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Land Ownership in the Philippines
Valenton vs Marciano 3 Phil. Reports 537, 2 Off. Gaz., 434, March 30, 1904
Cansino vs Valdez
G.R. No. L-2468, July 16, 1906
The decision in this case was announced on the 30th of April, 1906. The grounds of that decision are
as follows:
The case is almost identical with the case of Valenton vs. Murciano (which resolved the question of
which is the better basis for ownership of land: long-time occupation or paper title. Plaintiffs had entered into
peaceful occupation of the subject land in 1860. Defendant's predecessor-in-interest, on the other hand,
purchased the land from the provincial treasurer of Tarlac in 1892. The lower court ruled against the plaintiffs
on the ground that they had lost all rights to the land by not objecting to the administrative sale. Plaintiffs
appealed the judgment, asserting that their 30-year adverse possession, as an extraordinary period of
prescription in the Partidas and the Civil Code, had given them title to the land as against everyone,
including the State; and that the State, not owning the land, could not validly transmit it.)
Magdalena Cansino, bought the property in question, as public lands of the State from the Spanish
Government and received a deed therefor on the 27th of October, 1893. In the former case of Valenton vs.
Murciano , the plaintiffs went into possession of the land in 1860 and claimed ownership thereof by the
extraordinary prescription of thirty years. In this case some of the defendants testified that they went into
possession in 1862 and they claimed the ownership of this land by the same extraordinary prescription.
Whether or not the lands occupied and possessed by Cansino for almost three decades could ripen
into adverse possession by virtue of extraordinary prescription.
In Valenton vs. Murciano, the court decided that title to lands such as were involved in that case
could not be acquired by prescription while they were the property of the State. The decision in that case
governs and controls this case and upon its authority judgment in this case was affirmed.

Cariño vs Insular Government
212 U. S., 449
On June 23, 1903, Mateo Cariño went to the Court of Land Registration (CLR) to petition his
inscription as the owner of a 146 hectare land he’s been possessing in the then municipality of Baguio.
Mateo only presented possessory information and no other documentation. The application was granted by
the court on March 4, 1904. An appeal was taken to the court of first instance of the province of Benguet, on
behalf of the government of the Philippines, and also on behalf of the United States, those governments
having taken possession of the property for public and military purposes. The court of first instance found the
facts and dismissed the application upon grounds of law. The State opposed the petition averring that the
land is part of the US military reservation. The CLR ruled in favor of Mateo. The State appealed. Mateo lost.
Mateo averred that a grant should be given to him by reason of immemorial use and occupation as in the
previous cases Cansino vs Valdez and Tiglao vs Government; and that the right of the State over said land
has prescribed.
ISSUE: Whether or not Mateo is the rightful owner of the land by virtue of his possession of it for some time.
No. The statute of limitations did not run against the government. The government is still the
absolute owner of the land (regalian doctrine). Further, Mateo’s possession of the land has not been of such
a character as to require the presumption of a grant. No one has lived upon it for many years. It was never
used for anything but pasturage of animals, except insignificant portions thereof, and since the insurrection
against Spain it has apparently not been used by Cariño for any purpose.
In view of these provisions of the law, it seems to us impossible to say that as to the public
agricultural lands in the Philippines there existed a conclusive presumption after a lapse of thirty or any other
number of years that the Government of Spain had granted to the possessor thereof a legal title thereto.

he acted in good faith and he has open.While the State has always recognized the right of the occupant to a deed if he proves a possession for a sufficient length of time. Razon and Director of Lands. which included the very land claimed by Maria del Rosario in the former action. He took advantage of the Royal Decree to obtain a possessory information title to the land and was registered as such. 1 included within the limits of the possessory information title of Romero was sold to Cornelio Ramos. No. Abella G. the appellant Maria del Rosario presented a petition in the Court of First Instance for the registration under the Torrens system. and obtain from them his deed. L-3793.122
 5. The claimant has color of title. The general rule is that possession and cultivation of a portion of a tract of land under the claim of ownership of all is a constructive possession of all. G. if the remainder is not in the adverse possession of another. Insular Government.1753 
 Cornelio Ramos vs. if the Government desires to demonstrate that the land is in reality a forest. ISSUE: Whether or not the actual occupancy of a part of the land described in the instrument giving color of title sufficient to give title to the entire tract of land? HELD: The general rule is that possession and cultivation of a portion of a tract of land under the claim of ownership of all is a constructive possession of all. 1918) FACTS: Restituo Romero gained possession of a considerable tract of land located in Nueva Ecija. Parcel No. Forest reserves of public land can be established as provided by law. When the claim of the citizen and the claim of the government as to a particular piece of property collide.R. under the cadastral survey. (49 Phil. 1925
 6. . 10 Phil. unsupported by satisfactory evidence will not stop the courts from giving title to the claimant. No. Susi vs. 1906. G. Petitioner and appellant has proved a title to the entire tract of land for which he asked for registration. 49) Facts: This is a petition for the registration of a certain parcel or tract of land located in the municipality of San Jose. 1926. and notorious possession of a portion of the property. Registration in the name of the petitioner is hereby granted. Director of Lands opposed on the ground that Ramos had not acquired a good title from the Spanish government. the mere formal opposition on the part of the Attorney-General for the Director of Forestry. Ramos instituted appropriate proceedings to have his title registered. Province of Nueva Ecija. G. 13298 November 19. sufficient to apprise the community and the world that the land was for his enjoyment. Jones vs. L-2506 April 16. yet it has always insisted that he must make that proof before the proper administrative officers. February 19. peaceable. 1915. No. Director of Forestry also opposed on the ground that the first parcel of land is forest land. 
 Government of the Philippine Islands vs. December 9.
 Possession in the eyes of the law does not mean that a man has to have his feet on every square meter of ground before it can be said that he is in possession. of a portion of land located in the municipality of San Jose. On the 26th day of April. 6 Phil. It has been seen however that the predecessor in interest to the petitioner at least held this tract of land under color of title. when the Acting Director of Lands presented the petition in the present case for the registration.R. No.. herein petitioner. 1908. Mapa vs. Director of Lands (G. Philippine Islands. of the very land now in question by virtue of her appeal. It appears from the record that on the 21st day of September.R.R. No. 1921.R. L-25010 October 27. and until he did the State remained the absolute owner. Insular Government. In this case. Ramos and his predecessor in interest fulfilled the requirements of the law on supposition that the premises consisted of agricultural public land. the Director of Forestry should submit to the court convincing proof that the land is not more valuable for agricultural than for forest purposes. if the remainder is not in the adverse possession of another.
 On the issue of forest land. L-24066.

Hence this appeal from a judgment declaring the registration of a residential lot located in the municipality of Guinayangan. July 10. (Ankron vs. Government of the Philippine Islands. orders and decrees promulgated by the Spanish Government in the Philippines. L-19535. set aside for forestry or mineral purposes the particular land in question. Thus. The lower court declared that the sale of the lot to the applicant was valid. the right of his immediate predecessor in interest to a decree of registration must be deemed also to have been acquired by him. if it may thus be called. may be availed of by a qualified person to apply for its registration but not by a person as the applicant who is disqualified. The only right. or mineral is a question to be settled in each particular case. lots 3238. Province of Tayabas in the name of the applicant.) During the trial of the present cause the appellant made no effort to show that the land which she claimed. The applican. forestry. They did not have any vested right in the lot amounting to the title which was transmissible to the applicant. She then presented a motion for rehearing and in support thereof presents some proof to show that the northern portion of the land in question is not forestry land but that much of it is agricultural land. which are the very lots which had been ordered registered in her name in the former action. therefore is disqualified from acquiring lands of the public domain. it is urged that the sale of the lot to the applicant should have been declared null and void. was more valuable for agricultural than forestry purposes.s immediate predecessors in interest should comply with the condition precedent for the grant of such benefits. Uy Un vs. under the authority conferred upon it. is their possession of the lot which. is an alien. 3242 and 3243. ordered registered in the name of Maria del Rosario. From that judgment she appealed to this court upon the ground that the lower court committed an error in not registering all of the land included in her opposition in her name. Whether the particular land is agricultural. for the earliest possession of the lot by his predecessors in interest begun in 1880. the applicant. 508 "En Español”
 11. 890 FACTS: Oh Cho. Auxiliary Judge of the Sixth Judicial District. The condition precedent is to apply for the registration of the land of which they had been i possession at least since July 26. HELD: No. Perez.Upon the issue and the proof adduced in the present case the Honorable C. 1967 . or by possessory information under the Mortgage Law (Sec. 40 Phil. exclusive and notorious possession of the lot from 1880 to filing of the application for registration on January 17. because he is alien. 10. Accordingly. prior to the intervention of private interest. Nor does the applicant come under the exception. 1894. 1940.. either by purchase or by grant. 
 Oh Cho vs Director of Lands 75 Phil. judgment is reversed and the applicant for registration dismissed. Issue: Whether or not there is an error in registering the lands Ruling: It was held that no error has been committed. he failed to show that he or any of his predecessors in interest have acquired the lot from the Government. 71 Phil. under the cadastral survey. It may be argued that under the provisions of the Public Land Act the applicant immediate predecessor in interest would have been entitled to a decree of registration of the lot had they applied for its registration. The benefits provided in the Public Land Act for applicant. Director of Lands. or vice-versa. is a question of fact and must be established during the trial of the cause. under the laws.t immediate predecessors in interest have failed to do so. and his predecessors in interest have been in open. 
 10. Carballo.19. Moreover. outside of that which had been decreed in her favor. Mindanao vs. The court ruled that the applicant failed to show title to the lot that may be confirmed under the Land Registration Act. tacked to that of their predecessor in interest. Act 496). and that he having purchased or acquired it. continuous. unless the Bureau of Forestry has. Whether particular land is more valuable for forestry purposes than for agricultural purposes. ISSUE: Whether or not Oh Cho is entitled to decree of registration of the lot. 3240.

and other Boracay landowners in Boracay filed with the Supreme Court (SC) an original petition for prohibition. exclusive. 1064 classifying Boracay Island into four hundred (400) hectares of reserved forest land (protection purposes) and six hundred twenty-eight and 96/100 (628. No. mandamus.R. A positive act declaring land as alienable and disposable is required. had been in open.R. prior to 2006. 167707. They have been in continued possession of their respective lots in Boracay since time immemorial. G. The Regalian Doctrine dictates that all lands of the public domain belong to the State. and all those similarly situated. The OSG countered that Boracay Island was an unclassified land of the public domain. declassifying inalienable public land into disposable land for agricultural or other purposes. the claimed portions of the island are inalienable and cannot be the subject of judicial confirmation of imperfect title. 705 or the Revised Forestry Code. the portions of Boracay occupied . No. The OSG argued that Sacay et al do not have a vested right over their occupied portions in the island. In the case at bar. or certification was presented. reserved for right-of-way and which shall form part of the area reserved for forest land protection purposes. that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land and charged with the conservation of such patrimony. and nullification of Proclamation No. there must be a positive act of the government. October 08. and notorious possession and occupation in Boracay since June 12. Yap et al alleged that Proclamation No. no such proclamation. They alleged that the Proclamation infringed on their “prior vested rights” over portions of Boracay. All lands that have not been acquired from the government.R. It is only the executive department. through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). either by purchase or by grant. The OSG again opposed Sacay’s petition. They have also invested billions of pesos in developing their lands and building internationally renowned first class resorts on their lots. Orlando Sacay. Boracay is an unclassified public forest land pursuant to Section 3(a) of PD No. then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No. belong to the State as part of the inalienable public domain. statute. 1064. The OSG appealed. HELD: Yes. 3-82 pose any legal obstacle for Yap et al and Sacay et al. Being public forest. Land Classification Agencies Involved DENR vs Yap (G. 1945. The Republic. report. which has authority to reclassify lands of the public domain into alienable and disposable lands. 2008) FACTS: Boracay Mayor Jose Yap et al filed for declaratory relief to have a judicial confirmation of imperfect title or   survey of land for titling purposes for the land they’ve been occupying in Boracay. 167707. continuous. In keeping with the presumption of State ownership. Since Boracay Island had not been classified as alienable and disposable. 173775 During the pendency of G. opposed the petition for declaratory relief. The SC ruled against Yap et al and Sacay et al. or through their predecessors-in-interest. 705. 3-82 raised doubts on their right to secure titles over their occupied lands. executive order. 1801 and PTA Circular No. They declared their lands for tax purposes and paid realty taxes on them.II. such as an official proclamation.” which was not available for disposition pursuant to Section 3(a) of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. to acquire title to their occupied lands in Boracay Island. administrative action. No. Subsequently. It formed part of the mass of lands classified as “public forest.96) hectares of agricultural land (alienable and disposable). not the courts. They declared that they themselves. The records are bereft of evidence showing that. in May 2006. There is a need for a positive government act in order to release the lots for disposition. whatever possession they had cannot ripen into ownership. RTC Ruled in favor of Yap et al. ISSUE: Whether Proclamation No. or earlier since time immemorial. Dr. The Proclamation likewise provided for a fifteen-meter buffer zone on each side of the centerline of roads and trails.

comprised in the plan then private claimants were subject of a government proclamation that the land is alienable and disposable. 926. Private claimants’ continued possession under Act No. alleging that the land in question was the property of the Government of the United States. As the law and jurisprudence stand. and (2) the classification of the land as alienable and disposable land of the public domain. 3894. 926   ipso facto converted the island into private ownership. 141. alleged that at the time he requested the registration of the land in question. Being of recent dates. 926 does not create a presumption that the land is alienable. mere possession by private individuals of lands creates the legal presumption that the lands are alienable and disposable. 1945. and as the latter affords better facilities for securing titles to property unprovided with them. Absent such well-nigh incontrovertible evidence. and relying upon the provisions of paragraph 5 and 6 of section 54 of Act No. They have invested millions of pesos in developing the island into a tourist spot. 1064. The SC is constitutionally bound to decide cases based on the evidence presented and the laws applicable. the aforesaid Act No. Private claimants are not entitled to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under CA No. 141. . had been rendered. After the formalities of the law were complied with. The continued possession and considerable investment of private claimants do not automatically give them a vested right in Boracay. The tax declarations in the name of private claimants are insufficient to prove the first element of possession. March 12. situated in the town of Surigao. the tax declarations are not sufficient to convince this Court that the period of possession and occupation commenced on June 12. the applicant availing himself of the benefits granted by the said Act. private claimants also contend that their continued possession of portions of Boracay Island for the requisite period of ten (10) years under Act No. Also. Neither do they have vested rights over the occupied lands under the said law. No. having been in possession of the island for a long time. the Attorney-General objected to the registration applied for. It is plain error for petitioners to argue that under the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Public Land Act No. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed. 926. 1945. amended his former petition. There are two requisites for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title under CA No.R. 1909) Facts: Juan Ibañez de Aldecoa applied for the registration of his title to a parcel of land. and is now under the control of the Insular Government. a plan and technical description of said parcel was attached to his application. private claimants are ineligible to apply for a judicial confirmation of title over their occupied portions in Boracay even with their continued possession and considerable investment in the island. and notorious possession and occupation of the subject land by himself or through his predecessors-in-interest under a bona fide claim of ownership since time immemorial or from June 12. 926 was not yet in force. Aldecoa. the Court cannot accept the submission that lands occupied by private claimants were already open to disposition before 2006. continuous. Yap et al and Sacay et al insist that they have a vested right in Boracay. Agricultural Land de Aldecoa vs Insular Government (G. Nor do these give them a right to apply for a title to the land they are presently occupying. and an opinion of the examiner of titles opposing the request of the applicant. They say their continued possession and investments give them a vested right which cannot be unilaterally rescinded by Proclamation No. namely: (1) open. exclusive. as in the case with the land in question. prayed that the same be applied to the inscription of his land. The SC noted that the earliest of the tax declarations in the name of private claimants were issued in 1993.

November 15. all lands owned by the State or by the sovereign nation are public in character. not because it is actually used for the purposes of agriculture. “public agricultural land” was construed as referring to those lands that were not timber or mineral. L-630. is subject to the legal provisions in force regarding Government public lands which may be alienated in favor of private individuals or corporations. it is proper to apply thereto the laws in force and classify it as agricultural land. Therefore. the court held that in determining whether a parcel of land is agricultural. (3) those comprised in the communal laws. In May 1945. it does not appear that it was ever mining or forest land. Hence. inasmuch as it was agricultural prior to its conversion into a building lot. was converted into a building lot. for this reason. the test is not only whether it is actually agricultural. but because it was originally agricultural and may again become so under other circumstances. moreover. Art 13 of the Constitution talks about the conservation and utilization of natural resources. provided they are not included within the following exceptions: (1) Those of private ownership. Ruling: Any parcel of land or building lot is susceptible of cultivation. grounds. with the exception of those comprised within the mineral and timber zone.Issue: Whether or not a parcel of land that is susceptible of being cultivated. Sec. 1. The registration was interrupted by the war. and planted with all kind of vegetation. and mountains in the Philippine Islands shall be deemed to be alienable Crown lands. 1947) Facts: Alexander Krivenko. and mineral lands. (2) those belonging to the forest zone. and may be converted into a field. in December 1941. they are called agricultural lands. being an alien. Article 1 of the royal decree states: "Vacant lands. soils. and considering their origin and primitive state and the general uses to which they were accorded. the transformation they may have undergone is no obstacle to such classification as the possessors thereof may again convert them into rural estates. Held: No. Krivenko vs. but also its susceptibility to cultivation for agricultural purposes. where land is not mining or forestall in its nature. ceasing to be agricultural land. or within zones reserved for the use in common by residents of the community. . they may be acquired by any private or judicial person. Although it mentions agricultural. and per se alienable and. wherein is sought the registration of a lot situated within a town created and acknowledged administratively. Register of Deeds of Manila (18 G. The CFI ruled that he cannot own a land. and is subject at any time to further rotation and cultivation. provided they are not destined to the use of the public in general or reserved by the Government in accordance with law. Issue: Whether or not an alien may own private lands in the Philippines. timber. bought a residential lot from Magdalena Estate Inc. and. this petition. The said provision embraces all lands of any kind of the public domain. it includes residential lands.R. The SC said in special cases like the present one. urban lands or building lots being included in this classification for the purpose of distinguishing rural and urban estates from mineral and timber lands. It is deduced that. No. Its purpose is to establish a permanent and fundamental policy for the conservation and utilization of all natural resources of the nation. Hence. an alien. it must necessarily be included within the classification of agricultural land. and (4) those lands which are susceptible of private appropriation by means of composition or possessory information. Krivenko brought the case to the CFI of Manila. he sought to accomplish the said registration but was denied by the Register of Deeds of Manila on the grounds that he is a foreigner and he cannot acquire a land in this jurisdiction.

and (c) Mineral lands. provide: Sec. have reverted to or become the property of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. more or less. which administration and disposition shall be governed by the laws at present in force or which may hereafter be enacted. commenced in the Court of First Instance of Baguio City for annulment of Free Patents Nos. these properties became the private properties of the defendants. shall from time to time classify the lands of the public domain into — (a) Alienable or disposable. The Register of Deeds of Baguio City was made a formal party defendant. Sub-province of Benguet. L-31666. 141. P-208. The Court of First Instance of Baguio.Mineral Lands Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. 6. Commonwealth Act No. dismissed the three (3) civil cases because the same were duly registered with the office of the Register of Deeds of Baguio and Benguet. V-155050 and V-152243. for the purposes of their administration and disposition. but timber and mineral lands shag be governed by special laws and nothing in this Act provided shall be understood or construed to change or modify the administration and disposition of the lands commonly called 'friar lands' and those which being privately owned. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the same on the ground that they had complied with all the legal requirements in the acquisition of their patents which were duly issued by the Director of Lands and that they are not guilty of the alleged falsification of public documents. Dumyung (GR No. the land embraced in the patents and titles are Identified as Lots 1. and situated in the Municipal District of Mankayan. Mountain Province. 122 of Act 496. as amended. No. Timber and mineral lands are not alienable or disposable. Heirs of Ciriaco Carle. R. 2 and 3 of survey plan Psu-181763 containing a total area of 58. and may at any time and in a like manner transfer such lands from one class to another. V-152242. The provisions of this Act shall apply to the lands of the public domain. shall be cancelled. It is therefore clear that OCT Nos. Issue: Whether or not the Original Certificate of Title of private respondents were 'indefeasible' simply because that they were issued pursuant to the registration of the free patents of the private respondents and whether or not they are entitled to the benefit of R. 38 of said Act. these titles enjoy the same privileges and safeguards as Torrens titles (Director of Lands vs. July 31. P-208. L-12485. respectively. Branch I. 1929) Facts: The Republic of the Philippines. The pertinent provisions of the Public Land Act. P-210 and P-209. vs. Manuel Dumyung. The records of this case further disclose that the defendants are ignorant natives of Benguet Province and are members of the so-called Cultural Minorities of Mountain Province. on the ground of misrepresentation and false data and information’s furnished by the defendants. April 20.A 3872. (b) Timber. P-209 and P-210 belonging to the defendants are now indefeasible and this Court has no power to disturb such indefeasibility of said titles. 2. 1964). under the operation of Sec. Any title issued on non-disposable lots even in the hands of alleged innocent purchaser for value. represented by the Director of Lands. pursuant to the provisions of Sec. hence. Fortunate Dumyung and Dumyung Bonayan.4169 hectares. Sec. . The President. upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce. Held: No! Doctrine: A certificate of title is void when it covers property of the public domain classified as forest or timber and mineral lands. G. and consequently. let alone cancel the same. and of the corresponding Original Certificates of Title Nos.

either by himself or through his predecessors-in. In support of the application. who located the claim in September 1909 and recorded it on October 14. Republic vs. From the date of its purchase. by reason of its nature. The trial court denied the application. shall be entitled to the right granted in the preceding paragraph of this section: Provided. . In other words. 1988) Facts:  These cases arose from the application for registration of a parcel of land filed on February 11. under the provision of this chapter. Atok alleged that a portion of Lots 1-5 and all of Lots 6-9 were covered by the Emma and Fredia mineral claims located by Harrison and Reynolds on December 25. 1930. as to Portions of Lots 1-5 and all of Lots 6-9. and its payment of taxes on the land. continuous and exclusive possession of the said lots as evidenced by its annual assessment work on the claims. Moreover. April 15. as evidenced by its construction of adits. 1955. Benguet Province. invoking their superior right of ownership. A new paragraph is hereby added 1--o Section 44 of Commonwealth Act Numbered One Hundred-d forty-one. continuous and exclusive possession of the land in concept of owner. holding that the applicants had failed to prove their claim of possession and ownership of the land sought to be registered. which has since then been in open. The application was separately opposed by Benguet Consolidated. That at the time he files his free patent application he is not the owner of any real property secured or disposable under this provision of the Public Land Law. its geological mappings. Benguet opposed on the ground that the June Bug mineral claim covering Lots 1-5 was sold to it on September 22. a tract or tracts of land. not been occupied by any person shall be entitled. ninth hundred and twenty-six or prior thereto. respectively. Itogon. Any natural-born citizen of the Philippines who is not the owner of more than twenty-four hectares and who since July fourth. by the successors-in-interest of James Kelly. 217 dated February 16. Benguet had been in actual. Lots 1-5 were sold to Jose de la Rosa and Lots 6-9 to his children by Mamaya Balbalio and Jaime Alberto. 1931. 44. 1965. has continuously occupied and cultivated. L-43938. the Court of Appeals affirmed the surface rights of the de la Rosas over the land while at the same time reserving the sub-surface rights of Benguet and Atok by virtue of their mining claims. 1931. in the office of the mining recorder of Baguio. a tract or tracts of agricultural public lands subject to disposition. its affidavits of annual assessment. The Bureau of Forestry Development also interposed its objection. as to Lots 1-5. arguing that the land sought to be registered was covered by the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve under Proclamation No. 1909. and recorded on January 2. to read as follows: SEC. which reversed the trial court and recognized the claims of the applicant. According to the application. and by the Republic of the Philippines. Atok Big Wedge Corporation.interest. geological samplings and trench side cuts. Court of Appeals and dela Rosa (GR No. Inc. whether disposable or not since July 4. the trial court assumed without any factual basis that the private respondents are entitled to the benefits of Republic Act 3872. himself' or through his predecessors-in-interest. 3872 reads: SECTION 1. situated in Tuding. was divided into 9 lots and covered by plan Psu-225009.Likewise. it was not subject to alienation under the Constitutions of 1935 and 1973. that the surface rights of the de la Rosas over the land while at the same time reserving the sub-surface rights of Benguet and Atok by virtue of their mining claim is correct. by Atok. through the Bureau of Forestry Development.or who shall have paid the real estate tax thereon while the same has. 1929. both Balbalio and Alberto testified that they had acquired the subject land by virtue of prescription Balbalio claimed to have received Lots 1-5 from her father shortly after the Liberation. A member of the national cultural minorities who has continuously occupied and cultivated. either by. as to lots 1-9. Both Benguet and Atok have appealed to this Court. such as the boring of tunnels. 1934. These claims were purchased from these locators on November 2. to have a free patent issued to him for such tract or tracts of such land not to exceed twenty-four hectares. The land. For its part. Benjamin and Eduardo. in 1964. and its payment of annual taxes thereon. The applicants appealed to the respondent court. but subject to the rights of Benguet and Atok respecting their mining claims. by Jose de la Rosa on his own behalf and on behalf of his three children. Issue:  Whether respondent court’s decision. Victoria. The pertinent provision of Republic Act No.

Cruz’s petition was dismissed and the IPRA law was sustained. ancestral domains may include natural resources. they had the right to transfer the same. Article XII of the Constitution. The Court’s holding is 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. As the land had become the private property of the locators. subject to vested rights existing at the time of its adoption. 135385.” Cruz vs. in violation of the regalian doctrine embodied in section 2. No. • Sec. SEPARATE OPINIONS: (NOTE: more important in this case) • Justice Kapunan: NO • Said provision affirming the ownership by indigenous people of their ancestral lands and domains by virtue of native title do not diminish the State’s ownership of lands within the public domain. especially in its practical application. This is also difficult to understand. 2000) FACTS: Petitioners Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa filed a suit for prohibition and mandamus as citizens and taxpayers. nor could its use be shared simultaneously by them and the mining companies for agricultural and mineral purposes. for it is a well-known principle that the owner of piece of land has rights not only to its surface but also to everything underneath and the airspace above it up to a reasonable height. following the doctrine laid down in Cariño vs. because said ancestral lands and domains are considered as private land. After deliberation they voted and reached a 7-7 vote. XII of the Constitution. minerals and other natural resources therein. The land was not and could not have been transferred to the private respondents by virtue of acquisitive prescription. 57 and 58 of RA 8731 (IPRA) and its IRR are unconstitutional for unlawfully depriving the State of its ownership over lands of the public domain. the land is classified as mineral underneath and agricultural on the surface. such as the Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991 and the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. They deliberated again and the same result transpired. and never to have been part of the public domain. The petitioners assail certain provisions of the IPRA and its IRR on the ground that these amount to an unlawful deprivation of the State’s ownership over lands of the public domain as well as minerals and other natural resources therein. December 6. The State retains full control over the exploration. development and utilisation of natural resources through the imposition requirements and conditions for the utilisation of natural resources under existing laws. against even the government. ISSUES: W/N Sec. • Sec. Such rights were not affected either by the stricture in the Commonwealth Constitution against the alienation of all lands of the public domain except those agricultural in nature for this was made subject to existing rights. without need of any further act such as the purchase of the land or the obtention of a patent over it. 8371. Hence. Under the aforesaid ruling. the locators acquired exclusive rights over the land. violating the Regalian Doctrine enshrined in Sec. 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. 3(a) does not confer or recognise any right of ownership over the natural resources to the ICCs/IPs. 57 only grants “priority rights” to ICCs/IPs in the utilisation of natural resources and not absolute ownership thereof. Neither does the grant of said rights exclude non- . This is rather doctrine. Its purpose is definitional and not declarative of a right or title. to Benguet and Atok. 5. Ancestral Domain (RA No. By such act. DENR Secretary (G. assailing the constitutionality of certain provisions of Republic Act No.8. The Court of Appeals justified this by saying there is “no conflict of interest” between the owners of the surface rights and the owners of the sub-surface rights.6.Held:  No. Art. as they did. 3 (a) and (b). subject to separate claims of title.R. Insular Government. 8371) "The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997. Since there was no majority vote.7. It is true that the subject property was considered forest land and included in the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve. but this did not impair the rights already vested in Benguet and Atok at that time. otherwise known as the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA) and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR). 2. HELD: The Supreme Court deliberated upon the matter.

XII of the constitution. • Justice Puno: NO • Ancestral lands and ancestral domains are not part of the lands of the public domain. except agricultural lands.R. a right vested by the Constitution only to the State. minerals.bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by ICCs/IPs. 7(a) involves “lands. which consists of 340. 2. however long. Part II. 2. XII of the constitution. 2003) Lands declared by the courts as agricultural lands prior to the introduction of land classification. et al. 2. they are also given the right to negotiate directly the terms and conditions for the exploration of natural resources under Sec. 7(b). of State authority over a significant area of the country and its patrimony.820 sq. Art. • Justice Vitug: YES • Sec. or (2) by torrens title under the Public Land Act and the Land Registration Act with respect to ancestral land only. • IPRA/RA 8731 relinquishes the State’s power under Sec. 1.m. Court of Appeals (189 SCRA 792) FACTS: In 1912. and 3(b) [defines ancestral lands as those possessed by ICCs/IPs since time immemorial] contravenes Sec. the Court of Land Registration of Zambales. section 2. • Finally. Peralta. XII of the Constitution of full control of natural resources in ancestral lands and ancestral domains in favor of ICCs/IPs. 1. • The right of ownership to ancestral domain under Sec.m. They are private and belong to the ICCs/IPs. Ownership therefore of natural resources remain with the State. Sec. minerals and natural resources—none of which. does not automatically convert them into private properties. Art. June 18. and the mineral oils. Art.indigenous people from undertaking the same activities within the ancestral domains upon authority granted by the proper government authority.. can be alienated.697 sq. namely Parcel No.” not “waters.. 7(a) and therefore unconstitutional. In addition. by including natural resources. Art. mere possession or utilisation of land. forests or timbers. confirmed the title of Justo de Perio over two parcels of land in Zambales. • However. through Judge James Ostrand. XII of the Constitution since only “priority rights” are given to ICCs/IPs. Monica Industrial and Development Corporation vs. coal. No. • Justice Panganiban: YES • Sec. 7 and 57 go beyond to the context of the fundamental law and virtually amount amount to an undue delegation. 57 of RA 8731/IPRA is allowed under paragraphs 1 and 4. In addition. 7(b) is also allowed under paragraph 3. Art. The rights of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains and ancestral lands may be acquired in two modes: (1) by native title over both ancestral lands and ancestral domains. 2. sacred places. XII of the Constitution does not include ancestral lands nor ancestral domains. which consists of an area of 11. the large-scale utilisation of natural resources in Sec. XII of the Constitution. • IPRA/RA 8371 does not specify limits to ancestral lands and domains. who may exercise these rights without any time limit. wildlife. all forces of potential energy fisheries. traditional hunting and fishing grounds. Republic vs. petroleum. 3(a) [whose definition of ancestral domain encompasses natural resources found therein]. flora and fauna and other natural resources enumerated in Sec. Survey Error 1. Sec. The classification of lands in the public domain under Sec. 150327. Rule III of the Implementing Rules goes beyond Sec. if not an acceptable abdication. • Small-scale utilisation of resources in Sec. Both modes presume or recognise the land as private and not public. . Sta. and all improvements made by them at any time within the domains. Art. En Banc (G. and Parcel No. which declares that the State owns all lands od the public domain. 2. 3.

which was enacted into law on October 7. 54. 155450.In 1985. or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. as defined by said act of Congress of July first. and as such. He was opposed by several persons including the Director of Forestry. cannot be the subject of disposition or alienation as private property. exclusive. for a period of ten years next preceding the taking effect of this Act. 54 OF ACT 926 SEC. No. The Court of First Instance of Capiz approved the application and was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. except as otherwise specially indicated. except when prevented by war or  force majeure  shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a government grant and to have received the same.S. occupying public lands in the Philippine Islands. the land in dispute in 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. Act No. ISSUE: Whether or not mangrove swamps are public lands and are not alienable under the constitution. SECTION 1820. known as the Public Land Act. Hence. 6431 was null and void for lack of jurisdiction because the land was inside the U. Court of Appeals (G. may apply to the Court of Land Registration of the Philippine Islands for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor to wit: xxx xxx xxx 6. through the Solicitor General. under a bona fide claim of ownership except as against the Government. Capiz on January 25. HELD: Yes. 113 sq. Villareal (G. all unreserved public land including nipa and mangrove swamps and all forest reserves of whatever character. All persons who by themselves or their predecessors in interest have been in the open. The following-described persons or their legal successors in right.m. mangrove swamps located in Sapian. exclusive and notorious session and occupation of public agricultural land for a period of at least ten years prior to July 24. nineteen hundred and two. *SEC. naval reservation and that it was still within the forest zone in 1912. ISSUE: Whether or not the parcels of land are forest land. 1989) FACTS: Ruperto Villareal applied for its registration a land consisting of 178. 1945. Republic vs. xxx xxx xxx Director of Forestry vs. herein respondent Republic of the Philippines. having been released therefrom only in 1961. A person who had been in open. Villeareal presented a tax declaration as his evidence. under Section 1820 of the Administrative Code of 1917 which was not amended declares that mangrove swamps form part of the public forest of the country.R. RULING: It was held that the lands are agricultural. August 6. continuous. L-32266 February 27. was the law applicable to De Perio's petition for confirmation of his title to the two parcels of land. The Director of Forestry appealed to the Supreme Court. 1904 could petition for the confirmation of his title over the land he had so possessed and occupied.R. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural public lands. 1903 but which took effect on July 26. He alleged that he and his predecessors’ in interest had been in possession of the land for more than 40 years. – For the purposes of this chapter. filed with the Court of Appeals a complaint for the annulment of the decree. No. Lands already registered by the Court as Private Lands 1. but whose titles to such lands have not been perfected. and shall be entitled to a certificate of title to such land under the provisions of this chapter. “public forest” includes. Words and Phrases Defined. 1904. 926. continuous. 2008) . alleging that the decree in LRC No.

2001) FACTS: The cases at bar involve a vast tract of land with an area of around ninety-nine (99) hectares presumptively belonging to the Republic of the Philippines. Respondents claim that property that was already privately owned or under private ownership at the time the Spanish crown ceded sovereignty over the Philippine Islands to the United States remained private property. and shall be entitled to a certificate of title to such land ISSUE: Whether or not land acquired by private parties were released from the classification as forestland. Court of Appeals. continuously. whatever title issued before such classification is considered null and void ab initio. this Court stated that an attorney-at-law "should have known that no property around the City of . By express declaration of section 45 (b) of Act 2874 which is quoted above. all lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. thus. No. Private individuals or entities who held "agricultural public land" openly. or long after their residential character as private property had become a matter of judicial notice. It appears that the City of Manila was declassified as forest land only in 1955 and Quezon City only on October 24. which land had been adjudicated to private individuals by a court alleged to be without jurisdiction. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public-domain under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership since July 26. 127245.Bureaucratic Constraints in Classification of Lands Republic of the Philippines vs. RULING: Yes.  As early as 1961. The assailed decision does not indicate the classification of the land in question. It was the land registration court which had the jurisdiction to determine whether the land applied for was agricultural. The court is inclined to agree with the respondents that it is legally doubtful if the authority of the Governor General to declare lands as alienable and disposable would apply to lands that have become private property or lands that have been impressed with a private right authorized and recognized by Act 2874 or any valid law. 1894 may file an application with the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and these applicants shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title. En Banc (G. Since the validity of the said decision and the original certificate of title as well as transfer certificates of title issued pursuant thereto hinges on the classification of subject area at the time it was so adjudicated. January 30. When the land registration court issued a decision for the issuance of a decree which was the basis of an original certificate of title to the land. Republic (Petitioner) contends that land not classified as alienable and disposable remain so and it is the private claimant who bears the burden of showing that the Executive Department has in fact classified the land as disposable and alienable. 1989.R. vast tracts of land acquired by private parties in urbanized areas like the city of Manila and Quezon City were released from classification as forestland belatedly. continuous. Margolles et al and Peltan (Private Respondents). when the herein private respondents obtained their decree of registration thereover. those who have been in open. the court had already made a determination that the land was agricultural and that the applicant had proven that he was in open and exclusive possession of the subject land for the prescribed number of years. thus. forest or timber  Due to bureaucratic constraints. in the concept of owners "for a period of ten years next preceding the twenty-sixth day of July 1904 were conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a "government grant" and to have received the same. on the other hand. even if the owner had not obtained a muniment of title to his property. such person who has held the property under color of title may institute a land registration case to have the property brought under the torrens system and have a title issue in his name. exclusively and notoriously. that under the regalian doctrine. determination of the validity of the disposition thereof is in order. contends that it is not correct to say that no valid torrens title to land can be obtained by individuals and entities in a land registration case unless the land was previously covered by an executive proclamation declaring the land as alienable and disposable.

(G. Inc. 1989) 2. 47491. on the South with the Property of Isabel Tambueco and Miguel Gatpatan. thus:             "The map showing the area included in the 1200 hectares was destroyed during the Second World War. Manuel de Santos (G." The implication is that the 1968 order was meant to confirm or reiterate the earlier declaration and serves to affirm that indeed parts of Las Piñas. case no. December 2.R. From the descriptions provided it can be seen that the land has the form of an irregular quadrilateral. and Chiton Realty Corp. .surveying and mapping 1. Arturo Tanco issued FAO 4-1141 declaring the entire Las Piñas as well as part of the adjacent municipalities as alienable and disposable on January 3. and it was in view of the loss of the map indicating the 1200 hectares that then Sec. were already open to disposition to private claimants long before the issuance of FAO 4-1141. The parties to this action are adjacent property owners and from the record it appears that there is a strip of 154 sqm which is included within the alleged boundaries of both litigants. with the bounding limit stated in general terms. July 4. 1968. asking for the registration of the parcel of land situated in Calle Santa Maria. 152445. When according to an old registered title. Since there are extant numerous titles covering various portions of Las Piñas. The court then found that this disputed tract was not included within the lands of Guzman and was the option that his southern line has been advanced over on to Santos. 1928.Manila or in Quezon City is as yet not covered by torrens title". 2008) Felipe de Guzman vs. This small parcel in dispute lies north of the land of Santos and south of that of Guzman. the land appears to be slightly greater in area than it actually is. Cambridge Realty and Resources Corporation vs. 5706. The petitioner files as his Exhibit D a certified transcript taken from the registrar’s book. in Tondo. May 4. such discrepancy does not operate to vitiate or weaken the title this inscribed. No. Identifying Lands . Court of Appeals. 1911) FACTS: The appellant filed a petition in the Land Court.R. Eridanus Development. on the north right side by the property of one Francisco Toribio and Lucio Buzon.. The courses of the boundary lines are not given but only distances.  albeit  the map indicating this area has been lost. Manila bounded by the east by the said Calle Santa Maria. ISSUE: Whether the Land in dispute could not be registered because of error of description? HELD: Errors of description which appear in an old recorded title and which have been successively repeated in subsequent transfers do not affect the validity of the registered title when it is shown that the land sought to be inscribed is exactly the same as that included in the old deeds. No. There is a defect in the description and said defects and erroneous statements with reference to the description of the petitioners of the land in the old deeds are urged by the oppositor as making it impossible to know what is the true description of the land claimed and hence impossible to register. Golloy v. (G. No.  In this case defendant claimed that he was a possessor in good faith From petitioners-movants' own submission. 6609. A part of Las Piñas comprising 1200 hectares was declared as alienable and disposable on September 3. III.R.