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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-21543. April 30, 1979.]

MARCOS ESTANISLAO, CASIMIRO ESTANISLAO, PIO ESTANISLAO, FELINO ESTANISLAO, and MARCELINO TIBURCIO, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES and THE PEOPLE’S HOMESITE AND HOUSING CORPORATION, Defendants-Appellees.

SYNOPSIS


Plaintiffs-appellants attacked the nullity of the issuance of Original Certificate of Title No. 735 and all subsequent transfer certificate of titles therefrom as not issued in accordance with the decision of December 29, 1913 in G.R. Record No. 7681 and raised the procedural question of default on the part of the defendant and appellee, the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The Supreme Court affirmed the power court’s order of dismissal considering that the validity of Title No. 735 has been upheld in two major decisions, People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation v. Mencias, L-24114, August 16, 2976 and Benin v. Tuason, L-26127, June 28, 1974 and that even if the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources could have been in default, it has purchased the lot in question from an innocent purchaser for value.

Order affirmed.


SYLLABUS


1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS; RESTRICTIVE APPLICATION OF THE RULES WHERE THE STATE OR ITS AGENCY IS A PARTY. — The inclusion of the then existing Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources as a party defendant is open to the objection that no governmental agency may be sued without its consent. Even on the assumption that it could have been validly.


D E C I S I O N


FERNANDO, J.:


The fatal infirmity from which this appeal from an order of dismissal suffers is quite obvious from the categorical admission by appellants in their brief that they "are attacking the nullity of the issuance of Original Certificate of Title No. 735 and all subsequent Transfer Certificates of Titles Nos. 2680, 3792, 32002, 35979, all of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal, and Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 1356 and 34802 of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City, as all of said Titles were issued, not in accordance with the Decision of December 29, 1913, in G.L.R.O. Record No. 7681. Said Titles should confine only to the area of 5,750,000 square meters, or 230 quiñones, the actual area of Finca No. 2088 (Order Nos. 2 and 5)." 1 Two major decisions where the validity of Title No. 735 were upheld, People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation v. Mencias 2 and Benin v. Tuason, 3 render quite clear the futility of this appeal. The Mencias decision referred to two earlier cases, Tiburcio v. People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation 4 and Galvez and Tiburcio v. Tuason. 5 The very exhaustive opinion by Justice Zaldivar in Benin cited an even longer list of cases by this Tribunal, 6 wherein the validity of Original Certificate of Title No. 735 had been sustained. It is, therefore, a quest that from the start was fated to be unsuccessful on which appellants had embarked. Appellants ought to have realized then the insurmountable obstacle they had to face. It would be to overturn so many decisions, some of recent date, if this court were to pay heed to such a contention. It is not disposed to do so. That would be unsound in theory and pernicious in practice. The consequences of wholesale disturbance of property rights argue most strongly against such as approach.chanrobles law library

What renders the appeal even more hopeless is that in Estanislao v. Government Service Insurance System, 7 where the parties were three of the plaintiffs-appellants in this case, Marcos Estanislao, who subsequently died, Casimiro Estanislao and Pio Estanislao, and represented by the same counsel, Gualberto Cruz, orders of dismissal likewise being appealed, the opinion of this Court left no doubt as to why appellants could not possibly hope to succeed. Thus: "In these two appeals from two orders of dismissal of the Court of First Instance, the first sustaining a motion to that effect filed by defendants Government Service Insurance System and the People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation, and the second, by defendant Director of Lands in an identical case filed with the Quezon City Court of First Instance then presided by the then Judge, later Justice, Nicasio Yatco, the sole issue is the validity of the original Certificate of Title No. 735 in favor of the Tuasons. To state the question is to answer it. It suffices to refer to the exhaustive decision of Justice Zaldivar in Benin v. Tuason which disposed of the matter in a quite conclusive manner against the pretension of the plaintiffs in this case. Even without the aforesaid decision, the order of dismissal of respondent Judge cannot be faulted. For to assail the right of the defendants involved is to ignore what is reiterated time and time again in decisions of this Court as to the respect to be accorded the rights of an innocent purchaser for value. The appeals are devoid of merit." 8

There was a procedural question raised in the appeal, namely, the alleged default of defendant end appellee, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. To repeat, the undeniable fact that the validity of Original Certificate of Title No. 735 had been upheld so repeatedly dispenses with the need for even discussing this point. For the satisfaction of appellants, however, it suffices to state that it did not help their cause at all. For one thing, the inclusion of the then existing Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources as a party defendant is open to the objection that no governmental agency may be sued without its consent. 9 Even on the assumption that it could have been validly made a party defendant, appellants ought to be aware of the restrictive application of procedural rules when the State or any of its agency is a party. The recent opinion of Justice Santos in Republic v. Court of Appeals, 10 notable for its thoroughness, clarity, and scholarship, ought to dispel any doubt on the matter. Even if the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources could have been declared in default under the circumstances of the case, there is no denying the fact that it purchased the lot in question from an innocent purchaser for value. There is an impressive number of decisions by this Court protecting and safeguarding the rights of such vendees. 11 No further effort need be wasted then on such an alleged error imputed to the lower court by appellants. The impression cannot be voided of their having been less than painstaking in their appreciation of applicable legal doctrines. It could be that their firm conviction that they could validly lay claim to the lands in question had sufficed for them to invoke judicial aid. Unfortunately, the title sought to be impugned had been repeatedly found by this Court to be free from any taint of imperfection.

With the Benin decision on June 28, 1974, this appeal could have been disposed of readily. So it was in the cases of J. M. Tuason & Co. v. Makasiar 12 and J. M. Tuason & Co. v. Masakayan. 13 The records of the case were, however, misplaced. That accounts for the delay in the decision.

WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal appealed in this case is hereby affirmed. No costs.cralawnad

Antonio, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr. and Santos, JJ., concur.

Barredo and Abad Santos, JJ., are on leave.

Endnotes:



1. Brief for the Appellants, 27.

2. L-24114, August 16, 1967, 20 SCRA 1031.

3. L-26127, June 28, 1974, 57 SCRA 531.

4. 106 Phil. 477 (1959).

5. 119 Phil. 612 (1964).

6. The cases referred to in Benin where Original Certificate of Title No. 735 was upheld follow: Bank of the Philippine Islands v. Acuña, 59 Phil. 183 (1933); J. M. Tuason & Co. v. Bolaños, 95 Phil. 106 (1954); J. M. Tuason & Co. v. De Guzman, 99 Phil. 281 (1956); J. M. Tuason & Co. v. Geronimo Santiago, 99 Phil. 615 (1956): Tiburcio v. PHHC, 106 Phil. 477 (1959); J. M. Tuason & Co. v. Register of Deeds, 112 Phil. 922 (1961); J. M. Tuason & Co. v. Magdangal, 114 Phil. 42 (1962); J. M. Tuason & Co. v. Aguirre, 117 Phil. 110 (1963); J. M. Tuason & Co. v. Vibat, 118 Phil. 60 (1963); Galvez, v. J. M. Tuason & Co., 119 Phil. 612 (1964) and Varsity Hills v. Navarro, L-30889, February 29, 1972, 43 SCRA 503. The Mencias decision was likewise referred to.

7. L-18717 and L-19379, September 30, 1974, 60 SCRA 33.

8. Ibid, 34-35.

9. Cf. Araneta v. Gatmaitan, 101 Phil. 328 (1957); Angat River Irrigation System v. Angat River Workers Union, 102 Phil. 789 (1957); Lim v. Brownell Jr., 107 Phil. 344 (1960); Bureau of Printing v. Bureau of Printing Employees Association, 110 Phil. 1120 (1961); Mobil Philippines Exploration, Inc. v. Customs Arrastre Service, L-23129, December 17, 1966, 18 SCRA 1120.

10. L-31303-04, May 31, 1978, 83 SCRA 453.

11. Cf. Quiniano v. Court of Appeals, L-23024, May 31, 1971, 39 SCRA 221; Tiongco v. De la Merced, L-24426, July 25, 1974, 58 SCRA 89; Frias v. Esquivel, L-24679, Oct. 30, 1975, 67 SCRA 487; Crisologo v. Court of Appeals, L-33093, Dec. 29, 1975, 68 SCRA 435; Pascua v. Copuyoc, L-23197, May 26, 1977, 77 SCRA 78; Demontaño v. Court of Appeals, L-30764, Jan. 31, 1978, 81 SCRA 286.

12. L-26374, July 31, 1974, 58 SCRA 180.

13. L-26693, August 21, 1974, 58 SCRA 481.

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