You are on page 1of 14

Malabanan vs.

Republic Section 14(2) as a ground for application for registration, and that the 30-year possession
G.R. No. 179987 April 29, 2009 period refers to the period of possession under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, and not
the concept of prescription under the Civil Code. The OSG further submits that, assuming that
Facts: The property subject of the application for registration is a parcel of land situated in the 30-year prescriptive period can run against public lands, said period should be reckoned
Barangay Tibig, Silang Cavite, more particularly identified as Lot 9864-A, Cad-452-D, with from the time the public land was declared alienable and disposable.
an area of 71,324-square meters. On February 20, 1998, applicant Mario Malabanan, who had
purchased the property from Eduardo Velazco, filed an application for land registration Issue: Whether or not the petitioners are entitled to the registration of the subject land in their
covering the property in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Tagaytay City, Cavite, claiming names under Section 14(1) or Section 14(2) of the Property Registration.
that the property formed part of the alienable and disposable land of the public domain, and
that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in open, continuous, uninterrupted, public Ruling: No. It is clear that the evidence of petitioners is insufficient to establish that
and adverse possession and occupation of the land for more than 30 years, thereby entitling Malabanan has acquired ownership over the subject property under Section 48(b) of the Public
him to the judicial confirmation of his title. Land Act. There is no substantive evidence to establish that Malabanan or petitioners as his
predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the property since 12 June 1945 or earlier.
To prove that the property was an alienable and disposable land of the public domain, The earliest that petitioners can date back their possession, according to their own evidence
Malabanan presented during trial a certification issued by the Community Environment and the Tax Declarations they presented in particular is to the year 1948. Thus, they cannot avail
Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources themselves of registration under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree.
(DENR), showing that the subject parcel of land is verified to be within the Alienable or
Disposable land per Land Classification Map No. 3013 established and approved on March Neither can petitioners properly invoke Section 14(2) as basis for registration. While the
15, 1982. subject property was declared as alienable or disposable in 1982, there is no competent
evidence that is no longer intended for public use service or for the development of the
RTC rendered judgment granting Malabanan’s application for land registration. The Office of national wealth, conformably with Article 422 of the Civil Code. The classification of the
the Solicitor General (OSG) appealed the judgment to the CA, arguing that Malabanan had subject property as alienable and disposable land of the public domain does not change its
failed to prove that the property belonged to the alienable and disposable land of the public status as property of the public dominion under Article 420(2) of the Civil Code. Thus, it is
domain, and that the RTC erred in finding that he had been in possession of the property in the insusceptible to acquisition by prescription.
manner and for the length of time required by law for confirmation of imperfect title.

The CA reversed the RTC and dismissed the application for registration of Malabanan. CA DOCTRINE
declared that under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree, any period of
possession prior to the classification of the land as alienable and disposable was (1) In connection with Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree, Section 48(b) of
inconsequential and should be excluded from the computation of the period of possession. the Public Land Act recognizes and confirms that those who by themselves or through their
Noting that the CENRO-DENR certification stated that the property had been declared predecessors in interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession
alienable and disposable only on March 15, 1982, Velazco’s possession prior to March 15, and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain, under a bona fide
1982 could not be tacked for purposes of computing Malabanan’s period of possession. claim of acquisition of ownership, since June 12, 1945 have acquired ownership of, and
registrable title to, such lands based on the length and quality of their possession.
The petitioners elevated it to the SC asserting that with respect to Section 14(1), the ruling in
Republic v. Court of Appeals and Naguit (Naguit) remains the controlling doctrine especially (a) Since Section 48(b) merely requires possession since 12 June 1945 and does not
if the property involved is agricultural land., Naguit ruled that any possession of agricultural require that the lands should have been alienable and disposable during the entire
land prior to its declaration as alienable and disposable could be counted in the reckoning of period of possession, the possessor is entitled to secure judicial confirmation of his
the period of possession to perfect title under the Public Land Act (Commonwealth Act No. title thereto as soon as it is declared alienable and disposable, subject to the
141) and the Property Registration Decree. timeframe imposed by Section 47 of the Public Land Act.

With respect to Section 14(2), petitioners submit that open, continuous, exclusive and (b) The right to register granted under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act is
notorious possession of an alienable land of the public domain for more than 30 years ipso further confirmed by Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree.
jure converts the land into private property, thus placing it under the coverage of Section
14(2). According to them, it would not matter whether the land sought to be registered was (2) In complying with Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree, consider that
previously classified as agricultural land of the public domain so long as, at the time of the under the Civil Code, prescription is recognized as a mode of acquiring ownership of
application, the property had already been converted into private property through patrimonial property. However, public domain lands become only patrimonial property not
prescription. only with a declaration that these are alienable or disposable. There must also be an express
government manifestation that the property is already patrimonial or no longer retained for
On the other hand, the OSG notes that under Article 1113 of the Civil Code, the acquisitive public service or the development of national wealth, under Article 422 of the Civil Code. And
prescription of properties of the State refers to patrimonial property, while Section 14(2)
speaks of private lands. It observes that the Court has yet to decide a case that presented
only when the property has become patrimonial can the prescriptive period for the acquisition
of property of the public dominion begin to run.

(a) Patrimonial property is private property of the government. The person acquires
ownership of patrimonial property by prescription under the Civil Code is entitled to
secure registration thereof under Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree.

(b) There are two kinds of prescription by which patrimonial property may be
acquired, one ordinary and other extraordinary. Under ordinary acquisitive
prescription, a person acquires ownership of a patrimonial property through
possession for at least ten (10) years, in good faith and with just title. Under
extraordinary acquisitive prescription, a persons uninterrupted adverse possession of
patrimonial property for at least thirty (30) years, regardless of good faith or just
title, ripens into ownership.
Mateo Cariño vs The Insular Government (December 1906) Mateo Cariño vs The Insular Government (March 1907)

FACTS: On June 23, 1903, Mateo Cariño went to the Court of Land Registration (CLR) to FACTS: In February 1904, Mateo Cariño filed a claim before the Court of Land Registration
petition his inscription as the owner of a 146 hectare land he’s been possessing in the then praying that he be granted title over a 40 hectare land in the then town of Baguio, Province of
municipality of Baguio. Mateo only presented possessory information and no other Benguet.
documentation. The State opposed the petition averring that the land is part of the US military
reservation. The CLR ruled in favor of Mateo. The State appealed. Mateo lost. Mateo averred
that a grant should be given to him by reason of immemorial use and occupation as in the The government filed its opposition as it averred that Cariño or his predecessors in interest did
previous cases Cansino vs Valdez and Tiglao vs Government; and that the right of the State not continuously, exclusively, and adversely possessed the said parcel of land. Cariño
over said land has prescribed. interposed that he and his ancestors had been in possession over said parcel of land since time
immemorial. And that in 1901, Cariño filed a claim under the mortgage law over said parcel of
ISSUE: Whether or not Mateo is the rightful owner of the land by virtue of his possession of it land.
for some time.
HELD: No. The statute of limitations did not run against the government. The government is The government maintained that whatever right Cariño and his predecessors had over the said
still the absolute owner of the land (regalian doctrine). Further, Mateo’s possession of the land parcel of land, the same had already prescribed by reason of their failure to register their title
has not been of such a character as to require the presumption of a grant. No one has lived during the Spanish Era. Under Spanish Law (specifically, a decree issued in 1880), a land
upon it for many years. It was never used for anything but pasturage of animals, except privately held, if not registered, shall revert back to the public (regalian doctrine).
insignificant portions thereof, and since the insurrection against Spain it has apparently not
been used by Cariño for any purpose. ISSUE: Whether or not Cariño’s claim must be granted.
While the State has always recognized the right of the occupant to a deed if he proves a
possession for a sufficient length of time, yet it has always insisted that he must make that HELD: No. Cariño was not able to support his claim. As a rule, a parcel of land, being of
proof before the proper administrative officers, and obtain from them his deed, and until he common origin, presumptively belonged to the State during its sovereignty, and, in order to
did the State remained the absolute owner. perfect the legitimate acquisition of such land by private persons, it was necessary that the
possession of the same pass from the State.

The parcel of land being contested here was not part of the lands disposed off during the
Spanish Era. The last disposition made by the Spanish government was in 1894. The lands
disposed in 1894 did not include the land being claimed by Cariño hence, said land is
presumed to belong to the State.

It is true that the American Government (which was then ruling the Philippines at the time of
this case) provided that prescription may favor a land claimant but only in instances where the
Spanish Government has allowed the claimant to cultivate an unappropriated land. There was
no showing that Cariño or his predecessors in interest were allowed to cultivate said land (title
of egresion or title of composicion). In short, Cariño or his predecessors in interest failed to
show that they were able to comply with the legal requisites for them to acquire title.

His claim of title under the mortgage law is only possessory. He must wait for twenty years to
lapse before such can ripen to ownership.
ISLANDS (1909 US Case)
 Carino is an Igorot of the Province of Benguet, where the land lies filed for writ of error
because the CFI and SC dismissed his petition for application

 For more than 50 years before the Treaty of Paris, April 11, 1899, he and his ancestors
had held the land as recognized owners by the Igorots. (grandfather maintain fences for
holding cattle>father had cultivated parts and used parts for pasturing cattle>he used it
for pasture)

 1893-1894 & 1896-1897: he made an application but with no avail

 1901: petition alleging ownership under the mortgage law and the lands were registered
to him but process only established possessory title

 Even if the applicant have title, he cannot have it registered, because the Philippine
Commission's Act No. 926, of 1903, excepts the Province of Benguet among others
from its operation

ISSUE: W/N Carino has ownership and is entitled to registration.

HELD: YES. Petition Granted.
 Land was not registered, and therefore became, if it was not always, public land.

 Spanish Law: "Where such possessors shall not be able to produce title deeds, it shall be
sufficient if they shall show that ancient possession, as a valid title by prescription." For
cultivated land, 20 years, uninterrupted, is enough. For uncultivated, 30.

 Applicant's possession was not unlawful, and no attempt at any such proceedings against
him or his father ever was made.

 Every native who had not a paper title is not a trespasser.

 There must be a presumption against the government when a private individual claims
property as his or her own. It went so far as to say that the lands will be deemed private
absent contrary proof.
Mapa vs Insular Government.
G.R. No. L-3793 February 19, 1908

The petitioner sought to have registered a tract of land of about 16 hectares in extent, situated
in the barrio of San Antonio, in the district of Mandurriao, in the municipality of Iloilo.
Judgment was rendered in favor of the petitioner and the Government has appealed through
the Attorney-General who claims that no lands can be called agricultural lands unless they are
such by their nature.

A motion for a new trial was made and denied in the court below, but no exception was taken
to the order denying it, and the court therefore cannot review the evidence.

Issue: Whether the land in controversy is agricultural land within the meaning of Act No. 926
section 54, paragraph 6.

Held: The Court holds that there is to be found in the act of Congress a definition of the
phrase "agricultural public lands," and after a careful consideration of the question the court is
satisfied that the only definition which exists in said act is the definition adopted by the court

Section 13 says that the Government shall "Make rules and regulations for the lease, sale,
or other disposition of the public lands other than timber or mineral lands."

In the mind of the court, that is the only definition that can be said to be given to agricultural
lands. In other words, that the phrase "agricultural land" as used in Act No. 926 means
those public lands acquired from Spain which are not timber or mineral lands. As was
said in the case of Jones vs. The Insular Government (6 Phil Rep., 122, 133) where these same
section of the act of Congress were under discussion.

The meaning of these sections is not clear and it is difficult to give to them a construction that
would be entirely free from objection. But the construction the court has adopted is less
objectionable than any other one that has been suggested.

The judgment of the court below is affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the
appellant. So ordered.
Valenton v. Murciano before the authorities named, and within a time to be fixed by them, their title papers and those
G.R. No. 1413 March 30, 1904 who had good title or showed prescription were to be protected.

Principle: Possession of public lands by private persons does not grant ownership thereof In their holdings, it is apparent that it was not the intention of the law that mere possession for
even through prescription except those private persons who have ancient possession over those a length of time should make the possessors the owners of the lands possessed by them
public lands. without any action on the part of the authorities. It is plain that they were required to present
their claims to the authorities and obtain a confirmation thereof. What the period of
In 1860, Valenton, and each one of the other plaintiffs, entered into the peaceful and quiet prescription mentioned in this law was does not appear, but later, in 1646, law 19 of the same
occupation and possession of the larger part of the lands described in the complaint of the title declared "that no one shall be ’admitted to adjustment’ unless he has possessed the lands
plaintiffs. From 1860, the plaintiffs continued to occupy and possess the said lands, quietly for ten years."
and peacefully, until the year 1892, by themselves, by their agents and tenants, claiming that
they were the exclusive owners of said lands. That on or about the 16th day of January, 1892, Another legislative act of the same character was the royal cedula of October 15, 1754 (4
Manuel Murciano, defendant -attorney in fact of Candido Capulong, by denounced the said Legislacion Ultramarina, Rodriguez San Pedro, 673). The wording of this law is much
lands to the then existing Government of the Philippine Islands, declaring that the said lands stronger than that of law 14. As is seen by the terms of article 3, any person whatever who
belong to the then existing Government of the Philippine Islands, and petitioned for the sale of occupied any public land was required to present the instruments by virtue of which he was in
the same to him. Andres Valenton filed for protest against the proceeding. On the July 14, possession, within a time to be fixed by the authorities, and he was warned that if he did not
1982 Don Enrique Castellvi ’e Ibarrola, secretary of the treasury of the Province of Tarlac, in do so he would be evicted from his land and it would be granted to others. By terms of article
executed a contract of purchase and sale to Murciano. From the said 14th day of July, 1892, 4 those possessors to whom grants had been made prior to 1700, were entitled to have such
Manuel Murciano has at no time occupied or possessed all of the land mentioned, but has grants confirmed, and it was also provided that not being able to prove any grant it should be
possessed only certain indistinct and indefinite portions of the same. CFI ordered judgment for sufficient to prove that "ancient possession," as a sufficient title by prescription, and they
the defendant on the ground that the plaintiffs had lost all right to the land by not pursuing should be confirmed in their holdings. "That ancient possession" would be at least fifty four
their objections to the sale mentioned. years, for it would have to date from prior to 1700, no confirmation could be granted on proof
of prescription alone. Similar provisions are found in the regulations of 1883, approved the
Plaintiff contended that in 1890 they had been in the adverse possession of the property for second time by royal order of February 16 (Gaceta de Manila, June 28, 1883).
thirty years; that, applying the extraordinary period of prescription of thirty years, found as
well in the Partidas as in the Civil Code, they then became the absolute owners of the land as
against everyone, including the State, and that when the State in 1892 deeded the property to
the defendant, nothing passed by the deed because the State had nothing to convey.

Issue: Whether or not Valenton and the other plaintiffs obtained ownership over the public
lands by means of occupation for 32 years (from 1860 to 1892)

Held: No. Valenton and other plaintiffs did not obtained ownership over the public lands by
means of occupation for 32 years.

The Judgement of the lower court should be affirmed. Special laws which from the earliest
times have regulated the disposition of the public lands in the colonies and not in the general
statute of limitation contained in the Partidas. Law 14, title 12, book 4 was the first of a long
series of legislative acts intended to compel those in possession of the public lands, without
written evidence of title, or with defective title papers, to present evidence as to their
possession or grants, and obtain the confirmation of their claim to ownership. While the State
has always recognized the right of the occupant to a deed if he proves a possession for a
sufficient length of time, yet it has always insisted that he must make that proof before the
proper administrative officers, and obtain from them his deed, and until he did that the State
remained the absolute owner.

In the preamble of this law there is, as is seen, a distinct statement that all those lands belong
to the Crown which have not been granted by Philip, or in his name, or by the kings who
preceded him. This statement excludes the idea that there might be lands not so granted, that
did not belong to the king. It excludes the idea that the king was not still the owner of all
ungranted lands, because some private person had been in the adverse occupation of them. By
the mandatory part of the law all the occupants of the public lands are required to produce
G.R. No. L-24066 December 9, 1925

This action was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga by a complaint filed
by Valentin Susi against Angela Razon and the Director of Lands, praying for judgment: (a)
Declaring plaintiff the sole and absolute owner of the parcel of land described in the second
paragraph of the complaint; (b) annulling the sale made by the Director of Lands in favor of
Angela Razon, on the ground that the land is a private property; (c) ordering the cancellation
of the certificate of title issued to said Angela Razon; and (d) sentencing the latter to pay
plaintiff the sum of P500 as damages, with the costs.

For his answer to the complaint, the Director of Lands denied each and every allegation
contained therein and, as special defense, alleged that the land in question was a property of
the Government of the United States under the administration and control of the Philippine
Islands before its sale to Angela Razon, which was made in accordance with law.

Issue: Whether or not the possession and occupation of the land in question by Valentin Susi
has been open, continuous, adverse and public, without any interruption.

Held: Yes. It clearly appears from the evidence that Valentin Susi has been in possession of
the land in question openly, continuously, adversely, and publicly, personally and through his
predecessors, since the year 1880, that is, for about forty-five years. While the judgment of the
Court of First Instance of Pampanga against Angela Razon in the forcible entry case does not
affect the Director of Lands, yet it is controlling as to Angela Razon and rebuts her claim that
she had been in possession thereof. When on August 15, 1914, Angela Razon applied for the
purchase of said land, Valentin Susi had already been in possession thereof personally and
through his predecessors for thirty-four years. And if it is taken into account that Nemesio
Pinlac had already made said land a fish pond when he sold it on December 18, 1880, it can
hardly be estimated when he began to possess and occupy it, the period of time being so long
that it is beyond the reach of memory. These being the facts, the doctrine laid down by the
Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Cariño vs. Government of the Philippine
Islands (212 U. S., 449 1), is applicable here. In favor of Valentin Susi, there is, moreover, the
presumption juris et de jure established in paragraph (b) of section 45 of Act No. 2874,
amending Act No. 926, that all the necessary requirements for a grant by the Government
were complied with, for he has been in actual and physical possession, personally and through
his predecessors, of an agricultural land of the public domain openly, continuously,
exclusively and publicly since July 26, 1894, with a right to a certificate of title to said land
under the provisions of Chapter VIII of said Act. So that when Angela Razon applied for the
grant in her favor, Valentin Susi had already acquired, by operation of law, not only a right to
a grant, but a grant of the Government, for it is not necessary that certificate of title should be
issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts, an application therefore is
sufficient, under the provisions of section 47 of Act No. 2874. If by a legal fiction, Valentin
Susi had acquired the land in question by a grant of the State, it had already ceased to be the
public domain and had become private property, at least by presumption, of Valentin Susi,
beyond the control of the Director of Lands. Consequently, in selling the land in question to
Angela Razon, the Director of Lands disposed of a land over which he had no longer any title
or control, and the sale thus made was void and of no effect, and Angela Razon did not
thereby acquire any right.
G.R. No. 173775, 8 October 2008

The Court of Appeals affirmed RTC Kalibo’s decision to grant the petition for declaratory
relief filed by Boracay Mayor Jose Yap et al. to have a judicial confirmation of imperfect title
or survey of land for titling purposes for the land they have been occupying in Boracay. Yap et
al alleged that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 raised doubts on their right
to secure titles over their occupied lands. They declared that they themselves, or through their
predecessors-in-interest, had been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession
and occupation in Boracay since June 12, 1945, or earlier since time immemorial. They
declared their lands for tax purposes and paid realty taxes on them. Later in 2006, President
Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1064 classifying Boracay Island into 400 hectares of reserved
forest land and 628.96 hectares of agricultural land (alienable and disposable).

Issue: Whether Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 pose any legal obstacle for
respondents, and all those similarly situated, to acquire title to their occupied lands in Boracay

Ruling: The SC ruled against Yap et al. and Sacay et al.

Yes, because the Philippine Bill of 1902, Act No. 926, and Proclamation No. 1801 did not
convert portions of Boracay Island into an agricultural land. The island remained an
unclassified land of the public domain and, applying the Regalian doctrine, is considered State
property. The Regalian Doctrine dictates that all lands of the public domain belong to the
State, that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land and charged with
the conservation of such patrimony. All lands that have not been acquired from the
government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the State as part of the inalienable
public domain.

Private claimants’ bid for judicial confirmation of imperfect title, relying on the Philippine Bill
of 1902, Act No. 926, and Proclamation No. 1801, must fail because of the absence of the
second element of alienable and disposable land. Their entitlement to a government grant
under our present Public Land Act presupposes that the land possessed and applied for is
already alienable and disposable. Where the land is not alienable and disposable, possession
of the land, no matter how long, cannot confer ownership or possessory rights.
It is plain error for petitioners to argue that under the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Public Land
Act No. 926, mere possession by private individuals of lands creates the legal presumption
that the lands are alienable and disposable.

Except for lands already covered by existing titles, Boracay was an unclassified land of the
public domain prior to Proclamation No. 1064. Such unclassified lands are considered public
forest under PD No. 705.

The private claimants cannot apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under
Proclamation No. 1064, with respect to those lands which were classified as agricultural lands.
Private claimants failed to prove the first element of open, continuous, exclusive, and
notorious possession of their lands in Boracay since June 12, 1945.
De Aldecoa vs Insular Government
G.R. No. 3894 March 12, 1909

FACTS: De Aldecoa applied for registration of his title to a parcel of land in Surigao, The
Attorney-General opposed alleging that the land in question was the property of the U.S. and
now under the control of the Insular Government and that the title issued by the politico
military governor of Surigao to de Aldecoa is null and void because the governor has no
authority to make a grant. The Judge of Court of Land Registration ordered the cancellation of
the entry made to the property.

ISSUE: Whether or not a parcel of land that is susceptible of being cultivated, and, ceasing to
be agricultural land, was converted into a building lot, is subject to the legal provisions in
force regarding Government public lands which may be alienated in favor of private
individuals or corporations

HELD: Yes, because under the Act of Congress as well as the provisions of Act No. 926,
Section 54 paragraph 6, said land is neither mining nor timber land. It is seen that the land, the
registration of which is claimed, was of the class of vacant crown or public land which the
State could alienate to private persons, and being susceptible of cultivation, since at any time
the person in possession desired to convert it into agricultural land he might do so in the same
manner that he had made a building lot of it.

It is deduced that, with the exception of those comprised within the mineral and timber zone,
all lands owned by the State or by the sovereign nation are public in character, and per se
alienable and, provided they are not destined to the use of the public in general or reserved by
the Government in accordance with law, they may be acquired by any private or judicial
person; and considering their origin and primitive state and the general uses to which they
were accorded, they are called agricultural lands, urban lands or building lots being included
in this classification for the purpose of distinguishing rural and urban estates from mineral and
timber lands.
G.R. No. 135385 ; December 6, 2000

Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa brought this suit for prohibition and mandamus as citizens and
taxpayers, assailing the constitutionality of certain provisions of Republic Act No. 8371 (R.A.
8371), otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), and its
Implementing Rules and Regulations (Implementing Rules), on the ground that they amount to
an unlawful deprivation of the State’s ownership over lands of the public domain as well as
minerals and other natural resources therein, in violation of the regalian doctrine embodied in
Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution. Petitioners also contest that, by providing for an all-
encompassing definition of "ancestral domains" and "ancestral lands" which might even
include private lands found within said areas violates the rights of private landowners. In
addition, petitioners question the provisions of the IPRA defining the powers and jurisdiction
of the NCIP and making customary law applicable to the settlement of disputes involving
ancestral domains and ancestral lands on the ground that these provisions violate the due
process clause of the Constitution. Finally, petitioners assail the validity of the NCIP
Administrative Order No. 1, series of 1998, which provides that "the administrative
relationship of the NCIP to the Office of the President is characterized as a lateral but
autonomous relationship for purposes of policy and program coordination." They contend that
said Rule infringes upon the President’s power of control over executive departments under
Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution.

The Solicitor General is of the view that the IPRA is partly unconstitutional on the ground that
it grants ownership over natural resources to indigenous peoples and prays that the petition be
granted in part. Accordingly, the CHR asserts that IPRA is an expression of the principle of
parens patriae and that the State has the responsibility to protect and guarantee the rights of
those who are at a serious disadvantage like indigenous peoples. For this reason it prays that
the petition be dismissed.

ISSUE: Whether or not the IPRA Law is unconstitutional.

RULING: After the deliberation of the Supreme Court, seven (7) voted to dismiss the petition
and seven (7) other members of the Court voted to grant the petition. As the votes were
equally divided (7 to 7) and the necessary majority was not obtained, the case was
redeliberated upon. However, after redeliberation, the voting remained the same. Accordingly,
pursuant to Rule 56, Section 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the petition is DISMISSED.
PHILIP MATTHEWS vs. BENJAMIN A. TAYLOR and JOSELYN C. TAYLOR Benjamin has no right to nullify the Agreement of Lease between Joselyn and petitioner.
G.R. No. 164584 June 22, 2009 Benjamin, being an alien, is absolutely prohibited from acquiring private and public lands in
the Philippines. Considering that Joselyn appeared to be the designated "vendee" in the Deed
of Sale of said property, she acquired sole ownership thereto.
On June 30, 1988, respondent Benjamin, a British subject, married Joselyn, a 17-year old
Filipina.On June 9, 1989, while their marriage was subsisting, Joselyn bought from Diosa M. This is true even if Benjamin’s claim is sustained, that he provided the funds for such
Martin a lot in Boracay. The sale was allegedly financed by Benjamin. Joselyn and Benjamin, acquisition. By entering into such contract knowing that it was illegal, no implied trust was
also using the latter’s funds, constructed improvements thereon and eventually converted the created in his favor; no reimbursement for his expenses can be allowed; and no declaration can
property to a vacation and tourist resort known as the Admiral Ben Bow Inn. All required be made that the subject property was part of the conjugal/community property of the spouses.
permits and licenses for the operation of the resort were obtained in the name of
GinnaCelestino, Joselyn’s sister.However, Benjamin and Joselyn had a falling out, and In any event, he had and has no capacity or personality to question the subsequent lease of the
Joselyn ran away with Kim Philippsen. On June 8, 1992, Joselyn executed a SPA in favor of Boracay property by his wife on the theory that in so doing, he was merely exercising the
Benjamin, authorizing the latter to maintain, sell, lease, and sub-lease and otherwise enter into prerogative of a husband in respect of conjugal property. To sustain such a theory would
contract with third parties with respect to their Boracay property.Thereafter, on July 20, 1992, countenance indirect controversion of the constitutional prohibition. If the property were to be
Joselyn as lessor and petitioner Philip Matthews as lessee, entered into an Agreement of Lease declared conjugal, this would accord the alien husband a substantial interest and right over the
involving the Boracay property for a period of 25 years, with an annual rental of land, as he would then have a decisive vote as to its transfer or disposition. This is a right that
P12,000.00.Petitioner thereafter took possession of the property and renamed the resort as the Constitution does not permit him to have.
Music Garden Resort. Claiming that the Agreement was null and void since it was entered into
by Joselyn without Benjamin’s consent, Benjamin instituted an action for Declaration of
Nullity of Agreement of Lease with Damages against Joselyn and the petitioner.Benjamin
claimed that his funds were used in the acquisition and improvement of the Boracay property,
and coupled with the fact that he was Joselyn’shusband, any transaction involving said
property required his consent.

Issue: Whether or not the Lease Agreement of a parcel of land entered into by a Filipino wife
without the consent of her British husband is valid.

Ruling: No. Section 7, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution states that:

Section 7. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or

conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands
of the public domain.

Aliens, whether individuals or corporations, have been disqualified from acquiring lands of the
public domain. Hence, by virtue of the aforecited constitutional provision, they are also
disqualified from acquiring private lands. The primary purpose of this constitutional provision
is the conservation of the national patrimony. Our fundamental law cannot be any clearer. The
right to acquire lands of the public domain is reserved only to Filipino citizens or corporations
at least sixty percent of the capital of which is owned by Filipinos.

The rule is clear and inflexible: aliens are absolutely not allowed to acquire public or private
lands in the Philippines, save only in constitutionally recognized exceptions. There is no rule
more settled than this constitutional prohibition, as more and more aliens attempt to
circumvent the provision by trying to own lands through another.
Director of Lands vs. CA

Teodoro Abistado filed a petition for original registration of his title over 648 square meters
of land under Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1529. The land registration court in its decision
dated June 13, 1989 dismissed the petition “for want of jurisdiction”, in compliance with the
mandatory provision requiring publication of the notice of initial hearing in a newspaper of
general circulation. The case was elevated to respondent Court of Appeals which, set aside
the decision of the trial court and ordered the registration of the title in the name of Teodoro
Abistado. The Court of Appeals ruled that it was merely procedural and that the failure to
cause such publication did not deprive the trial court of its authority to grant the application.
The Director of Lands represented by the Solicitor General thus elevated this recourse to the
Supreme Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Director of Lands is correct that newspaper publication of the
notice of initial hearing in an original land registration case is mandatory.

HELD: YES. Petition was granted

The pertinent part of Section 23 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 requires publication of the
notice of initial hearing. It should be noted further that land registration is a proceeding in
rem. Being in rem, such proceeding requires constructive seizure of the land as against all
persons, including the state, who have rights to or interests in the property. An in rem
proceeding is validated essentially through publication. This being so, the process must
strictly be complied with.

The Supreme Court has no authority to dispense with such mandatory requirement. The law is
unambiguous and its rationale clear. Time and again, this Court has declared that where the
law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no room for interpretation, vacillation or
equivocation; there is room only for application. There is no alternative. Thus, the application
for land registration filed by private respondents must be dismissed without prejudice to
reapplication in the future, after all the legal requisites shall have been duly complied with.
STA. MONICA INDUSTRIAL AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs. CA 6. All persons who by themselves or their predecessors in interest have been in the open,
G.R. No. 83290 September 21, 1990 continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural public lands,
as defined by said act of Congress of July first, nineteen hundred and two, under a bona fide
In 1912, Court of Land Registration of Zambales, in Land Registration Case (LRC) No. 6431, claim of ownership except as against the Government, for a period of ten years next preceding
confirmed the title of Justo de Perio over two (2) parcels of land in Zambales. the taking effect of this Act, except when prevented by war or force majeure shall be
conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a government grant
On August 28, 1912, Decree No. 9328 was issued by the court ordering the registration of the and to have received the same, and shall be entitled to a certificate of title to such land under
two (2) parcels of land in the name of De Perio. Original Certificate of Title No. 48 was then the provisions of this chapter.
issued to De Perio. In 1936, a portion of Parcel No. 2 was sold to the Province of Zambales.
The sale was annotated at the back of OCT No. 48. OCT No. 48 was cancelled and TCT No. In other words, a person who had been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious session
T-1369 was issued to Mercedes de Valencia pursuant to an extrajudicial settlement of De and occupation of public agricultural land for a period of at least ten (10) years prior to July
Perio's estate. In 1962, De Valencia sold Parcel No. 1 and subdivided Parcel No. 2 into five (5) 24, 1904 could petition for the confirmation of his title over the land he had so possessed and
lots. In 1970, De Valencia sold the lots covered by TCT Nos. 11865 and 11866 to petitioner occupied.
Sta. Monica Industrial and Development Corporation. Petitioner consolidated the two (2)
parcels of land and subdivided them into five hundred thirty-six (536) residential lots which it The land registration court confirmed De Perio's title to the two (2) parcels of land after due
sold to individual buyers. notice and hearing. From this, the following conclusions may be derived:
1. that the two (2) parcels of land are agricultural as defined by law, i.e., that they are neither
In 1985, respondent Republic of the Philippines, filed with the Court of Appeals a complaint timber land nor mineral land [Mapa v. Insular Government, 10 Phil. 175 (1908)];
for the annulment of the decree in LRC No. 6431, OCT No. 48 (issued to De Perio and all the 2. that De Perio had been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and
TCTs issued from its subsequent sale). Respondent alleged that the decree in LRC No. 6431 occupation of the two (2) parcels of land for at least ten (10) years prior to 1904;
was null and void for lack of jurisdiction because the land was inside the U.S. naval 3. that his possession and occupancy was under a bona fide claim of ownership; and
reservation and that it was still within the forest zone in 1912, having been released therefrom 4. that under the law De Perio had title to the land as of 1904, although it was confirmed only
(meaning it is open for disposition) only in 1961, and hence cannot be the subject of later in 1912.
disposition or alienation as private property.
If De Perio had title to the land in 1904, although still imperfect, then it could not have been
Issue: Whether the land registration court had jurisdiction over the two (2) parcels of land prejudiced by the proclamation of Governor-General Smith in 1908 which reserved for naval
claimed by De Perio, the predecessor-in-interest of the petitioner herein. purposes land in Subic, Zambales. Said proclamation recognized the existence of private
Ruling: YES. Necessarily, the resolution of this issue requires an inquiry into the nature of the
subject parcels of land in light of the laws prevailing at the time the judgment in the land WHEREFORE, the petition is granted and the Court of Appeals is ordered to DISMISS CA-
registration case was rendered. G.R. SP No. 06259. SO ORDERED.

Weighing the arguments raised by the parties, we find that the Republic has failed to make out
a convincing case for the annulment of the decree in Land Registration Case No. 6431. It has
been established that the land registration court had jurisdiction over the two (2) parcels of
land, and that OCT No. 48 and the TCT derived from OCT No. 48 are valid.

Act No. 926, known as the Public Land Act, which was enacted into law on October 7, 1903
but which took effect on July 26, 1904, was the law applicable to De Perio's petition for
confirmation of his title to the two (2) parcels of land. It provided:

SEC. 54. The following-described persons or their legal successors in right, occupying public
lands in the Philippine Islands, or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein, but
whose titles to such lands have not been perfected, may apply to the Court of Land
Registration of the Philippine Islands for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a
certificate of title therefor to wit:

xxx xxx xxx

G.R. No. L-32266; February 27, 1989

Ruperto Villareal applied for the registration of a land which consists of 178,113 square
meters of mangrove swamps located in the municipality of Sapian, Capizon on January 25,
1949, alleging that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the land for
more than 40 years. He was opposed by several persons, including the Director of Forestry on
behalf of the Republic of the Philippines. After trial, the application was approved by the
Court of First Instance. of Capiz. The decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.The
Director of Forestry then came to this Court in a petition for review on certiorari claiming that
the land in dispute was forestal in nature and not subject to private appropriation. He asks that
the registration be reversed.

ISSUE: Whether or not mangrove swamps form part of the public land.

RULING: Yes, mangrove swamps form part of the public land because of its definition
embodied in Section 1820 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917 which declares that
mangrove swamps or manglares form part of the public forests of the Philippines:

Sec. 1820. Words and phrases defined. — For the purposes of this chapter, “public forest”
includes, except as otherwise specially indicated, all unreserved public land including nipa
and mangrove swamps and all forest reserves of whatever character. xxx

Hence, they are not alienable under the Constitution and are not susceptible of private
ownership. The evidence presented by the respondent in its claim were not sufficient to prove
its possession and ownership of the land, he only presented tax declarations. Therefore the
decision of the Court of Appeals was set aside and the application for registration of title by
the respondent is dismissed by the Supreme Court.