Case Digests on Property Law


The ownership of lands reclaimed from foreshore and submerged areas is rooted in the Regalian doctrine, which holds that the State owns all lands and waters of the public domain. The 1987 Constitution recognizes the Regalian doctrine. It declares that all natural resources are owned by the State and except for alienable agricultural lands of the public domain, natural resources cannot be alienated. The Amended JVA covers a reclamation area of 750 hectares. Only 157.84 hectares of the 750 hectare reclamation project have been reclaimed, and the rest of the area are stillsubmerged areas forming part of Manila Bay. Further, it is provided that AMARI will reimburse the actual costs in reclaiming the areas of land and it will shoulder the other reclamation costs to be incurred. The foreshore and submerged areas of Manila Bay are part of the lands of the public domain, waters and other natural resources and consequently owned by the State. As such, foreshore and submerged areas shall not be alienable unless they are classified as agricultural lands of the public domain. The mere reclamation of these areas by the PEA doesn’t convert these inalienable natural resources of the State into alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. There must be a law or presidential proclamation officially classifying these reclaimed lands as alienable and disposable if the law has reserved them for some public or quasi-public use.

FACTS: President Marcos through a presidential decree created PEA, which was tasked with the development, improvement, and acquisition, lease, and sale of all kinds of lands. The then president also transferred to PEA the foreshore and offshore lands of Manila Bay under the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road and Reclamation Project. Thereafter, PEA was granted patent to the reclaimed areas of land and then, years later, PEA entered into a JVA with AMARI for the development of the Freedom Islands. These two entered into a joint venture in the absence of any public bidding. Later, a privilege speech was given by Senator President Maceda denouncing the JVA as the grandmother of all scams. An investigation was conducted and it was concluded that the lands that PEA was conveying to AMARI were lands of the public domain; the certificates of title over the Freedom Islands were void; and the JVA itself was illegal. This prompted Ramos to form an investigatory committee on the legality of the JVA. Petitioner now comes and contends that the government stands to lose billions by the conveyance or sale of the reclaimed areas to AMARI. He also asked for the full disclosure of the renegotiations happening between the parties.

ISSUE: W/N stipulations in the amended JVA for the transfer to AMARI of the lands, reclaimed or to be reclaimed, violate the Constitution.

Macasiano v. Diokno [G.R. No. 97764. August 10, 1992.] En Banc, Medialdea (J): 12 concur Facts: On 13 June 1990, the Municipality of Paranaque passed Ordinance 86, s. 1990 which authorized the closure of J. Gabrielle, G.G. Cruz, Bayanihan, Lt. Garcia Extension and Opena Streets located at Baclaran, Parañaque, Metro


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Case Digests on Property Law

Manila and the establishment of a flea market thereon. The said ordinance was approved by the municipal council pursuant to MCC Ordinance 2, s. 1979, authorizing and regulating the use of certain city and/or municipal streets, roads and open spaces within Metropolitan Manila as sites for flea market and/or vending areas, under certain terms and conditions. On 20 July 1990, the Metropolitan Manila Authority approved Ordinance 86, s. 1990 of the municipal council subject to conditions. On 20 June 1990, the municipal council issued a resolution authorizing the Parañaque Mayor to enter into contract with any service cooperative for the establishment, operation, maintenance and management of flea markets and/or vending areas. On 8 August 1990, the municipality and Palanyag, a service cooperative, entered into an agreement whereby the latter shall operate, maintain and manage the flea market with the obligation to remit dues to the treasury of the municipal government of Parañaque. Consequently, market stalls were put up by Palanyag on the said streets. On 13 September 1990 Brig. Gen. Macasiano, PNP Superintendent of the Metropolitan Traffic Command, ordered the destruction and confiscation of stalls along G.G. Cruz and J. Gabrielle St. in Baclaran. These stalls were later returned to Palanyag. On 16 October 1990, Macasiano wrote a letter to Palanyag giving the latter 10 days to discontinue the flea market; otherwise, the market stalls shall be dismantled. On 23 October 1990, the municipality and Palanyag filed with the trial court a joint petition for prohibition and mandamus with damages and prayer for preliminary injunction. On 17 December 1990, the trial court issued an order upholding the validity of Ordinance 86 s. 1990 of the Municipality of Parañaque and enjoining Macasiano from enforcing his letter-order against Palanyag. Hence, a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 was filed by Macasiano thru the OSG. The Supreme Court granted the petition, and reversed and set aside the 17 December 1990 decision of the RTC which granted the writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the PNP Superintendent, Metropolitan Traffic Command

from enforcing the demolition of market stalls along J. Gabrielle, G.G. Cruz, Bayanihan, Lt. Garcia Extension and Opena streets. 1. Property of provinces, cities and municipalities; Property for public use The property of provinces, cities and municipalities is divided into property for public use and patrimonial property (Art. 423, Civil Code). As to property for public use, Article 424 of Civil Code provides that "property for public use, in the provinces, cities and municipalities, consists of the provincial roads, city streets, the squares, fountains, public waters, promenades, and public works for public service paid for by said provinces, cities or municipalities. All other property possessed by any of them is patrimonial and shall be governed by this Code, without prejudice to the provisions of special laws." In the present case, thus, J. Gabrielle G.G. Cruz, Bayanihan, Lt. Gacia Extension and Opena streets are local roads used for public service and are therefore considered public properties of the municipality. 2. Properties for public service deemed public and under absolute control of Congress Properties of the local government which are devoted to public service are deemed public and are under the absolute control of Congress (Province of Zamboanga del Norte v. City of Zamboanga, 22 SCRA 1334 [1968]). 3. Local governments have no authority to regulate use of public properties unless authority is vested upon by Congress; e.g. Closure of roads Local governments have no authority whatsoever to control or regulate the use of public properties unless specific authority is vested upon them by Congress. One such example of this authority given by Congress to the local governments is the power to close roads as provided in Section 10, Chapter II of the Local Government Code (BP 337), which states “A local government unit may likewise, through its head acting pursuant to a resolution of its sangguniang and in accordance with existing law and the provisions of this Code, close any barangay, municipal, city or provincial road, street, alley, park or square. No such way or

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Case Digests on Property Law

place or any part thereof shall be closed without indemnifying any person prejudiced thereby. A property thus withdrawn from public use may be used or conveyed for any purpose for which other real property belonging to the local unit concerned might be lawfully used or conveyed." 4. Legal provision should be read and interpreted in accordance with basic principles already established by law; LGU has no power to lease a road available to public and ordinarily used for vehicular traffic The legal provision (Chapter II, Section 10 of the LGC) which gives authority to local government units to close roads and other similar public places should be read and interpreted in accordance with basic principles already established by law. These basic principles have the effect of limiting such authority of the province, city or municipality to close a public street or thoroughfare. Article 424 NCC lays down the basic principle that properties of public dominion devoted to public use and made available to the public in general are outside the commerce of man and cannot be disposed of or leased by the local government unit to private persons. Aside from the requirement of due process which should be complied with before closing a road, street or park, the closure should be for the sole purpose of withdrawing the road or other public property from public use when circumstances show that such property is no longer intended or necessary for public use or public service. When it is already withdrawn from public use, the property then becomes patrimonial property of the local government unit (LGU) (Article 422 NCC; Cebu Oxygen v. Bercilles, 66 SCRA 481 [1975]). It is only then that the LGU can "use or convey them for any purpose for which other real property belonging to the local unit concerned might be lawfully used or conveyed." However, those roads and streets which are available to the public in general and ordinarily used for vehicular traffic are still considered public property devoted to public use. In such case, the LGU has no power to use it for another purpose or to dispose of or lease it to private persons.

5. Related case, Cebu Oxygen v. Bercilles In Cebu Oxygen v. Bercilles, the City Council of Cebu, through a resolution, declared the terminal road of M. Borces Street, Mabolo, Cebu City as an abandoned road, the same not being included in the City Development Plan. Thereafter, the City Council passed another resolution authorizing the sale of the said abandoned road through public bidding. The Court held that the City of Cebu is empowered to close a city street and to vacate or withdraw the same from public use. Such withdrawn portion becomes patrimonial property which can be the object of an ordinary contract 6. Related case, Dacanay v. Asistio In Dacanay v. Asistio, the disputed areas from which the market stalls are sought to be evicted are public streets. A public street is property for public use hence outside the commerce of man (Arts. 420, 424, Civil Code). Being outside the commerce of man, it may not be the subject of lease or other contract (Villanueva, et al. v. Castañeda and Macalino, 15 SCRA 142 citing the Municipality of Cavite v. Rojas, 30 SCRA 602; Espiritu v. Municipal Council of Pozorrubio, 102 Phil. 869; and Muyot v. De la Fuente, 48 O.G. 4860). The right of the public to use the city streets may not be bargained away through contract. The interests of a few should not prevail over the good of the greater number in the community whose health, peace, safety, good order and general welfare, the respondent city officials are under legal obligation to protect. The leases or licenses granted by the City Government to stallholders are null and void for being contrary to law. The Executive Order issued by the acting Mayor authorizing the use of Heroes del '96 Street as a vending area for stallholders contravenes the general law that reserves city streets and roads for public use. The Executive Order may not infringe upon the vested right of the public to use city streets for the purpose they were intended to serve: i.e., as arteries of travel for vehicles and pedestrians. 7. In gratia argumenti, ordinance cannot be validly implemented as municipality has not complied with conditions imposed by the MMA for the approval of the ordinance Even assuming, in gratia argumenti, that the

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Case Digests on Property Law

municipality has the authority to pass the disputed ordinance, the same cannot be validly implemented because it cannot be considered approved by the Metropolitan Manila Authority due to non-compliance by the municipality of the conditions imposed by the former for the approval of the ordinance. The allegations of the municipality that the closed streets were not used for vehicular traffic and that the majority of the residents do not oppose the establishment of a flea market on said streets are unsupported by any evidence that will show that the first condition has been met. Likewise, the designation by the Municipality of a time schedule during which the flea market shall operate is absent (fourth condition). 8. Baclaran area congested; establishment of flea market on municipality streets does not help solve problem of congestion It is of public notice that the streets along Baclaran area are congested with people, houses and traffic brought about by the proliferation of vendors occupying the streets. To license and allow the establishment of a flea market along J. Gabrielle, G.G. Cruz, Bayanihan, Lt. Garcia Extension and Opena streets in Baclaran would not help in solving the problem of congestion but rather leads to inconvenience to children as the normal transportation flow is disrupted, to pollution and deterioration of health of residents due to the garbage left by the vendors on the streets. Further, ambulances and fire engines are not able to use the roads for a more direct access to the fire area and thus lose valuable time that should have been spent in saving properties and lives. And further, the ambulances and people rushing patients to St. Rita Hospital located along GG Cruz Street are delayed as they are unable to pass through said street due to the stalls and vendors. 9. Powers of local government unit not absolute The powers of a local government unit are not absolute. They are subject to limitations laid down by the Constitution and the laws such as our Civil Code. Moreover, the exercise of such powers should be subservient to paramount considerations of health and well-being of the members of the community. Every local

government unit has the sworn obligation to enact measures that will enhance the public health, safety and convenience, maintain peace and order, and promote the general prosperity of the inhabitants of the local units. Based on this objective, the local government should refrain from acting towards that which might prejudice or adversely affect the general welfare. 10. General public has legal right to demand the restoration of city streets to their specific public purpose As in the Dacanay case, the general public have a legal right to demand the demolition of the illegally constructed stalls in public roads and streets and the officials of municipality have the corresponding duty arising from public office to clear the city streets and restore them to their specific public purpose. 11. Applicability of the Dacanay case; Contracts by Local Government governed by the original terms and conditions, and the law in force at time the rights were vested As in the Dacanay case, both cases involve an ordinance which is void and illegal for lack of basis and authority in laws applicable during its time. However, BP 337 (Local Government Code), has already been repealed by RA7160 (Local Government Code of 1991) which took effect on 1 January 1992. Section 5(d) of the new Code provides that rights and obligations existing on the date of effectivity of the new Code and arising out of contracts or any other source of prestation involving a local government unit shall be governed by the original terms and conditions of the said contracts or the law in force at the time such rights were vested.

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Case Digests on Property Law

Cebu Oxygen vs Bercilles 66 SCRA 481 Facts: This is a case on a petition for the review of the order of the Court of First Instance of Cebu dismissing petitioner's application for registration of title over a parcel of land situated in the City of Cebu. The parcel of land sought to be registered was only a portion of M. Borces Street, Mabolo, Cebu City. On September 23, 1968, the City Council of Cebu, through Resolution No. 2193, approved on October 3, 1968, declared the terminal portion of M. Borces Street, Mabolo, Cebu City, as an abandoned road, the same not being included in the City Development Plan. Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Cebu filed a motion to dismiss the application on the ground that the property sought to be registered being a public road intended for public use is considered part of the public domain and therefore outside the commerce of man. Consequently, it cannot be subject to registration by any private individual. Issue: Whether or not the declaration of the road as abandoned make it patrimonial property which may be the object of a common contract. Held: Since that portion of the city street subject of petitioner's application for registration of title was withdrawn from public use, it follows that such withdrawn portion becomes patrimonial property which can be the object of an ordinary contract. Article 422 of the Civil Code expressly provides that "Property of public dominion, when no longer intended for public use or for public service, shall form part of the patrimonial property of the State." Property thus withdrawn from public servitude may be used or conveyed for any purpose for which other real property belonging to the City may be lawfully used or conveyed.

Province of Zamboanga Zamboanga City 22 SCRA 1334 Facts:




Prior to its incorporation as a chartered city, the Municipality of Zamboanga used to be the provincial capital of the then Zamboanga Province. On October 12, 1936, Commonwealth Act 39 was approved converting the Municipality of Zamboanga into Zamboanga City. Sec. 50 of the Act also provided that — Buildings and properties which the province shall abandon upon the transfer of the capital to another place will be acquired and paid for by the City of Zamboanga at a price to be fixed by the Auditor General. The properties and buildings referred to consisted of 50 lots and some buildings constructed thereon, located in the City of Zamboanga and covered individually by Torrens certificates of title in the name of Zamboanga Province. On June 6, 1952, Republic Act 711 was approved dividing the province of Zamboanga into two (2): Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur. Properties and the obligations of the province of Zamboanga shall be divided equitably between the Province of Zamboanga del Norte and the Province of Zamboanga del Sur by the President of the Philippines, upon the recommendation of the Auditor General. However, on June 17, 1961, Republic Act 3039 was approved amending Sec. 50 of Commonwealth Act 39 by providing that —All buildings, properties and assets belonging to the former province of Zamboanga and located within the City of Zamboanga are hereby

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Case Digests on Property Law

transferred, free of charge, in favor of the said City of Zamboanga. Issue: WON Zamboanga del Norte is deprived of its private properties without due process and just compensation.

Ruling: The fact that the 26 lots are registered strengthens the proposition that they are truly private in nature. On the other hand, that the 24 lots used for governmental purposes are also registered is of no significance since registration cannot convert public property to private. Applying Art. 424 of NCC, all the properties in question, except the two (2) lots used as High School playgrounds, could be considered as patrimonial properties of the former Zamboanga province. Even the capital site, the hospital and leprosarium sites, and the school sites will be considered patrimonial for they are not for public use. They would fall under the phrase "public works for public service"

Excellency, the President of the Philippines to consider the feasibility of declaring the City property bounded by Florida, San Andres, and Nebraska Streets, containing a total area of 7,450 square meters as a patrimonial property of the City of Manila for the purpose of reselling these lots to the actual occupants thereof. There is therefore a precedent that this parcel of land could be subdivided and sold to bona fide occupants. The bill was passed by the Senate and approved by the President and became RA 4118. Issue: WON the property involved in RA 4118 is a private or patrimonial property of the City of Manila. Ruling: The conclusion of the respondent court that Republic Act No. 4118 converted a patrimonial property of the City of Manila into a parcel of disposable land of the State and took it away from the City without compensation is, therefore, unfounded. In the last analysis the land in question pertains to the State and the City of Manila merely acted as trustee for the benefit of the people therein for whom the State can legislate in the exercise of its legitimate powers. If it were its patrimonial property why should the City of Manila be requesting the President to make representation to the legislature to declare it as such so it can be disposed of in favor of the actual occupants? There could be no more blatant recognition of the fact that said land belongs to the State and was simply granted in usufruct to the City of Manila for municipal purposes.

Salas vs Jarencio 46 SCRA 734

On February 24, 1919, the 4th Branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila, acting as a land registration court, rendered judgment declaring the City of Manila the owner in fee simple of a parcel of land containing an area of 9,689.8 square meters, more or less. On various dates in 1924, the City of Manila sold portions of the aforementioned parcel of land in favor of Pura Villanueva. On September 21, 1960, the Municipal Board of Manila, presided by then Vice-Mayor Antono J. Villegas, adopted a resolution requesting His

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