Sie sind auf Seite 1von 6

C. Statement of Personal Circumstances (sec.

45)
i. Litam vs. Espiritu
- The motion asking that the default judgment be set aside is accompanied by no affidavit of merits. Although the Code does not specifically require such an affidavit of
merits, the reasonableness and necessity for it is apparent. If the defendant has no real defense to the action or intends to enter only a technical plea, there would
be no justice in permitting the case to be reopened and subject plaintiff to further delay and expense for the mere purpose of rendering a judgment in the regular
manner. It is but right, therefore, to require the defendant to show that if he be allowed to answer he will be able to produce evidence which may effect the claims of
the plaintiff.

The universality of the rule is attested by the remarks in 23 Cyc., 951, 955, and 962, supported by a host of authorities. Black on judgments, § 347, thus states the general rule:

Where an application is made to open a judgment, under the statutes for the purpose, it must be accompanied by an affidavit setting a good defense on the
merits, and showing that the default occurred through mistake, surprise, or other statutory ground, and stating the facts constituting such mistake,
surprise, etc., and also showing due diligence. And independently of such statutes, it has always been the practice of our courts, from the very earliest times, on
an application to open or set aside a judgment, to require some sort of showing, by affidavit or otherwise, that the judgement is unjust as it stands and
prejudicial to the party complaining and that he has a meritorious defense. It may therefore be regarded as a universal requirement.

A mere statement that defendant has a valid defense is a conclusion of law (Roberts vs. Corby, 86 Ill., 182); or is not sufficient (Palmer vs. Rogers, 70 Ia., 381, 30 N.W.
645; Jackson vs. Stiles, 3 Caines (N.Y.), 93; Mayer vs. Mayer, 27 Ore., 133, 39 Pac., 1002; Forster vs. Martin, 20 Tex., 119). The only exceptions to the rule are cases where the
granting of the motion is not discretionary but is demandable as of right, as where there was no jurisdiction over the defendant or of the subject matter of the action, where a
judgment was taken by default before defendant's time to answer had expired, where it was entered by mistake, or was obtained by fraud, and other similar cases. (23 Cyc., 956.)
It does not appear that any such exceptions favor the present case.

The opinion of this court in the case of Wahl vs. Donaldson, Sims & Co. (2 Phil., Rep., 301), sets forth the rule with some particularity. But in view of the fact that the opinion in its
entirety was not approved by a majority of the court, we have taken this opportunity to state the rule at length, and compliance with it in the future will be required.
The rule being now clearly set forth, and it having been decided to consider conditionally the motion of counsel to set aside the judgment by default, it is ordered that the record
be returned to the court whence it came with instructions to allow the appellant to file an affidavit of merits. When this is done the court will proceed to determine whether the
judgment by default should be set aside, and after this determination, the case will go forward to final conclusion. No costs will be allowed either party in this instance

ii. Parulan vs Garcia


We likewise cannot sustain the argument of the petitioners that the disputed property belongs to the conjugal partnership of the second marriage of Pedro Calalang with Elvira B.
Calalang on the ground that the title was issued in the name of "Pedro Calalang, married to Elvira Berba [Calalang]."

The contents of a certificate of title are enumerated by Section 45 of Presidential Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree:

SEC. 45. Statement of personal circumstances in the certificate. – Every certificate of title shall set forth the full names of all persons whose interests make up the full
ownership in the whole land, including their civil status, and the names of their respective spouses, if married, as well as their citizenship, residence and postal
address. If the property covered belongs to the conjugal partnership, it shall be issued in the names of both spouses.1âwphi1

A plain reading of the above provision would clearly reveal that the phrase "Pedro Calalang, married to Elvira Berba [Calalang]" merely describes the civil status and
identifies the spouse of the registered owner Pedro Calalang. Evidently, this does not mean that the property is conjugal. In Litam v. Rivera,15 we declared:

Further strong proofs that the properties in question are the paraphernal properties of Marcosa Rivera, are the very Torrens Titles covering said properties. All the said properties
are registered in the name of "Marcosa Rivera, married to Rafael Litam." This circumstance indicates that the properties in question belong to the registered owner, Marcosa
Rivera, as her paraphernal properties, for if they were conjugal, the titles covering the same should have been issued in the names of Rafael Litam and Marcosa Rivera.
The words "married to Rafael Litam" written after the name of Marcosa Rivera, in each of the above mentioned titles are merely descriptive of the civil status of
Marcosa Rivera, the registered owner of the properties covered by said titles.

It must likewise be noted that in his application for free patent,16 applicant Pedro Calalang averred that the land was first occupied and cultivated by him since 1935 and that he
had planted mango trees, coconut plants, caimito trees, banana plants and seasonal crops and built his house on the subject lot. But he applied for free patent only in 1974 and
was issued a free patent while already married to Elvira B. Calalang. Thus, having possessed the subject land in the manner and for the period required by law after the
dissolution of the first marriage and before the second marriage, the subject property ipso jure became private property and formed part of Pedro Calalang’s exclusive
property.17 It was therefore excluded from the conjugal partnership of gains of the second marriage.18

As the sole and exclusive owner, Pedro Calalang had the right to convey his property in favor of Nora B. Calalang-Parulan by executing a Deed of Sale on February 17, 1984.
The CA therefore erred in ruling that Pedro Calalang deprived his heirs of their respective shares over the disputed property when he alienated the same.

It is hornbook doctrine that successional rights are vested only at the time of death. Article 777 of the New Civil Code provides that "[t]he rights to the succession are transmitted
from the moment of the death of the decedent." In Butte v. Manuel Uy and Sons, Inc.,19 we proclaimed the fundamental tenets of succession:

The principle of transmission as of the time of the predecessor's death is basic in our Civil Code, and is supported by other related articles. Thus, the capacity of the heir is
determined as of the time the decedent died (Art. 1034); the legitime is to be computed as of the same moment (Art. 908), and so is the in officiousness of the donation inter vivas
(Art. 771). Similarly, the legacies of credit and remission are valid only in the amount due and outstanding at the death of the testator (Art. 935), and the fruits accruing after that
instant are deemed to pertain to the legatee (Art. 948).
- Thus, it is only upon the death of Pedro Calalang on December 27, 1989 that his heirs acquired their respective inheritances, entitling them to their pro indiviso shares
to his whole estate. At the time of the sale of the disputed property, the rights to the succession were not yet bestowed upon the heirs of Pedro Calalang. And absent
clear and convincing evidence that the sale was fraudulent or not duly supported by valuable consideration (in effect an in officious donation inter vivas), the
respondents have no right to question the sale of the disputed property on the ground that their father deprived them of their respective shares. Well to remember,
fraud must be established by clear and convincing evidence. Mere preponderance of evidence is not even adequate to prove fraud. 20 The Complaint for Annulment
of Sale and Reconveyance of Property must therefore be dismissed

1
iii. Borromeo vs Descallar
Further, the fact that the disputed properties were acquired during the couples cohabitation also does not help respondent. The rule that co-ownership applies to a
man and a woman living exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage, but are otherwise capacitated to marry each other, does not apply.[19] In
the instant case, respondent was still legally married to another when she and Jambrich lived together. In such an adulterous relationship, no co-ownership exists
between the parties. It is necessary for each of the partners to prove his or her actual contribution to the acquisition of property in order to be able to lay claim to
any portion of it. Presumptions of co-ownership and equal contribution do not apply.[20]

Second, we dispose of the issue of registration of the properties in the name of respondent alone. Having found that the true buyer of the disputed house and
lots was the Austrian Wilhelm Jambrich, what now is the effect of registration of the properties in the name of respondent?

It is settled that registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership.[21] It is only a means of confirming the fact of its existence with notice to the world at
large.[22] Certificates of title are not a source of right. The mere possession of a title does not make one the true owner of the property. Thus, the mere fact that respondent has
the titles of the disputed properties in her name does not necessarily, conclusively and absolutely make her the owner. The rule on indefeasibility of title likewise does not apply
to respondent. A certificate of title implies that the title is quiet, and that it is perfect, absolute and indefeasible. However, there are well-defined exceptions to this rule,
as when the transferee is not a holder in good faith and did not acquire the subject properties for a valuable consideration This is the situation in the instant
case. Respondent did not contribute a single centavo in the acquisition of the properties. She had no income of her own at that time, nor did she have any savings. She
and her two sons were then fully supported by Jambrich.

Respondent argued that aliens are prohibited from acquiring private land. This is embodied in Section 7, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, which is basically a
reproduction of Section 5, Article XIII of the 1935 Constitution,[27] and Section 14, Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution.[ The capacity to acquire private land is dependent on the
capacity to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. Private land may be transferred only to individuals or entities qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. Only
Filipino citizens or corporations at least 60% of the capital of which is owned by Filipinos are qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. Thus, as the rule now
stands, the fundamental law explicitly prohibits non-Filipinos from acquiring or holding title to private lands, except only by way of legal succession or if the
acquisition was made by a former natural-born citizen.[29]

Therefore, in the instant case, the transfer of land from Agro-Macro Development Corporation to Jambrich, who is an Austrian, would have been declared invalid if
challenged, had not Jambrich conveyed the properties to petitioner who is a Filipino citizen. In United Church Board for World Ministries v. Sebastian,[30] the Court
reiterated the consistent ruling in a number of cases[31] that if land is invalidly transferred to an alien who subsequently becomes a Filipino citizen or transfers it to a
Filipino, the flaw in the original transaction is considered cured and the title of the transferee is rendered valid. Applying United Church Board for World Ministries,
the trial court ruled in favor of petitioner, viz.:

[W]hile the acquisition and the purchase of (sic) Wilhelm Jambrich of the properties under litigation [were] void ab initio since [they were]
contrary to the Constitution of the Philippines, he being a foreigner, yet, the acquisition of these properties by plaintiff who is a Filipino citizen from
him, has cured the flaw in the original transaction and the title of the transferee is valid.

The trial court upheld the sale by Jambrich in favor of petitioner and ordered the cancellation of the TCTs in the name of respondent. It declared petitioner as owner in fee simple
of the residential house of strong materials and three parcels of land designated as Lot Nos. 1, 3 and 5, and ordered the Register of Deeds of Mandaue City to issue new
certificates of title in his name. The trial court likewise ordered respondent to pay petitioner P25,000 as attorneys fees and P10,000 as litigation expenses, as well as the costs of
suit

We affirm the Regional Trial Court.

The rationale behind the Courts ruling in United Church Board for World Ministries, as reiterated in subsequent cases,[32] is this since the ban on aliens is intended to preserve
the nations land for future generations of Filipinos, that aim is achieved by making lawful the acquisition of real estate by aliens who became Filipino citizens by
naturalization or those transfers made by aliens to Filipino citizens. As the property in dispute is already in the hands of a qualified person, a Filipino citizen, there
would be no more public policy to be protected. The objective of the constitutional provision to keep our lands in Filipino hands has been achieved

iv. Ventura vs. Abuda


Edilberto admitted that in unions between a man and a woman who are incapacitated to marry each other, the ownership over the properties acquired during the subsistence of
that relationship shall be based on the actual contribution of the parties. He even quoted our ruling in Borromeo v. Descallar24 in his petition:

It is necessary for each of the partners to prove his or her actual contribution to the acquisition of property in order to be able to lay claim to any portion of it. Presumptions of co-
ownership and equal contribution do not apply.25

This is a reiteration of Article 148 of the Family Code, which the CA applied in the assailed decision:

Art 148. In cases of cohabitation [wherein the parties are incapacitated to marry each other], only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution
of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. In the absence of proof to the contrary, their contributions and
corresponding shares are presumed to be equal. The same rule and presumption shall apply to joint deposits of money and evidences of credit.

If one of the parties is validly married to another, his or her share in the co-ownership shall accrue to the absolute community or conjugal partnership existing in such valid
marriage. If the party who acted in bad faith is not validly married to another, his or her share shall be forfeited in the manner provided in the last paragraph of the preceding
Article.

The foregoing rules on forfeiture shall likewise apply even if both parties are in bad faith.

Applying the foregoing provision, the Vitas and Delpan properties can be considered common property if: (1) these were acquired during the cohabitation of Esteban and Socorro;
and (2) there is evidence that the properties were acquired through the parties’ actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry.

Edilberto argues that the certificate of title covering the Vitas property shows that the parcel of land is co-owned by Esteban and Socorro because: (1) the Transfer Certificate of
Title was issued on 11 December 1980, or several months after the parties were married; and (2) title to the land was issued to "Esteban Abletes, of legal age, married to Socorro
Torres."26

We disagree. The title itself shows that the Vitas property is owned by Esteban alone.1âwphi1 The phrase "married to Socorro Torres" is merely descriptive of his civil
status, and does not show that Socorro co-owned the property.27The evidence on record also shows that Esteban acquired ownership over the Vitas property prior to

2
his marriage to Socorro, even if the certificate of title was issued after the celebration of the marriage. Registration under the Torrens title system merely confirms, and
does not vest title. This was admitted by Edilberto on page 9 of his petition wherein he quotes an excerpt of our ruling in Borromeo:

Registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership. It is only a means of confirming the fact of its existence with notice to the world at large. Certificates of title are not a source of
right. The mere possession of a title does not make one the true owner of the property. Thus, the mere fact that respondent has the titles of the disputed properties in her name
does not necessarily, conclusively and absolutely make her the owner. The rule on indefeasibility of title likewise does not apply to respondent. A certificate of title implies that
the title is quiet, and that it is perfect, absolute and indefeasible. However, there are well-defined exceptions to this rule, as when the transferee is not a holder in good
faith and did not acquire the subject properties for a valuable consideration.

Edilberto claims that Esteban s actual contribution to the purchase of the Delpan property was not sufficiently proven since Evangeline shouldered some of the
amortizations.28 Thus, the law presumes that Esteban and Socorro jointly contributed to the acquisition of the Del pan property.

We cannot sustain Edilberto s claim. Both the RTC-Manila and the CA found that the Delpan property was acquired prior to the marriage of Esteban and
Socorro.29 Furthermore, even if payment of the purchase price of the Delpan property was made by Evangeline, such payment was made on behalf of her father. Article 1238
of the Civil Code provides:

Art. 1238. Payment made by a third person who does not intend to be reimbursed by the debtor is deemed to be a donation, which requires the debtor s consent. But the payment
is in any case valid as to the creditor who has accepted it.

Thus, it is clear that Evangeline paid on behalf of her father, and the parties intended that the Delpan property would be owned by and registered under the name of Esteban.

Registered Land Not Subject to Prescription

i. Supapo vs. De Jesus


In a long line of cases, we have consistently ruled that lands covered by a title cannot be acquired by prescription or adverse possession. We have also held that a claim
of acquisitive prescription is baseless when the land involved is a registered land because of Article 112649 of the Civil Code in relation to Act 496 [now, Section 47
of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 152950].51 The Spouses Supapo (as holders of the TCT) enjoy a panoply of benefits under the Torrens system. The most essential insofar as
the present case is concerned is Section 47 of PD No. 1529 which states:

Section 47. Registered land not subject to prescriptions. No title to registered land in derogation of the title of the registered owner shall be acquired by
prescription or adverse possession.

In addition to the imprescriptibility, the person who holds a Torrens Title over a land is also entitled to the possession thereof.52 The right to possess and occupy the
land is an attribute and a logical consequence of ownership.53 Corollary to this rule is the right of the holder of the Torrens Title to eject any person illegally
occupying their property. Again, this right is imprescriptible.54

In Bishop v. CA,55 we held that even if it be supposed that the holders of the Torrens Title were aware of the other persons' occupation of the property, regardless of the length
of that possession, the lawful owners have a right to demand the return of their property at any time as long as the possession was unauthorized or merely tolerated,
if at all.56

Even if the defendant attacks the Torrens Title because of a purported sale or transfer of the property, we still rule in favor of the holder of the Torrens Title if the defendant
cannot adduce, in addition to the deed of sale, a duly-registered certificate of title proving the alleged transfer or sale.

A case in point is Umpoc v. Mercado57 in which we gave greater probative weight to the plaintiffs TCT vis-a-vis the contested unregistered deed of sale of the defendants.
Unlike the defendants in Umpoc, however, the respondents did not adduce a single evidence to refute the Spouses Supapo's TCT. With more reason therefore that we uphold
the indefeasibility and imprescriptibility of the Spouses Supapo's title.

By respecting the imprescriptibility and indefeasibility of the Spouses Supapo's TCT, this Court merely recognizes the value of the Torrens System in ensuring the stability of
real estate transactions and integrity of land registration.

We reiterate for the record the policy behind the Torrens System, viz.:
The Government has adopted the Torrens system due to its being the most effective measure to guarantee the integrity of land titles and to protect their indefeasibility once the
claim of ownership is established and recognized. If a person purchases a piece of land on the assurance that the seller's title thereto is valid, he should not run the
risk of being told later that his acquisition was ineffectual after all, which will not only be unfair to him as the purchaser, but will also erode public confidence in the
system and will force land transactions to be attended by complicated and not necessarily conclusive investigations and proof of ownership. The further
consequence will be that land conflicts can be even more abrasive, if not even violent.58

With respect to the respondents' defense59 of laches, suffice it to say that the same is evidentiary in nature and cannot be established by mere allegations in the
pleadings.60 In other words, the party alleging laches must adduce in court evidence proving such allegation. This Court not being a trier of facts cannot rule on this issue;
especially so since the lower courts did not pass upon the same.

Thus, without solid evidentiary basis, laches cannot be a valid ground to deny the Spouses Supapo's petition.61 On the contrary, the facts as culled from the records
show the clear intent of the Spouses Supapo to exercise their right over and recover possession of the subject lot, viz.: (1) they brought the dispute to the appropriate Lupon;
(2) they initiated the criminal complaint for squatting; and (3) finally, they filed the action publiciana. To our mind, these acts negate the allegation of laches.

With these as premises, we cannot but rule that the Spouses Supapo's right to recover possession of the subject lot is not barred by prescription.

3
ii. Cabrera vs C.A
This conclusion is incorrect. As can be discerned from the established facts, the Certificates of Title of the vendees Orais are, to say the least, irregular, and were issued in a
calculated move to deprive Felicidad Teokemian of her dominical rights over the property reserved to her by descent. Plaintiff could not have registered the part reserved to
Felicidad Teokemian, as this was not among those ceded in the Deed of Sale between Daniel/Albertana Teokemian and Andres Orais. It must be remembered that registration
does not vest title, it is merely evidence of such title over a particular property. (Embrado vs. Court of Appeals) 12

The defense of indefeasibility of the Torrens Title does not extend to a transferee who takes the certificate of title with notice of a flaw in his title.

(Anonuevo vs. Court of Appeals) 13 The principle of indefeasibility of title is unavailing where there was fraud that attended the issuance of the free patents and
titles.(Meneses vs. Court of Appeals) 14

Be that as it may, that the right of the defendants for reconveyance of the subject property arising from an implied trust under Article 1456 of the Civil Code is material to the
instant case, such remedy has not yet lapsed, as erroneously submitted by the plaintiff, and, is thus, a bar to the plaintiff's action. In the case of Heirs of Jose Olviga vs. Court of
Appeals, 15 we observed that an action for reconveyance of a parcel of land based on implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten years, the point of reference being the date
of registration of the deed or the date of the issuance of the certificate of title over the property, but this rule applies only when the plaintiff or the person enforcing
the trust is not in possession of the property, since if a person claiming to be the owner thereof is in actual possession of the property, as the defendants are in the
instant case, the right to seek reconveyance, which in effect seeks to quiet title to the property, does not prescribe. The reason for this is that one who is in actual
possession of a piece of land claiming to be the 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 the 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.

As it is, before the period of prescription may start, it must be shown that (a) the trustee has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the cestui
que trust, (b) such positive acts of repudiation have been made known to the cestui que trust, and, (c) the evidence thereon is clear and positive. 16

In the case at bar, the defendant Felicidad Teokemian, and thereafter, the Cabreras, were in actual possession of the property since it was left to Felicidad Teokemian by her
father in 1941, which possession had not been interrupted, despite the sale of the two-third portion thereof to the plaintiff in 1950, and the latter's procurement of a Certificate of
Title over the subject property in 1957. Until the institution of the present action in 1988, plaintiff, likewise, had not displayed any unequivocal act of repudiation, which
could be considered as an assertion of adverse interest from the defendants, which satisfies the above-quoted requisites. Thus, it cannot be argued that the right of
reconveyance on the part of the defendants, and its use as defense in the present suit, has been lost by prescription.

On the other hand, the action for reconveyance (quieting of title) of the plaintiff was instituted only in 1988, that is, thirty years from the time the plaintiff's husband was able to
acquire Certificate of Title covering the properties inherited by the Teokemians, and apparently including that portion belonging to Felicidad Teokemian. In the meantime, defendant
Felicidad vda. De Cabrera and her late husband have been actively in possession of the same, tilling it, and constructing an irrigation system thereon. This must surely constitute
such tardiness on the part of the plaintiff constituting the basis for laches.

Laches has been defined as the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which by exercising due diligence could or should have been
done earlier, it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined
to assert it. 17 The defense of laches is an equitable one and does not concern itself with the character of the defendants title, but only with whether or not by reason of plaintiffs
long inaction or inexcusable neglect, he should be barred from asserting his claim at all, because to allow him to do so would be inequitable and unjust to defendant. Laches is
not concerned merely with lapse of time, unlike prescription. While the latter deals with the fact of delay, laches deals with the effect of unreasonable delay.

iii. Tiongco vs Tiongco


The Court agrees with the CAs disquisition that an action for reconveyance can indeed be barred by prescription. In a long line of cases decided by this Court,
we ruled that an action for reconveyance based on implied or constructive trust must perforce prescribe in ten (10) years from the issuance of the Torrens title over
the property.[26]

However, there is an exception to this rule. In the case of Heirs of Pomposa Saludares v. Court of Appeals,[27] the Court reiterating the ruling in Millena v. Court of
Appeals,[28] held that there is but one instance when prescription cannot be invoked in an action for reconveyance, that is, when the plaintiff is in possession of the
land to be reconveyed. In Heirs of Pomposa Saludares,[29] this Court explained that the Court in a series of cases,[30] has permitted the filing of an action for reconveyance
despite the lapse of more than ten (10) years from the issuance of title to the land and declared that said action, when based on fraud, is imprescriptible as long as
the land has not passed to an innocent buyer for value. But in all those cases, the common factual backdrop was that the registered owners were never in possession
of the disputed property. The exception was based on the theory that registration proceedings could not be used as a shield for fraud or for enriching a person at the
expense of another.

In Alfredo v. Borras,[31] the Court ruled that prescription does not run against the plaintiff in actual possession of the disputed land because such plaintiff has
a right to wait until his possession is disturbed or his title is questioned before initiating an action to vindicate his right. His undisturbed possession gives him the
continuing right to seek the aid of a court of equity to determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and its effect on his title. The Court held that where the
plaintiff in an action for reconveyance remains in possession of the subject land, the action for reconveyance becomes in effect an action to quiet title to property, which is
not subject to prescription.

The Court reiterated such rule in the case of Vda. de Cabrera v. Court of Appeals,[32] wherein we ruled that the imprescriptibility of an action for reconveyance based
on implied or constructive trust applies only when the plaintiff or the person enforcing the trust is not in possession of the property. In effect, the action for reconveyance
is an action to quiet the property title, which does not prescribe.

Similarly, in the case of David v. Malay[33] the Court held that there was no doubt about the fact that an action for reconveyance based on an implied trust ordinarily
prescribes in ten (10) years. This rule assumes, however, that there is an actual need to initiate that action, for when the right of the true and real owner is recognized, expressly
or implicitly such as when he remains undisturbed in his possession, the statute of limitation would yet be irrelevant. An action for reconveyance, if nonetheless brought,
would be in the nature of a suit for quieting of title, or its equivalent, an action that is imprescriptible. In that case, the Court reiterated the ruling in Faja v. Court of
Appeals[34] which we quote:
x x x There is settled jurisprudence that 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 the 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. No better situation can be conceived at the
moment for Us to apply this rule on equity than that of herein petitioners whose mother, Felipa Faja, was in possession of the litigated property for no less
than 30 years and was suddenly confronted with a claim that the land she had been occupying and cultivating all these years, was titled in the name of a

4
third person. We hold that in such a situation the right to quiet title to the property, to seek its reconveyance and annul any certificate of title
covering it, accrued 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.

In this case, petitioners possession was disturbed in 1983 when respondent Jose filed a case for recovery of possession.[35] The RTC of Iloilo City ruled in
respondent Joses favor but the CA on November 28, 1991, during the pendency of the present controversy with the court a quo, ruled in favor of petitioner. [36] Petitioner
never lost possession of the said properties, and as such, she is in a position to file the complai nt with the court a quo to protect her rights and clear whatever doubts has
been cast on her title by the issuance of TCTs in respondent Joses name.

The Court further observes that the circuitous sale transactions of these properties from respondent Jose to Catalino Torre, then to Antonio Doronila, Jr., and back
again to respondent Jose were quite unusual. However, this successive transfers of title from one hand to another could not cleanse the illegality of respondent Joses act of
adjudicating to himself all of the disputed properties so as to entitle him to the protection of the law as a buyer in good faith. Respondent Jose himself admitted that there exists
other heirs of the registered owners in the OCTs. Even the RTC found that [t]hese allegations contained in the Affidavit of Adjudication executed by defendant Jose B. Tiongco
are false because defendant Jose B. Tiongco is not the only surviving heir of Jose Tiongco, Matilde Tiongco, Vicente Tiongco and Felipe Tiongco as the latters have other children
and grandchildren who are also their surviving heirs.[37]

In the case of Sandoval v. Court of Appeals,[38] the Court defined an innocent purchaser for value as one who buys property of another, 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. He is one who buys the property with the belief that the person from whom he receives the thing was the owner and
could convey title to the property. A purchaser can not close his eyes to facts which should put a reasonable man on his guard and still claim that he acted in good
faith.

And while it is settled that every person dealing with a property registered under the Torrens title need not inquire further but only has to rely on the title, this rule has
an exception. The exception is when the party has actual knowledge of facts and circumstances that would impel a reasonably cautious man to make such inquiry or
when the purchaser has some knowledge of a defect or the lack of title in his vendor or of sufficient facts to induce a reasonably prudent man to inquire into the
status of the title of the property in litigation. The presence of anything which excites or arouses suspicion should then prompt the vendee to look beyond the certificate and
investigate the title of the vendor appearing on the face of said certificate. One who falls within the exception can neither be denominated an innocent purchaser for value nor a
purchaser in good faith and hence does not merit the protection of the law.[39]

In this case, when the subject properties were sold to Catalino Torre and subsequently to Doronila, respondent Jose was not in possession of the said properties.
Such fact should have put the vendees on guard and should have inquired on the interest of the respondent Jose regarding the subject properties.[40] But regardless of such
defect on transfer to third persons, the properties again reverted back to respondent Jose. Respondent Jose cannot claim lack of knowledge of the defects surrounding the
cancellation of the OCTs over the properties and benefit from his fraudulent actions. The subsequent sale of the properties to Catalino Torre and Doronila will not cure the nullity
of the certificates of title obtained by respondent Jose on the basis of the false and fraudulent Affidavit of Adjudication.

CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NOT SUBJECT TO COLLATERAL ATTACK (Section


48)
i. Taparuc vs. VDA DE Mende
As a final note, we emphasize that a Torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked. The question on the validity of a Torrens title, whether fraudulently
issued or not, can be raised only in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. The title represented by the certificate cannot be changed, altered, modified,
enlarged, diminished, or cancelled in a collateral proceeding. The action for the declaration of nullity of deed of sale commenced by the petitioners in the RTC of Tagbilaran
City is not the direct proceeding required by law to attack a Torrens certificate of title.

ii. Rodriguez vs. Rodriguez


We agree with the RTC that a certificate of title is a conclusive evidence of ownership of the land described therein; the validity of which shall not be
subject to a collateral attack, especially in an ejectment case which is summary in nature.

In Ross Rica Sales Center, Inc. v. Ong,[19] the Court held that:

The long settled rule is that the issue of ownership cannot be subject of a collateral attack.

In Apostol v. Court of Appeals, this Court had the occasion to clarify this: .. . Under Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. 1529, a certificate of title shall not be
subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified or cancelled, except in a direct proceeding for that purpose in accordance with law. The issue of
the validity of the title of the respondents can only be assailed in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. Whether or not the petitioners have the right
to claim ownership over the property is beyond the power of the court a quo to determine in an action for unlawful detainer.

Further, in Co v. Militar,[20] it was held that:

[T]he Torrens System was adopted in this country because it was believed to be the most effective measure to guarantee the integrity of land titles and to protect their
indefeasibility once the claim of ownership is established and recognized. It is settled that a Torrens Certificate of title is indefeasible and binding upon the whole world
unless and until it has been nullified by a court of competent jurisdiction. Under existing statutory and decisional law, the power to pass upon the validity of such
certificate of title at the first instance properly belongs to the Regional Trial Courts in a direct proceeding for cancellation of title.

As the registered owner, petitioner had a right to the possession of the property, which is one of the attributes of ownership. x x x

We emphasize, however, that our ruling on the issue of ownership is only provisional to determine who between the parties has the better right of
possession. It is, therefore, not conclusive as to the issue of ownership, which is the subject matter of Civil Case No. 01-1641. Our ruling that petitioner
has a better right of possession was arrived at on the basis of evidence without prejudice to the eventual outcome of the annulment case, where the issue
as to who has title to the property in question is fully threshed out. As the law now stands, in an ejectment suit, the question of ownership may be
provisionally ruled upon for the sole purpose of determining who is entitled to possession de facto.

5
iii. Corpuz vs Agustin
We also note that, based on the records, respondents do not dispute the existence of TCT No. T-12980 registered in the name of petitioner. They allege, though, that the land
title issued to him was an act of fraud [26] on his part. We find this argument to be equivalent to a collateral attack against the Torrens title of petitioner an attack we
cannot allow in the instant unlawful detainer case.

It is settled in jurisprudence that a Torrens certificate of title cannot be the subject of collateral attack.[27] Such attack must be direct and not by a collateral
proceeding.[28] It is a well-established doctrine that the title represented by the certificate cannot be changed, altered, modified, enlarged, or diminished in a collateral
proceeding.[29] Considering that this is an unlawful detainer case wherein the sole issue to be decided is possession de facto rather than possession de jure, a collateral
attack by herein respondents on petitioner's title is proscribed.

Our ruling in the present case is only to resolve the issue of who has the better right to possession in relation to the issue of disputed ownership of the
subject properties. Questions
as to the validity of petitioner's Torrens title can be ventilated in a proper suit instituted to
directly attack its validity, an issue that we cannot resolve definitively in this unlawful detainer case.

iv. Tuazon vs. Isagon

The sole issue here is who has the better right of physical possession between the registered owner as shown in the certificate of title and the mortgagor as shown in
the Kasulatan ng Sanglaan.

While the CA is correct that a mortgage does not transfer ownership, the indefeasibility of a Torrens title should have been given primary consideration.

An action for unlawful detainer is summary in nature and cannot be delayed by a mere assertion of ownership as a defense.1 When the parties to an ejectment case
raise the issue of ownership, the court may pass upon that issue only if needed to determine who between the parties has a better right to possess the
property.2 Furthermore, the adjudication on the issue of ownership is only provisional,3 and subject to a separate proceeding that the parties may initiate to settle
the issue of ownership.

A person who possesses a title issued under the Torrens system is entitled to all the attributes of ownership including possession.4 A certificate of title cannot be
subject to a collateral attack in an action for unlawful detainer. A collateral attack is made when, in an action to obtain a different relief, the validity of a certificate of
title is questioned.5

In the present case, the respondents alleged in their answer that the certificate of title issued in the name of Teresa was fraudulently obtained. This defense
constitutes a collateral attack on the title and should not therefore be entertained. To directly assail the validity of TCT No. (N.A.) RT-1925, a direct action for
reconveyance must be filed.6

In the present case, based on the certificate of title, Teresa is the owner of the subject property and is entitled to its physical possession.

VII. Subsequent Registration

1. Voluntary Dealing with Registered Lands

a. Primary Entry Book. (sec. 56)

i. DBP vs. Register of Deeds of Nueva Ecija