On securing title to unregistered land (Conclusion)
Within five days from filing the application for land registration, the court shall issue an order setting the date and hour of the initial hearing which shall not be earlier than 45 days nor later than 90 days from the date thereon.
The public shall be notified of the initial hearing by means of publication, mailing and posting in a conspicuous place in accordance with the Property Registration Decree (“Decree”).
On or before the initial hearing, or within such further time as may be allowed by proper Regional Trial Court (RTC), any person claiming an interest, whether named in the notice, may appear and file an opposition to the application. The opposition shall state all the objections and establish the interest claimed and remedy sought by the filing party.
If the opposition covers only a portion of the lot and said portion is not properly delimited to the plan attached to the application, or in case of undivided co-ownership, conflicting claims of ownership or possession, or overlapping of boundaries, the RTC may require the parties to submit a subdivision plan duly approved by the Director of Lands.
If no person appears and answers within the time allowed, the RTC shall, upon motion of the applicant, no reason to the contrary appearing, order a default to be recorded and require the applicant to present evidence. Meanwhile, where an appearance has been entered and an answer filed, a default order shall be entered against persons who did not appear and answer.
The RTC shall see to it that all registration proceedings are disposed of within 90 days from the date the case is submitted for decision. In this regard, under the Constitution, a case shall be deemed submitted for decision upon the filing of the last pleading, brief or memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the court itself.
If deemed necessary, the RTC may refer the case or any part thereof to a referee who shall hear the parties and their evidence. The referee shall submit to the RTC his report thereon within 15 days after the termination of said hearing. Thereafter, in rendering its decision, the RTC may accept the report, or set it aside in whole or in part, or order the case recommitted for further proceedings.
Where only a portion of the land subject of registration is contested, the RTC may render partial judgment, provided that a subdivision plan showing the contested and uncontested portions approved by the Director of Lands is previously submitted to it.
The RTC shall determine all conflicting claims of ownership and interest in the land subject of the application. If, after considering the evidence and reports of the Commissioner of Land Registration and the Director of Lands, the RTC finds the applicant or oppositor has sufficient title proper for registration, it shall render judgment confirming the title of the applicant or oppositor to the land or portions thereof. The judgment rendered therein becomes final after 30 days from notice to the parties. An appeal may be taken from the judgment of the RTC as in ordinary civil cases.
After judgment has become final and executory, the RTC shall issue an order directing the Commissioner of Land Registration to issue the decree of registration and the corresponding certificate of title in favor of the person adjudged entitled to registration.
A decree of registration shall bear the date, hour and minute of its entry, and shall be signed by the Commissioner of Land Registration. It shall likewise state: (a) the owner’s civil status; (b) if married, the name of the owner’s spouse; (c) if the owner was disabled, the nature of his disability; (d) if the owner was a minor, his age; (e) the description of the land as finally determined by the RTC; (f) estate of the owner; (g) all particular estates, mortgages, easements, liens, attachments and other encumbrances, including rights of tenants-farmers, if any, to which the land or owner’s estate is subject; and (h) other matters that may determined pursuant to the Decree.
Said decree shall bind the land and quiet title thereto, subject only to such exceptions or liens as may be provided by law. It shall be conclusive upon and against all persons, including the National Government and all branches thereof.
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