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SAJONAS DOCTRINE GR NO 102377

ISSUE: WON an annotated adverse claim is only valid for thirty(30) days
as provided by sec 70 of PD 1529?

RULING:

Landig vs. U.S. Commercial Co., 89 Phil. 638 Commere it was held that where a
sale is recorded later than an attachment, although the former is of an earlier
date, the sale must give way to the attachment on the ground that the act of
registration is the operative act to affect the land. A similar ruling was restated
in Campillo vs. Court of Appeal

Under the Torrens system, registration is the operative act which gives validity
to the transfer or creates a lien upon the land. A person dealing with registered
land is not required to go behind the register to determine the condition of the
property. He is only charged with notice of the burdens on the property which
are noted on the face of the register or certificate of title. 20

Although we have relied on the foregoing rule, in many cases coming before us,
the same, however, does not fit in the case at bar. While it is the act of
registration which is the operative act which conveys or affects the land insofar
as third persons are concerned, it is likewise true, that the subsequent sale of
property covered by a Certificate of Title cannot prevail over an adverse claim,
duly sworn to and annotated on the certificate of title previous to the
sale. 21 While it is true that under the provisions of the Property Registration
Decree, deeds of conveyance of property registered under the system, or any
interest therein only take effect as a conveyance to bind the land upon its
registration, and that a purchaser is not required to explore further than what
the Torrens title, upon its face, indicates in quest for any hidden defect or
inchoate right that may subsequently defeat his right thereto, nonetheless, this
rule is not absolute. Thus, one who buys from the registered owner need not
have to look behind the certificate of title, he is, nevertheless, bound by the
liens and encumbrances annotated thereon. One who buys without checking
the vendor's title takes all the risks and losses consequent to such failure.22

Then again, in Gardner vs. Court of Appeals, we said that "the statement of
respondent court in its resolution of reversal that 'until the validity of an
adverse claim is determined judicially, it cannot be considered a flaw in the
vendor's title' contradicts the very object of adverse claims. As stated earlier,
the annotation of an adverse claim is a measure designed to protect the
interest of a person over a piece of real property, and serves as a notice and
warning to third parties dealing with said property that someone is claiming an
interest on the same or has a better right than the registered owner thereof. A
subsequent sale cannot prevail over the adverse claim which was previously
annotated in the certificate of title over the property. 24

The validity of the above-mentioned rules on adverse claims has to be


reexamined in the light of the changes introduced by P.D. 1529, which
provides:

Sec . 70 Adverse Claim -- Whoever claims any part or interest in


registered land adverse to the registered owner, arising subsequent
to the date of the original registration, may, if no other provision is
made in this decree for registering the same, make a statement in
writing setting forth fully his alleged right or interest, and how or
under whom acquired, a reference to the number of certificate of
title of the registered owner, the name of the registered owner, and
a description of the land in which the right or interest is claimed.

The statement shall be signed and sworn to, and shall state the
adverse claimant's residence, and a place at which all notices may
be served upon him. This statement shall be entitled to registration
as an adverse claim on the certificate of title. The adverse claim
shall be effective for a period of thirty days from the date of
registration. After the lapse of said period, the annotation of adverse
claim may be cancelled upon filing of a verified petition therefor by
the party in-interest: Provided, however, that after cancellation, no
second adverse claim based on the same ground shall be registered
by the same claimant.

Before the lapse of thirty days aforesaid, any party in interest may
file a petition in the Court of First Instance where the land is
situated for the cancellation the adverse claim, and the court shall
grant a speedy hearing upon the question of the validity of such
adverse claim, and shall render judgment as may be just and
equitable. If the adverse claim is adjudged to be invalid, the
registration thereof shall be ordered cancelled. If, in any case, the
court, after notice and hearing shall find that the adverse claim
thus registered was frivolous, it may fine the claimant in an
amount not less than one thousand pesos, nor more than five
thousand pesos, in its discretion. Before the lapse of thirty days,
the claimant may withdraw his adverse claim by filing with the
Register of Deeds a sworn petition to that effect. (Emphasis ours).

In construing the law aforesaid, care should be taken that every part thereof be
given effect and a construction that could render a provision inoperative should
be avoided, and inconsistent provisions should be reconciled whenever possible
as parts of a harmonious whole. 25 For taken in solitude, a word or phrase
might easily convey a meaning quite different from the one actually intended
and evident when a word or phrase is considered with those with which it is
associated." 26 In ascertaining the period of effectivity of an inscription of
adverse claim, we must read the law in its entirety. Sentence three, paragraph
two of Section 70 of P.D. 1529 provides:

The adverse claim shall be effective for a period of thirty days from
the date of registration."

At first blush, the provision in question would seem to restrict the effectivity of
the adverse claim to thirty days. But the above provision cannot and should
not be treated separately, but should be read in relation to the sentence
following, which reads:

After the lapse of said period, the annotation of adverse claim may
be cancelled upon filing of a verified petition therefor by the party
in interest.

If the rationale of the law was for the adverse claim to ipso facto lose force and
effect after the lapse of thirty days, then it would not have been necessary to
include the foregoing caveat to clarify and complete the rule. For then, no
adverse claim need be cancelled. If it has been automatically terminated by
mere lapse of time, the law would not have required the party in interest to do
a useless act.

A statute's clauses and phrases must not be taken separately, but in its
relation to the statute's totality. Each statute must, in fact, be construed as to
harmonize it with the pre-existing body of laws. Unless clearly repugnant,
provisions of statutes must be reconciled. The printed pages of the published
Act, its history, origin, and its purposes may be examined by the courts in their
construction. 27 An eminent authority on the subject matter states the rule
candidly:

A statute is passed as a whole and not in parts sections, and is


animated by one general purpose and intent. Consequently, each
part or section should be construed in connection with every other
part section so as to produce a harmonious whole. It is not proper
to confine its intention to the one section construed. It is always
an unsafe way of construing a statute or contract to divide it by a
process of etymological dissection, into separate words, and then
apply to each, thus separated from the context, some particular
meaning to be attached to any word or phrase usually to be
ascertained from the as context. 28
Construing the provision as a whole would reconcile the apparent
inconsistency between the portions of the law such that the provision on
cancellation of adverse claim by verified petition would serve to qualify the
provision on the effectivity period. The law, taken together, simply means that
the cancellation of the adverse claim is still necessary to render it ineffective,
otherwise, the inscription will remain annotated and shall continue as a lien
upon the property. For if the adverse claim has already ceased to be effective
upon the lapse of said period, its cancellation is no longer necessary and the
process of cancellation would be a useless ceremony. 29

It should be noted that the law employs the phrase "may be cancelled", which
obviously indicates, as inherent in its decision making power, that the court
may or not order the cancellation of an adverse claim, nothwitstanding such
provision limiting the effectivity of an adverse claim for thirty days from the
date of registration. The court cannot be bound by such period as it would be
inconsistent with the very authority vested in it. A fortiori, the limitation on the
period of effectivity is immaterial in determining the validity or invalidity of an
adverse claim which is the principal issue to be decided in the court hearing. It
will therefore depend upon the evidence at a proper hearing for the court to
determine whether it will order the cancellation of the adverse claim or not. 30

To interpret the effectivity period of the adverse claim as absolute and without
qualification limited to thirty days defeats the very purpose for which the
statute provides for the remedy of an inscription of adverse claim, as the
annotation of an adverse claim is a measure designed to protect the interest of
a person over a piece of real property where the registration of such interest or
right is not otherwise provided for by the Land Registration Act or Act 496 (now
P.D. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree), and serves as a warning to
third parties dealing with said property that someone is claiming an interest or
the same or a better right than the registered owner thereof. 31

The reason why the law provides for a hearing where the validity of the adverse
claim is to be threshed out is to afford the adverse claimant an opportunity to
be heard, providing a venue where the propriety of his claimed interest can be
established or revoked, all for the purpose of determining at last the existence
of any encumbrance on the title arising from such adverse claim. This is in line
with the provision immediately following:

Provided, however, that after cancellation, no second adverse claim


shall be registered by the same claimant.

Should the adverse claimant fail to sustain his interest in the property, the
adverse claimant will be precluded from registering a second adverse claim
based on the same ground.
It was held that "validity or efficaciousness of the claim may only be determined
by the Court upon petition by an interested party, in which event, the Court
shall. order the immediate hearing thereof and make the proper adjudication a
justice and equity may warrant. And it is only when such claim is found
unmeritorious that the registration of the adverse claim may be cancelled,
thereby protecting the interest of the adverse claimant and giving notice and
warning to third parties". 32
LOGARTA VS MANGAHIS, JULY 5, 2016

APPLICABILITY OF ADVERSE CLAIM

An adverse claim is a type of involuntary dealing37 designed to protect the


interest of a person over a piece of real property by apprising third persons that
there is a controversy over the ownership of the land.38 It seeks to preserve and
protect the right of the adverse claimant during the pendency of the
controversy,39 where registration of such interest or right is not otherwise
provided for by the Property Registration Decree.

Thus, before a notice of adverse claim is registered, it must be shown that there
is no other provision in law for the registration of the claimant's alleged right in
the property.42 In Register of Deeds of Quezon City v. Nicandro,43 the Court held
that where the basis of the adverse claim was a perfected contract of sale which
is specifically governed by Section 57 of the Land Registration Act, or Act No.
496, the filing of an adverse claim was held ineffective for the purpose of
protecting the vendee's right.44 Similarly, in L.P. Leviste & Company, Inc. v.
Noblejas,45 the Court emphasized that if the basis of the adverse claim is a
perfected contract of sale, the proper procedure is to register the vendee's right
as prescribed by Sections 5146 and 5247 of PD 1529, and not under Section 70
which is ineffective for the purpose of protecting the vendee's right since it does
not have the effect of a conveyance.

Thus, the prevailing rule is that voluntary instruments such as contracts of


sale, contracts to sell, and conditional sales are registered by presenting the
owner's duplicate copy of the title for annotation, pursuant to Sections 51 to 53
of PD 1529.55 The reason for requiring the production of the owner's duplicate
certificate in the registration of a voluntary instrument is that, being a willful
act of the registered owner, it is to be presumed that he is interested in
registering the instrument and would willingly surrender, present or produce
his duplicate certificate of title to the Register of Deeds in order to accomplish
such registration.56 The exception to this rule is when the registered owner
refuses or fails to surrender his duplicate copy of the title, in which case the
claimant may file with the Register of Deeds a statement setting forth his
adverse claim.57chanrobleslaw

In the case at hand, there was no showing that respondent refused or failed to
present the owner's duplicate of TCT No. CLO-763, which would have prompted
Carmona Realty to cause the annotation of the MOA as an adverse claim
instead of a voluntary dealing. On this score, therefore, the RTC and the CA
erred in ordering the cancellation of the subject entries on the strength of
Section 70 of PD 1529 which authorizes regional trial courts to cancel adverse
claims after the lapse of thirty (30) days from registration. Being a voluntary
dealing affecting less than the ownership of the subject property, Section 54 of
PD 1529 - which states that the cancellation of annotations involving interests
less than ownership is within the power of the Register of Deeds - should have
been applied. Accordingly, the RTC and the CA should have dismissed the
petition for cancellation of the subject entries for being the wrong remedy.
MAGDALENA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION INC. v CA GR NO. 60323

The notice of lis pendens — i.e., that real property is involved in an action — is
ordinarily recorded without the intervention of the court where the action is
pending. The notice is but an incident in an action, an extra judicial one, to be
sure. It does not affect the merits thereof. It is intended merely to
constructively advise, or warn, all people who deal with the property that they
so deal with it at their own risk, and whatever rights they may acquire in the
property in any voluntary transaction are subject to the results of the action,
and may well be inferior and subordinate to those which may be finally
determined and laid down therein. 21 The cancellation of such a precautionary
notice is therefore also a mere incident in the action, and may be ordered by
the Court having jurisdiction of it at any given time. And its continuance or
removal — like the continuance or removal of a preliminary attachment or
injunction — is not contingent on the existence of a final judgment in the
action, and ordinarily has no effect on the merits thereof.

In the case at bar, the case had properly come within the appellate jurisdiction
of the Court of Appeals in virtue of the perfection of the plaintiffs'
appeal.1âwphi1 It therefore had power to deal with and resolve any incident in
connection with the action subject of the appeal, even before final judgment.
The rule that no questions may be raised for the first time on appeal have
reference only to those affecting the merits of the action, and not to mere
incidents thereof, e.g., cancellation of notices of lis pendens, or, to repeat, the
grant or dissolution of provisional remedies.

Now, a notice of lis pendens may be cancelled upon order of the court, "after
proper showing that the notice is for the purpose of molesting the adverse
party, or that it is not necessary to protect the rights of the party who caused it
to be recorded." 22

The Court of Appeals found as a fact that the case had dragged on and had
been unnecessarily prolonged by repeated amendments of the complaints by
the plaintiffs, and that the circumstances on record justified the conclusion
that the annotation of the notice of lis pendens was intended to molest and
harass the defendants. 23

That determination, and the conclusion that Presidential Decree No. 1529
"authorizes the cancellation of notices oflis pendens before final judgment upon
order of the Court, upon the grounds previously mentioned," are not whimsical
or capricious, despotic, arbitrary or oppressive in the premises so as to call for
correction by the extraordinary remedy of certiorari.
ATLANTIC ERECTORS INC. VS HERBA COVE REALTY CORPORATION
GRNO 148568
Petitioner avers that its money claim on the cost of labor and materials for
the townhouses it constructed on the respondents land is a proper lien that
justifies the annotation of a notice of lis pendens on the land titles. According
to petitioner, the money claim constitutes a lien that can be enforced to secure
payment for the said obligations. It argues that, to preserve the alleged
improvement it had made on the subject land, such annotation on the property
titles of respondent is necessary.
On the other hand, Respondent Herbal Cove argues that the annotation is
bereft of any factual or legal basis, because petitioners Complaint[9] does not
directly affect the title to the property, or the use or the possession thereof. It
also claims that petitioners Complaint did not assert ownership of the property
or any right to possess it. Moreover, respondent attacks as baseless
the annotation of the Notice of Lis Pendens through the enforcement of a
contractors lien under Article 2242 of the Civil Code. It points out that the said
provision applies only to cases in which there are several creditors carrying on
a legal action against an insolvent debtor.
As a general rule, the only instances in which a notice of lis pendens may
be availed of are as follows: (a) an action to recover possession of real estate; (b)
an action for partition; and (c) any other court proceedings that directly affect
the title to the land or the building thereon or the use or the occupation
thereof.[10] Additionally, this Court has held that resorting to lis pendensis not
necessarily confined to cases that involve title to or possession of real
property. This annotation also applies to suits seeking to establish a right to, or
an equitable estate or interest in, a specific real property; or to enforce a lien, a
charge or an encumbrance against it.[11]
Apparently, petitioner proceeds on the premise that its money claim
involves the enforcement of a lien. Since the money claim is for the
nonpayment of materials and labor used in the construction of townhouses,
the lien referred to would have to be that provided under Article 2242 of the
Civil Code. This provision describes a contractors lien over an immovable
property as follows:

Art. 2242. With reference to specific immovable property and real rights of the
debtor, the following claims, mortgages and liens shall be preferred, and shall
constitute an encumbrance on the immovable or real right:

xxxxxxxxx

(3) Claims of laborers, masons, mechanics and other workmen, as well as of


architects, engineers and contractors, engaged in the construction,
reconstruction or repair of buildings, canals or other works, upon said
buildings, canals or other works;

(4) Claims of furnishers of materials used in the construction, reconstruction,


or repair of buildings, canals or other works, upon said buildings, canals or
other works[.] (Emphasis supplied)

However, a careful examination of petitioners Complaint, as well as the


reliefs it seeks, reveals that no such lien or interest over the property was ever
alleged. The Complaint merely asked for the payment of construction services
and materials plus damages, without mentioning -- much less asserting -- a
lien or an encumbrance over the property. Verily, it was a purely personal
action and a simple collection case. It did not contain any material averment of
any enforceable right, interest or lien in connection with the subject property.
As it is, petitioners money claim cannot be characterized as an action that
involves the enforcement of a lien or an encumbrance, one that would thus
warrant the annotation of the Notice of Lis Pendens. Indeed, the nature of an
action is determined by the allegations of the complaint.[12]
Even assuming that petitioner had sufficiently alleged such lien or
encumbrance in its Complaint, the annotation of the Notice of Lis
Pendens would still be unjustified, because a complaint for collection and
damages is not the proper mode for the enforcement of a contractors lien.
In J.L. Bernardo Construction v. Court of Appeals,[13] the Court explained the
concept of a contractors lien under Article 2242 of the Civil Code and the
proper mode for its enforcement as follows:

Articles 2241 and 2242 of the Civil Code enumerates certain credits which
enjoy preference with respect to specific personal or real property of the
debtor. Specifically, the contractors lien claimed by the petitioners is
granted under the third paragraph of Article 2242 which provides that
the claims of contractors engaged in the construction, reconstruction or
repair of buildings or other works shall be preferred with respect to the
specific building or other immovable property constructed.

However, Article 2242 finds application when there is a concurrence of


credits, i.e., when the same specific property of the debtor is subjected to
the claims of several creditors and the value of such property of the
debtor is insufficient to pay in full all the creditors. In such a situation,
the question of preference will arise, that is, there will be a need to determine
which of the creditors will be paid ahead of the others. Fundamental tenets of
due process will dictate that this statutory lien should then only be
enforced in the context of some kind of a proceeding where the claims of
all the preferred creditors may be bindingly adjudicated, such as
insolvency proceedings.[14] (Emphasis supplied)
Clearly then, neither Article 2242 of the Civil Code nor the enforcement of
the lien thereunder is applicable here, because petitioners Complaint failed to
satisfy the foregoing requirements. Nowhere does it show that respondents
property was subject to the claims of other creditors or was insufficient to pay
for all concurring debts. Moreover, the Complaint did not pertain to insolvency
proceedings or to any other action in which the adjudication of claims of
preferred creditors could be ascertained.
Another factor negates the argument of petitioner that its money claim
involves the enforcement of a lien or the assertion of title to or possession of
the subject property: the fact that it filed its action with the RTC of Makati,
which is undisputedly bereft of any jurisdiction over respondents property in
Tagaytay City. Certainly, actions affecting title to or possession of real property
or the assertion of any interest therein should be commenced and tried in the
proper court that has jurisdiction over the area, where the real property involved
or a portion thereof is situated.[15] If petitioner really intended to assert its claim
or enforce its supposed lien, interest or right over respondents subject
properties, it would have instituted the proper proceedings or filed a real action
with the RTC of Tagaytay City, which clearly had jurisdiction over those
properties.[16]
Narciso Pea, a leading authority on the subject of land titles and
registration, gives an explicit exposition on the inapplicability of the doctrine
of lis pendens to certain actions and proceedings that specifically include
money claims. He explains in this wise:

By express provision of law, the doctrine of lis pendens does not apply to
attachments, levies of execution, or to proceedings for the probate of wills, or
for administration of the estate of deceased persons in the Court of First
Instance. Also, it is held generally that the doctrine of lis pendens has no
application to a proceeding in which the only object sought is the
recovery of a money judgment, though the title or right of possession to
property be incidentally affected. It is essential that the property
be directly affected, as where the relief sought in the action or suit includes
the recovery of possession, or the enforcement of a lien, or an adjudication
between conflicting claims of title, possession, or the right of possession to
specific property, or requiring its transfer or sale[17] (Emphasis supplied)

Pea adds that even if a party initially avails itself of a notice of lis
pendens upon the filing of a case in court, such notice is rendered nugatory if
the case turns out to be a purely personal action. We quote him as follows:

It may be possible also that the case when commenced may justify a resort
to lis pendens, but during the progress thereof, it develops to be purely a
personal action for damages or otherwise. In such event, the notice of lis
pendens has become functus officio.[18] (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, when a complaint or an action is determined by the courts to be in
personam, the rationale for or purpose of the notice of lis pendens ceases to
exist. To be sure, this Court has expressly and categorically declared that the
annotation of a notice of lis pendens on titles to properties is not proper in
cases wherein the proceedings instituted are actions in personam.[19]
LIM VS VERA CRUZ
Sec. 14, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended,
provides:

Sec. 14 Notice of lis pendens In an action affecting the title or the right of
possession of real property, the plaintiff and the defendant, when affirmative
relief is claimed in his answer, may record in the office of the registry of deeds
of the province in which the property is situated a notice of the pendency of the
action. Said notice shall contain the names of the parties and the object of the
action or defense, and a description of the property in that province affected
thereby. Only from the time of filing of such notice for record shall a purchaser,
or encumbrancer of the property affected thereby, be deemed to have
constructive notice of the pendency of the action, and only of its pendency
against the parties designated by their real names.

The notice of lis pendens hereinabove mentioned may be cancelled only upon
order of the court, after proper showing that the notice is for the purpose of
molesting the adverse party, or that it is not necessary to protect the rights of
the party who caused it to be recorded. (Emphasis ours)

Sec. 77 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 states:

Sec. 77. Cancellation of lis pendens Before final judgment, a notice of lis
pendens may be cancelled upon order of the court, after proper showing that
the notice is for the purpose of molesting the adverse party, or that it is not
necessary to protect the rights of the party who caused it to be registered. It
may also be cancelled by the Register of Deeds upon verified petition of the
party who caused registration thereof.

Petitioners claim that the notice of lis pendens practically covers his entire
land covered by TCT No. T-16375 and thus molests his right as an owner.
Lis pendens has been conceived to protect the real rights of the party
causing the registration thereof. With the lis pendens duly recorded, he could
rest secure that he would not lose the property or any part of it. For such
notice serves as a warning to a prospective purchaser or incumbrancer that
the particular property is in litigation; and that he should keep his hands off
the same unless of course, he intends to gamble on the results of the
litigation.[6] Based on this principle as well as the express provisions of Sec. 14,
Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, only the particular
property subject of litigation is covered by the notice of lis pendens. In this
case, only the 200 square meter portion of the entire area is embraced by the
notice of lis pendens. In causing the annotation of such notice, respondents
aim is to protect his right as an owner of this specific area. Thus, the ruling of
the trial court that the notice of lis pendens is tantamount to an unlawful
dispossession and restriction of petitioners right of dominion over the entire
5,432 square meter lot covered by TCT 16375 in their names is, therefore, an
erroneous conclusion.
Pursuant to Section 14, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as
amended, earlier quoted, courts can cancel a notice of lis pendens only on two
grounds: a) after a proper showing that the notice is for the purpose of
molesting the adverse party; or b) it is not necessary to protect the interest of
the party who caused it to be recorded
CACHO VS CA
Acting on the motion for judgment on demurrer to evidence filed by the
Republic and the NSC, the lower court dismissed the petition because it found
the evidence inadequate to show the prior existence of the titles sought to be
restored. The same order stated further that the proper remedy was for the
reconstitution of decrees since it is undisputed that in Cases No. 6908 and
6909, Decrees No. 10364 and 18969, respectively, were already issued. The
same trial court specifically found that since the decrees had, in fact, been
issued, the judgment of this Court in Cacho vs. U.S., supra, although by itself
expressly dependent upon some conditions, must have indisputably become
final.
ROSARO VS SORIA

ART. 1544. If the same thing should have been sold to different vendees, the
ownership shall be transferred to the person who may have first possession
thereof in good faith, if it should be movable property.

Should it be immovable property, the ownership shall belong to the person


acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the Registry of Property.

Should there be no inscription, the ownership shall pertain to the person who
in good faith was first in possession; and, in the absence thereof; to the person
who presents the oldest title, provided there is good faith.

Otherwise stated, ownership of an immovable property which is the subject of a


double sale shall be transferred: (1) to the person acquiring it who in good faith
first recorded it in the Registry of Property; (2) in default thereof, to the person
who in good faith was first in possession; and (3) in default thereof, to the
person who presents the oldest title, provided there is good faith. The
requirement of the law then is two-fold: acquisition in good faith and
registration in good faith. Good faith must concur with the registration. If it
would be shown that a buyer was in bad faith, the alleged registration they
have made amounted to no registration at all.

The principle of primus tempore, potior jure (first in time, stronger in right)
gains greater significance in case of a double sale of immovable property. When
the thing sold twice is an immovable, the one who acquires it and first records
it in the Registry of Property, both made in good faith, shall be deemed the
owner. Verily, the act of registration must be coupled with good faith— that is,
the registrant must have no knowledge of the defect or lack of title of his
vendor or must not have been aware of facts which should have put him upon
such inquiry and investigation as might be necessary to acquaint him with the
defects in the title of his vendor.)35 [Emphases and underlining supplied]

When a piece of land is in the actual possession of persons other than the
seller, the buyer must be wary and should investigate the rights of those in
possession. Without making such inquiry, one cannot claim that he is a buyer
in good faith. When a man proposes to buy or deal with realty, his duty is to
read the public manuscript, that is, to look and see who is there upon it and
what his rights are. A want of caution and diligence, which an honest man of
ordinary prudence is accustomed to exercise in making purchases, is in
contemplation of law, a want of good faith. The buyer who has failed to know or
discover that the land sold to him is in adverse possession of another is a
buyer in bad faith.36 In the case of Spouses Sarmiento v. Court of Appeals,37 it
was written:
Verily, every person dealing with registered land may safely rely on the
correctness of the certificate of title issued therefor and the law will in no way
oblige him to go behind the certificate to determine the condition of the
property. Thus, the general rule is that a purchaser may be considered a
purchaser in good faith when he has examined the latest certificate of title. An
exception to this rule is when there exist important facts that would create
suspicion in an otherwise reasonable man to go beyond the present title and to
investigate those that preceded it. Thus, it has been said that a person who
deliberately ignores a significant fact which would create suspicion in an
otherwise reasonable man is not an innocent purchaser for value. A purchaser
cannot close his eyes to facts which should put a reasonable man upon his
guard, and then claim that he acted in good faith under the belief that there
was no defect in the title of the vendor. As we have held:

The failure of appellees to take the ordinary precautions which a prudent man
would have taken under the circumstances, specially in buying a piece of land
in the actual, visible and public possession of another person, other than the
vendor, constitutes gross negligence amounting to bad faith.
MAHILUM VS SPOUSES ILANO

Since a new title was never issued in respondents’ favor and, instead, title
remained in petitioner’s name, the former never came within the coverage and
protection of the Torrens system, where the issue of good or bad faith becomes
relevant. Since respondents never acquired a new certificate of title in their
name, the issue of their good or bad faith which is central in an annulment of
title case is of no consequence; petitioner’s case is for annulment of the
Agreement and Deed of Absolute Sale , and not one to annul title since the
certificate of title is still in her name. The jurisprudential bases for the CA’s
pronouncement that there is a failure to state a cause of action if the e is no
allegation in the complaint that respondents were purchasers in bad faith –
Castillo v. Heirs of Vicente Madrigal36and Heirs of Julian Tiro v. Philippine
Estates Corporation37 – involved complaints for annulment of new titles issued
to the buyers ; they cannot apply to petitioner’s case where title remains in her
name.

Petitioner’s case is to annul the agreement and deed of sale based on the
allegation that they are forgeries, and that respondents were parties to the
fraud; since no new title was issued in respondents ’ favor, there is no new title
to annul. Indeed, if the agreement and deed of sale are forgeries, then they are
a nullity and convey no title.38 The underlying principle is that no one can give
what one does not have. Nemo dat quod non habet .

In Sps. Solivel v. Judge Francisco, we held that:

x x x in order that the holder of a certificate for value issued by virtue of the
registration of a voluntary instrument may be considered a holder in good faith
for value, the instrument registered should not be forged. When the instrument
presented is forged, even if accompanied by the owner’s duplicate certificate of
title, the registered owner does not thereby lose his title, and neither does the
assignee in the forged deed acquire any right or title to the property.

x x x The innocent purchaser for value protected by law is one who purchases
a titled land by virtue of a deed executed by the registered owner himself, not
by a forged deed, as the law expressly states. x x x

In Instrade, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, we reiterated the said ruling maintaining


that "[A]s early as Joaquin v. Madrid, x x x, we said that in order that the
holder of a certificate for value issued by virtue of the registration of a
voluntary instrument may be considered a holder in good faith and for value,
the instrument registered should not be forged." Indubitably, therefore, the
questioned Deed of Absolute Sale did not convey any title to herein petitioners.
Consequently, they cannot take refuge in the protection accorded by the
Torrens system on titled lands.
Thus, we hold that with the presentation of the forged deed, even if
accompanied by the owner’s duplicate certificate of title, the registered owner
did not thereby lose his title, and neither does the assignee in the forged deed
acquire any right or title to the said property. x x x39

In this case, it is petitioner who must be protected under the Torrens system –
as the registered owner of the subject property. "A certificate of title serves as
evidence of an indefeasible and incontrovertible title to the property in favor of
the person whose name appears therein. The real purpose of the Torrens
system of land registration is to quiet title to land and put a stop forever to any
question as to the legality of the title."40
LIGON VS CA

Under our land registration law, no voluntary instrument shall be registered by


the Register of Deeds unless the owner's duplicate certificate is presented
together with such instrument, except in some cases or upon order of the court
for cause shown. In case the person in possession of the duplicate certificates
refuses or fails to surrender the same to the Register of Deeds so that a
voluntary document may be registered and a new certificate issued, Sec. 107,
Chapter 10, of P.D. No. 1529 clearly states:

Sec. 107. Surrender of withheld duplicate certificates. — Where it is


necessary to issue a new certificate of title pursuant to any
involuntary instrument which divests the title of the registered
owner against his consent or where a voluntary instrument cannot
be registered by reason of the refusal or failure of the holder to
surrender the owner's duplicate certificate of title, the party in
interest may file a petition in court to compel surrender of the
same to the Register of Deeds. The court, after hearing, may order
the registered owner or any person withholding the duplicate
certificate to surrender the same and direct the entry of a new
certificate or memorandum upon such surrender. If the person
withholding the duplicate certificate is not amenable to the process
of the court, or if for any reason the outstanding owner's duplicate
certificate cannot be delivered, the court may order the annulment
of the same as well as the issuance of a new certificate of title in
lieu thereof. Such new, certificate and all duplicates thereof shall
contain a memorandum of the annulment of the outstanding
duplicate.
REPUBLIC VS MEDIDA

As the rule now stands, an applicant must prove that the land subject of an
application for registration is alienable and disposable by establishing the
existence of a positive act of the government such as a presidential
proclamation or an executive order; an administrative action; investigation
reports of Bureau of Lands investigators; and a legislative act or a statute. The
applicant may also secure a certification from the government that the land
claimed to have been possessed for the required number of years is alienable
and disposable.21 In a line of cases, we have ruled that mere notations
appearing in survey plans are inadequate proof of the covered properties’
alienable and disposable character. Our ruling in Republic of the Philippines v.
Tri-Plus Corporation22 is particularly instructive:

It must be stressed that incontrovertible evidence must be presented to


establish that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable.

In the present case, the only evidence to prove the character of the subject
lands as required by law is the notation appearing in the Advance Plan stating
in effect that the said properties are alienable and disposable. However, this is
hardly the kind of proof required by law. To prove that the land subject of an
application for registration is alienable, an applicant must establish the
existence of a positive act of the government such as a presidential
proclamation or an executive order, an administrative action, investigation
reports of Bureau of Lands investigators, and a legislative act or statute. The
applicant may also secure a certification from the Government that the lands
applied for are alienable and disposable. In the case at bar, while the Advance
Plan bearing the notation was certified by the Lands Management Services of
the DENR, the certification refers only to the technical correctness of the
survey plotted in the said plan and has nothing to do whatsoever with the
nature and character of the property surveyed. Respondents failed to submit a
certification from the proper government agency to prove that the lands subject
for registration are indeed alienable and disposable.23 (Citations omitted and
emphasis ours)
HEIRS OF MALABANAN VS REPUBLIC

To sum up, we now observe the following rules relative to the disposition of
public land or lands of the public domain, namely:

(1) As a general rule and pursuant to the Regalian Doctrine, all lands of
the public domain belong to the State and are inalienable. Lands that are
not clearly under private ownership are also presumed to belong to the
State and, therefore, may not be alienated or disposed;

(2) The following are excepted from the general rule, to wit:

(a) Agricultural lands of the public domain are rendered alienable


and disposable through any of the exclusive modes enumerated
under Section 11 of the Public Land Act. If the mode is judicial
confirmation of imperfect title under Section 48(b) of the Public
Land Act, the agricultural land subject of the application needs
only to be classified as alienable and disposable as of the time of
the application, provided the applicant’s possession and
occupation of the land dated back to June 12, 1945, or earlier.
Thereby, a conclusive presumption that the applicant has
performed all the conditions essential to a government grant
arises,36 and the applicant becomes the owner of the land by virtue
of an imperfect or incomplete title. By legal fiction, the land has
already ceased to be part of the public domain and has become
private property.37

(b) Lands of the public domain subsequently classified or declared


as no longer intended for public use or for the development of
national wealth are removed from the sphere of public dominion
and are considered converted into patrimonial lands or lands of
private ownership that may be alienated or disposed through any
of the modes of acquiring ownership under the Civil Code. If the
mode of acquisition is prescription, whether ordinary or
extraordinary, proof that the land has been already converted to
private ownership prior to the requisite acquisitive prescriptive
period is a condition sine qua non in observance of the law (Article
1113, Civil Code) that property of the State not patrimonial in
character shall not be the object of prescription.

To reiterate, then, the petitioners failed to present sufficient evidence to


establish that they and their predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of
the land since June 12, 1945. Without satisfying the requisite character and
period of possession - possession and occupation that is open, continuous,
exclusive, and notorious since June 12, 1945, or earlier - the land cannot be
considered ipso jure converted to private property even upon the subsequent
declaration of it as alienable and disposable. Prescription never began to run
against the State, such that the land has remained ineligible for registration
under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. Likewise, the land
continues to be ineligible for land registration under Section 14(2) of the
Property Registration Decree unless Congress enacts a law or the President
issues a proclamation declaring the land as no longer intended for public
service or for the development of the national wealth.1âwphi1
YINLU BICOL MINING CORP VS TRANS-ASIA
Rights pertaining to mining patents issued pursuant to the Philippine Bill of
1902 and existing prior to November 15, 1935 are vested rights that cannot be
impaired.
HEIRS OF ZARI AND CONCEPCION VS SANTOS

In Benguet Consolidated Mining Co. vs. Pineda, 15 this Court explained that a
vested right is "some right or interest in the property who has
become fixed and established, and is no longer open to doubt or controversy"; it
is an "immediate fixed right of present and future enjoyment"; it is to be
contradistinguished from a right that is "expectant or
contingent." 16 The Benguet case continued on to quote from 16 C.J.S. 214-215,
as follows:

Rights are vested when the right to enjoyment, present or


prospective, has become the property of some particular person or
persons as a present interest. The right must be absolute, complete and
unconditional, independent of a contingency, and a mere expectancy of
future benefit, or a contingent interest in property founded on
anticipated continuance of existing laws, does not constitute a vested
right. So, inchoate rights which have not been acted on are not vested.

6. Another provision of law which gives our view a lift is Article 2254 of the
Civil Code. It declares that "[n]o vested or acquired right can arise from acts or
omissions which are against the law or which infringe the lights of others." 22 On
this article the Code Commission says: "It is evident that no one can validly
claim any fixed or acquired right if the same is founded upon his having
violated the law or invaded the rights of others. This principle is universally
accepted." 23 Indeed, in Benguet, supra, pronouncement was made that "no
person has a vested interest in any rule of law entitling him to insist that it
shall remain unchanged for his benefit." 24
GAERLAN VS REPUBLIC

SEC. 14. Who may apply. -The following persons may file in the proper Court of
First Instance [now Regional Trial Court] 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 June 12, 1945, or earlier.

xxxx

SEC. 48. The following described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of
the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein,
but whose titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply to the Court
of First Instance [now Regional Trial Court] of the province where the land is
located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title
therefor, under the Land Registration Act, to wit:

xxxx

(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have


been in the open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and
occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain, under a
bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership, since June 12, 1945, except when
prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to
have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be
entitled to certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.

Based on the above-quoted provisions, applicants for registration of title must


establish and prove: (1) that the subject land forms part of the disposable and
alienable lands of the public domain; (2) that the applicant and his
predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and
notorious possession and occupation of the same; and (3) that his possession
has been under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945, or
earlier.33Each element must necessarily be proven by no less than clear,
positive and convincing evidence; otherwise the application for registration
should be denied.34
WEE VS MARDO

P.D. 1529, otherwise known as Property Registration Decree, governs the


original registration proceedings of unregistered land. The subject application
for original registration was filed pursuant to Sec. 14(1) of PD 1529, which
provides the condition necessary for registration. Thus:

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 June 12, 1945, or earlier.(Emphasis supplied)

Based on these legal parameters, applicants for registration of title under


Section 14(1) must sufficiently establish: (1) that the subject land forms part of
the disposable and alienable lands of the public domain; (2) that the applicant
and his predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and
notorious possession and occupation of the same; and (3) that it is under a
bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945 or earlier.4

In the case of Republic vs. Umali,5 this Court ruled that once a patent is
registered and the corresponding certificate of title is issued, the land ceases to
be part of public domain and becomes private property over which the Director
of Lands has neither control nor jurisdiction. A public land patent, when
registered in the corresponding Register of Deeds, is a veritable Torrens title,
and becomes as indefeasible upon the expiration of one (1) year from the date
of issuance thereof. Said title, like one issued pursuant to a judicial decree, is
subject to review within one (1) year from the date of the issuance of the
patent. This rule is embodied in Section 103 of PD 1529, which provides that:

Section 103. Certificates of title pursuant to patents. – Whenever public land is


by the Government alienated, granted or conveyed to any person, the same
shall be brought forthwith under the operation of this Decree. x x x After due
registration and issuance of the certificate of title, such land shall be deemed to
be registered land to all intents and purposes under this Decree. (Emphasis
supplied)

Accordingly, respondent’s registered patent in the corresponding Registry of


Deeds is a veritable Torrens title and becomes as indefeasible as a Torrens title
upon the expiration of one (1) year from the date of its issuance.6

For said reason, the order of the RTC directing the Administrator of LRA to
issue a corresponding decree in petitioner’s name is null and void. 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 the
original registration is to register a parcel of land only once.7

Verily, once a title is registered, as a consequence either of judicial or


administrative proceedings, the owner may rest secure, without the necessity of
waiting in the portals of the court sitting in the mirador de su casa to avoid the
possibility of losing his land.8 The certificate of title cannot be defeated by
adverse, open and notorious possession. Neither can it be defeated by
prescription. As provided under Sec. 47 of PD 1529, no title to registered land
in derogation of the title of the registered owner shall be acquired by
prescription or adverse possession.

The Court finds no merit in petitioner’s argument. It is settled in this


jurisdiction that the issue of the validity of title can only be assailed in an
action expressly instituted for such purpose.9 A certificate of title cannot be
attacked collaterally. This rule is provided under Section 48 of PD 1529 which
states that:

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 canceled
except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law. (Emphasis supplied)

In Lagrosa v. Court of Appeals,10 it was stated that it is a well-known doctrine


that the issue as to whether title was procured by falsification or fraud as
advanced by petitioner can only be raised in an action expressly instituted for
the purpose. A Torrens title can be attacked only for fraud, within one year
after the date of the issuance of the decree of registration. Such attack must be
direct, and not by a collateral proceeding. The title represented by the
certificate cannot be changed, altered, modified, enlarged, or diminished in a
collateral proceeding.

In this case, the petitioner is contesting the indefeasibility of title on the ground
of fraud and misrepresentation. Applying the abovementioned doctrine, even
assuming that the petitioner’s allegations are true, the same are considered as
collateral attacks, and such must be raised in an action expressly instituted for
such purpose and in a proper proceeding.

Thus, in Carvajal v. Court of Appeals,11 it was ruled that an application for


registration of an already titled land constitutes a collateral attack on the
existing title. The title may be challenged only in a proceeding for that purpose,
not in an application for registration of a land already registered in the name of
another person. After one year from its registration, the title is incontrovertible
and is no longer open to review.

Remedy of the petitioner is to file a separate proceeding such as an action for


specific performance or for reconveyance