HEIRS OF MALABANAN V. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES  It is clear that the evidence of petitioners is insufficient to establish that Malabanan has acquired ownership over the subject property under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. There is no substantive evidence to establish that Malabanan or petitioners as his predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the property since 12 June 1945 or earlier. The earliest that petitioners can date back their possession, according to their own evidence—the Tax Declarations they presented in particular—is to the year 1948. Thus, they cannot avail themselves of registration under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. Neither can petitioners properly invoke Section 14(2) as basis for registration. While the subject property was declared as alienable or disposable in 1982, there is no competent evidence that is no longer intended for public use service or for the development of the national evidence, conformably with Article 422 of the Civil Code. The classification of the subject property as alienable and disposable land of the public domain does not change its status as property of the public dominion under Article 420(2) of the Civil Code. Thus, it is insusceptible to acquisition by prescription.

DURAN V. IAC  But even if the signatures were a forgery, and the sale would be regarded as void, the Deed of Mortgage is VALID, with respect to the mortgagees. The mortgagee had the right to rely upon what appeared in the certificate of title, and did not have to inquire further. If the rule were otherwise, the efficacy and conclusiveness of Torrens Certificate of Titles would be futile and nugatory. Thus the rule is simple: the fraudulent and forged document of sale may become the root of a valid title if the certificate has already been transferred from the name of the true owner to the name indicated by the forger. The fact that at the time of the foreclosure sale proceedings the mortgagees may have already known of the plaintiffs' claim is immaterial. What is important is that at the time the mortgage was executed, the mortgagees in good faith actually believed Duran’s mother to be the owner, as evidenced by the registration of the property in the name of said mother." Good faith consists in the possessor's belief that the person from whom he received the thing was the owner of the same and could convey his title. Good faith, while it is always to be presumed in the absence of proof to the contrary, requires a well-founded belief that the person from whom title was received was himself the owner of the land, with the right to convey it. There is good faith where there is an honest intention to abstain from taking any unconscientious advantage from another. Otherwise stated, good faith is the opposite of fraud and it refers to the state of mind which is manifested by the acts of the individual concerned.

TREASURER OF THE PHILS V. CA Claim on the Assurance Fund 1. Any person who sustains loss or damage under the following conditions:   that there was no negligence on his part; and that the loss or damage was sustained through any omission, mistake, or misfeasance of the clerk of court, or the register of deeds, his deputy or clerk, in the performance of their respective duties under the provisions of the land Registration Act,' or

2 Any person who has been deprived of any land or any interest therein under the following conditions:

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  that there was no negligence on his part; that he was deprived as a consequence of the bringing of his land or interest therein under the provisions of the Property Registration Decree; or by the registration by any other persons as owner of such land; or by mistake, omission or misdescription in any certificate or owner's duplicate, or in any entry or memorandum in the register or other official book, or by any cancellation; and that he is barred or in any way precluded from bringing an action for the recovery of such land or interest therein, or claim upon the same.

TORRES V. CA   Any prospective buyer or mortgagee of such a property, if prudent and in good faith, is normally expected to inquire into all these and related facts and circumstances. Another thing that defendants Morta and Medina Cue must have investigated, as any prudent buyer or mortgagee should before consummating any transaction on real property, in the matter of payment of taxes on the property.

MWSS v. CA     Where two certificates (of title) purport to include the same land, the earlier in date prevails. In successive registrations, where more than one certificate is issued in respect of a particular estate or interest in land, the person claiming under the prior certificate is entitled to the estate or interest. Hence, in point of priority of issuance, private respondents' title prevails over that of petitioner MWSS. Lastly, a certificates 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. Since the land in question has already been registered under OCT No. 994 dated April 19, 1917, the subsequent registration of the same land on May 3, 1917 is null and void.

HEIRS OF GONZAGA V. CA  Where two certificates (of title) purport to include the same land, the earlier in date prevails. In successive registrations, where more than one certificate is issued in respect of a particular estate or interest in land, the person claiming under the prior certificate is entitled to the estate or interest; and the person is deemed to hold under the prior certificate who is the holder of, or whose claim is derived directly or indirectly from the person who was the holder of the earliest certificate issued in respect thereof.

MANOTOK V. CLT REALTY  Based on the foregoing patent irregularities, the court finds the attendance of fraud in the issuance of TCT No. 4211 and all its derivative titles which preceded the defendants’ titles. Evidently, TCT No. 4211 cannot be validly traced from OCT No. 994. Being void ab initio, it did not give rise to any transmissible rights with respect to the land purportedly invalid, and resultantly, the defendants, being the holders of the latest derivatives, cannot assert any right of ownership over the lands in question. ‘The void ab initio land titles issued cannot ripen into private ownership.

MANOTOK V. CLT REALTY 2009  The fact of expropriation is extremely significant, for titles acquired by the State by way of expropriation are deemed cleansed of whatever previous flaws may have attended these titles.

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 As Justice Vitug explained in Republic v. Court of Appeals, and then Associate Justice Puno reiterated in Reyes v. NHA: "In an rem proceeding, condemnation acts upon the property. After condemnation, the paramount title is in the public under a new and independent title; thus, by giving notice to all claimants to a disputed title, condemnation proceedings provide a judicial process for securing better title against all the world than may be obtained by voluntary conveyance." This doctrine was derived from the opinion of then Chief Judge Stephen Breyer in Cadorette v. U.S., that by giving notice to all claimants to a disputed title, condemnation proceedings provide a judicial process for securing better title against all the world than may be obtained by voluntary conveyance." The titles of the Republic, as the predecessor-in-interest of the MANOTOKS, 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. Thus, 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.

PASIÑO V. MONTERROYO   It is already settled that a counterclaim is considered an original complaint and as such, the attack on the title in a case originally for recovery of possession cannot be considered as a collateral attack on the title. It is true that the indefeasibility of torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked. In the instant case, the original complaint is for recovery of possession filed by petitioner against private respondent, not an original action filed by the latter to question the validity of TCT on which petitioner bases its right. `A counterclaim is considered a complaint, only this time, it is the original defendant who becomes the plaintiff. It stands on the same footing and is to be tested by the same rules as if it were an independent action. A notice of lis pendens, once duly registered, may be cancelled by the trial court before which the action involving the property is pending. However, it may only be exercised under exceptional circumstances:

a) Where such circumstances are imputable to the party who caused the annotation b) Where the litigation was unduly prolonged to the prejudice of the other party because of several continuances procured by petitioner c) Where the case which is the basis for the lis pendens notation was dismissed for non prosequitur on the part of the plaintiff d) Where judgment was rendered against the party who caused such a notation. In such instances, said notice is deemed ipso facto cancelled. CASIM V. REGISTER OF DEEDS  Lis Pendens literally means pending suit. It refers to the jurisdiction, power or control which a court acquires over the property involved in a suit, pending the continuance of the action, and until final judgment. Founded upon public policy and necessity, lis pendens is intended to keep the properties in litigation within the power of the court until the litigation is terminated, and to prevent the defeat of the judgment or decree by subsequent alienation. Its notice is an announcement to the whole world that a particular property is in litigation and serves as a warning that one who acquires an interest over said property does so at his own risk, or that he gambles on the result of the litigation over said property. Sec. 77 of P.D. No. 1529 provides the appropriate measure to have a notice of lis pendens cancelled out from the title, that is by presenting to the Register of Deeds, after finality of the judgment rendered in the main action, a certificate executed by the clerk of court before which the main action was pending to the effect that the case has already been finally decided by the court, stating the manner of the disposal thereof.

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DEL CASTILLO V. ORCIGA (LAND TRANSFER PROGRAM)  Land transfer under PD No. 27 is effected in two (2) stages: (1) issuance of a CLT to a farmer-beneficiary as soon as DAR transfers the landholding to the farmer-beneficiary in recognition that said person is a "deemed owner"; and (2) issuance of an Emancipation Patent as proof of full ownership of the landholding upon full payment of the annual amortizations or lease rentals by the farmer or beneficiary. When petitioner grabbed possession of the said land, respondents, as successors-in-interest of Eugenio Orciga, had not yet been issued an Emancipation Patent because they were still paying lease-rentals or the agreed share to the lot owner. Since the respondents were not able to continue cultivating the land and pay the share of petitioner’s father, Jovendo del Castillo insists that he should be allowed to take over and possess the land. PD No. 27 is clear that in case of non-payment, the amortizations due shall be paid by the farmer’s cooperative in which the defaulting tenant-farmer is a member, with the cooperative having a right of recourse against the farmer. The government shall guarantee such amortizations with shares of stocks in government-owned and government-controlled corporations. Therefore, the landowner is assured of payment even if the tenant-farmer defaults in paying amortizations since the farmers’ cooperative will assume paying the amortizations. In the case at bar, the petitioner has two options; first, to bring the dispute on the non-payment of the land to the DAR and the Barangay Committee on Land Production that will subsequently resolve said dispute pursuant to Ministry of Agrarian Reform (MAR) Memorandum Circular No. 26, series of 1973 and other issuances; and, second, to negotiate with the DAR and LBP for payment of the compensation claim pursuant to Section 2 of EO No. 228. Eventually, the scheme under EO No. 228 will result to the full payment of the compensation of the value of the land to Menardo del Castillo, petitioner’s father and former landowner.

  

TAGUINOD V. COURT OF APPEALS  It has been settled that the rights of the homesteader and his/her heirs to own and cultivate personally their land acquired under the “homestead laws” are superior over those of tenants invoking the “agrarian reform laws”. LOI 474, it mandates the DAR secretary to undertake to place under the Land Transfer Program all tenanted rice/corn lands with areas of 7 hectares or less belonging to landowners who own other agricultural lands of more than 7 hectares in aggregate areas or lands used for residential, commercial, or other urban purposes from which they derive adequate income to support themselves and their families.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES V. IMPERIAL CREDIT CORPORATION  Under the Regalian doctrine, the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land. This is premised on the basic doctrine that all lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. Any applicant for confirmation of imperfect title bears the burden of proving that he is qualified to have the land titled in his name. The reckoning date under the Public Land Act for the acquisition of ownership of public lands is June 12, 1945 or earlier, and that evidence of possession from that date or earlier is essential for a grant of an application for judicial confirmation of imperfect title. While a tax declaration by itself is not sufficient to prove ownership, it may serve as sufficient basis for inferring possession.

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    Jurisprudence is consistent that tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of ownership of the properties stated therein. At best, tax declarations are indicia of possession in the concept of an owner. Conversely, nondeclaration of a property for tax purposes does not necessarily negate ownership. A Torrens title issued on the basis of the free patents become as indefeasible as one which was judicially secured upon the expiration of one year from date of issuance of the patent. However, this indefeasibility cannot be a bar to an investigation by the State as to how such title has been acquired, if the purpose of the investigation is to determine whether or not fraud has been committed in securing the title. An aggrieved party may still file an action for reconveyance based on implied or constructive trust, which prescribes in 10 years from the date of the issuance of the Certificate of Title over the property, provided that the property has not been acquired by an innocent purchaser for value.

BORROMEO V. DESCALLAR  It is settled that registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership. It is only a means of confirming the fact of its existence with notice to the world at large. Certificates of title are not a source of right. The mere possession of a title does not make one the true owner of the property. Thus, the mere fact that respondent has the titles of the disputed properties in her name does not necessarily, conclusively and absolutely make her the owner. The rule on indefeasibility of title likewise does not apply to respondent. A certificate of title implies that the title is quiet, and that it is perfect, absolute and indefeasible. However, there are well-defined exceptions to this rule, as when the transferee is not a holder in good faith and did not acquire the subject properties for a valuable consideration. The capacity to acquire private land is dependent on the capacity "to acquire or hold lands of the public domain." Private land may be transferred only to individuals or entities "qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain." Only Filipino citizens or corporations at least 60% of the capital of which is owned by Filipinos are qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. Thus, as the rule now stands, the fundamental law explicitly prohibits non-Filipinos from acquiring or holding title to private lands, except only by way of legal succession or if the acquisition was made by a former natural-born citizen. The transfer of land from Agro-Macro Development Corporation to Jambrich, who is an Austrian, would have been declared invalid if challenged, had not Jambrich conveyed the properties to petitioner who is a Filipino citizen. If land is invalidly transferred to an alien who subsequently becomes a Filipino citizen or transfers it to a Filipino, the flaw in the original transaction is considered cured and the title of the transferee is rendered valid.

SEC OF DENR V. YAP  Proclamation No. 1801 cannot be deemed the positive act needed to classify Boracay Island as alienable and disposable land. If President Marcos intended to classify the island as alienable and disposable or forest, or both, he would have identified the specific limits of each, as President Arroyo did in Proclamation No. 1064. The Whereas clauses of Proclamation No. 1801 explain the rationale behind the declaration of Boracay Island, together with other islands, caves and peninsulas in the Philippines, as a tourist zone and marine reserve to be administered by the PTA - to ensure the concentrated efforts of the public and private sectors in the development of the areas' tourism potential with due regard for ecological balance in the marine environment. Simply put, the proclamation is aimed at administering the islands for tourism and ecological purposes. It does not address the areas' alienability. It was Proclamation No. 1064 of 2006 which positively declared part of Boracay as alienable and opened the same to private ownership. In issuing Proclamation No. 1064, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo merely exercised the authority granted to her to classify lands of the public domain, presumably subject to existing vested rights. Classification of public lands is the exclusive prerogative of the Executive

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Department, through the Office of the President. Courts have no authority to do so. Absent such classification, the land remains unclassified until released and rendered open to disposition. DE GUZMAN V. AGBAGALA   Section 48 of PD 1529 provides that “certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack.” A decree of registration or patent and the certificate of title issued pursuant thereto may be attacked on the ground of falsification or fraud within one year from the date of their issuance. Such an attack must be direct and not by collateral proceedings. An action is deemed an attack on a title when the object of the action or proceeding is to nullify the title and thus cllanege the judgment made pursuant to which the title was decreed. The attack is direct when the bject of the action 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 accident thereof The principle of indefeasibility does not apply when the patent and thte title based thereon are null and void. N action to declare the nullity of a void title DOES NOT PRESCRIBE and is susceptible to direct, as well as to collateral attack. Director of Lands has no authority to grant a free patent over privately owned land, any title issued pursuant thereto is null and void.

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MARTINEZ V. CA  Any citizen of the Philippines, occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply with the RTC of the province where the land is located for confirmation of his/her claim and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor under the Property Registration Decree. Such applicants must by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership, since 12 June 1945, except when prevented by war or force majeure, shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant. At present, such applications for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles must be filed prior to 31 December 2020; and must cover an area of up to 12 hectares only.

BALBUENA V. SABAY  Nothing is more settled than that a judgment creditor (or more accurately, the purchaser at an auction sale) only acquires at an execution sale the identical interest possessed by the judgment debtor in the auctioned property; in other words, the purchaser takes the property subject to all existing equities applicable to the property in the hands of the debtor. The fact, too, that the judgment debtor is in possession of the land to be sold at a public auction, and that the purchaser did not know that a third-party had acquired ownership thereof, does not protect the purchaser, because he is not considered a third-party, and the rule of caveat emptor applies to him. Thus, it it turns out that the judgment debtor has no interest in the property, the purchaser at an auction sale also acquires no interest therein.


Requisites under PD 1529, Sec. 14

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o Property alienable o Possession since 1945 or earlier Petitioners do not have evidence that they have been in possession since 1945. Reliance on tax declarations: only in the years 1991 and 1994, none were shown to be paid before these years. Petitioner cannot avail of Public Land Act as well because it needs possession as early as 1945. Although when property is classified as alienable and disposable, it may be converted only by adverse possession of 30 years, otherwise, they are still public lands. No evidence that lands were no longer used for public use or public service + no 30 years = petitioner cannot acquire title yet.

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RURAL BANK OF STA. BARBARA V. MANILA MISSION  The settled rule is that levy on attachment, duly registered, takes preference over a prior unregistered sale. This result is a necessary consequence of the fact that the property involved was duly covered by the Torrens system which works under the fundamental principle that registration is the operative act which gives validity to the transfer or creates a lien upon the land. The preference created by the levy on attachment is not diminished even by the subsequent registration of the prior sale. This is so because an attachment is a proceeding in rem. It is against the particular property, enforceable against the whole world. The attaching creditor acquires a specific lien on the attached property which nothing can subsequently destroy except the very dissolution of the attachment or levy itself. Such a proceeding, in effect, means that the property attached is an indebted thing and a virtual condemnation of it to pay the owner’s debt. The lien continues until the debt is paid, or sale is had under execution issued on the judgment, or until the judgment is satisfied, or the attachment discharged or vacated in some manner provided by law. The duly registered levy on attachment by petitioner Rural Bank takes preference over the prior but then unregistered sale of respondent Manila Mission. There was likewise no evidence of knowledge on the part of petitioner Rural Bank of any third-party interest in the subject property at the time of the attachment

TANENGLIAN V. LORENZO  For DARAB to have jurisdiction over a case, there must exist a tenancy relationship between the parties. A tenancy relationship cannot be presumed. There must be evidence to prove the tenancy relations such that all its indispensable elements must be established, to wit: (1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant; (2) the subject is agricultural land; (3) there is consent by the landowner; (4) the purpose is agricultural production; (5) there is personal cultivation; and (6) there is sharing of the harvests. All these requisites are necessary to create tenancy relationship, and the absence of one or more requisites will not make the alleged tenant a de facto tenant. Republic Act No. 8371 creates the National Commission on Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous People (NCIP) which shall be the primary government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, plans and programs to promote and protect the rights and well-being of the indigenous cultural communities/indigenous people (ICCs/IPs) and the recognition of their ancestral domains as well as their rights thereto.

REPUBLIC V. DELA RAGA  The sufficiency of the Register of Deeds’ report is not an indispensable requirement in reconstitution cases. the provisions of Section 16 of the same Circular, which states:

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"Should an order or judgment granting reconstitution be issued by the Court without awaiting the report and the recommendations of this Commission as well as the verification of the Register of Deeds concerned, or while the examination, verification and preparation of the report and recommendation are still pending in the said Offices due to the failure of the Clerk of Court or the petitioner to comply with all the necessary requirements as called for herein, and it appears that there is a valid ground to oppose the reconstitution, a motion to set aside the order/judgment granting reconstitution or to stay the period of finality of said order/judgment shall be filed by the Land Registration Commissioner and/or the Register of Deeds thru the Solicitor General or the provincial or city fiscal concerned."  In the present case, neither was the Petition for reconstitution affected nor was the RTC divested of its jurisdiction by the fact that the trial court rendered the judgment ordering the reconstitution of a lost or destroyed certificate of title without awaiting the report and recommendations of the land registration commissioner and the register of deeds of Quezon City.

PHIL COTTON V. GAGOOMAL  Furthermore, Sections 8 and 11 of Act No. 26 provide for the procedure for the notation of an interest that did not appear in the reconstituted certificate of title, mandating that a petition be filed before a court of competent jurisdiction: Section 8. Any person whose right or interest was duly noted in the original of a certificate of title, at the time it was lost or destroyed, but does not appear so noted on the reconstituted certificate of title, which is subject to the reservation provided in the preceding section, may, while such reservation subsists, file a petition with the proper Court of First Instance for the annotation of such right or interest on said reconstituted certificate of title, and the court, after notice and hearing, shall determine the merits of the petition and render such judgment as justice and equity may require. The petition shall state the number of the reconstituted certificate of title and the nature, as well as a description, of the right or interest claimed. Section 11. Petitions for reconstitution of registered interests, liens and other encumbrances, based on sources enumerated in sections 4(b) and/or 4(c) of this Act, shall be filed, by the interested party, with the proper Court of First Instance. The petition shall be accompanied with the necessary documents and shall state, among other things, the number of the certificate of title and the nature as well as a description of the interest, lien or encumbrance which is to be reconstituted, and the court, after publication, in the manner stated in section nine of this Act, and hearing shall determine the merits of the petition and render such judgment as justice and equity may require.  It is not the ministerial function of the Register of Deeds to record a right or an interest that was not duly noted in the reconstituted certificate of title. As a matter of fact, this task is not even within the ambit of the Register of Deed’s job as the responsibility is lodged by law to the proper courts.

ERASUSTA V. CA   It cannot be overemphasized that respondent Bank, being in the business of extending loans secured by real estate mortgage, is familiar with rules on land registration. As such, it was, as here, expected to exercise more care and prudence than private individuals in their dealing with registered lands. Accordingly, given inter alia the suspicion-provoking presence of occupants other than the owner on the land to be mortgaged, it behooved respondent Bank to conduct a more exhaustive investigation on the history of the mortgagor's title.

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 That respondent Bank accepted in mortgage the property in question notwithstanding the existence of structures on the property and which were in actual, visible and public possession of a person other than the mortgagor, constitutes gross negligence amounting to bad faith.

EAGLE REALTY CORP V. REPUBLIC    Buyer in good faith is he who alleges that he is a purchaser in good faith and for value of registered land bears the onus of proving such statement. Petitioner failed to discharge this burden. When there exists important facts that would create suspicion to go beyond the present title, the vendee should look beyond the title and investigate. The property covered by the void titles was transferred from Medina to petitioner with unusual haste. Only 8 months lapsed. Plus the fact that the subject property is a vast tract of land in a prime location, should have, at the very least, triggered petitioner's curiosity. Petitioner is a corporation engaged in the real estate business. A corporation engaged in the buying and selling of real estate is expected to exercise a higher standard of care and diligence in ascertaining the status and condition of the property. It cannot simply rely on an examination of a Torrens certificate. It must go beyond title. On Assurance Fund: Petitioner cannot claim from Assurance fund because it was not deprived of land in consequence of bringing it under the operation of the Torrens system through fraud or in consequence of any error, omission, mistake or misdescription in the certificate of title.

LAYOS V. FIL ESTATE  Bar By Former Judgment-the judgment/decree of a court of competent jurisdiction on the merits concludes the litigation between the parties & their privies and constitutes a bar to a new action/suit involving the same cause of action either before the same or any other tribunal Same identity of parties, subject matter, & cause of action Reconstitution: It does not pass upon the ownership of the land. It’s merely the reissuance of a cert. of title w/c was previously lost. Its requisites are:  Cert. of title has been lost/destroyed  Petitioner is the registered owner/has an interest therein  The cert. of title is in force at the time it was lost/destroyed.  In this case, there is nothing to reconstitute on the part of the Layos spouses since they have never acquired a valid title.  As already stated, the court’s decision that their OCT was fake and a forgery has long been final. Also, the court has no jurisdiction over petitions for reconstitutions where the lands in question are already covered by subsisting titles.

 

AMODIA VDA. DE MELENCION, ET AL. V. CA  Registration contemplated in this provision refers to registration under the Torrens System, which considers the act of registration as the operative act that gives validity to the transfer or creates a lien upon the land. This rule precisely applies to cases involving conflicting rights over registered property and those of innocent transferees who relied on the clean title of the properties. Thus, we held that registration must be done in the proper registry in order to bind the same. Act 3344 provides for the system of recording of transactions or claims over unregistered real estate without prejudice to a third party with a better right. But if the land is registered under the Land Registration Act (and therefore has a Torrens Title), and it is sold and the sale is registered not under the Land Registration Act but under Act 3344, as amended, such sale is not considered registered, as the term is used under Art. 1544 of the New Civil Code

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MANOTOK V. BARQUE  Clearly, the cancellation of the Manotok title cannot arise incidentally from the administrative proceeding for reconstitution of the Barque title even if the evidence from that proceeding revealed the Manotok title as fake. There is no doubt that the Court of Appeals does not have original jurisdiction to annul Torrens titles or to otherwise adjudicate questions over ownership of property. Its exclusive original jurisdiction is determined by law, particularly by Batas Pambansa (B.P. 129). Section 9 of that law restricts the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to special civil actions and to actions for annulment of judgments of the regional trial court. Thus, for the appellate court to be able to direct the cancellation of a Torrens title in the course of reviewing a decision of the LRA, the LRA itself must have statutory authority to cancel a Torrens title in the first place. It invokes the exclusive original jurisdiction of the RTC under Paragraph 2, Section 19 of B.P. Blg. 129, conferring jurisdiction on the RTC over "all civil actions which involve the title to or possession of real property, or any interest therein ." That the RTC has "exclusive original jurisdiction" over actions seeking the cancellation of title to real property is so cardinal in our remedial law that it is reflected in hundreds if not thousands of examples in jurisprudence.

MISTICA V. REPUBLIC  Requisites of Judicial Confirmation of Imperfect Title – Being the applicant for confirmation of imperfect title, Mistica must prove that 1) the land forms part of the alienable and disposable land of the public domain and 2) she has 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. Mistica failed to prove the second requisite by clear , positive and convincing evidence – The pieces of evidence taken together do not suffice to prove that Mistica and her predecessor-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of the subject lot since June 12, 1945 or earlier. The technical description, certification in lieu of surveyor’s certificate, and copies of subdivision plan only prove the identity of the lot. Moreover, the document purporting to be a deed of sale was written in Spanish and thus the Court cannot determine if, indeed, such document was a deed of sale and if the subject thereof was the property sought to be registered. While a tax declaration by itself is not adequate to prove ownership, it may serve as sufficient basis for inferring possession – the voluntary declaration of a piece of real property for taxation purposes not only manifests one’s sincere and honest desire to obtain title to the property but also announces an adverse claim against the state and all other interested parties with an intention to contribute needed revenues to the government. More importantly, possession alone is not sufficient to acquire title to alienable lands of the public domain because the law requires possession and occupation.


The opening of an adequate outlet to a highway can extinguish only legal or compulsory easements, not voluntary easements like in the case at bar. The fact that an easement by grant may have also qualified as an easement of necessity does not detract from its permanency as a property right, which survives the termination of the necessity. A voluntary easement of right of way, like any other contract, could be extinguished only by mutual agreement or by renunciation of the owner of the dominant estate.

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 Neither can petitioner claim that the easement is personal only to Hidalgo since the annotation merely mentioned Sandico and Hidalgo without equally binding their heirs or assigns. That the heirs or assigns of the parties were not mentioned in the annotation does not mean that it is not binding on them. Again, a voluntary easement of right of way is like any other contract. As such, it is generally effective between the parties, their heirs and assigns, except in case where the rights and obligations arising from the contract are not transmissible by their nature, or by stipulation or by provision of law.

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