G.R. No. 175685, August 07, 2013 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. ANGELES BELLATE, AND SPOUSES JESUS CABANTO AND MARIETA JUANERIO, Respondents.
G.R. No. 175685, August 07, 2013
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. ANGELES BELLATE, AND SPOUSES JESUS CABANTO AND MARIETA JUANERIO, Respondents.
- Whether or not this court may review the case under rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court.
- Whether or not the respondent committed fraud or misrepresentation of facts which would warrant the cancelation of the free patent and certificate of title of the contested land.31cralaw virtualaw library
Indubitably, the foregoing descriptions of the two parcels of land under Tax Dec. No. 36100 in the name of Angeles Bellate and Tax Dec. No. 24864 in the name of Eusebia Bellate demonstrates (sic) that they are two distinct and separate parcels of land. Correspondingly, Lot No. 2624 (the property described in Tax Dec. No. 36100), subject of the Free Patent Application of Angeles Bellate and registered in Original Certificate of Title No. 1546 is not the same parcel of land claimed by Enriquita Bellate-Quizan to be that originally owned by the late Eusebia Bellate.35 (emphasis ours)On the other hand, the CA observed:
We do not however agree with the above-quoted findings of the trial court. To begin with, the identity of the two properties was never raised by the parties in their pleadings, specifically by the defendants-appellants. A perusal of the records would show that the issue raised for determination before the RTC was whether or not Angeles Bellate made false statements in his application for free patent which constitute[s] a ground for the cancellation of his concession. Moreover, the final investigation report of Jovencio Bulan established the fact that Lot No. 2624 was part of the 27,930 square-meter parcel of land previously declared for taxation purposes in the name of Eusebia Bellate. As correctly observed by the Solicitor General, it is only logical that there would be differences in the boundaries and areas after the segregation of Lot No. 2624 from the 27,930 square-meter land.36 (emphasis ours)While both the RTC and the CA decisions ruled in favor of the respondents, the Republic correctly observed, however, that the RTC and the CA arrived at contradicting findings of facts. The RTC’s findings that Lot No. 2624 was not the same parcel of land originally owned by Eusebia cannot be reconciled with the CA’s findings that Lot No. 2624 was part of the 27,930-square-meter land of Eusebia.
[T]he fraud must consist in an intentional omission of facts required by law to be stated in the application or a willful statement of a claim against the truth. It must show some specific acts intended to deceive and deprive another of his right. The fraud must be actual and extrinsic, not merely constructive or intrinsic; the evidence thereof must be clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant, because the proceedings which are assailed as having been fraudulent are judicial proceedings which by law, are presumed to have been fair and regular. (Emphasis added)We re-examined the investigation report44 prepared by Jovencio Bulan — the person lawfully tasked to make an independent inspection over the disputed land. For clarity, we quote the relevant portions of the investigation report.
Based on this report, Eusebia was the original occupant of the 27,930-square-meter parcel of land which was subdivided into different lot numbers. Upon Eusebia’s death, her heirs occupied the different portions of the land. Among the heirs who occupied it were Angeles, who was Eusebia’s grandson, and Enriquita, who was Eusebia’s great-granddaughter. The report also shows that Angeles constructed his house in a portion of the land as early as 1948. That portion is now known as Lot No. 2624. Conchita, who was Enriquita’s mother and Eusebia’s granddaughter, constructed a house on a different portion of Eusebia’s land in 1965 or 17 years after Angeles constructed her own house.
The undersigned Investigator made an actual inspection on the premises of the land in question, which are all located in Barangay Matobato, Calbayog City; present in the said inspection were claimant-protestants Enriquita Bellate Quizan, Dionisio Bellate, Eduardo Bellate Quizan, Freddie B. Quizan and the applicant-respondent Angeles Bellate. The undersigned found that [the] land in question [was] occupied by the following persons:
- Lopez Coquilla – occupied and entered the land in question in 1952
- Angeles Bellate – Constructed [his] residential house in 1948
- Arsenio Camelon – Who failed to estimate the year he entered into the land in question
- Jesus Cab[a]nto – Who informed the herein Investigator that he entered the land in question in 1975
- Francisco Ilagan – Constructed his residential house in 1968
- Alfonsa Coquilla – Constructed her residential house in 1955
- Uldarico Pana – Constructed his residential house in 1977
- Pablo Ilagan – Constructed his residential house now owned by Preciosa Bellate in 1980
- Constancia Cabaliza – Failed to estimate the year [she] entered the land in question
- Guillermo dela Vega – Constructed his two-story house in 1963
- Conchita Bellate – Constructed her residential house in 1965
- Freddie B. Quizan – Entered and constructed his residential house in 1978
- And with nine (9) coconut trees estimated to be at three (3) years old during the date of inspection and with some other fruit trees and bananas.FINDINGS
From the foregoing observation[,] the undersigned found that the land in question is to be partitioned among the heirs of the late Sotero Bellate, the primitive owner of the land in question:
1. That said properties are divided by Lots 2528 with an area of 6,280 sq. meters; Lot No. 628 with an area of 2,638 sq. meters; Lot No. 272 with an area of 382 sq. meters; Lot No. 2722 with an area of 230 sq. meters; Lot No. 2723 with an area of 425 sq. meters; Lot No. 2724 with an area of 290 sq. meters; Lot No. 2725 with an area of 259 sq. meters; Lot No. 2726 with an area of 259 sq. meters; Lot No. 2726 with an area of 175 sq. meters; Lot No. 2727 with an area of 1,525 sq. meters; and finally the lot in question 2624, with an area of 2,630 sq. meters, the above-described lots could be divided equally share (sic) and share alike among the heirs of Sotero Bellate as follows:cralawlibrary
x x x x
provided however, that the area presently occupied by Angeles Bellate where [his] house stands shall be given preference as [his] share and the area shall be determined after the physical division of the land shall have been effective.
Declaring both the claimant-protestant and the applicant-respondent as legal owner of their respective shares over the land in question and each of them to respect the ownership of the other.45 (emphases and underscores ours)
* Peralta, J., designated as additional member per Raffle dated March 18, 2013 vice Justice Mariano del Castillo who took no part due to prior action in the CA.
1 Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court; rollo, pp. 24-38.
2 Penned by Associate Justice Ramon M. Bato, Jr., and concurred in by Associate Justice Isaias P. Dicdican and Associate Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr.; id. at 41-53.
3 “Bellate” also known as Billate or Villate in other documents.
4Rollo, p. 41.
5 Id. at 42.
6 “Quizan” also known as Quizon in other documents.
7Supra note 5.
13 Civil Case No. 365.
16Rollo, p. 43.
17 Id. at 44.
18 Id. at 43.
20 Id. at 46.
21 Id. at 47.
22Supra note 2.
23Rollo, pp. 15-18.
24 Id. at 51.red cralawlibrary
25 241 Phil. 930 (1988).
26Rollo, pp. 88-89.
27 SECTION 91. The statements made in the application shall be considered as essential conditions and parts of any concession, title, or permit issued on the basis of such application, and any false statements therein or omission of facts altering, changing, or modifying the consideration of the facts set forth in such statements, and any subsequent modification, alteration, or change of the material facts set forth in the application shall ipso facto produce the cancellation of the concession, title, or permit granted. It shall be the duty of the Director of Lands, from time to time and whenever he may deem it advisable, to make the necessary investigations for the purpose of ascertaining whether the material facts set out in the application are true, or whether they continue to exist and are maintained and preserved in good faith, and for the purposes of such investigation, the Director of Lands is hereby empowered to issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum and, if necessary, to obtain compulsory process from the courts. In every investigation made in accordance with this section, the existence of bad faith, fraud, concealment, or fraudulent and illegal modification of essential facts shall be presumed if the grantee or possessor of the land shall refuse or fail to obey a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum lawfully issued by the Director of Lands or his authorized delegates or agents, or shall refuse or fail to give direct and specific answers to pertinent questions, and on the basis of such presumption, an order of cancellation may issue without further proceedings. [italics supplied; emphasis and underscore ours]
28Rollo, p. 90.
29 Id. at 100-101.
30 Id. at 101.
31 Id. at 82 and 100.
32Remalante v. Tibe, supra note 25, at 935, citing Chan v. Court of Appeals, No. L-27488, June 30, 1970, 33 SCRA 737.
33 In Remalante, the court enumerated the following exceptions:cralawlibrary
(1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures;chanr0blesvirtualawlibrary
(2) when the inference made is manifestly absurd, mistaken or impossible;chanr0blesvirtualawlibrary
(3) when there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts;chanr0blesvirtualawlibrary
(4) when the judgment is premised on a misapprehension of facts;chanr0blesvirtualawlibrary
(5) when the findings of fact are conflicting;chanr0blesvirtualawlibrary
(6) when the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee. (Id. at 935-936; citations omitted)
In Sacay v. Sandiganbayan, 226 Phil. 497, 512 (1986), the court enumerated four more exceptions: “(7) the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court; (8) said findings of facts are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (9) the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner’s main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents; [and] (10) the finding of fact of the Court of Appeals is premised on the supposed absence of evidence and is contradicted by [the] evidence on record.”
34 335 Phil. 1163 (1997).
35Rollo, p. 14.
36 Id. at 15.cralaw
37 Peña, Registration of Land Titles and Deeds (2008), p. 560, citing Lopez v. Padilla, 150-A Phil. 391, 401 (1972).
38Baguio v. Republic of the Philippines, 361 Phil. 374, 379 (1999); and Presidential Decree No. 1529, §32.
39 110 Phil. 28, 33 (1960).
40 The provision reads:cralawlibrary
SECTION 101. All actions for the reversion to the Government of lands of the public domain or improvements thereon shall be instituted by the Solicitor General or the officer acting in his stead, in the proper courts, in the name of the [Republic] of the Philippines.
41The Director of Lands v. De Luna, et al., supra note 39, citing Republic v. Court of Appeals, 255 SCRA 335 (1996).
42P.T. Cerna Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 91622, April 6, 1993, 221 SCRA 19, 25.
43 Nos. L-21163 and L-25495, May 17, 1972, 45 SCRA 17, 27.
44Rollo, pp. 49-51.
45 Id. at 49-50.