Civil Law

Lourdes Pascua vs Republic of the Philippines

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545 SCRA 186 – Civil Law – Land Titles and Deeds –¬†Reconstitution of Title – Original Certificate of Title

Lourdes Pascua petitioned for the reconstitution of the original title of a parcel of land (Lot 3209) located in Pagsanjan, Laguna. She said that the lot was sold to her parents in 1930 by a certain Limuaco who earlier acquired the land via a cadastral proceeding. However, in the Deed of Absolute Sale between Limuaco and Pascua’s parents, it was indicated that the land was unregistered. Also, because of the war, the original copy as well as the duplicates were destroyed.

Pascua presented as evidence the said Deed of Sale as well as a tracing cloth plan and technical description and a tax declaration. She claimed that the land issued to Limuaco was pursuant to a cadastral decree. And that she has been paying taxes however the land reflecting on the tax declaration is Lot No. 19-pt. Pascua averred that Lot No. 19-pt is one and the same as Lot 3209; that Lot 19-pt was the Assessor’s designation to the same land when the cadastral survey was made but when the decree was issued, it was turned to Lot 3209.

The lower court denied her petition due to lack of evidence. She was not able to prove that Lot 19-pt is the same as Lot 3209.

ISSUE: Whether or not to grant Pascua’s petition.

HELD: No. The evidence presented by Pascua to grant reconstitution are not those included in Section 2 of RA 26 which provides:

SEC. 2. Original certificates of title shall be reconstituted from such of the sources hereunder enumerated as may be available in the following order:

(a) The owner’s duplicate of the certificate of title;

(b) The co-owner’s, mortgagee’s, or lessee’s duplicate of the certificate of title;

(c) A certified copy of the certificate of title, previously issued by the register of deeds or by a legal custodian thereof;

(d) An authenticated copy of the decree of registration or patent, as the case may be pursuant to which the original certificate of title was issued;

(e) A document, on file in the Registry of Deeds by which the property, the description of which is given in said document, is mortgaged, leased or encumbered, or an authenticated copy of said document showing that its original has been registered; and

(f) Any other document which, in the judgment of the court, is sufficient and proper basis for reconstituting the lost or destroyed certificate of title.

Further, she presented two tax declarations: one pertaining to her parents’ and the other to hers. Her parents’ tax declaration failed to reflect any Lot No. while hers reflected Lot No. 19-pt. It cannot be legally concluded that the land is one and the same. She was not able to adduce any additional document to prove her claim.

Even if Lot No 3209 and Lot 19-pt are one and the same, no title can still be reconstituted to Pascua because there is no convincing evidence that a certificate of title was ever issued for either land. Note that even the Deed of Sale between Limuaco and Pascua’s parents indicated that the land is unregistered.

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