Bar Q and A #43

1. The TORRENS SYSTEM OF LAND REGISTRATION is a system for the registration of title to the land. Thus, under this system what is entered in the registry of Deeds, is a record of the owner's estate or interest in the land, unlike the system under the Spanish Mortgage Law or the system under Sec. 194 of the Revised Administrative Code as amended by Act 3344 where only the evidence of such title is recorded. In the latter system, what is recorded is the deed of conveyance from hence the owner's title emanated—and not the title itself.

2. Torrens system of land registration is that which is prescribed in Act 496 (now PD 1529), which is either Judicial or quasi-judicial. System or recording of evidence of title is merely the registration of evidence of acquisitions of land with the Register of Deeds, who annotates the same on the existing title, cancels the old one and issues a new title based on the document presented for registration.

1. No, I will not grant the application. To be entitled to registration of the parcel of land, the applicant must show that the land being applied for is alienable land. At the time of the filing of the application, the land has not yet been declared alienable by the state. (Republic v. CA, G.R. No. 144057, January 17, 2005)

2. Cornelio can acquire the land by acquisitive prescription only after it was declared part of alienable land by the state by possession for the required number of years for ordinary prescription, ten years possession in good faith with just title or extraordinary prescription by possession for thirty years without need of any other condition. (Art. 1134)

1. For purposes of confirmation of imperfect title, I will have to consider the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 141 as well as the Property Registration Decree or P.D. 1529 in giving my advice to Manuel.

C.A. No. 141 which amended the second Public Land Act (Act 2874) provides that there are two requisites for judicial confirmation of imperfect title namely:

a. open and continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the land by himself or through his predecessor in interest under bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945; and
b. the classification of the land as alienable and disposable land of the public domain. (Secretary of DENR v. Yap -G.R. NO. 167707, October 8, 2008)

The Property Registration Decree or
P.D. 1529 provides who may file an application for registration of title to the land under Section 14 thereof which provides that those who by themselves or their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands for the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945 or earlier. Since Manuel’s father Michael had been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of the land since 1935, and that the land was declared alienable in the same year, his possession has ripened into ownership which entitles him or his successor Manuel to file an application for judicial confirmation of imperfect title.

2. I have to prove that the land was already declared alienable at the time that Manuel or his father Michael took possession of the land and that their possession was open, continuous, exclusive and notorious which started prior to or on June 12, 1945 as required by C.A. No. 141.

To prove the first requisite, the original classification of the land as approved by the DENR Secretary (Republic v. T.A. N. Properties 555 SCRA 4777 (2008) or in lieu thereof, a Certification by the DENR Regional office attesting to the alienable and disposable character of the land (Republic v. Serrano G.R. No. 183063, February 24, 2010) must have to be submitted.

I also have to file together with the application for registration all original muniments of title or copies thereof and a survey plan of the land approved by the Bureau of Lands in accordance with Section 17 of P.D. 1529. Manuel may also submit the tax declarations and tax payment receipts which have been ruled to be good indications of possession in the concept of owner. (Republic vs. Candy Maker, Inc. G.R. No. 163766, June 22, 2006)

a. No, the prayer of O will not prosper, because X purchased the land from an apparent owner in good faith and for value. Section 53 of P.D. 1529 provides that in all cases of registration procured by fraud, the owner may pursue all his legal and equitable remedies against the parties to such fraud without prejudice, however, to the rights of any innocent holder for value of a certificate of title. Based on jurisprudence it defined an innocent purchaser for value as one who buys the property of another without notice that some other person has a right to or interest therein and who then pays a full and fair price for it at the time of the purchase or before receiving a notice of the claim or interest of some other persons in the property.

b. Yes, a claim against the Assurance Fund may be instituted. Section 95 of P.D. 1529 provides that a person who, without negligence on his part, sustains loss or damage, or is deprived of land or any estate or interest therein in consequence of the bringing of the land under the operation of the Torrens system arising after original registration of land, through fraud or in consequence of any error, omission, mistake or misdescription in any certificate of title or in any entry or memorandum in the registration book, and who by the provisions of this Decree is barred or otherwise precluded under the provision of any law from bringing an action for the recovery of such land or the estate or interest therein, may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for the recovery of damages to be paid out of the Assurance Fund.

1. Yes, because when one who is not the owner of the property sells or alienates it and later the seller or grantor acquires title, such title passes by operation of law to the buyer or grantee. (Art. 1434)

2. A direct attack on a title is one where the action filed is precisely for the purpose of pointing out the defects in the title with a prayer that it be declared void. A collateral attack is one where the action is not instituted for the purpose of attacking the title but the nullity of the title is raised as a defense in a different action.

3. No, because Juan is not attacking the title but merely invoking his right as transferee. Hence, it does not involve a collateral attack on the title.

As lawyer for the bicycle rider, I will present in addition to the police report, the medical abstracts to the injuries sustained by my client as well as copies of receipts of expenses incurred in connection with the treatment of his injuries. I will also present the testimony of my client and perhaps a bystander who witnessed the incident as to the circumstances surrounding the accident.

As for the legal argument, I will rebut the claim of negligence on my client’s part by presenting evidence that my client has actually crossed the intersection ahead of the taxicab and it was the taxicab driver who rapidly cut the path of the bicycle which caused the collision. Also, even assuming that there was contributory negligence on the part of my client, I will argue that it will not preclude the recovery of damages but may only mitigate the damages to which he is entitled.

Quasi-tort is considered as the equivalent of quasi-delict. Hence the rules of the latter pertaining to persons who can be held liable and their defenses would also apply.

Thoseliableforquasi-delict include:

1. Those tortfeasors or the person causing damage to another through fault or negligence (Art. 2176); and
2. Persons vicariously liable under Art. 2180. The defenses available include:
a. That the defendant was not negligent or that he exercised due diligence (Art. 2176);
b. That although the defendant is negligent his negligence is not the proximate cause of the injury (Art. 2179);
c. That the plaintiff's own negligence was the immediate and proximate cause of his injury (Art. 2179);
d. That the person vicariously liable has observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage (Art. 2180); and
e. That the cause of action has prescribed after the lapses.
f. The fact that the plaintiff had committed contributory negligence is a partial defense. (Art. 2179)

NOTE: The term quasi-tort is not part of legal developments in civil law. In Philippine legal tradition, quasi-delict has been treated as the closest civil law equivalent of the common law tort. In fact, in a number of Supreme Court decisions, the two terms have been considered synonymous. In reality, however, the common law tort is much broader in scope than the civil law quasi-delict. In recent developments in common law, the concept of “quasi-torts” can be considered as the closest common law equivalent of the civil law concept of quasi-delict. This is because it is argued that the growing recognition of quasi-torts as a source of obligation is hinged on the acceptance at common law of the civil law principles of quasi-delict.