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2016 [LAND TITLES AND DEEDS] Agcaoili Book; Atty. Panes Lectures; LA Notes
Sec. 1 Title of Decree – This This decree shall be known as the Property Registration Decree. Regalian Doctrine (Art. 12, Sec. 2 of the 1987 PC) all lands of whatever classification and other natural resources not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership belong to the State Jura Regalia private title to a land must be traced t o some grant, express or i mplied, or from its successors The belief that the Spanish Crown is the origin of all land titles in the Philippines. This refers to Royal Rights that all lands were formerly held by the King. (Maam Panes): refers to private ownership and how private ownership of lands were given by virtue of the royal rights possessed by the King Exceptions to Regalian Doctrine 1) Native Title (Carino v. Insular) – refers to pre-conquest rights to lands and domains which, as far back as memory reaches, have been held under a claim of private ownership by ICCs/Indigenous Peoples, have never been public lands, and are thus indisp utably presumed to have been held the same way since before Spanish Conquest
Time Immemorial - A period of time when as far back as memory can go, certain ICCs/IPs are known to have occupied, possessed in the concept of an owner, and utilized a defined territory developed to them, by operation of customary law or inherited from their ancestors with their customs and traditions Ancestral Domain (Cruz v. Secretary)
SECRETARY OF DENR V. MAYOR JOSE S. YAP October 8, 2008 This case involves 2 petitions regarding the right of the present occupants of Boracay Island to secure titles over their occupied lands. FIRST CASE: G.R. No. 167707 Certiorari on CA decision affirming RTC granting declaratory relief field by Mayor Jose Yap et al and ordered the survey of Boracay for titling purposes 1976, (DENR) approved the National Reservation Survey of Boracay Island, which identified several lots as being occupied or claimed by named persons. President Marcos declared the area as tourist zones and marine reserves under the administration of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA). Hence, subsequent issuance of PTA Circular 3-82 to implement Proclamation No. 1801. Petitioners claim that Proclamation and PTA Circular precluded them from filing an application for judicial confirmation of imperfect title or survey of land for titling purposes; Marcos’ declaration raised doubts on their right to secure titles over their occupied lands and Since the Island was classified as a tourist zone, it was susceptible of private ownership; Under Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 141, otherwise known as the Public Land Act, they had the right to have the lots registered in their names through judicial confirmation of imperfect titles.
PD No. 705 or the Revised Forestry Code that Boracay OSG invoked Section 3(a) of PD Island was an unclassified land of the public domain . It formed part of the mass of lands classified as public forest, which was NOT available for disposition and since Boracay Island had not been classified as A & D whatever possession they had cannot ripen into ownership. ISSUE: whether Proclamation No. 1801 posed any legal hindrance or impediment to the titling of the lands in Boracay. RTC neither Proclamation nor the Circular mentioned mentioned that lands in Boracay were inalienable or could not be the subject of disposition. The Circular itself recognized private ownership of lands. Sections 87 and 53 of the Public Land Act as basis for acknowledging private ownership of lands in Boracay and that only those forested areas in public lands were declared as part of the forest reserve. The RTC took judicial notice that certain parcels of land in Boracay Boracay Island were covered by OCT in the name of the Heirs of Ciriaco S. Tirol. The titles were issued on August 7, 1933. CA held that respondents-claimants could not be prejudiced by a declaration that the lands they occupied since time immemorial were part of a forest reserve.
SECOND CASE : G.R. No. 173775 a petition for prohibition, mandamus, and nullification of Proclamation No. 1064 issued by PGMA classifying Boracay into reserved forest and agricultural land. During the pendency of the 1st case, PGMA issued Proclamation No. 1064 classifying Boracay Island into 1. (400) hectares of reserved forest land (protection purposes) a nd
(628.96) hectares of agricultural land (A/D). (15m) buffer zone on each side of the centerline of roads and trails, reserved for right-of-way and which shall form part of the area reserved for forest land protection purposes.
On August 10, 2006, petitioners-claimants , owners of beach resorts in Boracay filed with this Court an action to nullify PGMA’s proclamation claiming that it infringed on their prior vested rights over portions of Boracay; there is no need for a proclamation reclassifying Boracay into agricultural land; and Being classified as neither mineral nor timber land, the island is deemed agricultural pursuant to the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Act No. 926, known as the first PLA. Thus, their possession in the concept of owner for the required period entitled them to judicial confirmation of imperfect title. OSG argued that petitioners-claimants Boracay is an unclassified public forest land pursuant to Section 3(a) of PD No. 705 and cannot be t he subject of judicial confirmation of imperfect title. It is only the executive department, not the courts, which has authority to reclassify lands of the public domain into A&D. There is a need for a positive government act in order to release the lots for disposition. ISSUE: W/N petitioner claimants have a right to secure titles over their occupied portions in Boracay. The twin petitions pertain to their right, if any, to judicial confirmation of imperfect title under CA No. 141, as amended. They do not involve their right to secure title under other pertinent laws. HELD: REGALIAN DOCTRINE AND POWER OF THE EXECUTIVE TO RECLASSIFY LANDS OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN Private claimants rely on three (3) laws and executive acts in their bid for judicial confirmation of imperfect title, namely: 1) Philippine Bill of 1902 1902 in relation to Act Act No. 926, later later amended and/or superseded by Act No. 2874 and CA No. 141; 2) Proclamation No. 1801 issued by then President President Marcos; and 3) Proclamation No. 1064 issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Macapagal-Arroyo.
1935 CONSTITUTION 1. agricultura l 2. forest or timber
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
agricultural industrial/commerc ial residential resettlement mineral timber/forest grazing lands others by law
2. 3. 4.
agricultural (maybe A/D) forest/timbe r national parks mineral
Prior to Proclamation No. 1064 of May 22, 2006, Boracay Island had never been expressly and administratively classified under any of these grand divisions. Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain. 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. The doctrine has been consistently adopted under the 1935, 1973, and 1987 Constitutions. All lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. State. Thus, all lands that have not been been acquired from the government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the State as part of the inalienable public domain . Necessarily, it is up to the State to determine if lands of the public domain will be disposed of for private ownership. The government, as the agent of the state, is possessed of the plenary power as the persona in law to determine who shall be the favored recipients of public lands, as well as under what terms they may be granted such privilege, not excluding the placing of obstacles in the way of their exercise of what otherwise would be ordinary acts of ownership. SPANISH RULE Our present land law traces its roots to the Regalian Doctrine. Upon the Spanish conquest of the Philippines, ownership of all lands, territories and possessions in the Philippines passed to the Spanish Crown. The Laws Of The I ndies ndies And The R oyal oyal C edulas edulas Ley Hipotecaria Or The Mortgage Law Of 1893. The R oyal oyal D ecree Of 1894 Or The Maura Law
First introduced Regalian doctrine and laid the foundation that all lands that were not acquired from the Government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the public domain provided for the systematic registration of titles and deeds as well as possessory claims. partly a mended the Spanish Mortgage Law Law and the Laws of the Indies. Indies. It established possessory information as the method of legalizing possession of vacant Crown land, under certain conditions which were set forth in said decree. Under Section 393 of the Maura Law , an 1) informacion posesoria or possessory information title, 2) when duly inscribed in the Registry of Property, is converted into a title of ownership 3) only after the lapse of twenty (20) years of 4) uninterrupted possession which must be actual, public, 1
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and adverse, from the date of its inscription. However, possessory information title had to be perfected one year a fter the promulgation of t he Ma ura Law, or until April 17, 1895. Otherwise, the lands would revert to the State.
In sum, private ownership of land under the Spanish regime could only be founded on royal concessions which took various forms, namely: a) titulo real or royal grant; b) concesion especial or special grant; c) composicion con el estado or adjustment title; d) titulo de compra or title by purchase; and e) informacion posesoria or possessory information title.
AMERICAN RULE Philippine Bill 1) of 1902 US assumed 2) administration of the Phil. Is. After the 1898 Treaty 3) of Paris Act No. 496 Land Registration Act On February 1, 1903
Act No. 926 First Public Land Act October 7, 1903 title to public lands in the Philippines remained in the gov’t and its title sprung from Treaty of Paris
Act. No. 2259 Cadastral Act Feb. 11, 1913
Act No. 2874 Second Public Land Act November 29, 1919 Under Jones Law
CA No. 141 PUBLIC LAND ACT 1935 Constitution; December 1, 1936
AGRICULTURAL ( those public lands acquired from Spain which are not timber or mineral lands) MINERAL a. absolute grant (freehold system) b. lease (leasehold system) TIMBER OR FOREST LANDS.
established a system of registration by w hich recorded title becomes absolute, indefeasible, and imprescriptible. This is known as the TORRENS SYSTEM. Made the Court of Land Registration Does not create title nor vest o ne, simply confirms and register introduced the HOMESTEAD SYSTEM , provisions for judicial and administrative confirmation of imperfect titles i. OCENPO of agricultural lands for the next ten (10) years preceding July 26, 1904 SALE OR LEASE OF PUBLIC LANDS. permitted corporations regardless of the nationality of persons owning the controlling stock to lease or purchase lands of the public domain judges of courts have the authority to determine classification of lands CFI’s had power to adjudicate cases relating to land titles and disputes Cadastral system of registration – when in the opinion of the President, the public interest requires that the title to any lands be settled and adjudicated, he shall order the DoL to make survey thereof, w/ notice to all persons claiming an interest therein. Thereafter, DoL shall be represented by SG, shall institute the registration proceedings by filing a petition in the proper court against the possessors stating that public interest requires the titles to such lands be settled and adjudicated. comprehensive law limited the exploitation of agricultural lands to Filipinos and Americans and citizens of other countries which gave Filipinos the same privileges. For judicial confirmation of title, posses sion and occupation en concepto dueo since time immemorial, or since July 26, 1894, was required. ***POSITIVE ACT REQUIRED Courts are no longer authorized to determine classification of lands Gave the executive through the President the exclusive prerogative to classify public lands into A & D, mineral or forest. After declaration of A&D, t his law requires publication and notice remains as the existing general law governing the classification and disposition of lands of the public domain other than timber and mineral lands, and pr ivately owned lands which reverted to the State. Section 48(b) of CA No. 141 retained the requirement under Act No. 2874 of possession and occupation of lands of the public domain since ti me immemorial or since July 26, 1894.
Amendments of this Requirement Republic Act (RA) No. 1942 OCENPO 30 Years PD No. 1073, OCENPO since June 12, 1945, or earlier. There are two requisites for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title under CA No. 141, namely: (1) open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of the subject land by himself or through his
PD No. 892 February 16, 1976 Spanish Titles may no longer be used as evidence of ownership due to the rise of several conflicting claims of ownership
PD No. 1529 , Property Registration Decree June 11, 1978
predecessors-in-interest under a bona fide claim of ownership since time immemorial or from June 12, 1945; and (2) The classification of the land as alienable and disposable land of the public domain. discontinued the use of Spanish titles as evidence in land registration proceedings. Under the decree, all holders of Spanish titles or grants should apply for re gistration of their lands under Act No. 496 within six (6) months from the effectivity of the decree on February 16, 1976. Thereafter, the recording of all unregistered lands shall be governed by Section 194 of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended by Act No. 3344. Evidences of Ownership during Spanish Regime Royal Grant 1) Special Grant 2) Adjustment Title 3) Title by Purchase 4) Possessory Information Title 5) Gratuitous Title 6) Amended and updated the Act. No. 496 enacted to codify the various laws relative t o registration of property governs registration of lands under the Torrens system as well as unregistered lands, including chattel mortgages. Broadened the jurisdiction of RTCs w ith regard to original registration of title to lands Created the former LRC which is now Land Registration Authority
A POSITIVE ACT DECLARING LAND AS ALIENABLE AND DISPOSABLE IS REQUIRED. In keeping with the presumption of State ownership, the Court has time and again emphasized that there must be a positive act of the government, such as an official proclamation, declassifying inalienable public land into disposable land for agricultural or other purposes. In fact, Section 8 of CA No. 141 limits alienable or disposable lands only to those lands which have been offic ially delimited and classified. THE BURDEN OF PROOF IN OVERCOMING THE PRESUMPTION OF STATE OWNERSHIP OF THE LANDS OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN IS ON THE PERSON APPLYING FOR REGISTRATION (or claiming ownership), who must prove that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable. To overcome this presumption, incontrovertible evidence must be established that the land subject of the application (or claim) is A/D. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)
presidential proclamation or P an executive order; E an administrative action; A investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators; and a R legislative act or a statute. L
The applicant may also secure a certification from the government that the land claimed to have been possessed for the required number of years is alienable and disposable. In this case records bereft of evidence showing that, prior to 2006, the portions of Boracay occupied by private claimants were subject of a government proclamation that the land is A/D. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed. They call for proof. Who may classify lands? JUDICIARY (ANKRON AND DE ALDECOA )These cases were decided under the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Act No. 926 (October 7, 1926). During that time, the President had no power to classify lands of the public domain into mineral, timber, and agricultural. Hence, the courts were free to make corresponding classifications in justiciable cases, or were vested with implicit power to do so, depending upon the preponderance of the evidence. To aid the courts in resolving land registration cases under Act No. 926, it was then necessary to devise a presumption on land classification that in the absence of evidence to the contrary, lands are considered agricultural. However, this presumption did not automatically converted all lands of the public domain as A&D agricultural lands for it would be utterly inconsistent with and totally repugnant to the long-entrenched Regalian doctrine. The presumption in Ankron and De Aldecoa attaches only to land registration cases brought under the provisions of Act No. 926, or more specifically those cases dealing with judicial and administrative confirmation of imperfect titles. The presumption applies to an applicant for judicial or administrative conformation of imperfect title under Act No. 926. It certainly cannot apply to landowners, such as private claimants or their predecessors-in-interest, who failed to avail themselves of the benefits of Act No. 926. As to them, their land remained unclassified and, by virtue of the Regalian doctrine, continued to be owned by the State. In any case, the assumption in Ankron and De Aldecoa was not absolute. Land classification was, in the end, dependent on proof. If there was proof that the land was better suited for non-agricultural uses, the courts could adjudge it as a mineral or timber land despite the presumption. EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT Since 1919, courts were no longer free to determine the classification of lands from the facts of each case, except those that have already became private lands. Act No. 2874 , promulgated in 1919 and reproduced in Section 6 of CA No. 141 , gave the Executive Department, through 2
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the President, the exclusive prerogative to classify or reclassify public lands into alienable or disposable, mineral or forest.96-a Since then, courts no longer had the authority, whether express or implied, to determine the classification of lands of the public domain. Here, private claimants, unlike the HEIRS OF CIRIACO TIROL who were issued their title in 1933, did not present a justiciable case for determination by the land registration court of the propertys land classification. Simply put, there was no opportunity for the courts then to resolve if the land the Boracay occupants are now claiming were agricultural lands. When Act No. 926 was supplanted by Act No. 2874 in 1919, without an application for judicial confirmation having been filed by private claimants or their predecessors-in-interest, the courts were no longer authorized to determine the propertys land classification. Hence, private claimants cannot bank on Act No. 926. PRIVATE CLAIMANTS CONTINUED POSSESSION UNDER ACT NO. 926 DOES NOT CREATE A PRESUMPTION THAT THE LAND IS ALIENABLE. Private claimants also contend that their continued possession of portions of Boracay Island for the requisite period of ten (10) years under Act No. 926 ipso facto converted the island into private ownership. Hence, they may apply for a title in their name.A similar argument was squarely rejected by the Court in Collado v. Court of Appeals. Collado, citing the separate opinion of now Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno in Cruz v. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources,107-a ruled: Act No. 926, the first Public Land Act, was passed in pursuance of the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902. The law governed the disposition of lands of the public domain. It prescribed rules and regulations for the homesteading, selling and leasing of portions of the public domain of the Philippine Islands, and prescribed the terms and conditions to enable persons to perfect their titles to public lands in the Islands. It also provided for the issuance of patents to cer tain native settlers upon public lands, for the establishment of town sites and sale of lots therein, for the completion of imperfect titles, and for the cancellation or confirmation of Spanish concessions and grants in the Islands. In short, the Public Land Act operated on the assumption that title to public lands in the Philippine Islands remained in the government; and that the governments title to public land sprung from the Treaty of Paris and other subsequent treaties between Spain and the United States. The term public land referred to all lands of the public domain whose title still remained in the government and are thrown open to private appropriation and settlement, and excluded the patrimonial property of the government and the friar lands. Thus, 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 le gal presumption that the lands are alienable and disposable. (Emphasis Ours) 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 DENR and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority certify that Boracay Island is an unclassified land of the public domain. PD No. 705 issued by President Marcos categorized all unclassified lands of the public domain as public forest. Section 3(a) of PD No. 705 defines a PUBLIC FOREST as a mass of lands of the public domain which has not been the subject of the present system of classification for the determination of which lands are needed for forest purpose and which are not . Applying PD No. 705, all unclassified lands, including those in Boracay Island, are ipso facto considered public forests. PD No. 705, however, respects titles already existing prior to its effectivity. The Court notes that the classification of Boracay as a forest land under PD No. 705 may seem to be out of touch w ith the present realities i n the island. Boracay, no doubt, has been partly stripped of its forest cover to pave the way for commercial developments. As a premier tourist destination for local and foreign tourists, Boracay appears more of a commercial island resort, rather than a forest land. Nevertheless, that the occupants of Boracay have built multi-million peso beach resorts on the island; that the island has already been stripped of its forest cover; or that the implementation of Proclamation No. 1064 will destroy the islands tourism industry, do not negate its character as public forest. Forests, in the context of both the Public Land Act and the Constitution classifying lands of the public domain into agricultural, forest or timber, mineral lands, and national parks, do not necessarily refer to large tracts of wooded land or expanses covered by dense growths of trees and underbrushesA forested area classified as forest land of the public domain
does not lose such classification simply because loggers or settlers may have stripped it of its forest cove r. The classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descri ptive of what the land actually looks like. Unless and until the land classified as forest is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that it may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain, the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply. (Emphasis supplied)
PROCLAMATION NO. 1801 IS NOT A POSIITIVE ACT . However, private claimants argue that Proclamation No. 1801 issued by then President Marcos in 1978 entitles them to judicial confirmation of imperfect title. The Proclamation classified Boracay, among other islands, as a tourist zone. Private claimants assert that, as a tourist spot, the island is susceptible of private ownership.
Proclamation No. 1801 or PTA Circular No. 3-82 did not convert the whole of Boracay into an agricultural land but merely recognizes that the island can be classified by the Executive department pursuant to its powers under C A No. 141. Therefore, Proclamation No. 1801 cannot be deemed t he positi ve act needed to classify Boracay Island as alienable and disposable land. If President Marcos intended to classify the island as alienable and disposable or forest, or both, he would have identified the specific limits of each, as President Arroyo did in Proclamation No. 1064. This was not done in Proclamation No. 1801. The Whereas clauses of Proclamation No. 1801 shows that the proclamation is aimed at administering the islands for tourism and ecological purposes. It does not address the areas alienability . IT WAS PROCLAMATION NO. 1064 OF 2006 WHICH POSITIVELY DECLARED PART OF BORACAY AS ALIENABLE AND OPENED THE SAME TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP. Sections 6 and 7 of CA No. 141 provide that it is only the President, upon the recommendation of the proper department head, who has the authority to classify the lands of the public domain into alienable or disposable, timber and mineral lands. In issuing Proclamation No. 1064, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo merely exercised the authority granted to her to classify lands of the public domain, presumably subject to existing vested rights. Classification of public lands is the exclusive prerogative of the Executive Department, through the Office of the President. Courts have no authority to do so. Absent such classification, the land remains unclassified until released and rendered open to disposition. PROCLAMATION NO. 1064 DOES NOT VIOLATE THE COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN REFORM LAW. Private claimants further assert that Proclamation No. 1064 violates the provision of the (CARL) or RA No. 6657 barring conversion of public forests into agricultural lands . They claim that since Boracay is a public forest under PD No. 705, President Arroyo can no longer convert it into an agricultural land without running afoul of Section 4(a) of RA No. 6657, thus: SEC. 4. Scope. The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 shall cover, regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, all public and private agricultural lands as provided in Proclamation No. 131 and Executive Order No. 229, including other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture.
That Boracay Island was classified as a public forest under PD No. 705 did not bar the Executive from later converting it into agricultural land. Boracay Island still remained an unclassified land of the public domain despite PD No. 705., the prohibition under the CARL applies only to a reclassification of land. If the land had never been previously classified, as in the case of Boracay, there can be no prohibited reclassification under the agrarian law. We agree with the opinion of the Department of Justice on this point: Thus, obviously, the prohibition in Section 4(a) of the CARL against the reclassification of forest lands to agricultural lands without a prior law delimiting the limits of the public domain, does not, and cannot, apply to those lands of the public domain, denominated as public forest under the Revised Forestry Code, which have not been previously determined, or classified, as needed for forest purposes in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Forestry Code. PRIVATE CLAIMANTS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO APPLY FOR JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION OF IMPERFECT TITLE UNDER CA NO. 141. NEITHER DO THEY HAVE VESTED RIGHTS OVER THE OCCUPIED LANDS UNDER THE SAID LAW. There are two requisites for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title under CA No. 141, namely: OCENPO of the subject land by himself or through his predecessors-in1) interest under a bona fide claim of ownership since time immemorial or from June 12, 1945; and the classification of the land as alienable and disposable land of the 2) public domain. Why pb of 1902 and act. No. 926 and pn 1801 reliance must fail? because of the absence of the 2 nd of a/d 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. this is clear from the wording of the law itself. where the land is not alienable and disposable, possession of the land, no matter how long, cannot confer ownership or possessory rights. Neither may private claimants 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 OCENPO of their lands in Boracay since June 12, 1945.
All is not lost, however. Lack of title does not necessarily mean lack of right to possess. For one thing, those with lawful possession may claim good faith as builders of improvements. They can take steps to preserve or protect their possession. For another, they may look into other modes of applying for original registration of title, such as by homestead or sales patent, subject to the conditions imposed by law. More realistically, Congress may enact a law to entitle private claimants to acquire title to their occupied lots or to exempt them from certain requirements under the present land laws. There is one such bill now pending in the House of Representatives. Whether that bill or a similar bill will become a law is for Congress to decide. 3
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In issuing Proclamation No. 1064, the government has taken the step necessary to open up the island to private ownership. This gesture may not be sufficient to appease some sectors which view the classification of the island partially into a forest reserve as absurd. That the island is no longer overrun by trees, however, does not becloud the vision to protect its remaining forest cover and to strike a healthy balance between progress and ecology. Ecological conservation is as important as economic progress. To be sure, forest lands are fundamental to our nations survival. Their promotion and protection are not j ust fancy r hetoric for politicians and activists. These are needs that become more urgent as destruction of our environment gets prevalent and difficult to control. As aptly observed by Justice Conrado Sanchez in 1968 in Director of Forestry v. Munoz: The view this Court takes of the cases at bar is but in adherence to public policy that should be followed with respect to forest lands. Many have written much, and many more have spoken, and quite often, about the pressing need for forest preservation, conservation, protection, development and reforestation. Not without justification. For, forests constitute a vital segment of any country's natural resources. It is of common knowledge by now that absence of the necessary green cover on our lands produces a number of adverse or ill effects of serious proportions. Without the trees, watersheds dry up; rivers and lakes which they supply are emptied of their contents. The fish disappear. Denuded areas become dust bowls. As waterfalls cease to function, so will hydroelectric plants. With the rains, t he fertile topsoil is washed away; geological erosion results. With erosion come the dreaded floods that wreak havoc and destruction to property crops, livestock, houses, and highways not to mention precious human lives. Indeed, the foregoing observations should be written down in a lumbermans decalogue.
REPUBLIC V. NAGUIAT FACTS: Respondent Celestina Naguiat filed for an application for registration of 4 parcels of land located in Zambales. She alleges that she is the owner of the subject lands having acquired them from LID Corporation. LID Corp. acquired the land from Calderon, Moraga, Monje and their predecessors in interest who have been in OCENPO for more than 30 years. She believes that the lots are not mortgaged nor encumbered. RP opposed the application alleging No OCENPO since 12 June 1945 or prior thereto; 1) muniments of title and tax payment receipts of applicant do not constitute 2) competent and sufficient evidence of a bona-fide acquisition of the lands applied for or of his OCENPO ; applicants claim of ownership in fee simple on the basis of Spanish title or grant 3) can no longer be availed of . . .; and that parcels of land applied for are part of the public domain belonging to RP not 4) subject to private appropriation.
The RTC rendered judgment in favor of Naguiat which was subsequently affirmed by the CA. Hence, the appeal before the SC. The Republic faults the CA on its finding which respects the length of Naguiat’s occupation of the subject property and for not considering the fact that she has not established that the lands in question have been declassified from forest land to A&D property.
petition be dismissed. Petitioners Cruz and Europa countered the constitutionality of IPRA and its 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. Also, that the law is in violation of the Regalian Doctrine embodied in the Constitution. Also, petitioners contended that, by providing for an all-encompassing definition of “ancestral domains” and “ancestral lands”, it might include private lands found within the said areas. Issue:WON IPRA is unconstitutional as it contravenes Regalian Doctrine? Ruling: NO, IPRA is held to be constitutional. After due deliberation on the petition, 7 members of the court voted to dismiss the petition, and 7 members of the court voted to grant the same. The case was redeliberated upon, however, the votes remained t he same. According to the Rules of Civil Procedure, the petition has to be dismissed. The constitutionality of IPRA is upheld. Justice Panganiban’s Dissenting Opinion: Contentions of RA 8371’s unconstitutionality: 1. It violates the inalienability of Natural Resources and of Public Domains. That this is in contravention to Section 2, Art. 12 of the Constitution that only agricultural lands of the public domain can be considered as alienable and disposable lands. 2. No land area li mits are specified - That 4/5 of the country’s natur al resources and 1/3 of the country’s land will be concentrated to 12 Million IPs, and while 60 million other Filipinos will share the remaining. These figures violates the constitutional principle of a “more equitable distribution of opportunities, income , and wealth” among Filipinos. 3. It abdicates the State Duty to take Full Control and Supervision of Natural Resources 4. Public Domains and Natural Resources are owned by the State and Cannot be Alienated or Ceded
Sec. 2 Nature of Registration Proceedings, Jurisdiction of Courts Judicial Proceedings for the registration of lands throughout the Philippines shall be in rem Based on generally accepted principles underlying the Torrens s ystem CFI shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all applications for original registration of title to lands, including all improvements and interests therein, and over all petitions filed after original registration of title, with power to hear and determine all q uestions arising upon such applications or pe The court through its clerk of court shall furnish the Land Registration Commission with 2 certified copies of all pleadings, exhibits, orders, and decisions filed or issu o petitions for land registration, with the exception of stenographic notes, o within 5 days from the fili ng or issuance thereof
ISSUE: whether or not the areas in question have ceased to have the status of forest or other inalienable lands of the public domain? RULING: SC had an opportunity to discuss the concept of Regalian Doctrine in this case. It states that all lands of the public domain belong to the State that is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land. Public lands not shown to have been reclassified or released as alienable agricultural land or alienated to a private person by the State remain part of the inalienable public domain. The burden of proof to overturn the presumption that the land subject of an application is alienable or disposable rests with the applicant. The SC said that the CA, in this case, assumed that the lands in question are already A&D. CA ratiocinated that the possession of Naguiat of the lands created a legal fiction where without judicial declaration, the same ceases to be a public land and becomes private property ipso jure.
conceptualized by Sir Robert Torrens from South Australia the purpose is to do away with the delay, uncertainty, and expense of the system
What is Torrens System? Those systems of registration of transaction with interest in land whose declared object is, under governmental authority; To establish and certify to the ownership of an absolute and indefeasible title to realty, To simplify its transfer
Respondent Naguiat did not present any incontrovertible proof that there has been a positive act from the government which reclassified the land applied for as A&D. T he tax receipts cannot be a sufficient proof for there is no information about the classification of the property on it. Instead, the applicant could have obtained a Certificate of Land Classification from the DENR as a valid proof. Since the land is unclassified, according to SC, the same cannot be acquired by adverse occupation. Occupation on such land in the concept of an owner, however long, cannot ripen into private ownership and be registered title. To this, the application of Naguiat to have the lands registered is denied.
What are the Purposes of Torrens System? (Legarda v. Saleeby) To quiet title to land; 1) To put a stop forever to any question of t he legality of title 2) Exception Claims which were noted at the time of registration, in the certificate or which may arise subsequent thereto once a title is registered, the owner may rest secure without necessity of waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting in the “mirador de su casa” to avoid the possibility of losing his land.
ISAGANI CRUZ VS. SECRETARY OF ENVIRONMENT 347 SCRA 128
Advantages of the Torrens System Substitutes security for insecurity 1) Reduced the cost of conveyances and time occupied 2) Exchanged brevity and clearness for obscurity and verbiage 3) Simplified ordinary dealings 4) Affords protection against fraud 5) Restored to their just value many estates, held under good holding titles, but 6) depreciated in consequence of some blur or technical defect, and has barred the reoccurrence of any similar faults
FACTS: Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa, petitioners, assailed the constitutionality of certain provisions of RA 8371 ( Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997) together with its implementing rules and regulations. The OSG also commented that IPRA is partly unconstitutional on the ground that it grants ownership over natural resources to indigenous people.
On the other hand, 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 people. For this reason, it prays that the
THREE PRINCIPLES in the TS 1) Mirror Principle
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if there are several transfers, the TCT will be a ‘mirror’ in that it should be identical to the current facts. If the seller sells the land, the old title must be identical to the new one in terms of technical description, so as to reinforce the concept that the buyers should be able to rely on the face of the title. Exception o when a person deals with a registered land with a) someone that is not the registered owner when the party has actual knowledge of facts b) which should impel a reasonably cautious mind to make such inquiry to the lack of tit le; in cases of banking and financing institutio ns c) Curtain Principle The concept that the buyer should be able to rely on the face of o the title, and should not go beyond the certificate. In a way, the buyer does not have to go behind the curtain to ascertain the truth of the title, because the Torrens Certificate guarantees him that. Insurance Principle Equates registration to a guarantee by the State o o
LAWS PRIOR TO 1529, See Table under Sec. v. Yap PD 1529 How is jurisdiction over the RES acquired? A: Sec. 23 Publication 1) Mailing 2) Notice 3) Who may apply for registration? A: Sec. 14, p. 1-4 OPAL Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been 1) in OCENPO of AD lands of the public domain under a bona fide clai m of ownership since June 12, 1945 or earlier Those who have acquired ownership of private lands b y prescription under 2) the provisions of existing laws Those how have acquired ownership of private lands or abandoned river 3) beds by right of accession or accretion under the existing laws Those who have acquired ownership of land in a ny other manner provided 4) by law Where and how to file the application for Registration? With the RTC of the province or city where the land is situated. The TC shall issue an order setting the date and hour of initial hearing, and the public shall be given notice thereof by means of publication, mailing a nd posting. Any person claiming an interest in the land may appear and file an opposition, stating all his objections to the application. The case shall be heard and all conflicting claims of ownership shall be determined by the court. Once the judgment becomes final, the court shall issue an order for the issuance of a decree and the corresponding certificate of title in favour of the person adjudged as entitled to registration. Thereupon. The LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY shall prepare the corresponding decree of registration as well as the original and duplicate certificate of title which shall be sent to the Register of Deeds of the city or province where the land lies for registration. Jurisdiction in civil cases involving title to property Sec. 19(2), BP 129 With the RTC where assessed value of the property exceeds 20k If Manila, if the assessed value of t he property exceeds 50k Exceptions Forcible entry o Unlawful detainer of lands or buildings o
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TITLE AND CERTIFICATE OF TITLE TITLE CERTIFICATE OF TITLE Source of right Merely confirms a title already existing Foundation of ownership Mere evidence of ownership Best evidence of ownership Best evidence of title
LEGARDA V. SALEEBY G.R. No. L-8936 October 2, 1915
CASE: Land is registered under the name of two persons FACTS: o
That the plaintiffs LEGARDA and the defendant SALEEBY occupy, as owners, adjoining lots which existed a number of years a stone wall between the said lots. Said wall is located on the lot of the plaintiffs LEGARDA. Upon petition to the Court, Legarda was able to obtain a decree of registration which included the stonewall. Several months later (the 13th day of December, 1912) the plaintiffs LEGARDA discovered that the wall which had been included in the certificate granted to them had also been included in the certificate granted to the defendant .They
immediately presented a petition in the Court of Land Registration for an adjustment and correction of the error committed The lower court however, without notice to the defendant SALEEBY denied said petition upon the theory that, during the pendency of the petition for the registration of the defendant's land, they failed to make any objection to the registration of said lot, including the wall, in the name of the defendant SALEEBY.
ISSUE: W/N the lower court is correct in granting to SALEEBY the stonewall as his registered property? NO RULING: The REAL PURPOSE OF THAT SYSTEM is to quiet title to land; to put a stop forever to any question of the legality of the title, except claims which were noted at the time of registration, in the certificate, or which may arise subsequent thereto. That being the purpose o f t he law, it would seem that once a title is registered the owner may rest secure, without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting in the "mirador de su casa," to avoid the possibility of losing his land. Of course, it can not be denied that the proceeding for the registration of land under the torrens system is judicial (Escueta vs. .Director of Lands, 16 Phil. Rep., 482). It is clothed with all the forms of an action and the result is final and binding upon all the world. It is an action in rem.
While the proceeding is judicial, it involves more in its consequences than does an ordinary action. All the world are parties, including the government. After the registration is complete and final and there exists no fraud, there are no innocent third parties who may claim an interest. The rights of all the world are foreclosed by the decree of registration. The government itself assumes the burden of giving notice to all parties. To permit persons who are parties in the registration proceeding (and they are all t he world) to again litigate the same questions, and to again cast doubt upon the validity of the registered title, would destroy the very p urpose and intent of the law. THE REGISTRATION, UNDER THE TORRENS SYSTEM, DOES NOT GIVE THE OWNER ANY BETTER TITLE THAN HE HAD . If he does not already have a perfect title, he can not have it registered. Fee simple titles only may be registered. The certificate of registration accumulates in open document a precise and correct statement of the exact status of the fee held by its owner. The certificate, in the absence of fraud, is the evidence of title and shows exactly the real interest of its owner. The title once registered, with very few exceptions, should not t hereafter be impugned, altered, changed, modified, enlarged, or diminished, except in some direct proceeding permitted by law. Otherwise all security in registered titles would be lost. A registered title can not be altered, modified, enlarged, or diminished in a collateral proceeding and not even by a direct proceeding, after the lapse of the period prescribed by law.
For the difficulty involved in the present case the Act (No. 496) providing for the registration of titles under the torrens system affords us no remedy. There is no provision in said Act giving the parties relief under conditions like the present. There is nothing in the Act which indicates who should be the owner of land which has been registered in the name of two different persons. The rule, we think, is well settled that the decree ordering the registration of a particular parcel of land is a bar to future litigation over the same between the same parties .In view of the fact that all the world are parties, it must follow that future litigation over the title is forever barred; there can be no persons who are not parties to the action. This, we think, is the rule, EXCEPT as to rights which are noted in the certificate or which arise subsequently, and with certain other exceptions which need not be dismissed at present. A title once registered can not be defeated, even by an adverse, open, and notorious possession. REGISTERED TITLE UNDER THE TORRENS SYSTEM CAN NOT BE DEFEATED BY PRESCRIPTION (section 46, Act No. 496). The title, once registered, is notice to the world. All persons must take notice. No one can plead ignorance of the registration. The question, who is the owner of land registered in the name of two different persons, has been presented to the courts in other jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions, where the "torrens" system has been adopted, the difficulty has been settled by express statutory provision. In others it has been settled by the courts. Hogg, in his excellent discussion o f the "Australian Torrens System," at page 823, says: " THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT IN THE CASE OF TWO CERTIFICATES OF TITLE, PURPORTING TO INCLUDE THE SAME LAND, THE EARLIER IN DATE PREVAILS, WHETHER THE LAND COMPRISED IN THE LATTER CERTIFICATE BE WHOLLY, OR ONLY IN PART, COMPRISED IN THE EARLIER CERTIFICATE. Hogg adds however that, "IF IT CAN BE VERY CLEARLY ASCERTAINED BY THE ORDINARY RULES OF CONSTRUCTION RELATING TO WRITTEN DOCUMENTS, THAT THE INCLUSION OF THE LAND IN THE CERTIFICATE OF TITLE OF PRIOR DATE IS A MISTAKE, THE MISTAKE MAY BE RECTIFIED BY HOLDING THE LATTER OF THE TWO CERTIFICATES OF TITLE TO BE CONCLUSIVE." (See Hogg on the "Australian torrens System," supra, and cases cited. See also the excellent work of Niblack in his "Analysis of the Torrens System," page 99.) Niblack, in discussing the general question, said: "Where two certificates purport to include the same land the earlier in date prevails. ... In successive registrations, where more than one certificate is issued in respect of a particular estate or interest in land, the person claiming under the prior certificates is entitled to the estate or interest; and that person is deemed to hold under the prior certificate who is the holder of, or whose claim is derived directly or indirectly from the person who was the holder of the earliest certificate issued in respect thereof. While the acts in this country do not expressly cover the case of the issue of two certificates for the same land, they provide that a registered owner shall hold the title, and the effect of this undoubtedly is that WHERE TWO CERTIFICATES PURPORT TO INCLUDE THE SAME REGISTERED 5
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LAND, THE HOLDER OF THE EARLIER ONE CONTINUES TO HOLD THE TITLE" (p. 237). Section 38 of Act No. 496, provides that; "It (the decree of registration) shall be conclusive upon and against all persons, including the Insular Government and all the branches thereof, whether mentioned by name in the application, notice, or citation, or included in the general description " To all whom it may concern ." Such decree shall not be opened by reason of the absence, infancy, or other disability of any person affected thereby, nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments or decrees; subject, however, to the right of any person deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by decree of registration obtained by fraud to file in the Court of Land Registration a petition for review within one year after entry of the decree (of registration), provided no innocent purchaser for value has acquired an interest. GENERAL RULE: "decree of registration" shall not be opened, for any reason, in any court, EXCEPTION: fraud, and not even for fraud, after t he lapse of one year. Q: If then the decree of registration can not be opened for any reason, except for fraud, in a direct proceeding for that purpose, may such decree be opened or set aside in a collateral proceeding by including a portion of the land in a subsequent certificate or decree of registration? We do not believe the law contemplated that a person could be deprived of his registered title in that way. We have in this jurisdiction a general statutory provision which governs the right of the ownership of land when the same is registered in the ordinary registry in the name of two persons. Article 1473 of the Civil Code provides, among other things, that when one piece of real property had been sold to two different persons it shall belong to the person acquiring it, who first inscribes it in the registry. This rule, of course, presupposes that each of the vendees or purchasers has acquired title to the land. T he real ownership in such a case depends upon priority of registrat ion.
Adopting the rule which we believe to be more in consonance with the purposes and the real intent of the torrens system, we are of the opinion and so decree that in case land has been registered under the Land Registrati on Act in the name of two different persons, the earlier in date shall prevail.
In the present case, the appellee SALEEBY was the first negligent (granting that he was the real owner, and if he was not the real owner he cannot complain) in not opposing the registration in the name of the appellants. Granting that he was the owner of the land upon which the wall is located, his failure to oppose the registration of the same in the name of the appellants, in the absence of fraud, forever closes his mouth against impugning the validity of that judgment. There is no more reason why the doctrine invoked by the appellee should be applied to the appellants t han to him. IN CASE OF DOUBLE REGISTRATION UNDER THE LAND REGISTRATION ACT, THAT THE OWNER OF THE EARLIEST CERTIFICATE IS THE OWNER OF THE LAND. That is the rule between original parties. May this rule be applied to successive vendees of the owners of such certificates? Suppose that one or the other of the parties, before the error is discovered, transfers his original certificate to an "innocent purchaser." The general rule is that the vendee of land has no greater right, title, or interest than his vendor; that he acquires the right which his vendor had, only. Under that rule the vendee of the earlier certificate would be the owner as against the vendee of the owner of the later certificate.
We find statutory provisions which, upon first reading, seem to cast some doubt upon the rule that the vendee acquires the interest of the vendor only. Sections 38, 55, and 112 of Act No. 496 indicate that the vendee may acquire rights and be protected against defenses which the vendor would not . Said sections speak of available rights in favor of third parties which are cut off by virtue of the sale of the land to an "innocent purchaser." That is to say, persons who had had a right or interest in land wrongfully included in an original certificate would be unable to enforce such rights against an "innocent purchaser," by virtue of the provisions of said sections. UNDER THE RULE OF NOTICE, IT IS PRESUMED THAT THE PURCHASER HAS EXAMINED EVERY INSTRUMENT OF RECORD AFFECTING THE TITLE. Such presumption is irrebutable. He is charged with notice of every fact shown by the record and is presumed to know every fact which an examination of the record would have disclosed. This presumption cannot be overcome by proof of innocence or good faith. Otherwise the very purpose and object of the law requiring a record would be destroyed. Such presumption cannot be defeated by proof of want of knowledge of what the record contains any more than one may be permitted to show that he was ignorant of the provisions o f the law. The r ule that all persons must take notice of the facts which the public record contains is a rule of law. The rule must be absolute. Any variation would lead to endless confusion and useless litigation. While there is no statutory provision in force here requiring that original deeds of conveyance of real property be recorded, yet there is a rule requiring mortgages to be recorded. (Arts. 1875 and 606 of the Civil Code.) The record of a mortgage is indispensable to its validity. (Art .1875.) In the face of that statute would the courts allow a mortgage to be valid which had not been recorded, upon the plea of ignorance of the statutory provision, when third parties were interested? May a purchaser of land, subsequent to the recorded mortgage, plead ignorance of its existence, and by reason of such ignorance have the land released from such lien? Could a purchaser of land, after the recorded mortgage, be relieved from the mort gage lien by the plea that he was a bona fide purchaser? May there be a bona fide purchaser of said land, bona fide in the sense t hat he had no knowledge of the existence of the mortgage? We believe the rule that all persons must take notice of what the public record contains in just as obligatory upon all persons as the rule that all men must know the law; that no one can plead ignorance of the law.
The fact that all men know the law is contrary to the presumption. The conduct of men, at times, shows clearly that they do not know the law. The rule, however, is mandatory and obligatory, notwithstanding. It would be just as logical to allow the defense of ignorance of the existence and contents of a public record. In view, therefore, of the foregoing rules of law, may the purchaser of land from the owner of the second original certificate be an "innocent purchaser," when a part or all of such land had theretofore been registered in the name of another, not the vendor? We are of the opinion that said sections 38, 55, and 112 should not be applied to such purchasers. We do not believe that the phrase "innocent purchaser should be applied to such a purchaser. He cannot be regarded as an "innocent purchaser" because of the facts contained in the record of the first original certificate. The rule should not be applied to the purchaser of a parcel of land the vendor of which is not the owner of the original certificate, or his successors. He, in nonsense, can be an "innocent purchaser" of the portion of the land included in another earlier or iginal cert ificate. The rule of not ice o f what the record contains precludes the idea of innocence. By reason of the prior registry there cannot be an innocent purchaser of land included in a prior original certificate and in a name other than that of the vendor, or his successors. In order to minimize the difficulties we think this is the safe rule to establish. We believe the phrase "innocent purchaser," used in said sections, s hould be limited only to cases where unregistered land has been wrongfully included in a certificate under the torrens system. When land is once brought under the torrens system, the recor d of the ori ginal certificate and a ll subsequent transfers thereof is notice to all the world. That being the rule, could Teus even regarded as the holder in good fifth of that part of the land included in his certificate of the appellants? We think not. Suppose, for example, that Teus had never had his lot registered under the torrens system. Suppose he had sold his lot to the appellee and had included in his deed of transfer the very strip of land now in question. Could his vendee be regarded as an "innocent purchaser" of said strip? Would his vendee be an "innocent purchaser" of said strip? Certainly not. The record of the original certificate of the appellants precludes the possibility. Has the appellee gained any right by reason of the registration of the strip of land in the name of his vendor? Applying the rule of notice resulting from the record of the title of the appellants, the question must be answered in the negative. We are of the opinion that these rules are more in harmony with the purpose of Act No. 496 than the rule contended for by the appellee. We believe that the purchaser from the owner of the later certificate, and his successors, should be required to resort to his vendor for damages, in case of a mistake like the present, rather than to molest the holder of the first certificate who has been guilty of no negligence. The holder of the first original certificate and his successors should be permitted to rest secure in their title, against one who had acquired rights in conflict therewith and who had full and complete knowledge of their rights. The purchaser of land included in the second original certificate, by reason of the facts contained in the public record and the knowledge with which he is charged and by reason of his negligence, should suffer the loss, if any, resulting from such purchase, rather than he who has obtained the first certificate and who was innocent of any act of negligence. The foregoing decision does not solve, nor pretend to solve, all the difficulties resulting from double registration under the torrens system and the subsequent transfer of the land. Neither do we now attempt to decide the effect of the former registration in the ordi nary registry upon the registration under the torrens system. We are inclined to the view, without deciding it, that the record under the torrens system, supersede all other registries. If that view is correct then it will be sufficient, in dealing with land registered and recorded alone. Once land is registered and recorded under the torrens system, that record alone can be examined for the purpose of ascertaining the real status of the title to the land. It would be seen to a just and equitable rule, when two persons have acquired equal rights in the same thing, to hold that the one who acquired it first and who has complied with all the requirements of the law should be protected.
SOLID STATE MULTI-PRODUCTS Corp. vs.CA G.R. No. 83383 May 6, 1991 FACTS: In 1982, Solid State, a domestic corporation, filed an action for quieting of title on a parcel of land located at Imus, Cavite which was allegedly registered by Virata in his name by fraudulently obtaining a title through an administrative reconstitution of a nonexistent original title of the land, and that by reason of said reconstitution, there now exists a cloud on the title of Solid State. Solid State alleges that it bought the land from Julian Peñaranda who obtained the same through the grant of application for the sale of a friar land from the government. The land was registered in the name of Peñaranda in 1969 under CA 32. Peñaranda's occupation of the land is derived through a voluntary assignment of right of the former occupant, Mabini Legaspi, and that the same is free from claims and conflicts and that the said applicant has established his rights over the subject land, in view of which, said investigator recommended that said lot be awarded to applicant Julian Peñaranda according to law.
Virata countered saying that he bought the land from Mabini Legaspi who obtainedownership in 1957 on the subject land after the Director of Lands sold the same at public auction. Official Receipts of payment for the instalments were shown as a proof. The title was reconstituted since the Provincial Capitol of Cavite was burned including the ROD office which holds the title to the subject property. Legaspi also denied that she sold the land to Julan Peñaranda. RTC ruled in favor of Virata which was then affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Hence, this appeal before the SC. .. Issue:
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WON CA correctly held that Virata is the true and lawful owner of the subject property? NO. Ruling: Solid State contends that Act No. 1120 or Friar Lands Act provides the procedure for the sale and disposition of the friar lands to private persons. The acquisition by Peñaranda was in compliance with all legal requisites laid down by the law for the validity of the sale. He further contended that the issuance to Mabini Legaspi of a COT in her favor was a violation of the Friar Lands Act as there was no required approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The friar lands were purchased by the government for sale to actual settlers and occupants at the time said lands are acquired by the government. The Bureau of Lands shall first issue a certificate stating therein that the government has agreed to sell the land to such settler or occupant. The latter then shall accept the certificate and agree to pay the purchase price so fixed and in the instalments and at the interest specified in the certificate. Subject to a resolutory condition that non payment of price in full may cancel the sale. The court said that t he title Peñaranda has the valid acquisition from the government of the subject friar land since it was in compliance with law and hence, the sale in favor of Solid State is valid and binding. Contrary to that, the SC said while the sale of the lot to Legaspi occurred much earlier in time, the same cannot be considered as a ground to for him to be considered the true owner of the land. Legaspi did not present an evidence showing that a certificate of sale was ever issued by the BoL in his favor. The existence of the official receipts showing payment of the price of the land by Legaspi does not prove that the land was legally conveyed to her without any contract of sale. Legaspi also alleged that he purchased the land in a sale at public auction, which procedure is nowhere provided in the pertinent laws conveying friar lands. The law expressly state that an actual occupant of the land shall purchase the lot occupied by him at a private sale not in a public auction. There was also absence of a deed of conveyance to Legaspi by the government after the full payment of the instalments on the disputed lot. Time and again, registration does not vest title to the land, but merely a procedure to establish evidence over realty . Even if the 1 year period has already lapsed, the title did not become incontrovertible but it is a null and void for not complying with the requirements of the law. Therefore, Virata could not have validly obtained title to the land FULLTEXT RULING: We find the petition impressed with merit. Since the assigned errors were interrelated, it would be well for this Court to discuss them jointly. Petitioner does not question the factual findings made by the respondent appellate court and supported by the records (p. 22, Rollo). It does not however accept the legal conclusion made by the appellate court and trial court that the registered title of private respondent to the land should prevail over its own title. Petitioner contends that Act No. 1120 , otherwise known as the Friar Lands Act provides the procedure for the sale and di sposition of the friar lands to private persons; that pursuant thereto, the acquisition by petitioner's predecessor-in-interest Julian Peñaranda of the disputed Lot 7449, which was formerly part of the friar lands est ate, was in compliance with all legal requisites laid down in Act No. 1120, for the validity of the sale by the government in favor of Peñaranda of such friar lands.
It also argues that the sale of Lot No. 7449 to respondent's predecessor, Mabini Legaspi, and the issuance of a certificate of title in her favor was in violation of the Friar Lands Act as there was no required approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. There is no dispute here that the land involved in this case is a friar land and that the laws which are applicable are Act No. 1120 , known as the Friar Lands Act, providing for the administration and temporary leasing and sale of certain haciendas and parcels of land, commonly known as friar lands, and Commonwealth Act No. 32 dated September 15, 1936 as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 316 dated June 9, 1938, which provided for the subdivision and sale of all the portions of the friar lands estated remaining undisposed of. Sec. 12 of Act No. 1120 provides in part: . . . the Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands shall give the said settler and occupant a certificate which shall set forth in detail that the Government has agreed to sell to such settler and occupant the amount of land so held by him at the price so fixed payable as provided in this Act at the Office of t he Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands . . . and that upon the payment of the final installment together with all accrued interest the Government will convey to such settler and occupant the said land so held by him by proper instrument of conveyance, which shall be issued and become effective in the manner provided in section one hundred and twenty two of the Land Registration Act. Also, Sec. 18 of the same Act p rovides: No lease or sale made by the C hief of the Bureau of Public Lands under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by the Secretary of the Interior. (Emphasis ours) Similarly, Sec. 2 of C.A. No. 32, as amended by C.A. No. 316 provides in part : . . . The persons who, at the time of the subdivision survey are actual and bona fide occupants of any portion of the Friar Lands Estates, not exceeding ten hectares, shall be given preference to purchase the portion occupied at a private sale and at a price to be fixed in such case, by the Director of Lands, subject to the approval
of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce, after taking into consideration its location, quality, and any other circumstances as may affect its value, the provisions of section 12, of Act 1120, as amended, to the contrary, . . . (Emphasis ours) It is clear from the foregoing provisions that the friar lands were purchased by the government for sale to actual settlers and occupants at the time said lands are acquired by the government. The Bureau of Lands shall first issue a certificate stating therein that the 1) government has agreed to sell the land to s uch settler or occupant. The occupant then shall accept the certificate and agree to pay the purchase 2) price so fixed and in the installments and at the interest specified in the certificate. The conveyance executed in favor of a buyer or purchaser, or the so called 3) certificate of sale, is a conveyance of the ownership of the property, subject only to the resolutory condition that the sale may be cancelled if the price agreed upon is not paid for in full. The purchaser becomes the owner upon the issuance of the certificate of sale in his favour subject only to the cancellation thereof in case the price agreed upon is not paid (Pugeda vs. Trias, No. L-16925, March 31, 1962, 4 SCRA 849.) Upon the payment of the final installment together with all accrued interests, 4) the government shall then issue a final deed of conveyance in favor of the purchaser. However, the sale of such friar lands shall be valid only if approved by the 5) Secretary of Interior as provided in Act No. 1120 . Later laws, however, required that the sale shall be approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce. In short, the approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce is indispensable for the validity of the sale. It is undisputed that SOLID STATE’s predecessor, Julian Peñaranda was the actual occupant of Lot 7449 when he filed his application to purchase the said lot on November 22, 1968; that on December 16, 1989, the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources approved the sale of the lot without auction to Peñaranda; that a sales contract was executed between the Director of Lands and Peñaranda on February 28, 1969 for a consideration of P 1,198.00 payable in 10 monthly installments; that upon the full payment of the price, the Undersecretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources issued the final deed of conveyance of Lot No. 7449 in favor of Peñaranda. Subsequently, the Register of Deeds of Cavite issued TCT No. 39631 in the name of Peñaranda, and when the latter sold the land to petitioner, TCT No. 39631 was cancelled and TCT No. T-80889 was issued in favor of the latter. Clearly, the purchase of the friar land made by Peñaranda was in compliance with law. The execution of the sales contract vested the right of ownership in Peñaranda over the land. There is no doubt whatsoever that the said sale was valid as it was approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Hence, the sale made by Peñaranda in favor of the petitioner transferred the ownership of the land in favor of the latter resulting in the proper issuance of TCT No. T-80889 in its name. On the other hand, the antecedents leading to the acquisition of title by respondent VIRATA are clearly shown in the records. The latter's predecessor, Mabini Legaspi bought Lot 7449 in a sale by public auction held on May 5, 1943 conducted by the Bureau of Lands and friar lands agent Severino Rivera, and paid the purchase price thereof in installments in 1943; that on December 12, 1944, the Bureau of Lands sent a letter to the Register of Deeds of Cavite requesting the issuance of certificates of title to several persons including Mabini Legaspi, in whose favor TCT A-2188 was issued; that subsequently on December 6, 1957, she sold the disputed land to respondent Virata, which was evidenced by a deed of sale registered with the Registry of Deeds of Cavite on December 10, 1957; that on the same date, TCT No. 11520 was issued in the name of Virata. Due to the fire which gutted the building housing the Registry of Cavite on June 7, 1959, the latter administratively reconstituted the original of TCT No. 11520 on September 1, 1959, based on the owner's duplicate certificate and renumbered the same as TCT No. 1120 RT 1660. Apparently, the sale of the lot to Mabini Legaspi occurred much earlier than the date of acquisition of same lot by petitioner's predecessor, and the evidence presented by respondent Virata indicates that the latter's predecessor paid the purchase price of Lot No. 7449 on installments. Nowhere in the evidence for the respondent or in the records of this case however, would show that a certificate of sale was ever issued by the Bureau of Lands, which would vest ownership and title over the land in favor of Mabini Legaspi . The existence of the official receipts showing payment of the price of the land by Legaspi does not prove that the land was legally conveyed to her without any contract of sale having been executed by the government in her favor. Viewed from all angles, the acquisition of the lot by Legaspi was highly irregular and void, and not in compliance with the procedure mandated by law for the sale of friar lands. For one thing, Mabini Legaspi allegedly purchased the land in a sale at public auction, which procedure is nowhere provided in Act No. 1120 or in C.A. 32, as a mended by C.A. 316. The laws expressly state that an actual occupant of the land shall purchase the lot occupied by him at a private sale and not in a sale at public auction (Sec. 2, C.A. 32 as amended). Further, neither was there any deed of conveyance issued to Legaspi by the government after the full payment of the installments on the disputed lot. Highly significant at this point is the fact that there was neither allegation nor proof that the sale was with the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce. The absence of such approval made the supposed sale null and void ab initio. Without the certificate of sale to prove the transfer of the ownership of the land from the government Mabini Legaspi and without the required approval of the sale by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce, We find that Mabini Legaspi did not in any manner acquire ownership over the land in 1943. The ownership or title over the friar land, specifically Lot No. 7449 remained in the government until Peñaranda, petitioners 7
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predecessor, lawfully acquired ownership over the same lot on February 28, 1969 by virtue of a sales contract executed in his favor.
The issuance of a certificate of title in favor of Mabini Legaspi did not vest ownership upon her over the land nor did it validate the alleged purchase of t he lot, which is null and void. Time and again, it has been held that registration does not vest title. It is merely evidence of such title over a particular property. Our land registration laws do not give the holder any better title than that what he actually has (De man et al. vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. L- 46935 December 21, 1987, 156 SCRA 701; Cruz vs. Cabana, No. 56232, June 22, 1984, 129 SCRA 656). Although a period of one year has already expired from the time the certificate of title was issued to Mabini Legaspi pursuant to the alleged sale from the government, said title does not become incontrovertible but is null and void since the acquisition of the property was in violation of law. Further, the petitioner herein is in possession of the land in dispute. Hence, its action to quiet title is imprescriptible. In one case, this Court ruled that an adverse claimant of a registered land who is in possession thereof for a long period of time is not barred from bringing an action for reconveyance which in effect seeks to quiet t itle to the property against a registered owner relying upon a Torrens title which was illegally or wrongfully acquired. In actions for reconveyance of property predicated on the fact that the conveyance complained of was void ab initio, a claim of prescription of the action would be unavailing. Be ing null and void, the sal e made to Mabini Legaspi and the s ubsequent titles issued pursuant thereto produced no legal effects whatsoever. Quod nullum est nullum producit affectum. There being no title to the land that Mabini Legaspi acquired from the government, it follows that no title to the same land could be conveyed by the former to respondent Virata. Even assuming that respondent Virata was a purchaser in good faith and for value, the law is, as between two persons both of whom are in good faith and both innocent of any negligence, the law must protect and prefer the lawful holder of registered title over the transferee of a vendor bereft of any transmissible rights . Further if a person happened to obtain property by mistake or to the prejudice of another with or without bad faith, the certificate of title which may have been issued to him under the circumstances may and should be cancelled or corrected. Our unavoidable conclusion in this case is that the title of petitioner under the Torrens land system should be upheld considering that no previous valid title to the same land existed . Petition granted. GREY ALBA VS. DE LA CRUZ 17 SCRA 49 Facts: Petitioners are heirs of Segunda Alba Clemente . They, as co-owners sought for the registration of a parcel of land located in Baliuag, Bulacan. The land is said to be an agricultural one used for the raising of rice and sugar cane. This petition for registration was granted by the court. Subsequently, Anacleto Dela Cruz objected before the court asking for the revision of the case. Dela Cruz alleged that the decree of registration was fraudulently obtained by the petitioners and that included in the parcels of land Albas sought to register is the two parcels of land he inherited from his father which was a state grant. To this the court revised its decision which excludes the two parcels of land claimed by Dela Cruz. Issue: WON the court acquired jurisdiction over the person of Anacleto De La Cruz? YES. Ruling: It is admitted that Dela cruz was occupying the two parcels of land at the time the appellants presented their petition for registration. That Dela Cruz did not appear in the petition as an occupant and also that he is alleged to be a tenant for the Albas t he reason why the latter did not include his name in the petition as occupant. It is proved that the Uncle of the petitioners, who took care of them after their parents died, have leased the property to Anacleto’s Father. Anacleto agreed that there was a lease but the two parcels of land he is claiming were not included in the lease contract. The fact that the petitioners were able to have the subject land registered will tell us that such registration is conclusive upon and against all persons, including the government, w hether their na mes are mentioned in the application or included in the general description “ to all who it may concern”. By express provision of the law, such as the Land Registration Act, the world are made parties-defendant by the description in the notice “to all whom it may concern”.Though, Anacleto De la Cruz was not served with notice, he was already made a party defendant by publication and the entering of the decree in 1908 must be held conclusive against all persons including him . The SC said it was error for the lower court to have opened the decree and modified the judgment on account of absence, infancy, or other disability. It could have been opened only on the ground that the decree was obtained through fraud .
While it was alleged that there was fraud, the SC did not consider such allegation. It ruled that the petitioners honestly believed that Anacleto was occupying the lands as their tenant. Specific, intentional acts to deceive and deprive another of his right, or in some manner injure him, must be alleged and proved ; that is, there must be actual or positive fraud.To this, the SC said that the Lower Courts decision be reinstated and the decision of the Appellate Court be reversed.
JURISDICTION OVER LAND REGISTRATION CASES VENUE
RTC’s Exclusive Jurisdiction (Sec. 2 (2) of PD 1529) All applications for original registration of title to lands, including 1) improvements and interests therein All petitions filed after original registration of title, with power to hear and 2) determine all question arising upon such applications or petition MTC’s delegated jurisdiction MTCs may hear and determine land registration cases in the following instances: Lot sought to be registered is not subject to controversy or opposition 1) Lot is contested, but the value t hereof does not exceed 100, 000 2) a. Such value is ascertained by by the affidavit of the claimant by the agreement of the respective claimants (if there be more than one), or from the corresponding tax declaration of t he real property
SC Administrative Circular 6-93-A Nov. 15, 1995 Cadastral or land registration cases filed before the effectivity of this A.C. shall be 1) transferred by the Executive Judge of the RTC having jurisdiction over the cases to E.J. of the appropriate Courts of limited jurisdiction for the required raffle among the branches of the court under his ad ministrative supervision But those already commenced as of the date of effectivity shall remain w/ said 2) courts, except when the parties agree otherwise RUDOLF LIETZ HOLDINGS, INC. , vs. RoD Paranaque . [G.R. No. 133240. November 15, 2000] FACTS: PETITIONER CORPORATION was formerly known as Rudolf Lietz, Incorporated. On July 15, 1996, it amended its Articles of Incorporation to change its name to Rudolf Lietz Holdings, Inc and was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 20, 1997. As a consequence of its change of name, petitioner sought the amendment of the TCTs over real properties owned by the said corporat ion, all of which were under the old name, Rudolf Lietz, Incorporated. For this purpose, petitioner instituted, on November 20, 1997, a petition for amendment of titles with the RTC of Paraaque City impleading as respondent the ROD of Pasay City, apparently because the titles so ught to be amended, all state that they were issued by the Registry of Deeds of Pasay City. Petitioner likewise inadvertently alleged in the body of the petition that the lands covered by the subject titles are located in Pasay City. Subsequently, petitioner learned that the subject titles are in the custody of the Register of Deeds of Paraaque City. Hence, Ex-Parte Motion to Admit Amended Petition now impleading ROD of Paraaque City, and alleged that its lands are located in Paraaque City. Court dismissed due to improper venue since properties are in Pasay In the meantime, however, on January 30, 1998, the court a quo had dismissed the petition motu proprio on the ground of improper venue, it appearing therein that the respondent is the Registry of Deeds of Pasay City and the properties are located in Pasay City .MR denied PETITIONER BEFORE SC The court a quo acted contrary to the rules and jurisprudence on the matter for the following reasons: 1. It has no power to immediately dismiss an initiatory pleading for improper venue; 2. Assuming the Order of 30 January 1998 was proper, it was nevertheless still a matter of right on petitioners part to amend its petition in order to correct the wrong entries therein; and 3. The unassailable reality is that the subject parcels of land are located in Paraaque City, so venue was properly laid despite that erroneous allegation in the original petition. OSG The Solicitor General filed on November 4, 1998 his Comment said that trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the res because it appeared from the original petition that the lands are situated in Pasay City; hence, outside the jurisdiction of the Paraaque court. Since it had no jurisdiction over the case, it could not have acted on the motion to admit amended petition. PETITIONER’S REPLY JURISDICTION V. VENUE On February 15, 1999, petitioner filed its Reply. TC had jurisdiction over the petition, but that venue appeared to be improperly laid based on the erroneous allegation therein on the location of the properties. ISSUE: May the trial court motu proprio dismiss a complaint on the ground of improper venue? NO. RULING: W hile the ground invoked by the trial court in dismissing the petition below was clearly that of improper venue, the Solicitor General confuses venue with jurisdiction. A distinction between the two must be drawn. JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT MATTER nature of an action is conferred only by law. It may not be conferred by consent or waiver upon a court which otherwise would have no jurisdiction over the subject matter of an action Rules as to jurisdiction can never be left to
VENUE OF AN ACTION
as fixed by statute may be changed by the consent of the parties, and an objection on improper venue may be waived by the failure of the defendant to raise it at the proper time. In such an event, the court may still render 8
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the consent or agreement of the parties. jurisdictional
a valid judgment Procedural (may be waived); to provide convenience to the parties rather than restrict their access to the courts as it relates to the place of trial. Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court a. laying of venue is procedural rather than substantive. b. It relates to the jurisdiction of the court over the person rather than the subject matter. c. Provisions relating to venue establish a relation between the plaintiff and the defendant and not between the court and the subject matter. d. Venue relates to trial not to jurisdiction, touches more of the convenience of the parties rather than the substance of the case.
In Dacoycoy v. IAC , this Court ruled: The motu proprio dismissal of petitioner’s complaint by respondent trial court on the ground of improper venue is plain error, obviously attributable to its inability to distinguish between jurisdiction and venue. VENUE, IN INFERIOR COURTS AS WELL AS IN THE CFI (NOW RTC), MAY BE WAIVED EXPRESSLY OR IMPLIEDLY Dismissing the complaint on the ground of improper venue is certainly not the appropriate course of action at this stage of the proceedings, particularly as venue, in inferior courts as well as in the courts of first instance (now RTC), may be waived expressly or impliedly. Where the defendant fails to challenge timely the venue in a motion to dismiss as provided by Section 4 of Rule 4 of the Rules of Court, and allows the trial to be held and a decision to be rendered, he cannot on appeal or in a special action be permitted to belatedly challenge the wrong venue, which is deemed waived. THOUGH TECHNICALLY WRONG, MAY BE ACCEPTABLE TO THE PARTIES FOR WHOSE CONVENIENCE THE RULES ON VENUE HAD BEEN DEVISED. Thus, unless and until the defendant objects to the venue in a motion to dismiss, the venue cannot be truly said to have been improperly laid, as for all practical intents and purposes, the venue, though technically wrong, may be acceptable to the parties for whose convenience the rules on venue had been devised. The trial court cannot pre-empt the defendants prerogative to object to the improper laying of the venue by motu proprio dismissing the case. INDEED, IT WAS GROSSLY ERRONEOUS FOR THE TRIAL COURT TO HAVE TAKEN A PROCEDURAL SHORT-CUT BY DISMISSING MOTU PROPRIO the complaint on the ground of improper venue without first allowing the procedure outlined in the r ules of court to take its proper course. Although we are for the speedy and expeditious resolution of cases, justice and fairness take primary importance. The ends of justice require that respondent trial court faithfully adhere to the rules of procedure to afford not only the defendant, but the plaintiff as well, the right to be heard on his cause.
PETITIONER CORRECTLY INVOKED THE JURISDICTION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT IN SEEKING THE AMENDMENT OF ITS CERTIFICATES OF TITLE. The jurisdiction of the RTC over matters involving the registration of lands and lands registered under the Torrens system is conferred by Section 2 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 , The Property Registration Decree, viz: Nature of registration proceedings; jurisdiction of courts. --- Judicial proceedings for the registration of lands throughout the Philippines shall be in rem and shall be based on the generally accepted principles underlying the Torrens system. COURTS OF FIRST INSTANCE (now Regional Trial Courts) shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all applications for original registration of title to lands, including improvements and interest therein, and over all petitions filed after original registration of title, with power to hear and determine all questions arising upon such applications or petitions.
The COURT through its CLERK OF COURT shall 1. furnish the Land Registration Commission with two certified copies of all pleadings, exhibits, orders, and dec isions filed or issued in applications or petitions for land registration, 2. WITH THE EXCEPTION of stenographic notes, 3. within five days from the filing or issuance thereof.
In the case at bar, the lands are located in Paraaque City, as stated on the faces of the titles. Petitioner, thus, also correctly filed the petition in the place where the lands are situated, pursuant to the following rule: Venue of real actions . --- Actions affecting title to or possession of real property, or interest therein, shall be commenced and tried in the proper court which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated .
VDA. DE ARCEO VS. CA 185 SCRA 489 Facts: Spouses Arceo are owners of four parcels of unregistered lands located in Bulacan. They had one Son named Esteban who had 5 children. Esteban’s children and their children are the parties involved in this case. In 1941, Spouses Arceo executed a donation inter vivos in favor of Jose, one of Esteban’s children. Since 1942, Jose paid the taxes, took personal possession of the land and claimed it as his own. In 1941, also, Arceos supposedly signed a deed of donation mortis causa to give away the subject properties in favor of all his grandchildren including Jose. However, the sa id document was notarized in 1944 only after Mrs. Arceo died.
Subsequently, the wife of Jose, together with their children, filed with the cadastral court an application for registration in their names the subject lands. This was contested by Pedro and Lorenzo, Jose’s siblings contending that they are entitled to a part of the subject parcels of land. The cadastral court rejected the registration and distributed the properties according to law on intestate succession instead. The CA affirmed its decision. Issue: WON the cadastral court has jurisdiction in determining the ownership of lands? Ruling: As to the issue of jurisdiction, Section 2 of PD 1529 provides that RTC, sitting as a land registration court, is no longer circumscribed as it is in the previous law. PD 1529 eliminated the general jurisdiction of RTC and the limited jurisdiction of RTC acting merely as a cadastral court; the purpose of this is to avoid multiplicity of suits. In this case, the cadastral court commits no error in assuming jurisdiction in the determination of issues on ownership, which at the same time involves the issue on the right of registration. There would be a multiplicity of suits or the registration will be prolonged if not impossible should the cadastral court decide not to pass upon the issue of ownership.
As to the issue of co-ownership: Jose’s wife contends that they acquired the lot through acquisitive prescription. This was rejected by the SC. The Civil Code provides that prescription does not lie against coowners, unless the following requisites concur. a. There is a clear showing that the claimant has repudiated the coownership. b. He has made known to the co-owners that he is assuming exclusive ownership over the property. c. Clear and convincing evidence thereof. d. His possession is OCEN. This circumstances were not present in the case at bar. The fact of paying taxes cannot defeat the right of coowners to their right to enjoy the use of their property, the same does not confer title upon a claimant. Nonetheless, the SC gra nted the petition a nd have the lands registered under the name of Jose and his heirs by virtue of the valid deed of donation inter vivos. The Supreme Court further ruled that the donation mortis causa did not revoke the first donation. The weight of authority is that a valid donation, once accepted, becomes irrevocable subject to few exceptions. Finally, the court said that the disposition in favor of Jose of the subject properties should be respected.
Section 3. Status of other pre-existing land registration system. The system of registration under the Spanish Mortgage Law is hereby discontinued and all lands recorded under said system which are not yet covered by Torrens title shall be considered as unregistered lands. Hereafter, all instruments affecting lands originally registered under the Spanish Mortgage Law may be recorded under Section 113 of this Decree, until the land shall have been brought under the operation of the Torrens system. The books of registration for unregistered lands provided under Section 194 of t he Revised Administrative Code, as amended by Act No. 3344, shall continue to remain in force; provided, that all instruments dealing with unregistered lands shall henceforth be registered under Section 113 of t his Decree.
Section 113. Recording of instruments relating to unregistered lands. No deed, conveyance, mortgage, lease, or other voluntary instrument affecting land not registered under the Torrens system shall be valid, except as between the parties thereto, unless such instrument shall have been recorded in the manner herein prescribed in the office of the Register of Deeds for the province or city where the land lies.
The Register of Deeds for each province or city shall keep a Primary Entry Book and a Registration Book . The Primary Entry Book shall contain, among other particulars, 1. the entry number, 2. the names of the parties, 3. the nature of the document, 4. the date, hour and minute it was presented and received. 5. The recording of the deed and other instruments relating to unregistered lands shall be effected by any of annotation on the space provided therefor in the Registration Book, after the same shall have been entered in the Primary Entry Book.
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If, on the face of the instrument, it appears that it is sufficient in law, the Register of Deeds shall forthwith record the instrument in the manner provided herein. In case the Register of Deeds refuses its administration to record, said official shall advise the party in interest in writing of the ground or grounds for his refusal, and the latter may appeal the matter to the Commissioner of Land Registration in accordance with the provisions of Section 117 of this Decree . It shall be understood that any recording made under this section shall be without prejudice to a third party with a better right.
After recording on the Record Book, the Register of Deeds shall endorse among other things, upon the original of the recorded instruments, the file number and the date as well as the hour and minute when the document was received for recording as shown in the Primary Entry Book, returning to the registrant or person in interest the duplicate of the instrument, with appropriate annotation, certifying that he has recorded the instrument after reserving one copy thereof to be furnished the provincial or city assessor as required by existing law.
Tax sale, attachment and levy, notice of lis pendens, adverse claim and other instruments in the nature of involuntary dealings with respect to unregistered lands, if made in the form sufficient in law, shall likewise be admissible to record under this section.
For the services to be rendered by the Register of Deeds under this section, he shall collect the same amount of fees prescribed for similar services for the registration of deeds or instruments concerning registered lands.
REGISTRATION UNDER THE SPANISH MORTGAGE LAW
TITULO DE PROPRIEDAD NO. 4136 The case of Director of Forestry v. Muñoz would soon be the core of subsequent decisions declaring the infamous Titulo de Propriedad No. 4136 as a forgery foisted upon the courts and bereft of any validity and efficacy as evidence of ownership. In this c ase, petitioners-heirs did not adduce evidence to show that Titulo de Propriedad 4136 was brought under the operation of P.D. No. 892 despite their allegation that they did so on August 13, 1976. Proof of compliance with P.D. No. 892 should be the Certificate of Title covering the land registered. REGISTRATION UNDER ACT NO. 3344; ineffective as against 3 rd persons The inscription under Act No. 3344 of a transaction relating to unregistered land was held not effective for purposes of Article 1544 of the Civil Code, the law on double sale of the same property. The registration should be made in the property registry to be binding upon third persons; mere registration of a sale in one’s favour does not give him any right over the land if the vendor was not anymore the owner of the land having previously sold the same to somebody else even if the ear lier sale was unrecorded.
CHAPTER II LAND REGISTRATION COMMISSION AND ITS REGISTRIES OF DEEDS Section 4. Land Registration Commission. In order to have a more efficient execution of the laws relative to the registration of lands, geared to the massive and accelerated land reform and social justice program of the government, there is created a commission to be known as the Land Registration Commission under the executive supervision of the Department of Justice. Section 5. Officials and employees of the Commission. The Land Registration Commission shall have a chief and an assistant chief to be known, respectively, as the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner of Land Registration who shall be appointed by the President . The Commissioner shall be duly qualified member of the Philippine Bar with at least ten years of practice in the legal profession, and shall have the same rank, compensation and privileges as those of a Judge of the Court of First Instance. The Deputy Commissioner , who shall possess the same qualifications as those required of the Commissioner, shall receive compensation which shall be three thousand pesos per annum less than that of the Commissioner. He shall act as Commissioner of Land Registration during the absence or disability of the Commissioner and when there is a vacancy in the position until another person shall have been designated or appointed in accordance with law. The Deputy Commissioner shall also perform such other functions as the Commissioner may assign to him. They shall be assisted by such number of division chiefs as may be necessary in the interest of the functioning of the Commission, by a Special Assistant to the Commissioner, and by a Chief Geodetic Engineer who shall each receive compensation at the rate of three thousand four hundred pesos per annum less than that of the Deputy Commissioner. All other officials and employees of the Land Registration Commission including those of the Registries of Deeds whose salaries are not herein provided, shall receive salaries corresponding to the minimum of their respective upgraded ranges as provided under paragraph 3.1 of Budget Circular No. 273, plus sixty per centum thereof across the board, notwithstanding the maximum salary allowed for their respective civil service eligibilities. The salaries of officials and employees provided in this Decree shall be without prejudice to such benefits and adjustments as may from time to time be granted by the President or
by the legislature to government employees. All officials and employees of the Commission except Registers of Deeds shall be appointed by the Secretary of Justice upon recommendation of the Commissioner of Land Registration. Section 6. General Functions. (1) The Administrator of Land Registration shall have the f ollowing functions: a) Issue decrees of registration pursuant to final judgments of the courts in land registration proceedings and cause the issuance by the Registers of Deeds of the corresponding certificates of title; Exercise supervision and control over all Registers of Deeds and other b) personnel of the Commission; Resolve cases elevated en consulta by, or on appeal from decision of, c) Registers of Deeds; Exercise executive supervision over all clerks of court and personnel of d) the Courts of First Instance throughout the Philippines with respect to the discharge of their duties and functions in relation to the registration of lands; Implement all orders, decisions, and decrees promulgated relative to the e) registration of lands and issue, subject to the approval of the Secretary of Justice, all needful rules and regulations therefor; Verify and approve subdivision, consolidation, and consolidationf) subdivision survey plans of properties titled under Act No. 496 except those covered by P.D. No. 957. (2) The Land Registration Authority shall have the following f unctions: Extend speedy and effective assistance to the Department of Agrarian a) Reform, the Land Bank, and other agencies in the implementation of the land reform program of the government; Extend assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral land registration b) proceedings; Be the central repository of records relative to original registration of c) lands titled under the Torrens system, including subdivision and consolidation plans of titled lands. SEC. 7. Office of the R egister of D eeds. — There shall be at least one Register of Deeds for each province and one for each city. Every Registry with a yearly average collection of more than si xty thousand pesos during the last three years shall have one Deputy Register of Deeds, o and every Registry with a yearly average collection of more than t hree hundred thousand pesos during the last three years, shall have one Deputy Register of Deeds and o one second Deputy Register of Deeds. o The Secretary of Justice shall define the official station and territorial jurisdiction of each Registry upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of Land Registration , with the end in view of making every registry easily accessible to the people of the neighboring municipalities. The province or city shall furnish a suitable space or building for the office of the Register of Deeds until such time as the same could be furnished out of national funds. Registry of Property in accordance with Sec. 51 of PD 1529 which provides that “no deed, mortgage, lease, or other voluntary instrument – except a will- purporting to convey or affect registered land shall take effect as a conveyance or bind t he land until its registration. Thus, if the sale is not registered, it is binding only between the seller and the buyer but it does not affect innocent 3 rd persons. The act of registration shall be the operative act to convey or affect the land insofar as third persons are concerned. Between the two buyers of the same immovable property registered under the Torrens System, the law gives ownership priority to First registrant in good faith 1) First possessor in good faith 2) 3) Buyer who in good faith presents the oldest title Effect of Registration Constructive notice to all persons from the time of such registering, filing, or entering. SEC. 8. Appointment of Registers of Deeds and their Deputies and other subordinate personnel; salaries. — Registers of Deeds shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Secretary of Justice. Deputy Registers of Deeds and all other subordinate personnel of the Registries of Deeds shall be appointed by the Secretary of Justice upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of Land Registration. The salaries of Registers of Deeds and their Deputies shall be at the following rates: (1) First Class Registries — The salaries of Registers of Deeds in first class Registries shall be three thousand four hundred pesos per annum less than that of the Deputy Commissioner. (2) Second Class Registries — The salaries of Registers of Deeds in second class Registries shall be three thousand four hundred pesos per annum less than those of Registers of Deeds in first class Registries. (3) Third Class Registries — The salaries of Registers of Deeds in third class Registries shall be three thousand four hundred pesos per annum less than those of Registers of Deeds in second class Registries. 10
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The salaries of Deputy Registers of Deeds and Second Deputy Registers of Deeds shall be three thousand four hundred pesos per annum less than those of their corresponding Registers of Deeds and Deputy Registers of Deeds, respectively. The Secretary of Justice, upon recommendation of the Commissioner of Land Registration, shall cause the reclassification of Registries based either on work load or the class of province/ city, whichever will result in a higher classification, for purposes of salary adjustments in accordance with the rates hereinabove provided.
SEC. 9. Qualifications of Registers of D eeds and Deputy Registers of Deeds. — No person shall be appointed Register of Deeds unless he has been admitted to the practice of law in the Philippines and shall have been actually engaged in such practice for at least three years or has been employed for a like period in any branch of government the functions of which include the registration of propert y. The Deputy Register of Deeds shall be a member of the Philippine Bar. Provided, however, That no Register of Deeds or Deputy Register of Deeds holding office as such upon the passage of this Decree shall by reason hereof, be removed from office or be demoted to a lower category or scale of salary except for cause and upon compliance wit h due process as provided for by law.
SEC. 10. General functions of Registers of Deeds. — The office of the Register o f Deeds constitutes a public repository of records o f instruments affecting registered or unregistered lands and chattel mortgages in the province or city wherein such office is situated.
It shall be the duty of the Re gister of Deeds to immediately register an instrument presented for registration dealing with real or personal property which complies with all the requisites for registration. He shall see to it that said instrument bears the proper documentary and science stamps and that the same are properly cancelled. If the instrument is not registrable, he shall forthwith deny registration thereof and o inform the presentor of such denial in writing, o stating the ground or reason therefor, and o advising him of his right to appeal by consulta in accordance o with Section 117 of this Decree. Office of the Register of Deeds Public repository of records of instruments affecting registered or unregistered lands and chattel mortgages in the province or city wherein such office is situated NATURE OF THE DUTIES OF LRA General Rule: It’s duty is ministerial – those acts of functions that conform to an instruction or a prescribed procedure. They act under the orders of the court and the decree must be in conformity with the decision of the court and with the data found in the record. If the LRA is in doubt as to the issuance and preparation of the decree, it is their duty to refer the matter to the court. In this sense, they act as officials of the court and not as administrative officials, and their act is the act of the court. They are specifically called upon to extend assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral land registration proceedings.
The validity of the document is not for the register to determine for it is a function of a court of competent jurisdiction. Validity is to be decided after the registration in a litigation. In case of doubt, it shall be referred to the LRA LRA shall after notice and hearing, enter an order prescribing the step to be taken on the doubtful question which shall be conclusive and binding upon all RoDs Exception: LRA officials may exercise discretion in the following instances: When obeying the court’s order would result to double t itling; a) When there are several copies of title but only one is presented with the b) instrument to be registered Where the property is presumed to be conjugal but the instrument of c) conveyance bears the signature of only one spouse; Where there is pending case in court w here the character of the land a nd the d) validity of conveyance is in issue; In this case, the matter of registration may well await the o outcome of that case, and in the meantime the rights of the interested parties could be protected by the filing the proper notices of lis pendens. Where required certificates and documents are not submitted e)
SEC. 11. Discharge of duties of R egister of D eeds in case of vacancy, etc. — Until a regular Register of Deeds shall have been appointed for a province or city, 1) or in case of vacancy in the office, or upon the occasion of the absence, illness, suspension, or inability of the Register of Deeds to discharge his duties, said duties shall be performed by the following officials, in the order in which they are mentioned below, unless the Secretary of Justice designates another official to act temporarily in his place: a) For the province or city where there is a Deputy Register of Deeds, by said Deputy Register of Deeds, or by the second Deputy Register of Deeds, should there be one; b) For the province or city where there is no Deputy or second Deputy Register of Deeds, by the Provincial or City Fiscal, or any Assistant Fiscal designated by the Provincial or City Fiscal. In case of absence, disability or suspension of the Register of Deeds without pay, 2) or in case of vacancy in the position, the Secretary of Justice may, in his discretion, authorize the payment of an additional compensation to the official acting as Register of Deeds, such additional compensation together with his actual salary not to exceed the salary authorized for the position thus filled by him. In case of a newly-created province or city and pending establishment of a Registry 3) of Deeds and the appointment of a regular Register of Deeds for the new province or city, the Register of Deeds of the mother province or city shall be the ex-officio Register of Deeds for said new province or city. SEC. 12. Owner’s Index; reports . — There shall be prepared in every Registry an index system which shall contain the names of all registered owners alphabetically arranged. For this purpose, an index card which shall be prepared in the name of each registered owner which shall contain a list of all lands registered in his name. The Register of Deeds shall submit to the Land Registration Commission within ten days after the month to which they pertain his monthly reports on collections and accomplishments. He shall also submit to the Commission at the end of December of each year, an annual inventory of all titles and instruments in his Registry. SEC. 13. Chief Geodetic Engineer. — There shall be a Chief Geodetic Engineer in the Land Registration Commission who shall be the technical adviser of the Commission on all matters involving surveys and shall be responsible to him for all plats, plans and works requiring the services of a geodetic engineer in said office. He shall perform such other functions as may, from time to time, be assigned to him by the Commissioner.
PD 239 -
Only the LAND MANAGEMENT BUREAU has authority to approve original survey plans for registration purposes. The grant of authority to the LRC to approve original survey plans has resulted in wasteful overlapping or duplication of functions. There was therefore a need to centralize in one agency, the LMB, the function of verifying and approving original survey plans for all purposes in order to assure compliance with established standards and minimize irregularities in the execution of land surveys
Survey Plan serves to establish the true identity of the land to ensure that it does not overlap a parcel of land portion thereof already covered by previous land registration, and to forestall the possibility of which by a subsequent registration of any adjoining land.
May the RoD be compelled by mandamus? No. Since the registration is a judicial function, it cannot be compelled by mandamus. The interested party must resort to the available administrative remedy before he can have recourse to the courts.
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LABURADA V. LRA FACTS: Spouses Laburada were the applicants for registration of a parcel of land located in Mandaluyong City, RTC, acting as land registration court, granted such application. After the finality of the decision, the Sps filed a motion before the RTC requiring LRA to issue the corresponding decree of registration, which was then granted by RTC. However, the LRA refused to do so. To this, the Sps Laburada filed an action for mandamus. LRA contends that such refusal is grounded on the fact that a portion of the subject property was a subject of a land decree in court of land registration, that if it will be pursued, it will result to double titling which destroys the policy and purpose of the Torrens System. The SG sought to have the petition of the Sps Laburada dismissed after it found out on its investigation that the title issued for the subject lot cannot be located. ISSUE: w/n the LRA can be compelled to issue the decree of registration through an action for mandamus (for ministerial duties)? NO HELD: There are three reasons why Mandamus is not t he right remedy JUDGMENT IS NOT YET EXECUTORY 1) The judgment Sps Laburada seek to enforce is not yet executory and incontrovertible under the Land Registration Law. They do not have any clear legal right to implement it. It was ruled previously that a judgment of registration does not become incontrovertible until after the expiration of one year after the entry of the final decree of registration. A VOID JUDGMENT IS POSSIBLE 2) LRA’s refusal to issue a decree is based on documents which, if verified, may render the judgment of the TC void. To this, LRA’s hesitation to issue a decree is understandable, even imperative. If it issues the decree, it will destroy the integrity of the Torrens System. LRA is mandated to refer to the courts any doubt it may have in regard to the preparation and the issuance of a decree of registration. They are specifically called upon to “extend assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral land registration proceedings. Since in this case, the subject property has already been decreed by the court for registration. Hence, LRA is divested of jurisdiction. ISSUANCE OF A DECREE IS NOT A MINISTERIAL ACT 3) It is part of the judicial function of courts and is not a mere ministerial act, which may be compelled thorough mandamus. This is because it is a judicial act involving the exercise of discretion. Writ of mandamus can only be had when the plaintiff’s legal right to the performance of the particular act which is sought to be compelled is clear and complete. But where the right sought to be enforced is in substantial doubt or dispute, as in this case, mandamus cannot issue.
voluntarily vacate the premises without need of any demand. Villafania failed to buy back the house and lot, so the [vendees] declared the lot in their name The RTC rendered the assailed Decision awarding the properties to Spouses Abrigo as well as damages. Moreover, Villafania was ordered to pay [petitioners and private respondent] damages and attorney’s fees. Not contented with the assailed Decision, both parties [appealed to the CA]. CA JUDGMENT In its original Decision, the CA held that a void title could not give rise to a valid one and hence dismissed the appeal of Private Respondent de Vera. Since Villafania had already transferred ownership to Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go, the subsequent sale to De Vera was deemed void. The CA also dismissed the appeal of Petitioner-Spouses Abrigo and found no sufficient basis to award them moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees.
On reconsideration found Respondent De Vera to be a purchaser in good faith and for value. The appellate court ruled that she had relied in good faith on the Torrens title of her vendor and must thus be protected. Hence, this Petition. ISSUE: Who between petitioner-spouses and respondent has a better right to the property. HELD: DE VERA The present case involves what in legal contemplation was a double sale. Gloria Villafania first sold the disputed property to Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go, from whom petitioners, in turn, derived their right. Subsequently a second sale was executed by Villafania with Respondent de Vera. Article 1544 of the Civil Code states the law on double sale thus: “Art. 1544. If the same thing should have been sold to different vendees, the ownership shall be transferred t o the person who may have fir st taken possession thereof in good faith, if it should be movable property
“Should it be immovable property, the ownership shall belong to the person acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the Registry of Property. Should there be no inscription, the ownership shall pertain to the person who in good faith was first in the possession; and, in the absence thereof, to the person who presents the oldest title, provided there is good faith. There is no ambiguity in the application of this law with respect to lands registered under the Torrens system.
ABRIGO V. DE VERA Between two buyers of the same immovable property registered under the Torrens system, the law gives ownership priority to the first registrant in good faith then, the first possessor in good faith; and finally, the buyer who in good faith presents the oldest title. This provision, however, does not apply if the property is not registered under the Torrens system. FACTS: Villafania sold a house and lot located Pangasinan to Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go covered by a tax declaration. ‘Unknown, however to Tigno -Salazar and a Cave-Go, Villafania obtained a free patent over the parcel of land involved. The said free patent was later on cancelled by a TCT.
‘On Oct 16, 1997, Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go , sold the house and lot to the Spouses Abrigo.
In the instant case, both Petitioners Abrigo and respondent registered the sale of the property. Since neither petitioners nor t heir predecessors (Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go) knew that the property was covered by the Torrens system, they registered their respective sales under Act 3344 For her part, respondent registered the transaction under the Torrens system because, during the sale, Villafania had presented the transfer certificate of title (TCT) covering the property. Soriano v. Heirs of Magali23 held that registration must be done in the proper registry in order to bind the land. Since the property in dispute in the present case was already registered under the Torrens system, petitioners’ registration of the sale under Act 3344 was not effective for purposes of Article 1544 of the Civil Code. More recently, in Naawan Community Rural Bank v. Court of Appeal s,24 the Court upheld the right of a party who had registered the sale of land under the Property Registration Decree, as opposed to another who had registered a deed of final conveyance under Act 3344. In that case, the “priority in time” principle was not applied, because the land was already covered by the Torrens system at the time the conveyance was registered under Act 3344 . For the same reason, inasmuch as the registration of the sale to Respondent De Vera under the Torrens system was done in good faith, this sale must be upheld over the sale registered under Act 3344 to Petitioner-Spouses Abrigo. NOTES:
‘On Oct 23, 1997, Villafania sold the same house and lot to de Vera. De Vera registered the sale and as a consequence a TCT was issued in her name. De Vera filed an action for Forcible Entry and Damages against Spouses Abrigo before the MTC. Spouses Abrigo filed a case with the RTC for the annulment of documents, injunction, preliminary injunction, restraining order and damages against Villafania.
The parties submitted a Motion for Dismissal in view of their agreement in the instant (RTC) case that neither of them can physically take possession of the property in question until the instant case is terminated. Hence the ejectment case was dismissed. RTC JUDGMENT Compromise Agreement approved. Villafania was given one year from the date of the Compromise Agreement to buy back the house and lot, and failure to do so would mean that the previous sale in favor of Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go shall remain valid and binding and the plaintiff shall
The principle in Article 1544 of the Civil Code is in full accord with Section 51 of PD 1529 which provides that no deed, mortgage, lease or other voluntary instrument — except a will — purporting to convey or affect registered land shall take effect as a conveyance or bind the land until its registration. Thus, if the sale is not registered, it is binding only between the seller and the buyer but it does not affect innocent third persons. Radiowealth Finance Co. v. Palileo25 explained the difference in the rules of registration under Act 3344 and those under the Torrens system in this wise: “Under Act No. 3344 , registration of instruments affecting unregistered lands is ‘without prejudice to a t hird party with a better right.’ The aforequoted phrase has been held by this Court to mean that the mere registration of a sale in one’s favor does not give him any right over the land if the vendor was not anymore the owner of the land having previously sold the same to somebody else even if the earlier s ale was unrecorded. “The case of Carumba vs. Court of Appeals is a case in point. It was held therein that Article 1544 of the Civil Code has no application to land not registered under Act No. 496. Like in the case at bar, Carumba dealt with a double sale of the same 12
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unregistered land. The first sale was made by the original owners and was unrecorded while the second was an execution sale that resulted from a complaint for a sum of money filed against the said original owners. Applying [Section 33], Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court, this Court held that Article 1544 of the Civil Code cannot be invoked to benefit the purchaser at the execution sale though the latter was a buyer in good faith and even if this second sale was registered. It was explained that this is because the purchaser of unregistered land at a sheri ff’s execution sale only steps into the shoes of the judgment debtor, and merely acquires the latter’s interest in the property sold as of the time the property was levied upon. “Applying this principle, x x x the execution sale of unregistered land in fa vor of petitioner is of no effect because the land no longer belonged to the judgment debtor as of the time of the said execution sale. 3. Good-Faith Requirement We have consistently held that Article 1544 requires the second buyer to acquire the immovable in good faith and to register it in good faith. Mere registration of title is not enough; good faith must concur with the registration.We explained the rationale in Uraca v. Court of Appeals, which we quote: “Under the foregoing, the prior registration of the disputed property by the second buyer does not by itself confer ownership or a better right over the property. Article 1544 requires that such registration must be coupled with good faith. Jurisprudence teaches us that ‘(t)he governing principle is primus tempore, potior jure (first in time, stronger in right). Knowledge gained by the first buyer of the second sale cannot defeat the first buyer’s rights except where the second buyer registers in good faith the second sale ahead of the first, as provided by the Civil Code. Such knowledge of the first buyer does not bar her from availing of her rights under the law, among them, to register first her purchase as against the second buyer. But in converso, knowledge gained by the second buyer of the first sale defeats his rights even if he is first to register the second sale, since such knowledge taints his prior registration with bad faith. This is the price exacted by Article 1544 of the Civil Code for the second buyer being able to displace the first buyer; that before the second buyer can obtain priority over the first, he must show that he acted in good faith throughout (i.e. in ignorance of the first sale and of the first buyer’s rights) — - from the time of acquisition until the title is transferred to him by registration, or failing registration, by del ivery of possession.’”34 (Italics supplied) Equally important, under Section 44 of PD 1529 , every registered owner receiving a certificate of title pursuant to a decree of registration, and every subsequent purchaser of registered land taking such certificate for value and in good faith shall hold the same free from all encumbrances, except those noted and enumerated in the certificate. Thus, a person dealing with registered land is not required to go behind the registry to determine the condition of the property, since such condition is noted on the face of the register or certificate of title .Following this principle, this Court has consistently held as regards registered land that a purchaser in good faith acquires a good title as against all the transferees thereof whose rights are not recorded in the Registry of Deeds at the time of the sale.
CHAPTER III (ORDINARY REGISTRATION PROCEEDINGS) SECTION 14 Section 14. Who may apply. The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration of title to land, whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives: Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in (1) open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945, or earlier. Those who have acquired ownership of private lands by prescription under the (2) provision of existing laws. Those who have acquired ownership of private lands or abandoned river beds by (3) right of accession or accretion under the existing laws. Those who have acquired ownership of land in any other manner provided for by (4) law. Where the land is owned in common, all the co-owners shall file the application jointly.
Where the land has been sold under pacto de retro, the vendor a retro may file an application for the original registration of the land, provided, however, that should the period for redemption expire during the pendency of the registration proceedings and ownership to t he property consolidated i n the vendee a retro, the latter shall be substituted for the applicant and may continue the proceedings. A trustee on behalf of his principal may apply for original registration of any land held in trust by him, unless prohibited by the instrument creating the trust.
Registration – the entry of instruments or deeds in book or public registry. To register, means to enter in a register, to record formally or distinctly, to enroll; to enter in a list.
Original Certificate of Title (OCT) The first title issued in the name of a registered owner by the ROD over a parcel of land registered under the Torrens System b y virtue of Judicial or a) Administrative proceedings. b) Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) Subsequent issuance of ROD pursuant to any voluntary and involuntary instrument relating to the sa me land. Note: Registration proceedings may be in rem or in personam. The following are its distinctions. In rem Binds the whole world In personam To enforce a personal right against a person Quasi in rem Deals with status, ownership or liability of a particular property. It only operates on the question between the parties.This is not to ascertain or cut off the rights or interests of all possible claimants.
SECTION 14 (1) – OCENPO -Registration under the first paragraph of Section 14 requires the concurrence of the following REQUISITES: Land applied for is an agricultural public land classified as alienable and (1) disposable land at the time; Application for registration is filed with the proper court ; (2) Applicant, by himself or through his predecessors-in-interest, has been in (3) OCENPO thereof, under bona fide claim of ownership; (4) Such possession and occupation has been effected since June 12, 1945 or earlier. SECTION 14 (2) – PRESCRIPTION PRESCRIPTION an extraordinary mode of acquiring or losing of ownership and other real rights through the lapse of time in the manner and under the conditions laid down by law. A matter of time It is statutory It is based on law based on a fixed time
LACHES the unreasonable delay in the bringing of a cause of action before the courts of justice. It is also referred to as ‘sleeping on your rights
A question of equity not statutory based on equity the period varies on a case-to-case basis
The basis for Sec. 14 (2) is found in Article 1113 of the Civil Code Article 1113. All things which are within the commerce of men are susceptible of prescription, unless otherwise provided. Property of the State or any of its subdivisions not patrimonial in character shall not be t he object of prescription. Maam: You have to be specific, because not all lands of ‘public domain’ are i nalienable. Patrimonial properties of the State are still considered public domain. Patrimonial property – Property owned by the State but which is not devoted to public use, public service, or the development of national wealth. It is wealth owned by the State in its private capacity. For private lands, which are patrimonial properties of the State, to be acquired via prescription, the following must concur: Ordinary Acquisitive Prescription, 10 years possession in good faith and with just 1) title; or 2) Extraordinary Acquisitive Prescription, uninterrupted adverse possession of patrimonial property for at least 30 years, regardless of good faith and just title; and There must be an express declaration by the State that the public dominion property is no longer intended for public service or the development of the national wealth MALABANAN V. REPUBLIC
Facts: In 1998, Mario Malabanan filed an application for land registration covering a parcel of land located in Silang Cavity. Malabanan claimed that he purchased the land from Eduardo Velazco , and that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in OCENPO of the land for more than 30 years. Aristedes Velazco, Malabanan’s witness, testified before the court that the property originally belonged to a 22- hectare property owned by Lino Velazco, her greatgrandfather. Lino had 4 sons – Benedicto, Gregorio, Eduardo and Esteban. Esteban is Aristedes’ grandfather. The property was divided a mong the 4 of them. In 1996, Magdalena, Esteban’s wife, became the administrator of all the properties of the Velazco sons. After Esteban and Magdalena died, their son Virgilio succeded them in administering the properties, including the subject land, which is owned by his uncle, Eduardo Velazco. Eduardo sold this to Malabanan. Also, a certificate issued by CENRO, DENR dated JUNE 1, 2001 was presented verifying the said land as A and D. RTC ruled in favor of Malabanan. Republic appealed, now represented by the OSG, CA reversed the decision of the RTC. Issue/Ruling: AS TO THE ISSUE ON WHETHER OR NOT THE LAND, IN ORDER TO BE REGISTRABLE UNDER SECTION 14 (1) OF PD 1529, SHOULD HAVE BEEN CLASSIFIED AS A&D AS OF JUNE 12, 1945.
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The OSG contends that all lands certified as A&D after June 12, 1945 cannot be registered either under Sec. 14 (1) of PD 1529 sec. 48 (b) of Public Land Act. The SC said such interpretation renders the mentioned provision virtually inoperative and even precludes the government form giving it effect even as it decides to reclassify public agricultural lands as A&D. Such unreasonableness is aggravated of the fact the before June 12, 1945, Philippines was not yet even considered an independent state. The SC cited the case of Naguit. Such decision provides that the Sec. 14 (1) of PD 1529 only requires the property sought to be registered as already A&D at the time the application for registration of title is filed .
Alluvion – It refers to the accretion made by flow of rivers. A form of accession natura , which is provided for in Articles 457 and 461. Article 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.
If the State has not yet released the land as A&D at the time of the application, it is presumed that the State is still reserving its right to utilize the property. But in this case, the property was already classified as A&D, this shows an intention of the State to abdicate its authority over the land.
Article 461. River beds which are abandoned through the natural change in the course of the waters ipso facto belong to the owners whose lands are occupied by the new course in proportion to the area lost. However, the owners of the lands adjoining the old bed shall have the right to acquire the same by paying the value thereof, which value shall not exceed the value of the area occupied by the new bed.
AS TO THE ISSUE ON WHETHER OR NOT A LAND CLASSIFIED AS A&D BE DEEMED PRIVATE LAND AND THEREFORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO ACQUISITION BY PRESCRIPTION. In this case, the petitioners primarily based their registration bid on Sec. 14 (2) of PD 1529 or prescription. Article 1113 of the Civil Code provides that “All things which are within the commerce of men are susceptible of prescription, unless otherwise provided. Property of the State or any of its subdivisions not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription.”
SC said, unlike Sec 14(1), Sec 14 (2) explicitly refers to the principles on prescription under existing laws. The SC also said that the rules on prescription under the Civil Code is applicable in Sec 14 (2). Article 1113 of the Civil Code says that only the patrimonial property of the state can be subject to prescription. Also it is clear that land which is part of public dominion cannot be alienated even if it is declared A&D. There must be a declaration of the State that the public dominion property is no longer intended for the development of the national wealth or that the property has been converted into patrimonial for the period of prescription to run. Without t hese, the property remains to be of public dominion. Section 14 (1) mandates registration on the basis of possession while Sec. 14 (2) entitles registration on the basis of prescription. Registration under Section 14 (1) is extended under the aegis of the Property Registration Decree and the Public Land Act, while registration under Section 14 (2) is made available both by the Property Registration Decree and the Civil Code. Also, Registration under Sec. 48 (b) of Public Land Act is based on possession, Sec. 14 (2) of PD 1529 is founded on extraordinary prescription under the Civil Code. The rules on prescription under the Civil Code do not apply to Sec 14 (1) since there is no such intent manifested by the legislature and that PD 1529 is neither superior nor inferior than Civil Code, legislature is not bound to adhere on Civil Code framework. AS TO THE ISSUE ON WHETHER OR NOT MALABANAN IS ENTITLED TO REGISTER THE PROPERTY BASED ON SECTION 14 (1) OR SECTION 14(2) OF PD 1529 OR BOTH. The SC said that the evidence presented is insufficient to establish that Malabanan thas acquired ownership over the subject property under Section 48 (b) of the Public Land Act. There is no substantive evidence to establish that Malabanan or his predecessors-ininterest have been in possession of the property since June, 12, 1945 or earlier. The earliest that petitioners can date back their possession, as evidenced a tax declaration, is to the year 1848. Therefore, they cannot register the land under Sec. 14 (1). Neither can petitioners properly invoke Section 14 (2) as basis for registration. While the subject property was declared A&D in 1982, there is no co mpetent e vidence that is no longer intended for public use, public service, or for the development of the national wealth . The classification of the subject property as A&D land of the public domain does not change its status as property of the public dominion . Thus, it is insusceptible to acquisition by prescription RP V. CA AND NAGUIT Section 14 (1) merely requires the property sought to be registered as already alienable and disposable “at the time the application for registration of title is filed. A contrary interpretation renders par. (1) Section 14 virtually inoperative and even precludes the government from giving it effect even as it decides to reclassify public agricultural lands as A&D.
SEC. 14 (3) – ACCESSION AND ACCRETION A. Accession – Refers to the right of an ow ner of a thing to its products as well as whatever is inseparably attached thereto as an accessory. The accessory follows the principal. Basis in the Civil Code Article 440. The ownership of property gives the right by accession to everything which is produced thereby, or which is incorporated or attached thereto, either naturally or artificially. Requisites of Accession (applies to lakes, creeks, and streams) : 1. That the deposit be gradual and imperceptible; 2. That it be made through the effects of the current of the water; 3. That the land where the accretion takes place is adjacent to the banks of the river.
Accretion and Alluvion Accretion – defined as the addition of portions of soil, by gradual deposition through the operation of natural causes, to that already in the possession of the owner. (Black’s Law)
Requisites of Accretion or Alluvion : 1) The change must be sudden; The changing of the course must be more or less permanent, and not 2) temporary over flooding of another’s land; The change of the river must be a natural one, not by artificial means; 3) There must be definite abandonment by the government; 4) The river must continue to exist, that is, it must not completely dry up or 5) disappear. Rationale of the law on accretion: It is primarily anchored on the principle or right of accession in Art. 457. Also, to compensate the owner for the danger of loss that he suffers because of the location of his lands.
ACQUISITION OF OWNERSHIP IN ANY MANNTER PROVIDED FOR BY LAW RESERVATION FOR SPECIFIC PUBLIC PURPOSE o
GRANDE V. CA 5 SCRA 524 Facts: Petitioners Grande are the owners of a parcel of land located in the Municipality of Magsaysay, province of Isabela. They inherited the said land from their mother who inherited the same from her parents. The land is registered in the name of the parents of their mother. When it was surveyed for purposes of registration in 1930, the northeastern boundary was the Cagayan River. Since then, a gradual accretion on the northeastern side took place, by action of the current of the Cagayan River. That by 1958, an alluvial deposit of 19, 964 square meters, more or l ess, had been added to the registered area.
In 1958, Grandes filed an action to quiet title to said portion formed by accretion. They alleged that they and their predecessor-in-interest were formerly in peaceful and continuous possession of the said land until the Calalungs entered upon the said land under claim of ownership in 1948. The Calalungs, on the other hand, asserts that they have been in continuous, open, and undisturbed possession of the land since prior to the year 1933 up to the present. RTC ruled in favor of the Grandes and ordered Calalungs to vacate the premises. The lower court said that the land in question being an accretion to the mother or registered land, the same belongs to Grandes. That the same cannot be acquired by prescription since it is considered a registered property under Section 46, Act 496, hence, it could not be acquired by prescription. CA o verturned RTC’s decision saying that prescript ion has already set in favor of the Calalungs. Issue: WON Calalungs acquired the alluvial property in question through prescription? Ruling: It is undisputed that under Art. 457 of the Civil Code, petitioners Grande are the lawful owners of said alluvial property, as they are the registered owners of the land which it adjoins. Any alluvial deposits adjoining one’s land does not become ipso facto registered land. Ownership of a piece of land is one thing, and registration under Torrens system of that ownership is quite another. To obtain the protection of imprescriptibility, the land must be placed under the operation of the registration laws where in certain judicial procedures have been provided.
In this case, Grandes never sought registration of said alluvial property until the present action. The increment, therefore, never became registered property, and hence is not entitled to the protection of imprescriptibility, which means it was subject to acquisition through prescription by 3rd persons. Furthermore, in this case, the CA found that Calalungs were in possession of the alluvial lot since 1933 or 1934 until 1958. The law on prescription applicable to the case is that provided in Act 190 and not the provisions of the Civil Code since the New Civil Code rules on prescription were not yet in force. The SC finally said that Calalungs acquired the alluvial lot in question by acquisitive prescription. Alluvial formation along the seashore forms part of the public domain
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- It may only be disposed of if there is a formal declaration by the government that the same is A and D. Its disposition falls under the exclusive supervision and control of the Land Management Bureau. SEC. 14 (4) – IN ANY OTHER MANNER PROVIDED FOR BY LAW 1) Presidential proclamation reserving lands for specific public purpose The president has the authority to set aside lands from sale/public acquisition and reserve them to public use, even though this might defeat the imperfect right of a settler. Lands covered by reservation are not subject to entry and may not be the subject of lawful settlement. Example: 1) Proclamation 791. It set aside a parcel of land for the University of the Philippines’ College of Agriculture even though a logger-corporation had been possessing the land by virtue of a timber license. (I nternational hardwood vs. Uni versity of the
Proclamation 350 was a land grant to the Mindanao Medical Center even though the occupant possessed a sales patent. (R epublic & Mi ndanao Medical C enter vs.
CA ) 3)
Proclamation 180 set aside a parcel of land upon which a public school was to be built. The occupant could not prove OCENPO and could not therefore assert a superior right over the school. (Republic vs. Doldol)
RP BY MINDANAO MEDICAL CENTER V. CA FACTS: In 1921, Eugenio de Jesus , the father of respondent Alejandro de Jesus, applied with Bureau of Lands for Sales Patent of a land situated in Davao City, the subject property applied for was a portion of what was known as Davao Cadastre. Bureau of Lands accepted sealed bids for the purchase of the land. The Director of Lands annulled the auction sale by reason of non-participation of E ugenio due to non-service of notice.
Bidding was held where Eugenio was the lone bidder, he equaled the bid previously submitted by Dr. Ebro which is P100.50 per hectare. An order of award was then given to Eugenio. Thereafter, A survey was conductedand the same was approved. In 1936, the DL ordered the amendment of the Sales Application of Eugenio saying that a portion of the property is needed by the Philippine Army for military campsite. The area excluded was identified was Lot 1176 – B – 2, the land in question which consists of 12.8 hectares. In the same year, President Manuel Quezon issued Proclamation No. 85 withdrawing the subject lot from sale and settlement and reserving it for military purposes . Then, Eugenio paid for the installment for the Sales Patent, this payment did not include the military campsite after it was excluded from the application. Finally, in 1948, the Sales Patent was awarded to him by DL and by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Subsequently, President Ramon Magsaysay revoked Proclamation No. 85 which opened the subject property to disposition under the provisions of the Public Land Act for resettlement of the squatters. However, the same revocation was superseded by another order reserving the lot for medical center site. In 1969, Mindanao Medical Center applied for the registration of the land under Torrens System claiming a “fee simple” title. Respondents De Jesus opposed the registration on the ground that his father has prior vested right on the property. RTC Davao ruled in favor of MMC. CA overturned RTC’s decision recognizing De Jesus’ alleged vested right. ISSUE: WON De Jesus has vested right and is consequently entitled to the registration of the property in dispute? RULING: No. President Magsaysay’s proclamation (No. 350) legally effected a land grant to MMC of the whole lot and not only a portion thereof. Such land grant amounts to a “fee simple” title or absolute title in favor of MMC . Section 64 (e) of the Revised Administrative Code empowers the president “to reserve from sale or other disposition to the private domain of the Government of the Philippines, the use of which is not otherwise directed by law.” The land reserved “shall be used for the specific purposes directed by such Executive Order until otherwise provided by law. Section 83 of the Public Land Act authorizes the President to issue proclamation to declare lands reserved for public use or when the public interest requires it. It is true that Proclamation No. 350 states that the same is subject to "privilege rights, if any there be," but Eugenio de Jesus or his son Alejandro de Jesus failed to prove any private rights over the property reserved. Wee-settled is the rule that unless the applicant has shown by clear and convincing evidence that a certain portion of the public domain was acquired by him or his ancestors either by composition title from the Spanish Government or by possessory information title, or any other means for the acquisition of public lands, such as grants or patents, the property must be held to be part of t he public domain
Even on the gratuitous assumption that a donation of the military "camp site" was executed between Eugenior de Jesus and Serafin Marabut, such donation would anyway be void, because Eugenior de jesus held no dominical rights over the site when it was allegedly donated by him in 1936.
B. LAND ACQUISITION BY PRIVATE CORPORATIONS Ownership by Corporations History It allowed private juridical entities to acquire alienable lands of public 1935 domain, which shall only be less than 1, 024 hectares. Constitution Section 11, Article 14 of the said constitution stated that no private 1973 corporation xxx may hold alienable lands except by lease not to exceed Constitution
1000 hectares in area. 1987 Constitution
Section 3, Article 12 retained the 1973 Constitution’s limitations, but added lease peri od not exceeding 25 years and renewable for not more
than 25 years. General Rule: Corporations are disqualified from owning alienable lands of public domain except through lease. Exception: Where at the time the Corporation acquired the land, its predecessors-ininterest have complied with OCENPO as to entitle him registration in his name. The Constitutional prohibition will no longer apply as the land, by virtue of prescription has become private. (Suzi vs. Razon)
DOL V. IAC AND ACME PLYWOOD AND VENEER 146 SCRA 509 Facts: In 1981, Acme Plywood and Veneers Co. Inc. applied for a land registration of 5 parcels (481, 390 sqm) of land it allegedly acquired from Mariano and Acer Infiel, both member of the Dumagat tribe. The Infiels substantiates their ownership saying that their ancestors have possessed and occupied the land from generation to generation until it came into their possession. Acme contended in its application that their adverse and continuous possession since 1962 and by tacking their possession to that of the possession of the Infiels, they have already acquired title over it; that the ownership of lands by corporations is governed by the 1935 Constitution. Acme further proves that the subject land is a private land after it ownership was given to the non-Christian tribes pursuant to RA 3872 . That also, they have introduced more than 45 million pesos worth of improvements on the land. Also that their ownership is recognized by Municipality of Isabela through the donation it made which was accepted by the former.
The Director of Lands opposed to nothing of the allegations except the applicability of the 1935 Constitution. DL contends that the registration was commenced only in 1981 which was long after the 1973 Constitution took effect. Article 14 Section 11 of the 1973 Constitution prohibits private corporations or associations from holding alienable lands of the public domain, except by lease not to exceed 1,000 hectares. This proscription is not found in the 1935 Constitution which was in force the time Acme bought the land in question. Hence, it cannot be registered under Sec. 48 of CA 141. RTC and CA ruled in favor of the Director of Lands. Issue: WON the title Infiels transferred to Acme in 1962 could be confirmed in favor of Acme? And WON 1973 Constitution should apply? Ruling: The land was already private land to which the Infiels had a legally sufficient transferable title in 1962 when Acme purchased it. Acme also had a perfect right to make such acquisition, there being nothing in the 1935 constitution prohibiting Corporations from acquiring and owning private lannds. Even if the land remained technically “public” land despite immemorial possession of the Infiels and their ancestors, until title in their favor was actually confirmed in appropriate proceedings under the Public Land Act, there can be no question to Acme’s right to acquire the same since there is no prohibition for corporation to acquire incomplete or imperfect title. The only limitation was that corporations could not hold or lease public agricultural lands in excess of 1, 024. 1973 Constitution also cannot defeat a right already vested before the law came into effect, or invalidate transaction then perfectly valid and proper What is a Corporation Sole? It is a special form of corporation usually associated with the clergy. It consists of one person only, and his successors (who will always be one at a time), who are incorporated by law to give them some legal capacity to administer church properties that come into their possession. They are not treated as ordinary private corporation. As by the nature of its incorporation, it is empowered by law to purchase and hold real estate and personal property. Vested rights It is some right or interest in property, which has become fixed and established and no longer open to doubt or controversy. It cannot be impaired without violating one’s right to due process.
Judicial confirmation of Imperfect or Incomplete Titles AYOG VS. CUSI 146 SCRA 15
FACTS: In 1953, the Director of Lands granted Binan Development Co., Inc. its Sales Application of the land located in Davao City with an area of 250 hectares. There were protesters but then their protest was dismissed by the Director and ordered them to vacate the subject lot. No appeal was made from the decision. Despi te that, the “squatters”
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defied the Director of Land’s order to vacate. An ejectment suit was brought which caused the delay of the issuance of the patent. The Director of Lands recommended to the Secretary of Natural Resources the approval of the Sales Patent saying that the Corporation had complied with the said requirements long before the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution, that the land in question was free from claims and conflicts and that the issuance of the patent was legal, and the said issuance is an exception to the prohibition of ow nership by private corporation. The Secretary of Natural Resources noted that the applicant had acquired a vested right to issuance. Subsequently, the ejectment suit was decided in favor of the corporation. However, the “squatters” alleged that the adoption of the 1973 Constitution was a supervening fact that will make the issuance of patent illegal since no private corporation is allowed to hold alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed 1,000 hectares. ISSUE: WON BInan Development Corporation may validly acquire the Sales Patent despite the prohibition embodied in the 1973 Constitut ion? Yes. RULING: The said constitutional prohibition has no retroactive application to the sales application of Binan Corp. because it has already acquired a vested right to the land applied for at the time of the 1973 Constitution took effect. Such vested right has to be respected. It could not be abrogated by the new Constitution.
A vested right is defined as when the right to enjoyment has become the property of some person as a present interest, or, it is some right or interest in property which has become fixed and established and is no longer open to doubt or controversy. In this case, it is undisputed that prior to the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution, the right of the corporation to purchase the land in question had become fixed and established and was no longer open to doubt or controversy. Its compliance with the requirements of the Public Land Law had the effect of segregating the said land from public domain. The petitioners contention that their predecessors-ininterest have possessed the property should fail, the SC said, they should have applied for patent applications if it is true.
ZARA V. DOL FACTS: "application for registration of the parcel of land consisting of On August 4, 1960 appellants filed an application for registration of 107 hectares parcel of land pursuant to the provisions of Act 496. They alleged that the land had been inherited by them from their grandfather, Pelagio Zara, who in turn acquired the same under a Spanish grant known as "Composicion de Terrenos Realengos" issued in 1888. Alternatively, should the provisions of the Land Registration Act be not applicable, applicants invoke the benefits of the provisions of Chapter VIII, Section 48, subsection (b) of C.A. 141 as amended, on the ground that they and their predecessor-in-interest had been in continuous and adverse possession of the land in concept of owner for more than 30 years immediately p receding the application.
Oppositions were filed by the Director of Lands, the Director of Forestry and by Vicente V. de Villa, Jr. The latter's opposition recites: x x x that the parcel of land sought to be registered by the applicants consisting of 107 hectares, more or less, was included in the area of the parcel of land applied for registration by Vicente S. de Villa, Sr. in Civil Case No. 26, L.R. Case No. 601 in this Court, which was decided by this same Court through the then incumbent Judge, the Honorable Juan P. Enriquez, on September 30, 1949; that the parcel sought to be registered by the applicants was declared public land in said decision; that they (the oppositors Vicente V. de Villa, Jr. and Vicente S. de Villa, Sr.) have an interest over the land in question because for a period more than sixty (60) years, the de Villas have been in possession, and which possession, according to them, was OCENCO that the proceeding being in rem, the failure of the applicants to appear at the case No. 26, L.R. Case No. 601 to prove their imperfect and incomplete title over the property, barred them from raising the same issue in another case; and that as far as the decision in Civil Case No. 26, L.R. Case No. 601 w hich was affirmed in the appellate court in CA-G.R. No. 5847-R is concerned, there is already "res-judicata" — in other words, the cause of action of the applicant is now barred by prior judgment; and that this Court has no more jurisdiction over the subject matter, the decision of the Court in said case having transferred to the Director of Lands. On November 15, 1960 the De Villas (De Villa, Sr. was subsequently included as oppositor) filed a motion to dismiss, invoking the same grounds alleged in its opposition, but principally the fact that the land appl ied for had already been declared public land by the judgment in the former registration case. The trial court, over the objection of the applicants, granted the motion to dismiss by order dated January 27, 1961, holding, inter alia, that "once a parcel of land is declared or adjudged public land by the court having jurisdiction x x x it cannot be the subject anymore of another land registration proceeding x x x (that) it is only the Director of Lands who can dispose of the same by sale, by lease, by free patent or by homestead." In the present appeal from the order of dismissal neither the Director of Lands nor the Director of Forestry filed a brief as appellee. ISSUE: whether the 1949 judgment in the previous case, denying the application of Vicente S. de Villa, Sr., and declaring the 107 hectares in question to be public land, precludes a
subsequent application by an alleged p ossessor for judicial confirmation of title on the basis of continuous possession for at least thirty years, pursuant to Section 48, subsection (b) of the Public Land Law, C.A. 141, as amended. HELD: Section 48, subsection (b) of the Public Land Law, C. A. 141, as amended. The right to file an application under the foregoing provision has been extended by Republic Act No. 2061 to December 31, 1968. It should be noted that appellants' application is in the alternative: - for registration of their title of ownership under Act 496 or - for judicial confirmation of their "imperfect" title or claim based on adverse and continuous possession for at least thirty years. It may be that although they were not actual parties in that previous case the judgment therein is a bar to their cl aim as owners under the first alternative, since the proceeding was in rem, of which they and their predecessor had constructive notice by publication . Even so this is a defense that properly pertains to the Government, in view of the fact that the judgment declared the land in question to be public land. In any case, appellants' imperfect possessory title was not disturbed or foreclosed by such declaration, for precisely the proceeding contemplated in the aforecited provision of Commonwealth Act 141 presupposes that the land is public . The basis of the decree of judicial confirmation authorized therein is not that the land is already privately owned and hence no longer part of the public domain, but rat her that by reason of the claimant's possession for thirty years he is conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant. On the question of whether or not the private oppositors-appellees have the necessary personality to file an opposition, we find in their favor, considering that they also claim to be in possession of the land, and have furthermore applied for its purchase from the Bureau of Lands. Wherefore, the order appealed from is set aside and the case is remanded to the Court a quo for trial and judgment on the merits, with costs against the private oppositorsappellees. JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION OF IMPERFECT TITLES (SECTION 48 (b) of CA 141) Period of possession for Judicial Confirmation of imperfect title: Historical Background LAW DATE OF RULE EFFECTIVIT Y Oct. 17, 1903 OCENPO of agricultural lands for 10 years PLA- 926 before the effectivity of this Act Nov. 29, 1919 OCENPO of ‘agricultural lands’ (excluding 2nd PLA – timber and mineral lands) of the p ublic domain, 2874 under bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, since JULY 26, 1894 Dec. 1, 1936 Possession and occupation of lands of the public RPLA – 141 domain since JULY 26, 1984 only limited to Filipinos June 22, 1957 Possession and occupation for atleast 30 years RA 1942 immediately preceding the filing of the application January 25, Land must be A&D (not anymore ‘agr icultural PD 1073 1977 lands’ of the public domain, it must be possessed and occupied since June 12, 1945
The amendment from ‘agricultural lands’ to ‘A & D’ is not a substantial amendment because only agricultural lands are alienable. The prevailing rule for OCENPO is not anymore 30 years. It is now ‘since June 12, 1945 or earlier’. The amendment was made to ‘jive’ with Sec. 14(1) of PD 1529. Did PD 1529 and PD 1073 (which removed the 30 yr requirement for OCENPO) preclude application for registration of alienable lands of public domain commenced only after June 12, 1945? No, considering Section 14(2) still allows acquisition of alienable lands of public domain through prescription. In civil law, prescription is one of the wars of acquiring public land. So even if the possession was commenced later than June 12, 1945, you may still qualify under Section 14(2). Requirements for Judicial Confirmation of Imperfect Title The land must form part of the A&D agricultural lands of t he public domain; 1) Applicant must have been in OCENPO 2) 3) Under a bona fide claim of ownership since time immemorial or since June 12, 1945
RA 8371 Oct. 29, 1997 INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S RIGHTS ACT CARINO V. INSULAR Facts: Carino applied for the registration of a parcel of land located in Benguet province. Carino alleges that: a. His predecessors has been in the possess ion of the land for more than 50 years. b. He was inherited the land under the Igorot customs.
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However, it was not shown that Carino has a document of title to prove ownership such as royal grant. The dispute arose when the government opposed the registration contending that the land in question belonged to the State. That the Spanish law provides that all lands belonged to the Spanish Crown (Jura Regalia), and it could not have been acquired by Carino since prescription does not lie against the crown.
a) b) c)
Applicant must be a member of indigenous cultural group; He must have been in possession of an individually-owned ancestral land for not less than 30 years By operation of law (IPRA), the land is already classified as A&D land, even if it has a slop of 18% hence there is no need to submit a separate certification that the land is A&D
Issue: WON Carino’s application should be granted? YES. Ruling: Law and justice require that the applicant should be granted title. The Supreme Court of the United States through Justice Holmes had this to say: “It might perhaps be proper and sufficient to say that when , as far as testimony or memory goes , the land has been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership. It will be presumed to have been held in the same way from before the Spanish Conquest, and never to have been in Public Land.” It was further ruled that Carino’s kind of title, a native title, is an exception to Jura Regalia.
Transfer of land or property rights Only the members of the ICCs/IPs 1) In accord with customary laws and customs 2) Subject to the right of redemption of the ICCs/IPs for a period of 15 years if 3) the land was transferred to a non-member of ICCs/IPs
CRUZ V. DENR FACTS: Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa, petitioners, assailed the constitutionality of certain provisions of RA 8371 ( Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997) together with its implementing rules and regulations. The OSG also commented that IPRA is partly unconstitutional on the ground that it grants ownership over natural resources to indigenous people.
In the event of an agreement of mining ope rations Parties shall agree upon the Royalty payment 1) The Royalty payment shall form part of trust fund for the socio-economic 2) well-being of the ICC Members of the cultural communities are given priority in awarding of SMALL-SC ALE MINING CONTRACTS- Sec. 7, 7076
On the other hand, 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 people. For this reason, it prays that the petition be dismissed. Petitioners Cruz and Europa countered the constitutionality of IPRA and its 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. Also, that the law is in violation of the Regalian Doctrine embodied in the Constitution. Also, petitioners contended that, by providing for an all-encompassing definition of “ancestral domains” and “ancestral lands”, it might include private lands found within the said areas. Issue:WON IPRA is unconstitutional as it contravenes Regalian Doctrine? Ruling: NO, IPRA is held to be constitutional. After due deliberation on the petition, 7 members of the court voted to dismiss the petition, and 7 members of the court voted to grant the same. The case was redeliberated upon, however, the votes remained t he same. According to the Rules of Civil Procedure, the petition has to be dismissed. The constitutionality of IPRA is upheld. Justice Panganiban’s Dissenting Opinion: Contentions of RA 8371’s unconstitutionality: 1. It violates the inalienability of Natural Resources and of Public Domains. That this is in contravention to Section 2, Art. 12 of the Constitution that only agricultural lands of the public domain can be considered as alienable and disposable lands. 2. No land area li mits are specified - That 4/5 of the country’s natural resources and 1/3 of the country’s land will be concentrated to 12 Million IPs, and while 60 million other Filipinos will share the remaining. These figures violates the constitutional principle of a “more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth” among Filipinos. 3. It abdicates the State Duty to take Full Control and Supervision of Natural Resources 4. Public Domains and Natural Resources are owned by the State and Cannot be Alienated or Ceded
Ancestral Domain- refers to all areas generally belonging to ICCs/IPs comprising lands, inland waters, coastal areas, and natural resources therein Ancestral Land – refers to land occupied, possessed and utilized by individuals, families, and clans who are members of the ICCs/IPs since time immemorial, by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest, under claims of individual or traditional ownership Native Title- refers to pre-conquest rights to lands and domains, which, as far back as memory reaches, have been held under claim of private ow nership by ICCs/IPs. Time Immemorial – period of time when as far back as memory can go, certain IPs are known to have occupied, possessed in the concept of owner IPRA connotes group or communal ownership. Ancestral domains are private, but community property Private- since it is not part of t he public domain Community – ancestral domain is owned in common and not by 1 particular person
Mining Operations on Ancestral Land General Rule: Not allowed Exception: If the ICCs concerned consent to it
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) 1) Jurisdiction over all claims and disputes involving the rights of ICCs/IPs Condition precedent to the acquisition of jurisdictions: o Exhaustion of all remedies provided under their customary laws and a certification from the Council of Elders/Leaders who participated in t he atte mpt to settle the dispute and that it was not resolved. 2) It has the authority to issue Certificates of Ancestral Lands Title (CALT) and Certificates of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) 3) It has OEJ over petition for cancellation of CADT and CALT alleged to have been fraudulently acquired to any person 4) Issuance of certification as a precondition to grant of permit for disposition 5) Power to cite for contempt and issue restrai ning orders Ancestral Domains Office Responsible for identification, delineation, and recognition of ancestral lands/domains
CERTIFICATE OF LAND TRANSFER, AFFIDAVIT OF NON-TENANCY
SEC. 104. Provisional Register of Documents. — The Department of Agrarian Reform shall prepare by automate data processing a special registry book to be known as the “Provisional Register of Documents issued under PD-27 ” which shall be kept and maintained in every Registry of Deeds t hroughout the country.
Said Registry Book shall be a register of: All Certificates of Land Transfer (CLT) issued pursuant to P.D. No. 27; and a) All subsequent transactions affecting Certificates of Land Transfer such as b) adjustments, transfer, duplication and cancellations of erroneous Certificates of Land Transfer SEC. 105. Certificates of Land Tr ansfer, E mancipation Patents. — The Department of Agrarian reform shall pursuant to P.D. No. 27 issue in duplicate, a Certificate of Land Transfer for every land brought under “Operation Land Transfer,” the original of which shall be kept by the tenant-farmer and the duplicate, in the Registry of Deeds.
After the tenant-farmer shall have fully complied with the requirements for a grant of title under P.D. No. 27, an Emancipation Patent which may cover previously titled or untitled property shall be issued by the Department of Agrarian Reform. The Register of Deeds shall complete the entries on the aforementioned Emancipation Patent and shall assign an original certificate of title number in case of unregistered land, and in case of registered property, shall issue the corresponding transfer certificate of title without requiring the surrender of the owner’s duplicate of the title to be cancelled. In case of death of the grantee, the Department of Agrarian Reform shall determine his heirs or successors-in-interest and shall notify the Register of Deeds accordingly. In case of subsequent transfer of property covered by an Emancipation Patent or a Certificate of Title emanating from an Emancipation Patent, the Register of Deeds shall effect the transfer only upon receipt of the supporting papers from the Department of Agrarian Reform. No fee, premium, of tax of any kind shall be charged or imposed in connection with the issuance of an original Emancipation Patent and for the registration of related documents.
Ownership over the natural resources STILL belong to the State ICCs/IPs are merely granted the right to manage and conserve them for future generation. The rights of IPs take the form of management and stewardship Modes of Acquisition of Ancestral domains and ancestral lands by the IP
TENANT EMANCIPATION DECREE (PD 27) (Oct. 21, 1972) Applicability/Coverage
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This applies to tenant farmers of private agricultural lands primarily devoted to rice and corn under a system of sharecrop or lease tenancy, whether classified as landed estate or not
conversion clearance from the DAR.
Retention Limits/Award Ceiling A farmer shall be deemed owner of a portion constituting a family-size farm of 6 hectares if not irrigated o 3 hectares if irrigated o Landowner Retention Limit 7 hectares if such landowner is cultivating such area or will now o cultivate it Cost of Land/Compensation The land shall be equivalent to 2 ½ times the average harvest of 3 normal crop years It shall be paid by the tenant in 15 equal annual amortizations including interest at the rate of 6% per annum
Requisite before the title to the land owned be actually issued to the tenant farmer Tenant farmer should become a full-fledged member of a duly recognized farmer’s cooperative Transferability of title acquired to PD 27 Only through hereditary succession or to the Govt in accordance w/ pertinent laws
COMPREHE NSIVE AGRARI AN REF ORM PROGRAM (RA 6657) Aug. 7, 2009 Agrarian Reform - redistribution of lands, regardless of crops or fruits produced, to farmers and regular farmworkers who are landless, irrespective of tenurial arrangement, to include the totality of factors and support services designed to lift the economic status of the beneficiaries and all other arrangements alternative to the physical redistribution of lands, such as production or profit-sharing, labor administration, and the distribution of shares of stocks, which will allow beneficiaries to receive a just share of the fruits of the lands they work Agricultural land – land devoted to agricultural activity as defined in this Act and not classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial, or industrial land. Agricultural activity – cultivation of the soil, planting of crops, growing of fruit trees, raising of livestock, poultry or fish, including the harvesting of such farm products, and other farm activities and practices performed by a farmer in conjunction with such farming operations done by person whether natural or j uridical. Coverage All public and private agricultural lands including lands of public domain suitable for agriculture All lands in excess of the specific limits as determined by Congress All other lands owned by the gov’t devoted to or suitable for agriculture All private lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture regardless of the agricultural products raised or that can be raised thereon Except landholdings of landowners with a total area of 5 hectares o below Exemptions and Exclusions from CARP coverage 1) Lands actually, directly, and exclusively used for parks, wildlife, forest reserves, reforestation, fish sanctuaries and breeding grounds, watersheds and mangroves; 2) Private lands actually, directly, and exclusively used for prawn f arms and fishponds, provided that the same have not been distributed and Certificate of Land Ownership Award issued to agrarian reform beneficiaries under the CARP; 3) Lands actually, directly, and exclusively used and found to be necessary for: a. National defense, school sites and campuses, including experimental farm stations operated by public or private schools for educational purposes, seeds and seeding research and pilot production center Church sites and convents, mosque sites and Islamic centers, b. common burial grounds Penal colonies and penal farms actually worked by inmates c. Government and private research and quarantine centers d. All lands with 18% slope and over, except those already e. developed Agr icultural lands r eclassified by LGU’s into residential, commercial or industrial uses excluded This is based on DOJ Opinion No. 44 (1990) which provides that with respect to the conversion of agricultural lands covered by RA No. 6657 to non-agricultural uses, the authority of the DAR to approve such conversion may be exercised from the date of its effectivity or on June 15, 1988. Thus, all lands already classified as commercial, industrial or residential before that date no longer need any
While PD No. 27 decreeing the emancipation of tenants from the bondage of the soil and transferring to them ownership of the land they till is a sweeping social legislation, it cannot defeat the very purpose of the Public Land Act which has been enacted for the welfare and protection of the poor.
Qualified Beneficiaries Landless residents of the same barangay, or in the absence thereof, landless residents of the same municipality in the following order of priority 1) Agricultural lessees and share tenants; 2) Regular farmworkers; Seasonal farmworkers; 3) Other farmworkers; 4) 5) Actual tillers or occupants of public lands 6) Collectives or cooperatives of the above beneficiaries Others directly working on the land 7) children of landowners who are qualified shall be given preference. Actual landtillers shall not, however, be ejected or removed therefrom A basic qualification of a beneficiary shall be his willingness, aptitude, and ability to cultivate and make the land as productive as possible Support services shall be extended equally to women and men agrarian reform beneficiaries
Retention Limits of Landowners Maximum of 5 hectares o 3 hectares may be awarded to each child of the landowner subject to the o following qualifications 1. Atleast 15 years of age He is actually tilling the land or directly managing the farm 2. Retention limits shall not apply to LGUs acquiring private agricultural land by expropriation or other modes of acquisition be used f or public purposes Disposition or Sale of retained land by land owner Valid, as long as the total landholding that s hall be owned by the transferee thereof inclusive of the land to be acquired shall not exceed the landholding ceilings Award ceiling to beneficiaries 3 hectares o It may be a contiguous tract or several p arcels of land cumulate up to t he o prescribed award limits Landless Beneficiary – owns less than 3 ha. Of agricultural lands Determination of just compensation Cost of acquisition of the land 1. Value of the standing crop 2. Current value of like properties 3. Its nature, actual use, and income 4. Sworn valuation by the owner 5. Tax declarations 6. Assessment made by government assessors 7. 70% zonal valuation by the BIR 8. Manner of Payment It shall be paid by t he beneficiaries to t he LBP in 30 annual amortization of 6 % interest per annum Payment for the first 3 years may be at reduced amounts LBP shall have a lien by way of mortgage on the land awarded, it may be foreclosed by the LBP for nonpaymnet of an aggregate of 3 annual amortizations Beneficiary whose land was foreclosed shall be permanently disqualified from becoming a beneficiary Transferability of awarded lands (CLOA) only through hereditary succession, to the government, or to the LBP, or to other qualified beneficiaries through the DAR for a period of 10 years Voluntary Land Transfer landowners of agricultural lands may enter into a voluntary arrangement to direct transfer of their lands to qualified beneficiaries subject to guidelines set in the law Payment shall be made by t he farmer-beneficiary to the land owner under terms to be mutually agreed upon by the parties. It shall be binding upon them, upon registration with the approval by the DAR Approval is deemed given, unless notice of disapproval is received by the farmerbeneficiary within 30 days from the date of registration In case they don’t agree on the price, the procedure for compulsory acquisition shall apply LBP may extend financing to the beneficiaries
When the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes, or that the land will have greater economic value for residential, commercial or industrial purposes
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The DAR, upon application of the beneficiary or the land-owner, may authorize the reclassification or conversion of the land and its disposition Provided that the beneficiary shall have fully paid his obligation Irrigated and irrigable lands, shall not be subject to conversion
And on the alleged payment of public money as just compensation without the corresponding appropriation, the Court said that there is no rule that only money already in existence can be the subject of an appropriation law. The earmarking of fifty billion pesos as Agrarian Reform Fund, although denominated as an initial amount, is actually the maximum sum appropriated. The word “initial” simply means that additional amounts may be appropriated later when necessary.
Finally, on the contention that the law is unconstitutional insofar as it requires the owners of the expropriated properties to accept just compensation therefor in less than money, which is the only medium of payment allowed, the Court held that the law “is not an ordinary expropriation where only a specific property of relatively limited area is sought to be taken by the State from its owner for a specific and perhaps local purpose,” but deals with “a revolutionary kind of ex propriation (which) affects all private agricultural lands.” “(S)uch a program will involve not mere millions of pesos (but) hundreds of billions of pesos will be needed, far more indeed than the amount of P50 billion initially appropriated, which is already staggering as it is by our present st andards.”
Jurisdiction of DAR
a) b) c) d)
Adjudication of all matters involving implementation of agrarian reform R esolution of agrarian conflicts and land tenure related problems Approval or disapproval of the conversion, restructuring or readjustment of agricultural lands into residential, commercial, industrial, and other non-agricultural uses
Appeals DAR decision 15 days from the receipt CA by certiorari Notwithstanding appeal to the CA, the decision of the DAR shall be immediately executory. Jurisdiction of DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB) a) Determine and adjudicate all agrarian disputes involving the implementation of CARP Cases involving the issuance, correction and cancellation of EPs and b) CLOAs which are registered with the ROD. For DARAB to have jurisdiction, there must be a tenancy relationship between the parties which has the following elements: 1. Parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee 2. Subject matter of the relationship is an agricultural land 3. Consent between the parties to the relationship 4. Purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural production 5. There is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee 6. Harvest is shared between the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee Note: If the action is brought before the trial court, it must determine first the existence of tenancy relationship. If there is, then it should dismiss the case. It there is no such relationship, then it has jurisdiction over the case. Finding by DAR of such relationship is merely preliminary and does not bind t he courts.
An action to enforce rights as a tenant is barred by prescription If not filed within 3 years Special Agrarian Court designated by the RTC shall have the following original and exclusive jurisdiction 1) All petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and 2) Prosecution of all criminal offenses under RA 6657
Titles issued pursuant to PD 27 and RA 6657 shall become indefeasible and imprescriptible after 1 year from their registration in t he ROD
Jurisdiction of DAR and DARAB DAR Prior to registration with the ROD Case involving issuance, recall cancellation of CLOAs and EPs
DARAB After registration with ROD Issuance, correction or cancellation of CLOAs or EPs
MODES OF ACQUIRING PRIVATE AGRICULTURAL LAND Operation Land Transfer 1) 2) Volutary Offer to Sell Voluntary Land Transfer/Direct Payment Scheme 3) Compulsory Acquisition 4) Voluntary Stock Distribution in the case of corporation 5)
Agricultural lands are only those lands which are arable and suitable agricultural lands and do not include commercial, industrial and residential lands. Lands converted to nonagricultural uses prior to the effectivity of RA 6657 are outside its coverage – Natalia vs. DAR
Lands devoted to livestock and poultry-raising are not included in the definition of agricultural land. It declared as unconstitutional the provision in RA 6657 insofar as it included livestock farms in the coverage of agrarian reform – Luz Farms vs. Secretary of DAR
Based on the slogan: Land for the Landless 1935 constitution – mandated the policy of social justice to “ensure the well -being and economic security of all the people”, especially the less privileged.
Art. XIII, Sec. 4 The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of t he fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage and undertake the just distribution of all a gricultural lands, subject to such priorities and reasonable retention limits as the Congress may prescribe, taking into account ecological, developmental, or equity o considerations and subject to the payment of just compensation. In determining retention limits, the State shall respect the right of small landowners. The State shall further provide incentives for voluntary lando sharing.” 3844 - Agricultural land reform code (aug. 8, 1963) PD 27 - compulsory acquisition of private lands for distribution among tenant-farmers and to specify maximum retention limits for land owners (Oct. 21, 1972) EO 228 - full ownership in favor of PD 27 beneficiaries and providing valuation of st ill unvalued lands PP 131- CARP and EO 229 providing mechanisms for its implementation RA 6657 – Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1998, by P. Aquino (June 10, 1988)
NATALIA REALTY V. DAR Lands converted to non-agricultural uses prior to the effectivity of CARL are outside its coverage
HELD: Lands not devoted to agricultural activity are outside the coverage of CARL. These include lands previously converted to non-agricultural uses prior to the effectivity of CARL by government agencies other than DAR. Thus, for instance, the conversion of portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision for res idential use and developed such prior to the passage of the law excluded the area for CARL coverage because it ceased to be devoted to agricultural activity. Since the NATALIA lands were converted prior to 15 June 1988, respondent DAR is bound by such conversion. It was therefore error to include the undeveloped portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision within the coverage of CARL.” LUZ FARMS V. SECRETARY Farms used for raising livestock, poultry and swine not covered in determining the area of land to be excluded, AO No. 9 fixed the following retention limits, viz.: 1:1 animal-land ratio (i.e., 1 hectare of land per 1 head of animal shall be retained by the landowner), and a ratio of 1.7815 hectares for livestock infrastructure for every 21 heads of cattle shall likewise be excluded from the operations of the CARL.
ASSOCIATION OF SMALL LANDOWNERS V. SAR (1989) the requirement of public use has been settled by the Constitution itself. It noted that “(n)o less than the 1987 Charter calls for agrarian reform which is the reason why private agricultural lands are to be taken from their owners, subject to the prescri bed maximum retention limits.” The Court also declared that the law is a valid exercise by the State of the police power and the power of eminent domain.
On the alleged violation of the equal protection clause, the sugar planters have failed to show that t hey belong to a different class and should be di fferently treated.