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[ Land Titles and Deeds

[ Land Titles and Deeds
G.R. No. 167707 October 8, 2008 open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation in Boracay since June 12, 1945, or earlier since time immemorial. They declared their lands for tax purposes and paid realty taxes on them.10 Respondents-claimants posited that Proclamation No. 1801 and its implementing Circular did not place Boracay beyond the commerce of man. Since the Island was classified as a tourist zone, it was susceptible of private ownership. Under Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 141, otherwise known as the Public Land Act, they had the right to have the lots registered in their names through judicial confirmation of imperfect titles. The Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), opposed the petition for declaratory relief. The OSG countered that Boracay Island was an unclassified land of the public domain. It formed part of the mass of lands classified as "public forest," which was not available for disposition pursuant to Section 3(a) of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 705 or the Revised Forestry Code,11 as amended. The OSG maintained that respondents-claimants’ reliance on PD No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 was misplaced. Their right to judicial confirmation of title was governed by CA No. 141 and PD No. 705. Since Boracay Island had not been classified as alienable and disposable, whatever possession they had cannot ripen into ownership. During pre-trial, respondents-claimants and the OSG stipulated on the following facts: (1) respondentsclaimants were presently in possession of parcels of land in Boracay Island; (2) these parcels of land were planted with coconut trees and other natural growing trees; (3) the coconut trees had heights of more or less twenty (20) meters and were planted more or less fifty (50) years ago; and (4) respondents-claimants declared the land they were occupying for tax purposes.12 The parties also agreed that the principal issue for resolution was purely legal: whether Proclamation No. 1801 posed any legal hindrance or impediment to the titling of the lands in Boracay. They decided to forego with the trial and to submit the case for resolution upon submission of their respective memoranda.13 The RTC took judicial notice 14 that certain parcels of land in Boracay Island, more particularly Lots 1 and 30, Plan PSU-5344, were covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 19502 (RO 2222) in the name of the Heirs of Ciriaco S. Tirol. These lots were involved in Civil Case Nos. 5222 and 5262 filed before the RTC of Kalibo, Aklan.15 The titles were issued on August 7, 1933.16 RTC and CA Dispositions On July 14, 1999, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondents-claimants, with a fallo reading:

THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, vs. MAYOR JOSE S. YAP, AT stake in these consolidated cases is the right of the present occupants of Boracay Island to secure titles over their occupied lands. There are two consolidated petitions. The first is G.R. No. 167707, a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) affirming that 2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Kalibo, Aklan, which granted the petition for declaratory relief filed by respondents-claimants Mayor Jose Yap, et al. and ordered the survey of Boracay for titling purposes. The second is G.R. No. 173775, a petition for prohibition, mandamus, and nullification of Proclamation No. 10645">[3] issued by President Gloria MacapagalArroyo classifying Boracay into reserved forest and agricultural land. The Antecedents G.R. No. 167707 Boracay Island in the Municipality of Malay, Aklan, with its powdery white sand beaches and warm crystalline waters, is reputedly a premier Philippine tourist destination. The island is also home to 12,003 inhabitants4 who live in the bone-shaped island’s three barangays.5 On April 14, 1976, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) approved the National Reservation Survey of Boracay Island,6 which identified several lots as being occupied or claimed by named persons.7 On November 10, 1978, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued Proclamation No. 18018 declaring Boracay Island, among other islands, caves and peninsulas in the Philippines, as tourist zones and marine reservesunder the administration of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA). President Marcos later approved the issuance of PTA Circular 3829 dated September 3, 1982, to implement Proclamation No. 1801. Claiming that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No 3-82 precluded them from filing an application for judicial confirmation of imperfect title or survey of land for titling purposes, respondents-claimants Mayor Jose S. Yap, Jr., Libertad Talapian, Mila Y. Sumndad, and Aniceto Yap filed a petition for declaratory relief with the RTC in Kalibo, Aklan. In their petition, respondents-claimants alleged that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 raised doubts on their right to secure titles over their occupied lands. They declared that they themselves, or through their predecessors-in-interest, had been in

[ Land Titles and Deeds
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court declares that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 pose no legal obstacle to the petitioners and those similarly situated to acquire title to their lands in Boracay, in accordance with the applicable laws and in the manner prescribed therein; and to have their lands surveyed and approved by respondent Regional Technical Director of Lands as the approved survey does not in itself constitute a title to the land. SO ORDERED.17 The RTC upheld respondents-claimants’ right to have their occupied lands titled in their name. It ruled that neither Proclamation No. 1801 nor PTA Circular No. 382 mentioned that lands in Boracay were inalienable or could not be the subject of disposition. 18 The Circular itself recognized private ownership of lands.19 The trial court cited Sections 8720 and 5321 of the Public Land Act as basis for acknowledging private ownership of lands in Boracay and that only those forested areas in public lands were declared as part of the forest reserve.22 The OSG moved for reconsideration but its motion was denied.23 The Republic then appealed to the CA. On December 9, 2004, the appellate court affirmed in toto the RTC decision, disposing as follows: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby rendered by us DENYING the appeal filed in this case and AFFIRMING the decision of the lower court.24 The CA held that respondents-claimants could not be prejudiced by a declaration that the lands they occupied since time immemorial were part of a forest reserve. Again, the OSG sought reconsideration but it was similarly denied.25 Hence, the present petition under Rule 45. G.R. No. 173775 On May 22, 2006, during the pendency of G.R. No. 167707, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 106426 classifying Boracay Island into four hundred (400) hectares of reserved forest land (protection purposes) and six hundred twenty-eight and 96/100 (628.96) hectares of agricultural land (alienable and disposable). The Proclamation likewise provided for a fifteen-meter buffer zone on each side of the centerline of roads and trails, reserved for right-ofway and which shall form part of the area reserved for forest land protection purposes. On August 10, 2006, petitioners-claimants Dr. Orlando Sacay,27 Wilfredo Gelito,28 and other landowners29 in Boracay filed with this Court an original petition for prohibition, mandamus, and nullification of Proclamation No. 1064.30 They allege that the Proclamation infringed on their "prior vested rights" over portions of Boracay. They have been in continued possession of their respective lots in Boracay since time immemorial. They have also invested billions of pesos in developing their lands and building internationally renowned first class resorts on their lots.31 Petitioners-claimants contended that there is no need for a proclamation reclassifying Boracay into agricultural land. Being classified as neither mineral nor timber land, the island is deemed agricultural pursuant to the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Act No. 926, known as the first Public Land Act. 32 Thus, their possession in the concept of owner for the required period entitled them to judicial confirmation of imperfect title. Opposing the petition, the OSG argued that petitionersclaimants do not have a vested right over their occupied portions in the island. Boracay is an unclassified public forest land pursuant to Section 3(a) of PD No. 705. Being public forest, the claimed portions of the island are inalienable and cannot be the subject of judicial confirmation of imperfect title. It is only the executive department, not the courts, which has authority to reclassify lands of the public domain into alienable and disposable lands. There is a need for a positive government act in order to release the lots for disposition. On November 21, 2006, this Court ordered the consolidation of the two petitions as they principally involve the same issues on the land classification of Boracay Island.33 Issues G.R. No. 167707 The OSG raises the lone issue of whether Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 pose any legal obstacle for respondents, and all those similarly situated, to acquire title to their occupied lands in Boracay Island.34 G.R. No. 173775 Petitioners-claimants hoist five (5) issues, namely: I. AT THE TIME OF THE ESTABLISHED POSSESSION OF PETITIONERS IN CONCEPT OF OWNER OVER THEIR RESPECTIVE AREAS IN BORACAY, SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL OR AT THE LATEST SINCE 30 YRS. PRIOR TO THE FILING OF THE PETITION FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF ON NOV. 19, 1997, WERE THE AREAS OCCUPIED BY THEM PUBLIC AGRICULTURAL LANDS AS DEFINED BY LAWS THEN ON JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION OF IMPERFECT TITLES OR PUBLIC FOREST AS DEFINED BY SEC. 3a, PD 705? II. HAVE PETITIONERS OCCUPANTS ACQUIRED PRIOR VESTED RIGHT OF PRIVATE OWNERSHIPOVER THEIR OCCUPIED PORTIONS OF BORACAY LAND, DESPITE THE

[ Land Titles and Deeds
FACT THAT THEY HAVE NOT APPLIED YET FOR JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION OF IMPERFECT TITLE? III. IS THE EXECUTIVE DECLARATION OF THEIR AREAS AS ALIENABLE AND DISPOSABLE UNDER SEC 6, CA 141 [AN] INDISPENSABLE PRE-REQUISITE FOR PETITIONERS TO OBTAIN TITLEUNDER THE TORRENS SYSTEM? IV. IS THE ISSUANCE OF PROCLAMATION 1064 ON MAY 22, 2006, VIOLATIVE OF THE PRIOR VESTED RIGHTS TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF PETITIONERS OVER THEIR LANDS IN BORACAY, PROTECTED BY THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION OR IS PROCLAMATION 1064 CONTRARY TO SEC. 8, CA 141, OR SEC. 4(a) OF RA 6657. V. CAN RESPONDENTS BE COMPELLED BY MANDAMUS TO ALLOW THE SURVEY AND TO APPROVE THE SURVEY PLANS FOR PURPOSES OF THE APPLICATION FOR TITLING OF THE LANDS OF PETITIONERS IN BORACAY? 35 (Underscoring supplied) In capsule, the main issue is whether private claimants (respondents-claimants in G.R. No. 167707 and petitioners-claimants in G.R. No. 173775) have a right to secure titles over their occupied portions in Boracay. The twin petitions pertain to their right, if any, to judicial confirmation of imperfect title under CA No. 141, as amended. They do not involve their right to secure title under other pertinent laws. Our Ruling Regalian Doctrine and power of the executive to reclassify lands of the public domain Private claimants rely on three (3) laws and executive acts in their bid for judicial confirmation of imperfect title, namely: (a) Philippine Bill of 190236 in relation to Act No. 926, later amended and/or superseded by Act No. 2874 and CA No. 141; 37 (b) Proclamation No. 180138 issued by then President Marcos; and (c) Proclamation No. 106439 issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. We shall proceed to determine their rights to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under these laws and executive acts. But first, a peek at the Regalian principle and the power of the executive to reclassify lands of the public domain. The 1935 Constitution classified lands of the public domain into agricultural, forest or timber.40 Meanwhile, the 1973 Constitution provided the following divisions: agricultural, industrial or commercial, residential, resettlement, mineral, timber or forest and grazing lands, and such other classes as may be provided by law,41 giving the government great leeway for classification.42 Then the 1987 Constitution reverted to the 1935 Constitution classification with one addition: national parks.43 Of these, only agricultural lands may be alienated.44 Prior to Proclamation No. 1064 of May 22, 2006, Boracay Island had never been expressly and administratively classified under any of these grand divisions. Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain. The Regalian Doctrine dictates that all lands of the public domain belong to the State, that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land and charged with the conservation of such patrimony. 45 The doctrine has been consistently adopted under the 1935, 1973, and 1987 Constitutions.46 All lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State.47Thus, all lands that have not been acquired from the government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the State as part of the inalienable public domain.48 Necessarily, it is up to the State to determine if lands of the public domain will be disposed of for private ownership. The government, as the agent of the state, is possessed of the plenary power as the persona in law to determine who shall be the favored recipients of public lands, as well as under what terms they may be granted such privilege, not excluding the placing of obstacles in the way of their exercise of what otherwise would be ordinary acts of ownership.49 Our present land law traces its roots to the Regalian Doctrine. Upon the Spanish conquest of the Philippines, ownership of all lands, territories and possessions in the Philippines passed to the Spanish Crown. 50 The Regalian doctrine was first introduced in the Philippines through the Laws of the Indies and the Royal Cedulas,which laid the foundation that "all lands that were not acquired from the Government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the public domain." 51 The Laws of the Indies was followed by the Ley Hipotecaria or the Mortgage Law of 1893. The Spanish Mortgage Law provided for the systematic registration of titles and deeds as well as possessory claims. 52 The Royal Decree of 1894 or the Maura Law 53 partly amended the Spanish Mortgage Law and the Laws of the Indies. It established possessory information as the method of legalizing possession of vacant Crown land, under certain conditions which were set forth in said decree.54 Under Section 393 of the Maura Law, an informacion posesoria or possessory information title,55 when duly inscribed in the Registry of Property, is converted into a title of ownership only after the lapse of twenty (20) years of uninterrupted possession which must be actual, public, and adverse, 56 from the date of its inscription. 57 However, possessory information title had to be perfected one year after the promulgation of the Maura Law, or until April 17, 1895. Otherwise, the lands would revert to the State.58 In sum, private ownership of land under the Spanish regime could only be founded on royal concessions which took various forms, namely: (1) titulo real or

this provision was superseded by Republic Act (RA) No.81 In fact. 1936. the Court has time and again emphasized that there must be a positive act of the government.80 declassifying inalienable public land into disposable land for agricultural or other purposes. as amended by Act No. 78 It governs registration of lands under the Torrens system as well as unregistered lands. (4) titulo de compra or title by purchase. the Court declared in Mapa v. incontrovertible evidence must be established that the land subject of the application (or claim) is alienable or disposable. The Act introduced the homestead system and made provisions for judicial and administrative confirmation of imperfect titles and for the sale or lease of public lands. and a legislative act or a statute. 1894. This is known as the Torrens system. 83 To overcome this presumption. that the phrase "agricultural land" as used in Act No. This new.69 After the passage of the 1935 Constitution. The records . 1903. no such proclamation.59> The first law governing the disposition of public lands in the Philippines under American rule was embodied in the Philippine Bill of 1902. 141 retained the requirement under Act No.68 On November 29. continuous. 1894. 2874 on December 1. 1919. exclusive. CA No. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands for the next ten (10) years preceding July 26.62 It also provided the definition by exclusion of "agricultural public lands. 926 was superseded by Act No.79 A positive act declaring land as alienable and disposable is required. 1904 was sufficient for judicial confirmation of imperfect title. To prove that the land subject of an application for registration is alienable. 926 means those public lands acquired from Spain which are not timber or mineral lands. 496 was amended and updated by PD No. which was the first Public Land Act. on October 7. Insular Government:64 x x x In other words. statute. who must prove that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable. the Philippine Commission passed Act No. In keeping with the presumption of State ownership. However. investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators. 85 The applicant may also secure a certification from the government that the land claimed to have been possessed for the required number of years is alienable and disposable. 496 within six (6) months from the effectivity of the decree on February 16. among others. as amended. Act No. Thereafter. The act established a system of registration by which recorded title becomes absolute. (3) composicion con el estado or adjustment title. indefeasible. possession and occupation en concepto dueño since time immemorial. the Philippine Legislature passed Act No. 1976. an administrative action. otherwise known as the second Public Land Act. known as the Property Registration Decree. and timber or forest lands. CA No.86 In the case at bar.71 Section 48(b) of CA No. 141. was required.67 Under the Act. open. (2) concesion especial or special grant. It permitted corporations regardless of the nationality of persons owning the controlling stock to lease or purchase lands of the public domain. To this day.76 Under the decree. Section 8 of CA No. 84 There must still be a positive act declaring land of the public domain as alienable and disposable. mineral. otherwise known as the Land Registration Act. lands of the public domain in the Philippine Islands were classified into three (3) grand divisions.72 which provided for a simple thirty-year prescriptive period for judicial confirmation of imperfect title. 1978. 1903. remains as the existing general law governing the classification and disposition of lands of the public domain other than timber and mineral lands.73 which now provides for possession and occupation of the land applied for since June 12.[ Land Titles and Deeds royal grant. 141 limits alienable or disposable lands only to those lands which have been "officially delimited and classified. 1529. or since July 26. such as an official proclamation.74 The issuance of PD No.66 Concurrently. 2874 of possession and occupation of lands of the public domain since time immemorial or since July 26. and (5) informacion posesoria or possessory information title. 926. including chattel mortgages. the disposal of mineral lands by means of absolute grant (freehold system) and by lease (leasehold system). 1945.60 By this law. 2874. the applicant must establish the existence of a positive act of the government such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order. executive order. and imprescriptible. It was enacted to codify the various laws relative to registration of property. report. 141 amended Act No. the recording of all unregistered lands77 shall be governed by Section 194 of the Revised Administrative Code. 1942. 1976 discontinued the use of Spanish titles as evidence in land registration proceedings. to wit: agricultural. 496. 892 75 on February 16. 3344. or certification was presented to the Court. 1073. On June 11. all holders of Spanish titles or grants should apply for registration of their lands under Act No. x x x65 (Emphasis Ours) On February 1. For judicial confirmation of title. Act No. administrative action." 82 The burden of proof in overcoming the presumption of State ownership of the lands of the public domain is on the person applying for registration (or claiming ownership). The provision was last amended by PD No.70 and privately owned lands which reverted to the State. or earlier."63 Interpreting the meaning of "agricultural lands" under the Philippine Bill of 1902. 61 The act provided for. more comprehensive law limited the exploitation of agricultural lands to Filipinos and Americans and citizens of other countries which gave Filipinos the same privileges.

Government is misplaced.Private claimants posit that Boracay was already an agricultural land pursuant to the old cases Ankron v. many definitions have been given for "agriculture. or were vested with implicit power to do so.: x x x Petitioners furthermore insist that a particular land need not be formally released by an act of the Executive before it can be deemed open to private ownership. Land may be classified as forestry or mineral today. There is a statement in these old cases that "in the absence of evidence to the contrary. (Sec.93 To aid the courts in resolving land registration cases under Act No.) It is not sufficient to show that there exists some trees upon the land or that it bears some mineral. If there was proof that the land was better suited for non-agricultural uses. There must be some proof of the extent and present or future value of the forestry and of the minerals. It should be stressed that the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Act No. the Court cannot accept the submission that lands occupied by private claimants were already open to disposition before 2006. Ankron and De Aldecoa were decided at a time when the President of the Philippines had no power to classify lands of the public domain into mineral. 926. the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Act No." 90 Private claimants’ reliance on Ankron and De Aldecoa is misplaced. At that time. prior to 2006. Act No. It certainly cannot apply to landowners. They call for proof. mineral. 1148. or agricultural depended on proof presented in each case. the courts could adjudge it as a mineral or timber land despite the presumption. the portions of Boracay occupied by private claimants were subject of a government proclamation that the land is alienable and disposable. timber and agricultural so that the courts then were free to make corresponding classifications in justiciable cases. The Insular Government (1909). 1926. Director of Forestry (supra). 91 This was the Court’s ruling in Heirs of the Late Spouses Pedro S. By no stretch of imagination did the presumption convert all lands of the public domain into agricultural lands. As to them. 7.89 These cases were decided under the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Act No. Republic. as we have just said." "forestry. and.92 in which it stated. 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. dependent on proof. except those already classified as timber or mineral land. Director of Lands and Ankron v. their land remained unclassified and. in the end. or more specifically those cases dealing with judicial and administrative confirmation of imperfect titles. under which there was no legal provision vesting in the Chief Executive or President of the Philippines the power to classify lands of the public domain into mineral. or were vested with implicit power to do so.[ Land Titles and Deeds are bereft of evidence showing that. continued to be owned by the State. Government of the Philippine Islands (1919)88 and De Aldecoa v. timber. These cases did not have the effect of converting the whole of Boracay Island or portions of it into agricultural lands. alienable and disposable lands. would be utterly inconsistent with and totally repugnant to the long-entrenched Regalian doctrine. In Ankron. xxxx Petitioner’s reliance upon Ramos v. by virtue of the Regalian doctrine. 926. such as private claimants or their predecessors-in-interest. who failed to avail themselves of the benefits of Act No. that in each case the lands are agricultural lands until the contrary is shown. 926. that in each case the lands are agricultural lands until the contrary is shown. While. De Palanca v. this Court stated: In the case of Jocson vs. depending upon the preponderance of the evidence.87 Ankron and De Aldecoa did not make the whole of Boracay Island. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed. viz. That would take these lands out of State ownership and worse. Palanca and Soterranea Rafols Vda. The presumption in Ankron and De Aldecoa attaches only to land registration cases brought under the provisions of Act No. citing the cases of Ramos v. 926 would have automatically made all lands in the Philippines. Director of Lands and Ankron v. and agricultural. In any case. it was then necessary to devise a presumption on land classification. 926. 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. 926 enacted by the Philippine Commission on October 7." and "mineral" lands. the Attorney-General admitted in effect that whether the particular land in question belongs to one class or another is a question of fact. through Justice Adolfo Azcuna."94 But We cannot unduly expand the presumption in Ankron and De Aldecoa to an argument that all lands of the public domain had been automatically reclassified as disposable and alienable agricultural lands. in the absence of evidence to the contrary. Land classification was. Government of the Philippine Islands. Absent such well-nigh incontrovertible evidence. Thus evolved the dictum in Ankron that "the courts have a right to presume. the assumption in Ankron and De Aldecoa was not absolute. and that in each case it is a question of fact. Whether the land would be classified as timber. the courts were free to make corresponding classifications in justiciable cases. agricultural lands. If We accept the position of private claimants. 926 merely provided the manner through which land registration courts would classify lands of the public domain. depending upon the preponderance of the evidence. The presumption applies to an applicant for judicial or administrative conformation of imperfect title under Act No. 926. by reason of the . or portions of it. mineral land. These cases were decided under the Philippine Bill of 1902 and the first Public Land Act No.

through the President. is a question of proof. by virtue of the terms of said Act (No. 141. the first Public Land Act. and for the cancellation or confirmation of Spanish concessions and grants in the Islands. It may perchance belong to one or the other of said classes of land. without an application for judicial confirmation having been filed by private claimants or their predecessors-ininterest. Krivenko was prohibited by the 1935 Constitution 104 from acquiring agricultural land. When Act No.101 De Aldecoa v. courts no longer had the authority. considering the fact that it is a matter of public knowledge that a majority of the lands in the Philippine Islands are agricultural lands that the courts have a right to presume. Hence. may decide for itself what portions of the "public domain" shall be set aside and reserved as forestry or mineral land. and if so. Here. whether the land is agricultural. Court of Appeals. 926 was supplanted by Act No. It prescribed rules and regulations for the homesteading. citing the separate opinion of now Chief Justice Reynato S. 98 did not present a justiciable case for determination by the land registration court of the property’s land classification.R.[ Land Titles and Deeds exhaustion of the timber or mineral. or mineral.107-a ruled: "Act No. Notably." In short. lands classified as agricultural today may be differently classified tomorrow. the definition of "agricultural public lands" mentioned in Krivenko relied on the old cases decided prior to the enactment of Act No. Director of Lands. 1148. No. the exclusive prerogative to classify or reclassify public lands into alienable or disposable. and that the government’s title to public land sprung from the Treaty of Paris and other subsequent treaties between Spain and the United States. Krivenko cited the old cases Mapa v. We note that the RTC decision99 in G. the Government. 167707 mentioned Krivenko v.100 which was decided in 1947 when CA No. The law governed the disposition of lands of the public domain. that in each case the lands are agricultural lands until the contrary is shown. by reservation. timber. or mineral. Each case must be decided upon the proof in that particular case. 175. 39 Phil. Insular Government. This Court ruled that as an alien. Puno in Cruz v. they may apply for a title in their name. including Ankron and De Aldecoa. however. 926. decide for itself what portions of public land shall be considered forestry land. selling and leasing of portions of the public domain of the Philippine Islands. forestry. In the latter case. the courts were no longer authorized to determine the property’s land classification. unlike the Heirs of Ciriaco Tirol who were issued their title in 1933. 1148). Hence. however. by reason of the rapid growth of timber or the discovery of valuable minerals. The fact that the land is a manglar [mangrove swamp] is not sufficient for the courts to decide whether it is agricultural. The Insular Government. 2874. the Public Land Act operated on the assumption that title to public lands in the Philippine Islands remained in the government. whether express or implied.105 As We have already stated. The Government. A similar argument was squarely rejected by the Court in Collado v." for the establishment of town sites and sale of lots therein. 926 does not create a presumption that the land is alienable. may. The pertinent issue inKrivenko was whether residential lots were included in the general classification of agricultural lands. 2874 in 1919. It also provided for the "issuance of patents to certain native settlers upon public lands. We believe. Private claimants also contend that their continued possession of portions of Boracay Island for the requisite period of ten (10) years under Act No. gave the Executive Department. Whatever the land involved in a particular land registration case is forestry or mineral land must. and prescribed the terms and conditions to enable persons to perfect their titles to public lands in the Islands. Until private interests have intervened. is not controlling here because it involved a totally different issue. forestry. Its superior value for one purpose or the other is a question of fact to be settled by the proof in each particular case.96 Act No. The term "public land" referred to all lands of the public domain whose . was passed in pursuance of the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902. 2874. courts were no longer free to determine the classification of lands from the facts of each case. 926106 ipso facto converted the island into private ownership. except those that have already became private lands.97 Here. mineral or forest. private claimants. supra)95 (Emphasis ours) Since 1919. there was no opportunity for the courts then to resolve if the land the Boracay occupants are now claiming were agricultural lands. whether an alien could acquire a residential lot.102 and Ankron v. 107 Collado. under the provisions of Act No.96-a Since then. private claimants cannot bank on Act No. to determine the classification of lands of the public domain. Government of the Philippine Islands. the issue is whether unclassified lands of the public domain are automatically deemed agricultural. be classified as agricultural land tomorrow. 926. Jocson vs.103 Krivenko. or mineral land. in the absence of evidence to the contrary. those cases cannot apply here. having regard for its present or future value for one or the other purposes. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources. Register of Deeds of Manila. since they were decided when the Executive did not have the authority to classify lands as agricultural. promulgated in 1919 and reproduced in Section 6 of CA No. unless private interests have intervened before such reservation is made. Simply put. be a matter of proof. And vice-versa. ( Ramos vs. which included residential lots. vesting the Executive with the sole power to classify lands of the public domain was already in effect. therefore. in the first instance. Director of Forestry. Private claimants’ continued possession under Act No. for the completion of imperfect titles. 141.

mineral lands. Section 5 of the Circular recognizes the then Bureau of Forest Development’s authority to declare areas in the island as alienable and disposable when it provides: Subsistence farming. rather than a forest land. The reference in Circular No. as a tourist spot. and not look into its physical layout. The DENR109 and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority110 certify that Boracay Island is an unclassified land of the public domain. or that the implementation of Proclamation No. One is descriptive of what appears on the land while the other is a legal status. among other islands. the reference in the Circular to both private and public lands merely recognizes that the island can be classified by the Executive department pursuant to its powers under CA No. in areas declared as alienable and disposable by the Bureau of Forest Development. in the context of both the Public Land Act and the Constitution112 classifying lands of the public domain into "agricultural. 705. 705. 3-82 did not convert the whole of Boracay into an agricultural land. private claimants argue that Proclamation No. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. no doubt. 705 may seem to be out of touch with the present realities in the island. 3-82 to "private lands" 117 and "areas declared as alienable and disposable"118 does not by itself classify the entire island as agricultural. As a premier tourist destination for local and foreign tourists. however. Section 3(a) of PD No. The Proclamation classified Boracay. 926. even if its forest cover has been replaced by beach resorts. that the occupants of Boracay have built multi-million peso beach resorts on the island. as a tourist zone. However. 3-82 makes reference not only to private lands and areas but also to public forested lands. 705 issued by President Marcos categorized all unclassified lands of the public domain as public forest. nipa palms. Forests. Notably.[ Land Titles and Deeds title still remained in the government and are thrown open to private appropriation and settlement.115 (Emphasis supplied) There is a big difference between "forest" as defined in a dictionary and "forest or timber land" as a classification of lands of the public domain as appearing in our statutes. Nevertheless. Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain prior to Proclamation No. The Court notes that the classification of Boracay as a forest land under PD No." Applying PD No. Section 3 provides: No trees in forested private lands may be cut without prior authority from the PTA. has been partly stripped of its forest cover to pave the way for commercial developments. it is plain error for petitioners to argue that under the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Public Land Act No. do not negate its character as public forest. There is nothing in the law or the Circular which made Boracay Island an agricultural land. respects titles already existing prior to its effectivity. Such unclassified lands are considered public forest under PD No. including those in Boracay Island. 1801 as basis for judicial confirmation of imperfect title. and excluded the patrimonial property of the government and the friar lands. "Forest lands" do not have to be on mountains or in out of the way places. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. the island is susceptible of private ownership. Unless and until the land classified 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. Private claimants assert that. restaurants and other commercial establishments. Swampy areas covered by mangrove trees. are ipso factoconsidered public forests. and other trees growing in brackish or sea water may also be classified as forest land. PD No. mere possession by private individuals of lands creates the legal presumption that the lands are alienable and disposable." do not necessarily refer to large tracts of wooded land or expanses covered by dense growths of trees and underbrushes. Boracay appears more of a commercial island resort. 113 The discussion in Heirs of Amunategui v. a classification for legal purposes. 1801 or PTA Circular No. forest or timber. 116 At any rate. Circular No. 705 defines a public forest as "a mass of lands of the public domain which has not been the subject of the present system of classification for the determination of which lands are needed for forest purpose and which are not. Hence." Thus. 111 that the island has already been stripped of its forest cover. In fact.108 (Emphasis Ours) Except for lands already covered by existing titles. 1064. PD No. 705. 1801 issued by then President Marcos in 1978 entitles them to judicial confirmation of imperfect title. Boracay. 141. (Emphasis supplied) Clearly. the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply. Proclamation No. Director of Forestry114 is particularly instructive: 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. . Private claimants cannot rely on Proclamation No. Rule VIII. 1064 will destroy the island’s tourism industry. it has not been automatically converted from public forest to alienable agricultural land. all unclassified lands. All forested areas in public lands are declared forest reserves . The proclamation did not convert Boracay into an agricultural land. and national parks. the Court is tasked to determine the legal status of Boracay Island.

[ Land Titles and Deeds Therefore.96 hectares of agricultural land. The Proclamation likewise provides for a 15-meter buffer zone on each side of the center line of roads and trails. 1064. through the Office of the President. subject to existing vested rights. 131 and Executive Order No. Proclamation No. all public and private agricultural lands as provided in Proclamation No. Classification of public lands is the exclusive prerogative of the Executive Department. 1064 classifies Boracay into 400 hectares of reserved forest land and 628.122 Absent such classification. as President Arroyo did in Proclamation No. which are reserved for right of way and which shall form part of the area reserved for forest land protection purposes. Palanca and Soterranea Rafols v. as in the case of Boracay. all the other areas mentioned would likewise be declared wide open for private disposition. 1064. 1801. In Heirs of the Late Spouses Pedro S. President Arroyo can no longer convert it into an agricultural land without running afoul of Section 4(a) of RA No. developmental and equity considerations. the land remains unclassified until released and rendered open to disposition. 1801 cannot be deemed the positive act needed to classify Boracay Island as alienable and disposable land. 1064 of 2006 which positively declared part of Boracay as alienable and opened the same to private ownership. coves. caves and peninsulas in the Philippines. The Whereas clauses of Proclamation No. 705 did not bar the Executive from later converting it into agricultural land. Scope. timber and mineral lands. Camiguin Island in Cagayan de Oro. It does not address the areas’ alienability. or both." Where there has been no previous . 1064. Proclamation No. and peninsulas in the Philippines. as a tourist zone and marine reserve to be administered by the PTA – to ensure the concentrated efforts of the public and private sectors in the development of the areas’ tourism potential with due regard for ecological balance in the marine environment. It was Proclamation No. the prohibition under the CARL applies only to a "reclassification" of land. Proclamation No. shall have determined by law. such as Fortune and Verde Islands in Batangas. Republic. Private claimants further assert that Proclamation No.124 the Court stated that unclassified lands are public forests. together with other islands. Coron Island. If the designation of Boracay Island as tourist zone makes it alienable and disposable by virtue of Proclamation No. there can be no prohibited reclassification under the agrarian law. They claim that since Boracay is a public forest under PD No. Sections 6 and 7 of CA No. 6657 barring conversion of public forests into agricultural lands. While it is true that the land classification map does not categorically state that the islands are public forests. That Boracay Island was classified as a public forest under PD No. thus: SEC. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo merely exercised the authority granted to her to classify lands of the public domain. but sixty-four (64) other islands. – The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 shall cover. If the land had never been previously classified. presumably subject to existing vested rights. 229.123 Proclamation No. 1801 covers not only Boracay Island. Port Galera in Oriental Mindoro. 141120 provide that it is only the President. 1064 does not violate the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. the proclamation is aimed at administering the islands for tourism and ecological purposes. Contrary to private claimants’ argument. Panglao and Balicasag Islands in Bohol. 705. the land remains unclassified land until released and rendered open to disposition. much less unconstitutional. taking into account ecological. to name a few. Boracay Island still remained an unclassified land of the public domain despite PD No. In the absence of the classification as mineral or timber land. 4. and Misamis Oriental. there was nothing invalid or irregular. regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced. he would have identified the specific limits of each.121 In issuing Proclamation No. Simply put. If President Marcos intended to classify the island as alienable and disposable or forest. Courts have no authority to do so.119 More importantly.125 (Emphasis supplied) Moreover. No reclassification of forest or mineral lands to agricultural lands shall be undertaken after the approval of this Act until Congress. the specific limits of the public domain. the key word to the correct application of the prohibition in Section 4(a) is the word "reclassification. 1064 violates the provision of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) or RA No. 1801 also explain the rationale behind the declaration of Boracay Island. This was not done in Proclamation No. the intent of the proclamation. the fact that they were unclassified lands leads to the same result. Puerto Princesa and surrounding areas in Palawan. and is clearly beyond. including other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture. about the classification of Boracay Island made by the President through Proclamation No. That could not have been. 705. It was within her authority to make such classification. upon the recommendation of the proper department head. the following lands are covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program: (a) All alienable and disposable lands of the public domain devoted to or suitable for agriculture. who has the authority to classify the lands of the public domain into alienable or disposable. 6657. We agree with the opinion of the Department of Justice126 on this point: Indeed. 1801. More specifically.

128 As discussed.130 Neither may private claimants apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Proclamation No. Ito ang batas at ito ang dapat umiral. Nor do these give them a right to apply for a title to the land they are presently occupying. . 1064. private claimants are ineligible to apply for a judicial confirmation of title over their occupied portions in Boracay even with their continued possession and considerable investment in the island. 141. 1064. for private claimants. Neither will this mean the loss of their substantial investments on their occupied alienable lands. While they may not be eligible to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Section 48(b) of CA No. Private claimants’ bid for judicial confirmation of imperfect title. They say their continued possession and investments give them a vested right which cannot be unilaterally rescinded by Proclamation No. must fail because of the absence of the second element of alienable and disposable land. thousands of people have called the island their home.[ Land Titles and Deeds classification of public forest [referring. and Proclamation No. 1945. 926. The tax declarations in the name of private claimants are insufficient to prove the first element of possession. continuous. no matter how long. and notorious possession and occupation of the subject land by himself or through his predecessors-in-interest under a bona fide claim of ownership since time immemorial or from June 12. They can take steps to preserve or protect their possession. 141. All is not lost. Whether that bill or a similar bill will become a law is for Congress to decide. For one thing. 1945. to the mass of the public domain which has not been the subject of the present system of classification for purposes of determining which are needed for forest purposes and which are not] into permanent forest or forest reserves or some other forest uses under the Revised Forestry Code.127 Private claimants are not entitled to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under CA No. and Proclamation No. Thus. the prohibition in Section 4(a) of the CARL against the reclassification of forest lands to agricultural lands without a prior law delimiting the limits of the public domain. commercial. possession of the land. Lack of title does not necessarily mean lack of right to possess. For another. This is clear from the wording of the law itself. such as by homestead131 or sales patent. Act No. Act No. and notorious possession of their lands in Boracay since June 12. They have invested millions of pesos in developing the island into a tourist spot. Their entitlement to a government grant under our present Public Land Act presupposes that the land possessed and applied for is already alienable and disposable. Being of recent dates. The island remained an unclassified land of the public domain and. Congress may enact a law to entitle private claimants to acquire title to their occupied lots or to exempt them from certain requirements under the present land laws. There is one such bill133 now pending in the House of Representatives. cannot confer ownership or possessory rights. The Court also notes that for a number of years. Neither do they have vested rights over the occupied lands under the said law. we repeat. exclusive. There are two requisites for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title under CA No. denominated as "public forest" under the Revised Forestry Code. having been in possession of the island for a long time. We note that the earliest of the tax declarations in the name of private claimants were issued in 1993. and (2) the classification of the land as alienable and disposable land of the public domain.132 subject to the conditions imposed by law. apply to those lands of the public domain. applying the Regalian doctrine. and other areas they possess now classified as agricultural. 1801. 926. with respect to those lands which were classified as agricultural lands. as amended. obviously. the Philippine Bill of 1902. The continued possession and considerable investment of private claimants do not automatically give them a vested right in Boracay. making it a by-word in the local and international tourism industry.129Where the land is not alienable and disposable. and cannot. While the Court commiserates with private claimants’ plight. which have not been previously determined. 1945. More realistically. or classified. the tax declarations are not sufficient to convince this Court that the period of possession and occupation commenced on June 12. relying on the Philippine Bill of 1902. continuous. there can be no "reclassification of forest lands" to speak of within the meaning of Section 4(a). those with lawful possession may claim good faith as builders of improvements. One Last Note The Court is aware that millions of pesos have been invested for the development of Boracay Island. We are bound to apply the law strictly and judiciously. is considered State property. this does not denote their automatic ouster from the residential. 141. exclusive. Private claimants insist that they have a vested right in Boracay. This Court is constitutionally bound to decide cases based on the evidence presented and the laws applicable. We cannot sustain the CA and RTC conclusion in the petition for declaratory relief that private claimants complied with the requisite period of possession. This is the law and it should prevail. they may look into other modes of applying for original registration of title. Private claimants failed to prove the first element of open. however. As the law and jurisprudence stand. does not. namely: (1) open. as needed for forest purposes in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Forestry Code. 1801 did not convert portions of Boracay Island into an agricultural land.

R. applicant rested her case. appearing on Plan AP-03-003447 containing an area of 3. filed an opposition to the application on the ground that neither the applicant nor her predecessors-in interest have been in open. With the rains. The petition for certiorari in is DISMISSED for lack of merit. Their promotion and protection are not just fancy rhetoric for politicians and activists. CELESTINA REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. livestock. this Court hereby adjudicates the parcels of land situated in Panan. SO ORDERED.135 WHEREFORE. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the lands in question since 12 June 1945 or prior thereto. 3 In a decision4 dated September 30.. On 15 October 1990. adjudicating unto her the parcels of land in question and decreeing the registration thereof in her name. and highways – not to mention precious human lives. does not becloud the vision to protect its remaining forest cover and to strike a healthy balance between progress and ecology. premises considered. . . the foregoing observations should be written down in a lumberman’s decalogue. Zambales. 71118 REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. thru the Provincial Prosecutor. Botolan. The petition for certiorari in G. Ecological conservation is as important as economic progress. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation thereof in the concept of (an) owner. Denuded areas become dust bowls. 37001 which affirmed an earlier decision2 of the Regional Trial Court at Iba. 2006 vs. judgment is rendered as follows: 1. 173775 (CA) in CA-G.R. The decision under review recites the factual backdrop. Branch 69. watersheds dry up. . Botolan. continuous. appearing on Plan AP-03-003446 containing an area of 15. development and reforestation. rivers and lakes which they supply are emptied of their contents. No. the trial court rendered judgment for herein respondent Celestina Naguiat. 1991. and that the parcels of land applied for are part of the public domain belonging to the Republic of the Philippines not subject to private appropriation. about the pressing need for forest preservation. forest lands are fundamental to our nation’s survival. and that to the best of her knowledge. As waterfalls cease to function. .R. CV No. Without the trees. Indeed. CV No. Josefina Moraga and Fausto Monje and their predecessors-in-interest who have been in possession thereof for more than thirty (30) years. forests constitute a vital segment of any country's natural resources. and proceeded with the hearing of this registration case. 1998 of the Court of Appeals . Zambales. NAGUIAT Before the Court is this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the Decision1 dated May 29. Branch 69 in Land Registration Case No. the fertile topsoil is washed away. protection. Not without justification. These are needs that become more urgent as destruction of our environment gets prevalent and difficult to control. Zambales. It is of common knowledge by now that absence of the necessary green cover on our lands produces a number of adverse or ill effects of serious proportions. 2. thus: WHEREFORE. said lots suffer no mortgage or encumbrance of whatever kind nor is there any person having any interest. On 29 June 1990. houses. the government has taken the step necessary to open up the island to private ownership. The fish disappear. 134209 January 24. conservation. With erosion come the dreaded floods that wreak havoc and destruction to property – crops. Munoz:134 The view this Court takes of the cases at bar is but in adherence to public policy that should be followed with respect to forest lands. . and quite often. that she is the owner of the said parcels of land having acquired them by purchase from the LID Corporation which likewise acquired the same from Demetria Calderon. inter alia.322 G.[ Land Titles and Deeds In issuing Proclamation No. however. After she had presented and formally offered her evidence . For. the Republic of the Philippines [herein petitioner]. the Provincial Prosecutor manifest (sic) that the Government had no evidence to adduce. This gesture may not be sufficient to appease some sectors which view the classification of the island partially into a forest reserve as absurd. that the muniments of title and tax payment receipts of applicant do not constitute competent and sufficient evidence of a bona-fide acquisition of the lands applied for or of his open.R. That the island is no longer overrun by trees. To be sure. No. . Many have written much. The Solicitor General. geological erosion results. that the applicant’s claim of ownership in fee simple on the basis of Spanish title or grant can no longer be availed of . 1064. the lower court issued an order of general default as against the whole world. and many more have spoken. continuous. as follows: This is an application for registration of title to four (4) parcels of land located in Panan. 167707 is GRANTED and the Court of Appeals Decision in CAG. with the exception of the Office of the Solicitor General. legal or equitable. G. Applicant [herein respondent] alleges. interposed no objection to the admission of the exhibits. N-25-1. . No. .131 square meters.R. Later . As aptly observed by Justice Conrado Sanchez in 1968 in Director of Forestry v. so will hydroelectric plants. or in possession thereof. more particularly described in the amended application filed by Celestina Naguiat on 29 December 1989 with the Regional Trial Court of Zambales.

all lands of the public domain belong to the State – the source of any asserted right to ownership of land. . the Republic’s present recourse on its basic submission that the CA’s decision " is not in accordance with law. . the prerogative of classifying or reclassifying lands of the public domain.14 Needless to stress. petitioner Republic faults the appellate court on its finding respecting the length of respondent’s occupation of the property subject of her application for registration and for not considering the fact that she has not established that the lands in question have been declassified from forest or timber zone to alienable and disposable property. in said cases. appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED. Naguiat.A. And once this decision becomes final. Filipino citizen. jurisprudence and the evidence. Herico and the other cases cited by the CA are not. DAR. xxx. "Forest lands" do not have to be on mountains or in out of the way places. mineral lands and national parks. winning cards for the respondent. Pampanga together with all the improvements existing thereon and orders and decrees registration in her name in accordance with Act No. is subject to the various easements/reservations provided for under pertinent laws. The classification is merely descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. however. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. xxx Under Section 2. the presumption that the land subject of an application for registration is alienable or disposable rests with the applicant.5 As to these assets. upon the completion of the requisite period of possession.) 141. Prescinding from its above assumption and finding. or. unless declassified and released by positive act of the Government so that they may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain. Said doctrine is a reaffirmation of the principle established in the earlier cases .15 In the present case. As we stated in Heirs of Amunategui 9A forested area classified as forest land of the public domain does not lose such classification simply the decision because loggers or settlers have stripped it of its forest cover. 37001.R. at least. exclusive and undisputed possession of alienable public land for period prescribed by law creates the legal fiction whereby the land. from forest or mineral to agricultural and vice versa. Article XII of the Constitution. Forests. 10 which embodies the Regalian doctrine. (Words in bracket added) With its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the trial court. continuous and exclusive occupation of the subject property for more than 30 years. to wit: WHEREFORE. and Presidential Decree No.6 Given this postulate. the appellate court went on to conclude. petitioner Republic went on appeal to the CA in CA-G. Wrote the appellate court: The theory of [petitioner] that the properties in question are lands of the public domain cannot be sustained as it is directly against the above doctrine. the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply. Intermediate Appellate Court (IAC)16 and Herico vs. Hence. This adjudication. [should be 141] as amended. 1529 or Public Land Act (C. let the corresponding decree of registration be immediately issued. are not capable of private appropriation. however. the CA. forest or timber. in the context of both the Public Land Act 7 and the Constitution8 classifying lands of the public domain into "agricultural. 496. not put in issue. the principal issue to be addressed turns on the question of whether or not the areas in question have ceased to have the status of forest or other inalienable lands of the public domain.) The principal reason for the appellate court’s disposition. that. is her and her predecessor-in-interest’s open. the CA assumed that the lands in question are already alienable and disposable. CV No. by incontrovertible evidence. presidential decrees and/or presidential letters of instructions which should be annotated/ projected on the title to be issued.387 square meters to herein applicant Celestina T. the disposable and alienable nature of the land sought to be registered was established. 1998." do not necessarily refer to a large tract of wooded land or an expanse covered by dense growth of trees and underbrush. that open.e.13 Under Section 6 of the Public Land Act. 1529. 12 Accordingly. since respondent has not established with the required evidence her title in fee simple or imperfect title in respect of the subject lots which would warrant their registration under … (P. Public forest lands or forest reserves. affirmed that of the trial court." In particular. SO ORDERED.. ipso jure and without the need of judicial or other sanction.17 among other cases. married to Rommel Naguiat and a resident of Angeles City. of legal age. belongs to the Executive Branch of the government and not the court. (Word in bracket and underscoring added. the onus to overturn. public lands not shown to have been reclassified or released as alienable agricultural land or alienated to a private person by the State remain part of the inalienable public domain. upon completion of the requisite period.D. in the herein assailed decision of May 29. i. premises considered. the lands in question cease to be public land and become private property. ceases to be public land and becomes private property …. Director of Lands. 14. for the simple reason that. As stated at the outset hereof. . finding a registerable title for respondent. citing Director of Lands vs. Commonwealth Act No. 11 All lands not appearing to be clearly of private dominion presumptively belong to the State.[ Land Titles and Deeds containing an area of 15. And there lies the difference.

Branch 69. that IPRA is consistent with the Constitution and pray that the petition for prohibition and mandamus be dismissed. "(2) Section 5.21 The foregoing considered. Zambales. the issue of whether or not respondent and her predecessor-in-interest have been in open. 1998. al).[ Land Titles and Deeds Here. provided no information respecting the classification of the property.19 It cannot be overemphasized that unwarranted appropriation of public lands has been a notorious practice resorted to in land registration cases. The motions for intervention of the aforesaid groups and organizations were granted. 1999. 1998 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. cannot be acquired by adverse occupation or possession. respondents Chairperson and Commissioners of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission.R. which. defines ancestral lands.R. No. cannot ripen into private ownership and be registered as title. composed of Sen. and their conversion into alienable and disposable lands need an express and positive act from the government. et al. Mr. as the case may be. in violation of the regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2. 8371). mineral and other . bodies of water. 1998. in relation to section 3(a). heard on April 13.22 WHEREFORE.SECRETARY ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES PER CURIAM: Petitioners Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa brought this suit for prohibition and mandamus as citizens and taxpayers. the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) likewise filed a Motion to Intervene and/or to Appear as Amicus Curiae. 8371 (R. 2000 OF their Comment to the Petition. another group. and intervenors filed their in which they reiterate the their earlier pleadings and ISAGANI CRUZ and vs. the Court has made it a point to stress. 20 For this reason. the government agency created under the IPRA to implement its provisions. 1998. Inc. On October 19. In its resolution of September 29. one of the authors of the IPRA. et. G. the instant petition is GRANTED and the assailed decision dated May 29. On March 23. 1998 Petitioners assail the constitutionality of the following provisions of the IPRA and its Implementing Rules on the ground that they amount to an unlawful deprivation of the State’s ownership over lands of the public domain as well as minerals and other natural resources therein. however long. SO ORDERED. and the leaders and members of 112 groups of indigenous peoples (Flavier. They join the NCIP in defending the constitutionality of IPRA and praying for the dismissal of the petition. The CHR asserts that IPRA is an expression of the principle of parens patriae and that the State has the responsibility to protect and guarantee the rights of those who are at a serious disadvantage like indigenous peoples.1 In compliance. the Court required respondents to comment. Accordingly. Article XII of the Constitution: "(1) Section 3(a) which defines the extent and coverage of ancestral domains. filed a motion to Intervene with attached Comment-in-Intervention. that declassification of forest and mineral lands. 135385 December 6.18 Aside from tax receipts. 37001 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. N-25-1 of the Regional Trial Court at Iba. For. (Haribon. respondent never presented the required certification from the proper government agency or official proclamation reclassifying the land applied for as alienable and disposable. respondents Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) filed through the Solicitor General a consolidated Comment. in which they defend the constitutionality of the IPRA and pray that the petition be dismissed for lack of merit. and Section 3(b) which. For this reason it prays that the petition be dismissed.). exclusive and continuous possession of the parcels of land in question is now of little moment. CV No. respondent’s application for original registration of title in Land Registration Case No. in turn. and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (Implementing Rules). filed on October 13. They agree with the NCIP and Flavier. occupation thereof in the concept of owner. On March 22. which provides that ancestral domains including inalienable public lands. 1999. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed. The Solicitor General is of the view that the IPRA is partly unconstitutional on the ground that it grants ownership over natural resources to indigenous peoples and prays that the petition be granted in part. otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA). respondent submitted in evidence the survey map and technical descriptions of the lands. It calls for proof. is DENIED. needless to state. composed of the Ikalahan Indigenous People and the Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources. unclassified land. when appropriate. filed their Motion for Leave to Intervene. assailing the constitutionality of certain provisions of Republic Act No. No costs. Oral arguments were Thereafter. the parties respective memoranda arguments adduced in during the hearing. however. Juan Flavier.A. On November 10. et al. these documents are not sufficient to overcome the presumption that the land sought to be registered forms part of the public domain. As the Court has held. 1999. a group of intervenors. Ponciano Bennagen. as here.

Sections 3(a) and 3(b) violate the rights of private landowners. "(3) Section 63 which provides the customary law. development or exploration of minerals and other natural resources within the areas claimed to be their ancestral domains. 52[I]. the jurisdiction of said officials over said area terminates. and "(5) The issuance of a writ of mandamus commanding the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources to comply with his duty of carrying out the State’s constitutional mandate to control and supervise the exploration. protect and conserve the ancestral domains and portions thereof which are found to be necessary for critical watersheds. Secretary of Justice and Commissioner of the National Development Corporation.A. by providing for an allencompassing definition of "ancestral domains" and "ancestral lands" which might even include private lands found within said areas. "(4) Section 65 which states that customary laws and practices shall be used to resolve disputes involving indigenous peoples. wildlife sanctuaries." They contend that said Rule infringes upon the President’s power of control over executive departments under Section 17. 8371 are unconstitutional and invalid.A. the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources. Article VII of the Constitution. 8. forest cover or reforestation. 63. 65 and 66 and other related provisions of R. utilization and conservation of Philippine natural resources. 1. 2. "(4) The issuance of a writ of prohibition directing the Secretary of Budget and Management to cease and desist from disbursing public funds for the implementation of the assailed provisions of R. series of 1998. namely. hereditary succession and settlement of land disputes. 58. 8371. 5. 6. "(6) Section 57 which provides for priority rights of the indigenous peoples in the harvesting. which provides that "the administrative relationship of the NCIP to the Office of the President is characterized as a lateral but autonomous relationship for purposes of policy and program coordination.6 Petitioners pray for the following: "(1) A declaration that Sections 3. develop. "(3) The issuance of a writ of prohibition directing the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to cease and desist from implementing Department of Environment and Natural Resources Circular No. series of 1998. petitioners question the provisions of the IPRA defining the powers and jurisdiction of the NCIP and making customary law applicable to the settlement of disputes involving ancestral domains and ancestral lands on the ground that these provisions violate the due process clause of the Constitution. claims of ownership. 7. and that any doubt or ambiguity in the interpretation thereof shall be resolved in favor of the indigenous peoples. and "(7) Section 58 which gives the indigenous peoples the responsibility to maintain. petitioners assail the validity of Rule VII. development. "(3) Section 6 in relation to section 3(a) and 3(b) which defines the composition of ancestral domains and ancestral lands. wilderness. 4 These provisions are: "(1) sections 51 to 53 and 59 which detail the process of delineation and recognition of ancestral domains and which vest on the NCIP the sole authority to delineate ancestral domains and ancestral lands. protected areas.3 In addition. 8371 and its Implementing Rules. "(4) Section 7 which recognizes and enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over the ancestral domains. Part II. 57. (5) Section 8 which recognizes and enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over the ancestral lands. "(2) Section 52[i] which provides that upon certification by the NCIP that a particular area is an ancestral domain and upon notification to the following officials.[ Land Titles and Deeds resources found within ancestral domains are private but community property of the indigenous peoples. and the right to enter into agreements with nonindigenous peoples for the development and utilization of natural resources therein for a period not exceeding 25 years. the members of the Court voted as follows: ."5 Finally. Section 1 of the NCIP Administrative Order No. Secretary of Interior and Local Governments. and "(5) Section 66 which vests on the NCIP the jurisdiction over all claims and disputes involving rights of the indigenous peoples. traditions and practices of indigenous peoples shall be applied first with respect to property rights. extraction.A. "(2) The issuance of a writ of prohibition directing the Chairperson and Commissioners of the NCIP to cease and desist from implementing the assailed provisions of R. renewable for not more than 25 years."7 After due deliberation on the petition."2 Petitioners also content that. 59. mangroves.

114. On the other hand. pragmatic jurisprudence must come to terms with history. But. to correct a grave historical injustice to our indigenous people. pp. SO ORDERED. and 57 of R. and De Leon. These ingrained attitudes are obstacles to anyone who wants to reorient law in a more pragmatic direction. and Section 57 of the IPRA which he contends should be interpreted as dealing with the large-scale exploitation of natural resources and should be read in conjunction with Section 2. Part II. Quisumbing. archaic terminology. Murciano C. The Laws of the Indies B. Petition.Arellano Law Foundation SEPARATE OPINION PUNO. 1. Ynares-Santiago. Seven (7) other members of the Court voted to grant the petition. The sense and subtleties of this law cannot be appreciated without considering its distinct sociology and the labyrinths of its history.A. wisdom. the petition is DISMISSED. Bellosillo. Kapunan. the voting remained the same. Jr. which he believes must await the filing of specific cases by those whose rights may have been violated by the IPRA. Gonzaga-Reyes. ancient practices. Id. the IPRA was enacted by Congress not only to fulfill the constitutional mandate of protecting the indigenous cultural communities' right to their ancestral land but more importantly. Rollo. nor shall . see separate opinion any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. 'paradigm shifts. Attached hereto and made integral parts thereof are the separate opinions of Justices Puno. It venerates tradition. Melo. p. The Development of the Regalian Doctrine in the Philippine Legal System. sustaining the validity of the challenged provisions of R. gerontocracy. Article III of the Constitution states: "No person shall be deprived of life. Buena.. pp.. ancient texts. and Santiago join. 8371 are unconstitutional. custom. A. Justice Vitug also filed a separate opinion expressing the view that Sections 3(a). series of 1998. It is suspicious of innovation. 6. Kapunan. 8371. the case was redeliberated upon. 7.. However. Id. As the votes were equally divided (7 to 7) and the necessary majority was not obtained. at 23-25.[ Land Titles and Deeds Seven (7) voted to dismiss the petition. 65. the 6 7 Transcript of Stenographic Notes of hearing held on April 13. pp. seniority. 7 (a)(b). Accordingly. or if you like the most backward-looking. at 27-28. Justices Melo. 1999." Expounding on Nietzsche's essay. by the same token. Justice Puno also filed a separate opinion sustaining all challenged provisions of the law with the exception of Section 1. Buena. ritual. after redeliberation. which the Chief Justice and Justices Bellosillo. This Opinion discusses the following: I.A. The Public Land Acts and the Torrens System Footnotes 1 Rollo. This Opinion attempts to interpret IPRA by discovering its soul shrouded by the mist of our history. Pardo. discontinuities. J. Pardo. Mendoza. JJ. Judge Richard Posner1 wrote:2 "Law is the most historically oriented.: PRECIS A classic essay on the utility of history was written in 1874 by Friedrich Nietzsche entitled "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life. 16-23. 8371 are unconstitutional. 2 3 4 Section 1.' and the energy and brashness of youth. Justice Mendoza voted to dismiss the petition solely on the ground that it does not raise a justiciable controversy and petitioners do not have standing to question the constitutionality of R. 8. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. pedigree. He reserves judgment on the constitutionality of Sections 58. Mendoza and Panganiban JJ.A. Section 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. After all." When Congress enacted the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). The Lawphil Project . Vitug. it introduced radical concepts into the Philippine legal system which appear to collide with settled constitutional and jural precepts on state ownership of land and other natural resources. Vitug. and 66 of the law. 59. Justice Panganiban filed a separate opinion expressing the view that Sections 3 (a)(b). Rule III of NCIP Administrative Order No. Gonzaga-Reyes.J. precedent. maturity. and Panganiban. Jr. pursuant to Rule 56.A. Justice Kapunan filed an opinion.' of the professions." 5 Rollo. 25-27. 8371. the most 'past-dependent. C. 5-6.. Quisumbing. concur. liberty or property without due process of law. 5. and interpretation conceived of as a method of recovering history. Valenton v. Davide. and De Leon join in the separate opinions of Justices Panganiban and Vitug.. Puno. the Rules and Regulations Implementing the IPRA. and related provisions of R.

having acquired full sovereignty over the Indies. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. A. a suitable period within which all possessors of tracts. or in our name. Ancestral domains and ancestral lands are the private property of indigenous peoples and do not constitute part of the land of the public domain. The right to ancestral domains and ancestral lands: how acquired 2. The option of securing a torrens title to the ancestral land B. Indigenous Peoples 1. Indigenous Peoples: Their History 2. The IPRA is a Recognition of Our Active Participation in the International Indigenous Movement. 7 (b) and 57 of the IPRA do not violate the Regalian Doctrine enshrined in Section 2. 1. The IPRA is a Novel Piece of Legislation. Section 2. their title deeds thereto. The "Regalian Doctrine" or jura regaliais a Western legal concept that was first introduced by the Spaniards into the country through the Laws of the Indies and the Royal Cedulas. The right of ownership and possession by the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains is a limited form of ownership and does not include the right to alienate the same. in order that after reserving before all what to us or to our viceroys. 1. V. and after distributing to the natives what may be necessary for tillage and pasturage. DISCUSSION I. or by us. all the rest of said lands may remain free and unencumbered for us to dispose of as we may wish. The rights of ICCs/IPs over their ancestral domains and lands 2. (c) The large-scale utilization of natural resources in Section 57 of the IPRA may be harmonized with Paragraphs 1 and 4. and possessions not heretofore ceded away by our royal predecessors. (a) Section 1.. or by virtue of just prescriptive right shall be protected. We therefore order and command that all viceroys and presidents of pretorial courts designate at such time as shall to them seem most expedient. audiencias. Rule III of the Implementing Rules goes beyond the parameters of Section 7(a) of the law on ownership of ancestral domains and is ultra vires. more specifically. Legislative History IV. The right of ICCs/IPs to develop lands and natural resources within the ancestral domains does not deprive the State of ownership over the natural resources. control and supervision in their development and exploitation.[ Land Titles and Deeds D. pastures. The indigenous concept of ownership and customary law C. And those who are in possession by virtue of proper deeds and receipts. Article XII of the 1987 Consitution. confirming them in what they now have and giving them more if necessary. The Provisions of the IPRA Do Not Contravene the Constitution. i. but also their future and their probable increase. taking into consideration not only their present condition. Part II. still pertaining to the royal crown and patrimony. A. Book 4 of the Novisima Recopilacion de Leyes de las Indias . The Laws of the Indies The capacity of the State to own or acquire property is the state's power of dominium. Section 2. The concept of native title (a) Cariño Government v. . Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE REGALIAN DOCTRINE IN THE PHILIPPINE LEGAL SYSTEM. plantations. Sections 7 (a). set the policy of the Spanish Crown with respect to the Philippine Islands in the following manner: "We. The Philippine Constitutions II. Their Concept of Land III. The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). The Laws of the Indies. (b) Indian Title to land (c) Why the Cariño doctrine is unique 3. 1. and estates shall exhibit to them and to the court officers appointed by them for this purpose. Title 12.3 This was the foundation for the early Spanish decrees embracing the feudal theory of jura regalia. Law 14. Insular (b) The small-scale utilization of natural resources in Section 7 (b) of the IPRA is allowed under Paragraph 3. and governors may seem necessary for public squares. and all lands. it is our will that all lands which are held without proper and true deeds of grant be restored to us as they belong to us. farms.e. ways. A. and commons in those places which are peopled. territories. A.

not owning the land. And those who had good title or showed prescription were to be protected in their holdings.6 The Laws of the Indies were followed by the Ley Hipotecaria. decided the case on the basis of "those special laws which from earliest time have regulated the disposition of the public lands in the colonies. Plaintiffs had entered into peaceful occupation of the subject land in 1860. It excludes the idea that the king was not still the owner of all ungranted lands. otherwise the lands shall revert to the state. the first Public Land Act. purchased the land from the provincial treasurer of Tarlac in 1892. the Court said. or in his name.9 Valenton resolved the question of which is the better basis for ownership of land: long-time occupation or paper title. passed Act No. the court interpreted it as follows: "In the preamble of this law there is. and the Royal Cedula of 1754. since the year 1700."15 On June 25. there were no laws specifically providing for the disposition of land in the Philippines. they will be deprived of and evicted from their lands. belonged to the Crown. 926. without a just and valid reason therefor." was partly an amendment of the Mortgage Law as well as the Laws of the Indies. shall have occupied royal lands. that did not belong to the king. 1754 reinforced the Recopilacion when it ordered the Crown's principal subdelegate to issue a general order directing the publication of the Crown's instructions: "x x x to the end that any and all persons who. It is apparent that it was not the intention of the law that mere possession for a length of time should make the possessors the owners of the land possessed by them without any action on the part of the authorities. otherwise. the Laws of the Indies would be followed. the decree provided for a system of assignment of such lands. or by the kings who preceded him. However. Consequently. and if so. it was decreed that until regulations on the subject could be prepared. Murciano. it was understood that in the absence of any special law to govern a specific colony. It required the "adjustment" or registration of all agricultural lands.11 Quoting the preamble of Law 14. all lands became the exclusive patrimony and dominion of the Spanish Crown. Plaintiffs appealed the judgment. the land would be restored to the Crown. Indeed. in the Royal Order of July 5. or by the kings who preceded him. on the other hand. as already amended by previous orders and decrees. the Crown adopted regulations for the adjustment of lands "wrongfully occupied" by . 1880."4 The Philippines passed to Spain by virtue of "discovery" and conquest. speaking through Justice Willard. The Court.[ Land Titles and Deeds and all the rest shall be restored to us to be disposed of at our will. both military and civilian. and that the State. By the mandatory part of the law all the occupants of the public lands are required to produce before the authorities named. asserting that their 30-year adverse possession. as is seen. to what extent was it recognized?" Prior to 1880. interests and claims over the national territory of the Philippine Islands.14 The Royal Cedula of October 15. 1862. Title 12. by the Treaty of Paris of December 10. x x x."10 The question posed by the Court was: "Did these special laws recognize any right of prescription as against the State as to these lands. Murciano In 1904. including the State. Valenton v.8 This was the last Spanish land law promulgated in the Philippines. 1898. The law sought to register and tax lands pursuant to the Royal Decree of 1880. Spain ceded to the government of the United States all rights. as an extraordinary period of prescription in the Partidas and the Civil Code. and they will be granted to others. this Court decided the case of Valenton v."12 The preamble stated that all those lands which had not been granted by Philip. This statement excludes the idea that there might be lands not so granted. The lower court ruled against the plaintiffs on the ground that they had lost all rights to the land by not objecting to the administrative sale. the authorities of the Philippine Islands should follow strictly the Laws of the Indies. had given them title to the land as against everyone.7 The Spanish Mortgage Law provided for the systematic registration of titles and deeds as well as possessory claims. or in his name. whether or not x x x cultivated or tenanted. a distinct statement that all those lands belong to the Crown which have not been granted by Philip. B. and up to the date of the promulgation and publication of said order. Book 4 of the Recopilacion de Leyes de las Indias. or the "Maura Law. the United States colonial government. because some private person had been in the adverse occupation of them. Defendant's predecessor-in-interest. may x x x appear and exhibit to said subdelegates the titles and patents by virtue of which said lands are occupied. the Ordenanza of the Intendentes of 1786.5 Private land titles could only be acquired from the government either by purchase or by the various modes of land grant from the Crown. their title papers. and within a time to be fixed by them. In 1903. The Spanish Government took charge of distributing the lands by issuing royal grants and concessions to Spaniards. Four years later. It also ordered that all possessors of agricultural land should exhibit their title deed.13 For those lands granted by the king. Said subdelegates will at the same time warn the parties interested that in case of their failure to present their title deeds within the term designated. could not validly transmit it. or the Mortgage Law of 1893 . through the Philippine Commission. under the American regime. The Royal Decree of 1894.

the Convention approved the provision in the Constitution affirming the Regalian doctrine. Valenton construed these regulations together with contemporaneous legislative and executive interpretations of the law. in turn. than it did under the earlier ones. was deemed to be the owner of the land by virtue of the grant by the provincial secretary.22 Act No. minerals.27 D. subject to such liens and encumbrances as thereon noted or the law warrants or reserves. timber.20 The term "public land" referred to all lands of the public domain whose title still remained in the government and are thrown open to private appropriation and settlement. the Court added that "[t]he policy pursued by the Spanish Government from earliest times. selling. It also provided for the "issuance of patents to certain native settlers upon public lands. and until he did that the State remained the absolute owner. or utilization." In short. development. in Section 1 of Article XIII on "Conservation and Utilization of Natural Resources. and other mineral oils. the first Public Land Act. requiring settlers on the public lands to obtain title deeds therefor from the State. The main difference between the two relates to the transitory provisions on the rights of American citizens and corporations during the Commonwealth period at par with Filipino citizens and corporations. This new law was passed under the Jones Law.31 Thus. 926. Commonwealth Act No. This system highly facilitates land conveyance and negotiation. waters. The Public Land Acts and the Torrens System Act No.25 which. The law is said to be almost a verbatim copy of the Massachussetts Land Registration Act of 1898. on the other hand. 141. To remove all doubts. the Court ruled: "We hold that from 1860 to 1892 there was no law in force in these Islands by which the plaintiffs could obtain the ownership of these lands by prescription. Enacted by the Philippine Commission. Thus as a general doctrine. One of the fixed and dominating objectives of the 1935 Constitutional Convention was the nationalization and conservation of the natural resources of the country. Act 2874 was amended in 1936 by Commonwealth Act No."18 C.[ Land Titles and Deeds private individuals in the Philippine Islands." for the establishment of town sites and sale of lots therein. In effect. and leasing of portions of the public domain of the Philippine Islands. 926 was superseded in 1919 by Act 2874. and mineral lands of the public domain. the Public Land Act operated on the assumption that title to public lands in the Philippine Islands remained in the government. The Torrens system requires that the government issue an official certificate of title attesting to the fact that the person named is the owner of the property described therein. followed the principles and procedure of the Torrens system of registration formulated by Sir Robert Torrens who patterned it after the Merchant Shipping Acts in South Australia. yet it has always insisted that he must make that proof before the proper administrative officers.28 There was an overwhelming sentiment in the Convention in favor of the principle of state ownership of natural resources and the adoption of the Regalian doctrine. for the completion of imperfect titles. It was more comprehensive in scope but limited the exploitation of agricultural lands to Filipinos and Americans and citizens of other countries which gave Filipinos the same privileges. or the Land Registration Law of 1903." reads as follows: "Sec.30 The delegates to the Constitutional Convention very well knew that the concept of State ownership of land and natural resources was introduced by the Spaniards."16 In conclusion. the Court stated: "While the State has always recognized the right of the occupant to a deed if he proves a possession for a sufficient length of time. 1. and prescribed the terms and conditions to enable persons to perfect their titles to public lands in the Islands. Murciano. without any action by the State. was passed in pursuance of the provisions of the the Philippine Bill of 1902. It prescribed rules and regulations for the homesteading.21 and excluded the patrimonial property of the government and the friar lands. the second Public Land Act. and obtain from them his deed. and concluded that plaintiffs' case fared no better under the 1880 decree and other laws which followed it. all forces of . Act 496 placed all public and private lands in the Philippines under the Torrens system. however. exploitation. 141 remains the present Public Land Law and it is essentially the same as Act 2874. and for the cancellation or confirmation of Spanish concessions and grants in the Islands.23 After the passage of the 1935 Constitution. The Philippine Constitutions The Regalian doctrine was enshrined in the 1935 Constitution. the 1935 Constitution.19 and that the government's title to public land sprung from the Treaty of Paris and other subsequent treaties between Spain and the United States. petroleum. they were not certain whether it was continued and applied by the Americans. The law governed the disposition of lands of the public domain. coal.29 State ownership of natural resources was seen as a necessary starting point to secure recognition of the state's power to control their disposition. All agricultural. Valenton upheld the Spanish concept of state ownership of public land. As a fitting observation. 26 The certificate of title is indefeasible and imprescriptible and all claims to the parcel of land are quieted upon issuance of said certificate."17Valenton had no rights other than those which accrued to mere possession. has been continued by the American Government in Act No.24 Grants of public land were brought under the operation of the Torrens system under Act 496. 926.

Article XIV on the "National Economy and the Patrimony of the Nation. . forests or timber. development. all forces of potential energy. fisheries. grant. The exploration.Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years. in which cases beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant. Creating a National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. and defines the extent of these lands and domains. concession. or lease for the exploration. waters. fisheries.except as to water rights for irrigation. water supply. belong to the State. minerals. natural resources shall not be alienated. 8. or industrial uses other than the development of water power. or if the transfer is for an unconscionable consideration. Republic Act No. with the exception of public agricultural land. subject to any existing right. wildlife. coal." to wit: "Sec. if the transfer is to a nonmember of the ICC/IP and is tainted by vitiated consent of the ICC/IP." The 1987 Constitution reaffirmed the Regalian doctrine in Section 2 of Article XII on "National Economy and Patrimony. The IPRA recognizes the existence of the indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) as a distinct sector in Philippine society. II. Protect and Promote the Rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples. development. exploitation. shall not be alienated. petroleum. Establishing Implementing Mechanisms. whether on public or private land. or productionsharing agreements with Filipino citizens. 8371 is entitled "An Act to Recognize. or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. minerals. With the exception of agricultural lands. subject to customary laws and traditions of the community concerned. waters. lease. all lands of the public domain as well as all natural resources enumerated therein. In cases of water rights for irrigation.the right in case of displacement. All lands of the public domain. .the right to develop lands and natural resources. or utilization shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines.32 . beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant. Appropriating Funds Therefor. or concession at the time of the inauguration of the Government established under this Constitution. wildlife.the right to stay in the territories. and no license. fisheries. and resettlement lands of the public domain.the right to safe and clean air and water. and other natural resources are owned by the State. The ownership given is the indigenous concept of ownership under customary law which traces its origin to native title. fisheries. all other natural resources shall not be alienated. industrial or commercial. petroleum and other mineral oils. joint venture. and other natural resources of the Philippines belong to the State. concession. coal. All lands of the public domain. THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHTS ACT. and other mineral oils. It grants these people the ownership and possession of their ancestral domains and ancestral lands. . development and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State.33 . or industrial uses other than the development of water power. all forces of potential energy. and other natural resources of the Philippines belong to the State. . and their disposition. except as to water rights for irrigation. renewable for not more than twenty-five years." to wit: "Sec. or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding twenty-five years. flora and fauna. and no license. . or industrial uses other than the development of water power. residential." Simply stated. Natural resources. and for Other Purposes. The State may directly undertake such activities or it may enter into co-production. or to corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens. 2. water supply. b. and these are: .the right to resolve conflict.the right to ancestral lands which include a. exploitation. water supply. in which cases beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant." The 1973 Constitution reiterated the Regalian doctrine in Section 8. renewable for not more than twenty-five years. development. or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding twenty-five years.the right to claim parts of reservations. With the exception of agricultural.[ Land Titles and Deeds potential energy. fisheries. the right to transfer land/property to/among members of the same ICCs/IPs. or lease for the exploitation. x x x. and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. Other rights are also granted the ICCs/IPs. the right to redemption for a period not exceeding 15 years from date of transfer." It is simply known as "The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997" or the IPRA. It is this concept of State ownership that petitioners claim is being violated by the IPRA.

3 [h]. 2. These groups of people have actually occupied. Quezon. Ibanag of Isabela. Mindanao. or who have. ICCs/IPs shall likewise include peoples who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country. Indigenous Peoples: Their History Presently. They share common bonds of language. In Region III. Kalinga. institutions and community intellectual rights. Aeta of Cagayan. sharing common bonds of language. Aeta or Agta or Pugot. became historically differentiated from the Filipino majority. who have continuously lived as organized community on communally bounded and defined territory. Buid or Buhid.00 to P500. Tagbanua and Tao't bato of Palawan. Gaddang of Quirino. possessed and utilized their territories under claim of ownership since time immemorial. under claims of ownership since time immemorial. customs.[ Land Titles and Deeds Within their ancestral domains and ancestral lands.000.40 A. 39 The NCIP's decisions may be appealed to the Court of Appeals by a petition for review. Agta. 37 The NCIP took over the functions of the Office for Northern Cultural Communities and the Office for Southern Cultural Communities created by former President Corazon Aquino which were merged under a revitalized structure. Yapayao. and Kabihug of Camarines Norte. or. Leyte. 4. Rizal. Bontoc.Dumagats of Aurora. and the right to develop their own sciences and technologies. Any person who violates any of the provisions of the Act such as.Region I and the Cordilleras. Palawanon. traditions and other distinctive cultural traits. The term "ICCs" is used in the 1987 Constitution while that of "IPs" is the contemporary international language in the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 16941 and the United Nations (UN) Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. became historically differentiated from the majority of Filipinos. Samar. Island groups including Mindoro. the rest of Luzon. Quirino and Isabela. but not limited to. Itom of Albay. and Central Mindanao. Romblon. Itawis of Cagayan." Indigenous Cultural Communities or Indigenous Peoples refer to a group of people or homogeneous societies who have continuously lived as an organized community on communally bounded and defined territory. the matter may be brought to the NCIP. traditions. Remontado of Aurora. Ilongot of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya. or at the time of inroads of non-indigenous religions and cultures. Ibaloi. and the Palawan and Sulu group of islands. They are composed of 110 tribes and are as follows: 1. Nueva Vizcaya. Ivatan of Batanes. Palawan. 36 To carry out the policies of the Act.. Negros. by their resistance to political. 35 the right to preserve and protect their culture. Rizal. Tinggian or Itneg. Indigenous Peoples The IPRA is a law dealing with a specific group of people. at the time of conquest or colonization. cultural and political institutions but who may have been displaced from their traditional territories or who may have resettled outside their ancestral domains. they. occupied. Cimaron of Sorsogon. unauthorized and/or unlawful intrusion upon ancestral lands and domains shall be punished in accordance with customary laws or imprisoned from 9 months to 12 years and/or fined from P100. Southern and Eastern Mindanao.000. customs. or the establishment of present state boundaries. traditions and other distinctive cultural traits. and Mayon of Camarines Sur.Aeta of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur. Cagayan.refer to a group of people or homogeneous societies identified by self-ascription and ascription by others. which is granted quasi-judicial powers. Ifugao. and Bago of Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan.Aetas. Philippine indigenous peoples inhabit the interiors and mountains of Luzon. non-indigenous religions and cultures.34 social justice and human rights. but who may have been displaced from their traditional domains or who may have resettled outside their ancestral domains. i. who retain some or all of their own social. Isarog. Northern and Western Mindanao. Panay and the rest of the Visayas. non-indigenous religions and cultures. ICCs/IPs also include descendants of ICCs/IPs who inhabited the country at the time of conquest or colonization. social and cultural inroads of colonization. In the Cordillera Autonomous RegionKankaney. who retain some or all of their own social.42 ICCs/IPs are defined by the IPRA as: "Sec. possessed and utilized such territories. Tadyawan of Occidental Mindoro. Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples. When still unresolved. and the Pullon of Masbate and Camarines Sur. In Region V. Aeta-Abiyan.e. . the ICCs/IPs are given the right to self-governance and empowerment. the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) or the Indigenous Peoples (IPs).00 and obliged to pay damages. In Region IV. and who have.38 Disputes involving ICCs/IPs are to be resolved under customary laws and practices. through resistance to political. Region II. Mindoro. economic. 3. Hanunuo and Iraya of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro. Batangan. economic. social and cultural inroads of colonization. Alangan or Mangyan. Cuyonon. 1. The NCIP is an independent agency under the Office of the President and is composed of seven (7) Commissioners belonging to ICCs/IPs from each of the ethnographic areas. cultural and political institutions. the law created the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

51 The unit of government was the "barangay.000 to 30. They had languages that traced their origin to the Austronesian parentstock and used them not only as media of daily communication but also as vehicles for the expression of their literary moods. Chinese economic and socio-cultural influences came by way of Chinese porcelain. A chieftain had wide powers for he exercised all the functions of government.000 in Tawi-Tawi. The generally benign tropical climate and the largely uniform flora and fauna favored similarities. Mansaka of Davao del Norte. these were decided peacefully through a court composed by the chieftain as "judge" and the barangay elders as "jury. Zamboanga del Sur. divorce. which transported them to these shores. Influences from the Chinese and Indian civilizations in the third or fourth millenium B. the Camiguin of Camiguin Island. Matigsalog. common ecology. silk and traders. Tausug. the Samal. Customary laws were handed down orally from generation to generation and constituted the bulk of the laws of the barangay. Indonesians and Malays.45 The ancient Filipinos settled beside bodies of water. and riverine communities. Tasaday and Ubo of South Cotabato. augmented these ethnic strains.54 The written laws were those that the chieftain and his elders promulgated from time to time as the necessity arose. They are tribes of the Dibabaon. for they seemed to consider the objects of Nature as something to be respected. In Region IX. the animals and birds. Langilad. 7. the Tigwahanon of Agusan del Sur. Whenever disputes arose. Manobo Blit of South Cotabato. the Kalibugan of Basilan. Community life throughout the archipelago was influenced by. 47 Life was essentially subsistence but not harsh. T'boli and Talaingod of Davao del Sur. but which they sensed to be part of their lives.53 Laws were either customary or written. Each barangay was different and ruled by a chieftain called a "dato. in the environmental spirits and in soul spirits. Yakan/Samal. 9.C. In Region VII. Matigsalog of Davao del Norte and Del Sur. partnership. Hunting and food gathering became supplementary activities as reliance on them was reduced by fishing and the cultivation of the soil. B'laan.C.There are about 1. Subanon and Yakat. Misamis Oriental and and Misamis Occidental. such as inheritance. usury. They were preserved in songs and chants and in the memory of the elder persons in the community.Ati of Negros Occidental. He was the executive.55 The oldest known written body of laws was the Maragtas Code by Datu Sumakwel at about 1250 A. They venerated almost any object that was close to their daily life. In Region XIIIlianen. the Mangguangon of Davao and South Cotabato. the laws dealt with various subjects. and responded to. Before the time of Western contact.44 The strains from these groups eventually gave rise to common cultural features which became the dominant influence in ethnic reformulation in the archipelago. the Higa-unon of Agusan del Norte.49 They fashioned concepts and beliefs about the world that they could not see. Maranao. the moon. the Corolano and Sulod.46 From the hinterland.Magahat of Negros Oriental and Eskaya of Bohol. and the Umayamnon of Agusan and Bukidnon. Tagakaolo. In Region XI. Agusan del Sur. 10. a boat." Conflicts arising between subjects of different barangays were resolved by arbitration in which a board composed of elders from neutral barangays acted as arbiters." a term that derived its meaning from the Malay word "balangay. legislator and judge and was the supreme commander in time of war. our ancestors evolved an essentially homogeneous culture. Bukidnon. Other old codes are the Muslim Code of Luwaran and the Principal Code of Sulu. 8.065 IPs in Region XI. indicating the importance of the relationship between man and the object of nature.43 How these indigenous peoples came to live in the Philippines goes back to as early as 25. property rights.774. Tiruray. the Philippine archipelago was peopled largely by the Negritos. Bukidnon and Misamis Occidental.6 million in Region X alone. Kalagan.the Badjao numbering about 192. 6. Iloilo and Antique. 50 They had their own religion and religious beliefs." It was the chieftain's duty to rule and govern his subjects and promote their welfare and interests. the Manobo of the Agusan provinces. family relations and adoption. They believed in the immortality of the soul and life after death." meaning.000 B. loans. The . In Region VI.56 Whether customary or written. and a host of other deities. coastal. and Iranon. Mamamanua of Surigao del Sur. crime and punishment. Maguindanao. and Bagobo of Davao del sur and South Cotabato. Their rituals were based on beliefs in a ranking deity whom they called Bathalang Maykapal. a basically common way of life where nature was a primary factor. Capiz. Region X.D.Numbering 1. Indian influence found their way into the religious-cultural aspect of pre-colonial society. Talaanding of Bukidnon.57 Baranganic society had a distinguishing feature: the absence of private property in land. not differences.[ Land Titles and Deeds 5.48 The early Filipinos had a culture that was basically Malayan in structure and form. Mandaya of the Surigao provinces and Davao Oriental. The early Filipinos adored the sun.52 The barangay was basically a familybased community and consisted of thirty to one hundred families. the IPs are: the Banwaon. the Magahat of Negros Occidental.

classified the Filipinos according to their religious practices and beliefs. participated in the community ownership of the soil and the instruments of production as a member of the barangay. It. allowing the infieles. This class was favored by the Spaniards and was allowed certain status although below the Spaniards.72 The abrogation of the Filipinos' ancestral rights in land and the introduction of the concept of public domain were the most immediate fundamental results of Spanish colonial theory and law. and the natives were stripped of their ancestral rights to land. Four ethnic groups were within this jurisdiction: Sama. has no provision for the acquisition."69 The Spanish missionaries were ordered to establish pueblos where the church and convent would be constructed. in effect. The reduccion. One of the first tasks imposed on the missionaries and the encomenderos was to collect all scattered Filipinos together in a reduccion. Second. 78Their own political. were now declared to be crown lands or realengas. while the infieles. by virtue of their positions of importance. The social order was an extension of the family with chiefs embodying the higher unity of the community. separating themselves from the newly evolved Christian community. Tausug. and in the long run.[ Land Titles and Deeds chiefs merely administered the lands in the name of the barangay. were the Moros or the Muslim communities. This is clearly indicated in the Muslim Code of Luwaran. the Spanish government assumed an unvarying solicitous attitude towards the natives. Ownership of land was non-existent or unimportant and the right of usufruct was what regulated the development of lands.67 As early as 1551.68 The Spaniards regarded it a sacred "duty to conscience and humanity to civilize these less fortunate people living in the obscurity of ignorance" and to accord them the "moral and material advantages" of community life and the "protection and vigilance afforded them by the same laws. Basilan and Zamboanga. regardless of status. First were the Indios. was without sustenance. such as the chieftains and elders. 70 With the reduccion.63 The Muslim societies evolved an Asiatic form of feudalism where land was still held in common but was private in use. Each individual. cession or sale of land. who generally came from the lowland populations. Palawan. The Code contains a provision on the lease of cultivated lands. relative security. enjoyed some economic privileges and benefits. to the Spaniards. now Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. The upland societies were naturally outside the immediate concern of Spanish interest.65 Moreover. The Spaniards did not pursue them into the deep interior.64 The societies encountered by Magellan and Legaspi therefore were primitive economies where most production was geared to the use of the producers and to the fulfillment of kinship obligations. to make them ultimately adopt Hispanic culture and civilization. were subject to their responsibility to protect the communities from danger and to provide them with the leadership and means of survival. the family basis of barangay membership as well as of leadership and governance worked to splinter the population of the islands into numerous small and separate communities.60 Recognized leaders.76 The Moros and infieles resisted Spanish rule and Christianity. however. to the hinterlands. transfer. the Christianized Filipinos. was a "civilizing" device to make the Filipinos law-abiding citizens of the Spanish Crown.61 Sometime in the 13th century. economic and social systems were kept constantly alive and vibrant.73 The concept that the Spanish king was the owner of everything of value in the Indies or colonies was imposed on the natives. and third. The Moros were driven from Manila and the Visayas to Mindanao. therefore. the Spaniards attempted to "tame" the reluctant Filipinos through Christian indoctrination using the convento/casa real/plaza complex as focal point. . were not only able to preserve their own culture but also thwarted the Christianization process. and the cliffs and forests of the hinterlands were difficult and inaccessible. Yakan and Subanon. Sulu. which were peripheral to colonial administration.59 Marine resources and fishing grounds were likewise free to all. and divided them into three types . the infieles.75 The Indio was a product of the advent of Spanish culture. they found the Filipinos living in barangay settlements scattered along water routes and river banks. related to either land and sea. were the infieles or the indigenous communities.66 When the Spaniards settled permanently in the Philippines in 1565.71 All lands lost by the old barangays in the process of pueblo organization as well as all lands not assigned to them and the pueblos. The Sultanate of Sulu was established and claimed jurisdiction over territorial areas represented today by Tawi-tawi. civil and religious. It was from the realengas that land grants were made to non-Filipinos.74 Increasing their foothold in the Philippines. The Moros and infieles were regarded as the lowest classes. Coastal communities depended for their economic welfare on the kind of fishing sharing concept similar to those in land communities.77 Thus. All the new Christian converts were required to construct their houses around the church and the unbaptized were invited to do the same. belonging to the Spanish king. They were not economies geared to exchange and profit. But their rights.58 This ancient communalism was practiced in accordance with the concept of mutual sharing of resources so that no individual. Islam was introduced to the archipelago in Maguindanao.62 The Sultanate of Maguindanao spread out from Cotabato toward Maranao territory. the Spanish colonialists.

more or less. Since World War II. The PANAMIN was tasked to integrate the ethnic groups that sought full integration into the larger community.D. be subjected to wise and firm regulation. with a "special view to determining the most practicable means for bringing about their advancement in civilization and prosperity. and at the same time "protect the rights of those who wish to preserve their original lifeways beside the larger community. Under the Department of the Interior. otherwise known as the Ancestral Lands Decree. while still adopting the integration policy. "to natives of the Philippine Islands of a low grade of civilization.83 The 1935 Constitution did not carry any policy on the non-Christian Filipinos. 86Knowledge by the settlers of the Public Land Acts and the Torrens system resulted in the titling of several ancestral lands in the settlers' names."88 For the first time in Philippine history. their "uncivilized" culture was given some recognition and their "customs.84 The CNI was given. 410. and interests of national cultural communities in the formulation and implementation of State policies. and more directly. but to a geographical area. an "Act to effectuate in a more rapid and complete manner the economic.85 The policy of assimilation and integration did not yield the desired result. The decree provided for the issuance of land occupancy certificates to members of the national cultural communities who were given up to 1984 to register their claims. constant and active effort should be exercised to prevent barbarous practices and introduce civilized customs." The law called for a policy of integration of indigenous peoples into the Philippine mainstream and for this purpose created theCommission on National Integration (CNI). this titling displaced several indigenous peoples from their lands. beliefs and interests" were to be considered by the State in the formulation and implementation of State policies. and. No. traditions. No. and they were referred to as "cultural communities. including those in Muslim Mindanao.[ Land Titles and Deeds The pro-Christian or pro-Indio attitude of colonialism brought about a generally mutual feeling of suspicion."80 Placed in an alternative of either letting the natives alone or guiding them in the path of civilization.79 President McKinley. the decree recognized the right of tribal Filipinos to preserve their way of life. usually living in tribal relationship apart from settled communities. The post-independence policy of integration was like the colonial policy of assimilation understood in the context of a guardian-ward relationship. and permanent the integration of all said national cultural minorities into the body politic. In 1903. the American government chose "to adopt the latter measure as one more in accord with humanity and with the national conscience."81 The Americans classified the Filipinos into two: the Christian Filipinos and the non-Christian Filipinos. the Americans pursued a policy of assimilation." The BNCT was modeled after the bureau dealing with American Indians. The raging issue then was the conservation of the national patrimony for the Filipinos. and hostility between the Christians on the one hand and the non-Christians on the other.President Marcos abolished the CNI and transferred its functions to the Presidential Adviser on National Minorities (PANAMIN).87 It was in the 1973 Constitution that adopted the following provision: the State "The State shall consider the customs. government attempts at integration met with fierce resistance. social. surrounded by civilization to which they are unable or unwilling to conform. 1888. the BNCT's primary task was to conduct ethnographic research among unhispanized Filipinos. creating the Commission on National Integration charged with said functions. 253 creating the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes (BNCT). The agency took a keen anthropological interest in Philippine cultural minorities and produced a wealth of valuable materials about them. In 1957. Worse.A. addressed the existence of the infieles: "In dealing with the uncivilized tribes of the Islands. Such tribal government should. 1900. in his instructions to the Philippine Commission of April 7. traditions. With government initiative and participation."82 Like the Spaniards.91 In 1979. the "nonChristian tribes" or the "cultural minorities" were addressed by the highest law of the Republic. Like the Spaniards and Americans. without undue or petty interference. moral and political advancement of the non-Christian Filipinos or national cultural minorities and to render real. however.90 In 1974." 89 In short. a tidal wave of Christian settlers from the lowlands of Luzon and the Visayas swamped the highlands and wide open spaces in Mindanao. complete. and under which many of those tribes are now living in peace and contentment. Colonialism tended to divide and rule an otherwise culturally and historically related populace through a colonial system that exploited both the virtues and vices of the Filipinos. President Marcos promulgated P. the same task as the BNCT during the American regime. the Commission on . The term "non-Christian" referred not to religious belief. beliefs. fear. the Philippine Congress passed R. these peoples were also displaced by projects undertaken by the national government in the name of national development. the Commission should adopt the same course followed by Congress in permitting the tribes of our North American Indians to maintain their tribal organization and government. they passed Act No."More importantly this time.

and cattle ranching and other projects of the national government led not only to the eviction of the indigenous peoples from their land but also to the reduction and destruction of their natural environment.550 hectares of land that later became the NDC-Guthrie plantation in Agusan del Sur. The economic activities were governed by the concepts of an ancient communalism and mutual help." the right to possess the land does not only belong to the present generation but the future ones as well. 92 Despite the promulgation of these laws. They have a system of selfgovernment not dependent upon the laws of the central administration of the Republic of the Philippines. The Kalingas. from 1974 to the early 1980's. plantations. The "infieles societies" which had become peripheral to colonial administration. who are engaged in team occupation like hunting. Inherently colonial in origin.97 The kind of response the indigenous peoples chose to deal with colonial threat worked well to their advantage by making it difficult for Western concepts and religion to erode their customs and traditions. a much older base of archipelagic culture. some 100.103 Under Kalinga customary law.98 Land is the central element of the indigenous peoples' existence. The political systems were still structured on the patriarchal and kinship oriented arrangement of power and authority. It is limited because while the individual owner has the right to use and dispose of the property. 96 This Constitution goes further than the 1973 Constitution by expressly guaranteeing the rights of tribal Filipinos to their ancestral domains and ancestral lands.Invoking her powers under the Freedom Constitution. marginal.[ Land Titles and Deeds the Settlement of Land Problems was created under E. or loss of crops.O.105 Land titles do not exist in the indigenous peoples' economic and social system.93 Timber concessions. Most of the land was possessed by the Agusan natives. ownership of land more accurately applies to the tribal right to use the land or to territorial control. as a rule.000 Kalingas and Bontoks of the Cordillera region were displaced by the Chico River dam project of the National Power Corporation (NPC). They follow ways of life and customs that are perceived as different from those of the rest of the population. No. In Agusan del Sur. Office for Northern Cultural Communities and the Office for Southern Cultural Communities all under the Office of the President. mining. 2. The people are the secondary owners or stewards of the land and that if a member of the tribe ceases to work. The system of communal ownership under customary laws draws its meaning from the subsistence and highly collectivized mode of economic production. President Aquino created the Office of Muslim Affairs. landowners. he loses his claim of ownership. for instance. foraging for forest products. rights and obligations to the land are shared in common. customary law on land also sanctions individual ownership. The concept of individual land ownership under the civil law is alien to them.100 Customary law has a strong preference for communal ownership. water projects. not status. orchards. Although highly bent on communal ownership. The Manobos of Bukidnon saw their land bulldozed by the Bukidnon Sugar Industries Company (BUSCO). The social structure which emphasized division of labor and distinction of functions. They live in less accessible. swidden farms. By recognizing their right to their ancestral lands and domains. 101 or ownership by residents of the same locality who may not be related by blood or marriage. The residential lots and terrace rice farms are governed by a limited system of individual ownership. Thus. 561 which provided a mechanism for the expeditious resolution of land problems involving small settlers. The cultural styles and forms of life portraying the varieties of social courtesies and ecological adjustments were kept constantly vibrant.95 The 1987 Constitution carries at least six (6) provisions which insure the right of tribal Filipinos to preserve their way of life. Among the Igorots. and that those who work the land are its mere stewards. was maintained.102 For the Kalingas. death in the family. pasture and burial grounds should be communally-owned. the National Development Company was authorized by law in 1979 to take approximately 40.94 The Aquino government signified a total shift from the policy of integration to one of preservation. Their Concept of Land Indigenous peoples share distinctive traits that set them apart from the Filipino mainstream. There is no traditional concept of permanent. everybody has a common right to a common economic base. Under the concept of "trusteeship. They are non-Christians. and to be alienated should first be offered to a clan-member before any village-member can purchase it. and in no case may land be sold to a non-member of the ili. individual. which could either be ownership by a group of individuals or families who are related by blood or by marriage. he does not possess all the rights of an exclusive and full owner as defined under our Civil Code. the State has effectively upheld their right to live in a culture distinctly their own.99 Customary law on land rests on the traditional belief that no one owns the land except the gods and spirits. and the land reverts to the beings of the spirit world who are its true and primary owners. represented. from a cultural perspective. mostly upland areas. the alienation of individuallyowned land is strongly discouraged except in marriage and succession and except to meet sudden financial needs due to sickness. and swidden farming found it natural that forest areas. our national land laws and governmental policies frown upon indigenous claims to . land ownership. and tribal Filipinos.104 Moreover.

D. is termed "native title." Senate Bill No.112 House Bill No. and (2) the principle of parens patriae. "[w]hile our legal tradition subscribes to the Regalian Doctrine reinstated in Section 2. THE IPRA IS A NOVEL PIECE OF LEGISLATION. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.include people. Despite the passage of these laws.A. forest and the animals. 8371. economic. Massive migration of their Christian brothers to their homeland shrunk their territory and many of the tribal Filipinos were pushed to the hinterlands."111 Following Cariño. This is their environment in its totality. Act No. 141. 1476 and 1486 which was a result of six regional consultations and one national consultation with indigenous peoples nationwide. 1728 was a consolidation of four proposed measures referred to the Committees on Cultural Communities.Senate Bill No. Senator Flavier proposed a bill based on two postulates: (1) the concept of native title.the land. In fact. According to Senator Flavier. The bill was prepared also under the principle of parens patriae inherent in the supreme power of the State and deeply embedded in Philippine legal tradition. passed and approved R. they became marginalized. to wit: "The Indigenous Cultural Communities. IPs shall cease to exist as distinct peoples."110 To recognize the rights of the indigenous peoples effectively. In fact. its wanton disregard shown during the period unto the Commonwealth and the early years of the Philippine Republic when government organized and supported massive resettlement of the people to the land of the ICCs. their dwelling. dispossessed of their ancestral land and with the massive exploitation of their natural resources by the elite among the migrant population. asserting their rights to it.A. recognized "native title" or "private right" and the existence of ancestral lands and domains. the mountains. 1728 was passed on Third Reading by twenty-one (21) Senators voting in favor and none against. And the government has been an indispensable party to this insidious conspiracy against the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs). Senator Flavier continued: "x x x the executive department of government since the American occupation has not implemented the policy. Chairman of the Committee on Cultural Communities. in his sponsorship speech." our "decisional laws" and jurisprudence passed by the State have "made exception to the doctrine. Ways and Means. It adopted almost en toto the comprehensive version of Senate Bill Nos.D. the government passed laws to legitimize the wholesale landgrabbing and provide for easy titling or grant of lands to migrant homesteaders within the traditional areas of the ICCs. No. gave a background on the situation of indigenous peoples in the Philippines. Resisting the intrusion. Their existence as indigenous peoples is manifested in their own lives through political. 1728 and House Bill No.D. which places them in a position of actual inequality in their relation or transaction with others. Otherwise." This ruling has not been overturned. These territories.106 III. These laws. P. the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997. Insular Governmentwhere: "x x x the court has recognized long occupancy of land by an indigenous member of the cultural communities as one of private ownership. Their ancestors had territories over which they ruled themselves and related with other tribes." This exception was first laid down in the case of Cariño v. with no abstention. 9125 was sponsored by Rep."109 Senator Flavier further declared: "The IPs are the offsprings and heirs of the peoples who have first inhabited and cared for the land long before any central government was established. Their survival depends on securing or acquiring land rights.107 Senate Bill No. 6734 (the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao). Principally sponsored by Senator Juan M.[ Land Titles and Deeds ancestral lands. 1529.108 At the Second Regular Session of the Tenth Congress. The IPs culture is the living and irrefutable proof to this. socio-cultural and spiritual practices. P. by their joint efforts. 705. 410. Senate Bill No. The law was a consolidation of two Bills. 926. C. and liberally or restrictively. and depending on it. The Legislative History of the IPRA It was to address the centuries-old neglect of the Philippine indigenous peoples that the Tenth Congress of the Philippines. It was originally authored and . it was affirmed in subsequent cases. It organized and supported the resettlement of people to their ancestral land. explicitly or implicitly. 1728 seeks to genuinely recognize the IPs right to own and possess their ancestral land. A. the State passed Act No. Pursuant to the Regalian Doctrine first introduced to our system by Spain through the Royal Decree of 13 February 1894 or the Maura Law. the water. plants. 2874. which. have long suffered from the dominance and neglect of government controlled by the majority. which was massive during the Commonwealth and early years of the Philippine Republic. are entitled to the protection of the State. P. however. in legal concept. if not inexistent. Flavier. it was more honored in its breach than in its observance. 9125. Zapata. Communal ownership is looked upon as inferior. including the Bangsa Moro. as well as Finance. Senator Flavier. This principle mandates that persons suffering from serious disadvantage or handicap. Environment and Natural Resources. the air.A. No. R.

Speaker.Subject to Section 56 hereof. Speaker.[ Land Titles and Deeds subsequently presented and defended on the floor by Rep. Insular Government which recognized the fact that they had vested rights prior to the establishment of the Spanish and American regimes. and natural resources therein. THE PROVISIONS OF THE IPRA CONTRAVENE THE CONSTITUTION. recognize the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development. continuously. particularly the home ranges of ICCs/IPs who are still nomadic and/or shifting cultivators. The IPRA grants to ICCs/IPs a distinct kind of ownership over ancestral domains and ancestral lands. swidden farms and tree lots. agricultural. series of 1993. signed by then Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Angel Alcala. and natural resources therein and includes ancestral lands. inland waters. bodies of water. to the present except when interrupted by war. particularly the home ranges of ICCs/IPs who are still nomadic and/or shifting cultivators. deceit. House Bill No. Ancestral Domains and Ancestral Lands are the Private Property of Indigenous Peoples and Do Not Constitute Part of the Land of the Public Domain.Subject to Section 56 hereof. and other lands . is our obligation. agricultural. families and clans who are members of the ICCs/IPs since time immemorial. It shall include ancestral lands. the hope and the dreams of more than 12 million Filipinos that they be considered in the mainstream of the Philippine society as we fashion for the year 2000. They also include lands which may no longer be exclusively occupied by ICCs/IPs but from which they traditionally had access to for their subsistence and traditional activities. possessed and utilized by individuals. .118 DAO No. 2 allowed the delineation of ancestral domains by special task forces and ensured the issuance of Certificates of Ancestral Land Claims A. inland waters. hunting grounds. by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest. rice terraces or paddies. communally or individually since time immemorial. deceit. refers to land occupied. continuously until the present. stealth or as a consequence of government projects or any other voluntary dealings with government and/or private individuals or corporations. residential lots. rice terraces or paddies. 2. pasture. stealth or as a consequence of government projects or any other voluntary dealings entered into by government and private individuals/corporations. continuously to the present except when interrupted by war. force majeure or displacement by force. Gregorio Andolana of North Cotabato." 114 Rep. Andolana stressed that H. Mr. except when interrupted by war. force majeure or displacement by force. IV. mineral and other natural resources. under claims of individual or traditional group ownership. coastal areas.115 After exhaustive interpellation. Mr. pasture. residential. filed a bill of similar implications that would promote. These lands include but are not limited to residential lots. There is a need. communally or individually since time immemorial. deceit.Ancestral lands are not the same as ancestral domains. to look into these matters seriously and early approval of the substitute bill shall bring into reality the aspirations. including. refer to all areas generally belonging to ICCs/IPs comprising lands. 3 a) Ancestral Domains. He also emphasized that the rights of IPs to their land was enunciated in Cariño v. Ancestral domains comprise lands. forests. and lands which may no longer be exclusively occupied by ICCs/IPs but from which they traditionally had access to for their subsistence and traditional activities. occupied or possessed by ICCs/IPs by themselves or through their ancestors. stealth. and which are necessary to ensure their economic.. coastal areas. forests. social and cultural welfare. burial grounds. residential. private forests. private forests. or as a consequence of government projects and other voluntary dealings entered into by government and private individuals/corporations. DO NOT individually owned whether alienable and disposable or otherwise. Andolana's sponsorhip speech reads as follows: "This Representation. burial grounds.116 Ancestral lands are lands held by the ICCs/IPs under the same conditions as ancestral domains except that these are limited to lands and that these lands are not merely occupied and possessed but are also utilized by the ICCs/IPs under claims of individual or traditional group ownership. hunting grounds. These are defined in Section 3 [a] and [b] of the Indigenous Peoples Right Act. and other lands individually owned whether alienable or not.117 The procedures for claiming ancestral domains and lands are similar to the procedures embodied in Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 9125. Apart from this. as early as in the 8th Congress. viz: "Sec.B. and its corresponding amendments. mineral and other natural resources. swidden farms and tree lots. held under a claim of ownership. force majeure or displacement by force. the government's obligation to assure and ascertain that these rights shall be well-preserved and the cultural traditions as well as the indigenous laws that remained long before this Republic was established shall be preserved and promoted. worship areas. No. but not limited to. b) Ancestral Lands. occupied or possessed by ICCs/IPs by themselves or through their ancestors." Ancestral domains are all areas belonging to ICCs/IPs held under a claim of ownership. was approved on Second Reading with no objections.113 Rep. 9125 is based on the policy of preservation as mandated in the Constitution. bodies of water. worship areas.

by applying the Valenton ruling. indisputably presumed to have never been public lands and are private. Cariño took the case to the U. off the land. These lands are deemed never to have been public lands and are indisputably presumed to have been held that way since before the Spanish Conquest.F.127Formal recognition.131In 1901. a U. have never been public lands and are thusindisputably presumed to have been held that way since before the Spanish Conquest. delineation and certification of ancestral lands is in Section 53 of said law.[ Land Titles and Deeds (CALC's) and Certificates of Ancestral Domain Claims (CADC's) to IPs. He claimed that this land had been possessed and occupied by his ancestors since time immemorial.S.134 In 1904. or (2) by torrens title under the Public Land Act and the Land Registration Act with respect to ancestral lands only. . Upon due application and compliance with the procedure provided under the law and upon finding by the NCIP that the application is meritorious.S. an Ibaloi. Don Mateo Cariño.120 This means that the ICCs/IPs have a decisive role in determining the boundaries of their domains and in all the activities pertinent thereto. a military detachment was detailed on the property with orders to keep cattle and trespassers. a CADT is evidence of private ownership of land by native title. Supreme Court. Cariño.refers to pre-conquest rights to lands and domains which. sought to register with the land registration court 146 hectares of land in Baguio Municipality. (2) The Concept of Native Title Native title is defined as: "Sec. 125 (1) Right to Ancestral Domains and Ancestral Lands: How Acquired The rights of the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains and ancestral lands may be acquired in two modes: (1) bynative title over both ancestral lands and domains. military reservation133 was proclaimed over his land and. The identification and delineation of these ancestral domains and lands is a power conferred by the IPRA on the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). Cariño obtained a possessory title to the land under the Spanish Mortgage Law. Benguet Province. 3 [l]. on the other.122 The allocation of lands within the ancestral domain to any individual or indigenous corporate (family or clan) claimants is left to the ICCs/IPs concerned to decide in accordance with customs and traditions. therefore. which required registration of land claims within a limited period of time. While his petition was pending. 1880. which shall recognize the title of the concerned ICCs/IPs over the territories identified and delineated. The IPRA categorically declares ancestral lands and domains held by native title as never to have been public land. In 1903. Native title. Domains and lands held under native title are.I.130Cariño firmly established a concept of private land title that existed irrespective of any royal grant from the State.I. the land registration court granted Cariño's application for absolute ownership to the land. of Benguet which reversed the land registration court and dismissed Cariño's application. ignored his possessory title and built a public road on the land prompting him to seek a Torrens title to his property in the land registration court. the NCIP issues a Certificate of Ancestral Land Title (CALT). but no document issued from the Spanish Crown. however.136 On one hand.F. He tried to have the land adjusted under the Spanish land laws. that his grandfather built fences around the property for the holding of cattle and that his father cultivated some parts of the land."126 Native title refers to ICCs/IPs' preconquest rights to lands and domains held under a claim of private ownership as far back as memory reaches. The rights of ICCs/IPs to their ancestraldomains (which also include ancestral lands) by virtue of native title shall be recognized and respected. the NCIP shall issue a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) in the name of the community concerned. asserted that he was the absolute owner of the land jure gentium.132 The North American colonial government. The Philippine Supreme Court135 affirmed the C.124 CADT's and CALT's issued under the IPRA shall be registered by the NCIP before the Register of Deeds in the place where the property is situated. Government appealed to the C. Native Title.128 Like a torrens title. including Cariño. The identification.S. (a) Cariño v. when solicited by ICCs/IPs concerned.123 With respect to ancestral lands outside the ancestral domain.119 The guiding principle in identification and delineation is self-delineation. Insular Government129 The concept of native title in the IPRA was taken from the 1909 case of Cariño v. as far back as memory reaches. shall be embodied in a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT). Both the Government of the Philippine Islands and the U.121 The procedure for the delineation and recognition of ancestral domains is set forth in Sections 51 and 52 of the IPRA. have been held under a claim of private ownership by ICCs/IPs. is a right of private ownership peculiarly granted to ICCs/IPs over their ancestral lands and domains. Cariño inherited the land in accordance with Igorot custom. however. and that the land never formed part of the public domain. the Philippine government invoked the Regalian doctrine and contended that Cariño failed to comply with the provisions of the Royal Decree of June 25. Insular Government. shortly thereafter.

Supreme Court analyzed the Spanish decrees upheld in the 1904 decision ofValenton v. and may vary in degree. and that. in its earlier decrees. are matters for it to decide. It is obvious that. sovereignty is absolute. and. by native custom and by long association. all the property and rights acquired there by the United States are to be administered 'for the benefit of the inhabitants thereof. that in legal theory..regarded as their own."139 The Court went further: "Every presumption is and ought to be against the government in a case like the present. The U. as against the inhabitants of the Philippines. or deny to any person therein the equal protection of the laws.of the profoundest factors in human thought. it will be presumed to have been held in the same way from before the Spanish conquest. or that it meant by "property" only that which had become such by ceremonies of which presumably a large part of the inhabitants never had heard. also. Spain did not assume to convert all the native inhabitants of the Philippines into trespassers or even into tenants at will. so far as consistent with paramount necessities. 3 Philippine 537. Murciano. Supreme Court found no proof that the Spanish decrees did not honor native title.S. Land held by this title is presumed to "never have been public land. embodied the universal feudal theory that all lands were held from the Crown. irrespective of any royal grant. No one. section 12 (32 Statutes at Large.S. On the contrary. as against foreign nations. or deny to any person therein the equal protection of the laws. the dominant purpose of the whites in America was to occupy land. It provides that 'no law shall be enacted in said islands which shall deprive any person of life. and never to have been public land. liberty.S. not to exploit their country for private gain. Supreme Court held: "It is true that Spain. irrespective of any royal grant. to call for the exhibition of grants. as Spain asserted. viz: "If the applicant's case is to be tried by the law of Spain. sovereignty is a question of strength. The same statute made a bill of rights.. while it commands viceroys and others. and how far it shall recognize actual facts. we ought to give the applicant the benefit of the doubt. however stated. Whatever consideration may have been shown to the North American Indians. embodying the safeguards of the Constitution. directs them to confirm those who hold by good grants or justa prescripcion. The choice was with the new colonizer. chapter 1369. The fact was that titles were admitted to exist that owed nothing to the powers of Spain . But it does not follow that. as far back as testimony or memory goes. or property without due process of law. or property without due process of law. The Cariño decision largely rested on the North American constitutionalist's concept of "due process" as well as the pronounced policy "to do justice to the natives.' It is reasonable to suppose that the attitude thus assumed by the United States with regard to what was unquestionably its own is also its attitude in deciding what it will claim for its own. liberty. extends those safeguards to all. Certainly in a case like this. absolute power. It is true. Supreme Court noted that it need not accept Spanish doctrines.[ Land Titles and Deeds In a unanimous decision written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. To begin with. like the Constitution. The Regalian doctrine declared in the preamble of the Recopilacion was all "theory and discourse" and it was observed that titles were admitted to exist beyond the powers of the Crown. law. Murciano. title 12. the matter had to be decided under U. How far a new sovereign shall insist upon the theoretical relation of the subjects to the head in the past. Law 14 of the the Recopilacion de Leyes de las Indias. be proper and sufficient to say that when. the United States may assert. By the Organic Act of July 1. the older decrees and laws cited by the counsel for the plaintiff in error seem to indicate pretty clearly that the natives were recognized as owning some lands. if there is doubt or ambiguity in the Spanish law. the U. we do not discover such clear proof that it was bad by that law as to satisfy us that he does not own the land. For instance. when it seems proper. When theory is left on one side. 1902.S. the U. 691). the decrees discussed in Valenton appeared to recognize that the natives owned some land. the reason for our taking over the Philippines was different. and perhaps the general attitude of conquering nations toward people not recognized as entitled to the treatment accorded to those in the same zone of civilization with themselves. That was theory and discourse. our first object in the internal administration of the islands is to do justice to the natives. It might.S.' In the light of the declaration that we have quoted from section 12."138 It was based on the strong mandate extended to the Islands via the Philippine Bill of 1902 that "No law shall be enacted in said islands which shall deprive any person of life." The court declared: "The acquisition of the Philippines was not like the settlement of the white race in the United States."140 The court thus laid down the presumption of a certain title held (1) as far back as testimony or memory went. it is hard to believe that the United States was ready to declare in the next breath that "any person" did not embrace the inhabitants of Benguet. cited for a contrary conclusion in Valenton v. Book 4. the land has been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership. Ultimately."137 The U. perhaps. and that it proposed to treat as public land what they. would deny that. we suppose. It is true that it begins by the characteristic assertion of feudal overlordship and the origin of all titles in the King or his predecessors. and (2) under a claim of private ownership. the United States asserts that Spain had such power." Against this presumption. In other words.

The argument to that effect seems to amount to a denial of native titles through an important part of the Island of Luzon. The methods followed by the Government of the Philippine Islands in its dealings with the so-called non-Christian people is said. the U. if not certain. was his property. Any Mangyan who refused to comply was to be imprisoned. 147 He discussed Cariñoextensively and used the term "native title" to refer to Cariño's title as discussed and upheld by the U. Whatever may have been the technical position of Spain it does not follow that.151 Speaking through Justice Malcolm. to admit the possibility that the applicant might have been deprived of his land under Spanish law because of the inherent ambiguity of the decrees and concomitantly.146 This article was made after Professor Lynch visited over thirty tribal communities throughout the country and studied the origin and development of Philippine land laws. It was frank enough. The wording of the Spanish laws were not framed in a manner as to convey to the natives that failure to register what to them has always been their own would mean loss of such land. It upheld government policy promoting the idea that a permanent settlement was the only successful method for educating the Mangyans. Valuable lessons.149 This was clearly demonstrated in the case of Rubi v. he had lost all rights and was a mere trespasser when the present government seized his land. Jr. the court said: "Reference was made in the President's instructions to the Commission to the policy adopted by the United States for the Indian Tribes. characterized as a savage tribe that never was brought under the civil or military government of the Spanish Crown. if he had read every word of it. and entitled the holder to a Torrens certificate." It simply said: "The Province of Benguet was inhabited by a tribe that the Solicitor-General. to be practically identical with that followed by the United States Government in its dealings with the Indian tribes. Supreme Court in said case.144 Examining Cariño closer.S. It is observed that the widespread use of the term "native title" may be traced to Professor Owen James Lynch.[ Land Titles and Deeds beyond this recognition in their books. filed for habeas corpus claiming deprivation of liberty under the Board Resolution. government policy towards ICCs/IPs was consistently made in reference to native Americans. Justice Holmes explained: "It will be perceived that the rights of the applicant under the Spanish law present a problem not without difficulties for courts of a legal tradition. . can be derived by an investigation of the American-Indian policy. for the want of ceremonies which the Spaniards would not have permitted and had not the power to enforce. including one who was imprisoned for trying to escape from the reservation. Rubi and some Mangyans. Lynch. and which would have made his title beyond question good. Upon a consideration of the whole case we are of the opinion that law and justice require that the applicant should be granted what he seeks. Lynch published an article in the Philippine Law Journal entitled Native Title. according to Prof. introducing civilized customs. Lake Naujan. but simply to establish it. even without government administrative action. The registration requirement was "not to confer title. however. the court ruled in favor of Cariño and ordered the registration of the 148 hectares in Baguio Municipality in his name."143 Thus. Private Right and Tribal Land Law. by the practice and belief of those among whom he lived. the various interpretations which may be given them. improving their health and morals. In 1982. through a refined interpretation of an almost forgotten law of Spain. (b) Indian Title In a footnote in the same article. We have deemed it proper on that account to notice the possible effect of the change of sovereignty and the act of Congress establishing the fundamental principles now to be observed. and protecting the public forests in which they roamed. It seems probable.141 The court further stated that the Spanish "adjustment" proceedings never held sway over unconquered territories."145 This is the only instance when Justice Holmes used the term "native title" in the entire length of the Cariñodecision.142 This title was sufficient. that the Spanish officials would not have granted to anyone in that province the registration to which formerly the plaintiff was entitled by the Spanish Laws. and should not be deprived of what. Supreme Court did not categorically refer to the title it upheld as "native title.150 In Rubi. it is insisted. Prof. 148 This is not surprising. Provincial Board of Mindoro. But precisely because of the ambiguity and of the strong "due process mandate" of the Constitution. in the view of the United States." it was "not calculated to convey to the mind of an Igorot chief the notion that ancient family possessions were in danger. in his argument.. at least. considering that during the American regime. the court validated this kind of title. This Court denied the petition on the ground of police power.S. on argument. the court clearly repudiated the doctrine of Valenton. Professor Lynch stated that the concept of "native title" as defined by Justice Holmes in Cariño "is conceptually similar to "aboriginal title" of the American Indians." By recognizing this kind of title. the Provincial Board of Mindoro adopted a Resolution authorizing the provincial governor to remove the Mangyans from their domains and place them in a permanent reservation in Sitio Tigbao. a Visiting Professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law from the Yale University Law School." (Emphasis supplied).

The U. and claimed and exercised. no other power could interpose between them. to establish the principle that discovery gives title to the government by whose subjects. Perhaps. Once the discoverer purchased the land . M'Intosh. and even before. but were necessarily. As to the second point. is not limited to land grants or reservations. It also covers the "aboriginal right of possession or occupancy. by treaty. In the establishment of these relations.158 American jurisprudence recognizes the Indians' or native Americans' rights to land they have held and occupied before the "discovery" of the Americas by the Europeans. It is for the Congress to determine when and how the guardianship shall be terminated. the concerned Indians were recognized as the "rightful occupants of the soil. with a legal as well as just claim to retain possession of it. While the different nations of Europe respected the right of the natives as occupants. as independent nations. it is that the determination of this policy is for the legislative and executive branches of the government and that when once so decided upon. The earliest definitive statement by the U. Chief Justice Marshall pointed out that the potentates of the old world believed that they had made ample compensation to the inhabitants of the new world by bestowing civilization and Christianity upon them. they have been made to remain on the reservation for their own good and for the general good of the country." Grants made by the discoverer to her subjects of lands occupied by the Indians were held to convey a title to the grantees."161 Thus. The Indians are always subject to the plenary authority of the United States. the court further stated that: "Those relations which were to exist between the discoverer and the natives were to be regulated by themselves. Rather. or by executive order. however. was denied by the fundamental principle that discovery gave exclusive title to those who made it. to a considerable extent. recognizing their aboriginal possession and delimiting their occupancy rights or settling and adjusting their boundaries."153 Rubi applied the concept of Indian land grants or reservations in the Philippines. the rights of the original inhabitants were.152 x x x. they asserted the ultimate dominion to be in themselves.154 It may be set apart by an act of Congress. exercised its right. France. Supreme Court on the nature of aboriginal title was made in 1823 in Johnson & Graham's Lessee v." The recognized relation between the Government of the United States and the Indians may be described as that of guardian and ward. the discovery was made. to whomsoever they pleased. with a legal as well as just claim to retain possession of it. but it cannot be established by custom and prescription. when once so located.S.did this right belong and not to any other nation or private person. the courts should not interfere to upset a carefully planned governmental system. or by whose authority. said the court.S. the facts in the Standing Bear case and the Rubi case are not exactly identical. in the sense that such lands constitute definable territory occupied exclusively by the particular tribe or nation.157 It is a right which exists apart from any treaty. just as many forceful reasons exist for the segregation of the Manguianes in Mindoro as existed for the segregation of the different Indian tribes in the United States. Spain or Holland. the discoverer of new territory was deemed to have obtained the exclusive right to acquire Indian land and extinguish Indian titles. but in addition. These grants have been understood by all to convey a title to the grantees. against all other European governments. the Indians have been treated as "in a state of pupilage. a power to grant the soil. and that."156 The aboriginal right of possession depends on the actual occupancy of the lands in question by the tribe or nation as their ancestral home. were necessarily diminished.155 Indian title to land. and their power to dispose of the soil at their own will. until the discoverer. 160 The exclusion of all other Europeans gave to the nation making the discovery the sole right of acquiring the soil from the natives and establishing settlements upon it. Supreme Court refused to recognize this conveyance.[ Land Titles and Deeds From the beginning of the United States.whether to England. in order to avoid conflicting settlements and consequent war. but their rights to complete sovereignty. the plaintiffs claimed the land in question under two (2) grants made by the chiefs of two (2) Indian tribes. The rights thus acquired being exclusive. entirely disregarded. If any lesson can be drawn from the Indian policy of the United States. statute.159 In Johnson. impaired. and to use itaccording to their own discretion. yet it is known to all that Indian reservations do exist in the United States. or other governmental action. that Indians have been taken from different parts of the country and placed on these reservations. But even admitting similarity of facts. The only conveyance that was recognized was that made by the Indians to the government of the European discoverer. Speaking for the court. An Indian reservation is a part of the public domain set apart by proper authority for the use and occupation of a tribe or tribes of Indians. Only to the discoverer. The mere acquisition of the right nonetheless did not extinguish Indian claims to land. without any previous consultation as to their own wishes. in no instance. subject only to the Indian right of occupancy. they found it necessary. the plaintiffs being private persons. as a consequence of this ultimate dominion. As regards the natives. by purchase or conquest. subject only to the Indian right of occupancy. which title might be consummated by possession. although in numerous instances treaties have been negotiated with Indian tribes. while yet in possession of the natives. They were admitted to be the rightful occupants of the soil.

is a distinct community. from their situation. who were white missionaries. led naturally to the declaration. This relation was that of a nation claiming and receiving the protection of one more powerful. and the establishment of that of the United States in its place.S.S. which is still in force. which is not only acknowledged. government to treat the Indians as nations with distinct territorial boundaries and recognize their right of occupancy over all the lands within their domains. on the part of the Cherokees. it was only then that the discoverer gained an absolute title unrestricted by Indian rights.163 The Johnson doctrine was a compromise. which excluded them from intercourse with any other European potentate than the first discoverer of the coast of the particular region claimed: and this was a restriction which those European potentates imposed on themselves.164 Johnson was reiterated in the case of Worcester v. while the different nations of Europe respected the rights of the natives as occupants. in essence. The very term "nation.169 this title was to be consummated by possession and was subject to the Indian title of occupancy. the Indians being the original inhabitants of the land. by our Constitution and laws. The plaintiffs. manifestly consider the several Indian nations as distinct political communities. with boundaries accurately described. Thus: "From the commencement of our government Congress has passed acts to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indians. and which the citizens of Georgia have no right to enter but with the assent of the Cherokees themselves or in conformity with treaties and with the acts of Congress. having territorial boundaries.S.and in so doing." so generally applied to them. The discoverer nonetheless asserted the exclusive right to acquire the Indians' land. and to the exclusive power of acquiring that right. They had been arranged under the protection of Great Britain. citizens. x x x. they all asserted the ultimate dominion and title to be in themselves. retaining their original natural rights. or cession. independent political communities. as well as on the Indians. Thus. the State of Georgia enacted a law requiring all white persons residing within the Cherokee nation to obtain a license or permit from the Governor of Georgia. it became accepted doctrine that although fee title to the lands occupied by the Indians when the colonists . The whole intercourse between the United States and this nation is. extinguish the Indian title.either by purchase. Their right of possession has never been questioned. "defensive" conquest. proves the universal recognition of this principle. The discoverer acknowledged the Indians' legal and just claim to retain possession of the land."166 It was the policy of the U. as the undisputed possessors of the soil from time immemorial. did not obtain said license and were thus charged with a violation of the Act. They assumed the relation with the United States which had before subsisted with Great Britain. and of no other power. Georgia.170 As early as the 19th century. but the extinguishment of the British power in their neighborhood. It protected Indian rights and their native lands without having to invalidate conveyances made by the government to many U.with the single exception of that imposed by irresistible power.167 The Cherokee nation. which treat them as nations. then. occupying its own territory."162 It has been said that the history of America. and any violation of the law was deemed a high misdemeanor. The court concluded. That power was naturally termed their protector. means "a people distinct from others. It characterized the relationship between the United States government and the Indians as: "The Indian nations were. within which their authority is exclusive. respect their rights. not that of individuals abandoning their national character. saying: "It has never been contended that the Indian title amounted to nothing. in which the laws of Georgia can have no force. charged with this right of possession. Only the discoverer could extinguish Indian title because it alone asserted ultimate dominion in itself. and manifest a firm purpose to afford that protection which treaties stipulate. "The Indian nations had always been considered as distinct.[ Land Titles and Deeds from the Indians or conquered them. from its discovery to the present day. Designated as the naked fee. and for their protection from lawless and injurious intrusions into their country. All these acts. and having a right to all the lands within those boundaries. and submitting as subjects to the laws of a master. and especially that of 1802. that they were under the protection of the United States."168 The discovery of the American continent gave title to the government of the discoverer as against all other European governments. vested in the government of the United States. that a grant of Indian lands by Indians could not convey a title paramount to the title of the United States itself to other parties. but guaranteed by the United States. The claim of government extends to the complete ultimate title." x x x. Supreme Court declared the Act as unconstitutional for interfering with the treaties established between the United States and the Cherokee nation as well as the Acts of Congress regulating intercourse with them. The U.165 In this case. necessarily dependent on some foreign potentate for the supply of their essential wants.

open and adverse possession in the concept of owner of thirty years both for ordinary citizens194 and members of the national cultural minorities195 that converts the land from public into private and entitles the registrant to a torrens certificate of title. and until the Indian title is extinguished. . a right to a grant of the land.174 Thus.178 Indian land which has been abandoned is deemed to fall into the public domain. them. 180 Once set apart by proper authority. possessed exclusive power to extinguish the right of occupancy at will.a right of occupancy in the Indian tribes was nevertheless recognized.177 As a rule. Native title presumes that the land is private and was never public. the property of the tribe generally being held in communal ownership. aboriginal title is not the same as legal title. open and adverse possession in the concept of owner of public agricultural land. The Federal Government continued the policy of respecting the Indian right of occupancy. is deemed to have passed to the U. The aboriginal title of ownership is not specifically recognized as ownership by action authorized by Congress. sometimes called Indian title. When the conditions specified in Section 48 [b] of the Public Land Act are complied with. First. aboriginal title is recognized. the reservation ceases to be public land. the concept of native title first upheld in Cariño and enshrined in the IPRA grants ownership.186 the power of the State to extinguish these entrenched. It was only in the case of Oh Cho v. This exception would be any land that should have been in the possession of an occupant and of his predecessors-in-interest since time immemorial. Director of Lands192 that the court declared that the rule that all lands that were not acquired from the government. certain benefits can be drawn from a comparison of Philippine IPs to native Americans.173 It is vulnerable to affirmative action by the federal government who.190 ipso jure.187 titles has remained firmly Under the IPRA. albeit in limited form. however.172 It is clear that this right of occupancy based upon aboriginal possession is not a property right. land sought to be registered must be public agricultural land. Indian lands are not included in the term "public lands. as successor of the discoverer. From a legal point of view.S. continuous.first the discovering European nation and later the original 13 States and the United States. (c) Why the Cariño doctrine is unique In the Philippines. the right of individual Indians to share in the tribal property usually depends upon tribal membership. however. The U. by operation of law.176 Such title as Indians have to possess and occupy land is in the tribe. the Philippine State is not barred form asserting sovereignty over the ancestral domains and ancestral lands.191 and is converted to private property by the mere lapse or completion of the prescribed statutory period. (3) The Option of Securing a Torrens Title to the Ancestral Land Indicates that the Land is Private. exclusive and continuous use and occupancy for a long time. continuous. and not in the individual Indian.189 The land ceases to be part of the public domain. and means mere possession not specifically recognized as ownership by Congress. Cariño had been quoted out of context simply to justify long.193 Oh Cho.183 Despite the similarities between native title and aboriginal title. and cannot be sold to another sovereign government nor to any citizen. of the land to the ICCs/IPs.171But this aboriginal Indian interest simply constitutes "permission" from the whites to occupy the land.179 On the other hand. the possessor of the land is deemed to have acquired. either by purchase or grant. Cariño is the only case that specifically and categorically recognizes native title. an Indian reservation is a part of the public domain set apart for the use and occupation of a tribe of Indians.[ Land Titles and Deeds arrived became vested in the sovereign. subject to its laws and customs. is still in its infancy and any similarities between its application in the Philippines vis-à-vis American Jurisprudence on aboriginal title will depend on the peculiar facts of each case. 184 The protection of aboriginal title merely guards against encroachment by persons other than the Federal Government.175 It entails that land owned by Indian title must be used within the tribe. no one but Congress can initiate any preferential right on." which is ordinarily used to designate such lands as are subject to sale or other disposal under general laws. indigenous property systems are also recognized. belong to the public domain has an exception. title to the land.181 The American judiciary struggled for more than 200 years with the ancestral land claims of indigenous Americans. recognizes the possessory rights of the Indians over their land. was decided under the provisions of the Public Land Act and Cariño was cited to support the applicant's claim of acquisitive prescription under the said Act. Second. however. The long line of cases citing Cariño did not touch on native title and the private character of ancestral domains and lands.188 The IPRA. Cariño was cited by the succeeding cases to support the concept of acquisitive prescription under the Public Land Act which is a different matter altogether.S.185 Although there are criticisms against the refusal to recognize the native Americans' ownership of these lands. Aboriginal title rests on actual. Under the Public Land Act. which it accorded the protection of complete ownership. It is this long.182 And two things are clear. there are at present some misgivings on whether jurisprudence on American Indians may be cited authoritatively in the Philippines. or restrict the nation's power to dispose of. All these years. as sovereign. It is this kind of possession that would justify the presumption that the land had never been part of the public domain or that it had been private property even before the Spanish conquest. however.

nor in any manner become private property. which are agricultural in character and actually used for agricultural. and such lands must be individually. It.A. or the Land Registration Act 496. however. as amended. For this purpose. nor those on which a private right authorized and recognized by this Act or any other valid law x x x or which having been reserved or appropriated. including those with a slope of eighteen percent (18%) or more. 12. Thus. as amended. This ownership is based on adverse possession for a specified period. This option is limited to ancestral lands only. Ancestral lands that are owned by individual members of ICCs/IPs who. B. provided. The spirit of the IPRA lies in the distinct concept of ancestral domains and ancestral lands. and (d) national parks. have ceased to be so. and harkens to . pasture. are hereby classified as alienable and disposable agricultural lands. the individually-owned ancestral lands are classified as alienable and disposable agricultural lands of the public domain. Option to Secure Certificate of Title Under Commonwealth Act 141. the Public Land Act. pasture and tree farming purposes. These lands shall be classified as public agricultural lands regardless of whether they have a slope of 18% or more. not communally. Section 5 of the same Article XII mentions ancestral lands and ancestral domains but it does not classify them under any of the said four categories. the Land Registration Act. The necessary implication is thatancestral land is private. ancestral lands and ancestral domains are not part of the lands of the public domain.Individual members of cultural communities. The classification agricultural land of is ancestral land in compliance as public with the requirements of the Public Land Act and the Land Registration Act. by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest. may be registered under C. the Land Registration Act.201 The 1987 Constitution mandates the State to "protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities to their ancestral lands" and that "Congress provide for the applicability of customary laws x x x in determining the ownership and extent of ancestral domain. the IPRA expressly converts ancestral land into public agricultural land which may be disposed of by the State."196 ICCs/IPs are given the option to secure a torrens certificate of title over their individually-owned ancestral lands. The option to register land under the Public Land Act and the Land Registration Act has nonetheless a limited period. To classify them as public lands under any one of the four classes will render the entire IPRA law a nullity.A. 141. Registration under the Public Land Act and Land Registration Act recognizes the concept of ownership under thecivil law. the date of approval of the IPRA.200 from private to public agricultural land for proper disposition. owned. have been in continuous possession and occupation of the same in the concept of owner since time immemorial or for a period of not less than thirty (30) years immediately preceding the approval of this Act and uncontested by the members of the same ICCs/IPs shall have the option to secure title to their ancestral lands under the provisions of Commonwealth Act 141. The right of ownership and possession by the ICCs/IPs of their ancestral domains is a limited form of ownership and does not include the right to alienate the same. the IPRA itself converts his ancestral land. they are agricultural in character and are actually used for agricultural. have been in continuous possession and occupation of the same in the concept of owner since time immemorial197 or for a period of not less than 30 years. which claims are uncontested by the members of the same ICCs/IPs. 141 and Act 496. For purposes of registration. regardless of whether the land has a slope of eighteen per cent (18%) or over. not domains. 1997. or the Land Registration Act 496. otherwise known as the Public Land Act. 141. said individually-owned ancestral lands.[ Land Titles and Deeds The private character of ancestral lands and domains as laid down in the IPRA is further strengthened by the option given to individual ICCs/IPs over their individually-owned ancestral lands. by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest. The option granted under this section shall be exercised within twenty (20) years from the approval of this Act."199 Act 496.A. This option must be exercised within twenty (20) years from October 29. Land and space are of vital concern in terms of sheer survival of the ICCs/IPs. They are private and belong to the ICCs/IPs. (c) mineral lands. residential. allows registration only of private lands and public agricultural lands. For purposes of registration under the Public Land Act and the Land Registration Act. The IPRA addresses the major problem of the ICCs/IPs which is loss of land. nor appropriated by the Government. or Act 496. with respect to their individually-owned ancestral lands who. Section 3 of Article XII on National Economy and Patrimony of the 1987 Constitution classifies lands of the public domain into four categories: (a) agricultural. residential."202 It is the recognition of the ICCs/IPs distinct rights of ownership over their ancestral domains and lands that breathes life into this constitutional mandate. if the ICC/IP wants to avail of the benefits of C. Since ancestral domains and lands are private. C. To wit: "Sec. (b) forest or timber. deals specifically with lands of the public domain. 198 Its provisions apply to those lands "declared open to disposition or concession" x x x "which have not been reserved for public or quasi-public purposes. has to be first converted to public agricultural land simply for registration purposes. and tree farming purposes.

Ownership. (c) Members of the national cultural minorities who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. And the right to enjoy and dispose of the thing includes the right to receive from the thing what it produces. a tract or tracts of agricultural public lands subject to disposition. 44. 1955. The IPRA itself provides that areas within the ancestral domains. transform or even destroy the thing owned. A member of the national cultural minorities who has continuously occupied and cultivated.203 x x x. to wit: (a) [perfection of Spanish titles] xxx."204 Registration under the foregoing provisions presumes that the land was originally public agricultural land but because of adverse possession since July 4. exclusive. The ancestral domain is owned in common by the ICCs/IPs and not by one particular person." The right of ownership and possession of the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains is held under the indigenous concept of ownership. to have a free patent issued to him for such tract or tracts of such land not to exceed twenty-four hectares. 428 and 429. has continuously occupied and cultivated. It is private simply because it is not part of the public domain. This concept maintains the view that ancestral domains are the ICCs/IPs private but community property. either by himself or through his predecessors-ininterest. provided.207 and the right to exclude from the possession of the thing owned by any other person to whom the owner has not transmitted such thing. "Sec. Ownership of ancestral domains by native title does not entitle the ICC/IP to a torrens title but to a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT). Thus: "Sec. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this Chapter. Any natural-born citizen of the Philippines who is not the owner of more than twenty-four hectares and who since July fourth. adverse. The following described citizens of the Philippines. under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least 30 years shall be entitled to the rights granted in sub-section (b) hereof. under the Land Registration Act. under the provisions of this chapter. 1955 (free patent) or at least thirty years (judicial confirmation). Indigenous concept of ownership. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor.[ Land Titles and Deeds Section 44 of the Public Land Act on administrative legalization (free patent) of imperfect or incomplete titles and Section 48 (b) and (c) of the same Act on the judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles. whether disposable or not. Open. But its private character ends there. The Indigenous Concept of Ownership and Customary Law. 1926 or prior thereto.208 1. That at the time he files his free patent application he is not the owner of any real property secured or disposable under the provision of the Public Land Law. disposed or destroyed.Indigenous concept of ownership sustains the view that ancestral domains and all resources found therein shall serve as the material bases of their cultural integrity. whether delineated or . The Civil Code of the Philippines defines ownership in Articles 427. encumber. The indigenous concept of ownership generally holds that ancestral domains are the ICCs/IPs private but community property which belongs to all generations and therefore cannot be sold.206 the right to alienate. continuous. 48. 5. or who shall have paid the real estate tax thereon while the same has not been occupied by any person shall be entitled. It likewise covers sustainable traditional resource rights. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. continuous. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture. It primarily includes the right of the owner to enjoy and dispose of the thing owned. This concept is based on Roman Law which the Spaniards introduced to the Philippines through the Civil Code of 1889. The possession has to be confirmed judicially or administratively after which a torrens title is issued. shall be entitled to the right granted in the preceding paragraph of this section:Provided.205 the right to consume the thing by its use. The CADT formally recognizes the indigenous concept of ownership of the ICCs/IPs over their ancestral domain. Thus: "Sec. the possessor makes proper application therefor. under Roman Law. the land has become private. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. public and continuous possession is sufficient. under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. whether disposable or not since July 4. may be exercised over things or rights. a tract or tracts of land. A torrens title recognizes the owner whose name appears in the certificate as entitled to all the rights of ownership under the civil law. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure.. either by himself or through his predecessors-ininterest.

past. owned. 7 (b) and 57 of the IPRA Do Not Violate the Regalian Doctrine Enshrined in Section 2. intimate tillage. are not exactly the same as co-ownership rights under the Civil Code. to manage and conserve natural resources within the territories and uphold the responsibilities for future generations. The Rights of ICCs/IPs Over Their Ancestral Domains and Lands The IPRA grants the ICCs/IPs several rights over their ancestral domains and ancestral lands.[ Land Titles and Deeds not. sacred places.209 These communal rights.. traditional hunting and fishing grounds. 1. and the faithful nurture of the land by the sweat of one's brow. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.210 Co-ownership gives any co-owner the right to demand partition of the property held in common." The moral import of ancestral domain.218 Some articles of the Civil Code expressly provide that custom should be applied in cases where no codal provision is applicable.219 In other words. This is fidelity of usufructuary relation to the land.215 Communal rights to the land are held not only by the present possessors of the land but extends to all generations of the ICCs/IPs. is also recognized under the Civil Code as a source of law.Subject to Section 56 hereof. can define rights and liabilities. the right to negotiate the terms and conditions for the exploration of natural resources in the areas for the purpose of ensuring ecological. which shall recognize the title of the concerned ICCs/IPs over the territories identified and delineated. source of rights under the IPRA and uniquely applies to ICCs/IPs. by legislative fiat. from the land. The Civil Code expressly provides that "no co-owner shall be obliged to remain in the co-ownership. and coexists with the civil law concept and the laws on land titling and land registration.217 Custom. custom. however. the indigenous concept of ownership exists even without a paper title. insofar as his share is concerned."216 the IPRA. Following the constitutional mandate that "customary law govern property rights or relations in determining the ownership and extent of ancestral domains.The right to claim ownership over lands. This is clear from Section 11 of the IPRA. from man.222 C. 214 Moreover.. Recognition of Ancestral Domain Rights. sustenance for man. The CADT is merely a "formal recognition" of native title. control and use lands and territories traditionally occupied. or used. (b) in accord with customary laws and traditions. The domain cannot be transferred. .213 Every stockholder has the right to disassociate himself from the corporation. care for land. 7. Such rights include: a) Right of Ownership.The rights of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains by virtue of Native Title shall be recognized and respected. b) Right to Develop Lands and Natural Resources. ." Each coowner may demand at any time the partition of the thing in common. The indigenous concept of ownership under customary law is specifically acknowledged and recognized.212 Communal rights over land are not the same as corporate rights over real property. Formal recognition. bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by ICCs/IPs. It belongs to the ICCs/IPs as a community. the corporation itself may be dissolved voluntarily or involuntarily. the right to develop. in the absence of any applicable provision in the Civil Code. This is a concept that has long existed under customary law. when duly proven. when solicited by ICCs/IPs concerned shall be embodied in a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title. sold or conveyed to other persons. and (c) subject to the right of redemption of the ICCs/IPs for a period of 15 years if the land was transferred to a non-member of the ICCs/IPs. to wit: "Sec.the possession of stewardship through perduring. This is the reason why the ancestral domain must be kept within the ICCs/IPs themselves.221 To be sure. introduces a new concept of ownership. native land or being native is "belongingness" to the land. The lands are communal.. are presumed to be communally held.220 Customary law is a primary. much less corporate condominium rights. 11. to the domain. to benefit and share the profits from allocation and utilization of the natural resources found therein. and the mutuality of blessings between man and land. may be transferred subject to the following limitations: (a) only to the members of the same ICCs/IPs.by sheer force of having sprung from the land since time beyond recall. These lands. being people of the land. Its recognition does not depend on the absence of a specific provision in the civil law. however. from which customary law is derived. Sections 7 (a). Section 7 provides for the rights over ancestral domains: "Sec. and all improvements made by them at any time within the domains. Rights to Ancestral Domains. Ancestral lands are also held under the indigenous concept of ownership. present and future. A corporation can exist only for a maximum of fifty (50) years subject to an extension of another fifty years in any single instance. not secondary.The rights of ownership and possession of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains shall be recognized and protected.211 To allow such a right over ancestral domains may be destructive not only of customary law of the community but of the very community itself.

pursuant to national and customary laws. In cases of water rights for irrigation.In case displacement occurs as a result of natural catastrophes. All lands of the public domain. flora and fauna..[ Land Titles and Deeds environmental protection and the conservation measures. management and utilization of natural resources is declared in Section 2. waters. petroleum. e) Right to Regulate the Entry of Migrants. No ICCs/IPs will be relocated without their free and prior informed consent. b) Right to Redemption. The Right of ICCs/IPs to Develop Lands and Natural Resources Within the Ancestral Domains Does Not Deprive the State of Ownership Over the Natural Resources and Control and Supervision in their Development and Exploitation. joint venture.. and other natural resources are owned by the State. f) Right to Safe and Clean Air and Water . forests or timber. it may enter into co-production. the right to an informed and intelligent participation in the formulation and implementation of any project. h) Right to Resolve Conflict . a) Right to transfer land/property . (b) the right to stay in the territories. and the right to effective measures by the government to prevent any interference with. that will affect or impact upon the ancestral domains and to receive just and fair compensation for any damages which they may sustain as a result of the project. and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. subject to customary laws and traditions of the community concerned. d) Right in Case of Displacement . alienation and encroachment upon these rights.. (c) sacred places." Section 7 (a) defines the ICCs/IPs the right of ownership over their ancestral domains which covers (a) lands. or is transferred for an unconscionable consideration or price. nor through any means other than eminent domain. (b) bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by the ICCs/IPs.In cases where it is shown that the transfer of land/property rights by virtue of any agreement or devise. and only in default thereof shall the complaints be submitted to amicable settlement and to the Courts of Justice whenever necessary. and other mineral oils... minerals.-For this purpose. Unlike ownership over the ancestral domains.The right of ownership and possession of the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral lands shall be recognized and protected. (f) the right to claim parts of the ancestral domains as reservations. x x x. and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. and (e) all improvements made by them at any time within the domains. or industrial uses other than .. to a nonmember of the concerned ICCs/IPs is tainted by the vitiated consent of the ICCs/IPs." Section 8 provides for the rights over ancestral lands: "Sec. but not to domains." c) Right to Stay in the Territories. all forces of potential energy. or. and (g) the right to resolve conflict in accordance with customary laws. renewable for not more than twenty-five years. except those reserved and intended for common and public welfare and service. or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. wildlife. government or private. (d) the right to regulate the entry of migrants. or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens.Right to resolve land conflicts in accordance with customary laws of the area where the land is located. development. g) Right to Claim Parts of Reservations .Such right shall include the right to transfer land or property rights to/among members of the same ICCs/IPs. The State may directly undertake such activities. With the exception of agricultural lands. Rights to Ancestral Lands .Right to regulate the entry of migrant settlers and organizations into their domains. 2. fisheries. (c) the right to resettlement in case of displacement. The Regalian doctrine on the ownership. water supply. the transferor ICC/IP shall have the right to redeem the same within a period not exceeding fifteen (15) years from the date of transfer. all other natural resources shall not be alienated. (d) traditional hunting and fishing grounds.The right to stay in the territory and not to be removed therefrom. This is in keeping with the option given to ICCs/IPs to secure a torrens title over the ancestrallands. 2. fisheries. water supply. The right of ownership includes the following rights: (1) the right to develop lands and natural resources. Section 8 gives the ICCs/IPs also the right to transfer the land or property rights to members of the same ICCs/IPs or non-members thereof. Section 8 governs their rights to ancestral lands. the ICCs/IPs shall have access to integrated systems for the management of their inland waters and air space. viz: "Sec. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years. (e) the right to safe and clean air and water. the State shall endeavor to resettle the displaced ICCs/IPs in suitable areas where they can have temporary life support systems: x x x.The right to claim parts of the ancestral domains which have been reserved for various purposes. The exploration. fisheries. coal. 8. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution ..

"229 Examining the IPRA. minerals. and other mineral oils. The State may enter into co-production. but this "ownership" is expressly defined and limited in Section 7 (a) as: "Sec.A. For the large-scale exploration. wildlife. with priority to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in rivers. Under the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. through the President. lakes. forests or timber. sacred places. 7942) and the People's Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991 (R. by law. the State. coal. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution as belonging to the State. joint venture or production-sharing.petroleum and other mineral oils. the President may enter into agreements with foreign-owned corporations involving technical or financial assistance. all forces of potential energy.e. The State activities. and may undertake the same in four (4) modes: 1." The ICCs/IPs are given the right to claim ownership over "lands. petroleum. i. within thirty days from its execution. and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens. and lagoons. Indeed. As owner of the natural resources. and other natural resources. (R.. specifically minerals. "Small-scale mining" refers to "mining activities which rely heavily on manual labor using simple implements and methods and do not use explosives or heavy mining equipment. bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by ICCs/IPs.are owned by the State.[ Land Titles and Deeds the development of water power. 3. based on real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the country. as well as cooperative fish farming. Congress may. coal. traditional hunting and fishing grounds. and all improvements made by them at any time within the domains. forests or timber in the sacred places. and all other natural resources found within the ancestral domains. Rule III reads: 2. Part II. fisheries."223 All lands of the public domain and all natural resources. 7. there is nothing in the law that grants to the ICCs/IPs ownership over the natural resources within their ancestral domains.A. forests or timber. For the large-scale exploration of these resources. the state shall promote the development and use of local scientific and technical resources. or may directly undertake such sharing agreements.The right to claim ownership over lands. it may allow participation by the private sector through co-production. may apply to both large-scale227 and small-scale 228 mining. The Constitution provides that in the exploration. The non-inclusion of ownership by the ICCs/IPs over the natural resources in Section 7(a) complies with the Regalian doctrine. The President may enter into agreements with foreignowned corporations involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration. In such agreements. joint venture or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens or qualified corporations. the State is accorded primary power and responsibility in the exploration. development and utilization of these natural resources. The State may directly undertake the exploitation and development by itself. territorial sea.flora and fauna and all other natural resources" enumerated in Section 2. 4. 7076) the three types of agreements. petroleum. minerals. The Congress may. or. The State shall protect the nation's marine wealth in its archipelagic waters. and all improvements made by them at any time within the domains. and utilization of minerals. the State exercises full control and supervision. the right of ownership under Section 7 (a) does not cover "waters. etc. may allow the small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens. 7 (a) of the IPRA And is Unconstitutional. The President shall notify the Congress of every contract entered into in accordance with this provision. petroleum and other mineral oils. The State. fisheries. wildlife. bays. petroleum and other mineral oils. development and utilization of these natural resources. a) Right of ownership. The Rules Implementing the IPRA230 in Section 1. by law. and other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by law.226 These agreements may be for a period of 25 years.225 or production- . Rule III of the Implementing Rules Goes Beyond the Parameters of Sec. renewable for another 25 years. sacred places. beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant." It will be noted that this enumeration does not mention bodies of water not occupied by the ICCs/IPs. through Congress. coal. Part II. fish in the traditional fishing grounds.224joint venture. all forces of potential energy. wildlife. (a) Section 1. flora and fauna. The right of ICCs/IPs in their ancestral domains includesownership.waters. bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by ICCs/IPs. and exclusive economic zone. coproduction. flora and fauna in the traditional hunting grounds. minerals. development. traditional hunting and fishing grounds. development and utilization of minerals. allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens. may enter into technical and financial assistance agreements with foreign-owned corporations. allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens.

and the right to effective measures by the government to prevent any interference with. the right to use.. government or private. alienation and encroachment upon these rights. d) the right to negotiate the terms and conditions for the exploration of natural resources for the purpose of ensuring ecological. It is Sections 7 (b) and 57 of the law that speak of natural resources. 7 (b) Right to Develop Lands and Natural Resources. and "negotiate the terms and conditions for their exploration" for the purpose of "ensuring ecological and environmental protection and conservation measures. e) the right to an informed and intelligent participation in the formulation and implementation of any project. alienation and encroachment upon these rights. Rights of Ownership. Rule III of the Implementing Rules goes beyond the parameters of Section 7 (b) of the law and is contrary to Section 2. control and use lands and territories traditionally occupied. Simply stated. that will affect or impact upon the ancestral domains and to receive just and fair compensation for any damages which they may sustain as a result of the project.231 The IPRA itself makes a distinction between land and natural resources. do not give the ICCs/IPs the right of ownership over these resources. "benefit and share" the profits from their allocation and utilization. the ICCs/IPs' rights over the natural resources take the form of management or stewardship. For the ICCs/IPs may use these resources and share in the profits of their utilization or . pursuant to national and customary laws. Part II. and these provisions. right to exclude and right to recover ownership. owned. and the rights or interests over land and natural resources. the right to possess. pursuant to national and customary laws. or used." The right to develop lands and natural resources under Section 7 (b) of the IPRA enumerates the following rights: a) the right to develop. ICCs/IPs have rights of ownership over lands. and conservation measures in the ancestral domain. The constitutionality of Section 1. control and use lands and territories traditionally occupied. and natural resources and all improvements made by them at any time within the ancestral domains/ lands. waters. the right over the fruits.[ Land Titles and Deeds "Section 1. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. that will affect or impact upon the ancestral domains and to receive just and fair compensation for any damages which they may sustain as a result of the project. it is necessary to declare that the inclusion of "natural resources" in Section 1. 7 (b) of the IPRA Is Allowed Under Paragraph 3. Our Constitution and jurisprudence clearly declare that the right to claim ownership over land does not necessarily include the right to claim ownership over the natural resources found on or under the land. Part II.Subject to Section 56 hereof. Ownership over natural resources remain with the State and the IPRA in Section 7 (b) merely grants the ICCs/IPs the right to manage them." It must be noted that the right to negotiate the terms and conditions over the natural resources covers only their exploration which must be for the purpose of ensuring ecological and environmental protection of. c) the right to benefit and share the profits from the allocation and utilization of the natural resources found therein. right to consume. Section 2 of Article XII of the Constitution. the right to negotiate the terms and conditions for the exploration of natural resources in the areas for the purpose of ensuring ecological. to benefit and share the profits from allocation and utilization of the natural resources found therein." The term "natural resources" is not one of those expressly mentioned in Section 7 (a) of the law. waters and natural resources. government or private. as shall be discussed later. viz: "Sec.232Nevertheless. to avoid any confusion in the implementation of the law." Section 1 of the Implementing Rules gives the ICCs/IPs rights of ownership over "lands. b) the right to manage and conserve natural resources within the territories and uphold the responsibilities for future generations. environmental protection and the conservation measures. f) the right to effective measures by the government to prevent any interference with. Petitioners actually assail the constitutionality of the Implementing Rules in general. but not limited to. Rule III of the Implementing Rules was not specifically and categorically challenged by petitioners. These rights shall include. Section 7 (a) speaks of the right of ownership only over the land within the ancestral domain.233 Ownership over the natural resources in the ancestral domains remains with the State and the ICCs/IPs are merely granted the right to "manage and conserve" them for future generations. right to develop. environmental protection and the conservation measures. The right to recover shall be particularly applied to lands lost through fraud or any form or vitiated consent or transferred for an unconscionable price. (b) The Small-Scale Utilization of Natural Resources In Sec. to manage and conserve natural resourceswithin the territories and uphold the responsibilities for future generations. the right to an informed and intelligent participation in the formulation and implementation of any project. It does not extend to the exploitation and development of natural resources.

The agreement shall be for a period of 25 years. Natural Resources within Ancestral Domains. of and by itself. The grant of priority rights implies that there is a superior entity that owns these resources and this entity has the power to grant preferential rights over the resources to whosoever itself chooses. the State. as owner of these natural resources. the State." Section 57 speaks of the "harvesting. in the large-scale utilization of natural resources within the ancestral domains. Priority means giving preference. (c) The Large-Scale Utilization of Natural Resources In Section 57 of the IPRA Is Allowed Under Paragraphs 1 and 4. development or exploitation of natural resources within ancestral domains" and "gives the ICCs/IPs 'priority rights' therein. joint venture. or allow such non-member to participate in its agreement with the ICCs/IPs. and other mineral oils. whether natural or juridical. extraction. At the same time. petroleum.[ Land Titles and Deeds negotiate the terms for their exploration. the law only grants the ICCs/IPs "priority rights" in the development or exploitation thereof. the ICCs/IPs must ensure that the natural resources within their ancestral domains are conserved for future generations and that the "utilization" of these resources must not harm the ecology and environment pursuant to national and customary laws. has four (4) options: (1) it may. it is an affirmation of the said doctrine that all natural resources found within the ancestral domains belong to the State. Having priority rights over the natural resources does not necessarily mean ownership rights. or (2) it may recognize the priority rights of the ICCs/IPs by entering into an agreement with them for such development and exploitation. as owners and occupants of the land on which the ." The terms "harvesting. Instead. To reiterate."235 Section 7 (b) also expressly mandates the ICCs/IPs to manage and conserve these resources and ensure environmental and ecological protection within the domains. by their very nature. Small-scale utilization of natural resources is expressly allowed in the third paragraph of Section 2. requires that the provision be read in the light of Section 2. Section 57 of the IPRA does not give the ICCs/IPs the right to "manage and conserve" the natural resources. or (3) it may enter into an agreement with a non-member of the ICCs/IPs. local or foreign. 57. 236 The law recognizes the probability of requiring a non-member of the ICCs/IPs to participate in the development and utilization of the natural resources and thereby allows such participation for a period of not more than 25 years. Section 57 of the IPRA provides: "Sec. however. necessarily reject utilization in a large-scale. That a formal and written agreement is entered into with the ICCs/IPs concerned or that the community. Article XII of the Constitution "in recognition of the plight of forest dwellers. development and utilization of minerals.234 The limited rights of "management and use" in Section 7 (b) must be taken to contemplate small-scale utilization of natural resources as distinguished from large-scale. extraction. The rights granted by the IPRA to the ICCs/IPs over the natural resources in their ancestral domains merely gives the ICCs/IPs. gold panners. or production-sharing agreement with them. If the State decides to enter into an agreement with a non-ICC/IP member. The State may likewise enter into any of said agreements with a nonmember of the ICCs/IPs. which duties. This may be done on condition that a formal written agreement be entered into by the non-member and members of the ICCs/IPs. or enter into agreements with foreignowned corporations involving either technical or financial assistance for the large-scale exploration. it may recognize the priority rights of the ICCs/IPs as owners of the land on which the natural resources are found by entering into a coproduction. The ICCs/IPs shall have priority rights in theharvesting. may directly undertake the development and exploitation of the natural resources by itself. Section 57 is not a repudiation of the Regalian doctrine. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. pursuant to its own decision-making process. development or exploitation" of any natural resources within the ancestral domains obviously refer to large-scale utilization. hence. marginal fishermen and others similarly situated who exploit our natural resources for their daily sustenance and survival. That the NCIP may exercise visitorial powers and take appropriate action to safeguard the rights of the ICCs/IPs under the same contract. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution237 in relation to Section 57 of IPRA. directly undertake the development and exploitation of the natural resources. Interpreting Section 2. as owner of these resources. the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) shall ensure that the rights of the ICCs/IPs under the agreement shall be protected. Section 2. or (4) it may allow such non-member to participate in the agreement with the ICCs/IPs. has agreed to allow such operation: Provided finally. It incorporates by implication the Regalian doctrine. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. development or exploitation of any natural resources within the ancestral domains. renewable for another 25 years. extraction. renewable for another 25 years. It is utilization not merely for subsistence but for commercial or other extensive use that require technology other than manual labor. whether natural or juridical. or in the alternative. Rather. A non-member of the ICCs/IPs concerned may be allowed to take part in the development and utilization of the natural resources for a period of not exceeding twenty-five (25) years renewable for not more than twenty-five (25) years: Provided.

It merely gives the NCIP the authority to ensure that the ICCs/IPs have been informed of the agreement and that their consent thereto has been obtained. there is a growing concern for indigenous rights in the international scene. The people of the Philippine Cordillera were the first Asians to take part in the international indigenous movement. the right of self-determination was enshrined in the UN Declaration on Human Rights. in accordance with this Act. there is nothing in the law that gives the ICCs/IPs the right to solely undertake the large-scale development of the natural resources within their domains. and Maori in New Zealand the possibility of fighting for fundamental rights and freedoms. This came as a result of the increased publicity focused on the continuing disrespect for indigenous human rights and the destruction of the indigenous peoples' environment. As its subtitle suggests. or entering into any production-sharing agreement. and have become a part of today's priorities for the international agenda. Second. this provision requires as a precondition for the issuance of any concession.All departments and other governmental agencies shall henceforth be strictly enjoined from issuing.242 International institutions and bodies have realized the necessity of applying policies. together with the national governments' inability to deal with the situation. Note that the certification applies to agreements over natural resources that do not necessarily lie within the ancestral domains.244 The 1987 Philippine Constitution formally recognizes the existence of ICCs/IPs and declares as a State policy the promotion of their rights within the framework of national unity and development. license or lease. Aborigines in Australia. government agency or governmentowned or -controlled corporation may issue new concession. lease or production-sharing agreements for the exploitation of natural resources shall not be issued. The NCIP certification shall be issued only after a field-based investigation shall have been conducted and the free and prior informed written consent of the ICCs/IPs obtained.239 and during the 1980's. V. as actual occupants of the land where the natural resources lie. That no certification shall be issued by the NCIP without the free and prior informed and written consent of the ICCs/IPs concerned: Provided." Concessions. or production sharing agreement while there is a pending application for a CADT: Provided. This policy has provided an influential model for the projects of the Asian Development Bank.[ Land Titles and Deeds resources are found. THE IPRA IS A RECOGNITION OF OUR ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN THE INDIGENOUS INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT. First. The ICCs/IPs must undertake such endeavour always under State supervision or control. further. For those that are found within the said domains. have traditionally utilized these resources for their subsistence and survival. 245 The IPRA . a priority in their large-scale development and exploitation.243 The World Bank now seeks to apply its current policy on IPs to some of its projects in Asia. The State has several options and it is within its discretion to choose which option to pursue. any project that has not satisfied the requirement of this consultation process. lease.238 The rise of the civil rights movement and anti-racism brought to the attention of North American Indians. without prior certification from the NCIP that the area affected does not overlap with any ancestral domain. programs and specific rules concerning IPs in some nations. The World Bank. Such certification shall only be issued after a fieldbased investigation is conducted by the Ancestral Domains Office of the area concerned: Provided. the right to the small-scale utilization of these resources. Sections 7(b) and 57 of the IPRA apply. That no department. licenses. Certification Precondition. indigenous affairs were on the international agenda. the decolonization of Asia and Africa brought into the limelight the possibility of peoples controlling their own destinies. It was the Cordillera People's Alliance that carried out successful campaigns against the building of the Chico River Dam in 1981-82 and they have since become one of the best-organized indigenous bodies in the world. The indigenous movement can be seen as the heir to a history of anti-imperialism stretching back to prehistoric times. license. finally.240 Presently.241Indigenous rights came as a result of both human rights and environmental protection. international indigenous organizations were founded. that a certification be issued by the NCIP that the area subject of the agreement does not lie within any ancestral domain. Sections 7 (b) and 57 of the law simply give due respect to the ICCs/IPs who. Non-compliance with the consultation requirement gives the ICCs/IPs the right to stop or suspend any project granted by any department or government agency. and at the same time. renewed or granted by all departments and government agencies without prior certification from the NCIP that the area subject of the agreement does not overlap with any ancestral domain. first adopted a policy on IPs as a result of the dismal experience of projects in Latin America. Neither is the State stripped of ownership and control of the natural resources by the following provision: "Section 59. In 1974 and 1975. Section 57 does not mandate the State to automatically give priority to the ICCs/IPs. The provision does not vest the NCIP with power over the other agencies of the State as to determine whether to grant or deny any concession or license or agreement. for example. The movement received a massive impetus during the 1960's from two sources. That the ICCs/IPs shall have the right to stop or suspend. This indicates that the State does not lose control and ownership over the resources even in their exploitation. license or agreement over natural resources. renewing or granting any concession. Moreover.

With the foregoing disquisitions. Second.[ Land Titles and Deeds amalgamates the Philippine category of ICCs with the international category of IPs. on the 2d day of March. That there exists and has existed a number of years a stone wall between the said lots. SALEEBY. The Philippines became a democracy a centennial ago and the decolonization process still continues. On the 25th day of March. 107) passed on June 26. 1906. Sixth. if the Filipinos as a whole are to participate fully in the task of continuing democratization. Several months later (the 13th day of December. I vote to uphold the constitutionality of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997. then the same theory should be applied to the defendant himself.. i. That the land occupied by t he wall is registered in the name of each of the owners of the adjoining lots. presented a petition in the Court of Land Registration for the registration of their lot.252 It is through the IPRA that an attempt was made by our legislators to understand Filipino society not in terms of myths and biases but through common experiences in the course of history. including the wall. more than six years before. Fifth. by reason of the fact that the plaintiffs had not opposed the registration of that part of the lot on which the wall was situate they had lost it. Having thus lost hid right. ways of life and economic development. 1989. Social and Cultural Rights. belonged to the defendant and his predecessors. by permitting the plaintiffs to have the same registered in their name.251 Largely unpopulist. adjoining lots in the district of Ermita in the city of Manila. It is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 1912. 1906. and many other international instruments on the prevention of discrimination. decreed that the title of the plaintiffs should be registered and issued to them the original certificate provided for under the torrens system. 246 and is heavily influenced by both the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169 and the United Nations (UN) Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The wall is not a joint wall. specifically. denied said petition upon the theory that. the International Covenant on Economic. Third. L-8936 October 2. on the 25th day of October. After a consideration of said petition the court. 1957. he had already lost whatever right he had therein. as owners. These differences were carried over and magnified by the Philippine government through the imposition of a national legal order that is mostly foreign in origin or derivation. No."250 CONCLUSION The struggle of the Filipinos throughout colonial history had been plagued by ethnic and religious differences.R. the present legal system has resulted in the alienation of a large sector of society. The histories and cultures of the indigenes are relevant to the evolution of Philippine culture and are vital to the understanding of contemporary problems." and recognizing the aspirations of these peoples to exercise control over their own institutions.e. The description of the lot given in the petition of the defendant also included said wall. In other words.253 it is this Court's duty to acknowledge the presence of indigenous and customary laws in the country and affirm their coexistence with the land laws in our national legal system. The lower court however. That the plaintiffs and the defendant occupy. Granting that theory to be correct one.249 ILO Convention No. during the pendency of the petition for the registration of the defendant's land. the indigenous peoples. N. Applying that theory to him. If the evolution of the Filipino people into a democratic society is to truly proceed democratically. 1915 CONSUELO LEGARDA. and granting even that the wall and the land occupied by it. the court decreed the registration of said title and issued the original certificate provided for under the torrens system. even though it had been theretofore registered in their name. That the plaintiffs. without notice to the defendant. Developments in international law made it appropriate to adopt new international standards on indigenous peoples "with a view to removing the assimilationist orientation of the earlier standards. in the name of the defendant. 1912) the plaintiffs discovered that the wall which had been included in the certificate granted to them had also been included in the certificate granted to the defendant . in fact. vs. Later the predecessor of the defendant presented a petition in the Court of Land Registration for the registration of the lot now occupied by him. . may he be permitted to regain it by simply including it G.They immediately presented a petition in the Court of Land Registration for an adjustment and correction of the error committed by including said wall in the registered title of each of said parties. 169 is entitled the "Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries"248 and was adopted on June 27. From the record the following facts appear: First. who is the owner of the wall and the land occupied by it? The decision of the lower court is based upon the theory that the action for the registration of the lot of the defendant was a judicial proceeding and that the judgment or decree was binding upon all parties who did not appear and oppose it. Said registration and certificate included the wall.247 ILO Convention No.M. Said wall is located on the lot of the plaintiffs. 169 revised the "Convention Concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and Other Tribal and Semi-Tribal Populations in Independent Countries" (ILO No. they failed to make any objection to the registration of said lot. Under these facts. Fourth.

A registered title can not be altered. To permit persons who are parties in the registration proceeding (and they are all the world) to again litigate the same questions. While the acts in this country do not expressly cover the case of the issue of two certificates for the same land. 496. with very few exceptions.. A title once registered can not be defeated.. In some jurisdictions. Register of Titles. No one can plead ignorance of the registration. Rep. should not thereafter be impugned. All the world are parties. were they obliged to constantly be on the alert and to watch all the proceedings in the land court to see that some one else was not having all.R. De la Cruz. 496)." page 99. is notice to the world. or a portion of the same. registered? If that question is to be answered in the affirmative. Williams... under the torrens system. enlarged. the mistake may be rectified by holding the latter of the two certificates of title to be conclusive.) While the proceeding is judicial. we think. In successive registrations.. 1 W.. Section 38 of Act No. it can not be denied that the proceeding for the registration of land under the torrens system is judicial (Escueta vs. That being the purpose of the law.Director of Lands. is the evidence of title and shows exactly the real interest of its owner. or diminished in a collateral proceeding and not even by a direct proceeding. The rule. after the lapse of the period prescribed by law." at page 823. R. Hogg. where the "torrens" system has been adopted. Zeiss. would destroy the very purpose and intent of the law. or which may arise subsequent thereto.) 48. says: "The general rule is that in the case of two certificates of title. Grey Alba vs. changed. For the difficulty involved in the present case the Act (No. said: "Where two certificates purport to include the same land the earlier in date prevails. open. we think. except as to rights which are noted in the certificate or which arise subsequently. has been presented to the courts in other jurisdictions. The question. including the wall.S.. Of course.)" Hogg adds however that. If he does not already have a perfect title. 155. . or diminished. that the inclusion of the land in the certificate of title of prior date is a mistake. the holder of the earlier one continues to hold the title" (p. Miller vs. including the Insular Government and all the branches thereof. 237). 49 Roxas vs. 219 U.L. there are no innocent third parties who may claim an interest.S. Tyler vs. There is no provision in said Act giving the parties relief under conditions like the present.R." supra. 482). it would seem that once a title is registered the owner may rest secure. Stevens vs. All persons must take notice. (V. the person claiming under the prior certificates is entitled to the estate or interest. or whose claim is derived directly or indirectly from the person who was the holder of the earliest certificate issued in respect thereof. The real purpose of that system is to quiet title to land. 16 Phil. and cases cited.. who is the owner of land registered in the name of two different persons. Rep. there can be no persons who are not parties to the action. or only in part. once registered. Act No. Otherwise all security in registered titles would be lost. and that person is deemed to hold under the prior certificate who is the holder of. 152. rep. The title.. in the absence of fraud. In others it has been settled by the courts. Enriquez. is the rule. 12 V. 7 A. in his excellent discussion of the "Australian Torrens System.. The title once registered. it involves more in its consequences than does an ordinary action. modified. then the whole scheme and purpose of the torrens system of land registration must fail..In view of the fact that all the world are parties." to avoid the possibility of losing his land. even by an adverse. 47.. 7 N. modified.) Niblack. vs. 17 Phil. 118. Myfield.[ Land Titles and Deeds in a petition for registration? The plaintiffs having secured the registration of their lot. "if it can be very clearly ascertained by the ordinary rules of construction relating to written documents. vs. the earlier in date prevails.R. 29 Phil. they provide that a registered owner shall hold the title.L. in discussing the general question. and with certain other exceptions which need not be dismissed at present." (See Hogg on the "Australian torrens System. is well settled that the decree ordering the registration of a particular parcel of land is a bar to future litigation over the same between the same parties .C. Registered title under the torrens system can not be defeated by prescription (section 46. and the effect of this undoubtedly is that where two certificates purport to include the same registered land. or sitting in the "mirador de su casa. Esperance Land Co. except in some direct proceeding permitted by law. to put a stop forever to any question of the legality of the title. whether mentioned by . in the certificate. It is an action in rem. comprised in the earlier certificate. "It (the decree of registration) shall be conclusive upon and against all persons. except claims which were noted at the time of registration. See also the excellent work of Niblack in his "Analysis of the Torrens System. including the government. Judges. The certificate of registration accumulates in open document a precise and correct statement of the exact status of the fee held by its owner. and notorious possession.T. the difficulty has been settled by express statutory provision. The rights of all the world are foreclosed by the decree of registration. 2 Q. enlarged.A. whether the land comprised in the latter certificate be wholly. Fee simple titles only may be registered. This. 31. 175 Mass. After the registration is complete and final and there exists no fraud. It is clothed with all the forms of an action and the result is final and binding upon all the world. Merry. and to again cast doubt upon the validity of the registered title. 193. Director of Lands (supra). does not give the owner any better title than he had. purporting to include the same land. it must follow that future litigation over the title is forever barred. he can not have it registered. Lloyd vs. provides that. (Escueta vs. Davy. 51 American Land Co. where more than one certificate is issued in respect of a particular estate or interest in land. without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court.Z. There is nothing in the Act which indicates who should be the owner of land which has been registered in the name of two different persons. 496) providing for the registration of titles under the torrens system affords us no remedy. . altered. (Oelkers vs. The registration. The certificate. The government itself assumes the burden of giving notice to all parties.

we are of the opinion and so decree that in case land has been registered under the Land Registration Act in the name of two different persons. and 112 of Act No. then nothing has been gained by the registration and the expense incurred thereby has been in vain. He had his day in court and should not be permitted to set up his own omissions as the ground for impugning the validity of a judgment duly entered by a court of competent jurisdiction. upon first reading. and that of orders. they should have a persuasive influence in adopting a rule for governing the effect of a double registration under said Act. Article 1473 of the Civil Code provides. 55. We have decided. were served with notice of the application of Teus (the predecessor of the defendant) they became defendants in a proceeding wherein he. they became irrevocably bound by the decree adjudicating such land to Teus. If those dealing with registered land cannot rely upon the certificate. after the lapse of one year. nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments or decrees. or included in the general description "To all whom it may concern. transfers his original certificate to an "innocent purchaser. that the "decree of registration" shall not be opened. among other things. Adopting the rule which we believe to be more in consonance with the purposes and the real intent of the torrens system." The general rule is that the vendee of land has no greater right. or citation. that when one piece of real property had been sold to two different persons it shall belong to the person acquiring it. We have in this jurisdiction a general statutory provision which governs the right of the ownership of land when the same is registered in the ordinary registry in the name of two persons. and the subsequent entry of a default judgment against him. taking into consideration al of the conditions and the diligence of the respective parties to avoid them. As was said above. in case of double registration under the Land Registration Act. in a direct proceeding for that purpose. Under that rule the vendee of the earlier certificate would be the owner as against the vendee of the owner of the later certificate. In reaching the above conclusion. It is the duty of the courts to adjust the rights of the parties under such circumstances so as to minimize such damages. in the absence of fraud. in the absence of other express provisions. in 1906. notice. was seeking to foreclose their right. his failure to oppose the registration of the same in the name of the appellants. If the holder of a certificate cannot rest secure in this registered title then the purpose of the law is defeated. presupposes that each of the vendees or purchasers has acquired title to the land. infancy. and if he was not the real owner he can not complain) in not opposing the registration in the name of the appellants. he became irrevocably bound by the decree adjudicating such land to the appellants. before the error is discovered. There is no more reason why the doctrine invoked by the appellee should be applied to the appellants than to him. He says. and sometimes the damage done thereby is irreparable. subject. It will be noted. to the parcel of land described in his application. Suppose within the six years which elapsed after the plaintiff had secured their title. we have not overlooked the forceful argument of the appellee. the appellee was the first negligent (granting that he was the real owner. for any reason. provided no innocent purchaser for value has acquired an interest. and the subsequent entry of a default judgment against them. may such decree be opened or set aside in a collateral proceeding by including a portion of the land in a subsequent certificate or decree of registration? We do not believe the law contemplated that a person could be deprived of his registered title in that way. The real ownership in such a case depends upon priority of registration. Through their failure to appear and contest his right thereto. 496 indicate that the vendee may acquire rights and be protected . the earlier in date shall prevail. title. except for fraud. If then the decree of registration can not be opened for any reason. forever closes his mouth against impugning the validity of that judgment. While we do not now decide that the general provisions of the Civil Code are applicable to the Land Registration Act." Granting that he was the owner of the land upon which the wall is located. He was a party-defendant in an action for the registration of the lot in question. seem to cast some doubt upon the rule that the vendee acquires the interest of the vendor only." Such decree shall not be opened by reason of the absence. To decide otherwise would be to hold that lands with torrens titles are above the law and beyond the jurisdiction of the courts". Sections 38. and not even for fraud. May this rule be applied to successive vendees of the owners of such certificates? Suppose that one or the other of the parties. That is the rule between original parties. from said section. he may lose it all. "Through his failure to appear and to oppose such registration. yet we think. "When Prieto et al. among other things. If the holder may lose a strip of his registered land by the method adopted in the present case. the primary and fundamental purpose of the torrens system is to quiet title. what would be the position or right of the mortgagee or vendee? That mistakes are bound to occur cannot be denied. They had their day in court and can not set up their own omission as ground for impugning the validity of a judgment duly entered by a court of competent jurisdiction. however.[ Land Titles and Deeds name in the application. even though we see no objection thereto. in the name of the appellants. who first inscribes it in the registry. that the owner of the earliest certificate is the owner of the land. they had mortgaged or sold their right. or interest than his vendor. to the right of any person deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by decree of registration obtained by fraud to file in the Court of Land Registration a petition for review within one year after entry of the decree (of registration). Teus. In the present case. in any court. We find statutory provisions which. except for fraud. only. that he acquires the right which his vendor had. or other disability of any person affected thereby. This rule. of course.

McCabe vs. Buchanan vs. 97. In the present case Teus had his land." in said sections. We do not believe that the phrase "innocent purchaser should be applied to such a purchaser. yet there is a rule requiring mortgages to be recorded. 509. included therein. including the wall. after the recorded mortgage. Anderson. 78 Ill. Such presumption is irrebutable. 17 Conn.) Under the rule of notice. that no one can plead ignorance of the law. upon the plea of ignorance of the statutory provision. Wilson. Any variation would lead to endless confusion and useless litigation. Said sections speak of available rights in favor of third parties which are cut off by virtue of the sale of the land to an "innocent purchaser. should be protected under the provisions of said sections? These questions indicate the difficulty with which we are met in giving meaning and effect to the phrase "innocent purchaser. By reason of the prior registry there cannot be an innocent purchaser of land included in a prior original certificate and in a name other than that of the vendor. Browne. in nonsense. The rule of notice of what the record contains precludes the idea of innocence. if they are both to be regarded as innocent purchasers.. 629. notwithstanding. assigns. it is presumed that the purchaser has examined every instrument of record affecting the title. 55. 27 N. 710 [a]). or his successors. 500. It would be just as logical to allow the defense of ignorance of the existence and contents of a public record. however." That is to say.. 351. The rule that all persons must take notice of the facts which the public record contains is a rule of law. All persons dealing with the land so recorded.Y . Otherwise the very purpose and object of the law requiring a record would be destroyed. 286. at times. The fact that all men know the law is contrary to the presumption.This rule is so well established that it is scarcely necessary to cite authorities in its support (Northwestern National Bank vs. by virtue of the sale by him to the appellee? Suppose the appellants had sold their lot. The rule should not be applied to the purchaser of a parcel of land the vendor of which is not the owner of the original certificate." by virtue of the provisions of said sections. The rule must be absolute. Grey. Freeman. shows clearly that they do not know the law. 7 House of Lords Cases. (Arts.[ Land Titles and Deeds against defenses which the vendor would not. He. bona fide in the sense that he had no knowledge of the existence of the mortgage? We believe the rule that all persons must take notice of what the public record contains in just as obligatory upon all persons as the rule that all men must know the law. While there is no statutory provision in force here requiring that original deeds of conveyance of real property be recorded. 1875 and 606 of the Civil Code. The purchaser is charged with notice of every fact shown by the record and is presumed to know every fact which the record discloses . The record notice to all the world. Newell. When land is once brought under the torrens system. All persons are charged with the knowledge of what it contains. 171 U." used in said sections. 341. 20 Cal. Intentional Bank. should be limited only to cases where unregistered land has been wrongfully included in a certificate under the torrens system. The rule. Youngs vs.1875. He is charged with notice of every fact shown by the record and is presumed to know every fact which an examination of the record would have disclosed. or his successors.) The record of a mortgage is indispensable to its validity. 289. (Grandin vs.. is said sections are to be applied ." as the same is used in said sections? Under these examples there would be two innocent purchasers of the same land. be relieved from the mortgage lien by the plea that he was a bona fide purchaser? May there be a bona fide purchaser of said land. and 112 should not be applied to such purchasers. may the purchaser of land from the owner of the second original certificate be an "innocent purchaser. registered in his name. It is never issued until it is recorded. when third parties were interested? May a purchaser of land. must be charged with notice of whatever it contains. The conduct of men." when a part or all of such land had theretofore been registered in the name of another. or vendee? The first original certificate is recorded in the public registry." would such purchaser be included in the phrase "innocent purchaser.. of the foregoing rules of law. to an "innocent purchaser. In order to minimize the difficulties we think this is the safe rule to establish. Orvis vs. He cannot be regarded as an "innocent purchaser" because of the facts contained in the record of the first original certificate. May the purchaser of land which has been included in a "second original certificate" ever be regarded as an "innocent purchaser. can be an "innocent purchaser" of the portion of the land included in another earlier original certificate. We believe the phrase "innocent purchaser. legal and equitable." as that phrase is used in said sections? May those who have been deprived of their land by reason of a mistake in the original certificate in favor of Teus be deprived of their right to the same. When a conveyance has been properly recorded such record is constructive notice of its contents and all interests. He subsequently sold the same to the appellee. or any portion of it. the record of . Delvin on Real Estate. sections 710. Such presumption cannot be defeated by proof of want of knowledge of what the record contains any more than one may be permitted to show that he was ignorant of the provisions of the law.. persons who had had a right or interest in land wrongfully included in an original certificate would be unable to enforce such rights against an "innocent purchaser. plead ignorance of its existence. This presumption cannot be overcome by proof of innocence or good faith. therefore. subsequent to the recorded mortgage.) In the face of that statute would the courts allow a mortgage to be valid which had not been recorded. 620." as against the rights or interest of the owner of the first original certificate. including the wall. not the vendor? We are of the opinion that said sections 38. Is the appellee an "innocent purchaser. 15 Ohio State.S. Montefiore vs. (Art . his heirs. is mandatory and obligatory. and by reason of such ignorance have the land released from such lien? Could a purchaser of land.Which of the two innocent purchasers. In view.

resulting from such purchase. That being the rule. Arellano. Suppose he had sold his lot to the appellee and had included in his deed of transfer the very strip of land now in question. Without any findings as to costs. and Araullo. nor pretend to solve. concur. We are inclined to the view. without deciding it. . against one who had acquired rights in conflict therewith and who had full and complete knowledge of their rights. The record of the original certificate of the appellants precludes the possibility.[ Land Titles and Deeds the original certificate and all subsequent transfers thereof is notice to all the world. that Teus had never had his lot registered under the torrens system. rather than he who has obtained the first certificate and who was innocent of any act of negligence. by reason of the facts contained in the public record and the knowledge with which he is charged and by reason of his negligence. the judgment of the lower court should be and is hereby revoked. it is so ordered. The foregoing decision does not solve. in case of a mistake like the present. The holder of the first original certificate and his successors should be permitted to rest secure in their title. JJ. Neither do we now attempt to decide the effect of the former registration in the ordinary registry upon the registration under the torrens system. to hold that the one who acquired it first and who has complied with all the requirements of the law should be protected. rather than to molest the holder of the first certificate who has been guilty of no negligence. Could his vendee be regarded as an "innocent purchaser" of said strip? Would his vendee be an "innocent purchaser" of said strip? Certainly not. above stated. Torrens. The purchaser of land included in the second original certificate. Once land is registered and recorded under the torrens system. should suffer the loss. as well as in all other duplicate certificates issued. if any.. with direction to make such orders and decrees in the premises as may correct the error heretofore made in including the land in the second original certificate issued in favor of the predecessor of the appellee. It would be seen to a just and equitable rule. Suppose. should be required to resort to his vendor for damages. The record is hereby returned to the court now having and exercising the jurisdiction heretofore exercised by the land court. for example. could Teus even regarded as the holder in good fifth of that part of the land included in his certificate of the appellants? We think not. We are of the opinion that these rules are more in harmony with the purpose of Act No. that the record under the torrens system. and his successors. In view of our conclusions. If that view is correct then it will be sufficient. the question must be answered in the negative. 496 than the rule contended for by the appellee. all the difficulties resulting from double registration under the torrens system and the subsequent transfer of the land. We believe that the purchaser from the owner of the later certificate. in dealing with land registered and recorded alone. supersede all other registries. Has the appellee gained any right by reason of the registration of the strip of land in the name of his vendor? Applying the rule of notice resulting from the record of the title of the appellants. that record alone can be examined for the purpose of ascertaining the real status of the title to the land. when two persons have acquired equal rights in the same thing.J. C..