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UPDATES IN PROPERTY REGISTRATION, MORTGAGES, CONDOMINIUMS AND ANCESTRAL DOMAINS AND ANCESTRAL LANDS

RELATED PROCEEDINGS (June 2013)


In Cruz v. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources,7 petitioners challenged
the constitutionality of RA No. 8371, otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples
Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), on the ground that it amounts to an unlawful deprivation
(Based on Agcaoili, Property Registration Decree and Related Laws (Land Titles and
of the States ownership over lands of the public domain and all other natural
Deeds), 2011 ed., and Reviewer in Property Registration (With Sample MCQs and
resources therein, by recognizing the right of ownership of Indigenous Cultural
Suggested Answers)1 Justice Oswaldo D. Agcaoili2
Communities or Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) to their ancestral domains and
ancestral lands on the basis of native title. After due deliberation on the petition, the
Supreme Court voted as follows: seven (7) Justices voted to dismiss the petition while
REGALIAN DOCTRINE
seven (7) others voted to grant the petition. As the votes were equally divided (7 to
7) and the necessary majority was not obtained, the case was redeliberated upon.
However, after redeliberation, the voting remained the same. Accordingly, pursuant
Under the Regalian doctrine, all lands of whatever classification and other natural
to Section 7, Rule 56 of the Rules of Court, the petition was dismissed, and the validity
resources not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership are
of the law, deemed upheld. Justice Kapunan, voting to dismiss the petition, stated
presumed to belong to the State which is the source of any asserted right to
that the Regalian theory does not negate native title to lands held in private
ownership of land.3 Accordingly, public lands not shown to have been reclassified or
ownership since time immemorial, adverting to the landmark case of Cario v. Insular
released as alienable agricultural land or alienated to a private person by the State
Government,8 where the United States Supreme Court, through Justice Holmes,
remain part of the inalienable public domain.4 Property of the public domain is
declared:
beyond the commerce of man and not susceptible of private appropriation and
acquisitive prescription. Occupation thereof in the concept of owner no matter how It might, perhaps, be proper and sufficient to say that when, as far back as testimony
long cannot ripen into ownership and be registered as a title.5 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
The 1987 Constitution, like the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions,6 embodies the principle
Spanish conquest, and never to have been public land.
of State ownership of lands and all other natural resources as provided in Section 2,
Art. XII, to wit: The rights of ICCs/IPs may be acquired in two modes: (a) by native title over both
ancestral lands and domains; or (b) by Torrens title under the Public Land Act and
All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral
Property Registration Decree with respect to ancestral lands only.
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 TORRENS SYSTEM OF REGISTRATION system aims to decree land titles that shall be final, irrevocable, and indisputable,13
and to relieve the land of the burden of known as well as unknown claims.14
The Government has adopted the Torrens system due to its being the most effective
measure to guarantee the integrity of land titles and to protect their indefeasibility However, the Torrens system does not furnish a shield for fraud,15 nor permit one
once the claim of ownership is established and recognized. If a person purchases a to enrich himself at the expense of others,16 otherwise its acceptability is impaired.17
piece of land on the assurance that the seller's title thereto is valid, he should not run
the risk of being told later that his acquisition was ineffectual after all, which will not
only be unfair to him as the purchaser, but will also erode public confidence in the REGISTRATION NOT A MODE OF ACQUIRING OWNERSHIP
system and will force land transactions to be attended by complicated and not
Registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership but is merely a procedure to
necessarily conclusive investigations and proof of ownership. The further
establish evidence of title over realty.18 It is a means of confirming the fact of its
consequence will be that land conflicts can be even more abrasive, if not even violent.
existence with notice to the world at large. A certificate of title is not a source of right.
The Government, recognizing the worthy purposes of the Torrens system, should be
It merely confirms or records a title already existing and vested.19 The mere
the first to accept the validity of titles issued thereunder once the conditions laid
possession thereof does not make one the true owner of the property.20
down by the law are satisfied.9
Mere issuance of the certificate of title in the name of any person does not foreclose
The Government is required under the Torrens system of registration to issue an
the possibility that the real property may be under co-ownership with persons not
official certificate of title to attest to the fact that the person named in the certificate
named in the certificate or that the registrant may only be a trustee or that other
is the owner of the property therein described, subject to such liens and
parties may have acquired interest subsequent to the issuance of the certificate of
encumbrances as thereon noted or what the law warrants or reserves.10 The
title. Registration is not the equivalent of title, but is only the best evidence thereof.21
objective is to obviate possible conflicts of title by giving the public the right to rely
upon the face of the Torrens certificate and to dispense, as a rule, with the necessity
of inquiring further. The Torrens system gives the registered owner complete peace
DISTINCTION BETWEEN TITLE AND CERTIFICATE OF TITLE
of mind, in order that he will be secured in his ownership as long as he has not
voluntarily disposed of any right over the covered land.11 Title may be defined briefly as that which constitutes a just cause of exclusive
possession, or which is the foundation of ownership of property. Certificate of title,
on the other hand, is a mere evidence of ownership; it is not the title to the land
PURPOSE OF REGISTRATION itself.22
The real purpose of the Torrens system of registration, as expressed in Legarda v.
Saleeby,12 a 1915 decision, is to quiet title to land; to put a stop forever to any
question of the legality of the title, except claims which were noted at the time of
registration, in the certificate, or which may arise subsequent thereto. The Torrens
CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE UPON REGISTRATION 129 confers jurisdiction on the RTC over all civil actions which involve the title to or
possession of, real property or any interest therein x x x. The Court of Appeals, or the
Registration in a public registry works as constructive notice to the whole world.
LRA for that matter, has no jurisdiction to cancel a certificate of title.27
Section 51 of Act No. 496, as amended by Section 52 of Presidential Decree No. 1529,
provides:
SECTION 52. Constructive notice upon registration. Every conveyance, mortgage, REGISTRATION UNDER PD 1529 IS A PROCEEDING IN REM
lease, lien, attachment, order, judgment, instrument or entry affecting registered land
A land registration is a proceeding in rem and jurisdiction in rem cannot be acquired
shall, if registered, filed or entered in the Office of the Register of Deeds for the
unless there be constructive seizure of the land through publication and service of
province or city where the land to which it relates lies, be constructive notice to all
notice.28
persons from the time of such registering, filing, or entering.

CLASSIFICATION OF LANDS
REGISTRATION OF LANDS: GOVERNING LAW
Lands of the public domain are classified into (1) agricultural, (2) forest or timber, (3)
PD No. 1529 (Property Registration Decree) issued on June 11, 1978 covers both
mineral lands, and (4) national parks. With the exception of agricultural lands, all
ordinary and cadastral registration proceedings, and supersedes Act No. 496 (Land
other natural resources shall not be alienated.29
Registration Act) which took effect on February 1, 1903. Act No. 2259, or the
Cadastral Act, governs cadastral proceedings. Sec. 48(b) of CA 141, as amended, applies exclusively to alienable and disposable
public agricultural land. Possession of inalienable public lands, no matter how long,
Section 48(b), CA No. 141 (Public Land Act) governs the procedure for the judicial
cannot ripen into private ownership.
confirmation of imperfect of incomplete titles over public lands.

SEC. 9. For the purpose of their administration and disposition, the lands of the public
JURISDICTION
domain alienable or open to disposition shall be classified, according to the use or
Regional Trial Courts have plenary jurisdiction over land registration proceedings and purposes to which such lands are destined, as follows:
over all petitions filed after original registration of titles.23 The registration court may
(a) Agricultural;
now hear both contentious and non-contentious cases.24 But first level courts may
be delegated by the Supreme Court to hear and decide cadastral and land registration (b) Residential, commercial, industrial, or for similar productive purposes;
cases (a) covering lots without controversy or opposition, or (b) contested lots where
(c) Educational, charitable, or other similar purposes; and
the value does not exceed P100,000.00.25 Appeal is taken to the Court of Appeals.
All petitions or motions after original registration shall be filed and entitled in the (d) Reservations for town-sites and for public and quasi-public uses. (CA No. 141 or
original case in which the decree of registration was entered.26 Section 19 of BP Blg. the Public Land Act).
ILLUSTRATIVE CASE: CLASSIFICATION OF BORACAY ISLAND Properties of public dominion are not only exempt from real estate tax, they are
exempt from sale at public auction. But portions of the properties leased to taxable
The case of Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources v.
entities are not only subject to real estate tax, they can also be sold at public auction
Yap30 illustrates the classification by Presidential fiat of Boracay Island in the
to satisfy the tax delinquency.33
Municipality of Malay, Aklan. On May 22, 2006, during the pendency of the case,
President Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1064 classifying Boracay Island into 400 In Laurel v. Garcia,34 the executive department attempted to sell the Roppongi
hectares of reserved forest land (protection purposes) and 628.96 hectares of property in Tokyo, Japan, which was acquired by the Philippine government for use
agricultural land (alienable and disposable). as the Chancery of the Philippine Embassy. Although the Chancery had transferred to
another location thirteen years earlier, the Court ruled that, under Article 422 of the
Under PD No. 705, or Revised Forestry Code, all unclassified lands are considered
Civil Code, property of public dominion retains such character until formally declared
public forest. PD No. 705, however, respects titles already existing prior to its
otherwise. Foreshore lands, or that part of the land adjacent to the sea which is
effectivity.
alternately covered and left dry by the ordinary flow of the tides, belong to the
State.35 They can only be disposed of under a foreshore lease or revocable permit
application filed with the Lands Management Bureau.
NON-REGISTRABLE PROPERTIES
In the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals and Republic Real Estate Corporation,36
Property is either of public dominion or of private ownership.31 The following things
the Court held that foreshore lands are lands of public dominion intended for public
are property of public dominion:
use. So too are lands reclaimed by the government by dredging, filling, or other
(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and means. In Chavez v. Public Estates Authority,37 Justice Carpio gives an enlightening
bridges constructed by the State, banks, shores, roadsteads and others of similar historical background of foreshore and reclaimed lands and the development of the
character; law governing such lands.

(2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended In Republic v. Court of Appeals and Morato,38the Court held that when the sea
for some public service or for the development of the national wealth.32 moved towards the estate and the tide invaded it, the invaded property became
foreshore land and passed to the realm of the public domain.
The following properties are outside the commerce of men and may not be disposed
of or registered: lands for public use or public service, forest lands, mineral, foreshore Only when actually reclaimed from the sea can submerged areas be classified as
lands, swamplands, mangrove lands, watershed, rivers and creeks, seashore, public agricultural lands, which under the Constitution are the only natural resources
reclaimed and public reservation. that the State may alienate. Once reclaimed and transformed into public agricultural
lands, the government may then officially classify these lands as alienable or
disposable lands open to disposition. Thereafter, the government may declare these
lands no longer needed for public service. Only then can these reclaimed lands be
considered alienable or disposable lands of the public domain and within the Land inside a military or naval reservation cannot be registered.45 the Calumpang
commerce of man.39 Point Naval Reservation, can not be subject to occupation, entry or settlement. The
government, through the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), has title
Forest and mineral lands are public lands not subject to private ownership.
and ownership over Fort Bonifacio. To segregate portions of the public domain as a
Subsequent release of forest lands as A and D lands does not validate the grant.40
military reservation, all that is needed is a presidential proclamation to that effect.
In Republic v. Southside Homeowners Association, Inc.,46 it was held that a military
A forested area classified as forest land of the public domain does not lose such reservation, like the FBMR, or a part thereof is not open to private appropriation or
classification simply because loggers or settlers may have stripped it of its forest disposition and, therefore, not registrable, unless it is in the meantime reclassified
cover. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or and declared as disposable and alienable public land. And until a given parcel of land
planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. Forest lands do not have to is released from its classification as part of the military reservation zone and
be on mountains or in out of the way places. Swampy areas covered by mangrove reclassified by law or by presidential proclamation as disposable and alienable, its
trees, nipa palms, and other trees growing in brackish or sea water may also be status as part of a military reservation remains, even if incidentally it is devoted for a
classified as forest land. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status purpose other than as a military camp or for defense.
and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. Unless and
Navigable rivers cannot be appropriated and registered,47 and so are lakes,48
until the land classified as forest is released in an official proclamation to that effect
watersheds49 and mangrove swamps.50
so that it may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain, the
rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply.41
Minerals found in public or even private land belong to the State.42 In a resolution WHO MAY APPLY FOR REGISTRATION
dated December 1, 2004, the Supreme Court in La Bugal-Blaan Association v.
Under Section 14, PD No. 1529, the following may apply for registration:
Ramos43 held that all mineral resources are owned by the State and their
exploration, development and utilization must always be subject to the full control (1) Those who by themselves or their predecessors-in-interest have been in open,
and supervision of the State. 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
In Republic v. Court of Appeals and De la Rosa,44 Justice Cruz said that the Regalian
12, 1945, or earlier.
doctrine reserves to the State all natural wealth that may be found in the bowels of
the earth even if the land where the discovery is made be private. Thus, if a person is (2) Those who have acquired ownership of private lands by prescription under the
the owner of agricultural land in which minerals are discovered, his ownership of such provisions of existing laws.
land does not give him the right to extract or utilize the said minerals without the
(3) Those who have acquired ownership of private lands or abandoned river beds by
permission of the State to which such minerals belong.
right of accession or acquired under existing laws;
(4) Those who have acquired ownership of land in any other manner provided for by Possession should be in the concept of an owner, public, peaceful, uninterrupted and
law. adverse. Possession is open when it is patent, visible, apparent, notorious and not
clandestine. It is continuous when uninterrupted, unbroken and not intermittent or
Under Section 48(b) of CA No. 141 (Public Land Act), it is provided as follows:
occasional; exclusive when the adverse possessor can show exclusive dominion over
Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in the the land and an appropriation of it to his own use and benefit; and notorious when it
open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and is so conspicuous that it is generally known and talked of by the public or the people
disposable land of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of in the neighborhood.53
ownership, since June 12, 1945 or prior thereto may apply for the confirmation of
In Malabanan v. Court of Appeals,54 the Court en banc reiterated the rule in Republic
imperfect or incomplete title.
v. Court of Appeals and Naguit55 that since Section 48(b) (in relation to Section 14[1])
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
NO SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEC. 14(1), PD No. 1529 and SEC. 48(b), CA
possessor is entitled to secure judicial confirmation of his title thereto as soon as it is
NO. 141
declared alienable and disposable, subject to the timeframe imposed by Section 47 of
There is no substantial difference between Sec. 14(1) of PD No. 1529 and Sec. 48(b) the Public Land Act.56
of CA No. 141. In both, the applicant must show that (1) the land is alienable and
Originally, Section 48(b) of CA No. 141 provided for the possession and occupation of
disposable (A and D) public agricultural land; and (2) he has been in open, continuous
lands of the public domain since July 26, 1984. This was superseded by RA No. 1942
exclusive and notorious possession thereof under a bona fide claim of ownership since
which provided for a simple 30-year prescriptive period of occupation by an applicant
June 12, 1945, or prior thereto.51 Both refer to original registration proceedings, are
for judicial confirmation of an imperfect title. The law, however, has been amended
against the whole world, and the decree of registration for both is conclusive and final.
by PD No. 1073, approved on January 25, 1977, which now requires possession since
June 12, 1945 or prior thereto.57

REQUIREMENTS FOR REGISTRATION UNDER SEC. 14(1), PRD IN RELATION TO SEC.


48(B), PLA.
ONLY FILIPINO CITIZENS MAY ACQUIRE LANDS OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
Section 14 (1) of the Property Registration Decree has three requisites for registration
On the basis of their capacity to acquire or hold lands of the public domain, the
of title: (a) that the property in question is alienable and disposable land of the public
following may acquire private lands:
domain; (b) that the applicants by themselves or through their predecessors-
ininterest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and (1) Filipino citizens;
occupation; and (c) that such possession is under a bona fide claim of ownership since
June 12, 1945 or earlier.52
(2) Filipino corporations and association as defined in Section 2, Article XII of the 58 Bernas, The 1987 Constitution, A Reviewer Primer,
Constitution; and, by exception, 2000 ed., 515; Sec. 8, Art. XII, Constitution; RA No. 7042, as amended by RA No. 8179.
59 Borromeo v. Descallar, GR No. 159310, Feb. 24, 2009. 60 Ong Ching Po v. Court of
(3) Aliens but only be hereditary succession; and
Appeals, 239 SCRA 341; Krivenko v. Register of Deeds, 79 Phil. 461; Philippine Bank of
(4) A natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his citizenship can both Commerce v. Lui She, 21 SCRA 52. 61 Beumer v. Amores, GR No. 195670, Dec. 3, 2012,
acquire or hold lands of the public domain, the limitation being up to a maximum citing cases. 62 Republic v. Court of Appeals and Lapia, 235 SCRA 567.
of 5,000 square meters if urban land, or 3 hectares if rural land.58
Private land may be transferred only to individuals or entities qualified to acquire or
ACQUISITION OF PRIVATE LAND BY PRESCRIPTION
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 In Republic v. East Silverlane Realty Development Corporation,63 Section 14(2) must
the public domain. The fundamental law explicitly prohibits non-Filipinos from be considered in relation to the rule on prescription under the Civil Code as a mode
acquiring or holding title to private lands, except only by way of legal succession or if of acquiring ownership of patrimonial property. Possession and occupation of an
the acquisition was made by a former natural-born citizen.59 Aliens, however, may alienable and disposable public land for the periods provided under the Civil Code do
lease private lands.60 not automatically convert said property into private property or release it from the
public domain. There must be an express declaration that the property is no longer
The constitutional ban against foreigners applies only to ownership of Philippine land
intended for public service or development of national wealth. Without such express
and not to the improvements built thereon. Land cannot sold to an alien and is
declaration, the property, even if classified as alienable or disposable, remains
allowed to recover the money spent for the purchase thereof. The provision on unjust
property of the State, and thus, may not be acquired by prescription. And only when
enrichment does not apply if the action is proscribed by the Constitution.61
the property has become patrimonial can the prescriptive period for the acquisition
of property of the public dominion begin to run.64 Such declaration shall be in the
form of a law duly enacted by Congress or a Presidential Proclamation in cases where
CAPACITY TO ACQUIRE LAND IS DETERMINED AT THE TIME OF ITS ACQUISITION,
the President is duly authorized by law.65 The period of possession preceding the
NOT REGISTRATION
classification of the property as patrimonial cannot be considered in determining the
The time to determine whether a person acquiring land is qualified is the time the completion of the prescriptive period.66
right to own it is acquired. Thus, a naturalized Canadian citizen who, while still a
Under ordinary acquisitive prescription, a person acquires ownership of a
natural-born Filipino, acquired land from a vendor who had already complied with the
patrimonial property through possession for at least ten (10) years, in good faith and
requirements of registration prior to the purchase, can validly register his title to the
with just title. Under extraordinary acquisitive prescription, a persons uninterrupted
land even if at the time of the filing of his application he was already an alien.62 He
adverse possession of patrimonial property for at least thirty (30) years, regardless of
already had a vested right to the land.
good faith or just title, ripens into ownership.67
Open, continuous and exclusive possession of land classified as A and D land for at By law, accretion the gradual and imperceptible deposit made through the effects
least thirty years segregates the land from the public domain and ipso jure converts of the current of the water belongs to the owner of the land adjacent to the banks
the same to private property.68 The conversion works to summon in operation Sec. of rivers where it forms.76 The drying up of the river is not accretion. Hence, the dried-
14(2) of the Property Registration Decree which authorizes the acquisition of private up river bed belongs to the State as property of public dominion, not to the riparian
lands through ordinary prescription of ten years or extraordinary prescription of thirty owner, unless a law vests the ownership in some other person.77 In Celestial v.
years.69 Cachopero,78 it was held that a dried-up creek bed is property of public dominion.79

(Note: In the case of Heirs of Marcelina Azardon-Crisologo v. Raon, 70 the Court Article 457 of the Civil Code requires that the deposit be gradual and imperceptible;
ruled that a mere Notice of Adverse Claim did not constitute an effective interruption that it be made through the effects of the current of the water; and that the land
of possession. In the case of Heirs of Bienvenido and Araceli Tanyag v. Gabriel, 71 where accretion takes place is adjacent to the banks of rivers.80 However, the
which also cited the Raon Case, the Court stated that the acts of declaring again the accretion does not automatically become registered land just because the lot which
property for tax purposes and obtaining a Torrens certificate of title in one's receives such accretion is covered by a Torrens title. There must be a separate action
name cannot defeat another's right of ownership acquired through acquisitive for the registration thereof.81
prescription. In the same vein, a protest filed before an administrative agency and
Alluvial formation along the seashore is part of the public domain and is not open to
even the decision resulting from it cannot effectively toll the running of the period of
acquisition by adverse possession, unless subsequently declared as no longer needed
acquisitive prescription. Only in cases filed before the courts may judicial summons
for coast guard service, for public use or for special industries.82
be issued and, thus, interrupt possession.72)

PRIVATE CORPORATIONS DISQUALIFIED FROM ACQUIRING PUBLIC LANDS


ACQUISITION OF PRIVATE LAND BY RIGHT OF ACCESSION OR ACCRETION
A private corporation may not hold alienable lands of the public domain except by
Under Article 420, paragraph 173 and Article 502, paragraph 174 of the Civil Code,
lease not to exceed 1,000 hectares.83 The rule does not apply where at the time the
rivers and their natural beds are property of public dominion.
corporation acquired the land, the same was already private land as when it was
River beds which are abandoned through the natural change in the course of the possessed by its predecessor in the manner and for such length of time as to entitle
waters ipso facto belong to the owners whose lands are occupied by the new course the latter to registration.84
in proportion to the area lost.75 However, the owners of the lands adjoining the old
If the predecessors-in-interest of the corporation have been in possession of the
bed shall have the right to acquire the same by paying the value thereof, which value
land in question since June 12, 1945, or earlier, then it may rightfully apply for
shall not exceed the value of the area occupied by the new bed.
confirmation of title to the land.85 In Director of Lands v. Intermediate Appellate
Court and Acme,86 it was held that a private corporation may apply for judicial
confirmation of the land without need of a separate confirmation proceeding for its PROOF AS TO THE IDENTITY OF THE LAND
predecessors-ininterest first.87
As required by Section 17 of PD No. 1529, the application for registration must be
accompanied by a survey plan of the land duly approved by the Director of Lands (now
Regional Technical Director, Lands Management Bureau), together with the
PUBLICATION, MAILING AND POSTING
applicants muniments of title. No plan or survey may be admitted in land registration
Within five days from the filing of the application for registration, the court shall issue proceedings until approved by the Director of Lands.
an order setting the date and hour of initial hearing which shall not be earlier than 45
In Director of Lands v. Reyes,96 the Supreme Court declared that the submission of
days nor later than 90 days from date of the order.88 The public is given notice of the
the tracing cloth plan is a statutory requirement of mandatory character. But in
initial hearing by (a) publication once in the Official Gazette and once in a newspaper
Director of Lands v. Court of Appeals and Iglesia ni Cristo,97 the Court considered the
of general circulation; (b) mailing of the notice to persons named in the application
submission of a white print copy of the plan as sufficient to identify the land. The Court
for registration and also to relevant government officials, and (c) posting of the notice
was more categorical in Director of Lands v. Intermediate Appellate Court and
on a conspicuous place on the land itself and on the bulletin board of the city or
Espartinez98 when it stated that the presentation of the tracing cloth plan required
municipality where the land is situated.89 Publication in the OG shall be sufficient to
x x x may now be dispensed with where there is a survey plan the correctness of which
confer jurisdiction.90 However, publication of the notice in a newspaper of general
had not been overcome by clear, strong and convincing evidence.
circulation remains an indispensable requirement consistent with procedural due
process.91
If amendment of the application is made to include additional area, a new publication PROOF OF CLASSIFICATION OF LAND AS A AND D
of the amended application must be made, but not when the amendment consists in
The following may be considered sufficient to establish the classification of land as
the exclusion of a portion form the area originally applied for.92
alienable and disposable land for purposes of original registration:
1. Certification of the Bureau of Forest Development that the land has been released
OPPOSITION as alienable and disposable land.
Any person, whether named in the notice or not, may appear and file and opposition, 2. Land Classification Map showing that the land lies within the alienable and
based on right of dominion or some other real right, to the application for disposable portion of the public domain.
registration.93 The absence of opposition does not justify outright registration. Since
3. Executive proclamation withdrawing from a reservation a specific area and
the presumption is that all lands belong to the State, the applicant has the burden of
declaring the same open for entry, sale or other mode of disposition.
proving his imperfect right or fee simple title to the land applied for.94 The failure of
the government to file an opposition, despite receipt of notice, does not deprive it of
its right to appeal a decision adjudicating the land as private property.95
4. Legislative act or executive proclamation reserving a portion of the public domain cadastral survey of Taguig conducted by the government. The Court held: Such
for public or quasi-public use, which amounts to a transfer of ownership to the surveys are carried out precisely to encourage landowners and help them get titles to
grantee. the lands covered by such survey. It does not make sense to raise an objection after
such a survey that the lands covered by it are inalienable land of the public domain,
5. The report of a land inspector of the Bureau of Lands that the subject land was
like a public forest. This is the City of Taguig in the middle of the metropolis.
found inside an agricultural zone and is suitable for rice cultivation is binding on
the courts inasmuch as it is the exclusive prerogative of the Executive Department of That there are building structures, residential houses and even government buildings
the Government to classify public lands. The classification is descriptive of its legal existing and standing on the area does not prove that the land is no longer considered
nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks and classified as forest land.105
like.99
6. A certification by the CENRO of the DENR stating that the land subject of an
EVIDENCE OF POSSESSION
application is found to be within the alienable and disposable site per a land
classification project map is sufficient evidence to show the real character of the land Under Section 48(b) of CA No. 141 and Section 14(1) of PD No. 1529, the reckoning
subject of the application.100 point of possession is June 12, 1945.106 It is only necessary that the land is already
classified as A and D land at the time of the filing of the application for registration.107
7. The Certification by DENR Regional Technical Director that Lot 249 had been
verified as belonging to the alienable and disposable area as early as July 18, 1925, Possession must be open, continuous, exclusive and notorious under a bona fide
as annotated on the subdivision plan, constitutes substantial compliance with the claim of ownership since June 12, 1945 or earlier.108 Acts of a possessory character
legal requirement.101 by virtue of a license or mere tolerance on the part of the real owner are not
sufficient.109 Mere casual cultivation of land, the raising of cattle or grazing of
In Republic v. T.A.N. Properties, Inc.,102 the Court held that the applicant shall submit
livestock without substantial enclosures or other permanent improvements do not
a (a) CENRO or PENRO certification that the land is A and D, and (b) copy of the original
constitute exclusive and notorious possession under claim of ownership110
classification approved by the DENR Secretary and certified as true by the legal
custodian thereof.
But in DENR Memorandum No. 564, dated Nov. 15, 2012, it was clarified that the TAX DECLARATIONS AND TAX RECEIPTS
issuance of the certification and the certified copy of the approved LC Map to prove
Tax declarations and payment of taxes are not conclusive proof of ownership but
that the area applied for is indeed classified as A and D is within the competence and
have strong probative value when accompanied by proof of actual possession or
jurisdiction of the CENRO where the area is below 0.50 has., or the PENRO where it
supported by other effective proof.111 Declaring land for taxation purposes and
more than 0.50 has. In Llanes v. Republic,103 the Court allowed consideration of a visiting it every once in a while do not constitutes acts of possession.112 Tax
CENRO Certification though it was only presented during appeal to the CA to avoid a declarations are not
patent unfairness. In Victoria v. Republic,104 the subject property was covered by a
evidence of the right of possession unless supported by the other effective proof. But Execution pending appeal is not applicable in a land registration proceeding and the
they constitute proof that the holder has claim of the title over the property.113 certificate of title thereby issued is null and void. A Torrens title issued on the basis of
Payment of taxes is on an annual basis. Delayed declaration of property for tax a judgment that is not final is a nullity, as it is violative of the explicit provisions of the
purposes negates a claim of continuous, exclusive, and uninterrupted possession in Property Registration Decree which requires that a decree shall be issued only after
the concept of owner.114 Hence, payment in one a lump sum to cover all past taxes the decision adjudicating the title becomes final and executory, and it is on the basis
is irregular and affects the validity of the applicants claim of ownership.115 But of said decree that the Register of Deeds concerned issues the corresponding
mere failure of the owner to pay taxes does not warrant a conclusion that there was certificate of title.124 A land registration court has no jurisdiction to order the
abandonment of the property.116 registration of land already decreed in the name of another in an earlier land
registration case. A second decree for the same land would be null and void.125
In Director of Lands v. Court of Appeals,126 the Court held that a judicial declaration
SPANISH TITLES NO LONGER VALID PROOF OF OWNERSHIP
that a parcel of land is public, does not preclude even the same applicant from
Spanish titles are no longer admissible as proof of ownership. The so-called Titulo de subsequently seeking a judicial confirmation of his title to the same land, provided he
Propriedad No. 4136 is inexistent.117 In a case, TCT No. 451423-A was traced back to thereafter complies with the provisions of Section 48127 of Commonwealth Act No.
Titulo de Propriedad No. 4136, which, in the Intestate Estate of the late Don Mariano 141, as amended, and as long as said public lands remain alienable and disposable.128
San Pedro y Esteban v. Court of Appeals, was already declared null and void, and from
which no rights could therefore be derived.118
WRIT OF POSSESSION
The writ may be issued not only against the person defeated in the registration case
JUDGMENT; DECREE OF REGISTRATION
but also against any one adversely occupying the land during the proceedings up to
Within 15 days from entry of judgment, the court shall issue an order directing the the issuance of the decree.129 The writ does not lie against a person who entered the
Land Registration Authority (LRA) to issue a decree of registration and certificate of land after the issuance of the decree and who was not a party in the case. He can only
title.119 There is no period within which to issue the decree.120 be proceeded against in a separate action for ejectment or reivindicatory action.130
The writ is imprescriptible. A writ of demolition is but a compliment of the writ of
While the judgment becomes final 15 days from receipt of notice of the judgment
possession131 and may be issued by a special order of the court. Mandamus is a
(as to the government, period of appeal shall be reckoned from receipt of the decision
proper remedy to compel the issuance of a writ of possession.132
by the Solicitor General who represents the government in all registration
proceedings),121 the court nevertheless retains jurisdiction over the case until after
the expiration of one year from the issuance of the decree of registration;122 hence,
the case may still be reopened and the decision set aside when granted.123
JURISDICTION: REAL ACTIONS REMEDIES CONSEQUENT TO FRAUDULENT OR IRREGULAR REGISTRATION
Section 1, 14 Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that actions The aggrieved party has a number of remedies to question the validity of the
affecting title to or possession of real property or an interest therein (real actions) decision. These include the remedies of new trial or reconsideration under Rule 37 of
shall be commenced and tried in the proper court that has territorial jurisdiction over the Rules of Court, relief from judgment under Rule 38, or appeal to the Court of
the area where the real property or any part thereof is situated. Appeals or Supreme Court pursuant to Section 33, PD No. 1529.
An action for reconveyance or to remove a cloud on one's title involves the title to, Under the property Registration Decree, the remedies consequent to fraudulent or
or possession of, real property, or any interest therein, hence, exclusive original irregular registration are: review of decree under Section 32; reconveyance under
jurisdiction over such action pertains to the RTC, unless the assessed value of the Secs. 53 and 96; damages under Sec. 32; claim against the Assurance Fund under Sec.
property does not exceed P20,000.00 (or P50,000.00 in Metro Manila), in which 95; reversion under Sec. 101, CA No. 141; cancellation of title; quieting of title;
instance the MTC having territorial jurisdiction would have exclusive original annulment of judgment under Rule 47; and criminal prosecution under the Revised
jurisdiction. Determinative of which regular court had jurisdiction would be the Penal Code and other special laws.
allegations of the complaint (on the assessed value of the property) and the principal
relief thereby sought.133
Petition for review of decree. (Sec. 32, PD No. 1529)
Actions for cancellation of title and reversion belong to the class of cases that
"involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein" and where In Eland Philippines, Inc. v. Garcia,136 the Supreme Court, citing Agcaoili, Property
the assessed value of the property exceeds P20,000.00, fall under the jurisdiction of Registration Decree and Related Laws (Land Titles and Deeds), stressed that courts
the RTC.134 may reopen proceedings already closed by final decision or decree when an
application for review is filed by the party aggrieved within one year from the issuance
When the dispossession or unlawful deprivation has lasted more than one year, one
of the decree of registration. However, the basis of the aggrieved party must be
may avail himself of accion publiciana to determine the better right of possession, or
anchored solely on actual fraud.
possession de jure, of realty independently of title. On the other hand, accion
reinvindicatoria is an action to recover ownership which necessarily includes recovery It has been ruled that the petition may be filed at any time after the rendition of
of possession. While an accion reivindicatoria is not barred by a judgment in an the courts decision and before the expiration of one year from the entry of the final
ejectment case, such judgment constitutes a bar to the institution of the accion decree of registration for, as noted in Rivera v. Moran,137 there can be no possible
publiciana. 135 reason for requiring the complaining party to wait until the final decree is entered
before urging his claim of fraud.
The rule on the incontrovertibility and indefeasibility of a Torrens title after one
year from entry of the decree of registration is equally applicable to titles acquired
through homestead or free patents.138 It has been held that the date of issuance of
the patent corresponds to the date of the issuance of the decree in ordinary (c) Intentionally concealing facts, and conniving with the land inspector to include in
registration cases. the survey plan the bed of a navigable stream;
Under the Torrens system of registration, the Torrens becomes indefeasible and (d) Willfully misrepresenting that there are no other claims;
incontrovertible one year from the issuance of the final decree and is generally
(e) Deliberately failing to notify the party entitled to notice;
conclusive evidence of the ownership.139 The rule on the inconvertibility and
indefeasibility of a Torrens title after one year from entry of the decree of registration (f) Inducing a claimant not to oppose the application for registration;
is equally applicable to title acquired through homestead or free patents.140 Only
(g) Misrepresentation by the applicant about the identity of the lot to the true owner
extrinsic or collateral, as distinguished form intrinsic, fraud is a ground for annulling a
causing the latter to withdraw his opposition.142
judgment.
(h) Failure of the applicant to disclose in her application for registration the vital facts
To avail of a petition for review, the following requisites must be satisfied: (a) the
that her husbands previous application for a revocable permit and to purchase the
petitioner must have an estate or interest in the land; (b) he must show actual fraud
lands in question from the Bureau of Lands had been rejected, because the lands were
in the procurement of the decree of registration; (c) the petition must be filed within
already reserved as a site for school purposes;
one (1) year from the issuance of the decree by the Land Registration Authority; and
(d) the property has not yet passed to an innocent purchaser for value.141 (i) Deliberate falsehood that the lands were allegedly inherited by the applicant from
her parents, which misled the Bureau of Lands into not filling the opposition and thus
Extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the successful party in a litigation which
effectively depriving the Republic of its day in court.143
is committed outside the trial of a case against the defeated party, or his agents,
attorneys or witnesses, whereby said defeated party is prevented from presenting In all these examples, the overriding consideration is that the fraudulent scheme of
fully and fairly his side of the case. On the other hand, intrinsic fraud refers to acts of the prevailing litigant prevented a party from having his day in court or from
a party in a litigation during the trial, such as the use of forged instruments or perjured presenting his case. The fraud, therefore, is one that affects and goes into the
testimony, which did not affect the presentation of the case, but did prevent a fair jurisdiction of the court.
and just determination of the case.
In Cruz v. Navarro,144 it was held that the intentional omission by the respondent
Relief is granted to a party deprived of his interest in land where the fraud consists in to properly inform the court a quo that there were persons (the petitioners) in actual
the following acts: possession and cultivation of the parcels in question, with the result that the court as
well as the Land Registration Authority were denied of their authority to require the
(a) Deliberate misrepresentation that the lots are not contested when in fact they
sending of specific individual notices of the pendency of the application in accordance
are;
with Sections 23 and 24 of the Property Registration Decree, constitutes actual fraud.
(b) Applying for and obtaining adjudication and registration in the name of a co-
owner of land which he knows had not been allotted to him in the partition;
Reconveyance. (Sec. 96 PD No. 1529)
An action for reconveyance is a legal and equitable remedy granted to the rightful (c) the property has not yet passed to an innocent purchaser for value; and
landowner, whose land was wrongfully or erroneously registered in the name of
(d) the action is filed after the certificate of title had already become final and
another, to compel the registered owner to transfer or reconvey the land to him.
incontrovertible but within four years from the discovery of the fraud,151 or not later
An action for reconveyance is an action in personam available to a person whose than 10 years in the case of an implied trust.152
property has been wrongfully registered under the Torrens system in another's name.
A petition for review and action for reconveyance are no longer available if the
It is filed as an ordinary action in the ordinary courts of justice and not with the land
property has already been transferred to an innocent purchaser for value.
registration court. A notice of lis pendens may be annotated on the certificate of title
immediately upon the institution of the action in court.146 Article 434 of the Civil Code provides that to successfully maintain an action to
recover the ownership of a real property, the person who claims a better right to it
As held in Medizabel v. Apao,147 the essence of an action for reconveyance is that
must prove two (2) things: first, the identity of the land claimed; and second, his title
the certificate of title is respected as incontrovertible. What is sought is the transfer
thereto.153
of the property, in this case its title, which has been wrongfully or erroneously
registered in another person's name, to its rightful owner or to one with a better right. There is no special ground for an action for reconveyance, for it is enough that the
The mere issuance of the certificate of title in the name of any person does not aggrieved party asserts a legal claim in the property superior to the claim of the
foreclose the possibility that the real property may be under co-ownership with registered owner, and that the property has not yet passed to the hands of an
persons not named in the certificate or that the registrant may only be a trustee or innocent purchaser for value.154
that other parties may have acquired interest subsequent to the issuance of the
certificate of title.148
ACTION FOR RECONVEYANCE MAY BE BARRED BY PRESCRIPTION
Reconveyance does not aim to reopen proceedings but only to transfer or reconvey
the land from registered owner to the rightful owner.149 Reconveyance is available (1) Action based on fraud - four years (2) Action based on implied trust - ten years
in case of registration of property procured by fraud thereby creating a constructive (3) Action based on a void contract imprescriptible (4) Action to quiet title where
trust between the parties.150 plaintiff is in possession imprescriptible
To warrant a reconveyance of the land, the following requisites must concur: An action for reconveyance based on implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten
(10) years from the issuance of the Torrens title over the property, or the instrument
(a) the action must be brought in the name of a person claiming ownership or
affecting the same is inscribed in accordance with law, inasmuch as it is what binds
dominical right over the land registered in the name of the defendant;
the land and operates constructive notice to the world. Repudiation of said trust is
(b) the registration of the land in the name of the defendant was procured through not a condition precedent to the running of the prescriptive period. 155
fraud or other illegal means;
The 10-year prescriptive period applies only when the reconveyance is based on fraud Action for damages. (Sec. 32, PD No. 1529)
which makes a contract voidable (and that the aggrieved party is not in possession of
This action may be filed against applicant or person responsible for the fraud where
the land whose title is to be actually reconveyed). It does not apply to an action to
reconveyance is no longer possible as when the land has been transferred to an
nullify a contract which is void ab initio. Article 1410 of the Civil Code categorically
innocent purchaser for value.160
states that an action for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not
prescribe.156 But prescription does not run against the plaintiff in actual
possession of the disputed land because such plaintiff has a right to wait until his
Action for compensation from the Assurance Fund. (Sec. 95, PD No. 1529)
possession is disturbed or his title is questioned before initiating an action to vindicate
his right.157 The requisites for recovery are: (a) a person sustains loss or damage, or is deprived
by any estate or interest in land; (b) on account of the bringing of land under the
Torrens system; (c) through fraud, error, omission, mistake or misdescription in the
LACHES MAY BAR RECOVERY certificate of entry in the registration book; (d) without negligence on his part, and (e)
is barred from bringing an action for recovery of the land.161
Where a court of equity finds that the position of the parties has to change that
equitable relief cannot be afforded without doing injustice, or that the intervening
rights of third persons may be destroyed or seriously impaired, it will not exert its
Reversion. (Sec. 101, CA No. 141)
equitable powers in order to save one from the consequences of his own neglect.158
This is the basic principle of laches which may bar recovery for ones neglect or The action is instituted by the government, through the Solicitor General, in all cases
inaction. where lands of public domain are held in violation of the Constitution162 or were
fraudulently obtained.163

Cancellation of title
Annulment of Judgment. (Rule 47, Rules of Court)
Fraud and misrepresentation, as grounds for cancellation of patent and annulment
of title, should never be presumed, but must be proved by clear and convincing A petition for annulment by the Court of Appeals of judgments or final orders of
evidence, mere preponderance of evidence not being adequate. Fraud is a question Regional Trial Court for which the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, etc. are no
of fact which must be proved.159 longer available must be based on (a) extrinsic fraud, (b) lack of jurisdiction164 and
(c) lack of due process.165 A petition for annulment of judgment based on extrinsic
fraud must be filed within four (4) years from its discovery; and if based on lack of
jurisdiction, before it is barred by laches or estoppel.166
Lack of jurisdiction as a ground for annulment of judgment refers to either lack of But a purchaser can not close his eyes to facts which should put a reasonable man on
jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject matter of the his guard and still claim that he acted in good faith.174
claim.167
The rule of caveat emptor requires the purchaser to be aware of the supposed title
Where the questioned judgment is annulled, either on the ground of extrinsic fraud of the vendor and one who buys without checking the vendors title takes all the risks
or lack of jurisdiction, the same shall be set aside and considered void.168 Annulment and losses consequent to such failure.
of judgment is a remedy in law independent of the case where the judgment sought
Article 1544 of the Civil Code provides that, as regards immovable property,
to be annulled was rendered. Consequently, an action for annulment of judgment
ownership shall belong to the person acquiring it who in good faith first recorded the
may be availed of even if the judgment to be annulled had already been fully executed
sale in the Registry of Property.
or implemented.169
In Cruz v. Bancom Finance Corporation, the adverse claim and the notice of lis
In Yujuico v. Republic,170 the Court ruled that the action of the government for
pendens were annotated on the title on October 30, 1979 and December 10, 1979,
reversion on the ground that the land was part of the Manila Bay was improperly filed
respectively; the real estate mortgage over the subject property was registered by
with the RTC as the action should have been filed with the Court of Appeals pursuant
respondent only on March 14, 1980. The Court stated that the prior registration of a
to Rule 47 of the Rules of Court governing annulment of judgments of RTCs.
lien created a preference. Even a subsequent registration of the prior mortgage will
Final judgments of quasi-judicial tribunals or administrative bodies are not not diminish this preference, which retroacts to the date of the annotation of the
susceptible to petitions for annulment under Rule 47.171 notice of lis pendens and the adverse claim.
The maxim prior est in tempore, potior est in jure (he who is first in time is preferred
in right) is followed in land registration.175 Thus, it has been held in a case that
PURCHASER IN GOOD FAITH
Mahinays notice of lis pendens having been registered ahead of Sorensen's real
Section 32 of PD No. 1529 provides that in no case shall such (petition for review) estate mortgage, the notice of lis pendens takes precedence over the real estate
be entertained by the court where an innocent purchaser for value has acquired the mortgage. The claim of Sorensen that the owner's copy of TCT No. 117531 does not
land or an interest therein, whose rights may be prejudiced. contain any adverse annotation at the time the owners transacted with her is of no
moment. Being in the nature of involuntary registration, the annotation of the notice
An innocent purchaser for value is one who buys the property of another without
of lis pendens on the original copy of TCT No. 117531 on file with the Registry of Deeds
notice that some other person has a right to or interest in it, and who pays a full and
is sufficient to bind third parties. It affects the whole world even if the owner's copy
fair price at the time of the purchase or before receiving any notice of another
does not contain the same annotation.176
persons claim.172
The phrase innocent purchaser for value in Section 32 of the Property
A person dealing with registered property need not go beyond, but only has to rely
on, the title. He is charged with notice only of such burdens and claims which are
annotated on the title, for registration is the operative act that binds the property.173
Registration Decree includes an innocent lessee, mortgagee, or other encumbrancer RULE ON DOUBLE SALE OF IMMOVABLE PROPERTY
for value.177 But unlike private individuals, banks are expected to exercise greater
Article 1544 of the Civil Code reads:
care and prudence in their dealings, including those involving registered lands. A
banking institution is expected to exercise due diligence before entering into a ART. 1544. If the same thing should have been sold to different vendees, the
mortgage contract.178 ownership shall be transferred to the person who may have first taken possession
thereof in good faith, if it should be movable property.
In St. Dominic Corporation v. Intermediate Appellate Court,179 the Court, held that
where a Torrens title was issued as a result of regular land registration proceedings Should it be immovable property, the ownership shall belong to the person acquiring
and was in the name of the mortgagor when given as a security for a bank loan, the it who in good faith first recorded it in the Registry of Property.
subsequent declaration of said title as null and void is not a ground for nullifying the
Should there be no inscription, the ownership shall pertain to the person who in good
mortgage rights of the bank which had acted in good faith.
faith was first in possession; and, in the absence thereof, to the person who presents
In Mahinay v. Gako,180 the Court ruled that when a mortgagee relies upon what the oldest title, provided there is good faith.
appears on the face of a Torrens title and lends money in all good faith on the basis
Between two buyers of the same immovable property registered under the Torrens
of the title in the name of the mortgagor, only thereafter to learn that the latter's title
system, the law gives ownership priority to: (a) the first registrant in good faith; (b)
was defective, being thus an innocent mortgagee for value, his or her right or lien
then, the first possessor in good faith; and (c) finally, the buyer who in good faith
upon the land mortgaged must be respected and protected.181 In Blanco v.
presents the oldest title. This provision, however, does not apply if the property is not
Esquierdo,182 it was held that the right or lien of an innocent mortgagee for value
registered under the Torrens system.183 Based on this provision, the overriding
upon the land mortgaged must be respected and protected, even if the mortgagor
consideration to determine ownership of an immovable property is the good or bad
obtained his title thereto thru fraud. In this case, upon a complaint filed by the legal
faith not of the seller, but of the buyer; specifically, to determine who first registered
heirs of Maximiano, the trial court ordered the cancellation of TCT No. T-6582 for
the sale with the Registry of Property (Registry of Deeds) in good faith.184 As against
having been secured through fraud, and also the cancellation of DBPs mortgage. The
the registered owners and the holder of an unregistered deed of sale, it is the former
only question is whether the bank is an innocent purchaser for value. The Court
who has a better right to possess.185
answered in the affirmative. The bank was not a party to the fraud. The certificate of
title was in the name of Fructuosa at the time of the mortgage. Hence, the bank had In Remalante v. Tibe,186 the Court ruled that the civil law provision on double sale is
the right to rely on what appeared in the certificate and was under no obligation to not applicable where there is only one valid sale, the previous sale having been found
look beyond the certificate and investigate. The remedy of the persons prejudiced is to be fraudulent.
to bring an action for damages against those who caused the fraud, and if the latter
Likewise, in Espiritu and Espiritu v. Valerio,187 where the same parcel of land was
are insolvent, an action may be filed for recovery of damages against the Assurance
purportedly sold to two different parties, the Court held that despite the fact that one
Fund.
deed of sale was registered ahead of the other, Art. 1544 of the Civil Code will not
apply where said deed is found to be a forgery, the result of this being that the right
of the other vendee should prevail.188 The rule that where two certificates purport
to include the same land, the earlier in date prevails, is valid only absent any anomaly the same were contracted for, or the debts and obligations should have redounded
or irregularity tainting the process of registration.189 On the other hand, while the to, the benefit of the conjugal partnership. Fines and pecuniary indemnities imposed
execution of a public instrument shall be equivalent to the delivery of the object of upon the husband or the wife, as a rule, may not be charged to the partnership.
the contract, it only gives rise to a prima facie presumption of delivery. It is deemed However, if the spouse who is bound should have no exclusive property or if the
negated by the failure of the vendee to take actual possession of the land sold.190 property should be insufficient, the fines and indemnities may be enforced upon the
partnership assets only after the responsibilities enumerated in Article 161 of the Civil
Moreover, it is an established principle that no one can give what one does not have
Code have been covered.
nemo dat quod non habet. Accordingly, one can sell only what one owns or is
authorized to sell, and the buyer can acquire no more than what the seller can transfer In Ros v. PNB,196 the subject property was acquired in 1968 during Ros and Aguete's
legally. In a number of cases, an action for reconveyance has been treated as an action marriage. Ros mortgaged the property in 1974. Is the debt chargeable to the conjugal
to quiet title.191 partnership? Held:
The husband cannot alienate or encumber any conjugal real property without the
consent, express or implied, of the wife. Should the husband do so, then the contract
PRESUMPTION OF CONJUGAL OWNERSHIP
is voidable.197 Article 173 of the Civil Code allows Aguete to question Ros'
In Dewara v. Lamela,192 the subject property was acquired by spouses Elenita and encumbrance of the subject property. However, the same article does not guarantee
Eduardo during their marriage, before the enactment of the Family Code. The issue is that the courts will declare the annulment of the contract. Annulment will be declared
whether the property is the paraphernal/exclusive property of Elenita or the conjugal only upon a finding that the wife did not give her consent. In the present case, we
property of spouses Elenita and Eduardo, and whether the same may be subject to follow the conclusion of the appellate court and rule that Aguete gave her consent to
levy and execution sale to answer for the civil liability adjudged against Eduardo in a Ros' encumbrance of the subject property. Debts contracted by the husband for and
criminal case for serious physical injuries. Held: in the exercise of the industry or profession by which he contributes to the support of
the family cannot be deemed to be his exclusive and private debts. For this reason,
All property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless
we rule that Ros' loan from redounded to the benefit of the conjugal partnership.
it be proved that it pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife.193 Registration
Hence, the debt is chargeable to the conjugal partnership.
in the name of the husband or the wife alone does not destroy this presumption.194
The separation-in-fact between the husband and the wife without judicial approval
shall not affect the conjugal partnership. The lot retains its conjugal nature.195 23
FORGED DEED MAY BE THE ROOT OF A VALID TITLE
Moreover, the presumption of conjugal ownership applies even when the manner in
which the property was acquired does not appear. The use of the conjugal funds is Generally, a forged or fraudulent deed is a nullity and conveys no title.198 But a
not an essential requirement for the presumption to arise. However, it does not fraudulent or forged document of sale may become the root of a valid title if the
necessarily follow that it may automatically be levied upon in an execution to answer certificate of title has already been transferred from the name of the true owner to
for debts, obligations, fines, or indemnities of one of the spouses. Before debts and the name of the forger or the name indicated by the forger, and while it remained
obligations may be charged against the conjugal partnership, it must be shown that that way, the land was subsequently sold to an innocent purchaser.199
CERTIFICATE OF TITLE CONVEYANCE AND OTHER DEALINGS BY REGISTERED OWNER
A certificate of title is conclusive of ownership. It enjoys the presumption of validity. The general rule in dealing with registered land is set forth in Section 51 of P.D. No.
Registration does not vest title: It is not a mode of acquiring ownership.200 It does 1529:
not give any person any better title than what he lawfully has.201 Registration is
Section 51. Conveyance and other dealings by registered owner. An owner of
merely a system of registration of titles to lands.202 A certificate of title is an
registered land may convey, mortgage, lease, charge or otherwise deal with the same
indefeasible title and is conclusive as to the ownership of the registrant,203 the
in accordance with existing laws. He may use such forms of deeds, mortgages, leases
identity of the land,204 and its location.205As against the registered owners and the
or other voluntary instruments as are sufficient in law. But no deed, mortgage, lease,
holder of an unregistered deed of sale, it is the former who has a better right to
or other voluntary instrument, except a will purporting to convey or affect registered
possess.206
land shall take effect as a conveyance or bind the land, but shall operate only as a
While certificates of title are indefeasible, unassailable and binding against the whole contract between the parties and as evidence of authority to the Register of Deeds to
world, including the government itself, they do not create or vest title. They merely make registration.
confirm or record title already existing and vested. They cannot be used to protect a
The act of registration shall be the operative act to convey or affect the land insofar
usurper from the true owner, nor can they be used as a shield for the commission of
as third persons are concerned, and in all cases under this Decree, the registration
fraud; neither do they permit one to enrich himself at the expense of other.207
shall be made in the office of the Register of Deeds for the province or city where the
If two certificates of title purport to include the same land, whether wholly or partly, land lies.
the better approach is to trace the original certificates from which the certificates of
No voluntary instrument shall be registered by the Register of Deeds, unless the
title were derived. Should there be only one common original certificate of title, the
owner's duplicate certificate is presented with such instrument, except in cases
transfer certificate issued on an earlier date along the line must prevail, absent any
expressly provided for in the law (PD 1529) or upon order of the court, for cause
anomaly or irregularity tainting the process of registration.208 An original certificate
shown.212
of title issued by virtue of administrative proceeding is as indefeasible as a certificate
of title issued under judicial proceedings. However, the indefeasibility of title does not
attach to titles secured by fraud and misrepresentation.209
From the standpoint of third parties, a property registered under the Torrens system
One who deals with property registered under the Torrens system need not go remains, for all legal purposes, the property of the person in whose name it is
beyond the certificate of title, but only has to rely on the certificate of title.210 He is registered, notwithstanding the execution of any deed of conveyance, unless the
charged with notice only of such burdens and claims as are annotated on the title.211 corresponding deed is registered.213 Simply put, if a sale is not registered, it is binding
only between the seller and the buyer, but it does not affect innocent third
persons.214
DISTINCTION BETWEEN VOLUNTARY AND INVOLUNTARY REGISTRATION provision can only be granted if there is unanimity among the parties, or that there is
no adverse claim or serious objection on the part of any party in interest.219
As a rule, the order of entries in the Primary Entry Book determines the priority in
registration.215 The court has no authority to reopen the judgment or decree of registration, and that
nothing shall be done or ordered by the court which shall impair the title or other
In voluntary registration, such as a sale, mortgage, lease and the like, if the owner's
interest of a purchaser holding a certificate for value in good faith, or his heirs and
duplicate certificate be not surrendered and presented or if no payment of
assigns without his or their written consent.220
registration fees be made within fifteen (15) days, entry in the day book of the deed
of sale does not operate to convey and affect the land sold. In involuntary registration,
such as an attachment, levy upon execution, lis pendens and the like, entry thereof in
REGISTERED LAND NOT SUBJECT TO PRESCRIPTION
the day book is a sufficient notice to all persons of such adverse claim.216
No title to registered land in derogation of the title of the registered owner shall be
acquired by prescription or adverse possession.221 Thus, the right to recover
AMENDMENT OR ALTERATION OF CERTIFICATES possession of registered land is imprescriptible because possession is a mere
consequence of ownership.222 Prescription is unavailing not only against the titled
The proceeding for the amendment and alteration of a certificate of title under
owner but also against his heirs.223 But ownership may be lost through laches224
Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529 is applicable in seven instances or situations, namely: (a)
which is failure or neglect to assert a right for an unreasonable length of time.225
when registered interests of any description, whether vested, contingent, expectant,
or inchoate, have terminated and ceased; (b) when new interests have arisen or been
created which do not appear upon the certificate; (c) when any error, omission or
CERTIFICATE NOT SUBJECT TO COLLATERAL ATTACK
mistake was made in entering a certificate or any memorandum thereon or on any
duplicate certificate; (d) when the name of any person on the certificate has been A certificate of title is not subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified,
changed; (e) when the registered owner has been married, or, registered as married, or cancelled except in a direct proceeding.226 Thus, in a complaint for recovery of
the marriage has been terminated and no right or interest of heirs or creditors will possession, defendant cannot raise in the action the validity of plaintiffs title.227
thereby be affected; (f) when a corporation, which owned registered land and has There must be a direct attack on the title via a separate action; but a direct attack may
been dissolved, has not conveyed the same within three years after its dissolution; be made in a counterclaim or third-party complaint.228
and (g) when there is reasonable ground for the amendment or alteration of title.217
What cannot be collaterally attacked is the certificate of title and not the title
While Section 108, among other things, authorizes a person in interest to ask the itself.229 The certificate referred to is that document issued by the Register of Deeds
court for any erasure, alteration, or amendment of a certificate of title or of any known as the TCT. In contrast, the title referred to by law means ownership which is,
memorandum appearing therein, the prevailing rule is that proceedings thereunder more often than not, represented by that document.230 The prohibition against
are summary in nature, contemplating corrections or insertions of mistakes which are collateral attack does not apply to spurious or non-existent titles, since such titles do
only clerical but certainly not controversial issues.218 Relief under the said legal not enjoy indefeasibility.231
REPLACEMENT OF LOST OR DESTROYED CERTIFICATE Section 109, PD No. 1529, of hearing of the petition. Non-compliance with the requirements deprives the court
governs the procedure for the replacement of a lost or destroyed owners duplicate of jurisdiction over the petition for reconstitution.237
certificate of title. Where the owners duplicate copy is not in fact lost or destroyed,
The requirements of Sections 2 and 3, RA No. 26 are almost identical. The
a petition for the purpose is unwarranted as the court has no jurisdiction over the
enumerated requirements are documents from official sources which recognize the
petition.232
ownership of the owner and his predecessors-in-interest. The phrase any other
document in paragraph (f) of Sections 2 and 3 refers to documents similar to those
enumerated.238 As held in Castillo v. Republic,239 liberal construction of the Rules
RECONSTITUTION OF LOST OR DESTROYED CERTIFICATE
of Court does not apply to land registration cases.240 Indeed, to further underscore
The reconstitution of a certificate of title denotes restoration in the original form and the mandatory character of these jurisdictional requirements, the Rules of Court do
condition of a lost or destroyed instrument attesting the title of a person to a piece of not apply to land registration cases.241 In all cases where the authority of the courts
land. The purpose of the reconstitution of title is to have, after observing the to proceed is conferred by a statute, and when the manner of obtaining jurisdiction is
procedures prescribed by law, the title reproduced in exactly the same way it has been prescribed by a statute, the mode of proceeding is mandatory, and must be strictly
when the loss or destruction occurred.233 The lost or destroyed document referred complied with, or the proceeding will be utterly void.242
to is the one that is in the custody of the Register of Deeds. When reconstitution is
Courts have no jurisdiction over petitions for reconstitution of allegedly lost or
ordered, this document is replaced with a new one the reconstituted title that
destroyed titles over lands that are already covered by duly issued subsisting titles in
basically reproduces the original. After the reconstitution, the owner is issued a
the names of their duly registered owners.243
duplicate copy of the reconstituted title.234
The absence of opposition from government agencies is of no controlling significance
Reconstitution denotes restoration of the certificate of title allegedly lost or
because the State cannot be estopped by the omission, mistake or error of its officials
destroyed in its original form and conditions: it does not pass upon the question of
or agents, hence, the Republic is not barred from assailing the decision granting the
ownership.235 For an order of reconstitution to issue, the following elements must
petition for reconstitution if the same has no merit.244
be present:
(1) the certificate of title has been lost or destroyed; (2) the petitioner is the
registered owner or has an interest therein; and (3) the certificate of title is in force ADVERSE CLAIM
at the time it was lost or destroyed.236
An adverse claim is registered by filing with the Register of Deeds a sworn petition
Reconstitution is governed by RA No. 26 in relation to Section 110 of PD No. 1529. starting the basis of the right claimed.245 The duty of the Register of Deeds to record
Administrative reconstitution is also governed by RA No, 26, as amended by RA No. the same on the title of ministerial.246 The notice of adverse claim is to apprise third
6732, dated July 17, 1989. Section 12 of R.A. No. 26 describes the requirements for a person that there is controversy over the ownership of the land, such that any
petition for reconstitution while Section 13 prescribes the requirements for a notice transaction regarding the land is subject to the outcome of the dispute.247 The
annotation of an adverse claim over registered land under Section 70 of Presidential
Decree 1529 requires a claim on the title of the disputed land. The existence of an title to, or the use or occupation of, a specific property. It does not apply where the
easement of subjacent and lateral support need not be annotated at the back of the object of the suit is money judgment, or proceedings for the probate of will or
title of the servient estate.249 administration of the estate of a deceased person, levy on execution or preliminary
attachments.257 A notice of lis pendens subjects the interest of the transferee to the
An adverse claim is not ipso facto cancelled upon the lapse of the thirty days from its
results of the pending suit.
registration. There must be a petition for the purpose to afford the adverse claimant
an opportunity to be heard.250
Parties with liens annotated on the certificate of title are entitled to notice in an CONSULTA
action for cancellation of their liens.251
It is the ministerial duty of the Register of Deeds to register documents presented to
him for registration. (Sec. 10, PD No. 1529). If the Register of Deeds is in doubt as to
the registrability of the document, the remedy is to elevate the matter to the LRA via
NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS
en consulta. The same procedure may be availed of by the interested party.258
A notice of lis pendens is an announcement to the whole world that a particular real Appeal from the LRA decision may be taken to the Court of Appeals.259
property is in litigation, serving as a warning that one who acquires an interest over
said property does so at his own risk, or that he gambles on the result of the litigation
over the said property.252 The title obtained by the transferee pendente lite affords MORTGAGES AND LEASES
him no special protection; he cannot invoke the rights of a purchaser in good faith and
The requisites of a mortgage are: (a) it is constituted to secure the fulfillment of a
cannot acquire better rights than those of his predecessor-in-interest.253 Thus, one
principal obligation; (b) the mortgagor is the absolute owner of the property, and (c)
who buys land where there is a pending notice of lis pendens cannot invoke the right
the mortgagor has the free disposal thereof.
of a purchaser in good faith; neither can he have acquired better rights than those of
his predecessor in interest Under Article 2085 of the Civil Code, one of the essential requisites of the contract of
mortgage is that the mortgagor should be the absolute owner of the property to be
mortgaged; otherwise, the mortgage is considered null and void. However, an
exception to this rule is the doctrine of "mortgagee in good faith." Under this doctrine,
even if the mortgagor is not the owner of the mortgaged property, the mortgage
A notice of lis pendens should contain (1) a statement of the institution of the action
contract and any foreclosure sale arising therefrom are given effect by reason of
or proceeding; (2) the court where the same is pending; (3) the date of its institution;
public policy. This principle is based on the rule that all persons dealing with property
(4) a reference to the number of the certificate of title; and (5) an adequate
covered by a Torrens certificate of title, as buyers or mortgagees, are not required to
description of the land affected and its registered owner.255 The notice is not a lien
go beyond what appears on the face of the title. This is the same rule that underlies
or encumbrance on the property, but simply a notice to prospective buyers or to those
the principle of "innocent purchasers for value." Hence, even if the mortgagor is not
dealing with the property that it is under litigation.256 The litigation must involve the
the rightful owner of, or does not have a valid title to, the mortgaged property, the The procedure for extrajudicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage is governed by
mortgagee in good faith is, nonetheless, entitled to protection.260 Act No. 3135, as amended by Act No. 4118. The purchaser at the public auction sale
of an extrajudicially foreclosed real property may seek possession thereof in
A mortgage lien is a right in rem which follows the property whoever its owner may
accordance with Section 7 of said Act.269
be. If the mortgagor sells the property, the buyer must respect the mortgage, if
registered, or if he knows of its existence.261 The phrase innocent purchaser for Unlike in an ordinary sale, inadequacy of the price at a forced sale is immaterial and
value includes an innocent lessee, mortgagee or other encumbrancer for value.262 does not nullify the sale. It is also not required that the bid should at least be equal to
The subsequent nullification of the mortgagors title will not nullify the mortgage.263 the market value of the foreclosed property or the outstanding obligation of the
mortgage debtor.270 If "the proceeds of the sale are insufficient to cover the debt in
an extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage, the mortgagee is entitled to claim the
HIGHER STANDARD OF CARE REQUIRED OF BANKING OR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS deficiency from the debtor.271

The general rule that a mortgagee need not look beyond the title does not apply to Where the mortgagee is a banking institution, the determination of the redemption
banks and other financial institutions as greater care and due diligence is required of price for the foreclosed property is governed by Section 78 of the General Banking
them.264 Imbued with public interest, they "are expected to be more cautious than Act. There must be an unequivocal tender of payment for the full amount of the
ordinary individuals."265 repurchase price.272 The only instance when this rule may be construed liberally, i.e.,
allow the non-simultaneous tender of payment, is if a judicial action is instituted by
In a case,266 the Court adjudged that unlike private individuals, a bank is expected
the redemptioner.273 GUIDELINES ON FORECLOSURE A.M. No. 99-10-05-0, February
to exercise greater care and prudence in its dealings, including those involving
20, 2007
registered lands. A banking institution is expected to exercise due diligence before
entering into a mortgage contract. The ascertainment of the status or condition of a The resolution embodies the additional guidelines intended to aid courts in
property offered to it as security for a loan must be a standard and indispensable part foreclosure proceedings, specifically limiting the instances, and citing the conditions,
of its operations.267 when a writ against foreclosure of a mortgage may be issued, to wit:
(1) No temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction against the
extrajudicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage shall be issued on the allegation that
FORECLOSURE OF MORTAGE
the loan secured by the mortgage has been paid or is not delinquent unless the
When the principal obligation becomes due and the debtor fails to perform his application is verified and supported by evidence of payment.
obligation, the creditor may foreclose on the mortgage for the purpose of alienating
(2) No temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction against the
the (mortgaged) property to satisfy his credit.268
extrajudicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage shall be issued on the allegation that
the interest on the loan is unconscionable, unless the debtor pays the mortgagee at
least twelve percent per annum interest on the principal obligation as stated in the
application for foreclosure sale, which shall be updated monthly while the case is Upon the expiration of the redemption period of one year from the registration of the
pending. sale, the right of the purchaser to the possession of the foreclosed property becomes
absolute.277 He is entitled to possession following the consolidation of ownership in
(3) Where a writ of preliminary injunction has been issued against a foreclosure of
his name.278 The writ of possession becomes a matter of right and its issuance to a
mortgage, the disposition of the case shall be speedily resolved. To this end, the court
purchaser in an extrajudicial foreclosure is merely a ministerial function.279 The trial
concerned shall submit to the Supreme Court, through the Office of the Court
court has no discretion on this matter."280
Administrator, quarterly reports on the progress of the cases involving ten million
pesos and above. May persons to whom several mortgaged lands were transferred without the
knowledge and consent of the creditor redeem only several parcels if all the lands
(4) All requirements and restrictions prescribed for the issuance of a temporary
were sold together for a single price at the foreclosure sale? In several early cases
restraining order/writ of preliminary injunction, such as the posting of a bond, which
decided by the Court, the right of the mortgagor or redemptioner to redeem one or
shall be equal to the amount of the outstanding debt, and the time limitation for its
some of the foreclosed properties was recognized.281
effectivity, shall apply as well to a status quo order.

ISSUANCE OF WRIT OF POSSESSION MINISTERIAL


REDEMPTION AND CONSOLIDATION OF OWNERSHIP
Under Sec. 7 of Act No. 3135, a writ of possession may be issued either (a) within the
If the foreclosed property is registered, the mortgagor has one year within which to
one-year period, upon the filing of a bond, or (b) after the lapse of the redemption
redeem the property from and after registration of sale with the Register of
period, without need of a bond.282
Deeds.274 After the expiration of the period of redemption, the purchaser at the
foreclosure sale or anyone claiming under him may petition the court for the entry of
a new certificate to him. But before the entry of a new certificate of title, the
The proceeding for the issuance of the writ is ex parte and is ministerial duty of the
registered owner may pursue all legal and equitable remedies to impeach or annul
court,283 unless a third party is actually holding the property adversely to the
such proceedings.275
judgment debtor,284 or where the bid price is unjustifiably higher than the real
The rule on redemption is liberally construed in favor of the original owner of the amount of the obligation.285 The issuance of the writ may not be stayed by a pending
property. The policy of the law is to aid rather than to defeat him in the exercise of his action for annulment of the mortgage or the foreclosure itself, without prejudice, of
right of redemption. The general rule in redemption is that it is not sufficient that a course, to the eventual outcome of the pending annulment case.286
person offering to redeem manifests his desire to do so. The statement of intention
The order of the RTC granting the petition for a writ of possession is final which can
must be accompanied by an actual and simultaneous tender of payment. The
only be questioned on appeal.287
redemption price should either be fully offered in legal tender or else validly
consigned in court.276
PUBLIC LAND ACT; GENERAL PRINCIPLES 4. By confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title (a) By judicial legalization (b) By
administrative legalization (free patent)
Regalian doctrine all lands and all other natural resources are owned by the State
Homestead
No public land can be acquired by private persons without any grant, express or
implied from the government. It is indispensable that there be a showing of a title any citizen of the Philippines over the age of eighteen years, or the head of a family,
from the State. may enter a homestead of not exceeding twelve hectares of agricultural land of the
public domain. The applicant must have cultivated and improved at least one-fifth of
Only those lands shall be declared open to disposition or concession which have
the land continuously since the approval of the application and resided for at least
been officially delimited and classified and, when practicable, surveyed, and which
one year in the municipality in which the land is located. When a homesteader has
have not been reserved for public or quasi-public uses, nor appropriated by the
complied with all the terms and conditions which entitle him to a patent for a tract of
government, nor in any manner become private property.
public land, he acquires a vested interest therein, and is to be regarded as the
Land remains unclassified land until it is released therefrom and rendered open to equitable owner thereof. The execution and delivery of the patent, after the right
disposition. to a particular parcel of land has become complete, are the mere ministerial acts of
the officer charged with that duty.
The classification of public lands is a function of the executive branch of
government. Free patent -

For purposes of their administration and disposition, lands of the public domain Any natural-born citizen of the Philippines who is not the owner of more than 12
which are alienable or open to disposition may be further classified as: (a) agricultural, hectares and who, for at least 30 years, has continuously occupied and cultivated, by
(b) residential, commercial, industrial, or for similar productive purposes, (c) himself or through his predecessors-in-interest a tract of agricultural public land, and
educational, charitable, or other similar purposes, and (d) reservations for townsites who shall have paid the real estate tax thereon shall be entitled to have a free patent
and for public and quasi-public uses. issued to him for such tract of land not to exceed twelve 12 hectares.
RA No. 10023, dated March 9, 2010, authorizes issuance of free patent titles to
zoned residential lands. Residence requirement: 10 years.
MODES OF DISPOSITION
1. For homestead settlement;
Requirements:
2. By sale;
Survey plan and technical description
3. By lease
Affidavit of two 2 persons who are residents of the barangay that the applicant has
actually resided on, and actually possessed and occupied, the land applied for, under
a bona fide claim of ownership, for at least 10 years, and has complied with the other CONTINUING AUTHORITY TO INVESTIGATE
requirements prescribed by the Act.
But the Regional Director has continuing authority to conduct an investigation to
Sales patent determine whether or not fraud attended the issuance of the patent.
Any citizen of the Philippines of lawful age or the head of a family may purchase any The Solicitor General may bring an action for cancellation of title obtained through
tract of public agricultural land not to exceed twelve hectares which shall be sold thru fraud and for the reversion of the land to the State.
sealed bidding. The land shall be awarded to the highest bidder, but the applicant may
Action is not barred by prescription.
equal the highest bid.
The purchaser shall have not less than one-fifth of the land cultivated within five
years from the date of the award, and pays the full purchase price. PROHIBITED ALIENATIONS
Direct sale Homestead
RA No. 730 permits the direct sale of public lands for residential purposes to qualified may not be sold or encumbered within 5 years from the issuance of the patent, and
applicants. for a term of 20 years thereafter without the consent of the DENR Secretary.
The applicant must: (a) be a Filipino citizen of legal age; (b) not the owner of a home Land covered by a Free patent
lot in the municipality or city in which he resides; (c) have established in good faith his
may not be sold within 5 years from the issuance of the patent.
residence on a parcel of public land which is not needed for public service; and (d)
have constructed his house and actually resided therein. Prohibition against alienation is mandatory.

TITLE INDEFEASIBLE Policy of the law:


A certificate of title issued pursuant to a public land patent partakes of the nature To conserve the land which a grantee has acquired under the Public Land Act for
of a certificate of title issued through judicial proceeding. It becomes incontrovertible him and his heirs as a reward for his labor in cleaning and cultivating it
upon the expiration of one year from the date of the order for issuance of the patent,
To give the patentee a place where to live with his family so he may become a happy
hence, prescription cannot operate against the registered owner.
citizen and useful member of society
If the land covered by a free patent was a private land, the Director of Lands has no
jurisdiction over it. Such free patent and the subsequent certificate of title issued
pursuant thereto are a nullity.288 The aggrieved party may initiate an action for
cancellation of such title.289
EFFECT OF A VOID CONVEYANCE Developer - the person who develops or improves the subdivision project or
condominium project for and in behalf of the owner thereof.
It shall produce the effect of annulling and cancelling the title and cause the
reversion of the property and improvements to the State. REPURCHASE
Every conveyance of land acquired under the free patent or homestead provisions, JURISDICTION OF THE HLURB
when proper, shall be subject to repurchase by the applicant, his widow, or legal heirs,
Unsound real estate business practices;
within a period of five years from the date of the conveyance.
Claims involving refund and any other claims filed by subdivision lot condominium
The five-year period of redemption of homestead sold at extrajudicial foreclosure
unit buyer against the project owner, developer, dealer, broker or salesman; and
runs after the expiration of the one-year period of repurchase allowed in an
extrajudicial foreclosure. Cases involving specific performance of contractual and statutory obligations filed
by buyers of subdivision lot or condominium unit against the owner, developer,
Query: Where the patentee sold the land during the prohibited period, may he
dealer, broker or salesman.
recover the property from the vendee? Yes, consistent the with the fundamental
policy to afford the patentee a piece of land for his home and cultivation. (Binayug v. HLURB has jurisdiction over cases for collection of unpaid installments and claims
Ugaddan, GR No. 181623, Dec. 5, 2012) for damages. No jurisdiction over cases filed by subdivision owners or developers
against lot or unit buyers
Court, not HLURB, has jurisdiction over issues involving ownership or possession of
SUBDIVISION AND CONDOMINIUM BUYERS DECREE (PD 957)
property.
Subdivision project
a registered parcel of land registered partitioned for residential purposes into
SUMMARY OF CASES WHERE HLURB HAS JURISDICTION
individual lots and offered to the public for sale, in cash or in installment terms. It shall
include all residential, commercial, industrial and recreational areas as well as open For a determination of the rights of the parties under a contract to sell a subdivision
spaces and other community and public areas in the project. lot;
Condominium unit - a part of the condominium project intended for any type of For the delivery of title against the subdivision owner;
independent use or ownership, including one or more rooms or spaces located in one
For the refund of reservation fees for the purchase of a subdivision lot;
or more floors (or part of parts of floors) in a building or buildings and such accessories
as may be appended thereto. For specific performance filed by a lot buyer against the seller of a subdivision lot;
For the annulment of the mortgage constituted by the project owner without the FOREIGNERS MAY PURCHASE
buyers consent, the mortgage foreclosure sale, and the condominium certificate of
Under RA No. 4726, foreign nationals can own Philippine real estate through the
title issued to the highest bidder at the said foreclosure sale;
purchase of condominium units or townhouses up to not more than 40% of the total
For the collection of the balance of the unpaid purchase price of a subdivision lot and outstanding capital stock of a Filipino-owned or controlled corporation.
filed by the developer of a subdivision against the lot buyer; and
The land is owned by the condominium corporation and the unit owner is simply a
For incidental claims for damages. member in this condominium corporation.

LICENSE TO SELL DEALERS AND BROKERS


The owner or dealer must have a license to sell the project within two weeks from No real estate dealer, broker or salesman shall engage in the business of selling
the registration of such project. subdivision lots or condominium units unless he has registered himself with the
Board.
However, the absence of a license to sell the subdivision lots does not render the
sale thereof void. The absence of the license to sell only subjects the condominium Applicant must be of good repute and has complied with the applicable rules of the
developer and its officers civilly and criminally liable. Authority

EXEMPT TRANSACTIONS REGISTRATION


Sale of a subdivision lot resulting from the partition of land among co-owners and All contracts to sell, deeds of sale and other similar instruments relative to the sale
co-heirs. or conveyance of the subdivision lots and condominium units, whether or not the
purchase price is paid in full, shall be registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds
Sale or transfer of a subdivision lot by the original purchaser and any subsequent
of the province or city where the property is situated.
sale of the same lot. Sale of a subdivision lot or a condominium unit by or for the
account of a mortgagee in the ordinary course of business when necessary to liquidate
a bona fide debt.
MORTGAGES
No mortgage on any unit or lot shall be made by the owner or developer without
prior written approval of the Board. Such approval shall not be granted unless it is
shown that the proceeds of the mortgage loan shall be used for the development of
the condominium or subdivision project and effective measures have been provided TIME OF COMPLETION
to ensure such utilization.
Petitioner may be held liable in damages for any delay in the construction.
The mortgage of a subdivision lot or a condominium unit is void if executed by a
A request for extension of time to complete development of a subdivision or
property developer without the prior written approval of the HLURB. That an
condominium project may be granted only where non-completion of the project is
encumbrance has been constituted over an entire property, of which the subject lot
caused by fortuitous events or legal ordersand with written notice to lot or unit
or unit is merely a part, does not affect the invalidity of the lien over the specific
buyers.
portion at issue. The fact that the lot had no separate TCT did not make it less of a
"subdivision lot" entitled to the protection of PD 957.290
The circumstance that DBP and ADC executed the mortgage contract prior to the DESISTANCE OR NON-PAYMENT OF AMORTIZATIONS
selling of the subdivided portions of the property to Capulong is immaterial
Buyer need not give prior notice before desisting from further paying amortizations.
considering that when DBP granted the loan to ADC, it already knew that the loan was
to be used for realty development. DBP should have considered that it was dealing Buyer may not be ousted for non-payment due to the failure of the subdivision
with a property subject of a real estate development project. x x x DBP cannot be owner to put up the required improvements.
deemed to be an innocent mortgagee.291
Failure to develop a subdivision may justify non-payment of amortizations by a lot
The essence of the government's socialized housing program is to preserve the buyer.
beneficiary's ownerships for a reasonable length of time, at least within five years
Failure of seller to deliver the condominium unit entitles buyer to cancel contract.
from the time he acquired it free from any encumbrance.292

THE MACEDA LAW


ADVERTISEMENTS
Buyer is entitled to the following rights in case he defaults in the payment of
Advertisements by the owner or developer must not mislead or deceive the public.
succeeding installments:
A subdivision owner was held in breach when it failed to deliver a closed-circuit TV
Grace Period
monitor through which residents from their apartments can see their guests as
advertised. (BPI v. ALS Management, GR No. 151821, April 14, 2004) to pay, without additional interest, the unpaid installments due within the total grace
period earned by him which is fixed at the rate of one month grace period for every
year of installment payments made: Provided, That this right shall be exercised by the
buyer only once in every five years of the life of the contract and its extensions, if any;
and
donated to the Homeowners Association of the project with the consent of the city or
municipality concerned.
Refund of Cash Surrender Value if the contract is cancelled, the seller shall
refund to the buyer the cash surrender value of the payments on the property
equivalent to fifty percent of the total payments made and, after five years of
VISITORIAL POWERS
installments, an additional five percent every year but not to exceed ninety per cent
of the total payments made; Provided, That the actual cancellation of the contract The Board, through its duly authorized representative may, at any time, make an
shall take place after thirty days from receipt by the buyer of the notice of cancellation examination into the business affairs, administration, and condition of any person,
or the demand for rescission of the contract by a notarial act and upon full payment corporation, partnership, cooperative, or association engaged in the business of
of the cash surrender value to the buyer. selling subdivision lots and condominium units.
It may deputize the Philippine Constabulary or any law enforcement agency in the
execution of its final orders, rulings or decisions.
ISSUANCE OF TITLE
The owner or developer shall deliver the title of the lot or unit to the buyer upon
full payment of the lot or unit. TAKEOVER DEVELOPMENT
Even with a valid mortgage over the lot, the seller is still bound to redeem said The Board may take over or cause the development and completion of the
mortgage without any cost to the buyer apart from the balance of the purchase price subdivision or condominium project at the expenses of the owner or developer who
and registration fees. has refused or failed to develop or complete the development of the project.
It may demand, collect and receive from the buyers the installment payments due
on the lots for the development of the subdivision.
ROADS, ALLEYS, OPEN SPACES
ADMINISTRATIVE FINES
The owner as developer of a subdivision shall provide adequate roads, alleys and
sidewalks, and for subdivision projects one hectare or more, reserve 30% of the gross The Board may prescribe and impose fines not exceeding ten thousand pesos for
area for open space exclusively for parks, playgrounds and recreational use. violations of the provisions of the Decree or of any rule or regulation thereunder. Fines
shall be payable to the Board and enforceable through writs of execution in
These areas shall be non-alienable public lands, and non-buildable.
accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court.
The roads, alleys, sidewalks and playgrounds shall be donated by the owner or
developer to the city or municipality and it shall be mandatory for the local
government to accept; provided, however, that the parks and playgrounds may be HLURB is without jurisdiction to determine criminal liability.