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Atty. Rodolfo C.

Sabio
Lands, Titles and Deeds
Torrens System of Registration
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It is a system of registration of transactions with interest in land and


whose declared object is, under governmental authority, is to establish
and certify an absolute and indefeasible title to realty and simplify its
transfer.

The Torrens System requires that the Government issue an official


certificate of title attesting to the fact that the person named is the
owner of the property described therein, subject to such liens and
encumbrances as thereon noted or the law warrants or reserves

The Certificate of title is indefeasible and imprescriptible and all claims


to the parcel of land are quieted upon issuance of said certificate

Regalian Doctrine or Jura Regalia


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It embodies the concept that all lands of the public domain and all
other natural resources are owned by the state

Article 12: Section 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal,
petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries,
forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are
owned by the State.

Citizenship requirement (Article 12 of the 1987 constitution)


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Sec.3 The alienation of agricultural lands is limited to Filipino citizens

Section 7. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be


transferred or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations
qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain.

Section 8. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 7 of this Article, a


natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship
may be a transferee of private lands, subject to limitations provided by law.

Classification of Land of the Public Domain


Section 3. Lands of the public domain are classified into agricultural, forest or
timber, mineral lands and national parks. Agricultural lands of the public domain
may be further classified by law according to the uses to which they may be
devoted.

Kitem Duque Kadatuan Jr.

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Cruz vs Sec. of DENR


Facts: Former Justice Isagani Cruz, a noted constitutionalist, assailed the validity of the Republic Act No.
8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA Law) on the ground that the law amount to an
unlawful deprivation of the States ownership over lands of the public domain as well as minerals and
other natural resources therein, in violation of the regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2, Article XII of
the Constitution. The IPRA law basically enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over ancestral
domains which may include natural resources.
In addition, Cruz et al contend that, by providing for an all-encompassing definition of ancestral
domains and ancestral lands which might even include private lands found within said areas, Sections
3(a) and 3(b) of said law also violate the rights of private landowners.
ISSUE: Whether or not the IPRA law is unconstitutional.
HELD: The Supreme Court deliberated upon the matter. After deliberation they voted and reached a 7-7
vote. They deliberated again and the same result transpired. Since there was no majority vote, Cruzs
petition was dismissed and the constitutionality of the IPRA law was sustained. Hence, ancestral domains
may include public domain somehow against the regalian doctrine.

Krivenko vs Register of Deeds, GR No. L-630, November 15, 1947; 79


Phil 461
(Land Titles and Deeds Aliens disqualified from acquiring public and private lands)
Facts: An alien bought a residential lot and its registration was denied by the Register of Deeds on the
ground that being an alien, he cannot acquire land in this jurisdiction. When the former brought the case
to the CFI, the court rendered judgement sustaining the refusal of the Register of Deeds.
Issue: WON an alien may own private lands in the Philippines.
Held. No. Public agricultural lands mentioned in Sec. 1, Art. XIII of the 1935 Constitution, include
residential, commercial and industrial lands, the Court stated:
Natural resources, with the exception of public agricultural land, shall not be alienated, and with respect
to public agricultural lands, their alienation is limited to Filipino citizens. But this constitutional purpose
conserving agricultural resources in the hands of Filipino citizens may easily be defeated by the Filipino
citizens themselves who may alienate their agricultural lands in favor of aliens.
Thus Section 5, Article XIII provides:
Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private agricultural lands will be transferred or assigned except
to individuals, corporations or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the
Philippines.

Kitem Duque Kadatuan Jr.

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DENR et al VS. YAP et al


G.R. No. 167707
October 8, 2008
FACTS: On November 10, 1978, then President Marcos issued Proc. No. 1801 declaring
Boracay Island, among other islands, caves and peninsulas in the Philippines, as tourist zones
and marine reserves under the administration of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA).
President Marcos later approved the issuance of PTA Circular 3-82 dated September 3, 1982, to
implement Proclamation No. 1801.
Claiming that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No 3-82 precluded them from filing an
application for judicial confirmation of imperfect title or survey of land for titling purposes,
respondents-claimants Mayor . Yap, Jr., and others filed a petition for declaratory relief with
the RTC in Kalibo, Aklan
In their petition, respondents-claimants alleged that Proc. No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82
raised doubts on their right to secure titles over their occupied lands. They declared that they
themselves, or through their predecessors-in-interest, had been in open, continuous, exclusive,
and notorious possession and occupation in Boracay since June 12, 1945, or earlier since time
immemorial. They declared their lands for tax purposes and paid realty taxes on them.
Respondents-claimants posited that Proclamation No. 1801 and its implementing Circular did not
place Boracay beyond the commerce of man. Since the Island was classified as a tourist zone, it
was susceptible of private ownership. Under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, they had the
right to have the lots registered in their names through judicial confirmation of imperfect titles.
The Republic, through the OSG, opposed the petition for declaratory relief. The OSG countered
that Boracay Island was an unclassified land of the public domain. It formed part of the mass of
lands classified as public forest, which was not available for disposition pursuant to Section
3(a) of the Revised Forestry Code, as amended. The OSG maintained that respondentsclaimants reliance on PD No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 was misplaced. Their right to
judicial confirmation of title was governed by Public Land Act and Revised Forestry Code, as
amended. Since Boracay Island had not been classified as alienable and disposable, whatever
possession they had cannot ripen into ownership.
On July 14, 1999, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondents-claimants, declaring that,
PD 1810 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 Revised Forestry Code, as amended.
The OSG moved for reconsideration but its motion was denied. The Republic then appealed to
the CA. On In 2004, the appellate court affirmed in toto the RTC decision. Again, the OSG
sought reconsideration but it was similarly denied. Hence, the present petition under Rule 45.

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On May 22, 2006, during the pendency the petition in the trial court, President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1064 classifying Boracay Island partly reserved
forest land (protection purposes) and partly agricultural land (alienable and disposable).
On August 10, 2006, petitioners-claimants Sacay,and other landowners in Boracay filed with this
Court an original petition for prohibition, mandamus, and nullification of Proclamation No.
1064. They allege that the Proclamation infringed on their prior vested rights over portions of
Boracay. They have been in continued possession of their respective lots in Boracay since time
immemorial.
On November 21, 2006, this Court ordered the consolidation of the two petitions
ISSUE: the main issue is whether private claimants have a right to secure titles over their
occupied portions in Boracay.
HELD: petitions DENIED. The CA decision is reversed.
Except for lands already covered by existing titles, Boracay was an unclassified land of the
public domain prior to Proclamation No. 1064. Such unclassified lands are considered public
forest under PD No. 705.
PD No. 705 issued by President Marcos categorized all unclassified lands of the public domain
as public forest. Section 3(a) of PD No. 705 defines a public forest as a mass of lands of the
public domain which has not been the subject of the present system of classification for the
determination of which lands are needed for forest purpose and which are not. Applying PD
No. 705, all unclassified lands, including those in Boracay Island, are ipso facto considered
public forests. PD No. 705, however, respects titles already existing prior to its effectivity.
The 1935 Constitution classified lands of the public domain into agricultural, forest or timber,
such classification modified by the 1973 Constitution. The 1987 Constitution reverted to the
1935 Constitution classification with one addition: national parks. Of these, only agricultural
lands may be alienated. Prior to Proclamation No. 1064 of May 22, 2006, Boracay Island had
never been expressly and administratively classified under any of these grand divisions.
Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain.
A positive act declaring land as alienable and disposable is required. In keeping with the
presumption of State ownership, the Court has time and again emphasized that there must be a
positive act of the government, such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order; an
administrative action; investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators; and a legislative act
or a statute. The applicant may also secure a certification from the government that the land
claimed to have been possessed for the required number of years is alienable and disposable. The
burden of proof in overcoming such presumption is on the person applying for registration (or
claiming ownership), who must prove that the land subject of the application is alienable or
disposable.

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In the case at bar, no such proclamation, executive order, administrative action, report, statute, or
certification was presented to the Court. The records are bereft of evidence showing that, prior
to 2006, the portions of Boracay occupied by private claimants were subject of a government
proclamation that the land is alienable and disposable. Matters of land classification or
reclassification cannot be assumed. They call for proof.
Proc. No. 1801 cannot be deemed the positive act needed to classify Boracay Island as alienable
and disposable land. If President Marcos intended to classify the island as alienable and
disposable or forest, or both, he would have identified the specific limits of each, as President
Arroyo did in Proclamation No. 1064. This was not done in Proclamation No. 1801.
Krivenko v. Register of Deeds G.R. No. L-630. November 15, 1947
Facts: Alexander Krivenko, an alien, bought a residential lot from Magdalena Estate Inc. in December
1941. The registration was interrupted by the war. In May 1945, he sought to accomplish the said
registration but was denied by the Register of Deeds of Manila on the grounds that he is a foreigner and
he cannot acquire a land in this jurisdiction. Krivenko brought the case to the CFI of Manila. The CFI
ruled that he cannot own a land, being an alien. Hence, this petition.

Issue: Whether or not an alien may own private lands in the Philippines.

Held: No.

Ratio: Sec. 1, Art 13 of the Constitution talks about the conservation and utilization of natural resources.
The said provision embraces all lands of any kind of the public domain. Its purpose is to establish a
permanent and fundamental policy for the conservation and utilization of all natural resources of the
nation. Although it mentions agricultural, timber, and mineral lands, the court held that in determining
whether a parcel of land is agricultural, the test is not only whether it is actually agricultural, but also its
susceptibility to cultivation for agricultural purposes. Hence, public agricultural land was construed as
referring to those lands that were not timber or mineral. Therefore, it includes residential lands.

Kitem Duque Kadatuan Jr.

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Manotok v. Barque, the Lot No. 823, Piedad Estate Ownership


Controversy Part I : The December 12, 2005 Decision
Last March 6, 2012, the Supreme Court en banc promulgated its resolution in Manotok
vs. Barque, G.R. Nos. 162335 & 162605, the case involving Lot No. 823 of the Piedad Estate
(a former friar land) located in Quezon City.

Voting 9-6, the High Tribunal DENIED WITH FINALITY the motions for reconsideration
filed by all parties in this case. It REITERATED its August 24, 2012 decision declaring that the
subject lot legally belongs to the national government of the Republic of the Philippines, and
denying the respective claims of the opposing parties (the Manotoks as petitioners, the Barques
as respondents, and the Manahans as intervenors) over Lot No. 823.

In this four-part series, I will endeavour to sequentially summarize the series of opinions
rendered by the Supreme Court in this case, to wit:
(1) Part I (this entry) The December 12, 2005 decision of the 1st Division (4-1 vote, YnaresSantiago, J., ponente), which denied the Manotoks consolidated petitions and sustained the
order for the cancellation of the Manotoks title and for the reconstitution of the Barques title;
(2) Part II The December 18, 2008 en banc resolution (8-6-1 vote, Tinga, J., ponente), which
reversed the decision of the 1st Division and remanded the petitions to the CA for further
proceedings;
(3) Part III The August 24, 2010 en banc decision (9-5-1 vote, Villarama, J., ponente), which
denied the Manotoks consolidated petitions and declared their title null and void, but also
denied the petition for reconstitution of the Barques and declared that the subject lot legally
belongs to the national government of the Republic of the Philippines;
(4) Part IV The March 6, 2012 en banc resolution (9-6 vote, Villarama, J., ponente) denying with
finality the motions for reconsideration of the parties.

What went before : The facts

The Barques filed a petition for administrative reconstitution of TCT No. 210177 issued in
the name of their predecessor, Homer L. Barque, which was allegedly destroyed in the fire that
gutted the Quezon City Hall, including the Office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City,
sometime in 1988.

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The Manotoks filed their opposition to the Barques petition, claiming that the lot covered
by the title sought to be reconstituted by the latter forms part of the land covered by the formers
own reconstituted title, TCT No. RT-22481, and alleging that TCT No. 210177 in the name of
Homer L. Barque is spurious.

On June 30, 1997, the reconstituting officer denied the reconstitution of TCT No. 210177
on grounds that the two lots covered by the Barques title appear to duplicate the lot covered by
the Manotoks own reconstituted title; and that the Barques plan, Fls-3168-D, is a spurious
document.

On appeal by the Barques, the LRA reversed the reconstituting officer and ordered that
reconstitution of the Barques title be given due course, but only after the Manotoks own title
has been cancelled upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

The parties separately appealed to the CA. The two divisions of the CA where the cases
landed similarly modified the LRA decision, ordering the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to
cancel the Manotoks title without a direct proceeding with the RTC, and directing the LRA to
reconstitute the Barques' title.

Thus, the Manotoks filed these petitions to the SC.

The December 12, 2005 decision of the SC 1st Division

The consolidated petitions were DENIED by the Supreme Court 1st Division, which
AFFIRMED the appealed CA resolutions. Justice Ynares-Santiago, wrote the opinion for the 1 st
Division, reasoning that [t]he LRA properly ruled that the reconstituting officer should have
confined himself to the owner's duplicate certificate of title prior to the reconstitution. She went
on to state:

The factual finding of the LRA that [the Barques] title is authentic, genuine, valid, and existing,
while [the Manotoks] title is sham and spurious, as affirmed by the two divisions of the Court of Appeals,
is conclusive before this Court. It should remain undisturbed since only questions of law may be raised in
a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

xxx

xxx

xxx

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There is no basis in the allegation that petitioners were deprived of their property without due
process of law when the Court of Appeals ordered the cancellation of their Torrens title, even without a
direct proceeding in the RTC . . . [T]here is no need to remand the case to the RTC for a re-determination
on the validity of the titles of [the Barques] and [the Manotoks] as the same has been squarely passed
upon by the LRA and affirmed by the appellate court. By opposing the petition for reconstitution and
submitting their administratively reconstituted title, petitioners acquiesced to the authority and jurisdiction
of the reconstituting officer, the LRA and the Court of Appeals, and recognized their authority to pass
judgment on their title. All the evidence presented was duly considered by these tribunals. There is thus
no basis to petitioners' claim that they were deprived of their right to be heard and present evidence,
which is the essence of due process.
xxx

xxx

xxx

The reconstitution would not constitute a collateral attack on petitioners' title which was irregularly
and illegally issued in the first place. xxx.

Only Chief Justice Davide fully concurred with Justice Ynares-Santiago. Justices
Quisumbing and Azcuna wrote separate opinions concurring in the result.

The fifth member of the 1st Division, Justice Carpio, dissented and voted to REVERSE
the appealed CA resolutions. He summarized his opinion thus:

[T]he Heirs of Barque filed before the Register of Deeds an administrative petition to reconstitute
their allegedly destroyed TCT. The Register of Deeds, as reconstituting officer, denied the petition of the
Heirs of Barque because, based on official records, the property involved is already registered under the
Torrens system in the name of Manotok, et al. The LRA affirmed the Register of Deeds, stating that only
the proper trial court could cancel the TCT of Manotok, et al. although the LRA believed that the TCT of
Manotok, et al. was a sham. The LRA recognized that in an administrative reconstitution, the decision of
the reconstituting body is either to deny or approve the reconstitution of the applicant's title, never to
cancel the Torrens title of a third party. However, on appeal, the Court of Appeals declared the TCT of
Manotok, et al. void and the TCT of the Heirs of Barque valid. Clearly, the Court of Appeals deprived
Manotok, et al. of their property without due process of law. The Court of Appeals blatantly disregarded
Section 48 of PD 1529 and Section 19 of BP Blg. 129 which confer on the proper trial court exclusive
original jurisdiction to cancel a Torrens title in an action directly attacking the validity of the Torrens title.
The Court should not countenance this gross injustice and patent violation of the law.

Important things to remember:


Laws governing land registration in the Philippines
1.
2.

C.A. no 141 Public Land Act of 1936


Act no. 496 Land Registration Act as amended by P.D. no 1529 Property Registration Decree 1978

3.

R.A. 8371, or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997; There rights may be exercised or Land may be
acquired by:
a.

Native title over both ancestral lands and domains

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b.

Torrens title under the Public Land Act and Property Registration Decree with respect to ancestral
lands only.

What court has Jurisdiction?

P.D.1529 Sec 2. Courts of First Instance (RTC) shall have exclusive jurisdiction over
all applications for original registration of title to lands, including improvements and
interests therein, and over all petitions filed after original registration of title, with
power to hear and determine all questions arising upon such applications or
petitions.
But first level courts may exercise jurisdiction over land registration cases if the land
is not contested, or even if contested, where the assessed value does not exceed
P100,000

CHAPTER III
ORIGINAL REGISTRATION
I
ORDINARY REGISTRATION PROCEEDINGS
A. APPLICATIONS
Section 14. Who may apply. The following persons may file in the proper Court of First
Instance an application for registration of title to land, whether personally or through their duly
authorized representatives:
(1) 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.
(2) Those who have acquired ownership of private lands by prescription under the
provision of existing laws.
(3) Those who have acquired ownership of private lands or abandoned river beds by
right of accession or accretion under the existing laws.
(4) Those who have acquired ownership of land in any other manner provided for by
law.
Where the land is owned in common, all the co-owners shall file the application jointly.
Where the land has been sold under pacto de retro, the vendor a retro may file an
application for the original registration of the land, provided, however, that should the
period for redemption expire during the pendency of the registration proceedings and

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ownership to the property consolidated in the vendee a retro, the latter shall be substituted
for the applicant and may continue the proceedings.
A trustee on behalf of his principal may apply for original registration of any land held in
trust by him, unless prohibited by the instrument creating the trust.

Manotok v. Barque | GR 162335 & 162605 | March 6, 2012 | J. Villarama, Jr.


FACTS: The surviving heirs of the late Homer Barque, filed a petition with the LRA for administrative reconstitution of the original
copy of TCT No. 210177 issued in the name of Homer L. Barque, which was destroyed in the fire that gutted the Quezon City
Hall, including the Office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City, sometime in 1988. In support of the petition, petitioners
submitted the owners duplicate copy of TCT No. 210177, real estate tax receipts, tax decla-rations and the Plan FLS 3168 D
covering
the
property.
The Manotoks filed their opposition to the Barques petition, claiming that the lot covered by the title sought to be reconstituted by
the latter forms part of the land covered by the formers own reconstituted title, TCT No. RT-22481, and alleging that TCT No.
210177 in the name of Homer L. Barque is spurious.
The reconstitution was denied on grounds that the two lots covered by the Barques title appear to duplicate the lot covered by
the Manotoks own reconstituted title; and that the Barques plan, Fls-3168-D, is a spurious document.
On appeal, the LRA reversed the reconstituting officer and ordered that reconstitution of the Barques title be given due course,
but only after the Manotoks own title has been cancelled upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. The CA ordered the
Register of Deeds to cancel the Manotoks title. The latter filed these petitions to the SC.
ISSUE: Who is the legal owner of the Piedad Estate in Quezon City?
HELD: The national government of The Repulic of the Philippines is the legal owner of the subject property. The Supreme Court
denied with finality all the motions for reconsideration filed by all parties in this case. A valid certificate of sale issued to Severino
the official document denominated as Sale Certificate clearly required both the signatures of the Director of Lands who issued
such sale certificate to an applicant settler/occupant and the Secretary of the Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources
indicating his approval of the sale. These forms had been prepared and issued by the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands under
the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior, consistent with Act No. 1120. Manotoks assignors cannot simply
be presumed from the execution of assignment documents in his favor. Neither can it be deduced from the alleged issuance of
the half-torn TCT, itself a doubtful document as its authenticity was not established, much less the veracity of its recitals because
the name of the registered owner and date of issuance do not appear at all. No Register of Deeds had testified and attested to
the fact that the original of TCT No. 22813 was not under his/her custody, nor that said certificate of title in the name of Severino
Manotok existed in the files of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan or Quezon City.
The claim of the Barques who, just like the Manahans, were unable to produce an authentic and genuine sale certificate, must
likewise fail. The Decision discussed extensively the findings of the CA that the Barques documentary evidence were either
spurious or irregularly procured, which even buttressed the earlier findings mentioned in the December 18, 2008 Resolution.
On the other hand, the belatedly submitted copy of Sale Certificate No. 511 by the Manahans was not among those official
documents which the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) offered as evidence, as in fact no copy thereof can be found in the
records of either the DENR-NCR or LMB. Moreover, the sudden emergence of this unauthenticated document is suspicious,
considering that Celzo who testified, as witness for both the OSG and the Manahans, categorically admitted that she never
actually saw the application to purchase and alleged Sale Certificate No. 511 of the Manahans.

Kitem Duque Kadatuan Jr.

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