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CASE DIGEST

Land, Titles and Deeds


Monday 2:30PM-5:30PM
Atty. Gifany Tongohan
Lim, Victor Antonio M.
13-11258

Republic vs. Espinosa

Facts: On March 3, 1999, Domingo Espinosa filed with the MTC of Consolacion Cebu an application for
land registration covering a parcel of land with an area of 5,525 sqm.

Espinosa alleged that: (1) the property is alienable and disposable (2) He purchased the property from
his mother (3) He is in the possession of the property for more than 30 years.

Later, a blueprint of advanced survey plan, two tax declarations in Isabella’s name, three tax
declarations for the years 1978, 1980 and 1985 were submitted.

Petitioner opposed the respondent’s actions for the reason that Espinosa only possessed the
property after only June 12, 1945 and the tax declaration do not prove that him possessing the said land
are in the nature and for the time required by law.

MTC: Granted the petition of Espinosa.

CA: Dismissed the appeal of the petitioner and affirmed the MTC’s ruling that the possession
should be for at least 30 years.

Issue: Whether or not Espinosa acquired imperfect title that’s worthy of registration and confirmation.

Held: No

Based on Espinosa’s allegations and his supporting documents, it is patent that his claim of an
imperfect title over the property in question is based on Section 14(2) and not Section 14(1) of P.D. No.
1529 in relation to Section 48(b) of the PLA. Espinosa did not allege that his possession and that of his
predecessor-in-interest commenced on June 12, 1945 or earlier as prescribed under the two (2) latter
provisions. On the contrary, Espinosa repeatedly alleged that he acquired title thru his possession and
that of his predecessor-in-interest, Isabel, of the subject property for thirty (30) years, or through
prescription. Therefore, the rule that should have been applied is Section 14(2) of P.D. No. 1529.

There is nothing in Section 48(b) that would suggest that it provides for two (2) modes of
acquisition. It is not the case that there is an option between possession and occupation for thirty (30)
years and possession and occupation since June 12, 1945 or earlier. It is neither contemplated under
Section 48(b) that if possession and occupation of an alienable and disposable public land started after
June 12, 1945, it is still possible to acquire an imperfect title if such possession and occupation spanned
for thirty (30) years at the time of the filing of the application.

In sum, the CA, as well as the MTC, erred in not applying the present text of Section 48(b) of the
PLA. That there were instances wherein applications were granted on the basis of possession and
CASE DIGEST
Land, Titles and Deeds
Monday 2:30PM-5:30PM
Atty. Gifany Tongohan
Lim, Victor Antonio M.
13-11258
occupation for thirty (30) years was for the sole reason discussed above. Regrettably, such reason does
not obtain in this case.

Being clear that it is Section 14(2) of P.D. No. 1529 that should apply, it follows that the subject
property being supposedly alienable and disposable will not suffice.

Averia vs. Caguioa

Facts: A decision was rendered by the RTC of of Lucena City regarding the hearing of registration
proceedings of a deed of sale.

Averia believing that the court has no competence to act upon the said case did not participate
in the hearings. Averia stated that the court has no competence under the Land Registration Act,
specifically Section 112. Despite being absent, the court still rendered its decision, ordering the
registration prayed for.

Averia filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction against the said
court. He argued that the court does not have jurisdiction to hear and decide on the matter.

Issue: Whether or not the court has jurisdiction.

Held: Yes. The said law is not applicable to the instant case. The reason is that this case arose in 1982,
after the Land Registration Act had been superseded by the Property Registration Decree, which
became effective on June 11, 1979.

The above provision has eliminated the distinction between the general jurisdiction vested in
the regional trial court and the limited jurisdiction conferred upon it by the former law when acting
merely as a cadastral court. Aimed at avoiding multiplicity of suits, the change has simplified registration
proceedings by conferring upon the regional trial courts the authority to act not only on applications for
"original registration" but also "over all petitions filed after original registration of title, with power to
hear and determine all questions arising upon such applications or petitions."

It appears that the respondent court proceeded to hear the case below notwithstanding the
manifestation by the petitioner of his intention to elevate to this Court the question of jurisdiction he
had raised. 6 The trial court should have given him the opportunity to do so in the interest of due
process, pending a categorical ruling on the issue. As it happened, it arrived at its decision after
considering only the evidence of the private respondent and without regard to the evidence of the
petitioner.