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Introduction All lands belong to the state.

This was emphasized under Article I on National Territory of the 1987 Philippine Constitution: The national territory comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, and all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction, consisting of its terrestrial, fluvial and aerial domains, including its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas. The waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the Philippines.

Regalian doctrine(Jura Regalia) all lands belong to the king of Spain. All lands of the public domain belong to the State, which is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land. All lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State.[1] All lands not otherwise clearly appearing to be privately-owned are presumed to belong to the State.[2] [edit]

References
1. Seville vs. National Development Company, G.R. No. 129401, 2 February 2001 2. Republic vs. Register of Deeds of Quezon, G.R. No. 73974, 31 May 1995

1. Definitions of land title and of deed A land title refers to the evidence of the right of the owner or the extent of his interest, and by which means he can maintain control, and as a rule, assert right to exclusive possession and enjoyment of the property. A deed refers to a written instrument executed in accordance with law, wherein a person grants or conveys to anothercertain land, tenements or hereditaments. 2. Torrens System, its definition, purpose, nature and incidents The Torrens System is a system of land registration which involves a judicial or administrative proceeding whereby a person's claim of ownership over a particular land is determined and confirmed or recognized so that such land and the ownership thereof may be recorded in a public registry. Its purpose is to guarantee the integrity of land titles and to quite title to protect their indefeasibility once the claim of ownership is established and recognized. A title obtained under this system is the best evidence of ownership to a property and is binding against the world, as explicitly stated in Sec. 31 of P.D. 1529, The decree of registration shall bind the land and quiet title thereto, subject only to such exceptions or liens as may be provided by law. It shall be conclusive upon and against all persons, including the National Government and all branches thereof, xxx. *incidents Secs. 44, 46 PD 1529

2.2 As between 2 purchases, the one who has registered the sale in ones favor has a preferred right over the other whose title has not been registered, even if the latter is in actual possession. * title is the best evidence of ownership and is binding against the world. * possession is different from ownership; possession may signify outward evidence of title, buy is not necessarily the title itself * actual case would be the best example 3. Principles of Torrens System There are three underlying principles behind the Torrens System, these are: 1. Mirror principle it reflects the extent of rights the owner has over the property 2. Curtain principle it shields 3rd persons from everything that is not reflected in the title 3. Insurance principle 4. Origin of Torrens System The Torrens System was invented by Sir Robert Richard Torrens, a British customs officer. 5. History of Torrens System in the Philippines 1. Act No. 496 Land Registration Act 2. Act No. 2259 Cadastral Act 3. Commonwealth Act No. 141 Public Land Act 4. Presidential Decree 1529 Amending and Codifying the Laws Relative to Registration of Propoerty and for Other Purposes

Land Registration in the Philippines prior to 1902 Before the enactment of the Act No. 486 entitled as Land Registration Act the system of land registration in the Philippines were principally governed by: 1) the Royal Order of the 13th February 1894; and 2) the Spanish Mortgage Law of 1893. The Royal Order of the 13th February 1894 declared that all land, soil, ground not under cultivation, and forests in the Philippine Islands, not included in the following exceptions shall be considered salable Crown lands. except for lands which had passed into private ownership, lands in the forest zones which were reserved for the State, town commons which were reserved for the respective towns, and lands awarded to private ownership, whether by adjustment of title or possessory rights. The Spanish Mortgage Law then provided for a system of acquiring disposable Crown lands. There are five ways of acquiring these lands as provided by the Spanish Mortgage Law, these are: a) by outright purchase; b) by grant; c) by composicion by adjustment of title through compromise with the State; d) by informacion posesoria by possessory information proceedings; and e) by prescription. Properties that were acquired through the Spanish Mortgage Law were issued with Spanish titles also known as Titulo de Propriedad. In the consolidated case of San Pedro y Esteban vs. CA, which contains G.R. No. 103727 and G.R. No. 106496, decided on December 18, 1996, the issue on whether or not a Spanish titles still has a value even after the Torrens System took effect in the Philippines was resolved.

San Pedro y Esteban vs. CA, 265 SCRA 733 Facts: This is a claim of a huge parcel of land by the heirs of the late Mariano San Pedro covering lands in the provinces Nueva ecija, Bulacan, and in cities including Quezon city on the basis of a Spanish title. G.R. No. 103727 was a complaint for recovery of possession of real property and/or reconveyance with damages against Ocampo, Buhain, and Dela Cruz. It was alleged in the complaint that the defendants were able to secure from the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City titles to portions of the claimed estate. In the end, the lower courts ruled in favor of the defendants, declaring that all lands which have been legally and validly titled under the Torrens Law shall be excluded from the coverage of the Spanish title. Thus, the Torrens titles of the defendants cannot be defeated by the alleged Spanish title, Titulo de Propriedad no. 4316. G.R. No. 106496 was a petition for letters of adiministration over the intestate estate of the late Mariano San Pedro Y Esteban. This involves a prayer by Engrancio San Pedro to be declared as administrator. The petition was opposed by the Republic stating among its reasons that the Spanish title is absolutely inadmissible and ineffective proof of ownership to the subject property. This case eventually ended in the same manner as the first case - the Titulo de Prorpriedad was declared void and of no legal force, therefore the lands covered by the Titulo are not within the estate of the deceased. Issue: W/N Spanish titles can be used as indubitable evidence of land ownership. Held: No, Spanish titles can no longer be countenanced as indubitable evidences of land ownership. Under P.D. 892 (effective February 16, 1976), all holders of Spanish titles/grants should cause their covered thereby to be registered under Act No. 496 within 6 months from the date of the effectivity or until August 16, 1976. Otherwise, noncompliance will result in the reclassification of their land. The Titulo de Propriedad no. 4316 cannot be superior to the Torrens title of Buhain, Ocampo and Dela Cruz. Upon the effectivity of P.D. 1529 last June 11, 1978, Sec. 3 thereof reiterated that xxx The system of registration under the Spanish Mortgage Law is hereby discontinued and all lands recorded under said system which are not yet covered by Torrens title shall be considered as unregistered lands. Hereafter, all instruments affecting lands originally registered under the Spanish Mortgage Law may be recorded under Section 113 of this Decree, until the land shall have been brought under the operation of the Torrens system. xxx. As the Torrens System is now the prevailing land registration system in the Philippines, a title that is obtained in accordance thereof becomes the best proof of ownership to the property however such title could not prevail in the event that it includes by mistake land that is not registrable under the Torrens System. Widows & Orphans Association, Inc. v. CA, 212 SCRA 360 Facts: Respondent Widora filed LRC Case No. Q-336 before the respondent (trial) court an application for registration of title of a parcel of land as shown in Plan No. LRC (SWO)-l5352. It alleged that the parcel of land is situated at Malitlit-Uoogong, Quezon City, with an area of 156 hectares, more or less, described in Plan No. LRC (SWO)-15352; and that the applicant acquired said property from the heirs of Don Mariano San Pedro on December 12, 1954. It prayed that said parcel of land be ordered registered in the name of Widora.

An opposition was filed claiming ownership to the same. Dolores Molina filed an opposition, claiming ownership over 12 to 14 hectares of Lot 8 (LRC) SWO-15352, and praying for a decree of registration over said portions of Lot 8. On one hand, Ortigas opined that the land being applied for having been already registered under the Torrens System and in the name of Ortigas under TCT 77652 and TCT 77653. On April 20, 1979, the respondent (trial) court issued an order directing the applicant to prove its contention that TCT 77652 and TCT 77653 are not proper derivatives of the original certificates of titles from which they were purportedly issued. On June 27, 1979, petitioner Ortigas filed a motion for reconsideration of said order of April 20, 1979, alleging that a Torrens title becomes indefeasible after a year and that the same becomes conclusive upon the entire world; that the Land Registration Commission itself has advised the court that the 156 hectare property sought to be registered is covered by valid and subsisting titles in the name of Ortigas; that Courts of First Instance and the appellate courts in previous cases had sustained the Ortigas titles over the land in question. The trial court denied the motion for reconsideration holding, among others, that TCT 77652 and TCT 77653 on their face show that they were derived from OCT 337, 19, 336, 334, pursuant to Decree 1425; Decree No. 1425 shows that it covers a total area of only 17 hectares, more or less, located in Sta. Ana, Manila, which was four kilometers away from the land subject of the application for registration which covers an area of 156 hectares, more or less, described in Plan No. LRC (SWO)15352 situated at Malitlit-Uoogong, Quezon City; that Decree No. 1425 covers an area in Manila and also a part of Rizal is not credible, for if this were true then the area of said Rizal portion should appear on the face of said decree of registration, which is not the case; that TCT 77652 and TCT 77653 were not derived from any decree of registration, and that the said TCTs being null and void, cannot be used as basis to contest the right of the applicant to apply for registration over the subject land. In the case at bar, respondent Ortigas alleges that Decree 1425 embraces the lots covered by its TCT Nos. 77652 and 77653 which are identical to the lots applied for by petitioner. On the other hand, petitioner maintains that Decree 1425 covers a 17-hectare lot located at Sta. Ana, Manila while the lot applied for is alienable and disposable as certified by the Bureau of Lands and by the Bureau of Forestry and has an area of 156 hectares located in Quezon City four (4) kilometers away from Sta. Ana, Manila. The respondent Court of Appeals held that It may be that TCT 77652 and 77653 do not show on their face that they were derived from OCT 351, but the fact remains, as shown above, that the parcel of land covered by OCT 351 embraced the parcels of land, Lots 7 and 8, of TCT 77652 and 77653. There was, therefore a mistake in the entries in TCT 77652 and 77653 when the same referred to OCTs 337, 19, 336, 337 and 334, as their source, for the correct OCT insofar as Lots 7 and 8 are concerned, should be OCT 351. Issue: Whether or not TCT 77652 and TCT 77653 are within the parcels of land covered by OCT 351 which is a copy of Decree no. 1425 issued on April 26, 1905. Whether or not the possession of certificate of title by Ortigas makes him the true owner of all the properties described therein. Ruling: NO; NO Reason: True this Court declared in Ortigas & Company, Limited Partnership v. Ruiz (148 SCRA 326 [1987]) that "petitioner is the duly registered owner of the land (then) in dispute as evidenced by OCT Nos. 13, 33, 334, and 337 by virtue of Decrees Nos. 240, 1942 and 1925 issued in GLRO Record Nos. 699, 875 and 917 ..." Nowhere in said decision, however, is a pronouncement that TCT Nos. 77652 and 77653 were issued from TCT No. 227758 or OCT 351. On the contrary, it is not disputed by the parties

that TCT Nos. 77652 and 77653 themselves show that they were derived from OCT No. 337, 19, 336 and 334 and not from OCT 351 or TCT 227758. If indeed, the real origin thereof is OCT No. 351, what respondent Ortigas should have done was to file a petition for the correction of the TCTs in question as stated earlier. The claimed origin of the questioned TCTs evidently appear to be different from what is stated therein. It does not appear indubitable that the disputed parcels of land are properly reflected in the TCTs relied upon by private respondent. Off-hand, and as the parties admit, the TCTs do not show that they are actually derivatives of OCT 351. Rrivate respondent's TCT Nos. 77652 and 77653 trace their origins from OCT Nos. 337, 19, 336 and 334 and not from OCT 351 as it is now claimed. Undoubtedly, the evidence (plan submitted by respondent Ortigas, testimony of its surveyor and OCT 351) adduced by private respondent to prove the contents of Decree 1425 and admitted by respondent court is merely secondary and should not have been admitted in the first place. Respondent court committed a procedural lapse in correcting the alleged error in the questioned TCTs. A certificate of title cannot be altered, amended or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law (Sec. 48, PD 1529. Also, no correction of certificate of title shall be made except by order of the court in a petition filed for the purpose and entitled in the original case in which the decree of registration was entered (Sec. 112, Act 496; now Sec. 108, PD 1529). While the law fixes no prescriptive period therefor, the court, however, is not authorized to alter or correct the certificate of title if it would mean the reopening of the decree of registration beyond the period allowed by law Likewise, this Court held that the "simple possession of a certificate of title, under the Torrens System, does not make the possessor the true owner of all the property described therein. If a person obtains a title, under the Torrens System, which includes by mistake or oversight land which cannot be registered under the Torrens System, he does not, by virtue of said certificate alone, become the owner of the lands illegally included. 7. Administration of Land Registration in the Philippines 7.1 Land Registration Commission, its composition and functions (Secs. 4 and 6, P.D.1529) Section 4. Land Registration Commission. In order to have a more efficient execution of the laws relative to the registration of lands, geared to the massive and accelerated land reform and social justice program of the government, there is created a commission to be known as the Land Registration Commission under the executive supervision of the Department of Justice. Section 5. Officials and employees of the Commission. The Land Registration Commission shall have a chief and an assistant chief to be known, respectively, as the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner of Land Registration who shall be appointed by the President. The Commissioner shall be duly qualified member of the Philippine Bar with at least ten years of practice in the legal profession, and shall have the same rank, compensation and privileges as those of a Judge of the Court of First Instance. The Deputy Commissioner, who shall possess the same qualifications as those required of the Commissioner, shall receive compensation which shall be three thousand pesos per annum less than that of the Commissioner. He shall act as Commissioner of Land Registration during the absence or disability of the Commissioner and when there is a vacancy in the position until another person shall have been designated or appointed in accordance with law. The Deputy Commissioner shall also perform such other functions as the Commissioner may assign to him. They shall be assisted by such number of division chiefs as may be necessary in the interest of the functioning of the Commission, by a Special Assistant to the Commissioner, and by a Chief Geodetic Engineer who shall each receive compensation at the rate of three thousand four hundred pesos per annum less than that of the Deputy Commissioner. All other officials and employees of the Land Registration Commission including those of the

Registries of Deeds whose salaries are not herein provided, shall receive salaries corresponding to the minimum of their respective upgraded ranges as provided under paragraph 3.1 of Budget Circular No. 273, plus sixty per centum thereof across the board, notwithstanding the maximum salary allowed for their respective civil service eligibilities. The salaries of officials and employees provided in this Decree shall be without prejudice to such benefits and adjustments as may from time to time be granted by the President or by the legislature to government employees. All officials and employees of the Commission except Registers of Deeds shall be appointed by the Secretary of Justice upon recommendation of the Commissioner of Land Registration. Section 6. General Functions. (1) The Commissioner of Land Registration shall have the following functions: (a) Issue decrees of registration pursuant to final judgments of the courts in land registration proceedings and cause the issuance by the Registers of Deeds of the corresponding certificates of title; (b) Exercise supervision and control over all Registers of Deeds and other personnel of the Commission; (c) Resolve cases elevated en consulta by, or on appeal from decision of, Registers of Deeds; (d) Exercise executive supervision over all clerks of court and personnel of the Courts of First Instance throughout the Philippines with respect to the discharge of their duties and functions in relation to the registration of lands; (e) Implement all orders, decisions, and decrees promulgated relative to the registration of lands and issue, subject to the approval of the Secretary of Justice, all needful rules and regulations therefor; (f) Verify and approve subdivision, consolidation, and consolidation-subdivision survey plans of properties titled under Act No. 496 except those covered by P.D. No. 957. (2) The Land Registration Commission shall have the following functions: (a) Extend speedy and effective assistance to the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Land Bank, and other agencies in the implementation of the land reform program of the government; (b) Extend assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral land registration proceedings; (c) Be the central repository of records relative to original registration of lands titled under the Torrens system, including subdivision and consolidation plans of titled lands. 7.2 Register of Deeds (RD), its composition and functions (Secs, 7, 8, and 10, P.D. 1529) Section 7. Office of the Register of Deeds. There shall be at least one Register of Deeds for each province and one for each city. Every Registry with a yearly average collection of more than sixty thousand pesos during the last three years shall have one Deputy Register of Deeds, and every Registry with a yearly average collection of more than three hundred thousand pesos during the last three years, shall have one Deputy Register of Deeds and one second Deputy Register of Deeds. The Secretary of Justice shall define the official station and territorial jurisdiction of each Registry upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of Land Registration, with the end in view of making

every registry easily accessible to the people of the neighboring municipalities. The province or city shall furnish a suitable space or building for the office of the Register of Deeds until such time as the same could be furnished out of national funds. Section 8. Appointment of Registers of Deeds and their Deputies and other subordinate personnel; salaries. Registers of Deeds shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Secretary of Justice. Deputy Registers of Deeds and all other subordinate personnel of the Registries of Deeds shall be appointed by the Secretary of Justice upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of Land Registration. The salaries of Registers of Deeds and their Deputies shall be at the following rates: (1) First Class Registries The salaries of Registers of Deeds in first class Registries shall be three thousand four hundred pesos per annum less than that of the Deputy Commissioner. (2) Second Class Registries The salaries of Registers of Deeds in second class Registries shall be three thousand four hundred pesos per annum less than those of Registers of Deeds in first class Registries. (3) Third Class Registries The salaries of Registers of Deeds in third class Registries shall be three thousand four hundred pesos per annum less than those of Registers of Deeds in second class Registries. (4) The salaries of Deputy Registers of Deeds and Second Deputy Registers of Deeds shall be three thousand four hundred pesos per annum less than those of their corresponding Registers of Deeds and Deputy Registers of Deeds, respectively. The Secretary of Justice, upon recommendation of the Commissioner of Land Registration, shall cause the reclassification of Registries based either on work load or the class of province/city, whichever will result in a higher classification, for purposes of salary adjustments in accordance with the rates hereinabove provided. 7.3 Nature of duty of RD (Sec. 10, P.D. 1529) Section 10. General functions of Registers of Deeds. The office of the Register of Deeds constitutes a public repository of records of instruments affecting registered or unregistered lands and chattel mortgages in the province or city wherein such office is situated. It shall be the duty of the Register of Deeds to immediately register an instrument presented for registration dealing with real or personal property which complies with all the requisites for registration. He shall see to it that said instrument bears the proper documentary and science stamps and that the same are properly canceled. If the instrument is not registerable, he shall forthwith deny registration thereof and inform the presentor of such denial in writing, stating the ground or reason therefor, and advising him of his right to appeal by consulta in accordance with Section 117 of this Decree. 7.3.1 Ramos v. Rodriguez, 24 SCRA 418. 7.3.2 Spouses Laburada v. LRA, G.R. No. 101387, 11 March 1998, 287 SCRA 333 7.4 Remedy en consulta (Sec. 117, P.D. 1529) CHAPTER XV CONSULTAS Section 117. Procedure. When the Register of Deeds is in doubt with regard to the proper step to be

taken or memorandum to be made in pursuance of any deed, mortgage or other instrument presented to him for registration, or where any party in interest does not agree with the action taken by the Register of Deeds with reference to any such instrument, the question shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Land Registration by the Register of Deeds, or by the party in interest thru the Register of Deeds. Where the instrument is denied registration, the Register of Deeds shall notify the interested party in writing, setting forth the defects of the instrument or legal grounds relied upon, and advising him that if he is not agreeable to such ruling, he may, without withdrawing the documents from the Registry, elevate the matter by consulta within five days from receipt of notice of the denial of registration to the Commissioner of Land Registration. The Register of Deeds shall make a memorandum of the pending consulta on the certificate of title which shall be canceled motu proprio by the Register of Deeds after final resolution or decision thereof, or before resolution, if withdrawn by petitioner. The Commissioner of Land Registration, considering the consulta and the records certified to him after notice to the parties and hearing, shall enter an order prescribing the step to be taken or memorandum to be made. His resolution or ruling in consultas shall be conclusive and binding upon all Registers of Deeds, provided, that the party in interest who disagrees with the final resolution, ruling or order of the Commissioner relative to consultas may appeal to the Court of Appeals within the period and in manner provided in Republic Act No. 5434.