order denying petitioner's Motion to Dismiss. petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration40 dated July 19. respondents filed a Motion to Set Presentation of Evidence Ex Parte29 dated January 18.Consequently. which was granted in an Order 30 dated January 22. petitioner filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings 37 dated May 24. 1999. wherein the parties submitted their pre-trial briefs. A pre-trial conference was scheduled on May 27. On January 28. In that regard. 1999. TG-423 is set aside and the Decree No.36However. subject to the rights of occupancy of the farm workers on the one-third area thereof. 1999 directing the Clerk of Court to suspend the proceedings. 1999 on the said motion for clarification. . The Judgment dated June 7. N-217313. respondents filed their Formal Offer of Evidence. Consequently. 1999. the trial court found favor on the respondents. 1994 in Land Registration Case No. 1999 was received by the trial court. respondents filed a Motion for Clarification 34 as to whether or not the evidence presented ex parte was nullified by the admission of petitioner's Answer Ad Cautelam. premises considered. 2. but it was denied by the trial court in an Omnibus Order41 dated September 14. petitioner filed an Urgent Motion to Suspend Plaintiff's Ex Parte Presentation of Evidence32 dated February 8. and. LRC Record No. 1999. 1999. N-62686 dated August 20. The dispositive portion of the Resolution reads: WHEREFORE. the trial court ruled that the reception of evidence already presented by the respondents before the Clerk of Court remained as part of the records of the case. respondents filed a Motion for Summary Judgment 42 dated August 5. Plaintiffs are the absolute owners and rightful possessors of Lot 9250. 1999. 1999. Petitioner filed its Comment35 dated May 13. Hence. 1999 on the ground that the same petitioner had filed a petition for certiorari with the CA. 1997 is null and void. CAD355. 1999. 1999. and a copy of the Resolution38 dated June 14. asking for the nullification of the Order dated March 18. on February 10. respondents presented their evidence before the Clerk of Court of the trial court which ended on February 3. the trial court issued an Order 33 dated February 11. The petition for certiorari was subsequently denied. 1999. in an Order39 dated July 7. and that the petitioner had the right to cross-examine the witness and to comment on the documentary exhibits already presented. Eventually. On May 14. 1999. Tagaytay Cadastre. In its Resolution44 dated November 3. while petitioner filed its Opposition 43 to the Motion dated August 31.

5.4 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT UPHELD THE RESOLUTION DATED NOVEMBER 03. RULE 35 OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE. 5. 5. 5.1 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT DATED AUGUST 05. as well as tax declaration covering Lot 9250. 1999 DID NOT VIOLATE THE TEN (10)-DAY NOTICE RULE UNDER SECTION 3. The assailed Resolution dated November 3. for lack of merit. 1999. TG-1784. No pronouncement as to cost. in Civil Case No. The grounds relied upon by the petitioner are the following: 5. 2006. of the RTC. The Original Transfer Certificate of Title is ordered to be canceled.2 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT RULED THAT A MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IS PROPER IN AN ACTION FOR QUIETING OF TITLE. SO ORDERED. the present petition. Hence. 1999 OF THE COURT A QUO. TG1784. which reads: WHEREFORE. the appeal is DISMISSED. which dismissed it in a Decision dated February 28.3. BASED ON TESTIMONIES OF RESPONDENTS' WITNESSES TAKEN WITHOUT GRANTING HEREIN PETITIONER THE RIGHT TO CROSS-EXAMINE AND UPON DOCUMENTARY EXHIBITS PRESENTED BUT NOT ADMITTED AS EVIDENCE.5 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE . Petitioner appealed the Resolution of the trial court with the CA. SO ORDERED. is AFFIRMED. Branch 18.3 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT RULED THAT THERE ARE NO GENUINE FACTUAL AND TRIABLE ISSUES IN CIVIL CASE NO. Tagaytay City. Cad-355.

like in the present case. the trial court gravely erred in relying upon the testimonies of the witnesses for the respondents. It added that the genuine and triable issues were all raised in its Answer Ad Cautelam. per Sec.COURT WHEN IT UPHELD THE RESOLUTION DATED NOVEMBER 03. Another ground relied upon by petitioner is its failure to cross-examine the witnesses for the respondents without fault on its part. a motion for summary judgment must be served at least ten (10) days before the date set for hearing thereof. petitioner also averred that a summary judgment has no place in a case where genuine factual and triable issues exist. countered the first issue raised by the petitioner. without having the latter cross-examined. 1999 OF THE COURT A QUO BASED ON FALSIFIED "EVIDENCE. and upon the documentary exhibits presented but not admitted as evidence. and does not include cases for quieting of title. the trial court deprived the former of its right to due process. Petitioner further claimed that the trial court based its Resolution dated November 3. Respondents. Lastly. or the very same day that the motion was set for hearing. counterclaim or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief. according to the petitioner. Hence. Petitioner further claims that the trial court never conducted any hearing on the motion for summary judgment. 3 of Rule 35 of the Revised Rules of Court. in their Comment 45 dated October 16." 5. 0-660 IN AN ACTION TO QUIET TITLE. stating that their filing of the motion for summary judgment . It also stated that the trial court did not issue any order admitting in evidence the documentary exhibits presented by the respondents. 2006. 5. Petitioner also argued that a summary judgment is only available to a claimant seeking to recover upon a claim.6 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT FAILED TO RULE THAT THE COURT A QUO PATENTLY DEPRIVED PETITIONER OF ITS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS IN RENDERING ITS SUMMARY JUDGMENT. Furthermore.7 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT HELD THAT THE COURT A QUO HAS JURISDICTION TO CANCEL PETITIONER'S ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE (OCT) NO. 1999. According to the petitioner. and that a hearing must be held to hear the parties on the propriety of a summary judgment. 1999 on falsified evidence. petitioner raised the issue that by rendering summary judgment. which was not observed because the petitioner received a copy of the respondents' motion for summary judgment only on August 20.

deposition or admission in the records. Rule 8 of the Rules of Court. were really general denials that did not comply with the provisions of Section 10. respondents asseverated that their complaint alleged joint causes of action for quieting of title under Art. 1999. and that the latter's citation of cases decided by this Court showed the diverse causes of action that could be the subject matters of summary judgment. Anent the fourth and fifth issues. Rule 35 of the Rules of Court.fourteen (14) days before the requested hearing of the same motion was in compliance with Sec. by failing to serve opposing affidavit. No.D. Rule 35 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides: SEC. Finally. 476 of the New Civil Code and for the review of the decree of registration pursuant to Sec. 1. respondents asserted that petitioner's counsel failed to study carefully the records of the proceedings for the presentation of the evidence ex parte to be able to know that it was not only a single-day proceeding. 3. and that more than one witness had been presented. With regard to the contention of the petitioner that the trial court wrongly appreciated falsified evidence. move with supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor upon all or any part thereof . although denominated as Specific Denial. or to comply with. 32 of the Property Registration Decree or P. or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief may. Respondents also posited that petitioner's statements in its Answer Ad Cautelam. The petition is impressed with merit. for the petitioner to cross-examine respondents' witnesses and to comment on the documentary evidence presented ex parte after the default order against the same petitioner. the latter evasively moved to set aside respondents' evidence in order to suspend further proceedings that were intended to abort the pre-trial conference. which stated that the motion for summary judgment has been submitted for resolution without further argument. . The basic contention that must be resolved by this Court is the propriety of the summary judgment in this particular case of quieting of title. 1999. the prescription of the rules found in Rule 35 of the Rules of Court by opting not to avail itself of the hearing of its opposition to the summary judgment after receiving the Order dated August 20. They added that petitioner neglected to avail itself of. respondents argued that petitioner had a constricted perception of the coverage of the Rules of Summary Judgment.A party seeking to recover upon a claim. 1999 of the trial court. as to the sixth and seventh issues. respondents claimed that despite the opportunity. at any time after the pleading in answer thereto has been served. As to the second and third issues. or the right allowed in the Order dated July 17. They further averred that the trial court did not only rely on the photographs of the houses of the occupants of the property in question. and by not objecting to the decretal portion of the said Order dated August 20. counterclaim. because they are complimentary with each other. 1529. Summary judgment for claimant.

the judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith if the pleading. and admissions on file together with the affidavits.46 In the present case. . this Court finds that the grant of summary judgment was not proper. except as to the amount of damages. Due process. The CA was correct in its observation that there was substantial compliance with due process.47 Petitioner further argues that summary judgment is not proper in an action for quieting of title. show that. but the absence thereof andthe lack of opportunity to be heard. is misguided. The adverse party prior to the day of hearing may serve opposing affidavits. or 10 days from the date of the filing thereof. always and in all situations a trial-type proceeding. it was the respondents who moved for a summary judgment. they furnished petitioner with a copy thereof on the same day as shown in the registry receipt and that the motion was set for hearing on August 20. A summary judgment is proper if. After the hearing. as the records show. 3.49 It must be remembered that the non-existence of a genuine issue is the determining factor in granting a motion for summary judgment. does not. that the ten-day notice rule was substantially complied with because when the respondents filed the motion for summary judgment on August 9. The CA ruled. A summary judgment is permitted only if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and a moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. 1999. Petitioner contended that the ten-day notice rule was violated. however. while the pleadings on their face appear to raise issues. 1999. The above specific contention. This Court has already ruled that any action can be the subject of a summary judgment with the sole exception of actions for annulment of marriage or declaration of its nullity or for legal separation. therefore. The trial court found no genuine issue as to any material . there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. depositions. Motion and proceedings thereon. however.SEC. 1999. depositions. It also added that even if the petitioner received a copy of the motion only on August 20. and admissions presented by the moving party show that such issues are not genuine. the affidavits. is misplaced. This particular argument. because the copy of the motion for summary judgment was served only on August 20. a constitutional precept. 1999 or on the same day it was set for hearing. The essence of due process is found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit one's evidence in support of his defense. and the movant has the burden of proving such nonexistence. there was no hearing conducted on that date because the trial court issued an order giving petitioner 10 days within which to file its comment or opposition. 48 Proceeding to the main issue. What the law prohibits is not merely the absence of previous notice.The motion shall be served at least ten (10) days before the time specified for the hearing.

On the other hand. are the very documentary evidence adopted and relied upon by the plaintiffs in seeking the review and nullity of the Decree No. TG-423 before this Honorable Court the markings and descriptions of such documents are stated in the Judgment quoted as follows: (1) Tax Declaration No. the issue has already become nil because of not only the lack of seriousness in the allegations but also because the identity of the subject parcel of land Lot 9250 was proven by the approved plan Ap-04008367 that was already presented and offered in evidence as Exhibit "B" for the plaintiffs. to wit: Nonetheless. Guerrero in said Land Registration Case No. TG-423. The first defense as to the identity of the subject property. In their motion for summary judgment. exclusive possession as aspects of acquisitive prescription as confirmed in the affidavit herein attached as Annex "A". (4) Tax Declaration No. (2) Tax Declaration No. 05019-B (Exhibit "R". 217313 issued on August 20. the respondents failed to clearly demonstrate the absence of any genuine issue of fact. open. the plaintiffs have presented clear and convincing evidence as the well-nigh or almost incontrovertible evidence of a registerable title to the subject land in the proceedings conducted on the reception of evidence ex-parte for the plaintiffs establishing in detail the specifications of continuous. x x x. However. going by the records of the admitted and uncontroverted facts and facts established there is no more litigious or genuine issue of basic fact to be the subject of further trial on the merits. N-62686 pursuant to the Judgment dated June 7. GR-007-0007 (Exhibit "T" x x x. a careful study of the case shows otherwise. The second defense that plaintiffs' claim of the property is barred by prior judgment rule is unavailing considering that the vital documentary evidence they presented in Land Registration Case No. (3) Tax Declaration No.fact that would necessitate conducting a full-blown trial. 015224-A (Exhibit "Q". x x x. as to the gravamen of the claims in the complaint. 1997 under LRC Record No. In ruling that there was indeed no genuine issue involved. x x x. 1994 rendered by this Honorable Court penned by the acting presiding Judge Eleuterio F. 01926-B (Exhibit "S". the trial court merely stated that: . They merely reiterated their averments in the complaint for quieting of title and opposed some issues raised by the petitioner in its Answer Ad Cautelam.

Notwithstanding. 1184436. No. Cad 355 (Exhibit "B-1" of the plaintiffs). While defendant Eland in its answer practically and mainly interposed the defenses of: (a) the parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiffs is not the parcel of land subject matter of Land Registration Case No. March 21. propounded thus: The contention of defendant-appellant is untenable. G. Secondly. The CA.R. summary judgment may be allowed. 118436. Tagaytay Cadastre containing only an area of 244. 0-660 has become incontrovertible. Cad 335. March 21. Cad 355. set up in bad faith and patently unsubstantial so as not to constitute a genuine issue for trial. the prior judgment rule cannot be availed of by defendant Eland since not only intrinsic fraud but extrinsic fraud were alleged in and established by the records.112 square meters with Lot 9121. because the supposed identity crisis of the controverted parcel of land covered by the Land Registration Case No. the issue of possession is a question of fact by the interaction of the basic pleadings. containing only an area of 19. it is incontrovertible that the complaint in this case seeking to review the judgment and annul the decree was filed on March 5. Firstly. when there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.356 square meters. 217313. in affirming the above Resolution of the trial court. Tagaytay Cadastre. Thirdly. 1997). going by the records. No. prom. the observation of this Court is that the plaintiffs were able to prove by the well-nigh incontrovertible evidence. Court of Appeals. . the Original Certificate of Title No. 423 and by Plan A04 008367 (Exhibit "B" of the plaintiffs) and the Technical Description of Lot 9250. TG-423 with the subject parcel of land is established by Plan Ap-04-006275 (Exhibit "N") LRC Case No. and (c) plaintiffs' complaint is barred by the Statute of Limitation since Original Certificate of Title No. hence. except as to the amount of damages. (Heirs of Manuel Roxas v. Summary judgment is not only limited to solving actions involving money claims. as amended. Under Rule 35 of the 1997 Rules of Court. 1997 or the date of issuance of Decree No. Being minded that the Court has and can take judicial notice of the said land registration case. 0-660 issued to defendant Eland has not attained incontrovertibility. R. (Heirs of Manuel Roxas v. N-62686. (b) the claim of the plaintiffs is barred by prior judgment of this Court in said Land Registration Case. observed keenly that plaintiffs’ cause of action for quieting of title on the disputed parcel of land is based on the alleged fraud in the substitution of their landholdings of Lot 9250. TG-423 that was decided previously by this Court with the case at bench was imperatively made by this Court. Cross-reference of the above-cited Land Registration Case No. the aspects of possession in accordance with Section 48 (b) of Commonwealth Act 141. TG-423. this Court observed that there is no genuine issue of fact to be tried on the merits. LRC Record No. 1997). fictitious. as hereinafter illustrated. G. The term "genuine issue" has been defined as an issue of fact which calls for the presentation of evidence as distinguished from an issue which is sham.This Court. contrived. pro. 1998 or within one (1) year from August 20. Court of Appeals.

10 (a). 10 (b). and .4 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraphs 9. And if the property referred to in said paragraphs is that parcel of land which was the subject matter of Land Registration Case No. 2.1 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 and 3 of the Complaint insofar as it alleges the personal circumstances of the plaintiff and one A.Thus. It should be stressed that the court a quo which rendered the assailed resolution in Civil Case No. 10 (g). SPECIFIC DENIALS 2. thus: 2. 10 (d). 2. 10 (e). 10 (c). said allegations are likewise specifically denied for the obvious reason that the said property had already been adjudged with finality by no less than this Honorable Court as absolutely owned by herein answering defendant as will be further discussed hereunder. Such being the case. F. in petitioner's Answer Ad Cautelam. TG-423 for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof and for the reason that the names of the herein plaintiffs were never mentioned during the entire proceedings in said land registration case and by reason of the Affirmative Allegations contained hereunder. where all the facts are within the judicial knowledge of the court. depositions and admissions show that such issues are not genuine. under the aforecited rule. TG-423 which was previously decided by this Honorable Court with finality. 10 (h). but when the affidavits. TG-423 which it considered and applied to this case.3 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraph 8 of the Complaint insofar as it alleged that "(u)pon exercise of further circumspection. summary judgment may be granted as a matter of right. the court a quo was privy to all relevant facts and rulings pertaining to LRC Case No. TG-423. then summary judgment as prescribed by the rules must ensue as a matter of law. summary judgment is appropriate when there are no genuine issues of fact. 5. 2.2 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraphs 4. 10 (f). even if on their face the pleadings appear to raise issues. On the contrary. 10. aside from specifically denying all the allegations in the complaint. Development Corporation for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof. factual and triable issues were raised. 6 and 7 of the Complaint for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of said allegations. TG-1784 was the very court that decided the LRC Case No. which call for the presentation of evidence in a full-blown trial. Thus. counsel for the plaintiffs once followed-up in writing the 1994 request of the plaintiffs to have the subject parcel of land be declared for taxation purposes" and insofar as it is made to appear that parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiffs is the same parcel of land subject matter of Land Registration Case No. Thus. genuine.

TG.5 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraph 12 of the Complaint for the obvious reason that it was the plaintiffs who appear to have been sleeping on their rights considering that up to the present they still do not have any certificate of title covering the parcel of land they are claiming in the instant case. for those reasons stated in defendant's Motion to Dismiss.9 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraph IV (d) of the Complaint for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof.11 for the reason that there is no showing that the parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiff is the same parcel of land which was the subject matter of Land Registration Case No. 16. 2.423. and further. TG-423.7 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraphs 14. Special and affirmative defenses were also raised in the same Answer Ad Cautelam. answering defendant specifically denies the allegations therein that plaintiffs engaged the services of a lawyer for a fee for lack of knowledge r information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof. TG-423 is absolutely owned by herein defendant.6 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraph 13 of the complaint for the reason that defendant has never ladgrabbed any parcel of land belonging to others. 2. and in the remote possibility that the parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiffs is the same as that parcel of land subject of Land Registration Case No. if the parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiffs is the same as that parcel of land subject matter of Land Registration Case No. the allegations contained in said paragraphs are still specifically denied for the reason that no less than the Honorable Court had decided with finality that the parcel of land is absolutely owned by herein defendant to the exclusion of all other persons as attested to by the subsequent issuance of an Original Certificate of Title in favor of answering defendant and for reasons stated in the Affirmative Allegations.8 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraphs IV (a) to IV (c) for the reason that. while on the part of herein defendant. 2. much less from the plaintiffs. 17 and 18 of the Complaint for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as the truth thereof. to wit: . 2. 15. this Honorable Court had already decided with finality that said parcel of land is absolutely owned by herein answering defendant and additionally. TG-423. 2. no less than the Honorable Court had adjudged with finality that the parcel of land subject matter of Land Registration Case No. as above-stated.

3 The complaint is barred by the Statute of Limitation in that OCT No. TG-423) wherein the same trial court ruled in favor of the . TG423. LRC Record No. TG.423 and inspite of such knowledge. proceedings for summary judgment cannot take the place of trial. 4. 62686) based on the ruling of the same court that granted the summary judgment for the quieting of title.1 The pleading asserting the claim of the plaintiff states no cause of action as asserted in the Motion To Dismiss filed by herein answering defendant and for the reason that there is no evidence whatsoever showing or attesting to the fact that the parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiffs in the Complaint is the same parcel of land which was the subject matter of Land Registration Case No. the findings of the trial court contained in the disputed summary judgment were obtained through judicial notice of the facts and rulings pertaining to that earlier case (LRC Case No. the facts pleaded by the respondents in their motion for summary judgment have been duly disputed and contested by petitioner. contrived or false claim. 51 It is of utmost importance to remember that petitioner is already the registered owner (Original Certificate of Title [OCT] No.6 Answering defendant has always acted with justice.xxxx 4. TG-423. 4.5 Plaintiffs does not to the Court with clean hands as they appear to be well aware of the proceedings in said Land Registration Case No. raising genuine issues that must be resolved only after a full-blown trial. Incidentally. When the facts as pleaded by the parties are disputed or contested. A "genuine issue" is an issue of fact that requires the presentation of evidence as distinguished from a sham. 4. and to allow plaintiffs to question the validity of answering defendant's title through the instant complaint would be a collateral of OCT No. 4. 4.50 In the present case. 0-660 which is not permissible under the law. Clearly.2 The complaint was barred by the prior judgment rendered by this Honorable in Land Registration Case No. 0-660 issued by the Register of Deeds) of the parcel of land in question. the petitioner was able to point out the genuine issues. pursuant to a decree of registration (Decree No. 0-660 had become incontrovertible by virtue of the Torrens System of Registration. and observed honesty and good faith in his dealings. N-217313.4 Plaintiffs are barred by their own acts and/or omission from filing the present complaint under the principles of estoppel and laches. plaintiffs never bothered to present their alleged claims in the proceedings. given everyone his due. fictitious.

Ruben Roxas establishes beyond any shadow of doubt that applicant's (referring to herein defendant-appellant) sellers/predecessors-in-interest are the grandchildren. as supported by its technical description now forming part of the record of this case. filed by respondents. By granting the summary judgment. whose ownership is further bolstered by tax receipts showing payments of realty taxes (Exhibits "U" to "GG. in addition to other proofs adduced in the name of the applicant. Hence. together with the failure of the respondents to show that there were no genuine issues involved. and considering that applicant is a domestic corporation not otherwise disqualified from owning real properties in the Philippines." inclusive). 43 E. with principal office at No. WHEREFORE. the land described in Plan Ap-04-006275 and containing an area of Two Hundred Forty-Two Thousand Seven Hundred Ninety-Four (242. inspite of the opposition filed by the Heirs of the late Doroteo Miranda. the uncontroverted testimony of Atty. is already a clear indicium that a genuine issue of a material fact exists. the trial court has in effect annulled its former ruling based on a claim of possession and ownership of the same land for more than thirty years without the benefit of a full-blown trial. otherwise known as the Property Registration Law. ELAND PHILIPPINES. the former owners of the same property. the corresponding decree of registration shall forthwith issue. thus. Act 496 and/or P. this Court finds that applicant has satisfied all the conditions/requirements essential to the grant of its application pursuant to the provisions of the Land Registration Law. INC. Quezon City." inclusive. scant consideration. places under the operation of Act 141. great grandchildren and great great grandchildren of the spouses Lucio Petate and Maria Pobleta Petate. Trial courts have limited authority to render summary . are the previous owners of the parcel of land mentioned in the same deed of sale and aside form the tax declarations covering the same property (Exhibits "Q" to "T. (España Extension). as amended. the grant of applicant's petition appears to be inevitable.petitioner. SO ORDERED." with submarkings. with submarkings). Rodriguez Ave. xxx On the basis of the foregoing facts and circumstances. Metro Manila.D. which categorically stated that: x x x There is overwhelming evidence or proof on record that the vendors listed in Exhibit "HH. Once this decision becomes final and executory. This. It is. disorienting that the same trial court reversed its earlier ruling. should have been enough for the trial court to give the motion for summary judgment. therefore. this Court hereby approves the instant petition for land registration and.794) square meters. The fact that the respondents seek to nullify the original certificate of title issued to the petitioner on the claim that the former were in possession of the same land for a number of years. 1529..

v. record. The plaintiff must have legal or equitable title to. An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from being cast upon title to real property or any interest therein. in fact. This Court's ruling in Calacala. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein. CA:54 Regarding the nature of the action filed before the trial court. to use. an action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet the title.’ In an action for quieting of title. ineffective.52 Based on the foregoing. the remedy may be availed of only when. and even to abuse the property as he deems best xxx. and he could afterwards without fear introduce the improvements he may desire. et al. vs. encumbrance or proceeding. Originating in equity jurisprudence. which appears valid but is. by reason of any instrument. thus: To begin with. but also for the benefit of both. its purpose is to secure ‘x x x an adjudication that a claim of title to or an interest in property. claim. adverse to that of the complainant. quieting of title is a common law remedy for the removal of any cloud upon or doubt or uncertainty with respect to title to real property. claim. ‘x x x not only to place things in their proper place. ineffective. or unenforceable. voidable. so that the complainant and those claiming under him may be forever afterward free from any danger of hostile claim. the competent court is tasked to determine the respective rights of the complainant and other claimants. thus: Article 477. Under Article 476 of the New Civil Code. voidable. record. . by reason of any instrument. He need not be in possession of said property. In turn. this Court deems it necessary to delve briefly on the nature of the action of quieting of title as applied in this case. so that he who has the right would see every cloud of doubt over the property dissipated.53 is instructive on this matter. Republic. to make the one who has no rights to said immovable respect and not disturb the other. The codal provision reads: Article 476. encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid. it bears emphasis that an action for quieting of title is essentially a common law remedy grounded on equity. is invalid. invalid. et al. Article 477 of the same Code identifies the party who may bring an action to quiet title. As we held in Baricuatro. and may be prejudicial to said title. a cloud is thereby cast on the complainant’s title to real property or any interest therein. Jr. or unenforceable. or interest in the real property which is the subject-matter of the action.judgments and may do so only when there is clearly no genuine issue as to any material fact.

the plaintiff must first have a legal. which would correspond to the two requisites for the quieting of title. . Also. Review of decree of registration. an equitable title on the real property subject of the action and that the alleged cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact invalid. respondents enumerated several facts that would tend to prove the invalidity of the claim of the petitioner. presenting genuine issues that can only be resolved through a full-blown trial. as discussed earlier. are factual. however. subject. including the government and the branches thereof. as amended. mortgagee. encumbrance or proceeding that is being alleged as a cloud on plaintiff’s title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facieappearance of validity or legal efficacy. two (2) indispensable requisites must concur. at least. it shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee. Anent the second requisite.55 we ruled: It is essential for the plaintiff or complainant to have a legal title or an equitable title to or interest in the real property which is the subject matter of the action. and (2) the deed. claim that they have become the owners in fee-simple title of the subject land by occupation and possession under the provisions of Sec. encumbrance. the indefeasibility and incontrovertibility of the decree of registration come into question. to file in the proper Court of First Instance a petition for reopening and review of the decree of registration not later than one year from and after the date of the entry of such decree of registration. 32 of P. the petitioner interposed its objections and duly disputed the said claims. deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by such adjudication or confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud. thus. minority. and. namely: (1) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property subject of the action. All of these claims. The decree of registration shall not be reopened or revised by reason of absence. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree: Section 32. or other encumbrancer for value. for an action to quiet title to prosper. in their Complaint. but in no case shall such petition be entertained by the court where an innocent purchaser for value has acquired the land or an interest therein. or. vs. 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. 141. claim. it appears that the first requisite has been satisfied. So it is that in Robles. or other disability of any person adversely affected thereby. Innocent purchaser for value. Thus. No. claim. the deed. Under Sec.It can thus be seen that for an action for quieting of title to prosper. Anent the propriety of the filing of an action for the quieting of title. whose rights may be prejudiced. nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments.D. Respondents. Whenever the phrase "innocent purchaser for value" or an equivalent phrase occurs in this Decree. to the right of any person. et al. CA. 48 (b) of the Public Land Law or Commonwealth Act No. Verily.

fraud is not alone sufficient to do so. An important feature of a certificate of title is its finality. the basis of the aggrieved party must be anchored solely on actual fraud. 61 the petition for review must be filed within one year from entry of the decree of registration.Upon the expiration of said period of one year. (c) The petition must be filed within one year from the issuance of the decree by the Land Registration Authority. However. the decree of registration and the certificate of title issued shall become incontrovertible. To avail of a petition for review. Courts may reopen proceedings already closed by final decision or decree when an application for review is filed by the party aggrieved within one year from the issuance of the decree of registration. As borne out by the records and undisputed by the parties. 0-660 of petitioner was issued on August 29. The proceedings whereby such a title is obtained are directed against all persons. hence. 57 citing decisions of this Court. the following requisites must be satisfied: (a) The petitioner must have an estate or interest in the land. 1997 pursuant to a Decree issued on August 20. OCT No. Any person aggrieved by such decree of registration in any case may pursue his remedy by action for damages against the applicant or any other persons responsible for the fraud. 59 A mere claim of ownership is not sufficient to avoid a certificate of title obtained under the Torrens system. which was for quieting of title. Shedding light on the matter is a discussion presented in one of the recognized textbooks on property registration. 1997. If they do not appear and oppose the registration of their own estate or interest in the property in the name of another. As written: . known or unknown. a closer examination of the above provisions would clearly indicate that the action filed. such judgment is conclusive. a fortiori.60 As further pointed out in the same book. and includes all who have an interest in the land.56 However. applying the above provisions. judgment is rendered against them by default. thus: The right of a person deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by adjudication or confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud is recognized by law as a valid and legal basis for reopening and revising a decree of registration. (b) He must show actual fraud in the procurement of the decree of registration. If an interest in the land will not by itself operate to vacate a decree of registration. and (d) The property has not yet passed to an innocent purchaser for value. and. was not the proper remedy. TG-1784 was filed and docketed on March 5. 58 One of the remedies available to him is a petition for review. in the absence of fraud. it would seem that the period of one (1) year from the issuance of the decree of registration has not elapsed for the review thereof. while the complaint for the quieting of title in Civil Case No. whether actually served with notice or not. 1998.

68 a decree of registration is filed within the one-year it is error for the court to deny the petition without of the allegation of actual and extrinsic fraud upon The petitioner should be afforded an opportunity to . a decree of a registration court. must be understood as referring to final and unappealable decrees of registration. in these circumstances. the decree becomes incontrovertible and no longer subject to reopening or review. hearing the evidence in support which the petition is predicated. Section 32 provides that a petition for review of the decree of registration may be filed "not later than one year from and after the date of entry of such decree of registration. and during that period may be set aside by the trial judge on motion for new trial.As long as a final decree has not been entered by the Land Registration Authority and period of one year has not elapsed from the date of entry of such decree. where petitioners acquired their interest in the land before any final decree had been entered.671avvphi1 Where the petition for review of period from entry of the decree. 62 After the lapse of said period. The one-year period stated in Sec. which decree is prepared and issued by the Land Registration Administrator. 66 A petition for review under Section 32 is a remedy separate and distinct from a motion for new trial and the right to the remedy is not affected by the denial of such a motion irrespective of the grounds upon which it may have been presented. minority or other disability or by any proceeding in court. A decision or. they can hardly be considered innocent purchasers in good faith. Moran. including the national government. it may at first blush seem that the petition for review cannot be presented until the final decree has been entered. prove such allegation. quiet title thereto. does not become final and unappealable until fifteen days after the interested parties have been notified of its entry.63 there can be no possible reason requiring the complaining party to wait until the final decree is entered before urging his claim for fraud. Thus. However. save only in cases of actual fraud and then only for one year from the entry of the decree. 32 that the decree shall not be reopened or revised by reason of absence. and Sec." Giving this provision a literal interpretation. as noted in Rivera v. the title is not finally adjudicated and the decision in the registration case continues to be under the control and sound discretion of the registration court. 32 within which a petition to re-open and review the decree of registration refers to the decree of registration described in Section 31. 65 An appeal from the decision of the trial court prevents the judgment from becoming final until that decree is affirmed by the judgment of the appellate court. the litigation was therefore in effect still pending and.64 The provision of Section 31 that every decree of registration shall bind the land. upon any of the grounds stated in the Rules of Court. and be conclusive upon and against all persons. it has been ruled that the petition may be filed at any time after the rendition of the court's decision and before the expiration of one year from the entry of the final decree of registrationfor. as it is sometimes called after entry.

1999 and June 28. the other issues raised by the petitioner are necessarily rendered inconsequential. which dismissed the appeal of petitioner Eland Philippines. SO ORDERED. the petition for review on certiorari of petitioner Eland Philippines. and affirmed the resolutions dated November 3. Based on the above disquisitions. RTC of Tagaytay City. 1999 and June 28. is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. the resolutions dated November 3. 67417. RTC of Tagaytay City in Civil Case No. a review of the decree of registration would have been the appropriate remedy. Consequently. the one-year period before the Torrens title becomes indefeasible and incontrovertible has not yet expired. Inc. 2006 of Branch 18. TG-1784 are hereby declared NULL and VOID.In the present case. Inc. is hereby GRANTED. WHEREFORE. thus. CV No. .R. and the decision dated February 28. 2006 of Branch 18.

MENDOZA. J. PHILIPP L.. GO. PATRICIA L. MANOTOK.... PACITA L.J... Promulgated: BARQUE. Rosa R. Petitioners. MANOTOK.. VILLARAMA.. MARYANN MANOTOK.. SERENO. FERNANDO M. SISON... MAMERTA M.. MANOTOK... GEORGE M. represented by their Attorneyin-fact. 162335 & 162605 Present: CORONA.. 2012 Respondents... DEL CASTILLO. MANOTOK III... Nos. JR. ROSA R..... FROILAN M. MANOTOK IV. G. MANOTOK... C. JR. IGNACIO V. SISON. THELMA R... TIONGSON. Manotok. CRISTINA E.... ABAD.. CARPIO.. PEREZ. MICHAEL MARSHALL V. REYES.B. MIGUEL A. JJ.... MANOTOK.. BRION... RAMON SEVERINO L... PERALTA. SEVERINO MANOTOK III. JESUS JUDE MANOTOK. JR. VELASCO. MA. MANOTOK.BOCANEGRA.SEVERINO M.: . and PERLAS-BERNABE. March 6. THERESA L. and MA.. MANOTOK. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. MANOTOK. MA.. FELISA MYLENE V. ROBERTO LAPERAL III. JR. JR.represented by TERESITA BARQUE HERNANDEZ.R. MILAGROS V. . x. JOSE CLEMENTE L... JOSE MARIA MANOTOK. MANOTOK..versus HEIRS OF HOMER L.... MANOTOK...-x RESOLUTION VILLARAMA. MANOTOK. MANOTOK. BERSAMIN.....

This can be accomplished. as amended. It would be error for the Honorable Court to let this matter go without a serious and full re-examination. With costs against the petitioners. The petition for reconstitution of title filed by the Barques is likewise DENIED. which this case on appeal did not include. the petitions filed by the Manotoks under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. to try to permit all pertinent considerations to be aired before the Court and taken into account. The Manotoks raised the following grounds in their motion for reconsideration with motion for oral arguments: 1. 210177 in the name of Homer L. and which was thrust upon the Manotoks only in the final resolution disposing of the appeal. sold and resold. and under registered title issued by the State itself. Barques and Manahans of our Decision promulgated on August 24. V-200022 issued to Felicitas B. TCT No. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. and affect possibly millions of people to whom the lands may have since been parceled out. are all hereby declared NULL and VOID. The Court hereby DECLARES that Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. It is unjust and oppressive to deprive the Manotoks of property they have long held and acquired from the State. as well as the petition-inintervention of the Manahans. may void transactions involving thousands of hectares of land. Barque and Deed of Conveyance No.. 3. without prejudice to the institution of REVERSION proceedings by the State through the Office of the Solicitor General. 2010. simply because physical evidence of the Secretarys ministerial approval can no longer be found. Quezon City legally belongs to the NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. The annulment of Friar Land sales. The Manotoks were given no due notice of the issue of reversion. SO ORDERED. by allowing this motion for reconsideration to be heard on oral argument. among others. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of Severino Manotok IV. on consideration fully paid and received. Manahan. on nothing more than the assumed failure of the States agents to inscribe a ministerial approval on the transaction deeds. TCT No. 2. are DENIED. . et al. The Register of Deeds of Caloocan City and/or Quezon City are hereby ordered to CANCEL the said titles.At bar are the motions for reconsideration separately filed by the Manotoks.

an alleged ownershipcontroversy over the Manotok property. affirmed the denial by Bustos of the application for administrative reconstitution of the Barques purported transfer certificate of title. The Manotoks objected to the remand on jurisdictional and due process grounds. and in awarding their title to the Government who has not even sued to contest that ownership. The Honorable Court erred in finding that Sale Certificate No. was not approved by the Director of Lands and the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. without a trial in the courts of original and exclusive jurisdiction. But the Resolution dated 18 December 2008 which finally reversed the CAs rulings. It ordered evidence-taking at the CA. and terminated the appeal introduced a new case on the Manotok property.R. on which the Supreme Court proposed itself to decide. which is required by law to be filed with and retained in the custody of the register of deeds. The Honorable Court erred in concluding that the Manotoks. and failing which can be divested of their ownership in favor of the Government.We presume that the copy thereof actually transmitted to and received by the register of deeds did contain the Secretarys signature because he in fact issued the TCT. The Honorable Court erred in proceeding to judgment divesting the Manotoks of their title to Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. The original and exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case is vested by law on the regional trial courts. Nos. 8. These G. in the first instance. the obligation to prove their ownership of the subject property. 9. despite being owners in possession under a registered title. 541 of the Civil Code. The Honorable Court erred in concluding that the Manotoks had no valid Deed of Conveyance of Lot 823 from the Government The original of Deed of Conveyance No. 162335 and 162605 were an appeal from administrative reconstitution proceedings before LRA Reconstitution officer Benjamin Bustos. . which Severino Manotok acquired by assignment in 1923. and in finding that a Sale Certificate without the Secretarys approval is void. 5. 29204 gave the register of deeds the authority to issue the transfer certificate of title in the name of the buyer Severino Manotok. 10. may be compelled to produce the deeds by which the Government had transferred the property to them. The Honorable Court erred in imposing on the Manotoks. 1054. 7. and in disregard of process which the law accords to all owners-in-possession. even if the latter has not demanded a reversion or brought suit for that purpose. And we rely on this presumption because the document itself can no longer be found. 6.4. contrary to Art.

Assuming arguendo that the original Deed of Conveyance No. III THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN DECLARING TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. WITHOUT STATING A CLEAR AND DEFINITE BASIS THEREFOR. Republic Act No. DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05 dated October 27. 210177 IS LIKEWISE NULL AND VOID. ADOPTED BY THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT IN THE DECISION DATED 24 AUGUST 2010. The Barques anchor their motion for reconsideration on the following: I THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN DENYING THE PETITION FOR RECONSTITUTION FILED BY RESPONDENTS HEIRS OF BARQUE WITHOUT STATING THE GROUNDS FOR SUCH DENIAL. 29204 the register of deeds received did not bear the Department Secretarys signature. . BARQUE NULL AND VOID. II THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN INSTANTLY DECLARING IN THE DISPOSITIVE PORTION OF THE DECISION THAT ALONG WITH FELICITAS B. RESPONDENTS HEIRS OF BARQUES TITLE TCT NO.11. 210177 IN THE NAME OF HOMER L. on the erroneous interpretation that it covered only those found in the records of the field offices of the DENR and LMB. The Honorable Court erred in denying their right to be informed of the CAs report and be heard thereon prior to judgment. to the Manotoks and the Piedad Estate. MANAHANS TITLE. 9443 must be applied. as basic requirements of due process. To deny the Manotoks the benefit of ratification under said MO. The Department Secretarys (assumed) failure to affix his signature on the deed of conveyance could not defeat the Manotoks right to the lot after they had fully paid for it. 2005 cured the defect. would be discriminatory. ARE CONTRARY TO THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED. IV THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS FACTUAL FINDINGS. mutatis mutandis. 12.

they seek a partial reconsideration and to allow further reception of evidence. stating the following grounds: I. As the original of Sale Certificate No. his status as actual settler and occupant must have been verified by the Bureau of Public Lands because the presumption is that official duty has been regularly performed. When Valentin Manahan offered to purchase Lot 823. together with the explanation of DENR-NCR why the document is available only now. The OSG which has been tasked by the Honorable Court to obtain documents from the LMB and DENR-NCR relative to the conveyance of Lot 823. It was error for the Commissioners to ignore the evidence of the intervenors. The Commissioners erred in ignoring secondary evidence of the contents of Sale Certificate No. V. witnesses. II. 511 because of mere doubt and suspicion as to its authenticity and in the absence of contradicting evidence. (Certified true copy of Sale Certificate No. furnished intevenors with a certified true copy of Sale Certificate No. The administrative determination of the status of Valentin Manahan as actual settler and occupant can not now be reviewed after the lapse of about eight (8) decades when parties. Piedad Estate. Abundant evidence was submitted by intervenors that they and their predecessors-in-interest occupied and possessed Lot 823 up to 1948 when they were dispossessed by armed men. being the actual settler and occupant who under the law enjoyed preference to buy the lot. Celzo attached as Annexes I and II. As to the Manahans. the existence of the certificate was proven by secondary evidence. 511 which it obtained from the DENRNCR on September 11. IV. The Commissioners committed palpable error in not according evidentiary value to the Investigation Report of Evelyn dela Rosa because it is allegedly practically a replica or summation of Felicitas B. Manahans allegations embodied in her petition. 511 could not be found in the files of the LMB or the DENR-NCR at the time of the hearings before the Commissioners. 2010.V THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURTS FINDINGS IN THE DECISION DATED 24 AUGUST 2010 ARE CONTRARY TO LAW. Examination of the dates of the documents will show that the Investigation Report . III. Piedad Estate. 511 and Sworn Explanation of Evelyn G. there being no contradicting proof. documents and other evidence are hardly or no longer available.

It can also be waived. we set aside the December 12. Defense of staleness or laches belongs to the party against whom the claim is asserted. We ruled that neither the CA nor the LRA had jurisdiction to cancel the Manotok title. 511 is stale is incorrect. is based on the Investigation Report. Defensor. 2008 terminated the appeal from the Land Registration Authority (LRA) administrative reconstitution proceedings by reversing the CAs rulings and affirming the denial by LRA Reconstitution Officer Benjamin M. as in this case when the LMB which had the sole authority under Act No. Such action is legally infirm since the law has vested exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions involving title to real property on the trial courts. Bustos of the application for administrative reconstitution of the Barques Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. The Petition. VIII. Piedad Estate in the resolution of the present controversy. The pronouncement of the Commissioners that Sale Certificate No. Upon the theory that this Court had no power to cancel their certificate of title over Lot 823. 1120 to convey friar lands. the Manotoks argued that the remand to the CA for evidence-taking had introduced a new case in which this Court will decide. Manahan Deed of Conveyance No. 210177. VII. In our December 18. 511. The requirement of Act No. 2008 Resolution. therefore. and not the other way around. an alleged ownership issue over the property. V-2000-22. the Manotoks contend that our Resolution of December 18. 2005 Decision rendered by the First Division and recalled the entry of judgment. Deeds of conveyance lacking the signature of the Department Secretary were ratified by President Joseph Estrada and DENR Secretary Michael T. issued to intervenor Felicitas B. The motions are bereft of merit. a relief sought by the Barques in the . VI.preceded the Petition. 1120 that a deed of conveyance of friar land must be signed by the Secretary of Interior was dispensed with pursuant to law and Presidential issuances which have the force of law. The appeal having been terminated. The argument is untenable. it is only that party who can raise it. Intervenors made continuing efforts to secure a deed of conveyance based on Sale Certificate No. in the first instance.

v. Court of Appeals[2] and Manotok Realty Inc. CLT Realty Development Corporation. We have ruled that the existence of Sale Certificate No.[4]In the light of serious flaws in the title of Severino Manotok which were brought to light during the reconstitution proceedings. Reevaluation of the evidence on record likewise indicated that the Manotoks claim to title is just as flawed as that of the Barques. both the LRA and CA erred in ruling that the Barques had the right to seek reconstitution of their purported title.[3] the majority resolved to remand this case for reception of evidence on the parties competing claims of ownership over Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. for the Manotoks to prove their presumed just title over the property also claimed by the Barques and the Manahans. and therefore it prevails until the contrary is proved. Following the approach in Alonso v.Republic v. 10 submitted by . none of the parties were able to establish by clear and convincing evidence a valid alienation from the Government of the subject friar land. It was thus not the first time the Court had actually resorted to referring a factual matter pending before it to the CA. it was necessary for this Court to resolve the same for the complete determination of the present controversy involving a huge tract of friar land. they had no further duty to defend their title pursuant to Article 541 of the Civil Code which states that: [a] possessor in the concept of owner has in his favor the legal presumption that he possesses with a just title and he cannot be obliged to show or prove it. 1054 in the records of the DENR-LMB was not duly established. there were controversial factual matters which emerged as the parties fully ventilated their respective claims. No officer of the DENR-NCR or LMB having official custody of sale certificates covering friar lands testified as to the issuance and authenticity of Exh. As it turned out. Cebu Country Club. During the oral arguments. and in particular. But such presumption is prima facie.administrative reconstitution proceedings. the Court deemed it proper to give all the parties full opportunity to adduce further evidence. in the course of which the Barques claim of ownership was found to be exceedingly weak. Given the contentious factual issues. Maintaining their objection to the order for reception of evidence on remand.[1] also involving a Friar Land. Indeed. The declaration of ownership in favor of the Government was but the logical consequence of such finding. the Manotoks argue that as owners in possession. The Court En Banc proceeded with the reevaluation of the cases on a pro hac vice basis. Inc.

was planted evidenceor evidence inserted in the LMB files to discredit the Manotok title. we thus held that no legal right over the subject friar land can be recognized in favor of the Manotoks under the assignment documents in the absence of the certificate of sale duly signed by the Director of Lands and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. As this Court categorically ruled in Alonso v. (b) official receipt of payment for said certified copy. there was no showing that it was duly issued by the Director of Lands and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DENR). the Manotoks hinted that the LMBs certifying the document (Exh. And even assuming that Exh. (d) official receipts of installment payments on Lot 823 issued to Severino Manotok. Applying the Alonso ruling to these cases.the Manotoks. as well as the assignment documents. . 10 was actually sourced from the DENR-LMB. These documents are: (a) photocopy of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. This could only mean that the document which the NBI found to be fake or spurious. and (f) the notarial registers in which the said Deed of Conveyance. the majority declared that no valid titles can be issued on the basis of the sale or assignment made in favor of petitioners father due to the absence of signature of the Director of Lands and the Secretary of the Interior. Nonetheless. the Manotoks insist there were independent evidence which supposedly established the prior existence of Sale Certificate No. if this Court accepts that finding. (e) file copies in the National Archives of the Deed of Conveyance No. 10) at the Manotoks request was a deliberate fraud in order to give them either a false document.[5]approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce of the sale of friar lands is indispensable for its validity. The contentions have no merit. 1054 dated 1929. were entered. hence. On this point.. or a fake copy. Inc. and the approval of the Secretary of Natural Resources in the Sale Certificate and Assignment of Sale Certificate. the absence of such approval made the sale null and void ab initio. 29204. (c) photocopies of the other assignment deeds dated 1923. Cebu Country Club. 1054. the usual unsigned copy of the signed original. or could not produce it. In that case. and at best speculative. The Manotoks further assert that this would imply that the LMB either did not produce the genuine article.

itself a doubtful document as its authenticity was not established.[6] In the light of the foregoing. Such stance hardly satisfies the standard of clear and convincing evidence in these cases. Piedad Estate. much less the veracity of its recitals because the name of the registered owner and date of issuance do not appear at all. 22813. no Register of Deeds had testified and attested to the fact that the original of TCT No.That a valid certificate of sale was issued to Severino Manotoks assignors cannot simply be presumed from the execution of assignment documents in his favor. 511 dated June 23. have been fully adopted by this Court. As to the motion of the Manahans to admit an alleged certified true copy of Sale Certificate No. just like the Manahans. 1054 made the supposed sale null and void ab initio. were unable to produce an authentic and genuine sale certificate. 22813 was under his/her custody. 2008 Resolution. Instead. The CAs findings and recommendations with respect to the claims of all parties. 22813 came about. must likewise fail. Neither can it be deduced from the alleged issuance of the half-torn TCT No. the claim of the Barques who. they assert that it is the Register of Deeds himself who should be in a position to explain that condition of the TCT in his custody. Neither did the alleged issuance of TCT No. nor that said certificate of title in the name of Severino Manotok existed in the files of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan or Quezon City. they urge this Court to validate their alleged title on the basis of the disputable presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty. which even buttressed the earlier findings mentioned in the December 18. as evident in our disquisitions on the indispensable requirement of a validly issued Certificate of Sale over Lot 823. The Manotoks until now has not offered any explanation as to such condition of the alleged title of Severino Manotok. 22183 in his favor vest ownership upon him over the land nor did it validate the alleged purchase of Lot 283. But then. 1913 in the name of . which is null and void. Even the existence of the official receipts showing payment of the price to the land by Severino Manotok does not prove that the land was legally conveyed to him without any contract of sale having been executed by the government in his favor. The absence of the Secretarys approval in Certificate of Sale No. The Decision discussed extensively the findings of the CA that the Barques documentary evidence were either spurious or irregularly procured. The Manotoks consistently evaded having to explain the circumstances as to how and where TCT No.

that Valentin Manahan applied. 511 was not among those official documents which the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) offered as evidence. as alleged in the attached Sworn Explanation of Evelyn G. Only the Records Section. ATTY.Valentin Manahan which. as witness for both the OSG and the Manahans. categorically admitted that she never actually saw the application to purchase and alleged Sale Certificate No. this Court cannot grant said motion. SAN JUAN: Did they tell you that they saw the application? WITNESS: . the sudden emergence of this unauthenticated document is suspicious. as in fact no copy thereof can be found in the records of either the DENR-NCR or LMB. ATTY. considering that Celzo who testified. sir. This belatedly submitted copy of Sale Certificate No. Moreover. SAN JUAN: How about this part concerning Valentin Manahan having applied for the purchase of the land? Did you get this from the neighbors or from Felicitas Manahan? xxxx WITNESS: No. 511 of the Manahans. The relevant portions of the transcript of stenographic notes of the crossexamination of said witness during the hearing before the CA are herein quoted: ATTY. the latter hadinadvertently failed to attach to her Investigation Report forwarded to the CENRO. sir. Celzo. sir. SAN JUAN: You did not see Valentin Manahans application but only the Records Section saw it? WITNESS: Yes. sir.

SAN JUAN: You actually saw the sale certificate that was issued to Valentin Manahan after he paid the price of P2. is that correct? WITNESS: Yes. but I asked only.140? WITNESS: Yes. Sir. SAN JUAN: . SAN JUAN: You did not see the sale certificate? WITNESS: Yes. ATTY. sir. ATTY. ATTY. sir. sir. sir. 511 after completing the payment of the price of P2. I did not go further. ATTY. ATTY.140? WITNESS: No. SAN JUAN: You also got this from the records of the LMB.I did not go further. sir. xxxx ATTY. SAN JUAN: And this report of yours says that Valentin Manahan was issued Sale Certificate No. SAN JUAN: Who did you ask? WITNESS: The records officer.

I am aware only of the deed of assignment. Sir. Even her testimony regarding the conduct of her investigation of Lot 823. Celzos explanation that the copy of Sale Certificate No. records showed that Celzos findings in her report were merely based on what Felicitas Manahan told her about the alleged occupation and possession by Valentin Manahan of the subject land. Indeed. ATTY. Romeo C. 2010 allegedly sent by Atty.) In view of the above admission. failed to impress the CA on the validity of the Manahans claim. which reads: This has reference to your letter dated August 20. dela Cruz. 511 was issued after the price was fully paid? WITNESS: Yes. SAN JUAN: And the information to you was the Sale Certificate No. sir. the Manahans submitted a photocopy of a letter dated December 21. Piedad Estate and the Investigation Report she submitted thereafter. Director) to their counsel. x x x x[7] (Emphasis supplied. 511 signed by the Director of Lands and Secretary of the Interior was originally attached to her Investigation Report. Atty. correct? WITNESS: I can no longer recall. SAN JUAN: And it was only after he applied for the purchase of the lot sometime after the survey of 1939 that he was issued sale certificate No. cannot be given credence. Allan V. ATTY.Whose name you can no longer recall. 511? WITNESS: I am not aware of the issuance of sale certificate. sir. Barcena (OIC. 2010 addressed to the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources . In their Offer of Additional Evidence.

R. Please be guided accordingly. 1 issued by then Secretary Jose J. however. of the Department of Natural Resources on January 17. V-200022 covering said lot in favor of Felicitas Manahan was issued by then Director of the Land Management Bureau (LMB). The Office of the DENR Secretary in turn referred the letter to us for appropriate action.[8] (Emphasis supplied. In a Supplemental Manifestation dated November 18. show that the Deed of Conveyance No. Records of this Office on Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. et al. Adobo. 2010. 2000. the Manotoks submitted an affidavit supposedlyexecuted on November 11. versus Heirs of Homer L. on October 30. 2000 is still insufficient to prove the Manahans claim over the subject land. to approve contracts of sale and deeds of conveyance affecting Friar Lands. which authorized the Director of Lands. Manahan be ratified or confirmed for reasons stated therein. Defensor(Defensor Affidavit) clarifying that MO 16-05 applies to all Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the signature of the Secretary of Natural Resources.. Jr. The explanation of Secretary Defensor stated theavowed purpose behind the issuance. contrary to the CA and this Courts statement that said issuance refers only to those deeds of conveyance on file with the records of the DENR field offices. now Director of LMB.) However. V-200022 issued on October 30. now Undersecretary Ernesto D.(DENR) requesting that Deed of Conveyance No. The Deed was issued based on General Memorandum Order (GMO) No. Barque (G. No. By its express terms. MO 16-05 covered only deeds of conveyances and not unsigned certificates of sale. It is stressed that the confirmation of the Deed by this office is only as to the execution and issuance based on the authority of LMB Director under GMO No. which is to remove doubts or dispel objections as to the validity of all Torrens transfer certificates of title issued over friar lands thereby ratifying the deeds of conveyance to the friar land buyers who have fully paid the . 2010 by former DENR Secretary Michael T. 1977. 162335 & 162605). Leido. This is without prejudice to the final decision of the Supreme Court as to its validity in the case of Severino Manotok IV. in the absence of a valid certificate of sale duly signed by the Secretary of Interior or Agriculture and Natural Resources. Jr. 1. 2000 over Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate in favor of Felicitas B. such alleged confirmation of the execution and issuance by the DENR-LMB of Deed of Conveyance No V-00022 in favor of Felicitas Manahan on October 30.

On the basis of Art. Chapter 1. 29204 (1932). they cite Proclamation No. Further. the Manahans contend that deeds of conveyance not bearing the signature of the Secretary can also be ratified. 1 issued in 1977 by then Secretary of Natural Resources Jose J. among others. Leido. all these deeds of conveyance lacking the signature of the Secretary of Natural Resources are thus deemed signed or otherwise ratified. 1120 which requires that a deed of conveyance must be signed by the Secretary. Moreover. when MO 16-05 was issued by Secretary Defensor. In their Consolidated Memorandum dated December 19. 2010. The Manahans propounded the same theory that contracts of sale over friar lands without the approval of the Secretary of Natural Resources may be subsequently ratified. delegating such function to the Director of Lands.purchase price. it is the obligation of the Government to deliver to said applicants/purchasers the friar lands sold free of any lien or encumbrance whatsoever. but pointed out that unlike the Manotoks Deed of Conveyance No. 1317[9] of the Civil Code. and are otherwise not shown to have committed any wrong or illegality in acquiring such lands. 172 issued by former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada which declared that there should be no legal impediment for the LMB to issue such deeds of conveyance since the applicants/purchasers have already paid the purchase price of the lot. former President Corazon C. which have the force of law. Title XIV of the Administrative Code of 1987 which provides that the Director of Lands shall perform such other functions as may be provided by law or assigned by the Secretary. . and as sellers in good faith. Eventually. particularly EO 131. considering that MO 16-05 is based on law and presidential issuances. the Manahans reiterated their earlier argument that the LMB Director himself had the authority to approve contracts of sale and deeds of conveyance over friar lands on the basis of General Memorandum Order No. Aquino issued Executive Order No. perform other functions as may be assigned by the Minister of Natural Resources. their Deed of Conveyance No. 1987 reorganizing the LMB and providing that the LMB Director shall. The CA accordingly erred in holding that MO 16-05 cannot override Act No. V-2000-22 (2000) was issued and approved by the Director of Lands upon prior authority granted by the Secretary. Jr. 131 dated January 20. This delegated power can also be gleaned from Sec. 15.

CA. The Court is not persuaded by the ratification theory espoused by the Manotoks and Manahans. He then emphasizes that this Court has ruled that it is not only the deed of conveyance which must be signed by the Secretary but also the certificate of sale itself.Since none of the parties has shown a valid disposition to any of them of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. thus depriving the parties including the government of the right to cross-examine him regarding his allegations therein. hence inadmissible and without probative value. And even assuming arguendo that such affidavit is admissible as evidence. 1120 and that the procedure laid down by said law must be strictly complied with. Barques and Manahans still cannot benefit from the remedial effect of MO 16-05 in view of the decision rendered by this Court which ruled that none of the parties in this case has established a valid alienation from the Government of Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. He points out that former DENR Secretary Defensor was not presented as a witness during the hearings at the CA. in compliance with our directive. and also because the curative effect of MO 16-05 is intended only for friar land buyers whose deeds of conveyance lack the signature of the Secretary of the Interior or Agriculture and Natural Resources. this Court therefore correctly held that said friar land is still part of the patrimonial property of the national government. Court of Appeals. The Solicitor General contends that said document is hearsay evidence. The argument that the Director of Lands had delegated authority to approve contracts of sale and deeds of conveyances over friar landsignores the consistent ruling of this Court in controversies involving friar lands.[10] Liao v. have fully paid the purchase price and are otherwise not shown to have committed any wrong or illegality in acquiring the friar lands. this Court held in Solid State Multi-Products Corporation v. The aforementioned presidential/executive issuances notwithstanding. 18 of Act No.Meanwhile. the Solicitor General is of the view that the Manotoks. the Solicitor General filed his Comment on the Defensor Affidavit submitted by the Manotoks. Cebu Country Club[12] that approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce (later the Natural Resources) is indispensable to the validity of sale of friar land pursuant to Sec. .[11]and Alonso v.

1120 mandated the approval by the Secretary for a sale of friar land to be valid. No lease or sale made by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by the Secretary of the Interior. . These forms had been prepared and issued by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior. 1120 as may be necessary x x x to carry into effect all the provisions [thereof] that are to be administered by or under [his] direction. Section 18 of Act No. 1317 of the Civil Code. consistent with Act No. We are unable to agree with the view that it is only the Director of Lands who signs the Certificate of Sale. It was pointed out that the majority itself expressly admit that it is only a ministerial duty on the part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the applicant had made full payment on the purchase price of the land. In his dissenting opinion. we maintain that contracts of sale lacking the approval of the Secretary fall under the class of void and inexistent contracts enumerated in Art. The official document denominated as Sale Certificate clearly required both the signatures of the Director of Lands who issued such sale certificate to an applicant settler/occupant and the Secretary of the Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources indicating his approval of the sale. Justice Antonio T. Carpio disagreed with the majoritys interpretation of Section 18 of Act No.As to the applicability of Art. 1120. and for the conduct of all proceedings arising under such provisions. and proposed that based on Section 12 of the same Act. it is the Deed of Conveyance that must bear the signature of the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources because it is only when the final installment is paid that the Secretary can approve the sale. 1120. the purchase price having been fully paid. [14] We reiterate that Section 18 of Act No. citing jurisprudence to the effect that notwithstanding the failure of the government to issue the proper instrument of conveyance when the purchaser finally pays the final installment of the purchase price. 1409 [13] which cannot be ratified. as amended. is plain and categorical in stating that: SECTION 18. the purchase of the friar land still acquired ownership.

take his formal receipt showing the delivery of such certificate. as . the specific parcel of friar land. which means that the sale was subject only to the resolutory condition of non-payment. Court of Appeals. It shall be the duty of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands by proper investigation to ascertain what is the actual value of the parcel of land held by each settler and occupant. When the cost thereof shall have been thus ascertained. the purchaser does not acquire any right of possession and purchase. such [as] the aggregate of the values of all the holdings included in each particular tract shall be equal to the cost to the Government to the entire tract. SECTION 12. which shall be issued and become effective in the manner provided in section one hundred and twenty-two of the Land Registration Act. at the price so fixed. We have also held that it is the execution of the contract to sell and delivery of the certificate of sale that vests title and ownership to the purchaser of friar land. and that upon the payment of the final installment together with [the] accrued interest the Government will convey to such settler and occupant the said land so held by him by proper instrument of conveyance.[16] Where there is no certificate of sale issued. On the other hand. the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall give the said settler and occupant a certificate which shall set forth in detail that the Government has agreed to sell to such settler and occupant the amount of land so held by him. The certificate of sale evidences the meeting of the minds between the Government and the applicant regarding the price. signed by said settler and occupant. The Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall. and any other circumstances giving [it] value. and terms of payment. in gold coin of the United States or its equivalent in Philippine currency. so far as practicable. payable as provided in this Act at the office of the Chief of Bureau of Public Lands. including the cost of surveys. while the second paragraph states that the purchaser thereby acquires the right of possession and purchase by virtue of a certificate of sale signed under the provisions [thereof]. in each instance where a certificate is given to the settler and occupant of any holding. In Dela Torre v. administration and interest upon the purchase money to the time of sale. the first paragraph of Section 15 provides for the reservation of title in the Government only for the purpose of ensuring payment of the purchase price.Section 12 did not mention the requirement of signature or approval of the Secretary in the sale certificate and deed of conveyance. The basis of valuation shall likewise be.[15]we explained that the non-payment of the full purchase price is the only recognized resolutory condition in the case of sale of friar lands. taking into consideration the location and quality of each holding of land.

[18]also covering Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate and forming part of the official documents on file with the DENR-LMB which was formally offered by the OSG as part of the official records on file with the DENR and LMB pertaining to Lot 823. and that there is no statutory basis for the requirement of the Secretarys signature on the Certificate of Sale apart from a strained deduction of Section 18. courtesy of DENR Memorandum Order . These provisions read together indicate that the approval of the Secretary is required in both the certificate of sale and deed of conveyance. sanction.[19] Following the dissents interpretation that the Secretary is not required to sign the certificate of sale while his signature in the Deed of Conveyance may also appear although merely a ministerial act. Justice Conchita Carpio Morales dissent asserted that case law does not categorically state that the required approval must be in the form of a signature on the Certificate of Sale. 651 dated April 19. The Assignment of Sale Certificate No. and yet the purchasers ownership is ratified. It is worth mentioning thatSale Certificate No. the official forms being used by the Government for this purpose clearly show that the Director of Lands signs every certificate of sale issued covering a specific parcel of friar land in favor of the applicant/purchaser while the Secretary of Interior/Natural Resources signs the document indicating that the sale was approved by him. it would result in the absurd situation wherein thecertificate of sale and deed of conveyance both lacked the signature and approval of the Secretary. to sanction officially.implied from Section 15. or consent to some act or thing done by another. To approve is to be satisfied with. contains the signature of both the Director of Lands and Secretary of the Interior. the absence of approval of the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources in the lease or sale of friar land would invalidate the sale. to confirm. 1930 was also signed by the Director of Lands. As already stated. although the lack of signature of the Secretary in the latter may not defeat the rights of the applicant who had fully paid the purchase price.[17] The Secretary of Interior/Natural Resources signs and approves the Certificate of Sale to confirm and officially sanction the conveyance of friar lands executed by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (later Director of Lands). ratify. 1913. By the mandatory language of Section 18. 651 in the name of one Ambrosio Berones dated June 23.

Inc. for some reason or another. It was argued that the majority had construed a limited application when it declared that the Manotoks could not benefit from said memorandum order because the latter refers only to deeds of conveyance on file with the records of the DENR field offices. We disagree with the view that Alonso is no longer applicable to this controversy after the issuance of DENR MO No. opined that the ruling in Alonso was superseded with the issuance by then Department of [Environment] and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Michael T. there can be no valid titles issued on the basis of such sale or assignment. This state of things is simply not envisioned under the orderly and proper distribution of friar lands to bona fide occupants and settlers whom the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands was tasked to identify.(MO) No.[21] the Court categorically ruled that the absence of approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce in the sale certificate and assignment of sale certificate made the sale null and void ab initio. 16-05.[20] The existence of a valid certificate of sale therefore must first be established with clear and convincing evidence before a purchaser is deemed to have acquired ownership over a friar land notwithstanding the non-issuance by the Government. Neither would any assignee or transferee acquire any right over the subject land. In Alonso v. . Necessarily. In the absence of such certificate of sale duly signed by the Secretary. Cebu Country Club. of a deed of conveyance after completing the installment payments. It is also not farfetched that greater chaos will arise from conflicting claims over friar lands. 16-05 explicitly makes reference only to Deeds of Conveyances. not to Sale Certificates by which. DENR MO No. 16-05 which supposedly cured the defect in the Manotoks title. 16-05.[22] Justice Carpio. however.. no right can be recognized in favor of the applicant. which could not be definitively settled until the genuine and official manifestation of the Secretarys approval of the sale is discerned from the records and documents presented. First. under the express language of Section 15. the purchaser of friar land acquires the right of possession and purchase pending final payment and the issuance of title. Defensor of DENR Memorandum Order No.

1120. 2657 and Act No. 823 of the Piedad Estate.[24] the functions and powers previously held by the Bureau of Lands were absorbed by the Lands Management Bureau (LMB) of the DENR. while those functions and powers not absorbed by the LMB were transferred to the regional field offices. it must be stressed that in those instances where the formality of the Secretarys approval and signature is dispensed with. Act No. pursuant to Act No. 16-05 cannot supersede or amend the clear mandate of Section 18. In the interpretation and construction of the statutes entrusted to them for implementation. there is no indication in the records that a certificate of sale was actually issued to the assignors of Severino Manotok. since the LMB and DENR-NCR exercise sole authority over friar lands. In case of conflict between a statute and an administrative order. The Bureau of Lands was originally charged with the administration of all laws relative to friar lands. such as the Manotoks Deed of Conveyance No. 192. the former must prevail. It would then cover cases of claimants who have not been issued any certificate of sale but were able to produce a deed of conveyance in their names. administrative agencies may not make rules and regulations which are inconsistent with the statute it is administering. it is basic that an administrative issuance like DENR Memorandum Order No. allegedly the original claimants of Lot 823. as the dissent suggests. 1120 as to dispense with the requirement of approval by the Secretary of the Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources of every lease or sale of friar lands. Under Executive Order No. Although the whereas clause of MO No. they are naturally the sole repository of documents and records relative to Lot No. In this case. 16-05 correctly stated that it was only a ministerial duty on the part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance once the applicant had made full payment on the purchase price of the land.such certificate being duly signed under the provisions of Act No.[25]As pointed out by the Solicitor General in the Memorandum submitted to the CA. there was a valid certificate of sale issued to the purchaser or transferor. is that MO 16-05 would apply even to those deeds of conveyances not found in the records of DENR or its field offices. 2711. [23] DENR Memorandum Order No. or defeat its purpose. But what is worse. Piedad Estate. 16-05 must conform to and not contravene existing laws. or which are in derogation of.[26] . 29204 sourced from the National Archives. Second.

1120. On the other hand. Sereno that our decision has created dangers for the system of property rights in the Philippines. in denying with finality the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner in Alonso v. this Court must take on the task of scrutinizing even certificates of title held for decades involving lands of the public domain and those lands which form part of the Governments patrimonial property. suggesting several other owners of lands formerly comprising the Piedad Estate who are supposedly similarly situated. 16-05 would serve as administrative imprimatur to holders of deeds of conveyance whose acquisition may have been obtained through irregularity or fraud.Third. remains in the realm of speculation. Inc. considering the nature of the land involved. There is nothing sacrosanct about the landholdings in the Piedad Estate as even prior to the years when Lot 823 . whenever necessary in the complete adjudication of the controversy before it or where apparent irregularities and anomalies are shown by the evidence on record. [27]reiterated the settled rule that [a]pproval by the Secretary of the Interior cannot simply be presumed or inferred from certain acts since the law is explicit in its mandate. 1120. Contrary to the dissent of Justice Maria Lourdes P. DENR Memorandum Order No. This Court. Otherwise. Apart from their bare allegations. the Court simply adhered strictly to the letter and spirit of the Friar Lands Act and jurisprudence interpreting its provisions. As consistently held by this Court.000 hectares of land in the Piedad Estate can be embroiled in legal disputes arising from unsigned certificates of sale. Cebu Country Club. The issuance of a valid certificate of sale is a condition sine qua non for acquisition of ownership under the Friar Lands Act. A. Such imagined scenario of instability and chaos in the established property regime. [28] Petitioners failed to discharge their burden of proving their acquisition of title by clear and convincing evidence. the perceived disquieting effects on titles over friar lands long held by generations of landowners cannot be invoked as justification for legitimizing any claim or acquisition of these lands obtained through fraud or without strict compliance with the procedure laid down in Act No. petitioners (Manotoks) failed to demonstrate how the awardees or present owners of around more than 2. friar lands can be alienated only upon proper compliance with the requirements of Act No.

16-05) would be sufficient to cure the lack of signature and approval by the Secretary in Certificate of Sale No. arguing that for said law to be constitutionally valid. This runs counter to the dissents main thesis that a mere administrative issuance (DENR MO No. subsequent to the promulgation of our decision in Alonso. Cebu City. stating that to limit its application to the Banilad Friar Lands Estate will result in class . Indeed. In any event. now on file with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO). the validity of existing TCTs and reconstituted certificates of title covering the Banilad Friar Lands Estate situated in Cebu. subject to certain exceptions. and upon that ground we declared the registered owner as not having acquired ownership of the land. RA 9443 validated the titles notwithstanding the lack of signatures and/or approval of the then Secretary of Interior (later Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and/or the then Chief of the Bureau of Public lands (later Director of Public Lands) in the copies of the duly executed Sale Certificate and Assignments of Sale Certificates. 1054 covering Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate. [29] Significantly. Republic Act No. Justice Carpios dissent concurs with this view. the sale is not valid and the purchaser has not acquired ownership of the friar land.could have been possibly sold or disposed by the Bureau of Lands. as the case may be. Considering that the facts in Alonso from which RA 9443 sprung are similar to those in this case. Alonso involved a friar land already titled but without a sale certificate. Congress found it imperative to pass a new law in order to exempt the already titled portions of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate from the operation of Section 18. there were already reported anomalies in the distribution of friar lands in general. (RA) 9443 was passed by Congress confirming and declaring. it is contended that there is no reason to exclude the Piedad Estate from the ambit of RA 9443. the Manotoks now seek the application of RA 9443 to the Piedad Estate. its continued operation must be interpreted in a manner that does not collide with the equal protection clause. The enactment of RA 9443 signifies the legislatures recognition of the statutory basis of the Alonso ruling to the effect that in the absence of signature and/or approval of the Secretary of Interior/Natural Resources in the Certificates of Sale on file with the CENRO.

Article II of RA 7653 (the New Central Bank Act).legislation. constitutes invidious discrimination on the 2. as regards the exemption from the SSL.) .994 rank-and-file employees of the [BSP]. v. it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike. which provides that the compensation and wage structure of employees whose position fall under salary grade 19 and below shall be in accordance with the rates prescribed under RA 6758 (SSL). citing the case of Central Bank Employees Association. 1054. Inc. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced.[30] In the aforesaid case. It does not demand absolute equality among residents. as well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality. we declared that there were no characteristics peculiar only to the seven GFIs or their rank-and-file so as to justify the exemption from the SSL which BSP rank-and-file employees were denied. the Court extended the benefits of subsequent laws exempting all rank-and-file employees of other government financing institutions (GFIs) from the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) to the rankand-file employees of the BSP. The equal protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified class. [32] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied. [31] We are of the opinion that the provisions of RA 9443 may not be applied to the present case as to cure the lack of signature of the Director of Lands and approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Sale Certificate No. It is not intended to prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by territory within which it is to operate. The distinction made by the law is superficial. We upheld the position of petitioner association that the continued operation of Section 15 (c). and reasonable grounds exist for making a distinction between those who fall within such class and those who do not. RA 9443 supposedly should be extended to lands similarly situated. if it applies alike to all persons within such class. arbitrary and not based on substantial distinctions that make real differences between BSP rank-and-file and the seven other GFIs. The Court has explained the nature of equal protection guarantee in this manner: The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and individual or class privilege. Thus.

binding the land and quieting the title thereto and shall be conclusive upon and against all persons. in which case the solicitor general or his duly designated representative shall institute the necessary judicial proceeding to cancel the certificate of title or reconstituted certificate of title as the case may be. there is clear evidence that such certificate of title or reconstituted certificate of title was obtained through fraud.(Emphasis supplied. just like the . Moreover. In the absence of an existing certificate of title in the name of the predecessor-in-interest of the Manotoks and certificate of sale on file with the DENR/CENRO.Section 1 of RA 9443 provides: Section 1. As the reconstitution and remand proceedings in these cases revealed. Cebu City. This confirmation and declaration of validity shall in all respects be entitled to like effect and credit as a decree of registration. obtained through such fraud. the Manotoks title to the subject friar land. All existing Transfer Certificates of Title and Reconstituted Certificates of Title duly issued by the Register of Deeds of Cebu Province and/or Cebu City covering any portion of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate. notwithstanding the lack of signatures and/or approval of the then Secretary of the Interior (later Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and/or the then Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (later Director of Public Lands) in the copies of the duly executed Sale Certificates and Assignments of Sales Certificates. it is clear that the Manotoks cannot invoke this law to confirm and validate their alleged title over Lot 823. RA 9443 expressly excludes from its coverage those cases involving certificates of title which were shown to have been fraudulently or irregularly issued. including the national government and al1 branches thereof. are hereby confirmed and declared as valid titles and the registered owners recognized as absolute owners thereof. 22813 in the name of Severino Manotok was not established by the evidence on record. except when. It must be stressed that the existence and due issuance of TCT No. in a given case involving a certificate of title or areconstituted certificate of title. There is likewise no copy of a duly executed certificate of sale on file with the DENR regional office. there is nothing to confirm and validate through the application of RA 9443.) Without ruling on the issue of violation of equal protection guarantee if the curative effect of RA 9443 is not made applicable to all titled lands of the Piedad Estate. as the case may be. now on file withthe Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO).

1933 assessing him beginning with the year 1933. a blow to the integrity of our Torrens system and the stability of land titles in this country. is mandated to store and preserve any public archive transferred to the National Archives and tasked with issuing certified true copies or certifications on public archives and for extracts thereof. in the light of established precedents interpreting the provisions of the Friar Lands Act.The dissent further listed some of those alleged sale certificates. [33] The dissent reiterates that the existence of Sale Certificate No. 2007. 9470 enacted on May 21. No. of landowners would surely be dispossessed of their lands in these areas. the original of Official Receipt No. 1054 dated May 4. which is on file with the LMB. 29204 secured from the National Archives which is the repository of government and official documents. as well as the Deed of Conveyance No. 675257 dated 20 February 1920 for certified copy of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 1923 between M. is seriously flawed. The Court has thoroughly examined the evidence on record and exhaustively discussed the merits of the Manotoks ownership claim over Lot 823. 1054 on Lot 823 and the original of the Provincial Assessors declaration of title in Severino Manotoks name for tax purposes on August 9.Barques and Manahans. if not millions. . The dissent even accused the majorityof mistakenly denigrating the records of the National Archives which. assignment deeds and deeds of conveyance either signed by the Director of Lands only or unsigned by both Director of Lands and Secretary of Interior/Natural Resources. The Court cannot allow them now to invoke the benefit of confirmation and validation of ownership of friar lands under duly executed documents. 1054 was clearly and convincingly established by the original of Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 1923). Teodoro and Severino Manotok as assignors and Severino Manotok as assignee (approved by the Director of Lands on June 23. under R. gathered by the Manotoks from the LMB.A. It was stressed that if MO 16-05 is not applied to these huge tracts of land within and outside Metro Manila. [H]undreds of thousands. Strict application by the courts of the mandatory provisions of the Friar Lands Act is justified by the laudable policy behind its enactment -to ensure that the lands acquired by the government would go to the actual occupants and settlers who were given preference in their distribution. which they never had in the first place.

the sale certificates issued and other pertinent information on the sale of friar lands within the Piedad Estate. Witness Teresita J. as above provided. 1287). and instruments of conveyance in this section mentioned to the register of deeds of each province for registration. the sales registry books pertaining to friar lands were supposedly turned over to the regional offices. a retired Assistant Chief of the Records Management Division (RMD). It is thus the primary duty of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands to record all these deeds and instruments in sales registry books which shall be retained in the Bureau of Public Lands. when duly certified by him shall be received in all courts of the Philippine Islands as sufficient evidence of the contents of the instrument so recorded whenever it is not practicable to produce the originals in court. These consisted of copies of the appropriate pages of the sales registry books in the LMB RMD main office which has an inventory of lots subject of deeds of conveyance and sales certificates. Unfortunately. 2010 states that MO 16-05 was intended to address situations when deeds of conveyance lacked the signature of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce. Act No. But before transmitting the title. (Section 1. The title. or such deeds or records from which the Secretarys signature or approval may be verified were lost or unavailable. when executed and delivered by said grantors to the Government and placed in the keeping of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands. 6. On the other hand. the alleged affidavit of Secretary Defensor dated November 11. the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall record all such deeds and instruments at length in one or more books to be provided by him for that purpose and retained in the Bureau of Public Lands. testified that when the LMB was decentralized. for registration in accordance with law. However. the particular lots and areas applied for. Reyes said that the sales registry book itself is no longer with the RMD. deeds. LMB who was presented by the Manahans. Reyes. which has come to be known as the Friar Lands Sales Registry. . shall be by him transmitted to the register of deeds of each province in which any part of said lands lies. deeds and instruments of conveyance pertaining to the lands in each province. SEC. the LMB failed to produce the sales registry book in court. which could have clearly shown the names of claimants.The Friar Lands Act mandated a system of recording all sale contracts to be implemented by the Director of Lands.

it behooves on the courts to be more judicious in settling conflicting claims over friar lands. Let entry of judgment be made in due course. Petitioners concern for other landowners which may be similarly affected by our ruling is. The remedy though lies elsewhere -. we find that the approach in Alonso remains as the more rational and prudent course than the wholesale ratification introduced by MO 16-05. WHEREFORE. as what R.A. without doubt. SO ORDERED. . The courts duty is to apply the law. the present motions for reconsideration are all hereby DENIED withFINALITY. With the statutorily prescribed record-keeping of sales of friar lands apparently in disarray.The motions for oral arguments and further reception of evidence are likewise DENIED.Whether the friar lands registry book is still available in the LMB or properly turned over to the regional offices remains unclear. 9443 sought to rectify. The prospect of litigants losing friar lands they have possessed for years or decades had never deterred courts from upholding the stringent requirements of the law for a valid acquisition of these lands. Titles with serious flaws must still be carefully scrutinized in each case. Thus.in the legislature. a legitimate one.

CORONA. 134385 OF . NORMA and CELSO TIRADO.MANOTOK REALTY. x-----------------------------------------------------x G. Petitioner. ROQUETA R. 123346 .versus HEIRS OF JOSE B. Respondent. Chairman SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. Respondents. No.R. No.. LINDA and CARLOS LAGMAN. NINO KAPITBAHAYAN ASSOCIATION.. No. REGISTRY OF DEEDS OF MALABON. INC. and .R. INC. and ESPERANZA R. CARPIO MORALES. G. 148767 STO. DIMSON. represented by his Compulsory Heirs: His surviving spouse. DIMSON and their children. J.R. Present: PANGANIBAN.versus CLT REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. x----------------------------------------------------x ARANETA INSTITUTE AGRICULTURE. INC. and ESTATE G. LERMA and RENE POLICAR. ALSON and VIRGINIA DIMSON. DIMSON. Petitioner. Petitioners. MANOTOK CORPORATION..

1996 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. against Jose B. J. G. and Manotok Estate Corporation against CLT Realty Development Corporation assailing the Decision[2] dated September 28. 134385 The petition was filed by Araneta Institute of Agriculture. . 45255. Inc. 1995 and Resolution dated January 8.R.R. 2. Respondent. 123346 The petition in this case was filed by Manotok Realty. represented by his surviving spouse and . No. Dimson (now deceased). JJ. 2005 CLT REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION.GARCIA. G. CV No. No. Inc. x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ.: Before us for resolution are three petitions for review on certiorari: [1] 1.versus Promulgated: November 29.R.

123346 . CV No. No. G. 41883 and CA-G.R. Nio Kapitbahayan Association. Metro Manila.R. Inc. We shall state the antecedents of these cases separately considering their peculiar circumstances.R.R. 1998 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 52549. No. 994 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. G. and the Registry of Deeds of Malabon. CV No. 2002. 994 from which the titles of the parties were purportedly derived. 1. against CLT Realty Development Corporation questioning the Decision [4] of the Court of Appeals dated March 23.R. these petitions were consolidated [5] as the issue involved is the validity of the parties titles over portions of land known as the Maysilo Estate located at Caloocan City and Malabon. It is this same OCT No. covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 148767 The petition here was filed by Sto. 34819. 2001 in CA-G. challenging the Joint Decision[3] dated May 30. 1997 and Resolution dated July 16. On March 6. SP No. and 3.children.

by virtue of a Deed of Sale with Real Estate Mortgage. and that the titles of Manotok Corporations constitute a cloud of doubt over the title of CLT Realty. and damages againstManotok Realty. Inc. Caloocan City a complaint for annulment of Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT). that on December 10. The latter thus prays that the 20 titles of Manotok Corporations be cancelled for being void. their property overlap or embrace Lot 26 of CLT Realty. petitioners. CLT Realty acquired Lot 26 from its former registered owner. Branch 129. Dimson. C-15539. vs. and that Manotok Corporations be ordered to vacate the disputed portions of Lot 26 and turn over possession thereof to CLT Realty. CLT Realty Development Corporation (CLT Realty) filed with the Regional Trial Court. covered by TCT No. . recovery of possession. and Manotok Estate Corporation. respondents) On August 10. 1988. that based on the technical descriptions of Manotok Corporations titles. in turn. and Manotok Estate Corporation (Manotok Corporations) and the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. T-177013 of the Registry of Deeds of said city. The complaint alleges inter alia that CLT Realty (plaintiff) is the registered owner of Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate located in Caloocan City. Hipolito. Estelita I. that she. that Manotok Corporations (defendants) illegally took possession of 20 parcels of land (covered by 20 separate titles [6]) within said Lot 26 owned by CLT Realty. and to pay damages. purchased the same lot from Jose B. that this TCT was originally derived from OCT No. docketed as Civil Case No. 994. 1992.(Manotok Realty. Inc. CLT Realty Development Corporation.

and Manotok Estate Corporation) pertain to or involved Lot No. and Engr.[8] The commissioners chosen were Engr. alleging that Jose B. On July 2. alleging that they acquired the same from the awardees or vendees of the National Housing Authority. the trial court issued an Order [7]defining the issues to be resolved by the commissioners. By way of affirmative defense. thus: 1. San Buenaventura (nominated by CLT Realty). Whether or not the property covered by the title of the plaintiff and the property covered by the titles of the defendants overlap. Manotok Corporations denied the material allegations of the complaint.In their answer with counterclaim. Ernesto S. approved the creation of a commission composed of three commissioners tasked to resolve the conflict in their respective titles. Manotok Corporations assert ownership of the parcel of land being claimed by CLT Realty. 177013) derived therefrom are likewise void. Inc. and that consequently. Engr. the trial court. Erive (chosen by the two . Dimsons title (TCT No. and 2. R-17994) and CLT Realty (TCT No. hence void. Victorino (nominated by Manotok Corporations). Teodoro I. the titles of Estelita Hipolito (TCT No. 1993. R-15166) was irregularly issued. Avelino L. upon agreement of the parties. 26 of the Maysilo Estate presently titled in the name of the plaintiff (CLT Realty Development Corporation). During the pre-trial conference. Whether or not the property covered by the Transfer Certificates of Title of defendants (Manotok Realty.

plaintiffs title which pertains to the entire Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate should prevail over defendants titles. there is no question that the different parcels of land which are . 1368 to 1374. That viewed in the light of the foregoing considerations. On October 8. 1993. which were derived from irregularly issued titles. point to the fact that there was no approved subdivision of Lot 26 which served as legal basis for the regular issuance of TCT Nos. 4211 (from where defendants derive their titles) and TCT No.commissioners and the parties). Ernesto Erive is the Chief of the Surveys Division. the three took their oaths of office in open court. Quezon City. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). 1993 with the following findings: f. Thus. it is the conclusion of the undersigned Commissioners that defendants (Manotok Realty. Significantly. and defendants titles. Ernesto Erive and Avelino San Buenaventura submitted an exhaustive Joint Final Report [10] (Majority Report) with the following conclusion: h. 4210). Engr. 4211 (also of TCT No. Teodoro Victoriano submitted his Individual Final Report[11] (Minority Report) dated October 23. Inc. Land Management Bureau. 35486. 5261. 4210 which were exhaustively elucidated above. as between plaintiffs title. which was derived from regularly issued titles. On the other hand. 1993. which overlapping is due to the irregular and questionable issuance of TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211.[9] On July 2. The inherent technical defects on TCT No. and Manotok Estate Corporation) titles overlap portions of plaintiffs (CLT Realty Development Corporation) title. Based on the foregoing.

On February 8. x x x. 1994. the trial court considered the case submitted for decision. and that judgment be rendered pursuant thereto. 1994. Manotok Corporations submitted their comment/objections to the Majority Report. 1994 praying that the Majority Report be approved in toto. That on the basis of the technical descriptions appearing on the certificates of titles of the defendants.[12] On April 6. CLT Realty likewise filed its Memorandum on April 15. 1994.[13] . CLT Realty filed its objections to the Minority Report. the trial court issued an Order directing the parties to file their respective memoranda to enable this courtto adopt wholly or partially the memorandum for either as the judgment herein. In its Order of April 22.covered by defendants transfer certificates of title in question are parts of Lot 26 of then Maysilo Estate. For its part. The trial court then scheduled the hearing of the two Reports. Manotok Corporations submitted their Memorandum praying that the trial court approve the Minority Report and render judgment in their favor. it is ascertained that the parcels of land covered therein overlap portions of the parcel of land which is covered by the plaintiffs certificate of title. g.

are quoted as follows: 7. which the trial court adopted in its Decision. 26 registered in the name of plaintiff. Defendants Counterclaim is dismissed for lack of merit. Ordering defendants to vacate said 201.00 as attorneys fees. Ordering the annulment and cancellation of defendants Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. premises considered. Caloocan City. and 5. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff (CLT Realty) and against defendants (Manotok Corporations) as follows: 1. 1989. as reasonable compensation for defendants occupancy and use of the 201. That the following facts were established by the undersigned Commissioners: . The findings of fact and conclusions contained in the Majority Report. 3. SO ORDERED. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. 4210 and 4211 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City which encroach on plaintiffs 201. 26 of the Maysilo Estate.288 square meters of Lot No.288 square meters involved in this case until the area is vacated. Ordering defendants jointly and severally to pay the costs of suit.000. the trial court rendered its Decision.On May 10.288 square meters of Lot No. 1994.00 annually from March 15. Ordering defendants jointly and severally to pay plaintiffs counsel (Villaraza & Cruz Law Office) the sum of P50. Ordering defendants jointly and severally to pay plaintiff the sum of P201. 2. 4.288.

1912 by Hon. TCT-177013 was a transfer fromTCT-R-17994 registered in the name of Estelita Hipolito which in turn is a transfer from TCT-R15166 registered in the name of Jose B. That on the basis of the technical descriptions on the titles of defendants. Lot 26 was apparently subdivided which led to the issuance of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. C-17272. f. 1991. That on the basis of the Decision rendered on December 3. 163902 and 165119. was issued by the Registry of Deeds of Rizal. 34255. 7528. Lots 1 to 6. 4210 and 4211 which were registered on . 26406. TCT-177013 in the name of plaintiff CLT Realty Development Corporation specifically describes the parcel of land covered by its title as Lot 26. That defendant Manotok Realty Inc. 53268. e.s properties are covered by TCT Nos. 36455 was issued and the approved plan Psu2345. That according to the documents submitted by the plaintiff. 17 to 22. 7762. 24. the parcels of land covered therein overlap portions of the parcel of land covered by plaintiffs title. 7-A. 21107. Psu-2345 on September 8 to 27. T-1214528. 21485. TCT-R-17994 and TCT-R-15166 also specifically describe the parcel of land covered by the titles as Lot 26. 994. Maysilo Estate. 496 and Original Certificate of Title No. 41956. 4429 pursuant to which the Decree No. while defendant Manotok Estate Corporations property is covered by TCT No. 8012. T232568. 26405. the Maysilo Estate was registered under Republic Act No. 8 to 15. g. 26407. That according to the documents of defendants. Maysilo Estate. Norberto Romualdez in Land Registration Case No. d. 23-A. covering 34 parcels of land. 33904. 25-A. c. 25-D and 26 to 33. all of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. 55896. October 4 to 21 and November 17 to 18. 9866. b. Dimson which also is a transfer from OCT-994. all of Psu-2345. The original copy of OCT-994 in its original form although dilapidated is on file at the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. Records show that Maysilo Estate was surveyed under Plan No. C-35267. OCT-994.a.

Upon verification with the Bureau of Lands or in the Land Registration Authority. 5261 and 35486 covering the purported subdivision of Lot 26. 5261 and 35486 is not identified by a lot number. 4210). 5261 in the name of Francisco J. it can be seen that the technical descriptions of the lots and the certificate itself are entirely written in the English language. The dates of the original survey of the mother title OCT-994 (September 8-27. which are the official depositories of all approved survey plans. Alejandro Ruiz and Mariano Leuterio. 4211. Juana Francisca Gonzales. December 22. That there is no subdivision survey plan number indicated on TCT No. 4210) 5261 and 35486 are inscribed in the Spanish language in these certificates. 1911) are not indicated on TCT Nos. 4211 (also on TCT No. 4211. There is no reference or mention of Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate in the technical description of said titles. October 4-21 and November 17-18.September 9. 4211 (also on TCT No. l. Gonzales which was later cancelled by TCT No. Rather. All of defendants titles are derived from TCT No. h. 35486 in the names of Jose Leon Gonzales. Consuelo Susana Gonzales. 1917. 4211 was later cancelled by TCT No. The parcel of land covered by the successive titles TCT Nos. 4211 (as well as TCT No. 1918 in the names of Messrs. is indicated at the end of the Spanish technical descriptions on TCT No. 4211 (also on TCT No. . Francisco Felipe Gonzales and Concepcion Maria Gonzales. an entirely different date. On the other hand. The original copy of OCT-994 does not contain the pages where Lot 26 and some other lots are supposedly inscribed. 4210). no survey plan covering said subdivision could be found. 5261 and 35486. k. Upon examination of the original copy of OCT-994. it was noticed that the technical descriptions on TCT Nos. 4210). j. TCT No. 5261 and 35486. i. m. Maria Clara Gonzales.

Plan Psd-21154 appears to have been prepared on September 15. p. s. That Psd-21154. Inc. and Manotok Estate Corporation. The alleged subdivision plan Psd-21154 had seven (7) resultant lots which are issued individuals certificates. It appears that these seven (7) properties covered by TCT Nos. Manotok Realty. appears to be one of the original vendees of said lots having acquired Lot 11-B covered by TCT No. could not be traced at the official depository of plans which is the Bureau of Lands. Inc. q. 1368 thru 1374 are written in the English language and the technical descriptions of the lots covered therein indicate the original survey of the mother title as September 8-27. TCT Nos. According to the EDPS Listings of the Records Management Division of the Lands Management Bureau (formerly the . 5261 and 4211.n. 1946 according to the technical descriptions appearing on TCT Nos. 1368 thru 1374. 4210 and 4211 which allegedly were the result of the subdivision of Lot 26 were not designated or identified as Lot 26-A. 35486 (formerly covered by TCT No. October 4-21 and November 17-18. 4211. Manotok Realty. It appears that some of the tenants later sold their lots to various vendees some of whom are the defendants. the plan which allegedly subdivided the lot covered by TCT No. 29 and October 5-6. o. six of which are in the names of each of the six children of Francisco J. 1368 thru 1374 were later expropriated by the Republic of the Philippines through the Peoples Homesite and Housing Corporation (now the National Housing Authority) after which they were consolidated and subdivided into 77 lots under (LRC) Pcs1828 for resale to tenants. 4211. 5261). then TCT No. The three (3) separate lots covered by TCT Nos. 21. Gonzales. 35486 or the antecedent titles TCT No. 34255. then 5261 and lastly 35486 was again subdivided under Plan Psu-21154. 1911 which dates are not found in the mother title TCT No. Lot 26-B and Lot 26-C to conform with existing practice. r. 1368 thru 1374. TCT Nos. That it appears that the parcel of land covered by the successive titles TCT No.

the language now officially used. 4211. OCT-994. but the reverse is highly improbable and irregular. The tie point used in TCT No. from TCT Nos. 1371. 1. No. the undersigned Commissioners have come to the following conclusions: a.M. It appears. 4211 (also on TCT No. said EDPS listings indicate those survey plans which were salvaged after the fire that gutted the Philippines from the Japanese forces. Also. If OCT-994 is the mother title of TCT Nos. There are inherent technical infirmities or defects on the face of TCT Nos. then said titles should also be written in English because OCT-994 is already in English. In the light of the foregoing facts. . The changing of the tie points resulted in the shifting of the position of the seven (7) lots do not fall exactly inside the boundary of the mother lot. 8. October 4-21 and November 17-18. It is possible that an ascendant title be written in Spanish and the descendant title in English. Instead different location monuments of adjoining Piedad Estate were used. it was noticed that the tie lines deviated from the mother lots tie point which is Bureau of Lands Location Monument No. Piedad Estate. 5261 and 35486 but an entirely different date.M. 1368 is B. 9. 1369 and 1370 used B. 1946. 7. 1373 and 1374 used B.Bureau of Lands). 21. Piedad Estate while TCT Nos. t. 4211. 5261 and 35486 are written in Spanish while those on the alleged mother title. and TCT Nos. however. there is no record of the alleged plan Psd21154. 5261 and 35486. Piedad Estate. the fact that the original survey dates of OCT994 (September 8-27. 10. 4210). Accordingly. 1368 thru 1374 that psd-21154 was done after the war on September 15.M. The fact that the technical descriptions in TCT Nos. 4211. b. were already in English is abnormal and contrary to the usual practice in the issuance of titles. Upon examination of the technical descriptions inscribed on TCT Nos. The same is true when the lots described on the titles of the defendants are plotted on the basis of their technical descriptions inscribed on said titles. 5261 and 35486. 1911) are not indicated on the technical descriptions on TCT Nos. Caloocan City. No. 29 and October 5-6. 1372. 1368 thru 1374.

In fact. Thus. the absence of the original survey dates of OCT-994 on TCT Nos. 1917. for example. if Lot 26 is subdivided into three (3) lots. 5261 and 35486 not only because the original survey dates are different but because the date of original survey is always earlier than the date of the issuance of the original title. c. 25-A.e. 1902. 4211. Republic Act No. is instead indicated likewise leads to the conclusion that TCT Nos.. 4211. these lots will be referred to as Lot 26-A. the date of the original survey of the mother title together with the succeeding date of subdivision or consolidation. 4210 and 4211 which allegedly was the result of a subdivision of Lot 26 should not have been issued without a subdivision plan approved by the Director of Lands or the Chief of the General Land Registration Office. That TCT Nos. However. the resulting parcels are always designated by the lot number of the subdivided lot followed by letters of the alphabet starting from the letter A to designate the first resultant lot.. 4210 and 4211 do not contain such descriptions. 496 which took effect on November 6. 4210 and 4211 which is December 22. 5261 and 35486 is the original survey date of the mother title. no indications on the face of the titles themselves which show that a verified and approved subdivision of Lot 26 took place. then OCT-994 is not the mother title of TCT Nos.December 22. however. i. whether original or transfer certificates. 4210 and 4211 are not even described by lot number and this is again technically irregular and defective because the designation of lots by Lot Number was already a practice at that time as exemplified by the technical descriptions of some sub-lots covered by OCT-994. 1917 and this is much ahead of the date of survey indicated on TCT Nos. In subdividing a lot. 25-D. 4210 and 4211. d. . etc. etc. Granting that the date December 22. the lots on TCT Nos. 1917. OCT-994 was issued on May 3.. 23-A. It is the established procedure to always indicate in the certificate of title. 5261 and 35486 could not have been derived from OCT-994. Lot 26-N and Lot 26-C followed by a survey number such as Psd-_____ or (LRC) Psd-_____. 1917 is the date of a subdivision survey leading to the issuance of TCT Nos. there are. 4211. the parcels of land covered by TCT Nos.

f. and the technical description of each portion or lot. or by the Director of Lands as provided in Section fifty-eight of this Act. For its part. is another indication that the titles covered by TCT Nos.[14] Manotok Corporations then interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals. Similarly. Paragraph 2. the official depository of survey plans. Moreover. CLT Realty filed a motion to amend/correct the .particularly Section 58 thereof. the changing of the tie points in the technical descriptions on TCT Nos. provided that the Registry of Deeds shall not enter the transfer certificate to the grantee until a plan of such land showing all the portions or lots into which it has been subdivided. The absence of a lot number and survey plan number in the technical description inscribed on TCT Nos. e. 4210 and 4211 and the absence of a subdivision survey plan for Lot 26 at the records of the Bureau of Lands or the Land Registration Authority leads to the conclusion that there was no verified and approved subdivision survey plan of Lot 26 which is a compulsory requirement needed in the issuance of said titles. 4211 are again doubtful and questionable. the Registry of Deeds may issue new certificates of title for any lot in accordance with said subdivision plan. the absence of plan Psd-21154 from the files of the Bureau of Lands. 1. have been verified and approved by the Director of Lands and as corroborated by Section 44. and that the plan has been approved by the Chief of the General Land Registration Office. 1368 thru 1374 which were derived from TCT No. Caloocan City to different location monuments of adjoining Piedad Estate which resulted in the shifting of the position of the seven (7) lots in relation to the mother lot defeats the very purpose of tie points and tie lines since the accepted practice is to adopt the mother lots tie point in order to fix the location of the parcels of land being surveyed on the earths surface. g. 1368 thru 1374 from that of the mother lots tie point which is BLLM No.

judgment is hereby rendered AFFIRMING the Decision dated May 10. T-121428. premises considered. 26405. 34255. 1994. thus: WHEREFORE. 7528. the Motion to Amend/Correct Judgment dated May 23. Inc. 163902 and 165119 in the name of defendant Manotok Realty.dispositive portion of the above Decision alleging that TCT Nos. 26406. thus: WHEREFORE. the first paragraph of the dispositive portion of the Decision of this Court dated May 10. 26407. 1995 in CA-G. T-232568 in the name of defendant Manotok Estate Corporation of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City which encroach on plaintiffs 201. the trial court granted the motion. C-35267. and that to conform to the body of the Decision. Caloocan City. Ordering the annulment and cancellation of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos.R. The Court of Appeals. 55897. x x x. 1994. 4210 and 4211 mentioned therein are mistakenly referred to as the titles of Manotok Corporations. the correct numbers of the titles ordered to be cancelled should be indicated. In its Order dated May 30. 7762. 21485. rendered by the trial . 26 of the Maysilo Estate. 1994. CV No. and Transfer Certificate of Title No. as corrected by the Order dated May 30. SO ORDERED. 41956.288 square meters of Lot No. in view of the foregoing. 45255. C-17272. in its Decision dated September 28. 1994 filed by counsel for plaintiff is granted. 1994 is amended as follows: xxx 1. affirmed the Decision of the trial court. except as to the award of damages which was ordered deleted. 8012. 33904. 53268. 21107. Accordingly. 9866.

and Esperanza R. petitioner. 1996. respondents) . with the modification that the award of damages in favor of plaintiff-appellee is hereby DELETED. represented by his compulsory heirs: his surviving spouse. No. Lerma and Rene Policar. detailing the legal and factual basis which positively support the validity of petitioners title and ownership of the disputed parcels of land. 134385 (Araneta Institute of Agriculture.R. and 2. Linda and Carlos Lagman. and Registry of Deeds of Malabon. vs.court. They allege in essence that the Court of Appeals erred: 1. Dimson and their children. Norma and Celso Tirado. 2.. the present petition of Manotok Corporations. In giving imprimatur to the trial courts Decision even though the latter overlooked relevant facts recited in the Minority Report of Commissioner Victorino and in the comment of petitioners on the Majority Report of Commissioners San Buenaventura and Erive. G. Roqueta R. Dimson. Dimson. SO ORDERED. Alson and Virginia Dimson. Heirs of Jose B. Hence. In upholding the trial courts Decision which decided the case on the basis of the Commissioners Report. Inc. Manotok Corporations motion for reconsideration was denied by the Appellate Court in its Resolution dated January 8. No costs.

and that Araneta Institute refused to vacate the land and remove its improvements thereon despite his repeated demands. Branch 33. Dimson and against defendant Araneta Institute of Agriculture. Malabon. Inc. 737 [15] and TCT No. ordering . thus: WHEREFORE. 1979. Metro Manila with an area of 50 hectares of the Maysilo Estate. Dimson alleged in his amended complaint that he is the absolute owner of a parcel of land located at Barrio Potrero. covered by TCT No. R-15169 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. Araneta Institute admitted occupying the disputed land by constructing some buildings thereon and subdividing portions thereof.[16] It further alleged that Dimsons title of the subject land is void. the trial court rendered a Decision [17] in favor of Dimson. docketed as Civil Case No. PREMISES CONSIDERED. 1993. (Araneta Institute). 13574. Jose B. On May 28. Caloocan City a complaint for recovery of possession and damages against Araneta Institute of Agriculture. hence. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff Jose B.Records show that on December 18. claiming that it is the absolute owner of the land by virtue of TCT No. his complaint has no cause of action. C-8050. In its answer. that he discovered that his land has been illegally occupied by Araneta Institute. Dimson filed with the then Court of First Instance of Rizal. that the latter has no legal and valid title to the land.

more or less. District III.R. with a land area of 500. . if they so desire. Defendant Aranetas counterclaim is hereby dismissed for lack of merit.1) defendant Araneta Institute of Agriculture and all those claiming rights and authority under the said defendant Araneta. All other counterclaim against plaintiff Dimson are. This is without prejudice on the part of the intervenors Heirs of Pascual David. R-15169 of the Registry of Deeds of Metro Manila. CV No. to vacate the parcel of land covered by plaintiff Dimsons title TCT No. All claims of all the intervenors claiming rights against the title of plaintiff Dimson TCT R-15169 are hereby dismissed for lack of merit. 41883. On May 30. SO ORDERED. 2) defendant Araneta Institute of Agriculture to pay plaintiff Dimson the amount of P20. Enriquez as co-plaintiff in the instant case is dismissed for lack of merit. to remove all the improvements thereon.[18] Araneta Institute interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals.00 as and for attorneys fees. The claim of Virgilio L.000. Florentina David and Crisanta Santos to file the proper case against the proper party/parties in the proper forum.000 square meters. Caloocan City. hereby dismissed for lack of merit. and 3) defendant Araneta Institute of Agriculture to pay costs. likewise. and to return full possession thereof to the said plaintiff Dimson. 1997. the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision affirming the Decision of the trial court in favor of Dimson. docketed as CA-G.

Caloocan City). TCT No. 34819 was belatedly filed on August 10. R-15169 was obtained by plaintiff-appellee Jose B. Inc. In its first assignment of error. Dimson simultaneously with other titles. with costs against defendant-appellant. holding that: We now proceed to CA-G. plaintiff-appellees title must be sustained. R-15169 covers Lot 25. 34819 is DENIED DUE COURSE and DISMISSED for lack of merit.R. In its Decision. This validity of plaintiff-appellees (Jose B.R. Unfortunately for defendant-appellant. CA-G. the Appellate Court ruled that the title of Araneta Institute to the disputed land is a nullity. 1917.A-2 with an area of 500. The Order dated October 18. 15167. with MODIFICATION deleting the award for attorneys fees. 41883 (Civil Case No.) contends that the trial court erred in giving more weight to plaintiffs transfer certificate of title over the land in question notwithstanding the highly dubious circumstances in which it was procured. CV No. the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED. Dimson) title is actually the meat of the controversy. SP No. Plaintiff-appellees TCT No. 1977 and Order dated October 18. 15166.R. in CA-G. It was in the pursuit of this objective to nullify plaintiffappellees title that CA-G. 1978. 1994. long after plaintiff-appellees TCT No. defendant-appellant (Araneta Institute of Agriculture. premises considered. This was derived from OCT No.000 square meters. and 15168 by virtue of the Decision dated October 13.R. 994 registered on April 19. Branch 122. in the light of applicable law and jurisprudence.viz: TCT Nos. C-8050 of the Regional Trial Court. CV No. C-732.WHEREFORE. 1977 directed the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City . SP No. SO ORDERED. in Special Proceedings No. 41883. R-15169 was issued on June 8. 1977.

defendant-appellant Araneta Institute of Agricultures TCT No.to issue in the name of Jose B. 1911 in CLR No. The trial court ruled defendant-appellant Araneta Institute of Agricultures TCT No. 994 dated April 19. Exhibits H. On the other hand. Since the land in question has already been registered under OCT No. 994 registered on May 3. 1919 is null and void. 21343) was derived from TCT No. In sum. the earlier in date prevails x x x. and the decision of the Supreme Court in theMWSS case.[19] Araneta Institute then filed the present petition. 26539. 4429 was issued for ordinary Land Registration Case on March 31. 5898. 13574 spurious because this title refers to a property in the Province of Isabela (RTC Decision. ascribing to the Court of Appeals a long list of factual errors which may be stated substantially as follows: . 7784 (now TCT No. The Supreme Court ruled: Where two certificates of title purport to include the same land. Aranetas TCT No. Court of Appeals. while TCT No. the subsequent registration of the same land on May 3. Record No. TCT No. Upon the other hand. 26539 both show Decree No. 13574 was derived from TCT No. Laguna (Exhs. I and J. 4429. 1917. Dimson separate transfer certificate of titles for the lot covered by plan (LRC) SWO-5268 and for the lots covered by the plans. 1917. which was declared null and void by the Supreme Court in Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System vs. TCT No. 26538 and TCT No. 4429 and Record No. 26538 and TCT No. 26538. 26539 were both issued in the name of Jose Rato. Decree No. 13574 (Exh. 8. 8-A Rivera). to wit: the factual finding that the property in Isabela. 19). 4429 was issued by the Court of First Instance of Isabela. 215 SCRA 783 (1992). the foregoing discussions unmistakably show two independent reasons why the title of defendant-appellant Araneta Institute of Agriculture is a nullity. 6) and 21343 are both derived from OCT No. Another point. p.

994 issued on May 3. notably from the Land Registration Authority.) Certifications of responsible government officials tasked to preserve the integrity of the Torrens System categorically confirm and certify that there is only one OCT 994 issued on May 3. E. 41883 The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in not holding that the evidence presented by petitioner Araneta Institute clearly establish the fact that it has the better right of possession over the subject property than respondent Jose B. 994 and its derivative titles.) The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Senate Committee on Urban Planning. A. 1917. F. the Department of Justice Committee Report and the Senate Committees Joint Report are all newlydiscovered evidence that would warrant the holding of a new trial.R.) The Government fact-finding committee correctly found and concluded that there is only one OCT No.) There is only one Original Certificate of Title No. 994 covering the Maysilo Estate issued on May 3.In CA-G. 1917 pursuant to the Decree No.) The certifications issued by the government officials. C. CV No. 1917. 1917. D. B.) The Government in the exercise of its governmental function of preserving the integrity of the torrens system initiated a fact-finding inquiry to determine the circumstances surrounding the issuance of OCT No. Housing and Resettlement conducted an Investigation and concluded that there is only one OCT 994 that was issued on May 3.[20] . 1917. Dimson. 36455 issued by the Court of Land Registration on April 17.

G. By virtue of these titles. an overlapping exists between their respective titles. CLT Realty is the registered owner of a parcel of land known as Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate in Caloocan City. Sto. Nio Association occupied and claimed ownership over a portion of Lot 26. Nino petitioner. on July 9. T-158373 and T158374. In its answer. Nio Association are void as they are derived from TCT No.R. C-15491. Nio Kapitbahayan Association. Hipolito under TCT No. Inc. (Sto. Nio Association denied the material allegations of the complaint and asserted that its members have been in possession of the . CLT Realty alleged that based on the technical descriptions on the titles of Sto. 148767 (Sto. Thus. 4211. is the registered owner of two parcels of land likewise located in Caloocan City. Nio Association. Nio Association). Caloocan City a complaint for annulment of titles [22] and recovery of possession with damages against Sto. [21] It acquired the property on December 10.. covered by TCT No. T-177013. petitioner. vs. docketed as Civil Case No. Sto. On the other hand.[23] a forged and fictitious title. 1998 from the former registered owner Estelita I. Nio Association. R-17994. Inc. CLT respondent) Kapitbahayan Association.3. Sto. No. 1992. acquired it from Jose B. and that the titles of Sto. Dimson. In its complaint. CLT Realty filed with the Regional Trial Court. Realty Development Corporation. who in turn. covered by TCT Nos. Branch 121.

thus: (1) Both parties admit that the defendant (Sto. However. premises considered. and ordered the cancellation of TCT Nos. in its Amended Decision dated February 12. Resolving the issue of whose title to the disputed land is valid. upon motion for reconsideration by CLT Realty. 158373 and 158374 located at Barrio Baesa. the trial court. 1995.. the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby GRANTED and judgment is accordingly rendered in favor of the plaintiff CLT REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and against the defendant STO. thus: WHEREFORE. ordering the . INC. Nio Association) is presently occupying the property covered by TCT Nos. on September 28. T-158373 and T-158374. the parties entered into a stipulation of facts. the trial court. At the pre-trial conference. granted the motion. 177013 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. rendered a Decision in favor of Sto. Nio Association. both in the name of Sto. 1996. Caloocan City.disputed lots prior to 1987. rendered judgment in favor of CLT Realty. and (2) Both parties admit that the plaintiff (CLT) is also the registered owner of the same properties being occupied by the defendant and covered by TCT No. The area had been identified by the government as slum and blighted. NIO KAPITBAHAYAN ASSOCIATION. Nio Association and ordered the cancellation of TCT No. T-177013 in the name of CLT Realty.

T-158373 and T-158374. SO ORDERED. The irregularities which attended such issuance were discussed lengthily by the court a quo as follows: The court finds the motion meritorious. hence. there was fraud in the issuance of TCT No. both in the name of the defendants. One or two of these subdivided lots were the predecessors of the defendants titles. Nio Associations titles were derived. 35486 was allegedly subdivided into seven lots covered by TCT Nos. The boundaries of OCT 994 known as Lot No. A trace of the history of TCT No. a determination of the respective origins of such titles is of utmost importance. The conflict stems from the fact that the plaintiffs and defendants titles overlap each other. 26 of the Maysilo Estate are the same as that of the plaintiffs titles.[24] The Amended Decision is anchored on the trial courts finding that. . On the other hand. 5261 which was in turn succeeded by TCT No. 4211 from which the defendants titles were originally derived can validly trace its origin from OCT 994. TCT Nos. T-158373 and T-158374. 4211 from which Sto. It behooves this court to address the issue of whether or not TCT No. The defendants counterclaim is hereby dismissed for utter lack of merit.cancellation of TCT Nos. based on the evidence. are the latest in a series of titles which descend from TCT No. both in the name of the defendant. TCT No. T-177013 in the name of the plaintiff was derived from R-17994 T-89 in the name of Estelita Hipolito which title can trace its origin from OCT 994. 1368 to 1374. TCT No. 35486. 4211. 4211 reveals that it was succeeded by TCT No.

all in the year 1911. December 22. 994. 1368 to 1374 is attended by a serious irregularity which cannot be ignored as it affects the very validity of the alleged subdivisions of the land covered by TCT No. Firstly. an examination of TCT No. The regular procedure is to identify the subdivided lots by their respective survey or lot numbers. The court therefore believes that the issuance of TCT Nos. these dates of original survey are conspicuously missing in TCT No. the survey dates indicated in OCT No. on the contrary. 1917. of which one of them is covered by TCT No. 994 are September 8-27. 4211. 1917. This date. 4211. 1368 to 1374 which preceded the defendants titles were issued pursuant to subdivision plan PSD 21154 is not supported by the evidence. it is highly irregular that the original survey was made only several months later or only on December 22. 4211 contrary to established procedure that the original survey dates of the mother title should be indicated in succeeding titles. could not be an original survey date because it differs from those indicated in the mother title. October 8-21 and November 17-18. Neither is the Court inclined to consider this date as the date a subdivision survey was made. Instead. pointing to the inevitable conclusion that OCT No. 994 was never validly subdivided into smaller lots. The Registry of Deeds of Rizal has a copy of the plan but the court finds such possession questionable since the Land Registration Authority which supervises the Registry of Deeds does not have a copy of the same. 35486. The Land Management Bureau which handles survey plans has no records of the said PSD 21154. the assertion that TCT Nos.There is pervasive evidence that TCT No. Since OCT No. Of equal importance is the fact that the date of original survey always comes earlier than the date of the issuance of the mother title. On the other hand. 994 was issued on April 19. no such lot number is found in TCT No. . Secondly. 4211 could not have been a true derivative of OCT No. 1971. 4211 reveals a different date on its face.

and resultantly. cannot assert any right of ownership over the lands in question. Fifthly. the court finds the attendance of fraud in the issuance of TCT No. overlapping could take place as in fact it did when the defendants titles overlapped that of CLT at the northwestern portion of the latters property. the results of laboratory analysis conducted by a Forensic Chemist of the NBI revealed that TCT Nos. Evidently. Fourthly. the tie points used in the mother lot were not adopted by the alleged derivative titles particularly TCT Nos. Hence. 994. TCT No. 4210 and 4211 were estimated to be fifty (50) years old as of March 1993 when the examination was conducted. Being void ab initio. being the holders of the latest derivatives. it did not give rise to any transmissible rights with respect to the land purportedly invalid. The void ab initio land titles issued cannot ripen into private ownership. Intermediate Appellate Court. 45255 entitled CLT Realty Development . 4211 cannot be validly traced from OCT No. 1368 to 1374. while its alleged derivative titles TCT Nos.Thirdly. This is in direct violation of the practice that the language used in the mother title is adopted by all its derivative titles. 4211 and all its derivative titles which preceded the defendants titles. the immediate predecessors of the defendants titles. 994 is already in English. The reversion to Spanish in the derivative titles is highly intriguing and casts a cloud of doubt to the genuineness of such titles. 4211. 5261 and 35486 are still in Spanish. the documents could have been prepared only in 1940 and not in 1918 as appearing on the face of TCT No. Consequently. 209 SCRA 90) xxx The courts findings are consistent with a ruling of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR No. (Republic vs. 4211. The pivotal role of tie points cannot be brushed aside as a change thereof could result to the shifting of positions of the derivative lots in relation to the mother lot. the language of the technical descriptions of the land covered by OCT No. Based on the foregoing patent irregularities. the defendants.

THAT WOULD WARRANT THE REVERSAL OF THE CHALLENGED DECISION AND WILL IMPEL A DIFFERENT CONCLUSION.. vs. [25] (underscoring supplied) The above Amended Decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in its Decision dated May 23. 4210 and 4211 which encroached on a specific area of Lot No. 26 of the Maysilo Estate. the present petition based on the following assigned errors: 1. the Court of Appeals denied the Motion for Reconsideration of the defendants in the aforementioned case for lack of merit.Corp.R. Inc. thus: WHEREFORE.[27] . CV No. SHOULD THIS HONORABLE COURT CONSIDER THE SAME. 1995. finding no reversible error in the appealed Decision. 3. et al. Without pronouncement as to costs. THERE ARE SUPERVENING FACTS AND EVENTS. This court is also aware that on January 8. 52549. 2. SO ORDERED.[26] Hence. Caloocan City. We AFFIRM the same. promulgated on September 28. affirming the decision of the mother branch of this court ordering the cancellation of TCT Nos. Manotok Realty. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING IN TOTO THE AMENDED DECISION OF THE COURT A QUO. 2001 in CA-G. THE JUDGMENT OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IS PREMISED ON THE MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS OF THE COURT A QUO. ASSUMING ARGUENDO. WITHOUT NECESSARILY ADMITTING THAT THE ARGUMENTS OF APPELLANT ARE UNAVAILING. 1996.

also of the Maysilo Estate. Land Registration Authority and the Office of the Solicitor General. Dimson.In sum. said procedure is highly irregular. 1031 dated May 25. the three instant petitions assail the validity of: (1) TCT No. that the same are nothing but a crude attempt to circumvent and ignore time-honored judicial procedures and sabotage the orderly administration of justice by using alleged findings in the alleged reports prepared by the DOJ and the Senate Committee that were never presented before the trial courts to obtain a reversal of the questioned Decisions. R15169 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City in the name of Jose B. 994 issued. 1997 composed of the Department of Justice (DOJ). 1917. covering Lot 25-A-2 of the Maysilo Estate. Both reports conclude that there is only one OCT No. among others. [30] Summary of the Contentions of the Parties I. No. improper and contrary to the dictates of due process. G. and (2) Senate Committee Report No. covering Lot 26. T177013 of the same Registry of Deeds in the name of CLT Development Corporation. The respondents in these cases vehemently opposed the said Manifestations alleging. transcribed and registered on May 3.[29] In the meantime.[28] and (2) TCT No. 1998 were issued by the DOJ and the Senate. At the very least.R. petitioners Manotok filed with this Court two separate Manifestations stating that a (1) Report of the Fact-Finding Committee dated August 28. 123346 .

Petitioners Manotok Corporations mainly contend that the Court of
Appeals erred in affirming the lower courts Decision which was rendered
without conducting trial for the reception of evidence. It merely relied on the
technical report of the commissioners appointed by the court based on the
parties nomination. They (petitioners) were thus denied due process as
they were not able to present evidence in a full-blown trial.
Respondent CLT Realty, on the other hand, maintains that the factual
findings of the commissioners are supported by evidence. The contending
parties were accorded due process because they submitted their
respective evidence to the commissioners in the course of the proceedings.
The same evidence became the basis of their Majority and Minority
Reports. The two Reports were later heard and passed upon by the trial
court.
Respondent CLT Realty adds that the Decision of the trial court, upheld by
the Court of Appeals, complies with the requirement of Section 14, Article
VIII of the Constitution since it clearly and distinctly expresses the facts and
the law upon which it is based.
II. G.R. 134385
Petitioner Araneta Institute basically submits that the case of MWSS vs.
CA[31] cited in the Decision dated May 30, 1997 of the Court of Appeals is
inapplicable to the present case. In that case, it upheld TCT No. 15167 of
Dimson derived from OCT 994 issued and registered earlier, or on April 19,
1917. Whereas, the MWSS title was derived from OCT 994 issued and

registered later, or on May 3, 1917. The Appellate Court erred when it relied
on MWSS vs. CA.[32]
On the other hand, respondents heirs of Dimson counter that the
validity of Dimsons title, TCT No. 15167, has been upheld by this Court
in MWSS case.
III. G.R. No. 148767
Like petitioner Araneta Institute in G.R. No. 134385 and petitioners
Manotok Corporations in G.R. No. 123346, petitioner Sto. Nio Association
contends that there are supervening facts and events that transpired after
the trial court rendered its Amended Decision that if considered will result in
a different conclusion. These are the two Reports of the DOJ and Senate
Fact-Finding Committees that there is only one OCT No. 994 issued on
May 3, 1917. Thus, with a new trial, and with the presentation of these
Reports as evidence, it could be shown that the titles of Jose Dimson and
CLT Realty are void.
Ruling of the Court

The present petitions must fail.
At the outset, it bears stressing that under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules
of Civil Procedure, as amended, our jurisdiction over cases brought to us
from the Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing and correcting errors of

law committed by said court. The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts.
Thus, it is not our function to review factual issues and examine, evaluate
or weigh the probative value of the evidence presented by the parties.
[33]

We are not bound to analyze and weigh all over again the evidence

already considered in the proceedings below.[34]
Here, the paramount question being raised in the three petitions is
whether TCT No. 15169 issued in the name of Jose B. Dimson and TCT
No. 177013 issued in the name of CLT are valid. Undoubtedly, such issue
is

a

pure question

of fact a

matter

beyond

our

power

to

determine. Where, as here, the findings of fact of the trial courts are
affirmed by the Court of Appeals, the same are accorded the highest
degree of respect and, generally, will not be disturbed on appeal.
Such findings are binding and conclusive on this Court.[35]

Be that as it may, to reinforce our conclusion, we shall still proceed to
discuss why the present petitions have no merit.
As regards G.R. No. 123346 (Manotok Corporations vs. CLT
Realty, involving Lot 26), the trial court acted properly when it adopted
the Majority Report of the commissioners as part and parcel of its Decision.
That is allowed in Section 11, Rule 32 of the Revised Rules of Court (now
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended), quoted below:
SEC. 11. Hearing upon report. Upon the expiration of the
period of ten (10) days referred to in the preceding section, the
report shall be set for hearing, after which the court shall render
judgment by adopting, modifying, or rejecting the report in

we cannot countenance their act of adopting inconsistent postures as this is a mockery of justice.whole or in partor it may receive further evidence or may recommit it with instructions. they also assert that the said court should have adopted the Minority Report which is favorable to them. however. petitioners Manotok Corporations. . Given their background. expertise and experience. Thus. upon agreement of the parties. Thus. these commissioners are in a better position to determine which of the titles is valid. under the doctrine of estoppel. Certainly. It bears stressing that the parties opted to submit the case for decision on the bases. was precisely to make an evaluation and analysis of the titles in conflict with each other. cannot now be permitted to assail the Decision of the trial court which turned out to be adverse to them and insist that it should have conducted further reception of evidence before rendering its judgment on the case. The very reason why commissioners were appointed by the trial court. the trial court may rely on their findings and conclusions. of their respective objections/comments on the commissioners reports. We note further that while petitioners assail the trial courts Decision as being premature. (underscoring supplied) The case of overlapping of titles necessitates the assistance of experts in the field of geodetic engineering. among others.

Court of Appeals dated September 3.[37] We cannot delve anymore into the correctness of the Decision of this Court in MWSS. 1992[36] earlier cited in the assailed Decisions. has long become final and executory. 1996. confirming the validity of OCT No. MWSS vs. even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law. 103558. 994 issued on April 19. 96259.R. The validity of such mother title has already been upheld by this Court in G. et al. Court of Appeals. and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest court of the land. and that. dated November 17.[38] The doctrine of finality of judgment is grounded on fundamental considerations of public policy and sound practice. at the risk of occasional errors. the judgments or orders of courts must become final at . Gonzaga vs.R. It may no longer be modified in any respect. 994 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City registered on April 19. 1917 from which the titles of the respondents in the cases at bar were derived. 1917.We noted in the beginning of this Decision that the issue in all these three (3) cases involves the validity of the parties overlapping titles. No. Significantly. The titles of the respondents in these cases were derived from OCT No. The said Decision. No. Nothing is more settled in law than that once a judgment attains finality it becomes immutable and unalterable. the ruling in MWSS was reiterated in G. Heirs of Luis J.

otherwise. Certainly. . the winning parties. The said Decisions were rendered after the opposing parties have been accorded due process. we cannot consider the alleged newly-discovered evidence consisting of the DOJ and Senate Fact-Finding Committee Reports invoked by petitioners herein.[39] Just as the losing party has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed period. there would be no end to litigations.some definite time fixed by law. Finally. . It bears stressing that the courts have the constitutional duty to adjudicate legal . . and of which the individual could not be deprived arbitrarily without injustice. respondents herein."[40] In the present cases. We held that "a final judgment vests in the prevailing party a right recognized and protected by law under the due process clause of the Constitution. the winning party likewise has the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the resolution of his case. A final judgment is a vested interest which it is right and equitable that the government should recognize and protect. such committee reports cannot override the Decisions of the trial courts and the Court of Appeals upholding the validity of respondents titles in these cases. thus setting to naught the main role of courts of justice which is to assist in the enforcement of the rule of law and the maintenance of peace and order by settling justiciable controversies with finality. must not be deprived of the fruits of a final verdict.

of Appeals are . et al. The Court in assuming jurisdiction over the petitions at bar simply performed its constitutional duty as the arbiter of legal disputes properly brought before it. (Underscoring supplied) WHEREFORE. L3820. the instant petitions are DENIED and the assailed Decisions and Resolutions of the Court hereby AFFIRMED in toto. 1950).. we cannot subscribe to their submission. et al. Costs against petitioners. They insist that the Court must respect the findings of the said committees of the House of Representatives. Just as overlapping of titles of lands is abhorred. The DOJ and Senate. Inc. or any other agencies of the Government for that matter.. a congressional investigation is conducted in aid of legislation (Arnault vs. Jr. July 18. the respondent Congressmen assert that at least two (2) committee reports by the House of Representatives found the PIATCO contracts valid and contend that this Court. This we unmistakably stressed in Agan. by taking cognizance of the cases at bar. this Court cannot treat the findings in a congressional committee report as binding because the facts elicited in congressional hearings are not subject to the rigors of the Rules of Court on admissibility of evidence. so is the overlapping of findings of facts among the different branches and agencies of the Government. [41] thus: Finally. Consequently. Its aim is to assist and recommend to the legislature a possible action that the body may take with regard to a particular issue.R.disputes properly brought before them. have clearly distinguishable roles from that of the Judiciary. vs. No. especially in this instance when public interest requires nothing less. reviewed an action of a co-equal body. There is a fundamental difference between a case in court and an investigation of a congressional committee. specifically as to whether or not to enact a new law or amend an existing one. Nazareno. Philippine International Air Terminals Co. With due respect. On the other hand. The purpose of a judicial proceeding is to settle the dispute in controversy by adjudicating the legal rights and obligations of the parties to the case.. G.

SO ORDERED. .