Remedial Law

LOZADA v. BRACEWELL G.R. No. 179155 April 2, 2014 J. Perlas-Bernabe VENUE

FACTS:

On December 10, 1976, petitioner filed an application for registration and confirmation of title over a parcel of land covered by Plan PSU-129514, which was granted on February 23, 1989 by the RTC of Makati City, acting as a land registration court. Consequently, on July 10, 1997, the LRA issued Decree No. N-217036 in the name of petitioner, who later obtained OCT No. 0-78 covering the said parcel of land.

On February 6, 1998, within a year from the issuance of the aforementioned decree, Bracewell filed a petition for review of a decree of registration before the RTC of Las Piñas City, claiming that a portion of the subject lot – of which he is the absolute owner and possessor – is fraudulently included in Decree No. N-217036.

Finding that petitioner obtained Decree No. N-217036 and OCT No. 0-78 in bad faith, the Las Piñas City-RTC rendered a Decision in favor of Bracewell.

On appeal before the CA, the appellate court affirmed the assailed judgment of the RTC. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the Las Piñas City-RTC has jurisdiction over the petition for review of Decree No. N-217036, which was issued as a result of the judgment rendered by the RTC of Makati City.

RULING:

The petition must fail.

Since the land is situated in Las Piñas, it is proper that the cancellation of the decree was filed before RTC Las Piñas.

Under the Land Registration Act, which was the law in force at the time of the commencement by both parties of their respective registration proceedings – jurisdiction over all applications for registration of title was conferred upon the CFIs, (now RTCs) of the respective provinces in which the land sought to be registered is situated.

The land registration laws were updated and codified under PD 1529, which took effect on January 23, 1979, and under Section 17 thereof, jurisdiction over an application for land registration is still vested on the CFI (now, RTC) of the province or city where the land is situated.

While it is indeed undisputed that it was the RTC of Makati City,  which rendered the decision directing the LRA to issue Decree No. N-217036, and should be the same court before which a petition for the review of Decree No. N-217036 is filed, the Court must consider the circumstantial milieu in this case that, in the interest of orderly procedure, warrants the filing of the said petition before the Las Piñas City-RTC.

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