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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 9387. October 13, 1914. ]

TIBURCIA DE LIZA, Petitioner-Appellant, v. THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, objector-appellee.

Eulogio Ricafort, for Appellant.

Attorney-General Villamor, for Appellee.

SYLLABUS


1. REGISTRATION OF LAND; DUTY OF PETITIONER TO ESTABLISH HIS OWNERSHIP. — In order to secure approval of an application for the registration of real estate, whether rural or urban, in the property registry, in accordance with the laws that govern in the matter, the petitioner must satisfactorily prove that he is the owner and proprietor of the realty which he seeks to have recorded.

2. ID.; REGISTERED POSSESSORY INFORMATION TITLE AS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF POSSESSION. — The possessor of any land who is provided with a possessory information title inscribed in the property registry should be held in law to be a lawful possessor as owner, so long as no other interested party appears and proves a better right, for the said registered possessory information is prima facie proof of possession under valid title and has the same efficacy as all the other titles enumerated in Acts Nos. 496 and 809. (Inchausti & Co. v. The Commanding General of the Division of the Philippines, 6 Phil. Rep., 556, and other subsequent decisions of this court, in all of which the same theory has been uniformly adhered to.)

3. ID.; ID. — The admission and judicial recognition, in certain Court of Land Registration cases, by the owners of the conterminous lands toward the north and south of the land that is the subject matter of the said possessory information inscribed in the property registry, of the petitioner’s capacity of possessor under right of ownership, of the land situated between their respective properties, corroborates the parol evidence adduced by the petitioner at the trial and establishes the validity and efficacy of the said possessory information which, unassailed as false, either civilly or criminally, owing to the lapse of more than twenty years since it was recorded, now constitutes a true and lawful title of ownership of the land to which it refers.


D E C I S I O N


TORRES, J.:


This appeal, through bill of exceptions, was raised by counsel for the applicant from the judgment rendered on August 12, 1913, by the Honorable James A. Ostrand, judge, who therein decreed the registration in the name of the applicant, Tiburcia de Liza, of the part of the land described in the application, situated west of a straight line drawn from point 23 to point 42 of the plan marked as Exhibit A; and denied the application with respect to the rest of the land.

On February 6, 1913, counsel for Tiburcia de Liza presented an application before the Court of Land Registration praying for the registration, in conformity with law, of the rural property belonging to his client, situated in the place known as Almendras, barrio of San Isidro, town of Concepcion, Tarlac. Said application recited that the property in question was bounded on the north by the properties of Guillermo Baron, Alfonso Pinea, Paulino Gueco, Ciriaco Pinpin, and Cayetano Rivera; on the northeast by the Batibat Creek; on the southeast by the homestead of Jose Liza and that of Engracia Gonzalez; on the south by the Balen Creek, and the properties formerly belonging to Guillermo Baron and Maria Dimaliuat and now to the same Guillerrno Baron and to Diego Cardenas; and on the west by the lands of Jose Lacsamana and, Guillermo Baron; that the said property contained an area of 6,826,020 square meters or a little over 682 hectares and was assessed for the purpose of Taxation at $11,215 United States currency; that it was unencumbered and no one except the applicant had any right or share therein; that it was now occupied by the applicant herself and was acquired by her by gift inter vivos from her parents, Gil de Liza and Teresa Dizon, according to a notarial instrument of April 11, 1911; and that, in the remote possibility that the application could not be allowed in accordance with the Land Registration Act, the applicant would rely upon the provisions of Chapter VI of Act No. 926, inasmuch as she had been in possession of the land and had been cultivating it for the production of rice and sugar cane for more than thirty years. The application was accompanied by a plan and a technical description of the land, four titles of composition with the Government, a deed of sale executed in favor of Gil de Liza by the previous owners of the property and the composition titles obtained by the vendors, and also by a certified copy of a possessory information secured by the said Gil de Liza for the purpose of proving his possession of 55 hectares of land and inscribed in the property registry.

By a writing of March 31, 1913, the Attorney-General opposed the registration on the grounds that the land in question belonged to the Government of the United States and was under the control and administration of the Govern- ment of the Philippine Islands, wherefore it could not duly be registered in the name of the applicant, and that the alleged titles presented referred to only an area of 345 hectares, while that mentioned in the application was of 682 hectares. He therefore prayed for the dismissal of the application, with the costs against the applicant.

At the hearing of the case, besides the opposition of the Director of Lands, there appeared likewise as objectors the applicants for homestead Severo Sanchez, Leoncio Sanchez, and Francisco Aquino, and, after an examination of the parol and documentary evidence submitted by the parties, the court rendered the judgment aforementioned, to which counsel for the applicant excepted and moved for a rehearing. This motion was denied, an exception was. taken by the applicant and, the latter having presented the proper bill of exceptions, the same was approved, certified, and forwarded to the clerk of this court, together with a transcript of the documentary and parol evidence taken at the trial.

In order that approval may be secured for an application for the registration of real estate, whether rural or urban, in the property registry, in accordance with the laws that govern in the matter, it is indispensable that the applicant satisfactorily prove that he is the owner or proprietor of the land or real property which he seeks to have inscribed in the registry.

The record in the case at bar discloses that the applicant, Tiburcia de Liza, acquired from her parents, Gil de Liza and Teresa Dizon, the said rural property, through a donation inter vivos, which was recorded in a notarial instrument wherein, moreover, the said donation is shown to have been accepted by the donees; that Gil de Liza succeeded in uniting into one single large tract of land, the subject matter of the application, several parcels of land, some of them by purchase and others through occupation — a possession afterwards legalized by composition titles obtained from the Government under the previous sovereignty; and that her possession of a certain area of 55 hectares toward the east of the said large tract of land appears to be accredited by the possessory information approved by an order of April 11, 1893, and inscribed in the property registry on May 12 of the same year. The record also shows that the applicant and her predecessors, Gil de Liza and his wife, have been for more than thirty years in possession of the said property composed of several parcels of land, utilizing it for the growing of rice, sugar cane and other useful crops, aside from the possession enjoyed by the former owners from whom the said Gil de Liza had acquired or purchased a part of the property in question. In view of the documentary and parol evidence furnished by the applicant, the court held that the latter as well as her predecessors had been in legitimate possession, under title of ownership, of the land designated on the plan, Exhibit A, as situated on the west, as far as points 23 and 42, and although its area is much greater than what it is shown to be by the documents exhibited as titles to the said property, the court was nevertheless of the opinion that the in area was due to errors in the surveys on which the titles granted by the Government were based. He therefore held that the greater part of the land comprised by the plan, Exhibit A, from its extreme western boundary to points 23 and 42 of the plan, toward the east, belonged to the applicant, and that the latter was entitled to have the said large tract of land inscribed in the property registry.

With respect to the parcel of land comprised within the area extending from the said points 23 and 42 of the plan toward the east in the direction of the Batibat Creek, the court held that the applicant had presented no title of ownership obtained through composition with the Government, and that for it she would therefore have to rely upon the provisions of subsection 6 of section 54 of Act No. 926.

Three parcels of land included in the plan, Exhibit A, between the said points 23 and 42 and the eastern boundary toward the Batibat Creek, were duly acquired from their original owners by the applicant’s father and predecessor in interest: one of them, of 22 hectares, in September, 1888; another, of 16
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