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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.

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

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:
Part I (this entry) The December 12,
2005 decision of the 1stDivision (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;
Part II The December 18, 2008 en
banc resolution (8-6-1 vote, Tinga,
J., ponente),
which reversed the decision of the 1 stDivision and
remanded the petitions to the CA for further
proceedings;
Part III The August 24, 2010 en banc decision (9-51 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;
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.
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

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The consolidated petitions were DENIED by


the Supreme Court 1stDivision, which AFFIRMED the
appealed CA resolutions. Justice Ynares-Santiago,
wrote the opinion for the 1st 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

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.

Manotok v. Barque, Part II : The


December 18, 2008 En Banc
Resolution
Part I of this four-part series is a summary of
the December 12, 2005decision of the Supreme
Court 1st Division denying the Manotoks consolidated
petitions and sustaining the order for the cancellation
of the their title without a direct proceeding before the
RTC and for the reconstitution of the Barques title.
In this entry, we look into the December 18,
2008 en banc resolutionthat reversed the decision of

2 | Page

the 1st Division and remanded the petitions to the CA


for further proceedings.

entry of judgment had already been made by the


1st Division in favor of the Barques.

The intervening facts

The Court justified its pro hac vice reevaluation of the petitions based on the constitutional
principle that no doctrine or principle of law laid down
by the [C]ourt in a decision rendered en banc or in
division may be modified or reversed except by the
court sitting en banc. This, according to the Court, is
necessitated by the argument that the 2005 Decision
of the First Division is inconsistent with precedents of
the Court, and leaving that decision alone without the
imprimatur of the Court en banc would lead to undue
confusion . . . over whether the earlier ruling of the
Division constitutes the current standard with respect
to administrative reconstitution of titles.

After the promulgation of the December 12,


2005 decision, the Manotoks filed several motions for
reconsideration with the 1st Division but these were
all DENIED by the Court.
On May 2, 2006, the decision of the
1st Division was entered in the Book of Entries of
Judgment. But when the Barques moved for the
execution of the decision, the Manotoks sought the
referral of the motion to the Court en banc, which the
Court en banc accepted on July 26, 2006.
On September 7, 2006, the Manahans sought
to intervene in the case, alleging that their
predecessor-in-interest, Vicente Manahan, was
issued Sales Certificate No. 511 covering the subject
lot.
On December 18, 2008, the Court
promulgated an en banc that SET ASIDE the decision
and resolutions of the 1st Division and RECALLED the
entry of judgment. Voting 8-6 with 1 abstention, the
Court REVERSED the decisions and resolutions of
the CA and the LRA, and REMANDED the cases to
the CA for further proceedings.
How the court en banc voted
The Court en banc decided to accept the
cases from the 1st Division on a pro hac vice basis to
lend much needed jurisprudential clarity as only the
Court en banc can constitutionally provide.
J. Tinga wrote the opinion for the Court. He
was joined by CJ Puno, and JJ. Austria-Martinez,
Velasco and Brion. Concurring with their respective
separate opinions were J. Carpio, with whom J.
Carpio-Morales joined, and J. Corona.
J. Ynares-Santiago, the ponente of the
1st Division decision and resolutions, wrote a
dissenting opinion. She was joined by JJ.
Quisumbing,
Azcuna,
Chico-Nazario,
Reyes, and Leonardo-De Castro. J. Nachura did not
take part.
Issue: Can the Court en banc validly re-evaluate
the decision of the 1stDivision?
The Court first grappled with what it called
procedural unorthodoxies involved in the reevaluation of the Manotoks petitions even after an

Issue: Did the LRA and the CA have jurisdiction to


annul the Manotoks title?
The Court held that the LRA and the CA had
no jurisdiction to direct the annulment of the
Manotoks title. It reasoned:
Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 . . .
provides that [a] certificate of title shall not be subject to
collateral attack [...and] cannot be altered, modified, or
cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance
with law. Clearly,the cancellation of the Manotok title
cannot arise incidentally from the administrative
proceeding for reconstitution of the Barque title even if
the evidence from that proceeding revealed the Manotok
title as fake. Nor could it have emerged incidentally in
the appellate review of the LRA's administrative
proceeding.
There is no doubt that the Court of Appeals does
not have original jurisdiction to annul Torrens titles or to
otherwise adjudicate questions over ownership of
property. Its exclusive original jurisdiction is determined
by law, particularly by Batas Pambansa (B.P. 129).
Section 9 of that law restricts the exclusive original
jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to special civil actions
and to actions for annulment of judgments of the
regional trial court. Still, the Court of Appeals did acquire
jurisdiction over the Barques and the Manotoks
petitions, albeit in the exercise of its exclusive appellate
jurisdiction over the ruling of the LRA, also pursuant to
Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended. Thus, for the
appellate court to be able to direct the cancellation of a
Torrens title in the course of reviewing a decision of the
LRA, the LRA itself must have statutory authority to
cancel a Torrens title in the first place.
xxx
the

xxx

xxx

Nowhere in [Section 6 of P.D. No. 1529 where


general functions of the Land Registration

3 | Page

Commissioner are enumerated] is it stated that the LRA


has the power to cancel titles. Indeed, the Barques are
unable to point to any basis in law that confirms the
power of the LRA to effect such cancellation, even under
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 26 as amended by Rep. Act No.
6732, which authorizes the administrative reconstitution
of titles in limited cases. In fact . . . such laws take great
care to ensure that a petition for administrative
reconstitution of title will not disturb existing Torrens
titles.

Republic Act (R.A.) No. 26 as amended by Rep. Act No.


6732, which authorizes the administrative reconstitution
of titles in limited cases. In fact . . . such laws take great
care to ensure that a petition for administrative
reconstitution of title will not disturb existing Torrens
titles.

It is thus clear that neither the Court of Appeals


nor the LRA had jurisdiction to cancel the Manotok title.

Issue:
Should
the
Supreme
Court,
after dismissing the Barques petition for
administrative reconstitution, act further on the
apparent problems of the Manotoks title?

Issue: Did the LRA and the CA have jurisdiction to


annul the Manotoks title?
The Court held that the LRA and the CA had
no jurisdiction to direct the annulment of the
Manotoks title. It reasoned:
Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 . . .
provides that [a] certificate of title shall not be subject to
collateral attack [...and] cannot be altered, modified, or
cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance
with law. Clearly, the cancellation of the Manotok title
cannot arise incidentally from the administrative
proceeding for reconstitution of the Barque title even if
the evidence from that proceeding revealed the Manotok
title as fake. Nor could it have emerged incidentally in
the appellate review of the LRA's administrative
proceeding.
There is no doubt that the Court of Appeals does
not have original jurisdiction to annul Torrens titles or to
otherwise adjudicate questions over ownership of
property. Its exclusive original jurisdiction is determined
by law, particularly by Batas Pambansa (B.P. 129).
Section 9 of that law restricts the exclusive original
jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to special civil actions
and to actions for annulment of judgments of the
regional trial court. Still, the Court of Appeals did acquire
jurisdiction over the Barques and the Manotoks
petitions, albeit in the exercise of its exclusive appellate
jurisdiction over the ruling of the LRA, also pursuant to
Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended. Thus, for the
appellate court to be able to direct the cancellation of a
Torrens title in the course of reviewing a decision of the
LRA, the LRA itself must have statutory authority to
cancel a Torrens title in the first place.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Nowhere in [Section 6 of P.D. No. 1529 where


the general functions of the Land Registration
Commissioner are enumerated] is it stated that the LRA
has the power to cancel titles. Indeed, the Barques are
unable to point to any basis in law that confirms the
power of the LRA to effect such cancellation, even under

It is thus clear that neither the Court of Appeals


nor the LRA had jurisdiction to cancel the Manotok title.

After noting the apparent flaws in the


Manotoks claim, which it described as considerable
and disturbing enough, the Court decided to remand
the case to the CA for reception of evidence on the
validity of the Manotoks title. It explained this
extraordinary step in the following wise:
It must be borne in mind that the disputed
property is part of the Friar Lands over which the
Government holds title and are not public lands but
private or patrimonial property of the Government and
can be alienated only upon proper compliance with the
requirements of Act No. 1120 or the Friar Lands Act.
xxx

xxx

xxx

The Alonso [v. Country Club] approach [of


declaring that a former friar land still legally belongs to
the national government for failure of the private
claimant to establish a clear title thereto] especially
appeals to us because, as in this case, the subject
property therein was a Friar Land which under the Friar
Lands Law (Act No. 1120) may be disposed of by the
Government only under that law. Thus, there is greater
concern on the part of this Court to secure its proper
transmission to private hands, if at all.
At the same time, the Court recognizes
that there is not yet any sufficient evidence for us to
warrant the annulment of the Manotok title. All that the
record indicates thus far is evidence not yet refuted by
clear and convincing proof that the Manotoks claim to
title is flawed. To arrive at an ultimate determination, the
formal reception of evidence is in order. This Court is not
a trier of fact or otherwise structurally capacitated to
receive and evaluate evidence de novo. However, the
Court of Appeals is sufficiently able to undertake such
function.

The Separate Concurring Opinion of Justice


Carpio

4 | Page

Like the majority, J. Carpio holds that the the


re-evaluation of the consolidated petitions is proper
even after entry of the 1st Divisions decision. He does
not however join the majority in remanding the case to
the CA. He merely voted to GRANT of the Manotoks
motion
for
reconsideration,REVERSE the
1st Divisions decision and resolution and RECALL its
Entry of Judgment, and DENY the petition for
administrative reconstitution respondents Heirs of
Homer L. Barque, Sr.

a prior title, which was the only duly issued existing


Torrens title over the property issued by the Register
of Deeds of Quezon City.

J. Carpio argued that the doctrine of


immutability is not applicable in this case since the
12 December 2005 Decision never became final and
executory, thus:

...[R]econstitution,
even
judicial
reconstitution, does not confirm or adjudicate
ownership over a property. Reconstitution merely
restores a missing certificate of title in the same
condition that it was when lost or destroyed, nothing
more. If the original title had a legal defect at the time of
the loss or destruction, as when the land covered is part
of the public forest, the reconstituted title does not cure
such defect. xxx.

There
are two
compelling
jurisdictional
reasons why the 12 December 2005 Decision of the First
Division never became final and executory. First, the
First Division has no jurisdiction to overturn a doctrine
laid down by the Court en banc or in division [such as
the decision in Sps. Antonio and Genoveva BalanonAnicete, et al. v. Pedro Balanon]. xxx.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Second, the doctrine of immutability and


unalterability of decisions applies only if the trial court or
hearing officer has jurisdiction over the subject matter. A
decision rendered by a trial court or hearing officer
without jurisdiction over the subject matter is void and
cannot become final and executory. Such decision
cannot even become res judicata because there can be
no conclusiveness of judgment if the trial court or
hearing officer has no jurisdiction over the subject
matter.
In these cases, the LRA has no jurisdiction to
reconstitute administratively the title of the Barques
because such reconstitution constitutes an indirect or
collateral attack on the pre-existing Torrens title of the
Manotoks over the same property. Section 48 of the
Property
Registration
Decree states
that
a
certificate of title shall not be subject to a collateral
attack. The LRA, or even any court for that matter, has
no jurisdiction to entertain a collateral attack on a
Torrens title. The Manotoks prior title must be deemed
valid and subsisting as it cannot be assailed through
collateral attack in the reconstitution proceedings.

J. Carpio noted a surfeit of forgeries and


badges of fraud regarding the Barque title. He also
distinguished the Manotoks and the Barques
situations, thus: [A]t the time of the reconstitution of
the Manotoks title, the Barques had no duly issued
existing Torrens title" from the Register of Deeds of
Quezon City. When the Barques filed the
reconstitution of their title, the Manotoks already had

On the question of whether the LRA has


jurisdiction,
in
administrative
reconstitution
proceedings, to rule which between two titles over the
same property is valid, or who between two claimants
over the same property is the lawful owner, J.
Carpio held in the negative, thus:

On the question of whether equity can be


used to justify the collateral attack on the Manotoks
title at the LRA level, he reasoned: no court can
extend equity jurisdiction to the LRA where the law
has expressly
reserved
exclusive
original
jurisdiction to the Regional Trial Court. No court,
invoking equity jurisdiction, can also allow a collateral
attack on a Torrens title, either before the LRA or
before itself, in gross violation of Section 48 of the
Property Registration Decree expressly prohibiting
collateral attacks on Torrens titles.
The Separate Opinion of Justice Corona
J. Coronas joined the majority in reversing the
1st Division and in remanding the case to the CA for
further proceedings. According to him, the First
Division . . . enlarged the scope of the authority of the
[LRA] in administrative reconstitution proceedings
when it recognized the authority of the LRA to rule
that petitioners certificate of title was a sham,
spurious and not duly issued since under PD 1529,
the LRA has no authority to rule on the authenticity
and validity of a certificate of title.
The referral of the case to the CA for the
complete determination of contentious factual issues
is necessitated because the investigation and
appreciation of facts is beyond the province of [the
Supreme Court] as it is neither a trier of fact nor
capacitated to appreciate evidence at the first
instance. On the other hand, the [CA] has the
competence to perform that task.
The dissenting
Santiago

opinion

of

Justice

Ynares-

5 | Page

J. Ynares-Santiago found no compelling


reason to further require the referral of these cases to
the RTC or the CA for a re-litigation of the issues
already raised and resolved by the two divisions of
the CA and affirmed by the Court's 1st Division in its
final and executory decision dated December 12,
2005. She reasoned that the doctrine of immutability
of final and executory decisions precludes the Court
from taking this unprecedented action.
Particularly, the lady justice found no
justifiable basis to disturb the LRA finding that [the
Barques] Plan FLS-3168-D indeed exists in the
official files of LMB, DENR; thus, she held that [the
Barques] title, TCT No. 210177, which describes Lot
823 as subdivided into Lots 823-A and 823-B in
accordance with Fls-3168-D, [is] in order.
She would also sustain the LRA finding that
the Manotoks reconstituted title is spurious,
considering petitioners' failure to prove facts contrary
to the LRA findings. She concluded that since the
property covered by [the Manotoks] reconstituted title
is not the property in Matandang Balara that they are
occupying as clearly shown by their own documentary
evidence, it necessarily follows that they are not the
owners of such property.
On the issue of the jurisdiction of the CA to
order the cancellation of the Manotoks title and the
reconstitution of the Barques title, she held:
The Court of Appeals . . . has the corresponding
authority and jurisdiction to decide the appealed case on
the basis of the uncontroverted facts and
admissions contained in the petition, comment, reply,
rejoinder, and memoranda, filed by the parties, and to
apply the law applicable in administrative reconstitution
proceeding which is Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6732.
Section 10, Rule 43 of the Rules of Court
specifically mandates that the findings of fact of the
court or agency concerned, when supported by
substantial evidence, shall be binding on the Court of
Appeals. Since petitioners were not able to show that
the LRA findings of fact were unsupported by
evidence, the Court of Appeals committed no error of
jurisdiction when it confirmed such findings.
Moreover, Section 11 of R.A. No. 6732 provides
that:
SEC. 11. A reconstituted title obtained by means of
fraud, deceit or other machination is void ab initio as
against the party obtaining the same and all persons
having knowledge thereof.

Thus, the Court of Appeals had the authority to


order the cancellation of petitioners reconstituted TCT
No. RT-22481 after it affirmed the findings of the LRA
that petitioners TCT No. RT-22481 is spurious and
void ab initio. Having also affirmed the LRA finding that
respondents title, TCT No. 210177, is genuine, valid and
existing, the Court of Appeals likewise had the authority
to order its reconstitution since this was the final step in
the administrative reconstitution process.

On the issue of whether the LRA has


jurisdiction to administratively reconstitute the
Barques title despite the Manotoks previously
reconstituted title, J. Ynares-Santiago held in the
affirmative. She cited the fact that it appears from the
records that the location and technical description of
the properties described in the parties respective
titles are not the same. Thus, [i]t is . . . misleading
and baseless for [the Manotoks] to assert that their
previously reconstituted title . . . covers the same
property as that identified and described in [the
Barques title] so as to deprive the LRA of jurisdiction
over [the Barques] petition for reconstitution.
However, even assuming that both parties
respective titles cover the same property, the LRA
would still have jurisdiction over respondents' petition
for reconstitution, thus:
As [the Manotoks] themselves admit, they
caused the administrative reconstitution of their TCT No.
RT 22481 in 1991 under R.A. No. 6732. On the other
hand, [the Barques] TCT No. 210177 shows that it was
issued on September 24, 1975 by the Register of Deeds
of Quezon City. Its existence was likewise confirmed by
the LRA in its Resolution of June 24, 1998 based on the
logbook of the Register of Deeds, which contains the list
of titles lost during the fire that destroyed its records in
1988.
[The Barques] TCT No. 210177 was, therefore,
in existence at the time [the Manotoks] filed their petition
for reconstitution. In Alipoon v. Court of Appeals, the
Court ruled that:
[I]nasmuch as TCT No. T-17224 has been in
existence as early as March 16, 1933, the issuance in
1989 of a reconstituted original certificate of title
bearing the number OCT No. RO 12890 (N.A.) over
Lot No. 663 in the name of petitioners' parents
Fausto Alipoon and Silveria Duria is rendered legally
doubtful, and the reconstituted title is void.
It, therefore, follows that [the Manotoks]
reconstituted title, even assuming the same to have
been duly reconstituted, was deemed nullified by the
mere existence of [the Barques] title at the time of the
administrative reconstitution of [the Manotoks] title. xxx.

6 | Page

On whether the LRA has jurisdiction to


adjudicate the validity of the Manotoks title in the
administrative reconstitution proceedings filed by the
Barques, J. Ynares-Santiago held in the affirmative,
reasoning that [s]ince the LRA had the duty to
resolve the petition for reconstitution as well as [the
Manotoks] opposition thereto, it necessarily had to
examine the title of the parties, using its technical
expertise, to determine if the petition for reconstitution
should be given due course, or denied as prayed for
by the [Manotoks].
On whether the LRA or the CA has jurisdiction
to decide the ownership of the disputed property in
the administrative reconstitution of title filed by the
Manotoks, J. Ynares-Santiago also held in the
affirmative:[S]ince [the Manotoks] themselves laid
before the LRA and the Court of Appeals all their
evidence to prove the genuineness of their
reconstituted title and their ownership of the property
in dispute, the Court of Appeals had the
corresponding authority and jurisdiction to pass upon
these issues.

Manotok v. Barque, Part III : The


August 24, 2010 En Banc Decision
Part I of this four-part series is a summary of
the December 12, 2005decision of the Supreme
Court 1st Division denying the Manotoks consolidated
petitions and sustaining the order for the cancellation
of the their title without a direct proceeding before the
RTC and for the reconstitution of the Barques title.
Part II, on the other hand, is a summary of the
December 18, 2008 en banc resolution that reversed
the decision of the 1st Division and remanded the
petitions to the CA for further proceedings.
In this entry, we will look at the summary of
the Courts August 24, 2010 en banc decision that
(1) DENIED that the Manotoks petitions, the
Manahans petition-in-intervention, and the Barques
petition for reconstitution; (2) declared NULL AND
VOID TCT No. RT-22481 (372302) in the name of
Severino Manotok IV, et al., TCT No. 210177 in the
name of Homer L. Barque, and Deed of Conveyance
No. V-200022 issued to Felicitas B. Manahan; (3)
ordered The Register of Deeds of Caloocan City
and/or Quezon City to CANCEL the said titles; and
(4) DECLARED that the subject Lot 823 of the Piedad

Estate,
Quezon
City,
legally
belongs
to
the NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC
OF THE PHILIPPINES, without prejudice to the
institution of REVERSION proceedings by the State
through the Office of the Solicitor General. We will
also look at the dissenting opinions of the minority.
The intervening facts
After the promulgation of the December 12,
2005 decision, the Manotoks filed several motions for
reconsideration with the 1st Division but these were
all DENIED by the Court. The decision of the
1st Division was later entered in the Book of Entries of
Judgment. But when the Barques moved for the
execution of the decision, the Manotoks sought the
referral of the motion to the Court en banc, which the
Court en banc accepted on July 26, 2006.
Meanwhile, the Manahans sought to intervene
in the case, alleging that their predecessor-in-interest,
Vicente Manahan, was issued Sales Certificate No.
511 covering the subject lot.
On December 18, 2008, the Court
promulgated
an
en
bancresolution that SET
ASIDE the decision and resolutions of the 1 st Division
and RECALLED the entry of judgment. Voting 8-6
with 1 abstention, the Court REVERSED the
decisions and resolutions of the CA and the LRA,
andREMANDED the cases to the CA for further
proceedings to determine the validity of the Manotoks
title.
In due time, the CA received evidence with
primary focus on whether the Manotoks can trace
their claim of title to a valid alienation by the
Government of Lot No. 823 of the Piedad Estate,
which was a Friar Land. The Barques and Manahans
were likewise allowed to present evidence on their
respective claims that may have an impact on the
correct determination of the status of the Manotok
title.
The CA then submitted to the SC a
Commissioners Report that served as basis for
Courts August 24, 2010 en banc decision.
How the court en banc voted
The Court voted 9-5 with 1 abstention. Justice
Villarama, Jr. wrote theopinion for the Court.
Concurring
with
him
were Chief
Justice Corona, andJustices Leonardo-De Castro,

7 | Page

Peralta,
Bersamin,
Abad, Perez, and Mendoza.

Del

Castillo,

Justice Carpio, with whom Justices Velasco,


Jr., and Brion concurred,
wrote
a dissenting
opinion. Justice Carpio Morales wrote a concurring
and dissenting opinion. Justice Sereno likewise
dissented and reserved the right to issue a separate
opinion. Justice Nachura did not take part.
The issue
The core issue identified and resolved by the
Court was: Does the absence of approval of the
Secretary of the Interior/Agriculture and Natural
Resources in Sale Certificate No. 1054 and Deed of
Conveyance No. 29204 in favor of the Manotoks
warrant the annulment of their title?
The Courts ruling
The Court ruled in the AFFIRMATIVE and
held that the absence of approval of the Secretary of
the Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources in Sale
Certificate No. 1054 and Deed of Conveyance No.
29204 in favor of the Manotoks predecessor-ininterest warrants the annulment of the Manotok title.
The ponencia of Justice Villarama
Justice Villarama cited as the central legal
basis of the Courts rulingSection 18 of Act No. 1120,
which provides: SECTION 18. No lease or sale
made by Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands under
the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved
by the Secretary of the Interior. He then explained:
It is clear from the foregoing provision that the
sale of friar lands shall be valid only if approved by the
Secretary of the Interior (later the Secretary of
Agriculture and Commerce). . . [T]he approval by the
Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce is indispensable
for the validity of the sale of friar lands. xxx.
xxx

xxx

xxx

[T]he absence of approval by the Secretary of


Agriculture and Commerce in the sale certificate and
assignment of sale certificate made the sale null and
void ab initio. Necessarily, there can be no valid titles
issued on the basis of such sale or assignment. The
Manotoks reliance on the presumption of regularity in
the statutorily prescribed transmittal by the Bureau of
Lands to the Register of Deeds of their deed of
conveyance is untenable. In our Resolution denying the
motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners in Alonso
v. Cebu Country Club, Inc., we underscored
the mandatory requirement in Section 18, as follows:

Section 18 of Act No. 1120 or the Friar Lands Act


unequivocally provides: No lease or sale made by the
Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (now the Director of
Lands) under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until
approved by the Secretary of the Interior (now, the
Secretary of Natural Resources). Thus, petitioners
claim of ownership must fail in the absence of positive
evidence showing the approval of the Secretary of
Interior. Approval of the Secretary of the Interior
cannot simply be presumed or inferred from certain
acts since the law is explicit in its mandate. This is
the settled rule as enunciated in Solid State MultiProducts Corporation vs. Court of Appeals and reiterated
in Liao vs. Court of Appeals. Petitioners have not
offered any cogent reason that would justify a deviation
from this rule.
xxx

xxx

xxx

In the light of the foregoing, we hold that the


Manotoks could not have acquired ownership of the
subject lot as they had no valid certificate of sale issued
to them by the Government in the first place. Sale
Certificate No. 1054 dated March 10, 1919 (Exh. 10)
purportedly on file with the DENR-LMB, conspicuously
lacks the signature of the Director of Lands and the
Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. In fact,
Exh. 10 was not included among those official
documents submitted by the OSG to the CA. We
underscore anew that friar lands can be alienated only
upon proper compliance with the requirements of
Sections 11, 12 and 18 of Act No. 1120. It was thus
primordial for the Manotoks to prove their acquisition of
its title by clear and convincing evidence. This they
failed to do. Accordingly, this Court has no alternative
but to declare the Manotok title null and void ab initio,
and Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate as still part of the
Government's patrimonial property, as recommended by
the CA.
The decades-long occupation by the Manotoks
of Lot 823, their payment of real property taxes and
construction of buildings, are of no moment. It must be
noted that the Manotoks miserably failed to prove the
existence of the title allegedly issued in the name of
Severino Manotok after the latter had paid in full the
purchase price. The Manotoks did not offer any
explanation as to why the only copy of TCT No. 22813
was torn in half and no record of documents leading to
its issuance can be found in the registry of deeds. As to
the certification issued by the Register of Deeds of
Caloocan, it simply described the copy presented (Exh.
5-A) as DILAPIDATED without stating if the original
copy of TCT No. 22813 actually existed in their records,
nor any information on the year of issuance and name of
registered owner. While TCT No. 22813 was mentioned
in certain documents such as the deed of donation
executed in 1946 by Severino Manotok in favor of his
children and the first tax declaration (Exh. 26), these do
not stand as secondary evidence of an alleged transfer

8 | Page

from OCT No. 614. This hiatus in the evidence of the


Manotoks further cast doubts on the veracity of their
claim.
As we stressed in Alonso:
Neither may the rewards of prescription be
successfully invoked by respondent, as it is an ironclad dictum that prescription can never lie against the
Government. Since respondent failed to present the
paper trail of the property's conversion to private
property, the lengthy possession and occupation of the
disputed land by respondent cannot be counted in its
favor, as the subject property being a friar land,
remained part of the patrimonial property of the
Government. Possession of patrimonial property of
the Government, whether spanning decades or
centuries, can not ipso facto ripen into ownership.
Moreover, the rule that statutes of limitation do not run
against the State, unless therein expressly provided, is
founded on the the great principle of public policy,
applicable to all governments alike, which forbids that
the public interests should be prejudiced by the
negligence of the officers or agents to whose care they
are confided. (Emphasis supplied.)
xxx

xxx

xxx

Considering that none of the parties has


established a valid acquisition under the provisions
of Act No. 1120, as amended, we therefore adopt the
recommendation of the CA declaring the Manotok title as
null and void ab initio, and Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate
as still part of the patrimonial property of the
Government.

The dissent of Justice Carpio


Justice Carpio dissented from the majority
opinion insofar as it declared that the absence of
approval by the Secretary of the Interior/Agriculture
and Natural Resources of Sale Certificate No. 1054
and Deed of Conveyance No. 29204 warrants the
annulment of the Manotoks title.
On the majoritys reliance on 18 of Act No.
1120, which provides that [n]o lease or sale made by
Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands under the
provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by
the Secretary of the Interior, Justice Carpio noted:
Under Section 18, any sale of friar land by the
Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands (now Director of
Lands) shall not be valid until approved by the Secretary.
This means that the Secretary, under Section 18,
approves the sale and thus signs the Deed of
Conveyance upon full payment of the purchase price.
However, under Section 12 of Act No. 1120, the Director
of Lands signs the Sales Certificate upon payment of the
first instalment. xxx.

xxx

xxx

xxx

Under Section 12, it is only the Director of Land


who
signs
the
Sales
Certificate.
The Sales
Certificate operates as a contract to sell which, under the
law, the Director of Lands is authorized to sign and thus
bind the Government as seller of the friar land. This
transaction is a sale of private property because friar
lands are patrimonial properties of the Government. In
short, the law expressly authorizes the Director of Lands
to sell private or patrimonial property of Government
under a contract to sell. On the other hand, under
Section 18, the Secretary signs the Deed of Conveyance
because the Secretary must approve the sale made
initially by the Director of Lands. The Deed of
Conveyanceoperates as a deed of absolute sale which
the Secretary signs upon full payment of the purchase
price. The Deed of Conveyance, when presented, is
authority for the Register of Deeds to issue a new title to
the buyer as provided in Section 122 of the Land
Registration Act.

On the citation by the majority of the ruling


in Alonso v. Cebu Country Club, Inc. and other
cases, which held that the approval of the Secretary of
Agriculture and Commerce is indispensable for the
validity of the sale of friar lands, Justice
Carpio disagreed and held:
T]he ruling in Alonso was superseded with the
issuance by then Department of Environment and
Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Michael T.
Defensor of DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05,
which provides:
WHEREAS, it appears that there are
uncertainties in the title of the land disposed by the
Government under Act 1120 or the Friar Lands Act due
to the lack of the signature of the Secretary on the
Deeds of Conveyance;
WHEREAS, said Deeds of Conveyance were
only issued by the then Bureau of Lands (now the Land
Management Bureau) after full payment had been made
by the applicants thereon subject to the approval of the
Secretary of the then Department of Interior, then
Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources and
presently, the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources, in accordance with Act 1120;
WHEREAS, some of these Deeds of
Conveyance on record in the field offices of the
Department and the Land Management Bureau do
not bear the signature of the Secretary despite full
payment by the friar land applicant as can be
gleaned in the Friar Lands Registry Book;

9 | Page

WHEREAS, it is only a ministerial duty on the


part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance
once the applicant had already made full payment on
the purchase price of the land;
WHEREFORE, for and in consideration of the
above premises, and in order to remove all clouds of
doubt regarding the validity of these instruments, it
is hereby declared that all Deeds of Conveyance that
do not bear the signature of the Secretary are
deemed signed or otherwise ratified by this
Memorandum Order provided, however, that full
payment of the purchase price of the land and
compliance with all the other requirements for the
issuance of the Deed of Conveyance under Act 1120
have been accomplished by the applicant;
This Memorandum Order, however, does not
modify, alter or otherwise affect any subsequent
assignments, transfers and/or transactions made by the
applicant or his successors-in-interest or any rights
arising therefrom after the issuance of a Transfer
Certificate of Title by the concerned Registry of Deeds.
(Italicization and boldfacing supplied)
Despite the issuance of DENR Memorandum
Order No. 16-05, the majority still hold that the
memorandum order does not apply to the Manotoks'
title. The majority assert that the Manotoks could not
benefit from DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05
because the memorandum order refers only to deeds of
conveyance on file with the records of DENR field
offices.
I find the majority's limited application of DENR
Memorandum Order No. 16-05 erroneous.
While the third WHEREAS clause of DENR
Memorandum Order No. 16-05 refers to Deeds of
Conveyance on record in the field offices of the
DENR, the dispositive portion categorically states that
all Deeds of Conveyance that do not bear the
signature of the Secretary are deemed signed or
otherwise ratified by the Memorandum Order. The
word all means everything, without exception. DENR
Memorandum Order No. 16-05 should apply to all
Deeds of Conveyance, as declared in its dispositive
portion, and should not be limited to those on file in
DENR field offices. Clearly, as expressly stated in
Section 20 of Executive Order No. 192, all DENR
Regional Offices, including the Regional Office in NCR,
are field offices of the DENR.
Quezon City, where the land in question is
situated, is under DENR's NCR field office. In 1919,
when the Government sold the subject friar land to
the Manotoks' predecessors-in-interest, the land was
part of the province of Rizal, which also has a field

office. Indisputably, DENR Memorandum Order No.


16-05 applies to all Deeds of Conveyance of friar lands
anywhere in the Philippines without exception. Thus,
conveyances of land within the NCR, including the
conveyance to the Manotoks, are covered by DENR
Memorandum Order No. 16-05.
The first WHEREAS clause clearly states
that what DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05 seeks
to cure are the uncertainties in the title of the land
disposed by the Government under Act 1120 or the
Friar Lands Act due to the lack of signature of the
Secretary on the Deeds of Conveyance. If we apply
DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05 only to Deeds of
Conveyance on record in the field offices outside of
NCR, the purpose of the issuance of DENR
Memorandum Order No. 16-05 will not be fully
accomplished.
xxx

xxx

xxx

The total area of friar lands in NCR,


specifically in Muntinlupa, Piedad, San Francisco de
Malabon, Santa Cruz de Malabon, and Tala is
86,567.50 acres or 35,032.624 hectares. If DENR
Memorandum Order No. 16-05 will not be applied to
these areas, the Court will be disquieting the titles held
by generations of landowners since the passage in 1904
of Act No. 1120. Thousands, if not hundreds of
thousands, of landowners could be dispossessed of their
lands in these areas.

Justice Carpio held that Manotoks became


owners of the subject land upon their full payment of
the purchase price to the Government on 7 December
1932. Upon such full payment, the Manotoks had the
right to demand conveyance of the land and issuance
of the corresponding title to them. He continued:
Thus, the Court has held that in cases of sale of
friar lands, the only recognized resolutory condition is
non-payment of the full purchase price. Pursuant to
Section 12 of Act No. 1120, upon payment of the last
installment together with all accrued interest[,] the
Government will convey to [the] settler and
occupant the said land so held by him by proper
instrument of conveyance, which shall be issued
and become effective in the manner provided in
section one hundred and twenty-two of the Land
Registration Act. Once it is shown that the full
purchase price had been paid, the issuance of the
proper certificate of conveyance necessarily follows.
There is nothing more that is required to be done as the
title already passes to the purchaser.
The Court has ruled that equitable and beneficial
title to the friar land passes to the purchaser from the
time the first installment is paid and a certificate of sale

10 | P a g e

is issued. When the purchaser finally pays the final


installment on the purchase price and is given a deed of
conveyance and a certificate of title, the title, at least in
equity, retroacts to the time he first occupied the land,
paid the first installment and was issued the
corresponding certificate of sale. The sequence then is
that a certificate of sale is issued upon payment of the
first installment. Upon payment of the final installment,
the deed of conveyance is issued.
It is the Deed of Conveyance that must bear
the signature of the Secretary of Interior/Agriculture
because it is only when the final installment is paid
that the Secretary can approve the sale, the
purchase price having been fully paid. This is why
DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05 refers only to the
Deed of Conveyance, and not to the Sale Certificate, as
the document that is deemed signed by the
Secretary. In short,Section 18 of Act No. 1120 which
states that (n)o xxx sale xxx shall be valid until
approved by the Secretary of Interior refers to the
approval by the Secretary of the Deed of
Conveyance.
DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05 expressly
acknowledges that it is only a ministerial duty on the
part of the Secretary to sign the Deed of Conveyance
once the applicant had already made full payment on
the
purchase
price
of
the
land.
The
majority expressly admit in their Reply to the
Dissenting Opinion that Memorandum Order No. 16-05:
x x x correctly stated that it is only
a ministerial duty on the part of the Secretary to sign
the Deed of Conveyance once the applicant had
made full payment on the purchase price of the
land.
Jurisprudence
teaches
us
that notwithstanding the failure of the government
to issue the proper instrument of conveyance when
the purchaser finally pays the final installment of the
purchase price, the purchaser of friar land still
acquired ownership over the subject land.
(Italicization supplied)
xxx

xxx

xxx

To repeat, Deed of Conveyance No. 29204


expressly and unequivocally acknowledged that
Severino Manotok had fully paid the purchase price to
the Government. Since the majority expressly admit
that upon full payment of the purchase price it
becomes the ministerial duty of the Secretary to
approve the sale, then the majority must also
necessarily admit that the approval of the Secretary
is a mere formality that has been complied with by
the issuance of Memorandum Order No. 1605. Since the majority further expressly admit that
upon full payment of the purchase price ownership
of the friar land passes to the purchaser, despite the
failure of the Secretary to sign the Deed of
Conveyance, then the majority must also necessarily

admit that the Manotoks became the absolute


owners of the land upon their full payment of the
purchase price on 7 December 1932.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Indisputably, upon full payment of the purchase


price, full and absolute ownership passes to the
purchaser of friar land. In the case of the Manotoks title,
the Deed of Conveyance was issued except that it
lacked the signature of the Secretary which the majority
erroneously hold is still indispensable pursuant
to Alonso. However, Alonso should not be applied to the
Manotoks' title because DENR Memorandum Order No.
16-05 was not yet issued when the Court
decided Alonso. The absence of the Secretarys
signature in the Deed of Conveyance in Alonso was
never cured and hence the Court in Alonso voided the
Deed
of
Conveyance.
Besides,
in Alonso the
corresponding Torrens title was never issued even after
a lapse of 66 years from the date of the Deed of
Conveyance. In sharp contrast, here the lack of the
Secretarys signature in the Manotoks Deed of
Conveyance No. 29204 was cured by the issuance
of DENR Memorandum Order No. 16-05, which
expressly states that all Deeds of Conveyance that
do not bear the signature of the Secretary are
deemed signed or ratified x x x. Moreover, the
Manotoks have been issued their torrens title way back
in 1933. Section 122 of Act No. 496 states that [i]t shall
be the duty of the official issuing the instrument of
alienation, grant, or conveyance in behalf of the
Government to cause such instrument, before its
delivery to the grantee, to be filed with the register of
deeds for the province where the land lies and to be
there registered like other deeds and conveyances,
whereupon a certificate shall be entered as in other
cases of registered land, and an owner's duplicate
certificate issued to the grantee. TCT No. 22813 would
not have been issued in the name of Severino Manotok
if Deed of Conveyance No. 29204 had not been
delivered to the Register of Deeds of the Province of
Rizal to which the land covered by the Manotoks title
then belonged. The Manotoks should not be punished if
the documents leading to the issuance of TCT No.
22813 could no longer be found in the files of the
government office, considering that these were pre-war
documents and considering further the lack of proper
preservation of documents in some government
agencies.
The fact remains that the Manotoks were
able to present a certified true copy of Deed of
Conveyance No. 29204 secured from the National
Archives which is the official repository of
government and public documents. This Deed of
Conveyance No. 29204 was signed by the Director of
Lands and lacked only the signature of the Secretary
of Interior/Agriculture. Memorandum Order No. 1605 speaks of all Deeds of Conveyance that do not

11 | P a g e

bear the signature of the Secretary and thus


includes Deed of Conveyance No. 29204. Under
Memorandum Order No. 16-05, such Deeds of
Conveyance are deemed signed by the Secretary.
Clearly, Memorandum Order No. 16-05 applies
squarely to the Manotoks title for two reasons.
First, Deed of Conveyance No. 29204 was signed by
the Director of Lands but lacked only the signature
of the Secretary. Second, the purchase price for the
land subject of Deed of Conveyance No. 29204 had
been fully paid on 7 December 1932, more than 77
years ago.

The concurring and dissenting opinion of Justice


Carpio Morales
Justice Carpio Morales held that the absence
of the signature of the Secretary of the
Interior/Agriculture and Natural Resources in the
Manotoks Sale Certificate No. 1054 and Deed of
Conveyance No. 29204 issued in 1919 and 1932,
respectively, does not warrant the annulment of their
title.
She advanced the thesis the [t]here is no
absence of approval to speak of, since [the
Manotoks] Deed of Conveyance is, pursuant to Order
16-05, deemed signed by the Department Secretary,
and there is no legal basis for requiring another
signature of the Department Secretary on the Sale
Certificate.
She
continued:
Contrary
to
the ponencia's position, Order
16-05
does
not
contravene Act No. 1120. Order 16-05 did not
dispense with the requirement of the Department
Secretarys approval. It recognizes that the approval
of the Secretary is still required, the grant or
ratification of which is made subject only to certain
conditions, precisely to remove all clouds of doubt
regarding the validity of these instruments which do
not bear his signature. The fulfillment of the
conditions must be proven to be extant in every case.
Justice Carpio Morales likewise submitted the
proposition that there is no statutory basis for the
requirement of the Department Secretary's signature
on the Certificate of Sale, apart from a strained
deduction of Section 18. On the majoritys general
proposition that a claim of ownership must fail in the
absence of positive evidence showing the Department
Secretarys approval, which cannot simply be
presumed or inferred from certain acts, Justice Carpio
Morales countered: Jurisprudential review is gainful
only insofar as settling that the approval by the
Department Secretary is indispensable to the validity
of the sale. Case law does notcategorically state
that the required approval must be in the form
of a signature on the Certificate of Sale.

On what constitutes the positive evidence of


approval to lend validity to the sale of friar
lands, Justice Carpio Morales held:
The ponencia concludes, as a matter of course
on the strength of Sections 11, 12 and 15, that
the certificate of sale must be signed by the Department
Secretary for the sale to be valid. As discussed earlier,
these three Sections neither support the theory that such
signing is required in the sale certificate nor shed light to
the specifics of approval.
I submit that the Department Secretarys
signature on the certificate of sale is not one of the
requirements for the issuance of the Deed of
Conveyance under Act No. 1120. To require another
signature of the Department Secretary on the Certificate
of Sale, on top of that deemed placed by Order 16-05 on
the
Deed
of
Conveyance,
is
to
impose
a redundant requirement and render irrelevant the spirit
of said Order.
IN FINE, petitioners having complied with the
conditions for the applicability of Order 16-05, their Deed
of Conveyance is deemed signed or otherwise ratified
by said Order.
It bears emphasis that Order 16-05 is a positive
act on the part of the Department Secretary to remedy
the situation where, all other conditions having been
established by competent evidence, the signature of the
Department Secretary is lacking. The Order aims to
rectify a previous governmental inaction on an otherwise
legally valid claim, or affirm an earlier approval shown to
be apparent and consistent by a credible paper trail.
Obviously, the incumbent Department Secretary
can no longer probe into the deep recesses of his
deceased predecessors, or unearth irretrievably tattered
documents at a time when the country and its records
had long been torn by war, just to satisfy himself with an
explanation in the withholding of the signature. The
meat of Order 16-05 contemplates such bone of
contention as in the present case.
The cloud of doubt regarding the validity of the
conveyance to petitioners predecessors-in-interest
having been removed by Order No. 16-05, petitioners
title over Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate is, I submit, valid.

12 | P a g e

Man otok v. Barque | GR 162335 & 162605 | March 6,


2012 | J.Villarama, Jr.

Land Titles and Deeds Case Digests


FACTS:

The surviving heirs of the late Homer Barque, filed a petition with
the LRA for administrative reconstitution of the original
copyof TCT No. 210177 issued in the name of Homer L. Barque,
which wasdestroyed in the fire that gutted the Quezon City Hall,
including the Office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City,
sometime in 1988.
Insupport of the petition, petitioners submitted the owners duplica
te copy of TCT No. 210177, real estate tax receipts,
tax declarations 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 Republic 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 halftorn 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 wasnot 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 th
eBarques documentary evidence were either spurious or irregula
rlyprocured, 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
unauthenticateddocument is suspicious, considering that Celzo w
ho testified, aswitness 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.

13 | P a g e