Friday, August 21, 2009

Land registration

For legal research purposes of lawyers visiting this blog, may I simplify hereinbelow the basic things to do in handling a petition or application for original and cadastral land registration before the Regional Trial Courts (RTC) of the Philippines.

Original Land Registration (ordinary and cadastral);
Simplified Procedures.


1. 2002 Rev. Manual for Clerks of Court; see Appendix “B” (LRA Manual of Instructions [for clerks of courts]);
2. PD 1529, Sec. 14, et. seq. (Prop. Reg. Decree of 1978 [Orig. Reg.]);
3. Act 2259 (Cadastral Act);
4. CA No. 141 (Public Land Act).

Format of application/petition: read Sec. 15, PD 1529.

Attachments to the petition (3 copies of petition to be filed with RTC OCC):

1. Orig. plan in tracing cloth or diazo polyester film duly approved by the DENR Reg. Tech. Dir.
2. In lieu thereof, a true copy of the said orig. plan attested and certified correct by the Reg. Tech. Dir. or his duly authorized official.
3. Two white or blue print copies of the plan.
4. Orig. And two copies of the technical descriptions certified by the Reg. Tech. Dir. or his authorized official. Not merely signed by the Geod. Engr.
5. Orig. and two copies of the Geod. Engr.’s certificate. In lieu thereof, a certification (orig. and two copies) from the Reg. Tech. Dir. as to its non-availability.
6. Tax Dec. or in lieu thereof, an affid. of 3 disinterested person as to the market value of the land (Jud. Form 81).
7. All orig. muniments of title of the petitioner which prove his ownership of the land. Not mandatory as along as the docs can be produced before the court during the trial.

Work to do before filing petition (secure orig. copies of the attachments to the petition):

1. Work out with the ofc. of the DENR Reg. Tech. Dir. All the approved plans, tech. descrip., certif.. of non-availability of Geod. Engr.’s certificate.
2. Work out with priv. Geod. Engr. the orig. copy of his Certif.
3. Work out with the local Assessor the orig. copy of the Tax Dec.
4. Gather all proofs of ownership – deeds, contracts, special powers of attorney, etc.
5. Gather all proofs of payments of taxes - local real estate and transfer taxes and all BIR/national revenue taxes involving the land and all related transactions.
6. Others.

The petitioner must submit proof of service of a copy of the petition and its annexes on the Reg. Exec. Dir. of the DENR (by way of Copy Furnished). Allege in the petition. Attach affid. of service. (Sec. 17, Pd 1529).

Court docket and filing fees – pay to RTC OCC.

Publication fees (notice of initial hearing) – pay to LRA docket section. Bring certified copy of the order. The initial hearing is set not earlier than 45 days nor later than 90 days from the date of the issuance of the order. (Sec. 23, PD 1529).

Initial hearing:

1. Follow up the order of initial hearing.
2. Follow up the publications of the order.
3. During the initial hearing, move for general default
4. Later on, get copy of the order of gen. default.
5. During the initial hearing in open court, mark the proofs of juris. facts (see the Record of the case), to wit:
5.1. Order of initial hearing
5.2. Letter of RTC BCC forwarding the case to the LRA and the OSG
5.3. Notices to the petitioner, adjoining owners, creditors, et. al.
5.4. Sheriff’s certificate of posting
5.5. Proofs of notice of initial hearing addressed to concerned govt agencies: CENRO, PENRO, DENR Reg. Off., OSG, LRA, RD, et. al.
5.6. Two certificates/affids. of publication (Off. Gaz. and a national newspaper). With orig. copies of the printed issue/s.
5.7. Others (see the Record of the case and mark all notices/orders related to the initial hearing, as well as all proofs of service thereof).

Order of initial hearing must be issued within 5 days from filing of petition (after raffle to the court branch).

Two copies of order of initial hearing are served on the LRA within 15 days from issuance thereof. LRA shall arrange for its publication in the Off. Gaz. and in a national newspaper (once only). Petitioner must pay publication fee to LRA docket section cashier. Get OR.

Fees – see Sec. 111, PD 1529. To be collected by RTC OCC. Based on assessed value of land and improvements, per Tax Dec. or per joint affid. of 3 disinterested person as to its market value. Get OR. (See also new Rule 141, Legal Fees; and Rule 142, Costs of Suit).

Cost of publications. – To be paid to the LRA, approx. P1, 000 (Off. Gazz.). Fees of national newspaper vary. Go to LRA docket section with certif. copy of order of initial hearing, with court case/docket number, for ref. of LRA cashier.

Upon gen. default, petitioner may move for ex parte presentation of evid. before the BCC as commissioner. (Rule 32, Rules of Court).

The court’s LRC Case No. (court docket no.) is different from the LRA’s Rec. No. The LRA Rec. No. is set by LRA, not by the court.

After trial, the final steps are:

1. Decision. Get certified copies.
2. Get Certificate of Finality of Judgment from the court staff.
3. File a motion for issuance of decree of reg. Attach certificate of finality of judg. Notice of hearing.
4. Follow up the order granting the motion.
5. Follow up the Decree of Reg. (to be issued by the LRA). Get certif. copy of the Decree from LRA.
6. LRA forwards orig. of the Decree to local RD concerned. Follow up status. Get certif. copy of Decree from RD (optional).
7. Follow up with RD the issuance of OCT. Pay the RD reg. fees.
8. Get owner’s duplic. copy of OCT from the RD.


BCC – Branch Clerk of Court
BIR - Bureau of Internal Revenue
CA – Commonwealth Act
CENRO – Community Environment and Natural Resources Office
DENR – Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Geod. Engr. – Geodetic Engineer
LRA – Land Registration Authority
LRC – Land Registration Commission (old name of LRA)
Off. Gaz. – Official Gazette
OCC – Office of the Clerk of Court
OCT – Original Certificate of Title
OR – Official Receipt
OSG – Office of the Solicitor General
PD – Presidential Decree
PENRO – Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office
RTC – Regional Trial Court
RD – Register of Deeds
Reg. Exec. Dir. – Regional Executive Director
Reg. Tech. Dir. – Regional Technical Director
Reg. Off. _ Regional Office
Tax Dec. – Tax Declaration

Prepared by:

Atty. Manuel J. Laserna Jr.
Managing Partner, Laserna Cueva Mercader Law
Offices (LCM Law)
Founder and Board Consultant, Las Pinas City Bar
Association (LPBA), Inc.
Prof. of Law, FEU, Manila (ret.)