Land Titles;Torrens system of land registration. Under the Torrens system of land registration, the registered owner of realty cannot be deprived of her property through fraud, unless a transferee acquires the property as an innocent purchaser for value. A transferee who acquires the property covered by a reissued owner’s copy of the certificate of title without taking the ordinary precautions of honest persons in doing business and examining the records of the proper Registry of Deeds, or who fails to pay the full market value of the property is not considered an innocent purchaser for value.
Land titles; quieting of title; compulsory counterclaim as a direct attack. In Arangote v. Maglunob, the Court, after distinguishing between direct and collateral attack, classified a counterclaim under former, viz:
“The attack is considered direct when the object of an action is to annul or set aside such proceeding, or enjoin its enforcement. Conversely, an attack is indirect or collateral when, in an action to obtain a different relief, an attack on the proceeding is nevertheless made as an incident thereof. Such action to attack a certificate of title may be an original action or a counterclaim, in which a certificate of title is assailed as void.”
In the recent case of Sampaco v. Lantud, the Court applied foregoing distinction and held that a counterclaim, specifically one for annulment of title and reconveyance based on fraud, is a direct attack on the Torrens title upon which the complaint for quieting of title is premised.
The above pronouncements were based on the well-settled principle that a counterclaim is essentially a complaint filed by the defendant against the plaintiff and stands on the same footing as an independent action.