In G. L. R. O. Record No. 7605 of the former Land Registration Court, the petitioners filed a motion entitled "Adverse Claim and Escheat," asking that, under sections 110 and 112 of Act No. 496, the original certificates of title Nos. 428 and 494, issued in favor of the San Juan de Dios Hospital by the register of deeds of the Province of Bulacan, be cancelled, and that a new one be issued in favor of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, for the benefit of the municipalities of San Rafael and San Ildefonso, represented by the petitioners. In support of this motion, the petitioners alleged: that the municipalities of San Rafael and San Ildefonso are political subdivisions of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, constituting the local governments of said municipalities of the Province of Bulacan; that the lands referred to in the motion consist of four lots known as the Buenavista Hacienda, located in the municipalities of San Rafael and San Ildefonso, Province of Bulacan, with an area of 274,082,692 square meters; that the San Juan de Dios Hospital applied for the registration of said four lots in G. L. R. O. Record No. 7605 alleging that they were acquired from one Pedro Cahete as a donation; that the former Land Registration Court, due to the illegal abandonment by the Government representative, who appeared at the trial of the case, erroneously adjudicated the said parcels of land to the respondent, the San Juan de Dios Hospital; that subsequently, the final decree and the original certificates of title Nos. 428 and 494 were issued in favor of the San Juan de Dios Hospital; that the San Juande Dios Hospital is not a juridical person and had no standing to ask for the registration of said lands; and that these real properties should be escheated to the Commonwealth of the Philippines for the benefit of the petitioners, the municipalities where said lands are located. The San Juan de Dios Hospital filed a special appearance and therein impugned the jurisdiction of the court to take cognizance of the motion and grant the remedy prayed for. The motion and the special appearance once submitted, the court issued an order dated March 23, denying the petitioners’ adverse claim and escheat and their other motion to set aside the special appearance of the Respondent
. The petitioners appealed from this order.
1. The petitioners contend in their first assignment of error that the court should have set for hearing their motion and should have allowed them to present evidence, instead of declaring itself without jurisdiction to consider and decide it. The petitioners insist that the San Juan de Dios Hospital was not a juridical person and that it had no legal personality to apply for the registration of the lands, later registered, in its name. This point could be settled by the mere mention here of the fact that the same question was squarely raised at the hearing of the case in the Land registration Court, and in its decision, said court held that the San Juan de Dios Hospital was a juridical person and was entitled to apply for the registration of the lands. Both the decision rendered to this effect and the final decree issued sometime after have become final. It is obvious, therefore, that the personality of the San Juan de Dios Hospital is res adjudicata.
But, as lack of personality is insistently urged on the ground that the San Juan de Dios Hospital is not a juridical person, we cite the following legal provisions to the contrary:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Article 35 of the Civil Code provides in part the following:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"ART. 35. The following are juridical persons:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"1. Corporations, associations, and foundations of public interest recognized by law. "Their personality begins from the very moment at which, in accordance with law, they have been validly constituted."cralaw virtua1aw library
Section 19 of Act No. 496 as amended provides that persons claiming, singly or collectively, to own a real estate in fee simple, may apply for the registration of their title in accordance with the Torrens system. The word "persons" comprehends both natural and juridical persons. In accordance with article 35 of the Civil Code, the San Juan de Dios Hospital is a juridical person because it is a foundation of public interest. It is, therefore, clear that it had rights and personality of its own to apply for registration and obtain a decree and titles.
The State itself acknowledged the legal personality of the San Juan de Dios Hospital when it enacted Act No. 1724 approving and ratifying the agreement entered into by the Secretary of War of the United States, as representative of the Government of the Philippine Islands, and the Archbishop of Manila, as representative of the Roman Catholic Church. Its pertinent provisions read as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Whereas certain controversies have arisen between the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of the Philippine Islands as to the title to various estates and properties and as to the right of possession and administration thereof; and
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‘’Whereas for the purpose of ending these controversies, William H. Taft, as Secretary of War of the United States, representing the Government of the Philippine Islands, and Jeremiah J. Harty, archbishop of Manila, representing the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippine Islands, and Jeremiah J. Harty, archbishop of Manila, representing and controlling a majority of the capital stock of the Banco Español-Filipino, aid, on the eighth day of June, nineteen hundred and seven, enter into the following agreement determining and settling the controversies between the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of the Philippine Islands, and between the Banco Español-Filipino and the Government of the Philippine Islands, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"‘This memorandum of agreement, entered into by Archbishop Harty, archbishop of Manila, representing the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippine Islands, and the Secretary of War, representing the Government of the Philippine Islands, is intended to form the basis of a compromise of a number of controversies arising between the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of the Philippine Islands, and to end an such controversies.
"The controversies arising are as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"‘First, — The right of the Roman Catholic Church, on the one hand, and the Philippine Government, on the other, to administer certain charitable trusts, and to take possession of, and assume control of, the following estates, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
x x x
"‘Second, — The buildings, estates and hospital plant of San Juan de Dios, indulging all other estates or investments of said Hospital of San Juan de Dios.
x x x
"‘Now, therefore, for the purpose of ending all these controversies, the following into man agreement is entered into, to be subject to the approval of the Philippine Commission, and to be carried into effect by the entry or consent decrees, in the proper Courts, in such form as to confirm the titles in the persons by this agreement to talks the respective properties, and by such legislation of the Philippine Commission as may be necessary to further confirm and put into execution said agreement, and also subject to the approval of the Secretary of War, and of Archbishop Harty, through his agent, Festus J. Wade, of that statutes of the bank as they shall be revised, such revision to contain a restriction on the amount of money to be loaned by the Bank on real-estate security.
"‘In consideration of the foregoing, and in the manner prescribed herein, the Archbishop of the diocese of Manila, for the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippine Islands, is to take possession, and hold in absolute title, free from an claims or demands of the Philippine Government, the land and property, real, personal and mixed, set forth and described under sections one, two, three, four and five here of, namely: — Hospicio de San Jose; San Juan de Dios; Colegio de San Jose; Hospital of San Jose in Cavite, and the Colegio de Santa Isabel.’
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"SECTION 1. The said informal agreement so entered into on behalf of the Government of the Philippine Islands by William H. Taft, Secretary of War, with Jeremiah J. Harty, Archbishop of Manila on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, and representing and controlling a majority of the capital stock of the Banco Español-Filipino, is hereby confirmed, ratified, and approved in all its parts.
x x x
"SEC. 5. The Governor-General of the Philippine Islands is hereby authorized and directed, upon the entry of the judgments provided for in sections two and three of this Act, and upon the execution and delivery of the deed referred to in section four hereof, to execute proper conveyances of title to the Roman Catholic Church as represented by the Archbishop of Manila, conveying all the right, title and interest of the Government of the Philippine Islands in and to the following-described property, to wit: The buildings, foundation, and property, real, personal, and mixed, pertaining and belonging to the Hospicio de San Jose, the Hospital de San Juan de Dios, the Hospital de San Jose in Cavite, and the Colegio de Santa Isabel."cralaw virtua1aw library
2. The petitioners contend that it was the duty of the court to set their motions for hearing and receive evidence in support on their allegations. We hold that since there was presented a special appearance Impugning the jurisdiction of the court, this could not proceed without first deciding, as it and, the question of law thus raised. The special appearance was tantamount to a dermurrer for the resolution on which it was necessary to admit hypothetically the allegations in the motion.
3. The court committed no error in declaring itself without jurisdiction to grant to the petitioners what they asked in their motion entitled "Adverse claim and Escheat. The motion was intended to review the final decree and set aside the titles which were subsequently issued, thus annulling rights legally registered. The court had no jurisdiction to do this.
4. In their second assignment of error the petitioners allege that under the provisions of section 112 of Act No. 496, the court should have held a hearing of the motion. Said legal provision reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"SEC. 112. No erasure, alteration, or amendment shall be made upon the registration book after the entry of a certificate of title or of a memorandum thereon and the attestation of the same by the clerk or any register of deeds, except by order of the court. Any registered owner or other person in interest may at any time apply by petition to the court, upon the ground that registered interests of any description, whether vested, contingent, expectant, or inchoate, have terminated and ceased; or that new interests have arisen or been created which do not appear upon the certificate; or that any error, omission, or mistake was made in entering a certificate or any memorandum thereon, or on any duplicate certificate; or that the name of any person on the certificate has been changed; or that the registered owner has been married; or, if registered as married, that the marriage has been terminated; or that a corporation which owned registered land and has been dissolved has not conveyed the same within three years after its dissolution; or upon any other reasonable ground; and the court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine the petition after notice to all parties in interest, and may order the entry of a new certificate, the entry or cancellation of a memorandum upon a certificate, or grant any other relief upon such terms and conditions, requiring security if necessary, as it may deem proper: Provided, however, That this section shall not be construed to give the court authority to open the original decree of registration, and that nothing shall be done or ordered by the court which shall impair the title or other interest of a purchaser holding a certificate for value and in good faith, or his heirs or assigns, without his or their written consent.
"Any petition filed under this section and all petitions and motions filed under the provisions of this Act after original registration shall be filed and entitled in the original case in which the decree of registration was entered."cralaw virtua1aw library
It is a settled question that under said section 112, a final decree issued in a registration case cannot be reviewed on the pretext of introducing amendments or authorized alterations (Garcia v. Reyes, 51 Phil., 409). The remedy sought by the petitioners in their motion was evidently equivalent to a revision of the final decree and the setting aside of the original certificates of article. The final decree issued in the case, after the lapse of one year allowed by law for its review on the ground of fraud, and the original certificates of title issued, are now incontrovertible and the petitioners cannot impugn them with success (sec. 38, Act No. 496; De los Reyes v. Paterno, 34 Phil., 420; Reyes and Nadres v. Borbon and Director of Lands, 50 Phil., 791; Clemente and Pichay v. Lukban and Domingo, 53 Phil., 931). There being no basis for the allegations in the motion, and the petitioners not being entitled to the remedy prayed for, and, on the other hand, the court having no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the motion, the court did not err in not granting a hearing of said motion.
5. Counsel for the petitioners asked that the special appearance filed by the San Juan de Dios Hospital be stricken out. This the court denied. The petitioners assign this resolution as an error committed by the court. We hold that the motion to strike was correctly denied because, as has been said, the court was under a duty to determine the merits of the special appearance.
The appealed order is affirmed, with costs in this instance against the petitioners-appellants. So ordered.
, Villa-Real, Diaz, Laurel and Moran, JJ.