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G.R. No.

L-34080

March 22, 1991

SALVADOR SERRA SERRA, HEIRS OF GREGORIO SERRA SERRA, represented


by CARMELO IMAZ, as Special Administrator of the Estate of GREGORIO
SERRA SERRA, MARGARITA SERRA SERRA, FRANCISCA TERESA SERRA
SERRA,
AND
FRANCISCO
JOSE
SERRA
SERRA, petitioners,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, THE HON. JUDGE CARLOS ABIERA, THE
PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, PRIMITIVO HERNAEZ,
ROGACIANA HERNAEZ AND LUISA HERNAEZ, respondents.

G.R. No. 34693

March 22, 1991

SALVADOR SERRA SERRA, HEIRS OF GREGORIO SERRA SERRA,


respresented by CARMELO IMAZ, as Special Administrator of the Estate of
GREGORIO SERRA SERRA, MARGARITA SERRA SERRA, FRANCISCA TERESA
SERRA SERRA AND FRANCISCO JOSE SERRA SERRA, petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUDGE NESTOR B. ALAMPAY, in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of
Branch III of Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, FELIPE GARAYGAY
AND NEGROS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (SONEDCO), respondents.

MEDIALDEA, J.:
These consolidated petitions under Rule 65 seeks the issuance of the following writs:
G.R. No. L-34080
a) Certiorari To annul and set aside the Resolution of the respondent Court
of Appeals, promulgated on August 3, 1971, setting aside the writ of preliminary
injunction it previously issued on June 7, 1971 in CA-G.R. No. 00139-SP,
entitled "Salvador Serra Serra, et al., Petitioners, vs. Hon. Carlos Abiera, et al.,
Respondents." . . .
b) Prohibition To enjoin private respondents, respondent Judge Carlos
Abiera and respondent Provincial Sheriff of Negros Occidental or his deputies
or representatives from further dispossessing petitioners of Lot No. 1316 of
Kabankalan Cadastre and Lot Nos. 2685 and 717 of Ilog Cadastre.
c) Mandamus Directing private respondents to immediately restore
petitioners in possession of Lot No. 1316 of Kabankalan Cadastre and Lot Nos.
2685 and 717 of Ilog Cadastre. (pp. 1-2, Rollo of G.R. L-34080)
G.R. No. L-34693

a) Certiorari To annul and set aside the Orders of the respondent Judge
Nestor B. Alampay, issued on November 29, 1971 and December 29, 1971, in
Civil Case No. 10040 of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental entitled
"Salvador Serra Serra, et al. v. Felipe Garaygay, et al." The Order of November
29, 1971 dissolved the writ of preliminary injunction previously issued by
Executive Judge Cesar Kintanar enjoining private respondent SONEDCO from
issuing and delivering sugar quedans to private respondent Felipe Garaygay,
while the Order of December 29, 1971 directed the issuance of the writ of
preliminary injunction enjoining petitioners from harvesting, hauling and selling
sugar canes from Lot Nos. 717 and 2685 "Ilog Cadastre" and Lot No. 1316
"Kabankalan Cadastre." As hereafter shown, both Orders were issued with
grave abuse of discretion and in utter violation of the resolution of this
Honorable Court of Appeals adopted on September 24, 1971 in G.R. No. L34080, entitled "Salvador Serra Serra, et al. v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al."
b) Prohibition To enjoin respondents, their agents, deputies or
representatives from interfering in any manner with petitioners' right of
possession of Lot Nos. 717 and 2685 "Ilog Cadastre" and Lot No. 1316
"Kabankalan Cadastre."
c) Mandamus To compel private respondent Felipe Garaygay to return to
petitioners the value of the sugar canes covered by the sugar quedans issued
and delivered to him by respondent SONEDCO. (pp. 1-2, Rollo of G.R. No. L34693)
The facts are as follows:
On December 27, 1967, Primitivo, Rogaciana and Luisa, all surnamed Hernaez
(Hernaezes, for brevity) filed with then CFI of Bacolod City a petition for reconstitution
of allegedly lost original certificates of title in the name of their predecessor-in-interest,
Eleuterio Hernaez, covering Lot No. 1316 of Kabankalan Cadastre and Lot Nos. 2685
and 717 of Ilog Cadastre, all in the Province of Negros Occidental. The petition was
supported by a certification from the Register of Deeds, Bacolod, Negros Occidental,
that no certificates of titles had been issued covering the properties. The petition was
docketed as Cadastral Case No. 17, GLRO Records No. 163 (Annex "J").
On April 6, 1968, the petition was granted and the Register of Deeds of Negros
Occidental issued on May 6, 1969 reconstituted original certificates of title Nos. RO10173 [N.A.]; RO-10174 [N.A.] and RO-10175 [N.A.] for Lot Nos. 1316, 2685 and 717,
respectively. On May 29, 1969, these reconstituted original certificates of title were
cancelled upon presentation by the Hernaezes of a "declaration of heirship" and in lieu
thereof, TCT Nos. T-51546, T-51547 and T-51548 were issued in their names.
Upon learning of the existence of the above transfer certificates of title, Salvador Serra
Serra, for and in behalf of his co-heirs (Serras, for brevity), filed with the Registry of
Deeds an adverse claim against the reconstituted certificates of title in the name of the
Hernaezes. They also filed in Cadastral Case No. 17, GLRO Records No. 163, a
motion for cancellation of said certificates of title (Annex "L"), claiming that they are
holders of valid existing certificates of titles and that they are in actual possession of
the properties covered by the reconstituted certificates of titles since before the war.

The motion was forwarded to the Court of First Instance of Himamaylan, Negros
Occidental, then presided by Judge Abiera, where the lots are situated. The
Hernaezes sought the dismissal of the motion for cancellation (Annex "M"). On March
16, 1970, Judge Abiera denied the motion for cancellation (Annex "O") without
conducting a formal hearing. The order denying the motion was received by the Serras
only on November 4, 1970. They moved for a reconsideration of the denial. On March
27, 1971, the Hernaezes filed a motion with the trial court of Himamaylan for execution
of the order of the Bacolod court in the cadastral case granting the petition for
reconstitution. The motion prayed that they be placed in possession of the subject
properties. On April 29, 1971, the trial court denied Serras' motion for reconsideration
of the denial of their motion for cancellation of the reconstituted certificates of title (p.
87, Rollo of G.R. No. L-34080). On May 7, 1971, the Himamaylan court issued the writ
of possession prayed for (p. 91, Rollo of G.R. No. L-34080).
On May 12, 1971, the Serras challenged the legality of the issuance of the writ of
possession before the Court of Appeals in a petition of certiorari, docketed as CA-G.R.
No. SP-00139. They alleged that the order was issued with grave abuse of discretion
and therein prayed that the order denying the motion for cancellation of the
reconstituted certificates of titles as well as the writ of possession be nullified (Annex
"T").
On May 21, 1971, the Court of Appeals gave due course to the petition and required
the Hernaezes to answer (p. 100, Rollo of G.R. No. L-34080). A writ of preliminary
injunction was issued upon the filing of a bond by petitioners in the amount of P500.00.
On June 16, 1971, the Serras filed an ex-parte motion for the dissolution of the writ of
preliminary injunction which was granted on August 3, 1971. On August 13, 1971
petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the order dissolving the writ. The
motion was denied on August 23, 1971. From the resolution denying reconsideration,
petitioners brought this petition denying reconsideration, petitioners brought this
petition docketed as G.R. L-34080.
Petitioners alleged that respondent Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion
when it set aside the writ of preliminary injunction previously issued thereby giving
effect to the writ of possession issued by the trial court. They argued that the
questioned dissolution of the writ was tantamount to an adjudication on the merits of
the main petition which involves the issue of possession. The lifting of the writ was
allegedly premature. They also claimed that the order of the trial court for the issuance
of a writ of possession over the disputed lots in favor of private respondents is void
because a writ of possession in a cadastral proceeding can only be issued pursuant
to a final decree of registration and not, on the basis of an order denying a motion to
cancel certificates of title.
On September 24, 1971, the Court required respondents to answer the petition and to
show cause why no mandatory injunction should issue requiring them to immediately
return to petitioners whatever they might have received in the implementation of the
writ of possession. On September 28, 1971, a preliminary prohibitory injunction was
issued upon the posting of a bond by petitioners in the amount of P10,000.00 ordering
respondents to desist from further dispossessing petitioners of the lots in question until
further orders (p. 145,Rollo of G.R. No. L-34080).

While G.R. L-34080 was pending in this Court, on October 11, 1971, the Serras filed
with the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Civil Case No. 10040 against
Felipe Garaygay and SONEDCO (Southern Negros Development Corp.). The
complaint alleged that Garaygay cut, hauled and milled with SONEDCO's sugar
central, sugarcanes owned by the plaintiffs. The complaint also prayed for the delivery
of sugar quedans covering several truckloads of sugarcane harvested by Garaygay
on Field 17, Lot. No. 4726 of the Kabankalan Cadastre that were entrusted by him to
the corporation for milling; and for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to
restrain the corporation from issuing the quedans to Garaygay. The prayer for a writ
of preliminary injunction was granted by Judge Cesar Kintanar, Executive Judge of the
Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, on October 12, 1971 (p. 312, Rollo G.R.
No. L-34080).
The case was raffled to the sala of Judge Nestor Alampay. On October 17, 1971,
Felipe Garaygay, who claimed that he obtained from the Hernaezes a contract to
harvest and dispose of the sugar canes produced from the disputed lots, filed a motion
to dismiss the complaint. On October 18, 1971, Garaygay filed a motion to dissolve
the writ of preliminary injunction issued by Judge Kintanar. On November 29, 1971,
the trial court dissolved the writ of preliminary injunction dated October 12, 1971 (p.
331, Rollo of G.R. No. L-34080). In the same case, Garaygay filed an urgent motion
dated December 17, 1971 for the issuance of writ of preliminary injunction against the
Serras who allegedly harvested and thereafter planted sugarcane on the lots disputed
contrary to the intention of this Court in its resolution of September 28, 1971 that the
parties maintain the status quo. On December 29, 1971, the trial court issued the writ
against the Serras (p. 343, Rollo of G.R. No. L-34080). The motion for reconsideration
filed by them was denied on January 12, 1972 (p. 357, Rollo of G.R. No. L-34080).
Petitioners challenged both orders (November 29, 1971 and December 29, 1971)
before this Court thru G.R. No. L-34693. They assailed that both orders of respondent
Judge Alampay were issued with grave abuse of discretion. They claimed that the writ
of injunction issued by respondent judge on October 12, 1971 was aimed to preserve
their rights pending determination by this Court in G.R. No. L-34080 of their prayer for
the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction. The dissolution of the said
writ disturbed the status quo and allowed private respondent Garaygay to obtain
possession of the sugar quedans from SONEDCO. Petitioners also asserted that the
December 29, 1981 order of respondent judge for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
injunction against them and their representative blatantly defied the resolution of this
Court dated September 28, 1971 in G.R. No. L-34080 which enjoined private
respondents Hernaezes, their representatives and/or agents from executing further
acts of dispossessing them of the lots in questions.
On February 15, 1972, the Court ordered the consolidation of G.R. No. L-34080 and
G.R. No. L-34693 and the issuance of a temporary restraining order restraining
respondent Judge Nestor Alampay, his representative, assigns, or persons acting
upon his order and the Hernaezes, their agents, representatives and successors-ininterest from interfering in any manner with petitioners right of possession of Lots Nos.
717 and 2685 (Ilog Cadastre) and Lot No. 1316 (Kabankalan Cadastre) and directed
private respondent Garaygay to return to petitioners the value of the sugarcanes
covered by the sugar quedans which were released to him by SONEDCO (p.
359, Rollo of G.R. No. L-34080). The petitions were heard (p. 397, Rollo of G.R. No.

L-34080) on July 25, 1972 after which they were deemed submitted for decision (p.
401, Rollo of G.R. No. L-34080).
The issue in this petition is whether or not the Court of Appeals acted with grave abuse
of discretion when it lifted the writ of preliminary injunction it previously issued. The
main petition in the writ of preliminary injunction it previously issued. The main petition
in the Court of Appeals, CA-G.R. No. SP-00139, questioning the propriety of the
issuance of a writ of possession by the trial court has not been resolved to date and
the issue before Us cannot be resolved without resolving also the issue in the Court
of Appeals. Therefore, We deemed it proper to resolve also the issue on the propriety
of the issuance of the writ of possession by the trial court in this petition.
After studying the first petition carefully, We hold that the issuance of the writ of
possession by Judge Abiera after the motion for cancellation of the reconstituted
certificates of title filed by petitioners was dismissed and under the circumstances
obtaining in this case, was not proper. Consequently, the lifting of the previously issued
writ of preliminary injunction by the respondent appellate court, resulting in the
enforcement of the writ of possession issued by the trial court and the dispossession
of the petitioners of the subject properties was a grave abuse of discretion amounting
to a lack of jurisdiction.
In the case of Mabale v. Apalisok, L-46942, February 6, 1979, 88 SCRA 247, this
Court enumerated the cases where a writ of possession may be issued:
In that connection, it should be borne in mind that the law specifies when a writ
of possession may be issued. That writ is available (1) in a land registration
proceeding, which is a proceeding in rem (Sec. 17, Act No. 496; Estipona v.
Navarro, L-41825, January 30, 1976, 69 SCRA 285, 291); (2) in an extra-judicial
foreclosure of a realty mortgage (Sec. 7, Act No. 3135); (3) in a judicial
foreclosure of mortgage, a quasi in rem proceeding, provided that the
mortgagor is in possession of the mortgaged realty and no third person, not a
party to the foreclosure suit, had intervened (Rivera v. Court of First Instance
of Nueva Ecija and Rupac, 61 Phil. 201; Ramos v. Maalac and Lopez, 89 ,
Phil. 270, 275) and (4) in execution sales (last par. of Sec. 35, Rule 39, Rules
of Court).
Since the instant case does not fall among the cases mentioned above, the
issuance of the writ of possession was not proper (Gatchalian v. Arlegui, L35615 and L-41360, February 17, 1977, 75 SCRA 234, 244).
In a land registration case, a writ of possession may be issued only pursuant to a
decree of registration in an original land registration proceedings "not only against the
person who has been defeated in a registration case but also against anyone
adversely occupying the land or any portion thereof during the proceedings up to the
issuance of the decree." (Lucero v. Loot, G.R. No. L-16995, October 28, 1968, 25
SCRA 687; Marcelo v. Hon. Mencias, L-15609, April 29, 1960; Demorar v. Hon. Ibaez
and Paras, G.R. No. L-7595, May 21, 1955, 97 Phil. 72). It cannot however, be issued
in a petition for reconstitution of an allegedly lost or destroyed certificate of title.
Reconstitution does not confirm or adjudicate ownership over the property covered by

the reconstituted title as in original land registration proceedings where, in the latter, a
writ of possession may be issued to place the applicant-owner in possession.
The purpose of the reconstitution of any document, book or record is to have the same
reproduced, after observing the procedure prescribed by law in the same form they
were when the loss or destruction occurred. The reconstitution of certificates of title
should be made, as just stated, in the same form and exactly as they were at the time
they were lost or destroyed, . . . (Gov't. of the Philippine Islands v. Abada, 48 O.G., p.
1872, April 1952). A person who seeks a reconstitution of a certificate of title over a
property he does not actually possess cannot, by a mere motion of the issuance of a
writ of possession, which is summary in nature, deprive the actual occupants of
possession thereof. Possession and/or ownership of the property should be threshed
out in a separate proceeding.
It should be noted also, that the motion for cancellation of the reconstituted titles filed
by the petitioners in the cadastral case, contained serious charge against the
reconstitution proceeding which if proven would result in the nullity of the reconstituted
titles. The motion alleged:
That there had never been at any time decreed or any title issued in favor of
Eleuterio Hernaez over said lots which were in fact decreed and titled originally
in favor of the deceased Isabelo Javellana and Salvador Serra whose
successors-in-interest, the herein movants, hold subsisting transfer certificates
of title and who are actually in possession and owners of all improvements and
buildings of said lands since before the war continuously up to the present; the
lands are declared for tax purposes in their names and taxes paid by them;
neither Eleuterio Hernaez, alleged predecessor-in-interest, nor the alleged
heirs who had fraudulent titles transferred in their names, declared the lands
for tax purposes nor paid any land tax up to the present;
That the Hon. Court has been misled by the petitioners for reconstitution,
Messrs. Primitivo and Rogaciana Hernaez, into ordering the reconstitution of
the so-called lost certificates of title which were NON-EXISTENT in the first
place by:
1. Not specifying, contrary to the requirements of Sec. 12 of Rep. Act
No. 26, the names and addresses of the actual occupants or persons in
possession of the property and, instead of the real adjoining owners,
giving the names of fictitious persons who naturally could not be located
and hence NO notice was cause to be sent to the herein movantsowners who were completely ignorant of the entire proceedings.
2. Surreptitiously hiding from the Hon. Court the fact that these same
parcels of land were formerly the subject of said petitioner's attempt to
include them in the estate of Eleuterio Hernaez under Spec. Proc. No.
2336, CFI Neg. Occ., but which lots were found out by the court to be
properties of the movants herein and said special proceedings was
dismissed; that petitioners attempted, for the second time, to claim
ownership and take possession over these same lots by trying to include
them in the alleged estate of Eleuterio Hernaez under a second Spec.

Proceedings numbered 212-5470, CFI, Neg. Occ., but which special


proceedings was also dismissed by the court after it was found out that
the lots alleged to compose the estate of Eleuterio Hernaez were owned
by and titled in the names of other persons, more particularly Lots Nos.
1316 Kabankalan Cad., 2685 and 717 Ilog Cadastre which are owned
by and titled in the names of the movants herein; (pp. 66-67, Rollo of
G.R. No. L-34080).
Moreover, petitioners were not mere possessors of the properties covered by the
reconstituted titles.1wphi1 They are possessors under claim of ownership. Actual
possession under claim of ownership raises a disputable presumption of ownership.
The true owner must resort to judicial process for the recovery of the property (Article
433, New Civil Code), not summarily through a motion for the issuance of a writ of
possession. Furthermore, petitioners were holders of existing certificates of titles to
the same properties covered by the reconstituted certificates of title of private
respondents. It was error for Judge Abiera to issue a writ of possession against
petitioners ousting them from the premises without formal hearing.
Private respondents argue that the herein petitioners are bound by the order granting
reconstitution because the reconstitution proceedings was heard after notices were
sent to alleged boundary owners and the petition was published in the Official Gazette.
However, the petitioner who were in actual possession of the properties were not
notified. Notice by publication is not sufficient as regards actual possessors of the
property. In the case of Alabang Development v. Valenzuela, No. 54094, August 30,
1982, 116 SCRA 277, We held that in petitions for reconstitution of titles, actual owners
and
possessors
of
the
lands
involved
must
be
duly
served
with actual andpersonal notice of the petition.
To repeat what the writer hereof said in his concurring opinion in the Bernad
Case, "The first lesson to be drawn here is that courts must exercise
the greatest caution in entertaining such petitions for reconstitution of allegedly
lost certificates of title, particularly where the petitions are filed, as in this case,
after an inexplicable delay of 25 years after the alleged loss. Furthermore, the
courts must likewise make sure thatindispensable parties, i.e. the actual
owners and possessors of the lands involved, are duly served with actual and
personal notice of the petition (not by mere general publication), particularly
where the lands involve constitute prime developed commercial land including
a part of the South Superhighway. . .
The private respondents alleged, and the trial court agreed, that the proceedings for
their reconstituted titles can no longer be reopened because the order for
reconstitution had already become final. The order for granting the reconstitution was
issued on April 6, 1968 and the motion for the cancellation of the reconstituted title
was filed only on November 4, 1968.
We do not agree. Republic Act No. 26, pursuant to which the "titles" of private
respondents were reconstituted provides in its Sections 18 and 19, thus:
Sec. 18. In case a certificate of title, considered lost or destroyed, be found or
recovered, the same shall prevail over the reconstituted certificate of title, and,

if both titles appear in the name of the same registered owner, all memoranda
of new liens or encumbrances, if any, made on the latter, after its reconstitution,
except the memorandum of the reservation referred to in Section Seven of this
Act, shall be transferred to the recovered certificate of title. Thereupon, the
register of deeds shall cancel the reconstituted certificate of title and spread
upon the owner's duplicate, as well as on the co-owners, mortgagee's or
lessee's duplicate, if any has been issued, such annotations of subsisting liens
or encumbrances as may appear on the recovered certificate of title, cancelling
at the same time the memorandum of the reservation referred to in Section
seven hereof; Provided, however, That if the reconstituted certificate of title has
been cancelled by virtue of any deed instrument, whether voluntary or
involuntary, or by an order of the court, and a new certificate of title has been
issued, the recovered certificate of title shall be likewise cancelled, but all
subsisting liens or encumbrances, if any, appearing thereon shall be transferred
to the new certificate of title and to its owner's duplicate, as well as to any coowner's mortgagee's, or lessee's duplicate that may have been issued, the
memorandum of the reservation referred to in section seven of this Act, if any,
being thereby ipso facto cancelled.
Sec. 19. If the certificate of title considered lost or destroyed, and subsequently
found or recovered, is not in the name of the same person in whose favor the
reconstituted certificate of title has been issued, the register of deeds should
bring the matter to the attention of the proper Court of First Instance, which,
after due notice and hearing, shall order the cancellation of the reconstituted
certificates of title and render, with respect to the memoranda of new liens or
encumbrances, if any, made on the reconstituted certificate of title, after its
reconstitution, such judgment as justice and equity my require; Provided,
however, That if the reconstituted certificate of title has been cancelled by virtue
of any deed or instrument, whether voluntary or involuntary or by an order of
the court, and a new certificate of title has been issued, the procedure
prescribed above with respect to memoranda of new liens or encumbrances
made on the reconstituted certificate of title, after its reconstitution, shall be
followed with respect to the new certificate of title, and to such new liens or
encumbrances, if any, as may have been made on the latter, after the issuance
thereof.
Thus, if no such original title in fact exists, the reconstituted title is a nullity and the
order for its reconstitution does not become final because the court rendering the order
has not acquired jurisdiction. It may be attacked at any time. The same rule applies if
in fact there is an earlier valid certificate of title in the name and in the possession of
another person/s.
The Court stresses once more that lands already covered by the duly issued
existing Torrens titles (which become incontrovertible upon the expiration of
one year from their issuance under Section 38 of the Land Registration Act)
cannot be the subject of petitions for reconstitution of allegedly lost or destroyed
titles filed by third parties without first securing by final judgment
the cancellation of such existing titles. . . The courts simply have no
jurisdiction over petitions by such third parties for reconstitution of allegedly lost
or destroyed titles over lands that are already covered by duly issued subsisting

titles in the names of their duly registered owners. The very concept of stability
and indefeasibility of titles covered under the Torrens System of Registration
rules out as anathema the issuance of two certificates of title over the same
land to two different holders thereof. A fortiori, such proceedings for
"reconstitution" without actual notice to the duly registered owners and holders
of Torrens titles to the land are null and void." (Alabang Development v.
Valenzuela, supra).
Moreover, petitioners filed a motion to cancel the reconstituted certificates of title in
the cadastral case. Said motion was in the nature of a petition for relief from judgment.
The relief sought in the said motion of petitioners is the nullification of the final order
for reconstitution. One way to set aside a final and executory judgment is by a petition
for relief from judgment as provided for by Rule 38, as when the judgment has been
entered against a party thru fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, and the
petition is filed within 60 days after the petitioner learns of the judgment and not more
than 6 months, after such judgment or order was entered (Rule 38, Sec. 3, Rules of
Court). When the judgment sought to be annulled is rendered by the Court of First
Instance (now Regional Trial Court); the petition may be filed in the same case and in
the same court which rendered the judgment (Servicewide Specialists, Inc. v. Sheriff
of Manila et al., G.R. No. 74586, October 17, 1986). The order for the reconstitution in
Cadastral Case No. 17 was issued on April 6, 1968. The final entry of the order was
on May 6, 1968. The motion for cancellation of the reconstituted certificates of titles
was filed on November 4, 1968, upon petitioners' knowledge of the existence of the
reconstituted titles. The filing of the motion was well within the period prescribed by
the Rules.
In G.R. No. L-34693, We do not believe that respondent Judge Alampay abused his
discretion or acted without jurisdiction when he lifted the writ of preliminary injunction
issued by then Judge Kintanar enjoining SONEDCO from issuing and delivering sugar
quedans in the name of the private respondents. Private respondents, by virtue of the
lifting of the writ of preliminary injunction in CA-G.R. SP-00139 by the Court of Appeals,
took possession over the subject properties. It was not until September 29, 1971 when
We issued the writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction against private respondents
ordering them to desist from committing further acts of dispossession against
petitioners. It did not cover already consummated acts of possession by private
respondents such as the cutting and hauling of sugar cane and the delivery thereof to
SONEDCO before September 30, 1971, the date of receipt by private respondent's
counsel of the writ of injunction in G.R. L-34080. There was also no order yet from Us
in G.R. 34090 commanding the return of whatever the private respondents may have
received by virtue of their possession of the premises. We agree with Judge Alampay's
conclusion that:
The writ issued in G.R. No. L-34080 has reference only to and enjoins further
acts of dispossession of the subject lots, obviously to maintain the status
quo with respect to said lands between the petitioners Serra and private
respondents, Hernaezes, pending ultimate and final determination of their
ownership rights over such properties. On the other hand, the writ issued in the
present case is restricted to the defendant SONEDCO directing it to refrain from
issuing to defendant Felipe Garaygay the sugar quedans corresponding to the
sugar cane(s) delivered by and milled for the latter.

A reading of the writ issued in G.R. L-34080 (Exh. 5-Garaygay) persuades this
Court to conclude that the same was not intended to affect or relate to the sugar
crops on the quedans that would be issued for the value thereof, for it is there
unequivocally stated.
. . . Within fifteen (15) days from notice of this order. The private
respondents are required to show cause, within the same period, why a
mandatory injunction should not be issued requiring said respondents to
immediately return to petitioners whatever private respondents might
have received in the implementation of the writ of possession issued by
Judge Carlos Abiera on 31 December, 1970 in Cad. Case No. 17,
G.L.R.O. Rec. No. 163, etc. (Exh. 5-A, Garaygay).
In effect the return to the plaintiffs of whatsoever the private respondents
Hernaezes or for that matter their representatives (defendant herein, Felipe
Garaygay) received or would receive, has yet to be resolved by the Supreme
Court in said case. Perhaps the application for the provisional remedy herein
sought directed against herein defendant and SONEDCO, should be presented
likewise in the Supreme Court in G.R. L-34080. . . (p. 74-75, Rollo of G.R. No.
L-34693).
Thus, it became necessary for Us to issue on February 15, 1972, a mandatory
injunction ordering Garaygay to return to petitioners the value of the sugarcanes cut
from the lots involved herein.
But respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion when he issued the writ of
preliminary injunction dated December 29, 1971. Civil Case No. 10040 was a
complaint for recovery of personal property (sugarcane) and damages. Possession
was never put in issue by the parties. The issuance of the writ enjoining petitioners
from harvesting, hauling and selling sugarcane produced from the lots subject of G.R.
No. L-34080 was beyond the jurisdiction of the trial court. It should be noted that the
issue of possession was then pending in the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. SP00139. The issue of possession of the disputed properties should have been
presented in the said case and not in the Civil Case No. 10040. Moreover, in G.R. L34080, this Court already issued a writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction in G.R. L34080 enjoining the private respondents from further dispossessing the petitioners of
the subject premises. The issuance of the questioned writ by respondent Judge
enjoining petitioners from harvesting, hauling and selling sugarcane produced from
the subject premises directly contravened the injunction of this Court.
ACCORDINGLY, the petitions are GRANTED. The questioned order of the respondent
Court of Appeals lifting the writ of preliminary injunction is SET ASIDE. The writ of
possession issued in Cadastral Case No. 17, GLRO Records No. 163 is declared
NULL and VOID. The records of this case and of CA-G.R. No. 00139 are remanded
to the trial court for hearing of the motion for cancellation of the reconstituted titles.
Private respondents are ordered to return to petitioners the possession of the
properties in question. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on
February 15, 1972, enjoining private respondents from interfering in any manner, with
petitioners' right of possession of the properties in questions, shall remain effective

until the issue of ownership and/or possession of the properties is finally settled by a
competent court.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Grio-Aquino, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 185604, June 13, 2013


REPUBLIC
OF
THE
CAMACHO, Respondent.

PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. EDWARD

M.

DECISION
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
Before this Court is a petition1 for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, seeking the reversal of the
Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 87390, which
affirmed the Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Villasis,
Pangasinan, Branch 50 in Land Registration Case No. V-0016.
The

facts

follow.

On March 6, 2003, respondent Edward M. Camacho filed a


petition4 denominated as Re: Petition for Reconstitution of the Original
Title of O.C.T. No. (not legible) and Issuance of Owners Duplicate Copy
before
the
RTC. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
In support thereof, respondent alleged that the Original Certificate of
Title5 (OCT) sought to be reconstituted and whose number is no longer
legible due to wear and tear, is covered by Decree No. 444263, Case No.
3732, Record No. 221416 issued in the name of Spouses Nicasio Lapitan
and Ana Doliente (Spouses Lapitan) of Alcala, Pangasinan. Respondent also
alleged that the owners duplicate copy of the OCT is in his possession and
that he is the owner of the two parcels of land covered by the
aforementioned OCT by virtue of a Deed of Extra-Judicial Partition with
Absolute Sale7 (the Deed) executed on December 26, 2002 by the heirs of
Spouses Lapitan in his favor. Said OCT covers two parcels of land located
in San Juan, Alcala, Pangasinan, (Lot No. 1) and Namulatan,8 Bautista,
Pangasinan
(Lot
No.
2)
with
the
following
technical
descriptions:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
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]
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
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
Upon a Show-Cause Order13 of the RTC, respondent filed an Amended
Petition14 dated May 21, 2003, alleging that the subject properties bear no
encumbrance; that there are no improvements therein; that there are no
other occupants thereof aside from respondent; and that there are no
deeds or instruments affecting the same that had been presented for
registration. He further alleged that the land in issue is bounded on the
North by the land covered by Plan Psu-53673; on the North by the
properties of Hipolito Sarmiento and Cipriano Dauz,15 residents of Anulid,
Alcala, Pangasinan; on the West by Lot No. 3; and on the Southwest by the
properties of Nicasio Lapitan vs. Felix Bacolor [who are also] residents of
Anulid, Alcala, Pangasinan.16 Respondent intimated that he desires to
have the office/file copy of the OCT reconstituted based on the Technical
Description provided by the Chief of the General Land Registration Office
and thereafter, to be issued a second owners duplicate copy in lieu of the
old
one.
On May 30, 2003, the RTC issued an Order17 finding the respondents
petition sufficient in form and substance and setting the same for hearing

on September 29, 2003. The said Order is herein faithfully reproduced as


follows:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
ORDER
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
owners 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
1. Hipolito Sarmiento;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
2. Cipriano Dauz;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
3. Nicasio Lapitan; and
4. Felix Bacolor.
all

of

Brgy.

Anulid,

Alcala,

Pangasinan.

SO ORDERED.18
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
However, on January 22, 2004, respondent filed his second Amended
Petition21 averring that the land in issue is bounded on the North by the
land of Ricardo Acosta, a resident of Laoac, Alcala, Pangasinan; on the
South by the property of Greg Viray,22 a resident of Laoac, Alcala,
Pangasinan; on the West by the land of Roque Lanuza,23 a resident of
Laoac, Alcala, Pangasinan; and on the East by the lot of Juan Cabuan,24 a
resident of Laoac, Alcala, Pangasinan.25 On March 4, 2004, respondent
filed a Motion26 with Leave of Court to admit his second Amended Petition,
which the RTC granted in its Order27 dated March 4, 2004, directing therein
that the persons mentioned in the second Amended Petition be notified by
registered
mail.
During the hearing, the following witnesses were presented: (1)
respondent28 who, among others, presented the original owners duplicate
copy of the OCT before the RTC;29 (2) the tenant of the adjoining lot
(Western portion) Roque Lanuza who testified that he tilled the adjoining
lots, that he has personal knowledge that respondent bought said lots from
the heirs of the Spouses Lapitan, and that he was present when the lots
were surveyed;30 (3) adjoining owners Gregorio Viray31 and Ricardo
Acosta32 who testified that they were notified of the proceedings and
interposed no objection to the petition; and (4) Arthur David (Mr. David),
Records Custodian of the Register of Deeds of Lingayen, Pangasinan who
testified that Atty. Rufino Moreno, Jr., Registrar of Deeds had issued the
Certification that the OCT subject of the petition can no longer be found in
the Office of the Register of Deeds.33 In his subsequent testimony, Mr.
David reported to the RTC that the name of Nicasio Lapitan cannot be
located in the Index Cards of titles as some are missing and
destroyed. Upon questioning, Mr. David testified that the number of the
OCT sought to be reconstituted may be referred to in the decree issued in
the name of Nicasio Lapitan which allegedly could be found in the Land
Registration
Authority
(LRA).34
On May 23, 2005, the LRA rendered a Report35 addressed to the RTC which
pertinently stated, to wit:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
(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 owners duplicate thereof, a reproduction of which, duly certified by
Atty. Stela Marie Q. Gandia-Asuncion, Clerk of Court VI, was submitted to
this
Authority;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

(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.
The 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
On March 9, 2006, the RTC rendered the assailed Decision,38 the dispositive
portion of which reads:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
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.
SO ORDERED.39
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 LRAs 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
owners
duplicate
copy
of
the
OCT.
Petitioner appealed to the CA.43 By Decision44 dated July 31, 2008, the CA
affirmed the RTCs findings and ruling, holding that respondents petition is
governed by Section 10 of R.A. No. 26 since the reconstitution proceedings
is based on the owners duplicate copy of the OCT itself. The CA, invoking
this Courts ruling in Puzon v. Sta. Lucia Realty and Development,
Inc.,45 concluded that notice to the owners of the adjoining lots is not
required. Moreover, the CA opined that Decree No. 444263 issued on July
18, 1931 covering Lot Nos. 1 and 2 in the name of Spouses Lapitan exists

in the Record Book of the LRA as stated in the LRAs Report. The CA
ratiocinated that the LRAs Report on said Decree tallies with the subject
OCT leading to no other conclusion than that these documents cover the
same subject lots. Petitioner filed its Motion for Reconsideration46 which
the CA, however, denied in its Resolution47 dated November 20, 2008.
Hence,
this
petition
based
wit:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

on

the

following

grounds,

to

1. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT THE TRIAL


COURT CORRECTLY GRANTED THE PETITION FOR RECONSTITUTION
EVEN IF THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NUMBER IS NOT
LEGIBLE[; and]
2. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT THE TRIAL
COURT CORRECTLY GRANTED THE PRAYER FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A
SECOND OWNERS DUPLICATE.48
Petitioner through the OSG avers that respondent does not have any basis
for reconstitution because the OCT per se is of doubtful existence, as
respondent himself does not know its number. According to the OSG, this
fact alone negates the merits of the petition for reconstitution as held by
this Court in Tahanan Development Corporation v. Court of Appeals, et
al.49 Moreover, the OSG highlights that the Deed, the tax declaration for
the year 2003, and the Register of Deeds Certification all indicated that the
number of the OCT is not legible. The OSG also stresses that nowhere in
the records did the LRA acknowledge that it has on file the original copy of
Decree No. 444263 from which the alleged OCT was issued and that said
Decree did not at all establish the existence and previous issuance of the
OCT sought to be reconstituted. The OSG notes that the RTC erred, as
found in the dispositive portion of its decision, in basing the reconstitution
of the OCT under Section 2(d) of R.A. No. 26. Finally, the OSG submits
that respondent cannot seek the issuance of the second owners duplicate
of the OCT because he himself alleged in his own petition that he is in
possession
of
the
same
owners
duplicate
certificate.50 chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
On the other hand, respondent counters that the OSGs reliance in Tahanan
and Republic of the Phils. v. Intermediate Appellate Court,51 is unavailing.
He argues that in Tahanan, the petitioner therein merely relied on
documents other than the owners duplicate copy of the certificate of title,
while in Republic, this Court ruled that reconstitution cannot be based on
statutes which do not confer title over the property. Respondent claims
that in these aforementioned cases, petitioners therein do not have other
sources to support their respective petitions for reconstitution while in this
case the owners duplicate copy of the OCT sought to be reconstituted truly
exists albeit its number is not legible. Respondent submits that the
documentary as well as the parol evidence he adduced are adequate to

warrant the reconstitution of the OCT as it is covered by Decree No.


444263. Respondent also submits that since there is a valid title in this
case, there is legal basis for the issuance of the owners duplicate copy of
the
reconstituted
title.52
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Notwithstanding the numerous contentions raised by both parties, this
Court finds that the fundamental issue to be resolved in this case is whether
the RTC properly acquired and was invested with jurisdiction in the first
place to hear and decide Land Registration Case No. V-0016 in the light of
the
strict
and
mandatory
provisions
of
R.A.
No.
26.
We

resolve

the

sole

issue

in

the

negative.

Section 11053 of Presidential Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as the


Property Registration Decree, as amended by R.A. No. 6732,54 allows the
reconstitution of lost or destroyed original Torrens title either judicially, in
accordance with the special procedure laid down in R.A. No. 26, or
administratively, in accordance with the provisions of R.A. No.
6732.55 chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
As the case set before this Court is one for judicial reconstitution, we limit
the discussion to the pertinent law, which is R.A. No. 26, and the applicable
jurisprudence.
The nature of the proceeding for reconstitution of a certificate of title under
R.A. No. 26 denotes a restoration of the instrument, which is supposed to
have been lost or destroyed, in its original form and condition. The purpose
of such a proceeding is merely to have the certificate of title reproduced,
after proper proceedings, in the same form it was in when its loss or
destruction occurred. The same R.A. No. 26 specifies the requisites to be
met for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction over a petition for
reconstitution of a certificate of title. Failure to comply with any of these
jurisdictional requirements for a petition for reconstitution renders the
proceedings null and void. Thus, in obtaining a new title in lieu of the lost
or destroyed one, R.A. No. 26 laid down procedures which must be strictly
followed in view of the danger that reconstitution could be the source of
anomalous titles or unscrupulously availed of as an easy substitute for
original
registration
of
title
proceedings.56
It bears reiterating that respondents quest for judicial reconstitution in this
case is anchored on the owners duplicate copy of said OCT a source for
reconstitution of title provided under Section 2 (a) of R.A. No. 26, which
provides in full as follows:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
SEC. 2. Original certificates of title shall be reconstituted from such of the
sources hereunder enumerated as may be available, in the following
order:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

a. The
owners
duplicate
title;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

of

the

certificate

of

b. The co-owners, mortgagees, or lessees duplicate of the


certificate of title;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
c. A certified copy of the certificate of title, previously issued by
the
register
of
deeds
or
by
a
legal
custodian
thereof;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
d. 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
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. (Emphasis supplied.)
In 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 owners 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
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
Verily, while the CA invoked the appropriate provisions of R.A. No. 26, it
failed, however, to take note that Section 9 thereof mandatorily requires
that the notice shall specify, among other things, the number of the
certificate of title and the names of the interested parties appearing in the
reconstituted certificate of title. In this case, the RTC failed to indicate these
jurisdictional
facts
in
the
notice.
First. The Notice of Hearing issued and published does not align with the in
rem character of the reconstitution proceedings and the mandatory nature
of the requirements under R.A. No. 26.59 There is a mortal insufficiency in
the publication when the missing title was merely identified as OCT No.
(not legible) which is non-compliant with Section 9 of R.A. No. 26.
Moreover, while the LRA confirmed the issuance of Decree No. 444263 in
its Report, it perplexes this Court that the LRA failed to state that an OCT
was actually issued and mention the number of the OCT sought to be
reconstituted. In Republic of the Phils. v. El Gobierno De Las Islas
Filipinas,60 this Court denied the petition for reconstitution of title despite
the existence of a decree: chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
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.
Well-entrenched in this jurisdiction that where the words of a statute are
clear, plain, and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning
and applied without attempted interpretation. Verba legis non est
recedendum. From the words of a statute there should be no
departure.61 In view of these lapses, the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction
to proceed with the case since the mandatory manner or mode of obtaining
jurisdiction as prescribed by R.A. No. 26 had not been strictly followed,
thereby rendering the proceedings utterly null and void.62 As such, while
petitioner overlooked these jurisdictional infirmities and failed to
incorporate them as additional issues in its own petition, this Court has
sufficient authority to pass upon and resolve the same since they affect
jurisdiction.63
Apropos is our ruling in Castillo v. Republic64 where we held
that:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
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.65

WHEREFORE, 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.
No
SO

pronouncement

as

to

costs.
ORDERED.

Sereno, C.J. (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, and Reyes,


JJ. concur.