• Protecting buyers of controversial property

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I bought a house and lot in Tayabas, Quezon. The seller surrendered to me the owner’s duplicate of certificate of title and the Deed of Absolute Sale covering the property. When I surrendered those documents to the Register of Deeds for registration, I was surprised when the officials of the office declared that the owner’s duplicate of certificate of title was fake.

    According to them, the property was really registered in the name of the seller and his title was not yet canceled. The paper used in the owner’s duplicate that was given to me by the seller, however, was not the same as the papers being used by the Register of Deeds in the production of certificates of title. What will I do to protect my rights? Will the title of the seller be canceled despite the absence of the owner’s duplicate of certificate of title?
    Roy

    Dear Roy,
    There are two remedies that you can avail of in your situation: First is to demand delivery of the true owner’s duplicate of certificate of title or file a civil action for Specific Performance in order to compel the seller to deliver to you the document in case he failed to heed your demand. Second is to execute an Affidavit of Adverse Claim to be annotated at the back of the certificate of title on file with the Register of Deeds, which will serve as a warning that the property was already sold to you.

    The owner’s duplicate of title must be presented in order for the certificate of title of the seller to be canceled and a new one will be issued in your favor. This process is in accordance with Section 53 of Presidential Decree 1529, which states:

    “No voluntary instrument shall be registered by the Register of Deeds, unless the owner’s duplicate certificate is presented with such instrument, except in cases expressly provided for in this decree or upon order of the court, for cause shown.

    “The production of the owner’s duplicate certificate, whenever any voluntary instrument is presented for registration, shall be conclusive authority from the registered owner to the Register of Deeds to enter a new certificate or to make a memorandum of registration in accordance with such instrument, and the new certificate or memorandum shall be binding upon the registered owner and upon all persons claiming under him, in favor of every purchaser for value in good faith.”

    Hence, the effect of submission of a fake owner’s duplicate of title to the Register of Deeds will give no authority on the part of the latter to cancel the title in the name of the seller and issue a new title in your name.

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net.

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