Extinctive Prescription & Torrens System

Likewise, the claim of respondents that they became owners of the property by acquisitive prescription has no merit. Truth to tell, respondents cannot successfully invoke the argument of extinctive prescription. They cannot be deemed the owners by acquisitive prescription of the portion of the property they have been possessing. The reason is that the property was covered by OCT No. 352. A title once registered under the torrens system cannot be defeated even by adverse, open and notorious possession; neither can it be defeated by prescription. It is notice to the whole world and as such all persons are bound by it and no one can plead ignorance of the registration.
The torrens system is intended to guarantee the integrity and conclusiveness of the certificate of registration, but it cannot be used for the perpetration of fraud against the real owner of the registered land. The system merely confirms ownership and does not create it. Certainly, it cannot be used to divest the lawful owner of his title for the purpose of transferring it to another who has not acquired it by any of the modes allowed or recognized by law. It cannot be used to protect a usurper from the true owner, nor can it be used as a shield for the commission of fraud; neither does it permit one to enrich himself at the expense of another. Where such an illegal transfer is made, as in the case at bar, the law presumes that no registration has been made and so retains title in the real owner of the land.

Although the Supreme Court confirms here the invalidity of the deed of donation and of its resulting TCT No. 44481, the controversy between the parties is yet to be fully settled. The issues as to who truly are the present owners of the property and what is the extent of their ownership remain unresolved. The same may be properly threshed out in the settlement of the estates of the registered owners of the property, namely: spouses Simeon Doronio and Cornelia Gante. (G.R. No. 169454; December 27, 2007)