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G. R. No. 5829

[ G. R. No. 5829, August 23, 1911 ]




Valeriana Calivara, on behalf of her children Pedro, Eugenia, Luz, Jose, Enrique,  and  Carlos,  all surnamed Villa Abrille y Calivara, filed, in the Court of Land Registration, on November 18, 1907, an application,  amended by that of January 11, 1909, for  the registration, in accordance with the Land Registration Act, of a tract of rural land of which the applicants, her said children, were  alleged to be  the absolute owners; the property was situated in  the barrios of Maliualo, Balibago,  Matayumtayum,  Lomboy, Balincanauay, sitios of San Manuel, Laris, Quinapatan Biga, Mayang, Aguisic, Duruplac,  and Capaniquitian, and bounded on the north by timbered  lands of Casimiro and  Damaso Tafiedo, by  the property of Juan Briones, and  by Government forest land; on the northeast by lands of  Anacleto Capinping,  Juan  Saagun,  Francisco Espinosa,  and Daniel Romero; on the east by Government land and by rice land belonging to Perfecto  Mamaual; on the  southeast by rice and timber lands owned by Perfecto Mamaual, Epifania Esguerra, widow of A. Agana, Canuto Tabula, now having heirs, Epifania Esguerra, widow of A. Agana, Maria Fiesta, Juan Ringor and Jose Banuelos; on the south by the Balincanauay road leading to Lomboy, and rice lands  of Agapita Macapagal, widow of Mendosa, and Rosendo Ortega; on the southeast by the lands of Roberto Baun, Justa D. Valeriano and heirs; and on the west by timbered lands  of Jose de Leon, Marcos Tafiedo, and  Perfecto Mamaual, and, back of the latter, by those of Dr. Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera.

The said estate, according to the amended application, has an area of 870 hectares, 18 ares,  and  73 centares, as  set forth in detail in the plan, Exhibit B, that accompanies the aforesaid amended application.  This latter alleges that the land described was appraised at the last assessment, for the purpose of the land tax, at $3,390,  United States currency; that, according to the applicants' best knowledge and belief, no one had any right or interest in the property described, nor was there any encumbrance whatever thereon, except a mortgage of P500 In favor  of Salvador Virtan y Alvarado, a resident  of  Manila, affecting  an area of 159 hectares, 51 ares and 1 centare, situated  in the northern part of the tract; and that the applicants,  the  parties represented by  the said  Valeriana  Calivara, had acquired the property in question by conveyance from the latter, their mother, on November 16, 1907, before a notary of Manila, Emilio Pineda.   The application contained the names and addresses of the occupants of the land, as well as a description of the respective titles under which they  held, also the names and addresses of the owners  of the adjacent properties, and the respective places of  domicile  of  the applicants.  They further prayed that, in case the application should not fall within the  terms of the Land Registration Act, they be accorded the  benefits granted by chapter 6 of Act No. 926 of the Philippine Commission.

After the issuance of summons and the conduction of the other proceedings prescribed  by law, some 28 opponents and the  Attorney-General appeared.  The former alleged that they  were,  respectively,  the  owners  of the several parcels  of land  concerned.  The latter claimed  that  the property sought  to  be registered belonged to the United States and was under the control  of  the Insular Government, and  he prayed that the  application  be denied, with costs, and that, in case the land should be found to belong to the Government and be adjudicated  to it, the proper certificate of title be issued  therefor.

The case came up for  hearing, testimony  was adduced by  both  parties, the  documents exhibited were  attached to the record, and the court rendered judgment on August 9, 1909, holding that the applicants,  represented  by Valeriana Calivara, were the owners of only  two parcels of the land, one of 64 - it should be 84 - hectares, 73 ares, and 62 centares, situated west of Pardo de Tavera's land, and the other of 319 hectares,  25 ares,  and 46  centares, the sum of six  adjoining parcels of  land,  the second, fourth, seventh, eighth, ninth,  and tenth, east of the said  Pardo de Tavera's property.   As the applicants' witnesses had  not convinced the court that the land mentioned in the applicants documents was of greater area than that recorded in the title deeds  issued  to them by  the State,  the greater  part  of the same still being covered by a forest - a forest belonging to the State - the court decided that the said application for registration could not be admitted, but granted the applicants the right to amend the same, but solely with reference to the two  said parcels of land to the exclusion  of all the rest, conditioned upon their filing, within thirty days from the  date of the judgment, a motion for a  rehearing for the purpose of identifying the said two parcels  of land, and  providing that, should such amendment and motion not be made within the term fixed, the application should be dismissed.

Counsel for the  applicants was served with a  written notice of  the aforementioned judgment on the 26th of the said month.   He insisted  upon their previous application, waived their right to the thirty days' period allowed for its amendment, and prayed the court to render final judgment decreeing the adjudication  and registration, on  behalf  of his clients, of the land specified in the plans marked  as Exhibits A, B> and F.  The court, therefore, on the 30th  of the same month, issued  an order dismissing the application  for the registration of the property.   Counsel for the applicants, on being notified of  this action,  entered an exception, announced his  intention to file a bill  of exceptions, and at the same time, moved for a rehearing of the case, on the grounds that the preceding rulings of the court were openly and manifestly contrary to the weight of the evidence and contrary to law.  The motion for a rehearing was  overruled by an order  of September 8, 1909; exception was  taken by the applicants'  attorney, who afterwards  in due season filed the  required bill of exceptions.

This case deals with the inscription by the Court of Land Registration  of a large track of agricultural land situated in the pueblos of Paz and Tarlac, Province of Tarlac, which property consists of  eleven parcels specified  in detail in the plan Exhibit F.   This plan was presented subsequent to the presentation of  Exhibits A and B, for the reason that in these latter the said eleven parcels of land are not numbered.

We shall first take up the question of seven of the eleven parcels that form the total area of the land sought to be registered, inasmuch as these seven  parcels of land were legitimately acquired by the predecessors of the applicants, according to the documents exhibited to prove such acquisition, which are Exhibits Y, R,  LL, L, M, I, and E, and relate to the parcels designated in the plan Exhibit F, under the numbers 2, 4, 7, 8, 9,10, and 11.

The documents just above mentioned, exhibited by the applicants' counsel, furnish proof as to the manner  in which those seven parcels of land were acquired by their respective original owners, the predecessors  of the  applicants. Six of these documents  are of  a public character, as are the deeds of sale executed  by the administration on behalf of the State, and the seventh document is a title of ownership by  composition  with the State, likewise executed by  the administration  during  the preceding regime.   None  of these instruments were challenged or impugned  as  being false, either civilly or criminally, by any of  the opponents and no evidence was  offered  tending to invalidate them.

The judgment appealed from recognizes the  validity of the titles exhibited by the applicants to prove their ownership of the said seven parcels of  land,  designated under numbers 2, 4, 7, 8,  9, 10, and 11, and also recognizes  the correctness  of the respective  areas set out in each one of their titles of acquisition; but the court was unable to decree the registration of these  seven parcels of land for the reason that the total sum of their areas as aet forth in  the applicants' respective titles only amounts to 403  hectares, 99 ares, and 8 centares, which is much less than half of the aggregate areas specified in the amended application.   According  to  the  plans  presented by the  applicants under letters A, B and F,  these amount to 870 hectares, 18 ares, and 74 [73] centares.  There is consequently a difference of 466 hectares, 19 ares, and 65 centares.

Even though there be added to the sum of the areas of the said seven parcels of land, of 403 hectares, 99 ares, and 8 centares, the area of four other parcels of land designated in the plan Exhibit F, under the numbers 1, 3, 5, and 6, and with respect to which  neither the  applicants nor  any of their predecessors obtained  any title whatever from the State, and which four parcels contain 269 hectares  and 26 ares, there would be a total of but 674 hectares, 25 ares, and 8 centares; which compared with that of  870 hectares, 18 ares, and 73 centares, the area mentioned in the application and plans presented as  shown by the  record, there is seen that there would still be a difference of 195 hectares, 93 ares, and 65 centares.

However, even granting that there was but little accuracy in the measurements of the lands in litigation recorded in their titles, and that the public administrative officers during the previous sovereignty officially allowed,  as a tolerable error, 5 per cent of the excess so that when it exceeded this amount and was less than 15 per cent the  purchaser was entitled to the "composition" of the  surplus on payment of its price  determined by appraisal, 'nevertheless it is necessary that the plan be amended to conform with the respective titles of the said seven parcels of land, so that it may appear with certainty whether there was an excess through error and what area of land such excess comprises, for the purpose of ascertaining the rights of the applicants, in their relation to the State and to interested third parties. Valeriana Calivara, the immediate predecessor in interest of the applicants and the principal witness in this case, and the others  who testified in support of the former's claim, were unable exactly to determine the situation and  boundaries of each one  of the said seven parcels of land specified in the  plan, Exhibit F, numbered 2, 4, 7, 8,  9, 10 and 11,  or to explain how the surveyor who examined and surveyed the lands in question succeeded in determining and identifying each  parcel  in  accordance with  the  location, area and boundaries recorded in their respective titles, which titles, as the said Calivara testified, were taken into account by the surveyor in his operations and in making the plan; for, from the oral and documentary evidence of record in the case, it is found that the location, area, and boundaries of the lands  described in the titles exhibited by the counsel for the  applicants do not exactly coincide with the  plans presented, and, consequently, the identity of each of  those seven parcels of land was not proved, as is required to have been done by the  applicants in order that  the same might be registered in accordance with the law.

Article  9  of the old Mortgage Law in force  in  these Islands,  provides:
"Every  record  made in the registry shall contain the following details:

"1. The nature, location, and bounds of the  realty which is the subject of record, or which is affected by the interest which is to be recorded, its superficial area measured according to the standard used  in the country, and its equivalent in the metrical system, and its name and number, if they appear in the deed."
Article 63 of the General  Regulations for  the  enforcement of the said law, prescribes:
"To indicate  exactly  the estates or  rights which  are the subject matter of the records, Registrars shall act in accordance with the provisions contained in  article 9 of the  Law, subject  to the  following rules:

"First. The  character  of the  estate shall be  described, stating whether it is rural or city, and the  name by which such estates are known in the province or  town.

"Second. The location of the rural estates shall  be  fixed by a statement of the district,  subdistrict, or any other name by which the place in which they are located is known, their boundaries according to the four cardinal points, the character of the contiguous estate, and any details which will avoid  its being confounded with others.

"Third.  *  *  *

"Fourth. The superficial area shall be stated in the manner in which it  appears in  the  instrument, and with the denominations employed therein; but if said measurement does not appear in the instrument, this fact shall be stated in the record."
Section 36 of Act No. 496 of the Philippine Commission prescribes,  among other things,  the  following:
"The court may in any case before decree require a survey to be made for the purpose of determining boundaries, and may order durable bounds to be set, and referred to in the application, by amendment."
Section 24 of Act  No. 496, as amended by section  7 of Act No. 1875, prescribes that;
"The application may include  all the parcels of land or properties belonging to  the applicant, provided  they  are situated within the same province or city.  The court may at any time order an application to be amended by striking out one or more parcels or by severance  of the application."
It is a  well settled doctrine of the courts, that a person who seeks to register his title of ownership to certain  land in the Court of Land Registration, must, like another who brings an action for the recovery of possession, satisfactorily prove, not only his right of ownership, but also the identity of the land.   (Sison vs.  Ramos, 13 Phil.  Rep., 54, and Belen vs. Belen,  13 Phil. Rep., 202.)

The judgment  appealed from recognizes  the applicants' dominion  over, or right of  ownership to the said seven parcels of land, but, because the identity of each of them was not proved at the trial, in conformity with  their respective titles,  provision  was made for the amendment of the application to the end that, at the rehearing, the plan might be corrected and the parcels of land therein comprised identified, for their due inscription in the property registry.

The  merger of the eleven parcels of land,  all differing in area, location, boundaries, and methods  of acquisition combined to form one single tract, has given rise to the confusion  which has prevented the speedy settlement of  this case.  When the applicants petitioned for the registration of the seven parcels of land for which they hold title deeds, they sought at the same time  to register four other  parcels, without proper titles,  and for the purpose of forming one single tract of land, comprised within s. perimeter without  breach  of continuity, and  adjacent  one to  the other, filed with the  court a plan including the said eleven parcels in a  single tract, whereas  the  conditions surrounding the last  four are different from those affecting the first seven.

The application and plans exhibited by the counsel for the applicants contain  a declaration of a  larger area of  land than the total  of the respective areas of the parcels as set forth in each of the titles  thereto; and, in order that the greater area alleged may prevail over that contained in each title exhibited by the said applicants, it must be proven  that they  are owners of the land claimed.   It has not been explained  how  the aforementioned  seven  parcels of land, legally acquired, have now come to contain a large area.

Counsel for  the appellants, on page 9 of his brief, says that an ocular inspection of the land, or an order directing that the parcels of land found to belong to the applicants, be plainly marked on the plan, Exhibit F, would have been more expedient,  before the rendition of the judgment of August 9, 1909, appealed from, and that, had  such inspection  been made or such order issued, his clients would not have had to include in their appeal the lands which unquestionably belong to them.

This voluntary statement shows still more clearly that if the applicants' right of ownership to the before-mentioned seven parcels  of land is unquestionable their respective identity and location do not appear exactly determined in the three plans exhibited, especially in the plan Exhibit F, in respect to  the several titles oi ownership of the said parcels, issued to the predecessors of the applicants by the Spanish  Government.   It is therefore imperative that  a new  trial be held  for the  purpose indicated, to wit,  the identification of the properties sought to be registered.

With regard to the parcels of land designated in the plan Exhibit F, under the numbers 1, 3, 5, and 6, and to which reference is made in the documents marked Exhibit CC, V, O and EE, neither may they be registered, as solicited, inasmuch as it has not been shown that the applicants or their predecessors  in interest obtained from the State any title to them;  nor  does there appear to be any proof that they were in possession of the same as owners  since 1894, the date of the issuance of the decrees contained in  the documents Exhibits O, V,  and CC, and which prescribed that the parcels of land referred to  should be adjudicated to Cecilia Dominguez  del Rosario - inasmuch as the total price of the lands adjudicated was not paid, and for such reason they did not, in legal manner,  enter into the possession of the same.  And with respect to the  parcel of land concerned in the document Exhibit  EE, page 206 of the record, this instrument merely contains the report relative to the  expediency of the alienation of the land, sought to be obtained by the said Cecilia Dominguez, but says nothing of its sale or adjudication to her; therefore,  the  vendee not only did not enter into the possession of the land, but also did not acquire any right therein,  and so it was that her daughter, Valeriana Calivara, concluded by stating that she waived her claim to the adjudication of the said fourth parcel of land, as shown by document No. 3, page 225 of the record.

The said four documents in  no wise prove that the applicants were in possession of the said lands, although three of the parcels  may have been  adjudicated to one of their predecessors; nor does the record reveal  satisfactory proof that they held  such properties  together with the land not adjudicated, Exhibit EE, because no legal possession exists that could be considered as interrupted by force majeure, as a result of the insurrection which broke out during the last months of the year 1896.

As before stated, aside  from the lack  of a perfect title, issued  in due form, to the parcels  of land adjudicated to Cecilia Dominguez by a decree  of the Intendencia General de Hacienda, in 1894, the record does not show that the said three parcels of land referred to in the documents Exhibits  CC, V, and  O,  were identified;  hence, under no consideration could their entry be allowed upon the property registry,  and,  much less, the  inscription therein  of the fourth  parcel,  concerned  in  Exhibit EE which was not even adjudicated and the acquisition of which was expressly waived by Valeriana Calivara,  page 225 of the record, in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of section 54 of Act No.  926, those persons who duly justify their possession of the land, the  title  of  which was not perfected on  account of noncompliance with  certain requisites established by law and through no default  upon their part are the only ones entitled to perfect their titles.

In  order  to  show more clearly the  impropriety  of the registration, not only of the land referred to  in  Exhibit EE, but also of the lands concerned in the  decrees issued on behalf of the applicants and transcribed  in the documents Exhibits  CC, V, and 0, it is noted that the record bears no proof of Cecilia Dominguez having conveyed her rights in the three parcels of land  last mentioned to  Valeriana Calivara,  the applicants' predecessor in interest, for clause 6 of the document Exhibit G, found on page 83 of the  record, sets out no sale or conveyance to Calivara of  any rights which  Dominguez  may have acquired through  the adjudication of said lands.

In the additional brief of the appellants, petition  is also made for the dissolution of the writ of injunction issued on  behalf of the  twenty-four opponents  who made their appearance  in  this  case,  and it is alleged that  the latter have no right to any part of the land which is the subject of the application.

As it does not appear specifically determined whether the lands claimed by these twenty-four opponents who obtained the said writ of injunction, are or are not comprised  within the area of the parcels of land  provided with titles issued by the State  to some of the predecessors of the  applicants, which parcels are  those numbered 2, 4, 7,  8, 9, 10, and 11, in the plan Exhibit F, it is impossible, at the present time, to grant such dissolution.

For the foregoing reasons, it is proper, in our opinion, to affirm the judgment of August 9, 1909, and to reverse that of  the 30th of the same month and year.  Therefore, let the record in this case be returned to the  Court of Land Registration, with a certified copy of this  decision, in order that, after amendment of the application, which shall comprise only the seven parcels of land that are provided with legitimate titles and numbered in  the plan Exhibit F, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9,10, and 11, the judge of the lower court may proceed with a new trial, so that the applicants may  furnish a plan prepared  in  conformity with the titles of the said seven parcels  of land, which shall express the present location, area, superficial measurement and boundaries of each of them, and evidence be adduced  for the identification of the same.  As a  result of such  proceedings and of  the evidence previously taken, the court shall, in due season, render such judgment as may be deemed  proper under the law and in accordance with the merits.   It is inopportune at the present time to dissolve  the injunction issued on behalf of the  twenty-four  opponents, and  therefore  the motion  made by the counsel for the applicants, is denied. So ordered.

Mapa, Johnson, Carson, and Moreland,  JJ., concur.