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Chavez v. Public Estates Authority
Assigned Readings:
1. Separate opinion of justice Puno Cruz and Europa v. Secretary --- focus
on Regalian Doctrine
2. Ayog v. Cusi
3. Republic v. INC June 29, 1982
4. Republic v. Quasha Aug 17, 1972
5. GR No. 113539 March 12, 1998
GRADED RECIT NXT WIK!
The Regalian Doctrine and Related
Concepts in the 1987 Consti.
REGALIAN DOCTRINE or JURA REGALIA
- this doctrine takes its roots from the
Spanish colonization here in the country.
Basically, eventually incorporated in our
Constitutions (1935, 1973 and 1987).
As a historical overview of the Regalian
Doctrine in the Philippine legal system,
we have Chavez v. PEA. Chavez
pronounced that the Regalian Doctrine
holds that the State owns all lands and
waters of the public domain. Upon the
Spanish conquest of the Philippines,
ownership of all lands, territories and
possessions of the Philippines passed to
the Spanish Crown. May iba kase na if
you are being asked of what is or how
do you define the Regalian Doctrine,
some would explain it in relation to how
it was used in the Spanish treaties
which is okay for our purposes on
Natural Resources but we relate that to
how it is being incorporated in the 1987
Constitution which well learn later on.
So Chavez pronouced that the King as
the
sovereign
ruler
and
representative
of
the
people
acquired all lands and territories in
the Philippines except those he
disposed of by grant or sale to
private individuals. The 1935, 1973

and 1987 Constitutions adopted the


Regalian Doctrine substituting the State
in lieu of the King.
Kase before, all lands and waters are
owned by the Crown/King. So thats the
phrasing before.
CHAVEZ vs. PEA and AMARI [G.R.
No. 133250, July 9, 2002, en banc
decision]
Facts:
-November 20, 1973: Commissioner of
Public Highways, signed a contract with
the Construction and Development
Corporation of the Philippines ("CDCP"
for brevity) to reclaim certain foreshore
and offshore areas of Manila Bay. The
contract also included the construction
of Phases I and II of the Manila-Cavite
Coastal Road. CDCP obligated itself to
carry out all the works in consideration
of fifty percent of the total reclaimed
land.
-February 4, 1977: Marcos issued
Presidential Decree No. 1084 creating
PEA with primary mandate "to reclaim
land, including foreshore and submerged
areas," and "to develop, improve,
acquire, x x x lease and sell any and all
kinds of lands."
-On the same date, Presidential Decree
No. 1085 was signed transferring to PEA
the "lands reclaimed in the foreshore
and offshore of the Manila Bay" under
the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road and
Reclamation Project (MCCRRP).
-December 29, 1981: Pres. Marcos
issued a memorandum directing PEA to
amend its contract with CDCP directing
that all future works in MCCRRP shall be
funded and owned by PEA.
-January 19, 1988: Pres.Aquino issued
Special Patent No. 3517, granting and
transferring to PEA the parcels of land
already reclaimed under the ManilaCavite Coastal Road and Reclamation

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Project (MCCRRP) containing a total
area of one million nine hundred fifteen
thousand eight hundred ninety four
(1,915,894) square meters.
-April 9, 1988: Paraaque RD issued
TCT Nos. 7309, 7311, and 7312, in the
name of PEA, covering the three
reclaimed
islands
known
as
the
"Freedom Islands" located at the
southern portion of the Manila-Cavite
Coastal Road, Paraaque City.
-The Freedom Islands have a total land
157.841 hectares.
-April 25, 1995: PEA entered into a JVA
with AMARI to develop the Freedom
Islands. The JVA also required the
reclamation of an additional 250
hectares
of
submerged
areas
surrounding these islands to complete
the
configuration
in
the
Master
Development Plan of the Southern
Reclamation Project-MCCRRP. The JVA
was entered without public bidding.
-April 27, 1998: petitioner Chavez, as
taxpayer, filed a petition for mandamus
contending that the government stands
to lose billions of pesos in the sale by
PEA of the reclaimed lands to AMARI.
-Petitioner assails the sale to AMARI of
lands of the public domain as a blatant
violation of Section 3, Article XII of the
1987 Constitution prohibiting the sale of
alienable lands of the public domain to
private corporations.
-April 28, 1995: PEA Board confirmed
the JVA.
-June 8, 1995, Pres. Ramos approved
the JVA.
-November 29, 1996: then Senate Pres.
Maceda delivered a privilege speech
calling the JVA as the "grandmother of
all scams. A senate investigation
followed.
-March 30, 1999:

PEA and AMARI

signed the
Agreement.

Amended

Joint

Venture

-May 28, 1999: President


approved the Amended JVA.

Estrada

-The Amended JVA covers a reclamation


area of 750 hectares. Only 157.84
hectares of the 750-hectare reclamation
project have been reclaimed, and the
rest of the 592.15 hectares are still
submerged areas forming part of Manila
Bay.
-Under the Amended JVA, AMARI will
reimburse
PEA
the
sum
of
P1,894,129,200.00 for PEA's "actual
cost" in partially reclaiming the Freedom
Islands.
-AMARI will also complete, at its own
expense, the
reclamation of the
Freedom Islands. AMARI will further
shoulder all the reclamation costs of all
the other areas, totaling 592.15
hectares, still to be reclaimed.
-AMARI and PEA will share, in the
proportion of 70 percent and 30
percent, respectively, the total net
usable area which is defined in the
Amended JVA as the total reclaimed
area less 30 percent earmarked for
common areas.
-Under the Amended JVA AMARI will
acquire and own a maximum of 367.5
hectares of reclaimed land which will be
titled in its name.
Issue: WHETHER THE STIPULATIONS
IN THE AMENDED JOINT VENTURE
AGREEMENT FOR THE TRANSFER TO
AMARI OF CERTAIN LANDS, RECLAIMED
AND STILL TO BE RECLAIMED, VIOLATE
THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.
Held: The ownership of lands reclaimed
from foreshore and submerged areas is
rooted in the Regalian doctrine which
holds that the State owns all lands and
waters of the public domain.
Commonwealth Act No. 141, also known

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as the Public Land Act, which authorized
the lease, but not the sale, of reclaimed
lands of the government to corporations
and individuals. CA No. 141 continues to
this day as the general law governing
the classification and disposition of lands
of the public domain.
The State policy prohibiting the sale to
private parties of government reclaimed,
foreshore and marshy alienable lands of
the public domain, first implemented in
1907 was thus reaffirmed in CA No. 141
after the 1935 Constitution took effect .
Foreshore lands became inalienable as
natural resources of the State, unless
reclaimed by the government and
classified as agricultural lands of the
public domain, in which case they would
fall
under
the
classification
of
government reclaimed lands.
After the effectivity of the 1935
Constitution, government reclaimed and
marshy disposable lands of the public
domain continued to be only leased and
not sold to private parties.
These lands remained sui generis, as
the only alienable or disposable lands of
the public domain the government could
not sell to private parties.
Since then and until now, the only way
the government can sell to private
parties government reclaimed and
marshy disposable lands of the public
domain is for the legislature to pass a
law authorizing such sale.
CA No. 141 does not authorize the
President to reclassify government
reclaimed and marshy lands into other
non-agricultural lands under Section 59
(d).
Lands classified under Section 59 (d)
are the only alienable or disposable
lands for non-agricultural purposes that
the government could sell to private
parties.

Most importantly, Section 60 of CA No.


141 expressly requires congressional
authority before lands under Section 59
that
the
government
previously
transferred to government units or
entities could be sold to private parties.
One reason for the congressional
authority is that Section 60 of CA No.
141 exempted government units and
entities from the maximum area of
public lands that could be acquired from
the State.
These government units and entities
should not just turn around and sell
these lands to private parties in violation
of constitutional or statutory limitations.
The 1987 Constitution continues the
State policy in the 1973 Constitution
banning
private
corporations
from
acquiring any kind of alienable land of
the public domain. Like the 1973
Constitution, the 1987 Constitution
allows private corporations to hold
alienable lands of the public domain only
through lease.
One purpose of the constitutional
prohibition against purchases of public
agricultural
lands
by
private
corporations is to equitably diffuse land
ownership or to encourage 'ownercultivatorship and the economic familysize farm'. Huge landholdings by
corporations or private persons had
spawned social unrest."
The Amended JVA covers not only the
Freedom Islands, but also an additional
592.15
hectares
which
are
still
submerged and forming part of Manila
Bay.
There is no legislative or Presidential act
classifying these submerged areas as
alienable or disposable lands of the
public domain open to disposition.
There can be no dispute that these
submerged areas form part of the public
domain, and in their present state are

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inalienable and outside the commerce of
man.
The mere fact that alienable lands of the
public domain like the Freedom Islands
are transferred to PEA and issued land
patents or certificates of title in PEA's
name does not automatically make such
lands private.
To allow vast areas of reclaimed lands of
the public domain to be transferred to
PEA as private lands will sanction a
gross violation of the constitutional ban
on private corporations from acquiring
any kind of alienable land of the public
domain.
SUMMARY OF THE RULING:
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 592.15 hectares of 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
such
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 592.15
hectares of submerged areas are
inalienable and outside the commerce of
man.
Since the Amended JVA seeks to
transfer to AMARI, a private corporation,

ownership of 77.34 hectares 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 290.156
hectares 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.

CHAVEZ vs. PEA and AMARI [G.R.


No. 133250, November 11, 2003
Resolution of MR]
Submerged lands, like the waters (sea
or bay) above them, are part of the
States inalienable natural resources.
Submerged lands are property of public
dominion, absolutely inalienable and
outside the commerce of man. This is
also true with respect to foreshore
lands. Any sale of submerged or
foreshore lands is void being contrary to
the Constitution.
Commonwealth Act No. 141, "foreshore
and lands under water were not to be
alienated and sold to private parties,"
PEA is the central implementing agency
tasked
to
undertake
reclamation
projects nationwide.
PEA took the place of the Department of

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Environment and Natural Resources
("DENR" for brevity) as the government
agency charged with leasing or selling
all reclaimed lands of the public domain.
In the hands of PEA, which took over
the leasing and selling functions of
DENR,
reclaimed
foreshore
(or
submerged lands) lands are public lands
in the same manner that these same
lands would have been public lands in
the hands of DENR.
This scheme will effectively nullify the
constitutional ban in Section 3, Article
XII of the 1987 Constitution which was
intended to diffuse equitably the
ownership of alienable lands of the
public domain among Filipinos, now
numbering over 80 million strong.
As we held in our 9 July 2002 Decision,
the Amended JVA "violates glaringly
Sections 2 and 3, Article XII of the 1987
Constitution.
In our 6 May 2003 Resolution, we
DENIED with FINALITY respondents
Motions for Reconsideration. Litigations
must end some time. It is now time to
write finis to this "Grandmother of All
Scams."
To allow vast areas of reclaimed lands of
the public domain to be transferred to
PEA as private lands will sanction a
gross violation of the constitutional ban
on private corporations from acquiring
any kind of alienable land of the public
domain.
PEA will simply turn around, as PEA has
now done under the Amended JVA, and
transfer several hundreds of hectares of
these reclaimed and still to be reclaimed
lands to a single private corporation in
only one transaction.
The Regalian Doctrine is the foundation
of the time-honored principle of land
ownership that all lands that were not
acquired from the government either by
purchase or by grant belong to the

public domain. So now it is presently


incorporated under Section 2, Article 12
or
the
NATIONAL
ECONOMY
&
PATRIMONY
OF
THE
1987
CONSTITUTION.
IMPORTANT! The 1st sentence of Section
2.
Article 12, Section 2, 1987 Constitution.
All lands of the public domain,
waters, minerals, coal, petroleum,
and other mineral oils, all forces of
potential energy fisheries, forests or
timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and
other natural resources are owned
by the State. With the exception of
agricultural lands, all other natural
resources shall not be alienated. The
exploration, development, and utilization
of natural resources shall be under the
full control and supervision of the State.
The State may directly undertake such
activities, or it may enter into coproduction, joint venture, or productionsharing
agreements
with
Filipino
citizens, or corporations or associations
at least sixty percentum of whose
capital is owned by such citizens. Such
agreements may be for a period not
exceeding twenty-five years, renewable
for not more than twenty--five years,
and under such terms and conditions as
may be proovided by law. In cases of
water rights for irrigation, water supply,
fisheries, or industrial uses other than
the development of water power,
beneficial use may be the measure and
limit of the grant.
The State shall protect the nations
maritime wealth in its archipelagic
waters, territorial sea, and exclusive
economic zone, and reserve its use and
enjoyment exclusively to Flipino citizens.
The Congress may, by law, allow smallscale utilization of natural resources by
Filipino citizens, as well as cooperrative
fish farming, with priority subsistence
fishermen and fishworkers in rivers,
lakes, bays, and lagoons.

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The
President
may
enter
into
agreements
wiith
foreign-owned
corporations involving either techinical
or financial assistance forlarge scale
exploration, development, utilization of
minerals, petroleum, and other mineral
oils according to the general terms and
conditions provided by law, based on
realcontributions
to
the
economic
growth and general welfare of the
country. In such agreements, the State
shall promote the development and use
of
local,
scientific
and
technical
resources.
The President shall notify the Congress
of every contract entered into in
accordance with this provision, within 30
days from its execution.
Basically, Section 2 talks of course the
1st portion would be the Regalian
Doctrine. And then, the succeeding
sentences
actually
talk
of
the
Constitutional
limitations
of
the
exploration, development and utilization
of natural resources. This is perhaps the
core of our initial study in the Law of
Natural Resources. Section 2 is very
important.
So we start with start with the concept
of Regalian Doctrine as provided in the
1st sentence and the limitations as
provided in the succeeding sentences.

REGALIAN DOCTRINE under Section


2.
So ALL NATURAL RESOURCES
OWNED BY THE STATE.

are

So we all know that under the present


Constitution, as phrased in Section 2,
the Regalian Doctrine is already stripped
off of its medieval connotations, like
yung paano cya narelate to the Crown,
to the King or to the Queen. So
although the Doctrine is still phrased as
the Regalian Doctrine, pertaining to the
Crown, the King or the Queen, basically,
for concept purposes wala na cya. It is
being substituted by the concept of the
State.
IMPORTANT LEGAL CONSEQUENCES
OF THE REGALIAN DOCTRINE:
1. Any person claiming any portion of
the public domain must be able to
show title from the State.
EXPLANATION: there is still a need of
title from the state because it is still
public property or part of the public
domain. So it can be such title can be
obtained from the recognized MODES
OF ACQUISITION OF TITLE which we
will tackle lateras provided in CA 141.
2. The presumption that such property,
if you cannot provide or show title, is
presumptively belonging to the State.

So when we discuss Section 2, of Article


12 of the present Constitution, we take
note of these concepts of imperium
and dominium.

EXPLANATION: So public lands not


shown to be reclassified or released as
alienable agricultural land or alienated
to a private person by the State shall be
made part of the public domain.

A. IMPERIUM - the govt authority


posessed by the State expressed in the
concept of sovereignty.

3. Although
when
the
colonizers
introduced the Regalian Doctrine here in
the Philippines, it was not intended to
strip from the natives the concept of
native
title.
(Carino
v.
Insular
Government).

B. DOMINIUM - the capacity of the


State to own and acquire property.
This
principle of dominium is
basically
the
foundation
of
the

Carino v. Insular Government

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When as far back as testimony or
memory goes, the land has been held of
individuals under a claim of private
ownership, it will be presumed to have
been held ___ from before the
Spanish conquest and never to have
been public land.

ANS: Only Filipinos


Corporations.

and

Filipino

2. How would such EDU be done?


ANS: It is either:
A.) Direct undertaking by the State

So we will reach to that when we


discuss IPRA.
4. Any minerals discovered on a land
even if such aland is settled to be
private land, still the minerals are
reserved to the State.
EXPLANATION: Kase it is provided that
ALL
natural
resources,
including
minerals, belong to the State. In fact,
any private use of the minerals may be
discontinued by the State to enable it to
extract said minerals in the exercise of
its sovereign prerogative.
LIMITS OF DOMINIUM (Section 2,
Article 12, 1987 Constitution):

B.) Co-production, Joint venture or


production-sharing agreements with the
State *Still under the full control and
supervision of the State.
We quote of Section 2:
The exploration, development, and
utilization of natural resources shall be
under the full control and supervision of
the State. The State may directly
undertake such activities, or it may
enter into co-production, joint venture,
or production-sharing agreements with
Filipino citizens, or corporations or
associations at least sixty percentum of
whose capital is owned by such citizens.

NOTE: The entire Section 2.


With the exception of agricultural lands,
all other natural resources shall not be
alienated.
While
the
concept
of
dominium
necessarily includes the power of the
State to alienate what is owned by the
State, there is a specific provision in the
Constitution that ONLY agricultural
lands may be alienated.
So we proceed with the next limitation
on the Exploration, Development and
Utilization (EDU).
For EDU concerns, the important
concepts would be the following:
1. Who may participate in the EDU of
the natural resources in alienable
resources?

It is said that the present Constitution


has departed from the earlier provisions
which had prescribed that Natural
Resources could only be explored,
developed or utilized by licensed
concession or lease. It is provided in
Section 8, Article 14 in National
Economy and Patrimony of the 1973
Constitution. So it was different before.
Kase in 1973 Constitution, klaro na it
could only be by EDU, it could only be
by licensed concession or lease. It is
very technical, but now it has changed
to DIRECT UNDERTAKING, JOINT
VENTURE
or
PRODUCTIONSHARING AGREEMENTS.
Minors Association of the
Philippines v. Factoran (240 SCRA
100)
This ammendment or a change of rule is
not retroactive. So it applies only upon

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the enactment of the 1987 Constitution.
So other limitations, still on Section 2
we have the period for the agreements.
So we mentioned earlier a coproduction, JVA, etc.
So such agreements, according to the
Constitution, may be for a period not
exceeding 25 years renewable for a
period of not more than 25 years and
other such terms and conditions as may
be provided by law. In cases of water
rights for irrigation, water supply,
fisheries, or industrial uses other than
the development of water power,
beneficial use may be the measure and
limit of the grant.
So we dissect the provision. Just take
note na 2 and periods provided in the
Section:
A. First, is the 25 year limit of the
exploitation of natural resources, but
which is not applicable to water right for
irrigation etc. Because, the measure and
the limit of the grant is beneficial use.
So when you are asked of what is the
limit in the agreements provided in
Section 2 as a Constitutional limitation,
you categorize. If hindi cya water rights
blah blah blah, that is 25 years
renewable for another 25 years. For
water rights, the measure and limit of
the grant is beneficial use.
15.35