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I.

NATURE OF REGISTRATION PROCEEDINGS AND JURISDICTION OF COURTS


A. Spouses Laburada v. LRA (Edward)

G.R No. 101387 dated March 11, 1998


Petitioners: Spouses Mariano and Erlinda Laburada, represented by their attorney-in-fact, Manuel Santos,
Jr.
Respondent: Land Registration Authority

Facts:
● Petitioners were the applicants in LRC Case No. N-11022 for the registration of Lot 3-A,
Psd-1372, located in Mandaluyong City.
● On January 8, 1991, the trial court, acting as a land registration court, found that the petitioners
had a registrable title over the said parcel of land and ordered the registration of their title thereto.
● After the finality of the decision, the trial court, upon motion of petitioners, issued an order dated
March 15, 1991 requiring the Land Registration Authority (LRA) to issue the corresponding
decree of registration.
● However, the LRA refused on the ground that the issuance of the corresponding decree sought
by the petitioners would result in the duplication of titles over the same parcel of land, and thus
contravene the policy and purpose of the Torrens registration system, and destroy the integrity of
the same.
● Hence, petitioners filed this action for mandamus.

Issue: Whether or not respondent LRA can be compelled to issue the corresponding decree in LRC Case
NO. N11022 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, branch LXVIII

Held:
● No, the petition was dismissed and remanded to the court of origin in Pasig City.
● It is settled that a land registration court has no jurisdiction to order the 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, since the principle behind original registration is to register a parcel
of land only once. Thus, if it is proven that the land which petitioners are seeking to register has
already been registered in 1904 and 1905, the issuance of a decree of registration to petitioners
will run counter to said principle.
● The issuance of a decree of registration is part of the judicial function of courts and is not a mere
ministerial act which may be compelled through mandamus.
● Indeed, it is well-settled that the issuance of such decree is not compellable by mandamus
because it is a judicial act involving the exercise of discretion.
● Likewise, the writ of mandamus can be awarded only when the petitioners’ legal right to the
performance of the particular act which is sought to be compelled is clear and complete. Under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, a clear legal right is a right which is indubitably granted by law or is
inferable as a matter of law. If the right is clear and the case is meritorious, objections raising
merely technical question will be disregarded. But where the right sought to be enforced is in
substantial doubt or dispute, as in this case, mandamus cannot issue.

B. Heirs of Lopez v. De Castro (Jochelle)


FACTS:
- Pedro Lopez et al, filed an application for the registration of a parcel of land situated Tagaytay
with CFI Cavite.
- The court issued an order of general default, except only the Director of Lands.
- Assistant Fiscal of Cavite filed a motion to lift the order.
- Invoked that case of Lopez de Leon v Municipality of Silang where CA held that
applicants were never in possession of land. (Involves Lot 2)
- There there would be res judicata.
- Applicants claimed that a part of the tract land was their inheritance, however, it had to be
excluded in the application for registration upon recommendation of the Chief Surveyor of the
Gen. Land Reg. Office because it is located in Laguna (Lot 2). Similarly, the lot that lies within
Tagaytay (Lot 1) was excluded from the reg. Proceedings.
- That there is no res judicata because the case invoked by the fiscal involves Lot 2. And
the present application for registration involves Lot 1.
- Lower court: Denied motion to dismiss because municipality has no personality to intervene.
- Municipality filed a motion for reconsideration
- Petitioners filed a motion praying that the clerk receive evidence that the previous order
had become final and executory and that municipality no longer has personality to appear
in the proceedings.
- Report stated: since time immemorial persons named De los Reyes owned and
possessed the parcel of land in question. They then sold it to Dimaranan, then
was passed on to Lopez de Leons. That upon their death, their respective heirs
succeeded and partitioned it.
- The clerk recommended that the court affirm the order of general default and approve the
registration of the property. Approved by court.
- Municipality interposed an appeal but was dismissed by CA.
- It then filed a petition for certiorari but was also denied. As well as motion for
reconsideration.
- Meanwhile, further investigation revealed that a decree on Lot 1 was already issued infavor of
Honesto de Castro.
- That he filed before CFI Tagaytay the application for the same land. (Deed was
destroyed during Japanese occupation; evidenced otherwise by continued possession
and tax declarations)
- CFI Cavite declared it had lost its jurisdiction over the case, but did not even dismiss it.
- 7 years later, heirs of Lopez filed for the execution of judgment and cancellation of land titles of
the defendants and their successors-in-interest at CFI Cavite at Tagaytay.
- Petitioners alleged further that, upon the filing of their application for registration with the
CFI of Cavite said court acquired jurisdiction over the res because land registration
proceedings are in rem and therefore, the CFI Cavite at Tagaytay City could not have
acquired jurisdiction over the same res by virtue of De Castros' application for
registration.
- Respondents assert defense of latches, prescription and estoppel. That the lower court could not
enforce the judgment because they were not made parties to the case. Nor it can order the
register of deeds of Tagaytay to cancel title of respondents since it was not made party to the
case thus the court does not acquire jurisdiction over it.
ISSUE:
1. WON CA ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO RULE ON THE ISSUE THAT CFI TAGAYTAY CITY,
HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBSEQUENT LAND REGISTRATION CASE FILED BY
THE RESPONDENTS AND IN DECREEING THE REGISTRATION OF TITLE OVER THE SAID
LOTS PREVIOUSLY THE SUBJECT OF REGISTRATION PROCEEDINGS BY ANOTHER
COURT, CFI CAVITE, IN A PREVIOUS LAND REGISTRATION CASE
2. WON THE PETITIONERS CAN QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF THE TITLE OF THE
RESPONDENTS OVER THE PROPERTY IN DISPUTE

RULING:
1.​Yes​. The rule has always been that the court having territorial jurisdiction over the property should take
cognizance of its registration, upon the creation of the Tagaytay City branch, petitioners' application for
registration should have been transferred to that court inasmuch as the property involved is located in that
city.

It appears, however, that the Cavite City branch remained the venue of petitioners' application for
registration,
Rep. Act No. 3749: SEC. 6. Wherever an additional branch or branches of the Court of First Instance is
or are established in this Act in the same place where there is an existing court or courts of first instance,
all cases already filed in the latter court or courts shall be heard, tried and decided by such latter court or
courts.

Notably, the law is not clear on whether or not the phrase "in the same place" refers to the judicial
district/province or the place where a branch of the court is stationed. Hence, considering the general rule
that once a court acquires jurisdiction over a case it remains with that court until its full termination, the
phrase "in the same place" should be interpreted as referring to the province of Cavite. The Cavite City
branch of the CFI of Cavite thus correctly retained jurisdiction over the application for registration because
there was no jurisdictional question involved in the proceedings in Land Registration Case No. 299. What
was in question was whether the Cavite City branch of the Cavite CFI was the proper venue for said case
upon the creation of the Tagaytay City branch.

Venue is procedural, not jurisdictional, and hence may be waived. It is meant to provide convenience to
the parties, rather than restrict their access to the courts as it relates to the place of trial. T​his implied that
Land Registration Case No. 299 could be retained in the Cavite City branch of the CFI if it would be
convenient to the applicants who had been used to transacting business with that branch; the case did
not have to be transferred to Tagaytay City.

As regards the jurisdiction of the Tagaytay City branch over the land registration proceedings instituted by
private respondents, the order of general default issued in Land Registration Case No. 299 is of
relevance. When the Cavite City branch of the CFI issued an order of default, it is presumed to have
regularly performed its task in accordance with law especially with regard to notice requirements.

2.​No. ​The court held that a land registration is an in rem proceeding which involves a constructive notice
against all persons including the state which is effective through the publication of the application for land
registration" The court held that when (more than one certificate of title is issued over the land, the person
holding the prior certificate of title is entitled to a better right against the person who relies on the
subsequent certificate) This rule refers to the date of the certificate of title and not on the date of filing the
application for registration of title in land registration proceedings, all interested parties are obliged to take
care of their interest and to pursue their objective of registration on account of the rule that whoever first
acquires title to a piece of land shall prevail. The publication made with respect to the application of the
respondents served as a constructive notice against the whole world thus the court upheld the validity of
their title and its indefeasibility against collateral attack from the petitioners.

The record does not show why petitioners did not have actual knowledge of the registration proceedings
instituted by private respondents however the lack of such knowledge in fact raises a doubt as to the
veracity of their claim that they were in possession of the land. If indeed they possessed the property,
even if through an administrator, as diligent owners, the threat to their ownership could not have escaped
them considering that the property is in a rural community where news travels fast. Granting that the
petitioners did not have actual knowledge about the respondent’s application to the land, they waited for
more years after knowing that the property was already registered in the name of the respondents to
demand for the execution of judgment and cancellation of the respondent’s title. They are guilty of
laches.

In land registration proceedings, an in rem proceeding, all interested parties are obliged to take care of
their interest and to zealously pursue their objective of registration on account of the rule that whoever
first acquires title to a piece of land shall prevail. Where more than one certificate of title is issued over the
land, the person holding a prior certificate is entitled to the land, as against a person who relies on a
subsequent certificate. This rule refers to the date of the certificate of title, not the date of filing. The
doctrine of stale demands or laches is based on grounds of public policy which requires, for the peace of
society, the discouragement of stale claims and is principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of
permitting a right or claim to be enforced
II. VENUE
A. Vda. de Arceo v. CA (Jued)

Arceo v. CA
GR No. 81401. 18 May 1990.

FACTS:

Blue – respondents
Red and Virginia – petitioners

· Sps Abdon Arceo and Escolastica Geronimo were owners of 4 unregistered parcels of land in
Bulacan (6 involved, only 4 disputed).
· Arceos executed a deed of donation inter vivos (J) bestowing property to Jose, who paid taxes
thereon and took personal possession.
o Another deed of donation (T) disposed more properties in favor of Jose
· Later, the Arceos supposedly signed a deed of donation mortis causa revoking J (X) and giving
away the properties to all his grandchildren including Jose.
o This was only notarized 3 years later, after Escolastica died.
· Virginia and her children filed with the cadastral court an application to register the lots in their
names using J and T.
o Pedro et al opposed this, claiming that they were each entitled to 1/3 thereof.
o Cadastral court rejected all of these and instead disposed of the property according to the law on
intestate succession.
o CA affirmed.
· Virginia et al: cadastral court had no jurisdiction, it may only confirm existing title, and that lot
should have been granted to them based on OCENP since 1941, or by acquisitive prescription.
o They also asserted J and T.
o Pedro et al: cadastral had jurisdiction, issue of prescription was never brought and J had been
rescinded.
· Parties are not quarreling over genuineness of documents, but of the dates thereof.
o Pedro et al: J – 27 September 1941, not 27 October 1941; X – 3 October 1941
o Virginia et al: J – 27 October 1941; X – 3 October 1941 and assuming it came earlier, was notarized
only in 1944.

ISSUES + RULING:
​ irginia et al.
**Who has right over lots in question? V
Does the cadastral court have jurisdiction over the matter? ​YES.
· Act 496 has eliminated the distinction between the general jurisdiction vested in the regional trial
court and the limited jurisdiction conferred upon it by the former law when acting merely as a cadastral
court.
o This aimed to avoid multiplicity of suits.
o Where the issue, say, of ownership, is ineluctably tied up with the question of right of registration, the
cadastral court commits no error in assuming jurisdiction over it

Had Virgina et al acquired property through prescription? ​NO.


· Virginia et al presented 4 events:
(1) Jose’s entry in 1941 until his death in 1970, and work done thereon;
(2) Upon his death, Virginia et al divided the same through extrajudicial partition;
(3) Taxes paid by Jose from 1941-1970; and
(4) Pedro et al never had them ousted from 1941-1970.
· They were supposing that land became co-owned after death of grandparents but in order for
prescription to set in in that context, the following must concur:
(1) clear showing that claimant has repudiated co-ownership;
(2) claimant has made known to rest of co-owners that he is assuming exclusive ownership;
(3) clear and convincing evidence thereof; and
(4) OCENP
o The fact that Jose occupied it in 1941does not amount to adverse possession since he was merely
occupying it as a co-owner.
o They did not make the extrajudicial partition known to Pedro et al.
· HOWEVER, petition was granted based on J.
o Other than claims by Pedro et al that it had been revoked, J appears to have been executed in
compliance with legal requirements, i.e., as to form and acceptance.
o While the cadastral court was supposed to have attributed fraud on Jose in making Abdon sign (Pedr:
Abdon thought it was a deed of sale of another land), there is no evidence to that effect.
· As to T, CA found it defective because it was not signed by Abdon Arceo after the death of his wife
on September 1942 and does not contain the acceptance . . . by Jose Arceo and such is binding upon
SC.
· A valid donation, once accepted, becomes irrevocable, except on account of officiousness, failure
by the donee to comply with charges imposed in the donation, or by reason of ingratitude.

DISPOSITION:​ Granted.

Other digest:
Facts:
● Spouses Abdon Arceo and Escolastica Geronimo had one son, Esteban. Spouses were also the
owners of 4 parcels of unregistered land located in Pulilan, Bulacan. Abdon died in 1953, Escolastica in
16 sept 1942 and Esteban in 2 Sept 1941. Esteban sired Jose, Pedro, Lorenzo, Antonio and Sotera. Jose
married Virginia Franco with whom he fathered 6 children and are the petitioners of this case against
Jose’s siblings.
● On October (or Sept) 27 1941, the spouses Arceo executed a deed of donation on the said parcels of
land in favor of Jose, presented in court as “exhibit J”. On 2 August 1950, the spouses Arceo executed
another deed of donation to Jose on the same parcels of land, presented in court as “exhibit T”. Exhibit J
and T were executed inter vivos. On the other hand, on October 3(or 30) 1941 which was, “exhibit 1”, the
spouses Arceo executed a deed of donation to ALL GRANDCHILDREN including Jose, thereby revoking
“exhibit J”.
● On 12 January 1972, Petitioners filed with the Cadastral Court (CC) an application for the 4 lots
under the strength of exhibits J and T. Respondents contested the petition on the strength of exhibit 1. CC
dismissed the petition and distributed the land based on intestate succession, CA affirmed the decision
CC, hence this petition.

Issue: WON the CC had no jurisdiction to decide cases on claims of ownership of property.

Ruling: No. The CC HAD jurisdiction to decide cases on claims of ownership of property.

Under Section 2 of the Property Registration Decree, the jurisdiction of the RTC, sitting as a land
registration court, is no longer as circumscribed as it was under Act No. 496, the former land registration
act. The PRD “has eliminated the distinction between the general jurisdiction vested in the RTC and the
limited jurisdiction conferred upon it by Act 497 when acting merely as a Cadastral court.” Such
amendment conferred upon the trial courts he authority to act not only on applications for ‘original
registration” but also “over all petitions filed after original registration of title, with power to hear and
determine all questions arising from such applications or petitions.”

Likewise, where the issues of ownership is ineluctably tied up with the question of right of registration, the
Cadastral Court has jurisdiction over it. Hence, decision of CA is set aside.

B. SM Prime Holdings v. Madayag (Kat)


SM Prime Holdings v. Madayag. G.R. No. 164687. February 12, 2009

Facts​: Madayag filed with the RTC of Pangasinan an application for registration of a parcel of land
situated in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan. SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM) filed an opposition to the application
alleging that Madayag’s survey plan encroached from their properties.

Meanwhile, SM filed with the DENR a petition for the cancellation of Madayag’s survey plan. SM filed a
Motion to Suspend Proceedings, alleging that the RTC should await the DENR resolution of the petition
for the cancellation of the survey plan. The RTC issued an Order granting the Motion. Madayag filed a
petition for certiorari with the CA assailing the RTC Order. CA granted the petition ordering the RTC to
continue proceedings. Thus, SM filed this Petition for Review.

Issue​: Whether the RTC should suspend the proceedings in the land registration case pending the
resolution of the petition for the cancellation of Madayag’s survey plan filed with the DENR.

Ruling​: There is no need to suspend the proceedings. When the law confers jurisdiction upon a court, the
latter is deemed to have all the necessary powers to exercise such jurisdiction to make it effective. It may,
therefore, hear and determine all questions that arise from a petition for registration. The RTC need not
wait for the decision of the DENR in the petition to cancel the survey plan in order to determine whether
the subject property is already titled or forms part of already titled property.
Petition is denied. The RTC is directed to continue with the proceedings.

ALT:

Facts​:
In 2001, Madayag filed with the RTC of Urdaneta, Pangasinan an application for registration of a parcel of
land with an area of 1,492-m2 located in Barangay Anonas, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan. Attached to the
application was a tracing cloth of Survey Plan Psu-01-008438, approved by the LMS-DENR, Region 1,
San Fernando City. SM opposed the application because allegedly, the lot encroached on the properties
it recently purchased from several lot owners. SM also filed with the DENR a petition for cancellation of
the survey plan. Afterwhich, SM filed with the RTC an Urgent Motion to Suspend Proceeding in the land
registration case alleging that the trial court should wait for DENR’s resolution of the petition.

After the trial, the RTC suspended the registration proceedings on the ground that the petition for
cancellation of the survey plan filed by SM with DENR is prejudicial to the determination of the land
registration case since a survey plan is one of the mandatory requirements in such proceedings. When
Madayag appealed to CA, the latter ratiocinated that the survey plan, which was duly approved by the
DENR, should be accorded the presumption of regularity, and that the RTC has the power to hear and
determine all questions arising from an application for registration.

Issue​/s:
Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction over land registration proceedings is affected if there is a petition
filed in DENR to cancel the survey plan, one of the mandatory requirements in such proceedings.

Ruling​:
Yes. The Court held that as an incident to its authority to settle all questions over the title of the subject
property, the land registration court may resolve the underlying issue of whether the subject property
overlaps the petitioner’s properties without necessarily having to declare the survey plan as void.
Furthermore, It stated that a land registration court has the duty to determine whether the issuance of a
new certificate of title will alter a valid and existing certificate of title. An application for registration of an
already titled land constitutes a collateral attack on the existing title, which is not allowed by law.
However, the RTC need not wait for the decision of the DENR in the petition to cancel the survey plan in
order to determine whether the subject property is already titled or forms part of already titled property.
The court may now verify this allegation based on the respondent’s survey plan vis-à-vis the certificates of
title of the petitioner and its predecessors-ininterest. After all, a survey plan precisely serves to establish
the true identity of the land to ensure that it does not overlap a parcel of land or a portion thereof already
covered by a previous land registration, and to forestall the possibility that it will be overlapped by a
subsequent registration of any adjoining land.

C. Bureau of Forestry v. CA (Mark)

FACTS:
● Four (4) parcels of land situated in Buenavista, Iloilo were the subject of an application for
registration by Mercedes Diago.
● She alleged among others that she herself occupied said parcels of land having bought them
from the testate estate of the late Jose Ma. Nava who, in his lifetime, had bought the lands in turn
from Canuto Gustilo.
● The Director of Lands opposed the application on the ground that neither the applicant nor her
predecessor-in-interest have sufficient title over the lands which could be registered under the
Torrens system, and never been in open, continuous and exclusive possession of the lands for at
least 30 years prior to the filing of the application.
● The Director of Lands contended that specific portions of the lands subject to the application are
mangrove swamps and are within Timberland Block of Buenavista, Iloilo.
● On June 1965 respondent Filmeno Gallo, having purchased the parcels of land from Mercedes
Diago on April 27, 1965, moved to be substituted in place of the latter.
● Trail court rendered its decision ordering the registration of the Four parcels of land in the name
of Filomeno Gallo but excluded some portions of it.
● Petitioners appealed the said decision to the CA.
● CA affirmed the decision and denied a motion for reconsideration of the petitioner. Hence the
present petition.

ISSUE: ​WON the classification of lands of public domain by the Executive Branch of the Government into
agricultural, forest or mineral can be changed by the court

HELD: NO. Admittedly, the controversial area is within a timberland block classified and certified as such
by the Director of Forestry in 1956. The lands are needed for forest purposed and hence they are portions
of the public domain which cannot be the subject of registration proceedings.

Clearly therefore the land is public land and there is no need for the Director of Forestry to submit
convincing proofs that the land is more valuable for forest purposes than for agriculture.

As provided for under Sec. 6 of Commonwealth Act No. 141, the classification or reclassification of public
lands into alienable or disposable, mineral or forest lands is now a prerogative of the Executive
Department and not the courts. With these rules, there should be no more room for doubt that it is not the
court which determines the classification of lands of the public domain but the Executive Branch, through
the Office of the President. Furthermore, respondents cannot claim to have obtained their title by
prescription since the application filed by them necessarily implied an admission that the portions applied
for part of the public domain and cannot be acquired by prescription, unless the law expressly permits it. It
is a rule of law that possession of forest lands, however long, cannot ripen into private ownership.

D. Martinez v. CA (Miguel)
PETITIONER/S:​ Romeo Martinez, and Leonor Suarez, spouses, petitioners-appellants.
RESPONDENT/S: Hon. Court of Appeals, Secretary, and Undersecretary of Public Works and
Communications, respondents-appellees.

FACTS:
The Spouses Romeo Martinez, and Leonor Suarez are the owners of two (2) parcels of land
(both fishponds) in Lubao, Pampanga. One of which is the subject of the present case. The disputed
property was originally owned by Paulino Montemayor, who secured a ​titulo royal over it in 1883. After his
death, the property was eventually passed on to Potenciano Garcia. Potenciano Garcia filed a civil case
on 22 June 1914 against the municipal president of Lubao, Pampanga, Pedro Beltran because the former
was prevented by the latter from restoring the dikes on the contested property. Garcia was asking the CFI
to restrain Beltran from molesting him in his possession of the land, and the preliminary injunction was
issued against Beltran, which was later declared permanent. From 22 June 1914, the dikes around the
property in question remained closed until a portion thereof was again opened just before the outbreak of
the Pacific War. OCTs were issued in favour of Garcia and his wife.
Eventually, the ownership of the land was acquired by herein petitioner spouses. To avoid any
untoward incident, the disputants agreed to refer the matter to the Committee on Rivers and Streams, by
then composed of the Honorable Pedro Tuason, at that time Secretary of Justice, as chairman, and the
Honorable Salvador Araneta and Vicente Orosa, Secretary of Agriculture and National Resources and
Secretary of Public Works and Communications, respectively, as members. This committee thereafter
appointed a Sub-Committee to investigate the case and to conduct an ocular inspection of the contested
property, and on 11 March 1954, said Sub-Committee submitted its report to the Committee on Rivers
and Streams to the effect that the subject lot was not a public river but a private fishpond owned by the
herein petitioner spouses. ​The Committee on Rivers and Streams rendered a decision in favour of
the petitioner spouses.
However, the municipal officials of Lubao refused to recognize the decision of the Committee on
Rivers and Streams, which led to the filing of a civil case by the petitioner spouses. The lower court
rendered a decision enjoining the Sec. of Public Works and Communications from molesting the petitioner
spouses in their possession, use, and enjoyment of their property. The CA reversed; hence, the present
petition.
ISSUE: WON the CA erred in re-opening and re-litigating the issue as to whether or not the subject lot is
a public river notwithstanding the fact that this issue has been long resolved and settled by the Land
Registration Court of Pampanga.

RULING: NO
Property of public ownership is that destined to the public use, such as roads, canals, rivers,
torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State, and banks and shores, roadsteads, and that of
similar character. These properties are parts of the public domain intended for public use, and are
outside the commerce of men; therefore, they are not subject to private appropriation. In ​Ledesma v.
Municipality of Iloilo,​ “A simple possession of a certificate of title under the Torrens system does not
necessarily make the possessor a true owner of all the property described therein. ​If a person obtains
title under the Torrens system which includes by mistake or oversight, lands which cannot be
registered under the Torrens system, he does not by virtue of said certificate alone become the
owner of the land illegally included."
The Land Registration Court has no jurisdiction over non-registrable properties, such as public
navigable rivers which are parts of the public domain, and cannot validly adjudge the registration of title in
favor of a private applicant. Hence, the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga as regards
the Lot No. 2 of Certificate of Title No. 15856 in the name of petitioners-appellants may be attacked at any
time, either directly or collaterally, by the State which is not bound by any prescriptive period provided for
by the Statute of Limitations (Article 1108, par. 4, New Civil Code).

DISPOSITIVE: FOR ALL THE FOREGOING, the judgment of the Court of Appeals appealed from is in
accordance with law, and the same is hereby ​affirmed ​with costs against the petitioners-appellants.

E. Republic v. CA (Mustang)
FACTS:
● RA No. 1899 which was approved on June 22, 1957 authorized the reclamation of foreshore
lands by chartered cities and municipalities.
● Invoking RA 1899, the Pasay City passed Ordinance No. 121 for the reclamation of 300 hectares
of foreshore lands along the seaside in Pasay City. The Ordinance was amended authorizing
Republic Real Estate Corporation (RREC) to reclaim foreshore lands of Pasay City under certain
terms and conditions.
● Republic of the Philippines (RP) filed a Complaint for Recovery of Possession and Damages
questioning subject Agreement between Pasay City and RREC on the grounds that the
subject-matter of such Agreement is outside the commerce of man, that its terms and conditions
are violative of RA 1899 and the said Agreement was executed without any public bidding.
● It alleged that that what Pasay City has are submerged or offshore areas outside the commerce
of man which could not be a proper subject matter of the Agreement between Pasay City and
RREC in question as the area affected is within the National Park, known as Manila Bay Beach
Resort, established under Proclamation No. 41, dated July 5, 1954, pursuant to Act No. 3915, of
which area it (Republic) has been in open, continuous and peaceful possession since time
immemorial.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the Ordinance passed by Pasay City is valid.

HELD:

The Ordinance is invalid. Foreshore land does not include submerged areas. Foreshore lands refers to
the strip of land that lies between the high and low water marks and that is alternately wet and dry
according to the flow of the tide.
To repeat, the term "foreshore lands" refers to:
The strip of land that lies between the high and low water marks and that is alternately wet and dry
according to the flow of the tide.

A strip of land margining a body of water (as a lake or stream); the part of a seashore between the
low-water line usually at the seaward margin of a low-tide terrace and the upper limit of wave wash at
high tide usually marked by a beach scarp or berm.(​ Webster's Third New International Dictionary)

The duty of the court is to interpret the enabling Act, RA 1899. In so doing, we cannot broaden its
meaning, much less widen the coverage thereof. If the intention of Congress were to include submerged
areas, it should have provided expressly. That Congress did not so provide could only signify the
exclusion of submerged areas from the term "foreshore lands".
The subject matter of Pasay City Ordinance No. 121, as amended by Ordinance No. 158, and the
Agreement under attack, have been found to be outside the intendment and scope of RA 1899, and
therefore​ ultra vires​ and null and void.

F. Alvarez v. PICOP (Yana)

FACTS:

● 1952 - Timber License Agreement (TLA) 43 was issued to PICOP Resources, Inc (PICOP). TLA
is valid for 25 years or until 1977 and renewable for another 25 years. It was issued under the
condition, among others, that the DENR may amend or alter the description of the boundaries in
the area covered by the license agreement.
● 1969 – President Marcos signed the ​1969 Document purported to be ​Presidential Warranty in
response to the request of the Board of Investments of PICOP for a warranty on the boundaries
the concession area under TLA 43.
● 1977 - TLA 43 (valid from 1952-1977) was renewed for another 25 years or until 2002.
● 1999 - DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 99-53 was issued providing for the conversion of
TLA to Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA). This is a late response to the change
in the constitutional provisions on natural resources from the 1973 Constitution, which allowed the
granting of licenses to private entities, to the present 1987 Constitution, which provides for
co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements as the permissible schemes
wherein private entities may participate in the utilization of forest products.
○ Since the granting of timber licenses ceased to be a permissible scheme for the
participation of private entities under the present Constitution, their operations should
have ceased upon the issuance of DAO No. 99-53, the rule regulating the schemes
under the present Constitution. This would be iniquitous to those with existing TLAs that
would not have expired yet as of the issuance of DAO No. 99-53, especially those with
new TLAs that were originally set to expire after 10 or even 20 or more years.
○ The DENR thus inserted a provision in DAO No. 99-53 allowing these TLA holders to
finish the period of their TLAs, but this time as IFMAs, without the rigors of going through
a new application, which they have probably just gone through a few years ago.
● PICOP filed with the DENR an application to have its TLA 43 converted into an IFMA. In the
middle of the processing of PICOP’s application, however, PICOP refused to attend further
meetings with the DENR. Instead, on 2 September 2002, PICOP filed before the RTC of Quezon
City a Petition for Mandamus against then DENR Secretary Heherson T. Alvarez. PICOP seeks
the issuance of a privileged writ of mandamus to compel the DENR Secretary to sign, execute
and deliver an IFMA to PICOP.
● PICOP based its action on the 1969 Document which it claimed to be an enforceable contract
protected by the non-impairment clause of the Constitution, and asserted that it has complied with
all the legal and constitutional requirements for the issuance of IFMA.
○ Among the requirements are ​(1) a consultation with and approval from the
Sanggunian concerned under Sections 26 and 27 of the Local Government Code;
and (2) a Certification from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
that the concession area does not overlap with any ancestral domain.
○ PICOP’s TLA No. 43 traverses the length and breadth of Surigao del Sur, Agusan del
Sur, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental. However, it secured only the approval of the
Sanggunian of Surigao del Sur.
○ PICOP claimed that it did not need to secure the certification from NCIP because the
subject lands are not ancestral domain
● RTC granted the Petition for Mandamus and award damages to PICOP. Upon motion for
reconsideration filed by DENR Secretary Alvarez, the damages awarded was deleted.
● CA affirmed RTC decision. Motion for reconsideration was denied.
● Upon petition for review, the Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the lower courts. Hence, this
motion for reconsideration

ISSUES​:

1. Did PICOP comply with all the administrative and statutory requirements for the issuance of an
IFMA? ​NO;
2. Is PICOP required to acquire a Certification from the NCIP that the concession area does not
overlap with any ancestral domain? ​YES

HELD:

1. COMPLIANCE WITH STATUTORY AND ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE


CONVERSION OF THE TLA TO IFMA.

Factual Issues: PICOP submitted the required forest protection and reforestation plans. It also paid the
required forest charges as found by the DENR.

In its Motion for Reconsideration, PICOP asserts that, in its Letter of Intent, there was a reference to a
Ten-Year Sustainable Forest Management Plan (SFMP), in which a Five-Year Forest Protection Plan and
a Seven-Year Reforestation Plan were allegedly incorporated. This was not disputed or questioned by the
DENR Secretary. Thus, the pronouncement in the original ruling that PICOP did not submit such plans
was withdrawn.

As regards the forestry charges, the court ruled that Senior Forest Management Specialist Ignacio M.
Evangelista who testified that PICOP failed to pay its regular forest charges did not just rely on
Memoranda (unpaid and overdue forest charges of PICOP) of Orlanes and Arayan who were not
presented as witness. Evangelista verified the contents of such Memoranda. SFMS Evangelista, while not
relying on the Memoranda of Orlanes and Arayan, nevertheless relied on records, the preparation of
which he did not participate in. These records and the persons who prepared them were not presented in
court, either. As such, SFMS Evangelista’s testimony, insofar as he relied on these records, was on
matters not derived from his own perception, and was, therefore, hearsay. In view of the foregoing, the
Court withdraw its earlier pronouncement that PICOP has unpaid forestry charges, at least for the
purpose of determining compliance with the IFMA requirements.

2. PICOP needs the certification issued by NCIP that the areas covered by their license do not
overlap with any ancestral domain. Also, it needs consultations with and approval of ALL local
government units concerned.

PICOP had tried to put a cloud of ambiguity over Section 59 of Republic Act No. 8371, requiring NCIP
certification that the areas affected do not overlap with any ancestral domain before the issuance of any
license or lease agreement, by invoking the definition of Ancestral Domains, wherein the possession by
Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) must have been continuous to the
present. However, the noted that there are exceptions such as voluntary dealings entered into by the
government and private individuals/corporations. Consequently, the issuance of TLA 43 in 1952 did not
cause the ICCs/IPs to lose their possession or occupation over the area covered by TLA 43.

PICOP also argued that the required certification is only necessary for duly established ancestral
domains. The Court said that it was manifestly absurd to claim that the subject lands must first be proven
to be part of ancestral domains before a certification that the lands are not part of ancestral domains can
be required. The certification applies to agreements over natural resources that do not necessarily lie
within the ancestral domains.

PICOP also forward the argument that it is not applying for a renewal but for automatic conversion and as
such it is not required to submit the NCIP certification. This argument is contrary to what it is claiming that
the alleged Presidential Warranty is renewable for 25 years.

[RELEVANT] Sanggunian Consultation and Approval

PICOP initially sought to comply with the requirement under Sections 263 and 274 of the Local
Government Code to procure prior approval of the Sanggunians concerned. However, only one of the
many provinces affected approved the issuance of an IFMA to PICOP. Undaunted, PICOP nevertheless
submitted to the DENR the purported resolution of theProvince of Surigao del Sur indorsing the approval
of PICOP’sapplication for IFMA conversion, apparently hoping either that the disapproval of the other
provinces would go unnoticed, or that the Surigao del Sur approval would be treated as sufficient
compliance.

When it was pointed out in the original SC Decision that the approval must be by all the Sanggunians
concerned and not by only one of them, PICOP changed its theory of the case in its Motion for
Reconsideration, this time claiming that they are not required at all to procure Sanggunian approval.

PICOP had claimed that it complied with the LGC requirement of obtaining prior approval of the
Sanggunian concerned by submitting a purported resolution of the Province of Surigao del Sur indorsing
theapproval of PICOP’s application for IFMA conversion. The Court ruled that this cannot be deemed
sufficient compliance with the foregoing provision. Surigao del Sur is not the only province affected by the
areacovered by the proposed IFMA. PICOP’s TLA No. 43 traverses the length and breadth not only of
Surigao del Sur but also of Agusan del Sur, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

PICOP also argued that Sections 26 and 27 are not applicable because PICOP is not a national agency
nor government-owned and controlled. The Court ruled that according to Section 2, Article 12 of the
Constitution, all projects relating to the exploration, development and utilization of natural resources are
projects of State. They can never be purely private endeavours. PICOP is indeed neither a national
agency nor a government-owned or controlled corporation. The DENR, however, is a national agency and
is the national agency prohibited by Section 27 from issuing an IFMA without the prior approval of the
Sanggunian concerned.

Finally, the devolution of the project to local government units is not required before Sections 26 and 27
would be applicable. The approval of the Sanggunian concerned is required by law, not because the local
government has control over such project, but because the local government has the duty to protect its
constituents and their stake in the implementation of the project. Again, Section 26 states that it applies to
projects that "may cause pollution, climatic change, depletion of non-renewable resources, loss of crop
land, rangeland, or forest cover, and extinction of animal or plant species." The local government should
thus represent the communities in such area, the very people who will be affected by flooding, landslides
or even climatic change if the project is not properly regulated, and who likewise have a stake in the
resources in the area, and deserve to be adequately compensated when these resources are exploited.
Indeed, it would be absurd to claim that the project must first be devolved to the local government before
the requirement of the national government seeking approval from the local government can be applied. If
a project has been devolved to the local government, the local government itself would be implementing
the project. That the local government would need its own approval before implementing its own project is
patently silly.

I. APPLICANTS
A. Heirs of C. Ermac v. Heirs of V. Ermac (Aki)
GR no. 149679 | May 30, 2003
Grant of Title; ​Applicants

FACTS:
➢ Lot no. 666 was owned by Claudio Ermac.
➢ When he died his children, Esteban, Pedro, and Balbina, inherited and partitioned the lot.
○ Esteban was tasked to have their title over the property registered, but he was
unable to. His son, Clemente, was then tasked to register.
○ When he registered, it was under his own name; he did not include his uncle and
aunt and their families.
○ Despite this, Clemente did not claim ownership over the other ⅔ of the land.
➢ At this moment, the respondents are occupants of Lot no. 666 (yung ⅔ nung mga
kapatidz).
○ They claim ownership either by right of succession as direct descendants of
Claudio Ermac (OG owner) or by purchase from his children.
○ They were living peacefully and undisturbed, until when the petitioners filed an
action for ejectment against them.
➢ Petitioners, on the other hand, claim that it was not Claudio who originally owned it, but
Clemente, the Ermac who registered the property.
○ According to them, Clemente was in actual, peaceful, adverse, and continuous
possession in the concept of an owner of the ENTIRE lot no. 666.
○ They claim that they merely tolerated the respondents' recent occupation of
some of the portions, but have never surrendered ownership or possession of the
property.

ISSUES:
1. whether the preliminary injunction issued by the lower Court is valid - ​moot.
2. whether the title involved in the case at bar is indefeasible and incontrovertible -
no.
3. whether the lot was properly proved to be owned by Claudio Ermac - ​yes.
4. whether the ownership of the lot is barred by prescription and laches - ​no.

RULING:
1. The petitioners failed to properly assail the validity as they challenged it too late.
It was challenged past the reglementary period.

2. The petitioners cite Section 32 of PD 1529 when they claimed that the title issued
in their favor became incontrovertible after the lapse of one year from the
issuance of the same.

The Court held that the aforementioned provision does not deprive an aggrieved
party of a remedy in law.

Also, ownership is not the same as a certificate of title. Registering a piece of


land under the Torrens System does not create or vest title; it is merely a piece of
evidence of ownership or title over the property described therein. Its issuance
does not automatically foreclose the possibility that the real property may be
co-owned with persons not named in the certificate, or that it may be held in trust
for another person by the registered owner.

3. The respondents were able to prove that the land was indeed owned by Claudio
Ermac. The testimony of the witnesses for the respondents is a factual issue
already passed upon and resolved by the trial and the appellate courts. The trial
court’s findings of fact, as affirmed by the CA, is conclusive and binding upon this
Court.

While the tax declarations and realty tax receipts are not conclusive proof of
ownership, they constitute strong evidence of ownership when accompanied by
possession for a period sufficient for prescription. Considering that respondents
have been in possession of the property for a long time, there is legal basis for
their use of tax declarations and realty tax receipts as evidence.

4. The action is not barred by prescription or laches, despite the respondents taking
57 years to file an action.

When a party uses fraud or concealment to obtain a certificate of title to property,


a constructive trust is created in favor of the defrauded party.

Claudio Ermac has already been established in the present case as the original
owner of the land, the registration in the name of Clemente Ermac meant that
Clemente held the land in trust for all the heirs of the former. Since respondents
were in actual possession of the property, the action to enforce the trust, and
recover the property, and thereby quiet title thereto, does not prescribe.

B. Republic v. Iglesia ni Cristo (Edward)

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v IGLESIA NI CRISTO


G.R. no. 180067 | June 30, 2009

FACTS.
1. INC, represented by Manalo, as corporate sole, filed its Application for Registration of Title before
the MCTC in Paoay-Currimao. Appended to the application were the sepia or tracing cloth of plan
Swo-1-001047 (technical description of Lot 3946), the Geodetic Engineer’s Certificate, Tax
Declaration 508026 and the September 7, 1970 Deed of Sale executed by Badanguio in favor of
INC.
2. The Republic, through OSG, deputized the Provincial Prosecutor of Laoag City to appear on its
behalf, and filed an opposition to INC’s application.
3. For processing of its application for judicial confirmation of title, lot 3946 of the Currimao cadastre
was surveyed and consisted of 4,201 sqm.
4. In 1954, Badanguio was issued TD 006114 for the bigger lot and subsequently sold a small
portion of the bigger lot to INC for which a deed of absolute sale was executed (Jan. 8, 1959).
5. Alcantara, the property custodian of INC, testified to the purchases constituting the subject lot and
the issuance of TDs covering it.
6. On Sept. 7, 1970, Badanguio executed a Deed of Sale in favor of INC formally ceding and
conveying to INC the lot which still formed part of the TD of the bigger lot under his name. (​This
was testified to by Tulali who became a tenant of the bigger lot in 1965 and continued under
Badanguio)​ .
7. TD 6485 was issued in 1970 in the name of INC pursuant to the Sept. 7, 1970 Deed of Sale and
was replaced by TD 406056 in 1974, TD 508026 in 1980 and TD 605153 in 1985.
8. In 2005, MCTC (acting as cadastral court) --> granted the application as all the essential
requisites for judicial confirmation of an imperfect title was complied with based on documentary
and testimonial evidence
a. Established during trial that the lot formed part of a bigger lot owned by Sabuco and that
he sold a small portion of the bigger lot to INC which built a chapel. The bigger lot less
the small portion was sold to Badanguio.
b. Sacayanan, who became an INC member in 1948, testified to the sale by Sabuco and
erection of a small chapel by INC in 1952.
c. INC had continuous possession of the lot for over 40 years after its acquisition and that
Badanguio and Sabuco, predecessors in interest of INC, were never disturbed in their
possession.
9. CA --> affirmed MCTC, the evidence established the continuous, open, and peaceful possession
and occupation of the lot in concept of owner by INC.
10. Republic contends that the lot was certified as alienable and disposable land of the public
domain only on ​May 16, 1993 ​and contends that prior to said date, the lot remained to be of the
public domain so INC or its predecessors cannot confer ownership and any period of possession
prior to the date when classified as alienable and disposable should be excluded in computation
of period of possession.
a. Since application was filed only on ​November 19, 1998​, INC fell short of the 30 year
period required under Section 48(b), CA 141
11. INC counters that what is required by Sec. 14(1), PD 1529, is that the property sought to be
registered is already alienable and disposable at the time of the application for registration is filed.

ISSUE: W​ /N a judicial confirmation of imperfect title prosper when the subject property has been declared
as alienable only after June 12, 1945 ​--

HELD: ​It is well-settled that no public land can be acquired by private persons without any grant, express
or implied, from the government, and it is indispensable that the persons claiming title to public land
should show that their title was acquired by the State or any other mode of acquisition recognized by law.
In this case, it is undisputed that the lot has already been declared alienable and disposable by the
Government on May 16, 1993 (5 years before application for registration was filed by INC).

In Heirs of Malabanan v Republic, the Court ruled that the more reasonable interpretation of Sec. 14(1) is
that it merely requires the property sought to be registered as already alienable and disposable at the
time the application for registration of title is filed. If the State, at the time the application is made, has not
yet deemed it proper to release the property for alienation or disposition, the presumption is that the
government is still reserving the right to utilize the property; hence, the need to preserve its ownership in
the State irrespective of the length of adverse possession even if in good faith. Thus, the period of
possession is reckoned not from the time of declaration of the property as alienable and disposable.

INC is entitled to registrable right over subject lot. The possession of INC has been established not only
from 1952 and 1959 when it purchased the respective halves of the subject lot, but is also tacked on to
the possession of its predecessors-in-interest, Badanguio and Sabuco, the latter possessing the subject
lot way before June 12, 1945, as he inherited the bigger lot, of which the subject lot is a portion, from his
parents. These possessions and occupation from Sabuco, including those of his parents, to INC; and
from Sabuco to Badanguio to INC had been in the concept of owners: open, continuous, exclusive, and
notorious possession and occupation under a ​bona fide ​claim of acquisition of property. These had not
been disturbed as attested to by respondents witnesses.

The petition is ​DENIED​.

C. Chavez v. PEA (Jochelle)


FACTS
- On November 20, 1973, the government, through the Commissioner of PublicHighways, signed a
contract with the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP) to reclaim
certain foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay.
- .The contract also included the construction of Phases I and II of the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road.
- CDCP obligated itself to carry out all the works in consideration of fifty percent of the total
reclaimed land.
- On February 4, 1977, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 1084
creating PEA. PD No. 1084 tasked PEA “to reclaim land, including foreshore and submerged
areas,” and “to develop, improve, acquire, x x x lease and sell any and all kinds of lands.”
- On the same date, then President Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 1085 transferring to
PEA the “lands reclaimed in the foreshore and offshore of the Manila Bay” under the Manila
-Cavite Coastal Road and Reclamation Project (MCCRRP).
- On January 19, 1988, then President Corazon C. Aquino issued Special Patent No. 3517,
granting and transferring to PEA “the parcels of land so reclaimed under the Manila-Cavite
Coastal Road and Reclamation Project.
- On April 9, 1988, the Register of Deeds issued TCT Nos. 7309, 7311, and 7312, in the name of
PEA, covering the three reclaimed islands known as the “Freedom Islands” located at the
southern portion of the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road, Parañaque City.
- On April 25, 1995, PEA entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with AMARI, a private
corporation, to develop the Freedom Islands.
- 1996 Senate Pres.Maceda delivered a privileged speech in the Senate and denounced the JVA
as the “grandmother of all scams”. As a result, the Senate conducted investigations. Among the
conclusions were: ​The reclaimed lands PEA seeks to transfer to AMARI under the JVA are
lands of the public domain which the government has not classified as alienable lands and
therefore PEA cannot alienate these lands; The certificates of the title covering the
Freedom Islands are thus void, and The JVA itself is illegal.
- 1997, Pres. Ramos created the Legal Task Force to conduct a study on the legality of the JVA in
view of the Senate Committee report.
- 1998 The Philippine Daily Inquirer published reports on on-going renegotiations between PEA
and AMARIPEA Director Nestor Kalaw and PEA Chairman ArsenioYulo and former navy officer
Sergio Cruz were members of the negotiating pane
- Petitioner assails the sale to AMARI of lands of the public domain as a blatant violation of Section
3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution prohibiting the sale of alienable lands of the public domain
to private corporations.
- On March 30, 1999, PEA and AMARI signed the Amended Joint Venture Agreement.
- On May 28, 1999, the Office of the President under the administration of then President Joseph
E. Estrada approved the Amended JVA.
- Several motions for reconsideration of the Supreme Court’s July 9, 2002 decision which declared
the amended JVA null and void ab initio were filed.
- The conclusions of said decision were summarized by the Court as follows: The
157.84 hectares of reclaimed lands comprising the Freedom Islands, now
covered by certificates of title in the name of PEA, are alienable lands of the
public domain.
- PEA may lease these lands to private corporations but may not sell or transfer
ownership of these lands to private corporations. PEA may only sell these lands
to Philippine citizens, subject to the ownership limitations in the 1987 Constitution
and existing laws. The 592.15 hectares of submerged areas of Manila Bay
remain inalienable natural resources of the public domain until classified as
alienable or disposable lands open to disposition and declared no longer needed
for public service. ​The government can make such classification and
declaration only after PEA has reclaimed these submerged areas. Only then
can these lands qualify as agricultural lands of the public domain, which
are the only natural resources the government can alienate.
- In their present state, the 592.15 hectares of submerged areas are inalienable
and outside the commerce of man. Since the Amended JVA seeks to transfer to
AMARI, a private corporation, ownership of 77.34 hectares of the Freedom
Islands, such transfer is void for being contrary to Section 3, Article XII of the
1987 Constitution which prohibits private corporations from acquiring any kind of
alienable land of the public domain.
- Since the Amended JVA also seeks to transfer to AMARI ownership of 290.156
hectares of still submerged areas of Manila Bay, such transfer is void for being
contrary to Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits the
alienation of natural resources other than agricultural lands of the public domain.
- PEA may reclaim these submerged areas. Thereafter, the government can
classify there claimed lands as alienable or disposable, and further declare them
no longer needed for public service. Still, the transfer of such reclaimed alienable
lands of the public domain to AMARI will be void in view of Section 3, Article XII
of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits private corporations from acquiring any
kind of alienable land of the public domain.

ISSUE: WON AMARI, a private corporation, can acquire and own under the amended JVA 367.5
has. of reclaimed foreshore and submerged area in Manila Bay in view of Sections 2 & 3, Art. 12 of
the 1987 Constitution

RULING: NO. ​The 157.84 has .of reclaimed lands comprising the Freedom Islands, now covered by
certificates of title in the name of PEA, are alienable lands of the public domain. PEA may lease these
lands to private corporations but may not sell or transfer ownership of these lands to private corporations.
PEA may only sell these lands to Philippine citizens, subject to ownership limitations in the 1987
Constitution and existing laws.The 592.15 has.of submerged areas of Manila Bay remain inalienable
natural resources of the public domain and outside the commerce of man until classified as alienable or
disposable lands open to disposition and declared no longer needed for public service.The government
can make such classification and declaration only after PEA has reclaimed these submerged areas. Only
then can these lands qualify as agricultural lands of the public domain, which are the only natural
resources the government can alienate. Since the Amended JVA seeks to transfer to AMARI, a private
corporation, ownership of 77.34 has.of the Freedom Islands, such transfer is void for being contrary to
Section 3, Article 12 of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits private corporations from acquiring any kind
of alienable land of the public domain. Since the Amended JVA also seeks to transfer to AMARI
ownership of 290.156 has.of still submerged areas of Manila Bay, such transfer is void for being contrary
to Section 2, Article 12 of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits the alienation of natural resources other
than agricultural lands of the public domain. PEA may reclaim these submerged areas. Thereafter, the
government can classify the reclaimed lands as alienable or disposable, and further declare them no
longer needed for public services.Still, the transfer of such reclaimed alienable lands of the public domain
to AMARI will be void in view of Section 3, Article 12 that prohibits private corporations from acquiring any
kind of alienable land of the public domain.

Rationale: ​After the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution, government reclaimed and marshy disposable
lands of the public domain continued to be only leased and not sold to private parties. These lands
remained suis generic as the only alienable or disposable lands of the public domain the government
could not sell to private parties. The only way that the government can sell to private parties government
reclaimed and marshy disposable lands of the public domain is for the legislature to pass a law
authorizing such sale.

PD No. 1085, coupled with President Aquino’s actual issuance of a special patent covering the Freedom
Islands, is equivalent to an official proclamation classifying the Freedom Islands as alienable or
disposable lands of the public domain. PD No. 1085 and President Aquino’s issuance of a land patent
also constitute a declaration that the Freedom Islands are no longer needed for public service. The
Freedom Islands are thus alienable or disposable lands of the public domain, open to disposition or
concession to qualified parties.in case of sale or lease of disposable lands of the public domain, a public
bidding is required 1987 Constitution declares that all natural resources are owned by the State. With the
exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated.

If the farmland were registered in the name of a corporation, upon the death of the owner, his heirs would
inherit shares in the corporation instead of subdivided parcels of the farmland. This would prevent the
continuing break-up of farmlands into smaller and smaller plots from one generation to the next. In actual
practice then, this ban strengthens the consti limitation on individuals from acquiring more than the
allowed area of alienable lands of the public domain. Without the ban, individuals who already acquired
the maximum area of alienable lands of the public domain could easily set up corporations to acquire
more alienable public lands. An individual could own as many corporations as his means would allow him.
He could even hide his ownership of a corporation by putting his nominees as stockholders of the
corporation.

D. Oh Cho v. Director of Lands (Jued)

Facts: Oh Cho​, a Chinese citizen, purchased from the Lagdameos a parcel of land in Tayabas, which
they openly, continuously and adversely possessed since 1880. On January 17, 1940, ​Oh Cho ​applied for
registration of this land. The Solicitor General opposed the registration on the ground that ​Oh Cho ​lacked
title to said land and also because he was an alien disqualified from acquiring lands of the public domain .

Issue: ​Whether or not ​Oh Cho ​is entitled to a decree of registration.

Ruling: No. Petitioner ​failed to show that he has title to the lot, which may be confirmed under the Land
Registration Act. All lands that were not acquired from the Government, either by purchase or by grant,
belong to the public domain. An exception to the rule would be any land that 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 land had never been part of the public domain or that it
had been a private property even before the Spanish conquest. The applicant does not come under the
exception, for the earliest possession of the lot by his first predecessor in interest began in 1880.Under
the Public Land Act, ​Oh Cho ​is not entitled to a decree of registration of the lot, because he is an alien
disqualified from acquiring lands of the public domain. Oh Cho ​predecessors in interest would have been
entitled to a decree of registration had they applied for the same. The application for the registration of the
land was a condition precedent, which was not complied with by the Lagdameos who was not able.
Hence, the most they had was mere possessory right, not title. This possessory right was what was
transferred to Oh Cho, but since the latter is an alien, the possessory right could never ripen to ownership
by prescription. As an alien, ​Oh Cho ​is disqualified from acquiring title over public land by prescription.

E. Diaz v. Republic (Kat)


Facts​: This is a letter-motion praying for reconsideration for the third time of the resolution of the
Supreme Court denying the petition for review filed by petitioner Florencia Diaz.

The petitioner filed an application for registration of a vast tract of land in Nueva Ecija. She alleged that
she possessed the land as owner and worked, developed and harvested the agricultural products and
benefits of the same continuously, publicly and adversely for more than 26 years.

OSG opposed the application because the land in question was within the Fort Magsaysay Military
Reservation. Thus, it was inalienable as it formed part of the public domain.

Prior to this case, the Supreme Court already ruled in the case of Director of Lands vs. Reyes that the
property was inalienable as it formed part of a military reservation and the existence of a Possessory
Information Title No. 216 (registered in the name of a certain Melecio Padilla) which the respondent in the
sited case anchored its claim on the land, was not proven.

CFI ruled in favor of the petitioner. Upon appeal, the CA ruled in favor of the Republic.

Subsequently, CA encouraged the parties to reach an amicable settlement on the matter. The parties
entered into one. However, OSG backed out from the settlement and informed the CA that the track of
land subject of the amicable settlement was still within the military reservation.

CA ruled in favor of the Republic.

Petitioner moved for reconsideration and assailed the decision of Justice Mendoza saying that Mendoza
should have inhibited himself when the case reached CA since he was also the assistance SolGen during
the initial stages of the land registration proceedings. Petitioner then filed for a review on certiorari which
the SC denied. The MR was also denied. The petitioner then wants the case referred to the SC en banc
which was likewise denied. SC then issued a directive that no further pleadings would be entertained.

Petitioner then wrote letters addressed to Justice Quisumbing and Justice Puno alleging there was a
miscarriage of justice and that the petitioner was tempted to go to media regarding the situation.

Issue​: WON the land in dispute can be registered to the petitioner.

Ruling​:
1. The ruling in the case of Director of Lands vs. Reyes is applicable in this case and thus constitutes res
judicata. The Supreme Court ruled that in registration cases filed under the provisions of the Public Land
Act for the judicial confirmation of an incomplete and imperfect title, an order dismissing an application for
registration and declaring the land as part of the public domain constitutes res judicata, not only against
the adverse claimant but also against all persons.

2. Before the military reservation was established, the evidence is inconclusive as to possession, for is is
shown by the evidence that the land involved is largely mountainous and forested. As a matter of fact, at
the time of the hearing, it was conceded that approximately 13,957 hectares of said land consist of public
forest. It is well-settled that forest land is incapable of registration; and its inclusion in a title, whether such
title be one issued using the Spanish sovereignty or under the present Torrens system of registration,
nullifies the title. However, it is true that forest lands may be registered when they have been reclassified
as alienable by the President in a clear and categorical manner (upon the recommendation of the proper
department head who has the authority to classify the lands of the public domain into alienable or
disposable, timber and mineral lands) coupled with possession by the claimant as well as that of her
predecessors-in-interest. Unfortunately for the petitioner, she was not able to produce such evidence. Her
occupation thereof could not have ripened into ownership of the subject land.

3. The compromise agreement is null and void. The land in question could not have been a valid subject
matter of a contract because, being forest land, it was inalienable.

F. City Mayor of Baguio v. Atty. Masweng (Mark)

FACTS: ​City Mayor of Baguio City, Braulio D. Yaranon, ordering the demolition of the illegal structures
constructed by Lazaro Bawas, Alexander Ampaguey, Sr. and a certain Mr. Basatan on a portion of the
Busol Watershed Reservation located at Aurora Hill, Baguio City, without the required building permits
and in violation of Sec 69 of PD No. 705, as amended, PD No. 1096 and RA No. 7279.

Private respondents basically claimed that the lands where their residential houses stand are their
ancestral lands which they have been occupying and possessing openly and continuously since time
immemorial; that their ownership thereof have been expressly recognized in Proclamation No. 15 dated
April 27, 1922 and recommended by the DENR for exclusion from the coverage of the Busol Forest
Reserve. They, thus, contended that the demolition of their residential houses is a violation of their right of
possession and ownership of ancestral lands accorded by the Constitution and the law, perforce, must be
restrained.

The corresponding demolition advices dated September 19, 2006 were issued informing the occupants
thereon of the intended demolition of the erected structures on October 17 to 20, 2006. Consequently,
private respondents filed a petition for injunction with prayer for the issuance of a TRO and/or writ of
preliminary injunction against the Office of the City Mayor of Baguio City before the National Commission
on Indigenous Peoples, Cordillera Administrative Region (NCIP-CAR). The NCIP-CAR, on October 16
and 19, 3006, issued 2 TROs and issued Demolition Orders. The petitioners appealed before the CA, and
the latter upheld the NCIP and affirmed the TROs

The government claims that Busol Forest Reservation is exempt from ancestral claims as it is needed for
public welfare. It is allegedly one of the few remaining forests in Baguio City and is the city's main
watershed. Further, they also claim that the NCIP has no jurisdiction to hear and decide main actions for
injunction.

Further, the IPRA provides that Baguio City shall be governed by its Charter. Thus, private respondents
cannot claim their alleged ancestral lands under the provisions of the IPRA.

As a defense, the private respondents contend that jurisdiction of the NCIP to take cognizance of and
decide main actions for injunction arguing that the IPRA does not state that the NCIP may only issue such
writs of injunction as auxiliary remedies, and that the IPRA does not exempt Baguio City from its coverage
nor does it state that there are no ancestral lands in Baguio City.

ISSUE: (1)WON NCIP has jurisdiction over the case


(2) Whether the Busol Forest Reservation is exempted under the IPRA law.

HELD: ​In order to determine whether the NCIP has jurisdiction over the dispute in accordance with the
foregoing provisions, it is necessary to resolve, on the basis of the allegations in their petition, ​whether
private respondents are members of ICCs/IPs. In their petition filed before the NCIP, private
respondents, members of the Ibaloi tribe who first settled in Baguio City, were asserting ownership of
portions of the Busol Forest Reservation which they claim to be their ancestral lands. Correctly
denominated as a petition for injunction as it sought to prevent the enforcement of the demolition orders
issued by the City Mayor, the petition traced private respondents ancestry to Molintas and Gumangan and
asserted their possession, occupation and utilization of their ancestral lands. The petition also alleged that
private respondents claim over these lands had been recognized by Proclamation No. 15 which mentions
the names of Molintas and Gumangan as having claims over portions of the Busol Forest Reservation.
Clearly then, the allegations in the petition, which axiomatically determine the nature of the action
and the jurisdiction of a particular tribunal, squarely qualify it as a dispute(s) or controversy(s)
over ancestral lands/domains of ICCs/IPs within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the
NCIP-RHO.
The IPRA, furthermore, endows the NCIP with the power to issue temporary restraining orders and writs
of injunction. Sec. 69 thereof states:
​Sec. 69. Quasi-Judicial Powers of the NCIP.The NCIP shall have the power and authority:
a. To promulgate rules and regulations governing the hearing and disposition of cases filed before it
as well as those pertaining to its internal functions and such rules and regulations as may be
necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act;
b. To administer oaths, summon the parties to a controversy, issue subpoenas requiring the
attendance and testimony of witnesses or the production of such books, papers, contracts,
records, agreements, and other document of similar nature as may be material to a just
determination of the matter under investigation or hearing conducted in pursuance of this Act;
c. To hold any person in contempt, directly or indirectly, and impose appropriate penalties therefor;
and
d. To enjoin any or all acts involving or arising from any case pending before it which, if not
restrained forthwith, may cause grave or irreparable damage to any of the parties to the case or
seriously affect social or economic activity. [Emphasis supplied]

NCIP Administrative Circular No. 1-03 echoes the above-quoted provision in Sec. 82, Rule XV, which
provides:

Sec. 82. ​Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order.​A writ of preliminary injunction or
restraining order may be granted by the Commission pursuant to the provisions of Sections 59 and 69 of
R.A. [No.] 8371 when it is established, on the basis of sworn allegations in a petition, that the acts
complained of involving or arising from any case, if not restrained forthwith, may cause grave or
irreparable damage or injury to any of the parties, or seriously affect social or economic activity. This
power may also be exercised by RHOs in cases pending before them in order to preserve the rights of the
parties.

As can be gleaned from the foregoing provisions, the NCIP may issue temporary restraining orders and
writs of injunction without any prohibition against the issuance of the writ when the main action is for
injunction. The power to issue temporary restraining orders or writs of injunction allows parties to a
dispute over which the NCIP has jurisdiction to seek relief against any action which may cause them
grave or irreparable damage or injury. In this case, the Regional Hearing Officer issued the injunctive writ
because its jurisdiction was called upon to protect and preserve the rights of private respondents who are
undoubtedly members of ICCs/IPs. Parenthetically, in order to reinforce the powers of the NCIP, the IPRA
even provides that no restraining order or preliminary injunction may be issued by any inferior court
against the NCIP in any case, dispute or controversy arising from or necessary to the interpretation of the
IPRA and other laws relating to ICCs/IPs and ancestral domains.

Petitioners argue that Baguio City is exempt from the provisions of the IPRA, and necessarily the
jurisdiction of the NCIP, by virtue of Sec. 78 thereof, which states:

SEC. 78. ​Special Provision.​The City of Baguio shall remain to be governed by its Charter and all lands
proclaimed as part of its townsite reservation shall remain as such until otherwise reclassified by
appropriate legislation: ​Provided, ​That prior land rights and titles recognized and/or acquired through any
judicial, administrative or other processes before the effectivity of this Act shall remain valid: ​Provided,
further, ​That this provision shall not apply to any territory which becomes part of the City of Baguio after
the effectivity of this Act.

The foregoing provision indeed states that Baguio City is governed by its own charter. Its
exemption from the IPRA, however, cannot ​ipso facto ​be deduced because the law concedes the
validity of prior land rights recognized or acquired through any process before its effectivity. The
IPRA demands that the city’s charter respect the validity of these recognized land rights and titles. The
crucial question to be asked then is whether private respondents ancestral land claim was indeed
recognized by Proclamation No. 15, in which case, their right thereto may be protected by an injunctive
writ. After all, before a writ of preliminary injunction may be issued, petitioners must show that there exists
a right to be protected and that the acts against which injunction is directed are violative of said right.
Proclamation No. 15, however, does not appear to be a definitive recognition of private respondents
ancestral land claim. The proclamation merely identifies the Molintas and Gumangan families, the
predecessors-in-interest of private respondents, as claimants of a portion of the Busol Forest Reservation
but does not acknowledge vested rights over the same. In fact, Proclamation No. 15 explicitly withdraws
the Busol Forest Reservation from sale or settlement. It provides:

Pursuant to the provisions of section eighteen hundred and twenty-six of Act Numbered Twenty-seven
Hundred and eleven[,] I hereby establish the Busol Forest Reservation to be administered by the Bureau
of Forestry for the purpose of conserving and protecting water and timber, the protection of the water
supply being of primary importance and all other uses of the forest are to be subordinated to that purpose.
I therefore withdraw from sale or settlement the following described parcels of the public domain situated
in the Township of La Trinidad, City of Baguio, Mountain Province, Island of Luzon, to wit:

The fact remains, too, that the Busol Forest Reservation was declared by the Court as inalienable in ​Heirs
of Gumangan v. Court of Appeals.​The declaration of the Busol Forest Reservation as such precludes its
conversion into private property. Relatedly, the courts are not endowed with jurisdictional competence to
adjudicate forest lands. All told, although the NCIP has the authority to issue temporary restraining orders
and writs of injunction, we are not convinced that private respondents are entitled to the relief granted by
the Commission.

G. City Mayor of Paranaque v. Ebio (Miguel)

PETITIONER/S: Office of the City Mayor of Paranaque City, Office of the City Administrator of Paranaque
City, Office of the City Engineer of Paranaque City, Office of the City Planning and Development
Coordinator, Office of the Barangay Captain and Sangguniang Pambarangay of Barangay Vitalez,
Paranaque City, Teresita A. Gatchalian, Enrico R. Esguerra, Ernesto T. Pracale, Jr., Manuel M. Argote,
Conrado M. Canlas, Josephine S. Dauigoy, Allan L. Gonzales, Ester C. Asehan, Manuel A. Fuentes, and
Myrna P. Rosales.
RESPONDENT/S: ​Mario D. Ebio and his children/heirs namely, Arturo V. Ebio, Eduardo V. Ebio, Renato
V. Ebio, Lourdes E. Magtangob, Mila V. Ebio, and Arnel V. Ebio.

FACTS:
Respondents claim to be absolute owners of a 406 sqm. parcel of land inParañaque City covered
by Tax in the name of respondent Mario D. Ebio. Said land was an accretion of Cut-cut creek.
Respondents assert that the original occupant and possessor land was their great grandfather, Jose
Vitalez, which was given to his son, Pedro Valdez, in 1930. From then on, Pedro continuously and
exclusively occupied and possessed the said lot. In 1966, after executing an affidavit declaring
possession and occupancy. He also paid taxes for the land.
Meanwhile, in 1961, respondent Mario Ebio married Pedro’s daughter, Zenaida. In April 1964 and
in October 1971, Mario Ebio secured building permits from the Parañaque municipal office for the
construction of their house within the land. On 21 April 1987, Pedro transferred his rights over the land in
favor of Ebio.On 30 March 1999, the Office of the Sangguniang Barangay of Vitalez passed Resolution
No. 08, series of 1990 seeking assistance from the City Government of Parañaque for the construction of
an access road along Cut-cut Creek located in the said barangay. The proposed road will run from Urma
Drive to the main road of Vitalez Compound traversing the lot occupied by the respondents. Respondents
immediately opposed and the project was suspended.
In January 2003, however, respondents were surprised when several officials from the barangay
and the city planning office proceeded to cuteight (8) coconut trees planted on the said lot. On 28 March
2005, the City Administrator sent a letter to the respondents ordering them to vacate the area within the
next thirty (30) days,or be physically evicted from the said property. Respondents sent a reply, asserting
their claim over the subject property and expressing intent for further dialogue. The request remained
unheeded.
With the threat of eviction, respondents applied for a writ of preliminary injunction against
petitioners before the RTC of Paranaque City on 21 April 2005. On 29 April 2005, the RTC issued an
Order denying the petition for lack of merit. The trial court reasoned that respondents were not able to
prove successfully that they have an established right to the property since they have not instituted an
action for confirmation of title and their application for sales patent has not yet been granted. Additionally,
they failed to implead the Republic of the Philippines, which is an indispensable party.

ISSUE:

RULING:
1. It is an uncontested fact that the subject land was formed from the alluvial deposits that have
gradually settled along the banks of Cut-cut creek. This being the case, the law that governs ownership
over the accreted portion is Article 84 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, which remains in effect, in
relation to Article 457 of the Civil Code.

ART. 84. Accretions deposited gradually upon lands contiguous to creeks, streams, rivers, and
lakes, by accessions or sediments from the waters thereof, belong to the owners of such lands.
Art. 457. To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion which they
gradually receive from the effects of the current of the waters.
It is therefore explicit from the foregoing provisions that alluvial deposits along the banks of a
creek do not form part of the public domain as the alluvial property automatically belongs to the owner of
the estate to which it may have been added. The only restriction provided for by law is that the owner of
the adjoining property must register the same under the Torrens system; otherwise, the alluvial property
may be subject to acquisition through prescription by third persons.

2. Confirmation of an imperfect title over a parcel of land may be done either through judicial
proceedings or through administrative process. In the instant case, respondents admitted that they opted
to confirm their title over the property administratively by filing an application for sales patent.
Respondents' application for sales patent, however, should not be used to prejudice or derogate what
may be deemed as their vested right over the subject property. The sales patent application should
instead be considered as a mere superfluity particularly since ownership over the land, which they seek to
buy from the State, is already vested upon them by virtue of acquisitive prescription. Moreover, the State
does not have any authority to convey a property through the issuance of a grant or a patent if the land is
no longer a public land.

DISPOSITIVE: ​WHEREFORE, the petition is ​DENIED​ for lack of merit. The January 31, 2007
Decision, as well as the July 8, 2007 Resolution, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 91350 are hereby ​AFFIRMED​.

A. Director of Lands v. Reyes (Mustang)

G.R. No. L-27594 February 27, 1976

THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, THE DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY, and the ARMED FORCES OF THE
PHILIPPINES, ​petitioners, vs. ​HON. SALVADOR C. REYES, as Judge of the Court of First
Instance of Nueva Ecija, Branch III, PARANAQUE INVESTMENT & DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION, ROMAN C . TAMAYO, THE COMMISSIONER OF THE LAND REGISTRATION
COMMISSION and the REGISTER OF DEEDS OF NUEVA ECIJA, ​respondents.

G.R. No. L-28144 February 27, 1976

ALIPIO ALINSUNURIN, now substituted by PARAÑAQUE INVESTMENT & DEVELOPMENT


CORPORATION, ​applicant-appellee, vs. ​THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, THE DIRECTOR OF
FORESTRY and the ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, ​oppositors-appellants.

ANTONIO, ​J.:

Facts:
Melecio Padilla acquired 16,800 hectares, of land situated at the municipality of Laur, Nueva Ecija in 1895
by virtue of a possessory information title issued during the Spanish regime. Upon his death in 1990 ,
ownership and possession of the subject land was transmitted to his daughter and sole heir Maria Padilla
until her death in 1940. Applicant Alipio Alinsunurin, claiming ownership in fee simple by inheritance from
the late Maria Padilla, sought the registration of title.

Applicant Alipio Alinsunurin filed a motion for substitution of parties, requesting that the Parañaque
Investment and Development Corporation be considered as the applicant in his place, it having acquired
all his rights, interests, ownership and dominion over the property subject matter of the application.

The Director of Lands, Director of Forestry, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines opposed the
application, claiming that the applicant was without sufficient title and was not in open, exclusive,
continuous and notorious possession and occupation of the land in question for at least thirty (30) years
immediately preceding the filing of the application; that approximately 13,957 hectares of said land consist
of the military reservation of Fort Magsaysay established under Proclamation No. 237, dated December
10, 1955 of the President.

During the trial blueprints of two survey plans were presented, the first blueprint copy of a plan of land as
surveyed for Maria Padilla, was not formally offered in evidence, and the second plan of the land, as
surveyed for Parañaque Investment and Development Corporation was submitted by the said applicant,
but it lacks the approval of the Director of Lands.

The lower court rendered decision ordering the land to be registered in favor of (a) Parañaque Investment
and Development Corporation, two-thirds (2/3) portion, and (b) Roman C. Tamayo, Filipino citizen,
one-third (1/3) portion of the said property.

The oppositors Director of Lands, Director of Forestry and the Armed Forces of the Philippines filed a
Notice of Appeal from the said decision to the Supreme Court. Hence, the Supreme Court issued a writ of
preliminary injunction.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondents blueprints of the survey plan is valid to claim ownership.

DECISION: The original tracing cloth plan of the land applied for, which must be approved by the Director
of Lands, was not submitted in evidence. The submission of such plan is a statutory requirement of
mandatory character. Unless a plan and its technical description are duly approved by the Director of
Lands, the same are not of much value.

It is not the function of the LRC to check the original survey plan as it has no authority to approve original
survey plans. If, for any reason, the original tracing cloth plan was forwarded there, the applicant may
easily retrieve the same therefrom and submit the same in evidence. This was not done.

Obviously the superimposition of the copy of the survey plan of land as surveyed for applicant in the
military map of the area under Proclamation No. 237 was for the sole purpose of showing that the land
applied for is situated within the area covered by the military reservation of Fort Magsaysay appropriately
indicated in the perimeter map of said reservation. But the applicant is not relieved from submitting in
evidence the original tracing cloth plan approved by the Director of Lands as required by law. One of the
distinguishing marks of the Torrens System is the absolute certainty of the identity of a registered land.
Consequently, the primary purpose of the aforesaid requirement is to fix the exact or definite identity of
the land as shown in the plain and technical descriptions. Hence, the applicant is not relieved of his duty
of submitting the original tracing cloth of the survey plan of the land duly approved by the Director of
Lands. It will be noticed that the plan does not bear the approval of any officer authorized by law.

Wherefore, the Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari and dismissed the application for
registration.

B. Benin v. Tuason (Yana)

DOCTRINE:

FACTS​: On May 19, 1955 three sets of plaintiffs filed three separate complaints containing substantially
the same allegations.

In Civil Case No. 3621, the plaintiffs alleged that they were the owners and possessors of the three
parcels of agricultural lands, described in paragraph V of the complaint, located in the barrio of La Loma
province of Rizal and that they inherited said parcels of land from their ancestor Sixto Benin;

In Civil Case No. 3622 the plaintiffs alleged that they were the owners and possessors of two parcels of
agricultural land, described in paragraph V of the complaint, and that these parcels of land were inherited
by them from their deceased father Bonoso Alcantara.

In Civil Case No. 3623, plaintiffs alleged that they are the owners and possessors of a parcel of
agricultural land located in the Barrio of La Loma (now San Jose), municipality of Caloocan, province of
Rizal, having an area of approximately 62,481 square meters; that this parcel of land was inherited by
plaintiffs from their ancestor Candido Pili who in turn inherited the same from his parents; and they and
their predecessors in interest had been in open, adverse and continuous possession of the same; had
said lands declared for taxation purposes.

The plaintiffs in these three civil cases uniformly alleged that while they were enjoying the peaceful
possession of their lands, the defendants, particularly the defendant J.M. Tuason and Co. Inc., through
their agents and representatives, with the aid of armed men, by force and intimidation, using bulldozers
and other demolishing equipment, illegally entered and started defacing, demolishing and destroying the
dwellings and constructions of plaintiffs' lessees, as well as the improvements.

The plaintiffs in each of the three complaints also alleged that the registered owners had applied for the
registration of two parcels of land (known as the Santa Mesa Estate and the Diliman Estate). They
alleged that the application for registration in LRC, containing the boundaries, technical descriptions and
areas of parcel No. 1 (Santa Mesa Estate) parcel No. 2 (Diliman Estate) were published in the Official
Gazette; that before the decision was handed down, ​the area, boundaries and technical descriptions
of parcel No. 1 were altered and amended​; ​that the area of parcel No. 1 as mentioned in Decree No.
17431 is bigger than the area of parcel No. 1 appearing in the application for registration as
published in the Official Gazette​; that the amendments and alterations, which were made after the
publication of the original application, were never published​; ​a decision was rendered in LRC No.
7681 based on the amended plan; that pursuant to the decision of March 7, 1914 a decree of
registration was issued on July 6, 1914, known as Decree No. 17431, decreeing the registration in
the names of the applicants of the two parcels of land (Santa Mesa Estate and Diliman Estate).

They contend that the decision dated March 7, 1914 in LRC No. 7681 is null and void because the
Land Registration Court had no jurisdiction to render the decision for lack of publication​; that
Decree No. 17431 issued pursuant to the decision of March 7, 1914 in LRC No. 7681 is likewise null and
void from the beginning, because it was issued pursuant to a void decision and that Original Certificate of
Title No. 735, referring to parcel 1 (Santa Mesa Estate), is also null and void from the beginning because
it was issued pursuant to a void decree of registration. The ​lower court rendered a decision in favor of
the plaintiffs. A motion for new trial was filed by defendant J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. on January 30, 1965.
However, before the motion for new trial was resolved by the court, said defendant, on February 11,
1965, filed a notice of appeal to this Court and an appeal bond, and on February 12, 1965 he filed the
record on appeal.

The record on appeal, after it had been corrected and amended, as ordered and/or authorized by the trial
court, was approved on September 29, 1965

ISSUE: ​Whether or not the Land Registration Court had jurisdiction to render the decision for the reason
that the amendment to the original plan was not published.

HELD​: Yes, the LRC still has jurisdiction despite the absence of publication. (this case is an exception to
the general rule on mandatory publication in the Official Gazette; read the important part)

RATIO: The application and the notice of hearing, containing the technical descriptions of the two parcels
of land applied for, were published in the issue of the Official Gazette of October 25, 1911. The Chief of
the Survey Division of the Court of Land Registration submitted a report stating that the amendment of
the new plan of Parcel 1 in LRC No. 7681 ​did not include any land that had not been previously included
in the original plan. The decree contains the technical description of the two parcels of land in accordance
with the plan as amended. It appears in the decree that Parcel 1 has an area of 8,798,644.10 square
meters, more or less, or an increase of 27.10 square meters over the area of 8,798,617 square meters
that was stated in the application for registration and in the notice of hearing which were published in the
Official Gazette.

The trial court stressed on the point that publication is one of the essential bases of the jurisdiction of the
court to hear and decide an application for registration and to order the issuance of a decree of
registration, as provided in Act 496 (Land Registration Act). We believe that the lower court erred when it
held that the Land Registration Court was without jurisdiction to render the decision in LRC No. 7681.

Under Section 23 of Act 496, the registration court may allow, or order, an amendment of the application
for registration when it appears to the court that the amendment is necessary and proper. The purpose of
the new publication is to give notice to all persons concerned regarding the amended application. Without
a new publication the registration court cannot acquire jurisdiction over the area or parcel of land that is
added to the area covered by the original application, and the decision of the registration court would be a
nullity insofar as the decision concerns the newly included land.

The reason is because without a new publication, the law is infringed with respect to the publicity that is
required in registration proceedings, and third parties who have not had the opportunity to present their
claim might be prejudiced in their rights because of failure of notice.

Important part:
If the amendment consists in the ​inclusion in the application for registration of an area or parcel
of land not previously included in the original application, as published, ​a new publication of the
amended application must be made.​ But if the amendment consists in the ​exclusion of a portion
of the area covered by the original application and the original plan as previously published, ​a
new publication is not necessary​.

In the case at bar, we find that the original plan covering Parcel 1 and Parcel 2 that accompanied
the application for registration in LRC No. 7681 ​was amended in order to exclude certain areas
that were the subject of opposition​, or which were the subject of another registration case, when the
lower court said that the area of Parcel 1 in the decree of registration is bigger than the area of Parcel 1 in
the application as published, it did not mention the fact that the difference in area is only 27.10 square
meters. We believe that the difference of 27.10 square meters, between the computation of the area
when the original plan was made and the computation of the area when the amended plan was prepared,
cannot be considered substantial as would affect the identity of Parcel 1. It is the settled rule in this
jurisdiction that only in cases where the original survey plan is amended during the registration
proceedings by the addition of lands not previously included in the original plan should publication be
made in order to confer jurisdiction on the court to order the registration of the area that was added after
the publication of the original plan.

The settled rule, further, is that once the registration court had acquired jurisdiction over a certain parcel,
or parcels, of land in the registration proceedings in virtue of the publication of the application, that
jurisdiction attaches to the land or lands mentioned and described in the application. If it is later shown
that the decree of registration had included land or lands not included in the original application as
published, then the registration proceedings and the decree of registration must be declared null and void
in so far — but only in so far — as the land not included in the publication is concerned. This is so,
because the court did not acquire jurisdiction over the land not included in the publication-the publication
being the basis: of the jurisdiction of the court. But the proceedings and the decree of registration, relating
to the lands that were included in the publication, are valid. Thus, if it is shown that a certificate of title had
been issued covering lands where the registration court had no jurisdiction, the certificate of title is null
and void insofar as it concerns the land or lands over which the registration court had not acquired
jurisdiction.

The joint decision of the Court of First Instance, appealed from, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

C. SM Prime Holdings v. Madayag (Kat)

Facts​: Madayag filed with the RTC of Pangasinan an application for registration of a parcel of land
situated in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan. SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM) filed an opposition to the application
alleging that Madayag’s survey plan encroached from their properties. Meanwhile, SM filed with the
DENR a petition for the cancellation of Madayag’s survey plan.
SM filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings, alleging that the RTC should await the DENR resolution of
the petition for the cancellation of the survey plan. The RTC issued an Order granting the Motion.
Madayag filed a petition for certiorari with the CA assailing the RTC Order. CA granted the petition
ordering the RTC to continue proceedings. Thus, SM filed this Petition for Review.

Issue​: Whether the RTC should suspend the proceedings in the land registration case pending the
resolution of the petition for the cancellation of Madayag’s survey plan filed with the DENR.

Ruling​: There is no need to suspend the proceedings. When the law confers jurisdiction upon a court, the
latter is deemed to have all the necessary powers to exercise such jurisdiction to make it effective. It may,
therefore, hear and determine all questions that arise from a petition for registration. The RTC need not
wait for the decision of the DENR in the petition to cancel the survey plan in order to determine whether
the subject property is already titled or forms part of already titled property.
Petition is denied. The RTC is directed to continue with the proceedings.

D. Mendoza v. CA (Aki)
➢ Mendoza (the OG) filed for the registration of two parcels of land (in Sta. Maria,
Bulacan) with a residential house thereon.
➢ A notice was issued, published, posted and served, but nobody appeared nor
filed an answer or opposition. Hence, the court entered an order of general
default and allowed petitioner to present his evidence.
○ From his evidence, it was proven that he and his wife were the owners
until they sold the parcels of land to spouses Cruz and Mendoza (the
buyers) during the pendency of the case.
➢ The land registration court rendered a decision ordering the registration of the
parcels of land to the buyers, subject to the vendors' usufructuary rights.
○ This was received by the OG Mendoza on the same day. He then filed a
motion for the issuance of the decree.
○ A few years later, the Decree was issued, and the OCT soon followed.
➢ The OG Mendoza then filed an urgent petition for the reconsideration, praying
that the decision ordering the registration to the buyers, as well as the Decree, be
set aside, and the OCT be cancelled, on the ground that the buyers had failed to
pay the purchase price.
○ The land registration court considered the petition as one for the review
of the decree. It then ruled in favor of the OG Mendoza (second
decision).
○ The buyers filed an MR, but it was denied. They then filed for an appeal,
but it was denied as well.
➢ Thus, the buyers filed a SCA for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition at the CA.
The CA decided in favor of the buyers, reversing the second decision of the land
registration court.
○ Hence, this petition.
➢ Issue: ​whether or not the land registration court could legally order the
registration of the land in the names of the private respondents who were
neither the applicants nor the oppositors in the registration case ​- yes.
➢ Section 29 of the Land Registration Act expressly authorizes the registration of
the land subject matter of a registration proceeding in the name of the buyer or of
the person to whom the land has been conveyed by an instrument executed
during the interval of time between the filing of the application for registration and
the issuance of the decree of title.
➢ The law expressly allows the land which is subject matter of an application for
registration to be disposed of or encumbered during the interval of time between
the filing of the application and the issuance of the decree of title.
○ The law also allows the instruments embodying such disposition or
encumbrance be presented to the registration court by the interested
party.
○ The court can either order such land registered subject to the
encumbrance created by said instruments or order the decree of
registration issued in the name of the buyer or of the person to whom the
property has been conveyed by said instruments.
➢ The law does not require that the application for registration be amended by
substituting the "buyer" or the person to whom the property has been conveyed
for the applicant.
○ The only requirements of the law are:
■ that the instrument be presented to the court by the interested
party together with a motion that the same be considered in
relation with the application; and
■ that prior notice be given to the parties to the case.
➢ And the peculiar facts and circumstances obtaining in this case show that these
requirements have been complied with.
○ FIRST REQUIREMENT
■ It was the petitioner himself, the applicant in the registration
proceedings, who presented the deed of sale to the court and
testified before the same that he did sell the land to the private
respondents.
■ He also presented his wife, Diega de Leon, and private
respondent, Cruz, to confirm the said sale of the land and the
stipulated usufructuary rights.
■The petitioner even filed the motion for the issuance of the
decree of confirmation of title after having received the decision
of the court ordering the registration of the title to the land in the
names of vendees-respondents, subject to the stipulated
usufructuary rights — thereby signifying his full assent to the
same.
○ SECOND REQUIREMENT
■ An order of general default had been issued prior to the
presentation of the deed of sale by the applicant-petitioner, since
nobody filed an opposition to the application for registration.
■ The only person who should have been entitled to a notice from
the court was the applicant-petitioner himself, as the only party
with a legal standing in the proceedings.
■ No legal objection to the court's jurisdiction to order the
registration of the lands in the names of vendees-respondents
may be interposed on the ground of non-compliance with the
requirement of prior notice to the parties.
➢ Since there was sufficient compliance with the aforestated requirements,
the lower court had jurisdiction to order the registration of the lands in the
names of vendees-respondents.
➢ NOTES:
○ The only ground upon which a decree of registration may be set aside is
fraud in obtaining the same.
○ In the instant case, applicant-petitioner cannot complain of fraud in
obtaining the decree of registration for it was solely upon his testimony
and proof that the lots were ordered registered in the names of the
vendees-respondents and it was also upon his motion that the decree of
registration was issued by the lower court.
○ What the applicant-petitioner actually invokes in this case is not fraud in
obtaining the decree of registration but the alleged failure of the
vendees-respondents to pay the purchase price of the landholdings.
○ However, breach of contract is not a ground for a petition for a review.
■ The registration court has no jurisdiction to decide the issue of
rescission for the alleged failure of the vendees to pay the
purchase price.
■ Such should be litigated in a regular court.

E. Director of Lands v. CA (Edward)

30. Dir. of Lands vs. CA


276 SCRA 276 | July 28, 1997 | Panganiban, ​J
TOPIC​: Procedure

DOCTRINE​: Land registration is a proceeding ​in rem​. Being ​in rem​, such proceeding requires
constructive seizure of the land as against all persons, including the state, who have rights to or interests
in the property. An in rem proceeding is validated essentially through publication. This being so, the
process must strictly be complied with. Otherwise, persons who may be interested or whose rights may
be adversely affected would be barred from contesting an application which they had no knowledge of.

FACTS
1. Respondent Teodoro Abistado filed a petition for original registration of his title over 648 square
meters of land under PD 1529 with the RTC. As he died, he was substituted by his heirs.
2. The RTC found that the applicants through their predecessors-in-interest had been in open,
continuous, exclusive and peaceful possession of the subject land since 1938. However, it dismissed the
petition on the ground of lack of jurisdiction for applicants’ failure to comply with the provisions of Section
23 (1) of PD 1529, requiring the Applicants to publish the notice of Initial Hearing in a newspaper of
general circulation in the Philippines despite that it was published in the Official Gazette (OG).
3. On appeal, the CA set aside the RTC decision and ordered the registration of the title in the name
of Abistado holding that publication in the OG shall be sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court.
4. Hence this petition by the Director of Lands.

ISSUE​: W/N the land registration court can validly confirm and register title without publication in a
newspaper of general circulation given that there is publication in the OG.

HELD​: NO
1. Sec. 23 (1) of PD 1529 provides:

Upon receipt of the order of the court setting the time for initial hearing, the Commissioner of Land
Registration shall cause a notice of initial hearing to be published once in the Official Gazette and once in
a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines: ​Provided, however​, that the publication in the
Official Gazette shall be sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court…

[Read DOCTRINE].

As has been ruled, a party as an owner seeking the inscription of realty in the land registration court must
prove by satisfactory and conclusive evidence not only his ownership thereof but the identity of the same,
for he is in the same situation as one who institutes an action for recovery of realty. He must prove his title
against the whole world This task, which rests upon the applicant, can best be achieved when all persons
concerned — nay, "the whole world" — who have rights to or interests in the subject property are notified
and effectively invited to come to court and show cause why the application should not be granted. The
elementary norms of due process require that before the claimed property is taken from concerned
parties and registered in the name of the applicant, said parties must be given notice and opportunity to
oppose.

1. It may be asked why publication in a newspaper of general circulation should be deemed


mandatory when the law already requires notice by publication in the OG as well as by mailing and
posting, all of which have already been complied with in the case at hand.

The reason is due process and the reality that the OG is not as widely read and circulated as newspapers
and is oftentimes delayed in its circulation, such that the notices published therein may not reach the
interested parties on time, if at all. Additionally, such parties may not be owners of neighboring properties,
and may in fact not own any other real estate.

In sum, the all-encompassing ​in rem nature of land registration cases, the consequences of default orders
issued against the whole world and the objective of disseminating the notice in as wide a manner as
possible demand a mandatory construction of the requirements for publication, mailing and posting.

WHEREFORE​, the petition is GRANTED and the application for land registration is DISMISSED without
prejudice.

F. Adviento v. Heirs of Miguel Alvarez (Jochelle)


FACTS:
- Civil case R-12 was a case of reconveyance involving a piece of land in Naga City.
- The case arose when Miguel Alvarez, now substituted by his heris, filed a complaint against Lydia
Gaya, Adviento’s predecessor-in-interest.
- That he had been in OCENCO of the land including its buildings, That the lot was
originally surveyed and numbered as part of their lot, That Gaya initiated the subdivision
of the lot and willfully failed to notify Alvarez about it , That Gaya committed fraud in
obtaining the OCT for the lot, That because of such fraud, Alvarez sustained losses and
damages
- Lydia Gaya, alleged in he answer that:
- That Alvarez had no right of ownership since he had not been in OCENCO
- That she has been in OCENCO instead, That she acquired an imperfect title thereto
which was confirmed by the Cadastral Court, That the case was considered uncontested
since she was the only claimant, That the CFI ordered the registration of said property
along with the improvements thereon in her and her husband’s name resulting in the
issuance of the decree, That the complaint was barred by statute of limitations, That the
action was just pure harassment
- The parties agreed before the TC that the land in question was part of Lydia’s land and that there
is indeed an existing title for it
- Petitioner Ceferino, filed an Answer in Intervention with the Urgent Prayer for ISsuance of
Preliminary Injunction alleging that he acquired the lot by purchase. That he traced his title to
Fidel Cu, who bought the same property from Lydia.
- Petitioner Ceferino adopted the allegations of Lydia insofar as they contested the ownership over
the land.
- Further alleged that Alvarez constructed a concrete building encroaching on his property.
- RTC ruled in favor of heirs of Miguel Alvarez.
- Petitioner appealed to the CA.
- Petitioner contends that the title should not vest to a riparian owner when there is a road
bordering the land and the adjunct waters.
- It was not entertained by the court because such issue was just raised for the first time.
- The TC and CA that Alvarez acquired the lot by purchase from ALATCO.
- That the land was previously possessed “since time immemorial” by ALATCO having
previously declared tax declarations.
- That Alvarez further proved his possession through application of building permit.
- Petitioners contention:
- considering the admission by the respondents in the trial court as to the existence of
"title" in her name, she does not need to prove her ownership of the subject lot.
- that the decision of the appellate court failed to recognize the regularity, validity and
conclusiveness of the order in the Land Registration Case which culminated in the
decree of registration in favor of petitioner's predecessor-in-interest.
- that it was enough that there was publication of notice in the application for registration
- that respondents had all the opportunity to know of the application for registration made
by petitioner's predecessor-in-interest over the subject lot.
- That the registration decree binds the RTC and CA
ISSUE: ​WON the issuance of title to petitioner was illegal
RULING: YES.
- The applicable law at that time is Section 21 of Act No. 496, Land Registration Act, which
requires that applications for registration should contain a notification to "all the occupants of the
land and of all adjoining owners, if known; and, if not known, it shall state what search has been
made to find them."
- the several requisites should all be satisfied; (1) Survey of land by the Bureau of Lands or
a duly licensed private surveyor; (2) Filing an application for registration by the applicant;
(3) Setting of the date for the initial hearing of the application by the Court; (4) Transmittal
of the application and the date of the initial hearing together with all the documents or
other evidences attached thereto by the Clerk of Court to the Land Registration
Commission; (5) Publication of a notice of the filing of the application and the date and
place of the hearing in the Official Gazette; (6) Service of notice upon contiguous owners,
occupants and those known to have interests in the property by the sheriff​; (7) Filing of
answer to the application by any person whether named in the notice or not; (8) Hearing
of the case by the Court; (9) Promulgation of judgment by the Court; (10) Issuance of the
decree by the Court declaring the decision final and instructing the Land Registration
Commission to issue a decree of confirmation and registration; (11) Entry of the decree of
registration in the Land Registration Commission; (12) Sending of copy of the decree of
registration to the corresponding Register of Deeds; and (13) Transcription of the decree
of registration in the registration book and the issuance of the owner's duplicate original
certificate of title to the applicant by the Register of Deeds, upon payment of the
prescribed fees.
- In the case at bar, petitioner admitted the lack of the notice to respondents. Lack of notice is a
denial of due process to respondents. It is elementary that no person can be denied his property
without due process of law.
- Furthermore, the RTC and the CA are not bound by the land registration decree especially when
it is assailed on the ground of fraud.
- In the case at bar, respondents pleaded their interest in the land and the fraud used
which defeated such interest. No notice was given to the respondents. The lack of notice
was obviously intended by the petitioner's predecessor-in-interest to prevent contest on
the application. Petitioner's predecessor-in-interest falsely attested to the absence of any
adverse claim, including the absence of any possession of the land. By our rulings, this
constitutes extrinsic fraud.

G. Republic v. Lee (Jued)

REPUBLIC v. MARIA P. LEE AND INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT


GR. No. 64818, May 13, 1991

FACTS: ​Maria P. Lee filed before the then Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of
Pangasinan, an application 1 for registration in her favor of a parcel of land consisting of 6,843 square
meters, more or less, located at Mangaldan, Pangasinan.

The Director of Lands, in representation of the Republic of the Philippines, filed an opposition, alleging
that neither the applicant nor her predecessors-in-interest have acquired the land under any of the
Spanish titles or any other recognized mode for the acquisition of title; that neither she nor her
predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of the land
in concept of owner at least thirty (30) years immediately preceding the filing of the application; and that
the land is a portion of the public domain belonging to the Republic of the Philippines.

CFI rendered judgement confirming the title of Lee over the parcel of land described in her application
and hereby adjudicates the same in the name of spouses Stephen Lee and Maria Lee.

Republic appealed over the CFI decision to IAC (now CA) which later on affirmed the decision of the CFI
in toto.

Republic avers before the SC that IAC failed in giving weight and credence to the clearly incompetent,
self-serving and unresponsive testimony of respondent that the spouses Urbano Diaz and Bernarda
Vinluan had been in possession of the property 'for more than 20 years,' leading to registration, thereby
depriving the state of its property without due process. Further, IAC GADALEJ in affirming the registration
simple because Republic failed to adduce evidence to rebut Lee’s Evidence, which, however, standing
alone, does not meet the quantum proof - which must conclusive - required for registration.

Respondent Lee on the other hand, contends that she was able to prove her title to the land in question
through documentary evidence consisting of Deeds of Sale and tax declarations and receipts as well as
her testimony that her predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the land in question for more
than 20 years.
ISSUE: W/N the bare statement of the applicant that the land applied for has been in the
possession of her predecessors-in-interest for more than 20 years constitute the "well-nigh
incontrovertible" and "conclusive" evidence required in proceedings of this nature.

HELD/RATIO: NO. ​Lee has no title to subject land of application for registration.

The evidence adduced in the trial court showed that the land in question was owned by the spouses
Urbano Diaz and Bernarda Vinluan, who on August 11, 1960, sold separate half portions thereof to Mrs.
Laureana Mataban and Mr. Sixto Espiritu. On March 18, 1963, and July 30, 1963, respectively, Mrs.
Mataban and Mr. Espiritu sold their half portions to private respondent Maria P. Lee. Private respondent
had the property recorded for taxation purposes in her name and that of her husband Stephen Lee,
paying taxes thereon on March 25, 1975 and March 9, 1976 for the same years.

At the time of the filing of the application for registration on June 29, 1976, private respondent had been in
possession of the subject area for about thirteen (13) years. (Total of 33 years if combined with
predecessors-in-interest) She, however, sought to tack to her possession that of her
predecessors-in-interest in order to comply with the requirement of Section 48 (b) of Commonwealth Act
No. 141 which is to have OCENCO since June 12, 1945, or earlier, immediately preceding the filing of the
applications for confirmation of title.

The most basic rule in land registration cases is that "no person is entitled to have land registered under
the Cadastral or Torrens system unless he is the owner in fee simple of the same, even though there is
no opposition presented against such registration by third persons . . . In order that the petitioner for the
registration of his land shall be permitted to have the same registered, and to have the benefit resulting
from the certificate of title, finally, issued, the burden is upon him to show that he is the real and absolute
owner, in fee simple."

Equally basic is the rule that no public land can be acquired by private persons without any grant, express
or implied, from government. A grant is conclusively presumed by law when the claimant, by himself or
through his predecessors-in-interest, has occupied the land openly, continuously, exclusively, and under
a claim of title since July 26, 1894 10 or prior thereto.

Based on the foregoing, it is incumbent upon Lee to prove that the alleged twenty year or more
possession of the spouses Urbano Diaz and Bernarda Vinluan which supposedly formed part of the thirty
(30) year period prior to the filing of the application, was OCENCO. This burden, private respondent failed
to discharge to the satisfaction of the Court. The bare assertion that the spouses Urbano Diaz and
Bernarda Vinluan had been in possession of the property for more than twenty (20) years found in private
respondent's declaration is hardly the "well-nigh incontrovertible" evidence required in cases of this
nature. Private respondent should have presented specific facts that would have shown the nature of
such possession. The phrase "adverse, continuous, open, public, peaceful and in concept of owner" by
which she described her own possession in relation to that of her predecessors-in-interest are mere
conclusions of law which require factual support and substantiation.

Lee having failed to prove by convincing, positive proof that she has complied with the requirements of
the law for confirmation of her title to the land applied for, it was grave error on the part of the lower court
to have granted her application.
I. PROCEDURE

A. Republic v. Sayo (Mark)


Petitioner: Republic of the Philippines

Public Respondents - Judge Sayo


Private Respondents - HEIRS OF CASIANO SANDOVAL, HEIRS OF LIBERATO BAYAUA, JOSE C.
REYES, and PHILIPPINE CACAO AND FARM PRODUCTS, INC.
FACTS: The spouses, Casiano Sandoval and Luz Marquez, filed an original application for registration of
a tract of land identified as Lot No. 7454 of the Cadastral Survey of Santiago, BL Cad. 211 (July 17, 1961)
and having an area of 33,950 hectares. The land was formerly part of the Municipality of Santiago,
Province of Isabela, but had been transferred to Nueva Vizcaya in virtue of Republic Act No. 236.
Oppositions were filed by the Government, through the Director of Lands and the Director of Forestry, and
some others, including the Heirs of Liberato Bayaua. An order of general default was thereafter entered
on December 11, 1961 against the whole world except the oppositors. The case dragged on for about
twenty (20) years until March 3, 1981 when a compromise agreement was entered into by and among all
the parties. Under the compromise agreement, the Heirs of Casiano Sandoval (as applicants) renounced
their claims and ceded 1)in favor of the Bureau of Lands, an area of 4,109 hectares; 2) in favor of the
Bureau of Forest Development, 12,341 hectares; 3) in favor of the Heirs of Liberato Bayaua, 4,000
hectares; and 4) in favor of Philippine Cacao & Farm Products, Inc., 8,000 hectares. The remaining area
of 5,500 hectares was, under the compromise agreement, adjudicated to and acknowledged as owned by
the Heirs of Casiano Sandoval, but out of this area, 1,500 hectares were assigned by the Casiano Heirs
to their counsel, Jose C. Reyes, in payment of his attorney's fees. In consideration of the areas
respectively allocated to them, all the parties also mutually waived and renounced all their prior claims to
and over Lot No. 7454 of the Santiago Cadastre. Respondent Judge approved the compromise
agreement and confirmed the title and ownership of the parties in accordance with its terms. The Solicitor
General, in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, present recourse in a bid to have that decision of
March 5, 1981 annulled as being patently void and rendered in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse
of discretion.

The Solicitor General contends that :


1) no evidence whatever was adduced by the parties in support of their petitions for registration;
2) neither the Director of Lands nor the Director of Forest Development had legal authority to enter
into the compromise agreement;
3) as counsel of the Republic, he should have been but was not given notice of the compromise
agreement or otherwise accorded an opportunity to take part therein;
4) that he was not even served with notice of the decision approving the compromise; it was the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Quirino Province that drew his attention to the "patently erroneous
decision" and requested him to take immediate remedial measures to bring about its annulment.

The respondents maintain, on the other hand, that the Solicitor General's arguments are premised on the
proposition that Lot 7454 is public land, but it is not.They pointed out the private character of the land as
follows:
1) the possessory information title of the applicants and their predecessors-in-interest;
2) the fact that Lot 7454 was never claimed to be public land by the Director of Lands in the proper
cadastral proceedings;
3) the pre-war certification of the National Library dated August 16, 1932 to the effect that the
(Estadistica de Propiedades) of Isabela issued in 1896 and appearing in the Bureau of Archives, the
property in question was registered under the 'Spanish system of land registration as private property
owned by Don Liberato Bayaua, applicants' predecessors-in-interest;
4) the proceeding for registration, brought under Act 496 (the Torrens Act) presupposes that there is
already a title to be confirmed by the court, distinguishing it from proceedings under the Public Land Act
where the presumption is always that the land involved belongs to the State.
ISSUE:
WON the Compromise agreement should be Null and void (YES)
WON respondents evidence can be considered as proof that the lot in question is a private land (NO)

RATIO:
(ISSUE 1)Under the Regalian Doctrine all lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private
ownership are presumed to belong to the State. Hence it is that all applicants in land registration
proceedings have the burden of overcoming the presumption that the land thus sought to be registered
forms part of the public domain. Unless the applicant succeeds in showing by clear and convincing
evidence that the property involved was acquired by him or his ancestors either by composition title from
the Spanish Government or by possessory information title, or any other means for the proper acquisition
of public lands, the property must be held to be part of the public domain .The applicant must present
competent and persuasive proof to substantiate his claim; he may not rely on general statements, or mere
conclusions of law other than factual evidence of possession and title.

In the proceeding at bar, it appears that the principal document relied upon and presented by the
applicants for registration, to prove the private character of the large tract of land subject of their
application, was a photocopy of a certification of the National Library dated August 16, 1932. But, as this
Court has already had occasion to rule, that Spanish document, the (Estadistica de Propiedades,) cannot
be considered a title to property, it not being one of the grants made during the Spanish regime, and
obviously not constituting primary evidence of ownership. 6 It is an inefficacious document on which to
base any finding of the private character of the land in question.

It thus appears that the decision of the Registration Court a quo is based solely on the compromise
agreement of the parties. But that compromise agreement included private persons who had not adduced
any competent evidence of their ownership over the land subject of the registration proceeding. The
assent of the Directors of Lands and Forest Development to the compromise agreement did not and could
not supply the absence of evidence of title required of the private respondents.

(ISSUE 2) It was error to disregard the Solicitor General in the execution of the compromise agreement
and its submission to the Court for approval. It is, after all, the Solicitor General, who is the principal
counsel of the Government; this is the reason for our holding that "Court orders and decisions sent to the
fiscal, acting as agent of the Solicitor General in land registration cases, are not binding until they are
actually received by the Solicitor General."

It thus appears that the compromise agreement and the judgment approving it must be, as they are
hereby, declared null and void, and set aside. Considerations of fairness however indicate the remand of
the case to the Registration Court so that the private parties may be afforded an opportunity to establish
by competent evidence their respective claims to the property.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the respondent Judge complained of is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Land
Registration Case No. N-109 subject of the petition is REMANDED to the court of origin which shall
conduct further appropriate proceedings therein, receiving the evidence of the parties and thereafter
rendering judgment as such evidence and the law may warrant. No pronouncement as to costs.

B. Ong v. Republic (Miguel)

ONG V. REPUBLIC, G.R. NO. 175746, 12 MARCH 2008

PETITIONERS: Charles L. Ong


RESPONDENTS: Republic of the Philippines

FACTS:
1 July 1999: Charles Ong (ONG), on behalf of himself and as the duly authorized representative of his
brothers (Roberto, Alberto, and Cesar), filed an application for registration of title over a lot located in
Barangay Anolid, Mangaldan, Pangasinan. The lot had an area of about five hundred seventy four (574)
square metres. They alleged that they are the co-owners of the subject lot; that the subject lot is their
exclusive property having acquired the same by purchase from spouses Tony Bautista and Alicia Villamil
on 24 August 1998; that the subject lot is presently unoccupied; and that they and their
predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous and peaceful possession of the subject lot in the
concept of owners for more than thirty (30) years.

Republic of the Philippines (RESPONDENT), represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, opposed
the application for registration of title. Respondent asserted that neither applicants nor their
predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and
occupation of the subject lot since 12 June 1945 or earlier as required by Section 48 (b) of
Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended by Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1073; that applicants failed
to adduce any muniment of title to prove their claims; that the tax declaration appended to the application
does not appear genuine and merely shows pretended possession of recent vintage; that the application
was filed beyond the period allowed under P.D. No. 892; and that the subject lot is part of the public
domain which cannot be the subject of private appropriation.

The trial court rendered a decision in favour of Ong. The CA reversed and set aside.

ISSUE/S:

RULING: NO.

Section 14 (1) of P.D. 1529 ("Property Registration Decree"), as amended, provides —

SEC. 14. Who may apply. — The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an
application for registration of title to land, whether personally or through their duly authorized
representatives:

(1) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous,
exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public
domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since 12 June 1945, or earlier.

Thus, pursuant to the aforequoted provision of law, applicants for registration of title must prove: (1) that
the subject land forms part of the disposable and alienable lands of the public domain, and (2) that they
have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the same under a
bona fide claim of ownership since 12 June 1945, or earlier. These requisites involve questions of fact
which are not proper in a petition for review on certiorari. Factual findings of the court a quo are generally
binding on this Court except for certain recognized exceptions, as is the case here, where the trial court
and the Court of Appeals arrived at conflicting findings. After a careful review of the records, we sustain
the findings and conclusions of the Court of Appeals.

There is no dispute that the subject lot is classified as alienable and disposable land of the public domain.
The Report dated 17 January 2000 of the Bureau of Lands stated that the subject lot is "within the
alienable and disposable zone as classified under Project 50 L.C. Map No. 698 and released and
classified as such on 21 November 1927." This finding is, likewise, embodied in the Report dated 7
January 1999 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Community Environment and
Natural Resources Office (DENR-CENRO) and the blue print Copy of the plan covering the subject lot.
However, petitioner failed to prove that he or his predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous,
exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the subject lot since June 12, 1945 or earlier.
Further, as correctly pointed by the Court of Appeals, possession alone is not sufficient to acquire title to
alienable lands of the public domain because the law requires possession and occupation. The burden of
proof in land registration cases rests on the applicant who must show by clear, positive and convincing
evidence that his alleged possession and occupation of the land is of the nature and duration required by
law. 24 Unfortunately, petitioner's evidence do not constitute the "well-nigh incontrovertible" evidence
necessary in cases of this nature. 25 Accordingly, the Court of Appeals did not err in reversing the
Decision of the trial court and in denying his application for registration of title over the subject lot.

DISPOSITIVE: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is DENIED.

C. Republic v. Aldana (Mustang)

● · Respondents Zenaida Guinto-Aldana (Zenaida), Ma. Aurora Guinto-Comiso, Ma. Luisa


Guinto-Dionisio, Alfredo Guinto, Jr., Pacita R. Guinto, Ernesto R. Guinto, Natividad R. Guinto and Alberto
R. Guinto, filed an Application for Registration of Title over two pieces of land in Talango, Pamplona Uno,
Las Pias
● · Respondents professed themselves to be co-owners of these lots, having acquired them by
succession from their predecessors Sergio Guinto (Sergio) and Lucia Rivera-Guinto (Lucia)Zenaidas
parentswho, , had acquired the property under a 1969 document denominated as Kasulatan sa Paghahati
ng Lupa na Labas sa Hukuman na may Pagpaparaya at Bilihan.

o Under this document, Sergio and Lucia Guinto acquired for a consideration the respective shares on
the property of Pastor Guinto, Dionisio Guinto, Potenciana Guinto and Marcelina Bernardo who, together
with Luisa, had derived the same from Romulado Guinto.
● · Respondents also alleged that until the time of the application, they and their
predecessors-in-interest have been in actual, open, peaceful, adverse, exclusive and continuous
possession of these lots in the concept of owner and that they had consistently declared the property in
their name for purposes of real estate taxation.
● · In support of their application, respondents submitted to the court the blueprint of Plan as
well as copies of the technical descriptions of each lot, a certification from the geodetic engineer and the
pertinent tax declarations
● · Opposing the application, petitioner, through the Office of the City Prosecutor of Las Pias
City, advanced that the lots sought to be registered were inalienable lands of the public domain; that
neither respondents nor their predecessors-in-interest had been in prior possession thereof; and that the
muniment of title and the tax declaration submitted to the court did not constitute competent and sufficient
evidence of bona fide acquisition or of prior possession in the concept of owner.
● · Zenaida identified her herein co-respondents to be her siblings, nephews and nieces. She
likewise identified the adjoining lot owners named in the application and the supporting documents
attached to the application as well. She testified that the subject lots had been surveyed at the instance of
her family sometime between 1994 and 1995, and that said survey was documented in Plan and in the
geodetic engineers technical description of the lots. She implied that they did obtain the original tracing
cloth plan of the property.
● · Furthermore, Zenaida61 years old at the time of her testimonydeclared that she has known
that the subject lots were owned by her family since she was 5 years old and from her earliest
recollection, she narrated that her grandparents had lived in the subject lots until the death of her
grandmother in 1961.
● · She remembered her grandmother having constructed a house on the property, but the
same had already been destroyed.
● · She claimed that she and her father, Sergio, had been religious in the payment of real
estate taxes as shown by the tax declarations and tax receipts which she submitted to the court and
which, following identification, were forthwith marked in evidence.

● The trial court denied the application for failure of the applicants to comply with the requirements
of Presidential Decree No. 1529.
However, this was reversed by the Court of Appeals.

Issue: Whether or not respondents have occupied and possessed the property openly, continuously,
exclusively and notoriously under a bona fide claim of ownership? – YES

RULING:
The submission in evidence of the original tracing cloth plan, duly approved by the Bureau of Lands, in
cases for application of original registration of land is a mandatory requirement. The reason for this rule is
to establish the true identity of the land to ensure that it does not overlap aparcel of land or a portion
thereof already covered by a previous land registration, and to forestall the possibility that it will be
overlapped by a subsequent registration of any adjoining land. The failure to comply with this
requirement is fatal to petitioner’s application for registration.

However, that while the best evidence to identify a piece of land for registration purposes is the original
tracing cloth plan issued by the Bureau of Lands, blueprint copies and other evidence could also provide
sufficient identification.

In the case at bar, we find that the submission of the blueprint of Plan together with the technical
description of the property, operates assubstantial compliance with the legal requirement of ascertaining
the identity of Lot Nos. 4 and 5 applied for registration.

Issue of Possession

The law speaks of possession and occupation. Since these words are separated by the
conjunction and, the clear intention of the law is not to make one synonymous with the other. Possession
is broader than occupation because it includes constructive possession. When, therefore, the law adds
the word occupation, it seeks to delimit the all-encompassing effect of constructive possession. Taken
together with the words open, continuous, exclusive and notorious, the word occupation serves to
highlight the fact that for an applicant to qualify, his possession must not be a mere fiction. Actual
possession of a land consists in the manifestation of acts of dominion over it of such a nature as a party
would naturally exercise over his own property.

Respondents’ possession through their predecessors-in-interest dates back to as early as1937 when the
property had already been declared for taxation by respondent’s father. Respondents could have
produced more proof of this kind had it not been for the fact that, the relevant portions of the tax records
on file with the Provincial Assessor had been burned when its office was razed by fire in 1997. With the
tax assessments there came next tax payments.
Respondents’ receipts for tax expenditures were likewise in the records and in these documents the
predecessors of respondents were the named owners of the property. Tax declarations and realty tax
payment are not conclusive evidence of ownership, nevertheless, they are a good indication of
possession in the concept of an owner.
No one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or at least
constructive possession. Indeed, respondents herein have been in possession of the land in the concept
of an owner, open, continuous, peaceful and without interference and opposition from the government or
from any private individual. Itself makes their right thereto unquestionably settled and hence, deserving of
protection under the law.

The voluntary declaration of a piece of property for taxation purposes manifests not only one’s sincere
and honest desire to obtain title to the property. It also announces his adverse claim against the state and
all other parties who may be in conflict with his interest. More importantly, it signifies an
unfeigned intention to contribute to government revenues—an act that strengthens one’s bona fide claim
of acquisition of ownership.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The March 30, 2006 Decision and the November 20, 2006
Resolution of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. CV No. 80500, are AFFIRMED

D. Serra v. CA (Yana)

FACTS: On December 27, 1967, Primitivo, Rogaciana and Luisa, all surnamed Hernaez (Hernaezes, for
brevity) filed with then CFI of Bacolod City a petition for reconstitution of allegedly lost original certificates
of title in the name of their predecessor-in-interest, Eleuterio Hernaez, covering Lot No. 1316 of
Kabankalan Cadastre and Lot Nos. 2685 and 717 of Ilog Cadastre, all in the Province of Negros
Occidental. The petition was granted and a reconstituted original certificates of title were issued. The
reconstituted original certificates of title were then issued in the names of the Hernaezes by virtue of a
"declaration of heirship".

Salvador Serra Serra, for and in behalf of his co-heirs (Serras, for brevity), filed with the Registry of Deeds
an adverse claim against the reconstituted certificates of title in the name of the Hernaezes and a motion
for cancellation of said certificates of title, claiming that they are holders of valid existing certificates of
titles and that they are in actual possession of the properties since before the war.

The motion was forwarded to the Court of First Instance of Himamaylan, Negros Occidental, then
presided by Judge Abiera, where the lots are situated. Judge Abiera denied the motion for cancellation
without conducting a formal hearing. The Hernaezes filed a motion for execution of the order granting the
petition for reconstitution. The motion prayed that they be placed in possession of the subject properties.
Subsequently, the Himamaylan court issued the writ of possession in favor of the Hernaezes.

On May 12, 1971, the Serras challenged the legality of the issuance of the writ of possession before the
Court of Appeals in a petition of certiorari. They alleged that the order was issued with grave abuse of
discretion and therein prayed that the order denying the motion for cancellation of the reconstituted
certificates of titles as well as the writ of possession be nullified. A writ of preliminary injunction was
issued but subsequently dissolved on August 23, 1971. (The case didn't mention why the CA dissolved
the writ).

Petitioners alleged that respondent Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion when it set aside the
writ of preliminary injunction previously issued thereby giving effect to the writ of possession issued by the
trial court. They argued that the questioned dissolution of the writ was tantamount to an adjudication on
the merits of the main petition which involves the issue of possession. The lifting of the writ was allegedly
premature. They also claimed that the order of the trial court for the issuance of a writ of possession over
the disputed lots in favor of private respondents is void because a writ of possession in a cadastral
proceeding can only be issued pursuant to a final decree of registration and not, on the basis of an order
denying a motion to cancel certificates of title.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Court of Appeals acted with grave abuse of discretion when it lifted the writ of
preliminary injunction it previously issued? YES

HELD: The main petition in the Court of Appeals, questioning the propriety of the issuance of a writ of
possession by the trial court has not been resolved to date and the issue before Us cannot be resolved
without resolving also the issue in the Court of Appeals. Therefore, We deemed it proper to resolve also
the issue on the propriety of the issuance of the writ of possession by the trial court in this petition.

We hold that the issuance of the writ of possession by Judge Abiera after the motion for cancellation of
the reconstituted certificates of title filed by petitioners was dismissed and under the circumstances
obtaining in this case, was not proper. Consequently, the lifting of the previously issued writ of preliminary
injunction by the respondent appellate court, resulting in the enforcement of the writ of possession issued
by the trial court and the dispossession of the petitioners of the subject properties was a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to a lack of jurisdiction.
In a land registration case, a writ of possession may be issued only pursuant to a decree of registration in
an original land registration proceedings "not only against the person who has been defeated in a
registration case but also against anyone adversely occupying the land or any portion thereof during the
proceedings up to the issuance of the decree." It cannot however, be issued in a petition for reconstitution
of an allegedly lost or destroyed certificate of title. Reconstitution does not confirm or adjudicate
ownership over the property covered by the reconstituted title as in original land registration proceedings
where, in the latter, a writ of possession may be issued to place the applicant-owner in possession.

The purpose of the reconstitution of any document, book or record is to have the same reproduced, after
observing the procedure prescribed by law in the same form they were when the loss or destruction
occurred. The reconstitution of certificates of title should be made, as just stated, in the same form and
exactly as they were at the time they were lost or destroyed. A person who seeks a reconstitution of a
certificate of title over a property he does not actually possess cannot, by a mere motion of the issuance
of a writ of possession, which is summary in nature, deprive the actual occupants of possession thereof.
Possession and/or ownership of the property should be threshed out in a separate proceeding.

ACCORDINGLY, the petitions are GRANTED. The questioned order of the respondent Court of Appeals
lifting the writ of preliminary injunction is SET ASIDE. The writ of possession issued in Cadastral Case
No. 17, GLRO Records No. 163 is declared NULL and VOID. The records of this case and of CA-G.R.
No. 00139 are remanded to the trial court for hearing of the motion for cancellation of the reconstituted
titles. Private respondents are ordered to return to petitioners the possession of the properties in question.
The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on February 15, 1972, enjoining private respondents
from interfering in any manner, with petitioners' right of possession of the properties in questions, shall
remain effective until the issue of ownership and/or possession of the properties is finally settled by a
competent court.

E. Republic v. Nillas (Aki)


➢ Nillas filed a petition for Revival of Judgment with the Regional Trial Court.
○ She alleged that on July 17, 1941, the CFI rendered an additional decision in the case of Director
of Lands v. Esteban Abingayan, which adjudicated several lots in favor of Abingayan.
➢ Nillas’s parents eventually acquired one of the lots involved in the case, Lot no. 771. Nillas then
acquired the lot from her parents through a Deed of Quitclaim.
➢ However, despite all these transfers and the open and continuous possession of the subject
property since the 1977 sale, no decree of registration was ever issued over lot no. 771.
➢ Thus, Nillas sought the revival of the 1941 Decision and rendition of the 1941 Decision.
○ No reason was given as to why the Director of Lands did not issue the decree. It should be noted
though that the decision was rendered a few months before the Japanese invasion of 1941.
➢ The petitioner herein mainly argues that Nillas’s right of action to revive judgment has already
prescribed. It quotes the provisions of the Rules of Court, which imposed a prescriptive period for
enforcement of judgments. The CA reiterated that the prescription applied only to civil actions and not to
special proceedings like land registration. Hence, this petition.
➢ Issue: whether or not prescription may bar a petition to revive a judgment in a land registration
case
➢ The petitioner cited two cases: Shipside Inc. and Heirs of Lopez.
○ Shipside: dismissed the action instituted by the Government seeking the revival of judgment that
declared a title null and void because the judgment sought to be revived had become final more than 25
years before the action for revival was filed
■ does not apply because the judgment sought belatedly for enforcement in Shipside did not arise
from an original action for land registration, but from a successful motion by the Republic seeking the
cancellation of title previously adjudicated to a private landowner
■ the pronouncement therein that prescription barred the revival of the order of cancellation was
made in the course of dispensing with an argument which was ultimately peripheral to that case
■ Shipside does not expound on the applicability of the rules of prescription.
○ Heirs of Lopez: involved the double registration of the same parcel of land, and the subsequent
action by one set of applicants for the issuance of the decree of registration in their favor seven (7) years
after the judgment had become final.
■ The Court dismissed the subsequent action, holding that laches had set in, it in view of the
petitioners' omission to assert a right for nearly seven (7) years.
■ The issues of prescription and laches arose because the petitioners filed their action to enforce
the 1979 final judgment and the cancellation of the competing title only in 1987, two (2) years beyond the
five (5)-year prescriptive period provided in the Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court did characterize the
petitioners as guilty of laches for the delay in filing the action for the execution of the judgment in their
favor, and thus denied the petition on that score.
■ The execution of the judgment sought for belated enforcement in this case would have entailed
the disturbance of a different final judgment which had already been executed and which was shielded by
the legal protection afforded by a Torrens title. There was no ministerial duty on the part of the registration
authorities, unlike in this case.
➢ The petitioner wrongly relied on those cases. The general jurisprudential rule is: neither
prescription nor laches bars the enforcement of a final judgment in a land registration case, especially
when the said judgment has not been reversed or modified, whether deliberately or inadvertently, by
another final court ruling.
➢ The provision of the Rules refers to civil actions and is not applicable to special proceedings,
such as a land registration case.
○ A party in a civil action must immediately enforce a judgment that is secured as against the
adverse party, and his failure to act to enforce the same within a reasonable time as provided makes the
decision unenforceable against the losing party.
○ In special proceedings, the purpose is to establish a status, condition or fact; in land registration
proceedings, the ownership by a person of a parcel of land is sought to be established.
■ After the ownership has been proved and confirmed by judicial declaration, no further proceeding
to enforce said ownership is necessary, except when the adverse or losing party had been in possession
of the land and the winning party desires to oust him therefrom.
➢ The petitioner noted that PD 1529 does not contain any provision on execution of final judgments,
so the Rules of Court is suppletory.
○ The Court held that it is precisely because PD No. 1529 does not specifically provide for
execution of judgments in the sense ordinarily understood and applied in civil cases, the reason being
there is no need for the prevailing party to apply for a writ of execution in order to obtain the title, that Rule
39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is not applicable to land registration cases in the first place.
➢ The failure on the part of the administrative authorities to do their part in the issuance of the
decree of registration cannot oust the prevailing party from ownership of the land.
○ Neither the failure of such applicant to follow up with said authorities can.
➢ The ultimate goal of our land registration system is geared towards the final and definitive
determination of real property ownership in the country, and the imposition of an additional burden on the
owner after the judgment in the land registration case had attained finality would simply frustrate such
goal.
➢ The peculiar procedure provided in the Property Registration Law from the time decisions in land
registration cases become final is complete in itself and does not need to be filled in.

F. Manotok Realty v. CLT Realty (Edward)

- There are two cases stemming from this decision by the Supreme Court
- In Dimson vs. Araneta:
o Jose Dimson filed a complaint for recovery of possession of land and of damages against Araneta
Institute of Agriculture. Dimson alleged among others, that he was the absolute owner of a 50-hectare
land
o Eventually, Dimson sold the property to Virgilio Enriquez. It was discovered thereafter that Araneta
was occupying the property who built thereon an “agricultural school house”
o Araneta says it has been in possession of the land since 1974, presenting certifications from the Land
Registration Commission, which stated that the subject lands are named under Araneta
o RTC decided in favor of Dimson; CA affirmed the RTC decision
- In CLT vs. Manotok
o CLT alleges in its complaint that it is the owner of Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate in Caloocan, a
DERIVATIVE of the earlier Lot in Dimson vs. Araneta
o CLT averred that it had acquired Lot 26 from its former owner, Hipolito. Hipoloto’s title was a direct
transfer from Dimson, who got its title by virtue of the court order from 1966
o On the other hand, Manotok claims that the validity of their titles came from the derivatives of OCT
No. 994
o The properties covered by the titles were expropriated by the Republic, which were later on
subdivided by the NHA into 77 lots and sold to qualified vendees
o RTC ruled in favor of CLT, CA affirmed the RTC, SC affirmed the RTC and CA (2005 decision)
o However, the SC reversed its earlier decision and stated in its 2007 decision that OCT no. 994 should
be invalidated, which was the basis of Dimson. It held that such OCT No. 994 was inexistent
o The Special Proceedings before the Special Division gave the Heirs of Dimson and CLT the chance to
prove the validity of their claims on the title

ISSUE: Which of the contending parties are able to trace back their claims to Original Certificate of Title
(OCT) No. 994 dated 3 May 1917

HELD and RATIO:


è The titles of Dimson and CLT were declared void ofor being derived from an inexistent title
- OCT No. 994 to begin with was already declared inexistent, thus having no basis on whose title was
it
- Heirs of Dimson offered no explanation as to why their titles reflect the erroneous date of April 19,
1917, which, according to CLT, was just a typographical error.
- Dimson’s title was nullified because of their reliance on previous Orders which were in fact not
signed by the Judge or was not an LRC case but rather, just an ordinary civil case.
- Regarding CLT’s title and as to why it was nullified, the Court said that since CLT traced its title from
Dimson’s claims, it altogether invalidates the claims of all persons seeking to derive ownership from it.
o CLT’s title carried with it annotations identical to those of Dimson and included defects in Dimson’s
title, and the fact that typographical errors were not at anytime cured by subsequent compliance with
administrative requirements or subject to administrative correction altogether strengthens the invalidity of
CLT’s title
è Araneta’s title was VALID
- Araneta’s predecessor-in-interest was Jose Ma. Rato who was one of the co-heirs in OCT no. 994.
He was allotted a share in the Maysilo Estate. The issued TCT covered 5 subdivided lots. After further
subdividing the property, another TCT was provided unto Rato. In all the certificates of title including the
one passed to Araneta, it maintained the designation of the lot as belonging to or portions of Lot 25-A-3,
which retained its identity
è What is actually issued by the register of deeds is the certificate of title itself, not the decree of
registration, as he is precisely the recipient from the land registration office of the decree for transcription
to the certificate as well as the transcriber no less.
- Since what is now acknowledged as the authentic OCT No. 994 indicates that it was received for
transcription by the Register of Deeds of Rizal on 3 May 1917, it is that date that is the date of registration
since that was when he was able to transcribe the decree in the registration book, such entry made in the
book being the original certificate of title.
- Moreover, it is only after the transcription of the decree by the register of deeds that the certificate of
title is to take effect
- A decree of registration is an order issued under the signature of the Commissioner of Land
Registration in the name of the Judge to the fact that the land described therein is registered in the name
of the applicant or oppositor or claimant as the case maybe. When this is transcribed or spread in toto in
the registration book and signed by the register of deeds, the page on which the transcription is made
become the “original certificate of title,” more commonly called the Torrens title.
- The land becomes a registered land only upon the transcription of the decree in the original
registration book by the register of deeds, the date and time of such transcription being set forth in the
process and certified to at the foot of each entry or certificate of title.
The issuance of the original and owner’s duplicate certificates are basic for the valid existence of the title.
Issuance of additional copies are permissive and their non-existence does not affect the status of title. A
certificate of title is deemed as regularly issued with the issuance of the original copy and owner’s
duplicate

G. Rosales Rufloe v. Burgos (Jochelle)


FACTS:
- Petitioner Adoracion Rufloe is the wife of Angel Rufloe, now deceased, while co-petitioners
Alfredo and Rodrigo aer their children.
- During the marriage of Adoracion and Angel, they acquired a land with TCT.
- Respondent delos Reyes forged the signatures of the spouses to make it appear that the land
was sold to her by the latter, in which the former succeeded.
- The Rufloes filed a complaint for damages alleging that the Deed of Sales was falsified.
- That it was forged because Angel died in 1974, 4 yrs before the alleged sale happened.
- During the pendency of the case, dels Reyes sold the property to respondent siblings named
Burgos. A new TCT was issued to them.
- The siblings then sold the property t their auntie Leonarda Burgos. However, it was not
registered.
- The subject property remained in the name of the siblings Burgos who also continued to pay the
taxes.
- The TC ruled that delos Reyes did not acquire the ownership over the land because of the forged
sale.
- The Rufloes then filed for complaint for the Declaration of Nullity of the COntract and Cancellation
of Titles against the Burgos siblings and delos Reyes.
- TC ruled in favor of Rufloes and directed the Register of Deeds to reinstate the title to spouses
Rufloes.
- Respondents appealed to CA. CA reversed and held that respondents were purchasers in good
faith.
ISSUE:
(1) whether the sale of the subject property by Delos Reyes to the Burgos siblings and the subsequent
sale by the siblings to Leonarda were valid and binding; NO
(2) whether respondents were innocent purchasers in good faith and for value despite the forged deed of
sale of their transferor Delos Reyes. NO
RULING:
It is undisputed that the forged deed of sale was null and void and conveyed no title. It is a well-settled
principle that no one can give what one does not have, nemo dat quod non habet. One can sell only what
one owns or is authorized... to sell, and the buyer can acquire no more right than what the seller can
transfer legally

Due to the forged deed of sale, Delos Reyes acquired no right over the subject property which she could
convey to the Burgos siblings. All the transactions... subsequent to the falsified sale between the spouses
Rufloe and Delos Reyes are likewise void, including the sale made by the Burgos siblings to their aunt,
Leonarda.

A person dealing with registered land has a right to rely on the Torrens certificate of title and to dispense
with the need of inquiring further except when the party has actual knowledge of facts and circumstances
that would impel a reasonably cautious man to... make such inquiry or when the purchaser has
knowledge of a defect or the lack of title in his vendor or of sufficient facts to induce a reasonably prudent
man to inquire into the status of the title of the property in litigation. The presence of anything which
excites or... arouses suspicion should then prompt the vendee to look beyond the certificate and
investigate the title of the vendor appearing on the face of said certificate. One who falls within the
exception can neither be denominated an innocent purchaser for value nor a purchaser in good... faith
and, hence, does not merit the protection of the law... at the time the Burgos siblings bought the subject
property on December 4, 1984, Civil Case No. M-7690, an action for damages, and Criminal Case No.
10914-P,[20] for estafa, filed by the Rufloes against Delos Reyes, were both... pending before the RTC of
Pasay City. This circumstance should have alerted the Burgos siblings as to the validity of Delos Reyes'
title and her authority and legal right to sell the property.

It was Amado Burgos who bought the property for his children, the Burgos siblings. Amado was not
personally acquainted with Delos Reyes... prior to the sale because he bought the property through a real
estate broker, a certain Jose Anias, and not from Delos Reyes herself.

There was no showing that Amado or any of the Burgos siblings exerted any effort to personally verify
with the Register of Deeds if Delos Reyes'... certificate of title was clean and authentic.

In the same vein, Leonarda cannot be categorized as a purchaser in good faith. Since it was the Rufloes
who continued to have actual possession of the property, Leonarda should have investigated the nature
of their possession.

H. Pajomayo v. Manipon (Jued)

MARIANO PAJOMAYO, PATRICIO PAJOMAYO, EUSEBIO PAJOMAYO, SOLEDAD PAJOMAYO


assisted by her husband FLORIANO CHITONGCO, DEMETRIO PAJOMAYO, CRISTITA PAJOMAYO
assisted by her husband MANUEL RAMIREZ, PATROCINIO PAJOMAYO and CRISPO PAJOMAYO,
plaintiffs-appellees, vs. RODRIGO MANIPON and PERFECTA ZULUETA, defendants-appellants
GR No. L-33676 June 30, 1971

FACTS: Plaintiffs Pajomayo filed in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan a complaint alleging that
they are co-owners pro-indiviso of the parcel of land in the name of Diego Pajomayo, issued by the office
of the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan. Further, they claim the following:
1. they had acquired the land as an inheritance from their late father Diego Pajomayo;
2. they and their predecessor-in-interest had been in OCENCO for a period of more than 70 years
until the early part of the year 1956 when the defendants Manipon dispossessed them of said property,
resulting in their having suffered annual damages amounting to around P1,100.00 representing the value
of the crops of rice; mongo, corn and vegetables that they failed to harvest;

The plaintiffs prayed that they be declared the lawful owners proindiviso of the land in question, and that
the defendants be ordered to vacate the land and pay them the damages they have suffered.

In their answer the defendants Manipon, after denying some of the allegations of the complaint, alleged
that they are the exclusive owners of a parcel of land for having been adjudicated to them in the cadastral
proceedings of the Malasique cadastre. The defendants claim they had acquired the land mentioned in
their answer by inheritance from their deceased father Pioquinto Manipon, and that they and their
predecessors-in-interest have been in actual, peaceful, and adverse possession of said land for more
than 70 years, to the exclusion of plaintiffs.

As affirmative defenses, the defendants allege that plaintiffs' action is barred by res judicata and/or
prescription and that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case.

The defendants prayed that they be declared the owners of the parcel of land mentioned in their answer.

It was later then presented by the counsels of the parties agree that the land in question is covered by two
Certificates of Title, one in the name of Diego Pajomayo under Original Cert. of Title No. 1089 issued
under Free Patent, owner's copy attached hereto as Annex A; and Original Cert. of Title No. 14034, in the
name of the Defendant Rodrigo Manipon, issued in Cadastral Case No. 91 of Malasique Cadastre,
certified true copy of which is attached hereto as Annex B

CFI made a finding that Original Certificate of Title No. 1089 held by the plaintiffs was issued earlier than
Original Certificate of Title No. 14034 held by the defendants. Hence, judgment was in favor of the
Plaintiffs Pajomayo.

ISSUE: Which of the two original certificates of title should prevail — the No. 1089 held by the
plaintiffs-appellees which was issued in virtue of the homestead patent, or the No. 14034 held by the
defendants-appellants which was issued in connection with the cadastral proceedings?

HELD/RATIO: Plaintiffs Homestead Patent prevails

Necessarily, when one of the two titles is held to be superior over the other, one should be declared null
and void and should be ordered cancelled. And if a party is declared to be the owner of a parcel of land
pursuant to a valid certificate of title said party is entitled to the possession of the land covered by said
valid title. The decree of registration issued in the cadastral proceedings does not have the effect of
annulling the title that had previously been issued in accordance with the provisions of the land
Registration Law (Act 496).

The lower court, therefore, had correctly ordered the cancellation of Certificate of Title No. 14034 held by
the defendants when it declared that Original Certificate of Title No. 1089 held by the plaintiffs should
prevail. Likewise, the lower court had correctly ordered the defendants to vacate the land in question, and
deliver possession thereof
to plaintiffs after declaring plaintiffs entitled thereto as the heirs of Diego Pajomayo, the lawful owner of
the land.

It has been ruled by this Court that once a homestead patent granted in accordance with the Public Land
Act is registered pursuant to Section 122 of Act 496 (Land Registration Act), the certificate of title issued
in virtue of said patent has the force and effect of a Torrens Title under the Land Registration Act.

It is the settled rule in this jurisdiction that where two certificates of title are issued to different persons
covering the same land in whole or in part, the earlier in date must prevail as between the original parties,
and in case of successive registration where more than one certificate is issued over the land the person
holding under the prior certificate is entitled to the land as against the person who relies on the second
certificate.

In the case now before Us, it appearing that Original Certificate of Title No. 14034 upon which the
defendants-appellants base their claim of ownership over the land in question was issued on April 1, 1957
, while Original Certificate of Title No. 1039 upon which plaintiffs-appellees base a similar claim was
issued on November 27, 1931, under the law and the authorities We have herein cited, the latter
certificate of title should prevail, and the former should be cancelled.

________________________________________
I. Fil-Estate Management v. Trono (Kat)
FACTS: The petition alleges that on November 9, 1994, George, Ma. Teresa, Edgardo, Ma. Virginia,
Jesse, Ma. Cristina, Inocencio, Jr., Carmen, and Zenaida, all surnamed Trono, herein respondents, filed
with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 255, Las Piñas City, an application for registration of a parcel of
land, docketed as LRC Case No. M-228. The land is located at Bo. Almanza, Las Piñas City, Metro
Manila consisting of 245,536 square meters.
On August 11, 1995, the above-named petitioners filed their opposition to LRC Case No. M-228 alleging
that as per Survey Plan Psu-31086, respondents’ property partly overlaps their lot. As early as April 28,
1989, this lot was registered in their names.

Earlier, or on July 25, 1995, Ayala Land, Inc. (Ayala Land) also filed an opposition to respondents’
application for registration anchored on the ground that the land applied for overlaps the parcels of land.

During the hearing, respondents presented the July 24, 1995 Report of the LRA and the Survey Report of
the Land Management Services, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, showing that the
land they sought to register under Plan Psu-31086 overlaps the property already registered in the names
of petitioners.

Thereafter, petitioners and Ayala Land filed their respective motions to dismiss respondents’ application
for registration on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. They claimed that “since the property was previously
Torrens registered in their names, the trial court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
proceedings.”

On March 4, 1996, the trial court issued a Resolution denying the motions to dismiss, holding that the
Regional Trial Court has exclusive original jurisdiction over all applications for original registration of title
to lands.

Petitioners then filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari. On May 20, 1997, the Appellate
Court rendered its Decision granting the petition

ISSUE: Whether the trial court has jurisdiction over respondent's’ application for registration of a parcel of
land.

RULING: YES.

Section 2 of Presidential Decree (PD) 1529[7] partly provides:

Sec. 2. Nature of registration proceedings; jurisdiction of courts. – Judicial proceedings for the registration
of lands throughout the Philippines shall be in rem, and shall be based on the generally accepted
principles underlying the Torrens System.

Courts of First Instance shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all applications for original registration of title
to lands, including improvements and interests therein, and over all petitions filed after original registration
of title, with power to hear and determine all questions arising upon such applications or petitions.
xxx

Pursuant to the above provisions, the Regional Trial Court (formerly Court of First Instance) has the
authority to act, not only on applications for original registration of title to land, but also on all petitions filed
after the original registration of title. Thus, it has the authority and power to hear and determine all
questions arising from such applications or petitions.[8]

The Court of Appeals, therefore, erred in ruling that the Regional Trial Court, Branch 255, Las Piñas City
has no jurisdiction over LRC Case No. M-228 on the ground that the land subject of respondents’
application for registration was already registered in the Registry of Deeds of Las Piñas City.

Likewise, Section 48 of PD 1529 provides:

Sec. 48. Certificate not subject to collateral attack. – A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral
attack. It cannot be altered, modified, or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law.
(Underscoring ours)
Respondents’ application for registration of a parcel of land already covered by a Torrens title is actually a
collateral attack against petitioners’ title not permitted under the principle of indefeasibility of a Torrens
title. It is well settled that a Torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked; the issue on the validity of title,
i.e., whether or not it was fraudulently issued, can only be raised in an action expressly instituted for the
purpose.[9] Hence, whether or not respondents have the right to claim title over the property in question
is beyond the province of the instant proceeding. That should be threshed out in a proper action. It has
been invariably stated that the real purpose of the Torrens System is to quiet title to land and to stop
forever any question as to its legality. Once a title is registered, the owner may rest secure, without the
necessity of waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting on the “mirador su casa” to avoid the possibility of
losing his land.

Corollarily, Section 32 of the same law states:

Sec. 32. Review of decree of registration; Innocent purchaser for value. – The decree of registration shall
not be reopened or revised by reason of absence, minority, or other disability of any person adversely
affected thereby, nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgment, subject, however, to the right
of any person, including the government and the branches thereof, deprived of land or of any estate or
interest therein by such adjudication or confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud, to file in the proper
Court of First Instance a petition for reopening and review of the decree of registration not later than one
year from and after the date of the entry of such decree of registration, but in no case shall such petition
be entertained by the court where an innocent purchaser for value has acquired the land or an interest
therein whose rights may be prejudiced. Whenever the phrase “innocent purchaser for value” or an
equivalent phrase occurs in this Decree, it shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee, mortgagee, or
other encumbrancer for value.

Upon the expiration of said period of one year, the decree of registration and the certificate of title issued
shall become incontrovertible. Any person aggrieved by such decree of registration in any case may
pursue his remedy by action for damages against the applicant or any other person responsible for the
fraud. (underscoring ours)

A decree of registration that has become final shall be deemed conclusive not only on the questions
actually contested and determined, but also upon all matters that might be litigated or decided in the land
registration proceedings.[12]

As per records of the Registry of Deeds of Las Piñas City, TCT No. T-9182[13] was registered in
petitioners’ name as early as April 28, 1989, or five (5) years before the filing of respondents’ application
for registration. Thus, it is too late for them (respondents) to question petitioners’ titles considering that
the Certificates of Title issued to the latter have become incontrovertible after the lapse of one year from
the decree of registration.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED.

J. Bautista-Borja v. Bautista (Mark)

FACTS: The spouses Pablo Bautista (Pablo) and Segundina Tadiaman Bautista (spouses Bautista) died
intestate in July 1980 and April 1990. Pablo was the registered owner of several agricultural lands
situated in Ramon, Isabela totaling around 30 hectares and in Llanera, Nueva Ecija totalling 17 hectares.
They had five children, respondents Iluminada and Aurea, Francisco (who died in 1981), Simplicio (who
died in 1986), and Natividad (petitioner). Francisco was survived by six children, namely: respondents
Clarita, Florentino, Diosdado, Francisco II, and Francisco III, and the now deceased Arsenio, all
surnamed Bautista. Simplicio was survived by five children, namely: respondents Danilo, Lorna,
Luzviminda, Luz, and Paulino, all surnamed Bautista. Petitioners claimed that respondents, through fraud
and deception, convinced her to take possession and cultivate the above-stated parcels of land which
would eventually be partitioned; and that unknown to her, however, the titles to the lands were cancelled
by virtue of Deeds of Sale purportedly executed on different dates by her parents in favor of her siblings
Simplicio and Francisco, a fact which she came to know about only in 1994. Petitioner filed a complaint
for Annulment of the Deeds of Sale and/or Partition of Properties alleging the aforesaid deeds of sales are
either forgeries or falsifications or are all fictitious documents, void and ineffectual which conferred no
valid and legal rights to the transferees for the reason that at the time of their alleged executions the
vendors were almost totally bereft of understanding, reason and perception and especially in the case of
Pablo Bautista, was so gravely ill, seriously bedridden that he could not have gone and appeared before
the Notary Public for the execution of the questionable documents and/or could not have understood the
significance and legal effect of the same. Petitioner accordingly prayed for the partition of the properties of
spouses Pablo Bautista and Segundina Tadiaman Bautista; and Declaring as null and void and without
any force and effect the deed of sales and/or other documents executed to cancel and effect the transfer
of the properties of Pablo Bautista and his wife to the defendants. Respondents filed a Motion to dismiss
anchored on lack of cause of action, prescription and laches. The Trial Court dismissed the complaint of
Petitioner. Petitioner elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, contending that the nature of her
complaint was one for annulment of void contracts, hence, imprescriptible; that laches does not apply.
appellate court affirmed the trial courts ruling. The appellate court went on to hold that petitioner was
guilty of laches, and assuming that the transfer of the properties in favor of respondents was procured
through fraud, still, her action should have been filed within four years from the discovery of the fraud.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Natividad‘s cause of action has already prescribed.
HELD: NO. On laches, petitioner cites Palmera v. CSC holding that laches will not be taken against a
plaintiff where the defendant is shown to have promised from time to time to grant the relief sought.
Finally, in support of her contention that her parents never executed the questioned Deed of Sale,
petitioner submitted, for the Courts consideration, the Affidavits of her sisters, herein respondents
Iluminada and Aurea, averring that, inter alia, during their lifetime, their parents could not have sold the
properties to their brothers Simplicio and Francisco and signed the deeds because they were illiterate;
that they did not engage the services of Atty. Edmar Cabucana, respondents counsel, to represent them
in the case for they had no objection to the legal claim of their sister-herein petitioner Natividad. From the
earlier quoted-allegations in petitioners complaint, it is clear that her action is one for declaration of the
nullity of the Deeds of Sale which she claims to be either falsified ─ because at the time of the execution
thereof, Pablo was already gravely ill and bedridden, hence he could not have gone and appeared before
the Notary Public, much less understood the significance and legal deeds ─ and/or because there was no
consideration therefor. Clearly, following Article 1410 of the Civil Code, petitioner’s action is
imprescriptible.
But even if petitioner’s complaint were to be taken as one for reconveyance, given that it is based on an
alleged void contract, it is just the same as imprescriptible.
Thus, if the trial court finds that the deed of sale is void, then the action for the declaration of the contracts
nullity is imprescriptible. Indeed, the Court has held in a number of cases that an action for reconveyance
of property based on a void contract does not prescribe. However, if the trial court finds that the deed of
sale is merely voidable, then the action would have already prescribed.[1][15] (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
At all events, since the complaint on its face does not indicate that the action has prescribed, Pineda v.
Heirs of Eliseo Guevara instructs: An allegation of prescription can effectively be used in a motion to
dismiss only when the complaint on its face shows that indeed the action has already prescribed.
Otherwise, the issue of prescription is one involving evidentiary matters requiring a full-blown trial on the
merits and cannot be determined in a mere motion to dismiss. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the Order of the
Regional Trial Court dismissing Civil Case No. 2084 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

________________________________________
K. Rementizo v. Heirs of Vda. de Madarieta (Miguel)
L. Spouses Santos v. Heirs of Lustre (Mustang)

Facts:

● Dominga Lustre owned a lot which she mortgaged & later on sold to Natividad Santos who
subsequently sold it to her son Froilan for which a TCT was issued in his name.

First Case (Civil Case No. 1330):


● Lustre’s heirs Macaspac & Maniquiz (Cecilia Macaspac and Tarcisio Maniquiz, both heirs of
Dominga Lustre) filed w/ RTC of Gapan, Nueva Ecija a Complaint for Declaration of the Inexistence of
Contract, Annulment of Title, Reconveyance and Damages against Froilan Santos.
● Cecilia Macaspac executed a Verification and Certification against Forum Shopping in that case.
● They averred that the sale of the property to Natividad Santos was simulated, spurious or fake,
and that they discovered that spouses Santos transferred the property to Froilan Santos when the latter
filed an ejectment suit against them

Second Case (Civil Case No. 2115):

● While Civil Case No. 1330 was still pending, Lustre’s other heirs filed a Complaint for Annulment
of Transfer Certificate of Title and Deed of Absolute Sale against spouses Santos, Froilan Santos, R
Transport Corp, Cecilia Macaspac with the same RTC. Macaspac was impleaded as defendant in the 2nd
case because she refused to join the other heirs as plaintiffs.
● The complaint alleged that the spouses Santos simulated the Deed of Sale by forging Dominga
Lustres signature; that thereafter, the spouses Santos simulated another Deed of Sale transferring the
property to Froilan Santos, which led to the issuance of TCT in his name; that this title became the basis
of Froilan’s ejectment suit against them; and that R Transport Corporation (also a petitioner), was
claiming that it bought the property from Froilan but there was no evidence to prove such claim. According
to the plaintiffs (herein respondents), they had been residing in the property since birth and the house
standing on the lot was built by their ancestors.

Defense of Santos (for case Civil Case No 2115):


● Plaintiffs’ right of action for annulment of the Deed of Sale and TCT had long prescribed and was
barred by laches,
● They later filed an Omnibus/Supplemental Motion to Dismiss on the ground of litis pendentia

The RTC denied the Motion to Dismiss. They then filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals
(CA) which dismissed the petition for lack of merit.

Issue #1: WON there is a Forum Shopping


Decision: No
Ratio:
Forum shopping exists when the elements of litis pendentia are present or when a final judgment in one
case will amount to res judicata in the other. Its elements are identity of the subject matter, identity of the
causes of action and identity of the parties in the two cases. There is substantial identity of parties when
there is a community of interest between a party in the first case and a party in the second case.

There is no forum shopping because there is no identity of parties because the plaintiff in the 1st case
(Macaspac) does not, in fact, share a common interest with the plaintiffs in the 2nd case.

Plaintiffs in both cases are the heirs of Lustre; they are therefore co-owners of the property. However, the
fact of being a co-owner does not necessarily mean that a plaintiff is acting for the benefit of the
co-ownership when he files an action respecting the co-owned property. Co-owners are not parties inter
se in relation to the property owned in common. The test is whether the “additional” party, the co-owner
in this case, acts in the same capacity or is in privity with the parties in the former action. [28]

Macaspac filed the 1st case seeking the reconveyance of the property to her, and not to Lustre or her
heirs. This is a clear act of repudiation of the co-ownership which would negate a conclusion that she
acted in privity with the other heirs or that she filed the complaint in behalf of the co-ownership. In
contrast, respondents were evidently acting for the benefit of the co-ownership when they filed the 2nd
case wherein they prayed that TCT Lustre be reinstated, or a new certificate of title be issued in her
name.

Issue #@: Does prescription or laches apply?


Decision: No
Ratio:

The action for reconveyance on the ground that the certificate of title was obtained by means of a fictitious
deed of sale is virtually an action for the declaration of its nullity, which does not prescribe. Moreover, a
person acquiring property through fraud becomes, by operation of law, a trustee of an implied trust for the
benefit of the real owner of the property. An action for reconveyance based on an implied trust prescribes
in ten years. And in such case, the prescriptive period applies only if there is an actual need to reconvey
the property as when the plaintiff is not in possession of the property. Otherwise, if plaintiff is in
possession of the property, prescription does not commence to run against him. Thus, when an action for
reconveyance is nonetheless filed, it would be in the nature of a suit for quieting of title, an action that is
imprescriptible.

It follows then that the respondents’ present action should not be barred by laches. Laches is a doctrine
in equity, which may be used only in the absence of, and never against, statutory law. Obviously, it
cannot be set up to resist the enforcement of an imprescriptible legal right.[39]

Finally, it is true that an action for reconveyance will not prosper when the property sought to be
reconveyed is in the hands of an innocent purchaser for value. In this case, however, the protection of the
rights of any alleged innocent purchaser is a matter that should be threshed out in the main case and not
in these proceedings

M. Cañero v. UP (Yana)

FACTS: Cañero spouses filed a petition for reconstitution of title of a lot in Barangay Culiat, Tandang
Sora, Quezon City. The petition alleged that the lot had been registered by the Register of Deeds of
Quezon City in the name of the spouses Cañero. Allegedly, however, the original copy of the TCT in the
custody of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City, was burned when the Quezon City Hall was razed by a
fire on June 11, 1998. The spouses prayed that the reconstitution should be based on their owner's
duplicate copy and other pertinent documents in their possession.

The trial court issued an order, notifying all persons who had an interest in the property to file their claims
or objections thereto. Hence, the trial court: 1) served copies of the Order to various government
agencies, among which were the Land Registration Authority, the Land Management Bureau, the
Register of Deeds of Quezon City, the Solicitor General, and the Office of the City Prosecutor; 2) caused
the publication of the Order in the Official Gazette on 10 February 1992 and on 17 February 1992; and 3)
posted copies of the Order at the entrance of the Quezon City Hall, at the bulletin boards of the Quezon
City Regional Trial Court, and at the Culiat Barangay Hall.

No opposition was filed during the period to oppose, hence, the reconstitution was granted by RTC QC.
Sometime later, petitioner (Cariños) received information that respondent UP had claimed title and
secured a tax declaration in its name for the said lot. The tax declaration (No. C-128-00026) issued by
the City Assessor of Quezon City in the name of petitioner carried an annotation that the lot appeared to
duplicate the property of respondent UP (No. B- 128-00238).

Petitioner filed an action to quiet the title of the said lot with the RTC of Quezon City against UP and the
City Assessor of Quezon City. Petitioner relied on his reconstituted title. He averred that even before the
title was issued in his and his wife's name, his father had been in OCENCO. He alleged that his
"designated caretakers" occupy the lot at present. Petitioner contended that UP has no legal title or claim
over the lot since it failed to raise objections during the reconstitution proceedings.

Respondent UP filed a Motion to Dismiss and assailed the validity of the reconstitution proceedings on
the ground that a jurisdictional requirement prescribed under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 26, was not
complied with as the trial court failed to notify it and the other owners of properties adjoining the lot about
the same.

RTC QC ruled in favor of the petitioners (Spouses Cañero) and held among others that the presumption
of regularity in the performance of official function of the trial court which granted the reconstitution
proceedings still remains, because UP has not adduced sufficient evidence, either in a proceeding to
annul the said judgment or in an answer as a special or affirmative defense.

CA reversed the decision and held that the complaint to quiet title should be dismissed. In the case of
Heirs of Pael vs. Court of Appeals, the SC stated there, “The disputed property, however, is part of the
UP Diliman Campus, covered by TCT No. 9462. It was established, after the survey conducted by the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) that the
property claimed by Chin and Mallari overlaps the property covered by UP's title”.

Hence, this petition

ISSUE: Is the CA correct in holding that the Trial Court should have dismissed the complaint to quiet title?
YES!

HELD: (SC) We rule that the appellate court is correct in holding that the trial court should have dismissed
the complaint to quiet title. Petitioner's reconstituted title is his basis for filing the action to quiet title
against respondent UP. The reconstituted title and the proceedings from which it hailed from are,
however, void.

R.A. No. 26 provides for a special procedure for the reconstitution of Torrens certificates of title that are
missing but not fictitious titles or titles which are existing. It is an absolute absurdity to reconstitute existing
certificates of title that are on file and available in the registry of deeds. If we were to sustain petitioner's
stance, the establishment of the Torrens system of land titling would be for naught, as cases dealing with
claims of ownership of registered land would be teeming like worms coming out of the woodwork. It is
self-evident that the trial court's judgment could not be sustained. When a judgment is void for lack of
jurisdiction and its nullity is shown by virtue of its own recitals, it may be said to be a lawless thing, which
can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head.

We further note that even if the subject lot had not already been registered in the name of respondent UP,
still the reconstitution proceedings are void for lack of notice to adjoining property owners. We quote
Sections 12 and 13 of Republic Act No. 26 (An Act Providing A Special Procedure For The Reconstitution
Of Torrens Certificate Of Title Lost Or Destroyed), viz: (SECTION 13 IS RELEVANT PROVISION IN THIS
CASE)

Sec. 13. The Court shall cause a notice of the petition, filed under the preceding section, to be published
at the expense of the petitioner, twice in successive issues of the Official Gazette, and to be posted on
the main entrance of the provincial building and of the municipal building of the municipality or city in
which the land is situated at least thirty days prior to the date of hearing. The court shall likewise cause a
copy of the notice to be sent, by registered mail or otherwise, at the expense of the petitioner, to every
person named therein whose address is known, at least thirty days prior to the date of hearing. Said
notice shall state, among other things, the number of the lost or destroyed certificate of title, if known, the
name of the registered owner, the names of the occupants or persons in possession of the property, the
owners of the adjoining properties and all other interested parties, the location, area and boundaries of
the property, and the date on which all persons having any interest therein must appear and file their
claim or objections to the petition. The petitioner shall, at the hearing, submit proof of the publication,
posting and service of the notice as directed by the court. (Emphases ours.)

Judicial reconstitution of title partakes of a land registration proceeding. Thus, notice of the proceedings
must be given in the manner set forth by the letter of the law. A cursory perusal of the petition for
reconstitution filed by petitioner, clearly reveals that the adjoining property owners were never mentioned
and, hence, not notified. A cursory perusal of the petition for reconstitution filed by petitioner, clearly
reveals that the adjoining property owners were never mentioned and, hence, not notified. Upon cross-
examination by counsel for respondent UP, Atty. Liwliwa Bucu, the clerk of court of Branch 82, declared
that aside from the notices sent to the concerned government agencies, the publication in the Official
Gazette and the posting of the Order in several conspicuous public places, no other notice was sent by
the trial court to any party. Respondent UP owns the entirety of the land surrounding the lot in issue; yet it
was not notified of the reconstitution proceedings. It is hornbook doctrine that defects in the notices
required under the law to be sent to interested parties, deprive the court of jurisdiction.

In sum, RTC, Branch 82 never acquired jurisdiction over the reconstitution proceedings because it failed
to notify the respondent, an adjoining property owner. Its judgment must perforce be declared void.

N. Spouses Rumarate v. Hernandez (Aki)


➢ Petitioners filed for an action of reconveyance of real property and/or quieting of title with
damages against respondent heirs of spouses Hernandez.
➢ Teodulo averred that Lot No. 379 was previously possessed and cultivated by his godfather,
Santiago, a bachelor, who used to live with the Rumarate family in San Pablo City.
➢ From 1925 to 1928, Santiago occupied Lot No. 379 cultivating five hectares thereof.
➢ In 1929, Santiago orally bequeathed his rights over Lot No. 379 to Teodulo and entrusted to him
a copy of a Decision of the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Tayabas recognizing his (Santiago) rights over
Lot No. 379.
○ Teodulo’s family cleared the land, built a house, and planted coconut trees, corn, palay and
vegetables thereon.
➢ In 1960, Santiago executed an Affidavit (quit-claim) ratifying the transfer of his rights over Lot No.
379 to Teodulo.
➢ From 1929, Teodulo and later, his wife and 11 children possessed the land as owners and
declared the same for taxation, the earliest being in 1961.
➢ In 1970, Teodulo discovered that spouses Cipriano Hernandez and Julia Zoleta, respondents'
predecessors-in-interest, were able to obtain a title over Lot No. 379.
○ According to the respondents, Santiago sold the questioned lot to their parents in 1964 for
P9,000.00.
○ The CFI of Tayabas rendered a Decision declaring Lot No. 379 as a public land and recognizing
Santiago as claimant thereof. However, no title was issued because Santiago failed to file an Answer.
○ Spouses Hernandez filed a motion to reopen the proceeding, alleging that though no title was
issued in the name of Santiago, the same decision is, nevertheless, proof that Santiago was in
possession of Lot No. 379 since 1925 or for more than 30 years.
○ Having succeeded in the rights of Santiago, the spouses prayed that Cadastral Proceeding No.
12 be re-opened and that the corresponding title over Lot No. 379 be issued in their name. It was granted
and they were issued an OCT.
○ After the death of the spouses, respondents executed a deed of partition over the subject lot.
➢ The trial court decided in favor of petitioners. However, the Court of Appeals reversed the
decision; hence, this petition.
➢ ISSUE: whether the land should be awarded to the petitioners who possessed and cultivated the
lot since 1929 up to present
➢ RULING: YES, the land belongs to the petitioners.
○ whether the action to quiet title must prosper - yes.
■ For an action to quiet title to prosper, two indispensable requisites must concur, namely:
● the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property
subject of the action; and
● the deed, claim, encumbrance or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title must be
shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy.
■ Teodulo’s open, continuous, exclusive, notorious possession and occupation of Lot No. 379, in
the concept of an owner for more than 30 years vested him and his heirs title over the said lot.
● The law applicable at the time Teodulo completed his 30-year possession was Sec. 48(b) of
Commonwealth Act No. 141 or the Public Land Act, as amended by Republic Act (RA) No. 1942 which
stated that:
Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been, in continuous, exclusive,
and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide
claim of acquisition or ownership, for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the
application for confirmation of title, except when prevented by war or force majeure. Those shall be
conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a government grant and shall be
entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.
■ When the conditions are complied with, the possessor is deemed to have acquired, by operation
of law, a right to a government grant, without necessity of a certificate of title being issued, and the land
ceases to be part of the public domain.
● The confirmation proceedings would not originally convert the land from public to private land, but
only confirm such conversion already effected by operation of law from the moment the required period of
possession became complete.
■ A careful examination of the evidence on record shows that Teodulo possessed and occupied Lot
No. 379 in the concept of an owner.
● Since 1929, Teodulo cultivated the controverted land, built his home, and raised his 11 children
thereon.
● He filed a homestead application over Lot No. 379 but failed to pursue the same.
● After his demise, all his 11 children, the youngest being 28 years old, continued to till the land.
● Santiago never challenged Teodulo’s possession nor demanded or received the produce of said
land.
● For 31 years, Santiago never exercised any act of ownership over Lot No. 379.
● And, in 1960, he confirmed that he is no longer interested in asserting any right over the land by
executing in favor of Teodulo a quitclaim.
■ All these prove that Teodulo possessed and cultivated the land as owner thereof since 1929.
While the oral donation and the quitclaim are void for non-compliance with the formalities of donation,
they nevertheless explain Teodulo and his family’s long years of occupation and cultivation of said lot and
the nature of their possession thereof.
■ Considering that Lot No. 379 became the private property of Teodulo in 1959, Santiago had no
more right to sell the same to spouses Cipriano Hernandez and Julia Zoleta in 1964.
■ Consequently, the latter and herein respondents did not acquire ownership over Lot No. 379 and
the titles issued in their name are void.
○ whether the respondents’ contention that Santiago acquired title through prescription is correct -
no.
■ The records do not support the argument that Santiago's alleged possession and cultivation of
Lot No. 379 is in the nature contemplated by the Public Land Act which requires more than constructive
possession and casual cultivation.
■ Santiago’s short-lived possession and cultivation of Lot No. 379 could not vest him title.
● While he tilled the land in 1925, he ceased to possess and cultivate the same since 1928.
● He abandoned the property and allowed Teodulo to exercise all acts of ownership.
● Nemo potest plus juris ad alium transferre quam ipse habet. No one can transfer a greater right to
another than he himself has.
● Hence, respondents did not acquire any right over the questioned lot and the title issued in their
names are void, because of the legal truism that the spring cannot rise higher than the source.
○ whether the respondents can claim good faith - no.
■ They had knowledge of facts and circumstances which would impel a reasonably cautious man to
inquire about the property.
● Santiago was not residing in Lot No. 379 at the time of the sale.
● He was already 81 years old, too old to cultivate and maintain an 18-hectare land.
● These circumstances should have prompted the spouses to further inquire who was actually
tilling the land.
○ They would have found that Teodulo and his family are the ones possessing and cultivating the
land as owners thereof.
○ whether the petitioners are guilty of laches - no.
■ An action for quieting title is imprescriptible.
● A person in actual possession of a piece of land under claim of ownership may wait until his
possession is disturbed or his title is attacked before taking steps to vindicate his right.
● His undisturbed possession gives him the continuing right to seek the aid of a court of equity to
ascertain and determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and its effect on his title.
● Considering that petitioners herein continuously possessed Lot No. 379 since 1929 up to the
present, their right to institute a suit to clear the cloud over their title cannot be barred by the statute of
limitations.
■ It is respondents who are actually guilty of laches.
● No steps were taken to lay adverse claim to said parcel of land since the date of registration in
November 1965 up to the present.
● Such is sufficient to impute abandonment of right on the part of the respondents.

O. Republic v. CA (Edward) mahaba this

The Facts
In December, 1972, respondent Morato filed a Free Patent Application on a parcel of land with an area of
1,265 square meters situated at Pinagtalleran, Calauag, Quezon. In 1974, the patent was approved and
the Register of Deeds of Quezon at Lucena City issued an Original Certificate of Title. Both the free
patent and the title specifically mandate that the land shall not be alienated nor encumbered within five (5)
years from the date of the issuance of the patent.

Subsequently, the District Land Officer, acting upon reports that respondent Morato had encumbered the
land in violation of the condition of the patent, conducted an investigation. It was established that the
subject land is a portion of the Calauag Bay, five (5) to six (6) feet deep under water during high tide and
two (2) feet deep at low tide, and not suitable to vegetation. It was also revealed that on October 24,
1974, a portion of the land was mortgaged by respondent Morato to respondents Nenita Co and Antonio
Quilatan for P10,000.00. The spouses Quilatan constructed a house on the land. Another portion of the
land was leased to Perfecto Advincula on at P100.00 a month, where a warehouse was constructed.

On November 5, 1978, petitioner filed an amended complaint against respondents Morato, spouses
Nenita Co and Antonio Quilatan, and the Register of Deeds of Quezon for the cancellation of title and
reversion of a parcel of land to the public domain, subject of a free patent in favor of respondent Morato,
on the grounds that the land is a foreshore land and was mortgaged and leased within the five-year
prohibitory period.

· Petitioner contends that the grant of Free Patent and the subsequent issuance of Original
Certificate of Title to Respondent Josefina L. Morato were subject to the conditions provided for in
Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 141. It alleges that nine (9) months and eight (8) days after the grant of the
patent, Respondent Morato, in “violation of the terms of the patent, mortgaged a portion of the land” to
Respondent Nenita Co, who thereafter constructed a house thereon. Likewise, on February 2, 1976 and
“within the five-year prohibitory period,” Respondent Morato “leased a portion of the land to Perfecto
Advincula at a monthly rent of P100.00 who, shortly thereafter, constructed a house on the subject land.”
Further, petitioner argues that the defense of indefeasibility of title is “inaccurate.” The original certificate
of title issued to Respondent Morato contains the seeds of its own cancellation”: such certificate
specifically states on its face that “it is subject to the provisions of Sections 118, 119, 121, 122, 124 of CA
No. 141, as amended.
· Respondent Morato counters by stating that although a “portion of the land was previously leased,”
it resulted “from the fact that Advincula built a warehouse in the subject land without [her] prior consent.”
The mortgage executed over the improvement “cannot be considered a violation of the said grant since it
can never affect the ownership.”
· Respondent-Spouses Quilatan, on the other hand, state that the mortgage contract they entered
into with Respondent Morato “can never be considered as [an] ‘alienation’ inasmuch as the ownership
over the property remains with the owner.” Besides, it is the director of lands and not the Republic of the
Philippines who is the real party in interest in this case, contrary to the provision of the Public Land Act
which states that actions for reversion should be instituted by the solicitor general in the name of Republic
of the Philippines

After trial, the lower court, dismissed petitioner’s complaint. It ruled that there was no violation of the
5-year period ban against alienating or encumbering the land, because the land was merely leased and
not alienated. It also found that the mortgage to Nenita Co and Antonio Quilatan covered only the
improvement and not the land itself. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial
court.

The Issues
· W/N respondent Court erred in holding that the patent granted and certificate of title issued to
Respondent Morato cannot be cancelled and annulled since the certificate of title becomes indefeasible
after one year from the issuance of the title.

· W/N the respondent Court erred in holding that the questioned land is part of a disposable public
land and not a foreshore land.”

The Court’s Ruling


The petition is meritorious.

HELD: Petition is meritorious.

First Issue: Indefeasibility of a Free Patent Title

Sec. 118, 121, 122,and 124 of the Public Land Act clearly proscribe the encumbrance of a parcel of land
acquired under a free patent or homestead within five years from the grant of such patent. Furthermore,
such encumbrance results in the cancellation of the grant and the reversion of the land to the public
domain. Encumbrance has been defined as “[a]nything that impairs the use or transfer of property;
anything which constitutes a burden on the title; a burden or charge upon property; a claim or lien upon
property.” It may be a “legal claim on an estate for the discharge of which the estate is liable; an
embarrassment of the estate or property so that it cannot be disposed of without being subject to it; an
estate, interest, or right in lands, diminishing their value to the general owner; a liability resting upon an
estate.”

Do the contracts of lease and mortgage executed within five (5) years from the issuance of the patent
constitute an “encumbrance” and violate the terms and conditions of such patent? The Supreme Court
believes that it does.
It is indisputable that Respondent Morato cannot fully use or enjoy the land during the duration of the
lease contract. This restriction on the enjoyment of her property sufficiently meets the definition of an
encumbrance under Section 118 of the Public Land Act, because such contract “impairs the use of the
property” by the grantee. In a contract of lease which is consensual, bilateral, onerous and commutative,
the owner temporarily grants the use of his or her property to another who undertakes to pay rent
therefor. During the term of the lease, the grantee of the patent cannot enjoy the beneficial use of the land
leased. As already observed, the Public Land Act does not permit a grantee of a free patent from
encumbering any portion of such land. Such encumbrance is a ground for the nullification of the award.

· Morato’s resort to equity, i.e. that the lease was executed allegedly out of the goodness of her heart
without any intention of violating the law, cannot help her. Equity, which has been aptly described as
“justice outside legality,” is applied only in the absence of, and never against, statutory law or judicial rules
of procedure. Positive rules prevail over all abstract arguments based on equity contra legem.

The questioned mortgage falls squarely within the term “encumbrance” proscribed by Section 118 of the
Public Land Act. Verily, a mortgage constitutes a legal limitation on the estate, and the foreclosure of such
mortgage would necessarily result in the auction of the property. Even if only part of the property has
been sold or alienated within the prohibited period of five years from the issuance of the patent, such
alienation is a sufficient cause for the reversion of the whole estate to the State. As a condition for the
grant of a free patent to an applicant, the law requires that the land should not be encumbered, sold or
alienated within five years from the issuance of the patent. The sale or the alienation of part of the
homestead violates that condition.

The prohibition against the encumbrance -- lease and mortgage included -- of a homestead which, by
analogy applies to a free patent, is mandated by the rationale for the grant, viz:

· “It is well-known that the homestead laws were designed to distribute disposable agricultural lots of
the State to land-destitute citizens for their home and cultivation. Pursuant to such benevolent intention
the State prohibits the sale or encumbrance of the homestead (Section 116) within five years after the
grant of the patent. After that five-year period the law impliedly permits alienation of the homestead; but
in line with the primordial purpose to favor the homesteader and his family the statute provides that such
alienation or conveyance (Section 117) shall be subject to the right of repurchase by the homesteader, his
widow or heirs within five years. This section 117 is undoubtedly a complement of section 116. It aims to
preserve and keep in the family of the homesteader that portion of public land which the State had
gratuitously given to him. It would, therefore, be in keeping with this fundamental idea to hold, as we
hold, that the right to repurchase exists not only when the original homesteader makes the conveyance,
but also when it is made by his widow or heirs. This construction is clearly deducible from the terms of
the statute.”

The prohibition against any alienation or encumbrance of the land grant is a proviso attached to the
approval of every application. Prior to the fulfillment of the requirements of law, Respondent Morato had
only an inchoate right to the property; such property remained part of the public domain and, therefore,
not susceptible to alienation or encumbrance. Conversely, when a “homesteader has complied with all
the terms and conditions which entitled him to a patent for [a] particular tract of public land, he acquires a
vested interest therein and has to be regarded an equitable owner thereof.” However, for Respondent
Morato’s title of ownership over the patented land to be perfected, she should have complied with the
requirements of the law, one of which was to keep the property for herself and her family within the
prescribed period of five (5) years. Prior to the fulfillment of all requirements of the law, Respondent
Morato’s title over the property was incomplete. Accordingly, if the requirements are not complied with,
the State as the grantor could petition for the annulment of the patent and the cancellation of the title.

Respondent Morato cannot use the doctrine of the indefeasibility of her Torrens title to bar the state from
questioning its transfer or encumbrance. The certificate of title issued to her clearly stipulated that its
award was “subject to the conditions provided for in Sections 118, 119, 121, 122 and 124 of
Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 141.” Because she violated Section 118, the reversion of the property to the
public domain necessarily follows, pursuant to Section 124.

Second Issue: Foreshore Land Reverts to the Public Domain

There is yet another reason for granting this petition. Although Respondent Court found that the subject
land was foreshore land, it nevertheless sustained the award thereof to Respondent Morato. Petitioner
correctly contends, however, that Private Respondent Morato cannot own foreshore land:
· “Through the encroachment or erosion by the ebb and flow of the tide, a portion of the subject land
was invaded by the waves and sea advances. During high tide, at least half of the land (632.5 square
meters) is 6 feet deep under water and three (3) feet deep during low tide. The Calauag Bay shore has
extended up to a portion of the questioned land.
· While at the time of the grant of free patent to respondent Morato, the land was not reached by the
water, however, due to gradual sinking of the land caused by natural calamities, the sea advances had
permanently invaded a portion of subject land. As disclosed at the trial, the land was under water during
high tide in the month of August 1978. The water margin covers half of the property, but during low tide,
the water is about a kilometer. Also, in 1974, after the grant of the patent, the land was covered with
vegetation, but it disappeared in 1978 when the land was reached by the tides. In fact, the lower court
observed that the erosion of the land was caused by natural calamities that struck the place in 1977.

As a general rule, findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are binding and conclusive upon this Court,
unless such factual findings are palpably unsupported by the evidence on record or unless the judgment
itself is based on a misapprehension of facts. The application for a free patent was made in 1972. From
the undisputed factual findings of the Court of Appeals, however, the land has since become foreshore.
Accordingly, it can no longer be subject of a free patent under the Public Land Act.

In comparison, Article 420 of the Civil Code provides:


“Art. 420. The following things are property of public dominion:
(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridges constructed
by the State, banks, shores, roadsteads, and others of similar character;

When the sea moved towards the estate and the tide invaded it, the invaded property became foreshore
land and passed to the realm of the public domain. In fact, the Court in Government vs. Cabangis
annulled the registration of land subject of cadastral proceedings when the parcel subsequently became
foreshore land. In another case, the Court voided the registration decree of a trial court and held that said
court had no jurisdiction to award foreshore land to any private person or entity. The subject land in this
case, being foreshore land, should therefore be returned to the public domain.

Petition GRANTED.