G.R. No.

148748 January 14, 2015

IMELDA, LEONARDO, FIDELINO, AZUCENA, JOSEFINA, ANITA and SISA, all surnamed SYJUCO, Petitioners,
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner-Intervenor,
vs.
FELISA D. BONIFACIO and VSD REALTY & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondents.

The present controversy involves a parcel of land, measuring around 2,835 square meters, which
originally formed part of a wider tract of land, dubbed as the Maysilo Estate (subject land). The factual
antecedents, as culled from the records, are as follows:

Petitioners Imelda, Leonardo, Fidelino, Azucena, Anita, and Sisa, all surnamed Syjuco (collectively
referred to as petitioners) are the registered co-owners of the subject land, located in the then Barrio
of Balintawak, Municipality of Caloocan, Province of Rizal, under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-
1085304 issued by the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City on March 26, 1984. The subject land is
particularly described under petitioners’ certificate of title as follows:

It is hereby certified that certain land situated in the Caloocan, Metro Manila, Philippines, bound and
described as follows:

Un terreno (Lote No. 3-B del plano de subdivision Psd-706, parte del Lote No. 23-A, plano original Psu-
2345 de la Hacienda de Maysilo), situado en el Barrio de Balintawak, Municipio de Caloocan, Provincia
de Rizal. Linda por el NE. con el Lote No. 3-D del plano de subdivision; por el SE., con el Lote No. 3-C del
plano de subdivision; por el SO. con el Lote No. 7; y por el No. con el Lote No. 3-A del plano de
subdivision. x x x midiendo una extension superficial de DOS MIL OCHOCIENTOS TREINTA Y CINCO
METROS CUADRADOS CON TREINTA DECIMETROS CUADRADOS (2, 835), mas o menos. x x x la fecha de
la medicion original 8 al 27 de Septiembre, 4 al 21 de Octubre y 17-18 de Noviembre de 1911 y la de la
subdivision, 29 de Diciembre de 1924. (Consta la descripcion decinica en el Certificado de Transferencia
de Titulo No. 10301)

xxxx

is registered in accordance with the provisions of the Land Registration Act in the name of IMELDA G.
SYJUCO; LEONARDO G. SYJUCO; FIDELINO G. SYJUCO; AZUCENA G. SYJUCO; JOSEFINA G. SYJUCO; ANITA
G. SYJUCO; SISA G. SYJUCO, all of legal age, single, Filipinos, - -

as owner thereof in fee simple, subject to such of the encumbrances mentioned in Section 39 of said Act
as may be subsisting, and to the provisions of Sec. 4, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court with respect to the
inheritance left by the deceased Monica Galauran and Mariano Mesina. (From T.C.T. No. 12370)

Petitioners have been in open, continuous, and uninterrupted possession of the subject land, by
themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest, since 1926. Petitioners traced back their title over
the subject land to TCT No. 10301 issued on February 26, 1926 to Monica Jacinto Galauran. Thereafter,
TCT No. 10301 was replaced by TCT No. 8685 under the names of Avelina Baello, Felisa Baello, Dolores
Baello, Eduardo Mesina, and Fausto Galauran (Avelina Baello, et al.). TCT No. 8685 was then replaced by
TCT No. 12370 under the names of the brothers Martin V. Syjuco (Martin) and Manuel V. Syjuco
(Manuel) pursuant to a Deed of Sale of Real Estate5 dated February 7, 1949 executed by Avelina Baello,
et al. in favor of the siblings Martin and Manuel. TCT No. 12370 was, in turn, replaced by TCT No. 48566
issued on July 1, 1964 in Martin’s name alone in accordance with a Partition Agreement7 executed by
the brothers on June 16, 1964. Upon Martin’s death, petitioners inherited the subject land, and following
the extrajudicial partition they executed on June 27, 1976, they registered said land in their names, as
co-owners, under TCT No. T-108530 issued on March 26, 1984. Petitioners and their predecessors-in-
interest have been paying the real property taxes over the subject land since 1949.8

Among the annotations on TCT No. T-108530 are two encumbrances constituted by petitioners and/or
their predecessors-in-interest on the subject land, particularly: (1) a lease agreement dated September
24, 1963, in favor of Manufacturer’s Bank and Trust Company (Manufacturer’s Bank), over a portion of
the subject land, with the condition that the buildings which the lessee had constructed thereon shall
become the property of the lessor/s after the expiration of the lease agreement; and (2) another lease
agreement dated December 20, 1971, in favor of a certain Chan Heng, over the remaining portion of the
subject land.9

Sometime in 1994, however, petitioners learned that a broker named Exequiel Fajardo, through a
Letter10 dated March 9, 1994,offered for sale the subject land along with the improvements thereon to
a certain Luis Ong, giving the following description of the property and terms of the offer:

AREA: 2,835.30 square meters

Lot No. 23-A-4-B-2A-3B, PSD 706, TCT–265778,

Register of Deeds, Kalookan City

Location: Kalookan City (beside LRT Station)

Owner: Felisa D. Bonifacio

The terms of this offer are as follows:

Price: P35,000.00 per square meter

Payment Terms:50% downpayment;

Balance subject to negotiation

Petitioners found out that the purported owner of the subject land, respondent Felisa D. Bonifacio
(Bonifacio), was the sub-lessee of Kalayaan Development Corporation, which, in turn, was the sub-lessee
of Manufacturer’s Bank, which was the direct lessee of petitioners. Petitioners also learned that
respondent Bonifacio was able to register the subject land in her name under TCT No. 265778, which
was issued on March 29, 1993 by the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City. Respondent Bonifacio’s
certificate of title described the subject land as follows:

It is hereby certified that certain land situated in the Caloocan City, Philippines, bounded and described
as follows:

A parcel of land (Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-B of the subd. plan, Psd-706, L.R.C. Rec.No. ), situated in Balintawak,
Caloocan Rizal, Bounded of the E., along line 1-2 by Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-D,on the SE., along line 2-3 by lot
23-A-4-B-2-A-3-C; both of the subd. plan on the SW., along line 3-4 by lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-6; and on the
NW., along line 4-1 by Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-A of the subd. plan. Beginning at a point marked "1" on plan,
being N. 71 deg. 17’E., 1,285.85 m. from BLLN No. 1, Caloocan thence; S. 01 deg. 46’W., 27.70 m. to
point 2; S 64 deg. 30’W., 105.15 m. to point 3; N 23 deg. 12’ W., 26.39 m. to point 4; N. 65 deg. 22’E.,
116.78 m. to pt. of beginning, containing an area of TWO THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED THIRTY FIVE SQ.
METERS AND THIRTY SQ. DECIMETERS (2,835.30). All pts. referred to are indicated on the plan and are
marked on the ground by old pts. Bearings true; date of original survey, Date of subd. survey, Dec. 29,
1922, is registered in accordance with the provisions of the Property Registration Decree in the name of
FELISA D. BONIFACIO, of legal age, Filipino, widow, -

as owner thereof in fee simple, subject to such of the encumbrances mentioned in Section 44 of said
Decree as may be subsisting[.] x x x.11

Respondent Bonifacio’s TCT No. 265778 was issued pursuant to an Order12 dated October 8, 1992 of the
RTC of Caloocan City, Branch 125, in L.R.C. Case No. C-3288, entitled In the Matter of Petition for
Authority to Segregate an Area of 5,680.1 Square Meters from Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-B, PSD-706 (PSU-2345)
of Maysilo Estate and Issuance of Separate Certificate of Title in the Name of Felisa D. Bonifacio. RTC-
Branch 125 granted respondent Bonifacio’s petition for segregation because:

From the evidence presented, the Court finds that in Case No. 4557 for Petition for Substitution of
Names, in the then Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch 1, the then Presiding Judge Cecilia Muñoz
Palma, issued an Order dated May 25, 1962 (EXHIBIT "N") substituting Maria de la Concepcion Vidal as
one of the registered owners of several parcels of landforming the Maysilo Estate and covered by, among
others, Original Certificate of Title No. 994 of the Register of Deeds of Rizal with among others Eleuteria

petitioner already requestedthe Lands Management Sector. final and executory on April 6. After the issuance of the technical descriptions. Engr. Topographic and Special Map Section. 1992. Land Management Services. C-366 before RTC-Branch 126 To protect their rights and interest over the subject land. Chief. DENR-NCR. (Emphasis supplied. Lands Management Sector. 994 of the Register of Deeds of Rizal in favor of the herein petitioner. Roque. for verification and checking. praying for the declaration of nullity and cancellation of respondent Bonifacio’s TCT No. Rodriguez prepared a sketch plan (EXHIBIT "L") based from Exhibits "J" and "K" which was submitted to the Lands Management Services. Technical Services Section. both lots being covered by O.13 For unexplained reasons. Benjamin V. de Lara. Kalookan City. That even prior to the execution of the Deed of Assignment but while negotiations with Eleuteria Rivera Bonifacio were going on. That Mr. the Court hereby GRANTS the petition and orders the segregation of Lots 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-A and 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-B both on Psd-[706] from Original Certificate of Title No.C. 994 of the Register of Deeds of Rizal. Bonifacio over Lots 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-A and 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-Bboth on Psd-[706] of O. certified on July 31. Chief. 265778 to respondent Bonifacio on March 29. Elpidio T. 994 of the Register of Deeds of Rizal. RTC-Branch 125 decreed in the same Order: WHEREFORE. to prepare and issue the Technical Descriptions of the two lots subject of this petition. National Capital Region. the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City issued TCT No. 1993 even before RTC-Branch 125 declared its Order dated October 8. herein petitioner. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. both on Psd- [706].Rivera Bonifacio to the extent of 1/6 of 1-189/1000 per cent of the entire Maysilo Estate. Bonifacio. 1992 that the sketch plan (EXHIBIT "L") is a true and correct plan of Lots 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-A and 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-B. issued on June 20. the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City is ordered to issue a new transfer certificate of title in the name of herein petitioner Felisa D. C-366 before RTC-Branch 126. 1991. docketed as Civil Case No. the petitioner requested Geodetic Engineer Jose R. formerly Bureau of Lands. Psd-706 and Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-B. As requested by petitioner. granting respondent Bonifacio’s petition for segregation. 265778 over the subject land in view of . As requested. Upon the finality of this order and the payment of the prescribed fees if any and presentation of the clearances of said lots.T. Eleuteria Rivera Bonifacio executed in favor of Felisa D. 1994.) Hence. 1993. two technical descriptions (EXHIBITS "J" and "K") covering the two lots. formerly Bureau of Lands. in view of all the foregoing. petitioners lodged a Petition15 on July 28. Rodriguez to prepare a sketch plan of the two lots subject of this petition.T.14 Civil Case No. On January 29. 1990. Psd-706. a Deed of Assignment (EXHIBIT "M") assigning all her rights and interests over Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-A.C.

petitioners’ subsisting TCT No. T-108530 of petitioners. T-108530 is different from that in her TCT No. According to petitioners.19 Respondent Bonifacio filed her Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim20 on October 11.T. said certificates of title actually pertained to one and the same property. C-3288) of a Certificate of Finality of the aforesaid Order dated 8 October 1992. 265778 in the name of respondent Bonifacio had already been cancelled and replaced by TCT No.C. that she acquired a valid title. C-366 was a collateral attack on the validity of her TCT No. on the other hand. C-366 as a special civil action for quieting of title and not an ordinary civil action for recovery of ownership of land. T-108530 and maintained that the technical description of the land covered by petitioners’ TCT No. b) TCT No. In an Order16 dated July 28. Subsequently. approved by the Director of Lands. and presented by the respondent as there exists an original isolated survey thereto for which Transfer Certificate of Title No. adopted respondent Bonifacio’s aforementioned Answer. She denied knowledge of petitioners’ TCT No. 265778 was issued to Felisa Bonifacio on 29 March 1993 without the Register of Deeds of Kalookan City requiring the presentation of the owner’s duplicate copy of O. petitioners filed on April 25. 10301 covering the said land was issued as early as 26 February 1926 in the name of Monica Jacinto Galauran. and TCT No. 265778 of respondent Bonifacio and TCT No.R. married to Mariano Mesina. over the subject land pursuant to a court order in a land registration case. 994. As a result. C-366. 1995 an Amended Petition.18 impleading respondent VSD Realty in Civil Case No. and that Civil Case No. T-108530 over the very same property. 265778. Respondent Bonifacio also averred that the technical description of the land covered by her TCT No. 265778 was issued in the name of the respondent Felisa Bonifacio on [29] March 1993 before the issuance on 6 April 1993 by the Branch Clerk of Court (RTC Branch 125 in L. 1994. respondents’ certificates of title over the subject land could have only been obtained fraudulently given that: a) No subsequent survey of the Lot could have been obtained. 265778. TCT No. in its Manifestation21 filed on June 31. No. c) TCT No. 1994. 1995. 265778. on one hand. No. petitioners discovered that respondent Bonifacio sold the subject land in favor of respondent VSD Realty & Development Corporation (VSD Realty). 28531317 in the name of respondent VSD Realty on September 12. RTC-Branch 126 deemed Civil Case No.C. and that TCT No. 285313 of respondent VSD Realty. contained different technical descriptions. . 1994. Petitioners contended before RTC-Branch 126 that although TCT No. 265778 had been verified and approved by the Land Management Services of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Respondent VSD Realty.

26 In its Order27 dated November 29. Manuel Syjuco.) Elpidio T. Whether or not the TCT No. and 2. ISSUES: 1. That the respondent is never in possession of the lot in question. T-108530 (Exhibit "A"). 265778 of the respondent is a valid title. Thereafter. Martin Syjuco. inherited the subject property from their late father. He has been paying the tax declaration on said property as evidenced by tax receipts (Exhibits "J" to "J-14"). in turn acquired the same from the Baello Family through a Deed of Real Estate (Exhibit "H"). Whether or not the Technical Description is one and the same as appearing on both titles. RTC-Branch 126 summarized petitioners’ evidence as follows: Leonardo Syjuco testified that he. DENR. 1995.de Lara (De Lara). Malindog.24 Renato T. and 2. together with the other petitioners in this case. They then leased the property to Manufacturers Bank who was the one who built the . Thereafter. Chief of Technical Services Section. Martin and Manuel executed a deed of partition (Exhibit "I") and their father was issued TCT No. one of the petitioners. as shown in Entry No. 108530 annotated in TCT No. RTC-Branch 126 admitted all the evidence presented by petitioners. 1995 of RTC-Branch 126. trial ensued. His father and his uncle. Petitioners presented several documentary exhibits23 and the testimonies of Leonardo de Guzman Syjuco. That the petitioners are in possession of the lot in question. Land Management Sector(LMS).25 and Engineer (Engr. the parties agreed on the following stipulation of facts and issues: STIPULATION OF FACTS: 1. 15033/T-No. 4856 (Exhibit "G") over the subject property. Land Registration Examiner of the Caloocan City Registry of Deeds.In the Pre-Trial Order22 dated February 23.

Witness admits having executed a lease in favor of a certain John Hay. the technical description was already recorded thereon and it was the Registry of Deeds who placed the same on the property. documents were [received] regarding the order of finality but there was no showing that the tax clearance [was] registered in their office. They also subleased the property to Kalayaan Development Corporation (KDC. Chief of the Technical Services Section of the Department of Agrarian and Natural Resources. Evelyn G.) Kaulayao V. Director and Corporate Secretary of respondent VSD Realty. which is the survey of the technical description.improvements on the same with stipulation that they will become the owners of these improvements after the expiration of the lease. 1992 in L. an examiner of the Register of Deeds of Kalookan City. Land Management Sector. Jr. One of their tenants informed him that their property was being offered for sale and so he instituted measures to protect their interest. he complied with the processes of having the technical description researched from their records. From their record. for short) and respondent Bonifacio is a lessee of KDC. Case No.R. At the time the request was made until the time the certification was issued. "A.30 Fernando D. Before issuing the technical description for the subject lot. derivative documents were filed before their office such as the Court Order dated October 8. Renato T. is the Chief Survey Division of said office. the subdivision plan to Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-A and Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-B also PSD-706 with Plan No. The corresponding B-37 technical description attached to the letter request came from the Land Management Bureau. Mundo. affirms to having certified to the technical description [o]n July 9. 1990. PSD-706 and the technical description for Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-B also of PSD-706. based on the document presented to them. DENR. He also discovered the existence of TCT No. He made the "Note: Subject for field survey" on Exhibit "M" so that the corresponding technical description be identified in the plan.28 Respondents. testified that prior to the issuance of TCT No. SK-007501-00024-D and annexed to said documents were the technical description for Lot 23-A-4-B- 2-A-3-A. referred to as Lot 23- A-4-B-2-A-3-B of subdivision plan PSD 706. He likewise admitted that the technical description appearing on the property lease to John Hay is not the same as the technical description appearing on Exh. C-3288. Land Registration Examiner of the Caloocan City Register of Deeds. Elpidio T. Celzo (Celzo) of the Land Management Services. de Lara. Based on their record. based on a request by Felisa Bonifacio.31 and Attorney (Atty. he had not issued a technical description for the subject lot and they have no record in their office of such.C. T-265778 (Exhibit "C") in the name of respondent Bonifacio which he claims to be void as there can be no segregation of a property that was previously segregated. Macaro (Macaro).32 RTC-Branch 126 summed-up respondents’ evidence as follows: . he did not meet Felisa Bonifacio and said request was filed in their office and sent to the technical services department. presented documentary exhibits29 and called to the witness stand Geodetic Engr.1993. Faylona. the Certificate of Finality to said Order dated April 6. the office who issued the technical description was from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources." He claims that when they inherited the property. in turn. 265778. Likewise. Malindog. and one Teodoro E.

She also stated that before the survey. 1994 and its result [was] contained in a report dated April 17. has record of all technical descriptions approved and verified in said office. The survey was conducted on August 23. BPM 119 in Kalookan Cadastre was the reference point to determine whether the lot was really in that place. C-3288 (Exh. a verification plan (Exh.Evelyn G. E. BPM 153. Kaulayao V. "7") approved by the DENR was likewise prepared in connection with the verification survey. NCR. Atty. Insofar as VSD is concerned. testified that she was ordered to conduct a verification survey of Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-B of PSD 706 by their Regional Technical Director. Among the documents shown to him by the seller were the Order of Judge Geronimo S. He did not however go over the petition filed by Felisa Bonifacio since what was important was that the title was issued in the land registration proceedings. testified that a real estate broker offered for sale to VSD two (2) lots along Avenida and occupied by Fairmart and Uniwide Sales. he also requested for a verification survey from the seller’s group in order to make sure that the lot appearing in the technical description is also the lot actually being occupied by the buildings already mentioned thereon. However. insofar as Exhibit "A" is concerned. together with the relocation survey filed at the Technical Reference Section. He knew that Felisa was not in possession of the said property as it was being occupied by business establishments who were all not owners of the lot. under the relocation survey. "3"). The actual verification survey was conducted by the DENR through Engr. They likewise informed the adjoining lots that they were going to execute a verification survey. a geodetic engineer from the Land Management Services. Faylona. the certified TCT was furnished to them by Felisa Bonifacio. Mangay. Celzo as evidenced by a report (Exh. the corporation was up-to-date in its payment of realty taxes over their property. She points out that only one (1) technical description is allowed for a particular lot. the authenticity of the transcript that was given to him which the said Branch Clerk of Court confirmed as having been issued by said court. Fairy Mart and Zenco Footstep were the present occupants of the lot. Roquesa de Castro. of the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City. 265778 was given to her. She and her team personally went to the place and found out that two (2) stores. As to the adjoining lots. He stresses that there is no other owner of the lot in question except Felisa Bonifacio because there was . they found out that the lot belonged to Felisa Bonifacio and the technical description is the same as the technical description submitted to her. As to payments of realty taxes due on the property. "4") submitted for the purpose. 1995 (Exhibit "4") which she prepared and submitted. Neither was there any record about the original owner. Her verification survey was approved as reflected in the original plan from the Bureau of Land Verification Survey (Exhibit "7"). The DENR. Moreover. When the certified copy of TCT No. there were no annotations of adverse claims and so she did not anymore inquire from the Registry of Deeds whether there were new annotations made thereon. as well as the Transcript of Case No. Celzo. a director and Corporate Secretary of VSD Realty Corporation. Kalookan Cadastre were used as common points to identify the technical description in Felisa’s lot. Branch 125 (Exhibit "2"). Inc. While he found the issuance of said Order by the Court regular. namely. they secured the map of the Maysilo Estate Plan. the technical description of said property did not contain these common points. In conducting the survey verification. she conducted a research as to the origin of the technical description from her office and from the Bureau of Lands in Binondo but there were no available record. He even personally went to the sala of Judge Mangay and verified from the then Deputy Branch Clerk of Court. he claims that the title would not have been issued in the first place [and] the taxes [would] not [have] been previously paid.

108530 by the petitioners is not the same as the technical description on [respondent] Bonifacio’s title (TCT No. de Lara. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. 265778 is a valid title and considering that respondent VSD’s title. T-108530 and respondents’ TCT Nos. 265778 was issued on March 29. The said approved technical description appearing on Felisa’s lot was issued by the DENR which is actually the custodian of the technical descriptions of lands under the Land Registration System. 1993. RTC-Branch 126 rendered its Decision in Civil Case No. 265778 and 285313.only one(1) lot with that technical description. but he was unable to explain how in this case respondent Bonifacio’s TCT No. before the Certificate of Finality of the Order dated October 8. before actually issuing said certificate of title. C-366. Elpidio T. 4) For petitioners to pay attorney’s fees and the costs of this suit. On January 9. 1998. which was confirmed by Mr. C-3288 was issued by RTC-Branch 125 on April 6. replaced the former title. RTC-Branch 126 noted the bare differences in the land areas and lot numbers . Lot 23-A-4-B- 2-A-3-B of PSD 706. complainants’ witness. Macaro further testified that the standard operating procedure at the Caloocan City Registry of Deeds was to require the presentation of the certification stating that the court order directing issuance of the certificate of title had already become final and executory. now TCT No. 265778. 285313).Macaro affirmed before RTC Branch 126 the existence of respondent Bonifacio’s TCT No. that is.33 Macaro’s testimony was not included in the foregoing précis of respondents’ evidence by RTC-Branch 126. 2) Declaring that the technical description described in TCT No. T-285313. VSD is hereby declared the owner of the land in question. 3) Declaring that TCT No.34 Comparing the technical descriptions in petitioners’ TCT No. judgment is hereby rendered as follows: 1) Dismissing the petition of the petitioners. 265778. 1992 in Civil Case No. 1993. in the light of the foregoing considerations.

"35 RTC- Branch 126 further cited the testimony of Engr. now TCT No. T-108530 did not pertain to the same parcel of land described in respondent Bonifacio’s TCT No." RTC-Branch 126 saw no reason to doubt the testimonies of Engrs. According to petitioners. Celzo of Land Management Services who conducted the verification survey during which it was revealed that "while common points were used in identifying the technical description in TCT No. 1990 on the correctness of the . and concluded that said technical descriptions were not one and the same and that petitioners’ TCT No. Engr. RTC-Branch 126 also categorically upheld the validity of respondent Bonifacio’s TCT No. De Lara and Celzo consistent with the rule that government officials are presumed to perform their functions with regularity and strong evidence is necessary to rebut this presumption. 265778.R. among other things. was irregularly issued. RTC-Branch 126 said that it could not question the order of a co-equal court and brushed aside petitioners’ claim of continuous possession of the subject property because such fact alone could not defeat respondents’ title over said property registered under the Torrens system. 265778 of respondent Bonifacio. RTC Branch 126 also pointed out that petitioners’ own witness. 285313 of respondent VSD Realty. docketed as CA-G. testified that his office. De Lara’s certification dated July 9. No. T-108530 and that in respondents’ TCT Nos. De Lara.R. CA-G. 265778 and 285313 pertain to one and the same land. 1990 only "after complying with all the legal processes necessary for the purpose. Engr. RTC-Branch 126 accorded said titles the conclusive presumption of validity. CV. 1992 of the Caloocan City RTC-Branch 125. conducting a research from their office records which showed that no such technical description on the subject property was previously issued and further stating that the B-37 technical description came from the Land Management Bureau which was the survey of the technical description.37 Petitioners asserted that the technical description of the land in their TCT No. 57777. 57777 before the Court of Appeals Petitioners filed an appeal36 before the Court of Appeals. no such common points existed in the technical description appearing on petitioners[’] title. Absent any showing by clear and convincing proof that TCT No. De Lara’s certification of the technical description of respondent Bonifacio’s property was issued for the first time on July 9. De Lara’s testimony on this particular issue. 265778 as it was issued pursuant to the Order dated October 8. had not previously issued the technical description appearing on respondent Bonifacio’s TCT No. No. Petitioners argue that RTC- Branch 126 failed to appreciate the probative value of Engr. 265778. Technical Services Section of the DENR. CV. 265778.contained therein. with the following sole assignment of error: THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT ANNUL[L]ING [RESPONDENTS’] TITLES WHICH OVERLAP THE EXISTING TITLE IN THE NAMES OFTHE PETITIONERS. Engr. such as.

1993. 265778 was issued on March 29. C-3288 a sketch plan of the subject land. said survey could not validate the irregular issuance of TCT No. Syjuco. De Lara actually said was that there was no record in his office of the technical description of the subject land as appearing in petitioners’ TCT No. 1991 by Eleuteria Rivera Bonifacio in favor of respondent Bonifacio. not an approved survey or subdivision plan. T-108530.Petitioners also maintained that the Survey Order dated August 22. The "B-37 survey" or the subdivision plan of PSD 706 was neither presented before RTC- Branch 126 in this case nor before RTC-Branch 125 in Civil Case No. 1990 upon the request of respondent Bonifacio herself. after respondent Bonifacio’s TCT No.technical description of Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-B. hence. but said Deed merely copied the technical description of the land issued and certified on June 19. 1994. Engr. (4) Respondent Bonifacio attached to her Petition for Segregation a real property tax computation sheet for the subject property which was in the name of Martin V. C-3288. and its technical description. 1995 had no probative value as (1) said Survey Order was not authenticated. 265778. PSD 706. and (3) the verification survey was conducted only on August 23. PSD 706. 1990. (2) Respondent Bonifacio merely attached to her Petition for Segregation in Civil Case No. thus."39 Petitioners added that it was incorrect for RTC-Branch 126 to conclude that Engr. is rooted in a Deed of Assignment of the subject land purportedly executed on January 29. (2) said Survey Order was incomplete and uncertain as it did not specify the lot to be surveyed. under whose name the survey was made.]"40 but she later admitted that she had never been in possession of the said property. its location. De Lara’s certification included a notation "[s]ubject for field survey" since he did not know the location of the land referred to by the technical description. petitioners contended that there was no evidence as to "when the survey was made. C-3288 that her and her transferor’s possession of the subject land was "open. respondent Bonifacio’s Petition for Segregation. who was petitioners’ predecessor-in- interest. petitioners alleged the following irregularities in the issuance of respondent Bonifacio’s TCT No. (3) Respondent Bonifacio stated in her Petition for Segregation in Civil Case No. dated April 28. and as to whether or not the said survey had the requisite government approval. De Lara’s office had never issued any technical description pertaining to the subject land prior to July 9.41 . Additionally. and notorious without any known claimants[. 265778: (1) Civil Case No. C-3288 (respondent Bonifacio’s Petition for Segregation38 ). was based merely on the "B-37 survey" attached to respondent Bonifacio’s letter-request. 1994 and the Verification Plan of Lot 23-A-4-B-2- A-3-B. public. and what Engr. consequently.

1529." . Court of Appeals. Both TCTs originate from OCT No. TCT No. otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree. instituted by petitioners before RTC- Branch 126. the Court of Appeals also espoused respondents’ argument that Civil Case No. the Court of Appeals dismissed petitioners’ appeal and affirmed in toto the Decision dated January 9. Gonzaga v. Aside from essentially adopting the ratiocination in the appealed judgment of RTC-Branch 126. C-366. and the requisite tax clearance in respondent Bonifacio’s name. C-3288. Respondents asseverated that the technical descriptions contained in their TCT Nos. and that petitioners’ Civil Case No. on the other. we quote the ruling enunciated by the court in Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System v. do not pertain to the same land. 265778 was issued pursuant to a valid court order by RTC-Branch 125 in Civil Case No. 265778. (6) The Register of Deeds issued TCT No. was a collateral attack on the validity of respondent Bonifacio’s TCT No. 1993 whereas the order authorizing the issuance of said certificate of title became final and executory only on April 6. 265778 to respondent Bonifacio without requiring the presentation of Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. and the person is deemed to hold under the prior certificate who is the holder of. C-366 before RTC-Branch 126 was a collateral attack on the validity of respondents’ titles. the person claiming under the prior certificate is entitled to the estate or interest. comparing the parties’ respective certificates of title. In view of this. 265778 over the subject property on March 29. 36455. Court of Appeals and Mascariñas v. T-108530. 1917. and in petitioners’ TCT No. 4429. in contrast to Bonifacio’s title (TCT No. C-366. in violation of Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. 994 pursuant to Decree No. In successive registrations. 265778) which was [registered] in 1912. the earlier in date prevails. In its Decision dated February 23. that respondent Bonifacio’s TCT No. 1993. 265778 and 285313. Court of Appeals and reiterated in the cases of Heirs of Luis J. The appellate court. further ruled that: [A] careful scrutiny of TCT Nos. 108530 was first originally registered on May 03. or whose claim is derived directly or indirectly from the person who was the holder of the earliest certificate issued in respect thereof. 1998 of RTC-Branch 126 in Civil Case No. where more than one certificate is issued in respect of a particular estate or interest in land. "Where two certificates (of title) purport to include the same land.(5) Respondent Bonifacio obtained TCT No.108530 and 265778 revealed relevant similarities.which covered the vast land from whence respondent Bonifacio’s property was purportedly segregated. on one hand. 2001. Record No. x x x. 994.

already conducted separate investigations of this serious land title anomaly and had submitted their respective reports on the matter. which originated from OCT No.Hence. the present petition for review. They point out that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights. she is within her rights in selling said property to respondent VSD Realty. T-108530 and respondents’ TCT Nos. 994 is the one issued pursuant to Decree No. 1031 dated May 25. petitioners pray for this Court to take judicial notice of supervening events relative to the indiscriminate issuance or proliferation of fake titles derived from OCT No. Petitioners. argue that respondent Bonifacio’s title.) The Court of Appeals lastly pointed out that petitioners’ possession of the subject land cannot defeat respondent Bonifacio’s title thereto: While we recognize the fact that the [petitioners] have been in 44 years of continuous possession. would be futile and nugatory. 994 registered on April 19. the subsequent registration of the same land on May 03.) The Court of Appeals concluded that since respondent Bonifacio is the owner of the subject land. Hence. 1998 validated OCT No. The imprescriptibility of Bonifacio’s title cannot be defeated by the [petitioners’] continuous possession of the questioned lot.42 (Citations omitted. making the latter’s TCT No. in the year 1912. 1917 is null and void. To hold otherwise. 994 registered on May 3. is null and void as the only authentic OCT No. 994 registered in 1912. . 1917. and Housing and Resettlement.43 (Citations omitted. In addition. 1917. Urban Planning. in point of priority in issuance. Petitioners also aver that their undisturbed possession of the subject property gives them a continuing right to seek the aid of a court to ascertain and determine the nature and effect of respondents’ adverse claim on the subject land. 994 covering the Maysilo Estate. Since. 36455 originally registered on May 3. 994 registered on April 19. 1917 as nonexistent. the title of Bonifacio prevails over that of the [petitioners]. validly registered in her name. 1997 and Senate Committee Report No. we should not lose sight of the fact that [respondent] Bonifacio is an owner of an earlier issued title. the efficacy of the conclusiveness of the certificate of title. thus. which the Torrens System seeks to insure. 1917. and that the latter titles have been fraudulently obtained. the land in question has already been registered under OCT 994. 265778 and 285313 pertain to one and the same land. The DOJ Committee Report dated August 28. still. Petitioners reiterate their position that their TCT No. 285313 also valid. and recommended the cancellation of all titles derived from OCT No. declared OCT No.

(Emphasis supplied. the attack is indirect or collateral when. On the propriety of petitioners’ action to quiet title over the subject land. at the outset. an attack on the judgment is nevertheless made as an incident thereof. Respondents also exhort this Court not to take judicial notice of the DOJ and Senate committee reports because those are irrelevant to the present case as the true date of registration of OCT No. C-366.) . To determine whether an attack on a certificate of title is direct or indirect. citation omitted. finds untenable the contention that the action instituted by petitioners is a prohibited collateral attack on the certificate of title of respondents over the subject land.In their Comment. 1998 of RTC-Branch 126 in Civil Case No. 994 registered in 1912. 57777 and the Decision dated January 9.A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. Certificate not subject to collateral attack. No.R. and thus challenge the judgment pursuant to which the title was decreed. respondents stand by the propriety of the Decision dated February 23. It cannot be altered. or enjoin its enforcement. modified. Afidchao45 as follows: When is an action an attack on a title? It is when the object of the action or proceeding is to nullify the title. At any rate. 2001 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the relevance of the object of the action instituted and the relief sought therein must be examined. 152944 states: Sec. The rule was explained in Catores v. Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. in an action to obtain a different relief. On the other hand. 994 has never been an issue herein. claiming that the same "must have been [caused by either] a clerical error or… a mental lapse. The attack is direct when the object of an action or proceeding is to annul or set aside such judgment. ." RULING The petition is meritorious. 48. or canceled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law. CV. respondents insinuate that there was a mistake in the indication in the title of respondent Bonifacio that it originated from OCT No. The Court.

or other disability of any person adversely affected thereby. 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. minority. Innocent purchaser for value. Whenever the phrase "innocent purchaser for value" or an equivalent phrase occurs in this Decree. 1529 states: Section 32. to the right of any person. nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments. petitioners specifically pray for the declaration of nullity and/or cancellation of respondents’ TCT Nos." The Court also finds bereft of merit the contentions that petitioners’ action to quiet title had already prescribed and/or that the titles of respondents over the subject land have already become incontrovertible and indefeasible based on Section 32 of Presidential Decree No. is precisely to quiet. claim.. Section 32 of Presidential Decree No. ineffective. record. or other encumbrancer for value. 1529. 265778 and 285313 over the subject land. subject. mortgagee. and/or nullify" a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein by reason of any instrument. The relief sought by petitioners is certainly feasible since the objective of an action to quiet title. the decree of registration and the certificate of title issued shall become incontrovertible. remove. it shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee. (Emphases added. invalidate. the reason for the rule being that his . or unenforceable. encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid. Upon the expiration of said period of one year. deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by such adjudication or confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud. and may be prejudicial to said title. One who is in actual possession of a piece of land claiming to be owner thereof may wait until his possession is disturbed or his title is attacked before taking steps to vindicate his right.The instituted action in this case is clearly a direct attack on a certificate of title to real property. annul. however. voidable. as provided under Article 476 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. It is an established doctrine in land ownership disputes that the filing of an action to quiet title is imprescriptible if the disputed real property is in the possession of the plaintiff. including the government and the branches thereof. whose rights may be prejudiced.The decree of registration shall not be reopened or revised by reason of absence. 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. In their complaint for quieting of title.) The above-quoted rule has well-settled exceptions. Review of decree of registration. 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.

which right can be claimed only by one who is in possession. Uniwide Sales. This ruling is a mere affirmation of the recognized principle that a certificate is not conclusive evidence of title if it is shown that the same land had already been registered and that an earlier certificate for the same land is in existence. T- 285312 as null and void. and the person in whose name the title was issued cannot transmit the same.46 In this case. the same cannot vest in the titled owner any valid legal title to the land covered by it. Inc. considering that it is derived from Felisa Bonifacio’s TCT No. Inc. ..49 this Court remanded the case before the Court of Appeals."47 The indefeasibility of a title under the Torrens system could be claimed only if a previous valid title to the same parcel of land does not exist. since the principle behind original registration is to register a parcel of land only once. It was also only in 1995 when petitioners learned that respondent Bonifacio was able to sell and transfer her title over the subject land in favor of respondent VSD Realty. v.48 Accordingly. there cannot be two or even several certificates of title on the same parcel of real property because "a land registration court has no jurisdiction to order the registration of land already decreed in the name of another in an earlier land registration case" and "a second decree for the same land would be null and void.undisturbed possession gives him a continuing right to seek the aid of a court of equity to ascertain and determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and its effect on his own title. petitioners have duly established during the trial that they and/or their predecessors-in- interest have been in uninterrupted possession of the subject land since 1926 and that it was only in 1994 when they found out that respondent Bonifacio was able to register the said property in her name in another title. the rule on the incontrovertibility or indefeasibility of title has no application in this case given the fact that the contending parties claim ownership over the subject land based on their respective certificates of title thereon which originated from different sources. respondent Baello contends that the Court erred in not declaring petitioner VSD’s TCT No. CLT Realty Development Corporation. citing Manotok Realty. Moreover. petitioners’ filing of an action to quiet title over the subject land is in order.50 and held: In the main. In VSD Realty & Development Corporation v. Where the issuance of the title was attended by fraud. for he has no true title thereto. Certainly. On the propriety of remanding this case for further proceedings before the Court of Appeals.

the Court pronounced that there is only one OCT No. CLT Realty Development Corporation. 1917. Baello cited Manotok Realty. a remand is proper to determine which of the parties derived valid title from the legitimate OCT No. The records of this case. the Court may remand this case to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings. in turn. 994. 265777/T-1325 that was presented to the Register of Deeds of Caloocan. 265777/T-1325 did not originate from the legitimate and authentic OCT No. v. show that Felisa Bonifacio’s TCT No. Considering that there is an issue on the validity of the title of petitioner VSD. in the interest of justice. Felino Cortez and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration. Inc. was tampered with to fraudulently reflect that it was derived from the legitimate and authentic OCT No. CLT Realty Development Corporation. CLT Realty Development Corporation. Since this Court is not a trier of facts and not capacitated to appreciate evidence of the first instance. however. v. the Court may. It is alleged that the original microfilm copy retained by the LRA shows that Felisa Bonifacio’s TCT No. whenever necessary to resolve factual issues. T-285312 are derived from the legitimate OCT No. and to safeguard the correct titling of properties. The delegate need not be the body that rendered the assailed decision. . 1917. Inc. Inc. The Court notes that in Manotok Realty. and that any title that traces its source to OCT No. which is correctly registered on May 3. 994 registered on April 19. The Court recognizes the importance of protecting the country’s Torrens system from fake land titles and deeds. 994 registered on May 3. CLT Realty Development Corporation on these bases: Under Section 6 of Rule 46. 1917. 1917. respondent Baello contends that she has additional evidence showing that the copy of Felisa Bonifacio’s TCT No. 1917. 994 dated April 19. v. 1917 is void. 1912. v. Inc. 994 dated May 3. as it has been similarly tasked in Manotok Realty. CLT Realty Development Corporation. In her Motion for Leave and Time to File Judicial Affidavit of Mr. 994 dated April 17. for such mother title is inexistent. v. but was instead derived from OCT No. agency or office. which allowed the presentation of evidence before a Special Division of the Court of Appeals to ascertain which of the conflicting claims of title should prevail. which title is alleged to be traceable to OCT No. even though the case had already been decided. 265777/T-1325 and VSD’s TCT No. which. 1917. 994 dated May 3. 1917. which is applicable to original cases for certiorari.265777/T-1325. 994 registered on May 3. which mother title was held to be inexistent in Manotok Realty. and the additional evidence was presented in connection with a motion for reconsideration of this Court’s decision. for the purpose of the issuance of petitioner VSD’s TCT No. 994 dated April 19. Inc. which the Court granted. T-285312. which date has been held as the correct date of registration of the said OCT in Manotok Realty. delegate the reception of the evidence on such issues to any of its members or to an appropriate court. is derived from the false and fictitious OCT No.

The Court of Appeals generally has the authority to review findings of fact. Its conclusions as to findings
of fact are generally accorded great respect by this Court. It is a body that is fully capacitated and has a
surfeit of experience in appreciating factual matters, including documentary evidence.

In fact, the Court had actually resorted to referring a factual matter pending before it to the Court of
Appeals. In Republic v. Court of Appeals, this Court commissioned the former Thirteenth Division of the
Court of Appeals to hear and receive evidence on the controversy, more particularly to determine "the
actual area reclaimed by the Republic Real Estate Corporation, and the areas of the Cultural Center
Complex which are ‘open spaces’ and/or ‘areas reserved for certain purposes,’ determining in the
process the validity of such postulates and the respective measurements of the areas referred to." The
Court of Appeals therein received the evidence of the parties and rendered a "Commissioner’s Report"
shortly thereafter. Thus, resort to the Court of Appeals is not a deviant procedure.

The provisions of Rule 32 should also be considered as governing the grant of authority to the Court of
Appeals to receive evidence in the present case. Under Section 2, Rule 32 of the Rules of Court, a court
may, motu proprio, direct a reference to a commissioner when a question of fact, other than upon the
pleadings, arises upon motion or otherwise, in any stage of a case, or for carrying a judgment or order
into effect. The order of reference can be limited exclusively to receive and report evidence only, and the
commissioner may likewise rule upon the admissibility of evidence. The commissioner is likewise
mandated to submit a report in writing to the court upon the matters submitted to him by the order of
reference. In Republic, the commissioner’s report formed the basis of the final adjudication by the Court
on the matter. The same result can obtain herein."51 (Emphases added.)

The Court notes, however, that several matters have already transpired during the pendency of this case
that bear considerable relation in the resolution of the main question of which of the respective titles of
the parties over the subject land is valid.

Firstly, the Court observes that the certification as indicated in petitioners’ title, which the latter
submitted during the trial, shows that it originated from OCT No. 994 registered on May 3, 1917, thus:

It is further certified that said land was originally registered on the 3rd day of May, in the year nineteen
hundred and seventeen, in the Registration Book of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal, Volume
A-9, page 226, as Original Certificate of Title No. 994, pursuant to Decree

No. 36455, issued in L.R.C. ___ Record No. 4429.

This certificate is a transfer from Transfer Certificate of Title No. 4856/T-25, which is cancelled by virtue
hereof in so far as the above-described land is concerned.52 (Emphasis added.)

On the other hand, the title of respondent Bonifacio, the one presented during the trial, shows that it
likewise originated from OCT No. 994, but such mother title states only the day and the year of its
original registration as follows:

It is further certified that said land was originally registered on the 19th day of ___, in the year nineteen
hundred and twelve, in the Registration Book of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Manila, Volume
___, Page ___, as Original Certificate of Title No. 994, pursuant to Decree No. 36455 issued in L.R.C. ___,
Record No. 4423, in the name of ___.

This certificate is a transfer from Original Certificate of Title No. 994, which is cancelled by virtue hereof
in so far as the above-described land is concerned.53 (Emphasis added.)

Curiously, the title of respondent VSD Realty is supposed to be a direct transfer from the title of
respondent Bonifacio, yet, the certification as to the original registration of its mother title – OCT No.
994 – provides the registration date of May 3, 1917, thus:

IT IS FURTHER CERTIFIED that said land was originally registered on the 3rd day of May, in the year
nineteen hundred and seventeen in the Registration Book of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal,
Volume A-9-A, Page 226, as Original Certificate of Title No. 994, pursuant to Decree No. 36455 issued in
L.R.C. ___ Record No. 4429 in the name of ___.

This certificate is a transfer from Transfer Certificate of Title No. 265778/T-1325 which is cancelled by
virtue hereof in so far as the above-described land is concerned.

Entered at the City of Kalookan,

Philippines, on the 12th day of September in

the year nineteen hundred and ninety-four at

1:23 p.m.54 (Emphases added.)

Furthermore, a certified true copy of respondent Bonifacio’s title, which petitioners have obtained just
prior to the filing of the Petition at bar and attached to their Reply dated December 12, 2001, now shows

that the date of the original registration of respondent Bonifacio’s mother title - OCT No. 994 - has
changed from the 19th day of an unspecified month55 in 1912 to May 3, 1917, and the place of
registration from Manila to Rizal. Aside from these changes, the portions that were left blank in the
earlier copy of respondent Bonifacio’s title have already been filled-up in the latest copy of the same,
thus:

IT IS FURTHER CERTIFIED that said land was originally registered on the 3rd day of May, in the year
nineteen hundred and seventeen in the Registration Book of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal,
Volume A-9-A, Page 226, as Original Certificate of Title No. 994, pursuant to Decree No. 36455 issued in
L.R.C. ___ Record No. 4429 in the name of ___.

This certificate is a transfer from Original Certificate of Title No. 994 which is cancelled by virtue hereof
in so far as the above-described land is concerned.

Entered at Caloocan City,

Philippines, on the 29th day of March in the

year nineteen hundred and ninety-three at

3:20 a.m.56 (Emphases added.)

Secondly, the Court notes that the Republic, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG),
filed herein a Motion for Intervention with attached Petition-in-Intervention, pursuant to the
recommendation in the Report dated May 25, 1998 of the Senate Committees on Justice, Human Rights,
Housing, and Urban Planning and Resettlement, that the OSG be mandated "to intervene in land
disputes before the court, on cases whether pertaining to government or private lands as the OSG may
determine, involving fake titles, duplication of titles or similar anomalies, to guide the court on the
position of the government and to involve the concerned government entities particularly the Land
Registration Authority in a concerted effort to protect the integrity of the Torrens system of land title
registration."57 The motion was granted and the Petition of the Republic was admitted in the Court’s
Resolution58 dated December 8, 2004.

The OSG manifests, among others, that petitioners’ TCT No. T-108530, in reliance to the conclusions of
the DOJ and Senate committees, is the valid certificate of title covering the subject land as it could be
traced back to the authentic OCT No. 994 registered on May 3, 1917; conversely, respondents’ TCT Nos.
265778 and 285313 are null and void as these originated from the spurious OCT No. 994 registered in
1912.

265778 and 285313 are derivatives of OCT No. entitled Manotok Realty. 1917 considering the priority of the date of registration. Court of Appeals and Gonzaga v. 994 which is that there is only one such OCT differs from that expressed in the MWSS and Gonzaga decisions. and that any title that traces its source to the latter date is deemed void and inexistent.63 this Court reiterated its pronouncements in Manotok Realty. 1917. As stated earlier. and the non- existence of a purported OCT No. hence. Thirdly. Inc. 994. 1917. was the superior title. not on April 19. Court of Appeals60 and Heirs of Luis J. 1917. hence. The Court was also explicit that the cases of MWSS v. CLT Realty Development Corporation(the 2007 Manotok case). 994 was registered on May 3. Court of Appeals had already been rendered functus officio. petitioner anchors her claim on previous cases decided by this Court which have held that there are two existing OCT No. as well as the succeeding resolution in the same case dated March 31. 994 dated 17 April 1917. 994 have been finally laid to rest. Interestingly. Gonzaga v. The Court expounded as follows: It is important to emphasize at this point that in the recent case resolved by this Court En Bancin 2007. All other cases involving said estate and OCT No. Specifically. 994 registered on May 3. then such titles are void or otherwise should not be recognized by this Court. petitioner’s claim no longer has a leg to stand on. said rulings have become virtually functus officio except on the basis of the "law of the case" doctrine. have already been exhaustively passed upon and settled with finality in the Resolution[s] dated December 14. Inc. 1917 prevail over those titles derived from OCT No. 2009 (the 2009 Manotok case). 1917. Since the true basic factual predicate concerning OCT No. v. they capitalize on the rulings of this Court in Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems (MWSS) v. CLT Realty Development Corporation. dated differently. given the following conclusions made by this Court in the 2007 Manotok case: . 1917. the controversy surrounding the Maysilo Estate and the question of the existence of another OCT No. Court of Appeals61 that those titles derived from OCT No. 994 registered on April 19. the Court reiterates that the validity of OCT No. these cases can no longer be cited as precedents.Respondents filed their Comment [to the Republic’s intervention]59 on June 1. are bound by the findings and conclusions set forth in said resolutions. 994 registered on April 19. CLT Realty Development Corporation64 that the true and valid OCT No. 994 registered on May 3. v. 994. 2009 in Manotok Realty. such as the case at bar. If these titles are sourced from the so- called OCT No. petitioner cannot anymore insist that OCT No. Inc. 994 allegedly issued on April 19. 2005. 2007 and March 31. The Secretary of Justice. C-424) derived their rights was dated earlier. and the one from which she and her co- plaintiffs (in Civil Case No. 1917 validly and actually exists.62 In Angeles v. thus. Regrettably. As we held in the 2007 Manotok case: The determinative test to resolve whether the prior decision of this Court should be affirmed or set aside is whether or not the titles invoked by the respondents are valid. respondents now contend that their TCT Nos. v. 994 registered on April 19. and can no longer be relied upon as precedents.

994. xxxx . x x x. It may also be acknowledged. persuade the courts to accept them without inquiry. 994 dated 19 April 1917. 994 dated 19 April 1917 bind any other case operating under the factual setting the same as or similar to that at bar. 994 dated [19] April 1917 is void. Second. Third. The fact that they were rendered by the DOJ and the Senate should not. As it appears on the record. There are many factual questions looming over the properties that could only be threshed out in the remand to the Court of Appeals. but if admissible they may be taken into account as evidence on the same level as the other pieces of evidence submitted by the parties. Court of Appeals cannot apply to the cases at bar. The facts and arguments presented in the reports must still undergo judicial scrutiny and analysis. x x x. that mother title was received for transcription by the Register of Deeds on 3 May 1917. in itself. or even consider whether these are admissible as evidence. The reports cannot conclusively supersede or overturn judicial decisions. 994 dated [19] April 1917 casts doubt on the validity of such titles since they refer to an inexistent OCT. a title which we now acknowledge as inexistent. this Court did not merely rely on the DOJ and Senate reports regarding OCT No.1âwphi1 The fact that the Dimson and CLT titles made specific reference to an OCT No. 994 resulted from the issuance of the decree of registration on [19] April 1917. Neither could the conclusions in MWSSor Gonzaga with respect to an OCT No. and that should be the date which should be reckoned as the date of registration of the title.First. as appears on the title. we are not prepared to adopt the findings made by the DOJ and the Senate. although such date cannot be considered as the date of the title or the date when the title took effect. especially in regard to their recognition of an OCT No. this Court constituted a Special Division of the Court of Appeals to hear the cases on remand. The decisions of this Court in MWSS v. To be sure. for such mother title is inexistent. In the 2007 Manotok case. and certainly the courts will have the discretion to accept or reject them. declaring as follows: Since this Court is not a trier of fact[s]. that OCT No. 994. though such questions may be considered by the Court of Appeals upon the initiative of the parties. x x x. there is only one OCT No. Any title that traces its source to OCT No. Court of Appeals and Gonzaga v.

it was physically impossible for Eleuteria Rivera to be an heir of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. On the other hand.) Considering all of the above matters. if not ridiculous. The Court found that it was physically impossible for Eleuteria Rivera. Vidal was only nine (9) years in 1912. to wit: Eventually. situation wherein Vidal. 994 registered on April 19. this Court evaluated the evidence engaged in by said Special Division. in the 2009 Manotok case. In the course of discussing the flaws of Jose Dimson’s title based on his alleged 25% share in the hereditary rights of Bartolome Rivera. conclude the proceedings and submit to this Court a report on its findings and recommended conclusions within three (3) months from finality of this Resolution.66 this Court upheld the validity of the titles to a portion of land which originally formed part of the Maysilo Estate which were sourced from OCT No. Eleuteria Rivera’s co-petitioner in LRC No. . 4429 and 4496). especially the fact . The same is true in this case. . citations omitted. 1997. This case affirmed the earlier finding that "there is only one OCT No. The Death Certificate of Eleuteria Rivera reveals that she was 96 years old when she died on February 22. 2005 and declaring certain titles in the names of Araneta and Manotok valid. if Rivera was already 65 years old in 1963. 1917. the records of these cases would somehow negate the rights of Rivera to claim from Vidal."65 (Emphases added. It can thus be deduced that. Rivera's alleged Grandmother. This alone creates an unexplained anomalous.) In Phil-Ville Development and Housing Corporation v. Bonifacio. then he must have been born around 1898. Thus. (Emphases supplied. was seven (7) years younger than her alleged grandson. That means that she must have been born in 1901. 1917. 4557. the Supreme Court issued a Resolution reversing its Decision of November 29. 994 registered on May 3. and adopted the latter’s conclusions as to the status of the original title and its subsequent conveyances. Hence. However. 994 which reflects the date of 19 April 1917 as its registration date is null and void. 2009. That makes Rivera two years older than her alleged grandmother Maria de la Concepcion Vidal who was born in 1903. hence.The Special Division is tasked to hear and receive evidence. and declared as null and void a title purportedly overlapping the said land which traced its roots from OCT No. the Court noted: . on March 31. the person whom respondent Bonifacio claims to be her predecessor-in-interest. the registration date of which had already been decisively settled as 3 May 1917 and not 19 April 1917" and categorically concluded that "OCT No. to be an heir of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal because it would turn out that Eleuteria Rivera was older than her alleged grandmother Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. The Verification Report of the Land Registration Commission dated 3 August 1981 showed that Rivera was 65 years old on 17 May 1963 (as gathered from the records of Civil Case Nos. for him to claim a share in the disputed portions of the Maysilo Estate. 994. she could have been born only on [1903]. Serious doubts existed as to whether Rivera was in fact an heir of Vidal.

No. C-366. 205867. No.that respondents claim that their respective titles. J. 1998 of Branch 126 of the RTC of the City of Caloocan in Civil Case No.: G. REPRESENTED BY JOVIER TAGUFA. ROBERTO TAGUFA AND ROGELIO LUMABAN. Bonifacio and TCT No. 205867.R. PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS SECOND DIVISION G. HORTIZUELA.MARIFLOR T. are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. which this Court had already repeatedly declared to be a non- existent and invalid title. Petitioner. v. are derivatives of OCT No. the petition is hereby GRANTED. 205867. v. CV. the Court rules in favor of petitioners. Respondents. TCT No. No. Petitioner.: . 2001. ROBERTO TAGUFA AND ROGELIO LUMABAN.R. February 23.R. As held in Manotok. The Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City is DIRECTED to CANCEL the said certificates of title. No. 994 registered on April 19. TCT Nos.R. in view of all the foregoing. 2001 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 285313 in the name of VSD Realty & Development Corporation are declared NULL and VOID. Respondents. HORTIZUELA. Petitioner. 205867. DECISION MENDOZA. Respondents. REPRESENTED BY JOVIER TAGUFA. 2015 . February 23. GREGORIA TAGUFA. ROBERTO TAGUFA AND ROGELIO LUMABAN. 265778 in the name of Felisa D. 1917.MARIFLOR T. GREGORIA TAGUFA. 2015 . G. Respondents. REPRESENTED BY JOVIER TAGUFA. as well as the Resolution dated June 26. HORTIZUELA. "[a]ny title that traces its source to OC'f No. February 23. for such mother title is inexistent. 265778 and 285313. 57777 which affirmed in toto the Decision dated January 9. ROBERTO TAGUFA AND ROGELIO LUMABAN. v. February 23. GREGORIA TAGUFA.R. No."67 WHEREFORE. v. 2015 MARIFLOR T. GREGORIA TAGUFA. HORTIZUELA.MARIFLOR T. Petitioner. REPRESENTED BY JOVIER TAGUFA. 2015 . Jurisprudence > Year 2015 > February 2015 Decisions > G. The Decision dated February 23. 994 dated [19) April 1917 is void.

and covered by OCT No. on April 4. P-84609 of the Registry of Deeds of Isabela xxx. Although untitled. said property was originally owned by plaintiff’s parents. By virtue of the special power of attorney xxx executed by Mariflor Tagufa Hortizuela. said undisputed facts are:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Gleaned from the joint testimonies of R[u]nsted Tagufa xxx and Jovier Tagufa xxx are the following facts: The property involved in this case is a parcel of land located at District IV. Branch 22. 2002 xxx using the fund sent by plaintiff Hortizuela who was in America and with the agreement that Runsted will reconvey the said property to her sister when demanded. Jovier Tagufa instituted this case against herein defendants praying for the peaceful surrender of the above- described property unto them and further ordering defendant Gregoria Tagufa to reconvey in plaintiff’s favor the same property which was titled under her name via fraud. Romulo Marquez xxx who. 122648 which reversed and set aside the July 1. DBP foreclosed the same and sold it to Atty. sold it back to Runsted Tagufa. 2013 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA. For failure to redeem the property. in an action for reconveyance and recovery of possession. Isabela containing an area of 539 square meters. Tumauini. Tumauini-Delfin Albano. plaintiff discovered that the same unregistered property was titled in the name of Gregoria Tagufa under OCT No. 2010 Decision4 of the 3rd Municipal Circuit Trial Court. in turn.G. Tumauini. 2003 xxx. Isabela (MCTC) before which a complaint5 for Reconveyance and Recovery of Possession with Damages was filed by petitioner Mariflor Tagufa Hortizuela (Hortizuela) represented by Jovier Tagufa against respondents Gregoria Tagufa. Spouses Epifanio Tagufa and Godofreda Jimenez.R.This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the September 13. Cabagan. Plaintiff now seeks to recover possession of the said property which is presently occupied by Gregoria Tagufa and her co-defendants and have the same be reconveyed unto them. plaintiff discovered that Gregoria Tagufa was able to title the said property by virtue of a free patent application before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the execution of a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of the Estate of the late Spouses Leandro Tagufa and Remedios Talosig dated May 9. SP No.6 . Before it was titled in the name of Defendant Tagufa. Roberto Tagufa and Rogelio Lumaban (respondents). more or less. Investigating further. 2011 Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court. the spouses mortgaged the property with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP. for brevity). P-84609 of the Registry of Deeds of Isabela. Isabela (RTC). husband of defendant Gregoria Tagufa. 2012 Decision1 and the January 25. As quoted by the CA. However. The Facts: The undisputed facts were succinctly summarized in the August 31.

dated May 5. 2010. but it was denied by the RTC. b) Twenty Thousand (P20.000. or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law . P-846609. The reversal being unacceptable to them. the MCTC granted the motion to declare defendants in default and allowed Hortizuela to present her evidence ex parte. Thereafter. 1529 which provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Sec. Certificate not subject to collateral attack. 2010.00) Pesos as Attorney’s Fees. although Hortizuela filed with the MCTC a complaint for reconveyance and recovery of possession of the subject lot. jointly and severally: cralawred a) Fifty Thousand (P50. According to the CA. is hereby REVERSED and judgment is hereby rendered as follows: Ordering the defendant Gregorio Tagufa to reconvey to the plaintiff Mariflor Tagufa Hortizuela the land described in paragraph 4 of the complaint. 2010.A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. Hortizuela appealed to the RTC. Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 48.000. SO DECIDED..) No. In its July 1. The decretal portion of the RTC decision reads as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary WHEREFORE. the case was disposed in their favor. premises considered.D.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary In its Order. the appeal is hereby granted and the Decision dated August 31. This time. the RTC reversed the MCTC ruling.”7cralawlawlibrary Not in conformity. modified. she was also questioning the validity of the Torrens title. Ordering the defendants to pay to the plaintiff the following amounts. on August 31. the MCTC dismissed the complaint for lack of merit ruling that “in the judicious analysis by this court. respondents filed a petition for review before the CA questioning the RTC decision.00) Pesos as Moral Damages.8 Respondents filed a motion for reconsideration. Ordering the defendants to vacate the same land and to surrender the peaceful possession thereof to the plaintiff. 2011 Decision. It cannot be altered. 9 The CA pointed out that this was in contravention of Section 48 of Presidential Decree (P. plaintiffs have resorted to a wrong cause of action.

Isabela. For said reason. Gregoria should. Thus. premises considered. the complaint would amount to a collateral attack on the title which was . reconvey the property and its title to her.10 Hence. but it was denied in a Resolution. Hence. covered by the said title. Hortizuela claims that respondent Gregoria Tagufa (Gregoria). that the issue of whether or not the title was fraudulently issued. ISSUE WHETHER OR NOT AN ACTION FOR RECONVEYANCE AND RECOVERY OF POSSESSION CONSTITUTES AN INDIRECT OR COLLATERAL ATTACK ON THE VALIDITY OF THE SUBJECT CERTIFICATE OF TITLE WHICH IS PROSCRIBED BY LAW. was certainly aware that the subject land was actually sold by Atty. SO ORDERED. but rather the reconveyance of the property. Runsted. which Gregoria was holding in trust for her benefit as the real owner.11 ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary Hortizuela filed a motion for reconsideration. 2013. 2011 rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Cabagan.It cited the well-settled rule that a Torrens title could not be collaterally attacked. therefore. this petition. is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. being the wife of Runsted. being the rightful owner. the dispositive portion of the CA decision reads in this wise:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary WHEREFORE. and that an action for reconveyance and recovery of possession was not the direct action contemplated by law.12 dated January 25. only acted as attorney-in-fact in the sale transaction. Marquez) to her (Hortizuela). could only be raised in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. Romulo Marquez (Atty. Position of Respondents Respondents counter that although Hortizuela’s complaint was denominated as one for reconveyance and recovery of possession. the Decision dated July 1. the action for reconveyance was not a collateral attack on the said title because Hortizuela was not seeking the nullification of the title. The present Complaint for reconveyance and recovery of possession with damages is DISMISSED. its main objective was to nullify the title held by Gregoria over the subject property.

it means that the object of an action is to annul or set aside such judgment. P-84609 registered in the name of Gregoria Tagufa who. plaintiff pointed out the following indicia of fraud committed by Gregoria Tagufa that would allegedly justify reconveyance: First. When the Court says direct attack. granting that the title over the property would be nullified and the property be reconveyed to Hortizuela. among others.14 A Torrens title cannot be altered.D. according to the plaintiff. Hortizuela. 1528 where it is provided that a certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. 223 which requires.) Blg. . The Court’s Ruling The Court finds the petition meritorious. counted from the issuance of the free patent by the government. the estranged husband of defendant Gregoria Tagufa.15 In its decision. and OCT No. No. Gregoria Tagufa made it appear in the extrajudicial settlement of the estate of spouses Leandro Tagufa and Remedios Talosig that she is an heir when.proscribed under the principle of indefeasibility of a Torrens title. Finally. fraudulently caused the titling of the same. the bone of contention in this case are the deed of sale by and between Romulo Marquez and Runsted Tagufa. In their lamentations. On the other hand. an attack on the judgment or proceeding is nevertheless made as an incident thereof. The Court is not unmindful of the principle of indefeasibility of a Torrens title and Section 48 of P. Another argument that respondents want this Court to consider in resolving the subject petition is the fact that the overriding reason why Hortizuela chose to file a complaint for reconveyance and recovery of possession was that she failed to avail of the remedy provided under Section 3813 of Act 496 within the prescribed period of one (1) year. To rule that the action for reconveyance was not a collateral one would result in the nullity of the decree of registration. is an American citizen who has been residing in Las Vegas.P. the attack is indirect or collateral when. in an action to obtain a different relief. or enjoin its enforcement. the MCTC wrote:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Obviously. Nevada. by her own admission. that an applicant for a free patent must be a Filipino citizen. modified or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law. she is only a grand daughter-in-law. in truth. still the latter would be ineligible to own the same pursuant to Batas Pambansa (B.

Third. plaintiffs have resorted to a wrong cause of action.18cralawlawlibrary . Reconveyance is always available as long as the property has not passed to an innocent third person for value. respecting it as incontrovertible and no longer open to review. failed to take into account that in a complaint for reconveyance. However. an action in personam.Second. The MCTC and the CA. it can be deduced that the MCTC was convinced that fraud was attendant in the registration of the land but was not convinced that reconveyance was an accepted remedy. As a matter of fact. however. like in the case at bench. and the real owner is entitled to file an action for reconveyance of the property. the complaint of Hortizuela was not a collateral attack on the title warranting dismissal. the decree is not sought to be set aside. available to a person whose property has been wrongfully registered under the Torrens system in another’s name. can only be questioned through a direct proceeding. plaintiff argued. If the registration of the land is fraudulent. in the judicious analysis by this court. Studying the merits of this case and removing all its superfluities. and Fourth. an action for reconveyance is a recognized remedy. It does not seek to set aside the decree but. she already knew that when she applied for free patent that plaintiff’s parents were not anymore the owners of the land as the same was mortgaged with the DBP. plaintiffs plainly question the title generated in the name of defendant Gregoria Tagufa having been obtained by fraud and misrepresentation. All in all. Gregoria Tagufa never acquired any valid right or legal title over the property.17cralawlawlibrary There is no quibble that a certificate of title. Contrary to the pronouncements of the MCTC and the CA. however. What is being sought is the transfer of the property wrongfully or erroneously registered in another's name to its rightful owner or to the one with a better right. the person in whose name the land is registered holds it as a mere trustee. the decree of registration is respected as incontrovertible and is not being questioned. defendant has never been in actual possession of the property when she applied for it. seeks to transfer or reconvey the land from the registered owner to the rightful owner.16 ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary From the foregoing. In an action for reconveyance. she already knew when she applied for free patent that plaintiff was already the owner of the land she was applying for.

20 with the land obtained by respondent Gregoria through fraudulent machinations by means of which a free patent and a title were issued in her name. Niño Residents Association. CA. Sitio Sto. A certificate of title is merely an evidence of ownership or title over the particular property described therein. the indefeasibility of a title over land previously public is not a bar to an investigation by the Director of Lands as to how such title has been acquired. by force of law.22 this Court pointed out that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary x x x It is to the public interest that one who succeeds in fraudulently acquiring title to a public land should not be allowed to benefit therefrom. based on Section 53 of P. is weak. considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the person from whom the property comes.”19cralawlawlibrary Furthermore. Inc.D.21 In Sherwill Development Corporation v. “Registration of a piece of land under the Torrens System does not create or vest title. No. to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the issuance of any such title. because it is not a mode of acquiring ownership. the person obtaining it is. In other words. therefore. Its issuance in favor of a particular person does not foreclose the possibility that the real property may be co-owned with persons not named in the certificate.. if the purpose of such investigation is to determine whether or not fraud had been committed in securing such title in order that the appropriate action for reversion may be filed by the Government. The Court is not unaware of the rule that a fraudulently acquired free patent may only be assailed by the government in an action for reversion pursuant to Section 101 of the Public Land Act. It cannot be used to protect a usurper from the true owner. nor can it be used as a shield for the commission of fraud. subject thereafter to disposal to other qualified persons in accordance with law. neither does it permit one to enrich himself at the expense of others. As was similarly held in Cervantes v. may file the corresponding action for the reversion of the land involved to the public domain. 1529 and Article 1456. thru the Solicitor General or any other officer who may be authorized by law. counted from the issuance of the patent by the government.The fact that Gregoria was able to secure a title in her name does not operate to vest ownership upon her of the subject land. to the end that the Republic. Article 1456 provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary ARTICLE 1456. If property is acquired through mistake or fraud. The remedy of reconveyance.23 . prescribes in ten (10) years from the issuance of the Torrens title over the property. respondents’ argument that the overriding reason why Hortizuela chose to file a complaint for reconveyance and recovery of possession was that she failed to avail of the remedy provided under Section 38 of Act 496 within the prescribed period of one (1) year. she was deemed to have held it in trust for the benefit of Hortizuela who was prejudiced by her actions. and the State should. have an even existing authority. or that it may be held in trust for another person by the registered owner. thru its duly-authorized officers.

Court of Appeals. but. the land has the character of registered property in accordance with the provisions of Section 122 of Act No.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary An action for reconveyance is proper The foregoing rule is. 49 Off. in Quiñiano. This was the ruling in Larzano v. v.. The action is one based on fraud and under the law. et al. we stressed that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary The controlling legal norm was set forth in succinct language by Justice Tuason in a 1953 decision. thus: cralawred It is to be noted that the petition does not seek for a reconsideration of the granting of the patent or of the decree issued in the registration proceeding. et al. Civil Code. respecting the decree as incontrovertible and no longer open to review. not without exception. to bring an ordinary action in the ordinary court of justice . Fraudulent statements were made in the application for the patent and no notice thereof was given to plaintiffs. 3 935. it can be instituted within four years from the discovery of the fraud.. Registered of Deeds. as based on Section 3. we stated that if a patent had already been issued through fraud or mistake and has been registered. however. Section 55 of Act No. paragraph 43 of Act No. 496. In Roco. not to set aside the decree. 92 Phil. Gaz. A recognized exception is that situation where plaintiff-claimant seeks direct reconveyance from defendant of public land unlawfully and in breach of trust titled by him. Jr. Tabayag. 1146. after one year from the date of the decree. as was done in the instant case. the remedy of a party who has been injured by the fraudulent registration is an action for reconveyance. nor knowledge of the petition known to the actual possessors and occupants of the property. v. 190.) In the same vein.24 where it was written:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary A private individual may bring an action for reconveyance of a parcel of land even if the title thereof was issued through a free patent since such action does not aim or purport to re-open the registration proceeding and set aside the decree of registration. Thus: “The sole remedy of the land owner whose property has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another's name is. The purpose is not to annul the title but to have it conveyed to plaintiffs. on the principle of enforcement of a constructive trust. but only to show that the person who secured the registration of the questioned property is not the real owner thereof.. 826. as amended by Act No. Register of Deeds of Rizal. Gimeda. 2332. and the remedy of the party who has been injured by the fraudulent registration is an action for reconveyance. (Art. Director of Lands v. et al. (Director of Lands vs. 496.) It is to be noted that as the patent here has already been issued.

the aggrieved party is considered as having lost his right to a property to which he is entitled.25 Thus. What she was seeking was the reconveyance of the subject property on account of the fraud committed by respondent Gregoria. A certificate of title is merely an evidence of ownership or title over the particular property described therein. whose land was wrongfully or erroneously registered in the name of another. It must be noted that points of law. the petition is GRANTED. 2011 Decision of the Regional Trial Court. Its issuance in favor of a particular person does not foreclose the possibility that the real property may be co-owned with persons not named in the certificate. Hortizuela was not seeking a reconsideration of the granting of the patent or the decree issued in the registration proceedings.27 The reason therefor is due process. respondents’ supposition that Hortizuela was ineligible to own the subject property pursuant to B. issues. Blg. to quote from Justice Torres. 2012 Decision and the January 25. in filing the complaint for reconveyance and recovery of possession.R. Isabela. theories. The fact that petitioner was able to secure a title in her name did not operate to vest ownership upon her of the subject land. Register of Deeds of Laguna. To hold otherwise would be to make the Torrens system a shield for the commission of fraud.for reconveyance or.G. nor can it be used as a shield for the commission of fraud. to compel the registered owner to transfer or reconvey the land to him. As clearly revealed by the undeviating line of decisions coming from this Court. The July 1. if [deceit] would be rewarded by allowing the perpetrator to enjoy the fruits of his nefarious deed.P. If it were otherwise the institution of registration would. So it has been before. (Citations omitted) In this case. An action for reconveyance is a legal and equitable remedy granted to the rightful landowner. because it is not a mode of acquiring ownership. so it should continue to be. Cabagan.. serve "as a protecting mantle to cover and shelter bad faith . later Chief Justice. for damages." In the language of the then Justice. 122648 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. SP No. as these cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. it is entirely a different matter. the RTC did not err in upholding the right of Hortizuela to ask for the reconveyance of the subject property." Such a doctrine goes back to the 1919 landmark decision of Cabanos v. Registration of a piece of land under the Torrens System does not create or vest title. To reiterate. and one devoid of justification. 223 because she was no longer a Filipino citizen cannot be considered for having been raised only for the first time on appeal. WHEREFORE. neither does it permit one to enrich himself at the expense of others. .." It would indeed be a signal failing of any legal system if under the circumstances disclosed. or that it may be held in trust for another person by the registered owner. if the property has passed into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value. It cannot be used to protect a usurper from the true owner. is hereby REINSTATED.. 2013 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA. It is one thing to protect an innocent third party. Branch 22. and arguments not brought to the attention of the trial court ought not to be considered by a reviewing court.26 ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary Finally. such an undesirable eventuality is precisely sought to be guarded against. Bengzon: "A different view would encourage fraud and permit one person unjustly to enrich himself at the expense of another. The September 13.

and Leonen.* Del Castillo. RURAL BANK OF CARDONA. Jr. petitioners must show that they have title to the real property at issue. vs. Spouses VIRGILIO SANTOS and BABY RUTH CRUZ. Buyers of unregistered real property. JJ. DECISION PANGANIBAN... the CA ruled: [3] ..R. ALBERTO PALAD JR. 2000] LUCIO ROBLES. No. Failure to observe such diligence may amount to bad faith and may result in the nullity of the mortgage. respondents. Inc. ALUDIA ROBLES and EMILIO ROBLES. COURT OF APPEALS. (Chairperson). THIRD DIVISION [G. concur. 123509. Unless the co-ownership is clearly repudiated. in his capacity as Director of Lands. especially banks.SO ORDERED. Velasco. assailing the June 15. HILARIO ROBLES.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Carpio. must exert due diligence in ascertaining the titles of mortgagors and sellers. March 14. Mesm The Case Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45. J. 1996 Resolution of the Court of Appeals[1] (CA) in CA-GR CV No. as well as of the subsequent foreclosure and/or auction sale. and JOSE MAULEON in his capacity as District Land Officer of the Bureau Of Lands.: To be entitled to the remedy of quieting of title. lest some innocent parties be prejudiced. EMETERIA ROBLES. 34213. petitioners. acquire title to the shares of the other co-owners.[2] In its Decision. 1995 Decision and the January 15. a co-owner cannot. by prescription. and that some deed or proceeding beclouds its validity or efficacy.

2. Morong. He also built a nipa . who took possession of the land. He also declared the same in his name for taxation purposes as early as 1916 covered by Tax Declaration No. 1988. Emeteria Robles. He occupied the same openly and adversely. 1996 CA Resolution denied petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration. his widow Maria de la Cruz and his children inherited the property. Ordering the defendant spouses Vergel Santos and Ruth Santos to deliver the property subject of this case to the plaintiff. and in lieu thereof a new one is hereby entered ordering the dismissal of the plaintiffs-appellees['] second amended complaint. "I") and paid the corresponding taxes thereon (Exh. declared it in his name for taxation purposes and paid the taxes thereon." The January 15." Earlier. Lagundi. premises considered. Rizal. Aludia Robles and Emilio Robles. Declaring free patent Title No. Rizal with an area of 9. The Facts The present Petition is rooted in a case for quieting of title before the Regional Trial Court of Morong. and 3. 1991 decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. They took adverse possession of said property and paid taxes thereon. the trial courts June 17. Rtc-spped "Upon the death of Silvino Robles in 1942. the trial court had disposed as follows: Spped jo "WHEREFORE."WHEREFORE. "B"). The task of cultivat[ing] the land was assigned to plaintiff Lucio Robles who planted trees and other crops. Declaring the heirs of Silvino Robles as the absolute owner of the land in controversy. 17865 (Exh.985 square meters. judgment is hereby rendered as follows: 1. IV-1-010021 issued by the Bureau of Lands as null and void.[4] by Petitioners Lucio Robles. The facts were narrated by the trial court in this wise: "There seems to be no dispute that Leon Robles primitively owned the land situated in Kay Taga. filed on March 14. When Leon Robles died. his son Silvino Robles inherited the land.

the Court of Appeals summarized the facts of the case as follows: "The instant action for quieting of title concerns the parcel of land bounded and more particularly described as follows: Sd-aad-sc "A parcel of land located at Kay Taga. the tax declaration of the parcel of land in the name of Silvino Robles was canceled and transferred to one Exequiel Ballena (Exh.hut on the land."[5] On the other hand. defendant Rural Bank sold the same to the Spouses Vergel Santos and Ruth Santos. Lagundi. Andrea Robles testified without contradiction that somebody else. "16"). IV-1-010021 in their names.. using the tax declaration as security. Morong. Bounded [i]n the north by the property of Venancio Ablay y Simeon Ablay. 1987. father of Andrea Robles who is the wife of defendant Hilario Robles. The plaintiffs entrusted the payment of the land taxes to their co-heir and half-brother. Jo spped "In September 1987. signed the loan papers because Hilario Robles was working in Marinduque at that time as a carpenter. was transferred [to] the name of defendant Hilario Robles and his wife (Exh.1988. [i]n the east by the property of Veronica Tulak y Dionisio Ablay. not her husband Hilario Robles. Exequiel Ballena secured a loan from the Antipolo Rural Bank. for unknown reasons. Rizal. "For failure to pay the mortgage debt. the tax declaration was transferred [to] the name of Antipolo Rural Bank (Exh. foreclosure proceedings were had and defendant Rural Bank emerged as the highest bidder during the auction sale in October 1968. defendant spouses Santos took possession of the property in question and was able to secure Free Patent No. "19"). and [i]n the west by the property of Dionisio . On May 10. Inc. but was unsuccessful. using the tax declaration as security. plaintiff discovered the mortgage and attempted to redeem the property. Hilario Robles. On September 25. Calrky "In 1996. Somehow. [i]n the south by the property of Simeon Ablay y Dionisio Ablay. "The spouses Hilario Robles failed to redeem the property and so the tax declaration was transferred in the name of defendant Rural Bank. Andrea Robles secured a loan from the Cardona Rural Bank. "In 1962. Thereafter. "17") and later on.

that it was only in September of 1987 that they came to know of the foreclosure of the real estate mortgage constituted thereon by the half-brother. Santos. orig.985 square meters. This fact. rec.00 under Tax Declaration No. to pay plaintiffs the sum of P10. it is respectfully prayed that (a) a preliminary mandatory injunction be issued forthwith restoring plaintiffs to their possession of said parcel of land. which remains unrebutted. to wit: "Wherefore.000.) the trial court proceeded to try the case on the merits. "Inasmuch as the real estate mortgage executed allegedly by Hilario Robles in favor of the defendant Cardona Rural Bank. Twice amended to implead Hilario Robles (pp. rec) and." (pp. 117-121. with an area of 9. orig. rec. in favor of defendant Rural Bank. it stands to reason that the foreclosure proceedings therein were . 1991 decision upon the following findings and conclusions: "The real estate mortgage allegedly executed by Hilario Robles is not valid because his signature in the mortgage deed was forged. rec. Contending that they had been in possession of the land since 1942. Inc. that the latter had already sold the self-same parcel in favor of the Santos spouses (pp. the deed of sale aforementioned and any tax declaration which have been issued in the name of defendants. "Plaintiffs pray for other relief as [may be] just and equitable under the premises. the plaintiff alleged. "As the heirs of Silvino Robles who. The plaintiffs complaint sought the following reliefs on the theory that the encumbrance of their half-brother. among other matters. (b) an order be issued annulling said Free Patent No. 120-121. were null and void. and that they likewise learned upon further inquiry. 76-80. orig. and (c) ordering defendants jointly and severally. 23219. the Director of Lands and the District Land Officer of the Bureau of Lands as parties-defendants (pp.). IV-I-010021 in favor of the defendant spouses. as well as all proceedings taken subsequent thereto. 203. the siblings Lucio. as well as the Rural Bank of Cardona. 1-3. commenced the instant suit with the filing of their March 14. Hilario Robles. more or less. 1988 complaint against Spouses Virgilio and Ruth Santos. was admitted by Andrea Robles. rec). orig. likewise inherited the above-described parcel from Leon Robles. Aludia and Emilio. IV-I-010021 in the name of defendants spouses Vergel Santos and Ruth C. It thereafter rendered the challenged June 17. was not valid.) xxxxxxxxx "With the termination of the pre-trial stage upon the parties-litigants agreement (p.Ablay y Simeon Ablay. all surnamed Robles. Emeteria.00 as attorneys fees. upon subsequent discovery of the issuance of Free Patent No. constituted on the land. Inc. orig. assessed in the year 1935 at P60.

260. exclusive and undisputed possession of alienable public lands for the period prescribed by law (30 years). 257-259. No. and considering that "open. rec." (pp. G. defendant bank could not have transferred any right to the spouses Santos. ceases to be public land and becomes private property. Possession of public land x x x which is [of] the character and duration prescribed by the statute is the equivalent of an express grant from the State. "The possessor 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. therefore. November 29. the Bureau of Lands having no jurisdiction to dispose of the same. Likewise. Silvino Robles. ipso jure and without the need of judicial or other action. but simply recognize a title already vested.] and confirmation proceedings would be a little more than a formality. 75042. Consequently. creates the legal fiction whereby the land. "Under the circumstances. the Santos spouses and the defendant Rural Bank jointly filed their July 6. upon completion of the requisite period. orig.)" "Dissatisfied with the foregoing decision. 1988) The land in question has become private land. rec.R. his wife Maria de la Cruz and the plaintiffs occupied the property openly."[6] Ruling of the Court of Appeals In reversing the trial court. "Consequently.likewise not valid. (Cruz v. IAC. his successor-in-interest. Registration thereunder would not confer title. Santos is not valid because at the time the property subject of this case was already private land. the defendant bank did not acquire any right arising out of the foreclosure proceedings. continuously and exclusively until they were ousted from their possession in 1988 by the spouses Vergel and Ruth Santos. considering the dictum of the statute itself[:]. orig." No proof is admissible to overcome a conclusive presumption[. the issuance of [a] free patent title to the Spouses Vergel Santos and Ruth C. the Court of Appeals held that petitioners no longer had any title to the subject property at the time they instituted the Complaint for quieting of title. The CA ratiocinated as follows: Mis spped . "There can be no question that the subject [property was held] in the concept of owner by Leon Robles since 1916.) x x x. "The fact that the land was covered by a free patent will not help the defendant Santos any. Therefore. at the most limited to ascertaining whether the possession claimed is of the required character and length of time. 1991 Notice of Appeal (p.

under the circumstances. orig. Court of Appeals.) The latters claim of continuous possession notwithstanding (pp. 12. 45 Phil. p. 40 Phil. Camumot. for that matter. rec. On the theory that tax declarations can be evincive of the transfer of a parcel of land or a portion thereof (Gacos v. Court of Appeals. the aforesaid loss of title is amply evidenced by the subsequent declaration of the subject realty for taxation purposes not only in the name of Exequiel Ballena (Exhibits "1" and "2". Burton vs. was altogether uncorroborated.). TSN. the trial court lost sight of the fact that the assailed deed of real estate mortgage (Exhibit "5".) is a public document. while admittedly unrebutted. (pp. TSN. 23-24. If only in this latter sense. While it may be readily conceded that an action to quiet title to property in the possession of the plaintiff is imprescriptible (Almanza vs. 156 SCRA 718. July 12. 75 SCRA 441. it cannot."As correctly urged by the appellants. 857. rec. 26. it equally bears emphasis that a co-owner or. Silvino Robles. II. the appellants correctly argue that the plaintiffs-appellees have lost their cause of action by prescription. 25-27.e. Court of Appeals. 1990). 23).) but also in the name of the Rural Bank of Antipolo (Exhibit 17. 3-5. Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals. xxx xxx xxx "In according to the foregoing testimony x x x credibility which. 257. it retains the . i. p. p.) "Even on the theory that the plaintiffs-appellees and their half-brother. Ramos vs. orig. Caragay-Layno vs. 155 SCRA 270. the court a quo gravely erred in invalidating the real estate mortgage constituted on the land solely on the basis of Andrea Robles testimony that her husbands signature thereon was forged (p. Faja vs. 42 Phil.. the said co-owner[']s successors-in-interest who occupy the community property other than as co-owner[s] can claim prescription as against the other co-owners (De Guzman vs.). orig. Arguelles. Intermediate Appellate Court. Charon Enterprises vs. the court a quo clearly erred in simply brushing aside the apparent transfers [which] the land in litigation had undergone. Africa. rec. 20 Phil. are co-owners of the land left behind by their common father. orig. his possession (p. 1966 Deed of Absolute Sale transferring the land in favor of the spouses Hilario and Andrea Robles (Exhibit "3". rec. rec. 124 SCRA 784. 148 SCRA 75. 212 SCRA 214). Austria. Hilario Robles. 1990) and declaration thereof for taxation purposes in his own name (Exhibit "4". De Castro vs. November 15. Whether legal or equitable. TSN. Africa vs. the appellants correctly maintain that prescription had already set in. rec. orig. the acknowledgment of which is a prima facie evidence of its due execution (Chua vs. 362. 902. II. pp. orig. 133 SCRA 718. Ramos. Vol. 25. 22. rec. Gabar.). Coronel vs. 206 SCRA 339). 55 SCRA 4999). such title would still be effectively discounted by what could well serve as the latters acts of repudiation of the co-ownership. 1990. As such. the plaintiff-appellees no longer had any title to the property at the time of the institution of the instant complaint. Bargayo vs. July 5. Echarri. In view of the plaintiffs-appellees inaction for more than twenty (20) years from the time the subject realty was transferred in favor of Hilario Robles. "Over and above the foregoing considerations. be gainsaid that the plaintiff-appellees no longer had any title to speak of when Exequiel Ballena executed the November 7. vol.

orig. IV-I must necessarily fail. Petitioners Lucio. the plaintiffs-appellees attack upon x x x Free Patent No. 10-11.[7] The Assigned Error . Volume II[)].) "Appropriately underscored by the appellants.all surnamed Robles -. 96. Judicial admissions. misread. rec. 1990). They cannot be contradicted unless shown to have been made through [a] palpable mistake or [unless] no such admission was actually made (Philippine American General Insurance.). no evidence being required to prove the same. Vol. TSN. made by the parties in the pleadings or in the course of the trial or other proceedings in the same case are conclusive. orig. to come up with erroneous conclusion. clear and convincing evidence to overcome such presumption (Agdeppa vs. Sweet Lines. "8" and "10". rec. II.). viz: "3. rec. Emeteria. aside from complying with the requirements for the foreclosure of the subject real estate mortgage (Exhibits "6". vs.) but had likewise granted the latters request for an extension of the redemption period therefor (Exhibits "11" and "12". Ibe. 212 SCRA 194). defendant Hilario Robles has the right to mortgage the said real property and could dispose the same in whatever manner he wishe[s] to do. Maniks "The foregoing principles take even more greater [sic] when it is. the foregoing admission is binding against Hilario [Robles]. moreover.filed this Petition for Review. Inc. Vol. Inc. November 15. II. orig. the mortgagor and the plaintiffs-appellees cannot now be heard to challenge the validity of the sale of the land after admittedly failing to redeem the same within the extension the appellant Rural Bank granted (pp." (p. borne in mind that Hilario Robles made the following admissions in his March 8. "It does not help the plaintiffs-appellees cause any that. rec. pp.. 220 SCRA 584)." Manikx Contending that such ruling was contrary to law and jurisprudence. verbal or written. therefore. The trial court. "7". orig.presumption of validity in the absence of a full. "Being dependent on the supposed invalidity of the constitution and foreclosure of the subject real estate mortgage. Without going into minute detail in discussing the Santos spouses rights as purchasers for value and in good faith (Exhibit "21". The complaint filed against herein answering defendant has no legal basis considering that as the lawful owner of the subject real property. and ignored the evidence o[n] record. 35-36. 1989 answer. Aludia and Emilio -. the appellant Rural Bank had not only relented to the mortgagors request to postpone the (Exhibit "g".

. and third. encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid. ineffective. actual and adverse possession of said parcel of land since 1916 up to their forced removal therefrom in 1988. the efficacy of the free patent granted to the Santos spouses. the nature of the remedy of quieting of title. "An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from being cast upon title to real property or any interest therein. who by themselves and their predecessors in interest have been in open. an action to quiet title is a common-law remedy for the removal of any cloud or doubt or uncertainty on the title to real property. claim. second. and then finally to Respondent Spouses Santos.[11] . then to Respondent Hilario Robles. petitioners. claim. and may be prejudicial to said title. then to Respondent Rural Bank of Cardona Inc. Spped First Issue: Quieting of Title Article 476 of the Civil Code provides: "Whenever there is cloud on title to real property or any interest therein.[9] It is essential for the plaintiff or complainant to have a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property which is the subject matter of the action. the above issue will be broken down into three points: first. to Respondent Spouses Santos. by reason of any instrument.Petitioners ascribe the following error to the respondent court: "Respondent Court of Appeals grievously erred in ruling that with the transfers of the tax declaration over the parcel of land in question from Silvino Robles to Exequiel Ballena.[10] Also. encumbrance or proceeding that is being alleged as a cloud on plaintiffs title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy. the validity of the real estate mortgage. the deed. have lost their title to said property by prescription to their half-brother."[8] For a better understanding of the case. Respondent Hilario Robles. then to the Rural Bank of Antipolo. an action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet title." Based on the above definition. and then finally. voidable or unenforceable. record.

private respondents purchased the property from the bank. in the name of the Rural Bank of Cardona and. Private Respondents Vergel and Ruth Santos trace their claim to the subject property to Exequiel Ballena. the free patent thereto granted to Spouses Vergel and Ruth Santos. -.. the subject property had been declared in the names of Exequiel Ballena. it was again declared in the same name. Maintaining that as co-owners of the subject property. the Robles spouses then mortgaged it to the Rural Bank of Cardona. considering . Upon their failure to pay their indebtedness. Leon. Inc. petitioners predecessors-in-interest.000. on its face. and that their half-brother Hilario would be paying the land taxes. In 1962. is valid and efficacious is clear in the present case. to whom petitioners had entrusted the payment of the land taxes. the Court of Appeals failed to consider irregularities in the transactions involving the disputed property. 1966. and thereafter. 1965. finally. Nexold Petitioners anchor their claim to the disputed property on their continued and open occupation and possession as owners thereof. the subject property was declared in the name of Exequiel for taxation purposes. who in turn had inherited it from his father. and finally. while it was declared in the name of Exequiel in 1962. considering that the petitioners are alleging continued possession of the property. Miso On the other hand. the mortgage was foreclosed and the property sold to the bank as the highest bidder.That there is an instrument or a document which. in the name of the Santos spouses. This fact is important. Exequiel was the father- in-law of Hilario. subsequently. According to private respondents. who had purportedly sold it to Hilario and Andrea Robles. they did not agree to the real estate mortgage constituted on it. 1965. First. The more important question to be resolved. however. Third. as evidenced by the different tax declarations issued in their names. Petitioners insist that they were not aware that from 1962 until 1987.not as co- owners but as absolute owners -. Sppedjo Undisputed is the fact that the land had previously been occupied by Leon and later by Silvino Robles. Hilario Robles. they agreed among themselves that Petitioner Lucio Robles would be tending and cultivating it for everyone. the Rural Bank of Cardona. Spouses Vergel and Ruth Santos. in the name of the Rural Bank of Antipolo. on November 7. petitioners insist that their shares therein should not have been prejudiced by Hilarios actions. On September 30. on October 28. They allege that they inherited it from their father. there was no instrument or deed of conveyance evidencing its transfer from the heirs of Silvino to him. Thereafter. Petitioners allege that their title as owners and possessors of the disputed property is clouded by the tax declaration and. Second. They maintain that after their fathers death. Silvino. is whether the petitioners have the appropriate title that will entitle them to avail themselves of the remedy of quieting of title.in order to secure an agricultural loan worth P2. Inc. Ostensibly. Also undisputed is the fact that the petitioners continued occupying and possessing the land from the death of Silvino in 1942 until they were allegedly ousted therefrom in 1988. in the name of Hilario and Andrea. the Rural Bank of Antipolo.

The assertion that the declaration of ownership was tantamount to repudiation was belied by the continued occupation and possession of the disputed property by the petitioners as owners. Mis sc Second Issue: Validity of the Real Estate Mortgage . as agreed upon by the co-owners. absent any clear repudiation of the co-ownership. the said transaction did not divest them of title to the property at the time of the institution of the Complaint for quieting of title. It is a fundamental principle that a co-owner cannot acquire by prescription the share of the other co-owners. The occupation and the possession thereof by the petitioners and their predecessors-in-interest until 1962 was not disputed. the Rural Bank of Cardona. an allegation which thereby enabled him to mortgage it to the Rural Bank of Cardona. however. Jospped The failure to show the indubitable title of Exequiel to the property in question is vital to the resolution of the present Petition.that the subject property had been mortgaged by Exequiel to the Rural Bank of Antipolo. No such document was presented. (2) such positive acts of repudiation have been made known to the other co-owners. as they had indisputably shared in its fruits. inasmuch as it was an unregistered parcel of land. It was from him that Hilario had allegedly derived his title thereto as owner. there is merit to the contention of the petitioners that Hilario mortgaged the disputed property to the Rural Bank of Cardona in his capacity as a mere co-owner thereof. Clearly. In order that the title may prescribe in favor of a co-owner.[12] In the present case.[14] Neither should his payment of land taxes in his name. Hilario did not have possession of the subject property. and that it was foreclosed and in fact declared in the banks name in 1965. Thus. As absolute owner of his undivided interest in the land. Hilario effected no clear and evident repudiation of the co-ownership. his act of entering into a mortgage contract with the bank cannot be construed to be a repudiation of the co-ownership. be construed as a repudiation of the co-ownership. and (3) the evidence thereof is clear and convincing. as he in fact did. the deed of conveyance purportedly evidencing the transfer of ownership and possession from the heirs of Silvino to Exequiel should have been presented as the best proof of that transfer. did not observe due diligence in determining Hilarios title thereto. Inc. the following requisites must concur: (1) the co-owner has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the other co-owners. Contrary to the disquisition of the Court of Appeals. he had the right to alienate his share. and Exequiels acquisition of the said property by prescription was not alleged. why was he able to sell it to Spouses Hilario and Andrea in 1966? Lastly. neither did he exclude the petitioners from the use and the enjoyment thereof.[13] Likewise. Scmis Therefore..

justice and equity mandate the entitlement of the Santos spouses.[15] In the present case. the petitioners continued occupying it and harvesting the fruits therefrom. Inc. as well as to mortgagees of the same character and description. was a mortgagee in bad faith. Act 496. for their business is one affected with public interest. Court of Appeals[17] invalidated a real estate mortgage after a finding that the bank had not been in good faith. in not fully ascertaining his title thereto. who merely stepped into the shoes of the bank. than private individuals. indeed.. it would have discovered that the said property was in fact being occupied by the petitioners. and the circumstances surrounding the transaction between Hilario and his father-in- law Exequiel were suspicious.In a real estate mortgage contract. Inc. Second.[19] Considering that Hilario can be deemed to have mortgaged the disputed property not as absolute owner but only as a co-owner. keeping in trust money belonging to their depositors. as well as the real estate mortgage covering the disputed parcel of land. he can be adjudged to have disposed to the Rural Bank of Cardona. it is essential that the mortgagor be the absolute owner of the property to be mortgaged. The said bank.Hilarios share in the disputed property. the bank should have exerted more effort to fully determine the title of the Robleses. It acted with precipitate haste in approving the Robles spouses loan application. Tomas. only his undivided share therein. being the immediate predecessor of the Santos spouses. the Court likewise finds it unusual that. the Court held: Sc-slx "x x x. as such. should exercise more care and prudence in dealing even with registered lands. it is apparent that Hilario Robles was not the absolute owner of the entire subject property. the mortgage is void. Banks. only to what legally pertains to the latter -. who were tending and cultivating it. otherwise." In Tomas v. Missc . the bank should not have relied solely on the Deed of Sale purportedly showing that the ownership of the disputed property had been transferred from Exequiel Ballena to the Robles spouses. x x x. Rural Bank of Compostela v. failed to observe due diligence and. The Court explained: "The rule that persons dealing with registered lands can rely solely on the certificate of title does not apply to banks..[16] Had it been more circumspect and assiduous. First. extended only to purchasers for value and in good faith. which they should guard against loss by not committing any act of negligence which amounts to lack of good faith by which they would be denied the protective mantle of land registration statute. was a mortgagee in bad faith."[18] Lastly. Thus. notwithstanding the banks insistence that it had become the owner of the subject property and had paid the land taxes thereon. or that it had subsequently been declared in the name of Hilario. the bank was utterly remiss in its duty to establish who the true owners and possessors of the subject property were. Because it was dealing with unregistered land. and that the Rural Bank of Cardona.

publicly and continuously as early as 1916 until they were forcibly ousted therefrom in 1988. it could not have been awarded to the Santos spouses by free patent.openly. Leon Robles. sir. Lucio Robles testified: "xxx xxx xxx Q By the way. They likewise contend that they cultivated it and harvested its fruits. why do you know this parcel of land? A Because before my father died.Third Issue: Efficacy of Free Patent Grant Petitioners repeatedly insist that the disputed property belongs to them by private ownership and. as such. Spped Q How did your father acquire this parcel of land? A My father knew that it [was] by inheritance. peacefully. sir. They allege that they possessed it in the concept of owners -. Q From whom? A From his father. . sir. sir. he showed me all the documents. who was the owner of this parcel of land? A My father. Q And do you know also [from] whom Leon Robles acquired this land? A It was inherited from his father. Q Before the death of your father.

[21] .. who cultivated this parcel of land? A I took charge of the land after the death of my father. after this case was already filed.Q What is the nature of this parcel of land? A Its an agricultural land. that it was ever an alienable land of the public domain. sir. santol trees. at the time of the death of your father. after the death of your father."[20] The preceding claim is an assertion that the subject property is private land. and the records do not show. as evidenced by their testimonies and the tax declarations issued in the names of their predecessors-in-interest. sir. He did not. The petitioners do not concede. M-issdaa Q Now. had acquired and possessed the subject property. this land was planted with what crops? A Mango trees. sir. even as he admitted on the stand that he had visited it twice. Inc. Kycalr Carlos Dolores insisted that the Rural Bank of Cardona. give any reason why the petitioners had continued occupying it. it was not controverted by the other parties. They allege private ownership thereof. and I was the one who planted those trees. sir. Q When did you plant those trees? A Before the death of my father. Q Now. of which he was the manager. sir. It must be noted that while their claim was not corroborated by other witnesses. Q Up to when? A Up to the present. either. however.

nullum producit effectum. Free Patent No. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the land. 23263 issued to Herminigildo Agpoon is null and void and the subsequent titles issued pursuant thereto cannot become final and indefeasible. and lands held in private ownership are not included therein and are not affected in any manner whatsoever thereby. Verily." Accordingly."[22] The land was "segregated from the public domain. The jurisdiction of the Director of Lands is limited only to public lands and does not cover lands publicly owned. Kyle "We reiterate that private ownership of land is not affected by the issuance of the free patent over the same land because the Public Land Act applies only to lands of the public domain. 2874. not from the fraud or deceit. was and is to limit its application to lands of the public domain. Director of Lands. Act No. Quod nullum est. Sicsican. Hence we ruled in Director of Lands v. a right to a grant. The purpose of the Legislature in adopting the former Public Land Act. Necessarily. not part of the disposable land of the public domain. the director of lands had no authority to issue a free patent thereto in favor of another person. but from the fact that the land is not under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Lands.In the light of their open. continuous. has no authority to grant a free patent for land that has ceased to be a public land and has passed to private ownership and a title so issued is null and void. constitutes no part of the public domain. the same could not have been the subject matter of a free patent. As earlier stated. but from the fact that the land is not under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Lands. . then applicants patentees acquired no right or title to the land. therefore. or his alter ego. inasmuch as the subject of such freehold or private land is not embraced in any manner in the title of the Act and the same is excluded from the provisions of the text thereof. without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. not from fraud or deceit. Only public land may be disposed of by the Director of Lands. et al. the land in dispute was already under the private ownership of herein petitioners and no longer a part of the lands of the public domain. the Director of Lands. the free patent granted and the subsequent titles produce no legal effect whatsoever. Land held in freehold or fee title. "Now. jurisprudence holds that a free patent covering private land is null and void. the nullity arises. and cannot possibly come within the purview of said act 2874.[23] Worth quoting is the disquisition of the Court in Agne v. petitioners are "deemed to have acquired. Since as early as 1920. or of private ownership. a certificate of title fraudulently secured is null and void ab initio if the fraud consisted in misrepresenting that the land is part of the public domain. that if at the time the free patents were issued in 1953 the land covered therein were already private property of another and. The nullity arises. The patentee and his successors-in-interest acquired no right or title to said land. although it is not. "Under the provisions of Act 2874 pursuant to which the title of private respondents predecessor-in- interest was issued. a government grant. by operation of law.[24] in which it held that a riparian owner presently in possession had a better right over an abandoned river bed than had a registered owner by virtue of a free patent. Being null and void. the President of the Philippines.

4216. . Gabila v. the Court held in Peltan Development. The complaint. praying as it did for the cancellation of the transfer certificates of title of petitioners on the ground that they were derived from a "spurious" OCT No. Indeed. x x x. the Court ratiocinated thus: Sl-xm-is "The Court also holds that private respondents are not the proper parties to initiate the present suit. assailed in effect the validity of said title. While private respondents did not pray for the reversion of the land to the government. the real party-in-interest is the government. The long and continued possession of petitioners under a valid claim of title cannot be defeated by the claim of a registered owner whose title is defective from the beginning. Inc. the ultimate beneficiary would be the government. who were applicants for a free patent. which can be represented by the solicitor general only." Because the cancellation of the free patent as prayed for by the private respondents in Peltan would revert the property in question to the public domain. therefore. Therefore. were not the proper parties in an action to cancel the transfer certificates covering the parcel of land that was the subject of their application. Ruling that the private respondents. we agree with the petitioners that the prayer in the complaint will have the same result of reverting the land to the government under the Regalian Doctrine."A free patent which purports to convey land to which the government did not have any title at the time of its issuance does not vest any title in the patentee as against the true owner. Court of Appeals[26] that only the solicitor general could file an action for the cancellation of a free patent." The Santos spouses argue that petitioners do not have the requisite personality to question the free patent granted them. inasmuch as "it is a well-settled rule that actions to nullify free patents should be filed by the Office of the Solicitor General at the behest of the Director of Lands. The Court has previously held that the Land Registration Act and the Cadastral Act do not give anybody who resorts to the provisions thereof a better title than what he really and lawfully has. Exsm xxx xxx xxx "We have. not the private respondents. Barinaga[27] ruled that only the government is entitled to this relief. to arrive at the unavoidable conclusion that the title of herein petitioners over the land in dispute is superior to the title of the registered owner which is a total nullity."[25] Private respondents reliance on this doctrine is misplaced. v.

Because they and their predecessors-in-interest have occupied. gave private respondents a cause of action for quieting of title which is imprescriptible. they contend. [28] herein petitioners asserted and proved private ownership over the disputed parcel of land by virtue of their open. nullum producit effectum. reasoning that the action should have been instituted by the solicitor general.[29] In that case. and its illegal inclusion in the Free Patent of petitioners and in their original certificate of title. Quod nullum est. By asking for the nullification of the free patent granted to the Santos spouses. continued and exclusive possession thereof since 1916. It is apparent that they are claiming ownership of the disputed property on the basis of their possession thereof in the concept of owners -.it has become private land and is therefore beyond the authority of the director of lands. But it manifested that it would not file a memorandum. continuous and adverse possession of the 2. possessed and cultivated it as owners for more than thirty years. Inc. In reversing the trial court. Misspped Epilogue We recognize that both the petitioners and the Santos spouses fell victim to the dubious transaction between Spouses Hilario and Andrea Robles and the Rural Bank of Cardona.This ruling does not. because "this case involves purely private interests. While the private respondents in Peltan recognized that the disputed property was part of the public domain when they applied for free patent. we sustain the contention of petitioners that the free patent granted to the Santos spouses is void. the same issue was resolved by this Court in Heirs of Marciano Nagano v. Emerita. the Office of the Solicitor General was afforded an opportunity to express its position in these proceedings. Moreover. continuously and adversely since 1916.openly. and produces no legal effect whatsoever. publicly." Scmis In any event."[30] The foregoing considered. justice and equity mandate that we declare Petitioners Lucio. Court of Appeals. rightfully belongs to them. Msesm Neither does the present case call for the reversion of the disputed property to the State. private respondents claim of open. apply to the present case. Indeed. however. the trial court dismissed a Complaint seeking the declaration of nullity of an Original Certificate of Title issued pursuant to a free patent. Aludia and Emilio Robles to have the .[31] only one conclusion can be drawn -.250 square meter portion since 1920. the Supreme Court held: Sl-xsc "It is settled that a Free Patent issued over private land is null and void. However. peaceful. the petitioners are claiming the property which. peacefully.

Division chairman and ponente. In any case. 12. concur. Considering the circumstances peculiar to this complicated problem. Montoya and Hector L. p. Sc The claim that petitioners were guilty of laches in not asserting their rights as owners of the property should be viewed in the light of the fact that they thought their brother was paying the requisite taxes for them. granting that it had acquired the subject property legally. Purisima. IV-1-010021 issued by the Bureau of Lands covering the subject property. the Court finds this conclusion the logical and just solution. concurred in by Justices Salome A. Jjjuris WHEREFORE. it can even be said that it was the Rural Bank of Cardona. and Gonzaga-Reyes. it can even be argued that they thus regained it by acquisitive prescription. p. Vitug.. No costs. . From another viewpoint." [3] CA Decision. Inc. It was oblivious to the petitioners continued occupation..requisite title essential to their suit for quieting of title. [2] Entitled "Lucio Robles.. Emerita. the Petition is hereby GRANTED. Inc. and more important. rollo. Hofilea. which was guilty of laches because. JJ. the trial courts Decision is REINSTATED. the real estate mortgage contract covering the disputed property a contract executed between Spouses Hilario and Andrea on the one hand and the Rural Bank of Cardona. al. on the other -. Aludia and Emilio Robles. the sale of the subject property to the Santos spouses is valid insofar as it pertained to his share only. cultivation and possession thereof. Melo. et al. The assailed Decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Considering that they had possessed the property in good faith for more than ten years. et. it is valid as to Hilario Robles share therein. Spouses Virgilio Santos and Baby Ruth Cruz. Jurismis In sum. Except as modified by the last paragraph of this Decision. v. the fact that they continued cultivating it and harvesting and gaining from its fruits. [1] First Division composed of Justice Nathanael P. laches is a remedy in equity. Consequently. (Chairman)..is hereby declared null and void insofar as it prejudiced the shares of Petitioners Lucio. the petitioners cannot be held guilty of it. and considering the circumstances in this case. De Pano Jr. it failed to enforce its rights as owner. SO ORDERED. 32. Likewise declared null and void is Free Patent No.

299 SCRA 668. Vol. [12] Deiparine et al. pp. [10] Art.. 138377. Andrea Robles testified: "Q And who planted the trees planted [o]n the land? A My children were going to that land and planted trees. Civil Code. [6] CA Decision. [13] TSN. Court of Appeals. II. 150. de Aviles v. 23-27. Marayag. 15. Civil Code of the Philippines. Galvez. Original Records. 264 SCRA 473. sir. p. [9] Vitug." See also Amagan v. signed by Atty. 1992 ed. was filed on June 19. Mariano H. He need not be in possession of said property. Heirs of Salamat v. Court of Appeals. 295.[4] Docketed as Civil Case No. Tamayo. 1998. Q And who took care of those trees? A They and us. . p. February 28. 3-7. v. "The plaintiff must have legal or equitable title to. 2-3. 1998. Compendium of Civil Law and Jurisprudence. Saladero. Trinidad v. Court of Appeals.G. Remigio D. 256-257. pp. Q When you said they. p. Cervo. pp. Assistant Solicitor General Amparo M. GR No. pp. 1990. was received by the Court on August 5. 22. November 21. [5] RTC Decision. [11] Tolentino. Arpon. to whom [we]re you referring? A Plaintiffs in this case. 2000. [7] The case was deemed submitted for decision on November 15. December 4. 1997. 1998. as quoted in Vda. 1999. signed by Atty. 477. Nov. pp. 1998. 1996. upon the receipt by the Court of the solicitor generals Manifestation and Motion in lieu of Memorandum signed by Solicitor General Ricardo P. Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Solicitor Christopher B. 298 SCRA 313. rollo. ed. 250-M. sir.. Private respondents Memorandum. or an interest in the real property which is the subject matter of the action. 1993 rev. October 30. 13-14. [8] Rollo. 289 SCRA 188. while petitioners Memorandum. April 20.

January 29. [18] 98 SCRA 280.) [17] 271 SCRA 76. 1997. pp. Yacon. (3) That the persons constituting the pledge or mortgage have the free disposal of their property. March 6. that they be legally authorized for the purpose. 1990. [16] Hilario and Andrea Robles. 4-5. the Robles spouses executed a real estate mortgage upon the said property. with respect to the co-owners.xxx xxx xxx Q And you and the plaintiffs participated in the harvest of these plants. xxx xxx xxx" [14] Art." (Italics supplied). July 5. J. Intermediate Appellate Court. On November 24. [19] TSN. 287 SCRA 204. pp. 1998. April 8. July 12. Gonzales v. J. July 5. Court of Appeals. "The following requisites are essential to the contracts of pledge and mortgage: (1) That they be constituted to secure the fulfillment of a principal obligation. exhibits for the plaintiffs and the defendants. III. 6-12. and even substitute another person in its enjoyment. 1967. TSN. 1990. except when personal rights are involved. 1988. 175 SCRA 62. shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. June 25. following the alleged sale to them by Exequiel Ballena of the said property on the same day. per De Castro. 1966. 20 SCRA 314. is that correct? A Yes sir. the loan was released to them. and I was giving them their share. See also Rural Bank of Sariaya v. 493. See also GSIS v. May 30. and he may therefore alienate. Pichay v. 1980. 1966. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage. per Davide. 157 SCRA 587. Civil Code. Celestino. and in the absence thereof. On November 29. (RTC Records. . Civil Code. (2) That the pledgor or mortgagor be the absolute owner of the thing pledged or mortgaged. 286. 1966. Vol." [15] Article 2085. applied for an agricultural loan on November 19. who had declared the disputed property under their names on November 7. "Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto. 1989. (Now CJ). 1966. assign or mortgage it.

1990. sir. occupation and cultivation of the property in question. July 5. per Panganiban. filed a Complaint for Cancellation of Titles and Damages. 1971.. J. occupying and cultivating it until they were forcibly ousted therefrom by one of the defendants. [25] Memorandum of the Santos spouses. pp. rollo. Heirs of Marciano Nagao v. which had been derived from a fictitious or spurious original certificate of title. [24] 181 SCRA 793. pp.443. 6. Dar. italics supplied. Emeteria Robles testimony supports her brother Lucio Robles assertions regarding the fact of possession. have you visited these properties from the time that your bank acquired the same from the auction sale? A I went there after the foreclosure. p. 214 SCRA 337. have you ever gone to these properties? A Yes. Carlos Dolores testified: "Q By the way. 108 Phil. October 28. 100 SCRA 450. 21. J. May 25. . 1980. They maintained that the processing and the eventual approval of their free patent application were held in abeyance because of the alleged existence of several certificates of title. 1997. July 12. 4-5. 1990. Dar. September 30. alleging that they had been in possession of the disputed property for many years. de Sonza et al. Vallarta. Herico v. In this case. September 30. J. [26] 270 SCRA 82. 1990. [23] Mesina v. as plaintiffs before the trial court. 95 SCRA 437. Vda. Navarette. 1960. March 19. 6-12. sir. [21] TSN. 95 SCRA 437. August 16. Azarcon v." [22] Herico v. Court of Appeals. 1980. Mendoza v. [27] 41 SCRA 131. 282 SCRA 43. January 22. p. February 6. Q When? A 1987. 81. November 17. per Regalado. 1997. 251. Q And after that date. 1980. 1990. 1992. sir. January 22. See TSN.[20] TSN. per De Castro. p. the private respondents..

per Davide. CHRISTINA GOCO AND ARSENIO C. CEFERINO R. DE BONIFACIO. at p. No. 101. TERESITA S. they [also] have a legitimate interest in the disposition of alienable lands of the State xxx. BENITA B. J. in their capacity as the surviving heirs of the late ELEUTERIA RIVERA VDA. [29] 282 SCRA 43. . 1. rollo. DE GRACIA. 167391 Present: . [30] Manifestation and Motion in lieu of Memorandum." (Peltan. APOLONIO B.[28] The private respondents even averred in their Complaint before the trial court that "as citizens and taxpayers of this country. 87). BONIFACIO. G. BONIFACIO. p. supra. Petitioner. p. Respondents. (Now CJ). DORONIA. CRISPINA B.R." THIRD DIVISION PHIL-VILLE DEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING CORPORATION. 1137 of the Civil Code provides: "Ownership and other real rights over immovables also prescribe through uninterrupted adverse possession thereof for thirty years. CAINA. TAN. PASCUAL. ROSALIA B. 1997. [31] Art.versus - MAXIMO BONIFACIO. November 17. without need of title or good faith.

.. Phil-Ville Development and Housing Corporation is the registered owner of three parcels of land designated as Lots 1-G-1. Gregorio R...[8] Prior to their subdivision..[6] 270922[7] and 270923. Phil-Ville acquired the lots by purchase from N.. a group composed of Eleuteria Rivera. JR.. on July 24. J. 1-G-2 and 1-G-3 of the subdivision plan Psd-1-13-006209.. 994[10] registered on May 3.... 984. 4557.. 2011 x . 982. Inc. Angeles. The Court of Appeals dismissed the Complaint[4] for Quieting of Title and Damages filed by Phil-Ville Development and Housing Corporation (Phil-Ville) and denied its Motion for Reconsideration. JJ. BRION.[9] Said parcels of land form part of Lot 23-A of the Maysilo Estate originally covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No... Angeles and Rosauro R...R. Rivera. They prayed for the substitution of their names on OCT No. and SERENO. SP No.CARPIO MORALES. Chairperson.... are as follows. .694 square meters and covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. Josefa R.... 994 in place of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. filed a petition with the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Rizal in Land Registration Case No... 1961. J.[5] The factual antecedents. Modesta R... Dela Merced and Sons. Venancio R.. Angeles Fidela R.. T-148220.. 1984.... 985 and 994 of the Hacienda Maysilo. Bartolome P.. 62211. having a total area of 8. claiming to be the heirs of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. Promulgated: June 8. Aquino..-x DECISION VILLARAMA... BERSAMIN.. 2005 and Resolution[3] dated March 15.... Angeles. a co-owner to the extent of 1-189/1000% of the properties covered by OCT Nos.. 270921. JR. on September 27. Felipe R. Aquino.... located in Caloocan City.... 1962.. Earlier. the lots were collectively designated as Lot 1-G of the subdivision plan Psd-2731 registered in the name of Phil-Ville under TCT No. 1917 in the name of Isabel Gil de Sola as the judicial administratrix of the estate of Gonzalo Tuason and thirty-one (31) others.. 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Said petition was granted by the CFI in an Order[11] dated May 25. Angeles. Aquino. as culled from the records. 983. Pelagia R.... VILLARAMA.: This petition for review on certiorari[1] seeks to set aside the Decision[2] dated January 31.

de Bonifacio died at the age of 96. The Regional Trial Court (RTC). Inc.391. 994 and its derivative titles. C-314537[15] covering a portion of Lot 23 with an area of 14. to whom the case was transferred. the alleged heirs of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal filed a petition for the partition of the properties covered by OCT Nos. 982. C- 424 in the CFI of Rizal. Alfonso. Eleuteria Rivera filed a Supplemental Motion[13] in Civil Case No. 1997. Christina B. 28-A-1 and 28-A-2 of the Maysilo Estate. SP No. which granted Eleuteria Riveras prayer for partition and adjudicated in her favor portions of Lots 23. the trial court issued another Order directing the acting Branch Clerk to issue a Certificate of Finality of the Order dated September 9. 985 and 994. The case was docketed as CA-G.. Tan. Nonetheless. de Bonifacio (namely Maximo R. however. which occupied Lot 28-A-2. Rosalia B. 28-A-1 and 28-A-2 and ordered the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City to issue to Eleuteria Rivera new certificates of title over them. 43034 at the Court of Appeals. on May 22. 1996. requiring it to vacate Lots 23-A and 28. Accordingly. Subsequently.[12] Said commissioners. a writ of possession[16] was issued in Eleuteria Riveras favor on December 26. On December 12. Judge Discaya directed the segregation of portions of Lots 23. for the partition and segregation of portions of the properties covered by OCT No. Crispina B. 1996. 983.54 square meters. Bonifacio Shopping Center. de Gracia. granted said motion. of Caloocan City. on June 5. the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision[21] in CA-G.R. Thirty-one (31) years later. Three days later. Aggrieved. Pascual.Afterwards. the CFI granted the petition and appointed three commissioners to determine the most equitable division of the properties. 1997. The appellate court explained that a party who has not been impleaded in a case cannot be bound by a writ of possession issued in connection therewith. through Judge Jaime D. The appellate court likewise set aside the Order and the Writ of Possession dated December 26. 28-A-1 and 28- A-2 of the Maysilo Estate. Branch 12. Ceferino R. 1996. . C-424. On April 29. Inc. 1996.R. filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition. Apolonia B. 1997. Branch 120. the Secretary of Justice issued Department Order No. Doronia. On December 29.R. 1996 and impugning the partial partition and adjudication to Eleuteria Rivera of Lots 23. Sheriff Cesar L. 1997. one Rosauro R. 43009. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. was also served a copy of the notice. 43034 granting Rosauro R. Bonifacio. In an Order[14] dated September 9. Discaya. on February 22. petitioner filed a complaint for quieting of title and damages against the surviving heirs of Eleuteria Rivera Vda. 137 creating a special committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the issuance of OCT No. 1965. failed to submit a recommendation. 1997. 1996 upon the Order[17] of Judge Discaya issued on the same date. Bonifacio Shopping Center. Caina. Aquino filed a petition for certiorari contesting said Order of December 12. issued to Eleuteria Rivera TCT No. Thereafter. Caloocan City. In a Decision[19] dated February 19. Benita B. the Register of Deeds of Caloocan. Teresita S. the appellate court set aside and declared as void the Order and Writ of Possession dated December 26. Aquinos petition and setting aside the RTCs Order of September 9.[20] On April 23. 984. Bonifacio. 994. docketed as CA- G. 1996. Eleuteria Rivera Vda. Meanwhile. Yolanda O. 1996. SP No. before the Court of Appeals. 1996 and the Notice to Vacate dated January 2. SP No. 1997 upon Phil-Ville. 1997. Cruz served a Notice to Vacate[18] dated January 2.

Psd-2731. declaring as valid TCT Nos. 4. later than Eleuteria Rivera who was born in 1901. the sum of P10.[23] In upholding Phil-Villes titles. judgment is hereby rendered as follows: 1.Goco. of the irregularities surrounding the titling of the properties in the Maysilo Estate. and that OCT No. C-314537 over Lot 23. 3. Carmen B. C-314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera on file with the Register of Deeds for Kalookan City. 4429. 1032 directing the Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights and on Urban Planning. On October 7. Register of Deeds of Kalookan City to cancel both Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. in the name of Eleuteria Rivera. 994. 1917 (from which Eleuteria Riveras title originated) does not exist. plus the costs of suit. Bonifacio. 1-G-2 and 1-G-3. LRC Rec. as valid and effective. SO ORDERED. The trial court also found that it was physically impossible for respondents to be the heirs of Eleuteria Riveras grandmother. 270921. purportedly registered on April 19. situated in Kalookan City. 1031[24] dated May 25. and 6. The case was docketed as Civil Case No.S. all the subd. In a Decision[22] dated March 24. C-507 in the RTC of Caloocan City. 270922 and 270923 in Phil-Villes name. Declaring Transfer Certificate of Title No. the Owners Duplicate Certificate of said Transfer Certificate of Title No. C-314537 being required to be surrendered by the private defendants. as and by way of attorneys fees. Resolution No. one of the registered owners of OCT No. Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. and the Owners Duplicate copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No. the trial court adopted the conclusion in Senate Committee Report No. and in view of the foregoing. Ordering the private defendants to surrender to the Registry of Deeds for Kalookan City. 1917. Fernan filed P. . plan Psd- 1-13-006209. 2000. being a portion of Lot 1-G.000. Directing the public defendant. Declaring Transfer Ce[r]tificates of Title Nos. registered on May 3. there is no overlapping of titles inasmuch as Lot 23 lies far from Lot 23-A. C-314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera. 5. 994. because Maria de la Concepcion was born sometime in 1903. jointly and severally. the Caloocan RTC ordered the quieting of Phil-Villes titles over Lots 1-G-1. thru this Court. The fallo of said Decision reads: WHEREFORE. No. Ordering the quieting of title of the plaintiff over Lots 1-G-1. where Phil-Villes lands are located. Kalookan City. 270922 and 270923 in the name of Phil-Ville Development and Housing Corporation over the foregoing parcels of land issued by the Registry of Deeds for Kalookan City.00. Arsenio C. in aid of legislation. Branch 122. 2. then Senator Marcelo B. the RTC pointed out that contrary to the contentions of Riveras heirs. 1997. as owner thereof in fee simple and with full faith and credit. Bernardino and Danilo C. Ordering the private defendants to pay plaintiff. Bonifacio) and the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City. Housing and Resettlement to conduct a thorough investigation. 994.[25] Lastly. issued by the Registry of Deeds for Kalookan City. being a portion of Maysilo Estate situated in Maysilo. as null and void and with no force and effect. 1-G-2 and 1-G-3. 1998 that there is only one OCT No. 270921.

Hence. SP No. 66547. 2000. ET AL. the Notice of Appeal[27] on behalf of respondents was filed by Atty. the Court of Appeals promulgated its assailed Decision in CA-G. Phil-Ville sought reconsideration[34] of the decision. Yet. No. 62211. 142640. 2004. 62211 BECAUSE OF THE EARLIER DISMISSAL OF THEIR APPEAL IN CA-G. filed a separate Notice of Appeal[28] through their own counsel. along with Danilo and Carmen. Meanwhile. 66547. Respondents moved for reconsideration of the Resolution. 2000. 2002. Gonzaga v. Nicomedes Tolentino and Jerry D. SP No. 1962 of the CFI in LRC No. on behalf of respondents. 4557. Petitioner alleges that: I. In a Resolution[30] dated September 25. Attys. 994 registered on April 19. but the Court denied their motion. 62211. 2005.V. respondents withdrew their appeal and instead filed before this Court a Petition for Review on Certiorari. on January 31. 2004 for being filed out of time. Court of Appeals[32] and Heirs of Luis J. Danilo. the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision[31] in CA-G. Supposedly. Faylona while two of the heirs. but the Court of Appeals denied its motion in the assailed Resolution dated March 15.R. No. NO. addressed a letter[26] to the Branch Clerk of Court of the Caloocan City RTC requesting the complete address of Phil-Ville and its counsel. CV No. IN CA-G. was denied by this Court in a Resolution dated September 8. Thus. CV No. K.R. The Court of Appeals denied said motion in a Resolution dated June 7. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (FORMER NINTH DIVISION) ACTED WITHOUT JURISDICTION ON THE PETITION FOR REVIEW FILED BY RESPONDENTS MAXIMO BONIFACIO. The appellate court likewise affirmed the validity of OCT No.R. setting aside the RTC judgment and dismissing Phil-Villes complaint. Court of Appeals[33] as precedents. 2000. Carmen and respondents elevated the case to the Supreme Court through a Petition for Review on Certiorari. Danilo Bonifacio and Carmen Bernardino. Baares. however. SP 62211 WHICH DOES NOT RAISE PURE QUESTION[S] OF LAW OR ISSUE[S] OF JURISDICTION AND .R SP NO.R. which was docketed as G. II. respondents petition was transferred to the Court of Appeals and docketed as CA-G.R. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (FORMER NINTH DIVISION) ACTED WITHOUT JURISDICTION ON THE PETITION FOR REVIEW OF RESPONDENTS MAXIMO BONIFACIO. had abandoned the defense but still kept the records of the case. the Court referred the petition to the Court of Appeals for adjudication on the merits since the case does not involve pure questions of law. 163397. The appeals were consolidated and docketed as CA-G. this petition. 66547. ET AL. The appellate court held that the RTC had no jurisdiction to hear Phil-Villes complaint as it effectively seeks to annul the Order dated May 25. dismissing the appeal as regards Danilo Bonifacio and Carmen Bernardino. respondents counsels of record. On April 17. respondents moved for reconsideration on the contention that they are not bound by the judgment since they had withdrawn their appeal therein. which directed the substitution of the late Eleuteria Rivera and her co-heirs in place of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal as registered owners on OCT No.R. Subsequently. 994. 2005. 1917 citing the Supreme Court Decisions in Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems v.R NO.On April 13.R.[29] which was docketed as G. Thus. IN CA-G. on October 17. Faylona. Atty. Said petition.

Petitioner also points out that respondents petition is defective because Maximo Bonifacio alone signed its verification and certification of non-forum shopping without proof that he was authorized to sign for the other respondents. ET AL. 1962. Court of Appeals that upheld the titles emanating from OCT No. C-507.R. the genuine issue in this case is whether TCT No. in CA-G. Court of Appeals and Heirs of Gonzaga v. 62211. CV No. Pertinently. It maintains that the trial court had jurisdiction to hear its action since it is one for quieting of title and not for annulment of the CFI Order dated May 25. as petitioners in G. respondents asked the Court to determine the ownership of the lots purportedly covered by petitioners titles. the one registered on May 3. Essentially. they insist that petitioner has no cause of action to seek the nullification of their title which is a derivative of said OCT. 1917. CV NO. The issue raised by respondents. As well. which is foreign to the jurisdiction of the trial court. Lastly.THEREFORE THE PROPER REMEDY AVAILABLE TO THEM IS ORDINARY APPEAL WHICH. It contends that the ruling in MWSS v. . petitioner invokes the finding in the joint investigation by the Senate and the Department of Justice (DOJ) that there is only one OCT No. IN FAILING TO DECLARE RESPONDENTS MAXIMO [BONIFACIO]. OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE. they believe that petitioners action is one for annulment of judgment. said contention deserves scant consideration since the Court of Appeals. Petitioner argues mainly that the Court of Appeals acted without jurisdiction in resolving respondents petition for review since it had dismissed their appeal in CA-G.R.R.R. and (2) whether the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in declaring that the trial court had no jurisdiction over Civil Case No. C-507. However. however. CV No. 66547 for failure to file brief. Conversely. AS STATED. 66547. the Court of Appeals decision therein applies only to Danilo Bonifacio and Carmen Bernardino. 994. HAD ALREADY BEEN DISMISSED IN CA-G. 66547. that is. properly assumed jurisdiction over respondents case after the same was referred to it by this Court through our Resolution dated September 25. was purely a question of fact that is beyond the power of this Court to resolve. C-314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera constitutes a cloud over petitioners titles over portions of Lot 23-A of the Maysilo Estate. 2000. respondents rely on MWSS v. III. Petitioner argues in its first two assignments of errors that the Court of Appeals acted with grave abuse of discretion in entertaining respondents petition. Court of Appeals will not invalidate its titles because it is not a party to any of said cases. Therefore. ALREADY IN ESTOPPEL TO RAISE THE SAID ISSUE OF JURISDICTION.[35] Condensed. 1917. 994 registered on April 19. SP No. No.R. Court of Appeals and Heirs of Gonzaga v. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (FORMER NINTH DIVISION) COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE TRIAL COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION ON THE COMPLAINT FOR QUIETING OF TITLE FILED BY PETITIONER PHIL-VILLE IN CIVIL CASE NO. Respondents reiterate that since they had withdrawn their appeal in CA-G. 142640. petitioner puts in issue the following: (1) whether the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in taking cognizance of respondents petition.

invalid because it covers Lot 23 which is not among those described in the OCT No. That said TCT No. petitioner submits that a cloud exists over its titles because TCT No. the same TCT No. 4429 and said OCT 994 was registered with the Register of Deeds of Rizal on May 3. we rule in the negative. C-314537 was derived. 1917. 994 allegedly registered on April 19. CV No. the action seeks the removal of a cloud from Phil-Villes title and/or the confirmation of its ownership over the disputed properties as the successor-in-interest of N. Bonifacio.Neither do we find merit in petitioners contention that the dismissal of the appeal in CA-G. 1917 in LRC Case No. however. 66547 is binding on respondents. in truth. et al. et al. is that there is only one OCT No. That said TCT No. Dela Merced and Sons.[37] In its complaint. 994 that was allegedly registered on April 19.[36] So did the trial court err in taking cognizance of petitioners action for quieting of title contrary to respondents assertion that it is actually one for annulment of the CFI Order dated May 25. or uncertainty affecting title to real property. C-314537 of the late Eleuteria Rivera. C-314537 of the late Eleuteria Rivera is a direct transfer from OCT No. 4429 and also of OCT No. 1917. 994 which was registered on April 19. petitioner alleges: 27. That.] 27. 36455 and OCT 994. and the law in effect when the action was filed irrespective of whether he is entitled to all or only some of such relief. 36455 in LRC Case No. doubt. 36455 issued on April 19.[38] Ultimately. C-314537 of the late Eleuteria Rivera could not cover Lot 23-A or any portion/s thereof because. as hereinbefore stated. are in truth and in fact invalid and ineffective[. An examination of Decree No. The appellate court itself recognized the withdrawal of appeal filed by respondents. 1917. In other words. 270922 and 270923. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest in real . 994 which was issued pursuant to Decree No. It points out that what appears to be a valid and effective TCT No. The nature of an action is determined by the material allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief sought by plaintiff. thus: However. 1962? To this query. 270921. withdrew their appeal so that the only appellants herein are defendants-appellants Danilo R. 994 on file with the Register of Deeds of Rizal and registered on May 3. 994 which was issued pursuant thereto will show that Lot 23 covered by the said TCT No.1. 27. C-314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera purports to cover the same parcels of land covered by petitioners TCT Nos. the whole of Lot 23-A had been totally disposed of as early as July 24. 1917 and from which TCT No. 1917. 994 as vendees or vendors of said Lot 23-A. 1923 and she and/or any of her alleged predecessors-in-interest is not among those named in the memorandum of encumbrances of OCT No. 27. Petitioner notes that the OCT No. although apparently valid and effective. C-314537 is. defendants Maximo R. Inc. is not found in the records of the Register of Deeds.3. The fact. The Office of the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City or of Malabon or of Pasig City has no record of any OCT No. C-3145[3]7 of the late Eleuteria Rivera is not one of the 34 parcels of land covered by said Decree No. Quieting of title is a common law remedy for the removal of any cloud upon. Bonifacio.R.2. as hereinbefore recited.

record. so that whoever has the right will see every cloud of doubt over the property dissipated. or proceeding that is apparently valid or effective. and even abuse the property. encumbrance. invalid. Petitioner submitted in evidence the Deed of Absolute Sale[41] by which it acquired the subject property from N. and make the claimant. in truth and in fact. and (2) the deed. 994 dated May 3.property by reason of any instrument. 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. 1923 -ditto- 8160 October 24. claim. ineffective. encumbrance. [39] In order that an action for quieting of title may prosper. 1923 Juan Cruz Sanchez 8321 . an action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet the title. not only to place things in their proper places. but also for the benefit of both. In such action. as well as use. 270922 and 270923 in petitioners name as follows: Title No. 1917 and all the derivative titles leading to the issuance of TCT Nos. respect and not disturb the one so entitled. 1923 Vedasto Galino 8059 September 3.. 270921. and may be prejudicial to said title. but is. the competent court is tasked to determine the respective rights of the complainant and the other claimants. two requisites must concur: (1) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or equitable title or interest in the real property subject of the action. voidable. as well as copies of OCT No. who has no rights to said immovable. Inc. Dela Merced and Sons. claim. we find that petitioner was able to establish its title over the real properties subject of this action. or unenforceable. and he can thereafter fearlessly introduce any desired improvements.[40] As regards the first requisite. Registration Date Holder 8004 July 24. 1923 -ditto- 8164 November 6.

Soledad Nepomuceno de Jesus 81679 December 15. de Jesus (81680) 17745 December 15. 1960 Pacifico Nepomuceno & Co. 1935 Eastern Syndicate Mining Co. Pacifico Nepomuceno. de Jesus.February 26. Jugo. 1960 Pacifico Nepomuceno. 39163 November 18. Sofia N.. 1927 -ditto- 28315 July 16. Inc. . Sofia Nepomuceno. 1939 Royal Lawrence Rutter 43559 July 26. 1958 Leona N. 1950 Sofia Nepomuceno 57541 March 13. 1941 Mapua Institute of Technology 18767 June 16. Soledad N. 1924 Emilio Sanchez 12946 November 21. 1924 -ditto- 8734 September 11.

994 registered on May 3. On the other hand. respondents claim anchored primarily on TCT No. they rely simply on the Courts pronouncement in MWSS v. However. The Court disregarded the DOJ and Senate reports on the alleged anomalies surrounding the titling of the Maysilo Estate. Clearly. 1987 Phil-Ville Development and Housing Corp. the Court laid the following definitive conclusions: . conclude the proceedings and submit to the Court a report on its findings as well as recommend conclusions within three months from the finality of said Resolution. 1917 and all titles emanating from it are void. The Supreme Court sustained said decisions in the case of Manotok Realty. 2007 which created a Special Division of the Court of Appeals to hear the consolidated cases on remand. It must be noted that the RTC Order dated September 9. the Court issued a Resolution[48] dated December 14. 1031 dated May 25. C-14603 May 16. C-424. the one registered on May 3. Inc. Rather. de La Merced & Sons. to guide the proceedings before the Special Division. 1997 issued by the City Treasurer of Caloocan stating that Phil-Ville has been religiously paying realty taxes on the lots. 994. 1917. Court of Appeals and Heirs of Gonzaga v. Court of Appeals that OCT No. 1917 consistent with its ruling in MWSS and Gonzaga. 1978 Pacifico Nepomuceno & Co. which resulted in the issuance of TCT No.[42] Petitioner likewise presented the Proyecto de particion de la Hacienda de Maysilo[43] to prove that Lot 23-A. However. 1-G-2 and 1-G-3 form part. indeed. 1996 in Civil Case No. Petitioner ties these pieces of evidence to the finding in the DOJ Committee Report[46] dated August 28. 1997 and Senate Committee Report No.R. In said case. of which petitioners Lots 1-G-1.C-13794 April 21. C-314537 lacks legal basis. SP No. 994 registered on May 3. Inc. Inc. on motion for reconsideration. CLT Realty Development Corporation[47] promulgated on November 29. v. T-148220 April 22. there is only one OCT No. 1978 N. respondents have not adduced competent evidence to establish their title to the contested property or to dispute petitioners claim over the same. It produced tax receipts accompanied by a Certification[44] dated September 15. The Special Division was tasked to hear and receive evidence. 2005. 43034. the Court declared void the titles of the Manotoks and Aranetas which were derived from OCT No. Its documentary evidence also includes a Plan[45] prepared by the Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division showing that Lot 23-A of the Maysilo Estate is remotely situated from Lot 23 portion of the Maysilo Estate. is among the 34 lots covered by OCT No. that is. 1917. 1998 that. 994 registered on May 3. C-314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera had long been set aside by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.

if not ridiculous. Serious doubts existed as to whether Rivera was in fact an heir of Vidal. Riveras alleged grandmother. Court of Appeals and Gonzaga v. then he must have been born around 1898. 4557. if Rivera was already 65 years old in 1963. Any title that traces its source to OCT No. The Death Certificate[52] of Eleuteria Rivera reveals that she was 96 years old when she died on February 22. 391 entitled . 994 dated [19] April 1917 casts doubt on the validity of such titles since they refer to an inexistent OCT. On the other hand. not to Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. 2009. the Partition Plan of the Maysilo Estate shows that Lot 23-A was awarded. but to Isabel Tuason. It may also be acknowledged. That means that she must have been born in 1901. situation wherein Vidal.) Eventually. 2005 and declaring certain titles in the names of Araneta and Manotok valid. she could have been born only on [1903]. Court of Appeals cannot apply to the cases at bar. This error alone is. for him to claim a share in the disputed portions of the Maysilo Estate. Juan O Farrell and Angel O Farrell. Esperanza Tuason. the Supreme Court issued a Resolution[50] reversing its Decision of November 29. 994 dated [19] April 1917 is void. was among the successful petitioners in Civil Case No. Third. 994 dated 19 April 1917 bind any other case operating under the factual setting the same as or similar to that at bar. it was physically impossible for Eleuteria Rivera to be an heir of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. Moreover. Hence. 8004 registered on July 24. as appears on the title. in fact.[53] What Vidal received as her share were Lot 6 and portions of Lots 10 and 17. 994 dated 19 April 1917. especially in regard to their recognition of an OCT No. The decisions of this Court in MWSS v. was seven (7) years younger than her alleged grandson. 1923 and to whom petitioner traces its titles. On the other hand. all subject to the usufructuary right of her mother Mercedes Delgado. The Verification Report of the Land Registration Commission dated 3 August 1981 showed that Rivera was 65 years old on 17 May 1963 (as gathered from the records of Civil Case Nos. that OCT No. the Court noted: However. hence. That makes Rivera two years older than her alleged grandmother Maria de la Concepcion Vidal who was born in 1903. there is only one OCT 994. The fact that the Dimson and CLT titles made specific reference to an OCT No. Neither could the conclusions in MWSS [and] Gonzaga with respect to an OCT No. 1997. This alone creates an unexplained anomalous. Vedasto Galino. Eleuteria Riveras co-petitioner in LRC No. who was the holder of TCT No. This was not at all disputed by respondents. In the course of discussing the flaws of Jose Dimsons title based on his alleged 25% share in the hereditary rights of Bartolome Rivera. a title which we now acknowledge as inexistent. It can thus be deduced that.First. although such date cannot be considered as the date of the title or the date when the title took effect.[49] (Emphasis supplied. 4429 and 4496). Trinidad Jurado. for such mother title is inexistent. As it appears on the record. 994 resulted from the issuance of the decree of registration on [19] April 1917.[51] The same is true in this case. and that should be the date which should be reckoned as the date of registration of the title. that mother title was received for transcription by the Register of Deeds on 3 May 1917. the records of these cases would somehow negate the rights of Rivera to claim from Vidal. sufficient to invalidate the Dimson and CLT claims over the subject property if singular reliance is placed by them on the dates appearing on their respective titles. Second. on March 31. Vidal was only nine (9) years in 1912.

and on the N. C-314537 reads: A parcel of land (Lot 23. 27 deg. to point 4. S. mons.80 m. 131.. While it is true that TCT No. Foremost. Island of Luzon.. it does not cover the same parcels of land that are described in petitioners titles. record. to point 5. to point 7. a comparison of the technical descriptions of the parties titles negates an overlapping of their boundaries. 10.391. along lines 3-4-5 by Blk. to point 3.. more or less. v. 530. An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from being cast upon title to real property or any interest therein.. to the point of beginning.50 m.. the second requisite in an action for quieting of title requires that the deed. S..00 m. 2. 41E. all of Caloocan Cadastre. and San Diego St. containing an area of FOURTEEN THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED NINETY ONE SQUARE METERS AND FIFTY FOUR SQUARE DECIMETERS (14. C-314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera is an instrument that appeared to be valid but was subsequently shown to be invalid.60 m.391. record. 15 x 60 cm. 38. to point 9. 12.391.00 m. conc. 07 deg. 35E..20 m. to point 6.. voidable.50 m. encumbrance or proceeding. (2) which is apparently valid or effective. 23E.. 38 deg. S. 34. along line 8-9 by Caloocan Cadastre. 10E. 30E. by reason of any instrument. or unenforceable. et al. 40W. Beginning at a point marked 1 on plan. N. Riveras title embraces a land measuring 14. along lines 6- 7-8 by Blk. (3) but is in truth and in fact invalid.694 square meters. 31.00 m.. being a portion of Maysilo Estate) situated in Maysilo. 13. bearings true. thence S. on the S.. Caloocan..54-square meter property. . 55. 89 deg. to point 8. from MBM No. Yet. Caloocan Cadastre. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and are marked on the ground by Old Ps.. Metro Manila. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein.[54] (Emphasis supplied). claim. and (4) may be prejudicial to the title sought to be quieted. Bounded on the NW. ineffective. along line 2-3 by Jacinto Street. et al. who sought the issuance of bills of sale in favor of the actual occupants of certain portions of the Maysilo Estate. being S. 84 deg. encumbrance.. S. 17 deg. 20W.Rosario Negrao. Concepcion Vidal. 71 deg. 15 deg. claim.20 m. Thus. (0/illegible) S. voidable. along line 5-6 by Bustan St.. 30E. encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid. 476. Be that as it may.. the cloud on title consists of: (1) any instrument. 43. N. 11 deg. 31E..54 square meters while petitioners lands has an aggregate area of only 8. and may be prejudicial to said title. on the SW. claim. 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.. along line 1-2 by Blk. The fourth element is not present in the case at bar. cyl. N. The technical description of respondents TCT No. 1. Article 476 of the Civil Code provides: Art. it may be argued that petitioners land could be subsumed within Riveras 14.00 m. to point 2. 4. On the one hand. along line 9-1 by Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.. 28 deg. 10W. on the NE. an action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet the title. ineffective. or unenforceable. 22.54).

28 m.694) SQUARE METERS.92 m. Strictly speaking. thence S. thence N. 56E. 1-E of the subdivision plan. to point 11. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and are marked on the ground points 1. to point 7. thence S. 06W.[57] Yet.. 1927. to point 13. 1. 45W. will. Sept. being N. thence S. the existence of TCT No. Maysilo Estate. 8-27. 37. 14 and 15. showing the relative positions of Lots 23 and 23-A.17 m. mons.. 13 deg. 21 deg. C-314537 is not prejudicial to petitioners titles insofar as it pertains to a different land.3 and 13 by Old PLS conc.00 m.. 44. 27E. Beginning at a point marked 1 on plan. Caloocan Cadastre is outside Lot 23-A of the Maysilo Estate. Province of Rizal. bring an action in the appropriate .45 m. 48. to point 4. 13E.19 m. Oct. 4-21 and Nov.4.8 and 9 by Old PLS stone mons. petitioner was well aware that the lots encompassed by its titles are not the same as that covered by respondents title. 27 deg.. 81 deg. That Lot 23..7. whose rights are affected by a statute. thence N. the technical description of petitioners lands before they were subdivided under TCT No.. being a portion of Lot 23-A. therefore.13 m. 23. The judgment therein is binding only upon the parties who joined in the action.[58] This brings petitioners action within the purview of Rule 63 of the Rules of Court on Declaratory Relief.. to point 8. and on the West.. thence N. Bounded on the North.. date of the original survey. 25E. 4429).24 m. being a portion of Maysilo Estate. Actions quasi in rem deal with the status.. on the East.2. the land covered by respondents TCT No. 24E. C-314537 lies far west of petitioners lands under TCT Nos.6. 53. thence S.. Samson. 28. and Lot No. by properties of Gregoria de Jesus. Significantly.32 m. 270921. mons. 19 deg. to the point of beginning. 19W.On the other hand. as described in said TCT No. Oct. points 5 to 10 and old stakes points 11 and 12 by PLS conc. As it appears on the Plan.69 deg. thence S. 89 deg.-Any person interested under a deed. more or less. 11W. 20W. thence N. 08W. Phil-Ville alleges: 27. 17-18.[56] In an action quasi in rem. contract or other written instrument. T-148220 is as follows: A parcel of land (Lot No.00 m. point 4. GLRO Rec. C-314537 of the late Eleuteria Rivera when plotted using its tie line to MBM No. 15. This must be so because Lot 23 is not [a] portion of Lot 23-A. 13. Chief of the Geodetic Surveys Division. Mp. by Calle A.. Arcadio de Jesus and Felix de Jesus. an individual is named a defendant and the purpose of the proceeding is to subject his interests to the obligation or loan burdening the property. of Caloocan. 0 deg. from BLLM No. 67. 15. 1911 and that of the subdivision survey. 12. bearings true.G. In its complaint. to point 2. on the South. thence N. Dalire.. to point 10. 1600. thence N. 67 deg. Who may file petition.56 m. Maysilo Estate. 20.. 86 deg. 37. containing an area of EIGHT THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED NINETY FOUR (8. 11W. Section 1 of Rule 63 provides: SECTION 1. Privadi J. before breach or violation thereof. executive order or regulation.. to point 5. ordinance or any other governmental regulation may.. to point 9.78 m. by property of Patricio Galauran. 1. situated in the Municipality of Caloocan. 57E. 1-G of the subdivision plan Psd-2731. to point 12. by properties of Lucas Bustamante and Patricio Galauran. 21 deg.. 26W. declination 1 deg. ownership or liability of a particular property but which are intended to operate on these questions only as between the particular parties to the proceedings and not to ascertain or cut off the rights or interests of all possible claimants. 35 deg. 78 deg. to point 3.[55] (Emphasis supplied). 08E. more or less. thence S. No. 270922 and 270923.25 m.. 14 deg. thence N..91 m.. an action to quiet title is characterized as a proceeding quasi in rem. to point 6. Such disparity in location is more vividly illustrated in the Plan prepared by Engr.

The Decision dated January 31. deed. SP No. or contract for their guidance in the enforcement thereof. Since the purpose of an action for declaratory relief is to secure an authoritative statement of the rights and obligations of the parties under a statute. SO ORDERED. the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. all that petitioner prayed for. This is consistent with the nature of the relief in an action for declaratory relief where the judgment in the case can be carried into effect without requiring the parties to pay damages or to perform any act. VILLARAMA. A petition for declaratory relief gives a practical remedy for ending controversies that have not reached the state where another relief is immediately available. to quiet title to real property or remove clouds therefrom. 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 2005 and Resolution dated March 15. and supplies the need for a form of action that will set controversies at rest before they lead to a repudiation of obligations. it may be entertained before the breach or violation of the statute. Associate Justice . it has nevertheless successfully established its ownership over the subject properties and the validity of its titles which entitles it to declaratory relief. had earlier set aside the Order which granted partial partition in favor of Eleuteria Rivera and the Writ of Possession issued pursuant thereto. JR. and not to settle issues arising from an alleged breach thereof. in CA-G. WHEREFORE. C-314537 in the name of Eleuteria Rivera constitutes a cloud over its title. an invasion of rights. deed or contract to which it refers. An action for declaratory relief presupposes that there has been no actual breach of the instruments involved or of the rights arising thereunder.R. and a commission of wrongs. 2000 of the Caloocan RTC in Civil Case No. or to consolidate ownership under Article 1607 of the Civil Code.R. In the present case. 62211 are SET ASIDE. An action for the reformation of an instrument. C-507 is hereby REINSTATED and UPHELD. SP No. or compliance therewith. (Emphasis supplied). while petitioner was not able to demonstrate that respondents TCT No. 43034. the Court of Appeals. No pronouncement as to costs. thereunder. petitioner filed a complaint for quieting of title after it was served a notice to vacate but before it could be dispossessed of the subject properties.Regional Trial Court to determine any question of construction or validity arising. and for a declaration of his rights or duties. may be brought under this Rule. And although petitioners complaint is captioned as Quieting of Title and Damages.[59] Thus. is for the court to uphold the validity of its titles as against that of respondents. The Decision dated March 24. Notably. MARTIN S.

Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution and the Division Chairpersons Attestation. BRION Associate Justice LUCAS P. CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES Associate Justice Chairperson. Third Division CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13. I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division. RENATO C.WE CONCUR: CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES Associate Justice Chairperson ARTURO D. A. SERENO Associate Justice ATTESTATION I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division. CORONA Chief Justice . BERSAMIN Associate Justice MARIA LOURDES P.

[10] Exhibit B. 1-20. [18] Exhibit CCC. [6] Exhibit W. [4] Records. [20] Exhibit SS. pp. [11] Exhibit TT. p. [7] Exhibit X. pp. p. 9-66. [17] Exhibit BBB. pp. [21] Exhibit FFF. [25] Rollo. at 104-105. [16] Exhibit DDD. pp. . 174. [22] Rollo. 254-262. [13] Exhibit XX. de Leon concurring. Penned by Associate Justice Mariano C. [23] Id. [9] Exhibit V. [24] Exhibit III. at 186-187. [14] Exhibit YY. at 68-102.[1] Rollo. [19] Exhibit EEE. [15] Exhibit QQ. [27] Id. at 629-630. [12] Exhibit VV. 628. [3] Id. [28] Id. [2] Id. 143-187. [5] CA rollo. at 634-635. Del Castillo (now a member of this Court) with Associate Justices Romeo A. Brawner and Magdangal M. [8] Exhibit Y. [26] Records.

[55] Exhibit V. December 14. September 3. . [33] G. p. February 17. supra note 37 at 11. see also records. Heirs of Boquilaga. [36] CA rollo. p.R.R. 173289. [47] G. [37] Heirs of Toring v. 1992. 92. G.R. 2009. [38] Records. 476 SCRA 305. [35] Rollo.R. [34] CA rollo. 96259 & 96274. Inc. 15-16. [52] Exhibit SS. Inc. [50] Manotok Realty. at 609. 9. Garcia. pp.R. 540 SCRA 304. 123346 and 134385. March 31. v. [46] Exhibit NN. [30] Id. November 17. 2007. pp. Nos. [40] Eland Philippines. pp. [39] Heirs of Toring v. 582 SCRA 583. [53] Exhibit E-21. [42] Exhibits F-V. at 348-349. 2010. Nos. [44] Exhibit KK. November 29. at 301-327. [49] Id. CLT Realty Development Corporation. No. 123346. [51] Id. G. 123346 & 134385. 10-38. 1996. No. Nos. [48] Manotok Realty. 2010. No. September 27. [31] Id. 163610. 613 SCRA 66. 215 SCRA 783. [45] Exhibit GG.[29] CA rollo. p. Inc. [43] Exhibits D & E. Nos. 254-262. 14. Heirs of Boquilaga. 134385 and 148767. G.R. 38.R. at 150. 103558. CLT Realty Development Corporation. 261 SCRA 327. v. v. [41] Exhibit BB. p. 2005. G. [32] G. [54] Exhibit QQ. 321.

COMMENTS ON THE RULES OF COURT. 203 (1997). [58] Records.V. G. No. October 17. Ong. [59] See M. p. 177598.R. p. 569 SCRA 767. Moran. 16. . 780. at 781.[56] San Pedro v. 2008. [57] Id.