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NAGANO vs.

COURT OF APPEALS
Facts:
Plaintiffs-appellants [private respondents] filed a complaint for the declaration of nullity
of Original Certificate of Title No. P-8265 issued in the name of the heirs of Marciano
Nagano. Plaintiff-appellants alleged that the issuance of the said title was on account of
the fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation committed by defendant Macario
Valerio. Plaintiff-appellants alleged that part of the subject property was owned by their
predecessors-in-interest Rufino Mallari and Fermina Jamlig and that they were in
possession of the said land since 1920. They recently discovered that their entire Lot No.
3275 was registered by defendant Valerio under Free Patent No. (III-2) 001953 and OCT
No. P-8265 in the name of the heirs of Marciano Nagano. They allegedly demanded from
defendant Valerio to execute the necessary document in order that the 2,250 square
meters owned by them be segregated from the property titled in the name of the
defendants-appellees [petitioners herein]. Defendants-appellees, however, refused to
accede their demands.
The trial court dismiss the petition on the ground that:[The] action to annul the subject
certificate of title, which is the plaintiffs principal cause of action, should be instituted by
the Solicitor General. (Lopez v. Padilla, 45 SCRA 44; Maximo v. CFI of Capis (sic), 182
SCRA 420; and Sumali v. Judge of CFI Cotabato, 96 Phil. 946, cited by the defendants).
Private respondents appealed the order.
In its decision of 20 September 1995, the Court of Appeals set aside the challenged order
of the trial court.
Petitioners motion to reconsider having been denied by the Court of Appeals. Hence the
petition at bar.
Issue:
1. PRIVATE RESPONDENTS HAVE NO CAUSE OF ACTION
A. THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, NOT THE CIVIL COURTS, WHO IS VESTED
WITH JURISDICTION TO DECIDE [TO] WHOM TO AWARD DISPOSABLE
LANDS
OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.
B. [A] SUIT FOR ANNULMENT OF TITLE WHICH ACTUALLY IS A
REVERSION PROCEEDINGS , SHOULD BE INSTITUTED BY THE SOLICITOR
GENERAL.
C. BARRED BY THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS, THE LAWSUIT HAVING
BEEN INSTITUTED MORE THAN ONE YEAR

Ruling:
It is then clear from the allegations in the complaint that private respondents claim
ownership of the 2,250 square meter portion for having possessed it in the concept of an
owner, openly, peacefully, publicly, continuously and adversely since 1920. This claim is
an assertion that the lot is private land, or that even assuming it was part of the public
domain, private respondents had already acquired imperfect title thereto under Section
48(b) of C.A. No. 141, otherwise known as the Public Land Act, as amended by R.A. No.
1942.
Under Section 48, a subject lot is, for all legal intents and purposes, segregated from the
public domain, because the beneficiary is 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.
Consequently, the lot in question is apparently beyond the jurisdiction of the Director of
the Bureau of Lands and could not be the subject of a Free Patent.
It would have been entirely different if the action were clearly for reversion, in which
case, it would have to be instituted by the Solicitor General pursuant to Section 101 of
C.A. No. 141.
In light of the above, and at this time, prescription is unavailing against private
respondents action. It is settled that a Free Patent issued over private land is null and
void, and produces no legal effects whatsoever. Quod nullum est, nullum producit
effectum. Moreover, private respondents claim of open, public, peaceful, continuous and
adverse possession of the 2,250 square meter portion since 1920, and its illegal inclusion
in the Free Patent of petitioners and in their original certificate of title, gave private
respondents a cause of action for quieting of title which is imprescriptible. The complaint
of private respondents may thus likewise be considered an action for quieting of title.