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Bornales vs Intermediate Appellate Court
166 scra 512, 1988 October 18
Land Titles and Deeds – Indefeasibility of a Torrens title; Purchase from one who procured title by FRAUD
In 1927, Sixto Dumolong and his legal wife Isabel Marquez-Dumolong were awarded a parcel of land. Their marriage, however was not blessed by a child. Sixto then had an extramarital affair and he cohabited with Placida who even used Sixto’s surname. Placida and Sixto begot children.
Bornales, on the other hand, is Sixto’s tenant.
In March 1978 (by this time Sixto is already dead), Placida and her children executed a Deed of extrajudicial Adjudication and Sale of Real Property. They were able to acquire the supposed thumbmark of Isabel. But apparently, Isabel never affixed her thumbmark and that the same was not within her knowledge.
In November 1978, Placida registered the Deed and a Torrens title was issued in their name. Three months thereafter, Placida and her children sold the land to Bornales. Isabel assailed the sale. Isabel argued that the acquisition of the Torrens title by Placida et al was through fraud. Bornales countered he was not aware of the fraudulent nature of the prior transactions, but since a Torrens was issued he should be considered as a buyer in good faith, hence entitled to some right.
ISSUE: May Bornales invoke the indefeasibility of a Torrens title?
HELD: No. Having bought the land registered under the Torrens system from Placida who procured title thereto by means of fraud, Bornales cannot invoke the indefeasibility of a certificate of title against Isabel to the extent of her interest therein. The Torrens system of land registration should not be used as a means to perpetrate fraud against the rightful owner of real property. Registration, to be effective, must be made in good faith. It is a settled rule that the defense of indefeasibility of a certificate of title does not extend to a transferee (Bornales) who takes it with notice of the flaws in his transferor’s (Placida’s) title.
Also, Bornales had been a tenant of the Dumulong’s. He is aware that Placida was only a fling and that it’s Isabel who has a rightful claim over the land. He should have not bought the land from Placida, considering his knowledge of the fact that Placida could not have own any portion of the land since she was not a legal wife.
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