Republic of the
HEIRS OF SPOUSES CRISPULO FERRER and ENGRACIA
PUHAWAN, represented by ROMEO F.
G.R. NO. 190384
CARPIO MORALES, J., Chairperson,
VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.
July 5, 2010
R E S O L U T I O N
the heirs of spouses Crispulo Ferrer and Engracia Puhawan, filed a petition for
the rulings of the
Court of Appeals (CA) rendered in
CA-G.R. CV No. 67923. The Court, acting through its Second Division, denied the
certiorari petition through a
case arose from an injunction suit
instituted by the petitioners against respondent National Power Corporation (Napocor). Petitioners sought to enjoin Napocor from
selling the Caliraya Hydroelectric Power Plant, as they claimed ownership over
portions of the land where the power plant stood, specifically Lot 1873 and
denied the petitioners allegations and claimed it acquired portions of
petitioners opposed Napocors claims and contended that the sale of portions of
after finding their claims over Lot 1873 and
court ruled that the petitioners failed to present convincing proof of their
claim of ownership of
petitioners assailed the RTC decision through a petition for certiorari filed with the CA. The CA
found no reason to reverse the trial courts decision and accordingly affirmed
it through its decision of May 12, 2009. The CA
likewise found unmeritorious the petitioners motion for reconsideration and
denied it through its resolution of
Procedurally, the Court found that the petitioners, by resorting to a certiorari petition, erred in choosing the legal remedy against the CA rulings. We noted that the errors the petitioners raised were errors of law rather than errors of jurisdiction, since [t]he gist of [the] petitioners objections to the CA ruling was the appellate courts failure to appreciate their arguments and evidence in support of their claims, but this does not amount to an error of jurisdiction. A certiorari writ will not be issued to cure errors by the lower court in its appreciation of the evidence, its conclusions anchored on the said findings, and its conclusions of law. As long as the court acts within its jurisdiction, any alleged errors committed in the exercise of its discretion will amount to nothing more than mere errors of judgment, correctible by an appeal x x x [by] certiorari filed under Rule 45 [of the Rules of Court]. We considered the resort to a certiorari petition under Rule 65 as a disingenuous move to circumvent the rule on the period for filing an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 which allows only 15 days from notice of the judgment appealed from to file an appeal. As the petition was filed 38 days after receipt of the assailed CA resolution denying the motion for reconsideration, the petitioners used the certiorari petition as a substitute for the lost appeal, a move the Court has consistently reproved.
Despite these procedural lapses, the Court nevertheless reviewed the merits of the petitioners case, but as the RTC and the CA did, found nothing to support the petitioners claims. In seeking to enjoin Napocor from selling Lot 1873 and to claim damages for the use and occupation thereof, the petitioners relied on their claim of ownership which they contended was sufficiently proved by (1) the certification from the Bureau of Lands showing that their predecessor, Crispulo Ferrer, was a survey claimant, and (2) the OCTs covering the lot in the name of co-petitioner Emiliano Ferrer. We rejected these claims by ruling that:
Bureau of Lands Certification] did not adequately establish their right to
further ruled that any objection the petitioners might have against the sale of
1936 when Napocor began construction of the power plant up to 1997 when the
action for injunction and damages was instituted, the petitioners made no move
to assert their claim over
CA correctly pointed out that the petitioners never took any issue with the
RTCs ruling concerning the parties rights over [this lot]; the petitioners
devoted most of their time discussing their claims over
that they have a rightful claim over Lot 1873 and
Petitioners Second Motion for Reconsideration
petitioners insist that they have a better claim than Napocor over Lot 1873 and
In support of
their claim over
the petitioners challenge the CAs finding that they never raised any objection
The Courts Ruling
We DENY the requested leave to file a second motion for reconsideration.
Section 3, Rule 15 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court (IRSC) sets forth the rule when the Court may entertain a second motion for reconsideration. The rule states:
Sec. 3. Second motion for reconsideration. The Court shall not entertain a second motion for reconsideration, and any exception to this rule can only be granted in the higher interest of justice by the Court en banc upon a vote of at least two-thirds of its actual membership. There is reconsideration in the higher interest of justice when the assailed decision is not only legally erroneous, but is likewise patently unjust and potentially capable of causing unwarranted and irremediable injury or damage to the parties. A second motion for reconsideration can only be entertained before the ruling sought to be reconsidered becomes final by operation of law or by the Courts declaration.
In the Division, a vote of three Members shall be required to elevate a second motion for reconsideration to the Court En Banc.
Aside from meeting the voting requirements, a movant is required by the IRSC to substantially show that a reconsideration of the Courts ruling is necessary in the higher interest of justice, which standard is satisfied upon proving that the assailed ruling is both (1) legally erroneous and (2) patently unjust and potentially capable of causing unwarranted and irremediable injury or damage to the parties.
In this case, petitioners reasons do not sufficiently establish that a reversal of the Courts ruling will serve the higher interest of justice. On the contrary, for the Court to consider and find meritorious the petitioners argument will mean abandoning settled principles of law to accommodate the petitioners stale and clearly unsubstantiated claims.
petitioners insist that the Bureau of Lands certificate, stating that their
predecessor Crispulo Ferrer was a survey claimant of the property covered by Cadastral
Survey No. 90 of Lumban, Laguna, sufficiently establishes their claim over
survey made in a cadastral proceeding merely identifies each lot preparatory to a judicial proceeding for
adjudication of title to any of the lands upon claim of interested parties.
The purpose of a survey plan is simply to identify and delineate the extent of
the land. It is
not a proof of ownership of the land covered by the plan. In the present case, the petitioners were not
even able to present the actual survey plan approved by the Bureau of Lands;
all that they relied on was the Bureau of Lands certificate that proved nothing
more beyond than what was expressly stated therein: that
in the certificate indicated whether Crispulo Ferrer was actually in possession
Article 1137. Ownership and other real rights over immovables also prescribe through uninterrupted adverse possession thereof for thirty years, without need of title or of good faith.
petitioners reliance on Article 1137 of the Civil Code is not entirely
accurate. The petitioners alleged that
Alienable and disposable lands of the public domain may be acquired by private persons, not by virtue of prescription but, through adverse possession, upon compliance with the requirements of Section 48(b) of CA 141, which states:
Sec. 48. The following described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the Land Registration Act, to wit:
x x x x
(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, since June 12, 1945, or earlier, immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.
Verily, it is not the mere lapse of time that vests title over the land to the claimant; it is also necessary that the land be an alienable and disposable land of the public domain and that the claimant be in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession of the land. Listed down, the acquisition through adverse possession of public lands requires the following:
1. the land applied for must be an alienable and disposable public land; and
claimants, by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest, have been
in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of the
Upon an exhaustive review of the records and a thorough evaluation of the petitioners allegations and arguments, we are unconvinced that the petitioners have satisfied these requirements.
First, no conclusive proof appears in the records showing that
Second, we similarly found nothing in
the records that would support the petitioners allegation that their
predecessors had occupied
supposing that the petitioners, through their predecessors, have held
The application of the principle of laches requires the presence of the following elements all of which are present in this case:
(1) conduct on the part of the defendant, or of one under whom he claims, giving rise to the situation of which complaint is made and for which the complainant seeks a remedy;
(2) delay in asserting the complainants right, the complainant having had knowledge or notice, of defendants conduct and having been afforded an opportunity to institute a suit;
(3) lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complainant would assert the right on which he bases his suit; and
(4) injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event relief is accorded to the complainant, or the suit is not held to be barred.
executed acts that were contrary to the petitioners asserted claim of
x x x The Court aptly stated in Miguel v. Catalino:
Courts cannot look with favor at parties who, by their silence, delay, and inaction, knowingly induce another to spend time, effort, and expense in cultivating the land, paying taxes and making improvements thereon x x x only to spring from ambush and claim title when the possessors efforts and the rise of land values offer an opportunity to make easy profit at his expense.
To grant respondents relief when they have not even offered any justifiable excuse for their inaction would be unjust. It is certainly beyond our comprehension how they could have remained silent for more than 50 years. They have only themselves to blame if the Court at this late hour can no longer afford them relief against the inequities they allegedly suffered.
principle of laches applies with equal force to defeat the petitioners claim
The essence of the Courts adjudicatory function is to apply the law to facts, as supported by the evidence and the records. The petitioners have already exhausted all possible legal arguments and, as we have discussed, none of which are compelling enough to require reconsideration of our past ruling. To be sure, repetitive filing of legally useless submissions cannot pressure this Court into taking another look at an unmeritorious case; they can only increase the petitioners legal expenses, as in this case, where we are ordering the payment of double costs for the act of unnecessarily and stubbornly wasting the Courts time.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petitioners motion for leave to file a second motion for reconsideration
ARTURO D. BRION
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
ROBERTO A. ABAD
MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.
I attest that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
RENATO C. CORONA
* Designated additional Member of the Third Division effective
 Under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court; rollo, pp. 3-25.
 Referring to the CA decision dated
 Civil Case No. SC-3604; id. at 92-97.
 The petitioners were
also claiming ownership rights over a third lot,
 Crispulo Ferrer left
behind eight heirs who, the petitioners claimed, were each entitled to inherit
3,129.93 square meters of
 Penned by Judge Leonardo L. Leonida; id. at 117-124.
 The dispositive
portion of the RTCs decision of
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered:
1. Denying the petition for preliminary injunction;
2. Dismissing the action for damages;
3. Ordering the defendants to pay the plaintiffs the reasonable value of the excess area occupied by [Napocor] in lot 90[,] estimated to be  square meters or such excess area as may be determined through a survey of lot 90.
 Sec. 44 Every registered owner receiving a 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 in good faith, shall hold the same free from all encumbrances except those noted on said certificate and any of the following encumbrances which may be subsisting, namely:
x x x
Third. Any public highway or private way established or recognized by law[.]
 Rollo, p. 123.
 Supra note 2.
 Rollo, pp. 219-220.
 Republic v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 239 Phil. 393, 402 (1987).
 Director of Lands v. Reyes, 160A Phil. 832 (1975).
 See Gimeno v. CA, 170
Phil. 645 (1977); Heirs of Marina
Regalado v. Republic, G.R. No. 168155,
 Republic v. Divinaflor, 402 Phil. 498, 507-508 (2001), citing Republic v. CA, 235 SCRA 567 (1994).
 Republic v. CA, 238 Phil. 429 (1987).
 San Miguel Corporation v. CA, G.R. No. L-49903,
 Rollo, p. 120.
 Claverias v. Quingco, G.R. No. 77744,
 502 Phil. 202, 229-230 (2005).