Would a resolution on the issue of ownership subject the Torrens title issued over the disputed realties to a collateral attack? Most definitely, it would not.
There is no dispute that a Torrens certificate of title cannot be collaterally attacked, but that rule is not material to the case at bar. What cannot be collaterally attacked is the certificate of title and not the title itself. The certificate referred to is that document issued by the Register of Deeds known as the TCT. In contrast, the title referred to by law means ownership which is, more often than not, represented by that document. Petitioner apparently confuses title with the certificate of title. Title as a concept of ownership should not be confused with the certificate of title as evidence of such ownership although both are interchangeably used.
Moreover, placing a parcel of land under the mantle of the Torrens system does not mean that ownership thereof can no longer be disputed. Ownership is different from a certificate of title, the latter only serving as the best proof of ownership over a piece of land. The certificate cannot always be considered as conclusive evidence of ownership. In fact, mere issuance of the certificate of title in the name of any person does not foreclose the possibility that the real property may be under co-ownership with persons not named in the certificate, or that the registrant may only be a trustee, or that other parties may have acquired interest over the property subsequent to the issuance of the certificate of title. Needless to say, registration does not vest ownership over a property, but may be the best evidence thereof.