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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
August-2009 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 7399 - Antero J. Pobre v. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

  • A.M. No. 08-6-352-RTC - Query of Atty. Karen M. Silverio-Buffe, former Clerk of Court, Branch 81, Romblon, Romblon, on the prohibition from engaging in the private practice of law

  • A.M. No. 08-11-7-SC - Re: Request of National Committee on Legal Aid to exempt legal aid clients from paying filing, docket and other fees.

  • A.M. No. 09-6-9-SC - Query of Mr. Roger C. Prioreschi re exemption from legal and filing fees of the Good Shperd Foundation, Inc.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2282 - Lolita S. Regir v. Joel Regir

  • A.M. No. P-07-2390 - Office of the Court Administrator v. Lyndon L. Isip, Sheriff IV, RTC, OCC, City of San Fernando, Pampanga

  • A.M. No. P-08-2436 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 06-2394-P - Teopicio Tan v. Salvacion D. Sermonia, Clerk IV, MTCC, Iloilo City

  • A.M. No. P-08-2501 - Wilson B. Tan v. Jesus F. Hernando

  • A.M. No. P-08-2553 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 98-455-P - Leo Mendoza v. Prospero V. Tablizo

  • A.M. No. P-08-2571 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 07-2651-P - Simeon Guari o, et al. v. Cesar F. Ragsac, et al.

  • A.M. No. P-09-2610 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 09-3072-P - Hector P. Teodosio v. Rolando R. Somosa, et al.

  • A.M. No. P-09-2665 - Judge Alma Crispina B. Collado-Lacorte v. Eduardo Rabena

  • A.M. No. RTJ-07-2031 Formerly OCA IPI No. 06-2484-RTJ - Adelpha E. Malabed v. Judge Enrique C. Asis, RTC, Br. 16, Naval Biliran

  • A.M. No. RTJ-08-2124 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2631-RTJ and A.M. NO. RTJ-08-2125 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2632-RTJ - Judge Rizalina T. Capco-Umali, RTC, Br. 212, Mandaluyong City v. Judge Paulita B. Acosta-Villarante, RTC, Br. 211, Mandaluyong City

  • A.M. No. RTJ-08-2138 - Olga M. Samson v. Judge Virgilio G. Caballero

  • G.R. No. 130223 - Rural Bank of Sta. Barbara (Pangasinan), Inc. v. The Manila mission of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 130371 & G.R. No. 130855 - Repbulic of the Philippines v. Ferdinand R. Marcos II and Imelda R. Marcos

  • G.R. No. 149241 - Dart Philippines, Inc. v. Spouses Francisco and Erlinda Calogcog

  • G.R. No. 149988 - Ramie Velenzuela v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 150887 - Francisco Madrid and Edgardo Bernardo v. Spouses Bonifacio Mapoy and Felicidad Martinez

  • G.R. No. 151932 - Henry Ching Tiu, et al. v. Philippine Bank of Communications

  • G.R. No. 152579 - Sameer Overseas Placement Agency, Inc. v. Mildred R. Santos, etc. et al.

  • G.R. No. 153690, G.R. No. 157381 and G.R. No. 170889 - David Lu v. Paterno Lu Ym, Sr., et al.

  • G.R. No. 154652 - Prudencio M. Reyes, Jr. v. Simplicio C. Belisario and Emmanuel S. Malicdem

  • G.R. No. 155174 - D.M. Consunji, Inc. v. Duvaz Corporation

  • G.R. No. 156660 - Ormoc Sugarcane Planters' Association, Inc. (OSPA), Occidental Leyte Farmer's Multi-Purpose Cooperative Inc., et al. v. The Court of Appeals (Special Former Sixth Division), et al.

  • G.R. No. 157374 - Heirs of Cayetano Pangan and Consuelo Pangan v. Spouses Rogelio Perreras and Priscilla G. Perreras

  • G.R. No. 160346 - Purita A. Pahud, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 160379 - Republic of the Philippines through the Department of Public Works and Highways v. Court of Appeals and Rosario Rodriguez Reyes

  • G.R. No. 160610 - Judelio Cobarrubias v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 160743 - Cornelia Baladad (Represented by Heinrich M. Angeles and Rex Aaron A. Baladad) v. Sergio A. Rublico and Spouses Laureano E. Yupano

  • G.R. No. 161042 - Republic of the Philippines v. Agripina Dela Raga

  • G.R. No. 161419 - Eugenio Encinares v. Dominga Achero

  • G.R. No. 162355 - Sta. Lucia East Commercial Corporation v. Hon. Secretary of Labor and Employment, et al.

  • G.R. No. 162518 - Rodrigo Sumiran v. Spouses Generoso Damaso and Eva Damaso

  • G.R. No. 163505 - Gualberto Aguanza v. Asian Terminal, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 163788 - Ester B. Maralit v. Philippine National Bank

  • G.R. No. 164324 - Tanduay Distillers, Inc. v. Ginebra San Miguel, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 164789 - Christian Assembly, Inc. v. Sps. Avelino C. Ignacio and Priscilla R. Ignacio

  • G.R. NOS. 164813 & G.R. No. 174590 - Lowe, Inc., et al. v. Court of Appeals and Irma Mutuc

  • G.R. No. 165116 - Maria Soledad Tomimbang v. Atty. Jose Tomimbang

  • G.R. No. 165450 and G.R. No. 165452 - Francis F. Yenko, et al., (etc.) v. Raul Nestor C. Gungon

  • G.R. No. 165697 & G.R. No. 166481 - Antonio Navarro v. Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company

  • G.R. No. 166470 & G.R. No. 169217 - Cecilio C. Hernandez, Ma, Victoria C. Hernandez-Sagun, Teresa C. Hernandez-Villa Abrille and Natividad Cruz-Hernandez v. Jovita San Juan-Santos

  • G.R. No. 166738 - Rowena Padilla-Rumbaua v. Eduardo Rumbaua

  • G.R. No. 166879 - A. Soriano Aviation v. Employees Association of A. Soriano Aviation, et al.

  • G.R. No. 167230 - Spouses Dante and Ma. Teresa Galura v. Math-Agro Corporation

  • G.R. No. 167304 - People of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan (Third Division) and Victoria Amante

  • G.R. No. 168910 - Republic Cement Corporation v. Peter Guinmapang

  • G.R. No. 168982 - People of the Philippines v. Dir. Cesar P. Nazareno, Dir. Evelino Nartatez, Dir. Nicasio Ma. S. Custodio and The Sandiganbayan

  • G.R. No. 169870 - People of the Philippines v. Elegio An

  • G.R. No. 170137 - People of the Philippines v. Randy Magbanua alias "Boyung" and Wilson Magbanua.

  • G.R. No. 170672 - Judge Felimon Abelita, III v. P/Supt. German Doria and SPO3 Cesar Ramirez

  • G.R. No. 170674 - Foundation Specialist, Inc. v. Betonval Ready Concrete, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 171035 - William Ong Genato v. Benjamin Bayhon, et al.

  • G.R. No. 171169 - GC Dalton Industries, Inc. v. Equitable PCI Bank

  • G.R. No. 171313 - People of the Philippines v. Edgar Trayco y Masola

  • G.R. No. 171674 - Department of Agrarian Reform (etc.) v. Carmen S. Tongson

  • G.R. No. 171732 - People of the Philippines v. Edgar Denoman y Acurda

  • G.R. No. 171951 - Amado Alvarado Garcia v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 172537 - Jethro Intelligence & Security Corporation and Yakult, Inc. v. The Hon. Secretary of Labor and Employment, et al.

  • G.R. No. 172680 - The Heirs of the Late Fernando S. Falcasantos, etc., et al. v. Spouses Fidel Yeo Tan and Sy Soc Tiu, et al.

  • G.R. No. 174209 - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company v. Rizalina Raut, et al.

  • G.R. No. 175345 - Baltazar L. Payno v. Orizon Trading Corp./ Orata Trading and Flordeliza Legaspi

  • G.R. No. 175605 - People of the Philippines v. Arnold Garchitorena Y Camba a.k.a. Junior, Joey Pamplona a.k.a. Nato, and Jessie Garcia y Adorino

  • G.R. No. 176487 - Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Department of Public Works and Highways v. Far East Enterprises, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 176511 - Spouses Obdulia H. Espejo and Hildelberto T. Espejo v. Geraldine Coloma Ito

  • G.R. No. 176906 - Andrew B. Nudo v. Hon. Amado S. Caguioa, et al.

  • G.R. No. 176917 & G.R. No. 176919 - Continental Cement Corp., v. Filipinas (PREFAB) Systems, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 177134 - People of the Philippines v. Rachel Angeles y Naval Alias Russel Angeles y Cabal

  • G.R. No. 177508 - Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) Partylist represented by Salvador B. Britanico v. Commission on Elections

  • G.R. No. 177741 - People of the Philippines v. Willie Rivera

  • G.R. NOS. 178188, 181141, 181141 and 183527 - Olympic Mines and Development Corp., v. Platinum Group Metals Corporation

  • G.R. No. 178797 - Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

  • G.R. No. 178984 - Erlinda Mapagay v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 179280 - People of the Philippines v. Pedro Calangi alias Haplas

  • G.R. No. 179293 - Eden Llamas v. Ocean Gateway Maritime and Management, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 179905 - Republic of the Philippines v. Neptuna G. Javier

  • G.R. No. 179941 - People of the Philippines v. Lito Macabare y Lopez

  • G.R. No. 180357 - Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation v. Heirs of Vicente Coronado, et al.

  • G.R. No. 180380 - Raymund Madali and Rodel Madali v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 180594 - People of the Philippines v. Ismael Mokammad, et al.

  • G.R. No. 180824 - Urban Consolidated Constructors Philippines, Inc. v. The Insular Life Assurance Co., Inc.

  • G.R. No. 180921 - People of the Philippines v. Bernardo Rimando, Jr. y Basilio alias "JOJO"

  • G.R. No. 180988 - Julie's Franchise Corporation, et al. v. Hon. Chandler O. Ruiz, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 10, Dipolog City, et al.

  • G.R. No. 181516 - Cesario L. Del Rosario v. Philippine Journalists, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 181845 - The City of Manila, Liberty M. Toledo in her capacity as the Treasurer of Manila, et al. v. Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 181972 - Philippine Hoteliers, Inc./Dusit Hotel Nikko-Manila v. National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant, and Allied Industries (NUWHARAIN-APL-IUF) Dusit Hotel Nikko Chapter

  • G.R. No. 182267 - Pagayanan R. Hadji-Sirad v. Civil Service Commission

  • G.R. No. 182311 - Fidel O. Chua and Filiden Realty and Development Corporation v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182380 - Robert P. Guzman v. Commission on Elections, Mayor Randolph S. Ting and Salvacion Garcia

  • G.R. No. 182528 - People of the Philippines v. Marian Coroche y Caber

  • G.R. No. 182792 - People of the Philippines v. Pepito Neverio

  • G.R. No. 183059 - Ely Quilatan & Rosvida Quilatan-Elias v. Heirs of Lorenzo Quilatan, et al.

  • G.R. No. 183196 - Chona Estacio and Leopoldo Manliclic v. Pampanga I, Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Loliano E. Allas

  • G.R. No. 183329 - Rufino C. Montoya v. Transmed Manila Corporation Mr. Edilberto Ellena and Great Lake Navigation Co., Ltd.

  • G.R. No. 183366 - Ricardo C. Duco v. The Hon. Commission on Elections, First Division, and Narciso B. Avelino

  • G.R. No. 183526 - Violeta R. Lalican v. The Insular Life Assurance Company Limited, as represented by the President Vicente R. Avilon

  • G.R. No. 184005 - Top Art Shirt Manufacturing Inc., Maximo Arejola and Tan Shu Keng v. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Inc., and the Court of the Appeals

  • G.R. No. 184337 - Heirs of Federico C. Delgado and Annalisa Pesico v. Luisito Q. Gonzales and Antonio T. Buenaflor

  • G.R. No. 184905 - Lambert S. Ramos v. C.O.L. Realty Corporation

  • G.R. No. 185004 - People of the Philippines v. Armando Ferasol

  • G.R. No. 185711 - People of the Philippines v. Reynaldo Sanz Laboa

  • G.R. No. 185712 - People of the Philippines v. Lilio U. Achas

  • G.R .No. 185723 - People of the Philippines v. Edwin Mejia

  • G.R .No. 185841 - People of the Philippines v. Ismael Diaz @ Maeng and Rodolfo Diaz @ Nanding

  • G.R. No. 186080 - Julius Amanquiton v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 186129 - People of the Philippines v. Jesus Paragas Cruz

  • G.R. No. 186224 - Constancio D. Pacanan, Jr. v. Commission on Elections and Francisco M. Langi, Sr.

  • G.R. No. 186379 - People of the Philippines v. Bienvenido Lazaro @ Bening

  • G.R. No. 186381 - People of the Philippines v. Clemencia Arguelles y Talacay

  • G.R. No. 186420 - People of the Philippines v. Samuel Anod

  • G.R. No. 186496 - People of the Philippines v. Dante Gragasin Y Par

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 161042 - Republic of the Philippines v. Agripina Dela Raga

      G.R. No. 161042 - Republic of the Philippines v. Agripina Dela Raga

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. NO. 161042 : August 24, 2009]

    REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. AGRIPINA DELA RAGA, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N

    CARPIO, J.:

    The Case

    This is a petition1 for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The petition challenges the 18 November 2003 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 66687. The Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the 18 November 1999 Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Judicial Region 1, Branch 47, Urdaneta, Pangasinan, in Pet. Case No. U-1449.

    The Facts

    Agripina dela Raga (Dela Raga) is the granddaughter and the only surviving heir of spouses Ignacio Serran (Ignacio) and Catalina Laguit (Laguit). At a very young age, Dela Raga lost her parents and her grandparents Ignacio and Laguit.

    Dela Raga possessed a 79,570-square meter parcel of land covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 49266 and located in Barrio Dungon, Sison, Pangasinan. A relative informed Dela Raga that Ignacio was the titled owner of the property. Desirous to obtain a copy of OCT No. 49266, Dela Raga went to the Registers of Deeds of Lingayen, San Fernando, and Manila to inquire about the property. In the Register of Deeds of Manila, Dela Raga found Decree No. 196266 declaring the property in the names of Ignacio and Laguit and the spouses Felipe Serafica (Serafica) and Cornelia Serran (Cornelia).ςηαñrοblεš νιr†υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ

    Dela Raga filed with the RTC a petition4 for the reconstitution of OCT No. 49266 in the names of Ignacio, Laguit, Serafica, and Cornelia. In her petition dated 8 December 1998, Dela Raga stated:

    Comes now the petitioner, thru counsel, and before this Honorable Court, respectfully states:

    x x x

    2. That Ignacio Serran is the titled owner of a parcel of land located in Dungon, Sison, Pangasinan, particularly described as follows: x x x the property is covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 49266;

    x x x

    5. That petitioner is the granddaughter of Ignacio Serran whose daughter Anecita Serran is the mother of petitioner;

    6. That when Ignacio Serran died Aniceta Serran inherited the property, subject matter of this petition and when the latter also died petitioner likewise inherited the same property;

    7. That when the mother of petitioner died the latter was only six years old and she has never seen any owner's duplicate copy of OCT No. 49266;

    8. That even when petitioner has reached discerning age she continued possessing the subject property in the concept of an owner not minding the fact that she is not in possession of the owners' duplicate copy of OCT No. 49266;

    9. That it was only in the later years that petitioner realized the importance of having a duplicate copy of OCT No. 49266 hence, she tried to asked [sic] immediate relatives of the whereabouts of the said copy to no avail;

    10. That petitioner has considered the owner's duplicate copy of OCT No. 49266 to have been lost and beyond recovery hence, she attempted to file a petition for the issuance of new owner's duplicate copy in lieu of the lost one by requesting from Register of Deeds of Lingayen, Pangasinan the certification as to the existence of OCT No. 49266 but to the surprised [sic] of petitioner the copy of OCT No. 49266 in the custody of the Register of Deeds was also one of those Original Certificate of Title [sic] issued before the pre war [sic] that were destroyed or deemed lost, copy of the certification of Register of Deeds is hereto attached as Annex A;

    11. That for purposes of reconstituting Original Certificate of Title No. 49266, Decree No. 196266 may be used as a basis thereof, copy of the Decree No. 196266 which was the basis of issuance of the lost OCT No. 49266 certified by the Land Registration Authority is hereto attached as Annex B.5

    The RTC set the initial hearing on 18 August 1999. Dela Raga presented her documentary evidence: (1) copy of the petition, (2) certificate of posting, (3) notice of order dated 19 February 1999, (4) proof of service to different government agencies, (5) certificate of publication, (6) notice to adjacent owners, (7) birth certificate of her mother Aniceta Serran, (8) certificate from the Register of Deeds that OCT No. 49266 could not be found despite diligent efforts, and (9) Tax Receipt No. 1144140. As testimonial evidence, Dela Raga and a certain Pascua Estibar testified.

    The RTC's Ruling

    In its Decision dated 18 November 1999, the RTC granted the petition. The RTC found that (1) Dela Raga is the granddaughter of Ignacio, (2) Ignacio owned the property, (3) the property was covered by OCT No. 49266, (4) OCT No. 49266 was in the name of Ignacio, (5) the Register of Deeds' copy of OCT No. 49266 was destroyed during the war, and (6) Dela Raga complied with all the jurisdictional requirements for the reconstitution of OCT No. 49266. The RTC stated:

    From the evidence presented during the ex-parte presentation of evidence before the Branch Clerk of Court, the following facts were proven:

    The petitioner is the grandchild of Ignacio Serran, one of the registered owners of the land subject of this petition. The petitioner's mother was Aniceta Serran, one of the daughetrs of Ignacio Serran as evidenced by Exh. "N". The name of the other child of Ignacio Serran was Cornelia Serran. Both children have already died including Ignacio Serran.

    When Ignacio Serran died, he left a property located at Dungon, Sison, Pangasinan. The same property was covered by a title. However, the office copy of the title was destroyed during the World War II as evidenced by a pre-war inventory of the Registry of Deeds of Pangasinan marked as EXH. "O". From such inventory of original certificates of the Registry of Deeds of Pangasinan (Exh. "0-1"), there was an entry O.C.T. No. 49266 to 49267 - mutilated. In Exh. "O", Original Certificate No. 49266, Vol. 162, Page 239 was in the name of Serran, Ignacio, et. al. A Certification, Exh. "P" was issued by the Registry of Deeds of Pangasinan certifying to the effect that the Original Certificate of Title No. 49266 could not be found or located among the files in the registry, thus it was presumed lost or destroyed.

    Another document that proved the ownership of Ignacio Serran, et. al., was an application for the registration of title (EXH. "T") filed before the Court of First Instance for the Province of Pangasinan by Ignacio Serran on October 3, 1924 represented by E.Q. Turner. Annexed thereto were Description of Property as surveyed for Ignacio Serran (Exh. "T-2"), Registration of Titles, Case No. 5507, G.L.R.O. Record No. 26031 (Exh. "T-3"), Decision of the Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Pangasinan in G.L.R.O. Rec. No. 26031, Ignacio Serran, Solicitante, (Exh. "T-9"); and Order for the Issuance of the Decree (Exh. "T-11").

    On November 28, 1925, Enrique Altavas, Chief of the General Land Registration Office issued Decree No. 196266 in accordance with the Order for the Issuance of the Decree issued by the Court in undivided equal shares, in the name of the conjugal partnership of the spouses IGNACIO SERRAN and CATALINA LAGUIT, and the conjugal partnership of the spouses FELIPE SERAFICA and CORNELIA SERRAN. The said Decree covers Case No. 5507, G.L.R.O. Record No. 26031 over a parcel of land (Plan Psu-35755) situated in the Barrio of Dungon, Municipality of Sison, containing an area of SEVENTY NINE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED & SEVENTY SQUARE METERS (79,570). The said Decree was certified to by the Chief, Docket Division of the Land Registration Authority.

    x x x

    The petitioner had been paying the taxes on the subject land as evidenced by Tax Declaration No. 019-00002 (Exh. "V") and the Tax Receipt as Exh. "U". At present the petitioner is enjoying the fruits of the land. The petitioner also testified that she has no knowledge whatsoever of any mortgage over the land in favor of a person, agency or banking institution. Further, the petitioner has no knowledge if other persons are claiming the property.

    x x x

    After an analysis of the documentary and testimonial evidence on record and finding them to be sufficient and substantial to support the petition, and finding further compliance of the jurisdictional requirements, this Court grants the reconstitution of the lost title.6

    The Republic of the Philippines (Republic) appealed the 18 November 1999 Decision to the Court of Appeals. In its brief7 dated 11 December 2000, the Republic claimed that Dela Raga failed to prove her relationship to Ignacio and that the report of the Register of Deeds was insufficient. The Republic stated:

    [T]he record is bereft of proof to show that indeed, appellee is the granddaughter of the registered owner.

    x x x

    Except for the bare allegations in the petition, appellee failed to present any proof to establish her relationship to Ignacio Serran, one of the registered owners. The fact that appellee carried the name dela Raga, inescapably carries no presumption for her relationship to any of the registered owners bearing different names. Appellee's self-serving testimony that she is the granddaughter of Ignacio Serran cannot be accepted, hook line and sinker.

    Having failed to prove interest over the land covered by the decree over the certificate of title, the trial court should have dismissed the petition.

    At any rate, even if appellee had established her interest in the subject property, the trial court should have dismissed the petition for reconstitution just the same, because there is no showing that OCT No. 49266 was still valid and subsisting, that is, not superseded by any transfer certificate of title, at the time of its loss and destruction.

    The certification of the Register of Deeds merely states:

    CERTIFICATION

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

    This is to certify that the original file copy of TRANSFER/ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. 49266, could not be found or located among the file in this registry, despite diligent effort the same could not be found, therefore it is presumed lost or destroyed (eaten by anays).

    x x x

    The foregoing certification fails to show that the certificate of title was valid and subsisting at the time of loss. It fell short of the required data which must be reported by the Register of Deed [sic], as provided in paragraph 12, LRA Circular No. 35, stating that:

    12. The Register of Deeds, upon receipt of a copy of the petition and notice of hearing, shall verify the status of the title - whether valid and subsisting at the time of the alleged loss; whether or not another title exists in the said office covering the same property; and as to the existence of transactions registered or pending registration, which maybe adversely affected thereby. He shall submit his written findings to the Court on or before the date of initial hearing of the petition.8

    The Court of Appeals' Ruling

    In its Decision dated 18 November 2003, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the RTC's 18 November 1999 Decision. The Court of Appeals held that the Republic failed to show convincing evidence to discredit the RTC's factual findings and that the Republic's claim that the Register of Deeds' report was insufficient was without substance. The Court of Appeals stated:

    The Republic failed to show substantial and convincing evidence to rebut the lower court's findings of fact. As between the negation of the Republic and the conclusion reached by the court a quo as to the filiation of herein petitioner-appellee to Ignacio Serran, having as basis thereof the documents presented during the ex-parte hearing and the testimony of one Pascual Estibal, we give the lower court's findings, due respect.

    "Factual findings of the trial court shall not be disturbed on appeal unless the trial court has overlooked or ignored some fact or circumstance or sufficient weight or significance which, if considered, would alter the situation."

    "It is doctrinally settled that the evaluation of the testimony of the witnesses by the trial court is received on appeal with the highest respect because it had the direct opportunity to observe the witnesses on the stand and detect if they were telling the truth ."

    The Republic's argument that the Certification issued by the Register of Deeds does not show that OCT No. 49266 is still valid and subsisting, hence, the petition for reconstitution should be dismissed, is unsubstantial to deserve consideration.

    The Register of Deeds was notified of the instant petition for reconstitution as a jurisdictional requirement. If it so believes that the subject OCT is tainted with any flaw, defect or infirmity, it should have filed an opposition, which it did not.9

    Hence, the present petition.

    The Issue

    In its petition dated 14 January 2004, the Republic raised as sole issue that "THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT RESPONDENT FAILED TO PROVE THAT THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE WAS VALID AND SUBSISTING AT THE TIME OF ITS ALLEGED LOSS OR DESTRUCTION."10 The Republic stated:

    It is settled that reconstitution of title presupposes a valid and existing title at the time of its loss or destruction. The certification issued by the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan merely states that OCT No. 49266 could not be found or located in the files of said registry and is therefore presumed lost or destroyed, thus:

    CERTIFICATION

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

    This is to certify that the original copy of TRANSFER/ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. 49266, could not be found or located among the file in this registry, despite diligent effort the same could not be found, therefore it is presumed lost or destroyed (eaten by annays).

    Notably, the certification issued by the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan fell short of the required data which must be reported by the Register of Deeds, as provided in paragraph 12, LRA Circular No. 35, stating that:

    12. The Register of Deeds, upon receipt of a copy of the petition and notice of hearing, shall verify the status of the title - whether valid and subsisting at the time of the alleged loss; whether or not another title exists in the said office covering the same property; and as to the existence of transactions registered or pending registration, which maybe adversely affected thereby. He shall submit his written findings to the Court on or before the date of initial hearing of the petition.

    Petitioner takes exception to the Court of Appeals' finding that the absence of active opposition by the Register of Deeds is adequate to support a conclusion that the subject original certificate of title is valid and subsisting at the time of loss. The alleged absence of active opposition of the Register of Deeds did not relieve respondent of the burden of proving the merits of her petition for reconstitution.

    x x x

    Given the allegation that that [sic] it has been over 75 years that the alleged OCT had been existing and the fact that it is registered in the name of two sets of spouses, the burden lies on respondent to show proof that aside from the fact that the subject OCT was valid and subsisting at the time of its loss, no other title exists in the said office covering the same property as well as the absence of any transaction affecting said title, pursuant to LRA Circular No. 35 dated June 13, 1983.

    The Court's Ruling

    The petition is unmeritorious.

    The sufficiency of the Register of Deeds' report is not an indispensable requirement in reconstitution cases. The report may even be disregarded. In Puzon v. Sta. Lucia Realty and Development, Inc.,11 the Court held:

    Even LR[A] Circular No. 35, which is also mentioned in Circular 7-96, does not require any clearance. Rather, it requires the Chief of the Clerks of Court Division to make a report, and likewise the Register of Deeds to write a report of his or her findings after verifying the status of the title, which is the subject of the reconstitution. Both reports are to be submitted to the reconstitution court on or before the date of the initial hearing. It is not mandatory, however, for the reconstitution court to wait for such reports indefinitely. If none is forthcoming on or before the date of the initial hearing, it may validly issue an order or judgment granting reconstitution. This is implied from the provisions of Section 16 of the same Circular, which states:

    "16. Should an order or judgment granting reconstitution be issued by the Court without awaiting the report and the recommendations of this Commission as well as the verification of the Register of Deeds concerned, or while the examination, verification and preparation of the report and recommendation are still pending in the said Offices due to the failure of the Clerk of Court or the petitioner to comply with all the necessary requirements as called for herein, and it appears that there is a valid ground to oppose the reconstitution, a motion to set aside the order/judgment granting reconstitution or to stay the period of finality of said order/judgment shall be filed by the Land Registration Commissioner and/or the Register of Deeds thru the Solicitor General or the provincial or city fiscal concerned."

    In the present case, therefore, neither was the Petition for reconstitution affected nor was the RTC divested of its jurisdiction by the fact that the trial court rendered the judgment ordering the reconstitution of a lost or destroyed certificate of title without awaiting the report and recommendations of the land registration commissioner and the register of deeds of Quezon City. (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary

    Section 15 of Republic Act No. 26 states:

    Section 15. If the court, after hearing, finds that the documents presented, as supported by parole evidence or otherwise, are sufficient and proper to warrant the reconstitution of the lost or destroyed certificate of title, and that the petitioner is the registered owner of the property or has an interest therein, that the said certificate of title was in force at the time it was lost or destroyed, and that the description, area and boundaries of the property are substantially the same as those contained in the lost or destroyed certificate of title, an order of reconstitution shall be issued.

    In the present case, the RTC found Dela Raga's evidence sufficient and proper to warrant the reconstitution of OCT No. 49266. The RTC held:

    From the evidence presented during the ex-parte presentation of evidence before the Branch Clerk of Court, the following facts were proven:

    The petitioner is the grandchild of Ignacio Serran, one of the registered owners of the land subject of this petition. The petitioner's mother was Aniceta Serran, one of the daughetrs of Ignacio Serran as evidenced by Exh. "N". The name of the other child of Ignacio Serran was Cornelia Serran. Both children have already died including Ignacio Serran.

    When Ignacio Serran died, he left a property located at Dungon, Sison, Pangasinan. The same property was covered by a title. However, the office copy of the title was destroyed during the World War II as evidenced by a pre-war inventory of the Registry of Deeds of Pangasinan marked as EXH. "O". From such inventory of original certificates of the Registry of Deeds of Pangasinan (Exh. "0-1"), there was an entry O.C.T. No. 49266 to 49267 - mutilated. In Exh. "O", Original Certificate No. 49266, Vol. 162, Page 239 was in the name of Serran, Ignacio, et. al. A Certification, Exh. "P" was issued by the Registry of Deeds of Pangasinan certifying to the effect that the Original Certificate of Title No. 49266 could not be found or located among the files in the registry, thus it was presumed lost or destroyed.

    Another document that proved the ownership of Ignacio Serran, et. al., was an application for the registration of title (EXH. "T") filed before the Court of First Instance for the Province of Pangasinan by Ignacio Serran on October 3, 1924 represented by E.Q. Turner. Annexed thereto were Description of Property as surveyed for Ignacio Serran (Exh. "T-2"), Registration of Titles, Case No. 5507, G.L.R.O. Record No. 26031 (Exh. "T-3"), Decision of the Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Pangasinan in G.L.R.O. Rec. No. 26031, Ignacio Serran, Solicitante, (Exh. "T-9"); and Order for the Issuance of the Decree (Exh. "T-11").

    On November 28, 1925, Enrique Altavas, Chief of the General Land Registration Office issued Decree No. 196266 in accordance with the Order for the Issuance of the Decree issued by the Court in undivided equal shares, in the name of the conjugal partnership of the spouses IGNACIO SERRAN and CATALINA LAGUIT, and the conjugal partnership of the spouses FELIPE SERAFICA and CORNELIA SERRAN. The said Decree covers Case No. 5507, G.L.R.O. Record No. 26031 over a parcel of land (Plan Psu-35755) situated in the Barrio of Dungon, Municipality of Sison, containing an area of SEVENTY NINE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED & SEVENTY SQUARE METERS (79,570). The said Decree was certified to by the Chief, Docket Division of the Land Registration Authority.

    x x x

    The petitioner had been paying the taxes on the subject land as evidenced by Tax Declaration No. 019-00002 (Exh. "V") and the Tax Receipt as Exh. "U". At present the petitioner is enjoying the fruits of the land. The petitioner also testified that she has no knowledge whatsoever of any mortgage over the land in favor of a person, agency or banking institution. Further, the petitioner has no knowledge if other persons are claiming the property.

    x x x

    After an analysis of the documentary and testimonial evidence on record and finding them to be sufficient and substantial to support the petition, and finding further compliance of the jurisdictional requirements, this Court grants the reconstitution of the lost title.12 (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary

    When the RTC found Dela Raga's evidence sufficient and proper to warrant the reconstitution of OCT No. 49266, the RTC had the duty to issue the order of reconstitution. In Republic v. Casimiro,13 the Court held:

    When a court, after hearing of a petition for reconstitution, finds that the evidence presented is sufficient and proper to grant the same, x x x it becomes the duty of the court to issue the order of reconstitution. This duty is mandatory. The law does not give the court discretion to deny the reconstitution if all the basic requirements have been complied with. (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary

    The factual findings of the RTC, especially when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are binding on the Court. The exceptions to this rule are (1) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (2) when the findings are grounded on speculations; (3) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken; (4) when the judgment of the Court of Appeals is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the factual findings are conflicting; (6) when the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case and its findings are contrary to the admissions of the parties; (7) when the Court of Appeals overlooked undisputed facts which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion; (8) when the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court; (9) when the facts set forth by the petitioner are not disputed by the respondent; and (10) when the findings of the Court of Appeals are premised on the absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on record.14 The Republic did not show that the present case falls under any of the exceptions.

    WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition and AFFIRMS the 18 November 2003 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 66687.

    SO ORDERED.


    Endnotes:


    1 Rollo, pp. 17-40.

    2 Id. at 10-14. Penned by Associate Justice Arsenio J. Magpale, with Associate Justices Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. and Bienvenido L. Reyes concurring.

    3 Id. at 66-70. Penned by Judge Meliton G. Emuslan.

    4 Id. at 48-51.

    5 Id. at 48-50.

    6 Id. at 67-69.

    7 Id. at 73-87.

    8 Id. at 82-85.

    9 Id. at 13-14.

    10 Id. at 28.

    11 406 Phil. 263, 278 (2001).

    12 Rollo, pp. 67-69.

    13 G.R. No. 166139, 20 June 2006, 491 SCRA 499, 523-524.

    14 Ilagan-Mendoza v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 171374, 8 April 2008, 550 SCRA 635, 647.

    G.R. No. 161042 - Republic of the Philippines v. Agripina Dela Raga


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