Separate Opinion of Justice Puno in Cruz v. Secretary of DENR

September 12, 2017 | Author: Andrew Paul | Category: Ownership, Property, Politics, Crime & Justice, Justice
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2 Separate Opinion of Justice Puno in Cruz v. Secretary of DENR History of Philippine Land Laws Facts: In 1997, RA 8371 (Indigenous Peoples Rights Act/IPRA) was passed. Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa filed a petition for prohibition and mandamus, questioning the constitutionality of certain provisions of IPRA: a) It allows the indigenous people/cultural community to OWN NATURAL RESOURCES ; b) It defines ancestral lands and ancestral domains in such a way that it may include private lands owned by other individuals; c) It categorizes ancestral lands and domains held by native title as never to have been public land; d) It violates due process in allowing NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples) to take jurisdiction over IP land disputes and making customary law apply to these. In the first deliberation of the SC, the votes were 7‐7, so the case was re‐deliberated upon. Issue: Did the IPRA violate the Regalian Theory? A. IPRA: Under the IPRA law, lands which have not been registered before, if granted with a CADT/CALT, will be recognized as privately owned by the IPs from the beginning‐ thus, has never been part of public domain. B. Regalian Theory: Lands which has not been recognized as privately owned belongs to the State Held: No Final Decision. Petition dismissed due to lack of votes; Law remained valid and constitutional (7 to grant ‐7 to dismiss). Justice Puno’s Separate Opinion: The IPRA Law DID NOT VIOLATE the Regalian Theory 1. These lands claimed by the IPs have long been theirs BY VIRTUE OF NATIVE TITLE; they have lived there even before the Spanish colonization. “Native title refers to ICCs/IPs’ pre‐conquest rights to lands and domains held under a claim of private ownership as far back as memory reaches. These lands are deemed never to have been public lands and are indisputable presumed to have been held that way since before the Spanish Conquest.” 2. AND Native Title is an Exception to the Regalian Doctrine: ... Oh Cho vs Director of Lands: “This exception would be any land that should have been in the possession of an occupant and of his predecessors‐in‐interest since time immemorial” 3. Native Titles provide a different Type of Private Ownership “Sec. 5. Indigenous concept of ownership. ‐‐‐ Indigenous concept of ownership sustains the view that ancestral domains and all resources found therein shall serve as the material bases of their cultural integrity. The indigenous concept of ownership generally holds that ancestral domains are the ICCs/IPs private but community property which belongs to all generations and therefore cannot be sold, disposed or destroyed. It likewise covers sustainable traditional resource rights.” 4. It complies with Regalian Doctrine: Natural Sources within ancestral domains are not owned by the IPs * The IPs claims are limited to “lands, bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by ICCs/IPs, sacred places, traditional hunting and fishing grounds, and all improvements made by them at any time within the domains;” * IPRA did not mention that the IPs also own all the other natural resources found within the ancestral domains Discussion related to the topic of the Torrens System and Mode of Acquiring Ownership (land): I. HISTORY ON THE MODE OF ACQUIRING LAND OWNERSHIP IN THE PHILIPPINES: A. Laws of the Indies “The Regalian Theory is a Western legal concept first introduced by the Spaniards into the country through the Laws of the Indies and the Royal Cedulas.” • By virtue of Spain’s "discovery" and conquest of the Philippines, its lands became the exclusive patrimony and dominion of the Spanish Crown • Back then, the Spanish Government distributed the lands by issuing royal grants and concessions to Spaniards, both military and civilian

B. Valenton‐vs‐Murciano Case (1904, American Regime) • Long‐time occupation will not necessarily lead to ownership of the land • "While the State has always recognized the right of the occupant to a deed if he proves a possession for a sufficient length of time, yet it has always insisted that he must make that proof before the proper administrative officers, and obtain from them his deed, and until he did that the State remained the absolute owner." C. The Public Land Acts and the Torrens System 1903: 1st Public Land Act (Act No. 926) 3⁄4 Provides rules and regulations for the homesteading, selling, and leasing of portions of the public domain of the Philippine Islands 1919: 2nd Public Land Act (Act 2874) 3⁄4 more comprehensive but limited the exploitation of agricultural lands to Filipinos, Americans and citizens of other countries which gave Filipinos the same privileges 1936: Present Public Land Law (Commonwealth Act No. 141) 3⁄4 Almost the same as Act 2874, except that it gave the Filipino citizens and corporations which were previously only granted to Americans **1903: Land Registration Law (Act 496) 3⁄4 It placed all public and private lands in the Philippines under the Torrens system 3⁄4 almost a verbatim copy of the Massachussetts Land Registration Act of 1898 II. TORRENS SYSTEM Origin: Patterned after the Merchant Shipping Acts in South Australia by Sir Robert Torrens Government’s Role: The government must issue an official certificate of title attesting to the fact that the person named is the owner of the property described therein, subject to such liens and encumbrances as thereon noted or the law warrants or reserves Certificate of Title: The certificate of title is indefeasible and imprescriptible and all claims to the parcel of land are quieted upon issuance of said certificate. III. REGALIAN DOCTRINE • Despite of several legal developments on land distribution, the Regalian doctrine is still retained in our Constitution. • Under this concept, all lands of the public domain as well as all natural resources enumerated therein, whether on public or private land, belong to the State.

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