1. G.R. No. 48066. January 31, 1989.* THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner-appellee, vs. KALAHI INVESTMENTS, INC., claimant-appellant.

FACTS: This is an appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Pampanga, denying the application of Kalahi Investments, Inc. (Kalahi, for short) for registration of Lot No. 1851-B of the FloridablancaCadastre. “Kalahi abandoned its former claim over the entire area of Lot No. 1851-B, covering an area of 886,021,588 square meters (Psd2387-D). It limited its present claim to 1,730 hectares, known as Lot No. 1 of Plan Sgs-3690, a portion of Lot 2210, FloridablancaCadastre, formerly a part of Lot No. 1851-B. It is in this Lot No. 1 of Plan Sgs-3690, with an area of 1.284.2340 hectares, and in Lot No. 2, with an area of 446.0870 hectares, giving a total of 1,720 hectares where the alleged 123 lode mining claims are said to be existing and where the alleged 500,000 coffee plants were planted.” Kalahi presented evidence to support perfected mining rights over the 123 mineral claims. These were, however, not considered by the court a quo as basis sufficient in law and in fact for the registration of title under act 496. ISSUES: a. Do mining claims, acquired, registered, perfected, and patentable under the Old Mining Law, mature to private ownership which would entitle the claimant-applicant to the ownership thereof?


b. Which agency has the authority to examine, process, and find out whether or not the requirements of the Act of Congress of 1902 have been complied with, by the applicant—the courts or the Bureau of Mines? RULING: NO. The right of a locator of a mining claim is a property right, “this right is not absolute”. Mere location does not mean absolute ownership over the affected land or the located claim. It merely segregates the located land or area from the public domain by barring other would-be locators from locating the same and appropriating for themselves the minerals found therein. To rule otherwise would imply that location is all that is needed to acquire and maintain rights over a located mining claim. Bureau of Mines is qualified to rule on whether there has been full and faithful compliance with the requirements of the Philippine Bill of 1902 as amended.

2. No. L-49109. December 1, 1987.* SANTA ROSA MINING COMPANY, INC., petitioner, vs. HON. MINISTER OF NATURAL RESOURCES JOSE J. LEIDO, JR. AND DIRECTOR OF MINES JUANITO C. FERNANDEZ, respondents. FACTS: Petitioner is a mining corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines. It alleges that it is the holder of fifty (50) valid mining claims situated in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, acquired under the provisions of the Act of the U.S. Congress dated 1 July 1902 (Philippine Bill of 1902). On 14 October 1977, Presidential Decree No. 1214 was issued, requiring holders of subsisting and valid patentable mining claims located under the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902 to file a mining lease application within one (1) year from the approval of the Decree. Petitioner accordingly filed a mining lease application, but "under protest," on 13 October 1978, with a reservation annotated on the back of its application that it is not waiving its rights over its mining claims until the validity of Presidential Decree No. 1214 shall have been passed upon by this Court. ISSUE: Is Presidential Decree No. 1214 unconstitutional? RULING:


Presidential Decree No. 1214 is not unconstitutional. It is a valid exercise of the sovereign power of the State, as owner, over lands of the public domain, of which petitioner's mining claims still form a part, and over the patrimony of the nation, of which mineral deposits are a valuable asset. It may be underscored, in this connection, that the Decree does not cover all mining claims located under the Phil. Bill of 1902, but only those claims over which their locators had failed to obtain a patent. And even then, such locators may still avail of the renewable twenty-five year (25) lease prescribed by Pres. Decree No. 463, the Mineral Development Resources Decree of 1974. Constitutional mandate of PD 1214 is found in Sec. 2, Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution, which declares: "All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State….

3. No. L-58867. June 22, 1984.* DIRECTOR OF LANDS and DIRECTOR OF FOREST DEVELOPMENT, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ANTONIO VALERIANO, GABRIELA VALERIANO VDA. DE LA CRUZ, LETICIA A. VALERIANO and MARISSA VALERIANO DE LA ROSA, respondents. FACTS: In their application for registration filed on May 10, 1976, private respondents (Applicants, for brevity) claimed that they are the co-owners in fee simple of the land applied for partly through inheritance in 1918 and partly by purchase on May 2, 1958; that it is not within any forest zone or military reservation; and that the same is assessed for taxation purposes in their names. The Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Director of the Bureau of Forest Development opposed the application on the principal ground that the land applied for is within the unclassified region of Obando, Bulacan, per BF Map LC No. 637 dated March 1, 1927; and that areas within the unclassified region are denominated as forest lands and do not form part of the disposable and alienable portion of the public domain. After hearing, the Trial Court ordered registration of the subject land in favor of the Applicants. This was affirmed on appeal by respondent Appellate Court. ISSUE:


Whether or not Courts can reclassify the subject public land. RULING: NO. The classification of public lands is an exclusive prerogative of the Executive Department of the Government and not of the Courts. In the absence of such classification, the land remains as unclassified land until it is released therefrom and rendered open to disposition. This should be so under time-honored Constitutional precepts. This is also in consonance with the Regalian doctrine that all lands of the public domain belong to the State, and that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership in land and charged with the conservation of such patrimony. Decision reversed and the application for registration is dismissed.

4. G.R. No. 31688. December 17, 1990.* DIRECTOR OF LANDS, DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY and REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioners, vs. HON. JUAN P. AQUINO, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Abra, Second Judicial District and ABRA INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION, respondents. FACTS: The center of controversy in the instant petition for review on certiorari is a limestonerich 70-hectare land in Bucay, Abra 66 hectares of which are, according to petitioners, within the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve. Private respondent Abra Industrial Corporation (AIC for brevity), a duly registered corporation established for the purpose of setting up a cement factory, claims on the other hand, to be the owner in fee simple of the whole 70-hectare area indicated in survey plans PSU217518, PSU-217519 and PSU-217520 with a total assessed value of P6,724.48. Thus, on September 23, 1965, it filed in the then Court of First Instance of Abra an application for registration in its name of said parcels of land under the Land Registration Act or, in the alternative, under Sec. 48 of Commonwealth Act No. 1411 as amended by Republic Act No. 1942 inasmuch as its predecessors-in-interest had allegedly been in possession thereof since July 26, 1894. ISSUE:


Whether or not lower court erred in granting the application for registration of the parcels of land notwithstanding petitioners finding that they are within the forest zone. RULING: YES. Forest lands or forest reserves are incapable of private appropriation and possession thereof, however long, cannot convert them into private properties. This ruling is premised on the regalian doctrine enshrined not only in the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions but also in the 1987 Constitution Article XIII. The lower court closed its eyes to a basic doctrine in land registration cases that the inclusion in a title of a part of the public domain nullifies the title. Its decision to order the registration of an inalienable land in favor of AIC under the misconception that it is imperative for the Director of Forestry to object to its exclusion from the forest reserve even in the face of its finding that indeed a sizable portion of the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve is involved, cannot be allowed to stay unreversed. It betrays an inherent infirmity which must be corrected.

5. G.R. No. 32266. February 27, 1989.* THE DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY, petitioner, vs. RUPERTO A. VILLAREAL, respondent. FACTS: The said land consists of 178,113 square meters of mangrove swamps located in the municipality of Sapian, Capiz. RupertoVillareal applied for its registration on January 25, 1949, alleging that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the land for more than forty years. He was opposed by several persons, including the petitioner on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines. After trial, the application was approved by the Court of First Instance of Capiz. The decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. The Director of Forestry then came to this Court in a petition for review on certiorari claiming that the land in dispute was forestal in nature and not subject to private appropriation. Both the petitioner and the private respondent agree that the land is mangrove land. ISSUE: What is the legal classification of mangrove swamps, or manglares, as they are commonly known? Part of our public forest lands, they are not alienable under the Constitution or are they considered public agricultural lands; they may be acquired under private ownership. RULING:

Mangrove swamps or manglares should be understood as comprised within the public forests of the Philippines as defined in the aforecited Section 1820 of the Administrative Code of 1917. The legislature having so determined, we have no authority to ignore or modify its decision, and in effect veto it, in the exercise of our own discretion. The statutory definition remains unchanged to date and, no less noteworthy is accepted and invoked by the executive department. More importantly, the said provision has not been challenged as arbitrary or unrealistic or unconstitutional, assuming the requisite conditions, to justify our judicial intervention and scrutiny. The law is thus presumed valid and so must be respected. As such, they are not alienable under the Constitution and may not be the subject of private ownership until and unless they are first released as forest land and classified as alienable agricultural land. WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and the application for registration of title of private respondent is DISMISSED.

6. No. L-73002. December 29, 1986.* THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ACME PLYWOOD & VENEER CO. INC., ETC., respondents. FACTS: The Director of Lands has brought this appeal by certiorari from a judgment of the Intermediate Appellate Court affirming a decision of the Court of First Instance of Isabela, which ordered registration in favor of Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc. of five parcels of land measuring 481, 390 square meters, more or less, acquired by it from Mariano and Acer Infiel, members of the Dumagat tribe. The land subjects of the Land Registration proceedings was ancestrally acquired by Acme Plywood & Veneer Co., Inc., on October 29, 1962, from Mariano Infiel and Acer Infiel, both members of the Dumagat tribe and as such are cultural minorities. ISSUE: Whether or not the title that the Infiels had transferred to Acme in 1962 could be confirmed in favor of the latter in proceedings instituted by it in 1981 when the 1973 Constitution was already in effect, having in mind the prohibition therein against private corporations holding lands of the public domain except in lease not exceeding 1,000 hectares. RULING:

The correct rule, is that alienable public land held by a possessor, personally or through his predecessors-in-interest, openly, continuously and exclusively for the prescribed statutory period (30 years under The Public Land Act, as amended) is converted to private property by the mere lapse or completion of said period, ipso jure. Following that rule and on the basis of the undisputed facts, the land subject of this appeal was already private property at the time it was acquired from the Infiels by Acme. Acme thereby acquired a registrable title, there being at the time no prohibition against said corporation's holding or owning private land. WHEREFORE, there being no reversible error in the appealed judgment of the Intermediate Appellate Court, the same is hereby affirmed.

7. No. L-75042. November 29, 1988.* REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF LUCENA, represented by Msgr. Jose T. Sanchez, and REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH LIII, LUCENA CITY, respondents. FACTS: “On February 2, 1979, the ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP of Lucena, represented by Msgr. Jose T. Sanchez, filed an application for confirmation of title to four (4) parcels of land. Three of said parcels, denominated as Lots 1, 2 and 3, respectively, of plan PSU-65686 are situated in Barrio Masin, Municipality of Candelaria, Quezon Province. The fourth parcels under plan PSU-112592 is located in Barrio Bucal (Taguan), same municipality and province. As basis for the application, the applicant claimed title to the various properties through either purchase or donation dating as far back as 1928. The court ordered the registration of the four parcels together with the improvements thereon „in the name of the ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF LUCENA, INC., a religious corporation sole duly registered and existing under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines.” ISSUES: Whether or not the Roman Catholic Bishop of Lucena, as a corporation sole is qualified to apply for confirmation of its title to the four (4) parcels of land subject of this case.

RULING: There is no doubt that a corporation sole by the nature of its incorporation is vested with the right to purchase and hold real estate and personal property. It need not therefore be treated as an ordinary private corporation because whether or not it is so treated as such, the Constitutional provision involved will, nevertheless, be not applicable. The lands subjects of this petition were already private property at the time the application for confirmation of title was filed in 1979. There is therefore no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the appellate court. WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed for lack of merit and the appealed decision and Resolution of the Intermediate Appellate Court is hereby AFFIRMED.

8. No. L-46729. November 19, 1982.* AYOG, petitioners, vs. JUDGE VICENTE N. CUSI, JR., Court of First Instance of Davao, Branch I, respondents.MINISTER OF NATURAL RESOURCES and DIRECTOR OF LANDS, intervenors. FACTS: On January 21, 1953, the Director of Lands, after bidding, awarded to Biñan Development Co., Inc. on the basis of its 1951 Sales Application No. V-6834 Cadastral Lot No. 281 located at Barrio Tamugan, Guianga (Baguio District), Davao City with an area of about two hundred fifty hectares. Some occupants of the lot protested against the sale. The Director of Lands in his decision of August 30, 1957 dismissed the protests and ordered the occupants to vacate the lot and remove their improvements. No appeal was made from that decision. Because the alleged occupants refused to vacate the land, the corporation filed against them on February 27, 1961 in the Court of First Instance of Davao, Civil Case No. 3711, an ejectment suit (accionpubliciana). ISSUE: Whether or not Section 11, Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution (disqualifying a private corporation from purchasing public lands) is applicable in the case at bar.

RULING: NO. There is no merit in the instant prohibition action. The constitutional prohibition relied upon by the petitioners as a ground to stop the execution of the judgment in the ejectment suit has no retroactive application to that case and does not divest the trial court of jurisdiction to enforce that judgment.

9. No. L-27952. February 15, 1982.* TESTATE ESTATE OF JOSE EUGENIO RAMIREZ, MARIA LUISA PALACIOS, Administratrix, petitioner-appellee, vs. MARCELLE D. VDA.DE RAMIREZ, ET AL., oppositors, JORGE and ROBERTO RAMIREZ, legatees, oppositors-appellants. FACTS: Jose Eugenio Ramirez, a Filipino national, died in Spain on December 11, 1964, with only his widow as compulsory heir. His will was admitted to probate by the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch X, on July 27, 1965. Maria Luisa Palacios was appointed administratrix of the estate. On June 23, 1966, the administratrix submitted a project of partition as follows: the property of the deceased is to be divided into two parts. One part shall go to the widow “en plenodominio” in satisfaction of her legitime; the other part or “free portion” shall go to Jorge and Roberto Ramirez “en nudapropriedad.” Furthermore, one third (1/3) of the free portion is charged with the widow‟s usufruct and the remaining two-third (2/3) with a usufruct in favor of Wanda. ISSUE:


Does the Constitutional provision which enables aliens to acquire private lands extend to testamentary succession? RULING: NO. The court a quo upheld the validity of the usufruct given to Wanda on the ground that the Constitution covers not only succession by operation of law but also testamentary succession. The Constitutional provision which enables aliens to acquire private lands does not extend to testamentary succession for otherwise the prohibition will be for naught and meaningless. Any alien would be able to circumvent the prohibition by paying money to a Philippine landowner in exchange for a devise of a piece of land.

10. G.R. No. 74833. January 21, 1991.* THOMAS C. CHEESMAN, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ESTELITA PADILLA, respondents. FACTS: This appeal concerns the attempt by an American citizen (petitioner Thomas Cheesman) to annul—for lack of consent on his part—the sale by his Filipino wife (Criselda) of a residential lot and building to Estelita Padilla, also a Filipino. Thomas Cheesman and Criselda P. Cheesman were married on December 4, 1970 but have been separated since February 15, 1981. ISSUE: Whether or not sale to aliens of residential land is valid. RULING: NO. This is a right that the Constitution does not permit an alien to have.


An equally decisive consideration is that Estelita Padilla is a purchaser in good faith, both the Trial Court and the Appellate Court having found that Cheesman‟s own conduct had led her to believe the property to be exclusive property of the latter‟s wife, freely disposable by her without his consent or intervention. An innocent buyer for value, she is entitled to the protection of the law in her purchase, particularly as against Cheesman, who would assert rights to the property denied him by both letter and spirit of the Constitution itself.

11. G.R. No. 110249. August 21, 1997.* ALFREDO TANO, petitioners, vs. HON. GOV. SALVADOR P. SOCRATES, respondents. FACTS: On December 15, 1992, the SangguniangPanlungsodng Puerto Princesa City enacted Ordinance No. 15-92 which took effect on January 1, 1993 entitled: “AN ORDINANCE BANNING THE SHIPMENT OF ALL LIVE FISH AND LOBSTER OUTSIDE PUERTO PRINCESA CITY FROM JANUARY 1, 1993 TO JANUARY 1, 1998 AND PROVIDING EXEMPTIONS, PENALTIES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES THEREOF. To implement said city ordinance, then Acting City Mayor Amado L. Lucero issued Office Order No. 23, Series of 1993 dated January 22, 1993. The respondents implemented the said ordinances thereby depriving all the fishermen of the whole province of Palawan and the City of Puerto Princesa of their only means of livelihood and the petitioners Airline Shippers Association of Palawan and other marine merchants from performing their lawful occupation and trade. ISSUE:

Whether or not the ordinances enacted by respondents violated respondents means of livelihood and from performing their lawful occupation and trade. RULING: NO. Under the general welfare clause of the LGC, local government units have the power, to enact ordinances to enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology. It likewise specifically vests municipalities with the power to grant fishery privileges in municipal waters, and impose rentals, fees or charges therefor; to penalize, by appropriate ordinances, the use of explosives, noxious or poisonous substances, electricity, muro-ami, and other deleterious methods of fishing; and to prosecute any violation of the provisions of applicable fishery laws. Finally, it imposes upon the sangguniangbayan, the sangguniangpanlungsod, and the sangguniangpanlalawigan the duty to enact ordinances to “[p]rotect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment such as dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing. . . and such other activities which result in pollution, acceleration of eutrophication of rivers and lakes or of ecological imbalance.” In closing, the court commend the SangguniangPanlungsod of the City of Puerto Princesa and SangguniangPanlalawigan of the Province of Palawan for exercising the requisite political will to enact urgently needed legislation to protect and enhance the marine environment, thereby sharing in the herculean task of arresting the tide of ecological destruction.

12. Nos. L-49634-36. July 25, 1981.* BENJAMIN V. GUIANG and NATIVIDAD H. GUIANG; AURELIO B. HIQUIANA and PASTORA O. HIQUIANA, petitioners, vs. FILOMENO C. KINTANAR and CORAZON B. KINTANAR; CORA ANN B. KINTANAR, CORA LOU B. KINTANAR, FIL ROGER B. KINTANAR, private respondents, and Hon. Judge SERGIO APOSTOL, Quezon City Court of First Instance, Branch XVI, Quezon City, respondent. FACTS: Petition filed on January 15, 1979 for certiorari and mandamus seeking the setting aside of the decision and the two orders subsequent thereto of respondent judge dated August 20, 1975 and November 14, 1978 and December 27, 1978, respectively, as acts committed in grave abuse of discretion, the compromise agreement on which said decision was based being allegedly in contravention of the Constitution and the Public Land Act, hence the execution thereof under the two questioned subsequent orders had no legal basis. ISSUE:


Whether or not compromise agreement approved by the trial court under which one party conveys to the other an area of land, previously acquired from the Government, of more than 24 hectares, especially where the transferee already owns 29 hectares acquired under the Public Land Act, is null and void ab initio RULING: YES. The compromise agreement, executed on August 20, 1975, provides for the transfer of a total of 146 hectares. It inevitably follows then that said compromise agreement contravenes not only a statute but the fundamental law of the land. Adding to its being contrary to law, which undoubtedly is also covered by the public policy expressed in the Constitution, is the fact that private respondents, the Kintanars, already owned at the time of the agreement a lot of 29 hectares which they had acquired also from the government pursuant to the Public Land Act. Such being the situation, it is incontestable that under Paragraph (1) of Article 1409 of the Civil Code said agreement is "inexistent and void from the beginning" since its "object or purpose is contrary to law—or public policy".

13. G.R. No. 135385. December 6, 2000.* ISAGANI CRUZ and CESAR EUROPA, petitioners, vs. SECRETARY OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT and CHAIRMAN and COMMISSIONERS OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES,respondents. FACTS: Petitioners, citizens and taxpayers, assail the constitutionality the 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, in violation of the regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution. ISSUE:


Is Republic Act No. 8371 (R.A. 8371), otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (Implementing Rules) is constitutional? RULING: Seven (7) voted to dismiss the petition. Seven (7) other members of the Court voted to grant the petition. As the votes were equally divided (7 to 7) and the necessary majority was not obtained, the case was redeliberated upon. However, after redeliberation, the voting remained the same. Accordingly, pursuant to Rule 56, Section 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the petition is DISMISSED.

14. G.R. No. 133047. August 17, 1999.* HEIRS OF LORENZO YAP, namely SALLY SUN YAP, MARGARET YAP-UY and MANUEL YAP, petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, RAMON YAP and BENJAMIN YAP, respondents. FACTS: The controversy started when herein petitioners, advised respondents of the former‟s claim of ownership over the property and demanded that respondents execute the proper deed necessary to transfer the title to them. At about the same time, petitioners filed a case for ejectment against one of the bonafide tenants of the property. Assessing the evidence before it, the trial court found for the respondents and adjudged Benjamin Yap to be the true and lawful owner of the disputed property.


On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court and debunked the claim of petitioners that Ramon Yap was merely so used as a dummy by Lorenzo Yap. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent Court of Appeals committed reversible error when it holds that defendants-appellants father Lorenzo Yap, being Chinese cannot enter into a trust agreement and the existence of a trust agreement cannot be proven being Chinese. RULING: Unfortunately for petitioners, the issues they submit in the case at bar boil down to the appreciation of the evidence presented. The Court of Appeals, sustaining the court a quo, has found the evidence submitted by petitioners to be utterly wanting, consisting mainly of the selfserving testimony of Sally Yap. She herself admitted that the business establishment of her husband Lorenzo was razed by fire in 1964 that would somehow place to doubt the claim that he indeed had the means to purchase the subject land about two years later from the Nery spouses. Upon the other hand, Ramon Yap was by then an accountant with apparent means to buy the property himself. At all events, findings of fact by the Court of Appeals, particularly when consistent with those made by the trial court, should deserve utmost regard when not devoid of evidentiary support. No cogent reason had been shown by petitioners for the Court to now hold otherwise. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED.

15. G.R. No. 128195. October 3, 2001.* ELIZABETH LEE and PACITA YU LEE, HON. JUDGE JOSE D. ALOVERA,** Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 17, Roxas City, THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF ROXAS CITY, petitioners, vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS AND THE ADMINISTRATOR, LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY and THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS,** respondents. FACTS: Sometime in March 1936, Rafael, Carmen, Francisco, Jr., Ramon, Lourdes, Mercedes, Concepcion, Mariano, Jose, Loreto, Manuel, Rizal and Jimmy, all surnamed Dinglasan sold to Lee Liong, a Chinese citizen, a parcel of land with an approximate area of 1,631 square meters, designated as Lot 398 and covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 3389, situated at the corner of Roxas Avenue and Pavia Street, Roxas City.

However, in 1948, the former owners filed with the Court of First Instance, Capiz an action against the heirs of Lee Liong for annulment of sale and recovery of land. The plaintiffs assailed the validity of the sale because of the constitutional prohibition against aliens acquiring ownership of private agricultural land, including residential, commercial or industrial land. Rebuffed in the trial court and the Court of Appeals, plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court. ISSUE: Whether Lee Liong has the qualification to own land in the Philippines. RULING: The sale of the land in question was consummated sometime in March 1936, during the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution. Under the 1935 Constitution, aliens could not acquire private agricultural lands, save in cases of hereditary succession. Thus, Lee Liong, a Chinese citizen, was disqualified to acquire the land in question. The constitutional proscription on alien ownership of lands of the public or private domain was intended to protect lands from falling in the hands of non-Filipinos. In this case, however, there would be no more public policy violated since the land is in the hands of Filipinos qualified to acquire and own such land. “If land is invalidly transferred to an alien who subsequently becomes a citizen or transfers it to a citizen, the flaw in the original transaction is considered cured and the title of the transferee is rendered valid.” WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 36274. In lieu thereof, the Court sets aside the order of reconstitution of title in Reconstitution Case No. R-1928, Regional Trial Court, Roxas City, and dismisses the petition, without prejudice. 16. No. L-33048. April 16, 1982.* EPIFANIA SARSOSA VDA. DE BARSOBIA and PACITA W. VALLER, petitioners, vs. VICTORIANO T. CUENCO, respondent. FACTS: The lot in controversy is a one-half portion (on the northern side) of two adjoining parcels of coconut land located at Barrio Mancapagao, Sagay, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental (now Camiguin province), with an area of 29,150 square meters, more or less.The entire land was owned previously by a certain LeocadiaBalisado, who had sold it to the spouses Patricio Barsobia (now deceased) and EpifaniaSarsosa, one of the petitioners herein. They are Filipino citizens. On September 5, 1936, EpifaniaSarsosa, then a widow, sold the land to a Chinese, Ong King Po, for the sum of P1, 050.00, who took actual possession and enjoyed the fruits thereof.

Respondent filed a Forcible Entry case against Epifania before the Municipal Court of Sagay, Camiguin. The case was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction since, as the laws then stood, the question of possession could not be properly determined without first settling that of ownership.

17. 267 SCRA 408 (1997) MANILA PRINCE HOTEL vs. GSIS FACTS: The controversy arose when respondent Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), pursuant to the privatization program of the Philippine Government under Proclamation No. 50 dated 8 December 1986, decided to sell through public bidding 30% to 51% of the issued and outstanding shares of respondent Manila Hotel Corporation. In a close bidding held on 18 September 1995 only two (2) bidders participated: petitioner Manila Prince Hotel Corporation, a Filipino corporation, which offered to buy 51% of the MHC or 15,300,000 shares at P41.58 per share, and RenongBerhad, a Malaysian firm, with ITT-Sheraton as its hotel operator, which bid for the same number of shares at P44.00 per share, or P2.42 more than the bid of petitioner. Pending the declaration of RenongBerhad as the winning bidder/strategic partner and the execution of the necessary contracts, matched the bid price of P44.00 per share tendered by

RenongBerhad. On 17 October 1995, perhaps apprehensive that respondent GSIS has disregarded the tender of the matching bid and that the sale of 51% of the MHC may be hastened by respondent GSIS and consummated with RenongBerhad, petitioner came to this Court on prohibition and mandamus. ISSUE: Whether or Not the sale of Manila Hotel to RenongBerhad is violative of the Constitutional provision of Filipino First policy and is therefore null and void RULING: The Manila Hotel or, for that matter, 51% of the MHC, is not just any commodity to be sold to the highest bidder solely for the sake of privatization. The Manila Hotel has played and continues to play a significant role as an authentic repository of twentieth century Philippine history and culture. This is the plain and simple meaning of the Filipino First Policy provision of the Philippine Constitution. And this Court, heeding the clarion call of the Constitution and accepting the duty of being the elderly watchman of the nation, will continue to respect and protect the sanctity of the Constitution. It was thus ordered that GSIS accepts the matching bid of petitioner MANILA PRINCE HOTEL CORPORATION to purchase the subject 51% of the shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation at P44.00 per share and thereafter to execute the necessary clearances and to do such other acts and deeds as may be necessary for purpose.

18. GR NO. 127872 JANUARY 27, 2004 LA BUGAL-B’LAAN TRIBAL ASSN., vs. DENR FACTS: On July 25, 1987, then President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order (E.O.) No. 2796 authorizing the DENR Secretary to accept, consider and evaluate proposals from foreignowned corporations or foreign investors for contracts or agreements involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of minerals, which, upon appropriate recommendation of the Secretary, the President may execute with the foreign proponent. On March 3, 1995, then President Fidel V. Ramos approved R.A. No. 7942 to "govern the exploration, development, utilization and processing of all mineral resources." Petitioners assail the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 7942, otherwise known as the PHILIPPINE MINING ACT OF 1995, along with the Implementing Rules and Regulations issued pursuant thereto, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

Administrative Order 96-40, and of the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) entered into on March 30, 1995 by the Republic of the Philippines and WMC (Philippines), Inc. (WMCP), a corporation organized under Philippine laws. ISSUE: Are foreign-owned corporations in the large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of petroleum, minerals and mineral oils limited to “technical” or “financial” assistance only? RULING: Accordingly, following the literal text of the Constitution provided by Section 2, Article XII, assistance accorded by foreign-owned corporations in the large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of petroleum, minerals and mineral oils should be limited to "technical" or "financial" assistance only. Thus, R.A. No. 7942 is invalid insofar as said Act authorizes service contracts. Although the statute employs the phrase "financial and technical agreements" in accordance with the 1987 Constitution, it actually treats these agreements as service contracts that grant beneficial ownership to foreign contractors contrary to the fundamental law.

GR NO. 127882 DECEMBER 1, 2004 (MR) LA BUGAL-B’LAAN TRIBAL ASSN., vs. DENR FACTS: This is a Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus before the Court that challenges the constitutionality of (1) Republic Act No. [RA] 7942 (The Philippine Mining Act of 1995); (2) its Implementing Rules and Regulations (DENR Administrative Order No. [DAO] 96-40); and (3) the FTAA dated March 30, 1995, executed by the government with Western Mining Corporation (Philippines), Inc. (WMCP). ISSUE: Are foreign-owned corporations in the large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of petroleum, minerals and mineral oils limited to “technical” or “financial” assistance only? RULING: The Court did not see how applying a strictly literal or verbalegis interpretation of

paragraph 4 could inexorably lead to the conclusions arrived at in the ponencia. First, the drafters' choice of words -- their use of the phrase agreements x xx involving either technical or financial assistance -- does not indicate the intent to exclude other modes of assistance. The drafters opted to use involving when they could have simply said agreements for financial or technical assistance, if that was their intention to begin with. In this case, the limitation would be very clear and no further debate would ensue. In contrast, the use of the word "involving" signifies the possibility of the inclusion of other forms of assistance or activities having to do with, otherwise related to or compatible with financial or technical assistance. The word "involving" as used in this context has three connotations that can be differentiated thus: one, the sense of "concerning," "having to do with," or "affecting"; two, "entailing," "requiring," "implying" or "necessitating"; and three, "including," "containing" or "comprising." Plainly, none of the three connotations convey a sense of exclusivity. Moreover, the word "involving," when understood in the sense of "including," as in including technical or financial assistance, necessarily implies that there are activities other than those that are being included. In other words, if an agreement includes technical or financial assistance, there is apart from such assistance -- something else already in, and covered or may be covered by, the said agreement. Thus, the use of the word "involving" implies that these agreements with foreign corporations are not limited to mere financial or technical assistance. The difference in sense becomes very apparent when we juxtapose "agreements for technical or financial assistance" against "agreements including technical or financial assistance." This much is unalterably clear in a verbalegis approach. Second, if the real intention of the drafters was to confine foreign corporations to financial or technical assistance and nothing more, their language would have certainly been so unmistakably restrictive and stringent as to leave no doubt in anyone's mind about their true intent. For example, they would have used the sentence foreign corporations are absolutely prohibited from involvement in the management or operation of mining or similar ventures or words of similar import. A search for such stringent wording yields negative results. Thus, there was a conscious and deliberate decision to avoid the use of restrictive wording that bespeaks an intent not to use the expression "agreements x xx involving either technical or financial assistance" in an exclusionary and limiting manner.



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