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Republic v.

Heirs of Evaristo Tiotioen

GR No. 167215 | October 8, 2008 | Leonardo-De Castro, J.
Facts: On September 6, 1993, Tiotioen filed a 2nd application for judicial confirmation and registration of 2 lots in Pico, La
Trinidad, Benguet.
In its Notice of Appearance, OSG entered its appearance and authorized the Provincial Prosecutor of Benguet to appear
in the case, and should also be furnished notices of hearing, orders, resolutions, decisions, and other processes. But the
OSG retains supervision and control over the case.
Republic Opposition and Supplemental Opposition: lands belong to the communal forest of La Trinidad, Benguet and are
inalienable land of the public domain, which have not been classified as A&D.
RTC: granted the application.
Republic and mun received notices of the RTC decision on September 6 and 7, 2001. Mun.filed MR on September 20,
2001, Republic filed Motion and Manifestation (adopting muns MR) on October 5, 2001.
RTC (Dec. 6, 2001 Reso): denied MR for LoM. Pro forma motion as the issues were already passed upon in the decision.
Mun filed NoA on the following day it received its notice of the said resolution. The OSG was not furnished with a copy of
this resolution but it was informed of the said resolution only by the provincial prosecutor on January 4, 2002, through a
Letter dtd December 19, 2001. OSG filed NoA on January 11, 2002.
RTC: denied NoA of the mun because pro forma MR did not interrupt the reglementary period to appeal. OSG NoA also
denied for being filed out of time.
CA: granted petition of mun, but denied pet of OSG because OSGs Motion and Manifestation adopting MR of Mun was
filed beyond the reglementary period for appeal.
Issue: WoN CA erred in denying the Republics petition
Held: Yes. The belated filing of an appeal by the State, or even its failure to file an opposition, in a land registration case
because of the mistake or error on the part of its officials or agents does not deprive the government of its right to appeal
from a judgment of the court.
To dismiss the Republics appeal merely on the alleged ground of late filing is not proper considering the merits of the
case and to ignore the evidence presented which constituted the crux of the governments case would defeat the timehonored Constitutional precepts and the Regalian doctrine that all lands of the public domain belong to the State, and that
the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership in land and charged with the conservation of such patrimony.
It is a well-known and settled rule in our jurisdiction that the Republic, or its government, is usually not estopped by
mistake or error on the part of its officials or agents.
Petition granted. CA partially modified as to give due course to the NOA by the Republic.