Torrens Title holder is entitled to possession
"I am the registered owner of a certain land that I inherited from my parents. A portion of the said land is being occupied by Peter, so I demanded that he vacate it because I will need it for a certain project. Peter refused and claimed that he owned the land as this was his inheritance from his parents, and he has been occupying the same for a long period of time. He further said that the land was outside of my titled property. I engaged the services of a geodetic engineer for the relocation of my property, and we found out that the portion being occupied by Peter is really within my property. Do I have the right to possess the land occupied by Peter?
Please be informed that “a title, once registered, cannot be defeated even by adverse, open and notorious possession. The certificate of title issued is an absolute and indefeasible evidence of ownership of the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. It is binding and conclusive upon the whole world. All persons must take notice and no one can plead ignorance of the registration” (Heirs of Leopoldo Vencilao Sr., vs Court of Appeals, et al., GR 123713, April 1, 1998, Ponente: Associate Justice Josue Bellosillo).You have a Torrens Title to prove your ownership over the land, while Peter cannot present any proof of his claim. Article 428 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines states that “the owner has the right to enjoy and dispose of a thing, without other limitations than those authorized by law. The owner has also a right of action against the holder and possessor of the thing in order to recover it.”
In the case of Abobon vs Abobon, et al. (GR 155830, Aug. 15, 2012), the Supreme Court through Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin stated:“First of all, a fundamental principle in land registration under the Torrens system is that a certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible and incontrovertible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. The certificate of title thus becomes the best proof of ownership of a parcel of land hence, anyone who deals with property registered under the Torrens system may rely on the title and need not go beyond the title. This reliance on the certificate of title rests on the doctrine of indefeasibility of the land title, which has long been well-settled in this jurisdiction. It is only when the acquisition of the title is attended with fraud or bad faith that the doctrine of indefeasibility finds no application.
“Accordingly, we rule for the respondents on the issue of the preferential right to the possession of the land in question. Their having preferential right conformed to the age-old rule that whoever held a Torrens title in his name is entitled to the possession of the land covered by the title. Indeed, possession, which is the holding of a thing or the enjoyment of a right, was but an attribute of their registered ownership.“It is beyond question under the law that the owner has not only the right to enjoy and dispose of a thing without other limitations than those established by law, but also the right of action against the holder and possessor of the thing in order to recover it. He may exclude any person from the enjoyment and disposal of the thing, and, for this purpose, he may use such force as may be reasonably necessary to repel or prevent an actual or threatened unlawful physical invasion or usurpation of his property.”Applying the above-quoted decision in your situation, you have a preferential right over the land being possessed by Peter, because you have the Torrens Title as a proof of ownership. Whoever held the certificate of title is also entitled to the possession of the land. As an attribute of ownership, you may exclude Peter from the enjoyment or usurpation of your property.We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that 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 ."
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"Torrens Title holder is entitled to possession"
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