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Nature of the Proceedings


Since the subject lands are alienable and disposable lands of the
public domain, the applicants may acquire title thereto only under
the PLA.
Applicants could not acquire land through adverse possession
since the land was only classified as alienable in 1963 AND their
possession only started in 1950.
(Note: Substantial requirements for public lands are in the PLA
but the procedural requirements are in the PRD.)
Civil Code provisions on prescription, which is subject to
confirmation under the PRD, in general applies to all types of land.
However, excluded therefrom are lands of the public domain which
are covered by the PLA [special law v. general law]

Laburada v. LRA, G.R. No. 101387. March 11, 1998

Sps laburada applied for the registration of lot 3-a located in
madaluyong which was approved by the trial court. Upon motion of the
sps , the trial court ordered LRA to issue the corresponding decree of
registration. However the LRA refused. Hence sps filed for mandamus.
Based on the record, some portions of the lot 3-a which is sought to be
registered is covered by certificates issued prior to the decree.
WON LRA may be compelled by mandamus.
Court has no jurisdiction to decree again the registration of land
already decreed in an earlier land registration case and a second
decree for the same land is void. This is so, because when once
decreed by a court of competent jurisdiction, the title to the land
thus determined is already a res judicata binding on the whole
world, the proceedings being in rem. The court has no power in a
subsequent proceeding (not based on fraud nor within the statutory
period) to adjudicate the same title in favor of another person.
Furthermore, the registration of the property in the name of the first
registered owner in the Registration Book is a standing notice to the
world that said property is already registered in his name. Hence,
the latter applicant is chargeable with notice that the land he
applied for is already covered by a title so he has no right
In other words, the first proceedings are in rem which binds the
second proceedings.
As the title of the respondents, who hold certificates of title under
the Land Registration Act becomes indefeasible, it follows that the
Court of First Instance has no power or jurisdiction to entertain
proceedings for the registration of the same parcels of land covered
by the certificates of title of the respondents.
4. In Relation to the Public Land Act (CA 141, as amended)


Republic v. Herbieto, G.R. No. 156117. May 26, 2005]

The CA overlooked the difference between the Property
Registration Decree and the Public Land Act. Under the PRD, there
already exists a title which is confirmed by the Court; while under
the PLA, the presumption always is that the land applied for
pertains to the State, and that the occupants and possessors only a
claim an interest in the same by virtue of their imperfect title or
continous, open and notorious possession [since June 12, 1945 or

Heirs of Lopez v. De Castro, G.R. No. 112905. February 3, 2000

A proceeding in rem, such as land registration proceedings,
requires constructive seizure of the land as against all persons,
including the State, who have rights to or interests in the property.
Constructive seizure of the land for registration is effected through
publication of the application for registration and service of notice to
affected parties.
Consequently, when respondents De Castro filed their own
application for registration of the same parcel of land in the
Tagaytay CFI branch, strictly speaking, it could no longer entertain
the application for registration as the res involved had been
constructively seized by the Cavite CFI branch. Be that as it may,
the Court is not persuaded that the registration proceedings
instituted by private respondents should be nullified by reason of
the fact that the Cavite City branch of the same court was already
proceeding with another registration case for the same piece of
In land registration proceedings, all interested parties are obliged to
take care of their interests and to zealously pursue their objective of
registration on account of the rule that whoever first acquires title to
a piece of land shall prevail. To illustrate, where more than one
certificate of title is issued over the land, the person holding a prior
certificate is entitled to the land as against a person who relies on a
subsequent certificate. It should be stressed that said rule refers to
the date of the certificate of title and not to the date of filing of the
application for registration of title. Hence, even though an applicant
precedes another, he may not be deemed to have priority of right to
register title. As such, while his application is being processed, an
applicant is duty-bound to observe vigilance and to take care that
his right or interest is duly protected.

Governing Laws
Property Registration Decree or P.D. 1529

Arts. 708 to 711, Civil Code of the Philippines



Verification of history titles.

Regional Registries of Deeds

Land Registration Authority - is an agency of the Philippine government under

the Department of Justice responsible for issuing decrees of registration and
certificates of title and register documents, patents and other land transaction for the
benefit of landowners, agrarian reform-beneficiaries and the registering public in
general; providing a secure, stable and trustworthy record of land ownership and
recorded interests therein so as to promote social and economic well-being and
contribute to the national development.

Exercise immediate administrative supervision over all provincial and city

Registrars of Deeds and other personnel within the region.

Implement all orders, decisions and decrees promulgated relative to the

registration of land titles within the region and issue, subject to the approval
of the Administrator, all needful rules and regulations therefore.

Registries of Deeds

Implement policies, programs, memoranda, orders, circulars and rules and

regulations of the Authority.

Answer queries relative to registration of deeds.

Coordinate with regional offices of other departments, bureaus/ agencies

under the Department of Justice and with the local governments and police
units in the region.

Extend speedy and effective assistance to the Department of Agrarian

Reform, the Land Bank of the Philippines and other agencies in the
implementation of the land reform program of the government.

Clients needing information about title to lands go to Registry of Deeds (RD) office
concerned. It is in this office that the service rendered to the public by the Land
Registration Authority is almost done. Today, there are 168 RDs nationwide.
Specifically, an RD is tasked with the following:
1. Register deeds affecting registered (Act 496) and unregistered (Act 3344)
properties as well as deeds on personal properties under the Chattel Mortgage Law;
2. Entry and issuance of original certificates of title (OCT) pursuant to judicial decrees
and patents; entry and issuance of all transfer certificates of title pursuant to
registration of all subsequent dealings, voluntary or involuntary, on registered lands;
3. Collection of entry, registration, legal research and assurance fund fees in
accordance with the rates provided by the law;
4. Reconstitution of lost certificates of title in accordance, with the provisions of
Republic Act No. 26 as amended by PD 1529;
5. Cooperation with other agencies of government in the collection of taxes and fees
such as land transfer tax, capital gains tax, donor's gift tax, estate tax, real estate tax,
residence tax, privilege tax;
6. Cooperation with other government agencies regarding the land reform program
under PD 27 by complying with land reform requirements prior to registration;
7. Repository of all titles, deeds, and records within the limits of its jurisdiction.
8. It is also responsible for the following services;

Provision of records retrieval services regarding requests for the reference

to, or research on any document, titles on file and issuance of certified true


Certificate of Title


Preparation of Decree and Certificate of Title

P.D. 1529. SECTION 39. Preparation of Decree and Certificate of Title. After the
judgment directing the registration of title to land has become final, the court shall,
within fifteen days from entry of judgment, issue an order directing the Commissioner
to issue the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title. The clerk of
court shall send, within fifteen days from entry of judgment, certified copies of the
judgment and of the order of the court directing the Commissioner to issue the
corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title, and a certificate stating
that the decision has not been amended, reconsidered, nor appealed, and has
become final. Thereupon, the Commissioner shall cause to be prepared the decree of
registration as well as the original and duplicate of the corresponding original
certificate of title. The original certificate of title shall be a true copy of the decree of
registration. The decree of registration shall be signed by the Commissioner, entered
and filed in the Land Registration Commission. The original of the original certificate
of title shall also be signed by the Commissioner and shall be sent, together with the
owner's duplicate certificate, to the Register of Deeds of the city or province where
the property is situated for entry in his registration book.
Reyes v. Raval Reyes, G.R. Nos. L-21703-04. August 31, 1966

Three brothers owned several parcels of land located in ilocos norte where 2
OCTs are involved. Petitioners filed for writ of possession over the lots
against respondent. Respondent opposed the motion, admitting that he is
only in possession of the lots covered by Original Certificate of Title No.
22161, but denying that he possesses the lots covered by Original
Certificate of Title No. 8066; however, he claims that he acquired possession
by way of absolute sale from petitioners' brother. Meteo and juan filed
motion to compel respondent to deliver to them the owners duplicate of the
OCTs. Respondent opposed the motion.

Cajayon v. Spouses Batuyong, G.R. No. 149118. February 16, 2006

Cajayon, constantino and candelaria are co owners oflot covered by a TCT.
Petirioners and candelaria entered into a partition agreement and Candelaria then
sold to the petitioners his property. petitioners started the construction of a seven (7)door bungalow-type building that allegedly intruded into the lot of Respondents in
which they agreed upon that petitioners would defer the construction work pending
the result of a relocation survey to be conducted by a government surveyor. The
surveyor submitted a report that there was a delineation of bounderies but despite
that the petioners proceeded with the construction. Petitioners refused Despite the
demands made to the petioners to vacate the the encroached portion. respondents
filed an ejectment case against petitioners before the Metropolitan Trial Court. Metc
and ca ruled in favor of the respondents. As a collateral issue, Petitioners claim that
they are entitled to the rights of a builder in good faith.

WON respondent has a better right to the possession of the disputed

owners' duplicates of certificates of title.
the owner of the land in whose favor and in whose name said land is
registered and inscribed in the certificate of title has a more preferential right
to the possession of the owners' duplicate than one whose name does not
appear in the certificate and has yet to establish his right to the possession

WON petitioners are in good faith.

It is doctrinal in land registration that the possession of titled property
adverse to the registered owner is necessarily tainted with bad faith. Thus,
proceeding with the construction works on the disputed lot despite
knowledge of respondents ownership put petitioners in bad faith.

National Grains Authority v. IAC, G.R. No. L-68741 Jan. 28, 1988
Sps. Vivas and lizard sold their property to the private respondents and they agreed
to pay the remaining balance once the title certificate is issued. However the OCT
covering the property sold was issued in the name of sps vivas and lizardo. The sps
then mortgage the property in favor of national grains authority. Failure of the sps to
settle their obligations, extrajudicial foreclosure was made. NGA being the highest
bidder acquired the property and TCT was issued in NGAs name. respondents filed a
complaint and prayed that they be declared the owners. Private respondents claim a
better right to the property in question by virtue of the Conditional Sale, later changed
to a deed of Absolute Sale which although unregistered under the Torrens System
allegedly transferred to them the ownership and the possession of the property in

Sps. Valenzuela v. Sps. Mano, G.R. No. 172611, July 9, 2010

Federico Valenzuela inherited a parcel of land from his father. Meanwhile a
conditional sale was executed between Feliciano and jose covering 2,056 sq.m
however when respondent applied for free patent, the OCT covered 2,739 sq.m.
when Federico transferred his residence to Malabon, he left the care of the property to his
nephew. Federico then instructed his nephew to construct a fence on his property but was
prevented by Jose, claiming that it was his property as reflected in his TCT. On the other hand,
Federico is claiming it as part of the property he inherited from his father. RTC and CA ruled in
favor of respondents.

WON the respondents have a better right.

WON respondents are the owners of the property.

under Section 44 of P.D. 1529, every registered owner receiving a certificate of title in
pursuance of a decree of registration, and every subsequent purchaser of registered
land taking a certificate of title for value and in good faith, shall hold the same free
from all encumbrances except those noted on the certificate and any of the
encumbrances which may be subsisting, and enumerated in the law. Under said
provision, claims and liens of whatever character, except those mentioned by law as
existing, against the land prior to the issuance of certificate of title, are cut off by such
certificate if not noted thereon, and the certificate so issued binds the whole world,
including the government. Persons dealing with property covered by a Torrens
certificate of title are not required to go beyond what appears on the face of the title.
When there is nothing on the certificate of title to indiciate any cloud or vice in the
ownership of the property, or any encumbrance thereon, the purchaser is not required
to explore further than what the Torrens upon its face indicates in quest for any
hidden defect or inchoate right that may subsequently defeat his right thereto.

A person, whose certificate of title included by mistake or oversight land

owned by another, does not become owner of such land by virtue of the
certificate alone. The Torrens System is intended to guarantee the integrity
and conclusiveness of the certificate of registration but it not intended to
perpetrate fraud against the real owner of the land. The certificate of title
cannot be used to protect a usurper from the true owner.
Title to the property merely confirms and registers ownership.

Caraan v. CA, G.R. No. 140752. Nov. 11, 2005

private respondents are the registered owners of the real property loc in Q.C. they
discovered that the land was being occupied by petitioner who had built his residential
house and such occupancy by petitioner was effected through fraud, strategy and
stealth without private respondents knowledge and consent. demands to vacate, both
oral and written, were made upon petitioner but to no avail. Respondents filed for
accion reivendicaturia against the petioners before the RTC. Petitioner contends he
had acquired the land in question through extra-ordinary prescription of thirty years of
continuous, public, open and uninterrupted possession and that he has a better right
since respondents TCT was derived from a OCT that was declared null and void by
the RTC.
WON respondents contention is correct.
a certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible title to the property
in favor of the person whose name appears therein. Private respondents
having presented TCT, they have thus proven their allegation of ownership
over the subject property.
Section 48, Presidential Decree No. 1529 (P.D. No. 1529), provides that a certificate
of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified, or
cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law. the Court defined a
collateral attack on the title in this wise:
When is an action an attack on a title? It is when the
object of the action or proceeding is to nullify the title, and thus
challenge the judgment pursuant to which the title was decreed.
The attack is direct when the object of an action or proceeding is to
annul or set aside such judgment, or enjoin its enforcement. On
the other hand, the attack is indirect or collateral when, in an action
to obtain a different relief, an attack on the judgment is
nevertheless made as an incident thereof.
In an action for recovery of possession, the defense of the possessor that
the plaintiffs certificate of title is void is a collateral attack which is prohibited
under PD 1529.
the defense of prescription of Caraan cannot stand against the Certificate of
Title of Cosme because under section 47, PD 1529, no title to registered
land in derogation of the title of the registered owner shall be acquired by
prescription or adverse possession.
De Guzman v. Agbagala, G.R. No. 163566. Feb. 19, 2008
Sps Javier and sison left 13 parcels of land which their children inherited and divided
among themselves in a public document of extrajudicial partition. Five of the parcels
of land were inherited by Carmen. On February 25, 1984, she died single, without
any compulsory heir and survived only by her sisters Encarnacion, respondent
Praxides, Juana and brother Nicasio. One afternoon, a certain Rosing Cruz went to
their house to borrow P30,000 from Milagros and offered as collateral a document

which turned out to be a deed of donation signed by Carmen in favor of her niece
Madelene Javier Cruz which She found out that it was indeed duly registered in the
registry of deeds. respondent filed civil case against Madelene praying that the deed
of donation be nullified, as well as the subsequent transfers to other parties of the
properties covered by the spurious donation. Respondent claimed that the deed of
donation was fake and This was confirmed by the handwriting expert of the National
Bureau of Investigation that the purported signature of the late Carmen on the deed of
donation was forged. petitioners claimed that they applied for a free patent over the
subject area and they were issued free patent no. 165790. During the trial, Original
Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-30187 was registered in their name. RTC declared the
deed of donation in favor of Madelene null and void ab initio, canceled the deeds of
sale executed by Madelene in favor of the defendants, declared null and void OCT
No. P-30187 in the name of petitioners and CA affirmed. Hence this petition raising
the lone issue of whether OCT No. P-30187 was correctly nullified considering that it
cannot be the subject of collateral attack under Section 48 of PD 1529.
a decree of registration or patent and the certificate of title issued pursuant thereto
may be attacked on the ground of falsification or fraud within one year from the date
of their issuance. Such an attack must be direct and not by a collateral proceeding.
An action is deemed an attack on a title when the object of the action or
proceeding is to nullify the title and thus challenge the judgment pursuant to which the
title was decreed. The attack is direct when the object of the action is to annul or set
aside such judgment, or enjoin its enforcement. On the other hand, the attack is
indirect or collateral when, in an action to obtain a different relief, an attack on the
judgment is nevertheless made as an incident thereof
In the present case, the attack on OCT No. P-30187 was merely collateral
because the action was principally for the declaration of nullity of the deed of donation
and the other deeds of conveyance which followed.
However, the principle of indefeasibility does not apply when the patent and
the title based thereon are null and void. An action to declare the nullity of a void title
does not prescribe and is susceptible to direct, as well as to collateral, attack. OCT
No. P-30187 was registered on the basis of a free patent which the RTC ruled was
issued by the Director of Lands without authority. The petitioners falsely claimed that
the land was public land when in fact it was not as it was private land previously
owned by Carmen who inherited it from her parents. Since the Director of Lands has
no authority to grant a free patent over privately owned land, any title issued pursuant
thereto is null and void.
Heirs of Maximo Labanon v. Heirs of Constancio Labanon, G.R. No. 160711. Aug, 14,
Constancio Labanon settled and cultivated a piece of alienable and disposable public
agricultural land. Being of very limited educational attainment, he found it difficult to
file his public land application over said lot. Constancio then asked his brother,

Maximo Labanon who was better educated to file the corresponding public land
application under the express agreement that they will divide the said lot as soon as it
would be feasible for them to do so. OCT was registered in favir of Maximo. Maximo
Labanon executed a document denominated as Assignment of Rights and
Ownership to safeguard the ownership and interest of his brother Constancio
Labanon and again Maximo also executed a sworn statement reiterating his desire
that his elder brother Constancio, his heirs and assigns shall own the eastern portion
of the Lot. After the death of Constancio Labanon, his heirs executed an [e]xtrajudicial settlement of estate with simultaneous sale over the aforesaid eastern portion
of the lot in favor of Alberto Makilang, the husband of Visitacion Labanon, one of the
children of Constancio. However the defendants heirs of Maximo Labanon caused to
be cancelled from the records of the defendant Provincial Assessor of Cotabato the
aforesaid TD No. 11593. Alberto Makilang, demanded the owners copy of the
certificate of title covering the aforesaid Lot to be surrendered to the Register of
Deeds of Cotabato so that the ownership of the heirs of Constancio may be fully
effected but the defendants refused and still continue to refuse to honor the trust
agreement entered into by the deceased brothers. petitioners filed a complaint for
Specific Performance, Recovery of Ownership, Attorneys Fees and Damages with
Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order against
respondents. RTC ruled in favor of petitioners but CA reversed it.
Whether or not Original Certificate of Title No. 41320 issued on April 10, 1975 in the
name of MAXIMO LABANON be now considered indefeasible and conclusive.
The principle of indefeasibility of a TCT is embodied in Section 32 of Presidential
Decree No. (PD) 1529, amending the Land Registration Act, which provides:
Section 32. Review of decree of registration; Innocent
purchaser for value. The decree of registration shall not be
reopened or revised by reason of absence, minority, or other
disability of any person adversely affected thereby, nor by
any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments,
subject, however, to the right of any person, including the
government and the branches thereof, deprived of land or of
any estate or interest therein by such adjudication or
confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud, to file in the
proper Court of First Instance a petition for reopening and
review of the decree of registration not later than one year
from and after the date of the entry of such decree of
registration, but in no case shall such petition be entertained
by the court where an innocent purchaser for value has
acquired the land or an interest therein, whose rights may
be prejudiced. Whenever the phrase innocent purchaser for
value or an equivalent phrase occurs in this Decree, it shall
be deemed to include an innocent lessee, mortgagee, or
other encumbrancer for value.
Upon the expiration of said period of one year, the
decree of registration and the certificate of title issued shall
become incontrovertible. Any person aggrieved by such

decree of registration in any case may pursue his remedy by

action for damages against the applicant or any other
persons responsible for the fraud.
Contrary to petitioners interpretation, the aforequoted legal provision does not
totally deprive a party of any remedy to recover the property fraudulently registered in
the name of another. Section 32 of PD 1529 merely precludes the reopening of the
registration proceedings for titles covered by the Torrens System, but does not
foreclose other remedies for the reconveyance of the property to its rightful owner. As
elaborated in Heirs of Clemente Ermac v. Heirs of Vicente Ermac:
While it is true that Section 32 of PD 1529 provides that the
decree of registration becomes incontrovertible after a year,
it does not altogether deprive an aggrieved party of a
remedy in law. The acceptability of the Torrens System
would be impaired, if it is utilized to perpetuate fraud against
the real owners.
Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. v. Dumyung, G.R. Nos. L-31666, L-31667 and L31668 April 30, 1979
Director of Lands, commenced in the Court of First Instance of Baguio City Civil
Cases Nos. 1068, 1069 and 1070 for annulment of Free Patent, and of the
corresponding Original Certificates of Title granted to respondents on the ground of
misrepresentation and false data and informations furnished by the defendants.
Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company, petitioner herein, filed motions for
intervention alleging that a portion of the titled lands in question is within the
intervenor's ordinary timber license and another portion of said lands is embraced in
its mineral claims. Before hearing, Director of Lands, filed in the Court of First
Instance of Baguio City three (3) criminal cases for falsification of public document
against the private respondents herein, for allegedly making untrue statements in
their applications for free patents over the lands in question. The civil cases were
suspended pending the outcome of the criminal cases. Criminal case was dismissed.
The defendants filed a motion to dismiss on the following grounds: (1) extinction of
the penal action carries with it the extinction of the civil action when the extinction
proceeds from a declaration that the fact from which the civil might arise did not exist;
(2) the decision of the trial court acquitting the defendants of the crime charged
renders these civil cases moot and academic, (3) the trial court has no jurisdiction to
order cancellation of the patents issued by the Director of Lands; (4) the certificates of
title in question can no longer be assailed; and (5) the intervenor Lepanto has no
legal interest in the subject matter in litigation. Trial court dismissed the case.

A certificate of title is void when it covers property of the public domain

classified as forest or timber and mineral lands. Any title issued on nondisposable lots even in the hands of alleged innocent purchaser for value,
shall be cancelled.
Republic v. Guerrero, G.R. No. 133168. March 28, 2006
Benjamin Guerrero filed with the Bureau of Lands (now Lands Management Bureau)
a Miscellaneous Sales Application covering a parcel of land situated at Pugad Lawin,
Quezon City and was approved. One Angelina Bustamante filed a protest with the
Bureau of Lands claiming that respondent obtained the sales patent through fraud,
false statement of facts and/or omission of material facts considering that 174 square
meters awarded to respondent covered the land where her house is situated and
where she has been residing since 1961 but was later dismissed.
Bustamante filed a motion for reconsideration. Acting on the motion for
reconsideration, the President ordered that the case be remanded to the DENR to
conduct an ocular investigation and resurvey of the disputed area property of
Guerrero , it found out that 174 square meters is under ACTUAL PHYSICAL
POSSESSION of Marcelo Bustamante (husband of Angelina Bustamante) with only
91 square meters under the physical possession of Guerrero. It was also found out
that OCT No. 0-28 is supposed to be traversed by a road 3 meters wide, as even the
Order of Award in favor of Guerrero. Pursuant to the directive of the Office of the
President, the Director of Lands instituted the instant action [Petition for Amendment

of Plan and Technical Description of OCT No. 0-28 in the name of Benjamin
Guerrero]. The [respondent] Benjamin Guerrero filed a motion to dismiss the petition
alleging that the title sought to be amended was irrevocable and can no longer be
questioned. The trial court likewise ruled that the original certificate of title (OCT No.
0-28) in the name of respondent acquired the characteristics of indefeasibility after
the expiration of one (1) year from the entry of the decree of registration. Affirmed by
WON that a certificate of title issued pursuant to any grant or patent involving public
lands is conclusive and indefeasible despite the fact that respondents title was
procured through fraud and misrepresentation.
A petition for review of the decree of registration must be filed within one
year from the date of entry of the decree. And in case of public lands, the
one-year period commences from the date of issuance of the patent by the
Government. Here, the sales patent was issued on 1982 and this action to
amend the certificate was filed only in 1989. Moreover, an administrative
claim, although filed within the 1-year prescriptive period, does not serve to
toll the 1-year period. A petition for review of the decree of registration refers
to a review of the decree of registration in the Regular Courts and not in the
Bureau of Lands.