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G.R. No.

81163 September 26, 1988
EDUARDO S. BARANDA and ALFONSO HITALIA, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE JUDGE TITO GUSTILO, ACTING REGISTER OF DEEDS AVITO SACLAUSO, HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and
ATTY. HECTOR P. TEODOSIO, respondents.
Eduardo S. Baranda for petitioners.
Rico & Associates for private respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
Eduardo S. Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia were the petitioners in G.R. No. 64432 and the private respondents in G.R. No. 62042. The subject
matter of these two (2) cases and the instant case is the same — a parcel of land designated as Lot No. 4517 of the Cadastral Survey of Sta.
Barbara, Iloilo covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 6406.
The present petition arose from the same facts and events which triggered the filing of the earlier petitions. These facts and events are cited
in our resolution dated December 29, 1983 in G.R. No. 64432, as follows:
. . . This case has its origins in a petition for reconstitution of title filed with the Court of First Instance of Iloilo involving a
parcel of land known as Lot No. 4517 of the Sta. Barbara Cadastre covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 6406 in
the name of Romana Hitalia. Eventually, Original Certificate of Title No. 6406 was cancelled and Transfer Certificate of
Title No. 106098 was issued in the names of Alfonso Hitalia and Eduardo S. Baranda The Court issued a writ of
possession which Gregorio Perez, Maria P. Gotera and Susana Silao refused to honor on the ground that they also
have TCT No. 25772 over the same Lot No. 4517. The Court, after considering the private respondents' opposition and
finding TCT No. 25772 fraudulently acquired, ordered that the writ of possession be carried out. A motion for
reconsideration having been denied, a writ of demolition was issued on March 29, 1982. Perez and Gotera filed a
petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Court of Appeals. On August 6, 1982, the Court of Appeals denied the
petition. Perez and Gotera filed the petition for review on certiorari denominated as G.R. No. 62042 before the
Supreme Court. As earlier stated the petition was denied in a resolution dated January 7,1983. The motion for
reconsideration was denied in another resolution dated March 25, 1983, which also stated that the denial is final. This
decision in G.R. No. 62042, in accordance with the entry of judgment, became final on March 25, 1983. The petitioners
in the instant case G.R. No. 64432--contend that the writs of possession and demolition issued in the respondent court
should now be implemented; that Civil Case No. 00827 before the Intermediate Appellate Court was filed only to delay
the implementation of the writ; that counsel for the respondent should be held in contempt of court for engaging in a
concerted but futile effort to delay the execution of the writs of possession and demolition and that petitioners are
entitled to damages because of prejudice caused by the filing of this petition before the Intermediate Appellate Court.
On September 26, 1983, this Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order ' to maintain the status quo, both in the
Intermediate Appellate Court and in the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo. Considering that (l)there is merit in the instant
petition for indeed the issues discussed in G.R. No. 64432 as raised in Civil Case No. 00827 before the respondent
court have already been passed upon in G.R. No. 62042; and (2) the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the
Intermediate Appellate Court was only intended not to render the petition moot and academic pending the Court's
consideration of the issues, the Court RESOLVED to DIRECT the respondent Intermediate Appellate Court not to take
cognizance of issues already resolved by this Court and accordingly DISMISS the petition in Civil Case No. 00827.
Immediate implementation of the writs of possession and demolition is likewise ordered. (pp. 107-108, Rollo — G.R.
No. 64432)
On May 9, 1984, the Court issued a resolution denying with finality a motion for reconsideration of the December 29, 1983 resolution in G.R.
No. 64432. On this same date, another resolution was issued, this time in G.R. No. 62042, referring to the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo the
ex-parte motion of the private respondents (Baranda and Hitalia) for execution of the judgment in the resolutions dated January 7, 1983 and
March 9, 1983. In the meantime, the then Intermediate Appellate Court issued a resolution dated February 10, 1984, dismissing Civil Case
No. 00827 which covered the same subject matter as the Resolutions above cited pursuant to our Resolution dated December 29, 1983. The
resolution dated December 29, 1983 in G.R. No. 64432 became final on May 20, 1984.
Upon motions of the petitioners, the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Branch 23 presided by Judge Tito G. Gustilo issued the following order:
Submitted are the following motions filed by movants Eduardo S. Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia through counsel dated
August 28, 1984:
(a) Reiterating Motion for Execution of Judgment of Resolutions dated January 7, 1983 and March 9, 1983
Promulgated by Honorable Supreme Court (First Division) in G.R. No. 62042;

(b) Motion for Execution of Judgment of Resolution dated December 29, 1983 Promulgated by Honorable Supreme
Court (First Division) in G.R. No. 64432;
(c) The Duties of the Register of Deeds are purely ministerial under Act 496, therefore she must register all orders,
judgment, resolutions of this Court and that of Honorable Supreme Court.
Finding the said motions meritorious and there being no opposition thereto, the same is hereby GRANTED.
WHEREFORE, Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-25772 is hereby declared null and void and Transfer Certificate of Title
No. T-106098 is hereby declared valid and subsisting title concerning the ownership of Eduardo S. Baranda and
Alfonso Hitalia, all of Sta. Barbara Cadastre.
The Acting Register of Deeds of Iloilo is further ordered to register the Subdivision Agreement of Eduardo S. Baranda
and Alfonso Hitalia as prayed for." (p. 466, Rollo--G.R. No. 64432)
The above order was set aside on October 8, 1984 upon a motion for reconsideration and manifestation filed by the Acting Registrar of
Deeds of Iloilo, Atty. Helen P. Sornito, on the ground that there was a pending case before this Court, an Action for Mandamus, Prohibition,
Injunction under G.R. No. 67661 filed by Atty. Eduardo Baranda, against the former which remained unresolved.
In view of this development, the petitioners filed in G.R. No. 62042 and G.R. No. 64432 ex-parte motions for issuance of an order directing
the Regional Trial Court and Acting Register of Deeds to execute and implement the judgments of this Court. They prayed that an order be
issued:
1. Ordering both the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo Branch XXIII, under Hon. Judge Tito G. Gustilo and the acting
Register of Deeds Helen P. Sornito to register the Order dated September 5, 1984 of the lower court;
2. To cancel No.T-25772. Likewise to cancel No.T-106098 and once cancelled to issue new certificates of title to each
of Eduardo S. Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia;
Plus other relief and remedies equitable under the premises. (p. 473, 64432 Rollo)
Acting on these motions, we issued on September 17,1986 a Resolution in G.R. No. 62042 and G.R. No. 64432 granting the motions as
prayed for. Acting on another motion of the same nature filed by the petitioners, we issued another Resolution dated October 8, 1986
referring the same to the Court Administrator for implementation by the judge below.
In compliance with our resolutions, the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Branch 23 presided by Judge Tito G. Gustilo issued two (2) orders dated
November 6,1986 and January 6,1987 respectively, to wit:
ORDER
This is an Ex-parte Motion and Manifestation submitted by the movants through counsel on October 20, 1986; the
Manifestation of Atty. Helen Sornito, Register of Deeds of the City of Iloilo, and formerly acting register of deeds for the
Province of Iloilo dated October 23, 1986 and the Manifestation of Atty. Avito S. Saclauso, Acting Register of Deeds,
Province of Iloilo dated November 5, 1986.
Considering that the motion of movants Atty. Eduardo S. Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia dated August 12, 1986 seeking
the full implementation of the writ of possession was granted by the Honorable Supreme Court, Second Division per its
Resolution dated September 17,1986, the present motion is hereby GRANTED.
WHEREFORE, the Acting Register of Deeds, Province of Iloilo, is hereby ordered to register the Order of this Court
dated September 5, 1984 as prayed for.
xxx xxx xxx
ORDER
This is a Manifestation and Urgent Petition for the Surrender of Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-25772 submitted by
the petitioners Atty. Eduardo S. Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia on December 2, 1986, in compliance with the order of this
Court dated November 25, 1 986, a Motion for Extension of Time to File Opposition filed by Maria Provido Gotera
through counsel on December 4, 1986 which was granted by the Court pursuant to its order dated December 15, 1986.
Considering that no Opposition was filed within the thirty (30) days period granted by the Court finding the petition
tenable, the same is hereby GRANTED.

WHEREFORE, Maria Provido Gotera is hereby ordered to surrender Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-25772 to this
Court within ten (10) days from the date of this order, after which period, Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-25772 is
hereby declared annulled and the Register of Deeds of Iloilo is ordered to issue a new Certificate of Title in lieu thereof
in the name of petitioners Atty. Eduardo S. Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia, which certificate shall contain a memorandum
of the annulment of the outstanding duplicate. (pp. 286-287, Rollo 64432)
On February 9, 1987, Atty. Hector Teodosio, the counsel of Gregorio Perez, private respondent in G.R. No. 64432 and petitioner in G.R. No.
62042, filed a motion for explanation in relation to the resolution dated September 17, 1986 and manifestation asking for clarification on the
following points:
a. As to the prayer of Atty. Eduardo Baranda for the cancellation of TCT T-25772, should the same be referred to the
Court of Appeals (as mentioned in the Resolution of November 27, 1985) or is it already deemed granted by implication
(by virtue of the Resolution dated September 17, 1986)?
b. Does the Resolution dated September 17, 1986 include not only the implementation of the writ of possession but
also the cancellation of TCT T-25772 and the subdivision of Lot 4517? (p. 536, Rollo — 4432)
Acting on this motion and the other motions filed by the parties, we issued a resolution dated May 25, 1987 noting all these motions and
stating therein:
xxx xxx xxx
Since entry of judgment in G.R. No. 62042 was made on January 7, 1983 and in G.R. No. 64432 on May 30, 1984, and
all that remains is the implementation of our resolutions, this COURT RESOLVED to refer the matters concerning the
execution of the decisions to the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City for appropriate action and to apply disciplinary
sanctions upon whoever attempts to trifle with the implementation of the resolutions of this Court. No further motions in
these cases will be entertained by this Court. (p. 615, Rollo-64432)
In the meantime, in compliance with the Regional Trial Court's orders dated November 6, 1986 and January 6, 1987, Acting Register of
Deeds AvitoSaclauso annotated the order declaring Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-25772 as null and void, cancelled the same and issued
new certificates of titles numbers T-111560, T-111561 and T-111562 in the name of petitioners Eduardo S. Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia in lieu
of Transfer Certificate of TItle No. T-106098.
However, a notice of lis pendens "on account of or by reason of a separate case (Civil Case No. 15871) still pending in the Court of Appeals"
was carried out and annotated in the new certificates of titles issued to the petitioners. This was upheld by the trial court after setting aside its
earlier order dated February 12, 1987 ordering the cancellation oflis pendens.
This prompted the petitioners to file another motion in G.R, No. 62042 and G.R. No. 64432 to order the trial court to reinstate its order dated
February 12, 1987 directing the Acting Register of Deeds to cancel the notice of lis pendensin the new certificates of titles.
In a resolution dated August 17, 1987, we resolved to refer the said motion to the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, Branch 23 for appropriate
action.
Since respondent Judge Tito Gustilo of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Branch 23 denied the petitioners' motion to reinstate the February
12, 1987 order in another order dated September 17, 1987, the petitioners filed this petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with
preliminary injunction to compel the respondent judge to reinstate his order dated February l2, 1987 directing the Acting Register of Deeds to
cancel the notice of lis pendens annotated in the new certificates of titles issued in the name of the petitioners.
The records show that after the Acting Register of Deeds annotated a notice of is pendens on the new certificates of titles issued in the name
of the petitioners, the petitioners filed in the reconstitution case an urgent ex-parte motion to immediately cancel notice of lis pendens
annotated thereon.
In his order dated February 12, 1987, respondent Judge Gustilo granted the motion and directed the Acting Register of Deeds of Iloilo to
cancel the lis pendens found on Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. T-106098; T-111560; T-111561 and T-111562.
Respondent Acting Register of Deeds Avito Saclauso filed a motion for reconsideration of the February 12, 1987 order stating therein:
That the undersigned hereby asks for a reconsideration of the said order based on the second paragraph of Section 77
of P.D. 1529, to wit:
"At any time after final judgment in favor of the defendant or other disposition of the action such
as to terminate finally all rights of the plaintiff in and to the land and/or buildings involved, in any
case in which a memorandum or notice of Lis Pendens has been registered as provided in the
preceding section, the notice of Lis Pendens shall be deemed cancelled upon the registration of a

No. the court issued an order dated October 24. Under these circumstances. only the Intermediate Court of Appeals and not this Honorable Court in a mere cadastral proceedings can order the cancellation of the Notice of Lis Pendens.R. versus Eduardo Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia. 15871 were not privies to the case affected by the Supreme Court resolutions. A corollary issue is on the nature of the duty of a Register of Deeds to annotate or annul a notice of lis pendens in a torrens certificate of title. Ricardo Provido. T-106098 covering Lot No.R. Sta. The issue hinges on whether or not the pendency of the appeal in Civil Case No. upon which the Notice of Lis Pendens was based is still pending with the Intermediate Court of Appeals. 15871 was filed.R.R. 62042. Hector P. No. stating the manner of disposal thereof. Maria Provido and Perfecto Provido. No. private respondents herein. Barbara Cadastre. No. 64432) from petitioners Baranda and Hitalia filed by Calixta Provido. 15871 were privies to G. Sta. Maria Provido Gotera was one of the petitioners in G. the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 1984 dismissing Civil Case No. 1587. 3.R. 106098 over the same parcel Lot No." That the lis pendens under Entry No. it is crystal clear that the Providos. Whether or not. Rollo) Adopting these arguments and on the ground that some if not all of the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 68-69. 1987 order directing the Acting Register of Deeds to cancel the notice of lis pendens annotated on the certificates of titles of the petitioners. among others. T-25772 issued in her name and the names of the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. This appeal is the reason why respondent Judge Gustilo recalled the February 12.D. in filing Civil Case No. Acting on a motion to dismiss filed by the petitioners. Ricardo Provido.R. 1987 order and granted the Acting Register of Deeds' motion for reconsideration.R.R. Teodosio. 64432. 427183 was annotated on T-106098. No. Although Calixta Provido. 4517. now pending with the Intermediate Court of Appeals. 4517. Rollo. No. 4517. 4517 of Sta. 62042 affirmed the order of the then Court of First Instance of Iloilo in the reconstitution proceedings declaring TCT No. "Calixta Provido. No. Barbara Cadastre in the name of petitioners Eduardo Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia valid and subsisting. (pp. Adil had the authority to declare as null and void the transfer certificate of title in the name of petitioner Maria Provido Gotera and her other coowners. Plaintiffs. T-111561 and T-111562 by virtue of a case docketed as Civil Case No. No. the cancellation of subject Notice of Lis Pendens can only be made or deemed cancelled upon the registration of the certificate of the Clerk of Court in which the action or proceeding was pending. Barbara Cadastre as shown by Transfer Certificate of Title No." That under the above-quoted provisions of P. one of the issues raised by petitioners Maria Provido Gotera and Gregoria Perez in G.certificate of the clerk of court in which the action or proceeding was pending stating the manner of disposal thereof. The decision in G. Barbara Cadastre. Emphasis supplied) It thus appears that the plaintiffs in Civil Case No.R. Civil Case No. 15871 were trying to delay the full implementation of the final decisions in G.1983 long before Civil Case No. Sta. Barbara Cadastre null and void for being fraudulently obtained and declaring TCT No. The purpose of a notice of lis pendens is defined in the following manner: . Rollo) In fact. Branch 23. respondent Judge Tito Gustilo set aside his February 12. 15871. This petition is impressed with merit.R. Sta. 62042. No 62042 and G. 62042 and G. Sr. 15871 was a complaint to seek recovery of Lot No. in the same reconstitution proceedings. 15871. 62042 was as follows: xxx xxx xxx 2. No. (p. 4517. 15871 with the Court of Appeals prevents the court from cancelling the notice of lis pendens in the certificates of titles of the petitioners which were earlier declared valid and subsisting by this Court in G. 15871 were not impleaded as parties. 4517.R. 51. 62042 contrary to the trial court's findings that they were not. Ricardo Provido. Maxima Provido and Perfecta Provido before the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo. Maxima Provido and Perfecta Provido. Considering that Civil Case No. 152. a notice of is pendens was annotated on petitioners' Certificate of Title No. Respondents. (Annex "E" G. entitled. 62042 became final and executory on March 25. Sta. 15871. 25772 in the name of Providos over Lot No. No. No.R. it is very clear in the petition that Maria Provido was acting on behalf of the Providos who allegedly are her co-owners in Lot No. Barbara Cadastre Iloilo. At the instance of Atty. The order was then appealed to the Court of Appeals. respondent Judge Midpantao L. 62042 as well as G. the Provides' counsel.. p. (the same subject matter of G. G. 64432 wherein this Court ordered immediate implementation of the writs of possession and demolition in the reconstitution proceedings involving Lot No. T-111560.

the proper court has the discretionary power to cancel it under peculiar circumstances. footnote 3. Rules of Court. . stating the ground or reasons therefore. Sta.R. Ortiz (10 SCRA 158). used in laws. 64432.. regulations or directives to express what is mandatory. (Aparri v. 11. . Esteban. must. p. are unnecessarily delaying the determination of the case to the prejudice of the defendant.. Presidential Decree No. The respondent Acting Register of Deeds did not have any legal standing to file a motion for reconsideration of the respondent Judge's Order directing him to cancel the notice of lis pendens annotated in the certificates of titles of the petitioners over the subject parcel of land. In case of doubt as to the proper step to be taken in pursuance of any deed . their meaning must be determined from the language employed and the statute must be taken to mean exactly what it says.R. Court of First Instance of Rizal. (Section 24. Court of First Instance of Rizal (70 Phil. If the instrument is not registrable.. 69 Phil. Rovira. 62042 and G.Lis pendens has been conceived to protect the real rights of the party causing the registration thereof With the lis pendens duly recorded. . (Victoriano v.R. RuIes of Court. In upholding the position of the Acting Register of Deeds based on Section 77 of Presidential Decree No. 1984 to the Court of Appeals. notice of lis pendens serves as a warning to a prospective purchaser or incumbrancer that the particular property is in litigation. as for instance. 1529. 1529 states that "It shall be the duty of the Register of Deeds to immediately register an instrument presented for registration dealing with real or personal property which complies with all the requisites for registration. He should never have allowed himself to become .. It may also be cancelled by the Register of Deeds upon verified petition of the party who caused the registration thereof. he shall forthwith deny registration thereof and inform the presentor of such denial in writing. the responsibility for the delays in the full implementation of this Court's already final resolutions in G. he could rest secure that he would not lose the property or any part of it. Barbara Cadastre falls on the respondent Judge. the Administrator of the National Land Title and Deeds Registration Administration in accordance with Section 117 of Presidential Decree No. to the effect that: We have once held that while ordinarily a notice of pendency which has been filed in a proper case.. 18 SCRA 481. instruments and the like is ministerial in nature.R. Barbara Cadastre cannot be cancelled on the ground of pendency of Civil Case No.obligation used to express a command or exhortation. mortgage or other instrument presented to him for registration or where any party in interest does not agree with the action taken by the Register of Deeds with reference to any such instrument. Jamora v. Rovila (55 Phil. 1529. 64432 which includes the cancellation of the notice of lis pendensannotated in the certificates of titles of the petitioners over Lot No.. 62042 and G. 127 SCRA 231.) (Natanov. unless of course he intends to gamble on the results of the litigation. 132 SCRA 663) The statute concerning the function of the Register of Deeds to register instruments in a torrens certificate of title is clear and leaves no room for construction. and where the continuances of the trial. supra) The facts of this case in relation to the earlier cases brought all the way to the Supreme Court illustrate how the private respondents tried to block but unsuccessfuly the already final decisions in G. or that it is not necessary to protect the rights of the party who caused it to be registered.. No.. No. Barbara Cadastre in the light of the final decisions in G. supra. Duran. 415. 363) and Sarmiento v. The facts obtaining in this case necessitate the application of the rule enunciated in the cases of Victoriano v. however. According to Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language — the word shall means "ought to. the notice of lis pendens in the certificates of titles of the petitioners over Lot No. In the ultimate analysis. The records of the main case are still with the court below but based on the order. No. Parenthetically. and that he should keep his hands off the same. Section 10. respondent Judge Tito Gustilo abused his discretion in sustaining the respondent Acting Register of Deeds' stand that." Section 117 provides that "When the Register of Deeds is in doubt with regard to the proper step to be taken or memoranda to be made in pursuance of any deed. For. it can be safely assumed that the various pleadings filed by the parties subsequent to the motion to dismiss filed by the petitioners (the defendants therein) touched on the issue of the validity of TCT No. The next question to be determined is on the nature of the duty of the Register of Deeds to annotate and/or cancel the notice of lis pendens in a torrens certificate of title. 1000). 3.R. Insular Bank of Asia and America Employees' Union [IBAAEU] v. 15871 with the Court of Appeals. or by the party in interest thru the Register of Deeds. he conveniently forgot the first paragraph thereof which provides: Cancellation of lis pendens. Municipal Council of Paranaque v. No. No. the question shall be submitted to the Commission of Land Registration by the Register of Deeds. where the evidence so far presented by the plaintiff does not bear out the main allegations of his complaint. . citing cases. 15871 prompting the private respondents to appeal said order dated October 10. or other instrument presented to him. for which the plaintiff is responsible. 485-486) The private respondents are not entitled to this protection. This Court cannot understand how respondent Judge Gustilo could have been misled by the respondent Acting Register of Deeds on this matter when in fact he was the same Judge who issued the order dismissing Civil Case No." The elementary rule in statutory construction is that when the words and phrases of the statute are clear and unequivocal.. 4517 of the Sta. No. — Before final judgment. Rule 14.R. et al. a notice of lis pendens may be cancelled upon Order of the Court after proper showing that the notice is for the purpose of molesting the adverse party. and advising him of his right to appeal by consulta in accordance with Section 117 of this Decree. 62042 and G. 64432. Inciong. 25772 in the name of the Providos over Lot Number 4571.. he should have asked the opinion of the Commissioner of Land Registration now. . 4571. Court of Appeals. the function of a Register of Deeds with reference to the registration of deeds encumbrances. The Municipal Council of Paranaque v." Hence. I Martin. cannot be cancelled while the action is pending and undetermined.

. 4517 under their own Torrens Certificate of Title.." with the request that the same be annotated on the title. 548 is hereby cancelled with respect to said undivided portion . SO ORDERED.000 square meters in favor of Juana Gabayan. giving as excuse the wrong impression that Civil Case No. MAKALINTAL.. Branch 23 is REINSTATED. and in lieu thereof the name of the vendee .. Sale for the sum of P400.. conveying an undivided portion of an area of 15.. 548) and an instrument entitled "Deed of Donation inter-vivos. this Certificate of Title No.00 executed by the registered owner. participation in interest of the vendor. . .2225 hectares. 1952. C. .00 executed by the registered owner. Fernan. 1953.part of dilatory tactics. 1987 order of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo. 1955. Costs against the private respondents. June 9.. The register of deeds denied the requested annotation for being "legally defective or otherwise not sufficient in law. Argel for respondents third parties affected... Office of the Solicitor General for respondent... concur. 5659. 548 is hereby cancelled with respect to said undivided portion .710 square meters only in favor of Florentino Gabayan.. Date of Instrument: February 12. The entire area of the land is 11. xxx Entry No. . REGISTER OF DEEDS OF ILOCOS SUR... . 1987 order are SET ASIDE. G. Sale for the sum of P400. Date of Instrument: January 25. 548 is hereby cancelled with respect to said area of 3. 15871 filed by the private respondents involves another set of parties claiming Lot No. petitioners.00 executed by the registered owner. the instant petition is GRANTED. is hereby substituted to succeed to all rights. The February 12.R.. 548.J. is hereby substituted to succeed to all rights.. 5658. On November 15. No.. respondent. Manuel A.710 square meters and in lieu thereof. J.. Date of Instrument: Entry No. conveying an undivided portion of an area of 16. L-20611 May 8. 1961 petitioners presented to the register of deeds of Ilocos Sur a duplicate copy of the registered owner's certificate of title (OCT No. 366. vs.. xxx xxx Sale of portion.. the name of the vendee .. conveying an undivided portion of an area of 3. this Original Certificate of Title No.. Sale of portion. The pertinent entries read: Entry No. 5660. 1969 AURELIO BALBIN and FRANCISCO BALBIN. Vicente Llanes for petitioners... WHEREFORE. registered owner of the parcel of land described in OCT No. Under the terms of the instrument sought to be annotated one Cornelio Balbin. Sale for the sum of P100." It appears that previously annotated in the memorandum of encumbrances on the certificate are three separate sales of undivided portions of the land earlier executed by Cornelio Balbin in favor of three different buyers. JJ. this Original Certificate of Title No.: Appeal from the resolution of the Commissioner of Land Registration in LRC Consulta No. appears to have donated inter-vivos an undivided two-thirds (²/³) portion thereof in favor of petitioners. and in lieu thereof the name of the vendee . Sales. Bidin and Cortes.713 square meters in favor of Roberto Bravo. participation and interest of the vendor . participation and interest of the vendor . Feliciano. is hereby substituted to succeed to all rights. All subsequent orders issued by the trial court which annulled the February 12.

first. if different copies were permitted to carry differing annotations. Capistrano. for without a previous settlement of the partnership a surviving spouse may dispose of his aliquot share or interest therein — subject of course to the result of future liquidation. petitioners' claim that the issuance of those copies was unauthorized or illegal is beside the point. Teehankee and Barredo.B. Section 55. Sur. Andres Cabeldo.. in addition to the owner's duplicate of Original Certificate of Title No. and Castro. are on leave. the Register of Deeds refused to make the requested annotation. it is easy to see how their integrity may be adversely affected if an encumbrance. the Commissioner observed: (1) It appears that the donor is now merely a co-owner of the property described in the Original Certificate of Title No. Consequently. Fernando. It appears that there is a case pending in the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur (CC No. and secondly. one owner's duplicate certificate may be issued for the whole land. and his deceased wife. the deed of donation executed by the husband. Where two or more persons are registered owners as tenants in common. 2221). J. No pronouncement as to costs. Unless and until a court of competent jurisdiction rules to the contrary. Cornelio Balbin. petitioners referred the matter to the Commissioner of Land Registration. 548 have been issued (by the register of deeds of Ilocos Sur) in the name of Florentino Gabayan. such as the three vendees-co-owners in this case. or otherwise. if the conjugal character of the property is assumed.ñet Without presenting those three (3) other duplicates of the title. namely. With respect to the principal point in controversy. J. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. took no part.J. Notary Public of Caoayan. as well as the validity of the different conveyances executed by him. the presentation of the other copies of the title is not required. * . that is. according to petitioners. Zaldivar. this 5th day of January.. I. concur. The law itself refers to every copy authorized to be issued as a duplicate of the original. affecting the land covered by the title. the three other copies of the title were in existence. We find no merit in petitioners' contention. lawphi1. particularly voluntary ones. bears on its face an infirmity which justified the denial of its registration. presumably issued under section 43 * of Act 496. there are now three co-owner's duplicates which are presumably in the possession of the three buyers. Sanchez. 548. or a separate duplicate may be issued to each for his undivided share. I.. JJ. 548 had not been presented by petitioners. Dizon. the whole system of Torrens registration would cease to be reliable. Nemesia Mina. because the issuance of the duplicate copies in their favor was illegal or unauthorized. Concepcion.. which means that both must contain identical entries of the transactions. wherein the civil status of the donor Cornelio Balbin and the character of the land in question are in issue. its legality being presumed until otherwise declared by a court of competent jurisdiction. obviously assumes that there is only one duplicate copy of the title in question. supra. "there should first be a liquidation of the partnership before the surviving spouse may make such a conveyance. The claim of counsel for the donees that the issuance of the three co-owner's duplicates was unauthorized is beside the point.L. it is not to be denied that. who subsequently upheld the action of the Register of Deeds in a resolution dated April 10. In the case at bar. Nevertheless. 548. Cornelio Balbin. not to say more than what remained of such share after he had sold portions of the same land to three other parties. Certificates where land registered in names of two or more persons. The matter of registration of the deed of donation may well await the outcome of that case." Under this provision. the three co-owner's duplicates must likewise be surrendered.The final part of the annotations referring to the abovementioned sales contains an additional memorandum stating that "three co-owner's duplicate certificates of title No. is annotated on one copy and not on the others. these titles are presumed to have been lawfully issued. Accordingly. or an outright conveyance. Reyes. J. that of the registered owner himself. Sur. because it speaks of "registered owner" and not one whose claim to or interest in the property is merely annotated on the title. namely. If this were not so. aside from the owner's duplicate issued to Cornelio Balbin.. Unsatisfied. such that its production whenever a voluntary instrument is presented constitutes sufficient authority from him for the register of deeds to make the corresponding memorandum of registration. the fact that the two-thirds portion of said property which he donated was more than his one-half share. the decisions of the Register of Deeds of Ilocos Sur and that of the Commissioner of Land Registration are affirmed. Footnotes Section 43." Mainly because these three other co-owner's copies of the certificate of title No. having previously sold undivided portions thereof on three different occasions in favor of three different buyers." This legal conclusion may appear too general and sweeping in its implications. which provides that "the production of the owner's duplicate certificate of title whenever any voluntary instrument is presented for registration shall be conclusive authority from the registered owner to the register of deeds to make a memorandum of registration in accordance with such instrument. and in the meantime the rights of the interested parties could be protected by filing the proper notices of lis pendens. There being several copies of the same title in existence. property of the marriage of the donor. 1962. petitioners would want to compel annotation of the deed of donation upon the copy in their possession. 1956 at Vigan. One other ground relied upon by the Land Registration Commissioner in upholding the action taken by the Register of Deeds of Ilocos Sur is that since the property subject of the donation is presumed conjugal. for and in the name of the vendees. C. citing section 55 of Act 496. Roberto Bravo and Juana Gabayan upon verbal request of Mr. As correctly observed by the Land Registration Commissioner.

What is important under the Notarial Law is that the notary public concerned has authority to acknowledge the document executed within his territorial jurisdiction. the language in which the deed of sale was written. AUTHORITY OF NOTARY PUBLIC TO ACKNOWLEDGE DOCUMENT WITHIN HIS TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION CONTROLS. ESPERANZA SALES BERMUDEZ. It is the party invoking the benefits of Art. ID. is incomprehensible to him. A notarial acknowledgment attaches full faith and credit to the document concerned. — Before Art. it must be convincingly established that the disadvantaged party is unable to read or that the contract involved is written in a language not understood by him. REMEDIAL LAW. Bermudez for petitioners. WHERE ONE OF THE PARTIES TO A CONTRACT IS UNABLE TO READ. — The stark denial of the petitioners. Tirso O. WITNESS. Tarlac. who has the burden of proving that he really is unable to read or that English. specially Sales. EXTRINSIC VALIDITY OF DEED OF SALE NOT AFFECTED BY VARIANCE IN SITUS OF SUBJECT PROPERTY AND PLACE OF EXECUTION OF DOCUMENT. INABILITY TO READ MUST INITIALLY BE PROVED BEFORE TERMS THEREOF MAY BE ENFORCED. 2. ID. It also vests upon the document the presumption of regularity unless . respondents. BURDEN OF PROOF. ID. in this instance. CREDIBILITY. that he executed the deed of sale pales in the face of Malazo's testimony because the testimony of the notary public enjoys greater credence than that of an ordinary witness. Only after sufficient proof of such facts may the burden of proving that the terms of the contract had been explained to the disadvantaged party be shifted to the party enforcing the contract. ID.. TESTIMONY OF NOTARY PUBLIC ENJOYS GREATER CREDENCE THAN ORDINARY WITNESS. the document was executed in San Manuel. is Leonilo Gonzales. 1332 of the Civil Code may be invoked.. de Leon for the heirs of Leonilo Gonzales.. 1332 or Sales. Pangasinan where the vendors also resided. SYLLABUS 1. 3. who. COURT OF APPEALS and LEONILO GONZALES. Eufrocino L. — The extrinsic validity of the deed of sale is not affected by the fact that while the property subject thereof is located in Bugallon.SEVERO SALES. petitioners.. vs. EVIDENCE.

did not bind Leonilo Gonzales.. for unlike a title registered under the Torrens System. 13874 in Severo Sales' name. such deed. UNREGISTERED DEED OF DONATION NOT BINDING TO A THIRD PARTY. 1 of Act No. CASE AT BAR. complete and conclusive proof.. — While it seems improbable that Severo Sales sold the property described in Tax Declaration 5861 when in fact this had been subsequently cancelled already by Tax Declaration 13875 in the name of Esperanza Sales Bermudez and by Tax Declaration No. BAD FAITH OF BUYER. instruments dealing with unregistered lands can still be registered. The issue of good faith or bad faith of a buyer is relevant only where the subject of the sale is a registered land but not where the property is an unregistered land. ID. 5. 1529. ID. CIVIL LAW. ID.. a third party to the donation. RELEVANT ONLY IN SALES OF REGISTERED LAND. OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS. This is because non-registration of a deed of donation under Sec. DONATION. 3344 does not bind other parties ignorant of a previous transaction. a tax declaration does not constitute constructive notice to the whole world.it is impugned by strong. however." Petitioner Esperanza Sales Bermudez may not be a considered a third party being the daughter of the vendor himself and the "better right" possessed by a third party refers to other titles which a party might have acquired independently of the unregistered deed such as title by prescription. 6. SALE. — We cannot be convinced that it is useless to register deeds or instruments affecting unregistered lands because the books of registration provided under Section 194 of the Revised Administrative Code as Amended by Act 3344 continue to remain in force even to this day. Such kind of proof has not been presented by the petitioners. one can hardly ascribe bad faith to respondent. — While the deed of donation is valid between the donor and the donee thereby effectively transmitting the rights to said property from Sales to his daughter. under Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. DECISION . In fact. 4. LAND REGISTRATION. INSTRUMENTS AFFECTING UNREGISTERED LAND CAN BE REGISTERED. notwithstanding the provision therein which petitioners invoke that "any registration made under this section shall be understood to be without prejudice to a third party with a better right.

5861.339 square meters. petitioner Esperanza Sales Bermudez. Ernesto Gonzales acceded to the request and asked Sales and his wife to sign a document transferring the mortgage to him. the mortgaged property of Sales was set for foreclosure. Severo Sales owned an unregistered parcel of land in Bugallon. 5861 surveyed by a private surveyor. sometime in January 1959.240.00 payable on or about July 4. to Faustina P. Sales. 1 2 3 More than a year later.229 square meters more or less. Ernesto Gonzales. 13874 in the name of Sales covering the remaining portion of 4. with the consent of his wife. According to the Sales spouses. petitioners seek to annul and set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming that of the then Court of First Instance of Tarlac. to pay his total indebtedness of P2. or on December 24. Around a month later. together with two other parcels of land. 1955.700 to the Agpoon spouses. J : p In this petition for review on certiorari. 1958. To prevent such foreclosure.ROMERO.733 square meters more or less. 13875 in the name of Esperanza Sales Bermudez for the 900-square-meter lot donated to her and Tax Declaration No. Tax Declaration No. On October 30. Agpoon and Jose Agpoon to secure the payment of a loan in the amount of P2. Margarita Ferrer. The duly notarized deed of donation was presented to the Assessor's Office on the day of its execution. 5861 was canceled and in lieu hereof. Tax Declaration No. Agpoon against Sales in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan. the property had an area of 5. 7 8 9 . Sales had the land covered by Tax Declaration No. they were not given a copy of said document. 13647 was issued to Sales but the area of the property was stated therein as 5. 1957. On July 4. Sales requested his friend. Tax Declaration No. Hence. 4 5 6 cdll As a consequence of a case filed by Faustina P. Sales mortgaged said property. Branch III which upheld the validity of the deed of sale of a parcel of land executed by petitioner Severo Sales in favor of respondent Leonilo Gonzales. donated nine hundred (900) square meters of the same property in favor of their daughter. Pangasinan. 1956. 13647 was replaced by two tax declarations: Tax Declaration No. Covered by Tax Declaration No.

10 In October 1968. 1959. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the defendant. and 4. 1959 before ex-officio Notary Public Arturo Malazo in San Manuel. Sales and his daughter. and against the plaintiffs by: LexLib 1. Leonilo Gonzales filed an action for illegal detainer against Sales before the Municipal Court of Bugallon. jointly and severally. 1968. the questioned land was excluded therefrom. 12483. 3. 5861 in consideration of the amount of P4.000 to Leonilo Gonzales. Ordering the dismissal of the complaint. SO ORDERED. Ordering the plaintiffs.000. 2. Branch III a complaint for annulment of the deed of sale between Sales and Gonzales on the ground of fraud. Ordering the plaintiffs. 'H') and is. Said parcel of land was declared by Leonilo Gonzales under Tax Declaration No. Tarlac. upon submission of the Deed of Sale between Severo Sales and Leonilo Gonzales. Consequently. Esperanza Sales Bermudez filed in the Court of First Instance of Tarlac. entitled to the possession thereof. (SP 42692) in the then Court of First Instance of Manila. Sales received a photostat copy of the deed of sale appearing to have been signed by him and his wife on January 29. the Court of First Instance rendered a decision finding that the allegation of fraud was not supported by convincing evidence. the municipal court suspended the illegal detainer proceedings before it pending the outcome of the annulment case.00 by way of attorney's fees. The document stated that the Sales spouses had sold the land described under Tax Declaration No. therefore. Before the case could be tried. Its dispositive portion reads: 13 14 "WHEREFORE. Declaring that the defendant is the lawful owner of the land described in Exhibits '2' and '2-A' (same as Exh. 1969." . a document entitled "Deed of Sale" between Severo Sales and Leonilo Gonzales was registered with the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan. the land in question was claimed by respondent Leonilo Gonzales. Subsequently. jointly and severally. to pay the costs. 11 12 On November 7. to pay the defendant the sum of P2. On October 27. son of Ernesto Gonzales.On February 3. In the Intestate Estate Proceedings of Ernesto Gonzales.

considering that he has affixed (sic) or signed the said Deed of Sale no less than three (3) times. the amount of P1. The court added: "Defendant's defense hinges on the fact that the Deed of Sale is valid. With regard to the issue of whether or not there was compliance with the provision of Art. the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court but added that the petitioners shall pay. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court." Petitioners contend that respondent Gonzales failed to prove that the contents of the deed of sale were ever explained to Sales. it could not overthrow the testimony of the Notary Public ex-oficio Arturo V. 1332 of the Civil Code. that the ratifying officer was. their signatures on each page of the two-page deed of sale revealed "striking features" of intelligence. the courts below failed to take into consideration the fact that the deed of donation was executed ahead of the deed of sale and must not. the person enforcing the contract must show that the terms thereof have been fully explained to the former." 15 Their motion for reconsideration having been denied. and is therefore a public document.000 as attorney's fees.The lower court noted that while plaintiffs' counsel claimed that Sales and his wife were illiterates. and the witnesses thereto. it . be disregarded considering that with reference to unregistered lands. the Notary Public ex-officio and Justice of the Peace. could not offset the presumption of regularity as to the execution of the Deed of Sale. an illiterate. Hence. before whom the Deed of Sale was executed. 16 Petitioners primarily invoke Art. Arturo V. Defendant likewise proved that the money paid by his father. a municipal judge. The bare and naked assertions of the plaintiff Severo Sales and his wife. together with his wife and the other witnesses. particularly those of the vendors Severo Sales and Margarita Ferrer. it having been properly executed and notarized. Malazo. before said article may be invoked. the instant petition. They also argue that granting that the deed of sale was valid. testified personally in Court and confirmed the genuineness and validity of the Deed of Sale. especially so. together with the signatures appearing therein. "or if the contract is in a language not understood by him. jointly and severally. and carries weight as provided for in Section 31. The contention of the plaintiff Severo Sales that he was made to sign the document hurriedly by the deceased Ernesto Gonzales does not deserve credence. 1332 of the Civil Code which provides that when one of the parties to a contract is unable to read. Malazo. 1974. Sales and his daughter elevated the case to the Court of Appeals contending that the lower court erred in upholding the validity of the deed of sale and in not considering the unschooled Sales as an illiterate executor thereof. and mistake or fraud is alleged. Considering the interest of the plaintiff Severo Sales and his wife in this case. Ernesto Gonzales was his. and still is. an earlier instrument prevails over a later one. therefore. On December 19.

Pangasinan where the vendors also resided. when Sales mortgaged his property to Faustina P. notary public Arturo Malazo stated. But more revealing is the fact that the deed of sale itself. he added that "the document speaks for itself and the witnesses were there and those were the persons present" (sic). that he executed the deed of sale pales in the face of Malazo's testimony because the testimony of the notary public enjoys greater credence than that of an ordinary witness. is Leonilo Gonzales. who has the burden of proving that he really is unable to read or that English. specially Sales. the language in which the deed of sale was written. Tarlac. Severo Sales and he appeared before me when I notarized that document. who.must be convincingly established that the disadvantaged party is unable to read or that the contract involved is written in a language not understood by him. that they were "informed by me (notary public) of the contents thereof" and that they acknowledged to the notary public that the instrument was freely and voluntarily executed. 17 The records of this case. "I know Mr. contains a statement that its executors were known to the notary public to be the persons who executed the instrument. Thus. petitioner Esperanza Sales Bermudez. show that although Sales did not go to school and knew only how to sign his name. when he donated a portion of the property involved to his daughter. the Sales spouses themselves admitted that the signatures on the deed of sale "looked like" their signatures. The court below also noted the fact that the signatures of the Sales spouses in the deed of sale showed the "striking features of the signatures of the intelligent" individuals. however. Coupled with this is the fact that in court. It is the party invoking the benefits of Art. What is important under the Notarial Law is that the notary public concerned has . the document was executed in San Miguel. is incomprehensible to him. 18 19 20 21 22 23 The extrinsic validity of the deed of sale is not affected by the fact that while the property subject thereof is located in Bugallon." Later. 1332 or Sales. specifically the notarial acknowledgment thereof. in this instance. the stark denial of the petitioners. Only after sufficient proof of such facts may the burden of proving that the terms of the contract had been explained to the disadvantaged party be shifted to the party enforcing the contract. When he testified at the hearing. he and his wife had previously entered into contracts written in English: first. Agpoon and second.

prevails over a later one. Petitioners' counsel even failed to secure a certification from the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan of its due registration as directed by the trial judge. petitioners failed to show any evidence proving registration. however. The issue of good faith or bad faith of a buyer is relevant only where the subject of the sale is a registered land but not where the property is an unregistered land. It also vests upon the document the presumption of regularity unless it is impugned by strong. Such kind of proof has not been presented by the petitioners. 13874 in Severo Sales' name. the Register of Deeds is not authorized to effect any registration unless the parties have expressly agreed to register their transaction thereunder. A perusal of the records shows. be it a sale or mortgage. did not bind Leonilo Gonzales. Milo and Estate of Mota v. This is because non-registration of a deed of donation under Sec." 28 29 30 The deed of donation explicitly provides that the land involved "has not been registered neither under Act 496 nor under the Spanish Mortgage Law." Such agreement had to be expressly stipulated in the deed of donation because under Act 3344. The parties hereto have agreed to register this document under Act 3344. an earlier instrument. 1 of . While it seems improbable that Severo Sales sold the property described in Tax Declaration 5861 when in fact this had been subsequently cancelled already by Tax Declaration 13875 in the name of Esperanza Sales Bermudez and by Tax Declaration No. one can hardly ascribe bad faith to respondent. for unlike a title registered under the Torrens System. 24 25 26 27 On the issue of whether or not the earlier deed of donation should "prevail" over the deed of sale or be "recognized". that the deed of donation was not registered at all. petitioner invokes Nisce v. a tax declaration does not constitute constructive notice to the whole world. while the deed of donation is valid between the donor and the donee thereby effectively transmitting the rights to said property from Sales to his daughter. such deed.authority to acknowledge the document executed within his territorial jurisdiction. however. A notarial acknowledgment attaches full faith and credit to the document concerned. 31 32 Hence. a third party to the donation. Besides. and the registration of any one of them is immaterial. complete and conclusive proof. Concepcion which purportedly ruled that "with reference to unregistered lands. at the hearing.

for petitioner-appellant.R. THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF AGUSAN. Tranquilino O. G. Bidin and Davide. concur. J. Costs against the petitioner. SO ORDERED. 3344 does not bind other parties ignorant of a previous transaction. petitioner-appellant. 33 34 We take note of the fact that while the Deed of Donation was not registered. Abalo. Feliciano. Pangasinan and the official receipt issued by the Registry of Deeds. 1968 TEODORO ALMIROL. Gutierrez. we cannot be convinced that it is useless to register deeds or instruments affecting unregistered lands because the books of registration provided under Section 194 of the Revised Administrative Code as amended by Act 3344 continue to remain in force even to this day. Register of Deeds of Lingayen. In fact. 35 36 Finally. Registration was refused by the Register of Deeds upon the following grounds. married to Nicolasa M. 1962 Almirol went to the office of the Register of Deeds of Agusan in Butuan City to register the deed of sale and to secure in his name a transfer certificate of title. Calo. inter alia.. 37 WHEREFORE. Office of the Solicitor General for respondent-appellee. . Jr. stated in his letter of May 21.: On June 28. 1962: . No. CASTRO. instruments dealing with unregistered lands can still be registered.. vs. notwithstanding the provision therein which petitioners invoke that "any registration made under this section shall be understood to be without prejudice to a third party with a better right." Sometime in May." Petitioner Esperanza Sales Bermudez may not be considered a third party being the daughter of the vendor himself and the "better right" possessed by a third party refers to other titles which a party might have acquired independently of the unregistered deed such as title by prescription. 1961 Teodoro Almirol purchased from Arcenio Abalo a parcel of land situated in the municipality of Esperanza. JJ.Act No. under Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. respondent-appellee. Jr. 1529. the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED. province of Agusan. Jr. and covered by original certificate of title P-1237 in the name of "Arcenio Abalo. L-22486 March 20.. the Deed of Sale was registered as evidenced by the notation made by Cipriano Abenojar.

but a court of competent jurisdiction. To effect the registration of the aforesaid deed of absolute Sale. 1962. as in this case. Almirol went to the Court of First Instance of Agusan on a petition for mandamus (sp. . 182-183). . 1963 the lower court. Reyes and Tantoco. after notice and hearing. or other instrument presented to him for registration. actually or constructively." who thereafter shall "enter an order prescribing the step to be taken or memorandum to be made. (Gabriel vs. then questions regarding the effect or invalidity of instruments are expected to be decided after. averred that the petitioner has "other legal. In his answer with counterclaim for P10. Section 4 abovequoted provides that "where any party in interest does not agree with the Register of Deeds ." which shall be "conclusive . vs. 46 dated June 10. the court a quo correctly dismissed the petition for mandamus. . Although the reasons relied upon by the respondent evince a sincere desire on his part to maintain inviolate the law on succession and transmission of rights over real properties. and that he (Almirol) has no other plain. The law on registration does not require that only valid instruments shall be registered. That in the sale of a conjugal property acquired after the effectivity of the New Civil Code it is necessary that both spouses sign the document.. It is Almirol's assertion that it is but a ministerial duty of the respondent to perform the acts required of him. or where any party in interest does not agree with the Register of Deeds with reference to any such matter. The foregoing notwithstanding. or upon the suggestion in writing by the party in interest. That when a party in interest disagrees with the ruling or resolution of the Commissioner and the issue involves a question of law. and thereupon the Commissioner. frivolous or intended to harass. case 151). How can parties affected thereby be supposed to know their invalidity before they become aware. 1151 reads as follows: Reference of doubtful matters to Commissioner of Land Registration. the supposed invalidity of the contracts of lease is no valid objection to their registration." and prayed for dismissal of the petition. 2. mortgage. . Act 1151".000 damages. Abalo. when he is in doubt as to the proper step to be taken with respect to any deed or other instrument presented to him for registration. dismissed the petition.000 in moral damages and P1. Indeed. stating the question upon which he is in doubt. this function belongs properly to a court of competent jurisdiction. Hence the present appeal by Almirol. In view of such refusal. 30. . 92 Phil. Sept. registration. the question shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Land Registration either upon the certification of the Register of Deeds. but 3. because the adequate remedy is that provided by Section 4 of Rep. said decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court within thirty days from and after receipt of the notice thereof. a register of deeds is entirely precluded by section 4 of Republic Act 1151 from exercising his personal judgment and discretion when confronted with the problem of whether to register a deed or instrument on the ground that it is invalid. . all that he is supposed to do is to submit and certify the question to the Commissioner of Land Registration who shall. of their existence or of their provisions? If the purpose of registration is merely to give notice. L-17956. further.A. is considered conjugal property.000 attorney's fees and expenses of litigation. For under the said section. the questionshall be submitted to the Commissioner of Land Registration. and by legal presumption. 1958). the respondent reiterated the grounds stated in his letter of May 21. and to recover P5. and validity or effect litigated afterwards. it is necessary that the property be first liquidated and transferred in the name of the surviving spouse and the heirs of the deceased wife by means of extrajudicial settlement or partition and that the consent of such other heir or heirs must be procured by means of another document ratifying this sale executed by their father. et al. . is not the duty of a Register of Deeds to decide. shall enter an order prescribing the step to be taken or memorandum to be made. His decision in such cases shall be conclusive and binding upon all Registers of Deeds: Provided. speedy and adequate remedy at law by appealing the decision of the respondent to the Honorable Commissioner of Land Registration. because invalidity is no proof of their non-existence or a valid excuse for denying their registration. married to Nicolasa M. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. to compel the Register of Deeds to register the deed of sale and to issue to him the corresponding transfer certificate of title. The only question of law tendered for resolution is whether mandamus will lie to compel the respondent to register the deed of sale in question. That Original Certificate of Title No. after consideration of the matter shown by the records certified to him. Section 4 of R. and in case of registered lands. declaring that "mandamus does not lie . the surviving husband can not dispose of the whole property without violating the existing law (LRC Consulta No. — When the Register of Deeds is in doubt with regard to the proper step to be taken or memorandum to be made in pursuance of any deed. plain. 1953).1. 1 Whether the document is invalid. civ. (Gurbax Singh Pablo & Co. with costs against the petitioner. In its resolution of October 16. Whether a document is valid or not. is not for the register of deeds to determine. P-1237 is registered in the name of Arcenio Abalo. these do not constitute legal grounds for his refusal to register the deed. It must follow as a necessary consequence that registration must first be allowed. enter an order prescribing the step to be taken on the doubtful question. the wife has already died when the sale was made. not before. Since. Register of Deeds of Rizal. after notice to the parties and hearing.

respondent Secretary of Justice coursed to the petitioner a letter requiring him to explain in writing not later than March 9.J. (d) the City Fiscal of Manila (R. s. Makalintal. as it would be in violation of the principle of the separation of powers. No.. confirmed and qualified Commissioner of Land Registration. First to militate against petitioner's stand is the fact that section 67 of the Judiciary Act providing for investigation.ñët Reyes. that the Legislature may not charge the judiciary with non-judicial functions or duties except when reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of judicial duties. Act No. REYES. much less shown. On March 7. he could only be suspended and investigated in the same manner as a Judge of the Courts of First Instance. based on "finding that a prima facie case exists against you for gross negligence and conduct prejudicial to the public interest". privileges.P. 1968.: Petition for a writ of prohibition with preliminary injunction to restrain the Secretary of Justice from investigating the official actuations of the Commissioner of Land Registration. as he enjoyed the rank. the Resolution of the lower court of October 16. is on leave. would necessarily result in the same right being possessed by a variety of executive officials upon whom the Legislature had indiscriminately conferred the same privileges. 1äwphï1. In the second place. No. is affirmed. SALAS. Claudio Teehankee for and in his own behalf as respondent." The appropriation laws (Rep. emoluments and compensation of a Judge of the Court of First Instance. Dizon. Aquino and Lino M. Bengzon. 4856 and 5170) in the item setting forth the salary of said officer. J. (c) the City Fiscal of Quezon City (R.A. A." On March 18.B. JJ.respondents. . Petitioner Antonio H. Zaldivar. emoluments and privileges as those of a Judge of the Court of First Instance. 4495). J. 1969. consolidation and consolidated-subdivision plans covering areas greatly in excess of the areas covered by the original titles. as Secretary of Justice. petitioner was "hereby suspended. . In their answer respondents admit the facts but denied that petitioner. 2).L. Ramon C. A. 4360).and binding upon all Registers of Deeds. J. Patajo for petitioner. as Commissioner of Land Registration. Acts 4642. therefore. Sanchez. To adopt petitioner's theory.J. as Executive Secretary. specifically recites that "No District Judge shall be separated or removed from office by the President of the Philippines unless sufficient cause shall exist in the judgment of the Supreme Court . J. G. whereby. C. and praying for restraining writs.. claiming lack of jurisdiction and abuse of discretion. concur. as Land Registration Commissioner. ACCORDINGLY. whose functions are plainly executive. vs. Actg. 1968 why no disciplinary action should be taken against petitioner for "approving or recommending approval of subdivision. Angeles and Fernando. On March 17.R. a position created by Republic Act No. and RAFAEL M. use the following expression: 1. 42). A. the papers relative to his case should be submitted to the Supreme Court. These favoured officers include (a) the Judicial Superintendent of the Department of Justice (Judiciary Act. No. 1968. concurs in the result. 1968 ANTONIO H. therefore. The facts are not in dispute.L. petitioner's theory that the grant of "privileges of a Judge of First Instance" includes by implication the right to be investigated only by the Supreme Court and to be suspended or removed upon its recommendation. Act 1151 and Appropriation Laws) of the rank and privileges of a Judge of the Court of First Instance. By the terms of section 2 of said Act.. 296) and Revised Rule 140 of the Rules of Court. No. 1968. for action thereon conformably to section 67 of the Judiciary Act (R. petitioner applied to this Court. C. 4631) and (e) the Securities and Exchange Commissioner (R. Concepcion. the said Commissioner is declared "entitled to the same compensation.. that the function of investigating charges against public officers is administrative or executive in nature. (b) the Assistant Solicitors General. L-28790 April 29. and the . pending investigation of the above charges. and. No. seven in number (Rep. 1151. Noblejas is the duly appointed. Leandro Sevilla. and to declare inoperative his suspension by the Executive Secretary pending investigation. CLAUDIO TEEHANKEE.. upon receipt hereof." This administrative remedy must be resorted to by the petitioner before he can have recourse to the courts. One Land Registration Commissioner with the rank and privileges of district judge — P19.. "by authority of the President".000. Thus." and it is nowhere claimed. reiterating the contentions advanced in his letter to the Secretary of Justice. 5050. NOBLEJAS. petitioner. in view of the conferment upon him by the Statutes heretofore mentioned (Rep. the stark issue before this Court is whether the Commissioner of Land Registration may only be investigated by the Supreme Court. or in fact a member of the Judiciary at all. would mean placing upon the Supreme Court the duty of investigating and disciplining all these officials." Noblejas answered and apprised the Secretary of Justice that. exercises judicial functions. petitioner Noblejas received a communication signed by the Executive Secretary. at petitioner's cost. that the Commissioner of Land Registration is a District Judge.B.00. sec. or that the petitioner may be considered a Judge of First Instance within the purview of the Judiciary Act and Revised Rules of Court 140. suspension or removal of Judges.

Rep.S. it has been held that the Supreme Court of the Philippines and its members should not and cannot be required to exercise any power or to perform any trust or to assume any duty not pertaining to or connected with the administration of judicial functions. Ex parte Bakelite Corp.) (Emphasis supplied. It is thereby shown that where the legislative design is to make the suspension or removal procedure prescribed for Judges of First Instance applicable to other officers. 655). the question shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Land Registration either upon the certification of the Register of Deeds. ed. Ct. 445) and cases cited.S. further. 438. et al. 701.supra (261 U. petitioner's stand would also lead to the conclusion that the Solicitor General. California Fig Nut Co.ñët Petitioner Noblejas seeks to differentiate his case from that of other executive officials by claiming that under Section 4 of Republic Act No. the decision of the Land Registration Commissioner "shall be conclusive and binding upon all Registers of Deeds" alone. 700. 160 N. 24. ed. and a law requiring the Supreme Court to arbitrate disputes between public utilities was pronounced void in Manila Electric Co. such unusual corollaries could not have been intended by the Legislature when it granted these executive officials the rank and privileges of Judges of First Instance. or "members of the judiciary of appellate rank". Art. In our opinion. vs. (57 Phil. or upon the suggestion in writing by the party in interest. Ed. General Electric Co. — But this court cannot be invested with jurisdiction of that character. after notice to the parties and hearing. 67 L. It cannot give decisions which are merely advisory.) In this spirit. is invested with judicial power only and can have no jurisdiction other than of cases and controversies falling within the classes enumerated in that article.. 972. of the President's power to discipline and remove administrative officials who are presidential appointees. 281 U. Willing v.consequent curtailment by mere implication from the Legislative grant. if the Legislature had really intended to include in the general grant of "privileges" or "rank and privileges of Judges of the Court of First Instance" the right to be investigated by the Supreme Court. 103) and of the Commissioner of Public Service (Public Service Act. 544.S. said decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court within thirty days from and after receipt of the notice thereof. But the more fundamental objection to the stand of petitioner Noblejas is that. 1151. It was brought into being by the judiciary article of the Constitution. 3). Ct. 541.. 282. Justice Cardozo ruled in In re Richardson et al. It will be noted that by specific provision of the section. or where any party in interest does not agree with the Register of Deeds with reference to any such matter. Rep. Rep. Connolly vs. or other instrument presented to him for registration. 600). and not upon other parties. Liberty Warehouse Co. could not be removed by the latter. 74 L. The section invoked runs as follows: Sec. 481. and in case of registered lands. Scudder (247 N. by charging this court with the administrative function of supervisory control over executive officials. That the Commissioner's resolutions are appealable does not prove that they are not administrative. 47 Sup. 2). sec. ed. 507. after consideration of the matter shown by the records certified to him. 279 U. supra (272 U. This limitation 1 in effect identifies the resolutions of the Land Registration Commissioner with those of any other bureau director. ed. stating the question upon which he is in doubt. 10[i]). 48 Sup. ed. 72 L. The same is true of Judges of the Court of Agrarian Relations (Comm. 274. This conclusion gains strength when account is taken of the fact that in the case of the Judges of the Court of Agrarian Relations and those of the Court of Tax Appeals. — When the Register of Deeds is in doubt with regard to the proper step to be taken or memorandum to be made in pursuance of any deed. when a party in interest disagrees with the ruling or resolution of the Commissioner and the issue involves a question of law. 73 L. Grannis. any bureau director's ruling is likewise appealable to the corresponding department head.S. whether for purposes of review or otherwise. ed. Potomac Electric Power Co. 469. 49 Sup. saying: There is no inherent power in the Executive or Legislature to charge the judiciary with administrative functions except when reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of judicial duties. Rep. provision to that effect is made in plain and unequivocal language. 273 U. since it would violate the fundamental doctrine of separation of powers. 74. as amended by Act 1409. Rep. Sec. His decision in such cases shall be conclusive and binding upon all Registers of Deeds: Provided.S. then such grant of privileges would be unconstitutional. and thereupon the Commissioner. 289. Incidentally. 71 L. 469. 277 U. Y. 444. he is endowed with judicial functions.S.. Pasay Transportation Co. since the Appropriation Acts confer upon the Solicitor General the rank and privileges of a Justice of the Court of Appeals. the organic statutes of said bodies (Republic Act 1267.. Rep. That. 789. and which the Constitution expressly placed under the President's supervision and control (Constitution. whose resolutions or orders bind his subordinates alone. 281 U. and these Justices are only removable by the Legislature. 411. mortgage. 71 L.S. Act No. General Electric Company. 880. 449. shall enter an order prescribing the step to be taken or memorandum to be made. 284). Ct. (Federal Radio Commission v. 74 Law. E. VII. sec. Postum Cereal Co. Serious doubt may well be entertained as to whether the resolution of a consulta by a Register of Deeds is a judicial function. 736. nor can it exercise or participate in the exercise of functions which are essentially legislative or administrative. through the process of impeachment (Judiciary Act. 70. another appointee of the President.. Keller v. 972. vs. Ct. 1äwphï1. par. 47 Sup. and to be suspended or removed only upon recommendation of that Court. Act No. . 884. 793. 401. as contrasted with administrative process. Reference of doubtful matters to Commissioner of Land Registration. 43 Sup. Ct. The United States Supreme Court said in Federal Radio Commission vs. 4. and simultaneously reducing pro tanto the control of the Chief Executive over such officials. Chicago Auditorium Asso. 1125) expressly provide that they are to be removed from office for the same causes and in the same manner provided by law for Judges of First Instance". v.

J. Concepcion. Dizon. 1990. 1äwphï1. petitioners herein.P. DE RAMOS. The court noted that the subject lot was already covered by an existing certificate of title and that no final decree has yet been issued by the LRA. which was received by this Court on October 10. is on leave. and which was assigned Decree No. 1151. No. Angeles and Fernando. Substituted by his heirs through VALERIANA VDA. 8816 was fraudulent but they failed to present any evidence in support of such allegation.) until after the expiration of one (1) year after (sic) the entry of the final decree . the right to demand investigation by the Supreme Court. after the finality of its decision. No costs. HONORABLE FRANCISCO C. order. the writs of prohibition and injunction applied for are denied. 1990. a meaning that will not bring them in conflict with the Constitution. 1995 FELICIANO RAMOS. Bonifacio filed on March 9. to prepare the decree and certificate of registration. 1988. and to be suspended or removed only upon that Court's recommendation. will show that the resolution of consultas are but a minimal portion of his administrative or executive functions and merely incidental to the latter. for otherwise. This issue has already been settled in a similar case. whenever possible.. Petitioners later claimed that TCT No. Petitioners are now asking the Court to set aside the trial court's May 29. 1990. 1988) decision on the basis of the report dated September 26. adjudicating the said lot to the petitioners. 1990.R. which was earlier required by the court. the said grant of privileges would be violative of the Constitution and be null and void. . 1988. 1529. the adjudication of land in a cadastral or land registration proceeding does not become final. A. order on the strength of the principle of finality of judgments. petitioners. Rodriguez. a motion for reconsideration of the February 2. Presiding Judge.ñët G. Instead of issuing the said decree. and was not intended to include. On May 29. 1988. merely noted the said report. 1905. Conformably to the well-known principle of statutory construction that statutes should be given. concur. Consequently. recommending that the July 28. RODRIGUEZ. Zaldivar. Montalban. sections 3 and 4." It added that the proper remedy of the government was an action for annulment of judgment. 1990. 1988. Feliciano was substituted by his heirs. 2 where the Court declared that: . setting aside its decision dated July 28. denying petitioner's application for registration. 1988.But even granting that the resolution of consultas by the Register of Deeds should constitute a judicial (or more properly quasi judicial) function. Rizal and LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY. Rizal. 2260) are neither abuses of discretion nor acts in excess of jurisdiction. . 1924. respondent judge rendered a decision on July 28. 1037 in the name of the Payatas Estate Improvement Company. After issuing an order of general default. 94033 May 29. 1988. Castro. vs. WHEREFORE. 1988 decision be set aside after due hearing because the subject lot was part of Lot 125.485 square meters. analysis of the powers and duties of the Land Registration Commissioner under Republic Act No. the investigation and suspension of the aforenamed Commissioner pursuant to sections 32 and 34 of the Civil Service Law (R. Upon his death on April 6. J. 2 We are constrained to rule that the grant by Republic Act 1151 to the Commissioner of Land Registration of the "same privileges as those of a Judge of the Court of First Instance" did not include. 1988 and denying the petition to re-direct the LRA to issue the decree of registration. ROMERO. Several settings for the hearing were made before the court in an order dated February 2. Branch 77. Makalintal. Bengzon. Unlike ordinary civil actions. Psu-32606 which is already covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. through the Chief Legal Officer of the Land Registration Authority (LRA). the court a quo issued an Order for Issuance of Decree stating that the July 28. in case No. C. San Mateo. that is. On September 12. the court a quo issued an order granting the motion for reconsideration. 1131 on January 31. identified as Lot 125-B of subdivision plan Psd-760 with a total area of 156. 1982 and during the pendency of said application. and the petition is ordered dismissed. respondents.. 8816 issued on October 29. as well as its order for the issuance of decree dated September 12.: Feliciano Ramos applied for the registration of a parcel of land in San Jose. Bonifacio submitted a report dated September 26.. RTC. Sanchez. J. 1988 decision had become final and directing the Administrator of National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration (NLTDRA) 1 to comply with Section 39 of Presidential Decree No. JJ. in the sense of incontrovertibility(. The court opined "that it cannot set aside its (July 28. NLTDRA Administrator Teodoro G.

D. 1529 within which a petition to re-open and review the decree of registration clearly refers to the decree of registration described in Section 31 of the said P. instead of precipitately adjudicating the land in question to the applicant and directing the Commissioner to issue a decree of registration and certificate of title when the report of the LRA was still forthcoming. not by the Solicitor General. the Solicitor General is bound to "[r]epresent the Government in all land registration and related proceedings. 1990. 1988. Finally. properly represent. decision and the order for issuance of decree dated September 12. a strict adherence to the rules would result in a situation where the LRA would be compelled to issue a decree of registration over land which has already been decreed to and titled in the name of another. The court should have rendered its decision only "after considering the evidence and the reports of the commissioner of Land Registration and the Director of Lands. under the circumstances. Finally. and their act is the act of the court. appear to be a collateral attack of TCT No. TCT No. 5 "[t]he very purpose of the Torrens system would be destroyed if the same land may be subsequently brought under a second action for registration. This is also one of the reasons why we have to reject the claim of petitioners that the court's Order for Issuance of Decree is the reckoning point in determining the timeliness of a petition to re-open or review the decree of registration in view of the ministerial nature of the LRA's duty. 1529. acting as a land registration court and by the LRA. these may be ignored by the Court in the interest of substantive justice. too. if they are in doubt upon any point in relation to the preparation and issuance of the decree. 1529 itself. The other reason is that the one-year period stated in section 32 of P. without offering any proof to substantiate this claim." In the case at bench. Nevertheless. This Court. However. has held that as long as a final decree has not been entered by the Land Registration Commission (now NLTDRA) and the period of one (1) year has not elapsed from the date of entry of such decree. even granting that procedural lapses have been committed in the proceedings below. as in this case. is bereft of any grant of power to the LRA or to the Commissioner to make the same representation as the Office of the Solicitor General in behalf of the government in land registration proceedings. . acting as an agent of the court. The court a quo could not have committed grave abuse of discretion because it was merely following the earlier recommendation of the LRA which was then acting as an agent of the court. and they have no discretion in the matter. and the order of respondent court dated May 29. under the law. is AFFIRMED. if a faster disposition of the proceedings were really desired. ACCORDINGLY. upon the mere motion for reconsideration filed by the LRA. It is ministerial in the sense that they act under the orders of the court and the decree must be in conformity with the decision of the court and with the data found in the record. thus: Petitioners insist that the duty of the respondent land registration officials to issue the decree is purely ministerial." 3 Add to this the fact that P. 1529. the LRA is not legally obligated to follow the court's order. the court could facilely wield the powers of its office in order to compel the LRA to speed up its investigation. however. the Solicitor General is reminded to be more vigilant in handling cases which his office should. They are specifically called upon to "extend assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral land registration proceedings. Administrator Bonifacio filed his report as an officer of the court precisely to inform the latter that the NLTDRA cannot comply with the order to issue a decree because the subject lot sought to be registered was discovered to have been already decreed and titled in the name of the Payatas Estate.D.. having been issued under the Torrens system. which decree is prepared and issued by the Commissioner of Land Registration. has been squarely met in Gomez. the instant petition for review is hereby DENIED. of the February 2. report. At this point. As we declared in an early case. it is their duty to refer the matter to the court.D. in this respect as officials of the court and not as administrative officials. specifically Section 6 thereof which enumerates the functions of the Commissioner of Land Registration. On the other hand. in several decisions." The application for registration of the petitioners in this case would. it may be stated that this controversy could have been avoided had the proper procedure in land registration cases been observed by both the trial court. and recommendation. Under the Administrative Code of 1987.D. 4 This is especially true when. enjoys the conclusive presumption of validity.of registration. the title is not finally adjudicated and the decision in the registration proceeding continues to be under the control and sound discretion of the court rendering it. It must be noted that petitioners failed to rebut the LRA report and only alleged that the title of the Payatas Estate was spurious. They act." as mandated by Section 29 of P. 1990 order. petitioners aver that respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion in setting aside the July 28. 8816 which is not allowed under Section 48 of P. 1988. Under these circumstances. This.D. 8816. It is also argued by petitioners that the issuance of the decree of registration and the certificate of title by the LRA is a ministerial duty which follows as a matter of course the order of the court directing it to issue said decree.

[G. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). June 08 : 2011] NATIVIDAD STA. Upon Genaro's death. and that the land subject of the application for registration falls within the approved area per verification through survey by the PENRO or . The Republic did not present any evidence in support of its opposition. and a legislative act or statute. during the hearing before the MeTC. continuous. Ana Victoria applied for registration under the law [1]of a 1. 48(b) of the Public Land Act. verifying the subject property as within the alienable and disposable land of the public domain. Victoria testified and offered documentary evidence to show that the subject lot. Whether or not Victoria amply proved that the subject lot is alienable and disposable land of the public domain. To prove that the land subject of the application for registration is alienable. Victoria and her siblings inherited the land and divided it among themselves via a deed of partition. 1945 or earlier. said the CA. rely on the notation in the Conversion/Subdivision Plan she submitted before the MeTC.: This case is about the need for an applicant for registration of title to land to prove that the same has been officially declared alienable and disposable land of the public domain. VS. Feliciano. (b) that the applicants by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. On June 19. 2006 issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). ANA VICTORIA. the only reason the CA gave in reversing the decision of the MeTC is that Victoria failed to submit the November 6. No. concur. she attached to her brief a Certification [3] dated November 6. In her brief. an applicant must establish the existence of a positive act of the government such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order. 2007 the CA rendered judgment.R. PETITIONER. She could not. On January 25. 2006 that she submitted together with her appellee's brief even if it were to the same effect since she did not offer it in evidence during the hearing before the trial court. Mcadm-590-D of the Taguig Cadastral Mapping is a portion of a parcel of land with an area of 17. representing the respondent Republic of the Philippines. [8] Here. Victoria replied that the Conversion/Subdivision Plan she submitted carried a notation that the subject property is within alienable and disposable area. Court's Ruling Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree has three requisites for registration of title: (a) that the property in question is alienable and disposable land of the public domain. JJ. 2006 the MeTC rendered a decision. She belatedly submitted it on appeal.[6] There are no material differences between Sec. 1968. Whether or not she has amply proved her claim of ownership of the property. an administrative action. 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. investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators. 2006 Certification issued by the DENR. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree and Sec. The Conversion/Subdivision Plan Victoria presented in evidence showed that the land is inside the alienable and disposable area under Project 27-B as per L. The Facts and the Case On November 2. Map 2623. before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of that city. the CA could not take cognizance of the DENR Certification of November 6. The CA found it unnecessary to pass upon the evidence of Victoria's possession and occupation of the subject property. Victoria testified that she and her predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the property continuously. The Republic appealed the MeTC decision to the Court of Appeals (CA). Vitug and Francisco. reversing and setting aside the MeTC decision because Victoria failed to prove that the subject lot is alienable and disposable land of the public domain.SO ORDERED.. City of Taguig. Melo. Further.[7] Sec.729-square meter lot in Bambang. Issues Presented The issues in this case are: 1.C. RESPONDENT. uninterruptedly. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation. verifying the subject property as within the alienable and disposable land of the public domain. On the other hand. 48(b) of the Public Land Act. although it carried a notation that the land is alienable and disposable as certified by the Chief of Survey of the Land Management Services of the DENR on January 3.[9] The applicant may secure a certification from the government that the lands applied for are alienable and disposable. It denied Victoria's motion for reconsideration on September 11.507 sq m originally owned by Victoria's father Genaro Sta. pointing out in its brief that Victoria failed to present evidence that the subject property is alienable and disposable land of the public domain and that she failed to establish the kind of possession required for registration. but the certification must show that the DENR Secretary had approved the land classification and released the land of the pubic domain as alienable and disposable. DECISION ABAD. and 2. Ana and previously declared in his name for tax purposes. because such notation was made only in connection with the approval of the plan. publicly. 2004 petitioner Natividad Sta. openly. known as Lot 5176-D. 1968. 14(1) operationalizes the registration of such lands of the public domain. 2007. J. 179673. and (c) that such possession is under a bona fideclaim of ownership since June 12. opposed the application in the usual form.[5] [4] A similar right is granted under Sec. [2] granting the application for registration and finding that Victoria sufficiently established her claim and right under the land registration law to have the subject property registered in her name. as certified by the Bureau of Forest Development on January 3.

adversely and in the concept of owners since the early 1940s. 2007 resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. and REINSTATES the January 25. is authorized to issue certifications regarding status of public land as alienable and disposable land. Csd-00-000648. vs. both located in what used to be Barrio Bagumbayan. It would be more prudent to recognize the DENR Certification and resolve the matter now. publicly. if any there be. situated at Bambang. 141 (the Public Land Act).507 square meters. Taguig.. Branch 156 of Pasig City (RTC). Only then did Victoria find it necessary to present the DENR Certification. Besides. 1968. [17] 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. This CA decision affirmed. pursuant to Commonwealth Act C. [14] The OSG also submitted a certified true copy of Forestry Administrative Order 4-1141 dated January 3. in LRC Case No.. contrary to the Solicitor General's allegation. Branch 11. This is the City of Taguig in the middle of the metropolis. J. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila (RCAM). who signed Victoria's DENR Certification. acting as a land registration court.covered by amended Plan PSU-223919 property). and to submit a copy of the administrative order or proclamation that declares as alienable and disposable the area where the property involved in this case is located. it seems too hasty for the CA to altogether disregard the same simply because it was not formally offered in evidence before the court below. Rizal. Metro Manila. [13] In compliance.) No. In Llanes v. with modification.832 square meters). 5 6 7 8 . 1974. [12] On July 28. The rules of procedure being mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice.CENRO. In fact. the Court GRANTS the petition. which declared portions of the public domain covered by Bureau of Forestry Map LC-2623. the OSG submitted a certification from the DENR stating that Senior Forest Management Specialist Corazon D. who issued the Certification in this case. Such surveys are carried out precisely to encourage landowners and help them get titles to the lands covered by such survey. Since the OSG does not contest the authenticity of the DENR Certification. approved on January 3. (then Court of First Instance of Rizal. Petitioner. 84646. On September 15. containing an area of 17. On October 4. 2013 ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA. openly. the RCAM amended its application by reducing Lot 2 to 760 square meters (from 1. 2007 decision and the September 11. No. It does not make sense to raise an objection after such a survey that the lands covered by it are inalienable land of the public domain. uninterruptedly. the January 17. Calamno. We find no reason to disturb the conclusion of the trial court that Victoria amply established her right to have the subject property registered in her name. 2010 the Court issued a resolution requiring the OSG to verify from the DENR whether the Senior Forest Management Specialist of its National Capital Region. CV No. More so when even the OSG failed to present any evidence in support of its opposition to the application for registration during trial at the MeTC. 1968. et al. Respondent.: We resolve in this petition for review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court the challenge to the April 10 2007 decision and the August 9. DECISION BRION. was verified to be within the Alienable or Disposable Land. 179181 November 18. 2005 decision of the Regional Trial Court. CRESENCIASTA. 1968. G. proved that she and her predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the subject lot continuously. cause additional expense and add to the number of cases that courts must resolve. is authorized to issue certifications on the status of public lands as alienable and disposable.[10] The applicant must also present a copy of the original classification of the land into alienable and disposable.TERESA RAMOS. Metro Manila as per LC Map 2623. The CA also erred in not affirming the decision of the MeTC especially since Victoria has. de las Alas for Marissa S. [15]signed by then Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources Arturo R. approved on January 3.R. Jr. Taguig Cadastral Mapping. given that she has met all the requisites for registration of title under the Property Registration Decree. since she had believed that the notation in the Conversion/Subdivision Plan of the property was sufficient. as alienable and disposable. Taguig City. The attack on Victoria's proof to establish the nature of the subject property was made explicit only when the case was at the appeal stage in the Republic's appellant's brief. like a public forest. N-5811 that denied the application for confirmation and registration of title filed by the petitioner. Branch 74 of the City of Taguig. the RCAM filed before the R TC. SO ORDERED. as declared by the DENR Secretary or as proclaimed by the President. REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the June 19. the record shows that the subject property was covered by a cadastral survey of Taguig conducted by the government at its expense. 2007 resolution of the Court of Appeals. Tanco. Republic.[11] The DENR Certification submitted by Victoria reads: This is to certify that the tract of land as shown and described at the reverse side of this Conversion/Subdivision Plan of Lot 5176 MCadm 590-D.R. as surveyed by Geodetic Engineer Justa M.A. 2006 decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court. Taguig City. Estopalla. 1 2 3 4 The Factual Antecedents At the core of the controversy in the present petition are two parcels of land – Lot 1 with an area of 34 square meters and Lot 2 with an area of 760 square meters. Office of the Regional Technical Director for Forest Management Services. WHEREFORE. the Court is empowered to suspend their application to a particular case when its rigid application tends to frustrate rather than promote the ends of justice. an application for registration of title (application) of property. she has submitted tax declarations covering the land way back in 1948 that appeared in her father's name. assisted by her husband PONCIANO FRANCISCO.[16] this Court allowed consideration of a CENRO Certification though it was only presented during appeal to the CA to avoid a patent unfairness. 27-B. under Project No. 1966.

according to the RTC. continuous and peaceful possession of it in the concept of an owner. The RCAM attached the following documents to support its application: amended plan Psu-223919. the certified true copy of Original Certificate of Title No. 1992. Teresa Ramos. Rizal. legal or equitable. 4. 7. 8. Taguig. did not sufficiently satisfy the actual possession requirement of the law as the RCAM did not show how and in what manner it possessed the property prior to 1991. and 1999. The RTC held that Cresencia failed to include in her opposition a prayer for issuance of title. 3. to support her requested confirmation of imperfect title: 13 14 1. surveyor s certificate. which adjoins the property on the south. The Republic claimed that the property is part of the public domain and cannot be subject to private appropriation. 1973. 1981. technical description of Lots 1 and 2. Taguig.) photographs of a pile of gravel and sand (allegedly for their gravel and sand business) on the property.) the death certificates of Cipriano Sta. 19 In contrast. on the property. through her husband Ponciano Francisco. filed her opposition to the RCAM's application.) certificates of ownership covering two bancas. Cresencia submitted the following documents. and that no person has any claim. Rizal. 1993.) her marriage certificate. 6. the various pieces of documentary evidence that she presented. 15 The RCAM presented in evidence the following documents.) a photograph of the certificate of dealership given to Ponciano by a Tobacco company for his dealership in Bagumbayan.) their children's birth certificates. through the Director of Lands. respondent Cresencia Sta. The RCAM assailed the R TC' s decision before the CA. the numerous businesses allegedly conducted by Cresencia and her family on the property. and the testimony of the RCAM' s own witnesses convinced the RTC that she and her family actually possessed the property in the manner and for the period required by law. during the Spanish time. filed an opposition to the application. among others.) photographs of these two bane as with her youngest child while standing on the property and showing the location of the RCAM' s church relative to the location of the property. The RCAM's tax declarations were also inconclusive since they failed to prove actual possession.In its amended application. public. 0082 covering the lot in the name of Garcia.) a photograph of the plaque awarded to Ponciano by ESSO Standard Philippines as sole dealer of its gasoline products in Bagumbayan. She alleged that the property formed part of the entire property that her family owns and has continuously possessed and occupied from the time of her grandparents. that it acquired the property during the Spanish time. 12 On August 18. 10. Even this act. 9 10 11 On May 22. and Tax Declaration No. and the affidavit of Garcia confirming the RCAM's ownership of the property. and 11. It likewise submitted several testimonial evidence to corroborate its ownership and claim of possession of the property. no mortgage or encumbrance of any kind affects the property. The RTC pointed out that the RCAM's only overt act on the property that could be regarded as evidence of actual possession was its construction of the bahay ni Maria in 1991. 2005. This notwithstanding. 1966. . the Republic of the Philippines (Republic). de Ramos (Cresencia's parents). Rizal.) a photograph of their La Compania Refreshment Store standing on their titled lot adjacent to the property. and that since then. Taguig. the RTC refused to order the issuance of the title in Cresencia's name.) photographs of the RCAM's bahay ni Maria standing on the property. the RTC denied the RCAM's application for registration of title. 1992. The RTC held that the RCAM failed to prove actual possession and ownership of the property applied for. 9551 issued on September 6. the RCAM claimed that it owned the property. Teresa and Eulogia Sta. 5. it has been in open. 16 17 18 The ruling of the RTC In its decision of January 17. up to the present. Teresa Vda. 1990. in addition to those already on record: tax declarations issued in its name in 1948. 9.) the registration certificate for their family's sheet manufacturing business situated m Bagumbayan. 2. It added that to the best of its knowledge and belief.

2007 decision. the findings of the RTC were well supported by the evidence. Cresencia primarily points out that the present petition essentially questions the CA’s appreciation of the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses who attested to her actual. factual-issue-bar rule In her comment. public and notorious possession of the property. is the exact situation in the case as our discussions below will show. failing to consider that the RCAM had continuous. Thus. the truth or falsehood of the facts being admitted. in the concept of an owner. and 3. the CA did not consider this non-declaration significant to defeat her claim. 23 We are not entirely convinced of the merits of what Cresencia pointed out. The CA similarly disregarded the additional tax declarations that the RCAM presented in support of its application. and are thus binding on this Court. The Issue In sum. 25 Nevertheless. it is a question of fact and is barred in a Rule 45 petition. 20 The CA agreed with the RTC that the totality of the evidence on record unquestionably showed that Cresencia was the actual possessor and occupant. subject to her compliance with the requisites for registration of title.The CA ruling In its April 10.) No. Thus. The Court s Ruling Preliminary considerations: nature of he issues. "A question of law exists when the doubt or controversy concerns the correct application of law or jurisprudence to a certain set of facts. clearly demonstrated her dominion over the property. the CA affirmed with modification the RTC's January 17. The CA held that Cresencia s use of the property since the Spanish time (through her predecessors-in-interest). 2." 24 An examination of the RCAM's issues shows that the claimed errors indeed primarily question the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the lower courts' conclusion that Cresencia. In addition. had been in possession of the property in the manner and for the period required by law.D. or when the issue does not call for an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented. a review of the lower courts' findings may be made. No. had been affirmed by the CA. When the lower courts grossly misunderstood the facts and circumstances that. To the CA. and the probability of the situation. while she failed to register the property in her name or declare it for taxation purposes as pointed out by the RCAM. the core issue for our resolution is who -between the RCAM and Cresencia -is entitled to the benefits of C. of the disputed property. When the presented question centers on the sufficiency of the evidence. Lastly. would warrant a different conclusion. jurisprudence recognizes certain exceptions to the settled rule. A question of fact exists when a doubt or difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of facts or when the query invites calibration of the whole evidence x x x as well as their relation to each other and to the whole. as confirmed by the RCAM s witnesses. the CA declared that Cresencia correctly waited until her possession was disturbed before she took action to vindicate her right. Cresencia merely tolerated the RCAM s temporary use of the property for lack of any urgent need for it and only acted to protect her right when the RCAM applied for registration in its name. This. confirming the incomplete and imperfect title of the oppositor when the magnitude of the parties evidence shows that the oppositors merely had pretended possession that could not ripen into ownership. open and notorious possession of the property in the concept of an owner for a period of thirty (30) years prior to the filing of the application.A. when correctly appreciated. in our view. The CA pointed out that these documents hardly proved the RCAM s alleged ownership of or right to possess the property as it failed to prove actual possession. 141 and Presidential Decree (P. confirming the oppositor’s incomplete and imperfect title despite her failure to comply with the substantial and procedural requirements of the Public Land Act. 26 . the CA held that it was bound by the findings of facts and the conclusions arrived at by the RTC as they were amply supported by the evidence. 21 Assignment of Errors The RCAM argues before us that the CA erred and gravely abused its discretion in: 22 1. She argues that these are questions of fact that are not proper for a Rule 45 petition. 1529 for confirmation and registration of imperfect title. The RCAM filed the present petition after the CA denied its motion for reconsideration. and not the RCAM. The settled rule is that the jurisdiction of this Court over petitions for review on certiorari is limited to the review of questions of law and not of fact. The CA confirmed Cresencia's incomplete and imperfect title to the property. 2005 ruling.

Nevertheless. In relation to C. The RCAM did not specify the particular provision of C. immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. or earlier.D. 141 provides.D. 1945. as one of the modes of disposing public lands that are suitable for agriculture. under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. [italics ours] Under these legal parameters. No. whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives: (1) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. Requirements for confirmation and registration of imperfect and incomplete title under C. No. on the other hand.D. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree specifies those who are qualified to register their incomplete title over an alienable and disposable public land under the Torrens system. 27 since June 12. No. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12. Section 48(b) of C. 1073 on January 25.D. immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. the allegations in its application and amended application readily show that it based its claim of imperfect title under Section 48(b) of C. 1073. Section 48(b) of C. The pertinent portion of Section 14 of P. positive and convincing evidence that: (1) the property subject of their application is alienable and disposable land of the public domain. 141 governs the classification and disposition of lands of the public domain. or earlier. is a question of law as it concerns the correct application of law or jurisprudence to recognized facts. continuous. No. The burden of proof in these cases rests on the applicants who must demonstrate clear. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. superseded and codified all laws relative to the registration of property. applicants in a judicial confirmation of imperfect title may register their titles upon a showing that they or their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. 1529. 141. in part. as amended by R. may apply to the Court of First Instance [now Regional Trial Court] of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor. No. Section 14 of Presidential Decree P. continuous. P. under the Land Registration Act. for at least thirty years. entitled to confirmation and registration under the Land Registration Act. the "confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles. Who may apply. 28 On the issue of whether the RC M is entitled to the benefits of C A No. 141. 141 and P.A. 1945. 1942 (which then required possession of thirty years). No. The following described citizens of the Philippines. to wit: xxxx (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open.A.A. or earlier (or for at least 30 years in the case of the RCAM) immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title. 1529 . then operated under the Republic Act R.) No. 1978. which was approved on June 11.Moreover. 1529 reads: Section 14. No.A. Hence. 1966 and its amended application on October 4. No. exclusive.A. As amended by P. 1529 C. Stated in question form -was the CA justified under the law and jurisprudence in its confirmation of the oppositor's title over the property? This.D. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. continuous. 1974. exclusive. No. 141. The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance [now Regional Trial Court] an application for registration of title to land.) No. No.D. and (2) their alleged possession and occupation of the property were of the length and of the character required by law. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.A. No. 141. and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. 141 under which it anchored its application for confirmation and registration of title.D. governs.A. 1942 (June 22. enumerates those who are considered to have acquired an imperfect or incomplete title over public lands and. the RCAM also questions the propriety of the CA s confirmation of Cresencia's title over the property although she was not the applicant and was merely the oppositor in the present confirmation and registration proceedings. No. [emphases and italics ours] Prior to the amendment introduced by P. 141 currently provides: Section 48. 1945. No. [emphases and italics ours] Since the RCAM filed its application on September 15. No. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. therefore. 1957) amendment which reads: (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. 141 and P.A. No. No. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. since June 12. we find it imperative to resolve the petition on the merits. 1977. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain.A.A." Section 48. continuous.A. Section 11 of C. Section 48(b) of C.

openly and notoriously possessed the property since time immemorial. while not conclusive evidence of ownership. not fictional or constructive. 1993 and 1999. No. the tax declarations issued in the RCAM's name in 1948. continuous. this possession should have commenced on June 12. 1984. . its alleged possession (which was only for twenty-six years counted from 1948) would still be short of the thirty-year period required by Section 48(b) of C. We are in fact inclined to believe that the RCAM first declared the property in its name only in 1948 as this tax declaration does not appear to have cancelled any previously-issued tax declaration. 1977. No. Accordingly. when it filed its application in 1966 and its amended application in 197 4. 1945 or earlier. dismissed the RCAM s application for its failure to comply with the second requirement – possession of the property in the manner and for the period required by law. The declaration for taxation purposes of property in the names of applicants for registration or of their predecessors-in-interest may constitute collaborating evidence only when coupled with other acts of possession and ownership. As already noted. by themselves. as well as the bare assertions it made and those of its witnesses. 1073 to Section 48(b) where." the RCAM used to describe its alleged possession. 1990. Thus. Possession is open when it is patent. She also points out that the RCAM s tax declarations are insufficient proof of possession as they are not. not an allegation of fact.D. the RCAM presented only two tax declarations (issued in 1948 and 1966) covering the property. For greater certainty. 141 is actual. 1984. 35 Second. when it filed its application in 1966. the RCAM now argues that it actually. public. the earliest tax declaration that it presented was for 1948. 1990. Republic teaches us that this type of intermittent and sporadic assertion of alleged ownership does not prove open. We find no reason to disturb the RTC and the CA findings on this point. In Carlos v Republic of the Philippines. Note that the settled rule is that tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of ownership or of the right to possess land when not supported by any other evidence showing actual. continuous. Interestingly. exclusive and notorious possession of the property. 36 the RCAM still failed to prove actual possession of the property for the required duration. continuous. even if we were to consider the RCAM' s tax declarations as basis for inferring possession. it was in possession of the property for only eighteen years. the RCAM s possession was by her mere tolerance which. and notorious when it is so conspicuous that it is generally known and talked of by the public or the people in the neighborhood. exclusive and notorious. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation. We elaborate below on these points. standing alone. and in concept of owner. Even if we were to count the possession period from the filing of its amended application in 1974. the RCAM had to show that it performed specific overt acts in the character an owner would naturally exercise over his own property. the earliest tax declaration that it could present was that issued in 1948. Taken together with the words open. is a conclusion of law. The situation would be worse if we were to consider the amendment introduced by P. his possession must not be a mere fiction.A. 2005 decision of the R TC. up to the issuance of the January 1 7. to prove its compliance with Section 48(b)' s possession requirement. the clear intention of the law is not to make one synonymous with the other. 33 34 This rule applies even more strongly in this case since the RCAM's payments of taxes due on the property were inconsistent and random. conclusive evidence of ownership. Cresencia adds that at most. as amended by RA No. We do not see any merit in the RCAM s contentions. And since then. The RC M failed to prove possession of the property in the manner and for the period required by law The possession contemplated by Section 48(b) of C. the RCAM failed to show or point to any specific act characterizing its claimed possession in the manner described above. No. Since these words are separated by the conjunction and.Reiterating its position before the RTC and the CA. continuous. open. are proof of its claim of title and constitute as sufficient basis for inferring possession. The various documents that it submitted. public and adverse possession. Actual possession of a land consists in the manifestation of acts of dominion over it of such a nature as a party would naturally exercise over his own property. continuously. that it had been in open. 1966. 1942. The RTC and the CA as it affirmed the RTC. no matter how long. Proof of actual possession of the property at the time of the filing of the application is required because the phrase adverse. it seeks to delimit the all-encompassing effect of constructive possession. 141. She argues that the testimonies of the RCAM s witnesses were replete with inconsistencies and betray the weakness of its claimed possession. visible. it is inconclusive. unbroken and not intermittent or occasional. It points out that its tax declarations covering the property. the Court explained the character of the required possession. we affirm their denial of the RCAM' s application. 1993 and 1999 did not in any way prove the character of its possession over the property. hardly constitute the "well-nigh incontrovertible evidence required in cases of this nature. therefore. Also. Hence. Cresencia counters that the RCAM failed to discharge its burden of proving possession in the concept of an owner. we expound on the reasons below. When. 32 First. for the RCAM's claimed possession of the property to give rise to an imperfect title. They had carefully analyzed and weighed each piece of the RCAM s evidence to support its application and had extensively explained in their respective decisions why they could not give weight to these pieces of evidence. For her part." 30 31 Very noticeably. while the RCAM asserts that it had been in possession of the property since the Spanish time. Possession is broader than occupation because it includes constructive possession. apparent [and] notorious x x x continuous when uninterrupted. The case of Tan v. the RCAM presented only five other tax declarations -those issued in 1977. can never ripen into ownership.A. exclusive when [the possession is characterized by acts manifesting] exclusive dominion over the land and an appropriation of it to [the applicant's] own use and benefit. the word occupation serves to highlight the fact that for an applicant to qualify. a. the law adds the word occupation. counted from 1948. as follows: 29 The law speaks of possession and occupation.

" (emphases and italics ours) Thus. The total area that the RCAM applied for. 38 39 We cannot tolerate this kind of approach for two basic reasons. judgment shall be rendered confirming the title of the applicant. the testimonies were undoubtedly hearsay and were not based on personal knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the RCAM’s claimed actual. Neither did it account for any act of occupation. the total area declared under its name was still 1. 141.A. In fact. the filing of its application in 1966. Specifically. it claims that the CA. No. they hardly prove that the RCAM actually possessed the property in the concept of an owner for the required duration. was 794 square meters (34 square meters for Lot 1 and 760 square meters for Lot 2). 40 41 On this ground alone. No. any determination on the RCAM' s compliance with the second requirement is rendered useless as any alleged period of possession prior to the date the property became alienable and disposable can never be counted in its favor as any period of possession and occupation of public lands in the concept of owner. While these documents plot the location. Yet. over the property. Surprisingly. to the land x x x x. is subject to Cresencia's satisfaction of the evidentiary requirement of P D No. the RCAM did not account for or provide sufficient explanation for this increase in the area. in effect.A.D. the CA has the authority to confirm the title of Cresencia. Second. the amended plan Psu-223919. This. Significantly. The RCAM points out that. The RC M failed to prove that the property is alienable and disposable land of he public domain Most importantly. Our review of the records shows that this evidence is fatally absent and we are in fact disappointed to note that both the RTC and the CA appeared to have simply assumed that the property was alienable and disposable. exclusive and notorious possession. the area stated in its 1948 tax declaration was only 132. unless the contrary is satisfactorily shown. more commonly known as the Regalian doctrine. in relation with C. as stated in its amended application and the amended survey plan. Second. thus. this structure was constructed only in 1991 and not at the time of. while the area stated in the subsequently issued tax declaration (1966) was 1. As found out by the CA. applies with equal force even to private unregistered lands. made Cresencia the applicant entitled to the benefits of the land registration proceedings that it initiated before the lower court. Third.832 square meters. contrary to the RCAM's contention. Cresencia did not register the property in her name although she previously registered the . The issue of whether Cresencia is entitled to the benefits of C. No. as the oppositor. thus effectively indicating that she did not believe herself to be its owner. can never ripen into ownership. No. No. development. We differ with this view.832 square meters.Third. Section 29 provides that the court "x x x after considering the evidence x x x finds that the applicant or the oppositor has sufficient title proper for registration. One. The RCAM points out that it filed the application for registration of title under the provisions of C. 1529 gives the court the authority to confirm the title of either the applicant or the oppositor in a land registration proceeding depending on the conclusion that the evidence calls for. no matter how long. In affirming Cresencia's title without any evidence showing her compliance with these requirements. of course. the area and the boundaries of the property. or prior to. both statutes dictate several substantive and procedural requirements that must first be complied with before title to the property is confirmed and registered. b. investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators. and surveyor s certificate only prove the identity of the property that the RCAM sought to register in its name. all lands belong to the State regardless of their classification. 141 or alternatively under P. technical description for Lots 1 and 2. Cresencia did not have the property surveyed in her name so that she could assert her claim over it and show its metes and bounds. 141 in support of her own claim of imperfect title over the property. and a legislative act or a statute. in this jurisdiction.D. To prove that the property is alienable and disposable. While apparently confirming the RCAM s claim." It could have also secured a certification from the government that the property applied for was alienable and disposable. an administrative action. No. or the oppositor. open and notorious possession since the Spanish time.A. we find the RCAM s evidence to be insufficient since it failed to comply with the first and most basic requirement – proof of the alienable and disposable character of the property. no finding or pronouncement referring to this requirement was ever made in the decisions of the R TC and the CA. Last. continuous. The "bahay ni Maria" where the RCAM conducts its fiesta-related and Lenten activities could hardly satisfy the possession requirement of C. 1529. the RCAM did not build any permanent structure or any other improvement that clearly announces its claim of ownership over the property. On the CA’s authority to confirm the title of the oppositor in land registration proceedings The RCAM next argues that the CA’s act of confirming Cresencia's title over the property is contrary to law and jurisprudence. unless the date when the property became alienable and disposable is specifically identified. the R TC could have outrightly denied the RCAM' s application.A. No.D. 1529. Notably. the RCAM was bound to establish "the existence of a positive act of the government such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order. first. Section 29 of P. in its various tax declarations issued even after it filed its amended application. This rule. Cresencia failed to declare for taxation purposes the property in her name. 141 and P. it appeared uncertain on the specific area claimed. 37 Fourth. the RCAM seemed to be uncertain of the exact area it allegedly possesses and over which it claims ownership. 1529 The RCAM lastly argues that the evidence belies Cresencia's claim of continuous. maintenance or cultivation for the duration of time it was allegedly in possession of it. the RCAM s testimonial evidence hardly supplemented the inherent inadequacy of its documentary evidence.30 square meters.

albeit. the various pieces of documentary evidence that Cresencia presented to support her own claim of imperfect title hardly proved her alleged actual possession of the property. we find that the CA erred when it affirmed the RTC's ruling on this matter and confirmed Cresencia's imperfect title to the property. 141. which we do not. Finally. Cresencia did not perform any act of dominion that. They also failed to point out specific acts of dominion or ownership that were performed on the property by the parents of Cresencia. we also find insufficient the evidence that Cresencia presented to prove her claimed possession of the property in the manner and for the period required by C. The declaration for taxation purposes of property in their names would have at least served as proof that she or her predecessors-in-interest had a claim over the property that could be labeled as "possession" if coupled with proof of actual possession. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila. however. the CA erred when it affirmed the contrary findings of the RTC and confirmed Cresencia’s title over the property. were mere general statements and could not have constituted the factual evidence of possession that the law requires. and of the pile of gravel and sand they allegedly used in their gravel and sand business also hardly count as acts of occupation. Second. could be sufficiently considered as actual possession. We agree with the RCAM on most of these points. 84646 to the extent described below: 1. the records show that the La Compania Refreshment Store business (that they allegedly conducted on the property) actually stood on their titled lot adjoining the property. we hereby DENY the petition. Interestingly. CV No. birth and death did not particularly state that each of these certified events. We AFFIRM with MODIFICATION the decision dated April 10. Similarly. other than being self-serving. marriage. Taguig. Cresencia was bound to adduce evidence that irrefutably proves her compliance with the requirements for confirmation of title. Like the RCAM. Taguig. in LRC Case No. at most. The presence of these objects and of Cresencia s daughter on the property was obviously transient and impermanent. birth and death. as shown by photographs. No. Neither did Cresencia or her predecessors-in-interest declare the property for taxation purposes nor had the property surveyed in their names to properly identify it and to specifically determine its metes and bounds. of Cresencia s daughter. Cresencia s claim that they conducted their gasoline dealership business on the property is belied by the testimony of a witness who stated that the gas station was located north (or the other side) of Cresencia s titled lot and not on the property. i. N-5811 that DENIED the application for confirmation and registration of title filed by the petitioner. Cresencia and her family conducted these businesses in Bagumbayan. other than Ponciano and Florencia. Fourth. with the conclusion the CA reached on the nature of Cresencia's possession of the property. Petrona Sta. In fact. Rizal and on the stated dates. We arrive at this conclusion for the reasons outlined below. the certificates of marriage.e. none of the witnesses on record seemed to have known that Cresencia owns or at least claims ownership of the property. And fifth.WHEREFORE. the testimonies of Ponciano and Florencia Francisco Mariano (Cresencia's daughter) on the nature and duration of their family's alleged possession of the property. development or maintenance that could have been sufficient as proof of actual possession. thus. they simply showed that at one point in time. in fact transpired on the claimed property. Teresa. To our mind. They likewise failed to present any evidence that could have corroborated their alleged possession of the property from the time of their grandfather. respectively. At any rate. by the established jurisprudential definition. Cipriano.A. For all these reasons. while Cresencia registered in her name the adjoining lot (which they had been occupying at the time the RCAM filed its application and where their La Compania Refreshment Store stood). 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. their predecessors-in-interest. 43 Finally. they proved that Cresencia and her family used the property for a certain period of time.adjoining lot in her name. Specifically. Under the same legal parameters we used to affirm the RTC's denial of the RCAM' s application. even if we were to consider these pieces of evidence to be sufficient. Rizal. Cresencia did not construct any permanent structure on the property and no traces of the businesses allegedly conducted by her and by her family on it could be seen at the time it filed its application. she also failed to discharge this burden of proof. Rather. and . briefly and temporarily. she never had the property registered in her name. we cannot agree. of the two bancas owned by her family. We AFFIRM the decision of the Court of Appeals as it affirmed the January 17 2005 decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City. at best. the registration certificate for their family s sheet manufacturing business. 42 The presence on the property. who acquired the property from its previous owner. Branch 156. the certificate of ownership of two bancas in the name of Ponciano. First. While we uphold the CA' s authority to confirm the title of the oppositor in a confirmation and registration proceedings.R. the certificates proved the occurrence of these events in Bagumbayan. the photograph of the certificate of dealership in the name of Ponciano given by a tobacco company. 2007 and the resolution dated August 9. in light of these considerations. and the photograph of the plaque awarded to Ponciano by ESSO Standard Philippines as sole dealer of its gasoline products did not prove that Cresencia and her family conducted these businesses on the disputed property itself. confirmation and registration of title over the property in Cresencia' s name was still improper in the absence of competent and persuasive evidence on record proving that the property is alienable and disposable.

and the defendants were the spouses Benjamin Orpindo and Leonila Aguilar-Orpindo. 246. which complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. U-2080 is concerned. together with Ruea Whiting Vds. Costs against the petitioner.J. SO ORDERED. The facts as found by the respondent court on the basis of the evidence submitted by the petitioners are as follows: The lands covered by the two titles were inherited by Vicente Kayaban and his co-heirs from their father and common predecessor-in-interest. who thereupon appealed to the Court of First Instance. the Orpindo spouses. petitioners. The petition now before Us is by the spouses Vicente Kayaban and Florentina Lagasca-Kayaban for review of the decision insofar as Civil Case No. C. 1973 VICENTE E.C.T." Case No. U-2080. No. 1967 and docketed therein as Civil Case No. was in the name of his wife Florentina. just before the hearing of the illegal detainer case was terminated in the municipal court.. Fule and Solicitor General Felix J. vs. The property involved was Lot No. The dispositive portion of that decision is as follows: xxx xxx xxx 3. for reconveyance. 2080. and its right to recover on the mortgage loan may be enforced. U-1034. U-1022. Original Certificates of Title Nos. The Philippine National Bank * having acted in good faith is absolved of any liability. filed a complaint against the Kayaban spouses in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan for reconveyance of Lot No. Bautista for respondents. on December 17.: The present case started with an action for illegal detainer filed in the municipal court of Alcala Pangasinan on April 20. No. After the properties were partitioned. was decided in favor of the plaintiff therein Vicente Kayaban and the defendants were ordered to vacate the land and to pay monthly rentals thereon until possession was finally restored to the plaintiff. The three cases — U-1022. however. Still later. which consequently became final. O. one of the petitioners herein. Without pronouncement as to attorney's fees and costs. for illegal detainer. P-1215. L-33307 August 30. whose last will was admitted to probate in 1923. SANTIAGO. Teresa Ramos for lack of sufficient evidentiary basis. 1956 as a result of free patent applications filed by them in 1955. upon a letter-complaint to the Solicitor General's Office by the lawyer for the Orpindos. Case No. the said Office filed. No. Esguerra for petitioners.. an action for annulment of the two free patent titles of the Kayabans and for reversion of the lands covered thereby to the State. 1968. respondents. 9.T. covering other lots. In Civil Case No. de Kayaban and her children. was dismissed and the property involved therein was declared to be the "absolute and exclusive property of defendant Vicente Kayaban. P-1214 in the plaintiff's name. Another title. 1970. Antonio.R. Edilberto Ga. . as Presiding Judge of Branch V. THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and HONORABLE VICENTE M. The plaintiff was Vicente Kayaban. they are hereby declared to be the rightful and exclusive owners and possessors of all the properties therein covered. G. We REVERSE and SET ASIDE the confirmation made by the Court of Appeals of the title over the property in the name of respondent Cresencia Sta. one of several lots covered by O. and both were issued way back on September 22. Sometime later the illegal detainer case was decided adversely to the plaintiff. CFI of Pangasinan. U-2034. On July 12. where the case was docketed as Civil Case No. the other petitioner being his wife Florentina Lagasca-Kayaban. The losing parties in those two cases did not appeal from the decision. Assistant Solicitor General Hector C. The case was docketed as Case No. Office of the Solicitor General Felix Q. 1967. P-1214 and P-1215 subject-matter thereof and under the names of Vicente Kayaban and Florentina Lagasca-Kayaban are hereby declared null and void. Gabriel Kayaban. JR. which rendered its decision on July 31. Vicente Kayaban acquired the shares of his co-heirs by purchase and afterwards he and his wife applied for and obtained the two free patent titles in question. KAYABAN and FLORENTINA LAGASCA-KAYABAN.C. U-1022. U-1034 and U-2080 — were consolidated and tried jointly before respondent court.2. 9. with the right to apply for the confirmation of their titles thereto in a proper judicial proceedings. MAKALINTAL. Actg.

nor does he have any right whatsoever over any portion of the lands covered by the Original Certificates of Titles Nos. was judicial confirmation of an imperfect title and not administrative legalization thereof through patent application. It must be borne in mind that its holder still had to prove that he possessed the land covered by it without interruption during a period of ten years by virtue of a good title and in good faith (Royal Decree of June 25. 7. We find the present appeal meritorious. for which reason he decided to acquire the land as part of the public domain. What is not to be denied is that in connection with their free patent applications the appellants. Both refer to public lands suitable for agricultural purposes. 1968) is apropos: It is true that by filing the application for a free patent Barroga impliedly admitted either the invalidity ofinsufficiency of Titulo Real No. took no part. Indeed. possessor. He decided not to rely upon them and to consider instead that the property covered by the Titulo Real was still a part of the public domain. P-1214 and P-1215. Fernandez is neither a claimant. . U2080 for annulment of the appellants' titles and for reversion of the lands covered thereby to the State was filed at the behest of the Director of Lands. 12479 issued in the name of his predecessor-in-interest on July 22. but nevertheless declared the titles null and void on the ground that since the owners had acquired the properties partly by inheritance from their father and the rest by purchase from their co-heirs. the decision appealed from (Case No.. J. (Emphasis supplied) Finally. it was Barroga's privilege to rely or not to rely upon his claim of private ownership in favor of his predecessor-in-interest and whatever the latter's Titulo Real was worth. the lands were no longer public and hence not subject to disposition by the government under the Public Land Act. Nestor C. 23 SCRA 360 (April 29. namely. Zaldivar. We may well presume that Barroga felt that he had no sufficient evidence to prove this. concur. CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY LANDLESS RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION INC.The respondent court recognized and declared the petitioners to be the rightful and exclusive owners of the properties covered by the said titles and denied the Solicitor General's prayer that they be reverted to the State. Evidently. although the appellants had an imperfect title to them. both require continuous occupation and cultivation either by the applicant himself or through his predecessors-in-interest for a certain length of time. Makasiar and Esguerra. has been initiated by Atty. WHEREFORE. and both are modes of confirming an imperfect or incomplete title — one judicially and the other administratively.. Barroga. said the court. the dictum of the lower court that the appellants chose the wrong remedy in applying for free patents instead of obtaining a judicial confirmation of their imperfect titles involves a technicality that is of no material consequence now in view of the declaration by the same court that the appellants are the rightful and exclusive owners of the lands covered by said titles. The certificates of title in either case is the same. there is no difference between them. Acting accordingly he applied for a free patent and was successful. which. Cagayan de Oro City. That this instant case praying primarily to declare "null and void" the Original Certificates of Titles Nos. The procedure that should have been followed. The following statement in the decision of this court in the case of Antonio vs. Antonio. Fernando. or at least with his prior authority and consent. the action for annulment should have been initiated by him. and their father had been in possession thereof for many years before them. That Atty. respectively. Barredo. that provided for in Section 122 of Act No. Fernandez upon his letter complaint to the Solicitor General's Office. Nestor C. 1894. We note in the first place that nowhere in the record is it shown that the complaint in Case No. P-1214 and P-1215. In the second place. * The fact that the appellants inherited part of the lands in question from their father and acquired the rest by purchase from their co-heirs does not necessarily imply that they had become private lands in the sense of being no longer subject to disposal under the provisions of the Public Land Act. What does appear in the stipulation of facts submitted by the parties below is as follows: xxx xxx xxx 6. Teehankee. petitioner. Since it was the Director of Lands who processed and approved the applications of the appellants and who ordered the issuance of the corresponding free patents in their favor in his capacity as administrator of the disposable lands of the public domain. (COCLAI). 496. whether the titles in question were obtained through judicial or administrative legalization of imperfect or incomplete title is of no practical importance. JJ. except for some restrictions as to alienability within entitled to all the protection afforded by the Torrens System of registration. P-1214 and P-1215 in the names of Vicente Kayaban and Florentina Lagasca-Kayaban. U-2080) is reversed insofar as it declares null and void Original Certificates of Title Nos. insofar as the kind of land that may be the subject of one or the other remedy is concerned. Macabalan. as well as the Director of Lands. Castro. but neither the allegation made in his answer that his aforesaid predecessor-in-interest was the absolute owner of the property covered by said Titulo Real nor his implied admission of the latter's invalidity or insufficiency are grounds for the annulment of the free patent and original certificate of title in question. considered the lands as still part of the public domain. No pronouncement as to costs. 1880).

the Bureau of Forestry released the said land as alienable and disposable public land. Branch 25. The said sales application was however held in abeyance by the Bureau of Lands pending the final outcome of the civil case filed by the Republic of the Philippines and the City of Cagayan de Oro against Benedicta Macabebe Salcedo. Project No. G. they prefer to acquire residential lots in any housing area of NHA. the COCLAI was a party-intervenor. L-41115) involving the annulment of the title over the same land. 0-257. required the COCLAI. COURT OF APPEALS and AUTHORITY (NHA). the COCLAI engaged the services of a geodetic engineer to prepare the subdivision survey which was submitted to the Bureau of Lands. In said case. No. 1970.vs. respondents. in C. 1982 of Cad. In said case.00. 1979. 6806 to acquire Cadastral Lot No. 23080. which reversed the decision of the Regional Trial Court ofCagayan de Oro City. the Bureau of Lands. Meanwhile. to file a miscellaneous Sales Application over the land in question which the latter did on August 13. 1964. Said parcel of land was formerly a timberland identified as Block No. By virtue of said authority. located at Macabalan.554 square meters which was then covered by OCT No. J. Upon learning of the pending suit before the Supreme Court (G.. the COCLAI intervened claiming that instead of being paid the amount of P300. Cagayan de Oro City with an area of 224. the Supreme Court finally resolved G. 16-64 granting authority to the COCLAI to survey the land in question for purposes of subdivision into residential lots. The antecedent facts as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows: “The land subject of the dispute is Lot No. 1982. the Solicitor General furnished the Bureau of Lands. L-41115. in behalf of its members.A. F. 1956. dated November 17. On September 4. the NATIONAL HOUSING DECISION HERMOSISIMA. 1964. 1988.: This is a petition to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals. L-41115 annulling OCT No. including the land involved in this case. No. 1982.R.R. OnMarch 31. 8 of the Bureau of Forestry. the NHA filed an expropriation proceeding before the former Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental at Cagayan de Oro City docketed as Civil Case No.000. 0-257 and declaring the land covered thereby as public land. on January 29. 0-257 covering the land in question then pending before the Supreme Court docketed as G. Manila. with a copy of the Supreme Court decision prompting the Director of the Bureau of Lands to order the District Land Officer in Cagayan de Oro City to take appropriate . after conducting an ocular survey. for the annulment of Original Certificate of Title No. the NHA sought the suspension of the expropriation proceedings. JR. On September 11.C. L. SP No.R. No. 1982. dated February 28. on August 22. Subsequently.R. the Bureau of Lands issued Survey Authority No. et al. 1991. 237 consisting of about 12. On October 8.82 hectares located at Cagayan de Oro City.

the NHA. 3551 covering the entire area of Cadastral Lot No. 1990. through its Regional Director. Virgilio Dacalos and Engr. on July 24. Vicente Generalao. 1472. In response thereto. administer and dispose of Lot No. Thereafter. 1964 and the COCLAI’s subdivision survey had already been submitted to the Central Office for verification and approval but was held in abeyance. Noli T. In its complaint. 1982. presided over by Hon. While Civil Case No. Catli. Cagayan de Oro City docketed as Civil Case No. moved for the issuance of a writ of execution before the MTCC on July 23.D. the Bureau of Lands. 1982. demolished the structures erected by the COCLAI members. respectively with the help of the policemen and claiming authority under P. the Regional Land Director of Region 10 informed the Director of Lands that the members of COCLAI were occupying portions of the said lot by virtue of the Survey Authority issued on March 19. 1982 aforestated alleging that they are entitled to possession thereof and. Pablo Solomon. After due hearing. which was docketed as Civil Case No. the area manager and project engineer.1990. the NHA filed a complaint for ‘Quieting of Title with Application for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction’ against the COCLAI and its president. 11204. P-3324 in the name of NHA. Cagayan de Oro City. 11204. 1982 for the Slum Improvement and Resettlement (SIR) Project to be implemented by the NHA. the Register of Deeds of Cagayan de Oro City issued on January 3. 1982 but the court dismissed plaintiff’s claim for damages. Under the said proclamation.action for inventory of each and every portion of Cadastral Lot No. 90337. On appeal. 11204 to restore the COCLAI members to their respective actual possession of the portions of Lot No. 2292 reserving the entire area of Cadastral Lot No. 1990 an Original Certificate of Title No. the COCLAI members. 11204 was pending before the courts. 1982 located at Macabalan. On May 10. the MTCC on November 17. as well as the City Sheriff. the NHA was granted the authority ‘to develop. issued an order rejecting the subdivision survey previously submitted by the COCLAI. filed a . 1983. and by virtue thereof. Branch 3. a day after the COCLAI moved for the execution of the judgment in Civil Case No.’ On May 19. 1983. 1988 rendered judgment ordering the defendants in Civil Case No. the prevailing party. the Regional Trial Court in Cagayan de Oro City affirmed the decision of the lower court. through its agents. Said case was assigned to Branch 25 of the Regional Trial Court in Cagayan de Oro City. Sometime in November. plaintiff NHA alleged: ‘4) That defendant landless association laid claim of a portion of Lot No. Thus. 1986. in fact. the President of the Philippines issued Proclamation No. the President of the Philippines issued on July 1. in accordance with the guidelines of the Slum Improvement and Resettlement Program and the approved development plan of the area. This action prompted the COCLAI to file a forcible entry and damages case against the NHA employees and police officers with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities. 1988 Special Patent No.

1957 the said decision could not be enforced against plaintiff herein as it was not a party to the said case. and four (4) others. for which Original Certificate of Title No. plaintiff herein not being made a party thereto. G. 10) That defendants Solomon. subject-matter hereof..R. 11204 in violation of plaintiff’s rights respecting the subject of the action. 5) That on November 18. and tending to render the judgment herein ineffectual.complaint for Forcible Entry against certain Virgilio Decalos. Enriquez et al. and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission of the act herein complained of. Hon. ineffective and unenforceable and prejudicial to plaintiff’s title. 1982 aforementioned. 7) That the claim of defendant landless association for possession of a portion of said Lot No. which claim is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid. 6) That pursuant to the ruling of the Supreme Court in City of Bacolod et al. 1982. subject-matter hereof. Vicente Generalao. threatened or are about to enforce the decision in said Civil Case No. vs. 11204 assigned to Branch 3 of the Municipal Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City. P-3324 was issued in its name. unless restrained or enjoined by this Honorable Court. the President of the Philippines. 12) That the commission of the act herein complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the plaintiff. May 29. now the site of the Slum Improvement and Resettlement Project. 13) That the plaintiff is willing and ready to file a bond executed to the defendants in an amount to be fixed by this Honorable Court. 1982. to the effect that the plaintiff will . 3551 issued by Her Excellency. by virtue of Special Patent No. et al. the land. which case is docketed as Civil Case No. having ceased to be a public land. No L-9773. plaintiff National Housing Authority became the absolute owner of said Lot No. 1990. 11) That the plaintiff is entitled to the relief demanded. however. is predicated or anchored upon the fact that said lot was declared a public land. 8) That on January 3. x x x 9) That the claim of defendant landless association has created a cloud on plaintiff’s title to Lot No. 1988 defendant landless association obtained a favorable decision from MTCC Branch 3.

then it should ventilate its claim in some other case but not in a simple case of injunction. 1990 on the ground that the decision of the MTCC in Civil Case No. the instant petition for certiorari is GRANTED the questioned Orders of respondent judge are hereby declared null and void and respondent judge is ordered to issue a writ of preliminary injunction to respect the possession of the petitioner over the land subject of the dispute x x x” [2] Hence. (Apparently. among others. Branch 17. 11204. the Regional Trial Court issued an Order on July 24. the NHA has filed an action for ‘Injunction with Damages’ against COCLAI and its President before the Regional Trial Court. 11204 until this court resolves this complaint. Cagayan de Oro City docketed as Civil Case No. further stated that ‘x x x (I)f plaintiff believes that it is the owner of the property subject of that civil case (No.” [1] Aggrieved by the decision of the Regional Trial Court. the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. the NHA appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed the decision of the lower court. Branch 3. And until further orders from this court. had been upheld by the Supreme Court when it denied NHA’s petition for certiorari. 89-399 to prevent the MTCC from executing its decision in Civil Case No. this petition. 1990.pay to said defendants all damages which they may sustain by reason of the injunction if the Court should finally decide that the plaintiff was not entitled thereto. and the City Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff of MTCC. but this was dismissed by the Regional Trial Court in its Order dated July 19. the defendants moved to dismiss the complaint stating.’ Subsequently. The RTC. The decretal portion of the said decision. as a ground therefor that the cause of action is barred by a prior judgment in another case. 90-337 issued an Order denying the motion to dismiss as well as plaintiff NHA’s prayer for the issuance of a preliminary injunction to restrain the enforcement of the decision in Civil Case No.’ Acting on the plaintiff’s prayer for the issuance of a restraining order and/or preliminary injunction. 1990. The motion for reconsideration filed by plaintiff NHA was likewise denied by the Regional Trial Court in its Order dated August 17. reads: “WHEREFORE. 11204). . or anybody acting in their behalf or acting as their agent or representative.)’ On August 10. Inc. 11204. 11204. 1990 stating thus: ‘x x x let a RESTRAINING ORDER be issued to Defendants Pablo Salomon and Cagayan de Oro Landless Association. they are enjoined to refrain or desist from enforcing the decision of Civil Case No. Branch 17.

and (b) that NHA has a better right to the possession of Lot No. [9] Petitioner claims that Special Patent No. the government. as Slum Improvement Settlement (SIR) area. 1988 and the corresponding issuance by the Register of Deeds of Original Certificate of Title No P-3324 in the name of NHA had entrusted only the administration of the disputed lot to the said agency but not the ownership thereof It also alleges that. 11204 for forcible entry was pending on appeal before the Regional Trial Court. it was only proper for the Court of Appeals to direct the Regional Trial Court. through the NHA will be prejudiced by the impending enforcement of the decision in Civil Case No. 1982. 90-337 was pending. As an extraordinary remedy. 3351 issued by then President Corazon Aquino on July 1. 1990. where Civil Case No. In view of this intervening development. Cagayan de Oro City. it should only be granted if the party asking for it is clearly entitled thereto. 2290. Clearly. an Original Certificate of Title in the name of NHA was issued by the Register of Deeds of Cagayan de Oro City on January 3. as a necessary consequence of ownership. 1982. 11204 which directs the said agency to restore the members of petitioner to their respective possession on portions of Lot No. 3551 was issued by then President Corazon Aquino which covered the lot subject of the dispute and by virtue thereof. Thus. 1990. issued on May 10. 11204 as there was a material change in the status of the parties with regard to the said land. and 2) the act against which the injunction is to be directed is a violation of such right. the Court of Appeals was justified in ruling that NHA was entitled to the writ of injunction. declaring the land situated at Barrio Macabalan. Cagayan . as it affects the respective rights of the parties. As such. NHA filed a complaint for quieting of title before the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City. until the merits of the case can be heard. Moreover. by virtue of Proclamation No. [3] [4] [5] [6] Before an injunction can be issued. [7] [8] In the case at bench. to grant the writ of preliminary injunction to restrain the enforcement of the decision of the MTCC in Civil Case No. Its issuance rests entirely within the discretion of the court taking cognizance of the case and is generally not interfered with except in cases of manifest abuse. injunction is calculated to preserve or maintain the status quo of things and is generally availed of to prevent actual or threatened acts. Special Patent No. it is illegal for NHA to claim ownership over the said land.The issues raised by petitioner are: whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in ruling (a) that the National Housing Authority (NHA) is entitled to the injunction prayed for. it is essential that the following requisites be present: 1) there must be a right in esse or the existence of a right to be protected. So. while Civil Case No. Hence. 1985. a certificate of title had already been issued to NHA. Branch 25. The reason is that. Furthermore. it may only be resorted to by a litigant for the preservation or protection of his rights or interests and for no other purpose during the pendency of the principal action. and only upon full conviction on the part of the court of its extreme necessity. petitioner also claims that “respondent Court overlooked the fact that the issues on ownership and possession are sub-judice before RTC. injunction is accepted as the “strong arm of equity or a transcendent remedy” to be used cautiously. when petitioner moved for the issuance of a writ of execution before the MTCC on July 23.

Accordingly. P-3324) issued to respondent NHA serves as a concrete and conclusive evidence of an indefeasible title to the property.No. Cagayan de Oro City. The Original Certificate of Title (No. In the said Proclamation the President of the Philippines granted to NHA the authority to “develop. clearly states: “TO HAVE AND TO HOLD.” On the other hand. 3551. subject to private rights.” [14] Clearly the certificate of title vested not only ownership over the lot but also the right of possession as a necessary consequence of the right of ownership. 90-337 x x x” Hence. At any rate. under an administrative proceeding pursuant to Special Patent No. in an action for forcible entry. It cannot be denied that Proclamation No. located at Macabalan. said certificate of title enjoys the presumption of having been issued by the register of deeds in the regular performance of its official duty. As to this.de Oro City in Civil Case . the only issue involved is mere physical possession (possession de facto) and not juridical possession (possession de jure) nor ownership As the case filed before the lower court is only one for forcible entry. Hence. it is indicative that the legal title over the said property is not disputed by the petitioner. once a decree of registration is issued under the Torrens systems and the one year period from the issuance of the decree of registration has lapsed. the judgment rendered in the ejectment case is effective only with respect to possession and “in no wise bind the title or affect the ownership of the land. 1982. 2290 gave authority to the NHA to dispose of Lot No. [11] Furthermore. in the case at bench. [12] [13] Also. Respondent is not merely the administrator of the said lot. the said certificate of title was not controverted by petitioner in a proper proceeding nor did it show that the issuance of the Original Certificate of Title by the register of deeds to NHA was tainted with bad faith or fraud.” [15] [16] . as a matter of fact. OCT No. it concludes that the appellate court cannot pass upon these issues as there is still no final judgment on said civil case. [10] Petitioner’s contentions are bereft of merit. it is as indefeasible as a certificate of title issued under a judicial registration proceeding as the land covered by said certificate is a disposable public land within the contemplation of the Public Land Law. the original certificate of title was issued by the Register of Deeds. the title becomes perfect and cannot later on be questioned. Moreover. there is a final judgment in its favor in the case for forcible entry before the MTCC. “in accordance with the guidelines of the Slum Improvement and Resettlement Program and the approved development plan of the area. Thus. 1982. if any there be. P-3324 issued in the name of respondent NHA. only that of prior possession. the said parcel of land with all the appurtenances thereunto of right of belonging unto the NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY and to its successors-in-interest or assigns forever. administer and dispose” of Lot No. without said decree being controverted by any adverse party. petitioner’s only basis for claiming the disputed lot is lawful entry and possession for an extended period of time and. settled is the rule that. There has been no assertion of ownership over the land.

J. when there is a clear finding of ownership and possession of the land or unless the subject property is covered by a torrens title pointing to one of the parties as the undisputed owner. The Bureau. and that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in open. [18] A writ of injunction should issue so as not to render moot and academic any decision which the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No.R. Silang. a court should not. more particularly identified as Lot 9864-A. this rule admits of some exceptions. Cavite. became subsequently illegal. the land subject of the suit is covered by a torrens title under the name of NHA. become squatters whose continuous possession of the land may now be considered to be in bad faith. took no part. Cad-452-D. 1998.R. 1 . who had purchased the property from Eduardo Velazco. Participated in the C.: For our consideration and resolution are the motions for reconsideration of the parties who both assail the decision promulgated on April 29.. petitioner has no legal leg to stand as regards ownership because its Miscellaneous Sales Application was not acted upon nor favorably considered by the Bureau of Lands. WHEREFORE. 23080 is AFFIRMED. Padilla. with an area of 71. No. G. For example. [17] Although as a general rule. JJ. In the case at bench. public and adverse possession and occupation of the land for more than 30 years. in an Order. Kapunan. applicant Mario Malabanan.Indeed. Bellosillo and Vitug. 2013 HEIRS OF MARIO MALABANAN. through its Regional Director. 2009. SO ORDERED. as a consequence. 1983. whereby we upheld the ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) denying the application of the petitioners for the registration of a parcel of land situated in Barangay Tibig.A. dated May 19. Malabanan). J. transfer property in litigation from the possession of one party to another. after the denial of its application for Miscellaneous Sales Patent. 1529 (Property Registration Decree). uninterrupted. continuous. SP No. This is unfortunate because squatters acquire no legal right over the land they are occupying. 179987 September 3. Antecedents The property subject of the application for registration is a parcel of land situated in Barangay Tibig. Petitioners. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Cavite on the ground that they had not established by sufficient evidence their right to the registration in accordance with either Section 14(1) or Section 14(2) of Presidential Decree No. thereby entitling him to the judicial confirmation of his title. filed an application for land registration covering the property in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Tagaytay City. the petition is DISMISSED. Respondent. G. petitioner’s occupation of the land in question. claiming that the property formed part of the alienable and disposable land of the public domain. (Represented by Sally A. rejected the subdivision survey previously submitted by COCLAI.. concur. The decision of the Court of Appeals in C. decision appealed from. In effect. RESOLUTION BERSAMIN. 90-337 will render and in order to prevent any irreparable injury which respondent may sustain by virtue of the enforcement of the decision of the MTCC.A. Petitioner’s members have. On February 20.324-square meters. by means of a preliminary injunction. vs. Silang Cavite.

324) Square Meters. the RTC rendered judgment granting Malabanan’s application for land registration.N. The petitioners assert that the ruling in Republic v. Silang. 1982. this Court hereby approves this application for registration and thus places under the operation of Act 141. or earlier. the petitioners submit that the mere classification of the land as alienable or disposable should be deemed sufficient to convert it into patrimonial property of the State. According to them. the CA promulgated its decision reversing the RTC and dismissing the application for registration of Malabanan. the lands described in Plan Csd-04-0173123-D. his heirs elevated the CA’s decision of February 23. on December 3. widower. T. Filipino. 2002. 4 the CA declared that under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. Cavite containing an area of 249. Petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration In their motion for reconsideration. and that when Malabanan filed the application for registration on February 20. in addition to other proofs adduced in the name of MARIO MALABANAN. Relying on the rulings in Spouses De Ocampo v. in relation to Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. T. was a mere obiter dictum considering that the land registration proceedings therein were in fact found and declared void ab initio for lack of publication of the notice of initial hearing. the corresponding decree of registration shall forthwith issue. Republic8 and Republic v. applied in their favor. Velazco’s possession prior to March 15. Once this Decision becomes final and executory. 2001 issued by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Silang. that consequently. and that the RTC erred in finding that he had been in possession of the property in the manner and for the length of time required by law for confirmation of imperfect title. to the effect that the declaration of the land subject of the application for registration as alienable and disposable should also date back to June 12. and with residence at Munting Ilog. Court of Appeals and Corazon Naguit 5 (Naguit) remains the controlling doctrine especially if the property involved is agricultural land. 20-A and approved as such under FAO 4-1656 on March 15.N. any period of possession prior to the classification of the land as alienable and disposable was inconsequential and should be excluded from the computation of the period of possession. Properties.3 The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) appealed the judgment to the CA. 1982. exclusive and notorious possession by their predecessors-in-interest of an alienable land of the public domain for more than 30 years.2 After trial.A.734 sq. 2007. which reads: This is to certify that the parcel of land designated as Lot No. 1529. what was essential was that the property had been "converted" into private property through prescription at the time of the application without regard to whether the property sought to be registered was previously classified as agricultural land of the public domain. disposing thusly: WHEREFORE. In this regard. Herbieto (Herbieto). Due to Malabanan’s intervening demise during the appeal in the CA. we denied the petition for review on certiorari because Malabanan failed to establish by sufficient evidence possession and occupation of the property on his part and on the part of his predecessors-in interest since June 12. otherwise known as Property Registration Law. Cavite. On February 23.9 they argue that the reclassification of the land as alienable or disposable opened it to acquisitive prescription under the Civil Code. that Malabanan had purchased the property from Eduardo Velazco believing in good faith that Velazco and his predecessors-in-interest had been the real owners of the land with the right to validly transmit title and ownership thereof. Act 496 and/or P. 1982 could not be tacked for purposes of computing Malabanan’s period of possession. Malabanan presented during trial a certification dated June 11. continuous. 1998. arguing that Malabanan had failed to prove that the property belonged to the alienable and disposable land of the public domain. Noting that the CENRO-DENR certification stated that the property had been declared alienable and disposable only on March 15. As earlier stated. 3013 established under Project No.. 9864 Cad 452-D. as supported by its technical description now forming part of the record of this case. Virgilio Velasco located at Barangay Tibig.D.A. meters as shown and described on the Plan Ap-04-00952 is verified to be within the Alienable or Disposable land per Land Classification Map No. 2007 to this Court through a petition for review on certiorari. 1945. Citing the ruling in Republic v. 6 to support their argument that the property had been ipso jure converted into private property by reason of the open. The Republic’s Motion for Partial Reconsideration .To prove that the property was an alienable and disposable land of the public domain. They point out that the ruling in Herbieto. Properties. who is of legal age. SO ORDERED. the ten-year period prescribed by Article 1134 of the Civil Code. 1945 or earlier. Inc. he had already been in possession of the land for almost 16 years reckoned from 1982. Naguit ruled that any possession of agricultural land prior to its declaration as alienable and disposable could be counted in the reckoning of the period of possession to perfect title under the Public Land Act (Commonwealth Act No. the time when the land was declared alienable and disposable by the State. Silang Cadastre as surveyed for Mr. 141) and the Property Registration Decree. Lot 9864-A and containing an area of Seventy One Thousand Three Hundred Twenty Four (71. Inc. 7 Menguito v. Arlos. The petitioners also rely on the ruling in Republic v.

Chiefly citing the dissents. by implication. and grazing land. 1945 or earlier. not in the courts.20 Agricultural lands may be further classified by law according to the uses to which they may be devoted. Ruling We deny the motions for reconsideration. i. Consequently.26 If. resettlement. to wit: Section 11. which is an immovable property. agricultural lands. all other natural resources may not be. public lands remain part of the inalienable land of the public domain unless the State is shown to have reclassified or alienated them to private persons. forest or timber. to wit: (a) patrimonial lands of the State. mineral. Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution classified lands of the public domain into seven. thereby effectively removing the land from the ambit of public dominion. a declaration of such conversion must be made in the form of a law duly enacted by Congress or by a Presidential proclamation in cases where the President is duly authorized by law to that effect. 22 Based on the foregoing. Pursuant to the Regalian Doctrine (Jura Regalia).. or when public land is no longer intended for public service or for the development of the national wealth. mineral. and is charged with the conservation of such patrimony. Alienable and disposable lands of the State fall into two categories. 15This means that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land. with the reservation that the law might provide other classifications. a legal concept first introduced into the country from the West by Spain through the Laws of the Indies and the Royal Cedulas. specifically. 25 and the exclusive prerogative to classify public lands under existing laws is vested in the Executive Department. but added national parks. 12 Land belonging to the State that is not of such character. 16 All lands not appearing to be clearly under private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. or national parks are not susceptible of alienation or disposition unless they are reclassified as agricultural. 23 without limitation. forest or timber. Also. timber and mineral.The Republic seeks the partial reconsideration in order to obtain a clarification with reference to the application of the rulings in Naguit and Herbieto. namely. without being for public use. can be disposed of. we consider to be imperative to discuss the different classifications of land in relation to the existing applicable land registration laws of the Philippines. the interpretation of Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree through judicial legislation. 141) provides the manner by which alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. and not otherwise: . 21 The identification of lands according to their legal classification is done exclusively by and through a positive act of the Executive Department. mineral or national park. and (b) lands of the public domain. and is intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth. Under Section 2. 27 Thus. It reiterates its view that an applicant is entitled to registration only when the land subject of the application had been declared alienable and disposable since June 12. residential. The 1987 Constitution adopted the classification under the 1935 Constitution into agricultural. 11Land is considered of public dominion if it either: (a) is intended for public use. timber or forest. Public lands suitable for agricultural purposes can be disposed of only as follows. 17 Classifications of public lands according to alienability Whether or not land of the public domain is alienable and disposable primarily rests on the classification of public lands made under the Constitution. but with the limitation that the lands must only be agricultural. Classifications of land according to ownership Land.10 may be classified as either of public dominion or of private ownership. the Constitution places a limit on the type of public land that may be alienated. or those classified as lands of private ownership under Article 425 of the Civil Code. cities and municipalities is of private ownership if it belongs to a private individual. and mineral. or until Congress or the President declares that the State no longer intends the land to be used for public service or for the development of national wealth.18 lands of the public domain were classified into three. Under the 1935 Constitution. industrial or commercial.14 all lands of the public domain belong to the State. or the public lands as provided by the Constitution. until the Executive Department exercises its prerogative to classify or reclassify lands. agricultural.19 Section 10. 24 A positive act of the Government is necessary to enable such reclassification. agricultural. however. only agricultural lands of the public domain may be alienated. the Regalian Doctrine is applicable. public land will be classified as neither agricultural. or (b) belongs to the State. 13 Land that is other than part of the patrimonial property of the State. the Republic contends that the decision has enlarged. In reviewing the assailed decision. or although of such character but no longer intended for public use or for public service forms part of the patrimonial property of the State. provinces. Disposition of alienable public lands Section 11 of the Public Land Act (CA No. lands classified as forest or timber.e. Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.

exclusive. continuous. that the choice of June 12. Taking into consideration that the Executive Department is vested with the authority to classify lands of the public domain. viz: Section 48. The core of the controversy herein lies in the proper interpretation of Section 11(4). 2. 1945. however. What the law does not include. the determination of which should best be left to the wisdom of the lawmakers. the Court should interpret only the plain and literal meaning of the law as written by the legislators. 1945 as the reckoning point of the requisite possession and occupation was the sole prerogative of Congress. Thus. Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution. The possession and occupation must be open. and (4) By confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles.(1) For homestead settlement. 1945. 3. 4. because any possession of the land prior to such classification or reclassification produced no legal effects. or earlier. 1945. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. has been in possession and occupation of the property subject of the application. mineral. 1945. and insisted that the full legislative intent be respected. Bearing in mind such limitations under the Public Land Act. or earlier. which expressly requires possession by a Filipino citizen of the land since June 12. (Bold emphasis supplied) Note that Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act used the words "lands of the public domain" or "alienable and disposable lands of the public domain" to clearly signify that lands otherwise classified. emphasis is placed on the requirement that the classification required by Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act is classification or reclassification of a public land as agricultural. Except that said date qualified the period of possession and occupation. Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. it excludes. The use of the descriptive phrase "alienable and disposable" further limits the coverage of Section 48(b) to only the agricultural lands of the public domain as set forth in Article XII. presupposes that the land subject of the application for registration must have been already classified as agricultural land of the public domain in order for the provision to apply. i. and notorious. absent proof that the land is already classified as agricultural land of the public domain.. It observes that the fixed date of June 12. the Regalian Doctrine applies. The possession and occupation must have taken place since June 12. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. (3) By lease. to wit: xxxx (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. exclusive. and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title thereafter. The property subject of the application must be an agricultural land of the public domain. no other legislative intent appears to be associated with the fixing of the date of June 12. The dissent stresses that the classification or reclassification of the land as alienable and disposable agricultural land should likewise have been made on June 12.e. the applicant must satisfy the following requirements in order for his application to come under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. . but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. 1945 or earlier. or (b) By administrative legalization (free patent). in relation to Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. and overcomes the presumption that the land is alienable and disposable as laid down in Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. in relation to Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. are outside the coverage of the Public Land Act. and lands of patrimonial or private ownership. continuous. or earlier. since June 12. The possession and occupation must be under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. Accordingly. We find. and 5. 1945 could not be minimized or glossed over by mere judicial interpretation or by judicial social policy concerns. 28 to wit: 1. forest or timber. The following-described citizens of the Philippines. (2) By sale. immediately preceding the filing of the applications for confirmation of title. under the Land Registration Act. However. (a) By judicial legalization. by himself or through his predecessor-in-interest. except when prevented by war or force majeure. The applicant. or national parks.

(2) The following are excepted from the general rule. Civil Code) that property of the State not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription. Likewise. or earlier .the land cannot be considered ipso jure converted to private property even upon the subsequent declaration of it as alienable and disposable. proof that the land has been already converted to private ownership prior to the requisite acquisitive prescriptive period is a condition sine qua non in observance of the law (Article 1113. whether ordinary or extraordinary. This means that the character of the property subject of the application as alienable and disposable agricultural land of the public domain determines its eligibility for land registration. then. By legal fiction. exclusive and public possession of an alienable and disposable land of the public domain. To be clear. particularly residential lands. the agricultural land subject of the application needs only to be classified as alienable and disposable as of the time of the application. or earlier. in conjunction with Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. the possessor is deemed to have acquired by operation of law not only a right to a grant. The declaration that land is alienable and disposable also serves to determine the point at which prescription may run against the State. all lands of the public domain belong to the State and are inalienable. corporations may now acquire lands of the public domain for as long as the lands were already converted to private ownership. the land has already ceased to be part of the public domain and has become private property. as a result of satisfying the requisite period of possession prescribed by the Public Land Act. namely: (1) As a general rule and pursuant to the Regalian Doctrine. when Congress enacted legislation (Republic Act No. Prescription never began to run against the State. Without satisfying the requisite character and period of possession . provided the applicant’s possession and occupation of the land dated back to June 12. we now observe the following rules relative to the disposition of public land or lands of the public domain. Lands that are not clearly under private ownership are also presumed to belong to the State and. or earlier. the land continues to be ineligible for land registration under Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree unless Congress enacts a law or the President issues a proclamation declaring the land as no longer intended for public service or for the development of the national wealth. 1âwphi1 . the clear objective of the Public Land Act to adjudicate and quiet titles to unregistered lands in favor of qualified Filipino citizens by reason of their occupation and cultivation thereof for the number of years prescribed by law 32 will be defeated. 1945. 10023)33in order to liberalize stringent requirements and procedures in the adjudication of alienable public land to qualified applicants. To sum up. as a fairly recent legislative development bears out. thereby converting such land into patrimonial or private land of the State. a conclusive presumption that the applicant has performed all the conditions essential to a government grant arises. the applicable provision concerning disposition and registration is no longer Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act but the Civil Code. the applicant’s imperfect or incomplete title is derived only from possession and occupation since June 12.36 and the applicant becomes the owner of the land by virtue of an imperfect or incomplete title. 1945.35 As such. by virtue of this doctrine. Thereby. or earlier. an examination of Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act indicates that Congress prescribed no requirement that the land subject of the registration should have been classified as agricultural since June 12. openly. The imperfect or incomplete title being confirmed under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act is title that is acquired by reason of the applicant’s possession and occupation of the alienable and disposable agricultural land of the public domain. Indeed.37 (b) Lands of the public domain subsequently classified or declared as no longer intended for public use or for the development of national wealth are removed from the sphere of public dominion and are considered converted into patrimonial lands or lands of private ownership that may be alienated or disposed through any of the modes of acquiring ownership under the Civil Code. 34 On the other hand. such that the land has remained ineligible for registration under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. open. 30 It is for this reason that the property subject of the application of Malabanan need not be classified as alienable and disposable agricultural land of the public domain for the entire duration of the requisite period of possession. continuous. either personally or through his predecessors-in-interest.Moreover. may not be alienated or disposed. If the mode is judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. Alienable public land held by a possessor. prescription can now run against the State. As such. not the ownership or title over it. therefore. to wit: (a) Agricultural lands of the public domain are rendered alienable and disposable through any of the exclusive modes enumerated under Section 11 of the Public Land Act. 31 If one follows the dissent. by operation of law. the requirement that the land should have been classified as alienable and disposable agricultural land at the time of the application for registration is necessary only to dispute the presumption that the land is inalienable. but a grant by the Government. subject to area limitations. the petitioners failed to present sufficient evidence to establish that they and their predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the land since June 12. then. If the mode of acquisition is prescription. because it is not necessary that a certificate of title be issued in order that such a grant be sanctioned by the courts. 29 In fact. 1945. To reiterate. continuously and exclusively during the prescribed statutory period is converted to private property by the mere lapse or completion of the period. if a public land is classified as no longer intended for public use or for the development of national wealth by declaration of Congress or the President. Where all the necessary requirements for a grant by the Government are complied with through actual physical. continuous. we should always bear in mind that such objective still prevails. and notorious since June 12. 1945.possession and occupation that is open. exclusive. 1945.

179987 April 29. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Respondent.R. while unremarkable as to the facts. vs. Lino. and that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in open. Petitioners. and consisting of 71. Malabanan claimed that he had purchased the property from Eduardo Velazco. Cad-452-D. Lino had four sons–the fourth being Aristedes’s grandfather. his four sons inherited the property and divided it among themselves.WHEREFORE. Malabanan). Mario Malabanan filed an application for land registration covering a parcel of land identified as Lot9864-A. 2009 The petition. Upon Lino’s death. . Malabanan and Aristedes Velazco.324 square meters. Lino Velazco. After the death of Esteban and Magdalena. and continuous adverse and peaceful possession of the land for more than thirty (30) years. No. Magdalena. had become the administrator of all the properties inherited by the Velazco sons from their father. (Represented by Sally A. their son Virgilio succeeded them in administering the properties. Silang Cadastre. 1529) FACTS: On 20 February 1998. notorious. was accepted by the Court en banc in order to provide definitive clarity to the applicability and scope of original registration proceedings under Sections 14(1) and 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree (PD No. the Court DENIES the petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration and the respondent's Partial Motion for Reconsideration for their lack of merit. SO ORDERED. Esteban’s wife. But by 1966. G. Velazco testified that the property was originally belonged to a 22 hectare property owned by his great-grandfather. testified at the hearing. HEIRS OF MARIO MALABANAN. situated in Silang Cavite.

Naguit (handed down just 4 months prior to Herbieto) .with respect to . 3013 established under Project No. issued by the CENRO-DENR. Herbieto) Malabanan died while the case was pending with the CA. 1982. the Velazcos’ possession prior to that date could not be factored in the computation of the period of possession. (Interpretation of CA of Section 14(1) was based on the Court’s ruling in Republic v. CA rendered a Decision reversing the RTC and dismissing the application of Malabanan. 20-A and approved as such under FAO 4-1656 on March 15. 1529) any period of possession prior to the classification of the lots as alienable and disposable was inconsequential and should be excluded from the computation of the period of possession. The Republic of the Philippines likewise did not present any evidence to controvert the application. the RTC rendered judgment in favor of Malabanan The Republic appealed to the Court of Appeals. It was this property that was sold by Eduardo Velazco to Malabanan. Eduardo Velazco. which originally belonged to his uncle. it was his heirs who appealed the decision of the appellate court Petitioners rely on our ruling in Republic v.” On 3 December 2002. arguing that Malabanan o had failed to prove that the property belonged to the alienable and disposable land of the public domain. CA held that under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree (PD No.CA noted that since the CENRO-DENR certification had verified that the property was declared alienable and disposable only on March 15. 1982.including Lot 9864-A. and o that the RTC had erred in finding that he had been in possession of the property in the manner and for the length of time required by law for confirmation of imperfect title. Malabanan presented evidence during trial a Certification dated 11 June 2001. which stated that the subject property was “verified to be within the Alienable or Disposable land per Land Classification Map No.

petitioners reiterate that the analysis of the Court in Naguit is the correct interpretation of the provision. to classify the lands of the public domain into alienable and disposable. it would not matter whether the land sought to be registered was previously classified as agricultural land of the public domain so long as. petitioners submit that open. 141 (Public Land Act) governed the classification and disposition of lands of the public domain. The OSG remains insistent that for Section 14(1) to apply. any possession prior to the declaration of the alienable property as disposable may be counted in reckoning the period of possession to perfect title under the Public Land Act and the Property Registration Decree. continuous.” while Section 14(2) speaks of “private lands. The OSG notes that under Article 1113 of the Civil Code. the property had already been “converted” into private property through prescription. said period should be reckoned from the time the public land was declared alienable and disposable. assuming that the 30-year prescriptive period can run against public lands. DISCUSSION: Commonwealth Act No. With respect to Section 14(2). Alienable and disposable lands of the public domain are further classified according to their uses . The President is authorized. the acquisitive prescription of properties of the State refers to “patrimonial property. or mineral lands.” The OSG further submits that. from time to time. timber. With respect to Section 14(1). exclusive and notorious possession of an alienable land of the public domain for more than 30 years ipso jure converts the land into private property. thus placing it under the coverage of Section 14(2).agricultural lands. o According to them. at the time of the application. the land should have been classified as alienable and disposable as of 12 June 1945.

subject to the requisites stated therein: Sec. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. or (d) reservations for town sites and for public and quasipublic uses. (b) residential. charitable. 1945. continuous. Section 11 of the Public Land Act acknowledges that public lands suitable for agricultural purposes may be disposed of “by confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles” through “judicial legalization. 1073. No. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. under the Land Registration Act. First. Two significant amendments were introduced by P. or for similar productive purposes. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor.” o The OSG submits that this amendment restricted the scope of the lands that may be registered. immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. supplies the details and unmistakably grants that right. or other similar purposes. the term “agricultural lands” was changed to “alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. The following described citizens of the Philippines. or earlier. industrial. (c) educational. since June 12. “agricultural lands” are a mere subset of “lands of the public domain .” Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. commercial. No.into (a) agricultural. exclusive. to wit: xxx (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open. as amended by P. o Under Section 9 of the Public Land Act. 1073. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such land or an interest therein.D. 48.D.

occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such land or an interest therein. or earlier. the Public Land Act has remained in effect.alienable or open to disposition. Act No. SECTION 14. whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives: (1) those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. 1945 or earlier. continuous. the length of the requisite possession was changed from possession for “thirty (30) years immediately preceding the filing of the application” to possession “since June 12. 141 is virtually the same as Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree.” Evidently. 48 [of the Public Land Act]. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12. or earlier. 1945.” It bears further observation that Section 48(b) of Com. alienable and disposable lands of the public domain are a larger class than only “agricultural lands. 1945. Who may apply. The following described citizens of the Philippines. Notwithstanding the passage of the Property Registration Decree and the inclusion of Section 14(1) therein. continuous. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. Both laws commonly refer to persons or their predecessors-in-interest who “have been in open. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12.— The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration of title to land. .” The opening clauses of Section 48 of the Public Land Act and Section 14 of the Property Registration Decree warrant comparison: Sec.” Second.

9176 in 2002) limits the period within which one may exercise the right to seek registration under Section 48. Act No. The persons specified in the next following section are hereby granted time. not to extend beyond December 31. Section 14(a) of the Property Registration Decree recognizes the substantive right granted under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. 14 [of the Property Registration Decree]. further. it is not enough that the applicant and his/her predecessorsin-interest be in possession under a bona . but this Section shall not be construed as prohibiting any said persons from acting under this Chapter at any time prior to the period fixed by the President. Who may apply. under the Land Registration Act. That this period shall apply only where the area applied for does not exceed twelve (12) hectares: Provided.— The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration of title to land. That the several periods of time designated by the President in accordance with Section Forty-Five of this Act shall apply also to the lands comprised in the provisions of this Chapter. as well provides the corresponding original registration procedure for the judicial confirmation of an imperfect or incomplete title. Section 47 of the Public Land Act (amended by Rep.There is another limitation to the right granted under Section 48(b). Section 47. to wit: xxx Sec. 2020 within which to avail of the benefits of this Chapter: Provided. The OSG has adopted the position that for one to acquire the right to seek registration of an alienable and disposable land of the public domain. whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives: It is indeed the Public Land Act that primarily establishes the substantive ownership of the possessor who has been in possession of the property since 12 June 1945.may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor. The substantive right granted under Section 48(b) may be availed of only until 31 December 2020.

the Philippines was not yet even considered an independent state. The evidence submitted by petitioners therein did not establish any mode of possession on their part prior to 1948. all lands certified as alienable and disposable after 12 June 1945 cannot be registered either under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree or Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act as amended. Such interpretation renders paragraph (1) of Section 14 virtually inoperative and even precludes the government from giving it effect even as it decides to reclassify public agricultural lands as alienable and disposable. “ “[T]he more reasonable interpretation of Section 14(1) is that it merely requires the property sought to be registered as already alienable and disposable at the time the application for registration of title is filed. The application therein was ultimately granted. thereby precluding the application of Section 14(1). no matter the length of unchallenged possession by the occupant. their position being that they had been in . Following the OSG’s approach. Discussed in Naguit. 1945 would not be susceptible to original registration. the alienable and disposable character of the property must have been declared also as of 12 June 1945. that all lands of the public domain which were not declared alienable or disposable before June 12.” Petitioners make the salient observation that the contradictory passages from Herbieto are obiter dicta since the land registration proceedings therein is void ab initio in the first place due to lack of the requisite publication of the notice of initial hearing. 1945. The unreasonableness of the situation would even be aggravated considering that before June 12. citing Section 14(2).fide claim of ownership since 12 June 1945. It is not even apparent from the decision whether petitioners therein had claimed entitlement to original registration following Section 14(1). – “adopting the OSG’s view.

1945.[[31]] With such conversion. and thus susceptible to registration by those who have acquired ownership through prescription. unless otherwise provided. There is a consistent jurisprudential rule that properties classified as alienable public land may be converted into private property by reason of open. did not refer to or call into application the . Property of the State or any of its subdivisions not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription. The obiter in Naguit cited the Civil Code provisions on prescription as the possible basis for application for original registration under Section 14(2). and such possession being been open. they are susceptible to acquisitive prescription. then the possessor may have the right to register the land by virtue of Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. even if possession of the alienable public land commenced on a date later than June 12. continuous and exclusive. Specifically. Act No. among the public domain lands that are not susceptible to acquisitive prescription are timber lands and mineral lands. but not before 12 June 1945. continuous and exclusive possession of at least thirty (30) years. The Court in Naguit offered the following discussion concerning Section 14(2) Prescription is one of the modes of acquiring ownership under the Civil Code. as amended by Rep. It is clear under the Civil Code that where lands of the public domain are patrimonial in character. The Constitution itself proscribes private ownership of timber or mineral lands Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. Thus. On the other hand. such property may now fall within the contemplation of “private lands” under Section 14(2). 1942.exclusive possession under a bona fide claim of ownership for over fifty (50) years. it is Article 1113 which provides legal foundation for the application. It reads: All things which are within the commerce of men are susceptible of prescription.

shall form part of the patrimonial property of the State. All other property of the State. canals. rivers. 421. throughout the entire thirty-(30) years. It merely set forth a requisite thirty-year possession period immediately preceding the application for confirmation of title. are property of public dominion and thus insusceptible to acquisition by prescription. and continue as such. shores. ports and bridges constructed by the State. and are intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth. is patrimonial property It is clear that property of public dominion. and others of similar character. The critical qualification under Article 1113 of the Civil Code is thus: “[p]roperty of the State or any of its subdivisions not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription. . The following things are property of public dominion: (1) Those intended for public use. which is not of the character stated in the preceding article. cannot be the object of prescription Lands of the public domain. without any qualification as to whether the property should be declared alienable at the beginning of. banks. roadsteads. there must be an express declaration by the State that the public dominion property is no longer intended for public service or the development of the national wealth or that the property has been converted into patrimonial. torrents. whether declared alienable and disposable or not. 420. which generally includes property belonging to the State. (2) Those which belong to the State. such as roads.” The identification what consists of patrimonial property is provided by Articles 420 and 421 Art. Art. Article 422 of the Civil Code states that “[p]roperty of public dominion. when no longer intended for public use or for public service.Civil Code provisions on prescription.” Accordingly. without being for public use.

Should public domain lands become patrimonial because they are declared as such in a duly enacted law or duly promulgated proclamation that they are no longer intended for public service or for the development of the national wealth. would the period of possession prior to the conversion of such public dominion into patrimonial be reckoned in counting the prescriptive period in favor of the possessors? . the ideal next step is the registration of the property under the Torrens system. while Section 14(2) entitles registration on the basis of prescription. Section 14(1) mandates registration on the basis of possession. but merely a mode of confirmation of ownership. . the period of possession preceding the classification of public dominion lands as patrimonial cannot be counted for the purpose of computing prescription. Act No. Registration under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act as amended by Rep. As the application for registration under Section 14(2) falls wholly within the framework of prescription under the Civil Code. Once the possessor automatically becomes the owner of the converted patrimonial property. It should be remembered that registration of property is not a mode of acquisition of ownership.We rule in the negative. 1472 is based on thirty years of possession alone without regard to the Civil Code. Registration under Section 14(1) is extended under the aegis of the Property Registration Decree and the Public Land Act while registration under Section 14(2) is made available both by the Property Registration Decree and the Civil Code. the period of prescription begins to run in favor of the possessor. while the registration under Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree is founded on extraordinary prescription under the Civil Code.Whether under ordinary prescription or extraordinary prescription. But after the property has been become patrimonial. there is no way that possession during the time that the land was still classified as public dominion property can be counted to meet the requisites of acquisitive prescription and justify registration.

prescription is recognized as a mode of acquiring ownership of patrimonial property. and registrable title to. and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain.[51] (b) The right to register granted under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act is further confirmed by Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. (2) In complying with Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. consider that under the Civil Code. The person acquires ownership of patrimonial property by prescription under the Civil Code is entitled to secure registration thereof under Section . And only when the property has become patrimonial can the prescriptive period for the acquisition of property of the public dominion begin to run. continuous. Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act recognizes and confirms that “those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open. the possessor is entitled to secure judicial confirmation of his title thereto as soon as it is declared alienable and disposable. public domain lands become only patrimonial property not only with a declaration that these are alienable or disposable. exclusive. subject to the timeframe imposed by Section 47 of the Public Land Act.SYNTHESIS OF DOCTRINES APPLIED: (1) In connection with Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. 1945” have acquired ownership of. (a) Patrimonial property is private property of the government. (a) Since Section 48(b) 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. under Article 422 of the Civil Code. since June 12. However. There must also be an express government manifestation that the property is already patrimonial or no longer retained for public service or the development of national wealth. such lands based on the length and quality of their possession.

there is no competent evidence that is no longer intended for public use service or for the development of the national evidence. . G.R. ripens into ownership. While the subject property was declared as alienable or disposable in 1982.. There is no substantive evidence to establish that Malabanan or petitioners as his predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the property since 12 June 1945 or earlier. Thus. Petitioner. No. 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. The Petition is DENIED. Neither can petitioners properly invoke Section 14(2) as basis for registration. in good faith and with just title. (b) There are two kinds of prescription by which patrimonial property may be acquired. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. regardless of good faith or just title. conformably with Article 422 of the Civil Code. it is insusceptible to acquisition by prescription. APPLICATION OF DOCTRINES: Evidence of petitioners is insufficient to establish that Malabanan has acquired ownership over the subject property under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. a person acquires ownership of a patrimonial property through possession for at least ten (10) years. a person’s uninterrupted adverse possession of patrimonial property for at least thirty (30) years. Under extraordinary acquisitive prescription.14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. Under ordinary acquisitive prescription. J. Chairperson. one ordinary and other extraordinary. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 23 February 2007 and Resolution dated 2 October 2007 are AFFIRMED. 186961 Present: CARPIO.

Respondent.* PEREZ. SO ORDERED.[4] The Factual Antecedents The respondent filed with the RTC an application for land registration.[3] In its February 20.794 square meters. situated in El Salvador. 2004 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.708 square . Promulgated: February 20. 00143. The respondent purchased the portion of the subject property consisting of 4. The dispositive portion thereof states: WHEREFORE. CV No. premises foregoing. 2009 Resolution. In its July 31. the CA affirmed the August 27.. J. 2004 Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). JJ. Branch 40 of Cagayan De Oro City. Misamis Oriental and with an area of 9.VILLARAMA.R. 2009 Resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. JR. covering a parcel of land identified as Lot 9039 of Cagayan Cadastre. 2012 x----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION REYES. 2008 Decision [1] and February 20. . the CA denied the petitioner’s August 29.versus - EAST SILVERLANE REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. 2008 Motion for Reconsideration. The assailed Decision dated August 27.: This Court is urged to review and set aside the July 31. SERENO. the instant appeal is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. 2008 Decision. and REYES.

meters (Area A) from Francisca Oco pursuant to a Deed of Absolute Sale dated
November 27, 1990 and the remaining portion consisting of 5,086 square meters
(Area B) from Rosario U. Tan Lim, Nemesia Tan and Mariano U. Tan pursuant to a
Deed of Partial Partition with Deed of Absolute Sale dated April 11, 1991. It was
claimed that the respondent’s predecessors-in-interest had been in open, notorious,
continuous and exclusive possession of the subject property since June 12, 1945.
After hearing the same on the merits, the RTC issued on August 27, 2004 a
Decision, granting the respondent’s petition for registration of the land in question,
thus:
ACCORDINGLY, finding the application meritorious, and
pursuant to applicable law and jurisprudence on the matter, particularly
the provisions of P.D. 1529, judgment is hereby rendered granting the
instant application. The Land Registration Authority is hereby ordered to
issue a decree in the name of the applicant EAST SILVERLANE
REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION covering the parcel of
land, Lot 9039, Cad 237, having an area of 9,794 square meters covered
by the two (2) tax declarations subject of this petition. Based on the
decree, the Register of Deeds for the Province of Misamis Oriental is
hereby directed to issue an original certificate of title in the name of the
applicant covering the land subject matter of this application. [5]

On appeal by the petitioner, the CA affirmed the RTC’s August 27, 2004
Decision. In its July 31, 2008 Decision, [6] the CA found no merit in the petitioner’s
appeal, holding that:
It is a settled rule that an application for land registration must
conform to three requisites: (1) the land is alienable public land; (2) the
applicant’s open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and
occupation thereof must be since June 12, 1945, or earlier; and (3) it is
a bona fide claim of ownership.
In the case at bench, petitioner-appellee has met all the
requirements. Anent the first requirement, both the report and
certification issued by the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) shows that the subject land was within the alienable

and disposable zone classified under BF Project [N]o. 8 Blk. I, L.C. Map
[N]o. 585 and was released and certified as such on December 31, 1925.
Indubitably, both the DENR certification and report constitute a
positive government act, an administrative action, validly classifying the
land in question. It is a settled rule that the classification or reclassification of public lands into alienable or disposable, mineral or
forest land is now a prerogative of the Executive Department of the
government. Accordingly, the certification enjoys a presumption of
regularity in the absence of contradictory evidence. As it is, the said
certification remains uncontested and even oppositor-appellant Republic
itself did not present any evidence to refute the contents of the said
certification. Thus, the alienable and disposable character of the subject
land certified as such as early as December 31, 1925 has been clearly
established by the evidence of the petitioner-appellee.
Anent the second and third requirements, the applicant is required
to prove his open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and
occupation of the subject land under a bona fideclaim of ownership
either since time immemorial or since June 12, 1945.
xxxx
In the case at bench, ESRDC tacked its possession and occupation
over the subject land to that of its predecessors-in-interest. Copies of the
tax declarations and real property historical ownership pertaining thereto
were presented in court. A perusal of the records shows that in 1948, a
portion of the subject land was declared under the name of Agapito
Claudel. Subsequently, in 1957 until 1991 the same was declared under
the name of Francisca Oco. Thereafter, the same was declared under the
name of ESRDC. A certification was likewise issued by the Provincial
Assessor of Misamis Oriental that previous tax declarations pertaining to
the said portion under the name of Agapita Claudel could no longer be
located as the files were deemed lost or destroyed before World War II.
On the other hand, the remaining portion of the said land was
previously declared in 1948 under the name of Jacinto Tan Lay Cho.
Subsequently, in 1969 until 1990, the same was declared under the name
of Jacinto Tan. Thereafter, the same was declared under the name of
ESRDC. A certification was likewise issued by the Provincial Assessor

that the files of previous tax declarations under the name of Jacinto Tan
Lay Cho were deemed lost or destroyed again before World War II.
In 1991 or upon ESRDC’s acquisition of the subject property, the
latter took possession thereto. Albeit it has presently leased the said land
to Asia Brewery, Inc., where the latter built its brewery plant,
nonetheless, ESRDC has its branch office located at the plant compound
of Asia Brewery, Inc.
Corollarily, oppositor-appellant’s contentions that the court a
quo erred in considering the tax declarations as evidence of ESRDC’s
possession of the subject land as the latter’s predecessors-in-interest
declared the same sporadically, is untenable.
It is a settled rule that albeit tax declarations and realty tax
payment of property are not conclusive evidence of ownership,
nevertheless, they are good indicia of the possession in the concept of
owner for no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property
that is not in his actual or at least constructive possession. They
constitute at least proof that the holder has a claim of title over the
property. The voluntary declaration of a piece of property for taxation
purposes manifests not only one’s sincere and honest desire to obtain
title to the property and announces his adverse claim against the State
and all other interested parties, but also the intention to contribute
needed revenues to the Government. Such an act strengthens one’s bona
fideclaim of acquisition of ownership.
Finally, it bears stressing that the pieces of evidence submitted by
petitioner-appellee are incontrovertible. Not one, not even oppositorappellant Republic, presented any countervailing evidence to contradict
the claims of the petitioners that they are in possession of the subject
property and their possession of the same is open, continuous and
exclusive in the concept of an owner for over 30 years.
Verily, from 1948 when the subject land was declared for taxation
purposes until ESRDC filed an application for land registration in 1995,
ESRDC have been in possession over the subject land in the concept of
an owner tacking its possession to that its predecessors-in-interest for
forty seven (47) years already. Thus, ESRDC was able to prove
sufficiently that it has been in possession of the subject property for
more than 30 years, which possession is characterized as open,

with respect to the infirmity suffered by this petition from the standpoint of Rule 45. considering that it invites an evaluation of the evidentiary record. this Court agrees with the respondent that the issue of whether the respondent had presented sufficient proof of the required possession under a bona fide claim of ownership raises a question of fact. exclusive. No.D. can hardly be considered a credible and competent witness as he is the respondent’s liaison officer and he is not related in any way to the respondent’s predecessors-in-interest. 1529. and Section 14 of Presidential Decree No. and notorious in the concept of an owner. 1529). Issue This Court is confronted with the sole issue of whether the respondent has proven itself entitled to the benefits of the PLA and P. that a petition for review should be confined to questions of law and that this Court is not a trier of facts and bound by the factual findings of the CA are not without exceptions.continuous. Preliminarily. otherwise known as the “Property Registration Decree” (P. . Our Ruling This Court resolves to GRANT the petition. No. otherwise known as the “Public Land Act” (PLA). According to the petitioner.[8] However. [7] (citations omitted) The petitioner assails the foregoing. the respondent did not present a credible and competent witness to testify on the specific acts of ownership performed by its predecessors-in-interest on the subject property.D. That coconut trees were planted on the subject property only shows casual or occasional cultivation and does not qualify as possession under a claim of ownership. 1529 on confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles. Vicente Oco. 141. alleging that the respondent failed to prove that its predecessors-in-interest possessed the subject property in the manner and for the length of time required under Section 48 (b) of Commonwealth Act No. The respondent’s sole witness.

but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. under the Land Registration Act. . to wit: (a) Those who prior to the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to the United States have applied for the purchase. exclusive and notorious possession of the subject property for the prescribed statutory period. Under Section 11 thereof. composition or other form of grant of lands of the public domain under the laws and royal decrees then in force and have instituted and prosecuted the proceedings in connection therewith. not received title therefor. The respondent cannot register the subject property in its name on the basis of either Section 14 (1) or Section 14 (2) of P.D. Section 48 provides the grant to the qualified possessor of an alienable and disposable public land. one of the modes of disposing public lands suitable for agricultural purposes is by “confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles”. are: (a) when the judgment of the CA is based on a misapprehension of facts or (b) when its findings are not sustained by the evidence on record. Thus: SEC. The following-described citizens of the Philippines. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. The PLA governs the classification and disposition of lands of the public domain. if such applicants or grantees and their heirs have occupied and cultivated said lands continuously since the filing of their applications. 1529. continuous. or for any other cause.[9] On the other hand. It was not established by the required quantum of evidence that the respondent and its predecessors-in-interest had been in open. continuous. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor. This Court’s review of the records of this case reveals that the evidence submitted by the respondent fell short of proving that it has acquired an imperfect title over the subject property under Section 48 (b) of the PLA. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. exclusive. 48. which obtain in this case.Among these exceptions. No. but have with or without default upon their part. (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open.

1073 on January 25. 1977. or Act No. 1529. 1977 that it was required that possession and occupation should commence on June 12. 2096 on July 26. 1945.under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. Presidential Decree No. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. This was adopted in the PLA until it was amended by Republic Act No. (c) Members of the national cultural minorities who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. No. continuous.D. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation by the applicant thru himself or thru his predecessor-in-interest under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12.D. Notably. which provided for a period of thirty (30) years. Chapter VIII of the Public Land Act are hereby amended in the sense that these provisions shall apply only to alienable and disposable lands of the public domain which have been in open. 1073). which was enacted on June 11. the first PLA. deleted subsection (a) and amended subsection (b) as follows: SECTION 4. 1073 (P. Section 14 thereof partially provides: . 926. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture. 1894. which was issued on January 25. 1942 on June 22. 1957. No. It was only with the enactment of P. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least 30 years shall be entitled to the rights granted in sub-section (b) hereof. continuous. required a possession and occupation for a period of ten (10) years prior to the effectivity of Act No. 1904 or on July 26.D. 1945. P. codified all the laws relative to the registration of property. No. 1978. whether disposable or not. The provisions of Section 48 (b) and Section 48 (c).

Section 14 (1) covers “alienable and disposable land” while Section 14 (2) covers “private property”. The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration of title to land. . continuous. the following properties are of public dominion: (a) Those intended for public use. (2) Those who have acquired ownership of private lands by prescription under the provision of existing laws. Section 14 (1) and Section 14 (2) are clearly different. 1945. (3) Those who have acquired ownership of private lands or abandoned river beds by right of accession or accretion under the existing laws. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12. shores. rivers. a fact which does not hold true with respect to Section 14 (1).Section 14. such as roads. whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives: (1) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-ininterest have been in open. [12] Under Article 420 of the Civil Code. Republic of the Philippines. torrents. ports and bridges constructed by the State. or earlier. As this Court categorically stated in Heirs of Malabanan v. roadsteads and others of similar character. Who may apply.[10] the distinction between the two provisions lies with the inapplicability of prescription to alienable and disposable lands. Section 14 (2) puts into operation the entire regime of prescription under the Civil Code. banks. canals. (4) Those who have acquired ownership of land in any other manner provided for by law.[11] Property is either part of the public domain or privately owned. Specifically: At the same time.

which is not of the character mentioned in Article 420 is patrimonial property. After all. Nonetheless. Without such express declaration. without being for public use. without being for public use. (emphasis supplied) Accordingly. pursuant to Article 420(2). the property. there must be an express declaration by the State that the public dominion property is no longer intended for public service or the development of the national wealth or that the property has been converted into patrimonial. For as long as the property belongs to the State.” It is this provision that controls how public dominion property may be converted into patrimonial property susceptible to acquisition by prescription. It is only when such alienable and disposable lands are expressly . Article 420 (2) makes clear that those property “which belong to the State.[13] hence. All other properties of the State. it remains property of the public dominion if when it is “intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth”. and are intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth” are public dominion property. may not be acquired by prescription. even if classified as alienable or disposable. shall form part of the patrimonial property of the State. susceptible to acquisitive prescription. and thus incapable of acquisition by prescription. Article 422 of the Civil Code states that “[p]roperty of public dominion. There must be an express declaration that the property is no longer intended for public service or development of national wealth. even if classified as alienable or disposable. remains property of the State.(b) Those which belong to the State.[14] In Heirs of Malabanan. the property. remains property of the public dominion. although already classified as alienable or disposable. and are intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth. and thus. Without such express declaration. when no longer intended for public use or for public service. this Court ruled that possession and occupation of an alienable and disposable public land for the periods provided under the Civil Code do not automatically convert said property into private property or release it from the public domain.

1973. To prove that its predecessors-in-interest were in possession of the subject property on or prior to June 12. . d) Tax Declarations in the name of Jacinto Tan Lay Cho for the years 1948 and 1952. 1945 or had completed the prescriptive period of thirty (30) years.declared by the State to be no longer intended for public service or for the development of the national wealth that the period of acquisitive prescription can begin to run. 1992 and 1994. c) Tax Declarations in the respondent’s name for the years 1991. 1963. 1992 and 1994. and f) Tax Declarations in the respondent’s name for the years 1991. 1989 and 1991. 1989 and 1990. [15] In other words. Furthermore. for one to invoke the provisions of Section 14 (2) and set up acquisitive prescription against the State. 1969. 1974. 1987. it is primordial that the status of the property as patrimonial be first established. 1980. Such declaration shall be in the form of a law duly enacted by Congress or a Presidential Proclamation in cases where the President is duly authorized by law. e) Tax Declarations in the name of Jacinto Tan for the years 1969. Tax Declaration in the name of Agapita Claudel for the b) Tax Declarations in the name of Francisca Oco for the years 1957. 1973. the period of possession preceding the classification of the property as patrimonial cannot be considered in determining the completion of the prescriptive period. the respondent submitted the following tax declarations: a) year 1948. 1974. 1980.

Per Jacinto Tan’s Tax Declarations. there were nineteen (19) coconut and ten (10) banana trees planted on Area A. it was before the second world war but the Municipality of El Salvador was created on June 15. thirty-three (33) coconut trees in 1969 and 1973. If you know about what period your predecessor has started to possess this land subject matter of this application? A – Per my personal knowledge. Nonetheless. the respondent is not qualified to register the subject property in its name under Section 14 (1) as the possession and occupation of its predecessors-in-interest commenced after June 12.] Q – From whom did you acquire this information? A – From the seller and the adjoining lot owners.Pursuant to Agapita Claudel’s 1948 Tax Declaration. 1948 by virtue of RA 268 and it’s started to officially function only on August 2. one (1) mango tree and three (3) seguidillas vines in 1974. Witness. thirty-three (33) coconut trees in 1980. No.[16] The respondent also offered the following testimony of Vicente Oco: “Q – Mr.[18] A reading of the CA’s July 31.” [17] To prove that its predecessors-in-interest exercised acts of dominion over the subject property. 1529. The coconut trees were supposedly four years old. the respondent . 1980. 1948[. 2008 Decision shows that it affirmed the grant of the respondent’s application given its supposed compliance with Section 14 (2) of P. eighty-seven (87) coconut trees in 1987. and fifteen (15) coconut trees in 1989. It ruled that based on the evidence submitted. hence. there were fifty-seven (57) coconut trees in Area B in 1973. 1945. 1945. the respondent claimed that per Francisca Oco’s Tax Declarations. the following improvements were introduced in Area A: nineteen (19) coconut and ten (10) banana trees in Area A in 1957 and 1963. 1974. the reasonable presumption that she had been in possession even before June 12.D. thirty-three (33) coconut trees. 1989 and 1990. as the CA ruled.

While the subject land was supposedly declared alienable and disposable on December 31. In the case of Jacinto Tan Lay Cho.[19] the CA held that even if possession commenced after June 12. 1997 Certification and July 1. 1925 per the April 18. Republic of the Philippines. 1945 without any evidence that she planted and cultivated them. it may not be acquired by prescription.acquired title to the subject property by prescription as its predecessors-in-interest had possessed the subject property for more than thirty (30) years. On the premise that the application of the respondent is predicated on Section 14 (1). it was only in 2000 that the Municipality of El Salvador passed a Zoning Ordinance.[22]Therefore. disagrees on the conclusion arrived at by the CA. Citing Buenaventura v. 1997 Report of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO). 1945.[20] the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) converted the same from agricultural to industrial only on October 16. is based on Section 14 (2). registration is still possible under Section 14 (2) and possession in the concept of an owner effectively converts an alienable and disposable public land into private property. it was only in 1990 that the subject property had been declared patrimonial and it is only then that the prescriptive period began to run. the same would likewise not prosper. The respondent cannot benefit from the alleged possession of its predecessors-in-interest because prior to the withdrawal of the subject property from the public domain. 1990. however. it was not proven that the respondent and its predecessors-ininterest had been in possession of the subject property in the manner prescribed by law and for the period necessary before acquisitive prescription may apply.[21] Also. the earliest tax declaration in his name is dated 1948 and there is no evidence that he occupied and possessed Area B on or prior to June 12. On the premise that the application for registration. which was filed in 1995. the testimony of the respondent’s lone witness that the respondent’s predecessors-in-interest were . This Court. As shown by the tax declarations of the respondent’s predecessors-in-interest. That there were four-year old coconut trees in Area A as stated in Agapita Claudel’s 1948 Tax Declaration cannot be considered a “well-nigh controvertible evidence” that she was in possession prior to June 12. the earliest that the respondent can trace back the possession of its predecessors-in-interest is in 1948. Furthermore. 1945. including the subject property in the industrial zone.

visible. It is explicit under Section 14 (1) that the possession and occupation required to acquire an imperfect title over an alienable and disposable public land must be “open.[23] this Court explained that the intent behind the use of “possession” in conjunction with “occupation” is to emphasize the need for actual and not just constructive or fictional possession. Actual possession of a land consists in the manifestation of acts of dominion over it of such a nature as a party would naturally exercise over his own property. his possession must not be a mere fiction. It is continuous when uninterrupted. [24] (citations omitted) On the other hand. thus. And under Article 1118 thereof. continuous. the word occupation serves to highlight the fact that for an applicant to qualify. 1945 lacks probative value for being hearsay. unbroken and not intermittent or occasional. the law adds the word occupation. notorious and not clandestine. peaceful and uninterrupted”. When. Since these words are separated by the conjunction and. Possession is open when it is patent. apparent.already in possession of the subject property as of June 12. peaceful. continuous. Section 14 (2) is silent as to the required nature of possession and occupation. requiring a reference to the relevant provisions of the Civil Code on prescription. namely. possession for purposes of prescription must be “in the concept of an owner. public. In Republic of the Philippines v. exclusive when the adverse possessor can show exclusive dominion over the land and an appropriation of it to his own use and benefit. and notorious when it is so conspicuous that it is generally . The law speaks of possession and occupation. public. it seeks to delimit the all encompassing effect of constructive possession. the clear intention of the law is not to make one synonymous with the other. that the possession should be in the concept of an owner. Taken together with the words open. Possession is broader than occupation because it includes constructive possession. therefore. Alconaba. Rañon.[25] this Court expounded on the nature of possession required for purposes of prescription: It is concerned with lapse of time in the manner and under conditions laid down by law. exclusive and notorious. In Heirs of Marcelina Arzadon-Crisologo v. exclusive and notorious” in character. uninterrupted and adverse.

As this Court ruled in Wee v.” by which the respondent describes its possession and that of its predecessors-ininterest is a conclusion of law. 1961. i. A person who seeks the registration of title to a piece of land on the basis of possession by himself and his predecessorsin-interest must prove his claim by clear and convincing evidence. Republic of the Philippines:[27] It bears stressing that petitioner presented only five tax declarations (for the years 1957.e. tax declarations do not conclusively establish either possession or declarant’s right to registration of title. 1980 and 1985) for a claimed possession and occupation of more than 45 years (1945-1993).[29] It is therefore inconsequential if the petitioner failed to present evidence that would controvert the allegations of the respondent. continuous. First.[26] (citations omitted) This Court is not satisfied with the evidence presented by the respondent to prove compliance with the possession required either under Section 14 (1) or Section 14 (2). and in concept of owner. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation. in the absence of other competent evidence.. he must prove his .known and talked of by the public or the people in the neighborhood. continuous. public. the twelve (12) Tax Declarations covering Area A and the eleven (11) Tax Declarations covering Area B for a claimed possession of more than forty-six (46) years (1948-1994) do not qualify as competent evidence of actual possession and occupation. 1967. This type of intermittent and sporadic assertion of alleged ownership does not prove open. The burden of proof is on the respondent to prove by clear. open. In any event. [28] (emphasis supplied and citation omitted) The phrase “adverse. positive and convincing evidence that the alleged possession of its predecessors-in-interest was of the nature and duration required by law. The party who asserts ownership by adverse possession must prove the presence of the essential elements of acquisitive prescription.

that the nineteen (19) coconut trees supposedly found on Area A were four years old at the time Agapita Claudel filed a Tax Declaration in 1948 will not suffice as evidence that her possession commenced prior to June 12.[33] Second. Third. that Jacinto Tan Lay Cho possessed Area B in the concept of an owner on or prior to June 12. Alternatively. that plants were on the subject property without any evidence that it was the respondent’s predecessors-in-interest who planted them and that actual cultivation or harvesting was made does not constitute “well-nigh incontrovertible evidence” of actual possession and occupation. the declaration of the land for tax purposes does not prove ownership.[34] Fourth.[30] The respondent’s claim of ownership will not prosper on the basis of the tax declarations alone. Apart from being selfserving. Vicente Oco’s testimony deserves scant consideration and will not supplement the inherent inadequacy of the tax declarations. Bolante. assuming that Agapita Claudel planted and maintained these trees. [32] In the absence of actual public and adverse possession.[31] this Court ruled that it is only when these tax declarations are coupled with proof of actual possession of the property that they may become the basis of a claim of ownership. when they were planted. constrained to conclude that the mere existence of an unspecified number of coffee plants. therefore. sans any evidence as to who planted them. 1945. As this Court ruled in Wee: We are. in the absence of evidence that she planted and cultivated them. In Cequeña v. is not sufficient to demonstrate petitioner’s right to the registration of title in her favor. 1945 cannot be assumed from his 1948 Tax Declaration. Vicente Oco lacks personal knowledge as to when the predecessors-in-interest of the respondent started to occupy the subject property and admitted that his testimony was based on .title and should not rely on the absence or weakness of the evidence of the oppositors. On the other hand. whether cultivation or harvesting was made or what other acts of occupation and ownership were undertaken. such can only be considered “casual cultivation” considering the size of Area A. it is undoubtedly hearsay.

1984 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (DIRECTOR OF LANDS). 2008 Decision and February 20. if not dismissed as tenuous and unreliable. vs. G. No. Rizalvo:[36] On this basis. [37] WHEREFORE. 2009 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Finally. it is jurisprudentially clear that the thirty (30)-year period of prescription for purposes of acquiring ownership and registration of public land under Section 14 (2) of P. 1990 Order shows lack of possession whether for ordinary or extraordinary prescriptive period. L-61647 October 12. No. The principle enunciated in Heirs of Malabanan cited above was reiterated and applied in Republic of the Philippines v. respondent would have been eligible for application for registration because his claim of ownership and possession over the subject property even exceeds thirty (30) years. Vicente Oco did not testify as to what specific acts of dominion or ownership were performed by the respondent’s predecessorsin-interest and if indeed they did. the instant petition is GRANTED.what he allegedly gathered from the respondent’s predecessors-in-interest and the owners of adjoining lot. and therefore unavailing and cannot suffice. CV No. .R. The July 31. that the respondent’s application was filed after only four years from the time the subject property may be considered patrimonial by reason of the DAR’s October 26. However. 00143 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the respondent’s application for registration of title over Lot 9039 of Cagayan Cadastre is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. petitioner. which is a mere conclusion of law and not factual proof of possession. 1529 only begins from the moment the State expressly declares that the public dominion property is no longer intended for public service or the development of the national wealth or that the property has been converted into patrimonial. premises considered.D. He merely made a general claim that they came into possession before World War II. [35] Evidence of this nature should have been received with suspicion. Moreover.R.

Psu-111877). Marina (should be "Maria") Tancinco Imperial and Mario C. Azucena Tancinco Reyes. along lines 10-11-12-1.. Province of Bulacan. Tancinco) .... Tancinco) A parcel of land (Lot 2 as shown on plan Psu-131892). and NW. Bounded on the E. situated in the Barrio of Ubihan. Bulacan bordering on the Meycauayan and Bocaue rivers. along fines 4-5-6-7-8-9. NE. ..937) SQUARE METERS.. by property of Mariano Tancinco (Lot 2. AZUCENA TANCINCO REYES. on the SW. on the S. Lot 2-Psu-131892 (Maria C. BENJAMIN TANCINCO. Lot 3-Psu-131892 (Maria C. on the E. .. T-89709 situated at Barrio Ubihan. Laurea for respondents. along line 1-2. Province of Bulacan. situated in the Barrio of Ubihan. The Solicitor General for petitioner. along line 2-3. JR. GUTIERREZ. . along lines 2-3-4. J. which found that Lots 1 and 2 of Plan Psu-131892 are accretion to the land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. by Lot 3 of plan Psu-131892. by Bocaue River. by Meycauayan River. MARINA TANCINCO IMPERIAL and MARIO C. Branch VIII. by property of Mariano Tancinco (Lot 1. on the SE.453) SQUARE METERS. by property of Rafael Singson...£îhqw⣠Lot 1-Psu-131892 (Maria C. TANCINCO.. along line 4-1. . by property of Joaquina Santiago.. respondents.. On June 24. on the S. Martin B. Fifth Judicial District. the private respondents filed an application for the registration of three lots adjacent to their fishpond property and particularly described as follows: têñ. by Meycauayan River. by Lot 3 of plan Psu-131892..W. along line 9-10. COURT OF APPEALS. along line 1-2. on the NE. containing an area of FIVE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY THREE (5. containing an area of THIRTY THREE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED THIRTY SEVEN (33.. along line 3-4. 1973. Tancinco) A parcel of land (lot 1 as shown on plan Psu-131892). Psu-111877).: ñé+......£ªwph!1 This is a petition for certiorari to set aside the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals (now Intermediate Appellate Court) affirming the decision of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. Bounded on the NE. Tancinco are registered owners of a parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. Municipality of Meycauayan. Municipality of Meycauayan. 89709 and ordered their registration in the names of the private respondents.THE HON. and on the N. Respondents Benjamin Tancinco.. Meycauayan.

(4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts. municipality of Meycauayan. the private respondents filed a partial withdrawal of the application for registration with respect to Lot 3 of Plan Psu-131892 in line with the recommendation of the Commissioner appointed by the Court.S. Dasmariñas Village.. province of Bulacan. on the S. 1975.. by property of Mariano Tancinco (Lot 1. they belong to the owner of said property. H) and their accompanying technical descriptions (Exhs. Bounded on the NE. and more particularly described in plan Psu-131892 (Exh. Rizal. 1976. On June 26. along line 3-4. Ohio 43614 U. Toledo... v. 1974. (97 SCRA 734) we held that this Court retains the power to review and rectify the findings of fact of said courts when (1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculations. Psu-111877). Inc. married to Leticia Regidor. Makati. and along line 5-6 by property of Mariano Tancinco (Lot 2. . Jr. it appearing that Lots 1 & 2 of plan Psu-131892 (Exh.. in representation of the Bureau of Lands filed a written opposition to the application for registration. on the SW. The Court. along line 4-5.985) SQUARE METERS. and Mario C. and impossible. and along line 23. 1976. On March 6. by Meycauayan River. . H) are accretions to the land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. situated in the Barrio of Ubihan.£îhqw⣠WHEREFORE. 1982. went beyond the issues of the case and the same are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee. 89709 of the Register of Deeds of Bulacan.£îhqw⣠DAHIL DITO. along line 6-1. married to Juan Imperial. ang hatol na iniakyat ay sinasangayunan at pinagtitibay sa kanyang kabuuan nang walang bayad. E-1) in favor of Benjamin Tancinco. The rule that the findings of fact of the trial court and the Court of Appeals are binding upon this Court admits of certain exceptions. married to Alex Reyes. On July 30. married to Alma Fernandez and residing at 3662 Heatherdown. by property of Joaquina Santiago.. all of legal age. the petitioner Republic appealed to the respondent Court of Appeals. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: têñ. and (5) when the court.A. CMS Stock Brokerage. 19. therefore. orders the registration of lots 1 & 2 situated in the barrio of Ubihan. On March 7.. E. and on the NW. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: têñ. Tancinco. along line 1-2. surmises and conjectures.. Rizal. (3) where there is grave abuse of discretion. containing an area of ONE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED EIGHTY FIVE (1. Thus in Carolina Industries Inc. . (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken. Vicente. by Lot 2 of plan Psu-131892.. residing at 4th St. the respondent Court rendered a decision affirming in toto the decision of the lower court. Dasmariñas Village. all Filipino citizens. Lot 3 was ordered withdrawn from the application and trial proceeded only with respect to Lots 1 and 2 covered by Plan Psu-131892. Quezon City.. 1975.A parcel of land (Lot 3 as shown on plan Psu-131892).. absurd. On April 5. Makati.. by Lot 1 of plan Psu-131892. Marina Tancinco Imperial. Municipality of Meycauayan. residing at Pasay Road. 89709. Azucena Tancinco Reyes. Assistant Provincial Fiscal Amando C. the lower court rendered a decision granting the application on the finding that the lands in question are accretions to the private respondents' fishponds covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. On August. residing at 1616 Cypress St. Psu-111877). in making its findings. New Manila. Province of Bulacan.

The private respondents submit that the foregoing evidence establishes the fact of accretion without human intervention because the transfer of the dike occurred after the accretion was complete.. and that from the boundaries of the lots. namely.£îhqw⣠To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion which they gradually receive from the effects of the current of the waters. Lots 1 & 2. We agree with the observation of the Solicitor General that it is preposterous to believe that almost four (4) hectares of land came into being because of the effects of the Meycauayan and Bocaue rivers. The lone witness of the private respondents who happens to be their overseer and whose husband was first cousin of their father noticed the four hectare accretion to the twelve hectare fishpond only in 1939. The respondents claim that at this point in time. Virginia Acuña to the effect that: têñ. there is no evidence whatsoever to prove that the addition to the said property was made gradually through the effects of the current of the Meycauayan and Bocaue rivers. The petitioner submits that there is no accretion to speak of under Article 457 of the New Civil Code because what actually happened is that the private respondents simply transferred their dikes further down the river bed of the Meycauayan River. The above-quoted article requires the concurrence of three requisites before an accretion covered by this particular provision is said to have taken place. (2) that it be made through the effects of the current of the water. that the new lots were then converted into fishpond.. and thus. that sometime in 1951. and (3) that the land where accretion takes place is adjacent to the banks of rivers. This excludes from Art. Tancinco. In the instant case.£îhqw⣠xxx xxx xxx . They are (1) that the deposit be gradual and imperceptible. the witness testified that in that year. The requirement that the deposit should be due to the effect of the current of the river is indispensable. the private respondents rely on the testimony of Mrs. their witness was incompetent to testify to a gradual and imperceptible increase to their land in the years before 1939. they were already dry almost at the level of the Pilapil of the property of Dr. Article 457 of the New Civil Code provides: têñ. We agree with the petitioner. it is manmade and artificial and not the result of the gradual and imperceptible sedimentation by the waters of the river. accretion had already taken place. if there is any accretion to speak of. she observed an increase in the area of the original . .. On the other hand. for about two (2) arms length the land was still dry up to the edge of the river. a new Pilapil was established on the boundaries of Lots 1 & 2 and soil from the old Pilapil was transferred to the new Pilapil and this was done sometime in 1951. If so.. when witness first saw the land. However. Alluvion must be the exclusive work of nature. 457 of the New Civil Code all deposits caused by human intervention. and water in this fishpond was two (2) meters deep on the side of the Pilapil facing the fishpond .There are facts and circumstances in the record which render untenable the findings of the trial court and the Court of Appeals that the lands in question are accretions to the private respondents' fishponds.

CARLOS ALAGAD. deserves no merit. We agree with the submission of the Solicitor General that the testimony of the private respondents' lone witness to the effect that as early as 1939 there already existed such alleged alluvial deposits. The private respondents are ordered to move back the dikes of their fishponds to their original location and return the disputed property to the river to which it belongs. said estates are subject to incumbrances and various kinds of easements. paragraph 1 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. The only valid conclusion therefore is that the said areas could not have been there in 1939. However. The lower court cannot validly order the registration of Lots 1 & 2 in the names of the private respondents. SPOUSES CARMEN ALAGAD AND ESPIRIDION KOLIMLIM. The land sought to be registered is not even dry land cast imperceptibly and gradually by the river's current on the fishpond adjoining it. These lots were portions of the bed of the Meycauayan river and are therefore classified as property of the public domain under Article 420 paragraph 1 and Article 502. . It is under two meters of water. 567). WHEREFORE. L-66807 January 26. The adjudication of the lands in question as private property in the names of the private respondents is null and void. SPOUSES LIBRADA ALAGAD AND EMERSON ABANO. What private respondents claim as accretion is really an encroachment of a portion of the Meycauayan river by reclamation. (Cortes v. MELITONA ALAGAD. petitioner. it is proper that the risk or danger which may prejudice the owners thereof should be compensated by the right of accretion. represented by the DIRECTOR OF LANDS. The private respondents' own evidence shows that the water in the fishpond is two meters deep on the side of the pilapil facing the fishpond and only one meter deep on the side of the pilapil facing the river The reason behind the law giving the riparian owner the right to any land or alluvion deposited by a river is to compensate him for the danger of loss that he suffers because of the location of his land. If she was telling the truth.ñët G.fishpond which is now the land in question. They are not open to registration under the Land Registration Act. No. The decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The alleged accretion was declared for taxation purposes only in 1972 or 33 years after it had supposedly permanently formed. If estates bordering on rivers are exposed to floods and other evils produced by the destructive force of the waters and if by virtue of lawful provisions. vs. 1989 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. The alleged alluvial deposits came into being not because of the sole effect of the current of the rivers but as a result of the transfer of the dike towards the river and encroaching upon it. City of Manila. JUSTO ALAGAD. SO ORDERED. When the private respondents transferred their dikes towards the river bed. 10 Phil. the instant petition is GRANTED. They existed only after the private respondents transferred their dikes towards the bed of the Meycauayan river in 1951. the accretion was sudden.R. 1940 and in the Cadastral Survey of the entire Municipality of Meycauayan conducted between the years 1958 to 1960. the dikes were meant for reclamation purposes and not to protect their property from the destructive force of the waters of the river. the riparian owner does not acquire the additions to his land caused by special works expressly intended or designed to bring about accretion. Hence. It should be noted that the lots in question were not included in the survey of their adjacent property conducted on May 10. there is evidence that the alleged alluvial deposits were artificial and man-made and not the exclusive result of the current of the Meycauayan and Bocaue rivers. 1äwphï1.

Salazar & Associates for private respondents. was filed by defendants to evict the barrio folk occupying portions of Lot 1. N-51479 was entered and Original Certificate of Title No. judgment was rendered in the eviction case ordering the defendants therein to return possession of the premises to herein defendants. Laguna. defendants filed an application for registration of their title over a parcel of land situated at Linga. was declared public land. 1956. 189. and the defendants from selling.1263 hectares. 1971. SARMIENTO. G. 1970. The Republic opposed the application on the stereo-typed ground that applicants and their predecessors have not been in possession of the land openly. The Solicitor General for petitioner. and finally denied by the court a quo. a writ of preliminary injunction was issued enjoining the Provincial Sheriff of Laguna or his deputies from enforcing the writ of execution issued in Civil Case No.L. J. 1971. defendants were declared owners of Lot 1 and the remaining portion. Decree No. was set for hearing. Laguna. Civil Case No. 1966. as prayed for in the complaint. 52. REGISTER OF DEEDS OF LAGUNA. This case was set for pre-trial on July 6. . the court a quodismissed the complaint. No. as plaintiffs therein. and the INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT (Fourth Civil Cases Division).DEMETRIO ALAGAD.: The Republic appeals from the decision of the Court of Appeals 1 affirming two orders of the defunct Court of First Instance of Laguna 2 dismissing its petition for "annulment of title and reversion. On July 16. was issued in the names of defendants. In August. On October 6. namely. 1968. this appeal.R. 1894 and the land has not ceased to be a part of the public domain. Bureau of Lands. Pila.8421 hectares. 1956. representing plaintiff Republic. disposing or otherwise entering into any transaction affecting the area. 1956 and August 13.2476 hectares and Lot 2 with an area of 2. respondents. On August 8. 52 of the Municipal Court of Pila. Ponferada. It appears that barrio folk also opposed the application. Alberto. Lot 1 with an area of 5. The foregoing anterior proceedings triggered the filing of the instant case. 2. dated October 18. 4922 of the Court of First Instance of Laguna). Alejandro A. Despite notice of the pre-trial. publicly and adversely under a bona fide claim of ownership since July 26. Rec. 1956. reflected in survey plan Psu-116971. The defendants therein did not appeal. hence. 3 The facts appear in the decision appealed from: On or about October 11. reflected in survey plan Psu-226971. amd. promulgated January 16. 1951. or Lot 2. continuously. supplemented by orders issued on March 21. 040 1. did not appear. Special Attorney.O. with an area of 8. which was amended after the land was divided into two parcels. By virtue of a final judgment in said case. (LRC Case No. Atty. ANTONIO ALAGAD. mortgaging. The Republic filed a motion for reconsideration.

. L-20355. formerly a sitio of Linga. L-20950. the Republic claims that the decree and title [rendered and issued in LRC Case No. Laguna. 2. It likewise ruled that the judgment. 189.Plaintiff filed its record on appeal on March 13. the Court of Appeals held that under Section 20. and (d) That were it not for the fillings made by the barrio people.42 hectare northwestern portion on end of Lot 1. the Republic assails the decision insofar as it sustained the lower court: (1) in dismissing the petition for failure of the Republic to appear for pre-trial. 1956.42 hectare northwestern portion or end of Lot l. in the said LRC No. 6 In sustaining the trial court.8421 hectares. as in fact said defendants and their predecessors-in-interest have never been in actual possession of the land in question. Rec. dated January 16. the land in question would not have been fit for human habitation. Plaintiff went to the Supreme Court on a petition for review on the action of this Court. I.56. Amd. 1982. or estopped from. consequently. 1965). and that res judicata. the Supreme Court set aside the dismissal resolution of this Court and ordered Us to reinstate and give due course to plaintiffs appeal. It appears that the appeal was dismissed by this Court for failure to show in the record on appeal that the appeal was perfected on time. With respect to the first question.. 4 In commencing proceedings below. 5 for the following reasons: (a) That said l. Psu-116971. having been occupied by the barrio people since the American occupation of the country in the early 1900's where they established their houses. we hold that the Court of Appeals has been guilty of grave abuse of discretion. Rodriguez.O. of Rule 20. Ayala y Cia.L. vs. (c) That the barrio people of Aplaya thru the years since the early 1900's have filled up and elevated the land to its present condition of being some feet above the level of the adjoining Lot 2 of plan Psu-116971 and the rest of Lot 1 of the same survey plan so much so that this barrio site of Aplaya where there are now sixty-eight (68) houses occupied by more than one hundred (100) families is no longer reached and covered by the waters of the Laguna de Bay. (b) That moreover said 1. Psu-116971. et al. 7 much more. . April 30. and (2) in holding that res judicata is an obstacle to the suit. so much so that defendants and their predecessors-in-interest could not have acquired an imperfect title to the property which could be judicially confirmed in a registration case. L-4922] insofar as the 1. et al. Juan de G. of the Rules of Court. May 31. the mistakes or negligent acts of its official or agents.42 hectare portion is actually now the site of Barrio Aplaya. 189 has long become final. Amd. the actual occupants thereof being the barrio people of Aplaya. It is well-established that the State cannot be bound by. On November 19. been foreshore land reached and covered by the waters of the Laguna de Bay (Republic vs. 1965. titles to the properties had been issued (in favor of the private respondents). are void ab initio. had since time immemorial. was a bar. In its petition.R. Antonio Dizon. dismissal was proper upon failure of the Republic to appear for pre-trial. Pila. 1972. is concerned. like the adjoining Lot 2 of the same survey plan containing 2. G. No. non-suited as a result thereof. 2.

since the said court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter.. Mendoza vs. canals. ports and bridges constructed by the State. it could not be said that the Government had been prejudiced by some negligent act or omission. in which cases." 13 Property is of public dominion if it is: (1) . not the apparent carelessness. supra). There is no merit either. (1) it must be a final judgment. . roadsteads and others of similar character. rendered without jurisdiction. In both cases. we denied efforts to impugn the jurisdiction of the court on the ground that the defendant had been "erroneously' represented in the complaint by the City Attorney when it should have been the City Mayor.. In Ramos.. "Property.. It is charged moreover with the conservation of such patrimony. Romero. (2) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the parties. The fact that the Bureau of Lands had failed to appeal from the decree of registration could not have validated the court's decision. et al. et al.. 8 The cases of Ramos v. are not applicable. in any event. on a holding that the City Attorney. it is seen that the acts that gave rise to estoppel were voluntary and intentional in character. identity of subject matter and identity of cause of action (Municipality of Daet vs. the following requisites must concur. and the cancellation may be pursued through an ordinary action therefor. if the parcel registered in the names of the private respondents were foreshore land. torrents.. For it is a well-settled rule that for a prior judgment to constitute a bar to a subsequent case. is the controlling norm . (3) it must be a judgment on the merits. II. CA. according to the Civil Code. then the principle of res judicata does not apply. 10 cited by the Court of Appeals in support of its decision. Such primordial consideration.. . And if there was no such jurisdiction. the land registration court could not have validly awarded title thereto.. This action cannot be barred by the prior judgment of the land registration court. identity of parties. rivers. much less the acquiescense of public officials. in claims that res judicata is an impediment to reversion of property. banks. such as roads. 11 this Court stated: . Arrieta. intended for public use. In Nilo. There is need therefore of the most rigorous scrutiny before private claims to portions thereof are judicially accorded recognition... between the first and second actions. and (4) there must be. shores. 12 In the case at bar. which is the source of any asserted right to ownership in land under the basic doctrine embodied in the 1935 Constitution as well as the present charter. [T]he state as a persona in law is the judicial entity. 14 or if it: . 91 SCRA 113). It would have been without the authority to do so. is either of public dominion or of private ownership . we applied estoppel upon finding of bad faith on the part of the State (the Central Bank) in deliberately reneging on its promises. Court of Appeals. . 93 SCRA 503.This is so because: . especially so where the matter is sought to be raked up anew after almost fifty years. Centra l Bank of the Philippines 9 and Nilo v. In Republic v. [a] certificate of title may be ordered cancelled (Republic v Animas. could have ably defended the City (Davao City).

even if constructed by a contractor.' 19 Specifically: ART. (5) Rain waters running through ravines or sand beds. article [4201. which is not of the character mentioned in . and their beds. which are also of public dominion. 502. . sewers and public establishments. all other natural resources shall not be alienated. 18 Property of the public dominion. (3) Waters rising continuously or intermittently on lands of public dominion.. without being for public use. The following are of public dominion: (1) Rivers and their natural beds. 1866: Art. refers to things held by the State by regalian right. belong to the public domain. Thus. They are things res publicae in nature and hence. to the State. incapable of private appropriation. 16 meaning to say. [w]ith the exception of agricultural lands. on the other hand. (7) Waters found within the zone of operation of public works.(2) .. (9) The waste waters of fountains. is patrimonial property. 15 All other property of the State. ponds. or otherwise. (8) Waters rising continuously or intermittently on lands belonging to private persons. property pertaining to the national domain. property 'open to disposition 17 by the Government. or public lands. or the State or provinces. belong[s] to the State. belong to the respective owners of such lands. 20 So also is it ordained by the Spanish Law of Waters of August 3. and are intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth. . it is provided further. and pools existing upon the lands of private individuals. 44. Lakes. (4) Lakes and lagoons formed by Nature on public lands. to a province. and those situated upon lands of communal use belong to their respective pueblos. Natural ponds and lakes existing upon public lands and fed by public waters.21 . (6) Subterranean waters on public lands. under the present Constitution. (2) Continuous or intermittent waters of springs and brooks running in their natural beds and the beds themselves. or to a city or municipality from the moment they leave such lands.

has been defined as follows: .. As we have pointed out. .. it forms part of the national dominion. in order to determine the character and ownership of the parcels of land in question. and in the second. It cannot therefore be said to be foreshore land but land outside of the public dominion. is one of fact: Is the parcel foreshore or is it part and parcel of the public domain? Laguna de Bay has long been recognized as a lake . however. in the first place. common. natural. 28 Otherwise. 27 and in which case. We. which occurs always or most of the time during the year . In that case. 22 Of course. indeed..Assuming. is the ground covered by their waters when at their highest ordinary depth. "[i]nasmuch as Laguna de Bay is a lake. it does not become foreshore. 25 And. 23 and hence. [T]he natural bed or basin of lakes . . According to the trial court. on the other hand. . and is connected with Manila Bay by the Pasig River. res judicata or estoppel is no defense. the Republic has legitimate reason to demand reconveyance. for purposes of this petition. "we must resort to the legal provisions governing the ownership and use of lakes and their beds and shores. that the lands subject of the Republic's reversion efforts are foreshore in nature. so Colegio de San Jose further tells us. Laguna de Bay is a lake. has to be decided alongside these principles and regretfully. where the rise in water level is due to the extraordinary action of nature. because it is not a trier of facts. When Laguna de Bay's waters are at their highest ordinary depth has been defined as: . so it follows. The question. it is in possession of no evidence to assist it in arriving at a conclusive disposition 31 We therefore remand the case to the court a quo to determine whether or not the property subject of controversy is foreshore. and that as foreshore laud. it is not registerable. the highest depth of the waters of Laguna de Bay during the dry season. 29 The strip of land that lies between the high and low water marks and that is alternatively wet and dry according to the flow of the tide. such depth being the regular. reverse both the Court of Appeals and the trial court and reinstate the Republic's complaint. it contains fresh water coming from rivers and brooks or springs. that part of (the land) which is between high and low water and left dry by the flux and reflux of the tides. for under Article 74 of the Law of Waters. The case. and land capable of registration as private property. rainfall for instance.. whether or not the properties in question are. the Court cannot make a ruling. . then. 30 If the submergence. consequently. available disposition and registration. A foreshore land. foreshore lands is the core of controversy. According to the definition just quoted.. 26 The recourse to legal provisions is necessary. the aforementioned parcel of land is a portion of the public domain belonging to the Republic of the Philippines. the portions inundated thereby are not considered part of the bed or basin of the body of water in question. despite its proximity to the waters.. . the Government holds otherwise. of the land is due to precipitation. 24 Thus: Laguna de Bay is a body of water formed in depressions of the earth. therefore.

R.WHEREFORE. 31688 : December 17. under Sec. Respondents. . JUAN P. Thus. THIRD DIVISION [G. Hence.724. this case is hereby REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings. including that of its predecessors-in-interest. Except for the Director of Lands. Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson). 1990.] 192 SCRA 296 DIRECTOR OF LANDS. The Director of Lands. in the alternative. the lower court 3 favorably acted on the application and ordered the registration of the parcels of land under the Land Registration Act." 4 It found that the parcels of land had been acquired by purchase and AIC's possession thereof. No. the provincial fiscal. filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision asserting that except for a 4-hectare area.48. to be the owner in fee simple of the whole 70-hectare area indicated in survey plans PSU-217518. on September 23. submitted evidence supporting the opposition filed by the Solicitor General to the effect that AIC had no registerable title and that the highly mineralized parcels of land applied for were within the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve which had not yet been released as alienable and disposable land pursuant to the Public Land Law. within the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve. appearing for the Director of Lands. Private respondent Abra Industrial Corporation (AIC for brevity). concur. After the applicant had rested its case. thru the District Forester of Abra. Petitioners. the opposition of the Director of Lands was not welltaken because the Bureau of Forestry. according to petitioners. DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY and REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Abra 66 hectares of which are. had been for forty-nine (49) years. through the provincial fiscal. "offered no objection to exclude the same area from the forest reserve. On July 22. 1965. Padilla and Regalado. the land covered by PSU-217518. nobody appeared to oppose the application. it filed in the then Court of First Instance of Abra an application for registration in its name of said parcels of land under the Land Registration Act or. PSU-217519 and PSU-217520 with a total assessed value of P6.: The center of controversy in the instant petition for review on Certiorari is a limestone-rich 70-hectare land in Bucay. Paras. the court issued an order of default against the whole world except the Director of Lands. It ruled that although said land was within the forest zone. HON. 48 of Commonwealth Act No. DECISION FERNAN. 141 1 as amended by Republic Act No. as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Abra. vs. 2 The requisite publication and posting of notice having been complied with. claims on the other hand. JJ. AQUINO. a duly registered corporation established for the purpose of setting up a cement factory. J.. 1966. 1942 inasmuch as its predecessors-in-interest had allegedly been in possession thereof since July 26. Second Judicial District and ABRA INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION. the application was set for hearing. 1894.

the judicial error was "not synonymous with actual fraud. 1966. the Commissioner of Land Registration issued Decrees Nos. tufaceous limestone estimated to yield 200. 1969. 1969 is necessary before the filing of the instant petition. 1968. it was covered with massive. the process of exclusion from the Cordillera Forest Reserve had not yet been undertaken pursuant to Sec. 3092 and therefore it was still part of the forest zone which was inalienable under the 1935 Constitution. could yield 10. on December 22. under Proclamation No. 496. 1970. invoking Section 38 of Act No. on February 25. the petitioners filed a motion reiterating said prayer. is incorrect. through the Solicitor General. then presiding Judge Macario M. 217 dated February 16. the Solicitor General. the lower court 9 denied the petition on the ground that if. corraline. 1929. petition for review or a petition for review on Certiorari. filed in the Court of First Instance of Abra a petition for review of the decrees of registration and the lower court's decision of July 22. 118199 and 118200 for the registration of the subject parcels of land in the name of AIC." 8 On November 27. the Republic of the Philippines. 14 The reglementary period for filing the petition for review on Certiorari in the instant case was thirty (30) days from notice of the .000 bags of cement a day for 1. A motion for new trial or reconsideration is not a prerequisite to an appeal. 5440. representing the Director of Lands." 10 Without asking for a reconsideration of said order. It added that the motion for intervention filed by the Bureau of Lands and the Bureau of Mines was improper in land registration cases. while the land could be reclassified as mineral land under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Mines. 1967 holding that the grounds raised therein were relevant and proper only if the Bureau of Forestry and the Bureau of Mines were parties to the case. Within one year from the issuance of said decrees or on May 22. 6 The Director of Lands filed a petition for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals but the same was dismissed for having been filed out of time. 118198. 5 He contended that. being 250 meters thick. AIC having filed its opposition to the motion for reconsideration. 1967. 12 AIC filed a motion to dismiss the instant petition on the grounds that it raises "unsubstantial" issues and that it was filed out of time. :-cralaw The petition was forthwith given due course by the Court 11 but inasmuch as no action was taken on their prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order. the lower court denied it on September 28. as alleged by the Solicitor General. the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the private respondent and its agents and representatives "from further acts of possession and disposition to innocent purchasers for value of the parcels of land involved" in this case. The motion was denied by the Court 13 but it bears pointing out that AIC's second ground for dismissal. The Solicitor General alleged that although the evidence presented by AIC showed that it had purchased from individual owners only a total area of 24 hectares.217519 and 217520 fell within the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve. the application included 46 hectares of the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve and therefore AIC "employed actual fraud" which misled the court "to error in finding the applicant to have a registerable title over the parcels of land subject of the application. 7 Hence.000 metric tons about a fifth of which was suitable for the manufacture of high grade portland cement type and that the limestone. the Director of Forestry and the Republic of the Philippines. that although it had been denuded. Ofilada was mistaken in appreciating the evidence presented. filed the present petition for review on Certiorari under Republic Act No.000.000 years. Finding the motion meritorious. 1826 of Republic Act No. which is premised on its perception that a motion for reconsideration of the order of November 27.

This ruling is premised on the Regalian doctrine enshrined not only in the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions but also in the 1987 Constitution Article XIII of which provides that: "Sec. We find the petition to be meritorious. With the exception of agricultural lands. Muñoz 18 and consistently adhered to in a long line of cases 19 the more recent of which is Republic vs. forests or timber. an applicant for registration of a parcel of land bears the burden of overcoming the presumption that the land sought to be registered forms part of the public domain. . 27 Hence. 141. we reiterate the rule enunciated by this Court in Director of Forestry vs. 1965 and issued by then Acting Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources Jose Y. Abra which had been established in 1909 by virtue of Forestry Administrative Order No. 22 Moreover. all other natural resources shall not be alienated. All lands of the public domain. coal . . 25 AIC therefore tries to impress upon the Court the fact that as there was no longer a forested area. 496. a positive act of the government is needed to declassify a forest land into alienable or disposable land for agricultural or other purposes. however. 2-622 dated October 1. 2-298. AIC asserts that the land in dispute is no longer part of the Cordillera Forest Reserve because the communal forest in Bucay. Petitioners also contend that the lower court erred in denying the petition for review based on actual fraud because under Section 38 of Act No. Feliciano. is now fifteen (15) days pursuant to Section 39 of the Judiciary Act of 1980. the same was timely filed. 16 Petitioners having been granted a total of sixty (60) days 17 within which to file the petition. provided no innocent purchaser for value will be prejudiced. the fact that the contested parcels of land have long been denuded and actually contains rich limestone deposits does not in any way affect its present classification as forest land. waters. and other natural resources are owned by the State. 2. and not the District Forester or even the Director of Forestry." Pursuant to this constitutional provision. a decree of registration may be reviewed not only by reason of actual fraud but also for a fatal infirmity of the decision upon which the decree is based. however long. cannot convert them into private properties. . 20 that forest lands or forest reserves are incapable of private appropriation and possession thereof. . upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. the power to exclude an area from the forest zone belongs to the President of the Philippines.order or judgment subject of review 15 which period. parenthetically. Once again. the land must first be released from its classification as forest land and reclassified as agricultural land in accordance with the certification issued by the Director of Forestry as provided for by Section 1827 of the Revised Administrative Code." 26 It should be emphasized. 21 This is because the classification of public lands is an exclusive prerogative of the executive department of the government and not of the courts. who had been devoting it to agriculture. : nad . minerals. Court of Appeals. Petitioners herein contend that the lower court erred in granting the application for registration of the parcels of land notwithstanding its finding that they are within the forest zone. The District Forester's failure to object to the exclusion of the area sought to be registered from the forest reserve was not enough justification for registration because under Commonwealth Act No. the same area had become alienable more so because its actual occupants. had relinquished their rights over it in favor of AIC "to give way for greater economic benefits for the people in the locality. that the classification of the land as forest land is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. had been "cancelled and de-established" by Forestry Administrative Order No. . 24 In this case. . 23 Being the interested party.

upon the recommendation of the proper department head. may change the location of a communal forest. vs. the Director of Forestry. 1986. the order of November 27. As it is. 31 Its decision to order the registration of an inalienable land in favor of AIC under the misconception that it is imperative for the Director of Forestry to object to its exclusion from the forest reserve even in the face of its finding that indeed a sizable portion of the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve is involved. with an area of 7. situated at Bañas. J. It betrays an inherent infirmity which must be corrected. AIC has not only failed to prove that it has a registerable title but more important]y. ALFREDO DECISION PARDO. more particularly described as follows: "A parcel of land.While it is true that under Section 1839 of the Revised Administrative Code. Branch 2. 1966 insofar as it orders the registration of land within the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve are hereby REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. with an area of 6. The petitioners therefore validly insisted on the review of the decision ordering the issuance of the decree of registration in view of its patent infirmity. province of Basilan. cannot be allowed to stay unreversed. and dismissing petitioner's complaint for recovery of possession and ownership of a parcel of land with the improvements existing thereon. The lower court closed its eyes to a basic doctrine in land registration cases that the inclusion in a title of a part of the public domain nullifies the title. 30 AIC therefore. on the South . who has the authority to classify the lands of the public domain into alienable or disposable. on the East by property of Ramon Bacor. The temporary restraining order issued on April 7. Lantawan Basilan. municipality of Lantawan. The facts may be related as follows: On October 17. RAMON ITURALDE.1248 hectares.0000 hectares. 141. situated at Barangay Upper Bañas. Basilan province. should prove first of all that the lands it claims for registration are alienable or disposable lands. Under Commonwealth Act No. it failed to show that the lands are no longer a part of the public domain.: The case is an appeal via certiorari from a decision of the Court of Appeals reversing that of the Regional Trial Court. FALCASANTOS. 1969 denying the petition for review under Section 38 of Act No. SO ORDERED. Lantawan. 28 it is no less than the President. petitioner acquired by purchase from the heirs of Pedro Mana-ay a parcel of land located at Bañas. 29 The President shall also declare from time to time what lands are open to disposition or concession. Costs against the private respondent. petitioner. timber and mineral lands. :-cralaw WHEREFORE. 496 and the decision of July 22. more or less. Basilan Province. such executive action does not amount to a declassification of a forest reserve into an alienable or disposable land. respondent. Bounded on the North by property of Alejandro Marso. with the approval of the Department Head. 1970 is hereby made permanent.

In due time. respondent applied with the Bureau of Lands in Isabela. Ricardo G. and entering a new judgment dismissing petitioner's complaint without prejudice to any action that petitioner may take if the subject land was declassified from forest land to alienable and disposable land of the public domain. with an area of 3. to pay petitioner the amount of ten thousand pesos (P10. and that he had introduced improvements thereon such as coconut and other fruit trees. On February 7. On July 24.00) as judicial cost. On November 17. Petitioner submits that the Court of Appeals erred in setting aside the trial court's decision in his favor and dismissing the complaint because when the Director of Lands allowed petitioner to file a public land application for said property. province of Basilan.1248 hectares.00) as attorneys fee. On May 8. on November 3. and allowed petitioner to file a public land application for the subject land. the Regional Director of Lands rendered a decision giving respondent a period of one hundred twenty (120) days to exercise the right to repurchase the land by reimbursing petitioner of all expenses he incurred in the purchase of the property in question. on March 20. Containing an area of 6. and ordering respondent to vacate the land in question. After trial on the merits.0000 hectares. a complaint for recovery of ownership and possession with preliminary injunction of the subject parcel of land. 1986. it was equivalent to a declaration that said land was no longer part of the public domain. petitioner appealed the trial court's decision to the Court of Appeals. Basilan province. On October 11." However. 1990. the amount of five thousand pesos (P5.00) as litigation expenses.000. 1996. the present recourse. and held in abeyance respondent's application for free patent. In answer to the complaint. Basilan province.by property of Atty. Mon and on the West by property of Librada Guerrero. more or less. but respondent refused. 1989. municipality of Lantawan. 1986. 1989. petitioner filed a protest to such application. situated at Barangay Upper Bañas.000. Hence. and rejected his application for free patent for lack of interest. petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court. and three hundred pesos (P300. the Regional Director issued an order declaring that respondent had waived his right of repurchase. 1993. the Regional Director ordered respondent to vacate the land in question. 1990. the trial court rendered decision declaring petitioner the owner and possessor of the subject parcel of land with all the improvements existing thereon. the Court of Appeals rendered decision reversing the appealed decision. . for the award to him of the same parcel of land under free patent. On December 20. respondent alleged that the land occupied by him belonged to the Republic of the Philippines.

Even rules on the confirmation of imperfect titles do not apply unless and until the land classified as forest land is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that it may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain.: This is a letter-motion praying for reconsideration (for the third time) of the June 16. and Martinez.J. 181502 February 2. the Court hereby AFFIRMS the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. not capable of private appropriation and occupation. Kapunan. in Civil Case No.”[6] What is more. . Respondent.”[3] In Sunbeam Convenience Foods Inc. there is yet no award or grant to petitioner of the land in question by free patent or other ways of acquisition of public land. 1976. there must be a positive act from the government."[1] and. J. The Court of Appeals correctly held that "the evidence is unrebutted that the subject land is within the Forest Reserve Area as per L. before any land may be declassified from the forest group and converted into alienable or disposable land for agricultural or other purposes. dismissing the complaint of petitioner before the Regional Trial Court.We deny the petition.C. 42306. 441-63. we said: “Thus. RESOLUTION CORONA. In the absence of such classification. Davide. Petitioner. Basilan province.. however long.”[5] And the rule is “Possession of forest lands. vs. concur. No. the land remains unclassified public land until released therefrom and rendered open to disposition. CV No. cannot ripen into private ownership. 2008 resolution of this Court denying the petition for review filed by petitioner Florencia G. Diaz. Map No. JJ. REPUBLIC of the PHILIPPINES. 2 She alleged that she possessed the land as owner and worked. developed and harvested the agricultural products and benefits of the same continuously. Register of Deeds of Quezon. Nueva Ecija on August 12.. Nueva Ecija and Palayan City in the then Court of First Instance (CFI).[2] In Republic vs. DIAZ. Court of Appeals. become private properties. (Chairman). R. Melo. are not subject to private ownership unless they under the Constitution."[4] “Hence. 2010 FLORENCIA G. 1951’. Petitioner’s late mother. filed an application for registration of a vast tract of land 1 located in Laur. vs.R. Flora Garcia (Garcia). publicly and adversely for more or less 26 years. SO ORDERED. he can not lawfully claim to be the owner of the land in question. Consequently. WHEREFORE. C. Branch 1.. a positive act of the government is needed to declassify a forest land into alienable or disposable land for agricultural or other purposes. we held that "Forest lands. No costs. 1557 certified on August 13. hence. like mineral or timber lands which are public lands. G. Jr.

the said Amicable Settlement is hereby DECLARED to be without force and effect. 1895). They filed a motion for approval of the amicable settlement in the CA.689 hectares supposedly outside the FMMR. Moreover.The Republic of the Philippines. Garcia passed away and was substituted by her heirs. opposed the application because the land in question was within the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR). the Court resolves to: (1) x x x x x x (2) x x x x x x (3) x x x x x x (4) x x x x x x (5) x x x x x x (6) REVERSE the Resolution dated June 30. 1999 executed between the Office of the Solicitor General and Florencia Garcia Diaz[. the existence of Possessory Information Title No. Reyes4 that the property subject of Garcia’s application was inalienable as it formed part of a military reservation.8 1avvphi1 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the Mendoza decision. 1981. 11 On January 12. Lazaro. on which therein respondent Parañaque Investment and Development Corporation anchored its claim on the land. Accordingly.] (7) ANNUL and SET ASIDE the Amicable Settlement dated May 18. Diaz. 2000. this Court already ruled in Director of Lands v. it was inalienable as it formed part of the public domain. 1999 executed between the Office of the Solicitor General and Florencia Garcia Diaz. the CA concluded that she did not validly acquire title thereto. with Justice Mendoza as ponente. was not proven. Without acting on the motion for reconsideration. While the motion was pending in the CA. The Republic eventually appealed the decision of the CFI to the Court of Appeals (CA). the appellate court approved the compromise agreement. the CA issued an amended resolution (amended resolution) 13 annulling the compromise agreement entered into between the parties. On April 16. . petitioner withdrew her application for the portion of the property inside the military reservation. one of whom was petitioner Florencia G. the CA encouraged the parties to reach an amicable settlement on the matter and even gave the parties sufficient time to draft and finalize the same. 2007. penned by Justice Vicente V. The CA observed that Garcia also traced her ownership of the land in question to Possessory Information Title No. 1975. 1999 of this Court approving the Amicable Settlement dated May 18. Reyes notwithstanding. The relevant part of the dispositive portion of the resolution read: ACCORDINGLY. The OSG informed the appellate court that the tract of land subject of the amicable settlement was still within the military reservation. In its decision 6 dated February 26. 1992. petitioner also filed a motion for recall of the records from the former CFI. the decree of registration issued in its favor was declared null and void. Thus. 237 (Proclamation 237) 3 in 1955. established by virtue of Proclamation No. 7 the appellate court reversed and set aside the decision of the CFI. 216 (allegedly registered in the name of a certain Melecio Padilla on March 5. the OSG filed a motion for reconsideration of the CA resolution ordering the issuance of the decree of registration. on November 28. however. The CA found that Reyes was applicable to petitioner’s case as it involved the same property. Subsequently. Mendoza (Mendoza decision). 1999. 10 On June 30. the appellate court. the CFI ruled in Garcia’s favor in a decision 5 dated July 1. 216. Significantly. For her part. Restituto S. it directed the Land Registration Administration to issue the corresponding decree of registration in petitioner’s favor. As Garcia’s right to the property was largely dependent on the existence and validity of the possessory information title the probative value of which had already been passed upon by this Court in Reyes. acting on a letter written by a certain Atty. During the pendency of the case in the CA. and inasmuch as the land was situated inside a military reservation. represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). The parties ultimately entered into a compromise agreement with the Republic withdrawing its claim on the more or less 4.12 However. issued a resolution9 upholding petitioner’s right to recall the records of the case.

1992 dismissing applicant-appellee Diaz’ registration herein.e. petitioner filed a petition for review on certiorari 15 in this Court. (Emphasis supplied) Petitioner moved for reconsideration." because Mr. 1999 Amicable Settlement and the Resolution dated September 20. It is simply immoral. for the prosecutor to eventually act as the judge. he discharged the duties of prosecutor and judge in the very same case. which is NULL and VOID. 1999 approving the May 18. 1999 approved by the Court in its Resolution dated June 30. 1999 Resolution. 2009. Accordingly. we ordered entry of judgment to be made in due course.18 Petitioner. SO ORDERED.] my case will certainly evoke even greater spite from the public. 1999 amending the aforesaid June 30.]" the public was outraged by the actions of Atty. the motion to refer the case to the bancwas likewise denied as the banc is not an appellate court to which decisions or resolutions of the divisions may be appealed.21 Furthermore. consequently. insisted on filing a motion to lift entry of judgment and motion for leave to file a second motion for reconsideration and to refer the case to the Supreme Court en banc. His failure to do so. In the case of the "Alabang Boys[. 23 The body of the letter. undoubtedly in the nature of a third motion for reconsideration. Not one to be easily deterred. worked an injustice against her constitutional right to due process. Pending before your Division (First Division) is a last plea for justice so that the case may be elevated to the Supreme Court en banc. (Inquirer.19 The Court denied20 it considering that a second motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading. If leaked to the tri-media[. and reverse the very decision in which he had lost. Puno himself. Justice Mendoza became the ponente of the Court of Appeals Decision. 1999. is hereby reproduced in its entirety: This is in response to your call for "Moral Forces" in order to "redirect the destiny of our country which is suffering from moral decadence. It was denied for raising factual issues. It is null and void because destiny placed Hon. is the problem which confronts us. among other matters. reversing the findings of the trial court. 1992 decision adverted to in the CA’s amended resolution. illegal and unconstitutional. Verano who admitted having prepared a simple resolution to be signed by the Secretary of Justice. In my case. she laments. January 15. ab initio. she assailed the validity of the Mendoza decision – the February 26.17 This motion was denied with finality on the ground that there was no substantial argument warranting a modification of the Court’s resolution. page 1)[. the act complained of is the worst kind of violation of my constitutional right. and even destroy the good name of Hon. In other words. was the very person who appeared on behalf of the Republic. and (10) REINSTATE the Decision dated February 26.] the ability of the court to render "impartial justice.(8) GRANT the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the Office of the Solicitor General and. I however believe that such an action will do more harm than good. Justice Vicente Mendoza in a position in which it became possible for him to discharge the minimum requirement of due process. and my lawyer has done all that is humanly possible to convince the court to take a second look at the miscarriage of justice that will result from the implementation of the DISMISSAL in a MINUTE RESOLUTION of our Petition for Review. notwithstanding the fact that he. [i. Thus. For ready reference. For the first time. The Court then ordered that no further pleadings would be entertained. I must confess that I was tempted to pursue such course of action. 181502. 22 We reiterated our directive that no further pleadings would be entertained and that entry of judgment be made in due course. . The issue that was brought before the Honorable Supreme Court involves the Decision of then Justice Vicente Mendoza of the Court of Appeals.R.] I recently lost my case with the Supreme Court. The motion was denied. however. the Mendoza decision should be declared null and void. SET ASIDE the Resolution dated January 12. N[o]. as Assistant Solicitor General. as the oppositor in the very same land registration proceedings in which he lost.14 Thereafter. 2000 which ordered. petitioner wrote identical letters." that to your mind. (9) SET ASIDE the Resolution dated June 30. a copy of the Motion is hereto attached as Annex "A". She alleged that Justice Mendoza was the assistant solicitor general during the initial stages of the land registration proceedings in the trial court and therefore should have inhibited himself when the case reached the CA. Justice Mendoza. Quisumbing (then Acting Chief Justice) and then to Chief Justice Reynato S. I hope the Court exercises utmost prudence in resolving the last plea. first addressed to Justice Leonardo A. that a certificate of title be issued in the name of plaintiffappellee Florencia Garcia Diaz over the portion of the subject property in consonance with the Amicable Settlement dated May 18. 16She moved for reconsideration. and put the Supreme Court in bad light. G.

even before the CFI came out with its decision in favor of petitioner on July 1. Rather. in Reyes. I am content with the fact that at least. It is a thinly veiled threat precisely worded and calculated to intimidate this Court into giving in to her demands to honor an otherwise legally infirm compromise agreement. 25 This contention is erroneous. The facts obtaining in this case closely resemble those in Aquino v. petitioner takes exception to the fourth requisite. APPLICABILITY OF REYES The Court agrees with the Republic’s position that Reyes is applicable to this case. thereafter sold the same property to Benigno S. (3) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and parties. the Chief Justice continues to fight the dark forces that surround us everyday. . the fact is that. However. and not the other way around. we affirmed the trial court’s decision to dismiss the proceedings as the property in question was part of the public domain. as well as in this one. in which we all find ourselves. Quintin Tañedo endeavored to secure title to a considerable tract of land by virtue of his possession thereof under CA 141. Florencia Tañedo. The latter sought to have it registered in his name. 1975 that the disputed realty was inalienable as it formed part of a military reservation. Thus. Director of Lands. The language of petitioner’s letter/motion is unmistakable. The question in that case. (2) the judgment or order must be on the merits. not only against the adverse claimant. the decision in the first action has become the "law of the case" or at least falls within the rule of stare decisis. 24 The first three requisites have undoubtedly been complied with. To constitute res judicata. and more power to you. This Court will not be cowed into submission.I fully support your call for "moral force" that will slowly and eventually lead our country to redirect its destiny and escape from this moral decadence. the following elements must concur: (1) the former judgment or order must be final. it was incumbent upon the court a quo to respect this Court’s ruling in Reyes. that in registration cases filed under the provisions of the Public Land Act for the judicial confirmation of an incomplete and imperfect title. SIR. I only ask that the Supreme Court endeavor to ensure that cases such as mine do not happen again. who despite knowledge of the proceedings did not participate therein. and of causes of action. 1981. and (4) there must be between the first and second actions. (Emphasis in the original). That adjudication should be followed unless manifestly erroneous. When the case eventually reached this Court. of subject matter. she contends that since the applicants in the two cases are different. but also against all persons. particularly on the issue of identity of parties. an order dismissing an application for registration and declaring the land as part of the public domain constitutes res judicata. Aquino. be determined independently of each other. was whether our decision in the case in which another person was the applicant constituted res judicata as against his successors-in-interest. already made an earlier ruling on November 28. accordingly. Quintin’s successorin-interest. and we so rule now. identity of parties. petitioner’s argument that the findings of fact of the trial court on her registrable title are binding on us – on the principle that findings of fact of lower courts are accorded great respect and bind even this Court – is untenable. It was taken and should be taken as the authoritative view of the highest tribunal in the Philippines. It is indispensable to the due administration of justice especially by a court of last resort that a question once deliberately examined and decided should be considered as settled and closed to further argument. We deny petitioner’s letter/third motion for reconsideration. Thank you. at the risk of being vilified in the media and by the public. so that the next person who seeks justice will not experience the pain and frustration that I suffered under our judicial system. x x x 28 Be that as it may.26 In that case. the merits of the two cases should. We ruled there.27 We also declared in Aquino that: From another point of view. this Court. In her petition for review filed in this Court.

nullifies the title. Unfortunately for petitioner.29 Notably. especially the trial court concerned in this case. Forest lands or area covered with forest are excluded. pursuant to Article 393 of the Spanish Mortgage Law. "There is only one Supreme Court from whose decision all other courts should take their bearings. Melecio Padilla. x x x (Emphasis supplied)32 Concomitantly."31 ACQUISITION OF PRIVATE RIGHTS Petitioner. must be respected. the evidence is inconclusive as to possession. 37 Coming now to petitioner’s contention that her "private rights" to the property. the trial judge virtually nullified the decision of this Court and therefore acted with grave abuse of discretion.However. it could never ripen to ownership. the trial court still insisted on its divergent finding and disregarded the Court's decision inReyes. As earlier stated. Then and only then will it form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain. we noted: Evidently. 35 This was our ruling inAlmeda v. she was not able to produce such evidence. After his death. Section 48[b] of CA No. ought to be reminded that it is their duty to obey the decisions of the Supreme Court. for it is shown by the evidence that the land involved is largely mountainous and forested. A conduct becoming of inferior courts demands a conscious awareness of the position they occupy in the interrelation and operation of our judicial system. caused the planting of vegetables and had about forty (40) tenants for the purpose. any occupation or possession thereof cannot be counted in reckoning compliance with the thirty-year possession requirement under Commonwealth Act 141 (CA 141) or the Public Land Act. even if possession was for more than 30 years. having died on February 9." By way of a background. x x x Therefore. her occupation thereof. meaning her and her predecessors’ possession thereof prior to the establishment of the FMMR. It is well-settled that forest land is incapable of registration. the evidence is inconclusive as to possession.36 The rules on the confirmation of imperfect titles do not apply unless and until the land classified as forest land is released through an official proclamation to that effect. as amended. and its inclusion in a title. [E]ven more important. Maria Padilla. for it is shown by the evidence that the land involved is largely mountainous and forested.B. a judgment rendered with grave abuse of discretion is void and does not exist in legal contemplation. argues that Proclamation 237 itself recognizes that its effectivity is "subject to private rights. at the time of the hearing. timber and mineral lands) 34 coupled with possession by the claimant as well as that of her predecessorsin-interest. there was nevertheless still a dearth of evidence with respect to its occupation by petitioner and her predecessors-in-interest for more than 30 years. could not have converted the same into a record of ownership twenty (20) years after such inscription. it is true that forest lands may be registered when they have been reclassified as alienable by the President in a clear and categorical manner (upon the recommendation of the proper department head who has the authority to classify the lands of the public domain into alienable or disposable. In Reyes. could not have ripened into ownership of the subject land. and that of her predecessors-in-interest. however. Reyes. 1900. L. CA. Accordingly. we had already recognized the same land to be public forest even before the FMMR was established. (Emphasis supplied). that forest lands are not registrable under CA 141. By not applying our ruling in Reyes. at the time of the hearing. 30 All lower courts. whether such title be one issued using the Spanish sovereignty or under the present Torrens system of registration. we stated therein. and we remind petitioner now. we recognized in Reyes that the property where the military reservation is situated is forest land. while some portions were used as grazing land. if any there be.957 hectares of said land consist of public forest. and thus outside the commerce of man. Maria Padilla died. To reiterate: Before the military reservation was established.957 hectares of said land consist of public forest. Thus: Before the military reservation was established. only a small portion thereof was cleared and cultivated under the ‘kaingin’ system. During the Japanese occupation. the same is untenable. xxx During the lifetime of Melecio Padilla. his daughter. As eloquently declared by Justice J. x x x xxx . As a matter of fact. This is because prior to the conversion of forest land as alienable land.33 However. 141. it was conceded that approximately 13. As a matter of fact. it was conceded that approximately 13. declaring the subject land as forming part of a military reservation. applies exclusively to public agricultural land. despite having been apprised of the Court's findings in Reyes (which should have been a matter of judicial notice in the first place). But even assuming that the land in question was alienable land before it was established as a military reservation. barely five (5) years after the inscription of the informacion possessoria.

(3) Cause of the obligation which is established. (Emphasis supplied). and the raising thereon of cattle. without special authority. 1318. . being the very institution that dispenses justice. respondent was withdrawing its claim on that part of the land situated outside said reservation. may be the object of a contract. Article 1347 of the Civil Code provides: Art. and in taking appeals. The agreement provided that. Land Management Bureau.e. do not constitute possession under claim of ownership. There is no contract unless the following requisites concur: (1) Consent of the contracting parties. is not sufficient to support a claim of title thru acquisitive prescription. i. through the appropriate government agencies. it was inalienable. compromise their client’s litigation. including future things. the fact that the possessory information title on which petitioner also bases her claim of ownership was found to be inexistent in Reyes. Moreover. although the OSG was authorized to appear as counsel for respondent. public order or public policy may likewise be the object of a contract. the mere occupancy of land by grazing livestock upon it. or other permanent improvements. NULLITY OF COMPROMISE AGREEMENT On the compromise agreement between the parties. was secured by the OSG when it executed the agreement with her. The Republic could not validly enter into such undertaking as the subject matter of the agreement was outside the commerce of man. and in all matters of ordinary judicial procedure. the land in question could not have been a valid subject matter of a contract because. No contract may be entered into upon future inheritance except in cases expressly authorized by law. 41 In this case. While grazing livestock over land is of course to be considered with other acts of dominion to show possession. PETITIONER’S CONTEMPT OF COURT This Court. All services which are not contrary to law. good customs. An amicable settlement or a compromise agreement is in the nature of a contract and must necessarily comply with the provisions of Article 1318 of the New Civil Code which provides: Art. the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. it was never given the specific or special authority to enter into a compromise agreement with petitioner. (2) Object certain which is the subject matter of the contract. being forest land. the Republic of the Philippines. morals.A mere casual cultivation of portions of the land by the claimant. 1347. the Court finds the cause or consideration of the obligation contrary to law and against public policy. we agree with the CA that the same was null and void. further militates against granting her application for registration. – Attorneys have authority to bind their clients in any case by any agreement in relation thereto made in writing. cannot reasonably be expected to just sit by and do nothing when it comes under attack.40 The lack of authority on the part of the OSG rendered the compromise agreement between the parties null and void because although it is the duty of the OSG to represent the State in cases involving land registration proceedings. Land Registration Authority. All things which are not outside the commerce of men.But they cannot. without substantial inclosures. or receive anything in discharge of a client’s claim but the full amount in cash. and the Office of the President. (Emphasis supplied) Finally. possession is not exclusive and notorious as to give rise to a presumptive grant from the State. never confers title thereto upon the possessor because the statute of limitations with regard to public land does not operate against the State unless the occupant can prove possession and occupation of the same under claim of ownership for the required number of years to constitute a grant from the State. This is in violation of the provisions of Rule 138 Section 23.39 thus rendering its probative value suspect. Petitioner was not able to provide any proof that the consent of the Republic. however long the period may have extended. In that sense. 38 xxx Furthermore. All rights which are not intransmissible may also be the object of contracts. Authority of attorneys to bind clients. of the Rules of Court which requires "special authority" for attorneys to bind their clients. The possession of public land. in consideration of petitioner’s withdrawal of her application for registration of title from that portion of the property located within the military reservation. it must do so only within the scope of the authority granted to it by its principal. Section 23.

Petitioner ends her letter by taking this Court to task: . and my lawyer has done all that is humanly possible to convince the court to take a second look at the miscarriage of justice that will result from the implementation of the DISMISSAL in a MINUTE RESOLUTION of our Petition for Review. as Assistant Solicitor General. a copy of the Motion is hereto attached as Annex "A"." because Mr. was the very person who appeared on behalf of the Republic. so that the next person who seeks justice will not experience the pain and frustration that I suffered under our judicial system. Sabio which also enjoyed wide publicity over the tri-media. Petitioner then indirectly hints that. . [i. 2009. which is NULL and VOID. I hope the Court exercises utmost prudence in resolving the last plea. notwithstanding the fact that he. however. The issue that was brought before the Honorable Supreme Court involves the Decision of then Justice Vicente Mendoza of the Court of Appeals. Pending before your Division (First Division) is a last plea for justice so that the case may be elevated to the Supreme Court en banc. But she hastens to add in the same breath that: I must confess that I was tempted to pursue such course of action.That petitioner’s letter-motion constitutes an attack against the integrity of this Court cannot be denied. Justice Mendoza.R. involving Mr. Juxtaposed against the factual backdrop of the "Alabang Boys" case and the Meralco [c]ase. 181502. she has offended your honors’ sensibilities. xxx Petitioner wrote the Chief Justice in order to obtain redress and correction of the inequity bestowed upon her by destiny.] she believes they are irrefutable. is the problem which confronts us." that to your mind.] It was written in response to the call of the Chief Justice for a moral revolution. I however believe that such an action will do more harm than good. ab initio. she is ready for the punishment. Justice Jose L. and put the Supreme Court in bad light. and even destroy the good name of Hon. page 1)[. When required to show cause why she should not be cited for contempt for her baseless charges and veiled threats. G. For ready reference.e.] my case will certainly evoke even greater spite from the public. petitioner answered: xxx The Letter of January 26. Petitioner started her letter innocently enough by stating: This is in response to your call for "Moral Forces" in order to "redirect the destiny of our country which is suffering from moral decadence. Justice Vicente Mendoza in a position in which it became possible for him to discharge the minimum requirement of due process. It was never meant as a threat. (Emphasis supplied). Petitioner confesses that she may have been emotional in the delivery of her piece. Justice Mendoza became the ponente of the Court of Appeals Decision. If in the course of that emotional delivery. January 15. This is basic. she has no choice but to expose the irregularity concerning the Mendoza decision to the media.] It. 2009 is not a "veiled threat[. quickly progressed into a barely concealed resentment for what she perceived as this Court’s failure to exercise "utmost prudence" in rendering "impartial justice" in deciding her case. endeavor to ensure that cases such as mine do not happen again. when push comes to shove. Petitioner recounted: I recently lost my case with the Supreme Court. reversing the findings of the trial court. petitioner felt that the facts of the said cases pale in comparison to the facts of her case where the lawyer of her opponent eventually became justice of the appellate court and ended up reversing the very decision in which he lost. . .] the ability of the court to render "impartial justice. This is evident in her arrogant declaration that: If leaked to the tri-media[. N[o]. in clear violation of her [c]onstitutional [r]ight to fundamental fair play – for no contestant in any litigation can ever serve as a judge without transgression of the due process clause. (Inquirer. and only prays that his Court temper its strike with compassion – as her letter to the Chief Justice was never written with a view of threatening the Court. because correctly or incorrectly[. as the oppositor in the very same land registration proceedings in which he lost. It is null and void because destiny placed Hon.

petitioner has doggedly pursued her case in this Court by filing three successive motions for reconsideration. it must be strictly observed by the parties. The above cited statement does not help petitioner’s cause at all. including the letter-motion subject of this resolution. which led to the rendition of the February 26. Petitioner is found GUILTY of contempt of court. and HEIR OF OSCAR RECIO. as she adamantly insists. then why did she question the validity of the Mendoza decision late in the proceedings. subsequently raising the issue. Cayetano Dante Diaz. G. show that all the pertinent issues raised by petitioner were passed upon and sufficiently addressed by the appellate court and this Court in their respective resolutions. CAPIZ. herein petitioner.R. as well as her lawyer. alongside her thinly veiled threats to leak her case to the media to gain public sympathy – although the tone of petitioner’s compliance with our show-cause resolution was decidedly subdued compared to her earlier letters – constitutes contempt of court. DE RECIO. depending on its evaluation of a case. SO ORDERED. It should not be circumvented by filing motions ill-disguised as requests for clarification. any ground to resuscitate his client’s lost cause. WHEREFORE. who died in 1993. This. It is a directive to the parties to desist from filing any further pleadings or motions.44(Emphasis supplied). Santiago. suffice it to say that the Court is not duty-bound to issue decisions or resolutions signed by the justices all the time. only guarding her constitutional right to due process. payable within ten days from receipt of this resolution. the letter-motion dated January 26. This is evident from a statement in her petition to this Court that: It is this fresh discovery by the undersigned counsel of the nullity of the proceedings of the Court of Appeals that places in doubt the entire proceedings it previously conducted. As to petitioner’s complaint regarding this Court’s denial of her petition through a mere minute resolution (which allegedly deprived her of due process as the Court did not issue a full-blown decision stating the facts and applicable jurisprudence). a FINE of Five Thousand Pesos is hereby imposed on her. a fact that escaped the scrutiny of applicant for registration Flora L. Respondents. 172931 June 18. Garcia. She is hereby WARNED that any repetition hereof shall be dealt with more severely. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. If anything. When a minute resolution (signed by the Clerk of Court upon orders of the Court) denies or dismisses a petition or motion for reconsideration for lack of merit. No. Like all orders of this Court. despite our repeated warnings that "no further pleadings shall be entertained in this case. ROXAS CITY. 1992 Decision.43 we held: A statement of this Court that no further pleadings would be entertained is a declaration that the Court has already considered all issues presented by the parties and that it has adjudicated the case with finality. The motion is DENIED considering that a third motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading and the plea utterly lacks merit. it is understood that the assailed decision or order. and the late Justice Fernando A. HARRIET VILLANUEVA vda. Garcia’s successor-in-interest. The disposition in this case was arrived at after a careful and thorough deliberation of the facts of this case and all the matters pertaining thereto. BRANCH 18." Her unreasonable persistence constitutes utter defiance of this Court’s orders and an abuse of the rules of procedure. Garcia.42 Furthermore. in fact. as long as a legal basis exists. represented by the DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES (DENR). Unimex. Treble costs against petitioner. Accordingly. Atty. Petitioner. only after her motion for reconsideration in the CA (for its subsequent annulment of the compromise agreement) was denied? It is obvious that it was only when her case became hopeless that her present counsel frantically searched for some ground. vs. This. The records of the case. It has ample discretion to formulate ponencias. 2009 of petitioner is NOTED and is hereby treated as a third motion for reconsideration. are deemed sustained. CAPIZ. We are not blind to petitioner’s clever and foxy interplay of threats alternating with false concern for the reputation of this Court. A FEW OBSERVATIONS If petitioner was. extended resolutions or even minute resolutions issued by or upon its authority. 2009 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. TERESITA RECIO. PACIENCIA RECIO. together with all its findings of fact and legal conclusions. who stood as counsel for Flora L. RIZAL RECIO. DECISION . Florencia G. that is. It is well to remind petitioner that the Court has consistently rendered justice with neither fear nor favor. and the REGISTER OF DEEDS. ROXAS CITY. it only proves how desperate the case has become for petitioner and her counsel. In Republic v.The Court now puts an end to petitioner’s irresponsible insinuations and threats of "going public" with this case.

on May 25. 2005. Paquita Ducit and Arturo Borleo filed a protest before the DENR. 20-A. The decision states: After going over the evidence offered by both parties. 2002. married to Nestor Donado and a resident of Dayao.16 In a Report and Recommendation17 dated December 13. his mother. and pursuant thereto. 12 In their Answer to the Petition for Annulment of Judgment. Branch 15. 8 Jomento recommended that an action be instituted in the proper court for the cancellation of OCT No. hence it cannot be the subject of private appropriation. 2003. established on January 17. 900 of the Pilar Cadastre. the incident was assigned by raffle to another judge in the RTC of Roxas City. Elizabeth Barrosa. 13 the Recios argued that the RTC of Roxas City. accordingly. in their names. 1977 filed by Rizal Recio for himself and in behalf of his brother Oscar Recio and sisters Teresita Recio and Paciencia Recio. his mother Harriet Villanueva Vda. 1984. with residence in Loctugan Hills. 72691. Jomento rendered a written report 7 that Lot No. They pointed out that said approved plan clearly showed that Lot No. N-785 granting the Application for Registration of Title4 dated June 20. 1984. filed a petition for annulment of judgment before the Court of Appeals seeking to annul the Decision dated September 14. N-785 was rendered. Harriet Villanueva Vda. Branch 18. The Court of Appeals had dismissed RP’s petition for annulment of judgment 2 of the Decision3 dated September 14. Lorna L. 3132. 50963 situated in Marita. 1avvphi1 Subsequently. has been declared final and executory. Hence. Municipality of Pilar. Filipino. Azarraga. married to Pio Acelentaba and a resident of Panay. On September 9. Paciencia L. 1985. N-785 and despite its knowledge of their duly approved Plan LRC-SWO-14402 for Lot No. since the Executive Judge presides in the same branch where the decision in LRC No. Island of Panay.189-square meter piece of land. 1960 as per BFD Map LC-2401. filed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines (RP). . 2006 of the Court of Appeals. and a decree may issue after this decision shall have become final. 1984 on the ground that the RTC had no jurisdiction to adjudicate title over the subject parcel of land which forms part of the public forest. Teresita L. Filipino. 4-1777. 50963 located at Marita. 0-2107. 900 was not within LC Project No. Jomento. Recio. Province of Capiz. Recio. a widow and a resident of Roxas City. On January 19. the Court finds it proper to dismiss the petition. seeks to annul and set aside the Decision 1 dated May 25.QUISUMBING. described in the technical description (Exhibit "E") and the approved plan AP-06-000028 (Exhibit "X") in the names of the applicants Rizal Recio. Capiz. of legal age. its decision is null and void. the OSG cited Section 1410 of Presidential Decree No. Noel Gallardo. Lot No. said RTC rendered a decision in Land Registration Case (LRC) No. N-785 is already a closed case and res judicata has set in. Celso Bullos. The undisputed facts are as follows: On September 14. represented by the DENR. who is of legal age. Lañada. LRC No. a number of occupants of Lot No. de Recio. namely Joselito Alba. 0-2107 on the ground that the land covered therein is within forest lands or timberlands. per Land Classification (LC) Map No. Roxas City. in CAG. judgment is hereby rendered ordering the confirmation and registration of title to land. 20 which was duly certified as alienable and disposable on September 28. 152911 which allows the court to adjudicate only alienable and disposable lands of the public domain in favor of those who have successfully acquired title to said lands by acquisitive prescription. J. DENR. Teodosia Alba. Cebu City. through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). Recio. 900. 9 In the petition. Acting on the protest. Pilar. of legal age. and OCT No. 18th Division.14 On September 24. Recio. Paciencia L. Filipino. Recio. 0-2107 6covering the 11. Teresita L. and the only heir of Oscar L. 1985. They contended that petitioner hastily and negligently filed the petition without first examining the records of LRC No. Iloilo City conducted an ocular inspection and investigation on the status of Lot No. de Recio. LRC Cadastral Record No. 900 of Pilar Cadastre. 1984 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Roxas City. 900. the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution 15 directing the Executive Judge of the RTC in Roxas City to conduct a pretrial conference and reception of evidence. 1986 under Forestry Administrative Order No. 0-2107 has been issued on April 17. In 1997. recommended that the petition for annulment of judgment be dismissed. 900 falls within the forest lands of Project No. RTC of Roxas City. Virginia Bengora. LRC Cadastral Record No. of legal age. Special Investigator II of the Lands Management Department (LMD). which ordered the confirmation and registration of title to Lot No. SO ORDERED. Region VI. Capiz in the names of the applicants and private respondents herein Rizal Recio. 900 of the Pilar Cadastre. Roxas City against the issuance of OCT No. Branch 18 has jurisdiction over the case. Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. The OSG argued that the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction when it adjudicated the subject land which is forest land and.R. was issued in the Recios’ names on April 17. Recio. They also argued that the Decision dated September 14. 20-A. 2006. 1998. RP. Judge Juliana C. However. married to Alita B.5 The abovementioned decision became final. the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for lack of sufficient evidence.: This petition for review on certiorari. Roxas City. SP No. and to the only heir of Oscar L. The RTC decreed: WHEREFORE. but LC Project No.

DENR. The land. the issues raised are: (1) Did the RTC act without jurisdiction in allowing the registration of the subject land? And (2) Did petitioner fail to discharge the burden of establishing the inalienable character of the land? Petitioner. 4-1777 per Land Classification (LC) Map No. 4-1777 per Land Classification Map No. destroyed or cannot be produced in court. 3132 is no longer necessary because the determination of the nature and character of public land in a land investigation conducted by government authorities on land classification is binding on the courts. 1986.18 Hence. as long as the original evidence can be had. the photocopy must be disregarded. petitioner should have presented such land classification map indicating that Lot 900 lies therein and not in Block LC No. SO ORDERED. The OSG reiterates that under Section 14 of P. 22 Petitioner also argues that the claim of private respondents that the present appeal is barred by res judicata is incorrect since the present petition ultimately seeks the nullification of the decision of the RTC of Roxas City. in the absence of any evidence showing that said special investigators were biased in favor of one party. 4-1777 per Land Classification Map No. Absent a clear showing that the original writing has been lost. 20 of Pilar. Department of Natural Resources. and its decision confirming title to the subject land in favor of private respondents is null and void and should have been annulled by the Court of Appeals. 24 It further argues that Special Investigators Lorna L. 3132. the written report of Lorna Jomento (Exhibit A). 1529. under Forestry Administrative Order No. 20 of Pilar Cadastre per BFD Map LC-4201 as stated in the Certification dated November 8. Petitioner raises the following issues for our resolution: WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR THE ANNULMENT OF JUDGMENT OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. 23 The OSG also argues that it had discharged the burden of establishing the inalienable character of the subject parcel of land by the quantum of evidence required. In Philippine Banking Corporation vs. 1983. B.D. The actual presentation of LC Map No. BRANCH 18. Branch 18 exceeded its jurisdiction. The evidence offered by the petitioner that Lot 900 falls within forest lands consists only of the testimonies of its two witnesses. the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. 1976 of the then Bureau of Forest Development. IN ROXAS CITY BECAUSE: A. 1976 of the then Bureau of Forest Development. indeed. 21 In this case. contends in its Memorandum 20 that it is a well-entrenched rule that the classification of public lands is an exclusive prerogative of the executive department of the government and not of the courts. If. being unworthy of any probative value and being an inadmissible evidence. through the OSG. 1986 under Forestry Administrative Order No. it was ascertained in the investigation conducted by Special Investigator Jomento that the land in question falls within the forest land reserved for fishpond purposes created under Project No. 25 . the Supreme Court held: "The Best Evidence Rule provides that the court shall not receive any evidence that is merely substitutionary in its nature." The testimonies of petitioner’s two witnesses and the written report of Lorna Jomento. In adjudicating forest land in favor of the private respondents. for failure of the petitioner to adduce sufficient evidence to prove its allegation that Lot 900 falls within the forest lands the petition has to be dismissed. a Special Investigator. 3132 do not overcome the Certification (Exhibit 1-D for private respondents) dated November 8. the RTC of Roxas City. WHEREFORE. premises considered. Lot 900 falls within the forest lands reserved for fishpond purposes created under Project 20-A dated January 17. No. allowing the registration of inalienable land in their favor. SAID RTC JUDGMENT WAS ISSUED WITHOUT JURISDICTION AS IT ALLOWED THE REGISTRATION OF INALIENABLE LAND IN FAVOR OF PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS. Jomento and Eugenio B. Region VI. in Iloilo City when they conducted an investigation on the land in question. Department of Natural Resources (now DENR. and the ordinary photocopy of the sketch plan of Lot 900 (Exhibit E) and the verification (Exhibit E-1) appearing on it.Petitioner failed to sufficiently prove its allegation that Lot 900 forms part of the forest lands of the public domain. Capiz certified as such on September 28. PETITIONER HAD … DISCHARGE[D] THE BURDEN OF ESTABLISHING THE INALIENABLE AND INDISPOSABLE CHARACTER OF SUBJECT PARCEL OF LAND BY THE QUANTUM OF EVIDENCE REQUIRED BY LAW. The mere photocopy of the sketch plan of Lot 900 (Exhibit E) as well as the verification (Exhibit E-1) appearing thereon is without probative value and inadmissible in evidence pursuant to the best evidence rule. stating that based on the records Lot 900 falls within the forest lands reserved for fishpond created under Project 20-A dated January 17. 1960 per BFD Map LC-2401. is inalienable and indisposable and can never be subject to appropriation. Thus. hence. the court is allowed to adjudicate only "alienable and disposable lands of the public domain" in favor of those who have successfully acquired title thereto by acquisitive prescription.19 Simply stated. their testimonies and the investigation report should be accorded the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duties as public officers. Court of Appeals. 20-A dated January 17. such as photocopies. Branch 18. therefore. the representative of herein petitioner) certifying that Lot 900 falls within the alienable and disposable land Block LC Project No. this petition. Bernas were merely performing their official duties as special land investigators of the LMD. 1986 under Forestry Administrative Order No. 3123 dated August 25.

we agree with the Court of Appeals that petitioner failed to discharge the burden of establishing the inalienable character of the land. when adopted and confirmed by the Court of Appeals. the RTC had jurisdiction to adjudicate title to the land. SP No. Capiz certified as such on September 28. or by resisting such judgment in any action or proceeding wherein it is invoked. we disagree with petitioner that the subject land is inalienable. The Decision dated May 25.28 If indeed the subject land is forest land. G. The jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought before it from the Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing or revising errors of law. The Recios presented a Certification31 dated November 8.Private respondents. the burden of proving the judgment’s nullity rests upon the petitioner. WHEREFORE. established on January 17. Verily. 1984 had become final. 2006 of the Court of Appeals. 33 The Court of Appeals ruled that petitioner failed to sufficiently prove its allegation that Lot No. 1989 THE DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY. petitioner vs. 1976 of the then Bureau of Forest Development. and possession thereof. 900 falls within forest lands. As to the second issue. and is already a closed case that could no longer be revived in subsequent unnecessary litigations.R. The petitioner has to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the judgment being challenged is fatally defective. 34 Our jurisdiction is in principle limited to reviewing errors of law that might have been committed by the Court of Appeals. Eighteenth Division. however. an action for reversion filed by the State to recover property registered in favor of any party which is part of the public forest or of a forest reservation never prescribes. 900 forms part of the forest lands of the public domain since its evidence consists only of the testimonies of two witnesses. 35 Finding no reason to deviate from the ruling of the Court of Appeals that petitioner failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove its allegation that Lot No. No pronouncement as to costs. the applicants and the whole world. Hence. for their part maintain that the Decision dated September 14. a written report of Jomento. Verily. The ruling of the Court of Appeals. by means of a petition filed in the same case or by means of a separate action. the land was not inalienable forest land but was alienable land. in CA-G. 3132. 900. 1986 under Forestry Administrative Order No.30 Under the facts and circumstances of this case. the petition is DENIED. Factual findings of courts. In contrast. 4-1777 per LC Map No. non-disposable public lands registered under the Land Registration Act may be recovered by the State at any time and the defense of res judicata would not apply as courts have no jurisdiction to dispose of such lands of the public domain. N-785 has therefore become the law between RP.189 square meters and described as Lot No. 1960 per BFD Map LC-2401. respondent. inalienable. 20 of Pilar. L-32266 February 27. then the decision of the RTC is void. are final and conclusive on this Court unless these findings are not supported by the evidence on record. The decision in LRC No. the Land Registration Commission had issued a final decree of registration after one year and OCT No. however long. 2007. 27 As to the first issue. and a photocopy of the sketch plan of Lot No. In an action to annul a judgment. 1985. is upheld by this Court. 29 Moreover. The findings of facts of the latter are conclusive for it is not the function of this Court to analyze and weigh such evidence all over again. lawphil At the time of application for registration of the subject land by the Recios in 1977. It ruled that a mere photocopy is without probative value and inadmissible in evidence and petitioner should have presented a land classification map indicating where Lot No. RUPERTO A. petitioner presented Jomento’s report which stated that Lot No. based on the abovementioned findings of fact. the land was classified as alienable public land. did the RTC act without jurisdiction in allowing the registration of inalienable land? Petitioner contends that the RTC acted without jurisdiction in allowing the registration of the subject land because the land is forest land and thus. VILLAREAL. 900 falls within forest lands for fishpond development of Project 20-A. cannot convert them into private property. Cebu City. . we affirm such ruling. in their Memorandum 26 dated June 14. No. 900. 72691 is AFFIRMED. 32 It is clear that at the time the Recios filed their application for registration of title in 1977 and at the time the RTC rendered its decision in 1984.R. jurisprudence is replete with cases which iterate that forest lands or forest reserves are not capable of private appropriation. 0-2017 was issued by the Register of Deeds of Capiz in their names on May 14. Pilar Cadastre is found to be within the alienable and disposable land block of LC Project No. 1976 from the then Bureau of Forest Development certifying that the subject land containing an area of 11. A void judgment may be assailed or impugned at any time either directly or collaterally. 900 lies to refute the Certification dated November 8.

but with substantial modifications. the abrogation of which would destroy vested interests and prove a public disaster. as they are commonly known. The bone of contention between the parties is the legal nature of mangrove swamps or manglares. Mineral and timber or forest lands were not subject to private ownership unless they were first reclassified as agricultural lands and so released for alienation. 5 Their disposition was provided for under C.A. that mangrove swamps form part of the public forests of this country. and they may be disposed of without impairment of the public interest in what remains. they may be acquired under private ownership. mineral and timber or forest lands. Asperilla. promulgated in 1935. 4 Under the Commonwealth Constitution. 1 The decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. including the petitioner on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines. the application was approved by the Court of First Instance. alternately washed and exposed by the tide. By this law. but which are also. These constitute the mangrove flats of the tropics.The Solicitor General for petitioner. mangrove swamps or manglares were defined by the Court as: . which exist naturally. Capiz. xxx Under this uncertain and somewhat unsatisfactory condition of the law.: The basic question before the Court is the legal classification of mangrove swamps. Valmonte.. mud flats.. the Philippine Legislature categorically declared. The issue before us is legal. Ancheta. For a proper background of this case. in which grows various kindred plants which will not live except when watered by the sea. In the leading case of Montano v. alleging that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the land for more than forty years.113 square meters of mangrove swamps located in the municipality of Sapian. 2 It should be stressed at the outset that both the petitioner and the private respondent agree that the land is mangrove land. CRUZ. one of the earlier American organic acts in the country. Subsequently. No. The petitioner claims. which became effective on October 1 of that year. and grazing lands and even permitted the legislature to provide for other categories. thus: . the custom had grown of converting manglares and nipa lands into fisheries which became a common feature of settlement along the coast and at the same time of the change of sovereignty constituted one of the most productive industries of the Islands. despite the above-cited case. The waters flowing over them are not available for purpose of navigation. Ruperto Villareal applied for its registration on January 25. Insular Government. agricultural. it is forestal and therefore not disposable and the private respondent insists it is alienable as agricultural land. The said land consists of 178. or manglares. There is no dispute as to this. Quasha. 1949. extending their roots deep into the mud and casting their seeds. 3 This provision has been reproduced. Although these flats are literally tidal lands. 141. If they are considered public agricultural lands. in the present Constitution. which was the charter in force when this case arose. He was opposed by several persons. yet we are of the opinion that they cannot be so regarded in the sense in which that term is used in the cases cited or in general American jurisprudence. J. The private respondent's claim to the land in question must be judged by these criteria. to some extent cultivated by man for the sake of the combustible wood of the mangrove and like trees as well as for the useful nipa palm propagated thereon. resettlement. That new charter expanded the classification of public lands to include industrial or commercial. not factual. only agricultural lands were allowed to be alienated. Pena & Marcos for respondents. of Capiz. 6 promulgated in 1909. This it did in the Administrative Code of 1917. they are not alienable under the Constitution. The Director of Forestry then came to this Court in a petition for review on certiorari claiming that the land in dispute was forestal in nature and not subject to private appropriation. which also germinate there. This classification was maintained in the Constitution of the Commonwealth. He asks that the registration be reversed. After trial. residential. Mangrove swamps were thus considered agricultural lands and so susceptible of private ownership. lands of the public domain in the Philippine Islands were classified into three grand divisions. to wit. If they are part of our public forest lands. we have to go back to the Philippine Bill of 1902. until it was superseded by the Constitution of 1973.

We think there is an error in this translation and that a better translation would be 'terrenos madereros. de Centenera v. Words and phrase defined.. this Court said that the phrase agricultural lands as used in Act No. Such lands are not forest in character. 175). Director of Forestry: 7 . promulgated on March 4. citing Krivenko v.For the purpose of this chapter 'public forest' includes. xxx xxx xxx The fact that there are a few trees growing in a manglare or nipa swamps does not change the general character of the land from manglare to timber land. and all public lands that are not timber or mineral lands are necessarily agricultural public lands. fisheries or ordinary farm lands. including nipa and mangrove swamps. Only last year. De Porkan. shrubs or aquatic plants growing on it cannot be called 'timber land. manglares. the trial court should have considered them agricultural lands. and all forest reserves of whatever character. More to the point. the Court maintained the doctrine in the Montano case when two years later it held in the case of Jocson v. the Court ruled "that the Bureau of Fisheries has no jurisdiction to dispose of swamp lands or mangrove lands forming part of the public domain while such lands are still classified as forest lands. 1933.Section 1820. These lands being neither timber nor mineral lands. reiterated the ruling in the Mapa case that "all public lands that are not timber or mineral lands are necessarily agricultural public lands. They do not form part of the public domain.. . all unreserved public land. 9 with Justice Fernando declaring that the mangrove lands in litis were agricultural in nature.' Lumber land in English means land with trees growing on it. mineral or agricultural lands. Rep. 12 . where the trees are small and sparse. that notwithstanding this definition. in Republic v. Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources.. but we think this opposition of the Director of Forestry is untenable. If they are agricultural lands. classifies the public lands in the Philippine Islands as timber. the Court declared: 'In the case of Mapa vs. No elaboration was made on this conclusion which was merely based on the cases of Montano and Jocson. The mangler plant would never be called a tree in English but a bush. there is also a line of decisions holding the contrary view. 8 The opposition rests mainly upon the proposition that the land covered by the application there are mangrove lands as shown in his opponent's Exh. promulgated in 1983. Mangrove swamps where only trees of mangrove species grow. whether they are used as nipa swamps. fisheries or ordinary farm lands. manglares. though. Whatever may have been the meaning of the term 'forestry' under the Spanish law. Insular Government (10 Phil.. Obias.the words timber land are always translated in the Spanish translation of that Act (Act of Congress) as terrenos forestales. The decision even quoted with approval the statement of the trial court that: . 10 11 But the problem is not all that simple. It is noteworthy. the Act of Congress of July 1st 1902. 926. 926 means those public lands acquired from Spain which are not timber or mineral lands. The definition of forestry as including manglares found in the Administrative Code of 1917 cannot affect rights which vested prior to its enactment. and land which has only bushes. In Yngson v. the above ruling was reaffirmed in Tongson v. then the rights of appellants are fully established by Act No. addressing itself directly to above-quoted Section 1820. Director of Forestry. the Court. Register of Deeds. more than fifteen years after the effectivity of the Administrative Code of 1917. And in 1977. fit only for firewood purposes and the trees growing are not of commercial value as lumber do not convert the land into public land. Justice Ostrand declared for a unanimous Court: The doctrine was reiterated still later in Garchitorena Vda. As it happens. except as otherwise specially indicated. whether they are used as nipa swamps. inasmuch as it has been definitely decided that mangrove lands are not forest lands in the sense in which this phrase is used in the Act of Congress.. 1.

assuming they are valid. again through Justice Gutierrez: The Heirs of Jose Amunategui maintain that Lot No. it is claimed that they are not being correctly observed by the executive. which he described as "swamp mangrove or forestal land. The legislature having made such implementation. nipa palms. The determination of this question is a function initially belonging to the legislature.' where this Court agreed with the Solicitor General's submission that the land in dispute. shall from time to time classify the lands of the public domain into: (a) Alienable or disposable. in Heirs of Amunategui v. 141.A. 'Forested lands' do not have to be on mountains or in out-of-the-way places. Swampy areas covered by mangrove trees. 6. the executive officials may then. upon recommendation by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This case was decided only twelve days after the De Porkan case. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. in the discharge of their own role. which has the authority to implement the constitutional provision classifying the lands of the public domain (and is now even permitted to provide for more categories of public lands). the petitioners argue that no big trees classified in Section 1821 of the said Code as first. even if it is a mangrove swamp. according to the use or purposes to which such lands are destined. 14 Faced with these apparent contradictions. is still subject to land registration proceedings because the property had been in actual possession of private persons for many years. With particular regard to alienable public lands. and therefore. In C. A forested area classified as forest land of the public domain does not lose such classification simply because loggers or settlers may have stripped it of its forest cover. Sec. the lands of the public domain alienable or open to disposition shall be classified. For the purposes of the administration and disposition of alienable or disposable lands. and (c) Mineral lands. For their part. the National Assembly delegated to the President of the Philippines the function of making periodic classifications of public lands.Four months later. coordinating with each other. and other trees growing in brackish or sea water may also be classified as forest land.' Although conceding that 'mangrove swamp' is included in the classification of forest land in accordance with Section 1820 of the Revised Administrative Code. Intermediate Appellate Court. they contend that Lot 885. thus: Sec. the rules on confirmation of imperfect titles do not apply. said land was already 'private land' better adapted and more valuable for agricultural than for forest purposes and not required by the public interests to be kept under forest classification. as follows: . for the purposes of their administration and disposition. Director of Forestry. Section 9 of the same law provides: For the purpose of their administration and disposition. the Court feels there is a need for a categorical pronouncement that should resolve once and for all the question of whether mangrove swamps are agricultural lands or forest lands. administer our public lands pursuant to their constitutional duty " to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed' and in accordance with the policy prescribed. No. Thus do the three departments. The President. Unless and until the land classsified as 'forest' is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that it may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain. pursue and achieve the objectives of the Constitution in the conservation and utilization of our natural resources. second and third groups are found on the land in question. shall from time to time declare what lands are open to disposition or concession under this Act. upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 13 the Court was more positive when it held. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. Furthermore. 7. (b) Lumber. and may at any time and in a like manner transfer such lands from one class to another. the courts will step into the picture if the rules laid down by the legislature are challenged or. 885 cannot be classified as forest land because it is not thickly forested but is a 'mangrove swamps." were not private properties and so not registerable. The petition is without merit. The view was maintained in Vallarta v. the President.

as forest land. it must be considered forest land. into agricultural land. and may. but shall remain as such for forest uses.(a) Agricultural. the President of the Philippines may set apart forest reserves from the public lands and he shall by proclamation declare the establishment of such reserves and the boundaries thereof. Our previous description of the term in question as pertaining to our agricultural lands should be understood as covering only those lands over which ownership had already vested before the Administrative Code of 1917 became effective.Lands in public forest. in the exercise of our own discretion. The President of the Philippines may in like manner by proclamation alter or modify the boundaries of any forest reserve from time to time. or otherwise disposed of. . we reach the following conclusion: Mangrove swamps or manglares should be understood as comprised within the public forests of the Philippines as defined in the aforecited Section 1820 of the Administrative Code of 1917. charitable. And so we shall. and for which a minor forest license had in fact been issued by the Bureau of Forestry from 1920 to 1950. no less noteworthy. it is the Director of Forestry who has the authority to determine whether forest land is more valuable for agricultural rather than forestry uses. So we ruled again only two months ago in Republic of the Philippines vs. 1826. . shall from time to time make the classifications provided for in this section. however. or revoke any such proclamation. Sec. The President. to justify our judicial intervention and scrutiny. before it was much later classified as timberland. With these principles in mind. and in effect veto it. industrial. To be so. It could therefore not be the subject of the adverse possession and consequent ownership claimed by the private respondent in support of his application for registration. that the mere existence of such a plan would not have the effect of converting the mangrove swamps. (b) Residential.Upon there commendation of the Director of Forestry. upon the certification of the Director of Forestry that said lands are better adapted and more valuable for agricultural than for forest purposes and not required by the public interests to be kept under forest. 1827. As for timber or forest lands. to prove that the land is registerable. with the approval of the Department Head. upon recommendation by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. That determination having been made and no cogent argument having been raised to annul it. the Revised Administrative Code states as follows: Sec. Such lands could not be retroactively legislated as forest lands because this would be violative of a duly acquired property right protected by the due process clause. we have no authority to ignore or modify its decision. or other similar purposes. Regulation setting apart forest reserves. or for similar productive purposes. as a basis for its declaration as agricultural land and release for private ownership. and thereafter such forest reserves shall not be entered. (c) Educational. we have no duty as judges but to apply it. The law is thus presumed valid and so must be respected. it had first to be released as forest land and reclassified as agricultural land pursuant to the certification the Director of Forestry may issue under Section 1827 of the Revised Administrative Code. The private respondent invokes the survey plan of the mangrove swamps approved by the Director of Lands. It follows from all this that the land under contention being admittedly a part of the mangrove swamps of Sapian. The Director of Lands was not authorized to act in the premises. at any time and in a similar manner. Under the aforecited law. Assignment of forest land for agricultural purposes. transfer lands from one class to another. sold. More importantly. and (d) Reservations for townsites and for public and quasi-public uses. 15 where the possession of the land in dispute commenced as early as 1909. commercial. not including forest reserves. shall be declared by the Department Head to be agricultural lands. the said provision has not been challenged as arbitrary or unrealistic or unconstitutional assuming the requisite conditions. and shall be administered in the same manner as public forest.Revocation of same. It should be plain. and upon such revocation such forest reserve shall be and become part of the public lands as though such proclamation had never been made. Such approval is ineffectual because it is clearly in officious. The statutory definition remains unchanged to date and. We repeat our statement in the Amunategui case that the classification of mangrove swamps as forest lands is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like. is accepted and invoked by the executive department. The legislature having so determined. Thus we held in the Yngson case: 16 . Court of Appeals.

they are not alienable under the Constitution and may not be the subject of private ownership until and unless they are first released as forest land and classified as alienable agricultural land. not sufficient to prove possession and much less vest ownership in favor of the declarant. Labiaga for private respondent. . It is not registerable. The record contains no convincing evidence of the existence of the informacion posesoria allegedly obtained by the original transferor of the property. 17 These matters are not presumed but must be established with definite proof. Accordingly... sales patents. No. Gutierrez. Padilla.R. INC. Jr. the proof the private respondent offers of prescriptive possession thereof is remarkably meager and of dubious persuasiveness. grant.It is elementary in the law governing the disposition of lands of the public domain that until timber or forest lands are released as disposable and alienable neither the Bureau of Lands nor the Bureau of Fisheries has authority to lease. Jalandoni for petitioner. SO ORDERED. the petition must be granted. concur. Medialdea and Regalado. The same rule was echoed in the Vallarta case. let alone the fact that the conditions for acquiring title thereunder have been satisfied. that the private respondent has not established his right to the registration of the subject land in his name. Cortes. 88883 January 18. As such. respondents. mangrove swamps or manglares form part of the public forests of the Philippines. Bidin. The adverse possession which can be the basis of a grant of title in confirmation of imperfect title cases cannot commence until after the forest land has been declared alienable and disposable. as we have held in countless cases. WHEREFORE. the tax declarations made by the private respondent were practically the only basis used by the appellate court in sustaining his claim of possession over the land in question. The Bureau of Fisheries has no jurisdiction to administer and dispose of swamp lands or mangrove lands forming part of the public domain while such lands are still classified as forest land or timber land and not released for fishery or other purposes. 18 We hold. Nowhere has it been shown that the informacion posesoria has been inscribed or registered in the registry of property and that the land has been under the actual and adverse possession of the private respondent for twenty years as required by the Spanish Mortgage Law.. G. no matter bow long cannot convert it into private property. took no part. Melencio-Herrera. in sum. which is lacking in this case. of course.' We find in fact that even if the land in dispute were agricultural in nature. Feliciano. Tax declarations are. Fernan. Sarmiento. Paras. COURT OF APPEALS. Gancayco. This decision is immediately executory. It is reiterated for emphasis that. leases for grazing or other purposes. C. Joy B. Mario C. Narvasa. and LIWAN CONSI. the decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and the application for registration of title of private respondent is DISMISSED. JJ. with cost against him.. Possession of forest land. conformably to the legislative definition embodied in Section 1820 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917.J. sell or otherwise dispose of these lands for homesteads. fishpond leases and other modes of utilization. 1991 ATOK-BIG WEDGE MINING COMPANY. which remains unamended up to now.V. Griño-Aquino. petitioner. thus: It is elementary in the law governing natural resources that forest land cannot be owned by private persons. Significantly. vs.

Annex "B". Since then petitioner Atok has been in continuous and exclusive ownership and possession of said claim up to the present (Rollo. 21). p. was located sometime between December 25. Hon. 1930 and December 31. Reynolds in accordance with the provisions of the Act of Congress of July 1. Petitioner ATOK appealed the decision to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Baguio and Benguet. When he first constructed his house below the lot of Mr. after due hearing. Judge Ruben C. p. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. 1902. and (b) the resolution denying the motion for reconsideration. Feliciano Reyes instructed the cashier to go and take pictures of the construction. was sold by A. Petition. 9535 and that in view of Presidential Decree No. 20). 1931. better known as the Philippine Bill of 1902.:p This is a petition for review on certiorari which seeks to annul and set aside. Atok filed a complaint for forcible entry and detainer against Liwan Consi (Rollo.. herein petitioner) in a Deed of Sale executed on November 2. 13528 entitled "Liwan Consi vs.R. The Fredia mineral claim together with other mineral claims owned by Atok has been declared under Tax Declaration No. Inc. 9462. p. On March 1. SP No. Security Officer of Atok. Benguet. Branch VI. the earlier corporate name of Atok Big Wedge Mining Company. 1987. Private respondent Consi has been paying taxes on said land which his father before him had occupied (Rollo. by A. On January 1984. (a) the decision * of the Court of Appeals dated March 13.Ibid. et al. 1930. the dispositive portion of which reads: . together with other mineral claims. that a construction was being undertaken at the area of the Fredia mineral claim by private respondent Liwan Consi. (Rollo. Acay he was told that it was not necessary for him to obtain a building permit as it was only a nipa hut. 32). On January 29. On December 5. Itogon. No. Annex "C". a period of six (6) days. this case against Liwan Consi is hereby ordered dismissed. Itogon. p. in a so-called Declaration of Location. Ibid. J. the Municipal Trial Court of Itogon. It was only in January 1984 when private respondent Consi repaired the said house that people came to take pictures and told him that the lot belongs to Atok. 22). Feliciano Reyes himself and other security guards went to the place of the construction to verify and then to the police to report the matter (Rollo. Ibid. Reynolds to Big Wedge Mining Company." declaring that both the petitioner and private respondent hold possessory titles to the land in question. 3). p. The lot is covered by Tax Declaration No. 22). 1987.I. And no one prohibited him from entering the land so he was constructing a house thereon. Annex "A".). Atok has paid the realty taxes and occupation fees for the Fredia mineral claim. Benguet. 1984.PARAS. Acay at Tuding Slide. presided over by Judge Irving rendered a decision. Ayson. (Atok for short. 1214 an application for lease was filed by Atok covering the Fredia mineral claim (Rollo. private respondent Liwan Consi has a lot below the land of a certain Mr. The said Declaration of Location of mineral claim was duly recorded in the Office of the Mining Recorder sometime on January 2. 1931. 1989 in CA-G. the RTC rendered its decision. presided over by Judge Ruben Ayson (Rollo. the security guards of Atok informed Feliciano Reyes. Fredia mineral claim.. p.I. He constructed a house thereon sometime in 1964. On the other hand. The facts of the case are as follows: Fredia Mineral claim of about nine (9) hectares situated in Tuding.

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing the decision of the Municipal Trial Court of
Itogon dated January 29, 1987 appealed from is hereby reversed and set aside and
a new one entered in its place ordering the defendant Liwan Consi and all those
claiming under him to vacate the premises of the Fredia Mineral claim at Tuding,
Itogon, Benguet immediately, and to restore possession thereof to the plaintiff Atok
Big Wedge Mining Company.
The defendant, Liwan Consi, is further ordered to remove and demolish his house
constructed in the premises of the land of Fredia mineral claim at Tuding, Benguet,
and to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 30).
From said decision, Liwan Consi filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for review (Rollo, Petition,
p. 4). On March 13, 1989, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which
reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the subject forcible entry
action. Costs against private respondent.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, Annex "C" p. 48).
The Court of Appeals further ruled in part to wit:
The determination of whether the subject lot is mineral land or agricultural awaits the
decision of the Secretary of Natural Resources in a proceeding called for that
purpose. Thus, there is a chance that the subject property may be classified as
alienable agricultural land. At any rate, the mining company may not so readily
describe Liwan Consi as a "squatter" he also has possessory rights over the
property. Such rights may mature into ownership on the basis of long-term
possession under the Public Land Law,
Thus it is Our holding, that both Consi and ATOK are of equal legal footing with
regards the subject lot. Both hold possessory titles to the land in question — the
petitioner through his long term occupancy of the same; the respondent mining firm
by virtue of its being the claim locator and applicant for a lease on the mineral claim
within which the subject lot is found. But it was established that the petitioner has
been in actual and beneficial possession of the subject lot since before the Second
World War in the concept of owner and in good faith. (Rollo, Annex "C", pp. 47-48).
On June 16, 1989, the Court of Appeals denied the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner
ATOK (Rollo, Annex "D", p. 50).
Hence, the petition.
The main issue in this case is whether or not an individual's long term occupation of land of the
public domain vests him with such rights over the same as to defeat the rights of the owner of that
claim.
The petition is impressed with merit.

It is of no importance whether Benguet and Atok had secured a patent for as held in the Gold Creek
Mining Corporation case, for all physical purposes of ownership, the owner is not required to secure
a patent as long as he complies with the provisions of the mining laws; his possessory right, for all
practical purposes of ownership, is as good as though secured by patent (Republic v. Court of
Appeals, 160 SCRA 228 [1988]).
In the case at bar, the evidence on record pointed that the petitioner Atok has faithfully complied with
all the requirements of the law regarding the maintenance of the said Fredia Mineral Claim.
The perfection of the mining claim converted the property to mineral land and under the laws then in
force removed it from the public domain. By such act, the locators acquired exclusive rights over the
land, against even the government, without need of any further act such as the purchase of the land
or the obtention of a patent over it. As the land had become the private property of the locators, they
had the right to transfer the same, as they did, to Benguet and Atok (Ibid.).
As in the instant petition, the record shows that the lot in question was acquired through a Deed of
Sale executed between Atok and Fredia Mineral Claim.
The legal effect of a valid location of a mining claim is not only to segregate the area
from the public domain, but to grant to the locator the beneficial ownership of the
claim and the right to a patent therefor upon compliance with the terms and
conditions prescribed by law. Where there is a valid location of mining claim, the area
becomes segregated from the public and the property of the locator. When a location
of a mining claim is perfected it has the effect of a grant by the United States of the
right of present and exclusive possession, with the right to the exclusive enjoyment of
all the surface ground as well as of all the minerals within the lines of the claim,
except as limited by the extralateral right of adjoining locators; and this is the
locator's right before as well as after the issuance of the patent. While a lode locator
acquires a vested right by virtue of his location made in compliance with the mining
laws, the fee remains in the government until patent issues. (St. Louis Mining &
Mineral Co. v. Montana Mining Co., 171 U.S. 605, 655; 43 Law ed., 320, 322)
It is, therefore, evident that Benguet and Atok have exclusive rights to the property in question by
virtue of their respective mining claims which they validly acquired before the Constitution of 1935
prohibited the alienation of all lands of the public domain except agricultural lands, subject to vested
rights existing at the time of its adoption. The land was not and could not have been transferred to
the private respondents by virtue of acquisitive prescription, nor could its use be shared
simultaneously by them and the mining companies for agricultural and mineral purposes (Ibid).
On the matter of possession, private respondent contends that his predecessor-in-interest has been
in possession of said lot even before the war and has in fact cultivated the same.
In the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals, 160 SCRA 288 1988, this Court held:
. . . even if it be assumed that the predecessor-in-interest of the de la Rosas had
already been in possession of the subject property, their possession was not in the
concept of owner of the mining claim but of the property as agricultural land, which it
was not. The property was mineral land, and they are claiming it as agricultural land.
They were not disputing the rights of the mining locators nor where they seeking to
oust them as such and to replace them in the mining of the land. . . .

Since the subject lot is mineral land, private respondent's possession of the subject lot no matter
how long did not confer upon him possessory rights over the same.
Furthermore, Article 538 of the New Civil Code provides:
Art. 538. Possession as a fact cannot be recognized at the same time in two different
personalities except in the cases of co-possession. Should a question arise
regarding the fact of possession, the present possessor shall be preferred; if there
are two possessors, the one longer in possession; if the dates of the possession are
the same, the one who presents a title; and if all these conditions are equal, the thing
shall be placed in judicial deposit pending determination of its possession or
ownership through proper proceedings.
Since 1931 up to the present, petitioner ATOK has been in continuous and exclusive possession of
the Frediamineral claim while private respondent's possession started only sometime in 1964 when
he constructed a house thereon. Clearly, ATOK has superior possessory rights than private
respondent, Liwan Consi, the former being "the one longer in possession."
It is therefore clear that from the legal viewpoint it was really petitioner who was in actual physical
possession of the property. Having been deprived of this possession by the private respondent,
petitioner has every right to sue for ejFectment.
With this ruling enunciated by the Court, it can further be declared and held that petitioner Atok has
the exclusive right to the property in question.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition is GRANTED and the questioned decision of the Court of
Appeals dated March 13, 1989 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Baguio and Benguet dated June 16, 1989 is REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Padilla and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Sarmiento, J., took no part
Footnotes
* Penned by Justice Alfredo L. Benipayo concurred in by Justices Jose A.R. Melo
and Nicolas P. Lapeña, Jr.
G.R. No. L-25738

March 14, 1968

SILVERIO CAGAMPANG, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
FLAVIANO MORANO, defendant-appellee.
Francisco M. Alba for plaintiff-appellant.
Herculano Azarcon for defendant-appellee.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Direct appeal on points of law from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Surigao del Norte in its Civil Case No. 1445.

vs. much less. that plaintiff made no improvements while defendant had actual possession. 13) — It is the finding of this Court. Surigao del Norte. 10) — that an ocular inspection be made on the premises subject of this present litigation for the court to view the same with the assistance of the District Land Officer or his duly authorized representative in the presence of both party litigants and to find out whether or not the lot in question can be reached by the highest ordinary tide as the said lot is situated next to the sea. applicant-respondent-appellant. therefore. 1979 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. rendered judgment for the defendant. At the pre-trial in the Court of First Instance. Its interior or terrestrial limit is the line reached by the highest equinoctial tides. J. built a house of light materials on the disputed parcel. Hence. therefore. No. (Emphasis supplied) By Article 420 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. then the defendant should abandon the lot in question in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant's answer pleaded occupancy by virtue of a foreshore "grant from proper authorities". occupied a portion of the land and refused to vacate it. By shore is understood that space covered and uncovered by the movement of the tide. Plaintiff then appealed to this Court. The Court likewise declared that the lot in question was covered by a "Revocable Permit" based upon an "Application for Foreshore Lease" issued in 1959 in favor of defendant Morano. — The following are part of the national domain open to public use: 1äwphï1.The case began with a forcible entry and detainer suit instituted by Silverio Cagampang to recover from the defendant. committed in holding that appellee Morano. At the ocular inspection. plus P5. This finding makes it clear that the land was part of the shore. shores are declared property of the public domain. The judgment under appeal is affirmed. planted a coconut tree. conformably to Article 1. paragraph 3 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866: Art. through strategy and stealth. the Court found that the land was covered by the sea water at high tide in the months of May. the Court found that (Record on Appeal. As the lot was covered by the highest tides from May to July. Where the tides are not appreciable. public land belonging to the State. therefore. legal possession thereof appertains to the national government or its grantees. and counterclaimed for damages and attorneys' fees. G. and marked the lot's boundaries. wherefore. and there is no showing that these tides are due to abnormal conditions. So ordered. with the assistance of the representative of the Bureau of Lands. July. June and.00 a month. and held that the lot was public land. Plaintiff. being such a grantee. instead of confining itself to the determination of whether the land was covered and uncovered by the tide. covered by the highest ordinary tide. the land is obviously part of the shore and public property. then the plaintiff shall concede that the lot rightfully belongs to the defendant and will relinquish any of his claim and interest in the same. TEEHANKEE. urging reversal for the reason that the Court had disregarded the pretrial agreement and considered the possession and foreshore lease permit of defendant-appellee. We find the appeal without merit.000. L-43852 May 31. to the prejudice of plaintiff. that the lot in question is not reached.: The Court affirms on appeal the decision of the Pasay City court of first instance granting the Republic's timely petition for review of the decree of registration and cancelling the certificate of title issued in favor of the applicant-appellant. At the ocular inspection in 1965. This is the main issue agreed upon by the parties during the pre-trial and the resolution of the court of the same shall be then the basis in rendering the judgment of this case. It. p. It can only be reached or covered by the highest tide during the months of May. to collect a rental of P3. has the superior right to possession as against the plaintiff who exhibited no State grant. both parties agreed. and was. p.R.ñët (3) The Shores. since it clearly appears that actual fraud . charged that in 1960 defendant. Flaviano Morano. Should the lot in question be reached by the ordinary highest tide. enjoined plaintiff from molesting the former and ordered him to pay the costs. petitioner-appellee.00 damages and costs. 1. Should the findings of the court be the other way. as stated in the decision under appeal (Record on Appeal. a parcel of land abutting on the sea in the municipality of Bacuag. June and July or during the months when the highest tide of the year will occur. who claimed to have been in possession of the land for over 80 years. No error was. Costs against appellant. TEODOCIA LOZADA. the latter sought to have possession restored to him. the shore begins on the land side at the line reached by the sea during ordinary storms and tempests.

30) and returned the records of the case to the court a quo through the Solicitor General (Ibid. 100) in the name of Teodocia Lozada was issued by the Register of Deeds of Rizal. SWO. reject the application for purchase in the second instance? The truth of the matter. After reopening the case and holding several hearings at which both the applicant and the Republic presented their documentary and testimonial evidence. both in the name of her husband. pp. as a person who had taken the initial step for the purchase of a certain public land. subject of the instant review proceedings. however. 9-10). is that had the application for registration been only filed by FELIX CRISTOBAL. the approval of the sales application will result in the acquisition of the property with the Republic of the Philippines being paid for it. in the opinion of the Court. 1966 applicant-appellant Teodocia Lozada had filed an application in the Court of First Instance of Rizal for the registration of. Series of 1963. 1967. 11-14). couple with alleged continuous and exclusive possession. and (2) these lots are portions of the public domain and as such belong to the State and are not subject to private appropriation and. the municipal court ordered the issuance of the corresponding decree of registration (Ibid. as follows: The Court draws this conclusion from the very patent improbability that a fair and unprejudiced mind will accept. the Municipal Court of Las Piñas. well within one year from entry of the decree filed a petition for review of the decision and decree of registration on the ground that applicant Lozada had procured the same by actual fraud (1) because she deliberately concealed the fact that the lots in question were covered by Revocable Permit Application No. but will oppose any application to purchase the same. 1965 precisely because the lands had been reserved for school purposes and that the husband "by not so filing the application for registration of the property in question and by allowing his wife. On April 25. was misled.40867 in the technical descriptions. excepting therefrom the Provincial Government of Rizal and the Municipal Government of Las Piñas Rizal (Amended Record on Appeal. Folder of Exhibits. the Bureau of Lands. p. 1966. Here again is clearly seen how the Republic of the Philippines. 29). pp. 1967. The Solicitor General. the court a quo issued a notice of initial hearing of the petition (Ibid. 114. 19).had been employed by the applicant in procuring the title over the lands in question which are part of the public domain (and not private property as falsely claimed by applicant) and the Republic is entitled to their reversion to the public domain. the court a quo referred the case to the Municipal Court of Las Piñas Rizal because the value of the contested lots does not exceed P10. Rizal. upon the ex-parte evidence presented by applicant Teodocia Lozada. The court of first instance gave due course to the Republic's petition notwithstanding appellant Lozada's opposition contending inter alia that the petition raises the issue of ownership which should be brought up in a separate civil action and that the lands were private property. it found that "actual fraud was employed by the applicant in procuring title over the property subject of this application which are portions of the public domain. V 76845. 1976 certifying applicant Lozada's appeal to us as involving only questions of law. asserting title thereto by right of inheritance from her deceased parents. with an area of about 390 square meters). as shown in the tax declaration (Ibid. the husband. 10). through the act of applicant Teodocia Lozada of filing separately the application for registration and through the act of FELIX CRISTOBAL of applying for approval of a sales application for the same property. applicant Teodocia Lozada. p. It bears repeating that had the instant application for registration only been made by FELIX CRISTOBAL. The lower court accordingly rendered judgment on March 30. Moreover. Felix Cristobal. as follows: (1) Setting aside the decision of the Municipal Court of Las Piñas Rizal of June 26. On October 26. p. p. On June 26. Rizal (designated as Lots 2 and 3. On the same date. the Director of Lands reserved the right to file his opposition thereto should it be found upon investigation that applicant Lozada is not entitled to the lots in question (Ibid. then the Bureau of Lands would have filed its opposition or would have taken steps appropriate to stop the registration thereof. in the first instance. Psu 218933. who had already a record in the Bureau of Lands. However. Original Certificate of Title No. 1967. two parcels of land in Las Piñas. As related in the Court of Appeals' resolution of May 10. to file the application. It is most improbable that the Bureau of Lands win not oppose the registration of a piece of land. 1973 in favor of the Republic. not registerable under the Torrens System. " The Court found that applicant Lozada and her husband had deliberately deceived the State. representing the Republic of the Philippines. . had filed with the Bureau of Lands a revocable permit application and a sales application which had been rejected on April 12. represented by the Bureau of Lands. therefore. Felix Cristobal. A month later. p. representing the Republic of the Philippines. 30). The petition was opposed by the Provincial Government of Rizal and the Municipal Government of Las Piñas Rizal (Ibid. On September 7. p. found applicant Lozada to have a registerable title to the two parcels of land. p. In the second instance. 27). 1967. on the other hand. the husband. the land registration will result in the acquisition of the property without the Republic of the Philippines being paid for it." It found inter alia in its decision upon the petition for review that before appellant Lozada's petition for registration her husband. of the Municipal Council of Las Pinas. Why should the Bureau of Lands not file its opposition in the first instance and.00. and confirmation to. said appellant originally succeeded on ex-parte evidence in securing registration of the property. 14-15). and the corresponding decree issued pursuant thereto. Rizal. 6314 (Exhibit 7. and that these applications were rejected by the Bureau of Lands since these lots were reserved for school site purposes pursuant to Resolution No. an order of general default was issued by the court a quo. The Director of Lands did not deem it necessary at the time to file an opposition to Teodocia Lozada's petition (Ibid. the Bureau of Lands. The said court confirmed her title thereto (Amended Record on appeal pp.000. as follows: Under date of November 16. that is (1) oppose the registration and (2) reject the sales application. 15849 and Miscellaneous Sales Application No. These are two conflicting actions. would have acted uniformly. was effectively deprived of its day in court.

Do they then form part of the public domain or not? 1 On the basis of the material facts above stated in the Court of Appeals' resolution which have not been disputed by appellant. pp. 1962.s. June 22. 4.. 1). p.s. that is. 1971. (4) Ordering applicant Teodocia Lozada to surrender Original Certificate of Title No. certified the appeal to us as involving only questions of law which it set forth in its resolution. as follows: Applicant appealed to this Court and contends that the court a quo erred in: 1. Applicant Lozada appealed to the Court of Appeals which. attorneys or witnesses. We note that these material facts were not disclosed in the application for registration filed by Teodocia Lozada. as a school site. p. Such fraud may well be deemed as "extrinsic or collateral fraud." 2 But even assuming that such fraud could be technically considered as "intrinsic fraud [which] takes the form of acts of a party in a litigation during the trial. 10. attorneys or witnesses. 12. as distinguished from intrinsic fraud [which] connotes any fraudulent scheme executed by a prevailing litigant outside the trial of a case against the defeated party. 4). pp. 1972. p. whereby said defeated party is his agents. It is not denied that the lots in question were the subject of a revocable application and a miscellaneous sales application filed with the Bureau of Lands by Felix Cristobal (t. (3) in stating the deliberate falsehood that the lands were allegedly inherited by her from her parents. suppressing the facts known to the applicant that the lands sought to be registered were lands of the public domain (and not private property) and having been reserved for a school site were not susceptible of private registration (as in fact her husband's application to purchase the same had been rejected) . Holding that the lots applied for by applicant form part of the public domain. but did prevent a fair and just determination of the case.n. all of which misled the Bureau of Lands into not filing an opposition to her application and as aptly observed by the lower court "effectively deprived (the Republic) of its day in court.) September 7.s. 1972. This. before she filed a petition for registration and that Cristobal's applications were denied by the Bureau of Lands (t. and (6) Ordering Felix Cristobal and Teodocia Lozada to vacate immediately the property in question so that the same may be used for the purpose it was reserved. to warrant the review of the decision of the Municipal Court of Las Piñas and the nullification of the decree of registration? It is not also denied that the lots in question are portions of the bed or foreshore of the Las Piñas river (t. pp. which did not affect the presentation of the case. (2) in thus concealing the fact that the lands were part of the public domain and so known to them. September 7. (3) Dismissing the registration application of Teodocia Lozada of October 16.n. 1972. 6314.n. and 2. September 7.(2) Declaring the property in question to be part of the public domain belonging to the Republic of the Philippines. 4. June 22. 12. or his agents. the Court affirms the appealed judgment. too. Is this conduct within the kind of fraud contemplated in Section 38 of Act 496. thus suppressing the fact that Felix Cristobal already had a record in the Bureau of Lands of having filed a rejected application for the same lands. (5) Ordering the Register of Deeds of the Province of Rizal to cancel the aforementioned Original Certificate of Title No.. 1971. And yet applicant-appellant made it appear under her oath that she had inherited the lots in question from her parents. however. Appellant Lozada (and her husband Felix Cristobal) were clearly guilty of fraud (1) in not disclosing in her application for registration the vital facts that her husband's previous application for a revocable permit and to purchase the lands in question from the Bureau of Lands had been rejected. Holding that there was actual and extrinsic fraud in obtaining applicant's original certificate of title over the lots applied for. There is also no question that the application for registration was filed in the name of Teodocia Lozada and not in the name of Felix Cristobal (Amended Record on Appeal p. 11. June 22. as amended. and (4) in filing the application for registration in the name of appellant Lozada and not in that of her husband Felix Cristobal or the two of them jointly. " 3 it would not alter the result because the mistake and error into which the officials of the Bureau of Lands were misled by such a deliberately false application. 6314 of the Province of Rizal to the Register of Deeds of said Province and that the same may be cancelled. such as the use of forged instruments or perjured testimony. 15. 3. 1971. was not disclosed in the application for registration. husband of applicant-appellant Teodocia Lozada. 11). because the lands were already reserved as a site for school purposes. 9). whereby said defeated party is prevent from presenting fully and fairly his side of the case.

2 a 1969 a decision. 1 which was not a cadastral proceeding. in his capacity as Judge. FERNANDO. the Carantes heirs. Assistant Solicitor General Dominador L. speaks authoritatively. 1966. subject thereafter to disposal to other qualified persons in accordance with law. De Castro and Melencio-Herrera. did re-open Civil Registration Case No. J. It does provide a firm. What is more. of this petition for review on certiorari. its registration therefor was ordered in favor of the aforesaid private respondents. may file the corresponding action for the reversion of the land involved to the public domain. Fernandez. It would appear from the facts that on November 12. would make evident its being impressed with merit. Respondent Judge was without power to re-open the aforesaid Civil Reservation Case No. thru the Solicitor General or any other officer who may be authorized by law. thru its duly authorized officers. vs. the appealed decision is affirmed in toto. 1968. L-32941 July 31.. 1973 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Guerrero. Republic v. to the end that the Republic." Finally. "It is to the Public interest that one who succeeds in fraudulently acquiring title to a public land should not be allowed to benefit therefrom. therefore. Branch I. PIO R. Antonio. 1922. as this Court unanimously stressed in Piñero vs. de Leon for petitioner. have an ever existing authority. it is undeniable that the land in question. BILL CARANTES and EDUARDO CARANTES. the registration decree was properly voided by the lower court since it had no jurisdiction over the lands of the public domain subject matter of the proceedings which were portions of the bed or foreshore of the Las Piñas river and were not open to registration proceedings. under color of a statutory provision 1 and at the instance of private respondents. concur. cannot be thus ordered registered in favor of private respondents. Jesus M. thus enabling private respondents to apply for the registration of an area of 74. Ponce for private respondents. Court of First Instance of Baguio. G. even the most cursory.: A perusal. Petitioner Republic of the Philippines thus has a legitimate grievance. 4 Besides. respondents. the indefeasibility of a title over land previously public is not a bar to an investigation by the Director of Lands as to how such title has been acquired. if the purpose of such investigation is to determine whether or not fraud had been committed in securing such title in order that the appropriate action for reversion may be filed by the Government. 1 3 of the Court of First Instance of Baguio City a petition for the re- . Marcos.017 square meters inside the Camp John Hay Leave and Recreation Center. being a part of a duly established military camp or reservation. Director of Lands 5 ACCORDINGLY. No. In other words. 1 of the Court of First Instance of Baguio establishing the Baguio Townsite Reservation. MARCOS. since the State cannot be estopped by the mistake or error of its officials and agents. petitioner. ALSON CARANTES. We have to grant the petition.R. HON. not to say rocklike foundation. Respondent Judge. Makasiar.cannot operate to bar the Republic's timely petition to review and set aside the decree. Quiroz and Solicitor Rosalio A. to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the issuance of any such title. Office of the Solicitor General Felix Q. filed under Civil Reservation Case No. promulgated as far back as November 13. JJ. respondents. and the State should. In the decision now sought to be set aside in this suit dated November 9.

1913. and described in its Technical Descriptions and Surveyor's Certificate. 931 speaks in a manner far from ambiguous.017 square meters. issued an executive order reserving for naval purposes the lots now disputed. 1910. For the absence of jurisdiction under such statutory provision from which he would derive his competence as well as the location of the disputed area inside a military reservation deprived the decision now sought to be nullified of the slightest claim to validity. then this statute finds no application. within the Philippine Islands lying within the boundaries of the areas now or hereafter set apart and declared to be military reservations shall be forthwith brought under the operations of the Land Registration Act. more or less. Only persons "claiming to parcels of land that have been the object of cadastral proceedings' are granted the right to petition for a re-opening thereof if the other conditions named therein are successfully met. Baguio City. on November 9. It is quite explicit and categorical. Then on December 14. Such motion was denied by respondent Judge on December 8. [Eduardo Carantes]. or any interests therein. this Court hereby orders the registration of this parcel of land. did not prosper. 5 It was not until August 22. 1922." 4 The efforts exerted by the Director of Lands and the City of Baguio to appeal said decision." 9 Its historical background was next passed upon: "An earlier act. Sec. As is made clear in the first section thereof. Apparently. with the Solicitor-General not having been informed of what did transpire. As provided therein: "All lands or buildings. It cannot admit of doubt." 8 It was then stated in the opinion: "The Cadastral Act was enacted on February 11. respondent Judge being of the belief that "the proper party to appeal should be Camp John Hay. Marcos. The Director of Lands duly opposed. 1968. 1969 that the Solicitor-General entered his appearance in the case and filed a motion to annul the decision based on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter of the proceedings as the land in question is part of a duly established military reservation. Taft. married to Budaet Onias. Philippines. and such of said lands. when public interest requires that titles to any land be settled and adjudicated. identified as Lots 1. namely. 2. 1. specifically governs the subject matter of reservations." Unfortunately.017 square meters therein described. to make a survey and plan of such lands. as noted at the outset. it does not include the survey of lands declared as reservations. Clearly. The question of jurisdiction was squarely raised and passed upon in the aforesaid Republic v. therefore. William H. to wit: "subject to prior and existing private rights.opening of said proceeding to have them declared owners. the respondent Judge rendered his decision. pro-indiviso. such denial went unchallenged. seasonably made. as a report of an investigator of his office was that the area sought to be registered is inside Camp John Hay in Baguio City. and [Bill Carantes]. 7 as noted in the brief for private respondents. buildings. respondent Judge issued an order requiring the publication and posting of notices thereof. Filipino citizens. an action against the very same judge whose actuation over a matter not dissimilar was challenged and — challenged successfully. Marcos." 6 What is immediately apparent is that even if the above decision were not flawed by a grave infirmity. 1969. they could not have been the object of the cadastral proceedings involving the Baguio townsite reservation. the respondent Judge in refusing to set aside his decision was impressed by the claim that the private respondents had been in possession "since the Spanish regime. married to Jesusa Rosal." and thus came within the protection of the words annotated on all survey plans of Camp John Hay. it could not survive after the decision of this Court in Republic v. decided only on November 13. the Governor General. with residence and postal addresses at Loakan. married to Monica Pedro. situated in Res. he could order the Director of Lands. Thus: "Republic Act No. Baguio City. all of legal ages. and 4 as shown on survey plan PSU 223402. "J". the dispositive portion of which reads: "[Wherefore]. and for the registration in their favor of four lots with a total area of 74. Considering that as far back as October 10. 3. we grant the petition. This notwithstanding. [Alson Carantes]. in the opinion of the then executive. enacted as far back as 1903. with a combined total area of 74. taking effect on its passage. Accordingly. in the names of the petitioners. that if the parcels of land were not the object of cadastral proceedings. It must be noted that the location of the lot inside Camp John Hay is not a subject of dispute. Nor could private respondents derive comfort from the doctrine of estoppel which as they should be the first to realize cannot operate against the state. and interests therein as shall not be determined to be public lands shall become registered land in accordance with the . 1966. the then President of the United States.

141. within the Philippine Islands lying within the boundaries of the areas now or hereafter set apart and declared to be military reservations shall be forthwith brought under the operations of the Land Registration Act. or any interest therein.." The validity of this statute was sustained as against the allegation that there was a violation of the due process clause. . That Republic v. as pointed out by the then Solicitor General.. then binding and conclusive as we were under American sovereignty. heretofore reserved for naval purposes . granted.provisions of said Land Registration Act. The absence of jurisdiction is equally clear. Inc. . 931 is our ruling in Government v. Thus: "This lack of jurisdiction on the part of respondent Judge is made more patent by another specific restriction of the right of a person to seek re-opening under this statute. that the lot in question should be a naval reservation. We there explicitly held: "The defendant's contention that the respondent court."12 So it is in the present case.. in a 1910 decision. Baguio naval reservation. Such a principle dates back to Aguinaldo de Romero v. He should have realized that resort to them would be without avail.' If there were still any lingering doubt.. a 1919 decision. Jose v. private respondents have failed to do as the statute in terms that are crystal clear and free from ambiguity denies them such a right. with as show of diligence. ." ' " 11 This Court could conclude therefore that as contended by petitioner Republic. 1929 declaring to be a naval reservation of the Government of the United States 'that tract of land known as lot no. Director of Lands. under the circumstances hereinafter stated. respondent Judge in that case was devoid "of jurisdiction to pass upon the claim of private respondents invoking the benefits of Republic Act No. an earlier case of decisive significance was referred to: "What is even more conclusive as to the absence of any right on the part of the private respondents to seek a re-opening under Republic Act No. conclude that the government was bound by the mistaken interpretation arrived at by the national treasurer and the auditor general." 16 In an earlier case. That is not the law. He ought to have known better. that ought to be removed by this reaffirmation of a presidential determination. Estrella. reserved. For. It would consider estoppel as applicable. Marcos is likewise an insuperable bar to the re-opening sought by private respondents is made clear by the latter portion of the opinion. in Luciano v.' Included in the petition is an executive order of then President Herbert Hoover of June 19. 15 categorically declared. a 1926 decision. Not that it did them any good. leased. Such jurisdiction is thus limited and specific. Commander of the Philippine Squadron. is usually not estopped by mistake or error on the part of its officials or agents. Estoppel does not lie. Petitioners have made out their case for certiorariand prohibition." 10 Finally. speaking for this Court. as Justice J. The establishment of military reservations is governed by Act No. 627 of the Philippine Commission and Section 1 of that Act provides that "All lands or buildings. would not give up without an attempt to escape from the operation of a decision that is controlling." 14 Private respondents. or its government. 931. he may not set in motion the judicial machinery under such specific grant of authority. Philippine Rabbit Lines. This. The state of the law could thus be summarized: "The private respondents are thus bereft of any right which they could assert under Republic Act No.L. or otherwise provisionally or permanently disposed of by the Government. residence Section D. 2. Court of First Instance of Pampanga. For the power of the Court to order such re-opening is limited 'to such of said parcels of land as have not been alienated.. would cite authorities on estoppel. Unless a party can make it manifest by express language or a clear implication from the wording of the statute too strong to be resisted. Republic v. 17 there was an enunciation of such a principle in this wise: "Thus did the lower court. Their counsel. Such an enactment is the basis of whatever standing that would justify their reliance on the specific power granted courts of first instance to re-open cadastral proceedings. however. Reyes.B." 18 ." 13 3. has jurisdiction to order the registration portions of a legally established military reservation cannot be sustained.. in a cadastral case. .. "it is a well known and settled rule in our jurisdiction that the Republic. . 931.

Barredo and Esguerra. DE BUENAVENTURA. concur. is on leave. SALVADOR DOE. is the controlling norm. much less the acquiescence of public officials. SPOUSES IGNACIO PALOMO and TRINIDAD PASCUAL. PERFECTO. Zaldivar." The facts of the case are as follows. the writ of certiorari is granted annulling and setting aside the decision of respondent Judge. 1913.. J. respondents. DECISION ROMERO. An indication that one's appreciation of controlling doctrine leaves something to be desired is bad enough. It is charged moreover with the conservation of such patrimony. [1] Subsequently. and CARMEN PALOMO VDA. took no part.J.. purely hypothetical. Nor is there anything unjust in such an approach as the alleged deprivation of a private right without justification by the government is not remediless. 1968. United States of America. Albay which form part of the "Tiwi Hot Spring National Park. Makalintal. Marcos. ordered the registration of 15 parcels of . especially so where the matter is sought to be raked up anew after almost fifty years. that there is basis in law for what is hoped for and aimed. William Cameron Forbes issued Executive Order No. Costs against private respondents. Castro. where there is persuasive proof that such is the case. FAUSTINO J. Makasiar and Antonio. 15th Judicial District. C. the then Court of First Instance of Albay. Marcos is that the procedure followed by private respondents is not the road to such an objective even on the assumption. The point of this decision as well as the earlier Republic v. Actg. which is the source of any asserted right to ownership in land under the basic doctrine embodied in the 1935 Constitution as well as the present charter. What is worse is the impression yielded of a failure to discern the thought that lies behind the 1969 decision of Republic v. vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS. BOY ARIADO. JJ. WHEREFORE. 20 There is need therefore of the most rigorous scrutiny before private claims to portions thereof are judicially accorded recognition. J. JJ..Nor is this all.: The issue in the case at bar pertains to ownership of 15 parcels of land in Tiwi. petitioners. then Governor General of the Philippine Islands. Teehankee. Municipality of Tiwi. dated November 9.530 square meters of land situated in Barrio Naga. which is declared to be without any force or effect as having been issued without jurisdiction. not the apparent carelessness. On June 13. and other DOES. Province of Albay pursuant to the provisions of Act 648 of the Philippine Commission.. THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. 19 It is this: the state as a persona in law is the juridical entity. 40 which reserved for provincial park purposes some 440. Such primordial consideration. RAFFY SANTILLAN. LORENZO BROCALES.

000. Lorenzo Brocales. continued in possession of the property. protection and administration of the defunct Commission of Parks and Wildlife. 3913 and/or TCT 3914 and cut down bamboos thereat. is neither susceptible to disposition under the provisions of the Public Land Law (CA 141) nor registrable under the Land Registration Act (Act No. however. 513. Impleaded with the petitioners as defendants were the Bank of the Philippine Islands. The Register of Deeds of Albay issued Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. Boy Ariado. [9] In May 7. 1950. 169. T-143 before the then Court of First Instance of Albay for Injunction with damages against private respondents Faustino J. On April 8. December 28. 1917.000 from the Bank of the Philippine Islands. The area was never released as alienable and disposable portion of the public domain and.land covered by Executive Order No. Raffy Santillan. 1916. [7] [8] On July 10. 3911. T-176 for annulment and cancellation of Certificates of Title involving the 15 parcels of land registered in the name of the petitioners and subject of Civil Case T-143. Ignacio Palomo filed a petition for reconstitution with the Court of First Instance of Albay on May 30. Perfecto. bananas. Salvador Doe and other Does who are all employees of the Bureau of Forest Development who entered the land covered by TCT No. The Palomos. 3912. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Claiming that the aforesaid original certificates of title were lost during the Japanese occupation. 1954 President Ramon Magsaysay issued Proclamation No. de Buenaventura and spouses Ignacio Palomo and Trinidad Pascual mortgaged the parcels of land covered by TCT 3911. 47 converting the area embraced by Executive Order No. 1974 petitioner Carmen vda. 40 into the "Tiwi Hot Spring National Park. . 3913 and 3914 to guarantee a loan of P200. On October 11. de Buenaventura and spouses Ignacio Palomo and Trinidad Pascual filed Civil Case No. 1916. the Republic of the Philippines filed Civil Case No. therefore. Ignacio and Carmen Palomo two months before his death in April 1937. 1971." under the control.872 square meters which were allegedly covered by Original Certificates of Title Nos. totally leveling no less than 4 groves worth not less thanP2. herein petitioners. petitioner Carmen vda. pandan and coconuts. now a division of the Bureau of Forest Development. 496). 3912.00. paid real estate taxes thereon and introduced improvements by planting rice. 3913 and 3914 sometime in October 1953. 1974. Diego Palomo donated these parcels of land consisting of 74. 176 and 173 to his heirs. 40 in the name of Diego Palomo on December 9. and January 17. management. Legazpi Branch and the Register of Deeds of Albay.

as well as the Original Certificate of Titles Nos. 1986. 7. T-3912. premises considered. 6. the trial court rendered the following decision: "WHEREFORE. [10] (2) Forfeiting in favor of the plaintiff Government any and all improvements on the lands in question that are found therein and introduced by the defendants. we take note that . and T-3914. At this point. Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 3. 3 and 4 of Plan II-9205 as part of the Tiwi Hot Spring National Park. T-3913. Costs against the defendants.000 with the Bank was already paid and the mortgage in its favor cancelled. The court further stated that assuming that the decrees of the Court of First Instance of Albay were really issued. In CIVIL CASE No. (3) Declaring Lot Nos. 21. dismissing the complaint for injunction and damages. 40 was already in force. 10.The case against the Bank of Philippine Islands was dismissed because the loan of P200. A joint trial of Civil Case T-143 and T-176 was conducted upon agreement of the parties and on July 31. the Register of Deeds of Albay is hereby ordered to cancel the alleged Original Certificates of Titles Nos. judgment is hereby rendered: IN CIVIL CASE No. 173 and 176. 5. 169." [12] The court a quo in ruling for the Republic found no sufficient proof that the Palomos have established property rights over the parcels of land in question before the Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish-American War at the end of the century. all of the Register of Deeds of Albay and all transactions based on said titles. in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiffs. 153. 3911. T-3911. T-176. 1. Plan II-9299 and Lots 1. 9. T-3913 and T-3914. 173 and 176 and Transfer Certificates of Titles Nos. 2. in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants: (1) Declaring null and void and no force and effect the Order dated September 14. 11 and 12. as it is hereby DISMISSED. [11] (4) and Finally. 1953. T-143. 513. T-3912. So Ordered. Costs against the plaintiffs. the Palomos obtained no right at all over the Properties because these were issued only when Executive Order No. 4. 8. 169.

[13] The petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed in toto the findings of the lower Court. the reservation of the lands for provincial purposes in 1913 by then Governor-general Forbes was tantamount to deprivation of private property without due process of law. Hence. 2. They allege that their predecessors in interest have been in open. Petitioners contend that the Treaty of Paris which ended the SpanishAmerican War at the end of the 19th century recognized the property rights of Spanish and Filipino citizens and the American government had no inherent power to confiscate properties of private citizens and declare them part of any kind of government reservation. In support of their claim. The declaration of nullity of the original certificates of title and subsequent transfer certificates of titles of the petitioners over the properties in question is contrary to law and jurisprudence on the matter. adverse and continuous possession of the subject lands for 20-50 years prior to their registration in 1916-1917. open and adverse possession of the lands from 20 to 50 years at the time of their registration in 1916. the petitioners presented copies of a number of decisions of the Court of First Instance of Albay. 3. only 1. We are not convinced. hence this petition raising the following issues: 1.384 square meters covered by Lot 2. Plan II9205.although the Geodetic Engineer of the Bureau of Lands appointed as one of the Commissioners in the relocation survey of the properties stated in his reamended report that of the 3. The respondent Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in affirming in toto the decision of the lower court. The issues raised essentially boil down to whether or not the alleged original certificate of titles issued pursuant to the order of the Court of First Instance in 1916-1917 and the subsequent TCTs issued in 1953 pursuant to the petition for reconstitution are valid. . were in continuous.976 square meters fall within the reservation area. the RTC ordered TCT 3913 covering the entire Lot 21 (sic) Plan II-9205 cancelled. 15th Judicial District of the United States of America which state that the predecessors in interest of the petitioners' father Diego Palomo. The forfeiture of all improvements introduced by the petitioners in the premises in favor of the government is against our existing law and jurisprudence.

O.O. the government is now estopped from questioning the validity of the certificates of title which were granted.R.O. Record No.The Philippines passed to the Spanish Crown by discovery and conquest in the 16th century. Expediente No. 9823. 1889.L. It certainly is a trifle late at this point to argue that the government had no right to include these properties in the reservation when the question should have been raised 83 years ago. the government had already surveyed the area in preparation for its reservation for provincial park purposes. G. G. G. 9820. Petitioners placed much reliance upon the declarations in Expediente No. Expediente No. If the petitioners' predecessors in interest were indeed in possession of the lands for a number of years prior to their registration in 1916-1917.R. such as (1) Titulo Real or Royal Grant.R. 5. Record No.L. Record No. no proof was presented that the petitioners' predecessors in interest derived title from an old Spanish grant. dated December 28. Before the Treaty of Paris in April 11. adverse and continuous possession of the lands for 20 to 50 years prior to their registration in 1916-1917. As . mineral or forest were under the exclusive patrimony and dominion of the Spanish Crown. 1916. our lands. 15th Judicial District of the United States of America presided by Judge Isidro Paredes that their predecessors in interest were in open. [14] Moreover. Unfortunately. were not signed by the judge but were merely certified copies of notification to Diego Palomo bearing the signature of the clerk of court. the very same year they were acquired by Diego Palomo. 1916. however.O. G.R. 6.L. Hence. private ownership of land could only be acquired through royal concessions which were documented in various forms. 9822. 10. Expediente No." (2) Concession Especial or Special Grant. Curiously. dated January 17. Record Decision No. adverse and continuous possession of the subject lands for 20-50 years. Record No.L. 7. despite claims by the petitioners that their predecessors in interest were in open . The aforesaid "decisions" of the Court of First Instance. they would have undoubtedly known about the inclusion of these properties in the reservation in 1913. 1917. whether agricultural.L. the lands were surveyed only in December 1913. 1916 and Expediente No. dated December 9.O. As regards the petitioners' contention that inasmuch as they obtained the titles without government opposition. 1899. dated December 9. dated December 28.R. 9821. 9868. 1916 of the Court of First Instance of Albay. 8. (3) Titulo de Compra or Title by Purchase and (4) Informacion Posesoria or Possessory Information title obtained under the Spanish Mortgage Law or under the Royal Decree of January 26. in February 1913 or 10 months before the lands were surveyed for Diego Palomo. G.

TCT 3913 should be annulled only with respect to the aforesaid area. cannot convert it into private property. Moreover. There is no question that the lands in the case at bar were not alienable lands of the public domain. [17] Neither do the tax receipts which were presented in evidence prove ownership of the parcels of land inasmuch as the weight of authority is that tax declarations are not conclusive proof of ownership in land registration cases. no pronouncement as to damages is in order. [18] Having disposed of the issue of ownership.correctly pointed out by the respondent Court of Appeals. they form part of the forest zone. records in the Bureau of Forestry show that the subject lands were never declared as alienable and disposable and subject to private alienation prior to 1913 up to the present. the lands are still not capable of appropriation. It is not registrable and possession thereof. Inasmuch as the bamboo groves leveled in TCT 3913 and subject of Civil Case T-143. [15] Assuming that the decrees of the Court of First Instance were really issued. since 1. were within the perimeter of the national park. unless such lands are reclassified and considered disposable and alienable. Petitioners also apparently knew that the subject lands were covered under the reservation when they filed a petition for reconstitution of the lost original certificates of title inasmuch as the blueprint of Survey Work Order Number 21781 of Plan II9299 approved by the Chief of the Land Registration Office Enrique Altavas in 1953 as a true and correct copy of the Original Plan No. [19] [20] Finally. It bears emphasis that Executive Order No. 1948 contains the following note. II-9299 filed in the Bureau of Lands dated September 11. "in conflict with provincial reservation. As testified by the District Forester.976 square meters of the 3." In any case. [16] It is elementary in the law governing natural resources that forest land cannot be owned by private persons. the principle of estoppel does not operate against the Government for the act of its agents. petitioners are presumed to know the law and the failure of the government to oppose the registration of the lands in question is no justification for the petitioners to plead good faith in introducing improvements on the lots. 40 was already in force at the time the lands in question were surveyed for Diego Palomo.384 square meters covered by TCT 3913 fall within the reservation. as part of the reservation for provincial park purposes. we now come to the matter regarding the forfeiture of improvements introduced on the subject lands. no matter how lengthy. The adverse possession which may be the basis of a grant of title in confirmation of imperfect title cases applies only to alienable lands of the public domain. [21] [22] .

Ananias C.976 square meter area falling within the reservation zone. the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that TCT 3913 be annulled with respect to the 1. Eugenio de Jesus.R.00 per hectare.8081-hectare land by virtue of an executive proclamation in 1956 reserving the area for medical center site purposes.. Eugenio de Jesus. Municipality of Davao (now Davao City). another bidding was held on October 4.£ªwph!1 Davao Area: 22 hectares Boundaries: ñé+.50 per hectare. .50 per hectare The Director of Lands. In lieu of that sale. JJ. Mendoza. 5436 were in accordance with law and existing regulations.00 for thewhole tract. while a certain Dr. however.00 representing 10% of the price of the land at P100. No. the land covered thereby is herebyawarded to the said applicant. vs. represented by the MINDANAO MEDICAL CENTER.£ªwph!1 N—Maria Villa Abrille and Arenio Suazo. Puno. (Chairman). Sales applicant Eugenio de Jesus was the lone bidder. raising the question of whether or not petitioner Mindanao Medical Center has registerable title over a full 12. On November 23. the dispositive portion of which reads: 2 ñé+. the Bureau of Lands. ñé+. and Torres.£îhqw⣠This is an appeal by certiorari from the decision of the Court of Apiwals in its CA-G. Regalado. 1934. which is more particularly described as follows: Location: Central. No. Jose Ebro and made a deposit of P221. Davao. covering the tract herein awarded. COURT OF APPEALS and ALEJANDRO Y DE JESUS.£ªwph!1 In view of the foregoing. Office of the Solicitor for petitioner. HON. 1934. applied with the Bureau of Lands for Sales Patent (Sales Application No. 3231. and it appearing that the proceedings had in connection with the Sales Application No. 1934. Ona for private respondent. MARTIN.. at P100. annulled the auction sale for the reason that the sales applicant. Jr. the Director of Lands issued to Eugenio de Jesus an Order of Award. failed to participate in the bidding for non-service of notice on him of the scheduled bidding. SO ORDERED. 5436) of a 33-hectare situated in barrio Libaron. accepted sealed bids for the purchase of the subject land. 39577-R. 1 The property applied for was a portion of what was then known as Lot 522 of the Davao Cadastre. He equalled the bid previously submitted by Dr. the father of respondent Alejandro de Jesus. 1976 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. On January 22.R. 1921. On January 23.: têñ. L-40912 September 30.WHEREFORE. J.50 per hectare or P2. respondents. through its Davao District Land Officer. G. This application should be entered in the records of this office as Sales Application No. Josc Ebro submitted a bid of P100.211. petioner. One Irineo Jose bidded for P20. Eugenio de jesus. concur.

the appealed judgment is hereby modified insofar as it denies the claim of appellant Arsenio Suazo. the Court of First Instance of Davao rendered judgment on September 2. situated in the Barrio of Central. Eugenio de Jesus.6400 hectares. Dans ordered the issuance of patent to Eugenio de Jesus. City of Davao. consisting of 12. 350 reserving the area for medical center site purposes. Davao City. it will continue to be given due course. 1939. under the administration of the Chief of Staff. 1176-B-2 for medical center site purposes under the administration of the Director of Hospital.8081 hectares. the Director of Lands ordered an amendment of the Sales Application of Eugenio de Jesus stating that "a portion of the land covered by Sales Application No. President Manuel L. 64 ares. W—Municipal Road. the very land in question. and containing an area of 12. On July 5. Alejandro de Jesus and Arsenio Suazo. excepted from this judgment of the trial court and appealed the case to the respondent Court of Appeals. petitioner Mindanao Medical Center moved for reconsideration. de Jesus. 328 and reserved the same Lot No. the said application is amended so as to exclude therefrom portion "A" as shown in the sketch on the back thereof. 1966. 1176-A. The two oppositors. maintaining ownership over the entire area of 12. 8 . and containing an area of 128.8081 square meters. A certain Arsenio Suazo likewise filed his opposition to the registration on the claim that the 2-hectare portion on the northeastern part of Lot 1176-B-2 belongs to him. or on May 15. but said appellant is hereby orderedto relinquish to the appellee that portion of Lot 1176-B-2 which is occupied by the medical center and nervous disease pavilion and their reasonable appartenances. 1936. This payment did not include the military camp site (Lot No. situated in the barrio of Poblacion. 1974. SW—Public Land. containing an area of 20 hectares. 85 and declared the disputed Lot 1176-B-2 open to disposition under the provisions of the Public land Act for resettlement of the squatters in the Piapi Beach. 1969. 1974. situated in Barrio Central. the son and successor-in-interest of sale applicant Eugenio de Jesus. The Medical Center claimed "fee simple" title to the land on the strength of proclamation No. the Appellate Court held: ñé+. no costs. 6 In the following October 9. the Bureau of Lands conducted a survey under Plan Bsd-1514. On August 28. 1956. had aquired a vested right on the subject lot by virtue of the Order of Award issued to him by the Director of Lands. President Magsaysay revoked this Proclamation No. is hereby decreed in the name of said appellants. 3 Thereafter. 1948. 85 withdrawing Lot No. shown on Plan Ap-6512. 4 5 On August 11. Bsd-10153.6400 hectares. On July 2. City of Davao. opposed the registration oil the ground that his father.6400 hectares. 5436 (E-3231) of Eugenio de Jesus is needed by the Philippine Army for military camp site purposes. but the Appellate Court in a Special Division of Five denied the motion on June 17.£ªwph!1 WHEREFORE. 7 Whereupon. 1176-B-1-A and 1176-B-1-B with an aggregate area of 20. the same is hereby affirmed. Island of Mindanao.8081 hectares. On September 7. Because the area conveyed had not been actually surveyed at the time Eugenio de Jesus filed his Sales Application. registration Lot 1176-B-2. on December 6. On the same date." The area excluded was Identified as Lot 1176-B-2. After due hearing. 1176-B-2 from sale and settlement and reserving the same for military purposes.SE—Provincial Road and Mary Gohn. Philippine Army.45 covering the 8th and 10th installment for 20. then Director of Lands Jose P. 1975. and as thus amended. Davao City. Quezon issued Proclaimation No. Philippines. Department of Health. On November 29. then Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources Mariano Garchitorena granted a Sales Patent to Eugenio de Jesus for "a tract of agricultural public land situated in the City of Davao. 1936. Eugenio de Jesus paid P660. directing "the registration of the title to Lot No. 1176-B-2) as the same had already been excluded from the Sales Application at the time the payment was made. the remaining area after his Sales Application was amended. the plan was approved and the land awarded to Eugenio de Jesus was designated as Lot Nos. Bureau of Medical Services. 1936.8081-hectare Lot 1176B-2 with the Court of First Instance of Davao. pursuant to his Sales Application for "a tract of land having an area of 20. On July 29. in regard the appeal of appellant Alejandro Y. City of Davao. petitioner Mindanao Medical Center applied for the Torrens registration of the 12. Respondent Alejandro de Jesus. 1176-B-2 of Subdivision Plan Bsd-5134. President Ramon Magsaysay revoked Proclamation No.081 square meters in the name of the Mindanao Medical Center. and 00 centares.

Thus. On the contrary.316.8081 hectares] for the reason that the said site. Island of Mindanao. 1934. Section 122 of the Act. at the time of last installment was already excluded from Sale Application SA-5436 of Eugenio de Jesus. The same area was reckoned with by then Lands Director Jose P. Respondent Appellate Court erroneously ruled that Alejabdro's father. the purchase would be P2. when the proclamation explicitly reserved the entire Lot 1176-B-2 of 12. including the 12. 1936. containing an area of 20 hectares 64. the use of which is not otherwise directed by law.8081 hectares. excluding "the military camp site [Lot 1176B-2 of 12. 12 However. of President Magsaysay legally effected a land grant to the Mindanao Medical Center.65. For 33 hectares. the Medical Center has registerable title on the portion occupied by it. Davao.8081 hectares to the Center..65. provides that "Whenever public lands in the Philippine Islands belonging to the Government of the Philippines are alienated. which amount represents 10% of the purchase price of the land. proclamation no. and on the west by a municipal road. 1939 for the 8th te 10th installment intended only to cover 20. submitted a bid of 100. 13 At P100. Such land grant is constitutive of a "fee simple" tile or absolute title in favor of petitioner Mindanao Medical Center. Withal. on the southwest by a public land. on the basis of Proclamation No. and bounded on the north by Maria Villa Abrille and Arsenio Suazo. . City of Davao.6400 hectares upon actual survey made by the Bureau of Lands. 1176-B2. the remaining area after the amendment of the Sales Application on August 28. Philippines. Bureau of Medical Services. We observe that in the public bidding of october 4. 350." Seen in the light of Patent. Davao. invariably bearing the area awarded to sales applicant Eugenio de Jesusas 20. 10% deposit of which amounts to P221. or of the inhabitants thereof." Similarly. of the whole lot. As a matter of fact. 1. We find petitioner's appeal to b meritorious. the same shall be brought forthwith under the operation of this Act [Land Registration Act. on the southeast by a provincial road and Mary Gohn. Certainly. not P221. designated Lot No.. the Sales Patent issued to Eugenio de Jesus on the same date.6400 hectares. and Sales Patent. 1934 by then Director of Lands Simeon Ramos covered the 33 hectares applied for.Forthwith. Dans when he directed the issuance of a patent to Eugenio de Jesus on May 15. Department of Health. 1921 covering "a tract of land having an area of 20. its nervous disease pavilion and their reasonable appurtenances.6400 hectares. validity sufficient for initial registration under the Land Registration Act.." In like manner." 9 It would be completely absurd to rule that.00.45 on November 29.50 per hectare and the 10% deposit would be P331. dated October 9. ares 00 centares. including reservations for ." 14 . if Eugenio de Jesus was really awarded 33 hectares in that public bidding.50 per hectare and made a cash deposit of only P221.00. which governs the registration of grants or patents involving public lands.50 at P100.. Eugenio de jesus. by then Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources Mariano Garchitorena indicated therein the sale to Eugenio de Jesus of "a tract of agricultural public land situated in the City of Davao. any land belonging to the private domain of the Government of the Philippines. 350.. 10 section 64 (e) of the Revised Administrative Code empowers the president "(t)o reserve from sale oe other disposition and for specific public uses for service. and not only on a portion thereof occupied by the Medical Center. situated in the barrio of Poblacion. the succesful bidder. the very Sales Award describes the tract awarded as located in Central. with an area of 22 hectares. 350 is free of any legal infirmity. or for quasi-public uses or purposes when the public interest requires it.00 strongly suggests that what was bidden for and awarded to him was only 22 hectares and not 33 hectares as applied for. Act 496] and shall become registered lands. May 15. Section 83 of the Public Land Act (CA 141) authorizes the President to "designate by proclamation any tract or tracts of land of the public domain as reservations for the use ofthe commonwealth of the Philippines or of any of its branches.8081hectare Lot 1176-B-2 because the Sales Award issued to him on November 23. granted. Proclamation No.6400 hectares and not 33 hectares as applied for by him. 1956. and not on the full extent of the reservation.8081 hectares. as ordered . 1948. It proceeds from the recognized competence of the president to reserve by executive proclamation alienable lands of the public domain for a specific public use or service. its nervous disease pavilion and the reasonable appurtenances. the total purchase price would be P3. 1948 for his application filed on January 22.00. it becomes imperative to conclude that what was really awarded to Eugenio de jesus was only 20. other improvements for the public benefit. or conveyed to persons or to public or private corporations. he should have made the required 10% deposit of P331. We fail to see any reasonable basis on record for the Appellate Court to draw such conclusion. Petitioner Mindanao Medical Center has registerable title over the whole contested area of 12.00 for 22 hectares. That he merely deposited P221. 2. petitioner Mindanao Medical Center elevated the matter to Us thru the present appeal. by the Director of Lands.. had acquired ownership over the whole 12. the land reserved "shall be used for the specific purposes directed by such executive order until otherwise provided by law.50 per hectare. and Sales Order for Issuance of Patent. 11 This area of 22 hectares was even reduced to 20.6400 hectares. his last payment of P660.221. as what was actually deposited by sales applicant Eugenio de Jesus.

8081 hectares. 26 Nor could respondent Alejandro de Jesus legetimately claim to have obtained title by prescription over the disputed 12. so that no Defense Secretary by the name of Serafin Marabut could have entered into a deed of donation with Eugenio de Jesus over Lot 1176-B-2 consisting of 12. or who. And the due of the execution of the document would be proved through the testimony of (1) the person or persons who executed it. the Rules provides that before the terms of a transaction in realty may be established by secondary evidence. 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 only organized in 1939.6400 fectares upon actual survey) and not for 33 hectares. The Order states: "Order: Amendment of Application. 18 19 20 21 4. Such general description of "whole tract" cannot prevail over the specific description delineating the area in quantity and in boundaries. if any there be. then only 10 hectares. 350 states that the same is subject to "privilege rights.8081 hectares. or (3) any who was present and saw it executed and delivered. on the southwest by a provincial road and the property by Mary Gohn on the southwest by a public land. the property must be held to be part of the public domain. and no lawful settlement on them can be acquired. cannot be licitly seized upon as basis for the conclusion that the area awarded to applicant Eugenio de Jesus was the applied area of 33 hectares. would prove by secondary evidence the existence of such donation thru the testimony of persons who supposedly saw it. even though this may defeat the imperfect right of a settler. As found by the trial court in 1936. And courts do not usually go beyond a description of a tract in a patent and determine the tract and quantity of land apart from the patent itself.But. the Department of National Defense was not yet in existence. The phrase "whole tract" in the Sales Award 15 16 17 Any doubt as to the intention or extent of the grant. located at Central. reserved from sale. Davao. and most strongly against the grantee. And patents for lands which have been previously granted. and improved a parcel of public land which is later included in a reservation are considered worthy of protection and are usually respected. For it is the due execution of the document and its subsequent loss that would constitute the foundation for the introduction of secondary evidence to prove the contents of such document. 85. patents and land grants are construed favorably to the Governement. the privilege of occupying public lands a view to preemption confers np contractual or vested right in the lands occupied and the authority of the President to withdraw suchlands for sale or acquisition by the public. Not only for the earlier reasons that the Sales Award was only for 22 hectares (later found to be 20. or to reserve them for public use. but where the President. and on the west by a municipal road. The claims o0f persons who have settled on occupied. 22 Lands covered by reservation are not subject to entry. Respondent Appellate Court mistakenly sustained Eugenio de Jesus's pretense that the military "camp site" (Lot 176-B-2) had been donated by him to the Philippine Army. Besides. 3." Necessarily so." but Eugenio de Jesus or his son Alejandro de Jesus failed to prove any private rights over the property reserved. the Sales Award specifies the area awarded as 22 hectares. cultivation and improvement of the 33-hectare land (including the 12-hectare camp site) since 1916 vested in him a right of preference or pre-empive right in the acquisition of the land. thru Secretary Serafin Marabut of the Department of National Defense.6400 hectares. it is n that the due execution and subsequent loss of the original instrument evidencing the transaction be proved. or by a . this terminates any rights previously avquired in such lands by a person who was settled thereon in order to obtain a preferential right of purchase. Wee-settled is the rule that unless the applicant has shown by clear and convincing evidence that a certain portion of the public domain was acquired by him or his ancestors either by composition title from the Spanish Government or by possessory information title. The Appellate Court's reasoning is premised on wrong assumption. Specific description is ordinarily preferred to general description. What was ordered amended was the Sales Application for 33 hectares and not the Order of 22 hectares or 20. when it is considered that the series of executive proclamations (Proclamation Nos. then would have been left to applicant Eugenio de Jesus and not 20. 27 5. 328. or any other means for the acquisition of public lands. against which no acquisitive prescription may lie except as provided in Section 48(b) of C. and bounded on the north by the property of Maria Villa Abrille and Arsenio Suazo. In this regard. or the intention of the Government. which right was controverted into "a special propriety right" when the Sales Award was issued to him in 1934. Thus. prior to the divesting by the government of title threof stands. because the amendment was already reflected in the Order of Award. respondent Alejandro de Jesus. Nonetheless. issuesa proclamation reserving certain lands and warning all persons to depart therefrom. the quantity of the land granted must be ascertained from the description in the patent is exclusive evidence of the land conveyed. since only an area of 22 hectares was awarded. 23 24 25 It is true that Proclamation No. More so. 350) continuously maintained the intent of the Government to reserve the subject land for a specific purpose or service. such as grants or patents.A. We cannot share the view of respondent Appellate Court that eugenio de jesus's alleged occupation. his father.8081 hectares. or that which is more certain to what which is less certain. are void. as amended. (2) the person before whom its execution was acknowledged. Eugenio de Jesus. respondent Appellate Court reasons out that if the area bidden for and awarded in 1934 ws only 22 hectares and since two years thereafter the Director of Lands ordered an amendment excluding the military camp site of 12. 141. necessarily admits that the portions applied for are part of the public domain.8081-hectare lot was included in the original sales application for 33 hectares).6400 hectares would have been left in the Sales Patent. is to be resolved in its favor. inasmuch as by applying for the sale thereof (assuming hypothetically that the 12. Davao. saw it and recognized the signatures. In general. after its execution and delivery. or appropriate. as authorized by law.

in true donations. the right granted to the sales awardee is only "possessory right" as distinguished from "proprietary right. It is true that the gratiuitous disposal in donation may consist of a thing or right. that the patent is issued and the land applied for considered "permanently disposed of by the Government. even if We were to assume in gratia argumenti that the 12. Respondent Appellate Court. the dsiposition is merely provisional because the applicant has still to comply with the requirements of the law before any patent is issued. 31 But the term "right" must be understood in a "propriety" sense. Simeon de Jesus were not parties to the instrument. In that year. of former Secretary Brigido Valencia that Col. what is conferred on the applicant is merely the right "to take possession of the land so that he could comply with the requirements prescribed by law. nor any of them saw the document after its execution and delivery ind recognized the signatures of the parties nor to whom the parties to the instrument had previously confessed the execution. These replies are not confirmatory of the existence of such donation much less official admissions thereof. brother of Eugenio de Jesus showed him a copy of the "paper" signed by Secretary Marabut and Eugenio de Jesus. 32 33 34 35 . over which the processor has the jus disponendi. Sesinando de Jesus in July 1942.8081hectare lot had already been severed from the mass of disposable public lands by Proclamation No. Eugenio de Jesus cannot be said to be possessed of that "proprietary " right over the whole 33 hectares in 1936 including the disputed 12. First none of these persons was a witness to the instrument. The testimony of Marcelo Belendres that Sesinando de jesus. he testified that the copy of the deed which his father kept was sent to him in Manila thru his uncle. the land applied for may be considered "disposed of by the Government" upon the issuance of the Sales Award. merely made a broad statement that he executed a deed f donation in 1936 with Defense Secretary Marabut when at hat time the Defense Department was not yet in existence." and third." In other words. 28 29 30 Even on the gratuitous assumption that a donation of the military "camp site" was executed between Eugenior de jesus and Serafin Marabut.8081 hectares for at that time this 12. The notary public who presumptively acknowledged the donation or the witnesses to the instrument were never presented. Impoverishment of Eugenio's assets as a consequence of such donation is therefore farfetehed. declared that his copy of the deed was burned in Davao during the Japanese occupation. Admittedly. This is especially true in realty donations where Art. that in May or June 1937. of Jose Tinio. still the same may not be the subject of donation. the persons who showed the deed. In fact.in-interest. Moreover. 85 and excluded in the Sales Award. proclamation No. while his father himself. The replies of the Undersecretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Acting Executive Secretary that the property was "still needed for military purposes" and may not therefore be released from the reservation cannot substitute the proof so required. Simeon de Jesus showed him a deed of donation signed by Eugenio de Jesus and Serafin Marabut. because Eugenior de jesus held no dominical rights over the site when it was allegedly donated by him in 1936. such donation would anyway be void. Col. because the mere desistance of the sales applicant to pursue the requirements called for would cause the virtual revocation of the donation.None of these modes of proof was ever followed by respondent Alejandro de Jesus. rationalizes that the subject of the donation was not the land itself but "the possessory and special proprietary rights" of Eugenio de jesus over it. however. This is because." This again is a circumstance that demeans the irrevocable nature donation. hardly suffer to satisfy the requisites of the Rules. Sesinando de Jesus and Col. title to the land is retained by the State. In Sales Award." for the fundamental reason that prior to the issuance of the sales patent and registration thereof. the reference to a "paper" or "document" ambigous as to be synonymous with a "deed of donation. Simeon de jesus went to his office to register a document" executed by Eugenio de Jesus and Secretary Marabut. second. but this has the singular effect of withdrawing the land from the public domian that is "disposable" by the Director of Lands under the Public Land Act. Respondent Alejandro de Jesus's narration of the existence and loss of the document equally deserves no credence. there results a consequent impoverishment of the donor or diminution of his assets. We disagree. person to whom the parties to the instrument had previously confessed the execution thereof. 748 of the new Civil Code requires the accomplishment thereof in a public document in order to be valid. Acting Register of Deeds of Davao. His predecessor.8081hectare lot was included in the Sales Award. as to which very strict compliance is imposed because of the importance of the document involved. It is only after compliance with such requirements to the satisfaction of the Director of Lands. It has been ruled that the failure of the party to present the notary Public and thore s who must have seen the signing of the document as witnesses to testify on its execution interdicts the admission of a secondary evidence of the terms of the deed. As found by the trial court. Eugenio de Jesus. 85 of President Quezon already withrew the area from sale or settlement and reserved it for military purposes. Eugenio de Jesus.

O. 1. GARCIA and DOLORES C. Subsequently. Among those declared public lands were the lands applied for by old man Kiang under Case No. Branch I. G. which included the lands of old man Kiang.O. L-58822 April 8. this appeal.O.L.respondents. Marcos dated February 16. The background and antecedent facts pertinent to the case are as follows: The subject property was inherited by the private respondents Kiangs from their father.R. Sps. petitioner. 1922.. Record No. About 31 years later. and (c) physician's quarters. filed a complaint with the Court of First Instance of Baguio and Banquet. 3168. 211. concur.R. 1970. 1981. Record No. Record No. 3168.O. BEN KIANG. the Land Registration Commission issued Decree No. On November 13.. and MIRANDA SOBLE. N. The issues raised in this petition are: . as amended. the respondent court rendered its decision. and filed an application for registration. OLMAN KIANG. 12073.L. 5 and 6 of Act No. situated in Residential Section of Baguio City. RENATO DEMAIJA and ANITA DEMAIJA REGISTER OF DEEDS OF BAGUIO CITY. Muñoz Palma and Concepcion. the respondent Kiangs filed with the Court of First Instance of Baguio and Banquet an application for registration under Act No. which was dismissed by the court in said decision. G.1977. filed on April 12. 1981. or on October 1.ACCORDINGLY.R. The disputed Lot 1176-B-2. G. docketed as Civil Case No.ñët G.R. On February 16. The urgent motion of the petitioner for leave to construct essential hospitawl buildings. For the purpose of securing title over the property in question. SANGALANG. 1988 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Mountain Province for the compulsory registration of all lands. The said application was instituted by old man Kiang during the pendency of the land registration proceedings in Civil Reservation Case No. BENIGNO LAGASCA and CANDIDA A. 1975. docketed as Case No. 1970. Teehankee (Chairman). and LAND REGISTRATION COMMISSIONER. 926 (Public Land Act). the appealed judgement of the Court of Appeals. J. et al. entitled "Republic of the Philippines vs. dismissing the complaint. buildings and interests within the limits of the Baguio Townsite Reservation in accordance with Section 62 of Act No.L. Record No. Mountain Province. The said petition (Civil Reservation Case No. N-30 on the ground of res judicata. Record No. Sps. Sps. rendered a decision in Civil Reservation Case No. known as old man Kiang (one name) who in turn inherited the same from his parents Quebec and Cawane. (b) hospital motorpool.O.L. EUSEBIO LITILIT and JOVITA LITILIT Sps. Court of First Instance of Baguio and Banquet. 30. dated May 26. N-7307. 211. with the exception of lands reserved for specific public purposes and those claimed and adjudicated private property. 4. On June 24.R. Sps. Marcos dated February 16. which was docketed as Land Registration Case No. as well as the certificates of title issued pursuant thereto. BIENVENIDO L. NAVORRA. With costs against private respondent. Makasiar. Jr. NAVORRA and REBECCA B. et al. 1äwphï1. JJ. 1912 with the Court of First Instance of Banquet.C. N-154937 over the said lands in favor of applicant Kiangs and on June 5. the respondent court presided over by Judge Pio R. otherwise designated as Lots A and B. represented by the Solicitor General. 627 (an act to bring immediately under the operation of the Land Registration Act all land lying within military reservations).: This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of First Instance of Baguio and Banquet. On May 26. Marcos rendered a decision adjudicating the aforesaid parcels of land in favor of the respondents. Ldeclaring as public lands all lands within the limits of the Baguio Townsite Reservation.R. 30. 0-280 to the applicants. as Presiding Judge. Accordingly. the Court of First Instance of Benquet. promulgated on July 2. 1975. ANGEL G. 0-280 to the other respondents herein (except respondents Register of Deeds of Baguio City and the Land Registration Commissioner). is hereby granted. the Kiangs conveyed portion of the lands covered by O.. G. Hence. petitioner Republic of the Philippines. G. Sps. No. is hereby adjudicated in favor of petitioner Mindanao Medical Center. which granted the petition for Mariano Kiang. vs.30. in relation to Sections 3. the Register of Deeds of Baguio City issued the corresponding Original Certificate of Title No.L. who were in continuous possession of the land since the Spanish times. No. GARCIA. N-30. dated November 13.911 square meters. 1953. that the respondent court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter and the nature of the action in Land Registration Case No. are hereby reversed and set aside.O.T. 1975. the old man Kiang had it surveyed by the Bureau of Lands on October 11. YAP. SO ORDERED. denying petitioner's motion for reconsiderations. 1922. Record No. in Civil Case No. N-7307. 1) involved the establishment of the Baguio Townsite Reservation. LAGASCA. SPS MARIANO KIANG. Sps. in Land Registration Case No. 1974. WAGNIL KIANG and DALIN OSTEG. VILLAMOR A. for the registration of two parcels of land. HON. and consequently. HIPOLITO DELLA and FILOMENA DELLA. 1. on April 17. namely: (a) communicable and contagious diseas pavilion. and its resolution of Jane 17. for the annulment of the decision of Judge Pio R. 12073. G. 1916. Branch I. Plan Bsd-1514 of Davao Cadastre and containing an area of 12. Petitioner alleged in the petition that the claim of the respondent Kiangs was barred by the decision of the court in Civil Reservation Case No.8081 hectares.L. 1970." dismissing the complaint for the nullification of the decision of Judge Pio R.R. of the parcels of land in question. in Survey Plan II-11747 (SWO-34633) with an area of 117. 496. in Land Registration Case No. Spouses Mariano Kiang. all the proceedings held therein and the titles issued pursuant 'thereto were null and void ab initio. N-30.

unless the same shall be included within other claims or applications which are favorably acted upon by the court. Section 79 of Commonwealth Act No. N-30 and the certificates of title issued pursuant thereto. stating that claims for all private lands or interests therein within the limits described must be presented for registration under the Land Registration Act in the manner provided in Act Numbered Six hundred and twenty-seven. 1. 2 The subject matter of Land Registration Case No. 5 of Act No. but no bid shall be accepted that does not equal at least twothirds of the appraised value. buildings. entitled "An act to bring immediately under the operation of the Land Registration Act all lands lying within the boundaries lawfully set apart for military reservations. 1 barred the application in Land Registration Case No. N-30 was property already declared public land and part of the Baguio Townsite Reservation by virtue of the decision of the Court of First Instance of Banquet. under the provisions of Chapter Five of this Act. 5 and 6 of Act No. Whenever any lands in the Philippine Island are set apart as town sites. It is well-settled that lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter cannot be waived and can be raised at any time. N-30. Case No. the procedure for the purpose of this Section 62 and "the legal effects thereof" shall be in all respects as provided in Sections 3. four. 12073. with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior. under the same conditions as the first time. Record No. residential or industrial purposes under the provisions of this Act. at public auction to the highest bidder. presided over by Judge Pio R. 5. . after the approval and recording of the plat of subdivision as above provided. Lots for which satisfactory bids have not been received shall be again offered for sale. or partnerships not authorized to purchase public lands for commercial. All rights of appeal secured by the Land Registration Act shall be applicable to proceedings under this Act.O. In accordance with the aforesaid provision. Upon the filing of claims and application for registration in the Court of Land Registration. therefore. 4. Under the provisions of Sec. it shall be lawful for the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands. 3. associations. that the Court of First Instance of Baguio and Banquet. N-30 had jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action. 62. Whether or not the decision of respondent court in Civil Reservation Case No. Mountain Province." Outside of those lands specifically excepted from the effects of the decision. five. Marcos. and all lands desired to be purchased by the Government of the United States for military purposes. 2. 627." The procedure for the purpose of this section and the legal effects thereof shall thereupon be in all respects as provided in sections three. in relation to Sections 3. nor shall bids be accepted from persons. The decision of Judge Marcos in Land Registration Case No. The provisions of sections twenty-six and sixty-five of this Act shall be observed in so far as they are applicable. The basic issue in the instant case is whether or not the court which awarded title to the Kiangs in Land Registration Case No.1. N-30 was null and void ab initio for want of jurisdiction over the subject matter. the same procedure shall be adopted as is by the Land Registration Act provided for other claims and applications. 926. 627. had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of Land Registration Case No. 1 declared all lands comprised within the Baguio Townsite Reservation as public lands. All lots. with the exception of lands "reserved for specific public purposes and those claimed and adjudicated private property. 4. to notify the judge of the Court of Land Registration that such lands have been reserved as a town site and that all private lands or interests therein within the limits described ought forthwith to be brought within the operation of the Land Registration Act. Hence. dated November 13. the judgment shall be that the lands embraced therein are public lands. 627: Sec. N-30 considering that the status and ownership of the lands applied for had already been settled and adjudicated in Civil Reservation Case No. all lands within the limits of the Baguio Townsite Reservation were declared 'public lands' no longer registrable under the Land Registration Act. except those claimed by or belonging to private parties and those reserved for parks.thirds of their appraised value. and other public uses.L. 5 and 6 of Act No. Whether or not the respondent court had jurisdiction over Land Registration Case No. N-30 is misplaced. and to become registered land within the meaning of said Registration Act. and six of said Act Numbered Six hundred and twenty. Whether or not the respondent court gravely erred in dismissing Civil Case No. It shall be the duty of the judge of said court to issue a notice thereof. The reliance of respondent court on the exception provided in Section 79 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 provides: Sec. the decision of land registration court in Civil Reservation Case No. Section 62 of Act No. 1922. shall be sold.R. but in case of all claims and applications which are finally dismissed. The latter case involved the compulsory registration of land within the Baguio Townsite Reservation pursuant to Section 62 of Act No. and give to them precedence over other claims for registration under the Land Registration Act. after due notice. It shall be the duty of the court to expedite proceedings under this Act.seven. It is clear. in Civil Reservation Case No. the Director of Lands shall be authorized to sell them at private sale for not less than two. and if they then remains unsold. 79. 3168 for annulment of the decision in Land Reg. and to render a decision awarding title to the land in question to the applicants Mariano Kiang et al. corporations. 141 to justify the jurisdiction of the court to award the title of the land in question to the Kiangs in Land Registration Case No. L-G. 926 provides: Sec. N-30. 1 Jurisdiction of the subject matter is conferred by law and does not depend on the consent or objection or the acts or omissions of the parties or any one of them.

76). 211. 211. before the promulgation of the Supreme Court decision on July 31. 1. SO ORDERED." This exception can not possibly apply to the respondents Kiangs since the land which was the subject of Land Registration Case No. 926.D.R. since the certificate of title of the respondents Kiangs was issued only on June 5. and that lands within Government reservations can not be registered in favor of private individuals. Pio R. 1977. 211. the amount payable as follows: Within ninety (90) days of the effectivity of this Decree. in Civil Reservation Case No. 3168 is REVERSED and Original Certificate of Title No. by removal of the improvements. forest. 1. as amended. 627 in relation to Section 62 of Act No. All orders and decisions issued by the Court of First Instance of Baguio and Banquet in connection with the proceedings for the reopening of Civil Reservation Case No. including those titles whose holders have failed to avail of the benefits granted under the same section within the period therein provided. that all certificates of titles issued on or before July 31. Melencio-Herrera. nor shall the confirmation or issuance of new title under this Decree have the effect of validating titles otherwise invalid because obtained through fraud or misrepresentation in the aforesaid reopening proceedings. 4. 1975. damage to the lands would result. military or otherwise. Mountain Province. the first installment to be paid within the first year of the effectivity of this Decree and the second installment within a year thereafter. . N-30 can no longer be considered land "claimed by or belonging to private parties. 1271 was issued on December 22. 1271 for the validation of their title. held that the Court of First Instance of Baguio and Banquet had no jurisdiction to reopen Civil Reservation Case No. are hereby declared null and void and without force and effect. 2. Sec. If." By virtue of the decision of the Court of First Instance of Banquet. PROVIDED. and its decision therein is null and void. L. Record No.The exception provided for in the above-cited provision refer to lands "claimed by or belonging to private parties. within ninety (90) days from the effectivity of this Decree. Paras. L. Payment by the present title holder to the Republic of the Philippines of an amount equivalent to fifteen per centum (1 5%) of the assessed value of the land whose title is voided as of revision period 1973 (P. and decreeing such lands in favor of private individuals or entities. Marcos. 1973 does not apply to the case at bar. Hence. 931. Ninety (90) days after the effectivity of this Decree. such improvements shall be forfeited in favor of the government or shag be demolished or removed at the title holder's expense. the petition is GRANTED and the decision of respondent court in Civil Case No. and compliance with. b. Sec. the following conditions: a.L. 3. surrender their respective titles for cancellation and the owners and/ or possessors of the areas covered by such titles shall vacate the premises and remove whatever improvements or structures they may have introduced thereon within six (6) months from notice. the Commission on Land Registration shall cause the cancellation of original and transfer certificates of titles not validated under Section 1 hereof. the holders of the titles affected shall manifest their desire to avail of the benefits of this provision and shall pay ten per centum (10%) of the above amount and the balance in two equal installments. Said PD No. WHEREFORE. 52 SCRA 238. concur. public or quasi-public reservation. 1973 shall be considered valid and the lands Covered by them shall be deemed to have been conveyed in fee simple to the registered owners upon a showing of. on the ground that said case did not par-take of the nature of cadastral proceedings as contemplated in Republic Act No. All taxes and registration fees paid in connection with the lands are deemed forfeited in favor of the Government. Hon. Padilla and Sarmiento. The holders of the titles falling under Section I of this Decree that are not considered valid pursuant to the proviso thereof shall. Sec. G.the Id land was declared public land and the claim of the predecessor of respondents Kiangs over said land was already barred by virtue of the provisions of Section 5 of Act No. had acted in good faith and relied. JJ. 1973. the court which awarded the title to the Kiangs in 1970 in Land Registration Case No.O. Reservation had been illegally decreed in favor of private individuals. The lands covered by the titles are not within any government. 0-280 of the Registry of Deeds of Baguio City and all transfer certificates of title therefrom are hereby nullified and cancelled. 1271 provides: Section 1.GLRO Record No. N-30 had no jurisdiction over the land subject matter of the case. In Republic vs. HOWEVER. The provisions of the preceding section for the validation of titles shall not apply to cases in which the registration was obtained through fraud or misrepresentation in the proceedings for the reopening of Civil Registration Case No. although mistakenly. GLRO Record No.. Presidential Decree No. as certified by appropriate agencies. The proviso in favor of bona-fide holders of titles issued on or before July 31. Recognizing that before the promulgation of said decision . on the indefeasibility of torrens certificates of titles anal had introduced substantial improvements on the land covered by said certificates. which was intended to protect title holders who. large portions of the public land within the Baguio Towns". Neither is there any showing that respondents complied with the requirements of Section 1 of PD No. covering lands within the Baguio Townsite Reservation. et al..

In due time. continuously.REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by the DIRECTOR OF LANDS. J. vs. The land was surveyed in the name of the previous owner per certification of the CENRO (Exh. He caused the same to be declared in his name under Tax Dec. 50652483 (Exh. Claimant was allowed to present his evidence. Albay. Albay is one of the parcels of land subject of these cadastral proceedings. 1973. 1). Romeo Divinaflor.: Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court which seeks to reverse and set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals dated February 8. as found by the trial court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals. rendered in favor of private respondent Romeo Divinaflor. Romeo Divinaflor filed his answer to the petition relative to Lot No. on the East by Lot 10738. 3-a). Albay (Branch 12). N-11-LV initiated. Claimant-Appellee”[1] which affirmed the decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court of Ligao. pursuant to law. notoriously and exclusively since 1939. 1994 in CAG. Petitioner-Appellant v. 1987 (Exh. claiming ownership of said lot by virtue of possession for over thirty years. petitioner. Lot 10739 is one of the uncontested lots. Whereupon. and on the West by Lot 10716. There was another reassessment under Tax Dec. nobody offered any opposition. 5a). When this case was called for initial hearing. Albay containing an area of 10. 4). 5) and the certification thereof (Exh. This case stems from Cadastral Case No. COURT OF APPEALS and ROMEO DIVINAFLOR. He declared the land in his name under Tax Dec. respondents. Albay. Branch 12. the land was owned by Marcial Listana who began possession and occupying the same in the concept of owner.R. on the South by Lot 10716. No. Oas. CV No. No. adversely. an order of general default against the whole world was issued. The facts. DECISION GONZAGA-REYES. 35 (Exh. 3). Originally. 29578 entitled “The Director of Lands. claimant acquired ownership of the land by means of deed of absolute sale (Exh. It is a parcel of riceland situated at Maramba. openly.775 square meters bounded on the north by Lots 10738 & 10737. by the Director of Lands. No. The cadastral survey costs had been paid in the amount of P72. 1442 (Exh. are as follows: “Lot 10739 of the cadastral survey of Oas. 2). as petitioner before the Regional Trial Court of Ligao. All the realty taxes has likewise been paid up to the current year per Official . He planted palay and harvested about 60 cavans of palay every harvest season.08 under Official Receipt No. On May 21. He continued planting on the land and all the products are used for the benefit of his family.775 square meters situated in Oas. 10739 with an area of 10.

adversely. There are no liens or encumbrances and neither are there persons claiming adverse ownership and possession of the land. sir. The lot does not infringe the public road. sir. The Director of Lands appealed to the Court of Appeals alleging that the finding of the trial court that claimant-appellee and his predecessor-in-interest have possessed Lot 10739 since 1939 is not sufficiently supported by the evidence. and you are referring us to this deed of sale? WITNESS: A: Yes. Q: Since when did Marcial Listana begin possessing this land? . he being the applicant. peaceful and adverse possession” which appellee has convincingly established.” [3] Finding that the claimant. has “satisfactorily possessed and occupied this land in the concept of owner. Claimant is not legally disqualified from owning disposable property of the public domain. watershed or the government’s forest zone. 1945. continuous. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment appealed from.” the court ordered the registration and confirmation of Lot 10739 in the name of the Spouses Romeo Divinaflor and Nenita Radan. There is no pending petition for its registration under Act 496 known as the Land Registration Act or an application for the issuance of free patent with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO).Receipt No. together with his predecessor-in-interest. openly. 6-A). The lot has not been utilized as a bond in civil or criminal cases or as a collateral for a loan in any banking institution. continuously. All that the law mandates is proof of “open. Repeatedly. PROS. The Director contended that the earliest tax declaration presented by claimant took effect only in 1980 and the certificate of real estate tax payment is dated 1990. notoriously and exclusively since 1939 very much earlier to June 12. to present tax declarations and tax receipts of the land in question. Thus: ASST. CRISOSTOMO: Q: You said that you bought this land from Marcial Listana. the fact of possession is hammered into the record by appellee’s testimony on cross-examination by appellant. river or stream. PROV’L. It was further contended that the testimony of Romeo Divinaflor was largely self-serving. Q: This land is located at Maramba? A: Yes. 6) together with the certification of the Municipal Treasurer of Oas. It is not part of a military reservation. public park. in cases of this nature. It ruled: “To our mind. Albay (Exh. it is not necessary. 6422679 (Exh.

(Viernes. sir. Q: Does this land encroach any road. Q: If and when this land will be titled. Q: In what concept was he possessing the land? A: In the concept of owner. river or stream? A: No. public park. 286. Agpaoa. in whose name would you like the title to be? A: In our names. Q: How many cavans of palay do you harvest every agricultural season? A: I get 40 cavans of palay every harvest season but sometimes more and sometimes less. Q: What was Marcial Listana doing on the land? A: He was planting palay and sometimes corn.vs. my wife and myself. See also Director of Lands vs. notoriously and exclusively.A: Since 1939. the mere payment of taxes does not confer nor prove it. may be considered as evidence of a claim of ownership. during summer month I plant corn and harvest about 8 cavans of unhusked corn. continuously. sir. Q: Do you know whether there are disputes involving the boundaries of the land? A: No. watershed or the government’s forest zone? A: No. PROSECUTOR CRISOSTOMO: That is all. Q: Have you paid all the taxes on the land? A: Yes. Nevertheless. Q: Is this part of a military reservation. et al. Q: What about the cadastral costs? A: I also paid the same. Q: Are there also persons claiming adverse ownership and possession of the land? A: No. openly. The omission to declare the land in question for taxation purposes at the inception of the tax system in 1901 of this country does not destroy the continuous and adverse . sir. sir. 133 SCRA 701). 41 Phil. Q: What do you do with the land now? A: I planted palay during rainy season. adversely. sir.” [4] “While it is true that tax declarations and tax receipts. Court of Appeals. it may be valuable in support of one’s title by prescription. and when taken in connection with possession.

testimonial and evidentiary. requires that possession of lands of the public domain must be from June 12. Fontanilla vs. he being one of the applicants.[6] It is likewise very basic that only errors of law and not of facts are reviewable by this Court in petitions for review on certiorari under Rule 45. (See N.A. et al. Workmen’s Compensation. the Director of Lands has brought the instant petition raising the sole issue of - WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENT HAS ACQUIRED REGISTRABLE TITLE OVER THE SUBJECT PROPERTY. Director of Lands. No.D. as its findings of fact are deemed conclusive.” [8] Indeed.A. and (2) Divinaflor is incompetent to testify on his predecessor’s possession since 1939 considering he was born only in 1941. In effect. Finally. as presently phrased.[9] This Court has held in Republic vs. No. No. Denial of the instant petition is proper in light of the well-entrenched doctrine upholding the factual findings of the trial court when affirmed by the Court of Appeals.. it is not the function of the Supreme Court to assess and evaluate all over again the evidence. 952).R. adduced by the parties particularly where the findings of both the trial court and the appellate court on the matter coincide.S. The . This Court is not bound to analyze and weigh all over again the evidence already considered in the proceedings below. which is the very rule relied upon by petitioner. 1952. We remind appellant on this score that self-serving evidence comes into play only when such is made by the party out of court and excludes testimony which a party gives as a witness at the trial. 4. originally. and in 1945. the arguments that follow in support thereof pertain to factual issues. 1942[11] which provided for a simple thirty-year prescriptive period of occupation by an applicant for judicial confirmation of imperfect title. Aug.J. 31 C. This was superseded by R. et al. 1945 for the following reasons: (1) Divinaflor failed to present sufficient proof that his predecessor-in-interest Marcial Listana has possessed the lot since 1939. Petitioner argues that Divinaflor failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove possession of the land in question since June 12. Doldol[10] that. 1894. We find no reversible error in the assailed judgment. petitioner would have us analyze or weigh all over again the evidence presented in the courts a quo in complete disregard of the well-settled rule that “the jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought to it from the Court of Appeals is limited to the review and revision of errors of law allegedly committed by the appellate court. vs.possession under claim of ownership of applicant’s predecessors in interest. Petitioner Director of Lands assails the decision of the Court of Appeals on the ground that the law..”[5] Motion for reconsideration of the above-mentioned decision having been denied. he was only 4 years old. “Section 48(b) of C. CA-G.[7] While the sole issue as so worded appears to raise an error of law. 141 provided for possession and occupation of lands of the public domain since July 26. for the same to be acquired through judicial confirmation of imperfect title. 8371-R. 1945 or earlier. appellant asseverates that the testimony of appellee is insufficient to prove possession for being self-serving.C. 19 SCRA 861.

None has been adduced in the case at bar. since June 12. Petitioner questions the credibility of claimant Divinaflor who testified on the possession of Marcial Listana for the period required by law. The determination of whether claimants were in open. 1945. indeed. Court of Appeals [12] that the Public Land Act requires that the applicant must prove the following: “(a) that the land is alienable public land and (b) that his open. it is axiomatic that a witness’ “interest in the outcome of a case shall not be a ground for disqualification. except when prevented by wars or force majeure. while perhaps. Those shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. the Court stated in Republic vs. immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title.[15] Being in a better position to observe the witnesses. deserves the highest respect. The issue of credibility is unavailing considering that the judge below is in a better position to pass judgment on the issue having personally heard the witnesses testify and observed their deportment and manner of testifying. the trial court’s appreciation of the witness’ testimony. by operation of law. under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. does not of itself operate to reduce his credit. truthfulness. acquires a right to a grant. if shown. 1977. it may be relied upon.” As amended Section 48(b) now reads: “(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. 1073. is a question of fact[14] which was resolved affirmatively by the trial court and the Court of Appeals. without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. Since claimant Romeo Divinaflor acquired ownership of Lot 10739 from Marcial Listana by deed of absolute sale dated May 21. his testimony must be judged on its own merits. [13] the pivotal issue is whether his predecessor-ininterest Marcial Listana has been in possession of the land since June 12. the possessor of the land. continuous. or earlier. continuous. Such factual finding will not be reversed on appeal except for the most compelling reasons. continuous.” [17] In this . 1973. and if ** (it) is otherwise clear and convincing and not destroyed by other evidence on record.same. 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. and that such an interest. has already been amended by Presidential Decree No. a government grant. exclusive and notorious possession under a bona fide claim of ownership since 1945 as required by law.” There is no dispute that the subject lot is an alienable and disposable tract of public land. 1945 under a bona fide claim of ownership. approved on January 25.” Interpreting the above-quoted provision. however.[16] Further. and candor. indicating the need for caution in considering the witness’ testimony. honesty. When the conditions set by law are complied with.

[22] There is no showing that as a child. he was four years old. it does not necessarily . we agree with the Court of Appeals that the belated declaration of the property for tax purposes does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the predecessors were not in possession of the land as required by law since 1945. the issue of incompetency of Divinaflor to testify on the possession of his predecessor-in-interest since 1939 is likewise unavailing and must be rejected. but in 1945. In the same vein. While this Court has held in a long line of cases [23] that tax declarations or tax receipts are good indicia of possession in the concept of owner. up until he testified in court in 1990. There is reason to reject petitioner’s claim that Divinaflor is incompetent to testify regarding Listana’s possession since it appears undisputed that Divinaflor grew up in Maramba. in 1939. where the subject lot is located. It is an elementary rule in evidence that: “when a witness is produced. Petitioner capitalizes on the fact that the earliest tax declaration presented took effect only in 1980 while the certificate of tax payment is dated 1990. can be a competent witness if he can perceive.[19] The failure of petitioner to interpose a timely objection to the presentation of Divinaflor’s testimony results in the waiver of any objection to the admissibility thereof and he is therefore barred from raising said issue on appeal. objection must be made before he has given any testimony. A timely objection was never made by petitioner on the ground of incompetency of Divinaflor to testify on this matter at any stage of the proceedings. Divinaflor was not born yet. that is at the age of four. any objection to the admissibility of evidence should be made at the time such evidence is offered or as soon thereafter as the objection to its admissibility becomes apparent.case. he and Marcial Listana were barrio mates. and had occasion to see Listana possessing the land. it must be interposed as soon as it becomes apparent. and that he usually passes by the subject land. The fact that Divinaflor was only a child at the required inception of possession does not render him incompetent to testify on the matter. Oas. a person is competent to be a witness if (a) he is capable of perceiving at the time of the occurrence of the fact and (b) he can make his perception known. residing in Maramba. Be that as it may. objection must be made before trial that a witness is incompetent. He may have first acquired knowledge of the fact during childhood.”[18] Simply put. It is not necessary that a witness’ knowledge of the fact to which he testifies was obtained in adulthood. It is well-established that any child regardless of age. this Court will not and cannot take issue. (b) capacity of recollection. If a party knows before trial that a witness is incompetent. Oas. Albay. in the premises. claimant did not possess the foregoing qualifications. if the incompetency appears on the trial. which knowledge was reinforced through the years. and (c) capacity of communication. Finally. [20] True. both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found Divinaflor’s testimony to be convincing. a finding with which. it is a right and privilege accorded to the adverse party to object to his examination on the ground of incompetency to testify. otherwise the objection will be considered waived and such evidence will form part of the records of the case as competent and admissible evidence. As his testimony goes. and perceiving can make known his perception to others and that he is capable of relating truthfully facts for which he is examined. Albay. [21] The requirements of a child’s competence as a witness are: (a) capacity of observation.

prohibition and mandamus with preliminary prohibitory injunction (p. then President Carlos P.24548 October 27. respondents-appelllees. questions arose as to the wisdom of having the area declared as a forest reserve or allow the same to be awarded to the most qualified bidder. 1961. is located within the former U. in Civil Case No. Jr. which dismissed the petition of petitionerappellant Wenceslao Vinzons Tan on the ground that it does not state a sufficient cause of action. 28. WHEREFORE. APOLONIO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES JOSE Y. Mariano de Joya. L. 2. JJ. and upon the respondents-appellees' (Secretary of Agriculture and Natural resources and the Director of Forestry) motion to dismiss (p. 1983 WENCESLAO VlNZONS TAN. Zambales. On May 5. Panganiban. CFI rec.). Estelito P. the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. the Bureau of Forestry issued Notice No. No. 1990 granting the registration of title to herein private respondent. 1994 which sustained the JUDGMENT of the Regional Trial Court rendered on July 27. 29. Nine other applicants submitted their offers before the deadline (p. It is also desired that the bids received by the Bureau of Forestry for the issuance of the timber license in the area during the public bidding conducted last May 22. Melo. 2087. 1961 be rejected in order that the area may be reserved as above stated.). Garcia issued a directive to the Director of the Bureau of Forestry. which was turned over by the United States Government to the Philippine Government (P.S. which read as follows: It is desired that the area formerly covered by the Naval Reservation be made a forest reserve for watershed purposes.. THE DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY. Camito V Pelianco Jr. (Chairman). intervenors. Sometime in April 1961.RAVAGO COMMERCIAL CO. (SGD. advertising for public bidding a certain tract of public forest land situated in Olongapo.. petitioner-appellant Wenceslao Vinzons Tan submitted his application in due form after paying the necessary fees and posting tile required bond therefor. for petitioner-appellant. JORGE LAO HAPPICK and ATANACIO MALLARI. and Sandoval-Gutierrez. MAKASIAR. The Court resolves to AFFIRM the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals dated February 8. respon dents-appellees. rec. This public forest land.R. Mendoza for respondent Ravago Comm'l Co.420 hectares. 99.).). FELICIANO. Naval Reservation comprising 7. 1961.. vs..follow that belated declaration of the same for tax purposes negates the fact of possession. THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE AND N ATURAL RESOURCES JOSE Y.252 hectares of timberland. Vitug.). 15. On June 7. consisting of 6. Branch VII. 1961 (p.) CARLOS . rec. Anacleto Badoy for respondent Atanacio Mallari. a petition for certiorari. especially in the instant case where there are no other persons claiming any interest in Lot 10739. APOLONIO RIVERA. G. Jr. . Thereafter. 56813. Prepare and submit immediately a draft of a proclamation establishing the said area as a watershed forest reserve for Olongapo. SO ORDERED. rec. for respondent Jorge Lao Happick. Solicitor General for respondent Director. FELICIANO. CFI rec. provided tenders were received on or before May 22. THE DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY. Zambales. concur. J: This is an appeal from the order dated January 20. 1965 of the then Court of First Instance of Manila.

. In convincing fashion. Finally. the decision of the Director of Forestry to dispose of the area thusly was arrived at after much thought and deliberation and after having been convinced that to do so would not adversely affect the watershed in that sector. an open target of timber smugglers.. 1963. it is earnestly urged that the Director of Forestry be allowed to proceed with the announcement of the results of the bidding for the subject forest area (p. Needless to stress.). Secretary Cesar M." the papers subject of Forestry Notice No. . 1. CFI rec. the Executive Secretary Malacanang.). Edgardo Pascual.. and (be the extension of ordinary timber licenses for areas not exceeding 5. pertinent portions of which state: xxx xxx xxx SUBJECT: . Fortich in office — issued General Memorandum Order No. .000 hectares each. The Office of the President in its 4th Indorsement dated February 2. The Director of Forestry is hereby authorized to grant (a) new ordinary timber licenses where the area covered thereby is not more than 3. 3. Worthy of mention is the fact that the Bureau of Forestry had already conducted a public bidding to determine the most qualified bidder to whom the area advertised should be awarded. 13. . CFI rec. 2. On May 30. Gozon. ... 1962. revoking the . to a reputable and responsible licensee who shall conduct logging operations therein under the selective logging method and who shall be obliged to employ a sufficient number of forest guards to patrol and protect the forest consecration and watershed protection. signed by Atty. 17. Juan Cancio.." and We quote: Respectfully forwarded to the honorable. Fortich of Agriculture and Natural Resources sustained the findings and re comendations of the Director of Forestry who concluded that "it would be beneficial to the public interest if the area is made available for exploitation under certain conditions. To convert the area into a forest reserve without an adequate forest protection force.. 1963 by the Bureau of Forestry (p. replacing secretary Benjamin M. The observations of responsible forest officials are most revealing of their zeal to promote forest conservation and watershed protection especially in Olongapo. 98. kaingineros and other forms of forest vandals and despoilers. on April 15. the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources Benjamin M... Jose Y. Thereafter. "respectfully returned to the Honorable Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources for appropriate action. Gozon — who succeeded Secretary Cesar M. as planned. On the other hand.. 60. On August 3. 267. 19b3 General memorandum Order No.). This Order shall take effect immediately (p. In view of the foregoing.). series of 1963. Against this award. The result of the bidding only have to be announced.' to the ever 'Problem Loggers' of Dinalupihan. . they have demonstrated that to declare the forest area involved as a forest reserve ratify than open it for timber exploitation under license and regulation would do more harm than of to the public interest. Upon assumption of office he Immediately promulgate on December 19. to award the area. 14. bidders Ravago Commercial Company and Jorge Lao Happick filed motions for reconsideration which were denied by the Director of Forestry on December 6. CFI rec.000 hectares each. CFI rec. . of the ten persons who submitted proposed the area was awarded to herein petitioner-appellant Wenceslao Vinzons Tan. some of the participating bidders like Mr.). To suddenly make a turn about of this decision without strong justifiable grounds. Manila inviting particular attention to the comment and recommendation of the Director of Forestry in the proceeding in indorsement in which this Of fice fully concurs. went to much expense in the hope of winning a virgin forest concession. would cause the Bureau of Forestry and this Office no end of embarrassment. GARCIA (pp.. . 2087 which was referred to the Bureau of Forestry for decision (p.P. Zambales area. 1963.. CFI rec. (D)elegation of authority to the Director of Forestry to grant ordinary timber licenses. Bataan . 1961. Feliciano was appointed as Acting secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Acting Legal Officer. would make of it a 'Free Zone and Logging Paradise. To be sure. 46.

was signed by then Acting Director of Forestry Estanislao R. wherein this paragraph appears: In this connection. On the same date that the above-quoted memorandum took effect. rules and regulations inconsistent with this Order are hereby revoked (p. from the order of the Director of Forestry dated April 15. 78. including amendments thereto. 1963. It was not signed by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources as required by Order No. 1964. the said appeals should be. shall be signed by the secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 2. the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources promulgated an order declaring Ordinary Timber License No. 1964. 1963. 1964. etc. by denying petitioner-appellant of the equal protection of the laws. December 19. On January 6. . and (b) the extension of ordinary timber licenses for areas not exceeding 3. 1963. Pertinent portions of the said Order read as follows: xxx xxx xxx SUBJECT: Revocation of General Memorandum Order No 46 dated May 30. This Order shall take effect immediately and all other previous orders. the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. circulars. in the area in question and shall see to it that the appellee shall not introduce any further improvements thereon pending the disposition of the appeals filed by Ravago Commercial Company and Jorge lao Happick in this case" (pp. which order took effect on the same day. a petition for certiorari. including the proposed Olongapo watershed Reservation.. the license was released by the Office of the Director of Forestry (p.). The Director of Forestry is hereby directed to stop the logging operations of Wenceslao Vinzons Tan. 56813. 20-'64 in the name of Wenceslao Vinzons Tan should be. Ravago Commercial Company wrote a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources shall be considered by tile Natural Resources praying that. 30. under General Memorandum order No. capriciously and arbitrarily acted without or in excess of their jurisdiction. to grant ordinary timber licenses. this Office is of the opinion and so holds. and that the United States as well as the Bureau of Forestry has earmarked this entire watershed for a watershed pilot forest for experiment treatment Concerning erosion and water conservation and flood control in relation to wise utilization of the forest. dated May 30.. Petitioner-appellant moved for a reconsideration of the order. "for this reason. promulgated an order commenting that in view of the observations of the Director of Forestry just quoted. December 19. 2087. rules and regulations. the issuance of' new licenses . 20-'64 issued in the name of Wenceslao Vinzons Tan. Petitioner-appellant claims that the respondents-appellees "unlawfully. memoranda. 268. On April 11. by depriving him of his constitutional right to property without due process of law. acting on the separate appeals filed by Jorge Lao Happick and Ravago Commercial Company. 1964. p.. that without the necessity of discussing the appeals of the herein appellants. petitioner-appellant filed the instant case before tile court a quo (Court of First Instance. p. denudation. increase or decrease of crop harvest of agricultural areas influenced by the watershed. 1964. 46.authority delegated to the Director of Forestry. but the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources denied the motion in an Order dated March 25. shifting cultivation. this Office is of the opinion and so holds that O. that the area in question composes of water basin overlooking Olongapo. and rejecting the proposals of the other applicants covering the same area. dismissed and this case is considered a closed matter insofar as this Office is concerned" (p. Special Civil Action No. (pp.). Emphasis supplied). CFl rec. On April 18. on the basis of the denial of his motion for reconsideration by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. On March 9. to grant (a) new ordinary timber licenses where the area covered thereby is not more than 3. rec. In order to acquaint the undersigned with the volume and Nature of the work of the Department.T. if there be any. Ordinary Timber License No. OTI No. it has been observed by the Acting Director of Forestry in his 2nd indorsement of February 12. License No. and is therefore void ab initio. pending resolution of the appeal filed by Ravago Commercial Company and Jorge Lao Happick from the order of the Director of Forestry denying their motion for reconsideration. 1963. CFI rec. 78. 1963. and in effect. rec. anomalous and contrary to existing forestry laws. 77.000 hectares each. awarding to Wenceslao Vinzons Tan the area under Notive No. 3839. 1-12. the authority delegated to the Director of forestry under General Memorandum Order No. Bernal without the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. acting on the said representation made by Ravago Commercial Company. REVOKED AND DECLARED without force and effect whatsoever from the issuance thereof. as having been issued by the Director of Forestry without authority. in the name of Wenceslao Vinzons Tan. Tan be cancelled or revoked on the ground that the grant thereof was irregular. rec.. illegally whimsically. 1964. 20-'64 (NEW) dated April 22.). CFI rec. prohibition and mandamus with preliminary prohibitory injunction (pp. as hereby it is.000 hectares each is hereby revoked.)." and concluding that. premises considered.. 1964. and/or with grave abuse of discretion by revoking a valid and existing timber license without just cause. directives. On February 12. "to grant the area in question to any of the parties herein. CFI rec. 20-'64 in the name of Wenceslao V. 46. Manila).). by impairing the . would undoubtedly adversely affect public interest which is paramount to private interests. 60 aforequoted.. as hereby they are. 30-31. CFI rec. The dispositive portion of said order reads as follows: WHEREFORE. Until further notice. 1963 — 1.

129 F. on January 20. nor to facts which appear by record or document included in the pleadings to be unfounded (Vol.). by taking into consideration the discussion in said motion and the opposition thereto. the legal right of the plaintiff.000. 1970 ed. nor to facts inadmissible in evidence. rec. as in the case of Cohen vs.).appellees. Petitioner-appellant prayed for judgment making permanent the writ of preliminary injunction against the respondents. 78-79. CFI rec.). This motion supplanted the general demurrer in an action at law and. One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100. Ravago Commercial Company. and sentencing the respondents. and the court cannot consider other matters aliunde He further invoked the rule that in a motion to dismiss based on insufficiency of cause of action. His motion for reconsideration having been denied (p. (2) that the respondents may not be sued without their consent. He argues that the sole issue in the present case is. After the said hearing. for the purpose of the motion. declaring the orders of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources dated March 9. on the ground that the timber license relied upon by the petitioner. which he readily availed of.). Ali Dimaporo. he is estopped from invoking the rule that to determine the sufficiency of a cause of action on a motion to dismiss. March 31. (3) that the petitioner has not exhausted all available administrative remedies. 1966). wherein evidence was submitted by all the parties including the intervenors. and all the proceedings in connection therewith. et al. U. 1964.appellant in his petition was issued by the Director of Forestry without authority and is therefore void ab initio. March 25. in its order dismissing the petition. to pay the petitioner-appellant the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200. from the evidence received. ail facts which are well pleaded however while the court must accept as true all well pleaded facts. rec.000) by way of pecuniary damage. this case was presented to the trial court upon a motion to dismiss for failure of the petition to state a claim upon which relief could be granted (Rule 16 [g]. because there is no reason to believe that the parties will change their stand. 2d 733). ].S. CFI rec. In the course of the hearing. only the facts alleged in the complaint must be considered. Consequently. If there were no hearing held. nor does the rule apply to legally impossible facts. ordering the Director of Forestry to renew OTI No.000. jointly and severally. petitioner-appellant Wenceslao Vinzons Tan appealed directly to this Court. null and void. As already observed. Happick and Atanacio Mallari. The respondents-appellees separately filed oppositions to the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. and Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30. whether or not the facts in the petition constitute a sufficient cause of action (p. 1. in his brief. petitioner-appellant had the opportunity to introduce evidence in support of tile allegations iii his petition. 1964. Pertinent portion of said decision is hereby quoted: . thru Justice Conrado V. prohibition and mandamus. 505. and dismissed the same accordingly. this Court. the correlative obligation of the defendants and the act or omission of the defendant in violation of that right — are satisfied in the averments of this petition (pp. and extensive discussion was held both orally and in writing. the only facts which the court could properly consider in passing upon the motion were those facts appearing in the complaint. CCA Minn 1942. and (6) that the cancellation of petitioner's license was dictated by public policy (pp. In Llanto vs. It must be noted that there was a hearing held in the instant case wherein answers were interposed and evidence introduced. (2) that the petitioner has no cause of action.00) by way of moral and exemplary damages.). stated that "the court feels that the evidence presented and the extensive discussion on the issuance of the writ of preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction should also be taken into consideration in resolving not only this question but also the motion to dismiss. the court a quo.obligation of contracts" (P. p.). 6. CFI rec. I Petitioner-appellant now comes before this Court. held that the trial court can properly dismiss a complaint on a motion to dismiss due to lack of cause of action even without a hearing. (4) that the petition does not state a cause of action. Intervenors also filed their respective answers in intervention with special and affirmative defenses (pp.rec. 31-32.). 1965. supplemented be such facts as the court judicially knew. 31. He invoked the rule that when the ground for dismissal is that the complaint states no cause of action. A perusal of the records of the case shows that petitioner-appellant's contentions are untenable. 3233. "where the case was presented to District Court upon a motion to dismiss because of alleged failure of complaint to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.000-00) as attorney's fees and costs. as well as all his acts and those of the Director of Forestry implementing said orders. and (5) that purely administrative and discretionary functions of administrative officials may not be interfered with by the courts. the facts alleged in the complaint are deemed hypothetically admitted for the purpose of the motion (pp.. presented a lengthy discussion on the definition of the term cause of action wherein he contended that the three essential elements thereon. declared that the petition did not state a sufficient cause of action. arguments and evidence" (p. and April 11. The Director of Forestry in his motion to dismiss dated April 24. Petitioner-appellant. alleges the following grounds: (1) that the court has no jurisdiction. presented petitions for intervention which were granted. Jorge Lao. (16 SCRA 601. rec. such fact can be determined only from the facts alleged in the complaint and from no other. 478. 1964. Sanchez. The Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources joined the motion to dismiss when in his answer of May 18. the motion does not admit allegations of which the court will take judicial notice are not true. Revised Rules of Court). (3) that venue is improperly laid. Moran's Comments on the Rules of Court. To justify such action. as a rule admits. rec. the trial court. unlawful and of no force and effect. 488. A hearing was held on the petition for the issuance of writ of preliminary injunction. he avers the following special and affirmative defenses: (1) that the court has no jurisdiction to entertain the action for certiorari. — namely. (5) that the court has no power to interfere in purely administrative functions.27. and no answer was interposed and no evidence introduced. rec.). citing cases). 20-'64 upon expiration. and they too opposed the writ. resolved not only the question on the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction but also the motion to dismiss. 172-177. (4) that the State is immune from suit without its consent. claiming that the trial court erred in: (1) holding that the petition does not state a sufficient cause of action: and (2) dismissing the petition [p.

Respondents moved to dismiss. Ground therefor is lack of cause of action. The Court below granted the motion,
dismissed the petition. The motion to reconsider failed. Offshoot is this appeal.
1. The threshold questions are these: Was the dismissal order issued without any hearing on the
motion to dismiss? Is it void?
WE go to the record. The motion to dismiss was filed on February 1, 1961 and set for hearing on February 10 following.
On February 8, 1961 petitioner's counsel telegraphed the court, (r)equest postponement motion dismissal till written
opposition filed.' He did not appear at the scheduled hearing. But on March 4, 1961, he followed up his wire, with his
written opposition to the motion to dismiss. Adverting to the 5-page motion to dismiss and the 6-page opposition
thereto, We find that the arguments pro and con on the question of the board's power to abolish petitioner's position to
discussed the problem said profusely cited authorities. The May 15, 1961 8-page court order recited at length the said
arguments and concluded that petitioner made no case.
One good reason for the statutory requirement of hearing on a motion as to enable the suitors to adduce evidence in
support of their opposing claims. But here the motion to dismiss is grounded on lack of cause of action. Existence of a
cause of action or lack of it is determined be a reference to the facts averred in the challenged pleading. The question
raised in the motion is purely one of law. This legal issue was fully discussed in said motion and the opposition thereto.
In this posture, oral arguments on the motion are reduced to an unnecessary ceremony and should be overlooked.
And, correctly so, because the other intendment of the law in requiring hearing on a motion, i.e., 'to avoid surprises
upon the opposite party and to give to the latter time to study and meet the arguments of the motion,' has been
sufficiently met. And then, courts do not exalt form over substance (Emphasis supplied).
Furthermore even if the complaint stated a valid cause of action, a motion to dismiss for- insufficiency of cause of action will be granted if
documentary evidence admitted by stipulation disclosing facts sufficient to defeat the claim enabled the court to go beyond disclosure in the
complaint (LOCALS No. 1470, No. 1469, and No. 1512 of the International Longshoremen's Association vs. Southern Pacific Co., 6 Fed.
Rules Service, p. 107; U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Dec. 7, 1952; 131 F. 2d 605). Thus, although the evidence of the parties
were presented on the question of granting or denying petitioner-appellant's application for a writ of preliminary injunction, the trial court
correctly applied said evidence in the resolution of the motion to dismiss. Moreover, in applying said evidence in the resolution of the motion
to dismiss, the trial court, in its order dismissing the petition, pointed out that, "there is no reason to believe that the parties will change their
stand, arguments and evidence" (p. 478, CFI rec.). Petitioner-appellant did not interpose any objection thereto, nor presented new
arguments in his motion for reconsideration (pp. 482-484, CFI rec.). This omission means conformity to said observation, and a waiver of his
right to object, estopping him from raising this question for the first time on appeal. " I question not raised in the trial court cannot be raised
for the first time on appeal" (Matienzo vs. Servidad, Sept. 10, 1981, 107 SCRA 276).
Moreover, petitioner-appellant cannot invoke the rule that, when the ground for asking dismissal is that the complaint states no cause of
action, its sufficiency must be determined only from the allegations in the complaint. "The rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very
rigid, technical sense; rules of procedure are used only to help secure substantial justice. If a technical and rigid enforcement of the rules is
made, their aim would be defeated. Where the rules are merely secondary in importance are made to override the ends of justice; the
technical rules had been misapplied to the prejudice of the substantial right of a party, said rigid application cannot be countenanced" (Vol. 1,
Francisco, Civil Procedure, 2 ed., 1973, p. 157, citing cases).
What more can be of greater importance than the interest of the public at large, more particularly the welfare of the inhabitants of Olongapo
City and Zambales province, whose lives and properties are directly and immediately imperilled by forest denudation.
The area covered by petitioner-appellant's timber license practically comprises the entire Olongapo watershed (p. 265, CFI rec.). It is of
public knowledge that watersheds serves as a defense against soil erosion and guarantees the steady supply of water. As a matter of
general policy, the Philippine Constitution expressly mandated the conservation and proper utilization of natural resources, which includes
the country's watershed. Watersheds in the Philippines had been subjected to rampant abusive treatment due to various unscientific and
destructive land use practices. Once lush watersheds were wantonly deforested due to uncontrolled timber cutting by licensed
concessionaries and illegal loggers. This is one reason why, in paragraph 27.of the rules and regulations included in the ordinary timber
license it is stated:
The terms and conditions of this license are subject to change at the discretion of the Director of Forestry, and that this
license may be made to expire at an earlier date, when public interests so require (Exh. D, p. 22, CFI rec.).
Considering the overriding public interest involved in the instant case, We therefore take judicial notice of the fact that, on April 30, 1964, the
area covered by petitioner-appellant's timber license has been established as the Olongapo Watershed Forest Reserve by virtue of
Executive Proclamation No. 238 by then President Diosdado Macapagal which in parts read as follows:
Pursuant to the provisions of Section 1824 of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended, 1, Diosdado Macapagal,
President of the Philippines do hereby withdraw from entry, sale, or settlement and establish as Olongapo Watershed
Forest Reserve for watershed, soil protection, and timber production purposes, subject to private rights, if any there be,
under the administration and control of the Director of Forestry, xx the following parcels of land of the public domain
situated in the municipality of Olongapo, province of Zambales, described in the Bureau of Forestry map No. FR-132,
to wit: ... ... (60 O.G. No. 23, 3198).

Petitioner-appellant relies on Ordinary Timber License No. 20-'64 (NEW) for his alleged right over the timber concession in question. He
argues thus: "The facts alleged in the petition show: (1) the legal right of the petitioner to log in the area covered by his timber license; (2) the
legal or corresponding obligation on the part of the respondents to give effect, recognize and respect the very timber license they issued to
the petitioner; and (3) the act of the respondents in arbitrarily revoking the timber license of the petitioner without giving him his day in court
and in preventing him from using and enjoying the timber license issued to him in the regular course of official business" (p. 32, rec.).
In the light of petitioner-appellant's arguments, it is readily seen that the whole controversy hinges on the validity or invalidity of his timber
license.
WE fully concur with the findings of the trial court that petitioner- appellant's timber license was signed and released without authority by then
Acting Director Estanislao R. Bernal of Forestry, and is therefore void ab initio. WE hereby quote such findings:
In the first place, in general memorandum order No. 46 dated May 30, 1963, the Director of Forestry was authorized to
grant a new ordinary timber license only where the area covered thereby was not more than 3,000 hectares; the tract of
public forest awarded to the petitioner contained 6,420 hectares (Exhs. 2-A and 2-B Ravago, embodied in Annex B;
Exh. B). The petitioner contends that only 1,756 hectares of the said area contain commercial and operable forest; the
authority given to the Director of Forestry to grant a new ordinary timber license of not more than 3,000 hectares does
not state that the whole area should be commercial and operable forest. It should be taken into consideration that the
1,756 hectares containing commercial and operable forest must have been distributed in the whole area of 6,420
hectares. Besides the license states, 'Please see attached sketch and technical description,' gives an area of 6,420
hectares and does not state what is the area covered of commmercial and operable forest (Exh. Ravago Also Annex B
of the petition, which was marked as Exhibit B, states:
Under Notice No. 2087, a tract of public forest containing 6,420 hectares located in Olongapo,
Zambales was declared available for timber utilization and development. Pursuant to this Notice,
there were received bid proposals from the following persons: ...
Wherefore, confirming the findings of said Committee, the area described in Notice No. 2087 shall be awarded, as it is
hereby awarded to Wenceslao Vinzons Tan, subject to the following conditions: ... ...
In the second place, at the time it was released to the petitioner, the Acting Director of Forestry had no more authority
to grant any license. The license was signed by the Acting Director of Forestry on December 19, 1963, and released to
the petitioner on January 6, 1964 (Exh. RavaGo The authority delegated to the Director of Forestry to grant a new
ordinary timber license was contained in general memorandum order No. 46 dated May 30, 1963. This was revoked by
general memorandum order No. 60, which was promulgated on December 19, 1963. In view thereof, the Director of
Forestry had no longer any authority to release the license on January 6, 1964, and said license is therefore void ab
initio (pp. 479480, CFI rec.).
The release of the license on January 6, 1964, gives rise to the impression that it was ante-dated to December 19, 1963 on which date the
authority of the Director of Forestry was revoked. But, what is of greatest importance is the date of the release or issuance, and not the date
of the signing of the license. While petitioner-appellant's timber license might have been signed on December 19, 1963 it was released only
on January 6, 1964. Before its release, no right is acquired by the licensee. As pointed out by the trial court, the Director of Forestry had no
longer any authority to release the license on January 6, 1964. Therefore, petitioner-appellant had not acquired any legal right under such
void license. This is evident on the face of his petition as supplemented by its annexes which includes Ordinary Timber License No. 20-'64
(NEW). Thus, in the case of World Wide Insurance & Surety Co., Inc. vs. Macrohon, et al. (105 Phil. 250, Feb. 28, 1959), this Court held that
if from the face of the complaint, as supplemented by its annexes, plaintiff is not the owner, or entitled to the properties it claims to have been
levied upon and sold at public auction by the defendants and for which it now seeks indemnity, the said complaint does not give plaintiff any
right of action against the defendants. In the same case, this Court further held that, in acting on a motion to dismiss, the court cannot
separate the complaint from its annexes where it clearly appears that the claim of the plaintiff to be the A owner of the properties in question
is predicated on said annexes. Accordingly, petitioner-appellant's petition must be dismissed due to lack of cause of action.
II
Petitioner-appellant, in his petition, alleged that he has exhausted all his administrative remedies to no avail as respondents-appellees have
failed, neglected, refused and continue to refuse to allow petitioner-appellant to continue operation in the area covered by his timber license.
He further alleged that he has neither recourse by way of appeal, nor any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law
except thru this special civil action, as the last official act of the respondent-appellee Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources in
declaring void the timber license referred to above after denying petitioner-appellant's motion for reconsideration, is the last administrative
act. Petitioner-appellant relies on the case of Demaisip vs. The Court of Appeals, et al. (106 Phil. 237, Sept. 24, 1959), wherein it was held
that the failure of the plaintiff to appeal from the adverse decision of the Secretary to the President cannot preclude the plaintiff from taking
court action in view of the theory that the Secretary of a department is merely an alter-ego of the President. The presumption is that the
action of the Secretary bears the implied sanction of the President unless the same is disapproved by the latter (Villena vs. the Secretary of
Interior, 67 Phil. 451; p. 7, CFI rec.).
To this We cannot agree. Petitioner-appellant did not appeal the order of the respondent Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources to
the President of the Philippines, who issued Executive Proclamation No. 238 withdrawing the area from private exploitation, and establishing
it as the Olongapo Watershed Forest Reserve. Considering that the President has the power to review on appeal the orders or acts of the

respondents-appellees, the failure of the petitioner-appellant to take that appeal is failure on his part to exhaust his administrative remedies.
Thus, this Court, in the case of Calo vs. Fuertes (5 SCRA 399, 400, June 29, 1962), held that:
At any rate, the appellant's contention that, as the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources is the alter ego of the
President and his acts or decisions are also those of the latter, he need not appeal from the decision or opinion of the
former to the latter, and that, such being the case, after he had appealed to the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural
Resources from the decision or opinion of the Director of Lands he had exhausted the administrative remedies, is
untenable.
The withdrawal of the appeal taken to the President of the Philippines is tantamount to not appealing all thereto. Such
withdrawal is fatal, because the appeal to the President is the last step he should take in an administrative case.
In 1912, in the case of Lamb vs. Phipps (22 Phil. 491-92, July 22, 1912), this Court stressed the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative
remedies, thus:
When a plain, adequate and speedy remedy is afforded by and within the executive department of the government the
courts will not interfere until at least that remedy has been exhausted. Jao Igco vs. Shuster, 10 Phil. Rep. 448; Ekiu vs.
U.S., 142 U.S. 651; U.S. vs. Sing Tuck, 194 U.S. 161; U.S. vs. Ju Toy 198 U.S. 253; Chill Yow vs. U.S., 28 Sup. Ct.
Rep. 201). The administrative remedies afforded by law must first be exhausted before resort can be had to the courts,
especially when the administrative remedies are by law exclusive and final. Some matters and some questions are by
law delegated entirely and absolutely to the discretion of particular branches of the executive department of the
government. When the law confers exclusive and final jurisdiction upon the executive department of the government to
dispose of particular questions, their judgments or the judgments of that particular department are no more reviewable
by the courts than the final judgment or decisions of the courts are subject to be reviewed and modified by them"
(emphasis supplied).
Moreover, this being a special civil action, petitioner-appellant must allege and prove that he has no other speedy and adequate remedy
(Diego vs. The Court of Appeals, et al., 54 Off. Gaz., No. 4, 956). In the case at bar, petitioner- appellant's speedy and adequate remedy is
an appeal to the President of the Philippines.
Accordingly, "it is settled to the point of being elementary that the only question involved n certiorari is jurisdiction, either want of jurisdiction
or excess thereof, and abuse of discretion shall warrant the issuance of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari when the same is so grave as
when the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion, prejudice or personal hostility, and it must be so patent
and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty, or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined, or to act at all in contemplation of
law" FS Divinagracia Agro-Commercial Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 104 SCRA 191 [April .1, 1981]). The foregoing is on the assumption that
there is any irregularity, albeit there is none in the acts or omissions of the respondents-appellees. certiorari is not a substitute for appeal as
held time and again by this Court (People vs. Villanueva, 110 SCRA 465), "it being a time honored and well known principle that before
seeking judicial redress, a party must first exhaust the administrative remedies available" (Garcia vs. Teehankee, 27 SCRA 944, April 18,
1969).
Moreover, from the decision of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources complained of, petitioners had a plain, speedy and
adequate remedy by appealing therefrom to the Chief Executive. In other words, before filing the present action for certiorari in the court
below, they should have availed of this administrative remedy and their failure to do so must be deemed fatal to their case [Calo vs. Fuertes,
et al., G.R. No. L-16537, June 29,1962]. To place petitioners' case beyond the pale of this rule, they must show that their case falls — which
it does not — within the cases where, in accordance with our decisions, the aggrieved party need not exhaust administrative remedies within
his reach in the ordinary course of the law [Tapales vs. The President and the Board of Regents of the U.P., G.R. No. L-17532, March 30,
1963; Mangubat vs. Osmena, G.R. No. L- 12837, April 30, 1959; Baguio vs. Hon. Jose Rodriguez, G. R. No. L-11078, May 27, 1959; Pascual
vs. Provincial Board, G.R. No. L-11959, Oct. 31, 1959; Marinduque Iron Mines, etc. vs. Secretary of Public Works, G.R. No. L-15982, May
31, 1963; Alzate vs. Aldaba, G.R. No. L-14407, Feb. 29, 1960 and Demaisip vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L- 13000, Sept. 25, 1959]
(Ganob vs. Ramas, 27 SCRA 1178, April 28, 1969).
III
Petitioner-appellant not only failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, but also failed to note that his action is a suit against the State
which, under the doctrine of State immunity from suit, cannot prosper unless the State gives its consent to be sued Kawananakoa vs.
Polybank, 205 U.S. 349; Siren vs. U.S., 7 Wall. 152; Sec. 16, Art. XV, 1973 Constitution).
The respondents-appellees, in revoking the petitioner-appellant's timber license, were acting within the scope of their authority. Petitionerappellant contends that "this case is not a suit against the State but an application of a sound principle of law whereby administrative
decisions or actuations may be reviewed by the courts as a protection afforded the citizens against oppression" (p. 122, CFI rec.). But,
piercing the shard of his contention, We find that petitioner-appellant's action is just an attempt to circumvent the rule establishing State
exemption from suits. He cannot use that principle of law to profit at the expense and prejudice of the State and its citizens. The promotion of
public welfare and the protection of the inhabitants near the public forest are property, rights and interest of the State. Accordingly, "the rule
establishing State exeraiption from suits may not be circumvented by directing the action against the officers of the State instead of against
the State itself. In such cases the State's immunity may be validly invoked against the action as long as it can be shown that the suit really
affects the property, rights, or interests of the State and not merely those of the officer nominally made party defendant" (SINCO, Phil.
Political Law, 10th ed., p. 35; Salgado vs. Ramos, 64 Phil. 724; see also Angat River Irrigation System vs. Angat River Workers' Union, G.R.

Rev. J. neither is it property or a property right. L-61539 February 14. neither is it property or property rights (People vs. COSTS AGAINST PETITIONER-APPELLANT. which can be validly withdrawn whenever dictated by public interest or public welfare as in this ceise "A license is merely a permit or privilege to do what otherwise would be unlawful. The utilization and disposition of forest resources is directly under the control and supervision of the Director of Forestry. timber licenses issued by the Director of Forestry. We do so again" (Director of Forestry vs. nor is it taxation" (37 C.. L-10943-44. Montano vs. reverse or set aside acts of subordinate officials (Province of Pangasinan vs. 30 SCRA 134. therefore. Inc. 1981). Thus. 1986 . Secretary of Public Works and Communications. The welfare of the people is the supreme law. "this Court had rigorously adhered to the principle of conserving forest resources. 147148). 168). nor does it create a vested right. 28.No. 144. p. that petitioner-appellant's timber license is valid. and is not a contract between the authority. 24 SCRA 898. timber licenses are subject to the authority of the Director of Forestry. Bureau of Printing Employees' Association. WHEREFORE. Silvosa. Code).). 1957.. 18 SCRA 1120. when public interests so require" (Exh. WE reiterate Our fidelity to the basic policy of conserving the national patrimony as ordained by the Constitution. 102 Phil. may impose reasonable regulations in the exercise of the powers of the subordinate officer" (Director of Forestry vs. Provincial Board of Rizal (56 Phil. May 5. Ericta. Aug. who. safety. and that this license may be made to expire at an earlier date. Concepcion Jr. Thus. The power of control of the Department Head over bureaus and offices includes the power to modify. it is only a license or privilege.J. A timber license is not a contract within the purview of the due process clause. 104 SCRA 309. 1 SCRA 340. Oct. or municipal. 35 SCRA 481. In the case of Pedro vs. No. Mobil PhiL vs. However. 79[c]. it is no less true that as a subordinate officer. "while Section 1831 of the Revised Administrative Code provides that forest products shall be cut.appellee (Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and therefore. A timber license is an instrument by which the State regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. 24. this Court held that the granting of license does not create irrevocable rights. A private individual cannot issue a timber license. and welfare of society (Edu vs. Oct. Dec. concurs in the result.R. G. 1121-1125. Customs Arrastre Service. representatives of the sovereign authority discharging governmental powers. As pointed out earlier. as corollary to which the alleged right to them of private individuals or entities was meticulously inquired into and more often than not rejected. IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING. 123). IV Granting arguendo. Municipality of Surigao. paragraph 27 of the rules and regulations included in the ordinary timber license states: "The terms and conditions of this license are subject to change at the discretion of the Director of Forestry. a favorable judgment for the petitioner-appellant would result in the government losing a substantial part of its timber resources. it was held that: A license authorizing the operation and exploitation of a cockpit is not property of which the holder may not be deprived without due process of law. Abad Santos and Escolin.1970). De Castro. 97 Phil. but a mere privilege which may be revoked when public interests so require. Both the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Director of Forestry acted in their capacity as officers of the State. THE ORDER APPEALED FROM IS HEREBY . valid. petitioner-appellant's action cannot prosper unless the State gives its consent to be sued. state. Ong Tin 54 O. Consequently. the Director of Forestry is subject to the control of the Department Head or the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources (See. concur. the revocation of petitioner-appellant's timber license was a wise exercise of the power of the respondent. 31. 789. Accordingly. gathered and removed from any forest only upon license from the Director of Forestry. on valid grounds. There being supporting evidence. Guerrero. 1969. vs. Benedicto. JJ. 1968). 341. 343). Adm. D. Aquino. Thus. is on leave. 22.G. 143. Bureau of Printing vs. CFI rec. 30.AFFIRMED IN TOTO. still respondents-appellees can validly revoke his timber license. V As provided in the aforecited provision. Benedicto. 7576). supra). granting it and the person to whom it is granted. no franchise or right can be availed of to defeat the proper exercise of police power (Surigao Electric Co. JJ. 800-802... respondent-appellee Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources has the authority to revoke. This being the case. federal. The State has inherent power enabling it to prohibit all things hurtful to comfort. SO ORDERED.

VIJANDRE. Right or wrong that decision is the . according to Vijandre's evidence. who sold the northern portion of the land to Saturnino Moldero in 1944 and the southern portion to Rafael Gonzales in 1951. 12-A to 15—Pascua.called Nottab. J-1) or a gratuitous adjustment title as distinguished from an onerous adjustment title. Moldero in 1948 sold his northern portion to the spouses Antonio and Josefa Estrada. 242 Joint Record on Appeal). vs. "3. C. petitioners. sold the land in 1934 to Luis Guzman Rivas who died in 1944.500 brazas de largo y 3.222 hectares of the Nottab land. the whole land was sold to Luis Guzman Rivas and later to Cavaco. PASCUA. all supposed sales regarding that land were void. Pascua. a part of the forest reserve. In 1951 the Estrada spouses and (Gonzales sold the land to Cavaco (Exh. therefore. played decisive roles in its disposition. sold the land to one Manuel Guzman sometime in 1904 or 1905 or 1908. whatever its area. his son-in-law. The administratrix of Manuel Guzman's estate. the brothers Luis Guzman Rivas and Lope Guzman Rivas. AQUINO. was inalienable land and. The evidence shows that on March 14. I and K).DIRECTOR OF LANDS and DIRECTOR OF FOREST DEVELOPMENT. 1873 the Alcalde Mayor and judge of the Court of First Instance in Tuguegarao. Cagayan purportedly granted to Domingo Bunagan a possessory information title for a tract of land. whereas. According to Cavaco's evidence. It is the registered owner of the land.: This is a land registration case involving what the Republic of the Philippines claims to be grazing land. The land passed to his widow. The Gaceta de Manila dated November 3. as apoderado of Bunagan's heirs. Ceferino Saddul. and consequently.respondents. sons of Pablo Guzman. "destinado al pasto de sus ganados" y bajo la condicion de sin perjuicio del derecho que el Estado o otro tercero pudiera tener en referida finca rustica" (Exh. Cagayan (Exh. PACIFICO V. according to Cavaco's evidence. Dolores Enriquez. The trial court and the Court of Appeals in a land registration case adjudicated to Cavaco 1. 1885 mentions Bunagan as having obtained a "composicion gratuita" for a parcel of land in Enrile. ** What happened to the Nottab land? The conflicting evidence of the oppositor Cagayan Valley Agricultural Corporation (Cavaco) and petitioner Pacifico Vijandre shows that two persons. The Solicitor General's view is that the whole Nottab land.000 brazas de ancho". is forestal and grazing land. only a portion was sold to Luis and the remainder was sold to Lope Guzman Rivas who in turn sold portions to Vijandre and Fernando A.J. after Bunagan's death. The evidence is conflicting because. LOPE GUZMAN RIVAS. and COURT OF APPEALS. with the approval of the probate court. FERNANDO A.

sold to Pablo Guzman for Pl.R. Lope has been residing in Makati. 1915. 1968 an application for the registration of two parcels of land located at Sitio Nottab. which was already covered by OCT No. the portion transferred to Lope Guzman Rivas as differentiated from the Cavaco land which came from Lope's brother Luis. It is the supposed remainder of Bunagan's land that is now involved in this case. No. who leased the land for grazing purposes to other persons. It may be repeated that Cavaco obtained more than 1.92. it may be stated that Presidential Decree No. Before the application was filed. the same Nottab land previously applied for by Cavaco. Reves. 0-393. Joint Record on Appeal). Pablo Guzman died in 1927. petitioner Lope Guzman Rivas. November 28. the sole heir of Domingo. It should be stressed that according to the Cavaco case the whole land was sold to Luis and. (2) in not finding that Lope Guzman Rivas and Vijandre and their . Metro Manila since 1961 because he has a heart ailment. Lope Guzman Rivas sold to his co-petitioner Vijandre l/2 of the entire land at P50 a hectare. H). on July 26. Enrile. or a total of 1. Vijandre undertook to finance the registration of the land. The Directors of Lands and Forest Development appealed to this Court.law of the case. 2493132. 892 since 1976 discontinued the use of Spanish titles as evidence in land registration proceedings. In 1958 about 800 hectares of the said land were sold by Lope to Ignacio Pascua who in 1962 sold the same portion to his son. therefore. 191 and other cases). according to Vijandre's evidence in this case. December 9.000 the remainder of the land in Nottab. Under those Spanish titles a land grant could not exceed 1. The learned trial court declared the disputed land public land and dismissed the applications of Lope Guzman Rivas and Vijandre and the claims of Pascua and Cavaco. The reason is that said Spanish titles were already used in the Cavaco case. It is covered by Plan Psu-178846. then Lope would return to mall scashadvances(9-16. except with respect to Lot No. The trial court correctly held that the said adjudication means that the respondent herein cannot use anymore in this case the supposed 1873 informacion posesoria and the 1885 composicion gratuita as bases of their application for registration. Should the registration of the land not materialize for causes not imputable to Vijandre.033 hectares. L-27594. Cagayan. (Cagayan Valley Agricultural Corporation vs. Parenthetically.000 hectares (Director of Lands vs. 626 (Exh. no remainder could have been transferred to Lope. The Appellate Court reversed the trial court's decision. Manuela Bunagan. Lope Guzman Rivas and Vijandre filed in May. Director of Lands. CA-G. and Plan Psu-179101 covering fifteen lots with an area of 890 hectares. 1975. The Nottab land was inherited by his son.7 hectares. Fernando. Lope Guzman Rivas and Vijandre did not file any appellees' brief. On the other hand. The Solicitor General contends that the Appellate Court erred (1) in not declaring that the disputed land is part of a forest reservation. embracing thirteen lots with an area of 1. It granted the application of Lope and Vijandre. 1960). covered by Tax Declaration No. 68 SCRA 177.000 hectares by virtue of the said Spanish titles. "una parcela de pasto de ganaderia". 13.

The 1960 and 1968 tax declarations of applicant Lope Guzmian Rivas describe the 2. We hold that the disputed land is inalienable public grazing land. 3 and 4. 1). Applicant Lope Guzman Rivas and oppositor Pascua and their predecessors have always treated the 1. We have stated that the supposed possessory information title issued in 1873 to the original claimant. 2Rep. Pascua bought from Lope Guzman Rivas the 800 hectares in 1962 as "a parcel of pasture land" (Exh.T. 15-A of Enrile. being a part of the forest reserve. (3) that the pasture lease agreements did not convert private land into public land and (4) that Bunagan's Spanish titles were authentic and valid. containing an area of 8. Pascua) respectively. 63 OG 3364).Torres. Cagayan. It is part of Timberland Project No. C.000 hectares in question to Pablo Guzman at fifty centavos a hectare as "una parcela de pasto de ganaderia (Exh. On the other hand. (Exh. lawyer Pascua argues (1) that the disputed land was already private in the hands of Domingo Bunagans (2) that portions of said land. Rep.). Similarly. (Note that Exhibit J. 1. Similarly. 1967. Manuela Bunagan. Domingo Bunagan. The application for the possessory information title was approved "bajo la condicion de sin perjuicio determination derecho que el Estado o otro tercero pudiera tener en referida finca rustica" (Exh. It is intended for "wood production watershed soil protection and other forest uses" (Exh. Portions of the land had been the object of pasture lease agreements with the Bureau of Forestry.000 hectares of land in question as for "pasture exclusively". the supposed heir to Domingo Bunagan. It is included in the Bureau of Forestry Map L. were titled in the names of Cavaco and Melardo Agapay (Benjamin V. It is not disposable public agricultural land. situated in Enrile.). Article XIII of the 1935 Constitution and sections 8. Said land is a part of the to forest reserve under Presidential Proclamation No. 10 and 11 of Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution. 1-B and 7.predecessors have not been in the open. Solana and Amulong. Eliseo Lasam and J. R and S). uninterrupted.923 hectares as pasture land. exclusive and notorious possession of the disputed land and that their possession was not in the concept of owner: (3) in not finding that Domingo Bunagan's Spanish titles were not authentic and (4) in not finding that the 1960 decision in favor of Cavaco is not res judicata. It cannot be appropriated by private persons. Jr.249 hectares.222 hectares and 9 hectares. Section 10 distinguishes strictly agricultural lands (disposable) from grazing lands (inalienable). Pascua himself. 2263. the 1885 resolution published in Gaceta de Manila. H). meaning it is grazing land (Exh. Among the lessees were oppositor Fernando A. . Ignacio A. continuous. or "un terreno destinado al pasto de sus ganados" or la estancia para ganados denominada Nottab".. comprising the Timberland of the Cagayan Land Classification. the 1960 and 1962 tax declarations submitted in evidence by oppositor Pascua describe 790 or 767 hectares of the land as "pasture land" (Exh. I Pascua). 27 and 28—Pascua). Cagayan. Grazing lands and timber lands are riot alienable under section 1. Rep. describes the land as "una estancia de ganado al terreno" (grazing land). is not a composition title at all). 159 dated February 13. The reservation was made prior to the instant 1968 application for registration. sold in 1915 the 2. It is non-registerable (Exh.

2228 on the ground of previous registration. The records show that on 26 November 1965 herein appellants petitioned the Court of First Instance of Davao for registration of nine (9) parcels of land located in barrio Zaragosa. vs. nor have they been in open. Jose C. No. .: The spouses Francisco Lahora and Toribia Moralizon brought the present appeal to this Court from the order of the Court of First Instance of Davao (in Land Reg. concur. who alleged that lands belonging to him and his wife were included in the application for registration.Lands within the forest zone or timber reservation cannot be the object of private ownership (Republic vs. P-6055 in the name of oppositor's wife. dismissing their petition with respect to Lot No..37682. Vijandre and the counter-application of lawyer Fernando A. REYES. JR. 1974. continuous.. L-28565 January 30. mentioning specifically Lot No. and THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS. 132 Phil. JJ. (Chairman). 56 SCRA 499. public and adverse possession in the concept of owner. J. N-86). March 29.L. Republic vs. Case No. No. Occena and Ocampo Law Offices for petitioners-appellants. The petition was opposed by Emilio Dayanghirang. 2228 which was said to be already covered by Original Certificate of Title No.R. province of Davao. 135 SCRA 156 and other cases). open. Abad Santos. L. Animas. J. Escolin and Alampay. plan SWO-36856.. One of the said parcels of land is identified as lot No. and notorious possession thereof for at least 30 years. Court of Appeals. 56077.. G. contending that the applicants or their predecessors-in-interest never had sufficient title over the parcels of land sought to be registered. EMILIO DAYANGHIRANG.B. Jr. said appellants claiming that the question of the validity of a certificate of title based on a patent allegedly obtained by fraud can be raised by them in a land registration proceeding. municipality of Manay. and the other half by purchase and by continuous. oppositors-appellees. petitioners-appellants. Director of Forestry vs. The Director of Lands also filed an opposition to the petition.R. Jr. the decision of the Appellate Court is reversed and set aside. SO ORDERED. Pascua are dismissed. contrary to the ruling of the court a quo. February 28. SPOUSES FRANCISCO LAHORA and TORIBIA MORALIZON. one-half of which having been acquired by appellant Toribia Moralizon allegedly by inheritance. 1971 IN RE: APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION OF TITLE. Munoz. 637. J. 1985. 2228.. Cuevas. took no part. Concepcion. G. Manay Cadastre. The application for registration of Lope Guzman Rivas and Pacifico V. No costs. WHEREFORE. Mañgune for oppositor-appellee Emilio Dayanghirang.. Jr.

2228. the action for review of the decree should have been filed before the one year period had elapsed. San Agustin. 2228 was the subject of a public land grant in favor of the oppositor's wife.2 In other words. by the issuance of the public land patent and the recording thereof. 3 In the present case. the situation would be different. 43 Phil. P-6053. Having become registered land under Act 496. For this reason. on the ground that it having been previously registered and titled. since they were the actual occupants of the property. the land is automatically brought within the operation of the Land Registration Act1. this Court has ruled in Pamintuan vs. 558. P-6053) covering the said property is a nullity. 2228 of the Manay Cadastre. upon expiration of one year from its issuance. as well as the original certificate of title subsequently obtained by her. of the Manay Cadastre. erroneously referred to as OCT No. the court granted the oppositor's motion and directed the dismissal of the petition as regards Lot No. said parcel of land can no longer be the subject of adjudication in another proceeding. however. the indefeasibility of the first title. P-6055. and that a second decree for the same land would be null and void. Thus. 4 Of course. 6 Thereafter. and by virtue of which grant or patent Original Certificate of Title No. Clearly.5 Even assuming arguendo. the alleged actual occupants of the land. Hence. the corresponding patent therefor is recorded. In its order of 18 June 1967. because appellants. And if they were to be issued to different persons. not in another registration. the relief provided by the law in such instance may be secured by the aggrieved party. Lot No. should be the subject of two registration proceedings. including Lot No. Orderly administration of justice precludes that Lot 2228. this appeal by the petitioners. The rule in this jurisdiction. the title issued to the grantee becoming entitled to all the safeguards provided in Section 38 of the said Act. It may be recalled that the action filed by petitioners-appellants in the lower court on 26 November 1965 was fororiginal registration of certain parcels of land. 2228. would be torn away. when it should properly be OCT No. nine (9) years earlier. Appellants. 2228. further registration of the same would lead to the obviously undesirable result of two certificates of title being issued for the same piece of land. P-6053 was issued in her name on 21 June 1956. which is the most valued characteristic of Torrens titles. appellants' petition for registration of the same parcel of land on 26 November 1965.7and not another applicant or claimant. for the reason that said lot was already registered and titled in the name of oppositor's wife as of 21 June 1956. It is likewise prayed in the same motion that the petition be dismissed insofar as it includes Lot No. and the patent issued to the latter. that there indeed exists a proper case for cancellation of the patent for intrinsic fraud. Furthermore. for land already registered in the name of a person can not be the subject of another . try to make a case against the dismissal-order of the lower court by contending that the patent issued to oppositor's wife was procured by fraud.On 14 June 1967. regarding public land patents and the character of the certificate of title that may be issued by virtue thereof. It is not here denied by appellants that said Lot No. is that where land is granted by the government to a private individual. the proper party to bring the action would only be the person prejudiced by the alleged fraudulent act — the owner and grantor. can no longer prosper. according to appellants. on the ground that the first certificate of title (OCT No. were null and void. even if both certificates should be in the name of the same person. were not notified of the application for patent therefor and of its adjudication. 2228 was registered and titled in the name of oppositors' wife as of 21 June 1956. counsel for the private oppositor filed a motion for correction of the number of the certificate of title covering Lot No. for all legal purposes. which was amended on 29 June 1967. if the patent had been issued during the pendency of the registration proceedings. the certificate of title shall become irrevocable and indefeasible like a certificate issued in a registration proceeding. and the certificate of title is issued to the grantee. the government could not have awarded it to oppositor's wife. that in a cadastral case the court has no jurisdiction to decree again the registration of land already decreed in an earlier case. thereafter.

L-65334 December 26. BEATA SUAREZ. JJ.respondents. Dismissing petitioner's appeal for failure to file its brief within the reglementary period. FIDELA SARTE. Makalintal. Fernando. AMPARO AVENDANO. G. Teehankee.. ANTONINA SUAREZ. NATIVIDAD MARQUEZ. ELIAS DELA CRUZ. P-6053. 10 As regards the complaint against the alleged correction of the number of the certificate of title covering Lot No. FELISA LEYVA. there is nothing irregular in the lower court's order granting the same.: In this appeal by Certiorari. WHEREFORE. The other applicant was "Heirs of Joaquin Avendaño". 1983.826 square meters surveyed in the name of the Municipality of Antipolo (ANTIPOLO. and the subsequent Resolution of the same Court.G. The facts may be briefly stated as follows: On August 8. APOLONIA AVENDANO. DANIEL SUAREZ. ISIDRO DELA CRUZ. Villamor and Makasiar. J. AURELIA LAPAR. Dizon. 1984 MUNICIPALITY OF ANTIPOLO. dated August 23. PAULINO AVENDANO. BEATRIZ SARTE.. denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration for being without any legal and factual basis. Makati (the Registration Court. petitioner. JULIANA SARTE. RODOLFO SARTE. MELENCIO-HERRERA. Leonardo C. 1983. the same is hereby affirmed. Barredo. NATIVIDAD LOPEZ and the HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT.R. AQUILINA ZAPANTA. 1977. Both parcels were situated in the Municipality of Antipolo. SUSANA LEYVA. concur.J. ISIDORA LEYVA.. ROMEO LOPEZ. MARCIAL LEYVA. with costs against the appellants. FERMIN LEYVA. C. Rodriguez for respondents. He had applied for registration under the Torrens system of a parcel of land containing 258 square meters. Branch XV. MODESTA LEYVA. VICTORIO SARTE. when it should properly be OCT No. The applications were approved by . SAMSON LAVILLA. No. SR. Concepcion. ENRIQUE AVENDANO. P-6055. it appearing that the motion was intended to rectify a clearly typographical mistake.registration8. or for damages in case the property has passed into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value. finding no error in the order appealed from. we called upon to review the Resolution of respondent Intermediate Appellate Court. 2228 which was erroneously stated in the oppositor's motion as OCT No. Cervo for petitioner. but in an appropriate action such as one for reconveyance or reversion 9. Castro. and the land they were applying for registration was a parcel (hereinafter called the DISPUTED PROPERTY) containing 9. for short). Mariano A. BENITA SARTE. REMEDIOS LOPEZ. HONORIO LEYVA. CONCORDIA GALICIA. Zaldivar. One of the two applicants was Conrado Eniceo. LUISITO LOPEZ. dated September 27. MARIA DELA CRUZ. a single application for the registration of two distinct parcels of land was filed by two distinct applicants before the then Court of First Instance of Rizal. vs. VIRGILIO HILARIO. VIRGINIA SARTE. for short).

used long before the war as a public market and other public purposes. a remand to respondent Court. its appeal was disallowed. II At any rate. Although failure to file Brief within the time provided by the Rules is. . as in this case. also of the Court of First Instance of Rizal. for the entertainment of the appeal on the merits. considering the three Motions for Early Decision filed by private respondents. the appeal was dismissed despite the fact that before the dismissal. Only a short resolution need be made to sustain the first and second issues of error. a ground for dismissal of an appeal. A notice to file Brief was issued by the Appellate Court. 1980. 1981. Upon motion of the defendants-appellees to dismiss on the ground that ANTIPOLO had not filed its Brief within the reglementary period.the Registration Court on February 26. ANTIPOLO had submitted its Appellant's Brief. and hence actually devoted to public use and service. and their assignees (hereinafter called the AVENDAÑO HEIRS) praying for nullification of the judgment rendered by the Registration Court. III With more reason should petitioner's appeal have been given due course on the important and substantial allegation that the registration court did not have jurisdiction over the land subject of registration. ANTIPOLO filed a complaint in Civil Case No. which ANTIPOLO claimed it had not received. instead of dismissing the appeal on a technicality. 41353. and the latter had restated the issues as follow: I The Intermediate Appellate Court erred in dismissing petitioner's appeal on the alleged ground of failure to file appellant's brief within the reglementary period the fact being that counsel had not been duly served with the notice to file brief. Branch XIII. ANTIPOLO perfected an appeal to the then Court of Appeals. With the foregoing conclusion. However. pleaded a special defense of res judicata. would ordinarily be the appropriate relief. the important issue of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the Land Registration Court has been raised. the CASE BELOW was dismissed. On May 22. in their Answer. this Court had held that rules of technicality must yield to the broader interests of substantial justice 1 specially where. for short) against named "Heirs of Joaquin Avendaño". After a preliminary hearing on the mentioned special defense. ANTIPOLO took steps to interpose an appeal but because it failed to amend the Record on Appeal. The defendants. it being property of the Municipality of Antipolo. We gave due course to the Petition for Review on certiorari filed with this Court by ANTIPOLO. the Appellate Court should have given due course to the appeal since the appellant's brief was filed within the 90-day period which is uniformly granted as a matter of course to all litigants before the Appellate Court. indeed. Pasig (the CASE BELOW. we shall resolve the substantive merits of the appeal to the appellate tribunal from the judgment rendered in the CASE BELOW.

is not a decision in contemplation of law. 503. it follows that such a void judgment cannot constitute a bar to another case by reason of res judicata. since as far back as 1916.. They were issued by a Court with no jurisdiction over the subject matter. the DISPUTED PROPERTY was already devoted to public use and public service. 909. since they had been in possession.From the record. they must be ordered cancelled. further. from which no rights can be obtained. for more than 50 years now. The claim of the AVENDAÑO HEIRS that they merely tolerated occupancy by ANTIPOLO which had borrowed the DISPUTED PROPERTY from them. then the principle of res judicata does . 7 It follows that the titles issued in favor of the AVENDAÑO HEIRS must also be held to be null and void. additional public structures were built thereon. and the public abattoir. 1977. Since the Land Registration Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the application for registration of public property of ANTIPOLO. 769). Perforce. and considering. the Integrated National Police Building.It follows that "if a person obtains a title under the Public Land Act which includes. since the said court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter. They are merely indicia of a claim of ownership. There is indication to the effect that it had been the site of the public market as far back as 1908.Therefore. Animas. its Decision adjudicating the DISPUTED PROPERTY as of private ownership is null and void. and under which all acts performed and all claims flowing out of are void. become the owner of the land illegally included" (Republic vs. and the cancellation may be pursued through an ordinary action therefor. 49 Phil. has considered the DISPUTED PROPERTY to be public land subject to ANTI POLO's use and permission to use within the prerogatives and purposes of a municipal corporation. we have gathered that ANTIPOLO. 4 The fact that the DISPUTED PROPERTY may have been declared for taxation purposes in their names or of their predecessors-ininterest as early as 1918 5 does not necessarily prove ownership. and can be attacked at any time. Animas. or when the Director of Lands did not have jurisdiction over the same because it is a public forest. can never become executory. it was outside the commerce of man and could no longer be subject to private registration. xxx xxx xxx Under these circumstances. that the decision. Municipality of Iloilo. for want of jurisdiction of the court. by which no rights are divested.. the certificate of title may be ordered cancelled (Republic vs. and hence. which neither binds nor bars any one. and considering that a void judgment is in legal effect no judgment. the Office of the Municipal Treasurer. This action cannot be barred by the prior judgment of the land registration court. . At the time the application for registration was filed on August 8. by virtue of the said certificate of title alone. It never attained finality. 2 or at the latest.. And if there was no such jurisdiction. by oversight. since 1920 "up to today. Ledesma vs. lands which cannot be registered under the Torrens System. the grantee does not. They forget that all lands are presumed to be public lands until the contrary is established. supra). 56 SCRA 499. 6 ANTIPOLO had also declared the DISPUTED PROPERTY as its own in Tax Declarations Nos. * * * the want of jurisdiction by a court over the subject-matter renders the judgment void and a mere nullity. Those public structures occupy almost the entire area of the land. like the Puericulture and Family Planning Center. et al. erroneously presupposes ownership thereof since that time." 3 Gradually. 993 and 454. It was not a bar to the action brought by ANTIPOLO for its annulment by reason of res judicata.

not apply. * * *. Certainly, one of the essential requisites, i.e., jurisdiction over the
subject matter is absent in this case. 8 (Emphasis supplied).
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
(1) The Resolutions of respondent Court, now the Intermediate Appellate Court, dated August 23,
1983 and September 27, 1983, are hereby set aside, with this Court acting directly on the appeal of
the Municipality of Antipolo from the judgment rendered by the then Court of First Instance of Rizal,
Branch XIII, in its Civil Case No. 41353;
(2) The aforesaid judgment of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XIII, in Civil Case No.
41353 is set aside; and, instead, the judgment and decree rendered by the then Court of First
Instance of Rizal, Branch XV, in Land Registration Case No. N-9995, LRC Rec. No. N-52176, is
hereby declared null and void in respect of the "Heirs of Joaquin Avendaño";
(3) The Register of Deeds of Rizal is hereby ordered to cancel all certificates of title
issued/transferred by virtue of the said judgment and decree issued in the mentioned Land
Registration Case No. N-9995; LRC Rec. No. N-52176 in respect of the "Heirs of Isabela Avendaño";
(4) The certificate of title issued in the name of Conrado Eniceo and transfers therefrom, by virtue of
the judgment and decree in the mentioned Land Registration Case No. N-9995; LRC Rec. No. N52176, for practical purposes, shall continue to be valid.
Without pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Plana, Gutierrez, Jr. and De la Fuente, JJ., concur.
Relova. J., took no part

Spouses GEMINIANO and AMPARO DE OCAMPO and Spouses
PEDRO and CRISANTA SANTOS, petitioners, vs. FEDERICO
ARLOS, MARY ARLOS, TEOFILO OJERIO and BELLA
OJERIO, respondents.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

Under the Public Land Act as amended, only titles to alienable and
disposable lands of the public domain may be judicially confirmed. Unless a
public land is reclassified and declared as such, occupation thereof in the
concept of owner, no matter how long ago, cannot confer ownership or
possessory rights. A suit for the reversion of such property to the State may
be instituted only by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

The Case

Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the August 28,
1998 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 52048, the
decretal portion of which reads as follows:[2]
“ACCORDINGLY, for want of merit, the appeal is DENIED and the challenged
Decision dated 26 November 1993 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2, Balanga,
Bataan, is AFFIRMED. No costs.”
The affirmed Decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) ruled on the
following: (1) Land Registration Case No. N-340, filed in 1977 for confirmation
of respondent’s title to three parcels of land; and (2) Civil Case No. 4739, filed
in 1981 for cancellation of petitioners’ Sales Patents and Transfer Certificates
of Title covering two of the said lots. The dispositive portion of the RTC
Decision reads:[4]
“ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered:
I. In Civil Case No. 4739 1. Ordering the cancellation of Sales Patent Nos. 5387 and 5388 as well as Transfer
Certificate of Title Nos. T-43298 and T-44205 in the names of [herein
petitioner-]spouses Geminiano de Ocampo and Amparo de Ocampo and x x x
Pedro Santos and Crisanta Santos.
2. Taking judicial cognizance of the decision in Civil Case No. 3769, which ordered the
cancellation of Free Patent Nos. 522697 and 502977 as well as Original Certificate
of Title Nos. 296 and 297, which decision has already become final and executory;
3. Ordering [Petitioners] Geminiano de Ocampo and Amparo de Ocampo and x x
x Pedro Santos and Crisanta Santos to pay jointly and severally to the plaintiffs
attorney’s fees in the sum of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) and the costs of suit.

II. In Land Registration Case No. N-340 1. Confirming [herein respondents’] title [to] the land subject of registration and
ordering the registration thereof in the names of [Respondent] Teofilo D. Ojerio, of
legal age, Filipino, married to Bella V. Ojerio and a resident of Cabcaben, Mariveles,
Bataan - ½ share; and Cecilia P. Arlos, Jose P. Arlos, Gloria P. Arlos, Luisito P. Arlos,
all of legal age, Filipinos, single and residents of 500-A, Fifth Avenue corner Baltazar
Street, Grace Park, Caloocan City, Metro Manila, and Alberto U. Arlos, minor,
Filipino, and a resident of 500-A, Fifth Avenue corner Baltazar Street, Grace Park,
Caloocan City, Metro Manila - ½ share; and

2. As soon as this decision becomes final and executory, let an order for the issuance
of the corresponding decrees be issued.
SO ORDERED.”
The Facts

The undisputed facts are quoted by the CA from the RTC judgment, as
follows:[5]
“On 14 April 1977, Federico S. Arlos and Teofilo D. Ojerio filed an application for
registration, docketed as Land Registration Case No. N-340, wherein they seek
judicial confirmation of their titles [to] three parcels of land, namely: (1) a parcel of
land covered by SGS 4140 [PLAN] with an area of 226,105 square meters; (2) a
parcel of land identified as Lot 1, SGS 41241 [PLAN] with an area of 111,333 square
meters; and (3) a parcel of land identified as Lot 2, SGS 4141 [PLAN] with an area of
63,811 square meters, all located at Cabcaben, Mariveles, Bataan, and having a total
area of 401,159 square meters or 40.1159 hectares.
“Spouses Geminiano de Ocampo and Amparo De Ocampo and spouses Pedro Santos
and Crisanta Santos opposed the application for registration, alleging that they are the
co-owners of Lots 1 and 2 of Plan SGS 3062, situated at Cabcaben, Mariveles,
Bataan, and their ownership is evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. T-43298
and T-44205, and that they became owners of said lots by purchase from the
government through sales patents.
“The Republic of the Philippines also opposed the application, contending that neither
the applicants nor their predecessors-in-interests have been in open, continuous,
exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the lands in question for at least
30 years immediately preceding the filing of the application; and that the parcels of
land applied for are portions of the public domain belonging to the Republic of the
Philippines not subject to private appropriation.
“Spouses Placido Manalo and Rufina Enriquez and spouses Armando Manalo and
Jovita Baron also opposed the application for registration.
“Almost four years after the filing of the land registration case or, to be exact, on 20
February 1981, applicant Arlos and his spouse, Mary Alcantara Arlos, and applicant
Ojerio and his spouse Bella V. Ojerio, filed Civil Case No. 4739, seeking to cancel;
(1) the free patent title of defendants-spouses Placido Manalo and Rufina Enriquez,
that is, Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 296-Bataan, covering Lot, 1, Plan F-

2065 hectares.011 square meters or 22. In contrast. concluded that [herein respondents] and their predecessors-in-interest were in actual possession of the subject lands in 1947 and continuously up to the present. F-(III-4) 510-D with an area of 72. Manalo. Branch 1. the sales patents and titles issued in their favor are null and void citing therein the ruling in Republic v.” bolstered the “finding that [they had] never occupied. It held that the testimonies of petitioners.5011 hectares. same plan. 4739 which was then assigned to said Branch was ordered consolidated with the land registration cases assigned to Branch 2. containing an area of 43.” Ruling of the Court of Appeals Affirming the factual findings of the trial court. the checkered testimonies of [petitioners] reveal that they have never been in possession of the lands.333 square meters or 11. which were “incongruous with reality. OCT No. 64753 involving Civil Case No. and T-43298-Bataan with an area of 111. which required sales patent applicants to be the actual occupants and cultivators of the land. the trial court. And because of the absence of the actual occupancy on their part.8861 hectares. T-44205-Bataan with an area of 225. Bataan.’ . that is.065 square meters or 7. Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. and (3) the sales patent title of defendants-spouses Geminiano de Ocampo and Amparo de Ocampo and defendants-spouses Pedro Santos and Crisanta Santos.’ which annulled the free patent titles of the spouses Manalo and declared as valid the sales patent title issued in favor of the spouses De Ocampo and spouses Santos involving the same properties subject of this appeal. or a total area of 198. 3769 entitled ‘Spouses de Ocampo et al. cultivated or made improvements on the property.089 square meters. Mina (114 SCRA 946) that ‘the alleged misrepresentation of the applicant that he had been occupying and cultivating the land are sufficient grounds to nullify the patent and title under Section 9 of the Public Land Laws. Balanga. “In the Order dated 31 July 1991 of the RTC.(III-4) 508-D with an area of 155. and Lot 2. the CA ruled that petitioners had failed to comply with the Public Land Act. “Of relevance to this case on appeal is the Decision of the Supreme Court dated 26 April 1989 in G. that is. covering Lot.861 square meters or 19.1333 hectares.R. (2) the free patent title of defendants Armando Manalo and Jovito Baron.772 square meters. et al. 297-Bataan.” It explained: “On the basis of its own findings. Civil Case No. v. 1. after evaluating the evidence presented.

[7] the CA ratiocinated as follows: “[Herein respondents] do not challenge the Decision of the High Court dated 26 April 1989 in GR No. “II Whether or not the Court of Appeals committed an error in ordering the cancellation of petitioners’ Sales Patent as well as TCT Nos.. T-43298 and T-44205 considering that private respondents are not the proper party to institute the action for annulment of petitioners’ titles [to] the lots. petitioners submit the following issues for our consideration:[10] “I Whether or not the Court of Appeals committed an error in disregarding the Decision of the Supreme Court in G. vs. 64753 entitled.R.“On this particular note. 64753 which annulled the free patent titles of defendants-appellants Manalos and granted the issuance of sales patent titles of [Petitioners] De Ocampos and Santoses. T-43298 [pertaining to] the land in dispute were upheld. Spouses Geminiano de Ocampo and Amparo de Ocampo. IAC and de Ocampo. et al. et al.[9] The Issues In their Memorandum. this Petition. we find no reason to disturb the factual findings of the trial court. x x x.”[6] Debunking petitioners’ reliance on Manalo v. x x x. T-44205 and TCT No. “What is being disputed is that the issuance of the sales patents of the subject property in favor of the Santoses and the De Ocampos was allegedly tainted by fraud and misrepresentation on their part by misrepresenting themselves to be actual occupants of the subject properties when in fact the subject properties were being actually occupied by the [respondents] since 1947 way back when the land still formed part of the military reservation and further on when it was declared to be public agricultural land. No.’ wherein the validity and legality of petitioners’ TCT No.”[8] Hence. “III . ‘Placido Manalo.

48.Whether or not the Court of Appeals committed an error in ruling that petitioners committed an act of misrepresentation in their Application for Sales Patent. petitioners ask this Court to determine the propriety of (1) the registration of respondents’ title under the Public Land Act and (2) the cancellation of petitioners’ Sales Patents and Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs). may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor.” In short.00 representing attorney’s fees. to wit: xxxxxxxxx (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open. The following described citizens of the Philippines. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. [11] the pertinent portion of which reads: “SEC.000. under the Land Registration Act. “x x x x x x x x x” . occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own such lands or an interest therein. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. continuous. under abona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. The Court’s Ruling The Petition is meritorious. “IV Whether or not the Court of Appeals committed an error in ordering petitioners to pay private respondents the amount of P50. exclusive. First Issue:Registration of Respondents’ Title Respondents’ application for registration of title to the three parcels of land that were once part of the public domain is governed by the Public Land Act. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain.

the same automatically became a disposable land of the public domain. the said parcels of land for at least 30 years. which provide as follows: .[16] a suit involving the same parcel of land and instituted by herein petitioners against other claimants. it was not subject to occupation. of which the land in question forms part. was declared disposable and alienable only in 1971. In Manalo v. occupation thereof in the concept of owner.” (Emphasis supplied. Hence. then why. was turned over to the Philippine government. We are not convinced. as required by the Public Land Act. IAC and de Ocampo. If the land in question became immediately disposable upon its turn over to the Philippine government in 1965. because it was a military reservation at the time.[15] In the present case. 274. was it certified disposable only in 1971. when the former filed their application for registration in 1977. it may be asked. entry or settlement. This Court is of the conclusion that this land above referred to continued to be a military reservation land while in the custody of the Philippine government until it was certified alienable in 1971. the Court held: “As correctly pointed out by the appellate court in its questioned decision: ‘x x x. The ownership and control over said reservation was transferred to the Philippine government. but its nature as a military reservation remained unchanged. a title may be judicially confirmed under Section 48 of the Public Land Act only if it pertains to alienable lands of the public domain. Verily. they and their predecessors-in-interest had been occupying and cultivating. Its disposition only by sale was duly authorized pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. C-C.) Second. Presidential Decree No. per certification of the Bureau of Forestry (Project No.[13] Unless such assets are reclassified and considered disposable and alienable. no matter how long cannot ripen into ownership and be registered as a title. 4-A. First. 1073[14] clarified Section 48 (b) of the Public Land Act by specifically declaring that the latter applied only to alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. 1971.S.Respondents claim that they purchased the subject lots in 1967 from Bernardo and Arsenio Obdin. in the concept of owners. Military Reservation in Bataan. This is clear from Sections 83 and 88 of the Public Land Act. It is not correct to say that when the U. Said parcels of land became a disposable land of public domain only on May 19.[12] who in turn had been in possession of the property since 1947. respondents and their predecessors-in-interest could not have occupied the subject property from 1947 until 1971 when the land was declared alienable and disposable. Map No 26-40). Hence. the disputed land which was formerly a part of a US military reservation that had been turned over to the Philippine government in 1965.

89 SCRA 648). No. Bataan to which the parcels of land involved in the case belong was formerly a portion of the US Military Reservation in Mariveles. irrigation systems. Clearly then. Court of Appeals. their application for the registration of their titles was erroneously granted by the appellate and the trial courts. in Manalo. hence. or for quasi-public uses or purposes when the public interest requires it.. because it formed part of a military reservation. they could not have occupied the property for thirty years. Court of Appeals et al. 73 SCRA 146). Second Issue: Cancellation of Petitioners’ Titles Petitioners claim that their titles can no longer be challenged. hydraulic power sites. in accordance with regulations prescribed for this purpose. L-39473. or of the inhabitants thereof. 1965 (Republic of the Philippines v. public parks. Hon. Bataan which was turned over to the Philippine Government only on December 22. Under the situation. because “it is a rule that the Torrens Title issued on the basis of a free patent becomes . The tract or tracts of land reserved under the provisions of section eightythree shall be non-alienable and shall not be subject to occupation. No. sale. the Court debunked therein petitioners’ similar argument that they had been occupying the property since 1944. lease. including reservations for highways. 1976. rights of way for railroads.“SEC. or other disposition until again declared under the provision of this Act or by proclamation of the President. 1979. Upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce. public quarries. 88.’” We reiterate that the land was declared alienable only in 1971. April 30. the President may designate by proclamation any tract or tracts of land of the public domain as reservations for the use of the Commonwealth of the Philippines or of any of its branches. 14912..) Verily. the Court seriously doubts whether Placido Mapa and their predecessors-in-interest could have been in possession of the land since 1944 as they claimed: ‘Lands covered by reservation are not subject to entry. et al. September 30. It ruled in this wise: “The big tract of land in Mariveles. public fishponds. SEC.” (Emphasis supplied. and no lawful settlement on them can be acquired (Republic of the Philippines v. respondents have not satisfied the thirty-year requirement under the Public Land Act. communal pastures or leguas comunales. working-men's village and other improvements for the public benefit. Moreover. entry. 83.

That is what reconveyance is all about. or at least. not by herein respondents. private respondents had already acquired imperfect title thereto under Section 48 (b) of CA No. however. that the present proceedings are not for reversion. In an action for reconveyance. the former have not proven any title that may be judicially confirmed. is not available to respondents. the Court noted that the allegations in the Complaint. in the proper courts. in this case the title thereof.” Respondents argue. which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another person’s name. they have the personality to file the present suit. however. because they have not shown a title better than that of petitioners.”[17] Petitioners further contend that the action for the cancellation of their Sales Patents and TCTs should have been initiated by the solicitor general.indefeasible as one which was judicially secured upon registration upon expiration of one year from date of issuance of patent. who have allegedly failed to prove the requisite actual occupation of the land in question. 141 x x x. which we quote: “SEC. In that case. to its rightful owner or to one with a better right. What is sought instead is the transfer of the property. “the decree of registration is respected as incontrovertible. that they. were “an assertion that the lot is private land. not petitioners. or that even assuming it was part of the public domain. not the OSG. but for reconveyance. In the present case. we reiterate that respondents failed to show entitlement to the land. The former cite several portions of the . Respondents vigorously contend that the Sales Patents were fraudulently obtained by petitioners. Moreover. All actions for the reversion to the Government of lands of the public domain or improvements thereon shall be instituted by the Solicitor General or the officer acting in his stead.” Hence. We are not persuaded by respondents’ argument.”[18] Reconveyance. 101. Hence. respondents’ invocation of Heirs of Nagano v. They have not established that they are the rightful owners of the property. As earlier shown. were the proper parties to file the suit. have a better right thereto. the Court ruled that respondents. which were deemed admitted for the purpose of resolving the Motion to Dismiss. pursuant to Section 101 of the Public Land Act. CA[19] must be rejected. in the name of the Republic of the Philippines.

[20] At the risk of being repetitive. Melo. we stress that respondents have no personality to “recover” the property. No. et al. 5918. G. 265. 64142. Misamis Oriental.their cancellation is a matter between the grantor and the grantee. Said civil cases were filed by the Republic of the Philippines (Republic) for the cancellation and annulment of Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. showing that the latter have not actually occupied or cultivated the property. entitled Republic of the Philippines v. PDERITA CHABON. et al. of the issuance of the Sales Patents and Certificates of Titles in the name of herein petitioners. EMILIANA CHABON. MINDA J. 0-358 and OCT No. entitled Republic of the Philippines v.R. if any there be. LEGASPI. the Petition is GRANTED and the assailed Decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Court are REVERSED. No pronouncement as to costs. and JESSIE I. presently the home of the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. If petitioners’ Sales Patents and TCTs were in fact fraudulently obtained. Misamis Oriental..R. PABLO CASTILLO. Commonwealth President Manuel Luis Quezon (Pres. ALL SURNAMED BACAS. LACSASA DEMON. 1 2 The Antecedents: In 1938. the suit to recover the disputed property should be filed by the State through the Office of the Solicitor General. Respondents. concur. Emiliana Chabon .. Vitug. "subject to private rights." . finds that a ruling on the veracity of these factual averments would be improper in this Decision. WHEREFORE. then Municipality of Cagayan. The Court. 2007 Decision and the May 15. Gonzaga-Reyes. Since petitioners’ titles originated from a grant by the government. SATURNINO ABDON. no part. 2008 Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. reserving for the use of the Philippine Army three (3) parcels of the public domain situated in the barrios of Bulua and Carmen. CASTILLO. DECISION MENDOZA. Branch 17. Petitioner. Antonio. O-669. because they have not shown that they are the rightful owners thereof. which took effect on March 31. 2013 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. NEMESIO. 1938.transcript of stenographic notes. The parcels of land were withdrawn from sale or settlement and reserved for military purposes.: This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeks to review. ALBERTO. FORTUNATA EMBALSADO. RICARDO. J. ANTONIO. vs. JJ. FELICIDAD. 182913 November 20. reverse and set aside the November 12. and Purisima. however. J. 3494. (Chairman). in its sound discretion. CV No. CHABON. Cagayan de Oro City (RTC) . ARTURO P. SO ORDERED. and Civil Case No. LEGASPI. FELIZA. upholding the decision of the Regional Trial Court. MILAGROS AND CIPRIANO. which dismissed the consolidated cases of Civil Case No. Quezon) issued Presidential Proclamation No. ESTELA. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Solicitor General for a possible review. covering certain parcels of land occupied and utilized as part of the Camp Evangelista Military Reservation.

the Land Registration Court (LRC) rendered a decision holding that the applicants had conclusively established their ownership in fee simple over the subject land and that their possession. 1970 or one (1) year and ten (10) months from the issuance of OCT No. N-275 [Antonio.. 1974 covering a parcel of land located in Carmen-District. by the Philippine Army. by property of Teofilo Batifona or Batipura. and NW. by Lot 4356. Point "1" is N. 4 They alleged ownership in fee simple of the property and indicated in their application the names and addresses of the adjoining owners.. more or less. by Lot 3892. Pedro R. 10 They alleged ownership in fee simple over the property and indicated therein the names and addresses of the adjoining owners. based on the evidence presented by the Bacases. Later. situated in the District of Carmen. 1964 covering a parcel of land.. along lines 6-7-8. Feliza. by property of Potenciano Abrogan vs. even from the government. Cagayan de Oro City. if any. and on the NW. had been open. by property of Felipe Bacao or Bacas vs. the decision became final and executory. 8 No appeal was interposed by the Republic from the decision of the LRC. known as Lot 4357. 0-358. including that of their predecessor-in-interest. N-521 [Emiliana Chabon. and the Heirs of Jesus Bacas. More specifically. reconveyance of lot or damages was filed by the Republic against the Bacases.00.R. peaceful. 1612. Cagayan Cadastre.C. The LRC then rendered a decision holding that Chabons’ evidence established their ownership in fee simple over the subject property and that their possession.. Municipality of Cagayan.377) square meters. open. Estela Chabon and Pedrita Chabon. Province of Misamis Oriental. more or less.632) SQUARE METERS. Applicants (The Bacases)] The Bacases filed their Application for Registration on November 12. by Lot 3862. Applicants (The Chabons)] The Chabons filed their Application for Registration on May 8. Republic of the Philippines (Public Land). Arturo R.000 square meters sold and conveyed to Atty. Urcia (Urcia) . resulting in the issuance of a decree and the corresponding certificate of title over the subject property. Cagayan Cadastre. bounded and described as: 9 A parcel of land (Lot 4357. Bounded on the SE. cancellation of original certificate of title. situated at Barrio Carmen. no mortgage or encumbrance of any kind affecting said land with the exception of 18. uninterrupted. Nemesio. Area SIXTY NINE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED THIRTY TWO (69. by Lot 4357. Castillo and 1. Lot No. together with all the improvements found thereon. and in concept of owners for more than thirty (30) years. assisted by the District Land Officer of Cagayan de Oro City. 13 The present cases As a consequence of the LRC decisions in both applications for registration. more particularly described and bounded as follows: 3 A parcel of land. thru its Special Counsel. 14. adverse. Luspo (Luspo) .Land Registration Case No. located in Patag.M. the Republic filed a civil case for annulment of title and reversion against the Chabons. 5 The Director of the Bureau of Lands.L. an order for the issuance of a decree and the corresponding certificate of title was issued. by Lot 4319. which was docketed as Civil Case No. along lines 1-2-3-4.. all surnamed Bacas.. the Republic filed a complaint for annulment of titles against the Bacases and the Chabons before the RTC. Cagayan Cadastre. Civil Case No. The Chabons likewise alleged that. had been actual. Roberto. along line 5-6. 4354 of the Cadastral Survey of Cagayan. 35436 and assessed at P3. on the SW. along line 8-9. City of Cagayan de Oro. and Felicidad. containing an area of THREE HUNDRED FIFTY FOUR THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY SEVEN (354. along line 9-10. along line 11-1. Thus. docketed as Civil Case No. Record No. 0-669. 3494. as well as a statement that the Philippine Army (Fourth Military Area) recently occupied a portion of the land by their mere tolerance. and in concept of owners for more than forty (40) years. 1978 or two (2) years and seven (7) months after issuance of OCT No. hearing on the application ensued.957 square meters sold to Minda J. thru the Third Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Misamis Oriental. on the W. 11 On February 18. Legaspi. on the S. by properties of Geronimo Wabe and Teofilo Batifona or Batipura. 39’W. 1976.L. Land Registration Case No. 6 7 On April 10. by Lot 4359. on the NE. on April 21. Bounded on the NE. L. registered its written Opposition against the application. by Lot 4353 and long line 10-11. all of Cagayan Cadastre. plan Ap-12445). on September 7. by Lot 4318. on the SE. to the best of their knowledge. On the other hand. filed an Amended Opposition. and alongline 4-5. Urcia. Cagayan de Oro City. 3494 against the Bacases .88 M. there being no opposition made.540. Benito S. public. 379. peaceful. but no mention was made with respect to the occupation. Republic of the Philippines (Public Land). under Tax Declaration No. 1968. adverse. continuous. 10 deg. from B. 12 The decision then became final and executory. 5918. a civil case for annulment. Thus. and on the SE. including that of their predecessor-in-interest.

it would now be barred by prior judgment to contest the findings of the LRC. accordingly. 1938. Cesar M. apply to the respondents because they did not apply to acquire the parcels of land in question from the government. The RTC further reasoned out that assuming arguendo that respondents were guilty of fraud. the RTC explained that the stated fact of occupancy by Camp Evangelista over certain portions of the subject lands in the applications for registration by the respondents was a substantial compliance with the requirements of the law. the Republic lost its right to a relief for its failure to file a petition for review on the ground of fraud within one (1) year after the date of entry of the decree of registration. 1992 Order of the RTC denying its appeal in Civil Case No. 1991. It would have been absurd to state Camp Evangelista as an adjoining owner when it was alleged that it was an occupant of the land. together with Lots 4318 and 4354. 1992. through the modes provided by law for the acquisition of disposable public lands. it was beyond the commerce of man and the registration court did not have any jurisdiction to adjudicate the same as private property. dated April 23. the Republic filed a petition before the CA. 31 32 Not satisfied. As a military reservation." The presidential proclamation did not. 0-669 issued in favor of the Chabons and all transfer certificates of titles. the Bacases and the Chabons filed an Ex-Parte Motion for the Issuance of the Writ of Execution and Possession on July 16. the Republic averred that the subject land had long been reserved in 1938 for military purposes at the time it was applied for and. the RTC ruled that the respondents did not commit fraud in filing their applications for registration. the cases were consolidated and jointly tried. the RTC was of the view that the Republic was then given all the opportunity to be heard as it filed its opposition to the applications. The said lot. were null and void for having been vitiated by fraud and/or lack of jurisdiction. Further. which later found no commission of a reversible error on the part of the CA. and should not. An amended motion was filed on July 31. the Republic alleged that OCT No. dated February 24. proceeding therefrom. 14 15 Also. through the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 1992 of the RTC. 1938 and. 1992 from the February 24. The same was denied in the RTC Order. SP No. but simply for confirmation and affirmation of their rights to the properties so that the titles over them could be issued in their favor. 1992. Thereafter. In dismissing the complaints. was the actual occupant of Lot No. the Bacases failed to likewise state that Lot No. thus. These omissions constituted fraud which vitiated the decree and certificate of title issued.R. a joint decision dismissing the two complaints of the Republic was rendered. was its actual occupant and possessor. established as such as early as March 31. 4354 and also the owner and possessor of the adjoining Lots Nos. through the Fourth Military Area. 28 29 The Republic filed its Notice of Appeal before the RTC on July 5. 34 Ruling of the Court of Appeals . 19 20 21 22 23 Decision of the Regional Trial Court As the facts and issues in both cases were substantially the same and identical. 1992.The Republic claimed in its petition for annulment before the RTC that the certificate of title issued in favor of the Bacases was null and void because they fraudulently omitted to name the military camp as the actual occupant in their application for registration. The CA sustained the government and. 24 25 Moreover. 4354 was part of Camp Evangelista. Lot 4357 was a military reservation. 1995. Accordingly. the RTC agreed with the respondents that the subject parcels of land were exempted from the operation and effect of the Presidential Proclamation No. Further. The RTC then issued the Order. 5918 against the Chabons In this case. Ybañez. annulled the said RTC order. 16 Civil Case No. 1991. the Court dismissed the appeal as well as the subsequent motions for reconsideration. formed part of the military reservation known as Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City. Thus. 17 18 In its petition for annulment before the RTC. if any. Specifically. 28647. questioning the February 24. 265 issued by President Quezon on March 31. the Republic claimed that it was the absolute owner and possessor of Lot No. appeared and participated in the proceedings. 33 The respondents appealed to the Court. 3494. the Republic. 265 pursuant to a proviso therein that the same would not apply to lands with existing "private rights. The Chabons concealed that the fact that Lot 4357 was part of Camp Evangelista and that the Republic. 1991. which was set aside and reserved under Presidential Proclamation No. 4318 and 4357. Consequently. entitled Republic vs. It was. 4357. thus. Hon. disapproving the Republic’s appeal for failure to perfect it as it failed to notify the Bacases and granting the writ of execution. it was no longer disposable and subject to registration. What the proclamation prohibited was the sale or disposal of the parcels of land involved to private persons as a means of acquiring ownership of the same. and the pieces of evidence adduced were applicable to both. An entry of judgment was then issued on February 16. could not be the subject of registration or private appropriation. estopped from contesting the proceedings. On the other hand. docketed as CA-G. 26 27 Finally. 30 Action of the Court of Appeals and the Court regarding the Republic’s Appeal The Republic filed a Notice of Appeal on April 1. The Republic moved for its reconsideration but the RTC was still denied it on July 8. so.

the title was perfected and could not be collaterally questioned later on. thus.R. 4354 was registered as OCT No. the evidence thereof must be clear. and (2) the respondents do not have a registrable right over the subject parcels of land which are within the Camp Evangelista Military Reservation. It explained that once a decree of registration was issued under the Torrens system and the reglementary period had passed within which the decree may be questioned. the CA docketed the case as CA G. O-669.) No. the Republic principally argues that (1) the CA erred in holding that the LRC acquired jurisdiction over the applications for registration of the reserved public lands filed by the respondents. such omission constituted fraud or willful misrepresentation. No. Citing Pinza v." WHICH INVOLVES PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS CLAIMING RIGHTS OVER PORTIONS OF THE CAMP EVANGELISTA MILITARY RESERVATION." 35 36 37 38 Citing the rule that "[t]he fraud is extrinsic if it is employed to deprive parties of their day in court and. not merely constructive or intrinsic. The CA agreed with the RTC that there was substantial compliance with the requirement of the law. could not ripen into . THE COURT OF APPEALS. Moreover. IN G. Both lots were. but also upon all matters that might be litigated or decided in the land registration proceeding. 4354 and Lot No. Their possession of the land. prevent them from asserting their right to the property registered in the name of the applicant.The appeal allowed. THIS HONORABLE COURT HELD THAT THESE INDIVIDUALS COULD NOT HAVE VALIDLY OCCUPIED THEIR CLAIMED LOTS BECAUSE THE SAME WERE CONSIDERED INALIENABLE FROM THE TIME OF THEIR RESERVATION IN 1938. the review of a decree of registration under Section 38 of Act No. The respondents cannot invoke the indefeasibility of the titles issued since a "grant tainted with fraud and secured through misrepresentation is null and void and of no effect whatsoever. 265 reserved for the use of the Philippine Army certain parcels of land which included Lot No. The respondents did not comply with that requirement which was mandatory and jurisdictional. IN ISSUING THE HEREIN ASSAILED DECISION DATED NOVEMBER 15. the respondents do not have registrable rights over them. because the proceedings which are assailed as having been fraudulent are judicial proceedings which by law. 64142. are presumed to have been fair and regular. 2. allowed to be registered. 1529] would only prosper upon proof that the registration was procured through actual fraud. ET AL. 39 40 As regards the issue of exemption from the proclamation. 41 Not in conformity. Aldovino." 43 44 On the second argument. Being so." the CA found that there was none. 0-0358 and Lot No. The CA stressed that the proceeding was one in rem. HAS DECIDED THAT INSTANT CONTROVERSY IN A MANNER THAT IS CONTRARY TO LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE. 4357 as OCT No.D. 496 [Section 32 of Presidential Decree (P. the Republic points out that Presidential Proclamation No. 2007 AND RESOLUTION DATED MAY 15. The CA stressed that "[t]he fraud must be actual and extrinsic. thereby binding everyone to the legal effects of the same and that a decree of registration that had become final should be deemed conclusive not only on the questions actually contested and determined. HERE. THE CERTIFICATES OF TITLE BEING SUSTAINED BY THE COURT OF APPEALS WERE ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE DECISIONS OF THE LAND REGISTRATION COURT IN APPLICATIONS FOR REGISTRATION FILED IN 1964 AND 1974. however long. GROUNDS RELIED UPON WARRANTING REVIEW OF THE PETITION 1. the Republic cites Section 15 of P. however. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENTS HAVE A REGISTRABLE RIGHT OVER THE SUBJECT PARCELS OF LAND WHICH ARE WITHIN THE CAMP EVANGELISTA MILITARY RESERVATION. 157306 ENTITLED "REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. Lot No. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN HOLDING THAT THE LAND REGISTRATION COURT HAD JURISDICTION OVER THE APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION FILED BY RESPONDENTS DESPITE THE LATTER’S FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENT OF INDICATING ALL THE ADJOINING OWNERS OF THE PARCELS OF LAND SUBJECT OF THE APPLICATION. this petition. 3. Hence. With respect to the first argument. ANATALIA ACTUB TIU ESTONILO.R. convincing and more than merely preponderant.D. 42 Position of the Republic In advocacy of its position. it asserts that the LRC had no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case. which requires that applicants for land registration must disclose the names of the occupants of the land and the names and addresses of the owners of the adjoining properties. 2008 for lack of merit. the Republic filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied on May 15. Even assuming that an action for the nullification of the original certificate of title may still be instituted. 2008. the CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC. 4357. The Republic asserts that being part of the military reservation. VERILY. NO. The allegation of the respondent that Camp Evangelista occupied portions of their property negated the complaint that they committed misrepresentation or concealment amounting to fraud. these lots are inalienable and cannot be the subject of private ownership. 1529. 2007. On November 12. the CA deemed that a discussion was unnecessary because the LRC already resolved it. which proceeded from an intentional deception perpetrated through the misrepresentation or the concealment of a material fact.. CV No.

50 To question the findings of the court regarding the registrability of then title over the land would be an attempt to reopen issues already barred by res judicata. They claim that there is completely no basis for the Republic to argue that the LRC had no jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate their application for registration of their title to Lot No. 265 that the reservation was subject to private rights.ownership. and therefore exempt from the coverage of. Estonilo. It is contrary to reason or common sense to state that Camp Evangelista is an adjoining owner when it is occupying a portion thereof.D. it is estopped and barred by prior judgment to contest the findings of the LRC. and they have not shown proof that they were entitled to the land before the proclamation or that the said lots were segregated and withdrawn as part thereof. the Chabons insist that the CA was correct when it stated that there was substantial compliance with the requirements of the P. and whether or not such private rights constitute registrable title to the lot in accordance with the land registration law. was not deprived of its day in court or prevented from presenting its case. the Bacases assert that even in the case of Republic v. whether or not such possession was held in the concept of an owner to constitute recognizable "private rights" under the presidential proclamation. whether or not Lot No. as well as to determine whether such private rights constituted registrable title under the land registration law. through the Director of Lands." 47 48 The Bacases claim that the issue of registrability is no longer an issue as what is only to be resolved is the question on whether there was extrinsic or collateral fraud during the land registration proceedings. Also. 52 And as to the decision. Second. which had all been settled and duly adjudicated by the LRC in favor of the Bacases. 1529 because they expressly stated in their application that Camp Evangelista was occupying a portion of it. The findings of the LRC became final when the Republic did not appeal its decision within the period to appeal or file a petition to reopen or review the decree of registration within one year from entry thereof. 4354 is res judicata and cannot now be subject to a re-litigation or reopening in the annulment proceedings. No. More importantly. there was no extrinsic fraud committed by the Bacases in their failure to indicate Camp Evangelista as an adjoining lot owner as their application for registration substantially complied with the legal requirements. Presidential Proclamation No. 1529 is an argument that is at once both empty and dangerous. who was represented by the Solicitor General. 46 On jurisdiction. such as. They cited the RTC statement that "the parcels of land they applied for in those registration proceedings and for which certificates of title were issued in their favor are precisely exempted from the operation and effect of said presidential proclamation when the very same proclamation in itself made a proviso that the same will not apply to lands with existing ‘private rights’ therein. it was recognized in Presidential Proclamation No. 4354 just because the proclamation withdrew the subject land from sale and settlement and reserved the same for military purposes. the issue of the registrability of the title of the Bacases over Lot No. It is now barred forever to question the validity of the title issued. the Bacases stress that there was no extrinsic fraud because their application substantially complied with the requirements when they indicated that Camp Evangelista was an occupant by mere tolerance of Lot No. 4354. the Republic was not prejudiced and deprived of its day in court.D. The Republic. the LRC had jurisdiction to adjudicate whether the Bacases had "private rights" over Lot No. Besides. would be re-examined under this annulment case. Position of the Respondents The Bacases The Bacases anchor their opposition to the postures of the Republic on three principal arguments: First. 53 . therefore. 265. the Republic filed its opposition to the respondents’ application and actively participated in the land registration proceedings by presenting evidence. 45 Regarding the first ground. In other words. the decree of registration is binding and conclusive against all persons including the Republic who did not appeal the same. Its insistence that the non-compliance with the requirements of Section 15 of P. Third. subject matter and cause of action. 265. 4354 in accordance with. it was a consequence of a proceeding in rem and. 49 The issue of registrability of the Bacases’ title had long been settled by the LRC and is res judicata between the Republic and the respondents. res judicata has set in because there is identity of parties. As correctly held by the RTC. There would be no end to litigation on the registrability of their title if questions of facts or law. the LRC had authority to hear and adjudicate their application for registration of title over Lot No. 51 The Chabons In traversing the position of the Republic. whether or not their predecessorsin-interest had prior possession of the lot long before the issuance of the proclamation or the establishment of Camp Evangelista in the late 1930’s. No. therefore. 4354 if they would be able to prove that their private rights under the presidential proclamation constituted registrable title over the said lot. 4354 was alienable and disposable land of the public domain prior to its withdrawal from sale and settlement and reservation for military purposes under Presidential Proclamation No.

it was bound to the legal effects of the decision. if not known. The taking of their property in the guise of a presidential proclamation is not only oppressive and arbitrary but downright confiscatory. boundaries and technical description of the land being registered. and it reads: 55 Section 21. did not create any legal effect. if known. Hence. 2 of certificate of Title No. Furthermore. among others. the title is perfected and cannot be collaterally questioned later on. addressed to all persons appearing to have an interest in the lot being registered and the adjoining owners. the name. The Court’s Ruling The Republic can question even final and executory judgment when there was fraud. and. It is this publication of the notice of hearing that is considered one of the essential bases of the jurisdiction of the court in land registration cases. it shall state what search has been made to find them. naturally. the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga as regards the Lot No. 60 61 . The application shall be in writing. When the application is set by the court for initial hearing. if known. and cannot validly adjudge the registration of title in favor of private applicant. Court of Appeals and the Republic. A judgment by a court without jurisdiction can never attain finality. status and address of the applicant. All proceedings of the LRC involving the property are null and void and. 15856 in the name of petitioners may be attacked at any time. the Republic was not able to file its opposition to the application and. Such omission constituted fraud and deprived the Republic of its day in court. it is only when there is constructive seizure of the land. for the proceedings being in rem. The Republic can also question a final and executory judgment when the LRC had no jurisdiction over the land in question With respect to the Bacases.The Chabons also assailed the proclamation because when it was issued. it was not able to file an appeal either. In Collado v. and 2) whether or not the applications for registration of the subject parcels of land should be allowed. the Court made the following citation: 57 58 The Land Registration Court has no jurisdiction over non-registrable properties. hence. x x x It shall also state the name in full and the address of the applicant. a description of the land subject of the proceeding. such as public navigable rivers which are parts of the public domain. who may have any rights or interests in the property. and indicating the location. and 3) the Republic did not appeal the decision and because the proceeding was one in rem. it is then that notice (of the hearing). as well as the names and addresses of all occupants of the land and of all adjoining owners. 2) there was no commission of extrinsic fraud because the Bacases’ allegation of Camp Evangelista’s occupancy of their property negated the argument that they committed misrepresentation or concealment amounting to fraud. where it was written: 56 Under Section 21 of the Land Registration Act an application for registration of land is required to contain. the Court declared that any title to an inalienable public land is void ab initio. the Republic is not precluded and estopped from questioning the validity of the title. x x x The reason behind the law was explained in the case of Fewkes vs. Vasquez. to come forward and show to the court why the application for registration thereof is not to be granted. it is such notice and publication of the hearing that would enable all persons concerned. The governing rule in the application for registration of lands at that time was Section 21 of Act 496 which provided for the form and content of an application for registration. they were already the private owners of the subject parcels of land and entitled to protection under the Constitution. the Chabons did not make any mention of the ownership or occupancy by the Philippine Army. signed and sworn to by applicant. In Collado. shall be published in the Official Gazette for two consecutive times. either directly or collaterally. Any procedural infirmities attending the filing of the petition for annulment of judgment are immaterial since the LRC never acquired jurisdiction over the property. Here. The success of the annulment of title does not solely depend on the existence of actual and extrinsic fraud. that jurisdiction over the res is vested on the court. of the steps taken to locate them. but also on the fact that a judgment decreeing registration is null and void. They also did not indicate any efforts or searches they had exerted in determining other occupants of the land. and also the names and addresses of all adjoining owners and occupants. 59 Prescription or estoppel cannot lie against the government In denying the petition of the Republic. although the lower courts might have been correct in ruling that there was substantial compliance with the requirements of law when they alleged that Camp Evangelista was an occupant. effected by the publication and notice. the CA reasoned out that 1) once a decree of registration is issued under the Torrens system and the reglementary period has passed within which the decree may be questioned. or by some person duly authorized in his behalf. or if unknown. Not being notified. by the State which is not bound by any prescriptive period provided for by the Statute of Limitations. 54 The Issues The ultimate issues to be resolved are: 1) whether or not the decisions of the LRC over the subject lands can still be questioned.

A. Without first determining the nature and character of the land. The required length of possession does not operate when the land is part of the public domain. 1938. The subject lands. or appropriate. 34 SCRA 769). the law governing the applications was Commonwealth Act (C. it was written: 62 In any case. the doctrine of estoppel cannot be taken against the Republic. not registrable. The question is of primordial importance because it is determinative if the land can in fact be subject to acquisitive prescription and. which took effect on March 31. The subject parcels of land were withdrawn from sale or settlement or reserved for military purposes. being part of a military reservation. In the case of Republic v. Luciano vs. until there is a formal declaration on the part of the government to withdraw it from being such. 1âwphi1 Regarding the subject lots. even granting that the said official was negligent. as authorized by law. 761 vs. it noted the proviso in Presidential Proclamation No. 48(b) which provided that: 63 64 Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open. and improved a parcel of public land which is later included in a reservation are considered worthy of protection and are usually respected. continuous. Misamis Oriental. President Quezon issued Presidential Proclamation No. And patents for lands which have been previously granted. are inalienable and cannot be the subjects of land registration proceedings The application of the Bacases and the Chabons were filed on November 12. supra). "subject to private rights. The claims 0f persons who have settled on. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. if any there be. the power of the President was restated in Section 14. registrable under the Torrens system. Court of Appeals and De Jesus. The possession and occupation must be under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application. the necessary requirements for the grant of an application for land registration are the following: 1. issues a proclamation reserving certain lands and warning all persons to depart therefrom. have been in possession and occupation of the subject land. The possession and occupation must be open. 265 requiring the reservation to be subject to private rights as meaning that persons claiming rights over the reserved land were not precluded from proving their claims. 141 or the Public Land Act. "It is a well-settled rule in our jurisdiction that the Republic or its government is usually not estopped by mistake or error on the part of its officials or agents (Manila Lodge No. 265. Republic vs. Such title has not become indefeasible. The applicant must. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. 244. . Stated differently. exclusive and notorious. the respondents had to prove that the subject properties were alienable and disposable land of the public domain prior to its withdrawal from sale and settlement and reservation for military purposes under Presidential Proclamation No. The subject land must be an agricultural land of the public domain. As can be gleaned therefrom. 2. In Republic v. continuous. 70 As there has been no showing that the subject parcels of land had been segregated from the military reservation. Animas. Consequently.) No. this terminates any rights previously acquired in such lands by a person who was settled thereon in order to obtain a preferential right of purchase. it was even stated that 66 67 68 69 Lands covered by reservation are not subject to entry. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. in 1938. Later. by himself or through his predecessors-in-interest. 141. 186. thus. Accordingly. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. therefore. 3. as amended by RA 1942. 73 SCRA 166. and no lawful settlement on them can be acquired. Court of Appeals. the doctrine of estoppel cannot operate against the State . there was a reservation respecting "private rights. 1974. As earlier stated. are void. but where the President. reserved from sale." 65 Such power of the President to segregate lands was provided for in Section 64(e) of the old Revised Administrative Code and C. and 4. Chapter 4. When a property is officially declared a military reservation. the said proviso did not preclude the LRC from determining whether or not the respondents indeed had registrable rights over the property. where the Court earlier declared that Lot No. A property continues to be part of the public domain. 52 SCRA 238. It is a well-settled rule that the Republic or its government is not estopped by mistake or error on the part of its officials or agents. for prescription cannot be invoked against the State (Republic vs." In Republic v. the State may still seek the cancellation of the title issued to Perpetuo Alpuerto and his successors-interest pursuant to Section 101 of the Public Land Act. Book III of the 1987 Administrative Code. then Municipality of Cagayan.Granting that the persons representing the government was negligent. it becomes inalienable and outside the commerce of man. 4318 was part of the Camp Evangelista Military Reservation and. Estonilo. all the other requirements such as the length and nature of possession and occupation over such land do not come into play. particularly Sec. 265. occupied. respectively. CA.A. not available for private appropriation or ownership. It may not be the subject of a contract or of a compromise agreement. Estrella. 1964 and May 8. reserving for the use of the Philippine Army parcels of the public domain situated in the barrios of Bulua and Carmen. Marcos. No.

that the Lot is alienable and disposable. never confers title thereto upon the possessor because the statute of limitations with regard to public land does not operate against the State unless the occupant can prove possession and occupation of the same under claim of ownership for the required number of years to constitute a grant from the State. however long the period may have extended. as amended by PD 1073. 73 74 Another recent case. Hence. Republic. however. respondents failed to prove. because the Lot was considered inalienable from the time of its declaration as a military reservation in 1904. the Court emphasized that fundamental is the rule that lands of the public domain. Possession is of no moment if applicants fail to sufficiently and satisfactorily show that the subject lands over which an application was applied for was indeed an alienable and disposable agricultural land of the public domain. it was written: 72 But even assuming that the land in question was alienable land before it was established as a military reservation. where the Court ruled that persons claiming the protection of "private rights" in order to exclude their lands from military reservations must show by clear and convincing evidence that the properties in question had been acquired by a legal method of acquiring public lands. is not sufficient to support a claim of title thru acquisitive prescription. there is no need to discuss the other requisites dealing with respondents' occupation and possession of the Lot in the concept of an owner. however. the rule was reiterated. We must not. they had been in open. exclusive. unless declared otherwise by virtue of a statute or law. may not be alienated or disposed. or other permanent improvements. It would not matter even if they declared it for tax purposes. the respondents therein failed to clearly prove that the lands over which they lay a claim were alienable and disposable so that the same belonged and continued to belong to the State and could not be subject to the commerce of man or registration. Lands Management Bureau v. Diaz v. the mere occupancy of land by grazing livestock upon it. However. Specifically. A mere casual cultivation of portions of the land by the claimant. the Lot applied for by respondents is inalienable land of the public domain. the respondents miserably failed to prove that. Therefore. there was nevertheless still a dearth of evidence with respect to its occupation by petitioner and her predecessors-in-interest for more than 30 years. They merely relied on such "recognition" of possible private rights. relax the stringent safeguards relative to the registration of imperfect titles. 71 It is well-settled that land of the public domain is not ipso facto converted into a patrimonial or private property by the mere possession and occupation by an individual over a long period of time. therefore. Republic of the Philippines. In view of the lack of sufficient evidence showing that the Lot was already classified as alienable and disposable.In this case. persons claiming the protection of "private rights" in order to exclude their lands from military reservations must show by clear and convincing evidence that the pieces of property in question have been acquired by a legal method of acquiring public lands. CA held thus: 19 20 . or even earlier when respondents' predecessors-in-interest possessed the Lot. before the proclamation. Thus: 75 76 77 Well-entrenched is the rule that unless a land is reclassified and declared alienable and disposable. the Court wrote: 78 Land that has not been acquired from the government. also held that possession even for more than 30 years cannot ripen into ownership. are inalienable and can never be acquired by prescription. the law imposes stringent safeguards upon the grant of such resources lest they fall into the wrong hands to the prejudice of the national patrimony. occupation in the concept of an owner. without substantial enclosures. the subject lands were already private lands. Lands that are not clearly under private ownership are also presumed to belong to the State and. In the case of Diaz v. belongs to the State as part of the public domain. no allegation or showing that the government had earlier declared it open for sale or settlement. imperfect titles to agricultural lands are subjected to rigorous scrutiny before judicial confirmation is granted. Consequently. Public lands not shown to have been classified as alienable and disposable land remain part of the inalienable public domain. x x x. In that sense. In their application. [Emphases supplied] In the recent case of Heirs of Mario Malabanan vs. In Republic v. and the raising thereon of cattle. the trial and the appellate courts gave much weight to the tax declarations presented by the former. the earliest one presented was issued only in 1954. therefore. While grazing livestock over land is of course to be considered with other acts of dominion to show possession. either by purchase or by grant. There was. and notorious possession of the subject parcels of land for at least thirty (30) years and became its owners by prescription. The Director. Republic. Heirs of Juan Fabio. In granting respondents judicial confirmation of their imperfect title. x x x. While it is an acknowledged policy of the State to promote the distribution of alienable public lands to spur economic growth and in line with the ideal of social justice. The possession of public land. possession is not exclusive and notorious as to give rise to a presumptive grant from the State. For this reason. No amount of time of possession or occupation can ripen into ownership over lands of the public domain. cannot ripen into ownership and be registered as a title. All lands of the public domain presumably belong to the State and are inalienable. do not constitute possession under claim of ownership. or that it was already pronounced as inalienable and disposable. they alleged that at the time of their application. no matter how long. In the same manner. by clear and convincing evidence. [Emphases Supplied] In Estonilo. not subject to registration under Section 14(1) of PD 1529 and Section 48(b) of CA 141. while the tax declarations were issued under the names of respondents’ predecessors-in-interest. continuous. respondents could not have occupied the Lot in the concept of an owner in 1947 and subsequent years when respondents declared the Lot for taxation purposes.

of the land which he is attempting to have registered. deny the registration of the land under the Torrens system. the litigation would have already been ended and finally settled in accordance with law and jurisprudence a long time ago. Courts may. This alleged prior possession. Thus. had been in possession since 1925. It is important that applicants for judicial confirmation of imperfect titles must present specific acts of ownership to substantiate their claims. CV No. In Director of Lands vs. however. was totally devoid of any supporting evidence on record. even in the absence of any opposition. as correctly observed by the Office of the Solicitor General. 0-358 and 0-669 issued by the Registry of Deeds of Cagayan de Oro City are CANCELLED. the petition is GRANTED. WHEREFORE. Courts are not justified in registering property under the Torrens system. though. It must be stressed that respondents. from the subject land since 1954 already amounted to a title. it was erroneous for the trial and the appellate courts to hold that the failure of the government to dislodge respondents. in fee simple.R. from whom respondents’ predecessors had purportedly bought the property. 2008 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CAG. as applicants. Lot No. 4357 are ordered reverted to the public domain. judicially or extrajudicially. Original Certificate of Title Nos. upon the ground that the facts presented did not show that the petitioner is the owner. Court of Appeals. 4354 and Lot No. even though there is no opposition to the satisfaction of the court. that he is the absolute owner. Such principle. Tax receipts and tax declarations are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership."x x x. The petitioner is not necessarily entitled to have the land registered under the Torrens system simply because no one appears to oppose his title and to oppose the registration of his land. must yield to the basic rule that a decision which is null and void for want of jurisdiction of the trial court is not a decision m contemplation of law and can never become final and executory. Generosa Santiago. . Even the absence of opposition from the government does not relieve them of this burden. in fee simple. 2007 Decision and the May 15. Santiago: 1âwphi1 ‘x x x [I]f it is true that the original owner and possessor. The evidence did not show the nature and the period of the alleged possession by Calixto and Rosendo Bacas. why were the subject lands declared for taxation purposes for the first time only in 1968. Respondents’ evidence hardly supported the conclusion that their predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the land since "time immemorial. 64142 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. the lower courts credited the alleged prior possession by Calixto and Rosendo Bacas. they cannot simply offer general statements that are mere conclusions of law rather than factual evidence of possession. The November 12." Moreover. have the burden of proving that they have an imperfect title to Lot 4318.’" In addition. He must show. Judgment is rendered declaring the proceedings in the Land Registration Court as NULL and VOID for lack of jurisdiction. [Emphases supplied] The ruling reiterated the long standing rule in the case of Director Lands Management Bureau v. they constitute at least proof that the holder had a claim of title over the property. They are mere indicia of [a] claim of ownership. Accordingly. and in the names of Garcia and Obdin? For although tax receipts and declarations of ownership for taxation purposes are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership. 80 81 Had the LRC given primary importance on the status of the land and not merely relied on the testimonial evidence of the respondents without other proof of the alienability of the land. the evidence on record merely established the transfer of the property from Calixto Bacas to Nazaria Bombeo . 79 x x x. SO ORDERED. The Court is not unmindful of the principle of immutability of judgments that nothing is more settled in law than that once a judgment attains finality it thereby becomes immutable and unalterable. simply because there is no opposition offered.