The petition is meritorious. The CA erred in not deleting the trial court’s order for the issuance of a new owner’s duplicate title to respondents after it deleted the order for reconstitution.
The reconstitution of a certificate of title denotes restoration in the original form and condition of a lost or destroyed instrument attesting the title of a person to a piece of land. The purpose of the reconstitution of title is to have, after observing the procedures prescribed by law, the title reproduced in exactly the same way it has been when the loss or destruction occurred.
The lost or destroyed document referred to is the one that is in the custody of the Register of Deeds. When reconstitution is ordered, this document is replaced with a new one—the reconstituted title—that basically reproduces the original. After the reconstitution, the owner is issued a duplicate copy of the reconstituted title. This is specifically provided under Section 16 of Republic Act No. 26, An Act Providing a Special Procedure for the Reconstitution of Torrens Certificates of Title Lost or Destroyed, which states:
Sec. 16. After the reconstitution of a certificate of title under the provisions of this Act, the register of deeds shall issue the corresponding owner’s duplicate and the additional copies of said certificates of title, if any had been previously issued, where such owner’s duplicate and/or additional copies have been destroyed or lost. This fact shall be noted on the reconstituted certificate of title.
Petitioner went to great lengths to convince the CA that the order for the issuance of a duplicate title to respondents was included in its appeal. We find such exercise unnecessary. The CA should not have been quick in declaring that such order had already become final and executory.
It really does not matter if petitioner did not specifically question the order for the issuance of a new owner’s duplicate title. The fact that petitioner prayed for the dismissal of the petition for reconstitution meant that it was questioning the order for reconstitution and all orders corollary thereto. The trial court’s order for the Register of Deeds to issue a new duplicate certificate of title was only an offshoot of its having granted the petition for reconstitution of title. Without the order for reconstitution, the order to issue a new owner’s duplicate title had no leg to stand on.
More importantly, it would have been impossible for the Register of Deeds to comply with such order. The Register of Deeds cannot issue a duplicate of a document that it does not have. The original copy of the certificate of title was burned, and the Register of Deeds does not have a reconstituted title. Thus, it does not have a certificate of title that it can reproduce as the new owner’s duplicate title.