Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence

Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1926 > November 1926 Decisions > G.R. No. 25795 November 6, 1926 - C. T. WILLIAMS v. TEOFULO SUÑER

049 Phil 534:



[G.R. No. 25795. November 6, 1926. ]

C. T. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. TEOFULO SUÑER, acting registrar of deeds of Capiz, Defendant-Appellee.

Block, Johnston & Greenbaum for Appellant.

Attorney-General Jaranilla for Appellee.


1. REGISTER OF DEEDS; ACT NO. 2837; REGISTRATION OF SHERIFF’S DEED. — The provisions of Act No. 2837, amending section 194 of the Administrative Code, are applicable exclusively to instruments resulting from the agreement of the parties; they have no application to the deed of a sheriff conveying to the purchaser unregistered land that has been sold by the sheriff under execution.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; DESCRIPTION OF PROPERTY CONVEYED. — The deed of a sheriff conveying unregistered land to a person who has purchased the same at execution sale must be noted and recorded by the register of deeds when presented to him for registration by one who tenders the necessary fee, even though such deed does not conform in all respects, as regards the description of the property to the requirements of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Act No. 2837.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; BOOKS TO BE USED. — Until separate books shall be provided especially for the noting and recording of instruments executed by public officials, the registration of such instruments must be effected by noting and recording them in the books ordinarily used for the registration of instruments relating to unregistered property.



This is an application for the writ of mandamus which was presented in the Court of First Instance of Capiz by C. T. Williams, for the purpose of compelling Teofuldo Suñer as acting register of deeds for the Province of Capiz to inscribe, or record, a sheriff’s deed whereby four parcels of land and a house had been conveyed by the sheriff of Capiz to the plaintiff Williams as purchaser at an execution sale. Upon hearing the cause the trial court held that the document in question is not registerable under existing law and absolved the defendant from the complaint. From this judgment the plaintiff appealed.

It appears that in action heretofore prosecuted by the plaintiff Williams in the Court of First Instance against Emiliano Hontiveros and the Visayan Refining Co., judgment had been rendered in favor of the plaintiff; and an execution issuing thereon was levied upon all the right, title and interest of Hontiveros in four parcels of land located in the municipality of Buruanga, Capiz, and in a house of strong materials in Ibahay, of the same province. At the sheriff’s sale conducted pursuant to said execution on June 2, 1924, the plaintiff Williams became purchaser of the properties mentioned at the price of P14,560. After the period of redemption had expired, and on September 16, 1925, Ramon Hontiveros, as provincial sheriff, executed the document of which registration is now sought, purporting to be a sheriff’s deed in ordinary form conveying the properties which had been sold to Williams under the circumstances above-stated.

It is admitted that the properties in question are not registered under the Torrens system and had never been registered under the system established by the Spanish Mortgage Law. It is also admitted that, as to the description of the properties conveyed, the deed in question does not conform in several particulars with the requirements set forth in paragraphs 2 and 3 of section 194 of the Administrative Code, as amended by Act No. 2837 of the Philippine Legislature. The deficiencies of said description, as exhibited in the appealed decision, are as follows: First, the document does not state whether the boundaries of the several properties involved are indicated by visible monuments, and of what they consist; secondly, the superficial area of the parcels conveyed is not stated in square meters; thirdly, the instrument does not mention the name of the person or persons now in possession, fourthly, as regards the four parcels, the instrument does not show the permanent improvements existing thereon; and, lastly as regards properties numbered 1 and 5, it does not show the number of the assessment sheet of the property and its taxable value. For the reasons stated, the trial judge held that the deed is not registerable in the register for unregistered property provided in the Act above-mentioned, and there being no other register kept by the register of deeds in which the instrument could, in his Honor’s opinion, be properly entered, it was declared that the instrument cannot be registered at all.

Section 124 of the Land Registration Act (No. 496) contains a provision continuing in force the law relating to the Spanish system of registration already in force in these Islands; and the proviso to said section 124 contemplates that any deed, mortgage, lease, or other instrument dealing with land not registered under Act No. 496, whether already registered under the Spanish system or not, shall be registered by the making of the proper indorsements thereon by the register and the recording of such instrument in the proper volume. This idea was incorporated by the authors of the Administrative Code in section 216 of Act No. 2657, which was carried into the present Administrative Code (Act No. 2711) as section 194. In the part material to be here noted said section reads as

"SEC. 194. Recording of instrument relating to unregistered land. — Any instrument affecting the title of unregistered land, such as a deed, lease, mortgage, release, power of attorney, or other conveyance or contract relative thereto may after the due execution or acknowledgment of such instrument, be delivered for record to the register of deeds for the province or city where the land lies.

"Upon the presentation of any such instrument, the register of deeds shall immediately indorse thereon the true year, month, day, hour, and minute when the same was received; and from the time of the making of such notation the instrument in question shall be constructively deemed to have been recorded, and it shall be the duty of the register as soon as practicable thereafter formally to record the instrument by extending it in full upon the proper record. The register shall also indorse upon every such instrument a memorandum showing the volume and page wherein the instrument is so recorded."cralaw virtua1aw library

Meanwhile there has been in force for many years in these lands section 463 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which, in its closing words, requires that a duplicate of a sheriff’s certificate of sale (meaning a sheriff’s deed to land sole under execution) shall be filed in the office of the register of deeds of the province. In Garcia Sanchez v. Rosauro (40 Phil., 231), this court, construing section 463 of the Code of Civil Procedure in connection with section 466 of the same Code, held that it was intended that the sheriff’s deed shall be recorded.

No provision is made in section 194 of the Administrative Code, it originally stood, with respect to the particular book in which instruments relating to unregistered property shall be registered; it was only required that the instrument should be extended in full upon the proper record. That provision of course could not be complied with without keeping a book for the record of instruments relating to unregistered property; and on March 8, 1919, Act No. 2837 of the Philippine Legislature was approved, amending section 194 of the Administrative Code. In the second paragraph of said section, as amended, it is declared that the register of deeds for each province shall keep a daybook and a register book for unregistered real estate in accordance with the form to be prepared by the Chief of the General Land Registration Office with the approval of the Secretary of Justice, thus giving express legislative sanction to the keeping of proper books for notation and record of the instruments here under consideration.

But said amendatory Act contains a number of new provisions of an entirely different tenor from the earlier provisions contained in section 194 of the Administrative Code. The first paragraph of said Act declares in substance that no instrument or deed affecting rights to real property not registered under the Land Registration Act shall be valid, except as between the parties thereto, until such instrument or deed shall have been registered. It is evident that this provision cannot be interpreted to include conveyances made by ministerial officers, such as sheriff’s deeds. It contemplates only such instruments as may be created by agreement of the parties. The provisions of law governing the transmission of property in invitum by the act of the sheriff who has sold land under execution are specific; and the instruments executed by him pursuant to such provisions must be taken to have full legal effect, anything contained in Act No. 2837 to the contrary notwithstanding. Accordingly, in Garcia Sanchez v. Rosauro (40 Phil., 231), above cited, this court did not hesitate to require the register of deeds to register a sheriff’s deed, although the land which was the subject of the conveyance had not been previously registered under any system of registration. In the matter of Consulta No. 441 de los Abogados de Smith, Bell & Co. v. Register of Deeds of Leyte (48 Phil., 656), this court again granted a writ of mandamus to compel the registration of a sheriff’s deed, the court holding that, as regards such instrument, the register of deeds exercises functions of a ministerial nature.

In the case before us exception is taken to the instrument which is sought to be registered on the ground that it does not comply, as to its descriptive matter, with the requisites specified in sections 2 and 3 of the amendatory Act (No. 2837). But inasmuch as the amendatory Act cannot be held to apply to sheriff’s deeds, the instrument in question must also be registered in this case.

It is true that no provision has as yet been made for the keeping of separate books of register for sheriff’s deeds; and we are of the opinion that until such provisions is made, the sheriff’s deed must necessarily be noted and recorded in the same books that are used for the recording of other instruments touching unregistered property. The two classes of instruments were registered in the same books under section 194 of the Administrative Code as it originally stood; and since act No. 2837 has changed the law in so far only as relates to instruments created by agreement, the deeds of ministerial officers must necessarily still be registered in the same book. This will of course continue until the register of deeds shall be supplied with separate books for the notation and registration of the deeds of ministerial officers, — a deficiency in the law which presumably might be cured by administrative action on the part of the proper department head or the Chief Executive.

In dismissing the petition in this case the trial judge seems to have assumed that the defects from which the deed in question was supposed to suffer could be cured by the making of another deed by the sheriff. In some cases possibly this could be done; but a moment’s reflection will show that it is not practicable to require sheriffs to incorporate in their deeds all the data required in the second and third paragraphs of Act No. 2837. Sheriffs commonly take the descriptions of the land which they sell from the pleadings, decree, or some older document; and they cannot be expected to make an official survey to discover whether the land is bounded by monuments or to ascertain just how many square meters may be contained in the limits given. To require the sheriff to state these facts would be in the main to require the impossible; and the result would by that for the most part the instruments made by them in the course of official duty would be outlaws to the registration books, something that the Legislature could not possibly have intended.

From what has been said it results that the plaintiff is entitled to the writ of mandamus as prayed, and the same will issue in usual course, without costs. So ordered.

Avanceña, C.J., Johnson, Villamor, Ostrand, Johns, Romualdez and Villa-Real, JJ., concur.

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