CASE NO. 2011-0095: PHILIPPINE VETERANS BANK VS. RAMON VALENZUELA (G.R. NO. 163530, 9 MARCH 2011,  PERALTA, J.) SUBJECT: CORRECTION OF ENTRY IN A TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE. (BRIEF TITLE: PHILIPPINE VETERAN’S BANK VS. VALENZUELA).

 

  

Republic of the Philippines

Supreme Court

Manila

SECOND DIVISION

 

PHILIPPINE VETERANS BANK,Petitioner,

– versus –

RAMON VALENZUELA,

Respondent.

G.R. No. 163530Present:

CARPIO, J.Chairperson,

VELASCO, JR.,*

PERALTA,

ABAD, and

MENDOZA, JJ.

Promulgated:

March 9, 2011

x – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x

D E C I S I O N

 

PERALTA, J.:

Assailed in the present petition for review on certiorari is the November 4, 2003 Order1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos,Bulacan, Branch 8 in Case No. P-261-97, which dismissed herein petitioner’s Petition for Correction of Entry in a Transfer Certificate of Title covering a property which it bought in a foreclosure sale.

The petition, which was filed with the trial court on June 27, 1997, alleged as follows:

1. [Philippine Veterans Bank] PVB is a private commercial bank duly organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Republic of the Philippines x x x.

2. PVB, as a banking institution, grants loan, among others, to its clients.

3. On various dates, Cafe Valenzuela, Inc. obtained a loan from PVB in the total amount of PESOS: SIX MILLION (P 6,000,000.00). As a security for said loan, a Real Estate Mortgage (REM), which was amended on March 8, 1979 and on June 22, 1979 (AREMs), was executed byEnrico Valenzuela as representative of Cafe Valenzuela, Inc. and as Attorney-in-Fact of Spouses Maximo and Honorata Valenzuela, covering several parcels of land, including TCT No. T-105375 which was subsequently reconstituted as TCT No. RT-35677, registered in the name of SpousesMaximo and Honorata Valenzuela.

x x x x

4. Cafe Valenzuela, Inc. failed to fully pay its loan obligation. It has failed and continues to fail and/or refuse to pay its outstanding principal obligation. As a result, PVB, executed an application for the extra-judicial foreclosure of the REM, particularly TCT No. T-105375. The same property was subsequently sold by public auction and was awarded to PVB for being the highest bidder. A certificate of sale in the amount of P1,923,878.40dated 31 July 1985 was issued to this effect, x x x.

5. PVB proceeded to register the said certificate of sale with the Register of Deeds (ROD) of Malolos, Bulacan on 23 July 1986. It was entered as Entry No. 9242 as shown in the stamp of the ROD at the back of the certificate of sale which is on file with the PVB. x x x

6. Entry No. 9242 was thereby annotated on TCT No. T-105375. However, the contents of the certificate of sale in the amount of P1,923,878.40 dated 31 July 1985 issued to PVB was not reflected in the Entry No. 9242. Instead, the contents of another certificate of sale in the amount ofP31,496.00 dated 15 April 1986, which was simultaneously registered, was erroneously copied. The latter certificate of sale was entered as Entry No. 9244 on TCT No. T-249213 which is now reconstituted as TCT No. RT-35700.

x x x x

7. The fees paid for by the PVB with the ROD relative to the registration of the certificate of sale also shows payment of fees corresponding to the amount of P1,923,878.40.

x x x x

8. Entry No. 9242 must therefore be corrected to reflect the true contents of certificate of sale dated 31 July 1985 in the amount of P1,923,878.40to avoid confusion and to put in proper order Entry No. 9242.

x x x x2

Herein respondent then filed an Opposition with Motion to Dismiss claiming that: (1) he is one of the legitimate children of the spousesMaximo and Honorata Valenzuela, who are the registered owners of the subject property covered by TCT No. T-105375; (2) EnricoValenzuela’s authority as the attorney-in-fact of Maximo and Honorata is limited and that he is not authorized to mortgage the subject property; (3) the alleged certificate of sale involving the subject parcel of land was never duly registered or annotated as a memorandum on TCT No. T-105375 or the reconstituted TCT No. RT-35677; (4) what was really annotated as Entry No. 9242 on TCT No. T-105375 is an entirely different certificate of sale involving a different parcel of land owned by a certain Laida Mercado; (5) a civil case was filed by respondent against petitioner (Civil Case No. 414-M-97) for annulment of title wherein one of the issues involved is the non-registration of the abovementioned certificate of sale; and (6) petitioner does not seek a mere correction of Entry No. 9242, but the registration of a new, distinct and different certificate of sale. Respondent argues that where controversial issues, such as ownership of a disputed property, are raised in proceedings brought under Section 108 of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1529, such as the instant case, it is the duty of the court sitting as a cadastral court or land registration court to dismiss the petition and the proper recourse for the parties would be to bring up said issues in an ordinary civil action or in the proceedings where the incident properly belongs.3

On April 30, 2002, the RTC issued an Order with the following dispositive portion:

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders the Register of Deeds of Bulacan to correct Entry No. 9242 on TCT No. T-105375 which was reconstituted as TCT No. RT-35677 to reflect the contents of Certificate of Sale dated July 31, 1985 in the amount of P1,923,878.40 issued to Philippine Veterans Bank.

SO ORDERED.4

Respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration.5

On November 4, 2003, the RTC issued its presently assailed Order6 granting herein respondent’s Motion for Reconsideration. The RTC set aside its Order dated April 30, 2002 and dismissed the petition of herein petitioner for lack of merit.

The RTC based its Order in a Resolution7 issued by the CA, dated November 14, 2002, in CA-G.R. SP No. 65703 wherein the appellate court made a finding that the Certificate of Sale involving TCT No. T-105375 was never registered with the Register of Deeds ofBulacan. The RTC held that since the subject certificate of sale was not registered, there is nothing to correct, alter or amend under Section 108 of PD No. 1529.

Petitioner moved for the reconsideration8 of the November 4, 2003 Order of the RTC, but the trial court denied it via its Order9 dated April 27, 2004.

Hence, the instant petition raising the sole issue of whether the RTC erred in relying on the November 14, 2002 Resolution of the CA in dismissing petitioner’s petition for correction of entry.

Petitioner claims that the CA in its subject resolution erroneously ruled that a previous order of the RTC of Bulacan, Branch 22 in a related case between the same parties, wherein the trial court passed upon the issue of non-registration of the certificate of sale in question and made a finding that the same was indeed not registered with the Register of Deeds of Bulacan, constitutes res judicata that would preclude the parties from litigating the factual issue of non-registration of the subject certificate of sale.

The petition lacks merits.

Settled is the rule that a judgment that has become final and executory is immutable and unalterable; the judgment 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.10 While there are recognized exceptions – e.g., the correction of clerical errors, the so-called nunc pro tunc entries which cause no prejudice to any party, void judgments, and whenever circumstances transpire after the finality of the decision rendering its execution unjust and inequitable – none of these exceptions apply to the present case.11

There is no dispute that the November 14, 2002 Resolution of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 65703, which is being questioned by petitioner, had already become final and executory. The petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioner assailing the said CA Resolution had been denied with finality as this Court found no compelling reason to grant the said petition. Consequently, an entry of judgment was already issued by this Court on September 1, 2003.

It has been established in the assailed CA Resolution that the Certificate of Sale involving TCT No. T-105375 was not registered with the Register of Deeds of Bulacan. Owing to the finality of the said Resolution, the Court as well as the parties therein, which includes herein petitioner, are now bound by the said factual finding.

The determination of the questions of fact and of law by the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 65703 already attained finality, and may not now be disputed or relitigated by a reopening of the same questions in a subsequent litigation between the same parties and their privies over the same subject matter.12 On the basis of the foregoing, the Court finds that the RTC did not err in relying on the November 14, 2002 Resolution of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 65703.

In any case, petitioner is seeking relief under the provisions of Section 108 of PD No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree (formerly Section 112 of Act No. 496, otherwise known as the Land Registration Act) which provides as follows:

Section 108. Amendment and alteration of certificates. No erasure, alteration, or amendment shall be made upon the registration book after the entry of a certificate of title or of a memorandum thereon and the attestation of the same by the Register of Deeds, except by order of the proper Court of First Instance. A registered owner or other person having an interest in registered property, or, in proper cases, the Register of Deeds with the approval of the Commissioner of Land Registration, may apply by petition to the court upon the ground that the registered interests of any description, whether vested, contingent, expectant or inchoate appearing on the certificate, have terminated and ceased; or that new interest not appearing upon the certificate have arisen or been created; or that an omission or error was made in entering a certificate or any memorandum thereon, or, on any duplicate certificate; or that the same or any person on the certificate has been changed; or that the registered owner has married, or, if registered as married, that the marriage has been terminated and no right or interests of heirs or creditors will thereby be affected; or that a corporation which owned registered land and has been dissolved has not convened the same within three years after its dissolution; or upon any other reasonable ground; and the court may hear and determine the petition after notice to all parties in interest, and may order the entry or cancellation of a new certificate, the entry or cancellation of a memorandum upon a certificate, or grant any other relief upon such terms and conditions, requiring security or bond if necessary, as it may consider proper; Provided, however, That this section shall not be construed to give the court authority to reopen the judgment or decree of registration, and that nothing shall be done or ordered by the court which shall impair the title or other interest of a purchaser holding a certificate for value and in good faith, or his heirs and assigns, without his or their written consent. Where the owner’s duplicate certificate is not presented, a similar petition may be filed as provided in the preceding section.

All petitions or motions filed under this Section as well as under any other provision of this Decree after original registration shall be filed and entitled in the original case in which the decree or registration was entered.

While the abovequoted section, among other things, authorizes a person in interest to ask the court for any erasure, alteration, or amendment of a certificate of title or of any memorandum appearing therein, the prevailing rule is that proceedings thereunder are summary in nature, contemplating corrections or insertions of mistakes which are only clerical but certainly not controversial issues.13Relief under the said legal provision can only be granted if there is unanimity among the parties, or that there is no adverse claim or serious objection on the part of any party in interest.14

In the present case, there is no question that there is a serious objection and an adverse claim on the part of an interested party as shown by respondent’s opposition and motion to dismiss the petition for correction of entry filed by petitioner. The absence of unanimity among the parties is also evidenced by respondent’s action for damages and annulment of petitioner’s title over the subject parcel of land docketed as Civil Case No. 414-M-97. In fact, the RTC, in its decision in Civil Case No. 414-M-97, found partial merit in respondent’s action so much so that it ordered the cancellation of the TCT covering the subject property in the name of petitioner. The RTC made a categorical finding that the subject Certificate of Sale was not registered with the Register of Deeds of Bulacan leading to the conclusion that the one-year period within which respondent may exercise his right of redemption shall begin to run only after the said Certificate of Sale has been registered. Thus, petitioner may not avail of the remedy provided for under Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529.

Lastly, in view of the established fact that the Certificate of Sale covering the subject property was not registered, and considering that there is nothing which prohibits petitioner from registering the said Certificate of Sale, its most logical and expedient recourse then is to register the same with the Register of Deeds of Bulacan.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The November 4, 2003 Order of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 8, is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA

Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

ANTONIO T. CARPIO

Associate Justice

Chairperson

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR. ROBERTO A. ABAD

Associate Justice Associate Justice

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA

Associate Justice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO

Associate Justice

Second Division, Chairperson

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson’s Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

RENATO C. CORONA

Chief Justice

* Designated as an additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, per Special Order No. 933 dated January 24, 2011.1 Penned by Judge Manuel R. Ortiguerra; rollo, pp. 76-78.2 Rollo, pp. 21-23.3 Id. at 34-37.4 Id. at 43.5 Id. at 44-66.6 Id. at 76-78.7 Id. at 167-170.8Id. at 79-81.9Id. at 82.10National Tobacco Administration v. Castillo, G.R. No. 154124, August 13, 2010; Spouses William Genato and Rebecca Genato v. Viola, G.R. No. 169706, February 5, 2010, 611 SCRA 677, 690; Spouses Heber & Charlita Edillo v. Spouses Norberto & Desideria Dulpina, G.R. No. 188360, January 21, 2010, 610 SCRA 590, 601-602.11Id.12City Government of Tagaytay v. Guerrero, G.R. Nos. 140734 & 140745 and G.R. Nos. 141451-52, September 17, 2009, 600 SCRA 33, 59; Lee Bun Ting v. Judge Aligaen, 167 Phil. 164, 176 (1977).

13Heirs of Miguel Franco v. CA, 463 Phil. 417, 431-432 (2003).

14City Government of Tagaytay v. Guerrero, supra note 12; Tagaytay-Taal Tourist Development Corporation v. CA, 339 Phil. 377, 389 (1997).