Registration of land owned by corporations sole


It can be noticed that the power of a corporation sole to purchase real property is not restricted although the power to sell or mortgage sometimes is, depending upon the rules, regulations, and discipline of the church concerned represented by the corporation sole.

If corporations sole can purchase and sell real estate for its church, charitable, benevolent, or educational purposes, can they register said real properties? As provided by law, lands held in trust for specific purposes may be subject of registration, and the capacity of a corporation sole to register lands belonging to it is acknowledged, and title thereto may be issued in its name (Bishop of Nueva Segovia vs. Insular Government, 26 Phil. 300-1913).

Indeed, it is absurd that while the corporations sole that might be in need of acquiring lands for the erection of temples where the faithful can pray, or schools and cemeteries which they are expressly authorized by law to acquire in connection with the propagation of the Roman Catholic Apostolic faith or in furtherance of their freedom of religion could not register said properties in their name. As professor Javier J. Nepomuceno very well says "Man in his search for the immortal and imponderable, has, even before the dawn of recorded history, erected temples to the Unknown God, and there is no doubt that he will continue to do so for all time to come, as long as he continues 'imploring the aid of Divine Providence'" (Nepomuceno's Corporation Sole, VI Ateneo Law Journal, No. 1, p. 41, September, 1956).
Under the circumstances of this case, it may safely be stated that even before the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth and of the Republic of the Philippines every corporation sole then organized and registered had by express provision of law the necessary power and qualification to purchase in its name private lands located in the territory in which it exercised its functions or ministry and for which it was created, independently of the nationality of its incumbent unique and single member and head, the bishop of the dioceses. It can be also maintained without fear of being gainsaid that the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church in the Philippines has no nationality and that the framers of the Constitution, as will be hereunder explained, did not have in mind the religious corporations sole when they provided that 60 per centum of the capital thereof be owned by Filipino citizens.

There could be no controversy as to the fact that a duly registered corporation sole is an artificial being having the right of succession and the power, attributes, and properties expressly authorized by law or incident to its existence (section 1, Corporation Law). In outlining the general powers of a corporation. Public Act. No. 1459 provides among others:

SEC. 13. Every corporation has the power:

(5) To purchase, hold, convey, sell, lease, lot, mortgage, encumber, and otherwise deal with such real and personal property as the purpose for which the corporation was formed may permit, and the transaction of the lawful business of the corporation may reasonably and necessarily require, unless otherwise prescribed in this Act... (G.R. No. L-8451. December 20, 1957)

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