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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. L-50464 January 29, 1990 SUNBEAM CONVENIENCE FOODS INC., CORAL BEACH DEVELOPMENT CORP., and the REGISTER OF DEEDS OF BATAAN, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. Filoteo T. Banzon for petitioners. SARMIENTO, J.: In this petition for review on certiorari, Convenience Foods Corporation (hereafter simply SUNBEAM) and Coral Beach Development Corporation (hereafter simply CORAL BEACH) bring to our attention the decision rendered by the Court of Appeals in "Republic of the Philippines v. Hon. Pedro T. Santiago, et al.," disposing as follows: WHEREFORE, the writ prayed for is granted. The order of the respondent judge dated October 7, 1977, dismissing Civil Case No. 4062 is set aside, and respondent judge is ordered to require private respondents to file their answer to the complaint in said Civil Case No. 4062 and thereafter to proceed with the trial of the case on the merits and to render judgment thereon.' The following facts stated by the respondent Court in its decision and restated by the petitioners in their petition are accurate: (a) On April 29, 1963, the Director of Lands caused the issuance of a Sales Patent in favor of defendant Sunbeam Convenience Foods, Inc., over the parcels of land both situated in Mariveles, Bataan and more particularly described and bounded as follows: Lot 1-Sgs-2409 (area 3,113,695 sq. m ) Lot 2-Sgs-2409 area 1,401,855 sq. m (b) On May 3, 1963, the aforesaid Sales Patent was registered with the defendant Register of Deeds of Bataan who in turn issued Original Certificate of Title No. Sp-24 in favor of defendant Sunbeam Convenience Foods, Inc., for the two parcels of land above-described; (c) Subsequently, Original Certificate of Title No. Sp-24 was cancelled and in lieu thereof, Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-12421 was issued over Lot 1, Sgs-2409, while Transfer Certificate of Title No. 12422 was issued over Lot 2, Sgs-2409, both in favor of defendant Coral Beach Development Corporation I (d) On May 11, 1976, the Solicitor General in the name of the Republic of the Philippines instituted before the Court of First Instance of Bataan, an action for reversion docketed as Civil Case No. 4062. 2 SUNBEAM and CORAL BEACH filed a Motion to Dismiss on the following grounds: 1. The Republic of the Philippines should have exhausted all administrative remedies before filing the case in court; 2. The title issued to SUNBEAM and CORAL BEACH had become indefeasible and imprescriptible; 3. The action for reversion was defective, having been initiated by the Solicitor General and not by the Director of Lands. 3 The then Court of First Instance of Bataan dismissed the complaint in the Order of October 7, 1977,4adopting mainly the theory that since the titles sought to be cancelled emanated from the administrative act of the Bureau of Lands Director, the latter, not the courts, had jurisdiction over the disposition of the land. The Solicitor General received the copy of the Order on October 11, 1977 and filed a Notice of Appeal dated October 25, 1977 . 5 The Solicitor General then moved for an extension of thirty days within which to file the Record on Appeal and to pay the docket fee in order to perfect the appeal. This was to be followed by another motion for extension filed by the Solicitor General, resulting in the Court of Appeals granting the petitioner another extension of fifteen days from December 10, 1977. Finally before this period of extension lapsed, instead of an appeal, a petition for certiorari with the respondent Court of Appeals was filed. According to the Solicitor General, the Court of First Instance committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the complaint and in

11 Thus. Certiorari is one such remedy. and mineral lands to the dominion of the State. while neither controlling nor fully measuring the Court's discretion. . 17 We find nothing disagreeable with the action of the Court of Appeals to give due course to the petition considering that the issue affected a matter of public concern which is the disposition of the lands of our matrimony No less than the Constitution protects its policy. A review is not a matter of right but of sound judicial discretion. Generally. set aside the Order of Dismissal rendered by the Court of First Instance in Civil Case No. before any land may be declassified from the forest group and converted into alienable or disposable land for agricultural or other purposes. for purposes of the motion. 13 The only way to resolve this question of fact as to the classification of the land is by remanding the case to the lower court for a full.dress trial on the issues involved. Santiago to receive the answers of the private respondents SUNBEAM and CORAL BEACH in the action for reversion. enumerates the premises for granting a review: (a) When the Court of Appeals has decided a question of substance. 14They must lead to the proper and just determination of litigation. The filing of the Motion to Dismiss the complaint for reversion by SUNBEAM and CORAL BEACH on the ground of lack of cause of action. The following. If it is true that the lands are forest lands. 16 or when the questioned order amounts to an oppressive exercise of judicial authority. and ordered the presiding judge Hon. the correctness of its decision must be decided in the assumed truth and accuracy of the allegations of the complaint. 12 The mere fact that a title was issued by the Director of Lands does not confer any validity on such title if the property covered by the title or patent is part of the public forest. hence. then all these proceedings become moot and academic. Considered extraordinary. Not finding that since the lower court acted in a Motion to Dismiss. nor any plain. c. there must be a positive act from the government. far outnumbers the instances when certiorari was given due course. However. Finding that the complaint for reversion states no cause of action for alleged failure of petitioner to exhaust administrative remedies. The complaint alleges that the lands in question are forest lands. 7 We agree with the Court of Appeals' granting of the petition filed by the Republic of the Philippines charging the then Court of First Instance with grave abuse of discretion. The few significant exceptions were: when public welfare and the advancement of public policy dictate.2 a. or when the broader interests of justice so require. inalienable. and is granted only when there are special and important reasons therefore. Even rules on the confirmation of imperfect titles do not apply unless and until the land classified as forest land is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that it may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain. Pedro T. An important factual issue raised in the complaint was the classification of the lands as forest lands. and (b) When the Court of Appeals has so far departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings or so far sanctioned such departure by a lower court as to call for supervision . speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law. it is made available only when there is no appeal. Finding that Lots I and 2 are alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under the jurisdiction of the Director of Lands despite clear and positive evidence to the contrary. This material allegation stated in the Republic's complaint' was never denied specifically 9 by the defendants (petitioners herein) SUNBEAM and CORAL BEACH. timber. Hence Sunbeam and Coral Beach filed this petition for review. 15 The long line of decisions denying the petition for certiorari. or when the writs issued are null. the rules of procedure should be viewed as mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. d. 4062. either before appeal was availed of or specially in instances where the appeal period has lapsed. b. Land remains unclassified land until it is released therefrom and rendered open to disposition. of the truth of all material facts pleaded in the complaint instituted by the Republic. not theretofore determined by the Supreme Court or has decided it in a way probably not in accord with law or the applicable decisions of the Supreme Court. 6 The Court of Appeals gave due course to the petition for certiorari. without tying the hands of the law or making it indifferent to realities. necessarily carried with it the admission. Concluding that the complaint for reversion is defective as it was not initiated by the Director of Lands. 10 Our adherence to the Regalian doctrine subjects all agricultural. the rules of procedure must be observed so that the efficient administration of justice is ensured.

Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson). 1989 THE DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY. 5 Their disposition was provided for under C. The Solicitor General for petitioner. RUPERTO A.. Asperilla. alleging that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the land for more than forty years. No. Costs against the petitioners. only agricultural lands were allowed to be alienated. not factual. 4 Under the Commonwealth Constitution. to wit. By this law. For a proper background of this case. 1949. There is no dispute as to this. 18 WHEREFORE. in the absence of a clear showing that the Court of Appeals has decided a question of substance in a manner inconsistent with jurisprudence. Pena & Marcos for respondents. in the present Constitution. concur. SO ORDERED. resettlement. If they are part of our public forest lands. until it was superseded by the Constitution of 1973. as they are commonly known. mineral and timber or forest lands. we have to go back to the Philippine Bill of 1902. No. petitioner vs. it is forestal and therefore not disposable and the private respondent insists it is alienable as agricultural land.113 square meters of mangrove swamps located in the municipality of Sapian.A.html Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. JJ. or that the respondent Court has departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings. 141. the application was approved by the Court of First Instance. This classification was maintained in the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Quasha. The bone of contention between the parties is the legal nature of mangrove swamps or manglares. the petition is DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed. That new charter expanded the classification of public lands to include industrial or commercial. VILLAREAL. 2 The Director of Forestry then came to this Court in a petition for review on certiorari claiming that the land in dispute was forestal in nature and not subject to private appropriation. no reversible error has been committed by the respondent court. and grazing lands and even permitted the legislature to provide for other categories.: The basic question before the Court is the legal classification of mangrove swamps. The petitioner claims. they are not alienable under the Constitution. residential. The private respondent's claim to the land in question must be judged by these criteria. Ancheta. Ruperto Villareal applied for its registration on January 25. It should be stressed at the outset that both the petitioner and the private respondent agree that the land is mangrove land. 1 The decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. He was opposed by several persons. Valmonte. The said land consists of 178. Mineral and timber or forest lands were not subject to private ownership unless they were first reclassified as agricultural lands and so released for alienation. SOURCE: http://www.lawphil. Padilla and Regalado. In sum. or manglares. respondent. He asks that the registration be reversed. but with substantial modifications. agricultural. L-32266 February 27. The issue before us is legal. 3 This provision has been reproduced. of Capiz. one of the earlier American organic acts in the country.3 We therefore find no compelling reason to disturb the findings of the appellate court. lands of the public domain in the Philippine Islands were classified into three grand divisions. Paras.R. promulgated in 1935.net/judjuris/juri1990/jan1990/gr_l_50464_1990. J. If they are considered public agricultural lands. they may be acquired under private ownership. CRUZ. After trial. which was the charter in force when this case arose. . Capiz. including the petitioner on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines.

Director of Forestry: 7 . xxx xxx xxx The fact that there are a few trees growing in a manglare or nipa swamps does not change the general character of the land from manglare to timber land. despite the above-cited case. fisheries or ordinary farm lands. alternately washed and exposed by the tide. addressing itself directly to above-quoted Section 1820. and land which has only bushes. The waters flowing over them are not available for purpose of navigation. . This it did in the Administrative Code of 1917. xxx Under this uncertain and somewhat unsatisfactory condition of the law.. this Court said that the phrase agricultural lands as used in Act No. and all public lands that are not timber or mineral lands are necessarily agricultural public lands. Although these flats are literally tidal lands. to some extent cultivated by man for the sake of the combustible wood of the mangrove and like trees as well as for the useful nipa palm propagated thereon. including nipa and mangrove swamps. 926. These constitute the mangrove flats of the tropics. More to the point. extending their roots deep into the mud and casting their seeds. which became effective on October 1 of that year. all unreserved public land. the Court declared: 'In the case of Mapa vs. the Act of Congress of July 1st 1902. These lands being neither timber nor mineral lands. mangrove swamps or manglareswere defined by the Court as: . the abrogation of which would destroy vested interests and prove a public disaster. classifies the public lands in the Philippine Islands as timber.the words timber land are always translated in the Spanish translation of that Act (Act of Congress) as terrenos forestales. and they may be disposed of without impairment of the public interest in what remains. the custom had grown of converting manglares and nipa lands into fisheries which became a common feature of settlement along the coast and at the same time of the change of sovereignty constituted one of the most productive industries of the Islands. Insular Government.. which also germinate there. Mangrove swamps were thus considered agricultural lands and so susceptible of private ownership. whether they are used as nipa swamps.For the purpose of this chapter 'public forest' includes. The mangler plant would never be called a tree in English but a bush.. the Court maintained the doctrine in the Montano case when two years later it held in the case of Jocson v. The definition of forestry as including manglares found in the Administrative Code of 1917 cannot affect rights which vested prior to its enactment. If they are agricultural lands. Subsequently. Rep. except as otherwise specially indicated.. then the rights of appellants are fully established by Act No. the trial court should have considered them agricultural lands. but which are also. thus: Section 1820. that notwithstanding this definition. 6 promulgated in 1909. Whatever may have been the meaning of the term 'forestry' under the Spanish law. 926 means those public lands acquired from Spain which are not timber or mineral lands. yet we are of the opinion that they cannot be so regarded in the sense in which that term is used in the cases cited or in general American jurisprudence.. 175).' Lumber land in English means land with trees growing on it. Words and phrase defined. mud flats. mineral or agricultural lands. shrubs or aquatic plants growing on it cannot be called 'timber land. the Philippine Legislature categorically declared. though. which exist naturally. It is noteworthy. that mangrove swamps form part of the public forests of this country. . Insular Government (10 Phil. and all forest reserves of whatever character.4 In the leading case of Montano v. manglares. We think there is an error in this translation and that a better translation would be 'terrenos madereros. in which grows various kindred plants which will not live except when watered by the sea.

Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. there is also a line of decisions holding the contrary view. the Court ruled "that the Bureau of Fisheries has no jurisdiction to dispose of swamp lands or mangrove lands forming part of the public domain while such lands are still classified as forest lands. citing Krivenko v. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. Unless and until the land classsified as 'forest' is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that it may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain. 'Forested lands' do not have to be on mountains or in out-of-the-way places. Such lands are not forest in character. manglares. As it happens. This case was decided only twelve days after the De Porkan case. And in 1977. Director of Forestry.' Although conceding that 'mangrove swamp' is included in the classification of forest land in accordance with Section 1820 of the Revised Administrative Code. 13 the Court was more positive when it held. de Centenera v. De Porkan." were not private properties and so not registerable. But the problem is not all that simple. 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. Faced with these apparent contradictions. 8 promulgated on March 4. Justice Ostrand declared for a unanimous Court: The opposition rests mainly upon the proposition that the land covered by the application there are mangrove lands as shown in his opponent's Exh.' The view was maintained in Vallarta v. again through Justice Gutierrez: The Heirs of Jose Amunategui maintain that Lot No. Only last year.. in Heirs of Amunategui v. Director of Forestry. but we think this opposition of the Director of Forestry is untenable. more than fifteen years after the effectivity of the Administrative Code of 1917. fisheries or ordinary farm lands. 9 with Justice Fernando declaring that the mangrove lands in litis were agricultural in nature. Furthermore.. 1. the rules on confirmation of imperfect titles do not apply. 1933. 12 promulgated in 1983. 10 the Court. which he described as "swamp mangrove or forestal land. and other trees growing in brackish or sea water may also be classified as forest land. nipa palms. second and third groups are found on the land in question. In Yngson v. inasmuch as it has been definitely decided that mangrove lands are not forest lands in the sense in which this phrase is used in the Act of Congress. 885 cannot be classified as forest land because it is not thickly forested but is a 'mangrove swamps. the petitioners argue that no big trees classified in Section 1821 of the said Code as first. Obias. is still subject to land registration proceedings because the property had been in actual possession of private persons for many years. Swampy areas covered by mangrove trees. They do not form part of the public domain. whether they are used as nipa swamps. Mangrove swamps where only trees of mangrove species grow. fit only for firewood purposes and the trees growing are not of commercial value as lumber do not convert the land into public land. 11 reiterated the ruling in the Mapa case that "all public lands that are not timber or mineral lands are necessarily agricultural public lands. where the trees are small and sparse. in Republic v. Four months later. the Court feels there is a need for a categorical pronouncement that should resolve once and for all the question of whether mangrove swamps are agricultural lands or forest lands. No elaboration was made on this conclusion which was merely based on the cases of Montano and Jocson. Register of Deeds. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. The petition is without merit. The decision even quoted with approval the statement of the trial court that: . they contend that Lot 885. the above ruling was reaffirmed in Tongson v. even if it is a mangrove swamp. and therefore. Intermediate Appellate Court. 14 where this Court agreed with the Solicitor General's submission that the land in dispute.5 The doctrine was reiterated still later in Garchitorena Vda. . said land was already 'private land' better adapted and more valuable for agricultural than for forest purposes and not required by the public interests to be kept under forest classification.

and may at any time and in a like manner transfer such lands from one class to another. For their part. upon recommendation by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. shall be declared by the Department Head to be agricultural lands. Sec. coordinating with each other. shall from time to time classify the lands of the public domain into: (a) Alienable or disposable. Regulation setting apart forest reserves. which has the authority to implement the constitutional provision classifying the lands of the public domain (and is now even permitted to provide for more categories of public lands). Section 9 of the same law provides: For the purpose of their administration and disposition. thus: Sec. commercial. and may. With particular regard to alienable public lands. we reach the following conclusion: Mangrove swamps or manglares should be understood as comprised within the public forests of the Philippines as defined in the aforecited Section 1820 of the Administrative Code of 1917. . or for similar productive purposes. For the purposes of the administration and disposition of alienable or disposable lands. the President. 1827. The legislature having made such implementation.Lands in public forest. As for timber or forest lands. administer our public lands pursuant to their constitutional duty " to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed' and in accordance with the policy prescribed. The President. and shall be administered in the same manner as public forest. upon the certification of the Director of Forestry that said lands are better adapted and more valuable for agricultural than for forest purposes and not required by the public interests to be kept under forest.Upon there commendation of the Director of Forestry. the Revised Administrative Code states as follows: Sec. Assignment of forest land for agricultural purposes. and thereafter such forest reserves shall not be entered. it is claimed that they are not being correctly observed by the executive. sold. and (c) Mineral lands. the executive officials may then. for the purposes of their administration and disposition. as follows: (a) Agricultural. the courts will step into the picture if the rules laid down by the legislature are challenged or. (b) Residential. with the approval of the Department Head. In C. The statutory definition remains unchanged to date and. shall from time to time make the classifications provided for in this section. Thus do the three departments. industrial. we have no authority to ignore or modify its decision. The legislature having so determined. and upon such revocation such forest reserve shall be and become part of the public lands as though such proclamation had never been made. The President of the Philippines may in like manner by proclamation alter or modify the boundaries of any forest reserve from time to time. assuming they are valid. or other similar purposes. in the exercise of our own discretion. or revoke any such proclamation. no less noteworthy. 1826.Revocation of same. upon recommendation by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. not including forest reserves. and (d) Reservations for townsites and for public and quasi-public uses. 6.A. upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 141. the President of the Philippines may set apart forest reserves from the public lands and he shall by proclamation declare the establishment of such reserves and the boundaries thereof. (b) Lumber. but shall remain as such for forest uses. transfer lands from one class to another. according to the use or purposes to which such lands are destined. . . is accepted and invoked by the executive department. in the discharge of their own role. or otherwise disposed of. at any time and in a similar manner. 7. shall from time to time declare what lands are open to disposition or concession under this Act. and in effect veto it. Sec. The President. (c) Educational. pursue and achieve the objectives of the Constitution in the conservation and utilization of our natural resources. With these principles in mind.6 The determination of this question is a function initially belonging to the legislature. No. charitable. the lands of the public domain alienable or open to disposition shall be classified. the National Assembly delegated to the President of the Philippines the function of making periodic classifications of public lands.

The same rule was echoed in the Vallarta case. That determination having been made and no cogent argument having been raised to annul it. which is lacking in this case. into agricultural land. sell or otherwise dispose of these lands for homesteads. Court of Appeals. 17 These matters are not presumed but must be established with definite proof. let alone the fact that the conditions for acquiring title thereunder have been satisfied.' We find in fact that even if the land in dispute were agricultural in nature. however. The Bureau of Fisheries has no jurisdiction to administer and dispose of swamp lands or mangrove lands forming part of the public domain while such lands are still classified as forest land or timber land and not released for fishery or other purposes. To be so. . It follows from all this that the land under contention being admittedly a part of the mangrove swamps of Sapian. It is not registerable. Possession of forest land. It could therefore not be the subject of the adverse possession and consequent ownership claimed by the private respondent in support of his application for registration. sales patents. it must be considered forest land. Our previous description of the term in question as pertaining to our agricultural lands should be understood as covering only those lands over which ownership had already vested before the Administrative Code of 1917 became effective. The law is thus presumed valid and so must be respected. It should be plain. Nowhere has it been shown that the informacion posesoria has been inscribed or registered in the registry of property and that the land has been under the actual and adverse possession of the private respondent for twenty years as required by the Spanish Mortgage Law. 15 where the possession of the land in dispute commenced as early as 1909. the said provision has not been challenged as arbitrary or unrealistic or unconstitutional assuming the requisite conditions. and for which a minor forest license had in fact been issued by the Bureau of Forestry from 1920 to 1950. So we ruled again only two months ago in Republic of the Philippines vs. We repeat our statement in the Amunategui case that the classification of mangrove swamps as forest lands is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. The adverse possession which can be the basis of a grant of title in confirmation of imperfect title cases cannot commence until after the forest land has been declared alienable and disposable. thus: It is elementary in the law governing natural resources that forest land cannot be owned by private persons. before it was much later classified as timberland. The private respondent invokes the survey plan of the mangrove swamps approved by the Director of Lands. the proof the private respondent offers of prescriptive possession thereof is remarkably meager and of dubious persuasiveness.7 More importantly. we have no duty as judges but to apply it. Under the aforecited law. The record contains no convincing evidence of the existence of the informacion posesoria allegedly obtained by the original transferor of the property. grant. as a basis for its declaration as agricultural land and release for private ownership. Such approval is ineffectual because it is clearly in officious. 16 to prove that the land is registerable. it is the Director of Forestry who has the authority to determine whether forest land is more valuable for agricultural rather than forestry uses. no matter bow long cannot convert it into private property. leases for grazing or other purposes. it had first to be released as forest land and reclassified as agricultural land pursuant to the certification the Director of Forestry may issue under Section 1827 of the Revised Administrative Code. Such lands could not be retroactively legislated as forest lands because this would be violative of a duly acquired property right protected by the due process clause. as forest land. The Director of Lands was not authorized to act in the premises. fishpond leases and other modes of utilization. to justify our judicial intervention and scrutiny. Thus we held in the Yngson case: It is elementary in the law governing the disposition of lands of the public domain that until timber or forest lands are released as disposable and alienable neither the Bureau of Lands nor the Bureau of Fisheries has authority to lease. And so we shall. that the mere existence of such a plan would not have the effect of converting the mangrove swamps.

No. Medialdea and Regalado. 1931. Both lots were originally reserved for the Santiago farm school site by Proclamation No. WHEREFORE.621. L-49903 February 21. of course. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS. Litigated lots Nos. Griño-Aquino. (Exhibit "2"). As such. 1496.net/judjuris/juri1989/feb1989/gr_l32266_1989.: The issue in the present controversy centers on the ownership of two contiguous lots. 4976-A and 8000-A were formerly portions of Cadastral Lots Nos. Those same two lots are being claimed by respondents. This decision is immediately executory. 18 We hold. SO ORDERED. all surnamed BAYAUA. Cortes. 1983 MUNICIPALITY OF SANTIAGO. of the Santiago cadastre.13 (Exhibit "4").719 sq. Paras. Jr. Case No.O. mangrove swamps or manglares form part of the public forests of the Philippines. 1) from the operation of Proclamation No. petitioner. Tax declarations are. " After the issuance of Presidential Proclamation No.621 sq.R. 131 was issued by President Elpidio Quirino 2 releasing and excluding Lots Nos. No. LIBRADA. Sarmiento. the tax declarations made by the private respondent were practically the only basis used by the appellate court in sustaining his claim of possession over the land in question. dated November 7. Lot No. JJ. The other private respondents are the children of the spouses. 4976 and 1. Davis. the petition must be granted. 1 On May 24.lawphil. Gancayco. concur. the Municipality filled the area of the lots in question. 30.html Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. took no part. PORFIRIO and REGINA. which were then low and swampy and constructed the present market buildings thereon allegedly worth P595. It is reiterated for emphasis that. son of Liberato Bayaua. 1949. and Lot No. Private respondent. they are not alienable under the Constitution and may not be the subject of private ownership until and unless they are first released as forest land and classified as alienable agricultural land. and reserving the same as market site for the Municipality of Santiago. Sofronio Ganaden for respondents. 4976-A and 8000-A (a portion of Lot No. Both said Proclamations were "subject to private rights if any there be. Cad. Fernan. in sum. Padilla. C. Josefino Draculan for petitioner. 4976-A with an area of 4. with an area of 42.. Maria Cauiñan passed away during the pendency of this case and was ordered substituted by her heirs. Feliciano. Rec. Province of Isabela. Bidin. MELENCIO-HERRERA. G. conformably to the legislative definition embodied in Section 1820 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917. 131 in 1949. Proclamation No. 8000-A. VIRGINIA. vs. Narvasa. which remains unamended up to now..L. not sufficient to prove possession and much less vest ownership in favor of the declarant. ARTEMIO. that the private respondent has not established his right to the registration of the subject land in his name. 427.R.. Estadistica de los Terrenos de . SOURCE: http://www. as we have held in countless cases. FIDENCIO. who allegedly possessed said property in the concept of owners since time immemorial through their predecessors-in-interest. is the surviving spouse of Eulalio Bayaua.8 Significantly. the alleged original occupant of the disputed lots. ms. MARIA CAUIÑAN.J. Accordingly. with cost against him. the decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and the application for registration of title of private respondent is DISMISSED. Maria Cauiñan. respondents. They base their claim of ownership on (1) a Spanish document entitled. ms. J. Gutierrez.. respectively. ISABELA. Melencio-Herrera.. respectively. 427 of then Governor General Dwight F.

mistake or excusable negligence. On that date. as prayed for by the First Assistant Provincial Fiscal representing the Municipality of Santiago. the cadastral answer filed by Anteno Catabas over Lot 4976 is hereby definitely dismissed. 1938-1939. . 1968. 5 The Cadastral Case The records show that during the cadastral survey of the Municipality of Santiago from October 30. 1951.O. and because absolutely no reason whatsoever is alleged as required by the Rules of Court to show that there was excusable negligence on the part of the deceased Eulalio Bayaua. to whatever rights the Municipality of Santiago. Case No. 1962. the Court denied admission of the Answer stating: Petition to admit answer dated December 10.R. the lower Court issued another Order declaring Lot No. Rule 30. 931. which Order had become final (Exhibit "6"). Rules of Court. 1932. 1952. 1496. with the Justice of the Peace Court of Santiago. pursuant to Section 3. 1496 was suspended at the outbreak of World War II and was resumed on December 10. alleging that previous answers had been filed by Eulalio within the statutory period. 506. private respondents filed a complaint for "Ownership and Injunction" with the Court of First Instance of Isabela.9 propiedad particular existantes en este pueblo de Carig. Eulalio Bayaua filed a claim with respect to Lot 4976 during the cadastral survey. docketed as Civil Case No. 30. The hearing of Cad. 1927 to March 23. On September 17. for lack of due prosecution. The Civil Cases It appears that. however. G. and to recover damages and attorney's fees. and the record shows that there are other cadastral answers of other claimants who have not been notified of the present petition. wherein the name of "Don Liberato Bayaua" was listed as "proprietario" over a 3 hectare. nor did they take other remedial steps to have the Answer admitted. nor did they appeal therefrom. against petitioner and the then Municipal Mayor Juan dela Cruz. but did not file an Answer during the cadastral proceedings. Bureau of Public Libraries 3. Apparently. No. 61 centare lot. which included the bigger portion of the market site. Petitioner opposed admission. private respondent Maria Cauiñan had filed a complaint for Forcible Entry. is declared public land subject. 1962 filed by counsel for claimants Bayaua. 1957-1959 in the name of Eulalio Bayaua 4 . Rec. seeking to eject them from Lots Nos. get their produce. On December 11. Province of Isabela. The only ones who filed their cadastral Answers with regards to Lot 4976 were the Municipality of Santiago and one Antero Catabas. the same could not be found in the Court records. 4976 and Lot No. private respondents had reiterated their petition to admit answer. on December 21. WHEREFORE. is denied because. to recover possession thereof. Cadastral Lot 4976. 1962. Santiago Cadastre included in Cad. (2) on Tax Declarations for the years 1921. 1951. private respondents and their predecessors-in-interest did not file any claim to Lot 8000-A (portion of Lot 1). 32. for. against Andres Acosta (the then Municipal Mayor) and the Municipal Government of Santiago. on September 2. Case No. docketed as Civil Case No.. 6 del ano 1896" on file with the Division of Archives. had forcibly and unlawfully entered the northern comer of Lot 8000-A over her objection and opposition. Private respondents did not move for the reconsideration of the foregoing Order. it was filed beyond the five years period fixed by Republic Act No. 4976-A and 8000-A. et al. which is not verified. 7 (Emphasis supplied). 1962. on July 19.L. but due to accident. 4976 public land. 1963. and (3) on tax receipts. who has filed other cadastral answer for other lots. Branch II. 30 GLRO Rec. may have by virtue and pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. another Order was issued in the cadastral case denying admission on the ground that Lot 4976 had been declared public land in the Order of September 17. 1-D (portion). Provincia de la Isabela de Luzon Num. 1949. respondent heirs of Eulalio Bayaua filed a Petition to Admit their Answers to Lot No. claiming that the Municipality. 6 Private respondents did not move for the reconsideration of said Order of December 11. 8 On September 13. Cauayan.. 131 dated May 24. 1963. 1945. and the cadastral proceedings that followed in 1939. No.

pursuant to Section 41 of Act 190. 9 Beginning January 25. 4976-A. 3663-R. acquisitive prescription has operated to vest absolute title over the land in question on the plaintiffs-appellants. 1931. Eulalio and his wife Maria Cauiñan mortgaged the land to one Marcelo Alvarez and the same was cancelled in 1946. 1954 upon motion of private respondents' counsel in view of the pendency of Civil Case No. public. Rosales. when petitioner entered and occupied the northern portion of the land constructing some buildings thereon. cultivated the land. the original owner. and (d) That the plaintiffs pay the costs. Case No. Case No. decreeing: WHEREFORE. Civil Case No. 1978.1949. that in 1939. Virginia. Artemio. No. 30 in Subdivision Plan Psd-18663 together with the technical description in said plan. was dismissed on February 20. alleges that neither respondents nor their predecessors-ininterest had ever been in actual possession of subject properties. the Trial Court heard jointly Cad. 506 before the Court of First Instance of Isabela. CA-G. 23. 800-A (8000-A) shown in the plan Psd-18663 with the technical description in said plan which consists of the bigger portion of the market site of the municipality of Santiago in question. Case No. let alone the prior continuous and public possession thereof by their predecessor-in-interest Liberato Bayaua. Defendant Andres Acosta. took possession of the same. 131 dated May 24. No. Isabela the owner of Lot No. 1974). Isabela. the property of the Municipality of Santiago. 522. Cad. Parcotilo vs. that after Eulalio's death in 1940. and Civil Case No. 10 years of actual and adverse possession by any person claiming to be the owner for that period of time of any land in whatever way his occupancy may have commenced or continued and under a claim of title exclusive of any other right adverse to all other claimants is enough to vest title thereto by prescription (Delima vs. judgment is rendered: (a) Dismissing the complaint and supplemental complaint. Lim vs. rationalizing thus: The adverse and uninterrupted possession of the disputed land by the plaintiffsappellants (referring to private respondents) for more than 30 years. continued in peaceful possession of the land until May 1951. Parcotilo. from the time they acquired it by inheritance from Liberato (should read Eulalio) Bayaua in 1916. 32 SCRA 516. August 30. 12 SCRA 435. (b) Declaring cadastral Lot No. that upon his death in 1916. that the Agricultural Farm School of Santiago had been in actual peaceful. 1974. on the other hand. On March 2. Fidencio. 30 for Lot 4976 with regards to the claim of the Municipality and Antero Catabas. Porfirio and Regina all surnamed Bayaua. the Court rendered a Joint Decision in Cad.R). 11 .R. his son Eulalio. declared it for taxation purposes and paid taxes thereon.. when the same formed part of the farm school site by virtue of Executive Proclamation No. was declared in default for failure to file an answer within the reglementary period. Under that law. (c) Declaring the Municipality of Santiago. 10 Private respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA-G. supra. In view of this fact. Maria. the then Municipal Mayor. 1970. 1963.. On December 20. until possession of the same was turned over to petitioner as its market site pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. respondent Appellate Court ** reversed the judgment of the Trial Court and declared private respondents the lawful owners and possessors of the disputed land through acquisitive prescription. 47575. 30 and Civil Case No. the law then in force and effect (Parcotilo vs. Tio.R.10 Private respondents claim that Liberato Bayaua was the original occupant of the lands in controversy. open and continuous possession of said property since 1931. his wife. The Municipality. or about 6-7 years after Lot 4976 was declared public land. 35006-R. The Forcible Entry Case. CA-G. August 15. No. 427 dated November 7.R. to whom said properties were bequeathed. as part of the market site in question. 506. and their children Librada. Sanchez vs. Parcotilo. is pretty well established. 440). Provincial Sheriff of Misamis Oriental. 506.

Isabela in 1927. We are constrained to reverse. 1949. 4976 public land subject to whatever rights the Municipality of Santiago may have by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. on September 17. Private respondents did not register their claim to Lot 8000-A during the cadastral survey of the Municipality of Santiago. Respondents themselves admit that the Estadistica does not grant a valid title of the same efficacy and validity as a "composicion con el estado " or an "informacion posesoria ". and 3) Whether or not public interest. which they should have done if they had been in actual possession. 131 of May 24. 2) Whether or not the respondent Court of Appeals erred in holding that private respondents had already acquired the property in question by acquisitive prescription before the issuance of Executive Proclamation No. Anyone claiming ownership of any land so affected should lay claim thereto. Failure to do so authorizes the Court to declare the same as public land. "K"). the present appeal by certiorari by the Municipality. "I-1". raising the following issues: 1) Whether or not the respondent Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in disregarding the findings of fact of the trial court. 427 and 131 (supra) the disputed lots had been included in the cadastral proceedings of Santiago. the Spanish document Estadistica presented by respondents is not a "title". therefore. we had denied the Petition. reserving the same for public use. Respondents' tax declarations for certain odd years (Exhibits "H". private respondents have failed to prove their rights. 13 Under this doctrine.. Isabela. we reconsidered. 1969. 16 And although Proclamations Nos. Private respondents were parties in the proceedings but they did not question nor appeal from the aforestated Order. 15 are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership unless they are supported by other effective proof. For it is well-settled that. Respondents did not move for reconsideration. There being no private claimants to Lot 8000-A. nor did they take other remedial measures.12 Settled is the rule that a cadastral proceeding is one in rem and any decision rendered therein by the Cadastral Court is binding against the whole world. the only recorded claims were those of one Antero Catabas and the Municipality. "J"). become final and conclusive. 14 2) Contrary to the statement of the Court of Appeals. 131 on November 7. parties are precluded from re-litigating the same issues already determined by final judgment. 1931 and May 24. And in respect of Lot 4976. 427 and 131 declared that they were "subject to private rights if any there be". the Trial Court issued an Order declaring Cadastral Lot No. it was deemed to be public land at the time it was reserved as a school site in 1931 and later as a part of the market site in 1949. did in respect of other lots not covering the subject market site. Eulalio. as well as justice and equity justify the granting of this petition. . after attention was called to the fact that private respondents had failed to file their Answer in the cadastral proceedings. it had. Private respondents sought to remedy the absence of a claim by filing a Petition to Admit their Answer during the continuation of the hearing of Cadastral Case no. However. 427 and Presidential Proclamation No. and as their predecessor-in-interest. 1963. although constituting proof of claim of title to land. upon the Municipality's instance. both of which Petitions were denied. 30 on December 10. the lots "con titulo" were so indicated in the 'Estadistica". 1962. as stated before. unless the applicant has shown by clear and convincing evidence that the property in question was ever acquired by the applicant or his ancestors either by composition title from the Spanish . Nor did they file Answers in respect of both lots in the cadastral proceedings in 1939. and tax receipts (Exhibits "I". In fact. Likewise. In our Resolution of April 4. and reiterating the same Petition again in 1968. It is not one of the grants made during the Spanish regime.11 Hence. 1949 respectively. from 1927 to 1932.. One of the main purposes of cadastral proceedings is to settle titles to lands. 1) Respondent Court had overlooked and misapprehended the material fact that prior to the issuance of Proclamations Nos.

1978 is hereby reversed and set aside.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri1983/feb1983/gr_l_49903_1983. Moreover. "the witnesses for the Municipality are unbiased. the former principal of the Santiago Farm School. 19 It has been sufficiently established. and the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Isabela.12 Government or by possessory information title. the preponderance of evidence tilts heavily in its favor. Lots 8000-A and 4976-A cannot be acquired by acquisitive prescription. private respondents failed to submit convincing evidence of actual.. 24They merely showed "sporadic feeble cultivation". possession is not exclusive and notorious so as to give rise to a presumptive grant from the State. however long the period may have extended. the property must be held to be part of the public domain. SO ORDERED. on the other hand.html . 1949 when the Municipality took over a portion thereof for its market site and built improvements thereon. 506. 21Prescription. As the Trial Court noted. JJ. never confers title thereto upon the possessor because the statute of limitations with regard to public land does not operate against the State. 22 The possession of public land. Whereas private respondents' witnesses were "all close relatives of the plaintiffs either by consanguinity and/or affinity 4) It was reversible error for respondent Court to have ruled that acquisitive prescription had operated to vest absolute title over the lands in question in private respondents.. peaceful and adverse possession in the concept of owner of the entire area in question until the time they were allegedly dispossessed by the Municipality sometime in 1951. unless the occupant can prove possession and occupation of the same under claim of ownership for the required number of years to constitute a grant from the State. cultivated by its students as part of their curriculum from 1931 to May 24. while it is not disputed that the land in question was originally swampy and devoted to rice planting. 1894. mere casual cultivation of portions of the land. Contrary to that Court's finding. the Decision of respondent Court of Appeals of December 20. or any other means for the acquisition of public lands. Plana. continuous. the open. 20 Additionally. It was the students who had built "pilapils " and a barbed wire fence around the property. and the ex-Mayors who had been old residents of the town. 17 3) The Trial Court was not convinced that the parcels of land being claimed by respondents are Identical to the properties in litigation. in Civil Case No. Teehankee (Chairman). that the lots in controversy have been under the continuous possession of the Agricultural Farm School of Santiago. Vasquez. 25 WHEREFORE. is hereby reinstated and affirmed. tobacco land connotes an elevated land. which does not constitute possession under claim of ownership. In that sense. 18 A mere casual cultivation of portions of the land by the claimant does not constitute possession under claim of ownership. concur. As found by the Trial Court. Branch 11. And even assuming that they are the same property. exclusive and notorious occupation of the disputed properties for more than 30 years and even "for close to half a century" has not been conclusively established as explained heretofore. 23 The exception under Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act No. having been declared public land. the parcel of land referred to in the "Estadistica" was classified as "tabaco " land while others were "palay". For. 141 by which public lands may be acquired by prescription can neither apply to private respondents as the latter had failed to establish conclusively that they were in continuous possession and occupancy of public land under claim of ownership since July 26. As pointed out by the Trial Court. the institution of cadastral proceedings had the effect of suspending the running of the prescriptive period. SOURCE: http://www. both acquisitive and extinctive." Those witnesses were the cadastral surveyors themselves. Relova and Gutierrez. private respondents merely showed a "sporadic feeble cultivation of portions thereof which does not amount to possession as owner". Jr. does not run against the State.

vs. 5 and 6 of Plan Psu 215382. 10 Said lands were converted into fishponds and had been subject of a sales application sometime in 1963. No. 4 has 5. 1972. 6 During the hearing on January 18. by virtue of a fishpond lease granted by the Bureau of Fisheries sometime in 1953. 7 On May 3. 5 At the initial hearing on the same date. 1971. 2. 1. Assistant Fiscal Antonio Robles likewise moved for the withdrawal of the opposition of the Director of Lands and the same was again granted. 1 has an area of 7.13 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. Uy for private respondents.347 square meters. On June 23. 1971. J. respondents.343 square meters. 1896 under the Royal Decree of February 13. Maria Rosita Lorenzo was married to Felipe Lizada. Cipriano died a bachelor and without any issue. On motion of applicants' counsel. 4. The subject property is situated in Barrio Butanyog.319 square meters. Lot No. 3 has 24. KAPUNAN. 11 The application to purchase filed by Constancio is still pending before the Bureau of Lands. 1976 of the Court of First Instance of Quezon. Gumaca Branch. Laureano Lizada married Baldomera Roces and the couple had two (2) children. 1 Lot No. the applicants filed a reply to the government's opposition claiming that the land in question is private property covered by a possessory information title dated May 20. 1983 which modified the decision dated December 8. so upon the death of Laureano. The possessory information title covers only an area of 10. 1894. petitioner. Mulanay. Consuelo and Serapia. and consists of about 7. Consuelo and Serapia Tesalona filed an application for registration of five (5) parcels of land denominated as Lot Nos. 1972. Records reveal that Demetria dela Pena. 3. Tan averred that he had possessed the land as lessee for a period of more than thirty five (35) years.: This petition for review seeks to set aside the decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court rendered on December 29. HEIRS OF ISABEL TESALONA and the HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT. the Fiscal moved to withdraw the opposition of the Director of Forestry and the same was granted. . 9 Constancio dela Pena Tan likewise filed an opposition even as he supported the government's contention that the lands applied for are part of the public domain.481 square meters.583 square meters. Magdalena married Nerio Tesalona and they had three (3) daughters. 8 Reception of evidence was thereafter delegated to a commissioner. Upon the death of the spouses. Laureano and Cipriano. Maria Rosita begot two (2) sons. 2 has 36. 4 and 5 of plan Psu 215382 with the Court of First Instance of Quezon. Laureano inherited the land. 66130 September 8. Lot No. Lot No. 3. and Lot No. applied for registration. The application was opposed by the government on the ground that the parcels of land are part of the inalienable land of the public domain. Andres died a bachelor and without any issue. Magdalena inherited the land. Quezon. 1994 DIRECTOR OF LANDS. the applicants presented proof of compliance of jurisdictional requirements.388 square meters. Andres and Magdalena. The controversy arose from an application for registration of five (5) parcels of land on the basis of an alleged possessory information title. 1896. mother of herein private oppositor occupied Lot Nos. Isabel. the court issued an order of general default with the exception of the Director of Lands and the Director of Forestry. 2. Isabel. 3 The Director of Lands through the Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Quezon filed his opposition to the application alleging that neither the applicants nor their predecessors-in-interest had sufficient title of the land applied for nor had they been in possession thereof for a period of at least thirty (30) years immediately preceding the filing of the application and that the same is public land. applicants herein.4343 hectares alleged to have been originally acquired by Maria Rosita Lorenzo under a possessory information title dated May 20.R. 5 has 706 square meters 2 or a total of 74. 1. 4 On December 8. Rabendranath Y.

all surnamed Pobeda. 1 and 2 on the basis of a possessory information title dated May 20. SONIA POBEDA. CONSUELO L. the decretal portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. 1. Upon this decision becoming final. and ordering the registration of said Lots in their names. Sonia. single. Buenafe and Carmencita. married to Salvador Magtibay. On December 29. the same was not put in issue in this petition. 3. 1 and 2 on the basis of a mere blue print copy of plan Psu 215382. LUISA POBEDA. free from all liens and encumbrances. TESALONA. 1 and 2 as well. 1 and 2 as owned by the government subject to the rights of the lessee. However. SO ORDERED. the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED but modified declaring the confirmation of the title of applicants-appellants over Lots 1 and 2 covered by Plan PSU-215382. Minda. Suffice it to state that we deny the application for registration of Lot Nos. upon payment of the fees required by law. married to Tomasito Javate. Antonio. 17 we cannot pass upon the validity of the registration of the other three (3) lots. 1896 which covers only an area of 1. 3. herein applicants interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals seeking confirmation of title over Lot Nos. 4 and 5 of the same PSU Plan already adjudicated to them in said appealed decision. married to Jose Pineda. married to Eleuterio Luna. 15 The instant petition seeks to set aside the aforequoted decision on the basis of the following grounds. let decree of confirmation and registration be entered and thereafter. married to Raul Capesano. 4 and 5 in favor of the applicants and declaring Lot Nos. IMELDA POBEDA. we note that private respondents' application for registration of five (5) parcels of land denominated as Lot Nos. and CARMENCITA POBEDA. together with all the improvements existing thereon and confirms their title thereto as their exclusive properties. all Filipino citizens and residents of Mulanay. Constancio dela Pena Tan. EMMA POBEDA. MINDA POBEDA. REBECCA POBEDA. 1 and 2 without prejudice to the right of the government to pursue whatever means appropriate with respect to Lot Nos. 4 and 5 of Plan Psu 215382 in favor of the applicants (herein private respondents) and no appeal thereon was brought by the government to the Court of Appeals.0481 hectares. married to Ildefonso Avellano. Consuelo L. in view of the foregoing. PREMISES CONSIDERED. 3. . married to Rolando Nagar. 13 Not satisfied with the trial court's ruling. single. Tesalona and Serapia L. At the outset. 4 and 5 of Plan Psu 215382 ought to have been struck down at its inception for the reasons which we will discuss hereinafter. Imelda. single. along with Lots 3. the lower court learned that the special counsel who had withdrawn the government's opposition was not authorized to do so. 16 The petition is impressed with merit. 3. and (b) the respondent court acted contrary to law in confirming private respondents' alleged title to Lot Nos. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE. 12 After hearing. Quezon as their exclusive properties. since the trial court ruled for confirmation of title over Lot Nos. 2. Tesalona. to wit: (a) the respondent court acted contrary to law in confirming private respondents' alleged title to Lot Nos.14 Pending the resolution of whether or not the opposition of Constancio dela Pena Tan should be admitted. and SERAPIA L. Rebecca. the trial court rendered judgment adjudicating Lot Nos. Emma. 1983. the Intermediate Appellate Court through its First Civil Cases Division 14 rendered a decision. BUENAFE POBEDA. The Court hereby declares Lots 1 and 2 as owned by the Government subject to the right of the lessee pending the approval of the sales application of private oppositor Constancio de la Pena. 4 and 5 of plan Psu-215382 are concerned and hereby adjudicates these properties in favor of the applicants Heirs of Isabel Tesalona namely: Lilia. the court reinstated the opposition of the Director of Lands and directed that the opposition of the private oppositor be considered as evidence in support of the claim of the government that the land applied for is part of the public domain. TESALONA. Acting accordingly. Luisa. SO ORDERED. married to Ceferino Jimenez. pending the approval of his sales application. 4 and 5. the Court hereby grants the application insofar as Lots 3. let the corresponding certificate of title issue in the names of Heirs of Isabel Tesalona namely: LILIA POBEDA.

unless they were authenticated in appropriate registration proceedings before August 16. failure in which results in the resolution of the conflict in favor of the government and against them. 24 In fact.15 To begin with. filled with mangrove trees. thereby waiving objection to said evidence. In the case ofDirector of Lands v. "the applicants may easily retrieve the same therefrom and submit the same in evidence. Moreover. what was the condition or nature of these lands? . including possessory information titles. Law and jurisprudence dictate that applicants have the burden of proving that the title justifies the considerable increase in land area. This Court has time and again reiterated that caution and care must be exercised in the acceptance and admission of secondary evidence of alleged possessory information titles considering the number of fake titles that have been discovered following their supposed reconstitution after the last World War. 21 this Court clearly declared that if the original tracing plan was forwarded to the LRC. Private respondents contend that they are in possession of the original tracing cloth plan but they did not submit it in evidence for fear that it may be lost or misplaced while in possession of the court. Rule 130 of the Rules of Court was not established thus. 1 and 2 were classified as swampy area and were as early as 1955. Given the mandatory character of the requirement for the submission of the original tracing cloth plan of the land applied for.0481 hectares. being gratuitous in nature. is a Spanish title. Rule 143 of the Rules of Court clearly provides that the rules do not apply to land registration. In the case at bench. Lot Nos. herein private respondents.0481 hectares covered by the alleged possessory information title and the actual area of 7. 20 This contention spurs disbelief. Reyes. Well-settled is the rule that land grants.4343 hectares applied for. We are not persuaded. assuming them to be valid and legal. What was submitted was an unclear. 27 Finally. illegible copy of a Spanish document purporting to be the title evidencing the land grant of 1896." 22 This was not done. But such does not relieve the private respondents of their duty to retrieve the said tracing cloth plan and submit it before the court. 1896 to Maria Rosita Lorenzo pursuant to the Royal Decree of February 13. But private respondents did not submit the original of the possessory information title. Private respondents further claim that petitioner failed to object to the submission of the blue print copy of the survey plan when the same was offered in evidence. the same falls short of the mandatory requirement of law. 25 Another point to consider is the fact that there is a glaring and irreconcilable discrepancy between the area of 1. rendering admissibility of the said secondary evidence questionable and dubious. 892 which outlawed all Spanish titles. 28Lorenzo del Mundo. private respondents should have made it available to the trial court for verification. naturalization and insolvency proceedings. Assuming that the same was in their possession during the trial. husband of Demetria del Mundo. the original tracing cloth plan of the land applied for was not submitted in evidence by private respondents. lessee of the lots in question. The basis of the claim of the Heirs of Tesalona. 18 While a blue print of survey Plan Psu 215382 19 as surveyed for the Heirs of Magdalena Lizada was presented before the trial court. the rash of anomalies prompted the promulgation of Presidential Decree No. except by analogy or in a suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient. in his testimony declared that: Q When you first came to know these parcels of lands and possessed the same. are always construed favorably in favor of the government and strictly against the grantee. Besides. there appears no reason to apply the exception to the aforesaid rule. The original tracing cloth plan. proof of loss or unavailability of the original document as required by Section 5. 26 and that possessory information titles. 1894 for 1. 1976. said requirement cannot be waived either expressly or impliedly. cadastral and election cases. are grants from the State which cannot extend beyond the terms thereof. 23 a possessory information title issued on May 20. together with the duplicate copy of their application for registration of land title were under the custody of the Land Registration Commission (LRC) at that time. Such omission is fatal to their application as the submission of the original tracing cloth plan is a statutory requirement of mandatory character. and other cases not provided therein.

langaray and bongalon. Cruz. is on leave. sasa. cannot ripen into private ownership. thereafter. talisay. The application for registration of the Heirs of Isabel Tesalona of Lot Nos. Jr. Swampy areas covered by mangrove trees. SO ORDERED. Bellosillo and Quiason JJ. Being swampy area covered by mangrove trees and the like. well-entrenched is the rule that possession of forest lands. Director of Forestry. the decision of the Appellate Court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. I forget (sic) the names of those other big trees planted thereon. SOURCE: http://www. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. 29 This belies the contention of herein private respondents that said lots were planted to coconuts in 1909 and. 30 we declared that: 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. to palay and other seasonal crops. 32 Its inclusion in a title. "Forest lands" do not have to be on mountains or in out of the way place.16 A That is (sic) a swampy land with bakawan trees. nullifies the title. premises considered. No costs. mangroves and some other swampy trees.. whether the title be issued during the Spanish regime or under the Torrens System. J.. tingayos.. Davide. nipa palms. no matter how long. concur. 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. the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply. 1 and 2 is hereby DISMISSED. pipisik. 31 (Emphasis ours) Moreover.lawphil. these lots may very well be considered and classified as forest lands. and other trees growing in brackish or sea water may also be classified as forest land.net/judjuris/juri1994/sep1994/gr_66130_1994. Q Please name what "lalao" trees or swampy trees were planted when you possessed the same? A Bacawan. tabigui. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like.html . WHEREFORE. In the case of Heirs of Jose Amunategui v.