You are on page 1of 8

VOL.

269, MARCH 3, 1997


159
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 123361. March 3, 1997.*
TEOFILO CACHO, petitioner-appellant, vs. COURT OF APPEALS,
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, NATIONAL STEEL CORPORATION
and THE CITY OF ILIGAN, respondents-appellees.
Land Registration; Actions; A land registration proceeding is in
rem, and, therefore, the decree of registration is binding upon
and conclusive against all persons including the Government
and its branches.A land registration proceeding is in rem,
and, therefore, the decree of registration is binding upon and
conclusive against all persons including the Government and its
branches, irrespective of whether or not they were personally
notified of the filing of the application for registration or have
appeared and filed an answer to said application, because all
persons are considered as notified by the publication required by
law.
Same; Same; A decree of registration that has become final shall
be deemed conclusive not only on the questions actually
contested and determined but also upon all matters that might
be liti-gated or decided in the land registration proceedings.A
decree of registration that has become final shall be deemed
conclusive not only on the questions actually contested and
determined but also upon all matters that might be litigated or
decided in the land registration proceedings. With the
certification duly issued by the then Land Registration
Commission, now National Land Titles and Deeds Registration
Administration (NALTDRA), through then Acting Commissioner
Santiago M. Kapunan (now a distinguished member of this
Court), its Deputy Clerk of Court III, the Head Geodetic Engineer,
and the Chief of Registration, the lower court and the Court of
Appeals correctly found there is no doubt that decrees of
registration had in fact been issued in the case at bench. It is
likewise beyond dispute that such decrees attained finality upon
the lapse of one year from entry thereof. To allow the final
decrees to once again be subject to the conditions set forth in
the 1914 case of Cacho vs. U.S. would be tantamount to setting
aside the decrees which cannot be reopened after the lapse of
one year from the entry thereof (Lapore vs. Pascual, 107 Phil.
695 [1960]). Such action would definitely run counter to the very
purpose of the Torrens System.
_______________

* THIRD DIVISION.
160
160
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
Same; Evidence; Public Documents; The execution of public
documents, as in the case of the Affidavit of Adjudication, is
entitled to a presumption of regularity and proof is required to
assail and controvert the same.The execution of public
documents, as in the case of the Affidavit of Adjudication, is
entitled to a presumption of regularity and proof is required to
assail and controvert the same. Thus, the burden of proof rests
upon him who alleges the contrary and respondents cannot shift
the burden to petitioner by merely casting doubt as to his
existence and his identity without presenting preponderant
evidence to controvert such presumption. With more reason
shall the same rule apply in the case of the Special Power of
Attorney duly sworn before the Philippine Consulate General of
the Republic of the Philippines in Chicago, the act of the
administering officer being of itself a performance of duty by a
public official.
PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of
Appeals.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Godolfredo D. Cabildo attorney in fact of petitioner.
MELO, J.:
The late Doa Demetria Cacho applied for the registration of two
parcels of land situated in what was then Lanao, Moro Province.
Both parcels were within the limits of Military Reservation No.
43, known as Camp Overton.
The petitions were docketed as GLRO Record Nos. 6908 & 6909
and were jointly tried and decided by Judge Jesse Jorge on
December 10, 1912.
In the said decision, which was affirmed in toto by this Court in
Cacho vs. Government of the United States (28 Phil. 616 [1914],
the trial court made the following pronouncements:
Re: Case No. 6908

The parcel object of Case No. 6908 is small. It was purchased by


the applicant, Doa Demetria Cacho y Soriano from Gabriel
Salzos. The title of Gabriel Salzos is founded on a deed of sale in
his favor, executed and signed by a Moro woman named Alanga,
who
161
VOL. 269, MARCH 3, 1997
161
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
acted for her husband, a Moro named Dorondon. It appears that
the husband of Alanga, Datto Dorondon is alive yet and before
admitting this parcel to registration, it is ordered that a deed
from Dorondon be presented, renouncing all his rights in the
small parcel of land object of Case No. 6908. It is further ordered
that the applicant present the corresponding deed from Datto
Dorondon on or before March 30, 1913.
Re: Case No. 6909
The parcel of land claimed by the applicant in Case No. 6909 is
the larger of two parcels and contains 37.87 hectares or more
than 90 acres. This was purchased by the applicant from the
Moro Datto Bunglay.
Datto Bunglay claims to have acquired part of it by inheritance
from his uncle Datto Anandog who died without issue and the
balance by his own possession and cultivation.
A tract of land 37 hectares in area, is larger than is cultivated by
the Christian Filipinos. In the Zamboanga cadastral case of
thousands of parcels now on trial before this court, the average
size of the parcels is not above 3 or 4 hectares, and the court
doubts very much if a Moro with all his family could cultivate as
extensive a parcel of land as the one in question.
The court therefore finds that the applicant Doa Demetria
Cacho is owner of the portion of land occupied and planted by
the deceased Datto Anandog in the southern part of the large
parcel object of expediente No. 6909 only; and her application as
to all the rest of the land solicited in said case is denied.
On the 8th day of December, the court was at Camp Overton
and had another ocular inspection for the purpose of fixing the
limits of the part cultivated by Datto Anandog. The court set
stakes marking the N.E., S.E., & N.W. corners of the land found to
have been cultivated by Anandog.

And it is ordered that the new survey be made in accordance


with the points mentioned. It is further ordered that one half of
the costs of the new survey be paid by the applicant and the
other half by the Government of the United States.
Re: Cases 6908 & 6909
Final decision in these cases is reserved until the presentation of
the said deed and the new plan.
162
162
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
On June 29, 1978, Teofilo Cacho, herein petitioner, as the son
and sole heir of the late Doa Demetria Cacho, filed a petition
for reconstitution of two original certificates of title under
Republic Act 26, and docketed under the original GLRO Record
Nos. 6908 and 6909.
The petition was opposed by herein respondents Republic of the
Philippines, National Steel Corporation (NSC), and the City of
Iligan.
Acting on the motion for judgment on demurrer to evidence filed
by the Republic and the NSC, the lower court dismissed the
petition because it found the evidence inadequate to show the
prior existence of the titles sought to be restored. The same
order stated further that the proper remedy was for the
reconstitution of decrees since it is undisputed that in Cases
Nos. 6908 and 6909, Decrees Nos. 10364 and 18969,
respectively, were already issued. The same trial court
specifically found that since the decrees had, in fact, been
issued, the judgment of this Court in Cacho vs. U.S., supra,
although by itself expressly dependent upon some conditions,
must have indisputably become final.
Thus, petitioner filed an omnibus motion for leave of court to file
and to admit amended petition, but this was denied. Petitioner
elevated the matter to this Court (docketed as Teofilo Cacho vs.
Hon. Manindiara P. Mangotara, G.R. No. 85495) but we resolved
to remand the case to the lower court, ordering the latter to
accept the amended petition and to hear it as one for reissuance of decrees under the following guidelines:
Considering the doctrines in Sta. Ana vs. Menla, 1 SCRA 1297
(1961) and Heirs of Cristobal Marcos vs. de Banuvar, 25 SCRA
316 (1968), and the lower court findings that the decrees had in

fact been issued, the omnibus motion should have been heard
as a motion to re-issue the decrees in order to have a basis for
the issuance of the titles and the respondents being heard in
their opposition.
Considering the foregoing, we resolve to order the lower court to
accept the amended petition subject to the private respondents
being given the opportunity to answer and to present their
defenses.
163
VOL. 269, MARCH 3, 1997
163
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
The evidence already on record shall be allowed to stand but
opportunity to controvert existing evidence shall be given the
parties.
(p. 59, Rollo.)
Thus, the lower court accepted the amended petition and heard
it as one for re-issuance of the decrees.
In their Consolidated Answer and/or Opposition to the
amended petition, respondents Republic of the Philippines and
NSC raised the defenses that the petition suffered from
jurisdictional infirmities; that petitioner was not the real party in
interest; that petitioner was guilty of laches; that Demetria
Cacho was not the registered owner of the subject parcels of
land; that no decrees covering the properties were ever issued in
the name of Demetria Cacho; and that the issuance of the
decrees was dubious and irregular.
On June 9, 1993, the lower court (RTC-City of Iligan, Branch 1)
rendered its decision decreeing the reconstitution and reissuance of Decrees Nos. 10364 and 18969. The pertinent
portion of the said decision reads:
The third issue is whether sufficient legal and factual basis exist
for the issuance of the subject decrees.
This Court has already ruled that Decrees Nos. 10364 and 18959
were issued in these LRC Cases Nos. 6908 and 6909,
respectively, and that the issuance of the decrees presupposed
a prior judgment that had already become final. Oppositors
never disputed the cited pronouncements and therefore these
should now be considered final and conclusive.
In fine, the Land Registration Commission (now) National Land
Titles and Deeds Registration Administration (NALTDRA), through
its then Acting Commissioner Santiago M. Kapunan, its Deputy

Clerk of Court III, the Head Geodetic Engineer, and the Chief of
Registration, all certified that according to the Record Book of
Decrees for Ordinary Land Registration Case, Decree No. 18969
was issued in GLRO Record No. 6909 and Decree No. 10364 was
issued in GLRO Record No. 6908. (Exhibits C, D, E and
M).
In the manifestation submitted by the then Acting LRC
Commissioner Santiago Kapunan in compliance with an order of
this Court, confirmed that the proceedings undertaken by the
LRC in the original petition for reconstitution have been regularly
and properly
164
164
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
done based on existing records; that Decrees 10364 and 18969
have been issued and recorded in LRCs Record Book of Decrees;
that the plan and technical description of the lots involved were
found to be correct, approved by the LRC and transmitted to this
Court. (Exh. M).
On Record also is the decision in the Military Reservation Nos. 43
and 63 in which this Court affirmed the issuance of Decrees Nos.
10364 and 18969 in the name of Demetria Cacho.
Moreover, the testimony by way of deposition of one Ricardo A.
Arandilla, Deputy Clerk of Court of the LRC which identified and
validated the report of the LRC to this Court on the present
petition, (Exh. M), shows that the decrees registry of the LRC
had recorded the fact and date of issuance of Decrees Nos.
10364 and 18969 in GLRO Rec. Nos. 6908 and 6909 and the
approval of the plans and corresponding technical descriptions
of the lots involved in the aforesaid record numbers and decrees
(Exh. T).
It is worthy to note that on cross-examination by Oppositors
counsel, Arandilla produced for scrutiny the LRC Registry Book of
Ordinary Registration Cases, which contained therein the entries
showing that Decree No. 10364 was issued on May 9, 1913 in
Case No. 6908 and Decree No. 18969 was issued on July 7, 1915
in Case No. 6909. (Exhs. T, P and 19).
From the foregoing environmental facts, the Court finds that the
existence of the decrees have been established sufficiently and
indubitably by the evidence submitted by the petitioner, and
therefore, said amended petition has to be granted.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered


as follows:
1. The amended petition is hereby granted and approved.
Declaring Decrees No. 10364 and No. 18969 as reconstituted.
2. Ordering the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration
Administration (NALTDRA), (formerly Land Registration
Commission) to reissue Decrees No. 19364 and No. 16869
existing at the LRC Registry Book of Ordinary Registration Cases
in the name of Demetria Cacho upon payment by the petitioner
of the required legal fees.
SO ORDERED.
(pp. 62-65, Rollo.)
From the aforesaid decision, respondents appealed to the Court
of Appeals.
165
VOL. 269, MARCH 3, 1997
165
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
The Republic of the Philippines and the National Steel
Corporation in their joint brief assigned the following errors:
The lower court erred in granting appellee Teofilo Cachos
amended petition for reconstitution of decrees of registration
purportedly issued in LRC Record Nos. 6908 and 6909.
Notwithstanding that
I. The petition suffers from fatal jurisdictional infirmi-ties;
II. The Supreme Court declared in Cacho v. Government of the
United States, 28 Phil. 616, that final decision in LRC Cases 6908
and 6909 had been reserved pending compliance by the
applicant therein of certain conditions albeit, as of date, no
competent evidence exists showing compliance with the
imposed conditions and/or the rendition of a final judg-ment
and/or the issuance of decrees pursuant thereto;
III. The petition is barred by laches; and
IV. The petition is being prosecuted by a fictitious person and/or
a party who does not have a lawful interest in the case.
(pp. 16-17, Rollo.)
Respondent City of Iligan, for its part, argued that the trial court
erred:

1. In giving due course to Teofilo Cachos petition for


reconstitution of titles when the same is already barred by
laches.
2. In granting the amended petition for reconstitution when
there is no proof that Teofilo Cacho actually exists and is a real
party in interest.
3. In granting the amended petition for reconstitution even in
the absence of sufficient proof to the effect that land registration
Decree Nos. 10364 & 18969 were indeed issued to Demetria
Cacho.
4. In reopening the case despite the finality of the order dated
16 April 1979 dismissing the original petition for reconstitution of
title.
5. In giving title to petitioner over a parcel of land already owned
by appellant City of Iligan pursuant to Presidential Proclamation
No. 469 (dated 4 October 1965) which ownership was af166
166
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
firmed by the Supreme Court on 26 February 1988 [City of Iligan
versus Director of Lands, et al., 158 SCRA 158].
(pp. 17-18, Rollo.)
The Court of Appeals sustained the validity of the proceedings
below and brushed aside respondents claim of jurisdictional
infirmities. It also acknowledged the issuance and existence of
the registration decrees in favor of Demetria Cacho, to wit:
As to the second issue, we can not do otherwise but hold that
Decree Nos. 10364 and 18969 were issued in GLRO Record No.
6908 and GLRO Record No. 6909, on May 9, 1913 and July 8,
1915, respectively, according to the Record Book of Decrees for
Ordinary Land Registration Case. Then Acting Commissioner of
the Land Registration Commission Santiago M. Kapunan (now
Justice of the Supreme Court), submitted a Manifestation, dated
November 2, 1978, in compliance with an order at the lower
court, confirming that the plan and technical description of the
land involving both Lots 1 and 2 were correct, that said lots are
decreed properties, and that all the proceedings undertaken by
the LRC were regularly done based on existing records.
(pp. 49-50, Rollo.)
This notwithstanding, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision
of the lower court and dismissed the petition for re-issuance of

Decrees Nos. 10364 and 18969, with prejudice, for the following
reasons:
First. The decision of the Supreme Court in Cacho vs.
Government of the United States on December 10, 1914, now
appearing in 28 Phil. 617, regarding GLRO Record Nos. 6908 and
6909, denied in part and granted in part the application for
adjudication and registration of the two parcels of land of
Demetria Cacho, appellees predecessor-in-interest. Final
decision on the cases was reserved pending compliance with
conditions set forth therein.
1.) Re: Case 6908, x x x before admitting this parcel to
registration, it is ordered that a deed from Dorondon . . . be
presented, renouncing all his rights in the small parcel of land
object of Case No. 6908 (28 Phil. 629).
167
VOL. 269, MARCH 3, 1997
167
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
2.) Re: case No. 6909, the parcel of land claimed by the
applicant in Case No. 6909 is the larger of two parcels and
contains 37.87 hectares x x x (28 Phil. 619). The court therefore
finds that the applicant Doa Demetria Cacho is owner of the
portion of land occupied and planted by the deceased Datto
Anandog in the southern part of the large parcel object of
expediente No. 6909 only; and her application as to all the rest
of the land solicited in said case is denied. (28 Phil. 629) On the
8th day of December, the court was at Camp Overton and had
another ocular inspection for the purpose of fixing the limits of
the part cultivated by Datto Anandog . . . with previous notice to
the applicant and her husband and representative Seor Vidal.
Having arrived late, Seor Vidal did not assist in the ocular
inspection . . . But the court, nevertheless, set stakes marking
the N.E., S.E., and N.W. corners of the land found to have been
cultivated by the deceased Anandog (28 Phil. 630); And it is
ordered that the new survey be made in accordance with the
points mentioned. . . (28 Phil. 630).
The Court notes that the plan and technical description referred
to in the Manifestation dated November 2, 1978 of the Acting
Commissioner of the Land Registration Commission and the plan
submitted by Demetria Cacho in Case No. 6909 are the same as
to the area, which is 37.87 hectares, and as to the date of
approval, which is November 15, 1910. Since the Supreme Court

decision in Cacho vs. US ordered that the new survey be made


in accordance with the points mentioned; that applicant
Demetria Cacho is owner only of the portion of land occupied
and planted by the deceased Datto Anandog; and that her
application as to all the rest of the land solicited in case No.
6909 is denied, it follows that the new survey, if it was made,
must have a smaller area and a later date of approval.
As it is, although there is proof that Decree No. 18969 was
issued in GLRO No. 6909, re-issuance of the decree cannot be
made in the absence of the new survey on which to base the
area and technical description of the parcel of land in Case No.
6909.
Second. While a person may not acquire title to registered
property through continuous adverse possession, in derogation
of the title of the original registered owner, the heir of the latter,
however, may lose his right to recover back the possession of
such property and the title thereto, by reason of laches.
According to appellee, appellants failed to prove:
a. any conduct on their part that would have impelled appellee
to act earlier;
168
168
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
b. that they were misled by appellees inaction into believing
that appellee would not assert the right on which he bases his
suit;
c. the nature of extent of injury or prejudice that would accrue to
them in the event that relief is accorded to the appellee or that
the suit is not held barred; and
d. that their claims fall within the metes and bounds of the
property covered by the decree.
The above need not be proven by appellants. Under the Regalian
doctrine, all lands of whatever classification belong to the state.
The rule applies even to privately owned unregistered lands
which, unless the contrary is shown, are presumed to be public
lands, under the principle that all lands belong to the Crown
which have not been granted by (the King), or in his name, or by
the kings who preceded him.
Finally, petitioner failed to establish his identity and existence
and that he is a real party interest. To qualify a person to be a
real party in interest in whose name an action must be

prosecuted, he must appear to be the present real owner of the


right sought to be enforced.
(pp. 50-53, Rollo.)
Petitioners motion for reconsideration having been denied, he
filed the present petition because allegedly, the Court of Appeals
decided questions of substance in a way not in accord with the
law and applicable decisions of this Court:
First: Respondent Court of Appeals erroneously embarked upon a
reopening of Decree Nos. 10364 and 18969 issued on May 9,
1913 and July 8, 1915, respectively, when it required proof of
compliance with conditions for their issuance. These conditions
are conclusively presumed to have been complied with before
the original decrees were issued and can no longer be inquired
into.
Second: Respondent Court of Appeals contravened settled and
standing doctrines pronounced in Sta. Ana v. Menla, 1 SCRA
1297 and Heirs of Cristobal Marcos v. de Banuvar, 25 SCRA 316,
when it applied laches as a bar to the reissuance of decrees.
Third: Respondent Court of Appeals ignored standing decisions
of this Honorable Court when it applied laches despite the total
absence of proof to establish the requisite elements for its
application.
169
VOL. 269, MARCH 3, 1997
169
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
Fourth: Respondent Court of Appeals erroneously applied the
Regalian doctrine to dispense with proof of the essential
elements of laches.
Fifth: Respondent Court of Appeals abjured the judicial
responsibility to uphold the stability and integrity of the Torrens
system.
Sixth: Respondent Court of Appeals ignored uncontroverted
proof on the identity and existence of petitioner and allowed
itself to be swayed by wild and gratuitous allusions to the
contrary.
(pp. 21-22, Rollo.)
The petition having been given due course and the parties
having filed their respective memoranda, we shall now resolve
the case.
We vote to grant the petition.

A land registration proceeding is in rem, and, therefore, the


decree of registration is binding upon and conclusive against all
persons including the Government and its branches, irrespective
of whether or not they were personally notified of the filing of
the application for registration or have appeared and filed an
answer to said application, because all persons are considered
as notified by the publication required by law.
Furthermore, a decree of registration that has become final shall
be deemed conclusive not only on the questions actually
contested and determined but also upon all matters that might
be litigated or decided in the land registration proceedings. With
the certification duly issued by the then Land Registration
Commission, now National Land Titles and Deeds Registration
Administration (NALTDRA), through then Acting Commissioner
Santiago M. Kapunan (now a distinguished member of this
Court), its Deputy Clerk of Court III, the Head Geodetic Engineer,
and the Chief of Registration, the lower court and the Court of
Appeals correctly found there is no doubt that decrees of
registration had in fact been issued in the case at bench. It is
likewise beyond dispute that such decrees attained finality upon
the lapse of one year from entry thereof. To allow the final
decrees to once again be subject to the conditions set forth in
the 1914 case of Cacho vs.
170
170
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
U.S. would be tantamount to setting aside the decrees which
cannot be reopened after the lapse of one year from the entry
thereof (Lapore vs. Pascual, 107 Phil. 695 [1960]). Such action
would definitely run counter to the very purpose of the Torrens
System.
Moreover, to sustain the Court of Appeals ruling as regards
requiring petitioners to fulfill the conditions set forth in Cacho vs.
U.S. would constitute a derogation of the doctrine of res judicata.
Significantly, the issuance of the subject decrees presupposes a
prior final judgment because the issuance of such decrees is a
mere ministerial act on part of the Land Registration Commission
(now the NALTDRA), upon presentation of a final judgment. It is
also worth noting that the judgment in Cacho vs. U.S. could not
have acquired finality without the prior fulfillment of the
conditions in GLRO Record No. 6908, the presentation of the

corresponding deed of sale from Datto Dorondon on or before


March 30, 1913 (upon which Decree No. 10364 was issued on
May 9, 1913); and in GLRO Record No. 6909, the presentation of
a new survey per decision of Judge Jorge on December 10, 1912
and affirmed by this Court on December 10, 1914 (upon which
Decree No. 18969 was issued on July 8, 1915).
Requiring the submission of a new plan as a condition for the reissuance of the decree would render the finality attained by the
Cacho vs. U.S. case nugatory, thus, violating the fundamental
rule regarding res judicata. It must be stressed that the
judgment and the resulting decree are res judicata, and these
are binding upon the whole world, the proceedings being in the
nature of proceedings in rem. Besides, such a requirement is an
impermissible assault upon the integrity and stability of the
Torrens System of registration because it also effectively renders
the decree inconclusive.
As to the issue of laches, suffice it to state that the settled
doctrine in this jurisdiction is that laches cannot bar the issuance
of a decree. The reason therefor may be gleaned from Sta. Ana
vs. Menla (1 SCRA 1294 [1961]):
171
VOL. 269, MARCH 3, 1997
171
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
. . . This provision of the Rules (Sec. 6, Rule 39) refers to civil
actions and is not applicable to special proceedings, such as a
land registration case. This is so because a party in a civil action
must immediately enforce a judgment that is secured against
the adverse party, and his failure to act to enforce the same
within a reasonable time as provided in the Rules makes the
decision unenforceable against the losing party. In special
proceedings the purpose is to establish a status, condition or
fact; in land registration proceedings, the ownership of a parcel
of land is sought to be established. After the ownership has been
proved and confirmed by judicial declaration, no further
proceeding to enforce said ownership is necessary, except when
the adverse or losing party had been in possession of the land
and the winning party desires to oust him therefrom.
. . . There is nothing in the law that limits the period within which
the court may order or issue a decree. The reason is . . . that the
judgment is merely declaratory in character and does not need
to be asserted or enforced against the adverse party.

Furthermore, the issuance of a decree is a ministerial duty both


of the judge and of the Land Registration Commission. . .
(p. 1297-1298)
Thus, it was held in Heirs of Cristobal Marcos v. de Banuvar (25
SCRA 316 [1968]) that a final decision in land registration cases
can neither be rendered inefficacious by the statute of
limitations nor by laches. This was reiterated in Vda. De Barroga
vs. Albano (157 SCRA 131 [1988]).
Finally, anent the issue of identity and existence of petitioner
and his being a real party in interest, records show that
petitioner has sufficiently established his existence and identity
as well as his legal interest.
By an Affidavit of Adjudication as sole heir of Demetria Cacho,
the property in question were adjudicated in favor of petitioner
under Doc. 1355, Page 128, Series of 1985 of the Consulate
General of the Philippines in Chicago. The fact of adjudication of
the estate of Demetria Cacho was published in the Times
Journal. Petitioner also appeared personally before Vice Consul
Stephen V. David of the Philippine Consulate General of the
Republic of the Philippines in Chicago and executed a Special
Power of Attorney in favor of Atty. Godofredo Cabildo to
represent him in this case.
172
172
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Cacho vs. Court of Appeals
The execution of public documents, as in the case of the
Affidavit of Adjudication, is entitled to a presumption of
regularity and proof is required to assail and controvert the
same. Thus, the burden of proof rests upon him who alleges the
contrary and respondents cannot shift the burden to petitioner
by merely casting doubt as to his existence and his identity
without presenting preponderant evidence to controvert such
presumption. With more reason shall the same rule apply in the
case of the Special Power of Attorney duly sworn before the
Philippine Consulate General of the Republic of the Philippines in
Chicago, the act of the administering officer being of itself a
performance of duty by a public official.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED
and SET ASIDE. The decision of Branch I of the Regional Trial
Court of the Twelfth Judicial Region stationed at the City of Iligan,

in its LRC Case No. CLR (GLRO) Record Nos. 6908 and 6909
dated June 9, 1993, is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED.
No special pronouncement is made as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa (C.J., Chairman), Davide, Jr., Francisco and
Panganiban, JJ., concur.
Judgment reversed and set aside.
Notes.An attorney who discovers the futility of his clients
application for land registration because the land applied for is
forest land must inform his client that he has withdrawn the
application. (Santos vs. Panganiban, Jr., 120 SCRA 799 [1983])
The torrens system of land registration, though indefeasible,
should not be used a means to perpetrate fraud against the
rightful owner of the real property. (Claudel vs. Court of Appeals,
199 SCRA 113 [1991])
A decision of the land registration court, ordering the
confirmation and registration of title, being the result of a pro173
VOL. 269, MARCH 3, 1997
173
MSCI-NACUSIP Local Chapter vs. National Wages and Productivity
Commission
ceeding in rem, binds the whole world. (Meneses vs. Court of
Appeals, 246 SCRA 162 [1995])
[Cacho vs. Court of Appeals, 269 SCRA 159(1997)]