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THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 178411. June 23, 2010.]


OFFICE OF THE CITY MAYOR OF PARAAQUE CITY, OFFICE OF THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR OF
PARAAQUE CITY, OFFICE OF THE CITY ENGINEER OF PARAAQUE CITY, OFFICE OF THE
CITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR, OFFICE OF THE BARANGAY CAPTAIN
AND SANGGUNIANG PAMBARANGAY OF BARANGAY VITALEZ, PARAAQUE CITY, TERESITA
A. GATCHALIAN, ENRICO R. ESGUERRA, ERNESTO T. PRACALE, JR., MANUEL M. ARGOTE,
CONRADO M. CANLAS, JOSEPHINE S. DAUIGOY, ALLAN L. GONZALES, ESTER C. ASEHAN,
MANUEL A. FUENTES, and MYRNA P. ROSALES, petitioners, vs. MARIO D. EBIO AND HIS
CHILDREN/HEIRS namely, ARTURO V. EBIO, EDUARDO V. EBIO, RENATO V. EBIO, LOURDES E.
MAGTANGOB, MILA V. EBIO, and ARNEL V. EBIO, respondents.
DECISION
VILLARAMA, JR., J : p

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended,
assailing the January 31, 2007 Decision1 and June 8, 2007 Resolution 2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP
No. 91350 allegedly for being contrary to law and jurisprudence. The CA had reversed the Order 3 of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Paraaque City, Branch 196, issued on April 29, 2005 in Civil Case No. 05-0155.
Below are the facts.
Respondents claim that they are the absolute owners of a parcel of land consisting of 406 square meters, more
or less, located at 9781 Vitalez Compound in Barangay Vitalez, Paraaque City and covered by Tax Declaration Nos.
01027 and 01472 in the name of respondent Mario D. Ebio. Said land was an accretion of Cut-cut creek. Respondents
assert that the original occupant and possessor of the said parcel of land was their great grandfather, Jose Vitalez.
Sometime in 1930, Jose gave the land to his son, Pedro Vitalez. From then on, Pedro continuously and exclusively
occupied and possessed the said lot. In 1966, after executing an affidavit declaring possession and occupancy, 4 Pedro
was able to obtain a tax declaration over the said property in his name. 5 Since then, respondents have been religiously
paying real property taxes for the said property. 6
Meanwhile, in 1961, respondent Mario Ebio married Pedro's daughter, Zenaida. Upon Pedro's advice, the
couple established their home on the said lot. In April 1964 and in October 1971, Mario Ebio secured building permits
from the Paraaque municipal office for the construction of their house within the said compound. 7 On April 21, 1987,
Pedro executed a notarized Transfer of Rights 8 ceding his claim over the entire parcel of land in favor of Mario Ebio.
Subsequently, the tax declarations under Pedro's name were cancelled and new ones were issued in Mario Ebio's
name. 9
On March 30, 1999, the Office of the Sangguniang Barangay of Vitalez passed Resolution No. 08, series of
1999 10 seeking assistance from the City Government of Paraaque for the construction of an access road along Cut-
cut Creek located in the said barangay. The proposed road, projected to be eight (8) meters wide and sixty (60) meters
long, will run from Urma Drive to the main road of Vitalez Compound 11 traversing the lot occupied by the respondents.
When the city government advised all the affected residents to vacate the said area, respondents immediately registered
their opposition thereto. As a result, the road project was temporarily suspended. 12 aTAEHc

In January 2003, however, respondents were surprised when several officials from the barangay and the city
planning office proceeded to cut eight (8) coconut trees planted on the said lot. Respondents filed letter-complaints
before the Regional Director of the Bureau of Lands, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Office
of the Vice Mayor. 13 On June 29, 2003, the Sangguniang Barangay of Vitalez held a meeting to discuss the construction
of the proposed road. In the said meeting, respondents asserted their opposition to the proposed project and their claim
of ownership over the affected property. 14 On November 14, 2003, respondents attended another meeting with officials
from the city government, but no definite agreement was reached by and among the parties. 15
On March 28, 2005, City Administrator Noli Aldip sent a letter to the respondents ordering them to vacate the
area within the next thirty (30) days, or be physically evicted from the said property. 16 Respondents sent a letter to the
Office of the City Administrator asserting, in sum, their claim over the subject property and expressing intent for a further
dialogue. 17 The request remained unheeded.
Threatened of being evicted, respondents went to the RTC of Paraaque City on April 21, 2005 and applied for
a writ of preliminary injunction against petitioners. 18 In the course of the proceedings, respondents admitted before the
trial court that they have a pending application for the issuance of a sales patent before the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources (DENR). 19
On April 29, 2005, the RTC issued an Order 20 denying the petition for lack of merit. The trial court reasoned
that respondents were not able to prove successfully that they have an established right to the property since they have
not instituted an action for confirmation of title and their application for sales patent has not yet been granted.
Additionally, they failed to implead the Republic of the Philippines, which is an indispensable party.
Respondents moved for reconsideration, but the same was denied. 21

Aggrieved, respondents elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals. On January 31, 2007, the Court of Appeals
issued its Decision in favor of the respondents. According to the Court of Appeals
The issue ultimately boils down to the question of ownership of the lands adjoining Cutcut Creek particularly Road
Lot No. 8 (hereinafter RL 8) and the accreted portion beside RL 8.
The evidentiary records of the instant case, shows that RL 8 containing an area of 291 square meters is owned by
Guaranteed Homes, Inc. covered by TCT No. S-62176. The same RL 8 appears to have been donated by the
Guaranteed Homes to the City Government of Paraaque on 22 March 1966 and which was accepted by the then
Mayor FLORENCIO BERNABE on 5 April 1966. There is no evidence however, when RL 8 has been intended as a
road lot.
On the other hand, the evidentiary records reveal that PEDRO VITALEZ possessed the accreted property since 1930
per his Affidavit dated 21 March 1966 for the purpose of declaring the said property for taxation purposes. The
property then became the subject of Tax Declaration No. 20134 beginning the year 1967 and the real property taxes
therefor had been paid for the years 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1980, 1995, 1996,
1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Sometime in 1964 and 1971, construction permits were issued
in favor of Appellant MARIO EBIO for the subject property. On 21 April 1987, PEDRO VITALEZ transferred his rights
in the accreted property to MARIO EBIO and his successors-in-interest.
Applying [Article 457 of the Civil Code considering] the foregoing documentary evidence, it could be concluded that
Guaranteed Homes is the owner of the accreted property considering its ownership of the adjoining RL 8 to which
the accretion attached. However, this is without the application of the provisions of the Civil Code on acquisitive
prescription which is likewise applicable in the instant case. DAEaTS
xxx xxx xxx
The subject of acquisitive prescription in the instant case is the accreted portion which [was] duly proven by the
Appellants. It is clear that since 1930, Appellants together with their predecessor-in-interest, PEDRO VITALEZ[,]
have been in exclusive possession of the subject property and starting 1964 had introduced improvements thereon
as evidenced by their construction permits. Thus, even by extraordinary acquisitive prescription[,] Appellants have
acquired ownership of the property in question since 1930 even if the adjoining RL 8 was subsequently registered in
the name of Guaranteed Homes. . . . .
xxx xxx xxx
Further, it was only in 1978 that Guaranteed Homes was able to have RL 8 registered in its name, which is almost
fifty years from the time PEDRO VITALEZ occupied the adjoining accreted property in 1930. . . . .
xxx xxx xxx
We likewise note the continuous payment of real property taxes of Appellants which bolster their right over the subject
property. . . . .
xxx xxx xxx
In sum, We are fully convinced and so hold that the Appellants [have] amply proven their right over the property in
question.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is herebyGRANTED. The challenged Order of the court a
quo is REVERSED andSET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED. 22
On June 8, 2007, the appellate court denied petitioners' motion for reconsideration. Hence, this petition raising
the following assignment of errors:
I. WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION AND RESOLUTION OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS THAT
RESPONDENTS HAVE A RIGHT IN ESSE IS IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW AND ESTABLISHED
JURISPRUDENCE[;]
II. WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION AND RESOLUTION OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS THAT
THE SUBJECT LOT IS AVAILABLE FOR ACQUISITIVE PRESCRIPTION IS IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW
AND ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE[;] AND
III. WHETHER OR NOT THE STATE IS AN INDISPENSABLE PARTY TO THE COMPLAINT . . . FILED BY
RESPONDENTS IN THE LOWER COURT. 23
The issues may be narrowed down into two (2): procedurally, whether the State is an indispensable party to
respondents' action for prohibitory injunction; and substantively, whether the character of respondents' possession and
occupation of the subject property entitles them to avail of the relief of prohibitory injunction.
The petition is without merit. EACTSH
An action for injunction is brought specifically to restrain or command the performance of an act. 24 It is distinct
from the ancillary remedy of preliminary injunction, which cannot exist except only as part or as an incident to an
independent action or proceeding. Moreover, in an action for injunction, the auxiliary remedy of a preliminary prohibitory
or mandatory injunction may issue. 25
In the case at bar, respondents filed an action for injunction to prevent the local government of Paraaque City
from proceeding with the construction of an access road that will traverse through a parcel of land which they claim is
owned by them by virtue of acquisitive prescription.
Petitioners, however, argue that since the creek, being a tributary of the river, is classified as part of the public
domain, any land that may have formed along its banks through time should also be considered as part of the public
domain. And respondents should have included the State as it is an indispensable party to the action.
We do not agree.
It is an uncontested fact that the subject land was formed from the alluvial deposits that have gradually settled
along the banks of Cut-cut creek. This being the case, the law that governs ownership over the accreted portion is
Article 84 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, which remains in effect, 26in relation to Article 457 of the Civil Code.
Article 84 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866 specifically covers ownership over alluvial deposits along the
banks of a creek. It reads:
ART. 84. Accretions deposited gradually upon lands contiguous to creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes, by accessions
or sediments from the waters thereof, belong to the owners of such lands. 27
Interestingly, Article 457 of the Civil Code states:
Art. 457. To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion which they gradually receive from
the effects of the current of the waters.
It is therefore explicit from the foregoing provisions that alluvial deposits along the banks of a creek do not form
part of the public domain as the alluvial property automatically belongs to the owner of the estate to which it may have
been added. The only restriction provided for by law is that the owner of the adjoining property must register the same
under the Torrens system; otherwise, the alluvial property may be subject to acquisition through prescription by third
persons. 28
In contrast, properties of public dominion cannot be acquired by prescription. No matter how long the
possession of the properties has been, there can be no prescription against the State regarding property of public
domain. 29 Even a city or municipality cannot acquire them by prescription as against the State. 30
Hence, while it is true that a creek is a property of public dominion, 31the land which is formed by the gradual
and imperceptible accumulation of sediments along its banks does not form part of the public domain by clear provision
of law.
Moreover, an indispensable party is one whose interest in the controversy is such that a final decree would
necessarily affect his/her right, so that the court cannot proceed without their presence. 32 In contrast, a necessary party
is one whose presence in the proceedings is necessary to adjudicate the whole controversy but whose interest is
separable such that a final decree can be made in their absence without affecting them. 33 aTcIEH

In the instant case, the action for prohibition seeks to enjoin the city government of Paraaque from proceeding
with its implementation of the road construction project. The State is neither a necessary nor an indispensable party to
an action where no positive act shall be required from it or where no obligation shall be imposed upon it, such as in the
case at bar. Neither would it be an indispensable party if none of its properties shall be divested nor any of its rights
infringed.
We also find that the character of possession and ownership by the respondents over the contested land entitles
them to the avails of the action.
A right in esse means a clear and unmistakable right. 34 A party seeking to avail of an injunctive relief must
prove that he or she possesses a right in esse or one that is actual or existing. 35 It should not be contingent, abstract,
or future rights, or one which may never arise. 36
In the case at bar, respondents assert that their predecessor-in-interest, Pedro Vitalez, had occupied and
possessed the subject lot as early as 1930. In 1964, respondent Mario Ebio secured a permit from the local government
of Paraaque for the construction of their family dwelling on the said lot. In 1966, Pedro executed an affidavit of
possession and occupancy allowing him to declare the property in his name for taxation purposes. Curiously, it was
also in 1966 when Guaranteed Homes, Inc., the registered owner of Road Lot No. 8 (RL 8) which adjoins the land
occupied by the respondents, donated RL 8 to the local government of Paraaque.
From these findings of fact by both the trial court and the Court of Appeals, only one conclusion can be made:
that for more than thirty (30) years, neither Guaranteed Homes, Inc. nor the local government of Paraaque in its
corporate or private capacity sought to register the accreted portion. Undoubtedly, respondents are deemed to have
acquired ownership over the subject property through prescription. Respondents can assert such right despite the fact
that they have yet to register their title over the said lot. It must be remembered that the purpose of land registration is
not the acquisition of lands, but only the registration of title which the applicant already possessed over the land.
Registration was never intended as a means of acquiring ownership. 37 A decree of registration merely confirms, but
does not confer, ownership. 38
Did the filing of a sales patent application by the respondents, which remains pending before the DENR, estop
them from filing an injunction suit?
We answer in the negative.
Confirmation of an imperfect title over a parcel of land may be done either through judicial proceedings or
through administrative process. In the instant case, respondents admitted that they opted to confirm their title over the
property administratively by filing an application for sales patent.
Respondents' application for sales patent, however, should not be used to prejudice or derogate what may be
deemed as their vested right over the subject property. The sales patent application should instead be considered as a
mere superfluity particularly since ownership over the land, which they seek to buy from the State, is already vested
upon them by virtue of acquisitive prescription. Moreover, the State does not have any authority to convey a property
through the issuance of a grant or a patent if the land is no longer a public land. 39cHDaEI

Nemo dat quod dat non habet. No one can give what he does not have. Such principle is equally applicable
even against a sovereign entity that is the State.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The January 31, 2007 Decision, as well as the July 8,
2007 Resolution, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 91350 are hereby AFFIRMED.
With costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. L-39248. May 7, 1976.]
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the DIRECTOR OF LANDS, plaintiff-
appellee, vs. HEIRS OF LUISA VILLA ABRILLE,defendant-appellant, LAND REGISTRATION
COMMISSIONER and THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF DAVAO CITY, defendants.
Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza and Assistant Solicitor General Octavio R. Ramirez and Baltazar
Llamas for plaintiff-appellee.
Jose R. Madrazo, Jr. for defendants-appellants.
Gregorio Bilog, Jr. for defendant Land Registration Commissioner.
SYNOPSIS
The Republic, represented by the Director of Lands, filed a Complaint for Annulment of Certificate of Title alleging that: the
subdivision of a parcel of land owned by defendant into two lots included an excess area of 82,127 square meters; the
Land Registration Commissioner approved said petition for subdivision and; in view of which transfer certificate of title,
which included the excess area, were issued by the Register of Deeds. The lower court rendered judgment cancelling the
new certificates of title (one of the subdivided lots having been further subdivided and new certificates of title issued
therefor) containing the increased area and ordered the Register of Deeds to issue new ones in lieu thereof after the
increased portion had been deducted. Appealed to the Court of Appeals, the latter certified the case to the Supreme Court
since it involved purely a question of law.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment holding that to bring the increased area under the operation and coverage of
the Land Registration Act proceedings for registration of the land should be filed.
SYLLABUS
1. LAND REGISTRATION ACT; PETITION FOR SUBDIVISION INCLUDES ONLY PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED LANDS.
Recourse under Section 44 of Act 496 is good only insofar as it covers previously registered lands.
2. ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. Where parts of the tracts of land has not yet been brought under the operation of the
Torrens System, approval of subdivision plans cannot bring said tracts of land under the operation and coverage of the
Torrens Systems. More so where the approval of the subdivision plans was without notice to all parties in interest, more
particularly the Director of Lands.
3. ID.; REQUISITES FOR REGISTRATION UNDER LAND REGISTRATION ACT. For an applicant to have this
imperfect or incomplete title or claim to a land to be originally registered under Act 496, the several requisites should all be
satisfied; (1) Survey of land by the Bureau of Lands or a duly licensed private surveyor; (2) Filing an application for
registration by the applicant; (3) Setting of the date for the initial hearing of the application by the Court; (4) Transmittal of
the application and the date of the initial hearing together with all the documents or other evidences attached thereto by
the Clerk of Court to the Land Registration Commission; (5) Publication of a notice of the filing of the application and the
date and place of the hearing in the Official Gazette; (6) Service of notice upon contiguous owners, occupants and those
known to have interests in the property by the sheriff; (7) Filing of answer to the application by any person whether named
in the notice or not; (8) Hearing of the case by the Court; (9) Promulgation of judgment by the Court; (10) Issuance of the
decree by the Court declaring the decision final and instructing the Land Registration Commission to issue a decree of
confirmation and registration; (11) Entry of the decree of registration in the Land Registration Commission; (12) Sending
of copy of the decree of registration to the corresponding Register of Deeds; and (13) Transcription of the decree of
registration in the registration book and the issuance of the owner's duplicate original certificate of title to the applicant by
the Register of Deeds, upon payment of the prescribed fees.
DECISION
ESGUERRA, J : p

This case was originally appealed to the Court of Appeals where it was docketed as CA-G.R. No. 47438-R. The Court of
Appeals certified it to this Court for final consideration and resolution of the pure question of law involved.
The factual background of the case is as follows:
On May 9, 1969, a Complaint for Annulment of Certificate of Title was filed by the Republic of the Philippines.
(represented by the Director of Lands), with the Court of First Instance of Davao, Branch I, alleging, among others, the
following:
"3. That defendant Commissioner of Land Registration and defendant Register of Deeds of Davao City whose
Offices are at Espaa Extension, Quezon City and Davao City, respectively, are included in this complaint, the first
being the public Official charged under the law with the approval of subdivision surveys of private lands while the
second is the Official vested with the authority to issue certificates of titles, pursuant to the provisions of Act 496, as
amended, otherwise known as the Land Registration Law;
"4. That defendant Estate of Luisa Villa Abrille (now Heirs of Luisa Villa Abrille) is the owner of a parcel of land in
the City of Davao containing an area of FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED FIFTY-TWO
SQUARE METERS (525,652), more or less, under Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-1439 of the Registry of Deeds
of Davao City, issued in her name;
"5. That deceased Luisa Villa Abrille during her lifetime caused the subdivision of the aforesaid parcel of land into
two lots designated as Lots Nos. 379-B-2-B-1 and 379-B-2-B-2 under subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-9322 which was
approved by the Land Registration Commissioner on March 17, 1967;
"6. That under Subdivision Plan (LRC) Psd-69322, Lot No. 379-B-2-B-1 contains an area of 30,100 Square Meters
while Lot No. 379-B-2-B-2 contains an area of 577,679 Square Meters or a total area of 607,779 Square Meters,
which is 82,127 Square Meters more than the original area covered in Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-1439 in the
name of said defendant Luisa Villa Abrille;
"7. That on March 27, 1967 or ten days after the approval by the Land Registration Commissioner, said Luisa Villa
Abrille was able to secure an order from the Court of First Instance of Davao in LRC (GLRO) Doc. No. 9969,
directing the Register of Deeds for the City of Davao and Province of Davao, to correct the area of Certificate of
Title No. T-1439 and thereafter to cancel the same and issue in lieu thereof TCT Nos. T-18886 and T-18887;
"8. That on March 30, 1967, the Register of Deeds concerned registered Lot 379-B-2-B-1 and issued TCT No.
18886 therefor, in the name of Luisa Villa-Abrille and on the same date registered Lot No. 3 79-B-2-B-2 and issued
TCT No. 18887 in the name of Luisa Villa-Abrille;
"9. That the registration of Lot No. 379-B-2-B-2, which includes the aforementioned excess area of 82,127 Square
Meters, was not in accordance with law for lack of the required notice and publication as prescribed in Act 496, as
amended, otherwise known as the Land Registration Law;
"10. That the excess or enlarged area of 82,127 Square Meters as a result of the approval of the subdivision survey
(LRC) Psd-69322 was formerly a portion of the Davao River which dried up by reason of the change of course of
the said Davao River; hence a land belonging to the public domain; and
"11. That as a consequence thereof, Transfer Certificate of Title No. 18887 which covers Lot No. 379-B-2-B-2 of
Subdivision Survey (LRC) Psd-69322, wherein the excess. area of land belong to the public domain (not private
land) is null and void ab initio."
On June 10, 1969, defendant Register of Deeds of Davao City filed her answer averring that she, "in the performance of
her ministerial duty, honestly and in good faith effected the registration of Subdivision Lot No. 379-B-2-B-1 and Lot No.
379-B-2-B-2 and the issuance of corresponding TCT No. 18886 and TCT No. 18887 therefor, respectively, in view of the
approval of the Land Registration Commissioner of Subdivision Plan (LRC) Psd-69322, and in view of the Order of the
Court of First Instance of Davao to correct the area in Certificate of Title No. T-1439, to cancel the same and to issue in
lieu thereof TCT Nos. T-18886 and T-18887". LibLex

On July 2, 1969, herein defendant-appellants filed their answer admitting the allegations contained in paragraphs 1, 3, 4,5
and 7 of the complaint. That they admit the increase in area of the land of their predecessor but that the increase in area
of the land was acceded to and concurred in by the defendant, Land Registration Commissioner, and the same was duly
noted and approved by the Court of First Instance of Davao; that they admit the issuance of TCT Nos. T-18886 and T-
18887 out of Certificate of Title No. T-1439 in the name of their predecessor-in-interest Luisa Villa Abrille but that TCT No.
T-18886 had been cancelled and in lieu thereof, TCT No. T-19077 was issued in favor of Gaudencio Consunji, and, TCT
No. T-18887 had likewise been cancelled and several Transfer Certificates of Title were issued thereunder; that the
subject increase of area was made in accordance with law and existing jurisprudence; and that Luisa Villa Abrille,
predecessor-in-interest of herein defendant-appellant, as riparian owner was entitled under the law to claim, as she did,
the increase or excess in area of her original land as her own.
On August 12, 1969, defendant Commissioner of Land Registration prays for a judgment on the pleadings and avers in
his answer that he has no knowledge of the subject matter of the complaint since the subdivision plan involved therein
was approved by the then Commissioner of Land Registration, Antonio Noblejas; and that on February 19, 1968, the then
Commissioner of Land Registration, Antonio Noblejas, issued LRC Circular No. 167 directing the Register of Deeds
throughout the Philippines to, among others, deny the registration of subdivision plans with increased or expanded areas
and to withhold the issuance of the corresponding titles, or if the plans have already been registered and the titles issued,
to recall the titles and to take appropriate steps for their cancellation.

Some private persons, as actual possessors and occupants, tried to intervene in the case as movant-intervenors but they
were denied standing in court by the trial court in its order of August 16, 1969.
On January 6, 1970, the parties litigants submitted in court their "Agreed Stipulation of Facts" and pray that judgment be
rendered by the trial court on their case based on their stipulation of facts. The "Agreed Stipulation of Facts" of the parties
reads as follows:Cdpr

"COME NOW the parties assisted by their respective attorneys, and unto the Honorable Court, most respectfully
submit the following stipulation of facts and allege:
"1. That Lot 379-B-2-B was originally registered on June 28, 1916 in the Registry Book of the Register of Deeds of
Zamboanga as Vol. A-27, Page 40 under Original Certificate of Title No. 5609, Case No. 1, G.L.R.O. Rec. No. 317,
in the name of Francisco Villa Abrille Lim Juna, father of Luisa Villa Abrille;
"2. That upon the death of the original owner, the said property was inherited by Luisa Villa Abrille and transfer
Certificate of Title No. T-1439 was issued in the name of said Luisa Villa Abrille;
"3. That subsequently, by virtue of an approved subdivision plan Psd-69322 by the defendant, Land Registration
Commissioner, Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. T- 18886 and 18887 were issued by the defendant, Register of
Deeds of Davao, copy of which subdivision plan is hereto attached as Annex "A", and made integral part hereof;
"4. That Transfer Certificate of Title. No. T-18886 was subsequently concern by virtue of deed of sale, and Transfer
Certificate of Title No. T-19077 was issued in the name of Gaudencio Consunji, a purchaser in good faith and for
value;
"5. That the said subdivision plan Annex "A" was also approved by the Court of First Instance of Davao, Branch IV,
through an Order dated March 27, 1967, copy of which order is hereto attached as Annex "B" and made part
hereof;
"6. That the said Order Annex "B" was issued by the Court of First Instance of Davao, Branch IV, on the strength of
the Report of the defendant, Land Registration Commissioner, copy of which report is hereto attached as Annex
"C" and made integral part hereof;
"7. That much later on, Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-18887 was, by virtue of an Order of the Court of First
Instance, Branch I, in Special Proceedings No. 1357, entitled: In the Matter of the Testate Estate of Luisa Villa
Abrille, approving a project of partition cancelled, and in lieu thereof, the following Transfer Certificates of Title were
issued to the following named persons, to wit:
(a) T-20690 - Huang Siu Sin;
(b) T-20692 - Huang Siu Sin;
(c) T-20701 - Josefino Huang;
(d) T-20702 - Josefino Huang;
(e) T-20703 - Josefino Huang;
(f) T-20732 - Huang Siu Sin, et al.;
(g) T-20733 - Huang Siu Sin, et al.;
(h) T-20713 - Miguel Huang;
(i) T-20715 - Miguel Huang;
(j) T-20725 - Milagros Huang;
(k) T-20726 - Milagros Huang;
which certificates of title were issued on the basis of a subdivision plan LRC Psd-71236 duly approved by
the defendant, Land Registration Commissioner, copy of which subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-71236 is hereto
attached as Annex "D" and made integral part hereof;
"8. That the parties admit that there was an increase in the area of Lot 379-B-2-B, but the same was with the
knowledge of the defendant, Land Registration Commissioner and the Court of First Instance of Davao, Branch IV;
"9. That the parties admit that no registered owner has been affected or prejudiced in the increase in area as only
Luisa Villa Abrille as the registered owner holds property adjacent to the parcel of land in question;
"10. That the portion of land subject of the increase adjoins Lot 379-B-2-B and abuts the Davao River;
"11. That the parcel of land subject of the increase is fully planted with coconuts, bananas and other seasonal
crops by the defendants, through their predecessor-in-interest;
"12. That the increase in area could have taken place very long time ago as the coconuts planted thereon had long
been fruit bearing;
"13. That Transfer Certificate of Title No. 18886 does not contain any portion of the increase in area;
"14. That of the certificates of title issued based under subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-71236, only Transfer Certificates
of Title Nos. T-20725; T-20701; T-20713; and T-20690 contain the increase in area; while all the other certificates
of title issued under subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-71236 do not contain any increase in area;
"15. That the parties agree that the issuance of the Order Annex "B" was without notice to the Director of Lands."
The trial court thereafter rendered its decision dated January 27, 1970, which reads as follows:
"This is an ordinary civil action for annulment of certificate of title instituted by the Republic of the Philippines,
represented by the Director of Lands, against the Estate of Luisa Abrille, represented by Huang Siu Sin,
Administrator, the Land Registration Commissioner and the Register of Deeds of the City of Davao. Because the
residue of the intestate estate of Luisa Villa Abrille had been divided among Huang Siu Sin, Josefino Huang,
Milagros Huang, Miguel Huang and lap Tong Ha, heirs, they were directed to appear and to substitute for the
intestate estate and they did.LLphil
"The parties submitted the following stipulation of facts:
xxx xxx xxx
"The increase area of the land covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 5609 of the Register of Deeds of Davao
in the name of Francisco Villa Abrille Lim Juna and subsequently by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-1439 in the
name of Luisa Villa Abrille and finally, based on subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-71236, by Transfer Certificates of Title
Nos. T-20725 in the name of Milagros Huang, T-20701 in the name of Josefino Huang, T-20713 in the name of
Miguel Huang and T-20690 in the name of Huang Siu Sin, is from 525,652 square meters to 607,779 square
meters, or 82,127 square meters.
"The remedy sought by defendant heirs of Luisa Villa Abrille in order to include the increase in area was a petition
for approval of Subdivision Plan (LRC) Psd-79322 recommended by the Commissioner of Land Registration in his
Report, and for issuance of new titles under Section 44, Act 496, as amended, filed with this Court, which was
assigned to Branch IV.
"Even pursuant to Section 44 of Act 496 under which the aforesaid remedy was sought, notice before the hearing is
required. The parties admit that there was no notice to the persons interested, including the Director of Lands,
before the petition was heard.
"Worse, the increase in area could not have been included in Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. T-20725, T-20701,
T-20713 and T-20690 even assuming arguendo that the same belonged to the owner of the land to which it is
adjacent by the simple expediency of a petition for approval of subdivision plan and issuance of new titles, because
a subdivision of a registered land under Section 44 of Act 496 does not authorize the inclusion of land or area not
embraced in the titled or in excess of what is stated in the title. And the approval of the Court of such subdivision
plan does not lend validity to it. The subdivision must be limited to the area stated in the title. Neither amendment of
the title under Section 112 of Act 496 would be a valid remedy.
"The heirs of Luisa Villa Abrille, owners of the adjacent estate, might have acquired a registrable title to the land in
question but to bring it under the operation of the Land Registration Act, a petition for registration under Act 496
should have been filed. More so when the title acquired is by continuous possession for at least 30 years under a
claim of ownership. And even assuming that the land is an accretion, the fact that the riparian estate is registered
does not bring ipso facto effect its accretion thereto under the operation of the Land Registration Act. No decree of
registration of the land based upon final judgment promulgated by a court of competent jurisdiction after due
publication, notice and hearing, has been issued by the Commissioner of Land Registration and transcribed by the
Register of Deeds of Davao in the registry, for the reason that no initial or original registration proceedings have
been instituted by the owner. And the only way by which a title to the land in question can be issued for the first
time is for the Land Registration Commissioner to issue a decree of registration based upon final judgment
rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction after trial.
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered cancelling Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. T-20725, T-20701, T-
20713 and T-20690 and directing the Register of Deeds of Davao to issue new certificates of title in lieu thereof
after the portions consisting of 82,127 square meters, the land involved, shall have been segregated therefrom in
accordance with law."
Not satisfied with the judgment of the trial court, defendant Heirs of Luisa Villa Abrille brought the case on appeal to the
Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals, however, in its Resolution dated July 22, 1974, certified the case (CA-G.R. No.
47438-R) to this Court for consideration and final disposition. cdrep

Defendant-appellant maintains that the lower court erred in holding the approval of Subdivision Plan (LRC) Psd-69322 of
no legal effect merely on ground of lack of notice to interested persons, and in ordering the cancellation of Certificates of
Title Nos. T-20725, T-20701, T-20713, and T-20690. It is the contention of the defendant-appellant that since the
government agencies having to do with lands know all the time the increase in area in subdivision plan Psd-69322, and
the government agencies concerned tolerated if not abetted the ultimate inclusion of the involved increase in area,
defendant-appellant should not be made to suffer the effect of the allegedly wrong procedure or step taken in the approval
of the aforementioned subdivision plan. Besides, defendant-appellant claims that it is their honest belief that the legal
remedy taken by them in seeking the approval of their subdivision plan concern was well within the law, particularly the
provision of Section 44 of Act 496, as amended.

Plaintiff-appellee, on the other hand, maintains that the approval of the subdivision plan, with the increase in area, by the
defendant-appellant Land Registration Commission does not lend validity to the said subdivision plan; and that the
issuance of the four transfer certificates of title (Nos. T-20725, T-20701, T-20713 and T-20690) over the increased area in
question is improper and invalid notwithstanding the conformity of the Land Registration Commissioner and the
subsequent order of the Court of First Instance of Davao, Branch IV, approving the subdivision plan concerned, as the
required giving of notice to all parties interested in defendant-appellant's petition for approval of subdivision plan was not
at all followed.
Before Us, therefore, for consideration and final resolution, in order to arrive at judicious disposition of the case at bar, is
whether or not the lower court erred in ordering the cancellation of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. T-20725, T-20701, T-
20713 and T-20690 which cover the increased area in question totalling 82,127 square meters.
After a careful and thorough deliberation of the matter in controversy, We are of the opinion and so hold that the lower
court acted correctly in ordering the cancellation of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. T-20725, T-20701, T-20713 and T-
20690 which admittedly covered the increased area of 82,127 square meters under Subdivision Plan (LRC) Psd-71236
(and formerly under Psd-69322) for the City of Davao.
Certainly, the step taken by defendant-appellant in petitioning the court for the approval of their Subdivision Plan (LRC)
Psd-69322 and then Psd-71236 to include the questioned increased area of 82,127 square meters is, to say the least,
unwarranted and irregular. This is so for the increased area in question, which is not a registered land but formerly a river
bed, is so big as to give allowance for a mere mistake in area of the original registration of the tracts of land of the
defendant-appellant formerly belonging to and registered in the name of their grandfather, Francisco Villa Abrille Lim
Juna. In order to bring this increase in area, which the parties admitted to have been a former river bed of the Davao
River, under the operation and coverage of the Land Registration Law, Act 496, proceedings in registrations of land title
should have been filed instead of an ordinary approval of subdivision plan.
It should be remembered that recourse under Section 44 of Act 496, which the predecessor-in-interest (Luisa Villa Abrille)
of the herein defendant-appellant took, is good only insofar as it covers previously registered lands. In the instant case,
part of the tracts of land, particularly the area of 82,127 square meter, has not yet been brought under the operation of the
Torrens System. Worse still, the approval of Subdivision Plans (LRC) Psd-09322 and Psd-71236 was without notice to all
parties in interest, more particularly the Director of Lands. For an applicant to have his imperfect or incomplete title or
claim to a land to be originally registered under Act 496, the following requisites should all be satisfied: LLpr

1. Survey of land by the Bureau of Lands or a duly licensed private surveyor;


2. Filing of application for registration by the applicant;
3. Setting of the date for the initial hearing of the application by the Court;
4. Transmittal of the application and the date of initial hearing together with all the documents or other evidences
attached thereto by the Clerk of Court to the Land Registration Commission;
5. Publication of a notice of the filing of the application and date and place of the hearing in the Official Gazette;
6. Service of notice upon continuous owners, occupants and those known to have interests in the property by the
sheriff;
7. Filing of answer to the application by any person whether named in the notice or not;
8. Hearing of the case by the Court;
9. Promulgation of judgment by the Court;
10. Issuance of the decree by the Court declaring the decision final and instructing the Land Registration
Commission to issue a decree of confirmation and registration;
11. Entry of the decree of registration in the Land Registration Commission;
12. Sending of copy of the decree of registration to the corresponding Register of Deeds; and
13. Transcription of the decree of registration in the registration book and the issuance of the owners duplicate
original certificate of title to the applicant by the Register of Deeds, upon payment of the prescribed fees.
Hence, with the foregoing requisites not having been complied with, the lower court committed no error in its appealed
decision dated January 27, 1970.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed in toto.
No special pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Muoz Palma and Martin, JJ., concur.

||| (Republic v. Heirs of Abrille, G.R. No. L-39248, [May 7, 1976], 162 PHIL 913-929)
EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-17652. June 30, 1962.]
IGNACIO GRANDE, ET AL., petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, DOMINGO CALALUNG
and ESTEBAN CALALUNG,respondents.
Bartolome Guirao and Antonio M. Orara for petitioners.
Gonzales & Fernandez for respondent.
SYLLABUS
1. PROPERTY; ACCRETION; ALLUVIAL DEPOSITS ON REGISTERED LAND; INCREMENT NOT AUTOMATICALLY
REGISTERED. An accretion does not automatically become registered land just because the lot which receives such
accretion is covered by a Torrens title. Ownership of a piece of land is one thing; registration under the Torrens system of
that ownership is another. Ownership over the accretion received by the land adjoining a river is governed by the Civil
Code. Imprescriptibility of registered land is provided in the registration law. Registration under the Land Registration and
Cadastral Acts does not vest or give title to the land, but merely confirms and, thereafter, protects the title already
possessed by the owner, making it imprescriptible by occupation of third parties. But to obtain this protection, the land
must be placed under the operation of the registration laws, wherein certain judicial procedures have been provided.
DECISION
BARRERA, J : p

This is an appeal taken by petitioners Ignacio, Eulogia, Alfonso, Eulalia, and Sofia Grande, from the decision of the Court
of Appeals (CA-G. R. No. 25169-R) reversing that of the Court of First Instance of Isabela (Civil Case No. 1171), and
dismissing petitioners' action against respondents Domingo and Esteban Calalung, to quiet title to and recover
possession of a parcel of land allegedly occupied by the latter without petitioners' consent.
The facts of the case, which are undisputed, briefly are: Petitioners are the owners of a parcel of land, with an area of
3.5032 hectares, located at barrio Ragan, municipality of Magsaysay (formerly Tumauini), province of Isabela, by
inheritance from their deceased mother Patricia Angui (who inherited it from her parents Isidro Angui and Ana Lopez, in
whose name said land appears registered, as shown by Original Certificate of Title No. 2982, issued on June 9, 1934).
Said property is identified as Lot No. 1, Plan PSU-83342. When it was surveyed for purposes of registration sometime in
1930, its northeastern boundary was the Cagayan River (the same boundary stated in the (title). Since then, and for many
years thereafter, a gradual accretion on the northeastern side took place, by action of the current of the Cagayan River, so
much so, that by 1958, the bank thereof had receded to a distance of about 105 meters from its original site, and an
alluvial deposit of 19,964 square meters (1.9964 hectares), more or less, had been added to the registered area (Exh. C-
1).
On January 25, 1958, petitioners instituted the present action in the Court of First Instance of Isabela against
respondents, to quiet title to said portion (19,964 square meters) formed by accretion, alleging in their complaint (docketed
as Civil Case No. 1171) that they and their predecessors-in-interest, were formerly in peaceful and continuous possession
thereof, until September, 1948, when respondents entered upon the land under claim of ownership. Petitioners also asked
for damages corresponding to the value of the fruits of the land as well as attorney's fees and costs. In their answer (dated
February 18, 1958), respondents claim ownership in themselves, asserting that they have been in continuous, open, and
undisturbed possession of said portion, since prior to the year 1933 to the present.
After trial, the Court of First Instance of Isabela, on May 4, 1959, rendered a decision adjudging the ownership of the
portion in question to petitioners, and ordering respondents to vacate the premises and deliver possession thereof to
petitioners, and to pay to the latter P250.00 as damages and costs. Said decision, in part, reads:
"It is admitted by the parties that the land involved in this action was formed by the gradual deposit of alluvium
brought about by the action of the Cagayan River, a navigable river. We are inclined to believe that the accretion
was formed on the northeastern side of the land covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 2982 after the survey of
the registered land in 1931, because the surveyors found out that the northeastern boundary of the land surveyed
by them was the Cagayan River, and not the land in question. Which is indicative of the fact that the accretion has
not yet started or began in 1931. And, as declared by Pedro Laman, defendants' witness and the boundary owner
on the northwest of the registered land of the plaintiffs, the accretion was a little more than one hectare, including
the stony portion, in 1940 or 1941. Therefore, the declarations of the defendant Domingo Calalung and his witness,
Vicente C. Bacani, to the effect that the land in question was formed by accretion since 1933 do not only contradict
the testimony of defendants' witness Pedro Laman, but could not overthrow the incontestable fact that the accretion
with an area of 4 hectares, more or less, was formed in 1948, reason for which, it was only declared in that same
year for taxation purposes by the defendants under Tax Dec. No. 257 (Exh. '2') when they entered upon the land.
We could not give credence to defendants' assertion that Tax Dec. No. 257 (Exh. '2') cancelled Tax Dec. No.
28226 (Exh. '1'), because Exh. "2" says that 'tax under this declaration begins with the year 1948. But, the fact that
defendants declared the land for taxation purposes since 1948, does not mean that they become the owner of the
land by mere occupancy, for it is a new provision of the New Civil Code that ownership of a piece of land cannot be
acquired by occupation (Art. 714, New Civil Code). The land in question being an accretion to the mother or
registered land of the plaintiffs, the accretion belongs to the plaintiffs (Art. 457, New Civil Code; Art. 366, Old Civil
Code). Assuming, arguendo, that the accretion has been occupied by the defendants since 1948, or earlier, is of no
moment, because the law does not require any act of possession on the part of the owner of the riparian owner,
from the moment the deposit becomes manifest (Roxas vs. Tuason, 9 Phil. 408; Cortez vs. City of Manila, 10 Phil.
567). Further, no act of appropriation on the part of the riparian owner is necessary, in order to acquire ownership
of the alluvial formation, as the law does not require the same (3 Manresa, C.C., pp. 321-326).
"This brings us now to the determination of whether the defendants, granting that they have been in possession of
the alluvium since 1948, could have acquired the property by prescription. Assuming that they occupied the land in
September, 1948, but considering that the action was commenced on January 25, 1958, they have not been in
possession of the land for ten (10) years; hence, they could not have acquired the land by ordinary prescription
(Arts. 1134 and 1138, New Civil Code). Moreover, as the alluvium is, by law, part and parcel of the registered
property, the same may be considered as registered property, within the meaning of Section 46 of Act No. 496;
and, therefore, it could not be acquired by prescription or adverse possession by another person."
Unsatisfied, respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals, which rendered, on September 14, 1960, the decision
adverted to at the beginning of this opinion, partly stating:
"That the area in controversy has been formed through a gradual process of alluvion, which started in the early
thirties, is a fact conclusively established by the evidence for both parties. By law, therefore, unless some superior
title has supervened, it should properly belong to the riparian owners, specifically in accordance with the rule of
natural accession in Article 366 of the old Civil Code (now Article 457), which provides that 'to the owner of lands
adjoining the banks of rivers, belongs the accretion which they gradually receive from the effects of the current of
the water.' The defendants, however, contend that they have acquired ownership through prescription. This
contention poses the real issue in this case. The Court a quo, has resolved it in favor of the plaintiffs, on two
grounds: First, since by accession, the land in question pertains to the original estate, and since in this instance the
original estate is registered, the accretion, consequently, falls within the purview of Section 46 of Act No. 496,
which states that 'no title to registered land in derogation to that of the registered owner shall be acquired by
prescription or adverse possession'; and, second, the adverse possession of the defendant began only in the
month of September, 1948, or less than the 10-year period required for prescription before the present action was
instituted.
"As a legal proposition, the first ground relied upon by the trial court, is not quite correct. An accretion to registered
land, while declared by specific provision of the Civil Code to belong to the owner of the land as a natural
accession thereof, does not ipso jure become entitled to the protection of the rule of imprescriptibility of title
established by the Land Registration Act. Such protection does not extend beyond the area given and described in
the certificate. To hold otherwise, would be productive of confusion. It would virtually deprive the title, and the
technical description of the land given therein, of their character of conclusiveness as to the identity and area of the
land that is registered. Just as the Supreme Court, albeit in a negative manner, has stated that registration does
not protect the riparian owner against the erosion of the area of his land through gradual changes in the course of
the adjoining stream (Payatas Estate Development Co. vs. Tuason, 53 Phil. 55), so registration does not entitle him
to all the rights conferred by the Land Registration Act, in so far as the area added by accretion is concerned. What
rights he has, are declared not by said Act, but by the provisions of the Civil Code on accession; and these
provisions do not preclude acquisition of the additional area by another person through prescription. This Court has
held as much in the case of Galindez, et al. vs. Baguisa, et al., CA-G. R. No. 19249-R, July 17, 1959.

"We now proposed to review the second ground relied upon by the trial court, regarding the length of time that the
defendants have been in possession. Domingo Calalung testified that he occupied the land in question for the first
time in 1934, not in 1948 as claimed by the plaintiffs. The area under occupancy gradually increased as the years
went by. In 1946, he declared the land for purposes of taxation (Exhibit 1). This tax declaration was superseded in
1948 by another (Exhibit 2), after the name of the municipality wherein it is located was changed from Tumauini to
Magsaysay. Calalung's testimony is corroborated by two witnesses, both owners of properties nearby. Pedro
Laman, 72 years of age, who was Municipal president of Tumauini for three terms, said that the land in question
adjoins his own on the south, and that since 1940 or 1941, he has always known it to be in the peaceful possession
of the defendants. Vicente C. Bacani testified to the same effect, although, he said that the defendants' possession
started sometime in 1933 or 1934. The area thereof, he said, was then less than one hectare.
"We find the testimony of the said witnesses entitled to much greater weight and credence than that of the plaintiff
Pedro Grande and his lone witness, Laureana Rodriguez. The first stated that the defendants occupied the land in
question only in 1948; that he called the latter's attention to the fact that the land was his, but the defendants, in
turn, claimed that they were the owners; that the plaintiffs did not file an action until 1958, because it was only then
that they were able to obtain the certificate of title from the surveyor, Domingo Parlan; and that they never declared
the land in question for taxation purposes or paid the taxes thereon. Pedro Grande admitted that the defendants
had the said land surveyed in April, 1958, and that he tried to stop it, not because he claimed the accretion for
himself and his co-plaintiffs, but because the survey included a portion of the property covered by their title. This
last fact is conceded by the defendants who, accordingly, relinquished their possession to the part thus included,
containing an area of some 458 square meters.
"The oral evidence for the defendants concerning the period of their possession from 1933 to 1958 is not only
preponderant in itself, but is, moreover, supported by the fact that it is they and not the plaintiffs who declared the
disputed property for taxation, and by the additional circumstance that if the plaintiffs had really been in prior
possession and were deprived thereof in 1948, they would have immediately taken steps to recover the same. The
excuse they gave for not doing so, namely, that they did not receive their copy of the certificate of title to their
property until 1958 for lack of funds to pay the fees of the surveyor Domingo Parlan, is too flimsy to merit any
serious consideration. The payment of the surveyor's fees had nothing to do with their right to obtain a copy of the
certificate. Besides, it was not necessary for them to have it in their hands, in order to file an action to recover the
land which was legally theirs by accession and of which, as they allege, they had been illegally deprived by the
defendants. We are convinced, upon consideration of the evidence, that the latter, were really in possession since
1934, immediately after the process of alluvion started, and that the plaintiffs woke up to their rights only when they
received their copy of the title in 1958. By then, however, prescription had already supervened in favor of the
defendants."
It is this decision of the Court of Appeals which petitioners seek to be reviewed by us.
The sole issue for resolution in this case is whether respondents have acquired the alluvial property in question through
prescription.
There can be no dispute that both under Article 457 of the new Civil Code and Article 366 of the old, petitioners are the
lawful owners of said alluvial property, as they are the registered owners of the land to which it adjoins. The question is
whether the accretion becomes automatically registered land just because the lot which receives it is covered by a
Torrens title thereby making the alluvial property imprescriptible. We agree with the Court of Appeals that it does not, just
as an unregistered land purchased by the registered owner of the adjoining land does not, by extension, become ipso
facto registered land. Ownership of a piece of land is one thing, and registration under the Torrens system of that
ownership is quite another. Ownership over the accretion received by the land adjoining a river is governed by the Civil
Code. Imprescriptibility of registered land is provided in the registration law. Registration under the Land Registration and
Cadastral Acts does not vest or give title to the land, but merely confirms and thereafter protects the title already
possessed by the owner, making it imprescriptible by occupation of third parties. But to obtain this protection, the land
must be placed under the operation of the registration laws wherein certain judicial procedures have been provided. The
fact remains, however, that petitioners never sought registration of said alluvial property (which was formed sometime
after petitioners' property covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 2982 was registered on June 9, 1934) up to the time
they instituted the present action in the Court of First Instance of Isabela in 1958. The increment, therefore, never became
registered property, and hence is not entitled or subject to the protection of imprescriptibility enjoyed by registered
property under the Torrens system. Consequently, it was subject to acquisition through prescription by third persons.
The next issue is, did respondents acquire said alluvial property through acquisitive prescription? This is a question which
requires determination of facts: physical possession and dates or duration of such possession. The Court of Appeals, after
analyzing the evidence, found that respondents-appellees were in possession of the alluvial lot since 1933 or 1934,
openly, continuously and adversely, under a claim of ownership up to the filing of the action in 1958. This finding of the
existence of these facts, arrived at by the Court of Appeals after an examination of the evidence presented by the parties,
is conclusive as to them and can not be reviewed by us.
The law on prescription applicable to the case is that provided in Act 190 and not the provisions of the Civil Code, since
the possession started in 1933 or 1934 when the pertinent articles of the Old Civil Code were not in force and before the
effectivity of the New Civil Code in 1950. Hence, the conclusion of the Court of Appeals that the respondents acquired the
alluvial lot in question by acquisitive prescription is in accordance with law.
The decision of the Court of Appeals under review is hereby affirmed, with costs against the petitions. So ordered.
Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Paredes and Dizon, JJ., concur.
Reyes, J.B.L., Regala and Makalintal, JJ., took no part.

||| (Grande v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-17652, [June 30, 1962], 115 PHIL 521-529)
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. L-12958. May 30, 1960.]
FAUSTINO IGNACIO, applicant and appellant, vs. THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS and LAUREANO
VALERIANO, oppositors and appellees.
David S. Ignacio for appellant.
Acting Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico P. de Castro and Solicitor Crispin V. Bautista for appellee Director
of Lands.
Benjamin H. Aquino for appellee Laureano Veleriano.
SYLLABUS
1. PROPERTY; LAND FORMED BY ACTION OF THE SEA. Land formed by the action of the sea is
property of the state; Francisco vs. Government of the P.I., 28 Phil., 505, involving a land claimed by a private person
and subject to the ebb and flow of the tides of the Manila Bay.
2. ID.; ID.; WHEN NO LONGER NEEDED FOR PUBLIC USE; DECLARATION NECESSARY. Until a
formal declaration on the part of the Government, through the executive department or the legislature, to the effect
that land is no longer needed for coast guard service, for public use or for special industries, they continue to be part
of the public domain; not available for private appropriation or ownership.
DECISION
MONTEMAYOR, J : p

Faustino Ignacio is appealing the decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, dismissing his application for
the registration of a parcel of land.
On January 25, 1950, Ignacio filed an application for the registration of a parcel of land (mangrove), situated
in barrio Gasac, Navotas, Rizal, with an area of 37,877 square meters. Later, he amended his application by alleging
among others that he owned the parcel applied for by right of accretion. To the application, the Director of Lands,
Laureano Valeriano and Domingo Gutierrez filed oppositions. Gutierrez later withdrew his opposition. The Director of
Lands claimed the parcel applied for as a portion of the public domain, for the reason that neither the applicant nor his
predecessor- in-interest possessed sufficient title thereto, not having acquired it either by composition title from the
Spanish government or by possessory information title under the Royal Decree of February 13, 1894, and that he had
not possessed the same openly, continuously and adversely under a bona fideclaim of ownership since July 26, 1894.
In his turn, Valeriano alleged that he was holding the land by virtue of a permit granted him by the Bureau of
Fisheries, issued on January 13, 1947, and approved by the President.
It is not disputed that the land applied for adjoins a parcel owned by the applicant which he had acquired from
the Government by virtue of a free patent title in 1936. It has also been established that the parcel in question was
formed by accretion and alluvial deposits caused by the action of the Manila Bay which borders it on the southwest.
Applicant Ignacio claims that he had occupied the land since 1935, planting it with api-api trees, and that his
possession thereof had been continuous, adverse and public for a period of twenty years until said possession was
disturbed by oppositor Valeriano.
On the other hand, the Director of Lands sought to prove that the parcel is foreshore land, covered by the ebb
and flow of the tide and, therefore, formed part of the public domain.
After hearing, the trial court dismissed the application, holding that the parcel formed part of the public
domain. In his appeal, Ignacio assigns the following errors:
"I. The lower court erred in holding that the land in question, altho an accretion to the land of the applicant-
appellant, does not belong to him but forms part of the public domain.
"II. Granting that the land in question forms part of the public domain, the lower court nevertheless erred in
not declaring the same to be the property of the applicant-appellant, the said land not being necessary for any
public use or purpose and in not ordering at the same time its registration in the name of applicant-appellant in the
present registration proceedings.
"III. The lower court erred in not holding that the land in question now belongs to the applicant-appellant
by virtue of acquisitive prescription, the said land having ceased to be of the public domain and became the private
or patrimonial property of the State.
"IV. The lower court erred in not holding that the oppositor Director of Lands is now in estoppel from
claiming the land in question as a land of the public domain."
Appellant contends that the parcel belongs to him by the law of accretion, having been formed by gradual deposit by
action of the Manila Bay, and he cites Article 457 of the New Civil Code (Article 366, Old Civil Code), which provides
that:
"To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion which they gradually receive
from the effects of the current of the waters."
The article cited is clearly inapplicable because it refers to accretion or deposits on the banks of rivers, while the
accretion in the present case was caused by action of the Manila Bay.
Appellant next contends that Articles 1, 4 and 5 of the Law of Waters are not applicable because they refer to
accretions formed by the sea, and that Manila Bay cannot be considered as a sea. We find said contention untenable.
A bay is a part of the sea, being a mere indentation of the same:
"Bay. An opening into the land where the water is shut in on all sides except at the entrance; an inlet of
the sea; an arm of the sea, distinct from a river, a bending or curbing of the shore of the sea or of a lake." 7 C.J.
1013-1014 (Cited in Francisco, Philippine Law of Waters and Water Rights p. 6)
Moreover, this Tribunal has in some cases applied the Law of Waters on Lands bordering Manila Bay. (See the cases
of Ker & Co. vs. Cauden, 6 Phil., 732, involving a parcel of land bounded on the sides by Manila Bay, where it was
held that such land formed by the action of the sea is property of the State; Francisco vs. Government of P.I., 28 Phil.,
505, involving a land claimed by a private person and subject to the ebb and flow of the tides of the Manila Bay).
Then the applicant argues that granting that the land in question formed part of the public domain, having
been gained from the sea, the trial court should have declared the same no longer necessary for any public use or
purpose, and therefore, became disposable and available for private ownership. Article 4 of the Law of Waters of
1866 reads thus:
"ART. 4. Lands added to the shores by accretions and alluvial deposits caused by the action of the sea,
form part of the public domain. When they are no longer washed by the waters of the sea and are not necessary for
purposes of public utility, or for the establishment of special industries, or for the coastguard service, the
Government shall declare them to be the property of the owners of the estates adjacent thereto and as increment
thereof."
Interpreting Article 4 of the Law of Waters of 1866, in the case of Natividad vs.Director of Lands, (CA) 37 Off. Gaz.,
2905, it was there held that:
"Article 4 of the Law of Waters of 1866 provides that when a portion of the shore is no longer washed by
the waters of the sea and is not necessary for purposes of public utility, or for the establishment of special
industries, or for coastguard service, the government shall declare it to be the property of the owners of the estates
adjacent thereto and as an increment thereof. We believe that only the executive and possibly the legislative
departments have the authority and the power to make the declaration that any land so gained by the sea, is not
necessary for purposes of public utility, or for the establishment of special industries, or for coast-guard service. If
no such declaration has been made by said departments, the lot in question forms part of the public domain."
(Natividad vs. Director of Lands, supra.)
The reason for this pronouncement, according to this Tribunal in the case of Vicente Joven y Monteverde vs. Director
of Lands, 93 Phil., 134, (cited in Velayo's Digest, Vol. I, p. 52).
". . . is undoubtedly that the courts are neither primarily called upon, nor indeed in a position to determine
whether any public land are to be used for the purposes specified in Article 4 of the Law of Waters."
Consequently, until a formal declaration on the part of the Government, through the executive department or the
Legislature, to the effect that the land in question is no longer needed for coast guard service, for public use or for
special industries, they continue to be part of the public domain, not available for private appropriation or ownership.
Appellant next contends that he had acquired the parcel in question through acquisitive prescription, having
possessed the same for over ten years. In answer, suffice it to say that land of the public domain is not subject to
ordinary prescription. In the case of Insular Government vs. Aldecoa & Co., 19 Phil., 505, this Court said:
"The occupation or material possession of any land formed upon the shore by accretion, without previous
permission from the proper authorities, although the occupant may have held the same as owner for seventeen
years and constructed a wharf on the land, is illegal and is a mere detainer, inasmuch as such land is outside of the
sphere of commerce; it pertains to the national domain; it is intended for public uses and for the benefit of those
who live nearby."
We deem it unnecessary to discuss the other points raised in the appeal.
In view of the foregoing, the appealed decision is hereby affirmed, with costs.
Pars, C. J., Bengzon, Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcin, Barrera, and Gutirrez David, JJ.,
concur.

||| (Ignacio v. Director of Lands, G.R. No. L-12958, [May 30, 1960], 108 PHIL 335-340)
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. 68166. February 12, 1997.]
HEIRS OF EMILIANO NAVARRO, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT AND HEIRS
OF SINFOROSO PASCUAL,respondents.
Yolanda Quisumbing - Javellana & Associates for petitioner.
Joracio R. Viola, Sr. for private respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. CIVIL LAW; PROPERTY; ACCRETION AS A MODE OF ACQUIRING PROPERTY; REQUISITES; LEGAL
CONSEQUENCES. Accretion as a mode of acquiring property under Article 457 of the Civil Code, requires the
concurrence of the following requisites: (1) that the accumulation of soil or sediment be gradual and imperceptible; (2) that
it be the result of the action of the waters of the river: and (3) that the land where the accretion takes place is adjacent to
the bank of the river. Accretion is the process whereby the soil is deposited, while alluvium is the soil deposited on the
estate fronting the river bank; the owner of such estate is called the riparian owner. Riparian owners are, strictly speaking,
distinct from littoral owners, the latter being owners of lands bordering the shore of the sea or lake or other tidal waters.
The alluvium, by mandate of Article 457 of the Civil Code, is automatically owned by the riparian owner from the moment
the soil deposit can be seen hut is not automatically registered property, hence, subject to acquisition through prescription
by third persons.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; THIRD REQUISITE NOT PRESENT IN CASE AT BAR. There is no dispute as to the location of: (a) the
disputed land; (b) petitioners' own tract of land: (c) the Manila Bay; and, (d) the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers. Petitioners'
own land lies between the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers; in front of their land on the northern side lies now the disputed land
where before 1948, there lay the Manila Bay. If the accretion were to be attributed to the action of either or both of the
Talisay and Bulacan Rivers, the alluvium should have been deposited on either or both of the eastern and western
boundaries of petitioners' own tract of land, not on the northern portion thereof which is adjacent to the Manila Bay.
Clearly lacking, thus, is the third requisite of accretion, which is, that the alluvium is deposited on the portion of claimant's
land which is adjacent to the river bank.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; THE DISPUTED LAND IS AN ACCRETION NOT ON A RIVER BANK BUT ON A SEA BANK; THE
APPLICABLE LAW IS NOT ARTICLE 457 OF THE CIVIL CODE BUT ARTICLE 4 OF THE SPANISH LAW OF WATERS
OF 1866. There is no dispute as to the fact that petitioners' own tract of land adjoins the Manila Bay. Manila Bay is
obviously not a river, and jurisprudence is already settled as to what kind of body of water the Manila Bay is. It is to be
remembered that we held in Ignacio vs. Director of Lands and Valeriano (108 Phil. 336, 338 [1960]) that: "Appellant next
contends that . . . Manila Bay cannot be considered as a sea. We find said contention untenable. A bay is part of the sea,
being a mere indentation of the same: 'Bay, An opening into the land where the water is shut in on all sides except at
the entrance; an inlet of the sea; an arm of the sea, distinct from a river, a bending or curbing of the shore of the sea or of
a lake,' 7 C.J. 1013-1014." The disputed land, thus, is an accretion not on a river bank but on a sea bank, or on what used
to be the foreshore of Manila Bay which adjoined petitioners' own tract of land on the northern side. As such, the
applicable law is not Article 457 of the Civil Code but Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; THE DISPUTED PROPERTY IS AN ACCRETION ON A SEA BANK, MANILA BAY BEING AN INLET OR
AN ARM OF THE SEA; AS SUCH, THE DISPUTED PROPERTY IS UNDER ARTICLE 4 OF THE SPANISH LAW OF
WATERS OF 1866, PART OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. The instant controversy brings a situation calling for the
application of Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, the disputed land being an accretion on the foreshore of
Manila Bay which is, for all legal purposes, considered a sea. Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of August 3, 1866
provides as follows: "Lands added to the shores by accretions and alluvial deposits caused by the action of the sea, form
part of the public domain. When they are no longer washed by the waters of the sea and are not necessary for purposes
of public utility, or for the establishment of special industries, or for the coast-guard service, the Government shall declare
them to be the property of the owners of the estates adjacent thereto and as increment thereof." In the light of the
aforecited vintage but still valid law, unequivocal is the public nature of the disputed land in this controversy, the same
being an accretion on a sea bank which, for all legal purposes, the foreshore of Manila Bay is. As part of the public
domain, the herein disputed land is intended for public uses, and "so long as the land in litigation belongs to the national
domain and is reserved for public uses, it is not capable of being appropriated by any private person, except through
express authorization granted in due form by a competent authority." Only the executive and possibly the legislative
departments have the right and the power to make the declaration that the lands so gained by action of the sea is no
longer necessary for purposes of public utility or for the cause of establishment of special industries or for coast guard
services. Petitioners utterly fail to show that either the executive or legislative department has already declared the
disputed land 1966, to be the property of petitioners as owners of the estates adjacent thereto.
DECISION
HERMOSISIMA, JR., J : p
Unique is the legal question visited upon the claim of an applicant in a Land Registration case by oppositors thereto, the
Government and a Government lessee, involving as it does ownership of land formed by alluvium.
The applicant owns the property immediately adjoining the land sought to be registered. His registered property is
bounded on the east by the Talisay River, on the west by the Bulacan River, and on the north by the Manila Bay. The
Talisay River and the Bulacan River flow down towards the Manila Bay and act as boundaries of the applicant's registered
land on the east and on the west.
The land sought to be registered was formed at the northern tip of the applicant's land. Applicant's registered property is
bounded on the north by the Manila Bay.
The issue: May the land sought to be registered be deemed an accretion in the sense that it naturally accrues in favor of
the riparian owner or should the land be considered as foreshore land?
Before us is a petition for review of: (1) the decision 1 and (2) two subsequent resolutions 2 of the Intermediate Appellate
Court 3 (now the Court of Appeals) in Land Registration Case No. N-84, 4 the application over which was filed by private
respondents' predecessor-in-interest, Sinforoso Pascual, now deceased, before the Court of First Instance 5 (now the
Regional Trial Court) of Balanga, Bataan.
There is no dispute as to the following facts:
On October 3, 1946, Sinforoso Pascual, now deceased, filed an application for foreshore lease covering a tract of
foreshore land in Sibocon, Balanga, Bataan, having an area of approximately seventeen (17) hectares. This application
was denied on January 15, 1953. So was his motion for reconsideration.
Subsequently, petitioners' predecessor-in-interest, also now deceased, Emiliano Navarro, filed a fishpond application with
the Bureau of Fisheries covering twenty five (25) hectares of foreshore land also in Sibocon, Balanga, Bataan. Initially,
such application was denied by the Director of Fisheries on the ground that the property formed part of the public domain.
Upon motion for reconsideration, the Director of Fisheries, on May 27, 1988, gave due course to his application but only to
the extent of seven (7) hectares of the property as may be certified by the Bureau of Forestry as suitable for fishpond
purposes.
The Municipal Council of Balanga, Bataan, had opposed Emiliano Navarro's application. Aggrieved by the decision of the
Director of Fisheries, it appealed to the Secretary of Natural Resources who, however, affirmed the grant. The then
Executive Secretary, acting in behalf of the President of the Philippines, similarly affirmed the grant.
On the other hand, sometime in the early part of 1960, Sinforoso Pascual filed an application to register and confirm his
title to a parcel of land, situated in Sibocon, Balanga, Bataan, described in Plan Psu-175181 and said to have an area of
146,611 square meters. Pascual claimed that this land is an accretion to his property, situated in Barrio Puerto Rivas,
Balanga, Bataan, and covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 6830. It is bounded on the eastern side by the Talisay
River, on the western side by the Bulacan River, and on the northern side by the Manila Bay. The Talisay River as well as
the Bulacan River flow downstream and meet at the Manila Bay thereby depositing sand and silt on Pascual's property
resulting in an accretion thereon. Sinforoso Pascual claimed the accretion as the riparian owner.
On March 25, 1960, the Director of Lands, represented by the Assistant Solicitor General, filed an opposition thereto
stating that neither Pascual nor his predecessors-in-interest possessed sufficient title to the subject property, the same
being a portion of the public domain and, therefore, it belongs to the Republic of the Philippines. The Director of Forestry,
through the Provincial Fiscal, similarly opposed Pascual's application for the same reason as that advanced by the
Director of Lands. Later on, however, the Director of Lands withdrew his opposition. The Director of Forestry become the
sole oppositor.
On June 2, 1960, the court a quo issued an order of general default excepting the Director of Lands and the Director of
Forestry.lexlib

Upon motion of Emiliano Navarro, however, the order of general default was lifted and, on February 13, 1961, Navarro
thereupon filed an opposition to Pascual's application. Navarro claimed that the land sought to be registered has always
been part of the public domain, it being a part of the foreshore of Manila Bay; that he was a lessee and in possession of a
part of the subject property by virtue of a fishpond permit issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and confirmed by the Office of
the President; and that he had already converted the area covered by the lease into a fishpond.

During the pendency of the land registration case, that is, on November 6, 1960, Sinforoso Pascual filed a complaint for
ejectment against Emiliano Navarro, one Marcelo Lopez and their privies, alleged by Pascual to have unlawfully claimed
and possessed, through stealth, force and strategy, a portion of the subject property covered by Plan Psu-175181. The
defendants in the case were alleged to have built a provisional dike thereon: thus they have thereby deprived Pascual of
the premises sought to be registered. This, notwithstanding repeated demands for defendants to vacate the property.
The case was decided adversely against Pascual. Thus, Pascual appealed to the Court of First Instance (now Regional
Trial Court) of Balanga, Bataan, the appeal having been docketed as Civil Case No. 2873. Because of the similarity of the
parties and the subject matter, the appealed case for ejectment was consolidated with the land registration case and was
jointly tried by the court a quo.
During the pendency of the trial of the consolidated cases, Emiliano Navarro died on November 1, 1961 and was
substituted by his heirs, the herein petitioners.
Subsequently, on August 26, 1962, Pascual died and was substituted by his heirs, the herein private respondents.
On November 10, 1975, the court a quo rendered judgment finding the subject property to be foreshore land and, being a
part of the public domain, it cannot be the subject of land registration proceedings.
The decision's dispositive portion reads:
"WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered:
(1) Dismissing plaintiff [private respondent] Sinforoso Pascual's complaint for ejectment in Civil Case No. 2873;
(2) Denying the application of Sinforoso Pascual for land registration over the land in question; and
(3) Directing said Sinforoso Pascual, through his heirs, as plaintiff in Civil Case No. 2873 and as applicant in Land
Registration Case No. N-84 to pay costs in both instances." 6
The heirs of Pascual appealed and, before the respondent appellate court, assigned the following errors:
"1. The lower court erred in not finding the land in question as an accretion by the action of the Talisay and Bulacan
Rivers to the land admittedly owned by applicants-appellants [private respondents].
2. The lower court erred in holding that the land in question is foreshore land.
3.. The lower court erred in not ordering the registration of the and is controversy in favor of applicants-appellants
[private respondents].
4. The lower court erred in not finding that the applicants-appellants [private respondents] are entitled to eject the
oppositor-appellee [petitioners]." 7
On appeal, the respondent court reversed the findings of the court a quo and granted the petition for registration of the
subject property but excluding therefrom fifty (50) meters from corner 2 towards corner 1; and fifty meters (50) meters
from corner 5 towards corner 6 of the Psu-175181.
The respondent appellate court explained the reversal in this wise:
"The paramount issue to be resolved in this appeal as set forth by the parties in their respective briefs is whether
or not the land sought to be registered is accretion or foreshore land, or, whether or not said land was formed by
the action of the two rivers of Talisay and Bulacan or by the action of the Manila Bay. If formed by the action of the
Talisay and Bulacan rivers, the subject land is accretion but if formed by the action of the Manila Bay then it is
foreshore land.
xxx xxx xxx
It is undisputed that applicants-appellants [private respondents] owned the land immediately adjoining the land
sought to be registered. Their property which is covered by OCT No. 6830 is bounded on the east by the Talisay
River, on the west by the Bulacan River, and on the north by the Manila Bay. The Talisay and Bulacan rivers come
from inland flowing downstream towards the Manila Bay. In other words, between the Talisay River and the
Bulacan River is the property of applicants with both rivers acting as the boundary to said land and the flow of both
rivers meeting and emptying into the Manila Bay. The subject land was formed at the tip or apex of appellants'
[private respondents'] land adding thereto the land now sought to be registered.
This makes this case quite unique because while it is undisputed that the subject land is immediately attached to
appellants' [private respondents'] land and forms the tip thereof, at the same time, said land immediately faces the
Manila Bay which is part of the sea. We can understand therefore the confusion this case might have caused the
lower court, faced as it was with the uneasy problem of deciding whether or not the subject land was formed by the
action of the two rivers or by the action of the sea. Since the subject land is found at the shore of the Manila Bay
facing appellants' [private respondents'] land, it would be quite easy to conclude that it is foreshore and therefore
part of the patrimonial property of the State as the lower court did in fact rule . . . .
xxx xxx xxx
It is however undisputed that [private respondents'] land lies between these two rivers and it is precisely appellants'
[private respondents'] land which acts as a barricade preventing these two rivers to meet. Thus, since the flow of
the two is downwards to the Manila Bay the sediments of sand and silt are deposited at their mouths.
It is, therefore, difficult to see how the Manila Bay could have been the cause of the deposit thereat for in the
natural course of things, the waves of the sea eat the land on the shore, as they suge [sic] inland. It would not
therefore add anything to the land but instead subtract from it due to the action of the waves and the wind. It is then
more logical to believe that the two rivers flowing towards the bay emptied their cargo of sand, silt and clay at their
mouths, thus causing [private respondents'] land to accumulate therein
However, our distinguished colleage [sic], Mr. Justice Serrano, do [sic] not seem to accept this theory and stated
that the subject land arose only when . . . Pascual planted 'palapat' and 'bakawan' trees thereat to serve as a
boundary or strainer. But we do not see how this act of planting trees by Pascual would explain how the land mass
came into being. Much less will it prove that the same came from the sea. Following Mr. Justice Serrano's
argument that it were the few trees that acted as strainers or blocks, then the land that grew would have stopped at
the place where the said trees were planted. But this is not so because the land mass went far beyond the
boundary, or where the trees were planted.
On the other hand, the picture-exhibits of [private respondents'] clearly show that the land that accumulated beyond
the so-called boundary, as well as the entire area being applied for is dry land, above sea level, and bearing
innumerable trees . . . . The existence of vegetation on the land could only confirm that the soil thereat came from
inland rather than from the sea, for what could the sea bring to the shore but sand, pebbles, stones, rocks and
corrals? On the other hand, the two rivers would be bringing soil on their downward flow which they brought along
from the eroded mountains, the lands along their path, and dumped them all on the northern portion of appellants'
[private respondents'] land.
In view of the foregoing, we have to deviate from the lower court's finding. While it is true that the subject land is
found at the shore of the Manila Bay fronting appellants' [private respondents'] land, said land is not foreshore but
an accretion from the action of the Talisay and Bulacan rivers. In fact, this is exactly what the Bureau of Lands
found out, as shown in the following report of the Acting Provincial Officer, Jesus M. Orozco, to wit:
'Upon ocular inspection of the land subject of this registration made on June 11, 1960, it was found out
that the said land is . . . sandwitched [sic] by two big rivers . . . These two rivers bring down considerable
amount of soil and sediments during floods every year thus raising the soil of the land adjoining the private
property of the applicant [private respondents']. About four-fifth [sic] of the area applied for is now dry land
whereon are planted palapat trees thickly growing thereon. It is the natural action of these two rivers that
has caused the formation of said land . . . subject of this registration case. It has been formed, therefore,
by accretion. And having been formed by accretion, the said land may be considered the private property
of the riparian owner who is the applicant [private respondents'] . . . .
In view of the above, the opposition hereto filed by the government should be withdrawn, except
for the portion recommended by the land investigator in his report dated May 2, 1960, to be excluded and
considered foreshore. . . .'
Because of this report, no less than the Solicitor General representing the Bureau of Lands withdrew his opposition
dated March 25, 1960, and limited 'the same to the northern portion of the land applied for, compromising a strip 50
meters wide along the Manila Bay, which should be declared public land as part of the foreshore' . . . . 8
Pursuant to the aforecited decision, the respondent appellate court ordered the issuance of the corresponding decree
of registration in the name of private respondents and the reversion to private respondents of the possession of the
portion of the subject property included in Navarro's fishpond permit.
On December 20, 1978, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforecited decision. The Director of Forestry
also moved for the reconsideration of the same decision. Both motions were opposed by private respondents on January
27, 1979.
On November 21, 1980, respondent appellate court promulgated a resolution denying the motion for reconsideration filed
by the Director of Forestry. It, however, modified its decision, to read, viz:

"(3). Ordering private oppositors Heirs of Emiliano Navarro to vacate that portion included in their fishpond permit
covered by Plan Psu-175181 and hand over possession of said portion to applicants-appellants, if the said portion
is not within the strip of land fifty (50) meters wide along Manila Bay on the northern portion of the land subject of
the registration proceedings and which area is more particularly referred to as fifty (50) meters from corner 2
towards corner 1; and fifty (50) meters from corner 5 towards corner 6 of Plan Psu-175181 . . ." 9
On December 15, 1980, we granted the Solicitor General, acting as counsel for the Director of Forestry, an extension of
time within which to file in this court, a petition for review of the decision dated November 29, 1978 of the respondent
appellate court and of the aforecited resolution dated November 21, 1980.
Thereafter, the Solicitor General, in behalf of the Director of Forestry, filed a petition for review entitled, "The Director of
Forestry vs. the Court of Appeals." 10We, however, denied the same in a minute resolution dated July 20, 1981, such
petition having been prematurely filed at a time when the Court of Appeals was yet to resolve petitioners' pending motion
to set aside the resolution dated November 21, 1980.
On October 9, 1981, respondent appellate court denied petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the decision dated
November 29, 1978.
On October 17, 1981, respondent appellate court made an entry of judgment stating that the decision dated November
29, 1978 had become final and executory as against herein petitioners as oppositors in L.R.C. Case No. N-84 and Civil
Case No. 2873 of the Court of First Instance (now the Regional Trial Court) of Balanga, Bataan.
On October 26, 1981, a second motion for reconsideration of the decision dated November 29, 1978 was filed by
petitioners' new counsel.
On March 26, 1982, respondent appellate court issued a resolution granting petitioners' request for leave to file a second
motion for reconsideration.
On July 13, 1984, after hearing, respondent appellate court denied petitioners' second motion for reconsideration on the
ground that the same was filed out of time, citing Rule 52, Section 1 of the Rules of Court which provides that a motion for
reconsideration shall be made ex-parte and filed within fifteen (15) days from the notice of the final order or judgment.
Hence this petition where the respondent appellate court is imputed to have palpably erred in appreciating the facts of the
case and to have gravely misapplied statutory and case law relating to accretion, specifically, Article 457 of the Civil Code.
We find no merit in the petition.
The disputed property was brought forth by both the withdrawal of the
waters of Manila Bay and the accretion formed on the exposed
foreshore land by the action of the sea which brought soil and sand
sediments in turn trapped by the palapat and bakawan trees planted
thereon by petitioner Sulpicio Pascual in 1948.
Anchoring their claim of ownership on Article 457 of the Civil Code, petitioners vigorously argue that the disputed 14-
hectare land is an accretion caused by the joint action of the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers which run their course on the
eastern and western boundaries, respectively, of petitioners' own tract of land.
Accretion as a mode of acquiring property under said Article 457, requires the concurrence of the following requisites: (1)
that the accumulation of soil or sediment be gradual and imperceptible; (2) that it be the result of the action of the waters
of the river; and (3) that the land where the accretion takes place is adjacent to the bank of the river. 11 Accretion is the
process whereby the soil is deposited, while alluvium is the soil deposited on the estate fronting the river bank 12 ; the
owner of such estate is called the riparian owner. Riparian owners are, strictly speaking, distinct from littoral owners, the
latter being owners of lands bordering the shore of the sea or lake or other tidal waters. 13 The alluvium, by mandate of
Article 457 of the Civil Code, is automatically owned by the riparian owner from the moment the soil deposit can be
seen 14 but is not automatically registered property, hence, subject to acquisition through prescription by third persons. 15
Petitioners' claim of ownership over the disputed property under the principle of accretion, is misplaced.
First, the title of petitioners' own tract of land reveals its northeastern boundary to be Manila Bay. Petitioners' land,
therefore, used to adjoin, border or front the Manila Bay and not any of the two rivers whose torrential action, petitioners
insist, is to account for the accretion on their land. In fact, one of the petitioners, Sulpicio Pascual, testified in open court
that the waves of Manila Bay used to hit the disputed land being part of the bay's foreshore but, after he had planted
palapat and bakawan trees thereon in 1948, the land began to rise. 16
Moreover, there is no dispute as to the location of: (a) the disputed land; (b) petitioners' own tract of land; (c) the Manila
Bay; and, (d) the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers. Petitioners' own land lies between the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers; in front
of their land on the northern side lies now the disputed land where before 1948, there lay the Manila Bay. If the accretion
were to be attributed to the action of either or both of the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers, the alluvium should have been
deposited on either or both of the eastern and western boundaries of petitioners' own tract of land, not on the northern
portion thereof which is adjacent to the Manila Bay. Clearly lacking, thus, is the third requisite of accretion, which is, that
the alluvium is deposited on the portion of claimant's land which is adjacent to the river bank.
Second, there is no dispute as to the fact that petitioners' own tract of land adjoins the Manila Bay. Manila Bay is
obviously not a river, and jurisprudence is already settled as to what kind of body of water the Manila Bay is. It is to be
remembered that we held that:
"Appellant next contends that . . . Manila Bay cannot be considered as a sea. We find said contention untenable. A
bay is part of the sea, being a mere indentation of the same:
'Bay. An opening into the land where the water is shut in on all sides except at the entrance; an inlet of
the sea; an arm of the sea, distinct from a river, a bending or curbing of the shore of the sea or of a lake.'
7 C.J. 1013-1014." 17
The disputed land, thus, is an accretion not on a river bank but on a sea bank, or on what used to be the foreshore of
Manila Bay which adjoined petitioners' own tract of land on the northern side. As such, the applicable law is not Article 457
of the Civil Code but Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866.
The process by which the disputed land was formed, is not difficult to discern from the facts of the case. As the trial court
correctly observed:
"A perusal of the survey plan . . . of the land subject matter of these cases shows that on the eastern side, the
property is bounded by Talisay River, on the western side by Bulacan River, on the southern side by Lot 1436 and
on the northern side by Manila Bay. It is not correct to state that the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers meet a certain
portion because the two rivers both flow towards Manila Bay. The Talisay River is straight while the Bulacan River
is a little bit meandering and there is no portion where the two rivers meet before they end up at Manila Bay. The
land which is adjacent to the property belonging to Pascual cannot be considered an accretion caused by the
action of the two rivers].
Applicant Pascual . . . has not presented proofs to convince the Court that the land he has applied for registration is
the result of the settling down on his registered land of soil, earth or other deposits so as to be rightfully be
considered as an accretion [caused by the action of the two rivers]. Said Art. 457 finds no applicability where the
accretion must have been caused by action of the bay." 18
The conclusion formed by the trial court on the basis of the foregoing observation is that the disputed land is part of the
foreshore of Manila Bay and therefore, part of the public domain. The respondent appellate court, however, perceived the
fact that petitioners' own land lies between the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers, to be basis to conclude that the disputed land
must be an accretion formed by the action of the two rivers because petitioners' own land acted as a barricade preventing
the two rivers to meet and that the current of the two rivers carried sediments of sand and silt downwards to the Manila
Bay which accumulated somehow to a 14-hectare land. These conclusions, however, are fatally incongruous in the light of
the one undisputed critical fact: the accretion was deposited, not on either the eastern or western portion of petitioners'
land where a river each runs, but on the northern portion of petitioners' land which adjoins the Manila Bay. Worse, such
conclusions are further eroded of their practical logic and consonance with natural experience in the light of Sulpicio
Pascual's admission as to having planted palapat and bakawan trees on the northern boundary of their own land. In
amplification of this, plainly more reasonable and valid are Justice Mariano Serrano's observations in his dissenting
opinion when he stated that:
"As appellants' (titled) land . . . acts as a barricade that prevents the two rivers to meet, and considering the wide
expanse of the boundary between said land and the Manila Bay, measuring some 593.00 meters . . . it is believed
rather farfetched for the land in question to have been formed through 'sediments of sand and salt [sic] . . .
deposited at their [rivers'] mouths.' Moreover, if 'since the flow of the two rivers is downwards to the Manila Bay the
sediments of sand and silt are deposited at their mouths,' why then would the alleged cargo of sand, silt and clay
accumulate at the northern portion of appellants' titled land facing Manila Bay instead of merely at the mouths and
banks of these two rivers? That being the case, the accretion formed at said portion of appellants' titled [land] was
not caused by the current of the two rivers but by the action of the sea (Manila Bay) into which the rivers empty.

The conclusion . . . is not supported by any reference to the evidence which, on the contrary, shows that the
disputed land was formed by the action of the sea. Thus, no less than Sulpicio Pascual, one of the heirs of the
original applicant, testified on cross-examination that the land in dispute was part of the shore and it was only in
1948 that he noticed that the land was beginning to get higher after he had planted trees thereon in 1948. . . . cdasia
. . . it is established that before 1948 sea water from the Manila Bay at high tide could reach as far as the dike of
appellants' fishpond within their titled property, which dike now separates this titled property from the land in
question. Even in 1948 when appellants had already planted palapat and bakawan trees in the land involved,
inasmuch as these trees were yet small, the waves of the sea could still reach the dike. This must be so because in
. . . the survey plan of the titled property approved in 1918, said titled land was bounded on the north by Manila
Bay. So Manila Bay was adjacent to it on the north. It was only after the planting of the aforesaid trees in 1948 that
the land in question began to rise or to get higher in elevation.
The trees planted by appellants in 1948 became a sort of strainer of the sea water and at the same time a kind of
block to the strained sediments from being carried back to the sea by the very waves that brought them to the
former shore at the end of the dike, which must have caused the shoreline to recede and dry up eventually raising
the former shore leading to the formation of the land in question." 19
In other words, the combined and interactive effect of the planting of palapat and bakawan trees, the withdrawal of the
waters of Manila Bay eventually resulting in the drying up of its former foreshore, and the regular torrential action of
the waters of Manila Bay, is the formation of the disputed land on the northern boundary of petitioners' own tract of
land.
The disputed property is an accretion on a sea bank, Manila Bay being
an inlet or an arm of the sea; as such, the disputed property is, under
Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, part of the public
domain
At the outset, there is a need to distinguish between Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay.
While we held in the case of Ignacio v. Director of Lands and Valeriano 20 that Manila Bay is considered a sea for
purposes of determining which law on accretion is to be applied in multifarious situations, we have ruled differently insofar
as accretions on lands adjoining the Laguna de Bay are concerned.
In the cases of Government of the P.I. v. Colegio de San Jose 21 , Republic v. Court of Appeals 22 , Republic v. Alagad 23 ,
and Meneses v. Court of Appeals 24 , we categorically ruled that Laguna de Bay is a lake the accretion on which, by the
mandate of Article 84 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, belongs to the owner of the land contiguous thereto.
The instant controversy, however, brings a situation calling for the application of Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of
1866, the disputed land being an accretion on the foreshore of Manila Bay which is, for all legal purposes, considered a
sea.
Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of August 3, 1866 provides as follows:
"Lands added to the shores by accretions and alluvial deposits caused by the action of the sea, form part of the
public domain. When they are no longer washed by the waters of the sea and are not necessary for purposes of
public utility, or for the establishment of special industries, or for the coast-guard service, the Government shall
declare them to be the property of the owners of the estates adjacent thereto and as increment thereof."
In the light of the aforecited vintage but still valid law, unequivocal is the public nature of the disputed land in this
controversy, the same being an accretion on a sea bank which, for all legal purposes, the foreshore of Manila Bay is. As
part of the public domain, the herein disputed land is intended for public uses, and "so long as the land in litigation
belongs to the national domain and is reserved for public uses, it is not capable of being appropriated by any private
person, except through express authorization granted in due form by a competent authority." 25Only the executive and
possibly the legislative departments have the right and the power to make the declaration that the lands so gained by
action of the sea is no longer necessary for purposes of public utility or for the cause of establishment of special industries
or for coast guard services. 26 Petitioners utterly fail to show that either the executive or legislative department has already
declared the disputed land as qualified, under Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, to be the property of
petitioners as owners of the estates adjacent thereto.
WHEREFORE, the instant Petition for Review is hereby DENIED and DISMISSED.
Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Padilla, Bellosillo and Kapunan, JJ., concur.
Vitug, J., concurs: The amendatory provisions of the Water Code (P.D. 1067) did not affect Article 4 of the Spanish Law of
Waters of 1866.
||| (Heirs of Navarro v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 68166, [February 12, 1997], 335 PHIL 537-556)