Purpose of the Torrens system of registration

What is the real purpose of the Torrens system of registration? Agcaoili (2006) reports that the answer to this questions has been discussed by the Supreme Court in the 1915 case of Legarda v. Saleeby (G.R. No. 8936).

The Court said in that case that the real purpose of the Torrens system of land registration is to quiet title to land and to put a stop forever to any question of the legality of the title, except claims noted on the certificate at the time of registration or claims which may arise subsequent thereto.

That being the purpose of the law, according to jurisprudence, once a title is registered the owner may rest secure, without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting in the "mirador de su casa," to avoid the possibility of losing his land. While the proceeding is judicial, it involves more in its consequences than does an ordinary action.

All the world are parties, including the government, in a land registration proceeding. After the registration is complete and final and there exists no fraud, there are no innocent third parties who may claim an interest. The rights of all the world are foreclosed by the decree of registration. The certificate of registration accumulates in one document a precise and correct statement of the exact status of the fee (estate of land) held by its owner. The certificate, in the absence of fraud, is the evidence of title and shows exactly the real interest of its owner. The title once registered, with very few exceptions, should not thereafter be impugned, altered, changed, modified, enlarged, or diminished, except in some direct proceeding permitted by law.
Put a little differently, the Torrens system aims to decree land titles that shall be final, irrevocable, and indisputable, and to relieve the land of the burden of known as well as unknown claims. If there exists known and just claims against the title of the applicant for the registration of his land under the Torrens systems, he gains nothing in effect by his registration, except in the simplicity of subsequent transfers of his title. The registration either relieves the land of all known as well as unknown claims absolutely, or it compels the claimants to come into court and to make there a record, so that thereafter there may be no uncertainty concerning either the character or the extent of such claims.

In discussing the Torrens Land Law, we must keep in mind that its primary purpose is the registration of the title which the applicant or petitioner has and to relieve his land of unknown liens or claims, just or unjust, against it. The Torrens system of land registration is a system for the registration of title to land only, and not a system established for the acquisition of land. It is not intended that lands may be acquired by said system of registration. It is intended only that the title, which the petitioner has, shall be registered and thereby cleared of all liens and burdens of whatsoever character, except those which shall be noted in the order of registration and in the certificate issued. (Roxas v. Enriquez. G.R. No. 8539)

The discussion above is based on Agcaoili (2006)'s outline in his book on Land Titles and Deeds. His books are available in find bookstores nationwide. SOURCE: Agcaoili (2006). Property Registration Decree and Related Laws (Land Titles and Deeds). Oswaldo D. Agcaoili, Former Associate Justice, Court of Appeals. ISBN 10: 971-23-4501-7. ISBN 13: 978-971-23-4501-2. Rex Book Store. https://www.rexestore.com/law-library-essentials/279-property-registration-decree-and-related-laws.html

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