G.R. No. 150470, August 6, 2008 FELIPE AND VICTORIA LAYOS VS FIL-ESTATE GOLF AND DEVELOPMENT, INC.
G.R. No. 150470, August 6, 2008 FELIPE AND VICTORIA LAYOS VS FIL-ESTATE GOLF AND DEVELOPMENT, INC....
G.R. No. 150470, August 6, 2008 FELIPE AND VICTORIA LAYOS VS FIL-ESTATE GOLF AND DEVELOPMENT, INC. FACTS: In a previous case, Fil-Estate Golf (FEGDI) was the developer of a golf course in Laguna along with La Paz who provided the properties registered in its name. Thereafter, Layos filed for injunction against FEGDI and alleged that he is the legal owner of the lands in question, and further alleged an intrusion on the part of FEGDI and La Paz. Layos filed two different cases in two separate courts, praying for the same thing. Complaint was dismissed for forum-shopping. Only months after instituting the injunction cases, Layos filed a complaint for quieting of title against La Paz. Layos alleges that La Paz “grabbed” his land and entered it without his consent. His main proof was the Original Certificate Title No. 239, issued in his name. La Paz argues that Layos never owned or possessed the land in question an in fact, it got the lands from the government and it was issued the assailed Transfer Certificate of Titles. The court ruled in favor of La Paz and declared their titles to be indefeasible and found the OCT of Layos to be spurious. Layos filed an action to reconstitute his title and many others opposed. The court again denied this, reiterating that OCT 239 of Layos is forged. ISSUE: Whether or not Layos is entitled to reconstitution. HELD:No. Layos did not have a valid title to the said property because the RTC ruled that it was forged. Reconstitution or reconstruction of a certificate of title literally and within the meaning of Republic Act No. 26 denotes restoration of the instrument which is supposed to have been lost or destroyed in its original form and condition. For an order of reconstitution to issue, the following elements must be present: 1) the certificate of title has been lost or destroyed; 2) the petitioner is the registered owner or has an interest therein; and 3) the certificate of title is in force at the time it was lost or destroyed. Courts have no jurisdiction over petitions for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed titles over lands that are already covered by duly issued subsisting titles in the name of their duly registered owners.
When the court relied on the previous judgment in the injunction cases that the OCT of Layos was forged, it did NOT entertain a collateral attack when it dismissed the reconstitution case. G.R. No. 173210, April 24, 2009 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES VS MACARIA L. TUASTUMBAN FACTS: Tuastumban filed a petition for reconstitution of the OCT covering Lot No. 7129, Flr-133, Talisay-Minglanilla Estate under Patent No. 43619 in the name of the Legal Heirs of Sofia Lazo, with area of approximately 3,633 square meters. The OCT which was in the possession of the Register of Deeds of the Province of Cebu was allegedly either lost or destroyed during World War II. Respondent anchored her petition for reconstitution on Sec. 2(d) of Republic Act No. 26 which provides that an original certificate of title may be reconstituted from an authenticated copy of the decree of registration or patent, as the case may be, pursuant to which the original certificate of title was issued. According to the Certification by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of Cebu City, Lot No. 7129 was granted to the heirs of Sofia Lazo via Patent No. 43619 issued on 21 July 1938. Respondent claims she bought the property from the said owners who are also her relatives, as evidenced by an Extrajudicial Declaration of Heirs with Waiver of Inheritance Rights and Deed of Absolute Sale. She claims that since the time of purchase, she has been occupying and possessing the land and paying the realty taxes thereon. Respondent prayed for reconstitution of the title covering the property since the title, supposedly on file and under the custody of the Register of Deeds of Cebu Province, had either been lost or destroyed during World War II as certified by said office. Cebu City Prosecutor, representing the Office of the Solicitor General, did not present any evidence against respondent. On 11 December 2000, the RTC ordered to reconstitute the lost Original Certificate of Title covering Lot No. 7129, Flr-133, TalisayMinglanilla Estate, in the name of the Legal Heirs of Sofia Lazo based on Patent No. 43619 issued on 21 July 1938. Petitioner interposed an appeal with the Court of Appeals which reversed the RTC judgment. The appellate court held that no proper reconstitution can be done since respondent did not utilize the sources of reconstitution provided under Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 26 in the order therein stated, merely presenting as it did a Certification from the CENRO that a
patent had been issued over Lot No. 7129 in the name of the heirs of Sofia Lazo. However, upon a motion for reconsideration filed by respondent, the Court of Appeals in its Amended Decision of 23 June 2006 reversed itself and held that respondent has substantially complied with the requirements for reconstitution under RA 26. ISSUE: Whether the documents presented by respondent constitute sufficient basis for the reconstitution of title to Lot No. 7129. HELD: No. Respondent’s evidence is inadequate. The purpose of the reconstitution of title is to have, after observing the procedures prescribed by law, the title reproduced in exactly the same way it has been when the loss or destruction occurred. RA 26 presupposes that the property whose title is sought to be reconstituted has already been brought under the provisions of the Torrens System. Respondent anchored her petition for reconstitution on Sec. 2(d) of RA 26. Respondent however failed to present an authenticated copy of the decree of registration or patent pursuant to which the original certificate of title was issued. She relied on the CENRO certification which is however not the authenticated copy of the decree of registration or patent required by law. The certification plainly states only that Lot No. 7129 is patented in the name of the Legal Heirs of Sofia Lazo. It is not even a copy of the decree of registration or patent itself but a mere certification of the issuance of such patent. G.R. No. 155703, September 8, 2008 THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES VS DOMINADOR SANTUA FACTS: Dominador Santua was claiming that he is the owner of a parcel of land in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro. He could not produce the original copy of the certificate as it was lost during an earthquake in 1994. The records of the Registry of Deeds were destroyed due to a fire in 1977. There are no encumbrances on the land. Santua then filed for reconstitution. He presented a tax declaration, a survey plan and technical description of the land as evidence. ISSUE: Whether or not tax declarations, technical description and lot plans are sufficient bases for the reconstitution of lost or destroyed certificates of titles.
HELD: No. Section 3 of RA No. 26 provides: SEC. 3. Transfer certificates of title shall be reconstituted from such of the sources hereunder enumerated as may be available, in the following order: (a) The owner’s duplicate of the certificate of title; (b) The co-owner’s, mortgagee’s or lessee’s duplicate of the certificate of title; (c) A certified copy of the certificate of title, previously issued by the register of deeds or by a legal custodian thereof; (d) The deed of transfer or other document on file in the registry of deeds, containing the description of the property, or an authenticated copy thereof, showing that its original had been registered, and pursuant to which the lost or destroyed transfer certificate of title was issued; (e) A document, on file in the registry of deeds, by which the property the description of which is given in said documents, is mortgaged, leased or encumbered, or an authenticated copy of said document showing that its original had been registered; and (f) Any other document which, in the judgment of the court, is sufficient and proper basis for reconstituting the lost or destroyed certificate of title. Santua anchored his argument on Section 3 (f) of RA 26. However, applying the principle of ejusdem generis, Section 3 (f) of RA 26 should be pertinent to the items preceding it. Meaning, these should be documents issued by or are on file with the Register of Deeds. Moreover, they are documents from which the particulars of the certificate of title or the circumstances which brought about its issuance could readily be ascertained. At most, the tax declaration can only be prima facie evidence of possession or a claim of ownership. As for the survey plan and technical descriptions, these are not the documents referred to in Section 3(f) but merely additional documents that should accompany the petition for reconstitution. Moreover, a survey plan or technical description prepared at the instance of a party cannot be considered in his favor, the same being self-serving. G.R. No. 150741, June 12, 2008 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES VS VICENTE AND BONIFACIA LAGRAMADA FACTS: The land in this case was allegedly covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 118717 in the name of Reynaldo Pangilinan. The original copy
of TCT No. 118717 was allegedly destroyed when a fire razed the office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City on 11 June 1988. On 25 June 1996, Pangilinan sold Lot 8 to the spouses Vicente and Bonifacia Lagramada. Respondents paid all the taxes on the land from 1976 to 1997 under Tax Declaration No. C-122-01735. On 16 April 1997, respondents filed a petition for reconstitution of the original copy of TCT No. 118717 and for the issuance of a second owner’s duplicate copy of the title. Pangilinan allegedly misplaced the owner’s duplicate copy and it could no longer be found despite diligent efforts to find it. After complying with the required publication and notice to all parties, the trial court heard the petition on 7 January 1998. No oppositors appeared. However, the trial court did not issue any default order. Bonifacia Lagramada appeared as the lone witness. RTC ruled in favor of respondents. Petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed an appeal on the ground that respondents’ pieces of evidence are not sufficient to warrant reconstitution of TCT No. 118717. The Court of Appeals ruled that respondents sought the reconstitution of TCT No. 118717 not in their capacity as owners but as persons who have an interest in the property. The Court of Appeals ruled that respondents were asking for reconstitution not in their names but in the name of Pangilinan. ISSUE: Whether the documents presented by respondents are sufficient bases for the reconstitution of TCT No. 118717. HELD: No. The documents submitted by respondents are not sufficient bases for reconstitution. A tax declaration by itself is not sufficient to prove ownership. In this case, two certificates of title were allegedly lost – the original copy of the transfer certificate of title in the Register of Deeds of Quezon City which was destroyed in a fire, and the owner’s duplicate copy of the certificate of title which Pangilinan misplaced. Hence, respondents were asking for the reconstitution of the original copy of the transfer certificate of title and the issuance of a second owner’s duplicate copy of the certificate of title. The requirements of Sections 2 and 3 are almost identical. We agree with petitioner that the enumerated requirements are documents from official sources which recognize the ownership of the owner and his predecessors-in-interest. We likewise agree that “any other document” in
paragraph (f) of Sections 2 and 3 refers to documents similar to those enumerated.