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Robert Ramirez Land Title & Deeds Case Digests

Topic: Constitutional Provisions_Regalian Doctrine Cruz v. Secretary of Environment, 347 SCRA 128 (2000) Separate Opinions Regalian Doctrine FACTS: Cruz and Europa assailed the validity of the RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act on the ground that the law amount to an unlawful deprivation of the States ownership over lands of the public domain as well as minerals and other natural resources therein, in violation of the Regalian Doctrine embodied in Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution. ISSUE: Whether or not the IPRA law is unconstitutional. HELD: The vote was 7-7 which meant that validity was upheld. The opinion defending constitutionality held the following: (1) Ancestral domain and ancestral lands are not part of lands of the public domain. They are private and belong to indigenous people. Section 5 commands the state to protect the rights of indigenous people. Cario v. Insular Government recognized native title held by Filipinos from time immemorial and excluded them from the coverage of jura regalia. (2) The right of ownership granted does not include natural resources. The right to negotiate terms and conditions over natural resources covers only exploration to ensure environmental protection. It is not a grant of exploration rights. (3) The limited right of management refers to utilization as expressly allowed in Section 2, Article XII. (4) What is given is priority right, not exclusive right. It does not preclude the State from entering into co-production, joint venture, or production sharing agreements with private entities. The opinion assailing the constitutionality of the law held the following: (1) the law amounts to an abdication of state authority over a significant area of the countrys patrimony; (2) it relinquishes full control of natural resources in favor of indigenous people; (3) the law contravenes the provision which says that all natural resources belong to the state. Separate Opinions Discussion on Regalian Doctrine Puno Puno cited the case of Carino v Insular Government as a basis in upholding the constitutionality of IPRA. The case laid down the presumption of a certain title held (1) as far back as testimony or memory went, and (2) under a claim of private ownership. Land held by this title is presumed to "never have been public land." This is the exception to Regalian Doctrine. Puno also stated the uniqueness of the Carino Case. In the Philippines, the concept of native title first upheld in Cario and enshrined in the IPRA grants ownership, albeit in limited form, of the land to the ICCs/IPs. Native title presumes that the land is private and was never public. Cario

Robert Ramirez Land Title & Deeds Case Digests

is the only case that specifically and categorically recognizes native title. The long line of cases citing Cario did not touch on native title and the private character of ancestral domains and lands. Cario was cited by the succeeding cases to support the concept of acquisitive prescription under the Public Land Act which is a different matter altogether. Vitug According to Justice Vitug in ruling that the IPRA is unconstitutional, the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Cario vs. Insular Government, holding that a parcel of land held since time immemorial by individuals under a claim of private ownership is presumed never to have been public land and cited to downgrade the application of the regalian doctrine, cannot override the collective will of the people expressed in the Constitution. It is in them that sovereignty resides and from them that all government authority emanates. It is not then for a court ruling or any piece of legislation to be conformed to by the fundamental law, but it is for the former to adapt to the latter, and it is the sovereign act that must, between them, stand inviolate. Kapunan IPRA is constitutional. The provisions of the IPRA (specifically Sections 3, paragraphs (a) and (b), 5, 6, 7, and 8) affirming the ownership by the indigenous peoples of their ancestral lands and domains by virtue of native title do not diminish the States ownership of lands of the public domain, because said ancestral lands and domains are considered as private land, and never to have been part of the public domain, following the doctrine laid down in Cario vs. Insular Government. The theory of the feudal system was that title to all lands was originally held by the King, and while the use of lands was granted out to others who were permitted to hold them under certain conditions, the King theoretically retained the title. By fiction of law, the King was regarded as the original proprietor of all lands, and the true and only source of title, and from him all lands were held. The theory of jura regalia was therefore nothing more than a natural fruit of conquest. The Regalian theory, however, does not negate native title to lands held in private ownership since time immemorial. The ruling in Cario institutionalized the recognition of the existence of native title to land, or ownership of land by Filipinos by virtue of possession under a claim of ownership since time immemorial and independent of any grant from the Spanish Crown, as an exception to the theory of jura regalia. Panganiban Justice Panganiban however submit that Cario v. Insular Government has been modified or superseded by our 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions. Its ratio should be understood as referring only to a means by which public agricultural land may be acquired by citizens. He also stressed that the claim of Petitioner Cario refers to land ownership only, not to the natural resources underneath or to the aerial and cosmic space above.

Robert Ramirez Land Title & Deeds Case Digests

Topic : Publication Adez Realty v. CA, 212 SCRA 625 (1992) FACTS: Adez Realty Incorporated filed a petition before the Court of Appeals, sought to annul the order of the accused-appellant of Morong, Rizal, dated November 20, 1984, allowing the reconstitution of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 12662. The petition likewise sought to set aside in effect the decision of the Court of Appeals and claimed that no notice was sent by registered mail to petitioner when the judicial reconstitution of title was sought. However, the notice of petition was published in two (2) successive issues of the Official Gazette and was posted in the bulletin board of the accused-appellant of Morong, Rizal. ISSUE: Whether publication of the notice of the petition in two (2) successive issues of the Official Gazette and its posting in the bulletin board of the accused-appellant of Morong, Rizal, is sufficient compliance with Sec. 13 of R.A. No. 26. HELD: Yes. Land registration proceedings are proceedings in rem, not in personam, and therefore it is not necessary to give personal notice to the owners or claimants of the land sought to be registered, in order to vest the courts with power or authority over the res. Thus, while it may be true that no notice was sent by registered mail to petitioner when the judicial reconstitution of title was sought, such failure, however, did not amount to a jurisdictional defect. The purpose of the publication of the notice of the petition for reconstitution in the Official Gazette is to apprise the whole world that such a petition has been filed and that whoever is minded to oppose it for good cause may do so within thirty (30) days before the date set by the court for hearing the petition. It is the publication of such notice that brings in the whole world as a party in the case and vests the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide it." Thus, notice of hearing by proper publication in the Official Gazette is sufficient to clothe the court with jurisdiction, and the mere fact that a person purporting to have a legitimate claim in the property did not receive personal notice is not sufficient ground to invalidate the proceedings.

Robert Ramirez Land Title & Deeds Case Digests

Topic: Subsequent Registration Fernandez v. CA, 189 SCRA 780 (1990) FACTS: Spouses Florentino and Vivencia Fernandez together with Spouses Zenaida and Justiniano Fernandez purchased in common a parcel of land in Quezon City. It was purchased for P15,500, and that Spouses Florentino and Vivencia advanced P5,500 covering the down payment. A deed of conditional sale was executed by the vendor in favor of the two couples. However, when the seller executed the Deed of Absolute Sale, only the names of the spouses Zenaida and Justiniano appear in the document and did not include the names of the other couple who immediately confronted Zenaida and Justiniano. Zenaida couple responded by executing an affidavit acknowledging the sale to Florentino and Vivencia Fernandez of a portion of the subject parcel of land consisting of 110 square meters and the receipt of the consideration therefor in the amount of P5,500.00. The couples built a duplex building on the subject land. Also, Justiniano and Zenaida caused the issuance of a certificate of title only in their names. Sometime in 1976, when Zenaida and her husband filed a petition for voluntary dissolution of their conjugal partnership, and the couple prayed for judicial approval of their compromise agreement wherein Justiniano waived all his rights to the conjugal properties including the subject parcel of land. Zenaida demanded that petitioners (Florentino and Vivencia) vacate the premises of the lot awarded to her. On June 9, 1981, petitioners-spouses Florentino and Vivencia filed an action to quiet title and damages against Zenaida Fernandez only, who was then already estranged from her husband Justiniano. ISSUE: Can Florentino and Vivencia be considered as the owner of subject parcel of land even though it was registered in the name of Zenaida and Justiniano only? HELD: Yes. There is sufficient evidence on record - the due execution and authenticity of both the Deed of Conditional Sale and Affidavit were never denied by private respondent, to prove that petitioners and spouses Justiniano and Zenaida Fernandez purchased in common the lot subject of this case and that it was the parties' intention to become owners of specific portions thereof. Section 50 of Act No. 496 (now Sec. 51 of P.D. 1529), provides that the registration of the deed is the operative act to bind or affect the land insofar as third persons are concerned. But where the party has knowledge of a prior existing interest which is unregistered at the time he acquired a right to the same land, his knowledge of that prior unregistered interest has the effect of registration as to him. The torrens system cannot be used as a shield for the commission of fraud. As far as private respondent Zenaida Angeles and her husband Justiniano are concerned, the nonregistration of the affidavit admitting their sale of a portion of 110 square meters of the subject land to petitioners cannot be invoked as a defense because knowledge of an unregistered sale is equivalent to registration.

Robert Ramirez Land Title & Deeds Case Digests

Topic: Notice of Lis Pendens Lopez v. Enriquez, 449 SCRA 173 (2005) FACTS: Sandoval & Ozaeta filed an application for registration of title before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City ("land registration court"). The land registration court issued an order of general default and hearings on the application followed. On 31 May 1966, the land registration court granted the application. The decision became final and executory, and the land registration court issued a certificate of finality dated 8 March 1991. Eugenio Lopez, Jr., Manolo Lopez, Oscar Lopez, and Presentacion L. Psinakis, heirs of Eugenio Lopez, Sr., filed a motion alleging that Sandoval and Ozaeta sold the lots subject of the application to the late Eugenio Lopez, Sr. on 23 September 1970. Petitioners prayed that the court consider in the land registration case the Deed of Absolute Sale over the lots executed by Sandoval and Ozaeta and their respective spouses in favor of Eugenio Lopez, Sr and also prayed that the court issue the decree of registration in their names as the successors-in-interest of Eugenio Lopez, Sr. On 25 November 1998, petitioners filed with the Register of Deeds of Marikina City an application to annotate the notice of lis pendens at the back of OCT Nos. O-1603 and O-1604 on the ground that petitioners have filed with the land registration court a motion to declare OCT Nos. O-1603 and O-1604 void. Petitioners attached to the application a copy of the 25 November 1998 motion and the pertinent OCTs. ISSUE: Whether the motion to declare the decrees issued by the Land Registration Authority void is a proper basis for filing the notice lis pendens HELD: No. The doctrine of lis pendens refers to the jurisdiction, power or control which a court acquires over property involved in a suit, pending the continuance of the action, and until final judgment. Both the LRA and the appellate court denied the application for a notice of lis pendens because petitioners are mere movants, and not original parties, in LRC No. N-18887. As petitioners are not parties to an action as contemplated in Section 76 of PD 1529, they failed to present the requisite pleading to the Register of Deeds of Marikina City. Hence the Register of Deeds correctly denied the application for a notice of lis pendens. The motion filed by petitioners is insufficient to give them standing in the land registration proceedings for purposes of filing an application of a notice of lis pendens.