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Module 1

1. Give a brief history of land titles (Philippine setting)

2. Define :

land title

estate in fee simple


fee simple

3. Differentiate/distinguish:

possession vs ownership

title vs color of title vs estate

registration vs recording

real property vs personal property

4. What are the two main groups of estates in land?

5. What are the three stages of development of legal systems of transferring titles?
What is the system that is identical to the system we have in the Philippines?

6. What are the three systems of Land Registration in the Philippines?

7. Give the purpose(s) of registration

8. What is the object of registration under the existing land registration laws?
9. What are the modes of acquiring titles to land? Describe them briefly

10. State the following Civil Code provisions

a. Art. 414

b. Art. 457

c. Art. 461

d. Art. 1544

Ma. Susana Isla-Arcan Assignment No. 1

1. Brief History of Land Titles in the Philippines:

In the Philippines, upon domination of this country by Spain, it spared no time to

proclaim full ownership over all our lands so that private land titles since then could only
be acquired from the government either by purchase or by various modes of land grant.
There are exceptions, however, like where one can establish that claimant and his
predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the property since time immemorial
and such possession would justify the presumption that the land had been a private
property even before the Spanish conquest. Also, when said property is identified as
church property. By Spanish Law, whatever was given to the service of God became
incapable of private ownership, being held by the clergy as guardians or trustees.

Here in the country, the history of land law is one of slow growth and development and
is considered as one of the most conservative, as illustrated by our own Land Registration
Act which was enacted in 1902 but has retained its original features therein.

2. Definitions:

a. Land Title – refers to that which ownership is based upon. It is the evidence of
the right of the owner or the extent of his interest, by which means he can
maintain control and as a rule assert right to exclusive possession and enjoyment
of the property.

b. Estate in Fee Simple – is regarded as having the title as an absolute owner, and as
such he can exercise full powers of disposition over his land, with complete
freedom from controls by third persons, and subject only to legislative and
constitutional powers of the State.

c. Deeds – a written instrument executed in accordance with law, wherein a person

grants or conveys to another certain land, tenements and hereditaments; it
embraces practically any contract or agreement affecting real estate, whether
involving transfer of title or a mere encumbrance thereon; according to Rufford
G. Patton, it is an instrument in writing by which any real estate or interest therein
is created, alienated, mortgaged or assigned, or by which the title to any real
estate may be affected in law or equity.

d. Fee Simple – is an absolute title; it is an absolute estate in perpetuity; it is where

title to land is conferred upon a man and his heirs absolutely and without any
limitation imposed upon the estate. Simple(word) means it is without qualification
or restriction.

3. Differentiate:

e. Possession signifies the outward evidence of title, but is not necessarily the title
itself, while Ownership is holding the actual title of the property under claimant’s
own name.

f. Title is the evidence of the right of the owner; Color of Title on the other hand
falls short of title in the legal sense for it only gives a semblance or appearance of
the real title; Estate, then, is merely a representation of the nature, extent, degree
and quantity of a person’s interest in land.

g. In Registration, the state provides a public record of the title itself upon which
prospective purchaser or someone else interested may rely. Recording on the
other hand, provides the recording of deeds of conveyance and other instruments,
without guaranteeing the title, leaving the prospective purchasers or other persons
interested, to examine the instruments in the records and formulate their own
conclusions as to their effect on the title.

h. Real property includes not only the land but also the buildings and improvements
existing thereon. Personal property, then, may well be an improvement on this
land or buildings, provided they are movable without damaging said property.

4. The two (2) types of estates in land are:

i. The freehold estate – indicates title of ownership:

i. Fee simple – absolute title

ii. Fee tail – designed to pass title from grantee to his heirs, the intent of the
grantor being to keep the property in grantee’s line of issue

iii. Life estate – one held for the duration of the life of the grantee
j. The less-than-freehold estate – signifies some sort of a right short of title

i. Estate for years – in nature of a lease, and therefore is short of title;

grantee or lessee takes over the possession of the land for a period
agreed upon but the grantor retains the legal title to the property

ii. Tenancy from period to period – in nature of a lease which may run
from month to month or fro year to year, with the peculiarity of
automatic renewal from time to time, unless expressly terminated by
either party

iii. Tenancy at will – another form of lease agreement where a person is

permitted to occupy the land of another without any stipulation as to
period, but either party reserves the right to terminate the occupation at
will at any time.

5. Stages of Development of Legal System of Transferring Title:

k. 1st System – consists in the production and delivery of the deed and other title
papers by the grantor to the grantee, a process of transfer complete in itself,
without need of further registration or recording;

l. 2nd System – may be considered an improvement of the first, with the

requirement that the deed of conveyance must be registered or recorded in order
to be deemed sufficient in law or binding upon third persons;

m. 3rd System – resembles a system of judicial registration, provides for the

registration of title or ownership itself, instead of mere evidence or muniment of

* The 3rd System is identical with the Philippine system, otherwise known as the
Torrens System, originating from Australia.

6. Three (3) Systems of Land Registration:

n. The system under the Spanish Mortgage Law – abolished by virtue of Presidential
Decree No. 892 issued in 16 February 1976;

o. The Torrens System – the rights acquired by the registrant are guaranteed by the
government for which purpose there is provided an assurance fund which is made
available to pay for damages that may be suffered by the registrant as a
consequence of the operation of the Land Registration Act.;

p. The system of recording for unregistered lands – governed by Section 194 of the
Revised Administrative Code. As amended by Act 3344, which provides for the
registration or recording of transactions, affecting unregistered lands; does not
afford the registrant an absolute protection inasmuch as by express provision of
Act3344, any right recorded thereunder shall yield to any 3rd party/person with
better right.

7. Purposes of Registration:

q. To afford some means of publicity so that persons dealing with real property may
search the records and thereby acquire security against instruments the execution
of which has not been revealed; since the system maintains a permanent records
of landholdings, in order to prevent fraudulent claims to lands by concealment of
transfers, it imparts a constructive notice to such persons only as would have been
entitled to protection against conveyance in case it had not been recorded;

r. To notify and protect the interests of strangers to a given transaction, who may be
ignorant thereof, but the non-registration of the deed evidencing such transaction
does not relieve the parties thereto of their obligations thereunder

8. Object of Registration – Only real property or real rights may be object of registration
under the existing land registration laws.

9. Modes of Acquiring Land Titles:

s. By public grant – conveyance of public land by the government to a private

individual; no public land can be acquired by private persons without any grant,
express or implied from the government;

t. By prescription – a possessor of land who may not be owner, after the lapse of a
certain period prescribed in the law may assert ownership thereof as against
anyone except the true owner or one with a better title, based on an earlier
possession which he had not abandoned;

u. By accretion – when soil and earth, weeds and other deposits are washed away
from other places and gradually settle down and attach themselves to one’s land
that used to border on a stream or local body of water, the owner of this land
becomes the owner of the additional area thus formed by accretion; it is essential
that the land where the accretion occurred be adjacent to the banks of rivers, and
that the accretion is due to the gradual action of the current of the rivers;

v. By reclamation - suggests the filling of submerged land by deliberate act and

reclaiming title thereto; however, in the Philippines, only the government can
assert title to reclaimed land;

w. By voluntary transfer – a private grant is the usual means by which title to land is
transferred by the owner himself or his duly authorized representative; through
voluntary execution of a deed of conveyance in certain prescribed form,
completed by the recording or registration thereof in a public office;

x. By involuntary alienation – does not require the consent or cooperation of the

owner of the land, and in fact is usually carried out against his will; purchases
here are generally subject to the rule of caveat emptor;

y. By descent or devise – by descent, title may be acquired by virtue of hereditary

succession to the estate of the deceased owner and requires a certain degree of
relationship. By devise, succession need not be in favor of a relative. Even a
stranger may acquire title if appropriate disposition has been made in his favor by
the testator in the latter’s will;

z. By emancipation patent or grant – by virtue of PD#27, tenant-farmers are deemed

owners of the land they till. While the tenant-farmers are given certificates of land
transfer, this does not make him the full owner until after he shall have complied
with certain obligations. After full compliance, they will be issued emancipation
patents or grants which upon being filed with the Office of the Register of Deeds,
shall constitute a conclusive authority for the issuance of a transfer certificate of
title in the name of the grantee.

10. Civil Code Provisions:

a. Article 414 –
All things which are or may be the object of appropriation are considered either:
(1) Immovable or real property; or
(2) Movable or personal property.

b. Article 457 –
To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion which
they gradually receive from the effects of the current of the waters.

c. Article 461 –

River beds which are abandoned through the natural change in the course of the
waters ipso facto belong to the owners whose lands are occupied by the new course in
proportion to the area lost. However, the owners of the lands adjoining the old bed shall
have the right to acquire the same by paying the value thereof, which value shall not
exceed the value of the area occupied by the new bed.

d. Article 1544 –
If the same thing should have been sold to different vendees, the ownership shall
be transferred to the person who may have first taken possession thereof in good faith, if
it should be movable property.
Should it be immovable property, the ownership shall belong to the person
acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the Registry of Property.
Should there be no inscription, the ownership shall pertain to the person who in
good faith was first in the possession; and, in the absence thereof, to the person who
presents the oldest title, provided there is good faith.