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G.R. No. 197923, June 22, 2015

FACTS: Petitioner Ruby Ruth S. Serrano Mahilum is the registered owner of a parcel of land
covered by a transfer certificate of title.

She entrusted the original owners duplicate copy of TCT to Teresa Perez (Perez) a purported
real estate broker who claimed that she can assist petitioner in obtaining a loan with the TCT
as collateral. After several months, petitioner demanded the return of the title, but Perez failed
to produce the same; after much prodding, Perez admitted that the title was lost. In June 2004,
petitioner executed an Affidavit of Loss and caused the same to be annotated upon the original
registry copy of the transfer certificate of title.

Petitioner was informed however that her TCT was not lost, but that it was presented to the
registry by respondents, spouses Edilberto and Lourdes Ilano, who claimed that the property
covered by the title was sold to them. The respondents however did not register the alleged

Petitioner confronted respondents, who showed her a notarized Agreement with right of
repurchase and an unnotarized and undated Deed of Absolute Sale on which documents
petitioners purported signatures were affixed. Petitioner denied having executed said
document and claimed that her purported signatures therein were in fact falsified and forged.
She demanded the return of her TCT which respondents refused.

Thereafter the petitioner filed an action for annulment of agreement and deed of absolute

On appeal the CA dismissed the petitioners case for failure to state a cause of action for
failure of the complaint to allege that respondents were purchasers in bad faith.

Hence this petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondents can interpose the defense of being innocent purchasers for

HELD: NO. Since a new title was never issued in respondents favor and, instead, title remained
in petitioners name, the former never came within the coverage and protection of the Torrens
system, where the issue of good or bad faith becomes relevant. Since respondents never
acquired a new certificate of title in their name, the issue of their good or bad faith which is
central in an annulment of title case is of no consequence; petitioners case is for annulment of
the Agreement and Deed of Absolute Sale, and not one to annul title since the certificate of
title is still in her name. The jurisprudential bases for the CAs pronouncement that there is a
failure to state a cause of action if there is no allegation in the complaint that respondents were
purchasers in bad faith Castillo v. Heirs of Vicente Madrigal36 and Heirs of Julian Tiro v.
Philippine Estates Corporation involved complaints for annulment of new titles issued to the
buyers; they cannot apply to petitioners case where title remains in her name.
Petitioners case is to annul the agreement and deed of sale based on the allegation that they
are forgeries, and that respondents were parties to the fraud; since no new title was issued in
respondents favor, there is no new title to annul. Indeed, if the agreement and deed of sale are
forgeries, then they are a nullity and convey no title.38 The underlying principle is that no one
can give what one does not have. Nemo dat quod non habet.

In this case, it is petitioner who must be protected under the Torrens system as the registered
owner of the subject property. A certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible and
incontrovertible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. The
real puipose of the Torrens system of land registration is to quiet title to land and put a stop
forever to any question as to the legality of the title.
NILO OROPESA, Petitioner, vs. CIRILO OROPESA, Respondent. Ponente: Leonardo-De Castro, J.

Facts: Nilo alleged that his father Cirilo has been afflicted with several maladies and has been
sickly for over 10 years already having suffered a stroke twice in 2003. He claims that even
before his stroke, Cirilos judgment and memory were already impaired causing him to fail to
manage his property properly. Because of this and his medical condition, he cannot, without
outside aid, manage his affairs wisely, and has become an easy prey for deceit and exploitation
by people around him, particularly by Ms. Ma. Luisa Agamata, his girlfriend. Thus, Nilo filed a
petition for him and a certain Ms. Louie Ginez to be appointed as guardians over the property
of his father Cirilo. Cirilo opposed the petition for guardianship.

Issue: Is Cirilo of unsound mind and incapable of attending to his personal affairs and
administering his properties?

Held: No. We have held in the past that a finding that a person is incompetent should be
anchored on clear, positive and definite evidence. We consider that evidentiary standard
unchanged and, thus, must be applied in the case at bar. XXX Respondent denied the
allegations made by petitioner and cited petitioners lack of material evidence to support his
claims. According to respondent, petitioner did not present any relevant documentary or
testimonial evidence that would attest to the veracity of his assertion that respondent is
incompetent largely due to his alleged deteriorating medical and mental condition. In fact,
respondent points out that the only medical document presented by petitioner proves that he
is indeed competent to run his personal affairs and administer his properties. Portions of the
said document, entitled Report of Neuropsychological Screening, were quoted by respondent
in his Memorandum to illustrate that said report in fact favored respondents claim of
competence, to wit: General Oropesa spoke fluently in English and Filipino, he enjoyed and
participated meaningfully in conversations and could be quite elaborate in his responses on
many of the test items. He spoke in a clear voice and his articulation was generally
comprehensible. General Oropesa performed in the average range on most of the domains that
were tested. He was able to correctly perform mental calculations and keep track of number
sequences on a task of attention. He did BEST in visuo-constructional tasks where he had to
copy geometrical designs using tiles. Likewise, he was able to render and read the correct time
on the Clock Drawing Test. Reasoning abilities were generally intact as he was able to suggest
effective solutions to problem situations.

In an analogous guardianship case wherein the soundness of mind of the proposed ward was at
issue, we had the occasion to rule that where the sanity of a person is at issue, expert opinion is
not necessary [and that] the observations of the trial judge coupled with evidence establishing
the persons state of mental sanity will suffice.

The Court noted the absence of any testimony of a medical expert which states that Gen. Cirilo
O. Oropesa does not have the mental, emotional, and physical capacity to manage his own
affairs. On the contrary, Oppositors evidence includes a Neuropsychological Screening Report
which states that Gen. Oropesa, (1) performs on the average range in most of the domains that
were tested; (2) is capable of mental calculations; and (3) can provide solutions to problem
situations. The Report concludes that Gen. Oropesa possesses intact cognitive functioning,
except for mildly impaired abilities in memory, reasoning and orientation. It is the observation
of the Court that oppositor is still sharp, alert and able.