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MODESTO v. URBINA (2010) which affirmed in toto the RTC decision.

So, the
petitioners filed a petition for review on certiorari to the
[J. Brion] SC. The SC denied the Modestos' petition, but the
petitioners filed again for a motion for reconsideration.
SUMMARY AND DOCTRINE
II. ISSUES:
This case originates from a complaint of recovery of
possession filed by respondent Urbina against the 1. Whether or not the land subject of the
petitioners Modesto, with the RTC of Pasig controversy, is indeed, government property,
sometime in 1983.Urbina in his complaint alleged hence, cannot be privately owned.
that he was the owner of a parcel of land situated at
Lower Bicutan, Taguig. According to Urbina, the 2. Whether or not petitioner have a better right of
Modestos, through stealth, scheme, and possession since they were in actual, adverse,
machination, were able to occupy a portion of his public, and continuous possession of the
property. Thereafter, the Modestos negotiated with property.
Urbina for the sale of said lot. However, before the
III. RATIO:
parties could finalize the sale, the Modestos
allegedly cancelled the transaction and began 1. Yes. The SC upheld the factual findings of
claiming ownership over the lot. The Modestos the Land Management Bureau (LMB), the
claimed that Urbina could not be the lawful owner of administrative agency tasked with assisting the DENR
the lands because it was still government property, in the management and disposition of alienable an
being part of the Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation. disposable lands of the public domain when it
The RTC and the CA ruled in favor of Urbina. In invalidated the claim of respondent of possessory
January 2010, the SC denied the Modestos petition rights over said property since it was not yet alienable
for review. However, on motion for reconsideration, and disposable lands prior to then President Cory
in light of the ruling of the Land Management Aquino’s public declaration of P.D. No.172
Bureau that the contested land was indeed part of reclassifying it to be alienable and disposable lands
the military reservation, the SC reversed its previous on October 16, 1987.
ruling and dismissed the complaint for recovery of
possession of Urbina. Unless a public land is shown to have been
reclassified as alienable or actually alienated by the
Unless a public land is shown to have been State to a private person, that piece of land remains
reclassified as alienable or actually alienated by the part of the public domain, and its occupation in the
State to a private person, that piece of land remains concept of owner, no matter how long, cannot confer
part of the public domain, and its occupation in the ownership or possessory rights. It is only after the
concept of owner, no matter how long, cannot property has been declared alienable and disposable
confer ownership or possessory rights. It is only that private persons can legally claim possessory
after the property has been declared alienable rights over it.
and disposable that private persons can legally
claim possessory rights over it. 2. Yes. The Court resolved the issue by applying the
I. FACTS: legal provisions covering the subject property
whichwas P.D. No. 172 implementing guidelines M.O.
Urbina filed a civil case against the petitioners with the No. 119 where one of the qualifications to ownership
RTC of Pasig. He alleged that the Modestos, through is that one must have constructed a house in the
stealth, scheme, and machination, occupied a portion proclaimed area for disposition on or prior to January
of a parcel of land that he owns located in Taguig. 6, 1986 and actually residing therein. As reported by
Thereafter, the Modestos negotiated with Urbina for the special investigator and other land inspectors, it
the sale of this lot to them. However, before the was the Modestos who were the actual occupants of
parties could finalize the sale, the Modestos allegedly the area unlike Urbina who never occupied the land
cancelled the transaction and began claiming and instead has been residing in Makati City.
ownership over the lot. In their answer, the Modestos
claimed that Urbina could not be the lawful owner of IV. DISPOSITIVE:
the property because it was still government property,
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we GRANT the
being a part of the Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation,
when Urbina allegedly claimed ownership to it. The motion and REINSTATE the petition. Consequently,
RTC rendered a decision in favor of Urbina, noting we REVERSE and SET ASIDE the Decision dated
that the petitioners recognized Urbina's possessory January 26, 2009 and Resolution dated October 5,
rights over the property when they entered into a 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
negotiated contract of sale with him for the property. 68007. We DISMISS the complaint for Recovery of
Thus, they were estopped from subsequently Possession filed by Carlos T. Urbina for lack of merit.
assailing or disclaiming Urbina's possessory rights
over this lot. The petitioners appealed to the CA,