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G.R. No.

L-68291 March 6, 1991 to him the peaceful possession and occupation of the
premises. In his complaint, Valentin Ouano, then plaintiff
ARCADIO, MELQUIADES, ABDULA, EUGENIO, therein, alleged that he has been in lawful and peaceful
APOLONIO, all surnamed YBAEZ, petitioners, possession since 1956 to which an Original Certificate of
vs. Title No. P-(l5353)-P-3932 was issued in his name; that
THE HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE petitioners, then defendants therein, unlawfully entered
APPELLATE COURT and VALENTIN O. his land on January 4, 1975 and started cultivating and
OUANO, respondents,
gathering the coconuts, bananas and other fruits therein,
thereby illegally depriving him of the possession and
Dominador F. Carillo for petitioners.
enjoyment of the fruits of the premises.
Pableo B. Baldoza for private respondent.
Petitioners, on the other hand, alleged that plaintiff
FERNAN, C.J.: Valentin Ouano, now private respondent, has never been
in possession of any portion of Lot No. 986 as the same
Facts: has been continously occupied and possessed by
Records show that private respondent Valentin Ouano, a petitioners since 1930 in the concept of owner and have
claimant-occupant of Lot No. 986, Pls-599-D situated at introduced valuable improvements thereon such as
sitio Bagsac, barrio of Manikling, Governor Generoso coconuts and houses; that Lot No. 986 was the subject
(now San Isidro), Davao del Norte, containing an area of matter of administrative proceedings before the Bureau of
three (3) hectares, 48 ares and 78 centares which was Lands in Mati, Davao Oriental which was consequently
surveyed on March 13, 1958 as evidenced by the "Survey decided in their favor by the Director of Lands on the
Notification Card" issued in his name, a homestead finding that Valentin Ouano has never resided in the land;
application 1 with the Bureau of Lands. The said that it was declared by the Director of Lands that the
application was approved in an order dated March 3, 1959 homestead patent issued to private respondent Valentin
issued by the District Land Officer and by authority of the Ouano was improperly and erroneously issued, since on
Director of Lands. the basis of their investigation and relocation survey, the
actual occupation and cultivation was made by petitioner
Three (3) years thereafter, a "Notice of Intention to Make Arcadio Ybaez and his children, consisting of 9.6
Final Proof was made by Valentin Ouano to establish his hectares which cover the whole of Lot No. 986 and
claim to the lot applied for and to prove his residence and portions of Lot Nos. 987, 988 and 989; that based on the
cultivation before Land Inspector. ocular inspection conducted, it was established that
Valentin Ouano did not have a house on the land and
On April 15, 1963, an "Original Certificate of Title No. cannot locate the boundaries of his titled land for he never
P-15353" was issued to private respondent Valentin resided therein.
Ouano over Homestead Patent No. 181261 which was
transcribed in the "Registration Book" for the province of The trial court, after hearing, rendered its decision 6 in
Davao on October 28, 1963. 3 favor of private respondent.

After 19 years of possession, cultivation and income Petitioners appealed to the Intermediate Appellate Court.
derived from coconuts planted on Lot No. 986, private
respondent Valentin Ouano was interrupted in his The Intermediate Appellate Court, First Civil Cases
peaceful occupation thereof when a certain Arcadio Division promulgated a decision, 8 affirming the decision
Ybanez and his sons, Melquiades, Abdula, Eugenia of the trial court, with modification.
Numeriano, Apolonio and Victoriano, forcibly and
Hence the instant recourse by petitioners.
unlawfully entered the land armed with spears, canes and
bolos. Issue:
Because of the unwarranted refusal of Arcadio Ybanez, et WON Valentine Ouano is the rightful owner of the
al. to vacate the premises since the time he was questioned parcel of land.
dispossessed in 1975, private respondent Valentin Ouano
filed a complaint for recovery of possession, damages and Held:
attorney's fees before the then Court of First Instance Affirmative;
(now RTC) of Davao Oriental. Seeking to enjoin the
Ybanezes from further the coconuts therefrom and restore
The public land certificate of title issued to private one (1) year period from the issuance of the decree of
respondent attained the status of indefeasibility one (1) registration upon which it is based, it becomes
year after the issuance of patent on April 15, 1963, hence, incontrovertible. 12 The settled rule is that a decree of
it is no longer open to review on the ground of actual registration and the certificate of title issued pursuant
fraud. Consequently, the filing of the protest before the thereto may be attacked on the ground of actual fraud
Bureau of Lands against the Homestead Application of within one (1) year from the date of its entry and such an
private respondent on January 3, 1975, or 12 years after, attack must be direct and not by a collateral
can no longer re-open or revise the public land certificate proceeding. 13 The validity of the certificate of title in this
of title on the ground of actual fraud. No reasonable and regard can be threshed out only in an action expressly
plausible excuse has been shown for such an unusual filed for the purpose. 14
delay. The law serves those who are vigilant and diligent
and not those who sleep when the law requires them to
act. There is no specific provision in the Public Land Law
(C.A. No. 141, as amended) or the Land Registration Act
The trial court merely applied the rule and jurisprudence
(Act 496), now P.D. 1529, fixing the one (1) year period
that a person whose property has been wrongly or
within which the public land patent is open to review on
erroneously registered in another's name is not to set aside
the ground of actual fraud as in Section 38 of the Land
the decree, but, respecting the decree as incontrovertible
Registration Act, now Section 32 of P.D. 1529, and
and no longer open to review, to bring an ordinary action
clothing a public land patent certificate of title with
in the ordinary court of justice for reconveyance or, if the
indefeasibility. Nevertheless, the pertinent
property has passed into the hands of an innocent
pronouncements in the aforecited cases clearly reveal that
purchaser for value, for damages. 18
Section 38 of the Land Registration Act, now Section 32
The prescriptive period for the reconveyance of of P.D. 1529 was applied by implication by this Court to
fraudulently registered real property is ten (10) years the patent issued by the Director of Lands duly approved
reckoned from the date of the issuance of the certificate by the Secretary of Natural Resources, under the signature
of title. 19 of the President of the Philippines in accordance with law.
The date of issuance of the patent, therefore, corresponds
private respondent Ouano has a better right of possession
to the date of the issuance of the decree in ordinary
over Lot No. 986 than petitioners who claimed to own and
registration cases because the decree finally awards the
possess a total of 12 hectares of land including that of Lot
land applied for registration to the party entitled to it, and
No. 986. Records indicate that petitioners have not taken
the patent issued by the Director of Lands equally and
any positive step to legitimize before the Bureau of Lands
finally grants, awards, and conveys the land applied for to
their self-serving claim of possession and cultivation of a
the applicant.
total of 12 hectares of public agricultural land by either
applying for homestead settlement, sale patent, lease, or If the title to the land grant in favor of the homesteader
confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title by judicial would be subjected to inquiry, contest and decision after
legalization under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Law, it has been given by the Government thru the process of
as amended by R.A. No. 1942 and P.D. 1073, or by proceedings in accordance with the Public Land Law,
administrative legalization (free patent) under Section 11 there would arise uncertainty, confusion and suspicion on
of Public Land Law, as amended.1wphi1 What was the government's system of distributing public
clearly shown during the trial of the case was that agricultural lands pursuant to the "Land for the Landless"
petitioners wrested control and possession of Lot No. 986 policy of the State.
on January 4, 1975, or one (1) day after they filed their
belated protest on January 3, 1975 before the Bureau of
Lands against the homestead application of private
respondent, thus casting serious doubt on their claim of
prior possession and productive cultivation.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.

The certificate of title serves as evidence of an


indefeasible title to the property in favor of the person
whose name appears therein. After the expiration of the
Abejaron v. Nabasa become indefeasible. The petitioner hence resorts to the
SupremeCourt.
G.R. No. 84831, June 20, 2001, 359 SCRA 47Puno, J.
RULING:
FACTS:
Citing Susi v. Razon,[31] the Court interpreted this law,
Petitioner Abejaron avers that he is the actual and lawful
viz:
possessor andclaimant of a 118-square meter portion of a
175-square meter residential lot in Silway,General Santos
City. Petitioner Abejaron and his family occupied the
". . . where all the necessary requirements for a grant by
118-square meterland. At that time, the land had not yet
the Government are complied with through actual
been surveyed. They fenced the area and builtthereon a
physical possession openly, continuously, and publicly
family home with nipa roofing and a small store.
with a right to a certificate of title to said land under the
Petitioner later improved theirabode to become a two-
provisions of Chapter VIII of Act No. 2874, amending
storey house. This house, which stands to this day,
Act No. 926 (carried over as Chapter VIII of
occupies aportion of Lot 1, Block 5 and a portion of the
Commonwealth Act No. 141), the possessor is deemed to
adjoining Lot 2 of the same Psu. Lot 2belongs to
have already acquired by operation of law not only a right
petitioners' daughter, Conchita. The small store was
to a grant, but a grant of the Government, for it is not
eventually destroyedand in its stead, petitioner Abejaron
necessary that a certificate of title be issued in order that
another store. He later planted five coconut trees onthe
said grant may be sanctioned by the courts -an application
property. Knowing that the disputed land was public in
therefor being sufficient under the provisions of Section
character, petitioner declaredonly his house, and not the
47 of Act No. 2874 (reproduced as Section 50,
disputed land, for taxation purposes. The last
Commonwealth Act No. 141). If by a legal fiction,
twodeclarations state that petitioners' house stands on
Valentin Susi had acquired the land in question by grant
Lots 1 and 2, Block 5. Petitionerstated that respondent
of the State, it had already ceased to be of the public
Nabasa resided on the remaining 57-square meter portion
domain and had become private property, at least by
of Lot1. Nabasa built his house about 4 meters away from
presumption, of Valentin Susi, beyond the control of the
petitioner Abejaron's house.Employees of the Bureau of
Director of Lands. (Italics supplied)"
Lands surveyed the area. Abejaron did not apply for title
ofthe land on the belief that he could not secure title over
it as it was government property.Without his knowledge
and consent, Nabasa applied for and caused the titling in The Mesina and Susi cases were cited in Herico v.
hisname the entire Lot 1, including petitioner Abejaron's Dar,[32] another action for cancellation of title issued
118-square meter portion. Nabasawas issued an Original pursuant to a free patent. Again, the Court ruled that under
Certificate of Title pursuant to a Free Patent covering Lot Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as amended by Rep.
1. Asthe title included petitioner Abejarons portion of the Act No. 1942, with the plaintiff's proof of occupation and
lot, he filed a protest with theBureau of Lands against cultivation for more than 30 years since 1914, by himself
Nabasa's title and application. The protest was dismissed and by his predecessor-in-interest, title over the land had
forfailure of the petitioner to attend the hearings. vested in him as to segregate the land from the mass of
Petitioner Abejaron then filed an action forreconveyance public land. Thenceforth, the land was no longer
with damages against respondent Nabasa before the RTC. disposable under the Public Land Act by free patent.[33]
The RTC TheRegional Trial Court ruled in favor of The Court held, viz:
petitioner in its reconveyance case declaring
thepossession and occupancy of Abejaron over 118
square meters of lot in good faith andthereby declaring the "As interpreted in several cases (Susi v. Razon, et al., 48
inclusion of said portion in the OCT issued in the name of Phil. 424; Mesina v. Pineda Vda. de Sonza, G.R. No. L-
Nabasaerroneous. On appeal, the CA reversed the 14722, May 25, 1960) when the conditions as specified in
decision of the RTC stating that the onlybasis for the foregoing provision are complied with, the possessor
reconveyance is actual fraud which in this case was failed is deemed to have acquired, by operation of law, a right
to be substantiatedby Abejaron. Without proof of to a grant, a government grant, without the necessity of a
irregularity neither in the issuance of title nor in certificate of title being issued. The land, therefore, ceases
theproceedings incident thereto nor a claim that fraud to be of public domain, and beyond the authority of the
intervened in the issuance of thetitle, the title would Director of Lands to dispose of. The application for
confirmation is a mere formality, the lack of which does
not affect the legal sufficiency of the title as would be "Nothing can more clearly demonstrate the logical
evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued inevitability of considering possession of public land
upon the strength of said patent."[34] which is of character and duration prescribed by statute as
the equivalent of express grant from the State than the
dictum of the statute itself [Sec. 48(b)] that the
In citing Republic v. Villanueva, et al.,[35] petitioner possessor(s) 'x x x shall be conclusively presumed to have
Abejaron relied on the dissenting opinion of Chief Justice performed all the conditions essential to a Government
Teehankee. However, the en banc majority opinion in that grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title x x x.' No
case and in Manila Electric Company v. Bartolome,[36] proof being admissible to overcome a conclusive
departed from the doctrines enunciated in the Susi, presumption, confirmation proceedings would, in truth be
Mesina, and Herico cases. Citing Uy Un v. Perez,[37] the little more than a formality, at the most limited to
Court ruled that "the right of an occupant of public ascertaining whether the possession claimed is of the
agricultural land to obtain a confirmation of his title under required character and length of time; and registration
Sec. 48(b) of Com. Act. No. 141, as amended by Rep. Act thereunder would not confer title, but simply recognize a
No. 1942, is 'derecho dominical incoativo' and that before title already vested. The proceedings would not originally
the issuance of the certificate of title the occupant is not convert the land from public to private land, but only
in the juridical sense the true owner of the land since it confirm such a conversion already effected by operation
still pertains to the State."[38] of law from the moment the required period of possession
became complete."[41] (Emphasis supplied)

The Court pointed out that the Villanueva and Meralco


cases are different from the oft-cited Susi case as the latter This is the prevailing rule as reiterated in the more recent
involved a parcel of land possessed by a Filipino citizen case of Rural Bank of Compostela v. Court of Appeals, a
since time immemorial, while the land in dispute in the ponencia of now Chief Justice Davide, Jr.,[42] viz:
Villanueva and Meralco cases were sought to be titled by
virtue of Sec. 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as amended.
In explaining the nature of land possessed since time "The rule under the latter (Section 48[b] of the Public
immemorial, the Court quoted Oh Cho v. Director of Land Act, as amended by R.A. No. 1942), is that when
Lands,[39] viz: the conditions specified therein are complied with, the
possessor is deemed to have acquired, by operation of
law, a right to a government grant, without necessity of a
"All lands that were not acquired from the Government, certificate of title being issued, and the land ceases to be
either by purchase or by grant, belong to the public part of the public domain and beyond the authority of the
domain. An exception to the rule would be any land that Director of Lands."[43]
should have been in the possession of an occupant and of
his predecessors-in-interest since time immemorial, for
such possession would justify the presumption that the The question brought to the fore, therefore, is whether or
land had never been part of the public domain or that it not petitioner Abejaron has satisfied the conditions
had been a private property even before the Spanish specified in Sec. 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as
conquest." amended by R.A. No. 1942. Sec. 48(b) has been further
amended by P.D. No. 1073 which took effect on January
25, 1977. Sec. 4 of the P.D. reads as follows:
In 1986, however, in Director of Lands v. Intermediate
Appellate Court, et al.,[40] this Court en banc recognized
the strong dissent registered by Chief Justice Teehankee "Sec. 4. The provision of Section 48(b) and Section 48(c),
in the Villanueva case and abandoned the Villanueva and Chapter VIII, of the Public Land Act, are hereby amended
Meralco ruling to revert to the Susi doctrine. Reiterating in the sense that these provisions shall apply only to
the Susi and Herico cases, the Court ruled: alienable and disposable lands of the public domain which
have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
possession and occupation by the applicant himself or
thru his predecessor-in-interest, under a bona fide claim
of acquisition of ownership, since June 12, 1945.
occupation of the 118-square meter disputed land for 30
years at least since January 24, 1947. It is axiomatic that
Sec. 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as further amended by
findings of fact by the trial court and the Court of Appeals
P.D. No. 1073, now reads:
are final and conclusive on the parties and upon this
Court, which will not be reviewed or disturbed on appeal
unless these findings are not supported by evidence or
"(b) Those who by themselves or through their unless strong and cogent reasons dictate otherwise.[47]
predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, One instance when findings of fact of the appellate court
exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of may be reviewed by this Court is when, as in the case at
agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide bar, the factual findings of the Court of Appeals and the
claim of acquisition or ownership, since June 12, 1945, or trial court are contradictory.[48]
earlier, immediately preceding the filing of the
application for confirmation of title, except when
prevented by wars or force majeure. Those shall be
Petitioner claims that he started occupying the disputed
conclusively presumed to have performed all the
land in 1945. At that time, he built a nipa house, a small
conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be
store, and a fence made of wood to delineate his area. This
entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this
nipa house was improved in 1949 into a two-storey house.
chapter." (Italics ours)[44]
The small store was also made bigger in 1950. The
wooden fence was also changed to a fence made of hollow
blocks. The two-storey house, bigger store, and hollow-
However, as petitioner Abejaron's 30-year period of block fence all stand to this day. In 1951, petitioner
possession and occupation required by the Public Land planted coconut trees near his house. While the petitioner
Act, as amended by R.A. 1942 ran from 1945 to 1975, has shown continued existence of these improvements on
prior to the effectivity of P.D. No. 1073 in 1977, the the disputed land, they were introduced later than January
requirement of said P.D. that occupation and possession 24, 1947. He has failed to establish the portion of the
should have started on June 12, 1945 or earlier, does not disputed land that his original nipa house, small store and
apply to him. As the Susi doctrine holds that the grant of wooden fence actually occupied as of January 24, 1947.
title by virtue of Sec. 48(b) takes place by operation of In the absence of this proof, we cannot determine the land
law, then upon Abejaron's satisfaction of the requirements he actually possessed and occupied for thirty years which
of this law, he would have already gained title over the he may acquire under Sec. 48(b) of the Public Land Act.
disputed land in 1975. This follows the doctrine laid down Worthy of notice is the fact that the disputed land was
in Director of Lands v. Intermediate Appellate Court, et surveyed, subdivided into and identified by lots only in
al.,[45] that the law cannot impair vested rights such as a the 1970's. Therefore, prior to the survey, it would be
land grant. More clearly stated, "Filipino citizens who by difficult to determine the metes and bounds of the land
themselves or their predecessors-in-interest have been, petitioner claims to have occupied since 1947 in the
prior to the effectivity of P.D. 1073 on January 25, 1977, absence of specific and incontrovertible proof.
in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession
and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain,
under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, for
The neighbors presented by the petitioner, namely
at least 30 years, or at least since January 24, 1947" may
Alejandra Doria, Pacencia Artigo, and Beatriz Gusila,
apply for judicial confirmation of their imperfect or
could not also further his cause as both Doria and Artigo
incomplete title under Sec. 48(b) of the Public Land
stated that they started residing in Silway in 1947, without
Act.[46]
specifying whether it was on or prior to January 24, 1947,
while Gusila arrived in the neighborhood in 1949. While
Doria testified that there was a fence between Abejaron's
Having laid down the law applicable to the case at bar, and Nabasa's houses in 1947, she did not state that
i.e., Sec. 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as amended by Abejaron's 118-square meter area was enclosed by a fence
R.A. 1942, we now determine whether or not petitioner which stands to this day. This is confirmed by Geodetic
has acquired title over the disputed land. In doing so, it is Engineer Lagsub's 1984 survey plan which shows that a
necessary for this Court to wade through the evidence on fence stands only on one side of the 118-square meter
record to ascertain whether petitioner has been in open, area, the side adjacent to Nabasa's 57-square meter
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and portion. Again, this poses the problem of determining the
area actually occupied and possessed by Abejaron at least possession since January 1947. . . Title to alienable public
since January 24, 1947. lands can be established through open, continuous, and
exclusive possession for at least thirty (30) years. . . Not
being the owner, petitioner cannot maintain the present
Finally, as admitted by the petitioner, he has never suit.
declared the disputed land for taxation purposes. While
tax receipts and tax declarations are not incontrovertible
evidence of ownership, they become strong evidence of Persons who have not obtained title to public lands could
ownership acquired by prescription when accompanied not question the titles legally issued by the State. (Reyes
by proof of actual possession of the property or supported v. Rodriguez, 62 Phil. 771, 776 [1936]) In such cases, the
by other effective proof.[49] Even the tax declarations and real party in interest is the Republic of the Philippines to
receipts covering his house do not bolster his case as the whom the property would revert if it is ever established,
earliest of these was dated 1950. after appropriate proceedings, that the free patent issued
to the grantee is indeed vulnerable to annulment on the
ground that the grantee failed to comply with the
Petitioner's evidence does not constitute the "well-nigh conditions imposed by the law. (See Sec. 101 of C.A. 141
incontrovertible" evidence necessary to acquire title [Public Land Act]; Lucas v. Durian, 102 Phil. 1157, 1158
through possession and occupation of the disputed land at [1957]; Sumail v. Judge of the Court of First Instance of
least since January 24, 1947 as required by Sec. 48(b) of Cotabato, et al., 96 Phil. 946, 953 [1955]). Not being an
the Public Land Act, as amended by R.A. 1942. The basic applicant, much less a grantee, petitioner cannot ask for
presumption is that lands of whatever classification reconveyance." (emphasis supplied)[52]
belong to the State and evidence of a land grant must be
"well-nigh incontrovertible."[50] As petitioner Abejaron
has not adduced any evidence of title to the land in In the more recent case of Tankiko, et al. v. Cezar, et
controversy, whether by judicial confirmation of title, or al.,[53] plaintiffs filed an action for reconveyance
homestead, sale, or free patent, he cannot maintain an claiming that they were the actual occupants and residents
action for reconveyance. of a 126,112-square meter land which was titled to
another person. The trial court dismissed the action, but
the Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal. Despite the
In De La Pea v. Court of Appeals and Herodito Tan,[51] appellate court's finding that plaintiffs had no personality
the petitioner filed an action for reconveyance, claiming to file the action for reconveyance, the disputed land
preferential right to acquire ownership over a 3/4 hectare being part of the public domain, it exercised equity
of land and imputing fraud and misrepresentation to jurisdiction to avoid leaving unresolved the matter of
respondent in securing a free patent and original possession of the land in dispute. On appeal to this Court,
certificate of title over the land in controversy. The action we reinstated the decision of the trial court and dismissed
for reconveyance was dismissed by the trial court and the the action for reconveyance, viz:
Court of Appeals. This Court affirmed the decision of the
Court of Appeals, viz:
". . . equity is invoked only when the plaintiff, on the basis
of the action filed and relief sought, has a clear right that
"It is well-settled that reconveyance is a remedy granted he seeks to enforce, or that would obviously be violated if
only to the owner of the property alleged to be the action filed were to be dismissed for lack of standing.
erroneously titled in another's name. (Tomas v. Court of In the present case, respondents have no clear enforceable
Appeals, G.R. No. 79328, 21 May 1990, 185 SCRA 627, right, since their claim over the land in question is merely
633; Esconde v. Barlongay, G.R. No. 67583, 31 July inchoate and uncertain. Admitting that they are only
1987, 152 SCRA 603, 611; Nebrada v. Heirs of Alivio, et applicants for sales patents on the land, they are not and
al., 104 Phil. 126 [1958]; Director of Lands v. Register of they do not even claim to be owners thereof.
Deeds of Rizal, 92 Phil. 826 [1953]; Azurin v. Quitoriano,
et al., 81 Phil. 261 [1948]). In the case at bench, petitioner
does not claim to be the owner of the disputed portion. Second, it is evident that respondents are not the real
Admittedly, what he has is only a "preferential right" to parties in interest. Because they admit that they are not the
acquire ownership thereof by virtue of his actual owners of the land but mere applicants for sales patents
thereon, it is daylight clear that the land is public in we deem it unnecessary to resolve the question of fraud
character and that it should revert to the State. This being and the other issues raised in the petition. These shall be
the case, Section 101 of the Public Land Act categorically timely for adjudication if a proper suit is filed by the
declares that only the government may institute an action Solicitor General in the future.
for reconveyance of ownership of a public land. . .

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the


xxx impugned decision of the Court of Appeals is
AFFIRMED. The Complaint filed in Civil Case No. 2492
before the Regional Trial Court of South Cotabato,
In the present dispute, only the State can file a suit for Branch 1, is DISMISSED. No costs.
reconveyance of a public land. Therefore, not being the
owners of the land but mere applicants for sales patents
thereon, respondents have no personality to file the suit. SO ORDERED.
Neither will they be directly affected by the judgment in
such suit.

xxx

Clearly, a suit filed by a person who is not a party in


interest must be dismissed. Thus, in Lucas v. Durian, 102
Phil. 1157, September 23, 1957, the Court affirmed the
dismissal of a Complaint filed by a party who alleged that
the patent was obtained by fraudulent means and
consequently, prayed for the annulment of said patent and
the cancellation of a certificate of title. The Court declared
that the proper party to bring the action was the
government, to which the property would revert."[54]

Similarly, as petitioner Abejaron has failed to show his


title to the disputed land, he is not the proper party to file
an action for reconveyance that would result in the
reversion of the land to the government. It is the Solicitor
General, on behalf of the government, who is by law
mandated to institute an action for reversion.[55] He has
the specific power and function to "represent the
Government in all land registration and related
proceedings" and to "institute actions for the reversion to
the Government of lands of the public domain and
improvements thereon as well as lands held in violation
of the Constitution."[56] Since respondent Nabasa's Free
Patent and Original Certificate of Title originated from a
grant by the government, their cancellation is a matter
between the grantor and the grantee.[57]

Having resolved that petitioner Abejaron does not have


legal standing to sue and is not the real party in interest,
Arcadio, Melquides, Abdula, Eugennio all surnamed no showing of a reasonable excuse for such an unusual
Ybanez vs. Intermediate Appellate Court delay.
Although Ybnez may still have the remedy of
reconveyance, assuming that they are the owners of the
Chapter: Remedies
said lot, this remedy, however can no longer be availed of
by Ybanez due to prescription. The prescriptive period of
reconveyance of fraudulently registered real property is
Facts: ten years reckoned from the date of the issuance of the
certificate of title.

Original Certificate of Title was issue to private


respondent on April 15, 1963. After 19 years of
possession, cultivation and income derived from coconuts
on the land , was interrupted in his peaceful occupation
thereof when Ybanez and his sons, forcibly and
unlawfully entered the land armed with spears and bolos.
As a result private respondent filed a complaint for
recovery of possession. Ybnez on the hand allege that
private respondent has never been in possession on the
said land as the same has been continuously occupied by
him since 1930. Ybnez claims the homestead patent
issued to private respondent was improperly and
erroneously issued.

Issue:

Whether or not Ybanez may question the Certificate of


Title issued to private respondent 12 years after its
registration?

Held:

No. The certificate of title serves as evidence of an


indefeasible title to the property in favor of the person
whose name appears therein. After the expiration of the
one year period from the issuance of the decree of
registration upon which it is based, it becomes
incontrovertible. The settled rule is that a decree of
registration and the certificate of title issued pursuant
thereto may be attacked on the ground of actual fraud
within one year from the date of entry and such an attack
must be direct and not by collateral proceeding.
In the instant case the certificate of title issued to private
respondent attained the status of indefeasibility one year
after the issuance of the patent, hence it is no longer open
for review on the ground of actual fraud, where there is
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. NICANOR Doldol cannot, therefore, assert a right superior to
DOLDOL the school, given that the president had reserved a lot for
Opol National School.
The privilege of occupying public lands with a
CASE NO.: GR 132963, 295 SCRA 359
view of preemption confers no contractual or vested right
CHAPTER: ORIGINAL REGISTRATION, p. 70 in the lands occupied and the authority of the president to
withdraw such lands for sale or acquisition by the public
PONENTE: Romero use, prior to the divesting by the government of title
thereof stands, even though this may defeat the imperfect
right of a seller. Lands covered by reservation are not
FACTS: subject to entry and no lawful settlement on them can be
acquired.

In 1945, Nicanor Doldol occupied a portion of


land in Barrio Pontacan, Municipality of Opol, Misamis
Oriental. On Oct. 23, 1963, he applied for salt work
purposes with the Bureua of Forest Developemnt which
was later rejected on April 1, 1968. In 1965, Provincial
Board of Misamis Oriental passed a resolution reserving
a lot as a school state. The reserved lot included the area
occupied by Doldol. Opol High School transferred to the
site in 1970. On Nov. 2, 1987, President Aquino issued a
Proclamation No. 180 reserving the area for Opol
National Secondary Technical School. The school made
several demands for Doldol to vacate but he refused to
move. The school filed a complaint for Accion
Possessoria with the RTC of Cagayan De Oro in 1991.
Trial Court ruled in favor of the school. On appeal, CA
reversed. Hence, this petition for review.

ISSUE:

WON the school has the better right to possess the lot?

RULING:

Yes; RTC decision reinstated

Doldol could not have acquired an imperfect title


to the disputed lot since his occupation of the same started
only in 1959, much later than June 12, 1945. not having
complied with the conditions set by law, Doldol cannot be
said to have acquired a right to the land in question as to
segregate the same from public domain.
VALENTIN SUSI vs. ANGELA RAZON and THE Razon applied for the grant in her favor, Valentin Susi had
DIRECTOR OF LANDS already acquired, by operation of law, not only a right to
a grant, but a grant of the Government, for it is not
CASE NO.: G. R. No.24066. December 9, 1925. 48SCRA
necessary that certificate of title should be issued in order
425
that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts, an
CHAPTER: CHAPTER II Classification of Public Lands application therefore is sufficient, under the provisions of
section 47 of Act No. 2874. If by a legal fiction, Valentin
PONENTE: VILLA- REAL, J.: Susi had acquired the land in question by a grant of the
FACTS: State, it had already ceased to be the public domain and
had become private property, at least by presumption, of
Nemesio Pinlac sold the land in question, then a Valentin Susi, beyond the control of the Director of
fishpond, to Apolonio Garcia and Basilio Mendoza. They Lands. Consequently, in selling the land in question to
later sold it to Valentin Susi, reserving the right to Angela Razon, the Director of Lands disposed of a land
repurchase it. Before the execution of the deed of sale, over which he had no longer any title or control, and the
Valentin Susi had already paid its price and sown sale thus made was void and of no effect, and Angela
"bacawan" on said land, with the proceeds of the sale of Razon did not thereby acquire any right.
which he had paid the price of the property. The
possession and occupation of the land in question, has
been open, continuous, adverse and public, without any
interruption, except during the revolution, or disturbance.
Angela Razon commenced an action to recover the
possession of said land. The trial court rendered judgment
in favor of Valentin Susi. After failing in the court,
Angela Razon applied to the Director of Lands for the
purchase. Having learned of said application, Valentin
Susi, asserting his possession of the land for twenty-five
years. The Director of Lands overruled the opposition of
Valentin Susi and sold the land to Angela Razon.
ISSUE:
Whether or not an open, continous, adverse possession of
land of public domain from time immemorial confers an
effective title on the said possessor.
RULING:
Valentin Susi has been in possession of the land in
question openly, continuously, adversely, and publicly,
personally and through his predecessors, since the year
1880. When on August 15, 1914, Angela Razon applied
for the purchase of said land; Valentin Susi had already
been in possession thereof personally and through his
predecessor for thirty-four years. In favor of Valentin
Susi, there is, moreover, the presumption juris et de jure
established in paragraph (b) of section 45 of Act No.
2874, amending Act No. 926, that all the necessary
requirements for a grant by the Government were
complied with, for he has been in actual and physical
possession, personally and through his predecessors, of an
agricultural land of the public domain openly,
continuously, exclusively and publicly since July 26,
1894, with a right to a certificate of title to said land under
the provisions of Chapter VIII of said Act. When Angela