Double sale of land
"I bought a land from Jun five years ago. I must admit that there is an annotated adverse claim of a certain Lino that he bought the land from the owner however, the said annotation was already canceled. Lino is claiming that he owned the land since this was first sold to him. He further stated that he could recover the property since I had knowledge that it was sold to him through the annotation of adverse claim. Is he correct?Torrel
Dear Torrel,The exact provision of the New Civil Code of the Philippines that may find application to your problem is found under Article 1544, which states that:
“If the same thing should have been sold to different vendees, the ownership shall be transferred to the person who may have first taken possession thereof in good faith, if it should be movable property.“Should it be immovable property, the ownership shall belong to the person acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the Registry of Property.
LShould there be no inscription, the ownership shall pertain to the person who in good faith was first in the possession and, in the absence thereof, to the person who presents the oldest title, provided there is good faith.”Correlative thereto, Section 44 of Presidential Decree 1529 also states that:
“Every registered owner receiving certificate of title in pursuance of a decree of registration, and every subsequent purchaser of registered land taking a certificate of title for value and good faith, shall hold the same free from all encumbrances except those noted in said certificate and any of the following encumbrances which may be subsisting, namely: x x x.“Fourth. Any disposition of the property or limitation on the use thereof by virtue of, or pursuant to, Presidential Decree 27 or any other law or regulations on agrarian reform.” (Underscoring supplied)It appears that Lino’s claim that was annotated on the Torrens Title is no longer valid considering that the same was already cancelled. You do not need to go beyond the title in this instance to be considered as innocent purchaser. This finds support in the case of Calma vs Lachica Jr.(GR 222031, Nov. 22, 2017), where the Supreme Court, through Associate Justice Noel Tijam, stated that:“The Torrens system was adopted to “obviate possible conflicts of title by giving the public the right to rely upon the face of the Torrens certificate and to dispense, as a rule, with the necessity of inquiring further.” From this sprung the doctrinal rule that every person dealing with registered land may safely rely on the correctness of the certificate of title issued therefor and is in no way obliged to go beyond the certificate to determine the condition of the property. To be sure, this Court is not unaware of the recognized exceptions to this rule, to wit: (1) when the party has actual knowledge of facts and circumstances that would impel a reasonably cautious man to make further inquiry (2) when the buyer has knowledge of a defect or the lack of title in his vendor or (3) when the buyer/mortgagee is a bank or an institution of similar nature as they are enjoined to exert a higher degree of diligence, care, and prudence than individuals in handling real estate transactions.”
Applying the above-quoted decision in your situation, Lino’s claim over the land cannot stand because his claim arises from an unregistered sale. Pursuant to Article 1544 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, ownership over immovable property belongs to the person acquiring it in good faith and first recorded in the Registry of Deeds (Property). Lino is not also correct in his statement that you are a buyer in bad faith because you knew that his claim was annotated at the back of the Torrens Title. His theory applies only to a situation where the annotation is still existing not to a claim which is already cancelled.Considering that you bought the land without any knowledge of any defect in the title of the vendor or any facts that would require a further inquiry, it is then safe to conclude that you are a buyer in good faith.We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org"
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"Double sale of land"
was written by Mary
under the Legal Advice
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comments. The article was created on 15 September 2021
and updated on 15 September 2021