You are on page 1of 53

1

THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 102858. July 28, 1997.]
THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and TEODORO ABISTADO, substituted by MARGARITA,
MARISSA, MARIBEL, ARNOLD and MARY ANN, all surnamed ABISTADO, respondents.
The Solicitor General for petitioner.
Apollo T . Tria for private respondents.
SYNOPSIS
A petition for original registration of title over a parcel of land under Presidential Decree 1529, the Property Registration Decree, was dismissed by
the land registration court for want of jurisdiction for failure to comply with the provision requiring publication of the notice of initial hearing in a
newspaper of general circulation. The notice was only published in the Official Gazette. The Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of the case and
ordered the registration of the title in the name of the private respondent. It ruled that although the requirement of publication in the Official
Gazette and in a newspaper of general circulation is couched in mandatory terms, it cannot be gainsaid that the law also mandates with equal force
that publication in the Official Gazette shall be sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court; that the other requirements of publication in the
Official Gazette, personal notice by mailing and posting at the site and other conspicuous places were all complied with.
The Supreme Court ruled that Sec. 23 of PD 1529 clearly provides that publication in the Official Gazette suffices to confer jurisdiction upon the
land registration court. However, absent any publication of the notice of initial hearing in a newspaper of general circulation, the land registration
court cannot validly confirm and register the title of private respondents. This is impelled by the demands of statutory construction and the due
process rationale behind the publication requirement. A land registration proceeding is a proceeding in rem and is validated essentially through
publication. The rationale behind the newspaper publication is due process and the reality that the Official Gazette is not as widely read and
circulated as newspapers and is oftentimes delayed in its circulation. There was failure to comply with the explicit publication requirement of the
law. The Court has no authority to dispense with such mandatory requirement. The application for land registration was dismissed without
prejudice to reapplication in the future, after all the legal requisites shall have been duly complied with.
Judgment reversed, without prejudice.
SYLLABUS
1. CIVIL LAW; P.D. 1529 (PROPERTY REGISTRATION DECREE); LAND REGISTRATION; PUBLICATION OF NOTICE OF INITIAL HEARING IN OFFICIAL
GAZETTE AND IN NEWSPAPER OF GENERAL CIRCULATION, MANDATORY. — The law (Section 23 of P.D. 1529) used the term "shall" in prescribing
the work to be done by the Commissioner of Land Registration upon the latter's receipt of the court order setting the time for initial hearing. The
said word denotes an imperative and thus indicates the mandatory character of a statute. While concededly such literal mandate is not an absolute
rule in statutory construction, as its import ultimately depends upon its context in the entire provision, we hold that in the present case the term
must be understood in its normal mandatory meaning. In Republic vs. Marasigan, the Court through Mr. Justice Hilario G. Davide. Jr. held that
Section 23 of PD 1599 requires notice of the initial hearing by means of (1) publication, (2) mailing and (3) posting, all of which must be complied
with. "If the intention of the law were otherwise, said section would not have stressed in detail the requirements of mailing of notices to all
persons named in the petition who, per Section 15 of the Decree, include owners of adjoining properties, and occupants of the land." Indeed, if
mailing of notices is essential, then by parity of reasoning, publication in a newspaper of general circulation is likewise imperative since the law
included such requirement in its detailed provision.
2. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; LAND REGISTRATION, A PROCEEDING IN REM; VALIDATED ESSENTIALLY THROUGH PUBLICATION. — It should be
noted further that land registration is a proceeding in rem. Being in rem, such proceeding requires constructive seizure of the land as against all
persons, including the state, who have rights to or interests in the property. An in rem proceeding is validated essentially through publication. This
being so, the process must strictly be complied with. Otherwise, persons who may be interested or whose rights may be adversely affected would
be barred from contesting an application which they had no knowledge of. As has been ruled, a party as an owner seeking the inscription of realty
in the land registration court must prove by satisfactory and conclusive evidence not only his ownership thereof but the identity of the same, for he
is in the same situation as one who institutes an action for recovery of realty. He must prove his title against the whole world. This task, which rests
upon the applicant, can best be achieved when all persons concerned — nay, "the whole world" — who have rights to or interests; in the subject
property are notified and effectively invited to come to court and show cause why the application should not be granted. The elementary norms of
due process require that before the claimed property is taken from concerned parties and registered in the name of the applicant, said parties
must be given notice and opportunity to oppose.
3. CIVIL LAW; P.D. 1529 (PROPERTY REGISTRATION DECREE); LAND REGISTRATION; RATIONALE BEHIND PUBLICATION IN A NEWSPAPER OF
GENERAL CIRCULATION. — It may be asked why publication in a newspaper of general circulation should be deemed mandatory when the law
already requires notice by publication in the Official Gazette as well as by mailing and posting, all of which have already been complied with in the
case at hand. The reason is due process and the reality that the Official Gazette is not as widely read and circulated as newspapers and is
oftentimes delayed in its circulation, such that the notices published therein may not reach the interested parties on time, if at all. Additionally,
such parties may not be owners of neighboring properties, and may in fact not own any other real estate. In sum, the all-encompassing in
rem nature of land registration cases, the consequences of default orders issued against the whole world and the objective of disseminating the
notice in as wide a manner as possible demand a mandatory construction of the requirements for publication, mailing and posting.
4. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; LAND REGISTRATION DISMISSAL OF ACTION WARRANTED FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH PUBLICATION
REQUIREMENT IN NEWSPAPER OF GENERAL CIRCULATION. — Admittedly. there was failure to comply with the explicit publication requirement of
the law. Private respondents did not proffer any excuse; even if they had, it would not have mattered because the statute itself allows no excuses.
Ineludibly, this Court has no authority to dispense with such mandatory requirement. The law is unambiguous and its rationale clear Time and
again, this Court has declared that where the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no room for interpretation, vacillation or
equivocation; there is room only for application. There is no alternative. Thus, the application for land registration filed by private respondents
must be dismissed without prejudice to reapplication in the future, after all the legal requisites shall have been duly complied with.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J p:

2

Is newspaper publication of the notice of initial hearing in an original land registration case mandatory or directory?
Statement of the Case
The Court of Appeals ruled that it was merely procedural and that the failure to cause such publication did not deprive the trial court of its
authority to grant the application. But the Solicitor General disagreed and thus filed this petition to set aside the Decision 1 promulgated on July 3,
1991 and the subsequent Resolution 2 promulgated on November 19, 1991 by Respondent Court of Appeals 3 in CA-G.R. CV No. 23719. The
dispositive portion of the challenged Decision reads: 4
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the judgment of dismissal appealed from is hereby set aside, and a new one entered
confirming the registration and title of applicant, Teodoro Abistado, Filipino, a resident of Barangay 7, Poblacion Mamburao,
Occidental Mindoro, now deceased and substituted by Margarita, Marissa, Maribel, Arnold and Mary Ann, all surnamed
Abistado, represented by their aunt, Miss Josefa Abistado, Filipinos, residents of Poblacion Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro,
to the parcel of land covered under MSI (IV-A-8) 315-D located in Poblacion Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.
The oppositions filed by the Republic of the Philippines and private oppositor are hereby dismissed for want of evidence.
Upon the finality of this decision and payment of the corresponding taxes due on this land, let an order for the issuance of a
decree be issued."
The Facts
On December 8, 1986, Private Respondent Teodoro Abistado filed a petition for original registration of his title over 648 square meters of land
under Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1529. 5 The application was docketed as Land Registration Case (LRC) No. 86 and assigned to Branch 44 of the
Regional Trial Court of Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro. 6 However, during the pendency of his petition, applicant died. Hence, his heirs —
Margarita, Marissa, Maribel, Arnold and Mary Ann, all surnamed Abistado — represented by their aunt Josefa Abistado, who was appointed their
guardian ad litem, were substituted as applicants.
The land registration court in its decision dated June 13, 1989 dismissed the petition "for want of jurisdiction." However, it found that the
applicants through their predecessors-in-interest had been in open, continuous, exclusive and peaceful possession of the subject land since 1938.

In dismissing the petition, the trial court reasoned: 7
". . . However, the Court noted that applicants failed to comply with the provisions of Section 23 (1) of PD 1529, requiring the
Applicants to publish the notice of Initial Hearing (Exh. E') in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. Exhibit E'
was only published in the Official Gazette (Exhibits 'F' and 'G'). Consequently, the Court is of the well considered view that it
has not legally acquired jurisdiction over the instant application for want of compliance with the mandatory provision
requiring publication of the notice of initial hearing in a newspaper of general circulation."
The trial court also cited Ministry of Justice Opinion No. 48, Series of 1982, which in its pertinent portion provides: 8
"It bears emphasis that the publication requirement under Section 23 [of PD 1529] has a two-fold purpose; the first, which is
mentioned in the provision of the aforequoted provision refers to publication in the Official Gazette, and is jurisdictional;
while the second, which is mentioned in the opening clause of the same paragraph, refers to publication not only in the
Official Gazette but also in a newspaper of general circulation, and is procedural. Neither one nor the other is dispensable. As
to the first, publication in the Official Gazette is indispensably necessary because without it, the court would be powerless to
assume jurisdiction over a particular land registration case. As to the second, publication of the notice of initial hearing also
in a newspaper of general circulation is indispensably necessary as a requirement of procedural due process; otherwise, any
decision that the court may promulgate in the case would be legally infirm."
Unsatisfied, private respondents appealed to Respondent Court of Appeals which, as earlier explained, set aside the decision of the trial court and
ordered the registration of the title in the name of Teodoro Abistado.
The subsequent motion for reconsideration was denied in the challenged CA Resolution dated November 19, 1991.
The Director of Lands represented by the Solicitor General thus elevated this recourse to us. This Court notes that the petitioner's counsel
anchored his petition on Rule 65. This is an error. His remedy should be based on Rule 45 because he is appealing a final disposition of the Court of
Appeals. Hence, we shall treat his petition as one for review under Rule 45, and not for certiorari under Rule 65. 9
The Issue
Petitioner alleges that Respondent Court of Appeals committed "grave abuse of discretion" 10 in holding —
". . . that publication of the petition for registration of title in LRC Case No. 86 need not be published in a newspaper of
general circulation, and in not dismissing LRC Case No. 86 for want of such publication."
Petitioner points out that under Section 23 of PD 1529, the notice of initial hearing shall be "published both in the Official Gazette and in a
newspaper of general circulation." According to petitioner, publication in the Official Gazette is "necessary to confer jurisdiction upon the trial
court, and . . . in . . . a newspaper of general circulation to comply with the notice requirement of due process." 11
Private respondents, on the other hand, contend that failure to comply with the requirement of publication in a newspaper of general circulation is
a mere "procedural defect." They add that publication in the Official Gazette is sufficient to confer jurisdiction. 12
In reversing the decision of the trial court, Respondent Court of Appeals ruled: 13
". . . although the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette and in a newspaper of general circulation is couched in
mandatory terms, it cannot be gainsaid that the law also mandates with equal force that publication in the Official
Gazette shall be sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court."
Further, Respondent Court found that the oppositors were afforded the opportunity "to explain matters fully and present their side." Thus, it
justified its disposition in this wise: 14
". . . We do not see how the lack of compliance with the required procedure prejudiced them in any way. Moreover, the
other requirements of: publication in the Official Gazette, personal notice by mailing, and posting at the site and other

3

conspicuous places, were complied with and these are sufficient to notify any party who is minded to make any objection of
the application for registration."
The Court's Ruling
We find for petitioner.
Newspaper Publication Mandatory
The pertinent part of Section 23 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 requiring publication of the notice of initial hearing reads as follows:
"Sec. 23. Notice of initial hearing, publication, etc. — The court shall, within five days from filing of the application, issue an
order setting the date and hour of the initial hearing which shall not be earlier than forty-five days nor later than ninety days
from the date of the order.
The public shall be given notice of initial hearing of the application for land registration by means of (1) publication; (2)
mailing; and (3) posting.
1. By publication. —
Upon receipt of the order of the court setting the time for initial hearing, the Commissioner of Land Registration shall cause a
notice of initial hearing to be published once in the Official Gazette and once in a newspaper of general circulation in the
Philippines: Provided, however, that the publication in the Official Gazette shall be sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the
court. Said notice shall be addressed to all persons appearing to have an interest in the land involved including the adjoining
owners so far as known, and 'to all whom it may concern.' Said notice shall also require all persons concerned to appear in
court at a certain date and time to show cause why the prayer of said application shall not be granted.
xxx xxx xxx"
Admittedly, the above provision provides in clear and categorical terms that publication in the Official Gazette suffices to confer jurisdiction upon
the land registration court. However, the question boils down to whether, absent any publication in a newspaper of general circulation, the land
registration court can validly confirm and register the title of private respondents.
We answer this query in the negative. This answer is impelled by the demands of statutory construction and the due process rationale behind the
publication requirement.
The law used the term "shall" in prescribing the work to be done by the Commissioner of Land Registration upon the latter's receipt of the court
order setting the time for initial hearing. The said word denotes an imperative and thus indicates the mandatory character of a statute. 15 While
concededly such literal mandate is not an absolute rule in statutory construction, as its import ultimately depends upon its context in the entire
provision, we hold that in the present case the term must be understood in its normal mandatory meaning. In Republic vs. Marasigan, 16 the Court
through Mr. Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. held that Section 23 of PD 1529 requires notice of the initial hearing by means of (1) publication, (2)
mailing and (3) posting, all of which must be complied with "If the intention of the law were otherwise, said section would not have stressed in
detail the requirements of mailing of notices to all persons named in the petition who, per Section 15 of the Decree, include owners of adjoining
properties, and occupants of the land." Indeed, if mailing of notices is essential, then by parity of reasoning, publication in a newspaper of general
circulation is likewise imperative since the law included such requirement in its detailed provision. LexLib
It should be noted further that land registration is a proceeding in rem. 17 Being in rem, such proceeding requires constructive seizure of the land
as against allpersons, including the state, who have rights to or interests in the property. An in rem proceeding is validated essentially through
publication. This being so, the process must strictly be complied with. Otherwise, persons who may be interested or whose rights may be adversely
affected would be barred from contesting an application which they had no knowledge of. As has been ruled, a party as an owner seeking the
inscription of realty in the land registration court must prove by satisfactory and conclusive evidence not only his ownership thereof but the
identity of the same, for he is in the same situation as one who institutes an action for recovery of realty. 18 He must prove his title against the
whole world. This task, which rests upon the applicant, can best be achieved when all persons concerned — nay, "the whole world" — who have
rights to or interests in the subject property are notified and effectively invited to come to court and show cause why the application should not be
granted. The elementary norms of due process require that before the claimed property is taken from concerned parties and registered in the
name of the applicant, said parties must be given notice and opportunity to oppose.
It may be asked why publication in a newspaper of general circulation should be deemed mandatory when the law already requires notice by
publication in the Official Gazette as well as by mailing and posting, all of which have already been complied with in the case at hand. The reason is
due process and the reality that the Official Gazette is not as widely read and circulated as newspapers and is oftentimes delayed in its circulation,
such that the notices published therein may not reach the interested parties on time, if at all. Additionally, such parties may not be owners of
neighboring properties, and may in fact not own any other real estate. In sum, the all-encompassing in rem nature of land registration cases, the
consequences of default orders issued against the whole world and the objective of disseminating the notice in as wide a manner as possible
demand a mandatory construction of the requirements for publication, mailing and posting.

Admittedly, there was failure to comply with the explicit publication requirement of the law. Private respondents did not proffer any excuse; even
if they had, it would not have mattered because the statute itself allows no excuses. Ineludibly, this Court has no authority to dispense with such
mandatory requirement. The law is unambiguous and its rationale clear. Time and again, this Court has declared that where the law speaks in clear
and categorical language, there is no room for interpretation, vacillation or equivocation; there is room only for application. 19 There is no
alternative. Thus, the application for land registration filed by private respondents must be dismissed without prejudice to reapplication in the
future, after all the legal requisites shall have been duly complied with.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the assailed Decision and Resolution are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The application of private
respondent for land registration is DISMISSED without prejudice. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C .J ., Chairman, Davide, Jr ., Melo, and Francisco, JJ ., concur.
||| (Director of Lands v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 102858, [July 28, 1997], 342 PHIL 239-249)

4

SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 171631. November 15, 2010.]
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. AVELINO R. DELA PAZ, ARSENIO R. DELA PAZ, JOSE R. DELA PAZ, and
GLICERIO R. DELA PAZ, represented by JOSE R. DELA PAZ, respondents.
DECISION
PERALTA, J p:
Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to set aside the Decision 1 of the
Court of Appeals (CA), dated February 15, 2006, in CA-G.R. CV No. 84206, which affirmed the Decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Pasig City, Branch 167, in LRC Case No. N-11514, granting respondents' application for registration and confirmation of title over a parcel of
land located in Barangay Ibayo, Napindan, Taguig, Metro Manila.
The factual milieu of this case is as follows:
On November 13, 2003, respondents Avelino R. dela Paz, Arsenio R. dela Paz, Jose R. dela Paz, and Glicerio R. dela Paz, represented
by Jose R. dela Paz (Jose), filed with the RTC of Pasig City an application for registration of land 3 under Presidential Decree No. 1529 (PD 1529)
otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree. The application covered a parcel of land with an area of 25,825 square meters, situated
at Ibayo, Napindan, Taguig, Metro Manila, described under survey Plan Ccn-00-000084, (Conversion Consolidated plan of Lot Nos. 3212 and
3234, MCADM 590-D, Taguig Cadastral Mapping). Together with their application for registration, respondents submitted the following
documents: (1) Special power of attorney showing that the respondents authorized Jose dela Paz to file the application; (2) Conversion
Consolidated plan of Lot Nos. 3212 and 3234, MCADM 590-D, Taguig Cadastral Mapping (Ccn-00-000084) with the annotation that the survey
is inside L.C. Map No. 2623 Proj. No. 27-B classified as alienable/disposable by the Bureau of Forest Development, Quezon City on January 03,
1968; (3) Technical Descriptions of Ccn-00-000084; (4) Geodetic Engineer's Certificate; (5) Tax Declaration No. FL-018-01466; (6) Salaysay ng
Pagkakaloob dated June 18, 1987; (7) Sinumpaang Pahayag sa Paglilipat sa Sarili ng mga Pagaari ng Namatay dated March 10, 1979; (8)
Certification that the subject lots are not covered by any land patent or any public land application; and (9) Certification by the Office of the
Treasurer, Municipality of Taguig, Metro Manila, that the tax on the real property for the year 2003 has been paid. EAIaHD
Respondents alleged that they acquired the subject property, which is an agricultural land, by virtue of Salaysay ng
Pagkakaloob 4 dated June 18, 1987, executed by their parents Zosimo dela Paz and Ester dela Paz (Zosimo and Ester), who earlier acquired the
said property from their deceased parent Alejandro dela Paz (Alejandro) by virtue of a "Sinumpaang Pahayag sa Paglilipat sa Sarili ng mga
Pag-aari ng Namatay 5 dated March 10, 1979. In their application, respondents claimed that they are co-owners of the subject parcel of land
and they have been in continuous, uninterrupted, open, public, adverse possession of the same, in the concept of owner since they acquired it
in 1987. Respondents further averred that by way of tacking of possession, they, through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open,
public, adverse, continuous, and uninterrupted possession of the same, in the concept of an owner even before June 12, 1945, or for a period
of more than fifty (50) years since the filing of the application of registration with the trial court. They maintained that the subject property is
classified as alienable and disposable land of the public domain.
The case was set for initial hearing on April 30, 2004. On said date, respondents presented documentary evidence to prove
compliance with the jurisdictional requirements of the law.
Petitioner Republic of the Philippines (Republic), through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), opposed the application for
registration on the following grounds, among others: (1) that neither the applicants nor their predecessors-in-interest have been in open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the land in question for a period of not less than thirty (30) years; (2) that
the muniments of title, and/or the tax declarations and tax payments receipts of applicants, if any, attached to or alleged in the application, do
not constitute competent and sufficient evidence of bona fide acquisition of the land applied for; and (3) that the parcel of land applied for is a
portion of public domain belonging to the Republic not subject to private appropriation. Except for the Republic, there was no other oppositor
to the application.
On May 5, 2004, the trial court issued an Order of General Default 6 against the whole world except as against the Republic.
Thereafter, respondents presented their evidence in support of their application.
In its Decision dated November 17, 2004, the RTC granted respondents' application for registration of the subject property. The
dispositive portion of the decision states:
WHEREFORE, affirming the order of general default hereto entered, judgment is hereby rendered AFFIRMING and
CONFIRMING the title of AVELINO R. DELA PAZ, Arsenio R. dela Paz, Jose R. dela Paz and Glicerio R. dela Paz, all married and
residents of and with postal address at No. 65 Ibayo, Napindan, Taguig, Metro Manila, over a parcel of land described and
bounded under Plan Ccn-00-000084 (consolidation of Lots No. 3212 and 3234, Mcadm-590-D, Taguig, Cadastral Mapping,
containing Twenty-Five Thousand Eight Hundred Twenty-Five (25,825) Square Meters, more or less, situated at Barangay
Ibayo, Napindan, Taguig, Metro Manila, under the operation of P.D. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration
Decree.
After the decision shall have been become final and executory and, upon payment of all taxes and other charges due on the
land, the order for the issuance of a decree of registration shall be accordingly undertaken. aAHSEC
SO ORDERED. 7
Aggrieved by the Decision, petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal. 8 The CA, in its Decision dated February 15, 2006, dismissed the
appeal and affirmed the decision of the RTC. The CA ruled that respondents were able to show that they have been in continuous, open,
exclusive and notorious possession of the subject property through themselves and their predecessors-in-interest. The CA found that
respondents acquired the subject land from their predecessors-in-interest, who have been in actual, continuous, uninterrupted, public and
adverse possession in the concept of an owner since time immemorial. The CA, likewise, held that respondents were able to present sufficient
evidence to establish that the subject property is part of the alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. Hence, the instant petition
raising the following grounds:
I

5

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT'S ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENTS' APPLICATION FOR
REGISTRATION OF THE SUBJECT LOT CONSIDERING THAT THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD FAILED TO ESTABLISH THAT
RESPONDENTS HAVE BEEN IN OPEN, CONTINUOUS, EXCLUSIVE AND NOTORIOUS POSSESSION OF THE SUBJECT LOT IN THE
CONCEPT OF AN OWNER.
II
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ORDERING THE REGISTRATION OF THE SUBJECT LOT IN RESPONDENTS' NAME
CONSIDERING THAT NO EVIDENCE WAS FORMALLY OFFERED TO PROVE THAT THE SAME IS WITHIN THE ALIENABLE AND
DISPOSABLE AREA OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. 9
In its Memorandum, petitioner claims that the CA's findings that respondents and their predecessors-in-interest have been in open,
uninterrupted, public, and adverse possession in the concept of owners, for more than fifty years or even before June 12, 1945, was
unsubstantiated. Respondents failed to show actual or constructive possession and occupation over the subject land in the concept of an
owner. Respondents also failed to establish that the subject property is within the alienable and disposable portion of the public domain. The
subject property remained to be owned by the State under the Regalian Doctrine.
In their Memorandum, respondents alleged that they were able to present evidence of specific acts of ownership showing open,
notorious, continuous and adverse possession and occupation in the concept of an owner of the subject land. To prove their continuous and
uninterrupted possession of the subject land, they presented several tax declarations, dated 1949, 1966, 1974, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1991, 1994
and 2000, issued in the name of their predecessors-in-interest. In addition, respondents presented a tax clearance issued by the Treasurer's
Office of the City of Taguig to show that they are up to date in their payment of real property taxes. Respondents maintain that the
annotations appearing on the survey plan of the subject land serves as sufficient proof that the land is within the alienable and disposable
portion of the public domain. Finally, respondents assert that the issues raised by the petitioner are questions of fact which the Court should
not consider in a petition for review under Rule 45. TAacHE
The petition is meritorious.
In petitions for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, this Court is limited to reviewing only errors of law,
not of fact, unless the factual findings complained of are devoid of support by the evidence on record, or the assailed judgment is based on a
misapprehension of facts. 10 It is not the function of this Court to analyze or weigh evidence all over again, unless there is a showing that the
findings of the lower court are totally devoid of support or are glaringly erroneous as to constitute palpable error or grave abuse of
discretion. 11
In the present case, the records do not support the findings made by the CA that the subject land is part of the alienable and
disposable portion of the public domain.
Section 14 (1) of PD 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree provides:
SEC. 14. Who may apply. — The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration
of title to land, whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives:
(1) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive
and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bona
fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945, or earlier.
From the foregoing, respondents need to prove that (1) the land forms part of the alienable and disposable land of the public
domain; and (2) they, by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest, have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious
possession and occupation of the subject land under a bona fide claim of ownership from June 12, 1945 or earlier. 12 These the respondents
must prove by no less than clear, positive and convincing evidence. 13
Under the Regalian doctrine, which is embodied in our Constitution, all lands of the public domain belong to the State, which is the
source of any asserted right to any ownership of land. All lands not appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong
to the State. Accordingly, public lands not shown to have been reclassified or released as alienable agricultural land, or alienated to a private
person by the State, remain part of the inalienable public domain. 14 The burden of proof in overcoming the presumption of State ownership
of the lands of the public domain is on the person applying for registration (or claiming ownership), who must prove that the land subject of
the application is alienable or disposable. To overcome this presumption, incontrovertible evidence must be established that the land subject
of the application (or claim) is alienable or disposable. 15
To support its contention that the land subject of the application for registration is alienable, respondents presented survey Plan
Ccn-00-000084 16(Conversion Consolidated plan of Lot Nos. 3212 & 3234, MCADM 590-D, Taguig Cadastral Mapping) prepared by Geodetic
Engineer Arnaldo C. Torres with the following annotation: SIaHTD
This survey is inside L.C. Map No. 2623 Proj. No. 27-B classified as alienable/disposable by the Bureau of Forest Development,
Quezon City on Jan. 03, 1968.
Respondents' reliance on the afore-mentioned annotation is misplaced.
In Republic v. Sarmiento, 17 the Court ruled that the notation of the surveyor-geodetic engineer on the blue print copy of the
conversion and subdivision plan approved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Center, that "this survey is inside
the alienable and disposable area, Project No. 27-B. L.C. Map No. 2623, certified on January 3, 1968 by the Bureau of Forestry," is insufficient
and does not constitute incontrovertible evidence to overcome the presumption that the land remains part of the inalienable public domain.
Further, in Republic v. Tri-plus Corporation, 18 the Court held that:
In the present case, the only evidence to prove the character of the subject lands as required by law is the notation
appearing in the Advance Plan stating in effect that the said properties are alienable and disposable. However, this is hardly
the kind of proof required by law. To prove that the land subject of an application for registration is alienable, an applicant
must establish the existence of a positive act of the government, such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order,
an administrative action, investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators, and a legislative act or statute. The applicant
may also secure a certification from the Government that the lands applied for are alienable and disposable. In the case at

dela Paz. 28 The foregoing pieces of evidence. the certification refers only to the technical correctness of the survey plotted in the said plan and has nothing to do whatsoever with the nature and character of the property surveyed. since respondents failed to prove that (1) the subject property was classified as part of the disposable and alienable land of the public domain.R. He must also prove that the DENR Secretary had approved the land classification and released the land as alienable and disposable. However. SO ORDERED. 649 PHIL 106-120) . 23 and on about the same year. and that it is within the approved area per verification through survey by the CENRO or PENRO. While Jose testified that the subject land was previously owned by their parents Zosimo and Ester. 27 Respondents failed to explain why. STaCcA WHEREFORE. [November 15. the tenant of the adjacent lot. 1939. 24 Jose and Amado's testimonies consist merely of general statements with no specific details as to when respondents' predecessors- in-interest began actual occupancy of the land subject of this case. affirming the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City. dela Paz. it was only in 1949 that their predecessors-in-interest started to declare the same for purposes of taxation. They are merely indicia of a claim of ownership. What is required is open. 1945 or earlier. since June 12. Carpio. No. 6 bar. who was born on March 19. the applicant must present a copy of the original classification approved by the DENR Secretary and certified as true copy by the legal custodian of the official records. respondents can only prove possession since said date. over a parcel of land. no clear evidence was presented to show Alejandro's mode of acquisition of ownership and that he had been in possession of the same on or before June 12. Taguig. and Glicerio R. In the absence of incontrovertible evidence to prove that the subject property is already classified as alienable and disposable.R. It is a rule that general statements that are mere conclusions of law and not factual proof of possession are unavailing and cannot suffice. Clearly. he knew that the respondents were occupying the subject land. exclusive. we must consider the same as still inalienable public domain. These facts must be established by the applicant to prove that the land is alienable and disposable. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. continuous and notorious possession by respondents and their predecessors-in-interest. 171631. as represented by Jose R. Dela Paz. dela Paz. 2006. the surveyor's annotation presented by respondents is not the kind of proof required by law to prove that the subject land falls within the alienable and disposable zone. dela Paz. * Abad and Mendoza. 84206. while the Advance Plan bearing the notation was certified by the Lands Management Services of the DENR. N-11514. CV No. their application for confirmation and registration of the subject property under PD 1529 should be denied. 19 the Court held that the applicant bears the burden of proving the status of the land. Respondents failed to submit a certification from the proper government agency to prove that the lands subject for registration are indeed alienable and disposable. 1945. 21 testified that since he attained the age of reason he already knew that the land subject of this case belonged to them. in Republic of the Philippines v. continuous and notorious possession and occupation of the subject land. 20 Anent respondents' possession and occupation of the subject property. the period of possession required by law. continuous. with a total area of twenty-five thousand eight hundred twenty-five (25.. the petition is GRANTED. 1945 or earlier. a reading of the records failed to show that the respondents by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest possessed and occupied the subject land since June 12. in CA-G. Jose. Respondents failed to submit a certification from the proper government agency to establish that the subject land is part of the alienable and disposable portion of the public domain. 22 Amado testified that he was a tenant of the land adjacent to the subject property since 1950. 1945 or earlier. the Court has held that he must present a certificate of land classification status issued by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO).825) square meters situated at Barangay Ibayo. Arsenio R. under a bona fide claim of ownership. Carpio Morales. and (2) they and their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. 26 Respondents' earliest evidence can be traced back to a tax declaration issued in the name of their predecessors-in-interest only in the year 1949. 1945 or earlier. is DENIED. At best. 2010]. dela Paz. In this connection. their testimonies failed to establish respondents' predecessors-in-interest' possession and occupation of subject property since June 12. 25 An applicant in a land registration case cannot just harp on mere conclusions of law to embellish the application but must impress thereto the facts and circumstances evidencing the alleged ownership and possession of the land. CDAcIT The evidence submitted by respondents to prove their possession and occupation over the subject property consists of the testimonies of Jose and Amado Geronimo (Amado). exclusive. in LRC Case No. or the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of the DENR. despite their claim that their predecessors-in-interest have possessed the subject properties in the concept of an owner even before June 12. under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated February 15. The fact that the disputed property may have been declared for taxation purposes in the names of the applicants for registration or of their predecessors-in-interest does not necessarily prove ownership. Metro Manila. failed to paint a clear picture that respondents by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. G. Further. concur. 1945. 1945 or earlier. Rosila Roche. Well settled is the rule that tax declarations and receipts are not conclusive evidence of ownership or of the right to possess land when not supported by any other evidence. and notorious possession and occupation thereof under a bonafide claim of ownership since June 12. Evidently. Branch 167. Napindan. Jose R. taken together. ||| (Republic v. exclusive. The application for registration and confirmation of title filed by respondents Avelino R. who earlier inherited the property from their parent Alejandro. Furthermore. JJ.

LAND TITLES AND DEEDS. As such. CA. August 24. 1945. petitioner.. 5. . DOCTRINE THAT BEFORE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF TITLE. 7 EN BANC [G. .' No proof being admissible to overcome a conclusive presumption. was not to confer title. 2. REQUIREMENTS. CASE AT BAR. 1994. PUBLIC LAND ACT. 4. Villanueva (supra). vs. — In the main. Buyco (supra) supports petitioner's thesis. now Chief Justice Narvasa. Evidence was offered to prove that their predecessors-in-interest had paid taxes on the subject land and introduced improvements thereon (Exhibits "F" to "F9"). ID. Accordingly. but only confirm such a conversion already affected by operation of law from the moment the required period of possession became complete. acquires a right to a grant. SYLLABUS 1. In Buyco. petitioner's reliance in Republic v. As aforesaid. in turn. .R.'" (Emphasis supplied) 3.. ID. but simply recognize a title already vested. No. the land ceases to be a part of the public domain and goes beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of. 149 SCRA 32 [1987]). 216 SCRA 78 [1992]). a government grant. who. ownership actually gained would be lost. respondents' predecessors-in-interest have been in open. 6. Villanueva (114 SCRA 875 [1982]) deserves scant consideration. to prove that the questioned lots were part of the alienable and disposable zone of the government and that no forestry interest was affected (CA G. at the most limited to ascertaining whether the possession claims is of the required character and length of time. the said period is tacked to his possession. It merely confirms. — In other words. it was held that before the issuance of the certificate of title. .. The applicants in Buyco sought to register a large tract of land under the provisions of the Land Registration Act. but even as early as 1937. but simply to establish it.. acquired all the legal rights necessary to confirm what could otherwise be deemed as an imperfect title.. IAC. ceases to be public land and becomes private property. "Nothing can more clearly demonstrate the logical inevitability of considering possession of public land which is of the character and duration prescribed by the statute as the equivalent of an express grant from the State than the dictum of the statute itself (Section 48 [b]) that the possessor(s) '. vest title on such applicant so as to segregate the land from the mass of public land (National Power Corporation v.. Suffice it to state that the ruling in Republic v.. 200 SCRA 606 [1991]) where the Court. The land registration court decided in favor of the applicants and was affirmed by the appellate court on appeal. — Subsequent cases have hewed to the above pronouncement such that open. shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title . ID. were in possession of the land sought to be registered only in 1978 and therefore short of the required length of time. TORRENS SYSTEM OF LAND REGISTRATION. ID. ID. as American . exclusive and notorious possession of the disputed land not only since June 12. have been in open and continued possession thereof since 1937.. such that at the time of their application. 183 SCRA 602 [1990]). No. — The Public Land Act requires that the applicant must prove that (a) the land is alienable public land and (b) his possession. ID. — At this juncture. THE OCCUPANT IS NOT IN THE JURIDICAL SENSE THE TRUE OWNER OF THE LAND. the applicants in Buyco were denied registration of title not merely because they were American citizens at the time of their application therefor.. As was so well put in Cariño. . CIVIL LAW. if not by earlier law. but none sufficient to show that. PUBLIC LAND ACT. in its perception. ID.. the ruling in Director of Lands v. ID. Intermediate Appellate Court (146 SCRA 509.] REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. REQUISITES. BUYCO RULING (216 SCRA 78 [1992]) NOT APPLICABLE TO CASE AT BAR. exclusive and undisputed possession of alienable public land for the period prescribed by law creates the legal fiction whereby the land. . by operation of law. must be either since time immemorial or for the period prescribed in the Public Land Act (Director of Lands v Buyco." Thus. CA. . Private respondents stepped into the shoes of their predecessors-in-interest and by virtue thereof. Petitioner does not deny this except that respondent spouses. 218 SCRA 41 [1993]). and reiterated in Director of Lands v. '. 108998. Likewise. declared that: "(The weight of authority is) that open.. in truth be little more than a formality. In the case at bar. 214 SCRA 604 [1992]. and registration thereunder would not confer title. — It must be noted that with respect to possession and occupation of the alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. Respondents therein failed to prove possession of their predecessor-in-interest since time immemorial or possession in such a manner that the property has been segregated from public domain. As could be gleaned from the evidence adduced. The proceedings would not originally convert the land from public to private land. the applicants therein were likewise foreign nationals but were natural-born Filipino citizens at the time of their supposed acquisition of the property. supra). . ID. LAPIÑA AND FLOR DE VEGA. a report from the Bureau of Lands was presented in evidence together with a letter from the Bureau of Forest Development. ID. CA. through then Associate Justice. The effect of the proof. ID. without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued (National Power Corporation v.R. CONTINUOUS AND EXCLUSIVE POSSESSION FOR AT LEAST 30 YEARS OF ALIENABLE PUBLIC LAND IPSO JURE CONVERTS THE SAME TO PRIVATE PROPERTY. the occupant is not in the juridical sense the true owner of the land since it still pertains to the State. private respondents were able to establish the nature of possession of their predecessors-in-interest. When the conditions set by law are complied with. has already been abandoned in the 1986 case of Director of Lands v. ID. but does not confer ownership. Pineda v. confirmation proceedings would. ID. petitioner seeks to defeat respondents' application for registration of title on the ground of foreign nationality. respondents. . upon completion of the requisite period ipso jure and without the need of judicial or other sanction. The Director of Lands brought the matter before us on review and we reversed. continuous and exclusive possession for at least 30 years of alienable public land ipso jure converts the same to private property (Director of Lands v. NOT A MEANS FOR ACQUISITION OF TITLE TO PRIVATE LAND. POSSESSION IS TACKED TO THAT OF APPLICANTS PREDECESSOR-IN-INTEREST. ALREADY ABANDONED. Iglesia ni Cristo. ID. CA. under the provisions of the Public Land Act. and in the alternative.. A certified true copy of the affidavit executed by Cristeta Dazo and her sister Simplicia was also formally offered to prove that the subject parcels of land were inherited by vendor Cristeta Dazo from her father Pedro Dazo with the conformity of her only sister Simplicia (Exhibit "G"). in the concept above stated. for want of it. . as already conferred by the decree. We disagree. There. the possessor of the land. wherever made. Records. But this is where the similarity ends. the law employs the terms "by themselves. 33). it matters not whether the vendee/applicant has been in possession of the subject property for only a day so long as the period and/or legal requirements for confirmation of title has been complied with by his predecessor-in-interest. the disputed parcels of land were acquired by private respondents through their predecessors-in-interest..(There are indications that registration was expected from all. OPEN. This means that occupation and cultivation for more than 30 years by an applicant and his predecessors-in- interest. 28953. Clearly." "the applicant himself or through his predecessor-in-interest. p. CONFIRMATION OF IMPERFECT TITLE.. THE COURT OF APPEALS AND SPOUSES MARIO B. continuous. the Torrens system was not established as a means for the acquisition of title to private land (Municipality of Victorias v.

llcd On June 17. from a vendor who has complied with the requirements for registration under the Public Land Act (CA 141)? The Republic would have us rule on the negative and asks this Court to nullify the decision of the appellate court which affirmed the judgment of the court a quo in granting application of respondent spouses for registration over the lots in question. For the purpose of transfer and/or acquisition of a parcel of residential land.. it refers to Section 6. states that the requirements in BP 185. — Even if private respondents were already Canadian citizens at the time they applied for registration of the properties in question. 8 citizens. there could be no legal impediment for the registration thereof by respondents in view of what the Constitution ordains.. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 7 of this Article. 6 of BP 185 do not apply in the instant case since said requirements are primarily directed to the register of deeds before whom compliance therewith is to be submitted. before the register of deeds should be complied with by the applicants.77 sq. This decree of registration is the one that is submitted to the office of the register of deeds for issuance of the certificate of title in favor of the applicant.000 sq. — The dissenting opinion. In the case of married couples. from one Cristela Dazo Belen (Rollo. It is undisputed that private respondents. much less implied. Prior to the issuance of the decree of registration. It is only when the judgment of the land registration court approving the application for registration has become final that a decree of registration is issued. subject to limitations provided by law. or one hectare in the case of rural land." From the adoption of the 1987 Constitution up to the present. they were no longer Filipino citizens and have opted to embrace Canadian citizenship through naturalization.. which requires the submission of the relevant sworn statement by the applicant." Pursuant thereto. however. ID. Batas Pambansa Blg. they could apply for registration in accordance with the mandate of Section 8. Article XII of the Constitution. Save in cases of hereditary succession. ID. ID. tacking in the process. he shall still be entitled to be a transferee of an additional urban or rural lands for residential purposes which. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. Sections 7 and 8 of Article XII of the Constitution contain the following pertinent provisions. now occupied by respondent Lapiña's mother.. Considering that private respondents were able to prove the requisite period and character of possession of their predecessors-in-interest over the subject lots. s38-D. What is important is that private respondents were formerly natural-born citizens of the Philippines. That if both shall avail of the same. shall not exceed the maximum areas herein authorized. 1987. Nowhere in the provision is it stated. The Court is of the view that the requirements in Sec. or one (1) hectare in case or rural land. continuous and exclusive possession and occupation thereof under claim of ownership prior to June 12. The parcels of land sought to be registered no longer form part of the public domain. 6. Thus. 8. to be used by him as his residence. 1978. CONSTITUTION. J p: Can a foreign national apply for registration of title over a parcel of land which he acquired by purchase while still a citizen of the Philippines. private respondents were undoubtedly natural-born Filipino citizens at the time of the acquisition of the properties and by virtue thereof. In addition. as their residence with a total area of 91. their application for registration of title must perforce be approved. Any natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship and who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract under Philippine laws may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum area of one thousand square meters. must also be complied with by private respondents.. the court a quo rendered a decision confirming private respondents' title to the lots in question. NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY. In the case at bar. a natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship may be a transferee of private lands. if urban. 41). when added to those already owned by him. for use by him as his residence. corporations. 15. Branch XXXI. situated in San Pablo City. a natural- born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his citizenship may be a transferee of private land. m. This time. Article XIV of the then 1973 Constitution which reads: "Sec. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 14 of this Article. consequently. this court hereby approves the said application and confirms the title and possession of herein applicants over Lots 347 and 348.. 2. one of them may avail of the privilege herein granted. 7. the total area acquired shall not exceed the maximum herein fixed. — But what should not be missed in the disposition of this case is the fact that the Constitution itself allows private respondents to register the contested parcels of land in their favor. to wit: "Sec. what governs the disposition of private lands in favor of a natural-born Filipino citizen who has lost his Philippine citizenship remains to be BP 185." "Sec. the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: "WHEREFORE. acquired vested rights thereon. 185 was passed into law. however. Provided. 9. that the requirements must likewise be submitted before the land registration court prior to the approval of an application for registration of title. BP 185. 1945 or since 1937. all of . as the Batasang Pambansa may provide. ID. NATURAL-BORN FILIPINO CITIZEN WHO HAS LOST HIS CITIZENSHIP MAY BE A TRANSFEREE OF PRIVATE LANDS. private respondents have constructed a house of strong materials on the contested property. Cad. respondent spouses bought Lots 347 and 348. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution above quoted is similar to Section 15. the relevant provision of which provides: "Sec. they have acquired no vested rights over the parcel of land. were natural-born citizens of the Philippines. An opposition was filed by the Republic and after the parties have presented their respective evidence. DECISION BIDIN. in the case of urban land. ID. They are already private in character since private respondents' predecessors-in-interest have been in open. ID. 8. Ap-04-003755 in the names of spouses Mario B. it is not significant whether private respondents are no longer Filipino citizens at the time they purchased or registered the parcels of land in question. 7.m. CASE AT BAR. the register of deeds has no participation in the approval of the application for registration of title as the decree of registration is yet to be issued. the spouses filed an application for registration of title of the two (2) parcels of land before the Regional Trial Court of San Pablo City. in view of the foregoing. 185 PRIMARILY DIRECTED TO THE REGISTER OF DEEDS THAN TO APPLICANT. as vendees of a private land. An application for registration of title before a land registration court should not be confused with the issuance of a certificate of title by the register of deeds. respondent spouses were then natural-born Filipino citizens. Lapiña and Flor de Vega. And that is the time when the requirements of Sec." (Emphasis supplied) Section 8. to be used by him as his residence (BP 185). On February 5. the possession in the concept of owner and the prescribed period of time held by their predecessors-in-interest under the Public Land Act. no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals. Specifically. and as transferees of a private land. no other law has been passed by the legislature on the same subject. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. said properties as discussed above were already private lands. At the time of the purchase.. "In the case the transferee already owns urban or rural lands for residential purposes. p. REQUIREMENT IN SECTION 6 OF BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. The law provides that a natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum area of 1.

pp." (Rollo. by themselves and their predecessors-in-interest.' (PD No. peaceful. No. what the law provides. San Pablo City and/or 201-1170-124 Street. November 11. or his predecessor-in-interest has been in open. that it had been declared for taxation purposes in the name of applicants-spouses since 1979. L-29442. let the corresponding decree of registration be issued. depending on the evidence. 1987). 1945 or prior thereto. this petition would have been denied outright for having been filed out of time had it not been for the constitutional issue presented therein. This is not. 14-15) The argument is myopic. respondent court affirmed the decision of the trial court based on the following ratiocination: In the present case. notorious and exclusive possession thereof for thirty (30) years or more. see also Sec. It maintains that even privately owned unregistered lands are presumed to be public lands under the principle that land of whatever classification belong to the State under the Regalian doctrine. p. petitioner submits that private respondents have not acquired proprietary rights over the subject properties before they acquired Canadian citizenship through naturalization to justify the registration thereof in their favor. Ordinarily. however. the High Court has ruled that title and ownership over lands within the meaning and for the purposes of the constitutional prohibition dates back to the time of their purchase. As found by the trial court: "The evidence thus presented established that applicants. however. respondent court's disposition did not merit petitioner's approval. With particular reference to the main issue at bar. The fact that the applicants-appellees are not Filipino citizens now cannot be taken against them for they were not disqualified from acquiring the land in question (Bollozos vs. Cristeta Dazo Belen. And. Canada.R." (Rollo. Court of Appeals. hence this present recourse. Natural Resources District (IV-2) reveals that the disputed realty had been occupied by the applicants `whose house of strong materials stands thereon'. However. CA No. p. the appellate court found that applicants (respondents) and their predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the land for more than 30 years prior to the filing of the application for registration. ownership over the land in dispute had already passed to them. For this reason. 1529). Filipino citizens by birth but now Canadian citizens by naturalization and residing at 14 A. they had been the owners of the same since 1978. "Once this Decision becomes final. Then again. as has been passed upon. In the certificate of title to be issued.' This is not. It ought to be pointed out that registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership. that they acquired the same by means of a public instrument entitled 'Kasulatan ng Bilihang Tuluyan' duly executed by the vendor. Such being the case." (Rollo. it is undisputed that both applicants were still Filipino citizens when they bought the land in controversy from its former owner. The Court of Appeals found that the land was declared for taxation purposes in the name of respondent spouses only since 1979.R. 25) On appeal." "SO ORDERED. continuous. 48 [b]. according to the Court of Appeals. 27-28) Expectedly. G. Yu Tieng Su. tax declarations or realty tax payments of property are not conclusive evidence of ownership. on June 17. Section 48 of the Public Land Act (CA 141) reads: . public. 1987). both of them were Filipino citizens such that when they filed their application for registration in 1987. L-31189. even if they needed only to prove thirty (30) years possession prior to the filing of their application (on February 5. 1073. and that applicants and their predecessors in interest had been in possession of land for more than 30 years prior to the filing of the application for registration. the prohibition against the acquisition of private lands by aliens could not apply. to say the least. prcd At the outset. amending Sec. 14. PD No. So there is a void in respondents' possession. before the issuance of the certificate of title. Petitioner further argued that it is only when the court adjudicates the land to the applicant for confirmation of title would the land become privately owned land. the same as saying that respondents have been in possession 'since June 12. Mabini Street. pp. the land was declared for taxation purposes in their name.25 meters road right-of-way. Following the logic of petitioner. the occupant is not in the juridical sense the true owner of the land since it still pertains to the State. 1945. Their purpose in initiating the instant action is merely to confirm their title over the land. 1529." (Rollo. thus: "The land sought to be registered has been declared to be within the alienable and disposable zone established by the Bureau of Forest Development (Exhibit `P'). exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the two adjacent parcels of land applied for registration of title under a bona-fide claim of ownership long before June 12. had been in open. G. p. the court may declare it public land. 1987).27) The Republic disagrees with the appellate court's concept of possession and argues: "17. It is intended merely to confirm and register the title which one may already have (Municipality of Victorias vs. for. Alberta T5M-OK9. 26) Respondent court echoed the court a quo's observation. March 31. No. The Torrens System was not established as a means for the acquisition of title to private land. 1945. for in the same proceeding. The investigation conducted by the Bureau of Lands. they are the rightful owners of the subject realty considering also that they had paid for it quite a large sum of money. Thus. In justice and equity. there shall be annotated an easement of 6. any transferee is thus foreclosed to apply for registration of title over a parcel of land notwithstanding the fact that the transferor. (citing cases) "18. 141. they would still be short of the required possession if the starting point is 1979 when. cdll As petitioner itself argues. 1978 (Exhibits 'I' and 'J'). it is conclusively presumed that all the conditions essential to the confirmation of their title over the two adjacent parcels of land are sought to be registered have been complied with thereby entitling them to the issuance of the corresponding certificate of title pursuant to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 9 legal age. otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree." (Rollo. But what is of great significance in the instant case is the circumstance that at the time the applicants purchased the subject lot in 1978. They fall short of the required possession since June 12. not later. which was belatedly filed. Edmonton.

Cdpr . As aforesaid. . . The provisions of Section 48(b) and Section 48(c). shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title . the applicant himself or through his predecessor-in-interest". occupying lands of the public domain or claiming interest therein. There. a government grant. . wherever made. were in possession of the land sought to be registered only in 1987 and therefore short of the required length of time. Petitioner does not deny this except that respondent spouses. it was held that before the issuance of the certificate of title. . In the case at bar. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by wars or force majeure. acquired all the legal rights necessary to confirm what could otherwise be deemed as an imperfect title. in its perception. with the latter's proven occupation and cultivation for more than 30 years since 1914. CA. upon completion of the requisite period ipso jure and without the need of judicial or other sanction. vest title on such applicant so as to segregate the land from the mass of public land (National Power Corporation v. Thus. declared that: "(The weight of authority is) that open. ownership actually gained would be lost. Pineda v. . These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this charter. ceases to be public land and becomes private property. ." (Emphasis supplied) Subsequent cases have hewed to the above pronouncement such that open. has already been abandoned in 1986 case of Director of Lands v." It must be noted that with respect to possession and occupation of the alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. Villanueva (114 SCRA 875 [1982]) deserves scant consideration. . but none sufficient to show that. through then Associate Justice.interest. since June 12. exclusive and notorious possession of the disputed land not only since June 12. have been in open and continued possession thereof since 1937. Villanueva (supra). appears to be squarely affirmative: ". IAC. . The proceedings would not originally convert the land from public to private land. to wit: xxx xxx xxx (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. in turn. 1945. petitioner's reliance in Republic v. but simply recognize a title already vested. as already conferred by the decree. the occupant is not in the juridical sense the true owner of the land since it still pertains to the State. This means that occupation and cultivation for more than 30 years by an applicant and his predecessors-in. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. who. it matters not whether the vendee/applicant has been in possession of the subject property for only a day so long as the period and/or legal requirements for confirmation of title has been complied with by his predecessor-in-interest. As was so well put in Cariño. the disputed parcels of land were acquired by private respondents through their predecessors-in-interest. The following-described citizens of the Philippines. was not to confer title. title over the land has vested on petitioner so as to segregate the land from the mass of public land. and reiterated in Director of Lands v. The application for confirmation is mere formality. CA. but only confirm such a conversion already affected by operation of law from the moment the required period of possession became complete. 218 SCRA 41 [1993]). The effect of the proof. when the conditions as specified in the foregoing provision are complied with. which the respondent Court held to be inapplicable to the petitioner's case. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation by the applicant himself or thru his predecessor-in-interest. 183 SCRA 602 [1990]). therefore. confirmation proceedings would. . the lack of which does not affect the legal sufficiency of the title as would be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the strength of said patent. but even as early as 1937. The land. by operation of law. without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued." (Emphasis supplied) As amended by PD 1073: "Sec. Thereafter. ceases to be of the public domain and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of. now Chief Justice Narvasa. in truth be little more than formality. by himself and by his predecessors-in-interest. . . under the provisions of Republic Act No. 1942. 200 SCRA 606 [1991]) where the Court. . Private respondents stepped into the shoes of their predecessors-in-interest and by virtue thereof. exclusive and undisputed possession of alienable public land for the period prescribed by law creates the legal fiction whereby the land. under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. Secondly. 4. Suffice it to state that the ruling in Republic v.' No proof being admissible to overcome a conclusive presumption. continuous and exclusive possession for at least 30 years of alienable public land ipso jure converts the same to private property (Director of Lands v. Chapter VIII. if not by earlier law. continuous. the law employs the terms "by themselves". 1945. (There are indications that registration was expected from all. cdphil At this juncture. for want of it. the possessor is deemed to have acquired. 10 "Sec. may apply to the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title thereof under the Land Registration Act. '. Iglesia ni Cristo. of the Public Land Act are hereby amended in the sense that these provisions shall apply only to alienable and disposable lands of the public domain which have been in open. 48.' "Nothing can be more clearly demonstrate the logical inevitability of considering possession of public land which is of the character and duration prescribed by the statute as the equivalent of an express grant from the State than the dictum of the statute itself (Section 48[b]) that the possessor(s) '. and registration thereunder would not confer title. continuous. the said period is tacked to his possession. at the most limited to ascertaining whether the possession claims is of the required character and length of time. exclusive. . . a right to grant. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. it is no longer disposable under the Public Land Act as by free patent. . 214 SCRA 604 [1992]. but simply to establish it. xxx xxx xxx 'As interpreted in several cases. "Herico in particular. respondents' predecessors-in-interest have been in open. . continuous. under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. Intermediate Appellate Court(146 SCRA 509.

935 [1909]. but does not confer ownership. . (d) the 'titulo de compra' or title by purchase. . 53 Law. The primary basis of their claim is possession. ". As to the latter. . and the existence of which he has learned form his elders (Susi v. private respondents offered no evidence at all to prove that the property subject of the application is an alienable and disposable land. to prove that the questioned lots were part of the alienable and disposable zone of the government and that no forestry interest was affected (CA GR No. 449. In other words. On the contrary.' it means possession of which no man living has seen the beginning. CA. 28953. supra). 216 SCRA 78 [1992]). Thus. belong to the public domain. since time immemorial. 41 Phil. (when the predecessor-in-interest) died on 31 May 1937. acquires a right to grant. LibLex This Court. "In the instant case. adopted the rule enunciated by the Court of Appeals. . continuously and exclusively for the prescribed statutory period (30 years under the Public Land Act. under the provisions of the Public Land Act. 23 SCRA 1183 [1968]). When referring to possession. It merely confirms. . his possession cannot be tacked to that of the private . . was pasture land (and therefore inalienable under the then 1973 Constitution). This being the case. (P)rivate respondents' evidence miserably failed to establish their imperfect title to the property in question. the private respondents do not rely on fee simple ownership based on a Spanish grant or possessory information title under Section 19 of the Land Registration Act. as this Court stated in Oh Cho v. 212 U.. Records. .' '. private respondents failed to prove that (their predecessor-in-interest) had possessed the property allegedly covered by Tax Declaration No. ..S. When the conditions set by law are complied with. Gutierrez. Insular Government. As could be gleaned from the evidence adduced. speaking through Justice Davide. this Court. by operation of law. the Torrens system was not established as a means for the acquisition of title to private land (Municipality of Victorias v.. the ruling in the Director of Lands v. . to his heirs. for such possession would justify the presumption that the land had never been part of the public domain or that if had been a private property even before the Spanish conquest (Cariño v.. . All lands that were not acquired from the Government. in the concept above stated. stated: "As we could be gleaned from the evidence adduced. 15853 and made the subject of both his last will and testament and the project of partition of his estate among his heirs . As such. . . by themselves and the predecessors-in-interest. A certified true copy of the affidavit executed by Cristeta Dazo and her sister Simplicia was also formally offered to prove that the subject parcels of land were inherited by vendor Cristeta Dazo from her father Pedro Dazo with the conformity of her only sister Simplicia (Exhibit "G"). . in the concept above stated. which would become a 'titulo gratuito' or a gratuitous title (Director of Forestry v. xxx xxx xxx "To this Court's mind. . the applicants in Buyco sought to register a large tract of land under the provisions of the Land Registration Act. the land ceases to be a part of the public domain and goes beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of. must be either since time immemorial. Jr. or for the period prescribed in the Public Land Act. Likewise. the private respondents did not present any proof that they or their predecessors-in-interest derived title from an old Spanish grant such as (a) the 'titulo real' or royal grant (b) the 'concession especial' or special grant. 890 [1946]): '. in Gutierrez Hermanos v. Evidence was offered to prove that their predecessors-in-interest had paid taxes on the subject land and introduced improvements thereon (Exhibits "F" to "F9"). ". petitioner seeks to defeat respondents' application for registration of title on the ground of foreign nationality. In the main. Their allegation of possession since time immemorial. An exception to the rule would be any land that should have been in the possession of an occupant and of his predecessors in interest since time immemorial. CA. without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued (National Power Corporation v. . . Buyco. openly. he transmitted no right whatsoever. Intermediate Appellate Court. . But this is where the similarity ends. a government grant. private respondents were able to establish the nature of possession of their predecessors-in-interest. . 149 SCRA 32 [1987]). . and (e) the 'informacion posesoria' or possessory information title. the possessor of the land. The land registration court decided in favor of the applicants and was affirmed by the appellate court on appeal. with respect to the said property. is patently baseless. . It is the burden of the applicant to prove its positive averments. either by purchase or by grant. . Court of Appeals (178 SCRA 37 [1989]). as ruled in both Cariño and Susi. 594) The applicant does not come under the exception. the entire property . . p. . the rulings of both courts could be upheld for. that an applicant for registration under Section 48 of the Public Land Act must secure a certification from the Government that the lands which he claims to have possessed as owner for more than thirty (30) years are alienable and disposable. Buyco (supra) supports petitioner's thesis. 33).in such manner as to remove the same from the public domain under the Cariño and Susi doctrines. . . there does not even exist a reasonable basis for the finding that the private respondents and their predecessors-in- interest possessed the land for more than eighty (80) years. . per then Associate Justice Hugo R. specifically 'immemorial possession. (c) the 'composicion con el estado' title or adjustment title. for the earliest possession of the lot by his first predecessor in interest began in 1880. personally or through his predecessors-in-interest. Jr. We disagree. Accordingly. In Buyco. The Director of Lands brought the matter before us on review and we reversed. as amended) is converted to private property by the mere lapse or completion of said period ipso jure. 11 The Public Land Act requires that the applicant must prove that (a) the land is alienable public land and (b) his possession. and in the alternative.' (Director of Lands v. Muñoz. "If indeed private respondents and their predecessors have been in possession since time immemorial. supra) "It is obvious from the foregoing rule that the applicant must prove that (a) the land is alienable public land and (b) his possession. a report from the Bureau of Lands was presented in evidence together with a letter from the Bureau of Forest Development. supra). Razon. Director of Lands (75 Phil. Such possession was never present in the case of private respondents. the applicants therein were likewise foreign nationals but were natural-born Filipino citizens at the time of their supposed acquisition of the property. Ed.. must be either since time immemorial or for the period prescribed in the Public Land Act (Director of Lands v. alienable public land held by a possessor.

. Provided. consisting of an imperfect title. no private land shall be transferred under this Act. or one hectare in the case of rural land. The decree of registration is the one that is submitted to the office of the register of deeds for issuance of the certificate of title in favor . An application for registration of title before a land registration court should not be confused with the issuance of a certificate of title by the register of deeds. there could be no legal impediment for the registration thereof by respondents in view of what the Constitution ordains." From the adoption of the 1987 Constitution up to the present. Article XIV of the then 1973 Constitution which reads: "Sec. What is important is that private respondents were formerly natural-born citizens of the Philippines. to wit: "Sec. they could apply for registration in accordance with the mandate of Section 8. shall not exceed the maximum areas herein authorized. 8 Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 7 of this Article. Batas Pambansa Blg. But what should not be missed in the disposition of this case is the fact that the Constitution itself allows private respondents to register the contested parcels of land in their favor. For the purpose of transfer and/or acquisition of a parcel of residential land. 6. In addition to the requirements provided for in other laws for the registration of titles to lands. 15. unless the transferee shall submit to the register of deeds of the province or city where the property is located a sworn statement showing the date and place of birth. the total area acquired shall not exceed the maximum herein fixed. said properties as discussed above were already private lands. Considering that private respondents were able to prove the requisite period and character of possession of their predecessors-in- interest over the subject lots. no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals. states that the requirements in BP 185.000 sq. it is not significant whether private respondents are no longer Filipino citizens at the time they purchased or registered the parcels of land in question." (Emphasis supplied) Section 8." The Court is of the view that the requirements in Sec. 2. Specifically. however. They are already private in character since private respondents' predecessors-in-interest have been in open. xxx xxx xxx "Considering that the private respondents became American citizens before such filing. private respondents have constructed a house of strong materials on the contested property. 6. BP 185. corporations. llcd In the case at bar. of his spouse and children. his intention to reside permanently in the Philippines. no other law has been passed by the legislature on the same subject. they have acquired no vested rights over the parcel of land. Any natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship and who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract under Philippine laws may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum area of one thousand square meters. 7. Sections 7 and 8 of Article XII of the Constitution contain the following pertinent provisions. consequently." Pursuant thereto. a natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his citizenship may be a transferee of private land. as American citizens. that the requirements must likewise be submitted before the land registration court prior to the approval of an application for registration of title. what governs the disposition of private lands in favor of a natural-born Filipino citizen who has lost his Philippine citizenship remains to be BP 185." "Sec. the location and the mode of acquisition of his landholdings in the Philippines. the date he lost his Philippine citizenship and the country of which he is presently a citizen. m. before the register of deeds should be complied with by the applicants. . if any. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution above quoted is similar to Section 15. such that at the time of their application. if urban. The parcels of land sought to be registered no longer form part of the public domain. And that is the time when the requirements of Sec. over the property before they lost their Philippine citizenship. the possession in the concept of owner and the prescribed period of time held by their predecessors-in-interest under the Public Land Act. 185 was passed into law. if any. it goes without saying that they had acquired no vested right. . their application for registration of title must perforce be approved. subject to limitations provided by law. the relevant provision of which provides: "Sec. the area. In addition. The law provides that a natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum area of 1. it refers to Section 6. It is undisputed that private respondents. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 14 of this Article. and such other information as may be required under Section 8 of this Act. continuous and exclusive possession and occupation thereof under claim of ownership prior to June 12. Save in cases of hereditary succession. he shall be entitled to be a transferee of an additional urban or rural lands for residential purposes which. It is only when the judgment of the land registration court approving the application for registration has become final that a decree of registration is issued." (Emphasis supplied) Clearly. which provides: "Sec. "In case the transferee already owns urban or rural lands for residential purposes. That if both shall avail of the same. the alternative ground relied upon in their application. one of them may avail of the privilege herein granted. In the case of married couples. tacking in the process. . 12 respondents for the latter's benefit pursuant to Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. Respondents therein failed to prove possession of their predecessor-in-interest since time immemorial or possession in such a manner that the property has been segregated from public domain. 1945 or since 1937. private respondents were undoubtedly natural-born Filipino citizens at the time of the acquisition of the properties and by virtue thereof. Nowhere in the provision is it stated much less implied. a natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship may be a transferee of private lands. were natural born citizens of the Philippines. to be used by him as his residence. in the case of urban land. when added to those already owned by him. to be used by him as his residence (BP 185). the applicants in Buyco were denied registration of title not merely because they were American citizens at the time of their application therefor. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. the names and addresses of his parents. acquired vested rights thereon. must also be complied with by private respondents. for use by him as his residence. LLpr Even if private respondents were already Canadian citizens at the time they applied for registration of the properties in question. now occupied by respondent Lapiña's mother. and as transferees of a private land. Article XII of the Constitution. The dissenting opinion. as vendees of a private land. or one (1) hectare in case of rural land. Thus. as the Batasang Pambansa may provide. 6 of BP 185 do not apply in the instant case since said requirements are primarily directed to the register of deeds before whom compliance therewith is to be submitted.

JJ. 108998.. SO ORDERED. Melo. G. C. Bellosillo. No.. ||| (Republic v. Quiason.R. 13 of the applicant. Prior to the issuance of the decree of registration. 1994]) . LibLex WHEREFORE. the register of deeds has no participation in the approval of the application for registration of title as the decree of registration is yet to be issued. Regalado. Narvasa. Romero. Puno. Kapunan and Mendoza.J. [August 24. Court of Appeals. the petition is DISMISSED and the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED. Vitug. concur.

] REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. 771. 771 from her parents through a Deed of Quitclaim dated 30 June 1994. the parents of Nillas. The OSG further argued that at the very least. 771 despite the rendition of the 1941 CFI Decision. The appeal was denied by the appellate court in its Decision 7 dated 24 July 2003. Abierra. the Court of Appeals reiterated that the provisions of Section 6. On 26 April 2000. Serapion and Josefina A. Nillas should have established that a request for issuance of a decree of registration before the Administrator of the LRA had been duly made. These purchases were evidenced by three separate Deeds of Absolute Sale all in favor of the Spouses Abierra. upon the finality of the decision. 3 Nillas further alleged that her parents. 14 SECOND DIVISION [G. 14. Court of Appeals 10 and Heirs of Lopez v. the RTC rendered a Decision 6 finding merit in the petition for revival of judgment. the OSG strongly argues that contrary to the opinion of the Court of Appeals. The Court dismissed the subsequent action." The Court. together with the improvements thereon. the Court relied on Article 1144 of the Civil Code and Section 6. after which time it may be enforced by action before it is barred by statute of limitations. it in view of the petitioners' omission to assert a right for nearly seven (7) years. No evidence was apparently presented by the OSG. wherein the Court refuted an argument that a decision rendered in a land registration case wherein the decree of registration remained unissued after 26 years was already "final and enforceable. ESCacI No responsive pleading was filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). as well as directing the Commissioner of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) to issue the corresponding decree of confirmation and registration based on the 1941 Decision. LOURDES ABIERA NILLAS. Engracia Calingacion sold her undivided one-half (1/2) share over Lot No. DECISION TINGA. The facts bear little elaboration. On the other hand. Thus. De Castro. explained: We fail to understand the arguments of the appellant in support of the assignment [of error]. The Court of Appeals also noted that it would have been especially onerous to require Nillas to first request the LRA to comply with the 1941 decision considering that it had been established that the original records in the 1941 case had already been destroyed and could no longer be reconstructed. it may not be enforced after the lapse of a period of 10 years. 771 in its entirety. No. holding that laches had set in. January 23. It was alleged therein that on 17 July 1941. The records do not precisely reveal why the decree was not issued by the Director of Lands. 5 Trial on the merits ensued. Nillas sought the revival of the 1941 Decision and the issuance of the corresponding decree of registration for Lot No." 12 The most extensive explanation of this rule may be found in Sta. or Nillas's acquisition of the rights of the original awardees. Nillas acquired Lot No. no decree of registration has ever been issued over Lot No. there exists a more general but definite jurisprudential rule that favors Nillas and bolsters the rulings of the lower courts. The OSG also extensively relies on two cases. although it entered its appearance on 13 May 1997 and simultaneously deputized the City Prosecutor of Dumaguete City to appear whenever the case was set for hearing and in all subsequent proceedings. which impose a prescriptive period for enforcement of judgments by motion. except insofar as it supports his theory that after a decision in a land registration case has become final. both residents of Sibulan. 8 Further. On 10 April 1997. and ordering the revival of the 1941 Decision. captioned as El Director De Terrenos contra Esteban Abingayan y Otros. the one-half (1/2) share adjudicated to Eugenia Calingacion was also acquired by the Spouses Abierra through various purchases they effected from the heirs of Eugenia between the years 1975 to 1982. Negros Oriental. Heirs of Lopez involved the double registration of the same parcel of land. refer to ordinary civil actions and not to "special" proceedings such as land registration cases. in favor of named oppositors who had established their title to their respective lots and their continuous possession thereof since time immemorial and ordered the Chief of the General Land Registration Office. Section 6 of Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure establishes that a final and executory judgment or order may be executed on motion within five (5) years from the date of its entry. Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure in declaring that extinctive prescription did lie. petitioner. Menla. 11 Shipside was cited since in that case. Authority for this theory is the provision in the . vs. In the present petition. By way of a Deed of Absolute Sale dated 7 November 1977. the principles of prescription and laches do apply to land registration cases. cEDIAa Despite the invocation by the OSG of these two cases. The OSG appealed the RTC Decision to the Court of Appeals. The OSG notes that Article 1144 of the Civil Code establishes that an action upon judgment must be brought within ten years from the time the right of action accrues.R. and the fact that the Abierra spouses have been in open and continuous possession of the subject property since the 1977 sale. 9 It bears noting that the Republic does not challenge the authenticity of the 1941 Decision. 2 Among these lots was Lot No. except by another proceeding to enforce the judgment or decision. arguing in main that the right of action to revive judgment had already prescribed. 4 In turn. the Court dismissed the action instituted by the Government seeking the revival of judgment that declared a title null and void because the judgment sought to be revived had become final more than 25 years before the action for revival was filed. In its Decision. 13 decided in 1961. We deny certiorariand instead affirm the assailed rulings of the courts below. respondent. Ana v. It is a hardly novel issue. the then Court of First Instance (CFI) of Negros Oriental rendered a Decision Adicional in Expediente Cadastral No. 159595. and the subsequent action by one set of applicants for the issuance of the decree of registration in their favor seven (7) years after the judgment had become final. On the other hand. the CFI. acting as a cadastral court. The rule is that "neither laches nor the statute of limitations applies to a decision in a land registration case. through Justice Labrador. respondent Lourdes Abiera Nillas (Nillas) filed a Petition for Revival of Judgment with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dumaguete City. The RTC heard the testimony of Nillas and received her documentary evidence. In Shipside. yet petitioner Republic of the Philippines (Republic) pleads that the Court rule in a manner that would unsettle precedent. Shipside Inc. 2007. eventually acquired Lot No. 771 to the Spouses Abierra. to issue the corresponding decree of registration. which was adjudicated to Eugenia Calingacion (married to Fausto Estoras) and Engracia Calingacion. 1 In the decision. 771 of the Sibulan Cadastre. Neither does it seek to establish that the property is inalienable or otherwise still belonged to the State. Despite these multiple transfers. v. adjudicated several lots. though it does not escape attention that the 1941 Decision was rendered a few months before the commencement of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in December of 1941. J p: The central question raised in this Petition for Review is whether prescription or laches may bar a petition to revive a judgment in a land registration case.

. is applicable to land registration cases either by analogy or in a suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient. regarding the execution of a judgment in a civil action. the intent of land registration proceedings is to establish ownership by a person of a parcel of land. not to other or extraordinary proceedings not expressly governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure but by some other specific law or legal modality such as land registration cases. namely: Vda. within fifteen days from entry of judgment. and after five years but within 10 years. failure of the court or of the clerk to issue the decree for the reason that no motion therefor has been filed can not prejudice the owner. 16 These cases further emphasized. This provision of the Rules refers to civil actions and is not applicable to special proceedings. 20 Cacho v. that the judgment is merely declaratory in character and does not need to be asserted or enforced against the adverse party. by an action (Sec. to the Register of Deeds of the city or province where the property is situated for entry in his registration book. the Sta. . et al. unless the adverse or losing party is in possession. Ana. Hence. together with the owner's duplicate certificate. . applies only to ordinary civil actions. 39. 1529 does not specifically provide for execution of judgments in the sense ordinarily understood and applied in civil cases. The clerk of court shall send. the Commissioner shall cause to be prepared the decree of registration as well as the original and duplicate of the corresponding original certificate of title. it was similarly argued that a prayer for the issuance of a decree of registration filed in 1962 pursuant to a 1938 decision was. the reason being there is no need for the prevailing party to apply for a writ of execution in order to obtain the title. it is insisted that the Rules of Court. 6. 15 In that case. Thereupon. within fifteen days from entry of judgment. or the person in whom the land is ordered to be registered. . upon the expiration of the period for perfecting an appeal. There is nothing in the law that limits the period within which the court may order or issue a decree. In special proceedings[. 18 respectively. Benedicto. The original of the original certificate of title shall also be signed by the Commissioner and shall be sent. hence. de Barroga v. Apart from the three (3) cases mentioned earlier. Rule 39).. The decree of registration shall be signed by the Commissioner. the apparent strategy employed by the Republic in its present petition is to feign that the doctrine and the cases that spawned and educed it never existed at all. and the LRA to issue. the court shall. 23 The Republic further observes that Presidential Decree (PD) No. The decision in a land registration case. no further step is required to effectuate the decision and a ministerial duty exists alike on the part of the land registration court to order the issuance of. becomes final without any further action. the ownership by a person of a parcel of land is sought to be established. citing Demoran v. Llorente. We affirm Sta. . EHTADa The provision lays down the procedure that interposes between the rendition of the judgment and the issuance of the certificate of title. Ana. A similar tack was again adopted by the Court some years later in Rodil v. The obligations provided in the Section are levied on the land court (that is to issue an order directing the Land Registration Commissioner to issue in turn the corresponding decree of registration). and his failure to act to enforce the same within a reasonable time as provided in the Rules makes the decision unenforceable against the losing party. Indeed. there is no provision in the Land Registration Act similar to Sec. Ibanez. 15 Rules of Court to the effect that judgment may be enforced within 5 years by motion. except the proceedings to place the winner in possession by virtue of a writ of possession. No obligation whatsoever is imposed by Section 39 on the prevailing applicant or oppositor even as a precondition to the issuance of the title. the issuance of a decree is a ministerial duty both of the judge and of the Land Registration Commission.. barred by prescription and laches. no further proceeding to enforce said ownership is necessary. and has become final. The original certificate of title shall be a true copy of the decree of registration. that the right of the applicant or a subsequent purchaser to ask for the issuance of a writ of possession of the land never prescribes. it is precisely because PD No. 1529) does not contain any provision on execution of final judgments. Albano. Rule 39. among others. v. its clerk of court (that is to transmit copies of the judgment and the order to the Commissioner). consistent with the purpose of such extraordinary proceedings to declare by judicial fiat a status. . 21 and Paderes v. issue an order directing the Commissioner to issue the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title. except when the adverse or losing party had been in possession of the land and the winning party desires to oust him therefrom. 1529 has no provision on execution of final judgments. reconsidered. the Court was content in restating with approval the above-cited excerpts from Sta. Unlike in ordinary civil actions governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure. Quite the contrary.] the purpose is to establish a status. as invoked by the Republic. 14 The doctrine that neither prescription nor laches may render inefficacious a decision in a land registration case was reiterated five (5) years after Sta. in Heirs of Cristobal Marcos. etc. Furthermore. The reason is . — After the judgment directing the registration of title to land has become final. entered and filed in the Land Registration Commission. . hence. Court of Appeals. Preparation of Decree and Certificate of Title. certified copies of the judgment and of the order of the court directing the Commissioner to issue the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title. In rejecting the argument. the application of Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure in suppletory fashion. 1529 reads: SEC. Ana doctrine on the inapplicability of the rules on prescription and laches to land registration cases has been repeatedly affirmed. Rule 39. and Poras 17 and Manlapas and Tolentino v. The Republic observes that the Property Registration Decree (PD No. but because we recognize that the principle enunciated therein offers a convincing refutation of the current arguments of the Republic. Ana doctrine was reiterated in another three (3) more cases later. After the ownership has been proved and confirmed by judicial declaration. 6. that Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is not applicable to land registration cases in the first place. especially absent any compelling argument to do otherwise. the Sta. condition or fact. et al. 22 The doctrine of stare decisis compels respect for settled jurisprudence. and a certificate stating that the decision has not been amended. Furthermore. upon the finality of a decision adjudicating such ownership. Section 39 of PD No. 19 Within the last 20 years. Instead. condition or fact. the decree of registration. nor appealed. Ana not out of simple reflex. Court of Appeals. . etc. the provisions of Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure should apply to land registration proceedings. . such as a land registration case. in land registration proceedings. De Banuvar. This is so because a party in a civil action must immediately enforce a judgment that is secured as against the adverse party. which provides for the five (5)-year prescriptive period for execution of judgments.

Ana as precedent. the Court sees the practical value of necessitating judicial recourse if a significant number of years has passed since the promulgation of the land court's unimplemented decision or order. or to detract from Sta. the petitioners were able to obtain a final judgment in their favor only in 1979. 16 and the Land Registration Commissioner (that is to cause the preparation of the decree of registration and the transmittal thereof to the Register of Deeds). but from a successful motion by the Republic seeking the cancellation of title previously adjudicated to a private landowner. a judicial evaluation would allow for a thorough examination of the veracity of the judgment or order sought to be effected. 25 We are not inclined to make any pronouncements on the doctrinal viability of Shipside or Heirs of Lopez concerning the applicability of the rules of prescription or laches in land registration cases. as the significantly more extensive rationale provided by the Court in barring the revival of judgment was the fact that the State no longer held interest in the subject property. followed by an observation that the judgment sought to be revived attained finality 25 years earlier. The judgment sought belatedly for enforcement in Shipside did not arise from an original action for land registration. The Court then correlated the laches of the petitioners with their pattern of behavior in failing to exercise due diligence to protect their interests over the property. as in this case. having divested the same to the Bases Conversion Development Authority prior to the filing of the action for revival. Neither could it be said that their right of ownership as confirmed by the judgment in their favor was indubitable. quite distinct from the general situation that marked both Sta. We now turn to Heirs of Lopez. the Sta. Indeed. especially . Anaas a general rule for that matter. Clearly. Even though prescription should not be a cause to bar the issuance of the decree of registration. the peculiar procedure provided in the Property Registration Law from the time decisions in land registration cases become final is complete in itself and does not need to be filled in. it should be observed that neither case was intended to overturn the Sta. the judgment does not have to be executed by motion or enforced by action within the purview of Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. this accomplished as early as 1968. thus obstructing the issuance of certificate of title to the petitioners. While one might argue that such motion still arose in a land registration case. Following these premises. the Court has not hesitated in reaffirming the rule in Sta. Ana as a general precedent that neither prescription nor laches bars the enforcement of a final judgment in a land registration case. with which the corresponding decree of registration is homologous by legal design. Ana doctrine rests upon the general presumption that the final judgment. Ana and the present case. nor did they make any express declaration to such effect. . with whom the duty to issue the decree of registration remains. The Sta. the other by a different party in 1967. marked by their inability to oppose the other application for registration or to seek enforcement of their own judgment within the five (5)-year reglementary period. The failure on the part of the administrative authorities to do their part in the issuance of the decree of registration cannot oust the prevailing party from ownership of the land. such title could not have stood in the face of the earlier title. has not been disturbed by another ruling by a co-extensive or superior court. wherein the controlling factual milieu proved even more unconventional than that in Shipside. or a determination of causes other than prescription or laches that might preclude the issuance of the decree of registration. The ultimate goal of our land registration system is geared towards the final and definitive determination of real property ownership in the country. both cases were governed by their unique set of facts. a close examination of Heirs of Lopez reveals an unusual dilemma that negates its application as precedent to the case at bar. Ana doctrine. The Court did characterize the petitioners as guilty of laches for the delay in filing the action for the execution of the judgment in their favor. or others under similar circumstances. Shipside and Heirs of Lopez? Even though the Court applied the doctrines of prescription and laches in those cases. Ana doctrine was not addressed. the portion of Shipside dealing with the issue of prescription merely restated the provisions in the Civil Code and the Rules of Civil Procedure relating to prescription. Notably." and indeed even if the petitioners therein were somehow able to obtain a certificate of title pursuant to the 1979 judgment in their favor. but with the LRA. the earlier in date must prevail . Shipside has attained some measure of prominence as precedent on still another point. those cases do not operate to detract from the continued good standing of Sta. Still. However. . If it is sufficiently established before that body that there is an authentic standing judgment or order from a land registration court that remains unimplemented. by which time the property had already been registered in the name of the other claimant. two (2) years beyond the five (5)-year prescriptive period provided in the Rules of Civil Procedure. Ana as recently as in the middle of 2005 in the Paderes case. and perhaps with good reason. Unless that presumption is overcome. Shipside has not since been utilized by the Court to employ the rules on prescription and laches on final decisions in land registration cases. From another perspective. to file a petition for revival of judgment. there could not have been a "ministerial duty" on the part of the registration authorities to effectuate the judgment in favor of the petitioners in Heirs of Lopez. In light of those circumstances. The property involved therein was the subject of two separate applications for registration. there would have been no need for Nillas. since revival of judgments is a procedure derived from civil procedure and proceeds from the assumption that the judgment is susceptible to prescription. 24 On the other hand. there is no impediment to the continued application of Sta. Shipside expounds on this point. . The execution of the judgment sought for belated enforcement in Heirs of Lopez would have entailed the disturbance of a different final judgment which had already been executed and which was shielded by the legal protection afforded by a Torrens title. Moreover. IcESaA What about the two cases cited by the Republic. then there should be no impediment to the issuance of the decree of registration. The issues of prescription and laches arose because the petitioners filed their action to enforce the 1979 final judgment and the cancellation of the competing title only in 1987. IHSTDE Heirs of Lopez noted the settled rule that "when two certificates of title are issued to different persons covering the same land in whole or in part. it can even be posited that in theory. It was the latter who was first able to obtain a decree of registration. It is worth mentioning that since Shipside was promulgated in 2001. All these obligations are ministerial on the officers charged with their performance and thus generally beyond discretion of amendment or review. one filed by petitioners therein in 1959. and thus denied the petition on that score. Suffice it to say. In contrast. That presumption obtains in this case as well. and not on the applicability of the rules of prescription. The primary recourse need not be with the courts. However. we note that the pronouncement therein that prescription barred the revival of the order of cancellation was made in the course of dispensing with an argument which was ultimately peripheral to that case. considering the earlier decree of registration over the same property accorded to a different party. and the imposition of an additional burden on the owner after the judgment in the land registration case had attained finality would simply frustrate such goal. relating to its pronouncements relating to the proper execution of the certification of non-forum shopping by a corporation. Neither the failure of such applicant to follow up with said authorities can.

159595. Jr. this faulty terminology aside. the Republic's arguments on this point do not dissuade from our central holding that the 1941 Decision is still susceptible to effectuation by the standard decree of registration notwithstanding the delay incurred by Nillas or her predecessors-in-interest in seeking its effectuation and the reasons for such delay. whether deliberately or inadvertently. In this case.. Still. 541 PHIL 277-293) . the Petition is DENIED. We doubt that a final decision's status as res judicata is the impelling ground for its very own execution.. all that Nillas needed to prove was that she had duly acquired the rights of the original adjudicates — her predecessors-in- interest-in order to entitle her to the decree of registration albeit still in the names of the original prevailing parties who are her predecessors-in interest. SO ORDERED. [January 23. The Republic submits that said decision would operate as res judicata only after the decree of registration was issued. and the Republic does not offer any compelling argument to dispute such proof. following the prostracted failure of the then Land Registration Commissioner to issue the decree of registration.R. Carpio. and indeed res judicata is more often invoked as a defense or as a factor in relation to a different case altogether. Finally. No. concur. which did not happen in this case. cCESaH WHEREFORE. 17 when the said judgment has not been reversed or modified. 2007]. the Republic faults the Court of Appeals for pronouncing that the 1941 Decision constituted res judicata that barred subsequent attacks to the adjudicates' title over the subject property. This qualifier stands not so much as a newly-carved exception to the general rule as it does as an exercise in stating the obvious. No pronouncement as to costs. by another final court ruling. JJ. Carpio-Morales and Velasco. G. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals were satisfied that such fact was proven. Quisumbing. Nillas. ||| (Republic v.

EFREN A. ROSKA. petitioner. ALICIA L. respondents. and is binding on the whole world including petitioner. 6. 10 The land registration proceedings being in rem. 1997. LIRIO. 18281 (the lot) of the Cebu Cadastral 12 Extension. 1976 Decision in LRC No. The decision in LRC No. N-983 constitutes res judicata in LRC No. no decree of registration has been issued by the Land Registration Authority (LRA). 1982 directing the Land Registration Commission to issue the corresponding decree of registration and the certificate of title in favor of the spouses Lirio. March 14. Alcover. Cebu City before said resurvey may be used in court. the judgment of the court confirming the title of the applicant or oppositor. Judge Marigomen thereafter issued an order of November 10. When judgment becomes final. 2007. in this respect. N-983 became final and executory on January 29. AMELIA L. N-983 had become final and executory on January 29. They act. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree provides: SEC. Lirio and Jocelyn Anabelle L. Rolando Ting (petitioner) filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu an application for registration of title to the same lot. filed their Answer 2 calling attention to the December 10. (Emphasis supplied) SaHTCE In a registration proceeding instituted for the registration of a private land. 5 and as no action for revival of the said decision was filed by respondents after the lapse of the ten-year prescriptive period. 168913. David. and their act is the act of the court. The revived judgment may also be enforced by motion within five (5) years from the date of its entry and thereafter by action before it is barred by the statute of limitations[. Petitioners insist that the duty of the respondent land registration officials to issue the decree is purely ministerial." 12 (Emphasis supplied) As for petitioner's claim that under Section 6. 18 SECOND DIVISION [G. namely: Flora A. who were afforded the opportunity to file an opposition to petitioner's application by Branch 21 of the Cebu RTC. Abejo. 1977 and which. On February 12. Petitioner argues that although the decision in LRC No. N-983 of spouses Diego Lirio and Flora Atienza's application for registration of the lot settled its ownership. ADELAIDA L. After hearing the respective sides of the parties. Execution by motion or by independent action. a certain Engr. namely: FLORA A. Branch 21 of the Cebu RTC. 1976 decision became "extinct" in light of the failure of respondents and/or of their predecessors-in-interest to execute the same within the prescriptive period. An appeal may be taken from the judgment of the court as in ordinary civil cases. ALCOVER. Cebu City having claimed that the survey of the Cebu Cadastral Extension is erroneous and all resurvey within the Cebu Cadastral extension must first be approved by the Land Management Services of the DENR. After judgment has become final and executory. DAVID. and ordering its registration in his name constitutes. N-983 which had become final and executory on January 29. Amelia L. Adelaida L. the same does not lie. 7 The petition fails.] ROLANDO TING. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). 11 There is. the present petition for review on certiorari which raises the sole issue of whether the decision in LRC No. Plan Rs-07-000787. dismissed petitioner's application on the ground of res judicata. with or without opposition. they argued. 1976 in Land Registration Case (LRC) No. and that the spouses Lirio did not comply with the said requirement for they instead submitted to the court a mere special work order. granted the application filed by the Spouses Diego Lirio and Flora Atienza for registration of title to Lot No. Chief of the Survey Assistance Section. 1 The herein respondents. They are specifically called upon to "extend assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral land registration proceedings. it is their duty to refer the matter to the court. 30. 1977. DUNQUE. vs. 4 it was only on July 26. — A final and executory judgment or order may be executed on motion within five (5) years from the date of its entry. DECISION CARPIO-MORALES. however. and they have no discretion in the matter. 1437-N. Section 30 of Presidential Decree No. The application was docketed as LRC No. 1437-N. N-983. J p: In a Decision of December 10. Alicia L. no showing that the LRA credited the alleged claim of Engineer Belleza and that it reported such claim to the land registration court for appropriate action or reconsideration of the decision which was its duty. — The judgment rendered in a land registration proceeding becomes finalupon the expiration of thirty days 8 to be counted from the date of receipt of notice of the judgment. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court reading: SEC. Land Management Services. Region 7. res judicata against the whole world. the land registration court's approval in LRC No. and before it is barred by the statute of limitations. heirs of Diego Lirio. Efren A. Lirio. as officials of the court and not as administrative officials. barred the filing of petitioner's application on the ground of res judicata. AURORA L." petitioner advances that the LRA has not issued the decree of registration. 1977. Aurora L. it shall devolve upon the court to forthwith issue an order in accordance with Section 39 of this Decree to the Commissioner for the issuance of the decree of registration and the corresponding certificate of title in favor of the person adjudged entitled to registration. "the cause of action in the dormant judgment passé[d] into extinction. However. After the lapse of such time.R. Rafaela Belleza. Branch 7. on motion of respondents. LIRIO and JOCELYN ANABELLE L. N-983 had become "extinct." 6 Petitioner thus concludes that an "extinct" judgment cannot be the basis of res judicata.] the December 10. Region 7. 3 Hence. when final. HEIRS OF DIEGO LIRIO. then Judge Alfredo Marigomen of the then Court of First Instance of Cebu. It is ministerial in the sense that they act under the orders of the court and the decree must be in conformity with the decision of the court and with the data found in the record. ABEJO. 1437-N. a judgment may be enforced by action. 9 It becomes final when no appeal within the reglementary period is taken from a judgment of confirmation and registration. 2003 that the "extinct" decision belatedly surfaced as basis of respondents' motion to dismiss LRC No. Dunque. Roska. No. as the case may be. if they are in doubt upon any point in relation to the preparation and issuance of the decree. ISHaTA . duty to cause issuance of decree. Explaining his position that the December 10. 1976 decision in LRC No.

[March 14. such as a land registration case.) This provision of the Rules refers to civil actions and is not applicable to special proceedings.. viz: THAT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THAT THE DECISION RENDERED IN THIS LAND REGISTRATION CASE ON NOVEMBER 28. unless the adverse or losing party is in possession. This is so because a party in a civil action must immediately enforce a judgment that is secured as against the adverse party. Furthermore. in land registration proceedings. it may not be enforced after the lapse of a period of 10 years. 1931 OR TWENTY SIX YEARS AGO. G. No. the petition is. xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) WHEREFORE. and his failure to act to enforce the same within a reasonable time as provided in the Rules makes the decision unenforceable against the losing party. 168913. Jr. Tinga and Velasco. the ownership by a person of a parcel of land is sought to be established. except the proceedings to place the winner in possession by virtue of a writ of possession. except when the adverse or losing party had been in possession of the land and the winning party desires to oust him therefrom.R. in light of the foregoing discussions. except in so far as it supports his theory that after a decision in a land registration case has become final. Rule 39. 6. and after five years but within 10 years. Quisumbing. ||| (Ting v. by an action (Sec. et al. We fail to understand the arguments of the appellant in support of the above assignment. Heirs of Lirio. 13 enunciates the raison d'etre why Section 6. Ana v. concur. Carpio. 6. becomes final without any further action. condition or fact. Rule 39 does not apply in land registration proceedings. no further proceeding to enforce said ownership is necessary. Rolando Ting. DENIED. After the ownership has been proved and confirmed by judicial declaration. In special proceedings the purpose is to establish a status. except by another proceeding to enforce the judgment or decision.. there is no provision in the Land Registration Act similar to Sec. Rule 39. SO ORDERED. HAS NOT YET BECOME FINAL AND UNENFORCEABLE. Costs against petitioner. 2007]. Authority for this theory is the provision in the Rules of Court to the effect that judgment may be enforced within 5 years by motion. 19 Sta. The decision in a land registration case. JJ. Menla. upon the expiration of the period for perfecting an appeal. regarding the execution of a judgment in a civil action. 547 PHIL 237-244) .

994. v. and Manotok Estate Corporation. as was done in Gonzaga v. T-177013 issued in its name by the Caloocan City Register of Deeds. INC. Inc. CLT Realty Development Corporation On 10 August 1992. ALSON AND VIRGINIA DIMSON. 2007.. It may as well be renamed the "Land of Caveat Emptor. Branch 129.342 hectares of the Maysilo Estate. LERMA AND RENE POLICAR.R. Hipolito's title emanated from Jose Dimson's (Dimson) TCT No. HEIRS OF JOSE B. It was established that the entire Maysilo Estate was registered under Act No. Ruiz and Leuterio sold the property to Francisco Gonzalez who held title thereto until 22 August 1938 when the property was transferred to Jose Leon Gonzalez. Dimson alleged that he was the absolute owner of part of the Maysilo Estate in Malabon covered by TCT No. Caloocan City a complaint for recovery of possession and damages against Araneta Institute of Agriculture. and Manotok Estate Corporation (Manotoks) the possession of Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate in an action filed before the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City.] ARANETA INSTITUTE OF AGRI-CULTURE. petitioner. a title issued pursuant to an order of the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Caloocan City. DIMSON. No. is in order. 9 The Manotok title likewise traced as its primary source OCT No. 7 CLT's claim was anchored on Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. Court of Appeals 4 have stood as the Rosetta Stone in deciphering claims emanating from OCT No. J p: The stability of the country's Torrens system is menaced by the infestation of fake land titles and deeds. ROQUETA R. For clarity. petitioners. the Manotoks challenged the validity of the title relied on by CLT. 11 The trial court. 123346 and 134385. These two petitions 1 involve properties covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No." The controversy attending the lands of OCT No. Juana Francisca Gonzalez. 17 . December 14. AND ESPERANZA R. which affirmed the decision of the trial court. comprising an area larger than the sovereign states of Monaco and the Vatican. 3 Despite their prime location within Metropolitan Manila. On the contrary. Dimson's title appears to have been sourced from OCT No. 2007.R. 134385. he prayed that Araneta be ordered to vacate the same and remove all improvements thereon and to return full possession thereof to him. Maria Clara Gonzalez. even if we ruffle feathers in the process. Branch 33. CLT Realty Development Corporation (CLT) sought to recover from Manotok Realty. claiming that Dimson's title. 5 and in the Court's Decision dated 29 November 2005 (2005 Decision) in these cases. 16 B. 12that Lot 26 was transferred to CLT by Hipolito whose title was derived from the Dimson title and that on the basis of the technical descriptions of the property appearing in the Manotok titles. 15 they filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court. 10 On 3 March 1920. A. 496 by virtue of which OCT No. which title in turn was derived from Estelita Hipolito (Hipolito) by virtue of a Deed of Sale with Real Estate Mortgage dated 10 December 1988. was irregularly issued and. hence. concomitant to our base task as the ultimate citadel of justice and legitimacy. the latter's property indeed encroached on the property described in CLT's title. Dimson. DIMSON AND THEIR CHILDREN. 994 has not eluded this Court. The Manotoks asserted their ownership over Lot 26 and claimed that they derived it from several awardees and/or vendees of the National Housing Authority. Francisco Felipe Gonzalez and Concepcion Maria Gonzalez under TCT No. The lot was then. 994 which in turn encompasses 1. No. subdivided into seven (7) parcels each in the name of each of the Gonzalezes. Inc. respondents. on 9 September 1918. Court of Appeals. RESOLUTION TINGA. respondent. [G. al. which have already been extensively narrated in the 2005 Decision. 6 Yet in the course of resolving these motions for reconsideration came the revelation that OCT No. Certain immutable truths reflected on the face of OCT No. 123346. vs. Inc. Inc. 123346. REPRESENTED BY HIS COMPULSORY HEIRS: HIS SURVIVING SPOUSE. R-15169 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. No. our findings and ruling in MWSS v. LINDA AND CARLOS LAGMAN.] MANOTOK REALTY. 8 For their part. Dimson filed with the then CFI of Rizal. Consuelo Susana Gonzalez.R. DIMSON. Araneta Institute of Agriculture. G. was transferred to Alejandro Ruiz and Mariano Leuterio who had previously acquired the property on 21 August 1918 by virtue of an "Escritura de Venta" executed by Don Tomas Arguelles and Don Enrique Llopis. A recapitulation of the facts. INC. NORMA AND CELSA TIRADO. 994. 134385. 994 must emerge and gain vitality. 994 was issued by the Register of Deeds of Rizal. Since 1992. 13 The Manotoks appealed to the Court of Appeals. Nos. and MANOTOK ESTATE CORPORATION. On 18 December 1979. 2The vast tract of land stretches over three (3) cities. December 14. G. vs. adopted the factual findings and conclusions arrived at by the majority commissioners appointed to resolve the conflict of titles.R. 14 Their motion for reconsideration having been denied. Alleging that Araneta had been illegally occupying the land and that the latter refused to vacate the same despite repeated demands. He alleged that Dimson's title to the subject land was void and hence he had no cause of action. we narrate separately the antecedent facts in G. 994 was lost in translation following MWSS. R-15169. 994 have been beset by controversy and sullied by apparent fraud.R. Heirs of Jose B. 35486. ascribing error to the appellate court in upholding the trial court's decision which decided the case on the basis of the majority commissioners' report and overlooked relevant facts in the minority commissioner's report. et. Branch 33. No. the properties included in OCT No. 20 EN BANC [G. the judicial devotion is towards purging the system of illicit titles. the same and subsequent titles flowing therefrom are likewise void. REGISTER OF DEES OF MALABON. Manotok Realty. CLT REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. (Araneta). cloudy titles and shady transfers. per annotation dated 21 November 1946. I. Araneta for its part admitted occupancy of the disputed land by constructing some buildings thereon and subdividing portions thereof in the exercise of its right as absolute owner. the proximate source of CLT's title. Any decision of this Court that breathes life into spurious or inexistent titles all but contributes to the blight. 994 which. ruling for CLT. vs.

thus: From the above petitions. All these titles were derived from Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. the date of the original survey of the mother title together with the succeeding date of subdivision or consolidation. 18 Undaunted. TCT No. 63268. It was also pointed out that Araneta's TCT No. or on April 19. the Court proceeded to discuss the absence of merit of the petitions. i. 994 registered on May 3. 994 was not the mother title not only because the original survey dates were different but also because the original survey date must always be earlier than the issue date of the original title. The Manotoks and Araneta duly filed their respective motions for reconsideration. there were inherent technical infirmities or defects in the titles that formed each link in the chain of ownership that culminated in the Manotok title. and 3. SO ORDERED. First. 994 registered earlier. 2. the absence of the original survey dates of OCT No. should mean that OCT No. 994 was issued on May 3. 1977. Which of the Certificates of Title of the contending parties are valid: A. 1917 in the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City covering Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate. 21485. 7528. Also in 2002. 26 of the Maysilo Estate. T-177013 in the name of CLT Realty Development Corporation. in Special Proceedings No. which heard oral arguments on 1 August 2006. R-15169 in the name of Jose B. 148767. the appellate court declared that the title of Araneta to the disputed land is a nullity. 1917 and nullify the same OCT No. 21 As both petitions involved interrelated challenges against the validity of the parties' separate titles to portions of the greater Maysilo Estate. Second. The Court formulated the issues for oral argument. 26405. on 30 May 1997. 2. 8012. TCT Nos. 24 The Court acknowledged that the paramount question raised in the petitions is whether the titles issued in the name of Dimson and of CLT are valid. 96259. Araneta interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals which. II. 994. Niño Kapitbahayan Association. and 15168 by virtue of the Decision dated October 13. the cases were elevated to the Court en banc.. No. Court of Appeals (G. C-17272. 103558. 1917. No. Court of Appeals (G. It noted that Dimson's TCT No. or on May 3. Noting that this question is one purely of fact. the Court pointed out that the titles of respondents in all three cases were derived from OCT No. 123346. Inc. November 17. 1996) sustaining the validity of OCT No. it was established procedure to indicate in the certificate of title. covering the same Lot No. 994 registered on April 19. along with G. the Court chose not to delve anymore into the correctness of the said decisions which had already attained finality and immutability. 1917" which was previously "declared null and void by the Supreme Court in Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System v. and TCT No. they. 1917? III. the factual findings of the trial courts in these cases as affirmed by the Court of Appeals must be accorded the highest degree of respect and not disturbed at all. However. B. Thus. 21107. On 29 November 2005. All these titles were derived from OCT No. . For this reason. 7762. Gonzaga v. 163902 and 165119 in the name of Manotok Realty.R. Petitioner's titles: 1. affirmed the lower court's decision. 1917" and that the same was obtained by Dimson simultaneously with other titles. Nonetheless. were in English. 13574 and 21343 were both derived from "OCT No. the instant petitions are DENIED and the assailed Decisions and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are hereby AFFIRMED in toto. OCT No. viz: TCT Nos. No. on account of their experience and expertise. same city. 994 on Manotok's chain of titles. 1917. and 3.R. 15166. T-1214528. because the validity of said mother title was upheld by the Court itself inMWSS and reiterated in Heirs of Gonzaga. the Republic of the Philippines sought and was allowed intervention in these cases. Inc. Court of Appeals. Dimson. September 3. are in a better position to determine which of the contending titles is valid.e. 21 The trial court ruled for Dimson in its Decision dated 28 May 1993 with these findings: first. 994 registered later. the Court held that the same was beyond its power to determine and so. 1992) and Heirs of Luis J. R-15169 was derived from "OCT No. that the technical descriptions in the titles were written in Spanish whereas those in the alleged mother title. TCT No. 34255. 33904. the Third Division of the Court rendered the 2005 Decision. the Court emphasized. No. an abnormal state that deviated from the usual practice in the issuance of titles. On 5 June 2006. Costs against petitioners. C-35267." 20 Araneta then filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court attributing error to the Court of Appeals in failing to recognize that it had a better right of possession over the property than did Dimson. 22 were consolidated per Resolutions dated 21 April 1999 and 6 March 2002. 9866. 994 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City registered on 19 April 1917. and second. T-1770 in the name of CLT Realty Development Corporation. which is December 22. the Court upheld the validity of the trial court's adoption of the commissioners' majority report as part of the decision inasmuch as the same is allowed by Section 11. Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) Nos. C-732. Respondents' Title: 1. Rule 32 of the Rules of Court and that a case of overlapping titles absolutely necessitates the assistance of experts in the field of geodetic engineering who.R. the trial court added.R. 15167. TCT Nos. 994 registered on May 3. 737 and 13574 in the name of Araneta Institute of Agriculture. which. 55896.. 26407. 26406. T-158373 and T-158374 in the name of Sto. 994 registered on April 19. 23 the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. TCT No. 19 In so holding. the following principal issues are gathered: I. particularly with respect to G. 1977 and Order dated October 18. OCT No. Can this Court still overturn at this point its Decision in Metropolitan Water Works and Sewerage Systems (MWSS) v. 1917 which was much ahead of the survey date indicated in the succeeding titles. 41956. T-232568 in the name of Manotok Estate Corporation. the trial court may well rely on their findings and conclusions. whether original or transfer certificate.

respectively." though it "is entered before the transmittal of the same for transcription at the Register of Deeds. that which the Solicitor General had presented to the Court. All certificates of title shall be numbered consecutively. 994 that was dated 19 April 1917.I. at Manila. . with their respective copies of OCT No.' and deliver the same to the owner or to his attorney duly authorized. Pursuant to this order. 35 Yet the argument smacks of plain sophistry. 1917 at 9:00 o'clock in the morning. 1912. has changed the essence and complexion of the controversy. 27 On the other hand. otherwise known as the Land Registration Act: SEC. 994. there is no evident variance between the copies of OCT No. In case of a variance between the owner's duplicate certificate and the original certificate the original shall prevail. 28and manifested that he could attach the same to CLT's memorandum. In this particular case. (emphasis supplied) As evident on the face of OCT No. 31 The claim of the Solicitor General that there is only one OCT No. the counsel for CLT stated during the same oral argument that he had seen a photocopy of an OCT No. including the seal. A.M. however.M. It may be observed that at the face of the OCT 994 which was then on file at the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan and now kept in the LRA. P. Immediately upon the entry of the decree of registration the clerk shall send a certified copy thereof. The register of deeds shall in each case make an exact duplicate of the original certificate. the GLRO prepared Decree No. 994. there is only one OCT 994. . . 1917. 994 submitted by the OSG and CLT. May 3. the Judge Norberto Romualdez presiding. 994. and the register of deeds shall transcribe the decree in a book to be. nineteen hundred and seventeen at 7:30 A. 36455 and issued the same on April 19. as indicated in her present Dissenting Opinion. The process involved is what this Court called "the method of giving a paper title. or leaves.. 1917 at 9:00 A. Associate Judge of said Court. . 1917. 22 How will the Reports of the Department of Justice and the Senate Fact-Finding Committee. Interestingly. shall be devoted exclusively to each title.m. 994. a theory which was likewise reflected in the Court's earlier Advisory on the issues prior to the oral argument. August 4. The emergence of such fact.I. which trial court? 25 A crucial fact emerged during the oral arguments. the Court directed the Solicitor General and counsel for CLT to submit to the Court "certified true copies of the Original Certificate of Title No. 17 April 1917 or 3 May 1917? II. it appears that on December 3. under the seal of the court. contrary as it is to the crucial predicate underlying the issues presented in the Court's Advisory. through the Solicitor General. nineteen hundred and twelve. one dated 19 April 1917 and the other 3 May 2007. April 19. to the register of deeds for the province. Obviously. 1917. 994. The argument is based on the theory that it is "the decree of registration [that] produces legal effects. Both copies of OCT No. in fact.D. 994 was duly confirmed though belatedly by CLT itself. . or provinces. We turn to the date of OCT No. 994 registered on May 3. 994 attached thereto. . ATTEST: ENRIQUE ALTAVAS Chief of the Land Registration Office of Justice Received for transcription at the office of the Register of Deeds for the Province of P. 994 submitted by the Solicitor General and CLT indicate on their face that the decree of registration issued on 19 April 1917 was received for transcription at the office of the Register of Deeds for the Province of Rizal on 3 May 1917. There is no other date to speak of. The Republic. both the Solicitor General and the counsel for CLT submitted their separate "Compliance" to this Court." 36 It is spelled out in detail in Sections 41 and 42 of Act No. 19 April 1917. on its face appears the date of transcript. this third day of May. In the records of the Land Registration Authority. beginning with number one. not presented in evidence before the trial courts concluding that the valid title is OCT No. 33 it maintains that the OCT should be deemed registered as of the date of issuance of the decree of registration. 1917. 2006. 26 strenuously argued that contrary to the supposition reflected in the Advisory. ." 34 This argument marks a radical departure from CLT's earlier theory that there were two OCTs No. the 19th day of April A. and actually "received for transcription" by the Register of Deeds on 3 May 1917. 'Issued at Manila. 994 dated May 3. 1917 and April 19. 4429 rendered judgment ordering the GLRO to issue a decree. the Court of Land Registration. on even date.D. the 3rd day of December.called the 'registration book. . The certified copy of the decree of registration shall be filed and numbered by the register of deeds with a reference noted on it to the place of record of the original certificate of title: Provided. 'Witness: the Honorable Norberto Romualdez. and CLT admits just as much in its Memorandum dated 3 September 2006. The validity then of all subsequent titles tracing their origin from OCT 994 should be tested in the light of these set of facts. even as CLT admits that there is only one OCT No. the following entry can be seen. affect the disposition of these cases? Will it be necessary to remand these cases to the trial courts to determine which of the Certificates of Title are valid? If so. . Philippines. 1917 is not the date of inscription or the date of transcription of the decree into the Original Certificate of Title. and shall be signed by him and sealed with the seal of the court. Even the ponente of the 2005 Decision has recognized this fact. Received for transcription at the Office of the Register of Deeds for the province of Rizal this 3rd day of May 1917 at 7:30 a. 41.' in which a leaf. The key to grant or deny the motions for reconsideration is the answer to the question: which is the true date of OCT No. the decree of registration was issued on 19 April 1917." 30 In response to this directive. or city in which the land lies. acting on Land Registration Case No. Indeed. there was. 496. only one OCT No. on or before Friday. 29 At the same time. in consecutive order. instead of the date it was received for transcription by the Register of Deeds on 3 May 1917. The entry made by the register of deeds in this book in each case shall be the original certificate of title. It appears that the transcription of the decree was done on the date it was received by the Register of Deeds of Rizal on May 3. but putting on it the words 'Owner's duplicate certificate. it is ordered by the Court that said land be registered in accordance with the provisions of the Land Registration Act in the name of said . 994 as reflected in the quoted portion of the certified true copy thereof submitted by the Republic of the Philippines: 32 Therefore.

O. When this is transcribed or spread in toto in the registration book and signed by the register of deeds. it is that date that is the date of registration since that was when he was able to transcribe the decree in the registration book. xxx xxx xxx The issuance of the original and owner's duplicate certificates are basic for the valid existence of the title. in consecutive order should be devoted exclusively to each title. Subsequent certificates relating to the same land shall be in like form. but shall be entitled 'Transfer from number' (the number of the next previous certificate relating to the same land).") With the plain language of the law as mooring. as he wrote.L. Subsequent certificates relating to the same land shall be in like form. entered pursuant to decree of the Court of Land Registration. as the case may be. under seal of the said office. but shall be entitled. the date and time of such transcription being set forth in the process and certified to at the foot of each entry or certificate of title. the court shall cause the part lying in each province or in the city of Manila to be described separately by metes and bounds in the decree of registration." in which a leaf.) in the name of the Judge to the fact that the land described therein is registered in the name of the applicant or oppositor or claimant as the case maybe. and page of registration." and also the words "Originally registered (date. volume. 496 provides that the certificate first registered in pursuance of the decree of registration in regard to any parcel of land shall be entitled in the registration book "Original Certificate of Title. it was stressed that what stands as the certificate of the title is the transcript of the decree of registration made by the registrar of deeds in the registry. xxx xxx xxx The land becomes a registered land only upon the transcription of the decree in the original registration book by the register of deeds. SEC. and the register of deeds shall register the same and issue an owner's duplicate therefor. 37 Such difference is highlighted by Sec. and the clerk shall send to the register of deeds for each province. Act No. the Commissioner of Land Registration sends a certified copy thereof. the page on which the transcription is made become the "original certificate of title. also a former Assistant Commissioner of the Land Registration Commission and Acting Register of Deeds of Manila. and page of registration). The textbook writers and authorities on Land Registration are unanimous on the matter. and thereafter for all matters pertaining to registration under this Act the portion in each province or city shall be treated as a separate parcel of land. This certificate shall take effect upon the date of the transcription of the decree. The entry made by the Register of Deeds in said book constitutes the original certificate of title and is signed by him and sealed with the seal of his office. the entry of the decree is made by the chief clerk of the land registration and the entry of the certificate of title is made by the register of deeds. the Registrar of Land Titles transcribes the same in the registry book called the "Registration Book" and issues an owner's duplicate certificate of title to the applicant upon payment by him of the necessary registration fees. 42 The same view came from Professor Narciso Peña. Since what is now acknowledged as the authentic OCT No. 41 So was Professor Francisco Ventura: Immediately upon the issuance and entry of the decree of registration. and also the words 'Originally registered' (date. The certificate first registered in pursuance of the decree of registration in regard to any parcel of land shall be entitled in the registration book 'Original certificate of title. thus: Thus. 23 That when an application includes land lying in more than one province. widely acknowledged as the leading authority on the subject during his time. A certificate of title is deemed as regularly issued with the issuance of the original copy and owner's duplicate. or one province and the city of Manila. 496 as it provides that the certificate of title is issued in pursuance of the decree of registration." more commonly called the Torrens title. 38 Otherwise stated. 113. to the Register of Deeds of the province where the land lies. 39 Moreover. "Transfer from number (the number of the next previous certificate relating to the same land). the Registrar of Land Titles may now use only the seal of his office. a copy of the decree containing a description of the land within that province or city. entered pursuant to decree of the Court of Land Registration. dated at (stating time and place of entry of decree and the number of the case). Issuance of additional copies are permissive and their non-existence does not affect the status of title. was of the same conviction: A decree of registration is an order issued under the signature of the Commissioner of Land Registration (formerly Chief. This certificate shall take effect upon the date of the transcription of the decree. it is only after the transcription of the decree by the register of deeds that the certificate of title is to take effect. 31 of Act No. 43 . volume. In the first ruling. G. The entry made by the Registrar of Land Titles in his registry book is actually the original copy of the original certificate of title and shall be signed by him and sealed with the seal of the Court and of his office. who was also once Register of Deeds of Quezon City and Deputy Register of Deeds of Manila. this Court in two vintage and sound rulings made it plain that the original certificate of title is issued on the date the decree of registration is transcribed. 994 indicates that it was received for transcription by the Register of Deeds of Rizal on 3 May 1917. such entry made in the book being the original certificate of title. 42. Pursuant to Rep. In the second. thus: Immediately upon the issuance and entry of the decree of registration. The late Commissioner Antonio Noblejas. dated at' (stating time and place of entry of decree and the number of case). what is actually issued by the register of deeds is the certificate of title itself. or leaves. not the decree of registration. Section 42 of Act No. 40 Professor Florencio Ponce. it was held that there is a marked distinction between the entry of the decree and the entry of the certificate of title. as he is precisely the recipient from the land registration office of the decree for transcription to the certificate as well as the transcriber no less. or the city of Manila. and the register of Deeds transcribes the decree in a book. wrote.R. called the Registration Book. dispensing with the court seal.

1917. 36455. 994 dated April 19. 994 registered on May 3. But if the Court were to accede to the dissent and agree that it did not really matter whether the date of registration of OCT No. while private respondents' title was derived from OCT No. 47 Four years later. was "a transfer from Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. the context of MWSS in making the final citation. Alfonso. 994 issued on April 19. it will be noted that petitioner's title over Lots 2693 and 2695 both with an area of 599 square meters was based on the Cadastral Survey of Caloocan City." and "registered under OCT No. the same decision inconsistently refers to it also as OCT No. 1917." 53 It was further observed by the Court that "on the one hand. 4429." But if we examine MWSS closely. even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law. 34. Nothing is more settled in law than that once a judgment attains finality it becomes immutable and unalterable. private respondents' title was derived from the same OCT No. which essentially reaffirmed foregoing factual pronouncements made in MWSS. However. has long become final and executory." 49 (2) Although petitioner's title was issued in 1940.R. In successive registrations." was to point out that as a result "the subsequent registration of the same land on May 3. it appears to be beset with semantic confusion." 52 In one (1) out of the four (4) times that reference was made to the mother title of Dimson in MWSS. Dimson was the registered owner of a parcel land situated in Balintawak. The titles of the respondents in these cases were derived from OCT No. the recent decision of the Court in Alfonso v. 994 "dated April 19. the subsequent registration of the same land on May 3. as reflected in several subsequent titles purportedly derived from that mother title. Said parcel of land was originally Lot 28 of the Maysilo Estate (OCT) No. Notwithstanding the emerging error in fact that informed the MWSS and Gonzaga decisions. 994 but dated April 19. private respondents' title indicates original registration to have been made on April 19. is now acknowledged as spurious. 994 but dated April 19.R. et al. 994 issued on April 19. C-15167 which was registered on June 8. . Kalookan City with an area of 213. MWSS v. 1917 from which the titles of the respondents in the cases at bar were derived. 994 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City registered on April 19. 994. III. It cannot be so for otherwise. Where two certificates (of title) purport to include the same land. 994. the person claiming under the prior certificate is entitled to the estate or interest. 45 This new conclusion likewise differs from what the Court had to say regarding OCT No. In Alfonso. 36455 issued in Land Registration Case No. If indeed the difference in dates were "inconsequential. This new stance squarely contravenes or deviates from the following unequivocal pronouncement in the 2005 Decision: We noted in the beginning of this Decision that the issue in all these three (3) cases involves the validity of the parties' overlapping titles. 36957 which was derived from OCT No. "dated April 19. 96259. from 3 May 1917 to 19 April 1917. no other conclusion can be reached than that the Court deemed Dimson's mother title as having been registered on a date earlier than 3 May 1917. Court of Appeals 48 decision. presented sequentially: (1) "Jose B. the Court precisely penalized Alfonso. 1917. "registered under OCT No. was irregular. where more than one certificate is issued in respect of a particular estate or interest in land." 51 (4) "Lastly. 1917 is null and void. more or less. 50 (3) "It must be observed that the title of petitioner MWSS was a transfer from TCT No. Gonzaga v. We cannot delve anymore into the correctness of the Decision of this Court in MWSS. that there is an OCT No. 24 The dissent has likewise suggested that the variance between these two dates is ultimately inconsequential. 994 which was registered on April 19. Upon the other hand. 1917" in the adverted MWSS v. and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest court of the land. a certificate is not conclusive evidence of title if it is shown that the same land had already been registered and an earlier certificate for the same is in existence. the former register of deeds of Caloocan because she acquiesced to the change of the date of registration of OCT No. 994 dated April 19. Upon the other hand. Gonzaga primarily relied on the ruling of the Court in MWSS upon a finding that the case involved "facts that are exactly the same as those that we have passed and ruled upon in the [MWSS case]. 1917. Significantly. Office of the President 44 would simply be wrong." The title which was affirmed by the Court in Gonzaga. The said Decision. 994 registered on May 3. 1917. 994 dated April 19. 994 issued on April 19. 1917". 1917. Court of Appeals. had invariably issued certificates of title. Court of Appealsdated September 3. and the person is deemed to hold under the prior certificate who is the holder of. 1917. it was "OCT No. Cadastral Case No. and covered by TCT No. MWSS recognized an OCT No." 54 . 994 registered on 19 April 1917. or whose claim is derived directly or indirectly from the person who was the holder of the earliest certificate issued in respect thereof. TCT No. 1917 pursuant to Decree No. 994 which was registered by the Registry of Deeds of Rizal on 3 May 1917. private respondents' title prevails over that of petitioner MWSS. 1917" which is the language preferred by the dissent since it hews to the date of issuance of the decree of registration in the authentic OCT No. 1917 pursuant to Decree No. 1992 earlier cited in the assailed Decisions. 1917 is null and void. 1978. 1917. as found by the Court. 994 issued on April 19. Court of Appeals 46decision: It must be observed that the title of petitioner MWSS was a transfer from TCT No. We make the following relevant references from that decision. 994 which was registered on April 19. Alfonso should be spared of the penalty of dismissal from the service which the Court had already affirmed. 5 Since the land in question has already been registered under OCT No. confirming the validity of OCT No. a circumstance which. No. . No." Notably. the Court concluded." hence. The validity of such mother title has already been upheld by this Court in G. then poor Mrs. the earlier in date prevails . the earlier factual finding in MWSS is indefensible. in point of priority of issuance. 994 "registered on April 19. reflecting either the 19 April or 3 May date. the ruling in MWSS was reiterated in G. Since the dissent and even CLT now acknowledge that there is only one OCT No.012 square meters. private respondent's title was derived from the same OCT No. 1917. a title that never existed and. the Court promulgated the Gonzaga v. the dissent now claims that said decisions confirmed "the validity of the OCT No. Even the dissent does not insist. 1917. It may no longer be modified in any respect. 994 registered or dated 19 April 1917. dated November 17. [therein] petitioners' titles indicate original registration to have been made on May 3. C-26806 in the name of Lilia Sevilla. Hence. even assuming that it did exist. 1917." then it should not have really mattered that Mrs. 36957 which was derived from OCT No. 1917. 994 was 3 May or 19 April. 1917. but on the other hand. 1996. Heirs of Luis J. as the 2005 Decision did. 103558.

m. To that end. like MWSS. Undisputedly. it is basic that no man shall be affected by any proceeding to which he is a stranger. Volume NA. 994 is valid or had existed in the first place. as they were not parties thereto and and their properties were not involved therein. Yet with the emergence of a new fact — the enactment of the Local Government Code vis-à-vis Pelaez. the genuine OCT No. 34. then such titles are void or otherwise should not be recognized by this Court.C. even if it can be argued that the rights involving other parties and properties are afflicted with inconsistency as regards the legal rulings therein. it should necessarily follow that any title that is sourced from the 17 April 1917 OCT is void. 57 With respect to the other municipalities which were not annulled in Pelaez. the operative effect of the "doctrines" pronounced in MWSS and Gonzaga can extend only to the parties and properties involved in said cases. ________. Record No. 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. Case No. T-177013: 60 IT IS FURTHER CERTIFIED that said land was originally registered on the 19th day of April. the Court would. 994 dated May 3. 34. 34. it does not mean that the so-called 17 April 1917 OCT No. Entered at City of Kalookan Philippines. R-17994. which is cancelled by virtue hereof in so far as the above-described land is concerned. page ____. 55 We can take instruction from the tack previously taken by this Court in dealing with municipalities created by executive orders. in the next few decades. ____ Record No. as now acknowledged. TCT No. in the year nineteen hundred and seventeen in the Registration Book of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal. _____ in the name of ___________.R. 25 It was the title originally registered on 19 April 1917 which was made to prevail in Gonzaga. nineteen hundred and seventeen in the Registration Book of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal. after the adoption of the Local Government Code of 1991 that gave statutory recognition to the de facto municipalities which had not yet been annulled. 994. As we very recently reaffirmed. 56 the Court declared as a general principle that the President had no power to create municipalities through executive orders. 36455 issued in L. Reproduced below is what appears on the face of TCT No. The dissent proposes that we perpetuate the erroneous premise even as the error is plainly acknowledged. but certainly we can decline to infuse further validity to their erroneous basic premise that there was an OCT No. the two cases involved different parcels of land. 36455 issued in L. 4429. 994 must be distinguished from "OCT No. It would be especially incoherent for the Court to reiterate MWSS and Gonzaga when they effectuated the OCT No. This certificate is a transfer from Transfer Certificate of Title No. thus: 61 IT IS FURTHER CERTIFIED that said land was originally registered on the 19th day of April.C. alleging that it was the registered owner of Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate covered by TCT No. is depicted. is no longer reliable as well. and strangers to a case are not bound by judgment rendered by the court. Such conclusion is inescapable whatever questions there may be about the veracity of the 3 May 1917 OCT based on Cadastral Case No. which is cancelled by virtue hereof in so far as the above-described land is concerned. 59 As in Pelaez. or the present acknowledgment that only the 3 May 1917 OCT No. 994. Since there is no OCT No. 994 exists vis-à-vis MWSS and Gonzaga — subsequent rulings would be informed primarily by the new developments. 1917 involved in the MWSS and Gonzaga cases" because the former title was "based on the Cadastral Survey of Kalookan City under Cadastral Case No. following MWSS. pursuant to Decree No. This certificate is a transfer from Trans. In the Manotok petition." It is elemental to note that assuming said 3 May OCT was somehow flawed because it was based on Cadastral Case No. CLT further alleged that it derived TCT No. as Original Certificate of Title No. 994 registered on 19 April 1917 and acknowledge at the same time that the same OCT never existed. However. R-15166/T-75. which dwells in the main on the alleged flaws in the titles held by the Manotoks and Araneta. The present petitioners could not be bound by the decisions in the two cases. it follows that the primary focus should have been whether the titles held by CLT and the Dimsons are valid and with force and effect. T-177013 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. R-17994/T-89. on the 15th day of March In the year nineteen hundred and eighty-nine at 19:48 a. said rulings have become virtually functus officio except on the basis of the "law of the case" doctrine. 994 dated 17 April 1917. T-177013 on 10 December 1988 from Estelita Hipolito whose title. 994 registered on 19 April 1917.R. 994. Since the decision in favor of CLT and the Heirs of Dimson was ultimately grounded on a factual predicate now acknowledged as erroneous. Since even the dissent now discounts the existence of the so-called 17 April 1917 OCT No. CLT had originally filed a complaint for annulment of the titles in the name of the Manotoks. Certificate of Title No. also covering the Maysilo Estate. we need only examine the titles relied upon by CLT and the Dimsons. 994 which is that there is only one such OCT differs from that expressed in the MWSS and Gonzaga decisions. 994 originally registered on 19 April 1917. without making a similar inquiry into the titles held by CLT and the Heirs of Dimson. page NA. . instead of nullifying the creation of all municipalities created in the same manner. pursuant to Decree No. as Original Certificate of Title No. We need not go as far as to revive the MWSS or Gonzaga decisions. the two cases should not bind the parties in the petitions now before us. This approach immensely differs from that preferred by the 2005 Decision and the dissenting view. Auditor General. the Court started to affirm the legal existence of such municipalities. the Court only annulled those municipalities whose creation was specifically attacked in the petition filed by then-Vice President Pelaez. it follows that Gonzaga. similar to the municipalities created which though created by void executive orders were not however annulled. The argument has been raised by the ponente of the 2005 Decision that the 3 May 1917 OCT No. Moreover. in the year. IV. 994 being that which was registered on 3 May 1917. 58 However. a stance that will not serve the Court well should it prevail. Volume 36455. annul only the municipalities which were specifically challenged in petitions raised before the Court. Since the true basic factual predicate concerning OCT No. If these titles are sourced from the so-called OCT No. rather than by the previous precedents that were not able to take into account the true or new factual premises. and can no longer be relied upon as precedents. Beginning with Pelaez v.

and that is OCT No. and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendant's claim. and the court's order precisely followed the petition of the registered owner. the burden of proof did not lie on them. In fact.m. Dimson's original complaint for recovery of possession against Araneta was founded on the claim that he was the absolute owner of a parcel of land located at Malabon. in the Registration Book of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal. On their faces. therefore. __ This Certificate is a transfer from Original Certificate of Title No. the effect would have been to precipitate the utter astonishment of legal scholars. the express purpose of cadastral proceedings. the surveyor recommended that the title be cancelled and a new one issued in the names of such persons as the court may determine. The reality that cadastral courts may have jurisdiction over lands already registered in ordinary land registration cases was acknowledged by this Court inPamintuan v. 34 also covering the Maysilo Estate. 4429. and that such jurisdiction cannot operate to deprive a registered owner of his title. Had it been adopted by the Court. there is no such OCT No. Said TCT No. even if the date of such registration is 3 May 1917. This Court ruled that such order was valid and did not amount to a readjudication of the title. 994 dated 3 May 1917 arising from the issuance of Decree No. 36455. 994 issued on 3 May 1917. 34. These titles could be affirmed only if it can be proven that OCT No. 26 Entered at the City of Caloocan Philippines. is void since such registration could not supplant the earlier decision of the land registration court. It dwells on the fact that the titles debunked in the MWSS and Gonzaga cases. 994 dated 3 May 1917. 34. It is evident from all three titles — CLT's. Diaz 67 that the limited jurisdiction of the cadastral court over such lands even extends to the determination of "which one of the several conflicting registered titles shall prevail[. 994 registered on 19 April 1917 had actually existed. the property must be identified. in the year nineteen hundred and seventeen. the chief surveyor had reported to the cadastral court that the land was covered by a decree in a land registration proceeding and registered in the name of Sideco. there is no sense in affirming the 2005 Decision which sustained the complaints for annulment of title and/or recovery of possession filed by CLT and the Dimson when their causes of action are both founded on an inexistent mother title. CLT has specifically manifested that the OCT No. and OCT No. on the 12th day of December in the year nineteen hundred and seventy-eight at 3:30 p. none of these three titles can be accorded recognition simply because the original title commonly referred to therein never existed. provided such corrections do not impair the substantial rights of the registered owner. 994 originally registered on 19 April 1917. It is further opined that the registration of lands pursuant to Cadastral Case No. Original Certificate of Title No. They were precisely predicated on the finality of the title already issued. two competing sources of title — the OCT No. on the 8th day of June in the year nineteen hundred and seventy-eight at 10:34 a. Volume NA. as earlier established. 994 they concede as true is also the one which the Office of Solicitor General submitted as true." 70 . Hipolito's and Dimson's — that the properties they purport to cover were "originally registered on the 19th day April. over land previously registered in the name of Crispulo Sideco. professionals and students alike. issued in LRC Case No.m. Record No. The conclusion is really simple. 65 Such jurisdiction is "limited to the necessary correction of technical errors in the description of the lands. the Court stated that "[t]he proceedings did not in any way purport to reexamine the title already issued. in the year nineteen hundred and seventeen in the Registration Book of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal. 64 V. in effect. 994 dated 3 May 1917 and the titles involved in the Gonzaga and MWSS cases. but they did not. The supposition blatantly runs counter to long-established principles in land cases." Note. comprising fifty (50) hectares of the Maysilo Estate covered by TCT No. Entered at Caloocan City Philippines. To conclude otherwise would constitute deliberate disregard of the truth. as such] power would seem to be necessary for a complete settlement of the title to the land. which find origination from OCT No. After the cadastral proceedings therein had been initiated. or to readjudicate the title of the land. and must therefore be considered to be within the jurisdiction of the court in such proceedings. The dissenting view perceives a material difference between the present acknowledgment of the validity of OCT No. R-15169 is reproduced below: 62 IT IS FURTHER CERTIFIED that said land was originally registered on the 19th day of April. CLT and the Dimsons were given the opportunity to submit such proof before this Court. page ___. Given this essential clarification. 36455 in Land Registration Case No. San Agustin. because it was the registered owner who was asked to express his desire with respect thereto. 994 dated 3 May 1917 based on the Cadastral Survey of Caloocan City in Cadastral Case No. It is in fact the theory of the dissent that there are. 994." 66It was further clarified in Timbol v. seem to have been derived from Cadastral Case No. R-15169 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. the focus is instead placed on the purported flaws of the titles held by the Manotoks and Araneta notwithstanding that said parties swere the defendants before the lower court and. [illegible] which is cancelled by virtue hereof in so far as the above-described land is concerned. 4429. Aznar 69 concerned the validity of an order of a cadastral court directing the issuance of new certificates of title in the name of Sideco and his children. at Sideco's own prayer. The established legal principle in actions for annulment or reconveyance of title is that a party seeking it should establish not merely by a preponderance of evidence but by clear and convincing evidence that the land sought to be reconveyed is his. As earlier mentioned. pursuant to Decree No. 63 In an action to recover. In ruling that the new titles were valid. How can such actions prosper at all even to the extent of dispossessing the present possessors with title? The dissent is hard-pressed in defending the so-called 19 April 1917 OCT from which the Dimson and CLT titles are sourced." 68 The question raised in Sideco v.

994 dated 3 May 1917 was issued. after the instant petitions were filed with this Court. Court of Appeals and Gonzaga v. as appears on the title. 994. delegate the reception of the evidence on such issues to any of its members or to an appropriate court. consolidating all the present petitions. The Republic did not participate as a party when these cases were still before the trial courts and the Court of Appeals. then Chief Justice Panganiban suggested that a remand may be required to determine the status of the original title. Court of Appeals. through the OSG. had sought to intervene. (3) the suspension of the resolution of the present motion for reconsideration while the case is remanded to the Court of Appeals for factual determination. It simply deals with the certificate of title. divesting the registered owner of the title already issued in his favor. or that the cadastral court may not issue a new title at all even if it would not impair the rights of the previously registered owner. there is a case to be made for ordering the dismissal of their original complaints before the trial court. 82 this Court commissioned the former Thirteenth Division of the Court of Appeals to hear and receive evidence on the controversy. and that a full trial be conducted by the trial court. Araneta proposes four (4) options for the Court to consider: (1) the dismissal of the original complaint filed by Dimson. although such date cannot be considered as the date of the title or the date when the title took effect. for such mother title is inexistent. While the Republic had originally prayed for the grant of the petitions filed by all the petitioners in these consolidated cases. 27 The eminent U. to settle which among the private parties derived their titles from the existing OCT 994. Neither could the conclusions in MWSS or Gonzaga with respect to an OCT No. a remand would be appropriate to determine which of the parties. such titles could not have been valid. The decisions of this Court in MWSS v. but at the same time remanding the case to a new division of the Court of Appeals for factual determination pursuant to Section 6. derived valid title from the said genuine OCT No. since it is not a trier of fact 78 as well as not capacitated to appreciate evidence at the first instance. It does not adjudicate the title anew. more particularly to determine "the actual area reclaimed by the Republic Real Estate Corporation. the Court is able to make the following binding conclusions. 994 is that issued on/registered on/dated 3 May 1917. Any title that traces its source to OCT No. On the one hand. and the consequent resolution by the appellate court of the instant petitions. including documentary evidence. 79 the Court may. The OSG observes that during the oral arguments on the motion for reconsideration. 81 Its conclusions as to findings of fact are generally accorded great respect by this Court. With these conclusions. the appreciation of facts is beyond the province of this Court. "a remand of this case to the Court of Appeals. already issued in the name of a person. the Republic of the Philippines. as emphasized in Sideco. 994. 994 dated 17 April 1917 is void. This is for the convenience of the landowner because it is easier for him to identify his property inasmuch as all the lands brought under the cadastral survey are designated by cadastral numbers. pursuant to Section 6. Second. In Republic v. 76 On the other hand. 994 dated 19 April 1917 bind any other case operating under the factual setting the same as or similar to that at bar. which is applicable to original cases for certiorari. and they would be valid for so long as they do not impair the rights of the original registrant to whom OCT No. It is a body that is fully capacitated and has a surfeit of experience in appreciating factual matters. the Court had actually resorted to referring a factual matter pending before it to the Court of Appeals. It is clear that there could be such titles issued. Rather than suggest whether the petitions be granted or denied. The Manotoks submit that there should be a remand to the court of origin. the OSG argues that after a declaration from this Court that it is the 3 May 1917 mother title that is valid.P. is proper" 75 Notably. As it appears on the record. instead it presently seeks of the Court the promulgation of a new ruling upholding the validity of OCT No. Rule 47 of the Rules of Court. or (4) the remand of the proceedings to the Court of Appeals for the reception of further evidence. it is necessary that a new title be issued. 994 dated 17 April 1917 casts doubt on the validity of such titles since they refer to an inexistent OCT. First. giving the lot its cadastral number in accordance with the cadastral survey. explains why cadastral courts have jurisdiction to order the issuance of new titles in place of the title issued under voluntary registration proceedings: "Inasmuch as the land is identified in the plan by cadastral number. especially in regard to their recognition of an OCT No. as explained in Pamintuan and Timbol. On the other hand. such solution may not satisfactorily put to rest the controversy surrounding the Maysilo Estate. 994 issued 73 or registered 74 on May 3. The court cannot change or modify the said decree. 77 Considering that the genuine OCT No. 72 Yet such prohibition does not mean that the cadastral court will not have jurisdiction over the action involving the previously registered land. himself a former Register of Deeds. 994 resulted from the issuance of the decree of registration on 17 April 1917. However. a title which we now acknowledge as inexistent. 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. both the Manotoks and Araneta are amenable to the remand of the petition. whenever necessary to resolve factual issues. law professor Francisco Ventura. In fact. and the areas of the Cultural Center Complex which are 'open spaces' and/or ‘areas reserved for certain purposes. Third. More pertinently. The Court of Appeals generally has the authority to review findings of fact. This error alone is. Court of Appeals cannot apply to the cases at bar. 80 The delegate need not be the body that rendered the assailed decision. what then is the proper course of action to take with respect to the pending motions for reconsideration? Considering that CLT and the Dimsons clearly failed to meet the burden of proof reposed in them as plaintiffs in the action for annulment of title and recovery of possession. It may also be acknowledged. that mother title was received for transcription by the Register of Deeds on 3 May 1917. if any. 1917. the Court of Appeals has the competence to engage in that undertaking." 71 What is prohibited in a cadastral proceeding is the registration of land. This does not mean that the court has the power to alter the decree entered in the previous registration proceeding. (2) a ruling granting Araneta's appeal and dismissing Dimson's complaint. Rule 47 of the Rules of Court. albeit under differing qualifications. 994 dated 19 April 1917.' determining in the process the validity of such postulates and the respective . or the making of such changes in the title as to impair his substantial rights. in fact. there is only one OCT No. particularly the Senate and DOJ Reports. VI. agency or office. and that should be the date which should be reckoned as the date of registration of the title. in the name of another. that OCT No. The fact that the Dimson and CLT titles made specific reference to an OCT No. The dissent contents itself with the simplistic conclusion that because there was a cadastral case covering the Maysilo Estate from which the titles emanated. Under Section 6 of Rule 46. From these premises.

994 on 3 May 1917.. we are not prepared to adopt the findings made by the DOJ and the Senate. that these reports may be taken judicial notice of by this Court. an intervenor in these cases. J. do these orders establish a superior right to the subject properties in favor of the Dimsons and CLT as opposed to the claims of Araneta and the Manotoks? iv. or even consider whether these are admissible as evidence. The fact that they were rendered by the DOJ and the Senate should not. 85 The order of reference can be limited exclusively to receive and report evidence only. 994 issued or registered on 3 May 1997. or just shortly before the rendition of the DOJ and Senate Reports. 28 measurements of the areas referred to. The definitive conclusions reached by the Court thus far in these cases are spelled out in Part VI of this Resolution. JJ. Chico-Nazario and Leonardo-de Castro. 89 In Araneta's case. Justice Lucas Bersamin as Senior Member. J.. The OSG argues that the contents of both of these reports may be considered as evidence. The Court hereby constitutes a Special Division of the Court of Appeals to hear these cases on remand. concur. if it indeed emerges from the determination of the Court of Appeals on remand that notwithstanding the clear flaws of the title of respondents the titles of petitioners are cut from the same counterfeit cloth. following Section 1. The OSG likewise adverts to the findings reached in the respective investigations and reports by the Department of Justice and the Philippine Senate. They were issued some years after the trial courts had promulgated their respective decisions in the Manotok and Araneta cases. Austria-Martinez. . and if so what are those proceedings. are borne by the evidence? Assuming they are. components of the two other co-equal branches of the government. Under Section 2. The same result can obtain herein. Justice Josefina Guevara-Salonga as Chairperson. though such questions may be considered by the Court of Appeals upon the initiative of the parties. and Associate Justice Japar B. the Special Division is directed to make the following determinations based on the evidence already on record and such other evidence as may be presented at the proceedings before it. Puno. took no part." 88 It bears noting that the DOJ and Senate Reports were rendered on 28 August 1997 and 25 May 1998 respectively. Quisumbing. 84 Thus. . the instant cases are hereby REMANDED to the Special Division of the Court of Appeals for further proceedings in accordance with Parts VI. other than upon the pleadings. motu proprio. There are many factual questions looming over the properties that could only be threshed out in the remand to the Court of Appeals. took no part and is on leave. The Manotoks and Araneta advert to certain factual allegations relating to their titles and backstories to advance their respective positions. Both the DOJ Report dated 28 August 1997 and the Senate Report dated 25 May 1998 conclude that there is only one (1) OCT No. in the 2005 Decision. Said conclusions serve to guide the Court of Appeals in hearing these cases on remand. took no part due to relationship to one of the counsels. or for carrying a judgment or order into effect. and the commissioner may likewise rule upon the admissibility of evidence. VIII. see my dissenting opinion. WHEREFORE.. VII. Whether the imputed flaws in the titles of the Manotoks and Araneta. v. SO ORDERED. 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. what are the titles acquired by the Government and whether any of the parties is able to trace its title to the title acquired by the Government through expropriation. Such other matters necessary and proper in ascertaining which of the conflicting claims of title should prevail. direct a reference to a commissioner when a question of fact. Carpio-Morales. a court may. Rule 129 of the Rules of Court. The Special Division is tasked to hear and receive evidence. Whether the factual and legal bases of 1966 Order of Judge Muñoz-Palma and the 1970 Order of Judge Sayo are true and valid. Azcuna. Ynares-Santiago. J. are such flaws sufficient to defeat the claims of title of the Manotoks and Araneta? iii. refused to take into account the reports on the regrettable premise that they could somehow "override" the judicial decisions earlier arrived at. 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. resort to the Court of Appeals is not a deviant procedure.. It also points out. Dimaampao as Junior Member. 86 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 itself. Still. VII and VIII of this Resolution. and certainly the courts will have the discretion to accept or reject them. Since this Court is not a trier of fact. with basis. 994 dated 3 May 1917? ii. In ascertaining which of the conflicting claims of title should prevail. Which of the contending parties are able to trace back their claims of title to OCT No. 87 In Republic." 83 The Court of Appeals therein received the evidence of the parties and rendered a "Commissioner's Report" shortly thereafter. 90 The reports cannot conclusively supersede or overturn judicial decisions. it cannot be disputed that these reports fall within the ambit of "the official acts of the legislative [and] executive. Indeed. arises upon motion or otherwise.J. .. in any stage of a case. Sandoval-Gutierrez. The Special Division shall be composed of three Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals. the Court of Appeals had first ruled against Araneta in its Decision dated 30 May 1997. Whether any of the subject properties had been the subject of expropriation proceedings at any point since the issuance of OCT No. Assuming they are. and even after the Court of Appeals handed down its decision against the Manotoks which is assailed in its present petition. The Court. as recounted in the 2005 Decision. namely. The facts and arguments presented in the reports must still undergo judicial scrutiny and analysis. 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. departments. Carpio. to wit: i. Rule 32 of the Rules of Court. persuade the courts to accept them without inquiry. the commissioner's report formed the basis of the final adjudication by the Court on the matter. C. is armed anyway with any and all appropriate remedies to safeguard the legitimate owners of the properties in question. then the Republic of the Philippines.

versus CLT REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION.R. respondent. Nonetheless. Rule 135 to adopt any suitable process or mode of proceeding which appears conformable to the spirit of the Rules to carry into effect all auxiliary processes and other means necessary to carry our jurisdiction into effect. The parties to these cases. 994 dated 3 May 1917? ii. 2 The Special Division proceeded to conduct hearings in accordance with the Resolution. Dimaampao as Junior Member.R. and if so what are those proceedings. ROQUETA R. No.. ALSON and VIRGINIA DIMSON. LERMA AND RENE POLICAR.. petitioners. DIMSON. DIMSON and their children. Assuming they are. RESOLUTION TINGA.R. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. No. J. 134385 — ARANETA INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURE. J. 29 Corona. WHEREFORE. Justice Lucas Bersamin as Senior Member.S. and Araneta Institute of Agriculture. petitioners. LINDA AND CARLOS LAGMAN. AND THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF MALABON. March 31. REPRESENTED BY HIS COMPULSORY HEIRS: HIS SURVIVING SPOUSE. 10. LINDA and CARLOS LAGMAN. 2009. petitioners. J. G. 1 the Court constituted a Special Division of the Court of Appeals to hear the instant case on remand. The Special Division was composed of three Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals. respondent. Whether the imputed flaws in the titles of the Manotoks and Araneta.. do these orders establish a superior right to the subject properties in favor of the Dimsons and CLT as opposed to the claims of Araneta and the Manotoks? iv. the Special Division is directed to make the following determinations based on the evidence already on record and such other evidence as may be presented at the proceedings before it. Inc. In ascertaining which of the conflicting claims of title should prevail. Inc. owing to our power under Section 6. the Special Division rendered a 70-page Report 3 (Report) on 26 November 2008. we dispose of a preliminary matter. CLT REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. Gutierrez. with Justice Josefina Guevara- Salonga as Chairperson. INC. whereas in the cases at bar. We instructed the Special Division to proceed as follows: The Special Division is tasked to hear and receive evidence. 994 on 3 May 1917. to wit: ICASEH i. were directed by the Special Division to present their respective evidence to the Court of Appeals. 2009. Notably. took no part. VII and VIII of this Resolution. Thereafter. [December 14. vs. REGISTER OF DEEDS OF MALABON. HEIRS OF JOSE B. EHaCID Before taking action on the Report itself. and MANOTOK ESTATE CORPORATION. NORMA AND CELSA TIRADO. We deny the motion. the instant cases are hereby REMANDED to the Special Division of the Court of Appeals for further proceedings in accordance with Parts VI. NORMA and CELSO TIRADO. versus CLT REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. what are the titles acquired by the Government and whether any of the parties is able to trace its title to the title acquired by the Government through expropriation. Rule 32 of the Rules of Court". DIMSON. No. Whether the factual and legal bases of 1966 Order of Judge Muñoz-Palma and the 1970 Order of Judge Sayo are true and valid. INC. ALSON AND VIRGINIA DIMSON. G. the Manotoks filed a motion beseeching that copies of the report be furnished the parties "so that they may submit their comments and objections thereon in accord with the principle contained in Sec. We join the dissent of J. LERMA and RENE POLICAR and ESPERANZA R. see my concurring and dissenting opinion. ROQUETA R. AND ESPERANZA R. are borne by the evidence? Assuming they are. 2007]. SO ORDERED. respondents. respondent. CLT Realty Development Corp. Jr. and MANOTOK ESTATE CORPORATION. INC. G. and Associate Justice Japar B. ||| (Manotok Realty. 2009. 148767 — STO. As a Solicitor General appeared in the oral argument. Nachura. No. 134385. Such other matters necessary and proper in ascertaining which of the conflicting claims of title should prevail. 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. namely CLT Realty Development Corporation (CLT).R.. NIÑO KAPITBAHAYAN ASSOCIATION. versus HEIRS OF JOSE B. Which of the contending parties are able to trace back their claims of title to OCT No. respondent. Manotok Realty Inc. 565 PHIL 59-164) EN BANC [G. petitioner.. and Manotok Estate Corporation (the Manotoks). Velasco. 123346. represented by his Compulsory Heirs: His surviving spouse. the Court did not endeavor to secure the consent of the parties before effectuating the remand to the Court of Appeals. DIMSON AND THEIR CHILDREN. 123346 — MANOTOK REALTY. INC.R.. intervenor. March 31. A. vs. as recounted in the 2005 Decision.] MANOTOK REALTY. v. Whether any of the subject properties had been the subject of expropriation proceedings at any point since the issuance of OCT No.R. DIMSON. No. 123346. our earlier advertence to Rule 32 remains proper even if the adopted procedure does not hew strictly to that Rule. are such flaws sufficient to defeat the claims of title of the Manotoks and Araneta? iii. Dimson (Heirs of Dimson). J p: In the Court's Resolution dated 14 December 2007. the Heirs of Jose B. and Reyes. (Araneta). Section 1 of said Rule authorizes the referral of the case to a commissioner "by written consent of both parties". v. DIMSON. HEaCcD .. 134385. [G. petitioners. INC. No. G. The Special Division submitted the sealed Report to this Court.] ARANETA INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURE. On February 17. It is incorrect to presume that the earlier referral of these cases to the Court of Appeals for reception of evidence was strictly in accordance with Rule 32.

SP No. the various Motions of ARANETA were denied by the Court of Appeals. furnishing the parties with copies of the Sealed Report would not serve any useful purpose. 45255 [SC-G. 4557. IECcaA ARANETA. a derivative title of OCT No. [Lot 25-A-2] of the Caloocan Registry of Deeds. As a basis of its proprietary claim. NO. ARANETA filed a petition before the Supreme Court. 34819 [SC-G. No. Metro Manila) ["CALOOCAN RD"]. 34819 in view of the inter-related issues of the two cases. CV No. the claims of DIMSON and ENRIQUEZ were allegedly barred by prescription. 7784 in evidence to prove that it is the registered owner of the land described therein. the Court ordered DIMSON to maintain status quountil the finality of the aforesaid judgment. the DOJ Committee Report and the Senate Committees' Joint Report which attested that there is only one OCT 994. R-15169. On 16 July 1998. the latter having acquired the same by virtue of a Court Order dated 13 June 1966 issued by the Court of First Instance of Rizal in Civil Case No. the registered owner of TCT No. 15166. for its part. 134385] On 18 December 1979. Consequently. Refuting the factual finding of the trial court and the Court of Appeals. Nonetheless. a direct transfer from DIMSON. the latter refused to vacate the parcel of land and remove the improvements thereon. 994 registered on 3 may 1917. it had acquired Lot 26 from its former registered owner. CV. in CA-G. CV. Estelita I. 41883 & CA-G. CLT alleged that it is the registered owner of Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate located in Caloocan City and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. the trial court rendered a Decision upholding the title of DIMSON over the disputed property . DIMSON claimed that he is the absolute owner of a 50-hectare land located in Bo. We adopt the succeeding recital of operative antecedents made by the Special Division in its Report: THE PROCEDURAL ANTECEDENTS DIMSON v. covering the disputed property. the present Resolution quotes extensively from the sealed Report and discusses its other substantive segments which are not quoted. CLT averred that on 10 December 1988. Recovery of Possession and Damages against the MANOTOKS and the Registry of Deeds of Metro Manila District II (Calookan City. Undaunted.R. DIMSON filed with the then Court of First Instance ["CFI"] of Rizal a complaint for Recovery of Possession and Damages against ARANETA. CAaDSI . relying on the Supreme Court ruling in Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System v. 137 of the Department of Justice. . ARANETA contended that there is only one OCT 994 covering the Maysilo Estate issued on 3 May 1917 pursuant to the Decree No. The Report is a commendably exhaustive and pellucid analysis of the issues referred to the Special Division. among others. I. In its Complaint. the Court of Appeals likewise invalidated the titles of ARANETA. No. Potrero. ARANETA CA-G. SP No. SP No. For this reason. docketed as CA-G. 13574 and 26538. .R. In its 30 May 1997 Decision. by virtue of a Deed of Sale with Real Estate Mortgage. are in the names of ARANETA and Jose Rato. Unfortunately though. HIPOLITO's title was.R. Enriquez ["ENRIQUEZ"] as his co-plaintiff. 36455 issued by the Court of Land Registration on 19 April 1917 and added that there were subsequent certifications issued by the government officials. CV No. In CA-G. Metro Manila covered by TCT No. which was later consolidated with CA-G. It maintained that it had been in possession of the subject parcel of land since 1974. On 7 May 1980. MANOTOK CA-G. DIMSON and ENRIQUEZ discovered that the subject property was being occupied by ARANETA wherein an "agricultural school house" is erected and that despite repeated demands. ARANETA filed a Motion for Reconsideration and/or New Trial espousing therein as basis for its entreaty the various letters from different government agencies and Department Order No. DIMSON had transferred the subject property to ENRIQUEZ by way of an absolute and irrevocable sale on 14 November 1979.R.R. among others. It was also held that ARANETA failed to sufficiently show that the Order sought to be nullified was obtained through extrinsic fraud that would warrant the annulment thereof. DIMSON amended his complaint and included Virgilio L. counsel for ARANETA marked in evidence. ARANETA also offered TCT No. certifications from the Land Registration Commission attesting that TCTs Nos. Allegedly. Court of Appeals. In any event. that which had been issued on 3 May 1917. 41883.R. In said Amended Complaint.R. respectively. 994. ARANETA interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals. SIHCDA Dissatisfied still. T-177013. 34819. 30 Moreover. Hipolito ["HIPOLITO"]. 123346] On 10 August 1992. AHDTIE CLT v.R. 41883. Malabon. It is a more than adequate basis for this Court to make the following final dispositions in these cases. notably from the LRS. CLT filed with the Regional Trial Court ["RTC"] A COMPLAINT FOR Annulment of Transfer Certificates of Title. in turn. sustained the RTC Decision in favor of DIMSON finding that the title of ARANETA to the disputed land is a nullity. It would only delay the promulgation of the Court's action on the Sealed Report and the adjudication of these cases.R. On 28 May 1993. During the trial. No. which declared null and void the certificates of title derived from OCT No. refuted said allegations and countered that it is the absolute owner of the land being claimed by DIMSON and that the real properties in the Araneta Compound are "properly documented and validly titled". the Court of Appeals.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT Before the Supreme Court. except as to the award of damages which was deleted. generally. the Supreme Court highlighted the fact that the same were accorded the highest degree of respect and. EHCDSI To guide the proceedings before this Special Division of the Court of Appeals. T-35485. Jose B. in turn. the trial court. Emphasis was also made on the settled rule that because the Supreme Court was not a trier of facts. Considering that these trial court findings had been affirmed by the Court of Appeals. were consolidated. The MANOTOKS. TCT No. with the Office of the Solicitor General ["OSG"] intervening on behalf of the Republic. but said motion was denied by said appellate court in its Resolution dated 8 January 1996. Ernesto Erive and Avelino San Buenaventura submitted an exhaustive Joint Final Report ["THE MAJORITY REPORT"] finding that there were inherent technical infirmities or defects on the face of TCT No. the Supreme Court. Teodoro Victoriano submitted his Individual Final Report ["THE MINORITY REPORT"] dated 23 October 1993. affirmed the RTC Decision and Resolutions of the Court of Appeals. it was not within its function to review factual issues and examine. 994 covering over twenty (20) parcels of land located over a portion of Lot 26 in the Maysilo Estate. On even date. a number of said vendees sold nineteen (19) of these lots to Manotok Realty. the MANOTOKS filed a Petition for Review before the Supreme Court. T-5261. subject of the present controversy. However. into seventy-seven (77) lots and thereafter sold to qualified vendees. transcribed and registered on 3 May 1917. the Supreme Court. in favor of CLT and ordered. it was contented that the title of CLT was an offspring of an ineffective grant of an alleged undisputed portion of Lot 26 by way of attorney's fees to its predecessor-in-interest. which was the basis of the propriety claims of CLT and DIMSON. Upon order of the trial court. upon agreement of the parties. Thereafter. on 10 May 1994. ["STO. de Gonzales which was later replaced with the names of Gonzales six (6) children. 4210). the MANOTOKS alleged that TCT No. ARANETA and Sto. had been issued in the names of Alejandro Ruiz and Mariano Leuterio on September 1918 by virtue of an Escritura De Venta executed by Don Tomas Arguelles and Don Enrique Lopes on 21 August 1918. which declared the titles of CLT and DIMSON as valid. NIÑO"]. seven (7) certificates of titles were issued.43 square meters of Lot 26. The MANOTOKS then moved for reconsideration. In invalidating the respective titles of the MANOTOKS and ARANETA. 4211 was transferred to Francisco Gonzales on the strength of an Escritura de Venta dated 3 March 1920 for which TCT No. in this connection.. the RTC. Inc. approved the creation of a commission composed of three commissioners tasked to resolve the conflict in their respective titles. After the denial of their Motion for Reconsideration. 5261 and TCT No. Resolving said motions for reconsideration. 4210. had long been disposed of in favor of Alejandro Ruiz and Mariano Leuterio and hence. from which the MANOTOKS derived their titles (also on TCT No. Also submitted for consideration of the Supreme Court were the report of the Fact Finding Committee dated 28 August 1997 and the Senate Committee Report No. under the names of each of the children while the remaining title was held by all of them as co-owners. The MANOTOKS elevated the adverse RTC Decision on appeal before the Court of Appeals. relied on the factual and legal findings of the trial courts. After the conduct of a hearing on these reports. TCT No. the created Commission convened on the matter in dispute. the MANOTOKS maintained the validity of their titles. 31 On the other hand. 4210 allegedly covered an approximate area of 19. the Supreme Court resolved to remand the cases to this Special Division of the Court of Appeals for reception of evidence. 994 issued. Accordingly. Eventually. in its Resolution of 14 December 2007 ["THE SUPREME COURT 2007 RESOLUTION"] reversed and nullified its 2005 Decision and categorically invalidated OCT No. * separately filed by the MANOTOKS. which were all derivatives of OCT No. six (6). THE SUPREME COURT RESOLUTION Expectedly. while one (1) lot was purchased by the Manotok Estate Corporation. the Supreme Court made the following binding conclusions: . which cancelled OCT No. through its Third Division. In substance. which had heavily hinged on the imputed flaws in said titles. canceling TCT No. married to Rufina Narciso. Inc. the Petitioners for Review. was issued to Rufina Narcisa Vda. should not be disturbed on appeal. covering an area of 871. These properties were then later subdivided by the National Housing Authority ["NHA"]. there was nothing more in said portion of Lot 26 that could have been validly conveyed to Dimson.982 square meters was issued in the name of one Francisco Gonzales. the properties covered by said seven certificates of title were expropriated by the Republic of the Philippines. TCT No. As it turned out. 994. In its Decision dated 28 September 1995. 994 dated 19 April 1917.565. 4211. caHCSD Adopting the findings contained in the Majority Report. the Supreme Court. among others. evaluate or weigh the probative value of the evidence presented by the parties. the Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC Decision. The property was then subdivided and as a result of which. the parties filed their respective memoranda. further contended that the portion of Lot 26. On 8 October 1993. Tracing the legitimacy of their certificates of titles. During the pre-trial conference. T-5261. the cancellation of the certificates of title issued in the name of the MANOTOKS. 35486. THE SUPREME COURT DECISION In its Decision dated 29 November 2005 ["THE SUPREME COURT 2005 DECISION"]. Niño Kapitbahayan Association. the parties filed their respective comments/objections thereto. TCT No. rendered a Decision. 1031 dated 25 May 1998 which concluded that there was only one OCT No. Dimson. the MANOTOKS and ARANETA filed their respective Motions for Reconsideration of the Supreme Court 2005 Decision.

Court of Appeals and Gonzaga v. (7784)-738 and TCT No. MANOTOKS EVIDENCE The MANOTOKS sought admission of the following evidence: Senate and DOJ Committee Reports. that mother title was received for transcription by the Register of Deeds on 3 May 1917. Isabel Gil del Sola and Estelita Hipolito. TCT No. this Court of Appeals' Decision in CA-G. as appears on the title. 26538. Manotok and Luisa T. Affidavits of Atty. [ 8 ] 9 DHETIS III. in Civil Case No. Whether any of the subject properties had been the subject of expropriation proceedings at any point since the issuance of OCT No. [ 5 ] CLT adopted the documentary exhibits and testimonial evidence of witnesses submitted in the case filed by CLT against STO.. 36577. certified true copy of Judge Palma's Order dated 16 August 1966 in Case No. in turn. TCT No. the Gonzalezes. certified true copy of coordinates and reference point of L. offered in evidence various certificates of title. 15045. the Formal Officer of Evidence of Philville Development & Housing Corporation. observations of Geodetic Engineer Reggie P. 21857. certificates of title issued to them and their vendees/assignees. the DOJ and Senate Reports. letters of correspondence to the Land Registration Commission and the Register of Deeds of Malabon City. contracts to sell. 4557. are borne by the evidence. [ 6 ] SCDaHc DIMSON EVIDENCE In their Consolidated Formal Offer of Evidence. Atty. 4557 and the billing statements of SSHG Law Office. 994. 13574. Whether the respective imputed flaws in the titles of the Manotoks and Araneta. 994 resulted from the issuance of the decree of registration on (19) * April 1917. 994 on 3 May 1917. Lerio. the Formal Offer of Evidence in the presentation of the evidence-in-chief and rebuttal evidence in the CLT-STO NIÑO CASE consisting of various certificates of titles. Alejandro Ruiz and Mariano Leuterio. 1 to 10 of Piedad Estate and TCT No. Acting Register of Deeds of Malabon city-Navotas. Josephine H. Bernabe. Republic of the Philippines. 4 II. i. 994 dated (19) April 1917 is void. Ongkiko and Engineer Jose Marie P. as recounted in the Supreme Court 2005 Decision. Assuming they are. Ma. These pieces of evidence include. among others. ARANETA also offered the certified true copy of TCT No. tax declarations. the Orders of Judge Palma dated 13 June 1966 and 16 August 1966 in Case No. Assuming they are. Cortez and his curriculum vitae. 994.. the owner's duplicate copy of OCT No. 32 "First. They also submitted in evidence the Affidavits and Supplemental Affidavits of Rosa R. 8692. are such flaws sufficient to defeat said claims? iii. Second. plans by geodetic engineer. especially in regard to their recognition of an OCT No. No.M. a title which we now acknowledge as inexistent. Padora. Garcia showing the relative positions of properties within Lot 25-A. and if so. specifically. 6196 in the name of Victoneta. 52606 between CLT and PHILVILLE. OCT No. 177013 of CLT. Neither could the conclusions in MWSS or Gonzaga with respect to an OCT No. Any title that traces its source to OCT No. ["PHILVILLE"]. To repeat. ["CLT-STO NIÑO CASE"]. NIÑO in Civil Case No. We now turn to the evaluation of the evidence engaged in by the Special Division. Whether the factual and legal bases of the 1966 Order of Judge Muñoz-Palma and the 1970 Order of Judge Sayo are true and valid. several letter-requests and official receipts. [ 7 ] DIMSON submitted the previous decisions and resolutions passed relative to these cases. As it appears on the record. It may also be acknowledged. Ponciano.e. TCT No. do these orders establish a superior right to the subject properties in favor of the Dimsons and CLT as opposed to the claims of the Araneta and the Manotoks? iv. 1 and BM No. a copy of a photograph of BM No. and that should be the date which should be reckoned as the date of registration of the title. This error alone is. various certifications of different government agencies. Felix B. No. 994 dated 19 April 1917. 994 dated (19) April 1917 casts doubt on the validity of such titles since they refer to an inexistent OCT. TCT No.G. although such date cannot be considered as the date of the title or the date when the title took effect. what are those proceedings. The fact that the Dimson and CLT titles made specific reference to an OCT No. certifications issued by Atty. there is only one OCT 994. Inc. for such mother title is inexistent. subdivision plan of Lot 25-A-2. 994 dated 19 April 1917 bind any other case operating under the factual setting the same as or similar to that at bar. ARANETA EVIDENCE ARANETA. what are the titles acquired by the . deeds of absolute sale. 994 dated 3 May 1917: ii. 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. Circular No. specimen signatures and letters of correspondence. The parties were afforded the opportunity to present their evidence before the Special Division. OCT 994. The Report names the evidence submitted to the Special Division for its evaluation: ACHEaI CLT EVIDENCE In its Offer of Evidence. TCT No. C-15491. copies of various certificates of titles to dispute some of the titles held by ARANETA. in fact.R. Which of the contending parties are able to trace back their claims to Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. the Special Division was tasked to determine the following issues based on the evidence: i. tax declarations and real property tax receipts. the affidavit of Engineer Felino M. the Majority and Minority Reports. P. 17 (which pertains to the rules on reconstitution of titles as of 19 February 1947) and its official receipt and. Third. the Novation of Contract/Deed of Sale and Mortgage dated 15 January 1948 between Rato. chemistry report. survey plans of Lot 25-A and TCT r-15169 of Dimson and. Don Salvador Araneta and Araneta Institute of Agriculture. 9. that OCT No. TCT No. The decision of this Court in MWSS v. 26539. It also marked in evidence the certified true copies of Decree No. CV. Court of Appeals cannot apply to the cases at bar. 13574 in the name of ARANETA.

As can be gleaned from the records. the Supreme Court has yet again allowed them to substantiate their claims on the basis of other evidentiary proofs: Otherwise stated. was later sold to Estelita Hipolito. the certificate of title of DIMSON covering the now disputed Lot 25-A-2. DIMSON are left without any recourse but to substantiate their claim on the basis of other evidence not presented during the proceedings below. as its mother title. 994 dated 3 May 1917. 994 issued on 19 April 1917. The Manotoks traced their titles to TCT Nos. with respect to TCT No. 994 dated 19 April 1917 was inexistent. 13 Were they able to discharge such burden? A. and as a matter of course. "IT IS FURTHER CERTIFIED that said land was originally registered on the 19th day of April in the year nineteen hundred and seventeen in the Registration Book of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal. Dimson's titles reflected. 994 dated 19 April 1917. Said property was registered by CLT under TCT No. apparently taken from Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate. without proffering any plausible explanation as to what led to the erroneous entry of the registration dated of OCT 994. and is any of the parties able to trace its title acquired by the government through expropriation? DaTICE v. that either there had only been an error in the course of the transcription or registration of their derivative titles. Just as much was observed by the Special Division: Nonetheless. which apparently overlapped with the property of Araneta covered by TCT No. Judge Sayo's order in turn was sourced from a 1966 Order issued by Judge (later Supreme Court Associate Justice) Cecilia Muñoz-Palma of the CFI of Rizal. 15166. At the same time. it is clear that the mother title of TCT No. The ultimate purpose of the inquiry undertaken by the Court of Appeals was to ascertain which of the four groups of claimants were entitled to claim ownership over the subject properties to which they claimed title thereto. OCT No. their failure to proffer any reason or argument which would otherwise justify why their title reflects 19 April 1917 and not 3 May 1917 leads this Court to conclude that they simply had no basis to support their proprietary claim. 994/NA. The Araneta titles state. Dimson filed an action for recovery of possession against Araneta.C. OCT No. acHDTA It is evident that both the Heirs of Dimson and CLT had primarily relied on the validity of OCT No. which is cancelled by virtue hereof in so far as the above-described land is concerned. the derivative title later issued to CLT. 994 dated 3 May 1917. i. 17 . as Original Certificate of Title No. 10 Among these properties was a fifty (50)-hectare property covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. Consequently. both DIMSON and their successor-in-interest CLT. was issued separate certificates of title. which covers Lot 25-A-2 of the said estate.e. is OCT No. 33 Government. 11 Araneta was then and still is in possession of the property. TCT Nos. 994 dated 19 April 1917. on the strength of Judge Sayo's Order dated 18 October dated 18 October 1977. 36455 issued in L. Pertinently. 994. which also reflected. However. that which emanated from OCT 994 of 19 April 1917. Another property in Dimson's name. Such other matters necessary and proper in ascertaining which of the conflicting claims of title should prevail. We begin with the Heirs of Dimson. The proceedings before the Special Division afforded the Heirs of Dimson and CLT alike the opportunity to prove the validity of their respective claims to title based on evidence other than claims to title the inexistent 19 April 1917 OCT No. 994 dated 19 April 1917 as the basis of their claim of ownership. 4429 Record No. 15168 and 15169. 15 The Special Division noted that the Heirs of Dimson did not offer any explanation why their titles reflect the erroneous date of 19 April 1917. The Special Division made it clear that the Heirs of Dimson were heavily reliant on the OCT No. OCT No.R. Thus. the following were inscribed on the face of the instrument. as their mother title. ______ This Certificate is a transfer from Original Certificate of Title No. OCT No. while DIMSON had refused to categorically assert that there had been such a typographical error causing the invalidity of their title.. as their mother title. 15169 of DIMSON. it rejected CLT's explanation that the transcription of the erroneous date was a "typographical error". while the other set was disputed between Araneta and the Heirs of Dimson. Manifestly. As can be gleaned from the Report. by way of the evidence already presented before and such other forms of evidence that are not yet of record. 151169. 13574 and 26538. 994. should both be voided inasmuch as the OCT which they emanated had already been declared inexistent. CLT specifically harps on this assertion that there had only been a typographical error in the transcription of its title. as their mother title. This is specifically true because DIMSON had previously placed reliance on the MWSS doctrine to prove the validity of their title. 994 dated 19 April 1917. while the respective certificates of title of DIMSON and CLT refer to OCT 994 issued on 19 April 1917 and that their previous postulations in the present controversies had been anchored on the supposed validity of their titles. the certificate of title issued to DIMSON. had failed to present evidence before this Court to prove that there had been a mere typographical error in the transcription of their respective titles with regard to the date of registration of OCT No. and conversely the invalidity of the 3 May 1917 OCT 994. [ 14 ] HCIaDT From the above accounts. both issued in 1918 and both reflecting. 994 pursuant to Decree No. covering portions of the Maysilo Estate. 994 registered on 19 April 1917. 4210 and 4211. 15169. 12 Said property claimed by CLT encroached on property covered by titles in the name of the Manotoks. Case No. [ 16 ] On the other hand. Volume NA page NA. the Court in its 2007 Resolution held that OCT No. 15167. T-177013. or that other factual and legal bases existed to validate or substantiate their titles aside from the OCT No. [DIMSON]. both DIMSON and CLT bear the onus of proving in this special proceedings. Jose Dimson was able to obtain an order in 1977 issued by Judge Marcelino Sayo of the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Caloocan City on the basis of which he was able to register in his name properties belonging to the Maysilo Estate. which would effectively prove that they had a valid proprietary claim over the disputed properties. One set of properties was disputed between CLT and the Manotoks. who in turn sold the same to CLT.

34 Absent such explanation. CV No. Neither was the signature of Judge Palma on the Order duly proven because all that was presented was an unsigned duplicate copy with a stamped notation of "original signed". [ 20 ] Thus: "Atty. 994. 8692. Atty. The foregoing contentions of DIMSON find to factual and legal basis. Directo: That is the reason why we want to see this document. 1978 derived from OCT No. Directo: The purpose of this subpoena duces tecum is to present your Honor the Order Order (sic) of Judge Palma in order to determine the genuineness and authenticity of the signature of Judge Palma in this court order and which order was a basis of a petition in this court to be confirmed. the Heirs of Dimson were particularly constrained to rely on the 1977 Order of Judge Sayo. 4557 ["PALMA ORDER"] and Judge Sayo's Order dated 18 October 1977 ["SAYOS 18 OCTOBER 1977 ORDER"]. Atty. 4557 but the admission of Judge Sayo that he had not seen the original of the Palma Order. Dimson' (plaintiff-appellee) title TCT No. 4557 and entered in the memorandum of Encumbrance of OCT No. R-15169 issued for Lot 25-A-2. 21857 and 26538 were mere microfilmed or certified copies and. said file pertained not to an LRC case but to a simple civil case. in consideration of the foregoing. raised serious questions as to the validity of the manner by which it was arrived at. do these orders establish a superior right to the subject properties in favor of the Dimsons and CLT as opposed to the claims of Araneta and the Manotoks?" As it is. is overlapping with defendant-appellant's title TCT Nos. Directo: That is the reason why we want to see the original. Jose B. Equally perplexing is that while CFI Pasig had a Case No. there were so many pages missing and the pages were re-numbered but then I saw the duplicate original and there is a certification of a woman clerk of Court. 15167 issued for Lot 28 on June 8. counsel for the ARANETA applied for a subpoena duces tecum addressed to the Clerk of Court of CFI Pasig for the production of the records of LRC Case No. It is so since the brunt of the proprietary claims of both DIMSON and CLT has its roots on said Orders. which apparently confirmed Palma's 13 June 1966 Order. Court: I did not see the original also. 994. DIMSON point out that their title was issued pursuant to a court order issued by Judge Palma in Case No. therein appellee Jose Dimson specifically denied the falsity of TCT No. R-15169 alleging that the contention "is already moot and can be determined by a controlling decision". On that issue. What is perplexing to this Court is not only the loss of the entire records of Case No. not derived from OCT No. is overlapping with MWSS title TCT No. When the records of this case was brought here. Contreras. Officer-in-Charge of the said court. registered on May 3. could no longer be located inasmuch as they had passed hands from one court to another. A certain Atty. can be validated and authenticated. we are surprised why it is missing. 994 registered on April 19. 41028 issued on July 29. this leads Us to the THIRD ISSUE as presented by the Supreme Court. appeared and manifested in open court that the records pertaining to the petition for Substitution of names of Bartolome Rivera. to wit: IcHDCS "Whether the factual and legal bases of Palma's 13 June 1966 Order and Sayo's 18 October 1977 Order are true and valid. Court: We are surprised also. DIMSON reiterated the flaws and irregularities which voided the titles of the ARANETA in the previous proceedings and focused on the burden of ARANETA to present evidence to defeat their titles. 1917. EcHIDT Atty. (Same facts in the case at bar. Contreras: . sans any proof of a mechanical error in the transcription or annotation on their respective certificates of title. Dimson's (as private respondent) title TCT No. therefore. which was allegedly sourced from the 1966 Order of Judge Muñoz Palma." [ 19 ] So viewed. There is a stamp only of original signed. 994. 1978. et al.R. 4557 on file. It is worthy to note that as early as 25 August 1981. I checked the records. That is the reason why we want to see the genuineness of the signature of Judge Palma. 1917. 13574 and 21343. Lastly. on June 8. the Special Division made the following determinations: cDTSHE It should be recalled that in their appellee's brief in CA-G. Molo. 1940 derived from the same OCT 994. in contending that their certificates of title could be validly traced from the 3 May 1917 OCT No. Atty. [ 18 ] Jose Dimson expounded on his reliance as follows: "In Metropolitan Waterworks & Sewerage System (for brevity MWSS) case. inadmissible. 41883. EACTSH COURT: No signature of Judge Palma was presented in this court. Sayo's 18 October 1977 Order. * As we see it. Perforce. Assuming they are. You better ask Judge Muñoz Palma. 4557 for purposes of determining the genuineness and authenticity of the signature of Judge Palma and also of her Order granting the confirmation. It was a duplicate copy not signed. DIMSON also insist that TCT Nos. the present inquiry then hinges on whether the Order dated 13 June 1966 issued by then Judge Cecilia Muñoz-Palma of the Court of First Instance of Rizal in Civil Case No. Jose B.

in cases where transfer certificates of title emanating from one common original certificate of title were issued on different dates to different persons or entities covering the same land. [ 27 ] In has also been held that. 1031 that. which could have. Yet. the same shall be based on a subdivision plan duly certified by the Land Registration Commission as correct and in accordance with previous orders issued in this proceedings. deny registration of any deed or voluntary instrument if the owner's duplicate is not presented in connection therewith. 50 Phil. OCT No. 994 and. 1911. in said TCT No. but the remarks thereon tend to prove that OCT No. no explanation for the variance was ever offered. Equally worthy of consideration is the fact that TCT No. Fernandez. Treasurer of the Phil. 994 showed that Lot 25-A of the Maysilo Estate was originally surveyed on "September 8-27. R-15169. as such. (Director of Lands vs. at the very least. [ 23 ] Even if we are to base the 25% of Jose Dimson on the 19. 15169 of Dimson which covered a land area of 50 hectares (500. if only to prove that the same had been duly approved and certified correct by the Land Registration Commission. Atty. We find it significant to note the observations contained in the Senate Committee Report No. said plan to be submitted to this court for final approval. There should be only one. .7 hectares as their share. Directo: Aside from that. [ 24 ] it is undisputable that the total properties eventually transferred to Jose Dimson went over and beyond his supposed 25% share. the earlier in date prevails. 1911". . whatever portion of the property covered by OCT 994 which has not been disposed of by the previous registered owners have already been assigned and adjudicated to Bartolome Rivera and his assignees. This manifest from the notations "NA" on the face of DIMSON's title meaning. . Contreras: No. [ 26 ] The variation in date is revealing considering that DIMSON's titles are all direct transfers from OCT No. as a result of which there is no portion that is left to be given to the herein supposed assignee Jose Dimson". We find the absence of this piece of evidence as crucial in proving the validity of the titles of DIMSON in view of the allegation of contending parties that since the survey plan upon which the land titles were based contained the notation "SWO".000 square meters). Llorente. Obviously. it would be safe to conclude that the transfer certificate issued at an earlier date along the line should prevail. 27. Interestingly however. [ 28 ] Thus. 448 [1935])." [ 22 ] In relation to this. . 61 Phil. 40 Phil. STaIHc Be that as it may. there should be only number for a particular case. 19 [1926]. it would appear that Jose Dimson would only be entitled to more or less five (5) hectares of the Maysilo Estate. . . that must be a petition after decree record.1890%) or 19. What is more. No. 826) and does not confer any right to the purchaser (Philippine National Bank vs.629.26 square meters (16. we found in our original vault LRC application no. 26. .602. R-15169. DIMSON did not submit Survey Plan LRC (GLRO) Rec. are there other cases of the same number? Atty. the Riveras who claimed to be the surviving heirs of Vidal will inherit only 197.7 hectares allotted to the Riveras. It bears emphasizing that the issuance of a transfer certificate of title to the purchaser without the production of the owner's duplicate is illegal (Rodriguez v. "(w)here two certificates purport to include the same land.53 m2 x 1. However. Hodges vs. the date of the original survey is reflected as "Sept. It should be recalled that Palma's 13 June 1966 Order approved only the conveyance to Jose Dimson of "25% of whatever share of Bartolome Rivera has over Lots 25. the same could not have passed the LRC. What was submitted before the RTC and this Court was only the Subdivision Plan of Lot 25-A-2 which notably does not bear the stamp of approval of the LRC. the Special Division took note of other irregularities attending Dimson's TCT No. Even an inspection of the exhibit for CLT does not bear this Survey Plan. "not available". meaning that the subdivision plan was only a product of a "special work order". Ignacio: This 4557 is not an LRC Case. ["RECALL ORDER"]. Palma's 13 June 1966 Order specifically required that ". Atty. 35 May I make of record that in verifying our records. xxx xxx xxx Moreover. We are reluctant to recognize the existence and due execution of the Recall Order considering that its original or even a certified true copy thereof had not been submitted by either of the two parties relying on it despite having been given numerous opportunities to do so. . In successive registration.405. 49 Phil. The Registrar of Deeds must. would have faithfully adopted the mother lot's data. 16 [1927]. subject to availability of undisposed portion of the said lots. 28-B and 29 of OCT 994 . despite such requirement. [Firstly]. proven the authenticity of the DIMSON title. 25 ISTDAH In addition. barring anomaly in the process of registration. Unfortunately. 8-27. 1911" and nothing more. whatever title is to be issued herein in favor of Jose Dimson. the validity of the DIMSON titles over the properties in the Maysilo Estate becomes doubtful in light of the fact that the supposed "share" went beyond what was actually due to Jose Dimson under the Compromise Agreement with Rivera. therefore. both the MANOTOKS and ARANETA insist that Palma's 13 June 1966 Order had been recalled by a subsequent Order dated 16 August 1966. 4429 SWO-5268 which allegedly was the basis of the segregation of the lands. N-4557 but the applications were certain Feliciano Manuel and Maria Leaño involving Navotas property because I was wondering why they have the same number. 994 had not been presented prior to the issuance of the said transfer certificate. . October 4-21 and November 17-18. [ 21 ] wherein the trial court dismissed the motion filed by DIMSON on the court's findings that ". . Neither was it duly certified by the said office. even if We are to consider that no Recall Order was ever issued by then Judge Palma. based on the assumption that the value of the lots were equal. Indeed. basing only on TCT No. . it is a simple civil case. and "(C)onsidering that the share of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal was only 1-189/1000 percent of the Maysilo Estate. Addison. 15169 indicates that not only was the date of original registration inexistent.

Hipolito. Dimson which. if Rivera was already 65 years old in 1963. Psd-5079. or eleven (11) years after obtaining the supposed sanction for the issuance of titles in this name. 4557 awarding him. therefore. Vidal was only nine (9) years in 1912. 4210. Rivera's alleged grandmother. Branch 1 in Civil Case No. evidently did not observe the requirements in land registration cases. It was a transfer from TCT No. there was nothing for the heirs of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal to convey to Dimson." [ 29 ] xxx xxx xxx Still another indication of irregularity of the DIMSON title over Lot No. [ 31 ] It can thus be deduced that. However. el primer casado con Deogracias Quinones el segundo con Josefa Garcia y se ha expedido el certificado de Titulo No. To wit: TcDaSI TCT No. 26. Fecha del instrumento — Agosto 29. 1917. subdivision plan Psd-288152 covering Lot No. showed: AP-6665/0-994 — Venta: Queda cancelado el presente Certificado en cuanto a una extencion superficial de 3. 1918 Fecha de la inscripcion – September 9. Leuterio. she could have been born only on 1905.93 metros cuadrados y 16. 4211. as his attorney's fees. el primer casado con Deogracias Quinones el Segundo con Josefa Garcia y se ha expedido el certificado de Titulo No. C-732. This alone creates an unexplained anomalous. Dimson supposedly acquired ownership by virtue of the order dated June 13. 1918 10. should fail.512. Gleaning from the records. 36 where more than one certificate is issued in respect of a particular estate or interest in land. 1976. Besides. R-15166 in the name of Jose B. the person is deemed to hold under the prior certificate who is the holder or whose claim is derived directly from the person who was the holder of the earliest certificate issued in respect thereof. Unlike in a land registration case. no portion of Lot No.50 metros cuadrados. what was lodged by Jose Dimson before the sala of then Judge Palma was not a simple land registration case wherein the only purpose of Jose Dimson was to establish his ownership over the subject parcels of land. the records of these cases would somehow negate the rights of Rivera to claim from Vidal. m. 26. 26 remained undisposed of.00 metros cuadrados. 1918 Fecha de la inscripcion — September 9. 1977 approving the compromise agreement which admitted the sale made by Dimson in her favor on September 2. m. then he must have been born around 1898. Libro T-22. R- 17994 issued in the name of Estelita I. 1966 of the CFI of Rizal. Dimson had nothing to convey to Hipolito who. On the other hand. 25-A is that the issuance of the Sayo Order allegedly confirming the Palma Order was in itself suspect. Psd- . T-177013 covers Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate with an area of 891. On the other hand.052. The case did not partake of the nature of a registration proceeding and thus. 28 and 29 that were undisposed of in the intestate estate of the decedent Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. for him to claim a share in the disputed portions of the Maysilo Estate. Consequently. by logic. an examination of the annotation on OCT No. hence.50 AM AP-6665/0-994 — Venta: — Queda cancelado el presente Certificado el cuanto a una extencion superficial de 871. So viewed the general rule proscribing the application of laches or the statute of limitations in land registration cases. 994. Libro T-22. Jose Dimson needed to file an action before Judge Sayo to seek "confirmation" of Palma's Order dated 13 June 1966.982.43 sq. it has an area of 891. could not transmit anything to CLT. Serious doubts existed as to whether Rivera was in fact an heir of Vidal. vendida a favor de Alejandro Ruiz y Mariano P. in turn. Parenthetically. 26 in OCT No. if any. 994. 26 of the Maysilo Estate described in Hipolito's certificate of title was not approved by the chief of the Registered Land Division as it appeared to be entirely within Pcs-1828. pagina 164. was supposedly a direct transfer from OCT No. pagina 163. situation wherein Vidal. 1977 in SP Case No. find application in this case and thus. DIMSON filed the Motion only on 10 October 1977. particularly the following entries. 1977 and order dated October 18. . as reflected in the Palma Order. [ 30 ] as well as Section 6. one of the registered owners of the properties covered by OCT No. The legal consequences of laches as committed by DIMSON and their failure to observe the provisions of Rule 39 should. is clearly not applicable in the present case. the subject of the case was the confirmation of Jose Dimson's claim over the purported rights of Rivera in the disputed properties. which corresponds to the total area sold in 1918 pursuant to the above-cited entries. therefore. y descrita en el lote no. 26.547. . IcTEaC Fecha del instrumento — Agosto 25. descrita en el lote no. 4429 and 4496). TCT No. However. Leuterio. 32 These findings are consonant with the observations raised by Justice Renato Corona in his Concurring and Dissenting Opinion on our 2007 Resolution. 1966. Annotations at the back of Hipolito's title revealed that Hipolito acquired ownership by virtue of a court order dated October 18. Moreover. if not ridiculous. 994. at the time the order of the CFI of Rizal was made on June 13. R-17994 was a transfer from TCT No. in relation to its provisions on revival of judgment applies only to ordinary civil actions and not to other or extraordinary proceedings such as land registration cases. 1918 10:50-AM Based on the description of Lot No. 25% of whatever remained of Lots 25-A. 27. . 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. 994 registered on April 19. the confirmation of DIMSON's title. This order was confirmed by the CFI of Caloocan in a decision dated October 13. Inasmuch as. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. but. vendida a favor de Alejandro Ruiz y Mariano P. the allegations of DIMSON would further show that they derive the validity of their certificates of title from the decreased Jose Dimson's 25% share in the alleged hereditary rights of Bartolome Rivera ["RIVERA"] as an alleged grandson of Maria Concepcion Vidal ["VIDAL"]. was seven (7) years younger than her alleged grandson.43 sq.547.

and Record No. then upheld by the Honorable Court in its Decision dated 28 September 1995 and finally affirmed in the Supreme Court's Decision dated 29 November 2005. As earlier highlighted. Court of Appeals [ 34 ] and Heirs of Gonzaga v. Decree No. Tracing said claim. R-17994 was therefore perplexing. TCT No. 15166 was never presented in evidence for purposes of tracing the validity of titles of CLT. 15166. on one hand. NIÑO. The circumstances called for the need to preserve and protect the integrity of the Torrens system. on the other. Indubitably. it maintains that the MANOTOKS cannot use as basis for the validity of their titles the expropriation undertaken by the Government as a means of staking their claims. CLT contends that the Orders of Judge Palma and Judge Sayo are no longer open to attack in view of their finality. was never decided based on the doctrines laid down in Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System v. T-177013 shows that its mother titles is OCT No. 994. These include CLT. DEIHAa For its part. therefore stand. issued for Ordinary Land Registration Case. invalidating the titles of DIMSON. are both 4429. 26538 and TCT No. CLT contended that even at the trial court level. On this basis alone. OCT No. CLT asserts that the properties covered by the MANOTOKS' titles and those covered by the expropriation proceedings did not property pertain to and were different from Lot 26 owned by CLT. thus: ISAcHD Let us now examine TCT 26538 and TCT 26539 both in the name of Jose Ma.) How then could TCT No. the present remand proceedings remain damning to CLT's claim of ownership. the trial and appellate courts simply disregarded them. R-17994 [ 37 ] was cancelled and in lieu thereof. The Special Division quoted the observations of the trial court. as their valid mother title. 26539 both have Decree No. particular issues were raised as to the validity of the Manotok and Araneta titles independent of their reliance on the 3 May 1917 OCT No. 994 vis-à-vis the inexistent 19 April 1917 OCT No. it maintained that there was only one OCT No. these titles of the Manotoks and Araneta reflect. respectively. Consequently. However.547. Moreover. Furthermore. 5898. A. Thus. T-177013 [ 36 ] located in Malabon. R-17994. 994 registered on 19 April 1917. 4429. Lastly. on the other hand. to say the least. 994 dated 3 May 1917. Remarkably and curiously though. which upheld Dimson's claim over that of Araneta. 4429 and Record No. By virtue of this transfer. including that of STO. 33 The Court thus adopts these findings of the Special Division on the validity of Jose Dimson's titles. was a transferee of the deceased Dimson who was allegedly the registered owner of the subject land on the basis of TCT No. the fact that whatever typographical errors were not at anytime cured by subsequent compliance with the administrative requirements or subjected to administrative correction bolsters the invalidity of the CLT title due to its complete and sole dependence on the void DIMSON title. Facially. We likewise tasked the Special Division to ascertain as well the validity of the titles held by the Manotoks and Araneta. as between the titles of ARANETA and the MANOTOKS and their predecessors-in-interest.43 square meters of land covered by TCT No. Our findings regarding the titles of Jose Dimson necessarily affect and even invalidate the claims of all persons who seek to derive ownership from the Dimson titles. 4429 was issued by the Court of First Instance. CLT had anchored its claim on the strength of Hipolito's title and that of DIMSON's TCT No. Hipolito's TCT No. 4429. CLT's TCT No. LRC Swo-5268". Rato from where defendant was said to have acquired TCT 13574 and TCT 7784 now TCT 21343 in the name of Araneta and the other documents related thereto: 1) Perusal of TCT 26538 shows that its Decree No. Maysilo Estate. 4429. Just as much was concluded by the Special Division as it evaluated CLT's claims. and those of DIMSON. "the findings and conclusions of the court-appointed commissioners as adopted by the trial court. from which Araneta derived its titles. 223677/R-17994 of TCT No. 37 5080 and Psd-15345 of TCT Nos. B. the titles held by ARANETA and the MANOTOKS must prevail considering that their titles were issued much earlier than the titles of the latter. To restate. It argued that its case against the MANOTOKS. However. which acquired the properties they laid claim on from Estelita Hipolito who in turn acquired the same from Jose Dimson. In the same vein. titles which had been annulled by the courts below. How Hipolito was able to secure TCT No. dwelling on the alleged flaws of the MANOTOK's titles. citing the following perceived flaws of TCT Nos. 994 from where its claim emanates. TCT 26539 also shows that it has Decree No. 38 IV. Nonetheless. we cannot give due legal recognition to any and all titles supposedly covering the Maysilo Estate obtained by Dimson upon the authority of either the purported 1966 Order of Judge Muñoz-Palma or the 1977 Order of Judge Sayo. 8-A Bartolome Rivera et al. which were issued in Court of First Instance. therefore. as there is no reason to disturb them". CLT claims the 891. SIcTAC In view of the foregoing disquisitions. Laguna (Exhibit 8. Province of Isabela (Exhibit I) and Record No. 4210 and 4211. CLT insists that the MANOTOKS failed to submit "new" competent evidence and. which he obtained consequent to the 1977 Order of Judge Sayo. Hipolito. Court of Appeals. 15166. 1911 in CLR No. . considering that the land title of CLT carried annotations identical to those of DIMSON and consequently included the defects in DIMSON's title. Caloocan City and designated as "Lot 26. We begin by evaluating the Araneta titles. the title of CLT should also be declared a nullity inasmuch as the nullity of the titles of DIMSON necessarily upended CLT's propriety claims. Province of Isabela and issued in Laguna. [ 35 ] Before this Special Division. All these significant facts were conveniently brushed aside by the trial and appellate courts. 4429 and Record No. was issued on March 31. 26538 and 26539. Estelita Hipolito executed a Deed of Sale with Real Estate Mortgage in favor of CLT on 10 December 1988. TCT No. The task of the Special Division was not limited to assessing the claims of the Heirs of Dimson and CLT.

994. With regard to the imputed flaws. .90 was cancelled by TCT 7784 with an area of only 390. the origin and authenticity of the title of RATO need to be reassessed. 1529. Rato are not annotated in the Original Certificate of Title 994. where they were said to have originated. 53 of Presidential Decree No. ASCTac Date of Instrument — Julio 28. it maintains that it has established by direct evidence that its titles were validly derived from OCT No. 496) now Sec. Rato in favor of defendant Araneta is not reflected on the Memorandum of Encumbrances of TCT 26538 (Exhibit 7-defendant) meaning that TCT 26538 still exists and intact except for the encumbrances annotated in the Memorandum of Encumbrances affecting the said title (Exhibits 16. That was never explained. his knowledge of the land now in possession of defendant Araneta was acquired by him from all its documents marked in evidence which were obtained only lately when they needed for presentation before this Court. 1924" [ 42 ] In accordance with the decree. 16-A and 16-N David & Santos) 9) In the encumbrances annotated at the back of TCT 26539 (Exhibit 4-defendant) there appears under entry No. both cancel 21857 which was never presented in Court if only to have a clear tracing back of the titles of defendant Araneta. The Court also wonders why it would seem that all the documents presented by defendant Araneta are not in possession of said defendant. Register of deeds Agosto 19. folio 492 del Tomo T-35 del Libro de Certicadads de Transferencia. ARANETA further expounded on the nullity of the Palma and Sayo Orders which was the basis of DIMSON's titles.405. 25-A-3. 26539 in the name of Jose Ma. GLICERIO OPINION. RATO was issued on 1 August 1924. So. Rato to represent him in the execution of the said two (2) documents.00 invested by Jose Ma. 25 A-3 del plano del subdivision. de fecha 28 de Julio de 1924. Provincia del Rizal . 55 of Land Registration Act (Act No. Rato in the Philippine Land Improvement Company. plano Psu-(not legible). labored to refute all of them.) which could have referred to the Deed (sic) of Sale and Mortgage of 8-23-47 (Exhibit 5-defendant) entered before Entry 5170 T-8692 Convenio Philippine Land Improvement Company. one of the co-heirs named in OCT No. "Hacienda de Maysilo". 1948 (Exhibit N and N- 1). Said entry was also entered on TCT 26539.m. 994 registered on 3 May 1917. Rato y Tuazon ["RATO"]. situado en el Munisipio de Caloocan. Novation of Contract. Incorporated covering parcel of land canceling said title (TCT 26539) and TCT 6196 was issued (.m. 994 dated 3 May 1917. We adopt in full the following factual findings of the Special Division. but the document. and ultimately concluded that the Araneta claim to title was wholly valid. . it asseverates that these were unfounded and thus. 1947 (Exhibit M) does not appear. 5 defendant) and the Novation of Contract. Deed of Sale and Mortgage executed on November 13. y que en au lugar se had expedido el Certificados de Titulo No. 1024 — 10:19 a. Date of Inscription — Agosto 1. 26538 and TCT No. 38 2) TCT No. 25-A. 1947 (Exh. to ascertain the legitimacy of the derivative title of ARANETA. when the registration of the document entitled Novation of Contract. 3) The Escritura de Incorporacion de Philippine Land Improvement Company (Exhibit I) executed on April 8.725. TCT No.405. 12343/O-994 of the Owner's Duplicate Copy of OCT No. no new certificate of title shall be entered. Deed of Sale & Mortgage (Exhibit M) was suspended/denied (Exhibit N) and no title was received by the Register of Deeds of Pasig at the time the said document was filed in the said Office on March 4. 7) How was defendant Araneta able to have TCT 7784 issued in its name." [ 44 ] The parcel of land covers an approximate area of "UN MILLION CUATROCIENTOS CINCO MIL SETECIENTOS VEINTICINCO metros cuadrados con NOVENTA decimetros cuadrados (1.90 metro Cuadrados mas o menos descrita en el Lote No. From the titles submitted. IDASHa 6) How come TCT 26538 of Jose Ma. 8692. its predecessor-in-interest was Jose Ma. IcaEDC Entry marked Exhibit 16-J-1 on TCT 26538 shows only the extent of the value of P42. 1953 when the Deed of Sale & Mortgage was executed on August 23. 994.725. thus: As for the proprietary claim of ARANETA. parte del Lote No. who was allotted the share of nine and five hundred twelve one thousandths (9-512/1000) percent share of the Maysilo Estate. Deed of Sale & Mortgage dated November 13. 8692 [ 43 ] which covers "Lote No. in pursuance of any deed or other voluntary instrument. [ 39 ] 40 The Special Division then proceeded to analyze these factual contentions. attesting to RATO's share on the property.282 sq. Rato with an area of 593. 4) TCT 26538 and 26538 and TCT 26539 both in the name of Jose Ma. 1924. 1925 was only registered and was stamped received by the Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission only April 29. records the following: "12343/O-994 — Auto: Jose Rato y Tuason — Queda cancelado el presente seartificado en cuanto a una estension superficial de 1. Verily.90) mas o . and Date of Inscription: 9-21-29. an virtud del auto dictado por el Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Riza. The documentary exhibits it proffered traced its certificates of title to OCT No. . 5) If the subject matter of the Deed of Sale & Mortgage (Exhibit 5 defendant) is TCT 26539. 1947 (Exh. In TCT 26838 this Entry 5170 T-8692 Convenio Philippine Land Improvement Company (Exhibit 16-J-1) appears. .606. with Date of Instrument: 1-10-29. for according to witness Zacarias Quintan. the said Philippine Land Improvement Company has not yet been duly registered. M).000. that when Philippine Land Improvement was allegedly given a special power of attorney by Jose Ma. Rato. 450 T-6196 Victoneta. Under Sec. Entry No. 8) The sale by Jose Ma. . no memorandum shall be made upon any certificate of title by the register of deeds. SGD. TCT 6196 was not even presented in Court. [ 41 ] For this reason. unless the owner's duplicate certificate is presented for such endorsement. why is it that TCT 13574 of defendant Araneta cancels TCT 6196 instead of TCT 26539. the real estate officer of the said defendant Araneta since 1970.

Explaining this discrepancy.L. 21857. and its mother title were traced from OCT No. 994 registered on 3 May 1917. To the mind of this Court. 26539 [ 50 ] which were both issued in the name of Jose Ma. we shall now proceed to evaluate the imputed flaws which had been the previous bases of the trial court in invalidating ARANETA's titles. 26538 was cancelled by TCT No. being a portion of Lot 25-A-3-C.R. being a portion of Lot No. including those that ultimately passed ownership to ARANETA. ARANETA had shown that RATO. 26539 was cancelled by TCT No. 1949 at 11:00 a. CV No. It further contended that the number "4429" was the case number of Decree No. TCT No. 8692 [ 47 ] with respect to the property it covers. Book II. for reasons unknown. . that of ARANETA. 25-A-3. 7784 covers four (4) parcels of land with an aggregate area of 390. 13574 of TCT No. CAcIES As shown on its face.O. Inc. 26538 [ 49 ] and TCT No. Under the guidelines set. Suffice it to state. the certificate of title showed that it covered a parcel of land designated as Section No. being a portion of Lot 25-A-3-C having an approximate area of 581. His evidence of ownership is reflected on TCT No. With respect to TCT No.872 square meters. Further subdividing the property. Consequently. 2 of subdivision plan Psd-10114. by itself. was not submitted before this Court.872 square meters designated as section No. As reflected under Entry No. 21855. It has an aggregate area of 581. 5898 of Laguna. TCT No. [ 54 ] TCT No. 994.R. S. 994 registered on 3 May 1917. On the other hand. as basis of their issuance. of 1949 of Notary Public for Manila. [ 60 ] The strongest suspicion cannot sway judgment or overcome the presumption of regularity. it would appear that the evidence presented ultimately shows a direct link of TCT Nos. [ 56 ] On 4 March 1948. [ 59 ] However. [ 46 ] cancelled TCT No. page 74. the documentary trail of land titles showed that all of them were derived from OCT No. [ 57 ] It would appear from the records of CA-G. This is being questioned inasmuch as Decree No. [ 53 ] It covers a parcel of land designated as section No. 21343. [ 51 ] Thereafter. RATO held title to these parcels of land even after its subdivision in the 1930's. 25-A-3. 149. G. Record No. TCT No. 26538 and 26539. 994. 8050. 4429 with an approximate area of 333. page 98. Fraud is never presumed but must be established by clear and convincing evidence.L. Rato y Tuazon on 17 September 1934. Later.90 square meters. 21856. and later TCT Nos. Date of Instrument — May 18. which was issued in favor of Araneta Institute of Agriculture. the origin and legitimacy of the proprietary claim of ARANETA had been well substantiated by the evidence on record and on this note. appearing under Entry No. 7784 was eventually cancelled by TCT No. a mere copy of TCT No. this certificate of title issued in RATO's name. and in lieu thereof. vendee: Conveying the property described in this certificate of title which is hereby cancelled and issuing in lieu thereof Transfer Certificate of Title No. 2 of subdivision plan Psd-10114. 26539. 21343. TCT No. 6196 issued on 18 October 1947 in the name of Victoneta. 21857 was cancelled by TCT No. It covers Lot No.m. still covering Lot No. On its face. 31 March 1911 in CLR No. 2 of the subdivision plan Psd-10114. 6196 [ 52 ] whose registered owner appears to be a certain Victoneta. This parcel of land has an area of 581.872 square meters.O Record No. 6196 is the following: "Entry No. invalidate the titles of ARANETA's predecessors-in-interest and ultimately. 994 registered on 3 May 1917. 4429. whether original or certified true copy thereof. 26538 [ 55 ] in turn showed on its face that it covers a parcel of land designated as Section 1 of subdivision plan Psd- 10114 being a portion of Lot 25-A-3-C having an area of 592. 13574. G. TCT No. 39 menos". the incorrect entries alluded to would not have the effect of rendering the previous titles void sans any strong showing of fraudulent or intentional wrongdoing on the part of the person making such entries. 7784. 6196 was cancelled. [ 48 ] was a derivative of OCT No. 4429. described as plan Psd-21943. 21857 issued on 23 May 1932. the designation of the lot as either belonging to or portions of Lot 25-A-3 was retained. In all his certificates of title. [ 58 ] As per attachment of ARANETA in its Answer dated 6 March 1980 filed in Civil Case No. This Court finds that the incorrect entry with respect to the Decree and Record Number appearing on the title of ARANETA's predecessor-in-interest cannot. Book T-345 in the name of the vendee. said titles deserve validation. aAEHCI In summation. 7784 and 13574 to said mother title. . 14517. TCT No. 25 A-3-C.282 square meters. 21343 showed that it covers a parcel of land designated as Lot 6-B of the subdivision plan Psd- 24962 being a portion of Lot 6. 41883 that TCT No.R. as one of the co-owners of the property covered by OCT NO. For purposes of tracing ARANETA's titles to Oct No. thereby proving identity of the land. One of the flaws observed on the titles of ARANETA's predecessor-in-interest was that TCT No. 21857. (Doc. TCT No. 13574 — SALE in favor of the ARANETA INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURE. Hospicio B. 21858 and 21859 were issued. SP No. 4429 refers to a decree issued by the CFI of Isabela while Record No. being a portion of Lot 25-A-3-C.377 square meters. [ 61 ] cDCHaS . 4429 and Record No. Inc. The sea of suspicion has no shore. 16086/T-No. and the court that embarks upon it is without rudder or compass.606. 25 A-3-C of subdivision plan Psd-6589.R. T-8692. 1949 Date of the Inscription — May 30. TCT Nos. 34819 consolidated with CA-G. No. 21857. 26538 and TCT No. 13574 was issued in favor of Araneta Institute of Agriculture on 20 May 1949. More importantly. a copy of TCT No. [ 45 ] the parcel of land covered under this certificate of title was subdivided into five (5) lots under subdivision plan Psd-6599 as per Order of the court of First Instance of Rizal. 4429 was issued for ordinary Land Registration Case No. 8692 issued in his name. Biñas). was assigned Lot No. Thereafter. 16086/T-No. 36455 and was used interchangeably as the record number. Focusing on TCT No. TCT No. 26539 in Rato's name refer to Decree No. RATO was again issued TCT No. ARANETA insisted that the same was a mere typographical error and did not have any effect on the validity of their title.

994 shows an entry. 994. With respect to the difference in the area of more than 200. [ 65 ] CTDAaE The other flaws noted on ARANETA's certificates of title pertained to its failure to present TCT Nos. 7784 as a consequence of such omission. the properties. 26538 before they finally passed on to ARANETA. As we have discussed. in no way. said geodetic engineer also failed to adequately explain his observations. Thus. TCT Nos. ARANETA offered in evidence a certified microfilm copy of TCT No. The trial court further noted that "TCT R-15169 (Jose Dimson) and TCT 26539 (Jose Rato) and TCT 21343 (Araneta) are overlapping each other within Lot 25-A. these two certificates of title could not have been annotated on OCT No. explaining the (1) lack of entry with regard to the issuance of TCT No. Even assuming that the entire area covered by TCT No. which pertains to Jose Ma. especially so since TCT No. as stated on the face of the title. we find that the trial court failed to consider the several conveyances of portions of TCT No. 26538 submitted to the trial court contained entries only up to the year 1947. entered into a voluntary agreement with the intention of transferring the ownership of the subject property. it becomes apparent that the said evidence relied upon was only a private survey conducted by Geodetic Engineer Reggie P. the authenticity of said title must be sustained. Garcia which had not been duly approved by the Bureau of Lands and was based only on photocopies of relevant land titles. 25 had been verified to be an offshoot of Decree No. Inc. 6196 and 21343. 40 The Supreme Court. 26538 had been disposed of. the Notice merely contained a warning regarding the denial of the registration of the voluntary deed but. 26538 of the alleged sale between RATO and ARANETA. 21343. Evidently. all the titles pertaining to Lot No. 21857. what is of utmost importance is that the designation and the technical description of the land. it failed to submit a copy of said TCT No. 12343/O-994 found on the Owner's Duplicate Copy of OCT No. Rato but.0000 * square meters between TCT No. it still cannot be denied that Rato and ARANETA together with Don Salvador Araneta. no conclusion should have been reached regarding the total cancellation of TCT No. further asserted that ARANETA should not have been issued TCT No. in Encinas v. As pointed out by ARANETA. 21857 and a certified true copy of TCT No. Nonetheless. did it affect the vested rights of ARANETA to be land. approach and manner of plotting the relative positions of the lots. had not been shown to be erroneous or otherwise inconsistent with the source of titles. In fact. 1948. Given that the validity of TCT No. In any case. specifically. 25-A-3. Besides. Logically therefore. [ 62 ] acknowledged that certain defects on a certificate of title. 26538 and 26539 but TCT No. That portion of TCT R-15169 (Jose Dimson) along bearing distance points to 17 to 18 to 19 to 20 to 21 to 1 and 2 shaded in yellow color in the Plan is not covered by TCT 21343 (Araneta)". 6196 marked as Exhibits 5-A1A and 19-A1A. 26538 inasmuch as TCT No. Malabon. written across the face of the letter. on the Memorandum of Encumbrance of TCT No. since the subject land had been partially cancelled with respect to the portion disposed of. Entry No. (2) entry pertaining to Convenio Philippine Land Improvement Company which was entered way back on 21 August 1929. on account of the physical condition of the copy submitted to this Court. 26538. 26538 and TCT No. 26538 will remain the same at the time of its transfer to ARANETA. 8692 issued on 1 August 1924. [ 64 ] On the other hand. 994 with respect to this subject lot were not TCT Nos. Moreover. ARANETA's failure to submit TCT No. At any rate. thus. In ARANETA's case. cannot lend * us to conclude that the conveyance was irregular. we will not hasten to declare void TCT No. Naturally. 26538. despite the incorrect entries on the title. It was also opined that TCT No. The fact that the title to the land was subsequently issued free from any notation of the alluded defect creates a reasonable presumption that ARANETA was in fact able to comply with the condition imposed.282) square meters. Records also reveal the RTC's observation with regard to Araneta's failure to disprove the result of the plotting made on the subject land (Exhibit K) to the effect that TCT 26538 overlaps 1/2 portion of TCT 15159 and TCT 26539 also overlaps the other 1/2 portion of said TCT R-15169. relying on Exhibit "N". 994 but were mere derivatives of TCT No. the conclusions reached by said geodetic engineer were anchored on unfounded generalizations. [ 63 ] Thus. it could not be expected that the area of TCT No. shows that the suspension or denial was merely conditional considering that the person seeking registration had give days * within which to correct the defects before final denial thereof. It should be stressed that what partially cancelled OCT No. 7784 had been preponderantly proven in these proceedings. this fact alone. respectively. 7784 and TCT No. 36455 and are all located in Tinajeros. 21857. However. [ 66 ] SCHTac Scrutinizing Exhibit "K". This is especially true since the notice itself contained a note. The trial court. the entry remains illegible for us to make a definite conclusion. As we see it. 21343 appears to be a mere derivative of TCT No. 21343 had never been put into issue in these proceedings. . 7784 cancelled the former certificate of title to the extent only of Three Hundred Ninety Thousand Two Hundred Eighty Two (390. 7784 in favor of ARANETA considering that the same was issued a year later and. the technical description in the title should prevail over the record number. 7784. A perusal of Exhibit "N" submitted before the trial court. Be that as it may. citing with approval the decision of the appellate court. covered by the subject certificates of title can still be determined with sufficient certainty. they not being the preceding titles. deed of Sale & Mortgage was suspended/denied and no title was received by the Register of Deeds of Pasig at the time the said document was filed in the said Office on March 4. 994 specifically recorded the issuance of TCT No. 994 from which said titles had supposedly originated. [ 68 ] From all indications. it is apparent that portions of this piece of land had been sold to various individuals before the same were transferred to ARANETA on 4 March 1948. Another defect cited on ARANETA's title was the absence of any entry on the Memorandum of Encumbrances of TCT No. 26538 and 26539 are not even the immediate predecessors of OCT No. the interchanging of numbers. An anomaly exists if the area covered under the derivative title will be much more than its predecessor-in-interest. the copy of TCT No. 7784 considering that the registration of the Novation of Contract. [ 67 ] What is more. may occur and "it is certainly believable that such variance in the copying of entries could be merely a typographical or clerical error". a perusal of OCT No. 8692 over Lot No. In such cases. "Just Completed". 26539 in the name of RATO had not been annotated on OCT No. this is not so in the case before us. National Bookstore.

Rato y Tuazon." cCaSHA Parenthetically. EIAScH Exhibit "N-Dimson". which explain the difference in area between TCT No. Block 16 of the consolidation and subdivision plan Pcs-140. the Special Division noted that the titles derived from OCT No. which Dimson had submitted as evidence to discredit the Araneta claim. 1947. 1946. On this score. Exhibit "Q-Dimson" [ 71 ] consisting of TCT No. in the case of Alonso v. 36455. it is apparent that no identity of the land could be found. points to one Angela Bautista de Alvarez as the registered owner of a 240 square meter of land designated as Lot No. In effect. 44 of the consolidation Subdivision Plan Pcs-188 with a total area of 3. the titles issued before the inauguration were duplicated by titles issued after the inauguration of the Philippine Republic . and Republic Act No. which were in force at the time the title was reconstituted on July 26. 1946. [ 74 ] In any case. the question of whether the aforesaid certificates of title constitute as clouds on ARANETA's titles are not for this Court to rule upon for purposes of the present remand. so that eventually. the significant event was the expropriation proceedings undertaken by the Republic of the Philippines sometime in 1947. This certificate of title cancels TCT No. 994 dated 3 May 1917. The Special Division also correctly considered that the trial court had failed to take into account the several conveyances of TCT No. G. our task being merely to trace back the parties' claims to OCT No. and the designation and the technical description of the land on those titles not having been shown to be erroneous or variant with the source title. Tuason de Perez married to Antonio Perez. "4429" being the case number of Decree No. ruled that there is nothing fraudulent for a certificate of title to bear the same number as another title to another land. [ 72 ] agreeing with the Court of Appeals' dissertation in said case. This certificate of Title covers a parcel of land described as Lot No. Inc. The Special Division correctly assessed. There is no cause to dispute the factual findings and conclusions of the Special Division on the validity of the Araneta titles. 6. Exhibit "M-Dimson" relating to TCT No. these certificates of title reflect different registered owners and designation of the land covered. 41 Notably also. This certificate of title cancelled TCT No. The imputed overlap of TCT No. Pertinently.O. 21.L. 26538. registered on 12 June 1952. 21857 was issued on 30 March 1951 to one Angela I. 4429. [ 70 ] which are both derivatives of OCT No.'s reconstituted title bears the same number as the title of another parcel of land. Interestingly. N and Q. It appears that the claim to title of the Manotoks is somewhat more controversial. 30473 on the inscriptions. among others. 26538 before it was ultimately transferred to Araneta in 1948. 994 registered on 3 May 1917 and cover parcels of land located in Malabon. Block 14 of the subdivision plan Psd- 5254 being a portion of Lot No. It was issued to Gregorio Araneta. dated August 5. [ 73 ] The fact that the entries contained in ARANETA's pieces of evidence are different from that of DIMSON's do not automatically make ARANETA's exhibits inferior replications or a confirmation of their falsity. The Supreme Court. it is not for the Heirs of Dimson to rely on the weakness of ARANETA's titles and profit from it. 994 dated 3 May 1917. RT-1310 (T-1151) bears the same number as another title to another land. 8692 covers two parcels of land designated as Lot Nos. the objection regarding the non-submission of the "original copy" had not been raised by DIMSON in their Comments/Objections to Consolidated Formal Offer of Evidence (Of Araneta Institute of Agriculture. we find the objections unwarranted considering that certified true copies or certified microfilm copies of Exhibits 4-A1A to 7-A1A had been submitted by ARANETA in these proceedings. . according to the Special Division. 17. Comparing these titles to those of the ARANETA. dated February 19. the same only proves that Philippine Land Improvement Company was not yet registered and this does not go as far as proving the existence or non- existence of the company at which time it was executed. 1 and 2 of Block No. Lastly. 75 There is no question that the Araneta titles were derived from OCT No. Ultimately. 4429 in some of the antecedent titles of Araneta 76 as mere clerical errors that could not have invalidated said titles. and we affirm the same. 994 and the present titles of the Manotoks. 26 and Circular No. DIMSON objected to the admissibility of Exhibits 4-A1A to 7-A1A on the ground that ARANETA failed to submit the original copies of these certificates of title and contended that the "originals" contain different "contents" from their own Exhibits M. in their Motion for Partial Reconsideration of this Court's Resolution dated 30 October 2008. pertaining to TCT No. Needless to state. 994. on the other hand. 26538. 26538 [ 69 ] and 21857. 26539 with the titles held by Dimson was based on a private survey which had not been duly approved by the Bureau of Lands. 26538 and TCT No. Incorporated on 7 May 1948. DIMSON submitted TCT Nos. Rather. HEIcDT B. 14112/T-348 and refers to a certain TCT No. on the alleged non-registration of Philippine Land Improvement Company at the time the special power of attorney was executed by Jose Ma. However. 21856. 1. .). we agree with the Court of Appeals that there is nothing fraudulent with the fact that Cebu Country Club. Rato to represent him in the execution of the deed of conveyances. 7-A-1-A. 4429 and Record No. 26538 of the sale of the property between Rato and Araneta did not. 46118. Finally.372 square meters. they should have focused on the strength of their own titles since it is not within our office to decide in whose hands the contested lands should go. Inc. one of the co-heirs named in OCT No. with the evident intent to discredit and refute the title of ARANETA. 19. The Special Division did not discount the fact that there could have been flaws in some of the intervening titles between the 3 May 1917 OCT No. pertain to properties wholly different from those covered by the Araneta titles. Inc. . the Supreme Court elucidated as follows: "On the question that TCT No. the reference to Decree No. The alleged absence of any entry on the Memorandum of Encumbrances of TCT No. However. This came about because under General Land Registration Office (GLRO) Circular No. 7784 and TCT No. RD 3. At least . Cebu City Country Club. 994. Rizal. discount the fact that Rato and Araneta entered into a voluntary agreement with the intention of transferring the ownership of the subject property. particularly from the share of Jose Ma. the titles issued before the inauguration of the Philippine Republic were numbered consecutively and the titles issued after the inauguration were numbered also consecutively starting with No. It has an area of 436 square meters and cancels TCT No. Record No. the company was not precluded to enter into contracts and be bound by them but it will do so at the risk of the adverse effects of non-registration under the law.R.

1918 — 10:50 a. 7526 which cancelled TCT Nos. 1368-1374 were expropriated by the Republic of the Philippines and were eventually subdivided and sold to various vendees. 36557-63 of the Republic. Thus. [ 88 ] . Custodio was in turn a transferee of Guillermo Rivera. el primar casado con Diogracias Quinones y el Segundo con Josefa Garcia y se be expedido el Certificado de Titulo No. MRI's certificate of title was derived from TCT No. en el Expidiente de intestado del nombrado Francisco J. 7525.50 metros Cuadrados y descrita en el Lote No. Eighteen (18) lots were obtained by MRI from the years 1965 to 1974. GARDUNIO.052. Registrado de Titulos. 36657-63. specifically. 35486." ICASEH The property was later subdivided into seven lots in accordance with subdivision plan Psd-21154. Maria Clara Gonzales y Narciso married to Delfin Hilario. 7528 registered in the name of MRI covers Lot No. Register of Deeds" As a result. [ 83 ] 2) TCT No.000 square meters. 7792. Jr. per una orden del Hon. TCT No. descrita en el Lote No. de Gonzales. The latter title eventually cancelled TCT No. Buenaventura's ownership was evidenced by TCT No. 165119 in 1988. 6655/O-994. (SGD. 5261 which was issued in the name of Francisco Gonzales. se cancela el presente certificado de tituto y se expide otre a hombre decha Rufina Narciso. el primar casado con Deogracias Quinones y el Segundo con Josefa Garcia y se be expedido el Certificado de Titulo No. Francisco Felipe Gonzales y Narciso married to Pilar Narciso. MRI purchased this lot from one Basilio Caina who was issued TCT No. Juana Francisco Gonzales y Narciso married to Fortunato de Leon. 36657-63. 35486. 9. MEC acquired from PhilVille Development Housing Corporation Lot No. dienada el 20 de Septiembre de 19 (not legible). Libro T-22. GARDUNIO. 35486 in the names of Jose Gonzales y Narciso married to Maria P. vendida a favor de Alejandro Ruiz y Mariano P. found on page 17 of OCT 994 of the Owner's Duplicate Copy. 49034. covering Lot 1-C. Pagina 163.m. Prescilla. Libro T-No. the properties covered by TCT Nos. 1368-1373 while TCT No. [ 80 ] Partitioning the lots among the co-owners. 19-B by virtue of Deed of Exchange executed in its favor for which. Habida entre la misma y el finado Francisco J.) L. 21. shows that Lot No. [ 87 ] SADECI 4) TCT No.982. The Parcel of land has an approximate area of 2. 1918 Date of Inscription — Sept. Juez del Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Manila Sala II. while it acquired the lot covered by TCT No. 9866 issued to MRI covers Lot No. [ 78 ] On 22 August 1938. 4211 was cancelled by TCT No. [ 77 ] The notation reads: "Ap. Virata. 9854 registered in the name of Filemon Custodio. 6655/O-994 — Venta: Queda Cancelado el presente Certificado en cuanto a una extension superficial de 3. a transferee of Jose Dionisio. 26. Fernando Jugo. Gonzales. 7760 by virtue of sale between him and then People's Homesite and Housing Corporation ["PHHC"]. as follows: 1) TCT No. Register of Deeds" "Ap. 35486 was eventually cancelled and in lieu thereof six (6) certificates of titles were individually issued [ 81 ] to Francisco Gonzales's six (6) children. 7762. 4210. TCT No.) TEODORO GONZALES. [ 84 ] deriving the same from TCT No. [ 85 ] 3) TCT No. (SGD. 6665/O-994-Venta: Queda Cancelado el presente Certificado en cuanto a una extension superficial de 871.00 metros cuadrados. a cuenta de la participacion de osia esta en (not legible) los tienes de la eseledad de genanciales. a Rufina Narciso Vda. 2 of consolidation-subdivision plan (LRC) Pcs-1828 which has an area of 4. Date of the Instrument — Aug. (SGD. aEACcS Appearing on the "Memorandum" of TCT No. the latter having been issued TCT No. on 6 April 1920. Leuterio. [ 82 ] As previously mentioned. 26 vendida a favor de Alejandro Ruis y Mariano P. The Special Division explained the milieu in full: VALIDITY OF THE MANOTOK TITLES The notation under Entry No.m. archivando se la copia de dicha orden da que se ha heche referencia en al Legajo T-No. 1374 was issued in favor of all the children. 21 and has an approximate area of 23. 29.512. 26 had been a subject of sale in favor of Alejandro Ruiz and Mariano P. Leuterio. 5261 was issued in the name of Francisco Gonzales. Inscribed on the "Memorandum of the Incumbrances Affecting the Property Described in this Certificate" was the sale executed in favor of Francisco Gonzales dated 3 March 1920. Date of Instrument — Aug. 1918 Date of Inscription — Sept. Consuelo Susana Gonzales y Narciso married to Alfonso D.876 square meters. who was issued TCT No. No. was obtained by MRI from one Narcisa Buenaventura. 9. TCT No. 22. 5261 was cancelled by TCT No. Pagina 164. 5261 is NOTA: Ap 2111 which reads as follows: [ 79 ] "A/2111 — Adjudicado el torreno descrito en este certificado de titulo. TCT Nos. 1918 — 10:50 a. 232568 was issued on 9 May 1991. TCT No. 42 some of the titles in the name of the Manotoks were sourced from the titles issued to and subsequently distributed by the Republic. con (not legible) No. Dionisio's title in turn cancelled the Republic's TCT No. 12-1 having an area of 20. Tomo T-168 del libro de transferencias.93 Metros cuadrados y 16. The 20 certificates of titles were traced by the MANOTOKS. 4211.979 square meters. TCT No. [ 86 ] This certificate of title was traced from one Filemon Custodio who held TCT No. Gutierrez. Gonzales. Leuterio. folio 86.988 square meters. 36657-62 registered in the name of the Republic of the Philippines.) L. 8012 in the name of MRI covers Lot No. 9853. and Concepcion Andrea Gonzales y Narciso married to Melquiades M. On the other hand.

registered owner of TCT No. Spouses Priscila and Antonio Sebastian and Jose Madulid. namely. 6277/T-21485. 25146 cancelled TCT No. 53123 in turn cancelled TCT No. 21485 was issued to MRI by virtue of sale between it and Francisco Custodio. 36557-63 of the Republic. 21545 cancelled TCT Nos. 25146.557 square meters. Rosalina. 7827 cancelled TCT No. 21484.000 square meters). registered in the name of MRI covers Lot No.531 square meters. [ 90 ] Under Entry No. [ 104 ] MRI also submitted in evidence a Deed of Partition between itself. 53155. Felix and Emilia all surnamed Jacinto. C-35267.000 square meters). 9) TCT No. [ 100 ] 12) TCT No. after the same was subdivided under . Ricardo Cruz (941 square meters) and Jesus Hipona (4. 21346 cancelled TCT No. 5-C of subdivision plan (LRC) psd-315272 which has an approximate area of 4.850 square meters. 56-A and 56-B. 254875 [ 99 ] bears MRI as the registered owner of Lot 55-A with an area of approximately 1.354 square meters and a by-product of TCT No. 8013 was registered and what certificate of title it cancelled. covering Lot 56-B of subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-292683 with an approximate area of 9. 21316 but there is no trace of this latter certificate of title. 7792/T-39 to the Republic's certificate of titles. Notably.707 square meters. 43 5) TCT No. C-17234 cancelled TCT No. 41956 from one Joaquin Caina who was the registered owner of TCT No. 7792/T-39 but there is no showing whether the same could be traced back to the Republic's certificates of title. The certificate of title covers Lot 20 with an approximate area of 25. 36557-63 of the Republic. for purposes of tracing TCT No. [ 89 ] 6) TCT No. 21347 registered in the names of Jesus Hipona (19. also registered in the name of MRI. we note that TCT No.000 square meters. this certificate of title was not submitted in evidence. 53124 cancelled TCT No. 53122 in turn cancelled TCT No. et al. also in the name of MRI. This certificate of title cancelled TCT No. 25715 being a vendee of PHHC. 21350/T-107 but the records are bereft of any indication what certificate of title it cancelled and to whom the same was registered.650 square meters. On the fact of TCT No. The JACINTOS' certificates of title were in turn derived from TCT Nos. 8404 by virtue of sale between the two. TCT No. 13) TCT No. C-17272 reflects MRI as the registered owner of Lot 6-C which has an approximate area of 27. registered owner of TCT No. 8017 cancelled TCT No. [ 98 ] 11) TCT No. TCT No.531 square meters) and Silvestre Domingo (1.531 square meters) and one Silvestre Domingo (1. It was previously registered in the names of MRI (4. 21315 was registered and what certificate of title it cancelled. Roberto S. 6-B and 6-C as per subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-277091. 41956 which covers Lot 55. Francisco Custodio was a transferee of Lorenzo Caina. thereby transferring ownership to MRI. However. Psd-75797 with an area of 11. reflects MRI as the registered owner. Ricardo Cruz (941 square meters) and Conchita Umali (1. TCT Nos. 232568 had been subject of an expropriation proceedings to which the Manotok Estate Corporation. It would appear that MRI acquired the lot covered under TCT No. 9773 and 9774 were registered in the names of Romulo. 26407 [ 95 ] issued to MRI was traced back to the title of Lourdes Mercado Cloribel who was the registered owner of TCT No. covering Lot No. TCT No. 8404.650 square meters). after the same was subdivided into two lots. This certificate of title cancels TCT No. In turn. This certificate of title cancelled TCT No.276 square meters Custodio was in turn a transferee of Lorenzo Caina. [ 101 ] which was purchased by MRI from one Maria V. MRI acquired the same by virtue of sale between him and Francisco Custodio. it would appear that portions of the property covered under TCT No. 53123 by order of the Court of First Instance of Rizal. 21347 cancelled TCT No. 21485 and TCT No. [ 103 ] cIECaS 14) TCT No. interposed no objections subject to the payment of just compensation. 8017 of Filemon Custodio by virtue of sale between the latter and MRI.650 square meters). [ 91 ] 7) TCT Nos. 33904 [ 96 ] of MRI cancelled TCT No. 26405 [ 92 ] and 26406.750 square meters). it would show that it cancelled TCT No. Caloocan City. [ 105 ] Again. 55897 shows MRI as the registered owner of Lot 3 of the consolidation-subdivision plan (LRC) Pcs-1828 of the Maysilo Estate covering an area of more or less 20. was a by-product of TCT No. 25145 registered in the name of Quirino Labing-isa by virtue of sale in favor of MRI. 11-Bm. also registered in the name of MRI.000 square meters) under TCT No. 7827 was eventually cancelled by Villacorta's land title. 34255. respectively. Branch XII and as per agreement of the parties in Civil Case No. [ 107 ] Like some of the other titles. TCT No. Villacorta who held TCT No. before the same were transferred to MRI by reason of sale in favor of the latter. (36557) 12836 to (36563) 12842. registered in the name of MRI. David (3. TCT No. the latter being the registered owner of TCT No. ["JACINTOS"]. 7826/T-40 but there is no trace to whom the latter title was registered and what certificate of title it cancelled. [ 102 ] It would appear that TCT No. 53268 of MRI covered Lot No. aCcEHS 17) TCT No. C-424. T-121428. 21315/T-107 but there is no indication to whom TCT No. 15) TCT No.000 square meters). holder of TCT No. 8013/T41 but there is no showing in whose name TCT No. 21107 issued to MRI covers Lot 22 with an approximate area of 2. 21039 as evidenced by a Deed of Sale between Caina and the PHHC.0000 * square meters) and Jose Madulid (500 square meters). 9773 and 9774. [ 97 ] We note that TCT No. 21346 whose registered owners were Conchita Umali (1. Roberto David and Madulid thereby subdividing the property into Lots 6-A. 53122 in the names of MRI (19. TCT No. EcATDH 8) TCT No. 8014 and 8015 issued in the name of Filemon Custodio [ 94 ] Both TCT Nos. the latter's certificate of title canceling TCT No. It would appear that TCT No. [ 93 ] both registered in the name of MRI. 21013 by reason of sale between him and PHHC. MRI's certificate of title cancelled TCT No. 10) TCT No. Lucila. 53124 registered in the names of MRI. covers Lot No. cancelled TCT Nos. Villacorta in turn acquired the same land from one Eufrocina Mackay whose TCT No. 15. 163902. 4-B-2 and has an area of more or less 6. 8014 and 8015 cancelled TCT 7792/T-39. 21040.910 square meters. 9022. C-17234 registered in the names of MRI (27. Lot Nos. [ 106 ] 16) TCT No.

Supreme Court Justice) Stephen Breyer in Cadorette v. et al. the MANOTOKS disproved the "opinion" with regard to the alleged defects of their titles inasmuch as the majority report submitted before the trial court was made outside the scope of the tasks which the trial court confined them to perform. Court of Appeals. as a result of which. 994 registered on 3 May 1917. they declared all the lots covered by such titles for taxation purposes. 8846/T-45 but this latter certificate of title was not submitted in evidence for purposes of tracing back to the Republic's title.S. NHA: 114 "In an rem proceeding. 195730/T-974 but there is no trace what certificate of title the latter title cancelled. 116 which in turn cited the pronouncement of the U. In fact. the MANOTOKS further maintained that CLT failed to submit any factual or legal bases to prove the authenticity and validity of the Palma and Sayo Orders.S. including their derivative titles. 4211 was issued decades before the property was expropriated. 539 for resale to tenants is beyond question. without any impairment of the estate or title acquired or any reversion to the former owner. as also enunciated by the Supreme Court in Republic of the Philippines v.S. when land has been acquired for public use in fee simple unconditionally. The Majority Report had arrived at several conclusions with respect to the TCTs from which the Manotok titles were derived. paragraph "r" of the Majority Report noted that the seven properties covered by TCT Nos. Moreover. the paramount title is in the public under a new and independent title. After condemnation. The MANOTOKS also argued that before this proceeding on remand. by giving notice to all claimants to a disputed title. Thus. paragraph "r" of the Majority Report noted that the seven properties covered by TCT Nos. was derived from the certificate of title held by PhilVille Development and Housing Corporation under TCT No. 165119 [ 109 ] was issued to MRI by virtue of a Deed of Sale between Spouses Francisca Labing-isa and Juan Ignacio [SPOUSES IGNACIO] and MRI. . As Justice Vitug explained in Republic v. 18) TCT No. CLT failed to introduce evidence of such flaws neither were the concerned geodetic engineers presented as witnesses. or the land may be devoted to a different use. Indeed. With respect to the imputed flaws on the MANOTOKS' titles which were based on the Majority Report. TCT No. however. we find that the bases of the alleged defects proceeded from unreliable sources thus. v. 113 and then Associate Justice (now Chief Justice) Puno reiterated in Reyes v. The Special Division noted as much: DcTAIH As it is. Likewise. However. 197357. 35266/T-173 was not submitted in evidence. thus. and the public use may be abandoned. By and large. 197357 cancelled TCT No. 1368 to 1374 were expropriated by the People's Homesite and Housing Corporation which were later consolidated and subdivided into 77 lots for resale to tenants. as also enunciated by the Supreme Court in Republic of the Philippines vs. Carmack 117that "[b]y giving notice to all claimants to a disputed title. C-36960 of the SPOUSES IGNACIO was cancelled. et al. 8894 cancelled TCT No. 115 This doctrine was derived from the opinion of then Chief Judge (now U. the former owner retains no rights in the land. C-39690 cancelled TCT No. Relevantly. 120 The Special Division. 19-B of subdivision plan Psd-13011152 with an area of 23. MRI had successfully traced back some of their certificates of title to the valid OCT No. Thus. are presumed valid by virtue of their acquisition resulting from the exercise of its inherent power of eminent domain that need not be granted even by the fundamental law. T-232568 of the Manotok Estate Corporation. the alleged flaws concerning the certificates of title issued previous to the exercise of the State of its inherent power did not affect or render invalid the subsequent transfers after the forced sale. focus was laid on the alleged defects of TCT No. TCcSDE The fact that these lots were subjected to expropriation proceedings sometime in 1947 under Commonwealth Act No. covering Lot No. 994. 118 In annulling the Manotok titles. 44 subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-334454. [ 108] TCT No.206 square meters. the validity of most of MRI's certificates of title should be upheld because they were derived from the Republic's valid certificates of title. in turn. Jose Leon Gonzales. [ 111 ] TCT No. No sign of protest was ever raised by CLT on this point. 119 The Special Division also took exception to the majority report of the Commissioners (Majority Report) who had been tasked by the trial court to examine the validity of the Manotok titles. either by the exercise of eminent domain or by purchase. U. some of the MANOTOKS' titles can be traced back to the Government's titles as a result of the expropriation in 1947. 8994/T-45 registered in the name of Filemon S. Custodio whose ownership thereon was transferred to MRI by virtue of a voluntary sale. TCT No. they having acquired the lots from some of the vendees of the PHHC after the same were expropriated by the Republic from the Gonzalezes. condemnation proceedings provide a judicial process for securing better title against all the world than may be obtained by voluntary conveyance". 1368 to 1374 were expropriated by the Republic from the Gonzalezes. The fact that these lots were subjected to expropriation proceedings sometime in 1947 under Commonwealth Act No. 539 for resale to tenants is beyond question. all the certificates of title submitted by the MANOTOKS. as the predecessor-in-interest of the MANOTOKS. any and all defects that may have attended that particular title would have been purged when the property covered by it was subsequently acquired by the State through eminent domain. Without doubt. were all traced to OCT No. Supreme Court in U. 19) TCT No. Jose Leon Gonzales. 35266/T-173 but TCT No. concluded that such report was in fact tainted by the fact that it was determined "outside the scope of the issues framed and agreed upon by the parties". condemnation acts upon the property. 112 The fact of expropriation is extremely significant. To bolster this fact. for titles acquired by the State by way of expropriation are deemed cleansed of whatever previous flaws may have attended these titles. To wit: In meeting the issue. [ 110 ] It would appear that TCT No. tainting the veracity of the said report.S. 4211 issued in September of 1918. condemnation proceedings provide a judicial process for securing better title against all the world than may be obtained by voluntary conveyance". cancelled TCT No. They insisted that the Palma Order was a void one for being conditional and having resulted to the issuance of "duplicate certificates of land title". MEC acquired the subject parcel of land by virtue of Deed of Exchange between it and PHILVILLE DATED 9 May 1991. 9022.. TCT No. the titles of the Republic. To bolster this fact.

have. C-17272. which would taint the titles held by the MANOTOKS in so far as the regularity of their issuance is concerned. ranging from the language of the technical descriptions. as discussed above. such flaws are inconsequential and ineffectual in invalidating the MANOTOKS and ARANETA titles. 4211. the MANOTOKS and ARANETA. [ 121 ] ACTIcS Scrutinizing the Majority Report upon which the trial court's conclusions were based. 26407. 4211. Evidently. whose title is questionable and dubious to the core. For these reasons. the factual milieu of the present controversy and the evidence on record clearly establish the failure of DIMSON and CLT to substantiate their titles and overcome the onus of proving that said titles are derivatives of OCT 994 registered on 3 May 1917. 33904. we find no sufficient basis to make a conclusion as to their origins. On the other hand. however. Remarkably. and not 19 April 1917. 55897. the majority report focused on the alleged flaws and inherent technical defects of TCT Nos. as what is reflected in their titles. there are. [ 123 ] Otherwise stated. 5261. some certificates of title which could not be traced back to the titles previously held by the Republic specifically. In contrast. Specifically. 45 The records of the case between CLT and the MANOTOKS reveal that the parties approved the creation of a commission to resolve only these two issues. it cannot be gainsaid that said certificates of title have correspondingly been subjected to dispute on the basis of separate and distinct imputed flaws. it would appear that the findings therein were outside the scope of the issues framed and agreed upon by the parties. the titles of DIMSON and CLT should be declared a nullity. Significantly. MRI's TCT Nos. Such flaws are hard to overcome as they delve into the substance of their proprietary claims. 163903. 4211. this Court arrived at the following conclusions as to the status of the original title and its subsequent conveyances: . DIMSON and CLT on one hand. It took issue with the particular titles which could not be retraced to the titles acquired by the Republic of the Philippines by way of expropriation. 4210. the MANOTOKS failed to make any specific reference to the preceding certificates of title which they cancelled and to whose names they were subsequently transferred and registered. 26405 and 26406. Still. aSDCIE xxx xxx xxx From the foregoing evaluation and in conformity with the Supreme Court 2007 Resolution. DIMSON and CLT miserably failed to overcome their onus and instead opted to hap on the supposed flaws of the adverse parties. is that the imputed flaws purportedly beleaguering the respective certificates of title of the MANOTOKS and ARANETA relate to the mechanical and technical aspect of the transcription of their titles and are therefore inconsequential to the import and validity thereof. the imputed flaws affect only those certificates of title issued prior to those registered in the name of the Republic. 5261 and 35486 do not involve the question of whether or not the subject properties were identified as Lot No. both of which had consistently anchored their proprietary claims on OCT No. to wit: "xxx xxx xxx These issues to be resolved by the 3 Commissioners are as follows: 1) Whether or not the property covered by the Transfer Certificates of Title of defendants pertain to or involve Lot No. Said imputed flaws do not depart from the fact that the predecessors-in-interest of the MANOTOKS and ARANETA had been clothed with the right of ownership over the disputed portions of the Maysilo Estate. no specific flaw was found on the MANOTOKS' titles indicating any irregularity on their issuance. Records bear out that the MANOTOKS took exception to the procedure taken citing therein the "ultra vires" acts of the two Commissioners. The Special Division supplied the following precise and concise summary of its conclusions: In précis. 124 At the same time. 165119 and MEC's TCT No. Having derived their titles from RIVERA. As to these certificates of title. In fact. As stated. DIMSON and CLT cannot rightly insist on the validity of their titles. 994 registered on 3 May 1917. 26 of the Maysilo estate or whether there was overlapping of titles. 4210. these defects go only as far as the certificates of title issued prior to those of the Republic. T-232568. T-121428. in this remand proceeding. the Commissioners who signed the majority report even concluded that only TCT Nos. 53268. and 2) Whether or not the property covered by the title of the plaintiff and the property covered by the titles of the defendants overlap. the deductions with regard to the technical infirmities and defects of TCT Nos. the crucial difference between the imputed flaws allegedly tainting said contending titles. 1368 thru 1324 (sic) [ 122 ] were irregularly and questionably issued without any reference to the MANOTOKS' certificates of title. absence of subdivision plan. In addition. and the MANOTOKS and ARANETA. Except in the case of the MANOTOKS which had failed to substantiate the validity of some of their certificates of title. Thus. the Special Division was not prepared to uphold the validity of all of the Manotok titles. HSIDTE Answering the issues assigned by the Supreme Court relative to the tenability of the respective imputed flaws in the titles of the MANOTOKS and ARANETA and whether such flaws are sufficient to defeat said claims. on the other. No flaw had been specifically identified or established in the proceedings below. 26 of the Maysilo Estate presently titled in the name of the plaintiff. lot number and survey plan. been able to support their claims of ownership over the respective portions of the Maysilo Estate. 125 TaSEHD V. the MANOTOKS and ARANETA presented evidence proving the identity. Although the MANOTOKS had traced their title from the vendees of PHHC. 5261 and 35486. the extent and the origin of their titles. since the respective certificates of title of herein contending parties are contradictory to each other and stand to refute the validity of their opposing titles. this Court finds that. 35486. the flaws attending the titles of DIMSON and CLT primarily stem from infirmities attending or otherwise affecting the very crux of their claim of ownership.

They failed to do so. 21107 covering Lot 22 with an approximate area of 2. h) TCT No. The 13 June 1966 Palma Order and the 18 October 1977 Sayo Order. 126 Inasmuch as we agree with the factual findings and evaluation of the Special Division. 128 We now proceed to tackle the recommendations submitted by the Special Division. 46 1. 21485 covering Lot 20 with an approximate area of 25. g) TCT No. 9866 covering Lot No. The MANOTOKS. it was incumbent on the Heirs of Dimson and/or CLT to establish their claim to title for reasons other than the fact that OCT No. 34255 covering Lot No. To declare LEGAL and VALID the proprietary claims the MANOTOKS over the parcels of land covered by the following certificates of title: a) TCT No. we likewise adopt the above conclusions.531 square meters. While the existence of said Orders are admitted. CLT. 5-C of subdivision plan (LRC) psd-315278. were expropriated by the Republic of the Philippines sometime in 1947 under Commonwealth Act No. e) TCT No. thus invalidating their legal claims over the subject parcels of land. the burden of evidence was on Dimson and CLT to establish the strength of their respective claims of ownership. MANOTOK REALTY INC. 539 for resale to tenants.650 square meters. 994 registered on 3 May 1917 thereby ultimately showing a direct link of TCT Nos. with an approximate area of 2. 26 pertinent to this controversy. Portions of Lot No. there is only one OCT 994.A. i) TCT No. do not substantiate their proprietary claims. 4.000 square meters. e) TCT No. thus as successor-in-interest of the Republic. 12-E with an area of 1.850 square meters. particularly that being disputed by the MANOTOKS and CLT. 2 of consolidation-subdivision plan (LRC) Pcs-1828 which has an area of 4. They are as follows: RECOMMENDATIONS Apropos to said conclusions.000 square meters. had been well substantiated and proven to be superior to that of DIMSON. 7528 registered in the name of MRI covers Lot No. C-17272 covering Lot 6-C which has an approximate area of 27. 53268 covering Lot No. respectively. and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendant's claim. 3. By reason of which. 15 purchased by MRI from one Maria V. As categorically declared by the Supreme Court. OCT 994 which reflects the date of 19 April 1917 as its registration date is null and void. C-35267 covering Lot 56-B of subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-292683 with an approximate area of 9. the registration date of which had already been decisively settled as 3 May 1917 and not 19 April 1917. are NULL and VOID. Thus. the certificates of title of the deceased Jose Dimson and his successor-in-interest. more so. having been traced back to OCT 994 dated 19 April 1917. 12-H with an area of 1. f) TCT No. that is either belonging to or portions of Lot 25-A-3 as previously owned by RATO. 55897 covering Lot 3 of consolidation-subdivision plan (LRC) Pcs-1828 of the Maysilo Estate covering an area of more or less 20. . this Court hereby respectfully makes the following recommendations regarding the validity of the conflicting proprietary claims as interposed by the herein contending parties: 1. Psd-75797 with an area of 11. As we earlier stated. 6. the legal import thereof nonetheless fails to confer a semblance of legality on the titles of DIMSON and consequently. b) TCT No. T-121428 covering Lot No. g) TCT No.163 square meters.000 square meters. d) TCT No.802 square meters. 7762 covering Lot 1-C. a) TCT No. In view thereof and in addition to other grounds we have already discussed. d) TCT No. Villacorta with an approximate area of 3. b) TCT No. h) TCT No.0000 * square meters. 254875 covering Lot 55-A with an area of approximately 1.988 square meters. c) TCT No.707 square meters. 12-1 having an area of 20. are NULL and VOID and thus vest no legal right or claim in favor of DIMSON and CLT. we find that the imputed flaws on their titles cannot defeat the valid claims of the MANOTOKS and ARANETA over the disputed portions of the Maysilo Estate. 33904 covering Lot No. 127 In an action to recover. the property must be identified.000 square meters. With regard to the following certificates of title. SEHACI 2. 7784 and 13574 to said mother title. 26405 covering Lot No. 26407 covering Lot No.557 square meters. f) TCT No. The evidence on record confirm that the certificates of title covering the land being claimed by ARANETA were derived from OCT NO. 12-F with an area of 1. ADSTCI 5. were able to establish that some of their certificates of title had indeed originated or were derived from said expropriated parcels of land.276 square meters. 11-Bm. For reasons above-stated and in view of the established rights of ownership of both the MANOTOKS and ARANETA over the contested properties. on which DIMSON and CLT anchor the validity of their respective titles. and not merely to rely upon whatever weaknesses in the claims of the Manotoks and Araneta for their causes of action to prosper. which has an approximate area of 4. 12-B with an area of 1. namely: ASaTCE 3. 994 dated 19 April 1917 is extant. It should be noted that the instant cases arose from separate actions filed by Jose Dimson and CLT seeking the recovery of possession and/or annulment of title against Araneta and the Manotok Group. The well-settled legal principle in actions for annulment or reconveyance of title is that a party seeking it should establish not merely by a preponderance of evidence but by clear and convincing evidence that the land sought to be reconveyed is his. 2.287 square meters. of CLT. 21 and has an approximate area of 23. 8012 covering Lot No. To declare with finality that the certificates of title of DIMSON and CLT including other derivative titles issued to their successors-in-interest.910 square meters. c) TCT No. if any.979 square meters. 26406 covering Lot No. a superior right to defeat the titles of the MANOTOKS and ARANETA.

more particularly the inability of the Manotoks to trace the titles without any gap back to OCT No. Nothing on the face of the titles gives cause for the Court to annul the same. may be declared NULL and VOID. cHSTEA b) TCT No. 994 issued on 3 May 1917. As stated earlier. To declare LEGAL and VALID the title of ARANETA respecting parcels of land covered by the following certificates of title: a) TCT No. such expropriation would have cleansed the titles of the prior flaws. we are disinclined to take the ultimate step of annulling those titles. C-36960 of the SPOUSES IGNACIO by virtue of a Deed of Sale between said Spouses and MRI. which all advert to an inexistent mother title. to wit: . 13574 covering a parcel of land designated as Section No. g) TCT No. failing to make specific references to the particular certificates of title which they cancelled and in whose name they were registered. the Court is cognizant that the inability to trace the Manotok titles specified in the third recommendation to those titles acquired by the Government through expropriation puts such titles in doubt somehow. to wit: a) TCT No. If there should be any cause for the annulment of those titles from a proper party's end. Yet. 163902 covering Lot No. 11-Bm. b) TCT No. 8994/T-45 registered in the name of Filemon S. as determined by the Special Division. although the Special Division did not concede the same benefit to the other Manotok titles named in the third recommendation. 3) The following certificates of titles in the name of ARANETA are hereby declared LEGAL and VALID.872 square meters. 21485 covering Lot 20 with an approximate area of 25. the Court deems it sufficient to require the Registers of Deeds concerned to annotate this Resolution on said titles so as to sufficiently notify the public of their unclear status. 21107 covering Lot 22 with an approximate area of 2. Absent such a finding. 2 of subdivision plan Psd-10114. ultra vires.979 square meters. from the cleansing effect the expropriation had on whatever flaws that attached to the previous titles.557 square meters.276 square meters. as stated by the Special Division. Those circumstances. 12-1 having an area of 20. Custodio. C-35267 covering Lot 56-B of subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-292683 with an approximate area of 9. AScHCD i) TCT No. 3.383 square meters. while insufficient for now to annul the Manotoks' titles listed in the third recommendation. h) TCT No. c) TCT No. they existed on the titles and anteceded the expropriation of the properties by the Government. 4-B-2 with an area of more or less 6. The Special Division concluded that such findings had been reached by the Commissioners in excess of their original mandate and. sufficiently indicate that they could be traced back to the titles acquired by the Republic when it expropriated portions of the Maysilo Estate in the 1940s. 4.B). But even if the Manotok titles enumerated in the third recommendation could not be sourced from the titles acquired by the Republic through expropriation.910 square meters. the Manotok titles do not reflect any error or fraud. being a portion of Lot 25-A-3-C with an aggregate area of 581. 9022. 2 of consolidation-subdivision plan (LRC) Pcs-1828 which has an area of 4. then let the proper case be instituted before the appropriate court. aETAHD WHEREFORE.000 square meters. d) TCT No. On the other hand. f) TCT No. 47 i) TCT No.000 square meters. 9866 covering Lot No. Assuming that such flaws were extant. Indeed. 2. 21 and having an approximate area of 23. which this Court adopts. In addition. 994 dated 3 May 1917.988 square meters. On their face. MANOTOK ESTATE CORPORATION a) TCT No. the Court hereby adopts the Report of the Special Division and issues the following reliefs: 1) The certificates of title of the DIMSONs and CLT including other derivative titles issued to their successors-in-interest. the Court is aware that the ground utilized by the Special Division in rejecting the Majority Report — that the determinations were made outside the scope of the issues framed and agreed upon by the parties — does not categorically refute the technical findings made therein.B. 7784 covering four (4) parcels of land with an aggregate area of 390. the Manotok titles that were affirmed by the Special Division are traceable to the titles of the Republic and thus have benefited. This is in stark contrast with the titles of CLT. said report having exhaustively listed the perceived flaws in the antecedent TCTs from which the Manotoks derived their claim. 165119 which allegedly cancelled TCT No. T-232568 covering Lot No. in lieu of annulling the Manotok titles per the Special Division's third recommendation. if any. as they should. The Court has verified that the titles mentioned in the third recommendation do not.287 square meters. which in turn. or in the alternative. are declared NULL and VOID. 7528 registered in the name of MRI covers Lot No. cancelled TCT No. 34255 covering Lot No. DCSTAH It is worth mentioning that the Special Division refused to adopt the Majority Report earlier rendered in the case between the Manotoks and CLT. at the same time it did not conclude that such titles were false or fraudulently acquired.A and 3. 7762 covering Lot 1-C. thus invalidating their legal claims over the subject parcels of land. and certainly the Special Division do not point to any such flaw in these titles. 19-B of subdivision plan Psd-13011152 with an area of 23. the Special Division's rejection of the Majority Report further diminishes any ground to annul the Manotok titles referred to in the third recommendation. 8012 covering Lot No. Said titles have as their origin what we have acknowledged to be a valid mother title — OCT No. thus. 129 The first. 254875 covering Lot 55-A with an area of approximately 1. Psd-75797 with an area of 11.707 square meters. j) TCT No. Hence. The proprietary claims of the MANOTOKS over the parcels of land covered by the following certificates of title are declared LEGAL and VALID.354 square meters allegedly a by-product of TCT No. second and fourth recommendations are well taken as they logically arise from the facts and conclusions. The foregoing certificates of title (3. However. e) TCT No. should be sufficiently made public. the oppositors to the Manotoks. with an approximate area of 2. subject the same to further technical verification. The third recommendation — that eleven (11) of the titles held by the Manotoks be declared null and void or subjected to further technical verification — warrants some analysis.206 square meters. still the rejection of the Majority Report signifies that the flaws adverted to therein could not form the basis for the annulment of the titles involved.

thereby leading the Supreme Court "to find no sufficient basis to make a conclusion as to their origins".850 square meters.. being a portion of Lot 25-A-3-C with an aggregate area of 581. c) TCT No. JJ. 15 purchased by MRI from one Maria V. T-232568 covering Lot No. concur. Inc. 12-F with an area of 1. 13574 covering a parcel of land designated as Section No. Ynares-Santiago. 26407 covering Lot No.J. the Registers of Deeds concerned are ordered to annotate that as determined in the foregoing Resolution.. 12-B with an area of 1. [March 31.000 square meters. is on official leave. Brion and Peralta. or Manotok Estate Corporation. 48 a) TCT No. to wit: a) TCT No. JJ. f) TCT No. Jr. h) TCT No. 8994/T-45 registered in the name of Filemon S. e) TCT No. v. cancelled TCT No. C. 123346.802 square meters. Puno. 9022. Custodio. Inc. which has an approximate area of 4.. k) TCT No. 4) On the following titles in the name of Manotok Realty. 2009]. took no part. 4-B-2 with an area of more or less 6.650 square meters. 5-C of subdivision plan (LRC) psd-315278. C-17272 covering Lot 6-C which has an approximate area of 27. 19-B of subdivision plan Psd-13011152 with an area of 23.354 square meters allegedly a by-product of TCT No. J. the registered owners of the said titles "failed to make any specific reference to the preceding certificates of title which they cancelled and to whose names they were subsequently transferred and registered". 26405 covering Lot No.. b) TCT No. 2 of subdivision plan Psd-10114. i) TCT No.000 square meters.531 square meters. 33904 covering Lot No. Chico-Nazario.383 square meters.R. 163902 covering Lot No. Austria-Martinez. took no part due to relationship to counsel. cCHITA g) TCT No. Carpio-Morales. d) TCT No.872 square meters. 26406 covering Lot No.206 square meters. T-121428 covering Lot No. 12-H with an area of 1. C-36960 of the SPOUSES IGNACIO by virtue of a Deed of Sale between said spouses and MRI. SO ORDERED. 53268 covering Lot No.. Corona. which in turn. Villacorta with an approximate area of 3. Carpio and Nachura.000 square meters. No. 130 Costs against private respondents. 601 PHIL 571-638) . Velasco. 134385 (Resolution). 165119 which allegedly cancelled TCT No.. ||| (Manotok Realty.163 square meters. G. 55897 covering Lot 3 of consolidation-subdivision plan (LRC) Pcs-1828 of the Maysilo Estate covering an area of more or less 20. Quisumbing. b) TCT No. 7784 covering four (4) parcels of land with an aggregate area of 390. CLT Realty Development Corp. Leonardo-de Castro. 12-E with an area of 1. j) TCT No.

342) hectares of the Maysilo Estate.R. entitled Bartolome Rivera. 994.. 137) finding that there is only one OCT No. Guingona. petitioner. and alleging that they are entitled to inherit her proportional share in the parcels of land located in Quezon City and in the municipalities of Caloocan and Malabon. stating the following: xxx xxx xxx In compliance with the DOJ directive. as a result of the inquiry conducted by the Composite Fact-Finding Committee (created under DOJ Department Order No. .).] FIDELA R. They also had led this Court to believe that OCT No. Alfredo R. 994 dated April 19. is approved. 6 Petitioner alleges that the respective Registers of Deeds of Caloocan City and Quezon City refused to comply with the RTC Order because they were still awaiting word from the LRA Administrator before proceeding. Pursuant to this DOJ directive. . the recommendation of the Commissioners in their Joint Commissioners' Report dated October 21. Rule 69 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. and the proceeds be divided among the plaintiffs in proportion to their respective interests in the property. . THE ADMINISTRATOR. and SENATOR TEOFISTO T. 1997 and Supplemental Commissioners' Report dated December 30. et al. The LRA Administrator. m. 1031 dated 25 May 1998 . C-424 in the RTC of Caloocan City. 1997 (the 1st Indorsement) issued by then Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Teofisto T. (the RTC Order). The letter-reply reads in part: SHDAEC We regret to inform you that your request cannot be granted in view of the directive of the Department of Justice in its 1st Indorsement dated 22 September 1997. 1998. Court of Appeals. petitioner. 1965. GUINGONA. 97-11 9 issued to all Registers of Deeds. 1917. Judge Jaime D. 2010. previously described by this Court En Banc as a "vast tract of land [that] stretches over three cities. as such applicability must be determined with thoroughness and accuracy to come up with a just. No. Jr. . all of them claiming to be the heirs of a certain Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. C-424. more or less. . 4 reiterated in Heirs ofLuis J. On May 3. commenced a special civil action for partition and accounting of the property otherwise known as Maysilo Estate covered by OCT No. in Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems (MWSS) v. LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY. Branch 120. namely: xxx xxx xxx Any sale of above-mentioned lots shall be subject to confirmation by this Court pursuant to Section 11. et al. including petitioner. allegedly registered on April 19. had recommended to the Office of the Solicitor General the filing of an appropriate pleading relative to the said Order dated 8 January 1998. 49 FIRST DIVISION [G. The findings of the DOJ on OCT No. THE REGISTER OFDEEDS OF QUEZON CITY. This was docketed as Civil Case No. Discaya granted the partition and accounting prayed for by plaintiffs in that case. DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. v.) The LRA Administrator likewise wrote that in Senate Committee Report No. with two attachments: 1) the 1st Indorsement 8 dated September 22. THIcCA Some of said alleged heirs were able to procure Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs) over portions of the Maysilo Estate. 2000. In the RTC Order sought to be implemented. 994. 5 the Court held that OCT No. which encompasses One Thousand Three Hundred Forty-Two (1. comprising an area larger than the sovereign states of Monaco and the Vatican. this Authority. 10 (Emphasis ours. Enriquez. applicable. and 2) LRA Circular No. 1917 with the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. thus. 994 are in fact sustained by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and Urban Planning in its Senate Committee Report No. . as there are cases squarely on point and at the outset. 994 which was issued by the Rizal Register of Deeds on 3 May 1917 (and not on 19 April 1919) pursuant to Decree No. ANGELES. sent counsel for petitioner a letter-reply 7 dated March 27. 1917. March 9. on the other hand. directed the respective Registers of Deeds of Caloocan City and Quezon City to issue transfer certificates of title in the names of all the co-owners. this Authority issued LRA Circular No. J p: The property involved in this case is covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. The dispositive portion of said Order reads as follows: WHEREFORE. and the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to comply with the Order 3 dated January 8. for twelve (12) parcels of land with an aggregate area of One Hundred Five Thousand and Nine Hundred Sixty-Nine square meters (105. in its 1st Indorsement dated 27 March 1998. and not May 3. Isabel Gil de Sola. 142549. 36455 in Land Registration Case No." 2 The existence of several cases already decided by this Court dealing with this infamous estate has made the job of deciding this particular petition easy. 994 was registered twice. copy enclosed. 97-11 to all Registers ofDeeds. 1997 that the following lots with transfer certificates of title to be issued by the Register ofDeeds of Caloocan City in the names of all co-owners be sold and the proceeds thereof divided among themselves in proportion to their respective interest in the property. subject to the confirmation of the Court. the Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights and Urban Planning came up with the following findings: . copy attached. Mr. together with other individuals. respondents. which was issued a Certificate of Finality on March 12. and ordered that said parcels of land be sold. but complicated. and fair conclusion to a controversy that has now lasted for almost forty-five (45) years. Gonzaga v. premises considered. 4429. JR. (respondent Guingona). was the valid title by virtue of the prior registration rule. 1998 issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City in Civil Case No. 1031 dated May 25. Court of Appeals.969 sq." 1 What we have before us now is touted as "one of the biggest and most extensive land-grabbing incidents in recent history. on one hand. The Register of Deeds of Caloocan City and of Quezon City are hereby directed to issue transfer certificates of title in the names of all the co-owners for the following lots. Province of Rizal. Submitted for Decision is a petition for mandamus seeking respondents Secretary of Justice. the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority (LRA). equitable. Counsel for petitioner then requested the LRA Administrator to direct said Registers ofDeeds to comply with the Order. THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE. 1998. vs.

. 14 Petitioner claims that respondent Guingona was the one who caused the issuance by the LRA Administrator of Circular No. 16 respondent Guingona raises the following grounds for denial of the petition: 1. 994. and that the plan and descriptions of the lands were not based on a subdivision plan duly approved by the proper government agency but merely sketch plans. modify. 994 which was issued by the Register of Deeds of Rizal on May 3. if any. 994. Court of Appeals. Obviously. Petitioner was not denied due process as her rights. and since he did not have the powers and duties of the Secretary of Justice. the Order dated 8 January 1998 which directs the issuance of transfer certificates of title as direct transfer from OCT No. to wit: OCT No." In his Comment. fraudulently and in bad faith. which had the same legal effect on other cases similarly situated without hearing or notice to the parties-in-interest. 50 i. 994 dated April 19. Norberto Vasquez. 994. 994 dated May 3. Malice was evident because she had previously issued certificates of title in the names of other individuals which were derived from OCT No. 1917. 4. fraudulently and in bad faith. 11 (Underscoring in the original. he was therefore not a real party-in-interest in this case. 994. 137 dated April 13. Petitioner has no cause of action against respondent Guingona in that the latter is no longer the Secretary of Justice. C-424 cannot avail of the benefits granted to them by the Order. With due respect. Dimson. There is only one Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. when she signed the TCTs issued in the name of Eleuteria Rivera which bear a wrong date of the registration of OCT No. It was a fabrication perpetrated by Mr. devotion. Besides..) The letter-reply further stated that OCT No. by issuing "certifications" and/or written statements to the effect that OCT No. there must be a separate action in court for the declaration of nullity of certificates of title pursuant to the due process clause of the Constitution. Mandamus is not the appropriate remedy to enforce claims of damages. 137 dated April 23. v. 1998 were not yet in existence at the time the 1st Indorsement was issued. The [OCT] No. 1997 creating a committee due to several complaints received by the Office of the Secretary of Justice in February 1997. As observed by the Supreme Court in Republic vs. and this finding is a reversal of the decisions of this Court on "what is the valid OCT No. in the interest of our country and people at large." 15 Petitioner alleges that compliance with a final judicial order is a purely ministerial duty. 994 was issued or registered on April 19. the mess caused by the former Register of Deeds and Deputy Register of Deeds in making it appear that OCT No. Our Authority. in MWSS vs. Among others. suffers from certain deficiencies. Respondent Guingona avers that he was prompted to issue DOJ Department Order No. other than this action. 994 and this was issued or registered on May 3. honesty and integrity. iii. Registrar of Deeds of Caloocan City. in violation of Section 50 of PD 1529. 1997 after conducting an independent fact-finding investigation. She further avers that "[n]ot even the Secretary of Justice has the power or authority to set aside or alter an established ruling made by the highest Court of the land. 1917 when in truth and in fact it was issued or registered on May 3. likewise acted maliciously. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. and that this was contemptuous and contumacious and calls for "condemnation and reproof of the highest degree. even if he wanted to. 994. thus giving the wrong impression that there were two (2) OCT No. The issuance of the 1st Indorsement dated September 22. 1997 made by the committee created by Department Order No. in issuing the 1st Indorsement." We quote the last portion of said letter-reply: HESAIT As found by the Senate Committees. Norberto Vasquez. 1917 and she had in fact questioned the falsity ofApril 19. 994 was issued in 19 April 1917. It merely invalidates the title of MWSS and recognizes as valid the title of Jose B. 1997 was pursuant to the report dated August 27. Mr. including the parcels of land mentioned in the subject Order dated 8 January 1998. acted maliciously. 1917. 994 was intact and was being kept in the LRA "to prevent its alteration and tampering. that she and her co-plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 994 had long been cancelled totally by the issuance of various certificates of title in the names of different persons. "there are too many fake titles being peddled around and it behooves every official of the government whose functions concern the issuance of legal titles to see to it that this plague that has made a mockery of the Torrens system is eradicated right now through their loyalty. 13 made a substantive modification of the ruling made by this Court in MWSS v. resulted in the double. There was no such declaration as to the various transfer certificates of title emanating from OCT No. 1917. under the Order dated January 18. he did not anymore possess the mandatory duties being compelled to be performed in this case by way of a writ of mandamus. Court of Appeals (94 SCRA 874). Jr. Atty. he had no more duty resulting from the said position and could not perform an act that pertained to said duty. 2. respondent Guingona claimed to have made his own finding that there is only one OCT No. Under the law. the complaints prayed . former Deputy Registrar ofDeeds of Caloocan City. compliance with the Order will result to duplication of certificates of title covering land previously registered in the names of other persons. 994. 1917 as the correct date of the registration of OCT No." 12 Petitioner avers that respondent Guingona. issuance oftransfer certificates of title covering the subdivided portions of the Maysilo Estate. much less set aside the same" and that respondent Guingona usurped judicial functions and did a prohibited act which rendered the Order of no effect. Alfonso. 1917 is non-existent.] the Court can no longer amend. It did not in any way alter or modify any judgment of this Honorable Court. Court of Appeals and Heirs of Luis Gonzaga v.] ii. Jr. 1997." Petitioner contends that "[t]he rule is well settled that once a decision becomes final[. 97-11 dated October 3." According to petitioner. and that she has no "plain. CA. former Deputy Registrar of Deeds of Caloocan City. The alleged surviving heirs could not have been the true and legal heirs of the late Maria de la Concepcion Vidal as government findings showed the physical and genetic impossibility of such relationship[. therefore. and not on April 19. Yolanda O. the Supreme Court did not declare the nullity of the certificates of title which emanated from OCT No.] iv. 3. 1917[. 17 IDaEHC Respondent Guingona contends that he was no longer the Secretary of Justice. if not multiple. as the protector of the integrity of the Torrens title is mandated to prevent anomalous titling of real properties and put a stop to further erode the confidence of the public in the Torrens system of land registration. 994 issued on 3 May 1917.

C-424 has been suffering from damages and losses incapable of quantification. after the Supreme Court had rendered its decision in MWSS v. 20 In her Reply. 51 for the investigation of certain actions taken by the LRA officials and personnel in connection with transactions involving the Maysilo Estate. 994 and its derivative titles covering the Maysilo Estate but to all other original or transfer certificates of title as well. but he is a necessary party as the grant of relief prayed for by petitioner shall require private respondent's active participation. must follow not only with respect to OCT No. As it is. on motion of the judgment obligee. the LRA. submitting therewith certified true copies of the judgment or judgments or final order or orders sought to be enforced and of the entry thereof. He alleges that based on this committee's report dated August 27. because he had caused the issuance of an LRA Circular that forbade compliance with a court order that had already become final and executory. . and courses of action which the LRA. 994 of the Registry of Deeds of Rizal purporting to cover a mass of land encompassing Malabon. an agency under the DOJ. . if any. 2000. procedures and courses of action which the DOJ. 1997 was issued long before the Order dated January 18. The appellate court may. Public respondents claim that petitioner and her co-plaintiffs are not the rightful . . 21 petitioner contends that former DOJ Secretary Guingona has to be named as private respondent because he was the cause of public respondents' failure to comply with their ministerial duty. Execution upon final judgments or orders. procedures. with notice to the adverse party. however. Respondent Guingona further states that the 1st Indorsement dated September 22. he issued the subject 1st Indorsement which spelled out the policies. According to him." The complaints praying that an investigation be conducted on the irregular issuance of titles in the Maysilo Estate were made to the private respondent by parties who held titles derived from OCT No. 994 on May 3. is not a trier of facts. corporation. the Land Registration Authority. officer or person concerned in such manner as the court may direct. . respondent Guingona argues that it is a factual issue which the petitioner must prove in the course of a trial where petitioner's claim for damages can be fully litigated. Such being the case. (a) to determine the involvement of and to recommend the actions to be taken against person(s) and/or officials and employees of this Department or its agencies who may appear to have participated therein. On this score alone. as it saw fit. resulted in the altering or supplanting of a judgment of this Court. quasi-judicial agency. thus. — Execution shall issue as a matter of right. it could not be said that it altered or supplanted any judgment of this Court. on motion in the same case. when the interest of justice so requires. because of the wrongful act of the respondents. the Office of the Solicitor General and other agencies of the DOJ can adopt with regard to the problem of the proliferation of fake land titles. such claim should be denied by this Honorable Court. Service and enforcement of order or judgment. — A certified copy of the judgment rendered in accordance with the last preceding section shall be served upon the court." 18 Respondent Guingona contends that it can be gleaned from the purpose of the creation of the committee that its fact-finding investigation was merely administrative to formulate and recommend policies. He contends that the 1st Indorsement was merely an administrative issuance ofthe DOJ. tribunal. . the committee was tasked for the purpose of initiating a fact-finding inquiry: "(1) to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the issuance of original Certificate(s) of Title (OCT) No. 1917. direct the court of origin to issue the writ of execution. it is inappropriate for petitioner to include in her petition for mandamus a claim for damages the amount of which she did not even specify. If the appeal has been duly perfected and finally resolved. on motion." He is not charged with any improper act. taking into account the final decisions of the courts affecting the Maysilo Estate. (2) in the event of a finding of the irregular issuance of any such [TCTs]. as the essence of due process is simply the opportunity to be heard. and the Register of Deeds of Quezon City filed their Comment 24 on November 16. the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority. Petitioner argues that contrary to private respondent's claim. including those that relate to the Maysilo Estate. 19 With regard to the claim for damages. upon a judgment or order that disposes of the action or proceeding upon the expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if no appeal has been duly perfected. Respondent Guingona claims that such opportunity to be heard satisfies the requirements of due process. and (b) to recommend the administrative and/or judicial actions. This Honorable Court. Caloocan City and Quezon City as well as the issuance and regularity of Transfer Certificates of Titles (TCTs) derived therefrom. Court of Appeals and Heirs of Gonzaga v. such a claim should be outrightly dismissed. There is also no showing that petitioner paid the required docket fees for her claims for damages. and it shall be the duty of such private respondent to appear and defend. board. that may directly be undertaken by this Department. respondent Guingona alleges that petitioner was accorded due process when the LRA Administrator gave an opportunity to petitioner's counsel to present petitioner's case to the LRA legal staff. 23 DAEaTS Public respondents Secretary of Justice. RULE 39 SECTION 1. Petitioner cites the following provisions of the Rules of Court in support of her argument: RULE 65 xxx xxx xxx SECTION 9. and disobedience thereto shall be punished as contempt. she is entitled to file a petition for mandamus as she and her co- plaintiffs in Civil Case No. An execution may issue for any damages or costs awarded in accordance with Section 1 of Rule 39. 22 Anent private respondent's argument that the 1st Indorsement did not in any way alter or modify any judgment of this Honorable Court. Petitioner likewise avers that the doctrine of separation of powers called for each branch of government to be left alone to discharge its functions within its jurisdiction. with respect to such irregularly issued Transfer Certificates of Title. thus it could not be said that petitioner was denied due process as her rights and interests were non-existent at that time. A private respondent is "the person interested in sustaining the proceedings in the court. the Office of the Solicitor General. petitioner counters that the 1st Indorsement and "pertinent acts of private respondent . and other units and attached agencies of this Department. 1997. Court of Appeals. Furthermore. both in his own behalf and in behalf of the public respondents affected by the proceedings . Petitioner avers that private respondent seemed to assume a function that did not belong to the Executive Department. 1998. the execution may forthwith be applied for in the court of origin.

Juan Jose Tuason de la Paz. Consuelo Legarda y de la Paz. . and both made integral parts hereof. Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. Josefa Tuason vda. we find our discussion in Laburada v. board. the Register of Deeds cannot be compelled by mandamus to comply with the RTC . when refused. which are the result of the joint undertaking of the Department proper. It is settled that mandamus is employed to compel the performance. . Maria Teresa Tuason y de la Paz. we must look into the alleged right of petitioner and see if compliance with the RTC Order is compellable by mandamus. But where the right sought to be enforced is in substantial doubt or dispute. a clear legal right is a right which is indubitably granted by law or is inferable as a matter of law. the LRA's reaction is reasonable. or station. 25 Public respondents claim the following as facts: The DOJ Report became the subject of [a] Senate investigation. Concepcion Franco y Gonzales. of a ministerial duty. filed the aforestated Motion for Reconsideration of the questioned Order of the lower court. Sofia O'Farrell y Patiño. the writ of mandamus can be awarded only when the petitioners' legal right to the performance of the particular act which is sought to be compelled is clear and complete.) As can be gleaned from the above discussion. Maria Soterrana Tuason y de la Paz. as in this case. Rather than a sign of negligence or nonfeasance in the performance of its duty. but not to direct the exercise of judgment or discretion in a particular way or the retraction or reversal of an action already taken in the exercise of either. find out if substantial doubt exists to justify public respondents' refusal to comply with said Order. Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides: SECTION 3. . corporation. Land Registration Authority 29 instructive. . Esperanza Tuason Chua Jap. Trinidad Jurado. C-424) or have unlawfully excluded petitioner from the use and enjoyment of whatever claimed right. immediately or at some other time to be specified by the court. and there is no other plain. co-owner of the parcels of land described in OCT No. ownership. mandamus does not lie and the petition must be dismissed. As early as 1917. as evidenced by the document entitled PROYECTO DE PARTICION DE LA HACIENDA DE MAYSILO (PARTITION PLAN OF HACIENDA MAYSILO) consisting of fifty-two (52) pages which is attached as Annex "D". but not to compel the performance of a discretionary duty. Domingo Franco y Gonzales. Mandamus will not issue to enforce a right which is in substantial dispute or to which a substantial doubt exists. and thereby destroy the integrity. Benito Legarda y de la Paz. Concepcion Vidal y Tuason. to wit: That the LRA hesitates in issuing a decree of registration is understandable. 52 owners of the property subject of said complaint for partition. 994. through the undersigned counsel. in the alternative. In the same vein. . Gonzalo Tuason y Patino. and its faithful translation into English consisting of forty-nine (49) pages attached as Annex "E". Isabel Tuason Chua. Vicente Ferrer y Tuason. support the conclusion that petitioner and her co-plaintiffs are not entitled to the issuance of new transfer certificates of title in their names. the Honorable Senate of the Tenth Congress of the Republic of the Philippines reached the conclusion that petitioner and her co-plaintiffs are not and cannot be true heirs of the late Maria de la Concepcion Vidal (par. Augusto Hoberto Tuason y de la Paz. Mariano Severo Tuason y de la Paz. subject property of the instant case had already been partitioned and divided among the true owners. and the LRA. If the right is clear and the case is meritorious. and are therefore entitled to the proportionate share. This is because the findings embodied in the Report of the Fact Finding Committee created by the DOJ. On May 25. Bernardino Hernandez. mandamus cannot issue. when refused. trust. officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office. Senate Report). hence. 33. Rita Legarda y de la Paz. — When any tribunal. 27 It is nonetheless likewise available to compel action. Jose Rato y Tuason. the Office of the Solicitor General. is an untrue statement made with intent to deceive. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. we find that in this case. de Flores. p. even imperative. Considering the factual background and recent jurisprudence related to this controversy as will be discussed below. we find that it was not unlawful for public respondents to refuse compliance with the RTC Order. and possession of the parcels of land described in paragraphs XI to XV of the complaint. Under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Luis Vidal y Tuason. which involves the issuance of transfer certificates of title. Guillerma Ferrer y Tuason. Demetrio Asuncion Tuason y de la Paz. and heirs of Filemon Tuazon in proportion to their respective shares. of the Torrens system of registration. objections raising merely technical questions will be disregarded. 1998. 30 (Emphasis ours. Likewise. Pedro Baños. or. and to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the respondent. German Franco y Gonzales. Maria Rocha de Despujols. The Register of Deeds of Quezon City and Caloocan City. Emilia Tuason y Patiño. or unlawfully excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled. Their allegation in the complaint that they are the heirs and successors-in- interest of the late Maria de la Concepcion Vidal. The resolution of said motion and other incidents in related cases pending before the lower court has been held in abeyance to await the resolution by higher courts of other cases involving the Maysilo Estate. As a result of said partition. the issuance by the LRA officials of a decree of registration is not a purely ministerial duty in cases where they find that such would result to the double titling of the same parcel of land. the person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court. AcDaEH xxx xxx xxx . transfer certificates of titles covering the same subject parcels of land were legally issued in the names of above-enumerated true owners. such issuance may contravene the policy and the purpose. as would warrant the issuance of a writ of mandamus against said public respondents. 3. in matters involving judgment and discretion. namely. alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the respondent. Did public respondents have sufficient legal basis to refuse to grant petitioner's request? In this regard. 26 We are thus faced with the issue of whether public respondents unlawfully neglected to perform their duties by their refusal to issue the questioned transfer certificates of title to petitioner and her co-plaintiffs (in Civil Case No. Petition for mandamus. to do the act required to be done to protect the rights of the petitioner. Benito Legarda y Tuason. . 28 Therefore. and the act being requested of them is not their ministerial duty. Considering the probable duplication of titles over the same parcel of land.

and the one from which she and her co-plaintiffs (in Civil Case No. that the partition and accounting of a portion of the Maysilo Estate that she and her co-plaintiffs prayed for can no longer prosper because of the conclusive findings quoted above that the very basis of their claim. and can no longer be relied upon as precedents. this Court constituted a Special Division of the Court of Appeals to hear the cases on remand. . . then such titles are void or otherwise should not be recognized by this Court. WHEREFORE. All other cases involving said estate and OCT No. [March 9. Regrettably. the controversy surrounding the Maysilo Estate and the question of the existence of another OCT No. 1965. as well as the succeeding resolution 33 in the same case dated March 31. 97-11. but if admissible they may be taken into account as evidence on the same level as the other pieces ofevidence submitted by the parties. 1917 validly and actually exists. Court of Appeals and Gonzaga v. sufficient basis for public respondents to refuse to comply with the RTC Order. 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. 36 (Emphases supplied. that mother title was received for transcription by the Register of Deeds on 3 May 1917. hence. persuade the courts to accept them without inquiry. 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. The fact that the Dimson and CLT titles made specific reference to an OCT No. petitioner anchors her claim on previous cases decided by this Court 34 which have held that there are two existing OCT No. entitled Manotok Realty.) To be sure. . on which petitioner and her co-plaintiffs in the civil case clearly anchored their rights. 994 dated 17 April 1917. As it appears on the record. Any title that traces its source to OCT No. 1031. Since the true basic factual predicate concerning OCT No. . petitioner's claim no longer has a leg to stand on. should she get a favorable decision from this case. we are not prepared to adopt the findings made by the DOJ and the Senate. 994. 994 resulted from the issuance of the decree of registration on [19] April 1917. Bersamin and Villarama. for we find merit in the explanations of respondent LRA Administrator in his letter-reply that cites the 1st Indorsement issued by respondent Guingona. The requirements under Rule 65 for the issuance of the writ of mandamus not having been proven by petitioner to exist. Neither could respondent LRA Administrator be mandated by the Court to require the Register of Deeds to comply with said Order. . declaring as follows: Since this Court is not a trier of fact[s]. are bound by the findings and conclusions set forth in said resolutions. as appears on the title. a second. 994 dated [19] April 1917 is void.J. 994 have been finally laid to rest. was the superior title. 994 dated 19 April 1917 bind any other case operating under the factual setting the same as or similar to that at bar. 2010]. 994 dated April 19. ||| (Angeles v. The records bear several attempts ofdifferent individuals to represent her as counsel. 994. 628 PHIL 381-401) . 994 dated [19] April 1917 casts doubt on the validity of such titles since they refer to an inexistent OCT. said rulings have become virtually functus officio except on the basis of the "law of the case" doctrine. . Puno. this Court evaluated the evidence engaged in by said Special Division. petitioner cannot anymore insist that OCT No. 994 dated 19 April 1917. . the registration date ofwhich had already been decisively settled as 3 May 1917 and not 19 April 1917" and categorically concluded that "OCT No. . The facts and arguments presented in the reports must still undergo judicial scrutiny and analysis. The reports cannot conclusively supersede or overturn judicial decisions. therefore. The fact that they were rendered by the DOJ and the Senate should not.. such as the case at bar. given the finding. in the 2009 Manotok case." In the case at bar. 994 which reflects the date of19 April 1917 as its registration date is null and void. C. It may also be acknowledged. contained in the cited documents. 994. It appears. as reasons for his refusal to grant petitioner's request. that OCT No. HIcTDE As stated earlier. 994. concur. JJ. for such mother title is inexistent. and that should be the date which should be reckoned as the date of registration of the title. OCT No. 142549. In the 2007 Manotok case. 53 Order since there were existing transfer certificates of title covering the subject parcels of land and there was reason to question the rights of those requesting for the issuance of the TCTs. 994. we dismiss the petition for lack of merit. G. Third. C-424) derived their rights was dated earlier.R. . CLT Realty Development Corporation 32 (the 2007 Manotok case). 994. The decisions of this Court in MWSS v. although such date cannot be considered as the date of the title or the date when the title took effect. It is important to emphasize at this point that in the recent case resolved by this Court En Banc in 2007. 31 There was. especially in regard to their recognition of an OCT No. 994 allegedly issued on April 19. this Court did not merely rely on the DOJ and Senate reports regarding OCT No. 2009 (the 2009 Manotokcase).. albeit earlier registered. Secretary of Justice. No. 37 Thus. 1917. . Second. LRA Circular No. There are many factual questions looming over the properties that could only be threshed out in the remand to the Court of Appeals. This case affirmed the earlier finding that "there is only one OCT No. though such questions may be considered by the Court of Appeals upon the initiative of the parties. Neither could the conclusions in MWSS or Gonzaga with respect to an OCT No. and certainly the courts will have the discretion to accept or reject them. SO ORDERED. petitioner is the last surviving co-plaintiff in Civil Case No. given the following conclusions made by this Court in the 2007 Manotok case: First. there is only one OCT No. Inc. premises considered. or even consider whether these are admissible as evidence. v. however. 994 which is that there is only one such OCT differs from that expressed in the MWSS and Gonzaga decisions. Jr. a title which we now acknowledge as inexistent. in itself. aHcACT xxx xxx xxx The Special Division is tasked to hear and receive evidence. does not exist. and Senate Committee Report No. Carpio Morales.. a matter that could be attributed to her advanced age and potential access to a vast sum of money. the petition is hereby DISMISSED. Court of Appeals cannot apply to the cases at bar. that OCT No. and adopted the latter's conclusions as to the status of the original title and its subsequent conveyances. C-424 originally filed on May 3. did not exist. 35 Specifically. dated differently. . If these titles are sourced from the so-called OCT No.