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The Solicitor General for petitioner. Quasha, Asperilla, Ancheta, Valmonte, Pena & Marcos for respondents. CRUZ, J.: The basic question before the Court is the legal classification of mangrove swamps, or manglares, as they are commonly known. If they are part of our public forest lands, they are not alienable under the Constitution. If they are considered public agricultural lands, they may be acquired under private ownership. The private respondent's claim to the land in question must be judged by these criteria. The said land consists of 178,113 square meters of mangrove swamps located in the municipality of Sapian, Capiz. Ruperto Villareal 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 1 approved by the Court of First Instance. of Capiz. The decision was affirmed by the 2 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. He asks that the registration be reversed. It should be stressed at the outset that both the petitioner and the private respondent agree that the land is mangrove land. There is no dispute as to this. The bone of contention between the parties is the legal nature of mangrove swamps or manglares. The petitioner claims, it is forestal and therefore not disposable and the private respondent insists it is alienable as agricultural land. The issue before us is legal, not factual. For a proper background of this case, we have to go back to the Philippine Bill of 1902, one of the earlier American organic acts in the country. By this law, lands of the public domain in the Philippine Islands were classified into three grand divisions, to wit, agricultural, mineral and timber or forest lands. This classification was maintained in the Constitution of the Commonwealth, promulgated in 1935, until it was superseded by the Constitution of 1973. That new charter expanded the classification of public lands to include industrial or commercial, residential, resettlement, and 3 grazing lands and even permitted the legislature to provide for other categories. This provision has been reproduced, but with substantial modifications, in the present 4 Constitution. Under the Commonwealth Constitution, which was the charter in force when this case 5 arose, only agricultural lands were allowed to be alienated. Their disposition was provided for under C.A. No. 141. Mineral and timber or forest lands were not subject to private ownership unless they were first reclassified as agricultural lands and so released for alienation.
In the leading case of Montano v. Insular Government, promulgated in 1909, mangrove swamps or manglareswere defined by the Court as: ... mud flats, alternately washed and exposed by the tide, in which grows various kindred plants which will not live except when watered by the sea, extending their roots deep into the mud and casting their seeds, which also germinate there. These constitute the mangrove flats of the tropics, which exist naturally, but which are also, to some extent cultivated by man for the sake of the combustible wood of the mangrove and like trees as well as for the useful nipa palm propagated thereon. Although these flats are literally tidal lands, yet we are of the opinion that they cannot be so regarded in the sense in which that term is used in the cases cited or in general American jurisprudence. The waters flowing over them are not available for purpose of navigation, and they may be disposed of without impairment of the public interest in what remains. xxx Under this uncertain and somewhat unsatisfactory condition of the law, the custom had grown of converting manglares and nipa lands into fisheries which became a common feature of settlement along the coast and at the same time of the change of sovereignty constituted one of the most productive industries of the Islands, the abrogation of which would destroy vested interests and prove a public disaster. Mangrove swamps were thus considered agricultural lands and so susceptible of private ownership. Subsequently, the Philippine Legislature categorically declared, despite the abovecited case, that mangrove swamps form part of the public forests of this country. This it did in the Administrative Code of 1917, which became effective on October 1 of that year, thus: Section 1820. Words and phrase defined. - For the purpose of this chapter 'public forest' includes, except as otherwise specially indicated, all unreserved public land, including nipa and mangrove swamps, and all forest reserves of whatever character. It is noteworthy, though, that notwithstanding this definition, the Court maintained the doctrine in the Montano case when two years later it held in the case of Jocson v. 7 Director of Forestry: ...the words timber land are always translated in the Spanish translation of that Act (Act of Congress) as terrenos forestales. We think there is an error in this translation and that a better translation would be 'terrenos madereros.' Lumber land in English means land
Mangrove swamps where only trees of mangrove species grow. Justice Ostrand declared for a unanimous Court: The opposition rests mainly upon the proposition that the land covered by the application there are mangrove lands as shown in his opponent's Exh. manglares. fisheries or ordinary farm lands. shrubs or aquatic plants growing on it cannot be called 'timber land. citing Krivenko v. whether they are used as nipa swamps. 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.' Although conceding that 'mangrove swamp' is included in the classification of forest land in accordance with Section 1820 of the Revised Administrative Code. mineral or agricultural lands.. De Porkan. more positive when it held. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. promulgated on March 4. is still subject to land registration proceedings because the property had been in actual possession of private persons for many years. promulgated in 1983. the trial court should have considered them agricultural lands. 1. 8 Obias. Director of Forestry. this Court said that the phrase agricultural lands as used in Act No. No elaboration was made on this conclusion which was merely based on the cases of Montano and Jocson. the Court declared: 'In the case of Mapa vs. 885 cannot be classified as forest land because it is not thickly forested but is a 'mangrove swamps. they contend that Lot 885. The doctrine was reiterated still later in Garchitorena Vda. the above ruling was reaffirmed in Tongson v. As it happens. nipa palms. Swampy areas covered by mangrove trees.with trees growing on it. the Court. Furthermore. Such lands are not forest in character. even if it is a mangrove swamp. Insular Government (10 Phil. Whatever may have been the meaning of the term 'forestry' under the Spanish law. And in 1977. second and third groups are found on the land in question. addressing itself directly to above-quoted Section 1820. fisheries or ordinary farm lands. The decision even quoted with approval the statement of the trial court that: . and other trees growing in . More to the point. 926 means those public lands acquired from Spain which are not timber or mineral lands. but we think this opposition of the Director of Forestry is untenable. reiterated the ruling in the Mapa case that "all public lands that are not timber or mineral lands are necessarily agricultural public lands. fit only for firewood purposes and the trees growing are not of commercial value as lumber do not convert the land into public land. again through Justice Gutierrez: 13 12 10 the Court was The Heirs of Jose Amunategui maintain that Lot No.. These lands being neither timber nor mineral lands. They do not form part of the public domain. xxx xxx xxx The fact that there are a few trees growing in a manglare or nipa swamps does not change the general character of the land from manglare to timber land. de Centenera v. where the trees are small and sparse. 175). classifies the public lands in the Philippine Islands as timber. and land which has only bushes. the petitioners argue that no big trees classified in Section 1821 of the said Code as first. with Justice Fernando declaring that the mangrove lands in litis were agricultural in nature. 1933. in Republic v. manglares. then the rights of appellants are fully established by Act No. inasmuch as it has been definitely decided that mangrove lands are not forest lands in the sense in which this phrase is used in the Act of Congress. Rep.. The mangler plant would never be called a tree in English but a bush. If they are agricultural lands. Only last year. The petition is without merit. Register of 11 Deeds. In Yngson v. 926. But the problem is not all that simple. more than fifteen years after the effectivity of the Administrative Code of 1917. in Heirs of Amunategui v. The definition of forestry as including manglares found in the Administrative Code of 1917 cannot affect rights which vested prior to its enactment. and all public lands that are not timber or mineral lands are necessarily agricultural public lands. whether they are used as nipa swamps. and therefore. there is also a line of decisions holding the contrary view. 9 Director of Forestry. Four months later. the Act of Congress of July 1st 1902. the Court ruled "that the Bureau of Fisheries has no jurisdiction to dispose of swamp lands or mangrove lands forming part of the public domain while such lands are still classified as forest lands. said land was already 'private land' better adapted and more valuable for agricultural than for forest purposes and not required by the public interests to be kept under forest classification. 'Forested lands' do not have to be on mountains or in out-of-the-way places. Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
assuming they are valid. the Court feels there is a need for a categorical pronouncement that should resolve once and for all the question of whether mangrove swamps are agricultural lands or forest lands. sold. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. With particular regard to alienable public lands. or other similar purposes. For the purposes of the administration and disposition of alienable or disposable lands. at any time and in a similar manner. shall from time to time classify the lands of the public domain into: (a) Alienable or disposable. The determination of this question is a function initially belonging to the legislature.A. The President. Lands in public forest. shall from time to time declare what lands are open to disposition or concession under this Act. (c) Educational. This case was decided only twelve days after the De Porkan case. upon the certification of the Director of Forestry that said lands are better . upon recommendation by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 1827.Upon there commendation of the Director of Forestry. pursue and achieve the objectives of the Constitution in the conservation and utilization of our natural resources. in the discharge of their own role. 6. the National Assembly delegated to the President of the Philippines the function of making periodic classifications of public lands. 141. as follows: (a) Agricultural. the rules on confirmation of imperfect titles do not apply. upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Faced with these apparent contradictions. the lands of the public domain alienable or open to disposition shall be classified. coordinating with each other. 7. (b) Lumber. or otherwise disposed of. where this Court agreed with the Solicitor General's submission that the land in dispute. The President of the Philippines may in like manner by proclamation alter or modify the boundaries of any forest reserve from time to time. thus: Sec. Regulation setting apart forest reserves. industrial. administer our public lands pursuant to their constitutional duty " to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed' and in accordance with the policy prescribed. or revoke any such proclamation. commercial. For their part. . and thereafter such forest reserves shall not be entered. Unless and until the land classsified 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. according to the use or purposes to which such lands are destined. not including forest reserves. In C. the President of the Philippines may set apart forest reserves from the public lands and he shall by proclamation declare the establishment of such reserves and the boundaries thereof.Revocation of same. shall from time to time make the classifications provided for in this section. the President. (b) Residential. Assignment of forest land for agricultural purposes. which has the authority to implement the constitutional provision classifying the lands of the public domain (and is now even permitted to provide for more categories of public lands). or for similar productive purposes. charitable. The President. and (c) Mineral lands. The legislature having made such implementation. and may at any time and in a like manner transfer such lands from one class to another. and upon such revocation such forest reserve shall be and become part of the public lands as though such proclamation had never been made. and shall be administered in the same manner as public forest. Sec. As for timber or forest lands. for the purposes of their administration and disposition.' The view was maintained in Vallarta v. No." were not private properties and so not registerable. transfer lands from one class to another. the executive officials may then. Thus do the three departments. Section 9 of the same law provides: For the purpose of their administration and disposition. 1826. Intermediate Appellate Court. but shall remain as such for forest uses. the Revised Administrative Code states as follows: Sec. and may. the courts will step into the picture if the rules laid down by the legislature are challenged or. 14 Sec. with the approval of the Department Head. upon recommendation by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. and (d) Reservations for townsites and for public and quasi-public uses. which he described as "swamp mangrove or forestal land.brackish or sea water may also be classified as forest land. it is claimed that they are not being correctly observed by the executive.
conformably to the legislative definition embodied in Section 1820 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917. sales patents. before it was much later classified as timberland. The Bureau of Fisheries has no jurisdiction to administer and dispose of swamp lands or mangrove lands forming part of the public domain while such lands are still classified as forest land or timber land and not released for fishery or other purposes. It is not registerable. With these principles in mind. More importantly. So we ruled again only 15 two months ago in Republic of the Philippines vs. To be so. Accordingly. the said provision has not been challenged as arbitrary or unrealistic or unconstitutional assuming the requisite conditions. 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. it had first to be released as forest land and reclassified as agricultural land pursuant to the certification the Director of Forestry may issue under Section 1827 of the Revised Administrative Code. grant. The law is thus presumed valid and so must be respected. no matter bow long cannot convert it into private property. Possession of forest land. however. we have no duty as judges but to apply it. the tax declarations made by the private respondent were practically the only basis used by the appellate court in sustaining his claim of possession over the land in question. It is reiterated for emphasis that. not sufficient to prove possession and much less vest ownership in favor of the declarant.' We find in fact that even if the land in dispute were agricultural in nature. sell or otherwise dispose of these lands for homesteads. that the mere existence of such a plan would not have the effect of converting the mangrove swamps. in the exercise of our own discretion.adapted and more valuable for agricultural than for forest purposes and not required by the public interests to be kept under forest. Our previous description of the term in question as pertaining to our agricultural lands should be understood as covering only those lands over which ownership had already vested before the Administrative Code of 1917 became effective. And so we shall. Court of Appeals. It follows from all this that the land under contention being admittedly a part of the mangrove swamps of Sapian. Under the aforecited law. fishpond leases and other modes of utilization. is accepted and invoked by the executive department. . as we have held in countless 18 cases. and in effect veto it. Significantly. It could therefore not be the subject of the adverse possession and consequent ownership claimed by the private respondent in support of his application for registration. Such approval is ineffectual because it is clearly in officious. which remains unamended up to now. into agricultural land. where the possession of the land in dispute commenced as early as 1909. shall be declared by the Department Head to be agricultural lands. of course. the petition must be granted. It should be plain. The statutory definition remains unchanged to date and. thus: It is elementary in the law governing natural resources that forest land cannot be owned by private persons. which is lacking in this case. as a basis for its declaration as agricultural land and release for private ownership. The same rule was echoed in the Vallarta case. Nowhere has it been shown that the informacion posesoria has been inscribed or registered in the registry of property and that the land has been under the actual and adverse possession of the private respondent for twenty years as required 17 by the Spanish Mortgage Law. The adverse possession which can be the basis of a grant of title in confirmation of imperfect title cases cannot commence until after the forest land has been declared alienable and disposable. leases for grazing or other purposes. mangrove swamps or manglares form part of the public forests of the Philippines. The legislature having so determined. in sum. That determination having been made and no cogent argument having been raised to annul it. These matters are not presumed but must be established with definite proof. We hold. it must be considered forest land. as forest land. we reach the following conclusion: 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. let alone the fact that the conditions for acquiring title thereunder have been satisfied. As such. The record contains no convincing evidence of the existence of the informacion posesoria allegedly obtained by the original transferor of the property. Tax declarations are. that the private respondent has not established his right to the registration of the subject land in his name. to prove that the land is registerable. The Director of Lands was not authorized to act in the premises. the proof the private respondent offers of prescriptive possession thereof is remarkably meager and of dubious persuasiveness. Such lands could not be retroactively legislated as forest lands because this would be violative of a duly acquired property right protected by the due process clause. we have no authority to ignore or modify its decision. to justify our judicial intervention and scrutiny. We repeat our statement in the Amunategui case that the classification of mangrove swamps as forest lands is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. and for which a minor forest license had in fact been issued by the Bureau of Forestry from 1920 to 1950. The private respondent invokes the survey plan of the mangrove swamps approved 16 by the Director of Lands. it is the Director of Forestry who has the authority to determine whether forest land is more valuable for agricultural rather than forestry uses. no less noteworthy. Thus we held in the Yngson case: It is elementary in the law governing the disposition of lands of the public domain that until timber or forest lands are released as disposable and alienable neither the Bureau of Lands nor the Bureau of Fisheries has authority to lease.
J.. Gancayco. the decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and the application for registration of title of private respondent is DISMISSED. Paras. SO ORDERED. Padilla.WHEREFORE.. Narvasa. Sarmiento. C. Medialdea and Regalado. JJ.. concur. Jr. Griño-Aquino. with cost against him. Feliciano. This decision is immediately executory. Fernan. Melencio-Herrera. Gutierrez. . Cortes. Bidin. took no part.
or private lands desired to be purchased by the Insular Government for such uses. and which applied to pending cases. presented his petition asking that the land be registered in his name. acting upon this notice from the Governor. 1224. in the Province of Benguet. 648. and that you proceed in accordance with the provisions of Act No. J. WILLARD. 627. Office of the Solicitor-General. No.G. The first claim of the Government is that the provisions of Act No. entitled "An act creating a Government reservation at Baguio. the appellee. which was approved August 31. We do not think that this contention can be sustained." that the Philippine Commission has reserved for civil public uses of the Government of the Philippine Islands the lands described in Act No. the court was deprived of jurisdiction over lands situated in the Province of Benguet. if it saw fit. H. plaintiff-appellee. and second to give notice thereof to the Court of Land Registration. in accordance with the provisions of Act No." enacted February 11. but where the land had already been reserved by competent authority. for appellee. not so presented. and extending the provisions of Act Numbered Six hundred and twentyseven so that public lands desired to be reserved by the Insular Government for public uses. the following letter was directed by Governor Taft to the judge of the Court of Land Registration: SIR: You are hereby notified. may be brought under the operation of the Land Registration Act. any part of the public domain not appropriated by law for special public purposes. 1904. The act creating the Court of Land Registration (No. 627. The court of Land Registration. Very (Signed)WM. This notice was given in the letter above quoted. STEWART vs. 496) gave it jurisdiction throughout the Archipelago. 648 conferred power upon the Governor to reserve lands for public purposes. Stewart Jones presented a petition to the Court of Land Registration asking that he be inscribed as the owner of a certain tract of land situatd in the Province of Benguet. THE INSULAR GOVERNMENT. neither did it intend to annul any reservations which it had formerly made. 636. . and then to give notice to the Court of Land Registration. but it did not make that power exclusive. it not only was not necessary for the Governor to issue any executive order reserving the land but he had no power to do so. On the 26th day of August.: JONES. The objections were overruled and judgment entered in favor of the petitioner. and that all lands not so presented within said time would be conclusively adjudged to be public lands. "Civil Governor. The court had jurisdiction to try the case. from which judgment the Government appealed to this court. L-2506 April 16. At the trial he objected to any consideration of the case on the ground that the court had no jurisdiction to register land situated in that reservation. 648. In such a case it would be the duty of the Governor to first reserve it by an executive order. 1903. Act No. entitled "An act authorizing the Civil Governor to reserve for civil public purposes. That act. within the six months referred to in the notice. and in pursuance of that notice Jones. 636. provides that when notice is given to the Court of Land Registration of the fact that any land has been so reserved. issued the notice required by Act No. it shall be the duty of the court to issue notice that claims for all private lands within the limits of the reservation must be presented for registration under the Land Registration Act within six months from the date of issuing such notice. The Commission did not thereby deprive itself of the power to itself make reservations in the future. either of the Insular Government. The Solicitor-General says in his brief: To bring these lands within the operation of section 2 of Act No.R. The Solicitor-General appeared in the court below and opposed the inscription upon the ground that the property was public land. and all claims on the part of private individuals for such lands. in writing. and within the reservation defined in Act No. defendant-appellant. contained a proviso by which the court was given jurisdiction over applications for registration of title to land in all cases coming within the provisions of Act No. and from sale or settlement. Act No. and shall give notice thereof to the judge of the Court of Land Registration. 648. In such cases the only duty imposed upon him was to give notice to the Court of Land Registration that the land had been reserved. 1903. it shall be the duty of the judge of said court" to proceed in accordance with the provisions of Act No. which relates to military reservations. 648 provides in its first section that — The Civil Governor is hereby authorized and empowered by executive order to reserve from settlement or public sale and for specific public uses any of the public domain in the Philippine Islands the use of which is not otherwise directed by law. TAFT. until otherwise directed by law. On the 16th day of January. for appellant. 627. Act No. Section 2 provides: "Whenever the Civil Governor. 648 it was necessary for the Civil Governor first to certify that these lands were reserved for public uses. however. 1906 F. would be forever barred. Pillsbury and Sutro. It is therefore requested that the land mentioned be forthwith brought under the operation of the Land Registration Act and become registered land in the meaning thereof. 1904 F. or of any provincial or municipal government. The contention of the Government is true when applied to a case where the land has not been reserved by the Commission. By Act No." respectfully. shall certify that all public lands within limits by him described in the Philippine Islands are reserved for civil public uses. 648 were not complied with in the respect that this letter of the Governor did not amount to a certificate that the lands had been reserved.
to be administered for the benefit of the inhabitants thereof. and shall be applied against the Government. 648 and 627. and continued in such possession until his sale to Jones. These acts in effect provide that in determining whether the applicant is the owner of the land or not. to provide for the granting or sale and conveyance to actual occupants and settlers and other citizens of said Islands such parts and portions of the public domain. and of all public lands. during which time the purchaser or grantee can not alienate or encumber said land or the title thereto. 15. and when approved by the President they shall be submitted by him to Congress at the beginning of the next ensuing session thereof and unless disapproved or amended by Congress at said session they shall at the close of such period have the force and effect of law in the Philippine Islands: Provided. 14. shall be conditioned upon actual and continued occupancy. the general statute of limitations shall be considered. and has been in possession thereof for many years prior to said time. provides as follows: SEC. 1901. or other disposition of the public lands other than timber or mineral lands. That a single homestead entry shall not exceed sixteen hectares in extent. The claim of the Government is that this provision is void. and to show such an adverse possession thereof for ten years as is required by the section. except as provided in this act. that the act thereby disposes of public lands. 1904. 627 and 648 provide that the provisions of section 41 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall be applicable to all proceedings taken under either one of these acts. but such restriction shall not apply to transfers of rights and title of inheritance under the laws for the distribution of the estates of decedents. and shall immediately make rules and regulations for the lease. We do not think that this contention can be sustained. and was limited to securing a measurement thereof. signed December tenth. was in possession of the land at the time the gift was made. SEC. Ortega. who. during the life of the latter. he commenced proceedings in court for the purpose of obtaining a possessory information in accordance with the provisions of the Mortgage Law. The evidence shows that Sioco Cariño was born upon the premises in question. Upon the gift being made Sioco took possession of the property. prior to the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to the United States. Since such sale Jones has been in possession of the land. an Igorot. Section 12 of the act of Congress of July 1. that his grandfather. Ortega. That all the property and rights which may have been acquired in the Philippine Islands by the United States under the treaty of peace with Spain. and while Sioco Cariño was in possession of the land. 12. That the Gonvernment of the Philippine Islands. These acts did not interrupt the running of the statute of limitations. as he then believed. If the Commission should pass laws relating to mineral . before the 16th day of January. This gift was made more than twelve years before the filing of the petition in this case — that is. He caused his deed to the land to be recorded in the office of the registrar of property on the 8th day of May of the same year. on the 1st day of May. 1902. on such terms as it may prescribe. This possessory information he caused to be recorded in the office of the registrar of property on the 12th day of March. For more than twelve years prior to the presentation of the petition the land had been cultivated by the owners thereof. Prior thereto. subject to the provisions of this Act and except as herein provided.The petitioner Jones. the petitioner. and the evidence is sufficient. Timber and mineral lands are expressly excluded. conveying title to any tract of land not more than sixteen hectares in extent. which were public lands and had been actually occupied by such native or his ancestors prior to and on the thirteenth of August. to any native of said Islands. and to pass the law in question. shall classify according to its agricultural character and productiveness. 13. unless there is some provision in other parts of the act of July 1. in our opinion. That section and sections 14 and 15 are as follows: SEC. Acts Nos. eighteen hundred and ninety-eight. That the Government of the Philippine Islands is hereby authorized and empowered to enact rules and regulations and to prescribe terms and conditions to enable persons to perfect their title to public lands in said Islands. to bring the case within section 41 of the Code of Civil Procedure. and the Philippine Commission is authorized to issue patents. which takes away or limits that power. as we have said. eighteen hundred and ninety-eight. the petitioner proved his ownership of the land if the Commission had authority to make the statute of limitations applicable to these proceedings. bought the land in question from Sioco Cariño. and cultivation of the premises sold for a period of not less than five years. The evidence showing. by general legislation. and is now in such possession. That the Government of the Philippine Islands is hereby authorized and empowered. are hereby placed under the control of the Government of said Islands. such an adverse possession. had fulfilled all or some of the conditions required by the Spanish laws and royal decrees of the Kingdom of Spain for the acquisition of legal title thereto. yet failed to secure conveyance of title. except such land or other property as shall be designated by the President of the United States for military and other reservations of the Government of the United States. and for the sale and conveyance of not more than one thousand and twenty-four hectares to any corporation or association of persons: Provided. 1902. SEC. The evidence of Sioco Carino shows that what he did in the way of presenting a petition to the Spanish Government in regard to a deed of the land was done by order of the then comandante. other than timber and mineral lands. and that it has never authorized or approved the action of the Commission in applying the statute of limitations to proceedings under Acts Nos. made a gift of the property to Sioco. That the grant or sale of such lands. 1901. sale. The government says that such limitation is found in section 13 of the act. of the United States in said Islands as it may deem wise. improvement. without compensation. but such rules and regulations shall not go into effect or have the force of law until they have received the approval of the President. Sioco's grandfather. It is first to be noted that section 13 does not apply to all lands. This gives the Government of the Philippine Islands power to dispose of these lands. not exceeding sixteen hectares to any one person. that Congress is the only authority that can take such action. whether the purchase price be paid at once or in partial payments.
But it is said that although as to Act No. It is sufficient to say that the law in question (Act No. is void. or acquire their holdings within such reasonable time as may be determined by said Government. By section 57 this Government is authorized to issue all needful rules and regulations for carrying into effect this and preceding sections relating to mineral lands. making a statute of limitations run against the Government when the title to few scattered tracts of land throughout the Archipelago is under consideration. then Act No. are hereby continued in force. It has reclaimed from the sea a large tract of land in connection with the works of the port of Manila. 660 and 732 authorized the leasing of parts of the San Lazaro estate. relating to coal lands. If they are not inconsistent with the provisions of the act of Congress relating to the same subjects. the former law could not in any way prejudice the Government if it were not for the latter law making the judgments of this court binding upon it. or should desire to sell the Oriente Hotel building. which established the Court of Land Registration. for example. The general purpose of section 13 was to require the Government to classify agricultural lands and to pass a homestead law — that is. They never consented that the title of the Government to public lands should be submitted to the judgment of the courts of the Islands. None of these acts were ever submitted to the President or Congress. 648 submission to Congress was not required. the general power given by section 12 is taken away. 624). If the Government should desire to sell this reclaimed land or to lease a part of it for the site of an hotel. is void. would be the effect of the rule contended for by the Govenrment. . If. The same is true of legislation relating to coal lands. The Government owns many isolated tracts of land. Act No. by section 12 of the act. or leased temporarily for a period not exceeding three years after their acquisition by said Government. is not such a rule or regulations as required previous submission to the President and Congress. they are valid.lands without submitting them to Congress. Section 18 of the act of Congress provides as follows: That the forest laws and regulations now in force in the Philippine Islands. and that this section limits the power of the Commission to declare possession alone sufficient evidence of . In other words. Must these modifications and amendments be submitted to Congress for its approval? If they must be. gave to the Philippine Government general power all property acquired from Spain. however. which contains such provisions. . if the Government had not appealed from the judgment. a law which would state the rules and regulations by virtue of which title to the public lands of which it can be decided in every case whether an act of the Commission constitutes a rule or regulation within the meaning of section 13. the court that tried this case. An examination of some of the laws of the Commission will show that a holding such as is contended for by the Government in this case would apparently require a holding that such other laws were also void. Congress reserves the right to annul all legislation of the Commission. the lands would be lost to it--lands which the Attorney-General claims are public lands. 1902. purchase. we do not think legislation to accomplish such purposes would require the previous approval of the President and of Congress. 1148. 65. and lands bought from religious orders need not be submitted to Congress. It will be observed that be section 86 of the act of Congress of July 1. and all the branches thereof. then Act No. In fact. Such regulations need not be submitted to Congress for its approval. on such terms and conditions as it may prescribe. It seems very clear that rules and regulations concerning mineral. Neither the President nor Congress ever gave their consent to this law. Both of these laws in an indirect way affect the title to public lands. Act No. 1039 granted to the Province of Cavite and to the pueblo of Cavite certain public lands. Congress. as to which sections 53 and 57 contain provisions. 496. In this very case. 648). which authorized such disposition. such as the Oriente Hotel. When it required the Commision to immediately classify the agricultural lands and to make rules and regulations for their sale. The act of Congress also contains provisions regarding the purchase of lands beloning to religious orders. but we do not think that for that reason they are included in the terms "rules and regulations" used in section 13 of the act of Congress. the fact that such laws were not submitted to Congress would not necessarily make them void. we do not think that it intended to virtually repeal section 12. notwithstanding the provisions of section 12. and conveyed. as it has done (Act No. That all lands acquired by virtue of the preceding section shall constitute a part and portion of the public property of the Government of the Philippine Islands. or if it should withdraw its appeal. 1120. because it was never so submitted. . provides in section 38 that the decrees of the court shall be conclusive on and against all persons. sold. Actual settlers and occupants at the time said lands are acquired by the Government shall have the preference over all others to lease. Section 65 provides as to those lands as follows: SEC. and may be held. The land could not be more effectually lost by the law shortening the statute of limitations than by this law making the decrees of the Court of Land Registration binding on the Government. including the Insular Government. but rather by inquiring if they were inconsistent with other provisions of the act relating to mineral lands. timber. 1128. Acts Nos. Act No. This act never was submitted either to the President or Congress. That this law provides a means by which the Government may be deprived of its property in such lands is apparent. because it was not so submitted. and coal lands. relating thereto. and provided for its sale. with such modifications and amendments as may be made by the Government of said Islands. because forbidden by this section. The Government leased the sanitarium at Benguet. Does the clause "subject to the limitations and conditions of this act" require a submission to Congress of legislation concerning such land? If it does. There is nothing in section 14 which requires the rules and regulations therein mentioned to be submitted to Congress. any law which in any way directly or indirectly affects injuriously the title of the Government to public lands must be submitted to the President and Congress for approval. subject to the limitations and conditions provided for in this Act. it is nevertheless void when applied to one not a native of the Islands. was not submitted. their validity would not be determined by inquiring if they had been submitted to Congress under section 13. Such.
as required by section 15. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural public land. was intended to limit the general power of control which by section 12 is given to the Commission. This paragraph of section 54 of Act No. C. To adopt the view that the power of the Commission is so limited would require a holding that this section is void as to foreigners and as to all tracts of land over 16 hectares in extent. nineteen hundred and two. paragraph 6. It includes mineral and timber lands. According to the strict letter of the section a native would be entitled to a patent who proved that he had been in possession for the months of July and August only of 1898. 648 and an extension of its provisions to all the lands of the Islands. It could not have been the purpose of Congress to give the Commission ample power to legislate for the benefit of foreigners and to limit its power to legislate for the benefit of natives. did not make such a limitation as has been suggested. Section 14 is not limited to agricultural lands. while by the last party of the section the Commission would be entirely without power to make any rules by which a native who by himself and his ancestors had been in possession of 100 hectares. Torres. Such a discrimination in favor of foreigners and against the natives could not have been intended. Mapa. 1898. 1898. 926 is in substance a continuation of Act No. concur. is required.J. nor is it limited to tracts not exceeding 16 hectares in extent. under a bona fide claim of ownership except as against the Government. continuous. To adopt the construction contended for would lead to an unjust result. After the expiration of twenty days let final judgment be entered in accordance herewith and ten days thereafter let the cause be remanded to the lower court for proper procedure. of that act is as follows: All persons who by themselves or their predecessors in interest have been in the open.. in Act No. Neither is it stated whether or not a person who was in possession for the month of August. It is seen that this section does not exclude foreigners. except when prevented by war or force majeure.title to cases in which the claimant is native and in which the amount of land does not exceed 16 hectares. 926. as are sections 13 and 15. for a period of ten years next preceding the taking effect of this act. Arellano. and it is difficult to give to them a construction that will be entirely free from objection. So ordered. shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and to have received the same. The judgment of the court below is affirmed.. with the costs of this instance the appellant. By the terms of the first part of section 14 the Commission has the power to perfect the title to 100 hectares of land as to which a Spaniards may have done nothing more than to file an application relating thereto. When legislating upon the subject-matter of section 14. Section 54. But we do not think that authority given by the Commission to issue to a native a patent for 16 hectares of land of which he was in possession during the month of August. It is not stated whether or not one who receives such a patent must occupy the land for five years thereafter. . nor is proof of any possession whatever after that date demanded. and shall be entitled to a certificate of title to such land under the provision of this chapter. So far as it relates to proceedings theretofore taken under Spanish laws its benefits are not limited to natives of the Islands nor to tracts not more than 16 hectares in extent. no possession for any definite time prior to August 13. 1898. as defined by said act of Congress of July first. the Commission. and of which he never was in possession. would be entitled to a patent in preference to the actual settler spoken of in section 6. Where the only claim is possession. The meaning of these sections is not clear. Johnson and Tracey. JJ. exclusive.
in the municipality of Iloilo. The Government could not give a free patent to this land to a native settler. WILLARD. The question before us is not what is agricultural land. nineteen hundred and two. and up to the present. for section 36 relating to that matter. continuous exclusive. to provide for the granting or sale and conveyance to actual occupants and settlers and other citizens of said Islands such parts and portions of the public domain. and has been uninterruptedly. Those sections are as follows: SEC. but such rules and regulations shall not go into effect of have the force of law until they have received the approval of the President. other than timber and mineral lands. 926 allows the entry of homesteads only upon "agricultural public lands" in the Philippine Islands. 1902. as fish ponds. It could not allow the land to be entered as a homestead. The decision of that court was based upon Act No. except when prevented by war. nipa lands. is found not only in section 54 above quoted but in other parts of Act No. J. Basilio R. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural public lands. in accordance with the provisions of Chapter IV. situated in the barrio of San Antonio. and salt deposits. but no exception was taken to the order denying it. shall classify according to its agricultural character and productiveness. and shall be entitled to a certificate of title to such land under the provisions of this chapter. under a bona fide claim of ownership except as against the Government. vs. Attorney-General Araneta for appellant.: This case comes from the Court of Land Registration." In fact. for more than twenty years. SEC. No. in the district of Mandurriao. as defined by section eighteen and twenty of the act of Congress approved July first. THE INSULAR GOVERNMENT. Judgment was rendered in favor of the petitioner and the Government has appealed. A motion for a new trial was made and denied in the court below. The findings of the court below upon that point are as follows: From the evidence adduced it appears that the land in question is lowland. subject to the provisions of this act and except as herein provided. nineteen hundred and two. The witnesses declare that the land is far from the sea. says nothing about agricultural land. 926. and this land because of its nature is not agricultural land." It may be noted in passing that there is perhaps some typographical or other error in this reference to sections 18 and 20. If the contention of the Attorney-General is correct. It could not sell it in accordance with the provisions of Chapter II of Act No. paragraph 6 which follows: All persons who by themselves or their predecessors in interest have been in the open. An examination of that act will show that the only sections thereof wherein can be found anything which could be called a definition of the phrase are sections 13 and 15. by general legislation. of the United States in said Islands as it may deem wise.R. nineteen hundred and two. That the Government of the Philippine Islands is hereby authorized and empowered on such terms as it may prescribe. respondent-appellant. and shall immediately make rules and regulations for the lease. for Chapter I of Act No. for a period of ten years next preceding the taking effect of this act. as defined by act of Congress of July first. the town of Molo being between the sea and the said land. petitioner-appellee. That the Government of the Philippine Islands. for section 22 relating to leases limits them to "nonmineral public lands. nineteen hundred and two. 926. L-3793 February 19. or other disposition of the public lands other than timber or mineral lands. that the grant or sale of such lands. The question is an important one because the phrase "agricultural public lands" as defined by said act of Congress of July 1. That a single homestead entry shall not exceed sixteen hectares in extent. The petitioner sought to have registered a tract of land of about 16 hectares in extent. The only question submitted to the court below or to this court by the AttorneyGeneral is the question whether the land in controversy is agricultural land within the meaning of the section above quoted. 926 for section 10 only authorizes the sale of "unreserved nonmineral agricultural public land in the Philippine Islands. the Government could do nothing with this land except to lay out a town site thereon in accordance with the provisions of Chapter V. as defined in the act of Congress of July first. and we therefore can not review the evidence. as defined by said act of Congress of July first. 1908 CIRILO MAPA. sale. in the possession of the petitioner and his ancestors as owners and the same has been used during the said period. as defined by the act of Congress of July 1. 926 section 54. The claim of the Attorney-General seems to be that no lands can be called agricultural lands unless they are such by their nature. it is difficult to see how it could be disposed of or what the Government could do with it if it should be decided that the Government is the owner thereof. because neither one of these sections mentions agricultural lands. 13. and when approved by the President they shall be submitted by him to Congress at the beginning of the next ensuing session thereof and unless disapproved or amended by Congress at said session they shall at the close of such period have the force and effect of law in the Philippine Islands: Provided. or force majeure. by virtue of the provisions of Act No. whether the purchase price be paid at once or in partial payments shall be conditioned upon actual and continued ." It could not lease it in accordance with the provisions of Chapter III of the said act. for that relates only to "agricultural public land. 15. Mapa for appellee. shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and to have received the same.G. and it seems that the same construction must be given to the phrase wherever it occurs in any part of that law. but what definition has been given to that phrase by the act of Congress. not exceeding sixteen hectares to any one person and for the sale and conveyance of not more than one thousand and twenty-four hectares to any corporation or association of persons: Provided.
is of many hectares in extent and is in nature agricultural. 916. As has been said before. between them and the Malecon Drive on the west. Nor can it be known what land the Government has the right to sell in accordance with the provisions of Chapter II. 1." To our minds." and after a careful consideration of the question we are satisfied that the only definition which exists in said act is the definition adopted by the court below. sale. The first is to say that no definition of the phrase "agricultural land" can be found in the act of Congress. The second way of disposing of the question is by saying that Congress has defined agricultural lands as those lands which are. and within a thickly inhabited part thereof an experimental far. The objection to adopting this construction on account of its uncertainty is emphasized when we consider that whether certain land was or was not agricultural land. In other words. or other disposition of the public lands other than timber or mineral land. would be a question that would finally have to be determined by the courts. improvement. Section 2 of Act No. Act No. then the lands upon which homesteads can be granted can not be determined. If the phrase is not defined in the act of Congress. but it says nothing about his decisions as to whether it is or is not agricultural land in its nature. that the phrase "agricultural land" as used in Act No. The Luneta itself could at any time be devoted to the growing of crops. lands. This land is in its nature agricultural. that none of those chapters could be put into force and that all that had up to this time been done by virtue thereof would be void. as the Attorney-General says. 926 was applicable thereto. After homesteads have been entered. Camp Wallace.occupancy. is a large tract of land. and cultivation of the premises sold for a period of not less than five years. and leases made by the administrative officers on the theory that the lands were agricultural lands by their nature. to sale. and therefore subject to homestead entry. and it would seem to follow. came within the definition of agricultural land. 3. 2. or other disposition of the public lands other than timber or mineral lands. by failing to reject or amend it. Section 13. in section 15 the word "agricultural" does not occur. as defined by the act of Congress. but such restriction shall not apply to transfers of rights and title of inheritance under the laws for the distribution of the estates of decedents. the word "agricultural" does not occur in section 15. that there is a definition in the act and that the phrase means all of the public lands acquired from Spain except those which are mineral or timber lands." In fact. Section 26 relating to the lease of public lands provides that the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall determine from the certificate of the Chief of the Bureau of Forestry whether the land applied for is more valuable for agricultural than for timber purposes and further summarily determine from available records whether the land is or is not mineral and does not contain deposits of coal or salts. devoted to sports. could be filled up and any kind of crops raised thereon. in the same city. that there is a definition of that phrase in the act and that it means land which in its nature is agricultural. Section 34 relating to fee patents to native settlers makes no provision for any determination by the Chief of Bureau of Public Lands in regard to the character of the land applied for. if it should be said that there is no definition in the act of Congress of the phrase "agricultural land. Section 13 says that the Government shall "Make rules and regulations for the lease. 926. The President approved this act and it might be said that Congress. provides simply that the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall determine from the certificate of the Chief of the Bureau of Forestry whether the land applied for is more valuable for agricultural than for timber purposes. and that this classification shall be made according to the agricultural character of the land and according to its productiveness. or to lease in accordance with the provisions of Act No. sold. during which time the purchaser or grantee can not alienate or encumber said land or the title thereto. to which we have referred. by their nature agricultural. 926 relating to homesteads provides that the Chief of The Bureau of Public Lands shall summarily determine whether the land described is prima facie under the law subject to homestead settlement. Section 13 says that the Government "shall classify according to its agricultural character and productiveness and shall immediately make rules and regulations for the lease. but it would be difficult to say that any other particular tract of land was not agricultural in nature. Mineral and timber lands are expressly excluded. that it shall classify all the public lands acquired from Spain. Moreover. sale. The court below adopted this view. which is used as a fishery. relating to the sale of public lands. the second. The land surrounding the city walls of Manila. There seem to be only three possible ways of deciding this question. tacitly approved it." we do not see how any effect could be given to the provisions of Act No." This is the same thing as saying that the Government shall classify the public lands other than timber or mineral lands according to its agricultural character and productiveness. We hold that there is to be found in the act of Congress a definition of the phrase "agricultural public lands. Such lands may be found within the limits of any city. There is within the city of Manila. that is the only definition that can be said to be given to acricultural lands. and held that the land. in other words. Adjoining the Luneta. third. There are serious objections to holding that there is no definition in the act of the phrase "agricultural land. One objection to adopting this view is that it is so vague and indefinite that it would be very difficult to apply it in practice. 926 means those public lands acquired from Spain which are not timber or . 926 expressly declared that such a definition could be found therein. What lands are agricultural in nature? The Attorney-General himself in his brief in this case says: The most arid mountain and the poorest soil are susceptible of cultivation by the hand of man. The land in question in this case. not being timber or mineral land." The Commission in enacting Act No. and that therefore Section 54 paragraph 6. nor the lands for which it can give free patents to native settlers in accordance with the provisions of Chapter IV. and. It is seen that neither one of these sections gives any express definition of the phrase "agricultural land. unless there is some express provision of the law authorizing the administrative officers to determine this question for themselves. nor what lands it can lease in accordance with the provisions of Chapter III. necessarily. and Bagumbayan Drive on the south and east. the Luneta on the south. to leave the matter of their true character open for subsequent action by the courts would be to produce an evil that should if possible be avoided.
152 U. 498. Arellano.. In view of the restricted scope of these statutes under the decisions of the United States Supreme Court. were within the strictest definition of the phrase "agricultural lands. . Consequently Act No. 1. is less objectionable than any other one that has been suggested. 761) A grant of public lands applies only to lands which at the time are free from existing claims." It appears that such lands had been cultivated for more than twelve years. and for mineral and forest uses.. (Mann vs. Harvey. Johnson. for town sites. concurs in the result. Carson. C. and can not be included within the term "agricultural public lands. 543. 92 U. There have been similar rulings in regard to reservations for military purposes.. were not devoted to forestry and mining which is consistent with the direction of section 13 of the act of Congress that public lands. nor lands covered and uncovered by the ebb and flow of the tide.) and Torres. (Bardon vs. not that the lands therein involved and other lands referred to in the decision by way of illustration were not agricultural lands but that the law there in question and the other laws mentioned therein were not rules and regulations within the meaning of section 13..R. although still the property of the United States (Leavenworth.. but the fact that it has been delayed does not prevent the designation of any particular parcel of land. These words do not include land reserved for the use of certain Indian tribes. 733). But the construction we have adopted.. other than timber or mineral lands.." (Shively vs. concur.S. concurs. Tacoma Land Co. The Insular Government (6 Phil Rep. The question as to whether the lands there involved were or were not agricultural lands within the meaning of the sections was neither discussed nor decided. The judgment of the court below is affirmed.. it appears from the decision that those lands. must be interpreted according to the American understanding of the words employed and the meaning of these terms as definitely fixed by decisions of the United States Supreme Court. J. "Public domain" and "public lands" are equivalent terms. this direction as to the classification of all remaining lands not forest or mineral in character. 513) it was held that whenever a tract of land has been legally appropriated to any purpose. with the costs of this instance against the appellant. For these reason. I concur in the interpretation put upon this act in the majority opinion. U.S. from that moment it becomes severed from the mass of public lands and no subsequent law will be construed to embrace it. Northern Pacific R. 926 applies only to the lands of the United States in these Islands not already devoted to public use or subject to private right. 926 is restricted to the "Public domain of the Philippine Islands" and to "public lands" in said Islands. 122. upon being granted by the Government.. in a general way. 273. What that case decided was. they are not public lands in this sense." may fairly be considered a definition of them as agricultural lands. There is nothing in this case of Jones vs. The words "public lands" are habitually used in our legislation to describe such as are subject to sale or other disposal under general laws.. In fact. concurring: By its title as well as throughout its text Act No.. (Newhall vs. So ordered. J. United States.S. educational purposes. 92 U. the Philippine Commission must have had in mind this well-settled meaning of the terms employed and have used the word "agricultural" to distinguish and include such public lands. should be classified according to their agricultural character and productiveness.. 133) where these same section of the act of Congress were under discussion: The meaning of these sections is not clear and it is difficult to give to them a construction that would be entirely free from objection.S.J. Jackson (13 Peters. Co.. "according to their agricultural nature and productiveness. which were in the Province of Benguet. should be immediately made. 1902.. including public buildings and such tracts as Wallace Field and the strip surrounding the walls of the City of Manila. This act. and this construction necessarily excludes from its scope lands devoted to the use of municipalities. 181. Separate Opinions TRACEY.. As the act has no application to them. The Insular Government which at all conflicts with the result here arrived at." In referring to agricultural lands as being defined in the act of Congress of July 1. (Barker vs. with the result of freeing the act of the Commission from ambiguity. 153 U. to our minds. 535. As was said in the case of Jones vs. although no express reservation is made.S. etc. J. 490. J. Bowlby.S. drawn in furtherance of an act of Congress.) And the same was held of the words "unoccupied and unappropriated public lands. 145 U. as coming under one of these heads. Sanger.) In Wilcox vs. It was apparently the intention of Congress that such classification. 481. not otherwise appropriated as.mineral lands. vs.
which are the very lots which had been ordered registered in her name in the former action. Nothing further seems to have occurred with reference to the registration of the land included in the former case until the 26th day of April. PAULINO ABELLA. under the cadastral survey. J. And moreover if it should be accepted it would not be sufficient to justify the granting of a new trial. ordered registered in the name of Maria del Rosario. (Ankron vs. Villamor. 1926 THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. 1915. after issue joined and after hearing the evidence. She presented her opposition in the present action. ET AL. Lualhati and Lopez for appellant. 10. MARIA DEL ROSARIO. Philippine Islands.: This is a petition for the registration of a certain parcel or tract of land located in the municipality of San Jose. we are fully persuaded that no error has been committed.. Whether particular land is more valuable for forestry purposes than for agricultural purposes. which in the slightest degree showed that she was entitled to the registration of any other parcel of land than those which had been conceded to her in the first action. which was the plan presented in that action. Johns. Avanceña. speaking through Mr. vs. Romualdez and Villa-Real. Carballo. lots 3238. For all of the foregoing. the Honorable Vicente Nepomuceno. is a question of fact and must be established during the trial of the cause. Ostrand. So ordered. plaintiff-appellee. 3242 and 3243. The Supreme Court after a consideration of the evidence affirmed the decision of the lower court. of a portion of land located in the municipality of San Jose.R. with costs. Government of the Philippine Islands. From that judgment Maria del Rosario appealed. set aside for forestry or mineral purposes the particular land in question. when the Acting Director of Lands presented the petition in the present case for the registration. forestry. 1921. With reference to said motion for rehearing. because 1 all the papers which the applicant has regarding this property call the land palayero. It cannot.. which included the very land claimed by Maria del Rosario in the former action. It is not newly discovered evidence. or vice-versa. under the cadastral survey. with reasonable diligence. C. Justice Moir. claiming the very land which she claimed in the former action. was more valuable for agricultural than forestry purposes. upon the ground that said portion was more valuable for timber purposes than for agricultural purposes.. 40 Phil. J. . L-25010 October 27. In the course of that decision the Supreme Court. prior to the intervention of private interest..G. it may be said that all of the proof which is presented in support thereof existed at the time of the trial and might. claimants. or mineral is a question to be settled in each particular case. the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed. petitioner-appellant. No proof was adduced in addition thereto. unless the Bureau of Forestry has. 3240. In that case. of the very land now in question by virtue of her appeal. The fact that nearly all the northern property is forestry land is a further indication that the applicant's possessory information title did not include the land running up to the road to Bongabon. JJ. After a careful examination of the entire record and the evidence adduced during the trial of this cause as well as that adduced during the trial of the first cause. have been presented. judge. denied the registration of all of the northern portion of the land included in her petition represented by Exhibit 1. the appellant Maria del Rosario presented a petition in the Court of First Instance for the registration under the Torrens system. The only proof which she presented in support of her claim in the present action was the proof which she had presented in the former action. therefore. Upon the issue and the proof adduced in the present case the Honorable C. be considered now. We have no evidence before us showing that order of Judge Nepomuceno was ever complied with. Auxiliary Judge of the Sixth Judicial District. From that judgment she appealed to this court upon the ground that the lower court committed an error in not registering all of the land included in her opposition in her name." Judge Nepomuceno in his decision directed that the appellant herein present an amended plan in that case. Province of Nueva Ecija. Street. under the authority conferred upon it. Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee. JOHNSON. Whether the particular land is agricultural. No. showing the particular part or parcel of the land in question which she was entitled to have registered.) During the trial of the present cause the appellant made no effort to show that the land which she claimed. concur. Francisco.1awph!l. It appears from the record that on the 21st day of September. outside of that which had been decreed in her favor. said: "We have examined the plans and all the evidence presented in this case and are of the opinion that the trial court was correct in its declaration that this send a did not mean the old road to Boñgabon.net In this court she presented a motion for rehearing and in support thereof presents some proof to show that the northern portion of the land in question is not forestry land but that much of it is agricultural land.
for present purposes. L-13298 November 19. exclusive. Ramos instituted appropriate proceedings to have his title registered. entitled The Public Land Law. the instant petitioner. McKinney . J. Basilio Aromin for appellant. the principal argument of the Solicitor-General is based on the provisions of the Spanish Mortgage Law and of the Royal Decree of February 13. So much for the facts. 926. registered as such on February 8. Opposition was entered by the Director of Lands on the ground that Ramos had not acquired a good title from the Spanish government and by the Director of Forestry on the ground that the first parcel was forest land. shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a government grant and to have received the same. for a period of ten years next preceding the twenty-sixth day of July. 1894.R. commonly known as the Maura Law. 192. Relative to actuality of possession. except when prevented by war or force majeure. 1918 CORNELIO RAMOS. and his wife Ambrosia Salamanca. of the Government. We do not stop to decide this contention. 1894. There are two parts to the above quoted subsection which must be discussed. following: . 7 Tex. can be conceded to be agricultural public land.. and C on the plan. United States . THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS. nineteen hundred and four. No. forestal and not agricultural in nature is the fact that there are yet found thereon trees from 50 to 80 years of age. 1907. objector-appellee. nineteen hundred and two. under a bona fide claim of ownership. and shall be entitled to a certificate of title to such land under the provisions of this chapter. as defined by said Act of Congress of July first. vs. of Act No. in the year 1882. 1908.) It is sufficient. 10 Wall. and that it was not land which pertained to the "zonas forestales. 1 from registration. Parcel No." As proof that the land was. to obtain a possessory information title to the land. 1 (Exhibit A of the petitioner). marked by the letters A. As to the law. although it might be possible. Subsection 6 of section 54. B.. MALCOLM. petitioner-appellant. continuous. 1. (Hancock vs. All persons who by themselves or their predecessors and interest have been in the open. reads as follows: 6. to Cornelio Ramos. Office of the Solicitor-General Paredes for appellee. 1896. to say that the possessory information. apparently having taken cognizance of the requisites for title. and notorious possession and occupation of what. merely to notice that the predecessor in interest to the petitioner at least held this tract of land under color of title. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural public lands. included within the limits of the possessory information title of Restituto Romero. Province of Nueva Ecija. One Restituto Romero y Ponce apparently gained possession of a considerable tract of land located in the municipality of San Jose.G. was sold in February. where some recital is claimed to be false. The first relates to the open. should not now be disturbed. as amended by Act No. Exhibit 1. This is graphically portrayed by Exhibit 1 of the Government. it must have been shown that the land was cultivated for six years previously. it is admitted that the petitioner has cultivated only about one fourth of the entire tract. under a bona fide claim of ownership except as against the Government. even as long ago as the years 1894 to 1896. following the doctrine laid down by the United States Supreme Court with reference to Mexican and Spanish grantes within the United States. continuous. The Solicitor-General would emphasize that for land to come under the protective ægis of the Maura Law. Actual possession of 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. He took advantage of the Royal Decree of February 13. exclusive. Hornsby and Roland vs. The trial court agreed with the objectors and excluded parcel No. as will later appear.: This is an appeal by the applicant and appellant from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija. denying the registration of the larger portion of parcel No. 224.
" and the third "timber land. to consider it to be agricultural land.." It was said that the phrase "agricultural public lands" as used in Act No. for example. (Higgins vs. states as follows: Every definition of a forest that can be framed for legal purposes will be found either to exclude some cases to which the law ought to apply. Supp. but which in the course f time it is hoped will be "reboise. nor grass on it. Supp. It is here only necessary to apply the general rule. if not so found. shall be declared by the Department Head to be agricultural lands. or on the other hand. 448." The law affirms that the phrase is denied by the Act of Congress of July 1st. B. Long Island R. 10 Pet. It is a tract of land covered with trees. we find in sections 13 to 18 thereof that three classes of land are mentioned. not an insignificant meaning. Insular Government (. is merely "for the purposes of this chapter. there are a number of qualifications to the rule. usually of considerable extent. section 1827 provides: "Lands in public forests. (See arts. Y. Gale . not including forest reserves. 175)." but any definition The question at once arises: Is that actual occupancy of a part of the land described in the instrument giving color of title sufficient to give title to the entire tract of land?lawphil. People vs. (Barr vs. Ellicott vs. section 1820 of the Administrative Code of 1917 provides: "For the purposes of this chapter.) Possession in the eyes of the law does not mean that a man has to have his feet on every square meter of ground before it can be said that he is in possession.. namely: "The meaning of these sections is not clear and it is difficult to give to them a construction that will be entirely free from objection. 926 means "those public lands acquired from Spain which are not timber or mineral lands. a large wood.net The doctrine of constructive possession indicates the answer. sufficient to apprise the community and the world that the land was for his enjoyment. Co. 4 Wheat. one particularly relating to the size of the tract in controversy with reference to the portion actually in possession of the claimant. to take under the law a tract of perfectly barren land which at present has neither trees. ." A little further on. what was said in the case of Jones vs. The claimant has color of title. when it makes the determination of whether the land is more valuable for agricultural or for forest uses the test of its character. 144 U. 10 Phil. in his work on Forest Law of India. For instance. and all forest reserves of whatever character. Y. 446. to include some with which the law ought not to interfere. The lexicographers define "forest" as "a large tract of land covered with a natural growth of trees and underbrush. It may be necessary. if the remainder is not in the adverse possession of another. 122). if the land is forestal or mineral in nature and. Here.) The foresters say that no legal definition of "forest" is practicable or useful. Philippine law is not very helpful. it was found that there does exist in the Act of Congress a definition of the phrase "agricultural public lands.. Ramos and his predecessor in interest fulfilled the requirements of the law on the supposition that he premises consisted of agricultural public land. 509. including nipa and mangrove swamps. Pearl . there is no certification of the Director of Forestry in the record.The second division of the law requires consideration of the term "agricultural public land. . H. . and he has had open. Co. brushwood. except as otherwise specially indicated. all unreserved public land. Gratz's Heirs ." In the case which gave most serious consideration to the subject (Mapa vs. and notorious possession of a portion of the property. Long Island R. 6 Phil. Baden-Powell. 262. upon the certification of the Director of Forestry that said lands are better adapted and more valuable for agricultural than for forest purposes and not required by the public interests to be kept under forest.. 213." it will be noted. 114 N. 'public forest' includes. The general rule is that the possession and cultivation of a portion of a tract under claim of ownership of all is a constructive possession of all." The idea would appear to be to determine. again. peaceable.. Insular Government ." With reference to the last section. Although these sections of the Philippine Bill have come before the courts on numerous occasions. he acted in good faith." The authorities say that he word "forest" has a significant..) Of course. known as the Philippine bill. as to whether this land is better adapted and more valuable for agricultural than for forest purposes. 412." This definition of "public forest. is still true. Civil Code. The first is variously denominated "public land" or "public domain. by exclusion.. and that it does not embrace land only partly woodland. 110 N. 512. 1902." the second "mineral land. S. Smith vs." Section 18 of the Act of Congress comes nearest to a precise definition. Turning to the Philippine Bill.
state whether there is public land suitable for agriculture in vicinity. state crops being grown and approximate number of hectares under cultivation. sand. E. Dr. The Director of Forestry of the Philippine Islands has said: During the time of the passage of the Act of Congress of July 1. might (and indeed would be almost sure to) include a garden. which is not covered with timber. it leaves to the Bureau of Forestry the certification as to what lands are for agricultural or forest uses. experience have found protect their water supply. or vineyard. Certain chiefs have lodged protests with the Government against other tribes on the opposite side of the mountain cultivated by them. sandy loam. East. bear a close relation to each other and are as interdependent as any other beings and conditions in nature. if cultivated. examples exist in the Mountain Province where steep hillsides have been terraced and intensive cultivation practiced but even then the mountain people are very careful not to destroy forests or other vegetative cover which they from State what portion of the tract is wooded. but an organic whole in which all parts.) Is this land included or adjoining any proposed or established forest reserve or communal forest? Description and ownership of improvements. remarked that if mankind could not devise and enforce ways dealing with the earth. although apparently heterogeneous. rocky. remote it may be. is based upon a previously prepared set of questions in which the different characters of the land under inspection are discussed. by washing. waste lands without a tree have been declared more suitable for forestry in many instances in the past. in order to prevent other tribes from cutting timber or destroy cover guarding their source of water for irrigation. If the land is covered with timber. is by no means a mere collection of trees. . grass land. On the other hand.) For growth of what agricultural products is this land suitable? The laws in the United States recognize the necessity of technical advice of duly appointed boards and leave it in the hands of these boards to decide what lands are more valuable for forestry purposes or for agricultural purposes. jumbled together by accident as it were and apparently unrelated. If cultivated. lands without a single tree on them are considered as true forest land. yet equally discernible. when out kin having wasted its great inheritance will fade from the earth because of the ruin it has accomplished. in his work on the Economics of Forestry.wide enough to take in all such lands. S. under ordinary practice would destroy the big natural resource of the soil. as an economic factor. shrubbery. states as follows: A forest in the sense in which we use the term." The method employed by the bureau of Forestry in making inspection of lands. (Indicate on sketch. or able to produce wood. South. West. mountain sides which are too steep for cultivation under ordinary practice and which. the Bureau has in its administration since the passage of this act construed this term to mean forest lands in the sense of what was necessary to protect. for the public good. is considered by this bureau as forest land and in time would be reforested. Soil: Clay. very rocky. brush land. formerly Dean of the Lawrence Scientific School. dense forest. The term 'timber' as used in England and in the United States in the past has been applied to wood suitable for construction purposes but with the increase in civilization and the application of new methods every plant producing wood has some useful purpose and the term timber lands is generally though of as synonymous with forest lands or lands producing wood. name of important timber species and estimate of stand in cubic meters per hectare. which it was not designed to deal with. in order to determine whether they are more adapted for agricultural or forest purposes by a technical and duly trained personnel on the different phases of the conservation of natural resources. would also take in much that was not wanted. which will preserve this source of like "we must look forward to the time. brush land and timber mixed. steep. M. very steep. diameter and percentage of each species. Exposure: North. orchard. B. Fernow. Shaler. In the Philippine Islands this policy is follows to as great an extent as allowable under the law. moderate. this question of forest and agricultural lands was beginning to receive some attention and it is clearly shown in section 18 of the above mentioned Act. if framed with reference to treegrowth. 1902. Character of soil cover: Cultivated. Although the Act states timber lands. the definition. in the opinion of the Bureau of Forestry. Is this land more valuable for agricultural than for forest purposes? (State reasons in full. if agricultural crops on the same land will not bring the financial return that timber will or if the same land is needed for protection purposes. In many cases. For instance. namely: Slope of land: Level. Of course.
that land is agricultural in nature. and the difficulties in communications as well as the distance of the land in question greatly hinder the handling of this work. as amended by Act No. If in this instance. In the case of lands claimed as private property. 1894. in the long run of cases. so that the court may compare them with the alleged right by the claimant. and state briefly (if necessary on a separate sheet) the grounds upon which he bases his claim. Such is the natural attitude of the sagacious citizen. the Director of Forestry. JJ. with reference to the Philippine Bill and the Royal Decree of February 13. it may be stated. Either way we look at this question we encounter difficulty. submits before the court all evidence referring to the present forest condition of the land. So ordered. and undoubtedly will be. the presumption should be. unsupported by satisfactory evidence will not stop the courts from giving title to the claimant. 1. One very apparent reason is that it is for the good of the Philippine Islands to have the large public domain come under private ownership. But a mere formal opposition on the part of the Attorney-General for the Director of Forestry. in lieu of contrary proof. give the name of the claimant. It should be kept in mind that the lack of personnel of this Bureau.. but when the alleged right is merely that of possession. the Director of Forestry should submit to the court convincing proof that the land is not more valuable for agricultural than for forest purposes. we give judicial sanction to a private claim. under the provisions of subsection 6. 1908. Torres. and his possessory information. if the Government desires to demonstrate that the land is in reality a forest. When the claim of the citizen and the claim of the Government as to a particular piece of property collide. The prodigality of the spendthrift who squanders his substance for the pleasure of the fleeting moment must be restrained for the less spectacular but surer policy which protects Nature's wealth for future generations. let it be noted that the Government.If the land is claimed under private ownership. as described in plan Exhibit A. Arellano. there should be conservation of the natural resources of the Philippines. of section 54. without special finding as to costs. when the claimant presents a title issued by the proper authority or evidence of his right to the land showing that he complied with the requirements of the law. Undoubtedly. Such is the wise stand of our Government as represented by the Director of Forestry who. of Act No. then the public or private character of the parcel is open to discussion and this character should be established not simply on the alleged right of the claimant but on the sylvical condition and soil characteristics of the land.." On the other hand. believes in "the control of nature's powers by man for his own good. Indubitably. and those areas which still preserve their primitive character. sending him all data collected during the inspection and offering him the forest officer as a witness. C. . with the Forester for the Government of the United States. Johnson. Forest reserves of public land can be established as provided by law. then the Director of Forestry requests the Attorney-General to file an opposition. and the inspection shows the land to be more adapted for forest purposes. if it is made on a privately claimed parcel for which the issuance of a title is requested from the Court of Land Registration. concur. the corresponding certificate is forwarded to the Director of Lands. his place of residence. should. Street and Fisher. by means of his delegate the examining officer. Judgment is reversed and the lower court shall register in the name of the applicant the entire tract in parcel No. When the inspection is made on a parcel of public land which has been applied for. or different previously occupied areas. has its remedy. paid by the courts to the opinion of the technical expert who speaks with authority on forestry matters. Great consideration. We hold that the petitioner and appellant has proved a title to the entire tract of land for which he asked registration. the forest certificate does not affect him in the least as such land should not be considered as a part of the public domain.J. 926. and by comparison between this area. the limited time intervening between the notice for the trial on an expediente of land and the day of the trial.
are (a) that the land shall be agricultural public land as defined by the Act of Congress of July 1. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the same under a bona fide claim of ownership for a period of ten years next preceding the taking effect of said Act. notoriously. paragraph 6. subject.G. and there was no effort to dispute said proof. contends that the appellant failed to prove his possession and occupation in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 6 of section 54 of Act No. peacefully and adversely for a long period of years. The appellant. Department of Mindanao and Sulu. Upon the foregoing facts the lower court ordered and decreed that said parcel of land be registered in the name of the said applicant. objector-appellant. in his second assignment of error. Rep. J. at which time all of the said former owners moved o n to adjoining lands where they now reside. a certain piece or parcel of land situated. and horses. which he has already done. public and continuous for more than forty-four years past. large camarin (storehouse of wood. Moore for appellee. ANKRON. transferred and conveyed all their right. 449]. 7 Phil. bounded and particularly described in the plan and technical description attached to the complaint and made a part thereof. and that their claim was exclusive of any other right adverse to all other claims. vs. From that decree the Director of Lands appealed to this court. is entitled to have his land registered under the Torrens system. as found in said decision. JOHNSON. No. with the exception of a small part at the north. has been cultivated and planted for more than forty-four years prior to the date of this decision. so far as the second assignment of error is concerned. 1919 J. After hearing and considering the evidence. to the right of the Government of the Philippine Islands to open a road thereon in the manner and conditions mentioned in said decision. 6. to the opening of said road which should be fifteen (15) meters wide and should follow approximately the line of the road as it now exists subject to the subsequent survey to be made by the engineer of the province of Davao. The appellant argues. and that portion of the land which was not planted or cultivated was used as pasture land whereon they pastured their carabaos. . During the trial of the cause two witnesses only were presented by the petitioner. the record shows that a detained and technical description of the land was made a part of the record. cattle. storebuilding. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. a galvanized iron and other buildings and improvements on said land. Its purpose was to have registered. that the applicant did not sufficiently identify the land in question. Ankron. are that the applicant give his consent.000) cocoanut trees. (b) that the petitioner. That all of said land.) Accepting the undisputed proof. In reply to that argument. petitioner-appellee. In the present case the applicant proved. P. That all of said Moros and Mansacas sold. Mansacas and others. Assistant Attorney-General Lacson for appellant. No proof whatever was offered by the oppositor. That said land was formerly occupied. J. That the land sought to be registered consists of one parcel of land as marked and indicated on the plan and technical description presented. and that they lived thereon and had their houses thereon. No question is raised nor discussed by the appellant with reference to the right of the Moros to acquire the absolute ownership and dominion of the land which they have occupied openly. reached the following conclusions of fact: 1. 926 has been fully complied with and that the petitioner. The important prerequisites for registration of land imposed by said section 54. L-14213 August 23. H. J. (Cariño vs. some eight thousand (8. 926. a dwelling house. under a claim of ownership. notorious. H. Theoppositor neither presented the question of the failure of proper identification of the land in the lower court nor presented any proof whatever to show that said cement monuments did not exist. judge. continuous. 132 [212 U. cultivated and planted by Moros. actual. 5.: This action was commenced in the Court of First Instance of the Province of Davao. the Honorable Francisco Soriano. by himself or his predecessors in interest. The oppositor [objector] alleged that the land in question was the property of the Government of the United States under the control and administration of the Government of the Philippine Islands. first. 2. Insular Government. 4. The only opposition which was presented was on the part of the Director of Lands.. shall have been in the open. S. we are of the opinion that said paragraph 6 of section 54 of Act No. various laborers' quarters. under the Torrens system. The conditions mentioned with reference to the opening of the road. some eleven years past.. That the applicant now has some one hundred fifty (150) hills of hemp. 1902. That the possession under claim of ownership of the applicant and his predecessors in interest was shown to have been open. Ankron. H. The evidence shows that the boundaries of the land in question were marked by monuments built of cement. the exact description and extension of which does not appear. title and interest in said land to the applicant. J. that the land in question was agricultural land and that he and his predecessors in interest had occupied the same as owners in good faith for a period of more than forty years prior to the commencement of the present action.R. 3. however.
" In the case of Mapa vs. 175). the phrase "agricultural public lands" as defined by Act of Congress of July 1. however." "forestry. that the moment that it appears that the land is not agricultural. and. it is found that the appellant relied upon the provisions of section 3 of Act No.J. (Sec. unless private interests have intervened before such reservation is made. may. was held to mean "those public lands acquired from Spain which are neither mineral nor timber lands" (forestry lands)." and "mineral" lands. except as otherwise specially indicated. While. 926 only permits the registration.) If the Bureau of Forestry should accurately and definitely define what lands are forestry. Director of Forestry (supra). Araullo. Director of Forestry. In the latter case." Said section 1820 (Act No. is a question of proof. or mineral. may. occupants in the future would be greatly assisted in their proof and the courts would be greatly aided in determining the question whether the particular land is forestry or other class of lands. by reservation. Act No. The Government. including nipa and mangrove swamps. 1148. forestry. 560). by reason of the rapid growth of timber or the discovery of valuable minerals. 8. Its superior value for one purpose or the other is a question of fact to be settled by the proof in each particular case. If the evidence shows that it is public forestry land or public mineral land. an accurate survey be made of the lands to be occupied by the road above mentioned and that a plan of the same be attached to the original plan upon which the petition herein is based. to the end that the people of the Philippine Islands shall be guaranteed in "the future a continued supply of valuable timber and other forest products.Under the third assignment of error the appellant contends that portions of said land cannot be registered in accordance with the existing Land Registration Law for the reason that they are manglares. By reference to the argument in the brief in the case. 2711 (second Administrative Code). C. through the Bureau of Forestry. all unreserved public land. ...) It is not sufficient to show that there exists some trees upon the land or that it bears some mineral. Whatever the land involved in a particular land registration case is forestry or mineral land must. in the first instance. It may perchance belong to one or the other of said classes of land. The appellant. therefore. (Ramos vs. that the courts have a right to presume. however. Street. Land may be classified as forestry or mineral today. 1148. Jocson vs. Malcolm and Moir. be a matter of proof. 8. That question is not discussed in the present brief. And vice-versa. The fact that the land is a manglar [mangrove swamp] is not sufficient for the courts to decide whether it is agricultural.. forestry. with the condition that before the final certificate is issued. In this relation we think the executive department of the Government. Rep. 1148." "forestry. mineral land. Director of Lands (39 Phil. refers the court to his discussion of that question in the case of Jocson vs. In the case of Jocson vs. Arellano. the petition for registration must be denied. 1148). that in each case the lands are agricultural lands until the contrary is shown." It must follow. Paragraph 6 of section 54 of Act No. therefore. The mere fact that a tract of land has trees upon it or has mineral within it is not of itself sufficient to declare that one is forestry land and the other. by virtue of the terms of said Act (No.. Insular Government (10 Phil. the AttorneyGeneral admitted in effect that whether the particular land in question belongs to one class or another is a question of fact. 1148. define what shall be considered forestry lands. 175. by reason of the exhaustion of the timber or mineral. under the provisions of Act No. 1148 in relation with section 1820 of Act No. and that in each case it is a question of fact. Many definitions have been given for "agricultural. 1148 provides that "the public forests shall include all unreserved lands covered with trees of whatever age. under the conditions therein mentioned. of "public agricultural lands. in the absence of evidence to the contrary. we think it is safe to say that in order to be forestry or mineral land the proof must show that it is more valuable for the forestry or the mineral which it contains than it is for agricultural purposes. lands classified as agricultural today may be differently classified tomorrow. which decision has been follows in numerous other decision. and should. the petition for registration must be denied. concur. in view especially of the provisions of section 4. Section 3 of Act No. Director of Forestry (39 Phil. and all forest reserves of whatever character. and 20 of Act No. JJ. Act No.. Until private interests have intervened. that the judgment of the lower court should be and is hereby affirmed. supra. be classified as agricultural land tomorrow. We believe.. Each case must be decided upon the proof in that particular case. as we have just said. the Government. many definitions have been given for "agriculture. or mineral land. with costs. 2711) provides that "for the purpose of this chapter 'public forest' includes. 1902. decide for itself what portions of public land shall be considered forestry land. and so order and decree." and "mineral" lands. Rep. having regard for its present or future value for one or the other purposes. These definitions are valuable so far as they establish general rules. considering the fact that it is a matter of public knowledge that a majority of the lands in the Philippine Islands are agricultural lands. 7. may decide for itself what portions of the "public domain" shall be set aside and reserved as forestry or mineral land. It is so ordered. Rep. Torres.) In view of the foregoing we are of the opinion." (Sec. There must be some proof of the extent and present or future value of the forestry and of the minerals. whether the land is agricultural.
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