(1) to declare null and void, the originals of the OWNER'S DUPLICATE of TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE nos. 303168 and 303169 which are lost;
(2) xxx after due adjudication and hearing, order and direct the Register of Deeds for Quezon City to reconstitute the original copy of Transfer Certificate Title Nos. 303168 and 303169 in the name of the registered owners, in exactly the same terms and conditions and on the basis of (i) the copies of the same Certificates of Title as previously issued by the Register of Deeds for Quezon City attached to the petition and (ii) the separate relocation plans and technical descriptions pertaining to the real estate properties covered by the Transfer Certificates of Title No. 303168 and 303169, duly approved by the Lands Management Services of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources and once accomplished;
(3) the Registry of Deeds for Quezon City be further ordered and directed to issue OWNER'S DUPLICATES of the reconstituted Certificates of Title to the Petitioner in lieu of the ones that were lost and/or destroyed.2
(2) Our record shows that Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 303168 and 303169, covering Lot 7, Block 586 and Lot 5, Block 585 respectively, both of the subdivision plan Psd-38199 are also applied for reconstitution of titles under Administrative Reconstitution Proceedings, (Republic Act 6732). The aforesaid TCTs are included in Administrative Reconstitution Order No. Q-577 (98) dated November 3, 1998, however, they were not reconstituted administratively, it appearing that their owner's duplicate were likewise lost.3
In view of the report of the LRA that the subject titles are also applied for reconstitution of titles under Administrative Reconstitution Proceedings, the Court resolves to dismiss the instant petition, it appearing that there is forum-shopping in the instant case, considering further the strict requirements of the law on the reconstitution of titles.
Petitioner failed to disclose that he also applied for administrative reconstitution and in fact stated in his Petition that:
xxx xxx xxx
- To the best of the Petitioner's knowledge, no such action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency; and
- If the Petitioner should thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, the Petitioner undertakes to report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to this Court wherein the original pleading and Sworn Certification contemplated herein has been filed.
xxx xxx xxx
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant action is hereby DISMISSED.4
Whether or not the subsequent filing by the petitioner of his petition for judicial reconstitution of the originals of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 303168 and 303169 after the said loss of the exclusive sources from which certificates of title may be administratively reconstituted under Republic Act No. 6732 is the proper legal alternative under Section 110 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 and is in accordance with the procedure under Republic Act No. 26;
Whether or not under the stated facts and circumstances, petitioner can be deemed to have engaged in forum shopping;
Whether or not under the stated facts and circumstances, the non-disclosure by the petitioner of the previous filing of the application for administrative reconstitution of the originals of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 303168 and 303169 in his Certification against Forum Shopping incorporated in the petition for judicial reconstitution is a violation of Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure; and
Whether or not the petitioner, who had no fault at all in the destruction of the original certificates of title safekept in the Registry of Deeds for Quezon City may be unjustly deprived of his proprietary right to obtain and possess reconstituted certificates of title over the real estate properties covered by Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 303168 and 303169 specially where he complied with all the strict requirements of judicial reconstitution under Presidential Decree No. 1529 and in accordance with the procedure under and requirements of Republic Act No. 26.
Section 5. Certification against forum shopping.--The plaintiff or principal party shall certify under oath in the complaint or other initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief, or in a sworn certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed therewith: (a) that he has not theretofore commenced any action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of his knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a complete statement of the present status thereof; and (c) if he should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he shall report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court wherein his aforesaid complaint or initiatory pleading has been filed.
Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements shall not be curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory pleading but shall be cause for the dismissal of the case without prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion and after hearing. The submission of a false certification or non-compliance with any of the undertakings therein shall constitute indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to the corresponding administrative and criminal actions. If the acts of the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful and deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt, as well as cause for administrative sanctions.
The foregoing certification is obviously inaccurate, if not downright false, because it does not disclose the filing of the First Case. Had this violation been appropriately brought up in the Motion to Dismiss, it could have resulted in the abatement of the Second case.
Nonetheless, strengthening our ruling on the First issue, we hold that substantial justice requires the resolution of the present controversy on its merits.
* Additional member per Special Order No. 843 dated May 17, 2010.
1 Penned by Presiding Judge Leah S. Domingo-Regala.
2 Rollo, pp. 61-62.
3 Id., pp. 39-40.
4 Id., p. 40.
5 Id., pp. 22-23.
6 Government Service Insurance System v. Bengson Commercial Builders, Inc., G.R. No. 137448 & 141454, January 31, 2002, 375 SCRA 431, 439; Roxas v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 139337, August 15, 2001, 363 SCRA 207, 217; MSF Tire and Rubber, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128632, August 5, 1999, 311 SCRA 784, 790.
7 R & E Transport, Inc. v. Latag, G.R. No. 155214, February 13, 2004, 422 SCRA 698, 710; Veluz v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 139951, November 23, 2000, 345 SCRA 756, 764; International School, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 131109, June 29, 1999, 309 SCRA 474, 480; First Philippine International Bank v. Court of Appeals, 322 Phil 280, 306.
8 Cooperative Development Authority v. Dolefil Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative, Inc. G.R. No. 137489, May 29, 2002, 382 SCRA 552, 575; Republic v. Carmel Development, Inc, G.R. No. 142572, February 20, 2002, 377 SCRA 459, 471; R & M General Merchandise, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 144189, October 5, 2001, 366 SCRA 679, Prubankers Association v. Prudential Bank and Trust Company, G.R. No. 131247, January 12, 1997, 302 SCRA 74, 83.
9 Cruz v. Caraos, G.R. No. 138208, April 23, 2007, 521 SCRA 510; R & M General Merchandise, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 144189, October 5, 2001, 366 SCRA 679; Cebu International Finance Corp. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 123031, October 12, 1999, 316 SCRA 488.
10 Yulienco v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 131692, June 10, 1999, 308 SCRA 206.
11 Rollo, pp. 52-53.
12 The order of the LRA states:
WHEREFORE, pursuant to Republic Act 6732 and LRA Circular No. 13 dated 26 July 1989, THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF QUEZON CITY IS HEREBY DIRECTED TO RECONSTITUTE the original of TCT Nos. 374983, 303168, 303169, 115896, 383006, x x x, based on the owner's duplicates certificates of titles including all subsisting restrictions, liens and encumbrances and to annotate all deeds, documents and other papers and court orders, notices of attachment, Lis Pendens and other adverse claims which were presented and duly noted in the entry books and are intact in the Office of the Registry of Deeds, but the registration thereof were not accomplished at the time the certificates of titles were lost or destroyed if any, provided that no other certificates of titles covering the same parcels of land exist in the record of said registry and provided further that after reconstitution, the owner's duplicates or co-owner's duplicate exhibited as basis for the reconstitution shall be surrendered to the Register of Deeds pursuant to Section 5 of Republic Act 6732.
See Record, Vol. I, pp. 205-206.
13 Record, Vol. I, pp. 83 and 84
14 Id., p. 86.
15 The provision states:
Section 12. Petitions for reconstitution from sources enumerated in sections 2(c), 2(d), 2(e), 2(f), 3(c), 3(d), 3(e) and/or 3(f) of this Act, shall be filed with the proper Court of First Instance [now Regional Trial Court], by the registered owner, his assigns, or any person having an interest in the property. The petition shall state or contain, among other things, the following: (a) that the owner's duplicate of the certificate of title had been lost or destroyed; (b) that no co-owner's mortgagee's or lessee's duplicate had been issued, or, if any had been issued, the same had been lost or destroyed; (c) the location, area and boundaries of the property; (d) the nature and description of the buildings or improvements, if any, which do not belong to the owner of the land, and the names and addresses of the owners of such buildings or improvements; (e) the names and addresses of the occupants or persons in possession of the property, of the owners of the adjoining properties and all persons who may have any interest in the property; (f) a detailed description of the encumbrances, if any, affecting the property; and (g) a statement that no deeds or other instruments affecting the property have been presented for registration, or, if there be any, the registration thereof has not been accomplished, as yet. All the documents, or authenticated copies thereof, to be introduced in evidence in support of the petition for reconstitution shall be attached thereto and filed with the same: Provided, That in case the reconstitution is to be made exclusively from sources enumerated in section 2(f) of 3(f) of this Act, the petition shall be further be accompanied with a plan and technical description of the property duly approved by the Chief of the General Land Registration Office, or with a certified copy of the description taken from a prior certificate of title covering the same property.
16 Republic Act No. 26 (An Act Providing A Special Procedure for the Reconstitution of Torrens Certificate of Title Lost or Destroyed) provides:
Section 3. Transfer certificates of title shall be reconstituted from such of the sources hereunder enumerated as may be available, in the following order:
(a) The owner's duplicate of the certificate of title;
(b) The co-owner's mortgagee's, or lessee's duplicate of the certificate of title;
(c) A certified copy of the certificate of title, previously issued by the register of deeds or by a legal custodian thereof;
(d) The deed of transfer or other document, on file in the registry of deeds, containing the description of the property, or an authenticated copy thereof, showing that its original had been registered, and pursuant to which the lost or destroyed transfer certificate of title was issued;
(e) 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
(f) Any other document which, in the judgment of the court, is sufficient and proper basis for reconstituting the lost or destroyed certificate of title.
17 The dispositive portion of the LRA's Order dated November 3, 1998 reads:
WHEREFORE, pursuant to Republic Act 6732 and LRA Circular No. 13 dated 26 July 1989, THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF QUEZON CITY IS HEREBY DIRECTED TO RECONSTITUTE the original of TCT Nos. 374983, 303168, 303169, 115896, 383006, x x x, based on the owner's duplicates certificates of titles including all subsisting restrictions, liens and encumbrances and to annotate all deeds, documents and other papers and court orders, notices of attachment, Lis Pendens and other adverse claims which were presented and duly noted in the entry books and are intact in the Office of the Registry of Deeds, but the registration thereof were not accomplished at the time the certificates of titles were lost or destroyed if any, provided that no other certificates of titles covering the same parcels of land exist in the record of said registry and provided further that after reconstitution, the owner's duplicates or co-owner's duplicate exhibited as basis for the reconstitution shall be surrendered to the Register of Deeds pursuant to Section 5 of Republic Act 6732,
Record, Vol. I, pp. 205-206.
18 Section 12, Republic Act No. 26, supra, note 15.
19 Philippine National Construction Corporation v. Dy, G.R. No. 156887, October 3, 2005, 472 SCRA 1; Roxas v. Court of Appeals, supra, note 6.
20 G.R. No. 143464, March 5, 2003, 398 SCRA 629.