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PRE-BAR REVIEW LECTURE LAND TITLES AND DEEDS POWERHAUS LAW REVIEW CENTER

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BAR REVIEW LECTURE LAND TITLES AND DEEDS

PRE-BAR REVIEW LECTURE

LAND TITLES AND DEEDS

POWERHAUS LAW REVIEW CENTERATTY. RONEY JONE P. GANDEZAProfessor of LawUniversity of the CordillerasGov. Pack Road, Baguio City 2600

CONCEPT OF THE TORRENS SYSTEM OF LAND REGISTRATION

The Torrens system of land registration does not create or vest title to land. It merely confirms and records title which are already existing and vested.

It is not intended as a mode of acquiring ownership. It is intended merely to confirm and register the title which one may already have on the land.

If the applicant possesses no title or ownership over the land, he cannot acquire one under the Torrens system.

PURPOSE OF THE TORRENS SYSTEM OF LAND REGISTRATION

The real purpose of the Torrens system of land registration is to quiet title to land, to put a stop forever to any question as to the legality of the registration in the certificate or those which may arise subsequent thereto.

Once a certificate of title is registered, the owner of the land might rest secure, without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting in the mirador de su casa, to avoid the possibility of losing his land.

BASIC LAWS GOVERNING LAND REGISTRATION IN THE PHILIPPINES

became a law on February 11, 1913.

The law was enacted primarily to put some pressure on landowners to bring their unregistered lands within the operation of the Torrens system.

The proceedings under this law is also judicial, but compulsory with respect to landowners whose holdings are affected by the cadastral survey.

CADASTRAL ACT (ACT NO. 2259)IN WHAT WAY IS LAND REGISTRATION UNDER THE CADASTRAL ACT COMPULSORY?

Unlike in the case of an ordinary land registration proceeding under the Land Registration Act where the owners may apply for registration of their titles to property whenever they find it convenient, under the Cadastral Act, the government initiates the cadastral survey, following by a cadastral proceeding in court for the settlement and adjudication of the property involved.

Here the government files the petition for the registration of the lands affected by the cadastral survey, while the private claimants file their answers to assert their claims or lose them if they should fail.

the law took effect on December 1, 1936.

this law was intended to bring lands which are to be segregated from the mass of public lands within the operation of the Torrens system.

under this law, land registration proceeding may either be judicial or administrative.

it is judicial when it involves the confirmation of imperfect and incomplete titles (Secs. 48 and 51).

it is administrative when it involves certain concessions such as homestead patent, a sales patent, a lease patent or a free patent.

PUBLIC LAND ACT (C.A. 141) law took effect on June 11, 1978.

codified the various laws relative to registration of property.

covers both ordinary and cadastral registration proceedings; it supersedes Act No. 496 (Land Registration Act) and Act 2259 (Cadastral Act).

Section 48(b), CA No. 141, The Public Land Act still governs the procedure for the judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles over public lands.

PROPERTY REGISTRATION DECREE (P.D. No. 1529)MODES OF BRINGING LANDS UNDER THE TORRENS SYSTEM BY JUDICIAL PROCEEDING WHICH MAY BE:

VOLUNTARY/ORDINARY: At the landowners initiative and expense under the following laws:

Act 496 (now Sections 14-34, PD No. 1529)

Sec. 48, CA No. 141, as amended by RA 6940.

COMPULSORY: At the instance of the government, through the Director of Lands, under the following rules:

Act No. 2259 (now Sections 35-38, PD No. 1529)

Sec. 53, CA No. 141, as amended.

BY ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING:

This mode does not require judicial intervention and is compulsory with respect to:

Public land patents granted by the government under CA 141. Section 103, PD 1529 provides that upon the registration of the patent in the Registry of Deeds, the land shall be deemed registered for all intents and purposes.

Agrarian reform lands transferred to tenants by way of emancipation patent under the CARL provides that when an emancipation patent covers heretofore unregistered private lands, the lands, upon registration of the patent, shall be deemed registered for all intents and purposes.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A DECREE OF REGISTRATION/CERTIFICATE OF TITLE

A decree of registration or the corresponding certificate of title binds the land, quiets title thereto, and shall be CONCLUSIVE against all persons, including the government. (Secs. 31, 32, PD 1529)

After one (1) year from its entry or even earlier in cases where title to the land has been transferred to an innocent purchaser for value, the decree becomes final and INCONTROVERTIBLE. (Sec. 32, PD 1529).

A TORRENS title issued pursuant to a homestead patent, free patent, or sales patent under the Public Land Act has the same force and effect as a Torrens title.

The operative act that conveys or affects a registered land is the act of registration insofar as third persons are concerned.

No title to registered land in derogation of the title of the registered owner shall be acquired by prescription or adverse possession. (Sec. 47, PD 1529) However, the registered owner may be barred from invoking the imprescriptibility of his title by virtue of the equitable principle of laches. (Heirs of Batiog-Lacamen v. Heirs of Lauran, 65 SCRA 605)

Torrens titles are not subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified, or cancelled, except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law. (Sec. 108, PD 1529)

TORRENS TITLE

A Torrens title is the certificate of ownership issued under the Torrens system of land registration by the government, thru the Register of Deeds, naming and declaring the owner of the real property described therein, free from all liens and encumbrances, except as may be expressly noted thereon or otherwise reserved by law.

Legally defined, a certificate of title is the transcript of the decree of registration made by the Register of Deeds. (PNB v. Tan Ong Zse, 51 Phil. 317)

SPANISH TITLES

Spanish titles are no longer valid.

By virtue of PD 892 which was issued on February 16, 1976, the system of registration under the Spanish Mortgage Law has been abolished.

Consequently, Spanish titles are no longer admissible in evidence to establish ownership of land in land registration proceedings.

Such lands are now considered as unregistered private lands. (Sec. 3, PD 1529)

PROBATIVE VALUE OF A CERTIFICATE OF TITLE

The simple possession of a certificate of title does not necessarily make the holder thereof the true owner of the property described therein, such as when the title includes by mistake or oversight land which can no longer be registered, or when the same land had already been registered.

Registration does not vest title; it is not a mode of acquiring ownership over property. It is merely evidence of such title over particular property. A Torrens certificate is the best evidence of ownership over registered land. (Villanueva v. CA, 198 SCRA 472)

PROBLEM:A donated to B a piece of land belonging to C. B promptly registered the donation and secured a title in his name. Is Bs title valid?ANSWER:

No, because a donor cannot lawfully convey what does not belong to him. If at all, B merely holds the property in trust for the true owner.

While land registration is a proceeding in rem, and binds the whole world, the simple possession of a certificate of title under the Torrens system does not necessarily make the holder the true owner of the property described therein. It is not a mode of acquiring ownership. (Miranda v. CA, 177 SCRA 303)

QUESTION:

When two certificates of title are issued to different persons covering the same parcel of land, in whole or in part, which title prevails?ANSWER:

The earlier in date prevails.

In case of successive registration where more than one certificate is issued over the same parcel of land, the person holding a prior certificate is entitled to the land as against a person who relies on a subsequent one. (Margolles v. CA, 230 SCRA 97)

VOID TORRENS TITLE 1. The title was procured thru fraud.

as when a person applies for registration of a land in his name although he knows that the same belongs to another.

as when a person, by means of a forged deed of sale, succeeds in obtaining a certificate of title in his favor on the strength of the deed supposedly signed by the owner unless the property has been transferred to an innocent purchaser for value.

2. The title covers land reserved for military, naval, or civil public purposes.

3. The title was issued over a parcel of land already covered by a prior Torrens title.

The court has no jurisdiction whatsoever to inquire into, settle, and adjudicate a title which it had previously determined.

The applicant in the latter registration proceeding cannot complain because the earlier proceeding was one in rem and he was, therefore, made aware of registration therein entered.

QUESTION:

Which of two titles is superior: an earlier title secured administratively or a later title secured through a judicial proceeding?ANSWER:

The person holding the prior certificate of title is entitled to the land as against the person who relies on the second certificate.

Pursuant to Section 32 of PD No 1529, upon the expiration of one year from the issuance or entry of the decree of registration, the decree and certificate shall become indefeasible and incontrovertible. This provision also applies to titles acquired through homestead patents. (Lahora v. Dayanghirang, 37 SCRA 346)

NATURE OF LAND REGISTRATION PROCEEDINGS

The proceeding for the registration of lands under the Torrens system is in rem and not in personam.

As such proceeding in rem, it binds all persons known and unknown, and the title issued as a result thereof is binding and conclusive upon the whole world.

All persons who may be adversely affected by the proceedings are so bound by the proceedings, innocent factually as they might have been of the publication of the notice of initial hearing.

COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION

RTCs have plenary jurisdiction over land registration proceedings AND over all petitions filed after registration of titles. (Sec. 2, PD 1529)

MTCs may be delegated to hear and decide cadastral and land registration cases covering:

lots without controversy or opposition.

contested lots where the value does not exceed 100,000.00. (Sec. 34, BP 129, as amended by RA 7691 and SC Circular No. 6-93-A and SC Circular No. 7-96 [Strict Observance of Land Registration Authority (LRA) Circulars on Reconstitution and Land Registration Cases])

SCOPE OF JURISDICTIONAll petitions or motions after original registration shall be filed and entitled in the original case in which the decree of registration was entered. (Sec. 8, PD 1529)

The RTC has jurisdiction over all civil actions which involve the title to or possession of real property or any interest therein. (Sec. 19, BP Blg 129)

Hence, the CA or the LRA has no jurisdiction to cancel a certificate of title. (Manotok vs. Barque, GR. No. 162335, 18 December 2008)

QUESTION:If an application for registration of title is denied, may the applicant refile it?ANSWER:

The dismissal of an application for registration of title is not deemed res judicata, except if such dismissal is with prejudice.

The denial of the application for registration means that the applicant has not furnished that quantum of proof showing an absolute title in fee simple which is required under the law. If later he can present evidence to show his absolute ownership, he can refile the application.

QUESTION:Is a motion for intervention proper in a land registration case?ANSWER:

No. Unlike in ordinary civil actions where parties may include the plaintiff, the defendant, third-party complainants, cross-claimants, and intervenors, the only parties in cases of original applications for land registration are the applicant and the oppositor. (Secs. 14 and 25, PD 1529).

A party wishing to be heard in a land registration case should ask for the lifting of the order of general default, and then if lifted, file an opposition to the application for registration. This is so because proceedings in land registration are in rem and not in personam, the sole object being the registration applied for, not the determination of any right connected with the registration.

QUESTION:

Is a motion to dismiss allowed in a land registration case?

ANSWER:

Yes, because both the Land Registration Act and the Property Registration Decree do not provide for a pleading similar to a motion to dismiss.

However, Section 34 of PD 1529 specifically provides that the Rules of Court shall, insofar as not inconsistent with the provisions of this Decree, be applicable to land registration and cadastral cases by analogy or in a suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient.

REGALIAN DOCTRINE

The doctrine gives the legal presumption that all lands of whatever classification belong to the State. Unless it is shown that the State has alienated or transferred ownership thereof to a private person by authority of the law, the land remains with the State in dominus. Hence, in land registration proceedings, the burden of proof lies with the person claiming to have acquired a registerable title to a parcel of land.

EXCEPTION TO THE REGALIAN DOCTRINEAncestral lands and ancestral domains are not deemed part of the lands of the public domain but are private lands belonging to indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples who have actually occupied, possessed and utilized their territories under claims of ownership, based on NATIVE TITLE since time immemorial.

The rights of ICCs and IPs may be acquired in two modes: by NATIVE TITLE, over both ancestral lands and domains.

by TORRENS TITLE, under the Public Land Act and Property Registration Decree with respect to ancestral lands only. (IPRA Law of 1997 [RA 8371] Oct. 29, 1997) MODES OF ACQUISITION OF LANDS BY ICCs AND IPsBASIS OF NATIVE TITLEYou ask if we own the land. . . How can you own that which will outlive you? Only the race owns the land because only the race lives forever. To claim a piece of land is a birthright of every man. The lowly animals claim their place; how much more man? Man is born to live. Apu Kabunian, Lord of us all, gave us life and placed us in the world to live human lives. And where shall we obtain life? From the land. To work (the land) is an obligation, not merely a right.

In tilling the land, you possess it. And so land is a grace that must be nurtured. To enrich it and make it fructify is the eternal exhortation of Apu Kabunian to all his children. Land is sacred. Land is Beloved. From its womb springslife.

Macli-ing DulagChieftain, Kalinga TribeTHE CARINO RULINGAn Igorot applicant was granted land registration over a parcel of land held by him and his ancestors for more than fifty (50) years prior to the effectivity of the Treaty of Paris on April 11, 1899.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated: x x x when, as far back as testimony or memory goes, the land has been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership, it will be presumed to have been held in the same way from before the Spanish conquest, and never to have been public land. (Carino v. Insular Government, 41 Phil 935 (1909); also reported in 212 U.S. 449, 53 L. Ed. 594)

NON-REGISTRABLE PROPERTIESPROPERTIES OF PUBLIC DOMINION

properties of public dominion are reserved for public purposes.

properties of public dominion are held by the state by regalia right, and incapable of private appropriation.

a public market and public plaza are properties of public dominion.

land already registered as patrimonial property of the state.

navigable rivers and lakes are properties of the public dominion.

FORESTS OR TIMBERLANDS, PUBLIC FOREST OR FOREST RESERVES.

inclusion of a forest land in a title nullifies the title.

forest lands cannot be owned by private persons. It is not registrable whether the title is a Spanish title or a Torrens title. It is well-settled that a certificate of title is void when it covers property of public domain classified as forest or timber or mineral land. Any title issued covering non-disposable lots even in the hands of an alleged innocent purchaser for value shall be cancelled.

mangrove swamps are comprised within public forests.

mangrove lands are neither timber nor mineral lands.

FORESHORE LANDS

land covered by the sea at high tide not due to abnormal conditions are part of the shore and therefore public land. seashore, foreshoreland and portions of the territorial waters and beaches cannot be registered.

PREVIOUSLY TITLED LANDMINERAL LAND WATERSHED GRAZING LAND MILITARY RESERVATIONS

QUANTUM OF EVIDENCE IN LAND REGISTRATION PROCEEDINGSQUESTION: What is the quantum of evidence necessary to overcome the presumption that all lands belong to the public domain?ANSWER: Incontrovertible evidence, not merely preponderance of evidence, is required to overcome the presumption that a parcel of land belongs to the public domain under the Regalian Doctrine.

QUESTION: If the title of a claimant or applicant to a public agricultural land is incomplete or imperfect, what is his remedy under the law?PROBLEM: If the claimant or applicant of a parcel of land cannot sustain his claim of private ownership or does not have enough evidence to overcome the presumption that the land belongs to the public domain under the Regalian Doctrine, his ultimate recourse is to admit that the land is a public land but invoke his right to confirm his imperfect or incomplete title thereto under Section 48 of the Public Land Act.

JUDICIAL REGISTRATION OF TITLELand registration proceedings under P.D. No. 1529 and judicial confirmation of imperfect title under C.A. No. 141 (Public Land Act) are the same. REQUIREMENTS FOR JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION OF IMPERFECT TITLE The applicant must be a Filipino citizen.

The applicant has been in open, continuous, exclusive, adverse, and notorious possession of the land for a period of thirty (30) years prior to March 28, 1990. (RA 6940 which took effect on March 28, 1990)

Possession must be under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership.

The land must be agricultural, i.e. neither timber nor mineral.

The period of possession must be thirty (30) years prior to March 28, 1990. (RA 6940, March 28, 1990)

The area applied for shall not exceed twelve (12) hectares.

NOTE: Before RA 6940, the maximum area allowed is 144 hectares (RA 6389); under the original text of CA 141, there was not limit as to the area.The application must be filed within the period prescribed by law.

NOTE: The deadline for the filing of the application has been repeatedly extended every 10 years since 1936, the latest of which was RA 6940, which extended the deadline for the filing of such application until December 31, 2000.

HISTORICAL NOTES ON SECTION 48 OF CA 141Originally, Section 48 (b) of CA 141 provided for the possession and occupation of lands of the public domain since July 4, 1945.

This was superseded by RA 1942 which provided for a simple 30-year prescriptive period of occupation by an applicant for judicial confirmation of an imperfect title.

RA 1942 has been amended by PD 1073 approved on January 25, 1977 which requires possession since June 12, 1945 or prior thereto.

Section 48 (b) of CA 141 in relation to Section 14 (1) of PD 1529 requires possession since June 12, 1945. This provision does not require that the land should have been alienable and disposable during the entire period of possession. The possessor is entitled to judicial confirmation of his title as soon as the land is declared alienable and disposable, subject to the timeframe imposed by Section 47 of the Public Land Act.

the reckoning date to determine whether the land is alienable and disposable is at the time of application.

MAY A PRIVATE CORPORATION APPLY FOR JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION OF IMPERFECT TITLE TO PUBLIC AGRICULTURAL LAND?

In its earlier rulings, the SC held that private corporations are disqualified because of Section 11, Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution (now Section 3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution) which provides that a private corporation may not hold alienable lands of the public domain except by lease. (Meralco v. Bartolome, 114 SCRA 799 [1982]; Iglesia ni Cristo v. Director of Lands, 118 SCRA 729 [1982])

In recent cases, however, the SC completely reversed itself and ruled that private corporations are not disqualified to apply for judicial confirmation under Section 48 of the Public Land Act because if a piece of land of the public domain has been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership for the period prescribed by law, the land, after the lapse of said period, ipso jure ceased to be party of the public domain and becomes private property, thus removing it from the ambit of the constitutional prohibition.

This dictum is derived from Section 48 of the Public Land Act itself, which provided that the possessor of the land shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title. The possessor under such circumstance acquired by operation of law, not only a right to a grant, but a grant from the government; the actual issuance of a title is not necessary in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts. (Susi v. Raton, 48 Phil 424 [1926]. Davao Grains v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 171 SCRA 612 [1989])

MAY THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH HOLD OR OWN ALIENABLE LANDS OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN?

Yes. Being a corporation sole, the Roman Catholic Church is not covered by the prohibition against private corporations or associations from owning or holding such alienable funds of the public domain. (Republic v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 168 SCRA 165 [1988])

CONCEPT OF FOREST LAND UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION

There is a big difference between forest as defined in the dictionary and forest or timber land as a classification of land of the public domain in the Constitution.

One is descriptive of what appears on the land, while the other is a legal status, a classification for legal purposes.

The forest land started out as a forest or vast tracts of wooden land with dense growths of tree and underbrush.

The cutting down of trees and the disappearance of virgin forest do not automatically convert the land of the public domain from forest or timber land to alienable agricultural land. (Republic v. CA, 154 SCRA 476)

ORDINARY LAND REGISTRATION PROCEEDINGSWho may apply for registration of title to land?

Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945, or earlier.

Those who have acquired ownership of private lands by prescription under the provisions of existing laws.

Those who have acquired ownership of private lands or abandoned riverbeds by right of accession or accretion under existing laws.

Those who have acquired ownership of lands in any other manner. (Sec. 14, PD 1529)

PROBLEM:Gloria is the owner of a parcel of land adjoining the bank of a river. On the south of the land is a small strip of land which Gloria vigorously claims as hers by virtue of accretion. Mario equally asserts ownership over the same strip of land because of his long occupation and by virtue of the patent and title issued by the Director of Lands.

Who between Gloria and Mario is the owner of the disputed strip of land?

ANSWER:Being the owner of the adjacent land, Gloria is also the owner of the strip of land by virtue of accretion, she being the riparian owner. The free patent granted by the Director of Lands in favor of Mario is a complete nullity. The Director of Lands has no authority to grant a free patent over a parcel of land that has passed to private ownership and which has thereby ceased to be a public land. For Gloria to become a registered owner of the said strip of land, she must now apply for its registration under the provisions of PD 1529. (Ferrer v. Bautista, 231 SCRA 257)

QUESTION:

May an alien acquire private land in the Philippines?

ANSWER:

As a general rule, an alien may not acquire private land in the Philippines. This is because public policy demands that lands in the Philippines be exclusively owned by Filipinos.

But pursuant to B.P. 158, a former natural-born Filipino citizen who wishes to come and reside in the Philippines may acquire private land in the Philippines subject to the following conditions: (a) AS TO URBAN LANDS: 1,000 square meters; (b) AS TO RURAL LANDS: one hectare; (c) the land must be for residential purposes; and (d) he must have decided to stay in the Philippines as a balikbayan. PROBLEM:A, a Filipina, is married to B, an American. During their marriage, A purchased with conjugal funds a parcel of land and placed it in the name of A married to B. Without Bs consent, A sold the land. B now wants to annul the sale on the ground that it was made without his consent, contending that he is also an owner. Will the action prosper?

ANSWER:

No, because B never acquired ownership of the land even if conjugal funds were used in acquiring the same. This is because an alien is disqualified from acquiring a private land in the Philippines. (Cheesman v. IAC, 193 SCRA 93) PROBLEM:

X, A Chinese national and a permanent resident of the Philippines, purchased a private land from Y, a Filipino. Two years after the sale, X became a Filipino citizen. Can Y still recover the land on the ground that at the time of the sale, X was an alien?

ANSWER: Not anymore. While it is true that by reason of public policy, aliens cannot acquire private lands in the Philippines as the law reserves the ownership of lands to Filipinos only, yet the subsequent naturalization of Y erased the public policy sought to be enforced. The rule is so because the land is now in the hands of a qualified person. (Sarona vda. De Bersabia v. Cuenco, 118 SCRA 547 [1982])

QUESTION:If a parcel of land is sold a retro, who between the vendor and the vendee has the right to apply for registration?ANSWER:

Where a parcel of land has been sold under pacto de retro, the vendor a retro may file an application for the original registration of the land, provided that it should be filed within the stipulated period of redemption.

Should the redemption period expire during the pendency of the registration proceedings and ownership to the property is consolidated in the vendee a retro, the latter shall be substituted for the applicant and may continue the proceedings.

QUESTION:X, Y, and Z are co-owners of a parcel of a land. If they want to have the land registered, can only one of them file the application?

ANSWER:

No, because the law requires that all the co-owners must file the application. (Sec. 14, PD 1529)

QUESTION:May a non-resident Filipino citizen file an application for land registration?

ANSWER:

Yes, but he shall file with his application an instrument in due form appointing an agent or representative residing in the Philippines, giving his full name and postal address and shall therein agree that the service of any legal processes in the proceedings under or growing out of the application made upon his agent or representative shall be of the same legal effect as if made upon the applicant within the Philippines. (Sec. 16, PD 1529)

QUESTION:What is the best evidence to establish the identity of the land applied for?

ANSWER:

The applicant in a land registration case must submit in evidence the original tracing cloth plan of the land applied for, duly approved by the Director of Lands. This is a statutory requirement or mandatory character which cannot be waived. The purpose of this requirement is to fix the exact or definite identity of the land as shown in the plan and technical descriptions.

QUESTION:An applicant in a land registration case failed to mark in evidence the original tracing cloth plan of the land applied for. Instead, he presented a blue print copy of the plan as evidence. Is this sufficient?

ANSWER:

Yes. It is true that the best evidence to identify a parcel of land for registration is the original cloth plan, yet the blue print copy of the plan suffices for the purpose where the original tracing cloth plan was attached to the application for registration. (Republic v. IAC, 144 SCRA 705)

Moreover, even the true certified copy of the white paper plan would suffice if it bears the approval of the Land Registration Authority and verified by the Bureau of Lands. The fact therefore that the original survey plan was recorded on white paper instead of a tracing cloth plan should not detract from the probative value thereof. (Dir. of Lands v. CA, 158 SCRA 586 [1988])

VIII. STEPS TO REGISTER A LAND UNDER THE TORRENS SYSTEMQUESTION:

What are the steps in chronological order to register a land under the Torrens system?

ANSWER:

SF-ST-PS-FH-DIET-IThe various steps leading to the registration of titles under the Torrens system are as follows:Survey of the Land The land applied for may be surveyed by the Bureau of Lands or by a licensed private surveyor. If surveyed by a private surveyor, the corresponding plan, and technical description of the property prepared by the surveyor has to be approved by the Director of Lands.

The Property Registration Decree (PD 1529) requires the Director of Lands to sign and approve the survey plan of the land applied for, otherwise, the title is void. No plan or survey may be admitted in land registration proceedings until approved by the Director of Lands.

The submission of the plan is a statutory requirement of mandatory character. Unless a plan and its technical description are duly approved by the Director of Lands, the same are of no value. (University of the Philippines v. Rosario, 355 SCRA 591 [2001])

Filing of Application Section 15 of PD 1529 provides that an application shall be in writing, signed by the applicant or by the person duly authorized to do so in his behalf.

The application shall contain a description of the land and shall state the citizenship and civil status of the applicant, whether single or married, and, if the marriage has been legally dissolved, when an how the marriage relation terminated.

The applicant shall likewise state the full names and addresses of all occupants of the land and those of the adjoining owners, if known, and if not known, it shall state the extent of the search made to find them.

The application must be accompanied with a tracing cloth plan approved by the Bureau of Lands.

The Clerk of Court will not accept any application unless it is shown that the applicant has furnished the Director of Lands with a copy of the application and all annexes. (Section 17, PD 1529)

Setting of date of Initial Hearing The court shall, within five (5) days from the filing of the application, issue an order setting the date and hour of the initial hearing which shall not be earlier than forty-five (45) days nor later than ninety (90) days from the date of the order.

Section 23 of PD 1529 requires that the public be given notice of the initial hearing of the application by means of publication, mailing, and posting.

Transmittal to LRA If the Land Registration Authority (LRA) finds a mistake committed in the application or that certain documents required were not submitted, it reports the same to the court which issues an order requiring the applicant to make the necessary corrections or submit the requirement documents.

Before the notice of hearing is published, all these requirements must first be complied with by the applicant.

Publication of Notice of Initial Hearing Upon receipt of the order of the court setting the date and time for hearing, the LRA shall cause a notice of initial hearing to be published once in the Official Gazette and once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines.

Service of Notice upon Contiguous owners the LRA shall also, within seven (7) days after publication of the notice of hearing in the Official Gazette, cause a copy of the notice of initial hearing to be mailed to every person named in the notice whose address is known. (Section 23, 2(a), PD 1529)Filing of answer or opposition A private person may not oppose an application for registration filed by a party on the ground that the land applied for is a property of the government.If no person appears and answers within the time allowed, the court shall, upon motion of the applicant; order a general default to be recorded and require the applicant to present evidence. When an appearance has been entered, a special default order shall be entered against persons who did not answer. A general default is not a guarantee to the success of an application. The applicant must show even though there is no opposition, to the satisfaction of the court, that he owns the property under the Torrens system.

Hearing of the Application

Decision of the Court

Issuance of order declaring finality of judgmentEntry of Decree of Registration After receipt of the order from the court directing him to issue the corresponding decree of registration, pursuant to Section 39 of PD 1529, the LRA administrator issues the corresponding decree. This decree shall bind the land and quiet title thereto.

Transmittal of Decree to the Register of Deeds.

Issuance of Certificate of Title.QUESTION:

May a non-resident Filipino citizen file an application for land registration?

ANSWER:

Yes, but he shall file with his application an instrument in due form appointing an agent or representative residing in the Philippines, giving his full name and postal address and shall therein agree that the service of any legal processes in the proceedings under or growing out of the application made upon his agent or representative shall be of the same legal effect as if made upon the applicant within the Philippines. (Section 16, PD 1529)

PROBLEM:

In a land registration proceeding, the applicant failed to include the name of a potential claimant in his petition purportedly because the name of such claimant did not appear in his survey plan as an adjacent owner, or claimant, or possessor.

The applicant was merely informed about the possibility that his application may have included the land of the potential claimant.Is the omission to include the name of a potential claimant fatal to the application for registration of a land title?

ANSWER:

Yes. Section 15 of PD 1529 is explicit in requiring that in the application for registration of land titles, the application shall also state the full names and addresses of all occupants of the land and those of the adjoining owners if known, and if not known, it shall state the extent of the search made to find them.

A mere statement of the lack of knowledge of the names of the occupants is not sufficient but what search has been made to find them necessary. (Divina v. Court of Appeals, 352 SCRA 527 [2001])QUESTION:

What is the best evidence to establish the identity of the land applied for?

ANSWER:

In director of Lands v. Reyes, 68 SCRA [1975], the SC held that the applicant in a land registration case must submit in evidence the original tracing cloth plan of the land applied for, duly approved by the Director of Lands.

This is a statutory requirement or mandatory character which cannot be waived.

The purpose of this requirement is to fix the exact or definite identity of the land as shown in the plan and technical descriptions.

QUESTION:

An applicant in a land registration case failed to mark in evidence the original tracing cloth plan of the land applied for. Instead, he presented a blue print copy of the plan as evidence. Is this sufficient?

ANSWER:

Yes. It is a settled rule that while the best evidence to identify a parcel of land for registration is the original cloth plan, yet the blue print copy of the plan suffices for the purpose where the original tracing cloth plan was attached to the application for registration. (Republic v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 144 SCRA 705 [1986]; Republic v. Court of Appeals, 167 SCRA 150 [1988] Republic v. Court of Appeals, 131 SCRA 150 [1984])

It is also settled that even the true certified copy of the white paper plan would suffice if it bears the approval of the Land Registration Authority and verified by the Bureau of Lands.

The fact therefore that the original survey plan was recorded on white paper instead of a tracing cloth should not detract from the probative value thereof. (Director of Lands v. Court of Appeals, 158 SCRA 586 [1988])

QUESTION:

In a land registration case, what are the distinctions between the decision rendered by the court and the decree issued pursuant thereto?

ANSWER:

The decision of the land registration court and the decree issued pursuant thereto may be distinguished as follows:The decision is rendered by the court as soon as the evidence of both parties have been submitted, while a decree is issued in pursuance of an order of the court after the judgment has become final.

The decision contains a statement of the facts proved in the hearing and the law applicable thereto, together with an order for the registration of the property, while a decree is in the form of an order of the court stating that the property is registered in the name of the applicant, and contains a technical description of the property, and a statement of the encumbrances or limitations affecting the same.

The decision is actually signed by the judge rendering it, while the decree which bears the name of the judge ordering its issuance is signed by the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) who attests the date and hour of its issuance.

A decision in a land registration proceeding does not become final till after the expiration of fifteen (15) days from receipt or notice thereof; a decree of registration does not become final till after the lapse of one year from the date of its issuance and entry.

The grounds for the review of the decision and decree are different (Section 32, PD 1529; Section 1, Rule 38, Rules of Court)

A petition for review of a decree can be had on the ground of actual fraud within one year from entry thereof, while a review of a decision or relief from judgment must be filed within a period of sixty days from the discovery but not beyond six (6) months from entry.

IX. Publication, Opposition, DefaultQUESTION:

What is meant by the provision under Section 23 of PD 1529 that publication of the notice of initial hearing in the Official Gazette shall be sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court?

ANSWER:

As explained by the SC in Republic v. Marasigan, 198 SCRA 219 (1991), the provision under Section 23 of PD 1529 was never meant to dispense with the requirement of notice by mailing and posting.

What it simply means is that insofar as publication is concerned, there is sufficient compliance if the notice is published in the Official Gazette.

Although the law mandates that it be published once in the Official Gazette and once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines, publication in the latter alone would not suffice.

This is to accord primacy to the official publication to the official publication.

According to the Supreme Court, such provision was never meant to dispense with the other modes of giving notice, which remains mandatory and jurisdictional. If the intention of the law were otherwise, Section 23 would not have stressed in detail the requirements of mailing of notice to all persons named in the petition who per Section 15 of the Decree, include owners of adjoining properties and occupants of the land.

(Note: In Director of Lands v. Court of Appeals, 276 SCRA 276 [1997], it was held that public of the notice of initial hearing in a newspaper of general circulation is mandatory and imperative. Absent such publication, the land registration court cannot validly confirm the title of the applicant for registration)

QUESTION:

What are the purposes of publishing the notice of hearing in a land registration case?

ANSWER:

Publication of the notice of initial hearing has a dual purpose: (a) to confer jurisdiction; and (b) to invite all interested parties.

QUESTION:

What is the effect of a defective publication?

ANSWER:

A defective publication of the notice of initial hearing deprives the court of jurisdiction (Po v. Republic, 40 SCRA 37 [1971]) When a court lacks jurisdiction to take cognizance of a case, it lacks the authority over the whole case an all its aspects, it I the proper publication of the notice of initial hearing that brings in the whole world as a party in the case and confers the court with jurisdiction to hear and decree it. (Register of Deeds of Malabon v. RTC of Malabon, Branch 170, 181 SCRA 788 [1990])

QUESTION:

X filed an application for land registration covering 50 hectares of land. After publication of the notice of initial hearing, X amended his application tin include 20 hectares of land.

Is there a need to republish the notice of hearing? Will your answer be the same if the amendment involves 200 square meters only?

ANSWER:

If the amendment included another 20 hectares to the original application, there is a need to republish the notice of hearing because the additional area applied for is substantial in character.

However, if such additional area is only two hundred (200) square meters, the amendment is deemed not substantial and therefore no republication of the notice of hearing is required.

The additional area applied for is subsumed in the phrase more or less. (Benin v. Tuazon, 57 SCRA 531 [1974])

QUESTION:

If the original survey plan of the land applied for is amended, is there a need to republish the notice of initial hearing?It depends. If the original survey plan is amended during the registration proceedings, by the addition of land not previously included in the original plan, a republication of the notice of initial hearing is required if the difference in area is substantial.

However, if the difference in area is not so substantial, republication is no longer required.

The failure to publish the bigger area does not perforce affect the courts jurisdiction.

If the amendment does not involve an addition, but on the contrary, a reduction of the original area that was published, no new publication is required. (Republic v. Court of Appeals, 258 SCRA 223 [1996])(Note: If the amendment of the original survey plan was made after the court has rendered its decision, there is a need for the re-opening of the land registration proceedings. Republication is not the solution)

QUESTION:

May the oppositor in a land registration case pray for affirmative relief that instead of the applicant, he be declared the owner of the land?

ANSWER:

Yes, because as an oppositor, he can pray that he be declared the owner of the land even if he is not an applicant. He must, however, adduce incontrovertible evidence to prove his claim over the land. (City of Manila v. Lack, 19 Phil 324 [1991])

PROBLEM:

Arthur filed with the RTC a petition for registration of title to a parcel of land.

This was opposed by Ben who claimed to be in actual possession of the land, and by the Director of Lands who prayed that the land be declared a public land, and by the Director of Lands who prayed that the land be declared a public land.

One week before the date of the initial hearing, Arthur filed an ex-parte motion to withdraw his application, which the court granted.

Because of Arthurs withdrawal, Ben and the Director of Lands became the only contending parties in the registration case.

On the date set for the initial hearing, Ben appeared and manifested his readiness to present evidence to prove his registerable title to the property.

However, the court denied the motion on the ground that no further proceedings in the land registration case could be pursued because the conflicting interests therein involved ceased to exist with the withdrawal of Arthurs application.Is Ben entitled to prove his registerable title even if the original applicant had already withdraw his application for registration?

ANSWER:

Yes, Ben is legally entitled to prove his registerable title to the land which is sought to be registered even if Arthur, the original applicant, had already withdrawn his application for land registration.

Under Section 37 of Act No. 496, as amended by Act 3621, the withdrawal of Arthurs application does not terminate the registration proceeding when there is an adverse claim.

The opposition filed by the Director of Lands is, for all intents and purposes, a conflicting interest as against that of the applicant Arthur or of the oppositor Ben, asserting a claim over the land sought to be registered.

Consequently, the withdrawal by either Arthur or Ben from the case does not ipso facto obliterate the conflicting interests in the case.

Neither is the case terminated because under Section 37 of Act No. 496, as amended by Republic Act 3621, the Trial court is required to resolve the claims of the remaining parties, the withdrawal of the application by the applicant and/or the oppositor notwithstanding. (Director of Lands v. Court of Appeals, 303 SCRA 495 [1999])

QUESTION:

Distinguish between general default and special default?ANSWER:

Under Section 26 of PD 1529, a general default is ordered by the court if no person appears within the time prescribed.

This is done, as a rule, upon motion of the applicant when the case is called at the initial hearing, but may also be ordered by the court motu proprio. If the applicant himself fails to appear, the court may dismiss his application without prejudice.Where a party appears at the initial hearing without having filed an answer or opposition and asks the court for time within which to file the same, and this has accordingly been ganted, in case of failure of such party to file his answer or opposition within the period allowed, he may be declared specially in default.

In other words, a special default operates only against certain specific person or persons.

PROBLEM:

In a land registration case, an oppositor filed an answer based on substantial grounds. At the initial hearing, the oppositor failed to appear despite notice.

May the land registration court declare the oppositor in default?

Section 26 of PD 1529 which provides that if no person appears and answers within the time allowed, the court may at once upon motion of the applicant, no reason to the contrary appearing, order a general default to be recorded cannot be interpreted to mean that the court can just disregard the answer (now opposition) before it, which has long been filed, for such interpretation would be nothing less than illogical, unwarranted and unjust. Had the law intended that failure of the oppositor to appear on the date of the initial hearing would be a ground for default despite his having filed an answer, it would have been so stated in unmistakable terms, considering the serious consequences of default. (Director of Lands v. Santiago, 160 SCRA 186 [1988])X. THE REGISTER OF DEEDSQUESTION:

May the Register of Deeds refuse to register a contract of sale on the ground that it is void?

ANSWER:

No. Section 10 of PD 1529 in relation to Section 117 thereof, expressly provides that the function of the Register of Deeds with reference to the registration of deeds, encumbrances, instruments, and the like is ministerial in nature.

The Register of Deeds is entirely precluded by Section 10 of PD 1529 from exercising his personal judgment and discretion when confronted with a problem of whether to register a document or instrument on the ground that it is invalid.

Such determination is a function that properly belongs to a court of competent jurisdiction. (Almirol v. The Register of Deeds of Agusan, 22 SCRA 1152 [1968])

QUESTION:

If the Register of Deeds is in doubt as the proper action to take on an instrument or deed presented to him for registration, what is his remedy under the law?

ANSWER:

If the Register of Deeds is in doubt as the proper action to take on an instrument or deed presented to him for registration, he may himself, pursuant to Section 117 of PD 1529, submit the question to the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority.

QUESTION:

If the Register of Deeds denies registration of an instrument, what is the remedy of the aggrieved party?

ANSWER:

The aggrieved party must resort to the remedy of a consulta and not resort to the remedy of mandamus. (Almirol v. The Register of Deeds of Agusan, 22 SCRA 1152 [1968])QUESTION:

What is the effect of the resolution or ruling of the LRA Administrator in consulta?

ANSWER:

The resolution or ruling of the LRA Administrator in consulta shall be conclusive and binding upon all Register of Deeds.

However, the resolution or ruling of the LRA Administrator may be taken by the aggrieved party to the Court of Appeals by way of a verified petition for review within fifteen (15) days from notice of said resolution or order or the denial of the aggrieved partys motion for reconsideration. (see also Section 117, PD 1529, SC Circular No. 1-95, June 1, 1995)

XI. Remedies in Land Registration ProceedingsANSWER:

The following are the remedies available to the parties in land registration proceedings.

Writ of Possession. This remedy is available to the successful registrant whenever the land applied for is in the possession of an adverse claimant.

It is an order issued by the land issued by the LR court commanding the sheriff to enter the land and deliver possession thereof to the successful registrant.

The writ may be availed by the successor-in-interest of the successful registrant.

It is ministerial and it can be invoked as a matter of right. The court has no discretion and a judge who refuses to issue the writ can be compelled by mandamus to issue it. (De Luna v. Kayanan, 61 SCRA 49 [1974])

A collateral attack on the title does not bar the issuance of a writ of possession (Sorsogon v. Makalintal, 80 Phil 259)

The writ is available against all DANU

Persons who were defeated in the case;Persons who answered and appeared;Persons who were served notice but did not appear and answerPersons who unlawfully occupied the land during the proceedings up to the issuance of the final decree.Note:

If occupied after a final decree, remedy is to file a separate writ axn not a writ of Possession.

However, a judgment in a land registration case can not be executed by the issuance of a final decree of registration while the case is on appeal.

Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which allows execution while the case is on appeal cannot be applied because it violates PD 1529 which provides that a final decree of registration can only be issued after the decision has become final and executor.

But more than that, it is fraught with dangerous consequences and goes against the very essence of the Torrens system of land registration. (Director of Lands v. Reyes, 68 SCRA 177 [1975])

Motion for New Trial/Motion for Reconsideration.

It is a remedy found in the Rules of Court.

It is available to the losing party in the land registration case during the period within which to appeal and may be granted on the following grounds:

Fraud, accident, mistake or excusable neglect which ordinary prudence could not have guarded against and by reason of which the movants rights have been impaired.Newly discovered evidence which he could not, with reasonable diligence, have discovered and produced at the trial, and which presented would probably alter the result.The evidence is not sufficient to support the decision; andThe decision is contrary to law.

Appeal. This remedy may be availed of within fifteen (15) days from the notice of the judgment. An appeal can be perfected by the simple expedient of serving a notice of appeal upon the adverse party and the court.

Petition for Relief from Judgment. This remedy is available when a party was unjustly deprived of a hearing (or has been prevented from taking an appeal) due to fraud, mistake or excusable negligence.

He may file the petition with the same court within sixty (60) days after he learns of the decision, order, or proceeding to be set aside, but not more than six (6) months after such judgment or order was entered.

The petition must be accompanied with affidavits showing the fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence relied upon and all the facts constituting the petitioners good and substantial cause of action or defense, as the case may be, which he may prove if his petition may be granted (Section 3, Rule 38, Rules of Court).

The period of six (6) months within which a petition for relief may be field should be computed not from the entry of such judgment or order. Under Section 2, Rule 36 of the Rules of Court, a judgment or order is entered by the Clerk after expiration of the period for appeal or motion for new trial, i.e. after fifteen (15) days from notice, according to Rules 37 and 41. (Sorian v. Asi 100 Phil 785 [1957])

Petition for Review of the Decree for Registration. A remedy expressly provided in Section 32 of PD 1529. This remedy has the following requirements. DAOP

The petition must be filed by a person claiming dominical or other real right to the land registered in the name of another.The registration of the land in the name of the successful registrant was procured by means of actual (not just constructive) fraud and which must be extrinsic.

The petition must be filed within one (1) year from the date of issuance of the decree of registration assailed of.

Title to the land has not yet passed to an innocent purchaser for value (Libudan v. Gil, 48 SCRA 27 [1972]; Pablico v. Arrellana, 30 SRA 513 [1969]). This requirement is in accordance with the rule that a buyer in good faith does not have to look beyond the Torrens title in search for any hidden defect or inchoate right which may later invalidate or diminish his right to what he purchased. (Lopez v. Court of Appeals, 169 SCRA 271 [1989])

Action for Reconveyance. This action is in the nature of an action in personam which may be availed of by a person claiming to own the land which was wrongfully registered in the name of the defendant. It is an action based on equity and has the following requirements. DAMP

The action must be filed by a person claiming ownership or other dominical right over the land which was registered in the name of the defendant.The registration of the land in defendants name was procured by means of fraud or mistake.

The action is brought within four (4) years from the date of discovery of the fraud or mistake, but not later than (10) years from the date of registration.The property has not yet passed to an innocent purchaser for value. (Walstrom v. Mapa, 181 SCRA 431 [1990]) Where a trustee registers a piece of land in his name, the real owner can always ask for conveyance of the title. But if the trustee has repudiated the trust and such act has been made known to the cestui que trust, and evidence of such repudiation is clear and conclusive, prescription will lie and reconveyance will be barred.Note:

Action to quiet title does not prescribe

The Assurance Fund. This a special fund created under the Torrens system of land registration for compensation of certain persons who sustain losses by the operation of the system.

The fund is made up of of 1% of the assessed value of the real estate to be paid upon the original registration of a certificate of title or of a building or other improvements on the land, or upon the entry or of certificate of title in the name of the registered owner.

For compensation under the fund to prosper, the following requisites must be present. GERSED

The claimant must be a person who sustained damage or is deprived of his land as a consequence of bringing the land under the operation of the Torrens system.The claimant must not be guilty of negligence or laches.The loss or damage was due to fraud or in consequence of any error, omission, mistake, or malfeasance of personnel of the Register of Deeds in the performance of their duty.

The claimant is otherwise precluded from bringing an action for the review of the decree or recovery of such land or estate or any interest therein, or damages from the party causing the loss or damage. The action must be brought within six (6) years from the issuance of the certificate of title.The loss is not caused by breach of trust, whether express, implied or constructive, committed by the registered owner who was a trustee of the claimant.

QUESTION:

Does the land registration court have jurisdiction or authority to issue a writ of demolition?

ANSWER:

Yes. Otherwise writ of possession is ineffective.

A land registration court has jurisdiction or authority to order, as a consequence of the writ of possession issued by it, the demolition of improvement introduced by the defeated oppositor or his successor-in-interest.

The writ of demolition is but a complement of the writ of possession, without which the latter would be ineffective. (Baltazar, et. Al. v. Caridad, et. al., 7 SCRA 460 [1966])

QUESTION:What kind of fraud is contemplated by laws as a ground for the filing of a petition for review of a decree of registration under Section 32 of PD 1529?

ANSWER:Only extrinsic fraud or collateral fraud as distinguished from intrinsic fraud, is a ground for a petition for review.

QUESTION:

Distinguish between extrinsic fraud and intrinsic fraud.

ANSWER:

Extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the successful party in a litigation which is committed outside the trial of a case against the defeated party, or his agents, attorneys or witnesses, whereby said defeated party is prevented from presenting fully and fairly his side of the case.

On the other hand, intrinsic fraud refers to acts of a party in a litigation during the trial, such as the use of forged instruments or perjured testimony, which did not affect the presentation of the case, but did prevent a fair and just determination of the case. (Sterling Investment Corp. v. Ruiz, 30 SCRA 318 [1969]), citing Palanca v. American Food Mfg Co, 24 SCRA 819 [1968]; Libudan v. Gil, 45 SCRA 17 [1972])QUESTION:

If a false affidavit of loss was used in reconstitution case, does it constitute extrinsic fraud that would warrant the invalidation of a final judgment in said case?ANSWER:

No. The use of a false affidavit of loss in a reconstitution case is similar to the use during trial of forged instruments or perjured testimony.

In Palanca v. Republic, 24 SCRA 819 [1968], it was held that the use of a forged instrument constituted only intrinsic fraud, for while it perhaps prevented a fair and just determination of a case, the use of such instrument or testimony did not prevent the adverse party from present his case fully and fairly.

But a judgment otherwise final may be annulled not only on the ground of extrinsic fraud but also because of lack of jurisdiction of the court which rendered it.

Thus, if a certificate of title has not been lost but is in fact in the possession of another person, the reconstituted title is void and the court rendering the decision has not acquired jurisdiction. Consequently, the decision may be attacked any time. (Demetriou v. Court of Appeals, 238 SCRA 158 [1994)

PROBLEM:

X sold an unregistered parcel of land to Y in 1932 and the latter immediately took possession thereof.

Despite the sale, however, X obtained in 1937 a certificate of title over the land pursuant to a decree of registration issued by a land registration court filed by X himself. In 1975, Y committed fraud in causing the land to be registered in his name. X countered by filing a motion to dismiss on the ground that the action had already prescribed and is already barred by laches.Is Y barred from filing the action due to prescription and laches?

ANSWER:

Ys right to bring the action to recover ownership of the land had already prescribed and is already barred by laches.

The law is clear on this point.

The remedy of a landowner whose property has been wrongfully and erroneously registered in the name of another person is to bring an action in the ordinary courts of justice for reconveyance.

Under the law, however, an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten (10) years from the issuance of the Torrens title over the subject property.In the present case, Y slept on his right for thirty eight (38) years counted from the time the certificate of title was issued to X in 1937 until he filed his action for reconveyance in 1975, Ys right to bring such action is already barred by laches as he took no step towards that direction reasonably after the title to the property was issued under the Torrens system. (Manangan v. Court of Appeals, 308 SCRA 139 [1999])

Note: The ruling in the Manangan case contradicts the ruling in the case of Heirs of Olviga v. Court of Appeals, 228 SCRA 330 [1993].

In both cases, the parties claiming ownership were in actual possession of the disputed properties.

In the Olviga case, the SC emphatically declared that the rule on which an action for reconveyance of a parcel of land based on an implied trust prescribes in ten (10) years applies only when the plaintiff is not in possession of the property, and that if the person claiming to be the owner is in actual possession, the right to seek reconveyance, which in effect seeks to quiet title to the property, and that if the person claiming to be the owner is in actual possession, does not prescribe. In the Manangan case, the plaintiff is also in actual possession of the disputed property but the SC has declared that his right to seek reconveyance had already prescribed is barred by laches because of his failure to file the action within 10-year prescriptive period.

We respectfully submit that the ruling in the Olviga case is more accord in law)

PROBLEM:

Arnold is employed as a contract worker in Saudi Arabia. While on vacation in the Philippines, he brought from Benito a parcel of land.

Before leaving for Saudi Arabia, he (Arnold) entrusted the Deed of Sale of the Land and the corresponding certificate of title still in the name of Benito to Cesar, a fellow contract worker, who volunteered to register the sale and transfer the title in Arnolds name.Arnold later learned from Cesar through an overseas telephone call that a transfer of certificate of title of the land had already been issued in Arnolds name and that Cesar will personally deliver the title to Arnold in Saudi Arabia.

However, When Cesar arrived in Saudi Arabia, he informed Arnold that he forgot to bring the title. Arnold immediately called up his relatives in the Philippines and asked them to find out from the Register of Deeds what happened to his title.

To his dismay, Arnold was informed that the certificate of title had indeed been transferred in his name but was subsequently cancelled and a new issued in the name of Dario.

Upon investigation, Arnold found out that while he was in Saudi Arabia, a person identifying himself as Arnold sold the land to Dario.

The sale was registered with the Register of Deeds as a result of which Arnolds certificate of title was cancelled and a new one issued in the name of Dario.Arnold quickly returned to the Philippines, and thereafter filed an action for the nullification of Darios title.

After trial, the court rendered judgment nullifying Darios title. This decision was later affirmed by both the Court of Appeals and the SC.Aggrieved by the loss of the land, Dario filed suit against the National Treasurer of the Republic of the Philippines for compensation under the Assurance Fund.Will the action prosper?

ANSWER:

The action will not prosper. It may be discerned from Section 95 of PD 1529 that the persons who may recover from the Assurance Fund are:Any person who sustains loss or damage under the following conditions:

That there was no negligence on his part; andThat the loss or damage sustained through any omission, mistake or malfeasance of the court personnel, or the Register of Deeds his deputy, or other employees of the Registry in the performance of their respective duties under the provisions of the Property Registration Decree; or

Any person who has been deprived of any land or interest therein under the following conditions:

that there was no negligence on his part;

that he was deprived as a consequence of the bringing of his land or interest herein under the provisions of the Property Registration Decree or by the registration by any other person as owner of such land or by mistake, omission, or misdescription in any certificate or owners duplicate, or in any entry or memorandum in the register or other official took book or by an cancellation; and

that he is barred or in any way precluded from bringing an action for the recovery of such land or interest therein, or claim upon the same.

Darios circumstances do not fall under the first case.

Dario has not alleged that the loss he sustained was through any omission, mistake or malfeasance of the court personnel or the Register of Deeds, his deputy or other employees of the Registry in the performance of their respective duties under the Provisions of the Property Registration Decree.

Moreover, Dario was negligent in not ascertaining whether the impostor who executed the deed of sale in his (Darios) favor was really the owner of the land.

Nor does Darios situation fall under the second case.

He was not deprived of his land as a consequence of the bringing of the land or interest therein under the provisions of the Property Registration Decree.

Neither was the deprivation due to the registration by any other person as owner of such land, or by mistake, omission or misdescription or owners duplicate, or in any entry or memorandum in the register or other official book or by any cancellation.Darios claim is not supported by the purpose for which the Assurance Fund was established.

The assurance Fund is intended to relieve innocent persons from the harshness of the doctrine that a certificate is conclusive evidence of an indefeasible to land.

Dario did not suffer any prejudice because of the operation of this doctrine.

On the contrary, Dario sought to avail of the benefits of the Torrens system by registering the property in his name unfortunately for Dario, the original owner was able to judicially recover the property from him.

That Dario eventually lost the property to the original owner, however, does not entitle him to compensation under the Assurance Fund. (De Guzman Jr. v. National Treasurer of the Republic of the Philippines, 337 SCRA 238 [2000])

QUESTION:

May an owner of a registered land seek the annulment of a transfer thereof on the ground of fraud?ANSWER:

Yes, an owner of a registered land may seek the annulment of a transfer thereof on the ground of fraud.

However, such a remedy is without prejudice to the rights of any innocent purchaser for value with a certificate of title.

This is because every person dealing with registered land may safely rely on the correctness of the certificate of title issued therefor and the law will in no way oblige him to go beyond the certificate of title issued therefore and the law will in no way oblige him to go beyond the certificate to determine the condition of the property. (Obsequio v. Court of Appeals, 230 SCRA 550 [1994])

The right of the innocent purchaser for value must be respected even if the seller obtained his title through fraud.

It is settled that a forged deed can legally be the root of a valid title when an innocent purchaser for value intervenes.

The remedy of the original owner (the person prejudiced) is to bring an action for damages against those who caused or employed fraud, and if the latter are insolvent, an action against the Treasurer of the Philippines may be field for the recovery of damages against the State Assurance Fund (Obsequio, ibid.)

NOTE:

The basic rule is that after the lapse of one year, a decree of registration is no longer open to review or attack although its issuance is attached with actual fraud.

This does not mean, however, that the aggrieved party is without a remedy in law.

If the property has not yet passed to an innocent purchaser for value, an action for reconveyance is still available (Javier v. Court of Appeals, 231 SCRA 498 [1994])

XII. VOLUNTARY AND INVOLUNTARY REGISTRATION OF INSTRUMENTSQUESTION:

Distinguish between the effects of voluntary and involuntary registration of documents in the Register of Deeds.

ANSWER:

In case of voluntary registration of documents, an innocent purchaser for value of registered land becomes the registered owner, and, in contemplation of law the holder of a certificate of title the moment he presents and files a duly notarized and valid deed of sale and the same is entered in the day book (primary entry book) and at the same time he surrenders or presents the owners duplicate certificate of title covering the land sold and pays the registration fees, because what remains to be done lies not within his power to perform (DBP v. Acting Register of Deeds of Nueva Ecija, 162 SCRA 450 [1988])

On the other hand, in cases of involuntary registration of instruments, an entry thereof in the day book of the Register of Deeds is sufficient notice to all persons even if the owners duplicate certificate of title is not presented to the Register of Deeds. (Garcia v. Court of Appeals, 95 SCRA 380 [1980])

QUESTION:

What is the operative act to convey a parcel of land under the Torrens system?

ANSWER:

An innocent purchaser for value of registered land becomes the registered owner and in contemplation of law the holder of a certificate thereof the moment (1) he presents and files a duly notarized and lawful deed of sale and the same is (2) entered on the day book of the Register of Deeds and at the same time (3) he surrenders or presents the owners duplicate certificate of title to the property sold and (4) pays the full amount of registration fees.

This is so because what remains to be done lies not within his power to perform. (DBP v. Acting Register of Deeds of Nueva Ecija, 162 SCRA 450 [1988])QUESTION:

What are the effects of a forged deed of sale?

ANSWER:

A forged deed of sale is a complete nullity and therefore conveys no title. A deed of sale executed by an imposter is null and void. (Section 53, PD 1529, Raneses v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 187 SCRA 397 [1990] Registration thereof will not cure the infirmity.

But where a title to the land has been registered in the name of the imposter who later transfers or conveys the same to an innocent third party for value, the third party acquires a good title thereto. (Fule v. Legare, 7 SCRA 351, [1963], Eduarte v. Court of Appeals, 253 SCRA 391 [1996])

PROBLEM:

Tomas mortgaged a piece of registered land to Ubaldo, delivering as well his certificate of title to the latter.

Despite delivery of the title, however, Tomas continued to posses and cultivate the land, giving one-half of the harvest to Ubaldo in partial payment of his loan obligation.

Without the knowledge of Tomas, Ubaldo forged a deed of sale of the land in his favor, got a certificate of title in his name, and then sold the land to Victor, who bought the land relying on Ubaldos title, and who thereafter got a certificate of title in his own name.

It was only then when Tomas learned that his land had been titled in Victors name.Can Tomas recover the land from Victor?

ANSWER:

Being an innocent purchaser for value, Victor has acquired a clean title of the land.

A forged deed of sale is an absolute nullity and conveys no title.

The fact that the forged deed was registered and a certificate of title was issued in his name, did not operate to vest upon Ubaldos ownership of the property of Tomas.

However once the title to the land is registered in the name of the forger and title to the land thereafter falls into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value, the latter acquires a clean title thereto.

A buyer of registered land is not required to explore beyond what the record in the registry indicates on its face in quest for any hidden defect or inchoate right may subsequently defeat his right.Besides, it appears that Tomas is guilty of contributory negligence when he delivered his certificate of title to Ubaldo, the mortgagee, without annotating the mortgage thereon. Between him and the innocent purchaser for value, he should bear the loss.

QUESTION:

What is a notice of lis pendens?ANSWER:

It means pending suit. Registration of the pending suit is a notice to all that anyone who deals with the same property does so subject to the outcome of the case.

This is applicable to possessory actions, quieting of title, removal of cloud on the title, partition, or any other case involving to, or use and occupation of the real estate in litigation.

QUESTION:

What is the purpose of a notice lis pendens?

ANSWER:

The purpose of a notice lis pendens is to keep the realty subject of the litigation within the power of the court until entry of final judgment. However, a notice lis pendens may be cancelled or discharged for good causes.

PROBLEM:

A sold to B in 1960 a parcel of land covered by TCT 1025.

One year later, C filed an action to annul the sale on the ground that he, not A, is the absolute owner of the property.

Accordingly, C caused the annotation of a notice lis pendends on TCT No. 1025. After years of protracted trial, the court dismissed Cs complaint and declared B, the buyer, as the absolute owner of the property.

Upon order of the court, the notice lis pendens annotated on TCT No. 1025 was cancelled.C appealed to the Court of Appeals.

During the pendency of the appeal, B sold the property to D as a result of which TCT No. 1025 was cancelled and a new one issued in Ds name.

When the title was already in Ds name, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision recognizing Cs right to redeem the property from B.

When no further appeal was taken, the decision became final executory.Armed with the ruling of the Court of Appeals, C sued D for reconveyance of the property and for the annulment of Ds title on the ground that D is a transferee of the property pendent lite; hence, a buyer in bad faith.Will the action prosper?

ANSWER:

The action will not proper.

The sole basis of Cs complaint that D is a transferee pendente lite was the subsistence was the subsistence of the notice lis pendens annotated on TCT No. 1025.

However, it must be pointed out that even if such notice lis pendents on TCT No. 1025 was still subsisting at the time when D bought the property from B, there also was a court order ordering that the annotation be cancelled, as in fact it was cancelled.

To hold that D is still bound by the results of the litigation over the property, despite and notwithstanding the cancellation of the notice lis pendens prior to the termination of the litigation, would consider the doctrine of lis pendens as one of implied or constructive notice.

This view is erroneous.

The notice lis pendens although considered a general notice to all the world, it is not correct to speak of it as part of the doctrine of notice.

A purchaser pendent lite is affected, not by notice, but because the law does not allow litigating parties to give to others, pending the litigation, rights to the property in dispute as to prejudice the opposite party.

The doctrine rests upon public policy, not notice (Tirado v. Sevilla, 188 SCRA 321 [1990])

And since the doctrine rests on public policy, not notice, upon the cancellation of the notice lis pendens, D cannot then be considered as having constructive notice of any defect in the title of his seller B as to make him a transferee pendent lite and a purchaser in bad faith of the property in question.

To hold otherwise would render nugatory the cancellation of the notice lis pendens on TCT No. 1025 despite its cancellation would render said cancellation an empty, unavailing, and purposeless act, which would not have been the intent of the law Lex neminem cogit ad vana seu inutilia peragenda. The law forces no one to do vain or useless things;

(Cases: Specific Performance). The doctrine rests upon public policy not notice. (Tirado v. Sevilla, 188 SCRA 321 [1990])PROBLEM:

Amado sold to Abe a parcel of land for P10 million payable in installments.

Their contract of sale was not registered with the Registry of Deeds nor annotated on Amados certificate of title.

After paying about P6 million corresponding to the downpayment and several semi-annual installments, Abe made no further payments.

Hence, Amado filed suit in1981 to collect from Abe the unpaid balance. Simultaneous with the filling of his answer, Abe filed with the Register of Deeds a notice lis pendens requesting that the same be annotated on Amados title.

Although the notice lis pendens was recorded on the ground that Amados action was for collection of a sum of money and did not involve title to or possession of the subject property.

When Amado needed money to finance a business undertaking, he offered to sell the property to Rey for P24 million.

After determining that Amados title was clean and genuine, Rey agreed to purchase the property for P24 million.

After determining that Amados title was clean and genuine, Rey agreed to purchase the property for P24 million.

Upon payment of the agreed purchase price, Rey obtained a certificate of title over the land in his own name, free from any lien, encumbrance, or adverse claim by a third party.When Abe learned of the sale of the property to Rey and the issuance of a certificate of title in Reys name, he immediately filed suit against Amado and Rey for Annotation of Lis Pendens and Damages.

Among others, Abe asked the court to order the Register of Deeds to annotate on Amados title the notice of lis pendens in relation to the case filed by Amado against him in 1981 and to carry over the same to the title of Rey.Will the action prosper?

ANSWER:

The action will not prosper because there is no such action for annotation of lis pendens as Abe sought in his complaint.

A notice of lis pendens is not and can not be sought as a principal action for relief.

The notice is but an incident to an action, an extrajudicial one.

It is intended merely to constructively advise, or warn, all people who deal with the property that they so deal with it at their own risk, and whatever right they may acquire in the property in any voluntary transaction would be subject to the results of the action, and may well be inferior and subordinate to those which may be finally determined and laid down therein.

As a settled rule, the notice of lis pendens may be annotated only where there is an action or proceeding in court which affects title to or possession of real property. (AFP Mutual Benefit Association, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 327 SCRA 203 [2000])QUESTION:

What is the denial by the Register of Deeds of Abes request for annotation of his notice lis pendens on Amado certificate of title proper?The denial of Abes request for annotation of his notice lis pendens on Amados certificate of title was proper.

This is because the complaint filed by Amado against Abe was for collection of a sum of money and did not involve title to or possession of the property in question.

If Abe did not agree with the denial of the Register of Deeds, he should have appealed the same in consulta to the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) pursuant to Section 17 of PD 1529.

The decision of the Administrator may then be appealed to the Court of Appeals which has exclusive jurisdiction to decide the same pursuant to Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. (AFP Mutual Benefit Association, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 327 SCRA 203 [2000])

QUESTION:

What is an adverse claim?

ANSWER:

An adverse claim is a statement in writing setting forth a claimants alleged right or interest over a realty covered by a certificate of title, how and under whom such right or interest was acquired, and a reference to the volume and page of the certificate of title of the registered owner, and a description of the land in which the right or interest is claimed.QUESTION:

When is an adverse claim sufficient for registration?ANSWER:

An adverse claim is sufficient for registration if it meets the following requisites:That it is adverse to the registered owner;That it arises after original registration; and That it cannot be registered under any other provisions of the Land Registration Act.

QUESTION:

If an adverse claim is duly annotated at the back of the Torrens title, is it deemed automatically cancelled upon the lapse of the 30-day effectivity period?

ANSWER:No. after the lapse of the 30-day period, the annotation of an adverse claim may be cancelled only upon filling of a verified petition by the party-in-interest.

XIII. PETITIONS AND MOTIONS AFTER ORIGINAL REGISTRATIONQUESTION:

Antonio, Bernardo and Carlito are co-owners of a parcel of land.

When Antonio mortgaged his aliquot share in the property (a right granted to him by the Civil Code), his co-owners refused to surrender the owners duplicate copy of the title to the Register of Deeds for registration. What is Antonios remedy under the law?

ANSWER:

Antonios remedy is to file a petition in court for the surrender of the owners duplicate copy of the certificate of title pursuant to Section 107 of PD 1529.

Under the law, when the owners duplicate is being withheld by any party, the latter may be compelled by court process to surrender and present the same to Register of Deeds if there is need to register a transaction.

In case of refusal, the court may order the issuance of a new one for the purpose of annotating the mortgage since there is no substantive controversy that is involved in the case. (Co Chin Leng v. Co Chin Tong, 120 SCRA 821 [1983])QUESTION:

In a petition for replacement of a lost duplicate certificate of title, is notice to the Solicitor General required?ANSWER:

Notice to the Solicitor General in an action for replacement of a duplicate certificate of title is not imposed by Section 109 of PD 1529.

It is the Register of Deeds who should request for representation by the Solicitor General. (Republic v. Court of Appeals, 317 SCRA 504 [1999])

PROBLEM:

The GSS sold to Macaria in 1974 a parcel of residential land under its Low Cost Housing Project.

As a result, Macaria obtained TCT No. 1025 in her name with the annotation thereon that she should not sell the property covered within five (5) years from issuance of the title, except in cases of hereditary succession of resale to GSIS.

A day after the issuance of her title, Macaria sold the property to Maximo.

The Sale was not registered immediately because the GIS prohibited Maximo from registering the same in view of the five-year prohibition to sell.

When Maximo was about to registered the sale after the lapse of the five-year period, he discovered that the owners copy of TCT No. 1025 was missing.

Accordingly, he filed an action for replacement of the title with notice to Macaria at her given address. After ex-parte presentation of Maximos evidence, the court rendered judgment granting the petition.

Claiming that he was the present occupant of the property and the heir of Macaria, Manuel filed a motion to reopen the reconstitution proceedings.

He contends that the decision of the court is null and void because of Maximos failure to send notice to him who is in his capacity as the actual possessor of the property.

He invokes the ruling of the Supreme Court in Alabang Development Corporation v. Valenzuela, 116 SCRA 261[1982] which held that in reconstitution proceedings, courts must make sure that indispensable parties, i.e. the actual owners and possessors of the lands involved, are duly served with actual and personal notice of the petition.

He also contends that the sale between Macaria and Maximo is void because it was made within the five-year prohibition to sell under the Public Land Act.Is Manuel entitled to notice of Maximos petition?

ANSWER:

No. he is not. Manuels reliance on the Alabang case is misplaced because the cause of action in that case is based on RA 26, entitled An Act Providing A Special Procedure for the Reconstitution of Torrens Certificate of Title Lost or Destroyed, while the present case is based on Section 109 of PD 1529.Under RA 26, reconstitution is validly made only in case the original copy of the certificate of title with the Register of Deeds is lost or destroyed.

And if no notice of the date of hearing of a reconstitution case is served on a possessor or one having interest in the property involved, he is deprived of his day in court and the order of reconstitution is null and void. (Manila Railroad Company v. Hon. Jose Moya, et.al. 14 SCRA 358 [1965]) The case at bar is not for reconstitution, but merely for replacement of lost duplicate certificate.

Moreover, petitioner is not entitled to notice because he does not appear to have an interest in the property based on the memorandum of encumbrances on the title.

His claim as an heir of Macaria is also not annotated on the title.

Neither was his claim as such heir entered on any document on file with the Register of Deeds at the time when Maximo filed his petition

QUESTION:

Is the sale between Macaria and Maximo valid?

ANSWER:

Yes. The proscription under Public Land Act on sale within the 5-year restrictive period refers to homestead lands only.

Here the lot in dispute is not a homestead land, but owned by the GSIS in its proprietary capacity.

Moreover, as far as the violation of the 5-year restrictive condition imposed by GSIS in its contract with Macaria is concerned, it is the GSIS and not Manuel who had a cause of action against Maximo.

In this case, GSIS has not filed any action for the annulment of the sale between Macaria and Maximo, nor for the forfeiture of the lot in question.

Accordingly, the contract remains valid between the parties, unless and until annulled in the proper suit filed by the rightful party, the GSIS.

For now, the said contract of sale is binding upon the heirs of Macaria, including Manuel who alleges to be one of the heirs, in line with the rule that heirs are bound by contracts entered into by their predecessors-in-interest. (Article 1311, Civil Code; San Agustin v. Court of Appeals, 371 SCRA 348 [2001])

PROBLEM:

Anton filed with RTC a land regist