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Jose Gomez et al vs Court of Appeals et al
168 scra 503, Land Titles and Deeds
Judgment Confirms Title – Sec 30 & 32 PD 1529
A court ruling (Philippine Islands vs Abran) settled that 12 parcels of land belonged to one Consolacion Gomez. Consolacion later died and the 12 parcels of land were inherited by Gomez et al – her heirs. The heirs agreed to divide the property among them.
After notice and publication, and there being no opposition to the application, the trial court issued an order of general default. On 5 August 1981, the court rendered its decision adjudicating the subject lots in Gomez et al’s favor. The decision became final and executory hence the court directed the Chief of the General Land Registration Office to issue the corresponding decrees of registration over the lots adjudicated.
GLRO Chief Silverio Perez opposed the adjudication and petitioned for its setting aside. He discovered that the 12 parcels of land were formerly part of a titled land which was already granted by homestead patent in 1929. Under the law, land already granted by homestead patent can no longer be the subject of another registration. The lower court granted Silverio’s recommendation.
Gomez et al invoked Sec. 30 and 32 of PD 1529 (Land Registration Act) which provides that after judgment has become final and executory, the court shall forthwith issue an order to the Commissioner of Land Registration for the issuance of the decree of registration and certificate of title. That once the judgment becomes final and executory under Sec 30, the decree of registration must issue as a matter of course.
ISSUE: Whether or not to set aside the lower court’s initial ruling on approving the adjudication even after it had became final and executory.
HELD: Yes. Unlike ordinary civil actions, the adjudication of land in a cadastral or land registration proceeding does not become final, in the sense of incontrovertibility until after the expiration of one (1) year after the entry of the final decree of registration. The Supreme Court has held that as long as a final decree has not been entered by the Land Registration Commission (now NLTDRA) and the period of one (1) year has not elapsed from date of entry of such decree, the title is not finally adjudicated and the decision in the registration proceeding continues to be under the control and sound discretion of the court rendering it.
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