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G.R. No. 91797 August 28, 1991 said parcel of land.

It alleged that the parcel of land is


situated at Malitlit-Uoogong, Quezon City, with an
area of 156 hectares, more or less, described in Plan On October 3, 1979, the motion for reconsideration of
No. LRC (SWO)-15352; and that the applicant petitioner Ortigas was denied by the respondent (trial)
WIDOWS AND ORPHANS ASSOCIATION, INC., court, but the latter set the motion to dismiss for
petitioner, acquired said property from the heirs of Don Mariano
San Pedro on December 12, 1954. The amended hearing on October 18 and 19, 1979 at 8:30 a.m., for
vs. application prayed that said parcel of land be ordered the purpose of enabling the applicant to prove its
registered in the name of Widora. contention that TCT Nos. 77652 and 77653 are not
COURT OF APPEALS and ORTIGAS & COMPANY proper derivatives of the original certificates of title
LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, respondents. from which they were purportedly issued.

On August 25, 1978, respondent Dolores Molina filed


an opposition, claiming ownership over 12 to 14
Quijano & Padilla for petitioner. hectares of Lot 8 (LRC) SWO-15352, and praying for The parties presented their testimonial and
a decree of registration over said portions of Lot 8. documentary evidence before the respondent (trial)
Santiago & Santiago for private respondent. court in support of their respective positions.
Jose Teodorico V. Molina for intervenor-oppositor.
On October 24, 1978, petitioner Ortigas filed a motion
to dismiss the case alleging, among others, that On March 30, 1988, the respondent (trial) court
respondent court had no jurisdiction over the case, denied the motion to dismiss of petitioner Ortigas,
the land being applied for having been already holding, among others, that TCT 77652 and TCT
BIDIN, J.: registered under the Torrens System and in the name 77653 on their face show that they were derived from
of Ortigas under TCT 77652 and TCT 77653. OCT 337, 19, 336, 334, pursuant to Decree 1425; that
if there was error in the correct number of OCT on
said titles, no step or measure to rectify the same was
From the decision rendered by respondent court
taken; that Decree No. 1425 shows that it covers a
dated November 27, 1989, declaring respondent On April 20, 1979, the respondent (trial) court issued total area of only 17 hectares, more or less, located in
Ortigas and Company Limited Partnership (Ortigas) an order directing the applicant to prove its contention Sta. Ana, Manila, which was four kilometers away
as the registered owner of the disputed parcel of land, that TCT 77652 and TCT 77653 are not proper from the land subject of the application for registration
petitioner Widows and Orphans Association, Inc. derivatives of the original certificates of titles from which covers an area of 156 hectares, more or less,
(Widora), interposes this petition for review seeking which they were purportedly issued, and setting the described in Plan No. LRC (SWO)-15352 situated at
ng to annul the aforesaid judgment and prays that the case for hearing on June 28, 1979, at 8:30 a.m. Malitlit-Uoogong, Quezon City; that the contention of
case be remanded to the trial court and there be tried
Ortigas that Decree No. 1425 covers an area in
on the merits. The facts, as found by respondent
Manila and also a part of Rizal is not credible, for if
court, are as follows:
On June 27, 1979, petitioner Ortigas filed a motion for this were true then the area of said Rizal portion
reconsideration of said order of April 20, 1979, should appear on the face of said decree of
alleging that a Torrens title becomes indefeasible registration, which is not the case; that TCT 77652
On August 27, 1974, respondent Widora filed LRC after a year and that the same becomes conclusive and TCT 77653 were not derived from any decree of
Case No. Q-336 before the respondent (trial) court an upon the entire world; that the Land Registration registration, and that the said TCTs being null and
application for registration of title of a parcel of land as Commission itself has advised the court that the 156 void, cannot be used as basis to contest the right of
shown in Plan No. LRC (SWO)-l5352. Widora alleged hectare property sought to be registered is covered the applicant to apply for registration over the subject
that the parcel of land is covered by Titulo de by valid and subsisting titles in the name of Ortigas; land. The order of March 30, 1988, in its dispositive
Propriedad Numero 4136, dated April 25, 1894, that Courts of First Instance and the appellate courts portion stated:
issued in the name of the deceased Mariano San in previous cases had sustained the Ortigas titles
Pedro y Esteban. Later, on June 14, 1978, Widora over the land in question.
filed an amended application for registration of the
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Omnibus On May 19, 1989, the respondent (trial) court issued longer be located or produced, does not mean that
Motion dated October 4, 1978 and Motion to Dismiss, an order, denying the motion for reconsideration of Decree 1425 covering the lots embraced in TCT Nos.
dated, October 23, 1978 filed by oppositor Ortigas & Ortigas, and setting the hearing on the merits on July 77652 and 77653 was not issued. Concluding,
Company, Limited Partnership are both DENIED for 26, 1989, ... for the "eventual presentation of the respondent court said:
lack of merit; while this Court's order of September parties' respective evidence respecting their alleged
15, 1978 directing the City Assessor of Quezon City ownership of the property subject of this petition."
to issue a separate tax declaration corresponding to (Rollo, pp. 24-26) It may be that TCT 77652 and 77653 do not show on
the 12 or 14 hectares which is an undivided portion of their face (sic) that they were derived from OCT 351.
the land applied for registration and now belonging to But the fact remains, as shown above, that the parcel
the said Dolores V. Molina; further, authorizing the Not satisfied, respondent Ortigas instituted an action of land covered by OCT 351 embraced the parcels of
City Treasurer of Quezon City to accept the for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus before land, Lots 7 and 8, of TCT 77652 and 77653. There
corresponding realty taxes due thereon; and further respondent court praying for the annulment of the was, therefore a mistake in the entries in TCT 77652
the said Dolores V. Molina is allowed to intervene in March 30, 1988 and May 19, 1989 orders of the trial and 77653 when the same referred to OCTs 337, 19,
these proceedings, is hereby affirmed; likewise, the court. It also prayed that the trial court be ordered to 336, 337 (sic) and 334, as their source, for the correct
City Treasurer is directed to accept the whole of the dismiss the land registration case. OCT insofar as Lots 7 and 8 are concerned, should
taxes due on the property subject of the instant be OCT 351. (Rollo, p. 27)
petition from applicants Widows & Orphans
Association, Inc., as prayed for in its Manifestation
with Motion subject to the right of the oppositor On November 27, 1989, respondent court rendered
Dolores V. Molina as contained in this Court's order of the decision sought to be reviewed, the decretal In this petition, petitioner WIDORA avers that the
September 15, 1978." portion of which reads: respondent Court of Appeals has decided questions
of substance contrary to law and the applicable
decisions of this Court because:

On April 26, 1988, petitioner Ortigas filed a motion for WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari, prohibition
reconsider consideration of the said order of March and mandamus of petitioner Ortigas & Company
30, 1988, taking exception to the ruling that TCT Nos. Limited Partnership is GRANTED. The orders of I THE COURT OF APPEALS INSISTED IN
77652 and 77653 are null and void, and alleging, March 30, 1988 and May 19, 1989 of the Regional UPHOLDING THE EXISTENCE OR VALIDITY OF
among others, that respondent (trial) court had no Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 83, in LRC Case TCTs 77652 and 77653 DESPITE THE ABSENCE
jurisdiction to hear an application for registration of a No. Q-336, are REVERSED and ANNULLED, and OF A SUPPORTING DECREE OF REGISTRATION.
previously registered land; that the parcels of land said LRC Case No. Q-336 is DISMISSED. The
applied for are covered by TCT 77652 and TCT injunction issued by the Court, per Resolution of
77653 in the name of Ortigas; that the parcels of land August 8, 1989, is made permanent. (Rollo, p. 35) II THE QUESTIONED DECISION UTILIZED
covered by TCT 77652 and TCT 77653 are within the SECONDARY EVIDENCE DESPITE THE
parcel of land covered by OCT 351; and that OCT 351 EXISTENCE AND AVAILABILITY OF THE
is a copy of Decree No. 1425 issued on April 26, Based on the plan and other evidence submitted by ORIGINAL DOCUMENT.
1905. The motion for reconsideration prayed the respondent Ortigas at the hearing of its application for
respondent court to reconsider its order of March 30, preliminary injunction to enjoin the trial court from
1988 on the ground that it had no jurisdiction over the proceeding with the hearing of LRC Case No. Q-336, III THE RESPONDENT COURT HAS NO POWER
application for registration, the parcels of land subject respondent court held that TCT Nos. 77652 and OR AUTHORITY TO ENJOIN THE TRIAL ON THE
thereof being already covered by Torrens Certificates 77653, albeit reflecting their origins as OCT Nos. 337, MERITS OF LRC NO. Q-336 SINCE JURISDICTION
of Title. 19, 336 and 334, are actually derivatives of OCT No. RESIDES WITH THE RTC ACTING AS A LAND
351, the latter having been issued pursuant to Decree REGISTRATION COURT.
1425 and that since OCT 351 is allegedly a copy of
Decree 1425, the mere fact that the original copy of
Decree 1425, or a certified copy thereof, can no
In essence, it is the contention of petitioner that writing and 2) that it has been lost or destroyed or trial of a main factual issue in a case, which properly
respondent court's grounds and reasoning in support cannot be produced in court or that it is in the pertains to trial courts" (citing Lingner & Fisher GMBH
of its findings that respondent Ortigas is the registered possession of the adverse party who has failed to v. IAC, 125 SCRA 522 [1983]). In the case at bar, it
owner of the disputed property are baseless in law produce it after reasonable notice (Michael and Co. v. appears that the parties have yet to fully present their
and fact. Petitioner argues that respondent court Enriquez, 33 Phil. 87 [1915]; Republic v. Court of respective evidence in support of their claims before
erred in sustaining the validity of TCTs Nos. 77652 Appeals, 73 SCRA 146 [1976]). Private respondent the trial court. As a matter of fact, the trial court had
and 77653 despite the absence of a supporting has not shown compliance with the above requisites set the case for hearing on the merits in its order
decree of registration and instead utilized secondary which would justify the admission of the secondary dated May 19, 1989. What is more, the case involves
evidence, OCT 351 which is supposedly a copy of evidence used and erroneously relied upon by a vast tract of land consisting of 156 hectares,
Decree 1425. Petitioner maintains that Decree 1425 respondent court. separately situated in two outlaying localities (i.e.,
is itself existing and available at the Register of Deeds Quezon City and Sta. Ana, Manila.) The resolution of
of Manila and on its face shows that it covers a parcel this controversy calls for a full-blown trial on the
of land with an area of only 17 hectares in Sta. Ana, Furthermore, the unilateral action of respondent court merits if only to afford the contending parties their
Manila while the parcel of land applied for contains an in substituting its own findings regarding the extent of respective days in court. Further, a ground for
area of 156 hectares, located at Malitlit-Uoogong the coverage of the land included in TCT Nos. 77652 dismissal based on disputed facts, as in this case is
Quezon City, four (4) kilometers away from Sta. Ana, and 77653, ostensibly to correct the error in, and not proper in a motion to dismiss (Spouses Jayme
Manila and is certified by the Bureau of Lands and the conform with, the technical description found in OCT and Solidarios v. Alampay, 62 SCRA 131 [1975]).
Bureau of Forestry as alienable and disposable. 351 based on the plan and other evidence submitted
by respondent Ortigas cannot be sustained. That
function is properly lodged with the office of the trial In the case at bar, respondent Ortigas alleges that
Respondent Ortigas claims that respondent court court sitting as a land registration court and only after Decree 1425 embraces the lots covered by its TCT
committed no error in rectifying the mistake in the a full-dress investigation of the matter on the merits. It Nos. 77652 and 77653 which are identical to the lots
entries in TCT Nos. 77652 and 77653 as regards their is before the land registration court that private applied for by petitioner. On the other hand, petitioner
sources and/or origins arguing that the correction was respondent must adduce the proof that the disputed maintains that Decree 1425 covers a 17-hectare lot
justified by the fact that the plan of OCT 351 coincides parcels of land is legally registered in its favor. located at Sta. Ana, Manila while the lot applied for is
with the parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. 77652 alienable and disposable as certified by the Bureau of
and 77653; that OCT 351 was issued pursuant to Lands and by the Bureau of Forestry and has an area
Decree 1425 and that OCT 351 is a copy of the In Dioquino v. Intermediate Appellate Court (179 of 156 hectares located in Quezon City four (4)
Decree itself. SCRA 163 [1989]), this Court held that "(w)hile it is kilometers away from Sta. Ana, Manila. Hence, the
true that the Court of Appeals is vested with the necessity of a trial on the merits to ascertain the
'power to try cases and conduct hearings, receive disputed facts, i.e., whether the lot applied for is
We find the petition impressed with merit. evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to covered by Decree No. 1425 or is alienable and
resolve factual issues raised ..." (Sec. 9 [3], BP 129), disposable. Under Act 496, it is the decree of
there was not even a request for evidentiary hearing registration issued by the Land Registration
filed in this case. The Court of Appeals therefore Commission which is the basis for the subsequent
Undoubtedly, the evidence (i.e., plan submitted by issuance of the certificate of title by the corresponding
respondent Ortigas, testimony of its surveyor and should not have admitted said evidence without giving
the adverse party opportunity to present counter Register of Deeds that quiets the title to and binds the
OCT 351) adduced by private respondent to prove the land (De la Merced v. Court of Appeals, 5 SCRA 240
contents of Decree 1425 and admitted by respondent evidence, if any. Besides, "evidence necessary in
regards to factual issues raised in cases falling within [1962]). Consequently, if no decree of registration had
court is merely secondary and should not have been been issued covering the parcel of land applied for,
admitted in the first place. the Appellate Court's original and appellate
jurisdiction contemplates incidental facts which were then the certificate of title issued over the said parcel
not touched upon, or fully heard by the trial or of land does not quiet the title to nor bind the land and
respondent Court. The law could not have intended is null and void.
Before secondary evidence may be admitted, there that the Appellate Court would hold an original and full
must be 1) proof of the execution of the original
Besides, an order denying a motion to dismiss is be altered, amended or cancelled except in a direct While it may be true, as respondent Ortigas argues,
merely interlocutory and, unless it constitutes clearly proceeding in accordance with law (Sec. 48, PD that a land registration court has no jurisdiction over
a grave abuse of discretion or was issued without or 1529; Natalia Realty Corp. v. Vallez, 173 SCRA 534 parcels of land already covered by a certificate of title,
in excess of jurisdiction, the error, if any, should be [1989]; Legarda v. Saleeby, 31 Phil. 590 [1915]). it is nevertheless true that the aforesaid rule only
corrected by appeal in due time, after trial and Also, no correction of certificate of title shall be made applies where there exists no serious controversy as
judgment on the merits and not by the extraordinary except by order of the court in a petition filed for the to the certificate's authenticity visa vis the land
writ of prohibition (Moreno v. Macadaeg, 7 SCRA 700 purpose and entitled in the original case in which the covered therein. In the case at bar, the claimed origin
[1963]; National Investment and Development decree of registration was entered (Sec. 112, Act 496; of the questioned TCTs evidently appear to be
Corporation v. Aquino, 163 SCRA 53 [1988]). now Sec. 108, PD 1529). While the law fixes no different from what is stated therein. It does not
prescriptive period therefor, the court, however, is not appear indubitable that the disputed parcels of land
authorized to alter or correct the certificate of title if it are properly reflected in the TCTs relied upon by
Furthermore, on grounds of pre-maturity, interlocutory would mean the reopening of the decree of private respondent. Off-hand, and as the parties
orders cannot be decided by the appellate courts until registration beyond the period allowed by law admit, the TCTs do not show that they are actually
the lower court shall have decided the merit of the (Rodriguez, v. Tirona, 68 Phil. 264 [1939]). derivatives of OCT 351. Such being the case, the rule
case. Thus, in Villegas v. Fernando (27 SCRA 1119 relied upon cannot therefore apply. One who relies on
[1969]), this Court held: a document evidencing his title to the property must
Respondent Ortigas, on the other hand, argues that prove not only the genuineness thereof but also the
this Court has already recognized the fact that the identity of the land therein referred to (CF. Lasam v.
parcel of land under TCT No. 227758 from which TCT Director of Lands, 65 Phil. 637 [1938]). In the case at
This first assigned error (assailing the personality of bar, private respondent's TCT Nos. 77652 and 77653
the appellees to ask for a review of the decision and Nos. 77652 and 77653 were issued, are covered by,
among others, Decree 1425 issued in GLRO Record trace their origins from OCT Nos. 337, 19, 336 and
decree in the registration case) is actually directed at 334 and not from OCT 351 as it is now claimed by
an earlier order dated 26 April 1961 denying No. 917 (Rollo, p. 94).
respondent Ortigas.
appellants heirs' motion to dismiss the petitions for
review filed by the present appellees. And inasmuch
as said order of 26 April 1961 is interlocutory, there The argument is without merit True this Court
being as yet no trial and decision on the merits of the declared in Ortigas & Company, Limited Partnership The trial court cannot be faulted for not having
petition for review, it is premature to raise said v. Ruiz (148 SCRA 326 [1987]) that "petitioner is the granted respondent Ortigas' motion to dismiss simply
assigned error in appellants heirs' instant appeal. We duly registered owner of the land * (then) in dispute as because the TCTs relied upon by the latter do not
shall rule thereon only when the proper time comes, i. evidenced by OCT Nos. 13, 33, 334, and 337 by accurately reflect their supposed origin. Thus, in
e., after the lower court shall have settled not only the virtue of Decrees Nos. 240, 1942 and 1925 issued in Ledesma v. Municipality of Iloilo (49 Phil. 769 [1926])
still unresolved status and rights of the parties, GLRO Record Nos. 699, 875 and 917 ..." Nowhere in this Court held that the "simple possession of a
particularly those of petitioners (sic) for review, now said decision, however, is a pronouncement that TCT certificate of title, under the Torrens System, does not
appellees herein, almost all of whom are claiming that Nos. 77652 and 77653 were issued from TCT No. make the possessor the true owner of all the property
they are not mere homestead or free patent 227758. On the contrary, it is not disputed by the described therein. If a person obtains a title, under the
applicants but patent or title holders, but also whether parties that TCT Nos. 77652 and 77653 themselves Torrens System, which includes by mistake or
the original decision should be maintained or not. For show that they were derived from OCT No. 337, 19, oversight land which cannot be registered under the
the court below, after receiving and hearing the 336 and 334 and not from OCT 351 or TCT 227758. If Torrens System, he does not, by virtue of said
parties, may still conclude in favor of appellants indeed, the real origin thereof is OCT No. 351, what certificate alone, become the owner of the lands
herein. (Emphasis supplied) respondent Ortigas should have done was to file a illegally included (citing Legarda and Prieto v.
petition for the correction of the TCTs in question as Saleeby, 31 Phil. 590 [1915])." TMs pronouncement
stated earlier. was reiterated by the Court in Caragay-Layno v.
Court of Appeals (133 SCRA 718 [1984]; Coronel v.
But not only that. Respondent court committed a Intermediate Appellate Court (155 SCRA 270 [1987];
procedural lapse in correcting the alleged error in the Goloy v. Court of Appeals (173 SCRA 26 [1989]; and
questioned TCTs.1âwphi1 A certificate of title cannot Miranda v. Court of Appeals (177 SCRA 303 [1989]).
As it is in this case, a certificate of title cannot be
considered conclusive evidence of ownership where
the certificate itself is faulty as to its purported origin.

Further, the fact that respondent Ortigas' motion to


dismiss was denied does not mean that it could no
longer participate in the resolution of the case and
factual determination of the parties' allegations. As
correctly stated by the trial court, "(i)t is to be
stressed, however, that the denial of oppositor
Ortigas' instant motion for reconsideration does not
necessarily mean that it is deprived of any
participation in the instant petition. For as already
stated, what follows after its denial is the eventual
presentation of all the parties' respective evidence
respecting their alleged ownership of the property
subject of this petition." (Rollo, p. 65)

WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of respondent


court is SET ASIDE and the orders of the trial court in
LRC Case No. Q336 entitled, "In Re-Application for
Registration of Title, WIDOWS and ORPHANS
ASSOCIATION, Inc., Applicant, ORTIGAS &
COMPANY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP and DOLORES
V. MOLINA, Oppositors", dated March 30, 1988 and
May 19, 1989 are hereby REINSTATED insofar as
the denial of oppositor Ortigas' motion to dismiss and
motion for reconsideration, respectively, are
concerned and the case remanded to the trial court
for trial and adjudication on the merits.

SO ORDERED.