CASE 2014-PAUL P. GABRIEL, JR., IRENEO C. CALWAG, THOMAS L. TINGGA-AN, AND THE HEIRS OF .JULIET B. PULKERA, PETITIONERS, – VERSUS – CARMELING CRISOLOGO, RESPONDENT. (G.R. NO. 204626, 09 JUNE 2014, MENDOZA, J.) SUBJECT/S: ACCION PUBLICIANA; RECOVERY OF POSSESSION OF LAND; TORRENS TITLE; EJECTMENT; COLLATERAL AND DIRECT ATTACKS ON TITLE. (BRIEF TITLE: GABRIEL ET AL VS CRISOLOGO)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

WHAT IS ACTION PUBLICIANA?

 

IT IS AN ORDINARY CIVIL PROCEEDING TO DETERMINE THE BETTER RIGHT OF POSSESSION OF REAL PROPERTY INDEPENDENTLY OF TITLE.

 

IT IS ALSO KNOWN AS ACCION PLENARIA DE POSESION.

 

AFTER ONE YEAR FROM ACCRUAL OF ACTION FOR EJECTMENT (THAT IS: WHEN YOU CAN NO LONGER FILE A SUMMARY EJECTMENT SUIT BECAUSE OF THE LAPSE OF ONE YEAR) ACCION PUBLICIANA IS THE REMEDY.

 

WHAT IS THE OBJECTIVE OF THE PLAINTIFF IN ACCION PUBLICIANA?

 

TO RECOVER POSSESSION ONLY, NOT OWNERSHIP.

 

BUT CAN THE PARTIES RAISE THE ISSUE OF OWNERSHIP?

 

YES AND THE COURT MAY PASS UPON SUCH ISSUE BUT ONLY TO DETERMINE WHO BETWEEN THE PARTIES HAS THE RIGHT TO POSSESS THE PROPERTY.

 

WHEN WILL THE COURT PASS UPON THE ISSUE ON OWNERSHIP?

 

ONLY WHEN THE ISSUE ON OWNERSHIP IS INSEPARABLY LINKED TO THE ISSUE OF POSSESSION.

 

BUT IS THE RULING ON OWNERSHIP FINAL AND BINDING?

 

NO. IT IS ONLY PROVISIONAL. IT IS NOT CONCLUSIVE. IT IS NOT A BAR TO AN ACTION BETWEEN THE SAME PARTIES INVOLVING TITLE TO THE PROPERTY.

 

CRISOLOGO ASSERTS THAT SHE HAS TITLES TO SUBJECT PROPERTIES. PETITIONERS ASSERT THAT HER TITLES ARE VOID BECAUSE OF PD 1271 WHICH VOIDED ALL TITLES IN THE BAGUIO TOWNSITE RESERVATION WHERE SUBJECT PROPERTIES ARE LOCATED. IS PETIONERS’ CONTENTION CORRECT?

 

NO. BECAUSE PD1271 PROVIDES THAT ALL TITLES ISSUED ON OR BEFORE JULY 31, 1973 SHALL BE CONSIDERED VALID AND THE LANDS COVERED BY THEM SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE BEEN CONVEYED IN FEE SIMPLE TO THE REGISTERED OWNERS UPON:

 

1)    SHOWING PROOF THAT THE LAND COVERED BY THE SUBJECT TITLE IS NOT WITHIN ANY GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC OR QUASI-PUBLIC RESERVATION, FOREST, MILITARY OR OTHERWISE, AS CERTIFIED BY APPROPRIATING GOVERNMENT AGENCIES; AND

 

2)    COMPLIANCE BY THE TITLE HOLDER WITH THE PAYMENT TO THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES OF THE CORRECT ASSESSED VALUE OF THE LAND WITHIN THE REQUIRED PERIOD.

 

CRISOLOGO PURCHASED THE PROPERTIES IN 1967.

 

BUT PETITIONERS ARGUE THAT CRISOLOGO DID NOT COMPLY WITH THE CONDITIONS. CAN PETITIONERS USE SUCH ARGUMENT?

 

NO. PETITIONERS CANNOT USE SUCH ARGUMENT BECAUSE BY DOING SO THEY ARE MAKING A COLLATERAL ATTACK ON THE TITLES. A COLLATERAL ATTACK IS PROHIBITED.

 

ARE PETITIONERS THE PROPER PARTIES TO QUESTION THE STATUS OF CRISOLOGO’S TITLES?

 

NO. P.D. 1271 STATES THAT IT IS THE SOLICITOR GENERAL WHO SHALL INSTITUTE SUCH ACTION.

 

IF CRISOLOGO HAS TITLES, WHY DOES SHE HAVE RIGHT TO POSSESSION?

 

FIRST, HER TITLES ARE TORRENS TITLES AND A TORRENS TITLE IS EVIDENCE OF INDEFEASIBLE TITLE TO PROPERTY IN FAVOR OF THE PERSON IN WHOSE NAME THE TITLE APPEARS.

 

SECOND, AS TITLE HOLDER SHE IS ENTITLED TO ALL ATTRIBUTES OF OWNERSHIP INCLUDING POSSESSION.

 

WHY CANT A TORRENS TITLE NOT BE SUBJECT TO COLLATERAL ATTACK?

 

BECAUSE IT IS PROVIDED BY LAW. SECTION 48 OF PD 1529 PROVIDES:

 

SEC. 48. Certificate not subject to collateral attack. – A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified, or canceled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law.

 

CAN YOU CITE A CASE WHERE THIS PROVISION WAS APPLIED?

 

FRANCISCO MADRID V. SPOUSES MAPOY (G.R. NO. 150887, AUGUST 14, 2009, 596 SCRA 14, 26-27).

 

IN THIS CASE THE SUPREME COURT RULED THAT REGISTRATION OF LAND UNDER THE TORRENS SYSTEM, ASIDE FROM PERFECTING THE TITLE AND RENDERING IT INDEFEASIBLE AFTER THE LAPSE OF THE PERIOD ALLOWED BY LAW, ALSO RENDERS THE TITLE IMMUNE FROM COLLATERAL ATTACK.

 

WHAT IS COLLATERAL ATTACK?

 

IT IS AN ATTACK ON A JUDGMENT GRANTING TITLE BUT MADE IN ANOTHER ACTION TO OBTAIN A DIFFERENT RELIEF, SUCH AS POSSESSION.

 

WHAT IS A DIRECT ATTACK?

 

IT IS AN ATTACK AGAINST A JUDGMENT GRANTING THE TITLE, THROUGH AN ACTION WHOSE MAIN OBJECTIVE IS TO ANNUL, SET ASIDE, OR ENJOIN THE ENFORCEMENT OF SUCH   JUDGMENT IF NOT YET IMPLEMENTED, OR TO SEEK RECOVERY IF THE PROPERTY TITLED UNDER THE JUDGMENT HAD BEEN DISPOSED OF.

 

WHY IS COLLATERAL ATTACK NOT PERMITTED?

 

BECAUSE TO PERMIT A COLLATERAL ATTACK ON A TORRENS TITLE IS TO WATER DOWN THE INTEGRITY AND GUARANTEED LEGAL INDEFEASIBILITY OF A TORRENS TITLE.

 

WHY DOES CRISOLOGO HAVE A BETTER RIGHT OF POSSESSION?

 

THE TESTIMONIAL AND DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE ON RECORD PROVE THAT CRISOLOGO HAS A PREFERRED CLAIM OF POSSESSION OVER THAT OF PETITIONERS.

 

SHE BOUGHT THE SUBJECT PROPERTIES FROM THE PREVIOUS OWNER IN 1967, WHICH WAS WHY THE TRANSFER CERTIFICATES OF TITLE WERE SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUED IN HER NAME.

 

RECORDS FURTHER SHOW THAT SHE HAS BEEN PAYING THE REALTY TAXES ON THE SAID PROPERTIES SINCE 1969.

 

SHE LIKEWISE APPOINTED ISICAN AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE DISPUTED LANDS.

 

MORE IMPORTANTLY, THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT SHE OFFERED TO SELL TO PETITIONERS THE PORTIONS OF THE SUBJECT PROPE1IIES OCCUPIED BY THEM.

 

HENCE, SHE DESERVES TO BE RESPECTED AND RESTORED TO HER LAWFUL POSSESSION AS PROVIDED IN ARTICLE 539 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE.

 

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW.

 

SCD-2014-0049-JUNE 2014-CRISOLOGO

 

 

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