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OCTOBER 7, 2014

Juris Doctor II
School of Law

Rural Bank of Anda vs Roman Catholic Bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
May 29, 2007. G.R. NO. 155051
Carpio, J.


The subject lot in the case at bar is Lot 736 located in Binmaley, Pangasinan. The parcel of land
has an area of about 1,300 square meters and is part of Lot 3. Along with it in the same lot is Cadastral
Lot 737 and 739.

Lot 737 is known as Imelda’s Park while a waiting shed for commuters is located on Lot 739. Lot
3 is bounded on the north by Lot 1 and on the south by the national road. Lot 1 is titled in the name of
respondent Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lingayen. The ownership of Lot 3 is being claimed by both
respondent and the Municipality of Binmaley.

Upon order of the Rector of the seminary, a fence separating Lot 736 from the national road
was constructed. This was to prevent the caretelas from parking nearby as the smell of horse manure
became inconvenient for the priests living in the seminary. Despite said construction, people can pass
through Lot 736 at any time of the day.

A resolution issued by the Sangguniang Bayan of Binmaley, Pangasinan converted Lot 736 from
an institutional lot to a commercial lot. By another resolution, the sanggunian also authorized the
municipal mayor to enter into a contract of lease for 25 years with the Rural Bank of Anda over a portion
of said property.

Then Binmaley Mayor Rolando Domalanta informed the respondent of the construction of the
building of the Rural Bank of Anda within the property. The respondent was able to secure a TRO against
petitioners from the RTC.

The RTC ruled that Lot 736 is a property of public dominion; thus, it is outside the commerce of
man. It added that the sanggunian exceeded its authority when it authorized the municipal mayor to
enter into a 25-year contract of lease with the Rural Bank of Anda. The Court of Appeals affirmed said


WON the resolutions issued by the Sanggunian are valid


NO. The Supreme Court denied the petition. The Court affirmed the decision of the Court of
Appeals finding the resolutions and the contract between the Mayor and Rural Bank of Anda void.


It was admitted that both respondent and the Municipality of Binmaley do not have title over
Lot 736. Respondent claims ownership based on its alleged open, continuous, adverse, and
uninterrupted possession of the lot. However, the records reveal otherwise. The witnesses for
respondent testified that Lot 736 was used by the people as pathway, parking space, and playground.

On the other hand, the documents presented by the Municipality of Binmaley merely show that
it is only a mere claimant of the subject property. Both respondent and the Municipality of Binmaley
failed to prove their right over Lot 736. Since the land had never been acquired by anyone through
purchase, grant or any other mode of acquisition, Lot 736 remains part of the public domain and is
owned by the State in accordance with the Regalian Doctrine.

Municipal corporations can never appropriate to themselves public or government lands
without prior grant from the government. Lot 736, being owned by the state, the Sangguniang Bayan of
Binmaley exceeded its authority in passing Resolution Nos. 104 and 105. The resolutions are void and
consequently, the contract of lease between the municipality and the bank over a portion of Lot 736 is
also void.


Cruz vs Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources
December 6, 2000. G.R. NO. 135385
Per Curiam


Petitioners Isagani Cruz, a noted constitutionalist, and Cesar Europa assailed the validity of Republic
Act 8371 also known as the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) contending that the law amounts to an
unlawful deprivation of the State’s ownership over lands of the public domain as well as minerals and
other natural resources of the country in violation of the Regalian Doctrine embodied in Section 2,
Article XII of the Constitution.

The IPRA provides for the rights of the Indigenous People over ancestral domains which
include natural resources in the subject territory. Petitioners allege that by the certain provisions of the
Act providing for an all-encompassing definition of “ancestral domains” and “ancestral lands” such
might even include private lands found within said areas. Thus, Sections 3(a) and 3(b) of said law violate
the rights of private landowners.

In addition, 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

Whether or not the IPRA law is unconstitutional.


As the votes were equally divided (7 to 7) and the necessary majority was not obtained, the case
was redeliberated upon. However, after redeliberation, the voting remained the same. Accordingly,
pursuant to Rule 56, Section 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the petition is DISMISSED.


The SC deliberated upon the matter. After deliberation they voted and reached a 7-7 vote. They
deliberated again and the same result transpired. Since there was no majority vote, Cruz’s petition was
dismissed and the IPRA law was sustained. Hence, ancestral domains may include public domain. The
effect of the dismissal somehow went against the Regalian Doctrine.

Seven (7) voted to dismiss the petition. Justice Kapunan filed an opinion, which the Chief Justice
and Justices Bellosillo, Quisumbing, and Santiago join, sustaining the validity of the challenged
provisions of R.A. 8371. Justice Puno also filed a separate opinion sustaining all challenged provisions of
the law with the exception of Section 1, Part II, Rule III of NCIP Administrative Order No. 1, series of
1998, the Rules and Regulations Implementing the IPRA, 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, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.


Meanwhile, 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.A. 8371.

Seven (7) other members of the Court voted to grant the petition. Justice Panganiban filed a
separate opinion expressing the view that Sections 3 (a)(b), 5, 6, 7 (a)(b), 8, and related provisions of
R.A. 8371 are unconstitutional.

Justice Panganiban reserves judgment on the constitutionality of Sections 58, 59, 65, and 66 of
the law, which he believes must await the filing of specific cases by those whose rights may have been
violated by the IPRA. Justice Vitug also filed a separate opinion expressing the view that Sections 3(a), 7,
and 57 of R.A. 8371 are unconstitutional. Justices Melo, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and De Leon join
in the separate opinions of Justices Panganiban and Vitug.


Republic vs Naguiat
January 24, 2006. G.R. NO. 134209
Garcia, J.


Respondent Celestina Naguiat filed an application for registration of title to four (4) parcels of
land located in Botolan, Zambales. Respondent-applicant alleged she is the owner of the subject
properties after purchasing such from the LID Corporation.

According to the corporation, it acquired the parcels of land from Demetria Calderon, Josefina
Moraga, and Fausto Monje and their predecessor-in-interest who are persons who have been in
possession thereof for more than 30 years. Petitioner Republic thereafter filed an opposition to such
claiming that said lands are properties of the public domain and not capable of appropriation.

In the opposition, the Republic further emphasized the ground that neither the applicant nor
her predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and
occupation of the lands in question since June 12, 1945 or prior thereto.

Petitioner also claims that the pieces of evidence submitted by the respondent (e.g. monuments
of title and tax payment receipts) do not constitute competent and sufficient evidence of a bona fide
acquisition of the lands applied for, 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.

WON the areas in dispute have ceased to be of Forest status (inalienable lands of the public
domain) and thus the applicant’s registration of title will prosper


NO. The instant petition was granted and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals
was reversed and set aside.


The Supreme Court ruled in the case at bar that respondent-applicant Naguiat’s application for
registration of title for the parcels of land will not prosper and will not be given due course as said lands
are public forest lands.

It must be noted that an express and positive act from the Executive or Legislative branch is
necessary in order for public forest lands/reserves to be subject to private appropriation. Such
declaration shall state that a land will become part of alienable and disposable agricultural lands
of public domain. The land which are subject of application shall first be freed from an inalienable state.
Occupation in the concept of an owner cannot ripen into private ownership and be registered to as a


In the like manner, forest lands, unless released by a positive act of the Government making
them form part of the disposable and agricultural lands of the public domain, are not capable of private
appropriation. Forests, in the context of both Public Land act and the Constitution classifying lands of
the public domain into agricultural, forest or timber, mineral lands and national parks do not necessarily
refer to a large tract of woodland or an expanse covered by dense growth of trees and underbrush.
In the case at bar, respondent Naguiat have not shown the required certification from the
proper government agency nor any official proclamation/declaration reclassifying the land applied for as
alienable and disposable.

As reiterated by the Court in a long line of cases, lands of public dominion and are of inalienable
status can never be acquired by adverse occupation, cannot ripen into private ownership and cannot be
registered as privately-owned, no matter how long the possession is.


Carino vs Insular Government
February 23, 1909. 212 US 449
Holmes, J.


Petitioner Mateo Cariño, an Igorot from the Province of Benguet, filed a petition to the Court of
Land Registration (CLR) for his inscription as the owner a 146-hectare land that he has been in
possession for over 50 years. As Cariño claimed to have inherited the property under Igorot Customs, he
only presented possessory information and no other documentation.

Cariño alleged that he and his ancestors had held the land as recognized owners by the Igorots.
According to him, his grandfather maintained fences around the property for holding cattle while his
father had cultivated parts of the land and used it for pasturing cattle.

From 1893-1894 and 1896-1897, Cariño made an application to register ownership but to no
avail. In 1901, he filed another petition alleging ownership under the Mortgage Law. The lands were
registered to him but the process only established possessory title.

The State opposed the petition and contended is part of the US military reservation. Also, the
government added that under the Spanish Law then governing, all lands belonged to the Spanish Crown
except those with permit and private titles. The oppositor emphasized there can be no prescription
running against the Crown.

The CLR ruled in favor of Cariño. The State appealed. The CFI dismissed the application (for
registration) and reversed the CLR decision. This decision was affirmed by the Philippine Supreme Court.
The case was then brought to the US Supreme Court. Cariño averred that the grant should be given to
him by reason of immemorial use and occupation.


WON Cariño is the owner of the land and is entitled to registration


YES. Upon the consideration of the entire case, the US Supreme Court deemed it proper to
notice the possible effect of the change of sovereignty and the act of Congress establishing the
fundamental principles to be observed at that time.


The State argued that Spain once had title to all the land in the country except those that the
Crown saw fit to permit private titles to be acquired. A decree was issued by Spain that required
registration within a limited time. Under such decree, since Cariño’s land was not registered, in effect, it
became a public land.


However, the US Supreme Court held that such does not follow that the Court would view
plaintiff to have lost all his rights to the subject property. To say otherwise would tantamount to a denial
of native titles throughout Benguet simply because the Spanish Crown would not have granted to
anyone in the province the registration of their lands.

Section 14 of the Organic Act said that the Philippine Commission may prescribe rules and
regulations for perfecting titles to public lands. It should be noted that this section refers to those cases
where the land was admitted to be public land. The US Supreme Court found it difficult to suppose to
declare every native who had not secured a title under the Spanish order, to be a trespasser.

In the cases like the one at bar, presumption should be against the government. A land that has
been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership, was never public land. The Igorots were
recognized by the Spanish laws to own some lands, irrespective of any royal grant. If they were not able
to produce title deeds, it is sufficient if they show ancient possession, as a valid title by prescription.

From the foregoing facts, it did not appear that the land of Cariño was considered as a Royal
land nor was it considered to have been wrongfully occupied. The Court opined that law and justice
require that the applicant should be granted what he seeks and should not be deprived of what, by the
practice and belief of those among whom he lived, was his property, through a refined interpretation of
an almost forgotten law of Spain.


Ching vs CA
January 11, 1990. G.R. NO. 59731
Paras, J.


In 1960, spouses Maximo Nofuente and Dominga Lumandan were issued a title covering a
parcel of land in Paranaque, Rizal. The spouses reconveyed a portion of said property to Francisco,
Regina, Perfecto, Constancio and Matilde all surnamed Nofuente. A transfer certificate of title was
subsequently issued to them.

The transfer certificate of title of Francisco and others was deemed cancelled after a new one
was issued to Ching Leng by virtue of a contract of sale involving the subject portion of land. When Ching
Leng died in the USA, his legitimate son Alfredo Ching filed a petition for administration of his estate.

Thirteen years after Ching Leng's death, a suit against him was filed by private respondent Pedro
Asedillo for reconveyance of the subject property in his favor based on possession and on account of the
fact that the Ching Leng has been residing abroad for a long time. Unknown whether the defendant is
still alive or dead, he or his estate may be served by summons and other processes only by publication.

A judgment by default was rendered against the estate of the deceased declaring private
respondent Asedillo to be the true and absolute owner of the property. After obtaining title by virtue of
a favorable judgment, the private respondent sold the property to Villa Esperanza Development, Inc.
When petitioner Alfredo learned of the adverse decision, he filed a petition to set it aside but was
denied. Asedillo died during the pendency of the case with the Court of Appeals.

Petitioner Ching claims that an action for reconveyance and cancellation of title is in
personam and the court a quo never acquired jurisdiction over the deceased Ching Leng and/or his
estate by means of service of summons by publication. On the other hand, private respondent argued
that an action for cancellation of title is quasi in rem.


WON an action for reconveyance of property and cancellation of title is in personam


YES. The Supreme Court granted the petition. The appealed decision of the Court of Appeals was
reversed and set aside and the order transferring the parcel of land to the private respondent was
declared null and void for lack of jurisdiction.


Ruling in favor of petitioner, the Supreme Court said that an action to recover title to or
possession of a real property is not an action in rem (action against the whole world) like a land

registration proceeding, but an action in personam. A judgment in the latter type of case is binding only
upon the parties involved.

Private respondent Asedillo’s action for reconveyance and cancellation of title being in
personam, the assailed judgment is null and void for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the deceased
defendant Ching Leng.
It must be noted that the suit commenced thirteen years after Ching Leng’s death. The deceased
was not, and could not have been validly served with summons. He had no more civil personality. His
juridical personality ceased after his death.

It has been a well-established rule that the sole remedy of a landowner whose property has
been erroneously registered in another's name—after one year from the date of the decree—is not to
set aside the decree, but to bring an ordinary action in a court of justice for damages if the property has
passed unto the hands of an innocent purchaser for value.

A Torrens title is generally a conclusive evidence of the ownership of a land. A strong
presumption exists that Torrens titles are regularly issued and are valid. The purpose of this system is to
quiet title to land and to stop forever any question as to its legality. Once a title is registered, the owner
may rest secure, without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting on the "mirador
su casa," to avoid the possibility of losing his land.


Castillo vs Escutin
March 13, 2009. G.R. NO. 171056
Chico-Nazario, J.


Petitioner Dinah C. Castillo is a judgment creditor of a certain Raquel K. Moratilla. In the course
of her search for properties to satisfy the judgment in her favor, petitioner discovered that Raquel, her
mother Urbana Kalaw, and sister Perla K. Moratilla, co-owned Lot 13713, a parcel of land consisting of
15,000 square meters, situated in Lipa City, Batangas, and covered by Tax Declaration No. 00449.

After verifying the ownership of said lot, petitioner proceeded to levy on the subject property.
Sometime in May 2002, before the scheduled public auction sale, petitioner learned that the parcel of
land was inside the Summit Point Golf and Country Club Subdivision owned by Summit Point Realty and
Development Corporation.

Castillo immediately met with the Corporation Vice President Orense. However, she claimed
that Orense did not show her any document to prove ownership of Lot 13713 by Summit Realty. Castillo
added that Orense even threatened her that the owners of Summit Realty, the Leviste family, was too
influential for petitioner to tangle with.

The public auction sale pushed through and petitioner Castillo bought Raquel’s 1/3 pro-
indiviso share in the disputed parcel of land. Petitioner had her acquisition recorded in the Register of
Deeds of Lipa City. The City Assessor declared petitioner Castillo as the owner of 5,000 square meters of
Lot 13713, while Urbana and Perla as the owners of the other 10,000 square meters.

When petitioner attempted to pay real estate taxes her share in Lot 13713, she was shocked to
find out that, without giving her notice, her Tax Declaration No. 00942-A was cancelled. Lot 13713 was
said to be encompassed in and overlapping with the 105,648 square meter parcel of land known as Lot
1-B in the name of Francisco Catigbac. The reverse side of transfer certificate of title bore three entries,
reflecting the supposed sale of Lot 1-B to Summit Realty. Subsequently, the title in the name of Catigbac
was cancelled and a new one was issued in the name of the corporation herein.

Petitioner filed a Complaint Affidavit before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman
for Luzon charging Atty. Antonio M. Escutin, the Register of Deeds of Lipa City, and other public officers
in conspiring with Lauro S. Leviste II and Benedicto L. Orense, Executive Vice-President and Vice-
President, respectively, of Summit Realty in transferring the subject property to the latter corporation’s

After several exchange of pleadings, the case was submitted for resolution. The Office of the
Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon gave more credence to respondent Escutin’s defenses, as opposed to
petitioner’s charges against him.


According to the Deputy Ombudsman, respondent Escutin convincingly explained that he
allowed the registration of the allegedly defective Deed of Sale because as Register of Deeds, has no
power to look into the intrinsic validity of the contract presented to him for registration, owing to the
ministerial character of his function. Moreover, as sufficiently explained by said respondent, all the
documents required for the registration of the Deed of Sale were submitted by the applicant [Summit

The Deputy Ombudsman neither found any probable cause to criminally charge private
individuals Leviste and Orense. As to whether petitioner was unlawfully deprived of her 5,000 square
meter property, it was ruled that such matter was not within its jurisdiction and should be raised in a
civil action before the courts of justice.

The petitioner, in bringing the case to the Court of Appeals (CA), was deemed to fail. The CA
denied Castillo’s petition and affirmed the Joint Resolution issued by the Deputy Ombudsman. Hence,
petitioner sought recourse to the Supreme Court.


WON the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the cancellation of the tax declaration of
petitioner, thus violating Section 109 of Presidential Decree 1529


NO. The Supreme Court, under premises considered, denied the petition for review. The
decision of the Court of Appeals was affirmed in toto. Costs against the petitioner Dinah C. Castillo.


The Supreme Court ruled that petition at bar is without merit. Petitioner’s reliance on Section
109 of the Property Registration Decree is totally misplaced. The said provision provides for the
requirements for the issuance of a lost duplicate certificate of title. It cannot, in any way, be related to
the cancellation of petitioner’s tax declaration.

The cancellation of petitioner’s tax declaration was not because of the issuance of a new
owner’s duplicate of TCT No. 181, but of the fact that Lot 1-B, which encompassed the 5,000 square
meters petitioner lays claim to, was already covered by TCT No. 181 in the name of Catigbac. A
certificate of title issued is an absolute and indefeasible evidence of ownership of the property in favor
of the person whose name appears therein. It is binding and conclusive upon the whole world. All
persons must take notice, and no one can plead ignorance of the registration.

Thus, the Office of the City Assessor must recognize the ownership of Lot 1-B by Catigbac and
issue in his name a tax declaration for the said property. And since Lot 1-B is already covered by a tax
declaration in the name of Catigbac, accordingly, any other tax declaration for the same property or
portion thereof in the name of another person, not supported by any certificate of title, such that of
petitioner, must be cancelled; otherwise, the City Assessor would be twice collecting a realty tax from
different persons on one and the same property.

Comparing Catigbac’s title with Castillo’s title evidenced only by a tax declaration, the former is
evidently far superior and is, in the absence of any other certificate of title to the same property,
conclusive and indefeasible as to Catigbac’s ownership of Lot 1-B.

As to the administrative liabilities alleged by the filing of a complaint by petitioner Castillo, the
Court finds no reason to disturb the finding of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon and the
Court of Appeals that respondents did not commit gross misconduct. Respondents were able to
convincingly explain that they had only acted in accordance therewith in their dealings with petitioner
and/or her documents. Respondents also enjoy in their favor the presumption of regularity in the
performance of their official duty. The burden of proving otherwise by substantial evidence falls on
petitioner, who failed to discharge the same.

Rudolf Lietz Holdings vs RD Parañaque
November 15, 2000. G.R. NO. 133240
Ynares-Santiago, J.


The case at bar involves a petition for review on the decision rendered by the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Parañaque City, Metro Manila, involving questions of law.

The petitioner in this case is Rudolf Lietz Holdings. The petitioner corporation amended its
Articles of Incorporation thereby changing its name from Rudolf Lietz Incorporated to its present name,
Rudolf Lietz Holdings Inc. Such change was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

As a result of the changing of name, petitioner sought the amendment of the transfer
certificates of title over real properties owned by them, all of which under the corporation’s previous
name. The petitioner then instituted a petition for amendment of titles with the RTC of Parañaque City.

The Registry of Deeds of Pasay City was also impleaded as respondent in the petition filed by
Rudolf Lietz Holdings Inc. This was because the titles that were to be amended state that they were
issued by said Registry of Pasay.

Petitioner corporation contended in their petition that the properties subject of the titles to be
amended are all located in Pasay City. However, the petitioner later found out that the titles are in the
custody of the Registry of Deeds of Parañaque City.

With this, the petitioner filed an Ex-Parte Motion to admit amended petition impleading as
respondent, this time, the Registry of Deeds of Parañaque.

On the ground of improper venue, the court a quo dismissed the petition it appearing that the
proper respondent shall be the Registry of Deeds of Pasay City for the properties are all located in the
said area. Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration and ex-parte motion to admit amended petition was
also denied.

The Solicitor General filed his comment contending that the trial court never acquired
jurisdiction over the properties considering that the latter are located in Pasay City. Since the court had
no jurisdiction over the case, its decision on the motion to admit amended petition could never be given


WON the trial court has jurisdiction over the subject properties


NO. The petition for review filed was granted by the Supreme Court. The Orders dated January
30, 1998, February 20, 1998, and March 30, 1998 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. LRC Case No. 97-0170 is


As to the venue of real actions, questions or issues relating to venue of actions are basically
governed by Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court. Jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of an
action is conferred only by law. It may not be conferred by consent or waiver upon a court which
otherwise would have no jurisdiction over the subject matter of an action.

It is noteworthy that the venue of an action as fixed by statute may be changed by the consent
of the parties. Any objection on improper venue may be waived by the failure of the defendant to raise
it at the proper time. In those cases, the court may still render a valid judgment.

As a rule, the guidelines regarding jurisdiction are something that can never be left to the
consent or agreement of the parties. Venue is procedural, not jurisdictional, and hence may be
waived. It is meant to provide convenience to the parties, rather than restrict their access to the courts
as it relates to the place of trial.

In the furtherance of justice, amendments to pleadings are allowed in order that every case may
so far as possible be determined on its real facts. This is also to speed up trial of cases or prevent any
unnecessary expenses. In this case, the trial court should have allowed the amendment proposed by
petitioner. That way, the actual merits should have been speedily determined, without regard to
technicalities, in the most expeditious and inexpensive manner.


Intestate Estate of Don Mariano San Pedro vs CA
December 18, 1996. G.R. NO. 103727
Hermosisima, Jr., J.


Considering the vastness of the land claim involved, the case at bar was known to be the most
fantastic land claim in the history of the Philippines. The subject property herein is a huge parcel of land
covering lands in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Quezon City.

The Supreme Court consolidated the two cases filed. The first case was for the recovery of
possession and damages against Ocampo, Buhain, and Dela Cruz. In the complaint, it was alleged that
the defendants (Ocampo and Dela Cruz) were able to secure from the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City
titles to a portions of the claimed estate. In the end, the lower courts ruled in favor of Ocampo and Dela
Cruz, declaring that the Torrens titles of the defendants cannot be defeated by the alleged Spanish title,
Titulo Propriedad No. 4316.

The second case was a petition for letters of administration over the intestate estate of the late
Don Mariano San Pedro Y Esteban. This case eventually ended in the same manner as the first case—the
Titulo de Propriedad was declared void and of no legal force. Thus, the lands covered by the Titulo are
not within the estate of the deceased Don Mariano.


WON the Titulo de Propriedad is null and void and therefore the lands covered or claimed under
such title are not included in the estate of the deceased


YES. The petitions in the two consolidated cases were dismissed for lack of merit. The decision
of the Court of Appeals was affirmed. This decision by the Court was deemed immediately executory.


The Supreme Court ruled in this case that the Titulo is null and void; thus, the lands claimed are
deemed not included in the estate of the deceased Don Mariano. The subject titulo has been defeated
by the title of the defendants under the Torrens system.

It has long been established that by virtue of P.D. No. 892 which took effect on February 16,
1976 that the style of registration under the Spanish Mortgage Law was abolished. Subsequently, all

holders of Spanish titles or grants should cause their lands covered thereby to be registered under the
Land Registration Act within six months from the date of effectivity of the said decree. The proof of
compliance to such Spanish decree, a certificate of title, should be presented during trial.

In G.R. No. 106496, judgment was rendered by the Court as follows:

(1) Titulo de Propriedad No. 4136 is declared null and void and, therefore, no rights could be
derived therefrom;
(2) All lands covered by Titulo de Propriedad No. 4136 are excluded from the inventory of the
estate of the late Mariano San Pedro y Esteban;

(3) The petition for letters of administration, docketed as Special Proceedings No. 312-B, should
be, as it is, hereby closed and terminated.

(4) The heirs, agents, privies and/or anyone acting for and in behalf of the estate of the late
Mariano San Pedro y Esteban are hereby disallowed to exercise any act of possession or
ownership or to otherwise, dispose of in any manner the whole or any portion of the estate
covered by Titulo de Propriedad No. 4136; and they are hereby ordered to immediately
vacate the same, if they or any of them are in possession thereof.

This judgment by the Supreme Court was deemed immediately executory.


Legarda vs Saleeby
October 2, 1915. G.R. NO. 8936
Johnson, J.


The plaintiffs and the defendant occupy adjoining lots in the district of Ermita, Manila. For a
number of years, a stone wall stands between the two parcels of land. Said wall is located on the lot of
the plaintiffs.

The plaintiff-spouses petitioned in the Court of Land Registration (CLR) for the registration of
their lot, which decreed that their title should be registered and issued to them the original certificate
provided for under the Torrens system. Said registration and certificate included the wall.

Subsequently, the predecessor of the defendant filed a petition in the CLR for the registration of
the lot now occupied by him. On March 1912, the Court decreed the registration of said title and issued
the original certificate provided for under the Torrens system. The description of the lot given in the
petition of the defendant also included said wall.

On December 1912, the plaintiffs discovered that the same wall was also registered in the name
of defendant. The plaintiff-spouses immediately petitioned in the CLR for an adjustment and correction
of the error of including the subject wall in both registered titles of the parties.

Without notice, the lower court denied the petition saying that during the pendency of the
petition for the registration of the defendant’s land, the plaintiff-spouses failed to object to the
registration of said lot, including the wall, in favor of defendant Saleeby.


WON in cases of double registration under the Land Registration Act, the owner of the earliest
certificate is the owner of the land


YES. In view of the foregoing, the Supreme Court ruled that the judgment of the lower court
should be revoked.



For the issue involved, the Land Registration Act (Act 496) affords no remedy. However, it can
be construed that where two certificates purports to include the same registered land, the holder of the
earlier one continues to hold title and shall prevail.

The Torrens system of registration serves to quiet title to land; to put a stop forever to any
question of the legality of the title, except claims which were noted at the time of registration, in the
certificate, or which may arise subsequent thereto. Once a title is registered, the owner may rest secure,
without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting in the “mirador de su casa,” to
avoid the possibility of losing his land.

The Supreme Court ruled that in case of double registration under the Land Registration Act, the
owner of the earliest certificate is the owner of the land. It would be a just and equitable rule that when
two persons have acquired equal rights over the same thing, the one who acquired the thing first and
the one who has complied with all the requirements of the law is afforded protection by the law.


Talusan vs Tayag
April 4, 2001. G.R. NO. 133698
Panganiban, J.


Petitioners in the case at bar allege that they bought a property covered by Condominium
Certificate of Title No. 651, from its former owner, Elias Imperial, as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute

Juan D. Hernandez, sued in his capacity as City Treasurer of Baguio City, wrote a letter to the
former owner Imperial informing him that the subject property would be sold at a public auction to
satisfy the delinquent real estate taxes, penalties and costs of sale.

In 1974, Imperial, with his family, immigrated to Australia. Imperial never authorized a certain
Dante Origan nor any person to receive any letter or mail for and on his behalf.

Meanwhile, respondent Hernandez sold the above-described property to Tayag for without any
notice to the former owner-petitioners and without compliance with the provisions of PD No. 464, as
evidenced by the Certificate of Sale.

It was alleged in the case that petitioners have been in actual possession of the Unit in question,
since they bought the same from its former owners, and their possession is open, public, continuous,
adverse and in the concept of owners, while respondent Tayag has never been in possession of the said

Respondent Tayag filed his answer substantially denying the allegations in the complaint. He
alleged that he was a buyer in good faith, in a regular and lawful public bidding in which any person is
qualified to participate.


WON the auction sale in the case at bar should be annulled for non-publication of the notice of
delinquency for the payment of property tax



NO. The petition was denied by the Supreme Court and the assailed decision and
resolution were affirmed. Costs against petitioners.


Unlike land registration proceedings which are in rem, cases involving an auction sale of land for
the collection of delinquent taxes are in personam. Thus, notice by publication, though sufficient in
proceedings in rem, does not as a rule satisfy the requirement of proceedings in personam.

Mere publication of the notice of delinquency would not suffice, considering that the procedure
in tax sales is in personam. It was, therefore, still incumbent upon the city treasurer to send the notice
of tax delinquency directly to the taxpayer in order to protect the interests of the latter.
Here in this case, the notice of tax delinquency was sent by registered mail to the permanent
address of the registered owner in Manila. The city treasurer of Baguio City directed him to settle the
charges and to protect his interest in the property. The Court ruled that the notice sent by registered
mail adequately protected the rights of the taxpayer, who was the registered owner of the
condominium unit.
For purposes of real property taxation, the registered owner of a property is deemed the
taxpayer and, hence, the only one entitled to a notice of tax delinquency and the resultant proceedings
relative to an auction sale. Petitioners, who allegedly acquired the property through an unregistered
deed of sale, are not entitled to such notice, because they are not the registered owners.
What should always be remembered in this case is that real property buyers must register their
purchases as soon as possible and, equally important, they must pay their taxes on time.


Malabanan vs Republic
April 29, 2009. G.R. NO. 179987
Tinga, J.


Petitioner Mario Malabanan applied for the registration of his land situated in Silang, Cavite. He
claimed that he had purchased the property from Eduardo Velazco, and that he and his predecessors-in-
interest had been in open, notorious, and continuous, adverse and peaceful possession of the land for
more than thirty (30) years.

Velazco, the seller of the land, testified that the property belonged to a 22-hectare property
owned by his great-grandfather, Lino Velazco. Lino has four heirs—Benedicto, Gregorio, Eduardo and

Upon the death of Lino, his four sons inherited the property and divided it among themselves.
Magdalena, Esteban’s wife, was later appointed as administrator of all the properties inherited by the
Velazco sons from their father.

When Esteban and Magdalena died, their son Virgilio succeeded in administering the properties
including Lot 9864-A, which originally belonged to his uncle, Eduardo Velazco. It was this property that
was sold by Eduardo to Malabanan.

Petitioner presented a certification issued by the Community Environment & Natural Resources
Office, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO-DENR). The document showed that
the subject property was alienable or disposable land. The application for registration of the land was

The Republic opposed the registration claiming that petitioner failed to prove that the subject
property was part of the alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. The respondent also
interposed that the RTC erred in finding that petitioner had been in possession of the property in the
manner and for the length of time required by law for confirmation of imperfect title. The Court of
Appeals reversed the RTC ruling and dismissed the application of petitioner Malabanan.


WON the land should be classified as alienable and disposable as of June 12, 1945 in order that
it may be registered under Section 14(1) of Presidential Decree No. 1529


NO. The petition was denied by the Supreme Court. The decision by the Court of Appeals was
affirmed. No pronouncement as to costs.


Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act merely requires possession since 12 June 1945 and does not
require that the lands should have been alienable and disposable during the entire period of possession,
the possessor is entitled to secure judicial confirmation of his title thereto as soon as it is declared
alienable and disposable, subject to the timeframe imposed by Section 47 of the same Act.

In complying with Section 14(2) of P.D. 1529, prescription is recognized as a mode of acquiring
ownership of patrimonial property. However, public domain lands only become patrimonial property by
an express government manifestation that the property is no longer retained for public use, public
service or the development of national wealth. Only when the property has become patrimonial can the
prescriptive period for the acquisition of property of the public dominion begin to run.

Petitioner Malabanan’s evidence was insufficient to establish that he has acquired ownership
over the subject property under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. There is no substantial evidence to
establish that petitioner or his predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the property since 12
June 1945 or earlier. The earliest that petitioners can date back their possession, according to their own
evidence is to the year 1948. Thus, they cannot avail themselves of registration under Section 14(1) of
the Property Registration Decree.

Petitioners cannot also invoke Section 14(2) as basis for their application for registration. While
the subject property was declared as alienable or disposable in 1982, there is no competent evidence
that is no longer intended for public use service or for the development of the national wealth. The
classification of the subject property as alienable and disposable land of the public domain does not
change its status as property of the public dominion under Article 420(2) of the Civil Code. Thus, the
parcel of land cannot be subject of acquisition by prescription as it never been part of the alienable
lands of the public domain.


Republic Rep. the Mindanao Medical Center vs CA
September 30, 1976. G.R. NO. L-40912
Martin, J.


Eugenio de Jesus, the father of respondent Alejandro de Jesus, filed a Sales Patent application
covering 33-hectare with the Bureau of Lands. The land is located in Barrio Libaron, Davao City. The
Bureau of Lands of Davao approved the sealed bids for the purchase of the subject land.

Irineo Jose bidded for P20.00 per hectare. Dr. Jose Ebro submitted a bid of P100.50 per hectare
The Director of Lands, however, annulled the auction sale for the reason that Eugenio failed to
participate due to non-service of notice on him of the scheduled bidding.

In the second bidding, Eugenio was the lone bidder. He equaled the bid previously submitted by
Dr. Jose Ebro. Subsequently, the Director awarded Eugenio as the highest bidder. However, an
amendment of the Sales Application of Eugenio was issued stating that "a portion of the land covered by
sale is needed by the Philippine Army for military camp site purposes. A portion of said lot was
withdrawn from Eugenio.

Then President Ramon Magsaysay later declared the disputed lot open to disposition for
resettlement of the squatters in the Piapi Beach, Davao City. This order was also revoked and the same
land was reserved for a medical center site.

Thereafter, petitioner Mindanao Medical Center applied for the Torrens registration of the
portion of the lot. It claimed a "fee simple" title to the land on the strength of the order of the President.

Respondent Alejandro de Jesus, the son of Eugenio, opposed the registration on the ground that
his father had acquired a vested right on the subject lot by virtue of the award issued to him by the
Director of BLA. A certain Arsenio Suazo also filed his opposition to the registration on the claim that the
2-hectare portion on the northeastern part of the lot belongs to him.

The CFI of Davao rendered judgment in favor of the Medical center. The Court of Appeals
reversed the decision and denied the private petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Thus, this case to
the Supreme Court.


WON the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the decision of the CFI of Davao in favor of the
Medical center


YES. The appealed decision of the Court of Appeals was reversed and set aside. The disputed lot
of Davao Cadastre and containing an area of 12.8081 hectares was adjudicated in favor of petitioner
Mindanao Medical Center. With costs against private respondent.


Petitioner Mindanao Medical Center has registrable title over the whole contested area and not
only on a portion thereof occupied by the Medical Center. The proclamation by the President effected a
land grant to the Mindanao Medical Center, Bureau of Medical Services, Department of Health, of the
whole lot. Its validity is sufficient for initial registration under the Land Registration Act.

The phrase "whole tract" in the Sales Award cannot be construed as awarding to applicant
Eugenio the entire mass of land. Such general description of "whole tract" cannot prevail over the
specific description delineating the area in quantity and in boundaries. Besides, land grants are
construed favorably to the Government, and strictly against the grantee.

The Court of appeals erred in sustaining Eugenio’s claim that the military "camp site" had been
donated by him to the Philippine Army sometime in 1936 subject to the condition that it would be
returned to him when the Philippine Army would no longer need it. The Department of National
Defense was not yet in existence in 1936. No Defense Secretary could have entered into a deed of
donation with him over subject parcel of land.


Chavez vs Republic Estates Authority
July 9, 2002. G.R. NO. 133250
Carpio, J.


The Commissioner of Public Highways, in behalf of the government, signed a contract with the
Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP) in order to reclaim various
foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay. Along with the reclamation project is the construction of
the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road. The CDCP agreed to do the construction in consideration of 50% of the
total of the land that will be reclaimed.

The Public Estates Authority entered into a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with AMARI to
develop the Freedom Islands. This JVA was entered into through negotiation without public bidding.

The Senate, along with other investigating bodies, conducted an examination of said agreement.
The Senate found out that the reclaimed lands PEA seeks to transfer to AMARI Coastal Bay Development
Corporation under the JVA are lands of the public domain not yet classified by the government as
alienable and disposable lands. Thus, PEA cannot alienate such. It follows that the certificates of the title
covering the Freedom Islands are void and the JVA itself is illegal.

Petitioner Chavez instituted a taxpayer’s suit and a petition for mandamus with prayer for the
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and TRO for the purpose of suspending any transactions
between PEA and AMARI.

Petitioner also contends the government is in the brink of losing billions of pesos in the sale by
PEA of the reclaimed lands to the foreign company. Petitioner prays that PEA disclose the terms of any
negotiations involving the JVA. Furthermore, petitioner assails the sale to AMARI of lands of the public
domains as a violation of Sec 3, Art XII of the Constitution prohibiting the sale of alienable lands of the
public domain to private corporations.


WON the Joint Venture Agreement between PEA and AMARI is legal


NO. The Joint Venture Agreement is void ab initio. The petition by Chavez was granted. The
Public Estates Authority and Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation are permanently
enjoined from proceeding with their obligations in the contract.


The 157.84 hectares of reclaimed lands comprising the Freedom Islands, now covered by
certificates of title in the name of PEA, are alienable lands of the public domain. PEA may lease these
lands to private corporations but may not sell or transfer ownership of these lands to private
corporations. PEA may only sell these lands to Philippine citizens, subject to the ownership limitations in
the 1987 Constitution and existing laws.


The submerged areas of Manila Bay remain inalienable natural resources of the public domain
until classified as alienable or disposable lands open to disposition and declared no longer needed for
public service.

The government can make said classification and declaration only after PEA has reclaimed these
submerged areas. Only then can these lands qualify as agricultural lands of the public domain, which are
the only natural resources the government can alienate. In their present state, the submerged areas are
inalienable and outside the commerce of man.

Since the JVA aims to transfer to AMARI, a private corporation, the ownership of the Freedom
Islands, such transfer is void for being contrary to Section 3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which
prohibits private corporations from acquiring any kind of alienable land of the public domain.

Since the Amended JVA also seeks to transfer to AMARI ownership of still submerged areas of
Manila Bay, such transfer is void for being contrary to Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution
which prohibits the alienation of natural resources other than agricultural lands of the public domain.
PEA may reclaim these submerged areas. Thereafter, the government can classify the reclaimed lands as
alienable or disposable, and further declare them no longer needed for public service. Still, the transfer
of such reclaimed alienable lands of the public domain to AMARI will be void in view of Section 3, Article
XII of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits private corporations from acquiring any kind of alienable
land of the public domain.

Republic vs Doldol

September 10, 1998. G.R. NO. 132963
Romero, J.


Sometime in 1959, respondent Nicanor Doldol occupied a portion of land in Barrio Pontacan,
Municipality of Opol, Misamis Oriental. In 1963, he filed an application for saltwork purposes for the
said area with the Bureau of Forest Development. The Director of Forestry rejected his application.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Board of Misamis Oriental passed a resolution in 1965 reserving the
subject lot as a school site. This reserved lot included the area occupied by Doldol.

Pursuant to the said resolution, the Opol High School transferred to the site in 1970. Seventeen
years later, then President Corazon Aquino issued Proclamation No. 180 reserving the area, including
the subject parcel of land. Needing the area occupied by Doldol for its intended projects, the school
made several demands for him to vacate said portion, but he refused to vacate the place.

Because of respondent’s refusal to vacate, Opol National School filed a complaint for accion
possessoria with the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro. The RTC ruled in the school's favor and
ordered Doldol to vacate the land. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the court a quo, ruling
that Doldol was entitled to the portion he occupied, he having possessed the same for 32 years, from
1959 up to the time of the filing of the complaint.


WON Doldol has better right to possess the land in dispute


NO. The decision of the Court of Appeals was annulled and set aside. The decision of the
Regional Trial Court was reinstated.


The Public Land Act requires that the applicant must prove (a) that the land is alienable public
land and (b) that his open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the same
must either be since time immemorial or for the period prescribed in the Public Land Act. When the
conditions set by law are complied with the possessor of the land, by operation of law, acquires a right
to grant, a government grant, without the necessity of title/certificate of tile being issued.

The evidence presented shows that the land in dispute is alienable and disposable in accordance
with the District Forester’s Certification. Doldol thus meets the first requirement.

The parties, however, stipulated during the pre-trial hearing that Doldol had been occupying the
portion reserved for the school site only since 1959. The law, as presently phrased, requires that
possession of lands of the public domain must be from June 12, 1945 or earlier, for the same to be
acquired through judicial confirmation of imperfect title.

Consequently, Doldol could not have acquired an imperfect title to the disputed lot since his
occupation of the same started only in 1959, much later than June 12, 1945. Not having complied with

the requirements of the law, respondent cannot be said to have acquired a right to the land in question
as to classify the land released from the public domain. Thus, it is the Opol High School which has the
better right in this case.

Republic vs Alconaba
April 14, 2004. G.R. NO. 155012
Davide, Jr., C. J.

Respondents in this case filed an application for registration of title over five parcels of land
situated in Laguna. The respondents stated that they are the sole heirs of Melendez spouses and that
their parents had been in possession of the property since 1949.

When the Melendez spouses died, the heirs partitioned the parcel of land and subdivided it into
five lots. Since then, they have been in actual, public and peaceful possession of the property.

Petitioner Republic opposed the said claim by respondents. The petitioner alleged that tax
declaration and tax receipts do not constitute bona fide right over the land. They added that ownership
based on Spanish title can no longer be availed and that the said land is part of the public domain.

The Regional Trial Court ruled in favor of the respondents. It ruled that the land is alienable and
not deemed as reserve or forest land.


WON the application of the respondent-heirs should be granted


NO. The petition filed by the Republic was granted by the Supreme Court. Accordingly, the
decisions of the Court of Appeals of the Municipal Trial Court of Cabuyao, Laguna were reversed and set


In the case at bar, there was no evidence on record showing that spouses Mauricio and Luz
Melendez cultivated, had control over, or used the whole or even a greater portion of the tract of land
for agricultural purposes. Only one tenant worked on the land, and there is no evidence as to how big
was the portion occupied by the tenant.

Also, there was no competent proof that the spouses declared the land in their name for
taxation purposes or paid its taxes. While tax receipts and declarations are not incontrovertible evidence
of ownership, they constitute, at the least, proof that the holder has a claim of title over the property.

It is also important to note that none of the respondents resided on the subject property.
Carmencita even admitted they had some plans of selling the property. Thus, the move for registration
may be reasonably concluded as a camouflage by smart land speculators who saw in the land applied for
expected profits from its existence.

Indeed, in this case, the subject lot is deemed as alienable and disposable. However there was
no sufficient proof that the respondents are in actual, continuous, open and exclusive possession of the
land. No evidence on record shows that Spouses Mauricio and Luz Melendez cultivated, had control
over, or used the whole or even a greater portion of the tract of land for agricultural purposes