Jurisdiction over loss duplicate certificate

Time and again, it has been consistently ruled that when the owner's duplicate certificate of title has not been lost, but is in fact in the possession of another person, the reconstituted certificate is void, because the court that rendered the decision had no jurisdiction.[1] Reconstitution can validly be made only in case of loss of the original certificate.[2] Thus, the fact of loss of the duplicate certificate is jurisdictional.[3]
It must be recalled at this point that in a petition for the issuance of a new owner's duplicate copy of a certificate of title in lieu of one allegedly lost, the Regional Trial Court, acting only as a land registration court, has no jurisdiction to pass upon the question of actual ownership of the land covered by the lost owner's duplicate copy of the certificate of title.[4] Possession of a lost owner's duplicate copy of a certificate of title is not necessarily equivalent to ownership of the land covered by it. The certificate of title, by itself, does not vest ownership; it is merely an evidence of title over a particular property.[5]

In Manila v. Gallardo-Manzo,[6] the Supreme Court explained:
Lack of jurisdiction as a ground for annulment of judgment refers to either lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defending party or over the subject matter of the claim. In a petition for annulment of judgment based on lack of jurisdiction, petitioner must show not merely an abuse of jurisdictional discretion but an absolute lack of jurisdiction. Lack of jurisdiction means absence of or no jurisdiction, that is, the court should not have taken cognizance of the petition because the law does not vest it with jurisdiction over the subject matter. Jurisdiction over the nature of the action or subject matter is conferred by law.[7]
[1] Strait Times, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, supra note 22, at 219; Rexlon Realty Group, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 429 Phil. 31, 44 (2002); Eastworld Motor Industries Corporation v. Skunac Corporation, 514 Phil. 605, 606 (2005); Rodriguez v. Lim, 538 Phil. 609, 610 (2006); Villanueva v. Viloria, 572 Phil. 183, 189 (2008); Camitan v. Fidelity Investment Corporation, 574 Phil. 672, 673 (2008).
[2] Eastworld Motor Industries Corporation v. Skunac Corporation, supra note 26, 612; citing Republic v. Feliciano, 232 Phil. 391, 392 (1987).
[3] Camitan v. Court of Appeals, 540 Phil. 377, 378 (2006).
[4] Camitan v. Fidelity Investment Corporation, supra note 27, at 674, citing Macabalo-Bravo v. Macabalo, G.R. No. 144099, September 26, 2005.
[5] Rexlon Realty Group, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, supra note 27, at 34, citing Strait Times, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 356 Phil. 217, 220 (1998).
[6] 672 Phil. 460 (2011).
[7] Manila v. Gallardo-Manzo, supra, at 473.

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