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Ventura, Gleeson
Piocos, Rollyn Dee
Lopez, Raffy


A. Basic Concepts.
It is a proceeding in rem, initiated by filing of a petition for registration by the government,
not by the person claiming ownership of the land subject thereof, and the latter are, on the pain
of losing their claim thereto, in effect compelled to go to court to make known their claim or
interest therein, and to substantiate such claim or interest.
The government does not seek the registration of the land in its name. The objective of the
proceeding is the adjudication of title to the lands or lots involve in said proceeding.
1. Cadastral Survey (Survey of the Land)
2. Filing of Petition
3. Publication of Notice of Initial Hearing
4. Filing of Answer
5. Hearing of Case
6. Decision
7. Issuance of decree & certificate of title
1. Adjudicate title to any claimant entitled thereto;
2. Declare a land Public Land;
3. Order the correction of technical description;
4. Order the issuance of a new title in place of the title issued under voluntary registration
5. Determine priority of overlapping titles;
6. Order a partition of the property.
Sec. 2 of PD 1529: 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
Courts of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) 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.
Case of Vda de Barroga vs. Albano, 157 SCRA 131
CFI of Ilocos Norte adjudicated a parcel of land in favor of Delfina Aquino. One of the oppositors
was Ruperta Pascual, who was declared in default. For unrecorded reasons, the decree of
registration did not issue except until after the lapse of 14 years or so (October 14, 1955). It was
only after 24 years (November 17, 1979) that OCT was issued in Delfina Aquino's name.
On August 11, 1970 , after the decree of registration had been handed down but before title
issued in Delfina Aquino's favor, the children and heirs of Ruperta Pascual, appellants Eufemia
Barroga and Saturnina Padaca brought suit against the children and heirs of Delfina
Aquino appellees Angel Albano, et al. Barroga had been in possession of Lot 9821 since 1941 and
were the real owners thereof; they prayed that Delfina Aquino's title be voided and cancelled
and that a new title be made out in their names. Delfina Aquino's title encroached upon a 4-
square-meter portion of an adjoining Lot 9822, belonging to Cesar Castro. Castro filed complaint
in intervention for the recovery thereof.
CFI: DISMISSED Barroga's and Padaca's complaint, and declaring intervenor Castro owner of the
4-square-meter portion overlapped by Delfina Aquino's title. The familiar doctrine of res judicata
operated to blot out any hope of success of Barroga's and Padaca's suit for recovery of Lot No.
9821. Their action was clearly barred by the prior judgment in the cadastral proceeding affirming
Delfina Aquino's ownership over the property, and in which proceeding the former's
predecessor-in-interest, Ruperta Pascual, had taken part as oppositor but had beendeclared in
default. The judgment of the cadastral court was one "against a specific thing" and therefore
"conclusive upon the title to the thing.
On August 8, 1975, the Cadastral Court promulgated an order granting the motion of Angel
Albano, et al. for a writ of possession as regards Lot No. 9821. Writ of possession dated August
28, 1975 was issued. Again Barroga and Padaca sought to frustrate acquisition of possession by
Angel Albano, et al. They filed a "Motion to Nullify Order to Lift Writ of Execution Issued and to
Revoke Writ of Possession Issued. Their argument: as possessors of the lot in question, they
could not be ejected therefrom by a mere motion for writ of possession.
Whether they can be ejected.
Yes. The writ of possession could properly issue despite the not inconsiderable period of time
that had elapsed from the date of the registration decree, since the right to the same does not
prescribe pursuant to the rulings in Heirs of Cristobal Marcos v. de Banuvar and Lucero v. Loot, It
also declared that the segregation of the 4-square meter portion from Lot 9821 and
its restoration as integral part of Lot 9822, had no effect whatever on the Albanos' right to the
writ of possession, which was the appropriate process for the enforcement of the judgment in
the cadastral case. Conformably with the established axioms set out in the opening paragraphs
of this opinion, the appellees, Angel Albano, et al. must be declared to be entitled to a writ of
possession over Lot No. 9821 in enforcement of the decree of registration and vindication of the
title issued in favor of their predecessor-in-interest, Delfina Q. Aquino; the writ may correctly be
enforced against the appellant.

Their action was clearly barred by the prior judgment in the cadastral proceeding affirming
Delfina Aquino's ownership over the property, and in which proceeding the former's
predecessor-in-interest, Ruperta Pascual, had taken part as oppositor but had been declared in
default. The judgment of the cadastral court was one "against a specific thing" and therefore
"conclusive upon the title to the thing." It was a judgment in rem, binding generally upon the
whole world, inclusive of persons not parties thereto, and particularly upon those who had
actually taken part in the proceeding (like the appellants' predecessor, Ruperta Pascual, who had
intervened therein as an oppositor) as well as "their successors in interest by title subsequent to
the commencement of the action or special proceeding, litigating for the same thing and under
the same title and in the same capacity.
It is not limited to merely adjudication of ownership in favor of one or more claimants, if there is
no claimants the property is declared public land.

Cadastral courts do not have the power to determine and adjudicate title to lot already covered
by homestead patent to a person other than the patentee.

Cadastral courts possess no authority to award damages.

In the case of Vda. De Arceo v. CA,184 SCRA 602
Spouses Abdon Arceo and Escolastica Geronimo had one son, Esteban. Spouses were also the
owners of 4 parcels of unregistered land located in Pulilan, Bulacan. Abdon died in 1953,
Escolastica in September 16, 1942 and Esteban September 2, 1941. Esteban sired Jose, Pedro,
Lorenzo, Antonio and Sotera. Jose married Virginia Franco with whom he fathered 6 children and
are the petitioners of this case against Jose’s siblings.
On October 27 1941, the spouses Arceo executed a deed of donation on the said parcels of land
in favor of Jose, presented in court as “exhibit J”. On 2 August 1950, the spouses Arceo executed
another deed of donation to Jose on the same parcels of land, presented in court as “exhibit T”.
Exhibit J and T were executed inter vivos. On the other hand, on October 30 1941 which was,
“exhibit 1”, the spouses Arceo executed a deed of donation to ALL GRANDCHILDREN including
Jose, thereby revoking “exhibit J”.
On 12 January 1972, Petitioners filed with the Cadastral Court (CC) an application for the 4 lots
under the strength of exhibits J and T. Respondents contested the petition on the strength of
exhibit 1. CC dismissed the petition and distributed the land based on intestate succession, CA
affirmed the decision CC, hence this petition.
Whether the Cadastral Court had no jurisdiction to decide cases on claims of ownership of

No. The Cadastral Court has jurisdiction to decide cases on claims of ownership of property.

Under Section 2 of the Property Registration Decree, the jurisdiction of the RTC, sitting as a land
registration court, is no longer as circumscribed as it was under Act No. 496, the former land
registration act. The PRD “has eliminated the distinction between the general jurisdiction vested
in the RTC and the limited jurisdiction conferred upon it by Act 497 when acting merely as a
Cadastral court.” Such amendment conferred upon the 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 from such
applications or petitions.”
Likewise, where the issues of ownership is ineluctably tied up with the question of right of
registration, the Cadastral Court has jurisdiction over it.
In the case of Republic vs. Vera, 120 SCRA 210
These case involves two petitions for review.

Respondent Luisito Martinez filed with the lower court of Bataan an application for registration
under Act No. 496 of one parcel of land situated in Mariveles, Bataan. The Republic opposed the
application claiming that the aforementioned parcel of land is a portion of the public domain,
thus not subject to private appropriation. Commission of Land Registration (LRC) issued a
certificate that such land is inside Lot 626 of the Cadastral Survey of Mariveles.
Respondent Thelma Tanalega filed an application for registration before the same court for two
parcels of land described as portions of Lot 626 of the Cadastral Survey of Mariveles. The Chief
Surveyor of LRC filed a report in the lower court that such parcels of land do not appear to have
been passed upon and approved by the Director of Lands, and further examination will be
conducted in order to determine whether a patent or title has been issued in order to avoid
duplication or overlapping of titles.
The Republic opposed the registration claiming that the land applied for are portions of the public
domain thus not subject to private appropriation.
In both cases, the lower court ruled in favor of applicants Martinez and Tanalega, hence this
petition. Republic argued that Mariveles Cadastre was declared public land by the decision of the
Cadastral Court in 1937, thus the lower court is without jurisdiction over the subject matter for
voluntary registration under Act 496. The Republic also claimed that the lands in question can no
longer be subject to registration by voluntary proceedings, for they have already been subjected
to compulsory registration proceedings under the Cadastral Act.
Whether the lower court has jurisdiction over application of registration of land which was
already subjected to cadastral registration.

NO, the lower court does not have jurisdiction. In cadastral proceedings any person claiming any
interest in any part of the land object of the petition is required by Act No. 2259 to file an answer
on or before the return date or within such time as may be allowed by court. In the instant cases,
private respondents apparently either did not file their answers in the cadastral proceedings or
failed to substantiate their claims over the portions they were then occupying. The Cadastral
Court must have declared the lands in question public lands, and its decision had already become
final and conclusive.
Respondents are now barred by prior judgment to assert their rights over the subject land, under
the doctrine of res judicata. A cadastral proceeding is one in rem and binds the whole world.
Under this doctrine, parties are precluded from re-litigating the same issues already determined
by final judgment.
Even granting that respondents can still petition for judicial confirmation of imperfect title, the
same must necessarily fail. In the instant cases, evidence for the respondents themselves tend to
show that only portions of the entire area applied for are cultivated. Mere cultivation of portions
of land does not constitute possession under claim of ownership.
In addition, the survey plans submitted by private respondents were not approved by the
Director of Lands but by the Land Registration Commission (LRC). The LRC has no authority to
approve original survey plans. The submission of the plan i s a statutory requirement of
mandatory character and unless the plan and its technical descriptions are duly approved the by
the Director of Lands, the same are not of much value.
A final judgement in a cadastral proceeding, is binding and conclusive upon the whole world
(proceeding in rem).
In the case of Widows & Orphans v CA, 201 SCRA 175
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). Motion to dismiss was denied
and the case was set for hearing. The Court believes Ortigas’ TCTs were derived from OCT 337,
19, 336, 334 (as it appears on its face) pursuant to Decree 1425, not OCT 351 as claimed by

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.
Whether Ortigas’ TCTs are valid despite the absence of a supporting decree of registration.

No, the judgment is set aside.
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 TCT’s 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 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 certificate’s
authenticity vis-a-vis the land covered therein.
However, in the case of Pamintuan v San Agustin, 43 Phil. 558, in cadastral cases, the jurisdiction
of the court over the lands already registered is limited to the necessary correction of technical
errors in the description of the lands,provided that such corrections do not impair the substantial
rights of the registered owner, and that such jurisdiction does not deprive owner of his title.
In the case of Gabriel v CA, 159 SCRA 461
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 Quimson’s 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 Gabriel’s 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 latter’s 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 petitioner’s 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
Whether the courts have the authority to order the necessary corrections of an erroneous
technical description and make it conform to the correct area.
Yes. The petition is dismissed and the Decision is affirmed.
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.


The President may direct and order the Director of Lands to cause to be made a cadastral survey
of the lands involved and the plans and technical description of said lands prepared in due form,
provided that when in President’s opinion, public interest so requires that title to any lands be settled
and adjudicated.

The Director of Lands, upon the direction and order of the President, shall give notice to persons
claiming any interest over lands and also the general public, of the day on which the survey will begin.
He shall also give as fully and accurately as possible the description of the lands to be surveyed. The
notice shall be: a.) published once in the Official Gazette, b.) posted in a conspicuous place on the
bulletin board of the municipal building of the municipality in which the lands or any portion thereof is
situated, and c.) sent to the Municipal Mayor, Barangay Captain, and likewise to the Sangguiang
Panlalawigan and Sangguniang Bayan concerned.

The Director of Lands shall give notice to persons claiming any interest in the lands as well as to
the general public of the day on which the survey will begin, giving an accurate description of the lands
to be surveyed. The notice shall be published once in the Official Gazette and posted in a bulletin board
of the municipality in which the lands or any portion thereof is situated. A copy of the notice shall also
be sent to the Municipal Mayor, Barangay Captain, Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Sangguniang Bayan

A licensed Geodetic Engineer or other employees of the Bureau of Lands shall give advance
notice to survey claimants of the date of the survey of specific portions of the land, to be posted in the
bulletin board of the municipal building of the municipality in which the land is situated, and shall mark
the boundaries thereof by the placing of monuments. The Geodetic Engineer may lawfully enter upon
the lands whenever necessary for the purposes of survey or placing of the monuments.

Every claimant of the lands to be surveyed, or any parcel thereof, is bound to communicate with
the surveyor all the information he possessed including the boundary lines of the property over which
he claims title or interest.

Any person who shall willfully obstruct the making of any survey undertaken by the Bureau of
Lands or by a licensed Geodetic Engineer authorized to conduct a survey, or shall maliciously interfere
with the placing of any monument or remove such monument, or shall destroy or remove any notice of
survey posted on the land pursuant to law, shall be punished by a fine of not more than ONE THOUSAND
PESOS or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.


When the lands have been surveyed or plotted, the Director of Lands, represented by the
Solicitor General, shall institute original registration proceedings by filing the necessary petition in the
Regional Trial Court of the place where the land is situated against the claimants, holders, possessors, or
occupants of such lands or any part thereof, stating that public interests requires that the tile to such
lands be settled and adjudicated and praying that such titles be so settled and adjudicated.

The petition shall contain a description of he lands, accompanied by a plan thereof, and include
also such other data as to facilitate notice to all occupants and persons having a claim or interest

If the land held or occupied by different persons, consists of two or more parcels, the plan shall
indicate the boundaries or limits of the various parcels as accurately as possible. The parcels shall be
known as “lots” and shall, on the plans filed in the case, be given separate numbers by the Director of
Lands, which numbers shall be known as “cadastral numbers.” The lands situated within each
municipality shall be numbered consecutively starting with number one, and only one series of numbers
shall be used for that purpose in each municipality. However in cities or townsites, a designation of the
landholdings by blocks and lot numbers may be employed instead of the designation by cadastral lot

The cadastral number of a lot shall not be altered after final decision has been entered decreeing
the registration, except by order of the court. Future subdivisions of any lot shall be designated by a
letter or letters of the alphabet added to the cadastral number of the lot. The letter with which a
subdivision is designated shall be known as its “cadastral letter”: Provided, however, that the
subdivisions of cities or townsites may be designated by blocks and numbers.
 ANSWER (SEC. 37, PD 1529)

Any claimant in cadastral proceeding, regardless if named in the notice or not, shall appear
before the court either by himself or by some other authorized person in his behalf, and shall file an
answer on or before the date of initial hearing or within such further time as may be allowed by the

The answer shall be signed and sworn to by the claimant or by his or her representative and
shall state whether the claimant is married or unmarried, and if married, the name of the spouse and
the date of marriage, his nationality, residence and postal address, and shall also contain:

a.) The age of the claimant;

b.) The cadastral number of the lot/s claimed, as appearing on the plan filed in the case by the
Director of Lands, or the block and lot numbers, as the case may be;
c.) The name of the barrio and municipality in which the lots are situated;
d.) The names and addresses of the owners of the adjoining lots so far as known to the
e.) If the claimant is in possession of the lots claimed and can show the no express grant of the
land by the government to him or to his predecessors-in-interest, the answer shall state
the length of time he has held such possession and the manner in which it has been
acquired, and shall also state the length of time, as far as known, during which the
predecessors, if any, held possession
f.) If the claimant is not in possession or occupation of the land, the answer shall fully set forth
the interest claimed by him and the time and manner of his acquisition;
g.) If the lots have been assessed for taxation, their last assessed value; and
h.) The encumbrances, if any, affecting the lots and the names of adverse claimants, as far as

When Motion to Dismiss proper, applicability of ROC (SEC. 34, PD 1529)

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.
Motion to dismiss proper if cadastral proceedings involve land covered by a certificate of title issued
pursuant to a public land patent, applicability of ROC. (Duran v. Olivia, 3 SCRA 154 & Rule 143 Revised
Rules of Court)

Jose O. Duran And Teresa Diaz Vda. De Duran, Applicants-Appellants,

Bernabe Olivia And Etc. Oppositors-Appellees.

G.R. No. L-16589 September 29, 1961


This is an appeal from two orders both of the Court of First Instance now Regional Trial Court of
Camarines Sur, Hon. Perfecto R. Palacio, presiding, rendered in Land Registration Case. The order of July
31, 1959 is for the dismissal of the land registration case for lack of jurisdiction of the lower court with
respect to Lots Nos. 3, 6, 7, 9 and 15, and that dated September 12, 1959 with respect to Lots Nos. 12
and 16.


On December 3, 1952, Jose O. Duran and Teresa Diaz Vda. de Duran filed an application for the
registration in their names of sixteen lots in the Regional Trial Court of Camarines Sur. On April 20, 1954,
the case was heard initially and on May 5, 1954, the oppositors filed their opposition to the application.
The oppositors filed a motion to dismiss the application on the ground that the court has no jurisdiction
to decree registration of the lots respectively claimed by them, because said lots are already registered
and certificates of title have been issued thereon in their names.

The applicants filed their objection to said motion, alleging that the reasons for the motion to
dismiss do not appear in the application but are mere assertions of the parties and that the trial court
has jurisdiction to consider the application even though the lots subject matter thereof are already
covered by certificates of title. After a reply to the opposition was filed by the oppositors, the lower
court resolved the motion to dismiss and rendered successively the two orders of dismissal appealed
from. Hence this appeal.
The applicants-appellants assign two errors of the lower court, to wit:

The lower court erred in considering and granting the objectors-appellees' motion to dismiss the
application for registration with respect to lots 3, 6, 7, 9, 12, 15 and 16 although it was based merely on
the supposed facts alleged in the said motion itself; and

The lower court erred in dismissing the application with respect to lots 3, 6, 7, 9, 12, 15 and 16 for
alleged lack of jurisdiction upon the mere assertion of the objectors-appellees that these lots are
covered by certificates of title based merely upon public land patents granted to them.


The first assignment of error cannot be sustained. By express provision of Rule 132 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 in this case.

Appellants argue in support of their second assignment of error that a certificate of title based
upon a mere homestead, sales or free patent covering private land is null and void; that it is the decree
of registration, not the certificate of title which confers the character of incontestability of title; that the
appellants have been deprived of their property without hearing; and that the cases cited in the order of
the lower court do not apply to the case at bar. Consequently, they claim that the lower court possesses
jurisdiction to try and decide the instant land registration proceedings even with respect to the lots
already covered by certificates of title.

This claim of the appellant is without merit, if we have to consider that a patent once registered
under Act No. 496 becomes indefeasible as a torrens title (Manalo v. Lukban, et al., 48 Phil. 973).

A homestead patent, once registered under the Land Registration Act, becomes as indefeasible
as a Torrens title, and cannot thereafter be the subject of an investigation for determination or
judgment in a cadastral case. Any new title which the cadastral court may order to be issued is null and
void and should be cancelled. All that the cadastral court may do is to make correction of technical
errors in the description of the property contained in its title, or to proceed to the partition thereof if it
is owned by two or more co-owners. (Ramoso v. Obligado, et al., 70 Phil. 86; etc.) The same may be said
of a sales patent. Once a certificate of title is issued under the Land Registration Act in lieu of a sales
patent, the land is considered registered under the Torrens system and the title of the patentee
becomes indefeasible.

As the title of the respondents, who hold certificates of title under the Land Registration Act
becomes indefeasible, it follows that the Court of First Instance has no power or jurisdiction to entertain
proceedings for the registration of the same parcels of land covered by the certificates of title of the

In a quite impressive line of decisions, it has been well-settled that a Court of First Instance has
no jurisdiction to decree again the registration of land already decreed in an earlier land registration
case and a second decree for the same land is null and void. This is so, because when once decreed by a
court of competent jurisdiction, the title to the land thus determined is already a res judicata binding on
the whole world, the proceedings being in rem. The court has no power in a subsequent proceeding (not
based on fraud and within the statutory period) to adjudicate the same title in favor of another person.
Furthermore, the registration of the property in the name of first registered owner in the Registration
Book is a standing notice to the world that said property is already registered in his name. Hence, the
later applicant is chargeable with notice that the land he applied for is already covered by a title so that
he has no right whatsoever to apply for it. To declare the later title valid would defeat the very purpose
of the Torrens system which is to quiet title to the property and guarantee its indefeasibility. It would
undermine the faith and confidence of the people in the efficacy of the registration law.

The orders appealed from are affirmed.

RULE 143

Applicability of the Rules

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.

Motion to dismiss proper on the ground of res judicata, applicable to cadastral and ordinary land
registration proceedings (Republic v. CA, 99 SCRA 651)

Republic Of The Philippines And The Director Of Lands, Petitioners,

Hon. Numeriano G. Estenzo, etc., et al., Respondents.

G.R. No. L-35376 September 11, 1980


Petitioners Republic of the Philippines and The Director of Lands seek the review of the decision
of the respondent Judge in Cad. Case No. 27, GLRO Rec. No. 1714, Lot No. 4273, adjudicating the said
land in favor of Gonzala Aotes et al.


On February 23, 1972, private respondents Aotes filed with the Court of First Instance of Leyte,
Branch V, Ormoc City, presided by the respondent Judge a petition to reopen the decision dated
September 28, 1940 by the Cadastral Court, declaring Lot No. 4273 of the Ormoc Cadastre as public land
under Rep. Act 931 as amended by Rep. Act 6236 claiming to be the owners and possessors of Lot No.
4273 of the Ormoc Cadastre by virtue of hereditary succession. They were not able to appear on the
date of the hearing of the Cadastral Case due to ignorance and excusable neglect. They alleged that said
land was declared public land and that they had been in adverse, peaceful and notorious possession of
the said parcel of land since the time immemorial, paying all the taxes, interests and penalties. They
pray that the decision of the Cadastral Court affecting Lot No. 4273, Ormoc Cadastre be reopened, and
that they be allowed to file their cadastral answer.

On March 16, 1972, petitioners filed an opposition to the aforesaid petition on the ground that
such petition is barred by the expiration of the period for reopening cadastral proceedings under Rep.
Act 931 which expired on December 31, 1968 and this period has not been extended under the
provisions of Rep. Act 6236 because the latter applies only to the extensions of time limit for the filing of
applications for free patent and for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles.

Respondent Judge in its order dated May 9, 1972, denied the opposition for lack of sufficient
merit and set the case for hearing on June 24, 1972. On July 22, 1972, respondent judge rendered
decision setting aside the decision of the cadastral court dated September 28, 1940 declaring Lot No.
4273 public land and adjudicating said lot in favor of the private respondents in undivided interest in
equal share of one-fourth (1/4) each.


Whether the lower court jurisdiction over the proceedings for reopening of the cadastral case


Republic Act 6236 does not apply to the reopening of cadastral proceedings and as a
consequence, the respondent Judge has no jurisdiction over the petition of the respondents Aotes to
reopen the cadastral proceedings.

The extension provided for by Rep. Act 6236 applies only to the filing of applications for free
patent and for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles and not to reopening of cadastral
proceedings like the instant case, a proceeding entirely different from "filing an application for a free
patent or for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles."

More importantly, the lower court has no longer jurisdiction to entertain the petition filed by
respondents for reopening the cadastral proceedings because the latter, as we have noted, did not file
the aforesaid petition within the period fixed by the applicable laws to wit: Rep. Act 931 and 2061.
Consequently, the decision dated September 30, 1940 of the Cadastral Court declaring the land in
question a public land has become final and conclusive. It has also acquired the status of res judicata. It
must be remembered that generally, the fundamental principle of res judicata applies to all cases and
proceedings, including land registration or cadastral proceedings. The doctrine of res judicata precludes
parties from relitigating issues actually litigated and determined by a prior and final judgment. It is well-
settled that a prior judgment is conclusive in a subsequent suit between the same parties on the subject
matter, and on the same cause of action, not only as to matters which were decided in the first action,
but also as to every other matter which the parties could have properly set up in the prior suit. Indeed,
settled is the rule that a cadastral case is a judicial proceeding in rem, which, as such binds the whole
world. The final judgment rendered therein is deemed to have settled the status of the land subject
thereof, if not noted thereon, like those of the petitioner, are deemed barred under the principle of res

The decisions dated July 22, 1972 of the respondent Judge is set aside.

 HEARING: (Presidential Decree no. 1529)

Where conducted?
Sec. 38 “ The trial of the case may occur at any convenient place within the
province in which the lands are situated and shall be conducted, and orders and for
default and confession entered, in the same manner as in ordinary land registration
proceedings ad shall governed by the same rules.”

The procedure has the same manner as in ordinary land registration proceeding
and shall be governed by the same rules.

1. Cadastral Survey (survey of land)

2. Filing of Petition
3. Publication of Notice of Initial Hearing
4. Filing of Answer
5. Hearing of Case
6. Decision
7. Issuance of Decree and Certificate of Title
 JUDGMENT: (Presidential Decree no. 1529)
Effect of decision of judgment.
“As held in the case of Silvestre vs. CA “The decision of the trial court in a
land registration case, ordering the issuance of the decree, is not itself a decree of
registration within the meaning of Sec. 38 of the Land Registration Act. It is expressly
required by law that all patents or certificate for lands of the public domain that may be
granted be registered in accordance with section 122 of the land registration act. Actual
conveyance of such land is to be effective only upon registration which shall be the
operative act to convey and affect the land. The existence of a decision rendered by a
court in a cadastral case does not settle once and for all the ownership of the property for
the issuance of a decree is still necessary and such decree is still subject to review within 1
year from the date of its issuance.

The existence rendered by the court in cadastral case does not settle once and for
all the ownership of the property for the issuance of a decree is still necessary and such
decree is still subject to review within one year from the date of its issuance. (Silvestre vs.
Court of Appeals, 115 SCRA 63)

When judgment declares land applied for is public land.

“The decision in Cadastral Case No. 41 does not constitute a bar to the application
of respondent Manuela Pastor; because a decision in a cadastral proceeding declaring a
lot public land is not the final decree contemplated in Sections 38 and 40 of the Land
Registration Act.”(Director of Lands vs. CA)

A judicial declaration that a parcel of land is public, does not preclude even the
same applicant from subsequently seeking a judicial confirmation of his title to the same
land, provided he thereafter complies with the provisions of Section 48 of
Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, and as long as said public land remains
alienable and disposable (now sections 3 and 4, PD No. 1073.

How and when appeal taken.

Held in the case of Heirs of Labrada vs Monsanto, the procedural issue at bar is
whether an appeal by a conflicting claimant to a specific lot of cadastral survey
proceedings from the adverse decision of the regional trial court in favor of another
conflicting claimant may be taken by filing a simple notice of appeal. Or does such appeal
fall within the exception wherein multiple appeals are allowed, in which case an appeal
must still be filed by the filing of a record on appeal within a period of 30 days provided
for the purpose. The Court rules that appeals in cadastral proceedings may be taken by a
simple notice of appeal.
Judiciary Act of 1980(B.P. Blg. 129)
Sec. 18 Elimination of record on appeal and appeal bond. – The filing of a record on appeal
shall be dispensed with, except in the cases referred to in sub-paragraph (b) of par. 19
hereof. No appeal bond shall be required for an appeal.

Sec. 19 Period of Appeal.

1. All appeals, except in habeas corpus cases and in the cases referred to par.(b) hereof,
must be taken within 15 days from notice of judgment, order, resolution or award
appealed from.
2. In appeals in special proceedings in accordance with Rule 109 of the Rules of Court
and other cases wherein multiple appeals are allowed, the period of appeal shall be
30 days, a record of appeal being required.

These rules were issued pursuant to the provisions of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129,
particularly section 39 thereof which provides for a 15-day period within which to take an
appeal and expressly abolished the need of a record on appeal, as follows:

SEC. 39. - Appeals. - The period for appeal from final orders, resolutions, awards,
judgments or decisions of any court in all cases shall be fifteen days counted from the
notice of the final order, resolution, award, judgment, or decision appealed from.
"No record on appeal shall be required to take an appeal. In lieu therefor, the entire
original record shall be transmitted with all the pages prominently numbered conse-
cutively, together with an index of the contents thereof."

The appeal sought to be taken in the petition at bar concerning conflicting claims
of the parties to a specific lot clearly falls under this general rule. Therefore, petitioners'
appeal must be given due course and the issuance of a decree of registration and the
corresponding certificate of title were prematurely and baselessly ordered by respondent
court and must be set aside.

Effect of failure to appeal.

As a general rule, registration of title under the cadastral system is final, conclusive
and indisputable, after the passage of thirty (30) days 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. (De la Merced vs. CA
5 SCRA 145)

Court’s power to set aside judgment and readjudicate land.

the ruling being to the effect "that the adjudication of land in a registration or cadastral case
does not become final and incontrovertible until the expiration of one year after the entry of the final
decree; that as long as the final decree is not issued and the period of one year within which it may be
reviewed has not elapsed, the decision remains under the control and sound discretion of the court
rendering the decree, which court after hearing, may set aside the decision or decree and adjudicate
the land to another party."

Cadastral court has no authority to award damages.

The cadastral court possesses no authority to award damages, for its power is
confined to the determination as to whether the claimants are really entitled to the
lots, as alleged in their answers; and, after finding that they are, to the confirmation of
their title to, and registration of, the lots in their name. in the present action for
ejectment, not only dose the plaintiff seek to have a judicial pronouncement that he is
the owner of the tract of land which he claims is unlawfully occupied by the defendants
but also to recover damages ( Abellera vs. Guzman, 85 Phil 738)

For damages due to alleged illegal occupancy of the land involved by the
defendants may not be properly passed upon and adjudicated in the land registration
case, where only the question of title to the property sought to be registered will be
decided between the applicants and oppositors (Medina vs. Valdellon 63 SCRA 278)


When adjudication in cadastral case becomes final.

That the adjudication of land in a registration or cadastral case does become final and
incontrovertible after the expiration of one year from entry of the final decree, as long as the final
decree already issued and the period of one year has already elapsed, the decision no longer remains
under the control and sound discretion of the court rendering the decree, which the court can no
longer set aside such decision and adjudicate the land to another.

Reopening of Decree no longer allowed:

In the case of Republic vs. Estenzo, the Republic and the Dir. Of Lands, assail the
petitioner’s stance that the lower court is without jurisdiction to take cognizance of the
petition to re-open the cadastral proceeding is premised on their argument that spouses’
petition is barred by expiration of the period for re-opening of cadastral proceeding under
Rep. Act 931. They argue that said period expired on Dec. 31, 1968 and was never

Sec. 1 of RA 931 provides:

“In case such parcels of land, on account of their failure to file such
claim, have been, or about to be declared land of public domain, by virtue of judicial
proceedings instituted within the forty next preceding the approval of this Act, are hereby
granted the right within five years after the date of this act shall take effect to petition for

This law took effect on June 20, 1953, hence, the period of reopening cadastral
proceeding expired on June 20, 1958. However, RA. No 2061 section 2 extended the
period until
December 31, 1968, after which no further extension made.

On right of claimant.
As held in City of Baguio vs. Marcos, insofar as RA 931 is concerned comes within
the rules that any persons including a lessee to a land declared public land may intervene
in an action of re-opening, for they are persons who have legal interest in the matter in
litigation or in the success of either parties. This is clearly oppose to the provision stated
in a Land Registration Act, which only authorizes persons, not included a mere agent, that
his opposition is based on a right of dominion or some other real right independent of,
and not at all subordinate to, the rights on any person or government.

On the power of the court to order reopening of proceedings.

RA. 931: “An Act to authorize the filing in the proper court, under certain
conditions, of certain claims of title to parcels of land that have been declared
pubic land, by virtue of judicial decisions rendered within the forty years next
preceding the approval of this Act.”

It expresses in the language clear the very substance of the law itself. From this, it
is easy to see that Congress intended to give some effect to the title of RA 931.

This Act is intended to give an opportunity to any person or claimant who has an
interest in any parcel of land which has been declared as public land in cadastral
proceeding for failure of said person or claimant to present his claim within the time
prescribed by law.
There are many meritorious cases wherein claimants have not had opportunity to
answer or appear at the hearing of the cases for lack of notice or other reason and
circumstances beyond their control.

And by this Act, this measure seeks to remedy the lack of any existing law within
said persons or claimants with meritorious claims or interest may seek justice and