CASE DIGEST: Castillo vs. Republic

G.R. No. 182980: June 22, 2011




Bienvenidofiled on 7 March 2002 a Petition for Reconstitution and Issuance of Second Owners Copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No.T-16755.

The trial court furnished the Land Registration Authority (LRA) with a duplicate copy of Bienvenidos petition and its Annexes, with a note stating that "No Tracing Cloth of Plan [sic] and Blue print of plan attached."As requested by the LRA in its letter dated 17 April 2002,7the trial court ordered Bienvenido to submit within 15 days from receipt of the order (a) the original of the technical description of the parcel of land covered by the lost/destroyed certificate of title, certified by the authorized officer of the Land Management Bureau/Land Registration Authority and two duplicate copies thereof, and (b) the sepia film plan of the subject parcel of land prepared by a duly licensed Geodetic Engineer, who shall certify thereon that its preparation was made on the basis of a certified technical description, and two blue print copies thereof. Bienvenido Complied with the order.

The trial court, in an order dated 7 August 2002, ordered Bienvenido to supply the names and addresses of the occupants of the subject property.Bienvenido Manifested that there is no actual occupant in the subject property.

On 4 October 2002, the trial court issued an order which found Bienvenidos petition sufficient in form and substance and set the same for hearing.

Copies of the 4 October 2002 order were posted on three bulletin boards: at the Bulacan Provincial Capitol Building, at the Pulilan Municipal Building, and at the Bulacan Regional Trial Court. The 4 October 2002 order was also published twice in the Official Gazette: on 13 January 2003 (Volume 99, Number 2, Pages 237 to 238), and on 20 January 2003 (Volume 99, Number 3, Pages 414 to 415).After two cancellations,a hearing was conducted on 12 March 2003.

Fernando Castillo (Fernando),Bienvenido's Son and attorney-in-fact, testified on his fathers behalf.

Upon presentation of the photocopy of TCT No.T-16755, Fernando stated that the title was issued in the names of his parents,Bienvenido Castillo and FelisaCruz (Felisa), and that his mother died in 1982. Fernando did not mention any sibling. Fernando further testified that on 6 February 2002,Bienvenido executed an Affidavit of Loss which stated that he misplaced the owners copy of the certificate of title sometime in April 1993 and that all efforts to locate the same proved futile. The title is free from all liens and encumbrances, and there are no other persons claiming interest over the land.

The LRA submitted a Report dated 25 July 2003, portions of which the trial court quoted in its Decision.

On 3 October 2003, the trial court promulgated its Decision in favor of Bienvenido.

On 23 October 2007, the appellate court rendered its Decision which reversed the 3 October 2003 Decision of the trial court.

ISSUE: Whether the Trial Court acquired jurisdiction over the case


CIVIL LAW: Land Titles, Reconstitution of Title

Section 12 of R.A. No. 26 describes the requirements for a petition for reconstitution.

We compared the requirements of Section 12 to the allegations in Bienvenidos petition.Bienvenidos Petition complied with items (a), (b), (f) and (g): in paragraph 5 of the petition, he alleged the loss of his copy of TCT No. T-16755; paragraph 6 declared that no co-owners copy of the duplicate title has been issued; paragraph 10 stated that the property covered by the lost TCT is free from liens and encumbrances; and paragraph 11 stated that there are no deeds or instruments presented for or pending registration with the Register of Deeds. There was substantial compliance as to item (c): the location of the property is mentioned in paragraph 2; while the boundaries of the property, although not specified in the petition, refer to an annex attached to the petition. The petition did not mention anything pertaining to item (d). There was a failure to fully comply with item (e). By Fernandos admission, there exist two other co-owners of the property covered by TCT No.T-16755.Fernandos siblings Emma and Elpidio were not mentioned anywhere in the petition.

Section 13 of R.A. No. 26 prescribes the requirements for a notice of hearing of the petition.

The trial courts 4 October 2002 Order was indeed posted in the places mentioned in Section 13, and published twice in successive issues of the Official Gazette: Volume 99, Number 2 dated 13 January 2003 and Volume 99, Number 3 dated 20 January 2003. The last issue was released by the National Printing Office on 21 January 2003.The notice, however, did not state Felisa as a registered co-owner. Neither did the notice identify Fernandos siblings Emma and Elpidio as interested parties.

The non-compliance with the requirements prescribed in Sections 12 and 13 of R.A. No. 26 is fatal. Hence, the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the petition for reconstitution.