[ Land Titles and Deeds
[ Land Titles and Deeds
G.R. No. 167707 October 8, 2008 open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation in Boracay since June 12, 1945, or earlier since time immemorial. They declared their lands for tax purposes and paid realty taxes on them.10 Respondents-claimants posited that Proclamation No. 1801 and its implementing Circular did not place Boracay beyond the commerce of man. Since the Island was classified as a tourist zone, it was susceptible of private ownership. Under Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 141, otherwise known as the Public Land Act, they had the right to have the lots registered in their names through judicial confirmation of imperfect titles. The Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), opposed the petition for declaratory relief. The OSG countered that Boracay Island was an unclassified land of the public domain. It formed part of the mass of lands classified as "public forest," which was not available for disposition pursuant to Section 3(a) of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 705 or the Revised Forestry Code,11 as amended. The OSG maintained that respondents-claimants’ reliance on PD No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 was misplaced. Their right to judicial confirmation of title was governed by CA No. 141 and PD No. 705. Since Boracay Island had not been classified as alienable and disposable, whatever possession they had cannot ripen into ownership. During pre-trial, respondents-claimants and the OSG stipulated on the following facts: (1) respondentsclaimants were presently in possession of parcels of land in Boracay Island; (2) these parcels of land were planted with coconut trees and other natural growing trees; (3) the coconut trees had heights of more or less twenty (20) meters and were planted more or less fifty (50) years ago; and (4) respondents-claimants declared the land they were occupying for tax purposes.12 The parties also agreed that the principal issue for resolution was purely legal: whether Proclamation No. 1801 posed any legal hindrance or impediment to the titling of the lands in Boracay. They decided to forego with the trial and to submit the case for resolution upon submission of their respective memoranda.13 The RTC took judicial notice 14 that certain parcels of land in Boracay Island, more particularly Lots 1 and 30, Plan PSU-5344, were covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 19502 (RO 2222) in the name of the Heirs of Ciriaco S. Tirol. These lots were involved in Civil Case Nos. 5222 and 5262 filed before the RTC of Kalibo, Aklan.15 The titles were issued on August 7, 1933.16 RTC and CA Dispositions On July 14, 1999, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondents-claimants, with a fallo reading:
THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, vs. MAYOR JOSE S. YAP, AT stake in these consolidated cases is the right of the present occupants of Boracay Island to secure titles over their occupied lands. There are two consolidated petitions. The first is G.R. No. 167707, a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) affirming that 2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Kalibo, Aklan, which granted the petition for declaratory relief filed by respondents-claimants Mayor Jose Yap, et al. and ordered the survey of Boracay for titling purposes. The second is G.R. No. 173775, a petition for prohibition, mandamus, and nullification of Proclamation No. 10645"> issued by President Gloria MacapagalArroyo classifying Boracay into reserved forest and agricultural land. The Antecedents G.R. No. 167707 Boracay Island in the Municipality of Malay, Aklan, with its powdery white sand beaches and warm crystalline waters, is reputedly a premier Philippine tourist destination. The island is also home to 12,003 inhabitants4 who live in the bone-shaped island’s three barangays.5 On April 14, 1976, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) approved the National Reservation Survey of Boracay Island,6 which identified several lots as being occupied or claimed by named persons.7 On November 10, 1978, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued Proclamation No. 18018 declaring Boracay Island, among other islands, caves and peninsulas in the Philippines, as tourist zones and marine reservesunder the administration of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA). President Marcos later approved the issuance of PTA Circular 3829 dated September 3, 1982, to implement Proclamation No. 1801. Claiming that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No 3-82 precluded them from filing an application for judicial confirmation of imperfect title or survey of land for titling purposes, respondents-claimants Mayor Jose S. Yap, Jr., Libertad Talapian, Mila Y. Sumndad, and Aniceto Yap filed a petition for declaratory relief with the RTC in Kalibo, Aklan. In their petition, respondents-claimants alleged that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 raised doubts on their right to secure titles over their occupied lands. They declared that they themselves, or through their predecessors-in-interest, had been in
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WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court declares that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 pose no legal obstacle to the petitioners and those similarly situated to acquire title to their lands in Boracay, in accordance with the applicable laws and in the manner prescribed therein; and to have their lands surveyed and approved by respondent Regional Technical Director of Lands as the approved survey does not in itself constitute a title to the land. SO ORDERED.17 The RTC upheld respondents-claimants’ right to have their occupied lands titled in their name. It ruled that neither Proclamation No. 1801 nor PTA Circular No. 382 mentioned that lands in Boracay were inalienable or could not be the subject of disposition. 18 The Circular itself recognized private ownership of lands.19 The trial court cited Sections 8720 and 5321 of the Public Land Act as basis for acknowledging private ownership of lands in Boracay and that only those forested areas in public lands were declared as part of the forest reserve.22 The OSG moved for reconsideration but its motion was denied.23 The Republic then appealed to the CA. On December 9, 2004, the appellate court affirmed in toto the RTC decision, disposing as follows: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby rendered by us DENYING the appeal filed in this case and AFFIRMING the decision of the lower court.24 The CA held that respondents-claimants could not be prejudiced by a declaration that the lands they occupied since time immemorial were part of a forest reserve. Again, the OSG sought reconsideration but it was similarly denied.25 Hence, the present petition under Rule 45. G.R. No. 173775 On May 22, 2006, during the pendency of G.R. No. 167707, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 106426 classifying Boracay Island into four hundred (400) hectares of reserved forest land (protection purposes) and six hundred twenty-eight and 96/100 (628.96) hectares of agricultural land (alienable and disposable). The Proclamation likewise provided for a fifteen-meter buffer zone on each side of the centerline of roads and trails, reserved for right-ofway and which shall form part of the area reserved for forest land protection purposes. On August 10, 2006, petitioners-claimants Dr. Orlando Sacay,27 Wilfredo Gelito,28 and other landowners29 in Boracay filed with this Court an original petition for prohibition, mandamus, and nullification of Proclamation No. 1064.30 They allege that the Proclamation infringed on their "prior vested rights" over portions of Boracay. They have been in continued possession of their respective lots in Boracay since time immemorial. They have also invested billions of pesos in developing their lands and building internationally renowned first class resorts on their lots.31 Petitioners-claimants contended that there is no need for a proclamation reclassifying Boracay into agricultural land. Being classified as neither mineral nor timber land, the island is deemed agricultural pursuant to the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Act No. 926, known as the first Public Land Act. 32 Thus, their possession in the concept of owner for the required period entitled them to judicial confirmation of imperfect title. Opposing the petition, the OSG argued that petitionersclaimants do not have a vested right over their occupied portions in the island. Boracay is an unclassified public forest land pursuant to Section 3(a) of PD No. 705. Being public forest, the claimed portions of the island are inalienable and cannot be the subject of judicial confirmation of imperfect title. It is only the executive department, not the courts, which has authority to reclassify lands of the public domain into alienable and disposable lands. There is a need for a positive government act in order to release the lots for disposition. On November 21, 2006, this Court ordered the consolidation of the two petitions as they principally involve the same issues on the land classification of Boracay Island.33 Issues G.R. No. 167707 The OSG raises the lone issue of whether Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 pose any legal obstacle for respondents, and all those similarly situated, to acquire title to their occupied lands in Boracay Island.34 G.R. No. 173775 Petitioners-claimants hoist five (5) issues, namely: I. AT THE TIME OF THE ESTABLISHED POSSESSION OF PETITIONERS IN CONCEPT OF OWNER OVER THEIR RESPECTIVE AREAS IN BORACAY, SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL OR AT THE LATEST SINCE 30 YRS. PRIOR TO THE FILING OF THE PETITION FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF ON NOV. 19, 1997, WERE THE AREAS OCCUPIED BY THEM PUBLIC AGRICULTURAL LANDS AS DEFINED BY LAWS THEN ON JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION OF IMPERFECT TITLES OR PUBLIC FOREST AS DEFINED BY SEC. 3a, PD 705? II. HAVE PETITIONERS OCCUPANTS ACQUIRED PRIOR VESTED RIGHT OF PRIVATE OWNERSHIPOVER THEIR OCCUPIED PORTIONS OF BORACAY LAND, DESPITE THE
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FACT THAT THEY HAVE NOT APPLIED YET FOR JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION OF IMPERFECT TITLE? III. IS THE EXECUTIVE DECLARATION OF THEIR AREAS AS ALIENABLE AND DISPOSABLE UNDER SEC 6, CA 141 [AN] INDISPENSABLE PRE-REQUISITE FOR PETITIONERS TO OBTAIN TITLEUNDER THE TORRENS SYSTEM? IV. IS THE ISSUANCE OF PROCLAMATION 1064 ON MAY 22, 2006, VIOLATIVE OF THE PRIOR VESTED RIGHTS TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF PETITIONERS OVER THEIR LANDS IN BORACAY, PROTECTED BY THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION OR IS PROCLAMATION 1064 CONTRARY TO SEC. 8, CA 141, OR SEC. 4(a) OF RA 6657. V. CAN RESPONDENTS BE COMPELLED BY MANDAMUS TO ALLOW THE SURVEY AND TO APPROVE THE SURVEY PLANS FOR PURPOSES OF THE APPLICATION FOR TITLING OF THE LANDS OF PETITIONERS IN BORACAY? 35 (Underscoring supplied) In capsule, the main issue is whether private claimants (respondents-claimants in G.R. No. 167707 and petitioners-claimants in G.R. No. 173775) have a right to secure titles over their occupied portions in Boracay. The twin petitions pertain to their right, if any, to judicial confirmation of imperfect title under CA No. 141, as amended. They do not involve their right to secure title under other pertinent laws. Our Ruling Regalian Doctrine and power of the executive to reclassify lands of the public domain Private claimants rely on three (3) laws and executive acts in their bid for judicial confirmation of imperfect title, namely: (a) Philippine Bill of 190236 in relation to Act No. 926, later amended and/or superseded by Act No. 2874 and CA No. 141; 37 (b) Proclamation No. 180138 issued by then President Marcos; and (c) Proclamation No. 106439 issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. We shall proceed to determine their rights to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under these laws and executive acts. But first, a peek at the Regalian principle and the power of the executive to reclassify lands of the public domain. The 1935 Constitution classified lands of the public domain into agricultural, forest or timber.40 Meanwhile, the 1973 Constitution provided the following divisions: agricultural, industrial or commercial, residential, resettlement, mineral, timber or forest and grazing lands, and such other classes as may be provided by law,41 giving the government great leeway for classification.42 Then the 1987 Constitution reverted to the 1935 Constitution classification with one addition: national parks.43 Of these, only agricultural lands may be alienated.44 Prior to Proclamation No. 1064 of May 22, 2006, Boracay Island had never been expressly and administratively classified under any of these grand divisions. Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain. The Regalian Doctrine dictates that all lands of the public domain belong to the State, that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land and charged with the conservation of such patrimony. 45 The doctrine has been consistently adopted under the 1935, 1973, and 1987 Constitutions.46 All lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State.47Thus, all lands that have not been acquired from the government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the State as part of the inalienable public domain.48 Necessarily, it is up to the State to determine if lands of the public domain will be disposed of for private ownership. The government, as the agent of the state, is possessed of the plenary power as the persona in law to determine who shall be the favored recipients of public lands, as well as under what terms they may be granted such privilege, not excluding the placing of obstacles in the way of their exercise of what otherwise would be ordinary acts of ownership.49 Our present land law traces its roots to the Regalian Doctrine. Upon the Spanish conquest of the Philippines, ownership of all lands, territories and possessions in the Philippines passed to the Spanish Crown. 50 The Regalian doctrine was first introduced in the Philippines through the Laws of the Indies and the Royal Cedulas,which laid the foundation that "all lands that were not acquired from the Government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the public domain." 51 The Laws of the Indies was followed by the Ley Hipotecaria or the Mortgage Law of 1893. The Spanish Mortgage Law provided for the systematic registration of titles and deeds as well as possessory claims. 52 The Royal Decree of 1894 or the Maura Law 53 partly amended the Spanish Mortgage Law and the Laws of the Indies. It established possessory information as the method of legalizing possession of vacant Crown land, under certain conditions which were set forth in said decree.54 Under Section 393 of the Maura Law, an informacion posesoria or possessory information title,55 when duly inscribed in the Registry of Property, is converted into a title of ownership only after the lapse of twenty (20) years of uninterrupted possession which must be actual, public, and adverse, 56 from the date of its inscription. 57 However, possessory information title had to be perfected one year after the promulgation of the Maura Law, or until April 17, 1895. Otherwise, the lands would revert to the State.58 In sum, private ownership of land under the Spanish regime could only be founded on royal concessions which took various forms, namely: (1) titulo real or
more comprehensive law limited the exploitation of agricultural lands to Filipinos and Americans and citizens of other countries which gave Filipinos the same privileges. and (5) informacion posesoria or possessory information title. It was enacted to codify the various laws relative to registration of property. Insular Government:64 x x x In other words. investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators. otherwise known as the second Public Land Act. the applicant must establish the existence of a positive act of the government such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order.80 declassifying inalienable public land into disposable land for agricultural or other purposes.[ Land Titles and Deeds
royal grant. to wit: agricultural.72 which provided for a simple thirty-year prescriptive period for judicial confirmation of imperfect title. an administrative action. CA No. This new. 926. the Philippine Commission passed Act No. as amended. 496. incontrovertible evidence must be established that the land subject of the application (or claim) is alienable or disposable.68 On November 29. 141 retained the requirement under Act No. mineral. no such proclamation. 1903. 1936.62 It also provided the definition by exclusion of "agricultural public lands. 2874 of possession and occupation of lands of the public domain since time immemorial or since July 26. To prove that the land subject of an application for registration is alienable. To this day. among others. 141 limits alienable or disposable lands only to those lands which have been "officially delimited and classified. exclusive. report. possession and occupation en concepto dueño since time immemorial. known as the Property Registration Decree. (2) concesion especial or special grant. and imprescriptible. Section 8 of CA No.71 Section 48(b) of CA No."63 Interpreting the meaning of "agricultural lands" under the Philippine Bill of 1902. 1976. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands for the next ten (10) years preceding July 26. The Act introduced the homestead system and made provisions for judicial and administrative confirmation of imperfect titles and for the sale or lease of public lands. 1942. 141. 1904 was sufficient for judicial confirmation of imperfect title.59> The first law governing the disposition of public lands in the Philippines under American rule was embodied in the Philippine Bill of 1902. (4) titulo de compra or title by purchase. 1903." 82 The burden of proof in overcoming the presumption of State ownership of the lands of the public domain is on the person applying for registration (or claiming ownership).70 and privately owned lands which reverted to the State. the recording of all unregistered lands77 shall be governed by Section 194 of the Revised Administrative Code. that the phrase "agricultural land" as used in Act No. indefeasible. statute. executive order. continuous. Act No. or earlier. on October 7. 85 The applicant may also secure a certification from the government that the land claimed to have been possessed for the required number of years is alienable and disposable. and timber or forest lands. 1945. the Court declared in Mapa v. 78 It governs registration of lands under the Torrens system as well as unregistered lands.60 By this law. open. 926 was superseded by Act No. 892 75 on February 16. which was the first Public Land Act. the Philippine Legislature passed Act No. the disposal of mineral lands by means of absolute grant (freehold system) and by lease (leasehold system). 496 within six (6) months from the effectivity of the decree on February 16. such as an official proclamation. 61 The act provided for.66 Concurrently. remains as the existing general law governing the classification and disposition of lands of the public domain other than timber and mineral lands. (3) composicion con el estado or adjustment title. 2874 on December 1.67 Under the Act. The records
. the Court has time and again emphasized that there must be a positive act of the government.79 A positive act declaring land as alienable and disposable is required. The provision was last amended by PD No.73 which now provides for possession and occupation of the land applied for since June 12. This is known as the Torrens system.86 In the case at bar. this provision was superseded by Republic Act (RA) No. 926 means those public lands acquired from Spain which are not timber or mineral lands. The act established a system of registration by which recorded title becomes absolute. Thereafter. as amended by Act No. 2874. For judicial confirmation of title. otherwise known as the Land Registration Act. x x x65 (Emphasis Ours) On February 1. lands of the public domain in the Philippine Islands were classified into three (3) grand divisions. or certification was presented to the Court. 1894. 141 amended Act No. 1894. CA No. In keeping with the presumption of State ownership. 1529.69 After the passage of the 1935 Constitution. 1978. However. administrative action. and a legislative act or a statute. It permitted corporations regardless of the nationality of persons owning the controlling stock to lease or purchase lands of the public domain. 84 There must still be a positive act declaring land of the public domain as alienable and disposable. 83 To overcome this presumption. 496 was amended and updated by PD No.76 Under the decree.74 The issuance of PD No. or since July 26. all holders of Spanish titles or grants should apply for registration of their lands under Act No. was required. On June 11. 3344. 1073. 1919. who must prove that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable. including chattel mortgages.81 In fact. 1976 discontinued the use of Spanish titles as evidence in land registration proceedings. Act No.
that in each case the lands are agricultural lands until the contrary is shown. the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Act No. citing the cases of Ramos v. 1148. That would take these lands out of State ownership and worse. In any case. under which there was no legal provision vesting in the Chief Executive or President of the Philippines the power to classify lands of the public domain into mineral. 926. the Attorney-General admitted in effect that whether the particular land in question belongs to one class or another is a question of fact. 91 This was the Court’s ruling in Heirs of the Late Spouses Pedro S. this Court stated: In the case of Jocson vs." and "mineral" lands."94 But We cannot unduly expand the presumption in Ankron and De Aldecoa to an argument that all lands of the public domain had been automatically reclassified as disposable and alienable agricultural lands.[ Land Titles and Deeds
are bereft of evidence showing that. continued to be owned by the State. or were vested with implicit power to do so. The Insular Government (1909).Private claimants posit that Boracay was already an agricultural land pursuant to the old cases Ankron v. who failed to avail themselves of the benefits of Act No. At that time. the courts could adjudge it as a mineral or timber land despite the presumption. many definitions have been given for "agriculture. and that in each case it is a question of fact.89 These cases were decided under the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Act No. Director of Forestry (supra). While. The presumption applies to an applicant for judicial or administrative conformation of imperfect title under Act No. De Palanca v. or were vested with implicit power to do so. mineral land. prior to 2006. or more specifically those cases dealing with judicial and administrative confirmation of imperfect titles. It should be stressed that the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Act No. Whether the land would be classified as timber. By no stretch of imagination did the presumption convert all lands of the public domain into agricultural lands. 1926. depending upon the preponderance of the evidence. As to them. by virtue of the Regalian doctrine." "forestry. It certainly cannot apply to landowners. depending upon the preponderance of the evidence. If We accept the position of private claimants. Land classification was. Absent such well-nigh incontrovertible evidence. The mere fact that a tract of land has trees upon it or has mineral within it is not of itself sufficient to declare that one is forestry land and the other. If there was proof that the land was better suited for non-agricultural uses. as we have just said. 7. Palanca and Soterranea Rafols Vda.) It is not sufficient to show that there exists some trees upon the land or that it bears some mineral. 926. Director of Lands and Ankron v. timber and agricultural so that the courts then were free to make corresponding classifications in justiciable cases. such as private claimants or their predecessors-in-interest. 926 merely provided the manner through which land registration courts would classify lands of the public domain. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed. their land remained unclassified and. that in each case the lands are agricultural lands until the contrary is shown. alienable and disposable lands. Government of the Philippine Islands. 926. The presumption in Ankron and De Aldecoa attaches only to land registration cases brought under the provisions of Act No. it was then necessary to devise a presumption on land classification. There must be some proof of the extent and present or future value of the forestry and of the minerals.87 Ankron and De Aldecoa did not make the whole of Boracay Island. agricultural lands. through Justice Adolfo Azcuna. These cases were decided under the Philippine Bill of 1902 and the first Public Land Act No. 926 would have automatically made all lands in the Philippines.92 in which it stated. by reason of the
. and agricultural. 926 enacted by the Philippine Commission on October 7. or portions of it. 926. the Court cannot accept the submission that lands occupied by private claimants were already open to disposition before 2006. the portions of Boracay occupied by private claimants were subject of a government proclamation that the land is alienable and disposable. except those already classified as timber or mineral land. Republic. and. Land may be classified as forestry or mineral today. There is a statement in these old cases that "in the absence of evidence to the contrary. we think it is safe to say that in order to be forestry or mineral land the proof must show that it is more valuable for the forestry or the mineral which it contains than it is for agricultural purposes. Director of Lands and Ankron v. Thus evolved the dictum in Ankron that "the courts have a right to presume.93 To aid the courts in resolving land registration cases under Act No. the assumption in Ankron and De Aldecoa was not absolute. in the absence of evidence to the contrary. in the end. viz. Act No. In Ankron. 926. These cases did not have the effect of converting the whole of Boracay Island or portions of it into agricultural lands. timber. the courts were free to make corresponding classifications in justiciable cases. Government is misplaced. xxxx Petitioner’s reliance upon Ramos v." 90 Private claimants’ reliance on Ankron and De Aldecoa is misplaced. Government of the Philippine Islands (1919)88 and De Aldecoa v. or agricultural depended on proof presented in each case. (Sec. dependent on proof. Ankron and De Aldecoa were decided at a time when the President of the Philippines had no power to classify lands of the public domain into mineral. would be utterly inconsistent with and totally repugnant to the long-entrenched Regalian doctrine. mineral. They call for proof.: x x x Petitioners furthermore insist that a particular land need not be formally released by an act of the Executive before it can be deemed open to private ownership.
Here.101 De Aldecoa v. 141. Until private interests have intervened. We note that the RTC decision99 in G. the issue is whether unclassified lands of the public domain are automatically deemed agricultural. forestry.96 Act No.107-a ruled: "Act No. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources. therefore. in the absence of evidence to the contrary.97 Here. the definition of "agricultural public lands" mentioned in Krivenko relied on the old cases decided prior to the enactment of Act No." In short. Court of Appeals. Hence. A similar argument was squarely rejected by the Court in Collado v. timber. since they were decided when the Executive did not have the authority to classify lands as agricultural. decide for itself what portions of public land shall be considered forestry land. It prescribed rules and regulations for the homesteading. Private claimants’ continued possession under Act No. is a question of proof. by virtue of the terms of said Act (No. Government of the Philippine Islands. vesting the Executive with the sole power to classify lands of the public domain was already in effect. private claimants cannot bank on Act No. 926106 ipso facto converted the island into private ownership. mineral or forest. The Government. Each case must be decided upon the proof in that particular case. 167707 mentioned Krivenko v. without an application for judicial confirmation having been filed by private claimants or their predecessors-ininterest. 107 Collado. It may perchance belong to one or the other of said classes of land. having regard for its present or future value for one or the other purposes.103 Krivenko. Whatever the land involved in a particular land registration case is forestry or mineral land must. 926. whether the land is agricultural. and for the cancellation or confirmation of Spanish concessions and grants in the Islands. 39 Phil. courts were no longer free to determine the classification of lands from the facts of each case. was passed in pursuance of the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902. We believe. Jocson vs. The term "public land" referred to all lands of the public domain whose
. however. The pertinent issue inKrivenko was whether residential lots were included in the general classification of agricultural lands. forestry. however. whether express or implied. supra)95 (Emphasis ours) Since 1919. Hence. Puno in Cruz v. is not controlling here because it involved a totally different issue. by reservation. citing the separate opinion of now Chief Justice Reynato S. Insular Government. 2874.R. Simply put. or mineral. 1148. there was no opportunity for the courts then to resolve if the land the Boracay occupants are now claiming were agricultural lands.[ Land Titles and Deeds
exhaustion of the timber or mineral. for the completion of imperfect titles. 926. Its superior value for one purpose or the other is a question of fact to be settled by the proof in each particular case. selling and leasing of portions of the public domain of the Philippine Islands. the courts were no longer authorized to determine the property’s land classification. or mineral. and prescribed the terms and conditions to enable persons to perfect their titles to public lands in the Islands. the Government. The law governed the disposition of lands of the public domain. or mineral land. No. may." for the establishment of town sites and sale of lots therein. the Public Land Act operated on the assumption that title to public lands in the Philippine Islands remained in the government. 926 was supplanted by Act No. Private claimants also contend that their continued possession of portions of Boracay Island for the requisite period of ten (10) years under Act No. whether an alien could acquire a residential lot. And vice-versa. under the provisions of Act No. 141. and if so. the first Public Land Act. except those that have already became private lands. 2874 in 1919. 175. Krivenko cited the old cases Mapa v.96-a Since then. unless private interests have intervened before such reservation is made.100 which was decided in 1947 when CA No. courts no longer had the authority. The Insular Government. may decide for itself what portions of the "public domain" shall be set aside and reserved as forestry or mineral land. by reason of the rapid growth of timber or the discovery of valuable minerals. to determine the classification of lands of the public domain. private claimants. in the first instance. Register of Deeds of Manila. Director of Lands. lands classified as agricultural today may be differently classified tomorrow. Director of Forestry. including Ankron and De Aldecoa. ( Ramos vs. It also provided for the "issuance of patents to certain native settlers upon public lands. The fact that the land is a manglar [mangrove swamp] is not sufficient for the courts to decide whether it is agricultural. that in each case the lands are agricultural lands until the contrary is shown. 1148). the exclusive prerogative to classify or reclassify public lands into alienable or disposable. gave the Executive Department. promulgated in 1919 and reproduced in Section 6 of CA No. 2874. 926 does not create a presumption that the land is alienable. Notably.105 As We have already stated. 98 did not present a justiciable case for determination by the land registration court of the property’s land classification. and that the government’s title to public land sprung from the Treaty of Paris and other subsequent treaties between Spain and the United States. unlike the Heirs of Ciriaco Tirol who were issued their title in 1933. In the latter case. This Court ruled that as an alien. be a matter of proof.102 and Ankron v. When Act No. Krivenko was prohibited by the 1935 Constitution 104 from acquiring agricultural land. those cases cannot apply here. be classified as agricultural land tomorrow. they may apply for a title in their name. through the President. which included residential lots. considering the fact that it is a matter of public knowledge that a majority of the lands in the Philippine Islands are agricultural lands that the courts have a right to presume.
and national parks. nipa palms. Circular No. 705 issued by President Marcos categorized all unclassified lands of the public domain as public forest. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like.108 (Emphasis Ours) Except for lands already covered by existing titles. private claimants argue that Proclamation No. Swampy areas covered by mangrove trees. it has not been automatically converted from public forest to alienable agricultural land. even if its forest cover has been replaced by beach resorts. 1801 as basis for judicial confirmation of imperfect title." Thus. and not look into its physical layout. Boracay. Section 3 provides: No trees in forested private lands may be cut without prior authority from the PTA. respects titles already existing prior to its effectivity. 111 that the island has already been stripped of its forest cover. mineral lands. Such unclassified lands are considered public forest under PD No. 1064 will destroy the island’s tourism industry. in the context of both the Public Land Act and the Constitution112 classifying lands of the public domain into "agricultural. 705 may seem to be out of touch with the present realities in the island.115 (Emphasis supplied) There is a big difference between "forest" as defined in a dictionary and "forest or timber land" as a classification of lands of the public domain as appearing in our statutes." Applying PD No. PD No. "Forest lands" do not have to be on mountains or in out of the way places. the Court is tasked to determine the legal status of Boracay Island. Rule VIII. and excluded the patrimonial property of the government and the friar lands. PD No.
. and other trees growing in brackish or sea water may also be classified as forest land. Private claimants assert that. do not negate its character as public forest. as a tourist zone. no doubt. In fact. 705. 705. the reference in the Circular to both private and public lands merely recognizes that the island can be classified by the Executive department pursuant to its powers under CA No. Unless and until the land classified as "forest" is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that it may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain. including those in Boracay Island. The DENR109 and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority110 certify that Boracay Island is an unclassified land of the public domain. Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain prior to Proclamation No. 1801 issued by then President Marcos in 1978 entitles them to judicial confirmation of imperfect title. it is plain error for petitioners to argue that under the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Public Land Act No. The proclamation did not convert Boracay into an agricultural land. has been partly stripped of its forest cover to pave the way for commercial developments. There is nothing in the law or the Circular which made Boracay Island an agricultural land. 1801 or PTA Circular No. that the occupants of Boracay have built multi-million peso beach resorts on the island. a classification for legal purposes. 3-82 makes reference not only to private lands and areas but also to public forested lands. Director of Forestry114 is particularly instructive: A forested area classified as forest land of the public domain does not lose such classification simply because loggers or settlers may have stripped it of its forest cover. as a tourist spot. 141. 116 At any rate. 926. however. 3-82 to "private lands" 117 and "areas declared as alienable and disposable"118 does not by itself classify the entire island as agricultural. Proclamation No. the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply. Nevertheless. Boracay appears more of a commercial island resort. The reference in Circular No. All forested areas in public lands are declared forest reserves . The Proclamation classified Boracay. One is descriptive of what appears on the land while the other is a legal status. 3-82 did not convert the whole of Boracay into an agricultural land. restaurants and other commercial establishments. However. The Court notes that the classification of Boracay as a forest land under PD No. Forests. 705. among other islands. Hence. or that the implementation of Proclamation No. As a premier tourist destination for local and foreign tourists. mere possession by private individuals of lands creates the legal presumption that the lands are alienable and disposable. forest or timber. 113 The discussion in Heirs of Amunategui v. all unclassified lands." do not necessarily refer to large tracts of wooded land or expanses covered by dense growths of trees and underbrushes. Section 5 of the Circular recognizes the then Bureau of Forest Development’s authority to declare areas in the island as alienable and disposable when it provides: Subsistence farming.[ Land Titles and Deeds
title still remained in the government and are thrown open to private appropriation and settlement. the island is susceptible of private ownership. Private claimants cannot rely on Proclamation No. Notably. 1064. in areas declared as alienable and disposable by the Bureau of Forest Development. Section 3(a) of PD No. (Emphasis supplied) Clearly. are ipso factoconsidered public forests. rather than a forest land. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. 705 defines a public forest as "a mass of lands of the public domain which has not been the subject of the present system of classification for the determination of which lands are needed for forest purpose and which are not.
It was within her authority to make such classification. No reclassification of forest or mineral lands to agricultural lands shall be undertaken after the approval of this Act until Congress. 229. While it is true that the land classification map does not categorically state that the islands are public forests. and peninsulas in the Philippines. and is clearly beyond. 705. 1801. 4. Puerto Princesa and surrounding areas in Palawan. More specifically. 1801 cannot be deemed the positive act needed to classify Boracay Island as alienable and disposable land. upon the recommendation of the proper department head. That Boracay Island was classified as a public forest under PD No. They claim that since Boracay is a public forest under PD No. as in the case of Boracay. Private claimants further assert that Proclamation No. 1801 covers not only Boracay Island. to name a few.123 Proclamation No. much less unconstitutional. 131 and Executive Order No. Scope. through the Office of the President. – The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 shall cover. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo merely exercised the authority granted to her to classify lands of the public domain. and Misamis Oriental. 6657. Palanca and Soterranea Rafols v. 6657 barring conversion of public forests into agricultural lands. 705.121 In issuing Proclamation No. If the land had never been previously classified. the key word to the correct application of the prohibition in Section 4(a) is the word "reclassification.122 Absent such classification.96 hectares of agricultural land. 1064 of 2006 which positively declared part of Boracay as alienable and opened the same to private ownership. about the classification of Boracay Island made by the President through Proclamation No. the intent of the proclamation. the land remains unclassified land until released and rendered open to disposition. 1064 classifies Boracay into 400 hectares of reserved forest land and 628. We agree with the opinion of the Department of Justice126 on this point: Indeed. Proclamation No. there can be no prohibited reclassification under the agrarian law. It does not address the areas’ alienability. which are reserved for right of way and which shall form part of the area reserved for forest land protection purposes. Republic. 1064 violates the provision of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) or RA No. he would have identified the specific limits of each. presumably subject to existing vested rights. The Proclamation likewise provides for a 15-meter buffer zone on each side of the center line of roads and trails.[ Land Titles and Deeds
Therefore. caves and peninsulas in the Philippines. the land remains unclassified until released and rendered open to disposition. the following lands are covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program: (a) All alienable and disposable lands of the public domain devoted to or suitable for agriculture. but sixty-four (64) other islands. 141120 provide that it is only the President. Camiguin Island in Cagayan de Oro. regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced.125 (Emphasis supplied) Moreover. subject to existing vested rights. President Arroyo can no longer convert it into an agricultural land without running afoul of Section 4(a) of RA No. the fact that they were unclassified lands leads to the same result. who has the authority to classify the lands of the public domain into alienable or disposable. thus: SEC.124 the Court stated that unclassified lands are public forests." Where there has been no previous
. 705 did not bar the Executive from later converting it into agricultural land. developmental and equity considerations. If President Marcos intended to classify the island as alienable and disposable or forest. all public and private agricultural lands as provided in Proclamation No. as President Arroyo did in Proclamation No. coves. It was Proclamation No. Courts have no authority to do so. together with other islands. such as Fortune and Verde Islands in Batangas. 1801 also explain the rationale behind the declaration of Boracay Island. as a tourist zone and marine reserve to be administered by the PTA – to ensure the concentrated efforts of the public and private sectors in the development of the areas’ tourism potential with due regard for ecological balance in the marine environment. Contrary to private claimants’ argument. all the other areas mentioned would likewise be declared wide open for private disposition. 1064. If the designation of Boracay Island as tourist zone makes it alienable and disposable by virtue of Proclamation No. Classification of public lands is the exclusive prerogative of the Executive Department. Proclamation No. there was nothing invalid or irregular. or both. 1801. Boracay Island still remained an unclassified land of the public domain despite PD No. Simply put. In Heirs of the Late Spouses Pedro S. Proclamation No. the specific limits of the public domain. 1064 does not violate the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. In the absence of the classification as mineral or timber land. 1064. taking into account ecological. 1064. including other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture. This was not done in Proclamation No. Coron Island. shall have determined by law. Sections 6 and 7 of CA No. the prohibition under the CARL applies only to a "reclassification" of land. timber and mineral lands. That could not have been.119 More importantly. the proclamation is aimed at administering the islands for tourism and ecological purposes. Panglao and Balicasag Islands in Bohol. Port Galera in Oriental Mindoro. The Whereas clauses of Proclamation No.
We note that the earliest of the tax declarations in the name of private claimants were issued in 1993. and cannot. 141. 1945. 141. there can be no "reclassification of forest lands" to speak of within the meaning of Section 4(a). applying the Regalian doctrine. and Proclamation No. to the mass of the public domain which has not been the subject of the present system of classification for purposes of determining which are needed for forest purposes and which are not] into permanent forest or forest reserves or some other forest uses under the Revised Forestry Code. continuous. or classified. and other areas they possess now classified as agricultural. This Court is constitutionally bound to decide cases based on the evidence presented and the laws applicable. The Court also notes that for a number of years. While they may not be eligible to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Section 48(b) of CA No. namely: (1) open. 1945. this does not denote their automatic ouster from the residential. One Last Note The Court is aware that millions of pesos have been invested for the development of Boracay Island. must fail because of the absence of the second element of alienable and disposable land. 1801 did not convert portions of Boracay Island into an agricultural land. Nor do these give them a right to apply for a title to the land they are presently occupying. 1945. Private claimants failed to prove the first element of open. which have not been previously determined. possession of the land. They can take steps to preserve or protect their possession. 1801. Being of recent dates. the prohibition in Section 4(a) of the CARL against the reclassification of forest lands to agricultural lands without a prior law delimiting the limits of the public domain. denominated as "public forest" under the Revised Forestry Code. This is clear from the wording of the law itself. For one thing. and notorious possession and occupation of the subject land by himself or through his predecessors-in-interest under a bona fide claim of ownership since time immemorial or from June 12. This is the law and it should prevail. 1064. making it a by-word in the local and international tourism industry. While the Court commiserates with private claimants’ plight.129Where the land is not alienable and disposable. commercial.132 subject to the conditions imposed by law.[ Land Titles and Deeds
classification of public forest [referring. thousands of people have called the island their home. as needed for forest purposes in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Forestry Code. exclusive. As the law and jurisprudence stand.130 Neither may private claimants apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Proclamation No.127 Private claimants are not entitled to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under CA No. The continued possession and considerable investment of private claimants do not automatically give them a vested right in Boracay. They say their continued possession and investments give them a vested right which cannot be unilaterally rescinded by Proclamation No. Lack of title does not necessarily mean lack of right to possess. they may look into other modes of applying for original registration of title. relying on the Philippine Bill of 1902. The island remained an unclassified land of the public domain and. Private claimants insist that they have a vested right in Boracay. All is not lost. 141. They have invested millions of pesos in developing the island into a tourist spot. 926. Neither will this mean the loss of their substantial investments on their occupied alienable lands. There is one such bill133 now pending in the House of Representatives. is considered State property. apply to those lands of the public domain. does not. exclusive. The tax declarations in the name of private claimants are insufficient to prove the first element of possession. For another. for private claimants. Act No.
. Private claimants’ bid for judicial confirmation of imperfect title. such as by homestead131 or sales patent. private claimants are ineligible to apply for a judicial confirmation of title over their occupied portions in Boracay even with their continued possession and considerable investment in the island. and Proclamation No. obviously. however. Act No. Congress may enact a law to entitle private claimants to acquire title to their occupied lots or to exempt them from certain requirements under the present land laws. the tax declarations are not sufficient to convince this Court that the period of possession and occupation commenced on June 12. no matter how long. We cannot sustain the CA and RTC conclusion in the petition for declaratory relief that private claimants complied with the requisite period of possession. and (2) the classification of the land as alienable and disposable land of the public domain. 1064. as amended. and notorious possession of their lands in Boracay since June 12. Ito ang batas at ito ang dapat umiral. having been in possession of the island for a long time.128 As discussed. those with lawful possession may claim good faith as builders of improvements. Thus. with respect to those lands which were classified as agricultural lands. We are bound to apply the law strictly and judiciously. cannot confer ownership or possessory rights. There are two requisites for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title under CA No. the Philippine Bill of 1902. Whether that bill or a similar bill will become a law is for Congress to decide. continuous. we repeat. More realistically. 926. Neither do they have vested rights over the occupied lands under the said law. Their entitlement to a government grant under our present Public Land Act presupposes that the land possessed and applied for is already alienable and disposable.
R. CV No. . the lower court issued an order of general default as against the whole world. and that to the best of her knowledge. Indeed. Branch 69. . No.131 square meters.R. Josefina Moraga and Fausto Monje and their predecessors-in-interest who have been in possession thereof for more than thirty (30) years. With the rains. Their promotion and protection are not just fancy rhetoric for politicians and activists. the Republic of the Philippines [herein petitioner]. The petition for certiorari in G. watersheds dry up. the fertile topsoil is washed away. As aptly observed by Justice Conrado Sanchez in 1968 in Director of Forestry v. 71118 REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. continuous. To be sure. . however. about the pressing need for forest preservation. appearing on Plan AP-03-003446 containing an area of 15. With erosion come the dreaded floods that wreak havoc and destruction to property – crops. Many have written much. that the applicant’s claim of ownership in fee simple on the basis of Spanish title or grant can no longer be availed of . said lots suffer no mortgage or encumbrance of whatever kind nor is there any person having any interest. this Court hereby adjudicates the parcels of land situated in Panan. the government has taken the step necessary to open up the island to private ownership. SO ORDERED.. CV No. conservation. judgment is rendered as follows: 1. 167707 is GRANTED and the Court of Appeals Decision in CAG.[ Land Titles and Deeds
In issuing Proclamation No. Denuded areas become dust bowls. 37001 which affirmed an earlier decision2 of the Regional Trial Court at Iba. and many more have spoken. N-25-1. does not becloud the vision to protect its remaining forest cover and to strike a healthy balance between progress and ecology. NAGUIAT
Before the Court is this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the Decision1 dated May 29. Zambales. livestock. filed an opposition to the application on the ground that neither the applicant nor her predecessors-in interest have been in open. CELESTINA
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. . forest lands are fundamental to our nation’s survival. more particularly described in the amended application filed by Celestina Naguiat on 29 December 1989 with the Regional Trial Court of Zambales. so will hydroelectric plants. houses. and that the parcels of land applied for are part of the public domain belonging to the Republic of the Philippines not subject to private appropriation. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the lands in question since 12 June 1945 or prior thereto. 1991. Without the trees. the foregoing observations should be written down in a lumberman’s decalogue. No. the trial court rendered judgment for herein respondent Celestina Naguiat. legal or equitable. No. protection. The decision under review recites the factual backdrop. These are needs that become more urgent as destruction of our environment gets prevalent and difficult to control. The Solicitor General. as follows: This is an application for registration of title to four (4) parcels of land located in Panan. 3 In a decision4 dated September 30. That the island is no longer overrun by trees. Ecological conservation is as important as economic progress.R. applicant rested her case. . For. . The fish disappear. development and reforestation. thru the Provincial Prosecutor. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation thereof in the concept of (an) owner. interposed no objection to the admission of the exhibits. appearing on Plan AP-03-003447 containing an area of 3. . G. that the muniments of title and tax payment receipts of applicant do not constitute competent and sufficient evidence of a bona-fide acquisition of the lands applied for or of his open.R. thus: WHEREFORE. continuous.322
G. forests constitute a vital segment of any country's natural resources. The petition for certiorari in is DISMISSED for lack of merit. the Provincial Prosecutor manifest (sic) that the Government had no evidence to adduce. This gesture may not be sufficient to appease some sectors which view the classification of the island partially into a forest reserve as absurd. Botolan. Zambales. On 15 October 1990. Munoz:134 The view this Court takes of the cases at bar is but in adherence to public policy that should be followed with respect to forest lands. Later . that she is the owner of the said parcels of land having acquired them by purchase from the LID Corporation which likewise acquired the same from Demetria Calderon. . 1064. After she had presented and formally offered her evidence . and quite often. and highways – not to mention precious human lives. It is of common knowledge by now that absence of the necessary green cover on our lands produces a number of adverse or ill effects of serious proportions. and proceeded with the hearing of this registration case. adjudicating unto her the parcels of land in question and decreeing the registration thereof in her name. premises considered. with the exception of the Office of the Solicitor General. geological erosion results. or in possession thereof. 134209
January 24. Zambales. 1998 of the Court of Appeals
. rivers and lakes which they supply are emptied of their contents.R. 2006 vs. As waterfalls cease to function. Botolan. Not without justification. On 29 June 1990. 173775 (CA) in CA-G. Applicant [herein respondent] alleges. Branch 69 in Land Registration Case No.135 WHEREFORE. 2. inter alia.
[ Land Titles and Deeds
containing an area of 15. is her and her predecessor-in-interest’s open.D.14 Needless to stress. finding a registerable title for respondent.) 141. upon completion of the requisite period.5 As to these assets.A. 14. citing Director of Lands vs. xxx. the CA assumed that the lands in question are already alienable and disposable. Pampanga together with all the improvements existing thereon and orders and decrees registration in her name in accordance with Act No. to wit: WHEREFORE. 10 which embodies the Regalian doctrine. And once this decision becomes final. 1998.387 square meters to herein applicant Celestina T.) The principal reason for the appellate court’s disposition. the appellate court went on to conclude. the lands in question cease to be public land and become private property. however. CV No.6 Given this postulate.15 In the present case. in the context of both the Public Land Act 7 and the Constitution8 classifying lands of the public domain into "agricultural. Director of Lands. The classification is merely descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. public lands not shown to have been reclassified or released as alienable agricultural land or alienated to a private person by the State remain part of the inalienable public domain. 12 Accordingly. This adjudication. that open.R. [should be 141] as amended. the disposable and alienable nature of the land sought to be registered was established. continuous and exclusive occupation of the subject property for more than 30 years. petitioner Republic went on appeal to the CA in CA-G. since respondent has not established with the required evidence her title in fee simple or imperfect title in respect of the subject lots which would warrant their registration under … (P. Wrote the appellate court: The theory of [petitioner] that the properties in question are lands of the public domain cannot be sustained as it is directly against the above doctrine. appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED. in said cases. "Forest lands" do not have to be on mountains or in out of the way places. 37001. the CA.17 among other cases. 1529. SO ORDERED. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. belongs to the Executive Branch of the government and not the court. presidential decrees and/or presidential letters of instructions which should be annotated/ projected on the title to be issued. As we stated in Heirs of Amunategui 9A forested area classified as forest land of the public domain does not lose such classification simply the decision because loggers or settlers have stripped it of its forest cover. all lands of the public domain belong to the State – the source of any asserted right to ownership of land. the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply. Commonwealth Act No. forest or timber. As stated at the outset hereof. winning cards for the respondent. mineral lands and national parks. 1529 or Public Land Act (C. is subject to the various easements/reservations provided for under pertinent laws. by incontrovertible evidence. 496. not put in issue. Article XII of the Constitution. And there lies the difference. of legal age. Said doctrine is a reaffirmation of the principle established in the earlier cases . (Words in bracket added) With its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the trial court. the onus to overturn. 11 All lands not appearing to be clearly of private dominion presumptively belong to the State..13 Under Section 6 of the Public Land Act. Public forest lands or forest reserves. ipso jure and without the need of judicial or other sanction. (Word in bracket and underscoring added. are not capable of private appropriation. from forest or mineral to agricultural and vice versa. and Presidential Decree No. Prescinding from its above assumption and finding.
. at least. for the simple reason that. Naguiat. . the prerogative of classifying or reclassifying lands of the public domain. Filipino citizen. upon the completion of the requisite period of possession. the presumption that the land subject of an application for registration is alienable or disposable rests with the applicant. exclusive and undisputed possession of alienable public land for period prescribed by law creates the legal fiction whereby the land. the principal issue to be addressed turns on the question of whether or not the areas in question have ceased to have the status of forest or other inalienable lands of the public domain. in the herein assailed decision of May 29. let the corresponding decree of registration be immediately issued.e. xxx Under Section 2. Herico and the other cases cited by the CA are not. Hence. . or. petitioner Republic faults the appellate court on its finding respecting the length of respondent’s occupation of the property subject of her application for registration and for not considering the fact that she has not established that the lands in question have been declassified from forest or timber zone to alienable and disposable property. married to Rommel Naguiat and a resident of Angeles City. affirmed that of the trial court. the Republic’s present recourse on its basic submission that the CA’s decision " is not in accordance with law. unless declassified and released by positive act of the Government so that they may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain. Intermediate Appellate Court (IAC)16 and Herico vs. however. premises considered. ceases to be public land and becomes private property …. that. i. Forests." In particular. jurisprudence and the evidence." do not necessarily refer to a large tract of wooded land or an expanse covered by dense growth of trees and underbrush. DAR.
1998. however long. On March 22. bodies of water. On October 19. mineral and other
. respondent submitted in evidence the survey map and technical descriptions of the lands. a group of intervenors. The motions for intervention of the aforesaid groups and organizations were granted. in relation to section 3(a). unclassified land. They agree with the NCIP and Flavier. et al. respondent’s application for original registration of title in Land Registration Case No. The CHR asserts that IPRA is an expression of the principle of parens patriae and that the State has the responsibility to protect and guarantee the rights of those who are at a serious disadvantage like indigenous peoples. Mr. Ponciano Bennagen. that declassification of forest and mineral lands. 8371 (R.SECRETARY ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES PER CURIAM:
Petitioners Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa brought this suit for prohibition and mandamus as citizens and taxpayers. N-25-1 of the Regional Trial Court at Iba. cannot be acquired by adverse occupation or possession. and intervenors filed their in which they reiterate the their earlier pleadings and
ISAGANI CRUZ and vs. and the leaders and members of 112 groups of indigenous peoples (Flavier. On March 23. As the Court has held.[ Land Titles and Deeds
Here. "(2) Section 5. heard on April 13. in violation of the regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2. 1998
Petitioners assail the constitutionality of the following provisions of the IPRA and its Implementing Rules on the ground that they amount to an unlawful deprivation of the State’s ownership over lands of the public domain as well as minerals and other natural resources therein.A. No costs. otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA). as here. 1998. For this reason it prays that the petition be dismissed. needless to state. filed on October 13. and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (Implementing Rules). filed their Motion for Leave to Intervene. 8371). in which they defend the constitutionality of the IPRA and pray that the petition be dismissed for lack of merit.1 In compliance. 135385 December 6. respondent never presented the required certification from the proper government agency or official proclamation reclassifying the land applied for as alienable and disposable. that IPRA is consistent with the Constitution and pray that the petition for prohibition and mandamus be dismissed. the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) likewise filed a Motion to Intervene and/or to Appear as Amicus Curiae. composed of the Ikalahan Indigenous People and the Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources. the parties respective memoranda arguments adduced in during the hearing. Accordingly. assailing the constitutionality of certain provisions of Republic Act No. the Court required respondents to comment. a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. For. occupation thereof in the concept of owner. Zambales. CV No. They join the NCIP in defending the constitutionality of IPRA and praying for the dismissal of the petition.R. one of the authors of the IPRA. which provides that ancestral domains including inalienable public lands. 1998. respondents Chairperson and Commissioners of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). et al. On November 10.19 It cannot be overemphasized that unwarranted appropriation of public lands has been a notorious practice resorted to in land registration cases. the government agency created under the IPRA to implement its provisions. G. 1999. defines ancestral lands. provided no information respecting the classification of the property. the Court has made it a point to stress. Juan Flavier. 1999. which. the instant petition is GRANTED and the assailed decision dated May 29. SO ORDERED. another group. and Section 3(b) which. is DENIED.18 Aside from tax receipts.21 The foregoing considered. 1999. 20 For this reason. Inc.). in turn. (Haribon. In its resolution of September 29. Branch 69. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed. Oral arguments were Thereafter. Article XII of the Constitution: "(1) Section 3(a) which defines the extent and coverage of ancestral domains. et. as the case may be. It calls for proof. The Solicitor General is of the view that the IPRA is partly unconstitutional on the ground that it grants ownership over natural resources to indigenous peoples and prays that the petition be granted in part. when appropriate. filed a motion to Intervene with attached Comment-in-Intervention. 37001 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 1998 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. respondents Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) filed through the Solicitor General a consolidated Comment. and their conversion into alienable and disposable lands need an express and positive act from the government. the issue of whether or not respondent and her predecessor-in-interest have been in open. No. exclusive and continuous possession of the parcels of land in question is now of little moment.22 WHEREFORE. these documents are not sufficient to overcome the presumption that the land sought to be registered forms part of the public domain. 2000 OF their Comment to the Petition. however. al). cannot ripen into private ownership and be registered as title. composed of Sen.
and the right to enter into agreements with nonindigenous peoples for the development and utilization of natural resources therein for a period not exceeding 25 years. 65 and 66 and other related provisions of R.[ Land Titles and Deeds
resources found within ancestral domains are private but community property of the indigenous peoples. petitioners assail the validity of Rule VII. mangroves. Secretary of Justice and Commissioner of the National Development Corporation.6 Petitioners pray for the following: "(1) A declaration that Sections 3. development. namely.A. 2. Part II. and "(5) The issuance of a writ of mandamus commanding the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources to comply with his duty of carrying out the State’s constitutional mandate to control and supervise the exploration. protected areas."7 After due deliberation on the petition. 8371 are unconstitutional and invalid. traditions and practices of indigenous peoples shall be applied first with respect to property rights. "(3) The issuance of a writ of prohibition directing the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to cease and desist from implementing Department of Environment and Natural Resources Circular No. 57. "(4) The issuance of a writ of prohibition directing the Secretary of Budget and Management to cease and desist from disbursing public funds for the implementation of the assailed provisions of R. "(2) The issuance of a writ of prohibition directing the Chairperson and Commissioners of the NCIP to cease and desist from implementing the assailed provisions of R. 7."5 Finally. and "(7) Section 58 which gives the indigenous peoples the responsibility to maintain. "(4) Section 65 which states that customary laws and practices shall be used to resolve disputes involving indigenous peoples.A. Article VII of the Constitution. 1. 58. by providing for an allencompassing definition of "ancestral domains" and "ancestral lands" which might even include private lands found within said areas. "(2) Section 52[i] which provides that upon certification by the NCIP that a particular area is an ancestral domain and upon notification to the following officials." They contend that said Rule infringes upon the President’s power of control over executive departments under Section 17. which provides that "the administrative relationship of the NCIP to the Office of the President is characterized as a lateral but autonomous relationship for purposes of policy and program coordination. Sections 3(a) and 3(b) violate the rights of private landowners. Secretary of Interior and Local Governments. claims of ownership. develop. wildlife sanctuaries. extraction. Section 1 of the NCIP Administrative Order No. wilderness. and "(5) Section 66 which vests on the NCIP the jurisdiction over all claims and disputes involving rights of the indigenous peoples. 8.3 In addition. the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources. "(3) Section 63 which provides the customary law. 8371. 52[I]. development or exploration of minerals and other natural resources within the areas claimed to be their ancestral domains."2 Petitioners also content that. 59. and that any doubt or ambiguity in the interpretation thereof shall be resolved in favor of the indigenous peoples. hereditary succession and settlement of land disputes. 5. 4 These provisions are: "(1) sections 51 to 53 and 59 which detail the process of delineation and recognition of ancestral domains and which vest on the NCIP the sole authority to delineate ancestral domains and ancestral lands. series of 1998. the members of the Court voted as follows:
. "(3) Section 6 in relation to section 3(a) and 3(b) which defines the composition of ancestral domains and ancestral lands. series of 1998. "(4) Section 7 which recognizes and enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over the ancestral domains. 6. the jurisdiction of said officials over said area terminates.A. utilization and conservation of Philippine natural resources. 63. petitioners question the provisions of the IPRA defining the powers and jurisdiction of the NCIP and making customary law applicable to the settlement of disputes involving ancestral domains and ancestral lands on the ground that these provisions violate the due process clause of the Constitution. renewable for not more than 25 years. protect and conserve the ancestral domains and portions thereof which are found to be necessary for critical watersheds. (5) Section 8 which recognizes and enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over the ancestral lands. "(6) Section 57 which provides for priority rights of the indigenous peoples in the harvesting. 8371 and its Implementing Rules. forest cover or reforestation.
and De Leon.[ Land Titles and Deeds
Seven (7) voted to dismiss the petition. The Development of the Regalian Doctrine in the Philippine Legal System.A.
Section 1. Quisumbing. nor shall
. Valenton v. As the votes were equally divided (7 to 7) and the necessary majority was not obtained. Rollo. 8371. Justice Kapunan filed an opinion.: PRECIS A classic essay on the utility of history was written in 1874 by Friedrich Nietzsche entitled "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life. Puno. gerontocracy. seniority. Justice Puno also filed a separate opinion sustaining all challenged provisions of the law with the exception of Section 1. 7 (a)(b). precedent. wisdom.. Pardo. Jr. 8. after redeliberation. Davide. Justice Vitug also filed a separate opinion expressing the view that Sections 3(a). Gonzaga-Reyes.. It is suspicious of innovation. to correct a grave historical injustice to our indigenous people. 65. pragmatic jurisprudence must come to terms with history. But. 8371 are unconstitutional. p. Justice Panganiban filed a separate opinion expressing the view that Sections 3 (a)(b). Accordingly. the
Transcript of Stenographic Notes of hearing held on April 13. Seven (7) other members of the Court voted to grant the petition. 114. by the same token. Justices Melo. 6. Article III of the Constitution states: "No person shall be deprived of life.."
Rollo. C. see separate opinion any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. This Opinion attempts to interpret IPRA by discovering its soul shrouded by the mist of our history. JJ. it introduced radical concepts into the Philippine legal system which appear to collide with settled constitutional and jural precepts on state ownership of land and other natural resources. 1999. liberty or property without due process of law. custom. the IPRA was enacted by Congress not only to fulfill the constitutional mandate of protecting the indigenous cultural communities' right to their ancestral land but more importantly. and De Leon join in the separate opinions of Justices Panganiban and Vitug.. pp. Judge Richard Posner1 wrote:2 "Law is the most historically oriented. 16-23. On the other hand. sustaining the validity of the challenged provisions of R.' and the energy and brashness of youth. Jr. Kapunan. Murciano C. 7. A. This Opinion discusses the following: I. Quisumbing. and Panganiban. and related provisions of R. ritual. Buena. concur. After all. 25-27. Pardo. Melo. and interpretation conceived of as a method of recovering history. Rule III of NCIP Administrative Order No. 1. the case was redeliberated upon. pedigree. pp. 'paradigm shifts. Ynares-Santiago. Attached hereto and made integral parts thereof are the separate opinions of Justices Puno.A. SO ORDERED. 8371 are unconstitutional. Section 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. and 57 of R.A. and Santiago join. the Rules and Regulations Implementing the IPRA. J. Mendoza and Panganiban JJ. The Lawphil Project . the petition is DISMISSED. 59. Justice Mendoza voted to dismiss the petition solely on the ground that it does not raise a justiciable controversy and petitioners do not have standing to question the constitutionality of R. Id. archaic terminology. maturity. Bellosillo. 8371. Mendoza." When Congress enacted the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). at 23-25. The Public Land Acts and the Torrens System
Rollo. The Laws of the Indies B. series of 1998. However. which he believes must await the filing of specific cases by those whose rights may have been violated by the IPRA.' of the professions. 5. ancient practices. 5-6. These ingrained attitudes are obstacles to anyone who wants to reorient law in a more pragmatic direction. or if you like the most backward-looking. the voting remained the same. It venerates tradition. discontinuities. Vitug. the most 'past-dependent. Vitug. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. Buena. Gonzaga-Reyes.A.. The sense and subtleties of this law cannot be appreciated without considering its distinct sociology and the labyrinths of its history. which the Chief Justice and Justices Bellosillo.J.Arellano Law Foundation
SEPARATE OPINION PUNO. pp. Kapunan. He reserves judgment on the constitutionality of Sections 58." Expounding on Nietzsche's essay. Petition. pursuant to Rule 56. ancient texts. and 66 of the law. Id. at 27-28. Part II. and Section 57 of the IPRA which he contends should be interpreted as dealing with the large-scale exploitation of natural resources and should be read in conjunction with Section 2.
The Provisions of the IPRA Do Not Contravene the Constitution. or in our name. pastures. Insular (b) The small-scale utilization of natural resources in Section 7 (b) of the IPRA is allowed under Paragraph 3. and estates shall exhibit to them and to the court officers appointed by them for this purpose. DISCUSSION I. Indigenous Peoples: Their History 2. and governors may seem necessary for public squares. A. and after distributing to the natives what may be necessary for tillage and pasturage. ways. still pertaining to the royal crown and patrimony. Article XII of the 1987 Consitution. but also their future and their probable increase. or by us. The IPRA is a Novel Piece of Legislation. 1. and all lands. The "Regalian Doctrine" or jura regaliais a Western legal concept that was first introduced by the Spaniards into the country through the Laws of the Indies and the Royal Cedulas.[ Land Titles and Deeds
D. having acquired full sovereignty over the Indies. The right of ICCs/IPs to develop lands and natural resources within the ancestral domains does not deprive the State of ownership over the natural resources. The Philippine Constitutions II. in order that after reserving before all what to us or to our viceroys. territories. control and supervision in their development and exploitation. The Laws of the Indies. plantations. We therefore order and command that all viceroys and presidents of pretorial courts designate at such time as shall to them seem most expedient. Section 2. Book 4 of the Novisima Recopilacion de Leyes de las Indias . Legislative History IV. Section 2.e. (a) Section 1. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. The IPRA is a Recognition of Our Active Participation in the International Indigenous Movement.
. confirming them in what they now have and giving them more if necessary. A. a suitable period within which all possessors of tracts. Part II. A. Their Concept of Land III. farms. all the rest of said lands may remain free and unencumbered for us to dispose of as we may wish. Indigenous Peoples 1. 1. The concept of native title (a) Cariño Government v. 1. The option of securing a torrens title to the ancestral land B. audiencias. The rights of ICCs/IPs over their ancestral domains and lands 2. The indigenous concept of ownership and customary law C. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. Rule III of the Implementing Rules goes beyond the parameters of Section 7(a) of the law on ownership of ancestral domains and is ultra vires. (c) The large-scale utilization of natural resources in Section 57 of the IPRA may be harmonized with Paragraphs 1 and 4. taking into consideration not only their present condition. 7 (b) and 57 of the IPRA do not violate the Regalian Doctrine enshrined in Section 2. V. set the policy of the Spanish Crown with respect to the Philippine Islands in the following manner: "We.
(b) Indian Title to land (c) Why the Cariño doctrine is unique 3. The right of ownership and possession by the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains is a limited form of ownership and does not include the right to alienate the same. their title deeds thereto. and commons in those places which are peopled. The right to ancestral domains and ancestral lands: how acquired 2.3 This was the foundation for the early Spanish decrees embracing the feudal theory of jura regalia. And those who are in possession by virtue of proper deeds and receipts. The Laws of the Indies The capacity of the State to own or acquire property is the state's power of dominium. Sections 7 (a). it is our will that all lands which are held without proper and true deeds of grant be restored to us as they belong to us. or by virtue of just prescriptive right shall be protected. i. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE REGALIAN DOCTRINE IN THE PHILIPPINE LEGAL SYSTEM.. Law 14. The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). Title 12. and possessions not heretofore ceded away by our royal predecessors. A. more specifically. Ancestral domains and ancestral lands are the private property of indigenous peoples and do not constitute part of the land of the public domain.
in the Royal Order of July 5. without a just and valid reason therefor."15 On June 25. the first Public Land Act. It is apparent that it was not the intention of the law that mere possession for a length of time should make the possessors the owners of the land possessed by them without any action on the part of the authorities. 926. Murciano In 1904. shall have occupied royal lands. The law sought to register and tax lands pursuant to the Royal Decree of 1880. Plaintiffs had entered into peaceful occupation of the subject land in 1860. and if so. since the year 1700. Spain ceded to the government of the United States all rights. The Court. speaking through Justice Willard. and the Royal Cedula of 1754.8 This was the last Spanish land law promulgated in the Philippines. The Spanish Government took charge of distributing the lands by issuing royal grants and concessions to Spaniards. the court interpreted it as follows: "In the preamble of this law there is. Defendant's predecessor-in-interest. or in his name. Valenton v.5 Private land titles could only be acquired from the government either by purchase or by the various modes of land grant from the Crown. it was understood that in the absence of any special law to govern a specific colony. under the American regime. purchased the land from the provincial treasurer of Tarlac in 1892. had given them title to the land as against everyone. the land would be restored to the Crown. their title papers. and they will be granted to others. B." was partly an amendment of the Mortgage Law as well as the Laws of the Indies."12 The preamble stated that all those lands which had not been granted by Philip. Consequently. The lower court ruled against the plaintiffs on the ground that they had lost all rights to the land by not objecting to the administrative sale. as is seen. or the "Maura Law. the Crown adopted regulations for the adjustment of lands "wrongfully occupied" by
. Indeed. 1880. the Laws of the Indies would be followed. passed Act No.9 Valenton resolved the question of which is the better basis for ownership of land: long-time occupation or paper title. Title 12. the decree provided for a system of assignment of such lands. Murciano. Said subdelegates will at the same time warn the parties interested that in case of their failure to present their title deeds within the term designated. they will be deprived of and evicted from their lands. all lands became the exclusive patrimony and dominion of the Spanish Crown. and that the State. or the Mortgage Law of 1893 . otherwise. 1754 reinforced the Recopilacion when it ordered the Crown's principal subdelegate to issue a general order directing the publication of the Crown's instructions: "x x x to the end that any and all persons who. both military and civilian. belonged to the Crown. by the Treaty of Paris of December 10.6 The Laws of the Indies were followed by the Ley Hipotecaria. or by the kings who preceded him. It also ordered that all possessors of agricultural land should exhibit their title deed. as an extraordinary period of prescription in the Partidas and the Civil Code. and within a time to be fixed by them. Four years later. interests and claims over the national territory of the Philippine Islands. this Court decided the case of Valenton v. Plaintiffs appealed the judgment. because some private person had been in the adverse occupation of them. However.7 The Spanish Mortgage Law provided for the systematic registration of titles and deeds as well as possessory claims. asserting that their 30-year adverse possession. including the State. a distinct statement that all those lands belong to the Crown which have not been granted by Philip. the authorities of the Philippine Islands should follow strictly the Laws of the Indies. Book 4 of the Recopilacion de Leyes de las Indias. it was decreed that until regulations on the subject could be prepared. whether or not x x x cultivated or tenanted. The Royal Decree of 1894. that did not belong to the king. could not validly transmit it. By the mandatory part of the law all the occupants of the public lands are required to produce before the authorities named. or in his name. to what extent was it recognized?" Prior to 1880.[ Land Titles and Deeds
and all the rest shall be restored to us to be disposed of at our will. or by the kings who preceded him. on the other hand. the United States colonial government. and up to the date of the promulgation and publication of said order. the Court said. otherwise the lands shall revert to the state.14 The Royal Cedula of October 15. x x x. the Ordenanza of the Intendentes of 1786. It excludes the idea that the king was not still the owner of all ungranted lands. 1862."10 The question posed by the Court was: "Did these special laws recognize any right of prescription as against the State as to these lands. And those who had good title or showed prescription were to be protected in their holdings. there were no laws specifically providing for the disposition of land in the Philippines. It required the "adjustment" or registration of all agricultural lands. This statement excludes the idea that there might be lands not so granted. decided the case on the basis of "those special laws which from earliest time have regulated the disposition of the public lands in the colonies."4 The Philippines passed to Spain by virtue of "discovery" and conquest. 1898. not owning the land. as already amended by previous orders and decrees. through the Philippine Commission. In 1903. may x x x appear and exhibit to said subdelegates the titles and patents by virtue of which said lands are occupied.11 Quoting the preamble of Law 14.13 For those lands granted by the king.
minerals. they were not certain whether it was continued and applied by the Americans. development."18 C. all forces of
. Murciano. or utilization. requiring settlers on the public lands to obtain title deeds therefor from the State. and prescribed the terms and conditions to enable persons to perfect their titles to public lands in the Islands. the 1935 Constitution. for the completion of imperfect titles. timber."16 In conclusion. waters. and for the cancellation or confirmation of Spanish concessions and grants in the Islands. has been continued by the American Government in Act No.23 After the passage of the 1935 Constitution. 141 remains the present Public Land Law and it is essentially the same as Act 2874."17Valenton had no rights other than those which accrued to mere possession. This new law was passed under the Jones Law. and other mineral oils. 1. This system highly facilitates land conveyance and negotiation. Act 496 placed all public and private lands in the Philippines under the Torrens system. than it did under the earlier ones.21 and excluded the patrimonial property of the government and the friar lands.31 Thus. followed the principles and procedure of the Torrens system of registration formulated by Sir Robert Torrens who patterned it after the Merchant Shipping Acts in South Australia. the Court added that "[t]he policy pursued by the Spanish Government from earliest times. the first Public Land Act. petroleum.[ Land Titles and Deeds
private individuals in the Philippine Islands. 26 The certificate of title is indefeasible and imprescriptible and all claims to the parcel of land are quieted upon issuance of said certificate. or the Land Registration Law of 1903. however.28 There was an overwhelming sentiment in the Convention in favor of the principle of state ownership of natural resources and the adoption of the Regalian doctrine. It prescribed rules and regulations for the homesteading. the Court stated: "While the State has always recognized the right of the occupant to a deed if he proves a possession for a sufficient length of time.29 State ownership of natural resources was seen as a necessary starting point to secure recognition of the state's power to control their disposition. coal. in Section 1 of Article XIII on "Conservation and Utilization of Natural Resources. the Public Land Act operated on the assumption that title to public lands in the Philippine Islands remained in the government. The Public Land Acts and the Torrens System Act No. Commonwealth Act No. and until he did that the State remained the absolute owner. and concluded that plaintiffs' case fared no better under the 1880 decree and other laws which followed it. subject to such liens and encumbrances as thereon noted or the law warrants or reserves.30 The delegates to the Constitutional Convention very well knew that the concept of State ownership of land and natural resources was introduced by the Spaniards. In effect." In short. The law is said to be almost a verbatim copy of the Massachussetts Land Registration Act of 1898. Thus as a general doctrine. The main difference between the two relates to the transitory provisions on the rights of American citizens and corporations during the Commonwealth period at par with Filipino citizens and corporations. yet it has always insisted that he must make that proof before the proper administrative officers.24 Grants of public land were brought under the operation of the Torrens system under Act 496. 926 was superseded in 1919 by Act 2874. Enacted by the Philippine Commission. It was more comprehensive in scope but limited the exploitation of agricultural lands to Filipinos and Americans and citizens of other countries which gave Filipinos the same privileges. It also provided for the "issuance of patents to certain native settlers upon public lands. the Convention approved the provision in the Constitution affirming the Regalian doctrine." for the establishment of town sites and sale of lots therein. Act 2874 was amended in 1936 by Commonwealth Act No. One of the fixed and dominating objectives of the 1935 Constitutional Convention was the nationalization and conservation of the natural resources of the country.27 D. and leasing of portions of the public domain of the Philippine Islands.22 Act No. exploitation. Valenton construed these regulations together with contemporaneous legislative and executive interpretations of the law. 141. The Philippine Constitutions The Regalian doctrine was enshrined in the 1935 Constitution. and mineral lands of the public domain. 926. without any action by the State. on the other hand. All agricultural. The Torrens system requires that the government issue an official certificate of title attesting to the fact that the person named is the owner of the property described therein. As a fitting observation. the Court ruled: "We hold that from 1860 to 1892 there was no law in force in these Islands by which the plaintiffs could obtain the ownership of these lands by prescription." reads as follows: "Sec. 926. The law governed the disposition of lands of the public domain. and obtain from them his deed. Valenton upheld the Spanish concept of state ownership of public land. the second Public Land Act. selling. in turn.25 which. To remove all doubts. was passed in pursuance of the provisions of the the Philippine Bill of 1902.19 and that the government's title to public land sprung from the Treaty of Paris and other subsequent treaties between Spain and the United States. was deemed to be the owner of the land by virtue of the grant by the provincial secretary.20 The term "public land" referred to all lands of the public domain whose title still remained in the government and are thrown open to private appropriation and settlement.
the right in case of displacement.the right to safe and clean air and water.the right to develop lands and natural resources. II. all lands of the public domain as well as all natural resources enumerated therein. renewable for not more than twenty-five years. minerals. All lands of the public domain. development. residential. with the exception of public agricultural land. 8371 is entitled "An Act to Recognize.the right to claim parts of reservations." The 1973 Constitution reiterated the Regalian doctrine in Section 8." to wit: "Sec. . and other natural resources of the Philippines belong to the State. all forces of potential energy. wildlife. The exploration. .except as to water rights for irrigation. the right to transfer land/property to/among members of the same ICCs/IPs." to wit: "Sec. water supply. The State may directly undertake such activities or it may enter into co-production. all other natural resources shall not be alienated. x x x. or industrial uses other than the development of water power. fisheries. THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHTS ACT. or to corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens. renewable for not more than twenty-five years. and resettlement lands of the public domain. petroleum. grant. Protect and Promote the Rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples. development. belong to the State. shall not be alienated. water supply.the right to ancestral lands which include a. waters. waters. beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant. With the exception of agricultural. With the exception of agricultural lands. development. except as to water rights for irrigation. subject to any existing right." The 1987 Constitution reaffirmed the Regalian doctrine in Section 2 of Article XII on "National Economy and Patrimony. It is this concept of State ownership that petitioners claim is being violated by the IPRA. or if the transfer is for an unconscionable consideration. . whether on public or private land. In cases of water rights for irrigation. or industrial uses other than the development of water power. and these are: . and defines the extent of these lands and domains. or lease for the exploitation. the right to redemption for a period not exceeding 15 years from date of transfer. Other rights are also granted the ICCs/IPs. or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding twenty-five years. Republic Act No. forests or timber. and no license. Article XIV on the "National Economy and the Patrimony of the Nation. All lands of the public domain. Establishing Implementing Mechanisms. Appropriating Funds Therefor. and no license." It is simply known as "The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997" or the IPRA. minerals. and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. subject to customary laws and traditions of the community concerned. or lease for the exploration. concession. concession. fisheries. industrial or commercial. It grants these people the ownership and possession of their ancestral domains and ancestral lands.the right to resolve conflict. flora and fauna. or utilization shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines. . exploitation. or productionsharing agreements with Filipino citizens. development and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State.Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years. and their disposition. exploitation. in which cases beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant. The ownership given is the indigenous concept of ownership under customary law which traces its origin to native title. or concession at the time of the inauguration of the Government established under this Constitution. and other natural resources are owned by the State. b. The IPRA recognizes the existence of the indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) as a distinct sector in Philippine society. all forces of potential energy. natural resources shall not be alienated. fisheries. if the transfer is to a nonmember of the ICC/IP and is tainted by vitiated consent of the ICC/IP. in which cases beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant. coal. and for Other Purposes. joint venture. fisheries. . water supply. lease. or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens." Simply stated. Creating a National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.33
. and other mineral oils. or industrial uses other than the development of water power.the right to stay in the territories. 2. coal. or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding twenty-five years. fisheries. 8.32 . wildlife. petroleum and other mineral oils. Natural resources. and other natural resources of the Philippines belong to the State.[ Land Titles and Deeds
social and cultural inroads of colonization.42 ICCs/IPs are defined by the IPRA as: "Sec. Palawanon. the ICCs/IPs are given the right to self-governance and empowerment. economic. Ilongot of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya. Nueva Vizcaya. Tadyawan of Occidental Mindoro. Hanunuo and Iraya of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro. Samar. Panay and the rest of the Visayas. 36 To carry out the policies of the Act. Indigenous Peoples The IPRA is a law dealing with a specific group of people. Northern and Western Mindanao.00 and obliged to pay damages.000. Alangan or Mangyan. and Kabihug of Camarines Norte. Cimaron of Sorsogon. They share common bonds of language. or the establishment of present state boundaries. Agta. 4. Quirino and Isabela. Isarog. cultural and political institutions but who may have been displaced from their traditional territories or who may have resettled outside their ancestral domains. Mindanao. institutions and community intellectual rights. These groups of people have actually occupied. The term "ICCs" is used in the 1987 Constitution while that of "IPs" is the contemporary international language in the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 16941 and the United Nations (UN) Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They are composed of 110 tribes and are as follows: 1. occupied. In Region IV. Indigenous Peoples: Their History Presently. and the Palawan and Sulu group of islands. ICCs/IPs shall likewise include peoples who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country. 37 The NCIP took over the functions of the Office for Northern Cultural Communities and the Office for Southern Cultural Communities created by former President Corazon Aquino which were merged under a revitalized structure. Aeta-Abiyan.Aeta of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur. 35 the right to preserve and protect their culture. and the right to develop their own sciences and technologies. the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) or the Indigenous Peoples (IPs). which is granted quasi-judicial powers. or at the time of inroads of non-indigenous religions and cultures. Bontoc. Philippine indigenous peoples inhabit the interiors and mountains of Luzon. ICCs/IPs also include descendants of ICCs/IPs who inhabited the country at the time of conquest or colonization. and Bago of Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan. 2. In Region III. Itom of Albay. the matter may be brought to the NCIP. Aeta of Cagayan.00 to P500. who retain some or all of their own social. possessed and utilized their territories under claim of ownership since time immemorial.Dumagats of Aurora. economic. by their resistance to political. Negros. unauthorized and/or unlawful intrusion upon ancestral lands and domains shall be punished in accordance with customary laws or imprisoned from 9 months to 12 years and/or fined from P100. Romblon. they.Region I and the Cordilleras. i. Mindoro. and the Pullon of Masbate and Camarines Sur. Gaddang of Quirino. Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples. at the time of conquest or colonization. Remontado of Aurora. Palawan. Ifugao. 3. Region II. Ibanag of Isabela. Island groups including Mindoro. Batangan. or who have. or. Cagayan. In the Cordillera Autonomous RegionKankaney. non-indigenous religions and cultures. became historically differentiated from the Filipino majority. 3 [h]. Rizal. sharing common bonds of language. who have continuously lived as organized community on communally bounded and defined territory. customs. traditions. and Central Mindanao. the law created the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). Itawis of Cagayan. but not limited to. customs. Kalinga.e. The NCIP is an independent agency under the Office of the President and is composed of seven (7) Commissioners belonging to ICCs/IPs from each of the ethnographic areas.38 Disputes involving ICCs/IPs are to be resolved under customary laws and practices. Quezon. Ibaloi. Buid or Buhid. cultural and political institutions. Cuyonon. 1.[ Land Titles and Deeds
Within their ancestral domains and ancestral lands. Any person who violates any of the provisions of the Act such as. traditions and other distinctive cultural traits. but who may have been displaced from their traditional domains or who may have resettled outside their ancestral domains.40 A. Rizal. Aeta or Agta or Pugot. possessed and utilized such territories. Leyte. who retain some or all of their own social. became historically differentiated from the majority of Filipinos. under claims of ownership since time immemorial. Southern and Eastern Mindanao. Yapayao. In Region V." Indigenous Cultural Communities or Indigenous Peoples refer to a group of people or homogeneous societies who have continuously lived as an organized community on communally bounded and defined territory. traditions and other distinctive cultural traits.Aetas.000. and Mayon of Camarines Sur.
. non-indigenous religions and cultures. and who have.34 social justice and human rights. the rest of Luzon. Tinggian or Itneg..refer to a group of people or homogeneous societies identified by self-ascription and ascription by others. Ivatan of Batanes. Tagbanua and Tao't bato of Palawan. through resistance to political. When still unresolved. 39 The NCIP's decisions may be appealed to the Court of Appeals by a petition for review. social and cultural inroads of colonization.
a basically common way of life where nature was a primary factor. Bukidnon.6 million in Region X alone. In Region VI. and the Umayamnon of Agusan and Bukidnon.49 They fashioned concepts and beliefs about the world that they could not see. indicating the importance of the relationship between man and the object of nature. the Samal. Maranao.48 The early Filipinos had a culture that was basically Malayan in structure and form. the laws dealt with various subjects. 8. Tasaday and Ubo of South Cotabato. these were decided peacefully through a court composed by the chieftain as "judge" and the barangay elders as "jury. Maguindanao. our ancestors evolved an essentially homogeneous culture.46 From the hinterland. In Region XIIIlianen. Matigsalog of Davao del Norte and Del Sur. Matigsalog. the animals and birds.[ Land Titles and Deeds
5. partnership. Chinese economic and socio-cultural influences came by way of Chinese porcelain. 10. in the environmental spirits and in soul spirits. the Magahat of Negros Occidental. 6. They had languages that traced their origin to the Austronesian parentstock and used them not only as media of daily communication but also as vehicles for the expression of their literary moods. T'boli and Talaingod of Davao del Sur.53 Laws were either customary or written. Their rituals were based on beliefs in a ranking deity whom they called Bathalang Maykapal. 50 They had their own religion and religious beliefs. He was the executive. the moon. The generally benign tropical climate and the largely uniform flora and fauna favored similarities.43 How these indigenous peoples came to live in the Philippines goes back to as early as 25. legislator and judge and was the supreme commander in time of war.51 The unit of government was the "barangay.56 Whether customary or written. Customary laws were handed down orally from generation to generation and constituted the bulk of the laws of the barangay. the Manobo of the Agusan provinces. which transported them to these shores. 7. Whenever disputes arose. for they seemed to consider the objects of Nature as something to be respected. Talaanding of Bukidnon.000 to 30. the Corolano and Sulod. and a host of other deities. property rights.C. but which they sensed to be part of their lives.C. crime and punishment.the Badjao numbering about 192.44 The strains from these groups eventually gave rise to common cultural features which became the dominant influence in ethnic reformulation in the archipelago. the Camiguin of Camiguin Island. common ecology. Tausug. Before the time of Western contact.There are about 1. In Region VII. They venerated almost any object that was close to their daily life. the IPs are: the Banwaon. Community life throughout the archipelago was influenced by. Hunting and food gathering became supplementary activities as reliance on them was reduced by fishing and the cultivation of the soil.065 IPs in Region XI. and Bagobo of Davao del sur and South Cotabato. They were preserved in songs and chants and in the memory of the elder persons in the community. and riverine communities. Indonesians and Malays. Bukidnon and Misamis Occidental. coastal. and Iranon. The early Filipinos adored the sun. divorce.54 The written laws were those that the chieftain and his elders promulgated from time to time as the necessity arose." meaning.Numbering 1. silk and traders. 9. Kalagan. a boat. Influences from the Chinese and Indian civilizations in the third or fourth millenium B. The
.Ati of Negros Occidental. Region X. the Tigwahanon of Agusan del Sur. They are tribes of the Dibabaon. Zamboanga del Sur.D. Tagakaolo." Conflicts arising between subjects of different barangays were resolved by arbitration in which a board composed of elders from neutral barangays acted as arbiters. Capiz. family relations and adoption. the Kalibugan of Basilan.774. and responded to. A chieftain had wide powers for he exercised all the functions of government. Subanon and Yakat.Magahat of Negros Oriental and Eskaya of Bohol. 47 Life was essentially subsistence but not harsh. usury. Each barangay was different and ruled by a chieftain called a "dato. Mansaka of Davao del Norte. B'laan. such as inheritance. Langilad. Tiruray." It was the chieftain's duty to rule and govern his subjects and promote their welfare and interests. Mamamanua of Surigao del Sur. Indian influence found their way into the religious-cultural aspect of pre-colonial society.57 Baranganic society had a distinguishing feature: the absence of private property in land. In Region XI." a term that derived its meaning from the Malay word "balangay. not differences.000 B.55 The oldest known written body of laws was the Maragtas Code by Datu Sumakwel at about 1250 A. Iloilo and Antique. Manobo Blit of South Cotabato. Mandaya of the Surigao provinces and Davao Oriental. Yakan/Samal. loans. augmented these ethnic strains.45 The ancient Filipinos settled beside bodies of water. the Higa-unon of Agusan del Norte. Other old codes are the Muslim Code of Luwaran and the Principal Code of Sulu. They believed in the immortality of the soul and life after death. Misamis Oriental and and Misamis Occidental. the Philippine archipelago was peopled largely by the Negritos.52 The barangay was basically a familybased community and consisted of thirty to one hundred families. the Mangguangon of Davao and South Cotabato.000 in Tawi-Tawi. In Region IX. Agusan del Sur.
were the Moros or the Muslim communities. the Spanish government assumed an unvarying solicitous attitude towards the natives. Tausug. transfer. which were peripheral to colonial administration. now Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.72 The abrogation of the Filipinos' ancestral rights in land and the introduction of the concept of public domain were the most immediate fundamental results of Spanish colonial theory and law. to the hinterlands. Basilan and Zamboanga.75 The Indio was a product of the advent of Spanish culture. was a "civilizing" device to make the Filipinos law-abiding citizens of the Spanish Crown. It. and the cliffs and forests of the hinterlands were difficult and inaccessible. in effect. relative security.77 Thus. This class was favored by the Spaniards and was allowed certain status although below the Spaniards. cession or sale of land. the Christianized Filipinos.61 Sometime in the 13th century. separating themselves from the newly evolved Christian community. was without sustenance. First were the Indios.66 When the Spaniards settled permanently in the Philippines in 1565. the infieles. such as the chieftains and elders. regardless of status. and the natives were stripped of their ancestral rights to land. They were not economies geared to exchange and profit. the Spanish colonialists. enjoyed some economic privileges and benefits. All the new Christian converts were required to construct their houses around the church and the unbaptized were invited to do the same. 78Their own political.64 The societies encountered by Magellan and Legaspi therefore were primitive economies where most production was geared to the use of the producers and to the fulfillment of kinship obligations. economic and social systems were kept constantly alive and vibrant. Coastal communities depended for their economic welfare on the kind of fishing sharing concept similar to those in land communities. 70 With the reduccion. participated in the community ownership of the soil and the instruments of production as a member of the barangay. Ownership of land was non-existent or unimportant and the right of usufruct was what regulated the development of lands. classified the Filipinos according to their religious practices and beliefs."69 The Spanish missionaries were ordered to establish pueblos where the church and convent would be constructed. The Sultanate of Sulu was established and claimed jurisdiction over territorial areas represented today by Tawi-tawi. Yakan and Subanon. Four ethnic groups were within this jurisdiction: Sama. the family basis of barangay membership as well as of leadership and governance worked to splinter the population of the islands into numerous small and separate communities. were subject to their responsibility to protect the communities from danger and to provide them with the leadership and means of survival.76 The Moros and infieles resisted Spanish rule and Christianity. and in the long run. Second.73 The concept that the Spanish king was the owner of everything of value in the Indies or colonies was imposed on the natives. One of the first tasks imposed on the missionaries and the encomenderos was to collect all scattered Filipinos together in a reduccion. therefore. Islam was introduced to the archipelago in Maguindanao. related to either land and sea. The reduccion.67 As early as 1551. But their rights. and third.59 Marine resources and fishing grounds were likewise free to all. they found the Filipinos living in barangay settlements scattered along water routes and river banks. This is clearly indicated in the Muslim Code of Luwaran.65 Moreover. Sulu. to make them ultimately adopt Hispanic culture and civilization. were now declared to be crown lands or realengas.74 Increasing their foothold in the Philippines.58 This ancient communalism was practiced in accordance with the concept of mutual sharing of resources so that no individual. the Spaniards attempted to "tame" the reluctant Filipinos through Christian indoctrination using the convento/casa real/plaza complex as focal point.60 Recognized leaders. and divided them into three types . who generally came from the lowland populations. Palawan. belonging to the Spanish king. to the Spaniards.[ Land Titles and Deeds
chiefs merely administered the lands in the name of the barangay. however. The Code contains a provision on the lease of cultivated lands. Each individual.71 All lands lost by the old barangays in the process of pueblo organization as well as all lands not assigned to them and the pueblos. It was from the realengas that land grants were made to non-Filipinos. has no provision for the acquisition. allowing the infieles. The social order was an extension of the family with chiefs embodying the higher unity of the community.
.63 The Muslim societies evolved an Asiatic form of feudalism where land was still held in common but was private in use. were not only able to preserve their own culture but also thwarted the Christianization process.62 The Sultanate of Maguindanao spread out from Cotabato toward Maranao territory. were the infieles or the indigenous communities. civil and religious.68 The Spaniards regarded it a sacred "duty to conscience and humanity to civilize these less fortunate people living in the obscurity of ignorance" and to accord them the "moral and material advantages" of community life and the "protection and vigilance afforded them by the same laws. while the infieles. The Moros were driven from Manila and the Visayas to Mindanao. The upland societies were naturally outside the immediate concern of Spanish interest. by virtue of their positions of importance. The Moros and infieles were regarded as the lowest classes. The Spaniards did not pursue them into the deep interior.
and hostility between the Christians on the one hand and the non-Christians on the other. and more directly. traditions.90 In 1974. creating the Commission on National Integration charged with said functions."More importantly this time.91 In 1979.[ Land Titles and Deeds
The pro-Christian or pro-Indio attitude of colonialism brought about a generally mutual feeling of suspicion. the "nonChristian tribes" or the "cultural minorities" were addressed by the highest law of the Republic. No. these peoples were also displaced by projects undertaken by the national government in the name of national development. this titling displaced several indigenous peoples from their lands. 1888. Like the Spaniards and Americans. beliefs and interests" were to be considered by the State in the formulation and implementation of State policies. Under the Department of the Interior. addressed the existence of the infieles: "In dealing with the uncivilized tribes of the Islands. otherwise known as the Ancestral Lands Decree. beliefs. the Commission on
.87 It was in the 1973 Constitution that adopted the following provision: the State
"The State shall consider the customs. the Americans pursued a policy of assimilation.79 President McKinley. government attempts at integration met with fierce resistance. they passed Act No. 253 creating the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes (BNCT). the decree recognized the right of tribal Filipinos to preserve their way of life. Colonialism tended to divide and rule an otherwise culturally and historically related populace through a colonial system that exploited both the virtues and vices of the Filipinos. In 1957. social. In 1903. a tidal wave of Christian settlers from the lowlands of Luzon and the Visayas swamped the highlands and wide open spaces in Mindanao.83 The 1935 Constitution did not carry any policy on the non-Christian Filipinos. the Commission should adopt the same course followed by Congress in permitting the tribes of our North American Indians to maintain their tribal organization and government. The decree provided for the issuance of land occupancy certificates to members of the national cultural communities who were given up to 1984 to register their claims."82 Like the Spaniards. an "Act to effectuate in a more rapid and complete manner the economic. 410. however.President Marcos abolished the CNI and transferred its functions to the Presidential Adviser on National Minorities (PANAMIN). The agency took a keen anthropological interest in Philippine cultural minorities and produced a wealth of valuable materials about them. Since World War II. the same task as the BNCT during the American regime. The PANAMIN was tasked to integrate the ethnic groups that sought full integration into the larger community. be subjected to wise and firm regulation. The post-independence policy of integration was like the colonial policy of assimilation understood in the context of a guardian-ward relationship." The law called for a policy of integration of indigenous peoples into the Philippine mainstream and for this purpose created theCommission on National Integration (CNI). Such tribal government should. "to natives of the Philippine Islands of a low grade of civilization. constant and active effort should be exercised to prevent barbarous practices and introduce civilized customs. with a "special view to determining the most practicable means for bringing about their advancement in civilization and prosperity." The BNCT was modeled after the bureau dealing with American Indians. 86Knowledge by the settlers of the Public Land Acts and the Torrens system resulted in the titling of several ancestral lands in the settlers' names. and permanent the integration of all said national cultural minorities into the body politic. the Philippine Congress passed R. complete. The term "non-Christian" referred not to religious belief. but to a geographical area. surrounded by civilization to which they are unable or unwilling to conform. The raging issue then was the conservation of the national patrimony for the Filipinos. in his instructions to the Philippine Commission of April 7. the American government chose "to adopt the latter measure as one more in accord with humanity and with the national conscience. fear. the BNCT's primary task was to conduct ethnographic research among unhispanized Filipinos. while still adopting the integration policy. President Marcos promulgated P." 89 In short. including those in Muslim Mindanao. No. traditions. more or less. 1900. Worse.84 The CNI was given. With government initiative and participation. their "uncivilized" culture was given some recognition and their "customs.A. and interests of national cultural communities in the formulation and implementation of State policies. without undue or petty interference. and.85 The policy of assimilation and integration did not yield the desired result."80 Placed in an alternative of either letting the natives alone or guiding them in the path of civilization. and at the same time "protect the rights of those who wish to preserve their original lifeways beside the larger community. moral and political advancement of the non-Christian Filipinos or national cultural minorities and to render real."81 The Americans classified the Filipinos into two: the Christian Filipinos and the non-Christian Filipinos. and they were referred to as "cultural communities. usually living in tribal relationship apart from settled communities."88 For the first time in Philippine history. and under which many of those tribes are now living in peace and contentment.D.
and in no case may land be sold to a non-member of the ili.93 Timber concessions. They have a system of selfgovernment not dependent upon the laws of the central administration of the Republic of the Philippines. mostly upland areas. individual. foraging for forest products. Under the concept of "trusteeship. mining. Office for Northern Cultural Communities and the Office for Southern Cultural Communities all under the Office of the President. he loses his claim of ownership. 101 or ownership by residents of the same locality who may not be related by blood or marriage. and swidden farming found it natural that forest areas.103 Under Kalinga customary law. landowners. President Aquino created the Office of Muslim Affairs. The Manobos of Bukidnon saw their land bulldozed by the Bukidnon Sugar Industries Company (BUSCO). pasture and burial grounds should be communally-owned.000 Kalingas and Bontoks of the Cordillera region were displaced by the Chico River dam project of the National Power Corporation (NPC). the alienation of individuallyowned land is strongly discouraged except in marriage and succession and except to meet sudden financial needs due to sickness.102 For the Kalingas. rights and obligations to the land are shared in common. The political systems were still structured on the patriarchal and kinship oriented arrangement of power and authority. he does not possess all the rights of an exclusive and full owner as defined under our Civil Code. Most of the land was possessed by the Agusan natives. The Kalingas.95 The 1987 Constitution carries at least six (6) provisions which insure the right of tribal Filipinos to preserve their way of life. The economic activities were governed by the concepts of an ancient communalism and mutual help.97 The kind of response the indigenous peoples chose to deal with colonial threat worked well to their advantage by making it difficult for Western concepts and religion to erode their customs and traditions. orchards. and that those who work the land are its mere stewards. marginal. They are non-Christians. for instance. 561 which provided a mechanism for the expeditious resolution of land problems involving small settlers. In Agusan del Sur. swidden farms. as a rule." the right to possess the land does not only belong to the present generation but the future ones as well.O. 92 Despite the promulgation of these laws. from a cultural perspective. The concept of individual land ownership under the civil law is alien to them. plantations. or loss of crops. was maintained. The system of communal ownership under customary laws draws its meaning from the subsistence and highly collectivized mode of economic production. The residential lots and terrace rice farms are governed by a limited system of individual ownership. The cultural styles and forms of life portraying the varieties of social courtesies and ecological adjustments were kept constantly vibrant. which could either be ownership by a group of individuals or families who are related by blood or by marriage. No. death in the family. By recognizing their right to their ancestral lands and domains. water projects. the National Development Company was authorized by law in 1979 to take approximately 40. 96 This Constitution goes further than the 1973 Constitution by expressly guaranteeing the rights of tribal Filipinos to their ancestral domains and ancestral lands. The "infieles societies" which had become peripheral to colonial administration.[ Land Titles and Deeds
the Settlement of Land Problems was created under E. everybody has a common right to a common economic base. a much older base of archipelagic culture.550 hectares of land that later became the NDC-Guthrie plantation in Agusan del Sur. and tribal Filipinos. Thus.99 Customary law on land rests on the traditional belief that no one owns the land except the gods and spirits. and cattle ranching and other projects of the national government led not only to the eviction of the indigenous peoples from their land but also to the reduction and destruction of their natural environment. Although highly bent on communal ownership. ownership of land more accurately applies to the tribal right to use the land or to territorial control. not status. They live in less accessible. from 1974 to the early 1980's. The social structure which emphasized division of labor and distinction of functions. who are engaged in team occupation like hunting.104 Moreover. Their Concept of Land Indigenous peoples share distinctive traits that set them apart from the Filipino mainstream. land ownership.105 Land titles do not exist in the indigenous peoples' economic and social system. some 100.Invoking her powers under the Freedom Constitution. customary law on land also sanctions individual ownership. our national land laws and governmental policies frown upon indigenous claims to
. and the land reverts to the beings of the spirit world who are its true and primary owners. Inherently colonial in origin. 2. They follow ways of life and customs that are perceived as different from those of the rest of the population.94 The Aquino government signified a total shift from the policy of integration to one of preservation. The people are the secondary owners or stewards of the land and that if a member of the tribe ceases to work. It is limited because while the individual owner has the right to use and dispose of the property. represented.100 Customary law has a strong preference for communal ownership.98 Land is the central element of the indigenous peoples' existence. and to be alienated should first be offered to a clan-member before any village-member can purchase it. There is no traditional concept of permanent. Among the Igorots. the State has effectively upheld their right to live in a culture distinctly their own.
Act No. 1728 and House Bill No. It adopted almost en toto the comprehensive version of Senate Bill Nos.107 Senate Bill No. dispossessed of their ancestral land and with the massive exploitation of their natural resources by the elite among the migrant population.112 House Bill No. P. 8371. by their joint efforts. Despite the passage of these laws. 9125 was sponsored by Rep.A.Senate Bill No. This principle mandates that persons suffering from serious disadvantage or handicap." Senate Bill No. This is their environment in its totality. the water. and liberally or restrictively. IPs shall cease to exist as distinct peoples. which. Their ancestors had territories over which they ruled themselves and related with other tribes. forest and the animals. THE IPRA IS A NOVEL PIECE OF LEGISLATION. Chairman of the Committee on Cultural Communities. and (2) the principle of parens patriae. in legal concept. including the Bangsa Moro. it was more honored in its breach than in its observance. Flavier. the State passed Act No. Massive migration of their Christian brothers to their homeland shrunk their territory and many of the tribal Filipinos were pushed to the hinterlands. Pursuant to the Regalian Doctrine first introduced to our system by Spain through the Royal Decree of 13 February 1894 or the Maura Law. 705. 1728 was a consolidation of four proposed measures referred to the Committees on Cultural Communities. 410. which places them in a position of actual inequality in their relation or transaction with others.D.108 At the Second Regular Session of the Tenth Congress. Zapata. asserting their rights to it. These laws. they became marginalized. Ways and Means.[ Land Titles and Deeds
ancestral lands."109 Senator Flavier further declared: "The IPs are the offsprings and heirs of the peoples who have first inhabited and cared for the land long before any central government was established. and depending on it. the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997. to wit: "The Indigenous Cultural Communities. their dwelling. The Legislative History of the IPRA It was to address the centuries-old neglect of the Philippine indigenous peoples that the Tenth Congress of the Philippines. In fact. Senator Flavier. And the government has been an indispensable party to this insidious conspiracy against the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs).include people. in his sponsorship speech. 141. Principally sponsored by Senator Juan M. with no abstention. Otherwise. however. R. 9125. 1728 seeks to genuinely recognize the IPs right to own and possess their ancestral land. P.the land. C. Their existence as indigenous peoples is manifested in their own lives through political. No. These territories." This ruling has not been overturned. Environment and Natural Resources.106 III."110 To recognize the rights of the indigenous peoples effectively. Communal ownership is looked upon as inferior. recognized "native title" or "private right" and the existence of ancestral lands and domains. A. 1728 was passed on Third Reading by twenty-one (21) Senators voting in favor and none against. is termed "native title. Senator Flavier proposed a bill based on two postulates: (1) the concept of native title. In fact. are entitled to the protection of the State. The bill was prepared also under the principle of parens patriae inherent in the supreme power of the State and deeply embedded in Philippine legal tradition.D. No." our "decisional laws" and jurisprudence passed by the State have "made exception to the doctrine. have long suffered from the dominance and neglect of government controlled by the majority. Their survival depends on securing or acquiring land rights. The IPs culture is the living and irrefutable proof to this.A. 2874." This exception was first laid down in the case of Cariño v. the mountains. economic. It organized and supported the resettlement of people to their ancestral land. Resisting the intrusion. gave a background on the situation of indigenous peoples in the Philippines."111 Following Cariño. the air. According to Senator Flavier. 926. as well as Finance. 6734 (the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao). It was originally authored and
. The law was a consolidation of two Bills. the government passed laws to legitimize the wholesale landgrabbing and provide for easy titling or grant of lands to migrant homesteaders within the traditional areas of the ICCs.D. if not inexistent. explicitly or implicitly. 1529. Senate Bill No. Senator Flavier continued: "x x x the executive department of government since the American occupation has not implemented the policy. Insular Governmentwhere: "x x x the court has recognized long occupancy of land by an indigenous member of the cultural communities as one of private ownership. it was affirmed in subsequent cases. its wanton disregard shown during the period unto the Commonwealth and the early years of the Philippine Republic when government organized and supported massive resettlement of the people to the land of the ICCs.A. passed and approved R. which was massive during the Commonwealth and early years of the Philippine Republic. socio-cultural and spiritual practices. "[w]hile our legal tradition subscribes to the Regalian Doctrine reinstated in Section 2. plants. P. 1476 and 1486 which was a result of six regional consultations and one national consultation with indigenous peoples nationwide. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.
Subject to Section 56 hereof. is our obligation. refers to land occupied. Mr.115 After exhaustive interpellation. forests. Insular Government which recognized the fact that they had vested rights prior to the establishment of the Spanish and American regimes. continuously to the present except when interrupted by war. particularly the home ranges of ICCs/IPs who are still nomadic and/or shifting cultivators. . mineral and other natural resources. private forests. stealth or as a consequence of government projects or any other voluntary dealings with government and/or private individuals or corporations. force majeure or displacement by force. and lands which may no longer be exclusively occupied by ICCs/IPs but from which they traditionally had access to for their subsistence and traditional activities. Andolana stressed that H. force majeure or displacement by force. deceit. and other lands
. social and cultural welfare. worship areas. Ancestral domains comprise lands. stealth. the government's obligation to assure and ascertain that these rights shall be well-preserved and the cultural traditions as well as the indigenous laws that remained long before this Republic was established shall be preserved and promoted. occupied or possessed by ICCs/IPs by themselves or through their ancestors. communally or individually since time immemorial. inland waters. 3 a) Ancestral Domains. These are defined in Section 3 [a] and [b] of the Indigenous Peoples Right Act. recognize the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development. continuously. residential. possessed and utilized by individuals. to look into these matters seriously and early approval of the substitute bill shall bring into reality the aspirations. Ancestral Domains and Ancestral Lands are the Private Property of Indigenous Peoples and Do Not Constitute Part of the Land of the Public Domain. Andolana's sponsorhip speech reads as follows: "This Representation." Ancestral domains are all areas belonging to ICCs/IPs held under a claim of ownership. under claims of individual or traditional group ownership. stealth or as a consequence of government projects or any other voluntary dealings entered into by government and private individuals/corporations. bodies of water. burial grounds. 2 allowed the delineation of ancestral domains by special task forces and ensured the issuance of Certificates of Ancestral Land Claims
A. agricultural. was approved on Second Reading with no objections. and which are necessary to ensure their economic. rice terraces or paddies.118 DAO No. refer to all areas generally belonging to ICCs/IPs comprising lands. He also emphasized that the rights of IPs to their land was enunciated in Cariño v. hunting grounds. by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest. occupied or possessed by ICCs/IPs by themselves or through their ancestors. No. Speaker. and its corresponding amendments. burial grounds. mineral and other natural resources. signed by then Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Angel Alcala. held under a claim of ownership. the hope and the dreams of more than 12 million Filipinos that they be considered in the mainstream of the Philippine society as we fashion for the year 2000. pasture. as early as in the 8th Congress. There is a need. and other lands individually owned whether alienable or not. private forests. continuously until the present. DO NOT individually owned whether alienable and disposable or otherwise.113 Rep. coastal areas. hunting grounds. These lands include but are not limited to residential lots. It shall include ancestral lands. Mr. force majeure or displacement by force. worship areas. swidden farms and tree lots. b) Ancestral Lands. deceit.. including. forests. 9125 is based on the policy of preservation as mandated in the Constitution.B. rice terraces or paddies. deceit. Speaker. agricultural. but not limited to. and natural resources therein and includes ancestral lands. particularly the home ranges of ICCs/IPs who are still nomadic and/or shifting cultivators. 9125.Ancestral lands are not the same as ancestral domains. to the present except when interrupted by war. filed a bill of similar implications that would promote. swidden farms and tree lots.Subject to Section 56 hereof. viz: "Sec. IV.[ Land Titles and Deeds
subsequently presented and defended on the floor by Rep. House Bill No. pasture. residential. Apart from this. families and clans who are members of the ICCs/IPs since time immemorial. inland waters. Gregorio Andolana of North Cotabato. coastal areas. series of 1993. communally or individually since time immemorial. or as a consequence of government projects and other voluntary dealings entered into by government and private individuals/corporations. and natural resources therein. except when interrupted by war. THE PROVISIONS OF THE IPRA CONTRAVENE THE CONSTITUTION. 2.117 The procedures for claiming ancestral domains and lands are similar to the procedures embodied in Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. residential lots. They also include lands which may no longer be exclusively occupied by ICCs/IPs but from which they traditionally had access to for their subsistence and traditional activities.116 Ancestral lands are lands held by the ICCs/IPs under the same conditions as ancestral domains except that these are limited to lands and that these lands are not merely occupied and possessed but are also utilized by the ICCs/IPs under claims of individual or traditional group ownership." 114 Rep. The IPRA grants to ICCs/IPs a distinct kind of ownership over ancestral domains and ancestral lands. bodies of water.
have been held under a claim of private ownership by ICCs/IPs. which required registration of land claims within a limited period of time. Benguet Province.127Formal recognition.119 The guiding principle in identification and delineation is self-delineation. Cariño. including Cariño. as far back as memory reaches. the Philippine government invoked the Regalian doctrine and contended that Cariño failed to comply with the provisions of the Royal Decree of June 25.132 The North American colonial government. a U. The rights of ICCs/IPs to their ancestraldomains (which also include ancestral lands) by virtue of native title shall be recognized and respected. Don Mateo Cariño. ignored his possessory title and built a public road on the land prompting him to seek a Torrens title to his property in the land registration court.I.131In 1901. Native title. asserted that he was the absolute owner of the land jure gentium.[ Land Titles and Deeds
(CALC's) and Certificates of Ancestral Domain Claims (CADC's) to IPs. The identification. Supreme Court.I. Cariño obtained a possessory title to the land under the Spanish Mortgage Law. Domains and lands held under native title are. These lands are deemed never to have been public lands and are indisputably presumed to have been held that way since before the Spanish Conquest. In 1903. the land registration court granted Cariño's application for absolute ownership to the land. The IPRA categorically declares ancestral lands and domains held by native title as never to have been public land. 125 (1) Right to Ancestral Domains and Ancestral Lands: How Acquired The rights of the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains and ancestral lands may be acquired in two modes: (1) bynative title over both ancestral lands and domains.refers to pre-conquest rights to lands and domains which. shortly thereafter. a military detachment was detailed on the property with orders to keep cattle and trespassers.S. military reservation133 was proclaimed over his land and. Cariño inherited the land in accordance with Igorot custom.124 CADT's and CALT's issued under the IPRA shall be registered by the NCIP before the Register of Deeds in the place where the property is situated. by applying the Valenton ruling. sought to register with the land registration court 146 hectares of land in Baguio Municipality. however. that his grandfather built fences around the property for the holding of cattle and that his father cultivated some parts of the land. The identification and delineation of these ancestral domains and lands is a power conferred by the IPRA on the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). but no document issued from the Spanish Crown.123 With respect to ancestral lands outside the ancestral domain. He claimed that this land had been possessed and occupied by his ancestors since time immemorial. (2) The Concept of Native Title Native title is defined as: "Sec. (a) Cariño v. or (2) by torrens title under the Public Land Act and the Land Registration Act with respect to ancestral lands only."126 Native title refers to ICCs/IPs' preconquest rights to lands and domains held under a claim of private ownership as far back as memory reaches. when solicited by ICCs/IPs concerned. off the land. indisputably presumed to have never been public lands and are private.130Cariño firmly established a concept of private land title that existed irrespective of any royal grant from the State.136 On one hand. delineation and certification of ancestral lands is in Section 53 of said law. which shall recognize the title of the concerned ICCs/IPs over the territories identified and delineated.F.121 The procedure for the delineation and recognition of ancestral domains is set forth in Sections 51 and 52 of the IPRA.128 Like a torrens title. Both the Government of the Philippine Islands and the U.122 The allocation of lands within the ancestral domain to any individual or indigenous corporate (family or clan) claimants is left to the ICCs/IPs concerned to decide in accordance with customs and traditions. Government appealed to the C. shall be embodied in a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT). Cariño took the case to the U. and that the land never formed part of the public domain. of Benguet which reversed the land registration court and dismissed Cariño's application.S. Native Title. a CADT is evidence of private ownership of land by native title. is a right of private ownership peculiarly granted to ICCs/IPs over their ancestral lands and domains.
. The Philippine Supreme Court135 affirmed the C. an Ibaloi.F. 3 [l]. 1880. on the other.134 In 1904. Upon due application and compliance with the procedure provided under the law and upon finding by the NCIP that the application is meritorious. the NCIP issues a Certificate of Ancestral Land Title (CALT). therefore.S. however. the NCIP shall issue a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) in the name of the community concerned. have never been public lands and are thusindisputably presumed to have been held that way since before the Spanish Conquest. Insular Government129 The concept of native title in the IPRA was taken from the 1909 case of Cariño v.120 This means that the ICCs/IPs have a decisive role in determining the boundaries of their domains and in all the activities pertinent thereto. While his petition was pending. Insular Government. He tried to have the land adjusted under the Spanish land laws.
embodied the universal feudal theory that all lands were held from the Crown. liberty. the United States asserts that Spain had such power. it will be presumed to have been held in the same way from before the Spanish conquest.. Land held by this title is presumed to "never have been public land. Murciano. would deny that. like the Constitution. It is true. It provides that 'no law shall be enacted in said islands which shall deprive any person of life. irrespective of any royal grant.S. law."138 It was based on the strong mandate extended to the Islands via the Philippine Bill of 1902 that "No law shall be enacted in said islands which shall deprive any person of life. irrespective of any royal grant. and how far it shall recognize actual facts. chapter 1369." Against this presumption. the older decrees and laws cited by the counsel for the plaintiff in error seem to indicate pretty clearly that the natives were recognized as owning some lands. 1902. the decrees discussed in Valenton appeared to recognize that the natives owned some land. we suppose. the land has been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership. our first object in the internal administration of the islands is to do justice to the natives.S. the matter had to be decided under U.of the profoundest factors in human thought. In other words. liberty. Ultimately. and. and that. or deny to any person therein the equal protection of the laws."139 The Court went further: "Every presumption is and ought to be against the government in a case like the present. Law 14 of the the Recopilacion de Leyes de las Indias. so far as consistent with paramount necessities. Spain did not assume to convert all the native inhabitants of the Philippines into trespassers or even into tenants at will. in its earlier decrees. To begin with. and (2) under a claim of private ownership.S. all the property and rights acquired there by the United States are to be administered 'for the benefit of the inhabitants thereof. Certainly in a case like this. sovereignty is absolute. It is true that it begins by the characteristic assertion of feudal overlordship and the origin of all titles in the King or his predecessors.' In the light of the declaration that we have quoted from section 12. the reason for our taking over the Philippines was different. be proper and sufficient to say that when. Supreme Court analyzed the Spanish decrees upheld in the 1904 decision ofValenton v. that in legal theory. also.. and may vary in degree. viz: "If the applicant's case is to be tried by the law of Spain. it is hard to believe that the United States was ready to declare in the next breath that "any person" did not embrace the inhabitants of Benguet. the United States may assert. directs them to confirm those who hold by good grants or justa prescripcion. Supreme Court noted that it need not accept Spanish doctrines. the U. as against foreign nations. or deny to any person therein the equal protection of the laws. embodying the safeguards of the Constitution. No one. The U. are matters for it to decide. when it seems proper. absolute power. That was theory and discourse. The fact was that titles were admitted to exist that owed nothing to the powers of Spain
.S. By the Organic Act of July 1. and perhaps the general attitude of conquering nations toward people not recognized as entitled to the treatment accorded to those in the same zone of civilization with themselves.regarded as their own. or property without due process of law. perhaps. as Spain asserted. section 12 (32 Statutes at Large. The Cariño decision largely rested on the North American constitutionalist's concept of "due process" as well as the pronounced policy "to do justice to the natives. the U. and that it proposed to treat as public land what they. to call for the exhibition of grants. Whatever consideration may have been shown to the North American Indians. How far a new sovereign shall insist upon the theoretical relation of the subjects to the head in the past. or property without due process of law." The court declared: "The acquisition of the Philippines was not like the settlement of the white race in the United States. not to exploit their country for private gain. Supreme Court found no proof that the Spanish decrees did not honor native title. cited for a contrary conclusion in Valenton v. by native custom and by long association. we ought to give the applicant the benefit of the doubt. as against the inhabitants of the Philippines.' It is reasonable to suppose that the attitude thus assumed by the United States with regard to what was unquestionably its own is also its attitude in deciding what it will claim for its own. we do not discover such clear proof that it was bad by that law as to satisfy us that he does not own the land. while it commands viceroys and others. On the contrary. It is obvious that. sovereignty is a question of strength."137 The U. 3 Philippine 537. or that it meant by "property" only that which had become such by ceremonies of which presumably a large part of the inhabitants never had heard. Supreme Court held: "It is true that Spain. It might. title 12."140 The court thus laid down the presumption of a certain title held (1) as far back as testimony or memory went. Book 4. The choice was with the new colonizer. For instance. The Regalian doctrine declared in the preamble of the Recopilacion was all "theory and discourse" and it was observed that titles were admitted to exist beyond the powers of the Crown. and never to have been public land. But it does not follow that. The same statute made a bill of rights. the dominant purpose of the whites in America was to occupy land. as far back as testimony or memory goes. Murciano.[ Land Titles and Deeds
In a unanimous decision written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. extends those safeguards to all. When theory is left on one side. if there is doubt or ambiguity in the Spanish law. however stated. 691).S.
in the view of the United States. We have deemed it proper on that account to notice the possible effect of the change of sovereignty and the act of Congress establishing the fundamental principles now to be observed." (Emphasis supplied). Prof. if he had read every word of it. Provincial Board of Mindoro. at least. including one who was imprisoned for trying to escape from the reservation. however. if not certain. But precisely because of the ambiguity and of the strong "due process mandate" of the Constitution.141 The court further stated that the Spanish "adjustment" proceedings never held sway over unconquered territories."145 This is the only instance when Justice Holmes used the term "native title" in the entire length of the Cariñodecision.146 This article was made after Professor Lynch visited over thirty tribal communities throughout the country and studied the origin and development of Philippine land laws.151 Speaking through Justice Malcolm. to be practically identical with that followed by the United States Government in its dealings with the Indian tribes. introducing civilized customs. that the Spanish officials would not have granted to anyone in that province the registration to which formerly the plaintiff was entitled by the Spanish Laws.144 Examining Cariño closer. Any Mangyan who refused to comply was to be imprisoned. Professor Lynch stated that the concept of "native title" as defined by Justice Holmes in Cariño "is conceptually similar to "aboriginal title" of the American Indians.150 In Rubi. even without government administrative action. through a refined interpretation of an almost forgotten law of Spain. Lake Naujan. for the want of ceremonies which the Spaniards would not have permitted and had not the power to enforce."143 Thus.. the court said: "Reference was made in the President's instructions to the Commission to the policy adopted by the United States for the Indian Tribes.S. the court clearly repudiated the doctrine of Valenton. 148 This is not surprising.[ Land Titles and Deeds
beyond this recognition in their books.S. 147 He discussed Cariñoextensively and used the term "native title" to refer to Cariño's title as discussed and upheld by the U. Lynch published an article in the Philippine Law Journal entitled Native Title. The registration requirement was "not to confer title. the court validated this kind of title. Valuable lessons.142 This title was sufficient." it was "not calculated to convey to the mind of an Igorot chief the notion that ancient family possessions were in danger. considering that during the American regime. he had lost all rights and was a mere trespasser when the present government seized his land. government policy towards ICCs/IPs was consistently made in reference to native Americans. (b) Indian Title In a footnote in the same article. Whatever may have been the technical position of Spain it does not follow that.
. The methods followed by the Government of the Philippine Islands in its dealings with the so-called non-Christian people is said. Private Right and Tribal Land Law. improving their health and morals. on argument. characterized as a savage tribe that never was brought under the civil or military government of the Spanish Crown. Upon a consideration of the whole case we are of the opinion that law and justice require that the applicant should be granted what he seeks. according to Prof. a Visiting Professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law from the Yale University Law School. Supreme Court in said case." By recognizing this kind of title. In 1982. It seems probable. Jr. It is observed that the widespread use of the term "native title" may be traced to Professor Owen James Lynch. and should not be deprived of what. but simply to establish it. It was frank enough. it is insisted. Rubi and some Mangyans. the various interpretations which may be given them. This Court denied the petition on the ground of police power. and which would have made his title beyond question good. Justice Holmes explained: "It will be perceived that the rights of the applicant under the Spanish law present a problem not without difficulties for courts of a legal tradition. was his property. Lynch. and entitled the holder to a Torrens certificate. filed for habeas corpus claiming deprivation of liberty under the Board Resolution. The argument to that effect seems to amount to a denial of native titles through an important part of the Island of Luzon. by the practice and belief of those among whom he lived. Supreme Court did not categorically refer to the title it upheld as "native title. can be derived by an investigation of the American-Indian policy. in his argument. the U. The wording of the Spanish laws were not framed in a manner as to convey to the natives that failure to register what to them has always been their own would mean loss of such land. the Provincial Board of Mindoro adopted a Resolution authorizing the provincial governor to remove the Mangyans from their domains and place them in a permanent reservation in Sitio Tigbao. the court ruled in favor of Cariño and ordered the registration of the 148 hectares in Baguio Municipality in his name." It simply said: "The Province of Benguet was inhabited by a tribe that the Solicitor-General.149 This was clearly demonstrated in the case of Rubi v. and protecting the public forests in which they roamed. to admit the possibility that the applicant might have been deprived of his land under Spanish law because of the inherent ambiguity of the decrees and concomitantly. It upheld government policy promoting the idea that a permanent settlement was the only successful method for educating the Mangyans.
Supreme Court on the nature of aboriginal title was made in 1823 in Johnson & Graham's Lessee v. as independent nations. and claimed and exercised. but were necessarily. The rights thus acquired being exclusive. they found it necessary. in no instance. The Indians are always subject to the plenary authority of the United States. in the sense that such lands constitute definable territory occupied exclusively by the particular tribe or nation. An Indian reservation is a part of the public domain set apart by proper authority for the use and occupation of a tribe or tribes of Indians. the court further stated that: "Those relations which were to exist between the discoverer and the natives were to be regulated by themselves. but in addition. France. The earliest definitive statement by the U. they have been made to remain on the reservation for their own good and for the general good of the country. the facts in the Standing Bear case and the Rubi case are not exactly identical. were necessarily diminished. statute. the plaintiffs being private persons. impaired. Rather. with a legal as well as just claim to retain possession of it. The mere acquisition of the right nonetheless did not extinguish Indian claims to land. is not limited to land grants or reservations. Once the discoverer purchased the land
. which title might be consummated by possession. entirely disregarded.155 Indian title to land."161 Thus. when once so located. until the discoverer.157 It is a right which exists apart from any treaty. Supreme Court refused to recognize this conveyance. it is that the determination of this policy is for the legislative and executive branches of the government and that when once so decided upon. that Indians have been taken from different parts of the country and placed on these reservations." The recognized relation between the Government of the United States and the Indians may be described as that of guardian and ward."156 The aboriginal right of possession depends on the actual occupancy of the lands in question by the tribe or nation as their ancestral home. a power to grant the soil. As to the second point. to establish the principle that discovery gives title to the government by whose subjects. the discoverer of new territory was deemed to have obtained the exclusive right to acquire Indian land and extinguish Indian titles. to whomsoever they pleased. but their rights to complete sovereignty. The U. Chief Justice Marshall pointed out that the potentates of the old world believed that they had made ample compensation to the inhabitants of the new world by bestowing civilization and Christianity upon them. with a legal as well as just claim to retain possession of it. the rights of the original inhabitants were." Grants made by the discoverer to her subjects of lands occupied by the Indians were held to convey a title to the grantees. and their power to dispose of the soil at their own will. As regards the natives."153 Rubi applied the concept of Indian land grants or reservations in the Philippines. but it cannot be established by custom and prescription.did this right belong and not to any other nation or private person. by treaty. the discovery was made. in order to avoid conflicting settlements and consequent war. or other governmental action. the concerned Indians were recognized as the "rightful occupants of the soil. yet it is known to all that Indian reservations do exist in the United States. and even before. These grants have been understood by all to convey a title to the grantees. was denied by the fundamental principle that discovery gave exclusive title to those who made it.159 In Johnson. the plaintiffs claimed the land in question under two (2) grants made by the chiefs of two (2) Indian tribes. without any previous consultation as to their own wishes. to a considerable extent. It is for the Congress to determine when and how the guardianship shall be terminated. exercised its right. subject only to the Indian right of occupancy.[ Land Titles and Deeds
From the beginning of the United States. although in numerous instances treaties have been negotiated with Indian tribes. But even admitting similarity of facts. or by whose authority. M'Intosh. In the establishment of these relations. they asserted the ultimate dominion to be in themselves. and to use itaccording to their own discretion.whether to England. The only conveyance that was recognized was that made by the Indians to the government of the European discoverer. the courts should not interfere to upset a carefully planned governmental system. They were admitted to be the rightful occupants of the soil. against all other European governments. Perhaps.154 It may be set apart by an act of Congress. no other power could interpose between them. Speaking for the court. subject only to the Indian right of occupancy. and that.152 x x x. or by executive order. by purchase or conquest. however.158 American jurisprudence recognizes the Indians' or native Americans' rights to land they have held and occupied before the "discovery" of the Americas by the Europeans. recognizing their aboriginal possession and delimiting their occupancy rights or settling and adjusting their boundaries. 160 The exclusion of all other Europeans gave to the nation making the discovery the sole right of acquiring the soil from the natives and establishing settlements upon it. as a consequence of this ultimate dominion. Spain or Holland.S. While the different nations of Europe respected the right of the natives as occupants. Only to the discoverer. just as many forceful reasons exist for the segregation of the Manguianes in Mindoro as existed for the segregation of the different Indian tribes in the United States.S. If any lesson can be drawn from the Indian policy of the United States. said the court. It also covers the "aboriginal right of possession or occupancy. while yet in possession of the natives. the Indians have been treated as "in a state of pupilage.
by our Constitution and laws. which is not only acknowledged. which is still in force. and having a right to all the lands within those boundaries." so generally applied to them. having territorial boundaries. they all asserted the ultimate dominion and title to be in themselves. vested in the government of the United States. and manifest a firm purpose to afford that protection which treaties stipulate. from their situation.165 In this case. on the part of the Cherokees.either by purchase. with boundaries accurately described.163 The Johnson doctrine was a compromise. proves the universal recognition of this principle. the Indians being the original inhabitants of the land.with the single exception of that imposed by irresistible power. but the extinguishment of the British power in their neighborhood. as the undisputed possessors of the soil from time immemorial. Their right of possession has never been questioned. in essence.170 As early as the 19th century. which treat them as nations. it was only then that the discoverer gained an absolute title unrestricted by Indian rights.169 this title was to be consummated by possession and was subject to the Indian title of occupancy. The claim of government extends to the complete ultimate title."166 It was the policy of the U. The discoverer nonetheless asserted the exclusive right to acquire the Indians' land. They had been arranged under the protection of Great Britain. and for their protection from lawless and injurious intrusions into their country. necessarily dependent on some foreign potentate for the supply of their essential wants. charged with this right of possession. It protected Indian rights and their native lands without having to invalidate conveyances made by the government to many U. The court concluded. then. means "a people distinct from others. The discoverer acknowledged the Indians' legal and just claim to retain possession of the land."168 The discovery of the American continent gave title to the government of the discoverer as against all other European governments. citizens. Designated as the naked fee.[ Land Titles and Deeds
from the Indians or conquered them. "defensive" conquest. not that of individuals abandoning their national character. as well as on the Indians. did not obtain said license and were thus charged with a violation of the Act. All these acts. and which the citizens of Georgia have no right to enter but with the assent of the Cherokees themselves or in conformity with treaties and with the acts of Congress. They assumed the relation with the United States which had before subsisted with Great Britain. it became accepted doctrine that although fee title to the lands occupied by the Indians when the colonists
. government to treat the Indians as nations with distinct territorial boundaries and recognize their right of occupancy over all the lands within their domains. retaining their original natural rights. respect their rights. The very term "nation. and especially that of 1802. that they were under the protection of the United States. while the different nations of Europe respected the rights of the natives as occupants. Thus: "From the commencement of our government Congress has passed acts to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indians.and in so doing.S. Only the discoverer could extinguish Indian title because it alone asserted ultimate dominion in itself. and any violation of the law was deemed a high misdemeanor. This relation was that of a nation claiming and receiving the protection of one more powerful. is a distinct community. and to the exclusive power of acquiring that right. The whole intercourse between the United States and this nation is. Thus. in which the laws of Georgia can have no force. It characterized the relationship between the United States government and the Indians as: "The Indian nations were. that a grant of Indian lands by Indians could not convey a title paramount to the title of the United States itself to other parties. or cession. Georgia. and the establishment of that of the United States in its place. That power was naturally termed their protector. which excluded them from intercourse with any other European potentate than the first discoverer of the coast of the particular region claimed: and this was a restriction which those European potentates imposed on themselves. and submitting as subjects to the laws of a master.167 The Cherokee nation." x x x.S. extinguish the Indian title. occupying its own territory. "The Indian nations had always been considered as distinct. Supreme Court declared the Act as unconstitutional for interfering with the treaties established between the United States and the Cherokee nation as well as the Acts of Congress regulating intercourse with them.164 Johnson was reiterated in the case of Worcester v."162 It has been said that the history of America. but guaranteed by the United States. The plaintiffs. who were white missionaries. within which their authority is exclusive. and of no other power. the State of Georgia enacted a law requiring all white persons residing within the Cherokee nation to obtain a license or permit from the Governor of Georgia.S. manifestly consider the several Indian nations as distinct political communities. x x x. independent political communities. led naturally to the declaration. from its discovery to the present day. The U. saying: "It has never been contended that the Indian title amounted to nothing.
183 Despite the similarities between native title and aboriginal title. All these years. continuous. them.193 Oh Cho. however.S. the concept of native title first upheld in Cariño and enshrined in the IPRA grants ownership. It was only in the case of Oh Cho v.186 the power of the State to extinguish these entrenched. aboriginal title is not the same as legal title.a right of occupancy in the Indian tribes was nevertheless recognized. 180 Once set apart by proper authority.181 The American judiciary struggled for more than 200 years with the ancestral land claims of indigenous Americans. sometimes called Indian title. exclusive and continuous use and occupancy for a long time.188 The IPRA. continuous. however. When the conditions specified in Section 48 [b] of the Public Land Act are complied with. It is this long. Cariño had been quoted out of context simply to justify long. It is this kind of possession that would justify the presumption that the land had never been part of the public domain or that it had been private property even before the Spanish conquest. is still in its infancy and any similarities between its application in the Philippines vis-à-vis American Jurisprudence on aboriginal title will depend on the peculiar facts of each case.190 ipso jure. The aboriginal title of ownership is not specifically recognized as ownership by action authorized by Congress.173 It is vulnerable to affirmative action by the federal government who. the right of individual Indians to share in the tribal property usually depends upon tribal membership. 184 The protection of aboriginal title merely guards against encroachment by persons other than the Federal Government. Under the Public Land Act. Aboriginal title rests on actual. as successor of the discoverer. subject to its laws and customs. Native title presumes that the land is private and was never public. Indian lands are not included in the term "public lands. Cariño is the only case that specifically and categorically recognizes native title.182 And two things are clear. either by purchase or grant. however.178 Indian land which has been abandoned is deemed to fall into the public domain. a right to a grant of the land.187 titles has remained firmly
Under the IPRA. possessed exclusive power to extinguish the right of occupancy at will. Cariño was cited by the succeeding cases to support the concept of acquisitive prescription under the Public Land Act which is a different matter altogether.175 It entails that land owned by Indian title must be used within the tribe. the Philippine State is not barred form asserting sovereignty over the ancestral domains and ancestral lands.191 and is converted to private property by the mere lapse or completion of the prescribed statutory period. is deemed to have passed to the U.[ Land Titles and Deeds
arrived became vested in the sovereign. there are at present some misgivings on whether jurisprudence on American Indians may be cited authoritatively in the Philippines.185 Although there are criticisms against the refusal to recognize the native Americans' ownership of these lands. title to the land.171But this aboriginal Indian interest simply constitutes "permission" from the whites to occupy the land.S. (c) Why the Cariño doctrine is unique In the Philippines.176 Such title as Indians have to possess and occupy land is in the tribe. First. open and adverse possession in the concept of owner of thirty years both for ordinary citizens194 and members of the national cultural minorities195 that converts the land from public into private and entitles the registrant to a torrens certificate of title.174 Thus. certain benefits can be drawn from a comparison of Philippine IPs to native Americans. was decided under the provisions of the Public Land Act and Cariño was cited to support the applicant's claim of acquisitive prescription under the said Act. aboriginal title is recognized. Second. The Federal Government continued the policy of respecting the Indian right of occupancy." which is ordinarily used to designate such lands as are subject to sale or other disposal under general laws. and cannot be sold to another sovereign government nor to any citizen. and means mere possession not specifically recognized as ownership by Congress. albeit in limited form. of the land to the ICCs/IPs. by operation of law. however. belong to the public domain has an exception. the possessor of the land is deemed to have acquired.
. open and adverse possession in the concept of owner of public agricultural land.first the discovering European nation and later the original 13 States and the United States. and not in the individual Indian.172 It is clear that this right of occupancy based upon aboriginal possession is not a property right. an Indian reservation is a part of the public domain set apart for the use and occupation of a tribe of Indians. land sought to be registered must be public agricultural land. no one but Congress can initiate any preferential right on. From a legal point of view. as sovereign. Director of Lands192 that the court declared that the rule that all lands that were not acquired from the government.179 On the other hand. (3) The Option of Securing a Torrens Title to the Ancestral Land Indicates that the Land is Private. indigenous property systems are also recognized. This exception would be any land that should have been in the possession of an occupant and of his predecessors-in-interest since time immemorial. the property of the tribe generally being held in communal ownership. the reservation ceases to be public land. recognizes the possessory rights of the Indians over their land. and until the Indian title is extinguished.177 As a rule. The U. which it accorded the protection of complete ownership.189 The land ceases to be part of the public domain. The long line of cases citing Cariño did not touch on native title and the private character of ancestral domains and lands. or restrict the nation's power to dispose of.
B. The option to register land under the Public Land Act and the Land Registration Act has nonetheless a limited period. (c) mineral lands. and tree farming purposes. This option is limited to ancestral lands only. This option must be exercised within twenty (20) years from October 29. and harkens to
. The option granted under this section shall be exercised within twenty (20) years from the approval of this Act. Section 3 of Article XII on National Economy and Patrimony of the 1987 Constitution classifies lands of the public domain into four categories: (a) agricultural. said individually-owned ancestral lands. The classification agricultural land of is ancestral land in compliance as public with the requirements of the Public Land Act and the Land Registration Act. regardless of whether the land has a slope of eighteen per cent (18%) or over. or the Land Registration Act 496. For purposes of registration under the Public Land Act and the Land Registration Act."202 It is the recognition of the ICCs/IPs distinct rights of ownership over their ancestral domains and lands that breathes life into this constitutional mandate.[ Land Titles and Deeds
The private character of ancestral lands and domains as laid down in the IPRA is further strengthened by the option given to individual ICCs/IPs over their individually-owned ancestral lands.201 The 1987 Constitution mandates the State to "protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities to their ancestral lands" and that "Congress provide for the applicability of customary laws x x x in determining the ownership and extent of ancestral domain. C. 141. may be registered under C. The IPRA addresses the major problem of the ICCs/IPs which is loss of land. (b) forest or timber. nor those on which a private right authorized and recognized by this Act or any other valid law x x x or which having been reserved or appropriated. the IPRA itself converts his ancestral land. owned. Ancestral lands that are owned by individual members of ICCs/IPs who. with respect to their individually-owned ancestral lands who. pasture. It. To wit: "Sec. Registration under the Public Land Act and Land Registration Act recognizes the concept of ownership under thecivil law. the individually-owned ancestral lands are classified as alienable and disposable agricultural lands of the public domain.200 from private to public agricultural land for proper disposition. 12. Option to Secure Certificate of Title Under Commonwealth Act 141."196 ICCs/IPs are given the option to secure a torrens certificate of title over their individually-owned ancestral lands. or Act 496. have been in continuous possession and occupation of the same in the concept of owner since time immemorial or for a period of not less than thirty (30) years immediately preceding the approval of this Act and uncontested by the members of the same ICCs/IPs shall have the option to secure title to their ancestral lands under the provisions of Commonwealth Act 141. and (d) national parks.Individual members of cultural communities. which claims are uncontested by the members of the same ICCs/IPs. 141. Thus. including those with a slope of eighteen percent (18%) or more."199 Act 496. deals specifically with lands of the public domain. has to be first converted to public agricultural land simply for registration purposes. not communally. 198 Its provisions apply to those lands "declared open to disposition or concession" x x x "which have not been reserved for public or quasi-public purposes. however. For this purpose. are hereby classified as alienable and disposable agricultural lands. nor appropriated by the Government. otherwise known as the Public Land Act. ancestral lands and ancestral domains are not part of the lands of the public domain. residential. 1997. not domains. They are private and belong to the ICCs/IPs. by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest. For purposes of registration. residential. This ownership is based on adverse possession for a specified period. the Public Land Act. as amended. Land and space are of vital concern in terms of sheer survival of the ICCs/IPs. pasture and tree farming purposes. if the ICC/IP wants to avail of the benefits of C.A. by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest. as amended. have been in continuous possession and occupation of the same in the concept of owner since time immemorial197 or for a period of not less than 30 years. Section 5 of the same Article XII mentions ancestral lands and ancestral domains but it does not classify them under any of the said four categories. 141 and Act 496. the Land Registration Act. have ceased to be so. which are agricultural in character and actually used for agricultural. they are agricultural in character and are actually used for agricultural. Since ancestral domains and lands are private. the IPRA expressly converts ancestral land into public agricultural land which may be disposed of by the State. and such lands must be individually. The right of ownership and possession by the ICCs/IPs of their ancestral domains is a limited form of ownership and does not include the right to alienate the same. the date of approval of the IPRA.A. To classify them as public lands under any one of the four classes will render the entire IPRA law a nullity.A. the Land Registration Act. or the Land Registration Act 496. These lands shall be classified as public agricultural lands regardless of whether they have a slope of 18% or more. provided. The necessary implication is thatancestral land is private. The spirit of the IPRA lies in the distinct concept of ancestral domains and ancestral lands. allows registration only of private lands and public agricultural lands. nor in any manner become private property.
disposed or destroyed. It likewise covers sustainable traditional resource rights. exclusive. The ancestral domain is owned in common by the ICCs/IPs and not by one particular person. the possessor makes proper application therefor."204 Registration under the foregoing provisions presumes that the land was originally public agricultural land but because of adverse possession since July 4. A torrens title recognizes the owner whose name appears in the certificate as entitled to all the rights of ownership under the civil law. Any natural-born citizen of the Philippines who is not the owner of more than twenty-four hectares and who since July fourth. The possession has to be confirmed judicially or administratively after which a torrens title is issued. Thus: "Sec." The right of ownership and possession of the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains is held under the indigenous concept of ownership. whether disposable or not since July 4. a tract or tracts of land. public and continuous possession is sufficient. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. under the provisions of this chapter. "Sec. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture. to have a free patent issued to him for such tract or tracts of such land not to exceed twenty-four hectares. the land has become private. either by himself or through his predecessors-ininterest. A member of the national cultural minorities who has continuously occupied and cultivated. 428 and 429. to wit: (a) [perfection of Spanish titles] xxx.208 1. Ownership. encumber.203 x x x. may be exercised over things or rights. a tract or tracts of agricultural public lands subject to disposition. (c) Members of the national cultural minorities who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. provided. either by himself or through his predecessors-ininterest. 5. under Roman Law. It is private simply because it is not part of the public domain.[ Land Titles and Deeds
Section 44 of the Public Land Act on administrative legalization (free patent) of imperfect or incomplete titles and Section 48 (b) and (c) of the same Act on the judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles. Ownership of ancestral domains by native title does not entitle the ICC/IP to a torrens title but to a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT). The Civil Code of the Philippines defines ownership in Articles 427. 44. 1955. The indigenous concept of ownership generally holds that ancestral domains are the ICCs/IPs private but community property which belongs to all generations and therefore cannot be sold. The IPRA itself provides that areas within the ancestral domains. Thus: "Sec. whether delineated or
. (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least 30 years shall be entitled to the rights granted in sub-section (b) hereof.Indigenous concept of ownership sustains the view that ancestral domains and all resources found therein shall serve as the material bases of their cultural integrity.207 and the right to exclude from the possession of the thing owned by any other person to whom the owner has not transmitted such thing. has continuously occupied and cultivated. But its private character ends there. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. The Indigenous Concept of Ownership and Customary Law. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. 1955 (free patent) or at least thirty years (judicial confirmation). The following described citizens of the Philippines. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor. continuous. Open. 48. It primarily includes the right of the owner to enjoy and dispose of the thing owned. The CADT formally recognizes the indigenous concept of ownership of the ICCs/IPs over their ancestral domain.205 the right to consume the thing by its use. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. adverse. continuous. This concept is based on Roman Law which the Spaniards introduced to the Philippines through the Civil Code of 1889. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this Chapter. or who shall have paid the real estate tax thereon while the same has not been occupied by any person shall be entitled. shall be entitled to the right granted in the preceding paragraph of this section:Provided.. whether disposable or not. This concept maintains the view that ancestral domains are the ICCs/IPs private but community property. That at the time he files his free patent application he is not the owner of any real property secured or disposable under the provision of the Public Land Law. Indigenous concept of ownership.206 the right to alienate. under the Land Registration Act. And the right to enjoy and dispose of the thing includes the right to receive from the thing what it produces. transform or even destroy the thing owned. 1926 or prior thereto.
The CADT is merely a "formal recognition" of native title.210 Co-ownership gives any co-owner the right to demand partition of the property held in common.217 Custom. Sections 7 (a). 1. introduces a new concept of ownership. sustenance for man. The Rights of ICCs/IPs Over Their Ancestral Domains and Lands The IPRA grants the ICCs/IPs several rights over their ancestral domains and ancestral lands. Such rights include: a) Right of Ownership. control and use lands and territories traditionally occupied. The Civil Code expressly provides that "no co-owner shall be obliged to remain in the co-ownership.by sheer force of having sprung from the land since time beyond recall. bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by ICCs/IPs. 11. (b) in accord with customary laws and traditions. The indigenous concept of ownership under customary law is specifically acknowledged and recognized.211 To allow such a right over ancestral domains may be destructive not only of customary law of the community but of the very community itself.. can define rights and liabilities. owned. sold or conveyed to other persons. the corporation itself may be dissolved voluntarily or involuntarily. being people of the land. insofar as his share is concerned.209 These communal rights. when duly proven.The rights of ownership and possession of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains shall be recognized and protected. b) Right to Develop Lands and Natural Resources. past. This is fidelity of usufructuary relation to the land.222 C. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.[ Land Titles and Deeds
not.The right to claim ownership over lands. 7 (b) and 57 of the IPRA Do Not Violate the Regalian Doctrine Enshrined in Section 2. which shall recognize the title of the concerned ICCs/IPs over the territories identified and delineated. and all improvements made by them at any time within the domains.220 Customary law is a primary. Rights to Ancestral Domains. however. The domain cannot be transferred. and coexists with the civil law concept and the laws on land titling and land registration. the indigenous concept of ownership exists even without a paper title.. custom. from the land..212 Communal rights over land are not the same as corporate rights over real property. in the absence of any applicable provision in the Civil Code. This is the reason why the ancestral domain must be kept within the ICCs/IPs themselves. A corporation can exist only for a maximum of fifty (50) years subject to an extension of another fifty years in any single instance. to the domain.The rights of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains by virtue of Native Title shall be recognized and respected. are presumed to be communally held.the possession of stewardship through perduring.213 Every stockholder has the right to disassociate himself from the corporation. and (c) subject to the right of redemption of the ICCs/IPs for a period of 15 years if the land was transferred to a non-member of the ICCs/IPs. when solicited by ICCs/IPs concerned shall be embodied in a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title. care for land. 214 Moreover. Its recognition does not depend on the absence of a specific provision in the civil law. This is a concept that has long existed under customary law. traditional hunting and fishing grounds." The moral import of ancestral domain. present and future. Ancestral lands are also held under the indigenous concept of ownership.221 To be sure." Each coowner may demand at any time the partition of the thing in common.Subject to Section 56 hereof. to manage and conserve natural resources within the territories and uphold the responsibilities for future generations. native land or being native is "belongingness" to the land. from which customary law is derived. 7.215 Communal rights to the land are held not only by the present possessors of the land but extends to all generations of the ICCs/IPs. or used."216 the IPRA. and the faithful nurture of the land by the sweat of one's brow. Section 7 provides for the rights over ancestral domains: "Sec. intimate tillage. and the mutuality of blessings between man and land. from man. to benefit and share the profits from allocation and utilization of the natural resources found therein. It belongs to the ICCs/IPs as a community. not secondary. however. by legislative fiat.
. These lands. Following the constitutional mandate that "customary law govern property rights or relations in determining the ownership and extent of ancestral domains. much less corporate condominium rights. to wit: "Sec. source of rights under the IPRA and uniquely applies to ICCs/IPs. Recognition of Ancestral Domain Rights. sacred places. The lands are communal. the right to develop. This is clear from Section 11 of the IPRA. may be transferred subject to the following limitations: (a) only to the members of the same ICCs/IPs. the right to negotiate the terms and conditions for the exploration of natural resources in the areas for the purpose of ensuring ecological. are not exactly the same as co-ownership rights under the Civil Code.219 In other words.218 Some articles of the Civil Code expressly provide that custom should be applied in cases where no codal provision is applicable. Formal recognition. . is also recognized under the Civil Code as a source of law.
g) Right to Claim Parts of Reservations . h) Right to Resolve Conflict . 2. management and utilization of natural resources is declared in Section 2. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution . The State may directly undertake such activities. 8.Right to regulate the entry of migrant settlers and organizations into their domains. development. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years. it may enter into co-production. (e) the right to safe and clean air and water. b) Right to Redemption... The right of ownership includes the following rights: (1) the right to develop lands and natural resources. all forces of potential energy. The Right of ICCs/IPs to Develop Lands and Natural Resources Within the Ancestral Domains Does Not Deprive the State of Ownership Over the Natural Resources and Control and Supervision in their Development and Exploitation. or. fisheries." Section 8 provides for the rights over ancestral lands: "Sec..[ Land Titles and Deeds
environmental protection and the conservation measures. to a nonmember of the concerned ICCs/IPs is tainted by the vitiated consent of the ICCs/IPs. and only in default thereof shall the complaints be submitted to amicable settlement and to the Courts of Justice whenever necessary. coal. or industrial uses other than
. e) Right to Regulate the Entry of Migrants. the transferor ICC/IP shall have the right to redeem the same within a period not exceeding fifteen (15) years from the date of transfer.In cases where it is shown that the transfer of land/property rights by virtue of any agreement or devise. d) Right in Case of Displacement . Rights to Ancestral Lands .In case displacement occurs as a result of natural catastrophes. government or private. and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. petroleum.Such right shall include the right to transfer land or property rights to/among members of the same ICCs/IPs. or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens.-For this purpose. No ICCs/IPs will be relocated without their free and prior informed consent. except those reserved and intended for common and public welfare and service.The right of ownership and possession of the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral lands shall be recognized and protected. a) Right to transfer land/property ." c) Right to Stay in the Territories.. subject to customary laws and traditions of the community concerned. (b) bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by the ICCs/IPs. waters.The right to stay in the territory and not to be removed therefrom.. (f) the right to claim parts of the ancestral domains as reservations. (b) the right to stay in the territories. and other mineral oils. The exploration. wildlife. Unlike ownership over the ancestral domains. In cases of water rights for irrigation. water supply.The right to claim parts of the ancestral domains which have been reserved for various purposes. alienation and encroachment upon these rights.. With the exception of agricultural lands. flora and fauna. fisheries. (d) traditional hunting and fishing grounds. and the right to effective measures by the government to prevent any interference with. and (g) the right to resolve conflict in accordance with customary laws.. All lands of the public domain. and other natural resources are owned by the State. the right to an informed and intelligent participation in the formulation and implementation of any project. x x x. minerals. The Regalian doctrine on the ownership.Right to resolve land conflicts in accordance with customary laws of the area where the land is located. all other natural resources shall not be alienated. pursuant to national and customary laws." Section 7 (a) defines the ICCs/IPs the right of ownership over their ancestral domains which covers (a) lands. renewable for not more than twenty-five years. (c) sacred places. f) Right to Safe and Clean Air and Water . or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Section 8 governs their rights to ancestral lands. This is in keeping with the option given to ICCs/IPs to secure a torrens title over the ancestrallands. nor through any means other than eminent domain. and (e) all improvements made by them at any time within the domains. 2. (c) the right to resettlement in case of displacement. the State shall endeavor to resettle the displaced ICCs/IPs in suitable areas where they can have temporary life support systems: x x x. (d) the right to regulate the entry of migrants. water supply. viz: "Sec. but not to domains. or is transferred for an unconscionable consideration or price. the ICCs/IPs shall have access to integrated systems for the management of their inland waters and air space. that will affect or impact upon the ancestral domains and to receive just and fair compensation for any damages which they may sustain as a result of the project. Section 8 gives the ICCs/IPs also the right to transfer the land or property rights to members of the same ICCs/IPs or non-members thereof. fisheries. and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. forests or timber. joint venture.
and all improvements made by them at any time within the domains. petroleum. the State. within thirty days from its execution. specifically minerals. "Small-scale mining" refers to "mining activities which rely heavily on manual labor using simple implements and methods and do not use explosives or heavy mining equipment. or. and other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by law. fisheries.A. or may directly undertake such sharing agreements.A." It will be noted that this enumeration does not mention bodies of water not occupied by the ICCs/IPs. beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant. Part II. The President shall notify the Congress of every contract entered into in accordance with this provision. by law.are owned by the State. For the large-scale exploration. The State may enter into co-production. coproduction. and exclusive economic zone. The right of ICCs/IPs in their ancestral domains includesownership. coal. renewable for another 25 years. i. Part II.[ Land Titles and Deeds
the development of water power. traditional hunting and fishing grounds. as well as cooperative fish farming. As owner of the natural resources. forests or timber. minerals. Rule III reads:
2. may allow the small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens. the State is accorded primary power and responsibility in the exploration. and lagoons." The ICCs/IPs are given the right to claim ownership over "lands. Rule III of the Implementing Rules Goes Beyond the Parameters of Sec.e. forests or timber. wildlife. sacred places. 7. The Rules Implementing the IPRA230 in Section 1. 7 (a) of the IPRA And is Unconstitutional. through the President. minerals. minerals. flora and fauna. (R.224joint venture. The State shall protect the nation's marine wealth in its archipelagic waters. bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by ICCs/IPs. The State. by law. joint venture or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens or qualified corporations. The Congress may. the President may enter into agreements with foreign-owned corporations involving technical or financial assistance. territorial sea."223 All lands of the public domain and all natural resources. with priority to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in rivers. (a) Section 1. traditional hunting and fishing grounds. all forces of potential energy. Under the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. and may undertake the same in four (4) modes: 1. based on real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the country. bays.petroleum and other mineral oils. lakes. it may allow participation by the private sector through co-production. allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens. wildlife. In such agreements. 7942) and the People's Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991 (R. may enter into technical and financial assistance agreements with foreign-owned corporations. the right of ownership under Section 7 (a) does not cover "waters. fish in the traditional fishing grounds. and other mineral oils. and all other natural resources found within the ancestral domains. joint venture or production-sharing. development. development and utilization of these natural resources. and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens. development and utilization of these natural resources. petroleum. fisheries. may apply to both large-scale227 and small-scale 228 mining. coal. all forces of potential energy. a) Right of ownership. but this "ownership" is expressly defined and limited in Section 7 (a) as: "Sec. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution as belonging to the State. wildlife. etc. and other natural resources. For the large-scale exploration of these resources.flora and fauna and all other natural resources" enumerated in Section 2.waters. 4. 3.226 These agreements may be for a period of 25 years."229 Examining the IPRA. development and utilization of minerals. and utilization of minerals. petroleum and other mineral oils.The right to claim ownership over lands. The State may directly undertake the exploitation and development by itself. Congress may. and all improvements made by them at any time within the domains. The Constitution provides that in the exploration. the State exercises full control and supervision. there is nothing in the law that grants to the ICCs/IPs ownership over the natural resources within their ancestral domains. 7076) the three types of agreements. through Congress. forests or timber in the sacred places. coal.225 or production-
. The President may enter into agreements with foreignowned corporations involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration. sacred places. The State activities. Indeed. petroleum and other mineral oils. bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by ICCs/IPs. the state shall promote the development and use of local scientific and technical resources. The non-inclusion of ownership by the ICCs/IPs over the natural resources in Section 7(a) complies with the Regalian doctrine.. flora and fauna in the traditional hunting grounds. allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens.
For the ICCs/IPs may use these resources and share in the profits of their utilization or
. the right to an informed and intelligent participation in the formulation and implementation of any project.231 The IPRA itself makes a distinction between land and natural resources. but not limited to. government or private. pursuant to national and customary laws. It does not extend to the exploitation and development of natural resources.Subject to Section 56 hereof. Rule III of the Implementing Rules goes beyond the parameters of Section 7 (b) of the law and is contrary to Section 2. waters. the right to negotiate the terms and conditions for the exploration of natural resources in the areas for the purpose of ensuring ecological.[ Land Titles and Deeds
"Section 1. right to develop. that will affect or impact upon the ancestral domains and to receive just and fair compensation for any damages which they may sustain as a result of the project. "benefit and share" the profits from their allocation and utilization. as shall be discussed later. (b) The Small-Scale Utilization of Natural Resources In Sec.. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. e) the right to an informed and intelligent participation in the formulation and implementation of any project." The right to develop lands and natural resources under Section 7 (b) of the IPRA enumerates the following rights: a) the right to develop. Simply stated. alienation and encroachment upon these rights." The term "natural resources" is not one of those expressly mentioned in Section 7 (a) of the law. or used. it is necessary to declare that the inclusion of "natural resources" in Section 1. and these provisions. to manage and conserve natural resourceswithin the territories and uphold the responsibilities for future generations. right to consume. c) the right to benefit and share the profits from the allocation and utilization of the natural resources found therein. f) the right to effective measures by the government to prevent any interference with. waters and natural resources.233 Ownership over the natural resources in the ancestral domains remains with the State and the ICCs/IPs are merely granted the right to "manage and conserve" them for future generations. Our Constitution and jurisprudence clearly declare that the right to claim ownership over land does not necessarily include the right to claim ownership over the natural resources found on or under the land. These rights shall include." Section 1 of the Implementing Rules gives the ICCs/IPs rights of ownership over "lands. the right to possess. right to exclude and right to recover ownership. the right to use. alienation and encroachment upon these rights. government or private. owned. and the right to effective measures by the government to prevent any interference with. control and use lands and territories traditionally occupied. Rule III of the Implementing Rules was not specifically and categorically challenged by petitioners. Part II. Section 7 (a) speaks of the right of ownership only over the land within the ancestral domain." It must be noted that the right to negotiate the terms and conditions over the natural resources covers only their exploration which must be for the purpose of ensuring ecological and environmental protection of. do not give the ICCs/IPs the right of ownership over these resources. that will affect or impact upon the ancestral domains and to receive just and fair compensation for any damages which they may sustain as a result of the project. the ICCs/IPs' rights over the natural resources take the form of management or stewardship. 7 (b) Right to Develop Lands and Natural Resources.232Nevertheless. Rights of Ownership. The constitutionality of Section 1. and "negotiate the terms and conditions for their exploration" for the purpose of "ensuring ecological and environmental protection and conservation measures. Ownership over natural resources remain with the State and the IPRA in Section 7 (b) merely grants the ICCs/IPs the right to manage them. and the rights or interests over land and natural resources. The right to recover shall be particularly applied to lands lost through fraud or any form or vitiated consent or transferred for an unconscionable price. and conservation measures in the ancestral domain. It is Sections 7 (b) and 57 of the law that speak of natural resources. viz: "Sec. ICCs/IPs have rights of ownership over lands. to avoid any confusion in the implementation of the law. environmental protection and the conservation measures. Part II. control and use lands and territories traditionally occupied. the right over the fruits. 7 (b) of the IPRA Is Allowed Under Paragraph 3. d) the right to negotiate the terms and conditions for the exploration of natural resources for the purpose of ensuring ecological. Section 2 of Article XII of the Constitution. pursuant to national and customary laws. b) the right to manage and conserve natural resources within the territories and uphold the responsibilities for future generations. and natural resources and all improvements made by them at any time within the ancestral domains/ lands. Petitioners actually assail the constitutionality of the Implementing Rules in general. environmental protection and the conservation measures. to benefit and share the profits from allocation and utilization of the natural resources found therein.
Section 57 of the IPRA does not give the ICCs/IPs the right to "manage and conserve" the natural resources." Section 57 speaks of the "harvesting. the ICCs/IPs must ensure that the natural resources within their ancestral domains are conserved for future generations and that the "utilization" of these resources must not harm the ecology and environment pursuant to national and customary laws. or (3) it may enter into an agreement with a non-member of the ICCs/IPs. This may be done on condition that a formal written agreement be entered into by the non-member and members of the ICCs/IPs. or allow such non-member to participate in its agreement with the ICCs/IPs. the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) shall ensure that the rights of the ICCs/IPs under the agreement shall be protected. 236 The law recognizes the probability of requiring a non-member of the ICCs/IPs to participate in the development and utilization of the natural resources and thereby allows such participation for a period of not more than 25 years. pursuant to its own decision-making process. That a formal and written agreement is entered into with the ICCs/IPs concerned or that the community. Section 2. renewable for another 25 years. petroleum.[ Land Titles and Deeds
negotiate the terms for their exploration. Small-scale utilization of natural resources is expressly allowed in the third paragraph of Section 2. renewable for another 25 years. it may recognize the priority rights of the ICCs/IPs as owners of the land on which the natural resources are found by entering into a coproduction. as owner of these natural resources. extraction. (c) The Large-Scale Utilization of Natural Resources In Section 57 of the IPRA Is Allowed Under Paragraphs 1 and 4. Priority means giving preference. Article XII of the Constitution "in recognition of the plight of forest dwellers. Section 57 of the IPRA provides: "Sec. Having priority rights over the natural resources does not necessarily mean ownership rights. The agreement shall be for a period of 25 years. or in the alternative. the law only grants the ICCs/IPs "priority rights" in the development or exploitation thereof. To reiterate. development and utilization of minerals. The ICCs/IPs shall have priority rights in theharvesting. The rights granted by the IPRA to the ICCs/IPs over the natural resources in their ancestral domains merely gives the ICCs/IPs. development or exploitation of any natural resources within the ancestral domains. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. the State. as owner of these resources. by their very nature. and other mineral oils. it is an affirmation of the said doctrine that all natural resources found within the ancestral domains belong to the State. If the State decides to enter into an agreement with a non-ICC/IP member. as owners and occupants of the land on which the
. however. has four (4) options: (1) it may. requires that the provision be read in the light of Section 2. or production-sharing agreement with them.234 The limited rights of "management and use" in Section 7 (b) must be taken to contemplate small-scale utilization of natural resources as distinguished from large-scale. It is utilization not merely for subsistence but for commercial or other extensive use that require technology other than manual labor. Natural Resources within Ancestral Domains. Interpreting Section 2. extraction. Rather." The terms "harvesting. development or exploitation" of any natural resources within the ancestral domains obviously refer to large-scale utilization. necessarily reject utilization in a large-scale. which duties. The grant of priority rights implies that there is a superior entity that owns these resources and this entity has the power to grant preferential rights over the resources to whosoever itself chooses. At the same time. whether natural or juridical. or (2) it may recognize the priority rights of the ICCs/IPs by entering into an agreement with them for such development and exploitation. Section 57 is not a repudiation of the Regalian doctrine. gold panners. Instead. local or foreign. development or exploitation of natural resources within ancestral domains" and "gives the ICCs/IPs 'priority rights' therein. has agreed to allow such operation: Provided finally. marginal fishermen and others similarly situated who exploit our natural resources for their daily sustenance and survival. 57. or (4) it may allow such non-member to participate in the agreement with the ICCs/IPs. whether natural or juridical. It incorporates by implication the Regalian doctrine. extraction. A non-member of the ICCs/IPs concerned may be allowed to take part in the development and utilization of the natural resources for a period of not exceeding twenty-five (25) years renewable for not more than twenty-five (25) years: Provided. of and by itself. hence. The State may likewise enter into any of said agreements with a nonmember of the ICCs/IPs. joint venture."235 Section 7 (b) also expressly mandates the ICCs/IPs to manage and conserve these resources and ensure environmental and ecological protection within the domains. may directly undertake the development and exploitation of the natural resources by itself. the State. or enter into agreements with foreignowned corporations involving either technical or financial assistance for the large-scale exploration. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution237 in relation to Section 57 of IPRA. That the NCIP may exercise visitorial powers and take appropriate action to safeguard the rights of the ICCs/IPs under the same contract. in the large-scale utilization of natural resources within the ancestral domains. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. directly undertake the development and exploitation of the natural resources.
first adopted a policy on IPs as a result of the dismal experience of projects in Latin America. The people of the Philippine Cordillera were the first Asians to take part in the international indigenous movement. This indicates that the State does not lose control and ownership over the resources even in their exploitation. that a certification be issued by the NCIP that the area subject of the agreement does not lie within any ancestral domain. Certification Precondition. Note that the certification applies to agreements over natural resources that do not necessarily lie within the ancestral domains. It was the Cordillera People's Alliance that carried out successful campaigns against the building of the Chico River Dam in 1981-82 and they have since become one of the best-organized indigenous bodies in the world. and have become a part of today's priorities for the international agenda. 245 The IPRA
. and Maori in New Zealand the possibility of fighting for fundamental rights and freedoms. any project that has not satisfied the requirement of this consultation process. It merely gives the NCIP the authority to ensure that the ICCs/IPs have been informed of the agreement and that their consent thereto has been obtained.238 The rise of the civil rights movement and anti-racism brought to the attention of North American Indians. lease or production-sharing agreements for the exploitation of natural resources shall not be issued. there is nothing in the law that gives the ICCs/IPs the right to solely undertake the large-scale development of the natural resources within their domains. That no department. license or lease. renewing or granting any concession. V. further. THE IPRA IS A RECOGNITION OF OUR ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN THE INDIGENOUS INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT." Concessions. government agency or governmentowned or -controlled corporation may issue new concession.241Indigenous rights came as a result of both human rights and environmental protection. This policy has provided an influential model for the projects of the Asian Development Bank. renewed or granted by all departments and government agencies without prior certification from the NCIP that the area subject of the agreement does not overlap with any ancestral domain. Moreover.All departments and other governmental agencies shall henceforth be strictly enjoined from issuing. Neither is the State stripped of ownership and control of the natural resources by the following provision: "Section 59. there is a growing concern for indigenous rights in the international scene. For those that are found within the said domains. the decolonization of Asia and Africa brought into the limelight the possibility of peoples controlling their own destinies. The NCIP certification shall be issued only after a field-based investigation shall have been conducted and the free and prior informed written consent of the ICCs/IPs obtained. That no certification shall be issued by the NCIP without the free and prior informed and written consent of the ICCs/IPs concerned: Provided.239 and during the 1980's. In 1974 and 1975. the right to the small-scale utilization of these resources. a priority in their large-scale development and exploitation. This came as a result of the increased publicity focused on the continuing disrespect for indigenous human rights and the destruction of the indigenous peoples' environment. The World Bank. license. international indigenous organizations were founded.242 International institutions and bodies have realized the necessity of applying policies. programs and specific rules concerning IPs in some nations. indigenous affairs were on the international agenda. lease. or entering into any production-sharing agreement.244 The 1987 Philippine Constitution formally recognizes the existence of ICCs/IPs and declares as a State policy the promotion of their rights within the framework of national unity and development.240 Presently. licenses.243 The World Bank now seeks to apply its current policy on IPs to some of its projects in Asia. That the ICCs/IPs shall have the right to stop or suspend. Aborigines in Australia. Sections 7(b) and 57 of the IPRA apply. have traditionally utilized these resources for their subsistence and survival. for example. Sections 7 (b) and 57 of the law simply give due respect to the ICCs/IPs who. Second. Non-compliance with the consultation requirement gives the ICCs/IPs the right to stop or suspend any project granted by any department or government agency. the right of self-determination was enshrined in the UN Declaration on Human Rights.[ Land Titles and Deeds
resources are found. finally. or production sharing agreement while there is a pending application for a CADT: Provided. without prior certification from the NCIP that the area affected does not overlap with any ancestral domain. The State has several options and it is within its discretion to choose which option to pursue. this provision requires as a precondition for the issuance of any concession. The movement received a massive impetus during the 1960's from two sources. as actual occupants of the land where the natural resources lie. Such certification shall only be issued after a fieldbased investigation is conducted by the Ancestral Domains Office of the area concerned: Provided. and at the same time. The indigenous movement can be seen as the heir to a history of anti-imperialism stretching back to prehistoric times. The ICCs/IPs must undertake such endeavour always under State supervision or control. First. As its subtitle suggests. together with the national governments' inability to deal with the situation. in accordance with this Act. license or agreement over natural resources. Section 57 does not mandate the State to automatically give priority to the ICCs/IPs. The provision does not vest the NCIP with power over the other agencies of the State as to determine whether to grant or deny any concession or license or agreement.
adjoining lots in the district of Ermita in the city of Manila. That the plaintiffs and the defendant occupy. Later the predecessor of the defendant presented a petition in the Court of Land Registration for the registration of the lot now occupied by him. belonged to the defendant and his predecessors. With the foregoing disquisitions. Fourth. 246 and is heavily influenced by both the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169 and the United Nations (UN) Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 1989. That there exists and has existed a number of years a stone wall between the said lots.253 it is this Court's duty to acknowledge the presence of indigenous and customary laws in the country and affirm their coexistence with the land laws in our national legal system. The lower court however. These differences were carried over and magnified by the Philippine government through the imposition of a national legal order that is mostly foreign in origin or derivation. The wall is not a joint wall. ways of life and economic development. then the same theory should be applied to the defendant himself. 1912. in fact. The description of the lot given in the petition of the defendant also included said wall. the International Covenant on Economic.e. Having thus lost hid right."250 CONCLUSION The struggle of the Filipinos throughout colonial history had been plagued by ethnic and religious differences. i. even though it had been theretofore registered in their name.247 ILO Convention No. It is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. L-8936
October 2.249 ILO Convention No. 1906. If the evolution of the Filipino people into a democratic society is to truly proceed democratically.They immediately presented a petition in the Court of Land Registration for an adjustment and correction of the error committed by including said wall in the registered title of each of said parties. vs. 169 revised the "Convention Concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and Other Tribal and Semi-Tribal Populations in Independent Countries" (ILO No. 107) passed on June 26. the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
. From the record the following facts appear: First. they failed to make any objection to the registration of said lot. Developments in international law made it appropriate to adopt new international standards on indigenous peoples "with a view to removing the assimilationist orientation of the earlier standards. denied said petition upon the theory that.M. as owners. After a consideration of said petition the court. more than six years before. Sixth. The histories and cultures of the indigenes are relevant to the evolution of Philippine culture and are vital to the understanding of contemporary problems. In other words. 1957. SALEEBY. during the pendency of the petition for the registration of the defendant's land. presented a petition in the Court of Land Registration for the registration of their lot. in the name of the defendant.252 It is through the IPRA that an attempt was made by our legislators to understand Filipino society not in terms of myths and biases but through common experiences in the course of history. on the 2d day of March. and granting even that the wall and the land occupied by it. if the Filipinos as a whole are to participate fully in the task of continuing democratization. Said wall is located on the lot of the plaintiffs. 1915
CONSUELO LEGARDA. The Philippines became a democracy a centennial ago and the decolonization process still continues. Third. That the land occupied by t he wall is registered in the name of each of the owners of the adjoining lots. No. I vote to uphold the constitutionality of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997. and many other international instruments on the prevention of discrimination. without notice to the defendant.[ Land Titles and Deeds
amalgamates the Philippine category of ICCs with the international category of IPs.R.. on the 25th day of October. 169 is entitled the "Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries"248 and was adopted on June 27. the court decreed the registration of said title and issued the original certificate provided for under the torrens system. 1906. Fifth. he had already lost whatever right he had therein. Applying that theory to him. by reason of the fact that the plaintiffs had not opposed the registration of that part of the lot on which the wall was situate they had lost it. N. Several months later (the 13th day of December. specifically.251 Largely unpopulist. the present legal system has resulted in the alienation of a large sector of society. Said registration and certificate included the wall. may he be permitted to regain it by simply including it
G. Under these facts. the indigenous peoples. by permitting the plaintiffs to have the same registered in their name." and recognizing the aspirations of these peoples to exercise control over their own institutions. That the plaintiffs. 1912) the plaintiffs discovered that the wall which had been included in the certificate granted to them had also been included in the certificate granted to the defendant . who is the owner of the wall and the land occupied by it? The decision of the lower court is based upon the theory that the action for the registration of the lot of the defendant was a judicial proceeding and that the judgment or decree was binding upon all parties who did not appear and oppose it. On the 25th day of March. Social and Cultural Rights. Second. including the wall. decreed that the title of the plaintiffs should be registered and issued to them the original certificate provided for under the torrens system. Granting that theory to be correct one.
modified. there are no innocent third parties who may claim an interest. purporting to include the same land. except as to rights which are noted in the certificate or which arise subsequently. the mistake may be rectified by holding the latter of the two certificates of title to be conclusive. 31. 496) providing for the registration of titles under the torrens system affords us no remedy. 482). 155. 7 A. 49 Roxas vs. Rep. and with certain other exceptions which need not be dismissed at present. 17 Phil. Davy. Tyler vs. Registered title under the torrens system can not be defeated by prescription (section 46. The title. Section 38 of Act No. open. Myfield." (See Hogg on the "Australian torrens System. even by an adverse. it can not be denied that the proceeding for the registration of land under the torrens system is judicial (Escueta vs.. who is the owner of land registered in the name of two different persons. we think. That being the purpose of the law. comprised in the earlier certificate. 47. he can not have it registered.L.)" Hogg adds however that. 16 Phil.R. to put a stop forever to any question of the legality of the title. registered? If that question is to be answered in the affirmative. All the world are parties. The government itself assumes the burden of giving notice to all parties. Otherwise all security in registered titles would be lost. 175 Mass. Merry. or diminished. 193. it would seem that once a title is registered the owner may rest secure. 237). Stevens vs. It is an action in rem.C. After the registration is complete and final and there exists no fraud. There is nothing in the Act which indicates who should be the owner of land which has been registered in the name of two different persons. including the Insular Government and all the branches thereof. In others it has been settled by the courts. To permit persons who are parties in the registration proceeding (and they are all the world) to again litigate the same questions." page 99. Lloyd vs.) Niblack. 152. (Oelkers vs.S. rep. See also the excellent work of Niblack in his "Analysis of the Torrens System. including the wall. whether mentioned by
. This. The rights of all the world are foreclosed by the decree of registration. or whose claim is derived directly or indirectly from the person who was the holder of the earliest certificate issued in respect thereof. it must follow that future litigation over the title is forever barred. would destroy the very purpose and intent of the law. we think. said: "Where two certificates purport to include the same land the earlier in date prevails. does not give the owner any better title than he had.. where more than one certificate is issued in respect of a particular estate or interest in land. A title once registered can not be defeated. Miller vs.R... except in some direct proceeding permitted by law. 29 Phil. . 51 American Land Co. All persons must take notice. (V.A. is the rule. Of course. should not thereafter be impugned. where the "torrens" system has been adopted. including the government. For the difficulty involved in the present case the Act (No. in his excellent discussion of the "Australian Torrens System. the earlier in date prevails. The rule. in discussing the general question.. says: "The general rule is that in the case of two certificates of title. and that person is deemed to hold under the prior certificate who is the holder of. In successive registrations. they provide that a registered owner shall hold the title. Esperance Land Co. Enriquez. The registration. Rep. in the absence of fraud.. and notorious possession. or which may arise subsequent thereto. modified. is notice to the world. altered. Register of Titles. there can be no persons who are not parties to the action.S. then the whole scheme and purpose of the torrens system of land registration must fail.In view of the fact that all the world are parties. and to again cast doubt upon the validity of the registered title.." to avoid the possibility of losing his land." supra.. The title once registered." at page 823. No one can plead ignorance of the registration. changed.. Director of Lands (supra). 496). 2 Q. enlarged. the person claiming under the prior certificates is entitled to the estate or interest. The real purpose of that system is to quiet title to land.Z. or only in part. and the effect of this undoubtedly is that where two certificates purport to include the same registered land. A registered title can not be altered.L.R.) 48. 219 U.. the holder of the earlier one continues to hold the title" (p. It is clothed with all the forms of an action and the result is final and binding upon all the world. 12 V. the difficulty has been settled by express statutory provision.[ Land Titles and Deeds
in a petition for registration? The plaintiffs having secured the registration of their lot. were they obliged to constantly be on the alert and to watch all the proceedings in the land court to see that some one else was not having all. Act No. If he does not already have a perfect title.) While the proceeding is judicial. The certificate of registration accumulates in open document a precise and correct statement of the exact status of the fee held by its owner. Fee simple titles only may be registered. enlarged. has been presented to the courts in other jurisdictions. The question. 7 N.. In some jurisdictions. Hogg. in the certificate.T. or a portion of the same. Judges. it involves more in its consequences than does an ordinary action. except claims which were noted at the time of registration.. after the lapse of the period prescribed by law. 496. that the inclusion of the land in the certificate of title of prior date is a mistake. (Escueta vs. provides that. vs. Grey Alba vs. is well settled that the decree ordering the registration of a particular parcel of land is a bar to future litigation over the same between the same parties . While the acts in this country do not expressly cover the case of the issue of two certificates for the same land. "if it can be very clearly ascertained by the ordinary rules of construction relating to written documents. under the torrens system. and cases cited. is the evidence of title and shows exactly the real interest of its owner.Director of Lands. without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court. R. or sitting in the "mirador de su casa. 118. with very few exceptions. once registered. Zeiss. vs. "It (the decree of registration) shall be conclusive upon and against all persons. There is no provision in said Act giving the parties relief under conditions like the present. The certificate. whether the land comprised in the latter certificate be wholly. Williams. or diminished in a collateral proceeding and not even by a direct proceeding. . De la Cruz. 1 W.
in case of double registration under the Land Registration Act. Under that rule the vendee of the earlier certificate would be the owner as against the vendee of the owner of the later certificate. It will be noted. The real ownership in such a case depends upon priority of registration. If the holder of a certificate cannot rest secure in this registered title then the purpose of the law is defeated. He says. title. in the name of the appellants. He had his day in court and should not be permitted to set up his own omissions as the ground for impugning the validity of a judgment duly entered by a court of competent jurisdiction. In the present case. They had their day in court and can not set up their own omission as ground for impugning the validity of a judgment duly entered by a court of competent jurisdiction. and that of orders. the primary and fundamental purpose of the torrens system is to quiet title. before the error is discovered. In reaching the above conclusion.[ Land Titles and Deeds
name in the application. taking into consideration al of the conditions and the diligence of the respective parties to avoid them. in 1906. from said section. we are of the opinion and so decree that in case land has been registered under the Land Registration Act in the name of two different persons. the appellee was the first negligent (granting that he was the real owner. may such decree be opened or set aside in a collateral proceeding by including a portion of the land in a subsequent certificate or decree of registration? We do not believe the law contemplated that a person could be deprived of his registered title in that way. If those dealing with registered land cannot rely upon the certificate. was seeking to foreclose their right. only. 496 indicate that the vendee may acquire rights and be protected
. Adopting the rule which we believe to be more in consonance with the purposes and the real intent of the torrens system. provided no innocent purchaser for value has acquired an interest. the earlier in date shall prevail. It is the duty of the courts to adjust the rights of the parties under such circumstances so as to minimize such damages. even though we see no objection thereto. Suppose within the six years which elapsed after the plaintiff had secured their title. If the holder may lose a strip of his registered land by the method adopted in the present case. As was said above. in any court. May this rule be applied to successive vendees of the owners of such certificates? Suppose that one or the other of the parties. or interest than his vendor. If then the decree of registration can not be opened for any reason. notice. then nothing has been gained by the registration and the expense incurred thereby has been in vain. presupposes that each of the vendees or purchasers has acquired title to the land." The general rule is that the vendee of land has no greater right. and if he was not the real owner he can not complain) in not opposing the registration in the name of the appellants. of course. that when one piece of real property had been sold to two different persons it shall belong to the person acquiring it. subject. and sometimes the damage done thereby is irreparable. 55. were served with notice of the application of Teus (the predecessor of the defendant) they became defendants in a proceeding wherein he. and the subsequent entry of a default judgment against him. and not even for fraud. that the "decree of registration" shall not be opened. among other things. upon first reading. that he acquires the right which his vendor had. his failure to oppose the registration of the same in the name of the appellants. except for fraud. who first inscribes it in the registry. or citation." Granting that he was the owner of the land upon which the wall is located. after the lapse of one year. There is no more reason why the doctrine invoked by the appellee should be applied to the appellants than to him. "When Prieto et al. That is the rule between original parties. for any reason. they should have a persuasive influence in adopting a rule for governing the effect of a double registration under said Act. and the subsequent entry of a default judgment against them. We have in this jurisdiction a general statutory provision which governs the right of the ownership of land when the same is registered in the ordinary registry in the name of two persons. he became irrevocably bound by the decree adjudicating such land to the appellants. that the owner of the earliest certificate is the owner of the land. in the absence of other express provisions. we have not overlooked the forceful argument of the appellee. yet we think. in the absence of fraud. in a direct proceeding for that purpose. or other disability of any person affected thereby. what would be the position or right of the mortgagee or vendee? That mistakes are bound to occur cannot be denied. We have decided. Article 1473 of the Civil Code provides. he may lose it all. forever closes his mouth against impugning the validity of that judgment. Through their failure to appear and contest his right thereto. This rule. To decide otherwise would be to hold that lands with torrens titles are above the law and beyond the jurisdiction of the courts". Sections 38. they had mortgaged or sold their right. to the parcel of land described in his application. He was a party-defendant in an action for the registration of the lot in question. We find statutory provisions which. transfers his original certificate to an "innocent purchaser." Such decree shall not be opened by reason of the absence. except for fraud. "Through his failure to appear and to oppose such registration. and 112 of Act No. to the right of any person deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by decree of registration obtained by fraud to file in the Court of Land Registration a petition for review within one year after entry of the decree (of registration). seem to cast some doubt upon the rule that the vendee acquires the interest of the vendor only. nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments or decrees. among other things. they became irrevocably bound by the decree adjudicating such land to Teus. Teus. infancy. however. While we do not now decide that the general provisions of the Civil Code are applicable to the Land Registration Act. or included in the general description "To all whom it may concern.
in nonsense. All persons are charged with the knowledge of what it contains. 171 U. When land is once brought under the torrens system. persons who had had a right or interest in land wrongfully included in an original certificate would be unable to enforce such rights against an "innocent purchaser.Which of the two innocent purchasers. Otherwise the very purpose and object of the law requiring a record would be destroyed. including the wall. The fact that all men know the law is contrary to the presumption. to an "innocent purchaser. 620. The rule that all persons must take notice of the facts which the public record contains is a rule of law. or his successors. including the wall.. The rule.Y . 20 Cal. registered in his name. may the purchaser of land from the owner of the second original certificate be an "innocent purchaser. He.This rule is so well established that it is scarcely necessary to cite authorities in its support (Northwestern National Bank vs. sections 710.. 500. 78 Ill." when a part or all of such land had theretofore been registered in the name of another. Intentional Bank. 341. The rule should not be applied to the purchaser of a parcel of land the vendor of which is not the owner of the original certificate." as the same is used in said sections? Under these examples there would be two innocent purchasers of the same land. Youngs vs. of the foregoing rules of law. the record of
. and 112 should not be applied to such purchasers. after the recorded mortgage. upon the plea of ignorance of the statutory provision. plead ignorance of its existence.1875. that no one can plead ignorance of the law. not the vendor? We are of the opinion that said sections 38. his heirs. In view. assigns." by virtue of the provisions of said sections. This presumption cannot be overcome by proof of innocence or good faith. (Art . when third parties were interested? May a purchaser of land. We believe the phrase "innocent purchaser. should be protected under the provisions of said sections? These questions indicate the difficulty with which we are met in giving meaning and effect to the phrase "innocent purchaser. if they are both to be regarded as innocent purchasers. It would be just as logical to allow the defense of ignorance of the existence and contents of a public record.) The record of a mortgage is indispensable to its validity. 7 House of Lords Cases. 289. 710 [a]). Montefiore vs. legal and equitable.S. 97. May the purchaser of land which has been included in a "second original certificate" ever be regarded as an "innocent purchaser. While there is no statutory provision in force here requiring that original deeds of conveyance of real property be recorded. When a conveyance has been properly recorded such record is constructive notice of its contents and all interests. is mandatory and obligatory. Orvis vs. Newell. The rule must be absolute. or vendee? The first original certificate is recorded in the public registry.) In the face of that statute would the courts allow a mortgage to be valid which had not been recorded.) Under the rule of notice. (Arts. can be an "innocent purchaser" of the portion of the land included in another earlier original certificate. 27 N. at times. The conduct of men. yet there is a rule requiring mortgages to be recorded. 509. shows clearly that they do not know the law. or his successors. Grey. or any portion of it. Delvin on Real Estate. 286. Said sections speak of available rights in favor of third parties which are cut off by virtue of the sale of the land to an "innocent purchaser. 55. Such presumption cannot be defeated by proof of want of knowledge of what the record contains any more than one may be permitted to show that he was ignorant of the provisions of the law. Freeman. be relieved from the mortgage lien by the plea that he was a bona fide purchaser? May there be a bona fide purchaser of said land. 15 Ohio State. McCabe vs. Buchanan vs. it is presumed that the purchaser has examined every instrument of record affecting the title. is said sections are to be applied . notwithstanding. therefore. He subsequently sold the same to the appellee. Wilson. bona fide in the sense that he had no knowledge of the existence of the mortgage? We believe the rule that all persons must take notice of what the public record contains in just as obligatory upon all persons as the rule that all men must know the law. We do not believe that the phrase "innocent purchaser should be applied to such a purchaser. In the present case Teus had his land. Any variation would lead to endless confusion and useless litigation." as against the rights or interest of the owner of the first original certificate. should be limited only to cases where unregistered land has been wrongfully included in a certificate under the torrens system. 629." would such purchaser be included in the phrase "innocent purchaser. It is never issued until it is recorded. The purchaser is charged with notice of every fact shown by the record and is presumed to know every fact which the record discloses . Anderson. 351." That is to say. He is charged with notice of every fact shown by the record and is presumed to know every fact which an examination of the record would have disclosed. The record notice to all the world. by virtue of the sale by him to the appellee? Suppose the appellants had sold their lot." used in said sections. (Grandin vs.[ Land Titles and Deeds
against defenses which the vendor would not.." in said sections." as that phrase is used in said sections? May those who have been deprived of their land by reason of a mistake in the original certificate in favor of Teus be deprived of their right to the same. Is the appellee an "innocent purchaser. must be charged with notice of whatever it contains. The rule of notice of what the record contains precludes the idea of innocence. 1875 and 606 of the Civil Code.. All persons dealing with the land so recorded. subsequent to the recorded mortgage. By reason of the prior registry there cannot be an innocent purchaser of land included in a prior original certificate and in a name other than that of the vendor.. Such presumption is irrebutable. In order to minimize the difficulties we think this is the safe rule to establish. included therein. however. and by reason of such ignorance have the land released from such lien? Could a purchaser of land. Browne. 17 Conn. He cannot be regarded as an "innocent purchaser" because of the facts contained in the record of the first original certificate.
We believe that the purchaser from the owner of the later certificate. against one who had acquired rights in conflict therewith and who had full and complete knowledge of their rights. should be required to resort to his vendor for damages. The record of the original certificate of the appellants precludes the possibility. rather than to molest the holder of the first certificate who has been guilty of no negligence. Could his vendee be regarded as an "innocent purchaser" of said strip? Would his vendee be an "innocent purchaser" of said strip? Certainly not. Suppose. could Teus even regarded as the holder in good fifth of that part of the land included in his certificate of the appellants? We think not. C. We are inclined to the view.
. the judgment of the lower court should be and is hereby revoked. Neither do we now attempt to decide the effect of the former registration in the ordinary registry upon the registration under the torrens system. when two persons have acquired equal rights in the same thing. The record is hereby returned to the court now having and exercising the jurisdiction heretofore exercised by the land court. that the record under the torrens system. If that view is correct then it will be sufficient. 496 than the rule contended for by the appellee. it is so ordered. the question must be answered in the negative. by reason of the facts contained in the public record and the knowledge with which he is charged and by reason of his negligence. We are of the opinion that these rules are more in harmony with the purpose of Act No. rather than he who has obtained the first certificate and who was innocent of any act of negligence. as well as in all other duplicate certificates issued. That being the rule. concur. Arellano. Without any findings as to costs. without deciding it. supersede all other registries. nor pretend to solve. resulting from such purchase. Torrens. The holder of the first original certificate and his successors should be permitted to rest secure in their title. It would be seen to a just and equitable rule.. if any. Has the appellee gained any right by reason of the registration of the strip of land in the name of his vendor? Applying the rule of notice resulting from the record of the title of the appellants. The foregoing decision does not solve. all the difficulties resulting from double registration under the torrens system and the subsequent transfer of the land. and his successors. Once land is registered and recorded under the torrens system. for example. and Araullo. with direction to make such orders and decrees in the premises as may correct the error heretofore made in including the land in the second original certificate issued in favor of the predecessor of the appellee. in dealing with land registered and recorded alone. that Teus had never had his lot registered under the torrens system.J. in case of a mistake like the present. The purchaser of land included in the second original certificate. should suffer the loss. that record alone can be examined for the purpose of ascertaining the real status of the title to the land.[ Land Titles and Deeds
the original certificate and all subsequent transfers thereof is notice to all the world. above stated.. Suppose he had sold his lot to the appellee and had included in his deed of transfer the very strip of land now in question. JJ. to hold that the one who acquired it first and who has complied with all the requirements of the law should be protected. In view of our conclusions.