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G.R. No.

L-6276

March 21, 1911

TOMASA M. SANTIAGO, ET AL., petitioners-appellants, vs. MARCELA C. CRUZ, ET AL., opponents-appellants. This is an appeal from a decree entered in the Court of Land Registration in a proceeding wherein the appellants sought to have title to the land described in the application adjudicated in their favor and a decree entered for its registry. The applicants are the widow and minor children of one Simon Tecson, deceased, and claim title to the land in question under a deed of sale to him from Eduvigis Manikis, widow of Estanislao C. Cruz, deceased. The objectors, who opposed the registry of the land in favor of the applicants in the court below, claim title to an undivided one-half interest in the land, as the sole heirs of Estanislao C. Cruz, deceased, through his brother Pedro C. Cruz, deceased, their common ancestor. It was satisfactorily proven, and, indeed, practically agreed in the court below that the land in question was originally public land, conveyed to Estanislao C. Cruz, deceased, by Government grant in the year 1886; that it thereafter became the communal property of Estanislao C. Cruz and his wife, Eduvigis Manikis; that after the death of Estanislao C. Cruz, his widow executed a deed of sale of the land on the 19th of May, 1896, to Simon Tecson, deceased, the husband and father, respectively, of the applicants, and that from that date to the date of the filing of the application in this proceeding, December 2, 1908 (a period of more than ten years' duration), Tecson and the appellants have successively been in quiet, peaceable and uninterrupted possession, under a claim of ownership. It was further practically agreed and satisfactorily proven in the court below, that at the time of the death of Estanislao C. Cruz, his estate and his widow were each entitled to an undivided one-half interest in the land in question, it being a part of the bienes gananciales (communal property); that the objectors in this proceeding are legitimate heirs of the estate of Estanislao C. Cruz, and his only heirs, if it be a fact that Pedro C. Cruz (the brother of Estanislao C. Cruz, through whom they claim their right of inheritance) was lawfully married to Petra, his alleged wife; but that if Pedro C. Cruz and Petra were not lawfully married, then the land in question, as a part of the estate of Estanislao C. Cruz, went, at his death, to his widow, in accordance with the laws touching the distribution of intestate estates. The applicants contend that the evidence does not sustain a finding that Pedro C. Cruz and Petra, his alleged wife, were lawfully married; and that even if it be granted that they were, and that the objectors are the lawful heirs of Estanislao C. Cruz, through his brother Pedro C. Cruz, nevertheless, the admitted occupation of the land in question for a period of more than ten years, under a claim of ownership, based on the deed of sale executed by the widow of Estanislao C. Cruz, establishes a prescriptive title, valid even against the heirs of the estate of her deceased husband. The court below found against the applicants on both contentions, and was of opinion that they are entitled to but an undivided one-half interest in the land in question, that being all that the widow owned at the time when she executed the deed of sale. We think that the opinion of the trial judge in this regard must be sustained. We have carefully examined the evidence of record touching the marriage of Pedro C. Cruz and Petra, his wife, and we agree with the trial judge that the evidence upon which the applicants attempt to raise a question as to its legality is of the flimsiest character, and wholly insufficient to justify us in holding that the trial court erred in finding the existence of a lawful marriage. True, the evidence in support of the marriage (and we might here add of the birth and baptism of the offspring therefrom) lacks the confirmation which would be furnished by duly authenticated copies of the pertinent extract from the parish

registers (libros canonicos) of the church of San Rafael, in the Province of Bulacan, wherein it is alleged the formal record of these events was kept, but we think that the other evidence of record satisfactorily establishes the fact of the marriage, and further establishes the legitimacy of the alleged offspring therefrom. This evidence was properly taken into consideration by the trial court, not only because no objection was offered to its introduction in the court below but also because it appears from the record that the parish registers, wherein it was alleged the above mentioned entries were made, have been destroyed. (Chua Soco vs. Veloso, 2 Phil. Rep., 658; Loper vs. Standard Oil Co., 5 Phil. Rep., 549; City of Manila vs. Cabangis, 10 Phil. Rep., 151; Bowler vs. Alcazar, 13 Phil. Rep., 282; Marella vs. Reyes, 12 Phil. Rep., 1.) Under the provisions of article 1950 of the Civil Code a prescriptive title to real estate is not acquired by the mere possession thereof, under a claim of ownership, for a period of ten years, unless a claim of ownership, or a period o ten years, unless it was originally acquired "con justo titulo y buena fe" (with color o title and good faith). Good faith, in this connection, while it is always to be presumed in the absence of proof to the contrary, requires a well-founded belie that the person from whom title was received was himself the owner of the land, with the right to convey it. In the case at bar, it affirmatively appears that Simon Tecson, through whom applicants claim title, was well aware that the widow, Eduvigis Manikis, was only entitled in her own right to an undivided one-half interest in the land in question at the time of her husband's death, and that the other undivided one-half interest was the property o her deceased husband's estate, and, as such, of his heirs; it also appears that, although the fact that the Government grant of the land in question was made to and in the name of Estanislao C. Cruz was well known to Tecson, the original title deeds having been delivered to him when he purchased the land from the widow, nevertheless he took from his vendor a deed which falsely makes it appear that the grant had been made to the widow herself, this false recital manifestly having for its object the concealment of the fact that the vendor was entitled, in her own right, to only an undivided one-half interest in the land conveyed; and it further appears that some, if not all, of the heirs of the estate of the deceased husband were living in the vicinity wherein the transaction took place, and could hardly fail to have been known as such to the purchaser of the land had be made reasonable inquiry to satisfy himself as to their existence or nonexistence. Under these circumstances we think that the finding of the lower court against the existence of good faith in the original purchase that is to say, of wellfounded belief that the vendor was the owner of all the land which she undertook to sell him, and had the right to convey it must be sustained. The trial court, however, having properly found that the appellants are only entitled to an undivided one-half interest in the land in question, and that the objectors (opositores) are entitled to the remaining undivided one-half interest therein, thereupon improperly directed the registry of the land as the property of both the applicants and the objectors in the proportions indicated. Under the provisions of section 19 of the Land Registration Act, which requires "That one or more tenants claiming undivided shares less than a fee simple in the whole land described in the application shall not make application except jointly with the other tenant owning undivided shares, so that the whole fee shall be represented in the action;" and under our ruling in the case of Tecson vs. Corporation de los PP. Dominicos, decided March 16, 1 1911 (with which compare Foss vs. Atkins, 201 Mass., 158; id., 204 Mass., 337), wherein we held that under the general provisions of the Act, the court has no jurisdiction to decree the registry of title in favor of an objector (opositor); it is quite clear that the application should have been dismissed, without prejudice to the right of the various owners of the undivided interest in the land, jointly to present a new application for registry. Twenty days hereafter judgment will be entered reversing the decree entered in the lower court without costs to either party in this instance, and ten days thereafter the record will be returned to the court below where the proper decree will be entered in accordance herewith. It is so ordered.

THE SAN JUAN DE DIOS HOSPITAL, applicant-appellee. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, oppositor, vs. ROSENDO MARCOS, ET AL., petitioners-appellants. This is an appeal by the petitioners from the orders of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan dated March 23 and 30, 1938, wherein said court held that it had no jurisdiction to take cognizance of, decide, and grant petitioners' motions praying that the final decree issued in the land registration case, original certificate of title No. 335 and transfer certificate of title No. 19645 be cancelled and in their stead another certificate of title be issued in their favor covering the land they were soliciting. During the proceedings for registration in the former Court of Land Registration, in G.L.R.O. Record No. 7972, the petitioners filed a motion entitled "Adverse Claim" in which, citing the provisions of section 112 of Act No. 496, they asked that original certificate of title No. 335, issued in favor of San Juan de Dios Hospital, be set aside and another issued in their favor. This motion was subsequently amended by another in which it was alleged that the land covered by certificate of title No. 335 had been transferred by the San Juan de Dios Hospital to Arsenio de Castro and Tomas de Castro, in whose favor was issued transfer certificate of title No. 19645, and petitioners asked that this title be likewise cancelled and another issued in their favor. Described in the aforementioned titles is a parcel of agricultural land located in the barrio of Coloong, municipality of Polo, Province of Bulacan, having an area of 486,912 square meters. In support of their motions, petitioners alleged: that the San Juan de Dios Hospital is not, for has ever been, a juridical person and therefore is without personality to apply for the inscription of the land in its name; that the land registered in the name of the San Juan de Dios Hospital was the property of the United States of America, under the administration of the Government of the Philippine Islands, and now belongs to the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines who administers it for the benefit of its inhabitants; that the petitioners are the absolute owners of said land having possessed it for more than fifty years openly, peacefully and publicly, building their homes on it and keeping it in constant cultivation; that their possession of the land since time immemorial has conferred upon them a title by prescription; and that the final decree and the title in favor of the San Juan de Dios Hospital were issued erroneously through the ignorance and negligence of the public officials who intervened in the registration proceedings. The San Juan de Dios Hospital filed a special appearance in which it impugned the jurisdiction of the court to act upon the motions, review the final decree and set aside the title already issued. Both parties also filed other pleadings which are immaterial in the decision of the case. The incident thus raised having been submitted, and considering the grounds alleged in petitioners' motions, the trial court issued the appealed order aforementioned, declaring itself without jurisdiction to grant the remedies asked in the motions. 1. The petitioners content in their first assignment of error that the lower court should have set their motions for hearing and should have permitted them to adduce evidence, instead of declaring itself without jurisdiction to consider and decide the motions. They insist that the San Juan de Dios Hospital was not a juridical person and therefore had no legal personality to apply for the inscription of the land, which was later registered in its name. This point could be settled by merely pointing out that the same question was already squarely raised at the hearing in the registration proceedings, and the then Court of Land Registration held in its decision that the San Juan de Dios Hospital was a juridical person and was entitled to apply for the inscription of the land. Both the decision rendered to this effect and the final decree issued thereafter have become final. It is obvious, therefore, that the personality of the San Juan de Dios Hospital is res adjudicata. But, as lack of personality is tenaciously insisted on the ground that the San Juan de Dios Hospital is not a juridical person, we cite the following legal provisions to prove the contrary: Article 35 of the Civil Code provides in part:

Art. 35. The following are juridical persons: 1. Corporations, associations, and foundations of the public interest recognized by law. Their personality begins from the very moment at which, in accordance with law, they have been validly constituted. Counsel for the petitioners, on page 3 of his brief, cited Exhibit B presented by the San Juan de Dios Hospital at the hearing of the registration case, which shows that even the former regime, back in April 26, 1825, regarded the San Juan de Dios Hospital as a juridical entity, with properties and income of its own, among which is the land in question. Section 19 of Act No. 496, as amended, provides that persons claiming, singly or collectively, to own a real estate in fee simple, may apply for the registration of their title in accordance with the Torrens system. The word "persons" includes both natural and juridical persons. Being a foundation of public interest, the San Juan de Dios Hospital is a juridical person, in accordance with article 35 of the Civil Code, and had rights and personality of its own to apply for registration and obtain a decree and title. The Government itself recognized the legal personality of the San Juan de Dios Hospital when promulgated Act No. 1724 approving and ratifying the agreement entered into by the Secretary of War of the United States, as representative of the Government of the Philippine Islands, and the Archbishop of Manila, as representative of the Roman Catholic Church. Its pertinent provisions read as follows: Whereas certain controversies have arisen between the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of the Philippine Islands as to the title to various estates and properties and as to the right of possession and administration thereof; and xxx xxx xxx

Whereas, for the purpose of ending these controversies, William H. Taft, as Secretary of War of the United States, representing the Government of the Philippine Islands, and Jeremiah J. Harty, archbishop of Manila, representing the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippine Islands, and Jeremiah J. Harty, archbishop of Manila, representing and controlling a majority of the capital stock of the Banco Espaol-Filipino, did, on the eighth day of June, nineteen hundred and seven, enter into the following agreement determining and settling the controversies between the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of the Philippine Islands, and between the Banco Espaol-Filipino and the Government of the Philippines Islands, to wit: This memorandum of agreement, entered into by Archbishop Harty, archbishop of Manila, representing the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippine Islands, and the secretary of War, representing the Government of the Philippine Islands, is intented to form the basis of a compromise of a number of controversies arising between the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of the Philippine Islands, and to end all such controversies. The controversies arising are as follows: First. The right of the Roman Catholic Church, on the one had, and the Philippine Government, on the other, to administer certain charitable trusts, and to take possession of, and assume control of, the following estates, to wit: xxx xxx xxx

Second. The building, estates and hospital plant of San Juan de Dios, including all other estates or investments of said Hospital of San Juan de Dios. xxx xxx xxx

Now, therefore, for the purpose of ending all these controversies, the following informal agreement is entered into, to be subject to the approval of the Philippine Commission, and to be carried into effect by the entry of consent decrees, in the proper courts, in such form as to confirm the titles in the persons by this agreement to take the respective properties, and by such legislation of the Philippine Commission as may be necessary to further confirm and put into execution said agreement, and also subject to the approval of the Secretary of War, and of Archbishop Harty, through his agent, Festus J. Wade, of the statutes of the bank as they shall be revised, such revision to contain a restriction on the amount of money to be loaned by the Bank on real estate security. In consideration of the foregoing, and in the manner prescribed herein, the Archbishop of the diocese of Manila, for the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippine Islands, is to take possession, and hold in absolute title, free from all claims or demands of the Philippine Government, the land and property, real, personal and mixed, set forth and described under sections one, two, three, four, and five hereof, namely: Hospicio San Jose; San Juan de Dios; Colegio de San Jose; Hospital of San Jose in Cavite, and the Colegio Santa Isabela. xxx xxx xxx

SEC. 112. No, erasure, alteration, or amendment shall be made upon the registration book after the entry of a certificate of title or of a memorandum thereon and the attestation of the same by the clerk or any register of deeds except by order of the court. Any registered owner or other person in interest may at any time apply by petition to the court, upon the ground that registered interests of any description, whether vested, contingent, expectant, or inchoate, have terminated and ceased; or that new interests have arisen or been created which do not appear upon the certificate; or that any error, omission, or mistake was made in entering a certificate or any memorandum thereon or on any duplicate certificate; or that the name of any person on the certificate has been changed; or that the registered owner has been married; or, if registered as married, that the marriage has been terminated; or that a corporation which owned registered land and has been dissolved has not conveyed the same within three years after its dissolution; or upon any other reasonable ground; and the court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine the petition after notice to all parties in the interest, and may order the entry of a new certificate, the entry or cancellation of a memorandum upon a certificate, or grant any other relief upon such terms and conditions, requiring security if necessary, as it may deem proper: Provided, however, that this section shall not be construed to give the court authority to open the original decree of registration, and that nothing shall be done or ordered by the court which shall impair the title or other interest of a purchaser holding a certificate for value and in good faith, or his heirs or assigns, without his or their written consent. Any petition filed under this section and all petitions and motion filed under the provisions of this Act after original registration shall be filed and entitled in the original case in which the decree of registration was entered. It is a settled question that under said section 112, at final decree issued in a registration case cannot be reviewed on the pretext of introducing amendments or authorized alterations (Garcia vs. Reyes, 51 Phil., 409). The remedy sought by the petitioners was evidently tantamount to a review of the final decree and the setting aside of the original certificate of title. The final decree issue in the case, after the lapse of one year allowed by law for its review on the ground of fraud, and the original certificate of title issued, are incontrovertible and cannot now be successfully assailed by the petitioners (sec. 38 Act No. 496; De los Reyes vs. Paterno, 34 Phil., 420; Reyes and Nadres vs. Borbon and Director of Lands, 50 Phil., 791; Clemente and Pichay vs. Lucban and Domingo, 53 Phil., 931). Since the allegations in the motions are groundless and the petitioners are not entitled to the remedy prayed for, and the lower court, on the other hand, having no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the motions it committed no error in refusing to grant a hearing of the said motions upon the merits. 5. Counsel for the petitioners moved to strike out the special appearance filed by the San Juan de Dios Hospital, which the court denied. The petitioners assign his resolution as an error committed by the court. We hold that the motion to strike was correctly denied because, as has been said, the trial court was under a duty to determine the merits of the special appearance. The appealed orders are affirmed, with costs of this instance against the petitioners and appellants. So ordered. G.R. No. 73002 December 29, 1986 THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ACME PLYWOOD & VENEER CO. INC., ETC., respondents. The Director of Lands has brought this appeal by certiorari from a judgment of the Intermediate Appellate Court affirming a decision of the Court of First Instance of Isabela, which ordered registration in favor of Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc. of five parcels of land measuring 481, 390 square meters, more or less, acquired by it from Mariano and Acer Infiel, members of the Dumagat tribe.

SECTION 1. The said informal agreement so entered into on behalf of the Government of the Philippine Islands by William H. Taft, Secretary of War, with Jeremiah J. Harty, Archbishop of Manila, on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, and representing and controlling a majority of the capital stock of the Banco Espaol-Filipino, is hereby confirmed, ratified, and approved in all its parts. xxx xxx xxx

SEC. 5. The Governor-General of the Philippines Islands is hereby authorized and directed, upon the entry of the judgments provided for in sections two and three of this Act, and upon the execution and delivery of the deed referred to in section four hereof, to execute proper conveyances of title to the Roman Catholic Church as represented by the Archbishop of Manila, conveying all the right, title, and interest of the Government of the Philippine Islands in and to the following described property, to wit: The buildings foundation, and property, real, personal, and mixed, pertaining and belonging to the Hospicio de San Jose, the Hospital de San Juan de Dios, the Hospital de San Jose in Cavite, and the Colegio de Santa Isabel. 2. The petitioners contend that it was the duty of the court to set their motions for hearing and receive evidence in support of their allegations. We hold that since a special appearance was filed, impugning the jurisdiction of the court, this could not proceed without first deciding, as it did, the question of law raised in the motion. The special appearance was equivalent to a demurrer, the resolution of which required an hypothetical admission of the allegations in both motions. 3. The lower court did not err in declaring that it had no jurisdiction to grant the motions of the petitioners entitled "Adverse Claims." The motions asked for the review of the final decree and the setting aside of the titles that were subsequently issued, which is tantamount to annulling rights legally inscribed. The lower court had no jurisdiction to do this. 4. In their second assignment of error the petitioners allege that under the provisions of section 112 of Act No. 496, the lower court should have set the motions for hearing. Said provision of law reads as follows:

The registration proceedings were for confirmation of title under Section 48 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 (The Public Land Act). as amended: and the appealed judgment sums up the findings of the trial court in said proceedings in this wise: 1. That Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. Inc., represented by Mr. Rodolfo Nazario is a corporation duly organized in accordance with the laws of the Republic of the Philippines and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 23, 1959; 2. That Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. Inc., represented by Mr. Rodolfo Nazario can acquire real properties pursuant to the provisions of the Articles of Incorporation particularly on the provision of its secondary purposes (paragraph (9), Exhibit 'M-l'); 3. That the land subject of the Land Registration proceeding was ancestrally acquired by Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc., on October 29, 1962, from Mariano Infiel and Acer Infiel, both members of the Dumagat tribe and as such are cultural minorities; 4. That the constitution of the Republic of the Philippines of 1935 is applicable as the sale took place on October 29, 1962; 5. That the possession of the Infiels over the land relinquished or sold to Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc., dates back before the Philippines was discovered by Magellan as the ancestors of the Infiels have possessed and occupied the land from generation to generation until the same came into the possession of Mariano Infiel and Acer Infiel; 6. That the possession of the applicant Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc., is continuous, adverse and public from 1962 to the present and tacking the possession of the Infiels who were granted from whom the applicant bought said land on October 29, 1962, hence the possession is already considered from time immemorial. 7. That the land sought to be registered is a private land pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 3872 granting absolute ownership to members of the non-Christian Tribes on land occupied by them or their ancestral lands, whether with the alienable or disposable public land or within the public domain; 8. That applicant Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. Inc., has introduced more than Forty-Five Million (P45,000,000.00) Pesos worth of improvements, said improvements were seen by the Court during its ocular investigation of the land sought to be registered on September 18, 1982; 9. That the ownership and possession of the land sought to be registered by the applicant was duly recognized by the government when the Municipal Officials of Maconacon, Isabela, have negotiated for the donation of the townsite from Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc., and this negotiation came to reality when the Board of Directors of the Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc., had donated a part of the land bought by the Company from the Infiels for the townsite of Maconacon Isabela (Exh. 'N') on November 15, 1979, and which donation was accepted by the Municipal Government of Maconacon, Isabela (Exh. 'Nl'), during their special session on November 22, 1979. The Director of Lands takes no issue with any of these findings except as to the applicability of the 1935 Constitution to the matter at hand. Concerning this, he asserts that, the registration proceedings have been commenced only on July 17, 1981, or long after the 1973 Constitution had gone into effect, the latter is the correctly applicable law; and since section 11 of its Article XIV prohibits private corporations or associations from holding alienable lands of the public domain, except by lease not to exceed 1,000 hectares (a prohibition not found in the 1935 Constitution which was in force in 1962 when Acme purchased the lands in question from the Infiels), it was reversible error to decree registration in favor of Acme Section 48, paragraphs (b) and (c), of Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, reads:

SEC. 48. The following described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims, and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the Land Registration Act, to wit: xxx xxx xxx (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership, for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. (c) Members of the National Cultural minorities who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture, whether disposable or not, under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least 30 years shall be entitled to the rights granted in subsection (b) hereof. The Petition for Review does not dispute-indeed, in view of the quoted findings of the trial court which were cited and affirmed by the Intermediate Appellate Court, it can no longer controvert before this Court-the fact that Mariano and Acer Infiel, from whom Acme purchased the lands in question on October 29, 1962, are members of the national cultural minorities who had, by themselves and through their progenitors, possessed and occupied those lands since time immemorial, or for more than the required 30-year period and were, by reason thereof, entitled to exercise the right granted in Section 48 of the Public Land Act to have their title judicially confirmed. Nor is there any pretension that Acme, as the successor-in-interest of the Infiels, is disqualified to acquire and register ownership of said lands under any provisions of the 1973 Constitution other than Section 11 of its Article XIV already referred to. Given the foregoing, the question before this Court is whether or not the title that the Infiels had transferred to Acme in 1962 could be confirmed in favor of the latter in proceedings instituted by it in 1981 when the 1973 Constitution was already in effect, having in mind the prohibition therein against private corporations holding lands of the public domain except in lease not exceeding 1,000 hectares. The question turns upon a determination of the character of the lands at the time of institution of the registration proceedings in 1981. If they were then still part of the public domain, it must be answered in the negative. If, on the other hand, they were then already private lands, the constitutional prohibition against their acquisition by private corporations or associations obviously does not apply. In this regard, attention has been invited to Manila Electric Company vs. 1 Castro-Bartolome, et al, where a similar set of facts prevailed. In that case, Manila Electric Company, a domestic corporation more than 60% of the capital stock of which is Filipino-owned, had purchased in 1947 two lots in Tanay, Rizal from the Piguing spouses. The lots had been possessed by the vendors and, before them, by their predecessor-ininterest, Olimpia Ramos, since prior to the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941. On December 1, 1976, Meralco applied to the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Makati Branch, for confirmation of title to said lots. The court, assuming that the lots were public land, dismissed the application on the ground that Meralco, a juridical person, was not qualified to apply for registration under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act which allows only Filipino citizens or natural persons to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect titles to public land. Meralco appealed, and a majority of this Court upheld the dismissal. It was held that:

..., the said land is still public land. It would cease to be public land only upon the issuance of the certificate of title to any Filipino citizen claiming it under section 48(b). Because it is still public land and the Meralco, as a juridical person, is disqualified to apply for its registration under section 48(b), Meralco's application cannot be given due course or has to be dismissed. Finally, it may be observed that the constitutional prohibition makes no distinction between (on the one hand) alienable agricultural public lands as to which no occupant has an imperfect title and (on the other hand) alienable lands of the public domain as to which an occupant has on imperfect title subject to judicial confirmation. Since section 11 of Article XIV does not distinguish, we should not make any distinction or qualification. The prohibition applies to alienable public lands as to which a Torrens title may be secured under section 48(b). The proceeding under section 48(b) 'presupposes that the land is public' (Mindanao vs. Director of Lands, L-19535, July 30, 1967, 20 SCRA 641, 644). The present Chief Justice entered a vigorous dissent, tracing the line of 2 3 cases beginning with Carino in 1909 thru Susi in 1925 down 4 to Herico in 1980, which developed, affirmed and reaffirmed the doctrine that open, exclusive and undisputed possession of alienable public land for the period prescribed by law creates the legal fiction whereby the land, upon completion of the requisite period ipso jure and without the need of judicial or other sanction, ceases to be public land and becomes private property. That said dissent expressed what is the better and, indeed, the correct, view-becomes evident from a consideration of some of the principal rulings cited therein, The main theme was given birth, so to speak, in Carino involving the Decree/Regulations of June 25, 1880 for adjustment of royal lands wrongfully occupied by private individuals in the Philippine Islands. It was ruled that: It is true that the language of articles 4 and 5 attributes title to those 'who may prove' possession for the necessary time and we do not overlook the argument that this means may prove in registration proceedings. It may be that an English conveyancer would have recommended an application under the foregoing decree, but certainly it was not calculated to convey to the mind of an Igorot chief the notion that ancient family possessions were in danger, if he had read every word of it. The words 'may prove' (acrediten) as well or better, in view of the other provisions, might be taken to mean when called upon to do so in any litigation. There are indications that registration was expected from all but none sufficient to show that, for want of it, ownership actually gained would be lost. The effect of the proof, wherever made, was not to confer title, but simply to establish it, as already conferred by the decree, if not by earlier law. ... That ruling assumed a more doctrinal character because expressed in more categorical language, in Susi: .... In favor of Valentin Susi, there is, moreover, the presumption juris et de jure established in paragraph (b) of section 45 of Act No. 2874, amending Act No. 926, that all the necessary requirements for a grant by the Government were complied with, for he has been in actual and physical possession, personally and through his predecessors, of an agricultural land of the public domain openly, continuously, exclusively and publicly since July 26, 1984, with a right to a certificate of title to said land under the provisions of Chapter VIII of said Act. So that when Angela Razon applied for the grant in her favor, Valentin Susi had already acquired, by operation of law not only a right to a grant, but a grant of the Government, for it is not necessary that a certificate of title should be issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts, an application therefore is sufficient, under the provisions of section 47 of Act No. 2874. If by a legal fiction, Valentin Susi had acquired the land in question by a grant of the State, it had already ceased to be of the public domain and had become private property, at least by presumption, of Valentin Susi, beyond the control of the
5

Director of Lands. Consequently, in selling the land in question of Angela Razon, the Director of Lands disposed of a land over which he had no longer any title or control, and the sale thus made was void and 6 of no effect, and Angela Razon did not thereby acquire any right. Succeeding cases, of which only some need be mentioned, 7 likeof Lacaste vs. Director of Lands, Mesina vs. Vda. de 8 9 Sonza, Manarpac vs. Cabanatuan, Miguel vs. Court of 10 Appeals and Herico vs. Dar, supra, by invoking and affirming the Susi doctrine have firmly rooted it in jurisprudence. Herico, in particular, appears to be squarely affirmative:
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.... Secondly, under the provisions of Republic Act No. 1942, which the respondent Court held to be inapplicable to the petitioner's case, with the latter's proven occupation and cultivation for more than 30 years since 1914, by himself and by his predecessors-in-interest, title over the land has vested on petitioner so as to segregate the land from the mass of public land. Thereafter, it is no longer disposable under the Public Land Act as by free patent. .... xxx xxx xxx As interpreted in several cases, when the conditions as specified in the foregoing provision are complied with, the possessor is deemed to have acquired, by operation of law, a right to a grant, a government grant, without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. The land, therefore, ceases to be of the public domain and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of. The application for confirmation is mere formality, the lack of which does not affect the legal sufficiency of the title as would be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be 12 issued upon the strength of said patent. Nothing can more clearly demonstrate the logical inevitability of considering possession of public land which is of the character and duration prescribed by statute as the equivalent of an express grant 13 from the State than the dictum of the statute itself that the possessor(s) "... shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title .... " No proof being admissible to overcome a conclusive presumption, confirmation proceedings would, in truth be little more than a formality, at the most limited to ascertaining whether the possession claimed is of the required character and length of time; and registration thereunder would not confer title, but simply recognize a title already vested. The proceedings would not originally convert the land from public to private land, but only confirm such a conversion already affected by operation of law from the moment the required period of possession became complete. As was so well put in Carino, "... (T)here are indications that registration was expected from all, but none sufficient to show that, for want of it, ownership actually gained would be lost. The effect of the proof, wherever made, was not to confer title, but simply to establish it, as already conferred by the decree, if not by earlier law." If it is accepted-as it must be-that the land was already private land to which the Infiels had a legally sufficient and transferable title on October 29, 1962 when Acme acquired it from said owners, it must also be conceded that Acme had a perfect right to make such acquisition, there being nothing in the 1935 Constitution then in force (or, for that matter, in the 1973 Constitution which came into effect later) prohibiting corporations from acquiring and owning private lands. Even on the proposition that the land remained technically "public" land, despite immemorial possession of the Infiels and their ancestors, until title in their favor was actually confirmed in appropriate proceedings under the Public Land Act, there can be no serious question of Acmes right to acquire the land at the time it did, there also being nothing in the 1935 Constitution that might be construed to prohibit corporations from purchasing or acquiring interests in public land to which the vendor had already acquired that type of so-called "incomplete" or "imperfect" title. The only limitation then extant was that corporations could not acquire,

hold or lease public agricultural lands in excess of 1,024 hectares. The purely accidental circumstance that confirmation proceedings were brought under the aegis of the 1973 Constitution which forbids corporations from owning lands of the public domain cannot defeat a right already vested before that law came into effect, or invalidate transactions then perfectly valid and proper. This Court has already held, in analogous circumstances, that the Constitution cannot impair vested rights. We hold that the said constitutional prohibition has no retroactive application to the sales application of Binan Development Co., Inc. because it had already acquired a vested right to the land applied for at the time the 1973 Constitution took effect. That vested right has to be respected. It could not be abrogated by the new Constitution. Section 2, Article XIII of the 1935 Constitution allows private corporations to purchase public agricultural lands not exceeding one thousand and twenty-four hectares. Petitioner' prohibition action is barred by the doctrine of vested rights in constitutional law. xxx xxx xxx The due process clause prohibits the annihilation of vested rights. 'A state may not impair vested rights by legislative enactment, by the enactment or by the subsequent repeal of a municipal ordinance, or by a change in the constitution of the State, except in a legitimate exercise of the police power'(16 C.J.S. 1177-78). xxx xxx xxx In the instant case, it is incontestable that prior to the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution the right of the corporation to purchase the land in question had become fixed and established and was no longer open to doubt or controversy. Its compliance with the requirements of the Public Land Law for the issuance of a patent had the effect of segregating the said land from the public domain. The corporation's right to obtain a patent for the land is protected by law. It cannot be deprived of that right without due process 15 (Director of Lands vs. CA, 123 Phil. 919).<re||an1w> The fact, therefore, that the confirmation proceedings were instituted by Acme in its own name must be regarded as simply another accidental circumstance, productive of a defect hardly more than procedural and in nowise affecting the substance and merits of the right of ownership sought to be confirmed in said proceedings, there being no doubt of Acme's entitlement to the land. As it is unquestionable that in the light of the undisputed facts, the Infiels, under either the 1935 or the 1973 Constitution, could have had title in themselves confirmed and registered, only a rigid subservience to the letter of the law would deny the same benefit to their lawful successor-in-interest by valid conveyance which violates no constitutional mandate. The Court, in the light of the foregoing, is of the view, and so holds, that the majority ruling in Meralco must be reconsidered and no longer deemed to be binding precedent. The correct rule, as enunciated in the line of cases already referred to, is that alienable public land held by a possessor, personally or through his predecessors-in-interest, openly, continuously and exclusively for the prescribed statutory period (30 years under The Public Land Act, as amended) is converted to private property by the mere lapse or completion of said period, ipso jure. Following that rule and on the basis of the undisputed facts, the land subject of this appeal was already private property at the time it was acquired from the Infiels by Acme. Acme thereby acquired a registrable title, there being at the time no prohibition against said corporation's holding or owning private land. The objection that, as a juridical person, Acme is not qualified to apply for judicial confirmation of title under section 48(b) of the Public Land Act is technical, rather than substantial and, again, finds its answer in the dissent in Meralco:
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6. To uphold respondent judge's denial of Meralco's application on the technicality that the Public Land Act allows only citizens of the Philippines who are natural persons to apply for confirmation of their title would be impractical and would just give rise to multiplicity of court actions. Assuming that there was a technical error not having filed the application for registration in the name of the Piguing spouses as the original owners and vendors, still it is conceded that there is no prohibition against their sale of the land to the applicant Meralco and neither is there any prohibition against the application being refiled with retroactive effect in the name of the original owners and vendors (as such natural persons) with the end result of their application being granted, because of their indisputable acquisition of ownership by operation of law and the conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor. It should not be necessary to go through all the rituals at the great cost of refiling of all such applications in their names and adding to the overcrowded court dockets when the Court can after all these years dispose of it here and now. (See Francisco vs. City of Davao) The ends of justice would best be served, therefore, by considering the applications for confirmation as amended to conform to the evidence, i.e. as filed in the names of the original persons who as natural persons are duly qualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title that they had acquired by conclusive presumption and mandate of the Public Land Act and who thereafter duly sold to the herein corporations (both admittedly Filipino corporations duly qualified to hold and own private lands) and granting the applications for confirmation of title to the private lands so acquired and sold or exchanged. There is also nothing to prevent Acme from reconveying the lands to the Infiels and the latter from themselves applying for confirmation of title and, after issuance of the certificate/s of title in their names, deeding the lands back to Acme. But this would be merely indulging in empty charades, whereas the same result is more efficaciously and speedily obtained, with no prejudice to anyone, by a liberal application of the rule on amendment to conform to the evidence suggested in the dissent in Meralco. While this opinion seemingly reverses an earlier ruling of comparatively recent vintage, in a real sense, it breaks no precedent, but only reaffirms and re-established, as it were, doctrines the soundness of which has passed the test of searching examination and inquiry in many past cases. Indeed, it is worth noting that the majority opinion, as well as the concurring opinions of Chief Justice Fernando and Justice Abad Santos, in Meralco rested chiefly on the proposition that the petitioner therein, a juridical person, was disqualified from applying for confirmation of an imperfect title to public land under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. Reference to the 1973 Constitution and its Article XIV, Section 11, was only tangential limited to a brief paragraph in the main opinion, and may, in that context, be considered as essentially obiter. Meralco, in short, decided no constitutional question. WHEREFORE, there being no reversible error in the appealed judgment of the Intermediate Appellate Court, the same is hereby affirmed, without costs in this instance. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. L-12580 April 30, 1959

TOMASA AGUILAR, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees, vs. EMILIANO CAOAGDAN, ET AL., defendants-appellants. Januario Hermitano, as grantee of original plaintiff Tomasa Aguilar, who died pendente lite, seeks to recover from defendants the possession of the portions of land they are occupying, plus damages representing the value of the produce of the land since he acquired it to the time they are surrendered to him. Alberta Aguilar, as heir of Tomasa Aguilar, likewise seeks to recover from defendants damages representing the value of the produce of the land from 1947, when defendants took possession thereof, until it was sold to Januario Hermitano.

Plaintiff's action is based on the claim that the land in question originally belonged to Tomasa Aguilar to whom was issued Transfer Certificate of Title No. 10499 of the land records of the province of Tarlac; that when Aguilar died on August 4, 1952, it was inherited by her only heir Alberta Aguilar; and that the property was later sold to Januario Hermitano, who is now the present owner thereof. Defendants seek to defeat the action of plaintiffs by claiming that the certificate of title issued to the predecessor in interest of Januario Hermitano is null and void because it was issued by a court that had no jurisdiction over the land and, therefore, the title upon which the action of plaintiffs is based is also null and void. The trial court overruled the claim of defendants and sustained the action of plaintiffs. It ordered defendants to vacate the portions of land occupied by them and to pay plaintiffs damages representing the value of the produce of the land since they took possession thereof in 1947 until its possession is actually surrendered to Januario Hermitano. The facts of this case are not disputed. They appear in the decision of the trial court as follows: The registered land in question is the same identical property object of Registration Case No. 494 of this Court, G.L.R.O. Record No. 15951, filed in 1919, wherein the Director of Lands was the principal oppositor claiming the land as part of the public domain. The applicants therein were the spouses Simon Castro y Rufo and Tomasa Aguilar. In 1924, this Court rendered therein a decision declaring the land in question a part of the public domain. However, on appeal by the applicants, our Supreme Court, in 1926, reversed the decision of this lot covered by Plan Psu-15730, with the exception of the Canoac Creek, in favor of the applicants. In 1927, the corresponding decree and title was accordingly issued to the applicants (Original Certificate of Title No. 19960Exhibit "A"; Records of Registration Case No. 494Exhibit "L"). Said certificate of title was cancelled in 1936 and, in lieu thereof, Transfer Certificate of Title No. 10499 (Exhibit "B") was duly issued in the name of original plaintiff Tomasa Aguilar, who died on August 4, 1952. Before she died, however, she sold pendente life the land in question to plaintiff Januario Hermitano, and by virtue of said sale Transfer Certificate of Title No. 10499 was cancelled and, in lieu thereof, Transfer Certificate of Title No. 15763 (Exhibit "C") was issued in favor of Januario Hermitano on April 8, 1953. Sometime before the commencement of this case, the defendants had filed individual free applications with the Bureau of Lands over several lots comprised within Plan Ps-84 (Exhibit "4") covering a big mass of land situated in Mangatarem, Pangasinan. The Bureau of Lands, however, in January to March, 1947, after due investigation and relocation of the registered property in question, ordered the exclusion from the respective free patent applications of the defendants (Exhibits "E", "E-1" to "E-31") of all portions thereof that where included by the Bureau of Lands from the respective free patent applications of the defendants, containing a total area of 419,824 square meters, more or less, are part and parcel of the registered land in question, (Exhibits "D" and "D-1"). Notwithstanding the aforesaid action of the Bureau of Lands, the defendants still insist that the several lots applied for by them in their respective individual free patent applications are part of the public domain. They also insist that the land applied for by them are actually situated within the municipality of Mangatarem, Province of Pangasinan, and, therefore, outside the territorial jurisdiction of this Court. It is this alleged fact, on which the defendants based their contention that this Court, acting as a land registration court, had no jurisdiction to decree the original registration of the land in question, because the jurisdiction of the Court in registration proceedings is confined and limited only to the territorial limits of this province. In contending that the title to the land in question was procured by the original registered owners in bad faith, the defendants claimed that they were not personally notified of the initial registration proceedings in the aforementioned Registration Case No. 494 and that they were misled and deceived by the pendency of another registration case filed by the applicants before the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan over a bigger mass of land which includes the several portions now in dispute.

Appellants claim that the decree issued in Registration Case No. 4940 of the Court of First Instance of Tarlac in 1919, which is more than 30 years upon the filing of the complaint, adjudicating the land in question to Januario Hermitano's predecessor in interest is invalid for the reason that the court that had issued the decree had no jurisdiction to act on the case. In support of this claim, appellants advance the following reasons: 1. When the petition for registration of the land in question was filed in the Court of First Instance of Tarlac in 1919, there was already pending in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan another registration case involving a bigger portion of land which embraces certain portion of the land subject of the Tarlac registration case, it being the theory of applicants that the Pangasinan court acquired original jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts with respect to the land covered by the registration case; 2. Appellants or their predecessor in interest were not included in the notice of the initial of the registration case pending in the Tarlac court and, therefore, were not personally notified of the proceedings as required by law; and 3. A bigger portion of land which one Antonio Fuster sought to register in her name in a later registration case before the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan and which happens to embrace the portions now in dispute was subsequently declared public land by the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 40129. The first ground has no merit. It appears that the Pangasinan court of first instance dismissed the registration case originally filed by appellees when it found that the portions of the land covered by it which are now the subject of this case were actually situated within the municipality of San Clemente, province of Tarlac, and the dismissal waswithout prejudice. This dismissal has the effect of relinquishing the jurisdiction originally acquired by the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan and of transferring it to the court of Tarlac which is the proper court to take cognizance of the case. The fact that the registration case in Tarlac was filed sometime before the dismissal of the Pangasinan case can have no legal adverse consequence. On the contrary, it was rectification of an error committed as to venue for indeed the court that should take cognizance of this registration case is that which has territorial jurisdiction over the property. This court is the Court of First Instance of Tarlac. Thus, Section 10, Act No. 2347 provides that "all jurisdiction and power heretofore conferred by Act Numbered Four Hundred and NinetySix and its amendments upon the Court of Land Registration and upon the land registration Judges, are hereby conferred upon the Courts of First Instance and judges thereof, of the provinces in which the land which is to be registered is situate." (Emphasis supplied.) With regard to the second ground, it is true that appellants were not personally notified of the pendency of the present registration case even if they were actually occupying, as they claim, portions of the land, but such procedural defect cannot affect the jurisdiction of the court because registration proceedings have the nature of actions in rem. This Court has held time and again that lack of personal notice in a registration proceeding to persons who may claim certain right or interest in the property cannot vitiate or invalidate the decree or title issued therein because proceedings to register land under Act No. 496 are in rem and not in personam. A land registration proceeding is in rem, and therefore the decree of registration is binding upon and conclusive against all persons including the Government and its branches, irrespective of whether or not they were personally notified of the filing of the application for registration or have appeared and filed an answer to said application, because all interested parties are considered as notified by the publication required by law. (Sorogon vs. Makalintal, 80 Phil., 259: See also Roxas vs. Enriquez, 20 Phil., 31; Alba vs. De la Cruz, 17 Phil., 49; Alcantara, et al. vs. De la Paz, et al., 92 Phil., 796; Sepagan vs. Dacillo, 63 Phil., 412; Castelo vs. Director of Lands, 48 Phil., 589.)

Moreover, it appears that appellants based their right to the land merely on the applications for homestead patent they filed with the Bureau of Lands which were then under investigation when the registration case was filed in the Court of First Instance of Tarlac wherein the Bureau of Lands was made party respondent. This Bureau filed an opposition to the registration claiming that the land subject of the registration was a portion of the public domain, but its opposition was overruled. As a result, the Bureau of lands ordered a relocation of the portions covered by the applications of appellants and, once relocated, they were ordered excluded from the land covered by the registration case. It can therefore be said that appellants were already indirectly represented in the registration case by the Bureau of Lands because their interest in the land can be considered as derivative of the Bureau's claim that it belong to the public domain. But what makes the claim of appellants legally futile is that they are raising the nullity or invalidity of the decree and title of appellees over the property in question after the lapse of more than 30 years, which certainly can not be done considering the purpose of our Torrens system. As this Court has aptly said: "When once a decree of registration is made under the Torrens system and the time has passed within which that decree may be questioned, the title is perfect and cannot later be questioned. . . . The very purpose of the Torrens system would be destroyed if the same land may be subsequently brought under a second action for registration" (Reyes and Nadres vs. Borbon and Director of Lands, 50 Phil., 791, 792). As the land in dispute is covered by plaintiff's Torrens certificate of Title and was registered in 1914, the decree of registration can no longer be impugned on the ground of fraud, error or lack of notice to defendant, as more than one year has already elapsed from the issuance and entry of the decree. Neither could the decree be collaterally attacked by any person claiming title to, or interest in, the land prior to the registration proceedings. (Sorogon vs. Makalintal, 45 Off. Gaz. 3819.) (J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. vs. Quirino Bolaos, 95 Phil., 106). We also find no merit in the third ground, considering the express provision of Section 45 of Act No. 496 to the effect that land once registered shall be and always remain registered, title thereto becoming indefeasible after the lapse of one year. As this Court has said: "No rule is better settled in this jurisdiction than the one which prohibits the changing, altering or modifications of a decree in a land registration proceeding under the Torrens system after the lapse of one year" (Director of Lands vs. Gutierrez David, 50 Phil., 797). Following this ruling we may say that the inclusion, perhaps inadvertently, of the portion of land here in dispute in the Fuster case cannot have the effect of nullifying a decree issued in a previous registration case giving to appellants a Torrens title to the land. This is more so considering what said Section 45 provides: "The obtaining of a decree of registration and the entry of a certificate of title shall be regarded as an agreement running with the land, and binding upon the applicant and all successors in title that the land shall be and always remain registered land, and subject to the provisions of this Act and all Acts amendatory thereof." Wherefore, the decision appealed from is affirmed, with costs against appellants. G.R. No. 146262 January 21, 2005

No. 2879. The LRA ruled that a notice of lis pendens based on a motion is not registrable. The Facts Alfonso Sandoval ("Sandoval") and Roman Ozaeta, Jr. ("Ozaeta") filed an application for registration of title before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 152 ("land registration court"), docketed as Case No. 2858, Land Registration Case No. N-18887 ("LRC No. N-18887"). The land registration court issued an order of general default and hearings on the application followed. On 31 May 1966, the land registration court granted the application. The decision became final and executory, and the land registration court issued a certificate of finality dated 8 March 4 1991. The National Land Titles and Deeds Administration (now LRA) issued on 20 October 1977 Decree Nos. N-217643 and N-217644 in the names of Sandoval and his wife Rosa Ruiz, and Ozaeta and his wife Ma. 5 Salome Lao. On 16 July 1997, petitioners Eugenio Lopez, Jr., Manolo Lopez, Oscar Lopez, and Presentacion L. Psinakis ("petitioners"), heirs of Eugenio 6 Lopez, Sr., filed a motion in LRC No. N-18887. The motion alleged that Sandoval and Ozaeta sold the lots subject of the application to the late Eugenio Lopez, Sr. on 23 September 1970. Petitioners prayed that the court consider in the land registration case the Deed of Absolute 7 Sale over the lots executed by Sandoval and Ozaeta and their respective spouses in favor of Eugenio Lopez, Sr. Invoking Section 22 8 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 ("PD 1529"), petitioners also prayed that the court issue the decree of registration in their names as the successors-in-interest of Eugenio Lopez, Sr. The land registration court gave due course to the motion and 9 conducted hearings. The Register of Deeds of Marikina City issued the corresponding OCT Nos. O-1603 and O-1604 in favor of Sandoval and Ozaeta and their 10 11 spouses only on 18 August 1998. The pertinent entries in the Decrees read: This Decree is issued pursuant to the Decision dated 31st day of May, 1966 of the Hon. Pedro C. Navarro, Judge of [Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch II, Pasig, Rizal], and the Honorable Briccio C. Ygaa, this 3rd day of July, 1998. Issued at the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration, Quezon City, this 20th day of October, in the year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven at 8:01 a.m. (signed) ALFREDO R. ENRIQUEZ ADMINISTRATOR National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration Entered in the "Registration Book" for Marikina, pursuant to the provisions of section 39 of PD No. 1529, on the 18th day of August nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, at 1:16 p.m. (signed) EDGAR D. SANTOS Register of Deeds (Emphasis added) Petitioners filed another motion on 25 November 1998 to declare void Decree Nos. N-217643 and N-217644 and Original Certificate of Title ("OCT") Nos. O-1603 and O-1604. Petitioners pointed out that the OCTs show that incumbent Administrator Alfredo R. Enriquez signed the Decrees on 20 October 1997, before he assumed office on 8 July 1998 and even before Hon. Briccio C. Ygaa issued the Order of 3 July 12 1998.

HEIRS OF EUGENIO LOPEZ, SR., petitioners, vs. HON. ALFREDO R. ENRIQUEZ, in his capacity as Administrator of the Land Registration Authority and the REGISTER OF DEEDS OF MARIKINA CITY, respondents. The Case This is a petition for review to reverse the Decision dated 29 November 2000 of the Court of Appeals ("appellate court") in CA-G.R. 3 SP No. 55993. The appellate court affirmed the Resolution dated 21 May 1999 issued by the Land Registration Authority ("LRA") in Consulta
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Petitioners questioned the inconsistencies in the dates and requested the LRA to recall the decrees. The LRA Administrator denied the 13 request and explained the inconsistencies in the dates in a letter dated 1 December 1998. The entire letter states: Republic of the Philippines Department of Justice LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY Quezon City 1 December 1998 Atty. Crisostomo A. Quizon Quiason Makalintal Barot Torres & Ibarra Law Offices 2nd Floor Benpres Building Exchange Road corner Meralco Ave. Ortigas Center, Pasig City Sir: This concerns your letter requesting the recall of Decree Nos. N-217643 and N-217644 issued in Land Registration Case No. N-2858, LRC Record No. N-18887, both in the names of Alfonso Sandoval and his wife, Rosa Ruiz, and Roman Ozaeta, Jr., and his wife, Ma. Salome Lao. Records of this Authority show that aforesaid decrees of registration were prepared on October 20, 1977 pursuant to the decision of the court dated May 31, 1966 and the order for issuance of decree dated August 24, 1993. Said decrees were forwarded to the Office of the Administrator on August 8, 1998 and was [sic] released therefrom on August 13, 1998. Consequently, said decrees were signed sometime between August 8 and 13 1998 and definitely not on October 20, 1997 as what is reflected thereon because the undersigned Administrator assumed office only on July 8, 1998. Apparently, at the time the decrees were signed it was not noticed, through oversight, that they were dated October 20, 1977. It is therefore hereby clarified that Decree Nos. N217643 and N-217644 were actually issued sometime between August 8 and 13 1998 and not on October 20, 1997. Regarding the claim that these decrees were prematurely issued as the motion for the issuance of the decrees in favor of the Heirs of Eugenio Lopez, the properties involved having been sold to him by the applicants, is still pending with the court, it is informed that no copy of said motion nor of the order directing this Office to comment thereon appears on file in the records of the case. Hence, these matters could not have been taken into consideration in the issuance of the decrees. Had the Administration been apprised of these incidents, perhaps the issuance of the decrees could have been held in abeyance until the court has resolved the same. As to the recall of the decrees of registration, we regret to inform you that since the certificates of title transcribed pursuant to said decrees have already been issued and released by the Registrar of Deeds concerned, it is now beyond our authority to recall them unless duly authorized by the court. We hope that we have satisfactorily disposed of the concerns raised in your letter. Very truly yours, (signed) ALFREDO R. ENRIQUEZ Administrator On 25 November 1998, petitioners filed with the Register of Deeds of Marikina City an application to annotate the notice of lis pendens at the back of OCT Nos. O-1603 and O-1604 on the ground that petitioners

have filed with the land registration court a motion to declare OCT Nos. 14 O-1603 and O-1604 void. Petitioners attached to the application a copy of the 25 November 1998 motion and the pertinent OCTs. In a letter dated 15 December 1998, the Register of Deeds of Marikina City denied the application to annotate the notice of lis pendens. The entire letter states: Republic of the Philippines Department of Justice LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY Registry of Deeds, Marikina City 15 December 1998 Atty. Crisostomo A. Quizon 2nd Floor, Benpres Bldg. Exchange Road cor. Meralco Avenue Pasig City Sir: This is in connection to [sic] your application to have a Notice of Lis Pendens [annotated] at the back of OCT Nos. O-1603 and O-1604 issued in the name of ALFONSO SANDOVAL AND SPOUSE. Pursuant to Sec. 76, PD No. 1529[,] the contents of the notice are the name[s] of the parties, the court where the action is pending, the date the action was instituted and a copy of the compalint [sic] in order to determine if the person named in the title is impleaded. We regret to inform you that the application, bereft of the original petition or compaint [sic] upon which this office will base its action, is DENIED. If you do not agree with our findings, you can, without withdrawing the documents you submitted, elevate the matter en consulta five (5) days from receipt hereof to the Office of the Administrator, Land Registration Authority, East Avenue cor. NIA Road, Quezon City. Very truly yours, (signed) EDGAR D. SANTOS Register of Deeds On 14 January 1999, three days after receipt of the letter, petitioners elevated the denial in consulta to the LRA. The case was docketed as Consulta No. 2879. The Ruling of the Land Registration Authority In its resolution dated 21 May 1999, the LRA stated that the sole question for resolution is whether a notice of lis pendens is registrable based on a motion to declare void the decrees and titles. The LRA agreed with the Register of Deeds that a notice of lis pendens based on a motion is not registrable. Relying on Section 24, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court, the LRA ruled that only a party to a case has the legal personality to file a notice of lis pendensrelative to the pending case. The LRA focused on petitioners standing in LRC No. N-18887. The LRA declared that petitioners are not parties in LRC No. N-18887. Since a land registration case is a proceeding in rem, an order of general default binds the whole world as a party in the case. Petitioners are mere movants whose personality the court has not admitted. Based on Section 26 of PD 1529, the LRA ruled that petitioners should have filed
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a motion to lift the order of general default. Pertinent portions of the LRA decision read: Until and after the Order of General Default in LRC Case No. 18887 is lifted, petitioners cannot be clothed with personality as oppositors in said land registration case by merely filing a motion after a judgement has been rendered. Such being the case, a notice of lis pendens on the basis of the motion filed by petitioners cannot be admitted for registration. To rule otherwise would preempt the judgment of the Court in so far as the personalities of the movants as oppositors in the land registration case is concerned. WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Authority is of the opinion and so holds that the notice of lis pendens is not registrable. SO ORDERED.
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The notice of lis pendens hereinabove mentioned may be cancelled only upon order of the court, after proper showing that the notice is for the purpose of molesting the adverse party, or that it is not necessary to protect the rights of the party who caused it to be recorded. Section 76 of PD 1529 states: SECTION 76. Notice of lis pendens. No action to recover possession of real estate, or to quiet title thereto, or to remove clouds upon the title thereof, or for partition or other proceedings of any kind in court directly affecting the title to land or the use or occupation thereof or the buildings thereon, and no judgment, and no proceeding to vacate or reverse any judgment, shall have any effect upon registered land as against persons other than the parties thereto, unless a memorandum or notice stating the institution of such action or proceeding and the court wherein the same is pending, as well as the date of the institution thereof, together with a reference to the number of the certificate of title, and an adequate description of the land affected and the registered owner thereof, shall have been filed and registered. Notice of Lis Pendens Lis pendens literally means a pending suit. The doctrine of lis pendens refers to the jurisdiction, power or control which a court acquires over property involved in a suit, pending the continuance of the 20 action, and until final judgment. The purposes of lis pendens are (1) to protect the rights of the party causing the registration of the lis pendens, and (2) to advise third persons who purchase or contract on the subject property that they do 21 so at their peril and subject to the result of the pending litigation. The filing of a notice of lis pendens has a two-fold effect. First, it keeps the subject matter of the litigation within the power of the court until the entry of the final judgment to prevent the defeat of the final judgment by successive alienations. Second, it binds a purchaser, bona fide or not, of the land subject of the litigation to the judgment or decree that the court will promulgate subsequently. However, the filing of a notice of lis 22 pendens does not create a right or lien that previously did not exist. Without a notice of lis pendens, a third party who acquires the property after relying only on the certificate of title is a purchaser in good faith. Against such third party, the supposed rights of a litigant cannot prevail, because the former is not bound by the property owners undertakings 23 not annotated in the transfer certificate of title. Thus, we have consistently held that The notice of lis pendens x x x is ordinarily recorded without the intervention of the court where the action is pending. The notice is but an incident in an action, an extrajudicial one, to be sure. It does not affect the merits thereof. It is intended merely to constructively advise, or warn, all people who deal with the property that they so deal with it at their own risk, and whatever rights they may acquire in the property in any voluntary transaction are subject to the results of the action, and may well be inferior and subordinate to those which may be finally determined and laid down therein. The cancellation of such a precautionary notice is therefore also a mere incident in the action, and may be ordered by the Court having jurisdiction of it at any given time. And its continuance or removal x x x is not contingent on the existence of a final judgment in the action, and ordinarily has no effect on the 24 merits thereof. A notice of lis pendens may involve actions that deal not only with title or possession of a property, but also with the use or occupation of a 25 property. The litigation must directly involve a specific property which is necessarily affected by the judgment. Magdalena Homeowners 26 Association, Inc. v. Court of Appeals enumerated the cases where a notice of lis pendens is appropriate: [A] notice of lis pendens is proper in the following cases, viz:

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals Undaunted, petitioners filed before the appellate court a petition for review of the LRAs decision. Petitioners filed the petition on the ground of manifest error and grave abuse of discretion on the part of the LRA Administrator when he ruled in Consulta No. 2879 that the notice of lis pendens is not registrable. The appellate court dismissed the petition for lack of merit. The appellate court reiterated the LRAs ruling that only a party to a case has the legal personality to file a notice of lis pendens. Petitioners have no legal personality because they failed to file a motion to lift the order of general default in the land registration case. Issues Petitioners present the following issues for resolution of this Court: 1. WHETHER PETITIONERS MOTION TO DECLARE VOID THE DECREES ISSUED BY THE LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY IS A PROPER BASIS FOR FILING THE NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS, and 2. WHETHER PETITIONERS CAN FILE THE MOTION TO DECLARE VOID THE DECREES ISSUED BY THE LAND REGISTRATION COURT IN LRC CASE NO. N-18887 DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE 18 COURT HAS NOT LIFTED THE GENERAL ORDER OF DEFAULT. The Ruling of the Court The petition has no merit. We agree with the observation of the appellate court that the pleadings filed by petitioners, public respondents and the Office of the Solicitor General cite "more or less the same provisions of the laws as applicable in support of their respective contentions but differ x x x only with 19 respect to their interpretation thereof." With this observation in mind, we quote the pertinent provisions of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure and of PD 1529. Section 14, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides: SECTION 14. Notice of lis pendens. In an action affecting the title or the right of possession of real property, the plaintiff and the defendant, when affirmative relief is claimed in his answer, may record in the office of the registry of deeds of the province in which the property is situated a notice of the pendency of the action. Said notice shall contain the names of the parties and the object of the action or defense, and a description of the property in that province affected thereby. Only from the time of filing such notice for record shall a purchaser, or encumbrancer of the property affected thereby, be deemed to have constructive notice of the pendency of the action, and only of its pendency against the parties designated by their real names.

a) An action to recover possession of real estate; b) An action to quiet title thereto; c) An action to remove clouds thereon; d) An action for partition; and e) Any other proceedings of any kind in Court directly affecting the title to the land or the use or occupation thereof or the buildings thereon. On the other hand, the doctrine of lis pendens has no application in the following cases: a) Preliminary attachments; b) Proceedings for the probate of wills; c) Levies on execution; d) Proceedings for administration of estate of deceased persons; and e) Proceedings in which the only object is the recovery of a money 27 judgment. As decreed by Section 76 of PD 1529, a notice of lis pendens should contain a statement of the institution of an action or proceeding, the court where the same is pending, and the date of its institution. A notice of lis pendensshould also contain a reference to the number of the certificate of title of the land, an adequate description of the land affected and its registered owner.l^vvphi1.net The Register of Deeds denied registration of the notice of lis pendens because "the application was bereft of the original petition or complaint 28 upon which this office will base its action." In consulta to the LRA, petitioners pointed out that they have complied with the requirements for the registration of the notice of lis pendens, as follows: 7.2.1 The Notice of Lis Pendens contains a statement of the filing by the Heirs of Eugenio Lopez of a motion to declare Original Certificates of Title Nos. O-1603 and O-1604 null and void; 7.2.2 It contains the name of the court wherein the motion is pending which is "the registration court, Regional Trial Court, Branch 152, Pasig City." The date of the filing of the motion is shown on the motion itself wherein the receipt of said motion by the land registration court on November 25, 1998 is duly stamped; 7.2.3 The numbers of the Original Certificates of Title Nos. O-1603 and O-1604 are clearly indicated in the notice; 7.2.4 There is adequate description of the land affected in the Notice of Lis Pendens; 7.2.5 The names of the registered owners are indicated in Paragraph 4 of the Motion attached to the Notice; 7.2.6 A copy of the motion to declare OCT Nos. O-1603 and O-1604 null and void, dated November 25, 1998 upon which the Register of Deeds of the Province of Rizal will base its action is attached as Annex 29 "A" of the Notice of Lis Pendens. (Emphasis in the original) Petitioners enumeration readily reveals that they have not complied with the requisites. Both the LRA and the appellate court denied the application for a notice of lis pendens because petitioners are mere movants, and not original parties, in LRC No. N-18887. As petitioners are not parties to an action as contemplated in Section 76 of PD 1529,

they failed to present the requisite pleading to the Register of Deeds of Marikina City. We hold that the Register of Deeds correctly denied the application for a notice of lis pendens. Reconveyance Petitioners committed a fatal procedural error when they filed a motion in LRC No. N-18887 on 16 July 1997. The remedy of petitioners is an action for reconveyance against Sandoval, Ozaeta and their spouses. Reconveyance is based on Section 55 of Act No. 496, as amended by Act No. 3322, which states that "xxx in all cases of registration procured by fraud the owner may pursue all his legal and equitable remedies against the parties to such fraud, without prejudice, however, to the rights of any innocent holder for value of a certificate of title xxx." An action for reconveyance is an action in personam available to a person whose property has been wrongfully registered under the Torrens system in anothers name. Although the decree is recognized as incontrovertible and no longer open to review, the registered owner is not necessarily held free from liens. As a remedy, an action for reconveyance is filed as an ordinary action in the ordinary courts of 30 justice and not with the land registration court. Reconveyance is always available as long as the property has not passed to an innocent third person for value.1awphi1.nt A notice of lis pendens may thus be annotated on the certificate of title immediately upon the institution of the action in court. The notice of lis pendens will avoid transfer to an innocent third person for value and preserve the claim of the real 31 owner. Necessity of a Motion to Lift the Order of General Default In its comment, the LRA states that under Section 26 of PD 1529 the order of default includes petitioners. Therefore, petitioners failure to move to lift the default order did not give them standing in the case. As long as the court does not lift the order of general default, petitioners have no legal standing to file the motion to declare void the decrees of registration issued to the applicant. Section 26 of PD 1529 provides thus: Sec. 26. Order of default; effect. If no person appears and answers within the time allowed, the court shall, upon motion of the applicant, no reason to the contrary appearing, order a default to be recorded and require the applicant to present evidence. By the description in the notice "To All Whom It May Concern", all the world are made parties defendant and shall be concluded by the default order. Where an appearance has been entered and an answer filed, a default order shall be entered against persons who did not appear and answer. Petitioners justification for filing a motion to annul the decrees and titles, as opposed to filing a motion to lift the order of general default, rests on two related assumptions. First, with the filing of the 16 July 1997 motion and giving of due course to the motion by the land registration court, petitioners assert that they acquired legal standing in the registration proceedings. Second, buyer Eugenio Lopez, Sr. stepped into the shoes of the sellers-applicants Sandoval and Ozaeta when applicants sold the property to him. As successors-in-interest of the buyer, petitioners contend that they are not strangers to the proceedings. To justify their two assumptions, petitioners traced the antecedent of 33 Section 22 of PD 1529 to Section 29 of Act 496 and its judicial 34 interpretation in Mendoza v. Court of Appeals. Section 22 of PD 1529 provides: SECTION 22. Dealings with land pending original registration.After the filing of the application and before the issuance of the decree of registration, the land therein described may still be the subject of dealings in whole or in part, in which case the interested party shall present to the court the pertinent instruments together with the subdivision plan approved by the Director of Lands in case of transfer of
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portions thereof, and the court, after notice to the parties, shall order such land registered subject to the conveyance or encumbrance created by said instruments, or order that the decree of registration be issued in the name of the person to whom the property has been conveyed by said instruments. The pertinent portion of Section 29 of Act 496 provides:

standing in court. As a result of his loss of standing, a party in default cannot appear in court, adduce evidence, be heard, or be entitled to notice. A party in default cannot even appeal from the judgment rendered by the court, unless he files a motion to set aside the order of default under the grounds provided in what is now Section 3, Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Indeed, in its comment before this Court, the LRA stated thus:

SECTION 29. After the filing of the application and before the issuance of the decree of title by the Chief of the General Land Registration Office, the land therein described may be dealt with and instruments relating thereto shall be recorded in the office of the register of deeds at any time before issuance of the decree of title, in the same manner as if no application had been made. The interested party may, however, present such instruments to the Court of First Instance instead of presenting them to the office of the Register of Deeds, together with a motion that the same be considered in relation with the application, and the court, after notice to the parties shall order such land registered subject to the encumbrance created by said instruments, or order the decree of registration issued in the name of the buyer or of the person to whom the property has been conveyed by said instruments. x x x Mendoza v. Court of Appeals explains the procedure in cases of conveyance of the land subject of a registration proceeding by an instrument executed between the time of filing of the application for registration and the issuance of the decree of title. The law does not require that the application for registration be amended by substituting the "buyer" or the "person to whom the property has been conveyed" for the applicant. Neither does it require that the "buyer" or the "person to whom the property has been conveyed" be a party to the case. He may thus be a total stranger to the land registration proceedings. The only requirements of the law are: (1) that the instrument be presented to the court by the interested party together with a motion that the same be considered in relation with the application; and (2) that prior notice be given to the parties to the case 36 xxx. 1awphi1.nt Petitioners also assert that they do not dispute the judgment of the land registration court. However, this position is in conflict with their 25 November 1998 motion to have the decree and the titles declared void. Petitioners now assume the roles of both successors-in-interest and oppositors. This confusion of roles brought about petitioners grave error in procedure. The land registration court granted the application in LRC No. N-18887 on 31 May 1966 and issued a certificate of finality dated 8 March 1991. Petitioners filed their motion to consider the deed of sale in the registration on 16 July 1997. Petitioners filed their motion to have the decrees and the corresponding certificates of title declared void on 25 November 1998. Petitioners filed both motions long after the decision in LRC No. N-18887 became final and executory. Neither petitioners nor even the applicants from whom they base their claim presented the Deed of Sale before the land registration court while the action was pending. Considering the facts and arguments as presented above, we hold that the motion filed by petitioners is insufficient to give them standing in the land registration proceedings for purposes of filing an application of a notice of lis pendens. However, we disagree with the LRA and the appellate courts observation that petitioners need to file a motion to lift the order of general default. A motion to lift the order of general default should be filed before entry of final judgment. The land registration court granted the application for registration of title on 31 May 1966 and issued a certificate of finality on 8 March 1991. Petitioners filed their motion on 16 July 1997. Thus, even if petitioners filed a motion to lift the order of general default, the order of default could not be set aside because the motion was filed out of time. In Lim Toco v. Go Fay, this Court explained the effect of an order of default to the party defaulted. A party declared in default loses his
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Under Section 26, PD 1429, petitioners are deemed to have been included by the default order. Those who did not file an answer should be considered as having lost their standing in court from that stage (Republic v. Dela Rosa, 173 SCRA 12) except when they file a motion to set aside the order [of] default on the grounds mentioned in Section 3, Rule 18 of the Rules of Court (Toco v. Fay, 80 Phil. 166). In land registration cases (as in the said LRC No. N-18887), an order of general default was deemed to have been issued based on the presumption of regularity in judicial proceedings (Pascual, et al. v. Ortega, et al., 58 O.G. 12 March 1962 C.A.). Petitioners failed to adduce any evidence showing that the order of general default was lifted. Records disclosed that without first filing a motion to lift the order of general default, petitioners filed a motion to declare as null and void the decrees and titles. Until the order of general default is lifted by the court, petitioner could not be considered as a party to the action. They are deemed movants whose personality as far as the case is concerned is not yet admitted by the court considering that the order of default has 38 not been lifted. One should be careful, however, to distinguish between movants as mere interested parties prescribed under Section 22 of PD 1529 and movants as intervenors-oppositors to the land registration proceedings. It is only in the latter case that a motion to lift the order of general default is required. It is only in the latter case that the doctrine 39 pronounced in Serrano v. Palacio, as repeatedly invoked by the LRA and OSG, is applicable: x x x [P]etitioners committed an error of procedure when they filed a motion to intervene in the x x x land registration case for the proper procedure would have been for them to ask first for the lifting of the order of general default, and then, if lifted, to file an opposition to the application of the applicants. This is so because proceedings in land registration are in rem, and not in personam, the sole object being the registration applied for, and not the determination of any right not connected with the registration (Estila vs. Alvero, 37 Phil. 498). Petitioners are not mere interested parties in this case. By filing their motion to have the decrees and the corresponding certificates of title declared void, they took the role of oppositors to the application for land registration. The appellate court stated that "in as much as it would want to oblige to the plea of petitioners to hasten or expedite the proceedings and to avoid further expenses on the part of the petitioners, however[,] (it) 40 could not." Indeed, it requires a delicate balancing act between the objective of the Rules of Court to secure a just, speedy and inexpensive 41 disposition of every action and proceeding and the strict requirements for a notice of lis pendens. The facts in this case show that petitioners have not complied with the requirements. WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 55993 dated 29 November 2000. SO ORDERED.

REPUBLIC VS LEE Facts: Respondent filed before the RTC a registration of a parcel of land in her favor which was opposed by the Dir. Of Lands on grounds that respondent or her predecessor-in-interest acquired the land under any recognized mode for acquisition of title; they have not been in open, continuous, exclusive, notorious possession of the land in the concept of an owner for at least 30 years prior to the filing of application and the land in dispute is a public domain belonging to Republic of the Philippines. The court rendered judgment in favor of respondents. Upon appeal by RP, it affirmed the lower court decision thus this appeal to the Supreme Court. Republic of the Phil. contends that respondent failed to prove by conclusive evidence that she has ownership of the land by fee simple title and her testimony as to the ownership of her predecessor-ininterest is self serving after claiming that she obtained her Deed of Sale of the property from Laureana Mataban and Sixto Espiritu who obtained their title from the previous owners of the land, Urbano Diaz and Bernarda Vinluan. From the time of filing the application of registration, the respondent was in possession of the land for 13 years but she sought to tack her possession on the said land from her predecessor-ininterests who were in possession of the land for 20 years. Conditions provided by Sec. 48 (b) of Commonwealth Act No. 141 where one is under a bonafide claim of acquisition of ownership through their predecessor-in-interest or by themselves have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the agricultural land in public domain for 30 years shall be entitled to a certificate of title. Issue: Whether or not the respondent is able to provide sufficient and substantial evidence as complying with the requirement of law for confirmation of her ownership of the land in dispute? Ruling: In is held that it is incumbent upon the respondent to prove that her predecessor-in-interest is the persons of Urbano Diaz and Bernarda Vinluan have been in adverse, continuous, open, public, peaceful possession in the concept of an owner for 20 years which she failed to provide a clear and convincing evidence to prove. Her bare allegations do not constitute substantial proof. Respondent failed to comply with the requirements of the law to confirm her title on the land applied for registration. Lower court decision was set aside. Underlying Principle: All lands not acquired from the government belong to the state as part of public domain.

writ of possession on the landholdings of Partolan, Baltar and oppositors who did not appeal the decision of the lower court while excluding the landholdings of Segundina and Damasen who proved they have rightful and registrable rights over their claim on a specific portion of land. Thus, the oppositors filed a motion for review.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent is entitled for land registration of the entire area of Lot 1 including those owned by the oppositors? Ruling: The court held that the burden of proof in land registration is encumbered upon the applicant who must show he is the real and absolute owner in fee simple of the land applied for. Because the land registration proceeding is an in rem proceeding, a default order issued by the court binds the whole world except those appearing in court to file their opposition or pleadings in the registration case. Thus, the oppositors are exempted from the general default order by the court. On the respondents motion for writ of possession on the lots occupied by Baltar and Partolan, the court finds no merit in granting their motion. Respondent did not provide evidence on her rightful claim over these land areas. Although Partolan was excluded in the general default issued by the court while Baltar did not appeal on the trial courts decision, respondent is still required to prove and establish her registrable rights over the land even in the absence of opposition. The payment of tax by her predecessor-in-interest is not sufficient evidence to prove ownership. Respondent should also prove not only the genuineness of her title but also to identify the land in dispute with the boundaries comprising it. What defines a piece of land is not the size/area mentioned in its descriptions but the boundaries laid down as enclosing the land and indicating its limits. The writ of possesion sought by the private respondent against persons who are in actual possession under claim of ownership and their possession of the land raises a disputable presumption of ownership. Therefore, the land areas to be registered to the respondent are limited only to certain areas in the sketch that is annexed to the Commissioners report as the respondent failed to establish proprietary right over the excluded areas.

TURQUESA vs VALERA Facts: Respondent applied for registration of 2 parcels of land referred to as Lot 1 and Lot 2. She alleged to have bought Lot 1 and declared it in her name for taxation purposes. Notice for the application for registration was published in the Official Gazette. Oppositors were the Director of Bureau of Lands and herein petitioners. The opposition of Bureau of Lands was denied for failure to substantiate his claim that the land is part of the public domain. Other petitioners claim that their lands were included in Lot 1 sought to be registered by the respondent. The lower court decided in favor of the respondent and denied petitioners motion for ocular inspection of the land in dispute. Oppositors appealed to CA regarding Lot 1. CA remanded the case to the lower court for ocular inspection. 3 Commissioners were appointed for the ocular inspection but their findings were opposed and a second ocular inspection was ordered. The trial court reiterated its former judgment to register the whole are of Lot 1 to the respondent with its encumbrance to PNB in the amount of P1,000 removed as it was already paid and thus no longer annotated on the title. The oppositors appealed with the argument that their properties were erroneously included in the respondents land registration. CA modified the land registration on lot 1 excluding the landholdings of the oppositors. Respondent filed a suit for a writ of possession over 2 lots occupied by Santiago Partolan and Crispin Baltar which the court denied. Upon appeal, the CA reversed the court decision and granted the motion for