HEIRS OF MARIO MALABANAN vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES GR No.

179987 April 29, 2009 en banc FACTS: On 20 February 1998, Mario Malabanan filed an application for land registration before the RTC of Cavite-Tagaytay, covering a parcel of land situated in Silang Cavite, consisting of 71,324 square meters. Malabanan claimed that he had purchased the property from Eduardo Velazco, and that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in open, notorious, and continuous adverse and peaceful possession of the land for more than thirty (30) years. Velazco testified that the property was originally belonged to a twenty-two hectare property owned by his great-grandfather, Lino Velazco. Lino had four sons– Benedicto, Gregorio, Eduardo and Esteban–the fourth being Aristedes’s grandfather. Upon Lino’s death, his four sons inherited the property and divided it among themselves. But by 1966, Esteban’s wife, Magdalena, had become the administrator of all the properties inherited by the Velazco sons from their father, Lino. After the death of Esteban and Magdalena, their son Virgilio succeeded them in administering the properties, including Lot 9864-A, which originally belonged to his uncle, Eduardo Velazco. It was this property that was sold by Eduardo Velazco to Malabanan. Among the evidence presented by Malabanan during trial was a Certification dated 11 June 2001, issued by the Community Environment & Natural Resources Office, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO-DENR), which stated that the subject property was “verified to be within the Alienable or Disposable land per Land Classification Map No. 3013 established under Project No. 20-A and approved as such under FAO 4-1656 on March 15, 1982.” On 3 December 2002, the RTC approved the application for registration. The Republic interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals, arguing that Malabanan had failed to prove that the property belonged to the alienable and disposable land of the public domain, and that the RTC had erred in finding that he had been in possession of the property in the manner and for the length of time required by law for confirmation of imperfect title. On 23 February 2007, the Court of Appeals reversed the RTC ruling and dismissed the appliocation of Malabanan. ISSUES: 1. In order that an alienable and disposable land of the public domain may be registered under Section 14(1) of Presidential Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree, should the land be classified as alienable and disposable as of June 12, 1945 or is it sufficient that such classification occur at any time prior to the filing of the applicant for registration provided that it is established that the applicant has been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of the land under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945 or earlier? 2. For purposes of Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree may a parcel of land classified as alienable and disposable be deemed private land and therefore susceptible to acquisition by prescription in accordance with the Civil Code? 3. May a parcel of land established as agricultural in character either because of its use or because its slope is below that of forest lands be registrable under Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree in relation to the provisions of the Civil Code on acquisitive prescription? 4. Are petitioners entitled to the registration of the subject land in their names under Section 14(1) or Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree or both? HELD: The Pertition is denied. (1) In connection with Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree, Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act recognizes and confirms that “those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, since June 12, 1945” have acquired ownership of, and registrable title to, such lands based on the length and quality of their possession. (a) Since Section 48(b) merely requires possession since 12 June 1945 and does not require that the lands should have been alienable and disposable during the entire period of possession, the possessor is entitled to secure judicial confirmation of his title thereto as soon as it is declared alienable and disposable, subject to the timeframe imposed by Section 47 of the Public Land Act. (b) The right to register granted under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act is further confirmed by Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. (2) In complying with Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree, consider that under the Civil Code, prescription is recognized as a mode of acquiring ownership of patrimonial property. However, public domain lands become only patrimonial property not only with a declaration that these are alienable or disposable. There must also be an express government manifestation that the property is already patrimonial or no longer retained for public service or the development of national wealth, under Article 422 of the Civil Code. And only when the property has become patrimonial can the prescriptive period for the acquisition of property of the public dominion begin to run. (a) Patrimonial property is private property of the government. The person acquires ownership of patrimonial property by prescription under the Civil Code is entitled to secure registration thereof under Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree.

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government owned and controlled corporations are not exempted from real estate tax. for to become one MIAA should either be a stock or non stock corporation. MIAA then sought for the TRO with the Supreme Court a day before the public auction. On the other hand. Manila International Airport Authority vs CA GR No. The ports included in the public dominion pertain either to seaports or airports. July 20. MIAA then settled some of the amount. property may either be under public dominion or private ownership. which they did. they cannot avail themselves of registration under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. Unless the President issues a proclamation withdrawing the airport land and buildings from public use. MIAA also contends that it is an instrumentality of the government and as such exempted from real estate tax. When properties under public dominion cease to be for public use and service. more particularly described in the amended application filed by Celestina Naguiat on 29 December 1989 with the Regional Trial 2 . To subject them to levy and public auction is contrary to public policy. Zambales. Since the airport is devoted for public use. they form part of the patrimonial property of the State. Under extraordinary acquisitive prescription. for the domestic and international travel and transportation. Botolan. this is for support of its operation and for regulation and does not change the character of the land and buildings of MIAA as part of the public dominion. Ruling: Under the Local government code. While the subject property was declared as alienable or disposable in 1982. 155650. 134209 January 24. 1998 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. It is clear that the evidence of petitioners is insufficient to establish that Malabanan has acquired ownership over the subject property under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. It is not a non stock corporation since it has no members. the officers of Paranaque City claim that MIAA is a government owned and controlled corporation therefore not exempted to real estate tax. Whether or not the land and buildings of MIAA are part of the public dominion and thus cannot be the subject of levy and auction sale. as follows: This is an application for registration of title to four (4) parcels of land located in Panan. N-25-1. The Officers of Paranaque City sent notices to MIAA due to real estate tax delinquency. MIAA was granted with the TRO but unfortunately the TRO was received by the Paranaque City officers 3 hours after the public auction. Thus. No. Thus. MIAA is not a stock corporation for its capital is not divided into shares. The classification of the subject property as alienable and disposable land of the public domain does not change its status as property of the public dominion under Article 420(2) of the Civil Code.R. The court held that the land and buildings of MIAA are part of the public dominion. As long as the land and buildings are for public use the ownership is with the Republic of the Philippines. so the petition was dismissed. Branch 69 in Land Registration Case No. one ordinary and other extraordinary. The decision under review recites the factual backdrop. a person acquires ownership of a patrimonial property through possession for at least ten (10) years. according to their own evidence—the Tax Declarations they presented in particular—is to the year 1948. in good faith and with just title. Under ordinary acquisitive prescription. these properties remain to be of public dominion and are inalienable. MIAA sought for a Temporary Restraining Order from the CA but failed to do so within the 60 days reglementary period. regardless of good faith or just title. G. The earliest that petitioners can date back their possession. the officers of Paranaque city threatened to levy and subject to auction the land and buildings of MIAA. 37001 which affirmed an earlier decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court at Iba. Even if MIAA charge fees. When MIAA failed to settle the entire amount.(b) There are two kinds of prescription by which patrimonial property may be acquired. public service and for the development of national wealth.R. That the land and buildings of MIAA are of public dominion therefore cannot be subjected to levy and auction sale. Under the civil code. 495 SCRA 591 Facts: Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) is the operator of the Ninoy International Airport located at Paranaque City. Issues: Whether or not MIAA is an instrumentality of the government and not a government owned and controlled corporation and as such exempted from tax. 2006. MIAA is not a government owned and controlled corporation. MIAA is an instrumentality of the government vested with corporate powers and government functions. CV No. NAGUIAT (full case) Before the Court is this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the Decision 1 dated May 29. 2006 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. Those under public dominion are owned by the State and are utilized for public use. As part of the public dominion the land and buildings of MIAA are outside the commerce of man. There is no substantive evidence to establish that Malabanan or petitioners as his predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the property since 12 June 1945 or earlier. Zambales. conformably with Article 422 of the Civil Code. it is insusceptible to acquisition by prescription. Neither can petitioners properly invoke Section 14(2) as basis for registration. a person’s uninterrupted adverse possession of patrimonial property for at least thirty (30) years. MIAA claims that although the charter provides that the title of the land and building are with MIAA still the ownership is with the Republic of the Philippines. ripens into ownership. there is no competent evidence that is no longer intended for public use service or for the development of the national evidence.

ceases to be public land and becomes private property …. is her and her predecessor-in-interest’s open. 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. As stated at the outset hereof. the CA. the onus to overturn. the Republic’s present recourse on its basic submission that the CA’s decision " is not in accordance with law. After she had presented and formally offered her evidence . affirmed that of the trial court.13 Under Section 6 of the Public Land Act.. xxx Under Section 2. said lots suffer no mortgage or encumbrance of whatever kind nor is there any person having any interest. 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. 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. that open.14 Needless to stress. of legal age.e. Commonwealth Act No. applicant rested her case. 3 . 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. premises considered. Prescinding from its above assumption and finding.131 square meters. and Presidential Decree No. the appellate court went on to conclude. 3 In a decision4 dated September 30. finding a registerable title for respondent. 1529. mineral lands and national parks. Said doctrine is a reaffirmation of the principle established in the earlier cases . i. SO ORDERED. Applicant [herein respondent] alleges. As we stated in Heirs of Amunategui 9A forested area classified as forest land of the public domain does not lose such classification simply because loggers or settlers have stripped it of its forest cover. presidential decrees and/or presidential letters of instructions which should be annotated/ projected on the title to be issued. that the applicant’s claim of ownership in fee simple on the basis of Spanish title or grant can no longer be availed of . interposed no objection to the admission of the exhibits. all lands of the public domain belong to the State – the source of any asserted right to ownership of land. thru the Provincial Prosecutor. Later .) The principal reason for the appellate court’s disposition. Forests. Public forest lands or forest reserves. to wit: WHEREFORE. the trial court rendered judgment for herein respondent Celestina Naguiat." In particular.387 square meters to herein applicant Celestina T. from forest or mineral to agricultural and vice versa. 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. (Words in bracket added) With its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the trial court. 37001. married to Rommel Naguiat and a resident of Angeles City. and that to the best of her knowledge. Josefina Moraga and Fausto Monje and their predecessors-in-interest who have been in possession thereof for more than thirty (30) years. continuous and exclusive occupation of the subject property for more than 30 years. citing Director of Lands vs.Court of Zambales. premises considered. Pampanga together with all the improvements existing thereon and orders and decrees registration in her name in accordance with Act No. . the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply. appearing on Plan AP-03-003447 containing an area of 3. 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. On 15 October 1990. Article XII of the Constitution. continuous. Hence. and proceeded with the hearing of this registration case. Filipino citizen. Botolan. belongs to the Executive Branch of the government and not the court. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. inter alia. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the lands in question since 12 June 1945 or prior thereto. petitioner Republic went on appeal to the CA in CA-G. 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. by incontrovertible evidence. the Provincial Prosecutor manifest (sic) that the Government had no evidence to adduce.D. Naguiat. xxx. 11 All lands not appearing to be clearly of private dominion presumptively belong to the State. . or in possession thereof. The Solicitor General. with the exception of the Office of the Solicitor General. the lower court issued an order of general default as against the whole world. the CA assumed that the lands in question are already alienable and disposable.322 containing an area of 15. 6 Given this postulate. 15 In the present case. filed an opposition to the application on the ground that neither the applicant nor her predecessors-in interest have been in open. the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED. .10 which embodies the Regalian doctrine. the presumption that the land subject of an application for registration is alienable or disposable rests with the applicant. adjudicating unto her the parcels of land in question and decreeing the registration thereof in her name. 14. CV No. [should be 141] as amended. . . (Word in bracket and underscoring added. are not capable of private appropriation. forest or timber. the prerogative of classifying or reclassifying lands of the public domain. exclusive and undisputed possession of alienable public land for period prescribed by law creates the legal fiction whereby the land. . this Court hereby adjudicates the parcels of land situated in Panan.A. in the context of both the Public Land Act 7 and the Constitution8 classifying lands of the public domain into "agricultural. . jurisprudence and the evidence. legal or equitable. 496. Branch 69. let the corresponding decree of registration be immediately issued.12 Accordingly. appearing on Plan AP-03-003446 containing an area of 15. 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. ipso jure and without the need of judicial or other sanction. 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. is subject to the various easements/reservations provided for under pertinent laws. upon completion of the requisite period. however. the Republic of the Philippines [herein petitioner]. "Forest lands" do not have to be on mountains or in out of the way places. 1991. continuous.R. 5 As to these assets. 1998.) 141. in the herein assailed decision of May 29. thus: WHEREFORE. 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. On 29 June 1990. This adjudication.. . . 1529 or Public Land Act (C. Zambales." do not necessarily refer to a large tract of wooded land or an expanse covered by dense growth of trees and underbrush. . And once this decision becomes final. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation thereof in the concept of (an) owner.

.Hence. occupation in the concept of an owner however long cannot ripen into private ownership and be registered as a title. For. in said cases. YAP et al G. cannot be acquired by adverse occupation or possession. and others filed a petition for declaratory relief with the RTC in Kalibo. Branch 69. exclusive and continuous possession of the parcels of land in question is now of little moment. It formed part of the mass of lands classified as “public forest. Occupation in the concept of an owner cannot ripen into private ownership and be registered to as a title. or through their predecessors-in-interest. 3-82 was misplaced. as here. provided no information respecting the classification of the property. then President Marcos issued Proc. The OSG moved for reconsideration but its motion was denied. declaring that. the appellate court affirmed in toto the RTC decision. Yap.” Facts: Respondent applies for registration of title to 4 parcels of land contending she is the owner of the said land which she acquired from the LID Corporation which in turn acquired the same from persons who have been in possession thereof for more than 30 years. Zambales. Their right to judicial confirmation of title was governed by Public Land Act and Revised Forestry Code. The OSG countered that Boracay Island was an unclassified land of the public domain. Here.R. 2006) “unclassified lands cannot be acquired by adverse possession/occupation. that declassification of forest and mineral lands. unclassified land. CV No. The Republic. exclusive. these documents are not sufficient to overcome the presumption that the land sought to be registered forms part of the public domain. Since Boracay Island had not been classified as alienable and disposable. As the Court has held. or earlier since time immemorial. The Republic filed in opposition that said lands belong to the public domain and not subject to private appropriation. N-25-1 of the Regional Trial Court at Iba. Director of Lands. 22 WHEREFORE. it requires an express and positive act of the government that it will become a part of alienable and disposable agricultural lands of public domain. respondent’s application for original registration of title in Land Registration Case No.” which was not available for disposition pursuant to Section 3(a) of the Revised Forestry Code. however. and notorious possession and occupation in Boracay since June 12. not put in issue. It calls for proof. the issue of whether or not respondent and her predecessor-in-interest have been in open. 1978. or. They declared that they themselves. 1801. winning cards for the respondent. as amended. Aklan In their petition. Respondentsclaimants posited that Proclamation No. had been in open. 1998 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 24. respondents-claimants Mayor . Jr. President Marcos later approved the issuance of PTA Circular 3-82 dated September 3. SO ORDERED. the Court has made it a point to stress. DENR et al VS. 167707 October 8. Again. respondents-claimants alleged that Proc. 37001 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. the OSG sought reconsideration but it was similarly denied. DAR. among other islands. 1982. it was susceptible of private ownership. respondent never presented the required certification from the proper government agency or official proclamation reclassifying the land applied for as alienable and disposable. the disposable and alienable nature of the land sought to be registered was established. to implement Proclamation No. through the OSG. caves and peninsulas in the Philippines. occupation thereof in the concept of owner. 1945. Accordingly.21 The foregoing considered. No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. No. On In 2004. 1999. as amended. And there lies the difference. No. is DENIED. 1801 and its implementing Circular did not place Boracay beyond the commerce of man. and their conversion into alienable and disposable lands need an express and positive act from the government. cannot ripen into private ownership and be registered as title. Under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. Issue: Whether or not the land in dispute as a forest land belonging to public domain may be appropriated as private property. 1801 and PTA Circular No. which. Republic vs. they had the right to have the lots registered in their names through judicial confirmation of imperfect titles.18 Aside from tax receipts. as the case may be.R. 1801 declaring Boracay Island. 3-82 Revised Forestry Code. The Republic then appealed to the CA. the lands in question cease to be public land and become private property. the RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondents-claimants. On July 14. The OSG maintained that respondents-claimants’ reliance on PD No.20 For this reason. 3-82 raised doubts on their right to secure titles over their occupied lands. for the simple reason that. the present petition under Rule 45. “PD 1810 and PTA Circular No. that. 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. however.17 among other cases. the instant petition is GRANTED and the assailed decision dated May 29.Intermediate Appellate Court (IAC)16 and Herico vs. however long. respondent submitted in evidence the survey map and technical descriptions of the lands. They declared their lands for tax purposes and paid realty taxes on them. as tourist zones and marine reserves under the administration of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA). needless to state. 4 . at least. opposed the petition for declaratory relief. Claiming that Proclamation No.19 It cannot be overemphasized that unwarranted appropriation of public lands has been a notorious practice resorted to in land registration cases. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed. when appropriate. Herico and the other cases cited by the CA are not. Naguiat (Jan. Ruling: For a public forest land/reserves to be subject for private appropriation. as amended. continuous. 2008 FACTS: On November 10. upon the completion of the requisite period of possession. No costs. Since the Island was classified as a tourist zone. whatever possession they had cannot ripen into ownership.

petitioners-claimants Sacay. a classification for legal purposes. One is descriptive of what appears on the land while the other is a legal status. At any rate. 1064. At that time. 2006. 3. 1801. it has not been automatically converted from public forest to alienable agricultural land. and other trees growing in brackish or sea water may also be classified as forest land. 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. such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order. even if its forest cover has been replaced by beach resorts. the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply. in the context of both the Public Land Act and the Constitution classifying lands of the public domain into “agricultural. only agricultural lands may be alienated. Of these. In the case at bar. Each case must be decided upon the proof in that particular case. Hence. mineral or forest. Such unclassified lands are considered public forest under PD No. NOTES: 1. commercial. this does not denote their automatic ouster from the residential. who must prove that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable. In keeping with the presumption of State ownership. during the pendency the petition in the trial court. and a legislative act or a statute. an administrative action. the portions of Boracay occupied by private claimants were subject of a government proclamation that the land is alienable and disposable. mineral lands. Director of Forestry 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. whether express or implied. theexclusive prerogative to classify or reclassify public lands into alienable or disposable. The 1935 Constitution classified lands of the public domain into agricultural. all unclassified lands. the Court has time and again emphasized that there must be a positive act of the government. Section 3(a) of PD No. While they may not be eligible to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Section 48(b) of CA No. investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators. and agricultural. This was not done in Proclamation No. are ipso facto considered public forests. timber. The 1987 Constitution reverted to the 1935 Constitution classification with one addition: national parks. 705 . Act No. The burden of proof in overcoming such presumption is on the person applying for registration (or claiming ownership). and other areas they possess now classified as agricultural. They allege that the Proclamation infringed on their “prior vested rights” over portions of Boracay. 1064. 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. no such proclamation. Swampy areas covered by mangrove trees. 1064 classifying Boracay Island partly reserved forest land (protection purposes) and partly agricultural land (alienable and disposable). 2006. statute. 141. depending upon the preponderance of the evidence. 1064 of May 22. No. Since then. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. 705 issued by President Marcos categorized all unclassified lands of the public domain as public forest. forest or timber. or certification was presented to the Court. nipa palms. Private claimants’ reliance on Ankron and De Aldecoa is misplaced. in the absence of evidence to the contrary. 1064. Except for lands already covered by existing titles. such classification modified by the 1973 Constitution. be a matter of proof. 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. Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain. Neither will this mean the loss of their substantial investments on their occupied alienable lands. administrative action. however. promulgated in 1919 and reproduced in Section 6 of Public Land Act.On May 22. through the President. that in each case the lands are agricultural lands until the contrary is shown. courts no longer had the authority. Whatever the land involved in a particular land registration case is forestry or mineral land must. he would have identified the specific limits of each. A positive act declaring land as alienable and disposable is required . Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain prior to Proclamation No. the Court is tasked to determine the legal status of Boracay Island. PD No. The records are bereft of evidence showing that. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. as amended. 2006. The discussion in Heirs of Amunategui v. however. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No. this Court ordered the consolidation of the two petitions ISSUE: the main issue is whether private claimants have a right to secure titles over their occupied portions in Boracay. and nullification of Proclamation No. On August 10. for private claimants. gave the Executive Department. 2874. executive order. We believe. 2006. On November 21. forest or timber. prior to 2006. including those in Boracay Island.” Applying PD No. 5 . or were vested with implicit power to do so. Proc. restaurants and other commercial establishments. and not look into its physical layout. They have been in continued possession of their respective lots in Boracay since time immemorial. They call for proof. 1801 cannot be deemed the positive act needed to classify Boracay Island as alienable and disposable land. mandamus. however. Lack of title does not necessarily mean lack of right to possess.and other landowners in Boracay filed with this Court an original petition for prohibition. 2. 705. 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. as President Arroyo did in Proclamation No. 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. to determine the classification of lands of the public domain. All is not lost.” do not necessarily refer to large tracts of wooded land or expanses covered by dense growths of trees and underbrushes. having regard for its present or future value for one or the other purposes. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed. If President Marcos intended to classify the island as alienable and disposable or forest. Boracay Island had never been expressly and administratively classified under any of these grand divisions. the courts were free to make corresponding classifications in justiciable cases. 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. or both. respects titles already existing prior to its effectivity. report. 705. therefore. Prior to Proclamation No. HELD: petitions DENIED. The CA decision is reversed. “Forest lands” do not have to be on mountains or in out of the way places. and national parks . Its superior value for one purpose or the other is a question of fact to be settled by the proof in each particular case Forests. PD No.

159494. No. the land was not registered. More realistically. and notorious possession and occupation in Boracay since time immemorial. such as by homestead or sales patent. They can take steps to preserve or protect their possession. (Heirs of Amunategui v. or that the implementation of Proclamation No.com) All lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. Proclamation No. that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land and charged with the conservation of such patrimony. whatever possession they had cannot ripen into ownership. PD No. 173775. 2008) The 1987 Constitution classified lands of the public domain into agricultural. 1064 will destroy the island’s tourism industry. that the occupants of Boracay have built multi-million peso beach resorts on the island. continuously or through his predecessors-in-interest. subject to the conditions imposed by law. President Arroyo can no longer convert it into an agricultural land without running afoul the provisions of the CARL. The Regalian Doctrine dictates that all lands of the public domain belong to the State. HELD: The Court ruled in favor of the respondents. [560 SCRA 739 (2008)] Non-registration of patent with Register of Deeds.R. Secretary of DENR v. It was such Proclamation which positively declared part of Boracay as alienable and opened the same to private ownership. In keeping with the presumption of State ownership. respondents claimed that they had been in open. the land remains unclassified until released and rendered open to disposition. No. only agricultural lands may be alienated. 705. There is one such bill now pending in the House of Representatives. (G. For another. 1064 classifying Boracay into reserved forest and agricultural land. July 31. the Dir. They declared that they had been in open. there can be no prohibited reclassification under the agrarian law. Boracay Island (prior to Proclamation No. President Arroyo merely exercised the authority granted to her to classify lands of the public domain.October 8. Is the argument of the petitioners tenable? SUGGESTED ANSWER: No.R. continuous. FACTS: Petitioners filed an action for recovery of possession and damages against respondents. 1064. the Court held that alienable public land held by a possessor. Absent such classification.R. Do these give them the right to apply for a title to the land they are presently occupying? SUGGESTED ANSWER: No. Director of Forestry) President can classify lands of Public Domain Sometime in 2006. President Arroyo issued Proclamation No. October 8.For one thing. No.] declassifying inalienable public land into disposable land for agricultural or other purposes. continuous. 1064 does not violate the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. cultivated and cleared by Laureano Pasiño in 1933. do not negate its character as public forest. the prohibition under the CARL applies only to a “reclassification” of land. They argued that since Boracay is a public forest under PD No. They also argued that they invested billions of pesos in developing their lands and building internationally renowned first class resorts on their lots. as in the case of Boracay. Courts have no authority to do so. (visit fellester. In their answer. openly. 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. 1064. 167707. Consequently. such as an official proclamation. No. Sacay v. Secretary vs. 1064 of May 22. the heirs of Laureano failed to receive the order. No. Yap (G. Classification of public lands is the exclusive prerogative of the Executive Department. They alleged that the subject land was occupied. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. 2008) Pasiño vs. through the Office of the President. continuously and 6 . Petitioners filed petition to nullify Proc. If the land had never been previously classified. October 8. 1064? SUGGESTED ANSWER: Forest.blogspot. that the island has already been stripped of its forest cover. the deed as a contract between the Government and the patentee rendered it functus officious. Moreover. Secretary of DENR. forest or timber and National Parks. 167707. IAC [146 SCRA 509 (1986)]. In Director of Lands vs. they may look into other modes of applying for original registration of title. the Court has time and again emphasized that there must be a positive act of the government.R. presumably subject to existing vested rights. xxx A positive act declaring land as alienable and disposable is required. exclusive. Monterroyo G. xxx Nevertheless. 1064 of May 22. 2008) Several persons want to secure titles over lands in Boracay. that after Laureano died. No. of Lands issued an Order for the issuance of a homestead patent in his favor. 2006. Yap. 2006) had not been classified as alienable and disposable. Boracay Island had never been expressly and administratively classified under any of these grand divisions. 705 categorized all unclassified lands of the public domain as public forest. exclusive and notorious possession of the subject lot for over 30 years. In issuing Proclamation No. (G. What is then the classification of Boracay prior to Proc. 2008. However. Of these. those with lawful possession may claim good faith as builders of improvements. Prior to Proclamation No.

as amended) is converted to private property by the mere lapse or completion of the period. the deed as a contract between the Government and the patentee rendered it functus officious. Sec. 7 . 103 of Presidential Decree No. the issuance of a homestead patent in 1952 in favor of Laureano was not registered. the Court stated that once a homestead patent in accordance with law is registered the certificate of title issued by virtue of the patent has the force and effect of a Torrens title issued under the land registration law.exclusively for the prescribed statutory period (30 years under the Public Land Act. ipso jure. Non-registration of patent with Register of Deeds. In this case. 1529 mandates the registration of patents since it is the operative act to convey the land to the patentee. Furthermore.

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