Reconstitution of Certificate of Title

What is the reconstitution of certificate of title?

Reconstitution of certificate of title is the restoration of the instrument which is supposed to have been lost or destroyed in its original form and condition, under the custody of the Register of Deeds.

What are the kinds of reconstitution of certificate of title?

1. Judicial reconstitution which partakes the nature of a land registration proceeding in rem. As PD 1529 states:

Section 2. Nature of registration proceedings; jurisdiction of courts. Judicial proceedings for the registration of lands throughout the Philippines shall be in rem and shall be based on the generally accepted principles underlying the Torrens system.

2. Administrative reconstitution which may be availed of only in case of:

a) Substantial loss or destruction of the original land titles due to fire, flood, or other force majeure as determined by the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority;
b) The number of certificates of title lost or damaged should be at least 10% of the total number in the possession of the Office of the Register of Deeds;
c) In no case shall the number of Certificates of title lost or damaged be less than 500; and
d) The Petitioner must have the duplicate copy of the certificate of Title. (RA 6732)

What are the other petitions/transactions after original registration?

1. Amendment and Alteration of Certificate of Title
2. Surrender of Withheld Duplicate Certificate of Title
3. Replacement of Lost Duplicate Certificate of Title

What are the laws governing the reconstitution of title?

A. Act 496: Land Registration Act of 1903 (approved November 6, 1902, effective January 1, 1903)

1. Governs the homesteading, selling, and leasing of portions of the public domain of the country
2. The purpose of the Torrens System of Registration is to quiet title to the land
3. Perfects for the issuance of patents without compensation to certain native settlers
4. The Court of Land Registration, the Register of Deeds and the Torrens system of registration were created
5. Real estate ownership may be judicially confirmed and recorded in the archives of the government
6. The term “public land” referred to all lands of the public domain whose title still remained with the government; excluded the patrimonial property and friar lands
7. Act No. 926 is the first Public Land Act (1903)
8. Act No. 2874 is the second Public Land Act (1919) and was passed under the Jones Law

B. Act No. 2259: Cadastral Act (effective on February 11, 1913)
1. Only unregistered lands may be the subject of a cadastral survey and those already titled cannot be the subject of cadastral proceedings.
2. It aims to settle and adjudicate any lands upon order of the President to the Director of Lands to make a government survey in the interest of the public. All conflicting interests on lands shall be adjudicated (to be settled by law) through the Solicitor General who represents the Director of Lands.
3. The cadastral court over previously titled lands is only focused on correction of technical errors in the description of the land.
4. The decree was awarded to the person with better claim and shall be the basis for the insurance of certificate of title which shall have the same effect as a certificate of title granted under the Property Registration Decree

C. CA No. 141: Public Land Act (approved on November 7, 1936, effective on December 1, 1936)

1. The law governed the classification and disposition of lands of the public domain
2. It is the first law for judicial confirmation of imperfect and incomplete titles
3. Free patent under rule states that the area of the land must not exceed 24 hectares for any natural Filipino citizens and cultural minorities
4. The qualification includes: must be a natural born citizen, does not own more than 24 hectares of land since July 24, 1926, continuous occupation and cultivation for at least 30 years, pays realty tax of the property. Cultural minorities are required to have a continuous occupation and cultivation of the land since July 24, 1955 whether disposable or not for at least 30 years, not an owner of any real property.

D. PD 1529: Property Registration Decree (approved on June 11, 1978, effective on June 11, 1978)

1. Amended and codified the laws relative to registration of property
2. Included judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles which tackled cadastral, voluntary and involuntary registration proceedings and the certificate of land transfer and emancipation patents
3. The court may dismiss the application of the applicant with or without prejudice to the right to file a new application for the registration of the same land Court of First Instance was given the exclusive jurisdiction over all applications for original registration of title to lands, including improvements and interests therein and over all petitions filed after original registration of title.
4. Homestead patent Issued by the Director Lands over land not of the public domain is a nullity, devoid of force and effect against the owner whose title is covered by an OCT or TCT.
5. Registration of untitled lands or lands with imperfect titles is ineffective against third persons. That in case of double sale, the title registered under the Torrens System is superior than title registered under Act 3344. Registration under the Torrens System, at the Registry of Deeds is needed so that title shall be binding upon third parties.

E. PD 892 (issued on February 16, 1976)

1. Discontinued the system of land registration under the Spanish Mortgage Law and the use of Spanish titles as evidence in land registration proceedings
2. Holders of Spanish titles must apply for registration within 6 months or until August 16, 1976 from this decree’s effectivity or else their titles would produce no registration
3. Under this decree, Spanish titles can no longer be used as evidence of ownership

F. 1987 Constitution

1. SEC 3, ARTICLE XII refers to ownership of government lands which states that for Citizens of the Philippines they can lease not more than 500 hectares and acquire not more than 12 hectares
2. Free Patent rule under the Constitution states that any natural born citizen of the Philippines who is not the owner of more than 12 hectares and who, for at least 30 years including his predecessor-in-interest has continuously occupied the land. He shall be entitled an area not to exceed 12 hectares-Torrens title issued on the basis of the free patent becomes as indefeasible as one that was judicially secured upon the expiration of one year from date of issuance of patent.

G. RA 6732 (approved July 17, 1989)

1. Allowing administrative reconstitution of original copies of certificates of titles lost or destroyed due to fire, flood and other force majeure;
2. Administrative reconstitution available to original certificates of title lost are at least 10% of all the titles in the Registry of Deeds but not less than 500 titles whichever is higher;
3. Administrative reconstitution of titles shall be without prejudice to parties whose rights or interests may been annotated on the lost or destroyed original certificates of titles.

H. RA 6657 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program/ CARP (approved June 15, 1988)

1. Applicable to all agricultural lands regardless of produce
2. The choice of productive landholdings belongs to the owner of the land
3. Retention is 5 hectares to landowners; plus 3 hectares for each child 15 years old and above, actually tilling and managing the farm
4. Beneficiary : limited to 3 hectares only
5. Under CARP, a landless beneficiary is one who owns less than 3 hectares of agricultural land

I. RA 7042 amended by RA 8179: Foreign Investment Act (approved: March 28, 1996)

1. Allows natural-born Filipino citizen who lost their Philippine citizenship to acquire private lands subject to limitation of the law. Land limits: 5,000 square meters, in case of urban land and 3 hectares in case of rural land.

J. RA 8371: Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (approved on October 29, 1997)

1. Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997
2. Rights of ownership is limited to ancestral lands only
3. Law dealing with specific group of people

K. RA 9176 (approved November 13, 2002)

1. Extending the period until December 31, 2020 for the filing of applications for administrative legalization (free patent) and judicial confirmation of imperfect and incomplete titles to alienable and disposable lands of the public domain, amending for this purpose CA 141
2. If further, limits the area to be applied for to 12 hectares only

L. RA 9225: Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act (approved August 29, 2003)

1. This law provided that natural born citizens of the Philippines, who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of foreign country, are hereby deemed to have re-acquired Philippine citizenship upon taking their oath of allegiance to the republic and shall enjoy full civil and political rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under the existing laws of the Philippines. Therefore, limitation on ownership under RA 7402 as amended by RA 8179 is deemed not applicable under this law.

M. RA 9700: Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law/CARPER (approved August 7, 2009)

1. It extended the program for another 5 years
2. It is the redistribution of private and public agricultural lands to help the beneficiaries survive as small independent farmers, regardless of the tenurial arrangement
3. It covers: alienable and disposable lands of public domain suitable for agriculture
4. It awards ceiling of 3 hectares for beneficiaries and payment of beneficiaries must be 30 years at 6% interest per annum to Land Bank. Awarded lands shall not be sold to non-beneficiary of the program
5. The lands covered may be disposed before 10-year period only to the government, Land Bank or program beneficiaries and may be disposed or encumbered after 10yrs from date of registration
6. Conversion is allowed after 5 years if applicable and no conversion on irrigated lands
7. The law has laid down a penalties of either3 years imprisonment or 15k fine or both

J. RA 10023: The New Residential Free Patent Law of 2010 (approved March 9, 2010)

1. The law has made any Filipino citizen who is an actual occupant of a residential land provided that in highly urbanized cities, the land should not exceed 200sqm or 500sqm in other cities as qualified for the free patent. The land should not exceed 750sqm for first class and second class municipalities and in all other municipalities, it should not exceed 1000sqm provided further that the land is not needed for public service or public use.
2. It covers coverage: All lands that are zoned as residential areas including town sites as defined under Public Land Act provided that none of the provisions of PD 705 have been violated; zoned residential area located inside a delisted military reservation or abandoned military camp and those of local government units or town sites
3. Those special patents may be granted under the name of the national agency of local government notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary and subject to private rights, if any public land actually occupied and used for public schools, municipal halls, public plazas or parks and other government institutions for public use.
4. All lands titled under this section shall not be disposed of unless sanctioned by Congress if owned by the national agency or sanctioned by the Sanggunian concerns through an approved ordinance if owned by the local govt.


Agcaoili, O. (2011). Property Registration Decree and Related Laws. Quezon City: Rex Printing Company, Inc.

Property Registration Decree 1529, “Amending and Codifying the Laws Relative to Registration of Property and for Other Purposes”

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