Republic vs. Rosemoor Mining
Republic v. Rosemoor Mining
it is an ex post facto law and/or a bill of attainder, and it was issued by the President after the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution.
FACTS: RULING OF THE SUPREME COURT: Four respondents were granted permission to look for marble deposits in the mountains of Biak-na-Bato. When they discovered marble deposits in Mount Mabio, they applied for license to exploit said marble deposits and they were issued such license. However, in a letter, Ernest o Maceda (newly-appointed Minister of the Department of Energy and Natural Resources) cancelled their license. Prclamation No. 84 was then issued, confirming the cancellation of the license. RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT: The privilege granted under respondents’ license already became a property right, which is protected unde the due process clause. License cancellation, without notice and hearing was unjust. Moreover, the proclamation, which confirmed the cancellation of the license was an ex post facto law. RULING OF THE COURT OF APPEALS: CA affirmed the decision of the Trial Court. It adds that the Constitution provides for the non-impairment of obligations and contracts, which implies that the license of the respondents must be respected. ISSUES: 1.
WON the license was valid. Petitioners: License was issued in violation of PD 463 – a quarry license should cover not more than 100 hectares in any given province. The license was issued to Rosemoor Mining and Development Corporation and covered a 330-hectare land. Respondents: The license was embraced by 4 separate applications, each for an aread of 81 hectares. Also, the issue has been mooted because PD 463 has already been repealed by RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
WON Proclamation No. 84 – which confirmed the cancellation of the license, is valid.
Petitioners: The license was validly declared a nullity and terminated. Maceda’sletter did not cancel or revoke the license, but merely declared its nullity. Also, the respondents waived their right to notice and hearing in their license application. Respondents: Their right to due process was violated because there was no notice and hearing. Proclamation No. 84 is not valid because it violates the clause on non-impairment of contracts,
Tbe Petition is GRANTED. SC set aside the decision of the CA and TC. 1.
THE LICENSE IS NOT VALID.
The issue has not been mooted because while RA 7942 has expressly repealed provisions of mining laws that are inconsistent with its own, it respects previously issued valid and existing licenses. When the license was issued, the governing law was PD 463. Thus, it was subject to the terms and conditions of PD 463, including the part where it says that the quarry license shall cover an area of not more than 100 hectares in any one province and not more than 1000 hectares in the entire Philippines. The license in question was issued in the name of Rosemoor Mining Development Corporation and not the 4 individual stockholders. It clearly violates PD 463 because the license covered an area of 330-hectares. 2.
PROCLAMATION NO. 84, CONFIRMING THE CANCELLATION OF THE LICENSE, IS VALID.
Respondents’ license may be revoked or rescinded by executive action when the national interest so requires because it is not a contract, property or a property right protected by the due process clause of the Constitution. The license itself provides such condition. The license can also be validly revoked by the State in the exercise of police power, in accordance with the Regalian doctrine. Also, since the license is not a contract, the non-impairment clause may not be invoked. Even if it were, the non-impairment clause must yield to the police power of the State. The proclamation cannot also be said to be a bill-of-attainder, which is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without judicial trial. The proclamation only declares the nullity of the license. It does not declare guilt or impose punishment. The proclamation can also be said to be an ex post facto law because it does not fall under any of the six recognized instances when a law is considered as such. It is not even criminal or penal in nature. Lastly, when President Aquino issued Proclamation No. 84, she was still validly exercising legislative powers under the Provisional Constitution of 1986.
COLLADO v. CA FACTS: Petitioner Edna Collado applied for registration of a parcel of land (120 hectares in Antipolo, Rizal) with the land registration court. She attached a technical description of the Lot, signed by Robert Pangyarihan1, stating “this survey is inside IN-12 Mariquina Watershed.” About a year later, Collado amended the application to include additional co-applicants and more applicants joined (“petitioners”). The Republic through the SG, and the Municipality of Antipolo, through the Municipal Attorney and Provincial Fiscal of Rizal, filed oppositions to petitioners’ application.
Petitioners: The petition for annulment of judgment was filed long after the decision of the land registration court had become final and executor and is no longer available because of res judicata. The land registration court had jurisdiction over the case, which involves private land. The Republic is stopped from questioning the court’s jurisdiction because the Republic participated in the proceedings before the court.
Solicitor General: The decision of the land registration court was null and void because the land registration court had no jurisdiction over the case. The land in question was not alienable and disposable. 3.
WON the petition-in-intervention is proper. (more on procedural)
ISSUES: RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT: 1.
WON Petitioners have registrable title over the Lot. Petitioners presented sufficient evidence to establish their registrable rights over the Lot.
Petitioners: They have occupied the Lot for a long time and their possession has been open, public, notorious and in the concept of owners. The Lot was surveyed in the name of one of their predecessors-in-interest2 as early as 1902. There have been 9 transfers of rights among them and their predecessors-in-interest. Also, they have declared the Lot for taxation and paid all the real estate taxes. The land is not covered by any form of title or any public land application. It is also not within any government reservation. Private rights were vested on Leyva before the issuance of EO 33 (establishing the Marikina Watershed Reservation). Since EO 33 contains a saving clause that the reservations are subject to existing private rights, the Lot is excluded from such reservation.
RULING OF THE COURT OF APPEALS: CA annulled the decision of the Trial Court. Under the Regalian Doctrine, all lands of public domain belong to the State. An applicant for registration of a parcel of land has the burden of overcoming the presumption that the land sought to be registered forms part of the public domain. The petitioners failed to present evidence that the Lot has been segregated from the public domain and declared by competent authority to be alienable and disposable. The technical description which the petitioners attached to their application said that the survey is inside in the Mariquina Watershed. This has been confirmed by the Administrator of the National Land Titles and Deeds in a Report. RULING OF THE SUPREME COURT:
Assuming no private rights attached prior to the issuance of EO 33, the President had subsequently segregated the Lot from the public domain and made the Lot alienable and disposable through Proclamation No. 1283. They say that the proclamation expressly excluded an area of 3780 hectares from the MWR and made the area part of the BosoBoso Townsite Reservation. They contend that the Lot in question is part of the excluded town site are and that under CA 141, town sites are considered alienable and disposable. 2.
WON the petition for annulment of judgment should have been given due course.
Petition is DENIED. 1.
PETITIONERS HAVE NO REGISTRABLE TITLE OVER THE LOT.
Petitioners failed to complete the require period of possession under CA 141 3 (Public Land Act) or under the amendment by RA 19424 and PD 10735 (the law prevailing at the time the petitioners applied for registration. When EO 33 was issued (1904), Leyva had
3 Possession and occupation of lands of public domain since July 26, 1894. 1 Officer-in-Charge of the Survey Division, Bureau of Lands 2 Sesinando Leyva
4 A simple 30-year prescriptive period of occupation by an applicant for judicial confirmation of an imperfect title.
been in possession of the Lot for only 2 years. There is no proof that prior to the issuance of EO 33, the petitioners had acquired ownership or title to the Lot either by deed, acquisitive prescription, or any other mode of acquisition from the State. Also, even if the Lot were alienable and disposable prior to the issuance of EO 33, EO 33 reserved the Lot as a watershed. Thus, ever since, the land has become non-disposable and inalienable public land. The period of occupancy after the issuance of EO 33 could no longer be counted because the Lot was no longer susceptible of occupancy, disposition, conveyance or alienation. CA 141 only applies to alienable and disposable public agricultural land and not to forest lands, including watershed reservations. Possession of forest lands or other inalienable public lands cannot ripen into private ownership. Proclamation No. 1283 has been amended by Proclamation No. 1637, revising the area and location of proposed townsite. The new proclamation excluded the Lot in question and reverted it to MWR coverage. The certification presented by the petitioners that says that the Lot is covered by the reclassification is contradicted by the several documents submitted by the Solicitor General. In a Report, the Administrator of National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration confirmed that the Lot forms part of MWR and re commended the dismissal of the application for registration. Also, in a Letter, the Deputy Land Inspector of the DENR, confirmed that it is within the MWR. Lastly, Collado’s application attached a technical description stating that the Lot is inside the Mariquina Watershed. Once a parcel of land is included within a watershed reservation duly established by Executive Proclamation, there is the presumption that the land continues to be part of such Reservation until clear and convincing evidence of subsequent declassification is shown. 2.
ALL PROCEEDINGS OF THE LAND REGISTRATION COURT INVOLVING THE LOT ARE NULL AND VOID.
contravenes law or public policy. Res judicata must be disregarded if its application would sacrifice justice to technicality. Also, the right of reversion or reconveyance to the State of public properties registered and which are not capable of private appropriation or private acquisition does not prescribe. TORRES v. GARCHITORENA FACTS: Susana Realty, Incorporated (SRI) is the registered owner of 2 parcels of land in Noveleta, Cavite. Such parcels of land are adjacent to the sea and over time, portions thereof were submerged by sea water. Domingo Fernandez was assigned by SRI to be the caretaker. Mayor Dionisio Torres of Noveleta, caused the leveling and reclamation of the submerged portion to relocate displaced squatters from Tirona, Cavite. The caretaker protested but the mayor ignored him and continued with the leveling and reclamation of the property.SRI formally protested and demanded that the leveling and reclamation be stopped. ZARATE v. DIRECTOR OF LANDS FACTS: Petittioner Francisco Zarate applied for registration of title of 3 parcels of land in Tangalan, Aklan. He claims that he bought the land from Josefino Tirol, who inherited the same from Ignacio Tirol. There were different oppositors to his application. ISSUE: WON subject parcels of land are registrable under petitioner’s name.
The Lot is proven to be not alienable and disposable public land. The Land Registration court has no jurisdiction over non-registrable properties.
Petitioner: Geodetic Engineer’s testimony and certification show that the subject property is alienable and disposable.
The doctrine of estoppel or laches does not apply when the Government sues as a sovereign or asserts governmental ights. Estoppel or laches does not validate an act that
Respondent Preciosa Tirol Davila: She is the daughter of Ignacio Tirol. She opposed saying that the land was not donated by his father to Josefino.
5 Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-ininterest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership, for at least 30 years immediately preceding the filing of application for confirmation of title, except when prevented by wars or force majeure.
Respondent DBP: The lots are owned by spouses Molo and was mortgaged to them. When the mortgage was foreclosed, the land became the bank’s property. Respondents Toriaga: They owned the land. Oppositor Republic of the Philippines: Subject land was timberland or unclassified forest. RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT:
Application for registration of title by Zarate and the claims of private oppositors is dismissed. RULING OF THE COURT OF APPEALS:
The Republic opposed the application because neither the applicant nor her predecessorsin-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the lands and that the parcels applied for are part of the public domain and not subject to private appropriation.
CA affirmed the ruling of the Trial Court.
RULING OF THE SUPREME COURT:
WON the parcels of land could be registered under respondent’s name.
The petition is DENIED. Ruling of the CA and Trial Court is affirmed.
RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT:
Subject lands were released as alienable and disposable only in 1973. The application for registration was filed in 1976. Thus, the applicant and/or private oppositors possessed the land for only 3 years prior to the filing of application and the 30-year requirement imposed by CA 141 (Public Land Act) was not met.
The parcels of land could be registered in her name. RULING OF THE COURT OF APPEALS: CA affirmed the decision of the Trial Court.
The applicant (and oppositors) failed to show evidence that they have complied with the requisites provided by law – 1) the land applied for was alienable and disposable. 2) the applicant and his predecessors-in-interest had occupied and possessed the land openly, continuously, exclusively, and adversely for 30 years immediately preceding the filing of application. More than 1/2 of the total area applied for are not in the possession of the applicant and thus, he cannot claim exclusive and notorious possession under the claim of ownership, nor can he support his claim of title through acquisitive prescription.
RULING OF THE SUPREME COURT: THE LAND IS NOT REGISTRABLE. CA assumed that the land was already alienable and disposable but in truth, it was still questionable.
Respondent never presented the required certification from the proper government agency or official proclamation reclassifying the land applied for as alienable and disposable. Land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed; it requires proof. The documents she presented are not sufficient to overcome the presumption that the land sought to be registered forms part of the public domain. Declassification of forest and mineral lands, and their conversion into alienable and disposable lands need an express and positive act from the government.
Respodent Celestina Naguiat applied for registration of title to 4 parcels of land in Botolan, Zambales. She alleges that she owns the land, having acquired them by purchase from LID Corporation and that their predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the land for more than 30 years.
The issue of WON respondent and her predecessors-in-interest have been in open, exclusive, and continuous possession of the parcels of land does not matter. Unclassified land, cannot be acquired by adverse occupation or possession and occupation cannot ripen into private ownership./
A positive act of government is needed to convert forest land into alienable or disposable land. Possession of forest lands, which are incapable of private appropriation, no matter how long cannot ripen into private ownership. REPUBLIC v. NAGUIAT