G.R. No. 185604, June 13, 2013
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. EDWARD M. CAMACHO, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
A parcel of land (Lot No. 1, plan Psu- 53673), situated in the Barrio of San Juan, Municipality of Alcala. Bounded on the NE. by property of Benito Ferrer; on the S. by an irrigation ditch and property of Marcelo Monegas; and on the W. by Lot No. 2. Beginning at a point marked “1” on plan, being S. 0 deg. 53’ W., 3830.91 m. from B. L. L. M. No. 1, Alcala; thence S. 87 deg. 22’ W., 44.91 m. to point “2”; thence N. 5 deg. 25’ W., 214.83 m. to point “3”; thence S. 17 deg. 06’ E., 221.61 m. to the point of beginning; containing an area of four thousand eight hundred and eighteen square meters (4,818), more or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and on the ground are marked by old P. L. S. concrete monuments; bearings true; declination 0 deg. 40’ E.; date of survey, April 19-21, 1926[; and]Respondent attached to his petition photocopies of the Deed; the OCT; Tax Declaration No. 485810; a Certification11 dated January 13, 2003 issued by the Office of the Register of Deeds of Lingayen, Pangasinan stating that the file copy of the OCT could not be found and is considered lost and beyond recovery; and Decree No. 444263.12
A parcel of land (Lot No. 2, plan Psu-53673), situated in the Barrio of [Namulatan], Municipality of Bautista. Bounded on the N. by properties of Hipolito Sarmiento and Ciriaco Dauz; on the E. by Lot No.1; and on the SW. by property of Nicasio Lapitan vs. Felix Bacolor. Beginning at a point marked “1” on plan, being S. 2 deg. 40’ W., 3625.25 m. from B. L. L. M. No. 1, Alcala; thence N. 80 deg. 47’ E., 3.50 m. to point “2”; thence N. 86 deg. 53’ E., 40.64 m. to point “3”; thence S. 5 deg. 25’ E., 214.83 m. to point “4”; thence N. 16 deg. 57’ W., 220.69 m. to the point of beginning; containing an area of four thousand seven hundred and forty-four square meters (4,744), more or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and on the ground are marked by old P. L. S. concrete monuments; bearings true; declination 0 deg. 40’ E.; date of survey April 19-21, 1926.9
Thereafter, copies of the said order were posted on seven bulletin boards: at the Pangasinan Provincial Capitol Building, at the Alcala and Bautista Municipal Buildings, at the San Juan and Namulatan Barangay Halls, at the office of the Register of Deeds in Lingayen, Pangasinan and at the RTC.19 The order was also published twice in the Official Gazette: on August 18, 2003 (Volume 99, Number 33, Page 5206), and on August 25, 2003 (Volume 99, Number 34, Page 5376).20
O R D E R
In a verified petition, petitioner Edward Camacho, as vendee of the parcels of land located in San Juan, Alcala, Pangasinan, and [Namulatan], Bautista, Pangasinan, covered by Decree No. 444263, Case No. 3732, G.L.R.O. No. 22141, formerly issued in the names of spouses Nicasio Lapitan and Ana Doliente, of Alcala, Pangasinan, under an Original Certificate of Title the number of which is not legible due to wear and tear, seeks an order directing the proper authorities and the Registrar of Deeds, Lingayen, Pangasinan, to reconstitute the office file copy of said Original Certificate of Title based on the technical description thereof and to issue a second owner’s duplicate copy of the same in lieu of the old one.
Being sufficient in form and substance, the petition is set for hearing on September 29, 2003, at 8:30 in the morning, before this Court, on which date, time and place, all interested persons are enjoined to appear and show cause why the same should not be granted.
Let this order be published twice in successive issues of the Official Gazette at the expense of the petitioner.
Likewise, let copies of this Order and of the Amended Petition be posted in conspicuous places in the Provincial Capitol and the Registry of Deeds, both in Lingayen, Pangasinan, the Municipal Halls of Alcala and Bautista, Pangasinan, and the Barangay Halls of San Juan, Alcala, Pangasinan and Namulatan, Bautista, Pangasinan, and the Office of the Solicitor General, Manila.
Finally, furnish copies of this Order, by registered mail, at the expense of the petitioner, to the following:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
all of Brgy. Anulid, Alcala, Pangasinan.
- Hipolito Sarmiento;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- Cipriano Dauz;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- Nicasio Lapitan; and
- Felix Bacolor.
(1) The present amended petition seeks the reconstitution of Original Certificate of Title No. (not legible), allegedly lost or destroyed and supposedly covering Lot Nos. 1 and 2 of plan Psu-53673, situated in the Barrio of San Juan, Municipality of Alcala and Barrio of [Namulatan], Municipality of Bautista, respectively, Province of Pangasinan, on the basis of the owner’s duplicate thereof, a reproduction of which, duly certified by Atty. Stela Marie Q. Gandia-Asuncion, Clerk of Court VI, was submitted to this Authority;chanroblesvirtualawlibraryThe government prosecutor deputized by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)36 participated in the trial of the case but did not present controverting evidence.37
(2) Our records show that Decree No. 444263 was issued on July 18, 1931 covering Lot Nos. 1 and 2 of plan Psu-53673, in Cadastral Case No. 3732, GLRO Record No. 22141 in favor of the Spouses Nicasio Lapitan and Ana Doliente;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
(3) The technical descriptions of Lot Nos. 1 and 2 of plan Psu-53673, appearing on the reproduction of Original Certificate of Title No. (not legible) were found correct after examination and due computation and when plotted in the Municipal Index Sheet No. 451/1027, do not appear to overlap previously plotted/decreed properties in the area.
WHEREFORE, the Court, finding the documentary as well as the parole (sic) evidence adduced to be adequate and sufficiently persuasive to warrant the reconstitution of the Original Certificate of Title covered by Decree No. 444263, Cadastral Case No. 3732, GLRO Record No. 22141, and pursuant to Section 110, PD No. 1529 and Sections 2 (d) and 15 of RA No. 26, hereby directs the Register of Deeds at Lingayen, Pangasinan, to reconstitute said original certificate of title on the basis of the decree of registration thereof, without prejudice to the annotation of any subsisting rights or interests not duly noted in these proceedings, if any, and the right of the Administrator, Land Registration Authority, as provided for in Sec. 16, Land Registration Commission (now NALTDRA) Circular No. 35, dated June 13, 1983, and to issue a new owner's duplicate copy thereof.On April 4, 2006, petitioner Republic of the Philippines, through the OSG, filed a Motion for Reconsideration40 which was denied by the RTC in its Resolution41 dated May 24, 2006 for lack of merit. The RTC opined that while the number of the OCT is not legible, a close examination of the entries therein reveals that it is an authentic OCT per the LRA’s findings. Moreover, the RTC held that respondent complied with Section 2 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 2642 considering that the reconstitution in this case is based on the owner’s duplicate copy of the OCT.
SEC. 2. Original certificates of title shall be reconstituted from such of the sources hereunder enumerated as may be available, in the following order:cralavvonlinelawlibraryIn this aspect, the CA was correct in invoking our ruling in Puzon v. Sta. Lucia Realty and Development, Inc.,57 that notices to owners of adjoining lots and actual occupants of the subject property are not mandatory and jurisdictional in a petition for judicial reconstitution of destroyed certificate of title when the source for such reconstitution is the owner’s duplicate copy thereof since the publication, posting and notice requirements for such a petition are governed by Section 10 in relation to Section 9 of R.A. No. 26. Section 10 provides: chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- The owner’s duplicate of the certificate of title;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- The co-owner’s, mortgagee’s, or lessee’s duplicate of the certificate of title;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- A certified copy of the certificate of title, previously issued by the register of deeds or by a legal custodian thereof;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- 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;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- A document, on file in the registry of deeds, by which the property, the description of which is given in said document, is mortgaged, leased or encumbered, or an authenticated copy of said document showing that its original had been registered; and
- Any other document which, in the judgment of the court, is sufficient and proper basis for reconstituting the lost or destroyed certificate of title. (Emphasis supplied.)
SEC. 10. Nothing hereinbefore provided shall prevent any registered owner or person in interest from filing the petition mentioned in section five of this Act directly with the proper Court of First Instance, based on sources enumerated in sections 2(a), 2(b), 3(a), 3(b), and/or 4(a) of this Act: Provided, however, That the court shall cause a notice of the petition, before hearing and granting the same, to be published in the manner stated in section nine hereof: And, provided, further, That certificates of title reconstituted pursuant to this section shall not be subject to the encumbrance referred to in section seven of this Act. (Emphasis supplied.)Correlatively, the pertinent provisions of Section 9 on the publication, posting and the contents of the notice of the Petition for Reconstitution clearly mandate:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
SEC. 9. x x x Thereupon, the court shall cause a notice of the petition to be published, at the expense of the petitioner, twice in successive issues of the Official Gazette, and to be posted on the main entrance of the provincial building and of the municipal building of the municipality or city in which the land lies, at least thirty days prior to the date of hearing, and after hearing, shall determine the petition and render such judgment as justice and equity may require. The notice shall specify, among other things, the number of the certificate of title, the name of the registered owner, the names of the interested parties appearing in the reconstituted certificate of title, the location of the property, and the date on which all persons having an interest in the property must appear and file such claim as they may have. x x x (Emphasis supplied.)In sum, Section 10, in relation to Section 9, requires that 30 days before the date of hearing, (1) a notice be published in two successive issues of the Official Gazette at the expense of the petitioner, and that (2) such notice be posted at the main entrances of the provincial building and of the municipal hall where the property is located. The notice shall state the following: (1) the number of the certificate of title, (2) the name of the registered owner, (3) the names of the interested parties appearing in the reconstituted certificate of title, (4) the location of the property, and (5) the date on which all persons having an interest in the property, must appear and file such claims as they may have.58
We also find insufficient the index of decree showing that Decree No. 365835 was issued for Lot No. 1499, as a basis for reconstitution. We noticed that the name of the applicant as well as the date of the issuance of such decree was illegible. While Decree No. 365835 existed in the Record Book of Cadastral Lots in the Land Registration Authority as stated in the Report submitted by it, however, the same report did not state the number of the original certificate of title, which is not sufficient evidence in support of the petition for reconstitution. The deed of extrajudicial declaration of heirs with sale executed by Aguinaldo and Restituto Tumulak Perez and respondent on February 12, 1979 did not also mention the number of the original certificate of title but only Tax Declaration No. 00393. As we held in Tahanan Development Corp. vs. Court of Appeals, the absence of any document, private or official, mentioning the number of the certificate of title and the date when the certificate of title was issued, does not warrant the granting of such petition. (Emphasis supplied.)Second. Respondent and the RTC overlooked that there are two parcels of land in this case. It is glaring that respondent had to amend his petition for reconstitution twice in order to state therein the names of the adjoining owners. Most importantly, the Notice of Hearing issued by the RTC failed to state the names of interested parties appearing in the OCT sought to be reconstituted, particularly the adjoining owners to Lot No. 1, namely, Benito Ferrer and Marcelo Monegas. While it is true that notices need not be sent to the adjoining owners in this case since this is not required under Sections 9 and 10 of R.A. No. 26 as enunciated in our ruling in Puzon, it is imperative, however, that the notice should specify the names of said interested parties so named in the title sought to be reconstituted. No less than Section 9 of R.A. No. 26 mandates it.
We cannot simply dismiss these defects as “technical.” Liberal construction of the Rules of Court does not apply to land registration cases. Indeed, to further underscore the mandatory character of these jurisdictional requirements, the Rules of Court do not apply to land registration cases. In all cases where the authority of the courts to proceed is conferred by a statute, and when the manner of obtaining jurisdiction is prescribed by a statute, the mode of proceeding is mandatory, and must be strictly complied with, or the proceeding will be utterly void. When the trial court lacks jurisdiction to take cognizance of a case, it lacks authority over the whole case and all its aspects. All the proceedings before the trial court, including its order granting the petition for reconstitution, are void for lack of jurisdiction.65WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The Decision dated July 31, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 87390 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petition for reconstitution docketed as LRC No. V-0016, RTC, Villasis, Pangasinan, Branch 50, is DISMISSED.
1 Rollo, pp. 26-51.cralawlibrary
2 Id. at 54-65. Penned by Associate Justice Portia Aliño-Hormachuelos (retired) with Associate Justices Hakim S. Abdulwahid and Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores concurring. The assailed decision was promulgated on July 31, 2008.cralawlibrary
3 Records, pp. 169-171. The RTC decision was rendered on March 9, 2006 and penned by Judge Manuel F. Pastor, Jr.cralawlibrary
4 Id. at 1-5.cralawlibrary
5 Id. at 149.cralawlibrary
6 Id. at 11-12.cralawlibrary
7 Records, pp. 145-146.cralawlibrary
8 Also referred to as Namalutan, Namabutan, and Namalatan in other pleadings and documents.cralawlibrary
9 Id. at 11-12.cralawlibrary
10 Id. at 9.cralawlibrary
11 Id. at 10.cralawlibrary
12 Supra note 6.cralawlibrary
13 Id. at 13.cralawlibrary
14 Id. at 17-20.cralawlibrary
15 Also referred to as Ciriaco Dauz and Ciriaco Cauz in other pleadings and documents.cralawlibrary
16 Records, p. 19.cralawlibrary
17 Id. at 32-33.cralawlibrary
19 Id. at 35-42.cralawlibrary
20 Id. at 48. Copies of the said Official Gazette are also made part of the records.cralawlibrary
21 Id. at 56-60.cralawlibrary
22 Also referred to as Gregorio Viray in other pleadings and documents.cralawlibrary
23 Also referred to as Roger Lanuza in other pleadings and documents.cralawlibrary
24 Also referred to as Jaime Cabuan in other pleadings and documents.cralawlibrary
25 Records, p. 58.cralawlibrary
26 Id. at 71-72.cralawlibrary
27 Id. at 73.cralawlibrary
28 TSN, September 20, 2004, records, pp. 89-98.cralawlibrary
29 Id. at 94.cralawlibrary
30 TSN, July 11, 2005, id. at 127-132.cralawlibrary
31 TSN, September 19, 2005, id. at 135-139.cralawlibrary
32 TSN, November 23, 2005, id. at 163-168.cralawlibrary
33 TSN, November 22, 2004, id. at 101-107.cralawlibrary
34 TSN, April 27, 2005, id. at 116-119.cralawlibrary
35 Records, pp. 122-123.cralawlibrary
36 Id. at 45.cralawlibrary
37 Id. at 159.cralawlibrary
38 Supra note 3.cralawlibrary
39 Id. at 171.cralawlibrary
40 Id. at 172-178.cralawlibrary
41 Id. at 186-187.cralawlibrary
42 Entitled “An Act Providing a Special Procedure for the Reconstitution of Torrens Certificates of Title Lost or Destroyed,” approved on September 25, 1946.cralawlibrary
43 Records, pp. 188-190.cralawlibrary
44 Supra note 2.cralawlibrary
45 406 Phil. 263 (2001).cralawlibrary
46 CA rollo, pp. 86-104.cralawlibrary
47 Id. at 110-111.cralawlibrary
48 Rollo, p. 37.cralawlibrary
49 203 Phil. 652 (1982).cralawlibrary
50 Petitioner’s Memorandum dated November 20, 2009, rollo, pp. 146-167.cralawlibrary
51 241 Phil. 75 (1988).cralawlibrary
52 Respondent’s Memorandum dated January 8, 2010, rollo, pp. 173-179.cralawlibrary
53 SEC. 110. Reconstitution of Lost or Destroyed Original of Torrens Title.—Original copies of certificates of titles lost or destroyed in the offices of Register of Deeds as well as liens and encumbrances affecting the lands covered by such titles shall be reconstituted judicially in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Republic Act No. 26 insofar as not inconsistent with this Decree. The procedure relative to administrative reconstitution of lost or destroyed certificate prescribed in said Act may be availed of only in case of substantial loss or destruction of land titles due to fire, flood or other force majeure as determined by the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority: Provided, That the number of certificates of titles lost or damaged should be at least ten percent (10%) of the total number in the possession of the Office of the Register of Deeds: Provided, further, That in no case shall the number of certificates of titles lost or damaged be less than five hundred (500).
x x x x
54 Entitled, “An Act Allowing Administrative Reconstitution of Original Copies of Certificates of Titles Lost or Destroyed Due to Fire, Flood and Other Force Majeure, Amending For the Purpose Section One Hundred Ten of Presidential Decree Numbered Fifteen Twenty-Nine and Section Five of Republic Act Numbered Twenty-Six,” approved on July 17, 1989.cralawlibrary
55 Republic v. Verzosa, G.R. No. 173525, March 28, 2008, 550 SCRA 382, 388.cralawlibrary
56 Angat v. Republic, G.R. No. 175788, June 30, 2009, 591 SCRA 364, 384 (citations omitted).cralawlibrary
57 Supra note 45, at 276.cralawlibrary
58 Republic of the Phils. v. Planes, 430 Phil. 848, 868-869 (2002).cralawlibrary
59 Republic v. Castro, G.R. No. 172848, December 10, 2008, 573 SCRA 465, 474.cralawlibrary
60 498 Phil. 570, 582 (2005). Please also see Pascua v. Republic, G.R. No. 162097, February 13, 2008, 545 SCRA 186, 193-194 and Republic v. Heirs of Julio Ramos, G.R. No. 169481, February 22, 2010, 613 SCRA 314.cralawlibrary
61 National Food Authority v. Masada Security Agency, Inc., 493 Phil. 241, 250-251 (2005); PNB v. Garcia, Jr., 437 Phil. 289, 291 & 295 (2002).cralawlibrary
62 See Alabang Dev. Corp., et al. v. Hon. Valenzuela, etc., et al., 201 Phil. 727, 744 (1982).cralawlibrary
63 Republic v. Heirs of Julio Ramos, supra note 60, at 327.cralawlibrary
64 G.R. No. 182980, June 22, 2011, 652 SCRA 600.cralawlibrary
65 Id. at 614 (citations omitted).