What is the remedy of the owner of a titled land in case it was registered fraudulently under the name of another? Explain.
He can file an action for reconveyance within 10 years, as the registrant is merely holding it as a trustee. The Torrens title cannot be a shield for fraud notwithstanding the rule that registration is a constructive notice of title binding upon the whole world. (Pagkatipunan, et al. vs. IAC, et al., G.R. No. 70722, July 3, 1991; Pajarillo vs. IAC, 176 SCRA 340 )
“A” stole the title of B and then forged the signature of B. He was able to transfer the title under his name. In case B discovers such act of A, can he file an action for the recovery of the property? Can A interpose the defense that a title has already been issued under his name? Explain.
No. In the first question, B can recover the property for as long as it is still under A’s name, because the title of A is void.
In the second question, A cannot interpose the defense that a title has already been issued because a title does not provide a shield for the commission of fraudulent or illegal act. A never acquired a valid title. (Coronel vs. IAC, Oct. 1987; Pagkatipunan vs. IAC, et al., G.R. No. 70722, July 13, 1991; Rep. vs. Register of Deeds of Quezon, 244 SCRA 537, ; Añonuevo vs. CA, 244 SCRA 28 ).
Suppose in the question above, A has already sold it to C, a buyer in good faith and for value, and has now a title, can B still recover the land? Why?
No more, because of the protection afforded to C, a buyer in good faith and for value by the Torrens System. Since the title of A appeared to be clean, then C had to rely on the face of the title. Even on the assumption that A’s title is void, yet, a void title can be the root of a valid title, the moment it passes to the hands of a buyer in good faith and for value. To require him to look beyond the title is to defeat the primary objective of the Torrens system. (Sps. Dizon vs. CA, et al., G.R. No. 95921, Sept. 2, 1992; GSIS vs. CA, 240 SCRA 737 ).
There is however, an exception to the rule that he can rely on the face of the title as when he has actual knowledge of the facts and circumstances that would impel him as a cautious man to make an inquiry (Santos vs. CA, Sept. 13, 1990; Embrado vs. CA, 233 SCRA 335 ; or if the defects in the title are too glaring to escape the naked eye. (Lorenzana Food Corp. vs. CA, 231 SCRA 713 ).
More than one year had elapsed since the issuance of the final decree of registration when A discovered that his land had been fraudulently registered in the name of his caretaker, B.
What right of action if any, does A have and against whom? Explain.
A can file an action for reconveyance against B or for damages if the property has passed into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value. Such action does not seek to review the decree of registration, but is merely for the enforcement of a trust.
May a torrens title be collaterally attacked? Why?
No. TCT or OCT cannot be questioned in an ordinary civil action for recovery of possession filed by the registered owner of said lot. Such a defense partakes of the nature of a collateral attack against a certificate of title brought under the operation of the Torrens System. A collateral attack on the TCT is not allowed on the ground of actual fraud. (Ybañez vs. IAC, G.R. No. 68291, March 6, 1991; Sec. 48, PD 1529).
A decree of registration and the certificate of title issued pursuant thereto may be attacked on the ground of actual fraud, within one year from the date of its entry and such an attack must be direct and not by collateral proceeding. The validity of a certificate of title can be threshed out only in an action expressly filed for the purpose. (Ybañez vs. IAC).
A torrens title as a rule, is irrevocable and indefeasible and the duty of the court is to see to it that this title is maintained and respected unless challenged in a direct proceeding. (Co vs. CA, May 6, 1991).
What are the requirements/elements for the remedy of a petition for review of the decree of registration?
(a) The petition must be filed by a person claiming dominical or other real rights to the land registered in the name of respondent.
(b) The registration of the land in the name of respondent was procured by means of actual, (not just constructive) fraud, which must be extrinsic. Fraud is actual if the registration was made through deceit or any other intentional act of downright dishonesty to enrich oneself at the expense of another. It is extrinsic when it is something that was not raised, litigated and passed upon in the main proceedings.
(c) The petition must be filed within one (1) year from the date of the issuance of the decree.
(d) Title to the land has not passed to an innocent purchases for value (Libudan vs. Gil, 45 SCRA 27, 1972; Pabico vs. Arrelana, 30 SCRA 513, 1969; RP vs CA, 57 G.R. No. 40402, March 16, 1987).
If an owner of a titled property cannot recover the same because it has been sold to a buyer in good faith and for value, what would be his remedy?
If an action for reconveyance based on constructive trust cannot reach an innocent purchaser for value, the remedy of the defrauded party is to bring an action for damages against those who caused the fraud or were instrumental in depriving him of the property. And it is now well-settled that such action prescribes in ten years from the issuance of the Torrens Title over the property. (Armerol vs. Bagumbaran, 154 SCRA 396, 407; Caro vs. CA, 180 SCRA 40, 407; Walstron vs. Mapa, Jr., 181 SCRA 431, 442; Dino vs CA, et al., G.R. No. 94114, June 19, 1991).