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423 Phil. 67


[ G.R. No. 133547, December 07, 2001 ]


[G.R. No. 133843]




For resolution are the Motions for Reconsideration of our Decision dated February 10, 2000, filed by petitioners Heirs of Antonio Pael, Andrea Alcantara and Crisanto Pael in G.R. No 133547, and petitioner Maria Destura in G.R. No 133843 Likewise, the University of the Philippines filed a motion for intervention.

It is at once apparent that no new issues are raised in the motions for reconsideration. The arguments presented are a mere rehash of what have been said and reiterated in the pleadings, all of which have been considered and found without merit in the Decision now assailed.

Be that as it may, it bears reiterating that the title of PFINA Properties, Inc., Transfer Certificate of Title No. 186662, was irregularly and illegally issued. As such, the reinstatement of the titles of private  respondents was proper and did not constitute a collateral attack on the title of PFINA. It should be recalled that the transfer of title from the Heirs of Pael in favor of PFINA was replete with badges of fraud and irregularities which rendered nugatory and inoperative the existing doctrines on land registration and land titles. More important, the Heirs of Pael had earlier disposed of their rights. There was nothing to transfer to PFINA. The transfer was not only fictitious, it was void.

PFINA claims that it acquired the properties from the Heirs of Pael by virtue of a deed of assignment dated January 25, 1983, hence, it filed a motion to intervene before the Court of Appeals. It is worthy to note, however, that before it filed its motion for intervention, or for a long period of fifteen (15) years, PFINA and the Heirs of Pael were totally silent about the alleged deed of assignment. No steps were taken by either of them to register the deed or secure transfer certificate of title evidencing the change of ownership during this long period of time.

Furthermore, at the time PFINA acquired the disputed properties in 1983, its corporate name was PFINA Mining and Exploration, Inc., a mining company which had no valid grounds to engage in the highly speculative business of urban real estate development.

Both the decisions of the Court of Appeals and this Court show that  the alleged transfer in 1983 was not only dubious and fabricated; it could produce no legal effect.  As stated above, the Paels were no longer owners of the land they allegedly assigned.

In the Decision, we affirmed the factual findings of the Court of Appeals because they are amply supported by the evidence on record. Well established is the rule that if there is no showing of error in the appreciation of facts by the Court of Appeals, this Court treats them as conclusive. The conclusions of law which the Court of Appeals drew from those facts are likewise accurate and convincing.

Insofar as the original parties in G.R. Nos. 133547 and 133843 are concerned, the motions for reconsideration are, therefore, denied with finality. No further pleadings from them will be entertained.

During the pendency of the motions for reconsideration, the University of the Philippines filed a motion for intervention, alleging that the properties covered by TCT No. 52928 and No. 52929 in the name of respondents Chin and Mallari form part of the vast tract of land that is the U.P. Campus, which is registered in the name of U.P. under TCT No. 9462. Therefore, any pronouncement by this Court affecting the properties would create a cloud over U.P.'s title, for which reason it had a right to intervene in these proceedings.

While as a rule, the intervention of a new party at this late stage should no longer be allowed, there is in the cases at bar an inescapable issue waiting to be resolved, and which issue can be taken up herein without the necessity of separate proceedings.

In Director of Lands vs. Court of Appeals,[1] this Court stated:
But Rule 12 of the Rules of Court like all other Rules therein promulgated, is simply a rule of procedure, the whole purpose and object of which is to make the powers of the Court fully and completely available for justice. The purpose of procedure is not to thwart justice. Its proper aim is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of contending parties. It was created not to hinder and delay but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice. It does not constitute the thing itself which courts are always striving to secure to litigants. It is designed as the means best adopted to obtain that thing. In other words, it is a means to an end.

The denial of the motions for intervention arising from the strict application of the rule due to alleged lack of notice to, or the alleged failure of, movants to act seasonably will lead the Court to commit an act of injustice to the movants, to their successors-in-interest and to all purchasers for value and in good faith and thereby open the door to fraud, falsehood and misrepresentation, should intervenors' claims be proven to be true. For it cannot be gainsaid that if the petition for reconstitution is finally granted, the chaos and confusion arising from a situation where the certificates of title of the movants covering large areas of land overlap or encroach on properties the title to which is being sought to be reconstituted by private respondent, who herself indicates in her Opposition that, according to the Director of Lands, the overlapping embraces some 87 hectares only, is certain and inevitable. xxx xxx xxx.
Likewise in the case of Mago v. Court of Appeals,[2] it was held:
These matters should have been taken into account by the courts a quo for being of utmost importance in ruling on petitioners' motion for intervention. The permissive tenor of the provision on intervention shows the intention of the Rules to give to the court the full measure of discretion in permitting or disallowing the same. But needless to say, this discretion should be exercised judiciously and only after consideration of all the circumstances obtaining in the case.

But it is apparent that the courts a quo only considered the technicalities of the rules on intervention and of the petition for relief from judgment. The denial of their motion to intervene arising from the strict application of the rule was an injustice to petitioners whose substantial interest in the subject property cannot be disputed. It must be stressed that the trial court granted private respondent's petition for prohibition with injunction without petitioners being impleaded, in total disregard of their right to be heard, when on the face of the resolution of the Community Relations and Information Office (CRIO) sought to be enjoined, petitioners were the ones directly to be affected. We need not belabor the point that petitioners are indeed indispensable parties with such an interest in the controversy or subject matter that a final adjudication cannot be made in their absence without affecting, nay injuring, such interest.
Therefore, notwithstanding its belated filing, the motion for intervention of U.P. is granted, albeit the adjudication thereof shall be limited to a determination of the alleged overlapping or encroachment between U.P.'s title, on the one hand, and respondents' TCT Nos. 52928 and 52929, on the other hand.

In its comment, intervenor U.P. cites several cases decided by this Court wherein its title to the property contested in these cases has long been upheld, namely:
Tiburcio v. PHHC and U.P., 106 Phil. 477;
Galvez and Tiburcio v. Tuason, dela Paz, U.P. and PHHC, 10 SCRA 344;
PHHC and U.P. v. Mencias, 20 SCRA 1031;
Katigbak v. IAC, Director of Lands and U.P., G.R. No. L67414, December 7, 1988;
Varsity Hills, Inc. v. Mariano, 163 SCRA 132;
Roberto A. Pael, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 97277, April 15, 1992; and
Krus na Ligas Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative v. U.P. and Office of the Presidential Legal Assistant, G.R. No. 107622, March 23, 1993.
Intervenor U.P. specifically cites the decision in Roberto A. Pael et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al., supra, wherein the title of the Paels was declared to be of dubious origin and a fabrication. Hence, since respondents derive their titles from a defective title, their titles should also be null and void.

By way of historical backgrounder, intervenor U.P. narrates that its titles previously covered by TCT No. 9462 emanated from a sale by the Commonwealth of the Philippines to the University in 1949. Prior to that, the U.P. title can be traced back to OCT No. 730 in the name of Mariano Severo Tuason and others as early as 1914.

On the other hand, respondents Chin and Mallari contend that their titles, TCT Nos. 52928 and 52929, cover lands which are outside of the properties validly and legitimately owned by, and titled in the name of, U.P. They claim that there is neither encroachment nor overlapping.

Considering the conflicting claims by U.P. and respondents, the ascertainment of boundaries of the lands they respectively claim becomes imperative. The instant cases have altogether taken more than eight (8) years. Despite the exceedingly voluminous records, the boundaries of the properties covered by the disputed titles of respondents and the boundaries of the lands covered by the title of U.P. are not discussed therein. In order to avoid the institution of new cases and thus obviate further litigation, we deem it best to have any conflict and dispute on this matter speedily resolved through an intervention. Concomitantly, there is a need for reception of further evidence which, however, can not be done before this Court. Hence, this case should be remanded to the Court of Appeals for reception of evidence relevant to determining the boundaries of the conflicting claims between U.P. and respondents Chin and Mallari over the property in dispute.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the motion for intervention of the University of the Philippines is GRANTED. The case is REMANDED to the Court of Appeals for reception of evidence on the conflicting claims over the property covered by TCT Nos. 52928 and 52929 between the intervernor University of the Philippines, on the one hand, and respondents Jorge H. Chin and Renato B. Mallari, on the other hand. The motions for reconsideration filed by petitioners are DENIED for lack of merit. This denial is FINAL and no further pleadings from petitioners will be entertained.


Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Pardo, JJ., concur.

[1] 93 SCRA 238 [1979].

[2] 303 SCRA 600 [1999].

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