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Sta Rosa Realty Development Corporation v CA

Facts:Petitioner Santa Rosa Realty Development Corporation was the registered
owner of two parcels of land with a total area of 254.6 hectares. According to
petitioner, the parcels of land arewatersheds, which provide clean potable water to
the Canlubang community. Petitioner allegedthat respondents usurped its rights
over the property, thereby destroying the ecosystem.Sometime in December 1985,
respondents filed a civil case with the Regional Trial Courtseeking an easement of a
right of way to and from Barangay Casile. By way of counterclaim,however,
petitioner sought the ejectment of private respondents. After the filing of the
ejectmentcases, respondents petitioned the Department of Agrarian Reform for the
compulsory acquisitionof the SRRDC property under the CARP. The landholding of
SRRDC was placed under compulsory acquisition. Petitioner objected to the
compulsory acquisition of the propertycontending that the area was not appropriate
for agricultural purposes. The area was rugged interrain with slopes of 18% and
above and that the occupants of the land were squatters, who werenot entitled to
any land as beneficiaries. The DARAB ruled against the petitioner. On appeal theCA
affirmed the decision of DARAB.
Issue:Whether or not the property in question is covered by CARP despite the fact
that the entire property formed part of a watershed area prior to the enactment of
R. A. No. 6657
Held:Watershed is one of those enumerated by CARP to be exempt from its
coverage. Wecannot ignore the fact that the disputed parcels of land form a vital
part of an area that need to
be protected for watershed purposes. The protection of watersheds ensures an adeq
uate supply of water for future generations and the control of flashfloods that not
only damage property butcause loss of lives. Protection of watersheds is
an intergenerational responsibility that needs to beanswered now.

G.R. No. 95608 January 21, 1997


Diego Palomo is the owner of 15 parcels of land covered by Executive

Order No. 40. On 1916, he ordered the registration of these lands and donated the
same to his heirs, Ignacio and Carmen Palomo two months before his death in April
Claiming that the aforesaid original certificates of title were lost during the Japanese
occupation, Ignacio Palomo filed a petition for reconstitution with the Court of First
Instance of Albay on May 1970. The Register of Deeds of Albay issued Transfer
Certificates of Title Nos. 3911, 3912, 3913 and 3914 sometime in October 1953.
Sometime in July 1954 President Ramon Magsaysay issued Proclamation No. 47
converting the area embraced by Executive Order No. 40 into the "Tiwi Hot Spring
National Park," under the control, management, protection and administration of the
defunct Commission of Parks and Wildlife, now a division of the Bureau of Forest
Development. The area was never released as alienable and disposable portion of
the public domain and, therefore, is neither susceptible to disposition under the
provisions of the Public Land Law nor registerable under the Land Registration Act.
The Palomos, however, continued in possession of the property, paid real estate
taxes thereon and introduced improvements by planting rice, bananas, pandan and
coconuts. On April 8, 1971, petitioner Carmen de Buenaventura and spouses Ignacio
Palomo and Trinidad Pascual mortgaged the parcels of land to guarantee a loan of
P200,000 from the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

Whether or not forest land may be owned by private persons.

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. It is in the law governing natural resources that forest land cannot be
owned by private persons. It is not registerable and possession thereof, no matter
how lengthy, cannot convert it into private property, unless such lands are
reclassified and considered disposable and alienable. There is no question that the
lots here forming part of the forest zone were not alienable lands of the public
domain. As to the forfeiture of improvements introduced by petitioners, the fact that
the government failed to oppose the registration of the lots in question is no
justification for petitioners to plead good faith in introducing improvements on the






The subject matter of these proceedings for declaration of nullity of title are
parcels of land with a total area of 39.99 hectares, more or less, known as the
JUSMAG housing area in Fort Bonifacio where, military officers, both in the active
and retired services, and their respective families, have been occupying housing
units and facilities originally constructed by the AFP.
Private respondent SHAI is a non-stock corporation organized mostly by wives
of AFP military officers. Records show that SHAI was able to secure from the Registry
of Deeds of the Province of Rizal a title Transfer Certificate of Title in its name to
the bulk of, if not the entire, JUSMAG area.
The Rizal Registry issued TCT No. 15084 on October 30, 1991on the basis of a
notarized Deed of Sale purportedly executed on the same date by then Director
Abelardo G. Palad, Jr. of the Lands Management Bureau (LMB) in favor of SHAI.The
total purchase price as written in the conveying deed was P11,997,660.00 or P30.00
per square meter
It appears that in the process of the investigation conducted by the
Department of Justice on reported land scams at the FBMR, a copy of the aforesaid
October 30, 1991deed of sale surfaced and eventually referred to the National
Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for examination. The results of the examination
undertaken by NBI Document Examiner Eliodoro Constantino reveals that the
puported signatures in the document are forgeries.
On October 16, 1993, then President Fidel V.Ramos issued Memorandum
Order No. 173 directing the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to institute action
towards the cancellation of TCT No. 15084 and the title acquired by the Navy
Officers Village Association (NOVA) over a bigger parcel within the reservation. A
month later, the OSG, in behalf of the petitioner Republic, filed with the RTC of Pasig
City the corresponding nullification and cancellation of title suit against the private
respondent SHAI, purported signature thereon of Palad is a forgery; b) there are no
records with the LMB of (i) the application to purchase and (ii) the alleged payment
of the purchase price; and c) the property in question is inalienable, being part of a
military reservation established under Proclamation No. 423.
On pre-trial the Republic, as plaintiff therein, marked (and later offered in
evidence)the Deed of Sale dated October 30, 1991 as its Exhibit "A,"and TCT No.
15084 as Exhibit "B."Respondent, then defendant SHAI adopted Exhibits "A" and
B as its Exhibits "1" and 2, respectively.
During the trial, the Republic presented as expert witness NBI Document
Examiner Eliodoro Constantino who testified on NBI QDR No. 815-1093 and asserted
that the signature of Palad in Exhibit A is a forgery. For his part, Palad dismissed
as forged his signature appearing in the same document and denied ever signing
the same, let alone in front of a notary public holding office outside of the LMB

premises. Pressing the point, Palad stated that he could not have had signed the
conveying deed involving as it did a reservation area which, apart from its being
outside of the LMBs jurisdiction, is inalienable in the first place.
For its part, then defendant SHAI presented an opposing expert witness in the
person of Police Inspector Redencion Caimbon who testified that Palads signature in
Exhibit A is genuine. Mrs. Virginia Santos, then SHAI president, likewise testified,
saying that applications to purchase were signed and then filed with the LMB by one
Engr. Eugenia Balis, followed by the payment in full of the contract price.
Eventually, in a decision dated October 7, 1997, the trial court rendered
judgment dismissing the Republics complaint as it considered the parcels covered
by the deed in question as no longer part of the FBMR. Therefrom, the Republic
went on appeal to the CA which affirmed in toto that of the trial court.
Hence, this petition of the Republic.
ISSUE: Was the JUSMAG area, during the period material, alienable or inalienable,
as the case may be, and, therefore, can or cannot be subject of a lawful private
Petitioner Republic, correctly asserts the inalienable character of the JUSMAG
area, the same having not effectively been separated from the military reservation
and declared as alienable and disposable.
The President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Environment
and Natural Resources, may designate by proclamation any tract or tracts of land of
the public domain as reservations for the use of the Republic or any of its branches,
or for quasi-public uses or purposes. Such tract or tracts of land thus reserved shall
be non-alienable and shall not be subject to sale or other disposition until again
declared alienable. Consistent with the foregoing postulates, jurisprudence teaches
that a military reservation, like the FBMR, or a part thereof is not open to private
appropriation or disposition and, therefore, not registrable, unless it is in the
meantime reclassified and declared as disposable and alienable public land. And
until a given parcel of land is released from its classification as part of the military
reservation zone and reclassified by law or by presidential proclamation as
disposable and alienable, its status as part of a military reservation remains,even if
incidentally it is devoted for a purpose other than as a military camp or for defense.
The same is true in this case.
There is no doubt that the JUSMAG area subject of the questioned October 30,
1991sale formed part of the FBMR as originally established under Proclamation No.
423. And while private respondent SHAI would categorically say that the petitioner
Republic had not presented evidence that subject land is within military
reservation,and even dared to state that the JUSMAG area is the private property
of the government and therefore removed from the concept of public domain per se
its own evidence themselves belie its posture as their evidence both the TCT and
the Deed of Sale technically described the property as situated in Jusmag area

located at Fort Bonifacio which is now renamed Fort Mckinley a declared a military
The Republic has, since the filing of its underlying complaint, invoked
Proclamation No. 423. In the process, it has invariably invited attention to the
proclamations specific area coverage to prove the nullity of TCT No. 15084,
inasmuch as the title embraced a reserved area considered inalienable, and hence,
beyond the commerce of man.
The October 30, 1991 Deed of Sale purportedly executed by Palad, assuming
its authenticity, could not plausibly be the requisite classifying medium converting
the JUSMAG area into a disposable parcel. And private respondent SHAIs unyielding
stance that would have the Republic in estoppel to question the transfer to it by the
LMB Director of the JUSMAG area is unavailing. It should have realized that the
Republic is not usually estopped by the mistake or error on the part of its officials or
Since the parcels of land in question allegedly sold to the private respondent
are, or at least at the time of the supposed transaction were, still part of the FBMR,
the purported sale is necessarily void ab initio.
Moreover, Article XII, Section 3[of the 1987 Constitution forbids private
corporations from acquiring any kind of alienable land of the public domain, except
through lease for a limited period.
The interplay of compelling circumstances and inferences deducible from the
case, also cast doubt on the authenticity of such deed, if not support a conclusion
that the deed is spurious.
1. Palad categorically declared that his said signature on the deed is a forgery. The
NBI signature expert corroborated Palads allegation on forgery.Respondent SHAIs
expert witness from the PNP, however, disputes the NBIs findings. In net effect,
both experts from the NBI and the PNP cancel each other out.
2.Palad signed the supposed deed of sale in Manila, possibly at the LMB office at
Plaza Cervantes, Binondo. Even if he acted in an official capacity, Palad nonetheless
proceeded on the same day to Pasig City to appear before the notarizing officer.
The deed was then brought to the Rizal Registry and there stamped Received by
the entry clerk. That same afternoon, or at 3:14 p.m. of October 30, 1991to be
precise, TCT No. 15084 was issued. In other words, the whole conveyance and
registration process was done in less than a day. The very unusual dispatch is quite
surprising. Stranger still is why a bureau head, while in the exercise of his functions
as the bureaus authorized contracting officer, has to repair to another city just to
have a deed notarized.
3. There is absolutely no record of the requisite public land application to purchase
required under Section 89 of the Public Land Act. There is also no record of the deed
of sale and of documents usually accompanying an application to purchase,
inclusive of the investigation report and the property valuation. The Certification
under the seal of the LMB bearing date November 24, 1994 and issued/signed by

Alberto Recalde, OIC, Records Management Division of the LMB pursuant to a

subpoena issued by the trial court attest to this fact of absence of records. Atty.
Alice B. Dayrit, then Chief, Land Utilization and Disposition Division, LMB, testified
having personally looked at the bureau record book, but found no entry pertaining
to SHAI.
4. In its Answer as defendant a quo, respondent SHAI states that the deed of sale
specifically meritorious Official Receipt No. 6030203 as evidence of full payment of
the agreed purchase price An official receipt (O.R.) is doubtless the best evidence
to prove payment. While it kept referring to O.R. No. 6030203 as its evidence of the
required payment, it failed to present and offer the receipt in evidence. We can thus
validly presume that no such OR exists or, if it does, that its presentation would be
adverse to SHAI.
A contract of sale is void where the price, which appears in the document
as paid has, in fact, never been paid.
5. The purchase price was, according to the witnesses for SHAI, paid in full in cash
to the cashier of the LMB the corresponding amount apparently coming in a mix of
P500 and P100 denominations. Albeit plausible, SHAIs witnesses account taxes
credulity to the limit.
TCT No. 15084 of the Registry of Deeds of Rizal issued on the basis of such
Deed are declared void and cancelled

GR Nos. 103882, 105276 November 25, 1998

On June 22, 1957, RA 1899 was approved granting authority to all
municipalities and chartered cities to undertake and carry out at their own expense
the reclamation by dredging, filling, or other means, of any foreshore lands
bordering them, and to establish, provide, construct, maintain and repair proper and
adequate docking and harbor facilities as such municipalities and chartered cities
may determine in consultation with the Secretary of Finance and the Secretary of
Public Works and Communications.

Pursuant to the said law, Ordinance No. 121 was passed by the city of Pasay for the
reclamation of foreshore lands within their jurisdiction and entered into an
agreement with Republic Real Estate Corporation for the said project.

Republic questioned the agreement. It contended, among others, that the

agreement between RREC and the City of Pasay was void for the object of the
contract is outside the commerce of man, it being a foreshore land.
Pasay City and RREC countered that the object in question is within the commerce
of man because RA 1899 gives a broader meaning on the term foreshore land
than that in the definition provided by the dictionary.

RTC rendered judgment in favour of Pasay City and RREC, and the decision was
affirmed by the CA with modifications.


Whether or not the term foreshore land includes the submerged area.

Whether or not foreshore land and the reclaimed area is within the
commerce of man.

The Court ruled that it is erroneous and unsustainable to uphold the opinion of the
respondent court that the term foreshore land includes the submerged areas. To
repeat, the term "foreshore lands" refers to:
The strip of land that lies between the high and low water marks and that is
alternately wet and dry according to the flow of the tide.
A strip of land margining a body of water (as a lake or stream); the part of a
seashore between the low-water line usually at the seaward margin of a low-tide
terrace and the upper limit of wave wash at high tide usually marked by a beach
scarp or berm. (Webster's Third New International Dictionary)
The duty of the court is to interpret the enabling Act, RA 1899. In so doing, we
cannot broaden its meaning; much less widen the coverage thereof. If the intention
of Congress were to include submerged areas, it should have provided expressly.

That Congress did not so provide could only signify the exclusion of submerged
areas from the term foreshore lands.
It bears stressing that the subject matter of Pasay City Ordinance No. 121, as
amended by Ordinance No. 158, and the Agreement under attack, have been found
to be outside the intendment and scope of RA 1899, and therefore ultra vires and
null and void.

IX ALmagro vs Kwan NONE

Republic v. Alagad [G.R. No. 66807. January 26, 1989.]
Second Division, Sarmiento (J): 4 concur
On 11 October 1951, Melitona, Carmen (with spouse Espiridion Kolimlim), Justo,
Carlos, Librada(with spouse Emerson Abano), Demetrio, and Antonio Alagad filed an
application for registration of their titleover a parcel of land situated at Linga,
Pila, Laguna, with an area of 8.1263 hectares (survey plan Psu-116971),
which was amended after the land was divided into two parcels, namely,
Lot 1 with an area of5.2476 hectares and Lot 2 with an area of 2.8421
hectares (survey plan Psu-226971, amendment 2). The Republic opposed the
application on the stereo-typed ground that applicants and their predecessors have
notbeen in possession of the land openly, continuously, publicly and
adversely under a bona fi de claim ofownership since 26 July 1894 and the land
has not ceased to be a part of the public domain. It appears thatbarrio folk also
opposed the application. On 16 January 1956, by virtue of a fi nal
judgment in said case,supplemented by orders issued on 21 March 1956 and 13
August 1956, the Alagads were declared owners ofLot 1 and the remaining portion,
or Lot 2, was declared public land. Decree N-51479 was entered and OCT 0-401,
dated 18 October 1956, was issued in the names of the Alagads.In August 1966,
the Alagads filed before the Municipal Court of Pila, Laguna (Civil Case 52) an action
toevict the barrio folk occupying portions of Lot 1. On 8 August 1968, judgment was
rendered in the evictioncase ordering the barrio folk therein to return possession of
the premises to the Alagads. The barrio folk didnot appeal.The Republic filed a
petition for annulment of title and reversion, insofar as the 1.42 hectare
northwesternportion on end of Lot 1 is concerned, contending that such is foreshore
land, and that the Alagads could nothave had an imperfect title to it as it was the

barrio folk who filled up the land to elevate the land to its presentcondition. The
Court, on 6 October 1970, issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the
ProvincialSheriff of Laguna or his deputies from enforcing the writ of
execution issued in Civil Case 52, and the Alagads from selling, mortgaging,
disposing or otherwise entering into any transaction affecting the area. Thecase was
set for pre-trial on 6 July 1971, to which the attorney representing the Republic did
not appear. On16 July 1971, the court dismissed the complaint. The Republic filed a
motion for reconsideration, was set forhearing, and finally denied by the court.
Appeal was made to the Court of Appeals, which sustained the trial
Property, 2003 ( 164 )

Haystacks (Berne Guerrero)

court for failure to show in the record on appeal that the appeal was perfected on
time. Hence, the appeal.The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the lower
courts, and reinstated the Republics complaint andthus remanded the case to the
trial court for further proceedings.
1.State cannot be bound by or estopped from the
m i s t a k e s o r n e g l i g e n t a c t s o f i t s o ffi c i a l s o r agents
The State cannot be bound by, or estopped from, the mistakes or negligent acts of
its official or agents, muchmore, non-suited as a result thereof. This is so
because the state as a persona in law is the judicial entity, which is the
source of any asserted right to ownership in land under the basic doctrine embodied
in the 1935Constitution as well as the present charter. It is charged moreover with
the conservation of such patrimony.There is need therefore of the most rigorous
scrutiny before private claims to portions thereof are
judiciallya c c o r d e d r e c o g n i t i o n . S u c h p r i m o r d i a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n , n o t t h
e a p p a r e n t c a r e l e s s n e s s , m u c h l e s s t h e acquiescence of public officials, is
the controlling norm.
2 . R a m o s v. C e n t r a l B a n k , a n d N i l o v. R o m e r o n o t
applicable to the present case
The cases of Ramos v. Central Bank of the Philippines and Nilo v. Romero, are not
applicable. In Ramos, theCourt applied estoppel upon finding of bad faith on the
part of the State (the Central Bank) in deliberatelyreneging on its promises. In
Nilo, the Court denied eff orts to impugn the jurisdiction of the court on
theground that the defendant had been erroneously represented in the complaint
by the City Attorney when itshould have been the City Mayor, on a holding that the
City Attorney, in any event, could have ably defendedthe City (Davao City). In
both cases, it is seen that the acts that gave rise to estoppel were

voluntary andintentional in character, in which cases, it could not be said that the
Government had been prejudiced by somenegligent act or omission.
3.Res judicata is not an impediment to reversion of
p r o p e r t y ; R e p u b l i c v . C A , r e q u i s i t e s f o r a prior judgment to
become a bar
Res judicata is not an impediment to reversion of property. In Republic v. Court of
Appeals, the Court statedthat a certificate of title may be ordered cancelled
(Republic v. Animus, et al.)
, and the cancellation may bepursued through an ordinary action therefor. This
action cannot be barred by the prior judgment of the landregistration court, since
the said court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter. And if there was no
such jurisdiction, then the principle of res judicata does not apply. For it is a wellsettled rule that for a prior judgment to constitute a bar to a subsequent case, the
following requisites must concur; (1) it must be a final judgment; (2) it must
have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and over
theparties; (3) it must be a judgment on the merits; and (4) there must be, between
the first and second actions,identity of parties, identity of subject matter and
identity of cause of action
(Municipality of Daet vs. C4 93SCRA 503; Mendoza vs. Arrieta, et al., 91 SCRA 113)
4.Property of public dominion: Property for public use
or public service
Property, according to the Civil Code, is either of public dominion or of private
ownership. Property isof public dominion if it is (1) intended for public use, such as
roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridgesconstructed by the State, banks,
shores, roadsteads and others of similar character;or if it (2) belongs to theState,
without being for public use, and are intended for some public service or for the
development of thenational wealth.
5.Patrimonial property
and property of public dominion
All other property of the State which is not of the character mentioned in
article [420], is patrimonialproperty, meaning to say, property open
to disposition by the Government, or otherwise, propertypertaining to the
national domain, or public lands. Property of the public dominion, on the other hand,
refersto things held by the State by regalian right. They are things res publicae in
nature and hence, incapable ofprivate appropriation. Thus, under the present
Constitution, [w]ith the exception of agricultural lands, all
Property, 2003 ( 165 )

Haystacks (Berne Guerrero)

other natural resources shall not be alienated.
6 . P u b l i c

D o m i n i o n ,

a s

t o

w a t e r s

Article 502 provides that (1) Rivers and their natural beds; (2) Continuous or
intermittent waters of
springsa n d b r o o k s r u n n i n g i n t h e i r n a t u r a l b e d s a n d t h e b e d s t h e m s
e l v e s ; ( 3 ) Wa t e r s r i s i n g c o n t i n u o u s l y o r intermittently on lands of public
dominion; (4) Lakes and lagoons formed by Nature on public lands, and
theirb e d s ; ( 5 ) R a i n w a t e r s r u n n i n g t h r o u g h r a v i n e s o r s a n d b e d s , w
h i c h a r e a l s o o f p u b l i c d o m i n i o n ; ( 6 ) Subterranean waters on public lands;
(7) Waters found within the zone of operation of public works, even ifconstructed by
a contractor; (8) Waters rising continuously or intermittently on lands belonging to
privatepersons, to the State, to a province, or to a city or municipality from the
moment they leave such lands; and(9) The waste waters of fountains, sewers
and public establishments are of public dominion. It is also ordained in
Article 44 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 3 August 1866 that natural ponds and
lakes existingupon public lands and fed by public waters, belong to the public
domain. Lakes, ponds, and pools existingupon the lands of private individuals, or
the State or provinces, belong to the respective owners of such lands,and those
situated upon lands of communal use belong to their respective pueblos.
7. Laguna de B ay is a lake (Coleg io de San Jose case );
Highest Ordinary Depth
Laguna de Bay has long been recognized as a lake. Laguna de Bay is a body of
water formed in depressionsof the earth; it contains fresh water coming from rivers
and brooks or springs, and is connected with ManilaBay by the Pasig
River. Inasmuch as Laguna de Bay is a lake, the Court must resort to the legal
provisionsgoverning the ownership and use of lakes and their beds and shores, in
order to determine the character andownership of the parcels of land in question.
The recourse to legal provisions is necessary, for under Article74 of the Law of
Waters, the natural bed or basin of lakes is the ground covered by their waters
when at theirhighest ordinary depth and in which case, it forms part of the national
dominion. When Laguna de Bayswaters are at their highest ordinary depth has
been defined as the highest depth of the waters of Laguna deBay during the dry
season, such depth being the regular, common, natural, which occurs always or
most ofthe time during the year. Otherwise, where the rise in water level is
due to the extraordinary action of nature, rainfall for instance, the portions
inundated thereby are not considered part of the bed or basin of thebody of water
in question. It cannot therefore be said to be foreshore land but land

outside of the publicdominion, and land capable of registration as private

8 . F o r e s h o r e

l a n d

A foreshore land has been defined as that part of (the land) which is between high
and low water and left dryby the flux and reflux of the tides, or The strip of land
that lies between the high and low water marks andthat is alternatively wet and dry
according to the flow of the tide. If the submergence, however, of the land isdue to
precipitation, it does not become foreshore, despite its proximity to the waters.
9.Court not a trier of facts; not enough evidence to
arrive a conclusive disposition; Remand
The case has to be decided alongside the above principles and regretfully,
the Court cannot make a rulingbecause it is not a trier of facts, and it is in
possession of no evidence to assist it in arriving at a conclusivedisposition. The
Court thus remanded the case to the court a quo to determine whether or not the
propertysubject of controversy is foreshore.


Facts: This is an appeal by certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals
raising the question of whether or not petitioner Mindanao Medical Center has
registerable title over a full 12.8081-hectare land by virtue of an executive
proclamation in 1956 reserving the area for medical center site purposes.
On January 22, 1921, Eugenio de Jesus, the father of respondent Alejandro de Jesus,
applied with the Bureau of Lands for Sales Patent (Sales Application No. 5436) of a
33-hectare situated in barrio Libaron, Municipality of Davao (now Davao City. On
January 23, 1934, the Bureau of Lands, through its Davao District Land Officer,
accepted sealed bids for the purchase of the subject land. One Irineo Jose bidded for
P20.00 per hectare, while a certain Dr. Jose Ebro submitted a bid of P100.50 per
hectare The Director of Lands, however, annulled the auction sale for the reason
that the sales applicant.

In lieu of that sale, another bidding was held on October 4, 1934. Sales applicant
Eugenio de Jesus was the lone bidder. He equalled the bid previously submitted by
Dr. Jose Ebro and made a deposit of P221.00 representing 10% of the price of the
land at P100.50 per hectare. On November 23, 1934, the Director of Lands issued to
Eugenio de Jesus an Order of Award.
On August 28, 1936, 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. 5436 (E-3231) of Eugenio de Jesus is needed by the Philippine Army
for military camp site purposes. On September 7, 1936, President Manuel L. Quezon
issued Proclamation No. 85 withdrawing Lot No. 1176-B-2 from sale and settlement
and reserving the same for military purposes, under the administration of the Chief
of Staff, Philippine Army.
On November 29, 1939, Eugenio de Jesus paid P660.45 covering the 8th and 10th
installment for 20.6400 hectares, the remaining area after his Sales Application was
amended. Thereafter, or on May 15, 1948, then Director of Lands Jose P. Dans
ordered the issuance of patent to Eugenio de Jesus, pursuant to his Sales
Application for "a tract of land having an area of 20.6400 hectares, situated in the
barrio of Poblacion, City of Davao. On the same date, 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, Island of
Mindanao, Philippines, containing an area of 20 hectares, 64 ares, and 00 centares.
On August 11, 1956, President Ramon Magsaysay revoked Proclamation No. 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, Davao City. In
the following October 9, President Magsaysay revoked this Proclamation No. 328
and reserved the same Lot No. 1176-B-2 for medical center site purposes under the
administration of the Director of Hospital.
Whereupon, on December 6, 1969, petitioner Mindanao Medical Center applied for
the Torrens registration of the 12.8081-hectare Lot 1176-B-2 with the Court of First
Instance of Davao. The Medical Center claimed "fee simple" title to the land on the
strength of proclamation No. 350 reserving the area for medical center site
Respondent Alejandro de Jesus, the son and successor-in-interest of sale applicant
Eugenio de Jesus, opposed the registration oil the ground that his father, Eugenio de
Jesus, had acquired a vested right on the subject lot by virtue of the Order of Award
issued to him by the Director of Lands. 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.
After due hearing, the Court of First Instance of Davao rendered judgment on
September 2, 1966, directing "the registration of the title to Lot No. 1176-B-2 of

Subdivision Plan Bsd-5134, shown on Plan Ap-6512, situated in the Barrio of Central,
City of Davao, and containing an area of 128,081 square meters in the name of the
Mindanao Medical Center, Bureau of Medical Services, Department of Health.
The two oppositors, Alejandro de Jesus and Arsenio Suazo, excepted from this
judgment of the trial court and appealed the case to the respondent Court of
Appeals it which it held that the appealed judgment is hereby modified insofar as it
denies the claim of appellant Arsenio Suazo, the same is hereby affirmed, in regard
the appeal of appellant Alejandro Y. de Jesus, registration Lot 1176-B-2, situated in
Barrio Central, Davao City, and containing an area of 12.8081 square meters, is
hereby decreed in the name of said appellants, but said appellant is hereby ordered
to 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 appurtenances.
On July 5, 1974, petitioner Mindanao Medical Center moved for reconsideration,
maintaining ownership over the entire area of 12.8081 hectares, but the Appellate
Court in a Special Division of Five denied the motion on June 17, 1975.
Forthwith, petitioner Mindanao Medical Center elevated the matter to the SC thru
the present appeal.

Issue: Whether or not the lower court erred in rendering its decision.

Ruling: The SC find petitioner's appeal to be meritorious on the following grounds.

1. Petitioner Mindanao Medical Center has registerable title over the whole
contested area of 12.8081 hectares, designated Lot No. 1176-B-2, and not only on a
portion thereof occupied by the Medical Center, its nervous disease pavilion and
their reasonable appurtenances. Proclamation No. 350, dated October 9, 1956, of
President Magsaysay legally effected a land grant to the Mindanao Medical Center,
Bureau of Medical Services, Department of Health, of the whole lot, validity
sufficient for initial registration under the Land Registration Act.
2. Respondent Appellate Court erroneously ruled that Alejandro's father, Eugenio de
Jesus, had acquired ownership over the whole 12.8081-hectare Lot 1176-B-2
because the Sales Award issued to him on November 23, 1934 by then Director of
Lands Simeon Ramos covered the 33 hectares applied for, including the 12.8081
hectares. On the contrary, the very Sales Award describes the tract awarded as
located in Central, Davao, Davao, with an area of22 hectares, and bounded on the
north by Maria Villa Abrille and Arsenio Suazo; on the southeast by a provincial road
and Mary Gohn; on the southwest by a public land; and on the west by a municipal
road. This area of 22 hectares was even reduced to 20.6400 hectares upon actual
survey made by the Bureau of Lands. The same area was reckoned with by then

Lands Director Jose P. Dans when he directed the issuance of a patent to Eugenio de
Jesus on May 15, 1948 for his application filed on January 22, 1921 covering "a tract
of land having an area of 20.6400 hectares, situated in the barrio of Poblacion, City
of Davao." In like manner, the Sales Patent issued to Eugenio de Jesus on the same
date, May 15, 1948, 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, Island of Mindanao, Philippines, containing
an area of 20 hectares 64, acres 00 centares." Seen in the light of Patent, and Sales
Order for Issuance of Patent, and Sales Patent, invariably bearing the area awarded
to sales applicant Eugenio de Jesusas20.6400 hectares, it becomes imperative to
conclude that what was really awarded to Eugenio de jesus was only 20.6400
hectares and not 33 hectares as applied for by him.
3. The phrase "whole tract" in the Sales Award 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. Such general description of "whole tract" cannot prevail
over the specific description delineating the area in quantity and in boundaries
Besides, patents and land grants are construed favorably to the Government, and
most strongly against the grantee. Any doubt as to the intention or extent of the
grant, or the intention of the Government, is to be resolved in its favor.
4. The SC cannot share the view of respondent Appellate Court that Eugenio de
Jesus' alleged occupation, 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, which right was controverted into
"a special propriety right" when the Sales Award was issued to him in 1934. Lands
covered by reservation are not subject to entry, and no lawful settlement on them
can be acquired. The claims of persons who have settled on occupied, and improved
a parcel of public land which is later included in a reservation are considered worthy
of protection and are usually respected, but where the President, as authorized by
law, issues a proclamation reserving certain lands and warning all persons to depart
therefrom, 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
5. 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, thru Secretary Serafin Marabut of the Department of National
Defense, sometime in 1936 subject to the condition that it would be returned to him
when the Philippine Army would no longer need it. As found by the trial court in
1936, the Department of National Defense was not yet in existence, 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 12.8081 hectares.
The Department of National Defense was only organized in 1939. Nonetheless,
respondent Alejandro de Jesus, would prove by secondary evidence the existence of
such donation thru the testimony of persons who supposedly saw it. ADMITTEDLY,

the appealed judgement of the Court of Appeals, promulgated on July 2, 1974, and
its resolution of Jane 17, 1975, denying petitioner's motion for reconsiderations, are
hereby reversed and set aside. The disputed Lot 1176-B-2, Plan Bsd-1514 of Davao
Cadastre and containing an area of 12.8081 hectares, is hereby adjudicated in favor
of petitioner Mindanao Medical Center. With costs against private respondent.