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INSULAR GOVERNMENT OF THE PH ISLANDS  The Province of Benguet was inhabited by a tribe that the Solicitor
212 U.S. 449 (1909) General characterized as a savage tribe that was never brought under
civil or military government of the Spanish Crown. It seems probable
Doctrine: Title by prescription against the crown existed under Spanish law in that the Spanish officials would not have granted to anyone in that
force in the Philippine Islands prior to their acquisition by the United States, province the registration to which formerly the plaintiff was entitled by
and one occupying land in the Province of Benguet for more than fifty years Spanish laws.
before the Treaty of Paris is entitled to the continued possession thereof.  Our 1st object in the internal administration of the inlands is to do
justice to the natives, all the property and rights acquired there by the
US are to be administered “for the benefit of the inhabitants thereof”.
Facts:  Every presumption is and ought to be against the Government in a
 This was an application to the PH Court of Land Registration for the case like this.
registration of certain land. The application was granted by the court. o It may be proper to say that when, as far back as testimony or
An appeal was taken to the CFI of the Province of Benguet on behalf memory goes, the land has been held by individuals under a
of the govt of the PH, and also on behalf of the U.S., those claim of private ownership, it will be presumed to have been
governments having taken possession of the property for public and held in the same way from before the Spanish conquest, and
military purposes. CFI dismissed the application upon the grounds of never to have been public land.
law. SC affirmed judgment. Hence, this case through writ of error. o The Spanish did not assume to convert all the native
inhabitants of the Philippines into trespassers or into tenants
 Applicant and plaintiff in error is an Igorot of the Province of Benguet, at will.
where the land lies. 50 years before the Treaty of Paris (April 11,  Re: decree of June 25, 1880. Private ownership must have been a
1899), the plaintiff and his ancestors had held the land as owners. grant by competent authority; but those who have been in possession
o His grandfather had lived upon it. His father had cultivated for certain times shall be deemed owners. When this decree went into
parts and had used parts for pasturing cattle. effect, the applicant’s father was owner of the land by the very terms
o They all had been recognized as owners by the Igorots, and of the decree.
he inherited the land from his father through Igorot custom. o The requirement that everyone must get a document of title to
o However, no document of title was issued from the Spanish not lose his land may not have been applicable to all. The
Crown. regulations purport to have been made “for the adjustment of
o He filed a petition alleging ownership under the mortgage law. royal lands wrongfully occupied by private individuals”.
The lands were registered to him; however, establishing only o In Art. 6 of the decree, it is provided that, anyone not included
possessory title. the articles recognizing prescription of 20 and 30 years, may
legalize their possession and thereby acquire full ownership
 It is suggested that even if the applicant has a title, he cannot have it of said lands through adjustment proceedings.
registered because the Philippine Commission’s Act No. 926 of 1903 o In this case, the applicant’s possession was not unlawful and
excepts the Province of Benguet among others from its operation. no attempt at any such proceedings against him or his father
Applicant claims that he owns the land and is entitled to registration was made.
under the said Act. o Basically, the decree provides that ownership may be
o Position of the Govt: Spain assumed, asserted, and had title acquired through prescription: 20 years for cultivated land and
to all the land in the PH except so far as it saw fit to permit 30 years for uncultivated. But this does not apply to those
private titles to be acquired. There was no prescription against already in possession because they may already acquire
the Crown, and if there was, a decree of June 25, 1880 ownership by adjustment at a certain price.
required registration within a limited time to make the title o The words “may prove” in Art. 4 &5 indicates that registration
good. The plaintiff’s land was not registered; and therefore was expected from all but does not say that ownership
became, if it was not always, a public land. The U.S. actually gained would be lost. The applicant in this case was
succeeded to the title of Spain, hence, the plaintiff has no actually never disturbed.
rights that the PH Govt is bound to respect.  Held: We are of the opinion that law and justice require that applicant
should be granted what he seeks, and should not be deprived of what,
by the practice and belief of those among whom he lived, was his o There is no proof of egresion of this land from the domain of
property, through a refined interpretation of an almost forgotten law of the Spanish Government, nor is there any possessory
Spain. (Judgment reversed) information equivalent to title by composicion or under
CARIÑO v. THE INSULAR GOVERNMENT  The possessory information filed herein is not the title to property
G.R. No. 2869, March 25, 1907 authorized to serve as substitution for the adjustment provided by the
Petitioner-Appellant: Mateo Cariño royal decree.
Respondent-Appellee: The Insular Government o First, the land referred to herein is not covered nor does it
come within any one of the 3 conditions required by Art. 19 of
Facts: the said royal decree: to wit 1) that the land has been in an
 Carino filed a petition in the Court of Land Registration praying that uninterrupted state of cultivation during a period of 6 years last
there be granted to him title to a parcel of land consisting of 40 past; 2) that the same has been possessed without
hectares, 1 are (100 sqm), and 13 centares situated in the town of interruption during a period of 12 years and has been in a state
Baguio, Province of Benguet. of cultivation up to the date of the information and during the
 The Insular Government opposed the granting of these petitions, 3 years immediately preceding such information; or 3) that
alleging that the whole parcel of land is public property of the such land had been possessed openly without interruption
Government and that the same was never acquired in any manner or during a period of 30 or more years, notwithstanding the land
through any title of egression from the State. had not been cultivated.
 Court of Land Registration ruled against Carino. o Second, Art. 21 provides "A period of one year, not to be
 The conclusions arrived at the set forth in definite terms in the decision extended, is allowed to verify the possessory informations
of the court below are the following: which are referred to in articles 19 and 20. After the expiration
From the testimony given by Cariño as well as from that of several of of this period of the right of the cultivators and persons in
the witnesses for the Government it is deduced, that in or about the possession to obtain gratuitous title thereto lapses and the
year 1884 Cariño erected and utilized as a domicile a house on the land together with full possession reverts to the state, or, as
property situated to the north of that property now in question, property the case may be, to the community, and the said possessors
which, according to the plan attached toexpediente No. 561, appears and cultivators or their assigns would simply have rights under
to be property belonging to Donaldson Sim; that during the year 1893 universal or general title of average in the event that the land
Cariño sold said house to one Cristobal Ramos, who in turn sold the is sold within a period of five years immediately following the
same to Donaldson Sim, moving to and living on the adjoining cancellation. The possessors not included under this chapter
property, which appears on the plan aforesaid to be the property of H. can only acquire by time the ownership and title to
Phelps Whitmarsh, a place where the father and the grandfather of his unappropriated or royal lands in accordance with common
wife, that is to say, Ortega and Minse, had lived . . .. law.”
In or about the years 1898 Cariño abandoned the property of  Given such, if Carino was the true possessor, he has the right of
Whitmarsh and located on the property described in the plan attached average in case the Govt or State could have sold the land within the
to expediente No. 561, having constructed a house thereon in which period of 5 years. His possession attested in the possessory
he now lives, and which house is situated in the center of the property, information could not show any right of ownership until after the
as is indicated on the plan; and since which time he has undoubtedly expiration of 20 years from the verification and registry of the same in
occupied some portion of the property now claimed by him. (Bill of accordance with Art. 393 of the Mortgage Law.
exceptions, pp. 11 and 12.)  Petitioner claims title under the period of prescription of 10 years as
 The Court cannot decree the registration of all the superficial provided in Sec. 6 or Act No. 627; however, this act admits such
extension of the land. prescription for the purpose of obtaining title and ownership to lands
 A parcel of land, being of common origin, presumptively belonged to “not exceeding more than 16 hectares in extent”. The land claimed by
the State during its sovereignty. It is necessary that the possession Carino is 40 hectares in extent.
must pass from the State to perfect the legitimate acquisition of such  Conclusively, the land in question did not belong to Carino but to the
land by private persons. Govt.
Ancestral lands = private but communal property of indigenous communities
FPIC = Free and prior informed consent is required before mining in
ancestral domains
Council of Elders
4 modes:
 Direct utilization
 Joint venture & production sharing agreements
 Small-scale utilization
 Financial or technical assistance