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Digest : REPUBLIC VS CA GR No.

113549

Petitioner: Republic of the Philippines

Respondent: court of Appeals and Heir so Luis Ribaya

Short background:

Petitioner seeks the reversal of the Court of Appeals Resolution which declared null and void
the OCT issued pursuant to a decree and decision in a land registration case decided on
September 18, 1925.

Contention of the petitioner:

(1) the indefeasibility of title does not lie against the State in an action for reversion of land;

(2) the spouses-applicants failed to prove possession of the land for the period required by
law, and the evidence shows that their possession was not open, continuous, exclusive,
and notorious under a bona fide claim of ownership;

(3) the amended survey plan was not published,

(4) the land covered by OCT No. 3947 was then part of the forest land, hence, inalienable; and

(5) the accuracy of the land survey was doubtful.

Private Respondents:

(1) allege that the petition merely raises factual matters and argue that OCT No. 3947 is
absolutely incontestable, considering that the land was no longer part of the public forest
when it was decreed in favor of their parents.

(2) They further contend, invoking Benin, that the issue of republication is inapplicable since
the publication of the original survey plan was already had in compliance with law.

(3) Moreover, possession of the land by their parents, the spouses-applicants, was duly
proven, i.e., donations of portions thereof in favor of the government and the compensation
they received from the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States for
damages sustained by the land during the war suciently proved that they were the
legitimate owners of the land.

(4) Finally, the original survey plan could no longer be questioned by the petitioner.

Issues and Ruling:

As the Court sees it, only two relevant issues need be resolved, to wit:

(1) Whether the Republic of the Philippines is barred by prescription to bring the action
for annulment of OCT No. 3947 and all its derivative certificates of title

- We therefore hold that since the land applied for by the spouses Ribaya was part of the
public forest and released only on 31 December 1930, the land registration court acquired no
jurisdiction over the land, which was not yet alienable and disposable. Hence, the State's
action to annul the certificates of title issued thereunder and for the reversion of the land is
not barred by prescription.

- In Republic vs. Animas, we ruled:Public land fraudulently included in patents or certificates of


title may be recovered or reverted to the state in accordance with Section 101 of the Public
Land Act. Prescription does not lie against the state in such cases for the Statute of
Limitation does not run against the state. The right of reversion or reconveyance to the state
is not barred by prescription.

2. Whether the land registration court acquired jurisdiction over the four parcels of land
subject of the amended survey plan (Plan II-13961-Amd.) and covered by the decree
issued on 31 July 1926 by the General Land Registration Oce pursuant to the decision
of the said court of 18 September 1925.

- The land registration court in LRC Case No. 52 never acquired jurisdiction over the land
covered by either the original plan or the amended plan for lack of sucient publication of
the first and total want of publication of the second

- As found by both the trial court in Civil Case No. 6198 and the Court of Appeals, the notice
of the hearing of application of the spouses Ribaya for the registration of the land covered by
the original plan was published in the 17 March 1925 issue of the Ocial Gazette. In short,
there was only one publication thereof. Section 31 of Act No. 496, the governing law then,
required two publications. Hence, the decision of 18 September 1925 of the land registration
court was void for want of the required publications. The requirement of dual publication is
one of the essential bases of the jurisdiction of the registration court; it is a jurisdictional
requisite. Land registration is a proceeding in rem and jurisdiction in rem cannot be acquired
unless there be constructive seizure of the Land through publication and service of notice.

- Worse, the decision of 18 September 1925 was entirely based on an alleged original survey
plan. The fact remains, however, that in November of that year that original plan was
amended (Plan II-13961-Amd.) and the amended plan was not published at all. There is no
evidence that the court amended its decision to conform to the amended plan, neither is
there a showing that the parties even attempted publication thereof. However, the decree
that was subsequently issued was based on the amended plan insofar as the four lots were
concerned.

- A decree of registration is required to recite the description of the land.On the basis of the
decree, OCT No. 3947 was issued. It follows then that the land registration court may have
amended its decision to conform to the amended plan for the four lots which ultimately
found their way into the decree issued by the General Land Registration Oce, and finally,
into OCT No. 3947. Whether it did so or not and the General Land Registration Oce merely
adjusted the decree to conform to the amended plan, such aims were fatally flawed due to
the absence of publication of the amended plan. As such, the land registration court
acquired no jurisdiction over the land embraced by the amended plan.

Digest :Eland Philippines Inc. vs. Garcia

Petitioner: Eland Philippines, Inc.

Respondent: Garcia

Short background:

Respondents Azucena Garcia, Elino Fajardo, and Teresa Malabanan, the heir of Tiburcio
Malabanan, filed a Complaint2 dated March 2, 1998 for Quieting of Title with Writ of Preliminary
Injunction with the RTC, Branch XVIII, Tagaytay City against petitioner Eland Philippines, Inc.
Respondents claimed that they are the owners, in fee simple title, of a parcel of land identified
as Lot 9250 Cad-355, Tagaytay Cadastre, Plan Ap-04-008367, situated in Barangay Iruhin,
Tagaytay City, containing an area of Two Hundred Forty-Four Thousand One Hundred Twelve
(244,112) square meters, by occupation and possession under the provisions of Sec. 48 (b)3 of
the Public Land Law or Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended.

For having been in continuous, public, and adverse possession as owners of the said lot for at
least thirty years, respondents stated that they were not aware of any person or entity who had
a legal or equitable interest or claim on the same lot until the time they were requesting that the
lot be declared for tax purposes. They found out that the lot was the subject of a land
registration proceeding that had already been decided by the same court4 where their
complaint was filed. They also found out that Decree No. N-217313, LRC Record No. N-62686,
was already issued on August 20, 1997 to the petitioner pursuant to the Decision dated June 7,
1994 of the same court. They averred that they were not notified of the said land registration
case; thus, they claimed the presence of misrepresentation amounting to actual or extrinsic
fraud. Thus, they argued that they were also entitled to a writ of preliminary injunction in order
to restrain or enjoin petitioner, its privies, agents, representatives, and all other persons acting
on its behalf, to refrain from committing acts of dispossession on the subject lot.

Contention of the petitioner:

(1) According to the petitioner, a motion for summary judgment must be served at least ten
(10) days before the date set for hearing thereof, and that a hearing must be held to hear
the parties on the propriety of a summary judgment, per Sec. 3 of Rule 35 of the Revised
Rules of Court, which was not observed because the petitioner received a copy of the
respondents' motion for summary judgment only on August 20, 1999, or the very same day
that the motion was set for hearing.

(2) Petitioner further claims that the trial court never conducted any hearing on the motion for
summary judgment.

(3) Petitioner also argued that a summary judgment is only available to a claimant seeking to
recover upon a claim, counterclaim or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief, and
does not include cases for quieting of title.

(4) petitioner also averred that a summary judgment has no place in a case where genuine
factual and triable issues exist, like in the present case. It added that the genuine and
triable issues were all raised in its Answer Ad Cautelam.

(5) Another ground relied upon by petitioner is its failure to cross-examine the witnesses for
the respondents without fault on its part. It also stated that the trial court did not issue any
order admitting in evidence the documentary exhibits presented by the respondents.
Hence, according to the petitioner, the trial court gravely erred in relying upon the
testimonies of the witnesses for the respondents, without having the latter cross-examined;
and upon the documentary exhibits presented but not admitted as evidence.

(6) Petitioner further claimed that the trial court based its Resolution dated November 3, 1999
on falsified evidence.

(7) Lastly, petitioner raised the issue that by rendering summary judgment, the trial court
deprived the former of its right to due process.

Contention of the respondent:

(1) Respondents, in their Comment45 dated October 16, 2006, countered the first issue raised
by the petitioner, stating that their filing of the motion for summary judgment fourteen (14)
days before the requested hearing of the same motion was in compliance with Sec. 3, Rule
35 of the Rules of Court.

(2) As to the second and third issues, respondents argued that petitioner had a constricted
perception of the coverage of the Rules of Summary Judgment, and that the latter's
citation of cases decided by this Court showed the diverse causes of action that could be
the subject matters of summary judgment.

(3) Respondents also posited that petitioner's statements in its Answer Ad Cautelam, although
denominated as Specific Denial, were really general denials that did not comply with the
provisions of Section 10, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court.

(4) Anent the fourth and fifth issues, respondents claimed that despite the opportunity, or the
right allowed in the Order dated July 17, 1999 of the trial court, for the petitioner to cross-
examine respondents' witnesses and to comment on the documentary evidence presented
ex parte after the default order against the same petitioner, the latter evasively moved to set
aside respondents' evidence in order to suspend further proceedings that were intended to
abort the pre-trial conference.

(5) They added that petitioner neglected to avail itself of, or to comply with, the prescription of
the rules found in Rule 35 of the Rules of Court by opting not to avail itself of the hearing of
its opposition to the summary judgment after receiving the Order dated August 20, 1999;
by failing to serve opposing adavit, deposition or admission in the records; and by not
objecting to the decretal portion of the said Order dated August 20, 1999, which stated that
the motion for summary judgment has been submitted for resolution without further
argument.

(6) Finally, as to the sixth and seventh issues, respondents asseverated that their complaint
alleged joint causes of action for quieting of title under Art. 476 of the New Civil Code and
for the review of the decree of registration pursuant to Sec. 32 of the Property Registration
Decree or P.D. No. 1529, because they are complimentary with each other.

Issues with Ruling: (Petition impressed with merit)

(1) WON the 10-day notice rule provided for in the Rules of Court was Violated.

- NO, CA correctly ruled, that the ten0day notice rule was substantially complied with because
when respondent filed the motion for summary judgement on Aug 9, 1999, they furnished
petitioner with a copy thereof on the same day as shown in the registry receipt and that the
motion was set for hearing on Aug 20, 1999, or 10 days from the date of filing thereof.

(2) WON the grant of Summary judgement was proper.

- NO, Summary judgment is permitted only if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and a moving party is entitled to a judgement as a matter of law.

- Proper if, while the pleadings on their face appear to raise issues, the adavits, deposition,
and admissions presented by the moving party show that such issues are not genuine.

- The non-existence of a genuine issue is the determining factor in granting a motion for
summary judgement, and the movant has the burden of proving such nonexistence.

- THE FACTS pleaded by the respondents in their motion for summary judgment have been
duly disputed and contested by petitioner, raising genuine issues that must be resolved on
after a full-blown trial.

- A genuine issue is an issue of facts that requires the presentation of evidence as


distinguished from a sham, fictitious, contrived of false claim.

(3) WON the action for an action to quiet title will prosper. (YES; requisites were satisfied)

- Requisites:

- the plainti or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real
property subject of the action;

- the deed, claim, encumberance, or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title
must be shown to be in fact valid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of
validity or legal ecacy.