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DIRECTOR OF LANDS MANAGEMENT BUREAU v CA

FACTS:
1. Aquilino Carino filed with CFI of Laguna a petition for registration
of Lot No. 6, a sugar land.
2. In 1949, Aquilino and his brother became co-owners of the
subject land by virtue of an extrajudicial partition of the land. In
1963, through another deed of extrajudicial settlement, sole
ownership was adjudicated to Aquilino.
3. The Land Investigator Bureau disclosed the following:
The land as described in Psu-108952 is agricultural in
nature and stated the improvements located therein.
That Lot No. 6 is outside any civil or military reservation,
riverbed, park and watershed reservation and that the land
is free from claim and conflict.
That it is not inside the relocation site embarked for Metro
Manila squatter, and is not covered by any existing public
land application and no patent or title has been issued
therefor.
That applicant has been in continuous, open and exclusive
possession of Lot No.6 inherited from his mother as shown
by the Extrajudicial Partition.
That the land is declared for tax purposes under Tax
Declaration.
4. The trial court granted the land application
5. Upon appeal by the DLMB, CA affirmed the CFIs decision.
6. Hence, this petition.
Aquilino failed to submit proof of his fee simple title or
proof of possession in the manner and for the length of
time required by the law to justify confirmation of an
imperfect title.
Aquilino has not overthrown the presumption that the land
is not a portion of the public domain belonging to the RP.

ISSUE: W/N the application should be granted


HELD: NO.
1. The land registration is under the LRA, and who he alleges in his
present application, ownership in fee simple must present
muniments of title since the Spanish times, such as a royal grant,
special grant, adjustment title or a title through purchase or
possessory information title would become a gratuitous title.
2. Since there is no monument of title presented, the application
should be denied under Act 496 or under PLA. The evidence
adduced by Aquilino is not enough to prove his possession of
subject lot in concept of an owner and for the number of years
required by law for the confirmation of imperfect title.
Possession of public lands, however long, never confers
title upon the possessor, unless the occupant can prove
possession or occupation of the same under claim of
ownership for the required period to constitute a grant
from the State
3. Even if there is no opposition from the Government, the applicant
is not relieved from the burden of proving the imperfect right or
title sought to be confirmed. It is an imperative necessity of the
most rigorous scrutiny before imperfect titles over public
agricultural lands may be granted judicial recognition. There is
an underlying presumption that lands of whatever classification
belongs to the State. Hence, the applicant must present
sufficient proof to overthrow such assumption.
Petitioner must show that he has been in open, continuous,
exclusive possession of the land for at least 30 years
immediately preceeding the application.
In the case at bar, Aquilino can only trace his own
possession from the year 1949 ( extrajudicial settlement
and partition). Only 26 years has elapsed. Aquino also
failed to produce sufficient proof to show that his late
mother, from who he got the land, possessed the land in
question even prior to 1911.
4. Basic is the rule that the petitioner in a land registration case
must prove the facts and circumstances evidencing his alleged
ownership of the land applied for. General statements, which are
mere conclusions of law and not factual proof of possession are
unavailing and cannot suffice.
Earliest Tax Declaration- was issued in 1949.
The contention of private respondent that his mother had
been in possession of subject land even prior to 1911 is
self-serving, hearsay, and inadmissible in evidence. The
phrase adverse, continuous, open, public, peaceful and in
concept of owner by which characteristics private
respondent describes his possession and that of his
parents, are mere conclusions of law requiring evidentiary
support and substantiation. The burden of proof is on the
private respondent, as applicant, to prove by clear, positive
and convincing evidence that the alleged possession of his
parents was of the nature and duration required by law. His
bare allegations without more, do not amount to
preponderant evidence that would shift the burden of proof
to the oppositor.
5. Trial court and CA overlooked the fact that the Tax Declaration of
1921 presented was in the name of Aquilino and not from his
predecessors-in-interest. So the rule that the findings of CA and
TC are binding upon the SC is not applicable. Tax receipts and tax
declarations are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership.
They are mere indica of claim of ownership.