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Anna Carolina P. Festin 2007 -199 SPOUSES IGNACIO PALOMO, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, G.R. No.

95608 January 21, 1997 Facts Governor General William Cameron Forbes issued Executive Order No. 40 on June 13, 1913 which reserved some square meters of land in Barrio Naga, Albay for provincial park purposes. On December 9, 1916, The CFI of Albay ordered the registration of 15 parcels of land covered by E.O. No. 40 to Diego Palomo. Two months before his death, Diego Palomo donated these parcels of land to his heir, Ignacion Palomo and Carmen Palomo which was allegedly covered by an Original Certificate of Title. President Ramon Magsaysay issued Proclamation No. 47 converting the area embraced in E.O No. 40 into “Tiwi Hot Spring National Parks and Wildlife. The area was never released as alienable and disposable portion of public domain and therefore is neither susceptible to disposition nor registrable. The Palomos, however continued in possession of the property and paid real estate taxes and introduced improvements by planting banana, pandan and coconuts. On May 7, 1974 petitioners filed a civil case against private respondents who are all employees of the Bureau of Forest Development who entered their land and cut down bamboos. The Republic of the Philippines also filed a Civil Case for the annulment and cancellation of the Certificate of Titles involving the 15 parcels of land. RTC ad CA ruled against the Palomos.

Issue Whether or not the lands claimed by the Palomos are alienable lands of the public domain which may be acquired by adverse possession? Held No. The lands in the case at bar were not alienable lands of the public domain. There was no proof that the petitioners’ predecessors in interest derived title from an old Spanish grant. The “decisions” of the CFI were not signed by the judge but merely certified true copies of notification to Diego Palomo bearing the signature of the clerk of court. It is elementary in the law governing natural resources that forest land cannot be owned by private persons. It is not registrable and possession thereof no matter how lengthly, cannot be converted into private property unless such lands are reclassified and considered disposable and alienable. CA’s decision was affirmed.