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(D) Forms and Contents, Dealings with Land

Benin v. Tuason
Facts: On May 19, 1955 three sets of plaintiffs filed three separate complaints
containing substantially the same allegations. In case 1, Plaintiffs alleged that they
were the owners and possessors of the three parcels of agricultural lands, located in
the barrio of La Loma (now barrio of San Jose) in the municipality (now city) of
Caloocan, province of Rizal and that they inherited said parcels of land from their
ancestor Sixto Benin; In case 2 the plaintiffs alleged that they were the owners and
possessors of two parcels of agricultural land that were inherited by them from their
deceased father Bonoso Alcantara. In case 3, plaintiffs alleged that they are the
owners and possessors of a parcel of agricultural with an area of approximately
62,481 square meters which was inherited by plaintiffs from their ancestor Candido
Pili.
The plaintiffs in these three civil cases uniformly alleged that sometime in the year
1951 while they were enjoying the peaceful possession of their lands, the
defendants, particularly the defendant J.M. Tuason and Co. Inc., through their agents
and representatives, with the aid of armed men, by force and intimidation, using
bulldozers and other demolishing equipment, illegally entered and started defacing,
demolishing and destroying the dwellings and constructions of plaintiffs' lessees, as
well as the improvements. They later found out that their land was erroneously
included in what appears as Parcel No. 1 (known as Santa Mesa Estate) in Original
Certificate of Title.
The plaintiffs in each of the three complaints also alleged that the registered owners
had applied for theregistration of two parcels of land and that the application for
containing the boundaries, technical descriptions and areas of parcel No. 1 (Santa
Mesa Estate) and parcel No. 2 (Diliman Estate) was published in the Official Gazette;
that before the decision was handed down, the area, boundaries and technical
descriptions of parcel No. 1 were altered and amended and is now bigger than the
area appearing in the application for registration as published in the Official
Gazette; that the amendments and alterations, which were made after the
publication of the original application, were never published; that on March 7, 1914
a decision was rendered in LRC No. 7681 based on the amended plan;
They contend that the decision is null and void because the Land Registration Court
had no jurisdiction to render the decision for lack of publication. The lower court
rendered a decision in favour of the plaintiffs.
Issue: W/N the LRC had jurisdiction to render the decision for the reason that the
amendment to the original plan was not published.
Held: The records show, and it is established by the evidence, that sometime in
1911 an application for the registration of their title over two parcels of land was

filed, designated in the survey plans accompanying the application as Parcel 1 with
an area of 8,798,617 square meters, and Parcel 2 with an area of 16,254,037 square
meters. The application and the notice of hearing, containing the technical
descriptions of the two parcels of land applied for, were published in the issue of the
Official Gazette of October 25, 1911.
On December 23, 1911 the court issued an order authorizing the amendment of the
plan. The new (amended) plans had included lands which were not by the original
plans
The decree contains the technical description of the two parcels of land in
accordance with the plan as amended. It appears in the decree that Parcel 1 has
more or less an increase of 27.10 square meters over the original area that was
stated in the application for registration and in the notice of hearing which were
published in the Official Gazette.
The trial court stressed on the point that publication is one of the essential bases of
the jurisdiction of the court to hear and decide an application for registration and to
order the issuance of a decree of registration, as provided in Act 496 (Land
Registration Act). We believe that the lower court erred when it held that the Land
Registration Court was without jurisdiction to render the.
If the amendment consists in the inclusion in the application for registration of an
area or parcel of land not previously included in the original application, as
published, a new publication of the amended application must be made. The
purpose of the new publication is to give notice to all persons concerned regarding
the amended application. Without a new publication the registration court can not
acquire jurisdiction over the area or parcel of land that is added to the area covered
by the original application, and the decision of the registration court would be a
nullity insofar as the decision concerns the newly included land. The reason is
because without a new publication, the law is infringed with respect to the publicity
that is required in registration proceedings, and third parties who have not had the
opportunity to present their claim might be prejudiced in their rights because of
failure of notice.
But if the amendment consists in the exclusion of a portion of the area covered by
the original application and the original plan as previously published, a new
publication is not necessary.
In the case at bar We find that the original plan covering Parcel 1 and Parcel 2 that
accompanied the application for registration in LRC No. 7681 was amended in order
to exclude certain areas that were the subject of opposition, or which were the
subject of another registration case. , when the lower court said that the area of
Parcel 1 in the decree of registration is bigger than the area of Parcel 1 in the
application as published, it did not mention the fact that the difference in area is
only 27.10 square meters. We believe that this difference of 27.10 square meters is

too minimal to be of decisive consequence in the determination of the validity of


Original Certificate of Title No. 735.
It is the settled rule in this jurisdiction that only in cases where the original survey
plan is amended during the registration proceedings by the addition of lands not
previously included in the original plan should publication be made in order to
confer jurisdiction on the court to order the registration of the area that was added
after the publication of the original plan.
The proceedings and the decree of registration, relating to the lands that were
included in thepublication, are valid. Thus, if it is shown that a certificate of title had
been issued covering lands where the registration court had no jurisdiction, the
certificate of title is null and void insofar as it concerns the land or lands over which
the registration court had not acquired jurisdiction.
Mendoza v CA
84 SCRA 76 Civil Law Land Titles and Deeds Judgment Confirms Title In whose
name may title be dealt with Sec 29, PD 1529
Facts: In 1964, it was proven that a parcel of land located in Sta. Maria, Bulacan, is
owned by Mendoza. Mendoza applied for a title. During pendency of the application
before the land registration court, Mendoza sold the land to Daniel Cruz. The
contract of sale was admitted in court in lieu of the pending application for land
title. The registration court rendered a decision in July 1965, ordering the
registration of the two parcels of land in the name of Cruz subject to the
usufructuary rights of Mendoza.
The decision became final and executory. In 1968, however, upon failure of Cruz to
pay Mendoza, Mendoza petitioned that the title issued in the name of Cruz be
cancelled. The land registration court ruled in favor of Mendoza on the ground that
the court erred in its earlier decision in issuing the land title to Cruz who was not a
party to the application of title initiated by Mendoza. Cruz appealed. The Court of
Appeals ruled in favor of Cruz.
ISSUE: Whether or not the title can be dealt with in the name of a third party.
HELD: Yes. The Court of Appeals ruling must be sustained. First of all, it was proven
that Mendoza caused the registration in the name of Cruz pursuant to their contract
of sale. Second, Mendoza overlooks Section 29 of the Land Registration Act which
expressly authorizes the registration of the land subject matter of a registration
proceeding in the name of the buyer (Cruz) or of the person to whom the land has
been conveyed by an instrument executed during the interval of time between the
filing of the application for registration and the issuance of the decree of title.
SEC. 29. After the filing of the application and before the issuance of the decree of
title by the Chief of the General Land Registration Office, the land therein described

may be dealt with and instruments relating thereto shall be recorded in the office of
the register of deeds at any time before issuance of the decree of title, in the same
manner as if no application had been made. The interested party may, however,
present such instruments to the Court of First Instance instead of presenting them
to the office of the register of deeds, together with a motion that the same be
considered in relation with the application, and the court after notice to the parties,
shall order such land registered subject to the encumbrance created by a said
instruments, or order the decree of registration issued in the name of the buyer or
of the person to whom the property has been conveyed by said instruments. . . .
A stranger or a third party may be dealt with in the land registration proceedings.
The only requirements of the law are: (1) that the instrument be presented to the
court by the interested party together with a motion that the same be considered in
relation with the application; and (2) that prior notice be given to the parties to the
case. And the peculiar facts and circumstances obtaining in this case show that
these requirements have been complied with in this case.

B. PUBLICATION, OPPOSITION AND DEFAULT


Director of Lands vs. CA
FACTS: Teodoro Abistado filed a petition for original registration of his title over 648
square meters of land under Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1529. The land
registration court in its decision dated June 13, 1989 dismissed the petition for
want of jurisdiction, in compliance with the mandatory provision requiring
publication of the notice of initial hearing in a newspaper of general circulation. The
case was elevated to respondent Court of Appeals which, set aside the decision of
the trial court and ordered the registration of the title in the name of Teodoro
Abistado. The Court of Appeals ruled that it was merely procedural and that the
failure to cause such publication did not deprive the trial court of its authority to
grant the application. The Director of Lands represented by the Solicitor General
thus elevated this recourse to the Supreme Court.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Director of Lands is correct that newspaper publication
of the notice of initial hearing in an original land registration case is mandatory.
HELD: YES. Petition was granted. The pertinent part of Section 23 of Presidential
Decree No. 1529 requires publication of the notice of initial hearing. It should be
noted further that land registration is a proceeding in rem. Being in rem, such
proceeding requires constructive seizure of the land as against all persons, including
the state, who have rights to or interests in the property. An in rem proceeding is
validated essentially through publication. This being so, the process must strictly
be complied with.

The Supreme Court has no authority to dispense with such mandatory requirement.
The law is unambiguous and its rationale clear. Time and again, this Court has
declared that where the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no
room for interpretation, vacillation or equivocation; there is room only for
application. There is no alternative. Thus, the application for land registration filed
by private respondents must be dismissed without prejudice to reapplication in the
future, after all the legal requisites shall have been duly complied with.

Director, Land Management Bureau vs. Court of Appeals


Facts: Respondent Aquilino Cario filed a petition for registration for Lot 6 which is
a sugar land claimed to be owned by his mother of whom after she died he became
the administrator of the property in behalf of his brothers and sisters. By virtue of a
deed of extrajudicial settlement, he became the sole owner of the property. Report
from the land investigator showed that the lot is agricultural in nature. Respondent
claims that the improvements introduced were in the form of bamboo clumps,
sugarcane and mango trees with the house of the tenant; that the land is free from
claim and conflict and is not covered by existing public land application and no
patent or title has been issued to it; that the respondent is on continuous, open and
exclusive possession of the land as inherited from his deceased mother. Respondent
is the sole witness for his petition and the only oppositor is the Bureau of Lands. The
court granted the petition of the respondent. The petitioner filed a review for
certiorari contending that the respondent failed to submit proof of his fee simple
title and has not overthrown the presumption that the land is a portion of the public
domain belonging to the state.
Issue: Whether or not the respondent established proof of his muniment of title to
merit registration of land in his favor?

Held: The petition of the respondent is covered by the Land Registration Act
providing that a person alleging in his petition or application ownership in fee simple
must present muniments of title to substantiate his claim of ownership, presenting
evidence of his possession in the concept of an owner in a manner and number of
years required by law. The manner shall be open, continuous, exclusive, and
notorious possession of the property known as agricultural land of the public
domain for 30 years preceding the filing of application for confirmation
(Commonwealth Act No. 141).
Possession of public land however long never confers title upon the possessor
unless occupant of the same is under claim of ownership for the required period.
Even in the absence of opposition the court can deny registration of land under the
Torrens System on ground that an applicant failed to establish his ownership by a
fee simple on the property sought to be registered.
The respondent only traced his own possession in the land in 1949 by virtue of
extrajudicial settlement and order and at the same time he filed his application for
registration in 1975 thus he was in possession of said land only for 26 years. His
mere allegation that his mother was in possession of the land since 1911 is self
serving and hearsay and is inadmissible as evidence. The tax receipts and tax
declaration he offered as evidence do not substantiate clear proof of ownership.
Thus, with his failure to prove that his predecessor-in-interest occupied the land
under the condition laid down by law, he can only establish his possession of the
land from 1949. Respondent failed to prove his muniment of title for the registration
of the land under the Registration Act with failure to present convincing and positive
proof of his continuous, open, uninterrupted and notorious occupation of lot 6 in the
concept of an owner for at least 30 years.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs.HEIRS OF EVARISTO TIOTIOEN


Facts: A second application was filed by Evaristo Tiotioen on September 6, 1993 for
judicial confirmation and registration under the Torrens System of two parcels of
situated in Pico, La Trinidad, Benguet, with an aggregate area of 180,488 square
meters. Evaristo Tiotioen was substituted by his heirs in the case when he died on
June 21, 1997. Santiago A. Santiago, the Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet, and
the petitioner opposed the aforesaid application on the ground that the parcels of
land, applied for registration by the respondents, belong to the communal forest of
La Trinidad, Benguet, and are therefore inalienable land of the public domain, which
have not been classified and considered as disposable and alienable.
After trial, the land registration court rendered its Decision which granted the
application finding that the Applicants have shown their adverse, continuous and

notorious possession and in the concept of owners of the land applied for since time
immemorial, and thus their title thereto is proper to be confirmed, and is hereby
confirmed.
The petitioner and the municipality received their respective notices of the abovementioned decision. The municipality filed its Motion for Reconsideration thereto on
September 20, 2001. The petitioner, on the other hand, filed a Motion and
Manifestation on October 5, 2001 adopting the said motion of the municipality.
The land registration court denied for lack of merit the motion for reconsideration of
the municipality and declared the same as pro forma because the issues cited were
already passed upon in the decision sought for reconsideration. The land
registration court denied the notice of appeal of the municipality on the ground that
the latters pro forma motion for reconsideration did not interrupt the reglementary
period to appeal. The petitioners notice of appeal was also denied supposedly for
having been filed out of time.
It is well-settled in our jurisdiction that the right to appeal is a statutory right and a
party who seeks to avail of the right must comply with the rules. These rules,
particularly the statutory requirement for perfecting an appeal within the
reglementary period laid down by law, must be strictly followed as they are
considered indispensable interdictions against needless delays and for orderly
discharge of judicial business. In view of the foregoing, the Court finds no
convincing and logical reasons to reconsider its Order dated January 29, 2002 and
hereby denies the Motion for Reconsideration.
Issue: Should the Notice of Appeal by the Republic, through the OSG be given due
course?
Held: Yes. In deciding this case, this Court is guided by the settled doctrine that the
belated filing of an appeal by the State, or even its failure to file an opposition, in a
land registration case because of the mistake or error on the part of its officials or
agents does not deprive the government of its right to appeal from a judgment of
the court. In Director of Lands v. Medina16, we said:
Considering the foregoing, the lower court gravely abused its discretion in
dismissing the appeal of the government on the basis of what it perceived as a
procedural lapse. The lower court should be reminded that the ends of substantial
justice should be the paramount consideration in any litigation or proceeding. As
this Court ruled in Republic v. Associacion Benevola de Cebu, "to dismiss the
Republic's appeal merely on the alleged ground of late filing is not proper
considering the merits of the case" and to ignore the evidence presented by the
provincial fiscal in behalf of the Director of Forestry which constituted the crux of
the government's case "would defeat the time-honored Constitutional precepts and
the Regalian doctrine that all lands of the public domain belong to the State, and

that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership in land and charged
with the conservation of such patrimony."
The vast tracts of land involved in this case are claimed by the petitioner to be a
protected watershed area, which allegedly preserves the main source of water of
the Municipality of La Trinidad. Relative thereto, the petitioner raises substantial
factual and legal issues which should be decided on their merit instead of being
summarily disposed of based on a technicality.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The
assailed decision of the appellate court is hereby PARTIALLY MODIFIED so as to give
due course to the Notice of Appeal filed on January 11, 2002 by the petitioner from
the Decision dated August 30, 2001 of Branch 63 of the RTC of La Trinidad, Benguet,
in Land Registration Case (LRC) No. 93-LRC-0008.

JOSE R. MARTINEZ v REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES


The central issue presented in this Petition for Review is whether an order of general
default issued by a trial court in a land registration case bars the Republic of the

Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General, from interposing an appeal
from the trial courts subsequent decision in favor of the applicant.
Facts: On 24 February 1999, petitioner Jose R. Martinez (Martinez) filed a petition for
the registration in his name of three (3) parcels of land included in the Cortes,
Surigao del Sur Cadastre. Martinez alleged that he had purchased lots in 1952 from
his uncle, whose predecessors-in-interest were traceable up to the 1870s. It was
claimed that Martinez had remained in continuous possession of the lots; that the
lots had remained unencumbered; and that they became private property through
prescription pursuant to Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act No. 141.
The case was docketed as Land Registration Case No. N-30 and raffled to the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Surigao del Sur, Branch 27. The Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG) was furnished a copy of the petition. The trial court set the case for
hearing and directed the publication of the corresponding Notice of Hearing in the
Official Gazette. On 30 September 1999, the OSG, in behalf of the Republic of the
Philippines, opposed the petition on the grounds that appellees possession was not
in accordance with Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act No. 141; that his muniments
of title were insufficient to prove bona-fide acquisition and possession of the subject
parcels; and that the properties formed part of the public domain and thus not
susceptible to private appropriation.
Despite the opposition filed by the OSG, the RTC issued an order of general default,
even against the Republic of the Philippines, on 29 March 2000. This ensued when
during the hearing of even date, no party appeared before the Court to oppose
Martinezs petition.3
The RTC thus decreed the registration of the three (3) lots in the name of Martinez.
The OSG filed an appeal and the Court of Appeals promulgated the assailed
Decision reversing the RTC and instead ordering the dismissal of the petition for
registration. In light of the opposition filed by the OSG, the appellate court found the
evidence presented by Martinez as insufficient to support the registration of the
subject lots.
The arguments raised by Martinez center almost exclusively on the claim that the
OSG no longer had personality to oppose the petition, or appeal its allowance by the
RTC, following the order of general default.
Issue: W/N the OSG could have still appealed the RTC decision after it had been
declared in default.

We note at the onset that the OSG does not impute before this Court that the RTC
acted improperly in declaring public respondent in default, even though an
opposition had been filed to Martinezs petition. Under Section 26 of Presidential
Decree No. 1529, as amended, the order of default may be issued "[i]f no person
appears and answers within the time allowed." The RTC appears to have issued the
order of general default simply on the premise that no oppositor appeared before it
on the hearing of 29 March 2000. But it cannot be denied that the OSG had already
duly filed its Opposition to Martinezs petition long before the said hearing.
There is no provision under the 1997 Rules which expressly denies the defaulted
defendant the right to appeal the judgment by default against him. Jurisprudence
applying the 1997 Rules has continued to acknowledge the Lina doctrine which
embodies this right to appeal as among the remedies of a defendant, and no
argument in this petition persuades the Court to rule otherwise.
If it cannot be made any clearer, we hold that a defendant party declared in default
retains the right to appeal from the judgment by default on the ground that the
plaintiff failed to prove the material allegations of the complaint, or that the
decision is contrary to law, even without need of the prior filing of a motion to set
aside the order of default.
Turning to the other issues, we affirm the conclusion of the Court of Appeals that
Martinez failed to adduce the evidence needed to secure the registration of the
subject lots in his name.
It should be noted that the OSG, in appealing the case to the Court of Appeals, did
not introduce any new evidence, but simply pointed to the insufficiency of the
evidence presented by Martinez before the trial court. The Court of Appeals was
careful to point out that the case against Martinez was established not by the OSGs
evidence, but by petitioners own insufficient evidence.
The burden of proof in land registration cases is incumbent on the applicant who
must show that he is the real and absolute owner in fee simple of the land applied
for. Unless the applicant succeeds in showing by clear and convincing evidence that
the property involved was acquired by him or his ancestors by any of the means
provided for the proper acquisition of public lands, the rule is settled that the
property must be held to be a part of the public domain. The applicant must,
therefore, present competent and persuasive proof to substantiate his claim. He
may not rely on general statements, or mere conclusions of law other than factual
evidence of possession and title.
As correctly held by the Court of Appeals, the burden of proof expected of the
petitioner in a land registration case has not been matched in this case.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Costs against petitioner.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. AQUINO


FAILURE OF THE GOVERNMENT TO OPPOSE THE APPLICATION; ESTOPPEL WILL NOT
LIE. Relative to the allegation that the Director of Lands or that the government
did not oppose the application of herein respondent, as in fact an order of general
default was issued by the court against the whole world, suffice it to say that "it is a
well known and settled rule in our jurisdiction that the Republic, or its government,
is usually not estopped by mistake or error on the part of its official or agents.
(Luciano v. Estrella, 34 SCRA 769). And earlier, enunciated in Republic v. Philippine
Rabbit Bus Lines (32 SCRA 211) that "Such a principal dates back to Aguinaldo de
Romero v. Director of Lands, a 1919 decision."
Facts: On May 16, 1968, respondent Vivencio P. Angeles filed with the Court of First
Instance of Rizal an application for registration of title over a parcel of land situated
in San Mateo, Rizal. Opposition was filed thereto, jointly by Victorino Perez and
Dionisio, Conrado, Jose, Nicanor, Lourdes and Trinidad, all surnamed Sta. Maria, and
individually by Felix Lorenzo, as representative of the heirs of Victor Lorenzo.
One of the grounds of the opposition is that subject property was declared public
land by the Court of First Instance of Rizal.
On February 29, 1956, Gonzalo Lorenzo sold the property to Vivencio P. Angeles
who, on March 23, 1956, filed his own homestead application. It was approved.
Vivencio P. Angeles filed with the Court of First Instance of Rizal an application for
judicial confirmation of title in accordance with Republic Act 2061. The lower court,
after hearing, rendered judgment "finding the applicant to have a registrable title,
hereby confirms his title thereto and orders the registration thereof in his name.
In this appeal, petitioner alleged that the lower court erred in assuming jurisdiction
over the application for registration of title and in ruling that the applicantrespondent Vivencio P. Angeles has a registrable title over the lot in question
On the other hand, private respondent Vivencio P. Angeles claims that petitioner has
no personality to file this petition considering that it had been declared in default for
not having filed its opposition to his application for land registration and that it did
not even file a motion to lift the order of default nor file a motion for
reconsideration.
Issue: W/N the Republic of the Philippines has no personality to file the petition
considering that it had been declared in default for not having filed its opposition
tothe application

Held: We find merit in the petition. Relative to the allegation that the Director of
Lands or that the government did not oppose the application of herein respondent,
an order of general default was issued by the court against the whole world, suffice
it to say that as stated by this "it is a well known and settled rule in our jurisdiction
that the Republic, or its government, is usually not estopped by mistake or error on
the part of its officials or agents."
WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court is hereby SET ASIDE and accordingly,
private respondent Vivencio P. Angeles application in Land Registration Case is
hereby DISMISSED.
DURAN vs.BERNABE OLIVIA
Same; Same; Court of First Instance without power to decree again registration of
land already decreed. the title to the land thus determined is already a res
judicata binding on the whole world, the proceeding being in rem.
Facts: On December 3, 1952, Jose O. Duran and Teresa Diaz Vda. de Duran filed an
application for the registration in their names of sixteen lots in the Court of First
Instance of Camarines Sur. On April 20, 1954, the case was heard initially and on
May 5, 1954, the oppositors filed their opposition to the application. On August 27,
1958, the oppositors filed a motion to dismiss the application on the ground that the
court has no jurisdiction to decree registration of the lots respectively claimed by
them, because said lots are already registered and certificates of title have been
issued thereon in their names.
They attached to the motion to dismiss the different Original Certificate of Titles in
the names of Bernabe Olivia, Fe Almazan, Manuel Arce, Esperanza, and Heirs of
Florencio Godesano. The lower court resolved the motion to dismiss and rendered
successively the two orders of dismissal appealed from.
Issue: W/N the lower court had jurisdiction over the case
Held: The pivotal issue is one of jurisdiction on the part of the lower court. In a
quite impressive line of decisions, it has been well-settled that a Court of First
Instance has no jurisdiction to decree again the registration of land already decreed
in an earlier land registration case and a second decree for the same land is null
and void. This is so, because when once decreed by a court of competent
jurisdiction, the title to the land thus determined is already a res judicata binding on
the whole world, the proceedings being in rem. The court has no power in a
subsequent proceeding (not based on fraud and within the statutory period) to
adjudicate the same title in favor of another person. Furthermore, the registration of
the property in the name of first registered owner in the Registration Book is a
standing notice to the world that said property is already registered in his name.
Hence, the later applicant is chargeable with notice that the land he applied for is
already covered by a title so that he has no right whatsoever to apply for it. To

declare the later title valid would defeat the very purpose of the Torrens system
which is to quiet title to the property and guarantee its indefeasibility. It would
undermine the faith and confidence of the people in the efficacy of the registration
law.
WHEREFORE, the orders appealed from are hereby affirmed. With costs against
appellants.

VALISNO vs. PLAN


Same; Same; Judgments; The doctrine in Abellera vs. Farol 74 Phil. 284, needs reevaluation; A final judgment in an ordinary civil case determining ownership of a
certain land is res judicata in the kind registration case where the parties and the
property are identical including the addition of a party in the registration case where
he claims co-ownership [Valisno vs. Plan, 143 SCRA 502(1986)]
Same; Same; Same, Caption of the complaint, as action to recover possession, does
not control where same is really an accion reinvidicatoria.
Facts: On August 21, 1964, petitioners-spouses Flordeliza and Honorio Valisno
purchased from the legal heirs of Agapita V. Blanco, namely, Guillermo, Guillermo,
Jr., Manuel and Rosario, all surnamed Blanco, two parcels of land.
Thereafter, petitioners declared the above-described parcels of land in their name
for taxation purposes and exercised exclusive possession thereof in the concept of
owners by installing as caretaker one Fermin Lozano, who had his house built
thereon.
On August 12, 1968, private respondent Vicencio Q. Cayaba, claiming to be the
owner of the land ousted Fermin Lozano from possession of the land. He
subsequently erected a six-door apartment on said land.
On January 22, 1970, petitioners instituted before the then Court of First Instance of
Isabela a complaint against private respondent for recovery of possession of said
parcels of land and was in due time resolved in favor of petitioners who were
declared owners thereof.

The CA reversed the decision of the lower court and dismissed the complaint of
petitioners on a finding that the land in question described in the complaint and
sketched in Exhibit C is completely different from the land appearing in the
Subdivision Plan of the appelles appellant, their respective area and boundaries
being completely dissimilar.
Therefore, as the land occupied by the appellant has not been successfully
Identified with that described in the complaint, the instant action should have been
dismissed outright, in view of the provision of Article 434 of the New Civil Code
which reads.
Subsequently, on September 25, 1979, private respondent filed before the Court of
First Instance of Isabela an application for registration in his name of the title of the
lands in question. Petitioners filed an opposition to the application. [Annex "B",
Petition, p. 41, Rollo] Private respondent, however, moved for the dismissal of said
opposition on the ground that the same is barred by a prior judgment. Despite the
opposition of petitioners to said motion to dismiss, the lower court issued the first of
the assailed orders dismissing the petitioner's opposition on the ground of res
judicata.
Issue: W/N res judicata exists in the case at bar assuming arguendo that a motion
to dismiss is proper in a land registration case
Held: The Land Registration Act [Act 496] does not provide for a pleading similar or
corresponding to a motion to dismiss. It must be noted that the opposition partakes
of the nature of an answer with a counterclaim.
In ordinary civil cases, the counterclaim would be considered a complaint, this time
with the original defendant becoming the plaintiff. The original plaintiff, who
becomes defendant in the counterclaim may either then answer the counterclaim or
be declared in default, or may file a motion to dismiss the same.
With respect to the subject matter, there can be no question that the land sought to
be recovered by petitioners are the very same parcels of land being sought to be
registered in Cayaba's and Noriega's names.
While the complaint in the first action is captioned for recovery of possession, the
allegations and the prayer for relief therein raise the issue of ownership. In effect, it
is in the nature of an accion reinvidicatoria. The second case is for registration of
title. Consequently, between the two cases there is identity of causes of action
because in accion reinvidicatoria, possession is sought on the basis of ownership
and the same is true in registration cases. Registration of title in one's name is
based on ownership. In both cases, the plaintiff and the applicant seek to exclude
other persons from ownership of the land in question. The only difference is that in
the former case, the exclusion is directed against particular persons, while in the

latter proceedings, the exclusion is directed against the whole world. Nonetheless,
the cause of action remains the same.
It does not matter that the first case was decided by a court of general jurisdiction,
while the second case is being heard by one of a limited jurisdiction, such as a
registration court. It is enough that the court which decided the first case on the
merits had validly acquired jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties. That
both courts should have equal jurisdiction is not a requisite of res judicata.
To our mind, therefore, the better policy, both for practicality and convenience, is to
grant the dismissal of either the application for registration or the opposition
thereto, once it has been indubitably shown, as in the case at bar, that one or the
other is barred by a prior judgment.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby dismissed. Cost against petitioners.

C. HEARING, JUDGMENT AND DECREE OF REGISTRATION


GORDULA vs CA
Same; Same; One claiming private rights must prove that he has complied with
C.A. No. 141, as amended, otherwise known as the Public Land Act, which
prescribes the substantive as well as the procedural requirements for acquisition of
public lands
Same; Same; The possession of public agricultural land, however long the period
may have extended, never confers title thereto upon the possessor.
Same; Same; Petitioners have failed to comply with the mandatory 30-year period
of possession.
Facts: On June 26, 1969, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Proclamation
No. 573 withdrawing from sale and settlement and setting aside as permanent
forest reserves, subject to private rights, certain parcels of the public domain
The parcel of land subject of the case at bar is, by petitioners' explicit admission
within Parcel No. 9 Caliraya-Lumot River Forest Reserve.

More than three years after the land was segregated as part of the Caliraya-Lumot
River Forest Reserve, or on January 9, 1973, petitioner Gordula filed with the Bureau
of Lands, an Application for a Free Patent over the land. Gordula declared the land
for taxation purposes in his name as shown in Tax Declaration
The Free patent was approved and the an Original Certificate of Title in the name of
petitioner Gordula.
In the meantime, respondent Republic, through the Napocor, surveyed the and
alleged that petitioner Gordula's land is located in the saddle area of the watershed
recreation for the hydro-electric reservoir.
The land was later transferred from Gordula to Fernandez to Estrellado to DBP.
Respondent Republic, filed against petitioners a Complaint for Annulment of Free
Patent and Cancellation of Titles. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of
petitioners. The Court of Appeals ruled against petitioners. It held the aforesaid
Free Patent issued to Gordula is a portion of the vast track of land reserved by
former President Marcos as permanent forest under Proclamation No. 573 dated
June 26, 196[9] is non-disposable and inalienable.
Issue: Whether or not Gordula and the subsequent owners had private rights over
the subject land?
Held: We affirm the Court of Appeals.
Petitioners do not contest the nature of the land in the case at bar. It is admitted
that it lies in the heart of the Caliraya-Lumot River Forest Reserve, which
Proclamation No. 573 classified as inalienable and indisposable. Its control was
vested in the NAPOCOR under E.O. No. 224.
Petitioners, however, contend that Proclamation No. 573 itself recognizes private
rights of landowners prior to the reservation. They claim to have established their
private rights to the subject land.
We do not agree. No public land can be acquired by private persons without any
grant, express or implied from the government; it is indispensable that there be a
showing of a title from the state.[17] The facts show that petitioner Gordula, did not
acquire title to the subject land prior to its reservation under Proclamation No. 573.
He filed his application for free patent only in January, 1973, more than three (3)
years after the issuance of Proclamation No. 573 in June, 1969. At that time, the
land, as part of the Caliraya-Lumot River Forest Reserve, was no longer open to
private ownership as it has been classified as public forest reserve for the public
good.
In fine, one claiming "private rights" must prove that he has complied with C. A. No.
141, as amended, otherwise known as the Public Land Act, which prescribes the

substantive as well as the procedural requirements for acquisition of public lands.


This law requires at least thirty (30) years of open, continuous, exclusive and
notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain,
under a bona fide claim of acquisition, immediately preceding the filing of the
application for free patent. The rationale for the 30-year period lies in the
presumption that the land applied for pertains to the State, and that the occupants
and/or possessors claim an interest therein only by virtue of their imperfect title or
continuous, open and notorious possession.
In the case at bar, petitioners have failed to comply with the mandatory 30-year
period of possession. Their 25-year possession of the land prior to its reservation as
part of the Caliraya-Lumot River Forest Reserve cannot be considered compliance
with C. A. No. 141, as amended. The Court has no authority to lower this
requirement for it cannot amend the law.

DIRECTOR OF LANDS vs CA
Same; Evidence; Applicant for registration of title has burden of proof.
Same; Same; Applicant failed to prove 30-year possession
Facts: On January 29, 1973, spouses Silvestre Manlapaz and Natividad Pizarro filed
an application before the Court of First Instance of Bataan, seeking the registration

and confirmation of titles to two (2) parcels of land. Prior to the initial hearing of the
case, the trial court directed the Land Registration Commissioner to submit his
report on whether or not the parcels of land in question had been issued patents or
whether the same are subject of pending decrees. In compliance with this directive,
Acting Geodetic Engineer (Chief Surveyor) Amado Masicampo filed a manifestation
stating that the subject parcels of land are subject of registration proceedings in a
Cadastral Case wherein a decision has been rendered although there is no existing
record of the same on file because it was among those records lost or destroyed
due to the ravages of the last global war.
The Director of Lands seasonably filed an opposition on the ground that neither the
applicants nor their predecessor-in-interest possess sufficient title to acquire
ownership in fee simple of the parcels of land applied for; that they have not been
in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the land
in question for at least thirthy (30) years immediately preceding the filing of the
present application; and that these parcels of land are portions of the public domain
belonging to the Republic of the Philippines, and therefore, not subject to
appropriation.
In order to establish thirty (30) years of open and continuous possession over the
subject property, private respondents presented Crisanto Angeles and Monico Balila,
Crisanto Angeles claimed that he first took possession of these two (2) parcels of
land in the year 1931 while he was still twenty (20) years old. He cleared the land
and planted different kinds of fruit-bearing trees such as mango, star apple and
bananas, as well as seasonal crops thereon. He likewise converted 5,000 sq. meters
thereof into a ricefield which was enlarged to one hectare. 9 These parcels of land
were declared for taxation purposes only in 1966. 10 Meanwhile, in the year 1938,
he sold the parcel containing an area of about five (5) hectares to Pablito Punay,
who immediately took possession of the same, cultivated it and introduced several
improvements thereon. 11 In September 1972, after he had already cleared the
whole tract of the second parcel of land, he sold the same to private respondents.
12 Pablito Punay also sold the first parcel of land he acquired from Crisanto to them.
13 Angeles further stated that he knew all the owners of the adjoining parcels of
land but, on cross-examination, was unable to remember their names. 14 Witness
Monico Balila testified that he is the owner of the parcel of land adjoining private
respondent's property. He had seen Angeles clear the same and plant different fruit
trees. On cross-examination, he said that he was twelve (12) years old when he first
lived at Bilolo, Orion, Bataan in 1938. His land holding was five kilometers away
from private respondents' land and it was his uncle who was then in possession of
the land he presently owns.
The Director of Lands, on the other hand, did not present any evidence to support
his opposition.

The lower court rendered its decision in favor of Manlapaz and Pizarro.The CA
affirmed the decision.
Issue: W/N the burden of proof of open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious
possession under a bonafide claim of ownership for 30 years was met
Held: It must be emphasized that the burden is on applicant to prove his positive
averments and not for the government or the private oppositors to establish a
negative proposition insofar as the applicants' specific lots are concerned. 23
Applying this rule to the instant case, the conclusions reached by the court a quo
and respondent Court of Appeals that the private respondents through their
predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
possession of the subject land under a bonafide claim of ownership are not
persuasive for the following reasons.
First, the testimony of Crisanto Angeles as to his possession and ownership of the
two (2) parcels of land fails to inspire belief. He claimed that he was in possession of
the land way back in 1930. Yet he declared the same for taxation purposes only in
1966
Second, the attempt of Monico Balila to corroborate Angeles' length of possession
over the subject property is less than credible. Having been an adjoining owner only
in 1953 by his own admission, he could not have known how long Crisanto Angeles
owned and possessed the parcels of land.
Third, Pablito Punay, the second predecessor-in-interest of Lot No. 2855 of the
private respondents was not made to testify. No reason was disclosed for his failure
to appear before the court.
Lastly, the documents introduced by the applicants merely evidenced the fact that
the parcels of land applied for were alienable and disposable lands of the public
domain, but no document has been presented that would clearly establish the
length of time of the possession of their predecessors-in-interest.
Undoubtedly, the private respondents have failed to submit convincing proof of
their predecessors-in-interest's actual, peaceful and adverse possession in the
concept of owner of the lots in question during the period required, by law. This is of
utmost significance in view of the basic presumption that lands of whatever
classification belong to the State and evidence of a land grant must be "well-nigh
incontrovertible.
WHEREFORE the decision Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE,
and judgment is rendered DISMISSING the application for registration and
confirmation of titles.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v VERA


Same; Same; Same; Same; Prescription; Public Lands; Possession of public lands,
however long never confers title upon the possessor, unless the occupant can prove
occupation of the same under claim of ownership for the required period to
constitute a grant from the State.
Same; Same; Evidence; The Land Registration Commission has no authority to
approve original survey plans. [Republic vs. Vera, 120 SCRA 210(1983)]
Facts: On May 4, 1972, respondent Luisito Martinez filed with the lower court an
application for registration of title under Act 496 of oneparcel of land, situated in the
Municipality of Mariveles, Bataan.
The Republic of the Philippines filed with the lower court an opposition to the
application stating that the parcel of land applied for is a portion of the public
domain belonging to the Republic, not subject to private appropriation.
The lower court issued an ordered the Land Registration Commissioner to submit his
report and/or comment as to whether this lot is covered by the Mariveles Cadastre
within five (5) days from receipt hereof. The Commissioner of Land Registration
submitted to the lower court a report stating that the parcel of land applied for
registration in the above-entitled case is entirely inside the Cadastral Survey of
Mariveles, Province of Bataan.
Records show that in the hearing of this case in the lower court, applicant Luisito
Martinez, 62 years old, testified that he is the owner of the land applied for, having
inherited the same from his parents, consisting of 32 hectares, more or less; that he
started possessing the land in 1938; that about 8 hectares of the land is planted to
palay, and there are about 42 mango trees; that kamoteng kahoy is also planted
thereon; that he declared the land for taxation purposes only in 1969 because all
the records were lost during the war, and that possession was continuous, open,
undisturbed and in the concept of owner.
Another witness, Antonio Reyes, 67 years old, testified that he is the overseer of
Luisito Martinez; that the area of his land is 32 hectares, more or less; that since
1938, applicant has possessed this land; that eight (8) hectares of land is devoted
to palay, and his son Manuel Reyes and Silvestre Garcia are the ones tilling the land,

and the harvest is shared alike between applicant, on one hand, and Manuel Reyes
and Silvestre Garcia, on the other; that eighteen (18) hectares, more or less, is
planted to vegetables.
While another witness, Silvestre Garcia, 60 years old, testified that he worked on the
land of the applicant since 1932 which is 32 hectares, more or less; that said Luisito
Martinez inherited the land from his parents; that he plants palay only on four (4)
hectares; that there are 42 mango trees on the land,

G.R. No. L-35779:


On March 21, 1972, respondent Thelma Tanalega filed an application for registration
under Act No. 496 in the Court of First Instance of Bataan, of two (2) parcels of land
located in the barrio of Camaya, municipality of Mariveles, province of Bataan,
On March 21, 1972, the lower court ordered the Bureau of Lands to submit a report
within ten (10) days if the land subject of the application has been issued patents or
is the subject of any pending application for the issuance of patents. Likewise, the
lower court directed the Commissioner of Land Registration to submit within the
same period his report if the land applied for has been issued a title or is the subject
of a pending decree.
In May 23, 1972, the Chief Surveyor of the Land Registration Commission filed a
report in the lower court, stating that the parcels of land applied for registration "do
not appear to have been passed upon and approved by the Director of Lands as
required by Section 1858 of the Revised Administrative Code."
On July 7, 1972, the provincial fiscal filed his opposition in behalf of the Directors of
Lands and of Forestry, alleging that the parcels of land applied for are portions of
the public domain belonging to the Republic of the Philippines, not subject to private
appropriation.
Thereafter, the case was tried. The applicant, Thelma Tanalega (respondent herein),
testified in her behalf, and presented two (2) witnesses, namely, Miguel Ocampo, 57
years old, and Agapito del Rosario, 50 years old, as well as her documentary
evidence in support of her application for registration. On the other hand,. Fiscal
Arsenio Roman appeared for the government, and submitted documentary proof in
support of the opposition filed by the provincial fiscal's office in this case.
At the hearing of this case in the lower court, applicant Thelma Tanalega, 27 years
old, testified that she had possessed the land "openly, adversely, notoriously and in
the concept of owner since February 2, 1970 when the said land was sold to her by

Elisa Llamas who allegedly possessed this land" in the same manner since 1935;
that the applicant had paid for the taxes of the land for the years 1970-1972.
Another witness, Miguel Ocampo, 57 years old, testified that his parents were the
ones working on the land before 1935 and due to the illness of his parents, on their
request to owner Elisa Llamas, he became overseer up to 1970 when the same was
sold to applicant; that 16 hectares of these lands were planted to palay while others
were devoted to pasture land and planting vegetables.
Witness Agapito del Rosario, 50 years old, who testified that since childhood, he had
known Elisa Llamas to be the owner of the land applied for; that she was the one
managing the planting and improving of the land; that he used to see Leopoldo de
Guzman and another one also named Agapito del Rosario worked on the 16
hectares portion of the land; that Elisa Llamas informed him that in 1970 she sold
the land to Thelma Tanalega.
In both cases, the Court of First Instance of Bataan in two separate decisions and
confirmed the titles to subject parcels of land and adjudicated them in favor of
applicants Luisito Martinez and Thelma Tanalega, now respondents herein
In the instant petitions for review the Republic of the Philippines, through the
Solicitor General, argued that Lot 626, Mariveles Cadastre was declared public land
by the decision of the Cadastral Court dated October 11, 1937 and such being the
case, the lower court is without jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
application for voluntary registration under Act 496. Petitioner likewise stressed that
the lands in question can no longer be subject to registration by voluntary
proceedings, for they have already been subjected to compulsory registration
proceedings under the Cadastral Act.
Held: The petitions are meritorious and reversal of the questioned decisions is in
order.
It is noteworthy that as per the report of the Commissioner of Land Registration, 1
the land subject matter of the instant proceedings "is entirely inside Lot No. 626 of
the Cadastral Survey of Mariveles, Province of Bataan, Cad. Case No. 19, LRC Cad.
Record No. 1097"; that some portions of Lot No. 626 were decreed and titles were
issued therefor; and that "portion declared Public Land as per decision dated
October 11, 1937."
In a cadastral proceedings any person claiming any interest in any part of the lands
object of the petition is required by Section 9 of Act No. 2259 to file an answer on or
before the return day or within such further time as may be allowed by the court,
giving the details required by law.
In the instant cases, private respondents apparently either did not file their answers
in the aforesaid cadastral proceedings or failed to substantiate their claims over the

portions they were then occupying, otherwise, titles over the portions subject of
their respective claims would have been issued to them. The Cadastral Court must
have declared the lands in question public lands, and its decision had already
become final and conclusive.
Respondents are now barred by prior judgment to assert their rights over the
subject land, under the doctrine of res judicata. A cadastral proceeding is one in rem
and binds the whole world. Under this doctrine, parties are precluded from relitigating the same issues already determined by final judgment.
Even granting that respondents can still petition for judicial confirmation of
imperfect title over the lands subject matter of the instant cases, the same must
necessarily fail. It is to be noted that in the instant cases evidence for the
respondents themselves tend to show that only portions of the entire area applied
for are cultivated. A mere casual cultivation of portions of the land by the claimant
does not constitute possession under claim of ownership. In that sense, possession
is not exclusive and notorious so as to give rise to a presumptive grant from the
State. The possession of public land however long the period thereof may have
extended, never confers title thereto upon the possessor because the statute of
limitations with regard to public land does not operate against the State, unless the
occupant can prove possession and occupation of the same under claim of
ownership for the required number of years to constitute a grant from the State. 3
Applicants, therefore, have failed to submit convincing proof actual, peaceful and
adverse possession in the concept of owners of the entire area in question during
the period required by law.

Citizenship Requirement
Krivenko v. Register of Deeds
Facts: Alexander Krivenko, an alien, bought a residential lot from Magdalena
Estate Inc. in December 1941. The registration was interrupted by the war. In May
1945, he sought to accomplish the said registration but was denied by the Register
of Deeds of Manila on the grounds that he is a foreigner and he cannot acquire a
land in this jurisdiction. Krivenko brought the case to the CFI of Manila. The CFI ruled
that he cannot own a land, being an alien. Hence, this petition.
Issue: Whether or not an alien may own private lands in the Philippines.
Held: No. Sec. 1, Art 13 of the Constitution, natural resources, with the exception
of public agricultural land, shall not be alienated, and with respect to public
agricultural landsm their alienation is limited to Filipino citizens. But this
constitutional purpose conserving agricultural resources in the hands of the Filipino
citizens may easily be defeated byt the Filipino citizens themselves who may

alienate their agricultural lands in favor of aliens. It is partly to prevent this result
that Section 5 is included in article 13 and it reads as follows:
"save in cases of hereditary succession, no private agricultural land shall be
transferred or assigned except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified
to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines." The important
question that arises is whether private residential land is included in the terms
"private agricultural land."
This constitutional provision closes the only remaining avenue through which
agricultural resources may leak into aliens' hands. It would certainly be futile to
prohibit the alienation of public agricultural lands to aliens if, after all, they may be
freely so alienated upon their becoming private agricultural lands in the hands of
Filipino citizens. Undoubtedly, as above indicated, section 5 is intended to insure the
policy of nationalization contained in section 1. Both sections must, therefore, be
read together for they have the same purpose and the same subject matter. It must
be noticed that the persons against whom the prohibition is directed in section 5 are
the very same persons who under section 1 are disqualified "to acquire or hold
lands of the public domain in the Philippines." And the subject matter of both
sections is the same, namely, the non-transferability of "agricultural land" to aliens.
Since "agricultural land" under section 1 includes residential lots, the same
technical meaning should be attached to "agricultural land under section 5. It is a
rule of statutory construction that "a word or phrase repeated in a statute will bear
the same meaning throughout the statute, unless a different intention appears." (II
Sutherland, Statutory Construction, p. 758.) The only difference between
"agricultural land" under section 5, is that the former is public and the latter private.
But such difference refers to ownership and not to the class of land. The lands are
the same in both sections, and, for the conservation of the national patrimony, what
is important is the nature or class of the property regardless of whether it is owned
by the State or by its citizens.

BORROMEO v DESCALLAR
Facts: In 1984 in Cebu, Wilhelm Jambrich (Austrian), met Antonietta OpallaDescallar, a separated (BUT NOTE: STILL LEGALLY MARRIED) mother of two boys
and waitress at a hotel at that time. They fell in love and lived together. Later, they
bought a house and lots in Agro-Macro Subd, Mandaue City. In the Contracts to Sell,
both of them were referred to as the buyers of the Agro-Macro. However, the
Register of Deeds refused to register the Deed on the ground that Jambrich was an
alien and could not acquire alienable lands of the public domain. Jambrichs name
was erased from the document, though his signature remained on the left hand
margin of page 1 beside Antoniettas as buyer. The TCTs were issued in Antoniettas
name alone. They broke up in 1991.

In 1989, Jambrich purchased an engine and some accessories for his boat from
petitioner Camilo Borromeo. He became indebted to the latter for P150,000.00. To
pay for the debt, he sold his rights and interests in the Agro-Macro properties to the
petitioner thru a Deed of Absolute Sale/Assignment for P250,000.00. However, in
1991, when Camilo sought to register the Deed, he discovered that the titles to the
three lots were transferred to Antonietta, and that the property has already been
mortgaged.
Petitioner filed a complaint against respondent for recovery of property before the
RTC. He claimed that the Deed of Absolute Sale over the properties do not reflect
the true agreement of the parties since Antonietta was not in fact the buyer, but
Jambrich alone. Respondent claimed, on the contrary, that she solely and
exclusively used her own personal funds for the purchase, and that Jambrich, as an
alien, was prohibited under the Constitution from acquiring such properties.
RTC ruled in favor of petitioner. It held that it is highly improbable that respondent
could acquire the properties (which accordingly are worth more than P700,000.00)
while she was still working as a waitress earning P1,000/mo salary as she could not
even provide for the daily needs of her family. It also held that the only probable
reason why her name appeared in the contracts to sell was because as observed by
the Court, she being a scheming and exploitative woman, she has taken advantage
of the goodness of Jambrich who at that time was still bewitched by her beauty,
sweetness, and good attitude shown by her to him xxx CA ruled in favor of
respondent.
Issue: Was the transfer to petitioner valid despite Jambrichs foreign citizenship?
Held: Yes. Transfer of land to petitioner valid, despite foreign citizenship of
Jambrich. The transfer of land from Agro-Macro Development Corp to Jambrich, an
Austrian would have been declared invalid, had Jambrich not conveyed the
properties to petitioner who is a Filipino citizen. If land is invalidly transferred to an
alien who subsequently becomes a Filipino citizen or transfers it to a Filipino, the
flaw in the original transaction is considered cured and the title of the transferee is
rendered valid. Since the ban on aliens is intended to preserve the nations land for
future generations of Filipinos, that aim is achieved by making lawful the acquisition
of real estate by aliens who became Filipino citizens by naturalization or those
transfers made by aliens to Filipino citizens. As the property in dispute is already in
the hands of a qualified person, a Filipino citizen, there would be no more public
policy to be protected. The objective of the constitutional provision to keep our
lands in Filipino hands has been achieved.
Republic V CA and Sps Lapina
Facts: On June 17, 1978, respondent spouses bought Lots 347 and 348, Cad. s38-D,
as their residence with a total area of 91.77 sq. m. situated in San Pablo City, from

one Cristeta Dazo Belen. At the time of the purchase, respondent spouses where
then natural-born Filipino citizens.
On February 5, 1987, the spouses filed an application for registration of title of the
two (2) parcels of land before the Regional Trial Court of San Pablo City, Branch
XXXI. This time, however, they were no longer Filipino citizens and have opted to
embrace Canadian citizenship through naturalization.
An opposition was filed by the Republic and after the parties have presented their
respective evidence, the court a quo rendered a decision confirming private
respondents' title to the lots.
In the main, petitioner seeks to defeat respondents' application for registration of
title on the ground of foreign nationality.
Issue: Can a foreign national apply for registration of title over a parcel of land
which he acquired by purchase while still a citizen of the Philippines, from a vendor
who has complied with the requirements for registration under the Public Land Act
(CA 141)?
Held: In the case at bar, private respondents were undoubtedly natural-born Filipino
citizens at the time of the acquisition of the properties and by virtue thereof,
acquired vested rights thereon, tacking in the process, the possession in the
concept of owner and the prescribed period of time held by their predecessors-ininterest under the Public Land Act. In addition, private respondents have
constructed a house of strong materials on the contested property, now occupied by
respondent Lapias mother.
But what should not be missed in the disposition of this case is the fact that the
Constitution itself allows private respondents to register the contested parcels of
land in their favor. Sections 7 and 8 of Article XII of the Constitution contain the
following pertinent provisions, to wit:
Sec. 7. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred
or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire
or hold lands of the public domain.
Sec. 8. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 7 of this Article, a natural-born
citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship may be a transferee
of private lands, subject to limitations provided by law.
Section 8, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution above quoted is similar to Section 15,
Article XIV of the then 1973 Constitution which reads:
Sec. 15. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 14 of this Article, a natural-born
citizen of the Philippines who has lost his citizenship may be a transferee of private
land, for use by him as his residence, as the Batasang Pambansa may provide.

Pursuant thereto, Batas Pambansa Blg. 185 was passed into law, the relevant
provision of which provides:
Sec. 2. Any natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine
citizenship and who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract under Philippine
laws may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum area of one thousand
square meters, in the case of urban land, or one hectare in the case of rural land, to
be used by him as his residence. In the case of married couples, one of them may
avail of the privilege herein granted; Provided, That if both shall avail of the same,
the total area acquired shall not exceed the maximum herein fixed.
In case the transferee already owns urban or rural lands for residential purposes, he
shall still be entitled to be a transferee of an additional urban or rural lands for
residential purposes which, when added to those already owned by him, shall not
exceed the maximum areas herein authorized.
From the adoption of the 1987 Constitution up to the present, no other law has been
passed by the legislature on the same subject. Thus, what governs the disposition of
private lands in favor of a natural-born Filipino citizen who has lost his Philippine
citizenship remains to be BP 185.
Even if private respondents were already Canadian citizens at the time they applied
for registration of the properties in question, said properties as discussed above
were already private lands; consequently, there could be no legal impediment for
the registration thereof by respondents in view of what the Constitution ordains. The
parcels of land sought to be registered no longer form part of the public domain.
They are already private in character since private respondents' predecessors-ininterest have been in open, continuous and exclusive possession and occupation
thereof under claim of ownership prior to June 12, 1945 or since 1937. The law
provides that a natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine
citizenship may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum area of 1,000
sq.m., if urban, or one (1) hectare in case of rural land, to be used by him as his
residence (BP 185).
It is undisputed that private respondents, as vendees of a private land, were
natural-born citizens of the Philippines. For the purpose of transfer and/or
acquisition of a parcel of residential land, it is not significant whether private
respondents are no longer Filipino citizens at the time they purchased or registered
the parcels of land in question. What is important is that private respondents were
formerly natural-born citizens of the Philippines, and as transferees of a private
land, they could apply for registration in accordance with the mandate of Section 8,
Article XII of the Constitution. Considering that private respondents were able to
prove the requisite period and character of possession of their predecessors-ininterest over the subject lots, their application for registration of title must perforce
be approved.SO ORDERED.

PBC v LUI SHE


Facts: Justina Santos y Canon Faustino (aka Lola Jmy nickname not the cases :P)
and her sister Lorenza were the owners in common of a piece of land in Manila.
(They are 2 very rich old maid doas.) In it are 2 residential houses with entrance
on Florentino Torres street and the Hen Wah Restaurant with entrance on Rizal
Avenue. The sisters lived in one of the houses, while Wong Heng, a Chinese, lived
with his family in the restaurant. Wong had been a long-time lessee of a portion of
the property, having a monthly rental of P2, 620.
September 22, 1957: Lola J became the owner of the entire property as Lorenza
died with no other heir. At that time, she was already 90 years old, blind, crippled
and an invalid, she was left with no other relative to live with, but she was taken
care of by Wong. (BONUS INFO: Lola had 17 dogs and 8 maids naman with her. :P)
Lola J executed a contract of lease in favour of Wong for the "grateful
acknowledgment of the personal services of the Lessee to her," (Note: Wong was
the one who managed her affairs like checking Lola JS account to pay for the maids
and pay for dog food. His 4 kids also frequently visited her. She also believed that
Wong saved her and Lorenza from the fire after the liberation of Manila but a
witness said they were actually saved by 2 other guys.)
This contract covering the portion was then already leased to him and another
portion fronting Florentino Torres street. The contract was amended so as to make it
cover the entire property, including the portion on which the house of Justina Santos
stood, at an additional monthly rental of P360.
She executed contract giving Wong the option to buy the leased premises for P120
K payable within 10 years at a monthly instalment of P1K. The option was
conditioned on his obtaining Philippine citizenship, a petition for which was then
pending in the CFI Rizal.
She executed 2 other contracts, one extending the term of the lease to 99 years,
and another fixing the term of the option at 50 years. Both contracts are written in
Tagalog. In 2 wills executed on August 24 and 29, 1959, she bade her legatees to
respect the contracts she had entered into with Wong, but in a codicil of a later date
(November 4, 1959) she appears to have a change of heart. Claiming that the
various contracts were made by her because of machinations and inducements
practised by him, she now directed her executor to secure the annulment of the
contracts.
Both parties however died, Wong Heng on October 21, 1962 and Lola J on December
28, 1964. Wong was substituted by his wife, Lui She, the other defendant in this
case, While Lola J was substituted by the Philippine Banking Corporation (PBC). Lola

J maintained now reiterated by the PBC that the lease contract should have
been annulled along with the four other contracts because it lacks mutuality, among
others
RTC: Contracts are null and void except for the Nov. 15, 1957 lease contract.

Pets arguments: Prohibition re: aliens acquiring lands in the Phil and also of the
Phil. Naturalization laws
Issue: WON the contracts are void for trying to circumvent Philippine Constitution
against alienation of property to foreigners?
YES. The contract of lease cannot be sustained. Yes, a lease to an alien for a
reasonable period is valid, so was an option giving an alien the right to buy real
property on condition that he is granted Philippine citizenship.
But if an alien was given not only a lease of, but also an option to buy, a piece of
land, by virtue of which the Filipino owner cannot sell or otherwise dispose of his
property, this to last for 50 years, then it became clear that the arrangement was a
virtual transfer of ownership whereby the owner divested himself in stages not only
of the right to enjoy the land (jus possidendi, jus utendi, jus fruendi and jus
abutendi) but also of the right to dispose of it (jus disponendi) rights the sum
total of which make up ownership. It was just as if today the possession is
transferred, tomorrow, the use, the next day, the disposition, and so on, until
ultimately all the rights of which ownership is made up are consolidated in an alien.
And yet this was just exactly what the parties in this case did within this pace of one
year, with the result that Lola J's ownership of her property was reduced to a hollow
concept.
DISPOSITION: The contracts in question are annulled and set aside; the land subjectmatter of the contracts was ordered returned to the estate of Justina Santos as
represented by the Philippine Banking Corporation.