You are on page 1of 21

Association of Small Landowners in the compensable taking is concerned.

To the
Philippines vs. Honorable Secretary of extent that the measures under challenge
Agrarian Reform merely prescribe retention limits for
G.R. No. 78742, July 14, 1989 landowners, there is an exercise of the police
power for the regulation of private property
Petitioner: Association of Small Landowners in accordance with the Constitution. But
in the Philippines where, to carry out such regulation, it
Respondent: Honorable Secretary of becomes necessary to deprive such owners
Agrarian Reform of whatever lands they may own in excess of
the maximum area allowed, there is
Facts: These are consolidated cases which definitely a taking under the power of
involve common legal, including serious eminent domain for which payment of just
challenges to the constitutionality of the compensation is imperative. The taking
several measures such as P.D. No. 27, E.O. contemplated is not a mere limitation of the
No. 228, Presidential Proclamation No. 131, use of the land. What is required is the
E.O. No. 229, and R.A. No. 6657. surrender of the title to and the physical
possession of the said excess and all
G.R. No. 79777 beneficial rights accruing to the owner in
The petitioners are questioning P.D. No. 27 favor of the farmer-beneficiary. This is
and E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 on grounds inter definitely an exercise not of the police power
alia of separation of powers, due process, but of the power of eminent domain.
equal protection and the constitutional
limitation that no private property shall be
taken for public use without just Oposa vs. Factoran Case Digest (G.R.
compensation. G.R. No. 79310 No. 101083, July 30, 1993)

G.R. No. 79310 Facts: The plaintiffs in this case are all
This petition seeks to prohibit the minors duly represented and joined by their
implementation of Proc. No. 131 and E.O. No. parents. The first complaint was filed as a
229. They contend that taking must be taxpayer's class suit at the Branch 66
simultaneous with payment of just (Makati, Metro Manila), of the Regional Trial
compensation as it is traditionally Court, National capital Judicial Region against
understood, i.e., with money and in full, but defendant (respondent) Secretary of the
no such payment is contemplated in Section Department of Environment and Natural
5 of the E.O. No. 229. Reasources (DENR). Plaintiffs alleged that
they are entitled to the full benefit, use and
G.R. No. 79744 enjoyment of the natural resource treasure
The petitioner argues that E.O. Nos. 228 and that is the country's virgin tropical forests.
229 are violative of the constitutional They further asseverate that they represent
provision that no private property shall be their generation as well as generations yet
taken without due process or just unborn and asserted that continued
compensation. deforestation have caused a distortion and
disturbance of the ecological balance and
G.R. No. 78742 have resulted in a host of environmental
Petitioners claim they cannot eject their tragedies.
tenants and so are unable to enjoy their right
of retention because the Department of Plaintiffs prayed that judgement be rendered
Agrarian Reform has so far not issued the ordering the respondent, his agents,
implementing rules required under the representatives and other persons acting in
above-quoted decree. his behalf to cancel all existing Timber
License Agreement (TLA) in the country and
Issue: Whether agrarian reform is an to cease and desist from receiving,
exercise of police power or eminent domain accepting, processing, renewing or approving
new TLAs.
Ruling: There are traditional distinctions
between the police power and the power of Defendant, on the other hand, filed a motion
eminent domain that logically preclude the to dismiss on the ground that the complaint
application of both powers at the same time had no cause of action against him and that
on the same subject. Property condemned it raises a political question.
under the police power is noxious or
intended for a noxious purpose, such as a The RTC Judge sustained the motion to
building on the verge of collapse, which dismiss, further ruling that granting of the
should be demolished for the public safety, relief prayed for would result in the
or obscene materials, which should be impairment of contracts which is prohibited
destroyed in the interest of public morals. by the Constitution.
The confiscation of such property is not
compensable, unlike the taking of property Plaintiffs (petitioners) thus filed the instant
under the power of expropriation, which special civil action for certiorari and asked
requires the payment of just compensation the court to rescind and set aside the
to the owner. dismissal order on the ground that the
respondent RTC Judge gravely abused his
The cases before us present no knotty discretion in dismissing the action.
complication insofar as the question of
Issues: The Court held that the Timber License
(1) Whether or not the plaintiffs have a cause Agreement is an instrument by which the
of action. state regulates the utilization and disposition
(2) Whether or not the complaint raises a of forest resources to the end that public
political issue. welfare is promoted. It is not a contract
(3) Whether or not the original prayer of the within the purview of the due process clause
plaintiffs result in the impairment of thus, the non-impairment clause cannot be
contracts. invoked. It can be validly withdraw whenever
dictated by public interest or public welfare
Ruling: as in this case. The granting of license does
First Issue: Cause of Action. not create irrevocable rights, neither is it
Respondents aver that the petitioners failed property or property rights.
to allege in their complaint a specific legal
right violated by the respondent Secretary Moreover, the constitutional guaranty of non-
for which any relief is provided by law. The impairment of obligations of contract is limit
Court did not agree with this. The complaint by the exercise by the police power of the
focuses on one fundamental legal right -- the State, in the interest of public health, safety,
right to a balanced and healthful ecology moral and general welfare. In short, the non-
which is incorporated in Section 16 Article II impairment clause must yield to the police
of the Constitution. The said right carries power of the State.
with it the duty to refrain from impairing the
environment and implies, among many other The instant petition, being impressed with
things, the judicious management and merit, is hereby GRANTED and the RTC
conservation of the country's forests. Section decision is SET ASIDE.
4 of E.O. 192 expressly mandates the DENR
to be the primary government agency
responsible for the governing and Metropolitan Manila Development
supervising the exploration, utilization, Authority vs Concerned Residents of
development and conservation of the Manila Bay 574 SCRA 661
country's natural resources. The policy
declaration of E.O. 192 is also substantially Facts: In 1999, the Concerned Residents of
re-stated in Title XIV Book IV of the Manila Bay (CROMB) filed an action for
Administrative Code of 1987. Both E.O. 192 mandamus to compel the Metropolitan
and Administrative Code of 1987 have set Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and
the objectives which will serve as the bases other government agencies to clean up the
for policy formation, and have defined the Manila Bay. CROMB argued that the
powers and functions of the DENR. Thus, environmental state of the Manila Bay is
right of the petitioners (and all those they already dangerous to their health and the
represent) to a balanced and healthful inaction of MMDA and the other concerned
ecology is as clear as DENR's duty to protect government agencies violates their rights to
and advance the said right. life, health, and a balanced ecology
guaranteed by the Constitution. CROMB also
A denial or violation of that right by the other averred under the Environmental Code, it is
who has the correlative duty or obligation to MMDAs duty to clean up the Manila Bay.
respect or protect or respect the same gives
rise to a cause of action. Petitioners maintain The trial court agreed with CROMB and
that the granting of the TLA, which they ordered MMDA et al to clean up the Manila
claim was done with grave abuse of Bay. MMDA assailed the decision on the
discretion, violated their right to a balance ground that MMDAs duty under the
and healthful ecology. Hence, the full Environmental Code is merely a discretionary
protection thereof requires that no further duty hence it cannot be compelled by
TLAs should be renewed or granted. mandamus. Further, MMDA argued that the
RTCs order was for a general clean up of the
After careful examination of the petitioners' Manila Bay yet under the Environmental
complaint, the Court finds it to be adequate Code, MMDA was only tasked to attend to
enough to show, prima facie, the claimed specific incidents of pollution and not to
violation of their rights. undertake a massive clean up such as that
ordered by the court.

Second Issue: Political Issue. Issue: Whether or not MMDA may be


Second paragraph, Section 1 of Article VIII of compelled by mandamus to clean up Manila
the constitution provides for the expanded Bay.
jurisdiction vested upon the Supreme Court.
It allows the Court to rule upon even on the Held: Yes. It is true that in order for MMDA to
wisdom of the decision of the Executive and implement laws like the Environmental Code,
Legislature and to declare their acts as the process of implementing usually involves
invalid for lack or excess of jurisdiction the exercise of discretion i.e., where to set up
because it is tainted with grave abuse of landfills. But this does not mean that their
discretion. function or mandate under the law is already
discretionary. Looking closer, MMDAs
function to alleviate the problem on solid and
Third Issue: Violation of the non- liquid waste disposal problems is a
impairment clause. ministerial function. In short, MMDA does not
have the discretion to whether or not
alleviate the garbage disposal problem in Mateo Cario Vs The Insular
Metro Manila, particularly in the Manila Bay Government
area. While the implementation of the G.R. No. L-2746 December 6, 1906
MMDAs mandated tasks may entail a
decision-making process, the enforcement of Facts: On June 23, 1903, Mateo Cario went
the law or the very act of doing what the law to the Court of Land Registration to petition
exacts to be done is ministerial in nature and his inscription as the owner of a 146 hectare
may be compelled by mandamus. land hes been possessing in the then
municipality of Baguio. Mateo only presented
Anent the issue on whether or not MMDAs possessory information and no other
task under the Environmental Code involves documentation. The State opposed the
a general clean up, the Supreme Court ruled petition averring that the land is part of the
that MMDAs mandate under the US military reservation. The CLR ruled in
Environmental Code is to perform cleaning in favor of Mateo. The State appealed. Mateo
general and not just to attend to specific lost. Mateo averred that a grant should be
incidents of pollution. Hence, MMDA, given to him by reason of immemorial use
together with the other government and occupation as in the previous case
agencies, must act to clean up the Manila Cansino vs Valdez & Tiglao vs Government.
Bay as ordered by the RTC.
Issue: Whether or not Mateo is the rightful
owner of the land by virtue of his possession
Cruz vs Secretary of DENR of it for some time.
GR. No. 135385, Dec. 6, 2000
Held: No. The statute of limitations did not
Facts: Petitioners Isagani Cruz and Cesar run against the government. The
Europa filed a suit for prohibition and government is still the absolute owner of the
mandamus as citizens and taxpayers, land (regalian doctrine). Further, Mateos
assailing the constitutionality of certain possession of the land has not been of such
provisions of Republic Act No. 8371, a character as to require the presumption of
otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples a grant. No one has lived upon it for many
Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA) and its years. It was never used for anything but
implementing rules and regulations (IRR). pasturage of animals, except insignificant
The petitioners assail certain provisions of portions thereof, and since the insurrection
the IPRA and its IRR on the ground that these against Spain it has apparently not been
amount to an unlawful deprivation of the used by the petitioner for any purpose.
States ownership over lands of the public
domain as well as minerals and other natural While the State has always recognized the
resources therein, in violation of the regalian right of the occupant to a deed if he proves a
doctrine embodied in section 2, Article XII of possession for a sufficient length of time, yet
the Constitution. it has always insisted that he must make that
proof before the proper administrative
Issue: Do the provisions of IPRA contravene officers, and obtain from them his deed, and
the Constitution? until he did the State remained the absolute
owner.
Held: No, the provisions of IPRA do not
contravene the Constitution. Examining the
IPRA, there is nothing in the law that grants Atitiw V. Zamora
to the ICCs/IPs ownership over the natural G.R. No. 143374 En Banc, J. Tinga
resources within their ancestral domain.
Ownership over the natural resources in the Facts: The ratification of the 1987
ancestral domains remains with the State Constitution ordains the creation of
and the rights granted by the IPRA to the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and
ICCs/IPs over the natural resources in their in the Cordilleras mandating the Congress to
ancestral domains merely gives them, as enact organic acts pursuant to section 18 of
owners and occupants of the land on which Article X of the Constitution. Thus, by virtue
the resources are found, the right to the of the residual powers of President Cory
small scale utilization of these resources, and Aquino, she promulgated E.O. 220 creating
at the same time, a priority in their large CAR. Then the congress enacted R.A 6766,
scale development and exploitation. an act providing for organic act for the
cordillera autonomous region, a plebiscite
Additionally, ancestral lands and ancestral was cast but was not approved by the
domains are not part of the lands of the people. The court declared that E.O 220 to
public domain. They are private lands and be still in force and effect until properly
belong to the ICCs/IPs by native title, which is repealed or amended. Later on February 15,
a concept of private land title that existed 2000, President Estrada signed the General
irrespective of any royal grant from the Appropriations Act of 2000 (GAA 2000) which
State. However, the right of ownership and includes the assailed special provisions, then
possession by the ICCs/IPs of their ancestral issued an E.O. 270 to extend the
domains is a limited form of ownership and implementation of the winding up of
does not include the right to alienate the operations of the CAR and extended it by
same. virtue of E.O. 328.The petitioners seek the
declaration of nullity of paragraph 1 of the
special provisions of R.A. 870 (GAA 2000) HONORABLE CONRADO VASQUEZ, JR.,
directing that the appropriation for the CAR Presiding Judge, BRANCH 118, RTC, RICARDO P.
shall be spent to wind up its activities and SANTIAGO, ET AL., respondents.
pay the separation and retirement benefits of Taada, Vivo & Tan for the Intestate Estate of the
all the affected members and employees. Late Delfin Casal.
Antonio J. Dalangpan for himself and the heirs of
Issue: Delfin Casal.
1. Whether the assailed special provision in Pedro S. Ravelo for Gerardo Casal.
Filomeno Peralta, Jr. for Domingo C. Palomares.
RA 8760 is a rider and as such is
unconstitutional.
SARMIENTO, J.:
2. Whether the Philippine Government,
**
through Congress, can unilaterally The petitioners charge His Honor, Judge Francisco
amend/repeal E.O. 220. Velez, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 57, Makati,
3. Whether the Republic should be ordered to Metro Manila, with grave abuse of discretion in
honor its commitments as spelled out in E.O. issuing an order authorizing the private respondent,
220 through Domingo Palomares, to perform acts of
ownership over a 2,574-hectare parcel of land known
Ruling: In relation to article VI section 25 (2) as Hacienda de Maricaban spread out in various parts
and section 26 the court said that xxx an of Makati, Pasig, Taguig, Pasay City, and Paraaque.
appropriations bill covers a broader range of There is no controversy as to the facts.
subject matter and therefore includes more On November 5, 1985, the private respondent,
details compared to an ordinary bill. The title Domingo Palomares, as administrator of the heirs of
of an appropriations bill cannot be any Delfin Casal, commenced suit with the Regional Trial
broader as it is since it is not feasible to Court, Branch 132, Makati, Metro Manila for
declaratory relief, quieting of title, cancellation of
come out with a title that embraces all the
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 192, and cancellation
details included in an appropriations bill xxx.
of entries upon Original Certificate of Title No. 291.
The assailed paragraph 1 of the R.A. 8760 Palomares had earlier come to this Court (February
does not constitute a rider; it follows the 27, 1985) on a similar petition, and in addition, to
standard that a provision in an direct the Register of Deeds to issue a duplicate
appropriations bill must relate specifically to owner's copy of Original Certificate of Title No. 291,
some particular appropriations. embracing allegedly Hacienda de Maricaban, in lieu
of the (alleged) lost one. On September 9, 1985, the
On the other hand, the contention that Court denied the petition for lack of merit. (G.R. No.
Congress cannot amend or repeal E.O. 220 is 69834).
rejected, there is no such thing as an On December 19, 1985, the petitioners filed their
irrepealable law. And nothing could prevent answer.
the Congress from amending or repealing the On June 2, 1986, the private respondent filed a
E.O. 220 because it is no different from any motion to admit amended complaint impleading the
other law. Republic of the Philippines and the Registers of
Deeds of Pasig, Makati, and Pasay City as parties-
The last issue, the court ruled that, the respondents, and alleging, among other things, that:
(1) on October 1, 1906, the Court of Land Registration
concept of separations of powers
(James Ostrand, Presiding Judge) confirmed the title
presupposes mutual respect. Therefore, the
of Dolores Pascual Casal y Ochoa, a native of
implementation of E.O. 220 is an executive Madrid, Spain, over the 2,574-hectare parcel above-
prerogative while the sourcing of funds is mentioned; (2) on October 17, 1906, the Register of
within the powers of the legislature. In the Deeds of Rizal issued OCT No. 291 in her name; (3)
absence of any grave abuse of discretion, upon her death, and successive deaths of her heirs,
the court cannot correct the acts of either the property devolved on Gerardo, Reynaldo, Lolita,
the Executive or the Legislative in respect to and Erlinda, all surnamed Casal, great grandchildren
policies concerning CAR. of Dolores; (4) no conveyances or dispositions of any
kind have been allegedly made upon the parcel; (5)
TCT No. 192, which covers the same landholding, is
allegedly spurious and inexistent; (6) the State itself,
Republic of the Philippines by placing 27,213,255 square meters thereof under a
SUPREME COURT military reservation (Fort McKinley now Fort
Manila Bonifacio), by Proclamation No. 423, and fifty
EN BANC hectares thereof pursuant to Proclamation No. 192,
G.R. No. 81564 April 26, 1990 had been guilty of landgrabbing; (7) any and all
ACTING REGISTRARS OF LAND TITLES AND holders of any and all TCTs emanating therefrom or
DEEDS OF PASAY CITY, PASIG AND MAKATI, from TCT No. 192, are null, void, and of no force and
METRO MANILA, petitioners, effect; and (8) as a consequence thereof, the heirs of
vs. Dolores Casal suffered various damages and
THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 57, IN attorney's fees.
MAKATI, METRO MANILA PRESIDED OVER BY On June 26, 1986, the petitioners filed an answer,
THE HONORABLE JUDGE FRANCISCO X. VELEZ, stating, among other things, that: (1) the estate of
AND THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE Dolores Casal (or Delfin Casal, her grandchild) is not
DELFIN CASAL, represented by DOMINGO C. a juridical person authorized by law to bring suit; (2)
PALOMARES, ADMINISTRATOR, respondents. the Registers of Deeds of Makati, Pasig, and Pasay
G.R. No. 90176 April 26, 1990 City are not the real parties in interest, but rather, the
THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE DELFIN registered owners over which the court had not
CASAL, represented by DOMINGO C. acquired jurisdiction; (3) the non-joinder of the real
PALOMARES, ADMINISTRATOR, petitioner, parties in interest is fatal; (4) OCT No. 291 has long
vs. been cancelled; (5) Judge Gregorio Pineda of the
then Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXI,
Pasig, had earlier denied prayers for the issuance of meters (of) land known as "Hacienda de Maricaban",
duplicate owner's copy of OCT No. 291 because the which is the main issue in this case;
land embraced therein had been validly delivered to B. Whether or not respondent Court can validly allow
the Government; (6) the Supreme Court itself had private respondent to exercise and perform all acts of
*** ownership and possession over the said land before
denied the Casals' appeal; (7) as a consequence, trial
res judicata is a bar; (8) prescription has also set in; C. Whether or not respondent Court has acquired
and (9) the Casal's claims can not validly override the jurisdiction to hear and decide this action;
titles of innocent purchasers for value. D. Whether of not respondent Court committed grave
On August 29, 1986, the respondent judge issued a abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in
temporary restraining order, directing the petitioners not dismissing this action or allowing petitioners to
to cease and desist from performing the acts 5
complained of. appeal from the orders in question.
In a subsequent memorandum, the petitioners alleged In their comment, the private respondent averred,
that Dolores Casal had conveyed the property to the among other things, that: (1) the respondent court,
Government of the United States in 1906 and the contrary to the petitioners' claim, did not decide the
Manila Railroad Company on which Judge Ostrand, case "before trial"; (2) OCT No. 291 had not been
the Presiding Judge of the Court of Land Registration, validly cancelled and that the rubber stamp
later Justice of this Court, had stamped his impression thereon, "CANCELLED" is a forgery; (3)
imprimatur. the act of Judge Pineda, in denying issuance of OCT
On October 12, 1987, the respondent court issued an No. 291, duplicate owner's copy, can not be
order in the tenor, as follows: considered res judicata because that case involved
No other opposition having been registered, this Court purportedly a mere petition for issuance of duplicate
hereby resolves to grant the plaintiffs' prayer in the owner's copy; (4) non-joinder of proper parties is not a
OMNIBUS MOTION in order to safeguard the integrity jurisdictional defect; (5) the TCTs issued thereafter are
of the land embraced in OCT 291, hereby authorizing a nullity because OCT No. 291 had not been shown
for this purpose the plaintiff Domingo C. Palomares: to have been duly cancelled; (6) OCT No. 291 has
1. To order such subdivision and/or individual survey become imprescriptible; and (7) the private
or surveys within Parcel II, Parcel III and Parcel IV respondent has a valid right of dominion over the
under Survey Plan Psu-2031 by a licensed geodetic property.
engineer or engineers at plaintiffs' expense in order to In the meantime, the private respondent came to this
facilitate and simplify the efficient administration of the Court on certiorari (G.R. No. 90176) alleging that on
property described in OCT 291; and December 15, 1987, in connection with Sp. Proc. No.
2. To sell, exchange, lease or otherwise dispose (of) P-2993 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 118,
any area or areas or portion or portions thereof, Pasay City, entitled "In the matter of the Intestate
subject to the approval of the Intestate Estate Court, Estate of the Late Fortunato Santiago and Mariano
to cover expenses for the payment of taxes to which Pantanilla Crisanta P. Santiago, et al., Petitioners,"
the property is subject, as well as expenses of Judge Conrado Vasquez, Jr. issued an order
administration and for the protection of the integrity of disposing of certain parcels which the private
the said lands. respondent claims as forming part and parcel of
1 Hacienda de Maricaban.
SO ORDERED. On June 20, 1988, the respondent judge in G.R. No.
Eleven days later, or on October 23, 1987 to be 81564 filed his own comment, asserting, among other
precise, it issued another order, as follows: things, that: (1) what he had sought to bar, by virtue of
Acting on the plaintiffs MOTION dated October 15, injunction, was incursions and forcible entries of
1987 praying for the issuance of a Writ of Execution trespassers and squatters; (2) the petitioners can not
implementing the Order of this Court dated October rightly claim that he had prematurely adjudicated the
12, 1987 before the expiration of the time to appeal, case, because there was allegedly no decision to
and after inquiring from the plaintiff's counsel for their begin with; (3) that he issued the writ of preliminary
reason in seeking the same, the Court hereby issues injunction in order only to maintain the status quo
this clarificatory order affirming the power of the ante bellum that is, to re-place the private respondent,
plaintiff Domingo C. Palomares to execute and which had been allegedly in prior possession, in
perform the acts authorized in the said Order of possession; (4) he did not allegedly authorize
October 12, 1987 without the need of a Writ of unbridled "acts of ownership" to be exercised on the
Execution, where no relief has been sought therefrom property; (5) all rights of dominion given thereon were
by any party, said Order being implementable at the subject to the approval of the intestate estate court;
instance of the said plaintiff Domingo C. Palomares, (6) he denied the notice of appeal because the order
anytime when the said Order becomes final 15 days dated October 12, 1987, was interlocutory in nature
after the said plaintiff received copy of the same (see from which no appeal lies; (7) as to jurisdiction, the
Section 39, Chapter IV, B.P. Blg. 129). Plaintiff various motions filed by petitioners, allegedly
Domingo C. Palomares may therefore take whatever accepting the court's jurisdiction, have clothed the
steps he considers appropriate for the implementation court with jurisdiction, and that besides, the
of the said Order without need of further Orders or jurisdictional question was never raised except now.
additional authority from this Court. On July 7, 1988, the petitioners filed a reply traversing
2 the respondent judge's allegations.
SO ORDERED. On August 26, 1988, the respondent judge filed a
The petitioners filed a notice of appeal; the supplemental comment. He reiterated that the writ of
3 injunction was directed only on such spaces not
respondent court, however, denied it" "it being
occupied by the Government (Fort Bonifacio, Libingan
4 ng mga Bayani, Ninoy Aquino International Airport,
directed against . . . an interlocutory order. . .
Nayong Pilipino, Population Commission, National
Hence, this recourse. Science and Development Board, and National
The petitioners interpose the following questions: Housing Authority).
A. Whether or not respondent Court can validly Meanwhile, Atty. Antonio J. Dalangpan for and on
decide before trial in favor of private respondent the behalf purportedly of the "Heirs of Delfin Casal" and
ownership and possession of the 25,743,514 square the private respondent, Domingo Palomares, file a
Comment/Opposition in Intervention", dated
December 23, 1988 asking for the outright dismissal 14, 1989, and which open spaces it claims to be
of the petition. outside Maricaban, are indeed outside Maricaban (or
On December 14, 1989, the private respondent filed a OCT 291). With respect, however, to parts thereof on
manifestation, stating, among other things, that which Fort Bonifacio, Libingan ng mga Bayani, Ninoy
assuming OCT No. 291 had been cancelled, there Aquino International Airport, Nayong Pilipino,
was still basis for the respondent judge to prevent Population Commission National Science and
landgrabbers from entering into vacant portions of the Development Board, and National Housing Authority
state embraced thereby. sit, the hands of the private respondent are tied.
The Court finds the issues, quintessentially, to be: Claims that Judge Ostrand's decree was a counterfeit
(1) Is OCT No. 291 still valid and subsisting? is not only self-serving, it finds no support from the
(2) Did the respondent judge, in issuing the orders, records. The presumptions is "that official duty has
dated October 12 and October 23, 1987, commit a 8
grave abuse of discretion equivalent to lack or excess been regularly performed," and the burden is on the
of jurisdiction? private respondent to prove irregular performance.
I. The barren insistence that Judge Ostrands order was
Is OCT No. 291 still valid and subsisting? a forgery is not sufficient to overthrow the
The Court takes judicial notice of the fact that the presumption. To begin with, the act of forgery has
hectarage embraced by TCT No. 192 (OCT No. 291) been seasonably disputed by the petitioners.
consists of Government property. Three things Secondly, the Acting Registrar of Deeds of Pasig, who
persuade the Court: (1) the decrees of Proclamations supposedly certified to the fake character of Judge
Nos. 192 and 435; (2) the incontrovertible fact that Ostrand's order, has himself joined the other
OCT No. 291 has been duly cancelled; and (3) the petitioners in opposing the reconveyance sought.
division of the Court of Appeals in AC-G.R. CV No. (b)
00293, affirming the decision of Hon. Gregorio The decision in AC-G.R. No. 00293, dismissing the
Pineda, Judge of the then Court of First Instance of private respondent's petition for the issuance of a new
Rizal, Branch XXI, in LRC (GLRO) Rec. No. 2484, owner's copy of OCT No. 291, a dismissal affirmed by
Case No. R-1467 thereof, entitled "In Re: Issuance of this Court in G.R. No. 69834, also militates against
Owner's Duplicate of Certificate of Title No. 291," as the return of the property to the heirs of Delfin Casal.
well as our own Resolution, in G.R. No. 69834, The Appellate Court's judgment, a judgment sustained
entitled "Domingo Palomares, et al., v. Intermediate by this Court, operates as, at the very least, the law of
Appellate Court". the case between the parties, that OCT No. 291 has
(a) been cancelled and the land covered has been
Proclamation No. 192 ("RESERVING FOR THE conveyed and ceded to the National Government.
VETERANS CENTER SITE PURPOSES CERTAIN The fact that AC-G.R. CV No. 00293 dealt with a
PARCEL OF LAND OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN petition for issuance of lost owner's duplicate copy is
SITUATED IN THE PROVINCE OF RIZAL, ISLAND no argument because be that as it may, the private
OF LUZON") and Proclamation No. 423 respondent can not rightfully say that the heirs of
("RESERVING FOR MILITARY PURPOSES Delfin Casal still have title to the land. If it can not
CERTAIN PARCELS OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN secure a new owner's copy, it can mean that they
SITUATED IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF PASIG, have lost title thereto.
TAGUIG, AND PARAAQUE PROVINCE OF RIZAL, (c)
AND PASAY CITY") have the character of official The principle of res judicata is also a bar to the instant
assertions of ownership, and the presumption is that proceedings. It should be noted that in G.R. No.
they have been issued by right of sovereignty and in 69834, Mr. Domingo Palomares prayed:
the exercise of the State's dominical authority. We WHEREFORE, premises considered it is most
6 respectfully prayed to the most Honorable Supreme
take not only judicial notice thereof but accept the Court, that in the name of law, justice and fair play, to
same as a valid asseveration of regalian light over prevent and frustrate "land-grabbing" by the
property. government, decision be rendered:
With respect to the premises occupied by the FIRST, That a thorough review of the aforementioned
Libingan ng mga Bayani, Ninoy Aquino International resolution of the Intermediate Appellate Court be
Airport, Nayong Pilipino, the Population Commission, made;
National Science and Development Board, and the SECOND, That after due consideration, the resolution
National Housing Authority, we do not have the subject of review be set aside based on the
slightest doubt that they stand on Government aforestated assignment of error;
property by sheer presumption that, unless otherwise THIRD, That the Order of the Lower Court dated Jan.
shown, what the Government occupies is what the 19, 1977 be affirmed as the lawful and valid order;
Government owns. FOURTH, To erase all doubts by declaring OCT No.
While there is no presumption that property is 291 as continuously and existing validly against the
Government property until otherwise shown, because whole world;
the law recognizes private ownership, thus: FIFTH, Clearing OCT No. 291 of all adverse claims,
Art. 425. Property of private ownership, besides the since the herein petitioners are the true and legally
patrimonial property of the State, provinces, cities, declared heirs; and
and municipalities, consists of all property belonging SIXTH, Ordering the Register of Deeds of Pasig,
7 Rizal to issue the Owner's Duplicate Copy of OCT No.
to private persons, either individually or collectively. 291.
we find hard evidence on record that: (1) the property Petitioner-Appellant further prays for other just and
covered by OCT No. 291 had been conveyed to the ****
United States of America; (2) it had been later ceded equitable reliefs.
to the Republic of the Philippines, and (3) as a When we therefore denied that petition, we, in effect,
consequence, OCT No. 291 was cancelled upon final held that reconstitution (of lost duplicate owner's
order of Judge Ostrand. copy) was not possible because the mother title (OCT
Be that as it may, the private respondent in G.R. No. No. 291) had been duly cancelled. And when we
81564 is pressed hard to establish the fact that therefore declared OCT No. 291 to have been
portions of the property, especially the open spaces cancelled, we perished all doubts as to the invalidity
referred to in the lower court's writ of injunction and of Mr. Palomares' pretenses of title to Maricaban. Our
the private respondent's manifestation of December judgment was conclusive not only as to Mr.
Palomares, but also as to the existing status of the 13
property. As we have held: of a new owner's duplicate copy . . . Accordingly, it
The lower Court correctly ruled that the present action can not invoke that case and yet, repudiate its effects.
is barred by the final judgment rendered in the It is the height of contradiction.
previous case of Tuason & Co. vs. Aguila, Civil Case (d)
No. Q-4275, of the Court of First Instance of Rizal. It was also grave error for the lower court to deny the
The reason is plain: if the herein appellants really had Solicitor General's notice of appeal. The Government
a preferential right to a conveyance of the land from had all the right to appeal because: (1) the order of
J.M. Tuason & Co., or if the certificate of (Torrens) title October 12, 1987 was in the nature of a final
held by Tuason & Co. were truly void and ineffective, judgment, as "final judgment" is known in law
then these facts should have been pleaded by these (however it is captioned), that is to say, one that
appellants in the previous case (Q-4275), since such "finally disposes of the pending action so that nothing
facts, if true, constituted a defense to the claim of 14
Tuason & Co. for recovery of possession. If appellants more can be done with it in the trial court; (2) it did
failed to plead such defenses in that previous case, not merely maintain the status quo, but allowed Mr.
they are barred from litigating the same in any Domingo Palomares to transact on the property by
subsequent proceeding, for it is a well established near right of dominion over it.
rule that as between the same parties and on the Judge Velez had therefore no reason, indeed, excuse,
same subject and cause of action, a final judgment is to deny the Government's notice of appeal. What is
conclusive not only on matters directly adjudicated, plain is the fact that Judge Velez was hell-bent, so to
but also as to any other matter that could have been speak, in blocking the Government's efforts to defend
9 what rightfully belongs to it.
raised in relation thereto. What has obviously been lost on the parties, Judge
II Velez in particular, is the established principle that
Did the respondent judge, in issuing the order, dated injunction does not lie "to take property out of the
October 12, 1987, commit a grave abuse of discretion possession or control of one party and place it into
equivalent to lack of excess of jurisdiction? 15
(a) that of another." In this wise it has also been held:
The Court has no doubt that Judge Velez is here xxx xxx xxx
guilty of grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack It is a well established doctrine in this jurisdiction that
or excess of jurisdiction to warrant certiorari. As an injunction is not the proper remedy for the recovery
above-stated, what he gave away, by virtue of of possession of real estate and the improvements
reconveyance, was property that inalienably belongs thereon, as well as for the ejectments therefrom of the
to the Government or its successors. Worse, he gave actual occupants who claim to have title to or material
away property without notice to the actual interest therein. The use of said remedy in such cases
possessors, that is, the present registered owner. It is has invariably been considered unjustified, in open
beyond debate, as we have indicated, that the land violation of the legal presumption that the bona fide
had been, since the cancellation of OCT No. 291, possessor of a certain piece of land and
parcelled out to a succession of buyers and owners. improvements thereon, holds the same under claim of
In the absence of notice, it acquired no jurisdiction to ownership and with a just title, and as an advanced
decree redelivery or reconveyance. It is well- concession of the remedy to which the claimant might
established that owners of property over which 16
be entitled. (Citations omitted)
reconveyance is asserted are indispensable parties,
without whom no relief is available and without whom xxx xxx xxx
10 Injunction, moreover, is an extraordinary remedy. It
the court can render no valid judgment. lies only in certain cases, to wit:
Furthermore, the present holders of the land in Sec. 3. Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction.
question are innocent purchasers for value, or - A preliminary injunction may be granted at any time
presumed to be so in the absence of contrary after the commencement of the action and before
evidence, against whom reconveyance does not lie. judgment when it is established:
11 (a) That the plaintiff is entitled to the relief demanded,
and the whole or part of such relief consists in
(b) restraining the commission or continuance of the acts
The respondent judge can not conceal his faults complained of, or in the performance of an act or acts,
behind arguments that he did not intend to convey the either for a limited period or perpetually;
premises, but rather, to secure, allegedly, vacant (b) That the commission or continuance of some act
portions thereof from interlopers. First, this is not complained of during the litigation or the non-
stated in his order. Second, that order is clear and performance thereof would probably work injustice to
unequivocal that Domingo Palomares has the right the plaintiff; or
"[t]o sell, exchange, lease or otherwise dispose of any (c) That the defendant is doing, threatens, or is about
12 to do, or is procuring or suffering to be done, some
area or areas or portion or portions thereof . . . " act probably in violation of the plaintiffs rights
Third and last, the security of the property is the respecting the subject of the action, and tending to
lookout of the claimants, and not the court's. In case 17
the premises the respondent judge's injunctive writ render the judgment ineffectual.
have been directed belong to others, let them air their xxx xxx xxx
plaints. The conspicuous and unusual zeal with which Judge
(c) 18
The Court is also agreed that the challenged order Francisco Velez now defends his acts has not
was issued with no benefit of trial or hearing. The escaped us. His Honor should have borne in mind
private respondent can not validly rely on AC-G.R. that in proceedings under Rule 65 of the Rules, such
No. 00293 as the "trial or hearing" to justify the as the present cases, the judge is included only as a
issuance of its said order, in the first place, because it nominal party. Unless otherwise ordained by this
is a different proceeding. But above all, the private Court, he is not called upon to answer or comment on
respondent itself says that AC-G.R. CV No. 00293 the petition, but rather, the private respondent. It is
can not be made a basis for denying reconveyance indeed distressing to note that it is the very judge who
because "the . . . petition was merely for the issuance has taken the cudgels for the latter, in defending its
interests, when he, the judge, should have remained In 1946, Villaflor leased to Nasipit Lumber
19 Co., Inc. a parcel of land, containing an area
a neutral magistrate. Res ipsa loquitor. He must of 2 has, together with all the improvements
get his just deserts. existing thereon, for a period of 5 years at a
III rental of P200.00 per annum to cover the
The Court thus closes the long-drawn tale of annual rental of house and building sites for
Hacienda de Maricaban. In this connection, let trial
33 houses or buildings. In 1948, in an
judges be cautioned on the indiscriminate disposition
Agreement to Sell Villaflor conveyed to
of our dwindling natural resources to private persons.
Accordingly, we grant G.R. No. 81564 and dismiss Nasipit Lumber, 2 parcels of land. From said
G.R. No. 90176, and so also, end what has come day, the parties agreed that Nasipit Lumber
down as nearly a century of uncertainty, doubt, and shall continue to occupy the property not
conflict Maricaban has left in its trail. The Court has anymore in concept of lessee but as
finally spoken. Let the matter rest. prospective owners.
WHEREFORE:
1. The petition in G.R. No. 81564 is GRANTED: On 7 December 1948, Villaflor and
(a) The Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued by our Nasipit Lumber executed an Agreement,
Resolution, dated April 13, 1988, enjoining the confirming an Agreement to Sell, but with
respondent judge from enforcing his: (i) order of reference to the Sales Application filed with
October 12, 1987 and (ii) the follow-up order of the Bureau of Land. Sales Application of
October 23, 1987, is made permanent and Villaflor were rejected for having leased the
(b) Original Certificate of Title No. 291 is declared duly property to another even before he had
CANCELLED; acquired transmissible rights thereto. In
2. The petition in G.R. No. 90176 is DISMISSED; and August 1950, Villaflor executed a
3. Judge Francisco Velez is ordered to SHOW
document, denominated as a Deed of
CAUSE why he should not be administratively dealt
Relinquishment of Rights, in favor on
with for giving away, by virtue of reconveyance,
property that inalienably belongs to the Government, Nasipit Lumber, in consideration of the
without notice to the registered owner, and without amount of P5,000 that was to be reimbursed
benefit of trial or hearing; for blocking Government to the former representing part of the
efforts to defend what rightfully belongs to it; and for purchase price of the land, the value of the
filing his comment of June 17, 1988 and supplemental improvements Villaflor introduced thereon,
comment of August 26, 1988 without express leave of and the expenses incurred in the publication
court. of the Notice of Sale; in light of his difficulty
Costs against the private respondent. to develop the same as Villaflor has moved
SO ORDERED. to Manila. Pursuant thereto Nasipit Lumber
Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, filed a Sales Application over the 2 parcels of
Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Cortes, Grio-Aquino, land. Order of Award was then issued in
Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur. favor of Nasipit Lumber. In 1973, Villafor
Fernan, C.J., and Gutierrez, Jr., J., are on leave. wrote a letter to Nasipit Lumber, reminding
the latter of their verbal agreement in 1955;
but the new set of corporate officers
Vicente Villaflor vs. Court of Appeals refused to recognize Villaflors claim. In a
G.R. No. 95694, October 9, 1997 J. formal protest dated 31 January 1974 which
Panganiban Villaflor filed with the Bureau of Lands, he
protested the Sales Application of Nasipit
Facts: In 1940, Cirilo Piencenaves, in a Lumber, claiming that the company has not
Deed of Absolute Sale, sold to Vicente paid him P5,000.00 as provided in the
Villafor, a parcel of agricultural land (planted Deed of Relinquishment of Rights dated
with Abaca) containing an area of 50 16 August 1950. The Director of Lands found
hectares. The deed states that the land was that the payment P5,000.00 in the Deed and
sold to Villaflor in 1937, but no formal the consideration in the Agreement to Sell
document was then executed, and since then were duly proven, and ordered the dismissal
until the present time, Villaflor has been in of Villaflors protest.
possession and occupation of the same.
Before the sale of said property, Piencenaves In 1978, Villaflor filed a complaint in the trial
inherited said property from his parents and court for Declaration of Nullity of Contract
was in adverse possession of such without (Deed of Relinquishment of Rights),
interruption for more than 50 years. On the Recovery of Possession (of two parcels of
same day, Claudio Otero, in a Deed of land subject of the contract), and
Absolute Sale sold to Villaflor a parcel of Damages. In 1983, he died. The trial
agricultural land (planted with corn), court ordered his widow, Lourdes D. Villaflor,
containing an area of 24 hectares. to be substituted as petitioner. CFI dismissed
Hermogenes Patete, in a Deed of Absolute the complaint. The heirs of petitioner
Sale sold to Villaflor, a parcel of agricultural appealed to the Court of Appeals which,
land (planted with abaca and corn), however, rendered judgment against them.
containing an area of 20 has., more or less. Hence this petition.
Both deed state the same details or
circumstances as that of Piencenaves. In Issue: Whether or not the Deed of
1940, Fermin Bocobo, in a Deed of Relinquishment of Rights is fictitious.
Absolute Sale sold to Villaflor, a parcel of
agricultural land (planted with abaca), Held: The Supreme Court dismissed the
containing an area of 18 hectares, more or petition. Simulation not existing in the
less. present case Simulation occurs when an
apparent contract is a declaration of a
fictitious will, deliberately made by in rem. Being in rem, such proceeding
agreement of the parties, in order to requires constructive seizure of the land as
produce, for the purpose of deception, the against all persons, including the state, who
appearance of a juridical act which does not have rights to or interests in the property. An
exist or is different from that which was in rem proceeding is validated essentially
really executed. Such an intention is not through publication. This being so, the
apparent in the agreements. The intent to process must strictly be complied with.
sell, on the other hand, is as clear as
daylight. The fact, that the agreement to sell The Supreme Court has no authority to
(7 December 1948) did not absolutely dispense with such mandatory requirement.
transfer ownership of the land to private The law is unambiguous and its rationale
respondent, does not show that the clear. Time and again, this Court has
agreement was simulated. Petitioners declared that where the law speaks in clear
delivery of the Certificate of Ownership and categorical language, there is no room
and execution of the deed of absolute for interpretation, vacillation or equivocation;
sale were suspensive conditions, which gave there is room only for application. There is no
rise to a corresponding obligation on the part alternative. Thus, the application for land
of the private respondent, i.e., the registration filed by private respondents
payment of the last installment of the must be dismissed without prejudice to
consideration mentioned in the Agreement. reapplication in the future, after all the legal
Such conditions did not affect the requisites shall have been duly complied
perfection of the contract or prove with.
simulation. Nonpayment of the
consideration does not prove simulation
Nonpayment, at most, gives the vendor only Director of Lands, Petitioner,
the right to sue for collection. Generally, in a Vs.
contract of sale, payment of the price is a Court Of Appeals, Ibarra Bisnar and
resolutory condition and the remedy of the Amelia Bisnar, Respondents.
seller is to exact fulfillment or, in case of a G.R. No. 83609; October 26, 1989
substantial breach, to rescind the contract
under Article 1191 of the Civil Code.
However, failure to pay is not even a breach, Facts: On July 20,1976, Ibarra and Amelia
but merely an event which prevents the Bisnar filed their joint application for the
vendors obligation to convey title from registration of two parcels of land, located in
acquiring binding force. the province of Capiz, in the CFI of Capiz.
They claimed that they inherited those
parcels of land. The Director of Lands and
Director of Lands vs. CA Director of the Bureau of Forest Development
[G.R. No. 102858. July 28, 1997] opposed the application on the ground that
said parcels of land were part of a
Ponente: PANGANIBAN, J. timberland, a public dominion, so it cannot
be the subject of the registration
Facts: Teodoro Abistado filed a petition for proceedings.
original registration of his title over 648
square meters of land under Presidential After the hearing, the CFI ordered the
Decree (P.D.) No. 1529. The land registration registration of the title of the lots in the
court in its decision dated June 13, 1989 names of the applicants, herein private
dismissed the petition for want of respondents after finding that the applicants
jurisdiction, in compliance with the and their predecessors- in-interest have been
mandatory provision requiring publication of in open, public, continuous, peaceful and
the notice of initial hearing in a newspaper of adverse possession of the subject parcels of
general circulation. The case was elevated to land under bona fide claims of ownership for
respondent Court of Appeals which, set aside more than 80 years.
the decision of the trial court and ordered the
registration of the title in the name of The CA affirmed the CFIs decision, holding
Teodoro Abistado. The Court of Appeals ruled that the classification of the lots as
that it was merely procedural and that the timberland by the Director of Forestry cannot
failure to cause such publication did not prevail in the absence of proof that the said
deprive the trial court of its authority to lots are indeed more valuable as forest land
grant the application. The Director of Lands than as agricultural land, citing as authority
represented by the Solicitor General thus the case of Ankron vs. Government of the
elevated this recourse to the Supreme Court. Philippine Islands (40 Phil. 10).

Issue: Whether or not the Director of Lands Issue: Whether or not the possession of
is correct that newspaper publication of the forestlands or timberlands for 80 years can
notice of initial hearing in an original land ripen to private ownership.
registration case is mandatory.
Ruling: No. The Court ruled that possession
Held: YES. Petition was granted. The of forestlands, however long, cannot ripen
pertinent part of Section 23 of Presidential into private ownership. It emphasized that a
Decree No. 1529 requires publication of the positive act of the government, particularly
notice of initial hearing. It should be noted the Executive Department is needed to
further that land registration is a proceeding declassify land, which is classified as forest,
and to convert it into alienable or disposable It was the object of Congress not to work
land for agricultural or other purposes before such a result but, on the contrary, in
registration of which may proceed. The furtherance of the purposes of the treaty of
Court, citing various cases, stated that a Paris, to recognize and safeguard such
parcel of forestland is within the exclusive property. Therefore, the judgment of the
jurisdiction of the Bureau of Forestry, an Court of Land Registration is affirmed,
office under the Executive Department, and without costs.
beyond the power and jurisdiction of the
cadastral court to register under the Torrens Government property was of two kinds
System. first, that of public use or service, said to be
of public ownership, and second, that of
In the present case, the two parcels of land having a private character or use. (Civil
were not declared by the Executive Code, arts. 339 and 340.) Lands of the first
Department to be alienable and disposable, class, while they retain their public character
thus it cannot be registered under private are inalienable. Those of the second are not.
ownership. Therefore, there is much real property
belonging to the Government which is not
affected by statutes for the settlement,
prescription or sale of public lands. Examples
in point are properties occupied by public
G.R. No. L-3714 January 26, 1909 buildings or devoted to municipal or other
ISABELO MONTANO Y MARCIAL, governmental uses.
petitioner-appellee,
vs. A marshland which is inundated by the rise
THE INSULAR GOVERNMENT, ET AL., of tides belong to the State and is not
respondents. susceptible to appropriation by occupation,
THE INSULAR GOVERNMENT, appellant.. has no application in the present case
TRACEY, J.: inasmuch as in said case the land subject
matter of the litigation was not yet titled.
Facts: Isabelo Montano presents a petition
to the Court of Land Registration for the
inscription of a piece of land in the barrio of
Libis, municipality of Caloocan, used as a Menguito vs. Republic
fishery.
Facts: Petition for Review under Rule 45 of
This petition was opposed by the Solicitor- the Rules of Court assailing the CA decision
General in behalf of the Director of Lands, reversing the RTC order granting Menguitos
and by the entity known as Obras Pias de la application for registration of land.
Sagrada Mitra, the former on the ground that
the land in question belonged to the Menguito et al applied for registration of title
Government of the United States, and the alleging they are owners in fee simple of
latter, that it was the absolute owner of all eleven (11) parcels of land situated in the
the dry land along the eastern boundary of Barrio of Ususan, Municipality of Taguig,
the said fishery. Metro Manila. They maintained they acquired
the land by inheritance and have been
The Court of Land Registration in its decision paying taxes for the said land and no other
dismissed the said oppositions in favor of persons have any estate or interest therein,
Isabelo Montano y Marcial. From this decision legal or equitable, in possession, remainder,
only counsel for the Director of Public Lands reversion or expectancy.
appealed to this court.
The Republic opposed the application
Issue: Whether or not government land alleging that neither the applicant nor his
has the same meaning as public land. predecessors-in-interest have been in open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious
Held: Negative. In order to avoid possession and occupation of the land in
misapprehension it was pointed out the question since June 12, 1945 or prior thereto
phrase "public lands" is held to be equivalent and the muniments of title and tax payment
to "public domain," and does not by any receipts of applicant, if any, attached to or
means include all lands of Government alleged in the application, do not constitute
ownership, but only so much of said lands as competent and sufficient evidence of a bona
are thrown open to private appropriation and fide acquisition of the lands applied for or his
settlement by homestead and other like open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
general laws. possession and occupation thereof in the
concept of owner, since June 12, 1945, or
, "government land" and "public domain" are prior thereto. Said muniments of title do not
not synonymous items; the first includes not appear to be genuine and indicate the
only the second, but also other lands of the pretended possession of applicant to be of
Government already reserved or devoted to recent vintage. Further, the parcel applied is
public use or subject to private right. In other part of the public domain belonging to the
words, the Government owns real estate Republic of the Philippines not subject to
which is part of the "public lands" and other private appropriation.
real estate which is not part thereof.
Issue: Whether or not Menguito has title to
the disputed land. Facts: Plaintiff Mesina claimed to be the
owner of a parcel of land located in San
Held: Petition is DENIED and the assailed Antonio, Nueva Ecija. She has been in
Decision AFFIRMED. Petitioners were duty- possession of the subject land openly,
bound to prove two legal requirements: (1) publicly and peacefully since 1914. The said
the land applied for was alienable and lot was subject of registration proceedings.
disposable; and (2) the applicants and their Surprisingly, the defendant Pineda without
predecessors-in-interest had occupied and knowledge of the Plaintiff was able to
possessed the land openly, continuously, procure a homestead patent in the same
exclusively, and adversely since June 12, court where the registration of property was
1945. The records show that petitioners pending of the same land by the plaintiff,
failed to establish these two requisites. despite of the fact that defendant had not
complied with the requirements of CA 141.
To prove that the land in question formed
part of the alienable and disposable lands of Plaintiff sought to annulled and cancelled the
the public domain, petitioners cite a patent issued to defendant and prayed that
surveyor-geodetic engineers notation in this registration case pending in the same
Exhibit E indicating that the survey was court be given due course.
inside alienable and disposable land. Such
notation does not constitute a positive Issue: Whether or not the homestead patent
government act validly changing the given to defendant Pineda be declared null
classification of the land in question. Verily, and void.
a mere surveyor has no authority to
reclassify lands of the public domain. Such Ruling: In view of the fact that plaintiff was
proof is insufficient as unless public land is able to prove his open, continuous, exclusive
shown to have been reclassified or alienated possession of the disputed land for more
to a private person by the State, it remains than thirty years or since 1914 and that lot is
part of the inalienable public domain. Indeed, at present subject of registration proceeding.
occupation thereof in the concept of owner, Plaintiff is deemed to have acquired the lot
no matter how long, cannot ripen into by grant of the state, it follows that the same
ownership and be registered as a title. To had ceased to part of the public and had
overcome such presumption, incontrovertible become private property and therefore
evidence must be shown by the applicant. beyond the control of the Director of Land.
Absent such evidence, the land sought to be The homestead patent issued to defendant
registered remains inalienable. therefore is null and void and for having it
issued through fraud, deceit and
Even assuming arguendo that petitioners misrepresentation.
have been able to prove that the land is
alienable, their Petition for confirmation of
their imperfect titles and registration thereof Lahora Vs Dayanghirang
under the law will still be denied. The reason
is that they have failed to establish Facts: On 26 November 1965 herein
possession of the lots in question -- openly, appellants petitioned the Court of First
continuously, exclusively and adversely -- in Instance of Davao for registration of nine (9)
the concept of owner for at least 30 years, parcels of land, one-half of which having
since June 12, 1945. Petitioners do not claim been acquired by appellant Toribia Moralizon
that they are the original possessors of the allegedly by inheritance, and the other half
lots in question, which had allegedly by purchase and by continuous, open, public
belonged to Cirilo Menguito before he and adverse possession in the concept of
donated it to his son Pedro. When Pedro died owner. One of the lands is identified as Lot
in 1978, these lots allegedly passed down to 2228. The petition was opposed by Emilio
petitioners. Although petitioners can trace Dayanghirang, Jr., who alleged that lands
their possession of the land from as far back belonging to him and his wife were included
as 1968 only, they would tack it to that of in the application for registration, mentioning
their predecessors, who had supposedly specifically Lot No. 2228. Counsel for the
been in possession thereof even before the private oppositor filed a motion praying that
Second World War. There is not enough the petition be dismissed insofar as it
convincing proof, however, to support such includes Lot No. 2228, for the reason that
claim. said lot was already registered and titled in
the name of oppositor's wife. The court
granted the oppositor's motion and directed
the dismissal of the petition as regards Lot
No. 2228, on the ground that it having been
previously registered and titled, said parcel
of land can no longer be the subject of
adjudication in another proceeding.
G.R. No. L-14722 May 25, 1960
Ignacio Mesina, Plaintiff-Appellant, Vs Issue: Whether or not Lot 2228 may be
Eulalia Pineda Vda. De Sonza, Et Al., included in the application for registration
Defendants. filed by the Lahoras.
Eulalia Pineda Vda. De Sonza,
Defendant-Appellee.
Held: It may be recalled that the action filed appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court only
by petitioners-appellants in the lower court errors on question of law being involved in the appeal.
was for original registration of certain parcels 1
of land, including Lot No. 2228. It is not here On June 5, 1963 the plaintiffs filed in the Court of First
denied by appellants that said Lot No. 2228 Instance of Pangasinan (Branch IX, at Urdaneta,
was the subject of a public land grant in Pangasinan) a complaint alleging that they are
favor of the oppositor's wife. Appellants, owners pro-indiviso of the parcel of land described in
however, contend that the patent issued to the complaint which is covered by Original Certificate
oppositor's wife was procured by fraud. Thus, of Title No. 1089 in the name of Diego Pajomayo,
according to appellants, since they were the issued by the office of the Register of Deeds of
actual occupants of the property, the Pangasinan; that they had acquired the land as an
government could not have awarded it to inheritance from their late father Diego Pajomayo; that
oppositor's wife. they and their predecessor-in-interest had been in
actual, peaceful and uninterrupted possession of said
The rule in this jurisdiction, regarding public property in the concept of owners for a period of more
than 70 years until the early part of the year 1956
land patents and the character of the
when the defendants dispossessed them of said
certificate of title that may be issued by
property, resulting in their having suffered annual
virtue thereof, is that where land is granted damages amounting to around P1,100.00
by the government to a private individual, representing the value of the crops of rice; mongo,
the corresponding patent therefore is corn and vegetables that they failed to harvest; and
recorded, and the certificate of title is issued that because they have to file the present suit they
to the grantee; thereafter, the land is must spend P800.00 for incidental expenses of
automatically brought within the operation of litigation and attorney's fees. The plaintiffs prayed that
the Land Registration Act, the title issued to they be declared the lawful owners pro-indiviso of the
the grantee becoming entitled to all the land in question, and that the defendants be ordered
safeguards provided in Section 38 of the said to vacate the land and pay them the damages they
Act. In other words, upon expiration of one have suffered.
year from its issuance, the certificate of title
shall become irrevocable and indefeasible In their answer the defendants, after denying some of
like a certificate issued in a registration the allegations of the complaint, alleged that they are
proceeding. the exclusive owners of a parcel of land covered by
Original Certificate of Title No. 14043 issued by the
In the present case, Lot No. 2228 was office of the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan, the
said land having been adjudicated to them in the
registered and titled in the name of
cadastral proceedings of the Malasique cadastre and
oppositors' wife as of 21 June 1956, nine (9)
that apparently the plaintiffs are claiming the same
years earlier. Clearly, appellants' petition for parcel of land. The defendants claim they had
registration of the same parcel of land can no acquired the land mentioned in their answer by
longer prosper. Even assuming arguendo, inheritance from their deceased father Pioquinto
that there indeed exists a proper case for Manipon, and that they and their predecessors-in-
cancellation of the patent for intrinsic fraud, interest have been in actual, peaceful, and adverse
the action for review of the decree should possession of said land for more than 70 years, to the
have been filed before the one year period reclusion of plaintiffs; and that as possessors in good
had elapsed. Thereafter, the proper party to faith they have introduced on the land improvements
bring the action would only be the person worth P1,000.00. As affirmative defenses, the
prejudiced by the alleged fraudulent act. defendants allege that plaintiffs' action is barred by
res-judicata and/or prescription and that the court has
no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case. The
Republic of the Philippines defendants set up a counterclaim for damages in the
SUPREME COURT sum of P500.00 representing attorney's fees that they
Manila paid their counsel. The defendants prayed that they
EN BANC be declared the owners of the parcel of land
mentioned in their answer; that the plaintiffs be
G.R. No. L-33676 June 30, 1971 ordered to pay them damages in the sum of P500.00;
MARIANO PAJOMAYO, PATRICIO PAJOMAYO, and, in the alternative should judgment be rendered
EUSEBIO PAJOMAYO, SOLEDAD PAJOMAYO against them, that the plaintiffs ordered jointly and
assisted by her husband FLORIANO CHITONGCO, severally to pay them the sum of P1,000.00
DEMFTRIO PAJOMAYO, CRISTITA PAJOMAYO representing the value of the improvements they have
assisted by her husband MANUEL RAMIREZ, introduced on the land.
PATROCINIO PAJOMAYO and CRISPO
PAJOMAYO, plaintiffs-appellees, When the case, was called for trial on July 6, 1964,
vs. the counsels for the parties submitted to the court a
RODRIGO MANIPON and PERFECTA ZULUETA, stipulation of facts, as follows:
defendants-appellants. 1. That plaintiffs are the children and compulsory
Francisco T. Gualberto for plaintiffs-appellees. heirs of the late Diego Pajomayo;
Tomas Tadeo, Jr. for defendants-appellants. 2. That parties agree that the land in question is
covered by two Certificates of Title, one in the name
ZALDIVAR, J.: of Diego Pajomayo under Original Cert. of Title No.
Appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance 1089 issued under Free Patent, owner's copy
of Pangasinan (Branch IX) in its Civil Case No. U-655. attached hereto as Annex A; and Original Cert. of Title
The decision was originally appealed to the Court of No. 14034, in the name of the Defendant Rodrigo
Appeals on November 3, 1964. In the resolution of the Manipon, issued in Cadastral Case No. 91 of
second special division of the Court of Appeals, Malasique Cadastre, certified true copy of which is
promulgate on April 27, 1971, this case was certified attached hereto as Annex B;
to this Court as one that is within the exclusive
3. That parties agree to submit this case on the and deliver possession thereof to plaintiffs after
above stipulations without further presentation of declaring plaintiffs entitled thereto as the heirs of
evidence. Diego Pajomayo, the lawful owner of the land.

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed this Honorable Contrary to the claim of defendants, the doctrine of
Court that decision be rendered upon the foregoing res judicata can not be applied in their favor in the
stipulation after the parties have submitted present case.
simultaneous memoranda within a period of twenty
(20) days from today. The undisputed fact is that the plaintiffs base their
claim of title to the land in question on Original
Urdaneta, Pangasinan this 6th day of July, 1964. Certificate of Title No. 1089 issued to their father,
Diego Pajomayo, on November 27, 1931 in virtue of a
On the basis of the foregoing stipulation of facts, the free patent that was granted to him. The law requires
Court of First Instance of Pangasinan (Branch IX) that the homestead patent must be registered in the
made a finding that Original Certificate of Title No. office of the Register of Deeds of the province where
1089 held by the plaintiffs was issued earlier than the land covered by the patent lies. Section 122 of the
Original Certificate of Title No. 14034 held by the Land Registration Act (Act 496) provides as follows:
defendants, and on September 10, 1964 it rendered a
decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as SEC. 122. Whenever public lands in the
follows: Philippine Islands belonging (to the Government of
the United States or) to the Government of the
WHEREFORE, the Court, rendering judgment in favor Philippine Islands are alienated, granted, or conveyed
of the plaintiffs and against the defendants, hereby to persons or to public or private corporations, the
orders the latter to vacate the land in question and same shall be brought forthwith under the operation of
deliver possession thereof to the former who are this Act and shall become registered lands. It shall be
entitled thereto as the heirs of Diego Pajomayo who is the duty of the official issuing the instrument of
hereby declared the legal and lawful owner of the said alienation, grant, or conveyance in behalf of the
property. Government to came suck instrument before its
delivery to the grantee, to be filed with the register of
The Register of Deeds for Pangasinan is hereby deeds for the province where the land lies and to be
ordered to cancel de oficio Original Certificate of Title there registered like other deeds and conveyance,
No. 14034. whereupon a certificate shall be entered as in other
cases of registered land and an owner's duplicate
With costs of this suit against the defendant. certificate issued to the grantee. The deed, grant, or
From the above-mentioned decision of the lower instrument of conveyance from the Government to the
court, the defendants brought up the present appeal. grantee shall not take effect as a conveyance or bind
In their appeal the defendants made the following the land, but shall operate only as contract between
assignment of errors: the Government and the grantee and as evidence of
1. The lower court erred in declaring Original authority to the clerk or register of deeds to make
Certificate of Title No. 14034 of herein appellants null registration. The act of registration shall be the
and void notwithstanding the fact that this is not one operative act to convey and effect the land, and in all
of the reliefs prayed for by the appellees. cases under this Act registration shall be made in the
2. The lower erred in ordering the herein office of the register of deeds for the province where
appellants to vacate the land in question and to the land lies. The fees for registration shall be paid by
deliver the possession thereof to the herein appellees the grantee. After due registration and issue of the
although the latter failed to prove their cause of action certificate and owner's duplicate, such land shall be
against the herein appellants. registered land for all purposes under this Act.
3. The lower court erred in not applying the (Emphasis supplied).
doctrine of res judicata in favor of herein appellants.
Thus, it has been ruled by this Court that once a
The appeal has no merit. There is no question homestead patent granted in accordance with the
regarding the identity of the land involved. The only Public Land Act registered pursuant to Section 122 of
question to be resolved in the present appeal is: Act 496 (Land Registration Act), the certificate of title
which of the two original certificates of title should issued in virtue of said patent has the force and effect
prevail the No. 1089 held by the plaintiffs-appellees of a Torrens Title under the Land Registration Act. In
which was issued in virtue of the homestead patent, the cage of Aquino vs. Director of Lands, 39 Phil. 850,
or the No. 14034 held by the defendants-appellants this Court held:
which was issued in connection with the cadastral
proceedings? Necessarily when one of the two titles The procedure under the Land Registration Law and
is held to be superior over the other, one should be under the provisions of Chapter VI of the Public Land
declared null and void and should be ordered Law are the same in that both are against the whole
cancelled. And if a party is declared to be the owner world, both take the nature of judicial proceedings,
of a parcel of land pursuant to a valid certificate of title and for both the decree of registration issued is
said party is entitled to the possession of the land conclusive and final. (Act No. 496, secs. 35, 38, and
covered by said valid title. The decree of registration 45, as amended; Act 926. secs. 59 and 63, as
issued in the cadastral proceedings does not have the amended; Escueta vs. Director of Lands, 16 Phil. 482;
effect of annulling the title that had previously been Grey Alba vs. De la Cruz, 17 Phil. 49; Roxas vs.
issued in accordance with the provisions of the land Enriquez, 29 Phil. 31; Legarda, et al. vs. Saleeby, 31
Registration Law (Act 496). 2
Phil. 591) ...

The lower court, therefore, had correctly ordered the In the case of Manalo vs. Lukban and Liwanag, 48
cancellation of Certificate of Title No 14034 held by Phil. 973, 979, this Court said:
the defendants when it declared that Original
Certificate of Title No. 1089 held by the plaintiffs The record shows that the land covered by said
should prevail. Likewise, the lower court had correctly judgment had already been granted by the
ordered the defendants to vacate the land in question government to Monico Corpus Manuel as
homesteader under the provisions of Act 926, the Isidoro O. Santos, Antonio Astudillo, et
corresponding certificate of title having been al., the Director of Lands and the
registered and issued to said grantee. By virtue of Provice of Rizal
said registration and issuance of the certificate of title, G.R. No. L-19615 December 24, 1964
that land is considered registered within the meaning
of the Land Registration Act, No. 496 (sec. 122 of said Facts: Leonor de los Angeles and seven co-
Act). applicants filed an application for registration
of title to 12parcels of land in Ampid San
So that when the trial was held in the cadastral Mateo Rizal. They alleged that they were
proceeding which covered said land, and when the
owners pro-indiviso and in fee simple of the
judgment of June 29, 1922 concerning said land was
aforesaid land. Subsequently, the Director
rendered in said proceeding, the title to that land
could no longer be the subject of any inquiry, of Lands filed an opposition stating that the
determination or judgment, for it had already been land is a portion of the public domain while
adjudicated to Monico Corpus Manuel more than ten other private oppositors filed their written
years before, with all the legal formalities and with all opposition claiming they are the lawful
the force of a title under Act 496. owners of the parcels of land in question for
having acquired homestead patents over
The doctrine laid down in the two cases above-cited said lots.
has been affirmed and applied by this Court in a long
3
line of decisions. The ruling regarding the validity and A report filed in court by the Land
force of a certificate of title issued in virtue of the Registration Commissioner stated that the
registration of a homestead patent is applicable to parcel of land described as Lot 11, applied
certificates of title issued in virtue of the registration of for in the same case, is a portion of a
other land patents under the Public land Law. In the case previously patented land awarded to one of
of Lahora, et al. vs. Dayanghirang, et al., G.R. No. L- the oppositors (Julio Hidalgo) and
28565, January 30, 1971, 4 thus Court, speaking recommended that the case be dismissed
through Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, held: with respect to Lot 11, giving due course,
however, to the other lots in the application.
The rule in this jurisdiction, regarding public land
patents and the character of the certificate of title that
The court required the applicants to show
may be issued by virtue thereof, is that where land is
cause why their application should not be
granted by the government to a private individual, the
corresponding patent therefor is recorded, and the dismissed as to Lot 11 to which the
certificate of title is issued to the grantee; thereafter, applicants filed an opposition to motion to
the land is automatically brought within the operation dismiss. However, the court issued an order
of the Land Registration Act, the title issued to the dismissing the application with respect to Lot
grantee becoming entitled to all the safeguards 11. The applicants filed a motion for
provided in Section 38 of said Act. In other words, reconsideration but were denied, hence, this
upon the expiration of one year from its issuance, the appeal. They alleged that the lower court
certificate of title becomes irrevocable and erred in dismissing the application for the
indefeasible like a certificate issued in a registration registration as regards to Lot 11, over which
proceeding. a homestead patent was issued by the
Director of Lands during the pendency of the
It is the settled rule in this jurisdiction that where two registration proceeding.
certificates of title are issued to different persons
covering the same land in whole or in part, the earlier Issue: Whether a land registration court
in date must prevail as between the original parties, which has validly acquired jurisdiction over a
and in case of successive registration where, more parcel of land for registration of title thereto
than one certificate is issued over the land the person
could be divested of said jurisdiction by a
holding under the prior certificate is entitled to the
subsequent administrative act consisting in
land as against the person who relies on the second
5 the issuance by the Director of Lands of a
certificate. homestead patent covering the same parcel
of land.
In the case now before Us, it appearing that Original
Certificate of Title No. 14034 upon which the Ruling: It is well settled that the Director of
defendant appellants base their claim of ownership Lands jurisdiction, administrative
over the land in question was issued on April 1, 1957, supervision and executive control extend
while Original Certificate of Title No. 1089 upon which
only over lands of the public domain
plaintiffs-appellees base a similar claim was issued on
and not to lands already of private
November 27, 1931, under the law and the
authorities. We have herein cited, the latter certificate ownership. Accordingly, a homestead patent
of title should prevail, and the former should be issued by him over land not of the public
cancelled. domain is a nullity, devoid of force and effect
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from should be, against the owner.
as it is hereby, affirmed, with costs against the
defendants-appellants. It is so ordered. The applicants contended that they were
already owners pro-indiviso and in fee
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L Dizon, Makalintal, simple of the aforesaid land when they
Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo, Villamor and applied for registration on November
Makasiar, JJ., concur. 21, 1959. If they were to successfully
Castro, J., is on leave. prove this and show their alleged registrable
title to the land, it could only result in the
finding that when Julio Hidalgos homestead
Leonor de los Angeles, et al. patent was issued over Lot 11 on June 12,
Vs. 1961 said lot was no longer public. The land
registration court, in that event, would have accion possessoria with the Regional Trial
to order a decree of title issued in applicants Court of Cagayan de Oro. The trial court
favor and declare aforesaid homestead ruled in the schools favor and ordered Doldol
patent a nullity which vested no title in the to vacate the land. On appeal, the Court of
patentee as against the real owners. Appeals reversed the decision of the court a
quo, ruling that Doldol was entitled to the
Since the existence or non-existence of portion he occupied, he having possessed
applicants registrable title to Lot 11 is the same for thirty-two years, from 1959 up
decisive of the validity or nullity of the to the time of the filing of the complaint in
homestead patent issued as aforestated on 1991.
said lot the court a quos jurisdiction in the
land registration proceedings could not have Opol National Schools motion for
been divested by the homestead patents reconsideration of said decision having been
issuance. Further, proceedings for land denied by the Court of Appeals in its
registration are in rem whereas those for resolution of March 5, 1998, Opol National
acquisition of homestead patent are not. A School elevated its case to this Court,
homestead patent, therefore, does not finally claiming that the Court of Appeals erred on a
dispose of the public or private character of question of law when it held, contrary to the
the land as far as courts upon in rem are evidence on record, that respondent had
concerned. The applicants should thus be been in open, continuous, notorious and
given opportunity to prove registrable title to exclusive possession of the land in dispute
Lot 11.The case is remanded to the court a for thirty-two years.
quo for further proceedings.
The petition is meritorious.

[G.R. No. 132963. September 10, 1998] In ruling in Doldols favor, the Court of
Appeals grounded its decision on Section 48
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, of Commonwealth Act No. 141 (otherwise
(represented by Opol National known as the Public Land Act). Said
Secondary Technical School), petitioner, provision, as amended by Republic Act No.
vs. NICANOR DOLDOL, respondent. 1942, provides as follows:
DECISION
ROMERO, J.: Section 48. The following described citizens
of the Philippines, occupying lands of the
Before us is a petition for review of the public domain or claiming interest therein,
decision of the Court of Appeals dated but whose titles have not been perfected or
October 27, 1997, reversing the decision of completed, may apply to the Court of First
the Regional Trial Court and dismissing Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of the
herein petitioners complaint, as well as its province where the land is located for
resolution of March 5, 1998, denying confirmation of their claims and the issuance
petitioners motion for reconsideration. of a certification of title therefor under the
Land Registration Act, to wit:
The facts are as follows:
xxxxxxxxx
Sometime in 1959, respondent Nicanor
Doldol occupied a portion of land in Barrio (b) Those who by themselves or through
Pontacan, Municipality of Opol, Misamis their predecessors-in-interest have been in
Oriental. On October 23, 1963, he filed an open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
application for saltwork purposes for the said possession and occupation of agricultural
area with the Bureau of Forest Development. lands of the public domain, under a bona fide
The Director of Forestry, however, rejected claim of acquisition or ownership for at least
the same on April 1, 1968. Meanwhile, the thirty years immediately preceding the filing
Provincial Board of Misamis Oriental passed a of the application for confirmation of title,
resolution in 1965 reserving Lot 4932, Cad- except when prevented by wars or force
237, Opol Cadastre as a school site. This majeure. Those shall be conclusively
reserved lot unfortunately included the area presumed to have performed all the
occupied by Doldol. conditions essential to a Government grant
and shall be entitled to a certificate of title
In accordance with said resolution, the Opol under the provisions of this chapter. (Italics
High School transferred to the site in 1970. ours)
Seventeen years later, on November 2, 1987,
then President Corazon Aquino issued In accordance with the above provision, the
Proclamation No. 180 reserving the area, appellate court averred that a citizen of the
including the portion in dispute, for the Opol Philippines may acquire alienable land of the
High School, now renamed the Opol National public domain if he has possessed the same
Secondary Technical School (hereafter Opol for thirty years. Finding Doldol to have
National School). Needing the area occupied occupied the disputed lot for thirty-two
by Doldol for its intended projects, the school years, it ruled that the former had acquired
made several demands for him to vacate ownership of the same, thereby negating
said portion, but he refused to move. Opol National Schools claim over the
questioned area.
In view of Doldols refusal to vacate, Opol
National School filed in 1991 a complaint for
To further bolster its argument, the appellate and shall be entitled to a certificate of title
court cited Republic vs. CA[1] where this under the provisions of this chapter. (Italics
Court, citing Director of Lands vs. Iglesia ni ours)
Cristo, 200 SCRA 606 (1991) declared that:
Thus, in the aforecited Republic vs. CA case,
The weight of authority is that open, we stated that the Public Land Act requires
exclusive and undisputed possession of that the applicant must prove (a) that the
alienable public land for the period land is alienable public land and (b) that his
prescribed by law creates the legal fiction open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
whereby the land, upon completion of the possession and occupation of the same must
requisite period ipso jure and without the either be since time immemorial or for the
need of judicial or other sanction, ceases to period prescribed in the Public Land Act.
be public land and becomes private property. When the conditions set by law are complied
with, the possessor of the land, by operation
xxxxxxxxx of law, acquires a right to a grant, a
government grant, without the necessity of a
with the latters proven occupation and certificate of title being issued.
cultivation for more than 30 years since
1914, by himself and by his predecessors-in- The evidence presented shows that the land
interest, title over the land has vested on in dispute is alienable and disposable, in
petitioner so as to segregate the land from accordance with the District Foresters
the mass of public land. Certification dated September 20, 1978, that
the subject area is within Project 8, an
xxxxxxxxx alienable and disposable tract of public land,
As interpreted in several cases, when the as appearing in Bureau of Forest Land
conditions as specified in the foregoing Classification Map No. 585. Doldol, thus,
provision are complied with, the possessor is meets the first requirement.
deemed to have acquired, by operation of
law, a right to a grant, a government grant, The parties, however, stipulated during the
without the necessity of a certificate of title pre-trial hearing that Doldol had been
being issued. The land, therefore, ceases to occupying the portion reserved for the school
be of the public domain and beyond the site only since 1959. The law, as presently
authority of the Director of Lands to dispose phrased, requires that possession of lands of
of. The application for confirmation is mere the public domain must be from June 12,
formality, the lack of which does not affect 1945 or earlier, for the same to be acquired
the legal sufficiency of the title as would be through judicial confirmation of imperfect
evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title title.
to be issued upon the strength of said
patent. Consequently, Doldol could not have
acquired an imperfect title to the disputed lot
The appellate court has resolved the since his occupation of the same started only
question as to who between the parties had in 1959, much later than June 12, 1945. Not
a better right to possess the lot through the having complied with the conditions set by
erroneous application of an outdated version law, Doldol cannot be said to have acquired
of Section 48 of the Public Land Act. a right to the land in question as to
Likewise, Solicitor Renan E. Ramos of the segregate the same from the public domain.
Office of the Solicitor General erred in Doldol cannot, therefore, assert a right
assuming that the thirty-year proviso in the superior to the school, given that then
aforementioned section was still good law. President Corazon Aquino had reserved the
The original Section 48(b) of C.A. No. 141 lot for Opol National School. As correctly
provided for possession and occupation of pointed out by the Solicitor General:
lands of the public domain since July 26,
1894. This was superseded by R.A. No. 1942, (T)he privilege of occupying public lands with
[2] which provided for a simple thirty year a view of preemption confers no contractual
prescriptive period of occupation by an or vested right in the lands occupied and the
applicant for judicial confirmation of authority of the President to withdraw such
imperfect title. The same, however, has lands for sale or acquisition by the public, or
already been amended by Presidential to reserve them for public use, prior to the
Decree No. 1073, approved on January 25, divesting by the government of title thereof
1977. As amended, Section 48(b) now reads: stands, even though this may defeat the
imperfect right of a settler. Lands covered by
(b) Those who by themselves or through reservation are not subject to entry, and no
their predecessors-in-interest have been in lawful settlement on them can be acquired.
open, continuous, exclusive and notorious [3]
possession and occupation of agricultural
lands of the public domain, under a bona fide In sum, Opol National School has the better
claim of acquisition or ownership, since June right of possession over the land in dispute.
12, 1945, or earlier, immediately preceding
the filing of the application for confirmation WHEREFORE, premises considered, the
of title, except when prevented by wars or decision of the Court of Appeals dated
force majeure. Those shall be conclusively October 27, 1997, and Resolution dated
presumed to have performed all the March 27, 1998, are hereby ANNULLED and
conditions essential to a Government grant SET ASIDE and the Decision of the Regional
Trial Court dated August 25, 1992, is hereby classified as alienable and disposable before
REINSTATED. the applicants possession under a bona fide
claim of ownership could even start.
SO ORDERED.
Held: Section 14 of the Property Registration
Narvasa, C.J., (Chairman), Kapunan, and Decree, governing original registration
Purisima, JJ., concur. proceedings, provides:

SECTION 14. Who may apply. The following


Republic v. Court of Appeals and Naguit, persons may file in the proper Court of First
G.R. No. 144057 (January 17, 2005) Instance an application for registration of
Case Digest title to land, whether personally or through
Alienation of Public Agricultural Lands their duly authorized representatives:

Facts: On January 5, 1993, Naguit filed a (1) those who by themselves or through their
petition for registration of title of a parcel of predecessors-in-interest have been in open,
land. The application sought a judicial continuous, exclusive and notorious
confirmation of imperfect title over the land. possession and occupation of alienable and
disposable lands of the public domain under
The public prosecutor, appearing for the a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12,
government, and Angeles opposed the 1945, or earlier.
petition. The court issued an order of
general default against the whole world (2) Those who have acquired ownership over
except as to Angeles and the government. private lands by prescription under the
provisions of existing laws.
The evidence revealed that the subject
parcel of land was originally declared for There are three obvious requisites for the
taxation purposes in the name of Urbano in filing of an application for registration of title
1945. Urbano executed a Deed of Quitclaim under Section 14(1) that the property in
in favor of the heirs of Maming, wherein he question is alienable and disposable land of
renounced all his rights to the subject the public domain; that the applicants by
property and confirmed the sale made by his themselves or through their predecessors-in-
father to Maming sometime in 1955 or 1956. interest have been in open, continuous,
Subsequently, the heirs of Maming executed exclusive and notorious possession and
a deed of absolute sale in favor of occupation, and; that such possession is
respondent Naguit who thereupon started under a bona fide claim of ownership since
occupying the same. June 12, 1945 or earlier.

Naguit constituted Blanco, Jr. as her attorney- The OSG's interpretation would render
in-fact and administrator. The administrator paragraph (1) of Section 14 virtually
introduced improvements, planted trees in inoperative and even precludes the
addition to existing coconut trees which were government from giving it effect even as it
then 50 to 60 years old, and paid the decides to reclassify public agricultural lands
corresponding taxes due on the subject land. as alienable and disposable. The
unreasonableness of the situation would
Naguit and her predecessors-in-interest had even be aggravated considering that before
occupied the land openly and in the concept June 12, 1945, the Philippines was not yet
of owner without any objection from any even considered an independent state.
private person or even the government until
she filed her application for registration. The more reasonable interpretation of
Section 14(1) is that it merely requires the
The OSG argued that the property which is in property sought to be registered as already
open, continuous and exclusive possession alienable and disposable at the time the
must first be alienable. Since the subject application for registration of title is filed. If
land was declared alienable only on October the State, at the time the application is
15, 1980, Naguit could not have maintained made, has not yet deemed it proper to
a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, release the property for alienation or
1945, as required by Section 14 of the disposition, the presumption is that the
Property Registration Decree, since prior to government is still reserving the right to
1980, the land was not alienable or utilize the property; hence, the need to
disposable. preserve its ownership in the State
irrespective of the length of adverse
The OSG suggested an interpretation that all possession even if in good faith. However, if
lands of the public domain which were not the property has already been classified as
declared alienable or disposable before June alienable and disposable, as it is in this case,
12, 1945 would not be susceptible to original then there is already an intention on the part
registration, no matter the length of of the State to abdicate its exclusive
unchallenged possession by the occupant. prerogative over the property.

In this case, the 3 requisites for the filing of


Issue: Whether or not it is necessary under registration of title under Section 14(1) had
Section 14(1) of the Property Registration been met by Naguit. The parcel of land had
Decree that the subject land be first been declared alienable; Naguit and her
predecessors-in-interest had been in open, reversed the RTC ruling and dismissed the
continuous, exclusive and notorious application of Malabanan.
possession and occupation of the land
evidenced by the 50 to 60-year old trees at Issues:
the time she purchased the property; as well 1. In order that an alienable and disposable
as the tax declarations executed by the land of the public domain may be registered
original owner Urbano in 1954, which under Section 14(1) of Presidential Decree
strengthened one's bona fide claim of No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property
ownership. Registration Decree, should the land be
classified as alienable and disposable as of
June 12, 1945 or is it sufficient that such
classification occur at any time prior to the
Heirs of Mario Malabanan Vs. Republic filing of the applicant for registration
Of The Philippines provided that it is established that the
G.R. No. 179987, April 29, 2009 applicant has been in open, continuous,
En Banc exclusive and notorious possession of the
land under a bona fide claim of ownership
since June 12, 1945 or earlier?
Facts: 20 February 1998, Mario Malabanan
filed an application for land registration 2. For purposes of Section 14(2) of the
before the RTC of Cavite-Tagaytay, covering a Property Registration Decree may a parcel of
parcel of land situated in Silang Cavite, land classified as alienable and disposable be
consisting of 71,324 square meters. deemed private land and therefore
Malabanan claimed that he had purchased susceptible to acquisition by prescription in
the property from Eduardo Velazco, and that accordance with the Civil Code?
he and his predecessors-in-interest had been
in open, notorious, and continuous adverse 3. May a parcel of land established as
and peaceful possession of the land for more agricultural in character either because of its
than thirty (30) years. Velazco testified that use or because its slope is below that of
the property was originally belonged to a forest lands be registrable under Section
twenty-two hectare property owned by his 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree in
great-grandfather, Lino Velazco. Lino had relation to the provisions of the Civil Code on
four sons Benedicto, Gregorio, Eduardo and acquisitive prescription?
Estebanthe fourth being Aristedess
grandfather. Upon Linos death, his four sons 4. Are petitioners entitled to the registration
inherited the property and divided it among of the subject land in their names under
themselves. But by 1966, Estebans wife, Section 14(1) or Section 14(2) of the Property
Magdalena, had become the administrator of Registration Decree or both?
all the properties inherited by the Velazco
sons from their father, Lino. After the death Held: The Petition is denied.
of Esteban and Magdalena, their son Virgilio
succeeded them in administering the (1) In connection with Section 14(1) of the
properties, including Lot 9864-A, which Property Registration Decree, Section 48(b)
originally belonged to his uncle, Eduardo of the Public Land Act recognizes and
Velazco. It was this property that was sold by confirms that those who by themselves or
Eduardo Velazco to Malabanan. through their predecessors in interest have
been in open, continuous, exclusive, and
Among the evidence presented by notorious possession and occupation of
Malabanan during trial was a Certification alienable and disposable lands of the public
dated 11 June 2001, issued by the domain, under a bona fide claim of
Community Environment & Natural acquisition of ownership, since June 12,
Resources Office, Department of 1945 have acquired ownership of, and
Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO- registrable title to, such lands based on the
DENR), which stated that the subject length and quality of their possession.
property was verified to be within the
Alienable or Disposable land per Land (a) Since Section 48(b) merely requires
Classification Map No. 3013 established possession since 12 June 1945 and does not
under Project No. 20-A and approved as such require that the lands should have been
under FAO 4-1656 on March 15, 1982. On 3 alienable and disposable during the entire
December 2002, the RTC approved the period of possession, the possessor is
application for registration. entitled to secure judicial confirmation of his
title thereto as soon as it is declared
The Republic interposed an appeal to the alienable and disposable, subject to the
Court of Appeals, arguing that Malabanan timeframe imposed by Section 47 of the
had failed to prove that the property Public Land Act.
belonged to the alienable and disposable
land of the public domain, and that the RTC (b) The right to register granted under
had erred in finding that he had been in Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act is further
possession of the property in the manner and confirmed by Section 14(1) of the Property
for the length of time required by law for Registration Decree.
confirmation of imperfect title. On 23
February 2007, the Court of Appeals (2) In complying with Section 14(2) of the
Property Registration Decree, consider that
under the Civil Code, prescription is No. 40. On 1916, he ordered the registration
recognized as a mode of acquiring ownership of these lands and donated the same to his
of patrimonial property. However, public heirs, Ignacio and Carmen Palomo two
domain lands become only patrimonial months before his death in April 1937.
property not only with a declaration that
these are alienable or disposable. There Claiming that the aforesaid original
must also be an express government certificates of title were lost during the
manifestation that the property is already Japanese occupation, Ignacio Palomo filed a
patrimonial or no longer retained for public petition for reconstitution with the Court of
service or the development of national First Instance of Albay on May 1970. The
wealth, under Article 422 of the Civil Code. Register of Deeds of Albay issued Transfer
And only when the property has become Certificates of Title Nos. 3911, 3912, 3913
patrimonial can the prescriptive period for and 3914 sometime in October 1953.
the acquisition of property of the public Sometime in July 1954 President Ramon
dominion begin to run. Magsaysay issued Proclamation No. 47
converting the area embraced by Executive
(a) Patrimonial property is private property of Order No. 40 into the "Tiwi Hot Spring
the government. The person acquires National Park," under the control,
ownership of patrimonial property by management, protection and administration
prescription under the Civil Code is entitled of the defunct Commission of Parks and
to secure registration thereof under Section Wildlife, now a division of the Bureau of
14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. Forest Development. The area was never
released as alienable and disposable portion
(b) There are two kinds of prescription by of the public domain and, therefore, is
which patrimonial property may be acquired, neither susceptible to disposition under the
one ordinary and other extraordinary. Under provisions of the Public Land Law nor
ordinary acquisitive prescription, a person registerable under the Land Registration Act.
acquires ownership of a patrimonial property The Palomos, however, continued in
through possession for at least ten (10) possession of the property, paid real estate
years, in good faith and with just title. Under taxes thereon and introduced improvements
extraordinary acquisitive prescription, a by planting rice, bananas, pandan and
persons uninterrupted adverse possession of coconuts. On April 8, 1971, petitioner
patrimonial property for at least thirty (30) Carmen de Buenaventura and spouses
years, regardless of good faith or just title, Ignacio Palomo and Trinidad Pascual
ripens into ownership. mortgaged the parcels of land to guarantee a
loan of P200,000 from the Bank of the
It is clear that the evidence of petitioners is Philippine Islands.
insufficient to establish that Malabanan has
acquired ownership over the subject property Issue: Whether or not forest land may be
under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. owned by private persons.
There is no substantive evidence to establish
that Malabanan or petitioners as his Held: The adverse possession which may be
predecessors-in-interest have been in the basis of a grant of title in confirmation of
possession of the property since 12 June imperfect title cases applies only to alienable
1945 or earlier. The earliest that petitioners lands of the public domain. It is in the law
can date back their possession, according to governing natural resources that forest land
their own evidencethe Tax Declarations cannot be owned by private persons. It is not
they presented in particularis to the year registerable and possession thereof, no
1948. Thus, they cannot avail themselves of matter how lengthy, cannot convert it into
registration under Section 14(1) of the private property, unless such lands are
Property Registration Decree. reclassified and considered disposable and
alienable. There is no question that the lots
Neither can petitioners properly invoke here forming part of the forest zone were not
Section 14(2) as basis for registration. While alienable lands of the public domain. As to
the subject property was declared as the forfeiture of improvements introduced by
alienable or disposable in 1982, there is no petitioners, the fact that the government
competent evidence that is no longer failed to oppose the registration of the lots in
intended for public use service or for the question is no justification for petitioners to
development of the national evidence, plead good faith in introducing
conformably with Article 422 of the Civil improvements on the lots.
Code. The classification of the subject
property as alienable and disposable land of
the public domain does not change its status James R. Bracewell, Petitioner,
as property of the public dominion under Vs.
Article 420(2) of the Civil Code. Thus, it is Honorable Court Of Appeals And
insusceptible to acquisition by prescription. Republic Of The Philippines,
Respondents.

Palomo V. Court Of Appeals Facts: The controversy involves a total of


G.R. No. 95608 January 21, 1997 nine thousand six hundred fifty-seven (9,657)
square meters of land located in Las Pias,
Facts: Diego Palomo is the owner of 15 Metro Manila.
parcels of land covered by Executive Order
In 1908, Maria Cailles, married to James the time it was issued, the subject land was
Bracewell, Sr., who acquired the said parcels still part of the public domain.
of land from the Dalandan and Jimenez
families of Las Pias; after which In the said case, this Court ruled as follows
corresponding Tax Declarations were issued
in the name of Maria Cailles. Under the Regalian doctrine, all lands of the
public domain belong to the State, and that
On January 16, 1961, Maria Cailles sold the the State is the source of any asserted right
said parcels of land to her son, the petitioner, to ownership in land and charged with the
by virtue of a Deed of Sale which was duly conservation of such patrimony. This same
annotated and registered with the Registry of doctrine also states that all lands not
Deeds of Pasig, Rizal. Tax Declarations were otherwise appearing to be clearly within
thereafter issued in the name of petitioner, private ownership are presumed to belong to
canceling the previous Tax Declarations the State (Director of Lands vs. Intermediate
issued to Maria Cailles. Appellate Court, 219 SCRA 340).

On September 19, 1963, petitioner filed Hence, the burden of proof in overcoming
before the then Court of First Instance of the presumption of State ownership of lands
Pasig, Rizal an action for confirmation of of the public domain is on the person
imperfect title under Section 48 of applying for registration. The applicant must
Commonwealth Act No. 141. show that the land subject of the application
is alienable or disposable. These petitioners
The Director of Lands, represented by the failed to do.
Solicitor General, opposed petitioner's
application on the grounds that neither he The homestead patent was issued to
nor his predecessors-in-interest possessed petitioners' predecessor-in-interest, the
sufficient title to the subject land nor have subject land belong to the inalienable and
they been in open, continuous, exclusive and undisposable portion of the public domain.
notorious possession and occupation of the Thus, any title issued in their name by
same for at least thirty (30) years prior to the mistake or oversight is void ab initio because
application, and that the subject land is part at the time the homestead patent was issued
of the public domain. to petitioners, as successors-in-interest of
the original patent applicant, the Director of
On May 3, 1989, the lower court issued an Lands was not then authorized to dispose of
Order granting the application of petitioner. the same because the area was not yet
The Solicitor General promptly appealed to classified as disposable public land.
respondent Court which, on June 29, 1992, Consequently, the title issued to herein
reversed and set aside the lower court's petitioners by the Bureau of Lands is void ab
Order. It also denied petitioner's Motion for initio.
Reconsideration in its Resolution of Neither has petitioner shown proof that the
September 30, 1992. subject Forestry Administrative Order
recognizes private or vested rights under
Issues: which his case may fall. We only find on
a) Whether the failure of the petitioner to record the Indorsement of the Bureau of
prosecute his action for an unreasonable Forest Development from which no indication
length of time? of such exemption may be gleaned.
b) Whether the tax declarations attached to
the complaint do not constitute acquisition of Having found petitioner to have no cause of
the lands applied for? action for his application for confirmation of
imperfect title, we see no need to discuss the
Held: The controversy is simple. On one other errors raised in this petition.
hand, petitioner asserts his right of title to
the subject land under Section 48 (b) of
Commonwealth Act No. 141, having by Amunategui vs Director of Forestry
himself and through his predecessors-in- 126 SCRA 69
interest been in open, continuous, exclusive
and notorious possession and occupation of Facts: There were two petitions for review
the subject parcels of land, under a bona fide on certiorari questioning the decision of the
claim of acquisition or ownership, since Court of Appeals which declared the disputed
1908. On the other hand, it is the property as forest land, not subject to titling
respondents' position that since the subject in favor of private persons, Borre and
parcels of land were only classified as Amunategui.
alienable or disposable on March 27, 1972,
petitioner did not have any title to confirm The Director of Forestry, through the
when he filed his application in 1963. Neither Provincial Fiscal of Capiz, also filed an
was the requisite thirty years possession opposition to the application for registration
met. of title claiming that the land was mangrove
swamp which was still classified as forest
A similar situation in the case of Reyes v. land and part of the public domain.
Court of Appeals, where a homestead patent
issued to the petitioners' predecessor-in- Another oppositor, Emeterio Bereber filed his
interest was cancelled on the ground that at opposition insofar as a portion of Lot No. 885
containing 117,956 square meters was
concerned and prayed that title to said exact description and extension of which
portion be confirmed and registered in his does not appear, has been cultivated and
name. planted for more than forty-four years prior
to the date of this decision;
Issue: Whether or not the lot in question can
be subject of registration and confirmation of That said land was formerly occupied,
title in the name of the private person. cultivated and planted by Moros, Mansacas
and others, under a claim of ownership, and
Held: The opposition of the Director of that they lived thereon and had their houses
Forestry was strengthened by the appellate thereon, and that portion of the land which
court's finding that timber licenses had to be was not planted or cultivated was used as
issued to certain licensees and even Jose pasture land whereon they pastured their
Amunategui himself took the trouble to ask carabaos, cattle, and horses;
for a license to cut timber within the area. It
was only sometime in 1950 that the property That all of said Moros and Mansacas sold,
was converted into fishpond but only after a transferred and conveyed all their right, title
previous warning from the District Forester and interest in said land to the applicant, J.
that the same could not be done because it H. Ankron, some eleven years past, at which
was classified as "public forest. time all of the said former owners moved on
to adjoining lands where they now reside;
A forested area classified as forest land of
the public domain does not lose such That the possession under claim of
classification simply because loggers or ownership of the applicant and his
settlers may have stripped it of its forest predecessors in interest was shown to have
cover. "Forest lands" do not have to be on been open, notorious, actual, public and
mountains or in out of the way places. continuous for more than forty-four years
Swampy areas covered by mangrove trees, past, and that their claim was exclusive of
nipa palms, and other trees growing in any other right adverse to all other claims;
brackish or seawater may also be classified
as forest land. The possession of forest lands, That the applicant now has some one
no matter how long, cannot ripen into private hundred fifty (150) hills of hemp, some eight
ownership. Therefore, the lot in question thousand (8,000) cocoanut trees, a dwelling
never ceased to be classified as forest land house, various laborers' quarters, store-
of public domain. building, large camarin (storehouse of wood,
a galvanized iron and other buildings and
improvements on said land.
Ankron vs. The Government of the
Philippine Islands Issue: Whether or not the said land is owned
Beler, Vertine Paul F. by the government of the Philippines.

Ruling: Yes, The court held that the


Facts: This case was commenced for the applicant proved and validly supplied the
purpose of registering a land under the requisites for the registration of the said land
Torrens system, which bounded, particularly into an agricultural land as per stated by
situated in the plan description attached to paragraph 6 of section 54 of Act No. 926. The
the complaint and made part thereof. The important prerequisites for registration of
respondent, Oppositor, The Government of land imposed by said section 54, paragraph
the Philippine islands alleged that the said 6, are (a) that the land shall be agricultural
land was the property of the Government of public land as defined by the Act of Congress
the United States of America and under the of July 1, 1902; (b) that the petitioner, by
control of the Government of the Philippines. himself or his predecessors in interest, shall
No proof was presented by the oppositor have been in the open, continuous, exclusive
regarding its allegations. The Judge render its and notorious possession and occupation of
decision favouring Akron, and ordered that the same under a bona fide claim of
the said land be registered to the latter, ownership for a period of ten years next
however that the right of the government to preceding the taking effect of said Act. The
open a road in a manner that the opening government failed to disrupt the said facts
should fifteen meters wide and should follow presented by the applicant.
approximately the line of the road. Hence
the Director of the lands appealed to this Hence, the court rendered its judgment in
court. That all of said land, with the favor of the applicant.
exception of a small part at the north, the