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G.R. No.

L-36610 June 18, 1976

DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioners,
HON. AMADO B. REYES, as Judge of the
Court of First Instance of Bataan, Branch
II, and ELISEO PALATINO, respondents.

On September 6, 1972, the herein private
respondent Eliseo Palatino filed with the
respondent court an application for registration
of title under the Land Registration Law, of a
parcel of land situated in Bataan Province.
Notice of initial hearing was duly issued by the
Commissioner of Land Registration.
However, respondent trial court issued an
order of general default against all persons,
including herein petitioner the Director of
Lands, for the failure of anyone, including the
said Director of Lands or his representative, to
appear and oppose the application.
Consequently, notice of this order of general
default was received by petitioners.
On January 5, 1973, respondent court issued its
order granting the application for registration.
Notice of the order was received by herein
Petitioners filed with the trial court a motion to
life order of general default and for
reconsideration of the order on the ground that
adjudicating the lot applied for by the
applicant, respondent Palatino, is without basis
in fact because the applicant could not have
possessed the land applied for at least thirty
years immediately preceding the application
for the reason that the land was originally part
of the United States Military Reservation
reserved by the then Governor General under
Proclamation No. 10 dated February 16, 1925
and it was only on June 10, 1967 that the
President of the Philippines by Proclamation No.
210-B revoked Proclamation No. 10 and
declared such portion of the area therein
embraced including the land applied for, as are
classified as alienable and disposable, opened
for disposition under the provisions of the
Public Land Act.
Trial court denied the petitioners' motion to lift
the order of general default and for
reconsideration of the order.

Whether petitioners contention is tenable

The Court had reviewed the records of this
case and it is convinced that certain essential
requisites of procedural law were not complied
with by the herein petitioners. There was a
failure to perfect an appeal and consequently
this failure had the effect of rendering final and
executory the judgment or final order of the
trial court. This fact certainly deprives the
appellate court, the Court, of jurisdiction to
entertain the appeal. By actual reckoning of
time, it will be seen that the period for filing
and perfecting an appeal had been past
overdue. Petitioners herein have procrastinated
too long on their rights and on the duties
imposed on them that the Court is now
prevented from extending to them the relief
they are now seeking. Through inexcusable
neglect and laches, the Government lost its
case Section 13 of the aforecited Rule 41 of the
Rules of Court is crystal clear in its language
and tenor: Where the notice of appeal, appeal
bond or record on appeal is not filed within the
period so prescribed, the appeal shall be

The decision or final order granting the

registration of the parcel of land applied for by
herein private respondent Eliseo Palatino,
having become final and executory, there now
remains only the issuance of the decree and
the certificate of title over the property. Thus,
the Court declares, following its time-honored
dictum: After a decision has become final, the
prevailing party becomes entitled as a matter
of right to its execution; that it becomes merely
the ministerial duty of the court to issue the
writ of execution.
Should petitioners duly establish by competent
evidence these allegations, they may then
raise the crucial question whether the private
respondent and his predecessors-in-interest
may be deemed to have validly and legally
commenced occupation of the land and
physically occupied the same en concepto de
dueo for thirty years or more to entitle them
to registration under section 48(b) of the Public
Land Act a question which cannot be resolved
now in view of the finding that there is without
jurisdiction to entertain the appeal since the

decision or final order granting registrations

has long become final and executory.

for review of a decree of title on the ground of


G.R. No. L-37682 March 29, 1974

Whether the patent and title issued to Du
Timbol is null and void.


Represented by the DIRECTOR OF
LANDS, petitioner,
capacity as Judge of CFI South Cotabato,
Branch I, General Santos City, ISAGANI DU

The land covered by the free patent and title in
question was originally applied for by Precila
Soria, who transferred her rights to the land
and its improvements to defendant Isagani Du
Timbol. On December 12, 1969, free Patent No.
V-466102 was issued by the President of the
Philippines for the land in question, and on July
20, 1970, after transmittal of the patent to the
Register of Deeds of General Santos City,
Original Certificate of Title was issued in the
name of defendant.
On August 5, 1971, the Republic of the
Philippines, at the instance of the Bureau of
Forestry, filed a complaint in the Court of First
Instance of Cotabato to declare subject free
patent and OCT in the name of the defendant
null and void ab initio and to order the
reversion of the land in question to the mass of
public domain on the ground that the land
covered thereby is a forest or timber land
which is not disposable under the Public Land
Act. In the reclassification of the public lands in
the vicinity where the land in question is
situated made by the Bureau of Forestry on
March 7, 1958, the said land was plotted on
Bureau of Forestry map.
The application for free patent by defendant
was filed on June 3, 1969, or more than eleven
years thereafter, thus, alleging that said patent
and title were obtained fraudulently as Du
Timbol never occupied and cultivated the land
applied for.
The respondent court dismissed the complaint
on the ground that Certificate of Title based on
the patent had became indefeasible in view of
the lapse of the one-year period prescribed
under Section 38 of the Land Registration Act

Yes. The area covered by the patent and title is
not disposable public land, it being a part of
the forest zone, hence the patent and title
thereto are null and void.
The defense of indefeasibility of a certificate of
title issued pursuant to a free patent does not
lie against the state in an action for reversion
of the land covered thereby when such land is
a part of a public forest or of a forest
reservation. As a general rule, timber or forest
lands are not alienable or disposable. Although
the Director of Lands has jurisdiction over
public lands classified as agricultural under the
constitution, or alienable or disposable under
the Public Land Act, and is charged with the
administration of all laws relative thereto,
mineral and timber lands are beyond his
jurisdiction. It is the Bureau of Forestry that has
jurisdiction and authority over the
demarcation, protection, management,
reproduction, occupancy and use of all public
forests and forest reservations and over the
granting of licenses for the taking of products
therefrom, including stone and earth.
The area in question is a forest or timber land,
hence it is clearly established by the
certification made by the Bureau of Forest
Development that it is within the portion of the
area which was reverted to the category of
forest land and approved by the President.
When the defendant Isagani Du Timbol filed his
application for free patent over the land in
question, the area in question was not a
disposable or alienable public land but a public
forest. Titles issued to private parties by the
Bureau of Lands when the land covered
thereby is not disposable public land but forest
land are void ab initio.
The complaint alleges that applicant Isagani Du
Timbol was never in possession of the property
prior to his filing the application, contrary to
the provisions of law that the applicant must
have been in possession or cultivation thereof
for at least 30 years. After diligent search of
the Acting Chief of the Survey-Party, alleged
circumstances are indicative of fraud in the
filing of the application and obtaining title to
the land, and if proven would override
respondent Judge's order dismissing the case
without hearing. The misrepresentations of the

applicant that he had been occupying and

cultivating the land and residing thereon are
sufficient grounds to nullify the grant of the
patent and title under the Public Land Law.
A certificate of title that is void may be ordered
cancelled. A title will be considered void if it is
procured through fraud, as when a person
applies for registration of the land under his
name although the property belongs to

G.R. No. L-9865 December 24, 1915

VERGO D. TUFEXIS, plaintiff-appellant,
represented by its president, Agapito
Paulate, defendants-appellees.

It was alleged that on September 30, 1911,
plaintiff acquired at a public sale held in
execution of a judgment rendered against
Ricardo Pardo y Pujol, a piece of property
situated in the municipality of Guinobatan,
consisting of a frame building of strong
materials with a galvanized-iron roof, erected
on a parcel of land belonging to that
municipality and intended for a public market.
The plaintiff also acquired at the sale all the
right, interest, title, and participation in the
said property that appertained or might
appertain to Pardo y Pujol. The said building
was constructed by virtue of a concession
granted by the former Spanish government to
Ricardo Pardo y Cabaas, father of the
judgment debtor.
On January 2, 1912, the said building was
totally destroyed by an accidental fire. For
several months thereafter the municipal
council of Guinobatan negotiated with plaintiff
for the purchase of his rights in the said
concession but such could not be brought to a
conclusion because the municipal council had
allegedly acted deceitfully, fraudulently, and in
bad faith for the sole purpose of beguiling,
deceiving, and prejudicing plaintiff in order to
prevent him from exercising his right to
reconstruct the burned market building and
utilize it in accordance with the terms of the
said concession. The defendant municipal
council with the other defendant, Francisco
Olaguera, had authorized the latter to take
possession of all the land and to occupy the

same with booths or stores for the sale of

groceries and other merchandise, for billiard
tables, and other analogous.
The plaintiff proposed to construct another
public market building on the same land, but
that the defendants had prevented him from
using the land and reconstructing thereon the
said public market building, and refused to
recognize plaintiff's right and to vacate the
land that had been occupied by the burned
After filing a petition before the CFI of Albay,
the provincial fiscal alleged as a ground for the
demurrer that in no part of the instrument of
concession did it appear that the privilege
granted to the father of the judgment debtor
had likewise been granted to his successors or
assignees, and that therefore such rights and
actions could not be conveyed to nor be
acquired by any other person. It was alleged
that the building was completely destroyed by
fire and that if plaintiff's right to the possession
of the land was conditioned by the existence
thereon of the said market building, such right
had terminated by the disappearance of the
Whether a the subject building on land
belonging to the municipality of Guinobatan
which was intended for a public market, by
virtue of a concession could be attached and
sold for the payment of a certain debt owed by
Ricardo Pardo y Pujol to a third person who had
obtained a final judgment.
No. The land on which the building was erected
and which is referred to in the foregoing
articles of the concession granted by the
Government of the former sovereignty belongs
to the municipality of Guinobatan. Although the
building was constructed at the expense and
with the money of the grantee, Ricardo Pardo y
Cabaas, it is, nevertheless, the property of the
state or of the said municipality, and was
temporarily transferred to the grantee, Pardo y
Cabaas, in order that he might enjoy the
usufruct of its floor space for forty years, but
on the termination of this period the said right
of usufruct was to cease and the building
was to belong finally and absolutely to
the state or the municipality in
representation thereof.
For these reasons, there is no question that the
building and the land, on which it was erected,
since they did not belong to the grantee, nor
do they belong to his son and heir, Ricardo

Pardo y Pujol, could not be attached or sold for

the payment of a debt contracted by the latter.
The concession granted by the former Spanish
Government is personal and transferable only
by inheritance, and in no manner could it be
conveyed as a special personal privilege to
another and a third person.
Ricardo Pardo y Pujol is bound to pay his debts
and his property can be attached on petition of
his creditors. However, his personal privilege of
usufruct in the floor space of the public market
building of Guinobatan cannot be attached like
any ordinary right, because that would mean
that a person who has contracted with the
state to furnish a service of a public character
would be substituted, for another person who
took no part in the contract, and that the
regular course of a public service would be
disturbed by the more or less legal action of
the creditors of a grantee, to the prejudice of
the state and the public interests.
It is indeed true that the building erected out of
the private funds of the grantee, however,
judging from the agreement between him and
the Government authorities, he was granted
the right to usufruct in the floor space of the
said building in order that, during the period of
forty years, he might reimburse himself for and
collect the value of the building constructed by
So, if neither the land nor the building in
question belongs to Pardo y Pujol, it is evident
that they could not be attached or sold at
public auction to satisfy his debt and,
consequently, the attachment and sale of the
said Government property executed on petition
of the creditor of the said Pardo y Pujol are
notoriously illegal, null and void, and the
acquisition of the property by plaintiff confers
upon him no right whatever based on the said
The usufruct of the floor space of the public
market of Guinobatan, granted to Ricardo
Pardo y Pujol's father was not subject to
attachment on account of its being of a public
character. The only right to which the creditor
was entitled was to petition for the attachment
of the income and proceeds obtained from the
use of the floor space of the market, but he did
not avail himself of this right. Therefore, the
order of dismissal appealed is in accordance
with law and the merits of the case.
G.R. No. L-6098

August 12, 1911

THE INSULAR GOVERNMENT, plaintiffappellee,


ALDECOA AND COMPANY, defendantappellant.

The Attorney-General filed a written complaint
in the CFI of Surigao against the firm of
Aldecoa & Co., alleging that the defendant, a
mercantile copartnership company with a
branch office in Surigao, continues to operate
as such mercantile copartnership company
under the name of Aldecoa & Co.,; that the said
defendant, knowing that it had no title or right
whatever to two adjoining parcels of land has
been occupying them illegally for the past
seventeen years, more or less, having
constructed on the land a wharf, located along
the railroad, and built warehouses of light
material for the storage of coal all for its
exclusive use and benefit. These lands,
situated in Surigao, belonged to the late
Spanish Government in the Philippines and are
now the property of the Government of the
United States and were placed under the
control of the Insular Government
Since the year 1901, the defendant has been
requested repeatedly by the Attorney-General,
in representation of the Insular Government, to
recognize the latter's right of dominion over
the same and to deliver to it the said property,
and that, by reason of such demands, Aldecoa
& Co. agreed to return the land, but that later,
after several delays, it concluded by persisting
in its attempt illegally to continue occupying
the said land and refused to return it to the
Insular Government.
The defendant alleged that it held and
possessed, as owner, and had full and absolute
dominion over, the lands claimed by the
CFI rendered judgment and found that the land
in question was public land and belonged to
the State, and ordered the defendant to return
it to the plaintiff.
Whether the subject lands as claimed by the
defendant is a part of the public dominion.
Yes. It is incontrovertible that the land in
question is of the public domain and belongs to
the State, inasmuch as at the present time it is
partly shore land and in part, was such
formerly, and now is land formed by the action
of the sea.
On the supposition that Aldecoa & Co.
commenced to occupy the land and shore

herein concerned, prior to the enforcement of

the Civil Code in these Islands, it is
unquestionable that the issue must be
determined in accordance with the provisions
of the Law of Waters of August 3, 1866,
inasmuch as the shores, as well as the lands
united thereto by the accretions and alluvium
deposits produced by the action of the sea, are
of the public use and domain.
All this said land, together with the adjacent
shore, belongs to the public domain and is
intended for public uses. Thus, the defendant,
in construction on the two aforementioned
parcels of land a retaining wall, a pier or wharf,
a railway, and warehouses for the storage of
coal, for its exclusive use and benefit, did all
this without due and competent authority and
has been illegally occupying the land since
Aldecoa & Co. endeavored to prove that the
land, consisting of the two united parcels,
belonged to them in fee simple, on account of
their having begun to occupy it through a
verbal permit from the then politico-military
governor of Surigao. The said permit was a
verbal authorization to occupy the land on
condition that the defendant should later on
prepare title deeds thereto, and that this
authorization was granted for the purpose of
furnishing facilities to, and benefiting the
merchants of Surigao, in view of the backward
condition of things in those regions at the time.
It is certain, however, that Aldecoa & Co. did
not obtain or solicit permission from the
Government to establish themselves there and
erect thereon their buildings and works, nor did
they endeavor to obtain any title of ownership
to the said land.
Defendant has not proven that it obtained for
itself, in conformity with the provisions of the
said Law of Waters.
The Civil Code, which went into effect in these
Islands on December 7, 1889, confirms the
provisions of the said Law of Waters. The
shores and the lands reclaimed from the sea,
while they continue to be devoted to public
uses and no grant whatever has been made of
any portion of them to private persons, remain
a part of the public domain and are for public
uses, and, until they are converted into
patrimonial property of the State. Inasmuch as,
being dedicated to the public uses, they are
not subject of commerce among men, in
accordance with the provision of the Civil Code.
The record does not disclose that Aldecoa &
Co. had obtained from the Spanish Government
of the Philippines the requisite authorization

legally to occupy the said two parcels of land of

which they now claim to be the owners.
Wherefore, the occupation or possession which
the allege they hold is a mere detainer that can
merit from the law no protection such as is
afforded only to the person legally in
G.R. No. L-28379
March 27, 1929
ISLANDS, applicant-appellant,
CONSORCIA CABANGIS, ET AL., claimantsappellees.
Lots 36, 39 and 40, which are subject to
cadastral proceeding of the City of Manila were
formerly a part of a large parcel of land
belonging to the predecessor of the herein
claimants and appellees.
From the year 1896 said land began to wear
away, due to the action of the waves of Manila
Bay, until the year 1901 when the said lots
became completely submerged in water in
ordinary tides, and remained in such a state.
On 1912, the Government undertook the
dredging of Vitas Estuary in order to facilitate
navigation, depositing all the sand and silt
taken from the bed of the estuary on the low
lands which were completely covered with
water, surrounding that belonging to the
Philippine Manufacturing Company, thereby
slowly and gradually forming the lots, the
subject matter of this proceeding.
Nobody had declared lot 39 for the purposes of
taxation, and it was only in the year 1926 that
Dr. Pedro Gil, in behalf of the claimants and
appellees, declared lot No. 40 for such purpose.
The claimants-appellees contend that
inasmuch as the said lots once formed a part of
a large parcel of land belonging to their
predecessors, whom they succeeded, and their
immediate predecessor in interest having
taken possession thereof, said lots belong to
To which does the ownership of the reclaimed
land belong to?
The Government owns the reclaimed land in
the sense that it has become property of public
dominion, because in letting it remained
submerged, the claimants-appellees may be
said to have abandoned the same. Having
become part of the sea or seashore, it became

property for public use. When the government

took steps to make it land again, its status as
public dominion remained unchanged. As
provided by Article 5 of the Law of Waters,

Commerce with the CFI Pampanga; which later

dismissed said appeal, holding the creek in
question as property of the public domain.
Hence, this petition.

ART. 5. Lands reclaimed from the sea in

consequence of works constructed by
the State, or by the provinces, pueblos
or private persons, with proper
permission, shall become the property
of the party constructing such works,
unless otherwise provided by the terms
of the grant of authority.
Therefore, the claimants- appellees are not
entitled to the land.

G.R. No. L-37986

March 1, 1934

EUFEMIA MERCADO, plaintiff-appellant,

COMMUNICATIONS, defendants-appellee.
Mariano Mercado, the original owner of the
hacienda, in order to facilitate the cutting and
transportation of firewood and other products,
produced on the said hacienda, towards the
Nasi River on the east or towards Limasan
creek on the west, connected the two recesses
or bodies of water in question by means of
excavation and, after having so connected
them, made other excavations at both ends
towards the said directly connecting both
bodies of water, and which later became
known as the Batasan-Limasan or Pinac
Bugalun creek.
Said creek or canal already existed at the time
of the institution of the registration
proceedings wherein judgment was rendered
resulting in the issuance of certificate of title in
favor of Romulo Mercado.
Romulo Mercado, the appellants (Eufemia
Mercado) predecessor in interest, decided to
convert the said creek into a fish pond and with
that object in view, in 1928 he closed the two
openings thereof towards the Nasi River on one
side and Limasan creek on the other side
because residents nearby started using it.
The Secretary of Commerce ordered Romulo
Mercado to remove the two dikes which he had
constructed at both ends of the creek. Eufemia
Mercado appealed the order of the Secretary of

Whether the subject property belong to
Eufemia Mercado.
No. Articles 339 of the Spanish Civil Code of
1889 provides that property of public
ownership includes that devoted to public use,
such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports
and bridges constructed by the State,
riverbanks, shores, roadsteads, and that of a
similar character. Article 407 of the same
Code provides that (1) Rivers and their natural
channels; (2) Continuous or intermittent waters
from springs or brooks running in then natural
channels and the channels themselves; (3)
Waters rising continuously or intermittently on
lands of public; xxx (8) Waters which flow
continuously or intermittently from lands
belonging to private persons, to the State, to
provinces, or to towns from the moment they
leave such lands; xxx are of public ownership.
Article 408 of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889
provides that (1) Waters, either continuous or
intermittent rising on private estates, while
they run through them; (2) Lakes and ponds
and their beds when formed by nature on such
estates; (3) Subterranean waters found therein;
(4) Rain waters falling thereon as long as they
remain within their boundaries; and (5) The
channels of flowing streams, continuous or
intermittent formed by rain water, and those of
brooks crossing estates which are not of public
ownership are of private ownership. Further,
the water, bed, banks, and floodgates of a
ditch or aqueduct are deemed to be an integral
part of the estate or building for which the
waters are intended. The owners of estates
through or along the boundaries of which the
aqueduct passes can assert no ownership over
it, nor any right to make use of its beds or
banks, unless they base their claim on title
deed which specify the right or the ownership
Appellant cannot invoke in her favor the Article
408 (5) on the ground that although it is true
that the BatasanLimasan or Pinac Bugalun
creek passes through her hacienda, it is none
the less true that it is not included in any of the
kinds of private property therein enumerated.
The appellant and her predecessors in interest,
in closing the two openings of the said creek
and converting it into a fish pond, not only

appropriated for themselves the channel of the

said creek but also the creek itself.

of Title, the title thereon is indefeasible and


Creeks are property of public domain. Article

339 provides that canals, rivers, torrents, and
those of a similar character are property of
public ownership, and the similarity between
rivers, canals, and creeks undoubtedly obvious
on the ground that, as has been stated, a creek
is no other than arm extending from a river.

Petitioner herein filed suit in the Court of First

Instance of Rizal which rendered a decision
declaring that the Secretary of Public Works
and Communications was in error in ordering
the demolition of the dikes and other
constructions of the petitioner Vda. de
Villongco on the ground that said portion falls
under the exception of Section 2 of Republic
Act No. 2056, because it does not interfere with
navigation and does not produce inundation
and the dikes were constructed before the area
was a fishing ground.

G.R. No. L-17240

January 31, 1962


AL., petitioners-appellees,
HON. FLORENCIO MORENO, in his capacity
as Secretary, Department of Public Works
and Communications
and BENIGNO MUSNI, respondentsappellants.
This case involves the application and
interpretation of Republic Act. No. 2056,
entitled "An Act to prohibit, remove and/or
demolish the construction of dams, dikes or
any works in public navigable waters or
waterways and in communal fishing grounds,
to regulate works in such waters or waterways
and in communal fishing grounds, and to
provide penalties for its violation, and for other
On August 15, 1958, Senator Rogelio de la
Rosa complained with the Secretary of Public
Works and Communications against several
fishpond owners in Macabebe, Pampanga,
among whom is petitioner herein Clemencia B.
Vda. de Villongco. The complaint charges that
petitioner has appropriated a portion of the
coastal waters of Pampanga, locally known as
"Pantion", converting portions of the coastal
areas into fishponds. Investigations were
conducted under the authority of the Secretary.
It was found that the conversion of this area
into a fishpond by the petitioner deprived
complainants of the uses of the area as a
fishing ground and for navigation. The
petitioners contend that this area is owned by
them as shown by the title. A relocation survey,
based on the title, was made to determine
whether the fishpond constructions and/or
works of the petitioner are within the titled
property. Said survey shows that a portion of
Manila Bay was included as part of the
fishpond. Thereafter, the petitioner insists that
the area being covered by a Torrens Certificate

The respondent Secretary has appealed from

the decision.
Whether the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications was correct in ordering for the
removal of the dikes constructed by the
petitioner herewith.
Yes. The provisions of RA 2056 disclose that the
authority granted the Secretary of Public Works
and Communications is to declare that the
construction or building of dams, dikes or any
other works encroaching on navigable rivers,
streams, or any other navigable public waters
or waterways is prohibited and to order their
removal or demolition.
The area included in the dikes of the petitioner
was not a part of the land titled in the name of
the petitioner, as shown by the fact that the
titled land is clearly a portion of the Manila Bay
area or coastal area.
Therefore, it is a public property, not
susceptible to appropriation by any private
individual, not only because it belongs to the
State but also because it is used as a
G.R. No. L-26053
February 21,
CITY OF MANILA, plaintiff-appellee,


MIRANDA EMIGDIO EGIPTO, defendantsappellants.
Plaintiff City of Manila is owner of parcels of
land, forming one compact area in Malate,
Manila, and covered by Torrens Titles. Shortly
after liberation from 1945 to 1947, defendants
entered upon these premises without plaintiff's
knowledge and consent. They built houses of
second-class materials, again without plaintiff's
knowledge and consent, and without the
necessary building permits from the city. There
they lived thru the years to the present.
Few years thereafter, defendants were given
written permits each labeled "lease
contract" to occupy specific areas in the
property upon conditions therein set forth. For
their occupancy, defendants were charged
nominal rentals.
Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School is
close, though not contiguous, to the property.
Came the need for this school's expansion,
plaintiff's City Engineer, pursuant to the
Mayor's directive to clear squatters' houses on
city property, gave each of defendants to
vacate and remove his construction or
improvement on the premises. This was
followed by the City Treasurer's demand on
each defendant for the payment of the amount
due by reason of the occupancy and to vacate.
The judgment below directed defendants to
vacate the premises. Defendants appealed.
Whether the trial court properly found that the
city needs the premises for school purposes.
Ordinance 4566 itself confirms the certification
that an appropriation of P100,000.00 was set
aside for the "construction of additional
building" of the Epifanio de los Santos
Elementary School. The defendants were
wrong in insisting that they have acquired the
legal status of tenants. They entered the land,
built houses of second-class materials thereon
without the knowledge and consent of the city.
Their homes were erected without city pemits,
thus, illegal. In a language familiar to all,
defendants are squatters.
These permits, erroneously labeled "lease"
contracts, were issued when the effects of the

war had simmered down and when these

defendants could have very well adjusted
themselves. Two decades have now elapsed
since the unlawful entry. Defendants could
have, if they wanted to, located permanent
premises for their abode. And yet, usurpers
that they are, they preferred to remain on city
property. Defendants' entry as aforesaid was
illegal. Their constructions are as illegal,
without permits.
The houses and constructions planted by
defendants on the premises clearly hinder and
impair the use of that property for school
purposes. The courts may well take judicial
notice of the fact that housing school children
in the elementary grades has been and still is a
perennial problem in the city. The selfish
interests of defendants must have to yield to
the general good. The public purpose of
constructing the school building annex is
[G.R. No. 111088. June 13, 1997]
(CMTC), petitioner,
HON. ANGEL C. ALCALA, Secretary of the
Department of Environment & Natural
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, and
Executive Secretary for Legal
C & M Timber Corporation seeks the
nullification of the order of the Office of the
President, declaring as of no force and effect
Timber License Agreement issued to petitioner
covering hectares of forest land in the Province
of Aurora and Quirino Province.
It appears that Filipinas Loggers Development
Corporation (FLDC), through its president and
general manager, requested a timber
concession over the same area covered by
petitioners alleging that the same had been
cancelled pursuant to a presidential directive
banning all forms of logging in the area.
Accordingly the Ministry of Natural Resources
issued TLA covering the same area, thus,
began logging operations
Then Minister of Natural Resources suspended
the TLA for FLDCs gross violation of the terms

and conditions thereof, especially the

reforestation and selective logging activities
and in consonance with the national policy on
forest conservation. In spite of the suspension,
said concessionaire has continued logging
operations in violation of forestry rules and

to contest first the suspension of its license on

June 3, 1983 and later its cancellation on
August 24, 1983 must be deemed fatal to its
present action.

Learning of the cancellation of FLDCs

TLA, petitioner requested for the revalidation of
its TLA. Petitioner alleged that because of the
log ban imposed by the previous administration
it had to stop its logging operations, but that
when the ban was lifted, its concession area
was awarded to FLDC. Petitioner prayed that it
be allowed to resume logging operations.

[G. R. No. 132115. January 4, 2002]

Secretary Fulgencio Factoran, Jr., of the DENR,

declared petitioners TLA as of no more force
and effect and consequently denied the
petition for its restoration. It was ruled that
petitioners petition was barred by reason of
laches, because petitioner did not file its
opposition to the issuance of a TLA to FLDC. In
the decision the Office of the President, the
DENRs order was affirmed. Hence, this petition.
Whether petitioners suspended TLA is still in
force and effect
No. After suspending petitioners TLA for
mediocre performance in reforestation under
an order, the DENR consequently cancelled the
TLA a few years later because of a Presidential
directive imposing a log ban.
It thus appears that petitioners license had
been cancelled way back before its concession
was awarded to FLDC. It is noteworthy that
petitioner admits that at the time of the award
to FLDC in 1984 petitioner was no longer
operating its concession because of a log ban
although it claims that the suspension of
operations was only temporary. As a result of
the log ban, the TLA of petitioner, along with
those of other loggers in the region, were
cancelled and petitioner and others were
ordered to stop operations.
Petitioner also admits that it received a
telegram sent on August 24, 1983 by Director
Cortes of the BFD, directing it to stop all
logging operations to conserve our remaining
forests. Now petitioner did not protest the
cancellation of its TLA. Consequently, even if
consideration is given to the fact that a year
later, on September 24, 1984, its counsel
protested the grant of the concession to
another party (FLDC), this failure of petitioner


AZARRAGA, respondents.

Private respondent spouses Diosdado and
Lolita Acebo Azarraga owned a house and lot
located at Las Pias, Metro Manila. Lolita
obtained a loan from petitioner Teofilo Villarico
and as security, she mortgaged the subject
house and lot.
Lolita failed to pay the loan. Consequently,
mortgage. Being the highest bidder in the
public auction, Teofilo was issued a Sheriffs
Certificate of Sale, which he registered in the
Register of Deeds of Rizal. The title over the
subject property was subsequently transferred
to Teofilos name.
When the period for redemption lapsed without
the property being redeemed, Teofilo filed
an ex-parte petition for the issuance of a writ of
possession. This caused Diosdado to institute
civil case for nullification of real estate
mortgage, alleging that the real estate
simulated because he did not sign the
same. He was in Malaysia on the date of its
alleged execution. He also alleged irregularities
in the extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings.
The trial court rendered its judgment declaring
the real estate mortgage null and void.
Aggrieved, petitioner Teofilo interposed an
appeal before the CA which later affirmed the
lower courts decision.

Whether petitioner Teofilo is a mortgageepurchaser in good faith for value of the subject
Petitioner Teofilo claims that he is a mortgageepurchaser in good faith and for value because
before he entered into the contract of
mortgage, he verified first the genuineness of
private respondents title. When petitioner
learned that the title was in the name of
Diosdado Azarraga, petitioner agreed to
contract with Lolita Azarraga only upon the
latters assurance that Diosdado will sign the
deed. On the date of signing the deed, Lolita
introduced to him a man who claimed to be
Diosdado, and the man signed the deed. When
Lolita failed to redeem the property after
several demands, he caused the foreclosure of
the mortgage. According to petitioner, all
these show that he was a mortgagee-purchaser
in good faith and for value who is not required
to look beyond the face of the title covering the
property. Additionally, according to petitioner,
it was Diosdados negligence which made
possible Lolitas commission of fraud. For
Diosdado allowed Lolita to keep the title over
the mortgaged property even though they had
long been separated from each other.

Private respondent Lolita Azarraga, in her

comment, claims that the mortgage deed and
null. Being so, all the documents that emanate
from the same, like the Certificate of Sale on
which the trial court based the amount
of P210,000 adjudged to be the amount of her
loan to petitioner, had no force and
effect. According to Lolita, it is not true that she
is indebted to petitioner in the said amount. For
she only received P80,000 from petitioner.
Private respondent Diosdado Azarraga, in his
comment, states that the issue raised by
petitioner is factual, hence beyond the
competence of this Court in a petition for
review. He adds that the petition was filed only
to delay the cancellation of the mortgage deed.
contention, in our view, is meritorious. Whether
petitioner is a mortgagee-purchaser in good
faith and for value is a factual issue. In a
petition for review, only questions of law may
be raised. Even though there are exceptions,
petitioner did not show that this case is one of
them. The same principle applies to the claim
of Lolita Azarraga concerning the amount of
her loan obligation. Being factual, we are not
inclined to disturb the findings of the trial
court, affirmed by the Court of Appeals.