JV, owner of a parcel of land, sold it to PP. But the deed of sale was not registered.  One year later, JV sold the parcel again to RR, who succeeded to register the deed and to obtain a transfer certificate of title over the property in his own name. Who has a better right over the parcel of land, RR or PP? Why? Explain the legal basis for your answer. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

It depends on whether or not RR is an innocent purchaser for value. Under the Torrens System, a deed or instrument operated only as a contract between the parties and as evidence of authority to the Register of Deeds to make the registration. It is the registration of the deed or the instrument that is the operative act that conveys or affects the land. (Sec. 51, P.D. No. 1529).

In cases of double sale of titled land, it is a well-settled rule that the buyer who first registers the sale in good faith acquires a better right to the land. (Art. 1544, Civil Code).

Persons dealing with property covered by Torrens title are not required to go beyond what appears on its face. (Orquiola v. CA 386, SCRA 301, [2002]; Domingo v. Races 401 SCRA 197, [2003]). Thus, absent any showing that RR knew about, or ought to have known the prior sale of the land to PP or that he acted in bad faith, and being first to register the sale, RR acquired a good and a clean title to the property as against PP.

Source: UP Law Complex