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NATIVIDAD VS CA AND REPUBLIC

GR NO. 88233, OCOTBER 4, 1991


This is a petition for review of the decision dated August 25, 1988 of the
Court of Appeals (Annex G, etition! reversing the "udg#ent of the $egional Trial
Court, %ranch &1, 'a(ati, 'etro 'anila, that allowed the registration in the na#es
of petitioners )scar *atividad, +ugenio ascual and %artolo#e $a#os of six (,!
parcels of land which had originall- .een applied for .- To#as Claudio 'e#orial
College, /nc0 (TC'C for short! in 1$C Case *o0 125850
The facts set forth in the decision of the Court of Appeals are as follows3
)n 4anuar- 18, 1982, To#as Claudio 'e#orial College, /nc0 (TC'C! filed in the
Court of 5irst /nstance of $i6al, %ranch 19 (now $egional Trial Court, %ranch 1&7!
an application for registration of title to six (,! parcels of land designated as lots
&212, &211, 2855, 285&, 2851 and 5,52 each respectivel- containing an area of
2,2,9, 11,,72, 2,27&, &,822, 11, 18& and 1,178 s9uare #eters, #ore or less0 These
lots are situated in %arrio :an 4uan, 'orong, $i6al (Appellees; %rief, p0 228, $ollo!0
)n August 1,, 1982, the <irector of 1ands opposed the application (pp0 151=152,
$ecords! on the grounds a#ong others that3
10 *either the applicant (TC'C! nor its predecessors=in=interest have .een
in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the land
in 9uestion since 4une 12, 1985 or prior thereto (:ec0 88>.?, 0<0 127&!@
20 The #uni#ents of title andAor the tax declarations and tax pa-#ents
receipts, if an-, alleged in the application, do not constitute sufficient evidence of
a bona fide ac9uisition of the lands applied for 000@
&0 The parcels applied for are portions of the pu.lic do#ain .elonging to
the $epu.lic of the hilippines not su."ect to private appropriation@ and
80 The applicant is a private corporation dis9ualified under the *ew
hilippine Constitution to hold aliena.le land of the pu.lic do#ain (:ec0 11, Art0
B/C, *ew Constitution@ 'eralco vs0 4udge %artolo#e, G0$0 *o0 1=89,2&, 4une 29,
1982@ $epu.lic vs0 Cillanueva, G0$0 *o0 55289, 4une 29, 1982!0
)n *ove#.er 19, 1982, TC'C filed a #otion for su.stitution (pp0 2&8=
281, $ecords!, pra-ing that it .e su.stituted .- petitioners )scar *atividad, +ugenio
ascual and %artolo#e $a#os .ecause on *ove#.er 9, 1982, it sold to the# the six
parcels of land su."ect of its application0 The #otion was granted .- the lower court
in an )rder dated *ove#.er 22, 1982 (p0 287, $ecords!0 Accordingl-, in lieu of
TC'C, the petitioners thereafter adduced evidence in support of the application,
showing that the original owners had possessed and cultivated the land as owners
for #ore than &2 -ears .efore the- were sold to TC'C0 Thus, did the witnesses for
the applicants testif-3
(a! )scar 40 *atividad, 55 -ears old, college professor and resident of 111
Calero :t0, 'orong, $i6al declared that he is the present owner and possessor of 1ot
&211@ that on *ove#.er 9, l982, he purchased 1ot &211 fro# To#as Claudio
'e#orial College, /nc0 (+xh0 +=*atividad! which in turn purchased it fro# the heirs
of Geroni#o 'anapat na#el- Ti.urcio 'anapat and 'anuel 'anapat (+xhs0 D=1,
*atividad! who inherited the sa#e upon the death of their father Geroni#o in l9&7@
that the surve- plan of 1ot &211 was approved .- the <irector of 1ands (+xh0 5=
*atividad!@ that 1ot &211 was declared for taxation purposes (+xhs0 1, 2, E, $, :!
and the realt- taxes for the -ear covering l9,, up to l982 were paid (+xhs0 4, / T!
(pp0 1=1&, tsn0 *ov0 1&, 1982!@
(.! Crispin 'anapat, 58 -ears old, far#er and resident of ililla, $i6al,
declared that he is the son of Ti.urcio 'anapat@ that )scar 40 *atividad and his
predecessors=in=interest To#as Claudio 'e#orial College, /nc0, Ti.urcio 'anapat,
'anuel 'anapat and Geroni#o 'anapat possessed 1ot &211 continuousl-, openl-,
adversel- and exclusivel- for over thirt- (&2! -ears@ that he and his father Ti.urcio
'anapat used to till said land .efore it was sold to To#as Claudio 'e#orial
College, /nc0 (pp0 9=1&, tsn0, *ov0 2&, 1982!0
(c! +ugenio ascual, 78 -ears old, vice=president of To#as Claudio
'e#orial College and resident of 'orong, $i6al declared that he is the present
owner and possessor of 1ots 2851 and 285&@ that on *ove#.er 9, 1982, he
purchased 1ots 2851 and 285& fro# To#as Claudio 'e#orial College, /nc0 (+xh0
+=ascual! which in turn purchased the# fro# the heirs of :i#eon %onifacio on
4une 29, 1978 (+xh0 1=ascual!@ that :i#eon %onifacio had .een the owner of 1ots
2851 and 285& a.out fifteen -ears prior to Forld Far //@ that the surve- plans of
1ots 2851 and 285& were approved .- the <irector of 1ands (+xhs0 5, ,=ascual!@
that 1ots 2857 and 285& were declared for taxation purposes (+xhs0 ' to '=8
ascual! and the realt- taxes for the -ears covering 1952 up to 1982 were paid
(+xhs0 * to *=E@ ), =ascual! (pp0 1=9, tsn0, <ec0 12, 1982!
(d! Cictor %onifacio, 85 -ears old, far#er and resident of 'orong, $i6al,
declared that he is the grandson of :i#eon %onifacio who was the original owner of
1ots 2851 and 285&@ that his grandfather wor(ed on their properties for fort- -ears@
that when his grandfather died .efore the :econd Forld Far, his father Apolonio
and his uncles 1ucio, Gaudencio and 4ose inherited said properties and wor(ed on
the# until the- were sold to To#as Claudio 'e#orial College, /nc0 on 29 4une
1979@ that applicant +ugenio ascual and his predecessors=in=interest owned and
possessed said properties continuousl-, openl-, adversel- and exclusivel- for over
thirt- (&2! -ears0
(e! %artolo#e $0 $a#os, 88 -ears old, e#plo-ee of To#as Claudio
'e#orial College, /nc0 and resident of 'orong, $i6al, declared that he is the
present owner and possessor of lots 5,52, 2855 and &212@ that on *ove#.er 9,
1982, he purchased lots 5,52, 2855 and &212 fro# To#as Claudio 'e#orial
College, /nc0 (+xh0 +=$a#os!@ that To#as Claudio 'e#orial College, /nc0
purchased lot 5,52 fro# the heirs of 'arcos Trinidad on 4une 27, 1978 (+xh0 1=
$a#os!, lot 2855 fro# the heirs of <o#ingo Gon6alvo and 'odesta 'anapat on
4anuar- 15, l981 and lot &212 fro# 'ariano de Castro on <ece#.er 5, 1979 (+xh0
$=$a#os!@ that the surve- plans of lots 5,52, 2855 and &212 were approved .- the
<irector of 1ands (+xhs0 5, ', :=$a#os!@ that said lots were declared for taxation
purposes (+xhs0 4, , C, B, to B=1@ G to G=2@ AA=$a#os! and the realt- taxes for the
-ear 19,, to 1982 (+xhs0 4, E, H, to H=2, %%=$a#os!@
(f! +dil.erto Trinidad, ,7 -ears old, far#er, and resident of 'orong, $i6al
declared that he is the son of 'arcos Trinidad who was the original owner and
possessor of 1ot 5,52@ that his father wor(ed on said 1ot until he died during the
:econd Forld Far@ that he and the other heirs of 'arcos Trinidad inherited said
propert- fro# the latter@ that the heirs tilled the land until it was sold .- the# to
To#as Claudio 'e#orial College, /nc0 in 27 4une 1979@ that applicant %artolo#e
$a#os and his predecessors=in=interest owned and possessed said land
continuousl-, openl-, adversel- and exclusivel- for over thirt- (&2! -ears (pp0 8=8,
tsn0, <ec0 ,, 1982!0
(g! edro Gon6alvo, ,& -ears old, carpenter, and resident of 'orong, $i6al,
declared that he is the son of <o#ingo Gon6alvo and 'odesta 'anapat, the original
ownerApossessor of 1ot 2855@ that his parents cultivated said land even .efore the
:econd Forld Far, planted it with vegeta.les, #ango trees, sa#paloc and .ananas@
that after the death of their parents, he and his .rothers, /reneo, :eferino and
Ionorio inherited the propert-@ that the- cultivated the sa#e until it was sold to
To#as Claudio 'e#orial /nc0 of (sic! 15 4anuar- 1981@ that possession of applicant
%artolo#e $a#os and his predecessors=in=interest over said lot is continuous,
openl-, adverse and exclusive against the whole world (pp0 7=8, tsn0, <ec0 ,, 1982!0
(h! 'ariano de Castro, 77 -ears old, far#er and resident of 'orong, $i6al
declared that his father 4uan de Castro was the original owner of lot &212@ that his
father planted said lot with peanuts, .a#.oo and sa#paloc trees@ that when his
father died in 19&8 and his #other died in 19,5, he, .eing the onl- child, inherited
the propert-@ that he cultivated the sa#e until it was sold to To#as Claudio
'e#orial College, /nc0 in 1979@ that the possession of applicant %artolo#e $a#os
and his predecessors=in=interest over said propert- is continuous, adverse, open,
notorious and exclusive against the whole world (pp0 7=11, tsn0, <ec0 18, 1982!0 (pp0
128=112, $ollo0!
)n 'arch 1,, 198&, the lower court rendered a decision (pp0 288=25&, $ecords!,
ordering the registration of 1ots &212, 2855, 285&, 2851 and 5,52 in the na#es of
)scar I0 *atividad, +ugenio 0 ascual and %artolo#e $0 $a#os0 The dispositive
portion of said decision reads3
FI+$+5)$+, finding the application to .e #eritorious, and it
appearing that all the applicants have a registera.le title over the
lots su."ect of this application, as pra-ed for, the Court here.-
orders the registration of title of herein applicant )scar 40
*atividad over lot &211 000 +ugenio 0 ascual over 1ots 2851 and
285& 000 %artolo#e $0 $a#os over 1ots 5,52, 2855 and &212
su."ect to the condition that a width of ten (12! #eters strip of 1ot
&212 along the :a(a-in Cree( on the *0 along lines 1=2@ :a(a-in
Cree( on the *F and :F along lines 8=5=,=7=8=9=1@ :a(a-in
Cree( on the :F along lines 2=&=8=5=, shall .e reserved to the
ease#ent of pu.lic use for the #aintenance and i#prove#ent of
the channels for flood control and other purposes0
As soon as this decision shall have .eco#e final, let the
corresponding decrees .e issued in favor of the applicants0 (p0 5,
$espondents=Appellees %rief, p0 228, $ollo0!
The <irector of 1ands appealed the lower court;s decision to the Court of
Appeals (for#erl- /nter#ediate Appellate Court! alleging that the trial court erred in
not holding that the registration of titles of the parcels of land in 9uestion in favor of
petitioners through su.stitution was a circu#vention of the constitutional
prohi.ition against ac9uisition .- private corporations of aliena.le lands of the
pu.lic do#ain and that further#ore, petitioners failed to adduce ade9uate and
su.stantital proof that the- and their predecessors=in=interest had .een in open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession in the concept of owners since 4une
12, 1985 or prior thereto, as re9uired .- law0
The petitioners did not file their appellees; .rief0
)n August 25, 1988, the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court;s
decision and denied the application for registration of title in petitioners; na#es0
etitioners; #otion for reconsideration was denied .- the Court of Appeals,
hence, the present recourse (pp0 1=7, Appellees; %rief, p0 228, $ollo!0
The issue raised in the petition for review is whether TC'C, #a- .- itself, or
through its vendees, register the titles of the lots in 9uestion0
<eter#inative of this issue is the character of the parcels of land J whether the-
were still pu.lic land or alread- private J when the registration proceedings were
co##enced0 /f the- were alread- private lands, the constitutional prohi.ition
against ac9uisition .- a private corporation would not appl- (<irector of 1ands vs0
/nter#ediate Appellate Court and Ac#e l-wood K Ceneer Co0, /nc0, 18, :C$A
529!0
:ection 88 of Co##onwealth Act *o0 181, the u.lic 1and Act, provides3
:+C0 880 The following descri.ed citi6ens of the hilippines,
occup-ing lands of pu.lic do#ain or clai#ing to own an- such
lands or an interest therein, .ut whose titles have not .een
perfected or co#pleted, #a- appl- to the Court of 5irst /nstance
of the province where the land is located for the confir#ation of
their clai#s and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under
the 1and $egistration Act, to wit3
xxx xxx xxx
(.! Those who .- the#selves or through their predecessors=in=
interest have .een in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the pu.lic
do#ain, under a .ona fide clai# of ac9uisition of ownership, for
at least thirt- -ears i##ediatel- preceding the filing of the
application for confir#ation of title except when prevented .- war
or force #a"eure0 These shall .e conclusivel- presu#ed to have
perfor#ed all the conditions essential to a Govern#ent grant and
shall .e entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this
Chapter0
)n the other hand, Article B/C, :ection //, of the l97& Constitution, in part,
provides3
:+C0 110 *o private corporation or association #a- hold aliena.le
lands of the pu.lic do#ain except .- lease not to exceed one
thousand hectares in area@ nor #a- an- citi6en hold such lands .-
lease in excess of five hundred hectares 000
The thrust of the argu#ent of the <irector of 1ands is that the sales of the parcels of
land to the petitioners were sha# transactions intended to circu#vent the
constitutional prohi.ition dis9ualif-ing a private corporation fro# ac9uiring
aliena.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain0
/n Susi vs. Razon (88 hil0 828!, this Court ruled that Lopen, continuous, adverse
and pu.lic possession of a land of the pu.lic do#ain fro# ti#e i##e#orial .- a
private individual personall- and through his predecessors confers an effective title
on said possessor, where.- the land ceases to .e pu.lic, to .eco#e private,
propert-0L
/n the Acme case, supra, this Court upheld the doctrine that Lopen, exclusive and
undisputed possession of aliena.le pu.lic land for the period prescri.ed .- law
creates the legal fiction where.- the land, upon co#pletion of the re9uisite
period ipso jure and without the need of "udicial or other sanction, ceases to .e
pu.lic land and .eco#es private propert-0L Fe said3
*othing can #ore clearl- de#onstrate the logical inevita.ilit- of
considering possession of pu.lic land which is of the character
and duration prescri.ed .- statute as the e9uivalent of an express
grant fro# the :tate than the dictu# of the statute itself that
thepossessor(s! L000 shall .e conclusively presumed to have
perfor#ed all the conditions essential to a Govern#ent grant and
shall .e entitled to a certificate of title 000L *o proof .eing
ad#issi.le to overco#e a conclusive presu#ption, confir#ation
proceedings would in truth .e little #ore than a for#alit-, at the
#ost li#ited to ascertaining whether the possession clai#ed is of
the re9uired character and length of ti#e@ and registration
thereunder would not confer title, .ut si#pl- recogni6e a title
alread- vested0 The proceedings would not originall- convert the
land fro# pu.lic to private land, .ut onl- confir# such conversion
alread- affected (sic! fro# the #o#ent the re9uired period of
possession .eca#e co#plete0 (<irector of 1ands vs0 /AC and
Ac#e l-wood K Ceneer Co0, /nc0, 18, :C$A 529, 5220!
Mnder the facts of this case and pursuant to the a.ove rulings, the parcels of land in
9uestion had alread- .een converted to private ownership through ac9uisitive
prescription .- the predecessors=in=interest of TC'C when the latter purchased
the# in 19790 All that was needed was the confir#ation of the titles of the previous
owners or predecessors=in=interest of TC'C0
%eing alread- private land when TC'C .ought the# in 1979, the prohi.ition in the
197& Constitution against corporations ac9uiring alienable lands of the public
domain except through lease (Article B/C, :ection 11, 197& Constitution! did not
appl- to the# for the- were no longer aliena.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain .ut
private propert-0
The <irector;s contention that a corporation #a- not appl- for confir#ation of title
under :ection 88 of Co##onwealth Act 181, the u.lic 1and Act, was disposed of
in the Ac#e case where this Court ruled that the defect in filing the confir#ation
proceedings in the na#e of a corporation was si#pl- an Laccidental
circu#stance, 000 in nowise affecting the su.stance and #erits of the right of
ownership sought to .e confir#ed in said proceedings0L (<irector of 1ands vs0 /AC
and Ac#e l-wood K Ceneer Co0, /nc0, 18, :C$A 529, 5220! :ince the petitioners
could have had their respective titles confir#ed prior to the sale to TC'C, it was
not necessar- for the corporation to ta(e the circuitous route of assigning to natural
persons its rights to the lots for the purpose of co#pl-ing, on paper, with the
technicalit- of having natural persons file the applications for confir#ation of title
to the private lands0
FI+$+5)$+, the petition for review is granted and the assailed decision of the
Court of Appeals is set aside0 The order of the $egional Trial Court dated 'arch 1,,
198& is reinstated0
:) )$<+$+<0
[G.R. No. 144057. J!"#$ 17, 2005%
REPUBLIC O& T'E P'ILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. T'E 'ONORABLE
COURT O& APPEALS !( CORA)ON NAGUIT, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
TINGA, J.*
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under $ule 85 of the 1997 $ules of
Civil rocedure, see(ing to review the <ecision>1? of the :ixth <ivision of the
Court of Appeals dated 4ul- 12, 2222 in CA=G0$0 : *o0 519210 The appellate
court affir#ed the decisions of .oth the $egional Trial Court ($TC!,>2? %ranch 8, of
Dali.o, A(lan dated 5e.ruar- 2,, 1999, and the 7
th
'unicipal Circuit Trial Court
('CTC!>&? of /.a"a-=*a.as, A(lan dated 5e.ruar- 18, 1998, which granted the
application for registration of a parcel of land of Cora6on *aguit (*aguit!, the
respondent herein0
The facts are as follows3
)n 4anuar- 5, 199&, *aguit, a 5ilipino citi6en, of legal age and #arried to
'anolito :0 *aguit, filed with the 'CTC of /.a"a-=*a.as, A(lan, a petition for
registration of title of a parcel of land situated in %rg-0 Mnion, *a.as, A(lan0 The
parcel of land is designated as 1ot *o0 12289, Cad0 758=<, *a.as Cadastre, A N
2,2818=218779, and contains an area of &1,&78 s9uare #eters0 The application
see(s "udicial confir#ation of respondentOs i#perfect title over the aforesaid land0
)n 5e.ruar- 22, 1995, the court held initial hearing on the application0 The
pu.lic prosecutor, appearing for the govern#ent, and 4ose Angeles, representing the
heirs of $ustico Angeles, opposed the petition0 )n a later date, however, the heirs of
$ustico Angeles filed a for#al opposition to the petition0 Also on 5e.ruar- 22,
1995, the court issued an order of general default against the whole world except as
to the heirs of $ustico Angeles and the govern#ent0
The evidence on record reveals that the su."ect parcel of land was originall-
declared for taxation purposes in the na#e of $a#on Mr.ano (Mr.ano! in 1985
under Tax <eclaration *o0 &888 until 19910>8? )n 4ul- 9, 1992, Mr.ano executed a
<eed of Euitclai# in favor of the heirs of Ionorato 'a#ing ('a#ing!, wherein he
renounced all his rights to the su."ect propert- and confir#ed the sale #ade .- his
father to 'a#ing so#eti#e in 1955 or 195,0>5? :u.se9uentl-, the heirs of 'a#ing
executed a deed of a.solute sale in favor of respondent *aguit who thereupon
started occup-ing the sa#e0 :he constituted 'anuel %lanco, 4r0 as her attorne-=in=
fact and ad#inistrator0 The ad#inistrator introduced i#prove#ents, planted trees,
such as #ahogan-, coconut and ge#elina trees in addition to existing coconut trees
which were then 52 to ,2 -ears old, and paid the corresponding taxes due on the
su."ect land0 At present, there are parcels of land surrounding the su."ect land
which have .een issued titles .- virtue of "udicial decrees0 *aguit and her
predecessors=in=interest have occupied the land openl- and in the concept of owner
without an- o."ection fro# an- private person or even the govern#ent until she
filed her application for registration0
After the presentation of evidence for *aguit, the pu.lic prosecutor #anifested
that the govern#ent did not intend to present an- evidence while oppositor 4ose
Angeles, as representative of the heirs of $ustico Angeles, failed to appear during
the trial despite notice0 )n :epte#.er 27, 1997, the 'CTC rendered a decision
ordering that the su."ect parcel .e .rought under the operation of the ropert-
$egistration <ecree or residential <ecree (0<0! *o0 1529 and that the title thereto
registered and confir#ed in the na#e of *aguit0>,?
The $epu.lic of the hilippines ($epu.lic!, thru the )ffice of the :olicitor
General ():G!, filed a #otion for reconsideration0 The ):G stressed that the land
applied for was declared aliena.le and disposa.le onl- on )cto.er 15, 1982, per the
certification fro# $egional +xecutive <irector $aoul T0 Geollegue of the
<epart#ent of +nviron#ent and *atural $esources, $egion C/0>7?Iowever, the
court denied the #otion for reconsideration in an order dated 5e.ruar- 18, 19980>8?
Thereafter, the $epu.lic appealed the decision and the order of the 'CTC to
the $TC, Dali.o, A(lan, %ranch 80 )n 5e.ruar- 2,, 1999, the $TC rendered its
decision, dis#issing the appeal0>9?
Mndaunted, the $epu.lic elevated the case to the Court of Appeals via $ule 82
of the 1997 $ules of Civil rocedure0 )n 4ul- 12, 2222, the appellate court rendered
a decision dis#issing the petition filed .- the $epu.lic and affir#ed in toto the
assailed decision of the $TC0
Ience, the present petition for review raising a pure 9uestion of law was filed
.- the $epu.lic on :epte#.er 8, 22220>12?
The ):G assails the decision of the Court of Appeals contending that the
appellate court gravel- erred in holding that there is no need for the govern#entOs
prior release of the su."ect lot fro# the pu.lic do#ain .efore it can .e considered
aliena.le or disposa.le within the #eaning of 0<0 *o0 1529, and that *aguit had
.een in possession of 1ot *o0 12289 in the concept of owner for the re9uired
period0>11?
Ience, the central 9uestion for resolution is whether is necessar- under
:ection 18(1! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree that the su."ect land .e first
classified as aliena.le and disposa.le .efore the applicantOs possession under a bona
fide clai# of ownership could even start0
The ):G invo(es our holding in Director of Lands v. ntermediate Appellate
Court>12? in arguing that the propert- which is in open, continuous and exclusive
possession #ust first .e aliena.le0 :ince the su."ect land was declared aliena.le
onl- on )cto.er 15, 1982, *aguit could not have #aintained a bona fide clai# of
ownership since 4une 12, 1985, as re9uired .- :ection 18 of the ropert-
$egistration <ecree, since prior to 1982, the land was not aliena.le or disposa.le,
the ):G argues0
:ection 18 of the ropert- $egistration <ecree, governing original registration
proceedings, .ears close exa#ination0 /t expressl- provides3
:+CT/)* 180 Fho #a- appl-0J The following persons #a- file in the proper
Court of 5irst /nstance an application for registration of title to land, whether
personall- or through their dul- authori6ed representatives3
(1! those who .- the#selves or through their predecessors=in=
interest have .een in open, continuous, exclusive and
notorious possession and occupation of aliena.le and
disposa.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain under a .ona fide clai#
of ownership since 4une 12, 1985, or earlier0
(2! Those who have ac9uired ownership over private lands .-
prescription under the provisions of existing laws0
0 0 0 0
There are three o.vious re9uisites for the filing of an application for
registration of title under :ection 18(1! N that the propert- in 9uestion is aliena.le
and disposa.le land of the pu.lic do#ain@ that the applicants .- the#selves or
through their predecessors=in=interest have .een in open, continuous, exclusive and
notorious possession and occupation, and@ that such possession is under a bona
fide clai# of ownership since 4une 12, 1985 or earlier0
etitioner suggests an interpretation that the aliena.le and disposa.le character
of the land should have alread- .een esta.lished since 4une 12, 1985 or earlier0 This
is not .orne out .- the plain #eaning of :ection 18(1!0 P:ince 4une 12, 1985,Q as
used in the provision, 9ualifies its antecedent phrase Punder a .onafide clai# of
ownership0Q Generall- spea(ing, 9ualif-ing words restrict or #odif- onl- the words
or phrases to which the- are i##ediatel- associated, and not those distantl- or
re#otel- located0>1&? Ad pro!imum antecedents fiat relation nisi impediatur
sentencia0
%esides, we are #indful of the a.surdit- that would result if we adopt
petitionerOs position0 A.sent a legislative a#end#ent, the rule would .e, adopting
the ):GOs view, that all lands of the pu.lic do#ain which were not declared
aliena.le or disposa.le .efore 4une 12, 1985 would not .e suscepti.le to original
registration, no #atter the length of unchallenged possession .- the occupant0 :uch
interpretation renders paragraph (1! of :ection 18 virtuall- inoperative and even
precludes the govern#ent fro# giving it effect even as it decides to reclassif- pu.lic
agricultural lands as aliena.le and disposa.le0 The unreasona.leness of the
situation would even .e aggravated considering that .efore 4une 12, 1985, the
hilippines was not -et even considered an independent state0
/nstead, the #ore reasona.le interpretation of :ection 18(1! is that it #erel-
re9uires the propert- sought to .e registered as alread- aliena.le and disposa.le at
the ti#e the application for registration of title is filed0 /f the :tate, at the ti#e the
application is #ade, has not -et dee#ed it proper to release the propert- for
alienation or disposition, the presu#ption is that the govern#ent is still reserving
the right to utili6e the propert-@ hence, the need to preserve its ownership in the
:tate irrespective of the length of adverse possession even if in good faith0
Iowever, if the propert- has alread- .een classified as aliena.le and disposa.le, as
it is in this case, then there is alread- an intention on the part of the :tate to a.dicate
its exclusive prerogative over the propert-0
This reading aligns confor#a.l- with our holding in Republic v. Court of
Appeals0>18? Therein, the Court noted that Pto prove that the land su."ect of an
application for registration is aliena.le, an applicant #ust esta.lish the existence of
a positive act of the govern#ent such as a presidential procla#ation or an executive
order@ an ad#inistrative action@ investigation reports of %ureau of 1ands
investigators@ and a legislative act or a statute0Q>15? /n that case, the su."ect land had
.een certified .- the <+*$ as aliena.le and disposa.le in 1982, thus the Court
concluded that the aliena.le status of the land, co#pounded .- the esta.lished fact
that therein respondents had occupied the land even .efore 1927, sufficed to allow
the application for registration of the said propert-0 /n the case at .ar, even the
petitioner ad#its that the su."ect propert- was released and certified as within
aliena.le and disposa.le 6one in 1982 .- the <+*$0>1,?
This case is distinguisha.le fro# "racewell v. Court of Appeals,>17? wherein
the Court noted that while the clai#ant had .een in possession since 1928, it was
onl- in 1972 that the lands in 9uestion were classified as aliena.le and disposa.le0
Thus, the .id at registration therein did not succeed0 /n "racewell, the clai#ant had
filed his application in 19,&, or nine (9! -ears .efore the propert- was declared
aliena.le and disposa.le0 Thus, in this case, where the application was #ade -ears
after the propert- had .een certified as aliena.le and disposa.le,
the "racewell ruling does not appl-0
A different rule o.tains for forest lands,>18? such as those which for# part of a
reservation for provincial par( purposes>19? the possession of which cannot ripen
into ownership0>22? /t is ele#entar- in the law governing natural resources that
forest land cannot .e owned .- private persons0 As held in Palomo v. Court of
Appeals,>21? forest land is not registra.le and possession thereof, no #atter how
length-, cannot convert it into private propert-, unless such lands are reclassified
and considered disposa.le and aliena.le0>22? /n the case at .ar, the propert- in
9uestion was undisputedl- classified as disposa.le and aliena.le@ hence, the ruling
in Palomo is inapplica.le, as correctl- held .- the Court of Appeals0>2&?
/t #ust .e noted that the present case was decided .- the lower courts on the
.asis of :ection 18(1! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree, which pertains to
original registration through ordinar- registration proceedings0 The right to file the
application for registration derives fro# a bona fide clai# of ownership going .ac(
to 4une 12, 1985 or earlier, .- reason of the clai#antOs open, continuous, exclusive
and notorious possession of aliena.le and disposa.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain0
A si#ilar right is given under :ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act, which
reads3
:ec0 880 The following descri.ed citi6ens of the hilippines, occup-ing lands of the
pu.lic do#ain or clai#ing to own an- such land or an interest therein, .ut those
titles have not .een perfected or co#pleted, #a- appl- to the Court of 5irst /nstance
of the province where the land is located for confir#ation of their clai#s and the
issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the 1and $egistration Act, to wit3
xxx xxx xxx
(.! Those who .- the#selves or through their predecessors in interest have .een in
open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of
agricultural lands of the pu.lic do#ain, under a .ona fide clai# of ac9uisition of
ownership, for at least thirt- -ears i##ediatel- preceding the filing of the
application for confir#ation of title except when prevented .- war or force #a"eure0
These shall .e conclusivel- presu#ed to have perfor#ed all the conditions essential
to a Govern#ent grant and shall .e entitled to a certificate of title under the
provisions of this chapter0
Fhen the u.lic 1and Act was first pro#ulgated in 19&,, the period of
possession dee#ed necessar- to vest the right to register their title to agricultural
lands of the pu.lic do#ain co##enced fro# 4ul- 2,, 18980 Iowever, this period
was a#ended .- $0A0 *o0 1982, which provided that the bona fide clai# of
ownership #ust have .een for at least thirt- (&2! -ears0 Then in 1977, :ection 88(.!
of the u.lic 1and Act was again a#ended, this ti#e .- 0<0 *o0 127&, which
pegged the rec(oning date at 4une 12, 19850 This new starting point is concordant
with :ection 18(1! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree0
/ndeed, there are no #aterial differences .etween :ection 18(1! of the ropert-
$egistration <ecree and :ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act, as a#ended0 True,
the u.lic 1and Act does refer to Pagricultural lands of the pu.lic do#ain,Q while
the ropert- $egistration <ecree uses the ter# Paliena.le and disposa.le lands of
the pu.lic do#ain0Q /t #ust .e noted though that the Constitution declares that
Paliena.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain shall .e li#ited to agricultural
lands0Q>28? Clearl-, the su."ect lands under :ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act
and :ection 18(1! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree are of the sa#e t-pe0
<id the enact#ent of the ropert- $egistration <ecree and the a#endator-
0<0 *o0 127& preclude the application for registration of aliena.le lands of the
pu.lic do#ain, possession over which co##enced onl- after 4une 12, 1985R /t did
not, considering :ection 18(2! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree, which governs
and authori6es the application of Pthose who have ac9uired ownership of private
lands .- prescription under the provisions of existing laws0Q
rescription is one of the #odes of ac9uiring ownership under the Civil Code0
>25? There is a consistent "urisprudential rule that properties classified as aliena.le
pu.lic land #a- .e converted into private propert- .- reason of open, continuous
and exclusive possession of at least thirt- (&2! -ears0>2,? Fith such conversion,
such propert- #a- now fall within the conte#plation of Pprivate landsQ under
:ection 18(2!, and thus suscepti.le to registration .- those who have ac9uired
ownership through prescription0 Thus, even if possession of the aliena.le pu.lic
land co##enced on a date later than 4une 12, 1985, and such possession .eing .een
open, continuous and exclusive, then the possessor #a- have the right to register the
land .- virtue of :ection 18(2! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree0
The land in 9uestion was found to .e cocal in nature, it having .een planted
with coconut trees now over fift- -ears old0>27? The inherent nature of the land .ut
confir#s its certification in 1982 as aliena.le, hence agricultural0 There is no
i#pedi#ent to the application of :ection 18(1! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree,
as correctl- acco#plished .- the lower courts0
The ):G posits that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that *aguit had
.een in possession in the concept of owner for the re9uired period0 The argu#ent
.egs the 9uestion0 /t is again hinged on the assertionJshown earlier to .e
unfoundedJthat there could have .een no bona fide clai# of ownership prior to
1982, when the su."ect land was declared aliena.le or disposa.le0
Fe find no reason to distur. the conclusion of .oth the $TC and the Court of
Appeals that *aguit had the right to appl- for registration owing to the continuous
possession .- her and her predecessors=in=interest of the land since 19850 The .asis
of such conclusion is pri#aril- factual, and the Court generall- respects the factual
findings #ade .- lower courts0 *ota.l-, possession since 1985 was esta.lished
through proof of the existence of 52 to ,2=-ear old trees at the ti#e *aguit
purchased the propert- as well as tax declarations executed .- Mr.ano in 19850
Although tax declarations and realt- tax pa-#ent of propert- are not conclusive
evidence of ownership, nevertheless, the- are good indicia of the possession in the
concept of owner for no one in his right #ind would .e pa-ing taxes for a propert-
that is not in his actual or at least constructive possession0 The- constitute at least
proof that the holder has a clai# of title over the propert-0 The voluntar- declaration
of a piece of propert- for taxation purposes #anifests not onl- oneOs sincere and
honest desire to o.tain title to the propert- and announces his adverse clai# against
the :tate and all other interested parties, .ut also the intention to contri.ute needed
revenues to the Govern#ent0 :uch an act strengthens oneOs bona fide clai# of
ac9uisition of ownership0>28?
Considering that the possession of the su."ect parcel of land .- the respondent
can .e traced .ac( to that of her predecessors=in=interest which co##enced since
1985 or for al#ost fift- (52! -ears, it is indeed .e-ond an- cloud of dou.t that she
has ac9uired title thereto which #a- .e properl- .rought under the operation of the
Torrens s-ste#0 That she has .een in possession of the land in the concept of an
owner, open, continuous, peaceful and without an- opposition fro# an- private
person and the govern#ent itself #a(es her right thereto undou.tedl- settled and
deserving of protection under the law0
+'ERE&ORE, foregoing pre#ises considered, the assailed Decision of the
Court of Appeals dated 4ul- 12, 2222 is here.- A55/$'+<0 *o costs0
SO ORDERED.
,ALABANAN VS REPUBLIC
GR NO 179987, APRIL 29, 2009
)ne #ain reason wh- the infor#al sector has not .eco#e for#al is that
fro# /ndonesia to %ra6il, 92 percent of the infor#al lands are not titled and
registered0 This is a generali6ed pheno#enon in the so=called Third Forld0 And it
has #an- conse9uences0
xxx

The 9uestion is3 Iow is it that so #an- govern#ents, fro#
:uharto;s in /ndonesia to 5u"i#ori;s in eru, have wanted to title
these people and have not .een a.le to do so effectivel-R )ne
reason is that none of the state s-ste#s in Asia or 1atin
A#erica can gather proof of infor#al titles0 /n eru, the infor#als
have #eans of proving propert- ownership to each other which are
not the sa#e #eans developed .- the :panish legal s-ste#0 The
infor#als have their own papers, their own for#s of agree#ents,
and their own s-ste#s of registration, all of which are ver- clearl-
stated in the #aps which the- use for their own infor#al .usiness
transactions0
/f -ou ta(e a wal( through the countr-side,
fro# /ndonesia to eru, and -ou wal( .- field after field==in each
field a different dog is going to .ar( at -ou0 +ven dogs (now what
private propert- is all a.out0 The onl- one who does not (now it is
the govern#ent0 The issue is that there exists a Lco##on lawL and
an Linfor#al lawL which the 1atin A#erican for#al legal s-ste#
does not (now how to recogni6e0
= Iernando <e
:oto>1?

This decision inevita.l- affects all untitled lands currentl- in possession of
persons and entities other than the hilippine govern#ent0 The petition, while
unre#ar(a.le as to the facts, was accepted .- the Court en banc in order to provide
definitive clarit- to the applica.ilit- and scope of original registration proceedings
under :ections 18(1! and 18(2! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree0 /n doing so, the
Court confronts not onl- the relevant provisions of the u.lic 1and Act and the
Civil Code, .ut also the realit- on the ground0 The countr-wide pheno#enon of
untitled lands, as well as the pro.le# of infor#al settle#ent it has spawned, has
unfortunatel- .een treated with .enign neglect0 Get our current laws are he##ed in
.- their own circu#scriptions in addressing the pheno#enon0 :till, the dut- on our
part is pri#aril- to decide cases .efore us in accord with the Constitution and the
legal principles that have developed our pu.lic land law, though our social
o.ligations dissuade us fro# casting a .lind e-e on the ende#ic pro.le#s0

.

)n 22 5e.ruar- 1998, 'ario 'ala.anan filed an application for land
registration covering a parcel of land identified as 1ot 98,8=A, Cad=852=<, :ilang
Cadastre,>2? situated in %aranga- Ti.ig, :ilang Cavite, and consisting of 71,&28
s9uare #eters0 'ala.anan clai#ed that he had purchased the propert- fro# +duardo
Cela6co,>&? and that he and his predecessors=in=interest had .een in open, notorious,
and continuous adverse and peaceful possession of the land for #ore than thirt- (&2!
-ears0

The application was raffled to the $egional Trial Court of ($TC! Cavite=
Taga-ta- Cit-, %ranch 180 The )ffice of the :olicitor General ():G! dul-
designated the Assistant rovincial rosecutor of Cavite, 4ose Cela6co, 4r0, to appear
on .ehalf of the :tate0>8? Apart fro# presenting docu#entar- evidence, 'ala.anan
hi#self and his witness, Aristedes Cela6co, testified at the hearing0 Cela6co testified
that the propert- was originall- .elonged to a twent-=two hectare propert- owned
.- his great=grandfather, 1ino Cela6co0 1ino had four sonsN %enedicto, Gregorio,
+duardo and +ste.anNthe fourth .eing AristedesOs grandfather0 Mpon 1inoOs death,
his four sons inherited the propert- and divided it a#ong the#selves0 %ut .- 19,,,
+ste.anOs wife, 'agdalena, had .eco#e the ad#inistrator of all the properties
inherited .- the Cela6co sons fro# their father, 1ino0 After the death of +ste.an
and 'agdalena, their son Cirgilio succeeded the# in ad#inistering the properties,
including 1ot 98,8=A, which originall- .elonged to his uncle, +duardo Cela6co0 /t
was this propert- that was sold .- +duardo Cela6co to 'ala.anan0>5?

Assistant rovincial rosecutor 4ose Cela6co, 4r0 did not cross=exa#ine
Aristedes Cela6co0 Ie further #anifested that he Palso >(new? the propert- and /
affir# the truth of the testi#on- given .- 'r0 Cela6co0Q>,? The $epu.lic of
the hilippines li(ewise did not present an- evidence to controvert the application0

A#ong the evidence presented .- 'ala.anan during trial was a
Certification dated 11 4une 2221, issued .- the Co##unit- +nviron#ent K *atural
$esources )ffice, <epart#ent of +nviron#ent and *atural $esources (C+*$)=
<+*$!, which stated that the su."ect propert- was Pverified to .e within the
Aliena.le or <isposa.le land per 1and Classification 'ap *o0 &21& esta.lished
under ro"ect *o0 22=A and approved as such under 5A) 8=1,5, o! ,#-. 15,
1982.Q>7?

)n & <ece#.er 2222, the $TC rendered "udg#ent in favor of 'ala.anan,
the dispositive portion of which reads3

FI+$+5)$+, this Court here.- approves this
application for registration and thus places under the operation of
Act 181, Act 89, andAor 0<0 1529, otherwise (nown as ropert-
$egistration 1aw, the lands descri.ed in lan Csd=28=217&12&=<,
1ot 98,8=A and containing an area of :event- )ne Thousand
Three Iundred Twent- 5our (71,&28! :9uare 'eters, as supported
.- its technical description now for#ing part of the record of this
case, in addition to other proofs adduced in the na#e of 'A$/)
'A1A%A*A*, who is of legal age, 5ilipino, widower, and with
residence at 'unting /log, :ilang, Cavite0

)nce this <ecision .eco#es final and executor-, the
corresponding decree of registration shall forthwith issue0

:) )$<+$+<0


The $epu.lic interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals, arguing that
'ala.anan had failed to prove that the propert- .elonged to the aliena.le and
disposa.le land of the pu.lic do#ain, and that the $TC had erred in finding that he
had .een in possession of the propert- in the #anner and for the length of ti#e
re9uired .- law for confir#ation of i#perfect title0

)n 2& 5e.ruar- 2227, the Court of Appeals rendered a
<ecision>8? reversing the $TC and dis#issing the application of 'ala.anan0 The
appellate court held that under :ection 18(1! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree
an- period of possession prior to the classification of the lots as aliena.le and
disposa.le was inconse9uential and should .e excluded fro# the co#putation of the
period of possession0 Thus, the appellate court noted that since the C+*$)=<+*$
certification had verified that the propert- was declared
aliena.le and disposa.le onl- on 15 'arch 1982, the Cela6cosO possession
prior to that date could not .e factored in the co#putation of the period of
possession0 This interpretation of the Court of Appeals of :ection 18(1! of the
ropert- $egistration <ecree was .ased on the CourtOs ruling in Republic v.
#erbieto0>9?

'ala.anan died while the case was pending with the Court of Appeals@
>12? hence, it was his heirs who appealed the decision of the appellate court0
etitioners, .efore this Court, rel- on our ruling in Republic v. $a%uit,>11? which
was handed down "ust four #onths prior to #erbieto0 etitioners suggest that the
discussion in #erbieto cited .- the Court of Appeals is actuall- obiter dictum since
the 'etropolitan Trial Court therein which had directed the registration of the
propert- had no "urisdiction in the first place since the re9uisite notice of hearing
was pu.lished onl- after the hearing had alread- .egun0 $a%uit, petitioners argue,
re#ains the controlling doctrine, especiall- when the propert- in 9uestion is
agricultural land0 Therefore, with respect to agricultural lands, an- possession prior
to the declaration of the aliena.le propert- as disposa.le #a- .e counted in
rec(oning the period of possession to perfect title under the u.lic 1and Act and the
ropert- $egistration <ecree0



The petition was referred to the Court en banc,>12? and on 11 *ove#.er
2228, the case was heard on oral argu#ents0 The Court for#ulated the principal
issues for the oral argu#ents, to wit3

10 /n order that an aliena.le and disposa.le land of
the pu.lic do#ain #a- .e registered under :ection 18(1! of
residential <ecree *o0 1529, otherwise (nown as the ropert-
$egistration <ecree, should the land .e classified as aliena.le and
disposa.le as of 4une 12, 1985 or is it sufficient that such
classification occur at an- ti#e prior to the filing of the applicant
for registration provided that it is esta.lished that the applicant has
.een in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of
the land under a bona fide clai# of ownership since 4une 12, 1985
or earlierR

20 5or purposes of :ection 18(2! of the ropert-
$egistration <ecree #a- a parcel of land classified as aliena.le
and disposa.le .e dee#ed private land and therefore suscepti.le to
ac9uisition .- prescription in accordance with the Civil CodeR

&0 'a- a parcel of land esta.lished as agricultural in
character either .ecause of its use or .ecause its slope is .elow that
of forest lands .e registra.le under :ection 18(2! of the ropert-
$egistration <ecree in relation to the provisions of the Civil Code
on ac9uisitive prescriptionR

80 Are petitioners entitled to the registration of the
su."ect land in their na#es under :ection 18(1! or :ection 18(2! of
the ropert- $egistration <ecree or .othR>1&?

%ased on these issues, the parties for#ulated their respective positions0

Fith respect to :ection 18(1!, petitioners reiterate that the anal-sis of the
Court in $a%uit is the correct interpretation of the provision0 The see#ingl-
contradictor- pronounce#ent in #erbieto, it is su.#itted, should .e
considered obiter dictum, since the land registration proceedings therein was
void ab initio due to lac( of pu.lication of the notice of initial hearing0 etitioners
further point out that in Republic v. "ibonia,>18? pro#ulgated in 4une of 2227, the
Court applied $a%uit and adopted the sa#e o.servation that the preferred
interpretation .- the ):G of :ection 18(1! was patentl- a.surd0 5or its part, the
):G re#ains insistent that for :ection 18(1! to appl-, the land should have .een
classified as aliena.le and disposa.le as of 12 4une 19850 Apart fro# #erbieto, the
):G also cites the su.se9uent rulings in "uenaventura v. Republic,>15? &ieldman
A%ricultural 'radin% v. Republic>1,? and Republic v. mperial Credit Corporation,
>17? as well as the earlier case of Director of Lands v. Court of Appeals0>18?

Fith respect to :ection 18(2!, petitioners su.#it that open, continuous,
exclusive and notorious possession of an aliena.le land of the pu.lic do#ain for
#ore than &2 -earsipso jure converts the land into private propert-, thus placing it
under the coverage of :ection 18(2!0 According to the#, it would not #atter
whether the land sought to .e registered was previousl- classified as agricultural
land of the pu.lic do#ain so long as, at the ti#e of the application, the propert- had
alread- .een PconvertedQ into private propert- through prescription0 To .olster their
argu#ent, petitioners cite extensivel- fro# our 2228 ruling in Republic v. '.A.$.
Properties0>19?


The argu#ents su.#itted .- the ):G with respect to :ection 18(2! are
#ore extensive0 The ):G notes that under Article 111& of the Civil Code, the
ac9uisitive prescription of properties of the :tate refers to Ppatri#onial propert-,Q
while :ection 18(2! spea(s of Pprivate lands0Q /t o.serves that the Court has -et to
decide a case that presented :ection 18(2! as a ground for application for
registration, and that the &2=-ear possession period refers to the period of possession
under :ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act, and not the concept of prescription
under the Civil Code0 The ):G further su.#its that, assu#ing that the &2=-ear
prescriptive period can run against pu.lic lands, said period should .e rec(oned
fro# the ti#e the pu.lic land was declared aliena.le and disposa.le0

%oth sides li(ewise offer special argu#ents with respect to the particular
factual circu#stances surrounding the su."ect propert- and the ownership thereof0

.

5irst, we discuss :ection 18(1! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree0 5or a full
understanding of the provision, reference has to .e #ade to the u.lic 1and Act0

A.

Co##onwealth Act *o0 181, also (nown as the u.lic 1and Act, has,
since its enact#ent, governed the classification and disposition of lands of the
pu.lic do#ain0 The resident is authori6ed, fro# ti#e to ti#e, to classif- the lands
of the pu.lic do#ain into aliena.le and disposa.le, ti#.er, or #ineral lands0
>22? Aliena.le and disposa.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain are further classified
according to their uses into (a! agricultural@ (.! residential, co##ercial, industrial,
or for si#ilar productive purposes@ (c! educational, charita.le, or other si#ilar
purposes@ or (d! reservations for town sites and for pu.lic and 9uasi=pu.lic uses0>21?

'a- a private person validl- see( the registration in hisAher na#e of
aliena.le and disposa.le lands of the pu.lic do#ainR :ection 11 of the u.lic 1and
Act ac(nowledges that pu.lic lands suita.le for agricultural purposes #a- .e
disposed of P.- confir#ation of i#perfect or inco#plete titlesQ through P"udicial
legali6ation0Q>22? :ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act, as a#ended .- 0<0 *o0
127&, supplies the details and un#ista(a.l- grants that right, su."ect to the
re9uisites stated therein3

:ec0 880 The following descri.ed citi6ens of the
hilippines, occup-ing lands of the pu.lic do#ain or clai#ing to
own an- such land or an interest therein, .ut whose titles have
not .een perfected or co#pleted, #a- appl- to the Court of 5irst
/nstance of the province where the land is located for
confir#ation of their clai#s and the issuance of a certificate of
title therefor, under the 1and $egistration Act, to wit3

xxx

(.! Those who .- the#selves or through their
predecessors in interest have .een in open, continuous,
exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of aliena.le
and disposa.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain, under a .ona fide
clai# of ac9uisition of ownership, since 4une 12, 1985, or earlier,
i##ediatel- preceding the filing of the application for
confir#ation of title except when prevented .- war or force
#a"eure0 These shall .e conclusivel- presu#ed to have
perfor#ed all the conditions essential to a Govern#ent grant and
shall .e entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of
this chapter0


:ection 88(.! of Co#0 Act *o0 181 received its present wording in 1977 when
the law was a#ended .- 0<0 *o0 127&0 Two significant a#end#ents were
introduced .- 0<0 *o0 127&0 &irst, the ter# Pagricultural landsQ was changed to
Paliena.le and disposa.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain0Q The ):G su.#its that this
a#end#ent restricted the scope of the lands that #a- .e registered0>2&? This is not
actuall- the case0 Mnder :ection 9 of the u.lic 1and Act, Pagricultural landsQ are a
#ere su.set of Plands of the pu.lic do#ain aliena.le or open to disposition0Q
+videntl-, aliena.le and disposa.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain are a larger class
than onl- Pagricultural lands0Q

Second, the length of the re9uisite possession was changed fro# possession
for Pthirt- (&2! -ears i##ediatel- preceding the filing of the applicationQ to
possession Psince4une 12, 1985 or earlier0Q The Court in $a%uit explained3

Fhen the u.lic 1and Act was first pro#ulgated in 19&,,
the period of possession dee#ed necessar- to vest the right to
register their title to agricultural lands of the pu.lic do#ain
co##enced fro#4ul- 2,, 18980 Iowever, this period was a#ended
.- $0A0 *o0 1982, which provided that the bona fide clai# of
ownership #ust have .een for at least thirt- (&2! -ears0 Then in
1977, :ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act was again a#ended,
this ti#e .- 0<0 *o0 127&, which pegged the rec(oning date
at 4une 12, 19850 xxx


/t .ears further o.servation that :ection 88(.! of Co#0 Act *o, 181 is
virtuall- the sa#e as :ection 18(1! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree0 :aid <ecree
codified the various laws relative to the registration of propert-, including lands of
the pu.lic do#ain0 /t is :ection 18(1! that operationali6es the registration of such
lands of the pu.lic do#ain0 The provision reads3


:+CT/)* 180 Fho #a- appl-0J The following persons
#a- file in the proper Court of 5irst /nstance an application for
registration of title to land, whether personall- or through their
dul- authori6ed representatives3

(1! those who .- the#selves or through their
predecessors=in=interest have .een in
open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
possession and occupation of aliena.le
and disposa.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain
under a bona fide clai# of ownership
since 4une 12, 1985, or earlier0


*otwithstanding the passage of the ropert- $egistration <ecree and the
inclusion of :ection 18(1! therein, the u.lic 1and Act has re#ained in effect0 %oth
laws co##onl- refer to persons or their predecessors=in=interest who Phave .een in
open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of aliena.le
and disposa.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain under a bona fide clai# of ownership
since 4une 12, 1985, or earlier0Q That circu#stance #a- have led to the i#pression
that one or the other is a redundanc-, or that :ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act
has so#ehow .een repealed or #ooted0 That is not the case0

The opening clauses of :ection 88 of the u.lic 1and Act and :ection 18
of the ropert- $egistration <ecree warrant co#parison3

:ec0 88 >of the u.lic 1and Act?0 The following
descri.ed citi6ens of the hilippines, occup-ing lands of the
pu.lic do#ain or clai#ing to own an- such land or an interest
therein, .ut whose titles have not .een perfected or co#pleted,
#a- appl- to the Court of 5irst /nstance of the province where
the land is located for confir#ation of their clai#s and the
issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the 1and
$egistration Act, to wit3

xxx

:ec0 18 >of the ropert- $egistration <ecree?0 Fho #a-
appl-0J The following persons #a- file in the proper Court of
5irst /nstance an application for registration of title to land,
whether personall- or through their dul- authori6ed
representatives3

xxx

/t is clear that :ection 88 of the u.lic 1and Act is #ore descriptive of the
nature of the right en"o-ed .- the possessor than :ection 18 of the ropert-
$egistration <ecree, which see#s to presu#e the pre=existence of the right, rather
than esta.lishing the right itself for the first ti#e0 /t is proper to assert that it is the
u.lic 1and Act, as a#ended .- 0<0 *o0 127& effective 25 4anuar- 1977, that has
pri#aril- esta.lished the right of a 5ilipino citi6en who has .een Pin open,
continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of aliena.le and
disposa.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain, under a .ona fide clai# of ac9uisition of
ownership, since 4une 12, 1985Q to perfect or co#plete his title .- appl-ing with the
proper court for the confir#ation of his ownership clai# and the issuance of the
corresponding certificate of title0


:ection 88 can .e viewed in con"unction with the afore=9uoted :ection 11
of the u.lic 1and Act, which provides that pu.lic lands suita.le for agricultural
purposes #a- .e disposed of .- confir#ation of i#perfect or inco#plete titles, and
given the notion that .oth provisions declare that it is indeed the u.lic 1and Act
that pri#aril- esta.lishes the su.stantive ownership of the possessor who has .een
in possession of the propert- since 12 4une 19850 /n turn, :ection 18(a! of the
ropert- $egistration <ecree recogni6es the su.stantive right granted under :ection
88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act, as well provides the corresponding original
registration procedure for the "udicial confir#ation of an i#perfect or inco#plete
title0

There is another li#itation to the right granted under :ection 88(.!0 :ection
87 of the u.lic 1and Act li#its the period within which one #a- exercise the right
to see( registration under :ection 880 The provision has .een a#ended several
ti#es, #ost recentl- .- $ep0 Act *o0 917, in 22220 /t currentl- reads thus3

:ection 870 The persons specified in the next following
section are here.- granted ti#e, not to extend .e-ond <ece#.er
&1, 2222 within which to avail of the .enefits of this
Chapter3 rovided, That this period shall appl- onl- where the area
applied for does not exceed twelve (12! hectares3 rovided, further,
That the several periods of ti#e designated .- the resident in
accordance with :ection 5ort-=5ive of this Act shall appl- also to
the lands co#prised in the provisions of this Chapter, .ut this
:ection shall not .e construed as prohi.iting an- said persons fro#
acting under this Chapter at an- ti#e prior to the period fixed .-
the resident0>28?

Accordingl- under the current state of the law, the su.stantive right granted
under :ection 88(.! #a- .e availed of onl- until &1 <ece#.er 22220

".

<espite the clear text of :ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act, as a#ended
and :ection 18(a! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree, the ):G has adopted the
position that for one to ac9uire the right to see( registration of an aliena.le and
disposa.le land of the pu.lic do#ain, it is not enough that the applicant and hisAher
predecessors=in=interest .e in possession under a bona fide clai# of ownership since
12 4une 1985@ the aliena.le and disposa.le character of the propert- #ust have .een
declared also as of 12 4une 19850 5ollowing the ):GOs approach, all lands certified
as aliena.le and disposa.le after 12 4une 1985 cannot .e registered either under
:ection 18(1! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree or :ection 88(.! of the u.lic
1and Act as a#ended0 The a.surdit- of such an i#plication was discussed
in $a%uit0

etitioner suggests an interpretation that the aliena.le and
disposa.le character of the land should have alread- .een
esta.lished since 4une 12, 1985 or earlier0 This is not .orne out .-
the plain #eaning of :ection 18(1!0 P:ince 4une 12, 1985,Q as used
in the provision, 9ualifies its antecedent phrase Punder a .onafide
clai# of ownership0Q Generall- spea(ing, 9ualif-ing words restrict
or #odif- onl- the words or
phrases to which the- are i##ediatel- associated, and not those
distantl- or re#otel- located0>25? Ad pro!imum antecedents fiat
relation nisi impediatur sentencia.

%esides, we are #indful of the a.surdit- that would
result if we adopt petitionerOs position0 A.sent a legislative
a#end#ent, the rule would .e, adopting the ):GOs view, that all
lands of the pu.lic do#ain which were not declared aliena.le or
disposa.le .efore 4une 12, 1985 would not .e suscepti.le to
original registration, no #atter the length of unchallenged
possession .- the occupant0 :uch interpretation renders paragraph
(1! of :ection 18 virtuall- inoperative and even precludes the
govern#ent fro# giving it effect even as it decides to reclassif-
pu.lic agricultural lands as aliena.le and disposa.le0 The
unreasona.leness of the situation would even .e aggravated
considering that .efore 4une 12, 1985, the hilippines was not -et
even considered an independent state0

Accordingl-, the Court in $a%uit explained3

>T?he #ore reasona.le interpretation of :ection 18(1! is
that it #erel- re9uires the propert- sought to .e registered as
alread- aliena.le and disposa.le at the ti#e the application for
registration of title is filed0 /f the :tate, at the ti#e the application
is #ade, has not -et dee#ed it proper to release the propert- for
alienation or disposition, the presu#ption is that the govern#ent is
still reserving the right to utili6e the propert-@ hence, the need to
preserve its ownership in the :tate irrespective of the length of
adverse possession even if in good faith0 Iowever, if the propert-
has alread- .een classified as aliena.le and disposa.le, as it is in
this case, then there is alread- an intention on the part of the :tate
to a.dicate its exclusive prerogative over the propert-0


The Court declares that the correct interpretation of :ection 18(1! is that
which was adopted in $a%uit0 The contrar- pronounce#ent in #erbieto, as pointed
out in $a%uit, a.surdl- li#its the application of the provision to the point of virtual
inutilit- since it would onl- cover lands actuall- declared aliena.le and disposa.le
prior to 12 4une 1985, even if the current possessor is a.le to esta.lish open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession under a bona fide clai# of
ownership long .efore that date0

'oreover, the $a%uit interpretation allows #ore possessors under a bona
fide clai# of ownership to avail of "udicial confir#ation of their i#perfect titles
than what would .e feasi.le under #erbieto0 This .alancing fact is significant,
especiall- considering our forthco#ing discussion on the scope and reach of :ection
18(2! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree0

etitioners #a(e the salient o.servation that the contradictor- passages
fro# #erbieto are obiter dicta since the land registration proceedings therein is
void ab initio in the first place due to lac( of the re9uisite pu.lication of the notice
of initial hearing0 There is no need to explicitl- overturn #erbieto, as it suffices that
the CourtOs ac(nowledg#ent that the particular line of argu#ent used therein
concerning :ection 18(1! is indeed obiter0
/t #a- .e noted that in the su.se9uent case of "uenaventura,>2,? the
Court, citing #erbieto, again stated that P>a?n- period of possession prior to the date
when the >s?u."ect >propert- was? classified as aliena.le and disposa.le is
inconse9uential and should .e excluded fro# the co#putation of the period of
possessionSQ That state#ent, in the context of :ection 18(1!, is certainl-
erroneous0 *onetheless, the passage as cited in "uenaventura should again .e
considered as obiter0 The application therein was ulti#atel- granted, citing :ection
18(2!0 The evidence su.#itted .- petitioners therein did not esta.lish an- #ode of
possession on their part prior to 1988, there.- precluding the application of :ection
18(1!0 /t is not even apparent fro# the decision whether petitioners therein had
clai#ed entitle#ent to original registration following :ection 18(1!, their position
.eing that the- had .een in exclusive possession under a .ona fide clai# of
ownership for over fift- (52! -ears, .ut not .efore 12 4une 19850
Thus, neither #erbieto nor its principal discipular ruling "uenaventura has
an- precedental value with respect to :ection 18(1!0 )n the other hand, the ratio
of $a%uit is e#.edded in :ection 18(1!, since it precisel- involved situation
wherein the applicant had .een in exclusive possession under a bona fide clai# of
ownership prior to 12 4une 19850 The CourtOs interpretation of :ection 18(1! therein
was decisive to the resolution of the case0 An- dou.t as to which
.etween $a%uit or #erbieto provides the final word of the Court on :ection 18(1! is
now settled in favor of $a%uit0

Fe noted in $a%uit that it should .e distinguished fro# "racewell v. Court of
Appeals[27] since in the latter, the application for registration had .een
filed /01o#0 the land was declared aliena.le or disposa.le0 The dissent though
pronounces "racewell as the .etter rule .etween the two0 Get two -ears
after "racewell, its ponente, the estee#ed4ustice Consuelo Gnares=:antiago, penned
the ruling in Republic v. Ceniza,>28? which involved a clai# of possession that
extended .ac( to 1927 over a pu.lic do#ain land that was declared aliena.le and
disposa.le onl- in 19820 Ceniza cited "racewell, 9uoted extensivel- fro# it, and
following the #indset of the dissent, the atte#pt at registration inCeniza should
have failed0 *ot so0

To prove that the land su."ect of an application for
registration is aliena.le, an applicant #ust esta.lish the existence
of a positive act of the govern#ent such as a presidential
procla#ation or an executive order@ an ad#inistrative action@
investigation reports of %ureau of 1ands investigators@ and a
legislative act or a statute0

/n this case, private respondents presented a certification
dated *ove#.er 25, 1998, issued .- +duardo '0 /nting, the
Co##unit- +nviron#ent and *atural $esources )fficer in the
<epart#ent of +nviron#ent and *atural $esources )ffice in
Ce.u Cit-, stating that the lots involved were Lfound to .e within
the aliena.le and disposa.le (sic! %loc(=/, 1and Classification
ro"ect *o0 &2=A, per #ap 29,2 8=/555 dated <ece#.er 9,
19820L This is sufficient evidence to show the real character of the
land su."ect of private respondentsO application0 5urther, the
certification en"o-s a presu#ption of regularit- in the a.sence of
contradictor- evidence, which is true in this case0 Forth noting
also was the o.servation of the Court of Appeals stating that3

>n?o opposition was filed .- the
%ureaus of 1ands and 5orestr- to contest the
application of appellees on the ground that the
propert- still for#s part of the pu.lic do#ain0
*or is there an- showing that the lots in
9uestion are forestal land0000

Thus, while the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that
#ere possession of pu.lic land for the period re9uired .- law
would entitle its occupant to a confir#ation of i#perfect title, it
did not err in ruling in favor of private respondents as far as the
first re9uire#ent in :ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act is
concerned, for the- were a.le to overco#e the .urden of proving
the aliena.ilit- of the land su."ect of their application0

As correctl- found .- the Court of Appeals, private
respondents were a.le to prove their open, continuous, exclusive
and notorious possession of the su."ect land even .efore the -ear
19270 As a rule, we are .ound .- the factual findings of the Court
of Appeals0 Although there are exceptions, petitioner did not show
that this is one of the#0>29?


Fh- did the Court in Ceniza, through the sa#e e#inent #e#.er who
authored "racewell, sanction the registration under :ection 88(.! of pu.lic do#ain
lands declared aliena.le or disposa.le thirt-=five (&5! -ears and 182 da-s after 12
4une 1985R The telling difference is that in Ceniza, the application for registration
was filed nearl- six (,! -ears120# the land had .een declared aliena.le or
disposa.le, while in "racewell, the application was filed nine (9! -ears /01o#0 2.0
3!( 45 (0-3#0( 360!/30 o# (657o5/30. That crucial difference was also
stressed in $a%uit to contradistinguish it fro# "racewell, a difference which the
dissent see(s to .elittle0

.

Fe next ascertain the correct fra#ewor( of anal-sis with respect to :ection
18(2!0 The provision reads3



:+CT/)* 180 Fho #a- appl-0 J The following persons
#a- file in the proper Court of 5irst /nstance an application for
registration of title to land, whether personall- or through their
dul- authori6ed representatives3

xxx

(2! Those who have ac9uired ownership over
private lands .- prescription under the
provisions of existing laws0


The Court in $a%uit offered the following discussion concerning :ection
18(2!, which we did even then recogni6e, and still do, to .e an obiter dictum( .ut
we nonetheless refer to it as #aterial for further discussion, thus3

<id the enact#ent of the ropert- $egistration <ecree
and the a#endator- 0<0 *o0 127& preclude the application for
registration of aliena.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain, possession
over which co##enced onl- after 4une 12, 1985R /t did not,
considering :ection 18(2! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree,
which governs and authori6es the application of Pthose who have
ac9uired ownership of private lands .- prescription under the
provisions of existing laws0Q

rescription is one of the #odes of ac9uiring ownership
under the Civil Code0>>&2?? There is a consistent "urisprudential
rule that properties classified as aliena.le pu.lic land #a- .e
converted into private propert- .- reason of open, continuous and
exclusive possession of at least thirt- (&2! -ears0>>&1?? Fith such
conversion, such propert- #a- now fall within the conte#plation
of Pprivate landsQ under :ection 18(2!, and thus suscepti.le to
registration .- those who have ac9uired ownership through
prescription0 Thus, even if possession of the aliena.le pu.lic land
co##enced on a date later than 4une 12, 1985, and such
possession .eing .een open, continuous and exclusive, then the
possessor #a- have the right to register the land .- virtue of
:ection 18(2! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree0

$a%uit did not involve the application of :ection 18(2!, unli(e in this case
where petitioners have .ased their registration .id pri#aril- on that provision, and
where the evidence definitivel- esta.lishes their clai# of possession onl- as far
.ac( as 19880 /t is in this case that we can properl- appreciate the nuances of the
provision0

A.

The obiter in *aguit cited the Civil Code provisions on prescription as the
possi.le .asis for application for original registration under :ection 18(2!0
:pecificall-, it is Article 111& which provides legal foundation for the application0 /t
reads3

All things which are within the co##erce of #en are
suscepti.le of prescription, unless otherwise provided0 ropert- of
the :tate or an- of its su.divisions not patri#onial in character
shall not .e the o."ect of prescription0


/t is clear under the Civil Code that where lands of the pu.lic do#ain are
patri#onial in character, the- are suscepti.le to ac9uisitive prescription0 )n the
other hand, a#ong the pu.lic do#ain lands that are not suscepti.le to ac9uisitive
prescription are ti#.er lands and #ineral lands0 The Constitution itself proscri.es
private ownership of ti#.er or #ineral lands0

There are in fact several provisions in the Civil Code concerning the
ac9uisition of real propert- through prescription0 )wnership of real propert- #a- .e
ac9uired .- ordinar- prescription of ten (12! -ears,>&2? or through extraordinar-
prescription of thirt- (&2! -ears0>&&? )rdinar- ac9uisitive prescription re9uires
possession in good faith,>&8? as well as "ust title0>&5?

Fhen :ection 18(2! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree explicitl-
provides that persons Pwho have ac9uired ownership over private lands .-
prescription under the provisions of existing laws,Q it un#ista(a.l- refers to the
Civil Code as a valid .asis for the registration of lands0 The Civil Code is the onl-
existing law that specificall- allows the ac9uisition .- prescription of private lands,
including patri#onial propert- .elonging to the :tate0 Thus, the critical 9uestion
that needs affir#ation is whether :ection 18(2! does enco#pass original registration
proceedings over patri#onial propert- of the :tate, which a private person has
ac9uired through prescription0

The *aguit obiter had adverted to a fre9uentl- reiterated "urisprudence
holding that properties classified as aliena.le pu.lic land #a- .e converted into
private propert- .- reason of open, continuous and exclusive possession of at least
thirt- (&2! -ears0>&,? Get if we ascertain the source of the Pthirt-=-earQ period,
additional co#plexities relating to :ection 18(2! and to how exactl- it operates
would e#erge0 5or 2.0#0 #0 6! 1-2 24o (6526!-2 o#686!5 o1 2.0 2.6#2$ 930:;$0#
#"300

The first source is $ep0 Act *o0 1982, enacted in 1957, which a#ended
:ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act .- granting the right to see( original
registration of aliena.le pu.lic lands through possession in the concept of an owner
for at least thirt- -ears0

The following=descri.ed citi6ens of the hilippines,
occup-ing lands of the pu.lic do#ain or clai#ing to own an-
such lands or an interest therein, .ut whose titles have not .een
perfected or co#pleted, #a- appl- to the Court of 5irst /nstance
of the province where the land is located for confir#ation of
their clai#s and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor,
under the 1and $egistration Act, to wit3

x x x x x x x x x

(.! Those who .- the#selves or through their
predecessors in interest have .een in open, continuous, exclusive
and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of
the pu.lic do#ain, under a .ona fide clai# of ac9uisition of
ownership, 1o# 2 3052 2.6#2$ $0#5 6<<0(6203$ 7#0-0(6!8 2.0
1636!8 o1 2.0 7736-26o! 1o# -o!16#<26o! o1 26230, except when
prevented .- war or force #a"eure0 These shall .e conclusivel-
presu#ed to have perfor#ed all the conditions essential to a
Govern#ent grant and shall .e entitled to a certificate of title
under the provisions of this Chapter0 (e#phasis supplied!>&7?


This provision was repealed in 1977 with the enact#ent of 0<0 127&,
which #ade the date 12 4une 1985 the rec(oning point for the first ti#e0
*onetheless, applications for registration filed prior to 1977 could have invo(ed the
&2=-ear rule introduced .- $ep0 Act *o0 19820

The second source is :ection 18(2! of 0<0 1529 itself, at least .-
i#plication, as it applies the rules on prescription under the Civil Code, particularl-
Article 111& in relation to Article 11&70 *ote that there are two (inds of prescription
under the Civil CodeNordinar- ac9uisitive prescription and extraordinar- ac9uisitive
prescription, which, under Article 11&7, is co#pleted Pthrough uninterrupted
adverse possessionS for thirt- -ears, without need of title or of good faith0Q

).viousl-, the first source of the thirt- (&2!=-ear period rule, $ep0 Act *o0
1982, .eca#e unavaila.le after 19770 At present, the onl- legal .asis for the thirt-
(&2!=-ear period is the law on prescription under the Civil Code, as #andated under
:ection 18(2!0 Iowever, there is a #aterial difference .etween how the thirt- (&2!=
-ear rule operated under $ep0 Act *o0 1982 and how it did under the Civil Code0

:ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act, as a#ended .- $ep0 Act *o0 1982,
did not refer to or call into application the Civil Code provisions on prescription0 /t
#erel- set forth a re9uisite thirt-=-ear possession period i##ediatel- preceding the
application for confir#ation of title, without an- 9ualification as to whether the
propert- should .e declared aliena.le at the .eginning of, and continue as such,
throughout the entire thirt-=(&2! -ears0 There is neither statutor- nor "urisprudential
.asis to assert $ep0 Act *o0 1982 had #andated such a re9uire#ent,>&8? si#ilar to
our earlier finding with respect to the present language of :ection 88(.!, which now
sets 12 4une 1985 as the point of reference0

Then, with the repeal of $ep0 Act *o0 1982, the thirt-=-ear possession
period as .asis for original registration .eca#e :ection 18(2! of the ropert-
$egistration <ecree, which entitled those Pwho have ac9uired ownership over
private lands .- prescription under the provisions of existing lawsQ to appl- for
original registration0 Again, the thirt-=-ear period is derived fro# the rule on
extraordinar- prescription under Article 11&7 of the Civil Code0 At the sa#e ti#e,
:ection 18(2! puts into operation the entire regi#e of prescription under the Civil
Code, a fact which does not hold true with respect to :ection 18(1!0

".

Mnli(e :ection 18(1!, :ection 18(2! explicitl- refers to the principles on
prescription under existing laws0 Accordingl-, we are i#pelled to appl- the civil law
concept of prescription, as set forth in the Civil Code, in our interpretation of
:ection 18(2!0 There is no si#ilar de#and on our part in the case of :ection 18(1!0

The critical 9ualification under Article 111& of the Civil Code is thus3
P>p?ropert- of the :tate or an- of its su.divisions not patri#onial in character shall
not .e the o."ect of prescription0Q The identification what consists of patri#onial
propert- is provided .- Articles 822 and 821, which we 9uote in full3

Art0 8220 The following things are propert- of pu.lic
do#inion3

(1! Those intended for pu.lic use, such as roads, canals,
rivers, torrents, ports and .ridges constructed .- the :tate,
.an(s, shores, roadsteads, and others of si#ilar character@

(2! Those which .elong to the :tate, without .eing for
pu.lic use, and are intended for so#e pu.lic service or for
the develop#ent of the national wealth0

Art0 8210 All other propert- of the :tate, which is not of the
character stated in the preceding article, is patri#onial propert-

/t is clear that propert- of pu.lic do#inion, which generall- includes propert-
.elonging to the :tate, cannot .e the o."ect of prescription or, indeed, .e su."ect of
the co##erce of #an0>&9? 1ands of the pu.lic do#ain, whether declared aliena.le
and disposa.le or not, are propert- of pu.lic do#inion and thus insuscepti.le to
ac9uisition .- prescription0

1et us now explore the effects under the Civil Code of a declaration .- the
resident or an- dul- authori6ed govern#ent officer of aliena.ilit- and disposa.ilit-
of lands of the pu.lic do#ain0 Fould such lands so declared aliena.le and
disposa.le .e converted, under the Civil Code, fro# propert- of the pu.lic
do#inion into patri#onial propert-R After all, .- connotative definition, aliena.le
and disposa.le lands #a- .e the o."ect of the co##erce of #an@ Article 111&
provides that all things within the co##erce of #an are suscepti.le to prescription@
and the sa#e provision further provides that patri#onial propert- of the :tate #a-
.e ac9uired .- prescription0

*onetheless, Article 822 of the Civil Code states that P>p?ropert- of pu.lic
do#inion, when no longer intended for pu.lic use or for pu.lic service, shall for#
part of the patri#onial propert- of the :tate0Q /t is this provision that controls how
pu.lic do#inion propert- #a- .e converted into patri#onial propert- suscepti.le to
ac9uisition .- prescription0 After all, Article 822 (2! #a(es clear that those propert-
Pwhich .elong to the :tate, without .eing for pu.lic use, and are intended for so#e
pu.lic service or for the develop#ent of the national wealthQ are pu.lic do#inion
propert-0 5or as long as the propert- .elongs to the :tate, although alread-
classified as aliena.le or disposa.le, it re#ains propert- of the pu.lic do#inion if
when it is Pintended for so#e pu.lic service or for the develop#ent of the national
wealthQ0

A--o#(6!83$, 2.0#0 <"52 /0 ! 0=7#055 (0-3#26o! /$ 2.0 S220 2.2 2.0
7"/36- (o<6!6o! 7#o70#2$ 65 !o 3o!80# 6!20!(0( 1o# 7"/36- 50#>6-0 o# 2.0
(0>03o7<0!2 o1 2.0 !26o!3 4032. o# 2.2 2.0 7#o70#2$ .5 /00! -o!>0#20(
6!2o 72#6<o!63. +62.o"2 5"-. 0=7#055 (0-3#26o!, 2.0 7#o70#2$, 0>0! 61
-3556160( 5 360!/30 o# (657o5/30, #0<6!5 7#o70#2$ o1 2.0 7"/36- (o<6!6o!,
7"#5"!2 2o A#26-30 42092:, !( 2."5 6!-7/30 o1 -?"65626o! /$ 7#05-#6726o!. I2
65 o!3$ 4.0! 5"-. 360!/30 !( (657o5/30 3!(5 #0 0=7#0553$ (0-3#0( /$ 2.0
S220 2o /0 !o 3o!80# 6!20!(0( 1o# 7"/36- 50#>6-0 o# 1o# 2.0 (0>03o7<0!2 o1 2.0
!26o!3 4032. 2.2 2.0 70#6o( o1 -?"65626>0 7#05-#6726o! -! /086! 2o #"!.
S"-. (0-3#26o! 5.33 /0 6! 2.0 1o#< o1 34 ("3$ 0!-20( /$ Co!8#055 o#
P#056(0!263 P#o-3<26o! 6! -505 4.0#0 2.0 P#056(0!2 65 ("3$ "2.o#6@0( /$
34.

/t is co#prehensi.le with ease that this reading of :ection 18(2! of the
ropert- $egistration <ecree li#its its scope and reach and thus affects the
registra.ilit- even of lands alread- declared aliena.le and disposa.le to the
detri#ent of the bona fide possessors or occupants clai#ing title to the lands0 Get
this interpretation is in accord with the $egalian doctrine and its conco#itant
assu#ption that all lands owned .- the :tate, although declared aliena.le or
disposa.le, re#ain as such and ought to .e used onl- .- the Govern#ent0

$ecourse does not lie with this Court in the #atter0 The dut- of the Court is
to appl- the Constitution and the laws in accordance with their language and intent0
The re#ed- is to change the law, which is the province of the legislative .ranch0
Congress can ver- well .e entreated to a#end :ection 18(2! of the ropert-
$egistration <ecree and pertinent provisions of the Civil Code to li.erali6e the
re9uire#ents for "udicial confir#ation of i#perfect or inco#plete titles0

The operation of the foregoing interpretation can .e illustrated .- an actual
exa#ple0 $epu.lic Act *o0 7227, entitled PAn Act Accelerating The Conversion )f
'ilitar- $eservations /nto )ther roductive Mses, etc0,Q is #ore co##onl- (nown
as the %C<A law0 :ection 2 of the law authori6es the sale of certain #ilitar-
reservations and portions of #ilitar- ca#ps in 'etro 'anila,
including 5ort %onifacio and Cilla#or Air %ase0 5or purposes of effecting the sale
of the #ilitar- ca#ps, the law #andates the resident to transfer such #ilitar- lands
to the %ases Conversion <evelop#ent Authorit- (%C<A!>82? which in turn is
authori6ed to own, hold andAor ad#inister the#0>81? The resident is authori6ed to
sell portions of the #ilitar- ca#ps, in whole or in part0 >82? Accordingl-, the %C<A
law itself declares that the #ilitar- lands su."ect thereof are Paliena.le and
disposa.le pursuant to the provisions of existing laws and regulations governing
sales of govern#ent properties0Q>8&?

5ro# the #o#ent the %C<A law was enacted the su."ect #ilitar- lands
have .eco#e aliena.le and disposa.le0 Iowever, said lands did not .eco#e
patri#onial, as the %C<A law itself expressl- #a(es the reservation that these lands
are to .e sold in order to raise funds for the conversion of the for#er A#erican
.ases at Clar( and :u.ic0>88?:uch purpose can .e tied to either Ppu.lic serviceQ or
Pthe develop#ent of national wealthQ under Article 822(2!0 Thus, at that ti#e, the
lands re#ained propert- of the pu.lic do#inion under Article 822(2!,
notwithstanding their status as aliena.le and disposa.le0 /t is upon their sale as
authori6ed under the %C<A law to a private person or entit- that such lands .eco#e
private propert- and cease to .e propert- of the pu.lic do#inion0


C.

:hould pu.lic do#ain lands .eco#e patri#onial .ecause the- are declared
as such in a dul- enacted law or dul- pro#ulgated procla#ation that the- are no
longer intended for pu.lic service or for the develop#ent of the national wealth,
would the period of possession prior to the conversion of such pu.lic do#inion into
patri#onial .e rec(oned in counting the prescriptive period in favor of the
possessorsR Fe rule in the negative0

The li#itation i#posed .- Article 111& dissuades us fro# ruling that the
period of possession .efore the pu.lic do#ain land .eco#es patri#onial #a- .e
counted for the purpose of co#pleting the prescriptive period0 ossession of pu.lic
do#inion propert- .efore it .eco#es patri#onial cannot .e the o."ect of
prescription according to the Civil Code0 As the application for registration under
:ection 18(2! falls wholl- within the fra#ewor( of prescription under the Civil
Code, there is no wa- that possession during the ti#e that the land was still
classified as pu.lic do#inion propert- can .e counted to #eet the re9uisites of
ac9uisitive prescription and "ustif- registration0

Are we .eing inconsistent in appl-ing divergent rules for :ection 18(1! and
:ection 18(2!R There is no inconsistenc-0 S0-26o! 1491: <!(205 #08652#26o! o!
2.0 /565 o17o550556o!, 4.630 S0-26o! 1492: 0!262305 #08652#26o! o! 2.0 /565
o1 7#05-#6726o! 0 R08652#26o! "!(0# S0-26o! 1491: 65 0=20!(0( "!(0# 2.0 0865 o1
2.0 P#o70#2$ R08652#26o! D0-#00 !( 2.0 P"/36- L!( A-2 4.630 #08652#26o!
"!(0# S0-26o! 1492: 65 <(0 >63/30 /o2. /$ 2.0 P#o70#2$ R08652#26o! D0-#00
!( 2.0 C6>63 Co(0.

/n the sa#e #anner, we can distinguish .etween the thirt-=-ear period under
:ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act, as a#ended .- $ep0 Act *o0 1872, and the
thirt-=-ear period availa.le through :ection 18(2! of the ropert- $egistration
<ecree in relation to Article 11&7 of the Civil Code0 T.0 70#6o( "!(0# 2.0 1o#<0#
570A5 o1 2.6#2$;$0# 70#6o( o1 7o550556o! , 4.630 2.0 70#6o( "!(0# 2.0 3220#
-o!-0#!5 2.6#2$;$0# 70#6o( o1 0=2#o#(6!#$ 7#05-#6726o!0 R08652#26o! "!(0#
S0-26o! 489/: o1 2.0 P"/36- L!( A-2 5 <0!(0( /$ R07. A-2 No. 1472 65 /50(
o! 2.6#2$ $0#5 o1 7o550556o! 3o!0 462.o"2 #08#( 2o 2.0 C6>63 Co(0, 4.630 2.0
#08652#26o! "!(0# S0-26o! 1492: o1 2.0 P#o70#2$ R08652#26o! D0-#00 65 1o"!(0(
o! 0=2#o#(6!#$ 7#05-#6726o! "!(0# 2.0 C6>63 Co(00

/t #a- .e as(ed wh- the principles of prescription under the Civil Code
should not appl- as well to :ection 18(1!0 *otwithstanding the vaunted status of the
Civil Code, it ulti#atel- is "ust one of nu#erous statutes, neither superior nor
inferior to other statutes such as the ropert- $egistration <ecree0 The legislative
.ranch is not .ound to adhere to the fra#ewor( set forth .- the Civil Code when it
enacts su.se9uent legislation0 :ection 18(2! #anifests a clear intent to interrelate the
registration allowed under that provision with the Civil Code, .ut no such intent
exists with respect to :ection 18(1!0

).

)ne of the (e-s to understanding the fra#ewor( we set forth toda- is seeing
how our land registration procedures correlate with our law on prescription, which,
under the Civil Code, is one of the #odes for ac9uiring ownership over propert-0

The Civil Code #a(es it clear that patri#onial propert- of the :tate #a- .e
ac9uired .- private persons through prescription0 This is .rought a.out .- Article
111&, which states that P>a?ll things which are within the co##erce of #an are
suscepti.le to prescription,Q and that >p?ropert- of the :tate or an- of its
su.divisions not patri#onial in character shall not .e the o."ect of prescription0Q

There are two #odes of prescription through which i##ova.les #a- .e
ac9uired under the Civil Code0 The first is ordinar- ac9uisitive prescription, which,
under Article 1117, re9uires possession in good faith and with "ust title@ and, under
Article 11&8, is co#pleted through possession of ten (12! -ears0 There is nothing in
the Civil Code that .ars a person fro# ac9uiring patri#onial propert- of the :tate
through ordinar- ac9uisitive prescription, nor is there an- apparent reason to i#pose
such a rule0 At the sa#e ti#e, there are indispensa.le re9uisitesNgood faith and "ust
title0 The ascertain#ent of good faith involves the application of Articles 52,, 527,
and 528, as well as Article 1127 of the Civil Code, >85? provisions that #ore or less
spea( for the#selves0

)n the other hand, the concept of "ust title re9uires so#e
clarification0 Mnder Article 1129, there is "ust title for the purposes of prescription
Pwhen the adverse clai#ant ca#e into possession of the propert- through one of the
#odes recogni6ed .- law for the ac9uisition of ownership or other real rights, .ut
the grantor was not the owner or could not trans#it an- right0Q <r0 Tolentino
explains3

4ust title is an act which has for its purpose the
trans#ission of ownership, and which would have actuall-
transferred ownership if the grantor had .een the owner0 This vice
or defect is the one cured .- prescription0 +xa#ples3 sale with
deliver-, exchange, donation, succession, and dacion in pa-#ent0
>8,?

The ):G su.#its that the re9uire#ent of "ust title necessaril- precludes the
applica.ilit- of ordinar- ac9uisitive prescription to patri#onial propert-0 The #a"or
pre#ise for the argu#ent is that Pthe :tate, as the owner and grantor, could not
trans#it ownership to the possessor .efore the co#pletion of the re9uired period of
possession0Q>87? /t is evident that the ):G erred when it assu#ed that the grantor
referred to in Article 1129 is the :tate0 The grantor is the one fro# who# the person
invo(ing ordinar- ac9uisitive prescription derived the title, whether .- sale,
exchange, donation, succession or an- other #ode of the ac9uisition of ownership
or other real rights0

+arlier, we #ade it clear that, whether under ordinar- prescription or
extraordinar- prescription, the period of possession preceding the classification of
pu.lic do#inion lands as patri#onial cannot .e counted for the purpose of
co#puting prescription0 %ut after the propert- has .een .eco#e patri#onial, the
period of prescription .egins to run in favor of the possessor0 )nce the re9uisite
period has .een co#pleted, two legal events ensue3 (1! the patri#onial propert-
is ipso jure converted into private land@ and (2! the person in possession for the
periods prescri.ed under the Civil Code ac9uires ownership of the propert- .-
operation of the Civil Code0

/t is evident that once the possessor auto#aticall- .eco#es the owner of
the converted patri#onial propert-, the ideal next step is the registration of the
propert- under theTorrens s-ste#0 /t should .e re#e#.ered that registration of
propert- is not a #ode of ac9uisition of ownership, .ut #erel- a #ode of
confir#ation of ownership0>88?

1oo(ing .ac( at the registration regi#e prior to the adoption of the
ropert- $egistration <ecree in 1977, it is apparent that the registration s-ste# then
did not full- acco##odate the ac9uisition of ownership of patri#onial propert-
under the Civil Code0 Fhat the s-ste# acco##odated was the confir#ation of
i#perfect title .rought a.out .- the co#pletion of a period of possession ordained
under the u.lic 1and Act (either &2 -ears following $ep0 Act *o0 1982, or since 12
4une 1985 following 0<0 *o0 127&!0

The 1and $egistration Act>89? was noticea.l- silent on the re9uisites for
aliena.le pu.lic lands ac9uired through ordinar- prescription under the Civil Code,
though it argua.l- did not preclude such registration0>52? :till, the gap was
la#enta.le, considering that the Civil Code, .- itself, esta.lishes ownership over
the patri#onial propert- of persons who have co#pleted the prescriptive periods
ordained therein0 The gap was finall- closed with the adoption of the ropert-
$egistration <ecree in 1977, with :ection 18(2! thereof expressl- authori6ing
original registration in favor of persons who have ac9uired ownership over private
lands .- prescription under the provisions of existing laws, that is, the Civil Code as
of now0

).

Fe s-nthesi6e the doctrines laid down in this case, as follows3

(1! /n connection with :ection 18(1! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree,
:ection 88(.! of the u.lic 1and Act recogni6es and confir#s that Pthose who .-
the#selves or through their predecessors in interest have .een in open, continuous,
exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of aliena.le and disposa.le
lands of the pu.lic do#ain, under a .ona fide clai# of ac9uisition of ownership,
since 4une 12, 1985Q have ac9uired ownership of, and registra.le title to, such
lands .ased on the length and 9ualit- of their possession0

(a! :ince :ection 88(.! #erel- re9uires possession since 12
4une 1985 and does not re9uire that the lands should have .een aliena.le
and disposa.le during the entire period of possession, the possessor is
entitled to secure "udicial confir#ation of his title thereto as soon as it is
declared aliena.le and disposa.le, su."ect to the ti#efra#e i#posed .-
:ection 87 of the u.lic 1and Act0>51?

(.! The right to register granted under :ection 88(.! of the
u.lic 1and Act is further confir#ed .- :ection 18(1! of the ropert-
$egistration <ecree0

(2! /n co#pl-ing with :ection 18(2! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree,
consider that under the Civil Code, prescription is recogni6ed as a #ode of
ac9uiring ownership of patri#onial propert-0 Iowever, pu.lic do#ain lands .eco#e
onl- patri#onial propert- not onl- with a declaration that these are aliena.le or
disposa.le0 There #ust also .e an express govern#ent #anifestation that the
propert- is alread- patri#onial or no longer retained for pu.lic service or the
develop#ent of national wealth, under Article 822 of the Civil Code0 And onl-
when the propert- has .eco#e patri#onial can the prescriptive period for the
ac9uisition of propert- of the pu.lic do#inion .egin to run0

(a! atri#onial propert- is private propert- of the
govern#ent0 The person ac9uires ownership of patri#onial propert- .-
prescription under the Civil Code is entitled to secure registration thereof
under :ection 18(2! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree0

(.! There are two (inds of prescription .- which patri#onial
propert- #a- .e ac9uired, one ordinar- and other extraordinar-0 Mnder
ordinar- ac9uisitive prescription, a person ac9uires ownership of a
patri#onial propert- through possession for at least ten (12! -ears, in good
faith and with "ust title0 Mnder extraordinar- ac9uisitive prescription, a
personOs uninterrupted adverse possession of patri#onial propert- for at
least thirt- (&2! -ears, regardless of good faith or "ust title, ripens into
ownership0

".

Fe now appl- the a.ove=stated doctrines to the case at .ar0

/t is clear that the evidence of petitioners is insufficient to esta.lish that
'ala.anan has ac9uired ownership over the su."ect propert- under :ection 88(.! of
the u.lic 1and Act0 There is no su.stantive evidence to esta.lish that 'ala.anan or
petitioners as his predecessors=in=interest have .een in possession of the propert-
since 12 4une 1985 or earlier0 The earliest that petitioners can date .ac( their
possession, according to their own evidenceJthe Tax <eclarations the- presented
in particularJis to the -ear 19880 Thus, the- cannot avail the#selves of registration
under :ection 18(1! of the ropert- $egistration <ecree0


*either can petitioners properl- invo(e :ection 18(2! as .asis for registration0
Fhile the su."ect propert- was declared as aliena.le or disposa.le in 1982, there is
no co#petent evidence that is no longer intended for pu.lic use service or for the
develop#ent of the national evidence, confor#a.l- with Article 822 of the Civil
Code0 The classification of the su."ect propert- as aliena.le and disposa.le land of
the pu.lic do#ain does not change its status as propert- of the pu.lic do#inion
under Article 822(2! of the Civil Code0 Thus, it is insuscepti.le to ac9uisition .-
prescription0

).

A final word0 The Court is co#forta.le with the correctness of the legal
doctrines esta.lished in this decision0 *onetheless, disco#fiture over the
i#plications of toda-Os ruling cannot .e discounted0 5or, ever- untitled propert- that
is occupied in the countr- will .e affected .- this ruling0 The social i#plications
cannot .e dis#issed lightl-, and the Court would .e a.dicating its social
responsi.ilit- to the 5ilipino people if we si#pl- levied the law without co##ent0

The infor#al settle#ent of pu.lic lands, whether declared aliena.le or not, is
a pheno#enon tied to long=standing ha.it and cultural ac9uiescence, and is co##on
a#ong the so=called PThird ForldQ countries0 This paradig# powerfull- evo(es the
disconnect .etween a legal s-ste# and the realit- on the ground0 The law so far has
.een una.le to .ridge that gap0 Alternative #eans of ac9uisition of these
pu.lic do#ain lands, such as through ho#estead or free patent, have proven
unattractive due to li#itations i#posed on the grantee in the encu#.rance or
alienation of said properties0>52? 4udicial confir#ation of i#perfect title has
e#erged as the #ost via.le, if not the #ost attractive #eans to regulari6e the
infor#al settle#ent of aliena.le or disposa.le lands of the pu.lic do#ain, -et even
that s-ste#, as revealed in this decision, has considera.le li#its0
There are #illions upon #illions of 5ilipinos who have individuall- or
exclusivel- held residential lands on which the- have lived and raised their
fa#ilies0 'an- #ore have tilled and #ade productive idle lands of the :tate with
their hands0 The- have .een regarded for generation .- their fa#ilies and their
co##unities as co##on law owners0 There is #uch to .e said a.out the virtues of
according the# legiti#ate states0 Get such virtues are not for the Court to translate
into positive law, as the law itself considered such lands as propert- of the pu.lic
do#inion0 /t could onl- .e up to Congress to set forth a new phase of land refor#
to sensi.l- regulari6e and for#ali6e the settle#ent of such lands which in legal
theor- are lands of the pu.lic do#ain .efore the pro.le# .eco#es insolu.le0 This
could .e acco#plished, to cite two exa#ples, .- li.erali6ing the standards for
"udicial confir#ation of i#perfect title, or a#ending the Civil Code itself to ease the
re9uisites for the conversion of pu.lic do#inion propert- into patri#onial0
)neOs sense of securit- over land rights infuses into ever- aspect of well=
.eing not onl- of that individual, .ut also to the personOs fa#il-0 )nce that sense of
securit- is deprived, life and livelihood are put on stasis0 /t is for the political
.ranches to .ring welco#e closure to the long pestering pro.le#0
+'ERE&ORE, the etition is DENIED. The <ecision of the Court of
Appeals dated 2& 5e.ruar- 2227 and $esolution dated 2 )cto.er
2227 are A&&IR,ED0 *o pronounce#ent as to costs0
SO ORDERED0
G0$0 *o0 1=17,52 4une &2, 19,2
IGNACIO GRANDE, ET AL., petitioners, vs0 'ON. COURT O& APPEALS,
DO,INGO CALALUNG, !( ESTEBAN CALALUNG, respondents0
BARRERA, J.:
This is an appeal ta(en .- petitioners /gnacio, +ulogia, Alfonso, +ulalia, and :ofia
Grande, fro# the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA=G0$0 *o0 251,9=$!
reversing that of the Court of 5irst /nstance of /sa.ela (Civil Case *o0 1171!, and
dis#issing petitioners; action against respondents <o#ingo and +ste.an Calalung,
to 9uiet title to and recover possession of a parcel of land allegedl- occupied .- the
latter without petitioners; consent0
The facts of the case, which are undisputed, .riefl- are3 etitioners are the owners
of a parcel of land, with an area of &052&2 hectares, located at .arrio $agan,
#unicipalit- of 'agsa-sa- (for#erl- Tu#auini!, province of /sa.ela, .- inheritance
fro# their deceased #other atricia Angui (who inherited it fro# her parents /sidro
Angui and Ana 1ope6, in whose na#e said land appears registered, as shown .-
)riginal Certificate of Title *o0 2982, issued on 4une 9, 19&8!0 :aid propert- is
identified as 1ot *o0 1, lan :M=8&&820 Fhen it was surve-ed for purposes of
registration so#eti#e in 19&2, its northeastern .oundar- was the Caga-an $iver
(the sa#e .oundar- stated in the title!0 :ince then, and for #an- -ears thereafter, a
gradual accretion on the northeastern side too( place, .- action of the current of the
Caga-an $iver, so #uch so, that .- 1958, the .an( thereof had receded to a distance
of a.out 125 #eters fro# its original site, and an alluvial deposit of 19,9,8 s9uare
#eters (1099,8 hectares!, #ore or less, had .een added to the registered area (+xh0
C=1!0
)n 4anuar- 25, 1958, petitioners instituted the present action in the Court of 5irst
/nstance of /sa.ela against respondents, to 9uiet title to said portion (19,9,8 s9uare
#eters! for#ed .- accretion, alleging in their co#plaint (doc(eted as Civil Case *o0
1171! that the- and their predecessors=in=interest, were for#erl- in peaceful and
continuous possession thereof, until :epte#.er, 1988, when respondents entered
upon the land under clai# of ownership0 etitioners also as(ed for da#ages
corresponding to the value of the fruits of the land as well as attorne-;s fees and
costs0 /n their answer (dated 5e.ruar- 18, 1958!, respondents clai# ownership in
the#selves, asserting that the- have .een in continuous, open, and undistur.ed
possession of said portion, since prior to the -ear 19&& to the present0
After trial, the Court of 5irst /nstance of /sa.ela, on 'a- 8, 1959, rendered a
decision ad"udging the ownership of the portion in 9uestion to petitioners, and
ordering respondents to vacate the pre#ises and deliver possession thereof to
petitioners, and to pa- to the latter 252022 as da#ages and costs0 :aid decision, in
part, reads3
/t is ad#itted .- the parties that the land involved in this action was for#ed
.- the gradual deposit of alluviu# .rought a.out .- the action of the
Caga-an $iver, a naviga.le river0 Fe are inclined to .elieve that the
accretion was for#ed on the northeastern side of the land covered .-
)riginal Certificate of Title *o0 2982 after the surve- of the registered land
in 19&1, .ecause the surve-ors found out that the northeastern .oundar- of
the land surve-ed .- the# was the Caga-an $iver, and not the land in
9uestion0 Fhich is indicative of the fact that the accretion has not -et
started or .egun in 19&10 And, as declared .- edro 1a#an, defendant
witness and the .oundar- owner on the northwest of the registered land of
the plaintiffs, the accretion was a little #ore than one hectare, including the
ston- portion, in 1982 or 19810 Therefore, the declarations of the defendant
<o#ingo Calalung and his witness, Cicente C0 %acani, to the effect that the
land in 9uestion was for#ed .- accretion since 19&& do not onl- contradict
the testi#on- of defendants; witness edro 1a#an, .ut could not overthrow
the incontesta.le fact that the accretion with an area of 8 hectare #ore or
less, was for#ed in 1988, reason for which, it was onl- declared in that
sa#e -ear for taxation purposes .- the defendants under Tax <ec0 *o0 257
(+xh0 L2L! when the- entered upon the land0 Fe could not give credence to
defendants; assertion that Tax <ec0 *o0 257 (+xh0 L2L! cancelled Tax <ee0
*o0 2822, (+xh0 L1L!, .ecause +xh0 L2L sa-s that Ltax under this
declaration .egins with the -ear 19880 %ut, the fact that defendants
declared the land for taxation purposes since 1988, does not #ean that the-
.eco#e the owner of the land .- #ere occupanc-, for it is a new provision
of the *ew Civil Code that ownership of a piece of land cannot .e ac9uired
.- occupation (Art0 718, *ew Civil Code!0 The land in 9uestion .eing an
accretion to the #other or registered land of the plaintiffs, the accretion
.elongs to the plaintiffs (Art0 857, *ew Civil Code@ Art0 &,,, )ld Civil
Code!0 Assu#ing arguendo, that the accretion has .een occupied .- the
defendants since 1988, or earlier, is of no #o#ent, .ecause the law does
not re9uire an- act of possession on the part of the owner of the riparian
owner, fro# the #o#ent the deposit .eco#es #anifest ($oxas v0 Tuason, 9
hil0 828@ Corte6 v0 Cit- of 'anila, 12 hil0 5,7!0 5urther, no act of
appropriation on the part of the reparian owner is necessar-, in order to
ac9uire ownership of the alluvial for#ation, as the law does not re9uire the
sa#e (& 'anresa, C0C0, pp0 &21=&2,!0
This .rings us now to the deter#ination of whether the defendants,
granting that the- have .een in possession of the alluviu# since 1988,
could have ac9uired the propert- .- prescription0 Assu#ing that the-
occupied the land in :epte#.er, 1988, .ut considering that the action was
co##enced on 4anuar- 25, 1958, the- have not .een in possession of the
land for ten (12! -ears@ hence, the- could not have ac9uired the land .-
ordinar- prescription (Arts0 11&8 and 11&8, *ew Civil Code!0 'oreover, as
the alluviu# is, .- law, part and parcel of the registered propert-, the sa#e
#a- .e considered as registered propert-, within the #eaning of :ection 8,
of Act *o0 89,3 and, therefore, it could not .e ac9uired .- prescription or
adverse possession .- another person0
Mnsatisfied, respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals, which rendered, on
:epte#.er 18, 19,2, the decision adverted to at the .eginning of this opinion, partl-
stating3
That the area in controvers- has .een for#ed through a gradual process of
alluviu#, which started in the earl- thirties, is a fact conclusivel-
esta.lished .- the evidence for .oth parties0 %- law, therefore, unless so#e
superior title has supervened, it should properl- .elong to the riparian
owners, specificall- in accordance with the rule of natural accession in
Article &,, of the old Civil Code (now Article 857!, which provides that
Lto the owner of lands ad"oining the .an(s of rivers, .elongs the accretion
which the- graduall- receive fro# the effects of the current of the waters0L
The defendants, however, contend that the- have ac9uired ownership
through prescription0 This contention poses the real issue in this case0 The
Courta *uo, has resolved it in favor of the plaintiffs, on two grounds3 5irst,
since .- accession, the land in 9uestion pertains to the original estate, and
since in this instance the original estate is registered, the accretion,
conse9uentl-, falls within the purview of :ection 8, of Act *o0 89,, which
states that Lno title to registered land in derogation to that of the registered
owner shall .e ac9uired .- prescription or adverse possessionL@ and,
second, the adverse possession of the defendant .egan onl- in the #onth of
:epte#.er, 1988, or less than the 12=-ear period re9uired for prescription
.efore the present action was instituted0
As a legal proposition, the first ground relied upon .- the trial court, is not
9uite correct0 An accretion to registered land, while declared .- specific
provision of the Civil Code to .elong to the owner of the land as a natural
accession thereof, does not ipso jure .eco#e entitled to the protection of
the rule of i#prescripti.ilit- of title esta.lished .- the 1and $egistration
Act0 :uch protection does not extend .e-ond the area given and descri.ed
in the certificate0 To hold otherwise, would .e productive of confusion0 /t
would virtuall- deprive the title, and the technical description of the land
given therein, of their character of conclusiveness as to the identit- and
area of the land that is registered0 4ust as the :upre#e Court, al.eit in a
negative #anner, has stated that registration does not protect the riparian
owner against the erosion of the area of his land through gradual changes in
the course of the ad"oining strea# (a-atas +state <evelop#ent Co0 v0
Tuason, 5& hil0 55!, so registration does not entitle hi# to all the rights
conferred .- 1and $egistration Act, in so far as the area added .- accretion
is concerned0 Fhat rights he has, are declared not .- said Act, .ut .- the
provisions of the Civil Code on accession3 and these provisions do not
preclude ac9uisition of the addition area .- another person through
prescription0 This Court has held as #uch in the case of +alindez( et al. v.
"a%uisa( et al0, CA=G0$0 *o0 19289=$, 4ul- 17, 19590
Fe now proposed to review the second ground relied upon .- the trial
court, regarding the length of ti#e that the defendants have .een in
possession0 <o#ingo Calalung testified that he occupied the land in
9uestion for the first ti#e in 19&8, not in 1988 as clai#ed .- the plaintiffs0
The area under occupanc- graduall- increased as the -ears went .-0 /n
198,, he declared the land for purposes of taxation (+xhi.it 1!0 This tax
declaration was superseded in 1988 .- another (+xhi.it 2!, after the na#e
of the #unicipalit- wherein it is located was changed fro# Tu#auini to
'agsa-sa-0 Calalung;s testi#on- is corro.orated .- two witnesses, .oth
owners of properties near.-0 edro 1a#an, 72 -ears of age, who was
'unicipal president of Tu#auini for three ter#s, said that the land in
9uestion ad"oins his own on the south, and that since 1982 or 1951, he has
alwa-s (nown it to .e in the peaceful possession of the defendants0 Cicente
C0 %acani testified to the sa#e effect, although, he said that the defendants;
possession started so#eti#e in 19&& or 19&80 The area thereof, he said,
was then less than one hectare0
Fe find the testi#on- of the said witnesses entitled to #uch greater weight
and credence than that of the plaintiff edro Grande and his lone witness,
1aureana $odrigue60 The first stated that the defendants occupied the land
in 9uestion onl- in 1988@ that he called the latter;s attention to the fact that
the land was his, .ut the defendants, in turn, clai#ed that the- were the
owners, that the plaintiffs did not file an action until 1958, .ecause it was
onl- then that the- were a.le to o.tain the certificate of title fro# the
surve-or, <o#ingo arlan@ and that the- never declared the land in
9uestion for taxation purposes or paid the taxes thereon0 edro Grande
ad#itted that the defendants had the said land surve-ed in April, 1958, and
that he tried to stop it, not .ecause he clai#ed the accretion for hi#self and
his co=plaintiffs, .ut .ecause the surve- included a portion of the propert-
covered .- their title0 This last fact is conceded .- the defendants who,
accordingl-, relin9uished their possession to the part thus included,
containing an area of so#e 858 s9uare #eters01TwphU10VWt
The oral evidence for the defendants concerning the period of their
possession J fro# 19&& to 1958 J is not onl- preponderant in itself, .ut
is, #oreover, supported .- the fact that it is the- and not the plaintiffs who
declared the disputed propert- for taxation, and .- the additional
circu#stance that if the plaintiff had reall- .een in prior possession and
were deprived thereof in 1988, the- would have i##ediatel- ta(en steps to
recover the sa#e0 The excuse the- gave for not doing so, na#el-, that the-
did not receive their cop- of the certificate of title to their propert- until
1958 for lac( of funds to pa- the fees of the surve-or <o#ingo arlan, is
too fli#s- to #erit an- serious consideration0 The pa-#ent of the
surve-or;s fees had nothing to do with their right to o.tain a cop- of the
certificate0 %esides, it was not necessar- for the# to have it in their hands,
in order to file an action to recover the land which was legall- theirs .-
accession and of which, as the- allege, the- had .een illegall- deprived .-
the defendants0 Fe are convinced, upon consideration of the evidence, that
the latter, were reall- in possession since 19&8, i##ediatel- after the
process of alluvion started, and that the plaintiffs wo(e up to their rights
onl- when the- received their cop- of the title in 19580 %- then, however,
prescription had alread- supervened in favor of the defendants0
/t is this decision of the Court of Appeals which petitioners see( to .e reviewed .-
us0
The sole issue for resolution in this case is whether respondents have ac9uired the
alluvial propert- in 9uestion through prescription0
There can .e no dispute that .oth under Article 857 of the *ew Civil Code and
Article &,, of the old, petitioners are the lawful owners of said alluvial propert-, as
the- are the registered owners of the land which it ad"oins0 The 9uestion is whether
the accretion .eco#es auto#aticall- registered land "ust .ecause the lot which
receives it is covered .- a Torrens title there.- #a(ing the alluvial propert-
i#prescripti.le0 Fe agree with the Court of Appeals that it does not, "ust as an
unregistered land purchased .- the registered owner of the ad"oining land does not,
.- extension, .eco#e ipso facto registered land0 )wnership of a piece of land is one
thing, and registration under the Torrens s-ste# of that ownership is 9uite another0
)wnership over the accretion received .- the land ad"oining a river is governed .-
the Civil Code0 /#prescripti.ilit- of registered land is provided in the registration
law0 $egistration under the 1and $egistration and Cadastral Acts does not vest or
give title to the land, .ut #erel- confir#s and thereafter protects the title alread-
possessed .- the owner, #a(ing it i#prescripti.le .- occupation of third parties0
%ut to o.tain this protection, the land #ust .e placed under the operation of the
registration laws wherein certain "udicial procedures have .een provided0 The fact
re#ain, however, that petitioners never sought registration of said alluvial propert-
(which was for#ed so#eti#e after petitioners; propert- covered .- )riginal
Certificate of Title *o0 2982 was registered on 4une 9, 19&8! up to the ti#e the-
instituted the present action in the Court of 5irst /nstance of /sa.ela in 19580 The
incre#ent, therefore, never .eca#e registered propert-, and hence is not entitled or
su."ect to the protection of i#prescripti.ilit- en"o-ed .- registered propert- under
the Torrens s-ste#0 Conse9uentl-, it was su."ect to ac9uisition through prescription
.- third persons0
The next issue is, did respondents ac9uire said alluvial propert- through ac9uisitive
prescriptionR This is a 9uestion which re9uires deter#ination of facts3 ph-sical
possession and dates or duration of such possession0 The Court of Appeals, after
anal-6ing the evidence, found that respondents=appellees were in possession of the
alluvial lot since 19&& or 19&8, openl-, continuousl- and adversel-, under a clai# of
ownership up to the filing of the action in 19580 This finding of the existence of
these facts, arrived at .- the Court of Appeals after an exa#ination of the evidence
presented .- the parties, is conclusive as to the# and can not .e reviewed .- us0
The law on prescription applica.le to the case is that provided in Act 192 and not
the provisions of the Civil Code, since the possession started in 19&& or 19&8 when
the pertinent articles of the old Civil Code were not in force and .efore the
effectivit- of the new Civil Code in 19520 Ience, the conclusion of the Court of
Appeals that the respondents ac9uired alluvial lot in 9uestion .- ac9uisitive
prescription is in accordance with law0
The decision of the Court of Appeals under review is here.- affir#ed, with costs
against the petitioners0 :o ordered0
G.R. No. 734B5 S0720</0# 7, 1989
LEONIDA CUREG, RO,EO, PEPITO, 'ERNANDO, ,ANUEL, ANTONIO
AND ELPIDIO 9ALL SURNA,ED CARNICAN: petitioner, vs0
INTER,EDIATE APPELLATE COURT, 94T' CIVIL CASES DIVISION:,
DO,INGO APOSTOL, SOLEDAD GERARDO, ROSA GERARDO, NIEVES
GERARDO, &LORDELI)A GERARDO, AND LILIA
,ADUINAD,respondent0
,EDIALDEA, J.:
This petition under $ule 85 of the $ules of Court, see(s the reversal of the decision
of the /nter#ediate Appellate Court (now Court of Appeals! dated )cto.er 15,1985
in AC=G0$0 CC *o0 2&852 entitled ,Domin%o Apostol( et al.( Plaintiffs-Appellees( v.
Leonida Cure%( et al0, Defendants-Appellants,, which affir#ed the decision of the
$egional Trial Court of /sa.ela, %ranch BB// declaring private respondent
<o#ingo Apostol the a.solute owner of a parcel of land, situated in %aranga-
Casi.arag=Ca"el, Ca.agan, /sa.ela, #ore particularl- descri.ed as follows3
000 containing an area of 505222 hectares, and .ounded, on
the north, .- Ca%ayan River. on the east, .- <o#ingo Guinga.@
on the south, .- Antonio Carniyan@ and on the west, .- :a.ina
'ola, with an assessed value of &,5220 (par0 9 of co#plaint, p0 8,
$ecord@ +#phasis supplied!
)n *ove#.er 5, 1982, private respondents <o#ingo Apostol, :oledad Gerardo,
$osa Gerardo, *ieves Gerardo, 5lordeli6a Gerardo and 1ilia 'a9uinad, filed a
co#plaint for 9uieting of title and da#ages with preli#inar- in"unction against
herein petitioners 1eonida, $o#eo, epito, Iernando, 'anuel, Antonio and +lpidio,
all surna#ed Carni-an with the $egional Trial Court of /sa.ela and doc(eted as
Civil Case *o0 %r0 111=&7&0 A te#porar- restraining order was issued .- the trial
court on *ove#.er 12, 19820
The co#plaint alleged that private respondents, except <o#ingo Apostol, are the
legal andAor the forced heirs of the late <o#ingo Gerardo, who died in 5e.ruar-
1988, the latter .eing the onl- issue of the late 5rancisco Gerardo, who died .efore
the out.rea( of the second world war@ that since ti#e i##e#orial andAor .efore
4ul- 2,, 1898, the late 5rancisco Gerardo, together with his predecessors=in=interest
have .een in actual, open, peaceful and continuous possession, under a bona
fide clai# of ownership and adverse to all other clai#ants, of a parcel of land
(referred to as their L#otherlandL!, situated in Casi.arag=Ca"el, Ca.agan, /sa.ela,
#ore particularl- descri.ed as follows3
000 containing an area of 205222 hectares, #ore or less, and
.ounded on the $orth( .- Ca%ayan River. on the +ast, .-
<o#ingo Guinga. (for#erl- $osa Cureg!@ on the south by
Antonio Carniyan.and on the Fest .- :a.ina 'ola, 000 (p0 2,
$ecord!
that said land was declared for taxation purposes under Tax <eclaration *o0 28=
&22& in the na#e of 5rancisco Gerardo, which cancels Tax <eclaration *o0 C=9,,9,
also in the na#e of 5rancisco Gerardo@ that upon the death of 5rancisco Gerardo,
the ownership and possession of the L#otherlandL was succeeded .- his onl- issue,
<o#ingo Gerardo who, together with three (&! legal or forced heirs, na#el-
:oledad Gerardo, one of private respondents herein, ri#o Gerardo and :alud
Gerardo, .oth deceased, have also .een in actual, open, peaceful and continuous
possession of the sa#e@ that ri#o Gerardo is survived .- herein respondents, $osa,
*ieves and 5lordeli6a, all surna#ed Gerardo and :alud Gerardo is survived .-
respondent 1ilia 'a9uinad@ that in 1979, respondents :oledad Gerardo, $osa
Gerardo, *ieves Gerardo, 5lordeli6a Gerardo and 1ilia 'a9uinad ver.all- sold the
L#otherlandL to co=respondent <o#ingo Apostol@ that on :epte#.er 12, 1982, the
ver.al sale and conve-ance was reduced into writing .- the vendors who executed
an L+xtra=4udicial artition with Coluntar- $econve-ance (+xhi.it LEL, p0
22,, Rollo!@ that a.out the ti#e of the execution of the +xtra=4udicial artition, their
L#otherlandL alread- showedA#anifested signs of accretion of a.out three (&!
hectares on the north caused .- the northward #ove#ent of the Caga-an $iver@ that
<o#ingo Apostol declared the #otherland and its accretion for tax purposes under
Tax <eclaration *o0 28=1&281 on :epte#.er 15, 19820
The co#plaint also stated that so#eti#e a.out the last wee( of :epte#.er andAor
the first wee( of )cto.er 1982, when private respondents were a.out to cultivate
their L#otherlandL together with its accretion, the- were prevented and threatened
.- defendants (petitioners herein! fro# continuing to do so0 *a#ed defendants in
said case are herein petitioners 1eonida Cureg and $o#eo, epito, Iernando,
'anuel, Antonio and +lpidio, all surna#ed Carni-an, surviving spouse and
children, respectivel-, of Antonio Carni-an0 5urther, the co#plaint stated that
Antonio Carni-an was the owner of a piece of land situated in Casi.arag=Ca"el,
Ca.agan, /sa.ela and #ore particularl- descri.ed as follows3
000 containing an area of /(012 s*. m0, #ore or less .ounded on
the north .- Domin%o +erardo@ on the +ast, .- <o#ingo
Guinga.@ on the south, .- elagio Ca#a-o@ and on the west .-
'arcos Cureg, declared for taxation purposes under 'a!
Declaration $o. 34343, with an assessed value of 720220 (0 5,
$ecord!
that deceased Antonio Carni-an revised on *ove#.er 28, 19,8 his Tax <eclaration
*o0 1&1&1 dated 4ul- 28, 19,1 to confor# with the correct area and .oundaries of
his )riginal Certificate of Title *o0 =1929& issued on *ove#.er 25, 19,8@ that the
area under the new Tax <eclaration *o015,,& was increased fro# 2,792 s9uare
#eters to 8,588 s9uare #eters and the .oundar- on the north .eca#e Caga-an
$iver, purposel- eli#inating co#pletel- the original .oundar- on the north which is
<o#ingo Gerardo0
etitioners; answer alleged that the L#otherlandL clai#ed .- private respondents is
non=existent@ that Antonio Carni-an, petitioners; predecessor=in=interest, was the
owner of a piece of land .ounded on the north .- Caga-an $iver and not .- the
land of 5rancisco Gerardo as clai#ed .- private respondents@ that the Lsu."ect landL
is an accretion to their registered land and that petitioners have .een in possession
and cultivation of the LaccretionL for #an- -ears now0
The application for the issuance of a writ of preli#inar- in"unction was denied on
4ul- 28,198& (pp0 288=252, Rollo! on the ground that the defendants were in actual
possession of the land in litigation prior to :epte#.er 19820 /n a decision rendered
on 4ul- ,, 1988, the trial court held that respondent <o#ingo Apostol, thru his
predecessors=in=interest had alread- ac9uired an i#perfect title to the su."ect land
and accordingl-, rendered "udg#ent3 10 declaring <o#ingo Apostol its a.solute
owner@ 20 ordering the issuance of a writ of preli#inar- in"unction against herein
petitioners@ &0 ordering that the writ .e #ade per#anent@ and 80 ordering herein
petitioners to pa- private respondents a reasona.le attorne-;s fee of 5,222022,
litigation expenses of 1,522022 and costs (pp0 18&=185,Rollo!0
)n 4ul- 17, 1988, petitioners appealed to the then /nter#ediate Appellate Court
which affir#ed the decision of the trial court on )cto.er 15, 19850 etitioners;
'otion for $econsideration was denied on 4anuar- 8, 198,0 Ience, this petition for
review on the following assigned errors3
A0 /t erred in ruling that the su."ect land or LaccretionL (which is
.ounded on the north .- the Caga-an $iver! .elongs to the private
respondents and not to the petitioners when the petitioners
L)riginal Certificate of L Title *o0 1929& states clearl- that the
petitioners; land is .ounded on its north .- the Caga-an $iver0
%0 /t erred in construing the tax declarations against the interest of
the herein petitioners who are onl- the heirs of the late Antonio
Carni-an since the late 5rancisco (supposed predecessor of the
respondents! could not have executed the recentl- ac9uired tax
declarations (+xhi.its LAL to LA=2L! as he died long .efore Forld
Far // and since the late Antonio Carni-an could no longer stand
up to explain his side0
C0 Contrar- to the evidence and the finding of the $egional Trial
Court, it wrongl- ruled that petitioners have never .een in
possession of the land (p0 7 of Annex LAL, ibid0!0
<0 /t erred in awarding the accretion of &05 hectares to the private
respondents who incredi.l- clai#ed that the accretion occurred
onl- in 1982 and is a Lgift fro# the 1ord0 (pp0 28=25, Rollo!
This petition is i#pressed with #erit0
The o."ect of the controvers- in this case is the alleged L#otherlandL of private
respondents together with the accretion of a.out &05 hectares, the totalit- of which is
referred to in this decision as the Lsu."ect land0L
/n this case, petitioners clai#ed to .e riparian owners who are entitled to the
Lsu."ect landL which is an accretion to the registered land while private respondents
clai#ed to .e entitled to the &05 hectares accretion attached to their L#otherland0L
/t should .e noted that the herein private respondents; clai# of ownership of their
alleged two and a half (2 K X! hectare L#otherlandL is anchored #ainl- on four (8!
tax declarations (+xhi.its LAL, LA=1L, LA=2L and L%L, pp0 191, 192, 19&,
198, Rollo!0 This Court has repeatedl- held that the declaration of ownership for
purposes of assess#ent on the pa-#ent of the tax is not sufficient evidence to prove
ownership0 (+vangelista v0 Ta.a-u-ong, 7 hil0 ,27@ +lu#.aring v0 +lu#.aring, 12
hil0 &88@ cited in Ca#o v0 $iosa %a-co, 29 hil0 8&7, 888!0 5or their part,
petitioners relied on the indefeasi.ilit- and incontroverti.ilit- of their )riginal
Certificate of Title *o0 =1929&, dated *ove#.er 25, 19,8 (+xhi.it L&L, p0
189, Rollo! issued in the na#e of Antonio Carni-an (petitioners; predecessor=in=
interest! pursuant to 5ree atent *o0 &998&1 dated 'a- 21, 19,8, clearl- showing
that the .oundar- of petitioners; land on the north is Caga-an $iver and not the
L#otherlandL clai#ed .- respondents0 The said registered land was .ought .- the
late Antonio Carni-an fro# his father=in=law, 'arcos Cureg, on )cto.er 5, 195,, as
evidenced .- an A.solute <eed of :ale (+xhi.it L8L, p0 195, Rollo! which states that
the land is .ounded on the north .- Caga-an $iver0
/n the case of &errer-Lopez v. Court of Appeals, G0$0 *o0 52822, 'a- 29, 1987, 152
:C$A &9&,821=822, Fe ruled that as against an arra- of proofs consisting of tax
declarations andAor tax receipts which are not conclusive evidence of ownership nor
proof of the area covered therein, an original certificate of title indicates true and
legal ownership .- the registered owners over the disputed pre#ises0 etitioners;
)CT *o0=1929& should .e accorded greater weight as against the tax declarations
(+xhi.it LA;, dated 1979@ +xhi.it LA=1 L undated and +xhi.it LA2L dated 19,7, pp0
191, 192, 19&, Rollo! offered .- private respondents in support of their clai#, which
declarations are all in the na#e of private respondents; predecessor=in=interest,
5rancisco Gerardo, and appear to have .een su.scri.ed .- hi# after the last war,
when it was esta.lished during the trial that 5rancisco Gerardo died long .efore the
out.rea( of the last war0
Anent Tax <eclaration *o0 1&1&1, in the na#e of Antonio Carni-an (+xhi.it LCL, p0
22&, Rollo!, which the appellate court considered as an ad#ission .- hi# that his
land is .ounded on the north .- the land of <o#ingo Gerardo and that he
(Carni-an! is now estopped fro# clai#ing otherwise, Fe hold that said tax
declaration, .eing of an earlier date cannot defeat an original certificate of title
which is of a later date0 :ince petitioner;s original certificate of title clearl- stated
that su."ect land is .ounded on the north .- the Caga-an $iver, private
respondentsL clai# over their L#otherland,L allegedl- existing .etween petitionersL
land and the Caga-an $iver, is dee#ed .arred and nullified with the issuance of the
original certificate of title0
/t is an ele#ental rule that a decree of registration .ars all clai#s and rights which
arose or #a- have existed prior to the decree of registration (5errer=1ope6 v0 CA,
supra0, p0 828!0 %- the issuance of the decree, the land is .ound and title thereto
9uieted, su."ect onl- to exceptions stated in :ection &9, Act 89, (now :ec0 88 of <
*o0 1529!0 'oreover, the tax declarations of the late Antonio Ca#i-an su.se9uent
to the issuance of )CT =1929& (+xhi.it L<L, p0 228, Rollo! alread- states that its
northern .oundar- is Caga-an $iver0 /n effect, he has repudiated an- previous
ac(nowledg#ent .- hi#, granting that he caused the acco#plish#ent of the tax
declarations in his na#e .efore the issuance of )CT *o0 = 1929&, of the existence
of 5rancisco Gerardo;s land0
5inall-, the trial court concluded that petitioners have never .een in possession of
the Lsu."ect landL .ut the evidence on record proves otherwise0 5irst, the trial court
on page 11 of its <ecision (p0 121, Rollo!, stated the reason for den-ing private
respondents; petition for the issuance of a preli#inar- in"unction, that is, L000 the
defendants (petitioners herein! were in actual possession of the land in litigation
prior to :epte#.er, 1982L (p0 121, Rollo!0 :econd, witness for private respondents,
+ste.an Guinga., .oundar- owner on the east of the land in 9uestion and whose
own land is .ounded on the north of Caga-an $iver, on cross=exa#ination, revealed
that when his propert- was onl- #ore than one (1! hectare in 1958, (now #ore than
8 hectares! his .oundar- on the west is the land of Antonio Carni-an (T0:0*0, 5 'a-
198&, pp0 19=22!0 Third, witness $ogelio C0 Al.ano, a geodetic engineer, on direct
exa#ination stated that in 1978, the late Antonio Carni-an re9uested hi# to surve-
the land covered .- his title and the accretion attached to it, .ut he did not pursue
the sa#e .ecause he learned fro# the )ffice of the <irector of the %ureau of 1ands
that the sa#e accretion is the su."ect of an application for ho#estead patent of one
<e#ocrata Aguila, (T0:0*0, 'a- 18, 1988, pp0 12=1&! contrar- to the state#ent of
the trial court and the appellate court that Al.ano L#ade three atte#pts to surve- the
land .ut he did not continue to surve- .ecause persons other than defendants were
in possession of the land,L which state#ent appears onl- to .e a conclusion (p0
7, Rollo!0 5ourth, Fe note +xhi.it L22L (p0 27&, Rollo! for petitioners which is an
order .- the <irector of 1ands dated August 18,1982 in connection with the
Io#estead Application of <e#ocrata Aguila of an accretion situated in
Cata.a-ungan, Ca.agan, /sa.ela0 Aguila;s application was disapproved .ecause in
an investigation conducted .- the %ureau of 1ands of the area applied for which is
an accretion, the sa#e was found to .e occupied and cultivated .-, a#ong others,
Antonio Carni-an, who clai#ed it as an accretion to his land0 /t is worth- to note
that none of the private respondents nor their predecessors=in=interest appeared as
one of those found occup-ing and cultivating said accretion0
)n the other hand, the allegation of private respondents that the- were in possession
of the L#otherlandL through their predecessors= in=interest had not .een proved .-
su.stantial evidence0 The assailed decision of the respondent court, which affir#ed
the decision of the trial court, stated that since the L#otherlandL exists, it is
alsopresumed that private respondents were in possession of the Lsu."ect landL
through their predecessors= in=interest since prior to 4ul- 2,, 18980 The trial court
relied on the testi#on- of :oledad Gerardo, one of the private respondents in this
case, an interested and .iased witness, regarding their possession of the
L#otherland0L 5ro# her testi#on- on pedigree, the trial court presumed that the
source of the propert-, the late 5rancisco Gerardo, was in possession of the sa#e
since prior to 4ul- 2,, 1898 (pp0 1&7=182, Rollo!0
The foregoing considerations indu.ita.l- show that the alleged L#otherlandL
clai#ed .- private respondents is nonexistent0 The Lsu."ect landL is an alluvial
deposit left .- the northward #ove#ent of the Caga-an $iver and pursuant to
Article 857 of the *ew Civil Code3
To the owners of land ad"oining the .an(s of river .elong the
accretion which the- graduall- receive fro# the effects of the
current of the waters0
Iowever, it should .e noted that the area covered .- )CT *o0 =1929& is onl- four
thousand five hundred eight- four (8,588! s9uare #eters0 The accretion attached to
said land is approxi#atel- five and a half (505! hectares0 The increase in the area of
petitioners;land, .eing an accretion left .- the change of course or the northward
#ove#ent of the Caga-an $iver does not auto#aticall- .eco#e registered land "ust
.ecause the lot which receives such accretion is covered .- a Torrens title0 (:ee
Grande v0 Court of Appeals, 1=17,52, 4une &2, 19,2!0 As such, it #ust also .e
placed under the operation of the Torrens :-ste#0 ACC)$</*G1G, the petition is
here.- G$A*T+<0 The decision appealed fro# is $+C+$:+< and :+T A:/<+
and "udg#ent is here.- rendered </:'/::/*G Civil Case *o0 %r0 ///=&7& for
9uieting of title and da#ages0
Costs against private respondents0
:) )$<+$+<0
[G.R. No. 13B9B5. ,#-. 28, 2001%
UNIVERSITC O& T'E P'ILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. SEGUNDINA
ROSARIO, respondent.
D E C I S I O N
PARDO, J.*
T.0 C50
This is an appeal>1? fro# the decision of the Court of Appeals>2? setting aside
the order of the $egional Trial Court, %ranch 217, Eue6on Cit- which denied
respondent :egundina $osarioOs (hereafter, P:egundinaQ! #otion to dis#iss>&? and
cancelled the notice of lis pendens annotated on Transfer Certificate of Title *o0
1212820
T.0 &-25
There .eing no controvers- as to the facts and the petition raising pure 9uestions of
law, we adopt the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals, as follows3>8?
)n :epte#.er 7, 1971, <atu <iting(e $a#os filed with the Court of 5irst
/nstance, Eue6on Cit-, an application for registration of title covering a parcel of
land situated in Eue6on Cit-, with an area of 122,222 s9uare #eters and covered .-
lan (1$C! :F)=15255, as a#ended0>5?
)n August &1, 1972, petitioner Mniversit- of the hilippines (hereafter, PM0
0Q! filed with the trial court a P#otion for interventionQ in the case, clai#ing that
the land covered .- the application (.- <atu <iting(e $a#os! is within its propert-
descri.ed in Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 98,20
)n 'arch 15, 197&, M00 filed with the trial court an opposition and #otion to
dis#iss <atu <iting(e $a#osO application for registration0
)n 4une ,, 197&, the trial court issued an order which reads as follows3
PActing on the #otion to dis#iss filed .- the Mniversit- of the hilippines and
considering the certification, s(etch plan (+xhi.its P)Q and PQ!0 the testi#on- of
the Acting Chief, Geodetic +ngineer as well as the written #anifestation of the 1and
$egistration Co##ission to the effect that the land su."ect #atter of this application
and covered .- plan :F)=15255 does not encroach on the propert- of the
Mniversit- of the hilippines and that it is not inside an- decreed propert-, the
#otion to dis#iss the application is here.- <+*/+< for lac( of #erit0
P:) )$<+$+<0Q>,?
)n 4une 8, 197&, the trial court 5irst /nstance decided the application as
follows3
P/* C/+F )5 TI+ 5)$+G)/*G, the application is here.- granted, declaring the
applicant $osario Alcovendras Cda0 de $a#os (surviving spouse of the original
applicant who was su.stituted as part- applicant in the order of April 28, 197&! the
a.solute owner of the propert- applied for and covered .- lan (1$C! :F)=15255,
as a#ended, confir#ing her title thereto0 Mpon in the order of April 28, 197&! the
a.solute owner of the propert- applied for and covered .- lan (1$C! :F) 15255,
as a#ended, confir#ing her title thereto0 Mpon this decision .eco#ing final, let the
re9uired decree of registration .e issued and after pa-#ent of corresponding fees,
let the certificate of title .e issued in favor of $osario Alcovendas Cda0 de $a#os,
widow, 5ilipino and a resident of Eue6on Cit-0
P:) )$<+$+<0Q>7?
)n 'arch 19, 1978, the trial court>8? issued an order stating3
PThe decision rendered .- this Court in the a.ove=entitled case under the date of
4une 8, 197& having .eco#e final, the Co##issioner of the 1and $egistration
Co##ission is here.- directed to co#pl- with :ection 21 of Act 2&870Q>9?
)n 'a- 8, 1978, the Co##issioner of 1and $egistration issued <ecree *o0
*=152,28 in favor of $osario Alcovendas Cda0 de $a#os, pursuant to which the
$egister of <eeds of Eue6on Cit- issued )CT *o0 17 in her na#e0
)n *ove#.er 21, 197,, the $egister of <eeds of Eue6on Cit- cancelled )CT
*o0 17 and issued Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 22&,19 also in the na#e of
$osario Alcovendas Cda0 de $a#os due to errors in the technical description0>12?
)n 5e.ruar- 2&, 1988, $osario Alcovendas Cda0 de $a#os executed a Pdeed
of a.solute saleQ in favor of :egundina $osario (hereafter :egundina! covering the
parcel of land e#.raced in Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 22&,190
)n 4une 11, 1988, fire ra6ed the Eue6on Cit- Iall %uilding which housed the
)ffice of the $egister of <eeds of Eue6on Cit-0 Transfer Certificate of Title *o0
22&,19 was one of the titles destro-ed .- the fire0
:u.se9uentl-, :egundina $osario re9uested the $egister of <eeds to
reconstitute Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 22&,19 resulting in the issuance of
Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 $T=78195 (22&,19!0
)n 'arch 11, 199&, M00 filed with the $egional Trial Court, %ranch 21,
Eue6on Cit->11? a petition for the cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title *o0
(*=12,,71! &,7&1, na#ing :egundina, %ugna- Construction and <evelop#ent
Corporation and the $egister of <eeds of Eue6on Cit-, a#ong others, as
respondents0
)n *ove#.er 12, 1998, :egundina caused the registration with the $egister of
<eeds of the Pdeed of a.solute sale0Q Conse9uentl-, the $egister of <eeds issued
Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 121282 in :egundinaOs na#e, resulting in the
cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 $T=78195(22&,19!0
)n *ove#.er 19, 199,, after the parties had presented their respective
evidence, M00 filed an a#ended petition alleging that it is Pthe true, a.solute and
registered owner of a parcel of land covered .- Transfer Certificate of Title *o0
98,2Q of the $egister of <eeds of Eue6on Cit- and that the Punlawful acts of
ownership .eing exercised .- (:egundina! and (%ugna- Construction and
<evelop#ent Corporation! as well as the existence of their spurious certificates of
title, create a cloud of dou.t on the title of (M00!0Q
/n its third cause of action, M00 pra-ed that Transfer Certificate of Title *o0
121282 or the reconstituted titles or derivatives thereof .e declared null and void ab
initio for .eing spurious and fraudulentl- issued0
)n 'a- 15, 1997, :egundina filed with the trial court an Po#ni.us #otionQ
for the dis#issal of M0 0Os third cause of action in the a#ended petition as well as
the cancellation of the notice of lis pendens annotated on TCT *o0 1212820
)n *ove#.er 12, 1997, the trial court denied :egundinaOs o#ni.us #otion0
)n <ece#.er &2, 1997, :egundina filed with the trial court a #otion for
reconsideration 9uestioning the denial of her #otion to dis#iss and pra-ing for the
cancellation of the notice of lis pendens0>12?
)n April 1,, 1998, the trial court>1&? denied :egundinaOs #otion for
reconsideration and #otion to cancel the notice of lis pendens0>18?
)n *ove#.er 12, 1997, the trial court>15?

again denied :egundinaOs o#ni.us
#otion to dis#iss and cancel notice of lis pendens0>1,?
)n 'a- 2,, 1998, :egundina filed with the Court of Appeals>17? a petition
for certiorari>18? assailing the orders of the trial court den-ing her #otion to
dis#iss0
)n :epte#.er 18, 1998, the Court of Appeals pro#ulgated its decision in
favor of :egundina0 The Court of Appeals reasoned that the third cause of action is
.arred .- res judicata and that the trial court co##itted grave a.use of discretion in
den-ing :egundinaOs P#otion to dis#iss0Q>19? Fe 9uote its dispositive portion3
PFI+$+5)$+, the instant petition for certiorari is here.-
G$A*T+<0 Conse9uentl-, the )rders dated *ove#.er 12, 1997, and April 1,,
1998, are declared *M11 and C)/< and :+T A:/<+ insofar as the- den-
petitionerOs )#ni.us 'otion to <is#iss and Cancel *otice of 1is endens0 The
Third Cause of Action in respondent Mniversit- of the hilippinesO A#ended
etition is ordered </:'/::+< and the *otice of Lis Pendens annotated on TCT
*o0 121282, CA*C+11+<0 The writ of preli#inar- in"unction, insofar as it relates
to the parcel of land covered .- TCT *o0 121282, is 1/5T+<0
P:) )$<+$+<0Q>22?
)n )cto.er 2,, 1998, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals, a #otion for
reconsideration of the afore=9uoted decision0>21?
)n <ece#.er 17, 1998, the Court of Appeals denied petitionerOs #otion for
reconsideration0>22?
Ience, this appeal0>2&?
etitionerOs :u.#issions
&6#52, M00 contends that the Court of Appeals erroneousl- allowed
:egundinaOs P#otion to dis#issQ as :egundina has -et to prove in a Pfull=.lown
hearingQ whether her reconstituted title traces its roots to )CT *o0 170 According
to M00, the issuance of :egundinaOs title was Phighl- ano#alous0Q>28?
S0-o!(, M00 assails the issuance of )CT *o0 17 in 1$C Case *o0 E=2&9 as
void ab initio0 According to M00, the Court of 5irst /nstance never ac9uired
"urisdiction over 1$C Case E=2&9 as the re9uisite Psignature approval of the
<irector of 1ands000over the surve- plan000was nowhere to .e found0Q>25?
T.6#(, M00 asserts that the Court of Appeals ruled on Punesta.lished factual
issues000.- ad#itting all the photocopies annexed to respondent (:egundina!
$osarioOs petition as evidence despite the fact that the- all still re#ained su."ect to
authentication and exa#ination .- the parties .efore the trial court0Q>2,?
&o"#2., M0 0 attac(s the verification of :egundinaOs petition in the Court of
Appeals as defective0
T.0 Co"#2E5 R"36!8
The petition is #eritorious0
Fe outline the histor- of the title that :egundina holds (Title *o0 121282!3
5irst, the land was originall- covered .- lan (1$C! :F)=15255, as a#ended,
which the Court of 5irst /nstance declared as not encroaching on the propert- of
M00 and as a.solutel- owned .- $osario Alcovendras Cda0 de $a#os0 Thus, )CT
*o0 17 was issued in her na#e0 :econd, )CT *o0 17 was cancelled and Transfer
Certificate of Title *o0 22&,19 was issued0 Third, $osario Alcovendas Cda0 de
$a#os executed an Pa.solute deed of saleQ over the land in favor
of :egundina0 5ourth, Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 22&,19 was .urned in the
fire that ra6ed the Eue6on Cit- Iall0 5ifth, Title *o0 22&,19 was reconstituted and
Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 $T=78195 was issued in its place0 :ixth,
:egundina registered the Pdeed of a.solute sale0Q Thus, Transfer Certificate of Title
*o0 $T=78195 was cancelled and Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 121282 was
issued in :egundinaOs na#e0
/n 1$C E=&29 the trial court declared M00 as having no interest in the land
covered .- Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 1212820 Iowever, MOs contention
that )CT *o0 17 is void for lac( of the re9uisite Psignature approval of the <irector
of 1andsSover the surve- planQ>27? is worth loo(ing into0
0 <0 *o0 1529>28? re9uires the <irector of 1ands to sign and approve the
surve- plan for the land applied for, otherwise, the title is void0
P:ec0 170 5hat and where to file = The application for land registration shall .e filed
with the Court of 5irst /nstance of the province or cit- where the land is
situated0 The applicant shall file together with the application all original
#uni#ents of titles or copies thereof and a survey plan approved by the Bureau of
Lands0
PThe cler( of court shall not accept an- application unless it is shown that the
applicant has furnished the <irector of 1ands with a cop- of the application and all
the annexes (e#phasis ours!0Q
*o plan or surve- #a- .e ad#itted in land registration proceedings until
approved .- the <irector of 1ands0>29? The su.#ission of the plan is a statutor-
re9uire#ent of #andator- character0 Mnless a plan and its technical description are
dul- approved .- the <irector of 1ands, the sa#e are of no value0>&2?
Thus, the allegation that the signature approval for the surve- plan was
nowhere to .e found is an i#portant "urisdictional fact that #ust .e ventilated
.efore the trial court0 /n Republic v. ntermediate Appellate Court,>&1? this Court
stated that Pvoid ab initio land titles issued cannot ripen into private ownership0Q
Thus, as )CT *o0 17 is void and :egundina traces her rights to )CT *o0 17, her
clai# would have no .asis as a spring cannot rise higher than its source0>&2?
5urther, the "udg#ent in 1$C E=&29 was su."ect to the 9ualification that P/f
the parcel of land is found to .e inside decreed properties, this plan is auto#aticall-
cancelled0Q>&&?
Fhether the land covered .- )CT *o0 17 is inside decreed propert- is an issue
of fact that can .e .est deter#ined .- the trial court after an exa#ination of the
evidence0 Fe find #eritorious the trial courtOs rationale for den-ing :egundinaOs
#otion to dis#iss0 Fe 9uote3
PTo esta.lish their respective rights over the disputed propert-, .oth plaintiff and
respondents su.#itted docu#entar- exhi.its, the genuineness and authenticit- of
which can onl- .e proved in a full .lown trial0
PThere is no pretense that the foregoing conflicting clai#s entail deter#ination of
facts0 /t, thus, .eco#e i#perative that .oth parties .e given their da- in Court to
avoid the danger of co##itting a grave in"ustice if the- were denied an opportunit-
to introduce evidence in their .ehalf0
P/t is within this context that the Court considers it appropriate under the present
stage of the action to <+*G the instant #otion0Q ending final ruling on the #erits
of the case, :egundinaOs #otion to cancel the notice of lis pendens #ust .e denied0
+'ERE&ORE, the Court G$A*T: the petition0 The Court $+C+$:+: the
decision of the Court of Appeals pro#ulgated on :epte#.er 18, 1998, in CA=G0 $0
: *o0 8778&0 /n lieu thereof, the Court orders the case $+'A*<+< to the trial
court for trial on the #erits0 *o costs0 SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 133B98. A7#63 4, 2001%
ANTONIO TALUSAN !( CELIA TALUSAN, petitioners,
vs. 'ER,INIGILDOF TACAG !( JUAN
'ERNANDE), respondents.
D E C I S I O N
PANGANIBAN, J.*
5or purposes of real propert- taxation, the registered owner of a propert- is
dee#ed the taxpa-er and, hence, the onl- one entitled to a notice of tax delin9uenc-
and the resultant proceedings relative to an auction sale0 etitioners, who allegedl-
ac9uired the propert- through an unregistered deed of sale, are not entitled to such
notice, .ecause the- are not the registered owners0 'oral lessons3 real propert-
.u-ers #ust register their purchases as soon as possi.le and, e9uall- i#portant, the-
#ust pa- their taxes on ti#e0
T.0 C50
%efore us is a etition for $eview on Certiorari under $ule 85 of the $ules of
Court, assailing the *ove#.er 22, 1997 <ecision>1? of the Court of Appeals (CA!
in CA=G$ CC *o0 8158,0 The dispositive portion of the challenged <ecision is
hereunder reproduced as follows3
PFI+$+5)$+, pre#ises considered, the appealed decision (dated 5e.ruar- 8,
199&! of the $egional Trial Court (%ranch 7! in %aguio Cit- in Civil Case *o0
185,=$ is here.- A55/$'+<, with costs against plaintiffsAappellants0Q
Also assailed is the April 27, 1998 CA $esolution>2?which denied
petitionersO 'otion for $econsideration0
The 9uestioned CA ruling affir#ed the <ecision>&? of %ranch 7 of the
$egional Trial Court ($TC! of %aguio Cit- in Civil Case *o0 185,=$0 The $TC, in
turn, dis#issed an action for the annul#ent of the auction sale of a condo#iniu#
unit, covered .- Condo#iniu# Certificate of Title *o0 ,51 and located in %uilding
/C, +uropa Condo#iniu# Cillas, %aguio Cit-0
T.0 &-25
The CA su##ari6ed the antecedents of this case in this wise3>8?
P)n 4une 28, 1988, >herein petitioners? filed a co#plaint wherein the- alleged, inter
alia( that3
==The- .ought the su."ect propert- covered .- Condo#iniu# Certificate of Title
*o0 ,51, fro# its for#er owner, +lias /#perial, as evidenced .- a <eed of A.solute
:ale3
==)n )cto.er 15, 1985, Y>herein $espondent? 4uan <0 Iernande6, x x x sued x x x
in his capacit- as Cit- Treasurer of %aguio Cit-, wrote a letter to the for#er owner
+lias /#perial infor#ing hi# that the a.ove descri.ed propert- would .e sold at
pu.lic auction on <ece#.er 9, 1985, x x x to satisf- the delin9uent real estate taxes,
penalties and cost of sale, and de#anded pa-#ent of the su# of 8,2&9082,
representing total taxes due and penalties thereon@
==Y+lias /#perial and his entire fa#il- e#igrated to Australia in 19780O +lias
/#perial never authori6ed Ya certain <ante )rigan x x x to receive an- letter or #ail
#atter for and on his .ehalf@O
==>$espondent? Iernande6 sold the a.ove=descri.ed propert- to >$espondent? Ta-ag
for 8,822022 Ywithout an- notice to the for#er owner thereof, >or? to >petitioners?,
and without co#pliance with the provisions of < *o0 8,8, as evidenced .- the
Certificate of :ale@O
==A final .ill of sale was later issued Yin favor of the >$espondent? Ier#enegildo
Ta-ag0O The assessed value alone of the said propert- is &7,&12022 and the fair
#ar(et value of the sa#e is #ore than &22,222022 and .oth >respondents? (new
these@
==The .id price of 8,822 Yis so unconsciona.l- low and shoc(ing to the
conscience,O thus, the sale Yfor the alleged unpaid taxes in the su# of 8,2&9079,
including penaltiesO is Ynull and void a. initio@O
==Y>etitioners? have .een in actual possession of the Mnit in 9uestion, since the-
.ought the sa#e fro# its for#er owners, and their possession is open, pu.lic,
continuous, adverse and in the concept of owners, while >$espondent? Ier#egildo
Ta-ag has never .een in possession of the said propert-@O
==>etitioners? through inter#ediaries offered Yto pa- to the >respondents? the su#
of 8,822 plus all interests and expenses which >the-? #ight have incurred x x x .ut
said offer was re"ected without an- "ust >or? lawful cause0O
There is a need to issue a writ of preli#inar- in"unction to Ypreserve the status 9uo0O
The- as(ed for3 #oral da#ages of not less than 52,222022@ exe#plar- da#ages of
not less than 22,222022@ attorne-Os fee of &2,222022, plus appearance fee of
2,222022 for ever- appearance@ and litigation expenses of not less than 5,222022
to prosecute the case0 (pages &=8 of the $ecord!
)n 4ul- 18, 1988, >$espondent? Ier#enegildo Ta-ag filed his >A?nswer with
>C?ounterclai# (pages 28=&2 of the $ecord!, wherein he su.stantiall- denied the
allegations in the co#plaint and, at the sa#e ti#e, raised the following affir#ative
defenses, a#ong others3
==Y(T!he ownership of the Condo#iniu# unit registered under Condo#iniu#
Certificate of Title *o0 ,51, %aguio Cit-, has .een consolidated in his na#e .-
virtue of the decision of the $egional Trial Court of %aguio, %ranch ,, on
:epte#.er 1,, 1987 x x x 0 The said decision has >.eco#e? final and executor- as
evidenced .- the Certificate of 5inalit- issued on )cto.er 8, 1987@O
==>etitioners have? no cause of action against hi#, he .eing a Y.u-er in good faith
in a regular and lawful pu.lic .idding in which an- person is 9ualified to
participate0O
==The lower court has no "urisdiction over >petitionersO? clai# Y.ecause the
>petitioners? pra- for the annul#ent of the Certificate of the :ale and the 5inal %ill
of :ale, which was affir#ed .- virtue of the decision of the $egional Trial Court of
%aguio, %ranch ,, on :epte#.er 1,, 1987 x x x0 The said decision has >.eco#e?
final and executor- as evidenced .- the Certificate of 5inalit- issued on )cto.er 8,
1987@O
==The pu.lic auction sale co#plied with Ythe re9uire#ents of residential <ecree
*o0 8,8O N hence, the sa#e is Ylawful and valid3O
==Y>$espondent? Ta-ag is not .ound .- the alleged ><?eed of >:?ale in favor of the
>petitioners? .- +lias >/?#perial, .ecause it was not registered and recorded with
the $egistr- of <eeds of %aguio Cit-0O
>$espondent? Ta-ag then pra-ed for the award in his favor, of3 #oral da#ages of at
least 52,222022@ exe#plar- da#ages@ attorne-Os fees in the su# of 12,222022@
and, expenses of litigation0
>$espondent? Iernande6 li(ewise filed an >A?nswer on 4ul- 180 1988, wherein he
denied the #aterial aver#ents in the co#plaint and stated that Yno irregularit- or
illegalit- was co##itted in the conduct of the proceedings with respect to the
delin9uent real propert- of +lias /#perial and the actuations of the defendant herein
were all within the li#its of his authorit- and in accordance with the provisions of
the law pertaining to delin9uent real propert-, particularl-, 0<0 8,8 otherwise
(nown as the $eal ropert- Tax Code and therefore, no da#ages #a- .e i#puted
against hi#0O Ie also clai#ed, .- wa- of affir#ative defenses, that3
==The co#plaint states no cause of action against the >respondent? herein3
==Y>etitioners? have not co#plied with x x x :ection 8& of 0<0 *o0 8,8 x x x thus,
the case cannot prosper@O
==YGranting that a <eed of :ale was actuall- issued in favor of the plaintiffs
>.ecause of? the fact that it is unregistered, the sa#e does not .ind third persons
including defendant herein0OQ
/n their Co#plaint, petitioners alleged that on <ece#.er 7, 1981, the- had
ac9uired the condo#iniu# fro# +lias /#perial, the original registered owner,
for 122,2220 The sale was purportedl- evidenced .- a <eed of :ale which,
however, had not and thenceforth never .een registered with the $egister of <eeds0
etitioners also averred that on <ece#.er 9, 1985, %aguio Cit- Treasurer 4uan
Iernande6 sold the propert- at a pu.lic auction due to nonpa-#ent of delin9uent
real estate taxes thereon0 The propert- was sold to $espondent Ier#inigildo Ta-ag
for 8,822 which represented the unpaid taxes0
Thus, petitioners filed a Co#plaint see(ing the annul#ent of the auction
sale0 The- cited irregularities in the proceedings and nonco#pliance with statutor-
re9uire#ents0
<is#issing the Co#plaint, %ranch 7 of the $TC of %aguio Cit- cited the
<ece#.er 1,, 1987 "udg#ent of %ranch , of the sa#e court in 1$C Ad#0 Case
*o0227=$0 This earlier %ranch , <ecision had consolidated ownership of the
condo#iniu# unit in favor of $espondent Ta-ag0 The %ranch 7 <ecision also cited
the 'a- &1, 1988 )rder of %ranch 5 of the sa#e court which had granted a etition
for the Cancellation of Condo#iniu# Certificate of Title *o0 ,51 in the na#e of
+lias /#perial and directed the $egister of <eeds to issue a new Certificate of Title
in the na#e of $espondent Ta-ag0 According to the trial court, the <ecision in 1$C
Ad#0 Case *o0 227=$ had alread- upheld the legalit- of the 9uestioned auction
sale0 Ience, to rule again on the sa#e issue would a#ount to passing upon a
"udg#ent #ade .- a coe9ual court, contrar- to the principle of Pconclusiveness of
"udg#ent0Q
R"36!8 o1 2.0 CA
The appellate court affir#ed the trial courtOs ruling and ratiocination0 The CA
explained that 1$C Ad#0 Case *o0 227=$ had alread- ruled on the validit- of the
auction sale of the su."ect condo#iniu# unit0 /t further sustained the validit- of
that sale, .ecause the cit- treasurer co#plied with the re9uire#ents of notice,
pu.lication and posting0 /t added that P>i?f >petitioners? never received the notices
sent to +lias /#perial, then the- have onl- the#selves to .la#e for failing to
register the deed of sale .etween the# and the for#er owner x x x0Q
$e"ecting petitionersO contention that the purchase price was inade9uate, the
CA ruled that such inade9uac- could not nullif- the auction sale0 /t li(ewise held
that petitioners had not esta.lished .ad faith on the part of respondents in
conducting the auction sale0 5inall-, it agreed with the latterOs contention that the
for#er were Pre#iss in causing the registration of the sale in their favor of the
su."ect propert- and the- li(ewise did not fulfill their o.ligation to pa- taxes0 /t >is?
thus clear x x x the- should onl- have the#selves to .la#e0 1aws exist to .e
followed, failing in which the price #ust .e paid0Q
Ience, this recourse0
T.0 I55"05
etitioners assigned the following alleged errors for the consideration of this
Court3>,?
P/0 5/$:T A::/G*'+*T )5 +$$)$
The Ionora.le Court of Appeals grievousl- erred in failing to consider that the
petitioners were deprived of their right to due process in this case due to the gross
and inexcusa.le negligence of their for#er counsel who failed to infor# the# of the
decision in this case and protect their interest0
P//0 :+C)*< A::/G*'+*T )5 +$$)$
The Ionora.le Court of Appeals grievousl- erred in failing to nullif- the auction
sale of the su."ect propert- of petitioners due to alleged tax delin9uenc- when there
was no co#pliance with the #andator- re9uire#ent of :ection 8, of 0<0 8,8 that
such notice of delin9uenc- of the pa-#ent of the propert- tax should .e pu.lished0
P///0 TI/$< A::/G*'+*T )5 +$$)$
The Ionora.le Court of Appeals grievousl- erred in failing to consider the lac( of
personal notice of the sale for pu.lic auction of the su."ect propert- to its owner
which nullifies the said proceeding0
P/C0 5)M$TI A::/G*'+*T )5 +$$)$
The Ionora.le Court of Appeals grievousl- erred in holding that the decision of the
trial court in the petition for the consolidation of the title case filed .- the private
respondent in 1$C Ad#in0 Case 227 is a .ar to this proceeding0
PC0 5/5TI A::/G*'+*T )5 +$$)$
The Ionora.le Court of Appeals erred in not nullif-ing the auction sale of su."ect
propert- on e9uita.le considerations0Q
Fe dee# it appropriate to si#plif- the issues in this wise3 (1! whether the $TC
<ecision in 1$C Ad#0 Case *o0 227=$ is a .ar to this proceeding@ and (2! whether
the auction sale of the su."ect condo#iniu# unit should .e annulled on the grounds
of (a! non=pu.lication of the notice of delin9uenc- for the pa-#ent of propert- tax,
(.! lac( of personal notice of the sale or pu.lic auction of the su."ect propert- and
(c! e9uita.le considerations0 As a preli#inar- #atter, we shall also consider
petitionersO su.#ission that the- were deprived of due process .ecause of their
counselOs failure to infor# the# i##ediatel- of the receipt of the CA <ecision0
P#036<6!#$ ,220#*
Nelience of !etitioners" #or$er %ounsel
etitioners aver that their for#er counsel infor#ed the# of the CA <ecision
onl- on 5e.ruar- 5, 1998, #ore than two #onths after he had received a cop- on
<ece#.er &, 19970 According to petitioners, their for#er counselOs negligence
effectivel- deprived the# of their right to due process0
Fe disagree0 *otwithstanding its late filing, their 'otion for $econsideration
was accepted and considered .- the CA0 Ience, this issue has .eco#e #oot, a fact
which petitioners the#selves ad#itted in their 'e#orandu#3 PAs a #atter of fact,
in the ver- resolution of the Court of Appeals of April 27, 1998 (Annex YCO to
etition! den-ing the #otion for reconsideration, wherein the #atter of inexcusa.le
negligence of counsel in not infor#ing petitioners i##ediatel- of the decision of
the court a 9uo, were a#ong the grounds thereof, it was held that the issues raised
therein had alread- .een considered in the <ecision of *ove#.er 22, 19970 The
Court of Appeals o.viousl- considered that the 'otion for $econsideration was
validl- filed .- petitioners so that the Court of Appeals favora.l- considered the
plea of petitioners to .e afforded due process .- acting on the 'otion for
$econsideration0 )therwise, it could have "ust denied said 'otion for late filing or
si#pl- noted the sa#e without action0Q>7?
'oreover, petitioners the#selves declared in their $epl-
'e#orandu#>8? that this #atter is no longer in issue3 PAt an- rate this issue was
raised in the 'otion for $econsideration of the <ecision of the appellate court and
o.viousl- it was favora.l- considered as the said Court denied the #erit of said
'otion .- stating that the issues raised have alread- .een treated in the <ecision,
instead of outrightl- den-ing the sa#e for late filing0 Ience, this is no longer in
issue in this proceeding0Q>9?
&6#52 I55"0*
Bar by &arlier Jud$ent
etitioners contend that the <ecision in 1$C Ad#0 Case *o0 227=$, rendered
.- the $egional Trial Court of %aguio Cit- (%ranch ,!, did not preclude the filing of
a separate action to annul the auction sale0 Citing'ion%co v. Philippine )eterans
"an6(>12? the- aver that this $TC %ranch had no "urisdiction to rule on the validit-
of that sale0 Ience, its <ecision in the 1$C case cannot .ar the present
proceedings0
etitionersO reliance on 'ion%co is #isplaced, considering that its factual
incidents are different fro# those of the present controvers-0 /n that case, the trial
court was acting on a Petition for the Surrender of Certificates of 'itle0 /n 1$C
Ad#0 Case *o0 227=$, the trial court was faced with a Petition for Consolidation of
7wnership. /t had "urisdiction to rule on all #atters necessar- for the deter#ination
of the issue of ownership, includin% the validity of the auction sale0
/ndeed, this Court in several cases>11?has previousl- declared that a petition
for the surrender of the ownerOs duplicate certificate involves contentious 9uestions
which should .e threshed out in an ordinar- case, .ecause the land registration court
has no "urisdiction to tr- the#0
residential <ecree (<! 1529, however, intended to avoid a #ultiplicit- of
suits and to pro#ote the expeditious ter#ination of cases0 /n #ore recent cases,
>12? therefore, the Court declared that this <ecree had eli#inated the
distinction .etween general "urisdiction vested in the regional trial court and the
latterOs li#ited "urisdiction when acting #erel- as a land registration court0 Land
re%istration courts( as such( can now hear and decide even controversial and
contentious cases( as well as those involvin% substantial issues.>1&?
Thus, petitioners err in contending that the $TC is, in a land registration case,
.arred fro# ruling on the validit- of the auction sale0 That court now has the
authorit- to act not onl- on applications for original registration, .ut also on all
petitions filed after the original registration of title0 Coupled with this authority is
the power to hear and determine all *uestions arisin% upon such applications or
petitions.>18? +speciall- where the issue of ownership is inelucta.l- tied up with
the 9uestion of registration, the land registration court co##its no error in assu#ing
"urisdiction0>15?
/t is e9uall- i#portant to consider that a land registration courtOs decision
ordering the confir#ation and the registration of title, .eing the result of a
proceeding in rem, .inds the whole world0>1,? Thus, the trial courtOs ruling
consolidating the ownership and the title of the propert- in the na#e of herein
respondent is valid and .inding not onl- on petitioners, .ut also on ever-one else
who #a- have an- clai# thereon0
S0-o!( I55"0*
'alidity of the (uction sale
etitioners contend that the auction sale was invalid, .ecause several re9uisites
regarding notice and pu.lication were not satisfied0 Fe are not convinced0
/t has .een held that matters of notice and publication in ta! sales are factual
*uestions that cannot be determined by this Court0>17? 'oreover, a recourse under
$ule 85 of the $ules of Court, as in this case, generall- precludes the deter#ination
of factual issues0 This Court will not, as a rule, in9uire into the evidence relied
upon .- the lower courts to support their findings0>18? /n this case, the CA had
alread- ruled on the 9uestion of co#pliance with the re9uire#ents of notice and
pu.lication in this wise3
P/n the case at .ench, it cannot .e denied that the re9uire#ents of notice,
pu.lication and posting have .een co#plied with .- the pu.lic defendant prior to
the auction sale wherein the su."ect condo#iniu# unit was sold0 x x x 8r%o, there
was nothing irregular in the 9uestioned pu.lic auction == thus, the validit- of the
sa#e #ust .e upheld in accordance with the afore#entioned cases0Q>19?
The CA ruling notwithstanding, we shall proceed to discuss these factual
issues in order to assure petitioners of a co#plete ad"udication of their case, and not
a #ere disposition of procedural technicalities0
)he Non*!ublication of Notice of +eal !roperty )a, -elin.uency
etitioners assert that the tax sale should .e annulled .ecause of
nonco#pliance with the re9uire#ent of pu.lication prescri.ed in :ection ,5 of <
8,80
/n this regard, we note that unli(e land registration proceedings which are in
rem, cases involving an auction sale of land for the collection of delin9uent taxes
are in personam. Thus, notice .- pu.lication, though sufficient in proceedings in
rem( does not as a rule satisf- the re9uire#ent of proceedings in personam.>22? As
such, #ere pu.lication of the notice of delin9uenc- would not suffice, considering
that the procedure in tax sales is in personam. /t was, therefore, still incu#.ent
upon the cit- treasurer to send the notice of tax delin9uenc- directl- to the taxpa-er
in order to protect the interests of the latter0
/n the present case, the notice of delin9uenc- was sent .- registered #ail to
the per#anent address of the registered owner in 'anila0 /n that notice, the cit-
treasurer of %aguio Cit- directed hi# to settle the charges i##ediatel- and to
protect his interest in the propert-0 Mnder the circu#stances, we hold that the notice
sent .- registered #ail ade9uatel- protected the rights of the taxpa-er, who was the
registered owner of the condo#iniu# unit0
5or purposes of the real propert- tax, the re%istered owner of the property is
deemed the ta!payer0 Ience, onl- the registered owner is entitled to a notice of tax
delin9uenc- and other proceedings relative to the tax sale0 *ot .eing registered
owners of the propert-, petitioners cannot clai# to have .een deprived of such
notice0 /n fact, the- were not entitled to it0
Lac/ of !ersonal Notice of the 0ale or of the !ublic (uction of the 0ub1ect
!roperty
etitioners also contend that the registered owner was not given personal
notice of the pu.lic auction0 The- cite :ection 7& of < 8,8, the pertinent portion
of which is reproduced hereunder3
Px x x0 Cop- of the notices shall forthwith .e sent either .- registered #ail or .-
#essenger, or through #essenger, or through the .arrio captain, to the delin9uent
taxpa-er, at the address shown in the tax rolls or propert- tax records of the
#unicipalit- or cit- where the propert- is located, or at his residence, if (nown to
said treasurer or .arrio captain0 x x x0Q (Mnderscoring supplied .- petitioners in
their 'e#orandu#!
According to petitioners, the notice of pu.lic auction should have .een sent to
the address appearing in the tax roll or propert- records of the Cit- of %aguio0 That
address is Mnit *o0 5, %aden Z8125, +uropa Condo#iniu# Cillas, %aguio Cit-@ not
the (nown address or residence of the registered owner at 185 +r#in Garcia :treet,
Cu.ao, Eue6on Cit-0 The- contend that notice #a- .e sent to the residence of the
taxpa-er, onl- when the tax roll does not show an- address of the propert-0
The a.ove=cited provision, however, shows that the deter#ination of the
taxpa-erOs address to which the notice #a- .e sent is the treasurerOs discretionar-
prerogative0 /n this case, the cit- treasurer dee#ed it .est to send the notice of
pu.lic auction to the residence of the taxpa-er0 The for#er validl- exercised this
option, inas#uch as the address of the latter was (nown to hi#0 'oreover, it was
#ore practical and favora.le to the registered owner that the notice of delin9uenc-
.e sent to his per#anent residence in 'anila, .ecause he was using the su."ect
condo#iniu# unit #erel- as a vacation house and not as a residence0
This Court in Pecson v. Court of Appeals>21? #ade a clear and categorical
ruling on the #atter, when it declared as follows3
PMnder the said provisions of law, notices of the sale of the pu.lic auction #a- .e
sent to the delin9uent taxpa-er, either (/! at the address as shown in the tax rolls or
propert- tax record cards of the #unicipalit- or cit- where the propert- is located or
(ii! at his residence, if /nown to such treasurer or barrio captain.Q (e#phasis
supplied!
To reiterate, for purposes of the collection of real propert- taxes, the registered
owner of the propert- is considered the taxpa-er0 Although petitioners have .een in
possession of the su."ect pre#ises .- virtue of anunre%istered deed of sale, such
transaction has no .inding effect with respect to third persons who have no
(nowledge of it0
The i#portance of registration and its .inding effect is stated in :ection 51 of
the ropert- $egistration <ecree or < 1529, which reads3
P:ec0 510 Conveyance and other dealin%s by re%istered owner. - An owner
of registered land #a- conve-, #ortgage, lease, charge or otherwise deal with the
sa#e in accordance with existing laws0 Ie #a- use such for#s, deeds, #ortgages,
leases or other voluntar- instru#ent as are sufficient in law0 But no deed,
$ortae, lease or other voluntary instru$ent, except a will purporting to conve-
or effect registered land,shall ta/e effect as a conveyance or bind the land, but
shall operate only as a contract between the parties and as evidence of authority
to the +eistry of -eeds to $a/e reistration.
)he act of reistration shall be the operative act to convey or affect the land
insofar as third persons are concerned, and in all cases under this <ecree, the
registration shall .e #ade in the )ffice of the $egister of <eeds for the province or
the cit- where the land lies0Q
Thus, insofar as third persons are concerned, it is the registration of the deed of
sale that can validl- transfer or conve- a personOs interest in a propert-0>22? /n the
a.sence of registration, the registered owner whose na#e appears on the certificate
of title is dee#ed the taxpa-er to who# the notice of auction sale should .e
sent0 etitioners, therefore, cannot clai# to .e taxpa-ers0 5or this reason, the
annul#ent of the auction sale #a- not .e invo(ed successfull-0
)he (nnul$ent of the (uction 0ale on &.uitable %onsiderations
As correctl- pointed out .- respondents, e9uita.le considerations will not find
application, if the statutes or rules of procedure explicitl- provide for the re9uisites
and standards .- which the #atters at .ench can .e resolved0
Fhile it #a- .e assu#ed that .oth petitioners and $espondent Ta-ag are
innocent purchasers of the su."ect propert-, it is a well=settled principle that
.etween two purchasers, the one who has registered the sale in oneOs favor has a
preferred right over the other whose title has not .een registered, even if the latter is
in actual possession of the su."ect propert-0>2&?
1i(ewise, we cannot help .ut point out the fact that petitioners .rought this
#isfortune upon the#selves0 The- neither registered the <eed of :ale after its
execution nor #oved for the consolidation of ownership of title to the propert- in
their na#e0 Forse, the- failed to pa- the real propert- taxes due0 Although the-
had .een in possession of the propert- since 1981, the- did not ta(e the necessar-
steps to protect and legiti#i6e their interest0
/ndeed, petitionersO suit is now .arred .- laches0>28? The law helps the
vigilant, .ut not those who sleep on their rights, for ti#e is a #eans of o.literating
actions0 Ceril-, ti#e runs against the slothful and the conte#ners of their own
rights0>25?
+'ERE&ORE, the etition is here.- D8$8D and the assailed <ecision and
$esolution A&&R98D0 Costs against petitioners0 SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L;45828 J"!0 1, 1992
DIRECTOR O& LANDS, 702626o!0#, >5. T'E 'ONORABLE COURT O&
APPEALS, SILVESTRE ,ANLAPA) !( NATIVIDAD
PI)ARRO, #057o!(0!25.
RO,ERO, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari see(ing the reversal of the
<ecision 1 rendered .- respondent Court of Appeals in CA=G0$0 *o0 5,788=%,
dated 'arch 7, 1977, affir#ing the <ecision 2 of the then Court of 5irst /nstance of
%ataan, dated April ,, 1978, in 1and $egistration Case *o0 *=2&5, ad"udicating in
favor of herein private respondents the su."ect two (2! parcels of land0
The undisputed facts of the case are as follows3
)n 4anuar- 29, 197&, spouses :ilvestre 'anlapa6 and *atividad i6arro (herein
private respondents! filed an application .efore the Court of 5irst /nstance of
%ataan, see(ing the registration and confir#ation of titles to two (2! parcels of land,
under Act 89, in relation to :ec0 88 (%! of C0A0 *o0 181, designated as 1ot *o0
2855 and 1ot *o0 285,0 The parcels of land applied for are portions of 1ot 2789 of
)rion Cadastre covered .- plans :gs=8,22=< and :gs=8,21=<, situated at %arrio
<a#ulog, 'unicipalit- of )rion, rovince of %ataan, containing an area of 89,958
s90 #eters and 58,252 s90 #eters, respectivel-0 &
rior to the initial hearing of the case, the trial court in its )rder dated April 5, 197&,
directed the 1and $egistration Co##issioner to su.#it his report on whether or not
the parcels of land in 9uestion had .een issued patents or whether the sa#e are
su."ect of pending decrees0 8 /n co#pliance with this directive, Acting Geodetic
+ngineer (Chief :urve-or! A#ado 'asica#po, on .ehalf of the Co##issioner of
1and $egistration, filed a #anifestation dated April 2,, 197& stating that the su."ect
parcels of land descri.ed on lans :gs=8,22=< and :gs=8,21=< are portions of 1ot
2789, Cad0 281, )rion Cadastre and that the sa#e have .een the su."ect of
registration proceedings in Court Cadastral Case *o0 15, 1$C (G1$)! Cadastral
$ecord *o0 1221 wherein a decision has .een rendered although there is no existing
record of the sa#e on file .ecause it was a#ong those records lost or destro-ed due
to the ravages of the last glo.al war0 The record also disclosed that lans :gs=8,22=
< and :gs=8,21=<, when plotted in the 'unicipal /ndex 'ap through their
respective lines conflict with 1ot 1, :gs=282, which has .een issued :ales atent
*o0 58190 5
The <irector of 1ands seasona.l- filed an opposition on the ground that neither the
applicants nor their predecessor=in=interest possess sufficient title to ac9uire
ownership in fee si#ple of the parcels of land applied for@ that the- have not .een in
open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the land in
9uestion for at least thirth- (&2! -ears i##ediatel- preceding the filing of the
present application@ and that these parcels of land are portions of the pu.lic do#ain
.elonging to the $epu.lic of the hilippines, and therefore, not su."ect to
appropriation0 ,
At the hearing on August 21, 197&, the Court issued an order of special default with
the exception of the <irector of 1ands0 7 As pra-ed for .- private respondents;
counsel, the parties were allowed to present evidence .efore the Cler( of Court who
was co##issioned to receive the sa#e and to su.#it his findings after the
ter#ination of the reception of evidence0 8
/n order to esta.lish thirt- (&2! -ears of open and continuous possession over the
su."ect propert-, private respondents presented Crisanto Angeles and 'onico
%alila, Crisanto Angeles clai#ed that he first too( possession of these two (2!
parcels of land in the -ear 19&1 while he was still twent- (22! -ears old0 Ie cleared
the land and planted different (inds of fruit=.earing trees such as #ango, star apple
and .ananas, as well as seasonal crops thereon0 Ie li(ewise converted 5,222 s90
#eters thereof into a ricefield which was enlarged to one hectare0 9 These parcels of
land were declared for taxation purposes onl- in 19,,0 12 'eanwhile, in the -ear
19&8, he sold the parcel containing an area of a.out five (5! hectares to a.lito
una-, who i##ediatel- too( possession of the sa#e, cultivated it and introduced
several i#prove#ents thereon0 11 /n :epte#.er 1972, after he had alread- cleared
the whole tract of the second parcel of land, he sold the sa#e to private
respondents0 12 a.lito una- also sold the first parcel of land he ac9uired fro#
Crisanto to the#0 1& Angeles further stated that he (new all the owners of the
ad"oining parcels of land .ut, on cross=exa#ination, was una.le to re#e#.er their
na#es0 18 Fitness 'onico %alila testified that he is the owner of the parcel of land
ad"oining private respondent;s propert-0 Ie had seen Angeles clear the sa#e and
plant different fruit trees0 )n cross=exa#ination, he said that he was twelve (12!
-ears old when he first lived at %ilolo, )rion, %ataan in 19&80 Iis land holding was
five (ilo#eters awa- fro# private respondents; land and it was his uncle who was
then in possession of the land he presentl- owns0 15
rivate respondent :ilvestre 'anlapa6 also testified that upon their ac9uisition of
the two (2! parcels of land designated as 1ots 2855 and 285,, the- i##ediatel-
too( possession of the sa#e, planted coconuts, ca#otes and other vegeta.les and
expanded the portion planted to pala-0 :o#e portions were converted into two (2!
residential lots, one with an area of 27, s90 #eters and the other, 125 s90 #eters0
The- then declared those properties in their na#es and paid the corresponding land
taxes0 1,
The <irector of 1ands, on the other hand, did not present an- evidence to support
his opposition0
)n April ,, 1978, the lower court rendered its decision, the dispositive part of which
reads as follows3
FI+$+5)$+, the title to two parcels of land /dentified and
shown in plans :gs=8,22=< and 8,21=<, situated at %arrio
<a#ulog, 'unicipalit- of )rion, rovince of %ataan, containing
an area of 89,958 s9uare #eters and 58,252 s9uare #eters,
respectivel-, is ordered confir#ed in the na#e of the spouses
:ilvestre 'anlapa6 and *atividad i6arro, .oth of legal age,
5ilipino citi6ens and residents of ilar, %ataan0
After this decision shall have .eco#e final, let an order issue for a
decree of registration in favor of the applicants0
:) )$<+$+<0 17
5ro# said "udg#ent, the <irector of 1ands interposed an appeal to the Court of
Appeals which pro#ulgated its decision 18 on 'a- 7, 1977, affir#ing the decision
of the lower court0 /t found that the defense of res judicata was .elatedl- raised on
appeal0 The o#ission to include the sa#e in the answer as one of the affir#ative
defenses constitutes a waiver of said defense0 The #anifestation of 'r0 'asica#po
stating that the two (2! parcels of land have .een the su."ect of registration
proceedings was not enough to support res judicata0 /t concluded that the &2=-ear
period of continuous possession of private respondents; predecessors=in=interest has
.een satisfactoril- proved, the <irector of 1ands not having presented an- evidence
to contradict, i#pugn or i#peach the facts esta.lished .- private respondents0
Ience, this petition which assigns the following errors3
/
$espondent Court erred in ruling that petitioner failed to raise the
defense of res judicata in the trial court and, hence, waived the
sa#e0
//
$espondent Court erred in ruling that petitioner failed to prove res
judicata .- co#petent evidence0
///
$espondent Court erred in ruling that after the cadastral
proceedings and the declaration of the su."ect parcels of land as
pu.lic land therein, the sa#e #a- .e the su."ect of "udicial
confir#ation of i#perfect title or clai# .ased on adverse and
continuous possession of at least thirt- (&2! -ears, citin% the case
of 9indanao v. Director of Lands( et al0, G0$0 *o0 1=195&5, 4ul-
12, 19,70 19
The Court of Appeals co##itted no error in disregarding res judicata0 /n the case
of Director of Lands v. Court of Appeals( 22 this Court had addressed a si#ilar
contention in this #anner3
F+ find no legal .asis to uphold the foregoing contentions of
etitioner0 t is clear from the evidence on record that in the
proceedings had .efore the Court of 5irst /nstance of %atangas,
acting as a land registration court,the oppositor Director of Lands.
petitioner herein( did not interpose any objection nor set up the
defense of res judicata with respect to the lots in *uestion. Such
failure on the part of oppositor Director of Lands. to 7:R mind(
is a procedural infirmity which cannot be cured on
appeal. :ection 2, $ule 9, $evised $ules of Court of 19,8, in no
uncertain language, provides that3
:+C0 20 Defenses and obli%ations not pleaded
deemed waived. [1\7 <efenses and o."ections
not pleaded either in a #otion to dis#iss or in
the answer are dee#ed waived@ . . .
All defenses therefore not interposed in a #otion to dis#iss or in
an answer are dee#ed waived0 (:antiago, et al0 v0 $a#ire6, et al0@
1=152&7, 'a- &1, 19,&, 8 :C$A 157, 1,2@ Torrada v0 %onearos,
1=&98&2, 4anuar- &2, 197,, ,9 :C$A 287, 25&!0
'hus( the defense of res adjudicata when not set up either in a
motion to dismiss or in answer( is deemed waived. t cannot be
pleaded for the first time at the trial or on appeal. (hil0 Coal
'iners; Mnion v0 C+)C, et al0, 1=19227, April &2, 19,8, 12
:C$A 788, 789!0 (+#phasis supplied!
5urther#ore, petitioner advanced the view that it is the intend#ent of the law that a
person who fails to prove his title to a parcel of land which is the o."ect of cadastral
proceedings or one who does not file his clai# therein is forever .arred fro# doing
so in a su.se9uent proceeding0 4udg#ent in a cadastral proceeding which is a
proceeding in rem constitutes res judicata even against a person who did not ta(e
part in the proceedings as clai#ant0
Fe disagree0 The a.ove=cited case li(ewise settled this contention0 /t said3
%ut granting for a #o#ent, that the defenses of res adjudicata was
properl- raised .- petitioner herein, F+ still hold that, factuall-,
there is no prior final "udg#ent all to spea( of0 'he decision in
Cadastral Case $o. ;3 does not constitute a bar to the application
of respondent 9anuela Pastor. because a decision in a cadastral
proceedin% declarin% a lot public land is not the final decree
contemplated in Section 4< and ;2 of the Land Re%istration Act.
A =udicial declaration that a parcel of land is public( does not
preclude even the same applicant from subse*uently see6in% a
judicial confirmation of his title to the same land( provided he
thereafter complies with the provisions. of Section ;< of
Commonwealth Act $o. 3;3( as amended( and as lon% as said
public land remains alienable and disposable >now section 4 and
;( PD $o. 3204(? 21>8mphasis supplied?
As a rule, the Court respects the factual findings of the Court of Appeals, i#parting
to the# a certain #easure of finalit-0 Iowever, the rule is not without clearl-
defined exceptions, a#ong which are3 L. . . (2! the inference #ade is #anifestl-
#ista(en@ . . . (8! the "udg#ent is .ased on #isapprehension of facts@ . . . and (9!
when the finding of fact of the Court of Appeals is pre#ised on the a.sence of
evidence and is contradicted .- evidence on record0L 22
/t #ust .e e#phasi6ed that the .urden is on applicant to prove his positive
aver#ents and not for the govern#ent or the private oppositors to esta.lish a
negative proposition insofar as the applicants; specific lots are
concerned0 2&Appl-ing this rule to the instant case, the conclusions reached .- the
court a *uo and respondent Court of Appeals that the private respondents through
their predecessors=in=interest have .een in open, continuous, exclusive and
notorious possession of the su."ect land under a bonafide clai# of ownership are
not persuasive for the following reasons0
5irst, the testi#on- of Crisanto Angeles as to his possession and ownership of the
two (2! parcels of land fails to inspire .elief0 Ie clai#ed that he was in possession
of the land wa- .ac( in 19&20 Get he declared the sa#e for taxation purposes onl- in
19,,0 Although tax receipts are not incontroverti.le evidence of ownership, the-
constitute at least proof that the holder had a clai# of title over the propert-0 28 Ie
stated that he (new the owners of the ad"oining properties, .ut during the cross=
exa#ination, he was una.le to give their na#es0 *or was he a.le to explain how he
ca#e into possession of the parcel of land and there is no showing of an- title,
perfect or i#perfect, granted .- the state to hi# or his predecessors0
:econd, the atte#pt of 'onico %alila to corro.orate Angeles; length of possession
over the su."ect propert- is less than credi.le0 Iaving .een an ad"oining owner onl-
in 195& .- his own ad#ission, he could not have (nown how long Crisanto Angeles
owned and possessed the parcels of land0
Third, a.lito una-, the second predecessor=in=interest of 1ot *o0 2855 of the
private respondents was not #ade to testif-0 *o reason was disclosed for his failure
to appear .efore the court0
1astl-, the docu#ents introduced .- the applicants #erel- evidenced the fact that
the parcels of land applied for were aliena.le and disposa.le lands of the pu.lic
do#ain, 25 .ut no docu#ent has .een presented that would clearl- esta.lish the
length of ti#e of the possession of their predecessors=in=interest0 That the private
respondents have paid the corresponding taxes since 1972 2, when the- possessed
the sa#e is of no #o#ent .ecause what is vital to consider is their predecessors=in=
interest;s co#pliance with the &2=-ear period0
Mndou.tedl-, the private respondents have failed to su.#it convincing proof of
their predecessors=in=interest;s actual, peaceful and adverse possession in the
concept of owner of the lots in 9uestion during the period re9uired, .- law0 This is
of ut#ost significance in view of the .asic presu#ption that lands of whatever
classification .elong to the :tate and evidence of a land grant #ust .e Lwell=nigh
incontroverti.le0L 27
FI+$+5)$+, pre#ises considered, the 'a- 7, 1977 decision of the Court of
Appeals is here.- $+C+$:+< and :+T A:/<+, and "udg#ent is rendered
</:'/::/*G the application for registration and confir#ation of titles of 1ots *o0
2855 and 2,5,0 *o pronounce#ent as to costs0
:) )$<+$+<
ENRIDUITA ANGAT !( 2.0 LEGAL 'EIRS O& &EDERICO ANGAT
P02626o!0#5, >5 REPUBLIC O& T'EP'ILIPPINES, $espondent0
G$0 *) 175788, 4M*+ &2, 2229
< + C / : / ) *
CI/C)=*AHA$/), =03
%efore Ms is a etition for $eview on Certiorari under $ule 85 of the $evised
$ules of Court filed .- petitioners +nri9uita Angat (+nri9uita! and the legal heirs of
5ederico Angat (5ederico! against the respondent $epu.lic of the hilippines
($epu.lic!, assailing the <ecision>1? dated 5 <ece#.er 2225 and
$esolution>2? dated 8 <ece#.er 222, of the Court of Appeals in CA=G0$0 CC *o0
727820 /n its assailed <ecision, the Court of Appeals reversed the )rder>&? dated 27
*ove#.er 2222 of the $egional Trial Court ($TC!, %ranch BC, *aic, Cavite, in
1$C Case *o0 1&&1, which granted the etition for $econstitution of the original
cop- of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT! *o0 T=8&99 allegedl- issued .- the
$egister of <eeds of Cavite in the na#es of 5ederico>8? and +nri9uita0 The Court
of Appeals denied petitionersO 'otion for $econsideration in its assailed $esolution
dated 8 <ece#.er 222,0 etitioners are also invo(ing in this etition the power of
this Court to issue a writ of certiorari under $ule ,5 of the $evised $ules of Court,
averring that the Court of Appeals acted without or in excess of "urisdiction or with
grave a.use of discretion in dis#issing the etition for $econstitution in 1$C Case
*o0 1&&10

The facts show that so#eti#e in 5e.ruar- 1999, 5ederico and
+nri9uita (sister of 5ederico! instituted 1$C Case *o0 1&&1 .- filing .efore the
$TC a verified etition>5? for the reconstitution of the original cop- of TCT *o0 T=
8&99 covering a &,2&&,88,=s9uare #eter parcel of land located in
:apang, Ternate, Cavite (su."ect propert-!, presenting the ownersO duplicate cop- of
said TCT in their possession0 5ederico and +nri9uita clai#ed that since , )cto.er
1955, the su."ect propert- has .een registered with the $egistr- of <eeds of Cavite
in their na#es, as the true and a.solute owners thereof, under TCT *o0 T=8&99,
covered .- a certain plan :M=912220 )n 7 4une 1959, the
old rovincial Capitol%uilding housing the for#er office of the $egister of <eeds of
Cavite was .urned to ashes, totall- destro-ing all the titles and docu#ents (ept
inside the office, including the original cop- of TCT *o0 T=8&990

According to 5ederico and +nri9uita, the ownersO duplicate cop- of TCT
*o0 T=8&99 was intact and has .een in their possession since the ti#e of its issuance
and up to the present0 The ownersO duplicate cop- of TCT *o0 T=8&99 has not .een
delivered to an- other person or entit- to secure pa-#ent or perfor#ance of an-
o.ligation nor was an- transaction or agree#ent relative to said TCT presented or
pending .efore the $egistr- of <eeds of Cavite when its for#er office was
.urned0 *o other lien or encu#.rance affecting TCT *o0 T=8&99 exists, except the
right of 5ederico and +nri9uita therein0

5ederico and +nri9uita attached to their etition for $econstitution a
photocop- of their ownersO duplicate certificate of TCT *o0 T=8&990>,? The- also
appended to the etition, however, a Certification>7? dated 25 'arch 1998 issued
.- the $egister of <eeds of Cavite stating that3

This is to certif- that per records on file in this registr-,
Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 T=8&99, registered in the na#es of
5ederico A0 Angat and +nri9uita A0 Angat, located in the
'unicipalit- of Ternate, Cavite, containing an area of TI$++
'/11/)* TI/$TG TI$++ TI)M:A*< A*< +/GIT
IM*<$+< 5)$TG :/B :EMA$+ '+T+$: (&,2&&,88,!, #ore
or less, issued on )cto.er ,, 1955 is not existing and does not
for# part of our records0 %ased on the fact that all records and
titles were .urned during the 4une 7, 1959 fire which ra6ed to the
ground the )ld Capitol %uilding of Cavite Cit- housing the )ffice
of the $egister of <eeds we could not now find )CT *o0 &91 and
TCT *o0 T=8&99 or an- trace thereof and their supporting papers
for its issuance including the +ntr- %oo( on which the pertinent
docu#ents were inscri.ed0

This certificate is issued upon the re9uest of 5ederico A0
Angat and +nri9uita A0 Angat of %o0
:apang, 'unicipalit- of Ternate, Cavite0


5inding the etition to .e sufficient in for# and su.stance, the $TC issued
an )rder dated 1, 5e.ruar- 1999, setting the initial hearing in 1$C Case *o0 1&&1
on 12 4une 1999 at 83&2 in the #orning0>8?

/n co#pliance with the pu.lication and posting re9uire#ents, the $TC
)rder dated 1, 5e.ruar- 1999 was pu.lished in the & 'a- 1999 and 12 'a-
1999 issues of the )fficial Ga6ette0 The said )rder was also posted on the .ulletin
.oards of the rovincial Capitol %uilding in Trece 'artires Cit-@ the 'unicipal
%uilding of Ternate, Cavite@ and the "aran%ay Iall where the su."ect propert- is
located0

Copies of the etition and the $TC )rder dated 1, 5e.ruar- 1999 in 1$C
Case *o0 1&&1 were served .- registered #ail on the )ffice of the :olicitor General
():G!, the provincial prosecutor, the <irector of 1ands, the $egister of <eeds of
Cavite, as well as the ad"oining lot owners, na#el-, A#.rocio Arca, heirs of
'ariano Angat, :antiago de Guia, and the )ffice of the rovincial Governor,
Cavite, representing ali(pi(an Cree(0 Iowever, all the notices to the ad"oining
owners were returned unserved for the following reasons3 A#.rocio Arca3
unlocated, no such na#e@ heirs of 'ariano Angat3 deceased@ :antiago de Guia3
unlocated, no such na#e@ and the )ffice of the rovincial Governor, representing
ali(pi(an Cree(3 refused to receive0

)n 9 4une 1999, the ):G entered its appearance and deputi6ed the u.lic
rosecutor of *aic, Cavite, to represent the $epu.lic0

To esta.lish the "urisdiction of the $TC over their etition in 1$C Case
*o0 1&&1, +nri9uita and 5ederico presented and #ar(ed the following exhi.its at
the hearing held on18 4ul- 19993

+xhi.it A = verified petition dated & 5e.ruar-
1999
+xhi.it A=1 = age 2 of +xhi.it A
+xhi.it A=2 = age & of +xhi.it A@
+xhi.it % = )rder of the Court dated 1,
5e.ruar- 1999
+xhi.it %=1 = $eturn Card fro# the 1$A
+xhi.it %=2 = $eturn Card fro# the $egister of
<eeds of Cavite
+xhi.it %=& = $eturn Card fro# the rovincial
rosecutor
+xhi.it %=8 = $eturn Card fro# the :olicitor
General
+xhi.it C = Certificate of u.lication dated 17
'a- 1999 issued .- the
<irector of %ureau of rinting
+xhi.it C=1 = /ssue of the )fficial Ga6ette for 19
'a- 1999
+xhi.it C=2 = ortion where )rder was
pu.lished
+xhi.it C=& = /ssue of the )fficial Ga6ette for 12
'a- 1999
+xhi.it C=8 = ortion where the )rder was
pu.lished
+xhi.it < = Certification dated 7 4une 1999 .-
'ichael $0 Antonio, ad"oining
owner
+xhi.it <=1 = $egistr- receipt showing notice to
A#.rosio Arca, ad"oining owner
+xhi.it <=2 = $egistr- receipt showing notice to
'ariano Angat
+xhi.it <=& = $egistr- receipt showing notice
to :antiago de Guia
+xhi.it <=8 = $egistr- receipt showing notice
to ali(pi(an Cree(
+xhi.it + = Certificate of osting issued .-
the :heriff
+xhi.it 5 = *otice of Appearance fro# the
:olicitor General
+xhi.it 5=1 = 1etter to u.lic rosecutor in
*aic, Cavite>9?


)n 2, August 1999, 5ederico and +nri9uita, in co#pliance with the
provisions of 1and $egistration Authorit- (1$A! Circular *o0 &5, su.#itted to the
1$A the surve- plan of the su."ect propert-, :M=91222, the tracing cloth plan with
two .lueprint copies thereof@ the technical description of the su."ect propert-@ and
the Certification dated 25 'arch 1998 of the $egister of <eeds of Cavite0>12? The
.lueprint of the surve- plan, :M=91222, dated 27 'a- 19&2, su.#itted .-
5ederico and +nri9uita to the 1$A in accordance with 1$A Circular *o0 &5,
identifies the ad"oining propert- owners as A#.rocio Arca, heirs of 'ariano Angat,
:antiago de Guia, and the ali(pi(an Cree(, to who# 5ederico and +nri9uita sent
notices, via registered #ail, of the initial hearing of 1$C Case *o0 1&&1 set for 12
4une 19990

At the 9 :epte#.er 1999 hearing, +nri9uita and 5ederico presented and
#ar(ed additional docu#entar- exhi.its to esta.lish the "urisdiction of the $TC,
na#el-3

+xhi.it G = Co#pliance dated 2, August 1999 showing
su.#ission of cop- of the etition, tracing cloth plan of land
su."ect of registration, copies of the technical description and
proof of .urning the original records
+xhi.it G=1 = 1etter to the Ad#inistrator, 1$A
+xhi.it G=2 = Cop- of etition for $econstitution
+xhi.it G=& = %lue print cop- of the lan su=91222
+xhi.it G=8 = Technical description of the propert-
+xhi.it G=8=a = Technical description
+xhi.it G=5 = Certification issued .- the $egister of
<eeds of Cavite
+xhi.it I = Certification dated 5 4une 1998 issued
.- the Ad#inistrator, 1$A>11?


)n 28 )cto.er 1999, the 1$A su.#itted a $eport>12? to the $TC,
rela-ing the following infor#ation3

C)'+: *)F the 1and $egistration Authorit- and the
Ionora.le Court, respectfull- reports that3

(1! The present petition see(s the
reconstitution of the original Cop- of
Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 T=
8&99, allegedl- lost or destro-ed and
supposedl- covering plan :M=91222,
situated in the .arrio of
:apang, 'unicipalit- of Ternate, rovi
nce of Cavite0

(2! 5ro# our P$ecord %oo( of <ecreesQ
G1$) $ecord *o0 517,7 in which
plan :M=91222 was applied, <ecree
*o0 ,8211& was issued on 4ul- 27,
19&70

(&! The technical description of plan :M=
91222, were verified correct .- this
Authorit- pursuant to the provisions of
:ection &(a! of $epu.lic Act *o0 2,0

FI+$+5)$+, the foregoing infor#ation anent the
propert- in 9uestion is respectfull- su.#itted for consideration in
the resolution of the instant petition, and in (sic! the Ionora.le
Court, after notice and hearing, finds "ustification pursuant to
:ection &(a! of $epu.lic Act *o0 2, to grant the sa#e0 rovided,
however, that no certificate of title covering the sa#e parcel of
land exist (sic! in the office of the $egister of <eeds Concerned0


)n #otion of the counsel of 5ederico and +nri9uita, there .eing no
oppositor nor written opposition, the $TC declared a general default against the
pu.lic0

<uring the e! parte hearing held on 19 4anuar- 2222, 5ederico testified
that he was 78 -ears old, #arried, a real estate .ro(er, and was one of the petitioners
in 1$C Case *o0 1&&10 Ie further testified that he had in his possession the
ownersO duplicate certificate of TCT *o0 T=8&99 in his and his sister +nri9uitaOs
na#es0 The su."ect propert- covered .- TCT *o0 T=8&99 was previousl- owned .-
his grandfather, 'ariano Angat ('ariano!, to who# was issued )riginal Certificate
of Title ()CT! *o0 &910 After 'arianoOs death, the su."ect propert- was inherited
.- his father, Gregorio Angat (Gregorio!0 :o#eti#e in 1955, under unexplained
circu#stances, Gregorio>1&? delivered to 5ederico (deter#ined to .e &8 -ears old
at that ti#e! and +nri9uita TCT *o0 T=8&99, alread- registered in their na#es0 The
original cop- of TCT *o0 T=8&99 was .urned during the fire on 7 4une 1959 at the
old rovincial Capitol %uilding of Cavite, housing the $egistr- of <eeds0 Ie
referred to the 1$A $eport dated 28 )cto.er 1999 which affir#ed the existence and
accurac- of the technical description of :M=912220 Ie also presented the
Certification dated 18 *ove#.er 1998 of the 'unicipal Treasurer
of Ternate, Cavite, showing that the real propert- taxes on the su."ect propert- for
1998 were paid in the na#e of his grandfather, 'ariano, under Tax <eclaration *o0
97=2&5280 +nri9uita no longer too( the witness stand0

)n , 4ul- 2222, Ternate <evelop#ent Corporation (T<C! filed a 'otion
for 1eave to /ntervene and a Co#plaint=in=/ntervention, 9uestioning the authenticit-
and genuineness of TCT *o0 T=8&990 /t clai#ed that a portion of the su."ect
propert- covered .- TCT *o0 T=8&99, with an area of 1,78&,288 s9uare #eters, is
owned .- and alread- registered in the na#e of T<C under TCT *o0 (T=97581! $T=
19915 of the $egistr- of <eeds of Cavite0>18?

5ederico and +nri9uita opposed the 'otion for 1eave to /ntervene of T<C0

The $TC, in an )rder dated 12 *ove#.er 2222, denied the 'otion for
1eave to /ntervene of T<C reasoning that T<C could not challenge the validit- of
TCT *o0 T=8&99 in the reconstitution proceedings since it would constitute a
collateral attac( on the title of 5ederico and +nri9uita0 The $TC declared that the
reconstitution proceedings in 1$C Case *o0 1&&1 was not the proper foru# to
resolve the issue of authenticit-Agenuineness of title sought to .e reconstituted, nor a
re#ed- to confir# or ad"udicate ownership0>15? /t concluded that a separate civil
action #ust .e instituted to assail the validit- of or see( the annul#ent of the
certificate of title since the sa#e cannot .e done in the reconstitution proceedings
where the issuance of the reconstituted title is #inisterial on the part of the court
after a factual finding that the original was indeed existing .ut was lost or
destro-ed0

After trial and consideration of the oral and docu#entar- evidence
su.#itted .- 5ederico and +nri9uita, the $TC proceeded to rule on the #erits of the
etition for $econstitution in 1$C Case *o0 1&&10 /n an )rder dated 27 *ove#.er
2222, the $TC granted the etition and decreed thus3

FI+$+5)$+, this Court, finding the petition to .e
well=ta(en, here.- grants the sa#e and orders the $egister of
<eeds of Cavite rovince to reconstitute the original cop- of
Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 T=8&99 as shown on plan su=
91222 in the na#e of 5ederico A0 Angat and +nri9uita A0 Angat,
.oth of legal age, 5ilipino citi6ens, .oth single, and .oth with
residence and postal address at :apang, Ternate, Cavite, su."ect to
existing liens and encu#.rances with the annotation at the .ac(
thereof and that said title was reconstituted and issued in lieu of
the lost one which is here.- declared null and void for all legal
intents and purposes0>1,?


The $epu.lic appealed the $TC )rder dated 27 *ove#.er 2222 to the
Court of Appeals, clai#ing that the $TC did not ac9uire "urisdiction over the
reconstitution proceedings on the following grounds3 (a! no showing that the owners
of the ad"acent properties were dul- notified according to :ections 12 and 1& of
$epu.lic Act *o0 2,@ and (.! failure of 5ederico and +nri9uita to prove their valid
interest in the su."ect propert- covered .- TCT *o0 T=8&990 The appeal was
doc(eted as CA=G0$0 CC *o0 727820

)n 5 <ece#.er 2225, the Court of Appeals issued a <ecision granting the
appeal of the $epu.lic and reversing the $TC )rder dated 27 *ove#.er
22220 The fallo of the <ecision of the appellate court reads3

FI+$+5)$+, the decision appealed fro# is
$+C+$:+< and :+T A:/<+0 The petition for reconstitution of
5ederico A0 Angat and +nri9uita A0 Angat, is </:'/::+<0>17?


The Court of Appeals sustained the argu#ents raised .- the ):G, and held
that the $TC did not ac9uire "urisdiction over the etition for $econstitution
.ecause the notices of the 12 4une 1999 hearing sent to the owners of the ad"oining
properties via registered #ail were returned without having .een served on
the#0 The na#es of the owners of the ad"oining properties were ta(en fro# the
surve- plan #ade in 19&2, and it was not surprising that .- the ti#e the notices
were sent in 1999, ,9 -ears later, these persons could no longer .e located0 /f it
were true that 5ederico regularl- visited the su."ect propert-, he would (now the
present owners of the ad"oining properties and accordingl- sent notices to
the#0 The Court of Appeals also found that 5ederico and +nri9uita failed to prove
that at the ti#e the original cop- of TCT *o0 T=8&99 was lost, the- were the onl-
lawful owners of the su."ect propert-0

/n a $esolution dated & 4ul- 222,, the Court of Appeals declared the
<ecision dated 5 <ece#.er 2225 final and executor- for the reason that no #otion
for reconsideration thereof had .een filed0 The appellate court pronounced3

Considering the 4udicial $ecords <ivision verification
report that as of 'a- 12, 222,, no 'otion for $econsideration nor
:upre#e Court etition was filed, the decision pro#ulgated
on <ece#.er 5, 2225 has attained finalit- on <ece#.er &2, 22250
:aid decision #a- now .e ordered entered in the %oo( of +ntries
of 4udg#ents0>18?


)nl- after the Court of Appeals issued the afore#entioned $esolution did
5ederico and +nri9uita file a 'otion for $econsideration dated , :epte#.er 222,,
asserting that a cop- of the <ecision dated 5 <ece#.er 2225 Pwas securedQ .- their
counsel through his cler( onl- on 5 :epte#.er 222,0 The- argued in their 'otion
that .ased on :ections 2 and & of $epu.lic Act *o0 2,, there is no re9uire#ent that
the ad"oining propert- owners .e notified in a petition for reconstitution of the
original cop- of the TCT, where the reconstitution is .ased on an existing ownersO
duplicate thereof0

The Court of Appeals, in a $esolution dated 8 <ece#.er 222,, denied the
'otion for $econsideration of 5ederico and +nri9uita since its <ecision dated 5
<ece#.er 2225had .eco#e final and executor-0

Ience, the instant etition, where petitioners +nri9uita and the heirs of
5ederico>19? raise the following issues3

/0

FI+TI+$ )$ *)T TI+ $+:)*<+*T C)M$T )5
A+A1: +$$+< /* </:'/::/*G TI+ +T/T/)* 5)$
$+C)*:T/TMT/)* )5 +T/T/)*+$: 5+<+$/C) A0 A*GAT
A*< +*$/EM/TA A0 A*GAT )* TI+ G$)M*<: $A/:+<
%G TI+ )55/C+ )5 TI+ :)1/C/T)$ G+*+$A1 /* /T:
A+A10

//0

FI+TI+$ )$ *)T TI+ $+:)*<+*T C)M$T )5
A+A1: A1:) +$$+< /* $+EM/$/*G TI+ +T/T/)*+$:
T) *)T/5G TI+ A<4)/*/*G )F*+$:, A1TI)MGI TI+
+T/T/)*+$: A1:) :M%:TA*T/A11G C)'1/+< F/TI
TI+ A<</T/)*A1 $+EM/$+'+*T: /'):+< %G TI+
T$/A1 C)M$T0

///0

5/*A11G, FI+TI+$ )$ *)T TI+ $+:)*<+*T C)M$T
)5 A+A1: ACT+< /* +BC+:: )5 /T: 4M$/:</CT/)*
FI+* TI+ $+:)*<+*T C)M$T </< *)T A1G TI+
C)$$+CT 1AF /* TI+ $+:+*T CA:+ FI/CI /: $0A0 2,,
:+CT/)*: 2 A*< &0


etitioners insist that the etition for $econstitution of the original cop- of
TCT *o0 T=8&99 filed .- 5ederico and +nri9uita co#plied with all the legal
re9uire#ents therefor0 The- clai# that the Court of Appeals co##itted serious
error in re9uiring notice to ad"oining propert- owners0 etitioners cite Puzon v. Sta.
Lucia Realty and Development( nc.,>22? in which the Court ruled that notice to
ad"oining propert- owners is not necessar- where the .asis for reconstitution is the
ownerOs duplicate, following :ection 12, in relation to :ection 9, of $epu.lic Act
*o0 2,0 Assu#ing ar%uendo that such notice is #andator-, petitioners contend that
the- were a.le to su.stantiall- co#pl- with the sa#e, onl- that the notices the- sent
to the ad"oining propert- owners were returned unserved0

The $epu.lic, represented .- the ):G, reiterates in its Co##ent the
argu#ents it earlier raised .efore the Court of Appeals0 According to the ):G, the
$TC gravel- erred when it assu#ed "urisdiction over the etition for $econstitution
despite failure .- 5ederico and +nri9uita to co#pl- with the notice re9uire#ents
under :ection 1& of $epu.lic Act *o0 2,0 /t should .e recalled that notices to the
ad"oining propert- owners were returned unserved for various reasons0 The ):G is
ada#ant in its stance that nothing .ut strict co#pliance with the re9uire#ents of the
law will do, and failure to do the sa#e prevents the $TC fro# ac9uiring "urisdiction
over the etition for $econstitution and voids the whole reconstitution proceedings0
1i(ewise, the ):G #aintains that 5ederico and +nri9uita were not a.le to show that
the- were the onl- owners of the su."ect propert- at the ti#e of the loss of TCT *o0
T=8&990 5inall-, the ):G asserts that the etition at .ar deserves outright dis#issal
considering that the appealed <ecision of the Court of Appeals had alread- .eco#e
final and executor-0

Fe find that there is no #erit in the present etition0

At the outset, we note that the assailed <ecision of the Court of Appeals
dis#issing the etition for $econstitution of 5ederico and +nri9uita is alread- final
and executor-0 The Court of Appeals pro#ulgated its <ecision on 5 D0-0</0#
20050 Iowever, petitioners insist that the counsel of +nri9uita and 5ederico
received a cop- thereof onl- on 5 S0720</0# 200B0>21? A si#ple exa#ination of
the records of the case would .elie petitionersO clai#, for the $egistr-
$eceipt>22? and Certification>2&? fro# the ost )ffice indicate that a cop- of the
said <ecision was received on .ehalf of 5ederico and +nri9uita .- one 'elanie
Angat on 14 D0-0</0# 20050

Mnder :ection 2, $ule 1& of the $evised $ules of Court on the service of
pleadings, "udg#ents and other papers, it is provided that if an- part- appeared .-
counsel, service upon hi# shall .e #ade upon his counsel, or one of the#, unless
service upon the part- hi#self is ordered .- the court0 The court #a- order service
upon the part- hi#self when the attorne- of record cannot .e located, either .ecause
he gave no address or changed his given address0 According to :ection 9, $ule 1&
of the $evised $ules of Court, service of "udg#ents, final orders or resolutions #a-
.e done either personall-, .- registered #ail, or .- pu.lication0

The records clearl- indicate that the notice and cop- of the 5 <ece#.er
2225 <ecision, originall- sent to 5ederico and +nri9uitaOs counsel of record, had to
.e sent, instead, to 5ederico and +nri9uitaOs address .- registered #ail, when the
attorne- of record could not .e located .ecause of a change in his given address
without notif-ing the Court of Appeals0 The appellate court ordered that the notice
and cop- of its <ecision .e sent to said address wherein the- were received on 18
<ece#.er 2225 .- 'elanie Angat N a person of suita.le age and discretion, who
undenia.l- .ears the sa#e surna#e and resided at the sa#e address as
petitioners0 /n addition, the registr- return receipt stated that Pa registered article
#ust not .e delivered to an-one .ut the addressee, or upon the addresseeOs written
order0Q Thus, 'elanie Angat, who received the notice and cop- of the 5 <ece#.er
2225 <ecision of the Court of Appeals, was presu#a.l- a.le to present a written
authori6ation to receive the sa#e and we can assu#e that the said docu#ents were
dul- received in the ordinar- course of events0 /t is a legal presu#ption, .orne of
wisdo# and experience, that official dut- has .een regularl- perfor#ed@ that the
proceedings of a "udicial tri.unal are regular and valid, and that "udicial acts and
duties have .een and will .e dul- and properl- perfor#ed0 The .urden of proving
the irregularit- in official conduct, if an-, is on the part of petitioners who in this
case clearl- failed to discharge the sa#e0>28?

:ection 1, $ule 52 of the $evised $ules of Court provides that a part- #a-
file a #otion for reconsideration of a "udg#ent or final resolution within 15 da-s
fro# notice thereof, with proof of service on the adverse part-0 +videntl-, the filing
of the 'otion for $econsideration of the 5 <ece#.er 2225 <ecision onl- on B
S0720</0# 200B was wa- .e-ond the regle#entar- period for the sa#e0

The 15=da- regle#entar- period for filing a #otion for reconsideration is
non=extendi.le0>25? rovisions of the $ules of Court prescri.ing the ti#e within
which certain acts #ust .e done or certain proceedings ta(en are considered
a.solutel- indispensa.le to the prevention of needless dela-s and to the orderl- and
speed- discharge of "udicial .usinesses0 :trict co#pliance with such rules is
#andator- and i#perative0>2,?

Fithout a #otion for reconsideration of the 5 :epte#.er 2225 <ecision
having .een ti#el- filed with the Court of Appeals, +nri9uita and 5ederico, who
was later on su.stituted .- his heirs, had also lost their right to appeal the said
<ecision to us0 5or purposes of deter#ining its ti#eliness, a #otion for
reconsideration #a- properl- .e treated as an appeal0 As a step to allow an inferior
court to correct itself .efore review .- a higher court, a #otion for reconsideration
#ust necessaril- .e filed within the period to appeal0 Fhen filed .e-ond such
period, the #otion for reconsideration ipso facto forecloses the right to appeal0>27?

Thus, the 'otion for $econsideration, .eing filed .e-ond the regle#entar-
period, did not toll the <ecision dated 5 <ece#.er 2225 of the Court of Appeals
fro# .eco#ing final and executor-0 As such, the <ecision is past appellate review
and constitutes res judicata as to ever- #atter offered and received in the
proceedings .elow as well as to an- other #atter ad#issi.le therein and which
#ight have .een offered for that purpose0>28?

Fe are without "urisdiction to #odif-, #uch less reverse, a final and
executor- "udg#ent0 /n Paramount )inyl Products Corporation v. $ational Labor
Relations Commission,>29? we recogni6ed the well=settled rule that the perfection
of an appeal within the statutor- or regle#entar- period is not onl- #andator-, .ut
"urisdictional0 The failure to interpose a ti#el- appeal (or a #otion for
reconsideration! renders the assailed decision, order or award final and executor-
that deprives the appellate .od- of an- "urisdiction to alter the final "udg#ent0 The
rule is applica.le indiscri#inatel- to one and all since the rule is grounded on
funda#ental consideration of pu.lic polic- and sound practice that at the ris( of
occasional error, the "udg#ent of courts and award of 9uasi="udicial agencies #ust
.eco#e final at so#e definite date fixed .- law0

Although in few instances, we have disregarded procedural lapses so as to
give due course to appeals filed .e-ond the regle#entar- period, we did so on the
.asis of strong and co#pelling reasons, such as serving the ends of "ustice and
preventing a #iscarriage thereof0 Fe do not find such reasons extant in this case,
especiall- considering that petitioners herein do not ad#it that the 'otion for
$econsideration .efore the Court of Appeals was filed out of ti#e and even atte#pt
to #islead this Court on the true date the notice of the 5 <ece#.er 2225 <ecision of
the Court of Appeals was received0

Clearl-, we could no longer overturn the dis#issal .- the Court of Appeals
of the etition for $econstitution of 5ederico and +nri9uita, its <ecision dated 5
<ece#.er 2225, decreeing the sa#e, .eing alread- final and executor-0 Iowever,
we do find it necessar- to clarif- one pro.le#atic pronounce#ent #ade .- the
appellate court in its <ecision in order to prevent a si#ilar confusion on the #atter
in the future0

)ne of the reasons wh- the Court of Appeals ordered the dis#issal of the
etition for $econstitution of 5ederico and +nri9uita was the lac( of notice to the
ad"oining propert- owners, which supposedl- deprived the $TC of "urisdiction over
the said etition0

:ection 112 of residential <ecree *o0 1529, otherwise (nown as the
ropert- $egistration <ecree, as a#ended .- $epu.lic Act *o0 ,7&2, allows the
reconstitution of lost or destro-ed original Torrens title, to wit3

:+C0 1120 $econstitution of lost or destro-ed original
of Torrens title0 N )riginal copies of certificates of titles lost or
destro-ed in the offices of $egister of <eeds as well as liens and
encu#.rances affecting the lands covered .- such titles shall .e
reconstituted "udiciall- in accordance with the procedure
prescri.ed in $epu.lic Act *o0 2, insofar as not inconsistent with
this <ecree0 The procedure relative to ad#inistrative
reconstitution of lost or destro-ed certificate prescri.ed in said
Act #a- .e availed of onl- in case of su.stantial loss or
destruction of land titles due to fire, flood or other force
majeure as deter#ined .- the Ad#inistrator of the 1and
$egistration Authorit-3 Provided, That the nu#.er of certificates
of titles lost or da#aged should .e at least ten percent (12]! of
the total nu#.er in the possession of the )ffice of the $egister of
<eeds3 Provided, further, that in no case shall the nu#.er of
certificates of titles lost or da#aged .e less than five hundred
(522!0


%ased on the foregoing, reconstitution of a lost or destro-ed certificate of
title #a- .e done "udiciall-, in accordance with the special procedure laid down in
$epu.lic Act *o0 2,@ or ad#inistrativel-, in accordance with the provisions of
$epu.lic Act *o0 ,7&20 %- filing the etition for $econstitution with the $TC,
doc(eted as 1$C Case *o0 1&&1, 5ederico and +nri9uita sought "udicial
reconstitution of TCT *o0 T=8&99, governed .- $epu.lic Act *o0 2,0

The nature of the action for reconstitution of a certificate of title under
$epu.lic Act *o0 2,, entitled PAn Act roviding a :pecial rocedure for the
$econstitution of Torrens Certificate of Title 1ost or <estro-ed,Q denotes a
restoration of the instru#ent, which is supposed to have .een lost or destro-ed, in
its original for# and condition0>&2?The purpose of such an action is #erel- to have
the certificate of title reproduced, after proper proceedings, in the sa#e for# it was
in when its loss or destruction occurred0>&1? The sa#e $epu.lic Act *o0 2,
specifies the re9uisites to .e #et for the trial court to ac9uire "urisdiction over a
petition for reconstitution of a certificate of title0 As we held in7rti%as @ Co. Ltd.
Partnership v. )elasco,>&2? failure to co#pl- with an- of these "urisdictional
re9uire#ents for a petition for reconstitution renders the proceedings null and
void0 Thus, in o.taining a new title in lieu of the lost or destro-ed one, $epu.lic
Act *o0 2, laid down procedures which #ust .e strictl- followed in view of the
danger that reconstitution could .e the source of ano#alous titles or unscrupulousl-
availed of as an eas- su.stitute for original registration of title proceedings0

:ections 2 and & of $epu.lic Act *o0 2, identif- the sources for
reconstitution of title0 :ection 2 enu#erates the sources for reconstitution of )CTs3

:ection 20 )riginal Certificates of Title shall .e
reconstituted fro# such of the sources hereunder enu#erated as
#a- .e availa.le, in the following order3

(a! The ownerOs duplicate of the certificate of title@

(.! The co=ownerOs, #ortgageeOs, or lesseeOs duplicate
of the certificate of title@

(c! A certified cop- of the certificate of title, previousl-
issued .- the register of deeds or .- a legal
custodian thereof@

(d! An authenticated cop- of the decree of registration
or patent, as the case #a- .e, pursuant to which the
original certificate of title was issued@

(e! A docu#ent, on file in the registr- of deeds, .-
which the propert-, the description of which is given
in said docu#ent, is #ortgaged, leased or
encu#.ered, or an authenticated cop- of said
docu#ent showing that its original had .een
registered@ and

(f! An- other docu#ent which, in the "udg#ent of the
court, is sufficient and proper .asis for reconstituting
the lost or destro-ed certificate of title0


TCTs, on the other hand, #a- .e reconstituted fro# the sources recogni6ed
under :ection &, as #a- .e availa.le, and in the order the- are presented3

:ec0 &0 Transfer certificates of title shall .e reconstituted
fro# such of the sources hereunder enu#erated as #a- .e
availa.le, in the following order3

(a! The owner;s duplicate of the certificate of title@

(.! The co=owner;s, #ortgagee;s, or lessee;s
duplicate of the certificate of title@

(c! A certified cop- of the certificate of title,
previousl- issued .- the register of deeds or .- a legal custodian
thereof@

(d! The deed of transfer or other docu#ent, on file in
the registr- of deeds, containing the description of the propert-, or
an authenticated cop- thereof, showing that its original had .een
registered, and pursuant to which the lost or destro-ed transfer
certificate of title was issued@

(e! A docu#ent, on file in the registr- of deeds, .-
which the propert-, the description of which is given in said
docu#ent, is #ortgaged, leased or encu#.ered, or an
authenticated cop- of said docu#ent showing that its original had
.een registered@ and

(f! An- other docu#ent which, in the "udg#ent of
the court, is sufficient and proper .asis for reconstituting the lost
or destro-ed certificate of title0


/t is worth stressing that 5ederico and +nri9uita sought the reconstitution
of the original cop- of TCT *o0 T=8&99 .ased on the ownerOs duplicate of said TCT,
a source na#ed under S0-26o! 39: o1 R07"/36- A-2 No. 2B0 The pu.lication,
posting and notice re9uire#ents for such a petition are governed .- :ection 12 in
relation to :ection 9 of $epu.lic Act *o0 2,0 :ection 12 provides3

:ec0120 *othing herein.efore provided shall prevent an-
registered owner or person in interest fro# filing the petition
#entioned in section five of this Act directl- with the proper
Court of 5irst /nstance, .ased on sources enu#erated in S0-26o!5
29:, 29/:, 39:, 39/:, !(Go# 49: of this Act3 Provided( however,
That the Court shall cause a !o26-0 o1 2.0 702626o!, /01o#0
.0#6!8 !( 8#!26!8 2.0 5<0, 2o /0 7"/365.0( 6! 2.0 <!!0#
5220( 6! 50-26o! !6!0 .0#0o13 and( provided( further, That
certificates of title reconstituted pursuant to this section shall not
.e su."ect to the encu#.rance referred to in section seven of this
Act0 (+#phasis ours0!


/n relation to the foregoing, the provisions of :ection 9 on the pu.lication of
the notice of the etition for $econstitution reads3

:ection 90 x x x Thereupon, the court shall cause a
notice of the petition to .e pu.lished, at the expense of the
petitioner, twice in successive issues of the )fficial Ga6ette, and
to .e posted on the #ain entrance of the provincial .uilding and
of the #unicipal .uilding of the #unicipalit- or cit- in which the
land lies, at least thirt- da-s prior to the date of hearing, and after
hearing, shall deter#ine the petition and render such "udg#ent as
"ustice and e9uit- #a- re9uire0 The notice shall specif-, a#ong
other things, the nu#.er of the certificate of title, the na#e of the
registered owner, the na#es of the interested parties appearing in
the reconstituted certificate of title, the location of the propert-,
and the date on which all persons having an interest in the
propert- #ust appear and file such clai# as the- #a- have0 x x x0


/t is evident fro# a perusal of :ection 12 of $epu.lic Act *o0 2,, as 9uoted
a.ove, that it does not #andate that notice .e specificall- sent to ad"oining propert-
owners@ it onl- necessitated pu.lication and posting of the notice of the etition for
$econstitution in accordance with :ection 9 of the sa#e Act0

:ections 12 and 1& of $epu.lic Act *o0 2,,>&&? re9uiring notice to
ad"oining propert- owners, are actuall- irrelevant to the etition for $econstitution
filed .- 5ederico and +nri9uita considering that these provisions appl- particularl-
to petitions for reconstitution fro# sources enu#erated under :ections 2(c!, 2(d!,
2(e!, 2(f!, &(c!, &(d!, &(e! andAor &(f! of $epu.lic Act *o0 2,0

/n Puzon, we explained that when the reconstitution is .ased on an extant
ownerOs duplicate TCT, the #ain concern is the authenticit- and genuineness of the
certificate, which could .est .e deter#ined or contested .- the govern#ent agencies
or offices concerned0 The ad"oining owners or actual occupants of the propert-
covered .- the TCT are hardl- in a position to deter#ine the genuineness of the
certificate@ hence, their participation in the reconstitution proceedings is not
indispensa.le and notice to the# is not "urisdictional0

The foregoing discourse notwithstanding, the 5 <ece#.er 2225 <ecision
of the Court of Appeals is alread- final and executor-, and a.solutel- .inds this
Court, despite an- errors therein0 And even if it were otherwise, the error
co##itted .- the appellate court as regards the notice re9uire#ent would not
necessaril- result in a "udg#ent favora.le to petitioners0

Fe find that 5ederico and +nri9uita were not a.le to prove that at the ti#e
the title was lost, he and his sister were the onl- lawful owners of the su."ect
propert-0 5ederico and +nri9uita clai#ed that the su."ect propert- was originall-
owned .- their grandfather, 'ariano0 5ederico and +nri9uita, however, failed to
esta.lish the chain of transfers of the su."ect propert- fro# 'ariano to their father,
Gregorio@ and finall- to the#0 That the trans#ittal of rights through succession
ta(es effect .- operation of law, without an- need for the testator or the heirs to
perfor# an- positive act, did not necessaril- exe#pt 5ederico and +nri9uita fro#
having to prove that the- .eca#e the owners of the su."ect propert- .- legal
succession, to the exclusion of all others0 'ariano had several children, and so did
Gregorio@ hence, 'ariano, as well as Gregorio, had several legal heirs who would
have li(ewise succeeded to the su."ect propert-0

5ederico and +nri9uita further alleged that the- had .een in possession of
the su."ect propert- since 19550 Iowever, at the ti#e the- instituted the
reconstitution proceedings in 1999, or 88 -ears later, no i#prove#ents or per#anent
structures could .e found on the entire &22=hectare propert-0 /t is .ut contrar- to
co##on hu#an experience that a real estate .ro(er such as 5ederico would let 88
-ears pass .- without introducing an- i#prove#ents on this ver- vast tract of land,
which he clai#ed to co=own with his sister +nri9uita0 /ncidentall-, if it were true
that 5ederico regularl- visited the &22=hectare propert-, then he would have .een
aware who the current ad"oining propert- owners were0

Fe also o.serve that 5ederico and +nri9uita failed to provide an-
explanation wh- it too( the# 40 $0#5 fro# the .urning of the )ffice of the
$egister of <eeds of Cavite on 7 4une 1959, .efore instituting the reconstitution
proceedings0 The failure of 5ederico and +nri9uita to i##ediatel- see( the
reconstitution of TCT *o0 T=8&99, and their procrastination for four decades .efore
actuall- filing their etition, had allowed laches to attach0 Laches is the negligence
or o#ission to assert a right within a reasona.le ti#e, warranting the presu#ption
that the part- entitled to assert it either has a.andoned or declined to assert it0
>&8? /n #eirs of 8ulalio Ra%ua v. Court of Appeals, we denied, on the ground
of laches, therein petitionersO petition for reconstitution of title, which was filed
onl- 19 $0#5 after the original of said title was allegedl- lost or destro-ed0 >&5?

The real propert- tax receipts in the na#e of 5ederico for the -ears 1989 to
1998 deserve little pro.ative value0 There is no showing that real propert- taxes
were paid .- 5ederico andAor +nri9uita, or their alleged predecessors=in=interest
prior to 19890 <espite 5ederico and +nri9uitaOs clai# of possession of the su."ect
propert- since 1955, 5ederico hi#self ad#itted that he first paid the real estate taxes
on the su."ect propert- onl- in 19890 $ealt- tax pa-#ents are not conclusive
evidence of ownership .ut are #ere indicia of possession in the concept of owners0
>&,? *either are realt- tax pa-#ent receipts sufficient to warrant reconstitution0

The foregoing circu#stances raise dou.t as to the authenticit- and
genuineness of the ownerOs duplicate of TCT *o0 T=8&99, the .asis for the etition
for $econstitution of 5ederico and +nri9uita0 )ur suspicions were, in fact,
confir#ed .- a 'anifestation .- the Acting $egister of <eeds of the rovince of
Cavite, that the 1$A report dated 28 )cto.er 1999 allegedl- signed .- %en"a#in
'0 %ustos, $econstitution )fficer and Chief, $econstitution <ivision, and #ar(ed
as +xhi.it PD,Q was not the true, genuine and official report of the 1$A in this case
.ut the one dated 18 <ece#.er 1999, which was dul- signed .- %en"a#in '0
%ustos0 The Certification>&7? issued .- the 1$A on 18 <ece#.er 1999 stated, to
wit3

The 1and $egistration Authorit- to the Ionora.le Court
respectfull- reports that3

(1! The present petition see(s the reconstitution
of Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 T=8&99, allegedl-
lost or destro-ed, and supposedl- covering a parcel
of land (lan su=91222!, situated in the %arrio of
:apang, 'unicipalit- of Ternate, rovince of Cavite
, on the .asis of the ownerOs duplicate thereof0 A
#ere reproduction of what purports .e a cop- of
Transfer Certificate of Title *o0 T=8&99, not
certified .- the Cler( of Court, as re9uired under
1$C Circular &5, :eries of 198&, was su.#itted to
this Authorit-0
(2! /n the 1st /ndorse#ent of +ngr0 Al.erto I0
1ingao, Acting Chief, )rdinar- and Cadastral
<ecree <ivision, this Authorit-, dated *ove#.er
2,, 1999, it is stated therein, that upon exa#ination
and verification of the a.ove=entitled petition and its
enclosures, the following infor#ation were found,
to wit3

10 As per P%oo( of :urve-sQ on file at
the lan +xa#ination :ection, su=
9222, situated in
the rovince of Cavite was applied for
registration under $ecord *o0 517,7@
20 As per P<ecree %oo(Q on file at the
)rdinar- <ecree :ection, $ecord *o0
517,7, Cavite, was issued <ecree *o0
,8211& on 4ul- 7, 19&7@ however, cop-
of the said decree is not a#ong the
salvaged records of this Authorit-@
&0 The technical description of su=
91222 inscri.ed on the su.#itted
xerox cop- of TCT *o0 T=8&99 was
found to .e an open pol-gon and when
plotted on '/: 9229, 1,21, 9217,
9,19, ,121 and 15212, several parcels
of land applied under $ecord *os0 *=
,&182, *=,&182 and *=,&18& were
found to .e inside this case0 *o decree
of registration have as -et .een issued
to the aforesaid applications0Q
80

FI+$+5)$+, the foregoing $eport is respectfull-
su.#itted for the infor#ation and guidance of the Ionora.le
Court, with the reco##endation that the 1ands 'anage#ent
:ector, .e re9uired to su.#it the $eport relative to the status of
the su."ect parcel of land, in the instant petition0

Eue6on Cit-, hilippines, <ece#.er 18, 19990
Alfredo $0 +nri9ue6
Ad#inistrator

%-3
%en"a#in '0 %ustos
Chief, $econstitution
<ivision


The 'anifestation finds support in the Certification dated 22

'arch 2221,
issued .- the Acting Chief of the $econstitution <ivision of the 1$A indicating the
following3

This is to certif- that a perusal fro# the records of this
Authorit-, a $eport dated <ece#.er 18, 1999 has .een su.#itted
to the $egional Trial Court, %ranch BC, *aic, Cavite relative to
the a.ove=entitled petition, a certified cop- of which is hereto
attached for read- reference0

5urther#ore, a $eport dated )cto.er 28, 1999,
purportedl- signed .- Att-0 %en"a#in '0 %ustos, Chief,
$econstitution <ivision, xerox cop- hereto attached, was
presented to this Authorit- .- Att-0 Antonio 10 1eachon ///,
Acting $egister of <eeds, Trece 'artires, rovince of Cavite,
which upon verification fro# our records, it appears that the sa#e
is spurious and not preparedAissued .- this )ffice0>&8?

Fe are not persuaded that the pieces of evidence presented .- 5ederico
and +nri9uita warrant the reconstitution of TCT *o0 T=8&990 The purpose of
reconstitution of title is to have the original title reproduced in the sa#e for# it was
in when it was lost or destro-ed0 /t is the dut- of the court to scrutini6e and verif-
carefull- all supporting docu#ents, deeds and certifications0

)nce again, we caution the courts against the hast- and rec(less grant of
petitions for reconstitution, especiall- when the- involve vast properties, such as in
this case0 And, should a petition for reconstitution .e denied for lac( of sufficient
.asis, the petitioner is not entirel- left without a re#ed-0 Ie #a- still file an
application for confir#ation of his title under the provisions of the 1and
$egistration Act, if he is, in fact, the lawful owner0>&9?

+'ERE&ORE, pre#ises considered, the instant etition for $eview
on Certiorari is here.- DENIED0 The <ecision dated 5 <ece#.er 2225 of the
Court of Appeals in CA=G0$0 CC *o0 72782 dis#issing the etition for
$econstitution of TCT *o0 T=8&99, filed .- 5ederico A0 Angat and +nri9uita A0
Angat, is here.- A&&IR,ED0 Costs against petitioners0 SO ORDERED.
DIRECTOR O& LANDS VS IAC, AC,E
GR NO. 73002, DEC. 29, 198B
5ACT:3 Ac#e l-wood K Ceneer Co0, /nc0, a corp0 represented .- 'r0 $odolfo
*a6ario, ac9uired fro# 'ariano and Acer /nfiel, #e#.ers of the <u#agat tri.e 5
parcels of land0 ossession of the /nfiels over the landdates .ac( .efore the
hilippines was discovered .- 'agellan0 1and sought to .e registered is a private
land pursuant to $A &872 granting a.solute ownership to #e#.ers of the non=
Christian Tri.es on land occupied .- the# or their ancestral lands, whether with the
aliena.le or disposa.le pu.lic land or within the pu.lic do#ain0 Ac#e l-wood K
Ceneer Co0 /nc0, has introduced #ore than 85' worth of i#prove#ents0
)wnership and possession of the land sought to .e registered was dul- recogni6ed
.- the govern#ent when the 'unicipal )fficials of 'aconacon, /sa.ela0 <onated
part of the land as the townsite of 'aconacon /sa.ela0
ISSUE* FA* the land is alread- a private land0
'ELD* G+:0 /t had alread- ceased to .e of the pu.lic do#ain and had .eco#e
private propert-, at least .- presu#ption0 The application for confir#ation is #ere
for#alit-, the lac( of which does not affect the legal sufficienc- of the title as would
.e evidenced .- the patent and the Torrens title to .e issued upon the strength of
said patent0 The effect of the proof, wherever #ade, was not to confer title, .ut
si#pl- to esta.lish it, as alread- conferred .- the decree, if not .- earlier law0

REPUBLIC VS IGLESIA NI CRISTO
GR NO. 1800B7, JUNE 30 2009
&ACTS* )n *ove#.er 19, 1998, /glesia *i Cristo (/*C!, represented .- +raVo G0
'analo, as corporate sole, filed its Application for $egistration of Title .efore the
'CT in aoa-=Curri#ao0 Appended to the application were the sepia or tracing
cloth of plan :wo=1=221287, the technical description of su."ect lot, the Geodetic
+ngineerOs Certificate, Tax <eclaration *o0 (T<! 52822, covering the su."ect lot,
and the :epte#.er 7, 1972 <eed of :ale executed .- %ernardo %andaguio in favor
of /*C0 Then there was a $eport given .- the Cit- +nviron#ent and *atural
$esources )ffice special investigator showing that the su."ect lot is within aliena.le
and disposa.le pu.lic 6one, The $epu.lic, through the )ffice of the :olicitor
General ():G!, entered its appearance and deputi6ed the rovincial rosecutor of
1aoag Cit- to appear on its .ehalf0 /t also filed an )pposition to /*COs application0
ISSUE* F)* a "udicial confir#ation of i#perfect title prosper when the su."ect
propert- has .een declared as aliena.le onl- after 4une 12, 19850
'ELD* /*C had indeed sufficientl- esta.lished its possession and occupation of the
su."ect lot in accordance with the u.lic 1and Act and :ec0 18(1! of < 1529, and
had dul- proved its right to "udicial confir#ation of i#perfect title over su."ect lot0
The possession of /*C has .een esta.lished not onl- fro# 1952 and 1959 when it
purchased the respective halves of the su."ect lot, .ut is also tac(ed on to the
possession of its predecessors=in=interest, %adanguio and :a.uco, the latter
possessing the su."ect lot wa- .efore 4une 12, 1985, as he inherited the .igger lot,
of which the su."ect lot is a portion, fro# his parents0 These possessions and
occupationNNfro# :a.uco, including those of his parents, to /*C@ and fro# :a.uco
to %adanguio to /*CNNhad .een in the concept of owners3 open, continuous,
exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation under a bona fide clai# of
ac9uisition of propert-0 These had not .een distur.ed as attested to .- respondentOs
witnesses0

G.R. No. 75042 No>0</0# 29, 1988
REPUBLIC O& T'E P'ILIPPINES, 702626o!0#, >5. INTER,EDIATE
APPELLATE COURT, RO,AN CAT'OLIC BIS'OP O& LUCENA,
#07#050!20( /$ ,58#. Jo50 T. S!-.0@, !( REGIONAL TRIAL COURT,
BRANC' LIII, LUCENA CITC, #057o!(0!25.
T.0 So36-62o# G0!0#3 1o# 702626o!0#.
G63/0#2 D. C<368! 1o# 7#6>20 #057o!(0!2.
&ACTS*
%ac(ground3 C5/ and /AC3 $)'A* CATI)1/C %/:I) of 1ucena, represented
.- 9s%r. =ose '. Sanchez( applicant vs. the Director of Lands and the Director(
"ureau of &orest Development A +ranted to Roman Catholic "ishop of Lucena -
+valuating the applicant;s su.#itted proofs, the court a 9uo concluded, on the .asis
of ac9uisitive prescription at the ver- least, that the for#er had ade9uatel- shown
title to the parcels of land .eing clai#ed0
LOCATION* %arrio 'asin, 'unicipalit- of Candelaria, Eue6on rovince and
%arrio %ucal (Taguan!, sa#e #unicipalit- and province
LAND AREA* 1ots 1, 2 and & of plan :<=,5,8, and its technical descriptions,
and the parcel of land descri.ed in plan :M=112592 and its technical description,
together with whatever i#prove#ents existing thereon, in the na#e of the $)'A*
CATI)1/C %/:I) of 1ucena, 1ot 8 = :M=112592
PARTIES*
10 $)'A* CATI)1/C %/:I) )5 1ucena, represented .- 9s%r. =ose '.
Sanchez( applicant-appellee
20 Republic of the Philippines )ppositors=appellants
ON +'AT GROUNDS*
&0 the applicant clai#ed title to the various properties through either purchase or
donation dating as far .ac( as 1928
80 )ppositor3 that the applicant did not have an i#perfect title or title in fee si#ple
to the parcel of land .eing applied for0 The issue raised in this case involves the
9uestion of whether the $o#an Catholic %ishop of 1ucena, as a corporation sole is
9ualified to appl- for confir#ation of its title to the four (8! parcels of land su."ect
of this case, that the $o#an Catholic Church, as a corporation, is dis9ualified fro#
owning properties fro# the pu.lic do#ain .ased on Art0 B/C, :ec0 11 of the 197&
Constitution and that the registration was applied after the effectivit- of the 197&
constitution0
ISSUE*
10 Fhether or not a corporation sole should .e treated as an ordinar- private
corporation, for purpose of the application of Art0 B/C, :ec0 11 of the 197&
Constitution0
20 FA* the lots are part of the pu.lic do#ain0
'ELD * /n 1982, which developed, affir#ed and reaffir#ed the doctrine that open,
exclusive and undisputed possession of aliena.le pu.lic land for the period
prescri.ed .- law creates the legal fiction where.- the land, upon co#pletion of the
re9uisite period ipso jure and without the need of "udicial or other sanction, ceases
to .e pu.lic land and .eco#es; private propert-0 </$+CT)$ )5 1A*<: vs0 /AC,
supra, p0 518!0
*o proof .eing ad#issa.le to overco#e a conclusive presu#ption,
confir#ation proceedings would, in truth .e little #ore than a for#alit-, at the #ost
li#ited to ascertaining whether the possession clai#ed is of the re9uired character
and length of ti#e, and registration thereunder would not confer title, .ut si#pl-
recogni6e a title alread- vested0
A corporation sole is a special for# of corporation usuall- associated with
the clerg-0
A corporation sole consists of one person onl-, and his successors (who
will alwa-s .e one at a ti#e!, ertinent to this case is the provision of :ec0 11&
%atas a#.ansa %lg0 ,8 which reads as follows3
:ec0 11&0 Ac*uisition and alienation of property0 J An- corporation sole #a-
purchase and hold real estate and personal propert- for its church, charita.le,
.enevolent or educational purposes, and #a- receive .e9uests or gifts for such
purposes0
GRANDE VS CA (wA full text!
L;175B2, JUNE 30, 19B2
&ACTS* The Grandes are owners of a parcel of land in /sa.ela, .- inheritance fro#
their deceased #other, atricia Angui, who li(ewise, inherited it fro# her parents0
/n the earl- 19&2Os, the Grandes decided to have their land surve-ed for registration
purposes0 The land was descri.ed to have Caga-an $iver as the northeastern
.oundar-, as stated in the title0
%- 1958, a gradual accretion too( place due to the action of the current of
the river, and an alluvial deposit of al#ost 22,222 s90#0 was added to the registered
area0 The Grandes filed an action for 9uieting of title against the Calalungs, stating
that the- were in peaceful and continuous possession of the land created .- the
alluvial deposit until 1988, when the Calalungs allegedl- trespassed into their
propert-0 The Calalungs, however, stated that the- were the rightful owners since
prior to 19&&0
The C5/ found for the Grandes and ordered the Calalungs to vacate the
pre#ises and pa- for da#ages0 Mpon appeal to the CA, however, the decision was
reversed0
ISSUE* Fhether or not the alluviu# deposited land auto#aticall- .elongs to the
riparian ownersR
'ELD* Art0 857 dictates that alluviu# deposits on land .elong to the owners of the
ad"acent land0 Iowever, this does not ipso "ure .eco#e theirs #erel- .elieving that
said land have .eco#e i#prescripti.le0 The land of the Grandes onl- specifies a
specific portion, of which the alluvial deposits are not included, and are thus,
su."ect to ac9uisition .- prescription0 :ince the Calalungs proved that the- have
.een in possession of the land since 19&8 via two credi.le witnesses, as opposed to
the GrandeOs single witness who clai#s that the Calalungs onl- entered the land in
1988, the Calalungs have .een held to have ac9uired the land created .- the alluvial
deposits .- prescription0 This is .ecause the possession too( place in 19&8, when
the law to .e followed was Act 192, and not the *ew Civil Code, which onl- too(
effect in 19520
CUREG VS IAC (wA full text!
GR NO. 734B5, SEPT. 7, 1989
&ACTS* )n 5 *ove#.er 1982, <o#ingo Apostol, :oledad Gerardo, $osa Gerardo,
*ieves Gerardo, 5lordeli6a Gerardo and 1ilia 'a9uinad filed a co#plaint for
9uieting of title and da#ages with preli#inar- in"unction against 1eonida, $o#eo,
epito, Iernando, 'anuel, Antonio and +lpidio Carni-an with the $TC /sa.ela
(Civil Case %r0 111=&7&!0
A te#porar- restraining order was issued .- the trial court on 12
*ove#.er 19820
The co#plaint alleged that the Gerardos and 'a9uinad are the legal andAor
the forced heirs of the late <o#ingo Gerardo, who died in 5e.ruar- 1988, the latter
.eing the onl- issue of the late 5rancisco Gerardo, who died .efore the out.rea( of
FF//@ that since ti#e i##e#orial andAor .efore 2, 4ul- 1898, the late 5rancisco
Gerardo, together with his predecessors=in=interest have .een in actual, open,
peaceful and continuous possession, under a .ona fide clai# of ownership and
adverse to all other clai#ants, of a parcel of land, situated in Casi.arag=Ca"el,
Ca.agan, /sa.ela, containing an area of 205 hectares >*3 Caga-an $iver@ +3
<o#ingo Guinga. (for#erl- $osa Cureg!@ :3 Antonio Carni-an@ and F3 :a.ina
'ola?0
:aid land was declared for taxation purposes under T< 28=&22& in the
na#e of 5rancisco Gerardo, which cancelled T< C=9,,9, in the na#e of 5rancisco@
that upon the death of 5rancisco Gerardo, the ownership and possession of the land
was succeeded .- his onl- issue, <o#ingo Gerardo who, together with & legal or
forced heirs, na#el- :oledad Gerardo, ri#o Gerardo(^! and :alud Gerardo(^!
have also .een in actual, open, peaceful and continuous possession of the sa#e0
ri#o Gerardo was survived .- $osa, *ieves and 5lordeli6a Gerardo@
while :alud Gerardo was survived .- 1ilia 'a9uinad0 /n 1979, :oledad, $osa,
*ieves, and 5lordeli6a Gerardo along with 1ilia 'a9uinad ver.all- sold the land to
<o#ingo Apostol0 )n 12 :epte#.er 1982, the ver.al sale and conve-ance was
reduced into writing .- the vendors who executed an L+xtra=4udicial artition with
Coluntar- $econve-ance0Q A.out the ti#e of the execution of the +xtra=
4udicial artition, the land alread- #anifested signs of accretion of a.out & hectares
on the north caused .- the northward #ove#ent of the Caga-an $iver@ that
<o#ingo Apostol declared the land and its accretion for tax purposes under T< 28=
1&281 on 15 :epte#.er 19820 :o#eti#e a.out the last wee( of :epte#.er and or
the first wee( of )cto.er 1982, when the Gerardos, 'a9uinad and Apostol were
a.out to cultivate their land together with its accretion, the- were prevented and
threatened .- the Carni-ans (1eonida Cureg and $o#eo, epito, Iernando,
'anuel, Antonio and +lpidio3 surviving spouse and children of Antonio Carni-an!
fro# continuing to do so0
The late Antonio Carni-an was the owner of a piece of land (ac9uired fro#
his father=in=law 'arcos Cureg on 5 )cto.er 195, as evidenced .- an A.solute
<eed of :ale! situated in Casi.arag=Ca"el, Ca.agan, /sa.ela which contained an
area of 2,792 s90 #0(*3 <o#ingo Gerardo@ +3 <o#ingo Guinga.@ :3 elagio
Ca#a-o@ and F3 'arcos Cureg!, and which was declared for taxation purposes
under T< 1&1&1, with an assessed value of 720220 Carni-an revised on 28
*ove#.er 19,8 his T< 1&1&1 dated 28 4ul- 19,1 to confor# with the correct area
and .oundaries of his )CT =1929& issued on 25 *ove#.er 19,8 pursuant to 5ree
atent &998&1 dated 21 'a- 19,8@ that the area under the new T< 15,,& was
increased fro# 2,792 s90#s0 to 8,588 s90#s0 and the .oundar- on the north .eca#e
Caga-an $iver, purposel- eli#inating co#pletel- the original .oundar- on the north
which is <o#ingo Gerardo0 The heirs of Antonio Carni-an (Cureg, et0al0! alleged in
their answer that the land clai#ed .- the Gerardos and Apostol is non=existent@ that
Antonio Carni-an was the owner of a piece of land .ounded on the north .-
Caga-an $iver and not .- the land of 5rancisco Gerardo@ that the Lsu."ect landL is
an accretion to their registered land and that the- have .een in possession and
cultivation of the LaccretionL for #an- -ears0
The application for the issuance of a writ of preli#inar- in"unction was
denied on 28 4ul- 198& on the ground that the Carni-ans (Cureg! were in actual
possession of the land in litigation prior to :epte#.er 19820 /n a decision rendered
on , 4ul- 1988, the trial court rendered "udg#ent declaring <o#ingo Apostol the
a.solute owner of the parcel of land containing an area of 505222 hectares (*3
Caga-an $iver@ +3 <o#ingo Guinga.@ :3 Antonio Carni-an@ and F3 .- :a.ina
'ola! and with an assessed value of &,522@ ordering the issuance of a writ of
preli#inar- in"unction against Cureg, et0al0@ ordering that the writ .e #ade
per#anent@ and ordering Cureg, et0al0 to pa- Apostol, et0al0 a reasona.le attorne-;s
fee of 5,222022, litigation expenses of 1,522022 and costs0
)n 17 4ul- 1988, Cureg appealed to the then /AC Court which affir#ed the
decision of the trial court on 15 )cto.er 1985 (CA=G$ CC 2&852!0 Cureg;s 'otion
for $econsideration was denied on 8 4anuar- 198,0 Ience, the petition for review
under $ule 85 of the $ule of Court0The :upre#e Court granted the petition,
reversed and set aside the decision appealed fro#, and rendered "udg#ent
dis#issing Civil Case %r0 ///=&7& for 9uieting of title and da#ages@ with costs
against Apostol, et0al0
ISSUE*
'ELD*
1. T= D0-3#26o! !o2 5"116-60!2 0>6(0!-0 2o 7#o>0 o4!0#5.67H OCT 6!(6-205
2#"0 !( 3083 o4!0#5.67
Gerardos; and 'a9uinadOs (therefore ApostolOs! clai# of ownership of their alleged
2 K 1A2 hectare land is anchored #ainl- on 8 tax declarations0 The declaration of
ownership for purposes of assess#ent on the pa-#ent of the tax is not sufficient
evidence to prove ownership0 (+vangelista v0 Ta.a-u-ong, 7 hil0 ,27@ +lu#.aring
v0 +lu#.aring, 12 hil0 &88@ cited in Ca#o v0 $iosa %a-co, 29 hil0 8&7, 888!0 )n
the other hand, Cureg et0al0 relied on the indefeasi.ilit- and incontroverti.ilit- of
their )CT =1929&0 /n the case of 5errer=1ope6 v0 Court of Appeals (G$ 52822, 29
'a- 1987, 152 :C$A &9&, 821=822!, it was ruled that as against an arra- of proofs
consisting of tax declarations andAor tax receipts which are not conclusive evidence
of ownership nor proof of the area covered therein, an original certificate of title
indicates true and legal ownership .- the registered owners over the disputed
pre#ises0 Cureg;s )CT =1929& should .e accorded greater weight as against the
tax declarations offered .- Apostol, et0al0 in support of their clai#, which
declarations are all in the na#e of the lattersO predecessor=in=interest, 5rancisco
Gerardo, and appear to have .een su.scri.ed .- hi# after the last war, when it was
esta.lished during the trial that 5rancisco Gerardo died long .efore the out.rea( of
the last war0
2. D0-#00 o1 #08652#26o! /#5 33 -36<5 !( #68.25 #656!8 o# 0=6526!8 7#6o# 2o
(0-#00
A decree of registration .ars all clai#s and rights which arose or #a- have existed
prior to the decree of registration (5errer=1ope6 v0 CA, supra0, p0 828!0 %- the
issuance of the decree, the land is .ound and title thereto 9uieted, su."ect onl- to
exceptions stated in :ection &9, Act 89, (now :ection 88 of < 1529!0 :ince
Cureg;s original certificate of title clearl- stated that su."ect land is .ounded on the
north .- the Caga-an $iver, Apostol;s clai# over the land allegedl- existing
.etween Cureg;s land and the Caga-an $iver, is dee#ed .arred and nullified with
the issuance of the original certificate of title0
3. T= D0-3#26o! o1 0#360# (20 -!!o2 (0102 OCT o1 320# (20H C"#08 !o2
052o770( 5 T= D0-3#26o!5 5"/50?"0!2 2o 655"!-0 o1 OCT 52205 !o#2.0#!
/o"!(#$ 65 C8$! #6>0#
A tax declaration, .eing of an earlier date cannot defeat an original certificate of
title which is of a later date0 The appellate court erred in considering Tax
<eclaration 1&1&1, in the na#e of Antonio Carni-an, as an ad#ission .- hi# that
his land is .ounded on the north .- the land of <o#ingo Gerardo and thus is
estopped fro# clai#ing otherwise0 The tax declarations of the late Antonio
Carni-an su.se9uent to the issuance of )CT =1929& alread- states that its northern
.oundar- is Caga-an $iver0 /n effect, he has repudiated an- previous
ac(nowledg#ent .- hi#, granting that he caused the acco#plish#ent of the tax
declarations in his na#e .efore the issuance of )CT =1929&, of the existence of
5rancisco Gerardo;s land0
4. C"#08, 02.3. 6! -2"3 7o550556o!H E>6(0!-0
+vidence on record proves that Cureg, et0al0 are in actual possession of the land0
5irst, the trial court in its <ecision stated the reason for den-ing private respondents;
petition for the issuance of a preli#inar- in"unction, is that Cureg, et0al0 were in
actual possession of the land in litigation prior to :epte#.er 19820 :econd, witness
for Apostol, et0al0, +ste.an Guinga., .oundar- owner on the east of the land in
9uestion and whose own land is .ounded on the north of Caga-an $iver, on cross=
exa#ination, revealed that when his propert- was onl- #ore than 1 hectare in 1958,
(now #ore than 8 hectares! his .oundar- on the west is the land of Antonio
Carni-an0 Third, witness $ogelio C0 Al.ano, a geodetic engineer, on direct
exa#ination stated that in 1978, the late Antonio Carni-an re9uested hi# to surve-
the land covered .- his title and the accretion attached to it, .ut he did not pursue
the sa#e .ecause he learned fro# the )ffice of the <irector of the %ureau of 1ands
that the sa#e accretion is the su."ect of an application for ho#estead patent of one
<e#ocrata Aguila, contrar- to the state#ent of the trial court and the appellate court
that Al.ano L#ade three atte#pts to surve- the land .ut he did not continue to
surve- .ecause persons other than defendants were in possession of the land,L
which state#ent appears onl- to .e a conclusion0 5ourth, an order .- the <irector of
1ands dated 18 August 1982 in connection with the Io#estead Application of
<e#ocrata Aguila of an accretion situated in Cata.a-ungan, Ca.agan, /sa.ela, such
application was disapproved .ecause in an investigation conducted .- the %ureau of
1ands of the area applied for which is an accretion, the sa#e was found to .e
occupied and cultivated .-, a#ong others, Antonio Carni-an, who clai#ed it as an
accretion to his land0 Apostol, et0al0 nor their predecessors=in=interest appeared as
one of those found occup-ing and cultivating said accretion0
5. A--#026o! /03o!85 2o #67#6! o4!0#5
The land in 9uestion is an alluvial deposit left .- the northward #ove#ent of the
Caga-an $iver and pursuant to Article 857 of the *ew Civil Code, it is said that Lto
the owners of land ad"oining the .an(s of river .elong the accretion which the-
graduall- receive fro# the effects of the current of the waters0L
B. A--#026o! (o05 !o2 "2o<26-33$ /0-o<0 #086520#0( 3!(
The area covered .- )CT =1929& is onl- 8,588 s90 #s0 The accretion attached to
said land is approxi#atel- 505 hectares0 The increase in the area of Cureg;s land,
.eing an accretion left .- the change of course or the northward #ove#ent of the
Caga-an $iver does not auto#aticall- .eco#e registered land "ust .ecause the lot
which receives such accretion is covered .- a Torrens title0 (:ee Grande v0 Court of
Appeals, 1=17,52, 4une &2, 19,2!0 As such, it #ust also .e placed under the
operation of the Torrens :-ste#0L
ANGEL DEL ROSARIO VS REPUBLIC
GR NO. 148338, JUNE B, 2002
&ACTS* The case is a petition for review on the reversal of the decision of the $TC
.- the CA den-ing the application of the petitioner for the registration of a parcel of
land (forest land! located in 'aragondon, Cavite0 /n )cto.er 1&, 1997, petitioner
filed an application for registration of a parcel of land, stating therein that he is
resident of o.lacion, Ternate, Cavite@ that he and his predecessors=in=interest had
.een in the open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of
the land in 9uestion, which was aliena.le and disposa.le land, under a .ona fide
clai# of ownership since the 1922s or even earlier@ and that such land was .eing
occupied and cultivated .- hi# and his fa#il-0 Ie also indicated the
ownersAoccupants of the ad"oining properties and su.#itted the following
docu#ents3 (a! an advance surve- plan of the land applied for with technical
descriptions, :urve- lan, Ap=28=2211,21, (.! Technical <escription of 1ot *o0
1891@ (c! Certification in lieu of Geodetic +ngineer;s certification issued for
registration purposes, attesting to the genuineness of the surve- plan@ (d!
Certification, dated August 18, 1997, that the su."ect land is aliena.le and
disposa.le@(e! Certification, dated )cto.er 7, 1997, that the propert- is not covered
.- an- pu.lic land application or patent@ (f! Tax <eclaration *o0 7818, :eries of
1998, covering the parcel of land@ and (g! )fficial $eceipt *o0 12&8951:, dated
:epte#.er 9, 1997, showing petitioner;s pa-#ent of the realt- taxes on the said lot
up to 19970 etitioner also su.#itted to the .ranch cler( of court the original
cop- of tracing cloth plan of the land and the latter trans#itted to the 1and
$egistration Authorit- all the docu#ents supporting the petitionerOs application0 *o
oppositor appeared during the hearing except for the provincial prosecutor in .ehalf
of the %ureau of 1ands0 All parties except to the %ureau of 1ands were declared in
default .- the court and the trial ensued0 etitioner presented witnesses in the person
of $a-#uldo Telia who testified he (nows the petitioner to .e the owner of the said
land since he was -oung0 etitioner further clai#s that he and his fa#il- planted
#ango and .a#.oo trees and raised ani#als on it and the- solel- gather the fruits
and forest products of said land0 The lower court granted the application of the
petitioner thus the respondent appealed to the CA contending that the petitioner
failed to su.#it the original tracing cloth plan of the lot and to esta.lish that he and
his predecessors=in=interest has .een in open, notorious, continuous, uninterrupted
possession of the land in dispute within the period re9uired .- law0 The CA reversed
the lower court decision holding that the petitioner failed to su.#it the original cop-
of the tracing cloth plan of the land applied for registration0
ISSUE* Fhether or not the failure to su.#it the original cop- of the tracing cloth
plan is re9uired in the land registration proceeding0
'ELD* he court held that the su.#ission of the original cop- of the tracing cloth
plan is a #andator- re9uire#ent inthe application of original registration of land0
5ailure to su.#it the sa#e is fatal0 The purpose of which is to esta.lish the true
identit- of the land and ensure that it does not overlap ad"oining lands that are
alread- registered0
10 The contention of the petitioner that he su.#itted it to the .ranch
cler( of court who trans#itted the sa#e to the 1and $egistration Authorit-
has no #erit since the court held that he is dut- .ound to retrieve it and
su.#it it .efore the court0 /t is not the function of the 1$C to chec( the
original surve- plan as it had no authorit- to approve original surve- plans0
/f, for an- reason, the original tracing cloth plan was forwarded there, the
applicant #a- easil- retrieve the sa#e there fro# and su.#it the sa#e in
evidence0
20 The court cannot ad#it his pra-er to reopen the proceeding for hi# to
su.#it the original tracing cloth plan or sepia paper as newl- discovered
evidence for it does not #eet the following re9uisites for re=opening a case
to present a new evidence3 1! the evidence was discovered after the trial@ 2!
such evidence could not have .een discovered or produced on trial within a
reasona.le ti#e@ &! it is #aterial and not #erel- corro.orative in weight
that when ad#itted will change the "udg#ent0 The original tracing plan
cannot .e considered as newl- discovered evidence since it was alread-
availa.le at the ti#e of application for registration0
&0 etitioner failed to esta.lish to have #et the legal re9uire#ents on the
#anner and length of possession as to vest hi# title of ownership of the
land0 Ie clai#s to have planted .a#.oo trees and #ango trees .ut such is
held .- the court as P#ere casual cultivationQ of the land that does not
constitute possession under clai# of ownership0
The court held that a possession of pu.lic land however long never confers title to a
person .ecause thestatute of li#itation provided for pu.lic land does not operate
against the state unless occupant can prove under clai# of ownership their
possession and occupation for the re9uired nu#.er of -ears0 (&2 -ears!