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Apr 23, 2008

G.R. No. 115402, July 15, 1998

  • purpose of notice of lis pendens and when it may be cancelled


After his mother's death, petitioner filed a complaint against his father, private respondent, to partition the conjugal properties of his parents.

In answer, respondent alleged that four parcels of land registered in petitioner's name are conjugal properties. They were only registered in petitioner's name because at the time, he was the only Filipino citizen in the family. Accordingly, respondent prayed for dismissal of the partition case and to reconvey said parcel of lands to him.

In the meantime, respondent caused the annotation of a notice of lis pendens on the land during pendency of case. Petitioner moved to cancel the notice of lis pendens but trial court dismissed his motion.

Hence, this petition.


(1) W/N it was proper to pass upon ownership in a partition case
(2) W/N a notice of lis pendens amounts to a collateral attack of his title obtained more than 28 years ago


The annotation of lis pendens does not in any case amount nor can it ever be considered as equivalent to a collateral attack of the certificate of title for a parcel of land.

What cannot be collaterally attacked is the certificate of title and not the title. The certificate referred to is that document issued by the Register of Deeds known as the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT). By title, the law refers to ownership which is represented by that document. Ownership is different from a certificate of title. The TCT is only the best proof of ownership of a piece of land. Registration is not the equivalent of title, but is only the best evidence thereof.

A notice of lis pendens may only be cancelled on two grounds: (1) if the annotation was for the purpose of molesting the title of the adverse party; (2) when the annotation is not necessary to protect the title of the party who caused it to be recorded.

A notice of lis pendens is only for the purpose of announcing "to the whole world that a particular real property is in litigation, serving as a warning that one who acquires an interest over said property does so at his own risk, or that he gambles on the result of the litigation over said property."

On the contention that ownership cannot be passed upon in a partition case, suffice it to say that until and unless ownership is definitely resolved, it would be premature to effect partition of the property.


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