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Republic vs.

Imperial Law on Natural Resources, Constitutional Law

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by the DIRECTOR, LANDS MANAGEMENT BUREAU vs. FELIX S. IMPERIAL JR., FELIZA SREPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by the DIRECTOR, LANDS MANAGEMENT BUREAU vs. FELIX S. IMPERIAL JR., FELIZA S. IMPERIAL, ELIAS S. IMPERIAL, MIRIAM S. IMPERIAL, LOLITA ALCAZAR, SALVADOR ALCAZAR, EANCRA CORPORATION, and the REGISTER OF DEEDS of LEGASPI CITY G.R. No. 130906, February 11, 1999

FACTS: On September 12, 1917, the late Elias Imperial was issued Original Certificate of Title (OCT) 408 (500) pursuant to Decree No. 55173 of then Court of First Instance of Albay. OCT No. 55173 was subdivided and further subdivided resulting in the issuance of several titles, which are now the subjects of herein petition in the name of private respondents. Petitioner Republic of the Philippines filed a case with the trial court to judicially declare the Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) issued to herein private respondents null and void on the ground that the subject land, on which the OCT was based, has the features of a foreshore land based on an investigation conducted by the DENR, Region V, Legazpi City. Respondents, on the other hand contend that Director of Lands found Jose Baritua's land covered by TCT No.18655, which stemmed from OCT 408(500), to be "definitely outside of the foreshore area."

Within the time for pleading, private respondents EANCRA Corporation, Lolita Alcazar and Salvador Alcazar filed their answer with cross-claim, while the rest, namely, Felix S. Imperial, Feliza S. Imperial, Elias S. Imperial and Miriam S. Imperial filed a motion to dismiss. They contended that the adjudication by the cadastral court is binding against the whole world including the Republic since the cadastral proceedings are in rem and the government itself through the Director of Lands instituted the proceedings and was a direct and active participant therein. Petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed an objection to the motion to dismiss. After hearing the motion to dismiss, the trial court dismissed the complaint on the ground that the judgment rendered by the cadastral court in G.R. Cad. Rec. No. 88 and the Courts resolution in the petition to quiet title, G.R. 85770, both decreed that the parcel of land covered by OCT No. 408 (500) was not foreshore. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration for lack of merit and for failure to file the appellants brief within the extended period granted to petitioner.

18655. or in conflict with that of. This doctrine finds no application. therefore. claims that subsequent investigation of the DENR." The classification of public lands is a function of the executive branch of government. which contradiction was neither discussed nor resolved by the RTC." The contradictory views of the Director of Lands and the DENR. At the core of the controversy is whether the parcels of land in question are foreshore lands. specifically the director of lands (now the director of the Lands Management Bureau). 408 (500) from whence the titles were derived "has the features of a foreshore land. which stemmed from OCT 408(500).Hence. however. Legazpi City. the DENR Secretary. is alternatively wet and dry according to the flow of the tide. Region V. Foreshore land is a part of the alienable land of the public domain and may be disposed of only by lease and not otherwise. Respondents contend that the Director of Lands found Jose Baritua's land covered by TCT No. to be "definitely outside of the foreshore area. disclosed that the land covered by OCT No. The need. on the true nature of the land. The decision of the director of lands when approved by the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as to questions of fact is conclusive upon the court. cannot be the premise of any conclusive classification of the land involved. It was defined as "that part (of the land) which is between high and low water and left dry by the flux and reflux of the tides. when the decision of the director of lands is revoked by. . in the present case. HELD: Yes. to determine once and for all whether the lands subject of petitioner's reversion efforts are foreshore lands constitutes good and sufficient cause for relaxing procedural rules and granting the third and fourth motions for extension to file appellant's brief. on the other hand. Region V. Region V." Petitioner. There is allegedly a conflict between the findings of the Director of Lands and the DENR. The principle behind this ruling is that the subject has been exhaustively weighed and discussed and must therefore be given credit." It is also known as "a strip of land that lies between the high and low water marks and. Petitioner's appeal presents an exceptional circumstance impressed with public interest and must then be given due course. Legazpi City. ISSUE: Whether or not the petition should be granted. the present petition.

Petitioner also alleged that it has raised meritorious grounds which. . if not allowed to be laid down before the proper Court. The Supreme Court granted the petition. The Court ruled that the question of what constitutes good and sufficient cause that will merit suspension of the rules is discretionary upon the court. Petitioner Republics appeal presented an exceptional circumstance impressed with public interest which in the Courts discretion must be given due course. and irreparable injury to.Petitioner Republic assailed the dismissal of its appeal on purely technical grounds. will result to the prejudice of. It has the power to relax or suspend the rules or to except a case from their operation when compelling reasons so warrants or when the purpose of justice requires it. public interest. the need to determine once and for all whether the lands subject of petitioners reversion efforts are foreshore lands constitutes good and sufficient cause for relaxing the procedural rules and granting the third and fourth motions for extensions to file appellants brief. as the Government would lose its opportunity to recover what it believes to be non-registerable lands of the public domain. In the case at bar.