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I.

A.

PHILIPPINE LAND LAWS: HISTORY AND


APPLICATION
The General Rules

The bedrock of all Philippine land laws is the Regalian


Doctrine, which is contained in Art. XII, Sec. 2 of the 1987
Constitution. It provides that all lands of the public domain,
except agricultural lands, belong to the State and cannot be
alienated. The doctrine, which was first enacted in the 1935
Constitution, was adopted to preserve the States natural
resources and land in favor of Filipinos.
REPUBLIC VS. COURT OF APPEALS
160 SCRA 228 (1988)
Facts: Jose dela Rosa sought to register a parcel of land. The
land was divided into 9 lots. Lots 1-5 were purchased from
Balbalio while Lots 6-9 were purchased from Alberto.
Both
Balbalio and Alberto claim to have acquired the lots by virtue of
prescription.
The application was separately opposed by Benguet
Consolidated, Inc., Atok Big Wedge Corp. and the Bureau of
Forestry Development. Benguet and Atok opposed on the ground
of valid mining claims, while the Bureau of Forestry objected
because the land sought to be registered was covered by the
Central Cordillera Forest Reserve, hence, not subject to alienation.
The trial court denied the application. The CA reversed
TC, affirming the surface rights of dela Rosa over the land while
reserving the sub-surface rights of Benguet and Atok by virtue of
their mining claims.
Held: Benguet and Atok have exclusive rights to the property by
virtue of their respective mining claims.
Ratio:. While it is true that the property was considered forest
land, they were removed from the public domain and had become
private properties from the perfection of the mining claims of
Benguet and Atok.
The evidence of open, continuous, adverse and exclusive
possession submitted by dela Rosa was insufficient to support
claim of ownership. Even if it be assumed that the predecessorsin-interest of dela Rosa had really been in possession of the
property, their possession was not in the concept of owner of the
mining claim but of the property as agricultural land, which it was
not.
The theory of the CA that the land is classified as
mineral underneath and agricultural on the surface is erroneous.
It is a well-known principle that the owner of a piece of land has
rights not only to its surface but also to everything underneath
and the airspace above it up to a reasonable height (Art. 437,
NCC). The rights over the land are indivisible and the land itself
cannot be half agricultural and half mineral. The rule is, once
minerals are discovered in the land, whatever the use to which it
is being devoted at the time, such use may be discontinued by the
State (the Regalian doctrine reserves to the State all minerals that
may be found in public and even private land) to enable it to
extract the minerals therein in the exercise of its sovereign
prerogative. The land is thus converted to mineral land and may
not be used by any private property, including the registered
owner thereof, for any other purpose that will impede the mining
operations to be undertaken therein.
SUNBEAM CONVENIENCE FOODS, INC. VS. COURT OF
APPEALS
181 SCRA 443 (1990)
Facts. Director of Lands issued sales patent over two parcels of
land in favor of Sunbeam. After registration, the Register of Deeds
issued OCT. Subsequently, OCT was cancelled and TCTs were
issued in favor of Coral Beach Devt Corp. The Republic instituted
before the CFI a civil action for reversion as the land was classified
as forest land.
Trial court dismissed the complaint on the theory that
since the titles sought to be cancelled emanated from the
administrative act of the Bureau of Lands Director, the latter, not
the courts, had jurisdiction over the disposition of the land. CA set

aside the Order of Dismissal and ordered presiding judge to


receive the answers of Sunbeam and Coral Beach in the action for
reversion.
Ratio: The Regalian doctrine subjects all agricultural, timber and
mineral lands to the dominion of the State. Thus, before any land
may be declassified from the forest group and converted into
alienable or disposable land for agricultural or other purposes,
there must be a positive act from the government. Even rules on
the confirmation of imperfect titles do not apply unless and until
the land classified as forest land is released in an official
proclamation to that effect so that it may form part of the
disposable agricultural lands of the public domain.
The mere fact that a title was issued by the Director of
Lands does not confer any validity on such title if the property
covered by the title or patent is part of the public forest.
Police Power
MINERS ASSOCIATION VS FACTORAN
240 SCRA 100 (1995)
FACTS: The instant petition seeks a ruling from this Court on the
validity of two Administrative Orders issued by the Secretary of
the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to carry
out the provisions of certain Executive Orders promulgated by the
President in the lawful exercise of legislative powers.
Herein controversy was precipitated by the change introduced
by Article XII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution on the system of
exploration, development and utilization of the country's natural
resources. The options open to the State are through direct
undertaking or by entering into co-production, joint venture; or
production-sharing agreements, or by entering into agreement
with foreign-owned corporations for large-scale exploration,
development and utilization.
Pursuant to Section 6 of Executive Order No. 279, the
DENR Secretary issued on June 23, 1989 DENR Administrative
Order No. 57, series of 1989, captioned "Guidelines of Mineral
Production Sharing Agreement under Executive Order No. 279
where all existing mining leases or agreements which were
granted after the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution except small
scale mining leases and those pertaining to sand and gravel and
quarry resources covering an area of twenty (20) hectares or less,
shall be converted into production-sharing agreements
within one (1) year from the effectivity of these guidelines.
On November 20, 1980, the Secretary of the DENR
Administrative Order No. 82, series of 1990, laying down the
"Procedural Guidelines on the Award of Mineral Production Sharing
Agreement (MPSA) through Negotiation." requiriing the persons or
entities to submit Letter of Intent (LOIs) and Mineral Production
Sharing Agreement (MPSAs) within two (2) years from the
effectivity of DENR Administrative Order No. 57 or until July 17,
1991. Failure to do so within the prescribed period shall cause the
abandonment of mining, quarry and sand and gravel claims
ISSUE: In this petition for certiorari, petitioner Miners Association
of the Philippines, Inc. mainly contends that respondent Secretary
of DENR issued both Administrative Order Nos. 57 and 82 in
excess of his rule-making power under Section 6 of Executive
Order No. 279. On the assumption that the questioned
administrative orders do not conform with Executive Order Nos.
211 and 279, petitioner contends that both orders violate the nonimpairment of contract provision under Article III, Section 10 of the
1987 Constitution on the ground that Administrative Order No. 57
unduly pre-terminates existing mining leases and other mining .
HELD: Well settled is the rule that regardless of the reservation
clause, mining leases or agreements granted by the State, such as
those granted pursuant to Executive Order No. 211 referred to in
this petition, are subject to alterations through a reasonable
exercise of the police power of the State. The State, in the
exercise of its police power in this regard, may not be precluded
by the constitutional restriction on non-impairment of contract
from altering, modifying and amending the mining leases or
agreements granted under Presidential Decree No. 463, as
amended, pursuant to Executive Order No. 211. Police power,
being coextensive with the necessities of the case and the
demands of public interest, extends to all the vital public needs.
The passage of Executive Order No. 279 which superseded

Executive Order No. 211 provided legal basis for the DENR
Secretary to carry into effect the mandate of Article XII, Section 2
of the 1987 Constitution
OPOSA VS FACTORAN
224 SCRA 792 (1993)
FACTS: The complaint was instituted as a taxpayers' class suit
(minors and parents) and alleges that the plaintiffs "are all citizens
of the Republic of the Philippines, taxpayers, and entitled to the
full benefit, use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure
that is the country's virgin tropical rainforests. Consequently, it is
prayed for that judgment be rendered ordering defendant, his
agents, representatives and other persons acting in his behalf to
(1) Cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country;
(2) Cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing,
renewing or approving new timber license agreements."
HELD: All timber licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by
executive action. It is not a contract, property or a property right
protected by the due process clause of the Constitution. It is only
a license or privilege, which can be validly withdrawn whenever
dictated by public interest or public welfare as in this case. Since
timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause,
which reads: "SEC. 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts
shall be passed." In the second place, even if it is to be assumed
that the same are contracts, the instant case does not involve a
law or even an executive issuance declaring the cancellation or
modification of existing timber licenses. Hence, the nonimpairment clause cannot as yet be invoked. Nevertheless,
granting further that a law has actually been passed mandating
cancellations or modifications, the same cannot still be
stigmatized as a violation of the non-impairment clause. This is
because by its very nature and purpose, such a law could have
only been passed in the exercise of the police power of the
state for the purpose of advancing the right of the people
to a balanced and healthful ecology, promoting their
health and enhancing the general welfare. In other words, the
constitutional guaranty of non-impairment of obligations of
contract is limited by the exercise of the police power of the State,
in the interest of public health, safety, moral and general welfare.
But neither property rights nor contract rights are absolute; for
government cannot exist if the citizen may at will use his property
to the detriment of his fellows, or exercise his freedom of contract
to work them harm. Equally fundamental with the private right is
that of the public to regulate it in the common interest.'" In
court, the non-impairment clause must yield to the police
power of the state
Social Justice
DIRECTOR OF LANDS VS. FUNTILAR (142 SCRA 57)
FACTS: In 1972, Mariano Funtilar and the Heirs of Felipe Rosete
applied for the registration of land in Mulanay, Quezon. Such
parcel originally belonged to one Candida Fernandez whose
ownership and possession began sometime during her lifetime
and extended until she died in 1936. Sometime in 1940, the land
was forfeited in favor of the Govt for failure to pay real estate
taxes but the same was redeemed in 1942 by one of the three
children of Candida. The land now in dispute was adjudicated to
petitioners-respondents, as heirs of Fernandez.
The Director
Lands and Dir. of Forest Devt filed an opposition alleging that
neither applicants nor their predecessors-in-interest possessed
sufficient title to the land, not having acquired the same under
any of the recognized Spanish titles under the Royal Decree of
Feb. 13, 1894; that neither have they been in open, continuos,
exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the land for
at least 30 years immediately filing the application; and that the
land is a portion of the public domain belonging to the Republic.
The trial court rendered a decision in favor of the
applicants. On appeal, the Intermediate appellate Court affirmed
the lower courts decision. Hence, this petition.
Issue: WON applicants-respondents have met the requirements
of possession for at least 30 years immediately preceding the
filing of their application in 1972 as to entitle them to registration

Held:
Yes. The Court is satisfied from the evidence that long
before her death in 1936, Candid Fernandez already possessed
the disputed property. This possession must be tacked to the
possession of her heirs, through the administrator and later, to the
applicants-respondents who are her grandchildren. It would also
be absurd under the circumstances that the government would
order the forfeiture of the property if the property were a
forestland.
As to petitioners allegation that the land was
unclassified public forest until Sept. 15, 1953 when it was declared
alienable and disposable, the Court said that the Regalian doctrine
must be applied together with the constitutional provisions on
social justice and land reform and must be interpreted in a way
as to avoid manifest unfairness and injustice. A strict application
of the Heirs of Amunategui vs. Dir. Of Forestry (applicant
shoulders the burden of overcoming the presumption that the land
sought to be registered forms part of the public domain) is
warranted whenever a part of the public domain is in danger of
ruthless exploitation, fraudulent titling, or other questionable
practices. But when an application appears to enhance the very
reasons behind the enactment of act 496, as amended or the land
Reg. Act and CA 141 or the Public Land Act, then their provisions
should not be made to stand in the way of their on
implementation. The attempts of humble people to have
disposable lands they have been tilling for generations titled in
their names should not only be viewed with understanding but
should, as a matter of policy, be encouraged.
REPUBLIC VS. CA (201 SCRA 3)
Private respondents, the Parans, are applicants for
registration of a parcel of land in La Trinidad, Benguet which they
claim to have acquired from their father Dayotao Paran and by
actual, physical, exclusive and open possession thereof since time
immemorial.. The Dir. of lands filed an opposition, alleging among
others, that the land is part of the public domain. The Office of
the Provincial Fiscal likewise opposed the registration, stating that
the land is within the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve covered by
Proclamation No. 217 dated Feb. 16, 1929. The trial court found in
favor of the applicants. The Court of Appeals dismissed the
appeal filed by the Sol Gen. Hence, this petition.
Issue: WON land is part of the Cordillera Forest Reserve and
hence not subject to registration.
Ratio: The applicants are members of the Ibaloi tribe whose
application for registration should be considered as falling under
Section 48 (c) of CA 141, said subsection having been added by
RA 3872 on June 18, 1964. Under the said section, members of
cultural minorities may apply for confirmation of their title to lands
of public domain, whether disposable or not. They may therefore
apply for public lands although such are legally forest lands or
mineral lands, so long as such lands are in fact suitable for
agriculture.
However, PD 1073 effective January 25, 1977
amended Section 48 (c), making the said provision applicable only
to alienable and disposable lands of the public domain.
It is important to note that the application of the Parans
was filed in 1970 and the land registration court affirmed their
long-continued possession of the lands in 1974, that is, during the
time when Section 48 (c) was in legal effect. Private respondents
imperfect title was perfected or vested by the required period of
possession prior to the issuance of PD 1073 thus, their right in
respect of the land they had possessed for 30 years could not be
divested by said PD. The Court stressed its pronouncement in Dir.
of Lands vs. Funtilar that the Regalian doctrine must be applied
together with constitutional provisions on social justice and land
reform and must be interpreted in a way as to avoid manifest
unfairness and injustice.
The Declarations of Real Property
submitted by applicants likewise indicated that the land had
become suitable to agriculture. Clearly, the requirements of
Section 48 (c) were satisfied.
Time Immemorial Possession
Time immemorial possession is deemed to be part of the general
rule and not an exception to the Regalian Doctrine. Land held
under a concept of ownership since immemorial is deemed to
have been private and therefore never to have come within the
ambit of the Regalian Doctrine.

CARINO VS. INSULAR GOVT (41 PHIL 935)


FACTS: Plaintiff, an Igorot from Benguet, filed application to Phil.
Court of land registration. For more than 50 years before the
Treaty of Paris in 1899, the plaintiff and his ancestors had held the
land as owners. They had been recognized as owners by the
Igorots. No document of title, however, was issued from the
Spanish crown. The application was granted on 1904. On appeal
to the CFI, on behalf of the Govt of the Phils. and also of the US,
the application was dismissed. This was affirmed by the Supreme
Court. Hence, this appeal.
Issue:

WON plaintiff owns the land

Held:
Yes. Benguet was inhabited by a tribe that never was
brought under the civil or military government of the Spanish
crown. It seems probable, if not certain, that the Spanish officials
would not have granted to anyone that province the registration
to which the plaintiff was entitled by Spanish laws, and which
would have made his title beyond question good. Whatever may
have been the technical position of Spain, it foes not follow that,
in the view of the United States, he had lost all the rights and was
a mere trespasser when the present government seized his land.
The argument to that effect seems to amount to a denial of native
titles throughout an important part of Luzon, at least, for the want
of ceremonies which the Spaniards would not have permitted and
had not the power to enforce.
It might, perhaps, be proper and sufficient to say that
when, as far back as testimony or memory goes, the land
has been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership, it
will be presumed to have been held in the same way from before
the Spanish conquest and never to have been public land. If there
is doubt or ambiguity in the Spanish law, we ought to give the
applicant the benefit of the doubt.
The older decrees and laws cited by the counsel for
plaintiff indicate clearly that the natives were recognized as
owning some lands, irrespective of any royal grant. In other
words, Spain did not assume to convert all the native inhabitants
of the Phils. Into trespassers or even into tenants at will.
ANKRON VS. GOVT OF THE PHIL. ISLANDS (40 PHIL 10)
FACTS: Petitioner sought to register a parcel of land which he
brought from the Moros, which the latter formerly occupied,
cultivated and planted under claim of ownership for more than 44
years. The only oppositor was the Director of Lands, alleging that
the land was property of the US under the control and
administration of the Govt of the Phil. Islands.
No proof
whatsoever was offered by the oppositor. The lower court ordered
and decreed that said parcel be registered in Ankrons name
subject however to the right of the government to open a road
thereon. From that decree, the Dir. appealed to the Supreme
Court.
Issue: WON applicant proved his possession and occupation in
accordance with the provisions of section 54 (6) of act 926
Held: Yes. Under the said paragraph, the important requisites for
registration are: (1) that the land shall be agricultural public land
as defined by the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902; and (2) that the
petitioner, by himself or his predecessors-in-interest, shall have
been in the open, continuos possession and occupation of the
same under a bona fide claim of ownership for a period of ten
years next preceding the taking effect of the said Act.
In the present case the applicant proved and there was
no effort to dispute said proof, that the land in question was
agricultural land and that he and his predecessors in interest had
occupied the same as owners in good faith for a period of more
than forty years prior to the commencement of the present action.
No question is raised nor discussed by the appellant with
reference to the right of the Moros to acquire absolute ownership
and dominion of the land which they have occupied openly,
notoriously, peacefully and adversely for a long period of years.
Whether the particular land is agricultural, forestry or
mineral is a question
to be settled in each particular case. The mere fact that land is a
manglar (mangrove swamp) is not sufficient in itself to show that

it is agricultural, forestry or mineral. It may belong to one or the


other class. Considering that it is a matter of public knowledge
that a majority of the public lands in the Phils. are agricultural
lands, the courts have a right to presume, in the absence of
evidence to the contrary, that in each case the lands are
agricultural lands.
ABAOAG VS. DIR. OF LANDS
(45 PHIL. 518)
FACTS: Petitioners are among those Igorots who, in 1884, were
given by the gobernadorcillo and principalia of Sison, Pangasinan,
a tract of land in order that they may cultivate the same and
increase the population of the said municipality. At the time of
delivery, said land was unoccupied and unimproved public land.
Said Bagos or Igorots entered upon said land, took possession of
it and have continued to live upon the same and have cultivated it
since that date. In 1919, petitioner, et al. presented a petition for
registration with the CFI of Pangasinan. Oppositors filed a motion
to dismiss upon the ground that petitioners had not presented
proof sufficient to show that they are entitled to the registration of
the land. Said motion was granted. Hence, this appeal.
Issue:

WON dismissal of the case was proper.

Held:
No. No suggestion is made that the gobernadorcillo and
the principalia of the town of Alava, now Sision, were not
authorized in 1884, as representatives of the then existing Govt,
to give and to deliver the land in question to the petitioners and
their ancestors for the purposes for which the land was so given.
Neither was it denied that it was agricultural land. No pretension
is made that the land might not be registered under the Torrens
system had the petitioners invoked the benefits of the public land
law. No contention is made on the part of petitioners that they
were ever given a title to the land. Their contention is simply that
they were given the land; that they accepted the same; that they
lived upon the land, and cultivated it, and improved it, and
occupied it to the exclusion of all others for a period of about 39
years and that therefore they are entitled to have the same
registered under the Torrens system; that they have occupied and
cultivated the same for a period sufficient to give them title and to
have the same registered. This is like the case of Carino vs.
Insular Government.
In the Royal Cedula of October 15, 1754: Where such
possessors shall not be able to produce title deeds, it shall be
sufficient if they shall show that ancient possession as a valid title
by prescription. To this, the Court added that every presumption
of ownership under the public land laws is in favor of the one
actually occupying the land for many years, and against the
Government which seeks to deprive him of it.
MANARPAAC VS. CABANATAN
(21 SCRA 743)
FACTS: Plaintiffs filed complaint against defendants, alleging that
they have been, since time immemorial, in possession of two
parcels of land, which were fraudulently included in the free
patent application of defendant. Cabanatan filed a motion to
dismiss. Such was granted by the lower court holding that the free
patent having been issued on November 3, 1959 and the first
complaint was filed on December 7, 1960, the action for review of
the decree, was therefore filed more than one year after the
issuance of the patent. Hence, this appeal.
Issue:

WON dismissal was proper

Held:
No. From the averment of facts in the complaint, it
clearly appears that plaintiffs have been, since time immemorial
in possession as owners of the disputed land, have declared the
land for tax purposes in the names of two of them and have built
their houses on the land, but that through fraud and irregularity,
defendant succeeded in securing a certificate of title.
The
foregoing recital of facts are sufficient averment of ownership.
Possession since time immemorial, carries the presumption that
the land had never been part of the public domain, or that it had
been a private property even before the Spanish conquest.
Whether this presumption should hold as a fact or not, is a
question appropriately determinable only after the parties have

adduced, or at least, are given the opportunity to adduce, their


respective evidence.
The complaint likewise states a sufficient cause for
action for recovery of possession of the land. Settled is the rule
that the remedy of the landowner whose property has been
wrongfully or erroneously registered in anothers name is, after
one year from the date of the decree, not to set aside the decree,
but respecting the decree as incontrovertible and no longer open
to review, to bring an ordinary action in the ordinary court of
justice for conveyance or, if the property has passed into the
hands of innocent purchaser for value, for damages.
B.

Exceptions to the General Rules

Mining Claims
REAVIS V. FIANZA
40 PHIL 1017 (1909)
The Philippine Act of 1902 provides, That where such a
person or association, they and their grantors have held and
worked their claims for a period equal to the time prescribed by
the statute of limitations of the Philippine Islands, evidence of
such possession and working of the claims for such period shall be
sufficient to establish a right to a patent thereto under this Act, in
the absence of any adverse claim The period of prescription is
ten years.
Fianza and his Igorot ancestors had been in possession
of the land and had been working their mining claims for more
than 10 years but this was before the enactment of the Phil. Act of
1902. Reavis, an American, applied for a mining patent over the
same land during the effectivity of this law.
Reavis argued that first, ownership of the land surface does not
automatically vest ownership over the mining rights. Second,
mines can only be acquired in accordance with governmentprescribed regulations. Therefore, Fianza had no legal rights to
the mines since there was no compliance with the procedural
requirements laid down in the Phil. Act. of 1902. Furthermore,
Fianza held no patent.
The Supreme Court did not deal squarely with the first
argument. However, the issue was somewhat more resolved in its
disposition of the second argument. It was held that Fianza and
his ancestors have, through their possession of more than 10
years under Spanish Law and their working of the mining claims
within such period, acquired ownership rights over the questioned
land and the mining claims. This is notwithstanding the fact that
no patent was held or applied for by Fianza under the provisions of
the Phil. Act of 1902 since the right to have a patent that will
confer title is also a right to have the thing.

MCDANIEL V. APACIBLE AND CUISIA 42 PHIL 749


On June 17, 1916, in accordance with the Phil. Act of
1902, McDaniel located 3 petroleum placer mineral claims in
Tayabas. Notices of their location were recorded in the office of
the mining recorder.
Furthermore, there was continuous
possession and annual assessment work over the said claims.
Act No. 2932 which was approved on August 31, 1920
provided that all public lands containing petroleum or other
mineral oils and gas, on which no patent, at the date this Act
takes effect, has been issued, are hereby withdrawn from sale and
are declared to be free and open to exploration, location and
lease On June 18, 1921, in accordance with Act No. 2932,
Cuisia applied with the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural
Resources for a lease of a parcel of petroleum land that included
McDaniels 3 claims.
However, Actd No. 2932 further provided that parties
having heretofore filed claims for any mineral lands containing
said minerals, shall be given preference to lease their respective
claims, provided they file a petition to that effect within 6 months
from the date of the approval of this Act. Therefore, all parties
having mineral claims prior to the approval of Act No. 2932 had
until Feb. 28, 1921 to file a petition with the Government to lease
the corresponding public lands. Otherwise, their preference over
other applicants shall be forfeited.

McDaniel sought to prohibit the Government from


granting Cuisias lease application mainly on the argument that
Act No. 2932 is unconstitutional since it deprives him of his
property without due process of law.
The Supreme Court sustained McDaniels argument. It
held that a perfected, valid appropriation of public mineral lands
operates as a withdrawal of the tract from the body of the public
domain, and so long as such appropriation remains valid and
subsisting, the land covered thereby is deemed private property.
Such perfected, valid and subsisting appropriation shall be
deemed to have taken place when all the requirements of the law
in making the location of the mineral placer claims have been
complied with and the claims were never abandoned or forfeited.
This is notwithstanding the fact that no patent has been issued
since the right to a patent vests full equitable title with all the
benefits, immunities, and burdens of ownership. Furthermore, the
claim and the location is perfected not only against 3 rd persons but
also against the Government.
GOLD CREEK MINING CORP. V. RODRIGUEZ (66 PHIL 259)
On Jan. 1, 1929, Gold Creek Mining Corp. located a
mining claim in Benguet. Notice of the location was recorded in
the office of the mining recorder.
Furthermore, there was
continuous possession and annual assessment work over the said
claim. Before Nov. 15, 1935, the date of effectivity of the 1935
Const., Gold Creek Mining applied with the Secretary of Agriculture
and Commerce for a patent.
However, the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce
and the Director of the Bureau of Mines refused to approve the
application on the ground that the issuance of the patent
amounted to an alienation of natural resources which is prohibited
under the Constitution.
The Supreme Court held that the patent must be issued.
It is clear that the 1935 Constitution prohibits the alienation of
natural resources, with the exception of public agricultural land.
However, natural resources only includes mineral lands of the
public domain and not mineral lands already withdrawn from the
public domain prior to the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution.
Perfected, valid and subsisting mining claims prior to the 1935
Const., whether or not a patent has been issued therefor, are
included in the latter category. They are no longer part of the
public domain and therefore, are beyond the constitutional
prohibition on the alienation of natural resources.
STANDARD MINERAL PRODUCTS, INC. V. CA
Deeunhong was a registered owner of 120 hectares of
land in Antipolo under a transfer certificate of title. Standard
Mineral Products, Inc. undertook the prospecting and locating of a
mining claim in the said land without first securing written
permission from Deeunhong. After locating a claim, SMPI applied
for a mining lease with the Bureau of Mines over a portion of the
land, which was opposed by the registerd owner.
In a separate civil case for reversion of the land to the
State, it was found that the land was essentially agricultural and
not mineral land.
The Supreme Court held that SMPI is not entitled to the
surface rights due to its non-compliance with the Mining Act
provision which requires written permission from the landowner
prior to the prospecting and locating of mineral claims. Such
written permission must also accompany the application of a
mining lease with the Bureau of Mines.
Judicial Confirmation of Imperfect Titles
SUSI V. RAZON AND DIRECTOR OF LANDS, 48 PHIL 427
(1925)
Susi and his predecessors-in-interest had been in open,
continuous, adverse and public possession since time immemorial
in the concept of owner and for value of a certain parcel of
unregistered land in Pampanga. On the other hand, Razon was
able to purchase the same parcel of land from the Government for
which an original certificate of title was issued.
The Supreme Court held that Susi was the absolute
owner and that the sale to Razon and the corresponding
certificate of title issued in her name is null and void. Reiterating

the doctrine laid down in Carino v. Insular Govt., the Supreme


Court held that that there is a presumption juris et du jure that all
the necessary requirements have been complied with when there
had been actual and physical possession, personally or through
predecessors, of an agricultural land of the public domain openly,
continuously, exclusively, and publicly since July 26, 1894 with a
right to a certificate of title to said land. Therefore, by operation
of law, Susi had already acquired not only a right to a grant but a
grant from the Government much prior to the application of
Razon. The questioned land was already private and was not part
of the public domain anymore . Therefore, the Director of Lands
no longer had any control or jurisdiction over Razons application.
MERALCO V. CASTRO-BARTOLOME 114 SCRA 799 (1982)
A certain parcel of land was possessed by Ramos since
1941. In 1947, Ramos sold the land to the Piguing spouses. IN
1976, the Piguing spouses sold the land to MERALCO, a domestic
corporation. Subsequently, MERALCO applied for the registration
of the parcel of land which was opposed by the Republic of the
Philippines.
The trial court dismissed MERALCOS application on the
ground that it is not qualified to apply for registration since the
Public Land Act allows only Filipino citizens or natural persons to
apply for judicial confirmation of their imperfect titles to public
land.
MERALCO argued that first, the questioned land was no
longer public but was now private land since its predecessors-ininterest had possessed such land in the concept of owner for more
than 30 years.
Furthermore, it argued that it invoked the
provision of the Public Land Act in behalf of the Piguing spouses
who, as Filipino citizens, could secure judicial confirmation of their
imperfect title to the land.
The Supreme Scourt affirmed the dismissal of
MERALCOs application. It held that the questioned land was still
public land and shall remain so until a certificate of title is issued
to a Filipino citizen. Consequently, MERALCO, being a juridical
person, is therefore disqualified to apply for registration of such
public land.
The doctrine enunciated in Susi v. Razon and Director of
Lands that an open, continuous, adverse and public possession of
a land of the public domain since time immemorial by a private
individual personally and through his predecessors confers an
effective title on said possessor, whereby the land ceases to be
public, cannot be properly invoked by MERALCO since its
predecessors-in-interest had not been in possession since time
immemorial or beyond the reach of memory, i.e. before 1880.
Citing Oh Cho, the Supreme Court held that the
immediate predecessors-in-interest must apply for registration of
the land in order to secure a grant under the Public Land Act.
Without such registration, the immediate predecessor-in-interest
did not have any vested right amounting to title which was
transmissible.
NOTE: This ruling was subsequently overturned in the
case of Director of Lands v. IAC (Acme case).
DIRECTOR OF LANDS V. IAC & ACME 146 SCRA 509 (1986)
In the case, the Supreme Court held that the ruling in
the case of Meralco v. Castro-Bartolome is no longer deemed to be
binding. Notwithstanding the prohibition in the 1973 and 1987
Constitutions against private corporations holding lands of the
public domain except by lease not exceeding 1000 hectares, still a
private corporation may institute confirmation proceedings under
Sec. 48(b) of the Public Land Act if, at the time of institution of the
registration proceedings, the land was already private land. On
the other hand, if the land was still part of the public domain, then
a private corporation cannot institute such proceedings.
The correct rule is that alienable public land held by a
possessor, personally or through his predecessors-in-interest,
openly, continuously and exclusively for the prescribed statutory
period (30 years under the Public Land Act, as amended) is
converted to private property by the mere lapse or completion of
said period, ipso jure.

REPUBLIC VS. COURT OF APPEALS & PARAN (AUGUST 21,


1991)
There is no question that a positive act (e.g., an official
proclamation) of the Executive Department of the Government is
needed to declassify land which had been classified as forestal
and to convert it into alienable or disposable lands for agricultural
or other purposes. In the case of Director of Lands vs. Funtilar, the
Court considered the reports of the District Forester and the
District Land Officer as adequate proof that the land applied for
was no longer classified as forestal.
We consider and so hold that once a parcel of land Is
shown to have been included within a Forest Reservation duly
established by Executive Proclamation, as in the instant case, a
presumption arises that the parcel of land continues to be part of
such Reservation until clear and convincing evidence of
subsequent withdrawal therefrom or declassification is shown. A
simple, unsworn statement of a minor functionary of the Bureau of
a minor functionary of the Bureau of Forest Development is not,
by itself, such evidence.

OH CHO V. DIRECTOR OF LANDS 75 PHIL 890 (1946)


The applicant invokes the Land Registration Act (Act. No.
496) or should it not be applicable to the case, then he would
apply for the benefits of the Public Land Act (C.A. 141)
The applicant failed to show that he has title that may
be confirmed under the LRA. All lands that were not acquired from
the Government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the
public domain. An exception to the rule would be time immemorial
possession, which would justify the presumption that the land had
never been public land. The applicant does not come under the
exception, for the earliest possession of the lot by his first
predecessor in interest began in 1880.
As the applicant failed to show title to the lot, the next
question is whether he is entitled to a decree of registration
thereof under the provisions of the Public Land Act (C.A. 141).
Under the provisions of the Act invoked by the applicant, he is not
entitled to a decree of registration of the lot because he is an
alien.
The benefits provided in the Public Land constitute a
grant or concession by the State. Before they could acquire any
right, the applicants immediate predecessor in interest should
comply with the condition precedent, which is to apply for the
registration of the land of which they had been in possession at
least since July 26, 1894. This is the applicants immediate
predecessors in interest failed to do. They did not have any vested
right in the lot amounting to title which was transmissible to the
applicant. The only right is their possession of the lot which,
tacked to that of their predecessors in interest, may be availed of
by a qualified person but not by the applicant, since he is
disqualified.
Indigenous Peoples' Rights
PD 705
Forestry Reform Code
SECTION 52.
Census of kaingineros, squatters, cultural
minorities and other occupants and residents in forest lands.
Henceforth, no person shall enter into forest lands and cultivate
the same without lease or permit.
A complete census of kaingineros, squatters, cultural minorities
and other occupants and residents in forest lands with or without
authority or permits from the government, showing the extent of
their respective occupation and resulting damage, or impairment
of forest resources, shall be conducted.
The Bureau may call upon other agencies of the government and
holders of license agreement, license, lease and permits over
forest lands to participate in the census.
RA 6657
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program

SECTION 9.
Ancestral Lands. For purposes of this Act,
ancestral lands of each indigenous cultural community shall
include, but not be limited to, lands in the actual, continuous and
open possession and occupation of the community and its
members: Provided, That the Torrens Systems shall be respected.
The right of these communities to their ancestral lands shall be
protected to ensure their economic, social and cultural well-being.
In line with the principles of self-determination and autonomy, the
systems of land ownership, land use, and the modes of settling
land disputes of all these communities must be recognized and
respected.
Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the PARC
may suspend the implementation of this Act with respect to
ancestral lands for the purpose of identifying and delineating such
lands: Provided, That in the autonomous regions, the respective
legislatures may enact their own laws on ancestral domain subject
to the provisions of the Constitution and the principles enunciated
in this Act and other national laws.
RA 6734
Organic Act for Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao
SECTION 2.
The Autonomous Region is a corporate entity
with jurisdiction in all matters devolved to it by the Constitution
and this Organic Act as herein enumerated:
(1)
Administrative organization;
(2)
Creation of sources of revenues;
(3)
Ancestral domain and natural resources;
(4)
Personal, family and property relations;
(5)
Regional, urban and rural planning development;
(6)
Economic, social, and tourism development;
(7)
Educational policies;
(8)
Preservation and development of the cultural heritage;
(9)
Powers, functions and responsibilities now being
exercised by the departments of the National Government except:
(a)
Foreign affairs;
(b)
National defense and security;
(c)
Postal service;
(d)
Coinage, and fiscal and monetary policies;
(e)
Administration of justice;
(f)
Quarantine;
(g)
Customs and tariff;
(h)
Citizenship;
(i)
Naturalization, immigration and deportation;
(j)
General auditing, civil service and elections;
(k)
Foreign trade;
(l)
Maritime,
land
and
air
transportation
and
communications that affect areas outside the Autonomous Region;
and
(m)
Patents, trademarks, trade names, and copyrights; and
(10)
Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the
promotion of the general welfare of the people of the Region.
ARTICLE XI
ANCESTRAL DOMAIN, ANCESTRAL LANDS AND AGRARIAN REFORM
SECTION 1.
Subject to the Constitution and national
policies, the Regional Government shall undertake measures to
protect the ancestral domain and the ancestral lands of
indigenous cultural communities.
All lands and natural resources in the Autonomous Region that
have been possessed or occupied by indigenous cultural
communities since time immemorial, except when prevented by
war, force majeure, or other forms of forcible usurpation, shall
form part of the ancestral domain. Such ancestral domain shall
include pasture lands, worship areas, burial grounds, forests and
fields, mineral resources, except: strategic minerals such as
uranium, coal, petroleum, and other fossil fuels, mineral oils, and
all sources of potential energy; lakes, rivers and lagoons; and
national reserves and marine parks, as well as forest and
watershed reservations.

Lands in the actual, open, notorious, and uninterrupted possession


and occupation by an indigenous cultural community for at least
thirty (30) years are ancestral lands.
SECTION 2.
The constructive or traditional possession of
lands and resources by an indigenous cultural community may
also be recognized subject to judicial affirmation, the petition for
which shall be instituted within a period of ten (10) years from the
effectivity of this Act. The procedure for judicial affirmation of
imperfect titles under existing laws shall, as far as practicable,
apply to the judicial affirmation of titles to ancestral lands.
The foregoing provisions notwithstanding, titles secured under the
Torrens system, and rights already vested under the provisions of
existing laws shall be respected.
SECTION 3.
As used in this Act, the phrase "indigenous
cultural community" refers to Filipino citizens residing in the
Autonomous Region who are:
(1)
Tribal peoples whose social, cultural and economic
conditions distinguish them from other sectors of the national
community and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by
their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations;
and
(2)
Bangsa Moro people regarded as indigenous on account
of their descent from the populations that inhabited the country or
a distinct geographical area at the time of conquest or
colonization and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain
some or all of their own socioeconomic, cultural and political
institutions.
SECTION 4.
The customary laws, traditions, and practices
of indigenous cultural communities on land claims and ownership
and settlement of land disputes shall be implemented and
enforced among the members of such community.
SECTION 5.
The Regional Government shall require
corporations, companies and other entities within the ancestral
domain of the indigenous cultural communities whose operations
adversely affect the ecological balance to take the necessary
preventive measures and safeguards in order to maintain such a
balance.
SECTION 6.
Unless authorized by the Regional Assembly,
lands of the ancestral domain titled to or owned by an indigenous
cultural community shall not be disposed of to nonmembers.
SECTION 7.
No portion of the ancestral domain shall be
open to resettlement by nonmembers of the indigenous cultural
communities.
SECTION 8.
Subject to the Constitution and national
policies, the Regional Assembly shall enact an Agrarian Reform
Law suitable to the special circumstances prevailing in the
Autonomous Region.
ARTICLE XIII
ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY
SECTION 1.
Consistent with the Constitution and national
policies, the Regional Government may enact regional laws
pertaining to the national economy and patrimony applicable and
responsive to the needs of the Region. However, nothing herein
shall be construed as to authorize the Regional Government to
require lesser standards respecting the protection, conservation
and enhancement of the natural resources than those required by
the National Government.
SECTION 2.
Except for strategic minerals such as uranium,
coal, petroleum, and other fossil fuels, mineral oils, all sources of
potential energy, as well as national reserves and aquatic parks,
forest and watershed reservations as may be delimited by
national law, the control and supervision over the exploration,
utilization and development of the natural resources of the
Autonomous Region is hereby delegated to the Regional
Government in accordance with the Constitution and national
laws.
The Regional Assembly shall have the authority to grant
franchises and concessions but the Regional Governor may, by

regional law, be authorized to grant leases, permits and licenses:


Provided, That, any lease, permit, franchise or concession shall
cover an area not exceeding the limits allowed by the Constitution
and shall subsist for a period not exceeding twenty-five (25) years;
Provided, further, That existing leases, permits, licenses,
franchises and concessions shall be respected until their
expiration unless legally terminated as provided by law; and
Provided, finally, That when the natural resources are located
within the ancestral domain, the permit, license, franchise or
concession, shall be approved by the Regional Assembly after
consultation with the cultural community concerned.
SECTION 3.
The exploration, development and utilization of
natural resources, except those enumerated in the first paragraph
of Section 2 hereof, shall be allowed to all Filipinos and to private
enterprises, including corporations, associations, cooperatives,
and such other similar collective organizations with at least sixty
percent (60%) of their capital investment or capital stocks directly
controlled or owned by Filipinos who are preferably residents of
the Region.
SECTION 4.
Small-scale mining shall receive support from
and be regulated by the Regional Government, considering
ecological balance, the safety and health and the interest of the
communities and the miners where such operations are
conducted.
SECTION 5.
The Regional Government may, in the interest
of regional welfare and security, establish and operate pioneering
utilities. Upon payment of just compensation, it may transfer the
ownership of such utilities to cooperatives or other collective
organizations.
SECTION 6.
The Regional Government may, in times of
regional emergency declared by the President, when the public
interest so requires and under reasonable terms and safeguards
prescribed by the Regional Assembly, temporarily take over or
direct the operation of any privately-owned public utility or
business affected with public interest.
SECTION 7.
The Regional Assembly shall enact laws for the
just compensation, rehabilitation, relocation, and other similar
measures of inhabitants adversely affected in the harnessing of
natural and mineral resources in the Region.
The Regional Assembly shall likewise provide for the rehabilitation
of the areas affected by said harnessing of natural and mineral
resources in the Region.
SECTION 8.
The Regional Government shall actively and
immediately pursue reforestation measures to ensure that at least
fifty (50%) of the land surface of the Autonomous Region shall be
covered with trees, giving priority to land strips along eighteen
percent (18%) in slope or over by providing infrastructure,
financial and technical support to upland communities especially
the Lumads or tribal peoples.
SECTION 9.
The Regional Government shall prohibit the
use, importation, deposit, disposal and dumping of toxic or
hazardous substances within the Autonomous Region.
SECTION 10.
The Regional Government shall adopt policies
to promote profit sharing and broaden the base of ownership of
business enterprises.
SECTION 11.
The Regional Government shall provide
incentives, including tax holidays, for investors in businesses that
will contribute to the development of the Region.
It shall provide the same incentives to all companies doing
business in the Region which reinvest at least fifty percent (50%)
of their net profits therein, and to all cooperatives which reinvest
at least ten percent (10%) of their surplus into socially-oriented
projects in the Region.
SECTION 12.
The Regional Government shall give priority to
the establishment of transportation and communication facilities
for the economic development of the region.

SECTION 13.
In the delivery of power services, priority shall
be given to provinces in the area of autonomy which do not have
direct access to such services.
SECTION 14.
The
Regional
Government
is
hereby
empowered to create pioneering firms and other business entities
needed to boost economic development in the Region.
Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
SECTION 15.
The Regional Government shall recognize,
promote and protect the rights and welfare of farmers,
farmworkers, fishermen and fishworkers, as well as farmers, and
fishworkers' cooperatives and associations.
SECTION 16.
The Regional Government shall encourage
agricultural productivity and promote a diversified and organic
farming system.
SECTION 17.
The Regional Government shall give top
priority to the conservation, protection, utilization and
development of soil and water resources for agricultural purposes.
SECTION 18.
The Regional Assembly shall enact on Aquatic
and Fisheries Code which shall enhance, develop, conserve and
protect marine and aquatic resources, and shall protect the rights
of subsistence fishermen to the preferential use of communal
marine and fishing resources, including seaweeds. This protection
shall extend to offshore fishing grounds, up to and including all
waters twelve (12) nautical miles from the coastline of the
Autonomous Region but within the territorial waters of the
Philippines, regardless of depth, the seabed and the subsoil that
are included between two (2) lines drawn perpendicular to the
general coastline from points where the boundary lines of the
Autonomous Region touch the sea at low tide and a third line
parallel to the general coastline.
Further, it shall provide support to subsistence fishermen through
appropriate technology and research, adequate financial,
production and marketing assistance and other services.
Fishworkers shall also receive a just share from their labor in the
utilization of marine and fishing resources.
Science, technology and other disciplines shall be developed and
employed to protect and maintain aquatic and marine ecology.
SECTION 19.
The Regional Assembly may, by law, create a
Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries and define its composition,
powers and functions.
Trade and Industry
SECTION 20.
The Regional Government recognizes the
private sector as the prime mover of trade, commerce and
industry. It shall encourage and support entrepreneurial capability
in the Region and shall recognize, promote and protect
cooperatives.
SECTION 21.
The Regional Government shall promote and
protect small and medium-scale cottage industries by providing
assistance such as marketing opportunities, financial support, tax
incentives, appropriate and alternative technology and technical
training to produce semi-finished and finished products.
SECTION 22.
The Regional Government shall give support
and encouragement to the establishment of banks in accordance
with the principles of the Islamic banking system, subject to the
supervision by the central monetary authority of the National
Government.
SECTION 23.
Subject to national policies, the Regional
Government shall regulate traditional barter trade and
countertrade with neighboring countries.
SECTION 24.
The Regional Government shall encourage,
promote, undertake and support the establishment of economic
zones, industrial centers and ports in strategic areas and growth

centers of the Region to attract local and foreign investments and


business enterprises.
SECTION 25.
The Regional Government shall undertake
measures to promote consumer education and to ensure that the
rights, interests and welfare of the consumers are protected.
SECTION 26.
The Regional Government shall promote the
preferential use of labor and locally produced goods and materials
by adopting measures to increase their competitiveness.
SECTION 27.
Subject to the Constitution and national
policies, the Regional Government shall regulate and exercise
authority over foreign investments within its jurisdiction in
accordance with its goals and priorities.
Tourism Development
SECTION 28.
The Regional Government shall, with the
assistance of the National Government and the participation of the
private sector, develop tourism as a positive instrument toward
accelerated regional development. Tourism development shall
promote greater pride in and commitment to the nation: Provided,
That the diverse cultural heritage, and moral and spiritual values
of the people in the Autonomous Region shall be primarily
considered and respected.
SECTION 29.
The Regional Assembly may, by law, create a
Tourism office, and shall define its composition, powers and
functions.
RA 7076
People's Small-Scale Mining Act
SECTION 7.
Ancestral Lands. No ancestral land may be
declared as a people's small-scale mining area without the prior
consent of the cultural communities concerned: Provided, That, if
ancestral lands are declared as people's small-scale mining areas,
the members of the cultural communities therein shall be given
priority in the awarding of small-scale mining contracts.
RA 7586
National Integrated Protected Areas System
Sec 4
d. "Indigenous cultural community" refers to a group of people
sharing common bonds of language, customs, traditions and other
distinctive cultural traits, and who have, since time immemorial,
occupied, possessed and utilized a territory;
SECTION 13.
Ancestral Lands and Rights Over Them.
Ancestral lands and customary rights and interest arising shall be
accorded due recognition. The DENR shall prescribe rules and
regulations to govern ancestral lands within protected areas:
Provided, That the DENR shall have no power to evict indigenous
communities from their present occupancy nor resettle them to
another area without their consent: Provided, however, That all
rules and regulations, whether adversely affecting said
communities or not, shall be subjected to notice and hearing to be
participated in by members of concerned indigenous community.
RA 7611
Palawan Strategic Environmental Plan
SECTION 11.
Tribal Ancestral Lands. These areas,
traditionally occupied by cultural minorities, comprise both land
and sea areas. These shall be treated in the same graded system
of control and prohibition as in the others abovementioned except
for stronger emphasis in cultural considerations. The SEP,
therefore, shall define a special kind of zonation to fulfill the
material and cultural needs of the tribes using consultative
processes and cultural mapping of the ancestral lands.
RA 7942
Mining Act of 1995

SECTION 3.
Definition of Terms. As used in and for
purposes of this Act, the following terms, whether in singular or
plural, shall mean:
(a)
"Ancestral lands" refers to all lands exclusively and
actually possessed, occupied, or utilized by indigenous cultural
communities by themselves or through their ancestors in
accordance with their customs and traditions since time
immemorial, and as may be defined and delineated by law.
SECTION 4.
Ownership of Mineral Resources. Mineral
resources are owned by the State and the exploration,
development, utilization, and processing thereof shall be under its
full control and supervision. The State may directly undertake
such activities or it may enter into mineral agreements with
contractors.
SECTION 16.
Opening of Ancestral Lands for Mining
Operations. No ancestral land shall be opened for mining
operations without the prior consent of the indigenous cultural
community concerned.
SECTION 17.
Royalty Payments for Indigenous Cultural
Communities. In the event of an agreement with an indigenous
cultural community pursuant to the preceding section, the royalty
payment, upon utilization of the minerals shall be agreed upon by
the parties. The said royalty shall form part of a trust fund for the
socioeconomic well-being of the indigenous cultural community.
SECTION 18.
Areas Open to Mining Operations. Subject to
any existing rights or reservations and prior agreements of all
parties, all mineral resources in public or private lands, including
timber or forestlands as defined in existing laws, shall be open to
mineral agreements or financial or technical assistance agreement
applications. Any conflict that may arise under this provision shall
be heard and resolved by the panel of arbitrators.
SECTION 19.
Areas Closed to Mining Applications. Mineral
agreement or financial or technical assistance agreement
applications shall not be allowed:
(a)
In military and other government reservations, except
upon prior written clearance by the government agency
concerned;
(b)
Near or under public or private buildings, cemeteries,
archeological and historic sites, bridges, highways, waterways,
railroads, reservoirs, dams or other infrastructure projects, public
or private works including plantations or valuable crops, except
upon written consent of the government agency or private entity
concerned;
(c)
In areas covered by valid and existing mining rights;
(d)
In areas expressly prohibited by law;
(e)
In areas covered by small-scale miners as defined by law
unless with prior consent of the small-scale miners, in which case
a royalty payment upon the utilization of minerals shall be agreed
upon by the parties, said royalty forming a trust fund for the
socioeconomic development of the community concerned; and
(f)
Old growth or virgin forests, proclaimed watershed forest
reserves, wilderness areas, mangrove forests, mossy forests,
national parks, provincial/municipal forests, parks, greenbelts,
game refuge and bird sanctuaries as defined by law and in areas
expressly prohibited under the National Integrated Protected
Areas System (NIPAS) under Republic Act No. 7586, Department
Administrative Order No. 25, series of 1992 and other laws.
RA 8425
Social Reform Agenda
SECTION 4.
Adoption and Integration of Social Reform
Agenda (SRA) in the National Anti-Poverty Action Agenda. The
National Anti-Poverty Action Agenda shall principally include the
core principles and programs of the Social Reform Agenda (SRA).
The SRA shall have a multi-dimensional approach to poverty
consisting of the following reforms:
(1)
Social dimension access to quality basic services.
These are reforms which refer to equitable control and access to
social services and facilities such as education, health, housing,
and other basic services which enable the citizens to meet their
basic human needs and to live decent lives;

(2)
Economic dimension asset reform and access to
economic opportunities. Reforms which address the existing
inequities in the ownership, distribution, management and control
over natural and man-made resources from which they earn a
living or increase the fruits of their labor;
(3)
Ecological dimension sustainable development of
productive resources. Reforms which ensure the effective and
sustainable utilization of the natural and ecological resource base,
thus assuring greater social acceptability and increased
participation of the basic sectors in environmental and natural
resources conservation, management and development;
(4)
Governance dimension democratizing the decisionmaking and management processes. Reforms which enable the
basic sectors to effectively participate in decision-making and
management processes that affect their rights, interests and
welfare.
The SRA shall focus on the following sector-specific flagship
programs:
(1)
For farmers and landless rural workers agricultural
development;
(2)
For the fisherfolk fisheries and aquatic resources
conservation, management and development;
(3)
For the indigenous peoples and indigenous communities
respect, protection and management of the ancestral domains;
(4)
For workers in the informal sector workers' welfare
and protection;
(5)
For the urban poor socialized housing; and
(6)
For members of other disadvantaged groups such as the
women, children, youth, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and
victims of natural and man-made calamities the Comprehensive
Integrated Delivery of Social Services (CIDSS).
Additionally, to support the sectoral flagship programs, the
following cross-sectoral flagships shall likewise be instituted:
(1)
Institution-building and effective
participation in
governance;
(2)
Livelihood programs;
(3)
Expansion of micro-credit/microfinance services and
capability building; and
(4)
Infrastructure buildup and development.

ON LEGAL MYTHS AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES: REEXAMINING CARINO VS. INSULAR GOVERNMENT
(MARVIC M.V.F. LEONEN)
Concept of Ownership
There is nothing necessary or natural in ownership, as it
is understood now under our Phil. Legal System. The concept of
property and ownership arise and take shape not because of any
physical or material attribute of the thing being owned. Rather,
these concepts are reflections of human associations in relation to
things. In other words, specific cultures create their own set of
property relationships. Under the Civil Code, one is said to own a
piece of land when he exercise, to the exclusion of all others, the
right to use, enjoy its fruits and alienate or dispose of it in any
manner not prohibited by law.
Among the indigenous,
unwesternized or unHispanized Phil. Population, there is no such
concept of individual and exclusive ownership of land. Ownership
more accurately applies to the tribal right to use the land or
territorial control. Ownership is tantamount to work. At best,
people consider themselves as 'secondary owners' or stewards of
the land, since beings of the spirit world are considered as the
true and primary or reciprocal owners of the land. There is also
the concept of trusteeship since not only the present generation
but also the future ones possess the right to the land.

The Relevance of Legal Issues: Carino Revisited


In a paper written by the Cordillera Studies Program,
they point out that the Ibaloi, where Carino belonged, had no
concept of exclusive or alienable ownership. Ownership, as we
understand it, was only a relatively new development and which
by custom applied only to pasture land. The court focused only on
the issue whether plaintiff owned the land, without focusing on the
kind of property tenure Carino had with respect to the land. The
law, which the judge was implementing, was simply not equipped
to assist him discover this important point.
The ruling in Carino is so broad that when used
indiscriminately as the sole ground to recognize and protect
ancestral domains it will work a contradiction. At the same time
that it provides an avenue to protect native titles, it opens
floodgates for enterprising lowlanders to take advantage of the
uplanders legal ignorance. Their land become as alienable as any
other property as conceived by the national legal system.
The Attempt to entrench Carino as a statutory doctrine
The subsequent attempt at statutory articulation like
the Public Land Act, Sec. 48 (c) of CA 141 and RA 3872 only
worsened the situation. They seem to build up on the Carino
doctrine. The truth is that its concept is totally different. First,
unlike Carino, the provisions do not require possession by
individuals under a claim of private ownership for as far back as
testimony or memory goes. A mere thirty years possession is
sufficient. Second, Carino establishes the precedent that the
native tittle is presumed never to have been public. Sec. 48 of
CA 141 starts from the presumption that the land is initially part of
the public domain. Like Carino however, the concept of ownership
remains. The prevailing rule is that the lapse of 30 years adverse
possession is enough to vest title ipso facto. Judicial confirmation
is only a formality.
These rights however, can work against indigenous
peoples. First, the recognition of his native title has served to
make his land alienable in every sense provided by the national
legal system. Its disposition is not confined only to members of
his kin or of his village. Ironically, while reiterating native right to
ancestral land, the decisions make it possible for a private
corporation to acquire the land from the indigenous holder just
what happened in the case of Acme. Second, the awareness of
the rights provided by the outsiders laws will definitely be a
tempting opportunity for a member of a community to treat land,
not as something that sustains life that should be revered, but as
a commodity that could be sold for profit.
The Bias against indigenous concept of ownership
Other
laws
applicable
to
indigenous
cultural
communities reveal a similar bias against indigenous concept of
ownership the constitution notwithstanding.
The concept of
private right as defined in the Revised Forestry Code excludes
orchards and forests since they are plantations of forest and trees
of economic value. The Kalinga, however, would own the
residential area, the sacred shrine, the burial grounds and possibly
the rice terraces. Likewise, a large part of the ancestral domain is
expressly excluded by the provision which reads: No land of the
public domain 18% in slope or over shall be classified as alienable
and disposable It is obvious that in Gran Cordillera, which is so
mountainous, virtually all populated areas under this provision are
inalienable and indisposable, such that the land cannot be owned
by the inhabitants thereof.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (MARVIC
LEONEN)
On October 29, 1997, the President signed into law
Republic Act No. 8371, otherwise known as the Indigenous
Peoples Rights Act of 1997. Formally, the law is the legislatures
interpretation of some key provisions of the Constitution directly
relating to indigenous peoples particularly Sec. 22, Article II and
Sec. 5, Article XII. IPRA implements these provisions in the
following ways:
Civil and Political Rights
Foremost in the law is its recognition of the right to ondiscrimination of indigenous peoples (IPs). Discrimination against
the cultural minority, as shown in the cases of People vs. Cayat
and Rubi vs. Provincial Board are not only archaic but also

outlawed. IPs are entitled to the same rights and privileges as


citizens and should not be discriminated against in a any form of
employment and should receive more appropriate forms of basic
services. The new law even goes further to ensure the rights of
women, children and civilians in situations of armed conflict.
There is also recognition of IPs right to self-governance. Likewise,
the new law defines more precisely the concept of customary law,
which will be used not only to arrive at an amicable settlement but
also to process it in an acceptable manner that is, the offended
party may opt to use the customary processes rather than have
the offender prosecuted in the courts of law.
Social and Cultural Rights
IPRA requires that the educational system should
become relevant to the needs of children and young people as
well as provide them with cultural opportunities. Cultural diversity
is recognized. The rights to religion as well as to cultural sites and
ceremonies are guaranteed. It is now unlawful to excavate
archaeological sites in order to obtain materials of cultural value
as well as deface or destroy artifacts.
Recognizing Right and Tenure
to Natural Resources
IPRA supplements the private vested rights recognized
by the Constitution by the operation of Carnino, through rights
acquired under the Public Land Act and other similar laws. It also
creates by law other sources as well as a different concept of
ownership. By legislative fiat, ancestral domains and ancestral
lands are now legitimate ways of acquiring ownership. Unlike
emphasis on individual and corporate holders in the Civil Code,
IPRA emphasizes private but community property nature of
ancestral domains. Aside from not being a proper subject of sale
or any other mode of disposition, ancestral domain holders may
claim ownership over the resources within their territory, develop
the land and natural resources, stay in the territory, have the
rights against involuntary displacement, regulate the entry of
migrants, have rights to safe and clean air and water, claim parts
of reservations and use customary law to resolve their conflicts.
These rights however need to be qualified by the ff. provisions: 1)
Sec. 56: Existing Property Rights Regimes; 2) Sec. 57: Granting
only priority rights to members of indigenous cultural
communities; and 3) Sec. 58: Allows the use of ancestral domains
as
critical watersheds,
mangroves,
wildlife
sanctuaries,
wilderness, protected areas when deemed appropriate and with
the full participation of the ICCs/IPs concerned.
Creating a National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
This will act as a mechanism to coordinate
implementation of the law as well as a final authority that has
jurisdiction to issue Certificates of Ancestral Domains/Land Titles.
THE POLICY CONTEXT
This includes the direct action taken by the communities
themselves to ward off encroachments into their territory and
threatening their existence, as assisted/organized by various POs
and NGOs. There are also various responses from post EDSA
governments which reveal the extent of advocacy for indigenous
peoples rights. Lastly, there is the pressure from international
funding institutions like the World Bank and the Asian
Development Bank. Funding for projects had a lot to do with the
changing attitude of the government relinquishing control over
large portions of the public domain and recognizing rights of
upland migrants.
THE DANGERS
IPRA is not the solution to the various problems of IPs.
Being a national law, it is too general to address the diversity of
the indigenous communities. The premise of national law is that it
can meet local problems with generalized solutions. The premise
of cultural diversity is able to find creative and unique approaches
to the issues as they define them.
The law can also be
diversionary.
It can involve peoples and communities into
concerns and activities which may far be removed from those
which might better address their concerns bureaucratisation.
Lastly, the present language and the new concept of IPRA
encourage litigation.
Even those situations where the law
prescribes customary law will require some form of litigation to

determine for instance whether a particular form is customary, to


whom it will apply, etc. Normally, it is the party that has the most
resources that has the greater possibility of getting a better
judgment. Bsid4es, courts of law provide a culture that is radically
different from that of the indigenous community.
THE POTENTIALS
Our own experience has shown that the laws even when
they find their way to hegemony, is not a monolith that could not
be challenged. It adjusts to political advocacy. They also provide
for the condition for change. The use of law in many situations of
IPs therefore should be marginal.
Important but marginal
nonetheless.
Advocates need to be more strategic to
understand the long term needs and aspirations of the community
as the latter defines them. The challenge for advocates is to know
when to use the law, not so much to maintain the status quo, but
to gain leverage for a more just and fundamental change. Its
potential lies not in what it really contains, but in how we decide
and when to use it.
How is IPRA different from Carino?
(1)

Carino does not distinguish between ancestral land and


ancestral domain. IPRA does, however.

(2)

Carino refers only to land. IPRA refers to land as well as the


natural resources above and below it.

(3)

IPRA is applicable only to indigenous peoples.


Carino
applies to all persons who can prove that their
predecessors-in-interest
occupied
lands
since
time
immemorial.

II.

LAND CLASSIFICATION
Requires a positive act from the government
REPUBLIC v. IMPERIAL
February 11, 1999

Exclusive prerogative of the Executive Department through the


Office of the President, more specifically, the Director of the Land
Management Bureau.
The decision of the Director, when
approved by the DENR Secretary, as to questions of fact, is
conclusive upon the courts.
Lands of the public domain are classified into 4 categories:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)

Agricultural land
Forest or timber land
Mineral land
National parks
THE 1987 CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE XII
National Economy and Patrimony

Section 3.
Lands of the public domain are classified into
agricultural, forest or timber, mineral lands, and national parks.
Agricultural lands of the public domain may be further classified
by law according to the uses which they may be devoted.
Alienable lands of the public domain shall be limited to agricultural
lands. Private corporations or associations may not hold such
alienable lands of the public domain except by lease, for a period
not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than
twenty-five years, and not to exceed one thousand hectares in
area. Citizens of the Philippines may lease not more than five
hundred hectares, or acquire not more than twelve hectares
thereof by purchase, homestead, or grant.
Taking into account the requirements of conservation,
ecology, and development, and subject to the requirements of
agrarian reform, the Congress shall determine, by law, the size of
lands of the public domain which may be acquired, developed,
held, or leased and the conditions therefor.

Section 4.
The Congress shall, as soon as possible,
determine by law the specific limits of forest lands and national
parks, marking clearly their boundaries on the ground. Thereafter,
such forest lands and national parks shall be conserved and may
not be increased nor diminished, except by law. The Congress
shall provide, for such period as it may determine, measures to
prohibit logging in endangered forests and watershed areas.
A.

Classes of Lands

Public Agricultural Lands


COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 141*
AN ACT TO AMEND AND COMPILE THE LAWS RELATIVE TO LANDS
OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
SEC. 6. The President, upon the recommendation of the
Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce, shall from time to time
classify the lands of the public domain into
(a)
Alienable or disposable,
(b)
Timber, and
(c)
Mineral lands,
and may at any time and in a like manner transfer such lands from
one class to another, for the purposes of their administration and
disposition.
SEC. 7. For the purposes of the administration and disposition of
alien-able or disposable public lands, the President, upon
recommendation by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce,
shall from time to time declare what lands are open to disposition
or concession under this Act.
SEC. 58. Any tract of land of the public domain which, being
neither timber nor mineral land, is intended to be used for
residential purposes or for commercial, industrial, or other
productive purposes other than agricultural, and is open to
disposition or concession, shall be disposed of under the provisions of this chapter and not otherwise.
SEC. 59. The lands disposable under this title shall be classified as
follows:
(a)
Lands reclaimed by the Government by dredging, filing,
or other means;
(b)
Foreshore;
(may be disposed of only by lease
Imperial v. CA; Feb. 11, 1999)
(c)
Marshy lands or lands covered with water bordering
upon the shores or banks of navigable lakes or rivers;
(d)
Lands not included in any of the foregoing classes.
Rules on the Disposition and Exploitation of Agricultural
Lands of the Public Domain:

Qualified individual:

may acquire a maximum of 12 hectares

may lease a maximum of 500 hectares

Private corporations or associations:

may not acquire

may lease a maximum of 1,000 hectares for a period of


25 years, renewable for another 25 years

Aliens:

cannot acquire nor lease


Rules on the Disposition and Exploitation of Private Lands
(lands of private ownership):

Filipino citizens:

may acquire

may lease

Filipino corporations or associations:

may acquire

may lease

Aliens:

cannot acquire, but may lease

however, the lease must not be to such an


extent that the lessor is virtually deprived of all
rights of ownership and is almost tantamount to
an alienation of property

exceptions:
a. hereditary succession

b.

former natural-born Filipino citizens


i.
urban land = 5,000 m2
ii.
rural land = 3 hectares

MONTANO V. INSULAR GOVERNMENT


12 PHIL. 572
Lands under the ebb and flow of the tide, being reserved
for public uses of navigation and fishery and subject to
Congressional regulation, are not understood as included in the
term "public lands" when used in general laws authorizing private
appropriation thereof as homesteads or otherwise. Swamps and
marshes not available for the purpose of navigation or public uses
may be subjected to private appropriation although covered by
the tides.
Of this character are the manglar or mangrove swamps
of the Philippine Islands in which grow aquatic trees cultivated and
in common use for domestic or commercial purposes. Such
manglares when converted by man into fisheries and used as such
for the statutory period are the subject of private ownership.

JOCSON V. DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY


39 PHIL. 560
That manglares are not forestry lands, within the
meaning of the words "timber lands" in the Act of Congress, has
been definitely decided by this court in the case of Montano vs.
Insular Government. Whatever may have been the meaning of
the term "forestry" under the Spanish law, the Act of Congress of
July 1st, 1902, classifies the public lands in the Philippine Islands
as timber, mineral or agricultural lands, and all public lands that
are not timber or mineral lands are necessarily agricultural public
lands, whether they are used as nipa swamps, manglares
[mangroves], fisheries or ordinary farm lands.
ANKRON V. GOVERNMENT
40 PHIL. 10 (1919)
The Torrens system does not provide for registration of
public forestry and mineral lands. Under certain conditions, public
agricultural lands may be registered. (Sec. 54, Act No. 926.)
Considering that it is a matter of public knowledge that a
majority of the lands in the Philippine Islands are agricultural
lands, the courts have a right to presume, in the absence of
evidence to the contrary, that in each case the lands are
agricultural lands. The mere fact that a tract of land has trees
upon it or has mineral wealth within it, is not in itself sufficient to
declare that one is forestry land and the other mineral land. There
must be some proof of the extent and present or future value of
the forestry and of the mineral. The proof must show that it is
more valuable for the forestry or the minerals which it contains
than it is for agricultural purposes.
Whether the particular land is agricultural, forestry, or mineral,
is a question to be settled in each particular case, unless the
Bureau of Forestry has, under the authority conferred upon it,
prior to the intervention of private interests, set
aside for forestry or mineral purposes the particular land in
question.
HEIRS OF AMUNATEGUI V. DIRECTOR
126 SCRA 69
A forested area classified as forest land of the public
domain does not lose such classification simply because loggers
or settlers may have stripped it of its forest cover. "Forest lands"
do not have to be on mountains or in out of the way places.
Swampy areas covered by mangrove trees, nipa palms, and other
tress growing in brackish or sea water may also be classified as
forest land. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or
status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land
actually looks like. Unless and until the land classified as "forest"
is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that it may
form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain,
the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply.

Possession of forest lands, no matter how long, cannot ripen


into private ownership. A positive act of Government is needed to
declassify land which is classified as forest and to convert it into
alienable or disposable land for agricultural or other purposes.
REPUBLIC V. DE PORKAN
151 SCRA 88
It is the exclusive prerogative of the Executive
Department of the Government to classify public lands. The
classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does
not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like.
Since the disputed tract of public land is neither timber nor
mineral lands, the same is alienable or open to disposition as
public agricultural lands, under Section 11, C.A. 141 thru
homestead settlement or free patent.
Where the possession of a public land dates back to the time of
the Spanish colonial period, such possession of the said tract of
public land has attained the character and duration prescribed by
law as the equivalent of an express grant from the Government.
The mandate of the law itself is that the possessors "shall be
conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions
essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a
certificate of title" and by legal fiction, the land ceases to be
public and thus becomes private land. Title over the land has
vested on the possessor so as to segregate the land from the
mass of the public domain. It is not necessary that a certificate of
title should be issued in order that said grant may be sustained by
the courts, an application therefor being sufficient.
When a homesteader has complied with all the terms and
conditions which entitle him to a patent for a particular tract of
public land, he acquires a vested interest therein, and is to be
regarded as the equitable owner thereof, and once the right to a
patent has become vested in a purchaser of public lands, it is
equivalent to a patent actually issued. From that point the land
ceases to be part of the public domain and becomes private. The
Director of Lands is divested of control and possession when
homestead applications are approved and recorded.
Forest Lands
May 19, 1975
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 705
FORESTRY REFORM CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES
Sec. 15. Topography. - No land of the public domain eighteen per
cent (18%) in slope or over shall be classified as alienable and
disposable, nor any forest land fifty per cent (50%) in slope or
over, as grazing land.
Lands eighteen per cent (18%) in slope or over which
have already been declared as alienable and disposable shall be
reverted to the classification of forest lands by the Department
Head, to form part of the forest reserves, unless they are already
covered by existing titles or approved public land application, or
actually occupied openly, continuously, adversely and publicly for
a period of not less than thirty (30) years as of the effectivity of
this Code, where the occupant is qualified for a free patent under
the Public Land Act: Provided, That said lands, which are not yet
part of a well-established communities, shall be kept in a
vegetative condition sufficient to prevent erosion and adverse
effects on the lowlands and streams: Provided, further, That when
public interest so requires, steps shall be taken to expropriate,
cancel defective titles, reject public land application, or eject
occupants thereof.
Sec. 16. Areas needed for forest purposes. - The following lands,
even if they are below eighteen per cent (18%) in slope, are
needed for forest purposes, and may not, therefore, be classified
as alienable and disposable land, to wit:
1)
Areas less than 250 hectares which are far from, or are
not contiguous with, any certified alienable and disposable land;
2)
Isolated patches of forest of at least five (5) hectares
with rocky terrain, or which protect a spring for communal use;
3)
Areas which have already been reforested;
4)
Areas within forest concessions which are timbered or
have good residual stocking to support an existing, or approved to
be established, wood processing plant;

5)
Ridge tops and plateaus regardless of size found within,
or surrounded wholly or partly by, forest lands where headwaters
emanate;
6)
Appropriately located road-rights-or-way;
7)
Twenty-meter strips of land along the edge of the normal
high waterline of rivers and streams with channels of at least five
(5) meters wide;
8)
Strips of mangrove or swamplands at least twenty (20)
meters wide, along shorelines facing oceans, lakes, and other
bodies of water, and strips of land at least twenty (20) meters
wide facing lakes;
9)
Areas needed for other purposes, such as national parks,
national historical sites, game refuges and wildlife sanctuaries,
forest station sites, and others of public interest; and
10)
Areas previously proclaimed by the President as forest
reserves, national parks, game refuge, bird sanctuaries, national
shrines, national historic sites:
Provided, That in case an area falling under any of the foregoing
categories shall have been titled in favor of any person, steps
shall be taken, if public interest so requires, to have said title
cancelled or amended, or the titled area expropriated.
Mineral Lands
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7942
Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
Sec. 3. Definition of Terms. - As used in and for purposes of this
Act, the following terms, whether in singular or plural, shall mean:
(aa)
"Minerals" refers to all naturally occurring inorganic
substance in solid, gas, liquid, or any intermediate state excluding
energy materials such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, radioactive
materials, and geothermal energy.
(ab)
"Mineral agreement" means a contract between the
government and a contractor, involving mineral productionsharing agreement, co-production agreement, or joint-venture
agreement.
(ac)
"Mineral land" means any area where mineral
resources are found.
(ad)
"Mineral resource" means any concentration of
minerals/rocks with potential economic value.
(ae)
"Mining area" means a portion of the contract area
identified by the contractor for purposes of development, mining,
utilization, and its sites for support facilities or in the immediate
vicinity of the mining operations.
(af)
"Mining operation" means mining activities involving
exploration, feasibility, development, utilization, and processing.
National Parks
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7586
National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992
Sec. 4. Definition of Terms. - For purposes of this Act, the
following terms shall be defined as follows:
(b)
"Protected area" refers to identified portions of land
and water set aside by reason of their unique physical and
biological significance, managed to enhance biological diversity
and protected against destructive human exploitation;
(c)
"Buffer zones" are identified areas outside the
boundaries of and immediately adjacent to designated protected
areas pursuant to Section 8 that need special development control
in order to avoid or minimize harm to the protected area;
(e)
"National park" refers to a forest reservation
essentially of natural wilderness character which has been
withdrawn from settlement, occupancy or any form of exploitation
except in conformity with approved management plan and set
aside as such exclusively to conserve the area or preserve the
scenery, the natural and historic objects, wild animals and plants
therein and to provide enjoyment of these features in such areas;
(f)
"Natural monument" is a relatively small area focused
on protection of small features to protect or preserve nationally

significant natural features on account of their special interest or


unique characteristics;

Offices (PENROs) and Community Environment and Natural


Resources Offices (CENROs) where NIPAS areas are located;

(g)
"Natural biotic area" is an area set aside to allow the
way of life of societies living in harmony with the environment to
adopt to modern technology at their pace;

(d)
Within three (3) years from the effectivity of this Act, the
DENR shall study and review each area tentatively composing the
System as to its suitability or nonsuitability for preservation as
protected area and inclusion in the System according to the
categories established in Section 3 hereof and report its findings
to the President as soon as each study is completed. The study
must include in each area:

(h)
"Natural park" is a relatively large area not materially
altered by human activity where extractive resources uses are not
allowed and maintained to protect outstanding natural and scenic
areas of national or international significance for scientific,
educational and recreational use;
(i)
"Protected landscapes/seascapes" are areas of
national significance which are characterized by the harmonious
interaction of man and land while providing opportunities for
public enjoyment through recreation and tourism within the
normal lifestyle and economic activity of these areas;
(j)
"Resources reserve" is an extensive and relatively
isolated and uninhabited are normally with difficult access
designated as such to protect natural resources of the area for
future use and prevent or contain development activities that
could affect the resource pending the establishment of objectives
which are based upon appropriate knowledge and planning;
(k)
"Strict nature reserve" is an area possessing some
outstanding ecosystem, features and/or species of flora and fauna
of national scientific importance maintained to protect nature and
maintain processes in an undisturbed state in order to have
ecologically representative examples of the natural environment
available for scientific study, environmental monitoring,
education, and for the maintenance of genetic resources in a
dynamic and evolutionary state;
(l)
"Tenured migrant communities" are communities within
protected areas which have actually and continuously occupied
such areas for five (5) years before the designation of the same as
protected areas in accordance with this Act and are solely
dependent therein for subsistence; and
(m)
"Wildlife sanctuary" comprises an area which assures
the natural conditions necessary to protect nationally significant
species, groups of species, biotic communities or physical features
of the environment where these may require specific human
manipulation for their perpetuation.
Sec. 5. Establishment and Extent of the System. - The
establishment and operationalization of the System shall involve
the following:
(a)
All areas or islands in the Philippine proclaimed,
designated or set aside, pursuant to a law, presidential decree,
presidential proclamation or executive order as national park,
game refuge, bird and wildlife sanctuary, wilderness are, strict
nature reserve, watershed, mangrove reserve, fish sanctuary,
natural and historical landmark, protected and managed
landscape/seascapes as well as identified virgin forests before the
effectivity of this Act are hereby designated as initial components
of the System. The initial components of the System shall be
governed by existing laws, rules and regulations, not inconsistent
with this Act;
(b)
Within one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act, the
DENR shall submit to the Senate and the House of
Representatives a map and legal description or natural boundaries
of each protected area initially comprising the System. Such maps
and legal descriptions shall, by virtue of this Act, constitute the
official documentary representation of the entire System, subject
to such changes as Congress deems necessary;
(c)
All DENR records pertaining to said protected areas,
including maps and legal descriptions or natural boundaries,
copies of rules and regulations governing them, copies of public
notices of, and reports submitted to Congress regarding pending
additions, eliminations, or modifications shall be made available to
the public. These legal documents pertaining to protected areas
shall also be available to the public in the respective DENR
Regional Offices, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources

(1)
A forest occupants survey;
(2)
An ethnographic study;
(3)
A protected area resource profile;
(4)
Land use plans done in coordination with the respective
Regional Development Councils; and
(5)
Such other background studies as will be sufficient bases
for selection.
The DENR shall:
(i)
Notify the public of the proposed action through
publication in a newspaper of general circulation, and such other
means as the System deems necessary in the area or areas in the
vicinity of the affected land thirty (30) days prior to the public
hearing.
(ii)
Conduct public hearing at the locations nearest to the
area affected;
(iii)
At the least thirty (30) days prior to the date of hearing
advise all local government units (LGUs) in the affected areas,
national agencies concerned, people's organizations and
nongovernment organizations and invite such officials to submit
their views on the proposed action at the hearing not later than
thirty (30) days following the date of the hearing; and
(iv)
Give due consideration to the recommendations at the
public hearing; and provide sufficient explanation for his
recommendations contrary to the general sentiments expressed in
the public hearing;
(e)
Upon receipt of the recommendations of the DENR the
President shall issue a presidential proclamation designating the
recommended areas as protected areas and providing for
measures for their protection until such time when Congress shall
have enacted a law finally declaring such recommended areas as
part of the integrated protected area system; and
(f)
Thereafter, the President shall send to the Senate and
the House of Representatives his recommendations with respect
to the designations as protected areas or reclassification of each
area on which review has been completed, together with maps
and legal description of boundaries. The President, in his
recommendation, may propose the alteration of existing
boundaries of any or all proclaimed protected areas, additional of
any contiguous area of public land of predominant physical and
biological value. Nothing contained herein shall limit the President
to propose. as part of this recommendation to Congress,
additional areas which have not been designated, proclaimed or
set aside by law, presidential decree, proclamation or executive
order as protected area/s.
Sec. 6. Additional Areas to be Integrated to the System. Notwithstanding the establishment of the initial component of the
System, the Secretary shall propose the inclusion in the System of
additional
areas
with
outstanding
physical
features,
anthropological significance and biological diversity in accordance
with the provisions of Section 5(d).
Sec. 7. Disestablishment as Protected Area. - When in the
opinion of the DENR a certain protected area should be withdrawn
or disestablished, or its boundaries modified as warranted by a
study and sanctioned by the majority of the members of the
respective boards for the protected area as herein established in
Section 11, it shall, in turn, advice Congress. Disestablishment of a
protected area under the System or modification of its boundary
shall take effect pursuant to an act of Congress. Thereafter, said
area shall revert to the category of public forest unless otherwise
classified by Congress: Provided, however, That after
disestablishment by Congress, the Secretary may recommend the
transfer of such disestablished area to other government agencies
to serve other priority programs of national interest.

(4)
B.

The Registry of Deeds of Makati shall have jurisdiction


over the municipalities of Makati and Muntinlupa.

The Power to Classify Lands


EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 292
Title XIV - ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

Sec. 4.

Powers and Functions. - The Department shall:

(10)

Promulgate rules and regulations necessary to:


(a)
Accelerate cadastral and emancipation patent
surveys, land use planning and public land
titling:

(13)
Assume responsibility for the assessment, development,
protection, licensing and regulation as provided for by law, where
applicable, of all energy and natural resources; the regulation and
monitoring of service contractors, licensees, lessees, and permit
for the extraction, exploration, development and use of natural
resources products; the implementation of programs and
measures with the end in view of promoting close collaboration
between the government and the private sector; the effective and
efficient classification and subclassification of lands of the public
domain; and the enforcement of natural resources and
environmental laws, rules and regulations;
(15)
Exercise exclusive jurisdiction on the management and
disposition of all lands of the public domain and serve as the sole
agency responsible for classification, sub-classification, surveying
and titling of lands in consultation with appropriate agencies;
Chapter 4 - THE DEPARTMENT FIELD OFFICES
Sec. 22. Provincial and Community Offices. - The Natural
resources provincial and community offices shall each be headed
by a provincial natural resource officer and community natural
resource officer, respectively. They shall take over the functions of
the district offices of the former Bureau of Forest Development,
Bureau of Lands, and Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences.

Title III - JUSTICE


Chapter I - GENERAL PROVISIONS
Sec. 4. Organizational Structure. - The Department shall consist
of the following constituent units:
(1)
Department proper;
(2)
Office of the Government Corporate Counsel;
(3)
National Bureau of Investigation;
(4)
Public Attorney's Office;
(5)
Board of Pardons and Parole;
(6)
Parole and Probation Administration;
(7)
Bureau of Corrections;
(8)
Land Registration Authority;
(9)
Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems.
Chapter 9 - LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY
Sec. 28. The Land Registration Authority. - The Land Registration
Authority, hereinafter referred to as the Authority shall continue to
exercise its powers and functions under existing law on the Land
Titles and Deeds Registration Authority and those which may
hereafter be provided by law.

C.

The Power to Reclassify

Conversion: act or process of changing the current use of a piece


of agricultural land into some other use as approved by the DAR
Reclassification: agricultural land is changed into residential,
commercial, or industrial purposes by the LGU through a dulyenacted ordinance
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7160
Local Government Code
Sec. 20. Reclassification of Lands. - (a) A city or municipality
may, through an ordinance passed by the sanggunian after
conducting public hearings for the purpose, authorize the
reclassification of agricultural lands and provide for the manner of
their utilization or disposition in the following cases: (1) when the
land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural
purposes as determined by the Department of Agriculture or (2)
where the land shall have substantially greater economic value for
residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, as determined by
the sanggunian concerned: Provided, That such reclassification
shall be limited to the following percentage of the total
agricultural land area at the time of the passage of the ordinance:
(1)

For highly urbanized and independent component cities,


fifteen percent (15%);

(2)
For component cities and first to the third class
municipalities, ten percent (10%); and
(3)
For fourth to sixth class municipalities, five percent (5%):
Provided, further, That agricultural lands distributed to agrarian
reform beneficiaries pursuant to Republic Act Numbered Sixty-six
hundred fifty-seven (R.A. No. 6657). otherwise known as "The
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law", shall not be affected by the
said reclassification and the conversion of such lands into other
purposes shall be governed by Section 65 of said Act.
(b)
The President may, when public interest so requires and
upon recommendation of the National Economic and Development
Authority, authorize a city or municipality to reclassify lands in
excess of the limits set in the next preceding paragraph.
(c)
The local government units shall, in conformity with
existing laws, continue to prepare their respective comprehensive
land use plans enacted through zoning ordinances which shall be
the primary and dominant bases for the future use of land
resources: Provided. That the requirements for food production,
human settlements, and industrial expansion shall be taken into
consideration in the preparation of such plans.
(d)
Where approval by a national agency is required for
reclassification, such approval shall not be unreasonably withheld.
Failure to act on a proper and complete application for
reclassification within three (3) months from receipt of the same
shall be deemed as approval thereof.

Sec. 29. Organizational Structure. - The Authority shall be headed


by an Administrator who shall be assisted by two (2) Deputy
Administrators, all of whom shall be appointed by the President
upon the recommendation of the Secretary.

(e)
Nothing in this Section shall be construed as repealing,
amending, or modifying in any manner the provisions of R.A. No.
6657.

Sec. 30. Reorganization of Registry Offices in the National Capital


Region. - The Registries of Deeds in the National Capital Region is
hereby reorganized as follows:
(1)
The Registries of Deeds in the cities of Manila, Quezon,
Pasay and Caloocan shall be maintained;
(2)
There is hereby created Registries of Deeds in the
Municipalities of Navotas, Malabon, Valenzuela, Mandaluyong, San
Juan, Marikina, Las Pinas and Paranaque with jurisdiction over
their respective municipalities;
(3)
The Registry of Deeds of Pasig shall be maintained with
jurisdiction over the Municipalities of Pasig, Taguig and Pateros;
and

III.
A.

THE TORRENS SYSTEM


General Themes

Modes of Acquiring Land Titles


(1) Public Grant
The conveyance of public land by the government to a
private individual. (i.e. Spanish distribution of Public Lands by
issuance of royal grants and concessions) No public land can be

acquired by private persons without any grant, express or implied


from government.
(2) Adverse Possession / Prescription
A possessor of land who may not be the owner, after the
lapse of a certain period prescribed by law, may assert ownership
thereof as against anyone except the true owner or one with a
better title based on an earlier possession which he had not
abandoned. Occupancy must be actual or physical, adverse, open
and notorious, exclusive, continuous and uninterrupted, coupled
with the fact that it must be under claim of ownership. It does not
run against private lands brought under the operation of the
Torrens system, nor against public lands except where the law
expressly so provides. It is different from laches.
(3) Accretion
When soil and earth, weeds and other deposits are washed
away from other places and gradually settle down and attach
themselves to ones land that used to border on a stream or local
body of water, the owner of the land becomes the owner of the
additional areas thus formed. (Art. 457 NCC) It can not be invoked
for areas fronting the seashore as alluvial formations become part
of the public domain. Does not apply also to lands adjoining a
pond or lagoon with respect to land left dry by the natural
decrease of water. If the accretion is formed with the intervention
of man, becomes part of the public domain. Lands acquired by
accretion must still be registered to confirm and protect the title of
the owner. (also Art 461 NCC re: shifting course of riverbeds)
(4) Reclamation
Filling of submerged land by deliberate act and reclaiming
title thereto. In the Philippines, it is only the government that can
assert title to reclaimed land.
(5) Private Grant or Voluntary Transfer
It is the usual means by which title to land is transferred by
the owner himself or his duly authorized representative. Consent
of the grantor is an essential element. This transfer is given effect
by the voluntary execution of a deed of conveyance in certain
prescribed form, completed by recording or registration thereof in
a public office. The legal title to the land does not pass until the
conveyance shall have been registered or made of public record.
(6) Involuntary Alienation
Transfers that do not require the consent or cooperation of
the owner of the land. (i.e. expropriation, condemnation, eminent
domain, escheats, forfeiture, foreclosure,) Under this mode of
acquiring land, the purchasers are generally subject to the rule of
caveat emptor.
(7) Descent or Device
May be acquired by virtue of hereditary succession to the
estate of a deceased owner, or by devise if appropriate
dispositions were made in the testators will.
(8) Emancipation Patent or Grant
Land Reform:
- P.D. 27 / P.D. 266 making tenant farmers owners of the lands
they till upon the fulfillment of certain conditions.
- R.A. 6657 The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program
(Note, however, that according to Prof. Gatmaytan, CARP falls
under the mode of involuntary alienation.)
Purpose
The purpose of the Torrens system of land registration is
to quiet title to land: to put a stop forever to any question of the
legality of the title, except as to claims which were noted at the
time of registration in the certificate or which might arise
subsequent thereto. (Umali v. CA, Cruz v. CA)

The Torrens system facilitates transactions involving real


estate by giving the public the right to rely upon the face of a
Torrens Certificate of Title, and to dispense of the need of inquiring
further, except when the party concerned had actual knowledge of
facts and circumstances that should impel a reasonably cautious
man to make such further inquiry. (Pino v. CA)
Every registered owner and purchaser holds title to the
property free from all encumbrances not noted in the deed.
In cases where the certificate of title is in the name of
the vendor when the land is sold, in the absence of anything to
excite or arouse suspicion, the vendee has the right to rely on
what appears on the certificate of title and is under no obligation
to look beyond the certificate and investigate the title of the
vendor appearing on the face of the certificate. (Pino v. CA)
It must be stressed that the Torrens system does NOT
create or vest title, and has never been recognized as a mode of
acquiring ownership.

ALBA V. DE LA CRUZ
17 PHIL 49 (1910)
FACTS: Agricultural land in Bulacan was registered in the names
of the petitioners Grey y Alba on Feb. 12 1908 by TC decree. Their
parents had obtained the land by purchase in 1864 as evidenced
by a public document. On June 16, 1908 de la Cruz asked for a
revision of the case on the grounds that he is the absolute owner
of two of the lands in question, alleging that the degree of
registration over those lands was obtained maliciously and
fraudulently. He claimed that he had inherited the lands from his
father who had obtained them via state grant in 1895 as inscribed
in the old register of property in Bulacan. TC reopened the case,
noting that the petitioners neglected to mention de la Cruzs
occupancy of the land, it modified its earlier decree by excluding
the two parcels of land.
ISSUE: WON the TC could reopen the case after its decree of
registration had already been entered earlier.
RULING: No. By express provisions of law all parties are deemed
served notice by publication to all whom it may concern. The
decree of registration must be held to be conclusive against all
persons whether his name is mentioned in the application, notice,
or citation. Such decree could only have been opened on the
ground that it had been obtained by fraud. Proof of constructive
fraud is not sufficient, there must be actual or positive fraud to
reopen a case. This is not so in this situation, the petitioners
honestly believed that the appellee was occupying the lands as
their tenant.
REPUBLIC V. UMALI
171 SCRA 647 (1989)
FACTS: The original sale from the government was tainted with
fraud because it was based on a forgery. However the original OCT
was canceled and valid a TCT was issued. The properties were
subsequently transferred to purchasers in good faith and for
value.
ISSUE: WON the land could revert back to the state.
RULING: No. A certificate of title fraudulently secured is not null
and void ab initio, it was only voidable and the land remained
private as long as title thereto had not been voided. There is no
allegation in the complaint filed by the petitioner that any one of
the defendants was privy to the fraud or that they had acquired
the subject land in bad faith. Their status as innocent transferees
for value was never questioned nor disproved. That status now
accords to them the protection of the torrens system and renders
the titles obtained by them indefeasible and conclusive despite
the flaw in the TCT.
The real purpose of the Torrens system of land
registration is to quiet title to land: to put a stop forever to any
question of the legality of the title except claims which were noted

at the time of registration in the certificate or which may arise


subsequent thereto.

PINO V. CA
198 SCRA 434 (1991)
FACTS: Subject lot was originally owned by spouses Juan and
Rafaela. When Juan died ownership was transferred to Rafaela and
her two sons: Raymundo and Cicero. The lot was then sold to
Rafaela who acquired title thereto. She first sold a portion of the
lot in 1967, then sold the other portion later. Ownership was
eventually sold to Pino who registered the sale in 1970. In 1980
Cicero died and his heirs instituted suit for nullity and
reconveyance against Pino.
ISSUE: WON Pino is an innocent purchaser for value.
RULING: Yes. Where the certificate of title is in the hands of the
vendor when the land is sold, the vendee for value has the right to
rely on what appears on the certificate of title. In the absence of
anything to excite or arouse suspicion, the vendee is under no
obligation to look beyond the certificate and investigate the title
of the vendor.
The main purpose of the Torrens system is to avoid
possible conflicts of title to real estate and to facilitate
transactions relative thereto by giving the public the right to rely
upon the face of the TCT and dispense with the need for inquiring
further except when the party concerned has actual knowledge of
facts and circumstances that should impel a reasonably cautious
man to make such further inquiry.
The action had already prescribed because it was filed
15 years after the sale and issuance of TCT in 1967. The remedy
for the petitioner is to bring action for damages against those who
caused the fraud.

CRUZ V. CA (NOV. 6, 1997)


When the sale was executed, nothing was annotated in
the certificate. There can be no reconveyance because the
property had already been acquired by an innocent purchaser for
value. The real purpose of the Torrens system of land registration
is to quiet title to land and to put a stop forever to any question of
the legality of the title except claims which have been recorded in
the certificate of title. Every registered owner and purchaser holds
the title to the property free from all encumbrances not noted in
the deed.

DELOS REYES V. CA
285 SCRA 81 (1998)
FACTS: In 1942 de los Reyes sold only 10,000 sqm to Penas who
in 1943 registered all 13,405sqm. After 4 subsequent sales the
land was eventually acquired by Cainas. In 1978 the heirs of de
los Reyes filed action for reconveyance.
ISSUE: WON an action for reconveyance filed after more than 30
years may prosper against the holder for value.
RULING: NO. When respondents Cainas as fourth transferee in
ownership dealt with the land in question they were not required
to go beyond what appeared in the TCT in the name of their
transferor. They were innocent purchasers for value having
acquired the property in due course and in good faith under a
clean title i.e. there were no annotations of encumbrances or
notices of lis pendens at the back. They had no reason to doubt
the validity of the title to the property. It would be the height of
injustice if a valid transaction transferring property to them would
be set aside just to accommodate parties who heedlessly slept on
their rights for more then a third of a century- having brought
action to recover the land only after 36 years from the accrual of
their cause of action.

HEIRS OF DELA CRUZ V. CA

FACTS: Petitioners were in actual, physical, continuous and open


possession of the land since 1959, when their predecessor in
interest allegedly bought it from the Madrids. Petitioners only had
a photocopy of the deed of sale. The Madrid brothers allegedly
sold the land to Marquez in 1976. The Madrids and Marques
obtained TCTs in 1986, the petitioners then filed this action for
reconveyance and damages in the same year.
RULING: The fact that the Madrids and Marquez were able to
secure their respective TCTs did not operate to vest
upon them ownership of the property. The Torrens system does
not create or vest title. It has never been recognized as a mode of
acquiring ownership especially considering the fact that both the
Madrids and Marquezes obtained their respective TCTs only in
1986 27 long years after petitioners first took possessions of the
land. If the Madrids and the Marquezes wished to assert their
ownership they should have filed a judicial action for recovery of
possession and not merely to have the land registered under their
respective names. The Madrids long inaction or passivity in
asserting their rights will preclude them from recovering the
same. Marquez is also not an innocent purchaser for value as he
must have been fully aware of another persons possession of the
lot he purchased. One who buys without checking the vendors
title takes all the risks and losses consequent to such failure.
Nature of proceedings
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. This is
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 since all persons are considered as
notified by the publication required by law. (Cacho v. CA) Note
however, that in instances where the property sought to be
registered is occupied by persons other than the registrant,
mere notice by publication is not sufficient: they must be given
actual and personal notice. Moreover, an allegation of occupancy
by such persons must be stated in the petition for registration.
Failure to comply with these requirements will render the issued
decree susceptible to a petition for reopening or review of the
decree of registration. See
subsequent discussion under Part IV. F. (4).
A decree of registration acquires finality and thereby
becomes indefeasible upon the lapse of one year from entry
thereof. Once such decree becomes final, it is 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. (Cacho v. CA)

SAJONAS V. CA
FACTS: Uychocde spouses sold the land to spouses Sajonas in
1984 who had their adverse claim duly registered. Upon full
payment, the sale was registered in Aug. 28, 1985. However the
land was also subject to a notice of levy and execution in Feb 12,
1985 for debts owed by the Uychocdes to Pilares. The notice of
levy and execution was carried over to the new title. Sajonas filed
a complaint to have the notice removed from the new title. Noting
their earlier claim, the TC agreed. Their decision was reversed by
the CA on the grounds that PD1529 limits the validity of adverse
claims to 30 days..
ISSUE: WON the earlier adverse claim was invalid.
RULING: No. Sec. 70 of PD 1529 does not the limit the effectivity
of adverse claims to 30 days. To interpret the effectivity period as
absolutely limited to 30 days defeats the purpose why the law
provides for the remedy of inscription of adverse claim.
Annotation is a measure designated to protect the interest of a
person over a piece of real property where the registration of such
interest or right is not otherwise provided for by Act 496, now PD
1529. It serves as warning to third parties dealing with the said
property that someone is claiming an interest on the same or a
better right then registered owner. Under the Torrens System

registration is the operative act which gives validity to the transfer


or creates a lien upon the land. A person dealing with registered
land is not required to go behind the register to determine the
condition of the property. He is only charged with notice of the
burdens on the property which are noted on the face of the
register or certificate of title.

SECTION 9.
Qualifications of Registers of Deeds and
Deputy Registers of Deeds. No person shall be appointed
Register of Deeds unless he has been admitted to the practice of
law in the Philippines and shall have been actually engaged in
such practice for at least three years or has been employed for a
like period in any branch of government the functions of which
include the registration of property.

CACHO V. CA

The Deputy Register of Deeds shall be a member of the


Philippine Bar. Provided, however, that no Register of Deeds or
Deputy Register of Deeds holding office as such upon the passage
of this Decree shall by reason hereof, be removed from office or
be demoted to a lower category or scale of salary except for cause
and upon compliance with due process as provided for by law.

In the case of Cacho v. US decided in 1912, the court


reserved making a final decision on the registration of two parcels
of land bought by decedent Cacho. Registration decrees were
allegedly subsequently issued in 1915. In 1978 heir Cacho filed a
petition for reconstitution of title. After first going up to the SC,
reconstitution was granted by the TC over RP and National Steel
as well as the city of Iligan opposition. CA reversed, requiring
petitioner to first fulfill the conditions set forth in the Cacho v. US
decision. .
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 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 publication required by law. Further more, 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) there is no doubt that decrees
of registration have in fact been issued in the case at the bench.
Also, 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 Cacho v. US would be
tantamount to setting aside the decrees which cannot be
reopened after the lapse of one year from the entry thereof. Such
action would definitely run counter to the very purpose of the
Torrens System.

SPOUSES LEBURADA V. LRA


287 SCRA 333 (1998)
FACTS: TC ordered LRA to issue a degree of registration in favor of
the spouses Leburada. LRA refused on the grounds that its
immediate issuance would result in the duplication of titles over
the same parcel of land. LRA found that the title issued for the lot
could not be found because the TCT covering them was
incomplete/ unreadable. It was waiting for better copies from the
Pasig register of deeds before proceeding further.
ISSUE: WON LRA can be compelled by mandamus to issue the
decree.
RULING:
NO. A judgment of registration does not become
executory until after the expiration of one year after the entry of
the final decree of registration. True, land registration is an in rem
proceeding and is binding upon and conclusive against all persons
including the government, however a court has no jurisdiction to
order the registration of a land already decreed in an earlier land
registration case. The LRA is mandated to refer to the TC any
doubt it may have in regard to the preparation and issuance of a
decree of registration. As the issuance of the decree is a judicial
act and not merely ministerial, it may not be compelled through
mandamus. Given the above, that LRA hesitates to issue a decree
of registration is understandable. (But to avoid multiplicity of suits,
SC ordered LRA to submit its report to the TC within 60 days)
B.

The Land Registration Administration

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1529


AMENDING AND CODIFYING THE LAWS RELATIVE TO
REGISTRATION OF PROPERTY AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

SECTION 10.
General functions of Registers of Deeds.
The office of the Register of Deeds constitutes a public
repository of records of instruments affecting registered or
unregistered lands and chattel mortgages in the province or city
wherein such office is situated.
It shall be the duty of the Register of Deeds to
immediately register an instrument presented for registration
dealing with real or personal property which complies with all the
requisites for registration. He shall see to it that said instrument
bears the proper documentary and science stamps and that the
same are properly cancelled. If the instrument is not registrable,
he shall forthwith deny registration thereof and inform the
presentor of such denial in writing, stating the ground or reason
therefor, and advising him of his right to appeal by consulta in
accordance with Section 117 of this Decree.

SECTION 11.
Discharge of duties of Register of Deeds
in case of vacancy, etc.
(1)
Until a regular Register of Deeds shall have been
appointed for a province or city, or in case of vacancy in the office,
or upon the occasion of the absence, illness, suspension, or
inability of the Register of Deeds to discharge his duties, said
duties shall be performed by the following officials, in the order in
which they are mentioned below, unless the Secretary of Justice
designates another official to act temporarily in his place:
(a)
For the province or city where there is a Deputy Register
of Deeds, by said Deputy Register of Deeds, or by the second
Deputy Register of Deeds, should there be one;
(b)
For the province or city where there is no Deputy or
second Deputy Register of Deeds, by the Provincial or City Fiscal,
or any Assistant Fiscal designated by the Provincial or City Fiscal;
(2)
In case of absence, disability or suspension of the
Register of Deeds without pay, or in case of vacancy in the
position, the Secretary of Justice may, in his discretion, authorize
the payment of an additional compensation to the official acting
as Register of Deeds, such additional compensation together with
his actual salary not to exceed the salary authorized for the
position thus filled by him.
(3)
In case of a newly-created province or city and pending
establishment of a Registry of Deeds and the appointment of a
regular Register of Deeds for the new province or city, the
Register of Deeds of the mother province or city shall be the exofficio Register of Deeds for said new province or city.
SECTION 12.
Owner's Index; reports. There shall be
prepared in every Registry an index system which shall contain
the names of all registered owners alphabetically arranged. For
this purpose, an index card which shall be prepared in the name of
each registered owner which shall contain a list of all lands
registered in his name.
The Register of Deeds shall submit to the Land
Registration Commission within ten days after the month to which
they pertain his monthly reports on collections and
accomplishments. He shall also submit to the Commission at the
end of December of each year, an annual inventory of all titles
and instruments in his Registry.

SECTION 13.
Chief Geodetic Engineer. There shall be a
Chief Geodetic Engineer in the Land Registration Commission who
shall be the technical adviser of the Commission on all matters
involving surveys and shall be responsible to him for all plats,
plans and works requiring the services of a geodetic engineer in
said office. He shall perform such other functions as may, from
time to time, be assigned to him by the Commissioner.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 292


ADMINISTRATIVE CODE OF 1987
BOOK IV, TITLE III
CHAPTER 9 LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY
SECTION 28.
The Land Registration Authority. The
Land Registration Authority, hereinafter referred to as the
Authority shall continue to exercise its powers and functions under
existing law on the Land Titles and Deeds Registration Authority
and those which may hereafter be provided by law.
SECTION 29.
Organizational Structure. The Authority
shall be headed by an Administrator who shall be assisted by two
(2) Deputy Administrators, all of whom shall be appointed by the
President upon the recommendation of the Secretary.
SECTION 30.
Reorganization of Registry Offices in the
National Capital Region. The Registries of Deeds in the
National Capital Region is hereby reorganized as follows:
(1)
The Registries of Deeds in the cities of Manila, Quezon,
Pasay and Caloocan shall be maintained;
(2)
There is hereby created Registries of Deeds in the
Municipalities of Navotas, Malabon, Valenzuela, Mandaluyong, San
Juan, Marikina, Las Pias and Paraaque with jurisdiction over
their respective municipalities;
(3)
The Registry of Deeds of Pasig shall be maintained with
jurisdiction over the Municipalities of Pasig, Taguig and Pateros;
and
(4)
The Registry of Deeds of Makati shall have
jurisdiction over the municipalities of Makati and Muntinlupa.

C. JURISDICTION OF THE COURTS


BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 129
AN ACT REORGANIZING THE JUDICIARY, APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES (As
Amended by RA 7691)
SECTION 34.
Delegated jurisdiction in cadastral and
land registration cases. Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal
Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts may be assigned by
the Supreme Court to hear and determine cadastral or land
registration cases covering lots where there is no controversy or
opposition, or contested lots the value of which does not exceed
P100,000, such value to be ascertained by the affidavit of the
claimant or by agreement of the respective claimants if there are
more than one, or from the corresponding tax declaration of the
real property. Their decisions in these cases shall be appealable in
the same manner as decisions of the Regional Trial Courts.
CIRCULAR NO. 38-97
SUBJECT:
Clarification of the Extent of Delegated
Jurisdiction under Administrative Circular No. 6-93-A of
METCs, MTCCs, MTCs and MCTCs to Hear and Determine
Cadastral and Land Registration Cases
The clear tenor and intention of Administrative Circular No. 6-93-A
is that only original cadastral or land registration cases are
covered. The jurisdiction of the First Level Courts, being merely
delegated, should be limited to what is expressly mentioned in the
delegation.
1.
There are limits to the delegation, i.e., either the subject
matter is an uncontested lot or if contested the value of the lot
should not exceed One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos.
There will be difficulty in the determination of these limits if and

when the First Level Courts are required to exercise delegated


jurisdiction over petitions subsequent to original registration.
2.
A First Level Court should not be placed in a situation
where, in disposing of a matter subsequent to registration, it will
have to consult the records of another Court which granted the
original registration.
3.
To require First Level Courts to handle petitions after
original registration would unduly increase their dockets already
loaded with cases covered by RA 7691, the law on their expanded
jurisdiction.
Therefore, matters subsequent to the original registration
determined by Second Level Courts, including petitions for
reconstitution of lost titles, should not be unloaded to the First
Level Courts. The Second Level Courts are hereby directed to take
cognizance of and exercise jurisdiction over such matters.
Q:

Which court has jurisdiction over matters subsequent to the


original registration?

A:

RTC

Such cases are to be filed and entitled in the original case in


which the decree of registration was entered. (Sec. 108, PD
1529)

These include the ff:

Petition to compel surrender of withheld owners


duplicate certificate of title

Petition for amendment or alteration of certificates

Petition for issuance of a new owners duplicate


certificate in case of loss or theft

Petition for reconstitution of lost or destroyed OCT

MOSCOSO VS. COURT OF APPEALS


FACTS: Petitioner applied for land registration of a 1,147 square
meters residential lot, claiming that she inherited the same from
her father. The written opposition however substantially allege
that the oppositors acquired ownership of the same through a
deed of donation.
The trial court rendered a decision directing that the title
over the land should be registered in the name of the coownership of: (1) Andrea M. Moscoso for 13/14 share; and (2)
Maximina L. Moron for 1/14 share, subject to the reservation of a
road right-of-way in favor of the government of the Philippines.
Maximinas share was based on a power of attorney executed in
her favor which was treated as a recognition of her status as a
natural child.
ISSUE: WON the Court of First Instance, acting as a land
registration court, has jurisdiction to pass upon the issue of
whether the oppositor is the acknowledged natural child of
Pascual Monge
HELD: untenable
RULING: Firstly, the otherwise rigid rule that the jurisdiction of the
Land Registration Court, being special and limited in character and
proceedings thereon summary in nature, does not extend to cases
involving issues properly litigable in other independent suits or
ordinary civil actions. Such is based the following premises: (1)
Mutual consent of the parties or their acquiescence in submitting
the aforesaid issues for the determination by the court in the
registration proceedings; (2) Full opportunity given to the parties
in the presentation of their respective sides of the issues and of
the evidence in support thereto; (3) Consideration by the court
that the evidence already of record is sufficient and adequate for
rendering a decision upon these issues.
In addition, considerations of speedy justice and
avoidance of multiplicity of suits impel Us to hold and rule that
under the facts of the case at bar, the trial court, acting as a land
registration court, may adjudicate the land sought to be
registered to either or both of the applicant and oppositor, in
whole or in part, based on evidence submitted to the court

showing that the party has proper title for registration. (Section
37, Act 496.)
In any event, as the Supreme Court said in Nicanor T.
Santos vs. Rosa Ganayo, L-31854, Sept. 9, 1972, 116 SCRA 431,
"Whether a particular matter should be resolved by the Court of
First Instance in the exercise of its general jurisdiction or of its
limited jurisdiction as a special court (Probate, Land Registration,
etc.) is in reality not a jurisdictional question. It is in essence a
procedural question involving a mode of practice which may be
waived."
OBITER: The proceedings for the registration of title to land under
the Torrens system is an action in rem, not in personam, hence,
personal notice to all claimants of the res is not necessary to give
the court jurisdiction to deal with and dispose of the res, and
neither may lack of such personal notice vitiate or invalidate the
decree or title issued in a registration proceeding, for the State, as
sovereign over the land situated within it, may provide for the
adjudication of title in a proceeding in rem or in the nature of a
proceeding in rem, which shall be binding upon all persons, known
or unknown.

AVERIA JR. VS. CAGUIOA


146 SCRA 459 (1986)
FACTS: The petitioner-oppositor refused to participate in the
hearing of the registration proceedings below, claiming the
respondent court, acting as a cadastral court, had no competence
to act upon the said case under Section 112 of Act 496, because
of the absence of unanimity among the parties as required under
Section 112 of the Land Registration Act. The respondent court
then held the hearing ex parte and later rendered a decision
ordering the registration prayed for on the basis of the evidence
presented by the private respondent herein.
ISSUE: whether or not the court has jurisdiction to order the
registration of a deed of sale which is opposed on the ground of an
antecedent contract to sell.
HELD: Yes. Section 2 of P.D. No. 1529 has eliminated the
distinction between the general jurisdiction vested in the regional
trial court and the limited jurisdiction conferred upon it by the
former law when acting merely as a cadastral court. Aimed at
avoiding multiplicity of suits, the change has simplified
registration proceedings by conferring upon the regional trial
courts the authority to act not only on applications for "original
registration" but also "over all petitions filed after original
registration of title, with power to hear and determine all
questions arising upon such applications or petitions."
Under the amended law, the court is now authorized to
hear and decide not only such non-controversial cases but even
the contentious and substantial issues, such as the question at
bar, which were beyond its competence before.

HEIRS OF GONZAGA vs. CA


FACTS: Eugenio, claiming title under (TCT) No. 17519, sold two lots
to Gonzaga.for which TCT No. 81338 was issued on November 29,
1960. In 1981, Gonzaga sold the two lots to petitioner Mascarias
and TCT No. 48078 was issued in the latters favor.
However, another subsisting Torrens title covers the
same two lots, TCT No. C-26086, in the name of private
respondent Sevilla issued on August 2, 1979 and is a transfer from
(OCT) No. 994 which was registered on April 19, 1917. Both
conflicting TCTs were derived from one common OCT, viz., OCT No.
994. However, while both the court a quo and the respondent
appellate court found that OCT No. 994 was registered on May 3,
1917, we find that on the one hand, petitioners' titles indicate
original registration to have been made on May 3, 1917, but on
the other hand, private respondents' title indicates original
registration to have been made on April 19, 1917.
The court a quo resolved the conflicting claims in favor
of private respondents.
ISSUE:
Between petitioners and private respondents, who have
the legal and valid title to the two lots. (OVERLAPPING TITLES)

HELD: Private respondents. Although petitioner's title was issued


in 1940, it will be noted that petitioner's title over Lots 2693 and
2695 both with an area of 599 square meters was based on the
Cadastral Survey of Kaloocan City, Cadastral Case No. 34, while
private respondents' title was derived from OCT No. 994 issued on
April 19, 1917. In the case of Pamintuan vs. San Agustin, this
Court ruled that 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.
Hence, in point of priority of issuance, private respondents' title
prevails over that of petitioner MWSS.
Lastly, a certificate is not conclusive evidence of title if it
is shown that the same land had already been registered and an
earlier certificate for the same is in existence. 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."
Though petitioner Mascarias may be a purchaser for
value and in good faith, but whose title, which is only a derivative
of the void OCT No. 994 dated May 3, 1917, his title could not
possibly be of force and effect more than its parent title.

TAGAYTAY-TAAL TOURIST DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs.


COURT OF APPEALS (273 SCRA 182; 1997)
FACTS: Petitioner was the registered owner of four (4) parcels of
land covered by TCT Nos. T-9816, T-9817, T-9818 and T-9819. The
properties were mortgaged on June 7, 1976 to Filipinas
Manufacturers Bank and Trust Company by Benjamin Osias,
representing himself as President and Chairman of the Board of
petitioner.
Because of a dispute regarding the true set of officers of
the petitioner, the parcels of land allegedly became delinquent in
the payment of real estate taxes resulting in the sale of the said
properties in a public auction. Respondent City itself was the
successful bidder.
On July 14, 1989, respondent City filed for the entry of
new certificates of title over the lots in its name. Said petition was
opposed by herein petitioner, alleging that the tax delinquency
sale was null and void for lack of valid and proper notice to
petitioner.
On December 5, 1989, the trial court dismissed on the
ground of laches. CA affirms.
On July 19, 1991, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial
Court of Cavite, sitting as a regular court, a petition assailing the
authority of respondent City to levy real estate tax on the ground
that said properties are located in the Province of Batangas. RTC
rules in favor of petioner. No appeal was filed.
ISSUES (a) whether or not the Regional Trial Court of Cavite, sitting
as a land registration or cadastral court, had jurisdiction to hear
and decide respondent City's petition for the cancellation of TCT
No. T-9816 and TCT No. T-9817 in the name of petitioner and the
issuance of new ones in the name of respondent City despite
serious opposition by petitioner
HELD: negative.
RULING: Here, petitioner had the right to avail of its legal and
equitable remedies to nullify the delinquency sale because, firstly,
there was lack of notice to it; secondly, the properties in question
became subject of serious controversy before RTC -Cavite and the
SEC; and thirdly, respondent City had no authority to impose
realty tax on petitioner as the properties are actually located in
Talisay, Batangas.
Given such facts, The issues raised before the RTC
sitting as a land registration or cadastral court, without question,
involved substantial or controversial matters and, consequently,
beyond said court's jurisdiction. The issues may be resolved only
by a court of general jurisdiction.

It is clear that petitions under Section 75 and Section


108 of P.D. 1529 (formerly Sec. 78 and Sec. 112 of Act 496) can be
taken cognizance of by the RTC sitting as a land registration or
cadastral court. Relief under said sections can only be granted if
there is unanimity among the parties, or that there is no adverse
claim or serious objection on the part of any party in interest;
otherwise, the case becomes controversial and should be threshed
out in an ordinary case or in the case where the incident properly
belongs.
Also, RTC-Cavite, sitting as a land registration or
cadastral court, could not have ordered the issuance of new
certificates of title over the properties in the name of respondent
City if the delinquency sale was invalid because said properties
are actually located in the municipality of Talisay, Batangas, not in
Tagaytay City.

ESTATE OF JACOB V. CA
(283 SCRA 474; 1998)
FACTS: Jacob left for the United States, but before she did, she
asked her son-in-law Quinto Jr., to pay the real estate taxes on her
property. However, Luciano Jr. was not allowed to pay by the City
Treasurer's Office as he had no written authorization from her. In
1984 respondent City Treasurer of Quezon City sent a notice to
Mercedes Jacob that her real estate taxes on the property were
delinquent and that the land was already sold at public auction on
24 August 1983 to private respondent Virginia Tugbang for
P6,800.00. Jacob came to know of the sale on 6 September 1983
when she received from respondent City Treasurer a Notice of Sale
of Real Property addressed to her husband. They tried to redeem
the property from Tugbang but she evaded them until the Final Bill
of Sale was issued. On 3 March 1989 TCT No. 81860 was issued in
the name of Tugbang.
On 17 May 1993 petitioners filed a complaint for
annulment or cancellation of the auction sale, the final bill of sale,
TCT No. 81860, and for redemption of the property plus damages.
However, the trial court dismissed the petition purportedly for lack
of jurisdiction as the petition was deemed to be a petition to annul
and set aside the Decision canceling Jacob's TCT No. 39178. The
appellate court dismissed the appeal.

The other controversy lies in the failure of petitioner City


Treasurer to notify effectively the delinquent taxpayer (Valencia),
under the wrong premise that the property was still owned by the
former registered owner, Alberto Sta. Maria.
In ascertaining the identity of the delinquent taxpayer,
for purposes of notifying him of his tax delinquency and the
prospect of a distraint and auction of his delinquent property,
petitioner City Treasurer should not have simply relied on the tax
declaration.

IV.

Summary of Procedure:
1. Filing of application = 5 days
2.

Court issues an order setting date and hour of initial hearing


not less than 45 days, but not more than 90 days from date
of order

3.

Notice of initial hearing by publication, mailing and posting.

ISSUE: the nature of the petitioners action


HELD: It is an action for reconveyance. The complaint alleges that
respondent Tugbang procured a transfer certificate of title upon
her fraudulent representation in her petition for cancellation of
title. This way of acquiring title creates what is called
"constructive trust" in favor of the defrauded party and grants to
the latter a right to the reconveyance of the property.
As the petition makes out a case for reconveyance and
not a mere annulment of an RTC judgment as viewed under par.
(2), Sec. 9, BP Blg. 129, jurisdiction over the case is clearly vested
in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City as provided in par. (2),
Sec. 19, BP Blg. 129.
Moreover, the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction over
the petition as it may be considered only as a continuation of the
original proceeding for cancellation of title which in view of its
non-litigious character is summary in nature. Furthermore, under
Sec. 2 of PD 1529, a Regional Trial Court, like the RTC of Quezon
City which issued a new title to respondent Virginia Tugbang in
lieu of the old one, has the authority to act not only on
applications for original registration but also over all petitions filed
after original registration of title, with power to hear and
determine all questions arising from such applications or petitions.
As to whether such an action should be granted requires
further evidence culled from a full-blown trial.
G.R. No. 120974 (substantially the same facts)
Under Sec. 55 of the Land Registration Act, as amended
by Sec. 53 of PD No. 1529, an original owner of registered land
may seek the annulment of the transfer thereof on the ground of
fraud and the proper remedy is reconveyance. However, such
remedy is without prejudice to the rights of an innocent purchaser
for value holding a certificate of title.

ORIGINAL REGISTRATION PROCEEDINGS

PUBLICATION

O.G. and newspaper of general circulation


MAILING

to persons named in the application (within 7 days


after publication of notice in O.G.)

to DPWH, Provincial Governor and Mayor (if the


applicant requests to have the line of a public
highway or road determined)

to DAR, Sol. Gen., Director of Lands, DPWH, Director


of Forest Development, Director of Fisheries and
Aquatic Resources
if land borders a river, navigable stream or
shore, or an arm of the sea where a river or
harbor line has been established, or on a lake
if it otherwise appears from the application or
the proceeding that a tenant-farmer or the
National Govt. may have a claim adverse to
that of the applicant
POSTING

in a conspicuous place on each parcel of land


included in the application

in a conspicuous place on the bulletin board of the


municipal building of the municipality or city

at least 14 days before the date of initial hearing

4.

Sheriff and Commissioner of Land Registration issue a


certification to the effect that the notice of initial hearing has
been complied with (before the date of the initial hearing)

This is conclusive proof of such fact.

5.

Opposition to application

Can ask for relief from the court

If none, order of default (this is merely interlocutory)

6.

Court issues its decision within 90 days from the date the
case is submitted for submission

Judgment becomes final upon the expiration of 30 days


to be counted from the date of receipt of notice of the
judgment

A.

Who May Apply

PD 1529, Sec.
14.
Who may apply. - The following
persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an
application for registration of title to land, whether personally or
through their duly authorized representatives:
(1)
Those who by themselves or through their predecessorsin-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of
the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June
12, 1945, or earlier.

(2)
Those who have acquired ownership of private lands by
prescription under the provision of existing laws.
(3)
Those who have acquired ownership of private lands or
abandoned river beds by right of accession or accretion under the
existing laws.
(4)
Those who have acquired ownership of land in any other
manner provided for by law.
Where the land is owned in common: all the co-owners shall file
the application jointly.
Where the land has been sold under pacto de retro: the vendor a
retro may file an application for the original registration of the
land, provided, however, that should the period for redemption
expire during the pendency of the registration proceedings and
ownership to the property consolidated in the vendee a retro, the
latter shall be substituted for the applicant and may continue the
proceedings.
A trustee on behalf of his principal may apply for original
registration of any land held in trust by him, unless prohibited by
the instrument creating the trust.
Sec. 16.
Non-resident applicant. - If the applicant is
not a resident of the Philippines, he shall file with his application
an instrument in due form appointing an agent or representative
residing in the Philippines, giving his full name and postal address,
and shall therein agree that the service of any legal process in the
proceedings under or growing out of the application made upon
his agent or representative shall be of the same legal effect as if
made upon the applicant within the Philippines. If the agent or
representative dies, or leaves the Philippines, the applicant shall
forthwith make another appointment for the substitute, and, if he
fails to do so the court may dismiss the application.

The rights to the succession of a person are transmitted


from the moment of his death; in other words, the heirs
immediately succeed to the dominion, ownership and possession
of the property of their predecessor. The fact that the law provides
for the appointment of a legal administrator for the liquidation of
the deceased's property, and the partition among his heirs, does
not deprive the heirs of the right to intervene in the administration
of said property for the protection of their interests. Heirs have the
right to intervene in a cadastral proceeding for the purpose of
objecting to the striking out of an answer filed by the judicial
administrator of the intestacy of the petitioners' predecessor in
interest, claiming several parcels of land as the property of said
estate, even when the aforementioned administrator consents to
its being stricken out
SANTIAGO V. CRUZ
19 PHIL. 145 (1911)
Because applicants own merely an undivided share, less
than fee simple, in the
land described in the application, the application should be
dismissed, without prejudice to the right of the various owners of
the undivided interests in the land, jointly to present a new
application for registration.
Citizenship
As a general rule, only individuals, corporations or
associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain
are qualified to be transferees of private lands, i.e. Filipino
citizens. (Sec. 12, Art. XII, 1987 Const.) However, this is subject
to the ff. exceptions:
(1) Aliens can acquire private lands, but only through
hereditary (not testamentary) succession (Ramirez v. Vda.
de Ramirez, 111 SCRA 704)

CA 141, Sec. 48. The following-described


citizens
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 to the Court of First
Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation
of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor,
under the Land Registration Act , to wit:
(a)
Those who prior to the transfer of sovereignty from
Spain to the prior United States have applied for the purchase,
composition or other form of grant of lands of the public domain
under the laws and royal decrees then in force and have instituted
and prosecuted the proceedings in connection therewith, but have
with or without default upon their part, or for any other cause, not
received title therefor, if such applicants or grantees and their
heirs have occupied and cultivated said lands continuously since
the filing of their applications.
(b)
Those who by themselves or through their predecessors
in interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and
notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the
public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition or
ownership, for at least thirty years immediately preceding the
filing of the application for confirmation of title except when
prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively
presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a
Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title
under the provisions of this chapter.
(c)
Members of the national cultural minorities who by
themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in
open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and
occupation of lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture,
whether disposable or not, under a bona fide claim of ownership
for at least 30 years shall be entitled to the rights granted in subsection (b) hereof.

DAIS V. CFI
51 PHIL. 396 (1928)

(2)
Natural-born Filipino citizens who lost their Phil.
citizenship may be transferees of private lands of up to a
maximum of 5,000 sq. m. of urban land and 3 hectares of
rural land for residential, business or other purposes. (BP
185, as amended by RA 8179)
private lands: lands of private ownership; include lands owned
by private individuals and lands which are patrimonial property of
the State or of municipal corporations

Any sale or transfer in violation of the prohibition is void.

There are 3 remedies by which private land may be recovered


from disqualified aliens:
(1)

Escheat proceedings (see Rule 91 of the Rules of


Court);

(2)

Actions for reversion under the Public Land Act; and

(3)

Actions for recovery filed by the former (Filipino)


owner. Note that the in pari delicto doctrine was
abandoned in the case of Phil. Banking v. Lui She.

However,
there
were
special
factual
circumstances in this case that warranted the
non-application of the in pari delicto doctrine.
Thus, the case does not exclude the possibility
of barring recovery by the Filipino vendor where
the buyer has acquired Filipino citizenship or
where the land has come to the hands of a
qualified transferee in good faith.

Natural Persons
Const. Art. XII., Sec. 3.
Lands of the public domain are
classified into agricultural, forest or timber, mineral lands, and
national parks. Agricultural lands of the public domain may be
further classified by law according to the uses which they may be
devoted. Alienable lands of the public domain shall be limited to
agricultural lands. Private corporations or associations may not

hold such alienable lands of the public domain except by lease, for
a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more
than twenty-five years, and not to exceed one thousand hectares
in area. Citizens of the Philippines may lease not more than five
hundred hectares, or acquire not more than twelve hectares
thereof by purchase, homestead, or grant..
Taking into account the requirements of conservation, ecology,
and development, and subject to the requirements of agrarian
reform, the Congress shall determine, by law, the size of lands of
the public domain which may be acquired, developed, held, or
leased and the conditions therefor.
Sec. 5. The State, subject to the provisions of this Constitution
and national development policies and programs, shall protect the
rights of indigenous cultural communities to their ancestral lands
to ensure their economic, social, and cultural well-being.
The Congress may provide for the applicability of customary laws
governing property rights and relations in determining the
ownership and extent of ancestral domain.
Sec. 7. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands
shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals,
corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of
the public domain.

as if such persons, corporations, associations, or partnerships


were qualified under the last preceding section; but they shall not
encumber, convey, or alienate the same to persons, corporations,
associations, or partnerships not included in section twenty-two of
this Act, except by reason of hereditary succession, duly legalized
and acknowledged by competent courts.
SEC. 44. Any natural-born citizen of the Philippines who is not the
owner of more than twenty-four hectares and who since July
fourth, nineteen hundred and twenty-six or prior thereto, has
continuously occupied and cultivated, either by himself or through
his predecessors-in-interest, a tract or tracts of agricultural public
lands subject to disposition, or who shall have paid the real estate
tax thereon while same has not been occupied by any person shall
be entitled, under the provisions of this chapter, to have a free
patent issued to him for such tract or tracts of such land not to
exceed twenty-four hectares.
A member of the national cultural minorities who has continuously
occupied and cultivated, either by himself or through his
predecessors-in-interest, a tract or tracts of land, whether
disposable or not since July 4, 1955, shall be entitled to the right
granted in the preceding paragraph of this section: Provided, That
at the time he files his free patent application he is not the owner
of any real property secured or disposable under this provision of
the Public Land Law

Sec. 8. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 7 of this


Article, a natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost its
Philippine citizenship may be a transferee of private lands, subject
to limitations provided by law.

Sec. 48, supra.

CA 141

A former Filipino citizen who, while still a citizen,


purchased a piece of land from a vendor who has complied with
the requirements of registration under the Public Land Act, may
apply for registration of title for that piece of land, in accordance
with Art. XII, Sec. 8 of the Constitution.
The time to determine whether the person acquiring
land is qualified, is the time the right to own it is acquired and not
the time to register ownership.

SEC. 12. Any citizen of the Philippines over the age of eighteen
years, or the head of a family, who does not own more than
twenty-four hectares of land in the Philippines or has not had the
benefit of any gratuitous allotment of more than twenty-four
hectares of land since the occupation of the Philippines by the
United States, may enter a homestead of not exceeding twentyfour hectares of agricultural land of the public domain.
SEC. 22. Any citizen of lawful age of the Philippines, and any such
citizen not of lawful age who is a head of a family, and any
corporation or association of which at least sixty per centum of
the capital stock or of any interest in said capital stock belongs
wholly to citizens of the Philippines, and which is organized and
constituted under the laws of Philippines, and corporate bodies
organized in the Philippines authorized under their charters to do
so; may purchase any tract of public agricultural land disposable
under this Act, not to exceed one hundred and forty-four hectares
in the case of an individual and one thousand and twenty-four
hectares in that of a corporation or association, by proceeding as
prescribed in this chapter: Provided, That partnerships shall be
entitled to purchase not to exceed one hundred and forty-four
hectares for each member thereof. but the total area so purchased
shall in no case exceed the one thousand and twenty-four
hectares authorized in this section for associations and
corporations.

Sec. 22 has been amended by Art. XII, Sec. 3 of the 1987


Constitution

SEC. 23. No person, corporation, association, or partnership other


than those mentioned in the last preceding section may acquire or
own agricultural public land or land of any other denomination or
classification, which is at the time or was originally, really or
presumptively, of the public domain, or any permanent
improvement thereon, or any real right on such land and
improvement: Provided, however, That persons, corporations,
associations or partnerships which, at the date upon which the
Philippine Constitution took effect, held agricultural public lands or
land of any other denomination, that belonged originally, really or
presumptively, to the public domain, or permanent improvements
on such lands, or a real right upon such lands and Constitution
took improvements, having acquired the same under the laws and
regulations in force at the date of such acquisition, shall be
authorized to continue holding the same

REPUBLIC v. CA
235 SCRA 567

KRIVENKO V. REGISTER OF DEEDS


79 PHIL 461 (1947)
There is absolutely no difference in nature, character,
value or importance to the nation between a residential land of
the public domain and a residential land of private ownership,
and, therefore, both should equally be considered as agricultural
lands to be protected as part of the national patrimony. Specially
is this so where the prohibition as to the alienation of public
residential lots may become superfluous if the same prohibition is
not equally applied to private residential lots. Indeed, the
prohibition as to private residential lands will eventually become
more important, for time will come when, in view of the constant
disposition of public lands in favor private individuals, almost all, if
not all, the residential lands of the public domain shall have
become private residential lands.
If the term "private agricultural lands" is to be construed as not
including residential lots or lands not strictly agricultural, the
result would be that aliens may freely acquire and possess not
only residential lots and houses for themselves but entire
subdivisions, and whole towns and cities, and that they may
validly buy and hold in their names lands of any area for building
homes, factories, industrial plants, fisheries, hatcheries, schools,
health and vacation resorts, markets, golf courses, playgrounds,
airfields, and a host of other uses and purposes that are not, in
appellant's words, strictly agricultural. That this is obnoxious to
the conservative spirit of the Constitution is beyond question.

SAN JUAN V. INTESTATE ESTATE OF SPOUSES SOCCHI, GR L19467 (1966)


An alien who validly owns agricultural land in the Philippines,
which land is sold at public auction for tax delinquency, may avail
of the right to repurchase the same within one year pursuant to
Section 38 of the Assessment Law. Such right is but an incident of

the right of ownership and its exercise by the owner, who happens
to be an alien, does not fall within the purview of the terms "shall
be transferred or assigned" used in Section 5, Article XIII of the
Constitution, or of the terms "encumbered, alienated or
transferred" used in the implementing provision of Section 122,
Commonwealth Act No. 141, otherwise known as Public Land Act.
Moreover, the sale at public auction by reason of tax delinquency
under the Assessment Law does not immediately divest the rights
of the owner to the property sold. Indeed it is provided in section
39 of said law that after the sale and before repurchase or before
the expiration of the term of one year fixed for such repurchase,
the real property shall remain in the possession of the delinquent
taxpayer who shall have the right to the usufruct thereof. It is only
after failure to redeem within that period and after the final bill of
sale is issued to the purchaser by the Provincial Treasurer that the
rights of the owner are definitely divested.
PHIL. BANKING V. LUI SHE
21 SCRA 52 (1967)
If an alien is given not only a lease of, but also an option
to buy, a piece of land by virtue of which the Filipino owner cannot
sell or otherwise dispose of his property, this to last for 50 years,
then it becomes clear that the arrangement is a virtual transfer of
ownership whereby the owner divests himself in stages not only of
the right to enjoy the land (jus possidendi jus utendi, just fruendi
and jus abutendi) but also of the right to dispose of it (jus
disponendi) rights the sum total of which make up ownership. If
this can be done, then the Constitutional ban against alien
landholding in the Philippines, as announced in Krivenko vs.
Register of Deeds, is indeed in grave peril. The contract giving the
above rights to the alien is therefore void.
RAMIREZ V. VDA. DE RAMIREZ
111 SCRA 704
The usufruct in favor of an alien is upheld, because the
same, albeit a real right, does not vest title to land in the
usufructuary and it is the vesting of title to land in favor of aliens
which is proscribed by the Constitution.

CHEESMAN V. IAC
193 SCRA 93
The fundamental law prohibits the sale to aliens of
residential land. Section 14, Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution
ordains that, "Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private
land shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals,
corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of
the public domain."
Petitioner Thomas Cheesman was charged with knowledge of this
prohibition. Thus, assuming that it was his intention that the lot in
question be purchased by him and his wife, he acquired no right
whatever over the property by virtue of that purchase; and in
attempting to acquire a right or interest in land, vicariously and
clandestinely, he knowingly violated the Constitution; the sale as
to him was null and void. In any event, he had and has no
capacity or personality to question the subsequent sale of the
same property by his wife on the theory that in so doing he is
merely exercising the prerogative of a husband in respect of
conjugal property. To sustain such a theory would permit indirect
controversion of the constitutional prohibition. If the property were
to be declared conjugal, this would accord to the alien husband a
not insubstantial interest and right over land, as he would then
have a decisive vote as to its transfer or disposition. This is a right
that the Constitution does not permit him to have.

RELLOSA V. GAW CHEE HUN


93 PHIL. 827
Sale to alien by Filipino vendor during Japanese
occupation null and void, for being contrary to the Constitution.
But vendor can no longer recover the land, because of doctrine of
pari delicto. (Note however that the pari delicto doctrine was

subsequently abandoned in the case of Phil. Banking v. Lui She,


21 SCRA 52.)
Corporations
REGISTER OF DEEDS V. UNG SUI SI TEMPLE, 97 PHIL. 58
(1955)
A deed of donation of a parcel of land executed by a
Filipino citizen in favor of a religious organization whose founder,
trustees and administrator are non-Filipinos, can not be admitted
for registration.

Land tenure is not indispensable to the free exercise of


religious profession and worship.

ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF DAVAO V. LRC, 102


PHIL. 596 (1957)
A corporation sole is a special form of corporation
usually associated with clergy, designed to facilitate the exercise
of the functions of ownership of the church which was regarded as
the property owner. It consists of one person only, and his
successors (who will always be one at a time), in some particular,
who are incorporated by law in order to give them some legal
advantages particularly that of perpetuity which in their natural
persons they could not have. Through this legal fiction, church
properties acquired by the incumbent of a corporation sole pass,
by operation of law, upon his death not to his personal heirs but to
his successor in office. A corporation sole, therefore, is created not
only to administer the temporalities of the church or religious
society where he belongs, but also to hold and transmit the same
to his successor in said office. Although a branch of the Universal
Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, every Roman Catholic Church in
different countries, if it exercises its mission and is lawfully
incorporated in accordance with laws of the country where it is
located, is considered an entity or person with all the rights and
privileges granted to such artificial being under laws of that
country, separate and distinct from the personality of the Roman
Pontiff or the Holy See, without prejudice to its religious relations
with the latter which are governed by the Common Law or their
rules and regulations.
Even before the establishment of the Philippine
Commonwealth and of the Republic of the Philippines every
corporation sole then organized and registered had by express
provision of law (Corporation Law, Public Act. 1459) the necessary
power and qualification to purchase in its name private lands
located in the territory in which it exercised its functions or
ministry and for which it was created, independently of the
nationality of its incumbent unique and single number and head,
the bishop of the diocese. The Roman Catholic Apostolic Church in
the Philippines has no nationality and that the frames of the
Constitution did not have in mind the religious corporation sole
when they provided that 60 per centum of the capital thereof be
owned by Filipino citizens. Thus, if this constitutional provision
were not intended for corporation sole, it is obvious that this could
not be regulated or restricted by said provision.
A corporation sole or "ordinary" is not the owner of the
properties that he may acquire but merely the administrator
thereof and holds the same in trust for the church to which the
corporation is an organized and constituents part. Being mere
administrator of the temporalities or properties titled in his name,
the constitutional provision requiring 60 per centum Filipino
ownership is not applicable. The said constitutional provision is
limited by it terms to ownership alone and does not extend to
control unless the control over the property affected has been
devised to circumvent the real purpose of the constitution. In
determining, therefore, whether the constitutional provision
requiring 60 per centum Filipino capital is applicable to
corporations sole, the nationality of the constituents of the
diocese, and not the nationality of the actual incumbent of the
parish, must be taken into consideration. In the present case,
even if the question of nationality be considered, the aforesaid
constitutional requirement is fully met and satisfied, considering
that the corporation sole in question is composed of an
overwhelming majority of Filipinos.

REGISTER OF DEEDS V. CHINA BANKING CORPORATION, 4


SCRA 1146 (1964)
The prohibition in the Constitution against the
acquisition of lands by aliens is absolute in its terms. It cannot be
limited to the permanent acquisition of real estate by aliens,
whether natural or juridical persons. A deed of transfer in favor
of an alien bank, even if it was subject to the obligation that the
bank dispose of the property within five years from the date of
acquisition, is unregisterable.

DIRECTOR OF LANDS V. IAC AND ACME


146 SCRA 509 (1986)
Supra.
Even on the proposition that the land remained
technically "public" land, despite immemorial possession of the
Infiels and their ancestors, until title in their favor was actually
confirmed in appropriate proceedings under the Public Land Act,
there can be no serious question of Acme's right to acquire the
land at the time it did, there also being nothing in the 1935
Constitution that might be construed to prohibit corporations from
purchasing or acquiring interests in public land to which the
vendor had already acquired that type of so-called "incomplete" or
"imperfect" title. The only limitation then extant was that
corporations could not acquire, hold or lease public agricultural
lands in excess of 1,024 hectares. The purely accidental
circumstance that confirmation proceedings were brought under
the aegis of the 1973 Constitution which forbids corporations from
owning lands of the public domain cannot defeat a right already
vested before that law came into effect, or invalidate transactions
then perfectly valid and proper, This Court has already held, in
analogous circumstances, that the Constitution cannot impair
vested rights.
B.

Where to File

PD 1529
Sec. 2. Nature of registration proceedings; jurisdiction of
courts. - Judicial proceedings for the registration of lands
throughout the Philippines shall be in rem and shall be based on
the generally accepted principles underlying the Torrens system.
Courts of First Instance shall have exclusive jurisdiction
over all applications for original registration of title to lands,
including improvements and interests therein, and over all
petitions filed after original registration of title, with power to hear
and determine all questions arising upon such applications or
petitions. The court through its clerk of court shall furnish the Land
Registration Commission with two certified copies of all pleadings,
exhibits, orders, and decisions filed or issued in applications or
petitions for land registration, with the exception of stenographic
notes, within five days from the filing or issuance thereof.
Sec. 17.
What and where to file. - The application for
land registration shall be filed with the Court of First Instance of
the province or city where the land is situated. The applicant shall
file together with the application all original muniments of titles or
copies thereof and a survey plan of the land approved by the
Bureau of Lands.
The clerk of court shall not accept any application unless
it is shown that the applicant has furnished the Director of Lands
with a copy of the application and all annexes.
Sec. 18.
Application covering two or more parcels.
- An application may include two or more parcels of land
belonging to the applicant/s provided they are situated within the
same province or city. The court may at any time order an
application to be amended by striking out one or more of the
parcels or by a severance of the application.
Sec. 19.
Amendments.
Amendments
to
the
application including joinder, substitution, or discontinuance as to

parties may be allowed by the court at any stage of the


proceedings upon just and reasonable terms.
Amendments which shall consist in a substantial change
in the boundaries or an increase in area of the land applied for or
which involve the inclusion of an additional land shall be subject
to the same requirements of publication and notice as in an
original application.
Sec. 20.
When land applied for borders on road. - If
the application describes the land as bounded by a public or
private way or road, it shall state whether or not the applicant
claims any and what portion of the land within the limits of the
way or road, and whether the applicant desires to have the line of
the way or road determined.
Sec. 21.
Requirement of additional facts and
papers; ocular inspection. - The court may require facts to be
stated in the application in addition to those prescribed by this
Decree not inconsistent therewith and may require the filing of
any additional paper. It may also conduct an ocular inspection, if
necessary.
Sec. 22.
Dealings with land pending original
registration. After the filing of the application and before the
issuance of the decree of registration, the land therein described
may still be the subject of dealings in whole or in part, in which
case the interested party shall present to the court the pertinent
instruments together with a subdivision plan approved by the
Director of Lands in case of transfer of portions thereof and the
court, after notice to the parties, shall order such land registered
subject to the conveyance or encumbrance created by said
instruments, or order that the decree of registration be issued in
the name of the person to whom the property has been conveyed
by said instruments.

AGUILAR V. CAOGDAN
105 PHIL. 661
The court that should take cognizance of a registration case is
that which has territorial jurisdiction over the property.
The Pangasinan court of first instance dismissed the
registration case when it found that the portions of the land
covered by it were actually situated within the municipality of San
Clement, province of Tarlac, and the dismissal was without
prejudice. This dismissal has the effect or relinquishing the
jurisdiction originally acquired by the Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan and of transferring it to the court of Tarlac was filed
sometime before the dismissal of the Pangasinan case can have
no legal adverse consequence. On the contrary, it was a
rectification of an error committed as to venue for indeed the
court that should take cognizance of this registration case is that
which has territorial jurisdiction over the property. This court is the
Court of First Instance of Tarlac.
MANILA V. LACK, 19 PHIL. 234
Before the creation of the Court of Land Registration,
jurisdiction to determine the nature, quality, and extent of land
titles, the rival claims of parties contending therefor, of their
registration (in its former sense), and the legality and effect
thereof was vested in the Courts of First Instance of the Islands.
They had complete and exclusive jurisdiction thereover. By the
passage of Act No. 496 these courts were deprived under certain
conditions of the power of determining some of these questions
and of adjudicating in relation to certain aspects of others. By that
Act, two things occurred. First, a court of limited jurisdiction, with
special subject matter, and with only one purpose, was created.
Second, by reason thereof courts, theretofore of general, original,
and exclusive jurisdiction, were shorn of some of their attributes
and deprived of certain of their power.
However, the purpose of the Court of Land Registration
is not to create or vest title, but merely to confirm title already
created and vested. The Court of Land Registration has no
authority or jurisdiction to adjudicate rights in lands not
registered. Therefore, a judgment of the Court of Land
Registration, after trial, declaring that a parcel of land, excluded

from the petition and from registration, was owned by the


respondent and that such ownership was the reason for the
exclusion of said parcel from registration, is not res adjudicata in
an action of ejectment in the Court of First Instance, between the
same parties, for the recovery of said parcel. Such judgment has
no force or effect as evidence of title in such action.

vendor lost all his rights in the properties. Therefore the new and
lawful owner in entitled to be subrogate in place of the petitioner,
the previous owner, pending registration, and he may continue
the proceedings in the case and finally obtain title as owner. (Sec.
29, Act No. 496, and arts. 1507 and 1508, Civil Code).
ESCUETA V. DIRECTOR OF LANDS
16 PHIL. 482

Form and Contents of Application


PD 1529, sec. 15. Form and contents. - The application for land
registration shall be in writing, signed by the application or the
person duly authorized in his behalf, and sworn to before any
officer authorized to administer oaths for the province or city
where the application was actually signed. If there is more than
one applicant, the application shall be signed and sworn to by and
in behalf of each. The application shall contain a description of the
land and shall state the citizenship and civil status of the
applicant, whether single or married, and, if married, the name of
the wife or husband, and, if the marriage has been legally
dissolved, when and how the marriage relation terminated. It shall
also state the full names and addresses of all occupants of the
land and those of the adjoining owners, if known, and, if not
known, it shall state the extent of the search made to find them.

REPUBLIC V. ALON
199 SCRA 396
The following are the essential requisites for original
registration proceedings in accordance with the Land Registration
Act:
1.
2.
3.
4.

5.
6.
7.
8.

Survey of land by the Bureau of Lands or a duly licensed


private surveyor.
Filing of application for registration by the applicant.
Setting of the date for the initial hearing of the application by
the Court.
Transmittal of the application and the date of the initial
hearing together with all the documents or other evidences
attached thereto by the Clerk of Court to the Land
Registration Commission.
Publication of a notice of the filing of the application and date
and place of hearing in the Official Gazette.
Service of notice upon contiguous owners, occupants and
those known to have interests in the property by the sheriff.
Filing of answer to the application by any person whether
named in the notice or not.
Hearing of the case by the Court.

It is not permissible to make amendments or alterations in the


description of the land after its publication in the newspapers and
after the registration of the property has been decreed, without
the publication of new notifications and advertisements making
known to everyone the said alterations and amendments.
Otherwise, the law would be infringed with respect to the publicity
which characterizes the procedure, and third parties who have not
had an opportunity to present their claims, might be seriously
affected in their rights, through failure of opportune notice.
The agreement of the owners, merely designated in an
amendment of the description of the land, is not sufficient,
because there may be other persons who might be injured by the
alteration of the description and of the plan of the land, and a
third party who did not appear at the trial, in view of the previous
publication of the description of the property before its alteration
and amendment might afterwards be damaged by the subsequent
decree of the court based on the altered or amended description
of which he was not opportunely informed, or because he had no
knowledge of the amendment which was not published.
The real property to be inscribed in the registry by virtue of the
decree of the court must be identical in its description with that
which was the subject of the application of its owner and of the
proceedings had in the court.
DIRECTOR OF LANDS V. CA
276 SCRA 279 (1997)
Absent publication in a newspaper of general circulation,
the land registration court cannot validly confirm and register title.
Note, though, that the court already acquires jurisdiction upon
mere publication in OG.
Due process, however, mandates
publication, mailing and posting. The in rem nature of land
registration cases, the consequences of default orders issued
against the whole world, and the objective of dissemination of the
notice in as wide a manner as possible demand a mandatory
construction of the requirements for publication, mailing and
posting.
Dealings Pending Original Registration
See Sec. 22 of PD 1529.

Amendments to Application
PD 1529, Sec. 19. Amendments. - Amendments to the application
including joinder, substitution, or discontinuance as to parties may
be allowed by the court at any stage of the proceedings upon just
and reasonable terms.
Amendments which shall consist in a substantial change
in the boundaries or an increase in area of the land applied for or
which involve the inclusion of an additional land shall be subject
to the same requirements of publication and notice as in an
original application.

C.

Sec. 21. Requirement of additional facts and papers; ocular


inspection. - The court may require facts to be stated in the
application in addition to those prescribed by this Decree not
inconsistent therewith and may require the filing of any additional
paper. It may also conduct an ocular inspection, if necessary.

Facts.
Omandam applied for registration, under the Land
Registration Act, a parcel of land subject to a mortgage in favor of
PNB for the sum of P600. On the date of hearing, representatives
of the Bureau of Lands, PNB and other opponents appeared.
Representatives of Bureau of Lands and PNB were given 15 days
to file written opposition to the application. Except as to those
who had made their appearance a general default was entered.
After hearing, court decreed registration in favor of Omandam.

ORTIZ V. ORTIZ
26 PHIL. 250
While an application for the registration of various parcel
real was pending in the Court of Land Registration, the petitioner
sold the property under pacto de retro to a corporation with
juridical personality, and owing to the lapse of redemption period,
ownership became consolidated by operation of law and the

Notice of Application, Opposition and Default


See Sec. 23 of PD 1529

Application
OMANDAM V. DIRECTOR OF LANDS
(1954)

Director of Lands filed an opposition and ten days later,


a motion for reconsideration was filed by him predicated upon
newly discovered evidence and lack of notice of the hearing. This
was denied by the Court. Director of Lands filed a motion for relief
from judgment on the ground of excusable neglect. Also denied by
the Court.

Held. Order appealed from is affirmed.


Ratio. Appellant points to the lack of hearing on the petition for
relief, as provided for in sections 4 and 6, Rule 38. According to
the rule the Court is to require "those against whom the petition is
filed to answer the same within fifteen days from the receipt
thereof" "if the petition is sufficient in form and substance to
justify such process."
Granting that the means of communication between
Occidental Misamis and Manila was faulty as alleged by the
appellant, still there is no justification for the delay in filing his
opposition to the application. The fact that he did not file his
opposition within the period granted or within a reasonable time
thereafter led the Court to believe that he abandoned his
opposition to the application.
The motion for relief, apart from failing to show
excusable neglect, does not have an affidavit of merits. Hence,
being an insufficient petition not only in form but also in substance
to justify the Court to require those against whom it is filed to
answer within fifteen days from the receipt thereof, as provided
for in section 4, Rule 38, the hearing provided for in section 6 of
the rule was not available to the party seeking the relief.
When a Subdivision Plan Duly-Approved by the Director of
Lands May be Required to be Submitted:
1. when the opposition or adverse claim covers only a portion of
the lot and said portion is not properly delimited on the plan
attached to the application
2. undivided co-ownership
3. conflicting claims of ownership or possession
4. overlapping boundaries
NOTE: A subdivision plan showing the contested and uncontested
portions is a pre-requisite to the decree of a partial judgment
(Sec. 28).
Opposition
See Sec. 25 of PD 1529.

NICOLAS VS. PRE, ET AL.


97 PHIL 766 (1955)
Facts. Nicolas filed for registration a vast tract of land. Pre, et al.,
opposed the application with respect to a portion of the entire
land claiming to be the owners thereof. During the hearing, on
which date Nicolas was able to submit his evidence, the parties
agreed to come to an amicable settlement. The court gave them
5 days. Instead of submitting the proposed settlement, Nicolas
moved to dismiss the registration proceeding, which was favorably
acted upon. Pre moved to reconsider the order to give them an
opportunity to present their evidence. Pres motion was granted.
However, Nicolas failed to appear for the reception of evidence.
The court declared Pre as owners of the portion of land claimed by
them as owners. No appeal was taken.
4 years later, Nicolas sought to declare the order null
and void for lack of jurisdiction and for violation of Sec. 37 of Act
496. TC sustained motion to dismiss filed by Pre. CA affirmed TC.
Held. CA decision affirmed. With the enactment of Act No. 3621,
the oppositor may now not only allege in his answer his objections
to the application but also to ask for any affirmative relief he may
desire (e.g., ask for the land to be registered in his name in the
same proceeding). But the adverse claimant to whom a portion of
the land applied for has been awarded has to pay to the applicant
such part of said expenses as may be in proportion to the area
awarded. And inasmuch as the applicant (Nicolas) had asked for
the dismissal of his application, the oppositors (Pre, et al.) ipso
facto acquired the role of applicants on the portion they claim
without any opposition whatsoever.

ROXAS, ET AL., VS. CUEVAS, ET AL.


8 PHIL. 469 (1907)
Facts. An application for registration of Hacienda Calauang in
Laguna was filed. The government and several residents in the
adjoining towns, cities and municipalities opposed the application.
Some oppositors maintained that the land is the property of the
government and a portion thereof is occupied by them.
The lands in question were originally Crown lands
conveyed to Salgado by a royal grant. Upon his death, it was sold
at auction to Benito Machado as agent of Domingo Roxas. The
applicants herein acquired the property by succession.
The lower court found that active possession was
exercised by Salgado and his successors for a period of 130 years
while oppositors possession was precarious and doubtful. Court
of Land Registration thus overruled the oppositions of private
respondents.
The Court adjudged the land to the applicants except for
a portion of the land held to be public forest.
Held. Judgment of lower court affirmed. If the land as claimed by
the oppositors belongs to the government, it follows that the
oppositors cannot have interest in the land as they are not the
government but mere citizens. Since the land belongs to the
State, and since the lower court has not so held it in its judgment,
the aggrieved party would be the State and not a mere citizen,
and it is the State that would have been entitled to appeal from
the judgment and not any private individual. But the Insular
Government did not appeal.
In order that an application for registration of the title of
ownership in the Court of Land Registration may be object to, the
opposition must be based on the right of dominion or some other
real right opposed to the adjudication or recognition of the
ownership of the petitioner, whether it be limited or absolute.
Order of Default
The court may, upon motion of the applicant, order a default
to be recorded if no person appears and answers within the time
allowed, and there appears to be no reason to the contrary. The
court shall then require the applicant to present evidence.
Partial defaults are allowed in land registration proceedings.
(Sec. 26, PD 1529)
YABUT LEE VS. PUNZALAN
99 SCRA 567 (1980)
Facts. Spouses Yabut Lee filed an application for registration 2
parcels of land. No opposition having been interposed despite due
publication, TC issued an Order of General Default. Due to the
transfer of the presiding judge, however, application was not
acted upon.
Subsequently, Punzalan filed a petition for reopening
and/or review. He claimed that the applicants committed fraud in
not disclosing that he is the owner of a house standing on the lots
applied for and that he has usufructuary rights over said
properties. TC denied reopening.
Held. Order of General Default set aside. No judgment has yet
been rendered by the lower court, much less a decree of
registration issued. Petition for reopening is thus premature. In
the absence of any decision and/or decree, there is nothing to be
reviewed or reopened. But in the interest
of substantial justice and the speedy determination of the
controversy, the TC should have lifted the Order of General
Default to allow the Punzalan to file an Opposition to the
Application and present his evidence.
An Order of General Default is interlocutory in character
and may be modified or amended at any time prior to the
rendition of the final judgment.

MANDIAN VS. LEONG


103 PHIL 431 (1958)
Facts. Dionisio Leong was sued by Mandian, widow and second
wife Dionisios late father, for usurpation. In answering the

complaint, Dionisio pleaded that he possessed and administered


the property as part of the estate of his late father by agreement
with Mandian. Celestino, brother of Dionisio, filed an answer in
intervention pleading that the lot was acquired during his second
marriage to Mandian but title was placed in her name because the
husband was not a Filipino citizen. Celestino filed cross-claim
against Dionisio for his failure to give his co-heirs any share in the
estates fruits.
No answer having been filed by Dionisio notwithstanding
the lapse of 26 days after he was served a copy of the cross-claim,
court declared him in default. Dionisio sought reconsideration on
the ground that the period to answer must be counted not from
the time he was served a copy but from the time the court
admitted it. Lower court denied reconsideration.
Held. Appeal dismissed and trial court ordered to proceed with
the hearing of the case.
Ratio. The order declaring Dionisio in default is interlocutory and
preliminary to the hearing of the case, and remains under the
control of the court, and may be modified or rescinded by it on
sufficient ground at any time before final judgment. Thus, appeal
is premature and improper.
A prerequisite to defendants right to appeal is that he
file a motion under Rule 38 asking that the order of default
entered against him be set aside. Once such motion is filed, the
defendant, even if his motion is denied, becomes entitled to all
further proceedings including final judgment and may duly appeal
therefrom.
MALAGUM AND ORNOPIA VS. PABLO
46 PHIL 19 (1924)
Facts.
Andrin and Anacleta Lopez were the applicants for
registration of a parcel of land while Malagum and Ornopia
appeared as opponents (petitioners in this case). Lower court
granted opponents 24 hours to file written opposition. Oppositors
presented a written opposition which was not verified under oath.
When the case was again called for hearing, the opponents
presented an amended opposition in exactly the same language
as the previous opposition but verified in the proper form.
Applicants opposed. Judge denied admission of said amendment
and declared opponents in default. Motion for reconsideration was
filed. On the same date, court decreed the land in favor of
applicants.
Petitioners pray that a writ of mandamus issue ordering
the respondent judge to reinstate the opposition.
Held. Demurrer sustained. Petition suffers from defects not
curable by amendment.
Ratio. Mandamus will not lie when there is another plain, speedy
and adequate remedy. Petitioners should have taken an exception
to the order rejecting their amended opposition or answer and
after the denial of their motion for reconsideration, could have
taken their appeal to the Supreme Court. The order excluding
their answer was not a minor order within the meaning of Sec. 141
of the Civil Procedure to which no exception could be taken. It
was in effect a final determination of their rights and may be
appealed as soon as the decision ordering the issuance of the
decree in favor of the adverse party was rendered.
D.

Hearing, Judgment and Decree of Registration

Hearing
PD 1529
Sec. 27.
Speedy hearing; reference to a referee. The trial court shall see to it that all registration-proceedings are
disposed or within ninety days from the date the case is submitted
for decision.
The Court, if it deems necessary, may refer the case or
any part thereof to a referee who shall hear the parties and their
evidence, and the referee shall submit his report thereon to the
Court within fifteen days after the termination of such hearing.
Hearing before a referee may be held at any convenient place

within the province or city as may be fixed by him and after


reasonable notice thereof shall have been served the parties
concerned. The court may render judgment in accordance with the
report as though the facts have been found by the judge himself:
Provided, however, that the court may in its discretion accept the
report, or set it aside in whole or in part, or order the case to be
recommitted for further proceedings:
Sec. 28.
Partial judgment. - In a case where only a
portion of the land subject of registration is contested, the court
may render partial judgment provided that a subdivision plan
showing the contested and uncontested portions approved by the
Director of Lands is previously submitted to said court.
Sec. 29.
Judgment confirming title. - All conflicting
claims of ownership and interest in the land subject of the
application shall be determined by the court. If the court, after
considering the evidence and the reports of the Commissioner of
Land Registration and the Director of Lands, finds that the
applicant or the oppositor has sufficient title proper for
registration, judgment shall be rendered confirming the title of the
applicant, or the oppositor, to the land or portions thereof.
Sec. 30. When judgment becomes final; duty to cause
issuance of decree. - The judgment rendered in a land
registration proceedings becomes final upon the expiration of
thirty days to be counted from the data of receipt of notice of the
judgment. An appeal may be taken from the judgment of the court
as in ordinary civil cases.
After judgment has become final and executory, it shall
devolve upon the court to forthwith issue an order in accordance
with Section 39 of this Decree to the Commissioner for the
issuance of the decree of registration and the corresponding
certificate of title in favor of the person adjudged entitled to
registration.
Sec. 31. Decree of registration. - Every decree of registration
issued by the Commissioner shall bear the date, hour and minute
of its entry, and shall be signed by him. It shall state whether the
owner is married or unmarried, and if married, the name of the
husband or wife: Provided, however, that if the land adjudicated
by the court is conjugal property, the decree shall be issued in the
name of both spouses. If the owner is under disability, it shall
state the nature of disability, and if a minor, his age. It shall
contain a description of the land as finally determined by the
court, and shall set forth the estate of the owner, and also, in such
manner as to show their relative priorities, all particular estates,
mortgages,
easements,
liens,
attachments,
and
other
encumbrances, including rights of tenant-farmers, if any, to which
the land or owner's estate is subject, as well as any other matters
properly to be determined in pursuance of this Decree.
The decree of registration shall bind the land and quiet
title thereto, subject only to such exceptions or liens as may
be provided by law. It shall be conclusive upon and against all
persons, including the National Government and all branches
thereof, whether mentioned by name in the application or notice,
the same being included in the general description "To all whom it
may concern".

Exceptions provided by law (Sec. 44):

Liens, claims or rights not required by law to appear of


record

Unpaid real estate taxes of preceding 2 years

Public highways or private way established/recognized


by law; or government irrigation canal or lateral thereof

Disposition pursuant to agrarian reform

Sec. 32.
Review of decree of registration; Innocent
purchaser for value. - The decree of registration shall not be
reopened or revised by reason of absence, minority, or other
disability of any person adversely affected thereby, nor by any
proceeding in any court for reversing judgments, subject,
however, to the right of any person, including the government and
the branches thereof, deprived of land or of any estate or interest
therein by such adjudication or confirmation of title obtained by
actual fraud, to file in the proper Court of First Instance a petition
for reopening and review of the decree of registration not later
than one year from and after the date of the entry of such decree
of registration, but in no case shall such petition be entertained by

the court where an innocent purchaser for value has acquired the
land or an interest therein, whose rights may be prejudiced.
Whenever the phrase "innocent purchaser for value" or an
equivalent phrase occurs in this Decree, it shall be deemed to
include an innocent lessee, mortgagee, or other encumbrancer for
value.
Upon the expiration of said period of one year, the
decree of registration and the certificate of title issued shall
become incontrovertible. Any person aggrieved by such decree of
registration in any case may pursue his remedy by action for
damages against the applicant or any other persons responsible
for the fraud.
Sec. 33.
Appeal from judgment, etc. - The judgment
and orders of the court hearing the land registration case are
appealable to the Court of Appeals or to the Supreme Court in the
same manner as in ordinary actions:
Sec. 34. Rules of procedure. - The Rules of Court shall, insofar
as not inconsistent with the provision of this Decree, be applicable
to land registration and cadastral cases by analogy or in a
suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient.
BP 129
Sec. 34. Delegated jurisdiction in cadastral and land
registration cases. - Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial
Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts may be assigned by the
Supreme Court to hear and determine cadastral or land
registration cases covering lots where there is no controversy or
opposition, or contested lot the value of which does not exceed
twenty thousand pesos, such value to be ascertained by the
affidavit of the claimant or by agreement of the respective
claimants if there are more than one, or from the corresponding
tax declaration of the real property. Their decisions in these cases
shall be appealable in the same manner as decisions of the
Regional Trial Courts.
Rule 143, Rules of Court
These rules shall not apply to land registration, cadastral
and election cases, naturalization and insolvency proceedings,
and other cases not herein provided for, except by analogy or in a
suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient.

BALTAZAR VS. LIMPIN


49 PHIL. 39
Facts:
M. Baltazar and J. Limpin filed an application for
registration. Opposition was filed by B. Limpin and the Dir of
Lands. David was named as referee and he made a report
favorable to the applicants. No exception was made to the
referees report so the judge handed down a decision in which he
concurred in part and dissented in part with the referees report.
Decision was unfavorable to applicants. Applicants appealed and
filed a petition to order stenographer to transcribe the notes of the
testimony of the referee. TC denied pet bec. referees report has
become unassailable.
Issue: WON petition to order stenographer should be granted.
Held: Yes. GENERAL RULE: If a party fails to make timely and
specific exceptions to the report of a referee and the report is
confirmed by the trial judge, he is bound by the findings and
cannot be heard to dispute their truthfulness or escape the legal
consequences flowing therefrom. BUT by virtue of sec 140 of the
Code of Civil Procedure and sec 36 of the Land Registration Law,
the trial judge retains a discretion to accept the report of the
referee in part and set it aside in part or reverse it entirely even
where no exceptions to the referee's report are taken (see sec 27
of PD 1529). When the trial judge accepts the referees report in
part, the general rule does not apply such that the referees report
does not become unassailable. Petition granted.
DURAN V. OLIVA
113 PHIL 144

Facts:
Duran and Vda. De Duran filed an application for
registration of land and Oliva et al filed their opposition and MTD
on the ground of lack of jurisdiction because the lands were
already registered. TC granted MTD. P claims there in no such
thing as MTDs in land registration cases.
Issue: WON MTDs are allowed in land registration cases.
Held: Yes. By express provision of Rule 132 (now R143) of the
Rules of Court, the rules contained therein apply to land
registration and cadastral cases in a suppletory character and
whenever practicable and convenient. The Land Registration Act
does not provide for a pleading similar or corresponding to a
motion to dismiss. As a motion to dismiss is necessary for the
expeditious termination of land registration cases, said motion
contained in the Rules of Court can be availed of by the parties.
Petition denied.
Evidence Necessary to Prove Title
RULE: No person is entitled to have land registered under a
cadastral or Torrens system unless he is the owner in fee simple of
the same, even though there is no opposition by 3 rd persons
against such registration

BURDEN is upon the APPLICANT

A survey plan not duly approved by the Director of Lands is of


dubious value and is not acceptable as evidence

If an applicant for registration relies on a document


evidencing his title thereto he must prove:
1. the genuineness of the title
2. the identity of the land referred to therein

RODRIGUEZ V. DIR OF LANDS


31 PHIL 272
Facts: Rodriguez filed an application for registration of land and
the Dir of Lands and several homesteaders filed their opposition.
TC denied the application because the area and boundaries of the
land applied for is too uncertain.
Issue: WON the P are entitled to a new trial.
Held: Yes. Only under exceptional circumstances should an
application for registry in the Court of Land Registration be
dismissed. Applicants should be granted a new trial, upon such
terms as the court may deem just and reasonable and to submit
additional evidence in support of his claim of title, when there are
strong or reasonable grounds to believe that he is the owner of all
or of any part of the land described in his application. This
especially when the only ground for the dismissal of the
application, as is in the CAB, is the lack of formal or perhaps even
substantial proof as to the chain of title upon which applicant
relies, or as to the precise location of the land, which there is
reasonable ground to believe can be supplied by the applicant
upon his being advised as to the nature of the defects or
omissions in the evidence offered by him, such defects or
omissions having been the result of oversight or excusable error
on his part in submitting his evidence in support of his claim of
title to the land described in his application.
REPUBLIC VS. LEE
Facts: Lee filed an application for registration of land on the bare
statement that the land applied for has been in the possession of
her predecessor-in-interest for more than 20 years. Director of
Lands opposed. TC granted the application.
Issue: WON Lees bare statement constitutes the well-nigh
incontrovertible and conclusive evidence required in land
registration cases.
Held: No. The most basic rule in land registration cases is that
"no person is entitled to have land registered under the Cadastral
or Torrens system unless he is the owner in fee simple of the
same, even though there is no opposition presented against such
registration by third persons . . In order that the petitioner for the

registration of his land shall be permitted to have the same


registered, and to have the benefit resulting from the certificate of
title, finally issued, the burden is upon him to show that he is the
real and absolute owner, in fee simple." Lee must prove the
alleged 20 year or more possession of his predecessors-in-interest
by means of factual support and substantiation. Lee failed to
discharge this burden to the satisfaction of the Court. That the
representing fiscal did not cross-examine her on this point does
not help her cause because the burden is upon her. Petition
granted.
REPUBLIC CEMENT CORP. V. CA, CORREA, REGISTER OF
DEEDS OF BULACAN (198 SCRA 734)
Facts: Republic Cement Corp (RCC) filed an application for
registration of land. Rayo, Mangahas and Legaspi opposed as to a
portion of the land applied for based on ownership. Oppositors
were later substituted by the purchaser Correa.
TC denied
application based on new SC ruling that a juridical person, is
disqualified to apply for its registration under Section 48 (b) of she
Public Land Law and when its predecessors-in-interest did not
apply for land registration, they did not have any vested right or
title which was transmissible to the juridical person. Correa filed
an action for recovery. RCC filed a MTD on the ground that the
land registration case is on appeal. TC granted MTD. The CA, as
regards the land registration case on appeal, ruled that the SC
ruling used by TC was already overturned, such that juridical
persons like RCC can now apply for registration. CA ordered
registration in favor of RCC but excluding certain portions in favor
of Correa. RCC appeals CA decision.
Issue: WON CA was correct in giving a portion to Correa.
Held. Yes. Petitioner raises questions of fact which are not within
the province of the present recourse. Settled is the rule that
findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are final and binding upon
the Supreme Court if borne out by the evidence on record. A
review of the factual findings of the Court of Appeals is not a
function ordinarily undertaken by the Supreme Court, the rule
admitting of only a few exceptions recognized under decisional
law, which exceptions are not obtaining in the case at bar.
After the death of RCCs predecessor-in-interest Felix
Mangahas, one-half (1/2) of said land was adjudicated and
partitioned among his five (5) daughters in a deed of extrajudicial
partition. Later, RCC boought the land form the daughters. Based
on said transfers, petitioner is now seeking the registration of the
whole of Lot No. 2880 in its name. This we cannot allow. The
deeds of sale relied upon by petitioner do not constitute sufficient
legal justification for petitioner's claim over all of Lot No. 2880.
Petitioner's title over said lot, as the successor in interest of said
heirs, is limited only to whatever rights the latter may have had
therein. It is elementary that a grantor can convey no greater
estate than what he has or in which he has an alienable title or
interest.
Petitioner's claim over the excess area is premised on
the survey allegedly made by surveyor Villaruz, but the resultant
areas depicted in said survey do not tally with, but supposedly
consist of expanded areas very much larger than, those indicated
for the lots involved in their respective tax declarations. These
facts are expressly stated by the foregoing parties in the deeds of
sale they executed in favor of petitioner over the lots covered by
the aforestated tax declarations. We do not find satisfactory the
stilted explanation advanced to justify the glaringly excessive
disparity of areas resulting after the supposed survey.
It does not appear from our scrutiny of the records,
despite petitioner's representations in its written offer of evidence
filed in the court a quo, that the purported survey plans of the lots
involved were actually submitted in evidence therein. Neither was
it alleged and proved that they were approved by the Director of
Lands. It has long been held that unless a survey plan is duly
approved by the Director of Lands, the same is of dubious value
and is not acceptable as evidence. Indubitably, therefore, the
reputed survey and its alleged results are not entitled to credit
and should be rejected. An applicant for registration of land, if he
relies on a document evidencing his title thereto, must prove not
only the genuineness of said title but also the identity of the land
therein referred to. If he only claims a portion of what is included
in his title, he must clearly prove that the property sought to be
registered is included in that title.

Spanish Titles
PD 1529, Sec. 3.
Status of other pre-existing land
registration system. - The system of registration under the
Spanish Mortgage Law is hereby discontinued and all lands
recorded under said system which are not yet covered by Torrens
title shall be considered as unregistered lands.
Hereafter, all instruments affecting lands originally
registered under the Spanish Mortgage Law may be recorded
under Section 113 of this Decree, until the land shall have been
brought under the operation of the Torrens system.
The books of registration for unregistered lands provided
under Section 194 of the Revised Administrative Code, as
amended by Act No. 3344, shall continue to remain in force;
provided, that all instruments dealing with unregistered lands
shall henceforth be registered under Section 113 of this Decree.

REPUBLIC V. FELICIANO
148 SCRA 424 (1987)
Facts: Feliciano filed a complaint with the CFI of Camarines Sur
against the Republic of the Philippines for recovery of ownership
of a parcel of land. Feliciano alleges that he bought the property
from Victor Cardiola who in turn acquired the property from a
Francisco Abrazado. Abrazados claim to ownership is by virtue of
an informacion posesoria. Feliciano took actual possession of the
land and introduced improvements.
Government claimed
ownership by virtue of Proclamation 90 which reserved for
settlement purposes a tract of land which includes Felicianos
land. Feliciano filed an action praying that he be declared rightful
and true owner by virtue of the informacion posesoria of his
predecessor-in-interests.
Issue: WON ownership is vested by virtue of the informacion
posesoria.
Held/ Ratio Decidendi : No. The inscription in the property
registry of an informacion posesoria under the Spanish Mortgage
law was a means provided by the law then in force in the
Philippines prior to the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to US, to
record a claimants actual possession of a piece of land,
established through an ex parte proceeding. Such inscription
merely furnishes, at best, prima facie evidence of the fact that at
the time the proceeding was held, the claimant was in possession
of the land under a claim of right. The possessory information
could ripen into a record of ownership after the lapse of 20 years
upon the fulfillment of the requisites. There is no showing in the
case at bar that the informacion posesoria held by the respondent
had been converted into a record of ownership. Such possessory
information, therefore, remained at best mere prima facie
evidence of possession.
Tax Declarations
Tax declarations are not conclusive proof of ownership in
land registration cases.

PALOMO V. CA
JANUARY 21, 1997
Facts: Gov General Forbes issued EO 40 w/c reserved for
provincial park purposes an area of land. Subsequently the CFI of
Albay ordered registratiion of 15 parcels of land covered by EO40
in the name of Diego Palomo. In 1954, President Magsaysay
issued Proc. 47 converting the area of EO40 into the Tiwi Hot
Spring National Park.
The Palomos continued in adverse possession, paying
real estate taxes thereon, and making improvements. In 1974,
the Govt of the Phils. Filed a case for annulment and cancellation
of Certificates of Title involving the 15 parcels. Jundgment was
rendered in favor of the Republic.

Issue: WON the certificate of titles to the 15 parcels are valid


and binding.
Held/ Ratio Decidendi: NO. The tax receipts which were
presented in evidence do not prove ownership of the parcels of
land inasmuch as the weight of authority is that tax declarations
are not conclusive proof of ownership in land registration cases.
Possession
SOUTH CITY HOMES V REPUBLIC
185 SCRA 693 (1990)
Facts: Lot No. 5005 is a strip of land between 2 lots owned by the
petitioner. Registration of the strip was issued in the name of the
petitioner, but the order was reversed by special division of the
respondent court. Petitioner argues that the reversal is erroneous.
The 2 adjacent lots are Lot 2381 and 2386. Both are now
registered with the petitioner. He submits 2 theories as to why lot
5005 should also be registered in his name. First, the strip of land
formed part of the 2 lots but was ommitted therefrom only
because of the inaccuracies of the old system of cadastral
surveys. Second, it had acquired the property by prescription
through uninterrupted possession in the concept of owner.
Issue: WON petitioner has acquired ownership over lot 5005
through prescription.
Ratio: NO. It is obvious that the technical descriptions of the two
lots do not include the strip of land between them. Furthermore,
the testimony and the evidence presented falls short of
establishing the manner and length of possession required by law
to vest prescriptive title in the petitioner to lot No. 5005. For one
thing, as the SolGen points out in his comment, the claim of
adverse ownership to the strip of land between their respective
lots was not exclusive but shared by the predecessors-in-interest
of the petitioner. The petitioner merely occupied the disputed strip
believing it to be included in the 2 lots. However, even if it can be
conceded that the previous owners of the lots possessed the strip,
the possession cannot be tacked to the possession of the
petitioner. Possession cannot be transferred.
Prescription
PARCOTILO V PARCOTILO
120 PHIL. 1231
Facts: The plaintiffs alleged that Pablo owned two parcels of land
during his lifetime in Misamis Occidental. In 1918, Pablo and his
wife died of cholera, leaving no ascendant or descendant. So it
was claimed by the plaintiffs herein that they are co-owners of the
land with the defendants involved. On January 1956, plaintiffs
filed a complaint for partition, claiming that in 1936, defendant
Demetrio swore to an affidavit that he was the only son and heir
of Pablo and in so doing, procured the transfer to his name of the
tax declarations of Pablos lands. Demetrio then sold a portion of
the property to a third party, Crispin Prieto. The defendants raised
various defenses: claiming that it was donated to them since 1917
and took possession thereof in 1918 in the concept of an owner,
introducing improvements to it; the third party claims innocent
purchaser for value. The trial court dismissed the complaint,
upholding defendants assertion that it was donated mortis causa
through a testament (without requisite of law) exh 1 conveying it
to defendant. And it was also found that defendant possessed the
land without any protesting his occupation thereof, and only
recently did plaintiffs raise this claim. The TC ruled that exh 1 has
no probative value but it serves as a good ground to base
acquisitive prescription. Hence, this appeal.
Held/ Ratio Decidendi :
The Supreme Court affirmed the
findings of the TC. Even if exh 1 was not executed with all the
requisites of a valid will or of a valid donation mortis causa, the
said document supplied the basis for the claim for the defendant.
This claim of ownership by Demetrio coupled with his open,
continuous and adverse possession for a period of 38 years had
ripened into a title by prescription.

And where the lands involved are unregistered and the rights
thereto by prescription accrued before the New Civil Code went
into effect, the law applicable is Sec 41 of Act 190 of the Old Code
of Civil Procedure (10 year- period and concept of actual, open, ...
possession).
Even the Art 1137 of the New Civil Code,
nevertheless, upholds the claim of defendant since he held on the
property through uninterrupted adverse possession for more than
30 years.
SEMINARY OF SAN CARLOS VS THE MUNICIPALITY OF CEBU
(19 PHIL 32)
Facts: The Seminary of San Carlos asks for the registration of two
pieces of land located in Cebu, alleging as its source of title a
royal cession from the King of Spain. The City of Cebu denies the
title of the petitioner and alleges in itself ownership of the land in
question, stating that its title is based upon possession thereof
required by law to effect title by prescription.
The land in question as claimed by the seminary, includes a
portion of one of the public squares of that city. So aside from the
question of ownership, the two related matters resolved by the
court involved the quantity of the land and its precise location.
Held/ Ratio Decidendi: After looking at the exhibits to ascertain
the exact plan of the land, the Court found that the land described
in petitioners exhibits far exceeds the land it was allowed to
claim. It was shown that indeed, there appears to be a large
difference between the amount of land as described in one of the
petitioners exhibits and that included in the plan. But still, there
are enough documents to show that it owns part of the land.
Under the evidence, therefore, the Court concluded that a portion
of the land now occupied by the City of Cebu as a public plaza is a
land described in the petitioners exhibits and so much said land is
contained in petitioners plan, and to that land, no documentary
record or title appears except that of petitioners paper title which
the City fails to contradict. The Citys contention is based solely
on long years of actual occupation (prescription). It then signifies
no source from which comes any right or interest and asserts no
ability to disclose any. In fact, exh k was even presented by
petitioner to show that the Citys occupation was permissive and
not adverse, was under license and not under claim of right, and
could not therefore be made the basis of a prescriptive title. Any
express or implied acknowledgment which the possessor makes
with regard to the dominant rights of the true owner interrupts the
possession held for prescriptive purposes and defeats the
operation of the law granting such rights.
Also, the spanish grant (a written instrument acknowledging the
superior title of the Seminary and limited the purpose of the Citys
possession of the land) given by the governor-general then,
recognizing the Seminarys right was binding upon the City and
conclusive as to the character thereof. But the Seminary is
likewise bound to honor the purposes for which the City can
occupy the land (so long as the paseo exists).

RAMOS V CA
(FEB. 3, 1999)
Facts: supra
Held/ Ratio Decidendi: Under the law, an action for
reconveyance of real property resulting from fraud prescribes in
four years from the discovery of fraud. Discovery of the fraud
must be deemed to have taken place when Lucia Bautista was
issued OCT Nos. 17811 and 17812 because registration of real
property is considered constructive notice to all persons and it
shall be counted from the time of such registering, filing, or
entering.
An action based on implied or constructive trust
prescribes in 10 years. This means that petitioners should have
enforced the trust within 10 years from the time of its creation or
upon the alleged fraudulent registration of property. But as it is,
petitioners failed to avail of any of the aforementioned remedies
within the prescribed periods. With NO remedy in view, their
claims should forever be foreclosed.

Likewise, the Court reiterated on the protection afforded by the


Torrens System (once its title is registered, owner may rest
secure.. so no abandonment can work against the private
respondents.
E.

Hearing, Judgment and Decree

Hearing and Notice


GOVT OF THE PHIL, VASQUEZ, GAYARES V ABURAL
(39 PHIL 996)
Facts: Cadastral proceedings were commenced in Negros
Occidental upon an application of the Director of Lands in 1916.
Notices were issued. Vasquez and Gayares, although residing in
the same municipality and participated in other cadastral cases,
did NOT enter any opposition. Hearing then issued, and the lower
court issued a final decree ordering the Chief of the General Land
Registration Office to issue the decrees corresponding to the lots
adjudged in the decision. Eight months later, but before the
issuance by the Land Registration Office of the so-called technical
decree, Vasquez and Gayares came into the case for the first time,
claiming complete ignorance of the proceedings. The lower court
however, denied their motion for new trial, saying that there was
already a decree rendered by the Court and there being no
allegation of fraud, the Court has no jurisdiction to consider this
case. Hence, this appeal.
Held/ Ratio Decidendi: The main question is: When does the
registration of title, under the Torrens System of Land Registration,
especially under the different Philippine laws, establishing the
Cadastral System, become final, conclusive and indisputable? As a
general rule, registration of title under the cadastral system is
final, conclusive and indisputable after the passage of the 30 day
period allowed for an appeal from the date of receipt by the party
of a copy of the judgment of the court adjudicating ownership
without any step having been taken to perfect an appeal. The
prevailing party may then have execution of the judgment as a
matter of right and is entitled to the certificate of title issued by
the Chief of the Land Registration Office. The exception is the
special provision providing for fraud.
In this case, the Court explained that there are 3 actions
taken after trial in a cadastral case. First, adjudicates ownership
in favor of claimants. Second, declaration by the court that the
decree is final and its order for the issuance of the certificates of
title by the Chief of the Land Registration Office (such order is
made within 30 days from date of receipt of a copy of the
decision, there being no appeal made). Third, devolves upon the
General Land Registration Office to prepare the final decrees in all
adjudicated cases. Indeed, the judgment in a cadastral survey,
including the rendition of the decree, is a judicial act. As the law
says, the judicial decree when final is the basis of the certificate of
title. The issuance of a decree by the LRO is ministerial act. The
date on which the defeated party receives a copy of the decision,
begins the running of the time for the interposition of a motion for
new trial or appeal. Herein, the claim after 8 months will not be
allowed by the Court.
MAGBANUA, PINEDA V DIZON, DIRECTOR OF LANDS AND
FORESTRY (73 PHIL. 622)
Facts: Petitioners applied in the CFI of Iloilo for the registration of
a parcel of land. This was opposed by the DOL and DOF claiming
that the applicants have no sufficient title to the land, and that a
portion thereof formed part of the provincial road. Hearing
ensued, and in there, an agreement was reached wherein the
applicants ceded to the government the land claimed by it
(excluding it in their application). As such, the Court rendered a
decision bestowing parcels A and C to applicants and ceding
parcel B to the government. The decision was silent however to
one parcel of land (parcel D). In the decision, the applicants were
ordered to submit an amended plan duly approved by the BOL
corresponding to the technical description as agreed upon.
The DOL however filed a motion for reconsideration
based on the Courts failure to include parcel D in its claim.
Petitioners opposed the MFR, saying that the judge no longer has
jurisdiction because the decision had become final.

Held/ Ratio Decidendi: DOL can file MFR because decision is


NOT yet final. In view of the necessity for the applicants to
present a new plan as a result of their agreement whereby it was
agreed that parcels B and D were to be excluded in favor of the
government. The decision could not acquire finality until the
amended plan was presented. Indeed, such decisions which leave
something yet to be done by the parties and the court before it
can be enforced, has in various cases been declared by the Court
as interlocutory and not appealable.
ALINSUNURIN V. DIR OF LANDS
(68 SCRA 177)
FACTS: On Feb. 24, 1964, Alipinoi Alinsunurin filed an application
for registration under Act No. 496 of a vast tract of land in nueva
Ecija. The director of lands opposed the application, claiming that
the applicant was not in open, continuous possession of the land
for at least 30 years, and that part of the land was a military
reservation, therefore inalienable land.
On Nov. 19, 1966, the lower court rendered a decision in
favor of the applicants, ordering the registration of the land in the
names of: (Paranaque Investment and Devt. Corp. (PIDC/
successor-in-interest of Alinsunurin); and (2) Roman Tamayo as to
1/3 portion of the land.
The DOL filed a notice of appeal with the SC. PIDC was
furnished a copy of the notice, but no copy was sent to Roman
Tamayo. Pending approval of the records of appeal, PIDC and RT
filed a motion for the issuance of a decree of registration pending
appeal. The DOL opposed.
The lower court on March 11, 1967 ordered the issuance of a
decree of registration of the entire land, 1/3 pro indiviso in favor of
RT, and 2/3 in favor of PIDC the latter subject to the final
outcome of the appeal, while the former absolute since RT was not
furnished a Notice of Appeal.
OCT No. 0-311 was isued by the register of deeds on
March 14, 1967. The DOL filed a petition to nullify the LCs order
dated march 11, 1967, the decree of reg issued pursuant thereto,
and the OCT No. 0-311 issued by the ROD.
ISSUE: WON the OCT No. 0-3151 may be nullified.
HELD: Yes. Under the circumstances of the case, the failure of the
appellants to serve a copy of their Notice of Appeal to RT is not
fatal to the appeal because, admittedly, he was served with a
copy of the original, as well as the Amended record on appeal in
both of which the Notice3 of Appeal is embodied. Hence, such
failure cannot impair the right of appeal.
What is more, the appeal taken by the gov't was from
the entire decision, which was not severable. Thus, the appeal
affects the whole decision.
In any event, We rule that execution pending appeal is
NOT applicable in land registration proceedings. It is fraught with
dangerous consequences. Innocent purchasers may be misled
into purchasing real properties upon reliance on a judgment which
may be reversed on appeal.
A Torrens title issued on the basis of a judgment that is
not final is a nullity, as it is violative of the express provision of the
LRA w/c requires that a decree shall be issued only after the
decision adjudicating the title becomes final and executory, and it
is on the basis of said decree that the ROD concerned issues the
corresponding certificate of title.
Consequently, the LC acted w/o jurisdiction or exceeded
its jurisdiction in ordering the issuances of a decree of reg. Despite
the appeal taken from the entire decision a quo.
DE LOS REYES V. DE VILLA
(48 PHIL 227)
FACTS: Delos Reyes filed an application for the registration of 2
parcels of land situated in the municipality of Mariaya, Tayabas.
The CFI rendered a decision in favor of delos Reyes, ordering the
issuance of a decree of registration and OCT as soon as the
decision becomes final. The court issued an order directing the
Land Reg Office to prepare a final decree of registration. Such
was issued on Nov 22, 1923.

Braulio de Villa filed a petition for review of the decree


under Sec 38 of the LRA, alleging that the registration of land was
obtained by fraud. The petition was opposed by delos Reyes on
the ground that it had been presented after the expiration of the
time allowed under sec 38. DLR maintains that the decree of
March 31, 1923 was the reckoning point of the 1-year period
under Sec. 38, hence the petition was presented out of time.
Appelant de Villa contends that the 1-yr period
commenced on Nov. 22, 1923 when the final decree of registration
was issued by the GLRO; therefore, the petition was presented
well within the one year period provided for in Sec. 38.
ISSUE: When does the one-year period for the petition for review
commence?
RATIO: Upon the issuance of the final decree of registration, as
described under Section 40, by the chief of the general Land Reg.
Office. De Villas petition was timely presented.
The petition for review under Sec. 38 of the LRA must be
presented within one year after the entry of the decree of
registration described and defined in Sec. 40 of the same act.
The LRA expressly recognizes 2 classes of decrees in
land registration proceedings, namely, decrees of confirmation
and registration dealt with in sections 30-41 of the Act, and the
decrees dismissing the application. It will be noted that Sec. 38
speaks of the former class. Sec. 40 defines and describes the
form and contents of such decrees. The decision of the trial court
in a land registration case, ordering the issuance of a decree of
registration within the meaning of Sec. 38 of the LRA.
In preparing and signing the final decree of registration,
the chief of the GLRO acts in his capacity as Chief Clerk of the CFI
in land registration matters, and not as an administrative one. It
is the last word of the court to the registration and is the basis for
the issuance of the certificate of title.
In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the date
noted on the final decree of registration, as the date of its
issuance and entry, must be regarded as the true date of such
entry, and the year within which a petition for review must be
presented begins to run from that date.

YUSON V. DIAZ
(42 PHIL. 22)
Facts: Yuson purchased a parcel of land from Lopez, to whom OCT
no. 999 was issued by the CFI (Lopez was the applicant for
registration). When Yuson took possession of the land, they found
the respondents in possession of the part of the land. The latter
were asked to leave the land, but they refused. The respondents
claim that they purchased the land in good faith from one
Graciano Garcia.
The Land Reg. Court issued a writ of possession in favor
of Lopez, by virtue of which Lopez was placed in possession of the
land. In the case at bar, Yuson filed petition/motion to issue a writ
of possession to compel the respondents to surrender the land to
Yuson.
The respondents maintain that, in view of the right of
possession which they claim to have acquired over the parcel of
land, they cannot be dispossessed thereof by means of a simple
motion.
Yuson claims that it is entitled to a writ of possession,
relying on Sec. 39 of the LRA.
It is claimed that Sec. 39
guarantees that the purchaser of registered land for value shall
hold the same free and clear from any and all prior claims and
encumbrances, except those set forth in the decree of registration
and those expressly mentioned in the Act as having been reserved
against it.
The CFI Judge refused to issue the writ of possession.
Hence, this petition.
Issue: WON the successors-in-interest of the applicants can
acquire possession of said parcel of land actually occupied by the
respondents by means of a petition asking for a writ of
possession?
Held: No. An independent action for reconveyance or unlawful
detainer is necessary.
Under the facts stated in the decision, it is improper to
issue the peremptory writ of mandamus against a judge to compel

him to issue a writ of possession in favor of the owner of the


registered land occupied by a third person who has not been
defeated after trial.
Sec. 39 of the LRA w/c states that an OCT issued by
virtue of a decree of reg. And every subsequent purchaser for
value receives a certificate and those mentioned in Sec. 39. The
meaning of the words free from all encumbrances does not
include adverse possession of a third person who subsequent to
the decree entered and occupied the said land.
By virtue of Sec. 17 of the LRA, the Land Registration
Court may, in cases falling within its jurisdiction, enforce its
orders, judgments or decrees in the same manner as the CFI,
including a writ of possession. But when OTHER persons have
subsequently entered the property, claiming right of possession,
the owner of the registered property or his successors in interest
CANNOT dispossess such persons by merely asking for a writ of
possession.
He who believes himself entitled to deprive another of
the possession of real property must come to the courts of justice,
instituting, as the case may be, and action for unlawful entry or
detainer, or the reinvindicatory action authorized under the Civil
Code.
When a Writ of Possession is Not Proper:
1. when a 3rd person enters into and occupies the land
subsequent to the decree of registration

proper recourse would be an action for illegal


entry/unlawful detainer or a reinvidicatory action
2. when a person seeks reconstitution of a certificate of title
over a piece of property that he does not actually possess

BLAS, SIMEON VS. DELA CRUZ


(37 PHIL. 1)
Facts: Dela Cruz filed an application for registration of a parcel of
land under the Torrens system. Blas presented an opposition,
claiming that he was the owner of a portion of land described in
the petition. Lower court ruled in favor of Blas, but the SC ruled
otherwise. The SC ordered that the portion w/c was claimed by
Blas be registered in the name of V. dela Cruz.
Blas filed this present petition to obtain an injunction
against dela Cruz to prevent him from destroying the buildings
and improvements over the subject land. Blas claims that these
byuildings fall under exceptional encumbrances provided for
under Sec. 39 of Act 496. Therefore, despite the absence of any
notation in the certificate of title as to these buildings, these
encumbrances must be recognized by dela Cruz.
Issue: 1. Does the decree ordering the registration of land under
the Torrens system include the buildings and improvements
thereon, when they have not been expressly excluded in said
decree? Ans: YES
2. May Blas claim said buildings as his property and
remove the same or prevent the owner of the land under said
decree from removing or destroying the same, even if he had not
made any claim to said improvements during the proceedings for
registration? Ans: No.
Held: The general purpose of the Torrens System is to forever
foreclose litigation concerning the title to land. Every decree of
registration shall bind the land, and quiet title thereto, subject
only to the exceptions stated by law. If the objector (Blas) may,
during the pendency of the case, remain silent as to certain rights,
interests or claims existing in or upon the land, and then later, by
a separate action, have such interest litigated, then the purpose
of the Torrens System will be defeated.

IN RE MANILA BUILDINGS AND LOANS ASSOCIATION (13


PHIL 575)
Facts: MBLA leased a parcel of land owned by Benito Legarda,
and erected a building of strong materials thereon. On Jan. 14,
1908, MBLA applied to the Court of Land Reg. for the registration
of a building of strong materials erected on ground belonging to
another. The application was denied by the CLR.

MBLA filed an amended application alleging that the land


was registered in the name of Legarda; and that the lease
contract between MBLA and Legarda was registered/indorsed on
the title deed of the latter.
On April 14, 1908, the CLR ruled that an annotation that
the building thereon belongs to the lessee (MBLA) is sufficient
registration. MBLA appealed to the SC, claiming that Sec. 2 of the
LRA allows the registration of title to land or buildings or interest
therein
Held: The use of the phrase land or buildings or an interest
therein, instead of the single word land, is no reason for
construing the law as authorizing the registration of buildings
erected on land belonging to another separately and
independently from the registration of the land. The natural and
logical interpretation of such language of the LRA being natural
and logical interpretation of such language of the LRA being that it
authorizes the owner of the land to register together with the land
all the improvements.
But under NO circumstances can
registration be applied for separately and independently by the
owner of the land and by the owner of the buildings; that is to say
that the land of one person and the building of another erected
thereon can have no separate legal existence in the registry as
property independent in themselves.
At the expiration of the lease, the owner of the land has
the right, not merely a contingent one but a definite right under
the law, to cause the building erected on his estate to be taken
down without incurring any obligation whatsoever, enforcing
against
the lessee the obligation imposed by article 1561 (Civil Code), to
return the estate in the same condition in w/c he received it.

This petition must be verified and filed within 60 days after


the petitioner learns of the judgment to be set aside, but not
more than 6 months after such judgment was entered. It must
be accompanied by affidavits showing the FAME relied upon, and
the facts constituting the petitioner's good and substantial cause
of action or defense.
This remedy can be availed of only when the judgment has
become final and the remedies of new trial or appeal are no
longer available.
(3)

Appeal

The judgment and orders of the court hearing the land


registration case are appealable to the Court of Appeals in the
same manner as in ordinary actions.
(4)

Petition for Review of Decree of


Registration

A petition for reopening and review of decree of registration


under Sec. 32 of PD 1529 may be resorted to provided that the ff.
requisites are present:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)

the petitioner has a real and dominical right;


that he has been deprived thereof;
through fraud (actual or extrinsic);
that the petition is filed within one year from the
issuance of the decree (Yabut Lee v. Punzalan); and
the property has not as yet been transferred to an
innocent purchaser for value

Once the 1-year period lapses, the decree of registration and


vi.
the certificate of title issued become incontrovertible, and the
Remedies person aggrieved loses his recourse to this remedy.
However, even if a petition is filed within 1 year from the entry
An aggrieved party may take any of the following remedies
of the decree, the courts cannot entertain such petition if the
to challenge the judgment in a land registration case or the
rights of an innocent purchaser for value may be prejudiced.
validity of title issued pursuant thereto:
This 1-year period commences upon the issuance of the final
(1) Motion for New Trial
decree of registration by the LRA (De los Reyes v. De Villa,
(2) Petition for Relief from Judgment
supra)
(3) Appeal
(4) Petition for Review of Decree of
MERCEDES ANICETA GARCIA, ET AL VS. DOMINADOR G.
Registration
MENDOZA
(5) Action for Reconveyance
14 SCRA 691 (1965)
(6) Action for Damages
(7) Action for Compensation from the Assurance Fund
FACTS: Petitioner Mercedes A. Garcia claims that she and her
(8) Cancellation Suit
husband, Cirilo Mendoza, had purchased Lot No. 32080 located in
(9) Quieting of Title
San Carlos City, Pangasinan on April 24, 1938. They subsequently
(1)

New Trial

Within the 15-day reglementary period for perfecting an


appeal, the aggrieved party may file a motion for new trial under
Rule 37 of the Rules of Court for one or more of the following
causes:
(a) Fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence
which ordinary prudence could not have guarded against
and by reason of which such aggrieved party has
probably been impaired in his rights; or
(b) Newly-discovered evidence which he could not, with
reasonable diligence, have discovered and produced at
the trial, and which if presented would probably alter the
result.

(2)

Relief from Judgment

A petition for relief from judgment under Rule 38 of the


Rules of Court can be resorted to in instances where the
judgment was entered through fraud, accident, mistake, or
excusable negligence (FAME for short).

sold it under a Pacto de Retro sale to co-petitioners Sps.


Dulcesimo Rosario and Violeta Reyes and Erlinda O. Rosario
(Petitioners), who then took possession of said lot.
On February 23, 1988, the cadastral court issued a
decision adjudicating Lot No. 32080 in favor of Dominador G.
Mendoza (hereafter, Mendoza), their son.
Petitioner Garcia claims that there was actual fraud
because Mendoza falsely claimed that his father, Cirilo Mendoza,
inherited the property from Hermenegildo Mendoza (Cirilo's
alleged father); that Mendoza made it appear that Lot 32080 was
an exclusive property of Cirilo Mendoza, who had been in
possession of the lot since October 15, 1987, and subsequently,
donated the same to his son, Mendoza.
On September 2, 1988, the petitioners filed with the
court a petition for review of judgment. This was denied in an
Order dated December 6, 1988. Mendoza countered that a
petition for relief from judgment under Sec. 38, Act No. 496, does
not apply to a cadastral proceeding. Moreover, Mendoza alleged
that he had filed his claim over Lot No. 32080
ISSUE: WON the remedy of petition for review of judgment exists
or is warranted by Act No. 2259 (Cadastral Act):
HELD: Sec. 11, Act 2259 clearly states that except as otherwise
provided by the Cadastral Act, all the provisions of the Land
Registration Act are applicable to cadastral proceedings as well as
to the decree and certificates of title granted and issued under the
Cadastral Act.

SOLEDAD DE G. CRISOLO, IN HER BEHALF AND AS


GUARDIAN OF NOEL CRISOLO VS. COURT OF APPEALS,
68 SCRA 435 (1975)
FACTS: Within a year from the issuance of a decree of registration
in a land registration case, respondent-ward, represented by his
guardian, filed a petition for review of the decree under Section 38
of Act 496 on the ground of fraud which allegedly consisted in
petitioner's taking advantage of the insanity of respondent-ward
to secure the execution of a deed of exchange of properties by
and between the petitioner and said respondent-ward, and in
petitioner's instituting the land registration proceedings while said
ward was confined at the National Psychopathic Hospital. The trial
court dismissed the petition and held that Section 38 of Act 496
was not applicable because respondent had opportunity to oppose
the registration proceedings but abandoned his opposition.
Private respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals and when
petitioner moved to have the appeal certified to the Supreme
Court because it involved purely questions of law, the Court of
Appeals denied the motion and instead sustained the allegation of
fraud. It rendered a decision reversing that of the trial court and
remanding the case to the trial court for further proceedings.
Hence, this petition for certiorari on the grounds that the Court of
Appeals lacked jurisdiction since only questions of law are
involved and private respondent is not entitled to the re-opening
of the land registration proceedings because he was not denied
fraudulently of his day in court but merely abandoned his
opposition thereto despite the opportunity given to him to oppose
the registration.
ISSUE: whether or not an oppositor, after abandoning his
opposition in a land registration case and after a decision had
been rendered and a decree of registration issued thereunder, is
entitled to a reopening of the proceedings by means of a petition
for review based on fraud under Section 38 of Act 496
HELD: The record shows that private respondent had been duly
afforded the opportunity to object to, the registration and
substantiate the same.
The person(s) contemplated under
Section 38 of Act 496, to be entitled to a review of a decree of
registration, are those who were fraudulently deprived of their
opportunity to be heard in the original registration case. Such is
not the situation of the private respondents here. They were not
denied their day in court by fraud, which the law provides as the
sole ground for reopening of the decree of registration. In fact
they opposed the registration but failed to substantiate their
opposition.
Mere allegation of fraud is not enough. Specific,
intentional acts to deceive and deprive another of his right, or in
some manner injure him, must be alleged and proved. There must
be actual or positive fraud as distinguished from constructive
fraud to entitle one to the reopening of a decree of registration.
And it must be extrinsic and not intrinsic fraud. (Grey Alba vs. De
la Cruz, supra, 17 Phil. 49, 57).

SPOUSES RODOLFO YABUT LEE AND LYDIA LISCANO, VS.


FLORENCIO P. PUNZALAN, 99 SCRA 567 (1980)
FACTS: On May 14, 1968, applicants-appellees had filed before the
CFI an application for the registration of two parcels of land (Land
Reg. Case No. N-345, LRC Record No. 34956). No opposition
having
been interposed despite due publication, the trial Court issued an
Order of General Default. In due time, the applicants presented
their evidence before the Clerk of Court who was duly
commissioned to receive the same. The latter submitted his
Report to the Court for proper action but due to the transfer of
then Presiding Judge Julian E. Lustre to another district, the
Application was unacted upon.
On November 26, 1968, appellant Florencio Punzalan
filed a "Petition for Reopening and/or Review" on the claim that
applicants had committed fraud in not disclosing in their
Application that he is the owner of a house standing on the lots
applied for, that he has usufructuary rights over said properties,

and prayed that the Petition be admitted, the case reopened and
a new trial ordered so that he could have his day in Court.
The trial Court, presided by Judge Jose C. de Guzman,
rendered an Order denying reopening and/or review "for not
having been well taken and for lack of merit since "there is
nothing to reopen and/or review at the moment."
ISSUE: WON the CFI was correct in denying reopening/review of
the case
HELD: The petition for review contemplated in the law clearly
envisages the issuance of a decree of registration. It presupposes
the rendition of a Court's decision. In fact, it has even been held
that a petition for review under the law "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". In the case at bar, no judgment has as yet been
rendered by the lower Court, and much less has any decree of
registration been issued. The filing of a Petition for Reopening
and/or Review by appellant, therefore, is decidedly premature.
Indeed, in the absence of any decision and/or decree, there is
nothing to be reviewed or reopened.
Innocent Purchaser for Value
One is considered an "innocent purchaser for value" only
if, relying on the certificate of title, he bought the property from
the registered owner, "without notice that some other person has
a right to, or interest in, such property and pays a full and fair
price for the same, at the time of such purchase, or before he has
notice of the claim or interest of some other persons in the
property." (Realty Sales Enterprise, Inc. v. IAC, 154 SCRA 328) He
is not required to explore farther than what the Torrens title
indicates upon its face. (Fule v. De Legare, 117 Phil 367)
The phrase "innocent purchaser for value" is deemed to
include an innocent lessee, mortgagee, or other encumbrancer for
value. (Sec. 32, PD 1529)

REALTY SALES ENTERPRISE, INC. AND MACONDRAY FARMS,


INC. VS. IAC,
154 SCRA 328 (1987)
FACTS: Morris Carpo filed a complaint with the Court of First
Instance of Rizal, Branch XXIII, presided over by Judge Rizalina
Bonifacio Vera thereafter referred to as Vera Court, for declaration
of nullity of Decree No. N-63394 and TCT No. 20408 issued in the
name of Realty Sale. It was alleged that the court (Reyes court)
that adjudicated title in favor of Realty had no jurisdiction as a
land registration court. It was further alleged that the original
records of LRC Case No. 657, GLRO Record No. 29882 which was
the basis for the issuance of said order of May 21, 1958, were lost
and/or destroyed during World War II and were still pending
reconstitution; hence, the Reyes Court had no authority to order
the issuance of a certificate of title. The court of first instance
decided in favor of Carpo. Realty appealed. CA affirmed CFI. The
Court of Appeals further held that Morris G. Carpo is a purchaser
in good faith and for value.
ISSUE: 1. WON the court that adjudicated title in favor of Realty
had jurisdiction
2. WON Carpo is an innocent purchaser for value was
never raised as an issue in the trial court.
HELD: 1. The parties thereto did not have to commence a new
action but only had to go back to the preceding stage where
records are available. The land registration case itself remained
pending and the Court of First Instance of Rizal continued to have
jurisdiction over it.
The records were destroyed at that stage of the case
when all that remained to be done was the ministerial duty of the
Land Registration Office to issue a decree of registration (which
would be the basis for the issuance of an Original Certificate of
Title) to implement a judgment which had become final There are
however authentic copies of the decisions of the CFI and the Court
of Appeals adjudicating Lots 1, 2 and 3 of Plan Psu-47035 to
Estanislao Mayuga. Moreover, there is an official report of the
decision of this Court affirming both the CFI and the CA decisions.

A final order of adjudication forms the basis for the issuance of a


decree of registration.
Considering that the Reyes court was actually in the
exercise of its jurisdiction as a land registration court when it
issued the order directing the issuance of a decree of registration,
"substituting therein as registered owner Dominador Mayuga, in
lieu of the original adjudicates, Estanislao Mayuga, based on the
affidavit of self-adjudication, subject to the provisions of Sec. 4,
Rule 74 of the Rules of Court," which order is in consonance with
the ruling of this Court in the Guico decision, and the decisions of
the CFI-Rizal and the CA dated August 19, 1935 and November 17,
1939, respectively, We uphold the validity of said order and rule
that Judge Vera was without jurisdiction to set it aside.
2. A perusal of the records of the case reveals that no factual
basis exists to support such a conclusion. Even Carpo himself cites
no factual proof of his being an innocent purchaser for value. He
merely relies on the presumption of good faith under Article 527 of
the Civil Code.
It is settled that one is considered an innocent purchaser
for value only if, relying on the certificate of title, he bought the
property from the registered owner, "without notice that some
other person has a right to, or interest in, such property and pays
a full and fair price for the same, at the time of such purchase, or
before he has notice of the claim or interest of some other persons
in the property." (Cui v. Henson, 51 Phil. 606 [1928], Fule v. De
Legare, 117 Phil. 367 [1963], 7 SCRA 351.) He is not required to
explore farther than what the Torrens title upon its face indicates.
(Fule v. De Legare, supra.) At the time of sale there was as yet no
Torrens title which Carpo could have relied upon so that he may
qualify as an innocent purchaser for value. Not being a purchaser
for value and in good faith, he is in no better position than his
predecessors-in-interest.

WALSTROM VS. MAPA


181 SCRA 431 (1990)
FACTS: Petitioner alleges that her predecessor in interest
(Dianson) filed a free patent application. On April 10, 1933 free
patent was issued in Diansons name. On the other hand, Mapa,
predecessor in interest of private respondents filed Miscellaneous
Sales Application. On May 12, 1934, the Director of Lands awarded
Josefa Abaya Mapa a tract of land. Dianson filed a protest against
the construction made by Mapa on the said land. The Director of
the Director of Lands awarded Josefa Abaya Mapa a tract of land.
The Director of Lands decided in favor of Mapa. Nearly two years
later, on July 8, 1966, Gabriela Walstrom filed a motion for
reconsideration with the Director of Lands of the decision dated
August 12, 1964 of the regional land officer, claiming that she had
acquired the rights and interests of Cacao Dianson to the subject
parcel of land by virtue of a transfer of said rights and interests by
Dianson to one Agripino Farol who, in turn, transferred the same
rights and interests to Gabriela Walstrom. The Director set aside
the previous order, Mapa appealed to DANR Secretary. DANR
restated the decision of the reigonal land officer in favor of Mapa.
Petitioner Hilda Walstrom filed a civil complaint against the
respondents praying for the nullification of the Mapas' sales
patent and certificates of title issued by the register of deeds of
Benguet Province 11 under Section 38 of Act 496 or the Land
Registration Act. Court dismissed petition for failure to exhaust
administrative remedies.
ISSUE: WON the court was correct in dismissing Walstroms
petition
HELD: It is the teaching of the foregoing provisions that a decree
of registration may be reopened or renewed by the proper
Regional Trial Court upon the concurrence of five essential
requisites, to wit: (a) that the petitioner has a real and a dominical
right; (b) that he has been deprived thereof; (c) through fraud; (d)
that the petition is filed within one year from the issuance of the
decree; and (e) that the property has not as yet been transferred
to an innocent purchaser for value.
An examination of the records of the case shows nonconcurrence of the essential elements enumerated above.
The first element is patently not present because the
petitioner can not allege that she has already a real and dominical
right to the piece of property in controversy. The latest order of

the DANR Secretary, dated June 13, 1968, was to give full force
and effect to the regional land officer's decision, dated August 12,
1964. 13 The regional land officer held that the petitioner's Free
Patent Application No. 3-74 shall exclude the disputed portion "A"
of Lot No. 1, which, instead, shall be included in the Mapas'
Miscellaneous Sales Application.
The second element is also absent since corollary to the
aforecited ruling of the DANR Secretary, the petitioner can not
aver that she was deprived of property because she did not have
a real right over portion "A".
Apropos the third element, the records are bereft of any
indication that there was fraud in the issuance of the certificates
of title. As matters stand, the prerequisites have not been
complied with. The petitioner's recourse to Section 38 would not
have prospered; accordingly, the respondent court's dismissal of
petitioner's complaint was proper.
Instead of invoking Section 38, the petitioner should
have pressed for the speedy resolution of her petition with the
DANR. The petitioner avers that since the one-year prescriptive
period for seeking judicial relief provided for in Sec. 38 of the Land
Registration Act was about to lapse, she was compelled to file the
action to nullify said patent. The petitioner's submission is not
correct. Her fear of the futility, or even only inefficacy, of
exhausting the administrative remedies granted her by law is
clearly unfounded.
Actual or extrinsic fraud
For fraud to be ground for nullity of a judgment, it must
be extrinsic to the litigation. Extrinsic fraud (also known as
collateral fraud) refers to any fraudulent act of the successful
party in a litigation which is committed outside the trial of a case
against the defeated party, or his agents, attorneys or witnesses,
whereby said defeated party is prevented from presenting fully
and fairly his side of the case. Or more simply, a deprivation of a
party of his day in court. Examples of extrinsic fraud include the
following:
failure and intentional omission on the part of respondents
to disclose the fact of actual physical possession of the
premises by petitioner (Nicolas v. Director of Lands, 9
SCRA 934)
deliberate failure to notify a party entitled to notice
(Stilianopulos v. City of Legaspi, 316 SCRA 523)
Intrinsic Fraud
On the other hand, intrinsic fraud refers to acts of a party in
a litigation during the trial which did not affect the presentation of
the case, but did prevent a fair and just determination of the case.
Examples of such acts are the use of forged instruments or
perjured testimony.
It has also been said that if the fraud alleged in the petition is
involved in the same proceedings in which the party seeking relief
had ample opportunity to assert his right, to attack the document
presented by the applicant for registration, and to cross-examine
the witnesses who testified thereto, then the fraud relied upon is
intrinsic. (Frias v. Esquivel, 5 SCRA 770)

STERLING INVESTMENT CORPORATION, ET AL VS.


HONORABLE V. M. RUIZ
30 SCRA 318 (1969)
FACTS: Alejandro Cabasbas filed a complaint to recover land
registered in his name. A compromise agreement was entered into
by the parties. A decision was rendered based thereon. Later on
Cabasbas filed an amended complaint asking for the annulment of
the compromise based on fraud. He alleged that it was obtained
through fraud as it was made to appear before the court of first
instance that the conveyance of title was made on February, 1946
when in fact it took place on September 14, 1944, in violation of
the Homestead Law. The RTC dismissed the complaint.
HELD: Fraud relied upon is intrinsic. It suffices to refer to the
leading case of De Almeda v. Cruz, a 1949 decision. As Justice
Tuason speaking for the Court made clear: "Fraud to be ground for

nullity of a judgment must be extrinsic to the litigation. Were not


this the rule there would be no end to litigations, perjury being of
such common occurrence in trials. In fact, under the opposite rule,
the losing party could attack the judgment at any time by
attributing imaginary falsehood to his adversary's proofs. But the
settled law is that judicial determination however erroneous of
matters brought within the court's jurisdiction cannot be
invalidated in another proceeding. It is the business of a party to
meet and repel his opponent's perjured evidence."
The latest case in point, decided in 1968, this time in an
opinion penned by Justice Zaldivar, reiterates the above doctrine.
Thus: "Not every kind of fraud, however, is sufficient ground to set
aside a judgment. This Court has held that only extrinsic or
collateral, as distinguished from intrinsic, fraud is a ground for
annulling a judgment. Extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act
of the successful party in a litigation which is committed outside
the trial of a case against the defeated party, or his agents,
attorneys or witnesses, whereby said defeated party is prevented
from presenting fully and fairly his side of the case. On the other
hand, intrinsic fraud refers to acts of a party in a litigation during
the trial, such as the use of forged instruments on perjured
testimony, which did not affect the presentation of the case, but
did prevent a fair and just determination of the case."

ALFREDO FRIAS, ET AL., VS. SANTIAGO ESQUIVEL, ET AL.


FACTS: Appellee spouses Alfredo N. Frias and Belen Lustre filed in
the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija an application to register
a residential lot. Respondents Esquivels opposed the application
claiming ownership of a portion of 1,357 square meters of the land
sought to be registered, having inherited the same from their
parents, Victoriano Esquivel and Catalina Villamanca. They also
sought the postponement of the proceedings pending final
determination of Civil Case No. 998 of the same court between
themselves as plaintiffs and the applicants as defendants,
involving the ownership and possession of the land subject of their
opposition.
In the civil case mentioned above, the plaintiffs alleged
that they, together with their youngest sister, Anastacia Esquivel
de Yambao (who refused to be joined as a party in the action),
inherited pro-indiviso from their parents, Victoriano Esquivel and
Catalina Villamanca, a parcel of land with improvements thereon
situated at Jaen, Nueva Ecija, containing an area of about 1,357
square meters; that while said property was still owned in
common, on or about July 16, 1951, without their knowledge and
consent, Anastacia Esquivel de Yambao sold the whole of it to the
defendants, the Frias spouses, who knew, at the time of the sale,
that their vendor owned only a part thereof; that the defendants
had taken possession of the land and had refused to reconvey it to
them despite repeated demands therefor.
The Court issued an order postponing the hearing on the
application until after final adjudication of Civil Case No. 998, but
on March 24, 1953 issued an order of general default except as
against the oppositors and the Director of Lands. On April 20,
1956 we rendered judgment in Civil Case No. 998 (G.R. No. 8825)
declaring the deed of sale executed by Anastacia Esquivel valid
insofar as Santiago, Felisa, Ceferina and Anastacia, all surnamed
Esquivel, were concerned, but invalid with respect to the minor
heirs of the late Alvaro Esquivel.
It appears that, subsequent to our decision, that is, on
February 15, 1957, the children of the deceased Alvaro Esquivel
who had attained the age of majority, with the exception of Alvaro
and Reynaldo and their mother, Perpetua Pada de Zaragosa
(remarried to Eduardo Zaragosa), as natural guardian of the two
minors, executed a deed of sale conveying their one-seventh
participation in the land to the Frias spouses. (Exhibit I)
On October 2, 1957, in the aforesaid registration
proceedings, after due notice and hearing, the Court rendered
judgment adjudicating the land described in the plan Exhibit A in
favor of the applicants and ordering its registration in their name.
After the same had become final and executory, the Court ordered
the issuance of the Decree of Registration, and on December 11,
1957 the Chief of the General Land Registration Office issued
Decree of Registration No. 60798 in favor of the Frias spouses.
On December 8, 1958, Rosario Esquivel-Gonzales, as the
duly appointed guardian of the minors Reynaldo and Ricardo
Esquivel, filed a verified petition to reopen the decree of
registration on the ground of fraud because it appears that,

subsequent to our decision, that is, on February 15, 1957, the


children of the deceased Alvaro Esquivel who had attained the
age of majority, with the exception of Alvaro and Reynaldo and
their mother, Perpetua Pada de Zaragosa (remarried to Eduardo
Zaragosa), as natural guardian of the two minors, executed a
deed of sale conveying their one-seventh participation in the land
to the Frias spouses. (Exhibit I)
On October 2, 1957, in the aforesaid registration
proceedings, after due notice and hearing, the Court rendered
judgment adjudicating the land described in the plan Exhibit A in
favor of the applicants and ordering its registration in their name.
After the same had become final and executory, the Court ordered
the issuance of the Decree of Registration, and on December 11,
1957 the Chief of the General Land Registration Office issued
Decree of Registration No. 60798 in favor of the Frias spouses.
On December 8, 1958, Rosario Esquivel-Gonzales, as the
duly appointed guardian of the minors Reynaldo and Ricardo
Esquivel, filed a verified petition to reopen the decree of
registration on the ground of fraud that applicants committed
fraud in obtaining said decree of registration, and such fraud
consists of the following: the herein applicants had falsely
represented to this Honorable Court during the hearing of their
application that they were the owners of the entire residential lot
included in their plan marked as Exhibit "A" and now covered by
the decree of registration, when at that time they knew fully well
they were not the owners thereof in its entirety; that they were
aware of such fraudulent representation when they made it
because they were parties in Civil Case No. 998 of this Court
involving precisely the validity of their title to the aforementioned
lot; they also knew that on appeal the case became G.R. No. L8825 of the Supreme Court which, in a decision promulgated on
April 20, 1956, held that the title (a deed of sale) to that
residential lot claimed by the herein applicants is invalid with
regard to the minor heirs of the late Alvaro Esquivel', one of them
being Reynaldo Esquivel, your petitioner's ward, in whose behalf
this petition is being presented.
ISSUE: WON there was actual fraud
HELD: To justify the setting aside or review of a decree of
registration under Section 38 of Act No. 496, the party seeking
relief must allege and prove, inter alia, that the registration was
procured through fraud actual and extrinsic. It has been held in
this connection that if the fraud alleged in the petition to set aside
the decree is involved in the same proceedings in which the party
seeking relief had ample opportunity to assert his right, to attack
the document presented by the applicant for registration, and to
cross- examine the witnesses who testified relative thereto, then
the fraud relied upon is intrinsic. The fraud is extrinsic if it was
employed to deprive a party of his day in court, thus preventing
him from asserting his right to the property registered in the name
of the applicant (Bagoyboy vs. Director of Lands, 37 Off. Gaz.,
1956)
Upon consideration of the facts relied upon by appellants
to justify a review of the decree in question, we find that the same
do not constitute the extrinsic fraud required as justification for
the granting of the relief sought by them.

ALBINO NICOLAS, ET AL. VS. THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS,


9 SCRA 934 (1963)
FACTS: Albino Nicolas, filed an application to register under the
Torrens System two parcels of land. On December 19, 1951,
Eusebio Coloma, also applied for registration in favor, under the
system, the ssame parcels. Before the initial hearings of the two
applications, Guillermo Camungao (petitioner herein), presented
with the Registration Court, a written appearance, opposing the
registration of Lots 2, of both PSUS, alleging that said lots
belonged to him, having been awarded to him in Sales Application
No. 2091 (E-3989). The Provincial Fiscal, representing the Director
of Lands, filed an opposition to the applications for registration,
alleging that the lots, are public lands and covered by Sales
Application No. 2091 (E-3989) of Guillermo Camungao. On August
22, 1952, the lower court issued an Order of General Default in
both cases, except as to the Director of Lands. A hearing was
subsequently held, with notice thereof, sent only to the Provincial
Fiscal, as representative of the Director of Lands. No notice to
Guillermo Camungao, was given, in spite of his written

appearance and opposition to the registration. Judgment was


rendered on September 20, 1955, adjudicating the lands applied
for, in favor of the applicants. The judgment having become final
and executory the court a quo issued an order for the issuance of
a decree of registration. On January 21, 1956, an Order of eviction
was directed against appellant, and it was the first time he came
to know that a decision and decree had been rendered and issued
in the registration cases. Camungao filed a petition to set aside
the decision. The court dismissed the petition for review.
ISSUE: WON there was actual fraud
HELD: It is contended that, in cases of the nature of the one at
bar, the only basis for the re-opening of the case, is actual fraud.
There was allegation of actual fraud in the petition, such as the
failure and intentional omission on the part of the respondents to
disclose the fact of actual physical possession of the premises by
petitioner herein. It is fraud to knowingly omit or conceal a fact,
upon which benefit is obtained to the prejudice of a third person
(Estiva vs. Alvero, 37 Phil. 498). In short, the series of allegations
contained in the petition, portions of which are quoted heretofore,
describe fraudulent acts, actual and otherwise. Perhaps, the trial
judge had reasons to doubt the veracity of the supposed
fraudulent acts, attributed to respondents. This doubt, however,
should not have been made the basis of dismissal, because if a
court doubts the veracity of the allegations in the petition, the
best thing it could do, would have been to deny the motion to
dismiss and proceed with the hearing on the merits, of the petition
(De Jesus, et al. vs. Belarmino, et al., 50 O.G., p. 3064). This is
specially true in the instant case, where the ground for the motion
to dismiss the petition for review, is lack of cause of action, which
is not indubitable.
The written appearance with opposition presented by
petitioner herein, on November 7, 1951 (R.A.) was a valid one, and
sufficient to give him a legal standing in court and would entitle
him to notice, as a matter of right. The lower court erred in having
chosen to ignore the written appearance with opposition, which
was a substantial compliance with the law, that requires a formal
answer.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, VS. TEODOCIA LOZADA,


90 SCRA 503 (1979)
FACTS: In her application for the registration of the lots in
question, applicant did not disclose the vital facts that her
husband's previous application for a revocable permit and to
purchase the lands in question from the Bureau of Lands had been
rejected, because the lands were already reserved as a site for
school purposes. She concealed the fact that the lands were part
of the public domain and stated the deliberate falsehood that the
lands were allegedly inherited by her from her parents, which
allegation misled the Bureau of Lands into not filing an opposition
to her application and thus effectively deprived the Republic of its
day in court. Applicant succeeded on ex parte evidence in
securing registration of the property.
Within one year from entry of decree, the Solicitor
General filed a petition for review of the decision and decree of
registration on the ground of actual fraud. The Court of First
Instance gave due course to the petition and after hearing ordered
the cancellation of the certificate of title in favor of applicantappellant. Applicant-appellant appealed to the Court of Appeals
which certified the appeal to the Supreme Court as involving only
questions of law.
ISSUE: WON there was actual fraud
HELD: The fraud, as distinguished from intrinsic fraud which
connotes any fraudulent scheme executed by a prevailing litigant
outside of the trial of a case against the defeated party, of his
agents, attorneys or witnesses, whereby said defeated party is
prevented from presenting fully and fairly his side of the case.
But even assuming that such fraud could be technically
considered as "intrinsic fraud [which] takes the form of 'acts of a
party in a litigation during the trial, such as the use of forged
instruments or perjured testimony, which did not affect the
presentation of the case, but did prevent a fair and just
determination of the case,'" it would not alter the result, because
the mistake and error into which the officials of the Bureau of

Lands were misled by such a deliberately false application,


suppressing the facts known to the applicant that the lands sought
to be registered were lands of the public domain (and not private
property) and having been reserved for a school site were not
susceptible of private registration (as in fact her husband's
application to purchase the same had been rejected) cannot
operate to bar the Republic's timely petition to review and set
aside the decree, since the State cannot be estopped by the
mistake or error of its officials and agents.
Besides, the registration decree was properly voided by
the lower court since it had no jurisdiction over the lands of the
public domain subject matter of the proceedings which were
portions of the bed or foreshore of the Las Pias river and were
not open to registration proceedings.
Other Grounds
Other grounds for a petition for review or reopening of a
decree of registration include want of due process as a result of
machinations of the clerk of court (Tiongco v. de la Merced, 58
SCRA 89) and the fact that the land sought to be registered is
part of the public domain and incapable of registration, as when it
is part of a military reservation (Republic v. Court of Appeals, 89
SCRA 648).
(5)

Action for Reconveyance

Notwithstanding the irrevocability of the Torrens title already


issued in the name of another person, he can still be compelled
under the law to reconvey the subject property to the rightful
owner. In an action for reconveyance, the decree of registration is
respected as incontrovertible. What is sought instead is the
transfer of the property, which has been wrongfully or erroneously
registered in another person's name, to its rightful and legal
owner, or to one with a better right. (Walstrom v. Mapa, Jr., 181
SCRA 431) The property registered is deemed to held in trust for
the real owner by the person in whose name it is registered.
In filing an action for reconveyance, it is not necessary that
the 1-year period lapse first. Such an action can be filed anytime
after the entry of decree of registration provided that is within the
prescriptive period.
An action for reconveyance based on an implied or
constructive trust prescribes in 10 years.
However, an action for reconveyance based on an implied
trust for co-heirs is imprescriptible.
An action for reconveyance on the ground of fraud must be
filed within 4 years from discovery of the fraud. Such discovery is
deemed to have taken place
from the issuance of an original certificate of title.
An action for reconveyance which in effect seeks to quiet
title to property in one's possession is imprescriptible. (Almarza
v. Arguelles, 156 SCRA 718)
NOTE: Reconveyance cannot be made without a survey defining
with precision the metes and bounds of the area to be
reconveyed.

MUNICIPALITY OF VICTORIAS V. COURT OF APPEALS


(MARCH 31, 1987)
Facts: Respondent Norma Leuenberger inherited Lot No. 140
(27.246 has.) from her grandmother Simeona Vda. De Ditching. In
1952, she donated a portion (3 has.) of the property to the
Municipality of Victorias for the ground of a high school. The 4
hectares of the land was converted into a subdivision. Later, she
discovered that part of the remaning portion was being used by
the Municipality as a cemetery from 1934. She wrote the Mayor
demanding payment of rentals and delivery of the area. The
Mayor, however, showed her documents showing that the
Municipality purchased the land.
Respondents then filed a
complaint for recovery of possession. Municipalitys defense is
that of ownership claiming that the land was purchased by it from
Simeona Vda. De Ditching. TC decided in favor of Municipality. CA
reversed.

HELD: It is undisputed that petitioner had been in open, public,


adverse and continuous possession of the land for more than 30
years. Evidence established without debate that the property was
originally registered in 1916.
When Gonzalo Ditching died,
Simeona became the administratrix of the property and it was
while she was serving as such that she executed the document of
sale in favor of the municipality. Unfortunately, the Municipality
failed to register the Deed of Sale. Thus, respondent was able to
register the property under the Torrens System. However, since
she inherited the same from her grandmother only after the latter
had already sold the portion to the petitioner, she had no legal
right which may serve as basis for her to register the land.
While an inherently defective Torrens title may not ordinarily be
cancelled even after proof of its defect, the law nevertheless
safeguards the rightful partys interest in the titled land from fraud
and improper use of technicalities by allowing such party to
judicially seek reconveyance to him of whatever he has been
deprived of as long as the land has not been transferred to a
purchaser in good faith. (Pascua v. Capuyoc). As the land in
dispute is held in trust by private respondent in favor of the
Municipality, the latter cannot be deprived of its possession nor
can it be made to pay past rentals. Private respondent is in equity
bound to reconvey the property to the cestui que trust, the
Municipality.

ESCONDE V. BARLONGAY,
152 SCRA 603 (1987)
Facts: Private respondent Delfin applied for registration of title of
the land subject of the present petition. His application was
granted in 1969 and an OCT was issued in his favor in 1971 by the
Register of Deeds of Bulacan. In Feb of 1978, he filed a petition for
the issuance of a writ of possession against the spouses Esconde.
The spouses opposition to the motion was denied. Subsequently
in Oct 1978, petitioner, Basilisa Esconde filed an action for
reconveyance against Delfin. Judge Sammy Barlongay dismissed
the action for reconveyance on the grounds of res judicata.
Hence, this petition.
HELD: Petition is devoid of merit. Petitioner and her husbands
failure to appear before the land registration proceedings despite
notice of the scheduled survey of the land and notice of the
publication and posting by the sheriff of the notice of hearing to
oppose the defendants application, bars the petitioner from filing
this action. Section 38 of Act 496 provides that a decree of
registration once issued, binds the land and quiets title thereto. It
is conclusive against all persons one year from the date of entry.
However, it is a settled doctrine that when a decree of registration
was obtained by fraud, the party defrauded has only one year
from date of entry to file a petition for review thereof.
An action for reconveyance, on the other hand, is a legal
and equitable remedy granted to the rightful owner of land w/c
has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in the name of
another for the purpose of compelling the latter to transfer of
reconvey the land to him. This action may be filed even after one
year from the issuance of the decree. Its aim is not to re-open the
registration proceedings but to show that the person who secured
the registration of the questioned property is not its real owner. In
the case at bar, reconveyance is not the proper remedy as there
was no proof of irregularity in the issuance of the title nor in the
proceedings incident thereto. It was also not established that
fraud had intervened in the issuance of the title and the period of
one year within w/c intrinsic fraud could be claimed had long
expired. Furthermore, the petitioners action had also prescribed
as an action for reconveyance must be filed within four (4) years
from the discovery of the fraud.

prescription of action. On appeal, the CA found that the subject


land was the conjugal property of Arcadio Alomia and Ildefonsa
Almeda. Said land was bought by Arcadio from the Friar Lands
Administration and a Patent Title was issued in his favor. However
before completing payment of the installments, Arcadiio died.
Upon Arcadios death, Ildefonsa executed an affidavit that she was
the sole heir of Arcadio. She was made the assignee thereof and
after completion of the installment payments, a Certificate of Title
was issued in her favor. Defendant Capunitan was a niece of
Ildefonsa who bought the property from the latter. The CA also
found that plaintiffs, nieces and nephews of Arcadio, are entitled
to the other half of the disputed property and that Ildefonsa
exercised a legal fraud when she executed said affidavit. She,
therefore, held in trust the other half of the property in favor of
the plaintiffs. The case, however, was remanded to the TC. TC
later held that although the plaintiffs have the right to ask for
reconveyance, their cause of action has already prescribed.
HELD: The case involves an implied or constructive trust upon the
defendants-appellees. The CA declared that Ildefonsa held in trust
the of the property legally belonging to the plaintiffs, of which
the defendants had full knowledge.
The sale in favor of
defendants, however, is not void or inexistent, action on which is
imprescripltible. It is voidable, at most, and as such valid until
revoked within the time prescribed by law for its revocation.. An
action for reconveyance based on an implied trust prescribes in
ten (10) years. The plaintiffs cause of action accrued in 1928
when the defendants bought the land and took possession thereof
from Ildefonsa.
However, plaintiffs-appellants only filed the
present action for reconveyance on November of 1949 or 13 years
after the COA accrued. Thus, the action had long prescribed.

VDA DE JACINTO V VDA DE JACINTO,


5 SCRA 371 (1962)
Facts:
The land in question originally belonged to the now
deceased spouses Jacinto, both of whom died intestate survived
by their children named Melchor and Pedro. Melchor also died
intestate before the estate of their parents could be partitioned.
After the partition, Pedro, besides receiving his share, continued
administering the properties which corresponded to the heirs of
his deceased brother. Pedro applied for the registration and
succeeded in having the properties registered in his name
When the widow of his deceased brother decided to sell
the parcel of land, she realized for the first time, that the parcel
delivered to her by Pedro had a smaller area than that which
rightfully belonged to her and her son.
HELD: In view of these facts, it would be against reason and good
conscience not to hold that Pedro committed a breach of trust
which entitled him to secure registration of the land in question to
the prejudice of his coheirs. In an action like the present, he may
be ordered to make reconveyance of the property to the person
rightfully entitled to it. In fact, it has been held that even in the
absence of fraud in obtaining registration, or even after the lapse
of one year after the issuance of a decree of registration, a coowner of land who applied for and secured its adjudication and
registration in his name knowing that it had not been allotted to
him in the partition, may be compelled to convey the same to
whoever received it in the apportionment, so long as no innocent
third party had acquired rights therein, in the meantime, for a
valuable consideration.
An action to enforce a trust is imprescriptible.
Consequently, a coheir who, through fraud, succeeds in obtaining
a certificate of title in his name to the prejudice of his coheirs, is
deemed to hold the land in trust for the latter, and the action by
them to recover the property does not prescribe.

ALZONA V. CAPUNITAN,
4 SCRA 450 (1962)

ALMARZA V ARGUELLES,
156 SCRA 718 (1987)

Facts: Plaintiffs instituted an action for the recovery of two


registered parcels of land and for the cancellation of the
corresponding certificates of title in the names of the defendants
and the issuance of the proper certificates in their names. The TC
dismissed the complaint on the grounds of estoppel and

Facts: Lot No. 5815 originally belonged to private respondents


predecessor-in-interest, Grana. The latter sold a portion thereof to
petitioner. Said portion was physically segregated from the whole
lot and was taken possession of by petitioner.

In a cadastral case, the court declared private


respondents owner of undivided share of Lot No. 5815 and a
certain Pancrudo (deceased) as owner of the other . OCT was
issued in the name of said adjudicatees.
Private respondents instituted a complaint for recovery
against the petitioner. The latter interposed a counterclaim for
reconveyance of the disputed portion of Lot No. 5815.
The LC ordered petitioner to vacate and dismissed the
counterclaim of the petitioner fo the reason that although a
constructive or implied trust was constituted in favor of petitioner
when the disputed portion was included in the OCT issued to
private respondents, petitioners action for reconveyance had
prescribed, more than ten years having elapsed from the issuance
of said certificate of title.
HELD: SC reverses. The remedy of a landowner whose property
has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in the name of
another is, after one year from the date of the decree, not to set
aside the decree, but respecting the decree as incontrovertible
and no longer open to review, to bring an ordinary action in the
ordinary court of justice for reconveyance or if the property has
passed into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value, for
damages. Petitioner availed herself of this remedy seasonably.
Prescription cannot be invoked in an action for
reconveyance which is in effect an action to quiet title, against the
plaintiff therein who is in possession of the land in question. The
reason is that as lawful possessor and owner of the disputed
portion, her cause of action for reconveyance which, in effect,
seeks to quiet title to property in ones possession, is
imprescriptible. The petitioners undisturbed possession over a
period of 48 years gave her a continuing right to seek the aid of a
Court of equity to determine the nature of the adverse claim of a
third party and the effect on her title.
If ever prescription may be invoked, it may be said to
have commenced to run only from the time the possessor was
made aware of a claim adverse to his own. In the case at bar,
petitioner was made aware of such adverse claim only upon
service on her of the summons in the civil case. As her action for
reconveyance, or to quiet title was contained in her counterclaim,
the same cannot be said to have already prescribed.

TAMAYO V CALLEJO,
46 SCRA 27 (1972)
Facts: A parcel of land was previously owned by spouses Vicente
Tamayo and Cirila Tamayo. They sold the northern portion of said
land to Fernendo Domantay, who took possession thereof. Vicente
died and Cirila waived her rights to the remaining portion of their
original property to their children, Marcos and Mariano. These
brothers were declared the sole heirs of the deceased. The
brothers applied in a cadastral proceeding for the registration of
the land. The application was granted and OCT was issued in
favor of the brothers.
Domantay sold his property in favor of Callejo who took
possession thereof. Marcos sold his undivided share to Mariano.
Callejo filed a complaint for reconveyance and damages against
Mariano. CFI dismissed the complaint on the ground that the land
purchased by Domantay from the parents of Mariano is not
included in said titles of Mariano. The CA reversed and overruled
the plea of prescription set up by Mariano upon the theory that
the title to said portion of land now claimed by Callejo is held in
trust by the Tamayos and that the action to enforce said trust does
not prescribe.
HELD: CA affirmed with modification. CA did not err in overruling
the plea of prescription. Prescription of action for reconveyance is
reckoned from the date of creation of the express trust. Although
the trust created by the application for registration filed by
Mariano and Marcos in 1913, and the inclusion in the OCT issued
in their names of the tract of land previously sold to Domantay
and later conveyed to Callejo may have had a constructive or
implied nature, its status was substantially affected in 1918 by the
following facts, namely: On the date last mentioned, Domantay
and Mariano the latter acting on his own behalf and on that of
his brother Marcos executed a public instrument whereby
Mariano EXPLICITLY acknowledged that his deceased parents had
sold to Domantay the parcel of land then held by the latter, and

stipulating that Domantay is the absolute owner of said land, free


from any lien or encumbrance thereon.
This express recognition by Mariano on his behalf and
that of his brother Marcos of the previous sale made by their
parents to Domantay, had the effect of imparting to the
aforementioned trust the nature of an express trust it having
been created by the will of the parties, no particular words being
required for the creation of an express trust, it being sufficient
that a trust is clearly intended.
This express trust is a
continuing and subsisting trust, not subject to the statute of
limitations, at least, until repudiated, in which event the period of
prescription begins to run only from the time of the repudiation.
The latter did not take place in the case at bar, until early in June,
1952, when Mariano rejected Callejos demand that the now
disputed portion be excluded from the TCT in the formers name.
But then, the case at bar was filed weeks later when the period of
prescription had barely begun to run.
The CA declared that the land in question is declared
reconveyed to Callejo. Such reconveyance cannot, however, be
deemed made without a survey defining with precision the metes
and bounds of the area to be segregated for Callejo. Accordingly,
the case was remanded to the court of origin for the preparation
of the subdivision plan of the portion to be segregated and the
judicial approval of said plan, and only after such approval has
become final and executory may the reconveyance be either
made or deemed effected.

JOAQUIN V COJUANGCO,
20 SCRA 769 (1967)
Facts: The OCT of the first parcel of land involved in this case was
issued as early as 1921. Said parcel was transferred in favor of the
defendants who obtained a TCT in their own names in 1928. With
respect to the second parcel, OCT was acquired in 1925 and the
land was subsequently transferred to defendants also in 1925.
TCT was issued to the transferees in 1936.
HELD: The action in this case is one for reconveyance, on the
theory that the original registered owners were the administrators
of those lands, and hence held them in a fiduciary capacity. Even
assuming that this was true, the disabilities imposed by such
relationship did not extend to the transferees of said
administrators, who acquired the land for value and claimed
adverse title in themselves. The action for reconveyance on the
theory of trust might prosper, if at all, as against the trustees and
provided they still hold the properties, but not as against third
persons who do not occupy the same fiduciary position.
(6)

Action for Damages


Substitute for action for reconveyance if an
purchaser for value intervenes

if based on constructive trust: 10 years

if based on fraud: 4 years

innocent

PINO V. COURT OF APPEALS,


198 SCRA 434 (1991)
FACTS:
Rafaela Donato, Raymund Gaffud and Cicero
Gaffud were co-owners of a lot. The title of the lot was only in the
name of Rafaela Donato. Donato sold to Pino the lot. A TCT was
issued in the name of Pino. The Gaffuds filed a complaint for
nullity of sale and reconveyance against Pino.
HELD: The Supreme Court said that the complaint for nullity of
sale and reconveyance must fail. Pino is a purchaser in good
faith. Where the certificate of title is in the name of the vendor
when the land is sold, the vendee for value has the right to rely on
what appears on the certificate of title. In the absence of
anything to excite or arouse suspicion, said vendee is under no
obligation to look beyond the certificate and investigate the title
of the vendor appearing on the face of said certificate.
If an action for reconveyance based on constructive trust
cannot reach an innocent purchaser for value, the remedy of the
defrauded party is to bring an action for damages against those
who caused the fraud or were instrumental in depriving him of the

property. And it is now well-settled that such action prescribes in


10 years from the issuance of the Torrens Title over the property.

a)
b)

DE LOS REYES V. COURT OF APPEALS, 285 SCRA 81 (1998)


FACTS: De los Reyes sold to Pena property which had an area of
10,000 square meters. However, Penas title did not cover only
the 10,000 square meters but also an additional 3,405 which De
los Reyes did not sell. The property passed to five owners
successively in a span of more than twenty years. De los Reyes
filed an action for reconveyance of the 3,405 square meter
property.
HELD
The Supreme Court said that the complaint for
reconveyance must fail. The property passed to four owners
successively in a span of more than twenty years before it
reached the current owners. Surely, the rights of innocent
purchasers of real property must be protected. In Avecilla v.
Yatco, the Supreme Court ruled that the only remedy of an owner
who was fraudulently deprived of his land, which was
subsequently sold to an innocent purchaser for value, is to file an
action for damages against the person who perpetrated the fraud
within 4 years after the discovery of the deception.
(7)

Assurance Fund

Sec. 93. Contribution to the Assurance Fund

Imposed upon the entry of a certificate of title in the


name of the registered owner (also applies to
registration of building and other improvements on the
land covered by the certificate)
Amount imposed is .25% of the assessed value of the
real estate. The assessed value shall be based on the
last assessment for tax purposes. If there has be no
previous assessment, then the assessment shall be
determined by the sworn declaration of 2 disinterested
persons. However, in any event, if the value of the
property is too small, then the court can always increase
the valuation of the property.

Sec. 94. Custody and Investment of the Fund

All contributions to the assurance fund which are


received by the Register of Deeds shall be turned over to
the National Treasurer. The National Treasurer can invest
the money as may be provided for by law.
Sec. 95. Action for Compensation from Fund

Only the following persons can recover from the assurance


fund:
1. Any person who sustains loss or damage under the
following conditions:
a) that there was no negligence on his part;
and
b) that the loss or damage sustained was
through
any
omission,
mistake
or
malfeasance of the court personnel, or the
Register of Deeds, his deputy, or other
employees of the Registry in the
performance of their respective duties
under the provisions of the Property
Registration Decree; or
2.

Any person who has been deprived of any land


or interest therein under the following
conditions:

c)

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 person as owner of such
land, or by mistake, omission or
misdescription in any certificate of
owners 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 or claim upon the
same.

Sec. 96. Against whom Action Filed.

Against the Register of Deeds of the province or


city where the land is situated and the National
Treasurer if it is brought to recover for loss or damage
or for deprivation of land or any estate or interest
therein arising wholly through fraud, negligence,
omission, mistake or misfeasance of the court personnel,
Register of Deeds, his deputy or other employees of the
Registry in the performance of their respective duties

Against the Register of Deeds of the province or


city where the land is situated and the National
Treasurer, and other person or persons as codefendants if it is brought to recover for loss or
damage or for deprivation of land or of any interest
therein arising through fraud, negligence, omission,
mistake or misfeasance of a person OTHER THAN court
personnel, the Registry of Deeds, his deputy or other
employees of the Registry

The Solicitor General must defend all such suits.

Nothing in this law shall be construed to deprive the


plaintiff of any right of action which he may have against
any person for such loss, or damage or deprivation
without joining the National Treasurer as party
defendant.

All actions against the Assurance Fund must be reported


to the Commissioner of Land Registration.
Sec. 97. Judgment, how satisfied.

If there are other defendants besides, the National


Treasurer and Register of Deeds, execution shall first
issue on the other defendants. If the judgment cannot
be satisfied by the other defendants in whole or in part,
then the assurance fund will answer for that part
unsatisfied.

The plaintiff cannot recover more than the fair market


value of the land at the time he suffered the loss,
damage or deprivation.
Sec. 98. General Fund when liable.

The General Fund is liable if there are not enough funds


to satisfy the judgment from the Assurance Fund. Take
note however that those funds from the general fund
must not have been otherwise appropriated for other
purposes.
Sec. 99. Subrogation of government to plaintiffs rights

The government shall be subrogated to the rights of the


plaintiff against other persons if payment has been
made by the National Treasurer. The amount recovered
shall be paid to the Assurance Fund.
Sec. 100. Register of Deeds as party in interest.

If it appears that the Assurance Fund is liable due to the


unlawful or erroneous issuance of a title, the Register of
Deeds shall be deemed a party in interest, who shall
upon the authority of the Commissioner of Land
Registration, file the necessary action in court to annul
or amend the title. The court may order the Register of
Deeds to amend or cancel a title or to do any other acts
which are just and equitable.
Sec. 101. Losses not recoverable.

The Assurance Fund is not liable for any loss, damage or


deprivation caused or occasioned by
1.
breach of trust (express, implied or constructive) or
2. by any mistake in the resurvey of registered land
resulting in the expansion of area in the title.

Sec. 102. Limitation of Action.

Action against the Assurance Fund must be instituted


within 6 years from the time the right to bring such
action first occurred.

The right to bring action shall be transmitted to the legal


representatives of the person sustaining loss or damage
unless the same is barred in his lifetime.

Notwithstanding the expiration of the 6 year period, if at


the time the right of action first accrued the person
entitled to bring such action was incapacitated to do so,
such person or any person claiming from, by or under
him may bring the proper action at any time within 2
years after the incapacity has been removed.

(3) Any person who sustains loss or damage under the


following conditions:
d)
that there was no negligence on his part;
and
e)
that the loss or damage sustained was
through any omission, mistake or malfeasance of
the court personnel, or the Register of Deeds, his
deputy, or other employees of the Registry in the
performance of their respective duties under the
provisions of the Property Registration Decree; or
Any person who has been deprived of any land or
interest therein under the following conditions:
a) that there was no negligence on his part;
b) 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 person as owner of
such land, or by mistake, omission or misdescription
in any certificate of owners duplicate, or in any
entry or memorandum in the register or other
official book or by any cancellation; and
c) that he is barred or in any way precluded from
bringing an action for the recovery of such land or
interest or claim upon the same.

TORRES V. COURT OF APPEALS,


186 SCRA 672 (1990)
FACTS: Mariano Torres was the owner of a lot and building.
Fernandez, Torress brother-in-law, filed a petition with the CFI of
Manila where he misrepresented to be Torres attorney-in-fact. He
alleged that the owners duplicate copy of the title to the lot and
building was lost. Fernandez succeeded in obtaining a court order
for the issuance of another copy of the certificate. Fernandez
forged a simulated deed of sale in his favor. Thus, the TCT in the
name of Torres was cancelled in favor of Fernandez. Fernandez
mortgaged the property to Mota.
Torres found out about
Fernandezs TCT. Torres brought an action to annul Fernandezs
TCT. Fernandez was unable to pay his loan obligations. Mota was
the highest bidder in the public auction of the property
mortgaged.
ISSUE: Who has a better right to the property Torres or Mota
HELD: Torres has a better right over the property. As between
two persons both of whom are in good faith and both innocent of
negligence, the law must protect and prefer the lawful holder of
registered property over the transfer of a vendor bereft of any
transmissible rights. In view of the foregoing, to hold, for the
purpose of enforcing the mortgage, that Mota was an innocent
mortgagee would be futile because as above shown, no certificate
of title covering the subject realties in derogation of Torres
certificate of title may validly be issued.
The only possible remedies of Mota would be to go
against Fernandez or the Assurance Fund. However, Mota cannot
go after the Assurance Fund since Mota was negligent in
protecting her interest. Mota as a creditor and mortgagee should
have inquired as to all the related facts and circumstances
regarding the rentals and tenants. Mota should have looked at the
payment of taxes on the property. It was not enough that Mota
should have merely relied on the title. Thus, Motas only remedy
is to go after Fernandez.

FRANCISCO V. NATIONAL TREASURER, (AUGUST 3, 2000)


FACTS: The spouses Milambiling were the owners of a parcel of
lane. It appears that a couple impersonated themselves as the
spouses Milambiling.
The imposters were able to somehow
acquire a duplicate TCT over the land. The imposters sold the
land to De Guzman. Milambiling filed an action against De
Guzman for declaration of nullity of sale. Milambiling won the
suit. De Guzman thus filed an action for damages against the
Assurance Fund.
HELD: De Guzman cannot recover from the Assurance Fund.
Only the following persons can recover from the Assurance Fund:

De Guzman does not fall under any of these two cases.


The loss or damage was not due to the omission, mistake or
malfeasance of the court personnel or Register of Deeds, his
deputy or other employees. Furthermore, they were not deprived
of their land as a consequence of bringing of the land or interest
therein under the provisions of the Property Registration Decree.
Neither was there deprivation due to the registration by any other
person as owner of such land or by mistake, omission or
misdescription in any certificate or owners duplicate or in any
entry or memorandum in the register or other official book or by
any cancellation.
The Assurance Fund is intended to relieve innocent
persons from the harshness of the doctrine that a certificate is
conclusive evidence of an indefeasible title to land. De Guzman
did not suffer any injury because of the operation of this doctrine.
De Guzman sought to avail of the benefits of the Torrens System
by registering the property in his name.
That De Guzman
eventually lost the property to Milambiling does not entitle him to
compensation under the Assurance Fund. De Guzmans recourse
is against the persons who duped him.
(8)

Others

Cancellation suit involving double title


PAJOMAYO V. MANIPON,
39 SCRA 676 (1971)
FACTS: Both parties claims that they are the exclusive owners of
the land in dispute. Pajomayos had with them OCT No. 1089
issued by the register of deeds on November 27, 1931 in virtue of
the homestead patent. The Manipons on the other hand had OCT
No. 14043 issued on April 1, 1957, in connection with the
cadastral proceedings.
ISSUE: Which of the two OCTs should prevail?
HELD: OCT No. 1089 should prevail. The decree of registration
issued in the cadastral proceedings does not have the effect of
annulling the title that had previously been issued in accordance
with the provisions of the Land Registration Law (Act 496).
The law requires that the homestead patent must be
registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds of the province
where the land covered by the patent lies (sec. 122 of Act 496
Land Registration Law).
Thus once a homestead patent granted in accordance
with the Public Land Act is registered pursuant to sec. 122 of Act
496, the certificate of title issued in virtue of said patent has the
force and effect of a Torrens under the Land Registration Act.
Where two certificates of title are issued to different
persons covering the same land in whole or in part, the earlier in

date must prevail as between the original parties, and in case of


successive registration where more than one certificate is issued
over the land the person holding under the prior certificate is
entitled to the land as against the person who relies on the second
certificate.
Cancellation suit
(reversion suit)

involving

non-registrable

property

REPUBLIC V. COURT OF APPEALS,


99 SCRA 743 (1980)
FACTS : A motion to reopen cadastral case was filed by Alpuerto.
After trial the court rendered its decision adjudicating to him the
subject lot and ordered the issuance of a decree of registration
over the said lot. Hence, Land Registration Commission issued a
decree. This was the basis of the issuance of the OCT. Portions of
the lot were subsequently transferred to various persons.
Later the provincial fiscal of Quezon filed a MFR on the
ground that the said decision was obtained through fraud,
misrepresentation and deceit. The Director of Land joined the
fiscal, on the ground that the same was issued on the wrong
premise, i.e. that the decision of the court had already become
final and executory when in fact it had not.
Later the SolGen filed for the government a complaint
for annulment, cancellation of titles and for reversion on the
ground that the decision of the lower court adjudicating the lot to
Alpuerto, its order for the issuance of the decree of registration as
well as the OCT and all the TCTs derived therefrom are all null and
void and w/o legal effect because the court had no jurisdiction to
allocate the subject land, which is inalienable.
RATIO : CA 141 explicitly states that timber and mineral lands
shall be governed by special laws. And the Forestry Law now vests
in the Director of Forestry the jurisdiction and authority over forest
or timberland.
In one case the SC held that if the land covered by the
homestead application of petitioner was still within the forest zone
or under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Forestry, the Director of
Lands has no jurisdiction to dispose of said land under the
provisions of the Public Land Law and the applicant acquired no
right to the land.
Also, if a person obtains a title under the Public Land Act
w/c includes, by oversight, lands w/c cannot be registered under
the Torrens System, or when the Director of Lands did not have
jurisdiction over the same because it is a public forest, the
grantee does not, by virtue of the said certificate of title alone,
become the owner of the land illegally included.
The patent of title thus issued is void at law, since the
officer who issued it had no authority to do so.
Under these circumstances, the certificate of title may
be ordered cancelled and the cancellation may be pursued
through an ordinary action therefor.
The doctrine of estoppel cannot operate against the
State. It is a well-settled rule in our jurisdiction that the Republic
or its government is usually not estopped by mistake or error on
the part of its officials or agents.
The state may still seek the cancellation of the title
issued to Alpuerto pursuant to Sec. 101 of the Public Land Act.
Such title has not become indefeasible, for prescription cannot be
invoked against the State.

Sec. 101: All actions for reversion to the Govt. of lands of the
public domain shall be instituted in the proper courts in the
name of the Republic.

(9) Quieting of Title


Art. 476, Civil Code. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real
property or any interest therein, by reason of any instrument,
record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which 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.
An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from
being cast upon title to real property or any interest therein.

Art. 477, Civil Code. Plaintiff must have legal or equitable title
to the land; but not necessarily possession.
Sec. 1, Rule 63, Rules of Court. An action for the reformation
of an instrument, to quiet title to real property or remove clouds
therefrom, or to consolidate ownership under Art. 1607 of the Civil
Code, may be brought under this Rule.

REALTY SALES ENTERPRISES V. IAC,


154 SCRA 328 (1987)
Suits to quiet title are not technically suits in rem, nor
are they, strictly speaking, in personam, but being against the
person in respect of the res, these proceedings are characterized
as quasi in rem. The judgment in such proceedings is conclusive
only between the parties.
MAMADSUL V. MOSON,
190 SCRA 82 (1990)
An action to quiet title is imprescriptible if the plaintiffs
are in possession of the property. The right of a plaintiff to have
his title to land quieted, as against one who is asserting some
adverse claim or lien thereon, is not barred while the plaintiff or
his grantors remain in actual possession of the land, claiming to
be owners thereof, the reason for this rule being that while the
owner in fee continues liable to an action, proceeding, or suit upon
the adverse claim, he has a continuing right to the aid of a court
of equity in his favor to ascertain and determine the nature of
such claim and its effect on his title, or to assert any superior
equity in his favor. He may wait until his possession is disturbed or
his title is attacked before taking steps to vindicate his right. But
the role that the statute of limitations is not available as a defense
to an action to remove a cloud from title can only be invoked by a
complainant when he is in possession. One who claims property
which is in the possession of another must, it seems, invoke his
remedy within the statutory period.
Petitioners may wait until their possession is disturbed or their
title is attacked before they may take steps to vindicate their
right. The statute of limitation is not available as a defense to an
action to remove a cloud from title over property in possession of
the petitioners.
It is not necessary that the person seeking to quiet his title is
the registered owner of the property in question. "Title" to
property does not necessarily mean the original transfer
certificate of title. It can connote acquisitive prescription by
possession in the concept of an owner thereof. One who has an
equitable right or interest in the property may also file an action
to quiet title under the law.
TAN V. VALDEHUEZA,
66 SCRA 61 (1975)
Relying on Section 3 of Rule 17 of the Rules of Court
which pertinently provides that a dismissal for failure to prosecute
"shall have the effect of an adjudication upon the merits," the
Valdehuezas submit that the dismissal of civil case 2002 operated,
upon the principle of res judicata, as a bar to the first cause of
action in civil case 2574. This contention is untenable as the
causes of action in the two cases are not identical. Case 2002 was
for injunction against the entry into and the gathering of nuts from
the land, while case 2574 seeks to "remove any doubt or cloud of
the plaintiff's ownership . . ." with a prayer for declaration of
ownership and recovery of possession.
Applying the test of absence of inconsistency between
prior and subsequent judgments the failure of Tan, in case 2002,
to secure an injunction against the Valdehuezas to prevent them
from entering the land and gathering nuts is not inconsistent with
her being adjudged, in Case 2574, as owner of the land with right
to recover possession thereof. Case 2002 involved only the
possession of the land and the fruits thereof, while case 2574
involves ownership of the land, with possession as a mere
attribute of ownership. The judgment in the first case could not
and did not encompass the judgment in the second, although the
second judgment would encompass the first. Moreover, the new

Civil Code provides that suitors in actions to quiet title "need not
be in possession of said property."
FAJA V. COURT OF APPEALS,
75 SCRA 441 (1977)
An action to quiet title to property in the possession of
plaintiff is imprescriptible. One who is in actual possession of a
piece of land claiming to be owner thereof may wait until his
possession is disturbed or his title is attacked before taking steps
to vindicate his right, the reason for the rule being, that his
undisturbed possession gives him a continuing right to seek aid of
a court of equity to ascertain and determine the nature of the
adverse claim of a third party and its effect on his own title, which
right can be claimed only by one who is in possession. The right to
quiet title to the property, to seek its reconveyance and annul any
certificate of title covering it, accrues only from the time the one
in possession was made aware of a claim adverse to his own, and
it is only then that the statutory period of prescription commences
to run against such possessor.
Decree of Registration

issued pursuant to a final and executory judgment

basis for the original and duplicate certificates of title

OCT takes effect upon the date of entry in the record


book of the Register of Deeds (Sec. 40)
binds the land and quiets title thereto, subject only to such
exceptions or liens as may be provided by law (See Sec. 44 of
PD 1529)
conclusive upon and against all persons, including the
National Govt. and all branches thereof
becomes incontrovertible within 1 year from issuance

See Sec. 31, 32, 39 of PD 1529.


GOMEZ V. CA
168 SCRA 503 (1988)

and their act is the act of the court. They are in specifically called
upon to extend assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral
land registration proceedings.
RAMOS V. RODRIGUEZ,
244 SCRA 418 (1995)
Ramos applied for the registration of a parcel of land.
After issuing an order of general default the judge rendered
decision adjudicating said lot to the petitioners; ordered issuance
of decree and directed NLTDRA to prepare the decree and
certificate of registration.
NLTDRA however recommended that the order be set
aside because the said subject lot is already covered by a TCT. The
court opined that it cannot set aside its decision on the basis of
the report after the finality of its decision. It added that the proper
remedy of the government was an action for annulment of
judgment. Later however the court set aside its order and denied
petitioners application for registration. The court noted that the
subject lot is already covered by an existing TCT and that no final
decree has yet been issued by the LRA.
Petitioner assailed this decision on the principle of
finality of judgments.
RATIO:
This issue has already been settled in a similar case
where the court declared that: However unlike ordinary civil
actions the adjudication of land in a cadastral or land registration
proceeding does not become final, in the sense of
incontrovertibility until after the expiration of one (1) year after
the entry of the final decree of registration.
As long as the final decree has not been entered by the
Land Registration Commission (now NLTDRA) and the period of
one (1) year has not elapsed from the date of entry of such
decree, the title is not finally adjudicated and the decision in the
registration proceeding continues to be under the control and
sound discretion of the court rendering it.
They also raised the issue of the function of LRA as only
ministerial. In Gomez the SC squarely met this issue:
Petitioners insist that the duty of the respondent land
registratoin officials to

FACTS: Petitioners applied for the registration of their land. After


notice and publication, there being no opposition to the
application, the trial court issued an order of general default. Later
the court issued an order stating that the decision had become
final and directed the Land Registration Office to issue the
corresponding decrees of registration over the lots adjudicated in
the decision.

issue the decree is purely ministerial. It is ministerial in the


sense that they act under the orders of the court and the
decree must be in conformity with the decision of the court
and with the data found in the record, and they have no
discretion in the matter. However, if they are in doubt upon
any point in relation to the preparation and issuance of the
decree, it is their duty to refer the matter to the court. They
are in this respect as officials of the court and not as
administrative officials, and their act is the act of the court.
They are in specifically called upon to extend assistance to
courts in ordinary and cadastral land registration
proceedings.

Later it was reported to the court a quo that some of the lots
subject of the registration were already covered by homestead
patents, issued in 1928 & 29 and registered under the Land
Registration Act. Hence the decision was recommended to be set
aside. Lower court set aside the decision.
ISSUE
:
WON respondent Judge had jurisdiction to issue
the decision setting aside its earlier decision
HELD
:
YES. It is not disputed that the first decision
had become final and executory. However unlike ordinary civil
actions the adjudication of land in a cadastral or land registration
proceeding does not become final, in the sense of
incontrovertibility until after the expiration of one (1) year after
the entry of the final decree of registration.
As long as the final decree has not been entered by the
Land Registration Commission (now NLTDRA) and the period of
one (1) year has not elapsed from the date of entry of such
decree, the title is not finally adjudicated and the decision in the
registration proceeding continues to be under the control and
sound discretion of the court rendering it.
Petitioners insist that the duty of the respondent land
registratoin officials to issue the decree is purely ministerial. It is
ministerial in the sense that they act under the orders of the court
and the decree must be in conformity with the decision of the
court and with the data found in the record, and they have no
discretion in the matter. However, if they are in doubt upon any
point in relation to the preparation and issuance of the decree, it
is their duty to refer the matter to the court. They are in this
respect as officials of the court and not as administrative officials,

In the case at bar, the LRA is not legally obligated to


follow the courts order because the subject land sought to be
registered was found to be already decreed and titled under the
Payatas Estate.
The one-year period stated in Sec. 32 of PD 1529 within
which a petition to reopen and review the decree of registration is
described in Sec. 31 of the said PD which decree is prepared and
issued by the Commissioner of Land Registration.
G.

Certificate of Title
Not subject to collateral attack; Cannot be altered, modified
or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with
law

Original Certificate of Title

True copy of the decree of registration

Signed by the Commissioner and sent, together with the


owners duplicate certificate of title, to the Register of Deeds
of the city or province where the property is situated for entry
in his registration

Takes effect upon the date of entry thereof

Original copy is filed in the Registry of Deeds

Merely confirms a pre-existing title (Ponce de Leon v. RFC);


does not establish time of acquisition of the property

Transfer Certificate of Title

Subsequent certificate of title that may be issued by the


Register of Deeds pursuant to any voluntary or involuntary
instrument relating to the same land
See Secs. 39 50, PD 1529

PONCE DE LEON VS. REHABILITATION FINANCE CORP.,


36 SCRA 289 (1976)
Facts: Ponce procured an industrial loan from RFC in 1951. As
security, Ponce mortgaged a parcel of land in Paranaque which
was registered in the name of Francisco Soriano (FS) OCT No.
8094 married to Tomas Rodriguez. At the time of signing of the
mortgage deed, Tomasa was already dead leaving her heirs, her
children. None of Tomasas children signed the mortgage deed.
Ponce failed to pay the amortizations due. RFC took
steps to extra-judicially foreclose the mortgaged properties. Upon
foreclosure, RFC purchased the Paranaque lot.
Prior to the expiration of the one-year period redemption
period, FS offered to repurchase the PQUE lot for P14,000, but the
bank (RFC) rejected the offer. RFC scheduled the public sale of
the lot.
In 1956, Ponce filed the present action questioning the
validity of the sheriffs foreclosure sale, and requesting a writ of
P.I. to restrain RFC from carrying out its scheduled sale.
The Sorianos filed a 3rd party complaint contending that
the mortgage was void insofar as FS is concerned for lack of
consideration; and that the PQUE lot belonged to the conjugal
property, and that Tomasa was already dead at the time and the
heirs who have inherited it have not signed the mortgage
contract.
The TC dismissed Ponces complaint, and declared the
mortgage of 1/2 of the PQUE lot of void because it belongs to the
heirs of Tomasa. All the three parties appealed.
Issues: WON the TC erred in voiding the sale to the RFC of the
PQUE lot, upon the ground that the same formed part of the
conjugal partnership of the Soriano spouses.
Held/ Ratio Decidendi : The TC erred in applying the said
presumption. The sale to RFC is valid.
It appears that the property was registered in the name
of Francisco Soriano married to Tomasa Rodriguez, and that
based on this fact alone, the TC presumed that it belongs to the
conjugal partnership.
The TC erred in applying the said
presumption.
We should not overlook the fact that the title to said
property was not a transfer certificate of title, but an original one,
issued in accordance with a decree which, pursuant to law, merely
confirms a pre-existing title.
Said OCT does not establish,
therefore, the time of acquisition of the PQUE property by the
registered owner thereof.
REYES VS. REYES,
17 SCRA 1099 (1966)
Facts: Mateo, Juan and Francisco Reyes are the registered owners
of several parcels of land covered by OCT Nos. 22161 and 8066.
In 1962, Mateo and Juan filed a motion for the issuance of writs of
possession over all the lots against Raval. Raval admitted that he
was in possession of 22161 but not of 8066, although he is
entitled to the possession of both, having acquired by way of
absolute sale from Francisco the latters undivided 1/3 interest to
these discputed lots.
The CFI issued the writes of possession. Raval did not
appeal. Subsequently, petitioners filed an action to recover the
products of the disputed land against Raval. Raval filed a counterclaim for partition of the said lots, alleging that he is the co-owner
of the properties.
Issues: Who between the petitioners or respondent has a better
right to the possession or custody of the disputed owners
duplicate of certificates of title?

Held/ Ratio Decidendi :


Petitioners are entitled to the
possession.
While we agree that the disputed lots are subjects of
litigation, we see no valid reason to justify, on this ground, the
withholding from the registered owners, such as the petitioners
herein, the custody and possession of the owners duplicates of
certificates of title.
In a decided case, this court has already held that the
owner of the land in whose favor and in whose name said land is
registered and inscribed in the certificate of title has more
preferential right to the possession of the owners duplicate than
one whose name does not appear in the certificate and has yet to
establish his right to the possession thereto.
It being undisputed that respondent had already availed
of an independent civil action to recover his alleged co-owners
share in the disputed lots by filing a counterclaim for partition, his
rights appear to be amply protected; and considering that he may
also avail of the provision on notice of lis pendens for the purpose
of recording the fact that the lots covered by titles in question are
litigated in the said Civil case, we again see no justifiable reason
for reason for respondent to retain the custody of the owners
duplicates of certificates of title.

NATIONAL GRAINS AUTHORITY VS. IAC, 157 SCRA 380


(1991)
Facts: In 1971, spouses Vivas executed a deed of sale with a right
of repurchase in favor of spouses Magcamit, with a condition that
the balance of P40,000 was to be paid the moment the certificate
of title is issued and delivered to the vendees. The Magcamits
have remained in peaceful possession of the property since then.
In 1975, the OCT covering the subject property was
issued in the names of spouses Vivas w/o the knowledge of the
Magcamits. Vivas mortgaged the property to the petitioner.
NGA foreclosed the property, and was able to purchase
the same during the auction. TCT No. T-75171 was issued in the
name of NGA. Upon learning this, Spouses Magcamit offered to
pay P40,000 to Vivas but the latter refused. NGA claims it is now
the owner of the property in question. NGA filed an ejectment suit
against Magcamit.
Issues: WON violation of the terms of agreement between the
Vivas and the Mgcamits to deliver the certificate of title to the
vendees upon its issuance, constitutes a breach of trust sufficient
to defeat the title and right acquired by NGA, an innocent
purchaser for value.
Held/ Ratio Decidendi : No. NGA won. It is axiomatic that while
the registration of the conditional sale with right of repurchase
may be binding on third persons, it is by provision of law
understood to be without prejudice to a 3 rd party who has a
better right. In this case, it will be noted that the 3 rd party NGA is
a registered owner under the Torrens System and has obviously a
better right than private respondents, and that the deed of sale
with the suspensive condition is not registered and is necessarily
binding only on the spouses Vivas and Magcamits.
Registration of title to land under the Torrens System is
an action in rem, not in personam. Hence personal notice to all is
not necessary..
Where there is nothing on the certificate of title to
indicate any cloud or vice in the ownership of the property, or any
encumbrance thereon, the purchaser need not explore further
than what the torrens title upon its face indicates in quest for any
hidden defect or inchoate right.
Indefeasibility
HEIRS OF VENCILAO VS. CA,
(APRIL 1, 1998)
Facts: In 1990, Vencilao filed an action for quieting of title against
the spouses Gepalago. Complaint was amended to include an
action for reconveyance and cancellation of title.
LV claims to have purchased the land from PNB; and that
they are the registered owners of the land.

The TC appointed a commissioner to survey the property.


The commissioner reported that out of the 22,400 sq. m. property
claimed by the Vencilaos, Gepalagos were the registered owners.
TC ruled in favor of the Vencilaos, since they have been in
possession for more than 30 years. CA reversed.

(3) No. The acquittal of the respondents in the criminal cases for
falsification is NOT a bar to the civil cases. The criminal cases
dealt with falsification using evidence to prove the crime beyond
reasonable doubt. Herein, the factual issues are WON lands in
question are timber or mineral lands and WON respondents are
entitled to the benefits of RA 3872.

Issues: Who is entitled to the land?


Held/ Ratio Decidendi : Gepalagos are entitled to the land. As
a general rule, where the certificate of title is in the name of the
vendor when the land is sold, the vendee for value has the right to
rely on what appears on the face of the title. He is under no
obligation to look beyond the certificate of title. Exception is
when there is anything in the certificate w/c indicates any cloud or
vice in the ownership of the property.
LEPANTO CONSOLIDATED MINING COMPANY V DUMYUNG,
ROD OF BAGUIO & CFI OF BAGUIO,
89 SCRA 532
Facts: Republic of the Phil. filed a case for annulment of 3 free
patents on the ground of misrepresentation and false dates and
information furnished by defendants, Manuel Dumyung, Fortunato
Dumyung and Dumyung Bonayan. The Register of Deeds was
made a formal party defendant.
Lepanto filed motions for
intervention, alleging that a portion of the titled lands in question
is within the intervenors ordinary timber license, and the other
portion being embraced in its mineral claims.
Before the hearing on the 3 civil claims, Republic filed 3
criminal cases for falsification of public documents, for allegedly
making untrue statements in their applications for free patents.
The civil cases were then suspended.
The trial court then dismissed the criminal case for
insufficiency of evidence. As a result, the defendants filed a
motion to dismiss the 3 civil cases saying that: (1) the dismissal of
the criminal cases also resulted in the dismissal of these civil
cases; (2) the court has no jurisdiction over the case because the
certificates of title can no longer be assailed; (3) Lepanto has no
legal interest in the matter.
The CFI then DISMISSED the civil cases ruling that the
free patents duly registered were indefeasible, as in the Torrens
system. Hence, this petition.
Issues: WON the original certificates of title held by respondents
were indefeasible
3872

WON the respondents are entitled to the benefits of RA

WON the acquittal of the respondents in the criminal


cases also meant extinction of civil cases
Held/ Ratio Decidendi : Case REMANDED to TC for reception of
evidence.
(1) and (2) No. Under CA 141. timber and mineral lands are NOT
alienable or disposable. The principal factual issue raised by the
Republic and the intervenor is that the lands covered by the
patents and certificates of title are timber and mineral lands and,
therefore, inalienable.
Without receiving evidence, the TC
dismissed the 3 civil cases on the ground that the free patents
were duly registered in the ROD and as such, enjoy the same
privileges and safeguards as the torrens title. And even in its
dismissal of the Motion for Reconsideration, it used RA 3872,
liberalizing the free patent provisions of the Public Land Act in
favor of the national cultural minorities. The SC emphasized that
the trial courts assumption that the respondents are protected by
RA 3872 is WITHOUT any factual basis. There is no evidence that
respondents are members of the national cultural minorities, that
they have continuously and cultivated the lands and that they are
not the owner of any land secured or disposable under the Public
Land Act. These QUALIFICATIONS must first be established. Thus,
it was premature for the trial court to render that decision. It is
well-settled that a certificate of title is void when it covers
property of public domain classified as forest or timber and
mineral lands. Any title issued on non-disposable lots even in the
hands of innocent purchaser for value, shall be cancelled.

FLORENTINO REYES, ET AL V COURT OF APPEALS, JACINTA,


PAULA, PETRA REYES, 258 SCRA 651 (1996)
Facts: On July 29, 1970, a Deed of Extrajudicial Partition and
Settlement was allegedly entered into between petitioner
Florentino and his sisters (Jacinta, Paula and Petra). The subject of
the alleged partition was a parcel of land located in Makati,
originally registered in the name of their father, Bernardino Reyes.
The Deed stipulated that the sisters waived their rights, interests
and participation in favor of Florentino. In the deed, a share of 50
m2 was given to Paula. Petitioner then regisitered the deed and
obtained a TCT in his name, leaving the 50 m 2 in the name of
Paula.
May 1985, respondents discovered the registration of
said deed and denied having any knowledge of its execution and
disclaimed having signed the deed and having waived their rights.
Paula likewise denied any participation and reiterated that it was
fraudulently prepared by petitioner and that their signatures were
forged. It was also asserted that the Notary Public who signed
was not listed as accredited Notary Public.
Petitioner, however, even executed a Deed of Absolute
Sale and sold some portion to his children. Later on, there was
allegedly another Deed of Partition dividing the property
(participated by Florentino, his children and Paula).
As a result, private respondents filed a Complaint for
Annulment of Sale and Damages with Prayer for Preliminary
Injunction/ Restraining Order. The Lower Court enjoined the ROD
from issuing and delivering the TCTs and subsequently ruled that
Florentino forged and simulated the controversial documents,
thereafter ordering that the documents involved are null and void.
CA affirmed this decision. Hence, this petition.
Issues: WON the lower court erred in ruling that the deed was
forged
WON the petitioner acquired the land by prescription,
despite the forgery
Held/ Ratio Decidendi: PETITION DISMISSED.
(1) No. Petitioners failed to convincingly overturn the factual
findings of the lower court -- (a) the signatures were done by one
person; (b) the acknowledgment was signed by a notary public
who was never commissioned as such and no record of the deed
was ever done; (c) the word Pasay, Rizal was superimposed on
the word Makati; (d) the residence certificates were obtained in
Pasay City instead of Makati; (e) the group picture shown could
have been taken on another occasion and not necessarily before
signing the deed. Clearly, the question to be resolved here is a
question of fact beyond the SCs power to decide. (Question of
Law: when doubt or difference arises as to what the law is
pertaining to the case vs Question of Facts: when the doubt arises
as to the truth or falsity of alleged facts) As cited in Chua Tiong
Tay, the SC can only review factual findings on 10 occasions.
Thus, this being a purely question of fact and not covered in the
exceptions, the SC cannot take cognizance of this case. What
further strengthens the case of forgery is the fact that CA affirmed
the findings. As to the claim that there was no allegation of
deception, the SC held that forgery and simulation was precisely
arrant deception. And as regards the allegation that a document
duly notarized cannot be impugned, the SC deemed it baseless,
saying that there was a finding of fact that it was notarized by an
unaccredited Notary Public and was not recorded accordingly.
(2) No. The provisions on acquisitive prescription (Arts 1117 and
1134) will not apply in this case. Petitioners cannot justify their
ownership and possession of the land since they did not meet an
essential requisite, cited in Art 526 -- that of GOOD FAITH. The
forgery and simulation cannot be the basis for issuing a just title.
Likewise, there can be no acquisitive prescription considering that
the parcel of land in dispute is titled property -- in the name of
their father Bernardino, which Florentino does not deny. As such,

their title cannot defeat the real rights of the respondents through
their father. In fact, there was not even any adverse possession
since respondents continued to reside in the property.
Prescription
Art. 47 of PD 1529 explicitly provides that title to registered
land cannot be acquired by prescription or adverse possession.
This is to be contrasted from unregistered lands and/or public
agricultural lands which can be acquired through adverse,
notorious continuous possession under a claim of ownership for
the period fixed by the Public Land Act (CA 141).
SULPICIA JIMENEZ AND TORIBIO MATIAS V VICENTE
FERNANDEZ AND TEDORA GRADO,
184 SCRA 190 (1990)
Facts : The land in question is the eastern portion of a 436 m 2
residential land located in Pangasinan, covered by a TCT under the
name of Suplicia Jimenez. The entire land was originally owned by
Fermin Jimenez who had two sons (Fortunato and Carlos).
Fortunato predeceased his father and had only one child
(Sulpicia). After Fermins death, the entire land was registered in
the name of Carlos and Sulpicia in equal shares pro-indiviso. Later
on, Carlos died and passed possession of the eastern part to his
illegitimate daughter (Melecia) who later sold it to Cagampan then
to Grado. Sulpicia, on the other hand, executed an affidavit
adjudicating unto herself the other half of the property
appertaining to Carlos upon manifestation that she is the only
legal heir of Carlos. Consequently, TCT was issued in Sulpicias
name alone. Sulpicia then filed a case to recover possession of
said land from Melecia. The lower court dimissed Sulpicias claim,
which the Court of Appeals affirmed. Hence, this petition.
Issues: WON Melecia Jimenez has a right over the parcel of land
WON the lower court erred in declaring Grado as the
absolute owner citing Arcuico case (prescription) and laches
Held: Petition GRANTED.
(1) Melecia has no right. Melecia is an illegitimate daughter of
Carlos and could not have validly acquired the land nor legally
effect any transfer of it. Only a legitimate, legitimated, adopted or
acknowledged natural child has successional rights. This was
embodied in the law then in force (1889 Civil Code).
(2) The court erred in relying on the Arcuino case, concluding that
respondents acquired the property under litigation by prescription.
This cannot be applied in this case because herein, Suplicia was a
title holder since 1933 while in the Arcuino case plaintiffs were not
registered owners. As such, Sulpicias title over the property
remained good and continued to be good when she segregated
into a new title. Sulpicias title being covered by the Torrens
System could never be defeated by Melecias possession no
matter how long.
The right of Sulpicia, therefore, is
imprescriptible and not barred under the doctrine of laches.
Laches is an equity case, whose application depends on a case-tocase basis and depends on the courts discretion. In the case at
bar, the doctrine is NOT applicable.
After all, the professed
objective of Act 496 (LRA, Torrens System) is to establish the
stability of the landholding system in the Philippines (maintaining
the confidence of the people in their titles). And to this end, the
Court ruled that the right of the appellee to file an action to
recover possession based on its Torrens title is imprescriptible and
not barred under the doctrine of laches.

ordered excluded for the reason that respondents then were


deemed owners of said land.
Defendants then, now petitioners, denied the material
averments of the complaint and pointed out that Lot 12 could
never be a part of Lot 6 because between the two lots there exists
a big river. It was also alleged that Lot 6 was situated within the
jurisdiction of Dolores, Quezon while Lot 12 was situated within
the jurisdiction of Candelaria, Quezon. As special defenses,
defendants-petitioners alleged that they acquired Lot 12 partly by
purchase and partly by inheritance; that they have title granted
by the Spanish government; that the lot was adjudicated to them
by CFI of Tayabas; that they have declared the land for tax
purposes; that they have cleared, cultivated and planted on these
lands; that plaintiffs were never the owners of this land, and even
if a portion thereof was included in their title, it was done thru
fraud and deceit by making it appear in the application and in the
notices that said Lot 6 belonged to them and is within the
jurisdiction of Dolores, Quezon.
The Lower Court found that Lot 12 is part of Lot 6 and
was accordingly adjudicated to plaintiffs. This is confirmed by the
Commissioners Report as manifested by the Chief Surveyor. Also,
it was pointed out that defendant knew that the land is within Lot
6 and covered by a title in favor of plaintiffs since 1924 -- so, when
he filed his opposition, he did not act in good faith and did not
occupy the land for 30 years (so no prescription). Indeed, no title
to registered land may be acquired by prescription or adverse
possession. The CA affirmed this finding. Hence, this petition.
Issues:
WON there was fraud or misrepresentation in the
procurement of the TCT
WON the case is barred by statute of limitations or by
laches
Held/ Ratio Decidendi: Decision affirmed, with modification
(1) No. The existence of actual or positive fraud is a question of
fact, and respondent court having ruled out the same, the SC has
no basis to sustain the defendants-petitioners contention. Lot 12
was clearly found to be part and parcel of Lot 6, for which TCT was
issued to plaintiffs-respondents and registered in 1941. Likewise,
the decree of registration has long become final, absent a showing
that the same was questioned within one year after thereof was
made. Under Sec 38, a person allegedly defrauded has a year to
file a case. Thus, even assuming arguendo that there was actual
or positive fraud in securing the title, the defendants-petitioners
are now barred from questioning the same.
(2) No. As the land in registration was covered by the Torrens
System and duly registered, the decree of registration can no
longer be impugned on the ground of fraud, error or lack of notice,
AFTER the lapse of one year.
Indeed, it is an established rule that one cannot acquire
title to a registered land by prescription or adverse title when
covered by a Torrens tile.
Adverse, notorious, continuous
possession under claim of ownership for the period fixed by the
law is ineffective against a Torrens title and it is likewise settled
that the right to secure possession under a decree of registration
does not prescribe (Tuason Case)
As regards equitable doctrine of laches, it will NOT apply
as against the registered owners. The reliance on Mejia de Lucas
Case was misplaced because the circumstance attendant in that
case was not present in this case. The 37-year possession in the
case cited and intervening rights of third persons who may be
prejudiced due to series of transfers effected allows the
application of laches. But this was not the case herein.

URBANO JAVIER, LEONILA ALBIELA V HON. CONCEPCION,


HON. A REYES, HON. L REYES, LIM CHUA, TAN TIAN ON,TAN
SIOK TAN, 94 SCRA 212 (1979)
Facts: On October 17, 1959, respondents as plaintiffs (Chua, Tan
Tian On, Tan Siok Tan) filed against herein petitioners with the CFI
of Quezon, for reconveyance of a parcel of land with
improvements thereon known as Lot 12 and an accounting and
recovery of the produce of the land possessed by herein
petitioners since 1945. Lot 12 is allegedly part of Lot 6 covered by
TCT 16817. In Expediente Nos. 1509 and 1679, said Lot 12 was

Petitioners, however did not act in bad faith in occupying the


land in question (finding of fact), and possession in bad faith
only started in 1959 when judicial summons were served. As
such, in the interest of justice, petitioners are entitled to
accounting and reimbursement of necessary and useful
expenses during its occupation of the land in good faith.

Collateral Attack
A certificate of title cannot be subject to a collateral
attack. It cannot be altered, modified or canceled except in a
direct proceeding in accordance with law. (Sec. 48, PD 1529)

HALILI VS. CIR,


257 SCRA 174
FACTS: The original controversy arose when the Halili Bus Drivers
and Conductors Union (PTGWO) filed claims for unpaid overtime
pay for 897 Union members against Fortunato Halili. The latter
died, thus the claims were made against his estate. The Union
and the administratrix of the estate reached an amicable
agreement whereby the Administratrix would transfer to the
employees title to a tract of land covered by TCT36389 in
Caloocan + additional amount of P25,000. The administratrix
executed a Deed of Conveyance of Real Property, transferring it to
the Union. The Union requested from the Minister of Labor the
authority to sell and dispose of the property. Granted. Atty.
Pineda, representing the Union, filed a motion with MOLE praying
for authority to sell the land to Manila Memorial Park Cemetery
(MMPCI). Granted by labor arbiter Valenzuela.
Title was
transferred in the name of MMPCI. In a resolution, the SC set
aside the orders of labor arbiter Valenzuela saying it was issued
w/o due process of law. Union filed a complaint with NLRC to
compel MMPCI to reconvey the property. NLRC refused to take
cognizance of the case (outside of jurisdiction). Petitioners thus
filed the instant petition seeking reconveyance.
ISSUE: 1. WON there was jurisdiction --- no, there was none.
2. WON validity of MMPCIs title can be attacked.
no!
RATIO: The petition should definitely be dismissed because the
property was registered under the Torrens System of registration
in the name of MMPCI. The best proof of ownership is the
Certificate of Title.
Sec 48 of PD 1529 (Prop Reg Decree) provides that a
certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. It
cannot be altered, modified or canceled except in a direct
proceeding in accordance with law.
The Certificate of title, in the absence of fraud, is the
evidence of title and shows the real interest of its owner. The
petition of the Union seeks for reconveyance, thus in effect
seeking the nullification of MMPCIs title aba di pwede yan! This
is a collateral attack w/c is not permitted under the principle of
indefeasibility of a Torrens Title.
* additional: 1. The portions of the land have already been sold
out to individual lot buyers (innocent purchasers for value).
H.

Cadastral Proceedings

A cadastral proceeding, as distinguished from a land


registration proceeding, is one where the petition for registration
is filed by the government and not by the persons claiming
ownership of the lands subject thereof.
However, as in land registration proceedings, the
objective in cadastral proceedings is the adjudication of title to
lands involved in said proceeding. Cadastral proceedings are in
rem, and judgments therein are binding on the whole world.

DIRECTOR OF LANDS VS BENITEZ, 16 SCRA 557 (1960)


FACTS: In cadastral proceedings by the Director of Lands before
the CFI, Spouses Benitez and Brillo were declared owners of a
parcel of land in tacloban. Decision was rendered on Dec 29,
1932. 26 years after, they filed a petition before the same
cadastral court for reopening of the proceedings. They claim that
through inadvertence, they failed to include a portion (1,805sq m)
thus it should be adjudicated to them pursuant to RA 931. Court
admitted the petition and set the petition for hearing. It ordered
copies of the petition be furnished to the Solgen, provincial fiscal
of Leyte and Tacloban.
Cadastral Court granted the petition. It declared the couple as
owners of the additional portion. Spouses moved for writ of
execution. Occupants of the additional portion opposed, disputing
the validity of the decision. They were 62 occupants by virtue of

permits granted by the Dir. of Lands. Solgen also opposed citing


lack of jurisdiction for the reopening of the proceedings because
there was no requisite publication. Both were denied. MFR.
Denied. Present petition.
ISSUE: was there Jurisdiction?
RATIO: The petition to reopen cadastral proceedings is a matter
of right granted by RA 931 as long as it is filed within due time.
In RA 931, parties are given a period of 10 years to file a petition
for reopening the proceedings in case there was failure to file a
claim in the first proceedings. However, the petition must be filed
in the same cadastral proceedings, with the same procedures.
Thus, it is necessary that notice be given to those persons who
claim an adverse interest in the land sought to be registered, as
well as to the general public, by publishing such notice in 2
successive issues of the OG, and posting it in a conspicuous place
in the land to be surveyed, as well as in the municipal building.
Publication is one of the essential bases of the courts jurisdiction.

VALISNO VS PLAN
FACTS: In 1964, petitioner-spouses Flordeliza and Valisno
purchased 2 parcels of land from the legal heirs of Agapito Blanco.
They declared the two parcels in their name for taxation purposes
and exercised exclusive possession thereof in the concept of
owners by installing a caretaker (Fermin Lozano).
In 1968,
private respondent Cayaba ousted Lozano from the land. He
claims ownership by virtue of a deed of sale in his favor. He then
erected a 6-door apartment on the land. Petitioner filed complaint
for recovery of possession. Resolved in favor of petitioners. CA
reversed the decision and dismissed complaint, ruling that the
land occupied by Cayaba has not been successfully identified with
the land described in the complaint. CA also ruled that being the
actual possessor of the property, Cayaba possesses it with a just
title. CA gives more weight to Cayabas evidence.
In 1979. Cayaba applied for registration in his name. Petitioners
filed opposition.
MTD (ground: prior judgment). Granted.
Opposition was dismissed. Instant petition.
ISSUE: WON dismissal was proper. YES.
RATIO: It must be noted that the opposition partakes of the
nature of an answer with a counterclaim. In ordinary civil cases,
the counterclaim would be considered a complaint, this time with
the original defendant becoming the plaintiff. The original plaintiff,
who becomes defendant in the counterclaim may either then
answer the counterclaim or be declared in default, or may file a
motion to dismiss the same. The latter choice was what
respondent Cayaba opted for. Although such situation rarely, if
ever, happens in land registration cases, the irregularity that
petitioners complain of stems basically from the infrequent use of
a motion to dismiss in land registration cases, and not from it
being unauthorized.
There was, in fact, res judicata. With respect to the subject matter,
there can be no question that the land sought to be recovered by
petitioners are the very same parcels of land being sought to be
registered in Cayaba's and Noriega's names. While the complaint
in the first action is captioned for recovery of possession, the
allegations and the prayer for relief therein raise the issue of
ownership, In effect, it is in the nature of an action reinvidicatoria.
The second case is for registration of title. Consequently, between
the two cases there is identity of causes of action because in
action reinvidicatoria, possession is sought on the basis of
ownership and the same is true in registration cases. Registration
of title in one's name is based on ownership. In both cases, the
plaintiff and the applicant seek to exclude other persons from
ownership of the land in question. The only difference is that in
the former case, the exclusion is directed against particular
persons, while in the latter proceedings, the exclusion is directed
against the whole world. Nonetheless, the cause of action remains
the same.

Abellera vs. Farol ruled that "while in a cadastral case, res


judicata is available to a claimant in order to defeat the

alleged rights of another claimant, nevertheless, prior


judgment can not be set up in a motion to dismiss." This
ruling is now abandoned; reversed by this case.

DURAN VS. OLIVA,


3 SCRA 154 (1961)

registration was entered. The court is not authorized to alter or


correct a certificate of title if it would mean the reopening of the
decree of registration beyond the period allowed by law.
Respondent court committed a procedural lapse.
The rule that a land registration court has no jurisdiction
over parcels of land already covered by certificate of Title applies
only where there exists no serious controversy as to the
certificates authenticity vis-a-vis the land covered therein.

Facts: (SUPRA)
Held: By express provision of Rule 132 of the ROC, the rules
contained therein apply to land registration and cadastral cases in
suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient.
The LRA does not provide for a pleading similar or corresponding
to a motion to dismiss. As a motion to dismiss is necessary for the
expeditious termination of land registration cases, said motion can
be availed of by the parties.
The primary and fundamental purpose of the Torrens
System of registration is to finally settle the titles to land and put
to stop any question of legality of title thereto. Pursuant to this
purpose, a homestead patent once registered under the LRA
cannot be the subject matter of a cadastral proceeding, and any
title issued thereon is null and void.
Hearing, judgment and Decree (Sec. 38)
WIDOWS AND ORPHANS ASSOCIATION INC., (WIDORA) VS.
CA, ORTIGAS & CO., 201 SCRA 165 (1991)
Facts: Widora filed an application for registration of a land they
acquired from the heirs of Don Mariano San Pedro y Esteban.
Molina and Ortigas & Co. separately opposed claiming ownership.
Ortigas filed a motion to dismiss alleging that the court had no
jurisdiction, the land being applied for having been already
registered under the Torrens System (TS). MTD denied and the
case was set for hearing. TC believes Ortigas TCTs were derived
form OCT 337, 19, 336, 334 (as it appears on its face) pursuant to
Decree 1425, NOT OCT 351 as claimed by Ortigas. If it were really
derived from OCT 351 then why didnt Ortigas have the same
corrected? And besides, Decree 1425 covers land which is 4 kms.
away from the land being applied for. So if there was no valid
decree of registration, Ortigas TCTs cannot be valid.
Ortigas brought the case to the CA on certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus and the CA reversed the TC decision
and dismissed the case. The CA believed Ortigas TCTs are
actually derived from OCT 351, the latter being issued pursuant to
Decree 1425 and that since OCT 351 is a copy of Decree 1425,
even though a copy of Decree 1425 cannot be presented in court
does not mean Decree 1425 was not issued and OCT 351 would
suffice to show that a decree of registration was made. So
according to the CA, as far as Lots 7 and 8 are concerned Ortigas
TCTs refer to OCT 351 and the CA ordered that the mistake in the
TCTs be corrected.
Issue: WON Ortigas TCTs are valid despite the absence of a
supporting decree of registration.
Held: No. CA judgment set aside.
Ratio: The evidence presented by Ortigas to prove the
existence of a decree of registration is merely secondary (i.e. the
plan, testimony of surveyor and OCT 351).
Ortigas must satisfy
requisites to justify admission of secondary evidence (1. Execution
2. Lost or destroyed or possession of adverse party). Ortigas
evidence should not have been admitted in the first place.
A ground for dismissal based on disputed facts (WON the
TCTs of Ortigas was supported by a decree of registration
specifically by Decree 1425) is not a ground for dismissal. The
resolution of this controversy calls for a full-blown trial to afford
the parties a day in court.
An order denying a motion to dismiss is merely
interlocutory thus not proper for the extraordinary writ of
prohibition. Interlocutory orders cannot be reviewed by the CA
until the LC shall have decided the merit of the case.
The mistakes that appear in Ortigas TCTs cannot be
corrected except by order of the court in a petition filed for the
purpose and entitled in the original case in which the decree of

GABRIEL VS. CA, PETRITA PASCUAL, RUDYARDO SANTIAGO,


159 SCRA 461 (1988)
Facts: A survey was made for Santiago Quimson. Land was
registered under his name and an OCT was issued by the Registry
of Deeds. Subsequently a cadastral survey (Orani survey) was
conducted which resulted in an increase in the land. The Cadastral
court confirmed Quimsons title. The lot was subdivided and
subsequently acquired by Eligio Naval. Potenciano Gabriel had a
parcel of land surveyed (2,792,712 sq m designated as Psu 9742)
and later it was amended to exclude portions of land owned by
Quimson. OCT 1264 with a reduced area (2,436,280 sq m) was
issued to Gabriel.
Another cadastral survey was conducted
(Hermosa survey) and Gabriels lot covered by Psu-9742 became
Lot No. 557 with a further reduced area (2,096,433 sq m) but no
new certificate of title was issued such that the OCT 1264
continued to subsist with an area of 2,436,280 sq m. Gabriel
passed away and his heirs (petitioners) divided the land according
to Psu 9742 under OCT 1264 (includes land owned by Naval).
Petitioners filed a complaint against Pascual and Santiago
(administrators of Naval estate) claiming that respondents
usurped the land and that the land was merely loaned to the
respondents for dike and water control purposes of the latters
fishpond. The TC dismissed the complaint on the ground that the
land was in the possession of Naval in the concept of an owner
and the petitioners claim that the land was loaned to Naval was
not supported by sufficient evidence. Further the TC found that
the right of petitioners was lost by prescription and that they were
guilty of laches. TC ORDERED THE NECESSARY CORRECTION OF
THE TECHINICAL DESCRIPTION TO MAKE IT CONFORM TO THE
CORRECT AREA. CA affirmed.
Issue: WON the courts have the authority to order the necessary
corrections of an erroneous technical description and make it
conform to the correct area.
Held: Yes. Petition dismissed. Decision affirmed.
Ratio: In cadastral cases, jurisdiction of the court over lands
already registered is limited to the necessary correction of
technical errors in the description of lands, provided such
corrections do not impair the substantial rights of the registered
owner, and that such jurisdiction cannot operate to deprive a
registered owner of his title. The court also has the power to
determine the priority of overlapping or over-laying registered
title. This power is necessary for a complete settlement of the
title to the land, which is the express purpose of cadastral
proceedings. Furthermore, in the case at bar, it was not as if the
court reopened or set aside a final decree. Therefore the action of
the lower court in correcting the error in the technical description
appearing in Psu 9742 is well within its jurisdiction.
The fact that Gabriel did not own the land is shown by
the Hermose and Orani Cadastre, and by the behavior of Gabriel
himself (even after discovering occupation he allowed Naval to
use and occupy the land). The claim that the land was loaned was
supported by mere oral evidence which the SC believes to be
insufficient to defeat title and possession of registered owners.
For failure to prosecute their claims for 20 years,
petitioners have lost by laches their right to recover their property.

REPUBLIC AND DIR. OF LANDS VS. JUDGE ESTENZO


158 SCRA 282 (1988)
Facts: Oct. 31, 1940 Cadastral Court declared Lot No. 8423 of the
Ormoc Cadastral as public land. 32 years later (Jan 12, 1972)
spouses Adolfo filed a petition to re-open the Oct. 31, 1940
decision. Spouses claimed ownership by virtue of having

purchased it and as evidenced by a deed of quitclaim and


confirmation dated August 28, 1969, likewise alleging that due to
accident, mistake, and excusable neglect of the previous claimant,
the land was declared public. Director of Lands appeared as
oppositor. Judge adjudicated Lot No. 8423 in favor of spouses.
Rep. and Dir. Appeals by certiorari. Petitioner claims spouses
petition is barred by the expiration of the period for reopening of
cadastral proceedings under RA 931 (Dec. 31, 1968).
Issue: WON spouses are barred.
Held: Yes. Decision set aside.
Ratio: Spouses filed their petition more than 3 years after the
lapse of the reglementary period required by the law. The period
having expired, respondent judge was without jurisdiction when
he entertained spouses petition to re-open the decision of the
cadastral court.
Spouses claim that assuming the LC has no jurisdiction
to re-open the cadastral proceedings their petition may be taken
as one for confirmation of imperfect title considering the
allegation contained in the complaint. But looking into their
petition, the spouses cause of action is premised on RA 931
because it conforms with the conditions to be met before one can
avail of the provisions of RA 931 therefore the petition filed by the
spouses cannot be one for confirmation of imperfect title. If it
were a confirmation of imperfect title, spouses can take
advantage of the extension of period granted by RA 6236 (Dec.
31, 1976) but that law does not apply to re-opening of cadastral
cases.
Requirements of the rules relative to perfection of appeal
in an ordinary case apply in the same manner to appeals from a
decision of a court of first instance in registration and cadastral
proceedings. Hence, from Aug. 28, 1972 when the assailed
decision was received by herein petitioners until Sept. 15, 1972
when the petition was filed, the 30 period had not yet elapsed.
I.
Lost or Destroyed Certificates
(Sec.109, PD 1529)

In case of loss or theft of an owners duplicate certificate of


title
Due notice under oath is required to be sent to Reg. of Deeds
where land is situated as soon as loss or theft is discovered
Petition to be filed by registered owner or other person in
interest
Notice and hearing required

OCAMPO V. GARCIA,
105 PHIL. 533
FACTS: Appellees ask for the issuance of another duplicate
certificate TCT which was lost in the liberation of Manila. They ask
as well that the two encumbrances (re appointment of special
administrator and sum due to a judgment creditor) thereon
because such encumbrances no longer exist or have been
satisfied.
HELD:
There is no question that under the foregoing quoted
provisions of Act No. 496, the court of first instance, acting as land
registration court, may, upon petition of the registered owner or
other person in interest, after notice and hearing, and upon
satisfactory proof, direct the issuance of a new duplicate
certificate of title in lieu of a lost or destroyed one, and the
cancellation of encumbrances on a certificate of title which have
terminated or ceased. Having shown to the satisfaction of the
Court that the owner's duplicate of transfer certificate of title No.
28709 had been lost or destroyed during the battle for liberation
of Manila, the appellees are entitled to the issuance of another
owner's duplicate TCT. Having also shown to the Court's
satisfaction that Mariano Ocampo y Zamora, who had been
appointed by the probate court to administer the estate of the late
Manuel Rivera y Angeles, died in 1938, and the record of that fact
on the back of the certificate of title would serve no useful
purpose, the appellees may ask for the cancellation thereof and
the Court commits no error in directing the cancellation of the

annotation on the certificate of title of the administrator's


appointment by the probate court.

SERRA V. CA,
195 SCRA 482
RECONSTITUTION OF TITLE; PURPOSE. The purpose of the
reconstitution of any document, book or record is to have the
same reproduced, after observing the procedure prescribed by law
in the same form they were when the loss or destruction occurred.
The reconstitution of certificates of title should be made, as just
stated, in the same form and exactly as they were at the time
they were lost or destroyed. A person who seeks a reconstitution
of a certificate of title over a property he does not actually
possess cannot, by a mere motion for the issuance of a writ of
possession, which is summary in nature, deprive the actual
occupants of possession thereof. Possession and/or ownership of
the property should be threshed out in a separate proceeding
RECONSTITUTION OF TITLE; ACTUAL AND PERSONAL NOTICE TO
ACTUAL POSSESSORS, INDISPENSABLE. Private respondents
argue that the herein petitioners are bound by the order granting
reconstitution because the reconstitution proceedings was heard
after notices were sent to alleged boundary owners and the
petition was published in the Official Gazette. However, the
petitioner who were in actual possession of the properties were
not notified. Notice by publication is not sufficient as regards
actual possessors of the property. In the case of Alabang
Development v. Valenzuela, No. 54094, August 30, 1982, 116
SCRA 277, We held that in petitions for reconstitution of titles,
actual owners and possessors of the lands involved must be duly
served with actual and personal notice of the petition.
RECONSTITUTED TITLE A NULLITY WHERE NO ORIGINAL TITLE
EXISTS. If no such original title in fact exists, the reconstituted
title is a nullity and the order for its reconstitution does not
become final because the court rendering the order has not
acquired jurisdiction. It may be attacked at any time. The same
rule applies if in fact there is an earlier valid certificate of title in
the name and in the possession of another person/s.

REPUBLIC V CA AND YUPANGCO,


OCTOBER 26, 1999
Issue: The question for decision in this case is whether in a
proceeding for the issuance of an owners duplicate certificate of
title, the Solicitor General is required to be notified, such that
failure to give such notice would render the proceedings void.
Held:
Nothing in the law requires that the Office of the Solicitor
General be notified and heard in proceeding for the issuance of an
owners duplicate certificate of title. In contrast, 23 of the same
law(PD 1529), involving original registration proceedings,
specifically mentions the Solicitor General as among those who
must be notified of the petition. Similarly, 36 provides that the
petition for registration in cadastral proceedings must be filed by
the Solicitor General, in behalf of the Director of Lands.
It is only now that the Solicitor General is claiming the
right to be notified of proceedings for the issuance of the owners
duplicate certificate of title. Indeed, the only basis for such claim
is that the Office of the Solicitor General represents the
government in land registration and related proceedings. Even so,
however, the request for representation should have come from
the Registrar of Deeds of Makati who was the proper party to the
case.
Considering that the law does not impose such notice
requirement in proceedings for the issuance of a new owners
duplicate certificate of title, the lack of notice to the Solicitor
General, as counsel for the Registrar of Deeds, was at most only a
formal and not a jurisdictional defect. M

J.
Reconstitution of Lost or Destroyed Certificates
(Sec. 110, PD 1529)

Denotes restoration of the instrument which is supposed to


have been lost or destroyed in its original form and condition
Purpose is to have the same reproduced, after proper
proceedings, in the same form they were when the loss or
destruction occurred.

a)

The same as sources a, b and c for reconstitution of


original CT

b)

Deed of transfer or other document covered by TCT and


on file with the Reg. of Deeds, or an authenticated copy
thereof indicating that its original had been registered
and pursuant to which the lost or destroyed CT was
issued

c)

The same as sources (e) and (f)


original CT

What is the purpose of reconstitution?

for reconstitution of

The purpose of the reconstitution of any document, book or


record is to have the same reproduced, after observing the
procedure prescribed by law in the same form they were when the
loss or destruction occurred. The reconstitution of certificates of
title should be made in the same form and exactly as they were at
the time they were lost or destroyed. (Serra Serra v. CA, 195
SCRA 482)

Can liens and encumbrances be reconstituted?

How is reconstitution done?

Who may file a petition for reconstitution?

Reconstitution may be done either judicially or


administratively / extrajudicially, depending on the source
document which is the basis for the reconstitution. (See Sec. 5 of
RA 26, as amended by RA 6732, as well as Sec. 10-12 of RA 26.)
What is the force and effect of a reconstituted title?
A reconstituted certificate of title has the same validity and
legal effect as the original thereof. (Sec. 6, RA 26) This is without
prejudice to any party whose right or interest in the property was
duly noted in the original at the time it was lost or destroyed, but
entry or notation of which was not made on an extrajudicially
reconstituted certificate of title.

YES. The sources for such reconstitution are provided under


Sec. 4 of RA 26. Also see Sec. 8-9 of the same law.

A petition for reconstitution may be filed with the RTC by:


(1) the registered owner;
(2) his assigns; or
(3) any other person having an interest in the property
(Sec. 12, RA 26)
Can the Register of Deeds reconstitute a certificate of title
motu proprio?
NO. Sec. 6 of RA 26, which gave the Register of Deeds such
power, has been expressly repealed by RA 6732.
When does the order of reconstitution become final?

Judicial Reconstitution
Judicial reconstitution partakes of a land registration
proceeding and is perforce a proceeding in rem.
The procedure for judicial reconstitution is laid down in Sec. 12
(contents of the petition) and 13 (publication, posting, and
sending by mail of the petition) of RA 26. These requirements are
mandatory and jurisdictional, and non-compliance therewith
voids the reconstitution proceedings.
What are the sources for judicial reconstitution of title?
I)

II)

For Original Certificate of Title (C.T)


In the following order:
a)

Owners duplicate of the CT

b)

Co-owners mortgagees or lessees duplicate of said C.T.


(Note that reconstitution based on (a) and (b) can be
done administratively. However, Sec. 10 of RA 26 allows
a petitioner to file directly with the RTC. Moreover, such
certificates of title reconstituted under Sec. 10 are not
subject to the encumbrance provided under Sec. 7 of RA
26.)

c)

Certified copy of such certificate, previously issued by


the Reg. Of deeds or by legal custodian thereof

d)

Authenticated copy of the decree of registration or


patent, which was the basis of the certificate of title

e)

Deed of mortgage, lease or encumbrance containing


description of prop covered by the CT and on file with
Reg. of Deeds, or an authenticated copy thereof
indicating that its original had been registered

f)

Any other document (similar to the documents


previously enumerated) which, in the judgment of the
court, is a sufficient and proper basis for reconstitution.
For Transfer Certificate of Title
In the following order:

Upon 15 days from receipt by the Register of Deeds and by the


Administrator of the Land Registration Authority of a notice of
such order or judgment without any appeal having been filed by
any of such officials. (Sec. 110, PD 1529, as amended by RA
6732)
What is the force and effect of a fraudulently reconstituted
title?
It is void ab initio as against the party obtaining the same and
all persons having knowledge thereof. (Sec. 11, RA 6732)
What is the remedy of an aggrieved party to a fraudulently
reconstituted title?
Sec. 10 of RA 6732 provides that any interested party who by
fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence (FAME; note,
these are the same grounds for a motion for new trial as well as a
petition for relief from judgment) has been unjustly deprived or
prevented from taking part in the proceedings may file a petition
in the proper court to set aside the decision and to reopen the
proceedings.
The petition must be verified and filed within 60 days
after the petitioner learns of the decision but not more than 6
months from the promulgation thereof. (This is the same as a
petition for relief from judgment.)
Can a writ of possession issue in reconstitution cases?
NO. Reconstitution does not confirm or adjudicate ownership
over the property covered by the reconstituted title, unlike in
original land registration proceedings. Thus, a person who seeks a
reconstitution of a CT over a property he does not actually
possess cannot, by a mere motion for the issuance of a writ of
possession (which, it must be noted, is summary in nature)
deprive the actual occupants of possession thereof. (Serra Serra
v. CA, 195 SCRA 482)

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, VS. COURT OF APPEALS


AND ISABEL LASTIMADO, 94 SCRA 865
FACTS:

1. September 11, 1967 - Lastimado filed in the CFI a Petition for


the reopening of cadastral proceedings over a portion of Lot No.
626 of the Mariveles Cadastre.
2.
In the absence of any opposition, whether from the
Government or from private individuals, Lastimado was allowed to
present her evidence ex-parte.
3. October 14, 1967- the trial Court granted the Petition and
adjudicated the land in favor of Lastimado.
4. The trial Court issued an order for the issuance of a decree of
registration on November 20, 1967, and on November 21, 1967,
the Land Registration Commission issued Decree No. N-117573 in
favor of private respondent. Eventually, OCT No. N-144 was also
issued in her favor.
5. Lastimado thereafter subdivided the land into ten lots, and the
corresponding titles, TCT Nos. 18905 to 18914 inclusive, were
issued by the Register of Deeds.
6. June 3, 1968 - or within one year from the entry of the decree
of registration, RP filed a Petition for Review pursuant to Sec. 38,
Act No. 496, on the ground of fraud alleging that during the period
of alleged adverse possession by private respondent, said parcel
of land was part of the U.S. Military Reservation in Bataan, which
was formally turned over to the Republic of the Philippines only on
December 22, 1965, and that the same is inside the public forest
of Mariveles, Bataan and, therefore, not subject to disposition or
acquisition under the Public Land Law.

persona in law is the juridical entity, which is the source of any


asserted right to ownership in land under basic Constitutional
precepts, and is charged with the conversion of such patrimony.

THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF MALABON VS. THE


HONORABLE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, MALABON, 181 SCRA
788
1. March 17, 1988 - a Deed of Absolute Sale of a property covered
by TCT No. R-3899 in the name of Salome Castillo in favor of Jose
M. Castillo, was presented to the Register of Deeds in Caloocan
City for registration. It could not be given due course because the
original of said TCT in the Registry of Deeds was missing.
2. As the missing title covered a parcel of land in Malabon, Atty.
Gaudencio Cena, the Register of Deeds for Malabon, filed on April
12, 1988 in the Regional Trial Court of Malabon, a verified petition
for reconstitution of the original of TCT No. R-3899 under Rep. Act
No. 26, which was given due course on April 22, 1988. The courts
order setting it for hearing on August 17, 1988 was ordered to be
published in two (2) consecutive issues of the Official Gazette as
provided in Section 9 of Republic Act No. 26.

7. The trial court dismissed the petition on the ground that the
Solicitor General had failed to file opposition to the original
petition for reopening the cadastral proceedings, and was
therefore estopped from questioning the decree of registration.
The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's dismissal.

3. At the hearing for the purpose of establishing the jurisdictional


requirement of publication of the notice of the hearing of the
petition, the petitioner submitted the following exhibits:
a)
a certification dated August 10, 1988, of the Director of
the National Printing Office certifying that the order dated April 22,
1988 was included in Volume 84, Nos. 21 and 22, May 23 and May
30, 1988 issues of the Official Gazette;
b)
the sheriffs certificate of posting; and
c)
the registry return receipts for the copies of the notices
which were sent to the Director of Lands, the Office of the Solicitor
General, the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration
Administration (NLTDRA), Salome Castillo, and Jose Castillo.

8. The Supreme Court set aside the decision of the Court of


Appeals as well as the order of the trial court, and held that the
trial court should have afforded petitioner an opportunity to
present evidence in support of the facts alleged to constitute
actual and extrinsic fraud committed by private respondent.
Moreover, the inaction of the Solicitor General cannot operate to
bar the action of the State as it cannot be estopped by the
mistake or error of its official or agents.

4. November 3, 1988 - the petitioner caused to be marked as


Exhibit G the certificate of publication issued by the Director of the
National Printing Office stating that the order of the court dated
April 22, 1988 was published in Volume 84, Nos. 21 and 22, May
23 and May 30, 1988 issues of the Official Gazette and that the
May 30, 1988 issue was released for circulation on October 3,
1988. The May 23 and May 30 issues of the Official Gazette were
also marked as Exhibits B-1 and B-2, respectively.

Case remanded to the lower court for further proceedings.

5. The Register of Deeds of Caloocan City testified that the


original TCT No. R-3899 had been missing from the files of his
office since 1981; that the Deed of Sale of the property of Salome
Castillo in favor of Jose Castillo was presented for registration but
it could not be registered because the original of TCT No. R-3899
could not be found; and that he was authorized by the
administrator of the NLTDRA to file a petition for reconstitution of
the lost original copy of TCT No. R-3899.

HELD: The essential elements for the allowance of the reopening


or review of a decree are: (1) that the petitioner has a real and
dominical right; (2) that he has been deprived thereof; (c) through
fraud; (d) that the petition is filed within one year from the
issuance of the decree; and (e) that the property has not as yet
been transferred to an innocent purchaser.
For fraud to justify the review of a degree, it must be extrinsic or
collateral and the facts upon which it is based have not been
controverted or resolved in the case where the judgment sought
to be annulled was rendered. The fraud is one that affects and
goes into the jurisdiction of the Court.
It is error for the lower court to deny the petition for
review of a decree of registration filed within one year from the
entry of the decree, without hearing the evidence in support of the
allegation and claim that actual and extrinsic fraud has been
committed by the applicants. The lower court should afford the
petitioner an opportunity to prove it.
If the allegation of the government that the land in
question was inside the military reservation at the time it was
claimed is true, then, it cannot be the object of any cadastral
proceeding nor can it be the object of reopening under Republic
Act No. 931. Similarly, if the land in question, indeed, forms part of
the public forest, then, possession thereof, however long, cannot
convert it into private property as it is within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the Bureau of Forestry and beyond the power and
jurisdiction of the cadastral Court to register under the Torrens
System.
The inaction or neglect of government agencies cannot
operate to bar the action by the State as it cannot be estopped by
the mistake or error of its officials or agents. The State as a

6. The Regional Trial Court in Malabon dismissed the petition for


lack of jurisdiction because the notice of the petition was not
published in the Official Gazette "at least thirty (30) days prior to
the date of hearing" (Sec. 9, R.A. No. 26) which had been set on
August 17, 1988. The May 23 and May 30 issues of the Official
Gazette were actually released for circulation on October 3, 1988,
or forty-seven (47) days after the scheduled hearing of the
petition.
7.

Section 9 of Republic Act No. 26 provides:

"Sec. 9. A registered owner desiring to have his reconstituted


certificate of title freed from the encumbrance mentioned in
section seven of this Act, may file a petition to that end with
the proper Court of First Instance, giving his reason or
reasons therefor. A similar petition may, likewise, be filed by
a mortgagee, lessee or other lien holder whose interest is
annotated in the reconstituted certificate of title. Thereupon,
the court shall cause a notice of the petition to be published,
at the expense of the petitioner, twice in successive issues
of the Official Gazette, and to be posted on the main
entrance of the provincial building and of the municipal
building of the municipality or city in which the land lies, at
least thirty days prior to the date of hearing, and after

hearing, shall determine the petition and render such


judgment as justice and equity may require. The notice shall
specify, among other things, the number of the certificate of
title, the name of the registered owner, the names of the
interested parties appearing in the reconstituted certificate
of title, the location of the property, and the date on which
all persons having an interest in the property must appear
and file such claim as they may have. The petitioner shall,
at the hearing, submit proof of the publication and posting
of the notice."
ISSUE:
Whether the actual publication of the notice of the
petition in the Official Gazette forty-seven (47) days after the
hearing, instead of "at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of
hearing" was sufficient to vest jurisdiction in the court to hear and
determine the petition.
HELD: Evidently, it did not. The purpose of the publication of the
notice of the petition for reconstitution in the Official Gazette is to
apprise the whole world that such a petition has been filed and
that whoever is minded to oppose it for good cause may do so
within thirty (30) days before the date set by the court for hearing
the petition. It is the publication of such notice that brings in the
whole world as a party in the case and vests the court with
jurisdiction to hear and decide it.
In Director of Lands vs. The Court of Appeals and
Demetria Sta. Maria de Bernal, Greenfield Development
Corporation, Alabang Development Corporation and Ramon
Bagatsing (102 SCRA 370), this Court ruled that "in all cases
where the authority of the courts to proceed is conferred by a
statute and when the manner of obtaining jurisdiction is
mandatory, it must be strictly complied with, or the proceedings
will be utterly void."
Where there is a defect in the publication of the petition, such
defect deprives the court of jurisdiction (Po vs. Republic, 40 SCRA
37). And when the court a quo lacks jurisdiction to take
cognizance of a case, it lacks authority over the whole case and
all its aspects (Pinza vs. Aldovino, 25 SCRA 220, 224).
Apart from the defective publication of the petition, another
reason for its dismissal is that the Register of Deeds for Malabon is
not the proper party to file the petition for reconstitution. Section
6 of Republic Act No. 26, which allowed the Register of Deeds
to motu proprio reconstitute a lost or destroyed certificate of title
from its corresponding owner's duplicate certificate, was expressly
repealed or declared to be "inoperative" by Section 6 of
Republic Act 6732, approved on July 17, 1989. A petition for
reconstitution may now be filed only by "the registered owner, his
assigns, or any person who has an interest in the property"
(Section 12, Republic Act No. 26). In other respects, the
special procedure provided in Republic Act No. 26 remains
unchanged and therefore still applies (Zuiga vs. Vicencio, 153
SCRA 720).

JOSE MANUEL STILIANOPULOS VS. THE CITY OF LEGASPI


[G.R. NO. 133913. OCTOBER 12, 1999.]
FACTS:
1. September 26, 1962 - Legaspi City filed a petition for the
judicial reconstitution of its titles to twenty parcels of land,
including Lot 1, the certificates of which had allegedly been lost or
destroyed during World War II.
2. September 16, 1964 -, the trial court ordered the Register of
Deeds to reconstitute the OCTs over these lots including OCT No.
665 in favor of the City.
3. August 4, 1970 - the City filed a Complaint for quieting of title
over Lot 1 against Carlos V. Stilianopulos alias Chas V.
Stilianopulos, Ana Estela Stilianopulos, and the American Oxygen
and Acetylene Company. While this case was pending, Carlos V.
Stilianopulos died. As a consequence, TCT No. T-1427 which was
registered under his name was cancelled, and TCT No. 13448 was
issued in the name of his son, petitioner herein, on July 12, 1974.

4. February 29, 1984 - the trial court rendered its Decision, which
upheld the validity of TCT No. 13448 and its superiority to OCT No.
665. Thus, Stilianopulos was declared the lawful owner of the
disputed property, Lot 1, Psd-3261.
5. The CA reversed the trial court and ruled in favor of the City.
Stilianopulos recourse to this Court was dismissed in a Minute
Resolution promulgated on August 17, 1988, 12 on the ground
that the issue raised was factual in nature.
6. Stilianopulos filed an action for the cancellation of OCT No. 665,
which the trial court subsequently dismissed on August 15, 1989
on the ground of res judicata. On appeal, the CA affirmed the trial
court, reasoning that petitioners action was "an action for
annulment of the order" of the reconstitution of OCT No. 665 and
was therefore not cognizable by the trial court.
7. June 13, 1994 - Stilianopulos again filed before the CA a new
action for annulment of the September 16, 1964 Order based on
three grounds: "(1) that the Respondent City of Legaspi procured
OCT No. 665 fraudulently; (2) that the original certificate of title
which was judicially reconstituted was non-existent: and (3) that
the court which ordered the reconstitution lacked jurisdiction."
8. The Court of Appeals ruled that "the prescriptive period for
extrinsic fraud has lapsed [and] the petitioner is likewise guilty of
laches in the filing of this case for annulment."
Res judicata had also set in against petitioner, as there was an
identity of parties and causes of action ownership and
possession of the lot covered by OCT No. 665 between the
earlier case for quieting of title and his Petition for Annulment.
Further, petitioner did not raise the issue of lack of jurisdiction in
the earlier case; thus, he was guilty of laches.
ISSUES: (1) WON the prescriptive period for extrinsic fraud has
[not] lapsed" and
(2) WON the reconstitution court had no jurisdiction
and "petitioner is [not] guilty of laches." In addition, the Court will
pass upon the CA holding that this case is also barred by res
judicata.
HELD: The Petition has no merit.
For fraud to become a basis for annulment of judgment,
it has to be extrinsic or actual. It is intrinsic when the fraudulent
acts pertain to an issue involved in the original action or where
the acts constituting the fraud were or could have been litigated.
It is extrinsic or collateral when a litigant commits acts outside
of the trial which prevents a party from having a real contest, or
from presenting all of his case such that there is no fair
submission of the controversy. Our examination of the facts shows
that, indeed, respondent failed (1) to state in its Petition for
Reconstitution that Lot 1 was occupied and possessed by
petitioners predecessor-in-interest and (2) to give him notice of
such proceedings. Deliberately failing to notify a party entitled to
notice constitutes extrinsic fraud.
Although the CA and the respondent impliedly admitted
the presence of extrinsic fraud, both contend, however, that the
prescriptive period for filing an action based thereon had already
run out on the petitioner. The appellate court said: "If the ground
for the annulment is extrinsic fraud, the action has to be filed
within four (4) years from the time the fraud is discovered
pursuant to the provisions of Article 1891 of the Civil Code. . .
Petitioners arguments are untenable. He could and
should have raised the issue of extrinsic fraud in the action for
quieting of title. It was then that he became aware of the
reconstituted title in the name of respondent. A simple check on
the records of the reconstitution proceedings would have revealed
that it was conducted without notice to the petitioners father.
Thus, we find no sufficient explanation why March 24,
1988 should be reckoned as the date when the prescriptive period
should begin. Simply unacceptable is the contention that
petitioners counsel discovered the extrinsic fraud "shortly after
March 24, 1988" only. Granting arguendo that the prescriptive
period should begin when petitioners counsel read the Land
Registration Commission Report, the "discovery" should have
been made earlier, because the Report had been made available

to the said counsel when it was attached to the respondents


Appeal Brief on April 5, 1986, or at the latest, when the CA
Decision was promulgated on October 16, 1987. There was
absolutely no excuse why petitioner had to wait until the finality of
the Decision in the case for quieting of title, before raising the
issue of extrinsic fraud in order to annul the Decision in the
reconstitution proceedings. Clearly, the facts constituting the
fraud should have been known to petitioners predecessor-ininterest, when the Petition to quiet the title was filed in 1970.
It appears that the trial court had no jurisdiction. First,
under Section 13 of RA 26, the sending of notice to the occupant
of the land covered by the title sought to be reconstituted is
mandatory and jurisdictional. If no notice of the date of hearing of
a reconstitution case is served on the possessor or anyone else
having interest in the property involved, the order of
reconstitution is null and void. Second, reconstitution of title is
simply the reissuance of a new duplicate certificate of title
allegedly lost or destroyed in its original form and condition. Thus,
it arises from the loss or destruction of the owners copy of the
certificate. In the case at bar, the title to Lot 1 was not lost or
destroyed. It remained in the possession of the petitioners father
and was eventually passed on to him. If a certificate of title has
not been lost but is in fact in the possession of another person,
then the reconstituted title is void and the court that rendered the
Decision had no jurisdiction.
However, the CA ruled that the delay of more than
twenty years since petitioner learned of the reconstituted title
was unreasonable, giving rise to the presumption that he had
abandoned the idea of seeking annulment of the proceedings on
the ground of lack of jurisdiction, and that he had opted to take
other actions instead. Laches is the failure or neglect, for an
unreasonable or unexplained length of time, to do that which by
exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier,
warranting the presumption that the right holder has abandoned
that right or declined to assert it. This inaction or neglect to assert
a right converts a valid claim into a stale demand. Laches
prevents a litigant from raising the issue of lack of jurisdiction.
True, petitioner filed the annulment Complaint right after the
dismissal of the cancellation-of-title case, but it is equally true that
it was filed only after the quieting-of-title case had been decided
in favor of the respondent. By participating in the quieting-of-title
case and arguing therein his defenses against the legality of the
title of the respondent in order to establish his rights over the
disputed property, petitioner is deemed to have chosen this action
over the annulment of the reconstitution proceedings. Annulment
of the reconstitution proceedings was belatedly resorted to only
after the CA had reversed the trial court and upheld the
reconstituted title of respondent. Laches bars a party from
invoking lack of jurisdiction for the first time on appeal for the
purpose of annulling everything done, with his active
participation, in the case below. It cannot be said either that the
application of laches would work an injustice against petitioner,
because he was given a fair chance in the quieting-of-title case to
prove his ownership of the disputed lot.
Furthermore, by seeking the reexamination of the
ownership of the disputed lot, petitioner accepted the jurisdiction
of the court which heard the action for quieting of title. A litigant
cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief
and, after failing to obtain such relief, to repudiate or question
that same jurisdiction. Clearly, laches has attached and barred the
petitioners right to file an action for annulment.
We are convinced that indeed res judicata has already
set in. This conclusion is the most persuasive argument raised by
the appellate court. The principle applies when the following
elements are present (1) a judgment has became final; (2) such
judgment was rendered on the merits; (3) the court that rendered
it had jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; and (4)
there was identity of parties, subject matter and causes of action
between the previous and the subsequent action. There is identity
of cause of action between a case for annulment of title and one
for annulment of judgment. Causes of action are identical when
there is an identity in the facts essential to the maintenance of the
two actions, or where the same evidence will sustain both actions.
If the same facts or evidence can sustain either, the two actions
are considered the same so that the judgment in one is a bar to
the other. The underlying objectives or reliefs sought in both the
quieting-of-title and the annulment-of-title cases are essentially
the same adjudication of the ownership of the disputed lot and
nullification of one of the two certificates of title. Thus, it becomes

readily apparent that the same evidence or set of facts as those


considered in the quieting-of-title case would also be used in this
Petition.
The difference in form and nature of the two actions is immaterial
and is not a reason to exempt petitioner from the effects of res
judicata. The philosophy behind this rule prohibits the parties from
litigating the same issue more than once. When a right or fact has
been judicially tried and determined by a court of competent
jurisdiction or an opportunity for such trial has been given, the
judgment of the court, as long as it remains unreversed, should be
conclusive upon the parties and those in privity with them. Verily,
there should be an end to litigation by the same parties and their
privies over a subject, once it is fully and fairly adjudicated.
Administrative Reconstitution
Administrative reconstitution is the putting together
again/ restoration of the original copies of Original and Transfer
Certificates of Title that were lost or destroyed due to fire, flood or
other natural calamities without necessity of court proceeding.
It may be availed of only in case of substantial loss or
destruction of land titles due to fire, flood or other force majeure
where the number of certificates of titles lost or damaged, is at
least 10% of the total number in the custody of the Register of
Deeds, but in no case shall the number of the lost or damaged
titles be less than 500 as determined by the Administrator of the
Land Registration Authority. (Sec. 110, PD 1529, as amended by
RA 6732)
What are the source documents on which administrative
reconstitution may be based?
(1)

The owner's duplicate of the certificate of title; (Sec.


2a, RA 26)

(2)

The co-owner's mortgagee's, or lessee's duplicate of


the certificate of title; (Sec. 2b, RA 26)

(3)

For liens and other encumbrances affecting the


destroyed or lost CT, the annotations or memoranda
appearing on the owner's co-owner's mortgagee's or
lessee's duplicate. (Sec. 4a, RA 26)

What
are
the
reconstitution?

requirements

for

administrative

1.

Owners duplicate copy of the OCT or TCT and 3 clear


xerox copies.
If the owners duplicate is lost or
unavailable, then the co-owners duplicate of title and 3
clear/legible xerox copies may be submitted;

2.

Real estate tax receipt representing full payment for the


last 2 years prior to the application/petition;

3.

Tax declaration or real property; and

4.

Others (e.g. power of attorney).

What is the procedure for administrative reconstitution?


(1)

The registered owner, his assigns, or other persons having


an interest in the property files a petition with the Register of
Deeds, complying with the requirements imposed by Sec. 5
of RA 26.

(2)

If the Register of Deeds has no valid reason to deny the


petition, he/she shall reconstitute the certificate of title
accordingly.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, VS. THE COURT OF


APPEALS AND ANTONINA GUIDO, 204 SCRA 160
FACTS:

1. August 22, 1979 The RP, represented by the SolGen, filed a


complaint for declaration of nullity of Decreto No. 6146, the
owner's duplicate copy of TCT No. 2337 and all titles derived from
said decree; and the declaration of the parcel of land covered by
the decree as belonging to the state, except so much thereof as
had been validly disposed of to third persons. The complaint
alleged inter alia, that:

8. The court a quo rendered judgment dismissing the complaint


and declaring Decree No. 6145 and TCT No. 23377, genuine and
authentic.

"15.
The alleged Decree No. 6146 issued
on September 10, 1911 and the alleged
owner's copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No.
23377 issued on May 12, 1933, both in the
name of Francisco and Hermogenes Guido, and
which supposed owner's duplicate was made
the basis of the administrative reconstitution of
TCT No. (23377) RT-M-0002 on March 29, 1976,
or about 43 years later, are false, spurious and
fabricated and were never issued by virtue of
judicial proceedings for registration of land,
either under Act No. 496, as amended,
otherwise known as the Land Registration Act,
or any other law, . . ."

ISSUES: It is the contention of petitioner that respondent Court


of Appeals committed serious errors in the assessment of the
evidence on record and acted with grave abuse of discretion in
concluding that the Republic failed to satisfy the requirements of
preponderant proof in support of its theory.

2. The defendants denied that Decreto No. 6145 and TCT No.
23377 were false and spurious. They consistently claimed (from
the trial court up to this Court) that the parcel of land covered by
the questioned document is a portion of the vast Hacienda de
Angono owned by their predecessor-in-interest, Don Buenaventura
Guido y Sta. Ana; that Don Buenaventura Guido left a portion of
the hacienda (porcion del plano 11-627) to his heirs, Francisco and
Hermogenes Guido; that the subject matter of the petition is only
a portion of plano 11-827, and covered by Decreto No. 6145,
issued on September 1, 1911 in the name of the heirs of
Buenaventura Guido y Sta. Ana (Francisco and Hermogenes
Guido); that on June 12, 1912, OCT No. 633 was issued on the
basis of Decreto No. 6145; that the original title was subsequently
cancelled and in lieu thereof, TCT No. 23377 was issued on May
12, 1933; that the heirs of Francisco and Hermogenes Guido
adjudicated among themselves the estate left by their
predecessors and transferred one-half portion thereof to Jose
Rojas sometime in 1942, as contained in an Extra-judicial
Settlement of Estate with Quitclaim dated December 17, 1973.
3. The parties, however, admit that on August 20, 1974, the heirs
of Buenaventura Guido, requested the then Land Registration
Commission (now Land Registration Authority) to issue the
corresponding original certificate of title based on Decreto 6145,
which was denied on January 8, 1976.
4. March 29, 1976 - Alfredo Guido, representing the other heirs,
filed a petition for reconstitution of TCT No. 23377 with the
Registry of Deeds of Morong. The petition alleged that the original
could not be located in the files of the Registry of Deeds of Rizal
after he and his co-heirs sought the registration of their Extrajudicial Settlement with Quitclaim dated December 17, 1973. The
petition was supported by the owner's duplicate copy of
the title.
5. The petition for administrative reconstitution of TCT No. 23377
was granted and a reconstituted certificate of title [TCT (23377)
RT-M-0002] was issued dated March 29, 1976.
6. After the reconstitution, the heirs presented before the Registry
of Deeds of Morong the Extra-judicial Settlement of Estate with
Quitclaim which they executed on December 17, 1973 in favor of
Jose Rojas and which they had earlier presented for registration.
7. Subsequently, the entire parcel of land covered by the decree
was subdivided into twenty-one (21) lots and twenty-one (21)
different certificates of titles were issued in lieu of the
reconstituted TCT No. 23377. On August 25, 1978, fourteen (14) of
these twenty-one (21) lots were exchanged with shares of stocks
of Interport Resources Corporation. On April 21, 1980, all the
named heirs renounced their rights over the property in favor of
their co-heir Alfredo Guido, Sr. in exchange for monetary
considerations.

9. The decision of the trial court was appealed by the Solicitor


General to the Court of Appeals which affirmed said decision on
July 12, 1988.

HELD:
1. In civil cases, the party having the burden of proof must
establish his case by a preponderance of evidence. The general
rule in civil cases is that a party having the burden of proof of an
essential fact must produce a preponderance of evidence thereon.
By preponderance of evidence is meant simply evidence which is
of greater weight, or more convincing than that which is offered in
opposition to it. The term 'preponderance of evidence' means the
weight, credit and value of the aggregate evidence on either side
and is usually considered to be synonymous with the terms
'greater weight of evidence' or 'greater weight of the credible
evidence.'
2. The matter of determining which party had the preponderant
evidence is within the province of the trial court before whom the
evidence of both parties are presented. The decision of who to
believe and who not to believe goes to the credibility of a witness
which, likewise, is within the province of the trial court.
3. We have carefully gone through the records of this case and
there is no reason for this Court to reverse the decisions of both
the court a quo and the appellate court. Both courts were one in
concluding that the preponderance of evidence is in favor of the
theory presented by the private respondents, i.e., the authenticity
of the questioned documents.
4. The fact alone that the petition for reconstitution was approved
on the same day that it was filed did not render the approval
suspect. In administrative reconstitution of a certificate of title
supported by the owner's duplicate copy of the title, no other
requisite was required under Section 6 of Republic Act 26
unlike in judicial reconstitution under Section 12 of the same law.
The Register of Deeds correctly granted the reconstitution on the
basis of private respondents owners' duplicate copy of TCT No.
23377.
5. We find no legal basis for the declaration of the questioned
documents as valid only with respect to such portions of the
property not possessed and owned by bonafide occupants with
indefeasible registered titles of ownership or with lengths of
possession which had ripened to ownership. Having been found
valid and genuine, Decreto No. 6145 therefore, possessed all the
attributes of a decree of registration. Section 31 of the Property
Registration Decree (P.D. 1529), second paragraph provides:.
The decree of registration shall bind the land
and quiet title thereto, subject only to such
exceptions or liens as may be provided by law.
It shall be conclusive upon and against all
persons, including the National Government
and all branches thereof, whether mentioned
by name in the application or notice, the same
being included in the general description "To all
whom it may concern."
6. Likewise, TCT No. 23377, having been found true and authentic
also possessed all the attributes of a torrens certificate of title. By
express provision of Section 47 of P.D. 1529, no title to registered
land in derogation to that of the registered owner shall be
acquired by prescription or adverse possession. To declare that
the decree and its derivative titles is valid but only with respect to
the extent of the area described in the decree not possessed by
occupants with indefeasible registered titles or to possessors with
such lengths of possession which had ripened to ownership is to
undermine the people's faith in the torrens title being conclusive

as to all matters contained therein. The certificate serves as


evidence of an indefeasible title to the property in favor of the
person whose names appear therein. After the expiration of the
one year period from the issuance of the decree of registration
upon which it is based, it becomes incontrovertible, unless
subsequent to the issuance of the decree a third party may be
able to show that he acquired title thereto by any of the means
recognized by law.
V.

SUBSEQUENT REGISTRATION

The act of registration is the operative act to convey or


affect the land insofar as third persons are concerned. Thus, the
mere execution of deeds of sale, mortgages, leases or other
voluntary documents serves only as (1) a contract between the
parties, and (2) as evidence of authority to the Register of Deeds
to register such documents. They do NOT, in themselves, effect a
conveyance or encumbrance on the land. The exception to this
rule is if the instrument is a will.
The act of registration creates a constructive notice to the
whole world of such voluntary or involuntary instrument or court
writ or process.

CAMPILLO VS CA
129 SCRA 513 (1984)
The De Vera spouses sold 2 parcels of land to Santos. Sale was not
registered. About a year later, Campillo obtained a judgment for a
sum of money against De Vera. The parcels, still in the De Veras
name, were levied upon on execution and Campillo was able to
purchase them at a public auction. TCT was issued to Campillo.
Santos sought to annul sale at public auction, claiming to be the
owner.
HELD: Registration of the sale shall be the operative act to convey
or affect the land insofar as third persons are concerned. The
properties were still in the name of the De Veras. Campillo was not
required to look behind the register to determine the condition of
the property. He is only charged with notice of the burdens on the
property which are noted on the face of the register or the
certificate of title. To require him to do more is to defeat one of the
primary objects of the Torrens system.
RATIO: A bona fide purchaser for value of such property at an
auction sale acquires good title as against a prior transferee of
same property if such prior transfer was unrecorded at the time of
the auction sale.

HEIRS OF MARASIGAN VS IAC


152 SCRA 253 (1987)
Who has a better right to the property in question, the party
(Marasigan) who bought it with a notice of lis pendens annotated
at the back of her title or the party (Marron) in whose favor the
notice of lis pendens was made? The appellate court answered
this question in favor of the party who had the notice annotated
and who won the litigation over the property.
Marrons cause of action had not prescribed. While Marasigan
acquired the property in 1974, it was only in 1977 that the sale
was registered. It is the act of registration which creates
constructive notice to the whole world. (Sec 52, PD 1529)
Also when Marasigan was issued her TCT the notice of lis pendens
in her predecessors title was carried over to her title. In case of
subsequent sales or transfers, the Registrar of Deeds is duty
bound to carry over the notice of lis pendens on all titles to be
issued. Otherwise, if he cancels any notice of lis pendens in
violation of his duty, he may be held civilly and even criminally
liable for any prejudice caused to innocent third persons.
A notice of lis pendens means that a certain property is involved
in a litigation and serves as notice to the whole world that one
who buys the same does it at his own risk. It was also a clear

notice to Marasigan that there was a court case affecting her


rights to the property she had purchased. Consequently,
Marasigan was bound by the outcome of the litigation against her
vendors or transferors.

GARCIA VS CA
95 SCRA 380 (1980)
In this case two sets of certificates of title were issued to different
people for the same lots. The 1 st set was issued sometime in 1920
to Lapus who had bought the parcels in 1918. However, despite
this registered sale, the OCT was not cancelled and the sale to
Lapus was not annotated thereon. The 2 nd set of titles was issued
in 1963 when heirs of the original owner, relying on the clean OCT,
were able to succeed in having TCTs issued to them. Eventually,
both sets of owners entered into transactions with other people
who in turn secured TCTs in their favor. Whose successors in
interest would have a better right?
HELD: Where two certificates (of title) purport to include the same
land, the earlier in date prevails. And the rule that in case of
double registration the owner of the earlier certificate is the owner
of the land applies to the successive vendees of the owners of
such certificates. The vendee of the earlier certificate would be
the owner as against the vendee of the owner of the later
certificate.
There can be no doubt that Lapus was an innocent purchaser for
value. He validly transmitted to his successors-in-interest his
indefeasible title or ownership over the disputed lots or parcels of
land. That title could not be nullified or defeated by the issuance
forty-three years later to other persons of another title over the
same lots due to the failure of the register of deeds to cancel the
title preceding the title issued to Lapus. This must be so
considering that Lapus and his successors-in-interest remained in
possession of the disputed lots and the rival claimants never
possessed the same.

MINGOA VS LAND REG COM


200 SCRA 782 (1991)
A deed of donation of several parcels of land was executed by
petitioner in favor of his children on July 15, 1987. The deed was
forwarded to the Register of Deeds for registration by registered
mail on September 9, 1988. It was entered in the primary entry
book of the Register of Deeds on September 20, 1988 under Entry
No. 181. Said Register of Deeds suspended registration of the
donation until the petitioner has secured the proper clearances
from the Department of Agrarian Reform on the ground that under
Section 6 of Republic Act 6657 any disposition of private
agricultural lands made prior to June 15, 1988, when the Act took
effect, must be registered within three (3) months from said date
or on before September 13, 1988 to be valid.
HELD: Sec. 56 of PD 1529 requires the Register of Deeds, upon
payment of the entry fees, to enter in the primary book of entry,
in the order of reception, all instruments including copies of writs
and processes filed with him relative to registered land the date,
hour and minute shall be noted in said book which shall be
regarded as the date of registration of the instrument and the
memorandum of each instrument on the certificate title shall bear
the same date. Sec. 34 of PD1529 makes the Rules of Court
suppletorily applicable to land registration and cadastral cases.
Pursuant to Sec 1, Rule 13 of the ROC, in case of filing by
registered mail, it is the post office stamp on the envelope or the
registry receipt w/c shall be considered as the date of their filing,
payment, or deposit in court. In the present case, September 9
should be considered the date of filing and thus the deed of
donation was filed within the three-month statutory period.
A.

Voluntary Registration

Conveyances and other Dealings by Registered Owner

Voluntary dealings with land refer to deeds, instruments or


documents which are the results of the free and voluntary acts of
the parties thereto. These include:

Sales, conveyances or transfers of ownership over the


titled property;
Mortgages and leases;
Powers of attorney;
Trusts

In voluntary registration, when does an innocent


purchaser for value become the holder of a certificate of
title?
He becomes the holder of a CT at the moment he presents and
files a duly notarized and valid deed of sale, and the same is
entered in the day book (primary entry book) AND at the same
time he surrenders or presents the owner's duplicate certificate of
title covering the land sold, and pays the registration fees.
(Garcia v. CA, 95 SCRA 380. Contrast this from involuntary
registration, which will be discussed in the following section.)
It must be noted that an executed document or transfer of
registered land placed by the registered owner thereof in the
hands of another operates as a representation to a third party that
the holder of the document of transfer is authorized to deal with
the land.
PD 1529, Sec. 51. Conveyances and other dealings by
registered owner- An owner of registered land may convey,
mortgage, transfer, lease, charge, or otherwise deal with the same
in accordance with existing laws. He may use such forms of
deeds, mortgages, leases or other voluntary instruments as are
sufficient in law.
But no deed, mortgage, lease, or other
voluntary instrument, except a will purporting to convey or affect
registered land; shall take effect as conveyance or bind the land,
but shall operate only as a contract between the parties and as
evidence of authority to the Register of Deeds to make
registration.
The act of registration shall be the operative act to convey or
affect the land insofar as third persons are concerned, and in all
cases under this Decree, the registration shall be made in the
Office of the Register of Deeds for the province or city where the
land lies.
Sec. 52.
Constructive notice upon registrationevery
conveyance, mortgage, lease, lien attachment, order, judgement,
instrument or entry affecting registered land shall, if registered,
filed or entered in the Office of the Register of Deeds for the
province or city where the land to which it relates lies be
constructive notice to all persons from the time of such
registering, filing, or entering.

VILLALUZ V. NEME
7 SCRA 27 (1963)
Facts:
Maria
Rocabo
died
intestate,
leaving
three
daughters( Maria, Patricia, and Sinforosa)and grandchildren (from
her other children who predeceased her), the plaintiffs in this
case. She left a parcel of land granted her under homestead
patent and with original certificate of title. After approval of her
application but before the granting of patent, Maria donated the
southern portion of the land to her daughter, also named Maria,
and donated the northern part to Patricia in two notarial deeds of
donation giving them the right to present the deeds of donation to
the Bureau of Lands. The daughters forgot to present the deeds
of donation and patent was granted in the name of their mother,
Maria Rocabo.
After their mothers death, the daughters,
Sinforosa included, executed a deed of extrajudicial partition
among themselves to the exclusion of plaintiffs. They later
declared the land for tax purposes and sold it to Pajarillo, who
thereafter sold it to Neme.
Plaintiffs came to know that the lands were in the
possession of Neme. They filed a complaint for partition of land

and recovery of their share. It also appeared that the deeds of


sale of the land were not registered in favor of defendant Neme
and not recorded in compliance with the Public Land Act and the
Land Registration Law; the vendees even failed to have their deed
of sale annotated on the said TCT or have the title transferred in
their names.
HELD:
A deed of extra-judicial partition executed without
including some of the heirs, who had no knowledge of and consent
to the same is fraudulent and vicious, and sale of the land subject
of the partition did not prejudice and affect the interest and
participation of the heirs excluded.
Moreover, the acquisition of the land in question is
governed by the Public Land Act and the Land Registration Law.
Considering that the deed of sale had not been registered in
accordance with the same laws, the same did not constitute a
conveyance which would bind or affect the land because the
registration of a voluntary sale of land is the operative act that
transmits or transfers title (Tuason vs. Raymundo, 28 Phil 635).

ALARCON V. BIDIN
120 SCRA 390 (1983)
FACTS:
Roberto Alarcon leased Sargas a parcel of land
he co-owned with a certain Trinidad. In 1926, Alarcon sold a
portion of his undivided share to Sergas.
The date of the
instrument of sale was entered on the title as January 5, 1926
and the date of inscription as May 3, 1963, with the name of the
vendor in the text of the Escritura de Venta as Roberto Alarcon
while the typewritten name at its bottom read Alberto Alarcon
with a thumbmark above it. Alarcon sold another portion of his
share to Alvarez in 1928. Alvarez sold it to Francisco, one of the
private respondents.
The heirs of Alarcon filed a suit for recovery and
questioned the genuineness if the Escrituras de Venta, that the
thumbmark is not Robertos, nor is he Alberto Alarcon,and that
the documents in favor if Alvarez was not signed by Roberto. The
lower court dismissed on the ground of laches.
HELD:
Decision sustained. The heirs allegation that
their father never sold the disputed land is belied by the Escrituras
de Venta he executed, one in favor of Sergas, another in favor of
Alvarez. Furthermore, Sergas and Alvarez had taken adverse
possession of the property under the claim of ownership from the
time the property was sold to them. More than 50 years had
elapsed since the execution of the deed of sale in 1926 and 1928
when the heirs instituted their cause of action in 1978.
Land registered under the Torrens system may not be
acquired by prescription or adverse possession. The presumption
given by law is in favor of registered owners. Although title to
property is still in the name of Roberto Alarcon, it has been
subjected to registration in 1963 if the sale made by him to
Sergas. Technically, Sergas became the owner in 1963 of the
portion sold to him.

PNB V. CA
98 SCRA 207 (1980)
FACTS:
Spouses Inigo Bitanga and Rosa Ver owned a parcel of
land. The husband died before the issuance of the Original
Certificate of Title. He was survived by his wife and children. The
wife mortgaged the entire property to PNB.
The mortgage
document was registered in the day book of the Register of Deeds
if Ilocos Norte but was not annotated in the Register of Deeds
when the OCT was issued.
The wife defaulted on her obligations to Manila Trading
Company. The company levied upon the property and was able to
buy the same in a public auction. It thereafter sold its rights over
the property to Sambrano who secured annotation of the said
sale.
She also failed to settle her obligation to PNB, who sold
the land at public auction with the PNB as the highest bidder. The
period for redemption expired and PNB consolidated title over it,
but the document of consolidation was not annotated in the
owners duplicate certificate of title since the wife failed to

surrender the same. Upon PNBs petition, a owners duplicate


certificate was issued in its favor. It later sold the land to Reyes.
The heirs of Bitanga filed a complaint against PNB for
reconveyance of real property and damages and sought to enjoin
PNB and Reyes from consummating the sale of the property in
question and prohibiting the Register of Deeds from registering
the sale.
HELD:
The land was conjugal property, hence, only belongs
to the wife and it was only this half which was acquired by PNB.
The conjugal character of the land was not changed
even if the tax declaration on the lot was in the name of the wife
only. Declaration of ownership for purpose of taxation is not
sufficient evidence of title.
The lien by reason or on account of the mortgage
executed by Rosa Ver over the entire parcel of land which was not
annotated on the original certificate of title could not have
attached to the land.
Otherwise stated, the failure of the
interested party to appear during the registration proceedings and
to claim such interest in the land barred him from having such
interest on the certificate of title.
Double Sale
In cases of double sale, the property belongs to the purchaser
who first registers the transaction in his name in the registry of
property.
Forged Documents
Although forged documents are generally null and void, they
can legally be the root of a valid title when an innocent purchaser
for value intervenes.
However, this does not apply where the
owner still holds a valid and existing CT covering the same
property.

CT may not be available because the owner did not freely enter
into the transaction involved.)
Adverse Claims

What is annotation? What is the purpose of annotating


adverse claims?
Annotation is a measure designed to protect the interest of a
person over a piece of real property where the registration of such
interest or right is not otherwise provided for by Act 496, now PD
1529. It serves as a warning to third parties dealing with the said
property that someone is claiming an interest on the same or a
better right than the registered owner, and that any transaction
regarding the disputed land is subject to the outcome of the
dispute.
Requisites for Valid Adverse Claim

Mortgages and Leases

(1) The claimant's right or interest in registered land must be


adverse to the registered owner;

Sec. 60, PD 1529 requires deeds of mortgage or lease and all


instruments which assign, extend, discharge or otherwise deal
with the mortgage or lease to be registered, and such deeds shall
take effect upon the title only upon registration. Unless recorded,
such deeds are not binding on third persons even though they are
binding between the parties.
Powers of Attorneys; Trusts
Sec. 64, PD 1529 provides that any person may convey or
otherwise deal with registered land through a power of attorney.
The instrument granting or revoking the power of attorney must
be registered with the Register of Deeds of the province or city
where the land lies.
Note the special provisions in the Civil Code dealing with the
requirements for powers of attorney in transactions involving land,
particularly Art. 1874, Art. 1879, and Art. 1878.
B.

Involuntary Dealings

Involuntary dealings refer to writs, orders or processes issued


by a court of record affecting registered land which by law should
be registered to be effective. They likewise refer to instruments
which are not the wilful acts of the registered owner and which
may have been executed even without his knowledge or against
his consent. These dealings include:

Writs of attachment, injunction or mandamus;

Sales on Execution of judgment;

Sales for taxes;

Adverse claims;

Notices of lis pendens


In contrast to voluntary registration, a mere entry in the day
book (primary entry book) of the Registry of Deeds in cases of
involuntary registration is a sufficient notice to all persons even
if the owner's duplicate CT is not presented to the Register of
Deeds. (Because the proceedings were involuntary, the owner's

Period of effectivity: 30 days from the date of registration

lapse of the 30-day period does not result in the


automatic cancellation of the adverse claim (a petition
for cancellation must first be filed)
How cancelled:

Before lapse of 30 days


by party in interest: by filing a petition in the proper
RTC for cancellation
by claimant: by filing a sworn petition withdrawing
his adverse claim

After lapse of 30 days


by party in interest: by filing a verified petition for
cancellation
No 2nd adverse claim based on the same ground may
thereafter be registered by the same claimant.

(2) Such right or interest must have arisen subsequent to


the date of original registration; and
(3) No other provision is made in the Decree for the
registration of such right or claim. (Sec. 70, PD 1529;
Arrazola v. Bernas, 86 SCRA 279)
Note that a mere money claim CANNOT be registered as an
adverse claim.

Formal requisites must be complied with. Failure to do so


renders such adverse claim non-registrable and ineffective.

When is notice of lis pendens proper?


A notice of lis pendens is proper in actions:
(1)

to recover possession of real estate;

(2)

to quiet title thereto;

(3)

to remove clouds upon the title thereof;

(4)

for partition; and

(5)

any other proceeding of any kind in court directly


affecting the title to the land or the use or
occupation thereof or the building thereon. (Sec.
76, PD 1529, Sec. 14, Rule 13, Rules of Court)

What is the nature and purpose of a notice of lis pendens?


The notice of lis pendens, i.e. that real property is involved in
an action, is intended to constructively advise or warn all people
who deal with the property that they so deal with it at their own
risk, and whatever rights they may acquire in the property in any
voluntary transaction are subject to the results of the action, and
may well be inferior and subordinate to those which may be finally
determined and laid down therein.

Such notice is ordinarily recorded without the intervention of


the court where the action is pending, as it is but an extrajudicial
incident of the pending action which does not affect the merits
thereof.
It must be noted that a notice of lis pendens can subsist
concurrently with an adverse claim.
Cancellation of Lis Pendens
a.

before final judgment

may be done upon proper showing that the notice is for


the purpose of molesting the adverse party, or that it is
not necessary to protect the rights of the party who
caused it to be recorded

a mere incident to a court action, and may therefore be


ordered by the court having jurisdiction of it at any given
time (certificate of finality issued by the court will not
suffice; should be done with judicial authority)

not contingent on the existence of a final judgment in


the action, and ordinarily has no effect on the merits
thereof

b.

after final judgment

deemed cancelled upon the registration of a certificate


of the Clerk of Court in which the action or proceeding
was pending stating the manner of disposal thereof

MAGDALENA HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION VS CA,


184 SCRA 3 (1990)
Facts: A part of Lot 15 of Magdalena Rolling Hills Subdivision, had
initially been set aside as the subdivision's "open space," i.e.,
reserved for use as a park, playground or recreational
zone.However, an amendment of the plan of the subdivision
substituting the area earlier designated as open space, was
approved by the City Council of Quezon City. The Council also
authorized the subdivision for disposition to the public of the
former open space. Subsequently, the CFI of Quezon City also
approved the same amended subdivision plan.
The entire Lot 15, including that part thereof originally
designated as open space was subsequently conveyed to the
Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) by way of dacion en
pago and to third parties who thereafter constructed houses
thereon.
The purchasers of the other subdivision lots, who had
organized themselves into a non-stock corporation known as the
Magdalena Homeowners Association, Inc., believed that the act of
the Quezon City Government of authorizing the release of said Lot
15 as open space, after it had been so declared and earlier
dedicated as such and its substitution by another portion of the
subdivision was beyond the City Government's authority. They
therefore brought suit against the Magdalena Estate, Inc. (MEI) in
the court of First Instance at Quezon city for the recovery of said
Lot 15 as "open space" for public use of the residents of the
subdivision.
While the case was pending, notices of lis pendens were,
at the plaintiffs' instance, inscribed by the Register of Deeds of
Quezon City on the Torrens titles of all the lots. The Trial Court
then dismissed the case. The petitioners went up to the Court of
Appeals. While the case was pending adjudgment, the subdivision
owner and DBP filed separate motions with the Court of Appeals
praying for cancellation of the notice of lis pendens. These
motions were granted by resolution. Reconsideration was sought
and denied by the trial court. Hence, the petition at bar.
Issue: WON the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction to take
cognizance of and grant the motion to cancel notice of lis pendens
although no such motion had ever been filed in the lower court.
Held: YES. The notice of lis pendens i.e., that real property is
involved in an action is ordinarily recorded without the
intervention of the court where the action is pending. The notice is
but an incident in an action, an extrajudicial one, to be sure. It
does not affect the merits thereof. It is intended merely to
constructively advise, or warn, all people who deal with the
property that they so deal with it at their own risk, and whatever

rights they may acquire in the property in any voluntary


transaction are subject to the results of the action, and may well
be inferior and subordinate to those which may be finally
determined and laid down therein. The cancellation of such a
precautionary notice is therefore also a mere incident in the
action, and may be ordered by the Court having jurisdiction of it at
any given time. And its continuance or removal like the
continuance or removal of a preliminary attachment or injunction
is not contingent on the existence of a final judgment in the
action, and ordinarily has no effect on the merits thereof.
In the CAB, the case had properly come within the
appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals in virtue of the
perfection of the plaintiffs' appeal. It therefore had power to deal
with and resolve any incident in connection with the action subject
of the appeal, even before final judgment. The rule that no
questions may be raised for the first time on appeal have
reference only to those affecting the merits of the action, and not
to mere incidents thereof, e.g., cancellation of notices of lis
pendens, or, to repeat, the grant or dissolution of provisional
remedies.
Now, a notice of lis pendens may be cancelled upon
order of the court, "after proper showing that the notice is for the
purpose of molesting the adverse party, or that it is not necessary
to protect the rights of the party who caused it to be recorded."
The Court of Appeals found as a fact that the case had
dragged on and had been unnecessarily prolonged by repeated
amendments of the complaints by the plaintiffs, and that the
circumstances on record justified the conclusion that the
annotation of the notice of lis pendens was intended to molest and
harass the defendants.

SEVESES VS CA,
OCTOBER 13, 1999
Facts: Rexcon Philippines, through its president, Reynaldo Reyes
entered into a contract of sale on installments of a parcel of land,
with private respondent Carreon. He then learned that 3 days
later, a mortgage in favor of Makati Leasing and Finance
Corporation was annotated on the title. This was later cancelled.
But a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of Reyes and another
mortgage in favor of Ayala Investment and Dev't Corp. were
subsequently annotated. Carreon then demanded that title to the
land be restored in the name of Rexcon.
Due to Carreon's failure to pay the other installments,
Reyes considered the sale rescinded and instituted an action for
rescission before the RTC. Meanwhile, Carreon caused a notice of
lis pendens to be annotated on Reyes' title. The RTC affirmed
Reyes' extra-judicial foreclosure.
Seveses then acquired the land from Reyes. Although
the notice of lis pendens was carried over to Seveses' title, Reyes
informed him that the pending case had been terminated
inasmuch as no appeal was filed by Carreon. He then obtained a
Certificate of Finality from the court. Thus the notice of lis
pendens was cancelled.
However, because he was served a notice of eviction,
Seveses learned that Carreon indeed appealed the decision of the
RTC to the CA, wherein he obtained a favorable judgment. This CA
decision became final.
Issue: WON a Certification of Finality will suffice to have a notice of
lis pendens cancelled (and save the day for Seveses).
Held: NO. The rules dictate that cancellation of the notice of lis
pendens should be done with judicial authority. Thus, by virtue of
the notice of lis pendens, Seveses is bound by the outcome of the
litigation subject of the lis pendens. As a transferee pendente lite,
he stands exactly in the shoes of the transferor and must respect
any judgment or decree which may be rendered for or against the
transferor. His interest is subject to the incidents or results of the
pending suit, and his Certificate of Title will, in that respect, afford
him no special protection.

YARED VS TONGCO,
AUGUST 1, 2000

Facts: Petitioner filed a complaint alleging that private respondent


succeeded in having the subject properties registered in his name,
to the prejudice of the other surviving heirs of the previous
owners, petitioner among them. Petitioner caused the annotation
of notices of lis pendens on the titles of respondent. The trial court
dismissed the case on the ground of prescription. Petitioner filed a
notice of appeal while Tongco then sought to cancel the notices of
lis pendens which was denied. After 3 Motions for Recon, Tongco
succeeded. When petitioner then sought to reconsider the
cancellation, the judge reversed himself. But when Tonco filed
another MR, he was sustained (Leche! Make up your mind,
judge!). Hence, this certiorari to the SC.
Held: Eto raw ang importante sa case nito as per Dan Gat: All
petitioner has to do is to assert a claim of possession or title over
the subject property to put it under the coverage of the rule on lis
pendens. It is not necessary for her to prove ownership or interest
over the property sought to be affected by lis pendens. (But the
petition was dismissed by the SC for violating the doctrine of
judicial heirarchy.)
VI.

REGISTRATION OF PATENTS

Issuance and Registration of Patents


Once a patent is registered and the corresponding
certificate of title is issued, the land covered by them ceases to be
part of the public domain and becomes private property, and the
Torrens title issued pursuant to the patent becomes indefeasible
upon the expiration of 1 year from the date of issuance of such
patent.
However, even after the lapse of 1 year, the State may
still bring an action under Sec. 101 of CA 141 for the reversion to
the public domain of land which has been fraudulently granted to
private individuals. Such is not barred by prescription. The
indefeasibility cannot be invoked by one who procured the title by
means of fraud. (Baguio v. Republic, Jan. 21, 1999)
Sec. 103.
Certificates of title pursuant to patents. Whenever public land is by the Government alienated, granted or
conveyed to any person, the same shall be brought forthwith
under the operation of this Decree.
It shall be the duty of the official issuing the instrument of
alienation, grant, patent or conveyance in behalf of the
Government to cause such instrument to be filed with the Register
of Deeds of the province or city where the land lies, and to be
there registered like other deeds and conveyance, whereupon a
certificate of title shall be entered as in other cases of registered
land, and an owner's duplicate issued to the grantee.
The deed, grant, patent or instrument of conveyance from the
Government to the grantee shall not take effect as a conveyance
or bind the land but shall operate only as a contract between the
Government and the grantee and as evidence of authority to the
Register of Deeds to make registration.
It is the act of registration that shall be the operative act to affect
and convey the land, and in all cases under this Decree,
registration shall be made in the office of the Register of Deeds of
the province or city where the land lies.
The fees for registration shall be paid by the grantee. After due
registration and issuance of the certificate of title, such land shall
be deemed to be registered land to all intents and purposes under
this Decree.
Prohibitions (Secs. 118 123, CA 141)
a. Encumbrance or alienation of such lands acquired under free
patent or homestead within 5 years from date of issuance of
patent;

exceptions: in favor of

government

banks
b. Using such lands to satisfy a debt contracted prior to the
expiration of the 5-year period

exceptions: in favor of

government

c.
d.
e.

banks
Alienation, transfer or conveyance of any homestead after 5
years and before 25 years after issuance of the title without
approval of the DENR
Transfer to persons or entities not qualified to acquire lands
of the public domain
Transfer or lease to an individual where the result would be
holdings in excess of the maximum limit allowed by law (12
hectares)

exception: in cases of hereditary succession


Effects of violation:
1) annulment/cancellation of the grant
2) reversion of the property to the State

Right of Repurchase (Sec. 119, CA 141)


Every conveyance of land acquired under the free patent
or homestead provisions, when proper, shall be subject to
repurchase by the applicant, his widow, or legal heirs, within a
period of 5 years from the date of the conveyance.

ORTIGAS V. HIDALGO,
198 SCRA 635 (1991)
FACTS: Estate of Villa claims ownership of subject land. It appears
that a certain Teresio Villa applied for the land. However, land was
not registered nor decreed to anybody. No attempt was made to
have judicial or administrative confirmation of title over the land.
Estate of Villa filed criminal charges against settlers in
the land, petitioners herein. Petitioners were convicted of
squatting. Order of demolition was issued.
Petitioners, meanwhile asked OP to give the land to
them. OP ordered Director of Lands to look into the issue. Director
of Lands dismissed claim of Estate of Villa and gave due course to
application of petitioners.
Petitioners went to SC on certiorari with prayer for TRO.
HELD: It is clear, therefore, that private respondent (estate of
Villa) is not the registered owner of the disputed parcel of land.
Assuming arguendo that respondent had been granted a patent to
the land in question, the same has never been registered with the
Registry of Deeds of the province where the property is located.
Indeed, respondent could offer no proof to show that the same
was registered. All patents that may be granted must be
registered since the conveyance of the land covered thereby is
effective only upon such registration which shall be the operative
act to convey and affect the land (CA 141, Sec. 107). Registration
is mandatory under the law to affect third parties.
Absent the fact of registration of a patent, title to the
land covered thereby, whether it be by sales or homestead, may
not be said to have been perfected and, therefore, not
indefeasible. A patent becomes indefeasible as a Torrens Title only
when said patent is registered with the Register of Deeds pursuant
to the provisions of the Land Registration Act.

DIRECTOR OF LANDS V. CA,


17 SCRA 71
Sales application was filed. The land was advertised to
highest bidder and was awarded to applicant (1928). Having
complied with the requirements, Director of Lands signed sales
patent in favor of applicant Tolentino (1950). Later, Tolentino
learned that portion of land awarded to him was covered by
homestead application of Braulio Cosme and that homestead
patent and OCT was issued to him (1949).
Director of Lands verified that homestead patent
embraced land covered by sales patent to Tolentino. Director filed
action for cancellation of homestead patent and OCT. An
intervenor came out and asked that he be declared a buyer in
good faith and be recognized owner of the property. RTC cancelled
homestead patent and OCT and ordered reversion of land.
CA upheld RTC but upon MR reconsidered its decision and
reversed RTC.

HELD: The present action is for the cancellation of the patent and
certificate of title of the defendant on the ground that they are an
absolute nullity, because the Bureau of Lands had no jurisdiction
to issue them at all.
The Government is the proper party to bring an action to cancel a
patent and a certificate of title issued in accordance therewith.
A certificate of title issued pursuant to a homestead patent
partakes of the nature of a certificate issued in a judicial
proceeding as long as the land of the domain (Lucas vs. Durian,
supra).
A certificate of title issued pursuant to a decree of registration and
a certificate of title issued in conformity therewith are on a higher
level than a certificate of title based upon a patent issued by the
Director of Lands.
Prior to the issuance of a patent and its registration, the
Government retains the title to the land. The award thereof,
however, confers on the awardee the right to take possession of
the land so that he can comply with the requirements prescribed
by the law before said patent can be issued in his favor. Being
protected by law, under which it cannot be taken away without
due process said right has the effect of withdrawing the land of
the public domain that is "disposable" by the Director of Lands
under the provisions of the Public Land Act.

DAVID V. MALAY,
NOVEMBER 19, 1999
FACTS: Andres Adona applied for homestead patent over parcel of
land. Application was perfected before he died. However, OCT was
issued in the name of his mistress after his death. His children by
his mistress partitioned the land among themselves. One of them
bought the interests of the others.
Andres Adonas children, private respondents herein, by
his legal wife sought to annul this sale. The action was treated as
action for reconveyance. RTC dismissed case on the ground of lack
of cause of action and prescription. CA reversed RTC. CA said
property belongs to estate of Andres Adona, whose incontestable
right is derived from perfected homestead application before his
death.
HELD: Estate of Andres Adona is entitled to the property. OCT in
the name of the mistress to be cancelled, property to be
reconveyed to the private respondents.
Section 32 of PD 1529 is also applicable to patents. The
date of issuance of the patent corresponds to the issuance of
decree in regular cases.
OCT would have become indefeasible a year after it was
issued had not its issuance been attended by fraud. Fraud created
implied trust. Fraud gave private respondents right of action.
Prescription of this right of action reckoned from the time right is
disturbed.
FONTANILLA V. CA,
NOVEMBER 29, 1999
FACTS: Crisanto and Felician Duanan are homestead grantees.
Their son Luis Duanan inherited 4 has of the land. Luis Duanan
gave two of his children 2 has of his inheritance. Luis children
mortgaged the land. Later, Luis children sold the land to Eduardo
Fontanilla and Ellen Fontanilla.
Luis wanted to repurchase the land from the Fontanillas.
The latter refused on the ground that Luis, not being the vendor,
cannot exercise the right of redemption. Also, the right to redeem
has prescribed since over 5 years has lapsed from the time Luis
conveyed the property to his two children.
HELD: Section 119 of the PD 1529 does not say that the
applicant/legal heir must be the vendor before he can exercise the
right of redemption. It only says that the applicant/legal heir may
repurchase the land.
The prescriptive period is reckoned from the time the
homestead was conveyed to someone outside the family of the

grantee. Thus, the reckoning period is from the time land was sold
to the Fontanillas. The conveyance to Luis son is not the
conveyance contemplated in Section 119 of the Public Land Act.
Luis conveyance to his son did not violate the policy that the
homestead be kept within the family.