527 Phil. 264
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Register of Deeds of Quezon City or his duly authorized representative is hereby ordered to reconstitute the original title that was burned, destroyed or lost from the said owner's duplicate copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 261465 to be presented by herein petitioner or counsel upon FINALITY of this ORDER. Let copies of the same be furnished the Register of Deeds of Quezon City and the Land Registration Authority.In issuing said Order, Judge Tadeo noted that: the concerned government agencies, namely, the Office of the Solicitor General, the Land Registration Authority (LRA), the Register of Deeds of Quezon City, the Director of Lands, and the City Prosecutor of Quezon City were duly served copies of Galarosa's Petition for Reconstitution; a representative from the Office of the City Prosecutor appeared at the hearing and interposed no objection thereto; Galarosa caused the publication of the court order setting the case for hearing in the Official Gazette dated June 25, 1990, July 2, 1990, and July 6, 1990; said court order was also posted at the main entrance of the Quezon City Hall, the Bulletin Boards of the Quezon City courts, the Sheriff's Office and at the hall of the barangay where the property is located; the Register of Deeds also issued a certificate that the original copy of TCT No. 261465 was burned, destroyed, or lost when the Office of the Register of Deeds was gutted by fire on June 11, 1988; the owner's duplicate copy of TCT No. 261465 was brought and presented before the court and upon verification was found to be genuine and authentic. 
While it is true that the Register of Deeds earlier issued a certification, this does not bar said office from refusing to reconstitute because [of] the supervening event, that is, the discovery of the spuriousness of the signature of then Register of Deeds Nestor Peña, has materially changed the situation so that if reconstitution will be ordered by this Court of a non-existent certificate of title, the same will be inequitable and unjust because the Court will be made an instrument in impairing the integrity of the torrens system. Once reconstituted, the spurious title may be conveyed to third persons who are innocent of the infirmities of the title and will have no better right to ownership of the property. It is basic under R.A. No. 26 that for reconstitution to be effected, the title must have been duly issued by the Register of Deeds and destroyed while it was still in force. Since the title, therefore, was spurious because it was not duly issued by the Register of Deeds (whose signature was simulated) and the judicial form used in the Deeds of Ozamis City (not Quezon City), then there was no valid title on file with the Register of Deeds of Quezon City which was in force at the time of the burning of Quezon City Hall.In refusing to compel the Register of Deeds to effect the reconstitution, the trial court gave weight to the (1) manifestation of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City, Samuel C. Cleofe, stating that it had to deny reconstitution of the original of TCT No. 261465 based on the findings of the LRA Administrator that said title, subject of the order for reconstitution, is of doubtful authenticity; (2) the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) report finding that the signature that appears on TCT No. 261465 and the standard sample signatures of then Register of Deeds of Quezon City, Nestor Peña, were not written by one and the same person; and the (3) Consulta of LRA Administrator Teodoro C. Bonifacio stating that Serial Number 4055240 which appears on the face of the owner's duplicate certificate of TCT No. 261465, was not assigned to the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City but was issued to the Registry of Deeds of Ozamis City.
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the urgent motion is denied.
LRC Case No. Q-3536(90) of Branch 105 of this Court is conclusive of the rights of the parties herein. The main issue was finally decided in the Orders of 16 September 1993 and 19 April 1994, both issued in LRC Case No, Q-3536(90). As a consequence, it can not be litigated anew. The present action is thus barred by a prior judgment.Galarosa appealed to the CA claiming that the trial court erred in dismissing his complaint and in refusing to rule that his title is genuine. He then prayed that the Order dated February 16, 1998 be reversed and set aside and that a new order be issued annulling TCT No. 60405.
ACCORDINGLY, this case is dismissed. No costs.
A simple perusal of the case shows that there is no identity of cause of action. The first action is to reconstitute title, while the second one is for recovery of ownership, annulment of title with damages. There are other issues in the second case which must be resolved by the court. Hence, the first case cannot be considered as a bar to the resolution of the second case.The Abadillas filed a Motion for Reconsideration to no avail. Hence the present petition on the following grounds:
Even assuming however that the second case is barred by prior judgment, yet judging from the facts presented by the present case, it is beyond doubt that serious injustice will be committed if strict adherence to procedural rules were to be followed.
It is worthy to note that rules of procedure are but mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, such that when rigid application of the rules would tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice, this Court is empowered to suspend its operation.
The other errors raised by the plaintiff-appellant need not be resolved by this Court as the same may be threshed out in the appropriate action that appellant may file in the proper court to protect his interest. The appellant should have filed an action for cancellation of title. As held by the Court in the case of Republic vs. Court of Appeals, a torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked. The issue of validity of a torrens title, whether fraudulently issued or not, may be posed only in an action brought to impugn or annul it. Unmistakable, and cannot be ignored, is the germane provision of Section 48 of P.D. 1529, that a certificate of title can never be the subject of a collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified, or cancelled except in a direct proceeding instituted in accordance with law.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby GRANTED and the order appealed from is accordingly SET ASIDE.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECIDED QUESTIONS OF SUBSTANCE IN A WAY PROBABLY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND/OR WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT.Petitioners argue that: the CA erred in ruling that res judicata does not apply in this case as substantial identity of causes of action exists in the petition for reconstitution of title (LRC Case No. Q-3536) and in the action for recovery of ownership/annulment of title with damages (CV No. Q-97-31250); "genuineness of title" has to be alleged and established in both cases; respondent's complaint for recovery/annulment is a mere attempt to vary the form of action from the reconstitution case and thereby avoid the effects of the final and executory judgment in the latter; res judicata or bar by prior judgment forecloses not only matters squarely raised and litigated but all such matters which could have been raised in the litigation but were not; proceedings in the reconstitution case are conclusive on the rights of the parties, particularly as to whose title is genuine; respondent did not controvert the manifestation of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City, the findings of the NBI, the Consulta of the LRA Administrator, neither did he present evidence to the contrary; respondent also did not appeal the Orders of Judge Ulep dated September 16, 1993 and April 19, 1994 which have become final and executory; respondent deliberately suppressed facts which give rise to suspicion that he is a party to a fraudulent scheme to validate/legitimize fake titles; respondent anchored his right of ownership on a deed of absolute sale executed by one Wilfredo Gener, an alleged agent of the heirs of Don Mariano San Pedro y Esteban; Don Mariano's claim however was predicated upon a Spanish title, which is no longer countenanced as indubitable evidence of land ownership.B.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HAS SO FAR DEPARTED FROM THE ACCEPTED AND USUAL COURSE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS AS TO CALL FOR AN EXERCISE OF THE POWER OF SUPERVISION.DISCUSSIONI.
THE RTC OF QUEZON CITY, BRANCH 84, CORRECTLY DISMISSED CIVIL CASE NO. Q-97-31250 FOR BEING BARRED BY PRIOR JUDGMENT IN LRC CASE NO. Q-3536 (90) IN LIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING-
a) The principle of res judicata applies notwithstanding respondent's attempt to vary his form of action in Civil Case No. Q-97-31250;
b) Respondent filed Civil Case No. Q-97-31250 for recovery of ownership, annulment of title with damages to have his title validated in effect, in an indirect or subtle way of challenging the final and executory judgment in the reconstitution proceeding denominated as LRC Case No. Q-3536 wherein his title was declared as fake or spurious;
c) It was pointless for respondent to bring an action for recovery of ownership/annulment of title when he has not disproved the findings of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City, the NBI and the LRA Administrator that his title is fake or spurious;
d) Serious injustice will be caused not to respondent who holds a fake or spurious title, but to petitioners who have a genuine and valid title.
Sec. 47. Effect of judgment or final orders. —The effect of a judgment or final order rendered by a court of the Philippines having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or final order, may be as follows:Petitioners claim that the civil case for recovery of ownership should be barred by the orders of the trial court in the reconstitution proceedings; or at the very least, that the doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment be applied in this case.
x x x x
(b) In other cases, the judgment or final order is, with respect to the matter directly adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto, conclusive between the parties and their successors in interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or special proceeding, litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity; x x x
(c) In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors in interest, that only is deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment or final order which appears upon its face to have been so adjudged, or which was actually and necessarily included therein or necessary thereto.
[A] reconstitution of title is the re-issuance of a new certificate of title lost or destroyed in its original form and condition. It does not pass upon the ownership of the land covered by the lost or destroyed title. Any change in the ownership of the property must be the subject of a separate suit. Thus, although petitioners are in possession of the land, a separate proceeding is necessary to thresh out the issue of ownership of the land.In the Heirs of De Guzman Tuazon v. Court of Appeals the Court also explained that:
[I]n x x x reconstitution under Section 109 of P.D. No. 1529 and R.A. No. 26, the nature of the action denotes a restoration of the instrument which is supposed to have been lost or destroyed in its original form and condition. The purpose of the action is merely to have the same reproduced, after proper proceedings, in the same form they were when the loss or destruction occurred, and does not pass upon the ownership of the land covered by the lost or destroyed title. It bears stressing at this point that ownership should not be confused with a certificate of title. Registering land under the Torrens System does not create or vest title because registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership. A certificate of title is merely an evidence of ownership or title over the particular property described therein. Corollarily, any question involving the issue of ownership must be threshed out in a separate suit, which is exactly what the private respondents did when they filed Civil Case No. 95-3577 ["Quieting of Title and Nullification and Cancellation of Title"] before Branch 74. The trial court will then conduct a full-blown trial wherein the parties will present their respective evidence on the issue of ownership of the subject properties to enable the court to resolve the said issue. x x xWHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated May 28, 2001 and Resolution dated July 17, 2001 of the Court of Appeals setting aside the Order dated February 16, 1998 of the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 84 in Civil Case No. Q-97-31250, are AFFIRMED. The trial court is ordered to proceed with the trial of Civil Case No. Q-97-31250.