549 SCRA – Civil Law – Land Titles and Deeds – Reconstitution of Title Not Formally Issued – Publication
In 1970, the Director of Lands in Camarines Sur filed a cadastral case. Norma Royales was a claimant and notice was published in the Official Gazette. In 1975, the lower court rendered a decree ordering the registration of lands in her name. But before the certificate of finality and the order directing for the issuance of the decree of registration can be issued, the Registry of Deeds of Camarines Sur was destroyed by fire.
27 years later, Royales applied for reconstitution. The lower court ruled in her favor. The petitioner averred that the ruling is invalid because the court did not acquire jurisdiction over the case because no publication was made. Under Section 10 of Act 3110, publication was necessary for the court to acquire jurisdiction over a petition for reconstitution of a final and executory decision in a cadastral case.
ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner is correct.
HELD: Yes. This is a cadastral proceeding for which a special procedure is provided. Section 10 of Act 3110 specifically provides that pending cadastral cases, if wished to be reconstituted, the court shall issue an order for all interested persons to re-file their claims anew. Such order shall be published in the Official Gazette.
The cadastral case, in the case at bar, is considered pended when the decree was not entered in the RD due to the fact that it was razed by fire.
However, There is no need to re-file the application anew from the start. Royales can just start from where the case left off. Publication just needs to be complied with.
NOTE: Purpose of Reconstitution
The whole theory of reconstitution is to reproduce or replace records lost or destroyed so that said records may be complete and court proceedings may continue from the point or stage where said proceedings stopped due to the loss of the records. The law contemplates different stages for purposes of reconstitution.
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