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Q: Can land acquired through forgery of the signature of the owner of the land be the root of a valid title? A: The forged Deed of Absolute Sale is null and conveys no title. In order that the holder of a certificate for value issued by virtue of the registration of a voluntary Instrument may be considered a holder in good faith for value, the instrument registered should not be forged. When the instrument presented is forged, even if accompanied by the owner’s duplicate certificate of title, the registered owner does not thereby lose his title, and neither does the assignee in the forged deed acquire any right or title to the property. The innocent purchaser for value protected by law is one who purchases a titled land by virtue of a deed executed by the registered owner himself, not by a forged deed, as the law expressly states. In Instrade, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, we reiterated the said ruling maintaining that “[A]s early as Joaquin v. Madrid, x x x, we said that in order that the holder of a certificate for value issued by virtue of the registration of a voluntary instrument may be considered a holder in good faith and for value, the instrument registered should not be forged”. Indubitably, therefore, the questioned Deed of Absolute Sale did not convey any title to herein petitioners. Consequently, they cannot take refuge in the protection accorded by the Torrens system on titled lands. (Bernales vs. Yap, G.R. No. 163271, January 15, 2010) Q: Assuming that this is the case, can prescription now run against the owner of the land in order to recover the said parcel of land? A: Prescription did not bar respondents’ action to recover ownership of the subject property. The supposed vendor's signature having been proved to be a forgery, the instrument is totally void or inexistent as "absolutely simulated or fictitious" under Article 1409 of the Civil Code. According to Article 1410, "the action or defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not prescribe”. The inexistence of a contract is permanent and incurable which cannot be cured either by ratification or by prescription. (Bernales vs. Yap, G.R. No. 163271, January 15, 2010) Q: A parcel of land was taken from Lozada through exprorpriation proceedings for the improvement of the Lahug Airport in Cebu. After the projected improvements were not made, Lozada petitioned the court for the reconveyance over the said parcel of land. Can reconveyance be made in this case? A: Yes. It is well settled that the taking of private property by the Government’s power of eminent domain is subject to two mandatory requirements: (1) that it is for a particular public purpose; and (2) that just compensation be paid to the property owner. These requirements partake of the nature of implied conditions that should be complied with to enable the condemnor to keep the property expropriated. More particularly, with respect to the element of public use, the expropriator should commit to use the property pursuant to the purpose stated in the petition for expropriation filed, failing which, it should file another petition for the new purpose. If not, it is then incumbent upon the expropriator to return the said property to its private owner, if the latter desires to reacquire the same. Otherwise, the judgment of expropriation suffers an intrinsic flaw, as it would lack one indispensable element for the proper exercise of the power of eminent domain, namely, the particular public purpose for which the property will be devoted. Accordingly, the private property owner would be denied due process of law, and the judgment would violate the property owner’s right to justice, fairness, and equity. In light of these premises, we now expressly hold that the taking of private property, consequent to the Government’s exercise of its power of eminent domain, is always subject to the condition that the property be devoted to the specific public purpose for which it was taken. Corollarily, if this particular purpose or intent is not initiated or not at all pursued, and is peremptorily abandoned, then the former owners, if they so desire,
may seek the reversion of the property, subject to the return of the amount of just compensation received. In such a case, the exercise of the power of eminent domain has become improper for lack of the required factual justification. The right of respondents to repurchase Lot No. 88 may be enforced based on a constructive trust constituted on the property held by the government in favor of the former. On this note, our ruling in Heirs of Timoteo Moreno is instructive, viz.: Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority is correct in stating that one would not find an express statement in the Decision in Civil Case No. R-1881 to the effect that “the [condemned] lot would return to [the landowner] or that [the landowner] had a right to repurchase the same if the purpose for which it was expropriated is ended or abandoned or if the property was to be used other than as the Lahug Airport.” This omission notwithstanding, and while the inclusion of this pronouncement in the judgment of condemnation would have been ideal, such precision is not absolutely necessary nor is it fatal to the cause of petitioners herein. No doubt, the return or repurchase of the condemned properties of petitioners could be readily justified as the manifest legal effect or consequence of the trial court’s underlying presumption that “Lahug Airport will continue to be in operation” when it granted the complaint for eminent domain and the airport discontinued its activities. The predicament of petitioners involves a constructive trust, one that is akin to the implied trust referred to in Art. 1454 of the Civil Code, “If an absolute conveyance of property is made in order to secure the performance of an obligation of the grantor toward the grantee, a trust by virtue of law is established. If the fulfillment of the obligation is offered by the grantor when it becomes due, he may demand the reconveyance of the property to him.” In the case at bar, petitioners conveyed Lots No. 916 and 920 to the government with the latter obliging itself to use the realties for the expansion of Lahug Airport; failing to keep its bargain, the government can be compelled by petitioners to reconvey the parcels of land to them, otherwise, petitioners would be denied the use of their properties upon a state of affairs that was not conceived nor contemplated when the expropriation was authorized. (MACTAN-CEBU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY vs. LOZADA, G.R. No. 176625, February 25, 2010) Q: In 1981, a loan was obtained by A with Metrobank payable in instalments. On 1982, a grant of free patent was issued by the government in favor of A. The same was registered in 1983. A defaulted in his loan obligations and this led Metrobank to foreclose on the lots obtained via free patent. In 1984, the lots were sold in public auction. The question that arises is whether an auction sale of a land involved in CA 141 in violation of the five-year prohibition may be made if the loan precedes the issuance of the free patent. A: The land may not be sold in this instance. Section 118 of CA 141 states: SECTION 118. Except in favor of the Government or any of its branches, units, or instruction, lands acquired under free patent or homestead provisions shall not be subject to encumbrance or alienation from the date of the approval of the application and for a term of five years from and after the date of issuance of the patent and grant, nor shall they become liable to the satisfaction of any debt contracted prior to the expiration of said period, but the improvements or crops on the land may be mortgaged or pledged to qualified persons, associations, or corporations. No alienation, transfer, or conveyance of any homestead after five years and before twenty-five years after issuance of title shall be valid without the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which approval shall not be denied except on constitutional and legal grounds. The law clearly provides that lands which have been acquired under free patent or homestead shall not be encumbered or alienated within five years from the date of issuance of the patent or be liable for the satisfaction of any debt contracted prior to the expiration of the period. In the present case, the three loans were obtained on separate dates – 7 July 1979, 5 June 1981 and 3 September 1981, or several years before the free patents on the lots were issued by the government to respondent on 29 December 1982. The RTC of Manila, in a Decision dated 28 April 1983, ruled in favor of
petitioner ordering the debtors, including respondent, to pay jointly and severally certain amounts of money. The public auction conducted by the sheriff on the lots owned by respondent occurred on 12 October 1984. For a period of five years or from 29 December 1982 up to 28 December 1987, Section 118 of CA 141 provides that the lots comprising the free patents shall not be made liable for the payment of any debt until the period of five years expires. In this case, the execution sale of the lots occurred less than two years after the date of the issuance of the patents. This clearly falls within the five-year prohibition period provided in the law, regardless of the dates when the loans were incurred. In Artates v. Urbi, we held that a civil obligation cannot be enforced against, or satisfied out of, the sale of the homestead lot acquired by the patentee less than five years before the obligation accrued even if the sale is involuntary. For purposes of complying with the law, it is immaterial that the satisfaction of the debt by the encumbrance or alienation of the land grant was made voluntarily, as in the case of an ordinary sale, or involuntarily, such as that effected through levy on the property and consequent sale at public auction. In both instances, the law would have been violated. (METROBANK vs. VIRAY, G.R. No. 162218, February 25, 2010) Q: What would constitute open, continuous, exclusive, adverse and notorious possession and occupation of a parcel of land since June 12, 1945? A: The law speaks of possession and occupation. Since these words are separated by the conjunction and, the clear intention of the law is not to make one synonymous with the other. Possession is broader than occupation because it includes constructive possession. When, therefore, the law adds the word occupation, it seeks to delimit the all encompassing effect of constructive possession. Taken together with the words open, continuous, exclusive and notorious, the word occupation serves to highlight the fact that for an applicant to qualify, his possession must not be a mere fiction. Actual possession of a land consists in the manifestation of acts of dominion over it of such a nature as a party would naturally exercise over his own property. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) (REPUBLIC vs. ALAAN, G.R. No. 183063, February 24, 2010) Q: A petition for reconstitution over a parcel of land lost in the possession of the Register of Deeds was sought by petitioner. Presented were the following: 1. Certification by the LRA that the lost TCT was not among the salvaged records; 2. That the owner’s copy of the TCT was lost; 3. Certification from the Bureau of Lands stating that petitioner is the claimant of the land; 4. An approved technical and survey plan; 5. Certification as to the adjoining owners of the land. Can these be a valid source of reconstitution in this case? A: It cannot be a valid source of reconstitution in this case. Section 2 of RA 26 enumerates in the following order the sources from which reconstitution of lost or destroyed original certificates of title may be based: SEC. 2. Original certificates of title shall be reconstituted from such of the sources hereunder enumerated as may be available in the following order: (a) (b) The owner’s duplicate of the certificate of title; The co-owner’s, mortgagee’s, or lessee’s duplicate of the certificate of title;
(c) A certified copy of the certificate of title, previously issued by the register of deeds or by a legal custodian thereof; (d) An authenticated copy of the decree of registration or patent, as the case may be, pursuant to which the original certificate of title was issued;
(e) A document, on file in the Registry of Deeds by which the property, the description of which is given in said document, is mortgaged, leased or encumbered, or an authenticated copy of said document showing that its original has been registered; and (f) Any other document which, in the judgment of the court, is sufficient and proper basis for reconstituting the lost or destroyed certificate of title. Respondents predicate their Petition for Reconstitution on Section 2(f) of RA 26. And to avail of its benefits, respondents presented survey plan, technical description, Certification issued by the Land Registration Authority, Lot Data Computation, and tax declarations. Unfortunately, these pieces of documentary evidence are not similar to those mentioned in subparagraphs (a) to (e) of Section 2 of RA 26, which all pertain to documents issued or are on file with the Registry of Deeds. Hence, respondents’ documentary evidence cannot be considered to fall under subparagraph (f). Under the principle of ejusdem generis, where general words follow an enumeration of persons or things by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same kind or class as those specifically mentioned. Thus, in Republic of the Philippines v. Santua, we held that when Section 2(f) of RA 26 speaks of “any other document,” the same must refer to similar documents previously enumerated therein, that is, those mentioned in Sections 2(a), (b), (c), (d), and (e). Also, the survey plan and technical description are not competent and sufficient sources of reconstitution when the petition is based on Section 2(f) of RA 26. They are mere additional documentary requirements. This is the clear import of the last sentence of Section 12, RA 26 earlier quoted. Thus, in Lee v. Republic of the Philippines, where the trial court ordered reconstitution on the basis of the survey plan and technical description, we declared the order of reconstitution void for want of factual support. Moreover, the Certification issued by the LRA stating that Decree No. 190622 was issued for Lot 54 means nothing. The Land Registration Act expressly recognizes two classes of decrees in land registration proceedings, namely, (i) decrees dismissing the application and (ii) decrees of confirmation and registration. In the case at bench, we cannot ascertain from said Certification whether the decree alluded to by the respondents granted or denied Julio Ramos’ claim. Moreover, the LRA’s Certification did not state to whom Lot 54 was decreed. Thus, assuming that Decree No. 190622 is a decree of confirmation, it would be too presumptuous to further assume that the same was issued in the name and in favor of Julio Ramos. Furthermore, said Certification did not indicate the number of the original certificate of title and the date said title was issued. In Tahanan Development Corporation v. Court of Appeals, we held that the absence of any document, private or official, mentioning the number of the certificate of title and date when the certificate of title was issued, does not warrant the granting of such petition. With regard to the other Certification issued by the Registry of Deeds of Balanga City, it cannot be deduced therefrom that OCT No. 3613 was actually issued and kept on file with said office. The Certification of said Registry of Deeds that said title “is not among those salvaged records of this Registry as a consequence of the last World War,” did not necessarily mean that OCT No. 3613 once formed part of its records. Anent the tax declaration submitted, the same covered only taxable year 1998. Obviously, it had no bearing with what occurred before or during the last world war. Besides, a tax declaration is not a reliable source of reconstitution of a certificate of title. As we held in Republic of the Philippines v. Santua, a tax declaration can only be prima facie evidence of claim of ownership, which, however, is not the issue in a reconstitution proceeding. A reconstitution of title does not pass upon the ownership of land covered by the lost or destroyed title but merely determines whether a re-issuance of such title is proper. We also share the observation of petitioner that the non-submission of an affidavit of loss by the person who was allegedly in actual possession of OCT No. 3613 at the time of its loss, casts doubt on respondents’ claim that OCT No. 3613 once existed and subsequently got lost. Under Section 109 of Presidential Decree No. 1529, the owner must file with the proper Registry of Deeds a notice of loss executed under oath. Here, despite the lapse of a considerable length of time, the alleged owners of Lot 54 or the persons who were in possession of the same, i.e., respondents’ grandparents, never executed an affidavit relative to the loss of OCT No. 3613. The presentation of such affidavit becomes even more important considering the doubtful testimony of Reynaldo. When he testified on November 29, 2001, he was only 62 years old and, therefore, he was barely six years old during the Japanese occupation until the Liberation. Also, his testimony consisted only of his
declaration that his unnamed grandmother used to keep said copy of OCT No. 3613; that it was buried in a foxhole during the Japanese occupation; and, subsequently, got lost. He did not testify on how he obtained knowledge of the alleged facts and circumstances surrounding the loss of the owner’s copy of OCT No. 3613. In fact, he neither named the person responsible for the burying or hiding of the title in a foxhole nor mentioned the place where that foxhole was located. Reynaldo’s testimony was also lacking in details as to how he participated in searching for the title’s whereabouts. Indeed, Reynaldo’s testimony is highly suspect and cannot be given the expected probative weight. (REFORZADO vs. LOPEZ, G.R. No. 148306, February 24, 2010) Q: A parcel of land was registered by Eland Phils., Inc. within one year after learning of the same, respondent Malabanan opposed on the basis that by reason of Sec. 48 of CA 141, they have already acquired the ownership over the parcel of land in fee simple even before registration. What remedy is available to the parties? A: Petition for review of the decree of registration under Section 32 of P.D. No. 1529. As long as a final decree has not been entered by the Land Registration Authority and period of one year has not elapsed from the date of entry of such decree, the title is not finally adjudicated and the decision in the registration case continues to be under the control and sound discretion of the registration court. After the lapse of said period, the decree becomes incontrovertible and no longer subject to reopening or review. Section 32 provides that a petition for review of the decree of registration may be filed “not later than one year from and after the date of entry of such decree of registration.” Giving this provision a literal interpretation, it may at first blush seem that the petition for review cannot be presented until the final decree has been entered. However, it has been ruled that the petition may be filed at any time after the rendition of the court's decision and before the expiration of one year from the entry of the final decree of registration for, as noted in Rivera v. Moran, there can be no possible reason requiring the complaining party to wait until the final decree is entered before urging his claim for fraud. The one-year period stated in Sec. 32 within which a petition to re-open and review the decree of registration refers to the decree of registration described in Section 31, which decree is prepared and issued by the Land Registration Administrator. The provision of Section 31 that every decree of registration shall bind the land, quiet title thereto, and be conclusive upon and against all persons, including the national government, and Sec. 32 that the decree shall not be reopened or revised by reason of absence, minority or other disability or by any proceeding in court, save only in cases of actual fraud and then only for one year from the entry of the decree, must be understood as referring to final and unappealable decrees of registration. A decision or, as it is sometimes called after entry, a decree of a registration court, does not become final and unappealable until fifteen days after the interested parties have been notified of its entry, and during that period may be set aside by the trial judge on motion for new trial, upon any of the grounds stated in the Rules of Court. An appeal from the decision of the trial court prevents the judgment from becoming final until that decree is affirmed by the judgment of the appellate court. A petition for review under Section 32 is a remedy separate and distinct from a motion for new trial and the right to the remedy is not affected by the denial of such a motion irrespective of the grounds upon which it may have been presented. Thus, where petitioners acquired their interest in the land before any final decree had been entered, the litigation was therefore in effect still pending and, in these circumstances, they can hardly be considered innocent purchasers in good faith. Where the petition for review of a decree of registration is filed within the one-year period from entry of the decree, it is error for the court to deny the petition without hearing the evidence in support of the allegation of actual and extrinsic fraud upon which the petition is predicated. The petitioner should be afforded an opportunity to prove such allegation. In the present case, the one-year period before the Torrens title becomes indefeasible and incontrovertible has not yet expired; thus, a review of the decree of registration would have been the appropriate remedy. (Eland Philippines, Inc. vs. Malabanan, G.R. No. 173289, February 17, 2010) MANUGAS vs. LIM, G.R. No. 154270, March 9, 2010
FACTS: Lim filed a petition for the reconstitution of the owner’s duplicate copy of a title alleging that said OCT had been lost during World War II by his mother. Oño opposed Lim’s petition, contending that they had the certificate of title in their possession as the successors-in-interest of Spouses Oño. On account of the Oños’ opposition, and upon order of the RTC, Lim converted the petition for reconstitution into a complaint for quieting of title. The CA ruled in favor of Lim and found that Oño had sold the said land to Lim. The CA ruled that the action for quieting of title was not a collateral, but a direct attack on the title; and that the Lims’ undisturbed possession had given them a continuing right to seek the aid of the courts to determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and its effect on their own title. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the validity of the OCT could be collaterally attacked through an ordinary civil action to quiet title; 2. Whether or not the ownership over registered land could be lost by prescription, laches, or adverse possession; 3. Whether or not there was a deed of sale executed by Spouses Oño in favor of Luisa and whether or not said deed was lost during World War II; HELD: 1. An action or proceeding is deemed an attack on a title when its objective is to nullify the title, thereby challenging the judgment pursuant to which the title was decreed. The attack is direct when the objective is to annul or set aside such judgment, or enjoin its enforcement. On the other hand, the attack is indirect or collateral when, in an action to obtain a different relief, an attack on the judgment is nevertheless made as an incident thereof. Quieting of title is a common law remedy for the removal of any cloud, doubt, or uncertainty affecting title to real property. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest in real property by reason of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding that is apparently valid or effective, but is, in truth and in fact, invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title, an action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet the title. In such action, the competent court is tasked to determine the respective rights of the complainant and the other claimants, not only to place things in their proper places, and to make the claimant, who has no rights to said immovable, respect and not disturb the one so entitled, but also for the benefit of both, so that whoever has the right will see every cloud of doubt over the property dissipated, and he can thereafter fearlessly introduce the improvements he may desire, as well as use, and even abuse the property as he deems fit. Lim’s complaint pertinently alleged: 18. If indeed, the genuine original of the Owner's Duplicate of the Reconstituted Original Certificate of Title No. RO-9699 (O-20449) for Lot 943, Balamban Cadastre xxx is in Defendant's (Oño’s) possession, then VNL submits the following PROPOSITIONS: xxx 18.2. Therefore, the Original of Owner’s Duplicate Certificate (which Respondents [Defendants Oños] claim in their Opposition is in their possession) must be surrendered to VNL upon order of this Court, after the Court shall have determined VNL's mother's acquisition of the attributes of ownership over said Lot 943, in this action, in accordance with Section 107, P.D. 1529, Property Registration Decree xxx xxx [t]hat OCT 20449 be cancelled and new title for Lot 943 be issued directly in favor of LUISA NARVIOS, to complete her title to said Lot;
The averments readily show that the action was neither a direct nor a collateral attack on OCT No. RO9969-(O-20449), for Lim was asserting only that the existing title registered in the name of the petitioners’ predecessors had become inoperative due to the conveyance in favor of Lim’s mother, and resultantly should be cancelled. Lim did not thereby assail the validity of OCT No. RO-9969-(O-20449), or challenge the judgment by which the title of the lot involved had been decreed. In other words, the action sought the
removal of a cloud from Lim’s title, and the confirmation of Lim’s ownership over the disputed property as the successor-in-interest of Luisa.
2. Prescription, in general, is a mode of acquiring or losing ownership and other real rights through the lapse of time in the manner and under the conditions laid down by law. However, prescription was not relevant to the determination of the dispute herein, considering that Lim did not base his right of ownership on an adverse possession over a certain period. He insisted herein, instead, that title to the land had been voluntarily transferred by the registered owners themselves to Luisa, his predecessor-in-interest. Lim showed that his mother had derived a just title to the property by virtue of sale; that from the time Luisa had acquired the property in 1937, she had taken over its possession in the concept of an owner, and had performed her obligation by paying real property taxes on the property, as evidenced by tax declarations issued in her name; and that in view of the delivery of the property, coupled with Luisa’s actual occupation of it, all that remained to be done was the issuance of a new transfer certificate of title in her name.
ALDE vs. BERNAL, G.R. No. 169336, March 18, 2010 The Facts Sometime in 1957, Adriano entered upon, occupied and cultivated a parcel of land situated in San Antonio West, Don Carlos, Bukidnon. After a survey in 1992, the property was designated as Cadastral Lot No. 1123, Cad 1119-D, Case 8 with an area of 8.5043 hectares. In January 1994, Adriano secured a loan of P5,000 from petitioners and turned over physical possession, occupation and cultivation of 1.5 hectares of the property. In June 1994, Adriano secured another loan of P10,000 from petitioners and used another 1.5 hectares as security for its payment. Petitioners then took possession and cultivated another 1.5 hectares of the property. In September 1994, Adriano informed petitioners that he could no longer pay the loan obligation and that he was selling the whole property to petitioners for P80,000. The sale was evidenced by a “Kasabotan sa Palit sa Yuta” dated 22 September 1994, signed by Adriano as owner of the land, Leona Bernal as Adriano’s wife, with respondent Ronald Bernal (Ronald), among others, as witness. Petitioners took possession of the whole property and continued the cultivation of the land. On 18 October 1994, Original Certificate of Title No. AO-7236 (OCT No. AO-7236) in the names of Adriano for an area of 3 hectares, Ronald for an area of 3 hectares, and respondent Juanito Bernal (Juanito) for an area of 2.5043 hectares was issued. OCT No. AO-7236 originated from Certificate of Land Ownership Award No. 00073938 (CLOA No. 00073938) issued by the Department of Agrarian Reform pursuant to Republic Act No. 6657. Then, sometime in April 2002, respondents demanded from petitioners P50,000 as additional consideration for the property. Respondents also informed petitioners, for the first time, of the existence of OCT No. AO-7236. Petitioners rejected respondents’ request since they already bought the entire property in 1994 and requested that respondents turn-over to them OCT No. AO-7236. Respondents refused. On 13 June 2002, respondents filed a complaint for recovery of ownership and possession of parcels of land. Respondents claimed that Adriano erroneously included their shares of the property in the sale. Juanito claimed that Adriano gave him 2.5043 hectares when he got married in 1978. While Ronald claimed that Adriano gave him 3 hectares when he got married in 1987. The CA denied the complaint for reconveyance. ISSUE: 1. Whether or not Adriano is entitled to reconveyance based on the issuance of a TCT in their favor. 2. Whether the title of respondents can be cancelled if the ruling is favorable. HELD: 1. Respondents are not entitled to reconveyance. Respondents claim ownership of the property based on OCT No. AO-7236. However, a certificate of title is not equivalent to title. In Lee Tek Sheng v. Court of Appeals, we explained: By title, the law refers to ownership which is represented by that document [the Original Certificate of Title or the Transfer Certificate of Title]. Petitioner apparently confuses certificate with title. Placing a parcel of land under the mantle of the Torrens system does not mean that ownership thereof can no longer be disputed. Ownership is different from a certificate of
title. The TCT is only the best proof of ownership of a piece of land. Besides, the certificate cannot always be considered as conclusive evidence of ownership. Mere issuance of the certificate of title in the name of any person does not foreclose the possibility that the real property may be under co-ownership with persons not named in the certificate or that the registrant may only be a trustee or that other parties may have acquired interest subsequent to the issuance of the certificate of title. To repeat, registration is not the equivalent of title, but is only the best evidence thereof. Title as a concept of ownership should not be confused with the certificate of title as evidence of such ownership although both are interchangeable. (Emphasis supplied) In this case, respondents cannot claim ownership over the disputed portions of the property absent any showing of how they acquired title over the same. Accordingly, the property must be reconveyed in favor of petitioners, the true and actual owners of the property. An action for reconveyance is a legal and equitable remedy granted to the rightful owner of land which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in the name of another for the purpose of compelling the latter to transfer or reconvey the land to him. 2.The title to the property in favor of respondents cannot be cancelled. However, since petitioners did not make a direct attack on the validity of OCT No. AO-7236 and had not asked for the cancellation of the original certificate of title as required by Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. 1529, this Court cannot cancel OCT No. AO-7236 and order the issuance of a new certificate of title in the name of petitioners. Any direct attack on the validity of a Torrens certificate of title must be instituted with the proper Regional Trial Court. This case originated in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court. Even if we consider petitioners’ counter-claim as a petition for the cancellation of OCT No. AO-7236 and, thus, a direct attack on the certificate of title, the MCTC still does not have jurisdiction over the cancellation of a Torrens title. REYES-MESUGAS vs. REYES, G.R. No. 174835, MARCH 22, 2010 QUESTION: Can a notice of lis pendens be refused to be cancelled after a written compromise agreement has been executed but without “side agreements” having been performed? ANSWER: No. A compromise is a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid litigation or put an end to one already commenced. Once submitted to the court and stamped with judicial approval, it becomes more than a mere private contract binding upon the parties; having the sanction of the court and entered as its determination of the controversy, it has the force and effect of any judgment. Consequently, a judgment rendered in accordance with a compromise agreement is immediately executory as there is no appeal from such judgment. When both parties enter into an agreement to end a pending litigation and request that a decision be rendered approving said agreement, such action constitutes an implied waiver of the right to appeal against the said decision. A notice of lis pendens may be cancelled when the annotation is not necessary to protect the title of the party who caused it to be recorded. The compromise agreement did not mention the grant of a right of way to respondent. Any agreement other than the judicially approved compromise agreement between the parties was outside the limited jurisdiction of the probate court. Thus, any other agreement entered into by the petitioner and respondent with regard to a grant of a right of way was not within the jurisdiction of the RTC acting as a probate court. Therefore, there was no reason for the RTC not to cancel the notice of lis pendens on TCT No. 24475 as respondent had no right which needed to be protected. Any alleged right arising from the “side agreement” on the right of way can be fully protected by filing an ordinary action for specific performance in a court of general jurisdiction. More importantly, the order of the probate court approving the compromise had the effect of directing the delivery of the residue of the estate of Lourdes to the persons entitled thereto under the compromise agreement. As such, it brought to a close the intestate proceedings and the probate court lost jurisdiction over the case, except only as regards to the compliance and the fulfillment by the parties of their respective obligations under the compromise agreement. SPOUSES HILAGA vs. RURAL BANK OF ISULAN, G.R. No. 179781, APRIL 7, 2010
FACTS: Petitioners Basilio and Norma B. Hilaga were the owners of a parcel of land. On March 16, 1970, petitioners obtained a loan from respondent Rural Bank of Isulan (Cotabato) Inc., in the amount of P2,500.00. To secure the loan, they executed a Real Estate Mortgage over the above-mentioned property which was then covered only by Tax Declaration No. 5537. When petitioners failed to pay their obligation when it became due on March 19, 1971, the respondent bank initiated foreclosure proceedings. The subject property was sold at a public auction and a Certificate of Extrajudicial Sale was issued in favor of the Rural Bank of Isulan (Cotabato) Inc. as the highest bidder. The respondent bank then took possession of the foreclosed property. Meanwhile, unknown to respondent bank, a Free Patent title (Original Certificate of Title No. P-19766) had been issued in favor of petitioners before the foreclosure sale. On September 21, 1994, or more than seventeen (17) years after the foreclosure sale, petitioner Basilio Hilaga sent a letter to the respondent bank’s lawyer, the late Atty. Ismail Arceno, conveying his desire to redeem the subject property. When the letter remained unanswered, petitioners, through their counsel, again sent a letter dated May 4, 1999, seeking to redeem the foreclosed property. The second letter, however, also remained unheeded. Thus, on June 3, 1999, petitioners filed a complaint for Redemption of Foreclosed Mortgaged Property Under [Act No. 3135]. In their complaint, petitioners alleged that the mortgage and subsequent foreclosure of the subject property had not been annotated on the title nor registered with the Register of Deeds. Also, no annotation and consolidation of ownership was made in favor of the respondent bank. Thus, the one (1)-year redemption period under Act No. 3135, which commences from the date of registration of the sale, has not yet started. They insisted that, indeed, their right of redemption has not yet expired because under Section 119 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 or the Public Land Act, a homesteader whose homestead has been sold at a public auction by virtue of an extrajudicial foreclosure, may repurchase said land within five (5) years from the date of registration of the sale. ISSUE: Essentially, the issue is whether petitioners can still redeem their foreclosed property. HELD: The petition has no merit.
Section 5 of Republic Act No. 720, as amended by Republic Act Nos. 2670 and 5939, specifically provides for the redemption period for lands foreclosed by rural banks. It provides in part as follows: SEC. 5. x x x Loans may be granted by rural banks on the security of lands without Torrens titles where the owner of private property can show five years or more of peaceful, continuous and uninterrupted possession in the concept of an owner; x x x or of homesteads or free patent lands pending the issuance of titles but already approved, the provisions of any law or regulations to the contrary notwithstanding: Provided, That when the corresponding titles are issued the same shall be delivered to the register of deeds of the province where such lands are situated for the annotation of the encumbrance: x x x x x x Provided, That when a homestead or free patent land is foreclosed, the homesteader or free patent holder, as well as their heirs shall have the right to redeem the same within two years from the date of foreclosure in case of a land not covered by a Torrens title or two years from the date of the registration of the foreclosure in case of a land covered by a Torrens title x x x. In Sta. Ignacia Rural Bank, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, we summarized the rules on redemption in the case of an extrajudicial foreclosure of land acquired under our free patent or homestead statutes as follows. If the land is mortgaged to a rural bank under Republic Act No. 720, as amended, the mortgagor may redeem the property within two (2) years from the date of foreclosure or from the registration of the sheriff’s certificate of sale at such foreclosure if the property is not covered or is covered, respectively, by a Torrens title. If the mortgagor fails to exercise such right, he or his heirs may still repurchase the property within five (5) years from the expiration of the two (2)-year redemption period pursuant to Section 119 of the Public Land Act (C.A. No. 141). If the land is mortgaged to parties other than rural banks, the mortgagor may redeem the property within one (1) year from the registration of the certificate of sale pursuant to Act No. 3135. If he fails to do so, he or his heirs may repurchase the property within five (5) years from the expiration of the redemption period also pursuant to Section 119 of the Public Land Act.
In the present case, petitioners admit that when the property was mortgaged, only the tax declaration was presented. Although a free patent title was subsequently issued in their favor on August 4, 1976, petitioners failed to inform the creditor rural bank of such issuance. As a result, the certificate of sale was not registered or annotated on the free patent title. Petitioners are estopped from redeeming the property based on the free patent title which was not presented during the foreclosure sale nor delivered to the Register of Deeds for annotation of the certificate of sale as required under Section 5 of Republic Act No. 720, as amended. Estoppel in pais arises when one, by his acts, representations or admissions, or by his own silence when he ought to speak out, intentionally or through culpable negligence, induces another to believe certain facts to exist and such other rightfully relies and acts on such belief, so that he will be prejudiced if the former is permitted to deny the existence of such facts. Petitioners cannot fault respondent for the non-registration of the certificate of sale because petitioners did not inform the respondent bank that a Torrens title had already been acquired by them on August 4, 1976. By their silence and inaction, petitioners misled the respondent bank to believe that their only proof of ownership was the tax declaration. Thus, the two (2)-year redemption period shall be reckoned from the date of the foreclosure. Apropos is the CA’s ruling on this matter: It is undisputed that the foreclosed property was not yet covered by a Torrens title, being merely covered by a Tax Declaration, when appellees mortgaged their property. Clearly, the right of appellees to redeem their foreclosed property can only be exercised within two (2) years from the date of foreclosure, as provided for under R.A. No. 720, as amended by R.A. No. 2670. When the instant suit commenced on 31 May 1999, appellees right to redeem had already lapsed since they had only until 1979 to exercise their right of redemption or within two (2) years from the foreclosure proceedings in 1977. For the same reason, petitioners’ assertion that they will have five (5) years from the date of registration of the sale to redeem the foreclosed property under Section 119 of the Public Land Act has no merit, the reckoning period for the redemption period being properly from the date of sale. But even assuming arguendo that petitioners can avail of the five (5)-year redemption period provided under Section 119 of the Public Land Act, they still failed to exercise their right of redemption within the reglementary period provided by law. As mentioned earlier, Section 119 of said Act expressly provides that where the land involved is acquired as a homestead or under a free patent, if the mortgagor fails to exercise the right of redemption, he or his heirs may still repurchase the property within five (5) years from the expiration of the two (2)-year redemption period. The auction sale having been conducted on April 20, 1977, petitioners had until April 20, 1984 within which to redeem the mortgaged property. Since petitioner only filed the instant suit in 1999, their right to redeem had already lapsed. It took petitioners twenty-two (22) years before instituting an action for redemption. The considerable delay in asserting one’s right before a court of justice is strongly persuasive of the lack of merit in petitioners’ claim, since it is human nature for a person to enforce his right when the same is threatened or invaded. FLORES vs. BAGAOISAN, G.R. No. 173365, APRIL 15, 2010 FACTS: The case involves a 13,552-square meter portion of a parcel of land covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-11880 in the name of the Heirs of Victor Flores. On December 20, 1976, petitioners, together with their mother Luisa Viernes, executed a Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim in favor of Vicente T. Lazo. Through this document, petitioners agreed to “sell, cede, convey, grant, and transfer by way of QUITCLAIM” the subject property to Lazo. Thereafter, respondent, Marciano Bagaoisan, bought the subject property from Lazo, as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale. Viernes and petitioner Virginia Flores-Dalere executed a Palawag A Nasapataan (Affidavit), attesting to the fact that they conveyed to Lazo the subject property through the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim. Affiants also attested that Lazo and his predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the disputed portion since 1940 and that the same was mistakenly included in the patent application of Victor Flores. Respondent filed an action for ownership, quieting of title, partition and damages against petitioners, praying that he be declared as the true owner of the subject property and that the entire property be partitioned among them. ISSUE: Consequently, petitioners filed this petition for review, insisting that the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim is void as its contents were not fully explained to them, and it violates Section 118 of the Public Land Act (Commonwealth Act No. 141), which prohibits the alienation of lands acquired through a homestead patent.
HELD: The petition is meritorious. Without going into petitioners’ allegation that they were unaware of the contents of the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim, we nonetheless hold that the deed is void for violating the five-year prohibitory period against alienation of lands acquired through homestead patent as provided under Section 118 of the Public Land Act, which states: Sec. 118. Except in favor of the Government or any of its branches, units, or institutions, lands acquired under free patent or homestead provisions shall not be subject to encumbrance or alienation from the date of the approval of the application and for a term of five years from and after the date of issuance of the patent and grant, nor shall they become liable to the satisfaction of any debt contracted prior to the expiration of said period, but the improvements or crops on the land may be mortgaged or pledged to qualified persons, associations, or corporations. No alienation, transfer, or conveyance of any homestead after five years and before twenty-five years after the issuance of title shall be valid without the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce, which approval shall not be denied except on constitutional and legal grounds.
We do not agree with the CA that the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim merely “confirmed” petitioners’ non-ownership of the subject property. The deed uses the words “sell,” “cede,” “convey,” “grant,” and “transfer.” These words admit of no other interpretation than that the subject property was indeed being transferred to Lazo. The use of the words “confirmation” and “quitclaim” in the title of the document was an obvious attempt to circumvent the prohibition imposed by law. Labeling the deed as a confirmation of non-ownership or as a quitclaim of rights would actually make no difference, as the effect would still be the alienation or conveyance of the property. The act of conveyance would still fall within the ambit of the prohibition. To validate such an arrangement would be to throw the door open to all possible fraudulent subterfuges and schemes that persons interested in land given to a homesteader may devise to circumvent and defeat the legal provisions prohibiting their alienation within five years from the issuance of the patent. It bears stressing that the law was enacted to give the homesteader or patentee every chance to preserve for himself and his family the land that the State had gratuitously given to him as a reward for his labor in cleaning and cultivating it. Its basic objective, as the Court had occasion to stress, is to promote public policy, that is to provide home and decent living for destitutes, aimed at providing a class of independent small landholders which is the bulwark of peace and order. Hence, any act which would have the effect of removing the property subject of the patent from the hands of a grantee will be struck down for being violative of the law. To repeat, the conveyance of a homestead before the expiration of the five-year prohibitory period following the issuance of the homestead patent is null and void and cannot be enforced, for it is not within the competence of any citizen to barter away what public policy by law seeks to preserve. There is, therefore, no doubt that the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim, which was executed three years after the homestead patent was issued, is void and cannot be enforced. CAWIS vs. SERILLES, G.R. No. 170207, APRIL 19, 2010 FACTS: On 23 September 1957, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), pursuant to Section 79 of the Public Land Act, approved the sales patent application of Jose V. Andrada. On 4 August 1969, Republic Act No. 6099 took effect. It provided that subject to certain conditions, parcels of land within the Holy Ghost Hill Subdivision, which included Lot No. 47, would be sold to the actual occupants without the necessity of a public bidding, in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 730. Claiming to be the actual occupants referred to in R.A. No. 6099, petitioners protested the sales patent awarded to Andrada. The Bureau of Lands denied their protest on the ground that R.A. No. 6099, being of later passage, could no longer affect the earlier award of sales patent to Andrada. Sometime in 1987, private respondent Ma. Edeliza S. Peralta purchased Lot No. 47 from Andrada. On 28 October 1987, the Deputy Public Land Inspector, in his final report of investigation, found that neither Andrada nor Peralta had constructed a residential house on the lot, which was required in the Order of Award and set as a condition precedent for the issuance of the sales patent. Apparently, it was Vicente Cawis, one of the petitioners, who had built a house on Lot No. 47. On 13 November 1987, Sales Patent No. 1319 was nonetheless transferred to Peralta. On 4 December 1987,
Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-1604 was duly issued in Peralta’s name. On 8 September 1998, petitioners filed a complaint before the trial court alleging fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation in the issuance of the sales patent and the original certificate of title over Lot No. 47. ISSUES: Whether or not the private entity has the personality to file the instant action. HELD: The petition has no merit. Coming now to the first issue, Section 101 of the Public Land Act clearly states: SEC. 101. All actions for the reversion to the Government of lands of the public domain or improvements thereon shall be instituted by the Solicitor General or the officer acting in his stead, in the proper courts, in the name of the Republic of the Philippines. Even assuming that private respondent indeed acquired title to Lot No. 47 in bad faith, only the State can institute reversion proceedings, pursuant to Section 101 of the Public Land Act and our ruling in Alvarico v. Sola. Private persons may not bring an action for reversion or any action which would have the effect of canceling a land patent and the corresponding certificate of title issued on the basis of the patent, such that the land covered thereby will again form part of the public domain. Only the OSG or the officer acting in his stead may do so. Since the title originated from a grant by the government, its cancellation is a matter between the grantor and the grantee. Similarly, in Urquiaga v. CA, this Court held that there is no need to pass upon any allegation of actual fraud in the acquisition of a title based on a sales patent. Private persons have no right or interest over land considered public at the time the sales application was filed. They have no personality to question the validity of the title. We further stated that granting, for the sake of argument, that fraud was committed in obtaining the title, it is the State, in a reversion case, which is the proper party to file the necessary action. In this case, it is clear that Lot No. 47 was public land when Andrada filed the sales patent application. Any subsequent action questioning the validity of the award of sales patent on the ground of fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation should thus be initiated by the State. The State has not done so and thus, we have to uphold the validity and regularity of the sales patent as well as the corresponding original certificate of title issued based on the patent.
QUESTIONS ON REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10023 Who are entitled to apply for a special patent? 1. 2. 3. 4. Any Filipino citizen who is an actual occupant of a residential land may apply for a Free Patent Title under this Act: for 10 years at the time of the application; Provided; That in highly urbanized cities, the land should not exceed two hundred (200) square meters; in other cities, it should not exceed five hundred (500) square meters; in first class and second class municipalities, it should not exceed seven hundred fifty (750) square meters; and in all other municipalities, it should not exceed one thousand (1,000) square meters; Provided, further, That the land applied for is not needed for public service and/or public use. (Sec. 1, R.A. No. 10023)
Is there any difference between free patent application of land under CA No. 141 and RA No. 10023? Yes. Under RA No. 10023, the restrictions regarding encumbrances, conveyances, transfers or dispositions imposed in Sections 118, 119,121, 122 and 123 of Chapter XII, Title VI of Commonwealth Act No. 141 as amended, shall not apply to patents issued therein. (Sec. 5, Ibid.) Can LGUs be granted a special patent? Yes. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary and subject to private rights, if any, public land actually occupied and used for public schools, municipal halls, public plazas or parks and other government institutions for public use or purpose may be issued special patents under the name of the national agency or LGU concerned: Provided, That all lands titled under this section shall not be disposed of unless sanctioned by
Congress if owned by the national agency or sanctioned by the sanggunian concerned through an approved ordinance if owned by the LGU. (Sec. 4, Ibid.) INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S RIGHTS ACT There are 2 instances which involve registration under the IPRA law. The first one involves the registration of land individually owned and the other involves the delineation and recognition of ancestral domains. The provisions hereunder shall not apply to ancestral domains/lands already delineated according to DENR Administrative Order No. 2, series of 1993, nor to ancestral lands and domains delineated under any other community/ancestral domain program prior to the enactment of his law. ICCs/IPs enactment of this law shall have the right to apply for the issuance of a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) over the area without going through the process outlined hereunder. (Sec. 52 [a], R.A. No. 8371) Areas within the ancestral domains, whether delineated or not, shall be presumed to be communally held: Provide, That communal rights under this Act shall not be construed as co-ownership as provided in Republic Act. No. 386, otherwise known as the New Civil Code. (Sec. 55, Ibid.) Property rights within the ancestral domains already existing and/or vested upon effectivity of this Act, shall be recognized and respected. (Sec. 56, Ibid.) Registration of land individually owned If individual members of cultural communities seek to register a parcel of land, they may utilize the provisions of Section 12 of R.A. No. 8371 which provides: Individual members of cultural communities, with respect to individually-owned ancestral lands who, by themselves or through their predecessors-in -interest, have been in continuous possession and occupation of the same in the concept of owner since time immemorial or for a period of not less than thirty (30) years immediately preceding the approval of this Act and uncontested by the members of the same ICCs/IPs shall have the option to secure title to their ancestral lands under the provisions of Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, or the Land Registration Act 496. For this purpose, said individually-owned ancestral lands, which are agricultural in character and actually used for agricultural, residential, pasture, and tree farming purposes, including those with a slope of eighteen percent (18%) or more, are hereby classified as alienable and disposable agricultural lands. The option granted under this Section shall be exercised within twenty (20) years from the approval of this Act. As is clear from the provisions, in order to secure individual titles, registration under C.A. No. 141 or P.D. No. 1529 which have been discussed at length must be undergone. Delineation and Recognition of Ancestral Domains The allocation of lands within any ancestral domain to individual or indigenous corporate (family or clan) claimants shall be left to the ICCs/IPs concerned to decide in accordance with customs and traditions. (Sec. 53 [a]) The process of delineating a specific perimeter may be initiated by the NCIP with the consent of the ICC/IP concerned, or through a Petition for Delineation filed with the NCIP, by a majority of the members of the ICCs/IPs. (Sec. 52 [b], Ibid.) Individual and indigenous corporate claimants of ancestral lands which are not within ancestral domains, may have their claims officially established by filing applications for the identification and delineation of their claims with the Ancestral Domains Office. An individual or recognized head of a family or clan may file such application in his behalf or in behalf of his family or clan, respectively. (Sec. 53 [b], Ibid.)
The official delineation of ancestral domain boundaries including census of all community members therein, shall be immediately undertaken by the Ancestral Domains Office upon filing of the application by the ICCs/IPs concerned. Delineation will be done in coordination with the community concerned and shall at all times include genuine involvement and participation by the members of the communities concerned. (Sec. 52 [c], Ibid.) Upon receipt of the applications for delineation and recognition of ancestral land claims, the Ancestral Domains Office shall cause the publication of the application and a copy of each document submitted including a translation in the native language of the ICCs/IPs concerned in a prominent place therein for at least fifteen (15) days. A copy of the document shall also be posted at the local, provincial, and regional offices of the NCIP and shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks to allow other claimants to file opposition thereto within fifteen (15) days from the date of such publication: Provided, That in areas where no such newspaper exists, broadcasting in a radio station will be a valid substitute: Provided, further, That mere posting shall be deemed sufficient if both newspapers and radio station are not available. (Sec. 53 [e], Ibid.) Self-delineation shall be the guiding principle in the identification and delineation of ancestral domains. As such, the ICCs/IPs concerned shall have a decisive role in all the activities pertinent thereto. The Sworn Statement of the Elders as to the Scope of the territories and agreements/pacts made with neighboring ICCs/IPs, if any, will be essential to the determination of these traditional territories. The Government shall take the necessary steps to identify lands which the ICCs/IPs concerned traditionally occupy and guarantee effective protection of their rights of ownership and possession thereto. Measures shall be taken in appropriate cases to safeguard the rights of the ICCs/IPs concerned to land which may no longer be exclusively occupied by them, but to which they have traditionally had access for their subsistence and traditional activities, particularly of ICCs/IPs who are still nomadic and/or shifting cultivators. (Sec. 51, Ibid.) Proof of Ancestral Domain Claims shall include the testimony of elders or community under oath, and other documents directly or indirectly attesting to the possession or occupation of the area since time immemorial by such ICCs/IPs in the concept of owners which shall be any one (1) of the following authentic documents: 1. Written accounts of the ICCs/IPs customs and traditions; 2. Written accounts of the ICCs/IPs political structure and institution; 3. Pictures showing long term occupation such as those of old improvements, burial grounds, sacred places and old villages; 4. Historical accounts, including pacts and agreements concerning boundaries entered into by the ICCs/IPs concerned with other ICCs/IPs; 5. Survey plans and sketch maps; 6. Anthropological data; 7. Genealogical surveys; 8. Pictures and descriptive histories of traditional communal forests and hunting grounds; 9. Pictures and descriptive histories of traditional landmarks such as mountains, rivers, creeks, ridges, hills, terraces and the like; and 10. Write-ups of names and places derived from the native dialect of the community. (Sec. 52 [d], Ibid.) Fifteen (15) days after such publication, the Ancestral Domains Office shall investigate and inspect each application, and if found to be meritorious, shall cause a parcellary survey of the area being claimed. The Ancestral Domains office shall reject any claim that is deemed patently false or fraudulent after inspection and verification. In case of rejection, the Ancestral Domains office shall give the applicant due notice, copy furnished all concerned, containing the grounds for denial. The denial shall be appealable to the NCIP. In case of conflicting claims among individual or indigenous corporate claimants, the Ancestral domains Office shall cause the contending parties to meet and assist them in coming up with a preliminary resolution of the conflict, without prejudice to its full adjudication according to Sec. 62 of this Act. In all proceedings for the identification or delineation of the ancestral domains as herein provided, the Director of Lands shall represent the interest of the Republic of the Philippines. (Sec. 53 [f], Ibid.) On the basis of such investigation and the findings of fact based thereon, the Ancestral Domains Office of the NCIP shall prepare a perimeter map, complete with technical descriptions, and a description of the natural features and landmarks embraced therein. (Sec. 52 [e], Ibid.)
A complete copy of the preliminary census and a report of investigation, shall be prepared by the Ancestral Domains Office of the NCIP. (Sec. 52 [f], Ibid.) A copy of each document, including a translation in the native language of the ICCs/IPs concerned shall be posted in a prominent place therein for at least fifteen (15) days. A copy of the document shall also be posted at the local, provincial and regional offices of the NCIP, and shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks to allow other claimants to file opposition thereto within fifteen (15) days from the date of such publication: Provided, That in areas where no such newspaper exists, broadcasting in a radio station will be a valid substitute: Provided, further, That mere posting shall be deemed sufficient if both newspaper and radio station are not available. (Sec. 52 [g], Ibid.) Within fifteen (15) days from publication, and of the inspection process, the Ancestral Domains Office shall prepare a report to the NCIP endorsing a favorable action upon a claim that is deemed to have sufficient proof. However, if the proof is deemed insufficient, the Ancestral Domains Office shall require the submission of additional evidence: Provided, That the Ancestral Domains Office shall reject any claim that is deemed patently false or fraudulent after inspection and verification: Provided, further, That in case of rejection, the Ancestral Domains Office shall give the applicant due notice, copy furnished all concerned, containing the grounds for denial. The denial shall be appealable to the NCIP: Provided, furthermore, That in cases where there are conflicting claims, the Ancestral Domains Office shall cause the contending parties to meet and assist them in coming up with a preliminary resolution of the conflict, without prejudice to its full adjudication according to the selection below. (Sec. 52 [h], Ibid.) ICCs/IPs whose ancestral domains have been officially delineated and determined by the NCIP shall be issued a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) in the name of the community concerned, containing a list of all those identified in the census. (Sec. 52 [j], Ibid.) The NCIP shall register issued certificates of ancestral domain titles and certificates of ancestral lands titles before the Register of Deeds in the place where the property is situated. (Sec. 52 [k], Ibid.) The Ancestral Domains Office may, upon written request from the ICCs/IPs, review existing claims which have been fraudulently acquired by any person or community. Any claim found to be fraudulently acquired by, and issued to, any person or community may be cancelled by the NCIP after due notice and hearing of all parties concerned. (Sec. 54, Ibid.) In cases of conflicting interest, where there are adverse claims within the ancestral domains as delineated in the survey plan, and which cannot be resolved, the NCIP shall hear and decide, after notice to the proper parties, the disputes arising from the delineation of such ancestral domains: Provided, That if the dispute is between and/or among ICCs/IPs regarding the traditional boundaries of their respective ancestral domains, customary process shall be followed. The NCIP shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to carry out its adjudicatory functions: Provided, further, That in any decision, order, award or ruling of the NCIP on any ancestral domain dispute or on any matter pertaining to the application, implementation, enforcement and interpretation of this Act may be brought for Petition for Review to the Court of Appeals within fifteen (15) days from receipt of a copy thereof. (Sec. 62, Ibid.)
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