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SJDIMAO

1.

Republic vs Sayo G.R. No. 60413 October 31, 1990

Under the regalian doctrine, all lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private
ownership are presumed to belong to the state. Hence, it is that all applicants in land registration
proceedings have the burden of overcoming the presumption that the land thus sought to be
registered forms part of the public domain. The applicant must present competent and
persuasive proof to substantiate his claim; he may not rely on general statements, or mere
conclusion of law other than factual evidence of possession and title.

FACTS
In a compromise agreement entered into between different parties in an application
for registration of lot 7454 situated in the Municipality of Santiago, province of Isabela
now transferred to Nueva Vizcaya, Judge Sofronio G. Sayo (respondent) approved and
confirmed such and the title and ownership of the parties in accordance with its terms on
March 5, 1981.
The Solicitor General has taken the present recourse in a bid to have the decision on
March 5, 1981 annulled as being patently void and rendered in excess of jurisdiction or
with grave abuse of discretion contending that:
1) No evidence was adduced by the parties to support their registration
2) Some of the parties in the compromise agreement has no authority to enter into
the compromise agreement
3) The counsel of the Republic of the Philippines was not given notice of the
agreement to take part therein nor the decision approving the same.
The respondents argued that the proposition of the Solicitor General are premised on the
proposition that the lot is public land.According to them, the private character of the land
is demonstrated by the following circumstances:
a) The possessory information title of the applicants and their predecessors-ininterest
b) The fact that the lot 7454 was never claimed to be public land by the Director of
Lands in the proper cadastral proceedings
c) The prewar certification of the National Library appearing in the Bureau of
Archives that the property in question was registered under the Spanish system
of land registration as private property owned by Don Liberato Bayaua,
applicants predecessors-in-interest.
d) The proceedings for registration brought under Act 496 (Torrents Act)
presupposes that there is already a title to be confirmed by teh court,
distinguishing it from proceedings under the Public Land Act where the
presumption is always that the land involved belongs to the State.
ISSUE
Whether or not the subject land belongs to the respondents as part of their private
property.

HELD/RATIO
No. The respondents failed in showing by clear and convincing evidence that the property
involved was acquired by him or his ancestors either by composition title from the
Spanish Government or by possessory information title, or any other means for the proper
acquisition of public lands. The applicant must present competent and persuasive proof to
substantiate his claim; he may not rely on general statements, or mere conclusion of law
other than factual evidence of possession and title. Hence, the property must be held to be
part of the public domain.
Th principal document relied upon and presented by the applicant to prove the
private character of the land was a photocopy of a certification of the National Library to
the effect that the property in question was registered under the Spanish System of land
registration as private property of Don Liberato Bayaua. But the court ruled that Spanish
document cannot be considered a title to property, it not being one of the grants made
during the Spanish regime and obviously not constituting primary evidence of ownership.
The argument that the initiation of an application for registration of land under the
Torrens Act is proof that the land is of private ownership cannot be given merit. It is
precisely the character of the land as private which the applicant has the obligation of
establishing. In the absence of any adverse claim to show a proper title for registration,
the applicant is not assured of a favorable decree by the Land Registration Act 496.
Further, the decision of the Registration Court is based solely on the compromise
agreement of the parties.The compromise agreement included private persons who had
not adduced any competent evidence of their ownership over the land subject of the
registration proceeding. What was done was to consider the compromise agreement as
proof of title of the parties taking part therein, a totally unacceptable proposition.
As to the Informacion posesoria invoked by the respondents, it requires condition
such as inscription in the Registry of Property and actual, public, adverse and
uninterrupted possession of the land for 20 years to be considered a mode to acquire
public lands. The proof of fulfillment of these conditions are absent, hence, cannot be
considered as anything more than prima facie evidence of possession.
Under the regalian doctrine, all lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within
private ownership are presumed to belong to the state. Hence, it is that all applicants in
land registration proceedings have the burden of overcoming the presumption that the
land thus sought to be registered forms part of the public domain.
It thus appears that the compromise agreement and the judgment approving it must
be, as they are hereby, declared null and void and set aside,
2.

Ong vs Republic of the Philippines G.R. No. 175746 March 12, 2008

Applicants for registration of title must prove the following:


1) That the subject land forms part of the disposable and alienable lands of the public domain
2) That they have been in an open, continuous , exclusive and notorious possession and
occupation of the same under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945.

The law requires possession and occupation to acquire title to alienable lands of public domain.
Occupation serves to highlight the fact that for an applicant to qualify, his possession must not be
a mere fiction. Actual possession of a land consists in the manifestation of acts of dominion over

it of such a nature as a party would naturally exrcise over hiw own property.

FACTS
Petitioner Charles L. Ong in his behalf and as duly representative of the brothers
Roberto, Alberto, and Cesar files and Application for Registration of Title over a lot
situated in Brgy. Anolid, Mangaldan, Pangasinan. They alleged that they are the coowners of the lot and an exclusive property purchased from spouses Tony Bautista and
Alicia Villamil on August 24, 1998. That they and their predecessors-in-interest have
been in an open, continuous and peaceful possession of the subject lot in the concept of
owners for more than thirty (30) years.
The Office of the Solicitor general opposed the application contending that the
applicants nor their predecessors-in-interest have been in an open, continuous, exclusive
and notorious possession and occupation of the subject lot as required by the Section
48(b) of Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended by Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1073.
Also the applicants failed to adduce any muniment of title to prove their claims; that the
tax declaration appended to the application does not appear genuine and merely shows
pretended possession of recent vintage; that the application was filed beyond the period
allowed under PD No. 892 and that the subject lot is part of the public domain which
cannot be the subject of private appropriation.
The trial court rendered a decision in favor of the petitioner and his brothers. In an
appeal to the supreme court , the decision was reversed and set aside. The CA ruleed that
despite the land being of public domain, it is part of those disposable and alienable lands
and is incumbent upon the applicant to prove that they possessed the lot in the nature and
for the duration required by law. However, petitioner failed to prove that he or his
predecessors-in-interest have been in adverse possession of the lot in the concept of
owner since June 12, 1945. It was also noted that the earliest tax declaration presented is
dated 1971. Hence, could not fairly claim posession of the land prior to 1971. Neither
they can prove that they actually occupied the lot prior to the filing of the application.
ISSUE
Whether or not Ong and his brothers and their predecessors-in-interest have been in an
open, continuous and notorious and peaceful possession of the subject lot in the concept
of owners for more than thirty (30) years.
HELD/RATIO
No. Petitioner failed to prove that he and his predecessors-in-interest have been in an
open, continuous and notorious and peaceful possession of the subject lot since June 12,
1945. The records shows that petitioners bought the lot from spouses Tony Bautista abd
Alicia Villamil on August 24, 1998 who in turn purchased the same from spouses Teofilo
Abellera on Jnauary 16, 1997. The latter bought the subject lot from Cynthia cacho et al
on July 10, 1979. The earliest tax declaration submitted was issued in 1971 in the name
of of spouses Cacho. If to tack the petitioners claim of ownership with his predecessors in
1971, still it would fall short of the required possession from June 12, 1945.
Moreover, petitioners evidence failed to establish specific acts of ownership to
substantiate the claim that he and his predecessors-in-interest possessed and occupied the
subject lot in the nature and duration required by law. Petitioners admitted that none of
them occupied the subject lot. No improvements were made thereon and the most that

they did was to visit the lot on several occasions. Tony Bautista, petitioners predecessorin-interest also testified that they also never actually occupied the lot.
As held in Republic vs Alconaba: the law speaks of possession and occupation.
Since these words are separated by the conjunction and the clear intention of the law is
not to make one synonymous with the other. Possession is broader than occupation
because it includes constructive possession. When, therefore, the law adds the word
occupation, it seeks to delimit the all encompassing effect of constructive possession.
Taken together with the words open, continuous, exclusive and notorious, the word
occupation serves to highlight the fact that for an applicant to qualify, his possession must
not be a mere fiction. Actual possession of a land consists in the manifestation of acts of
dominion over it of such a nature as a party would naturally exercise over his own
property.
3.

Republic vs Guinto Aldana G.R. No. 175578 August 11, 2010

While the best evidence to identify a piece of land for registration purposes is teh original tracing
cloth plan issued by the Bureau of Lands (now the land Management services of DEBR),
blueprint copies and other evidence could also provide sufficient identification.
Application for registration requires teh establishment of evidence taht teh applicant and his
predecessors-in-interest have exercised acts of dominion over the lot under the bonafide claim of
ownership since June 12, 1945 or earlier. He must prove that for at least 30 years he and his
predecessors-in-interest have been in an open, continuous , exclusive and notorious possession
and occupation of the land.
Tax declarations and realty tax payments constitute at least prof that a holder has a claim of title
over the property, for no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in
his actual or at least constructive possession. It announces his adverse claim against all other
parties who may have conflict with his interest.

FACTS
Respondents Guinto-Aldana filed with the RTC of Las Pinas City an application for
registration of title over teo pieces of land in talango Pamplona Uno. Las Pinas City. They
professed themselves to be co-owners of these lots having acquired them by successsion
from their predecessors (parents of the respondents) who in turn had acquired the
property under a 1969 documents denominated as Kasulatan sa Paghahari ng Lupa na
Labas sa Hukuman na may Pagpaparaya at Bilihan. Under this document, the parents of
the respondent acquired such in for a consideration in his respective share from
Romualdo Guinto. They also alleged that until the time of the application, they and their
predecessors-in-interest have been in an actual, open, peaceful, adverse, exclusive and
continuous possession of these lots in the concept of owner and that they had consistently
declared the property in their name for purposes of real estate taxation.
In support of their application, respondents submitted the blueprint of plans well as
copies of the Technical descriptions of each lot, certification from the geodetic engineer
and the pertinent tax declarations together with the receipts of payment therefor. They
averred that the propertys original tracing cloth plan had previously been submitted to
the RTC of Las Pinas on a previous registration case in an LRC case No. LP -125.
Opposing the application. Petitioner through the Office of the City Prosecutor,
advanced that the land sought to be registered were inalienable lands of the public
domain; that neither of the respondents nor their predecessors-in-interest had been in

prior possession thereof; and that the muniment of title and the tax declaration submitted
to the court did not constitute competent and sufficient evidence of bona fide acquisition
or of a prior possession in the concept of owner.
Petitioner Zenaida Guinto-Aldana,in her testimony declared that the subject land was
owned by her family since she was 5 years of age and her grandparents had lived in the
lots until teh death of her grandmother in 1961. That aside from her grandparents, there
are caretakers who had tilled the land and who had lived until sometime between 19801990. She remembered that her grandmother constructed a house on the property. That
sometime on 1970, her family built an adobe fence around the perimeter and on 1990s
they reinforced it with hollow blocks and concrete after an inundation caused by the
flood. She claimed that she and her father had been religiously paying real estate taxes
shown in the tax declarations and tax receipts submitted to the court. Zenaidas claim or
prior open, exclusive and continuous possession of the land was corroborated by Josefina
Luna, one of the adjoining lot owner, who strongly declared that Zenaidas parents are the
owner of the land had not of her knowledge that she came to know of any other claim.
The Regional Trial Court on July 10, 2003 rendered a decision denying the
application for registration. It found that respondents failed to establish with certainty the
identity of the lots applied for registration because of failure to submit to the court the
original tracing cloth plan s mandated by the Presidential Decree no. 1529.
Upon appeal, the CA reversed the decision of the RTC. In the petition to the SC,
Petitioner avers that the CA committed an error as Section 17 of PD No. 1529 states that
the submission in court of the original tracing cloth plan of the property sought to be
registered is a mandatory requirement in registration proceedings in order to establish the
exact identity of the property. Invoking Del Rosario vs Republic of the Philippines,
petitioner believes that respondents are not relieved of their procedural obligation to
adduce in evidence the original copy of the plan, because they could have easily retrieved
it from the LRA and presented it in court. It suggests that the blueprint submitted cannot
be an approximate substantial compliance of the Section 17 of PD no. 1529 and is
illegible ad unreadable for it does not even bear the certification of the lands Management
Bureau. Further, it also attacks claim of the respondents prior possession as there was no
clear and convincing evidence to show proof.
ISSUE
1) Whether or not blue print, technical specifications and tax declaration and real estate
payments are sufficient evidence to provide identification of the subject land claimed
of ownership in compliance of the Section 17 of PD 1529.
2) Whether or not the respondents has exercised acts of dominions over the land under a
bonafide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945 or earlier.
HELD/RATIO
1) Yes. If the reason for requiring an applicant to adduce in evidence the original tracing
cloth plan is merely to provide a convenient and necessary means to afford certainty
as to the exact identity of the property applied for registration and to ensure that the
same does not overlap with the boundaries of the adjoining lots, there stands to be no
reason why a registration application must be denied for failure to present the
original tracing cloth plan, especially when it is accompanied by pieces of evidence-

such as a duly executed blueprint of the survey plan and a duly executed technical
description of the property which may likewise substantially and with as much
certainty prove the limits and extent of the property sought to be registered.
As laid down in the doctrinal precept laid down in the republic of the Philippines V
CA and in the later cases of spouses Recto vs Republic of the Philippines and
Republic of the Philippines vs Hubilla, that while the best evidence to identify a
piece of land for registration purposes is the original tracing cloth plan, blueprint
copies and other evidence could also provide sufficient identification. Therewith, the
submission of the respondents of the blueprint plan together with the technical
description of the property operates as substantial compliance with the legal
requirements of the law. It was noted that the blueprint submitted proceeded
officially from the Land Management services and bears the approval of Surveys
division Chief and was endorsed by the Community Environment and Natural
resources Office of the DENR. This accompanied by the technical descriptions of the
lot executed and verified also by the Geodetic Engineer.
2) Yes. Respondents had established evidence that she and her predecessors-in-interest
have exercised acts of dominion over the land complying the number of more than
30 years in an open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation
of the land.
From the records, possession of the respondents of the said land dates back to
1937 and had been declared for taxation by Zenaidas father. Such declaration for
tax purposes continues up to 1979, 1985 then to 1994. The respondents could have
served further proof of declarations if not for the filed being burned as certified by
the Office of the Rizal Provincial Assessor when a fire broke out in that certain
office. Also, respondents receipt for tax expenditures between 1977 and 2001 are
likewise fleshed out in the records and in these documents the herein respondents are
the name owners of the property with Zenaida being identified as the one who
delivered the payment in 1994 receipts.
These unbroken chain of positive acts exercised by respondents predecessors as
demonstrated by these pieces of evidence, yield no other conclusion than that as early
as1937, they had already demonstrated an unmistakable claim to the property.

No. Petitioner failed to prove that he and his predecessors-in-interest have been in an
open, continuous and notorious and peaceful possession of the subject lot since June 12,
1945. The records shows that petitioners bought the lot from spouses Tony Bautista and
Alicia Villamil on August 24, 1998 who in turn purchased the same from spouses Teofilo
Abellera on January 16, 1997. The latter bought the subject lot from Cynthia cacho et al
on July 10, 1979. The earliest tax declaration submitted was issued in 1971 in the name
of of spouses Cacho. If to tack the petitioners claim of ownership with his predecessors in
1971, still it would fall short of the required possession from June 12, 1945.
Moreover, petitioners evidence failed to establish specific acts of ownership to
substantiate the claim that he and his predecessors-in-interest possessed and occupied the
subject lot in the nature and duration required by law. Petitioners admitted that none of
them occupied the subject lot. No improvements were made thereon and the most that

they did was to visit the lot on several occasions. Tony Bautista, petitioners predecessorin-interest also testified that they also never actually occupied the lot.
As held in Republic vs Alconaba: the law speaks of possession and occupation.
Since these words are separated by the conjunction and the clear intention of the law is
not to make one synonymous with the other. Possession is broader than occupation
because it includes constructive possession. When, therefore, the law adds the word
occupation, it seeks to delimit the all encompassing effect of constructive possession.
Taken together with the words open, continuous, exclusive and notorious, the word
occupation serves to highlight the fact that for an applicant to qualify, his possession must
not be a mere fiction. Actual possession of a land consists in the manifestation of acts of
dominion over it of such a nature as a party would naturally exercise over his own
property.
Land registration proceedings are governed by the rule that while tax declarations
and tax realty tax payments are not conclusive evidence of ownership, they are a good
indication of possession in the concept of owner these documents such as tax declarations
and realty tax payments constitute at least proof that a holder has a claim of title over the
property, for no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in
his actual or at least constructive possession. It announces his adverse claim against all
other parties who may have conflict with his interest.
Indeed the respondents have been in possession of the land in the concept of an
owner which makes the right thereto unquestionably settled and hence, deserving
protection under the law.