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Land Title and Deeds

Ateneo de Davao University


Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Presidential Decree No. 1529


Section 1. Title of Decree. This Decree shall be known as the
Property Registration Decree.
Section 2. Nature of Registration Proceedings; jurisdiction of
courts. Judicial proceedings for the registration of lands
throughout the Philippines shall be in rem and shall be based on
the generally accepted principles underlying the Torrens System.
Regional Trial Courts (Courts of First Instance) 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.
The court through its clerk of court shall furnish the Land
Registration Authority (Land Registration Commission) with two
(2) certified copies of all pleadings, exhibits, orders, and decisions
filed or issued in applications or petitions for land registration, with
the exception of stenographic notes, within five (5) days from the
filing or issuance thereof.
The Regalian Doctrine
All lands of whatever classification and other natural
resources not otherwise appearing to be clearly within
private ownership belong to the State.
The State is the source of any asserted right to ownership
of land and charged with the conservation of such
patrimony. (Secretary of DENR vs. Yap)
Presumption: Lands not shown to have been reclassified or
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

released as alienable agricultural land or alienated to a


private person by the State remain part of the alienable
public domain.
The burden to overturn the presumption by
incontrovertible evidence that the land subject to an
application is alienable or disposable rests with the
applicant. There is a need to establish the positive act
classifying the land as alienable and disposable.
o Presidential Proclamation
o Executive Order
o Administrative Action
o Investigative Reports of the Bureau of Lands
o Legislative Act or statute
Concept of Jura Regalia
Private title to land must be traced to some grant, express
or implied, from the Spanish Crown or its successors, the
American Colonial government, and thereafter, the
Philippine Republic.
Under Spanish Law, it refers to a right which the sovereign
has over anything in which a subject has a right of property.
These were the rights enjoyed during feudal times by the
King as the sovereign.
By fiction of law, the King was regarded as the original
proprietor of all lands, and the true and only source of title,
and from him all lands were held. The theory of jura regalia
was therefore nothing more than a natural fruit of
conquest.
Dominium The capacity of the State to own or acquire property.
This was the foundation for the early Spanish decrees
embracing the feudal theory of jura regalia.
By virtue of discovery and conquest, all lands became the
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

exclusive patrimony and dominion of Spanish Crown.


The Spanish government took charged of distributing the
lands by issuing royal grants and concessions to Spaniards.
Private land titles could only be acquired from the
government either by purchase or by the various modes of
land grant from the Crown.

History Tree of the land law in the Philippines:


1. Roots of Regalian Doctrine, that upon the Spanish
conquest, the ownership of all lands, territories, and
possessions in the Philippines passed to the Spanish Crown
2. Regalian Doctrine was first introduced in the Phils. Through
the Laws of the Indies and the Royal Cedulas
3. This was followed by the Ley Hipotecaria or the Spanish
Mortgage Law of 1983
a. This provided for the systematic registration of titles
and deeds as well as possessory claims
4. Royal Decree of 1894 or the Maura Law amended the
Spanish Mortgage Law and the Laws of the Indies
a. This established the possessory information as
method of legalizing possession of vacant Crown
lands, under certain conditions set forth
b.Here, possessory information title, when duly
inscribed in the Registry of Property is converted
into a title of ownership only after the lapse of 20
years of uninterrupted actual, public, and adverse
possession from the date of inscription
c. But possessory title had to be perfected one year
after the promulgation of the Maura Law.
Otherwise, lands would revert to the State.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

In sum, under the Spanish, private ownership could only be


founded on royal concessions in the forms of:
a) Titulo real or royal grant
b) Concession especial or special grant
c) Composicion con el estado or adjustment title
d) Titulo de compra or title by purchase
e) Informacion posesoria or possessory information title
5. Under the American regime, the first law governing the
disposition of lands is the Philippine Bill of 1902
a. By this law, lands of the public domain in the
Philippine Islands were classified into three:
i. Agricultutal
ii. Mineral
iii. Timber or Forest Lands
b.The act provided for means of disposal
i. Absolute grabt (freehold system)
ii. Lease (leasehold system)
6. Philippine Legislature passes Act 496 or the Land
Registration Act
a. This established a system of registration by which
recorded title becomes absolute, indefeasible, and
imprescriptible known as the Torrens System
7. Act No. 2874 or the 2nd Public Land Act superseded Act 926
a. This is a more comprehensive law which limited the
exploitation of agricultural lands to Filipinos and
Americans and citizens of other countries which
gave Filipinos same privileges

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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

b.For judicial confirmation of title, possession and


occupation en concepto dueno since time
immemorial, or since July 26, 1894, was required
8. CA 141 amended Act 2874, and has ever since remained as
the existing general law governing the classification and
disposition of lands of the public domain other than timber
and mineral lands, and privately-owned lands which
reverted to the State
a. CA 141 retained the requirement of Act 2874 as
mentioned in 7(b) but was superseded by RA 1942
which provided for a simple 30-year prescriptive
period for judicial confirmation of imperfect title
b.This was last amended by PD 1073 which now
provides for possession and occupation of the land
applied for since June 12, 1945, or earlier
9. PD No. 892 discontinued the use of Spanish titles as
evidence in land registration proceedings
a. Under this decree, all holders of Spanish titles or
grants should apply for registration of their lands
under Act 496 within 6 months from the effectivity
of the decree on February 16, 1976
b.Thereafter, the recording of unregistered lands shall
be governed by Section 194 of the Revised
Administrative Code, as amended by Act No. 3344
10. PD No. 1529 of the Property Registration Decree amended
Act. 496
a. It codified the various laws relative to registration of
property

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

b.It governs the registration of lands under the Torrens


System as well as unregistered lands, including
chattel mortgages
Secretary of DENR vs.

Yap

Facts:
On November 10, 1978, then President Marcos issued Proc.
No. 1801declaring 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
pen, 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
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

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
respondents-claimants 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.
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

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

(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:
WON 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
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

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.
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
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

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.
Classification of Lands in the Constitution
1935 Constitution classified lands of public domain into:
a. Agricultural
b. Forest
c. Timber
1973 Constitution provided the following divisions:
a. Agricultural
b. Industrial or Commercial
c. Residential
d. Resettlement
e. Mineral
f. Timber or Forest and grazing lands
g. Other classes as may be provided by law
1987 Constitution reverted to the 1935 classification plus one
additional
a. Agricultural
b. Forest/Timber
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

c. Mineral
d. National Parks
Republic vs. Naguiat
Facts:
Celestina Naguiat filed an application for registration of title to 4
parcels of land in Botolan, Zambales with the RTC of Zambales.
She alleges that she is the owner of the parcels of land having
acquired them from a corporation which likewise acquired the
same from Calderon, et al and their predecessors-in-interest who
have been in possession for more than 30 years.
The Republic of the Philippines filed an opposition to the
application on the ground that neither the applicant nor her
predecessors-in-interest (PII) have been in open, continuous,
exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation (OCENPO) of
the lands in question since June 12, 1945 or prior.
RTC Decision: Adjudicated unto Celestina the parcels of land and
decreeing the registration thereof in her name.
CA Decision: Affirmed the RTC Decision
Issue:
WON the private claimant was able to defeat the presumption of
State ownership of the lands in question.
WON the lands in question ceased to have the status of forest or
other inalienable lands of the public domain.

Held: Public forest lands or forest reserves, unless declassified and


released by positive act of the Government so that they may form
part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain, are
not capable of private ownership.
As to these assets, the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do
not apply.
Under Section2, Article XII of the Constitution, which embodies the
Regalian Doctrine, all lands of the public domain belong to the
State, the source of any asserted right to ownership of land. All
lands not appearing to be clearly of private dominion are presumed
to belong to the State.
According, the public lands not shown to have been reclassified or
released as alienable agricultural land or alienated to a private
person by the State remain part of the inalienable public domain.
Under Section 6 of the Public Land Act, the prerogative of
classifying or reclassifying lands of the public domain belongs to
the Executive Branch of the Government and not the court.
Needless to stress, the onus (burden) probandi (proof) to overturn,
by incontrovertible evidence, the presumption that the land
subject of an application for registration is alienable or disposable
rests with the applicant.
The private-claimant has not presented the required certification
from the proper government agency or official proclamation
reclassifying the land applied for as alienable or disposable.
Matters of land classification and reclassification cannot be
assumed. It calls for proof.
The Regalian Doctrine as Enshrined in the Fundamental Law

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

The 1987 Constitution embodies the principle of State ownership of


lands and all other natural resources in Section 2 of Article XII on
National Economy and Patrimony:
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. With the exception of
agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated.
The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources
shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. The
State may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into
co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements
with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least
sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such
agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years,
renewable for not more than twenty-five years, and under such
terms and conditions as may be provided by law. In cases of water
rights for irrigation, water supply fisheries, or industrial uses other
than the development of water power, beneficial use may be the
measure and limit of the grant.

The abovementioned provision provides that except for


agricultural lands for public domain in which alone may be
alienated.
Forest or timber, and mineral lands, as well as all other
natural resources must remain with the State, the
exploration, development, and utilization (EDU) of which
shall be subject to its full control and supervision, albeit
allowing it to enter to:
o Co-production,
o Joint venture, and

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

o Production-sharing agreements
Or into agreements with foreign-owned corporations
involving technical or financial assistance for large-scale
EDU

The 1987 provision had its roots in Section 1, Article XII of the 1935
Constitution which provides:
Section 1. All agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public
domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils,
all forces or potential energy, and other natural resources of the
Philippines belong to the State, and their disposition, exploitation,
development, or utilization shall be limited to citizens of the
Philippines, or to corporations or associations at least sixty per
centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens, subject to
any existing right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the
inauguration of the Government established under this
Constitution. Natural resources, with the exception of public
agricultural land, shall not be alienated, and no license, concession,
or lease for the exploitation, development, or utilization of any of
the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding
twenty-five years, except as to water rights for irrigation, water
supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of
water power, in which cases beneficial use may be the measure
and the limit of the grant.
The 1973 Constitution reiterated the Regalian Doctrine in Section 8,
Artcile XIV:
Section 8. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal,
petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy,
fisheries, wildlife, and other natural resources of the Philippines
belong to the State. With the exception of agricultural, industrial or
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

commercial, residential, and resettlement lands of the.public


domain, natural resources shall not be alienated, and no license,
concession, or lease for the exploration, development,
exploitation, or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be
granted for a period exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for
not more than twenty-five years, except as to water rights for
irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the
development of water power, in which cases, beneficial use may be
the measure and the limit of the grant.
The Regalian Doctrine does not negate native title
Cruz vs. Secretary of DENR
Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa brought the suit for prohibition and
mandamus as citizens and taxpayers, assailing the constitutionality
of certain provisions of RA 8371 also known as the Indigenous
Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA) and its IRR.
Supporters:
Chairperson and Commissioners of the National Commission on
Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the Government agency created
under the IPRA
The Secretary of the DENR and DBM filed through the OSG a
consolidated comment, and the OSG is of the view that the IPRA is
partly unconstitutional on the ground that its grants ownership
over natural resources to IPs and prays that the petition be granted
in part.
Grounds of constitutionality:

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Amount to an unlawful deprivation of the States ownership over


lands of the public domain as well as minerals and other natural
resources, in violation of the Regalian Doctrine
By providing an all-encompassing definition of ancestral domains
and ancestral lands which might even include private lands found
within said areas, violative of the rights of private landowners.
The powers vested by the IPRA Law to NCIP and making customary
law applicable to the settlement of disputes involving ancestral
domains and ancestral lands to be violative of the due process
clause of the Constitution
After due deliberation on the petition, the Supreme Court voted as
follows:
Seven (7) Justices voted to dismiss the petition while seven (7)
other voted to grant the petition. As the votes were equally divided
and the necessary majority was not obtained, the case was
re-deliberated upon. After the re-deliberation, the voting remained
the same. Accordingly, pursuant to Section 7, Rule 56 of the ROC,
the petition was dismissed and the validity of the law was deemed
upheld.
Separate Opinions of the Justices
Constitutionality of the IPRA Law
Justice Kapunan stated that the Regalian Doctrine does not
negate native title to lands held in private ownership since
time immemorial, adverting to the landmark case of Carino
vs. Insular Government
The Carino ruling institutionalized the recognition of the
existence of native title to land, or ownership of land by
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Filipinos by virtue of possession under a claim of ownership


since time immemorial and independent of any grant from
the Spanish Crown, as an exception to the theory of jura
regalia.
Justice Puno stated that Carino firmly established a
concept of private land title that existed irrespective of any
royal grant from the State and was based on the strong
mandate extended to the Islands via the Philippine Bill of
1902 that:
o No law shall be enacted in the said islands which
shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property
without due process of law, or deny to any person
therein the equal protection of the laws.
The IPRA recognizes the existence of the Indigenous
Cultural Communities (ICCS)/Indigenous People (IP) as a
distinct sector in the society. It grants this people
ownership and possession of their ancestral domains and
ancestral lands and defines the extent of these lands and
domains.
Justice Vitug opposed the IPRA saying that the Carino
ruling cannot override the collective will of the people
expressed in the Constitution. It is in them that sovereignty
resides and from them all government authority emanates.
o It is not for a court ruling or any piece of legislation to
be conformed to by the fundamental law, but it is
for the former to adapt to the latter, and it is the
sovereign act that must stand inviolate.
Justice Panganiban stated that all Filipinos, whether
indigenous or not, are subject to the Constitution, and that
no one is exempt from its all encompassing provisions.

by deeds of the system under the general law.


A sale of land is effected by a registered transfer, upon
which a certificate of title is issued.
o The certificate is guaranteed by statute, and, with
certain exceptions, constitutes indefeasible title to
the land mentioned therein.
Under the old system, the sale would be effected by a
conveyance, depending for its validity, apart from intrinsic
flaw, on the correctness of a long series of prior deeds,
wills, etc.

Object: To do away with the delay, uncertainty, and expense of the


old conveyancing system.

Generally a system of registration of transactions with


interest in land whose declared object is, under
governmental authority, to establish and certify to the
ownership of an absolute and indefeasible title to realty,
and to simplify its transfer.
Act 496 or Land Registration Act of 1903, enacted by the
Philippine Commission, placed all public and private lands in
the Philippines under the Torrens system.
o It requires the government to 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 (COT) is indefeasible and
imprescriptible and all claims to the parcel of land are
quieted upon issuance of said certificate.

Background of the Torrens System of Registration


In this system, title by registration takes the place of title
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

G.R. No. L-8936


October 2, 1915
CONSUELO LEGARDA, with her husband MAURO PRIETO,
plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
N.M. SALEEBY, defendant-appellee.
Facts:
Plaintiffs Legarda and Prieto occupy as owners a lot in
Ermita. There exist a stonewall on said property.
On March 2, 1906, plaintiffs presented a petition in the court of
land registration for the registration of their lot.
They were issued OCT under the Torrens system on October
25, 1906.
Later, the predecessor in interest of Saleeby sought to register
his property and was issued an original certificate of title on March
25, 1912 with include the stonewall already registered under the
title of the plaintiffs.
When plaintiffs discovered that the stone wall was also
included in the title of defendant, they presented a petition in court
for adjustment and correction of title.
The lower court denied the said petition contending that they
did not raise the same during the pendency of the defendants
registration. The decision f the lower court was a judicial
proceeding and that the judgment decree was binding upon all
parties who did not appear or oppose it.
Issue:
Whos title should prevail in case of duplicate or double registration
of the same property under the Torrens system? In this case
Legarda (earlier date)
Ruling:

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

The general rule is in case of two certificates of title purporting


to include the same land, the earlier date prevails unless it can be
clearly ascertained by ordinary rules of or statutory construction
that there was mistake in the inclusion in the certificate of title
with an earlier date.
The primary and fundamental purpose of the torrens system is
to quiet title. If the holder of a certificate cannot rest secure in his
registered title, then the purpose of the law is defeated.
Section 38 of Act 496 provides that a decree of registration
shall be conclusive upon and against all persons including the
government. Such decree shall not be opened by reason of
absence, infancy, or other disability of any person affected thereof
nor by any proceeding in court reversing judgment or decree
subject only to the right of any person deprived of the land by
decree of registration obtained by fraud to be filed in court of land
registration for review within one year.
In the case at bar, Legarda was first to register the property
under the torrens title in 1906, therefore such registration is
constructive notice to the whole world. The second registrant
cannot claim good faith for there is already constructive notice
through the first registration. It only follows that the registration
by Saleeby in 1912 in null and void.
Purpose of the Torrens System (Legarda vs. Saleeby)
1. To quiet the title to land,
2. To put a stop forever to any question of legality of the title,
except claims which were noted at the time of registration,
in the certificate, or which may arise subsequent thereto
G.R. No. 83383
May 6, 1991
SOLID STATE MULTI-PRODUCTS CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS (Former Sixth Division) and THE
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

INTESTATE ESTATE OF ANTENOR S. VIRATA and


DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

the

Facts:
On September 28, 1982, Solid State, a domestic corporation
filed an action for quieting of title against the estate of Virata.
The disputed property here was a friar land.
Plaintiff alleges that it is the registered owner of the parcel of
land located in Imus Cavite containing about 48,182 sq. m. issued
on February 24, 1976.
It further alleged, that Virata during his lifetime through fraud
caused the issuance of another certificate of title on September 1,
1959 which creates a cloud to petitioners title.
Solid State bought the disputed property in 1976 from one
Julian Penaranda.
Julian Penaranda acquired the same by application to purchase
the land which was a friar land. The sale to Penaranda was with the
approval of the Secretary of Interior later the Secretary of
Agriculture and Commerce. He went through the process as
provided by Act 1120 or the Friar Lands Act.
On the other hand, Virata alleges that he acquired the
disputed property December 6, 1957 from Mabini Legaspi. The
latter acquired the same in a public auction on May 5, 1943.
Mabini testified that she sold the property to Virata.
TC ruled in favor of Virata and dismissed the complaint.
CA affirmed the TC

Ruling:
It is undisputed that the property in the case at bar is a friar
land. Therefore, the law applicable is Act 1120 or the Friar Lands
Act. It provides that sale or lease of said properties shall be valid
only if approved by the Secretary of Interior.
Clearly, the purchase of Penaranda was in compliance with
law. The execution of the sale vested title to Penaranda as the
Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce approved it. Hence, the
sale from Penaranda to Solid State validly transferred ownership.
On the other hand, the sale of the lot to Mabini Legaspi
occurred much earlier but nowhere in the records show that a
certificate of sale was ever issued by the Bureau of Lands in her
favor. The official receipt of sale presented does not prove that the
property was conveyed to her by the government. The sale to
Mabini was highly irregular, void and not in compliance with law.
Registration does not vest title. It merely evidences such title.
Title does not become incontrovertible since it is void ab initio.

Issue:

WON the TC erred in considering Virata the owner of the disputed


property? YES

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Once a title is registered, the owner may rest secure,


without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court
to avoid the possibility of losing his land
While the proceeding is judicial, it involves more in its
consequences than does an ordinary action, and all the
world are parties, including the government.
After the registration is complete and final and there exists
no fraud, there are no innocent third parties who may claim
an interest.
The rights of all the world are foreclosed by the decree of
registration.
Aims to decree land titles shall be final, irrevocable, and
indisputable, and to relieve the land of the burden of
11 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

known as well as unknown claims.


The registration compels the claimants to come to court
and to make there a record, so that thereafter there may
be no uncertainty concerning either the character or the
extent of such claims.

Registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership


Registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership but is
merely a procedure to establish evidence of title over
realty.
It is means of confirming the fact of its existence with
notice to the world at large
A certificate of title is not a source of right, but merely
confirms or records a title already existing and vested
Distinction between Title and Certificate of Title
Title a just cause of exclusive possession, or which is the
foundation of ownership of property
Certificate of Title a mere evidence of ownership, it is not the
title to the land itself
2 Types
1. Original Certificate of Title (OCT) a true copy of the
decree of registration
2. Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) issued subsequent to
the original registration
Advantages of the Torrens System (Grey Alba vs. De la Cruz)
1. Substituted security for insecurity
2. Reduced the cost of conveyances from pounds to shillings,
and the time occupied from months to days;
3. Exchanged brevity and clearness for obscurity and verbiage
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

4. Simplified ordinary dealings that he has mastered the 3 Rs


(Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic) can transact his own
conveyancing
5. Affords protection against fraud
6. Restored to their just value many estates held under good
holding titles, but depreciated in consequence of some blur
or technical defect, and has barred the reoccurrence of any
similar faults
A View of Past and Present Legislation on Land Registration
The State has the power and right to provide a procedure
for the adjudication of title to real estate
State has control over the real property within the limits
State posses not only the right to determine how title to
real estate may be acquired and proved, but it is also within
its legislative capacity to establish the method of procedure
1. The Public Land Act (CA No. 141)
a. Act No. 926 or the first Public Land Act, passed through
the Philippine Commission in pursuance of the Philippine
Bill of 1902.
i. It governed the disposition of lands of public domain
ii. It prescribed terms and conditions to enable persons
to perfect their titles to public lands in the Islands
iii. It provided for the issuance of patents to certain
native settlers upon public lands, for the
establishment of town sites and sale of lots, for the
completion of imperfect titles, and for the
cancellation or confirmation of Spanish concessions
and grants in the Islands
iv. It operated on the assumption that title to public
lands in the Philippine Islands remained in the
government
12 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

v. Public Land referred to all lands of the public


domain whose title still remained in the
government and are thrown open to private
appropriation and settlement, and excluded the
patrimonial property of the government and the
friar lands
b. Act No. 2874 or the second Public Land Act superseded Act
No. 926, passed under the Jones Law
i. It was more comprehensive in scope but limited the
exploitation of agricultural lands to Filipinos and
Americans and citizens of other countries which
gave Filipinos the same privileges
c. CA No. 141, the present Public Land Act, amended Act No.
2874 after the passage of the 1935 Constitution
i. The difference between Act No.2874 to the transitory
provisions on the rights of American citizens and
corporations during the Commonwealth period
at par with Filipino citizens and corporations
ii. This applies to lands of the public domain which have
been declared open to disposition or concession
and officially delimited and classified
iii. It contains provisions on the different modes of
government grant, i.e. homestead, sale, free
patent
(administrative
legalization),
and
reservations for public and semi-public purpose
iv. The certificate of title issued pursuant to a public land
patent has the same validity and efficacy as a
certificate of title issued through ordinary
registration proceedings
Section48. The following-described citizens of the Philippines,
occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such
lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of


the province where the land is located for confirmation of their
claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the
Land Registration Act , to wit:
XXX

XXX

XXX

(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in


interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious
possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public
domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership, for at
least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the
application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war
or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have
performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and
shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this
chapter.
(c) Members of the national cultural minorities who by themselves
or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of
lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture, whether
disposable or not, under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least
30 years shall be entitled to the rights granted in sub-section (b)
hereof.

Section 51 provides that applications for judicial


confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles shall be
subject to the same procedure as that established under
the Property Registration Decree (PD 1529), except that
notice of all such applications, together with the plan of the
land claimed, shall be immediately forwarded to the
Director of Lands who may appear as a party in such cases.
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

2. The Land Registration Act (Act No, 496)


i. Approved on November 6, 1902 but became effective on
January 1, 1903
ii. Established the Torrens system of registration
iii. Created the Court of Land Registration which had exclusive
jurisdiction over all applications for registration with power
to hear and determine all questions arising upon such
application
a. Before the creation of the Court of Land Registration
(CLR), the jurisdiction to determine the nature,
quality, and extent of land titles, the rival claims of
contending parties, and the legality and effect
thereof was vested in the Courts of First Instance
(RTC now)
b.After land has been finally registered, the CLR ceased
to have jurisdiction
c. The only authority remaining in CLR was conferred by
Section 112
d.The final decrees are regarded as indefeasible and
could not be reopened, EXCEPT:
i. That any person deprived of land or of any
estate or interest therein through fraud,
may file in the CFI (RTC now) a petition for
review within 1 year after entry of the
decree, PROVIDED that the land has not
been transferred to an innocent purchaser
for value
iv. Registration under the system did not create a title. It simply
confirmed a title already created and vested
v. This Act provided for an Assurance Fund to pay for the loss or
damage sustained by any person who, without negligence
on his part, is wrongfully deprived of any land or interest
therein on account of the bringing of the land under
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Torrens system of registration


3. The Cadastral Act (Act No. 2259)
i. Took effect on February 11, 1913
ii. When in the opinion of the President, the public interest
requires that title to any lands be settled and adjudicated;
he shall order the Director of Lands (DOL) to make a survey
thereof, with notice to all persons claiming an interest
therein.
iii. The DOL, represented by the OSG, shall institute registration
proceedings by filing a petition in the proper court against
the holders, claimants, possessors or occupants of such
lands, stating that the public interest requires that the titles
to such lands be settled and adjudicated.
iv. Notice of the filing of the petition is published twice in
successive issues of the Official Gazette
v. All conflicting interests shall be adjudicated by the court and
decree awarded to the person entitled to the lands or parts
thereof
a. The decree shall be the basis for the issuance of the
certificate of title which shall have the same effect
as a certificate of title granted under PD 1529
(Property Registration Decree)
b.Cadastral Proceeding is in rem, binding generally
upon the whole world, inclusive of persons not
parties thereof, and particularly upon those who
had actually taken part in the proceeding and their
successors in interest by title subsequent to the
commencement of the action
c. The provisions of this act have been substantially
incorporated in PD 1529, particularly in Sections 35
to 38 thereof, under the title Cadastral Registration
Proceedings.
4. The Property Registration Decree (PD 1529)
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

i. Approved on June 11, 1978


ii. Issued to update the Land Registration Act and to codify the
various laws relative to registration of property and to
facilitate effective implementation of said laws
iii. This decree supersedes all other laws relative to the
registration of property
a. RTCs of the city or province where the land lies, serve
as first level courts, exercise jurisdiction over
applications for registration and all subsequent
proceedings relative thereto, subject to judicial
review
iv. Section 14(1) of PD 1529 and Section 48(b) of CA No. 41 are
virtually the same
a. Section 14(1) of PD 1529 specifically operationalizing
the registration of lands of the public domain and
codifying the various laws relative to the
registration of property
v. The act has substantially incorporated the substantive and
procedural requirements of the Land Registration Act of
1902
a. But has expanded its coverage to include:
i. judicial confirmation of imperfect or
incomplete title in its Section 14(1);
ii. cadastral registration proceedings in
Sections 35 to 38;
iii. Voluntary proceedings in Sections 51 to 68;
iv. Involuntary proceedings in Sections 69 to 77
v. Certificates
of
land
transfer
and
emancipation patents issued pursuant to
PD No. 27 in Sections 104 to 106; and
vi. Reconstitution of lost or destroyed original
titles in Section 110
b.Judicial proceedings are in rem
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

c. Jurisdiction over the res is acquired by giving the


public notice of initial hearing by means of:
i. Publication;
ii. Mailing; and
iii. Notice
d.The decree renamed the Land Registration
Commission (LRC) as Land Registration Authority
(LRA) the central repository of records relative to
original registration, including subdivision and
consolidation plans of titled lands
vi. Section 14 paragraph 1 to 4 of PD 1529 enumerates the persons
WHO may apply for registration, and the conditions
necessary
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.

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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

(4) Those who have acquired ownership of land in any


other manner provided for by law.

The application for registration shall be filed with the RTC


of the province or city where the land is situated
The court shall issue an order setting the date and hour of
initial hearing, and the public shall be given notice thereof
by means of:
o Publication,
o Mailing, and
o Posting
Any person claiming an interest in the land may appear and
file an opposition, stating all his objections to the
application
Once the judgment becomes final, the court shall issue an
order for the issuance of a decree and the corresponding
certificate of title in favor of the adjudicate
Thereupon, the LRA shall prepare the corresponding
decree of registration as well as the original and duplicate
certificates of title which shall be sent to the ROD of the
city or province where the land lies for registration
Decree of Registration binds the land and quiets title
thereto, subject only to such exceptions or liens as may be
provided by law
Certificate of Title shall not be subject to collateral
attack, nor shall it be altered, modified, or cancelled except
in a direct proceeding in accordance with law
Assurance Fund is provided for the loss, damage, or
deprivation of any interest sustained by any person,
without negligence on his part, as a consequence of the
bringing of the land under the operation of the Torrens
system.

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Registration under Torrens System is a Proceeding in rem


Section 2 of PD 1529 expressly states that judicial
proceedings for the registration of land shall be in rem and
shall be based on the generally accepted principles
underlying the Torrens system
Proceeding in rem when the object of the action is to bar
indifferently all who might be minded to make an objection of any
sort against the right sought to be established
Proceeding in personam the technical object of the suit is
establish claim against some particular person, with a judgment
which generally binds his body, or to bar some individual claim or
objection, so that only certain persons are entitled to be heard in
defense

Being in rem, upon the presentation in court of an


application for registration of the title to lands, all
occupants, adjoining owners, adverse claimants, and other
interested persons are notified of the proceedings, and
have a right to appear in opposition to such application

G.R. No. 5246


September 16, 1910
MANUELA GREY ALBA, ET AL., petitioners-appellants, vs.
ANACLETO R. DE LA CRUZ, objector-appellee.
Facts:
The petitioners, Manuela, Jose, Juan and Francisco are the he
only heirs of Doa Segunda Alba Clemente and Honorato Grey. The
four petitioners, as co-owners, on Dec. 18, 1906 sought to have
registered a parcel of agricultural land in Bulacan. The petition was
16 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

accompanied by a plan and technical description of the said lot.


After hearing the court, on Feb. 12, 1908, entered a decree directing
that described in the petition be registered in the names of the 4
petitioners.
On June, 1908, Anacleto Ratilla de la Cruz filed a motion in the
Court of Land Registration (CLR) asking for a revision of the case,
including the decision, upon the ground that he is the absolute
owner of the 2 parcels of land described in said motion and which
he alleges to be included in the lands decreed to the petitioners. He
alleges that the decree of Feb. 12, 1908 was obtained maliciously
and fraudulently by the petitioners, thereby depriving him of said
lands. For him, The petitioners deliberately omitted to include in
their registration his name as one of the occupants of the land so
as to be given notice of registration. He further alleged having
inherited the 2 lots from his father, Baldomero R. de la Cruz, who
had a state grant for the same (was duly inscribed in the old
register of property in Bulacan on April 6, 1895.)
He therefore asked a revision of the case, and that the said
decree be modified so as to exclude the two parcels of land
described in said motion. The Land Court upon this motion
reopened the case, and after hearing the additional evidence
presented by both parties, rendered, on the Nov. 23, 1908, its
decision modifying the former decree by excluding from the same
the two parcels of land claimed by Anacleto Ratilla de la Cruz.
From this decision and judgment the petitioners appealed.
The court below held that the failure on the part of the
petitioners to include the name of the appellee in their petition, as
an occupant of these two parcels of land, was a violation of section
21 of Act No. 496, and that this constituted fraud within the
meaning of section 38 of said Land Registration Act. The trial court
further held that the grant from the estate should prevail over the
public document of purchase of 1864.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Issue:
1. Did the court below commit an error in reopening this case in
June, 1908, after its decree had been entered in February of the
same year? NO
2.
Whether or not,the petitioners did obtain the decree of Feb
12, 1908, by means of fraud? NO
Ruling:
The judgment appealed from should be, and the same is hereby
reversed and judgment entered in favor of the petitioners in
conformity with the decree of the lower court of February 12, 1908.
1. The said decree of February 12, 1908, should not have been
opened on account of the absence, infancy, or other disability of
any person affected thereby, and could have been opened only on
the ground that the said decree had been obtained by fraud.
2. The application for the registration is to be in writing, signed and
sworn to by the applicant, or by some person duly authorized in his
behalf. It is to contain, among other things, the names and
addresses of all occupants of land and of all adjoining owners, if
known.
The subject land was first rented to Baldomero de la Cruz by
petitioners uncle Jose Grey and this contract was duly executed in
writing. (While the appellee admits that his father and brother
entered into these rental contracts and did, in fact, cultivate the
petitioners land, nevertheless he insists that the two small parcels
in question were not included in these contracts)
The subsequent State grant was obtained by Baldomero after the
death of the petitioners parents and while he petitioners were
minors. So it is clear that the petitioners honestly believed that the
appellee was occupying the said parcels as their lessee at the time
they presented their application for registration. They did not act in
bad faith, nor with any fraudulent intent, when they omitted to
17 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

include in their application the name of the appellee as one of the


occupants of the land. They believed that it was not necessary nor
required that they include in their application the names of their
tenants.
Indeed, the Land Registration Act requires that all occupants be
named in the petition and given notice by registered mail.
However, this did not do the appellee any good, as he was not
notified; but he was made a party defendant, as we have said, by
means of the publication to all whom it may concern. Every
decree of registration shall bind the land and quiet title thereto,
subject only to the [given] exceptions. It shall be conclusive upon
and against all persons, including the Insular Government, and all
the branches thereof, whether mentioned by name in the
application, notice, or citation, or included in the general
description to all whom it may concern.
As to whether or not the appellee can succesfully maintain an
action under the provisions of sections 101 and 102 of the Land
Registration Act (secs. 2365, 2366, Compilation) we do not decide.
NOTES:
The main principle of registration is to make registered titles
indefeasible.
The element of intention to deprive another of just rights
constitutes the essential characteristics of actual as distinguished
from legal-fraud
Looked at either from the point of view of history or of the
necessary requirements of justice, a proceeding in rem dealing with
a tangible res may be instituted and carried to judgment without
personal service upon claimants within the State or notice by name
to those outside of it, and not encounter any provision of either
constitution. Jurisdiction is secured by the power of the court over
the res. As we have said, such a proceeding would be impossible,
were this not so, for it hardly would do to make a distinction
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

between the constitutional rights of claimants who were known


and those who were not known to the plaintiff, when the
proceeding is to bar all. (Tyler vs. Judges, supra.)
action in rem vs. action in personam:
If the technical object of the suit is to establish a claim against
some particular person, with a judgment which generally, in theory
at least, binds his body, or to bar some individual claim or
objection, so that only certain persons are entitled to be heard in
defense, the action is in personam, although it may concern the
right to or possession of a tangible thing. If, on the other hand, the
object is to bar indifferently all who might be minded to make an
objection of any sort against the right sought to be established,
and if anyone in the world has a right to be heard on the strenght
of alleging facts which, if true, show an inconsistent interest, the
proceeding is in rem.
Proof of constructive fraud is not sufficient to authorize the
Court of Land Registration to reopen a case and modify its decree.
Specific, intentional acts to deceive and deprive anther of his right,
or in some manner injure him, must be alleged and proved; that is,
there must be actual or positive fraud as distinguished from
constructive fraud.
RTC have plenary jurisdiction over land registration cases
The jurisdiction of the RTC over matters involving the
registration of lands and lands registered under the Torrens
system is conferred by Section 2 of PD 1529, while
jurisdiction over petitions for amendments of certificates of
title is provided for by Section 108

18 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

[G.R. No. 133240. November 15, 2000]

Ruling:

Rudolf Lietz Holdings Inc. v. Registry of Deeds Paranaque

The Supreme Court held that the RTC has jurisdiction over the
petition. It held that the Solicitor General has confused jurisdiction
with venue. Jurisdiction over the subject matter or the nature of
the action is conferred by law and may not be conferred by consent
or waiver. On the other hand, venue as fixed by statute may be
changed by consent of parties and may be waived.Jurisdiction is
based on substantive law while venue is based on procedural law.

Facts:
Petitioner corporation was formerly known as Ruldolf Lietz
Incorporated. It changed its name to Ruldolf Lietz Holdings
Incorporated. For this reason, petitioner sought to amend the
certificates of title of real properties it owned which was still under
their old name.
On November 20, 1997, petitioner filed a petition for
amendment of titles with the RTC of Paranaque.
Petitioner impleaded the Registry of Deeds of Pasay and
alleged that the properties were all located in Pasay. (This was due
to the mistaken impression that the ROD of Pasay was still in
custody of the certificates of title of properties in Paranaque)
Subsequently, when petitioner learned that the titles were in
Paranaque, it filed an ex parte motion to amend its petition and
impleaded the ROD Paranaque.
However, the RTC of Paranaque already dismissed motu
proprio Ruldolf Lietz petition due to improper venue.
Petitioner filed a MR but was denied.
The Solicitor General on his comment contends that the trial
court did not acquire jurisdiction over the res because the
allegations in the original petition states that the properties were in
Pasig, hence outside the jurisdiction of the Paranaque court.
Therefore, the court cannot act upon the motion to amend its
petition.
Issue: W/N the trial court has jurisdiction over the petition? YES

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

In the case at bar, petitioner correctly invoked the jurisdiction of


the RTC in seeking amendment of its certificates of title. It is
conferred by law as provided in PD 1529 or the Property
Registration Decree. Section 2 of Presidential Decree No. 1529, The
Property Registration Decree, viz:
Nature of registration proceedings; jurisdiction of courts. --Judicial proceedings for the registration of lands throughout the
Philippines shall be in rem and shall be based on the generally
accepted principles underlying the Torrens system.
Courts of First Instance (now Regional Trial Courts) shall have
exclusive jurisdiction over all applications for original registration of
title to lands, including improvements and interest 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. The court through its clerk of court shall furnish the
Land Registration Commission with two certified copies of all
pleadings, exhibits, orders, and decisions filed or issued in
applications or petitions for land registration, with the exception of
stenographic notes, within five days from the filing or issuance
thereof.

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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

More specifically, jurisdiction over petitions for amendments of


certificates of title, such as the one brought below, is provided for
by Section 108 of P.D. 1529, thus:

can only be resorted when there is lack of jurisdiction,


litispendencia, res judicata or prescription.

Amendment and alteration of certificates. --- No erasure,


alteration, or amendment shall be made upon the registration book
after the entry of a certificate of title or of a memorandum thereon
and the attestation of the same by the Register of Deeds, except
upon order of the proper Court of First Instance (now Regional
Trial Court). A registered owner or other person having an interest
in registered property, or, in proper cases, the Register of Deeds
with the approval of the Commissioner of Land Registration, may
apply by petition to the court upon the ground that the registered
interests of any description, whether vested, contingent,
expectant inchoate appearing on the certificate, have terminated
and ceased; or that new interest not appearing upon the certificate
have arisen or been created; or that an omission or error was made
in entering a certificate or any memorandum thereon, or on any
duplicate certificate; or that the name of any person on the
certificate has been changed; or that the registered owner has
married, or, if registered as married, that the marriage has been
terminated and no right or interest of heirs or creditors will thereby
be affected, or that a corporation which owned registered land and
has been dissolved has not conveyed the same within three years
after its dissolution; or upon any other reasonable ground and the
court may hear and determine the petition after notice to all
parties in interest, and may order the entry or cancellation of a new
certificate, or grant any other relief upon such terms and
conditions, requiring security or bond if necessary, as it may
consider proper: xxx.
Therefore, since the court has jurisdiction, RTC erred when it
dismissed the petition motu proprio since motu proprio dismissal
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Section 2 provides that the RTCs shall have exclusive


jurisdiction over all applications for original registration of
titles 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
Before the enactment of PD 1529, summary reliefs, such as
action to compel the surrender of owners duplicate COT to
the ROD, could only be filed with the RTC, sitting as a land
registration court, if there is unanimity among the parties,
or there is no adverse claim or serious objection on the part
of any party in interest; otherwise the case becomes
contentious and controversial and should therefore be
threshed out in an ordinary action or in the case where the
incident property belonged

Delegated Jurisdiction of Inferior Courts


Section 34 of BP 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980, as amended by RA 7691 grants first
level courts delegated jurisdiction to hear and determine cadastral
or land registration cases.
The Metropolitan Trial Courts (MeTC), Municipal Trial Courts (MTC),
Municipal Trial Courts in Cities (MTCC), and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts (MCTC) shall have jurisdiction in the following instances:
a. Where the lot sought to be registered is not subject of
controversy or opposition; OR
b. Where the lot is contested but the value thereof does not
exceed P100, 000
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The value shall be ascertained by the affidavit of the claimant or by


the agreement of the respective claimants, if there be more than
one, or from the corresponding tax declaration of the real
property.
Decisions of the First Level Courts Appealable to the CA

Delegated Jurisdiction is limited to what is expressly mentioned in


the delegation --- to hear and determine cadastral and land
registration cases. Hence, matters subsequent to the original
registration determined by Second Level courts, including petitions
for reconstitution of lost titles, may not be unloaded to First Level
courts.
SC Administrative Circular No. 6-93-A
November 15, 1995, SC issued this circular which provides:
1. Cadastral or land registration cases filed before the
effectivity of this Administrative Circular but where the
hearing has not yet commenced shall be transferred by the
Executive Judge of the RTC having jurisdiction over the
cases to the Executive Judge of the appropriate MeTC,
MTCC, MTC, and MCTC for the required raffle among the
branches of the court under his administrative supervision;
and
2. Cadastral or land registration cases pending in the RTC
where the trail had already been commenced as of the date
of effectivity of the Administrative Circular shall remain
with said courts. However, by agreement of the parties,
these cases may be transferred to the appropriate MeTCs,
MTCCs, MTCs, and MCTCs.
Distinction between the courts general and limited jurisdiction
ELIMINATED

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Section 2 eliminated the distinction between the general


jurisdiction vested in the RTC and the limited jurisdiction
conferred upon it by the former law when acting merely as
a land registration or cadastral court
Purpose: To avoid multiplicity of suits and expediency
The change resulted to
a. Simplified registration proceedings by conferring
upon RTCs the authority to act not only on
applications for original registration but also over
all petitions filed after original registration of title,
with power to hear and determine all questions
arising upon such applications or petitions

G.R. No. 81401 May 18, 1990


VIRGINIA FRANCO VDA. DE ARCEO, CARMELITA ARCEO, ZENAIDA
ARCEO, ROMEO ARCEO, RODOLFO ARCEO and MANUEL ARCEO,
petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS (Former 16th
Division), PEDRO M. ARCEO, SOTERA ARCEO, LORENZO ARCEO,
and ANTONIO ARCEO, respondents.
Facts:
Spouses Abdon Arceo & Escolastica Geronimo were owners of
4 parcels of land in Bulacan. (actually 6 but only 4 were in dispute)
Escolastica died on 1942; Abdon died on 1953 while their son
Esteban died of 1941.
Esteban had 5 children- Jose, Pedro, Lorenzo, Antonio &
Sotera.
Jose is married to Virginia Franco and together they had 6
children.

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Virginia together with her children are the petitioners in this


case while the siblings of Jose are the respondents in this case.
On 1972, Virginia and children filed with the cadastral court and
application for registration of the 4 disputed parcels of land, which
was opposed by Joses siblings.
Petitioners are contending that on September/October 27,
1941 Abdon and Escolastica executed a deed of donation inter vivos
marked as exhibit J in which the spouses bestowed the properties
in favor of Jose. That since 1942 Jose has been paying the taxes.
Another deed of donation inter vivos was also executed by the
spouses marked as exhibit T, which further disposed the properties
to Jose.
On the other hand, respondents rely on a deed of donation
mortis causa executed by the spouses on October 3, 1941 marked
as exhibit 1 which disposed all their properties to all their
grandchildren including Jose. They contend that said deed revoked
the earlier donation made by the spouses. (pertaining to exhibit J)
The cadastral court rejected the 3 documents and distributed
the properties according to the law of intestate succession
CA affirmed
Petitioners contend that the cadastral court does not have the
power to determine conflicting claims of ownership and that its
authority was merely to confirm an existing title.
Issue: W/N the RTC acting as cadastral court has the power to
determine conflicting claims of ownership? YES
Ruling:
Section 2 of Presidential Decree No. 1529, The Property
Registration Decree, viz:

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Nature of registration proceedings; jurisdiction of courts. --- Judicial


proceedings for the registration of lands throughout the
Philippines shall be in rem and shall be based on the generally
accepted principles underlying the Torrens system.
Courts of First Instance (now Regional Trial Courts) shall have
exclusive jurisdiction over all applications for original registration of
title to lands, including improvements and interest 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. The court through its clerk of court shall furnish the
Land Registration Commission with two certified copies of all
pleadings, exhibits, orders, and decisions filed or issued in
applications or petitions for land registration, with the exception of
stenographic notes, within five days from the filing or issuance
thereof.
The Decree has eliminated the distinction between the general
jurisdiction vested in the regional trial court and the limited
jurisdiction conferred upon it by the former law when acting
merely as a cadastral court." The amendment was "aimed at
avoiding multiplicity of suits, the change has simplified registration
proceedings by conferring upon the required trial courts the
authority to act not only on applications for 'original registration'
'but also 'over all petitions filed after original registration of title,
with power to hear and determine all questions arising from such
applications or petitions.
Registration court is not divested of its jurisdiction by
administrative act for the issuance of patent
It has been held that a land registration court which has
validly acquired jurisdiction over a parcel of land for
registration of title cannot be divested of said jurisdiction
by a subsequent administrative act consisting in the
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issuance by the Director of Lands of a homestead patent


covering the same parcel of land.
The Director of Lands jurisdiction, administrative
supervision and executive control extend only to lands of
the public domain and not to lands already of private
ownership. Accordingly, a homestead patent issued over
land not of the public domain is a nullity, devoid of force
and effect against the owner. (De los Angeles vs. Santos)
Proceedings for land registration are in rem, whereas
proceedings for acquisition of homestead patent are not.
o Therefore, a homestead patent does not finally
dispose of the public or private character of the
land as far as courts acting upon proceedings in
rem are concerned.
Jurisdiction in civil cases involving title to property
Pursuant to Section 19(2) of BP 129, as amended, the RTC shall
exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which
involve title to, or possession of, real property or any interest
therein, where the assessed value of the property
a. Exceeds P20,000 outside Metro Manila;
b. Exceeds P50,000 in Metro Manila
EXCEPT: actions for forcible entry and unlawful detainer of lands or
buildings, original jurisdiction is conferred upon the MTCs
The allegations in the complaint and the reliefs prayed for
determines the jurisdiction
An action for reconveyance or for the annulment of a deed
of sale and partition is one involving title to or interest in
property. Thus, the complaint should allege the assessed
value of the property to determine what court has
jurisdiction
Venue
Actions affecting title to or possession of real property, or an
interest therein (real actions), shall be commenced and tried in the
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

proper court which has territorial jurisdiction over the area where
the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated.
On the other hand, all other actions (personal actions) shall be
commenced and tried in the proper court where the plaintiff or any
of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant or any of
the principal defendant resides, or in case of a non-resident
defendant where he may be found, at the ELECTION of the
PLAINTIFF.
Section 3. Status of other pre-existing land registration system.
The system of registration under the Spanish Mortgage Law is
hereby discontinued and all lands recorded under said system
which are not yet covered by Torrens title shall be considered as
unregistered lands.
Hereafter, all instruments affecting lands originally registered
under the Spanish Mortgage Law may be recorded under Section
113 of this Decree, until the land shall have been brought under the
operation of the Torrens system.
The books of registration for unregistered lands provided under
Section 194 of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended by Act
No. 3344, shall continue to remain in force; provided, that all
instruments dealing with unregistered lands shall henceforth be
registered under Section 113 of this Decree.
Registration under Spanish Mortgage law discontinued
On February 16, 1976 PD 892 (Discontinuance of the
Spanish Mortgage System and the use of Spanish titles in
Land Registration Proceedings Act) was issued decreeing
the discontinuance of the system of registration under the
Spanish Mortgage law and the use of Spanish titles as
evidence in land registration proceedings. It provides:
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Section 1. The system of registration under the Spanish Mortgage


Law is discontinued, and all lands recorded under said system
which are not yet covered by Torrens title shall be considered as
unregistered lands.
All holders of Spanish titles or grants should apply for registration
of their lands under Act No. 496, otherwise known as the Land
Registration Act, within six (6) months from the effectivity of this
decree. Thereafter, Spanish titles cannot be used as evidence of
land ownership in any registration proceedings under the Torrens
system.
Hereafter, all instruments affecting lands originally registered
under the Spanish Mortgage Law may be recorded under Section
194 of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended by Act 3344;
Section 2. All laws, executive orders, administrative orders, rules
and regulations inconsistent with the foregoing provisions are
hereby repealed or accordingly modified.

Section 3 of PD 1073 provides:

Section 3. The judicial confirmation of incomplete titles to public


land based on unperfected Spanish grants such as application for
the purchase, composition or other forms of grant of lands of the
public domain under the laws and royal decrees in force prior to
the transfer or sovereignty from Spain to the United States shall no
longer be allowed. However, this Section shall not be construed as
prohibiting any person claiming the same land from acting under
Section 48(b) and Section 48(c) if he meets the conditions
prescribed for judicial confirmation of his incomplete title
thereunder.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Spanish titles no longer used as evidence of land ownership


During Spanish time, all lands of any kind were under the
exclusive dominion of the Spanish crown.
The Spanish government distributed lands by issuing royal
grants and concessions to settlers and other people in
various forms, such as (RSAPPG)
a. Titulo real or royal grant;
b.Concession especial or special grant;
c. Composicion con el estado or adjustment title;
d.Titulo de compra or title by purchase;
e. Informacion possessoria or possessory information
title; and
f. Titulo gratuito or gratuitous title
Spanish titles
a. Although evidence of ownership, they may be lost
through prescription
b.Not indubitable evidence of ownership, and neither
indefeasible nor imprescriptible
Courts are now prevented from accepting and indirectly
confirming such Spanish title in some other form of action
brought before them
Reasons for Discontinuance of use of Spanish Titles
1. Proliferation of dubious Spanish titles which have raised
conflicting claims of ownership; and
2. They tend to destabilize the Torrens system of registration
Intestate Estate of Don Mariano San Pedro vs. Court of Appeals
Facts:
The case is about the fantastic claim of the heirs of Don Mariano
San Pedro to a vast tract of land with a total land area of 173,000
hectares on the basis of a Spanish title --- Titulo de Propriedad No.
4136, dated April 25, 1894.
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Issue: WON the Heirs can validly claim ownership and register the
lands based on their Spanish title.
Held:
It is settled that by virtue of PD 892 which took effect on February
16, 1976, the system of registration under the Spanish Mortgage
Law was abolished and all holders of Spanish titles or grants would
cause their lands covered thereby to be registered under the Land
Registration Act within 6 months from the date of effectivity of
the said decree or until August 16, 1976.
Otherwise, non-compliance therewith will result in a
re-classification of their lands. Spanish titles can no longer be
countenanced as indubitable evidence of land ownership. The
issue, whether Titulo de Propriedad No. 4136 is valid or not, must
now be laid to rest. The titulo cannot be relied upon by the
petitioners-heirs as their privies as evidence of ownership.
Registration of instruments under Act. No. 3344 ineffective
against 3rd persons
Registration of instruments must be done in the proper
registry in order to bind the land
Prior to PD 1529 (PRD), Act No. 496 or the Land
Registration Act governed the recording of transactions
involving registered land, i.e. land with a Torrens titles.
Act No. 3344, provided for the system of recording of
transactions over unregistered real estate without
prejudice to a 3rd party with a better right.
Accordingly, if a parcel of land covered by a Torrens title is
sold, but such sale is registered under Act No. 3344 and not
under the Land Registration Act, the sale is not considered
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

registered and the registration of the deed does not


operate as constructive notice to the whole world.
The registration should be made in the property registry to
be binding upon 3rd persons.

Section 4. Land Registration Commission. In order to have a more


efficient execution of the laws relative to the registration of lands,
geared to the massive and accelerated land reform and social
justice program of the government, there is created a commission
to be known as the Land Registration Commission under the
executive supervision of the Department of Justice.
Renamed Land Registration Authority or Pangasiwaan sa
Patalaan ng Lupain pursuant to Section 28, Chapter 9, Title
III, of EO No. 292, known as the Administrative Code of
1987.
Exercises supervision and control over all Registers of
Deeds, as well as the clerical and archival system of the
courts of first instance throughout the Philippines with
reference to the registration of lands
Section 5. Officials and employees of the Commission. The Land
Registration Commission shall have a chief and an assistant chief to
be known, respectively, as the Commissioner and the Deputy
Commissioner of Land Registration who shall be appointed by the
President. The Commissioner shall be duly qualified member of the
Philippine Bar with at least ten years of practice in the legal
profession, and shall have the same rank, compensation and
privileges as those of a Judge of the Court of First Instance. The
Deputy Commissioner, who shall possess the same qualifications as
those required of the Commissioner, shall receive compensation
which shall be three thousand pesos (P3,000) per annum less than
that of the Commissioner. He shall act as Commissioner of Land
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Registration during the absence or disability of the Commissioner


and when there is a vacancy in the position until another person
shall have been designated or appointed in accordance with law.
The Deputy Commissioner shall also perform such other functions
as the Commissioner may assign to him.
They shall be assisted by such number of division chiefs as may be
necessary in the interest of the functioning of the Commission, by a
Special Assistant to the Commissioner, and by a Chief Geodetic
Engineer who shall each receive compensation at the rate of three
thousand four hundred pesos (P3,400) per annum less than that of
the Deputy Commissioner.
All other officials and employees of the Land Registration
Commission including those of the Registries of Deeds whose
salaries are not herein provided, shall receive salaries
corresponding to the minimum of their respective upgraded ranges
as provided under paragraph 3.1 of Budget Circular No. 273, plus
sixty per centum thereof across the board, notwithstanding the
maximum salary allowed for their respective civil service
eligibilities.
The salaries of officials and employees provided in this Decree shall
be without prejudice to such benefits and adjustments as may from
time to time be granted by the President or by the legislature to
government employees.
All officials and employees of the Commission except Registers of
Deeds shall be appointed by the Secretary of Justice upon
recommendation of the Commissioner of Land Registration.
Headed by an Administrator who is assisted by 2 Deputy
Administrators, all of whom appointed by the President
All other officials of the LRA, EXCEPT Registers of Deeds,
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

are appointed by the Secretary of Justice upon


recommendation of the Administrator
Land Registration Authority is the central repository of
the records relative to original registration of lands titled
under the Torrens system, including subdivision and
consolidation plans of titled lands. Specifically, it is
responsible for the issuance of decrees of registration and
certificates of title (original and duplicate) where land is
brought for the first time under the Torrens system.

Section 6. General Functions.


(1) The Commissioner of Land Registration (now the Land
Registration Administrator) shall have the following functions:
(a) Issue decrees of registration pursuant to final judgments of the
courts in land registration proceedings and cause the issuance by
the Registers of Deeds of the corresponding certificates of title;
(b) Exercise supervision and control over all Registers of Deeds and
other personnel of the Commission;
(c) Resolve cases elevated en consulta by, or on appeal from
decision of, Registers of Deeds;
(d) Exercise executive supervision over all clerks of court and
personnel of the Courts of First Instance throughout the
Philippines with respect to the discharge of their duties and
functions in relation to the registration of lands;
(e) Implement all orders, decisions, and decrees promulgated
relative to the registration of lands and issue, subject to the
approval of the Secretary of Justice, all needful rules and
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regulations therefor;
(f) Verify and approve subdivision, consolidation, and
consolidation-subdivision survey plans of properties titled under
Act No. 496 except those covered by P.D. No. 957.

(2) The Land Registration Commission (now the Land Registration


Authority/LRA) shall have the following functions:
(a) Extend speedy and effective assistance to the Department of
Agrarian Reform, the Land Bank, and other agencies in the
implementation of the land reform program of the government;
(b) Extend assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral land
registration proceedings;
(c) Be the central repository of records relative to original
registration of lands titled under the Torrens system, including
subdivision and consolidation plans of titled lands.
LRA Administrator
Functions are plainly executive and subject to the
Presidents power of supervision and control
He can be investigated and removed only by the President
and not by the SC which is not charged with the
administrative function of supervisory control over
executive officials
The LRA is not a judge or a member of the judiciary,
otherwise if the legislative intent would place him within
the right to be investigated by the SC and to be suspended
or removed only upon recommendation of that Court, then
such grant or privilege would be unconstitutional since it
would violate the fundamental doctrine of separation of
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

powers by charging the Court with administrative function


of supervisory control over executive officials, reducing pro
tanto the control of the Chief Executive over such officials
Duty of LRA to issue decree ministerial
It is ministerial only in the sense that they act under the
orders of the court and the decree must be in conformity
with the decision of the court and with the data found in
the record, as to which they have no discretion on the
matter.
However, if LRA officials are in doubt upon any point in
relation to the preparation and issuance of the decree, it is
their duty to refer the matter to the court.
o In this respect, they act as officials of the court and
not as administrative officials, and their act is the
act of the court.
Duty of LRA officials not ministerial
In cases where they find that such would result to the
double titling of the same parcel of land.
o In the same vein, the ROD cannot be compelled by
mandamus to comply with the order of the court
for the issuance of new certificate of titles where
there are existing TCT covering the subject parcels
of land and there are reasons to question the rights
of those requesting for the issuance of the new
titles.
o When the court ordered to issue a decree on a lot
already decreed and titled in the name of another,
the LRA is not legally obligated to follow the courts
order for the issuance of the decree. The issuance
of a decree of registration is part of the judicial
function of courts and is not compellable by
mandamus because it involves exercise of
discretion.
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The duty of LRA officials to render reports is not limited to


the period before the courts decision becomes final, but
may extend even after its finality but NOT beyond the lapse
of 1 year from the entry of the decree.

Section 7. Office of the Register of Deeds. There shall be at least


one Register of Deeds for each province and one for each city.
Every Registry with a yearly average collection of more than sixty
thousand pesos during the last three years shall have one Deputy
Register of Deeds, and every Registry with a yearly average
collection of more than three hundred thousand pesos during the
last three years, shall have one Deputy Register of Deeds and one
second Deputy Register of Deeds.
The Secretary of Justice shall define the official station and
territorial jurisdiction of each Registry upon the recommendation
of the Commissioner of Land Registration, with the end in view of
making every registry easily accessible to the people of the
neighboring municipalities.
The province or city shall furnish a suitable space or building for the
office of the Register of Deeds until such time as the same could be
furnished out of national funds.
Registry of Property
Sec. 51 of PD 1529 provides that no deed, mortgage, lease,
or other voluntary instrument --- except a will, purporting
to convey or affect registered land shall take effect as a
conveyance or bind the land until its REGISTRATION
o If the sale is not registered, it is binding only between
the seller and the buyer BUT it DOES NOT affect
innocent 3rd persons.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Art. 708 of the Civil Code provides for the establishment of


a Registry of Property which has for its object the
inscription or annotation of acts and contracts relating to
the ownership and other rights over immovable property.
The original copy of the Original Certificate of Title (OCT)
shall be filed in the Registry of Deeds.
o It shall be bound in consecutive order together with
similar COT and shall constitute the registration
book for titled properties.
Each ROD shall keep a primary entry book where all
instruments including copies of writs and processes
relating to registered land shall be entered in the order of
their filing. They shall be regarded as registered from the
time so noted.

Registration the entry of instruments or deeds in a book or pubic


registry
To register means to enter in a register, to record formally
and distinctly, to enroll, to enter in a list
It includes both registration in its ordinary and strict sense,
and cancellation, annotation, and even the marginal notes.
In its strict acceptation, it is the entry made in the Registry
which records solemnly and permanently the right of
ownership and other real rights.
Effects of Registration
Registration in the public registry is notice to the whole
world.
The act of registration shall be operative act to convey or
affect the land insofar as 3rd persons are concerned, and in
all cases under this Decree, the registration shall be made in
the office of the ROD for the province or city where the
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land lies.
Between two buyers of the same immovable property registered
under the Torrens system, the law gives ownership priority to:
1. The first registrant in good faith;
2. The first possessor in good faith; and
3. The buyer who in good faith presents the oldest title
Section 8. Appointment of Registers of Deeds and their Deputies
and other subordinate personnel; salaries. Registers of Deeds shall
be appointed by the President of the Philippines upon
recommendation of the Secretary of Justice. Deputy Registers of
Deeds and all other subordinate personnel of the Registries of
Deeds shall be appointed by the Secretary of Justice upon the
recommendation of the Commissioner of Land Registration.
The salaries of Registers of Deeds and their Deputies shall be at the
following rates:
(1) First Class Registries The salaries of Registers of Deeds in first
class Registries shall be three thousand four hundred pesos per
annum less than that of the Deputy Commissioner.
(2) Second Class Registries The salaries of Registers of Deeds in
second class Registries shall be three thousand four hundred pesos
per annum less than those of Registers of Deeds in first class
Registries.
(3) Third Class Registries The salaries of Registers of Deeds in third
class Registries shall be three thousand four hundred pesos per
annum less than those of Registers of Deeds in second class
Registries.
(4) The salaries of Deputy Registers of Deeds and Second Deputy
Registers of Deeds shall be three thousand four hundred pesos per
annum less than those of their corresponding Registers of Deeds
and Deputy Registers of Deeds, respectively.

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

The Secretary of Justice, upon recommendation of the


Commissioner of Land Registration, shall cause the reclassification
of Registries based either on work load or the class of
province/city, whichever will result in a higher classification, for
purposes of salary adjustments in accordance with the rates
hereinabove provided.
Section 9. Qualifications of Registers of Deeds and Deputy
Registers of Deeds. No person shall be appointed Register of
Deeds unless he has been admitted to the practice of law in the
Philippines and shall have been actually engaged in such practice
for at least three years or has been employed for a like period in
any branch of government the functions of which include the
registration of property.
The Deputy Register of Deeds shall be a member of the Philippine
Bar. Provided, however, that no Register of Deeds or Deputy
Register of Deeds holding office as such upon the passage of this
Decree shall by reason hereof, be removed from office or be
demoted to a lower category or scale of salary except for cause
and upon compliance with due process as provided for by law.

Section 10. General functions of Registers of Deeds. The office of


the Register of Deeds constitutes a public repository of records of
instruments affecting registered or unregistered lands and chattel
mortgages in the province or city wherein such office is situated.
It shall be the duty of the Register of Deeds to immediately register
an instrument presented for registration dealing with real or
personal property which complies with all the requisites for
registration. He shall see to it that said instrument bears the proper
documentary and science stamps and that the same are properly
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canceled. If the instrument is not registerable, he shall forthwith


deny registration thereof and inform the presentor of such denial
in writing, stating the ground or reason therefor, and advising him
of his right to appeal by consulta in accordance with Section 117 of
this Decree.
Office of the Register of Deeds
It constitutes a public repository of records of instruments
affecting registered or unregistered lands and chattel
mortgages in the province or city wherein such office is
situated
The existence of a COT in the Registry of Deeds supports
and strengthens the authenticity of the title
There shall be at least one Register of Deeds for each
province and one for each city
o The DOJ Secretary shall define the official station and
territorial jurisdiction of each Registry upon the
recommendation of the LRA Administrator
o The purpose is to make every Registry easily
accessible to the people of the neighboring
municipalities
Register of Deeds
To be appointed by the President upon the
recommendation of the DOC Secretary
Deputy Register of Deeds and all other subordinate
personnel of the ROD shall be appointed by the DOJ
Secretary upon the recommendation of the LRA
Administrator
Both must of the ROD and Deputy ROD must be members
of the Bar
Duties of Register of Deeds
It perform both functions of an administrative character
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

and functions which are at least of quasi-judicial nature


The function of the ROD with reference to the registration
of deeds, encumbrances, instruments and the like is
ministerial in nature
o Whether a document is valid or not is NOT for the
ROD to determine as this function belongs properly
to a court of competent jurisdiction
o If the purpose of registration is merely to give notice
then questions regarding the effect or invalidity of
instruments are expected to be decided AFTER, not
before the registration
Registration is a mere ministerial act by which a deed,
contract, or instrument is sought to be inscribed in the
records of the office of the Register of Deeds and
annotated at the back of the certificate of title covering the
land subject of the deed, contract, or instrument.

Instances where the ROD may deny registration


1. Where there are several copies of the title (co-owners
duplicate) but only one is presented with the instrument to
be registered
The law requires that every copy authorized to be
issued as duplicate of the original must contain
identical entries of the transactions affecting the
land covered by the title.
If different copies were permitted to carry differing
annotations, the whole system of Torrens would
cease to be reliable.
2. Where the property is presumed to be conjugal but the
instrument of conveyance bears the signature of only one
spouse
In donation of conjugal property is signed by only of
the spouses, such bears on its face an infirmity
30 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

which justifies denial of its registration.


3. Where there is a pending case in court where the character
of the land and validity of the conveyance are in issue
In such case, the matter of registration may well
await the outcome of that case, and in the
meantime the rights of the interested parties could
be protected by filing the proper notice of lis
pendens.
4. Where required certificates or documents are not
submitted
It is important to submit required certificates or
documents such as DAR clearance, copy of latest
tax declaration, HLURB registration papers etc. to
facilitate registration
The refusal by the ROD to register an instrument
affecting registered land by reason of
non-compliance with certain requirements does not
bar registration if thereafter the defects are cured.
Doubtful questions submitted to LRA Administrator for resolution
Sec. 10 states that it shall be the duty of the ROD to
immediately register an instrument presented for
registration dealing with real or personal property which
complies with all the requisites for registration.
He shall see to it that the said instrument bears the proper
documentary and science stamps and that the same are
properly cancelled.
If the instrument is NOT registerable, he shall forthwith
deny registration thereof and inform the presentor of such
denial in writing, stating the ground or reason thereof, and
advising him of his right to appeal by CONSULTA in
accordance with Sec. 117
A ROD is precluded from exercising his personal judgment
and discretion when confronted with the proble whether
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

to register a deed or instrument on the ground that it is


invalid.
Registration does not validate an Invalid Instrument
While registration operates as notice of the deed, contract,
or instrument to others, it does not add to its validity nor
converts and invalid instrument into a valid one as between
the parties, nor amounts to a declaration that the
instrument recognizes a valid and subsisting interest in the
land.
G.R. No. 101387. March 11, 1998]
SPOUSES MARIANO and ERLINDA LABURADA, represented by
their attorney-in-fact, MANUEL SANTOS, JR., petitioners, vs. LAND
REGISTRATION AUTHORITY, respondent.
Facts:
Petitioners, Spouses Laburada were applicants for registration
of Lot 3A which is a portion of Lot 3 Block 159 located in
Mandaluyong City.
On January 8, 1991 the trial court acting as land registration
court confirmed and ordered the registration of their title.
After the finality of the decision, TC upon motion of petitioners
issued an order on March 15, 1991 requiring the Land Registration
Authority to issue corresponding decree of registration.
LRA refused the issuance. Thereafter petitioners filed for
mandamus contending that there was unlawful neglect in the
performance of LRA duty.
Silverio Perez, Director of LRA explained that after plotting the
aforesaid plan sought to be registered, it was found that it might
be a portion of the parcels of land decreed in Court of Land
Registration (CLR) Case Nos. 699, 875 and 817, as per plotting of
the subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-319932. The records on file in this
Authority show that CLR Case Nos. 699, 875 & 917 were issued
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Decree Nos. 240, 696 and 1425 on August 25, 1904, September 14,
1905 and April 26, 1905, respectively; (take note of the dates)
After verification of the records on file in the Register of
Deeds for the Province of Rizal, it was found that Lot 3-B of the
subdivision plan Psd-1372 being a portion of Lot No. 3, Block No.
159, Plan S.W.O. -7237, is covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
29337 issued in the name of Pura Escurdia Vda. de Buenaflor, a copy
is attached as Annex F hereof. Said TCT No. 29337 is a transfer from
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 6595. However, the title issued for
Lot 3-A of the subdivision plan Psd-1372 cannot be located because
TCT No. 6595 consisting of several sheets are incomplete.
For this Authority to issue the corresponding decree of
registration sought by the petitioners pursuant to the Decision
dated January 8, 1991 and Order dated March 15, 1991, it would
result in the duplication of titles over the same parcel of land, and
thus contravene the policy and purpose of the Torrens registration
system, and destroy the integrity of the same.
Issue: W/N mandamus is the proper remedy? NO
Ruling:
LRA hesitates in issuing a decree of registration is understandable.
Rather than a sign of negligence or nonfeasance in the
performance of its duty, the LRAs reaction is reasonable, even
imperative. Considering the probable duplication of titles over the
same parcel of land, such issuance may contravene the policy and
the purpose, and thereby destroy the integrity, of the Torrens
system of registration.
In Ramos vs. Rodriguez, this Court ruled that the LRA is mandated
to refer to the trial court any doubt it may have in regard to the
preparation and the issuance of a decree of registration. In this
respect, LRA officials act not as administrative officials but as
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

officers of said court, and their act is the act of the court. They are
specifically called upon to extend assistance to courts in ordinary
and cadastral land registration proceedings.
The issuance of a decree of registration is part of the judicial
function of courts and is not a mere ministerial act which may be
compelled through mandamus. Thus, this Court held in Valmonte
and Jacinto vs. Nable:
Moreover, after the rendition of a decision by a registration or
cadastral court, there remain many things to be done before the
final decree can be issued, such as the preparation of amended
plans and amended descriptions, especially where the decision
orders a subdivision of a lot, the segregation therefrom of a
portion being adjudicated to another party, to fit the said decision.
As said by this Court in the case of De los Reyes vs. De Villa, 48 Phil.,
227, 234
Note: During the discussion, Maam said that the spouses Laburada
should have exhausted all administrative remedies before filing for
mandamus.
[G.R. No. 154409. June 21, 2004]
Spouses NOEL and JULIE ABRIGO, petitioners, vs. ROMANA DE
VERA, respondent.
Facts:
On May 27, 1993, Gloria Villafania sold a house and lot located
at Banaoang, Mangaldan, Pangasinan and covered by Tax
Declaration No. 1406 to Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go.
The said sale became a subject of a suit for annulment of
documents between the vendor and the vendees.
The parties thereafter, entered into a compromise agreement
which provides that Gloria has a period of one year to buy back the
house and lot. However, Gloria failed to do so.
32 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Unknown, however to Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita


Cave-Go, Gloria Villafania obtained a free patent over the parcel of
land involved [on March 15, 1988 as evidenced by OCT No. P-30522].
The said free patent was later on cancelled by TCT No. 212598 on
April 11, 1996.
On October 16, 1997, Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita
Cave-Go, sold the house and lot to the herein [Petitioner-Spouses
Noel and Julie Abrigo].
On October 23, 1997, Gloria Villafania sold the same house and
lot to Romana de Vera x x x. Romana de Vera registered the sale
and as a consequence, TCT No. 22515 was issued in her name.
On November 12, 1997 De Vera filed an action for forcible entry
against Abrigo spouses but was dismissed.
On November 21, 1997, petitioners filed the instant case with
the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City for the annulment of
documents, injunction, preliminary injunction, restraining order and
damages against respondent and Gloria Villafania.
TC awarded the property to Abrigo.
CA on its amended decision, found respondent De Vera to be a
purchaser in good faith and for value. The appellate court ruled
that she had relied in good faith on the Torrens title of her vendor
and must thus be protected.
Issue: Who between de Vera and Spouses Abrigo has the better
right? Romana De Vera
Held:
This case involves a double sale by Gloria to :
May 27, 1993 Rosenda and Rosita
October 23, 1997- Romana Rivera
Art. 1544. If the same thing should have been sold to different
vendees, the ownership shall be transferred to the person who
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

may have first taken possession thereof in good faith, if it should


be movable property.
Should it be immovable property, the ownership shall belong to
the person acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the
Registry of Property.
Should there be no inscription, the ownership shall pertain to the
person who in good faith was first in the possession; and, in the
absence thereof, to the person who presents the oldest title,
provided there is good faith.
Otherwise stated, the law provides that a double sale of
immovables transfers ownership to (1) the first registrant in good
faith; (2) then, the first possessor in good faith; and (3) finally, the
buyer who in good faith presents the oldest title. There is no
ambiguity in the application of this law with respect to lands
registered under the Torrens system.
This principle is in full accord with Section 51 of PD 1529 which
provides that no deed, mortgage, lease or other voluntary
instrument -- except a will -- purporting to convey or affect
registered land shall take effect as a conveyance or bind the land
until its registration. Thus, if the sale is not registered, it is binding
only between the seller and the buyer but it does not affect
innocent third persons
In the instant case, both Petitioners Abrigo and respondent
registered the sale of the property. Since neither petitioners nor
their predecessors (Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go) knew that the
property was covered by the Torrens system, they registered their
respective sales under Act 3344. For her part, respondent
registered the transaction under the Torrens system because,
during the sale, Villafania had presented the transfer certificate of
title (TCT) covering the property

33 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Soriano v. Heirs of Magali, held that registration must be done in


the proper registry in order to bind the land. Since the property in
dispute in the present case was already registered under the
Torrens system, petitioners registration of the sale under Act 3344
was not effective for purposes of Article 1544 of the Civil Code.
Therefore, 1544 does not apply to Spouses Abrigo.
De Vera under 1544 is considered to have registered the property in
good faith first which is under the torrens system. De Vera is in
good faith since she had no notice of the earlier sale of the land to
[petitioners]. She ascertained and verified that her vendor was the
sole owner and in possession of the subject property by examining
her vendors title in the Registry of Deeds and actually going to the
premises. There is no evidence in the record showing that when
she bought the land on October 23, 1997, she knew or had the
slightest notice that the same was under litigation.
Section 11. Discharge of duties of Register of Deeds in case of
vacancy, etc.
(1) Until a regular Register of Deeds shall have been appointed for a
province or city, or in case of vacancy in the office, or upon the
occasion of the absence, illness, suspension, or inability of the
Register of Deeds to discharge his duties, said duties shall be
performed by the following officials, in the order in which they are
mentioned below, unless the Secretary of Justice designates
another official to act temporarily in his place:
(a) For the province or city where there is a Deputy Register of
Deeds, by said Deputy Register of Deeds, or by the second Deputy
Register of Deeds, should there be one;
(b) For the province or city where there is no Deputy or second
Deputy Register of Deeds, by the Provincial or City Fiscal, or any
Assistant Fiscal designated by the Provincial or City Fiscal;
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

(2) In case of absence, disability or suspension of the Register of


Deeds without pay, or in case of vacancy in the position, the
Secretary of Justice may, in his discretion, authorize the payment
of an additional compensation to the official acting as Register of
Deeds, such additional compensation together with his actual
salary not to exceed the salary authorized for the position thus
filled by him.
(3) In case of a newly-created province or city and pending
establishment of a Registry of Deeds and the appointment of a
regular Register of Deeds for the new province or city, the Register
of Deeds of the mother province or city shall be the ex-officio
Register of Deeds for said new province or city.
Section 12. Owner's Index; reports. There shall be prepared in
every Registry an index system which shall contain the names of all
registered owners alphabetically arranged. For this purpose, an
index card which shall be prepared in the name of each registered
owner which shall contain a list of all lands registered in his name.
The Register of Deeds shall submit to the Land Registration
Commission within ten days after the month to which they pertain
his monthly reports on collections and accomplishments. He shall
also submit to the Commission at the end of December of each
year, an annual inventory of all titles and instruments in his
Registry.
Section 13. Chief Geodetic Engineer. There shall be a Chief Geodetic
Engineer in the Land Registration Commission who shall be the
technical adviser of the Commission on all matters involving
surveys and shall be responsible to him for all plats, plans and
works requiring the services of a geodetic engineer in said office.
He shall perform such other functions as may, from time to time,
be assigned to him by the Commissioner.
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Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

manner provided for by law.


Importance of a Survey Plan
A survey plan serves to establish the true identity of the
land to ensure that it does not overlap a parcel of land or a
portion thereof already covered by a previous land
registration, and to forestall the possibility that it will be
overlapped by a subsequent registration of any adjoining
land
In pursuant to PD 239 dated July 9, 1973, the authority of
the LRA to approve survey plans for original registration
purposes has been withdrawn.
o The authority is now exercised by the Lands
Management Bureau (LMB), the function of
verifying and approving original survey plans for all
purposes in order to assure compliance with
established standards and minimize irregularities in
the execution of land surveys.
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
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

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 tthe original registration of the
land, provided, however, that should the period for redemption
expire during the pendency of the registration proceedings and
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.
Purpose of the Torrens System of Registration
The primary purpose of the Torrens system of registration is to
decree land titles that shall be final, irrevocable, and undisputable.
As expressed in Section 31 of the Property Registration Decree (PD
1529), the decree of registration shall bind the land and shall be
conclusive upon and against all persons, including the National
Government and all the branches thereof.
Further, as stated in Section 32, the decree shall not be reopened
or revised by reason of absence, minority, or other disability of any
person affected thereby, nor by any proceeding in court for
reversing judgments.
EXCEPTION: If there is right of any person 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 Regional
35 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Trial Court (RTC) a petition for reopening and review of the decree
of registration not later than 1 year from and after the date of the
entry of such decree of registration.

A certificate of title is the best proof of ownership of land.


The title, once registered, is notice to the world.
No one can plead ignorance of the registration.

Registration only confirms ownership


A decree of registration merely confirms, but does not
confer, ownership.
Registration does not vest or give title to the land, but
merely confirms and thereafter protects the title already
possessed by the owner, making it imprescriptible by
occupation of 3rd parties.
The Torrens system of land registration is a system for the
registration of title to land only, and not a system
established for the acquisition of land.
It is not intended that lands may be acquired by said system
of registration. It is intended only that the title, which the
petitioner has, shall be registered and thereby cleared of all
liens and burdens of whatsoever character, EXCEPT those
which shall be noted in the order of registration and in the
certificate issued.
o If there exist known and just claims against the title
of the applicant, he gains nothing in effect by his
registration, EXCEPT in the simplicity of subsequent
transfers of his title.
Effects of Registration
a. Relieves the land of all known as well as unknown claims;
or
b. it compels the claimants to come into court and to make
there a record, so that thereafter there may be no
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

uncertainty concerning either the character or the extent


of such claims
Placing a parcel of land under the Torrens system does not mean
that ownership thereof can no longer be disputed.
Ownership is different from a certificate of title. While certificate
of title may be considered the best proof of ownership, the mere
issuance thereof does not foreclose the possibility that the
property may be under co-ownership with persons not named in
the certificate or that the registrant may only be a trustee or that
the other parties may have acquired interest subsequent to the
issuance of the certificate of title (COT).
System of Registration
Registration an entry made in the books of the registry, including
both registration in its ordinary and strict sense, and cancellation,
annotation, and even marginal notes.
In its strict sense, it is the entry made in the registry which records
solemnly and permanently the right of ownership and other real
rights.
2 Systems of Registration
1. One for registered lands under
Registration Decree
2. For unregistered lands under Act 3344

PD 1529/Property

Registration of instruments must be done in the proper


registry in order to bind the land.
o Accordingly, if a parcel of land covered by a Torrens
title is sold, but the sale is registered under Act No.
3344 and not under the Property Registration
Decree, the sale is not considered registered and
the registration of the deed does not operate as
constructive notice to the whole world.
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Act No. 3344, on the other hand, provided for the system of
recording of transactions over unregistered real estate
without prejudice to a third party with a better right.
o There can be no constructive notice through
registration under Act No. 3344 if the property is
registered under the Torrens system, nor can the
registration be effective for the purpose of Article
1544 of the Civil Code on double sale.

Art. 1544. If the same thing should have been sold to different
vendees, the ownership shall be transferred to the person who
may have first taken possession thereof in good faith, if it should
be movable property.
Should it be immovable property, the ownership shall belong to
the person acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the
Registry of Property.
Should there be no inscription, the ownership shall pertain to the
person who in good faith was first in the possession; and, in the
absence thereof, to the person who presents the oldest title,
provided there is good faith.

The recording of instruments relation to unregistered lands


is governed by Section 113 of PD 1529 which provides that
no deed, conveyance, mortgage, lease, or other voluntary
instrument affecting land not registered under the Torrens
system shall be valid, EXCEPT as between the parties
thereto, UNLESS such instrument shall have been recorded
in the office of the ROD.

Laws governing land registration


The State possesses not only the right to determine how
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

title to real estate may be acquired and proved, but it is also


within its legislative capacity to establish the method of
procedure.
Primary Source of Legislation on Registration of Private Lands and
Lands of Public Domain
a. CA 141 or the Public Land Act, approved Nov. 7, 1936,
effective on Dec. 1, 1936
Governs the judicial confirmation of imperfect or
incomplete titles on the basis of possession and
occupation of alienable portions of the public
domain in the manner and for the length of time
required by law
Relevant provisions: Sec. 47-57, Chapter VIII of the
Act
b. PD 1529 or the Property Registration Decree, issued on
June 11, 1978
A codification of all laws relative to the registration
of property, and supersedes all other laws relative
to registration of property.
It has substantially incorporated the provisions of
Act 496 or the Land Registration Act, Sec. 14, Par. 1
to 4, enumerating the persons who may apply for
registration and the conditions therefor
c. Act No. 2259 or the Cadastral Act, enacted on Feb. 11, 1913
An offspring of the system of registration under the
Land Registration Act
It aims to serve public interests by requiring that the
title to any lands be titles and adjudicated
The salient provisions in the Cadastral Act have now
been carried over in the present Property
Registration Decree Sec. 35-38.
d. RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA),
37 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

approved on Oct. 29, 1997


Recognizes the rights of ownership and possession
of indigenous cultural communities or indigenous
peoples (ICCs/IPs) to their ancestral domains and
ancestral lands on the basis of native title, and
defines the extent of these lands and domains.
IPRA expressly converts ancestral lands into public
agricultural lands, and individual members of
cultural communities, with respect to their
individually-owned ancestral lands, shall have the
option to secure title to their ancestral lands under
the provisions of the PUBLIC LAND ACT or the
PROPERTY REGISTRATION DECREE.
i. The option is limited to ancestral lands only,
not domains, and such lands must be
individually, not communally, owned.
Registration Proceedings are judicial and in rem
Distinguish in rem proceedings vs. in personam and quasi in rem
In rem
In personam
Quasi in rem
Binds the whole
to enforce personal
Deals with the
world
rights and
status, ownership or
obligations against a liability of a
person although it
particular property
may involve his right but which are
to, or the exercise of intended to operate
ownership of,
on these questions
specific property
only as between
particular parties to
the proceedings and
not to ascertain or
cut off the rights and
interests of all
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

possible claimants

Registration is voluntary under the following:


a. Public Land Act;
b.Property Registration Decree; and
c. IPRA
Registration is compulsory under the Cadastral Act
c. It is the government itself which initiates the petition
A. Registration under the Property Registration Decree
1. Who may apply? (Sec. 14 of PD 1529
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.
Under Art. 493 of the CC, each co-owner shall have
the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and
benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefor
alienate, assign, or mortgage it, and even substitute
another person in its enjoyment, EXCEPT when
personal rights are involved.
The effect of alienation/mortage with respect to the
38 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

co-owners shall be limited to the portion may be


allotted to him in the division upon termination of
the co-ownership
Since a co-owner cannot be considered a true owner
of a specific portion until division or partition is
effected, he cannot file an application for
registration for the whole area without joining the
co-owners as applicants.
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 ownership to the property
consolidated in the vendee a retro, the latter shall be
substituted for the applicant and may continue the
proceedings.
A sale with pacto de retro transfers the legal title to
the vendee (buyer) and the vendee is subrogated
to all the rights and actions of the vendor, subject
to the latters right of redemption.
Having legal title to the land, the vendee a retro
(buyer) has a registerable title which may be the
subject of initial registration.
The right to redeem retained by the vendor a retro
should only be noted in the decree and COT that
may be issued
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.
A trustee on behalf of his principal may apply for
original registration of any land held in trust by him
1. Trustor a person who establishes a trust
2. Trustee one in whom confidence is
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

reposes as regards property for the benefit


of another
3. Cestui que trust the person for whose
benefit the trust has been created
Whoever claims an interest in registered land by
reason of any implied or constructive trust shall file
with the ROD for registration a sworn statement
containing a
1. description of the land;
2. the name of the registered owner; and
3. a reference to the number of the certificate
of title
A corporation sole or ordinary is NOT the owner of
the properties that he may acquire but merely the
administrator thereof and holds the same in TRUST
for the faithful member of the society or church for
which the corporation is organized.
Properties acquired by the incumbent pass, by
operation of law, upon his death not to his personal
heirs but to this successor in office.
Section 14 (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.
Pertain to original registration through ordinary
registration proceedings
Right to file the application for registration is derived from
a bona fide claim of ownership going back to June 12, 1945
or earlier, by reason of the claimants Open, Continuous,
Exclusive, and Notorious possession in the Concept of an
39 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Owner (OCENCO) of alienable and disposable lands of the


public domain.
Requisites for Registration under Sec. 14(1)
1. That the land applied for is an agricultural public land
classified as ALIENABLE and DISPOSABLE land at the time;
2. The application for registration is filed with the proper
court;
3. That the applicant, by himself or though his
predecessors-in-interest, has been in Open, Continuous,
Exclusive, and Notorious possession in the Concept of an
Owner (OCENCO); and
4. That such possession and occupation has been effected
since June 12, 1945 or earlier
(1) Land must already be A and D at the time of the filing of the
application
In Republic vs. Naguit, the issue is whether it is necessary under
Sec. 14(1) of the PRD that the subject land be first classified as A
and D before the applicants possession under a bona fide claim of
ownership could even start.
[G.R. No. 144057. January 17, 2005]
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE
COURT OF APPEALS and CORAZON NAGUIT, respondents.
Facts:
Corazon Naguit filed a petition for registration of title which
seeks judicial confirmation of her imperfect title over a parcel of
land in Nabas, Aklan.
It was allegedthat Naguit and her predecessors-in-interest
have occupied the land openly and in the concept of owner
without any objection from any private person or even the
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

governmentuntil she filed her application for registration.


The MCTC rendered a decision confirming the title in the name
of Naguit upon failure of Rustico Angeles to appear during trial
after filing his formal opposition to the petition.
The Solicitor General, representing the Republic of the
Philippines, filed a motion for reconsideration on the grounds that
the property which is in open, continuous and exclusive possession
must first be alienable. Naguit could not have maintained a
bonafide claim of ownership since the subject land was declared as
alienable and disposableonly on October 15, 1980.
The alienable and disposable character of the land should have
already been established since June 12, 1945 or earlier.
Issue: Whether or not it is necessary under Section 14 (1) of the
Property Registration Decree that the subject land be first
classified as alienable and disposable before the applicants
possession under a bona fide claim of ownership could even start?
NO
Ruling:
Section 14 (1) merely requires that the property sought to be
registered asalready alienable and disposable at the time the
application for registration of title isfiled.
There are three requirements for registration of title, (1) that the
subject propertyis alienable and disposable; (2) that the applicants
and their predecessor-in-interest have been in open, continuous,
and exclusive possession and occupation, and; (3) that the
possession is under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12,
1945.
There must be a positive act of the government through a statute
or proclamation stating the intention of the State to abdicate its
exclusive prerogative over the property, thus, declaring the land as
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

alienable and disposable. However, if there has been none, it is


presumed that the government is still reserving the right to utilize
the property and the possession of the land no matter how long
would not ripen into ownership through acquisitive prescription.
To follow the Solicitor Generals argument in the construction of
Section 14 (1)would render the paragraph 1 of the said provision
inoperative for it would mean that all lands of public domain which
were not declared as alienable and disposable before June 12, 1945
would not be susceptible to original registration, no matter the
length of unchallenged possession by the occupant. In effect, it
precludes the government fromenforcing the said provision as it
decides to reclassify lands as alienable anddisposable.
The land in question was found to be cocal in nature, it having been
planted with coconut trees now over fifty years old. The inherent
nature of the land but confirms itscertification in 1980 as alienable,
hence agricultural. There is no impediment to the application of
Section 14 (1) of the Property Registration Decree. Naguit had the
right to apply for registration owing to the continuous possession
by her and her predecessors-in-interest of the land since 1945.

The SC answered in the negative, holding that Sec. 14(1)


MERELY requires the property sought to be registered as
already alienable and disposable at the time the application
for registration of title is FILED.
The court, however, stressed that the rule is different with
respect to non-agricultural lands, like forest lands. There
can be no imperfect title to be confirmed over lands not yet
classified as disposable or alienable. Indeed, it has been
held that the rules on the confirmation of imperfect title do
not apply unless and until the land classified as forest land
is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that
it may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

public domain. Forest lands cannot be alienated in favour


of private persons or entities. (Alvarez vs. PICOP
Resources, Inc.)
Forest land is not registerable and possession thereof, no
matter how lengthy, cannot convert it into private
property, unless such lands are reclassified and considered
disposable and alienable.

This was reiterated in the case of Heirs of Malabanan vs. Republic:


G.R. No. 179987
April 29, 2009
HEIRS OF MARIO MALABANAN, (Represented by Sally A.
Malabanan), Petitioners,
vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
Facts:
On 20 February 1998, Mario Malabanan filed an application for
land registration before the RTC of Cavite-Tagaytay, covering a
parcel of land situated in Silang Cavite, consisting of 71,324 square
meters.
Malabanan claimed that he had purchased the property from
Eduardo Velazco, and that he and his predecessors-in-interest had
been in open, notorious, and continuous adverse and peaceful
possession of the land for more than thirty (30) years. Velazco
testified that the property was originally belonged to a twenty-two
hectare property owned by his great-grandfather, Lino Velazco.
Lino had four sons Benedicto, Gregorio, Eduardo and
Estebanthe fourth being Aristedess grandfather. Upon Linos
death, his four sons inherited the property and divided it among
themselves.
But by 1966, Estebans wife, Magdalena, had become the
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

administrator of all the properties inherited by the Velazco sons


from their father, Lino. After the death of Esteban and Magdalena,
their son Virgilio succeeded them in administering the properties,
including Lot 9864-A, which originally belonged to his uncle,
Eduardo Velazco. It was this property that was sold by Eduardo
Velazco to Malabanan.
Among the evidence presented by Malabanan during trial was
a Certification dated 11 June 2001, issued by the Community
Environment & Natural Resources Office, Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO-DENR), which stated
that the subject property was verified to be within the Alienable
or Disposable land per Land Classification Map No. 3013 established
under Project No. 20-A and approved as such under FAO 4-1656 on
March 15, 1982. On 3 December 2002, the RTC approved the
application for registration.
The Republic interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals,
arguing that Malabanan had failed to prove that the property
belonged to the alienable and disposable land of the public
domain, and that the RTC had erred in finding that he had been in
possession of the property in the manner and for the length of
time required by law for confirmation of imperfect title. On 23
February 2007, the Court of Appeals reversed the RTC ruling and
dismissed the application of Malabanan.
Issues:
1. In order that an alienable and disposable land of the public
domain may be registered under Section 14(1) of Presidential
Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration
Decree, should the land be classified as alienable and disposable as
of June 12, 1945 or earlier? NO, it sufficient that such classification
occur at any time prior to the filing of the applicant for registration
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

provided that it is established that the applicant has been in open,


continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of the land under a
bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945 or earlier
2. For purposes of Section 14(2) of the Property Registration
Decree may a parcel of land classified as alienable and disposable
be deemed private land and therefore susceptible to acquisition by
prescription in accordance with the Civil Code? NO
Ruling:
The Pertition is denied.
(1) In connection with Section 14(1) of the Property Registration
Decree, Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act recognizes and
confirms that 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
acquisition of ownership, since June 12, 1945 have acquired
ownership of, and registrable title to, such lands based on the
length and quality of their possession.
(a) Since Section 48(b) merely requires possession since 12 June
1945 and does not require that the lands should have been
alienable and disposable during the entire period of possession, the
possessor is entitled to secure judicial confirmation of his title
thereto as soon as it is declared alienable and disposable, subject
to the timeframe imposed by Section 47 of the Public Land Act.
(b) The right to register granted under Section 48(b) of the Public
Land Act is further confirmed by Section 14(1) of the Property
Registration Decree.
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Amendments to Section 48b of CA 141:


Originally- OCENPO since July 26, 1894 or earlier
June 22, 1957 (RA 1942)- OCENPO for 30 years
January 25, 1977 (PD1073)- OCENPO since June 12, 1945 or earlier
(2) In complying with Section 14(2) of the Property Registration
Decree, consider that under the Civil Code, prescription is
recognized as a mode of acquiring ownership of patrimonial
property. However, public domain lands become only patrimonial
property not only with a declaration that these are alienable or
disposable. There must also be an express government
manifestation that the property is already patrimonial or no longer
retained for public service or the development of national wealth,
under Article 422 of the Civil Code. And only when the property has
become patrimonial can the prescriptive period for the acquisition
of property of the public dominion begin to run.
(a) Patrimonial property is private property of the government. The
person acquires ownership of patrimonial property by prescription
under the Civil Code is entitled to secure registration thereof under
Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree.
(b) There are two kinds of prescription by which patrimonial
property may be acquired, one ordinary and other extraordinary.
Under ordinary acquisitive prescription, a person acquires
ownership of a patrimonial property through possession for at
least ten (10) years, in good faith and with just title. Under
extraordinary acquisitive prescription, a persons uninterrupted
adverse possession of patrimonial property for at least thirty (30)
years, regardless of good faith or just title, ripens into ownership.
It is clear that the evidence of petitioners is insufficient to establish
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

that Malabanan has acquired ownership over the subject property


under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. There is no substantive
evidence to establish that Malabanan or petitioners as his
predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the property
since 12 June 1945 or earlier. The earliest that petitioners can date
back their possession, according to their own evidencethe Tax
Declarations they presented in particularis to the year 1948.
Thus, they cannot avail themselves of registration under Section
14(1) of the Property Registration Decree.
Neither can petitioners properly invoke Section 14(2) as basis for
registration. While the subject property was declared as alienable
or disposable in 1982, there is no competent evidence that is no
longer intended for public use service or for the development of
the national evidence, conformably with Article 422 of the Civil
Code. The classification of the subject property as alienable and
disposable land of the public domain does not change its status as
property of the public dominion under Article 420(2) of the Civil
Code. Thus, it is insusceptible to acquisition by prescription.
G.R. No. 176885
July 5, 2010
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,
vs.
DOMINGO ESPINOSA, Respondent.
Facts:
On March 2, 1999. Espinosa filed with the MTC of Cebu an
application for land registration.
He alleged that :
o the land is alienable and disposable
o he purchased the said property from his mother Isabela on
July 4, 1970
o that he has been in OCENPO in the concept of an owner over
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

the said property for more than 30 years


Proof presented:
o Tax Declaration
o Survey plan describing land as alienable and disposable (June
25, 1963)
Republic contends that Espinosa did not comply with Section
48b of CA 141 which requires OCENPO in the concept of an owner
since June 12, 1945 or earlier.
MTC granted the application for registration
CA dismissed Republics appeal and based the grant on the 30
year OCENPO
Issue: WON Espinosas confirmation of imperfect title should be
granted? NO
Ruling:
Espinosas claim is based on Section 14 (2) of PD 1529 Property
Registration Decree and not on Section 14(1). He does not allege
that he or his predecessors in interest have been in OCENPO of the
property in the concept of an owner since June 12, 1945 or earlier.
His main allegation was the possession of the property for more
than 30 years.
Amendments to Section 48b of CA 141:
Originally- OCENPO since July 26, 1894 or earlier
June 22, 1957 (RA 1942)- OCENPO for 30 years
January 25, 1977 (PD1073)- OCENPO since June 12, 1945 or earlier
Even assuming that his ground was Section 14(1), his
possession should have begun on January 24, 1947 or prior to
January 25, 1977 (effectivity of amendment to 48b of CA 141. In the
case at bar, he never alleged to have possessed the property on
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

such date. The earliest tax declaration was in 1965.


On the ground und Section 14(2) which provides that those
who have acquired ownership of private lands by prescription
under the provision of existing laws. What is applicable here is the
New Civil Code.
Art. 420. The following things are property of public dominion:
(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers,
torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State, banks,
shores, roadsteads, and others of similar character;
(2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use,
and are intended for some public service or for the development of
the national wealth.
Art. 422. Property of public dominion, when no longer
intended for public use or for public service, shall form part of the
patrimonial property of the State.
Only private properties are susceptible to prescription. As long
as the property belongs to the state though alienable and
disposable still remains property of public dominion unless
classified by the government as patrimonial and no longer needed
for public use, public service and development of the national
wealth. Such act must be a positive act from the government.
In the case at bar, the property was never declared patrimonial
and no longer needed for public use, public service and
development of the national wealth. Such act must be a positive
act from the government. Hence cannot be acquired through
prescription.
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Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Section 14(2)
(2) Those who have acquired ownership of private lands by
prescription under the provision of existing laws.
Properties of public dominion cannot be acquired by
prescription. No matter how long the possession of the
properties has been, there can be no prescription against
the State regarding property of public domain. EXCEPT:
Where the law itself so provides.
Thus, patrimonial property of the State may be subject of
acquisition through prescription as Section 14(2) specifically
allows qualified individuals to apply for registration of
property, ownership of which he has acquired by
prescription under existing laws.
Article 1113 of the Civil Code provides for the legal foundation for
the application of Section 14(2):
Article 1113. All things which are within the commerce of men are
susceptible of prescription, unless otherwise provided. Property of
the State or any of its subdivisions not patrimonial in character shall
not be the object of prescription.

Under the Civil Code, it is clear that where lands of the


public domain are patrimonial and, hence, private in
character, they are susceptible to acquisitive prescription.
Public domain lands that are NOT susceptible to acquisitive
prescription are timber lands and mineral lands as the
Constitution proscribes private ownership of timber or
mineral lands.
What is referred to by the phrase by prescription under
the provision of existing laws unmistakably refers to the
Civil Code as a valid basis for the registration of lands.
When shall land of public dominion shall form part of the
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

patrimonial property of the State? When there is a declaration by


the government that these are alienable or disposable and are no
longer intended for public use or public service.
Only when such lands have become patrimonial can the
prescription period for the acquisition of property of the
public dominion begin to run.
THUS, where land is already a private land, the applicant
has the right to register the same under Section 14(2) even
if the possession thereof for the required prescriptive
period commenced on a date later than June 12, 1945.
Prescription one acquires ownership and other real rights
through the lapse of time in the manner and under the action laid
down by law.
2 Kinds of Prescription
1. Ordinary Acquisitive Prescription acquires ownership of a
patrimonial property through possession for at least 10 years, in
good faith and with just title
2. Extraordinary Acquisitive Prescription a persons uninterrupted
adverse possession of patrimonial property for at least 30 years,
regardless of good faith or just title
Section 14(2) puts into operation the entire regime of
prescription under the Civil Code, which does not hold true
with respect Section 14(1)
In order for Section 14(2) to apply, there must be an
express declaration by the State that the public dominion
property is no longer intended for public service or the
development of the national wealth or that the property
has been converted into patrimonial.
o Without such express declaration, the property,
even if classified as alienable or disposable,
remains property of the public dominion, and thus
45 | P a g e

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Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

incapable of acquisition by prescription.


o Such declaration shall be in the form of a law duly
enacted by Congress or a Presidential Proclamation
in cases where the President is duly authorized by
law. (Malabanan vs. Republic)
Where prescription applies?
All things which are within the commerce of men are
susceptible of prescription, unless otherwise provided.
Where prescription DOES not apply?
Property of the State or any of its subdivisions not
patrimonial in character shall not be object of prescription
What is good faith of the possessor?
The good faith consists in the reasonable belief that the
person from whom he received the thing was the owner
thereof, and could transmit his ownership.
When is there just title?
There is just title when the adverse claimant came into
possession of the property through one of the modes
recognized by law for the acquisition of ownership or other
real rights, but the grantor was not the owner or could not
transmit any right.
Concept of possession for purposes of prescription
To consolidate prescription, the possession must be that of
owner, and it must be public, peaceful, and uninterrupted.
Acts of a possessory character done by virtue of a license or
mere tolerance on the part of the real owner are not
sufficient.

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Computation of prescription
In the computation of time necessary for prescription, the
present possessor may complete the period necessary for
prescription by tacking his possession to that of his grantor
or predecessor-in-interest.
It is presumed that the present possessor who was also the
possessor at a previous time, has continued to be in
possession during the intervening time, unless there is
proof to the contrary.
Distinguish Prescription from Laches
Prescription
Laches
Concerned with the fact of delay Concerned with the effect of
delay
Is a matter of time
Is principally a question of
inequity of permitting a claim to
be enforced

Is statutory
Applies in equity
Based on a fixed time

This inequity is being founded


on some change in the
condition of the property or the
relation of the parties
Not statutory
Applies at law
Is not based on a fixed time

Section 14(3)
(3) Those who have acquired ownership of private lands or
abandoned river beds by right of accession or accretion under the
existing laws.
(1) Ownership of abandoned river beds by accession
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Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Refers to acquisition of ownership of private lands or


abandoned river beds by right of accession or accretion
under existing laws
Under Art. 461 of the Civil Code, river beds which are
abandoned through the natural change in the course of the
waters ipso facto belong to the owners whose lands are
occupied by the new course in proportion to the area lost.
However, the owners of the lands adjoining the old bed
shall have the right to acquire the same by paying the value
thereof, which value shall not exceed the value of the area
occupied by the new bed.

Requisites for the application of Art. 461: (SPNAC)


1. The change must be sudden in order that the old river may
be identified;
2. The changing of the course must be more or less
permanent, and not temporary overflooding of anothers
land;
3. The change of the river must be a natural one;
a. Caused by natural forces and not by artificial means
4. There must be definite abandonment by the government
a. If the government shortly after the change decides
and actually takes steps to bring the river to its old
bed, Art. 462 will not apply for it cannot be said that
there was abandonment.
5. The river must continue to exist
a. The river must not completely dry up or disappear
(2) Ownership by right of accretion along river banks
Art. 457 of the Civil Code provides that to the owners of
lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion
which they gradually receive from the effects of the current
of the waters
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Requisites for the application of Art. 457: (GEA)


1. That the deposit be gradual and imperceptible;
2. That it be made through the effects of the current of the
water; and
3. That the land where accretion takes place is adjacent to the
banks of rivers.
In the absence of evidence that the change in the course of
the river was sudden or that it occurred through avulsion,
the PRESUMPTION is that the change was gradual and
caused by accretion and erosion.
The right of the owner of the land to additions thereto by
accretion has been said to rest in the law of nature, and to
be analogous to the right of the owner of a tree to its fruits,
and the owner of flocks and herd to their natural increase.
(3) Accretion along the banks of creeks, streams, and lakes
Art. 84 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866 remains to be in
effect, reads:
Article 84. Accretions deposited gradually upon lands contiguous
to creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes, by accessions or sediments
from the waters thereof, belong to the owners of such lands.
Alluvial deposits along the banks of creeks, streams, and
lakes do not form part of the public domain as the alluvial
property automatically belongs to the owner of the estate
to which it may have been added.
But the owner of the adjoining property must register the
same under the Torrens system; otherwise, the alluvial
property may be subject to acquisition through prescription
by 3rd persons
Alluvion must be due to the effects of the current and the
47 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

exclusive work of nature.


Accretion does not automatically become registered land
Accretion does not become automatically registered land
just because the lot which receives it is covered by a
Torrens title thereby making the alluvial property
imprescriptible
Ownership of a piece of land is one thing, and registration
under the Torrens system of that ownership is quite
another.
Ownership over the accretion received by the land
adjoining a river is governed by the Civil Code.
Imprescriptibility of registered land is provided in the
registration law.
To bring an area formed by accretion under the Torrens
system, there must be an application for registration filed
for the purpose.
In order that the accretion may be protected by the rule on
imprescriptibility, it is necessary that the same be brought
under the operation of the Torrens system. Where the
adjoining land owner does not cause the registration of the
increment to his property, the same may be acquired by 3rd
persons. This is illustrated in the case of Grande vs. CA
G.R. No. L-17652
June 30, 1962
IGNACIO GRANDE, ET AL., petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF
APPEALS, DOMINGO CALALUNG, and ESTEBAN CALALUNG,
respondents.
Facts:
The Grandes are owners of a parcel of land in Isabela with an
area of 3.5032 hectares, by inheritance from their deceased
mother, Patricia Angui, who likewise, inherited it from her parents.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

In the early 1930s, the Grandes decided to have their land surveyed
for registration purposes. The land was described to have Cagayan
River as the northeastern boundary, as stated in the title.
By 1958, the bank thereof had receded to a distance of about
105 meters from its original site, and an alluvial deposit of 19,964
square meters (1.9964 hectares), more or less, had been added to
the registered area.
The Grandes filed an action for quieting of title against the
Calalungs, stating that they were in peaceful and continuous
possession of the land created by the alluvial deposit until
September 1948, when the Calalungs entered upon the land
under claim of ownership.
Respondents claim ownership in themselves, asserting that
they have been in continuous, open, and undisturbed possession of
said portion, since prior to the year 1933 to the present and claims
that they have acquired the property through prescription.
The CFI ruled in favor of the Grandes and ordered the
Calalungs to vacate the premises and pay for damages. (Based its
decision on Art. 457 of the NCC-The land in question being an
accretion to the mother or registered land of the plaintiffs, the
accretion belongs to the plaintiffs)
Upon appeal to the CA, however, the decision was reversed.
Held that an accretion to registered land, while declared by specific
provision of the Civil Code to belong to the owner of the land as a
natural accession thereof, does not ipso jure become entitled to
the protection of the rule of imprescriptibility of title established by
the Land Registration Act. Such protection does not extend
beyond the area given and described in the certificate.
Issue: Whether respondents have acquired the alluvial property in
question through prescription? YES
Ruling:
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Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Art. 457 provides that to the owner of lands adjoining the banks
of rivers, belongs the accretion which they gradually receive from
the effects of the current of the waters."
There can be no dispute that both under Article 457 of the New
Civil Code and Article 366 of the old, petitioners are the lawful
owners of said alluvial property, as they are the registered owners
of the land which it adjoins. The question is whether the accretion
becomes automatically registered land just because the lot which
receives it is covered by a Torrens title thereby making the alluvial
property imprescriptible.
SC agrees with the CA that it does not automatically become
registered land. Ownership of a piece of land is one thing, and
registration under the Torrens system of that ownership is quite
another. Ownership over the accretion received by the land
adjoining a river is governed by the Civil Code. Imprescriptibility of
registered land is provided in the registration law.
Registration under the Land Registration and Cadastral Acts does
not vest or give title to the land, but merely confirms and
thereafter protects the title already possessed by the owner,
making it imprescriptible by occupation of third parties. But to
obtain this protection, the land must be placed under the operation
of the registration laws wherein certain judicial procedures have
been provided.
In the case at bar, petitioners never sought registration of the
disputed alluvial property. Therefore, it never became registered
property, and hence is not entitled or subject to the protection of
imprescriptibility enjoyed by registered property under the Torrens
system. Consequently, it was subject to acquisition through
prescription by third persons.
Since the Calalungs proved that they have been in possession of
the land since 1933 or 1934 via two credible witnesses (Pedro
Laman and Vicente Bacan), as opposed to the Grandes single
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

witness (Laureana Rodriguez) who claims that the Calalungs only


entered the land in 1948, the Calalungs have been held to have
acquired the land created by the alluvial deposits by prescription.
This is because the possession took place in 1934, when the law to
be followed was Act 190, and not the New Civil Code, which only
took effect in 1950.
Similarly, in Cureg vs. IAC, it was held that the accretion
does not automatically become registered land just
because the lot which receives such accretion is covered by
a Torrens title. As such, it must also be placed under the
operation of the Torrens system.
(4) Alluvial formation along the seashore forms part of the public
domain
In CONTRAST to the rule on accretion, alluvial formation
along the seashore is part of the PUBLIC DOMAIN and,
therefore, not open to acquisition by adverse possession by
private persons.
It is outside the commerce of man, unless otherwise
declared by either the executive or legislative branch of the
government.
Since the land is foreshore land or property of public
dominion, its disposition falls under the exclusive
supervision and control of the Bureau of Lands (now Lands
Management Bureau)
Until a formal declaration on the part of the government,
through executive department or the legislature, to the
effect that the land is no longer needed for
a. Coast guard service;
b.for public use; or
c. for special industries
they continue to be part of the public domain, not available
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

for private appropriation or ownership.


The adjoining registered owner of foreshore land cannot
claim ownership thereof by right of accretion. Unless he
has filed the appropriate application, like a revocable
permit application with the Lands Mgt. Bureau, he has not
right whatsoever in the foreshore land as to be entitled to
protection in the courts of justice.

Revocable permit application temporary authority to occupy a


foreshore land, upon payment of permit fees, and cannot be used
to acquire the land in full ownership.
Section 14(4)
(4) Those who have acquired ownership of land in any other
manner provided for by law.
Reservation for a specific purpose by President Proclamation
The privilege of occupying public lands with a view of
preemption confers no contractual or vested right in the
lands occupied and the authority of the President to
withdraw such lands for sale or acquisition by the public, or
to preserve them for public use, PRIOR to the divesting by
the government of title thereof, stands even though this
may defeat the imperfect title of a settler.
Lands covered by reservation are NOT subject to entry, and
no lawful settlement on them can be acquired.
This was reiterated in
G.R. No. L-40912 September 30, 1976
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the MINDANAO
MEDICAL CENTER, petitioner, vs.HON. COURT OF APPEALS and
ALEJANDRO Y DE JESUS, respondents.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Note: what was really awarded to Eugenio de Jesus was only


20.6400 hectares and not 33 hectares as applied for by him.
Facts:
On January 22, 1921, Eugenio de Jesus, the father of
respondent Alejandro de Jesus, applied with the Bureau of Lands
for Sales Patent (Sales Application No. 5436) of a 33-hectare
situated in barrio Libaron, Municipality of Davao (now Davao City).
The property applied for was a portion of what was then known as
Lot 522 of the Davao Cadastre.
Because the area conveyed had not been actually surveyed at
the time Eugenio de Jesus filed his Sales Application, the Bureau of
Lands conducted a survey under Plan Bsd-1514. On July 29, 1936,
the plan was approved and the land awarded to Eugenio de Jesus
was designated as Lot Nos. 1176-A, 1176-B-1-A and 1176-B-1-B with an
aggregate area of 20.6400 hectares, Bsd-10153, City of Davao.
On August 28, 1936, the Director of Lands ordered an
amendment of the Sales Application of Eugenio de Jesus stating
that "a portion of the land covered by Sales Application No. 5436
(E-3231) of Eugenio de Jesus is needed by the Philippine Army for
military camp site purposes, the said application is amended so as
to exclude therefrom portion "A" as shown in the sketch on the
back thereof, and as thus amended, it will continue to be given due
course." The area excluded was Identified as Lot 1176-B-2, the very
land in question, consisting of 12.8081 hectares.
On September 7, 1936, President Manuel L. Quezon issued
Proclaimation No. 85 withdrawing Lot No. 1176-B-2 from sale and
settlement and reserving the same for military purposes, under the
administration of the Chief of Staff, Philippine Army.
On November 29, 1939, Eugenio de Jesus paid P660.45
covering the 8th and 10th installment for 20.6400 hectares, the
remaining area after his Sales Application was amended. This
payment did not include the military camp site (Lot No. 1176-B-2) as
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Land Title and Deeds


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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

the same had already been excluded from the Sales Application at
the time the payment was made. Thereafter, or on May 15, 1948,
then Director of Lands Jose P. Dans ordered the issuance of patent
to Eugenio de Jesus, pursuant to his Sales Application for "a tract
of land having an area of 20.6400 hectares, situated in the barrio of
Poblacion, City of Davao. 4 On the same date, then Secretary of
Agriculture and Natural Resources Mariano Garchitorena granted a
Sales Patent to Eugenio de Jesus for "a tract of agricultural public
land situated in the City of Davao, Island of Mindanao, Philippines,
containing an area of 20 hectares, 64 ares, and 00 centares.
On August 11, 1956, President Ramon Magsaysay revoked
Proclamation No. 85 and declared the disputed Lot 1176-B-2 open to
disposition under the provisions of the Public land Act for
resettlement of the squatters in the Piapi Beach, Davao City. In
the following October 9, President Magsaysay revoked this
Proclamation No. 328 and reserved the same Lot No. 1176-B-2 for
medical center site purposes under the administration of the
Director of Hospital.(Proc 350)
Whereupon, on December 6, 1969, petitioner Mindanao
Medical Center applied for the Torrens registration of the
12.8081-hectare Lot 1176-B-2 with the Court of First Instance of
Davao. The Medical Center claimed "fee simple" title to the land on
the strength of proclamation No. 350 reserving the area for
medical center site purposes.
Respondent
Alejandro
de
Jesus,
the
son
and
successor-in-interest of sale applicant Eugenio de Jesus, opposed
the registration on the ground that his father, Eugenio de Jesus,
had aquired a vested right on the subject lot by virtue of the Order
of Award issued to him by the Director of Lands. A certain Arsenio
Suazo likewise filed his opposition to the registration on the claim
that the 2-hectare portion on the northeastern part of Lot 1176-B-2
belongs to him.
TC granted the application for registration of Mindanao
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Medical Center
CA decreed in the name of appellants(De Jesus) an area of
12.8081 square meters, but said appellant is hereby ordered to
relinquish to the appellee(MCC) that portion of Lot 1176-B-2 which
is occupied by the medical center and nervous disease pavilion and
their reasonable appurtenances
Petitioner Mindanao Medical Center contends that it has
registerable title over the whole contested area of 12.8081
hectares, designated Lot No. 1176-B-2, and not only on a portion
thereof occupied by the Medical Center, its nervous disease
pavilion and their reasonable appurtenances
Issue:WON MMC has registrable title over the whole contested
area of 12.8081 hectares by virtue of Proclamation No. 350 serving
area for medical site purposes? YES
Ruling:
1. By virtue of Proclamation 350, such land grant is constitutive of a
"fee simple" tile or absolute title in favor of petitioner Mindanao
Medical Center. Thus, Section 122 of the Act, which governs the
registration of grants or patents involving public lands, provides
that "Whenever public lands in the Philippine Islands belonging to
the Government of the Philippines are alienated, granted, or
conveyed to persons or to public or private corporations, the same
shall be brought forthwith under the operation of this Act [Land
Registration Act, Act 496] and shall become registered lands."
Certainly, proclamation no. 350 is free of any legal infirmity. It
proceeds from the recognized competence of the president to
reserve by executive proclamation alienable lands of the public
domain for a specific public use or service.
1. Seen in the light of Patent, and Sales Order for Issuance of
Patent, and Sales Patent, invariably bearing the area awarded to
sales applicant Eugenio de Jesusas 20.6400 hectares, it becomes
51 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

imperative to conclude that what was really awarded to Eugenio de


jesus was only 20.6400 hectares and not 33 hectares as applied for
by him.
2. Lands covered by reservation are not subject to entry, and no
lawful settlement on them can be acquired. 23 The claims o0f
persons who have settled on occupied, and improved a parcel of
public land which is later included in a reservation are considered
worthy of protection and are usually respected, but where the
President, as authorized by law, issuesa proclamation reserving
certain lands and warning all persons to depart therefrom, this
terminates any rights previously avquired in such lands by a person
who was settled thereon in order to obtain a preferential right of
purchase. 24 And patents for lands which have been previously
granted, reserved from sale, or appropriate, are void.
3. Eugenio de Jesus cannot be said to be possessed of that
"proprietary " right over the whole 33 hectares in 1936 including
the disputed 12.8081 hectares for at that time this 12.8081-hectare
lot had already been severed from the mass of disposable public
lands by Proclamation No. 85 and excluded in the Sales Award.
Impoverishment of Eugenio's assets as a consequence of such
donation is therefore farfetehed. In fact, even if We were to
assume in gratia argumenti that the 12.8081-hectare lot was
included in the Sales Award, still the same may not be the subject
of donation. In Sales Award, what is conferred on the applicant is
merely the right "to take possession of the land so that he could
comply with the requirements prescribed by law."
Land Acquisition by private Corporations
1935 Constitution expressly allowed private juridical entities
(corporations) to acquire alienable lands of the public
domain NOT exceeding 1,024 hectares
1973 Constitution, Sec. 11, Art. XIV provides that NO private
corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

public domain except by lease not exceeding 1,000


hectares
1987 Constitution, Sec. 3, Art. XII provides that private
corporations or associations may not hold such alienable
lands of the public domain EXCEPT by lease, for a period
not exceeding 25 years, renewable for not more than 25
years, and NOT to exceed 1,000 hectares in area
The Susi Doctrine
In Susi vs. Razon, the SC held a doctrinal precept, that
where AT THE TIME the corporation acquired the land, its
predecessors-in-interest had been in possession and
occupation thereof in the manner and for the period
prescribed by law as to entitle him to registration in his
name, then the proscription against corporations acquiring
alienable lands of the public domain except through lease
does NOT apply for the land was no longer public land but
private property.
Purpose of Prohibition
To transfer ownership of only a limited area of alienable
land of the public domain (public lands) to a qualified
individual
Prohibiting corporations is virtually removing the vehicle to
circumvent the constitutional intent
Without the constitutional prohibition, individuals who
already acquired maximum area of alienable lands of the
public domain could easily set up corporations to acquire
more alienable public lands.
G.R. No. 73002 December 29, 1986
THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE
APPELLATE COURT and ACME PLYWOOD & VENEER CO. INC., ETC.,
respondents.
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Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Facts:
Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc., a corp. represented by Mr.
Rodolfo Nazario, acquired on October 29, 1962, from Mariano and
Acer Infiel, members of the Dumagat tribe 5 parcels of land which
has been in possession of the Infiels over the land dates back
before the Philippines was discovered by Magellan (time
immemorial)
Court of First Instance of Isabela ordered registration in favor
of Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc. of five parcels of land
measuring 481, 390 square meters, more or less. TC finding were:
o That the constitution of the Republic of the Philippines of 1935
is applicable as the sale took place on October 29, 1962;
o That the land sought to be registered is a private land pursuant
to the provisions of Republic Act No. 3872 granting absolute
ownership to members of the non-Christian Tribes on land
occupied by them or their ancestral lands, whether with the
alienable or disposable public land or within the public domain
o Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. Inc., has introduced more than
P45M worth of improvements ownership and possession of the
land sought to be registered was duly recognized by the
government when the Municipal Officials of Maconacon, Isabela
donated part of the land as the townsite of Maconacon Isabela
IAC affirmed CFI: in favor of Acme
The Director of Lands takes no issue with any of these findings
except as to the applicability of the 1935 Constitution to the matter
at hand. Concerning this, he asserts that, the registration
proceedings have been commenced only on July 17, 1981, or long
after the 1973 Constitution had gone into effect, the latter is the
correctly applicable law; and since section 11 of its Article XIV
prohibits private corporations or associations from holding
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

alienable lands of the public domain, except by lease not to exceed


1,000 hectares (a prohibition not found in the 1935 Constitution
which was in force in 1962 when Acme purchased the lands in
question from the Infiels), it was reversible error to decree
registration in favor of Acme Section 48, paragraphs (b) and (c), of
Commonwealth Act No. 141
Issues:
1. W/N the land is already a private land - YES
2. W/N the constitutional prohibition against their acquisition by
private corporations or associations applies- NO
Ruling:
1. SEC. 48. The following described citizens of the Philippines,
occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such
lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been
perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of
the province where the land is located for confirmation of their
claims, and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the
Land Registration Act, to wit:
xxx xxx xxx
(b)
Those
who
by
themselves
or
through their
predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive
and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of
the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition or
ownership, for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing
of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented
by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to
have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant
and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of
this chapter.
(c) Members of the National Cultural minorities who by themselves
or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open.
53 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of


lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture, whether
disposable or not, under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least
30 years shall be entitled to the rights granted in subsection (b)
hereof.

acquiring interests in public land to which the vendor had already


acquired that type of so-called "incomplete" or "imperfect" title.
The only limitation then extant was that corporations could not
acquire, hold or lease public agricultural lands in excess of 1,024
hectares.

As interpreted in several cases, when the conditions as specified in


the provisions of law are complied with, the possessor is deemed
to have acquired, by operation of law, a right to a grant, a
government grant, without the necessity of a certificate of title
being issued. The land, therefore, ceases to be of the public domain
and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of.
The application for confirmation is mere formality, the lack of
which does not affect the legal sufficiency of the title as would be
evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the
strength of said patent.
If it is accepted-as it must be-that the land was already private land
to which the Infiels had a legally sufficient and transferable title on
October 29, 1962 when Acme acquired it from said owners, it must
also be conceded that Acme had a perfect right to make such
acquisition, there being nothing in the 1935 Constitution then in
force (or, for that matter, in the 1973 Constitution which came into
effect later) prohibiting corporations from acquiring and owning
private lands

The purely accidental circumstance that confirmation proceedings


were brought under the aegis of the 1973 Constitution which
forbids corporations from owning lands of the public domain
cannot defeat a right already vested before that law came into
effect, or invalidate transactions then perfectly valid and proper.
This Court has already held, in analogous circumstances, that the
Constitution cannot impair vested rights.
The Acme case is now the prevailing jurisprudence on the
matter.
When natural persons have fulfilled the required statutory
period of possession, the Public Land Act confers on them a
legally sufficient and transferable title to the land, which
are already private lands because of acquisitive prescription
and which could be validly transferred or sold to private
corporations.
Corporation Sole Qualified to apply for registration
It was held in Republic vs. IAC and Roman Catholic
Archbishop of Lucena that a corporation sole is qualified to
own and register private agricultural land
A corporation sole by the nature of its incorporation is
vested with the right to purchase and hold real estate and
personal property
It is a special form of corporation usually associated with
the clergy
It consists of one person only, and his successors are
incorporated by law in order to give them some legal

2. NO 1935 Constitution is applicable.


If it is accepted-as it must be-that the land was already private land
to which the Infiels had a legally sufficient and transferable title on
October 29, 1962 when Acme acquired it from said owners, it must
also be conceded that Acme had a perfect right to make such
acquisition. There also being nothing in the 1935 Constitution that
might be construed to prohibit corporations from purchasing or
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

54 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

capacities and advantages particularly that of perpetuity,


which in their natural persons they could not have had.
In Roman Catholic Apostolic Administrator of Davao vs.
Land Registration Commission, the SC held that bishops
or archbishops, as sole corporations are merely
administrators of the church properties that come to their
possession, and which they hold in trust for the church.
Thus, church properties acquired by the incumbent of a
corporation sole pass, by operation of law, upon his death,
not to his heirs but to his successor in office.
Vested Rights not impaired by subsequent law
A right is vested when the right to enjoyment, present or
prospective, has become the property of some particular
person or persons as a present interest.
Vested right is some right or interest in property which has
become fixed and established and is no longer open to
doubt or controversy.
The due process clause prohibits the annihilation of vested
rights.
In Acme, the SC declared that the purely accidental
circumstance that confirmation proceedings were brought
under the aegis of a subsequent law which forbids
corporations from owning lands of the public domain
cannot defeat a right already vested before that law came
into effect, or invalidate transactions then perfectly valid
and proper.
The Constitution or subsequent law cannot impair vested
rights.
G.R. No. L-46729 November 19, 1982 LAUSAN AYOG, et al,
petitioners, vs.JUDGE VICENTE N. CUSI, JR., Court of First
Instance of Davao, Branch I, PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF DAVAO, and
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

BINAN DEVELOPMENT CO., INC., respondents. MINISTER OF


NATURAL RESOURCES and DIRECTOR OF LANDS, intervenors.
Facts:
On January 21, 1953, the Director of Lands, after bidding,
awarded to Bian Development Co., Inc. on the basis of its 1951
Sales Application No. V-6834 Cadastral Lot No. 281 located at Barrio
Tamugan, Guianga (Baguio District), Davao City with an area of
about two hundred fifty hectares.
Some occupants of the lot protested against the sale.
The Director found that the protestants (defendants in the
1961 ejectment suit, some of whom are now petitioners herein)
entered the land only after it was awarded to the corporation and,
therefore, they could not be regarded as bona fide occupants
thereof. The Director characterized them as squatters.
He issued a writ of execution but the protestants defied the
writ and refused to vacate the land.
Since the alleged occupants refused to vacate the land, the
corporation filed against them on February 27, 1961 in the Court of
First Instance of Davao, Civil Case No. 3711, an ejectment suit
(accion publiciana with 40 defendants).
The Director of Lands in his memorandum dated June 29, 1974
for the Secretary of Natural Resources, recommending approval of
the sales patent, pointed out that the purchaser corporation had
complied with the said requirements long before the effectivity of
the Constitution, that the land in question was free from claims and
conflicts and that the issuance of the patent was in conformity with
the guidelines prescribed in Opinion No. 64, series of 1973, of
Secretary of Justice Vicente Abad Santos and was an exception to
the prohibition in section 11, Article XIV of the Constitution and the
Secretary of Natural resources approved the patent.
Before the patent was issued (Aug. 14, 1975), there was a trial,
and 15 of the defendants testified that they entered the disputed
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

land long before 1951 and that they planted it to coconuts, coffee,
jackfruit and other fruit trees.
However the court did not give credence to their testimonies.
They found out that the plantings on the land could not be more
than ten years old, meaning that they were not existing in 1953
when the sales award was made.
Hence, the trial court ordered the defendants to vacate the
land and to restore the possession thereof to the corporation. CA
affirmed.
After the record was remanded to the trial court, the
corporation filed a motion for execution. The defendants, some of
whom are now petitioners herein, opposed the motion. They
contended that the adoption of the Constitution, which took effect
on January 17, 1973, was a supervening fact which rendered it
legally impossible to execute the lower court's judgment.
(supervening fact)
They invoked the constitutional prohibition, already
mentioned, that "no private corporation or association may hold
alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed
one thousand hectares in area." The lower court suspended action
on the motion for execution because of the manifestation of the
defendants that they would file a petition for prohibition in this
Court. On August 24, 1977, the instant prohibition action was filed.
Issue:
WON the 1973 Constitutional prohibition on private corporations
from purchasing public lands apply to a 1953 sales award made by
the Bureau of Lands considering the sales patent and Torrens title
were issued in 1975? NO
Ruling:

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Some of the petitioners were not defendants in the ejectment


case. The Court held that the said constitutional prohibition has no
retroactive application to the sales application of Bian
Development Co., Inc. because it had already acquired a vested
right to the land applied for at the time the 1973 Constitution took
effect.
That vested right has to be respected. lt could not be abrogated by
the new Constitution. Section 2, Article XIII of the 1935 Constitution
allows private corporations to purchase public agricultural lands
not exceeding one thousand and twenty-four hectares. Petitioners'
prohibition action is barred by the doctrine of vested rights in
constitutional law.
SC cannot review the factual findings of the trial court and the
Court of Appeals, they cannot entertain petitioners' contention
that many of them by themselves and through their
predecessors-in-interest have possessed portions of land even
before the war. They should have filed homestead or free patent
applications. Their jurisdiction is limited to the resolution of the
legal issue as to whether the 1973 Constitution is an obstacle to the
implementation of the trial court's 1964 final and executory
judgment ejecting the petitioners. On that issue, we have no choice
but to sustain its enforceability.
Petition is dismissed for lack of merit but with the clarification that
the said judgment cannot be enforced against those petitioners
herein who were not defendants in the ejectment case, Civil Case
No. 3711, and over whom the lower court did not acquire
jurisdiction. The contempt proceeding is also dismissed.

In Republic vs. CA and Baloy, the SC held that private land


could be deemed to have become public land only bi vurtue
of a juridical declaration after due notice and hearing.
Without a judgment or order declaring the land to be
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

public, its private character and the possessory information


title over it must be respected.
Judicial Confirmation of Imperfect or Incomplete Titles
Governing provision is Sec. 48(b) of CA 141 (Public Land
Act) approved on November 7, 1936
SEC. 48. The following described citizens of the Philippines,
occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such
lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been
perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of
the province where the land is located for confirmation of their
claims, and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the
Land Registration Act, to wit:
xxx xxx xxx
(b)
Those
who
by
themselves
or
through
their
predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive
and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of
the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition or
ownership, for at least thirty years immediately preceding the
filing of the application for confirmation of title except when
prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively
presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a
Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title
under the provisions of this chapter.
(c) Members of the National Cultural minorities who by themselves
or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open.
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of
lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture, whether
disposable or not, under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least
30 years shall be entitled to the rights granted in subsection (b)
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

hereof.

Subsection (b) was later amended by RA 1942 dated June


22, 1957

"(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in


interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious
possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public
domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, for at
least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the
application for confirmation of title except when prevented by
war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have
performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and
shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this
chapter."

Subsection (b) and (c) were later amended by PD 1073


dated January 25, 1977
agricultural lands was changed to alienable and
disposable lands of the public domain
Possession must be since June 12, 1945

Section 4. The provisions of Section 48(b) and Section 48(c),


Chapter VIII of the Public Land Act are hereby amended in the
sense that these provisions shall apply only to alienable and
disposable lands of the public domain which have been in open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation by
the applicant himself or thru his predecessor-in-interest, under a
bonafide claim of acquisition of ownership, since June 12, 1945.

As amended, Sec. 48(b) and (c) of CA 141, as amended, reads:


57 | P a g e

Land Title and Deeds


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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

(b) 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 acquisition of ownership,
since June 12, 1945, except when prevented by war or force
majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed
all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be
entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.
(c) Members of the National Cultural minorities 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, shall be entitled to the
rights granted in subsection (b) hereof.
Period of Possession (Historical Background)
Act No. 926 or the 1st Public Land Act passed on October 7,
1903 provides for the OCENPO of agricultural public lands
for a period of 10 years
Act No. 2874 of the 2nd Public Land Act approved on
November 29, 1919, applied to lands of the public domain
except timber and mineral lands, the OCENPO of
agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide
claim of acquisition of ownership since July 26, 1894
CA 141 or the Public Land Act approved on November 7,
1936, but took effect December 1, 1936, retained the
requirement under Act. No. 2874 of possession and
occupation of lands of the public domain since July 26, 1894
but the application was limited only to Filipino citizens
RA 1942 dated June 22, 1957 amended CA 141 Sec. 48(b) by
requiring possession and occupation for at least 30 years
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

immediately preceding the filing of the application for


confirmation of title
PD 1073 dated January 25, 1977 further amended CA 141 by
providing that it shall apply only to alienable and disposable
lands of the public domain and reverted the required
possession and occupation to June 12, 1945

CA 141 remains to this day the special law governing the


classification and disposition of lands of the public domain
other than timber and mineral alnds
As presently phrased, Sec. 48 of the Public Land Act
requires possession of lands of the public domain must be
from June 12, 1945 for the same to be acquired through
judicial confirmation of imperfect title
Sec. 48(b) has a counterpart provision in PD 1529 (Property
Registration Decree), which is Section 14(1)
There are no material difference between Sec. 14(1)
of the PRD and Sec. 48(b0 of the PLA
PLA refers to agricultural lands of public domain
whereas PRD uses the term alienable and
disposable lands of the public domain
But the Constitution declares that alienable lands of
the public domain shall be limited to agricultural
lands
The subject lands under Sec. 48(b) of the PLA and
Sec. 14(1) of the PRD are virtually the same, with the
latter operationalizing the registration of lands of
public domain and codifying the various law relative
to the registration of property
Rights of Cultural Minorities to their lands
RA 3872 dated June 18, 1964 amended Sec. 48 adding
subsection (c)
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

The amendment is founded on the right of the national


cultural communities to avail of the benefits of registration
over lands occupied and settled by them to enhance their
social and economic status as a distinct sector of society
To address the centuries-old neglect of the Philippine
indigenous peoples, Congress passed and approved bRA
8371, known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA)
on October 29, 1997
It granted these people the ownership and
possession of their ancestral domains and ancestral
lands based on indigenous concept of ownership
under customary law which in turn traces its origin
to native title
Extension of Period to file application
RA 9176 dated November 13, 2002 was enacted
a. Extending the period to file an application for
judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete
titles to December 31, 2020
b.Further limiting the area applied for to 12 hectares
c. Providing that all pending applications filed before
the effectivity of the amendatory Act shall be
treated as having been fixed in accordance with the
provisions thereof
The extension of the period fixed by law for the filing of
the application for registration is not jurisdictional but is
more of a time limitation
Registration Proceedings presupposes that land is a public
agricultural land
Registration under Sec. 48 (b) of the PLA (CA 141) presumes
that the land was originally public agricultural land but
because adverse possession since June 12, 1945, the land
has become private.
The ownership is based on adverse possession and the
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

right of acquisition is governed by Chapter VII on judicial


confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles
Requisites for Registration under Sec. 48 (b) of the PLA and Sec.
14(1) of PRD
a. The land is alienable public land
b. His possession and occupation has been open, continuous,
exclusive, notorious, and in the concept of owner
(OCENCO)
c. Since June 12, 1945

A certificate of title is void when it covers property of


public domain classified as forest or timber and mineral
lands
Even in the hands of an alleged innocent purchaser for
value, such title shall be cancelled
In Rep. vs. CA and Naguit, the phrase since June 12, 1945
qualifies its antecedent phrase under bona fide claim of
ownership
Hence, what the law merely requires is that the property
sough to be registered is already alienable and disposable
AT THE TIME of application for registration of title is filed.
It is not necessary that the land be first classified as
alienable and disposable before the applicants possession
under a bona fide claim of ownership could start.
The rule on confirmation of imperfect title does not apply
unless and until the land is classified as alienable and
disposable. The reclassification of public lands into
alienable or disposable lands is the prerogative of the
executive department.
o The applicant must establish the existence of a
positive act of the government such as
a. presidential proclamation or an executive
order;
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

b. an administrative action;
c. reports of investigators from the Bureau of
Lands (now Lands Mgt. Bureau); and
d. a legislative act or statute
In Bracewell vs. CA, there can be no imperfect title to be
confirmed over lands not yet classified as disposable or
alienable. In the absence of such classification, the land
remains unclassified public land until released therefrom
and open to disposition.
When the conditions specified in Sec. 48(b) of the PLA are
complied with, the possessor is deemed to have acquired,
by operation of law, a right to a grant, without the
necessity of a COT being issued.
o The application for confirmation is a mere formality,
the lack of which does not affect the legal
sufficiency of the title as would be evidence by the
patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the
strength of said patent.
o This doctrinal principle has been enunciated in Susi
vs. Razon
In Oh Cho vs. Director of Lands, the SC recognized an
EXCEPTION to the rule that all lands that were not acquired
from the government, either by purchase or by grant,
belong to the public domain.
o Any land that should have been in possession of an
occupant and of his predecessors-in-interest since
time immemorial, for such possession would justify
the presumption that the land had never been part
of the public domain or that it had been a private
property even before the Spanish conquest.
o This principle is rooted in Carino vs. Insular Govt.,
institutionalizing the concept of native title
Hearing
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Applications for registration shall be heard in the RTC or in


proper cases in a first level court, in the same manner and
shall be subject to the same procedure as established in the
PRD
1. Notice of all such applications, together with a plan
of the lands claimed, shall immediately forwarded
to the Director of Lands
2. Prior to the publication for hearing, all of the papers
in said case shall be transmitted by the clerk to the
SolGen or officer acting in his stead
The burden is on applicant to prove his positive averments
and not for the govt. or the private oppositors to establish
a negative proposition insofar as the applicants specific
lots are concerned
1. Applicant must submit convincing proof of his and
his PIIs actual, peaceful, and adverse possession in
the concept of owner of the lots during the period
required by law
Whenever any judgment of confirmation or other decree of
the court under Chapter VIII of the PLA shall become final,
the clerk of court shall certify the fact to the Director of
Lands, with a cert. copy of the decree of confirmation or
judgment of the court and the plan and technical
description of the land
1. The final decree of the court shall be the basis for
the OCT in favor of the persons entitled to the
property

Lands declared public land in previous registration may be subject


of judicial confirmation
G.R. No. L-19535
July 10, 1967
HEIRS OF PELAGIO ZARA; et al, applicants-appellants, vs.
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Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

DIRECTOR OF LANDS, DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY, Government


oppositor-appellees. VICENTE V. DE VILLA, JR., and VICENTE S.
DE VILLA, SR., private oppositors-appellees.
Facts:
On August 4, 1960 appellants (Heirs of Zara) filed an
application for registration of the land consisting of 107 hectares,
more or less, situated in the barrio of Sampiro, Municipality of San
Juan, Province of Batangas pursuant to the provisions of Act 496.
Alternatively, should the provisions of the Land Registration Act be
not applicable, applicants invoke the benefits of the provisions of
Chapter VIII, Section 48, subsection (b) of C.A. 141 as amended, on
the ground that they and their predecessor-in-interest had been in
continuous and adverse possession of the land in concept of owner
for more than 30 years immediately preceding the application.
They alleged that the land had been inherited by them from
their grandfather, Pelagio Zara, who in turn acquired the same
under a Spanish grant known as "Composicion de Terrenos
Realengos" issued in 1888.
Oppositions were filed by the Director of Lands, the Director
of Forestry and by Vicente V. de Villa, Jr.
Villas contend that that the parcel of land sought to be
registered by the applicants consisting of 107 hectares, more or
less, was included in the area of the parcel of land applied for
registration by Vicente S. de Villa, Sr. in Civil Case No. 26, L.R. Case
No. 601 in this Court, which was decided by this same Court
through the then incumbent Judge, the Honorable Juan P.
Enriquez, on September 30, 1949; that the parcel sought to be
registered by the applicants was declared public land in said
decision; that they (the oppositors Vicente V. de Villa, Jr. and
Vicente S. de Villa, Sr.) have an interest over the land in question
because for a period more than sixty (60) years, the de Villas have
been in possession, and which possession, according to them, was
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

open continuous, notorious and under the claim of ownership.


The said proceeding being in rem, the failure of the applicants
to appear at the case No. 26, L.R. Case No. 601 to prove their
imperfect and incomplete title over the property, barred them
from raising the same issue in another case.
On November 15, 1960 the De Villas (De Villa, Sr. was
subsequently included as oppositor) filed a motion to dismiss,
invoking the same grounds alleged in its opposition, but principally
the fact that the land applied for had already been declared public
land by the judgment in the former registration case.
The trial court, over the objection of the applicants, granted
the motion to dismiss by order dated January 27, 1961
Issue:
WON the 1949 judgment in the previous case, denying the
application of Vicente S. de Villa, Sr., and declaring the 107 hectares
in question to be public land, precludes a subsequent application
by an alleged possessor for judicial confirmation of title on the
basis of continuous possession for at least thirty years, pursuant to
Section 48, subsection (b) of the Public Land Law, C.A. 141? NO
Ruling:
Section 48(b) of CA 141 provides Those who by themselves or
through their predecessors in interest have been in open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of
agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of
acquisition of ownership, for at least thirty years immediately
preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title,
except when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be
conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions
essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

certificate of title under the provisions of this Chapter.


The right to file an application under the foregoing provision has
been extended by Republic Act No. 2061 to December 31, 1968. (at
present extended to December 31, 2020)
It should be noted that appellants' application is in the
alternative: for registration of their title of ownership under Act
496 or for judicial confirmation of their "imperfect" title or claim
based on adverse and continuous possession for at least thirty
years. It may be that although they were not actual parties in that
previous case the judgment therein is a bar to their claim as owners
under the first alternative, since the proceeding was in rem, of
which they and their predecessor had constructive notice by
publication.
In any case, appellants' imperfect possessory title was not
disturbed or foreclosed by such declaration, for precisely the
proceeding contemplated in the aforecited provision of
Commonwealth Act 141 presupposes that the land is public.
The basis of the decree of judicial confirmation authorized therein
is not that the land is already privately owned and hence no longer
part of the public domain, but rather that by reason of the
claimant's possession for thirty years he is conclusively presumed
to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government
grant.
Case is remanded to the Court a quo for trial and judgment on the
merits, with costs against the private oppositors-appellees.
Note, however, that in Diaz vs, Republic, the Court ruled
that in registration cases filed under the provisions of PLA
for judicial confirmation of an incomplete and imperfect
title, an order dismissing an application for registration and
declaring the land as part of public domain constitutes res
judicata, not only against the adverse claimant, but also
against ALL persons.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Registration under IPA Law


RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997,
dated Oct. 29, 1997
It deals with Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) or the
Indigenous Peoples (IPs)
The law allows IPs to obtain recognition of their right of
ownership over ancestral lands and ancestral domains by
virtue of native title
The 1987 Constitution carries provisions which guarantee
the rights of tribal Filipinos to their ancestral domains and
ancestral lands, and their right to live in a culture distinctly
their own
Constitutionality of the IPRA Law
Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa v. Dept. of Energy and Natural
Resources,
G.R. No. 135385, December 6, 2000
Facts:
Petitioners Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa brought this suit for
prohibition and mandamus as citizens and taxpayers, assailing the
constitutionality of certain provisions of Republic Act No. 8371 (R.A.
8371), otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of
1997 (IPRA), and its Implementing Rules and Regulations
(Implementing Rules).
Petitioners assail the constitutionality of the following
provisions of the IPRA and its Implementing Rules on the ground
that they 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
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

peoples over ancestral domains which may include natural


resources. Cruz et al content 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 violate the rights of private
landowners.
In addition, petitioners question the provisions of the IPRA
defining the powers and jurisdiction of the NCIP and making
customary law applicable to the settlement of disputes involving
ancestral domains and ancestral lands on the ground that these
provisions violate the due process clause of the Constitution.
Issue: Whether or not the IPRA law is unconstitutional? NO
Ruling:
The SC 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 IPRA law was sustained. Hence, ancestral
domains may include natural resources an exception to the
Regalian Doctrine.

The Concept of Native Title


Carino v. Insular Government, 212 U.S. 449 (1909)
Facts:
The applicant and plaintiff Mateo Carino is an Igorot of the
Province of Benguet, where the land lies. For more than fifty years
before the Treaty of Paris, April 11, 1899, as far back as the findings
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

go, the plaintiff and his ancestors had held the land as owners.
His grandfather had lived upon it, and had maintained fences
sufficient for the holding of cattle, according to the custom of the
country, some of the fences, it seems, having been of much earlier
date.
His father had cultivated parts and had used parts for
pasturing cattle, and he had used it for pasture in his turn. They all
had been recognized as owners by the Igorots, and he had
inherited or received the land from his father in accordance with
Igorot custom.
No document of title, however, had issued from the Spanish
Crown, and although, in 1893-1894 and again in 1896-1897, he made
application for one under the royal decrees then in force, nothing
seems to have come of it
In 1901 a petition alleging ownership under the mortgage law
and the lands were registered to him but process only established
possessory title
The lower court granted the application for registration on
March 4, 1904.
An appeal was filed in behalf of the Government of the
Philippines and as US having taken possession of the property for
military and public purposes. The application for registration was
dismissed.
Respondents argue that Spain assumed, asserted, and had
title to all the land in the Philippines except so far as it saw fit to
permit private titles to be acquired; that there was no prescription
against the Crown, and that, if there was, a decree of June 25, 1880,
required registration within a limited time to make the title good;
that the plaintiffs land was not registered, and therefore became,
if it was not always, public land; that the United States succeeded
to the title of Spain, and so that the plaintiff has no rights that the
Philippine government is bound to respect.
Even if the applicant have title, he cannot have it registered,
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

because the Philippine Commissions Act No. 926, of 1903, excepts


the Province of Benguet among others from its operation. But that
act deals with the acquisition of new titles by homestead entries,
purchase, etc., and the perfecting of titles begun under the Spanish
law.
Issue: Whether the plaintiff owns the land? YES, he owns the land.
Ruling:
The grant to the plaintiff was a result of prescription as
mentioned in the royal cedula of October 15, 1754, cited in 3 Phil.
546:
Where such possessors shall not be able to produce title deeds, it
shall be sufficient if they shall show that ancient possession, as a
valid title by prescription.
Moreover, the Decree of June 25, 1880 states that possessors for
certain times shall be deemed owners; if cultivated land 20 years, if
uncultivated 30 years. When this decree went into effect, the
applicants father was owner of the land by the very terms of the
decree.
The acquisition of the Philippines was not for the purpose of
acquiring the lands occupied by the inhabitants, and under the
Organic Act of July 1, 1902, c. 1369, 32 Stat. 691, providing that
property rights are to be administered for the benefit of the
inhabitants, one who actually owned land for many years cannot
be deprived of it for failure to comply with certain ceremonies
prescribed either by the acts of the Philippine Commission or by
Spanish law.
The Organic Act of the Philippines made a bill of rights embodying
safeguards of the Constitution, and, like the Constitution, extends
those safeguards to all. Every presumption of ownership is in favor
of one actually occupying land for many years, and against the
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

government which seeks to deprive him of it, for failure to comply


with provisions of a subsequently enacted registration act.
Title by prescription against the crown existed under Spanish law in
force in the Philippine Islands prior to their acquisition by the
United States, and one occupying land in the Province of Benguet
for more than fifty years before the Treaty of Paris is entitled to the
continued possession thereof.
Whatever the law upon these points may be, and we mean to go
no further than the necessities of decision demand, every
presumption is and ought to be against the government in a case
like the present. It might, perhaps, be proper and sufficient to say
that when, as far back as testimony or memory goes, the land has
been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership, it will
be presumed to have been held in the same way from before the
Spanish conquest, and never to have been public land. (Native
title)
Justice Puno is his separate opinion said that the IPA
categorically declares ancestral lands and domains held by
native title as never to have been public land and are
private.
The Court laid down the presumption of a native title:
a. As far back as testimony or memory went, and
b.Under a claim of private ownership
Justice Puno stressed that ancestral lands and ancestral
domains are not parts of the public domain.
Justice Kapunan explained that the doctrine in Carino
applies only to lands which have always been considered as
private, and not to lands of the public domain, whether
alienable or otherwise.
Distinction between ownership by native titles and acquisitive
prescription
Ownership by Native Title
Ownership by Acquisitive
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Presupposes that the land has


been held by its possessor and
his predecessors-in-interest in
the concept of an owner since
time immemorial

Prescription
Involves conversion of the
character of the property from
alienable public land to private
land, which presupposes a
transfer of title from the state
to a private person

The land is not acquired from the


State or its successors-in-interest,
the US, and the Philippine
Government
The classification of lands of public domain into
agricultural, forest or timber, mineral lands, and national
parks is irrelevant to the application of the Carino Doctrine
because the Regalian Doctrine which vest in the State
ownership of lands of the public domain does not cover
ancestral lands and ancestral domains.
IPRA Law/Definition of Terms
Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs)/Indigenous Peoples (IPs)
Group of people or homogenous societies identified by
self-ascription and ascription by others, who have
continuously lived as organized community or communally
bounded and defined territory
They have claims of ownership since time immemorial,
occupied, possessed, and utilized such territories, sharing
common bonds of language, customs, traditions, and other
distinctive cultural traits
Or those who have, though resistance to political, social,
and cultural inroads of colonization, non-indigenous
religions and cultures, became historically differentiated
from the majority of Filipinos
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Ancestral Domains
ALL areas belonging to ICCs/IPs comprising lands, inland
waters, coastal areas, and natural resources therein, held
under a claim of ownership, occupied, or possessed by
ICCs/IPs, by themselves or through their ancestors,
communally or individually since time immemorial,
continuously to the present
Shall include ancestral lands and lands no longer exclusively
occupied by ICCs/IPs but from which they traditionally had
access for their subsistence and traditional activities
Ancestral Lands
Land occupied, possessed, and utilized by individuals,
families, and clans who are members of the ICCs/IPs since
time immemorial, by themselves or through their PII, under
claims of individual or traditional group ownership,
continuously, to the present except when interrupted by
war, force majeure or displacement by force, deceit,
stealth, or as a consequence of govt. projects and other
voluntary dealings
Native Title
Pre-conquest rights to lands and domains which, as far back
as memory reaches, have been held under a claim of
private ownership by ICCs/IPs, have never been public lands
and are thus indisputable presumed to have been held that
way since before the Spanish conquest
Time Immemorial
The period of time when as far back as memory can go,
certain ICCs/IPs are known to have occupied, possessed in
the concept of owner, and utilized a defined territory
devolved to them, by operation of customary law or
inherited from their ancestors, in accordance with their
customs and traditions.
Indigenous Concept of Ownership
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Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Under IPRA, the ownership given is the indigenous concept


of ownership under customary law which traces its origin
to native title.
Indigenous concept of ownership sustains the view that
ancestral domains and all resources found therein shall
serve as the material bases of their cultural integrity.
The concept holds that ancestral domains are ICCs/IPs
private but community property, which belongs to all
generations and therefore cannot be sold, disposed, or
destroyed.
Prior to the enactment of IPRA, PD 410 dated march 11, 1974
governed the distribution of ancestral lands
o The Decree defined ancestral lands as part of the
public domain which have been in OCENO and
cultivation by members of the national cultural
communities by themselves or through their
ancestors, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of
ownership according to their customs and
traditions for a period of at least 30 years before
the approval of the Decree
o All unappropriated agricultural lands forming part of
the public domain occupied and cultivated by
members of the NCCs were declared part of the
ancestral lands and are further declared alienable
and disposable to be distributed EXCLUSIVELY
among the members of the NCC concerned.
o The lands shall be identified, surveyed, and
subdivided into family-sized farm lots not
exceeding 5 hectares each and allocated to
qualified members of the cultural groups by the
issuance of land occupancy certificates
The indigenous peoples concept of ownership emphasizes
the importance of communal or group ownership

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

By virtue of the communal character of ownership, the


property held in common is meant to benefit the whole
indigenous community and not merely the individual
member
It is private simply because it is not part of public domain
but it is owned in common by the ICCs/IPs and not by one
particular person.
The domain cannot be transferred, sold, or conveyed to
other persons by any one person.
Ownership over Natural Resources in Ancestral Domains/Lands
belong to the State
While ancestral domains and ancestral lands are considered
private in character, it does not necessarily mean that
natural resources found therein belong to the ICCs/IPs as
private property
Justice Kapunan opined in Cruz vs. DENR Secretary that the
inclusion of natural resources in the definition of ancestral
domains does not ipso facto convert the character of such
natural resources as private property of the indigenous
peoples.
The recognition of ancestral domains as private but
community property of the IP cannot be construed as to
mean that the natural resources are their private property
as well. The phrase used is merely descriptive of the IPs
concept of ownership as distinguished from that provided
in our Civil Code.
Justice Puno, in his separate opinion, states that ownership
over the natural resources in the ancestral domains remains
with the State and the ICCs/IPs are merely granted the right
to manage and conserve them for future generations,
benefit and share the profits from their allocation and
utilization, and negotiate the terms and conditions for
their exploration for the purpose of ensuring ecological
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

and environmental protection and conservation measures.


The rights of ICCs/IPs over the natural resources take the
form of management and stewardship.
The law only grants priority rights in the development or
exploitation of natural resources. This implies that there is a
superior entity that owns these natural resources and this
entity has the power to grant preferential rights over the
resources to whosoever itself chooses.
o A non-member of the ICCs/IPs may be allowed to
take part in the development and utilization of the
natural resources for a period of not exceeding 25
years, renewable for not more than 25 years.
o A formal and written agreement is entered into with
the ICCs/IPs concerned, or that the community,
pursuant to its own decision making process, has
agreed to allow such operation.
o The Natl. Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
may exercise visitorial powers and take appropriate
action to safeguard the rights of the ICCs/IPs under
the same contract.
Ancestral domains remain as such even when possession or
occupation of the area have been interrupted by caused
provided under law such as voluntary dealing entered into
by the govt. and private individuals/corporations.
o Hence, the issuance of Timber License Agreements
(TLA) to a corporation did not cause the ICCs/IPs to
lose their possession or occupation over the area
covered by the TLA.
Delineation and Recognition of Ancestral Domains
Prior to IPRA Law, ancestral domains and lands were
delineated under the DENR and governed by DENR AO No.
2 series of 1993
Presently, the process of delineation and recognition of
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

ancestral domains and lands is guided by the principle of


self-delineation and is set forth under Sec. 52 and 53
Chapter VIII of RA 8371, and in Part 1 Rule VII of the NICP AO
No. 01-98 (IRR of RA 8371)
Under self-delineation principle, the sworn statements of
the elders as to the scope of territories and
agreements/pacts made with neighboring ICCs/IPs will be
essential to the determination of these traditional
territories.
The official delineation of ancestral domain boundaries
including census of all community members therein, shall
be immediately undertaken by Ancestral Domains Office
(ADO) upon filing of the application by the ICCs/IPs
concerned
Proof of ancestral domain claims shall include the
following:
Testimony of elders or community under oath;
Other documents directly or indirectly attesting to
the possession or occupation of the area since time
immemorial by such ICCs/IPs in the concept of
owners
On the basis of investigation and the findings of facts
based thereon, the ADO shall prepare a perimeter map,
complete with technical descriptions and description of the
natural features and landmarks embraced therein
The approved and validated survey plan of the ancestral
domain claim and the petition for delineation shall
constitute the basic documents of the delineation process.
A copy of each document, including a translation in the
native language of the ICCs/IPs shall be posted in a
prominent place for at least 15 days
A copy of the document shall also be posted at the local,
provincial, and regional offices of the NCIP, and shall be
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

published in a newspaper of general circulation once a


week for 2 consecutive weeks to allow claimants to file
opposition thereto within 15 days from the date of such
publication
In areas where no such newspaper exists,
broadcasting in a radio stations shall be a valid
substitute. If both newspaper and radio station are
not available, then mere posting shall be deemed
sufficient.
Within 15 days from publication, and of the inspection
process, the ADO shall prepare a report to the NCIP
endorsing favorable action upon a claim that is deemed to
have sufficient proof.
However, if the proof is deemed insufficient, the
ADO shall require submission of additional
evidence.
The ADO shall reject any claim that is deemed
patently false or fraudulent after inspection and
verification.
In case of rejection, the Ado shall give the applicant
due notice, copy furnished all concerned,
containing the grounds for denial.
The denial shall be appealable to the NCIP.
In case of conflicting claims among the ICCs/IPs on
boundaries of the ancestral domain claims, the ADO
shall cause the contending parties to meet and
assist them in coming up with a preliminary
resolution of the conflict, WITHOUT prejudice to its
full adjudication according to Sec. 62 of the IPRA
ICCs/IPs whose ancestral domains have been officially
delineated and determined by the NCIP shall be issued a
Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) in the name
of the community, containing a list of all those identified in

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

the census
In all proceedings for identification or delineation of the
ancestral domains, the Director of Lands shall represent the
interest of the RP
The NCIP is the agency authorized to issue a certification
precondition in favor of any entity which desires to
undertake operations within the ancestral domains of the
IPs or whose proposed projects will affect the ancestral
domains
The law does not grant the executive department of
the power to delineate and recognize an ancestral
domain by mere agreement or compromise.
Identification, delineation, and certification of ancestral lands
The allocation of lands WITHIN any ancestral domain to
individual or indigenous corporate (family or clan)
claimants shall be left to the ICCs/IPs concerned to decide
in accordance with customs and traditions
Individual and indigenous corporate claimants of ancestral
lands which are NOT within ancestral domains may have
their claims officially established by filing applications for
the identification and delineations of their claims with the
ADO
o An individual or recognized head of a family or clan
may file such application in his behalf or in behalf of
his family or clan, respectively
o Proofs of such claim shall accompany the application
form which may include:
Testimony of elders or community under
oath;
Other documents directly or indirectly
attesting to the possession or occupation of
the area since time immemorial by such
ICCs/IPs in the concept of owners
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Upon receipt of the applications for delineation and


recognition of ancestral land claims, the ADO shall cause
the publication of the application and a copy of each
document submitted including a translation in the native
language of the ICCs/IPs concerned in a prominent place for
at least 15 days
A copy of the document shall also be posted at the local,
provincial, and regional offices of the NCIP, and shall be
published in a newspaper of general circulation once a
week for 2 consecutive weeks to allow claimants to file
opposition thereto within 15 days from the date of such
publication
o In areas where no such newspaper exists,
broadcasting in a radio stations shall be a valid
substitute. If both newspaper and radio station are
not available, then mere posting shall be deemed
sufficient.
Within 15 days after such publication, the ADO shall
investigate and inspect each publication, and if found
meritorious, shall cause a parcellary survey of the area
being claimed.
The ADO shall reject any claim that is deemed patently false
or fraudulent after inspection and verification.
o IN case of rejection, the ADO shall give the applicant
due notice, copy furnished all concerned,
containing the grounds for denial.
o The denial shall be appealable to the NCIP
The ADO shall prepare and submit a report on each and
every application surveyed and delineated to the NCIP,
which shall evaluate the report submitted.
If NCIP finds such claim meritorious, it shall issue a
Certificate of Ancestral Land Title (CALT
), declaring and certifying the claim of each individual or

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

corporate claimant over ancestral land.


The ADO, upon written request from the ICCs/IPs, may
review existing claims which have been fraudulently
acquired by any person or community.
o Any claim found to be fraudulently acquired, title
issued may be cancelled by NCIP after due notice
and hearing of all parties concerned.
Registration of CADTs and CALTs
NCIP through ADO shall register all CADTs and CALTs with
the ROD of the place where the properties are located
The recording of the CADT/CALT in the Office of the ROD
does NOT result in the issuance of a Torrens COT like that
issued through a regular registration proceedings.
The purpose of registration is to apprise the public of the
fact of recognition by the NCIP of specific claims to
portions of ancestral domains or ancestral lands
No part of the ANCESTRAL DOMAIN may be subject of
alienation or disposition because they are communally
owned although private in nature.
But ANCESTRAL LANDS may be the subject of registration
under the PLA or PRD
o If successful, a decree of registration will be issued
by the LRA as basis of the COT to be issued to the
applicant who is a member of the cultural
community
o In any subsequent dealings, like sale, mortgage, or
lease, the instrument embodying the transaction,
together with the owners duplicate certificate shall
be presented to the ROD for him to annotate the
encumbrance created by the instrument on said
title or to issue a new title to the person to whom
the land has been conveyed.
o The surrender of the owners copy of the title shall
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be the authority for the Register of Deeds to enter


registration
2 Modes of Acquisition of Ancestral Domains and Ancestral Lands
a. By native title over both ancestral lands and domains; or
b. By Torrens title under Public Land Act or Property
Registration Decree with respect to ancestral lands ONLY
IPRA converts Ancestral Land as Public Agricultural Land for
registration purposes
For registration purposes, the IPRA expressly converts
ANCESTRAL LAND into public agricultural land which may
be disposed of by the State
Hence, there is no need to secure a separate certification
that the ancestral land is ALIENABLE and DISPOSABLE in
character, it being sufficient to show that the land is duly
identified, delineated, and certified as ancestral land.
Individually-owned ancestral lands, which are agricultural in
character and actually used for agricultural, residential,
pasture, and tree farming purposes, are considered as
alienable and disposable agricultural lands under IPRA.
o Since ancestral domains and ancestral lands are
private, IPRA itself converts ancestral land,
regardless whether the land has a slope of 18% or
over, from private to public agricultural land proper
for disposition
The requirements for registration of AL are different from
that under regular registration proceedings
Requirements for Registration of Ancestral Lands
a. The applicant is a member of an indigenous cultural group;
b. He must have been in possession of an individually-owned
ancestral land for not less than 30 years; and
c. By operation of law (IPRA), the land is already classified as
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

alienable and disposable land, and there is no need to


submit separate certification that the land has been
classified as A and D land.
Effects of Registration
A duly issued Torrens certificate of title covering ancestral
land has the same efficacy, validity, and indefeasibility as
any title issued through regular registration proceedings
The title shall not be subject to collateral attack nor can it
be impugned, altered, changed, modified, enlarged, or
diminished except in a direct proceeding permitted by law
Transfer of Land or Property Rights
The right of ownership and possession of the ICCs/IPs to
their ancestral lands may be transferred subject to the
following limitations:
Only to members of the SAME ICCs/IPs;
In accord with customary laws and traditions; and
Subject to the right of redemption of the ICCs/IPs for
a period of 15 years if the land was transferred to a
non-member of the ICCs/IPs
Ancestral Domain
Ancestral Land
It is private but communal Ownership allows the transfer
ownership which belong to all of ancestral land or property
generations
and
therefore rights thereto to members of
cannot be sold, disposed, or the same group
destroyed

RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Sec. 16,


states that no ancestral land shall be opened for mining
operations without the prior consent of the indigenous
cultural community concerned
Sec. 17 provides that in event of an agreement for mining
operations, the royalty payment, upon utilization of the
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

minerals, shall be agreed upon by the parties, and shall


form part of a trust fund for the socio-economic well-being
of the ICC.
RA 7076 or the Peoples Small Scale Mining Act of 1991,
Sec. 7, states that no ancestral land may be declared as
peoples small-scale mining area without the prior consent
of the ICCs concerned
If ancestral lands are declared as peoples small-scale
mining areas, the members of the cultural
communities therein shall be given priority in the
awarding of small-scale mining contracts
Authority of PEZA to issue building permits
By specific provision of law, it is the Philippine Economic
Authority (PEZA) which has authority to issue building
permits for the construction of structures within the areas
owned or administered by it, whether on public or private
lands.
o PEZA may require owners of structures built without
said permit to remove such structures.
A Certified of Ancestral Land Claim (CALC) is merely a
registered claim and not a proof of ownership.
Ancestral land claimants cannot build structures within the
economic zone on the basis of their CALC without the
building and fencing permits issued by PEZA.
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
An independent agency under the Office of the President
and is composed of seven (7) Commissioners belonging to
ICCs/IPs from different ethnographic areas who are
appointed by the President
Specific Powers and Functions
1. Formulation of policies, issuance of rules and regulations
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

2.
3.
4.
5.

Resolution of conflicts
Issuances of CADT/CALT
Cancellation of ancestral domain and ancestral land titles
Issuance of certification as a precondition to the grant of
permit
6. Power to cite contempt, issue restraining order
1. Formulation of policies, issuance of rules and regulations
NCIP is granted with administrative, quasi-legislative, and
quasi-judicial powers to carry out its mandate
Primary agency charged with the formulation and
implementation of policies, plans, programs, and projects
for the economic, social, and cultural development of the
ICCs/IPs, and to monitor implementation thereof
It is also mandated to issue rules and regulations for the
implementation of the Act
2. Resolution of Conflicts
NCIP is vested with jurisdiction over all claims and disputes
involving rights of the ICCs/IPs
Before NCIPs assumption of jurisdiction over such
disputes, it is a condition that the parties shall have
exhausted all remedies provided under their customary
laws and have obtained a certification from the Council of
Elders/Leaders who participated in the attempt to settle
the dispute that the same has not been resolved.
It has also the authority to decide ALL appeals from the
decisions and acts of all the various offices within the
Commission
It shall issue rules and regulations to carry out its
adjudicatory functions
Any decision, order, award, or ruling of the NCIP on any
ancestral domain dispute, or any matter pertaining to the
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application,
implementation,
enforcement,
and
interpretation of the Act may be brought by a petition for
review to the Court of Appeals within 15 days from receipt
of a copy thereof
3. Issuance of CADT/CALT
4. Cancellation of CADT and CALT
NCIP has exclusive and original jurisdiction over petitions
for the cancellation of CADTs/CALTs alleged to have been
fraudulently acquired by, and issued to, any person or
community provided that such action is filed within 1 year
from the date of registration
However, the jurisdiction over actions or incidents affecting
a certificate of title issued through registration proceedings
is vested in the courts of justice (RTC or MTC)
5. Issuance of certification as precondition to the grant of permit
Has the authority to issue the appropriate certification as
pre-condition to the grant of permit, lease, grant, or any
other authority for disposition, utilization, and
management of portions of the ancestral domain with the
consensus approval of the ICCs/IPs concerned
The issuance of CADT/CALT is merely a formal recognition
of the ICCs/IPs rights of possession and ownership over
their ancestral domain identified and delineated in
accordance with the IPRA but cannot be considered as a
condition precedent for the need for an NCIP certification
o Citing the opinion of Justice Puno in Cruz vs. DENR
Secretary, the SC held:
It is required as a precondition for the
issuance of any concession, license or
agreement over natural resources that a
certification be issued by the NCIP that the
area subject of the agreement does not lie
with any ancestral domain.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

The provision does not vest the NCIP with


power over the other agencies of the State
as to determine to grant or deny any
concession or license or agreement. It
merely gives the NCIP the authority to
ensure that the ICCs/IPs have been
informed of the agreement and that their
consent thereto has been obtained.
6. Power to cite for contempt, issue restraining order
a. To promulgate rules and regulations governing the hearing
and disposition of cases filed before it as well as those
pertaining to its functions and such rules and regulations as
may be necessary to carry out the purpose of this Act;
b. To administer oaths, summon the parties to a controversy,
issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of
witnesses or the production of such books, papers,
contracts, records, agreements, and other document of
similar nature as may be material to a just determination of
the matter under investigation or hearing conducted under
the IPRA;
c. To hold any person in contempt, directly or indirectly, and
impose appropriate penalties therefor; and
d. To enjoin any or all acts involving or arising from any case
before it which, if not restrained forthwith, may cause
grave or irreparable damage, to any of the parties to the
case or seriously affect social or economic activity
In order to reinforce the powers of the NCIP, the IPRA provides
that no restraining order or preliminary injunction may be issued by
any inferior court against the NCIP in any case, dispute or
controversy arising from or necessary to the interpretation of the
IPRA and other laws relating to ICCs/IPs and ancestral domains.

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Regional Hearing Offices


NCIP, through its Regional Hearing Offices, shall exercise
jurisdiction over all claims and disputes involving rights of
the ICCs/IPs and all cases pertaining to the implementation,
enforcement, and interpretation of RA 8371 (IPRA)
Has original and exclusive jurisdiction over:
a. all disputes and controversies involving ancestral
lands/domains, violations of the requirement of
free and prior and informed consent of the ICCs/IPs;
b. Actions for enforcement of decisions of ICCs/IPs
involving violations of customary laws or
desecration of ceremonial sites, sacred places, or
rituals;
c. Actions for redemption/reconveyance under Sec.
8(b) of RA 8371; and
d.Cases analogous to the foregoing
Has original jurisdiction over cases affecting property
rights, claims of ownership, hereditary succession, and
settlement of land disputes between and among ICCs/IPs
that have not been settled under customary laws; and
DAMAGES arising out of any violation of the IPRA
Ancestral Domain Office (ADO)
Under the NCIP, shall be responsible for the identification,
delineation, and recognition of ancestral land/domains
It shall also be responsible for the management of
ancestral lands/domains in accordance with a master plan
as well as the implementation of the ancestral domain
rights of the ICCs/IPs as provided in Chapter III of the IPRA
It shall issue, upon the free and prior informed consent of
the ICCs/IPs concerned, certification prior to the grant of
any license, lease, or permit for the exploitation of natural
resources affecting the interests of ICCs/IPs or their
ancestral domains and to assist to the ICCs/IPs in protecting
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

the territorial integrity of all ancestral domains


Sec. 15 Form and Contents (see PD 1529 for the form)
Requisite steps in bringing land under the Torrens System
a. Survey of land by the Lands Management Bureau or a duly
license private surveyor;
b. Filing of application for registration by the applicant;
c. Setting of the date for the initial hearing of the application
by the court;
d. Transmittal of the application and the date of initial hearing
together with all the documents or other evidences
attached thereto by the Clerk of Court to the Land
Registration Authority
e. Publication of the notice of the filing of the application and
date and place of the hearing in the Official Gazette and
in a newspaper of general circulation;
f. Service by mailing of notice upon contiguous owners,
occupants and those known to have interests in the
property;
g. Posting by the sheriff of the notice in a conspicuous place
on the land and in the bulletin board of the municipal
building or city where the land is situated;
h. Filing an answer to the application by any person whether
named in the notice or not;
i. Hearing of the case by the court;
j. Promulgation of judgment by the court;
k. Issuance of an order for the issuance of a decree declaring
the decision final and instructing the LRA to issue the
decree of confirmation and registration;
l. Entry of the decree of registration in the LRA;
m. Sending of copy of the decree of registration to the
corresponding ROD; and
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n. Transcription of the decree of registration in the


registration book and the issuance of the owners duplicate
original certificate of title to the applicant by the ROD,
upon payment of the prescribed fees
Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements will justify the
court to deny the application for registration.
Forms and contents of the application for registration
Section 15 requires that the application for land registration shall
be:
a. Writing;
b. Signed by the applicant or the person duly authorized in his
behalf; and
c. Sworn to before any officer authorized to administer oaths
for the province or city where the application was actually
signed
If there is more than one applicant, the application shall be signed
and sworn to by and in behalf of each.
The application shall provide information on the following
(contents):
a. Full description of the land as evidence by a survey plan
duly approved by the Director of Lands, surveyors
certificate, and technical description;
b. Citizenship and civil status of the applicant, whether single
or married, and, if married, the name of the wife or
husband, and if the marriage has been legally dissolved,
when and how the marriage relation terminated;
c. Full names and addresses of all occupants of the land and
those of the adjoining owners, if known, and, if not known,
it shall state the extent of the search made to find them;
d. Assessed value of the land and the buildings and
improvements thereon;
e. Whether or not there are mortgages or encumbrances of
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

any kind whatsoever affecting the land, or any other


person having any interest therein, legal or equitable, or in
possession, thereof;
f. The manner by which the applicant has acquired the land
(refer to Sec. 14);
g. Whether or not the property is conjugal, paraphernal or
exclusive property of the applicant;
h. Names of all occupants of the land, if any;
i. Original muniments of title and other related documents
supporting applicants claim of ownership; and
j. If the land is bounded by a public or private way or road,
whether or not the applicant claims any and what portion
of the land within the limits of the way or road, and
whether the applicant desires to have the line of the way or
road determined
Pursuant to the Manual Instructions to be observed by the Clerks
of Court of the RTC in Ordinary and Cadastral Land registration
cases issued by the LRA on February 20, 1991, the application for
registration shall be filed in the following form:
a. That the application shall be in accordance with the form
prescribed in Sec. 15 and should state the full name of the
applicant, his civil status, citizenship, residence and postal
address, and if a minor, his age.
If the applicant is married, the application should
state the name of his spouse and whether the
property applied for registration is conjugal or
exclusive property of the applicant.
If the marriage has been legally dissolved, when and
how the marriage relation terminated.
The application should also state the names and
addresses of all occupants of the land and those of
the adjoining owners, if known and if not known, it
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shall state the extent of the search made to find


them.
b. That the application to be subscribed by the applicant or
the person duly authorized in his behalf, and sworn to
before any officer authorized to administer oaths for the
province or city where the application was actually signed.
Should there be more than one applicant, the
application shall be signed and sworn to by and in
behalf of each.
c. That the application and its accompanying papers be filed
in triplicate which shall be distributed as follows:
ORIGINAL for the Clerk of Court
DUPLICATE for the LRA
TRIPLICATE for the Solicitor General
d. That prior to the filing of the application, the applicant has
furnished the Director of Lands (now, Regional Executive
Director of the DENR) with a copy of the application and its
annexes.
The application shall be accompanied by the following documents:
a. The original plan in tracing cloth or Diazo Polyester film
duly approved by the Regional Technical Director, Land
Management Service of the DENR, a certified copy of the
same by Clerk of Court shall be attached to the duplicate
records and forwarded to the LRA.
Where in lieu thereof, a true copy of the original
plain in tracing cloth or Diazo Polyester film is
submitted, the Clerk of Court shall see to it that the
same is properly attested and duly certified correct
by the Regional Technical Director concerned or the
official authorized should sign the plan for the RTD.
All bearings, distances, and the technical
descriptions of the land appearing on the plan must
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

b.
c.

d.

e.

f.

be legible.
Such true copy shall be retained by the court
concerned and a copy thereof duly certified as a
faithful reproduction by the Clerk of Court shall be
forwarded to the LRA.
The white or blue print copies of the plan.
The original and two copies of the technical descriptions
certified by the RTD of the official so authorized and not
merely signed by the Geodetic Engineer who prepared the
plan.
The original and two copies of the Geodetic Engineers
certificate, or in lieu thereof, a certification from the RTD as
to its availability
A certificate in triplicate of the Provincial, City, or Municipal
Assessor of the assessed value of the land at its last
assessment for taxation or, in the absence thereof, that of
the next preceding year.
In case the land has not been assessed, an affidavit in
triplicate (Judicial Form No. 81) of the market value
of the land signed by 3 disinterested witnesses.
All original muniments of title of the applicant which prove
his ownership of the land.
This requirement is NOT mandatory as long as the
documents can be produced before the court
during the hearing whenever required or necessary.

NOTE: Under LRA Circ. 05-2000, the original tracing cloth plan is no
longer forwarded to the LRA; only a certified copy thereof need be
forwarded.
Reason: To obviate problems of applicants for registration in
remote provinces or cities where they would still go to the LRA to
retrieve the tracing cloth for submission as evidence during trial or
to cause the production thereof by said office via a subpoena
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duces tecum issued by the court for the same purpose.


Section 16. Non-resident applicant. If the applicant is not a resident
of the Philippines, he shall file with his application an instrument in
due form appointing an agent or representative residing in the
Philippines, giving his full name and postal address, and shall
therein agree that the service of any legal process in the
proceedings under or growing out of the application made upon
his agent or representative shall be of the same legal effect as if
made upon the applicant within the Philippines. If the agent or
representative dies, or leaves the Philippines, the applicant shall
forthwith make another appointment for the substitute, and, if he
fails to do so the court may dismiss the application.

Non-resident of the Philippines shall file his application


through
a
duly
authorized
representative
or
attorney-in-fact.
Service of all papers and other legal processes shall be
made upon said representative or attorney-in-fact with the
same effect as if made upon the applicant himself.
A special power of attorney executed in a foreign country
CANNOT be admitted in evidence unless it is duly certified
by the secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general,
consul, vice consul or consular agent or by any officer in the
foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign
country in which the record is kept, and authenticated by
the seal of his office. (Sec. 24, Rule 132 of the Rules of
Court)

Section 17. What and where to file. The application for land
registration shall be filed with the Court of First Instance of the
province or city where the land is situated. The applicant shall file
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

together with the application all original muniments of titles or


copies thereof and a survey plan of the land approved by the
Bureau of Lands.
The clerk of court shall not accept any application unless it is shown
that the applicant has furnished the Director of Lands with a copy
of the application and all annexes.
Application for Land Registration
As provided in Sec. 2, the Regional Trial Courts shall have
the 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.
First Level Courts (MeTC, MTCC, MTC, and MCTC) may also
be assigned to handle ORIGINAL registration cases in the
following instances (provided by RA 7691 amending Sec. 34
of BP 129):
a. Where the lot is NOT subject of controversy or
opposition; or
b. Where the lot is contested but the value thereof
DOES NOT exceed P100, 000
Appeals from decision of inferior courts in land registration
cases are taken to the Court of Appeals.
The application for registration must be accompanied by a
survey plan of the land duly approved by the Director of
Lands, together with the claimants muniments of title to
prove ownership.
In Director of Lands vs. Reyes, the SC declared that the
submission of the tracing cloth plan is a statutory
requirement of mandatory character. The plan and the
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technical description of the land must be duly approved by


the Director of Lands, otherwise the same have no
probative value.
o Purpose of the Original Tracing Cloth To fix the
exact or definite identity of the land as shown in
the plan and technical descriptions.
The LRA has NO authority to approve original survey plans
nor to check the correctness thereof.
o Under PD 239, only the Lands Management Bureau
may not verify and approve survey plans for original
registration purposes.
The clerk of court shall NOT accept any application unless it
is shown that the applicant has furnished the Director of
Lands with a copy of the application and all annexes.
Section 18. Application covering two or more parcels. An
application may include two or more parcels of land belonging to
the applicant/s provided they are situated within the same province
or city. The court may at any time order an application to be
amended by striking out one or more of the parcels or by a
severance of the application.

Where during the pendency of an application for


registration, the applicant sold the property to another
under pacto de retro, but owing to the lapse of the
redemption period, ownership became consolidated in the
vendee, the latter as the new and lawful owner is entitled
to be subrogated in place of the applicant and may
continue the proceedings in the case and finally obtain title
as owner.

Section 19. Amendments. Amendments to the application including


Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

joinder, substitution, or discontinuance as to parties may be


allowed by the court at any stage of the proceedings upon just and
reasonable terms.
Amendments which shall consist in a substantial change in the
boundaries or an increase in area of the land applied for or which
involve the inclusion of an additional land shall be subject to the
same requirements of publication and notice as in an original
application.

Where the amendments consists in a substantial change in


the boundaries or increase in area of the land or involve the
inclusion of additional area, the amendment shall be
subject to the same requirements of publication and notice
as in the case of an original application.
An order of the court, in a land registration proceeding,
amending an official plan so as to include land not
previously included therein, is a nullity as against a person
who is not a party and who has NO notice of the
proceeding, unless publication is effected anew.
Publication is one of the essential bases of the jurisdiction
of the court in land registration and cadastral cases, and
additional territory cannot be included by amendment of
the plan without new publication.
Thus, if it shown that a certificate of title had been issued
covering lands where the registration court had no
jurisdiction, the certificate of title is null and void insofar as
it concerns the land over which the registration court has
NOT acquired jurisdiction.
Conversely, if the amendment does NOT involve an
addition, but on the contrary, a reduction of the original
area that was published, no new publication is required.
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Section 20. When land applied for borders on road. If the


application describes the land as bounded by a public or private
way or road, it shall state whether or not the applicant claims any
and what portion of the land within the limits of the way or road,
and whether the applicant desires to have the line of the way or
road determined.

Pursuant to Sec. 44 of the PRD (PD 1529), every registered


owner receiving a COT issued pursuant to a decree of
registration and ever subsequent purchaser of the
registered land for value and in good faith shall hold the
same FREE from all encumbrances. EXCEPT:
a. Those which are noted in the certificate of title; or
b. Those encumbrances enumerated in the law such as
public highways or private ways, government
irrigation canals or lateral thereof
Under Art. 420 of the Civil Code, lands intended for public
use, such roads, canals, rivers, ports and bridges, banks,
shores, roadsteads and others of similar character are
OUTSIDE the COMMERCE OF MEN and may not be subject
of private appropriation.

Section 21. Requirement of additional facts and papers; ocular


inspection. The court may require facts to be stated in the
application in addition to those prescribed by this Decree not
inconsistent therewith and may require the filing of any additional
paper. It may also conduct an ocular inspection, if necessary.

In view of the nature of a Torrens title, a land registration


court has the duty to determine the propriety of the
application for registration and to ensure that the issuance

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

of a new certificate of title will not conflict with a valid and


existing certificate of title.
For this purpose, the court may require the filing of
additional papers to aid it in its determination and
resolution of the case and also order the conduct of an
ocular inspection in the presence of the interested parties if
deemed necessary.
The land registration court may also require the DENR, LRA,
and other government agency to submit a report on
whether the subject property has already been registered
and covered by the certificates of title to avoid overlapping
of claims and duplication of titles. This is in line with the
Purpose of Land Registration Law:
a. Ascertain once and for all the absolute title over a
given landed property;
b. To make, so far as it is possible, a certificate of title
issued by the court to the owner of the land
absolute proof of such title;
c. To quiet title to the land and to put stop forever to
any question of legality to a title; and
d. To decree that land title to be final, irrevocable, and
undisputable.

Section 22. Dealings with land pending original registration. After


the filing of the application and before the issuance of the decree
of registration, the land therein described may still be the subject
of dealings in whole or in part, in which case the interested party
shall present to the court the pertinent instruments together with
a subdivision plan approved by the Director of Lands in case of
transfer of portions thereof and the court, after notice to the
parties, shall order such land registered subject to the conveyance
or encumbrance created by said instruments, or order that the
decree of registration be issued in the name of the person to
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whom the property has been conveyed by said instruments.


Dealings with the land while registration is pending
The land subject of registration is allowed to be dealt with
after the filing of the application and before the issuance of
decree.
The land may be sold or otherwise encumbered, but
whatever may be the nature of the transaction, the
interested party SHOULD submit to the court the pertinent
instruments evidencing the transaction to be considered in
the final adjudication of the case.
In case of transfer of a portion of the land, the
corresponding subdivision plan should also be presented.
Upon notice to the parties, the court shall:
Order the land registered subject to the conveyance
or encumbrance created by such instruments;
Order that the decree of registration be issued in the
name of the person to whom the property has been
conveyed.
The adjudication of land in a land registration or cadastral
proceeding does NOT become final, in the sense of
incontrovertibility, until after one year from the entry of the
final decree prepared by the LRA.
As long as the final decree has not been entered, and
the one year period has not elapsed from such
entry, the title is not deemed finally adjudicated
and the decision in the registration proceeding
continues to be under the control of the court.
Dealings/transactions entered into pending registration do not
require amendment of application
In Sec. 22, it refers to amendments to the application by
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

joinder, substitution, or discontinuance of the parties


In Sec. 108, it involves amendments after entry of the
certificate of title
In Sec. 22, amendment of the application is NOT required, it
being sufficient that the court, by motion of other
appropriate pleading, be presented with the instruments
evidencing the transaction, and the approved subdivision
plan where a portion of the land is conveyed to another.

The application of Sec. 22 is illustrated in the case of Mendoza vs.


CA: G.R. No.

G.R. No. L-36637 July 14, 1978


GENEROSO MENDOZA, substituted by his wife and administratrix
DIEGA DE LEON VDA. DE MENDOZA, petitioner, vs.THE HON.
COURT OF APPEALS, DANIEL GOLE CRUZ and DOLORES
MENDOZA, respondents.

Facts:
On May 15, 1964, Generoso Mendoza, herein petitioner, filed
with the Court of First Instance of Bulacan an application for the
registration of two parcels of land, with a residential house
thereon, situated in the Poblacion of Sta. Maria Bulacan.
A notice was issued on December 3, 1964 setting the date of
initial hearing on June 18, 1965. Said notice was duly published,
posted and served but nobody appeared nor filed an answer or
opposition within the period allowed for that purpose.
Consequently, the registration court entered on July 6, 1965, an
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order of general default and allowed the applicant to present his


evidence ex-parte.
During pendency of the application before the land
registration court, Mendoza sold the land to the spouses Daniel
Gole Cruz and Dolores Mendoza, herein private respondents,
subject to the vendors' usufructuary rights.
The contract of sale was admitted in court in lieu of the
pending application for land title. The registration court rendered a
decision in July 21, 1965, ordering the registration of the two
parcels of land in the name of Cruz subject to the usufructuary
rights of Mendoza.
The decision became final and executory. In 1968, however,
upon failure of Cruz to pay Mendoza, Mendoza petitioned that the
title issued in the name of Cruz be cancelled. The land registration
court ruled in favor of Mendoza on the ground that the court erred
in its earlier decision in issuing the land title to Cruz who was not
a party to the application of title initiated by Mendoza. Cruz
appealed. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Cruz.
Issue:
Whether or not the title can be dealt with in the name of a third
party.
Held:
Yes. The Court of Appeals ruling must be sustained. First of all, it
was proven that Mendoza caused the registration in the name of
Cruz pursuant to their contract of sale. Second, Mendoza overlooks
Section 29 of the Land Registration Act which expressly authorizes
the registration of the land subject matter of a registration
proceeding in the name of the buyer (Cruz) or of the person to
whom the land has been conveyed by an instrument executed
during the interval of time between the filing of the application for
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

registration and the issuance of the decree of title.


SEC. 29.(Section 22 of Property Registration Decree) After the
filing of the application and before the issuance of the decree of
title by the Chief of the General Land Registration Office, the land
therein described may be dealt with and instruments relating
thereto shall be recorded in the office of the register of deeds at
any time before issuance of the decree of title, in the same manner
as if no application had been made. The interested party may,
however, present such instruments to the Court of First Instance
instead of presenting them to the office of the register of deeds,
together with a motion that the same be considered in relation
with the application, and the court after notice to the parties, shall
order such land registered subject to the encumbrance created by
a said instruments, or order the decree of registration issued in the
name of the buyer or of the person to whom the property has been
conveyed by said instruments.
A stranger or a third party may be dealt with in the land
registration proceedings. The only requirements of the law are: (1)
that the instrument be presented to the court by the interested
party together with a motion that the same be considered in
relation with the application; and (2) that prior notice be given to
the parties to the case. And the peculiar facts and circumstances
obtaining in this case show that these requirements have been
complied with in this case.
The law does not require that the application for
registration be amended by substituting the buyer or the
person to whom the property has been conveyed for the
applicant. Neither does it require that the buyer or the
person to whom the property has been conveyed be a
party to the case. He may thus be a total stranger to the
land registration proceedings. The ONLY requirements of
the law are:
a. That the instrument be presented to the court by
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the interested party together with a motion that


the same be considered in relation with the
application; and
b. That prior notice be given to the parties to the case.
Section 23. Notice of initial hearing, publication, etc. The court
shall, within five days from filing of the application, issue an order
setting the date and hour of the initial hearing which shall not be
earlier than forty-five days nor later than ninety days from the date
of the order.
The public shall be given notice of the initial hearing of the
application for land registration by means of (1) publication; (2)
mailing; and (3) posting.
1. By publication.
Upon receipt of the order of the court setting the time for initial
hearing, the Commissioner of Land Registration shall cause notice
of initial hearing to be published once in the Official Gazette and
once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines:
Provided, however, that the publication in the Official Gazette shall
be sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court. Said notice shall
be addressed to all persons appearing to have an interest in the
land involved including the adjoining owners so far as known, and
"to all whom it may concern". Said notice shall also require all
persons concerned to appear in court at a certain date and time to
show cause why the prayer of said application shall not be granted.

Commissioner of Land Registration shall also, within seven days


after publication of said notice in the Official Gazette, as
hereinbefore provided, cause a copy of the notice of initial hearing
to be mailed to every person named in the notice whose address is
known.
(b) Mailing of notice to the Secretary of Public Highways, the
Provincial Governor and the Mayor. If the applicant requests to
have the line of a public way or road determined, the Commissioner
of Land Registration shall cause a copy of said notice of initial
hearing to be mailed to the Secretary of Public Highways, to the
Provincial Governor, and to the Mayor of the municipality or city, as
the case may be, in which the land lies.
(c) Mailing of notice to the Secretary of Agrarian Reform, the
Solicitor General, the Director of Lands, the Director of Public
Works, the Director of Forest Development, the Director of Mines
and the Director of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. If the land
borders on a river, navigable stream or shore, or on an arm of the
sea where a river or harbor line has been established, or on a lake,
or if it otherwise appears from the application or the proceedings
that a tenant-farmer or the national government may have a claim
adverse to that of the applicant, notice of the initial hearing shall
be given in the same manner to the Secretary of Agrarian Reform,
the Solicitor General, the Director of Lands, the Director of Mines
and/or the Director of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, as may be
appropriate.
3. By posting.

2. By mailing.
(a) Mailing of notice to persons named in the application. The
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

The Commissioner of Land Registration shall also cause a duly


attested copy of the notice of initial hearing to be posted by the
sheriff of the province or city, as the case may be, or by his deputy,
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in a conspicuous place on each parcel of land included in the


application and also in a conspicuous place on the bulletin board of
the municipal building of the municipality or city in which the land
or portion thereof is situated, fourteen days at least before the
date of initial hearing.
The court may also cause notice to be served to such other persons
and in such manner as it may deem proper.

have to said lands or any portion thereof, and to submit evidence in


support of such claim; and unless you appear at said Court at the
time and place aforesaid, your default will be recorded and the title
to the lands will be adjudicated and determined in accordance with
law and the evidence before the Court, and thereafter you will
forever be barred from contesting said application (or petition) or
any decree entered thereon.

The notice of initial hearing shall, in form, be substantially as


follows:

Witness, the Hon. ________________________ Judge of the Court


of First Instance of _______ this _______ day of
_________________, in the year 19______.

(Caption and Title)

Attest:

NOTICE OF INITIAL HEARING

Commissioner of Land Registration

To (here insert the names of all persons appearing to have an


interest and the adjoining owners so far as known, and to all whom
it may concern):

Notice of Initial Hearing


Within 5 days from the filing of the application, the court
shall issue an order setting the date and hour of the initial
hearing which shall not be earlier than 45 days nor later
than 90 days from the date of the order.

An application (or petition) having been filed in the above-entitled


case by (full name and address) praying for the registration and
confirmation (or for the settlement and adjudication, in case of
petition in cadastral proceedings) of title to the following
described lands:

3 Means of Notice of the Initial Hearing


1. Publication;
2. Mailing; and
3. Posting

(Insert description)

You are hereby served this notice to appear before this Court at its
session to be held at _________________ on the ______________
day of _______________, 19 ______, at _____________ o'clock in
the _________ then and there to present such claims as you may
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

The requirement of giving notice by all 3 modes is


MANDATORY
The notice of hearing is signed by the judge and copy of
notice is mailed by the clerk of court to the LRA

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(1) Publication
The procedure prescribed by the PRD in land registration is
denominated as in rem, or one against all persons who may
allege any right to the land sought to be registered, and the
decree of the court granting registration is valid and
effective against all who may have an interest in the land.
The publicity which permeates the whole system
established for the registration of real property requires
that the application for registration accompanied by a plan
of the land, together with its description, and all the
owners of the adjacent properties and all other persons
who may have an interest in the realty shall be notified,
which notifications with a description in the Official Gazette
and in a newspaper of general circulation
Purpose of Publication
1. To confer jurisdiction upon the court over the res, and
2. To apprise the whole world of the pending registration case
so that they may assert their rights or interests in the land,
if any, and oppose the application, if so minded.

A land registration is a proceeding in rem, and the


proceeding requires constructive seizure of the land as
against all persons, including the State, who have rights to
or interests in the property.
An in rem proceeding is validated essentially through
publication. This being so, the process must be strictly be
complied with.
A party seeking registration has to prove his title against
the whole world. This can be achieved when all persons
concerned who have rights to or interests in the subject
property are notified and effectively invited to come to
court and who cause why the application should not be

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

granted.
Constructive seizure of the land for registration is effected
through publication of the application for registration and
posting and service of notice to affected parties.

Publication of notice of initial hearing


Sec. 23(1) provides that upon receipt of the order of the
court setting the case for initial hearing, the Land
Registration Administrator shall cause the notice to be
published once in the Official Gazette and once in a
newspaper of general circulation; however, the publication
in the Official Gazette shall be sufficient to confer
jurisdiction upon the court
The notice shall require all persons concerned to appear in
court on the date and time indicated and to show cause
why the application shall not be granted.
Publication in a newspaper is NECESSARY to accord DUE PROCESS
In Roxas vs.CA, it was held that while publication of the
notice in the OG is sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the
court, publication in a newspaper of general circulation
remains an indispensable procedural requirement.
It is a component of procedural due process and aimed at
giving as wide publicity as possible so that all persons
having an adverse interest in the land subject of the
registration proceedings may be notified thereof.
Although it will not affect jurisdiction, the fact that
publication was NOT made in a newspaper of general
circulation is material and relevant in assessing the
applicants right or title to the land. This was enunciated by
the Supreme Court in the case of Director of Lands vs. CA
and Abistado:
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[G.R. No. 102858. July 28, 1997]


THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and
TEODORO ABISTADO, substituted by MARGARITA, MARISSA,
MARIBEL, ARNOLD and MARY ANN, all surnamed ABISTADO,
respondents.

of the title in the name of Teodoro Abistado. The Court of Appeals


ruled that it was merely procedural and that the failure to cause
such publication did not deprive the trial court of its authority to
grant the application.
The Director of Lands represented by the Solicitor General thus
elevated this recourse to the Supreme Court.

Facts:
On December 8, 1986, Teodoro Abistado filed a petition for
original registration of his title over 648 square meters of land
under Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1529.
However, during the pendency of his petition, applicant died.
Hence, his heirs Margarita, Marissa, Maribel, Arnold and Mary Ann,
all surnamed Abistado -- represented by their aunt Josefa Abistado,
who was appointed their guardian ad litem, were substituted as
applicants.
The land registration court in its decision dated June 13, 1989
dismissed the petition for want of jurisdiction, in compliance
with the mandatory provision requiring publication of the notice of
initial hearing in a newspaper of general circulation.(notice of initial
hearing was only published in the Official Gazette) The trial court
also cited Ministry of Justice Opinion No. 48, Series of 1982, which
in its pertinent portion provides:
o It bears emphasis that the publication requirement under
Section 23 [of PD 1529] has a two-fold purpose; the first, which is
mentioned in the provision of the aforequoted provision refers to
publication in the Official Gazette, and is jurisdictional; while the
second, which is mentioned in the opening clause of the same
paragraph, refers to publication not only in the Official Gazette but
also in a newspaper of general circulation, and is procedural.
Neither one nor the other is dispensable.
The case was elevated to respondent Court of Appeals which,
set aside the decision of the trial court and ordered the registration
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Issue: Whether or not the Director of Lands is correct that


newspaper publication of the notice of initial hearing in an original
land registration case is mandatory? YES
Ruling:
Sec. 23. Notice of initial hearing, publication, etc. -- The court shall,
within five days from filing of the application, issue an order setting
the date and hour of the initial hearing which shall not be earlier
than forty-five days nor later than ninety days from the date of the
order.
The public shall be given notice of initial hearing of the application
for land registration by means of (1) publication; (2) mailing; and (3)
posting.
1. By publication. -Upon receipt of the order of the court setting the time for initial
hearing, the Commissioner of Land Registration shall cause a notice
of initial hearing to be published once in the Official Gazette and
once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines:
Provided, however, that the publication in the Official Gazette shall
be sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court. Said notice shall
be addressed to all persons appearing to have an interest in the
land involved including the adjoining owners so far as known, and
`to all whom it may concern.' Said notice shall also require all
persons concerned to appear in court at a certain date and time to
show cause why the prayer of said application shall not be granted.
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The pertinent part of Section 23 of Presidential Decree No. 1529


requires publication of the notice of initial hearing. It should be
noted further that land registration is a proceeding in rem. Being in
rem, such proceeding requires constructive seizure of the land as
against all persons, including the state, who have rights to or
interests in the property. An in rem proceeding is validated
essentially through publication. This being so, the process must
strictly be complied with.
The Supreme Court has no authority to dispense with such
mandatory requirement.
The law is unambiguous and its
rationale clear. Time and again, this Court has declared that
where the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no
room for interpretation, vacillation or equivocation; there is room
only for application. There is no alternative. Thus, the application
for land registration filed by private respondents must be
dismissed without prejudice to reapplication in the future, after all
the legal requisites shall have been duly complied with.
Publication in the OG does not dispense with the requirement of
notice by MAILING and POSTING
The proviso in Sec. 23 that the publication in the Official
Gazette shall
be sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court was
never meant to dispense with the requirement of notice by
mailing and by posting.
Lack of Personal Notice does NOT vitiate the proceedings
The requirement that personal notice SHALL be a
prerequisite to the validity of registration would absolutely
prohibit the foreclosure of unknown claims, for the reason
that personal notice could never be given to unknown
claimants.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Clearly, lack of personal notice will NOT vitiate the


proceedings. Sec. 23 states that the court may also cause
notice to be served to such persons and in such manner as
it may deem proper. Evidently, personal notice is NOT
necessary unless required by the court.
In Adez Realty, Inc. vs. CA, SC held that notice of hearing by
proper publication in the OG is sufficient to clothe the court
with jurisdiction, and the mere fact that a person
purporting to have a legitimate claim in the property did
not receive personal notice is NOT sufficient ground to
invalidate the proceedings.
The proviso requires that applications for registration
should contain a notification to all the occupants of the
land and of all adjoining owners, if known; and if not
known, it shall state what search has been made to find
them. Interpreting this provision, the SC held that lack of
notice is denial of due process and constitutes EXTRINSIC
FRAUD.

Purpose of Notice by ALL 3 Modes


The purpose of the requirement of giving notice by all 3
modes is to strengthen the Torrens System through
safeguards to prevent anomalous titling of real property.
Judicial notice may be taken of the fact that only very few
have access to or could read the OG, which comes out in
few copies only per issue.
In Director of Lands vs, CA and Abistado, the SC ruled that
while Sec. 23 of the Decree indeed provides that
publication in the OG suffices to confer jurisdiction upon
the land registration court, there is still need of publication
in a newspaper of general circulation to comply with the
requirements of due process.
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New Publication necessary to include additional area


If the amendment of the application for registration
consists of an area or parcel of land not previously included
in the original application, as published, a new publication
of the amended application must be made.
Without a new publication the registration court cannot
acquire jurisdiction over the area or parcel of land that is
added to that covered by the original application, and the
decision of the registration court would be a nullity insofar
as the decision concerns the newly included land.
But if the amendment consists in the exclusion of a portion
of the area covered by the original application and the
original plan as previously published, a new publication is
not necessary.
In De Luzurriaga vs. Republic, the SC clarified that were the
identity and area of the claimed property are not the
subject of amendment but merely other collateral matters,
a new publication is NOT needed.
(2) Mailing
This requirement is mandatory
Within 7 days after publication in the OG of the notice of
initial hearing, the LRA Administrator shall cause a copy of
the notice to be mailed to every person named in the notice
whose address is known.
Mailing to the Secretary of DPWH etc., Governor, and Mayor
If the applicant requests to have the line of a public way or
road determined, the notice shall also be mailed to the
DPWH Secretary, Provincial Governor and Mayor of the
municipality or city in which the land is situated.
If the land borders on a river, navigable stream or shore, an

arm of the sea, or lake, or if it otherwise appears that a


tenant-farmer or the national govt. may have a claim
adverse to that of the applicant, the notice shall be mailed
to the DAR Secretary, the Solicitor General, Director of
Lands, Director of Public Works and Communications,
Director of Forest Development, Director of Mines and
Geo-Sciences and Director of Fisheries and Aquatic
Resources as may be appropriate.
Role of the Solicitor General
Under the Administrative Code of 1987, the Solicitor
General is bound to represent the Government in all land
registration and related proceedings.
No other officer can exercise such function.
It is also the practice in the OSG to deputize lawyers in
government offices involved in land matters or provincial
or city prosecutors to represent the government in the
handling of such proceedings.
But as a rule, only notices of court proceedings and related
processes actually served upon the SG are binding on his
office.
PD 478, the Magna Carta of the OSG, which took effect June 4,
1974 provides:
Sec. 1. Functions and Organization. The Office of the Solicitor
General shall represent the Government of the Philippines, its
agencies and instrumentalities, government-owned or controlled
corporations, and its officials and agents in any litigation,
proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of a
lawyer. XXX XXX
(e) Represent the Government in all land registration and related

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

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proceedings. Institute actions for the reversion to the Government


of lands of the public domain and improvements thereon as well as
lands held in violation of the Constitution.
(g) Deputize, whenever in the opinion of the Solicitor General the
public interest requires, any provincial or city fiscal to assist him in
the performance of any function or discharge of any duty
incumbent upon him, within the jurisdiction of the aforesaid
provincial or city fiscal.
The Solicitor General has CONTROL and SUPERVISION over the
special attorney or prosecutor who has been deputized to appear
for him. The special attorney or prosecutor is no more than the
surrogate of the SG in any particular proceeding. As the principal,
the SG is entitle to be furnished copies of all court orders, notices,
and decisions.

The deputized special attorney has no legal authority to


decide whether or not an appeal should be made. As
consequence, copies of orders and decisions served on
deputized counsel, acting as agent or representative of the
SG are not binding until they are actually received by the
latter.

(3) Posting
Within 14 days before the initial hearing, the LRA
Administrator shall cause a duly attested copy of the notice
be posted by the sheriff in a conspicuous place on the land
applied for and also in a conspicuous place on the bulletin
board of the municipality or city in which land is situated.
The requirement is also mandatory.

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Section 24. Proof of publication and notice. The certification of the


Commissioner of Land Registration and of the sheriff concerned to
the effect that the notice of initial hearing, as required by law, has
been complied with shall be filed in the case before the date of
initial hearing, and shall be conclusive proof of such fact.

The certification by the LRA Administrator as to the fact of


publication and mailing, and that of the sheriff as to
posting, as required by law, are conclusive.

Section 25. Opposition to application in ordinary proceedings. Any


person claiming an interest, whether named in the notice or not,
may appear and file an opposition on or before the date of initial
hearing, or within such further time as may be allowed by the
court. The opposition shall state all the objections to the
application and shall set forth the interest claimed by the party
filing the same and apply for the remedy desired, and shall be
signed and sworn to by him or by some other duly authorized
person.
If the opposition or the adverse claim of any person covers only a
portion of the lot and said portion is not properly delimited on the
plan attached to the application, or in case of undivided
co-ownership, conflicting claims of ownership or possession, or
overlapping of boundaries, the court may require the parties to
submit a subdivision plan duly approved by the Director of Lands.

Any person, whether named in the notice or not, may


appear and file an opposition on or before the date of
initial hearing, or within such time as may be allowed by the
court, provided he has an interest in the property applied
for.
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

The opposition shall:


a. State his objections to the application;
b. Set forth the nature of his interest; and
c. Indicate the relief desired
The opposition shall be signed and sworn to by him or by
his duly authorized representative

Requisites for the Consideration of an Opposition


1. The oppositor must have an interest in the land applied for;
2. He should state the grounds for his objection as well as the
nature of his claimed interest;
3. He should indicate the desired relief; and
4. The opposition should be signed and sworn to by him or by
his duly authorized representative.

It has been held, however, that unverified oppositions in


land registration proceedings are nevertheless sufficient to
confer standing in court to oppositors who may be allowed
to verify their oppositions later on, especially where said
defect is demmed waived by the applicants failure to
invoke said requirement seasonably.

Nature of interest to support opposition


Opposition to an application for registration of the title
must be based on the right of dominion or some other real
right opposed to the adjudication or recognition of the
ownership of the applicant, whether it be limited or
absolute.
To give a person a legal standing to object to the
application for registration, he must make some claim to
the property.
o The circumstance that an opponent in a land
registration proceeding cannot show title in himself
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

does not incapacitate him from opposing


registration of the property in the name of the
applicant.
o Nor is it even material for the opponent to have the
legal character necessary to enable him to maintain
a registration proceeding in his own name and
behalf.
All that is necessary to enable on to exert the faculty of
opposition is that he should appear to have an interest in
the property. It is immaterial whether this interest is in
character of legal owner or is purely equitable nature as
where he is the beneficiary in a trust.
All claims of 3rd persons to the property must be asserted in
the registration proceedings.
If any claim to a portion thereof is upheld, that portion is
segregated from the property applied for, and is not
included in the decree of registration and certificate of title
subsequently issued to the applicant.
If it is included, the claim is deemed adversely resolved with
finality, subject only to a petition for review of the decree
within one year from its issuance on the ground of fraud.
A mere claim cannot defeat a registered title. A claim is
merely noted on the survey plan cannot prevail over the
actual decree of registration as reproduced in the
certificate.
The phrase claim of ownership means the possession of
piece of property with the intention of claiming it in
hostility to the true owner.
The phrase is also defined as a partys manifest intention
to take over land, regardless of title or right.

Effect of failure to file opposition


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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

A person who has not challenged an application for


registration of land even if the appeal afterwards
interposed is based on the right of dominion over the same
land, cannot allege damage or error against the judgment
ordering the registration inasmuch as he did not allege or
pretend to have any right to such land.
A claimant having failed to present his answer or objection
to the registration of a parcel of land under the Torrens
System or to question the validity of such registration
within the period of 1 years after the COT had been issued,
is deemed to have forever lost his right in said land even
granting that he had any right thereon.

Persons having legal standing to file opposition


The following are deemed to have an interest or equitable title
necessary to give them legal standing as oppositors:
1. A homesteader who has not yet been issued his title but
has fulfilled all the conditions required by law for the
issuance of patent;
2. A purchaser of friar land who is deemed to have an
equitable title to the land even before the issuance of the
patent;
3. An awardee in a sales application who, by virtue of the
award, is authorized to take possession of the land to
enable him to comply with the requirements for the
issuance of patent;
4. A person claiming to be in possession of the land and has
applied with the Lands Management Bureau for its
purchase.

A mere public land applicant under any mode of disposition


under the PLA cannot be a proper party to oppose an
application for registration under the Torrens System since

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

by filing his application with the LMB, he recognizes the


character of the land as public land and not as private
property. In such case, only the Government though the SG
may properly interpose its opposition following the
principle that all lands and other natural resources are
owned by the State.
The burden of overthrowing the presumption of State
ownership belongs to the registration applicant by
well-nigh incontrovertible proof and that he is entitled to
registration under the law.
A private person may not oppose an application for
registration on behalf of the government on the ground
that the land belongs to the government.

Opposition by the government


The government acting through the OSG is invariably
represented by the Director of Lands or Director of
Forestry as public oppositor in all land registration and
related proceedings.
Only the Solicitor General, as the lawyer of the government,
can bring or defend actions on behalf of the Republic of the
Philippines and, therefore, actions filed in the name of the
Republic, or its agencies, if not initiated by the SG, will be
summarily dismissed.
Notwithstanding the absence of opposition from the
government, the applicant in land registration cases is NOT
relieved of the burden of proving the imperfect right or
title sought to be confirmed.
The applicant must show that even though there is no
opposition, to the satisfaction of the court, that he is the
absolute owner, in fee simple.
Even in the absence of any adverse claim, the applicant is
not assured of a favorable decree by the land registration
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

court if he fails to establish a proper title for official


recognition.
Hearing is necessary to determine validity of ownership claim
Under Sec. 1 of Rule 131 of the ROC, each party whether
applicant or oppositor, must prove his own affirmative
allegations by the amount of evidence required by law to
obtain a favorable judgment.
The court, if it deems necessary, may refer the case or any
part thereof to a referee who shall hear the parties and
their evidence, and the referee shall submit his report
thereon to the court within 15 days after the termination of
such hearing.
The failure of the Director of Lands, in representation of
the government, to oppose the application for registration
for which he was declared in default will NOT justify the
court in adjudicating the land applied for as private
property.
The court has to receive evidence to determine whether or
not the applicant, or private oppositor if claiming
affirmative relief, has discharged the burden of establishing
ownership.
In Director of Lands vs. Santiago, it was held that where an
opposition or answer, which is based on substantial
grounds, has been formally filed, it is improper for the
court to declare the opposition in default simply because
he failed to appear on the day set for the initial hearing.
In Republic vs. CA and Arquillo, it was held that the failure
of the government agency concerned to file an opposition
to the application for registration or to appeal from the
adverse decision of the registration court is NOT fatal. The
reason for this is that the government is usually NOT
estopped by the mistake or error of its officials or agents.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

o The belated filing of an appeal by the State, or even


its failure to file an opposition, in a land registration
case because of the mistake or error on the part of
its officials or agents does not deprive the
government of its right to appeal from a judgment
of the court.
Motion to Dismiss based on res judicata proper in registration
proceeding
The PRD does not provide for a pleading similar or
corresponding to a motion to dismiss. However, Sec. 34 of
the PRD provides that the Rules of Court which are not
inconsistent with the provisions of the Decree shall be
applicable to land registration and cadastral cases by
analogy or in a suppletory character and whenever
practicable and convenient.
Sec. 47 of Rule 39 of the ROC sets forth the doctrine of res
judicata.
2 Concepts of res judicata
1. Bar by former judgment; and
2. Conclusiveness of judgment
The rule bars the re-litigation of particular facts or
issues involving the same parties even if raised
under different claims or causes of action.
Requisites as to the first concept
a. the former judgment or order was final;
b. it adjudged the pertinent issue or issues on their merits;
c. it was rendered by a court that had jurisdiction over the
subject matter and the parties; and
d. between the first and the second actions, there was
identity of parties, subject matter, and of causes of action
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

If there is no identity of causes of action but only identity of


issues, res judicata comes under the second concept --conclusiveness of judgment.

In Valisno vs. Plan, the SC applying the principle of res judicata,


sustained the applicants motion to dismiss the opposition ruling
that the two courts having equal jurisdiction is not a requisite of
res judicata.
G.R. No. L-55152

August 19, 1986

FLORDELIZA L. VALISNO and HONORIO D. VALISNO, petitioners,


vs.
HON. JUDGE ANDRES B. PLAN, Presiding Judge of the Court of
First Instance of Isabela, Second Branch, and VICENCIO CAYABA,
respondents.

Facts:
On August 21, 1964 petitioners Spouses Valisno purchased 2
parcels of land from the family of Blancos and subsequently
declared ownership over the land for taxation purposes and took
possession thereof by assigning a caretaker (Fermin Lozano) over
the property who built his house thereon.
On August 12, 1968 respondent Cayaba claims to be the owner
of the property by virtue of a deed of sale executed in his and
Bienvenido Noriegas favor on June 30, 1967 from the heirs of
Verano and ousted the caretaker from the property and
constructed an apartment thereon.
Petitioners filed an action for recovery of possession of the
land.
The court decided in favor of the petitioner but on appeal, the
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

CA reversed the decision and dismissed the complaint of the


petitioner on grounds that the description of the property in the
complaint is different from the subdivision plan provided by the
respondents with their respective area and boundaries appearing
to be completely different. The court did not find any compliance
to the requirement of the law that the property in dispute must be
clearly identified.
Under the Civil Code, Articles 433 and 541, the actual possessor
of the property has the presumption of a just title and he need not
be compelled to show or prove why he possesses the same. It was
clear that the respondent is the current possessor of the property
having constructed the apartment on the property in dispute.
Contrasting the evidence of the respondent and petitioner, the
court choose the respondents evidence as they were able to
provide a vicinity plan that shows the land position in relation to
the adjoining properties with known boundaries and landmarks.
Petitioner merely presented a sketch prepared by Dr. Blanco
constituting as mere guess works.

Subsequently, the respondents filed a petition for


registration of the property before the CFI which was opposed by
the petitioner. Respondent moved for the dismissal of the
opposition that the same is barred by a prior judgment of the
court.
The CFI dismissed the opposition on ground of res judicata
thus this appeal before the SC. With the petition given due course
by the SC, it orders both parties to submit their briefs. Only the
petitioner submitted their own brief within the given period thus
the SC considered the case submitted for decision with the brief of
the respondent. The petitioner filed a motion to amend the
application to include Bienvenido Noriega as a co-applicant to the
petition.
Issue:
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

Whether or not the grant of the motion to dismiss the opposition is


proper? YES
Ruling:
The SC held that the Land Registration Act does not provide
for pleading similar to a motion to dismiss but the Rules of Court
allows its application in land registration proceeding as only
suppletory when it is practicable and convenient. Therefore, the
court may sustain a motion to dismiss in land registration
proceeding as the case at bar.
Noted by the court in the ordinary civil case, the counterclaim can
be taken as a complaint where the defendant becomes the
plaintiff. The original plaintiff thus becomes defendant in the
counterclaim and he may choose to answer the counterclaim or be
declared in default or file a motion to dismiss the same. The
respondent clearly opted for the last choice.
The SC held that res judicata operates in the case at bar with its
requisites present in the case: [a] the former judgment must be
final, [b] it must have been' rendered by a court having jurisdiction
of the subject matter and of the parties, [c] it must be a judgment
on the merits and [d] there must be between the first and second
actions identity of parties, of subject matter and of cause of action.
The inclusion of private respondent Cayaba's co-owner,
Bienvenido Noriega, Sr., in the application for registration does not
result in a difference in parties between the two cases. One right of
a co-owner is to defend in court the interests of the co-ownership.
Although the first action was captioned for the recovery of
possession, possession is sought based on ownership, thus the
action was one in the nature of accion reinvidicatoria. The second
action is for registration of title where the registration is sought
based on ones ownership over the property. The difference
between the two is that the plaintiff seeks to exclude other
persons from ownership over the property in the first action while
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

it seeks to exclude the whole world in the second action.


The cause of action however remains the same. The employment
of two different actions does not allow one to escape against the
principle of res judicata where one and the same cause of action
cannot be litigated twice. Although the first action was litigated
before a competent court of general jurisdiction and the other over
a registration court is of no significance since that both courts
should be of equal jurisdiction is not a requisite for res judicata to
apply. For convenience, the SC should decide whether to dismiss
the application for registration or the opposition thereto. Because
the conflicting claims of both parties have been settled and
decided by the court previously, it upheld the finality of its decision
and dismissed the petition.
In a registration case, it was held that the defense of res
judicata when not set up either in a motion to dismiss or in
answer is deemed waived.
Res judicata cannot be pleased for the first time on appeal.
Submission of subdivision plan
The court may require the submission by the parties of a
subdivision plan duly approved by the Director of Lands, in the
following instances:
a. If the opposition or adverse claim covers only a portion of
the lot applied for which is not delimited on the plan
accompanying the application;
b. In case of undivided co-ownership, conflicting claims of
ownership or possession, or overlapping of boundaries
Section 26. Order of default; effect. If no person appears and
answers within the time allowed, the court shall, upon motion of
the applicant, no reason to the contrary appearing, order a default
to be recorded and require the applicant to present evidence. By
the description in the notice "To all Whom It May Concern", all the
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

world are made parties defendant and shall be concluded by the


default order.
Where an appearance has been entered and an answer filed, a
default order shall be entered against persons who did not appear
and answer.
When Order of Default be entered
Order of General Default
Addressed to the whole world
If no person appears and answers within the time allowed,
the court shall, upon motion of the applicant, order a
default to be entered and require the applicant to present
evidence.
All the world are made parties defendant and shall be
concluded by the default order.
Order of Special Default
When an appearance has been entered and answer filed, a
default order shall be entered against persons who did not
appear and answer.
When no answer in writing or any opposition is made to an
application for the registration of property, all the allegations
contained in the application shall be held as confessed by reason of
the absence thereof.
But a declaration of default is not a guarantee that the
application for registration will be granted.
It is still the burden of the applicant to prove that he is
entitled to registration by well-nigh incontrovertible
proof.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Motion to lift order of general default


An order of general default is interlocutory in character,
subject to the control of the court, and may be modified or
amended as the court may deem proper at any time prior
to the rendition of judgment.
But the motion to lift the order of general default should be
filed before the entry of final judgment.
A motion to set aside the order of default filed prior to the
rendition of the judgment on the merits should be
considered with liberality.
However, where the court revoked the order of default 5
years after the said order had been entered, and permitted
private claimant to file his answer and later ordered the
registration of the lots in his name, it was held that the
order setting aside the order of default, and the
proceedings adjudicating the lots as private property, are
null and void and should be set aside.
Party in Default can appeal judgment
In Martinez vs. Republic, the Court held that a defendant
party declared in default retains the right to appeal from
the judgment by default on the ground that:
a. The plaintiff failed to prove the material allegations
of the complaint, or
b. That the decision is contrary to law, even without
the need of the prior filing of a motion to set aside
the order of default
Section 27. Speedy hearing; reference to a referee. The trial court
shall see to it that all registration-proceedings are disposed or
within ninety days from the date the case is submitted for decision.
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The Court, if it deems necessary, may refer the case or any part
thereof to a referee who shall hear the parties and their evidence,
and the referee shall submit his report thereon to the Court within
fifteen days after the termination of such hearing. Hearing before a
referee may be held at any convenient place within the province or
city as may be fixed by him and after reasonable notice thereof
shall have been served the parties concerned. The court may
render judgment in accordance with the report as though the facts
have been found by the judge himself: Provided, however, that the
court may in its discretion accept the report, or set it aside in whole
or in part, or order the case to be recommitted for further
proceedings
Hearing
Sec. 27 aims to dispose of registration cases as
expeditiously as possible and hence the court is required to
decide the case within 90 days from the time it is submitted
for decision.
It may be necessary for the court to refer the case to a
referee, usually the branch clerk of court, for hearing and
reception of evidence to enable the judge to devote his
time to other important businesses of the court.
In such event, the referee shall receive the evidence and
submit his report to the court within 15 days from the
termination of the hearing.
The court shall render judgment on the basis of the report.
Proof required in registration proceedings
The burden is on applicant to prove his positive averments.
He must submit convincing proof of his and his
predecessor-in-interests actual, peaceful, and adverse
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

possession in the concept of owner of the lots during the


period required by law
Citizenship Requirement
The Krivenko Doctrine: Aliens disqualified from acquiring public
and private lands
In the landmark case of Krivenko vs. Register of Deeds, the SC
settled the issue as to who are qualified and disqualified to own
public as well as private lands in the Philippines.
KRIVENKO v REGISTER OF DEEDS
G.R. No. L-630
November 15, 1947
ALEXANDER A. KRIVENKO, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
THE REGISTER OF DEEDS, CITY OF MANILA, respondent and
appellee.

FACTS
Alexander A. Kriventor, alien, bought a residential lot from the
Magdalena Estate, Inc., in December of 1941, the registration of
which was interrupted by the war.
In May, 1945, he sought to accomplish said registration. ROD
Manila denied on the ground that, being an alien, he cannot
acquire land in this jurisdiction.
Krivenko then brought the case to the CFI Manila by means of
a consulta. The previous judgment was sustained. This is Krivenkos
appeal
Notes on Motion to withdraw the appeal:
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there has been a motion to withdraw appeal but the court has
nevertheless resolved the case on the merits, as not only had the
brief been presented, but the case has already been voted upon
While the motion was pending, DOJ issued a new circular came
instructing all register of deeds to accept for registration all
transfers of residential lots to aliens. ROD Manila naturally obeyed
the new circular, as against his own stand in this case which had
been maintained by the trial court and defended by the SolGen
here.
Reason for not granting the withdrawal: Krivenko wins his
case, not by a decision of this Court, but by the DOJ circular, issued
while this case was pending before this Court. The possibility for
this court to voice its conviction in a future case may be remote,
with the result that our indifference of today might signify a
permanent offense to the Constitution.
ISSUE
WON an ALIEN under our Constitution may acquire residential land.
NO.
RULING
Under the Constitution aliens may not acquire private or public
agricultural lands, including residential lands.

domain, water, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all
forces of potential energy, and other natural resources of the
Philippines belong to the State, and their disposition, exploitation,
development, or utilization shall be limited to citizens of the
Philippines, or to corporations or associations at least sixty per
centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens, subject to
any existing right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the
inaguration of the Government established uunder this
Constitution. Natural resources, with the exception of public
agricultural land, shall not be alienated, and no licence, concession,
or lease for the exploitation, development, or utilization of any of
the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding
twenty-five years, renewable for another twenty-five years, except
as to water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial
uses other than the development of water "power" in which cases
beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant.
SCOPE: embraces all lands of any kind of the public domain
PURPOSE: to establish a permanent and fundamental policy for the
conservation and utilization of all natural resources of the Nation.
RULE:
"natural resources, with the exception of public
agricultural land, shall not be aliented," and with respect to public
agricultural lands, their alienation is limited to Filipino citizens.

The phrase "public agricultural lands" appearing in Sec 1 of Article


XIII of the Constitution must be construed as including residential
lands, in conformity with a legislative interpretation given after the
adoption of the Constitution.

When Art 13, Sec 1 makes mention of only agricultural, timber and
mineral lands, it means that all lands of the public domain are
classified into said three groups. This classification is corroborated
by existing public laws and judicial decisions in the Philippines at
the time of the adoption of the Constitution.

Article XIII, section 1, Constitution


Article XIII. Conservation and utilization of natural resources.
SECTION 1. All agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public

The term "public agricultural lands" under said classification had


then acquired a technical meaning that was well-known to the

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

members of the Constitutional Convention who were mostly


members of the legal profession.
"AGRICULTURAL PUBLIC LANDS"
The definition provided for by Mapa vs. Insular Government (1908),
as provided for in Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, has been followed
in a long line of decisions of this Court. - "those public lands
acquired from Spain which are neither mineral for timber lands."
RESIDENTIAL LANDS
it has been held that since they are neither mineral nor timber
lands, of necessity they must be classified as agricultural.
LEGISLATIVE CONSTRUCTION THAT THE TERM "PUBLIC
AGRICULTURAL LAND" INCLUDES LAND FOR RESIDENCE
PURPOSES
In relation to rules of construction, it may be safely presumed that
the ConCon referred to the technical description then prevailing
because at the time the Constitution was adopted, lands of the
public domain were classified in our laws and jurisprudence into
agricultural, mineral, and timber, and that the term "public
agricultural lands" was construed as referring to those lands that
were not timber or mineral, and as including residential lands.
Revision of the Public Land Law, Passage of the CA 141 (after the
Constitution was adopted)
Residential lots are considered as agricultural lands, for, under
the Constitution, only agricultural lands may be alienated. This can
be gleaned from the fact that SEC 58, 59 and 60, CA 141 permit the
sale of residential lots to Filipino citizens or to associations or
corporations controlled by such citizens.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

The term "public agricultural lands" has both a broad and a


particular meaning.
BROAD OR GENERAL MEANING: as used in the Constitution, it
embraces all lands that are neither timber nor mineral.
PARTICULAR MEANING: Sec 9, CA 141 which classifies "public
agricultural lands" for purposes of alienation or disposition, into
a. lands that are stricly agricultural or actually devoted to
cultivation for agricultural puposes;
b. ands that are residential;
c. commercial;
d. industrial;
e. or lands for other purposes.

The fact that these lands are made alienable or disposable under
Commonwealth Act No. 141, in favor of Filipino citizens, is a
conclusive indication of their character as public agricultural lands
under said statute and under the Constitution.
OBSERVE THAT:
Prior to the Constitution
Aliens could acquire public agricultural lands used for industrial
or residential purposes (Sec 24 of Public Land Act No. 2874)
Land of the public domain suitable for residence or industrial
purposes could be sold or leased to aliens (Sec 57 of Public Land
Act No. 2874)
After the Constitution
the right of aliens to acquire such kind of lands is completely
stricken out, undoubtedly in pursuance of the constitutional
limitation. (Sec 23, CA 141)
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Land of public domain suitable for residence or industrial


purposes may only be leased, but not sold, to aliens, and the lease
granted shall only be valid while the land is used for the purposes
referred to. The exclusion of sale in the new Act is undoubtedly in
pursuance of the constitutional limitation, and this again is another
legislative construction that the term "public agricultural land"
includes land for residence purposes. (Sec 60, CA 141)

The three great departments of the Government judicial,


legislative and executive have always maintained that lands of
the public domain are classified into agricultural, mineral and
timber, and that agricultural lands include residential lots.
Executive Department of the Government:
1939, Secretary of Justice Jose Abad Santos: At the time of the
adoption of the Constitution of the Philippines, the term
'agricultural public lands' acquired a technical meaning in our public
laws. *Mapa vs. Insular Government definition was cited*
Residential commercial, or industrial lots forming part of the public
domain must have to be included in one or more of these classes.
Clearly, they are neither timber nor mineral, of necessity, therefore,
they must be classified as agricultural.
Test in determining whether lands are agricultural or not: Character
of the land is the test. In other words, it is the susceptibility of the
land to cultivation for agricultural purposes by ordinary farming
methods.
Director of Lands: no reason is seen why a piece of land, which may
be sold to a person if he is to devote it to agricultural, cannot be
sold to him if he intends to use it as a site for his home.

Importance of his opinion: not alone because it comes from a


Secratary of Justice who later became the Chief Justice of this
Court, but also because it was rendered by a member of the
cabinet of the late President Quezon who actively participated in
the drafting of the constitutional provision under consideration.
And the opinion of the Quezon administration was reiterated by
the Secretary of Justice under the Osmea administration, and it
was firmly maintained in this Court by the Solicitor General of both
administrations.
SECTION 5 DISCUSSION: The constitutional purpose of section 1 of
Article XIII of the Constitution of 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. It is partly to prevent this result that section
5 is included in Article XIII:
Sec. 5. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private
agricultural land will be transferred or assigned except to
individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or
hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines.
Undoubtedly, as above indicated, section 5 is intended to insure
the policy of nationalization contained in section 1. Both sections
must, therefore, be read together for they have the same purpose
and the same subject matter.
Since "agricultural land" under section 1 includes residential lots,
the same technical meaning should be attached to "agricultural
land under section 5. It is a rule of statutory construction that "a
word or phrase repeated in a statute will bear the same meaning
throughout the statute, unless a different intention appears."
The lands are the same in both sections, and, for the conservation

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

of the national patrimony, what is important is the nature or class


of the property regardless of whether it is owned by the State or
by its citizens.
Sec 1 agricultural land public
Sec 5 "agricultural land" private under section 5, is that the
former is public and the latter private.
But such difference refers to ownership and not to the class of
land.
The purpose of the constitutional provision is the conservation of
the national patrimony, and private residential lands are as much
an integral part of the national patrimony as the residential lands of
the public domain. Specially is this so where, as indicated above,
the prohibition as to the alienable of public residential lots would
become superflous if the same prohibition is not equally applied to
private residential lots.

If the term "private agricultural lands" is to be construed as not


including residential lots or lands not strictly agricultural; RESULT
the result would be that "aliens may freely acquire and possess not
only residential lots and houses for themselves but entire
subdivisions, and whole towns and cities," and that "they may
validly buy and hold in their names lands of any area for building
homes, factories, industrial plants, fisheries, hatcheries, schools,
health and vacation resorts, markets, golf courses, playgrounds,
airfields, and a host of other uses and purposes that are not, in
appellant's words, strictly agricultural."
Fundamental principal underlying the provision of Article XIII of the
Constitution
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

"that lands, minerals, forests, and other natural resources


constitute the exclusive heritage of the Filipino nation. They
should, therefore, be preserved for those under the sovereign
authority of that nation and for their posterity."
It is well to note at this juncture that in the present case we have
no choice. We are construing the Constitution as it is and not as we
may desire it to be. Perhaps the effect of our construction is to
preclude aliens, admitted freely into the Philippines from owning
sites where they may build their homes. But if this is the solemn
mandate of the Constitution, we will not attempt to compromise it
even in the name of amity or equity.
We are satisfied, however, that aliens are not completely excluded
by the Constitution from the use of lands for residential purposes.
Since their residence in the Philippines is temporary, they may be
granted temporary rights such as a lease contract which is not
forbidden by the Constitution. Should they desire to remain here
forever and share our fortunes and misfortunes, Filipino citizenship
is not impossible to acquire.
The 1935 Constitution (Sec. 1 of Art. XIII) reserved the right to
participate in the disposition, exploitation, development, and
utilization of all lands of the public domain and other natural
resources of the Philippines for Filipino citizens or corporations at
least 60% of the capital of which was owned by Filipinos.
Aliens, whether individual or corporations, have been disqualified
from acquiring public lands; hence, they have also been disqualified
from acquiring private lands.
(Sec. 5, Art. XIII) Save in cases of legal succession, no private
agricultural land will be transferred or assigned except to
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Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or


hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines.

The constitutional intent of the 1935 Constitution is


strongly reflected in CA 141, known as the Public Land Act.
In Borromeo vs. Descallar, the SC held that aliens are
prohibited from acquiring private lands. This is embodied in
Sec. 7 Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution. The capacity to
acquire private land is dependent on the capacity to acquire
or hold lands of the public domain.
o Private land may be transferred only to individuals
or entities qualified to acquire or hold lands of the
public domain. Only Filipino citizens or corporations
at least 60% of the capital of which is owned by
Filipinos are qualified to acquire or hold lands of the
public domain. Thus, as the rule now stands, the
fundamental law explicitly prohibits non-Filipinos
from acquiring or holding title to private lands
except only by way of legal succession or if the
acquisition was made by a former natural-born
citizens.

A natural-born Filipino citizens who has lost his citizen-ship may


be a transferee of private land
Sec. 8 of Art. XII of the Constitution provides that 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.
Pursuant to Sec. 10 of RA 7042, as amended by RA 8179 dated
March 28, 1996, provided that any natural-born citizen who has the
legal capacity to enter into a contract may be a transferee of a
private land up to a maximum of 5,000 sq. meters in case of urban
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

land, or 3,000 hectares in the case of rural land.


In case of married couples, one of them may avail of the
privilege herein granted. But if both shall avail of the same,
the total area acquired shall not exceed the maximum
herein fixed.
In case the transferee already owns urban or rural land for
business or other purposes, he shall still be entitled to be a
transferee of additional urban or rural land for business or
other purposes which, when added to those already owned
by him, shall not exceed the maximum areas herein
authorized.
If the transferee has already acquired urban land, he shall
be disqualified from acquiring rural land area and vice
versa.
Under the Citizenship Rerention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003
(RA 9225) provided that natural-born citizens of the Philippines
who have lost their Philippines citizenship by reason of their
naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed
to have re-acquired Philippine citizenship upon taking oath of
allegiance to the Republic, and shall enjoy full civil and political
rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities
under existing laws of the Philippines.
The area limitation under RA 7042 does not apply to those
who has re-acquired lost citizenship under RA 9225 since
they are granted the right to enjoy full civil and political
rights upon the re-acquisition of his Filipino citizenship.
Capacity to own land is determined as of the time of its acquisition
and not registration
The time to determine whether a person acquiring land is
qualified is the time the right to own it is acquired and not
the time to register ownership.
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Thus, a naturalized Canadian citizen who, while still a


Filipino citizen acquired land from a vendor who had
already complied with the requirements of registration
prior to the purchase, can validly register his title to the
land.
This was the ruling of the SC in the case of Republic vs. Director of
Lands and Lapina:
REPUBLIC v CA and LAPIA
G.R. No. 108998 August 24, 1994
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS AND SPOUSES MARIO B. LAPIA AND
FLOR DE VEGA, respondents.
FACTS:
June 17, 1978 - Sps Lapia bought 2 Lots (347 and 348), as
their residence situated in San Pablo City, from one Cristeta Dazo
Belen. At the time of the purchase, respondent spouses where
then natural-born Filipino citizens.
February 5, 1987 - spouses filed an application for registration
of title of the 2 parcels of land (RTC). This time, however, they were
no longer Filipino citizens and have opted to embrace Canadian
citizenship through naturalization.Republic opposed.
RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT
The court confirmed their title to the lots in question. (Noting
in the dispositive portion that they were Filipino citizens by birth
but now Canadian citizens by naturalization and their residence in
both the PH and Canada).
RULING OF THE CA: AFFIRMED.
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Found that the land sought to be registered has been declared


to be within the alienable and disposable zone established by the
Bureau of Forest Development
that both applicants were still Filipino citizens when they
bought the land in controversy from its former owner. For this
reason, the prohibition against the acquisition of private lands by
aliens could not apply.

Their purpose in initiating the instant action is merely to


confirm their title over the land, for, as has been passed upon, they
had been the owners of the same since 1978. It ought to be pointed
out that registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership. The
Torrens System was not established as a means for the acquisition
of title to private land. It is intended merely to confirm and register
the title which one may already have.
That title and ownership over lands within the meaning and for
the purposes of the constitutional prohibition dates back to the
time of their purchase, not later. The fact that the
applicants-appellees are not Filipino citizens now cannot be taken
against them for they were not disqualified from acquiring the land
in question
REPUBLIC
That the sps have not acquired proprietary rights over the
subject properties before they acquired Canadian citizenship
through naturalization to justify the registration thereof in their
favor.
that even privately owned unregistered lands are presumed to
be public lands under the principle that lands of whatever
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classification belong to the State under the Regalian doctrine.


Thus, before the issuance of the certificate of title, the occupant is
not in the jurisdical sense the true owner of the land since it still
pertains to the State.
That it is only when the court adjudicates the land to the
applicant for confirmation of title would the land become privately
owned land, for in the same proceeding, the court may declare it
public land, depending on the evidence.
ANCILLARY ISSUE: Republic does not deny that the sps PII
have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession
of the disputed land not only since June 12, 1945, but even as early
as 1937. Except that respondent spouses, in its perception, were in
possession of the land sought to be registered only in 1978 and
therefore short of the required length of time.
ISSUE
MAIN ISSUE: Can a FOREIGN NATIONAL apply for registration of
title over a parcel of land which he acquired by purchase while still
a citizen of the Philippines, from a vendor who has complied with
the requirements for registration under the Public Land Act (CA
141)? YES

RULING
ANCILLARY ISSUE: Tacking of possession:
Following the logic of the Republic, any transferee is thus
foreclosed to apply for registration of title over a parcel of land
notwithstanding the fact that the transferor, or his
predecessor-in-interest has been in open, notorious and exclusive
possession thereof for thirty (30) years or more. This is not,
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

however, what the law provides.


With respect to possession and occupation of the alienable and
disposable lands of the public domain, the law employs the terms
"by themselves", "the applicant himself or through his
predecessor-in-interest".
It matters not whether the vendee/applicant has been in
possession of the subject property for only a day so long as the
period and/or legal requirements for confirmation of title has been
complied with by his predecessor-in-interest, the said period is
tacked to his possession.
Section 48 of the Public Land Act (CA 141):
(b)
Those
who
by
themselves
or
through their
predecessors-in-interest.. shall be conclusively presumed to have
performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and
shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this
chapter.
As amended by PD 1073:
Sec. 4. The provisions of Section 48(b) and Section 48(c), Chapter
VIII, of the Public Land Act are hereby amended in the sense that
these provisions shall apply only to alienable and disposable lands
of the public domain which have been in open, continuous,
exclusive and notorious possession and occupation by the
applicant himself or thru his predecessor-in-interest, under a bona
fide claim of acquisition or ownership, since June 12, 1945.

Private respondents stepped into the shoes of their


predecessors-in-interest and by virtue thereof, acquired all the legal
rights necessary to confirm what could otherwise be deemed as an
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imperfect title.
The Public Land Act requires that the applicant must prove that
(a) the land is alienable public land and
(b) his possession, in the concept above stated, must be either
since time immemorial or for the period prescribed in the Public
Land Act
Open, exclusive and undisputed possession of alienable public land
for the period prescribed by law creates the legal fiction whereby
the land, upon completion of the requisite period ipso jure and
without the need of judicial or other sanction, ceases to be public
land and becomes private property. . . .( Director of Lands v IAC)
When the conditions as specified in the foregoing provision are
complied with, the possessor is deemed to have acquired, by
operation of law, a right to a grant, a government grant, without
the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. The land,
therefore, ceases to be of the public domain and beyond the
authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of. The application for
confirmation is mere formality, the lack of which does not affect
the legal sufficiency of the title as would be evidenced by the
patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the strength of said
patent.
The Torrens system was not established as a means for the
acquisition of title to private land. It merely confirms, but does not
confer ownership.
MAIN ISSUE: CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENT
Compared to Buyco case:
the private respondents became American citizens before
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

filing, it goes without saying that they had acquired no vested


right, consisting of an imperfect title, over the property before
they lost their Philippine citizenship.
Clearly, the application in Buyco were denied registration of title
not merely because they were American citizens at the time of
their application therefor. Respondents therein failed to prove
possession of their predecessor-in-interest since time immemorial
or possession in such a manner that the property has been
segregated from public domain; such that at the time of their
application, as American citizens, they have acquired no vested
rights over the parcel of land.
In the case at bar
Sps were undoubtedly natural-born Filipino citizens at the time
of the acquisition of the properties and by virtue thereof, acquired
vested rights thereon, tacking in the process, the possession in the
concept of owner and the prescribed period of time held by their
predecessors-in-interest under the Public Land Act.
In addition, private respondents have constructed a house of
strong materials on the contested property, now occupied by
respondent Lapias mother.
But what should not be missed in the disposition of this case is the
fact that the Constitution itself allows the sps to register the
contested parcels of land in their favor.
Sections 7 and 8 of Article XII of the Constitution
Sec. 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.

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Sec. 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.
similar to Section 15, Article XIV of the then 1973
Sec. 15. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 14 of this Article,
a natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his citizenship
may be a transferee of private land, for use by him as his residence,
as the Batasang Pambansa may provide.
Pursuant thereto, Batas Pambansa Blg. 185 was passed into law,
the relevant provision of which provides:
Sec. 2. Any natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his
Philippine citizenship and who has the legal capacity to enter into a
contract under Philippine laws may be a transferee of a private land
up to a maximum area of 1000sqm, in the case of urban land, or 1
hectare in the case of rural land, to be used by him as his residence.
In the case of married couples, one of them may avail of the
privilege herein granted; Provided, That if both shall avail of the
same, the total area acquired shall not exceed the maximum herein
fixed. In case the transferee already owns urban or rural lands for
residential purposes, he shall still be entitled to be a transferee of
an additional urban or rural lands for residential purposes which,
when added to those already owned by him, shall not exceed the
maximum areas herein authorized.
BP 185 governs the disposition of private lands in favor of a
natural-born Filipino citizen who has lost his Philippine citizenship
remains to be BP 185. (since from the adoption of the 1987
Constitution up to the present, no other law has been passed by
the legislature on the same subject)
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Even if sps were already Canadian citizens at the time they applied
for registration of the properties in question, said properties as
discussed above were already private lands; consequently, there
could be no legal impediment for the registration thereof by
respondents in view of what the Constitution ordains. The parcels
of land sought to be registered no longer form part of the public
domain. They are already private in character since private
respondents' predecessors-in-interest have been in open,
continuous and exclusive possession and occupation thereof under
claim of ownership prior to June 12, 1945 or since 1937.
It is undisputed that private respondents, as vendees of a private
land, were natural-born citizens of the Philippines. For the purpose
of transfer and/or acquisition of a parcel of residential land, it is not
significant whether private respondents are no longer Filipino
citizens at the time they purchased or registered the parcels of land
in question. What is important is that private respondents were
formerly natural-born citizens of the Philippines, and as transferees
of a private land, they could apply for registration in accordance
with the mandate of Section 8, Article XII of the Constitution.
Considering that private respondents were able to prove the
requisite period and character of possession of their
predecessors-in-interest over the subject lots, their application for
registration of title must perforce be approved.
RE: dissenting opinion, however, states that the requirements in BP
185, must also be complied with by spouses. Specifically, it refers to
Section 6.
The requirements in Sec. 6 of BP 185 do not apply in the instant
case since said requirements are primarily directed to the register
of deeds before whom compliance therewith is to be submitted.
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Nowhere in the provision is it stated, much less implied, that the


requirements must likewise be submitted before the land
registration court prior to the approval of an application for
registration of title.
An application for registration of title before a land registration
court should not be confused with the issuance of a certificate of
title by the register of deeds. It is only when the judgment of the
land registration court approving the application for registration
has become final that a decree of registration is issued. And that is
the time when the requirements of Sec. 6, BP 185, before the
register of deeds should be complied with by the applicants. This
decree of registration is the one that is submitted to the office of
the register of deeds for issuance of the certificate of title in favor
of the applicant. Prior to the issuance of the decree of registration,
the register of deeds has no participation in the approval of the
application for registration of title as the decree of registration is
yet to be issued.
Contra-distinguish this case with Director of Lands vs. Buyco,
where the applicants were like-wise natural-born Filipino citizens
who later became naturalized American citizens. But their
application was denied registration, not simply because they were
already American citizens at the time they filed the application, but
because they failed to prove that their predecessor-in-interest had
possessed the property in such manner as to segregate or remove
the same from the mass of the public domain.
Unlike in the case of Lapina, they had acquired no vested right,
consisting of an imperfect title over the property before they lost
their Philippine citizenship. In fact, the entire property is a pasture
land which is not alienable under the Constitution.

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Aliens may lease private lands


Since their residence in the Philippines is temporary, they
may be granted temporary rights such as a lease contract
which is not forbidden by the Constitution.
A lease to an alien for a reasonable period is valid. But if an
alien is given a lease to last for 50 years, then it becomes
clear that the arrangement is a virtual transfer of
ownership whereby the owner divests himself in stages the
sum of rights (jus possidendi, jus utendi, jud fruendi, and jus
abutendi) which make up ownership.
Foreigners allowed to purchase condominium units
Under RA 4726, foreign nationals can own Philippine real
estate through the purchase of condominium units or
townhouses pursuant to Sec. 5
The law provides that no condominium unit can be sold
without at the same time selling the corresponding amount
of rights, shares, or other interests in the condominium
management body, the condominium corporation.
No one can buy shares in a condominium corporation
without at the same time buying a condominium unit.
It expressly allows foreigners to acquire condominium units
and shares in condominium corporations up to not more
than 40% of the total and outstanding capital stock of a
Filipino-owned or controlled corporation.
o Under this set-up, the ownership of the land is
legally separated from the unit itself.
o The land is owned by the condominium corporation
and the unit owner is simply a member in this
condominium corporation. As long as 60% of the
members of this condominium corporation are
Filipinos, the remaining members can be foreigners.
Hence, the constitutional proscription against aliens
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owning real property does not apply.


Donation in favor of Religious Corporation controlled by
non-Filipinos not registrable
The 1987 Constitution makes no exception in favor of
religious associations. To permit religious associations
controlled by non-Filipinos to acquire agricultural lands
would be to drive the opening wedge to revive alien
religious landholdings in the country.
As to the contention that the disqualification is violative of
the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution, the
Court stated that land ownership is NOT dispensable to the
free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession or
worship.
In Register of Deeds of Rizal vs. Ung Siu Si Temple, the SC
held that the fact that the religious organization has not
capital stock does not suffice to escape the Constitutional
inhibition since it is admitted that its members are of
foreign nationality. The spirit of the Constitution demands
that in the absence of capital stock, the controlling
membership should be composed of Filipino citizens.
Distinguish the Ung Siu Si case from the case of Roman Catholic
Apostolic Administrator of Davao, Inc. vs. Land Registration
Commission where the Roman Catholic Apostolic Administrator of
Davao is a corporation sole whereas the former is a corporation
aggregate, an unregistered organization operating through three
trustees, all of Chinese nationality.
Land acquired by an American citizen in 1945 can be registered
under the Ordinance appended to the 1935 Constitution
While aliens are disqualified to acquire lands under the 1935
Constitution, the Ordinance appended thereto on
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

November 10, 1939 provided that until the final withdrawal


of the United States sovereignty over the Philippines,
citizens and corporations of the United States could enjoy
all the same civil rights as Philippine citizens. The Ordinance
was made part of the 1935 Constitution as directed in Sec. 2
of the Tydings-McDuffie Law or the Independence Law.
The proclamation of the Philippine Independence on July 4,
1946 did not impair Moss proprietary rights over the said
land because the 1935 Constitution provides that upon the
proclamation of Philippine Independence, all existing
property rights of citizens or corporations of the United
States shall be acknowledged, respected, and safeguarded
to the same extent as property rights of citizens of the
Philippines. This Constitutional provision is implemented in
Art. VI of the Treaty of General Relations entered into
between the Republic of the Philippines and the United
States on July 4, 1946.

Corporation sole may acquire and register private agricultural


land
It was held in Roman Catholic Apostolic Administrator of
Davao, Inc. vs. Land Registration Commission that a
corporation sole, which consists of one person only, is
vested with the right to purchase and hold real estate and
to register the same in trust for the faithful or members of
the religious society or church for which the corporation
was organized.
It is not treated as an ordinary private corporation because
whether or not it be so treated, the Constitutional
proscription against private corporations acquiring public
agricultural lands will not apply.
The reason for this is that a corporation sole has no
nationality and the framers of the Constitution did not
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have in mind the religious corporation sole when they


provided that 60% of the capital thereof be owned by
Filipino citizens.
A corporation sole or ordinary is not the owner of the
properties that he may acquire but merely the
administrator thereof. The properties pass, upon his death,
not to his personal heirs but to his successor in office.

Can a Filipino vendor recover land sold to an alien?


In Rellosa vs. Gaw Chee Hun, the SC ruled in the negative
because the Filipino vendor was in pari delicto with the
alien vendee.
In Cabanatuan vs. Uy Hoo, the SC made the
pronouncement the Filipino vendor is prevented from
invoking the doctrine in the Krivenko case if their purpose
is to recover the lands thay they have voluntarily parted
with, because of their guilty knowledge that what they
were doing was in violation of the Constitution. They
cannot escape this conclusion because they are presumed
to know the law. As this Court well-said, a party to an illegal
contract cannot come into a court of law and ask to have
his illegal objects be carried out. The law will not aide either
party to an illegal agreement, it leaves the parties where it
finds them.
However, Rellosa was reversed by Philippine Banking Corporation
vs. Lui She:
G.R. No. L-17587
September 12, 1967
PHILIPPINE BANKING CORPORATION, representing the estate of
JUSTINA
SANTOS
Y
CANON
FAUSTINO,
deceased,
plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
LUI SHE in her own behalf and as administratrix of the intestate
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

estate of Wong Heng, deceased, defendant-appellant.


FACTS
Justina Santos y Canon Faustino and her sister Lorenzo were
the owners in common of a piece of land in Manila.
The sisters lived in one of the two houses in it, while Wong
Heng, a Chinese, lived with his family in the restaurant. Wong had
been a long-time lessee of a portion of the property, paying a
monthly rental of P2,620.
Justina Santos became the owner of the entire property as her
sister died with no other heir. Then already well advanced in years,
being at the time 90 years old, blind, crippled and an invalid, she
was left with no other relative to live with. Her only companions in
the house were her 17 dogs and 8 maids.
Her otherwise dreary existence was brightened now and then
by the visits of Wong's four children who had become the joy of
her life. Wong himself was the trusted man to whom she delivered
various amounts for safekeeping. Wong also paid her expenses.
"In grateful acknowledgment of the personal services of the
lessee to her," Justina Santos executed a contract of lease in
favor of Wong, covering the portion then already leased to him and
another portion. The lease was for 50 years, although the lessee
was given the right to withdraw at any time from the agreement;
the monthly rental was P3,120. The contract covered an area of
1,124 square meters.
Ten days later the contract was amended so as to make it
cover the entire property, including the portion on which the house
of Justina Santos stood, at an additional monthly rental of P360.
For his part Wong undertook to pay, out of the rental due from
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him, an amount not exceeding P1,000 a month for the food of her
dogs and the salaries of her maids.
she executed another contract giving Wong the option to buy
the leased premises for P120,000, payable within 10 years at a
monthly installment of P1,000. The option, written in Tagalog,
imposed on him the obligation to pay for the food of the dogs and
the salaries of the maids in her household, the charge not to
exceed P1,800 a month.
The option was conditioned on his obtaining Philippine
citizenship, a petition for which was then pending. It appears,
however, that this application for naturalization was withdrawn
when it was discovered that he was not a resident of Rizal.

PRESENT ACTION: seeking cancellation of the registration of


the contracts + collection of sum of money; alleged that the
contracts were obtained by Wong through fraud, etc. and were
made to circumvent the constitutional provision prohibiting aliens
from acquiring lands in the Philippines and also of the Philippine
Naturalization Laws."
The CFI declared the documents null and void + ordered to pay
the lease, among others. Both parties appealed. After the case was
submitted for decision, both parties died, substituted.
ISSUE
As regards the validity of the lease contracts in favor of Wong
Cheng
RULING

Justina filed a petition to adopt him and his children on the


erroneous belief that adoption would confer on them Philippine
citizenship. The error was discovered and the proceedings were
abandoned.
Subsequently, she executed two other contracts, extending
the term of the lease to 99 years, and another fixing the term of
the option of 50 years. Both contracts are written in Tagalog.
In two wills executed subsequently, Justina bade her legatees
to respect the contracts she had entered into with Wong, but in a
codicil of a later date she appears to have a change of heart.
Claiming that the various contracts were made by her because of
machinations and inducements practiced by him, she now directed
her executor to secure the annulment of the contracts.

Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA


Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

Aliens may use lands by lease


A lease to an alien for a reasonable period is valid. So is an option
giving an alien the right to buy real property on condition that he is
granted Philippine citizenship. (Krivenko v. RoD)
Aliens are not completely excluded by the Constitution from the
use of lands for residential purposes. Since their residence in the
Philippines is temporary, they may be granted temporary rights
such as a lease contract which is not forbidden by the Constitution.
Should they desire to remain here forever and share our fortunes
and misfortunes, Filipino citizenship is not impossible to acquire.
Justinas intentions
The ambition of the old woman, before her death, was to see to it
that these properties be enjoyed, even to own them, by Wong
Heng because Doa Justina did not have any relatives, near or far,
and she considered Wong Heng as a son and his children her
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

grandchildren; especially her consolation in life was when she


would hear the children reciting prayers in Tagalog.
She was very emphatic in the care of the (17) dogs and of the maids
who helped her much, and she wanted that no one could disturb
Wong Heng from those properties (reason for the 99-year lease).
Contracts VOID; the contracts were a scheme to circumvent the
Constitutional prohibition
For the testimony just quoted, while dispelling doubt as to the
intention of Justina Santos, at the same time gives the clue to what
we view as a scheme to circumvent the Constitutional prohibition
against the transfer of lands to aliens. "The illicit purpose then
becomes the illegal causa"19 rendering the contracts void.
Taken singly, the contracts show nothing that is necessarily illegal,
but considered collectively, they reveal an insidious pattern to
subvert by indirection what the Constitution directly prohibits.
if an alien is given not only a lease of, but also an option to buy, a
piece of land, by virtue of which the Filipino owner cannot sell or
otherwise dispose of his property,21 this to last for 50 years, then it
becomes clear that the arrangement is a virtual transfer of
ownership whereby the owner divests himself in stages not only of
the right to enjoy the land ( jus possidendi, jus utendi, jus fruendi
and jus abutendi) but also of the right to dispose of it ( jus
disponendi) rights the sum total of which make up ownership. It
is just as if today the possession is transferred, tomorrow, the use,
the next day, the disposition, and so on, until ultimately all the
rights of which ownership is made up are consolidated in an alien.
And yet this is just exactly what the parties in this case did within
the space of one year, with the result that Justina Santos'
ownership of her property was reduced to a hollow concept. If this
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

can be done, then the Constitutional ban against alien landholding


in the Philippines, as announced in Krivenko v. Register of Deeds,22
is indeed in grave peril.
It does not follow from what has been said, however, that because
the parties are in pari delicto they will be left where they are,
without relief.
1. the original parties who were guilty of a violation of the
fundamental charter have died and have since been substituted by
their administrators to whom it would be unjust to impute their
guilt.
2. ART 1416 of the Civil Code provides, EXCEPTION to the pari
delicto rule:
"When the agreement is not illegal per se but is merely prohibited,
and the prohibition by law is designed for the protection of the
plaintiff, he may, if public policy is thereby enhanced, recover what
he has paid or delivered."
The Constitutional provision that "Save in cases of hereditary
succession, no private agricultural land shall be transferred or
assigned except to individuals, corporations, or associations
qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the
Philippines"24 is an expression of public policy to conserve lands
for the Filipinos. As this Court said in Krivenko:
.Perhaps the effect of our construction is to preclude aliens
admitted freely into the Philippines from owning sites where they
may build their homes. But if this is the solemn mandate of the
Constitution, we will not attempt to compromise it even in the
name of amity or equity . . . .
Aliens may not acquire private or public agricultural lands, including
residential lands, and, accordingly, judgment is affirmed.
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Land Title and Deeds


Ateneo de Davao University
Based on the Lectures of Atty. Ma. Theresa D. Yu-Panes, MD and the Book of Agcaoili

That policy would be defeated and its continued violation


sanctioned if, instead of setting the contracts aside and ordering
the restoration of the land to the estate of the deceased Justina
Santos, this Court should apply the general rule of pari delicto. To
the extent that our ruling in this case conflicts with that laid down
in Rellosa v. Gaw Chee Hun 26 and subsequent similar cases, the
latter must be considered as pro tanto qualified.
ACCORDINGLY, the contracts in question are annulled and set
aside; the land subject-matter of the contracts is ordered returned
to the estate of Justina Santos as represented by the Philippine
Banking Corporation.
In the Lui She case, the SC declared that the pari delicto may not be
applied in said case since:
1. The original parties who were guilty of a violation of the
fundamental charter have died and have since been
substituted by their administrators to whom it would be
unjust to impute their guilt; and
2. As an exception to the rule on pari delicto, when the
agreement is not illegal per se but is merely prohibited and
the prohibition by law is designed for the protection of the
plaintiff, he may, if public policy is thereby enhanced,
recover what he has paid or delivered.
Evidently, the Court was referring to the public policy of preserving
lands for Filipinos. Hence, in the case of sale to aliens, Lui She bars
recovery by the Filipino vendor where the buyer has acquired
Philippine citizenship or where the land has come to the hands of a
qualified transferee in good faith.
In Borromeo vs. Descallar, if the land is invalidly transferred
to an alien who subsequently becomes a Filipino citizen or
transfers it to a Filipino, the flaw in the original transaction
is considered cured and the title of the transferee is
Notes by Shelumiel Abapo, CPA
Cases by Christine Bonifacio and Astrid Gopo

rendered valid.
The rationale behind the rule is that as the property in
dispute is already in the hands of a qualified person, a
Filipino citizen, there would be no more public policy to be
protected. The objective of the constitutional provision to
keep our lands in Filipino hands has been achieved.
Rule restated
On the basis of their capacity to acquire or hold lands of the public
domain, the following may acquire private lands:
a. Filipino citizens;
b. Filipino corporations and associations as defined in Sec. 2,
Art. XII of the Constitution; and by exception
c. Aliens but only by hereditary (legal) succession; and
d. A natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his
citizenship under the terms of Sec. 8. Filipinos can both
acquire or otherwise hold lands of the public domain
Filipino corporations cannot acquire lands of the public
domain but they can hold such lands by modes other than
acquisition, such as lease.
A foreign corporation is disqualified to own lands in the Philippines.
It is also disqualified to own rights to ownership to such lands.

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