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MARTINEZ VS REPUBLIC (2006) CA reversed RTC and ordered the dismissal of the application on the ground

that the evidence presented by Martinez is insufficient to support his


Applicant: Martinez
application.
FACTS: Martinez filed a PETITION FOR REGISTRATION in his name of three
Hence, this petition by Martinez arguing that Republic has no right to
parcels of land located in Cortes, Surigao del Sur with an area of 3700sqm.
oppose the petition or appeal following the issuance of the order of general
He alleged that:
default.
a) He had acquired the property in 1952 through purchase from his
ISSUE: WON REPUBLIC, THRU OSG, CAN STILL APPEAL THE RTC’S DECISION
uncle whose predecessors-in-interest were traceable upto 1870s;
AFTER IT HAD BEEN DELARED IN DEFAULT
b) He had remained in continuous possession of the lots;
HELD: YES! A defendant party declared in default retains the right to
c) The lots remained unencumbered; appeal from the judgment by default on the ground that the plaintiff failed
to prove the material allegations of the complaint, or that the decision is
d) They became private property through prescription; contrary to law, even without need of the prior filing of a motion to set
e) He had to initiate the proceedings since the Director of Land aside the order of default.
Management Services failed to do so despite the completion of the SEC 26 of PD1529 provides that the order of default may be issued if no
cadastral survey. person appears and answers within the time allowed. RTC issued the order
RTC Surigao del Sur set the case for initial hearing and ordered the of general default simply because no oppositor appeared on the date of the
publication of the notice. hearing, despite the fact that the Republic had already duly filed its
opposition.RTC erred in declaring oppositor in default simply because he
Republic opposed the application on the grounds that: failed to appear on the day of the initial hearing. RTC should have accorded
a) Martinez’s possession was not in accordance with Sec48(b) of the oppositor ample opportunity to establish its claim. (Dir of Lands vs
CA141; Santiago). HOWEVER, the SC cannot decide on the validity of the default
order since Republic did not challenge such.
b) His muniments of title were insufficient to prove bona-fide
acquisition and possession of the property; THROWBACK:

c) The lots formed part of the public domain. 1920: In Velez vs Ramas, the rule is that the defaulting defendant "loses his
standing in court, he not being entitled to the service of notices in the case,
RTC issued an ORDER OF GENERAL DEFAULT because no party appeared to nor to appear in the suit in any way. He cannot adduce evidence; nor can he
oppose the application during the hearing, and subsequently, decreed the be heard at the final hearing."
registration of the lots in the name of Martinez. RTC concluded that
Martinez and his predecessors have been in the open, continuous, public 1948: In Lim Toco v. Go Fay, the Court ruled that the defendant in default
possession of the lots for over 100 years. had no right to appeal the judgment rendered by the trial court, except
where a motion to set aside the order of default had been filed.
LRA informed RTC that only 2 lots were referred to in the Notice published
since the other lot (LOT 370) was omitted due to the lack of an approved 1964: Sec 2 Rule 41 of the Rules of Court: the right to appeal was available
survey plan. even if no petition for relief to set aside the order of default had been filed.
(The intent of 1964 Rules was to allow the defaulted defendant to file an a) Deed of Sale - not translated from the vernacular in which it was
appeal from the trial court’s decision.) executed. SC: inadmissible in evidence.

1997: Rules of Civil Procedure were amended. The old provision expressly b) White print copy of the survey plan, tracing cloth plan- NOT
guaranteeing the right of a defendant declared in default to appeal the approved by the Director of Lands. SC: Though the submission of the
adverse decision was not replicated in the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. original tracing cloth plan is a mandatory statutory requirement
BUT even under the new rules, a defaulted defendant retains the right to which cannot be waived, the rule is settled that a survey plan must
appeal based on SC decisions after the promulgation of the 1997 Rules (See be approved by the Director of Lands to be admissible in evidence.
LINA DOCTRINE).
PETITION DISMISSED. Lots cannot be registered in the name of Martinez.
ISSUE: WON MARTINEZ FAILED TO ADDUCE THE EVIDENCE NEEDED TO
SECURE THE REGISTRATION OF THE SUBJECT LOTS IN HIS NAME

HELD: YES! Take note that the case against Martinez was established not by
the OSG’s evidence, but by petitioner’s own insufficient evidence.

The burden of proof in land registration cases is incumbent on the applicant


who must show that he is the real and absolute owner in fee simple of the
land applied for. Unless the applicant succeeds in showing by clear and
convincing evidence that the property involved was acquired by him or his
ancestors by any of the means provided for the proper acquisition of public
lands, the rule is settled that the property must be held to be a part of the
public domain. The applicant must, therefore, present competent and
persuasive proof to substantiate his claim. He may not rely on general
statements, or mere conclusions of law other than factual evidence of
possession and title.

Martinez argued that he & his predecessors have been in possession of the
land since time immemorial.

Actual possession of land consists in the manifestation of acts of dominion


over it of such a nature as a party would naturally exercise over his own
property. It is not enough for an applicant to declare himself or his
predecessors-in-interest the possessors and owners of the land for which
registration is sought. He must present specific acts of ownership to
substantiate the claim and cannot just offer general statements which are
mere conclusions of law requiring evidentiary support and substantiation.

Evidence presented by Martinez:


CACHERO VS. MARZAN 196 SCRA 601 (1991) G.R. No. L-53768 May 6, 1991 proceedings, showed that neither the Cacheros nor their predecessors-in-
PATRICIA CASILDO CACHERO and the HEIRS OF TOMAS CACHERO interest had ever entered a claim for either lot.
(Alejandria Cachero-Estilong, Lolita Cachero-Teodoro, Severa Cachero-
The Cacheros opposed the motion and argued that by the time the motion
Simplinam, Bernardo Cachero, and Luzviminda Cachero-Balinag), applicants-
for reconsideration was filed, the judgment sought to be reconsidered had
appellees, vs. BERNARDINO MARZAN, HILARIO MARZAN, CIPRIANO
already become final. The motion was denied.
PULIDO, MAGNO MARZAN and GUILLERMO HIPOL, oppositors. ADELINA
PULIDO GENOVA, and the HEIRS OF PAULINA NUDO AND FELIX GENOVA About 7 months after the filing of the motion for reconsideration, persons
(Cornelio Genova, Herminia Genova, Carmelita Genova, Josefina Genova and not parties to the registration proceedings filed a " petition for review of
Margarita Genova), petitioners-appellants. judgment and/or decree."
FACTS: They alleged that they were the owners of the land designated as Lot No.
6859 which they purchased sometime in 1929 and that they have been in
The Spouses Cachero filed a case in the CFI of La Union against the
continuous possession thereof since then. They also alleged that the
respondents for recovery of possession and ownership of 2 parcels of land in
petitioners fraudulently omitted to give them notice of their application for
Barrio Basca, Aringay, La Union.
registration and that in the earlier cadastral survey, Lots Numbered 6859
The lower court rendered judgment declaring the petitioners owners of the and 6860 had been declared public land for lack of any original claimant and
subject land. The judgment became final and executory. About 7 years later at the cadastral hearing only the Director of Lands, the Director of Forestry,
the Spouses Cachero filed for the registration under the Torrens Act of the and they had filed "cadastral answers".
subject land (109,480 sq. m.) identified as Lot No. 6860 of the Cadastral
The petition prayed for the re-opening, review and setting aside of the
Survey and another parcel of land (50,412 square meters) identified as Lot
judgment and for the accord to them of an opportunity to prove their
No. 6859 of the same Cadastral Survey, both lots being situated in Sitio Iriw,
asserted contentions. The petition for review was denied.
Basca Aringay, La Union.
The Registration Court ruled that the according to the report of the chief
Subsequently, Atty. Yaranon filed oppositions in said case in behalf of the
surveyor of the Land Registration Commission, there was no decree of
respondents Tomas Cachero died before judgment and was substituted by
registration issued as regards the subject lots. It also ruled that the movants
his children. The judgment was rendered in favor of the spouses finding that
had failed to show fraud on the Cacheros' part.
the spouses and their predecessors-in-interest had been in continuous and
notorious possession of subject lots for more than 60 years in concept of Paulina Nodo and Felix Genova subsequently died and were substituted by
owners except for a one-hectare portion of Lot No. 6860 which the Cacheros their heirs. These Genova heirs filed an amended petition which was also
had sold to Bernardino Marzan; that Tomas Cachero had inherited said lots denied by the Registration Court. Then, they appealed the case to the Court
from his late father, Simeon Cachero; and that the applicant spouses had of Appeals which forwarded it to the Supreme Court, holding that the
been religiously paying the realty taxes on the parcels of land as owners former had no appellate jurisdiction over the matter.
thereof.
The CA also declared that the Genovas are third persons who came into the
The respondents thru their counsel, Atty. Yaranon, filed a motion for case.
reconsideration on the ground that the Court had no jurisdiction over the
case and that the subject lands, which have been the subject of cadastral ISSUE: WON the cadastral proceedings should be deemed as a bar to the
Registration Proceedings.
HELD:

NO The cadastral case mentioned commenced before the outbreak of the


Pacific war.

It had been abandoned and had not been continued or resumed after the
war, thus, it had ceased to exist.

Hence, said compulsory cadastral proceedings under the Cadastral Act


cannot be invoked and set up as a bar to the registration proceedings under
the Torrens Act initiated more than twenty years later by the Cacheros.

A cadastral proceeding which had long discontinued and abandoned, and


which had resulted in no judgment or final order affecting the lands involved
in a subsequent registration act under Act496, cannot be invoked and set up
as a bar to the latter proceedings.

There being no final adjudication in the cadastral proceeding, there is no


reason to apply the doctrine of res judicata.
Republic of the Philippines vs. Zenaida Guinto-Aldana actual or at least constructive possession. Indeed, respondents herein have
been in possession of the land in the concept of an owner, open,
G.R. No. 175578, August 11, 2010
continuous, peaceful and without interference and opposition from the
government or from any private individual. Itself makes their right thereto
unquestionably settled and hence, deserving of protection under the law.
FACTS:

Respondents filed an application for registration of title over 2 pieces of


land, professing themselves to be co-owners of these lots having acquired
them by succession from their predecessors. That until the time of the
application, they and their predecessors-in-interest have been in actual,
open, peaceful, adverse, exclusive and continuous possession of these lots
in the concept of an owner and that they had consistently declared the
property in their name for purposes of real estate taxation. In support of
their application, respondents submitted to the court the pertinent tax
declarations, together with the receipts of payment thereof. Petitioner
opposed the application for the reason that the tax declaration submitted to
the court did not constitute competent and sufficient evidence of bona fide
acquisition in good faith or of prior possession in the concept of an owner.

ISSUE:

WON respondents have occupied and possessed the property openly,


continuously, exclusively and notoriously under a bona fide claim of
ownership.

HELD:

Respondents’ possession through their predecessors-in-interest dates back


to as early as 1937 when the property had already been declared for
taxation by respondent’s father. Respondents could have produced more
proof of this kind had it not been for the fact that, the relevant portions of
the tax records on file with the Provincial Assessor had been burned when
its office was razed by fire in 1997. With the tax assessments there
came next tax payments. Respondents’ receipts for tax expenditures were
likewise in the records and in these documents the predecessors of
respondents were the named owners of the property. Tax declarations and
realty tax payment are not conclusive evidence of ownership, nevertheless,
they are a good indication of possession in the concept of an owner. No one
in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his
G.R. No. 175578 August 11, 2010 However, that while the best evidence to identify a piece of land for
registration purposes is the original tracing cloth plan issued by the Bureau
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,
of Lands, blueprint copies and other evidence could also provide sufficient
vs.
identification.
ZENAIDA GUINTO-ALDANA, Respondent
In the case at bar, we find that the submission of the blueprint of Plan
FACTS:
together with the technical description of the property, operates as
Respondents filed an application for registration of title over 2 pieces of substantial compliance with the legal requirement of ascertaining the
land, professing themselves to be co-owners of these lots having acquired identity of Lot Nos. 4 and 5 applied for registration.
them by succession from their predecessors. That until the time of the
Issue of Possession
application, they and their predecessors-in-interest have been in actual,
open, peaceful, adverse, exclusive and continuous possession of these lots The law speaks of possession and occupation. Since these words are
in the concept of an owner and that they had consistently declared the separated by the conjunction and, the clear intention of the law is not to
property in their name for purposes of real estate taxation. In support of make one synonymous with the other. Possession is broader than
their application, respondents submitted to the court the pertinent tax occupation because it includes constructive possession. When, therefore,
declarations, together with the receipts of payment thereof. Petitioner the law adds the word occupation, it seeks to delimit the all-encompassing
opposed the application for the reason that the tax declaration submitted to effect of constructive possession. Taken together with the words open,
the court did not constitute competent and sufficient evidence of bona fide continuous, exclusive and notorious, the word occupation serves to
acquisition in good faith or of prior possession in the concept of an owner. highlight the fact that for an applicant to qualify, his possession must not
be a mere fiction. Actual possession of a land consists in the manifestation
The trial court denied the application for failure of the applicants to comply
of acts of dominion over it of such a nature as a party would naturally
with the requirements of Presidential Decree No. 1529. However, this was
exercise over his own property.
reversed by the Court of Appeals.
Respondents’ possession through their predecessors-in-interest dates back
ISSUE: Whether or not respondents have occupied and possessed the
to as early as 1937 when the property had already been declared for
property openly, continuously, exclusively and notoriously under a bona fide
taxation by respondent’s father. Respondents could have produced more
claim of ownership? – YES
proof of this kind had it not been for the fact that, the relevant portions of
RULING: the tax records on file with the Provincial Assessor had been burned when
its office was razed by fire in 1997. With the tax assessments there
The submission in evidence of the original tracing cloth plan, duly approved came next tax payments. Respondents’ receipts for tax expenditures were
by the Bureau of Lands, in cases for application of original registration of likewise in the records and in these documents the predecessors of
land is a mandatory requirement. The reason for this rule is to establish the respondents were the named owners of the property. Tax declarations and
true identity of the land to ensure that it does not overlap a parcel of land or realty tax payment are not conclusive evidence of ownership, nevertheless,
a portion thereof already covered by a previous land registration, and to they are a good indication of possession in the concept of an owner. No one
forestall the possibility that it will be overlapped by a subsequent in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his
registration of any adjoining land. The failure to comply with this actual or at least constructive possession. Indeed, respondents herein have
requirement is fatal to petitioner’s application for registration. been in possession of the land in the concept of an owner, open,
continuous, peaceful and without interference and opposition from the
government or from any private individual. Itself makes their right thereto
unquestionably settled and hence, deserving of protection under the law.

The voluntary declaration of a piece of property for taxation purposes


manifests not only one’s sincere and honest desire to obtain title to the
property. It also announces his adverse claim against the state and all other
parties who may be in conflict with his interest. More importantly, it signifies
an unfeigned intention to contribute to government revenues—an act that
strengthens one’s bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The March 30, 2006 Decision and the
November 20, 2006 Resolution of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. CV No.
80500, are AFFIRMED.
LASAM V. DIRECTOR OF LANDS- Possession HELD:

First, the Court ruled that Exhibit L cannot be a valid application because the
Possession in the eyes of the law does not mean that a man has to have his identity of the land was not clearly established.
feet on every square meter of ground before it can be said that he is in
possession, however, possession is not gained by mere nominal CLAIM.
Second, although there is proof that Lasam might have possessed a portion
FACTS: of the parcel land, the proof is lacking in certainty as to the portion occupied
and the extent thereof. Although the counsel invokes the doctrine of
Lasam files a case in Court for the registration of a parcel of land, containing
constructive possession, the said application is subject to certain
an area of around 24,000,000 hectares. He presents Exhibit L as proof of his
qualifications, and this court was careful to observe that among these
possession over the land. Exhibit L is a certified copy of an application. This
qualifications is one particularly relating to the size of the tract in
application states that Lasam’s predecessor in interest, Domingo Narag, has
controversy with reference to the portion of land actually in possession of
owned the land since time immemorial. However, the property described in
the claimant. While, therefore, possession in the eyes of the law does not
Exhibit L is 15,000,000 hectares only and the property sought to be
mean that a man has to have his feet on every square meter of ground
registered is 24,000,000 hectares.
before it can be said that he is in possession, possession is not gained by
Furthermore, the document, mentions a fifth parcel of land which is the
mere nominal CLAIM. The mere planting of a sign or a symbol of possession
same parcel described in another Exhibit K. Apparently, the surveyor of the
cannot justify a Magellan-like claim of dominion over an immense tract of
land delineated the property based on what the possessor at that time
territory.
pointed out to him; he based his study mostly on hearsay. According to the
applicant, before his occupation of the land, only about 2 hectares were
cultivated. But then, they justified this by invoking the doctrine of
constructive possession (That a person in possession of the land does not
have to have his feet on every square meter of ground before it can be said
that he is in possession).

Thus, the Director of Lands opposed the registration on the ground that
a) it is not supported by any title fit for registration and
b) that the land sought to be registered is public land.

ISSUE:

Is the applicant entitled to registration because of the required possession


during the time prescribed by law? Is he entitled to the 24,000,000 hectares
of land considering that the area possessed is only 2 hectares?