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AGUSTIN V.

IAC FACTS:Private respondents, Maria Melad and Pablo Binuyag are among those who are occupying the western bank of the Cagayan River while on the eastern bank is owned by petitioner Eulogio Agustin. From 1919 to 1968, the Cagayan river has eroded the lands on the eastern bank including Agustins Lot depositing alluvium on the land possessed by Pablo Binuyag. In 1968, after a typhoon which caused a big flood, the Cagayan River changed its course and returned it to its 1919 bed and it cut through the lands of respondents whose lands were transferred on the eastern side. To cultivate the lands they had to cross the river. When they were cultivating said lands, (they were planting corn) Agustin accompanied by the mayor and some policemen claimed the land and drove them away. So Melad and Binuyag filed separate complaints for recovery of their lots and its accretions. The Trial Court held ordered Agustin et. al to vacate the lands and return them to respondents. On appeal, the IAC affirmed in toto the judgment thus the case at bar. ISSUE: Whether or not private respondents own the accretion and such ownership is not affected by the sudden and abrupt change in the course of the Cagayan River when it reverted to its old bed HELD: YESArt. 457 states that the owner of the lands adjoining river banks own the accretion which they gradually receive from the effects of the currents of the waters. Accretion benefits a riparian owner provided that these elements are present: 1) deposit be gradual and imperceptible 2) it resulted from the effects of the current of the water and 3) the land is adjacent to the river bank. When the River moved from 1919 to 1968, there was alluvium deposited and it was gradual and imperceptible. Accretion benefits the riparian owner because these lands are exposed to floods and other damage due to the destructive force of the waters, and if by virtue of law they are subject to encumbrances and various kinds of easements, it is only just that such risks or dangers should in some way be compensated by the right of accretion. Also, respondents ownership over said lots was not removed when due to the sudden and abrupt change in the course of the river; their accretions were transferred to the other side. Art. 459 states when the current of a river x x x segregates from an estate on its bank a known portion of land and transfers it to another estate, the owner of segregated portion retains ownership provided he removes the same w/in 2 years. And Art. 463 states that whenever the current of a river divides itself into branches, leaving a piece of land or part thereof isolated, the owner of the land retains ownership. He also retains it if a portion of land is separated from the estate by the current. Cureg v. IAC Facts: On 5 November 1982, Domingo Apostol, Soledad Gerardo, Rosa Gerardo, Nieves Gerardo, Flordeliza Gerardo and Lilia Maquinad filed a complaint for quieting of title and damages with preliminary injunction against Leonida, Romeo, Pepito, Hernando, Manuel, Antonio and Elpidio Carniyan with the RTC Isabela (Civil Case Br. 111-373). A temporary restraining order was issued by the trial court on 12 November 1982. The complaint alleged that the Gerardos and Maquinad are the legal and/or the forced heirs of the late Domingo Gerardo, who died in February 1944, the latter being the only issue of the late Francisco Gerardo, who died before the outbreak of WWII; that since time immemorial and/or before 26 July 1894, the late Francisco Gerardo, together with his predecessors-in-interest have been in actual, open, peaceful and continuous possession, under a bona fide claim of ownership and adverse to all other claimants, of a parcel of land, situated in Casibarag-Cajel, Cabagan, Isabela, containing an area of 2.5 hectares [N: Cagayan River; E: Domingo Guingab (formerly Rosa Cureg); S: Antonio Carniyan; and W: Sabina Mola]. Said land was declared for taxation purposes under TD 08-3023 in the name of Francisco Gerardo, which cancelled TD C-9669, in the name of Francisco; that upon the death of Francisco Gerardo, the ownership and possession of the land was succeeded by his only issue, Domingo Gerardo who, together with 3 legal or forced heirs, namely Soledad Gerardo, Primo Gerardo(+) and Salud Gerardo(+) have also been in actual, open, peaceful and continuous possession of the same. Primo Gerardo was survived by Rosa, Nieves and Flordeliza Gerardo; while Salud Gerardo was survived by Lilia Maquinad. In 1979, Soledad, Rosa, Nieves, and Flordeliza Gerardo along with Lilia Maquinad verbally sold the land to Domingo Apostol. On 10 September 1982, the verbal sale and conveyance was reduced into writing by the vendors who executed an "Extra-Judicial Partition with Voluntary Reconveyance. About the time of the execution of the Extra-Judicial Partition, the land already manifested signs of accretion of about 3 hectares on the north caused by the northward movement of the Cagayan River; that Domingo Apostol declared the land and its accretion for tax purposes under TD 08-13281 on 15 September 1982. Sometime about the last week of September and or the first week of October 1982, when the Gerardos, Maquinad and Apostol were about to cultivate their land together with its accretion, they were prevented and threatened by the Carniyans (Leonida Cureg and Romeo, Pepito, Hernando, Manuel, Antonio and Elpidio: surviving spouse and children of Antonio Carniyan) from continuing to do so. The late Antonio Carniyan was the owner of a piece of land (acquired from his father-inlaw Marcos Cureg on 5 October 1956 as evidenced by an Absolute Deed of Sale) situated in Casibarag-Cajel, Cabagan, Isabela which contained an area of 2,790 sq. m.(N: Domingo Gerardo; E: Domingo Guingab; S: Pelagio Camayo; and W: Marcos Cureg), and which was declared for taxation purposes under TD 13131, with an assessed value of P70.00. Carniyan revised on 28 November 1968 his TD 13131 dated 24 July 1961 to conform with the correct area and boundaries of his OCT P-19093 issued on 25 November 1968 pursuant to Free Patent 399431 dated 21 May 1968; that the area under the new TD 15663 was increased from 2,790 sq.ms. to 4,584 sq.ms. and the boundary on the north became Cagayan River, purposely eliminating completely the original boundary on the north which is Domingo Gerardo. The heirs of Antonio Carniyan (Cureg, et.al.) alleged in their answer that the land claimed by the Gerardos and Apostol is non-existent; that Antonio Carniyan was the owner of a piece of land bounded on the north by Cagayan River and not by the land of Francisco Gerardo; that the "subject land" is an accretion to their registered land and that they have been in possession and cultivation of the "accretion" for many years. The application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction was denied on 28 July 1983 on the ground that the Carniyans (Cureg) were in actual possession of the land in

litigation prior to September 1982. In a decision rendered on 6 July 1984, the trial court rendered judgment declaring Domingo Apostol the absolute owner of the parcel of land containing an area of 5.5000 hectares (N: Cagayan River; E: Domingo Guingab; S: Antonio Carniyan; and W: by Sabina Mola) and with an assessed value of P3,520; ordering the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against Cureg, et.al.; ordering that the writ be made permanent; and ordering Cureg, et.al. to pay Apostol, et.al. a reasonable attorney's fee of P5,000.00, litigation expenses of P1,500.00 and costs. On 17 July 1984, Cureg appealed to the then IAC Court which affirmed the decision of the trial court on 15 October 1985 (CA-GR CV 03852). Cureg's Motion for Reconsideration was denied on 8 January 1986. Hence, the petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rule of Court. The Supreme Court granted the petition, reversed and set aside the decision appealed from, and rendered judgment dismissing Civil Case Br. III-373 for quieting of title and damages; with costs against Apostol, et.al. 1. Tax Declaration not sufficient evidence to prove ownership; OCT indicates true and legal ownership Gerardos' and Maquinads (therefore Apostols) claim of ownership of their alleged 2 & 1/2 hectare land is anchored mainly on 4 tax declarations. The declaration of ownership for purposes of assessment on the payment of the tax is not sufficient evidence to prove ownership. (Evangelista v. Tabayuyong, 7 Phil. 607; Elumbaring v. Elumbaring, 12 Phil. 384; cited in Camo v. Riosa Bayco, 29 Phil. 437, 444). On the other hand, Cureg et.al. relied on the indefeasibility and incontrovertibility of their OCT P-19093. In the case of Ferrer-Lopez v. Court of Appeals (GR 50420, 29 May 1987, 150 SCRA 393, 401-402), it was ruled that as against an array of proofs consisting of tax declarations and/or tax receipts which are not conclusive evidence of ownership nor proof of the area covered therein, an original certificate of title indicates true and legal ownership by the registered owners over the disputed premises. Cureg's OCT P-19093 should be accorded greater weight as against the tax declarations offered by Apostol, et.al. in support of their claim, which declarations are all in the name of the latters predecessor-in-interest, Francisco Gerardo, and appear to have been subscribed by him after the last war, when it was established during the trial that Francisco Gerardo died long before the outbreak of the last war. 2. Decree of registration bars all claims and rights arising or existing prior to decree A decree of registration bars all claims and rights which arose or may have existed prior to the decree of registration (Ferrer-Lopez v. CA, supra., p. 404). By the issuance of the decree, the land is bound and title thereto quieted, subject only to exceptions stated in Section 39, Act 496 (now Section 44 of PD 1529). Since Cureg's original certificate of title clearly stated that subject land is bounded on the north by the Cagayan River, Apostol's claim over the land allegedly existing between Cureg's land and the Cagayan River, is deemed barred and nullified with the issuance of the original certificate of title. 3. Tax Declaration of earlier date cannot defeat OCT of later date; Cureg not estopped as Tax Declarations subsequent to issuance of OCT states northern boundary is Cagayan river A tax declaration, being of an earlier date cannot defeat an original certificate of title which is of a later date. The appellate court erred in considering Tax Declaration 13131, in the name of Antonio Carniyan, as an admission by him that his land is bounded on the north by the land of Domingo Gerardo and thus is estopped from claiming otherwise. The tax declarations of the late Antonio Carniyan subsequent to the issuance of OCT P-19093 already states that its northern boundary is Cagayan River. In effect, he has repudiated any previous acknowledgment by him, granting that he caused the accomplishment of the tax declarations in his name before the issuance of OCT P-19093, of the existence of Francisco Gerardo's land. 4. Cureg, et.al. in actual possession; Evidence Evidence on record proves that Cureg, et.al. are in actual possession of the land. First, the trial court in its Decision stated the reason for denying private respondents' petition for the issuance of a preliminary injunction, is that Cureg, et.al. were in actual possession of the land in litigation prior to September 1982. Second, witness for Apostol, et.al., Esteban Guingab, boundary owner on the east of the land in question and whose own land is bounded on the north of Cagayan River, on cross-examination, revealed that when his property was only more than 1 hectare in 1958, (now more than 4 hectares) his boundary on the west is the land of Antonio Carniyan. Third, witness Rogelio C. Albano, a geodetic engineer, on direct examination stated that in 1974, the late Antonio Carniyan requested him to survey the land covered by his title and the accretion attached to it, but he did not pursue the same because he learned from the Office of the Director of the Bureau of Lands that the same accretion is the subject of an application for homestead patent of one Democrata Aguila, contrary to the statement of the trial court and the appellate court that Albano "made three attempts to survey the land but he did not continue to survey because persons other than defendants were in possession of the land," which statement appears only to be a conclusion. Fourth, an order by the Director of Lands dated 14 August 1980 in connection with the Homestead Application of Democrata Aguila of an accretion situated in Catabayungan, Cabagan, Isabela, such application was disapproved because in an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Lands of the area applied for which is an accretion, the same was found to be occupied and cultivated by, among others, Antonio Carniyan, who claimed it as an accretion to his land. Apostol, et.al. nor their predecessors-in-interest appeared as one of those found occupying and cultivating said accretion. 5. Accretion belongs to riparian owners The land in question is an alluvial deposit left by the northward movement of the Cagayan River and pursuant to Article 457 of the New Civil Code, it is said that "to the owners of land adjoining the banks of river belong the accretion which they gradually receive from the effects of the current of the waters." 6. Accretion does not automatically become registered land The area covered by OCT P-19093 is only 4,584 sq. ms. The accretion attached to said land is approximately 5.5 hectares. The increase in the area of Cureg's land, being an accretion left by the change of course or the northward movement of the Cagayan River does not automatically become registered land just because the lot which receives such accretion is covered by a Torrens title. (See Grande v. Court of Appeals, L-17652, June 30, 1962). As such, it must also be placed under the operation of the Torrens System."

VIAJAR v. CA It is a well settled rule that registration under the Torrens System does not protect the riparian owner against the diminution of the area of his registered land through gradual changes in the course of an adjoining stream or river. FACTS: Private respondents Spouses Ladrido are owners of Lot 7511 of the Cadastral Survey of Pototan Iloilo. Petitioners are owners of the Lot 7340, which they bought from the Te. Viajar had lot 7340 relocated and found out that the property was in the possession of Ladrido. She demanded the return but the latter refused. She instituted a civil action for recovery of possession and damages. She also impleaded Te as defedant for the reason that if Ladrido is going to be favored then the sale was to be annulled and plaintiff must be reimbursed. During the trial it was proven that during the cadastral survey in 1926, the two lots were separated by the Suague River and that a part of the land of Lot 7340 and the old river bed were in the possession of the defendants and that the plaintiffs have never been in actual physical possession. CFI ruled in favor of the defendants which the CA confirmed. There was a mention in the case that the issue from which the decision of the CFI was not the issue appealed in the CA so the affirmation made by the CA should be void. ISSUES: 1) Whether or not the change in the course of the Suague River was gradual or sudden 2) Whether or not the plaintiffs are protected by the Torrens System (in relation to the dimunition of the area of their land because the plaintiffs are contending that Art 457 must be interpreted as applicable only to unregistered lands) RULING: It was established in the trial that for a period of 40 years the Suague river overflowed its banks yearly and the property of the defendant gradually received deposits of soil from the effects of the current of the river. It is a well settled rule that registration under the Torrens System does not protect the riparian owner against the dimunition of the area of his registered land through gradual changes in the course of an adjoining stream or river. Accretions which the banks of the river may gradually receive from the effect of the current become the property of the owners of the banks. HEIRS OF NAVARRO V. IAC Accretion along an area adjacent to the sea is public domain, even if the accretion results from rivers emptying into the sea. It cannot be registered. FACTS: Sinforoso Pascual sits in the midst of a land registration case. The story begins on 1946 upon his desire to register land on the northern section of his existing property. His current registered property is bounded on the east by Talisay River, on the West by Bulacan River and on the North by the Manila bay. Both rivers flow towards the Manila Bay. Because of constantly flowing water, extra land of about 17hectares (thats about the size of Disney Park!) formed in the northern most section of the property. It is this property he sought to register. The RTC denied the registration claiming this to be foreshore land and part of public domain (remember, accretion formedby the sea is public dominion). His Motion for Reconsideration likewise burned. In 1960, he attempted registry again, claiming that the Talisay and Bulacan rivers deposited more silt resulting on accretion. He claimed this land as riprarian owner. The Director of Lands, Director of Forestry and the Fiscal opposed. Then a new party surfaced. Mr Emiliano Navarro jumped into the fray opposing the same application, stating the he leased part of the property sought to be registered. He sought to protect his fishpond that rested on the same property. Sinforoso was not amused and filed ejectment against Mr. Navarro, claiming that Navarro used stealth force and strategy to occupy a portion of his land. Pascual lost the case against Navarro so he appealed. During the appeal, his original land registration case was consolidated and tried jointly. (alas Pascual died) The heirs of Pascual took over the case. On 1975, the court decided that the property was foreshore land and therefore part of public domain. The RTC dismissed the complaint of Pascual for ejectment against Navarro and also denied his land registration request. Pascuals heirs appealed and the RTC was reversed by the IAC. The Apellate court granted petition for registration! The reason? The accretion was caused by the two rivers, not manila bay. Hence it wasnt foreshore land. (BUT the confusion lies in the fact that the accretion formed adjacent to Manila Bay which is sea!) Aggrieved, the Director of Forestry moved for reconsideration (Government insists it is foreshore and hence, public domain). The Apellate court denied all motions of the Director and the Government. The matter went to the SC. ISSUE: Whether or not the accretion taking place on property adjacent to the sea can be registered under the Torrens system. HELD: It cannot be registered. This is land of Public domain. Pascual claimed ownership under Article 457 of the Civil Code saying that the disputed 14-hectare land is an accretion caused by the joint action of the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers Art 457: Accretion as a mode of acquiring property and requires the concurrence of the following requisites: (1) that the accumulation of soil or sediment be gradual and imperceptible; (2) that it be the result of the action of the waters of the river; and (3) that the land where the accretion takes place is adjacent to the bank of the river. Unfortunately, Pasucal and Heirs claim of ownership based on Art 457 is misplaced. If theres any land to be claimed, it should be land ADJACENT to the rivers Talisay and Bulacan. The law is clear on this. Accretion of land along the river bank may be registered. This is not the case of accretion of land on the property adjacent to Manila Bay. Furthermore, Manila Bay is a sea. Accretion on a sea bank is foreshore land and the applicable law is not Art 457 but Art 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866. This law, while old, holds that accretion along sea shore cannot be registered as it remains public domain unless abandoned by government for public use and declared as private property capable of alienation. Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of August 3, 1866 provides as follows: Lands added to the shores by accretions and alluvial deposits caused by the action of the sea, form part of the public domain. When they are no longer washed by the waters of the sea and are not necessary for purposes of public utility, or for the establishment of special industries, or for the coast-guard service, the Government shall declare them to be the property of the owners of the estates adjacent thereto and as increment thereof.

The IAC decision granting registration was reversed and set aside. Registration cannot be allowed.