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G.R. No.

L-28379 March 27, 1929


THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, applicant-appellant,
vs.
ONSORIA A!ANGIS, ET AL., claimants-appellees.
Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellant.
Abad Santos, Camus & Delgado for appellees.
VILLA-REAL, J.:
The Government of the Philippine Islands appeals to this court from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila in cadastral proceeding No.
! of the Court of First Instance of Manila, G. ". #. $. Cadastral #ecord No. !, adjudicating the title and decreeing the registration of lots Nos. %, &
and '(, )loc* (++ of the cadastral surve, of the Cit, of Manila in favor of Consuelo, Consorcia, -lvira and Tomas, surnamed Ca)angis, in e.ual parts,
and dismissing the claims presented ), the Government of the Philippine Islands and the Cit, of Manila.
In support of its appeal, the appellant assigns the follo/ing alleged errors as committed ), the trial court in its judgment, to /it0
1. The lo/er court erred in not holding that the lots in .uestion are of the pu)lic domain, the same having )een gained from the sea 2Manila
3a,4 ), accession, ), fillings made ), the 3ureau of Pu)lic 5or*s and ), the construction of the )rea*-/ater 2)uilt ), the 3ureau of
Navigation4 near the mouth of 6itas -stero.
7. The lo/er court erred in holding that the lots in .uestion formed part of the )ig parcel of land )elonging to the spouses Ma8imo Ca)angis
and Tita 9ndres, and in holding that these spouses and their successors in interest have )een in continuous, pu)lic, peaceful and
uninterrupted possession of said lots up to the time this case came up.
. The lo/er court erred in holding that said lots e8isted )efore, )ut that due to the current of the Pasig #iver and to the action of the )ig /aves
in Manila 3a, during the south-/est monsoons, the same disappeared.
'. The lo/er court erred in adjudicating the registration of the lands in .uestion in the name of the appellees, and in den,ing the appellant:s
motion for a ne/ trial.
9 preponderance of the evidence in the record /hich ma, properl, )e ta*en into consideration in deciding the case, proves the follo/ing facts0
"ots %, & and '(, )loc* (+ of cadastral proceeding No. !1 of the Cit, of Manila, G. ". #. $. #ecord No. !, /ere formerl, a part of a large parcel of
land )elonging to the predecessor of the herein claimants and appellees. From the ,ear 1;&% said land )egan to /ear a/a,, due to the action of the
/aves of Manila 3a,, until the ,ear 1&(1 /hen the said lots )ecame completel, su)merged in /ater in ordinar, tides, and remained in such a state until
1&17 /hen the Government undertoo* the dredging of 6itas -stuar, in order to facilitate navigation, depositing all the sand and silt ta*en from the )ed of
the estuar, on the lo/ lands /hich /ere completel, covered /ith /ater, surrounding that )elonging to the Philippine Manufacturing Compan,, there),
slo/l, and graduall, forming the lots, the su)ject matter of this proceeding.
<p to the month of Fe)ruar,, 1&7! no)od, had declared lot & for the purposes of ta8ation, and it /as onl, in the ,ear 1&7% that =r. Pedro Gil, in )ehalf
of the claimants and appellees, declared lot No. '( for such purpose.
In vie/ of the facts just stated, as proved ), a preponderance of the evidence, the .uestion arises0 5ho o/ns lots %, & and '( in .uestion>
The claimants-appellees contend that inasmuch as the said lots once formed a part of a large parcel of land )elonging to their predecessors, /hom the,
succeeded, and their immediate predecessor in interest, Tomas Ca)angis, having ta*en possession thereof as soon as the, /ere reclaimed, giving his
permission to some fishermen to dr, their fishing nets and deposit their bancas thereon, said lots )elong to them.
9rticle &, su)section 1, of the Civil Code, reads0
9rticle &. Propert, of pu)lic o/nership is ?
1. That devoted to pu)lic use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and )ridges constructed ), the @tate, river)an*s, shorts,
roadsteads, and that of a similar character.
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
9rticle 1, case , of the "a/ of 5aters of 9ugust , 1;%%, provides as follo/s0
9#TIC"- 1. The follo/ing are part of the national domain open to pu)lic use0
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
. The @hores. 3, the shore is understood that space covered and uncovered ), the movement of the tide. Its interior or terrestrial limit is the
line reached ), the highest e.uinoctial tides. 5here the tides are not apprecia)le, the shore )egins on the land side at the line reached ), the
sea during ordinar, storms or tempests.
In the case of 9ragon vs. Insular Government 21& Phil., 774, /ith reference to article & of the Civil Code just .uoted, this court said0
5e should not )e understood, ), this decision, to hold that in a case of gradual encroachment or erosion ), the e)) and flo/ of the tide, private propert,
ma, not )ecome :propert, of pu)lic o/nership,: as defined in article & of the code, /here it appears that the o/ner has to all intents and purposes
a)andoned it and permitted it to )e totall, destro,ed, so as to )ecome a part of the :pla,a: 2shore of the seas4, :rada: 2roadstead4, or the li*e. . . .
In the Enciclopedia Juridica Espanola, volume AII, page ++;, /e read the follo/ing0
5ith relative fre.uenc, the opposite phenomenon occursB that is, the sea advances and private properties are permanentl, invaded ), the
/aves, and in this case the, )ecome part of the shore or )each. The, then pass to the pu)lic domain, )ut the o/ner thus dispossessed does
not retain an, right to the natural products resulting from their ne/ natureB it is a de facto case of eminent domain, and not su)ject to
indemnit,.
No/ then , /hen said land /as reclaimed, did the claimants-appellees or their predecessors recover it as their original propert,>
9s /e have seen, the land )elonging to the predecessors of the herein claimants-appellees )egan to /ear /a, in 1;&%, o/ing to the gradual erosion
caused ), the e)) and flo/ of the tide, until the ,ear 1&(1, /hen the /aters of Manila 3a, completel, su)merged a portion of it, included /ithin lots %,
& and '( here in .uestion, remaining thus under /ater until reclaimed as a result of certain /or* done ), the Government in 1&17. 9ccording to the
a)ove-cited authorities said portion of land, that is, lots %, & and '(, /hich /as private propert,, )ecame a part of the pu)lic domain. The
predecessors of the herein claimants-appellees could have protected their land ), )uilding a retaining /all, /ith the consent of competent authorit,, in
1;&% /hen the /aters of the sea )egan to /ear it a/a,, in accordance /ith the provisions of 9rticle 7& of the aforecited "a/ of 5aters of 9ugust ,
1;%%, and their failure to do so until 1&(1, /hen a portion of the same )ecame completel, covered ), said /aters, remaining thus su)merged until 1&17,
constitutes a)andonment.
No/ then0 The lots under discussion having )een reclaimed from the seas as a result of certain /or* done ), the Government, to /hom do the,
)elong>
The ans/er to this .uestion is found in article + of the aforementioned "a/ of 5aters, /hich is as follo/s0
9#T. +. "ands reclaimed from the sea in conse.uence of /or*s constructed ), the @tate, or ), the provinces, pue)los or private persons, /ith
proper permission, shall )ecome the propert, of the part, constructing such /or*s, unless other/ise provided ), the terms of the grant of
authorit,.
The fact that from 1&17 some fishermen had )een dr,ing their fishing nets and depositing their bancas on lots %, & and '(, ), permission of Tomas
Ca)angis, does not confer on the latter or his successors the o/nership of said lots, )ecause, as the, /ere converted into pu)lic land, no private person
could ac.uire title thereto e8cept in the form and manner esta)lished ), the la/.
In the case of 3uCon vs. Insular Government and Cit, of Manila 21 Phil., 7'4, cited ), the claimants-appellees, this court, admitting the findings and
holdings of the lo/er court, said the follo/ing0
If /e heed the parol evidence, /e find that the seashore /as formerl, a)out one hundred brazas distant from the land in .uestionB that, in the
course of time, and ), the removal of a considera)le .uantit, of sand from the shore at the )ac* of the land for the use of the street car
compan, in filling in Calle Cervantes, the sea /ater in ordinar, tides no/ covers part of the land descri)ed in the petition.
The fact that certain land, not the )ed of a river or of the sea, is covered ), sea /ater during the period of ordinar, high tide, is not a reason
esta)lished ), an, la/ to cause the loss thereof, especiall, /hen, as in the present case, it )ecomes covered ), /ater o/ing to
circumstances entirel, independent of the /ill of the o/ner.
In the case of =irector of "ands vs. 9guilar 2G.#. No. 77('4,
1
also cited ), the claimants-appellees, /herein the Government adduced no evidence in
support of its contention, the lo/er court said in part0
The contention of the claimants Ca)angis is to the effect that said lots are a part of the adjoining land adjudicated to their deceased father,
=on Tomas Ca)angis, /hich, for over fift, ,ears had )elonged to their deceased grandmother, Tita 9ndres, and that, due to certain
improvements made in Manila 3a,, the /aters of the sea covered a large part of the lots herein claimed.
The Government of the Philippine Islands also claims the o/nership of said lots, )ecause, at ordinar, high tide, the, are covered ), the sea.
<pon petition of the parties, the lo/er court made an ocular inspection of said lots on @eptem)er 17, 1&7, and on said inspection found some
light material houses )uilt thereon, and that on that occasion the /aters of the sea did not reach the aforesaid lots.
From the evidence adduced at the trial of this cause, it ma, )e inferred that Tita 9ndres, during her lifetime /as the o/ner of a rather large
parcel of land /hich /as adjudicated ), a decree to her son Tomas Ca)angisB the lots no/ in .uestion are contiguous to that land and are
covered ), the /aters of the sea at e8traordinar, high tideB some +( ,ears )efore the sea did not reach said strip of land, and on it /ere
constructed, for the most part, light material houses, occupied ), the tenants of Tita 9ndres, to /hom the, paid rent. <pon her death, her son
Tomas Ca)angis succeeded to the possession, and his children succeeded him, the, )eing the present claimants, Consuelo, Desus, Tomas,
and Consorcia Ca)angis.
The Government of the Philippine Islands did not adduce an, evidence in support of its contention, /ith the e8ception of registr, record No.
;1'!, to sho/ that the lots here in .uestion /ere not e8cluded from the application presented in said proceeding.
It /ill )e seen that in the case of 3uCon vs. Insular Government and Cit, of Manila, cited a)ove, the rise of the /aters of the sea that covered the lands
there in dispute, /as due not to the action of the tide )ut to the fact that a large .uantit, of sand /as ta*en from the sea at the side of said land in order
to fill in Cervantes @treet, and this court properl, held that )ecause of this act, entirel, independent of the /ill of the o/ner of said land, the latter could
not lose the o/nership thereof, and the mere fact that the /aters of the sea covered it as a result of said act, is not sufficient to convert it into pu)lic land,
especiall,, as the land /as high and appropriate for )uilding purposes.
In the case of the =irector of "ands vs. 9guilar also cited ), the claimants-appellees, the Insular Government did not present an, evidence in support of
its contention, thus leaving uncontradicted the evidence adduced ), the claimants 9guilar et al., as to the o/nership, possession and occupation of said
lots.
In the instant case the evidence sho/s that from 1;&%, the /aves of Manila 3a, had )een graduall, and constantl, /ashing a/a, the sand that formed
the lots here in .uestion, until 1&(1, /hen the sea /ater completel, covered them, and thus the, remained until the ,ear 1&17. In the latter ,ear the,
/ere reclaimed from the sea ), filling in /ith sand and silt e8tracted from the )ed of 6itas -stuar, /hen the Government dredged said estuar, in order
to facilitate navigation. Neither the herein claimants-appellees nor their predecessors did an,thing to prevent their destruction.
In conclusion, then, /e hold that the lots in .uestion having disappeared on account of the gradual erosion due to the e)) and flo/ of the tide, and
having remained in such a state until the, /ere reclaimed from the sea ), the filling in done ), the Government, the, are pu)lic land. 29ragon vs. Insular
Government, 1& Phil., 77B Francisco vs. Government of the Philippine Islands, 7; Phil., +(+4.
3, virtue /hereof, the judgment appealed from is reversed and lots Nos. %, & and '( of cadastral proceeding No. ! of the Cit, of Manila are held to
)e pu)lic land )elonging to the Government of the <nited @tates under the administration and control of the Government of the Philippine Islands. @o
ordered.
Goernment . Cabangis!" #$il. %%&
'AC(S)A certain lots *ere formerly a part of a large parcelof land belonging to t$e predecessor of t$e $erein claimantsand appellees. 'rom t$e year
%+,- said land began to *eara*ay, due to t$e action of t$e *aes of .anila /ay, until t$eyear %,0% *$en t$e said lots became completely submergedin
*ater in ordinary tides, and remained in suc$ a state until%,%& *$en t$e Goernment undertoo1 t$e dredging of 2itasEstuary in order to facilitate
naigation, depositing all t$esand and silt ta1en from t$e bed of t$e estuary on t$e lo*lands *$ic$ *ere completely coered *it$ *ater,surrounding t$at
belonging to t$e #$ilippine .anufacturingCompany, t$ereby slo*ly and gradually forming t$e lots, t$esub3ect matter of t$is proceeding.
4ssue)5$et$er or not t$e lots in 6uestion are of propertyof public dominion.
7E8D) 9es. ($e Supreme Court $eld t$at t$e lots in 6uestion$aing disappeared on account of t$e gradual erosion due tot$e ebb and flo* of t$e tide,
and $aing remained in suc$ astate until t$ey *ere reclaimed from t$e sea by t$e filling indone by t$e Goernment, t$ey are public land in t$e senset$at
neit$er t$e $erein claimants-appellees nor t$eirpredecessors did anyt$ing to preent t$eir destruction.