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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 fro