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[ GR No. 26323, Nov 12, 1926 ]



49 Phil. 596

[ G. R. No. 26323, November 12, 1926 ]




This is a petition for a writ of certiorari, the petitioners alleging that the respondent court exceeded its jurisdiction in granting a  petition for the review  of a judgment in cadastral case No. 6 of the Province of Nueva Ecija, adjudicating  to said petitioners lot No. 419 of that case.

It appears from the record that in the  year 1908, the respondents San Pedro filed applications for homesteads on certain portions  of the lot mentioned.  In  1910, the petitioners Grospe instituted proceedings in case No. 7579 of the now  defunct Court of Land Registration for the registration of the  land in their  names, and in the month of April, 1912, a decree was entered in their favor, the corresponding  certificate of title being issued  on the 29th of the same month.   The herein respondents  San Pedro filed a petition for review under section 38 of the Land Registration Act, alleging that the petitioners in the registration case had with  fraudulent intent failed to state  in the petition that Egmidio and Juan San Pedro were occupants of the land in question, and that, as a consequence, no notification of the proceedings had been  received by them. The petition for review was granted by a decision of the Supreme Court promulgated March 18,1915,[1] the case being remanded to the court below for a new trial.   Before a new trial was had, the survey for the aforesaid  case No. 6 was initiated and the parties agreed to have their claims adjudicated in the cadastral case.

At the hearing of the case the herein respondents San Pedro failed to  present their  claims to the land in question and did not appear.  The herein petitioners did appear and filed  their answer, and on July 10, 1918,  a decision was rendered ordering the registration of the land in their favor.

On January 3,  1920, Egmidio and Juan San Pedro filed a motion for  review of that part of the  decision in the  cadastral case, which related to lot No. 419, alleging that they had" received no notice of the  hearing of  said  case; that they were not served with copies of the herein petitioners' answer or claim, and received no notice of the decision of the court.

On January 81, 1920, the  petition for a review was granted, the order to that effect reading as follows:
"In  the next  to the  last page of proceeding No, 7579 of the abolished Court of Land  Registration, there is  an agreement dated May 22, 1917, which reads as follows:

" 'Come now the parties through their respective counsel, and  by mutual agreement pray the court  for the continuance  of the  case which is set  for hearing on the 31st instant, and for a  hearing of this case as a part of the cadastral proceeding of Talavera"

"The land in  question, which was included in cadastral proceeding No.  6  of the municipality of Talavera  as  lot No. 419  was surveyed.  Trial was held  in regard to said lot without any  notice having been given to the opponents in proceeding  No. 7579, pursuant to the foregoing agreement.  Evidence was, therefore,  introduced  by  the applicants Anselmo Grospe et al., the opponents not having been able to introduce  their  evidence in cadastral  proceeding No.  6, and  decision  was rendered  on July  1,  1918, adjudicating lot  No. 419  to Agapita Villados  and Anselmo Grospe and the latter's brothers.  No final decree has been entered up to this time.

"The opponents in that proceeding  (7579)  now come to the court, alleging fraud and applying for a revision in this  proceeding.

"The court is  of the opinion that fraud was really committed by the applicants in proceeding No. 7579, not having notified the opponents of the date of the trial and not having mentioned, in their claim  filed  in the cadastral proceeding,  the fact that the land claimed by them was also claimed by the said opponents; and, therefore, it is ordered that a revision be made of the proceeding as to lot No. 419 and that the case be reopened."
No further action was taken neither by the court nor by the parties until over four  years later,  when the  herein respondents, on  June 18, 1924, filed a motion in the Court of First Instance praying that the order above quoted be set aside on the ground that the petition for a review had been  presented  after the expiration of a  year  from the date of the decision or order for registration,  and that, therefore, the court was without jurisdiction to  grant the petition; that, moreover, upon the authority of  the decision in the case of Ruiz vs. Lacsamana  (32 Phil., 650), the failure to personally notify the respondents of the hearing of the cadastral case was not fraud and did not constitute sufficient ground for granting the review.  On October 16, 1924, another motion was filed in which the petitioners reiterated the allegations of the motion of June 18, with the additional allegation that the respondents did not claim title to the land, and that, therefore, the Director of Lands was the real party in interest; that said Director  of Lands had  been duly notified,  and  that he appeared in the cadastral  case.  Both motions were denied  in an order  dated November  5, 1924.

The present action was not brought until July  31, 1926. The petitioners allege most of the facts hereinbefore stated and contend that the petition for the review of the decision of July 10, 1918, was presented on January 3, 1920, more than one year after the promulgation of said decision, and that, therefore,  under the provisions of section 38  of the Land Registration  Act, the court had no jurisdiction to entertain said petition.  It  is further contended that no sufficient grounds were shown for the granting of the petition for review, and that, consequently, the order of January 31, 1920,  granting the review was  contrary to law, null and void.

The respondents, in their answer,  do not  specifically deny the allegations of the petition, but argue that the petition for the review of the decision of July 10, 1918, was presented in time inasmuch as no final decree had been entered and that, in any event, the herein petitioners having failed to appeal from  the order granting the review, that order has  become  final  and  its validity  cannot now be questioned.

The questions at issue may be disposed of in very few words.  In the case of Rivera vs. Moran  (48 Phil,  836), this court held that a  petition for a review under section 38  of the Land Registration Act  may be presented at any time  after the rendition  of  the  judgment or  decision of  registration  and  before  the  expiration of one year from the entry of the final decree.  The respondents' petition for review  was  therefore presented in time.  As to the effect of the  failure of the herein petitioners to appeal from the order granting the review, it is to  be  noted that the order was  not a  final  determination of  the title to the land and that, while an appeal from it might possibly have been  admitted, the better practice was undoubtedly to except  to  the order and await the final determination of the controversy  before bringing  the  matter  up to this court on  appeal.  The petitioners  having  taken  due exception, there is nothing to prevent them from raising the question of the illegality of the order for review on appeal from a possibly adverse decision  rendered upon the termination of the new trial ordered by the court below.   Such appeal being an adequate remedy and  the petitioners not having lost their right thereto, certiorari will not  lie.

The petition in the present case is therefore denied with the costs against the petitioners.  So ordered.

Avanceña,  C. J.,  Johnson, Street, Villamor, Johns, Romualdez, and Villa-Real, JJ., concur.

[1] G.R. No. 8812, Grospe vs. San Pedro and San Pedro, not reported.