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[ G.R. No. 136270. February 3, 1999]

SPS. ARSENIO & NIEVES REYES vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.

FIRST DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information is a resolution of this Court dated FEB 3, 1999.

G.R. No. 136270 (Spouses Arsenio Reyes and Nieves Reyes vs. Republic of the Philippines.)

Petitioners assail the decision of the Court of Appeals setting aside the order of the regional trial court which denied the motion to withdraw the complaint filed by the Office of the Solicitor General.

On July 29, 1992 the Republic of the Philippines, through the administrator of the Land Registration Authority, filed a complaint (Civil Case 92-2135) for the declaration of nullity and cancellation of the Transfer Certificate of Title No. (31798) 40312 in the name of petitioners covering a parcel of land situated in Barrio San Dionisio, Para�aque.

It was alleged that the authenticity of said title is doubtful and that there are discrepancies indicative of fraud to justify cancellation of said title.

On March 10, 1993, after filing their answer with counterclaim, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss which was denied.

On August 4, 1993 petitioners filed a motion to suspend the proceedings pending the review by the Department of Justice of the report of the Land Registration Authority regarding the authenticity of the issuance of petitioner's title. The motion was granted.

Meanwhile, a certain Solemar Development Corporation filed a complaint for quieting of its title against petitioners covering the same property. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. 9333-1566 which was raffled to Branch 61 of the Makati Regional Trial Court.

On April 26, 1996, Branch 61, handling the second case rendered a decision finding petitioners' TCT 40312 spurious and ordered its cancellation. This decision became final on May 19, 1996.

In view of these supervening events, the Republic filed a motion to withdraw the complaint in the first case, Civil Case No. 92-2135, but the same was denied by the trial court. On September 5, 1997 petitioners moved for and were granted a relocation survey.

Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals set aside both assailed orders and dismissed the complaint and the counterclaim in Civil Case No. 92-2135.

Thus, the instant petition.

Although petitioners are the defendants in the second case where the withdrawal of the appeal was allowed, still petitioners would want said case to continue. They contend that the dismissal of the complaint denied them the opportunity to obtain a favorable ruling to be entitled to recover from the Assurance Fund because they have not actually filed a complaint against said fund.

Presidential Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree, categorically mandates that any action to recover loss or damages against the Assurance Fund should be brought against the Register of Deeds and the National Treasurer. This is precisely why Civil Case 922-2135 should be dismissed to avoid splitting of causes of action. The Court of Appeals thus acted properly.

Lastly, as correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, the subject complaint was for cancellation of the transfer certificate of title due to its doubtful authenticity. The case was not a dispute involving boundary or identity of the land. Hence a relocation survey was unnecessary.

WHEREFORE, petition is dismissed.

Very truly Yours

(Sgd.) VIRGINIA ANCHETA-SORIANO

Clerk of Court


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