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Republic of the Philippines

REGIONAL TRIAL COURT


Eighth Judicial Region
BRANCH 34
Tacloban City

CONCHITA DUMDUM, CIVIL CASE NO. 2012-08-74


Plaintiff,
FOR:
-versus-
QUIETING OF TITLE,
DIVINE WORD DECLARATION OF NULLITY
UNIVERSITY, INC., OF DEEDS OF SALE,
represented by Fr. ISSUANCE OF TITLES,
Edgardo D. Abundo, SVD, OUTRIGHT CANCELLATION
in his capacity as OF TITLES AFFECTING
Administrator, and the CADASTRAL LOT NO. 3264
REGISTER OF DEEDS SPECIFICALLY LOT NO.
OF TACLOBAN CITY, 3264-D AND DAMAGES
Defendants
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

ANSWER WITH COUNTERCLAIM

DEFENDANT LICEO DEL VERBO DIVINO, INC. (formerly


Divine Word University of Tacloban, Inc.), by and through its attorney-
in-fact and counsel1, unto this Honorable Court respectfully avers:
THAT---

1. Paragraph 1 of the Complaint is denied for lack of knowledge


about the personal circumstances of the plaintiff; however, if indeed
she is residing in Paranaque City, it is evident that she was not in
actual possession of the property subject of this case as alleged in
paragraph 4 of her complaint.

2. Paragraphs 2.a and 3 are denied; plaintiff impleaded” Divine


Word University, Inc.” which does not exists and has no capacity to
sue or be sued.

3. However, there is the former Divine Word University of


Tacloban, Inc. (DWUTI, for brevity), which has been amended to
LICEO DEL VERBO DIVINO, INC. (LICEO, for brevity), with business
address at Avenida Veteranos, Tacloban City, and represented by its
Chief Operating Officer, FR. PEDRO LUCIO T. DAYAD, SVD.

1
Annex 1 – Secretary’s Certificate dated ______
2

4. Paragraph 3 of complaint is admitted insofar as legal


capacity is concerned, but denies the rest of the allegations for lack of
knowledge and information sufficient to believe as to the truth thereof.

5. Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 of the complaint are denied, the truth


being that plaintiff was never in possession of Lot Nos. 3264-D-1,
3264-D-4, 3264-D-5, and 3264-D-7;

5.a. Likewise, plaintiff cannot claim rightful ownership over the


said properties, since her tax declarations are inferior to the torrens
title of the defendant;

5.b. She did not even attach these alleged tax declarations,
which she used as basis for the main complaint of quieting of title;
and

5.c. From the allegations in par. 6.a to 6.d of the complaint, the
aggregate amount of the assessed values of the properties claimed
by plaintiff are less than P20,000.00, or below the jurisdictional
amount for the Regional Trial Court.

6. Paragraphs 7, 8 and 16 of the complaint are denied;


however, it is noted that while the purported deed of absolute sale
by Nicolas Morillo to his four children (Lourdes M. Alcober; Trinidad
M. Fabella; Exalatacion M. Buezon; and Nicolasa M. delos Santos
(Annex A) was allegedly executed on October 28, 1976, it was
annotated with the Register of deeds only on May 31, 1978. (The
deed of absolute sale by Nicolas Morillo to Divine Word University,
Inc. of Tacloban City dated 31 March 1978 was annotated earlier with
the ROD on April 3, 1978.)

6.a. Moreover, it is observed that the deed of absolute sale


(Annex A) by Nicolas to his four children shows that the area sold is
not Lot 3264-D, as it is apparent that the letter “D” was handwritten
and superimposed with a black pen to make it appear as Lot 3264-D.
Thereafter, the rest of the four (4) deeds of sales to plaintiff
(Annexes B, C, D and E) bearing different dates and a common
description of the lot to be sold as “a portion of Lot No. 3264-C
would also be falsified with a superimposition of letter “D” over the
letter “C” typewritten thereon in all these documents, thus tending to
arouse suspicion and doubt as to their genuineness, authenticity and
veracity.

7. Paragraphs 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the complaint are


admitted, as they prove that Nicolas Morillo was the real owner and
possessor of the disputed properties before he sold them to Socorro
Alcaraz and DWUTI.
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8. Paragraph 17 of the complaint is admitted, the fact commonly


admitted that DWUTI purchased Lot No. 3264-D from Nicolas Morillo
on 31 March 1978, evidenced by said Deed of Absolute Sale2
(Annex H of complaint).

9. Paragraph 18 of the complaint is admitted, with the added


information that said document shows the name of CARLOS A.
GOMAYAO, Notary Public (not Atty. as plaintiff maliciously puts it) and
that non-lawyers at that time were allowed by the court to become
Notaries Public.

10. Paragraphs 19, 20, 21 and 22 of the complaint are denied,


for the issuance of titles are within the competence of the Register of
Deeds of Tacloban City, which is presumed to have performed the
same with regularity, unless proven otherwise by competent
evidence, and not by bare allegations made by plaintiff of
“unexpected and magical development….”

11. Paragraphs 23, 24, 25 and 26 of the complaint are denied,


for the truth of the matter is that the plaintiff officially processed its
application for the Imelda Village (housing subdivision project),
approved by the government and sold to different homeowners since
1978 up to the present, or for a period of more than THIRTY FOUR
(34) YEARS without any adverse claim reflected in TCT No. T-170533
and its derivative titles.

12. Paragraph 27 of the complaint is denied, for reason that


while it may appear that the deeds of absolute sales to plaintiff
(Annexes A, B, C, D and E) were purportedly made earlier than the
deed of absolute sale to defendant, yet the annotation of the latter
document was earlier done than the former, and for reasons stated in
the affirmative and special defenses below.

13. Paragraph 28 of the complaint is denied for there is actually


no cause of action for quieting of title, as there is no cloud of title and
dominion over 1/11 portion of Lot 3264-D to talk about, as the
purported manufactured deeds of sale in favor of plaintiff have been
presented only after a lapse of more than thirty (30) years; hence the
same is barred by extinctive prescription and laches, and the cloud is
only in the mind of petitioner who made up this story of Lot 3264-D
when in fact, the properties purportedly sold to her were in Lot 3264-
C.

14. Paragraph 29 of the complaint is denied, as the plaintiff has


appeared from nowhere for the first time only this 2012, with the filing
of this unwarranted suit, which she took up after defendant’s
predecessor DWUTI voluntarily dismissed Civil Case No 97-05-91 for
2
Exhibit 1 – Deed of Absolute Sale dated 31 March 1978 by Nicolas Morillo to DWUTI
3
Exhibit 2 – Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-17053 in the name of DWU
4

Quieting of Title against Elsa Morillo Ampoan, et al. before this


Honorable Court of Branch 34, Tacloban City.

15. Paragraph 30 of the complaint is denied for lack of


knowledge and information sufficient to believe as to the truth thereof,
and if ever plaintiff engaged the services of counsel and incur
litigation expenses, she can only blame herself for instituting this
utterly baseless, malicious, and harassment suit.

And by way of---

SPECIAL AND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES

16. Defendant hereby repleads by reference all the foregoing


material and pertinent allegations.

17. The Honorable Court has no jurisdiction over the


subject matter of the case.

17.a. In the limited jurisdiction of this Honorable Court under


Section 19 (2) of R.A. No. 7691 (Judiciary Reorganization Act of
1980) , it specifically provides that:

“Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive


jurisdiction:

(2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession
of real property, or any interest therein, where the assessed value
of the property involved exceeds Twenty Thousand Pesos
(P20,000.00) x x x x .”

17.b. In the case of Heirs of Valeriano S. Concha Sr. vs. Sps.


Gregorio J. Lumocso, et al., GR No. 158121, December 12, 2007,
the Supreme Court held that:

“In a number of cases, we have held that actions for


reconveyance of, or for cancellation of title to, or to quiet title
over real property are actions that fall under the classification of
cases that involve “title to, or possession of, real property, or
any interest therein.”

17.c. Since it is apparent in the complaint that plaintiff did not


indicate the assessed value of the property subject of this case, the
court will be constrained to rely only on the attached Tax Declaration
__________________ which indicates the value of the property at
P______, which does not exceed the jurisdictional amount of
P20,000.00 as required by law.
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18. There is actually no cause of action for Quieting of Title,


as there is no such cloud of title to talk about. The existence of cloud
must exist because (a) of an instrument (deed or contract) or record
or claim or encumbrance of a proceeding, (b) which is apparently
valid or effective, (c) but is, in truth an in fact, invalid, ineffective,
voidable, or unenforceable or extinguished, or barred by extinctive
prescription or laches, and (d) may be prejudicial to the title. (Art. 476,
Civil Code). However, foregoing premises considered, the cloud is not
in any instrument but is purely in the obsessed mind of the plaintiff
that Lot 3264-C is Lot 3264-D.

19. Certificate of Title shall not be subject to collateral


attack. While plaintiff seeks for segregation of the purported 4/11
shares sold to her by the four (4) children of Nicolas Murillo (Lot Nos.
3264-D-1, 3264-D-4, 3264-D-5, and 3264-D-7) in Lot 3264, she is
seeking for the cancellation of TCT No. T-170534 and its derivative
titles. This is contrary to Section 48, PD 2529 (Property Registration
Decree) which provides:

“Certificate not subject to collateral attack. - Certificate


of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. It cannot be
altered, modified or cancelled except in a direct proceeding
in accordance with law.”

19.a. Moreover, the title became indefeasible and


incontrovertible after a lapse of one-year from the time of its
registration and issuance, pursuant to Section 32, PD 1529.

20. Plaintiff is guilty of laches. There is no question that both


parties acquired their right from Nicolas Murillo, the rightful owner and
possessor of the subject properties. However, defendant registered
the sale of the property with the Registry of Deeds of Tacloban on
April 3, 1978 while the children of Nicolas Murillo belatedly registered
their father’s deed of sale to them on May 31, 1978. Under PD 1529,
registration is the operative act that conveys and affects the land.
And, the separate deeds of sale of the four Murillo siblings to plaintiff
were on _____________.

20.a. Defendant possessed and owned the entire Lot 3264-D


since 1978 up to the present, and publicly known as Imelda Village.
(later known as Janssen Heights Subdivision).

20.b. In fact, some 217 sub-titles to the property were even


used as compensation under Dacion En Pago in favor of the DWU
Employees Union in _________________.

20.c. Despite these public events, plaintiff failed and neglect for
an unreasonable length of time to do that which by exercising due
4
Exhibit 2 – Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-17053 in the name of DWU
6

diligence could or should have done earlier, i.e., to assert her right
over the alleged four (4) aforedescribed lots subject of this case.

21. Defendant is a purchaser in good faith and for value.

22. The spring cannot rise higher than its source.

23. Even a void title may become the root of a valid title in
the hands of an innocent holder for value. Defendant was an
innocent purchaser for value of Lot 3264-D from lot owner Nicolas
Murillo. A certificate of title was issued to it by the Register of Deeds
of Tacloban City. Under Section 44, Act 496 (now Section 53 of PD
1529) defendant is the absolute owner of the land.

23.a. The Supreme Court, in dela Cruz v. Fabie, 35 Phil 144,


Blondeu v. Nano, 61 Phil 625: “The torrens system permits a forged
transfer, when duly entered in the registry, to become the root of a
valid title in a bona fide purchaser. The Act erects a safeguard against
a forged transfer, by the requirement that no transfer shall be
registered unless the owner’s duplicate certificate was produced
along with the instrument of transfer. An executed transfer of
registered lands placed by the registered owner thereof in the hands
of another, operates as representation to a third party that the holder
of the transfer is authorized to deal with the lands.”

23.b. The Supreme Court further ruled: “Guided by previous


decisions of this Court, good faith consists in the possessor’s belief
that the person from whom he received the thing was the owner of
the same and could convey his title (Arriola v. Gomez dela Serna, 14
Phil 627).

COUNTERCLAIM

24. Defendant repleads, adopts and incorporate by way of


reference all the allegations of the preceding paragraphs of its
answer.

25. Contrary to Paragraph___ of the complaint, the plaintiff is


not in possession of the alleged Lots.

26. Having been made to defend itself in an unfounded suit, the


defendant was compelled to hire the services of a lawyer and shall be
obligated to pay the sum of P50,000.00 as attorney’s fees and
appearance fee of P2,000.00 per court appearance, and it will incur
litigation expenses estimated to be no less than P20,000.00.
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27. The filing of this present malicious, unfounded, and false


complaint, defendant suffered disrepute; and in order to deter others
who maybe similarly situated as plaintiff, the latter should be
adjudged to pay defendant the sum of P30,000.00 as exemplary
damages.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed of


this Honorable Court that the complaint be dismissed for want of
palpable merit, with costs against the plaintiff.

On the counterclaim, defendant prays for judgment ordering the


plaintiff to pay the defendant P50,000.00 as attorney’s fees and
P2,000.00 per appearance fee; the sum of not less than P20,000.00
as litigation expenses; the sum of P30,000.00 as exemplary
damages.

Granting defendant such other relief just and equitable in the


premises.

Tacloban City. February __, 2013.

LEO S. GIRON
Counsel for Defendant LICEO DEL VERBO DIVINO, INC.
253 Avenida Veteranos, Tacloban City
Roll of Atty. No. 37379
IBP Lifetime Member No. 00733
PTR No. 7166647; 1-2-13; Tacloban City
MCLE Compliance No. IV-0005511; 4-23-12
e.mail: attyleogiron@yahoo.com
Contact Number: 09189230567 / 09173220753
Telefax: 053-321-1949

COPY FURNISHED: (by registered mail)

ATTY. QUIRINO N. ORIEL


Counsel for the Plaintiff
152 Fatima Village, Tacloban City

ATTY. PEDRO FELICEN, JR.


Collaborating Counsel for the Plaintiff
V&G Subd., Tacloban City

Republic of the Philippines )


8

City of Tacloban ) SS

VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION


OF NON-FORUM SHOPPING

I, Atty. LEO S. GIRON, of legal age, Filipino and with postal


address at 253 Avenida Veteranos, Tacloban City, after having been
duly sworn according to law, hereby depose and say: THAT---

I am the attorney-in-fact and counsel of herein plaintiff, per


Special Power of Attorney, supra, to represent the plaintiff in the
above-entitled case; that I have caused the foregoing ANSWER and
its Annexes to be prepared and filed; that I have read and fully
understood all the allegations therein contained; and that the same
are all true and correct according to my own personal knowledge and
belief, and based on genuine and authentic documents; and further,

I CERTIFY that defendant has not commenced any action


against the plaintiff for the same cause and over the same subject
matter, nor is there any case pending before the Supreme Court,
Court of Appeals, court or any agency or tribunal, judicial or
administrative; that I undertake to inform this Court of any action
pending or otherwise over the same cause or subject matter within
five (5) days from date of knowledge.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this


_______________ at Tacloban City, Philippines.

ATTY. LEO S. GIRON


Affiant

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this ____________


at Tacloban City, Philippines, by affiant ATTY. LEO S. GIRON, who
has proven to me his identity thru his Professional Driver’s License
No. H02-71-004104 valid until July 3, 2012 and CTC No. 09895048
issued on January 3, 2011 at Tacloban City, that he is the same
person who personally signed the foregoing verification and
certification of non-forum shopping before me and acknowledged that
he executed the same.

Doc. No. ____


Page No. ____
Book No. ____
SERIES OF 2013