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NICOMEDES LOZADA v EULALIA BRACEWELL et al.

registration proceedings by listing Bracewells grandmother as the adjoining


April 2, 2014 | Perlas-Bernabe, J. | Topic owner when in fact, she is already dead
Digester: Angat, Christine Joy F. In his defense, Lozada claims that Bracewell is a mere interloper with respect to the
subject lot, which the Bureau of Lands has long declared to be part and parcel of
SUMMARY: In 1976, Lozada applied with the Makati RTC for a registration and Plan-129514.
confirmation of title covering a parcel of land located in Las Pinas. During that time, o Lozadas plan was approved in 1951 while Bracewells plan was surveyed on
there was no RTC branch yet in Las Pinas. Makati RTC granted the application and in 1960 and in fact contains a footnote that Lot 5 (the lot being claimed by
1998, the Land Registration Authority (LRA) issued a registration decree. Within one Bracewell) is part of Lozadas plan.
year from the issuance of the decree, Bracewell filed with Las Pinas RTC a petition for HOWEVER, it should be noted that the LRA, in recognition of the
review of the registration decree, arguing that Lozada included in his application for overlap, issued a Supplementary Report in 1996 recommending that
registration a particular lot that belonged to Bracewell. Lozada argued, among others, Lozada amend his Plan and segregate therefrom Lot 5.
that Las Pinas RTC has no jurisdiction over the petition because under Sec. 32 of PD Las Pinas RTC, disposing of Bracewells petition, found that Lozada was guilty of
1529, the review of the registration decree should be made by the proper court, i.e. the bad faith in obtaining the decree and certificate of title. It then set aside the LRAs
RTC which issued the registration decree which is the Makati RTC. The Court held that decree and ordered Lozada to cause the amendment of the Plan to segregate Lot 5
it is the Las Pinas RTC who has the authority to take cognizance of the petition for in favor of Bracewell and to pay the latter attorneys fees and costs of suit.
review. The Court stated under our rules of procedure, actions involving real property o By this time, Bracewell had died and was substituted by his heirs.
should be filed in the place where the said property is situated. Makati RTC took Lozada appealed before the CA, arguing that:
cognizance of the application because during that time, there was no RTC yet in Las o Las Pinas RTC had no jurisdiction over the petition for review of a decree
Pinas. The filing of the petition with Las Pinas RTC, even if it was not the court which under Sec. 32 of PD 1529, which should be filed in the same branch of the
originally took cognizance of the case, is proper to fully implement the rules of court that rendered the decision and ordered the issuance of the decree.
procedure which was not fully implemented because of unforeseen circumstances. Lozada points out that at the time they commenced the registration
DOCTRINE: Under Sec. 32 of PD 1529, a decree of registration may be reviewed by proceedings, there were no RTC branches yet in Las Pinas, which is wy
filing a petition for review within one year from and after the date of entry of such they filed the case in Makati. Makati RTC issued the assailed registration
decree of registration with the proper Regional Trial Court. decree, which is why jurisdiction stays with Makati RTC
o There was failure to submit to conciliation proceedings
Generally, the proper Regional Trial Court is the court which acted as the land o There was forum shopping since Bracewells application for registration over
registration court and directed the issuance of the decree of registration. The exception certain lots, including Lot 5, is still pending resolution
is when based on the circumstances of the case, the venue of the land registration court CA affirmed the RTC, finding that:
and the place where the property is situated is different, in which case, the petition o Las Pinas RTC had jurisdiction over the petition since it was filed within one
should in the court where the place is situated. year from the issuance of the questioned decree and the subject lot was located
in Las Pinas City
FACTS: o There was no need to submit the case for conciliation proceedings because
December 10, 1976: Nicomedes Lozada filed an application for registration and LRA, which is a government instrumentality, has been impleaded
confirmation of title over a parcel of land covered by Plan PSU-129514. o There is no forum shopping because the review of the registration decree and
February 23, 1989: Makati City RTC, acting as a land registration court, granted the application for land registration involved different parties and issues
application. On July 10, 1997, Land Registration Authority (LRA) issued a decree in o Bracewell was able to substantiate the claim of actual fraud in the decree.
favor of Lozada. Hence, the instant petition.
o By virtue of the decree, he was able to obtain OCT No. 0-78 covering the said
parcel of land. RULING: Petition denied.
February 6, 1998, a year after a decree was issued in favor of Lozada, James
Bracewell, Jr. filed a petition for review of a decree of registration under Sec. 32 of Whether Las Pinas RTC has jurisdiction over the petition for review filed by
PD 1529 or the Property Registration Decree. Bracewell - YES
o Bracewell claims that he is the absolute owner of a portion of the lot (Lot 5) Under Act No. 496, or the Land Registration Act, the law in force at the time of
which is covered by Lozadas approved plan. the commencement of the registration proceedings by Lozada and Bracewell,
o Moreover, Bracewell alleges that Lozada deliberately concealed the fact that jurisdiction over all applications for registration of title was conferred upon the
Bracewell is one of adjoining owners and left him totally ignorant of the
Court of First Instances (now RTCs) of the respective provinces in which the land the final decree has not been issued and the one-year period for review has not yet
sought to be registered is situated. elapsed, the decision remains under the control and sound discretion of the court
o This was adopted in Sec. 17 of PD 1529, which stated that jurisdiction over an rendering the decree.
application for land registration is still vested on the CFI of the province or o In that case, the issue was the trial courts jurisdiction, while the issue in the
city where the land is situated instant case is venue.
As to the review of a decree registration, Sec. 32 of PD 1529 provides that it is o Moreover, with the passage of PD 1529, the distinction between the general
within the jurisdiction of the proper Court of First Instance. jurisdiction vested in the RTC and the limited jurisdiction conferred upon it as
Section 32. Review of decree of registration; Innocent purchaser for value.1wphi1 The decree a cadastral court was eliminated. RTCs now have the power to hear and
of registration shall not be reopened or revised by reason of absence, minority, or other determine all questions, even contentious and substantial ones, arising from
disability of any person adversely affected thereby, nor by any proceeding in any court for applications for original registration of titles to lands and petitions filed after
reversing judgments, subject, however, to the right of any person, including the government and such registration.47 Accordingly, and considering further that the matter of
the branches thereof, deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by such adjudication whether the RTC resolves an issue in the exercise of its general jurisdiction or
or confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud, to file in the proper Court of First of its limited jurisdiction as a special court is only a matter of procedure and
Instance a petition for reopening and review of the decree of registration has nothing to do with the question of jurisdiction,48 petitioner cannot now
not later than one year from and after the date of the entry of such rely on the Joson pronouncement to advance its theory.
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 NOTES:
equivalent phrase occurs in this Decree, it shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee, For those details which are not important but seems important.
mortgagee, or other encumbrancer for value.
Since the LRAs issuance of a decree of registration only proceeds from the land
registration courts directive, the petition to review the decree of registration is in
effect a review of the land registration courts ruling.
In the instant case, it was the Makati RTC who acted as the land registration court
and allowed the application for registration, and should generally take cognizance
of the petition. HOWEVER, the circumstances present in this case, and in the
interest of orderly procedure, the petition must be filed before the Las Pinas RTC.
o The application for land registration was filed with the Makati RTC because at
that time, there was no RTC Branch in Las Pinas. Had there been a RTC in
Las Pinas, the action would have been filed in Las Pinas, pursuant to the Rules
of Court prevailing at that time.
Sec. 2, Rule 4 of the 1964 Revised Rules of Court provide that real actions
should be commenced and tried in the provinve where the property or
any part thereof lies.
o The filing of the petition for review in Las Pinas RTC where the property is
situated, even though the earlier proceedings happened in Makati RTC, is but a
rectificatory implementation of the rules of procedure then-existing, which was
not followed due to the existence of past exigencies. There is no compelling
reason to deprive Las Pinas RTC of its authority to try the case now that it is
able to do so.
o Indeed, the issue in the instant case is not of jurisdiction but of venue. Venue
is only a matter of procedure and should succumb to te greater interest of the
orderly administration of justice.
Lozadas reliance on the case of Joson v Busuego is misplaced. In that case, the trial
court dismissed the petition for review on the ground that it is a cadastral court
with a special and limited jurisdiction. The Court reversed and held that as long as