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Victoria vs.

Republic
(G.R. No. 179673, June 8, 2011)
NATIVIDAD STA. ANA VICTORIA, Petitioner, vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

FACTS:
In 2004, Victoria applied for registration under the law (PD 1529) of a lot in Bambang, Taguig City, before the MeTC.
The OSG opposed said application.
Natividad presented the following evidence:
o Documentary evidence showing that the subject lot was is a portion of a parcel of land originally owned and
declared in the name of Victorias fatherGenaro, for tax purposes, and that upon the latters death, she and her
siblings inherited the land, divided it among themselves (the subject lot being her share).
o Conversion/Subdivision plan showing that the land is inside the alienable and disposable area, as certified by the
Bureau of Forest Development in 1968.
o Victoria testified that she and her predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the property continuously,
uninterruptedly, openly, publicly, adversely and in the concept of owners since the early 1940s or for more than 30
years and have been declared as owners for taxation purposes for the last 30 years.
MeTC granted the application for registration.
On Appeal, Victoria further attached to her brief a Certification dated November 6, 2006 issued by the DENR verifying the
subject property within the alienable and disposable land of the public domain.
CA however, reversed MeTC decision, ruling that Victoria failed to submit the DENR Certification during the hearing in the
MeTC. (procedural)
ISSUES:
1. WON Victoria amply proved that the subject lot is alienable and disposable land of the public domain YES.
2. WON she has amply proved her claim of ownership of the property. YES
HELD:
First Issue:
To prove that the land subject of the application for registration is alienable, an applicant must establish the existence
of a positive act of the government such as:
a. a presidential proclamation or an executive order;
b. an administrative action;
c. investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators; and
d. a legislative act or statute.
The applicant may secure a certification from the government that the lands applied for are alienable and
disposable, but the certification must show that the DENR Secretary had approved the land classification and released the land
of the public domain as alienable and disposable, and that the land subject of the application for registration falls within the
approved area per verification through survey by the PENRO or CENRO. The applicant must also present a copy of the original
classification of the land into alienable and disposable, as declared by the DENR Secretary or as proclaimed by the President.
SC recognized the DENR Certification (Certification is valid proof)
SC required the OSG to verify with the DENR whether the person who issued the certification is authorized, and to
submit a copy of the Admin. Order or proclamation that declares as alienable and disposable the area where the property
involved is located, if theres any. The OSG complied and submitted the certification stating that the person who signed the
DENR Certification was authorized, and also a CTC of Forestry Admin Order 4-1141, which declared portions of land which are
approved as alienable and disposable.

Note: SC allowed/relaxed the rules of procedure. Denying the application for registration now on the ground of failure to present
proof of the status of the land before the trial court and allowing Victoria to re-file her application would merely unnecessarily
duplicate the entire process, cause additional expense and add to the number of cases that courts must resolve. The person who
issued the DENR certification was the Senior Forest Management Specialist of its NCR, Office of the Regional Technical Director
for Forest Management Services.
Second Issue (MAIN):
Victoria has, contrary to the SolGens allegation, proved that she and her predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the
subject lot continuously, uninterruptedly, openly, publicly, adversely and in the concept of owners since the early 1940s. In fact,
she has submitted tax declarations covering the land way back in 1948 that appeared in her fathers name.
Other Concepts discussed:
Section 14(1) of PD1529 has three requisites for registration of title:
(a) that the property in question is alienable and disposable land of the public domain;
(b) that the applicants by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and
notorious possession and occupation; and
(c) that such possession is under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945 or earlier.