The government agency that deals with land, land-management, land-titles and everything else land-related should be investigated. Someone or some people within that agency is doing dishonest, anomalous, destructive forgeries and certifications without thinking of the consequences of their actions. Again, we can see the outrageous and unbelievable claims being made by Rosendo Manahan & Felicitas Manahan. They should really be investigated and all those involved in this land-grabbing scam should be exposed and put to justice. This is not good for the honest investing public and honest landowners.
Torrens title vs. deed of conveyance
The Court of Appeals is faced with a choice between a Torrens title of the heirs of Severino Manotok over a 34-hectare prime land they have been in possession of since 1919 and a deed of conveyance claimed to have been issued to the heirs of Vicente Manahan on April 17, 2000.
The Manahans are now saying that their deed was issued by the Land Management Bureau over lot No. 823 of the vast Piedad Estate.
How the LMB issued the deed in spite of the existence of a Torrens title in the name of Severino Manotok is another question that the Court should find an answer to after examining the evidence presented by the contending parties.
The Manahans filed an intervention in September 2006 claiming that on the basis of a deed of conveyance Vicente Manahan allegedly purchased the property from the Republic of the Philippines which issued sales certificate No. 511.
I failed to notice the dates of the purchase of the property by Vicente Manahan and the dates of issuance of the certificate of sale which was the basis of the deed of conveyance.
I also failed to see the date of the issuance of deed of conveyance.
The land dispute was originally and still is between the heirs of Severino Manotok and the heirs of Homer Barque.
The dispute started with the Land Registration Commission, on to the Court of Appeals and finally to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court upheld the claim of the heirs of Homer Barque. Two motions for reconsideration were denied leaving the Barques with what they thought was their right to file a petition for the cancellation of the title of the Manotoks and for the issuance of a new title in favor of the Barques.
In fairness to the Court, it granted a petition for en banc orals by the Manotoks.
The Court finally decided to remand the case to the Court of Appeals where it originated although there is a law that states that judicial reconstitution is an original and exclusive function of the Regional Trial Court.
From what I can understand from this decision, the Manotoks have to prove the genuineness of their title.
The appellate court has the duty to submit to the Supreme Court its finding of facts and the applicable laws.
The establishment of the facts is a function of the Regional Trial Court but the Court of Appeals can also review finding of facts which it already did when, after initially denying the petitions for review of the heirs of Homer Barque, two of its divisions made an identical ruling upholding the claim of the Barques.
It is on record that Severino Manotok and later his successors in interest or heirs have been occupying the property and paying taxes on it since he was granted the Torrens title to the land in 1919.
The Manotok family has introduced improvements on the land. On the other hand, neither the Manahans nor the Barques and their heirs ever questioned the possession of the land by the Manotoks. Not until the records of the register of deeds of Quezon City went up in smoke sometime in 1988. It took the Barques several years until 1996 after the fire to file a petition for reconstitution with the Land Registration Administration.
Again at the risk of being cited for contempt, I dare say it is beyond me and many others to understand why the heirs of Barque and Manahan allowed the Manotoks to be in continued possession of the property from the time Severino Manotok was issued a Torrens title in 1919.
Didn’t either the Barques or the Manahans know that they in effect allowed the Manotoks to possess their property for almost a hundred years and benefiting immensely from it?
Realtors estimate that the 34-hectare prime property in Quezon City now commands a price of at least P5 billion.
Torrens title vs. deed of conveyance
The land dispute among the Manotoks, Barques and Manahans is clearly a question of which documents the Court of Appeals shall consider authentic and superior over the others.
The Manotoks maintain that they have Torrens title issued to Severino Manotok as early as 1919 and have been in possession of and paying taxes on the land since then.
On the other hand, the Manahans are basically relying on the Deed of Conveyance which they said is derived from a Certificate of Sale. The Certificate is made to appear that Vicente Manahan bought the 34-hectare property, known as lot No. 823 from the Republic of the Philippines.
On the other hand, the Barques who never set foot on the land occupied and improved by the Manotoks since 1919 and paying taxes on it, suddenly came from nowhere in the 1990s and filed a petition for the reconstitution of their alleged title which they claimed was lost to a fire in 1988.
Initially, the LRA denied the Barques petition but later turned around and approved it. The same turning around happened in the Court of Appeals acting on the separate petitions for review of the Manotoks and the Barques. These acts, initially administrative since these originated from IRA and later judicial when the CA took over acting on petitions for review, directly assaulted the Torrens title of the Manotoks without giving weighty evidence except some tax payments which were made only in the 1990’s.
It must be explained very clearly that the Manotoks knew that their original title of the 34-hectare property was lost in a 1988 fire that gutted the office of the register of deeds of Quezon City.
They acted more quickly than the heirs of Home Bargue in the sense that three years after the fire they were issued a reconstituted title in 1991 without the Barques and the Manahans raising a question.
On the other hand, the Barques who, it must be repeatedly said, never knew the terrain of the land because they had never set foot on it, filed a petition for reconstitution on what they claimed was their original title lost to the same fire, only in 1996.
The petition of the Barques was filed with the Land Registration Commission five years after the Manahans secured a similar reconstituted title over the same property.
How the LRA first denied the petition of the Barques and later approved it after the Manotoks were issued a similar reconstituted title five years before is another question that the Court of Appeals must answer.
There are curious matters that continue to attend this case such that back in the LRA, there were suggestions that powerful people were interceding for the Manahans.