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G.R. No. 185020 6 October 2010 Filomena R. Benedicto vs.

Antonio Villaflores Resolution


NACHURA, J.:

Facts: Maria Villaflores owns a lot with an area of 277 square meters. In 1980, she sold a portion to her nephew Antonio Villaflores who then took possession of the portion sold to him and constructed a house thereon. Twelve years later, Maria executed in favor of Antonio a Kasulatan ng Bilihang Tuluyan covering the entire 277 square meters lot. However, Antonio did not register the sale or pay the real property taxes for the subject land. In 1994, Maria sold the same lot to Filomena, evidenced by a Kasulatan ng Bilihang Tuluyan. Filomena registered the sale with the Registry of Deeds who consequently issued a TCT in her name. Since then she paid the real property taxes for the subject parcel of land. In 2000, Filomena filed a case for Accion Publiciana with Cancellation of Notice of Adverse Claim, Damages and Attorneys Fees against Antonio when the latter refused to vacate the property and instead, claimed absolute ownership of the said lot which he himself promised to vacate after five years from the date of sale and after an extension of 1 year where he paid 2,000 monthly rentals. Antonio traversed the complaint, asserting absolute ownership and alleged that he purchased the subject property, took possession of the same and constructed his house thereon. He came to know of the sale in favor of Filomena only in 2000 when the latter demanded that he vacate the property. He averred that Filomena was aware of the sale; hence, the subsequent sale was rescissible, fraudulent, fictitious, or simulated. The RTC rendered a decision sustaining Filomenas ownership and rejected Antonios allegation of bad faith because no sufficient evidence was adduced to prove it. Likewise, the RTC found Antonios evidence of ownership questionable. Nevertheless, hes declared a builder in good faith. Both moved for reconsideration of the decision, but were denied for lack of merit. Filomena and Antonio filed their separate appeals with the CA who rendered the now challenged Decision affirming with modification the RTC decision upholding Filomenas ownership and Antonio as a builder in good faith. However, it remanded the case to the RTC for further proceedings to determine the respective rights of the parties under Articles 448 and 546 of the Civil Code, and the amount due Antonio. Issue: WON Antonio was a builder in good faith and was entitled to reimbursement for the necessary and useful expenses incurred, with right of retention until reimbursement of the said expenses in full. Held: Antonio is a builder in good faith.

It is not disputed that the construction of Antonios house was undertaken long before the sale in favor of Filomena; that when Filomena bought the property from Maria, Antonios house which he used as residence had already been erected on the property. Under Article 448, a landowner is given the option to either appropriate the improvement as his own upon payment of the proper amount of indemnity, or sell the land to the possessor in good faith. Relatedly, Article 546 provides that a builder in good faith is entitled to full reimbursement for all the necessary and useful expenses incurred; it also gives him right of retention until full reimbursement is made. The RTC found good faith on the part of Antonio. Yet, it did not order the reimbursement of the necessary and useful expenses he incurred. The pronouncement of this Court in Pecson v. CA, which was reiterated in Tuatis v. Escol, is instructive, viz.:
The objective of Article 546 of the Civil Code is to administer justice between the parties involved. In this regard, this Court had long ago stated in Rivera vs. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila [40 Phil. 717 (1920)] that the said provision was formulated in trying to adjust the rights of the owner and possessor in good faith of a piece of land, to administer complete justice to both of them in such a way as neither one nor the other may enrich himself of that which does not belong to him. Guided by this precept, it is therefore the current market value of the improvements which should be made the basis of reimbursement. A contrary ruling would unjustly enrich the private respondents who would otherwise be allowed to acquire a highly valued income-yielding four-unit apartment building for a measly amount. Consequently, the parties should therefore be allowed to adduce evidence on the present market value of the apartment building upon which the trial court should base its finding as to the amount of reimbursement to be paid by the landowner.

Thus, the CA correctly ordered the remand of the case to the RTC for further proceedings. The issue of Antonios right to reimbursement and retention was not specifically raised during the pre-trial because Antonio insisted on his claim of ownership. However, Filomena is now estopped from questioning the CA for ruling on this issue because she was the one who raised it in her appeal before the CA. More importantly, the CA had to rule on the issue because it is essential and indispensable for the just resolution of the case. In Villaflores v. RAM System Services, Inc., we had occasion to state that issues or errors not raised by the parties may be resolved by this Court when it is necessary to arrive at a just decision, and the resolution of the issues raised by the parties depend upon the determination of the unassigned issue or error, or is necessary to give justice to the parties.

[G.R. No. 151815. February 23, 2005] SPOUSES JUAN NUGUID AND ERLINDA T. NUGUID vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS AND PEDRO P. PECSON DECISION QUISUMBING, J.: FACTS: Pedro P. Pecson owned a commercial lot on which he built a four-door two-storey apartment building. For failure to pay realty taxes, the lot was sold at public auction by the City Treasurer of Quezon City to Mamerto Nepomuceno, who in turn sold it for P103,000 to the spouses Juan and Erlinda Nuguid. Pecson challenged the validity of the auction sale before the RTC of Quezon City. The RTC upheld the spouses title but declared that the four-door two-storey apartment building was not included in the auction sale. This was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals and thereafter by this Court. The Nuguids became the uncontested owners of the commercial lot. The Nuguid moved for delivery of possession of the lot and the apartment building. The trial court, ruled that the Spouses Nuguid were to reimburse Pecson for his construction cost and also directed Pecson to pay monthly rentals to the Nuguids as paid by the tenants occupying the apartment units and allowed the offset of the due from the Nuguids against the amount of rents collected by Pecson from the tenants of the apartment. The CA affirmed the order of payment of construction costs but rendered the issue of possession moot on appeal. Upon review, the SC handed down the decision remanding to the trial court for it to determine the current market value of the apartment building on the lot which the Spouses must pay to Pedro Pecson else petitioner shall be restored to the possession of the apartment building until payment of the required indemnity. The RTC ordered the spouses to pay the sum ofP1,344,000 as reimbursement of the unrealized income of Pecson The Court of Appeals reduced the rentals from P1,344,000 to P280,000. ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioners are liable to pay rent over and above the current market value of the improvement and that such increased award of rentals by the RTC was reasonable and equitable. HELD: Under Article 448, the landowner is given the option, either to appropriate the improvement as his own upon payment of the proper amount of indemnity or to sell the land to the possessor in good faith. Relatedly, Article 546 provides that a builder in good faith is entitled to full reimbursement for all the necessary and useful expenses incurred; it also gives him right of retention until full reimbursement is made. While the law aims to concentrate in one person the ownership of the land and the improvements thereon in view of the impracticability of creating a state of forced coownership, it guards against unjust enrichment insofar as the good-faith builders

improvements are concerned. The right of retention is considered as one of the measures devised by the law for the protection of builders in good faith. Its object is to guarantee full and prompt reimbursement as it permits the actual possessor to remain in possession while he has not been reimbursed (by the person who defeated him in the case for possession of the property) for those necessary expenses and useful improvements made by him on the thing possessed. Accordingly, a builder in good faith cannot be compelled to pay rentals during the period of retention nor be disturbed in his possession by ordering him to vacate. In addition, as in this case, the owner of the land is prohibited from offsetting or compensating the necessary and useful expenses with the fruits received by the builder-possessor in good faith. Otherwise, the security provided by law would be impaired. This is so because the right to the expenses and the right to the fruits both pertain to the possessor, making compensation juridically impossible; and one cannot be used to reduce the other. Since petitioners opted to appropriate the improvement for themselves as early as June 1993, when they applied for a writ of execution despite knowledge that the auction sale did not include the apartment building, they could not benefit from the lots improvement, until they reimbursed the improver in full, based on the current market value of the property. Despite the Courts recognition of Pecsons right of ownership over the apartment building, the petitioners still insisted on dispossessing Pecson by filing for a Writ of Possession to cover both the lot and the building. Clearly, this resulted in a violation of respondents right of retention. Worse, petitioners took advantage of the situation to benefit from the highly valued, income-yielding, four-unit apartment building by collecting rentals thereon, before they paid for the cost of the apartment building. It was only four years later that they finally paid its full value to the respondent. Given the circumstances of the instant case where the builder in good faith has been clearly denied his right of retention for almost half a decade, we find that the increased award of rentals by the RTC was reasonable and equitable. The petitioners had reaped all the benefits from the improvement introduced by the respondent during said period, without paying any amount to the latter as reimbursement for his construction costs and expenses. They should account and pay for such benefits.

G.R. No. 152423 December 15, 2010 SPOUSES MARCOS R. ESMAQUEL & VICTORIA SORDEVILLA vs. MARIA COPRADA DECISION PERALTA, J.: Facts: Petitioners, spouses Marcos Esmaquel and Victoria Sordevilla filed an ejectment case against respondent Maria V. Coprada before the MCTC when the latter refused to vacate a parcel of land, with an area of 253 square meters and covered by a TCT claimed by the petitioners who are registered owner, upon demand. Respondent occupied said lot and constructed their residential house, under the condition that they will vacate the premises should petitioners need to use the same. Furthermore, respondent and her family have been occupying the subject premises free of rent, including payment of realty taxes. Respondent admitted that petitioners are the registered owners of the subject land. However, she averred that in 1945, Emiliana Coprada, Victoria Sordevilla's mother and original owner who gave permission to her late husband Brigido Coprada to use the subject lot as their permanent abode, because of her love and affection for her nephew, and also, due to the fact that the lot is virtually a wasteland. When Emiliana died, the ownership of the property was inherited by petitioner Victoria. Respondent alleged that Victoria sold to her for P2,000.00 in installment and which was fully paid in 1962. Due to their close relationship, the agreement was never reduced to writing and since then she has been the one paying the realty taxes due on the property. After the sale, respondent built on the lot a semi-concrete structure. Respondent stated that petitioners' claim is barred by laches. Even granting, without admitting, that respondent's claim of ownership is improper, respondent argued that she is a builder in good faith, because she was able to build the structure on the subject lot with the prior permission of the owner. MCTC rendered judgment dismissing the complaint. It held that laches had already set in which prevented petitioners from questioning the validity of the purported sale between Victoria and Maria. RTC reversed MCTCs judgment ruling that respondent's occupation of the subject property was by virtue of petitioners' tolerance and permission, hence, respondent is bound by an implied promise that she will vacate the property upon demand and her possession became unlawful after the petitioners demanded her to vacate the property. Upon review, the CA reversed the Decision of the RTC and affirmed in toto the Decision of the MCTC. ISSUE: WON petitioners have a valid ground to evict respondent from the subject property. HELD: An action for forcible entry or unlawful detainer is governed by Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, which provides: SECTION 1. Who may institute proceedings, and when. - Subject to the provisions of the next succeeding section, a person deprived of the possession of any land or building by force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth, or a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person

against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to hold possession by virtue of any contract, express or implied, or the legal representatives or assigns of any such lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person, may, at any time within one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession, bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession, or any person or persons claiming under them, for the restitution of such possession, together with damages and costs. It is undisputed that the subject property is covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T93542, registered in the name of the petitioners. As against the respondent's unproven claim that she acquired a portion of the property from the petitioners by virtue of an oral sale, the Torrens title of petitioners must prevail. Petitioners' title over the subject property is evidence of their ownership thereof. It is a fundamental principle in land registration that the certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible and incontrovertible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. Moreover, the age-old rule is that the person who has a Torrens title over a land is entitled to possession thereof. In Rodriguez v. Rodriguez, citing the case of Co v. Militar, the Court held that: [T]he Torrens System was adopted in this country because it was believed to be the most effective measure to guarantee the integrity of land titles and to protect their indefeasibility once the claim of ownership is established and recognized. It is settled that a Torrens Certificate of title is indefeasible and binding upon the whole world unless and until it has been nullified by a court of competent jurisdiction. Under existing statutory and decisional law, the power to pass upon the validity of such certificate of title at the first instance properly belongs to the Regional Trial Courts in a direct proceeding for cancellation of title. As the registered owner, petitioner had a right to the possession of the property, which is one of the attributes of ownership. x x x Moreover, as the registered owners, petitioners' right to eject any person illegally occupying their property is not barred by laches. In Gaudencio Labrador, represented by Lulu Labrador Uson, as Attorney-in-Fact v. Spouses Ildefonso Perlas and Pacencia Perlas and Spouse Rogelio Pobre and Melinda Fogata Pobre, the Court held that: x x x As a registered owner, petitioner has a right to eject any person illegally occupying his property. This right is imprescriptible and can never be barred by laches. In Bishop v. Court of Appeals, we held, thus: As registered owners of the lots in question, the private respondents have a right to eject any person illegally occupying their property. This right is imprescriptible. Even if it be supposed that they were aware of the

petitioners' occupation of the property, and regardless of the length of that possession, the lawful owners have a right to demand the return of their property at any time as long as the possession was unauthorized or merely tolerated, if at all. This right is never barred by laches. Since respondent's occupation of the subject lot is by mere tolerance or permission of the petitioners, without any contract between them, respondent is bound by an implied promise that she will vacate the same upon demand, failing which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against her. Since respondent's occupation of the subject property was by mere tolerance, she has no right to retain its possession under Article 448 of the Civil Code. She is aware that her tolerated possession may be terminated any time and she cannot be considered as builder in good faith. It is well settled that both Article 448 and Article 546 of the New Civil Code, which allow full reimbursement of useful improvements and retention of the premises until reimbursement is made, apply only to a possessor in good faith, i.e., one who builds on land with the belief that he is the owner thereof. Verily, persons whose occupation of a realty is by sheer tolerance of its owners are not possessors in good faith. At the time respondent built the improvements on the premises in 1945, she knew that her possession was by mere permission and tolerance of the petitioners; hence, she cannot be said to be a person who builds on land with the belief that she is the owner thereof.

G.R. No. 159788 December 23, 2009 SOTERO ROY LEONERO, RODOLFO LIM, ISIDORO A. PADILLA, JR., AMY ROSE FISMA, and NORMA CABUYO vs. SPOUSES MARCELINO B. BARBA and FORTUNA MARCOS-BARBA, represented by IMELDA N. FORONDO, and REGISTER OF DEEDS OF QUEZON CITY DECISION PERALTA, J.:

FACTS: Petitioners filed a complaint against respondents for Quieting of Title and Preliminary Injunction before the RTC of Quezon City praying that Transfer Certificates of Titles in the name of respondents, be declared null and void for having emanated from OCT No. 614 which had been declared void in a Partial Decision on Defaulted Private Respondents in a Civil Case. Respondents maintained that the TCTs in question were genuine titles duly issued by the Register of Deeds of Quezon City and correctly plotted by the Land Registration Authority. They further argued that the Partial Decision in the said Civil Case could not possibly have any effect on them, as they were not parties to said case. It was also pointed out that petitioners, as defendants in a separate ejectment case filed against them by respondents, had been ordered by the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), to vacate the subject lots and a Writ of Execution had been issued to implement the order to vacate. The RTC denied the prayer for writ of preliminary injunction and dismissed the principal action for quieting of title which the CA affirmed. The CA ruled that the RTC committed no error in dismissing petitioners' complaint even before conducting trial on the merits, because the Partial Decision in the Civil Case could not have any legal effect on herein respondents, as they were not parties to the aforementioned action. ISSUE: Whether the dismissal of the complaint for quieting of title despite the lack of trial on the merits is valid. HELD: As held in Luzon Development Bank v. Conquilla, the court, motu proprio, may render judgment on the pleadings based on the parties' admissions in their pleadings and even without introduction of evidence, if and when these amply establish that there is insufficiency of factual basis for the action. From the allegations, it is clear that petitioners' action cannot succeed. Firstly, Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree provides that a certificate of title cannot be subject to collateral attack and can only be altered, modified or cancelled in a direct proceeding in accordance with law. In Foster-Gallego v. Galang, the Court held that the issue of whether a title was procured by falsification or fraud should be raised in an action expressly instituted for the purpose, not in an action for quieting of title. Again, in Vda. de Gualberto v. Go, the Court held that the validity of a certificate of title cannot be assailed in an action for quieting of title; an action for annulment of title is the more appropriate remedy to seek the cancellation of a certificate of title. Hence, herein

petitioners' action for quieting of title is a mere collateral attack against respondents' TCT Nos. 59721, 59725, 59726 and 59727, and is proscribed by the law.1avvphi1 Secondly, as early as 2001 in Pinlac v. Court of Appeals, the Court categorically struck down the Partial Decision issued in Civil Case No. Q-35672, upon which herein petitioners base their claim that respondents' TCTs are spurious. The Court ruled that said Partial Decision was null and void. Thus, in Caete v. Genuino Ice Company, Inc., he Court emphasized that: First, their initial claim that OCT 614 of which all the other subject titles are derivatives is null and void, has been proven wrong. As held in Pinlac and other cases, OCT 614 did legally exist and was previously issued in the name of the Philippine Government in 1910 under the provisions of Act 496. Second, the Ad Hoc Committee of the then Ministry of Natural Resources, which was specifically tasked to investigate the historical background of the Piedad Estate, found that as early as the period prior to the Second World War, all lots in the Piedad Estate had already been disposed of. Third, the Piedad Estate has been placed under the Torrens system of land registration, which means that all lots therein are titled. Clearly, petitioners' complaint is unfounded and the RTC acted properly in dismissing the same for petitioners' failure to establish the factual basis for it. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for utter lack of merit.

G.R. No. 168848 June 30, 2009 HEIRS OF THE LATE JOSE DE LUZURIAGA, represented by JOSE DE LUZURIAGA, JR., HEIRS OF MANUEL R. DE LUZURIAGA, HEIRS OF THE LATE REMEDIOS DE LUZURIAGA-VALERO, and THE LATE NORMA DE LUZURIAGA DIANON vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES thru the OSG G.R. No. 169019 June 30, 2009 HEIRS OF THE LATE JOSE DE LUZURIAGA, represented by JOSE DE LUZURIAGA, JR., and HEIRS OF THE LATE REMEDIOS DE LUZURIAGA-VALERO AND THE LATE NORMA DE LUZURIAGA-DIANON, vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES thru the OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL DECISION VELASCO, JR., J.: Facts: Subject of the controversy is Lot No. 1524 of the Bacolod Cadastre with an area of 268,772 square meters. On May 16, 1997, petitioners filed an Application for the Registration of Title before the RTC. In it, the subject lot was specifically identified. Such application was amended to state, that the parcel of land be ordered registered and that an original Certificate of Title be issued in the name of the late Jose R. [De] Luzuriaga, Sr. pursuant to Decree No. 22752 covering Lot No. 1524 of Bacolod Cadastre. The decree was issued by the General Land Registration Office (GLRO) confirming and granting unto the late Jose R. De Luzuriaga full ownership of Lot No. 1524. The RTC grants the Application for Registration of Lot 1524 confirming ownership to the late Jose R. De Luzuriaga Sr. Pursuant to the above decision the Bacolod Registry issued OCT in the name of De Luzuriaga, Sr. Meanwhile, Dr. Antonio A. Lizares, Co., Inc. (DAALCO) filed a Complaint against petitioners before the RTC for Quieting of Title, Annulment and Cancellation of [OCT] No. RO-58 with prayer for injunctive relief and damages. DAALCO claimed that its predecessor-in-interest, Antonio Lizares, was the registered, lawful, and absolute owner of Lot No. 1524 as evidenced by a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 190-R (T-247 [T-19890]) issued by the Register of Deeds (RD) of Bacolod City on February 8, 1939. Said TCT served to replace OCT No. 2765 in the name of Lizares and was issued pursuant to Decree No. 22752, GLRO Cad. Rec. No. 55 as early as November 14, 1916 and registered in the registration book of the Office of the RD of Negros Occidental, at Vol. 10, p. 283. DAALCO maintained having been in actual, open, and continuous possession as registered owner of the subject lot. Six months after the RTC rendered its Decision, the Republic sought the annulment thereof via an unverified Petition for Relief from Judgment filed before the same RTC which rendered the above decision. The petition was denied since it is not sufficient in form and substance and having been filed out of time. The CA ordered the remand of the case to the trial court for reception of evidence to determine whether the RTCs Decision confirming the title of the late Luzuriaga, Sr. over Lot 1524 will result in a double titling of the subject lot.

ISSUE/S: WON the appellate court gravely abused its discretion in granting the Republics petition for relief from judgment despite the decision in cadastral case having become final and executory; WON the issue of double titling having been raised in DAALCOs complaint in the civil case for quieting of title and cancellation of OCT before the RTC is proper and valid RULING: The CA acted within its sound discretion in giving, under the factual premises and for reasons set out in the assailed decision, due course to the Republics petition for relief from judgment and remanding the case to the trial court for reception of evidence. While the reglementary periods fixed under the rules for relief from judgment are mandatory in character, procedural rules of the most mandatory character in terms of compliance may, in the interest of substantial justice, be relaxed. Since rules of procedure are mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, they are not to be applied with severity and rigidity when such application would clearly defeat the very rationale for their existence. In line with this postulate, the Court can and will relax or altogether suspend the application of the rules, or except a particular case from the rules operation when their rigid application tends to frustrate rather than promote the ends of justice. The Republic had properly made out a prima facie case of double titling over the subject lot, meriting a ventilation of the factual and legal issues relative to that case. G.R. No. 173289 February 17, 2010 ELAND PHILIPPINES, INC. vs. AZUCENA GARCIA, ELINO FAJARDO, AND HEIR OF TIBURCIO MALABANAN NAMED TERESA MALABANAN, DECISION PERALTA, J.:

FACTS: Respondents filed a Complaint for Quieting of Title with Writ of Preliminary Injunction with the RTC against Eland Philippines, Inc. claiming ownership in fee simple title, of a parcel of land by occupation and possession. Respondents stated that they were not aware of any person or entity that had a legal or equitable interest or claim on the lot until they requested that the lot be declared for tax purposes. They found out that a decree of ownership has been issued to Eland without being notified of the registration case, they claimed the presence of misrepresentation amounting to actual or extrinsic fraud and so entitled to a writ of preliminary injunction in order to restrain or enjoin petitioner, its privies, agents, representatives, and all other persons acting on its behalf, to refrain from committing acts of dispossession on the subject lot. Petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss claiming that theres no cause of action and were not entitled to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. Said motion was denied ruling that the allegations in the complaint established a cause of action and enjoined petitioner Eland to file its answer to the complaint. Motion for Reconsideration was also denied. Meanwhile, respondents filed a Motion to Declare Eland in Default. The trial court issued an Order declaring the petitioner in default and allowed respondents to present evidence ex parte. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration on the trial court's denial

of its motion to dismiss and in declaring it in default. The trial court denied the former and granted the latter. The trial court also admitted petitioner's Answer Ad Cautelam. Respondents countered by filing a Motion to Expunge Eland's Answer from the Records and filed a Motion to Set Presentation of Evidence Ex Parte which was granted. Petitioner filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings since it had filed a petition for certiorari with the CA, asking for the nullification of the Order of the trial court and for the affirmation of its earlier Order denying petitioner's Motion to Dismiss. The petition for certiorari was subsequently denied, hence, the trial court ruled that the reception of evidence already presented by the respondents remained as part of the records of the case, and that the petitioner had the right to cross-examine the witness and to comment on the documentary exhibits already presented. Consequently, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but was denied by the trial court in an Omnibus Order. The trial courts resolution favored respondents, declaring them as the absolute owners and rightful possessors of the subject lot, subject to the rights of occupancy of the farm workers on the one-third area thereof; that the judgment in land registration in favor of Eland be set aside & decree of registration is null and void. Thus, the Original Transfer Certificate of Title is ordered to be canceled, as well as tax declaration covering the subject lot. ISSUE/S: WON a summary judgment is proper in an action for quieting of title and is applicable to the present case. WON the RTC has jurisdiction to cancel petitioner's original certificate of title (OCT) in an action to quiet title. RULING: Any action can be the subject of a summary judgment with the sole exception of actions for annulment of marriage or declaration of its nullity or for legal separation. This Court finds that the grant of summary judgment was not proper. A summary judgment is permitted only if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and a moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. A summary judgment is proper if, while the pleadings on their face appear to raise issues, the affidavits, depositions, and admissions presented by the moving party show that such issues are not genuine. It must be remembered that the non-existence of a genuine issue is the determining factor in granting a motion for summary judgment, and the movant has the burden of proving such nonexistence. The trial court found no genuine issue as to any material fact that would necessitate conducting a full-blown trial. However, a careful study of the case shows otherwise. By granting the summary judgment, the trial court has in effect annulled its former ruling based on a claim of possession and ownership of the same land for more than thirty years without the benefit of a full-blown trial. The fact that the respondents seek to nullify the original certificate of title issued to the petitioner on the claim that the former were in possession of the same land for a number of years, is already a clear indicium that a genuine issue of a material fact exists. This, together with the failure of the respondents to show that there were no genuine issues involved, should have been enough for the trial court to give the motion for summary judgment, filed by respondents, scant consideration. Trial courts have limited authority to render summary judgments and may do so only when there is clearly no genuine issue as to any material fact.

Verily, for an action to quiet title to prosper, two (2) indispensable requisites must concur, namely: (1) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property subject of the action; and (2) the deed, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy. Anent the propriety of the filing of an action for the quieting of title, the indefeasibility and incontrovertibility of the decree of registration come into question. Under Sec. 32 of P.D. No. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree: Section 32. Review of decree of registration; Innocent purchaser for value. The decree of registration shall not be reopened or revised by reason of absence, minority, or other disability of any person adversely affected thereby, nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments, subject, however, to the right of any person, including the government and the branches thereof, deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by such adjudication or confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud, to file in the proper Court of First Instance a petition for reopening and review of the decree of registration not later than one year from and after the date of the entry of such decree of registration, but in no case shall such petition be entertained by the court where an innocent purchaser for value has acquired the land or an interest therein, whose rights may be prejudiced. Whenever the phrase "innocent purchaser for value" or an equivalent phrase occurs in this Decree, it shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee, mortgagee, or other encumbrancer for value.