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[G.R. No. 22266. December 29, 1924. ]

THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, Petitioner, v. JOSE INSA, claimant-appellant, and ARSENIA ENRIQUEZ, Claimant-Appellee.

Jesus Ocampo and Salvador Franco for Appellant.

Jose Martinez de San Agustin for Appellee.


1. LAND REGISTRATION; REGISTRATION OF THE SAME LAND IN THE NAME OF TWO DIFFERENT PERSONS; PRIORITY OF DECREES. — Where the same land is included in two or more final decrees of registration, the decree first issued will, under ordinary circumstances, prevail over a later decree. (Legarda and Prieto v. Saleeby, 31 Phil., 590). But this rule does not necessarily apply in cases of overlapping decrees when it is conclusively shown that the overlapping s due to the fact that the land description in the older decree is taken from a grossly inaccurate plan, the lines of which, through errors of the draftsman, are not the lines actually surveyed monumented.



The question involved in the present case is one of two partly overlapping Torrens titles and is before this court upon appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance in a cadastral registration case adjudging the land to the appellee Arsenia Enriquez.

The title of the appellant Jose Insa is deraigned from one Severino Lerma who, by a decree of the Court of Land Registration dated January 3, 1905, obtained an original certificate of title to the land in dispute. The appellee Arsenia Enriquez claims title under a transfer certificate of title from Prisca de los Reyes and sisters, who held the original certificate of title under a decree dated December 19, 1905. (See sketches Nos. 1 and 2.)

The situation of the land in question may be best understood by a reference to the sketch, fig. 1. The portion lying within the points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the sketch is high land and the undisputed property of the appellant Insa. The triangular portion lying within the points 1, 10, 9, 8, 7 and 11 is in dispute and is low grass land. The adjoining land to the west of the line 1-11 and to the south of the line 7-11 is the undisputed property of the appellee Enriquez and is low land of the same general character as the disputed portion. Points Nos. 1, 2, 5 and 7 are marked with very old monuments of adobe stone and Points No. 9 and 10 are marked with old bureau of Lands monuments probably placed there at the time of the land registration surveys in the year 1904. Most of the other points are marked with new Bureau of Lands monuments. There is no monument of any kind at point No. 11. the line 1-10-9-8-7 is also indicated in the field by a continuous row of heavy bamboo along the entire length of the line.

As already stated, the disputed portion is covered by the certificates of title of both parties. As the decree upon which the appellant’s title is founded is older than that of the appellee, the former would, under ordinary circumstances, prevail (Legarda and Prieto v. Saleeby, 31 Phil., 590) and if the plans from which the land description in the appellant’s certificate of title were taken correctly reflected the surveys made for the purpose of the registration we should unhesitatingly reverse the judgment appealed from. irrespective of the consequences to the parties.

But here it is conclusively shown not only by undisputed testimony but also by the plans themselves that the western line shown on the Lerma plan is not the line surveyed and monumented, but simple an imaginary line which has crept into the plan through a mistake of the draftsman in interpreting the field notes of the surveyor.

This clearly appears from sketch fig. 2, a copy of the Lerma plan from which the land described in the appellant’s certificate of title is taken. The diminutive squares at corners 1, 2, 3 and 5 represent adobe monuments corresponding to the monuments at points 1, 7, 5 and 2 of sketch fig. 1. In making the survey the surveyor evidently used an Azimuth Compass and began his survey at point 1. In sighting from that point to the monument on the SW. corner of the land, the reading of the compass would be approximately SE. 163 degree 30’ instead of SW. 203

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