November 2005 - Philippine Supreme Court Decisions/Resolutions
G.R. No. 123346, G.R. NO. 134385 and G.R. NO. 148767 - Manotok Realty, Inc., et al. v. CLT Realty Development Corporation, et al.
[G.R. NO. 123346 November 29, 2005]
MANOTOK REALTY, INC. and MANOTOK ESTATE CORPORATION, Petitioners, v. CLT REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondent.
[G.R. NO. 134385]
ARANETA INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURE, INC., Petitioner, v. HEIRS OF JOSE B. DIMSON, represented by his Compulsory Heirs: His surviving spouse, ROQUETA R. DIMSON and their children, NORMA and CELSO TIRADO, ALSON and VIRGINIA DIMSON, LINDA and CARLOS LAGMAN, LERMA and RENE POLICAR, and ESPERANZA R. DIMSON; REGISTRY OF DEEDS OF MALABON, Respondents.
[G.R. NO. 148767]
STO. NINO KAPITBAHAYAN ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner, v. CLT REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
Before us for resolution are three Petitions for Review on Certiorari :1
1. G.R. No. 123346
The petition in this case was filed by Manotok Realty, Inc. and Manotok Estate Corporation against CLT Realty Development Corporation assailing the Decision2 dated September 28, 1995 and Resolution dated January 8, 1996 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 45255;
2. G.R. No. 134385
The petition was filed by Araneta Institute of Agriculture, Inc. against Jose B. Dimson (now deceased), represented by his surviving spouse and children, and the Registry of Deeds of Malabon, challenging the Joint Decision3 dated May 30, 1997 and Resolution dated July 16, 1998 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 41883 and CA-G.R. SP No. 34819; and
3. G.R. No. 148767
The petition here was filed by Sto. Niño Kapitbahayan Association, Inc. against CLT Realty Development Corporation questioning the Decision4 of the Court of Appeals dated March 23, 2001 in CA-G.R. CV No. 52549.
On March 6, 2002, these petitions were consolidated5 as the issue involved is the validity of the parties' titles over portions of land known as the Maysilo Estate located at Caloocan City and Malabon, Metro Manila, covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 994 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. It is this same OCT No. 994 from which the titles of the parties were purportedly derived.
We shall state the antecedents of these cases separately considering their peculiar circumstances.
1. G.R. No. 123346
(Manotok Realty, Inc. and Manotok Estate Corporation, petitioners, vs. CLT Realty Development Corporation, respondents)
On August 10, 1992, CLT Realty Development Corporation (CLT Realty) filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 129, Caloocan City a complaint for annulment of Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT), recovery of possession, and damages against Manotok Realty, Inc. and Manotok Estate Corporation (Manotok Corporations) and the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City, docketed as Civil Case No. C-15539.
The complaint alleges inter alia that CLT Realty (plaintiff) is the registered owner of Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate located in Caloocan City, covered by TCT No. T-177013 of the Registry of Deeds of said city; that this TCT was originally derived from OCT No. 994;that on December 10, 1988, CLT Realty acquired Lot 26 from its former registered owner, Estelita I. Hipolito, by virtue of a Deed of Sale with Real Estate Mortgage; that she, in turn, purchased the same lot from Jose B. Dimson; that Manotok Corporations (defendants) illegally took possession of 20 parcels of land (covered by 20 separate titles6) within said Lot 26 owned by CLT Realty; that based on the technical descriptions of Manotok Corporations' titles, their property overlap or embrace Lot 26 of CLT Realty; and that the titles of Manotok Corporations constitute a cloud of doubt over the title of CLT Realty. The latter thus prays that the 20 titles of Manotok Corporations be cancelled for being void; and that Manotok Corporations be ordered to vacate the disputed portions of Lot 26 and turn over possession thereof to CLT Realty, and to pay damages.
In their answer with counterclaim, Manotok Corporations denied the material allegations of the complaint, alleging that Jose B. Dimson's title (TCT No. R-15166) was irregularly issued, hence void; and that consequently, the titles of Estelita Hipolito (TCT No. R-17994) and CLT Realty (TCT No. 177013) derived therefrom are likewise void. By way of affirmative defense, Manotok Corporations assert ownership of the parcel of land being claimed by CLT Realty, alleging that they acquired the same from the awardees or vendees of the National Housing Authority.
During the pre-trial conference, the trial court, upon agreement of the parties, approved the creation of a commission composed of three commissioners tasked to resolve the conflict in their respective titles. On July 2, 1993, the trial court issued an Order7 defining the issues to be resolved by the commissioners, thus:
"1. Whether or not the property covered by the Transfer Certificates of Title of defendants (Manotok Realty, Inc. and Manotok Estate Corporation) pertain to or involved Lot No. 26 of the Maysilo Estate presently titled in the name of the plaintiff (CLT Realty Development Corporation); andcralawlibrary
"2. Whether or not the property covered by the title of the plaintiff and the property covered by the titles of the defendants overlap."8
The commissioners chosen were Engr. Avelino L. San Buenaventura (nominated by CLT Realty), Engr. Teodoro I. Victorino (nominated by Manotok Corporations), and Engr. Ernesto S. Erive (chosen by the two commissioners and the parties). Significantly, Engr. Ernesto Erive is the Chief of the Surveys Division, Land Management Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Quezon City.9 On July 2, 1993, the three took their oaths of office in open court.
On October 8, 1993, Ernesto Erive and Avelino San Buenaventura submitted an exhaustive Joint Final Report10 (Majority Report) with the following conclusion:
"h. Based on the foregoing, it is the conclusion of the undersigned Commissioners that defendants' (Manotok Realty, Inc. and Manotok Estate Corporation) titles overlap portions of plaintiff's (CLT Realty Development Corporation) title, which overlapping is due to the irregular and questionable issuance of TCT Nos. 4211 (also of TCT No. 4210), 5261, 35486, 1368 to 1374. The inherent technical defects on TCT No. 4211 (from where defendants derive their titles) and TCT No. 4210 which were exhaustively elucidated above, point to the fact that there was no approved subdivision of Lot 26 which served as legal basis for the regular issuance of TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211. Thus, as between plaintiff's title, which was derived from regularly issued titles, and defendants' titles, which were derived from irregularly issued titles, plaintiff's title which pertains to the entire Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate should prevail over defendants' titles."
On the other hand, Teodoro Victoriano submitted his Individual Final Report11 (Minority Report) dated October 23, 1993 with the following findings:
"f. That viewed in the light of the foregoing considerations, there is no question that the different parcels of land which are covered by defendants' transfer certificates of title in question are parts of Lot 26 of then Maysilo Estate;
"g. That on the basis of the technical descriptions appearing on the certificates of titles of the defendants, it is ascertained that the parcels of land covered therein overlap portions of the parcel of land which is covered by the plaintiff's certificate of title."
The trial court then scheduled the hearing of the two Reports. CLT Realty filed its objections to the Minority Report. For its part, Manotok Corporations submitted their comment/objections to the Majority Report.
On February 8, 1994, the trial court issued an Order directing the parties to file their respective memoranda "to enable this court to adopt wholly or partially the memorandum for either as the judgment herein, x x x."12
On April 6, 1994, Manotok Corporations submitted their Memorandum praying that the trial court approve the Minority Report and render judgment in their favor.
CLT Realty likewise filed its Memorandum on April 15, 1994 praying that "the Majority Report be approved in toto, and that judgment be rendered pursuant thereto."
In its Order of April 22, 1994, the trial court considered the case submitted for decision.13
On May 10, 1994, the trial court rendered its Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff (CLT Realty) and against defendants (Manotok Corporations) as follows:
"1. Ordering the annulment and cancellation of defendants' Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 4210 and 4211 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City which encroach on plaintiff's 201,288 square meters of Lot No. 26 of the Maysilo Estate, Caloocan City;
"2. Ordering defendants to vacate said 201,288 square meters of Lot No. 26 registered in the name of plaintiff;
"3. Ordering defendants jointly and severally to pay plaintiff the sum of P201,288.00 annually from March 15, 1989, as reasonable compensation for defendants' occupancy and use of the 201,288 square meters involved in this case until the area is vacated;
"4. Ordering defendants jointly and severally to pay plaintiff's counsel (Villaraza & Cruz Law Office) the sum of
P50,000.00 as attorney's fees; andcralawlibrary
"5. Ordering defendants jointly and severally to pay the costs of suit.
"Defendants' Counterclaim is dismissed for lack of merit.
The findings of fact and conclusions contained in the Majority Report, which the trial court adopted in its Decision, are quoted as follows:
"7. That the following facts were established by the undersigned Commissioners:
"a. Records show that Maysilo Estate was surveyed under Plan No. Psu-2345 on September 8 to 27, October 4 to 21 and November 17 to 18, 1991;
"b. That on the basis of the Decision rendered on December 3, 1912 by Hon. Norberto Romualdez in Land Registration Case No. 4429 pursuant to which the Decree No. 36455 was issued and the approved plan Psu-2345, the Maysilo Estate was registered under Republic Act No. 496 and Original Certificate of Title No. 994, OCT-994, was issued by the Registry of Deeds of Rizal, covering 34 parcels of land, Lots 1 to 6, 7-A, 8 to 15, 17 to 22, 23-A, 24, 25-A, 25-D and 26 to 33, all of Psu-2345.
"c. The original copy of OCT-994 in its original form although dilapidated is on file at the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City;
"d. That according to the documents submitted by the plaintiff, TCT-177013 in the name of plaintiff CLT Realty Development Corporation specifically describes the parcel of land covered by its title as Lot 26, Maysilo Estate. ' TCT-177013 was a transfer from TCT-R-17994 registered in the name of Estelita Hipolito which in turn is a transfer from TCT-R-15166 registered in the name of Jose B. Dimson which also is a transfer from OCT-994. TCT-R-17994 and TCT-R-15166 also specifically describe the parcel of land covered by the titles as Lot 26, Maysilo Estate' ;
"e. That defendant Manotok Realty Inc.'s properties are covered by TCT Nos. 7528, 7762, 8012, 9866, C-17272, 21107, 21485, 26405, 26406, 26407, 33904, 34255, C-35267, 41956, 53268, 55896, T-1214528, 163902 and 165119, while defendant Manotok Estate Corporation's property is covered by TCT No. T-232568, all of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City.
"f. That on the basis of the technical descriptions on the titles of defendants, the parcels of land covered therein overlap portions of the parcel of land covered by plaintiff's title;
"g. That according to the documents of defendants, Lot 26 was apparently subdivided which led to the issuance of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 4210 and 4211 which were registered on September 9, 1918 in the names of Messrs. Alejandro Ruiz and Mariano Leuterio. All of defendants' titles are derived from TCT No. 4211.
"h. The original copy of OCT-994 does not contain the pages where Lot 26 and some other lots are supposedly inscribed;
"i. TCT No. 4211 was later cancelled by TCT No. 5261 in the name of Francisco J. Gonzales which was later cancelled by TCT No. 35486 in the names of Jose Leon Gonzales, Consuelo Susana Gonzales, Juana Francisca Gonzales, Maria Clara Gonzales, Francisco Felipe Gonzales and Concepcion Maria Gonzales;
"j. Upon examination of the original copy of OCT-994, it can be seen that the technical descriptions of the lots and the certificate itself are entirely written in the English language. On the other hand, it was noticed that the technical descriptions on TCT Nos. 4211 (as well as TCT No. 4210) 5261 and 35486 are inscribed in the Spanish language in these certificates;
"k. The dates of the original survey of the mother title OCT-994 (September 8-27, October 4-21 and November 17-18, 1911) are not indicated on TCT Nos. 4211 (also on TCT No. 4210), 5261 and 35486. Rather, an entirely different date, December 22, 1917, is indicated at the end of the Spanish technical descriptions on TCT No. 4211 (also on TCT No. 4210), 5261 and 35486;
"l. The parcel of land covered by the successive titles TCT Nos. 4211, 5261 and 35486 is not identified by a lot number. There is no reference or mention of Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate in the technical description of said titles.
"m. That there is no subdivision survey plan number indicated on TCT No. 4211 (also on TCT No. 4210), 5261 and 35486 covering the purported subdivision of Lot 26. Upon verification with the Bureau of Lands or in the Land Registration Authority, which are the official depositories of all approved survey plans, no survey plan covering said subdivision could be found;
"n. The three (3) separate lots covered by TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211 which allegedly were the result of the subdivision of Lot 26 were not designated or identified as Lot 26-A, Lot 26-B and Lot 26-C to conform with existing practice;
"o. That it appears that the parcel of land covered by the successive titles TCT No. 4211, then 5261 and lastly 35486 was again subdivided under Plan Psu-21154. The alleged subdivision plan Psd-21154 had seven (7) resultant lots which are issued individuals certificates, TCT Nos. 1368 thru 1374, six of which are in the names of each of the six children of Francisco J. Gonzales;
"p. Plan Psd-21154 appears to have been prepared on September 15, 21, 29 and October 5-6, 1946 according to the technical descriptions appearing on TCT Nos. 1368 thru 1374;
"q. TCT Nos. 1368 thru 1374 are written in the English language and the technical descriptions of the lots covered therein indicate the original survey of the mother title as 'September 8-27, October 4-21 and November 17-18, 1911' which dates are not found in the mother title TCT No. 35486 or the antecedent titles TCT No. 5261 and 4211;
"r. It appears that these seven (7) properties covered by TCT Nos. 1368 thru 1374 were later expropriated by the Republic of the Philippines through the People's Homesite and Housing Corporation (now the National Housing Authority) after which they were consolidated and subdivided into 77 lots under (LRC) Pcs-1828 for resale to tenants. Manotok Realty, Inc. appears to be one of the original vendees of said lots having acquired Lot 11-B covered by TCT No. 34255. It appears that some of the tenants later sold their lots to various vendees some of whom are the defendants, Manotok Realty, Inc. and Manotok Estate Corporation;
"s. That Psd-21154, the plan which allegedly subdivided the lot covered by TCT No. 35486 (formerly covered by TCT No. 4211, then TCT No. 5261), could not be traced at the official depository of plans which is the Bureau of Lands. According to the EDPS Listings of the Records Management Division of the Lands Management Bureau (formerly the Bureau of Lands), there is no record of the alleged plan Psd-21154. Accordingly, said EDPS listings indicate those survey plans which were salvaged after the fire that gutted the Philippines from the Japanese forces. It appears, however, from TCT Nos. 1368 thru 1374 that psd-21154 was done after the war on September 15, 21, 29 and October 5-6, 1946;
"t. Upon examination of the technical descriptions inscribed on TCT Nos. 1368 thru 1374, it was noticed that the tie lines deviated from the mother lot's tie point which is Bureau of Lands Location Monument No. 1, Caloocan City. Instead different location monuments of adjoining Piedad Estate were used. The tie point used in TCT No. 1368 is B.M. 10, Piedad Estate while TCT Nos. 1369 and 1370 used B.M. No. 9, Piedad Estate; and TCT Nos. 1371, 1372, 1373 and 1374 used B.M. No. 7, Piedad Estate. The changing of the tie points resulted in the shifting of the position of the seven (7) lots do not fall exactly inside the boundary of the mother lot. The same is true when the lots described on the titles of the defendants are plotted on the basis of their technical descriptions inscribed on said titles.
"8. In the light of the foregoing facts, the undersigned Commissioners have come to the following conclusions:
"a. There are inherent technical infirmities or defects on the face of TCT Nos. 4211 (also on TCT No. 4210), 5261 and 35486. The fact that the technical descriptions in TCT Nos. 4211, 5261 and 35486 are written in Spanish while those on the alleged mother title, OCT-994, were already in English is abnormal and contrary to the usual practice in the issuance of titles. If OCT-994 is the mother title of TCT Nos. 4211, 5261 and 35486, then said titles should also be written in English because OCT-994 is already in English. It is possible that an ascendant title be written in Spanish and the descendant title in English, the language now officially used, but the reverse is highly improbable and irregular.
"b. Also, the fact that the original survey dates of OCT-994 (September 8-27, October 4-21 and November 17-18, 1911) are not indicated on the technical descriptions on TCT Nos. 4211, 5261 and 35486 but an entirely different date, December 22, 1917, is instead indicated likewise leads to the conclusion that TCT Nos. 4211, 5261 and 35486 could not have been derived from OCT-994. It is the established procedure to always indicate in the certificate of title, whether original or transfer certificates, the date of the original survey of the mother title together with the succeeding date of subdivision or consolidation. Thus, the absence of the original survey dates of OCT-994 on TCT Nos. 4211, 5261 and 35486 is the original survey date of the mother title, then OCT-994 is not the mother title of TCT Nos. 4211, 5261 and 35486 not only because the original survey dates are different but because the date of original survey is always earlier than the date of the issuance of the original title. OCT-994 was issued on May 3, 1917 and this is much ahead of the date of survey indicated on TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211 which is December 22, 1917;
"c. Granting that the date December 22, 1917 is the date of a subdivision survey leading to the issuance of TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211, there are, however, no indications on the face of the titles themselves which show that a verified and approved subdivision of Lot 26 took place. In subdividing a lot, the resulting parcels are always designated by the lot number of the subdivided lot followed by letters of the alphabet starting from the letter 'A' to designate the first resultant lot, etc., for example, if Lot 26 is subdivided into three (3) lots, these lots will be referred to as Lot 26-A, Lot 26-N and Lot 26-C followed by a survey number such as 'Psd - _____' or '(LRC) Psd - _____'. However, the lots on TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211 do not contain such descriptions. In fact, the parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211 are not even described by lot number and this is again technically irregular and defective because the designation of lots by Lot Number was already a practice at that time as exemplified by the technical descriptions of some sub-lots covered by OCT-994, i.e., 23-A, 25-A, 25-D, etc.;
"d. That TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211 which allegedly was the result of a subdivision of Lot 26 should not have been issued without a subdivision plan approved by the Director of Lands or the Chief of the General Land Registration Office. Republic Act No. 496 which took effect on November 6, 1902, particularly Section 58 thereof, provided that the Registry of Deeds shall not enter the transfer certificate to the grantee until a plan of such land showing all the portions or lots into which it has been subdivided, and the technical description of each portion or lot, have been verified and approved by the Director of Lands'' and as corroborated by Section 44, Paragraph 2, and that the plan has been approved by the Chief of the General Land Registration Office, or by the Director of Lands as provided in Section fifty-eight of this Act, the Registry of Deeds may issue new certificates of title for any lot in accordance with said subdivision plan';
"e. The absence of a lot number and survey plan number in the technical description inscribed on TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211 and the absence of a subdivision survey plan for Lot 26 at the records of the Bureau of Lands or the Land Registration Authority leads to the conclusion that there was no verified and approved subdivision survey plan of Lot 26 which is a compulsory requirement needed in the issuance of said titles;
"f. Similarly, the absence of plan Psd-21154 from the files of the Bureau of Lands, the official depository of survey plans, is another indication that the titles covered by TCT Nos. 1368 thru 1374 which were derived from TCT No. 4211 are again doubtful and questionable;
"g.Moreover, the changing of the tie points in the technical descriptions on TCT Nos. 1368 thru 1374 from that of the mother lot's tie point which is BLLM No. 1, Caloocan City to different location monuments of adjoining Piedad Estate which resulted in the shifting of the position of the seven (7) lots in relation to the mother lot defeats the very purpose of tie points and tie lines since the accepted practice is to adopt the mother lot's tie point in order to fix the location of the parcels of land being surveyed on the earth's surface."14
Manotok Corporations then interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals. For its part, CLT Realty filed a motion to amend/correct the dispositive portion of the above Decision alleging that "TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211" mentioned therein are mistakenly referred to as the titles of Manotok Corporations; and that to conform to the body of the Decision, the correct numbers of the titles ordered to be cancelled should be indicated. In its Order dated May 30, 1994, the trial court granted the motion, thus:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion to Amend/Correct Judgment dated May 23, 1994 filed by counsel for plaintiff is granted. Accordingly, the first paragraph of the dispositive portion of the Decision of this Court dated May 10, 1994 is amended as follows:
x x x
"1. Ordering the annulment and cancellation of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 7528, 7762, 8012, 9866, C-17272, 21107, 21485, 26405, 26406, 26407, 33904, 34255, C-35267, 41956, 53268, 55897, T-121428, 163902 and 165119 in the name of defendant Manotok Realty, Inc. and Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-232568 in the name of defendant Manotok Estate Corporation of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City which encroach on plaintiff's 201,288 square meters of Lot No. 26 of the Maysilo Estate, Caloocan City.
x x x.
The Court of Appeals, in its Decision dated September 28, 1995 in CA-G.R. CV No. 45255, affirmed the Decision of the trial court, except as to the award of damages which was ordered deleted, thus:
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered AFFIRMING the Decision dated May 10, 1994, as corrected by the Order dated May 30, 1994, rendered by the trial court, with the modification that the award of damages in favor of plaintiff-appellee is hereby DELETED.
Manotok Corporations' motion for reconsideration was denied by the Appellate Court in its Resolution dated January 8, 1996.
Hence, the present petition of Manotok Corporations. They allege in essence that the Court of Appeals erred:
"1. In upholding the trial court's Decision which decided the case on the basis of the Commissioners' Report; andcralawlibrary
"2. In giving imprimatur to the trial court's Decision even though the latter overlooked relevant facts recited in the Minority Report of Commissioner Victorino and in the comment of petitioners on the Majority Report of Commissioners San Buenaventura and Erive, detailing the legal and factual basis which positively support the validity of petitioners' title and ownership of the disputed parcels of land."
2. G.R. No. 134385
(Araneta Institute of Agriculture, Inc., petitioner, vs. Heirs of Jose B. Dimson, represented by his compulsory heirs: his surviving spouse, Roqueta R. Dimson and their children, Norma and Celso Tirado, Alson and Virginia Dimson, Linda and Carlos Lagman, Lerma and Rene Policar, and Esperanza R. Dimson; and Registry of Deeds of Malabon, respondents)
Records show that on December 18, 1979, Jose B. Dimson filed with the then Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch 33, Caloocan City a complaint for recovery of possession and damages against Araneta Institute of Agriculture, Inc. (Araneta Institute), docketed as Civil Case No. C-8050. Dimson alleged in his amended complaint that he is the absolute owner of a parcel of land located at Barrio Potrero, Malabon, Metro Manila with an area of 50 hectares of the Maysilo Estate, covered by TCT No. R-15169 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City; that he discovered that his land has been illegally occupied by Araneta Institute; that the latter has no legal and valid title to the land; and that Araneta Institute refused to vacate the land and remove its improvements thereon despite his repeated demands.
In its answer, Araneta Institute admitted occupying the disputed land by constructing some buildings thereon and subdividing portions thereof, claiming that it is the absolute owner
On May 28, 1993, the trial court rendered a Decision17 in favor of Dimson, thus:
"WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff Jose B. Dimson and against defendant Araneta Institute of Agriculture, ordering'
"1) defendant Araneta Institute of Agriculture and all those claiming rights and authority under the said defendant Araneta, to vacate the parcel of land covered by plaintiff Dimson's title TCT No. R-15169 of the Registry of Deeds of Metro Manila, District III, Caloocan City, with a land area of 500,000 square meters, more or less; to remove all the improvements thereon; and to return full possession thereof to the said plaintiff Dimson.
"2) defendant Araneta Institute of Agriculture to pay plaintiff Dimson the amount of
P20,000.00 as and for attorney's fees; andcralawlibrary
"3) defendant Araneta Institute of Agriculture to pay costs.
"Defendant Araneta's counterclaim is hereby dismissed for lack of merit.
"All other counterclaim against plaintiff Dimson are, likewise, hereby dismissed for lack of merit.
"All claims of all the intervenors claiming rights against the title of plaintiff Dimson TCT R-15169 are hereby dismissed for lack of merit.
"This is without prejudice on the part of the intervenors Heirs of Pascual David, Florentina David and Crisanta Santos to file the proper case against the proper party/parties in the proper forum, if they so desire.
"The claim of Virgilio L. Enriquez as co-plaintiff in the instant case is dismissed for lack of merit.
Araneta Institute interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 41883.
On May 30, 1997, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision affirming the Decision of the trial court in favor of Dimson.
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, in CA-G.R. CV No. 41883 (Civil Case No. C-8050 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 122, Caloocan City), with MODIFICATION deleting the award for attorney's fees, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED, with costs against defendant-appellant. CA-G.R. SP No. 34819 is DENIED DUE COURSE and DISMISSED for lack of merit.
In its Decision, the Appellate Court ruled that the title of Araneta Institute to the disputed land is a nullity, holding that:
"We now proceed to CA-G.R. CV No. 41883.
"In its first assignment of error, defendant-appellant (Araneta Institute of Agriculture, Inc.) contends that the trial court erred in giving more weight to plaintiff's transfer certificate of title over the land in question notwithstanding the highly dubious circumstances in which it was procured.
"This validity of plaintiff-appellee's (Jose B. Dimson) title is actually the meat of the controversy.
"It was in the pursuit of this objective to nullify plaintiff-appellee's title that CA-G.R. SP No. 34819 was belatedly filed on August 10, 1994, long after plaintiff-appellee's TCT No. R-15169 was issued on June 8, 1978.
"Unfortunately for defendant-appellant, in the light of applicable law and jurisprudence, plaintiff-appellee's title must be sustained.
"Plaintiff-appellee's TCT No. R-15169 covers Lot 25 - A-2 with an area of 500,000 square meters. This was derived from OCT No. 994 registered on April 19, 1917. TCT No. R-15169 was obtained by plaintiff-appellee Jose B. Dimson simultaneously with other titles, viz: TCT Nos. 15166, 15167, and 15168 by virtue of the Decision dated October 13, 1977 and Order dated October 18, 1977, in Special Proceedings No. C-732. The Order dated October 18, 1977 directed the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City to issue in the name of Jose B. Dimson separate transfer certificate of titles for the lot covered by plan (LRC) SWO-5268 and for the lots covered by the plans, Exhibits H, I and J.
"Upon the other hand, defendant-appellant Araneta Institute of Agriculture's TCT No. 13574 was derived from TCT No. 26539, while TCT No. 7784 (now TCT No. 21343) was derived from TCT No. 26538. TCT No. 26538 and TCT No. 26539 were both issued in the name of Jose Rato. TCT No. 26538 and TCT No. 26539 both show Decree No. 4429 and Record No. 4429.
"Decree No. 4429 was issued by the Court of First Instance of Isabela. On the other hand, Record No. 4429 was issued for ordinary Land Registration Case on March 31, 1911 in CLR No. 5898, Laguna (Exhs. 8, 8-A Rivera). The trial court ruled defendant-appellant Araneta Institute of Agriculture's TCT No. 13574 spurious because this title refers to a property in the Province of Isabela (RTC Decision, p. 19).
"Another point, Araneta's TCT No. 13574 (Exh. 6) and 21343 are both derived from OCT No. 994 registered on May 3, 1917, which was declared null and void by the Supreme Court in Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System v. Court of Appeals, 215 SCRA 783 (1992). The Supreme Court ruled: 'Where two certificates of title purport to include the same land, the earlier in date prevails x x x. Since the land in question has already been registered under OCT No. 994 dated April 19, 1917, the subsequent registration of the same land on May 3, 1919 is null and void.'
"In sum, the foregoing discussions unmistakably show two independent reasons why the title of defendant-appellant Araneta Institute of Agriculture is a nullity, to wit: the factual finding that the property in Isabela, and the decision of the Supreme Court in the MWSS case."19
Araneta Institute then filed the present petition, ascribing to the Court of Appeals a long list of factual errors which may be stated substantially as follows:
In CA-G.R. CV No. 41883
The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in not holding that the evidence presented by petitioner Araneta Institute clearly establish the fact that it has the better right of possession over the subject property than respondent Jose B. Dimson.
A.) There is only one Original Certificate of Title No. 994 covering the Maysilo Estate issued on May 3, 1917 pursuant to the Decree No. 36455 issued by the Court of Land Registration on April 17, 1917.
B.) Certifications of responsible government officials tasked to preserve the integrity of the Torrens System categorically confirm and certify that there is only one OCT 994 issued on May 3, 1917.
C.) The Government in the exercise of its governmental function of preserving the integrity of the torrens system initiated a fact-finding inquiry to determine the circumstances surrounding the issuance of OCT No. 994 and its derivative titles.
D.) The Government fact-finding committee correctly found and concluded that there is only one OCT No. 994 issued on May 3, 1917.
E.) The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement conducted an Investigation and concluded that there is only one OCT 994 that was issued on May 3, 1917.
F.) The certifications issued by the government officials, notably from the Land Registration Authority, the Department of Justice Committee Report and the Senate Committees' Joint Report are all newly-discovered evidence that would warrant the holding of a new trial."20
3. G.R. No. 148767
(Sto. Nino Kapitbahayan Association, Inc., petitioner, vs. CLT Realty Development Corporation, respondent)
CLT Realty is the registered owner of a parcel of land known as Lot 26 of the Maysilo Estate in Caloocan City, covered by TCT No. T-177013.21 It acquired the property on December 10, 1998 from the former registered owner Estelita I. Hipolito under TCT No. R-17994, who in turn, acquired it from Jose B. Dimson.
On the other hand, Sto. Niño Kapitbahayan Association, Inc. (Sto. Niño Association), petitioner, is the registered owner of two parcels of land likewise located in Caloocan City, covered by TCT Nos. T-158373 and T-158374. By virtue of these titles, Sto. Niño Association occupied and claimed ownership over a portion of Lot 26.
Thus, on July 9, 1992, CLT Realty filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 121, Caloocan City a complaint for annulment of titles22 and recovery of possession with damages against Sto. Niño Association, docketed as Civil Case No. C-15491. In its complaint, CLT Realty alleged that based on the technical descriptions on the titles of Sto. Niño Association, an overlapping exists between their respective titles; and that the titles of Sto. Niño Association are void as they are derived from TCT No. 4211,23 a forged and fictitious title.
In its answer, Sto. Niño Association denied the material allegations of the complaint and asserted that its members have been in possession of the disputed lots prior to 1987. The area had been identified by the government as slum and blighted.
At the pre-trial conference, the parties entered into a stipulation of facts, thus:
"(1) Both parties admit that the defendant (Sto. Niño Association) is presently occupying the property covered by TCT Nos. 158373 and 158374 located at Barrio Baesa, Caloocan City; andcralawlibrary
(2) Both parties admit that the plaintiff (CLT) is also the registered owner of the same properties being occupied by the defendant and covered by TCT No. 177013 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City."
Resolving the issue of whose title to the disputed land is valid, the trial court, on September 28, 1995, rendered a Decision in favor of Sto. Niño Association and ordered the cancellation of TCT No. T-177013 in the name of CLT Realty.
However, upon motion for reconsideration by CLT Realty, the trial court, in its Amended Decision dated February 12, 1996, granted the motion, rendered judgment in favor of CLT Realty, and ordered the cancellation of TCT Nos. T-158373 and T-158374, both in the name of Sto. Niño Association, thus:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby GRANTED and judgment is accordingly rendered in favor of the plaintiff CLT REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and against the defendant STO. NIÑO KAPITBAHAYAN ASSOCIATION, INC., ordering the cancellation of TCT Nos. T-158373 and T-158374, both in the name of the defendant. The defendants' counterclaim is hereby dismissed for utter lack of merit.
The Amended Decision is anchored on the trial court's finding that, based on the evidence, there was fraud in the issuance of TCT No. 4211 from which Sto. Niño Association's titles were derived. The irregularities which attended such issuance were discussed lengthily by the court a quo as follows:
"The court finds the motion meritorious.
"The conflict stems from the fact that the plaintiff's and defendants' titles overlap each other, hence, a determination of the respective origins of such titles is of utmost importance.
"TCT No. T-177013 in the name of the plaintiff was derived from R-17994 T-89 in the name of Estelita Hipolito which title can trace its origin from OCT 994. The boundaries of OCT 994 known as Lot No. 26 of the Maysilo Estate are the same as that of the plaintiff's titles.
"On the other hand, TCT Nos. T-158373 and T-158374, both in the name of the defendants, are the latest in a series of titles which descend from TCT No. 4211. A trace of the history of TCT No. 4211 reveals that it was succeeded by TCT No. 5261 which was in turn succeeded by TCT No. 35486. TCT No. 35486 was allegedly subdivided into seven lots covered by TCT Nos. 1368 to 1374. One or two of these subdivided lots were the predecessors of the defendants' titles.
"It behooves this court to address the issue of whether or not TCT No. 4211 from which the defendants' titles were originally derived can validly trace its origin from OCT 994.
"There is pervasive evidence that TCT No. 4211 could not have been a true derivative of OCT No. 994.
"Firstly, the survey dates indicated in OCT No. 994 are September 8-27, October 8-21 and November 17-18, all in the year 1911. On the other hand, these dates of original survey are conspicuously missing in TCT No. 4211 contrary to established procedure that the original survey dates of the mother title should be indicated in succeeding titles. Instead, an examination of TCT No. 4211 reveals a different date on its face. This date, December 22, 1971, could not be an original survey date because it differs from those indicated in the mother title. Of equal importance is the fact that the date of original survey always comes earlier than the date of the issuance of the mother title. Since OCT No. 994 was issued on April 19, 1917, it is highly irregular that the original survey was made only several months later or only on December 22, 1917.
"Neither is the Court inclined to consider this date as the date a subdivision survey was made. The regular procedure is to identify the subdivided lots by their respective survey or lot numbers, on the contrary, no such lot number is found in TCT No. 4211, pointing to the inevitable conclusion that OCT No. 994 was never validly subdivided into smaller lots, of which one of them is covered by TCT No. 4211.
"Secondly, the assertion that TCT Nos. 1368 to 1374 which preceded the defendants' titles were issued pursuant to subdivision plan PSD 21154 is not supported by the evidence. The Land Management Bureau which handles survey plans has no records of the said PSD 21154. The Registry of Deeds of Rizal has a copy of the plan but the court finds such possession questionable since the Land Registration Authority which supervises the Registry of Deeds does not have a copy of the same. The court therefore believes that the issuance of TCT Nos. 1368 to 1374 is attended by a serious irregularity which cannot be ignored as it affects the very validity of the alleged subdivisions of the land covered by TCT No. 35486.
"Thirdly, the language of the technical descriptions of the land covered by OCT No. 994 is already in English, while its alleged derivative titles TCT Nos. 4211, 5261 and 35486 are still in Spanish. This is in direct violation of the practice that the language used in the mother title is adopted by all its derivative titles. The reversion to Spanish in the derivative titles is highly intriguing and casts a cloud of doubt to the genuineness of such titles.
"Fourthly, the tie points used in the mother lot were not adopted by the alleged derivative titles particularly TCT Nos. 1368 to 1374, the immediate predecessors of the defendants' titles. The pivotal role of tie points cannot be brushed aside as a change thereof could result to the shifting of positions of the derivative lots in relation to the mother lot. Consequently, overlapping could take place as in fact it did when the defendants' titles overlapped that of CLT at the northwestern portion of the latter's property.
"Fifthly, the results of laboratory analysis conducted by a Forensic Chemist of the NBI revealed that TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211 were estimated to be fifty (50) years old as of March 1993 when the examination was conducted. Hence, the documents could have been prepared only in 1940 and not in 1918 as appearing on the face of TCT No. 4211.
"Based on the foregoing patent irregularities, the court finds the attendance of fraud in the issuance of TCT No. 4211 and all its derivative titles which preceded the defendants' titles. Evidently, TCT No. 4211 cannot be validly traced from OCT No. 994. Being void ab initio, it did not give rise to any transmissible rights with respect to the land purportedly invalid, and resultantly, the defendants, being the holders of the latest derivatives, cannot assert any right of ownership over the lands in question. 'The void ab initio land titles issued cannot ripen into private ownership. '(Republic v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 209 SCRA 90)
x x x
"The court's findings are consistent with a ruling of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR No. 45255 entitled 'CLT Realty Development Corp. v. Manotok Realty, Inc., et al. - promulgated on September 28, 1995, affirming the decision of the mother branch of this court ordering the cancellation of TCT Nos. 4210 and 4211 which encroached on a specific area of Lot No. 26 of the Maysilo Estate, Caloocan City. This court is also aware that on January 8, 1996, the Court of Appeals denied the Motion for Reconsideration of the defendants in the aforementioned case for lack of merit."25 (underscoring supplied)
The above Amended Decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in its Decision dated May 23, 2001 in CA-G.R. CV No. 52549, thus:
"WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the appealed Decision, We AFFIRM the same. Without pronouncement as to costs.
Hence, the present petition based on the following assigned errors:
"1. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING IN TOTO THE AMENDED DECISION OF THE COURT A QUO.
"2. THE JUDGMENT OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IS PREMISED ON THE MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS OF THE COURT A QUO.
"3. ASSUMING ARGUENDO, WITHOUT NECESSARILY ADMITTING THAT THE ARGUMENTS OF APPELLANT ARE UNAVAILING, THERE ARE SUPERVENING FACTS AND EVENTS, SHOULD THIS HONORABLE COURT CONSIDER THE SAME, THAT WOULD WARRANT THE REVERSAL OF THE CHALLENGED DECISION AND WILL IMPEL A DIFFERENT CONCLUSION."27
In sum, the three instant petitions assail the validity of: (1) TCT No. R-15169 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City in the name of Jose B. Dimson, covering Lot 25-A-2 of the Maysilo Estate;28 and (2) TCT No. T-177013 of the same Registry of Deeds in the name of CLT Development Corporation, covering Lot 26, also of the Maysilo Estate.29
In the meantime, petitioners Manotok filed with this Court two separate Manifestations stating that a (1) Report of the Fact-Finding Committee dated August 28, 1997 composed of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Land Registration Authority and the Office of the Solicitor General, and (2) Senate Committee Report No. 1031 dated May 25, 1998 were issued by the DOJ and the Senate. Both reports conclude that there is only one OCT No. 994 issued, transcribed and registered on May 3, 1917.
The respondents in these cases vehemently opposed the said Manifestations alleging, among others, that the same are "nothing but a crude attempt to circumvent and ignore time-honored judicial procedures and sabotage the orderly administration of justice by using alleged findings in the alleged reports prepared by the DOJ and the Senate Committee that were never presented before the trial courts to obtain a reversal of the questioned Decisions. At the very least, said procedure is highly irregular, improper and contrary to the dictates of due process."30
Summary of the Contentions of the Parties
I. G.R. No. 123346
Petitioners Manotok Corporations mainly contend that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the lower court's Decision which was rendered without conducting trial for the reception of evidence. It merely relied on the technical report of the commissioners appointed by the court based on the parties' nomination. They (petitioners) were thus denied due process as they were not able to present evidence in a full-blown trial.
Respondent CLT Realty, on the other hand, maintains that the factual findings of the commissioners are supported by evidence. The contending parties were accorded due process because they submitted their respective evidence to the commissioners in the course of the proceedings. The same evidence became the basis of their Majority and Minority Reports. The two Reports were later heard and passed upon by the trial court.
Respondent CLT Realty adds that the Decision of the trial court, upheld by the Court of Appeals, complies with the requirement of Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution since it clearly and distinctly expresses the facts and the law upon which it is based.
II. G.R. 134385
Petitioner Araneta Institute basically submits that the case of MWSS v. CA31 cited in the Decision dated May 30, 1997 of the Court of Appeals is inapplicable to the present case. In that case, it upheld TCT No. 15167 of Dimson derived from OCT 994 issued and registered earlier, or on April 19, 1917. Whereas, the MWSS' title was derived from OCT 994 issued and registered later, or on May 3, 1917. The Appellate Court erred when it relied on MWSS v. CA.32
On the other hand, respondents heirs of Dimson counter that the validity of Dimson's title, TCT No. 15167, has been upheld by this Court in MWSS case.
III. G.R. No. 148767
Like petitioner Araneta Institute in G.R. No. 134385 and petitioners Manotok Corporations in G.R. No. 123346, petitioner Sto. Niño Association contends that there are supervening facts and events that transpired after the trial court rendered its Amended Decision that if considered will result in a different conclusion. These are the two Reports of the DOJ and Senate Fact-Finding Committees that there is only one OCT No. 994 issued on May 3, 1917. Thus, with a new trial, and with the presentation of these Reports as evidence, it could be shown that the titles of Jose Dimson and CLT Realty are void.
Ruling of the Court
The present petitions must fail.
At the outset, it bears stressing that under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, our jurisdiction over cases brought to us from the Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing and correcting errors of law committed by said court. The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Thus, it is not our function to review factual issues and examine, evaluate or weigh the probative value of the evidence presented by the parties.33 We arenot bound to analyze and weigh all over again the evidence already considered in the proceedings below.34
Here, the paramount question being raised in the three petitions is whether TCT No. 15169 issued in the name of Jose B. Dimson and TCT No. 177013 issued in the name of CLT are valid. Undoubtedly, such issue is a pure question of fact - a matter beyond our power to determine. Where, as here, the findings of fact of the trial courts are affirmed by the Court of Appeals, the same are accorded the highest degree of respect and, generally, will not be disturbed on appeal. Such findings are binding and conclusive on this Court.35
Be that as it may, to reinforce our conclusion, we shall still proceed to discuss why the present petitions have no merit.
As regards G.R. No. 123346 (Manotok Corporations v. CLT Realty, involving Lot 26), the trial court acted properly when it adopted the Majority Report of the commissioners as part and parcel of its Decision. That is allowed in Section 11, Rule 32 of the Revised Rules of Court (now the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended), quoted below:
"SEC. 11. Hearing upon report. - Upon the expiration of the period of ten (10) days referred to in the preceding section, the report shall be set for hearing, after which the court shall render judgment by adopting, modifying, or rejecting the report in whole or in part or it may receive further evidence or may recommit it with instructions." (underscoring supplied)
The case of overlapping of titles necessitates the assistance of experts in the field of geodetic engineering. The very reason why commissioners were appointed by the trial court, upon agreement of the parties, was precisely to make an evaluation and analysis of the titles in conflict with each other. Given their background, expertise and experience, these commissioners are in a better position to determine which of the titles is valid. Thus, the trial court may rely on their findings and conclusions.
It bears stressing that the parties opted to submit the case for decision on the bases, among others, of their respective objections/comments on the commissioners' reports.
Thus, petitioners Manotok Corporations, under the doctrine of estoppel, cannot now be permitted to assail the Decision of the trial court - which turned out to be adverse to them - and insist that it should have conducted further reception of evidence before rendering its judgment on the case.
We note further that while petitioners assail the trial court's Decision as being premature, however, they also assert that the said court should have adopted the Minority Report which is favorable to them. Certainly, we cannot countenance their act of adopting inconsistent postures as this is a mockery of justice.
We noted in the beginning of this Decision that the issue in all these three (3) cases involves the validity of the parties' overlapping titles. The titles of the respondents in these cases were derived from OCT No. 994 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City registered on April 19, 1917. The validity of such mother title has already been upheld by this Court in G.R. No. 103558, MWSS v. Court of Appeals, et al. dated November 17, 199236 earlier cited in the assailed Decisions. Significantly, the ruling in MWSS was reiterated in G.R. No. 96259, Heirs of Luis J. Gonzaga v. Court of Appeals dated September 3, 1996.37
We cannot delve anymore into the correctness of the Decision of this Court in MWSS. The said Decision, confirming the validity of OCT No. 994 issued on April 19, 1917 from which the titles of the respondents in the cases at bar were derived, has long become final and executory. Nothing is more settled in law than that once a judgment attains finality it becomes immutable and unalterable. It may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law, and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest court of the land.38
The doctrine of finality of judgment is grounded on fundamental considerations of public policy and sound practice, and that, at the risk of occasional errors, the judgments or orders of courts must become final at some definite time fixed by law; otherwise, there would be no end to litigations, thus setting to naught the main role of courts of justice which is to assist in the enforcement of the rule of law and the maintenance of peace and order by settling justiciable controversies with finality.39
Just as the losing party has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed period, the winning party likewise has the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the resolution of his case. We held that "a final judgment vests in the prevailing party a right recognized and protected by law under the due process clause of the Constitution. . . . A final judgment is 'a vested interest which it is right and equitable that the government should recognize and protect, and of which the individual could not be deprived arbitrarily without injustice.' "40 In the present cases, the winning parties, respondents herein, must not be deprived of the fruits of a final verdict.
Finally, we cannot consider the alleged newly-discovered evidence consisting of the DOJ and Senate Fact-Finding Committee Reports invoked by petitioners herein. Certainly, such committee reports cannot override the Decisions of the trial courts and the Court of Appeals upholding the validity of respondents' titles in these cases. The said Decisions were rendered after the opposing parties have been accorded due process. It bears stressing that the courts have the constitutional duty to adjudicate legal disputes properly brought before them. The DOJ and Senate, or any other agencies of the Government for that matter, have clearly distinguishable roles from that of the Judiciary. Just as overlapping of titles of lands is abhorred, so is the overlapping of findings of facts among the different branches and agencies of the Government. This we unmistakably stressed in Agan, Jr., et al. v. Philippine International Air Terminals Co., Inc., et al,41 thus:
"Finally, the respondent Congressmen assert that at least two (2) committee reports by the House of Representatives found the PIATCO contracts valid and contend that this Court, by taking cognizance of the cases at bar, reviewed an action of a co-equal body. They insist that the Court must respect the findings of the said committees of the House of Representatives. With due respect, we cannot subscribe to their submission. There is a fundamental difference between a case in court and an investigation of a congressional committee. The purpose of a judicial proceeding is to settle the dispute in controversy by adjudicating the legal rights and obligations of the parties to the case. On the other hand, a congressional investigation is conducted in aid of legislation (Arnault v. Nazareno, G.R. No. L-3820, July 18, 1950). Its aim is to assist and recommend to the legislature a possible action that the body may take with regard to a particular issue, specifically as to whether or not to enact a new law or amend an existing one. Consequently, this Court cannot treat the findings in a congressional committee report as binding because the facts elicited in congressional hearings are not subject to the rigors of the Rules of Court on admissibility of evidence. The Court in assuming jurisdiction over the petitions at bar simply performed its constitutional duty as the arbiter of legal disputes properly brought before it, especially in this instance when public interest requires nothing less." (Underscoring supplied)ςrαlαωlιbrαrÿ
WHEREFORE, the instant petitions are DENIED and the assailed Decisions and Resolutions of the Court of Appeals are hereby AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against petitioners.
1 These petitions were filed under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.
2 Penned by Justice Eugenio S. Labitoria and concurred in by Presiding Justice Nathanael P. de Pano, Jr. (retired) and Justice Cancio C. Garcia (now a member of this Court).
3 Penned by Justice Eduardo G. Montenegro and concurred in by Justice Pedro A. Ramirez (both retired) and Justice Maximiano C. Asuncion (deceased).
4 Penned by Justice Portia Aliño-Hormachuelos and concurred in by Justice Fermin A. Martin, Jr. (retired) and Justice Mercedes Gozo-Dadole.
5 Pursuant to Resolutions of this Court dated April 21, 1999 and March 6, 2002.
6 TCT Nos. 7528, 7762, 8012, 9866, C-17272, 21107, 21485, 26405, 26406, 26407, 33904, 34255, C-33267, 41956, 53268, 55897, T-121428, 163902 and 165119 in the name of Manotok Realty, Inc., and TCT No. T-23568 in the name of Manotok Estate Corporation of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City (Annexes "D," "D-1" through "D-19" of the complaint.
7 Rollo of G.R. No. 123346, Vol. I at 245-246.
8 Id. at 138.
9 Id. at 137-138.
10 Id. at 265-275.
11 Id. at 254-265.
12 Decision dated September 28, 1995 of the Court of Appeals (Annex "A" of Petition in the Manotok Case) at 10; Decision dated 10 May 1994 of the Regional Trial Court (Annex "C" of Petition in the Manotok Case) at 5.
13 Annex "H" of Petition in the Manotok Case; Decision dated May 10, 1994 of the Regional Trial Court (Annex "C" of Petition in the Manotok Case), at 5.
14 Records of G.R. No. 123346 at 268-275.
15 Issued on March 4, 1948, Pasig, Rizal and derived from TCT No. 26538 in the name of Jose Ma. Rato with an area of 592,606.90 sq.m; Annex 10, Records at 515.
16 Issued on May 20, 1949 and derived from TCT No. 26539 in the name of Jose Ma. Rato with an area of 581,872.00 sq.m Annex 10, Records at 515.
17 Penned by B.A. Adefuin-De La Cruz (retired).
18 Rollo, G.R. No. 134385, RTC Decision, Civil Case No. C-8050 at 140.
19 Rollo, G.R. No. 134385, CA Decision, CV No. 41883 at 122-124.
20 Rollo, G.R. No. 134385, Petition at 25-28.
21 Record I, G.R. No. 123346 at 14.
22 TCT Nos. T-158373 and T-158374, both registered in the name of SNKAI.
23 Annex "A", Record, G.R. No. 123346 at 74-75.
24 Id. at 34-46.
25 Amended Decision dated February 12, 1996, Rollo of G.R. No. 148767 at 11-13.
26 Rollo, G.R. No. 148767 at 33-45.
27 Rollo, G.R. No. 148767, Petition at 17.
28 In G.R. No. 134385 filed by Araneta Institute of Agriculture, Inc.
29 In G.R. NOS. 123346 and 148767 filed by Manotok Realty, Inc. and Manotok Estate Corporation and Sto. Niño Kapitbahayan Association, Inc., respectively.
30 Rollo of G.R. No. 123346 at 1578.
33 Asia Trust Development Bank v. Concepts Trading Corporation, G.R. No. 130759, June 20, 2003, 404 SCRA 449.
34 Omandam v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128750, January 18, 2001, 349 SCRA 483.
35 Duremdes v. Duremdes, G.R. No. 138256, November 12, 2003, 415 SCRA 684.
36 215 SCRA783 (1992).
37 261 SCRA 327 (1996).
38 Johnson & Johnson (Phils.), Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 102692, September 23, 1996, 262 SCRA 298.
39 Garbo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 100474, September 10, 1993, 226 SCRA 250.
40 Insular Bank of Asia and America Employees' Union (IBAAEU) v. Inciong, No. L-52415, October 23, 1984, 132 SCRA 663.
41 G.R. NOS. 155001, 155547 and 155661, January 21, 2004, 420 SCRA 575.