I inherited a parcel of land from my deceased parents. I went to the Registry of Deeds where the land is registered to inquire its status but they said that they no longer have their copy of the title because it was eaten by termites. May I ask how I can get a new original title? Thanks.
Your problem involves reconstitution of certificate of title to reconstruct the land title issued to your parents which was in the custody of the Registry of Deeds.
There are two modes for reconstitution of title, to wit: judicial and administrative. The judicial mode is the general mode which is applicable to all cases of reconstitution. It requires filing a petition in the proper Regional Trial Court which shall state that the owner’s or co-owner’s duplicate certificate of title had been lost or destroyed, if such be the fact, the location, area and boundaries of the property, the names and addresses of all persons who have a claim or encumbrance on the property together with a statement of their claims, and a statement that no deeds or other instruments affecting the property have been registered (Section 12, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 26). The notice of the petition must also be published twice in successive issues in the Official Gazette, posted on the main entrance of the provincial and municipal building in which the land is situated, and sent by registered mail or otherwise to all persons named in the petition (Section 13, R.A. No. 26).
The petition must also be supported by any of the following: the owner’s or co-owner’s duplicate of the certificate of title, certified copy of the certificate of title, decree of registration/patent or deed of transfer on file in the registry of deed, a mortgage, lease or encumbrance document pertaining to the lot registered in the registry of deed, or any other document which, in the judgment of the court, is sufficient and proper basis for reconstitution of title (Sections 3 & 4, R.A. No. 26).
The other mode, which is the administrative means of reconstitution of title will only require filing a petition with the concerned Register of Deeds. However, this mode may only be availed of in case of substantial loss or destruction of land titles due to fire, flood or other force majeure as determined by the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority, where the number of certificates of titles lost or damaged should be at least ten percent (10%) of the total number in the possession of the Office of the Register of Deeds, and the number of certificates of titles lost or damaged be at least five hundred (Section 110, PD No. 1529 as amended by RA No. 6732). In addition, the petitioner must present the owner’s duplicate of the certificate of title; or the co-owner’s, mortgagee’s, or lessee’s duplicate of the certificate of title, if any, to support his petition (Section 5, RA No. 26 as amended by RA No. 6732). All these conditions must be present. If not, then the petitioner must resort to judicial reconstitution of title.
As you can see, the procedure for administrative reconstitution of title is simpler compared to judicial reconstitution. Hence, if allowed under the circumstances, it is advisable to take this mode. However, you have to inquire first with the Registry of Deeds where the land you inherited is registered concerning the circumstances surrounding the loss of the original title kept under their custody. Please take note also that you have to present the duplicate certificate of title issued to your parents if you opt for administrative reconstitution.
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.