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[ GR No. 49124, Aug 18, 1944 ]



74 Phil. 727

[ G.R. No. 49124, August 18, 1944 ]




This is  an appeal  from  the Court of  First  Instance  of Laguna, which dismised the  plaintiffs complaint insofar as the defendant Philippine National Bank was concerned, on the ground  that it did not state a cause of action against said bank.

From the allegations  of the original complaint we deduce the following pertinent facts:  The plaintiffs are purchasers of a portion of four  (4) hectares of  a  parcel of land of 35.9338 hectares formerly described in transfer  certificate of title No. 5979  in  the name  of Eusebia  Disingco,  the original vendor of plaintiffs' predecessors  in interest.  After Disingco's death, the title was transferred to her  daughter and only heir,  the defendant Florencia  Belen, to whom was issued  transfer certificate of title No.  15952, covering the said parcel of land.  The sale of the portion of four hectares in question was never annotated on the transfer  certificate of title, nor was a  separate title therefor ever issued to the plaintiffs or to any of their various successive predecessors in interest, altho the original  sale by Eusebia Disingco to one  Marciano  Celino is  alleged to have  taken place as early as March 9, 1917.  On August 27, 1937, the defendant Florencia Belen mortgaged the entire parcel of 35-odd hectares covered by said transfer certificate of title No. 15952 to the Philippine  National Bank  to  secure  a loan  of P4,500. Among the prayers of the  complaint  was, that the defendant Florencia Belen and her husband  Alfonso Buiser be required to pay off the mortgage to  the  Philippine National Bank and to execute a new deed of sale of the portion of land in question in favor of the plaintiffs free from all liens and encumbrances.

Upon motion of  the bank, the trial court dismissed the complaint against it for lack of a cause of action. A motion for reconsideration and an amended complaint were subsequently filed.  The court denied said motion and  rejected the amended complaint insofar as it referred to the bank.

Leaving  aside the questions raised by the parties as to whether  the  appeal was filed on time and  as  to  whether the amended complaint has changed  the  theory of the original complaint insofar as the bank is concerned, we shall examine the new allegations of the amended complaint and determine  whether it states a  sufficient cause of action against the bank  to justify the  latter's inclusion therein as a party  defendant.

The  pertinent allegations of the amended complaint are the following:
"16. Estando registrada en el registro la venta a favor de  la demandante  Cabrera y estando  poseido el terreno adversamente por los causantes de ella en  la fecha de la hipoteca, el demandado Banco Nacional Filipino,  que tiene la practica de inspeccionar el terreno ofrecido en hipoteca, tenia motivos de saber y averiguar que la deudora Belen no era la  dueña ni poseedora  del terreno en  cuestion, y no obstante  concedio el credito hipotecario arriba mencionado.

"17. Aun suponiendo el demandado Banco Nacional Filipino acreedor hipotecario de buena fe, una vez enterado de que acepto  como garantia una propiedad ajena,  es su deber no permitir aumento de gravamen desde entonces y reconocer al dueño verdadero el derecho de liberar del mismo la propiedad,  permitiendole el rescate de todo el inmueble hipotecado caso  preciso."
It is not alleged that the sale in favor of the  plaintiff Cabrera was annotated on the certificate of title.  Neither is it alleged  that the bank had knowledge of the  alleged sale of the portion of land in question by the registered owner thereof in favor of the plaintiffs or their predecessors in interest.  The sale  alleged to have been registered (presumably under the Administrative Code and not under the Land Registration Act) was that referred to in paragraph 12 of the complaint, namely, the sale to the plaintiff Basilia Cabrera by the spouses Artemio Fule and Paz Cabrera dated February 28, 1935.  Artemio Fule and Paz Cabrera are not alleged to have ever been the registered owners of the land in question.  The allegation that "the defendant Philippine National Bank, which has the practice of inspecting the land offered in mortgage, had reasons to know  and find out that the debtor Belen was neither the owner nor the possessor of the land in question," is  not sufficient, in our opinion, to charge the bank with knowledge  of the alleged sale to the plaintiff Cabrera, or with bad faith in accepting the mortgage from the  registered owner.  It is not alleged  or pretended that, as a matter of fact,  the bank did inspect the land and did find out that the mortgagor Florencia Belen was not the owner and possessor thereof.  It must be borne in mind that the land in question  (4  hectares), is only a small portion of the  parcel of 35-odd  hectares  mortgaged to the bank,  and even if a representative of the bank had in fact inspected it, he was not bound to inquire whether or not any portion thereof was possessed and owned by some person other than the registered owner.  It is not alleged that a representative of the bank inspected the land and that the plaintiffs or someone in their behalf told him that they were the owners and possessors of a portion thereof.

It is, nevertheles, further alleged that "even supposing that the defendant Philippine National Bank is a mortgage1 creditor in good faith, once it learned  that it had accepted as security another person's property, it was its duty  not to permit any increase of the encumbrance thereafter and to recognize in the true owner the right  to free the property from  the mortgage by permitting the redemption of  the entire property."  But who is the true owner of the property?   That question  is still under litigation between the plaintiffs arid  the defendants Florencia Belen and Alfonso Buiser.  The bank cannot arrogate to itself  the authority to decide that question.  Pending the court's decision, the bank cannot recognize the plaintiffs as the true owners in lieu of the registered owner, for the simple reason that the certificate of Torrens title is presumed to speak the truth.

Appellants'  pretensions against the bank under their original as  well as their amended complaint  cannot be entertained in view of the  provisions of sections  38, 39, 45, and 50 of the Land Registration Act, and the various decisions  of this Court, among the  latest of  which is that of Sutnira vs. Vistan, 1 Off. Gaz.,  [Nov. 1943], 133-136, which is on all fours with  the present case.

The orders appealed from are affirmed, with costs against the appellants.

Yulo,  C.J.,  Moran,  Horrilleno, Paras, and Bocobo,  JJ., concur.