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USERO v CA On November 9, 1998, petitioners filed separate complaints

GR NO. 152115 & 155055 | JANUARY 26, 2005 for forcible entry against the Polinars at the Metropolitan
CORONA, J. Trial Court of Las Pias City.
Dela Cruz, Louielyn | Group 3
PETITONERS: NIMFA USERO WON the disputed strip of land, allegedly encroached upon
RESPONDENT: COURT OF APPEALS and SPS. HERMINIGILDO & by the spouses Polinar, is the private property of petitioners
CECILIA POLINAR, or part of the creek and therefore part of the public domain.

GR NO. 155055 | JANUARY 26, 2005 RULING:

Sole issue: Denied.
PETITONERS: LUTGARDA R. SAMELA o A careful scrutiny of the records reveals that the
RESPONDENT: COURT OF APPEALS and SPS. HERMINIGILDO & assailed decisions are founded on sufficient
CECILIA POLINAR evidence. That the subject strip of land is a creek
is evidenced by: (1) a barangay certification that
TOPIC: a creek exists in the disputed strip of land; (2) a
Definition: Classification by Ownership: Public Dominion certification from the Second Manila Engineering
District, NCR-DPWH, that the western portion of
CASE SUMMARY: A creek is situated between the lots of the Pilar Village where the subject strip of land is
petitioner and that of the private respondent. Due to the damage located is bounded by a tributary of Talon Creek
brought by strong current from the creek for every time a storm or and (3) photographs showing the abundance of
heavy rains occur, the Polinars erected a concrete wall on the rip- water lilies in the subject strip of land. The Court
rapped portion of the creek. Petitioners contended the construction, of Appeals was correct: the fact that water lilies
claiming ownership of the strip of land. The Court ruled that the thrive in that strip of land can only mean that
disputed strip of land is part of the creek, and therefore part of public there is a permanent stream of water or creek
domain which is not susceptible to private ownership. Accordingly, there. In contrast, petitioners failed to present
the Polinars may utilize the same. proof sufficient to support their claim.
o All the pieces of evidence taken together, we can
TERMS: n/a only conclude that the adjoining portion of these
boundaries is in fact a creek and belongs to no
PRECEDENTS: n/a one but the state.
o Property is either of public dominion or of
FACTS: private ownership. The phrase others of
Petitioners Lutgarda R. Samela and Nimfa Usero are the similar character in NCC 420 includes a
owners respectively of lots 1 and 2, Block 5, Golden Acres creek which is a recess or an arm of a river. It
Subdivision, Barrio Almanza, Las Pias City. is property belonging to the public domain
Private respondent spouses Polinar are the registered which is not susceptible to private ownership.
owners of a parcel of land at no. 18 Anahaw St., Pilar Being public water, a creek cannot be registered
Village, Las Pias City, behind the lots of petitioners under the Torrens System in the name of any
Samela and Usero. individual.
Situated between the lots of the parties is a low-level strip o Accordingly, the Polinar spouses may utilize the
of land, with a stagnant body of water filled with floating riprapped portion of the creek to prevent the
water lilies; abutting and perpendicular to the lot of erosion of their property.
petitioner Samela, the lot of the Polinars and the low-level
strip of land is the perimeter wall of Pilar Village DISPOSITIVE:
Subdivision. WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions are hereby
Apparently, every time a storm or heavy rains occur, the denied. The assailed decisions of the Court of Appeals in
water in said strip of land rises and the strong current CA-G.R. SP 64181 and CA-G.R. SP 64718 are affirmed in
passing through it causes considerable damage to the toto.
house of respondent Polinars. Frustrated by their
predicament, private respondent spouses, on July 30,
1998, erected a concrete wall on the bank of the low-level NCC: Article 420: The following things are property of public
strip of land about three meters from their house and rip- dominion:
rapped the soil on that portion of the strip of land. (1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers,
Claiming ownership of the subject strip of land, petitioners torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State, banks,
Samela and Usero demanded that the spouses Apolinar shores, roadsteads, and others of similar character;
stop their construction but the spouses paid no heed, (2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use,
believing the strip to be part of a creek. Nevertheless, for and are intended for some public service or for the development
the sake of peace, the Polinars offered to pay for the land of the national wealth. (339a)
being claimed by petitioners Samela and Usero. However,
the parties failed to settle their differences.