by LawMistress

CONSUELO LEGARDA v. N. M. SALEEBY, GR No. 8936, 1915-10-02

Facts:

plaintiffs and the defendant occupy, as owners, adjoining lots  in the district of Ermita in the city of Manila.

That there exists and has existed for  a number of years a stone wall between the said lots.   Said wall is located on the lot of the plaintiffs.

That  the plaintiffs, on the 2d day of March, 1906, presented a petition  in the Court of Land Registration for the registration of their lot.   After a consideration of said petition the court, on the 25th day of October, 1906, decreed that the... title  of the  plaintiffs  should  be registered and issued to them the original certificate provided for under the torrens system.  Said registration  and certificate  included the wall.

Later the predecessor of the defendant presented a petition in the Court of Land Registration for the registration of  the  lot now occupied by him.   On the 25th day of March,  1912, the court decreed the registration  of said title... and issued the  original certificate provided for under the torrens system.  The description of  the  lot given in the petition of the defendant  also included said wall.

Several months later (the 13th day of December, 1912)  the plaintiffs discovered  that  the  wall which had been  included  in the certificate granted to them had also been  included  in the certificate granted to the... defendant.

The lower  court however, without notice to... the defendant, denied said petition upon the theory that, during the pendency of the petition for the registration of the defendant's land, they  failed to make any objection to the registration of said lot, including  the wall,  in the name of  the... defendant.

That  the land occupied by the wall  is registered in the name of each of the  owners of  the adjoining lots. The wall is not a joint wall... action for the registration of the lot of the defendant was a  judicial proceeding and that the  judgment or decree was binding upon  all parties  who did not  appear and oppose... it.

by reason of the fact that the plaintiffs had not opposed the registration of that part of the lot  on which the wall  was  situate  they had lost it, even  though it had been theretofore  registered in  their... name.

Applying that theory to him, he had already lost whatever right he had therein, by permitting the plaintiffs to have the same registered in their name, more than six years before.

Issues:

who is the owner of  the  wall and the land occupied by it?

Registered title under the torrens system can not be defeated by prescription  (section 46, Act No. 496).  The title, once registered, is notice to the world.  All  persons must take notice.  No one can... plead ignorance of the registration.

Ruling:

The real purpose of that system is to quiet title to land; to put a stop forever to any question of the legality of the title, except claims which were noted  at the  time of registration, in the certificate, or  which may arise subsequent... thereto.

After the registra tion is complete and final and there exists no fraud, there are no innocent third parties... who  may  claim  an interest. The rights of all the world are foreclosed by the decree of registration.  The government itself assumes the burden of giving notice to all  parties.

Registered title under the torrens system can not be defeated by prescription  (section 46, Act No. 496).  The title, once registered, is notice to the world.  All  persons must take notice.  No one can... plead ignorance of the registration.

"The general  rule is  that in the case  of two... certificates  of title,  purporting to  include the same land, the earlier in date prevails, whether the land comprised  in the latter certificate be wholly, or only  in part, comprised in the earlier certificate.

"if it can be  clearly ascertained by the ordinary rules of construction relating to written documents, that the inclusion of the land in the certificate of title of prior date is a mistake, the mistake may be rectified by holding the... latter of  the two  certificates of title to be conclusive."... to  the  right of any person deprived  of  land  or of any estate or  interest therein by decree of  registration obtained by fraud to file... in the Court  of Land Registration a  petition for review within one  year after entry of the decree  (of registration),  provided no innocent purchaser for value has acquired an interest."... t will  be  noted, from said section, that the  "decree  of registration"  shall  not be opened, for any reason, in any court,  except for fraud,  and not even for fraud, after the lapse of one  year.

Granting that  he was  the  owner of  the land upon which the walk is located, his failure to oppose the registration of the same in the name of the appellants, in the absence of fraud, forever closes  his mouth... against impugning the validity of that judgment.  There is no more reason why the doctrine invoked by the appellee should be applied to the appellants than to him.

It would seem to be a just and equitable rule, when two persons have  acquired equal rights in the same  thing,  to hold that  the  one who acquired it  first and who has  complied with  all  the requirements  of the law... should  be protected.

Principles:

"The general  rule is  that in the case  of two... certificates  of title,  purporting to  include the same land, the earlier in date prevails, whether the land comprised  in the latter certificate be wholly, or only  in part, comprised in the earlier certificate.

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