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FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 100643. August 14, 1992.]

ADEZ REALTY, INCORPORATED, Petitioner, v. HONORABLE COURT OF


APPEALS, THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF BRANCH 79, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT,
Morong, Rizal, THE PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF RIZAL, Morong, Rizal, THE
REGISTER OF DEEDS, Quezon City, and AGUEDO EUGENIO, Respondents.

Benjamin M. Dacanay for Petitioner.

SYLLABUS

1. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; JUDGMENT; FINAL UPON LAPSE OF


REGLEMENTARY PERIOD OF APPEAL AND NO APPEAL PERFECTED. — Petitioner
fails to refute the ruling of respondent appellate court that the issues presented in the intent case
had been previously raised before and decided upon the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
21392, which decision became final and executory, and in fact already entered in the judgment
book by reason of petitioner’s failure to seasonably file an appeal or a motion for
reconsideration. This is fatal. It has been repeatedly held that finality of judgment becomes a fact
upon the lapse of the reglementary period of appeal if no appeal is perfected. The decision
therefore of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 21392 had attained finality, there being no
appeal nor motion for reconsideration interposed. Likewise, it is settled jurisprudence that once a
decision becomes final, the Court can no longer amend, modify, much less set aside the same.

2. ID.; CIVIL PROCEDURE; LAND REGISTRATION PROCEEDING; PROCEEDING IN


REM; PERSONAL NOTICE NOT REQUIRED TO VEST AUTHORITY TO COURT. — As
early as 1910, in Grey Alba v. De la Cruz, We already ruled that land registration proceedings
are proceedings in rem, not in personam, and therefore it is not necessary to give personal notice
to the owners or claimants of the land sought to be registered, in order to vest the courts with
power or authority over the res. Thus, while it may be true that no notice was sent by registered
mail to petitioner when the judicial reconstitution of title was sought, such failure, however, did
not amount to a jurisdictional defect.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PUBLICATION THEREOF, SUFFICIENT NOTICE TO VEST COURT
JURISDICTION. — In Register of Deeds of Malabon v. RTC, Malabon, Metro Manila, Br. 170,
We said that" [t]he purpose of the publication of the notice of the petition for reconstitution in
the Official Gazette is to apprise the whole world that such a petition has been filed and that
whoever is minded to oppose it for good cause may do so within thirty (30) days before the date
set by the court for hearing the petition. It is the publication of such notice that brings in the
whole world as a party in the case and vests the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide it."
Thus, notice of hearing by proper publication in the Official Gazette is sufficient to clothe the
court with jurisdiction, and the mere fact that a person purporting to have a legitimate claim in
the property did not receive personal notice is not sufficient ground to invalidate the proceedings.
4. ID.; ID.; CAUSE OF ACTION; CANNOT BE LITIGATED TWICE BY VARYING FORMS
OF ACTION. — Shorn of its finery, CA-G.R. SP No. 23773 merely re-echoes the issues raised
in CA-G.R. CV No. 21392 which as become res judicata. Verily, petitioner’s action to annul the
order of the trial court allowing reconstitution duplicates its earlier motion to set aside the said
order, which was granted but later reversed by the appellate court — which reversal became final
and executory due to petitioner’s failure to file an appeal within the reglementary period. A party
cannot, by varying the form of action or adopting a different method of presenting his case,
escape the operation of the principle that one and the same cause of action shall not be twice
litigated.

5. LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS; RULE 10.02 OF CODE OF PROFESSIONAL


RESPONSIBILITY; VIOLATED WHEN LAWYER MISREPRESENT CONTENTS OF
DECISION. — However, the phrase "without notice to the actual occupants of the property,
Adez Realty, in the above quoted second paragraph on page 3 of the Petition for Review, is not
found in the decision penned by Associate Justice Manuel C. Herrera for respondent Court of
Appeals. It now appears as part of a material statement of fact in the decision of the court a quo
when actually it is not. This to Us is a prima facie case of attempting to mislead [Rule 10.02,
Canon 10, Chapter III, of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall
not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of a paper, the language or the argument of
opposing counsel, or the text of a decision or authority, or knowingly cite as law a provision
already rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment, or assert as in fact that which has not been
proved] this Court, a serious offense which constitutes willful disregard of a lawyer’s solemn
duty to act at all times in a manner consistent with truth.

RESOLUTION

BELLOSILLO, J.:

The petition filed on December 28, 1990, by Adez Realty Incorporated before the Court of
Appeals, docketed therein as CA-G.R. SP No. 23773, sought to annul the order of the accused-
appellant of Morong, Rizal, dated November 20, 1984, allowing the reconstitution of Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 12662. The petition likewise sought to set aside in effect the decision of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 21392 dated July 31, 1990.

On April 30, 1991, respondent Court of Appeals 1 dismissed the petition for lack of merit. On
June 26, 1991, petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied. The respondent court, in
dismissing the petition, said that: (a) the petition is a reiteration of the issues raised before it 2
earlier in CA-G.R. CV No. 21392, promulgated July 31, 1990, and since no motion for
reconsideration or appeal by certiorari with the Supreme Court was filed, the same became final
and executory, and consequently entered in the judgment book on October 11, 1990; and, (b) the
accused-appellant of Morong, Rizal, had jurisdiction over the subject matter, the issue then being
one of venue and not of jurisdiction, which can be waived if not timely objected to in a motion to
dismiss, pursuant to Sec. 4, Rule 4, of the Rules of Court.
Hence, this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, where petitioner raises four
(4) issues which nevertheless may be simplified into the following: whether the accused-
appellant of Morong, Rizal, may acquire jurisdiction over reconstitution proceedings involving
real property situated in Quezon City, and whether publication of the notice of the petition in two
(2) successive issues of the Official Gazette and its posting in the bulletin board of the accused-
appellant of Morong, Rizal, is sufficient compliance with Sec. 13 of R.A. No. 26.

Wittingly or unwittingly, petitioner fails to refute the ruling of respondent appellate court that the
issues presented in the intent case had been previously raised before and decided upon the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 21392, which decision became final and executory, and in fact
already entered in the judgment book by reason of petitioner’s failure to seasonably file an
appeal or a motion for reconsideration. This is fatal.

It has been repeatedly held that finality of judgment becomes a fact upon the lapse of the
reglementary period of appeal if no appeal is perfected. 3 The decision therefore of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 21392 had attained finality, there being no appeal nor motion for
reconsideration interposed. Likewise, it is settled jurisprudence that once a decision becomes
final, the Court can no longer amend, modify, much less set aside the same. 4 In fact, in Dueñas
v. Mandi, 5 We held that the "trial court and the appellate court may have committed an error in
the assignment or partition of the eight parcels of land to the parties in this case, but considering
that their judgments are now final, the error, assuming that one was committed, can no longer be
amended or corrected." In Icao v. Apalisok, 6 We ruled that even the subsequent discovery of an
erroneous imposition of a penalty will not justify correction of the judgment after it has become
final. We have also declared that, subject to settled exceptions, once a judgment becomes final,
all the issues between the parties are deemed resolved and laid to rest. 7 To allow the Court of
amend or reverse a decision which has attained finality will result in endless litigations. 8 Indeed,
every litigation, CA-G.R. CV No. 21392 included, must come to an end.

Moreover, petitioner already had the opportunity to set aside the questioned order of the trial
court when its Motion to Set Aside and/or Annul the Order of Reconstitution, filed more than a
year after the issuance of the questioned order, was granted by the trial court, however erroneous
may be the procedure pursued and the consequently relief granted. Petitioner then simply failed
to maintain vigilance over its perceived rights when it did not file a timely appeal from the
adverse decision of the appellate court, thus allowing the said decision to become final.

Besides, as early as 1910, in Grey Alba v. De la Cruz, 9 We already ruled that land registration
proceedings are proceedings in rem, not in personam, and therefore it is not necessary to give
personal notice to the owners or claimants of the land sought to be registered, in order to vest the
courts with power or authority over the res. 10 Thus, while it may be true that no notice was sent
by registered mail to petitioner when the judicial reconstitution of title was sought, such failure,
however, did not amount to a jurisdictional defect. 11 In Register of Deeds of Malabon v. RTC,
Malabon, Metro Manila, Br. 170, 12 We said that" [t]he purpose of the publication of the notice
of the petition for reconstitution in the Official Gazette is to apprise the whole world that such a
petition has been filed and that whoever is minded to oppose it for good cause may do so within
thirty (30) days before the date set by the court for hearing the petition. It is the publication of
such notice that brings in the whole world as a party in the case and vests the court with
jurisdiction to hear and decide it." Thus, notice of hearing by proper publication in the Official
Gazette is sufficient to clothe the court with jurisdiction, and the mere fact that a person
purporting to have a legitimate claim in the property did not receive personal notice is not
sufficient ground to invalidate the proceedings.

Shorn of its finery, CA-G.R. SP No. 23773 merely re-echoes the issues raised in CA-G.R. CV
No. 21392 which as become res judicata. Verily, petitioner’s action to annul the order of the trial
court allowing reconstitution duplicates its earlier motion to set aside the said order, which was
granted but later reversed by the appellate court — which reversal became final and executory
due to petitioner’s failure to file an appeal within the reglementary period. A party cannot, by
varying the form of action or adopting a different method of presenting his case, escape the
operation of the principle that one and the same cause of action shall not be twice litigated. 13

Be that as it may, there appears to be no cogent reason to disturb, as to other matters, the findings
and conclusions of the Court of Appeals in its decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 21392, promulgated
July 31, 1990, the same having become final and executory. Accordingly, We affirm the assailed
decision promulgated April 30, 1992, and resolution issued June 26, 1991, by respondent Court
of Appeals.

Meanwhile, the Court adverts to the Petition for Review filed in behalf of petitioner Adez Realty,
Inc., by ATTY. BENJAMIN M. DACANAY. On pages 2-4 of the Petition, counsel purports to
quote, as he does, the questioned decision when he alleges —

"The facts of the case, as found by the Court of Appeals, are the following: chanrob1es virtu al 1aw library

x x x

‘After trial on the merits, the lower court rendered the questioned order dated November 20,
1984, without notice to the actual occupants of the property, Adez Realty, granting the
applicant’s petition for reconstitution in the name of the deceased Elias Eugenio’" (Italics
supplied)

However, the phrase "without notice to the actual occupants of the property, Adez Realty, in the
above quoted second paragraph on page 3 of the Petition for Review, is not found in the decision
penned by Associate Justice Manuel C. Herrera for respondent Court of Appeals. It now appears
as part of a material statement of fact in the decision of the court a quo when actually it is not.
This to Us is a prima facie case of attempting to mislead 14 this Court, a serious offense which
constitutes willful disregard of a lawyer’s solemn duty to act at all times in a manner consistent
with truth.

ACCORDINGLY, the challenged decision and resolution of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. SP No. 23773 are AFFIRMED and the instant petition is DISMISSED.

ATTY. BENJAMIN M. DACANAY is ordered to SHOW CAUSE within five (5) days from
notice why he should not be disciplinary dealt with for intercalating a material fact in the
judgment of the court a quo thereby altering and modifying its factual findings with the apparent
purpose of misleading this Court in order to obtain a favorable judgment, and thus failing to live
up to the standards expected of a member of the Bar.

Costs against petitioner Adez Realty Incorporated.

SO ORDERED.

Cruz, Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.