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G.R. No.

73002 December 29, 1986


THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner,
vs.
INTEREDIATE A!!ELLATE CO"RT #$% ACE !L&'OOD ( )ENEER CO. INC.,
ETC., respondents.
D. Nacion Law Office for private respondent.
NAR)ASA, J.:
The Director of Lands has brought this appeal by certiorari from a judgment of the Intermediate Appellate
Court affirming a decision of the Court of First Instance of Isabela, hich ordered registration in favor of
Acme !lyood " #eneer Co., Inc. of five parcels of land measuring $%&, '() s*uare meters, more or
less, ac*uired by it from +ariano and Acer Infiel, members of the Dumagat tribe.
The registration proceedings ere for confirmation of title under ,ection $% of Commonealth Act -o.
&$& .The !ublic Land Act/. as amended0 and the appealed judgment sums up the findings of the trial
court in said proceedings in this ise0
&. That Acme !lyood " #eneer Co. Inc., represented by +r. 1odolfo -a2ario is a corporation
duly organi2ed in accordance ith the las of the 1epublic of the !hilippines and registered ith
the ,ecurities and 34change Commission on December 5', &(6(7
5. That Acme !lyood " #eneer Co. Inc., represented by +r. 1odolfo -a2ario can ac*uire real
properties pursuant to the provisions of the Articles of Incorporation particularly on the provision
of its secondary purposes .paragraph .(/, 34hibit 8+9l8/7
'. That the land subject of the Land 1egistration proceeding as ancestrally ac*uired by Acme
!lyood " #eneer Co., Inc., on :ctober 5(, &(;5, from +ariano Infiel and Acer Infiel, both
members of the Dumagat tribe and as such are cultural minorities7
$. That the constitution of the 1epublic of the !hilippines of &('6 is applicable as the sale too<
place on :ctober 5(, &(;57
6. That the possession of the Infiels over the land relin*uished or sold to Acme !lyood " #eneer
Co., Inc., dates bac< before the !hilippines as discovered by +agellan as the ancestors of the
Infiels have possessed and occupied the land from generation to generation until the same came
into the possession of +ariano Infiel and Acer Infiel7
;. That the possession of the applicant Acme !lyood " #eneer Co., Inc., is continuous, adverse
and public from &(;5 to the present and tac<ing the possession of the Infiels ho ere granted
from hom the applicant bought said land on :ctober 5(, &(;5, hence the possession is already
considered from time immemorial.
=. That the land sought to be registered is a private land pursuant to the provisions of 1epublic
Act -o. '%=5 granting absolute onership to members of the non9Christian Tribes on land
occupied by them or their ancestral lands, hether ith the alienable or disposable public land or
ithin the public domain7
%. That applicant Acme !lyood " #eneer Co. Inc., has introduced more than Forty9Five +illion
.!$6,))),))).))/ !esos orth of improvements, said improvements ere seen by the Court
during its ocular investigation of the land sought to be registered on ,eptember &%, &(%57
(. That the onership and possession of the land sought to be registered by the applicant as
duly recogni2ed by the government hen the +unicipal :fficials of +aconacon, Isabela, have
negotiated for the donation of the tonsite from Acme !lyood " #eneer Co., Inc., and this
negotiation came to reality hen the >oard of Directors of the Acme !lyood " #eneer Co., Inc.,
had donated a part of the land bought by the Company from the Infiels for the tonsite of
+aconacon Isabela .34h. 8-8/ on -ovember &6, &(=(, and hich donation as accepted by the
+unicipal ?overnment of +aconacon, Isabela .34h. 8-9l8/, during their special session on
-ovember 55, &(=(.
The Director of Lands ta<es no issue ith any of these findings e4cept as to the applicability of the &('6
Constitution to the matter at hand. Concerning this, he asserts that, the registration proceedings have
been commenced only on @uly &=, &(%&, or long after the &(=' Constitution had gone into effect, the latter
is the correctly applicable la7 and since section && of its Article AI# prohibits private corporations or
associations from holding alienable lands of the public domain, e4cept by lease not to e4ceed &,)))
hectares .a prohibition not found in the &('6 Constitution hich as in force in &(;5 hen Acme
purchased the lands in *uestion from the Infiels/, it as reversible error to decree registration in favor of
Acme ,ection $%, paragraphs .b/ and .c/, of Commonealth Act -o. &$&, as amended, reads0
,3C. $%. The folloing described citi2ens of the !hilippines, occupying lands of the public
domain or claiming to on any such lands or an interest therein, but hose titles have not been
perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province here the land is
located for confirmation of their claims, and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the
Land 1egistration Act, to it0
444 444 444
.b/ Those ho by themselves or through their predecessors9in9interest have been in open,
continuous, e4clusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public
domain, under a bona fide claim of ac*uisition or onership, for at least thirty years immediately
preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title e4cept hen prevented by ar or
force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions
essential to a ?overnment grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions
of this chapter.
.c/ +embers of the -ational Cultural minorities ho by themselves or through their predecessors9
in9interest have been in open. continuous, e4clusive and notorious possession and occupation of
lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture, hether disposable or not, under a bona fide
claim of onership for at least ') years shall be entitled to the rights granted in subsection .b/
hereof.
The !etition for 1evie does not dispute9indeed, in vie of the *uoted findings of the trial court hich
ere cited and affirmed by the Intermediate Appellate Court, it can no longer controvert before this Court9
the fact that +ariano and Acer Infiel, from hom Acme purchased the lands in *uestion on :ctober 5(,
&(;5, are members of the national cultural minorities ho had, by themselves and through their
progenitors, possessed and occupied those lands since time immemorial, or for more than the re*uired
')9year period and ere, by reason thereof, entitled to e4ercise the right granted in ,ection $% of the
!ublic Land Act to have their title judicially confirmed. -or is there any pretension that Acme, as the
successor9in9interest of the Infiels, is dis*ualified to ac*uire and register onership of said lands under
any provisions of the &(=' Constitution other than ,ection && of its Article AI# already referred to.
?iven the foregoing, the *uestion before this Court is hether or not the title that the Infiels had
transferred to Acme in &(;5 could be confirmed in favor of the latter in proceedings instituted by it in &(%&
hen the &(=' Constitution as already in effect, having in mind the prohibition therein against private
corporations holding lands of the public domain e4cept in lease not e4ceeding &,))) hectares.
The *uestion turns upon a determination of the character of the lands at the time of institution of the
registration proceedings in &(%&. If they ere then still part of the public domain, it must be ansered in
the negative. If, on the other hand, they ere then already private lands, the constitutional prohibition
against their ac*uisition by private corporations or associations obviously does not apply.
In this regard, attention has been invited to Manila Electric Company vs. Castro-Bartolome, et al,
1
here
a similar set of facts prevailed. In that case, +anila 3lectric Company, a domestic corporation more than
;)B of the capital stoc< of hich is Filipino9oned, had purchased in &($= to lots in Tanay, 1i2al from
the !iguing spouses. The lots had been possessed by the vendors and, before them, by their
predecessor9in9interest, :limpia 1amos, since prior to the outbrea< of the !acific Car in &($&. :n
December &, &(=;, +eralco applied to the Court of First Instance of 1i2al, +a<ati >ranch, for confirmation
of title to said lots. The court, assuming that the lots ere public land, dismissed the application on the
ground that +eralco, a juridical person, as not *ualified to apply for registration under ,ection $%.b/ of
the !ublic Land Act hich allos only Filipino citi2ens or natural persons to apply for judicial confirmation
of imperfect titles to public land. +eralco appealed, and a majority of this Court upheld the dismissal. It
as held that0
..., the said land is still public land. It ould cease to be public land only upon the issuance of the
certificate of title to any Filipino citi2en claiming it under section $%.b/. >ecause it is still public
land and the +eralco, as a juridical person, is dis*ualified to apply for its registration under
section $%.b/, +eralco8s application cannot be given due course or has to be dismissed.
Finally, it may be observed that the constitutional prohibition ma<es no distinction beteen .on
the one hand/ alienable agricultural public lands as to hich no occupant has an imperfect title
and .on the other hand/ alienable lands of the public domain as to hich an occupant has on
imperfect title subject to judicial confirmation.
,ince section && of Article AI# does not distinguish, e should not ma<e any distinction or
*ualification. The prohibition applies to alienable public lands as to hich a Torrens title may be
secured under section $%.b/. The proceeding under section $%.b/ 8presupposes that the land is
public8 .+indanao vs. Director of Lands, L9&(6'6, @uly '), &(;=, 5) ,C1A ;$&, ;$$/.
The present Chief @ustice entered a vigorous dissent, tracing the line of cases beginning ith Carino in
&()(
2
thru Susi in &(56
3
don to erico in &(%),
*
hich developed, affirmed and reaffirmed the doctrine
that open, e4clusive and undisputed possession of alienable public land for the period prescribed by la
creates the legal fiction hereby the land, upon completion of the re*uisite period ipso !ure and ithout
the need of judicial or other sanction, ceases to be public land and becomes private property. That said
dissent e4pressed hat is the better D and, indeed, the correct, vie9becomes evident from a
consideration of some of the principal rulings cited therein,
The main theme as given birth, so to spea<, in Carino involving the DecreeE1egulations of @une 56,
&%%) for adjustment of royal lands rongfully occupied by private individuals in the !hilippine Islands. It
as ruled that0
It is true that the language of articles $ and 6
+
attributes title to those 8ho may prove8 possession
for the necessary time and e do not overloo< the argument that this means may prove in
registration proceedings. It may be that an 3nglish conveyancer ould have recommended an
application under the foregoing decree, but certainly it as not calculated to convey to the mind of
an Igorot chief the notion that ancient family possessions ere in danger, if he had read every
ord of it. The ords 8may prove8 .acrediten/ as ell or better, in vie of the other provisions,
might be ta<en to mean hen called upon to do so in any litigation. There are indications that
registration as e4pected from all but none sufficient to sho that, for ant of it, onership
actually gained ould be lost. The effect of the proof, herever made, as not to confer title, but
simply to establish it, as already conferred by the decree, if not by earlier la. ...
That ruling assumed a more doctrinal character because e4pressed in more categorical language,
in Susi"
.... In favor of #alentin ,usi, there is, moreover, the presumption !uris et de !ure established in
paragraph .b/ of section $6 of Act -o. 5%=$, amending Act -o. (5;, that all the necessary
re*uirements for a grant by the ?overnment ere complied ith, for he has been in actual and
physical possession, personally and through his predecessors, of an agricultural land of the
public domain openly, continuously, e4clusively and publicly since @uly 5;, &(%$, ith a right to a
certificate of title to said land under the provisions of Chapter #III of said Act. ,o that hen
Angela 1a2on applied for the grant in her favor, #alentin ,usi #ad already ac$uired, %y operation
of law not only a ri&#t to a &rant, %ut a &rant of t#e 'overnment, for it is not necessary t#at a
certificate of title s#ould %e issued in order t#at said &rant may %e sanctioned %y t#e courts, an
application t#erefore is sufficient, under the provisions of section $= of Act -o. 5%=$. If by a legal
fiction, #alentin ,usi had ac*uired the land in *uestion by a grant of the ,tate, it #ad already
ceased to %e of t#e pu%lic domain and #ad %ecome private property, at least %y presumption, of
#alentin ,usi, beyond the control of the Director of Lands. Conse*uently, in selling the land in
*uestion of Angela 1a2on, the Director of Lands disposed of a land over hich he had no longer
any title or control, and the sale thus made as void and of no effect, and Angela 1a2on did not
thereby ac*uire any right.
6
,ucceeding cases, of hich only some need be mentioned, li<eof Lacaste vs. Director of Lands,
7
Mesina
vs. (da. de Son)a,
8
Manarpac vs. Ca%anatuan,
9
Mi&uel vs. Court of *ppeals
10
and erico vs.
Dar, supra, by invo<ing and affirming the ,usi doctrine have firmly rooted it in jurisprudence.
Ferico, in particular, appears to be s*uarely affirmative0
11
.... ,econdly, under the provisions of 1epublic Act -o. &($5, hich the respondent Court held to
be inapplicable to the petitioner8s case, ith the latter8s proven occupation and cultivation for
more than ') years since &(&$, by himself and by his predecessors9in9interest, title over t#e land
#as vested on petitioner so as to se&re&ate t#e land from t#e mass of pu%lic land. Thereafter, it is
no longer disposable under the !ublic Land Act as by free patent. ....
444 444 444
As interpreted in several cases, hen the conditions as specified in the foregoing provision are
complied ith, the possessor is deemed to have ac*uired, %y operation of law, a right to a grant,
a government grant, ithout the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. The land, therefore,
ceases to be of the public domain and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose
of. +#e application for confirmation is mere formality, t#e lac, of w#ic# does not affect t#e le&al
sufficiency of t#e title as would %e evidenced %y t#e patent and t#e +orrens title to %e issued
upon t#e stren&t# of said patent.
12
-othing can more clearly demonstrate the logical inevitability of considering possession of public land
hich is of the character and duration prescribed by statute as the e*uivalent of an e4press grant from the
,tate than the dictum of the statute itself
13
that the possessor.s/ G... shall be conclusively presumed to
have performed all the conditions essential to a ?overnment grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of
title .... G -o proof being admissible to overcome a conclusive presumption, confirmation proceedings
ould, in truth be little more than a formality, at the most limited to ascertaining hether the possession
claimed is of the re*uired character and length of time7 and registration thereunder ould not confer title,
but simply recogni2e a title already vested. The proceedings ould not ori&inally convert the land from
public to private land, but only confirm such a conversion already affected by operation of la from the
moment the re*uired period of possession became complete. As as so ell put in Carino, G... .T/here
are indications that registration as e4pected from all, but none sufficient to sho that, for ant of it,
onership actually gained ould be lost. The effect of the proof, herever made, as not to confer title,
but simply to establish it, as already conferred by the decree, if not by earlier la.G
If it is accepted9as it must be9that the land as already private land to hich the Infiels had a legally
sufficient and transferable title on :ctober 5(, &(;5 hen Acme ac*uired it from said oners, it must also
be conceded that Acme had a perfect right to ma<e such ac*uisition, there being nothing in the &('6
Constitution then in force .or, for that matter, in the &(=' Constitution hich came into effect later/
prohibiting corporations from ac*uiring and oning private lands.
3ven on the proposition that the land remained technically GpublicG land, despite immemorial possession
of the Infiels and their ancestors, until title in their favor as actually confirmed in appropriate proceedings
under the !ublic Land Act, there can be no serious *uestion of Acmes right to ac*uire the land at the time
it did, there also being nothing in the &('6 Constitution that might be construed to prohibit corporations
from purchasing or ac*uiring interests in public land to hich the vendor had already ac*uired that type of
so9called GincompleteG or GimperfectG title. The only limitation then e4tant as that corporations could not
ac*uire, hold or lease public agricultural lands in e4cess of &,)5$ hectares. The purely accidental
circumstance that confirmation proceedings ere brought under the aegis of the &(=' Constitution hich
forbids corporations from oning lands of the public domain cannot defeat a right already vested before
that la came into effect, or invalidate transactions then perfectly valid and proper. This Court has already
held, in analogous circumstances, that the Constitution cannot impair vested rights.
Ce hold that the said constitutional prohibition
1*
has no retroactive application to the sales
application of >inan Development Co., Inc. because it had already ac*uired a vested right to the
land applied for at the time the &(=' Constitution too< effect.
That vested right has to be respected. It could not be abrogated by the ne Constitution. ,ection
5, Article AIII of the &('6 Constitution allos private corporations to purchase public agricultural
lands not e4ceeding one thousand and tenty9four hectares. !etitioner8 prohibition action is
barred by the doctrine of vested rights in constitutional la.
444 444 444
The due process clause prohibits the annihilation of vested rights. 8A state may not impair vested
rights by legislative enactment, by the enactment or by the subse*uent repeal of a municipal
ordinance, or by a change in the constitution of the ,tate, e4cept in a legitimate e4ercise of the
police poer8.&; C.@.,. &&==9=%/.
444 444 444
In the instant case, it is incontestable that prior to the effectivity of the &(=' Constitution the right
of the corporation to purchase the land in *uestion had become fi4ed and established and as no
longer open to doubt or controversy.
Its compliance ith the re*uirements of the !ublic Land La for the issuance of a patent had the
effect of segregating the said land from the public domain. The corporation8s right to obtain a
patent for the land is protected by la. It cannot be deprived of that right ithout due process
.Director of Lands vs. CA, &5' !hil. (&(/.-.re//an0123w4
1+
The fact, therefore, that the confirmation proceedings ere instituted by Acme in its on name must be
regarded as simply another accidental circumstance, productive of a defect hardly more than procedural
and in noise affecting the substance and merits of the right of onership sought to be confirmed in said
proceedings, there being no doubt of Acme8s entitlement to the land. As it is un*uestionable that in the
light of the undisputed facts, the Infiels, under either the &('6 or the &(=' Constitution, could have had
title in themselves confirmed and registered, only a rigid subservience to the letter of the la ould deny
the same benefit to their laful successor9in9interest by valid conveyance hich violates no constitutional
mandate.
The Court, in the light of the foregoing, is of the vie, and so holds, that the majority ruling
in Meralco must be reconsidered and no longer deemed to be binding precedent. The correct rule, as
enunciated in the line of cases already referred to, is that alienable public land held by a possessor,
personally or through his predecessors9in9interest, openly, continuously and e4clusively for the prescribed
statutory period .') years under The !ublic Land Act, as amended/ is converted to private property by the
mere lapse or completion of said period, ipso !ure. Folloing that rule and on the basis of the undisputed
facts, the land subject of this appeal as already private property at the time it as ac*uired from the
Infiels by Acme. Acme thereby ac*uired a registrable title, there being at the time no prohibition against
said corporation8s holding or oning private land. The objection that, as a juridical person, Acme is not
*ualified to apply for judicial confirmation of title under section $%.b/ of the !ublic Land Act is technical,
rather than substantial and, again, finds its anser in the dissent in Meralco0
;. To uphold respondent judge8s denial of +eralco8s application on the technicality that the !ublic
Land Act allos only citi2ens of the !hilippines ho are natural persons to apply for confirmation
of their title ould be impractical and ould just give rise to multiplicity of court actions. Assuming
that there as a technical error not having filed the application for registration in the name of the
!iguing spouses as the original oners and vendors, still it is conceded that there is no
prohibition against their sale of the land to the applicant +eralco and neither is there any
prohibition against the application being refiled ith retroactive effect in the name of the original
oners and vendors .as such natural persons/ ith the end result of their application being
granted, because of their indisputable ac*uisition of onership by operation of la and the
conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor. It should not be necessary to go through
all the rituals at the great cost of refiling of all such applications in their names and adding to the
overcroded court doc<ets hen the Court can after all these years dispose of it here and no.
.,ee Francisco vs. City of Davao/
The ends of justice ould best be served, therefore, by considering the applications for
confirmation as amended to conform to the evidence, i.e. as filed in the names of the original
persons ho as natural persons are duly *ualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title that
they had ac*uired by conclusive presumption and mandate of the !ublic Land Act and ho
thereafter duly sold to the herein corporations .both admittedly Filipino corporations duly *ualified
to hold and on private lands/ and granting the applications for confirmation of title to the private
lands so ac*uired and sold or e4changed.
There is also nothing to prevent Acme from reconveying the lands to the Infiels and the latter from
themselves applying for confirmation of title and, after issuance of the certificateEs of title in their names,
deeding the lands bac< to Acme. >ut this ould be merely indulging in empty charades, hereas the
same result is more efficaciously and speedily obtained, ith no prejudice to anyone, by a liberal
application of the rule on amendment to conform to the evidence suggested in the dissent in Meralco.
Chile this opinion seemingly reverses an earlier ruling of comparatively recent vintage, in a real sense, it
brea<s no precedent, but only reaffirms and re9established, as it ere, doctrines the soundness of hich
has passed the test of searching e4amination and in*uiry in many past cases. Indeed, it is orth noting
that the majority opinion, as ell as the concurring opinions of Chief @ustice Fernando and @ustice Abad
,antos, in Meralco rested chiefly on the proposition that the petitioner therein, a juridical person, as
dis*ualified from applying for confirmation of an imperfect title to public land under ,ection $%.b/ of the
!ublic Land Act. 1eference to the &(=' Constitution and its Article AI#, ,ection &&, as only tangential
limited to a brief paragraph in the main opinion, and may, in that conte4t, be considered as
essentially o%iter. Meralco, in short, decided no constitutional *uestion.
CF313F:13, there being no reversible error in the appealed judgment of the Intermediate Appellate
Court, the same is hereby affirmed, ithout costs in this instance.
,: :1D313D.
5eria, 6ap, 5ernan, *lampay, Cru), 7aras and 5eliciano, 88., concur.
Se,#r#-e O,.$.o$/
G"TIERRE0, 1R., J., concurring0
I reiterate my concurrence in Meralco v. Castro-Bartolome, and, therefore, dissent here.
TEEHAN2EE, C.J., concurring0
I am honored by my brethren8s judgment at bar that my dissenting opinion in the @une,
&(%5 Meralco and 9&lesia ni Cristo cases,
1
hich is herein upheld, Ge4pressed hat is the better. . . . and
indeed the correct vie.G +y dissent as anchored on the landmar< &()( case of Carino
2
through the
&(56 case of Susi
3
and the long line of cases cited therein to the latest &(%) case of erico
*
that Git is
established doctrine....... that an open, continuous, adverse and public possession of a land of the public
domain for the period provided in the !ublic Land Act provision in force at the time .from @uly 5;, &%($
in Susi under the old la Hthis period as reduced to 8at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing
of the application for confirmation of title8 by amendment of Commonealth Act -o. &$&, e*uivalent to the
period of ac*uisitive prescription
+
I/ by a private individual personally and through his predecessors
confers an effective title on said possessor, hereby the land ceases to be land of the public domain and
becomes private property.G I hereby reproduce the same by reference for brevity8s sa<e. >ut since e are
reverting to the old above9cited established doctrine and precedents and discarding
the Meralco and 9&lesia ni Cristo cases hich departed therefrom in the recent past, I feel constrained to
rite this concurrence in amplification of my vies and ratio decidendi.
Jnder the e4press te4t and mandate of the cited Act, such possessors Gshall be conclusively presumed to
have performed all the conditions essential to a ?overnment grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of
title under the provisions of this chapter. G
The Court thus held in ,usi that under the presumption juris et de jure established in the Act, the rightful
possessor of the public land for the statutory period Galready ac$uired, %y operation of law, not only a
ri&#t to a grant, but a &rant of t#e 'overnment, for it is not necessary that certificate of title should be
issued an order that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts, an application therefore is
sufficient . . . . 9f %y a le&al fiction, #alentin ,usi had ac$uired the land in *uestion %y a &rant of t#e State,
it #ad already ceased to %e of t#e pu%lic domainand had %ecome private property, at least by
presumption, of #alentin ,usi, beyond the control of the Director of Lands Hand beyond his authority to sell
to any other personI. G
6
The root of the doctrine goes bac< to the pronouncement of @ustice :liver Cendell Folmes for the J.,.
,upreme Court in the &()( case of Carino .the Igorot chief ho ould have been deprived of ancestral
family lands by the dismissal of his application for registration/ hich reversed the dismissal of the
registration court .as affirmed by the ,upreme Court/ and adopted the liberal vie that under the decree
and regulations of @une 56, &%%), GThe ords 8may prove8 .acrediten/, as ell, or better, in vie of the
other provisions, might be ta<en to mean w#en called upon to do so in any liti&ation. There are indications
that registration as e4pected from all, but none sufficient to sho that, for ant of it, onership actually
gained ould be lost. The effect of t#e proof, henever made, was not to confer title, %ut simply to
esta%lis# it, as already conferred %y t#e decree, if not by earlier la.G
The Court8s decision at bar no e4pressly overturns the Meralco and related cases subse*uent thereto
hich failed to adhere to the aforecited established doctrine dating bac< to &()( and as consistently
applied up to @une 5(, &(%5 .hen the Meralco decision as promulgated/. Ce reaffirm the established
doctrine that such ac*uisitive prescription of alienable public lands ta<es place ipso jure or by operation of
la ithout the necessity of a prior issuance of a certificate of title. The land ipso !ure ceases to be of the
public domain and becomes private property, hich may be lafully sold to and ac*uired by *ualified
corporations such as respondent corporation. .As stressed in erico supra, Gthe application for
confirmation is a mere formality, the lac< of hich does not affect the le&al sufficiency of t#e title.G/
,uch ipso !ure conversion into private property of public lands publicly held under a %ona fide claim of
ac*uisition or onership is the public policy of the Act and is so e4pressly stated therein. >y virtue of such
conversion into private property, *ualified corporations may lafully ac*uire them and there is no
Galteration or defeatingG of the &(=' Constitution8s prohibition against corporations holding or ac*uiring
title to lands of the public domain, as claimed in the dissenting opinion, for the simple reason that no
public lands are involved.
It should be noted that respondent corporation purchased the land from the Infiels on :ctober &;, &(;5
under the aegis of the &('6 Constitution hich contained no prohibition against corporations holding
public lands .e4cept a limit of &,)5$ hectares/ unli<e the later &(=' Constitution hich imposed an
absolute prohibition. 3ven on the erroneous assumption that the land remained public land despite the
Infiels8 open possession thereof as oners from time immemorial, respondent corporation8s laful
purchase from them of the land in &(;5 and ! $6million investments redounding presumably to the
elfare and progress of the community, particularly the municipality of +aconacon, Isabela to hich it
donated part of the land for the tonsite created a vested right hich could not be impaired by the
prohibition adopted eleven years later. >ut as sufficiently stressed, the land of the Infiels had beenipso
!ure converted into private land and they had a legally sufficient and transferable title conferred by the
conclusive presumption of the !ublic Land Act .hich needed only to be esta%lis#ed in confirmation of
title proceedings for formali2ation and issuance of the certificate of title/ hich they lafully and validly
transferred to respondent corporation.
In fact, the many amendments to the Act e4tending the period for the filing of such applications for judicial
confirmation of imperfect and incomplete titles to alienable and disposable public lands e4pressly reiterate
that it has alays been the Gpolicy of the ,tate to hasten the settlement, adjudication and *uieting of titles
to HsuchI unregistered lands,G i.e. to recogni2e that such lands publicly and notoriously occupied and
cultivated under %ona fide claim of ac*uisition or onership have ipso !ure been converted into private
property and grant the possessors the opportunity to establish and record such fact. Thus, the deadline
for the filing of such application hich ould have originally e4pired first on December '&, &('% as
successively e4tended to December '&, &($&, then e4tended to December '&, &(6=, then to December
'&, &(;%, further e4tended to December '&, &(=; and lastly e4tended to December '&, &(%=.
7
The cited Act8s provision that only natural persons may apply thereunder for confirmation of title is in
effect a technicality of procedure and not of substance. +y submittal in Meralco, mutatis mutandis, is
properly applicable0 GThe ends of justice ould best be served, therefore, by considering the applications
for confirmation as amended to conform to the evidence, i.e. as filed in the names of the original persons
ho as natural persons are duly *ualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title that they had
ac*uired by conclusive presumption and mandate of the !ublic Land Act and ho thereafter duly sold to
the herein corporations .both admittedly Filipino corporations duly *ualified to hold and on private lands/
and granting the applications for confirmation of title to the private lands so ac*uired and sold or
e4changed.G
8
Indeed, then Chief @ustice 3nri*ue +. Fernando li<eise dissented along the same line
from the majority ruling therein and held0 GI dissent insofar as the opinion of the Court ould characteri2e
such jurisdictional defect that the applicant as Meralco, a juridical person rather than the natural
persons9transferors, under the particular circumstances of this case, as an insurmountable obstacle to the
relief sought. I ould apply by analogy, although the facts could be distinguished, the approach folloed
by us in 5rancisco v. City of Davao, here the legal *uestion raised, instead of being deferred and
possibly ta<en up in another case, as resolved. >y legal fiction and in the e4ercise of our e*uitable
jurisdiction, I feel that the realistic solution ould be to decide the matter as if the application under
,ection $%.b/ ere filed by the !iguing spouses, ho I assume suffer from no such disability.G
9
@ustice
#icente Abad ,antos, no retired, hile concurring in the procedural result, li<eise, in effect dissented
from the therein majority ruling on the *uestion of substance, and stated his opinion that Gthe lots hich
are sought to be registered have ceased to be lands of the public domain at the time they ere ac*uired
by the petitioner corporation. They are already private lands because of ac*uisitive prescription by the
predecessors of the petitioner and all that is needed is the confirmation of the title. Accordingly, the
constitutional provision that no private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public
domain is inapplicable. G
10
To my mind, the reason hy the Act limits the filing of such applications to natural citi2ens ho may prove
their undisputed and open possession of public lands for the re*uired statutory thirty9year period, tac<ing
on their predecessors89in9interest possession is that only natural persons, to the e4clusion of juridical
persons such as corporations, can actually, physically and in reality possess public lands for the re*uired
statutory ')9year period. That juridical persons or corporations cannot do so is obvious. >ut hen the
natural persons have fulfilled the re*uired statutory period of possession, the Act confers on them a
legally sufficient and transferable title. It is preferable to follo the letter of the la that t#ey file the
applications for confirmation of their title, although they have lafully transferred their title to the land. >ut
such procedural failure cannot and should not defeat the substance of the la, as stressed in the above9
cited opinions, that the lands are already private lands because ofac$uisitive prescription by the
corporation8s predecessors and the realistic solution ould be to consider the application for confirmation
as filed by the natural persons9transferors, and in accordance ith the evidence, confirm their title to the
private lands so converted by operation of la and lafully transferred by them to the corporation. The
la, after all, recogni2es the validity of the transfer and sale of the private land to the corporation. It
should not be necessary to go in a round9about ay and have the corporation reassign its rights to the
private land to natural persons9.as I understand/, as done after the decision in the Meralco and 9&lesia
ni Cristo cases/ just for the purpose of complying on paper ith the technicality of having natural persons
file the application for confirmation of title to the private land.
ELENCIO3HERRERA, J., dissenting0
,ection $% of the !ublic Land Act, in part, provides0
,3C. $%. The folloing described citi2ens of the !hilippines, occupying lands of the public
domain or claiming to on any such lands or an interest therein, but hose titles have not been
perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province here the land is
located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the
Land 1egistration Act, to it0
.a/ ...
.b/ Those ho by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open,
continuous, e4clusive, and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public
domain, under a bona fide claim of ac*uisition of onership, for at least thirty years immediately
preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title e4cept hen prevented by ar or
force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed are the conditions
essential to a ?overnment grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions
of this chapter.
.c/ ...
Article AI#, ,ection &&, of the &(=' Constitution, in part, provides0
,3C. &&. .... -o private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain
e4cept by lease not to e4ceed one thousand hectares in area7 nor may any citi2en hold such
lands by lease in e4cess of five hundred hectares ....
It has to be conceded that, literally, statutory la and constitutional provision prevent a corporation from
directly applying to the Courts for the issuance of :riginal Certificates of Title to lands of the public
domain .+anila 3lectric Company vs. Castro9>artolome, &&$ ,C1A =((7 1epublic vs. #illanueva, &&$
,C1A %=67 1epublic vs. Court of Appeals, &&( ,C1A $$(7 Iglesia ni Cristo vs. Fon. @udge, CFI of -ueva
3cija, >r. &/. It is my opinion that the literalism should be adhered to in this case.
The reasoning of the majority can be restated in simple terms as follos0
.a/ The I-FI3L, can successfully file an application for a certificate of title over the land involved in the
case.
.b/ After the I-FI3L, secure a certificate of title, they can sell the land to AC+3.
.c/ As AC+3 can eventually on the certificate of title, it should be alloed to directly apply to the Courts
for the Certificate of Title, thus avoiding the circuituous GliteralG re*uirement that the I-FI3L, should first
apply to the courts for the titles, and afterards transfer the title to AC+3.
The majority opinion, in effect, adopted the folloing e4cerpt from a dissent in Manila Electric Company
vs. Castro-Bartolome .&&$ ,C1A =((, %5' H&(%5I/.
To uphold respondent judge8s denial of +eralco8s application on the technicality that the !ublic
Land Act allos only citi2ens of the !hilippines ho are natural persons to apply for confirmation
of their title ould be impractical and ould just give rise to multiplicity of court actions. Assuming
that there as a technical error in not having filed the application for registration in the name of
the !iguing spouses as the original oners and vendors,
still it is conceded that there is no pro#i%ition against their sale of the land to the applicant
+eralco
and neither is there any prohibition against the application being refiled ith retroactive effect in
the name of the original oners and vendors .as such natural persons/ ith the end result of their
application being granted, because of their indisputable ac*uisition of onership by operation of
la and the conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor.
It should not be necessary to go through all the rituals at the great cost of refiling of all such applications
in their names and adding to the overcroded court doc<ets hen the Court can after all these years
dispose of it here and no.G .!aragraphing supplied/
The effect is that the majority opinion no nullifies the statutory provision that only citi2ens .natural
persons/ can apply for certificates of title under ,ection $%.b/ of the !ublic Land Act, as ell as the
constitutional provision .Article AI#, ,ection &&/ hich prohibits corporations from ac*uiring title to lands
of the public domain. That interpretation or construction adopted by the majority cannot be justified. GA
construction adopted should not be such as to nullify, destroy or defeat the intention of the legislatureG
.-e Kor< ,tate Dept. of ,ocial ,ervices v. Dublino HJ,T '= L. 3d 5d ;%%, (' , Ct 56)=7 Jnited ,tates v.
Alpers ''% J, ;%), ($ L 3d $6=, =) , Ct '657 cited in =' Am @ur. 5nd., p. '6&/.
It has also been said that0
In the construction of statutes, the courts start ith the assumption that the legislature intended to
enact an effective la, and the legislature is not to be presumed to have done a vain thing in the
enactment of a statute. Fence, it is a general principle that the courts should, if reasonably
possible to do so interpret the statute, or the provision being construed, so as to give it efficient
operation and effect as a hole. An interpretation should, if possible, be avoided, under hich the
statute or provision being construed is defeated, or as otherise e4pressed, nullified, destroyed,
emasculated, repealed, e4plained aay, or rendered insignificant, meaningless, inoperative, or
nugatory. If a statute is fairly susceptible of to constructions, one of hich ill give effect to the
act, hile the other ill defeat it, the former construction is preferred. :ne part of a statute may
not be construed so as to render another part nugatory or of no effect. +oreover, notithstanding
the general rule against the enlargement of e4tension of a statute by construction, the meaning of
a statute may be e4tended beyond the precise ords used in the la, and ords or phrases may
be altered or supplied, here this is necessary to prevent a la from becoming a nullity.
Cherever the provision of a statute is general everything hich is necessary to ma<e such
provision effectual is supplied by implication. .!lia<os vs. Illinois Li*uor Control Com. && III 5d
$6;, &$' -35d $=7 cited in =' A+ @ur. 5d pp. $559$5'/
The statutory provision and the constitutional prohibition e4press a public policy. The proper course for
the Court to ta<e is to promote in the fullest manner the policy thus laid don and to avoid a construction
hich ould alter or defeat that policy.
In fine, I confirm my adherence to the ruling of this Court in Meralco vs. on. Castro-Bartolome, &&$
,C1A =(( H&(%5I and related cases.
Se,#r#-e O,.$.o$/
G"TIERRE0, 1R., J., concurring0
I reiterate my concurrence in Meralco v. Castro-Bartolome, and, therefore, dissent here.
TEEHAN2EE, C.J., concurring0
I am honored by my brethren8s judgment at bar that my dissenting opinion in the @une,
&(%5 Meralco and 9&lesia ni Cristo cases,
1
hich is herein upheld, Ge4pressed hat is the better. . . . and
indeed the correct vie.G +y dissent as anchored on the landmar< &()( case of Carino
2
through the
&(56 case of Susi
3
and the long line of cases cited therein to the latest &(%) case of erico
*
that Git is
established doctrine....... that an open, continuous, adverse and public possession of a land of the public
domain for the period provided in the !ublic Land Act provision in force at the time .from @uly 5;, &%($
in Susi under the old la Hthis period as reduced to 8at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing
of the application for confirmation of title8 by amendment of Commonealth Act -o. &$&, e*uivalent to the
period of ac*uisitive prescription
+
I/ by a private individual personally and through his predecessors
confers an effective title on said possessor, hereby the land ceases to be land of the public domain and
becomes private property.G I hereby reproduce the same by reference for brevity8s sa<e. >ut since e are
reverting to the old above9cited established doctrine and precedents and discarding
the Meralco and 9&lesia ni Cristo cases hich departed therefrom in the recent past, I feel constrained to
rite this concurrence in amplification of my vies and ratio decidendi.
Jnder the e4press te4t and mandate of the cited Act, such possessors Gshall be conclusively presumed to
have performed all the conditions essential to a ?overnment grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of
title under the provisions of this chapter. G
The Court thus held in ,usi that under the presumption juris et de jure established in the Act, the rightful
possessor of the public land for the statutory period Galready ac$uired, %y operation of law, not only a
ri&#t to a grant, but a &rant of t#e 'overnment, for it is not necessary that certificate of title should be
issued an order that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts, an application therefore is
sufficient . . . . 9f %y a le&al fiction, #alentin ,usi had ac$uired the land in *uestion %y a &rant of t#e State,
it #ad already ceased to %e of t#e pu%lic domainand had %ecome private property, at least by
presumption, of #alentin ,usi, beyond the control of the Director of Lands Hand beyond his authority to sell
to any other personI. G
6
The root of the doctrine goes bac< to the pronouncement of @ustice :liver Cendell Folmes for the J.,.
,upreme Court in the &()( case of Carino .the Igorot chief ho ould have been deprived of ancestral
family lands by the dismissal of his application for registration/ hich reversed the dismissal of the
registration court .as affirmed by the ,upreme Court/ and adopted the liberal vie that under the decree
and regulations of @une 56, &%%), GThe ords 8may prove8 .acrediten/, as ell, or better, in vie of the
other provisions, might be ta<en to mean w#en called upon to do so in any liti&ation. There are indications
that registration as e4pected from all, but none sufficient to sho that, for ant of it, onership actually
gained ould be lost. The effect of t#e proof, henever made, was not to confer title, %ut simply to
esta%lis# it, as already conferred %y t#e decree, if not by earlier la.G
The Court8s decision at bar no e4pressly overturns the Meralco and related cases subse*uent thereto
hich failed to adhere to the aforecited established doctrine dating bac< to &()( and as consistently
applied up to @une 5(, &(%5 .hen the Meralco decision as promulgated/.-.re//an0123w4 Ce reaffirm
the established doctrine that such ac*uisitive prescription of alienable public lands ta<es place ipso jure or
by operation of la ithout the necessity of a prior issuance of a certificate of title. The land ipso
!ure ceases to be of the public domain and becomes private property, hich may be lafully sold to and
ac*uired by *ualified corporations such as respondent corporation. .As stressed in erico supra, Gthe
application for confirmation is a mere formality, the lac< of hich does not affect the le&al sufficiency of
t#e title.G/
,uch ipso !ure conversion into private property of public lands publicly held under a %ona fide claim of
ac*uisition or onership is the public policy of the Act and is so e4pressly stated therein. >y virtue of such
conversion into private property, *ualified corporations may lafully ac*uire them and there is no
Galteration or defeatingG of the &(=' Constitution8s prohibition against corporations holding or ac*uiring
title to lands of the public domain, as claimed in the dissenting opinion, for the simple reason that no
public lands are involved.
It should be noted that respondent corporation purchased the land from the Infiels on :ctober &;, &(;5
under the aegis of the &('6 Constitution hich contained no prohibition against corporations holding
public lands .e4cept a limit of &,)5$ hectares/ unli<e the later &(=' Constitution hich imposed an
absolute prohibition. 3ven on the erroneous assumption that the land remained public land despite the
Infiels8 open possession thereof as oners from time immemorial, respondent corporation8s laful
purchase from them of the land in &(;5 and ! $6million investments redounding presumably to the
elfare and progress of the community, particularly the municipality of +aconacon, Isabela to hich it
donated part of the land for the tonsite created a vested right hich could not be impaired by the
prohibition adopted eleven years later. >ut as sufficiently stressed, the land of the Infiels had beenipso
!ure converted into private land and they had a legally sufficient and transferable title conferred by the
conclusive presumption of the !ublic Land Act .hich needed only to be esta%lis#ed in confirmation of
title proceedings for formali2ation and issuance of the certificate of title/ hich they lafully and validly
transferred to respondent corporation.
In fact, the many amendments to the Act e4tending the period for the filing of such applications for judicial
confirmation of imperfect and incomplete titles to alienable and disposable public lands e4pressly reiterate
that it has alays been the Gpolicy of the ,tate to hasten the settlement, adjudication and *uieting of titles
to HsuchI unregistered lands,G i.e. to recogni2e that such lands publicly and notoriously occupied and
cultivated under %ona fide claim of ac*uisition or onership have ipso !ure been converted into private
property and grant the possessors the opportunity to establish and record such fact. Thus, the deadline
for the filing of such application hich ould have originally e4pired first on December '&, &('% as
successively e4tended to December '&, &($&, then e4tended to December '&, &(6=, then to December
'&, &(;%, further e4tended to December '&, &(=; and lastly e4tended to December '&, &(%=.
7
The cited Act8s provision that only natural persons may apply thereunder for confirmation of title is in
effect a technicality of procedure and not of substance. +y submittal in Meralco, mutatis mutandis, is
properly applicable0 GThe ends of justice ould best be served, therefore, by considering the applications
for confirmation as amended to conform to the evidence, i.e. as filed in the names of the original persons
ho as natural persons are duly *ualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title that they had
ac*uired by conclusive presumption and mandate of the !ublic Land Act and ho thereafter duly sold to
the herein corporations .both admittedly Filipino corporations duly *ualified to hold and on private lands/
and granting the applications for confirmation of title to the private lands so ac*uired and sold or
e4changed.G
8
Indeed, then Chief @ustice 3nri*ue +. Fernando li<eise dissented along the same line
from the majority ruling therein and held0 GI dissent insofar as the opinion of the Court ould characteri2e
such jurisdictional defect that the applicant as Meralco, a juridical person rather than the natural
persons9transferors, under the particular circumstances of this case, as an insurmountable obstacle to the
relief sought. I ould apply by analogy, although the facts could be distinguished, the approach folloed
by us in 5rancisco v. City of Davao, here the legal *uestion raised, instead of being deferred and
possibly ta<en up in another case, as resolved. >y legal fiction and in the e4ercise of our e*uitable
jurisdiction, I feel that the realistic solution ould be to decide the matter as if the application under
,ection $%.b/ ere filed by the !iguing spouses, ho I assume suffer from no such disability.G
9
@ustice
#icente Abad ,antos, no retired, hile concurring in the procedural result, li<eise, in effect dissented
from the therein majority ruling on the *uestion of substance, and stated his opinion that Gthe lots hich
are sought to be registered have ceased to be lands of the public domain at the time they ere ac*uired
by the petitioner corporation. They are already private lands because of ac*uisitive prescription by the
predecessors of the petitioner and all that is needed is the confirmation of the title. Accordingly, the
constitutional provision that no private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public
domain is inapplicable. G
10
To my mind, the reason hy the Act limits the filing of such applications to natural citi2ens ho may prove
their undisputed and open possession of public lands for the re*uired statutory thirty9year period, tac<ing
on their predecessors89in9interest possession is that only natural persons, to the e4clusion of juridical
persons such as corporations, can actually, physically and in reality possess public lands for the re*uired
statutory ')9year period. That juridical persons or corporations cannot do so is obvious. >ut hen the
natural persons have fulfilled the re*uired statutory period of possession, the Act confers on them a
legally sufficient and transferable title. It is preferable to follo the letter of the la that t#ey file the
applications for confirmation of their title, although they have lafully transferred their title to the land. >ut
such procedural failure cannot and should not defeat the substance of the la, as stressed in the above9
cited opinions, that the lands are already private lands because ofac$uisitive prescription by the
corporation8s predecessors and the realistic solution ould be to consider the application for confirmation
as filed by the natural persons9transferors, and in accordance ith the evidence, confirm their title to the
private lands so converted by operation of la and lafully transferred by them to the corporation. The
la, after all, recogni2es the validity of the transfer and sale of the private land to the corporation. It
should not be necessary to go in a round9about ay and have the corporation reassign its rights to the
private land to natural persons9.as I understand/, as done after the decision in the Meralco and 9&lesia
ni Cristo cases/ just for the purpose of complying on paper ith the technicality of having natural persons
file the application for confirmation of title to the private land.

ELENCIO3HERRERA, J., dissenting0
,ection $% of the !ublic Land Act, in part, provides0
,3C. $%. The folloing described citi2ens of the !hilippines, occupying lands of the public
domain or claiming to on any such lands or an interest therein, but hose titles have not been
perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province here the land is
located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the
Land 1egistration Act, to it0
.a/ ...
.b/ Those ho by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open,
continuous, e4clusive, and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public
domain, under a bona fide claim of ac*uisition of onership, for at least thirty years immediately
preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title e4cept hen prevented by ar or
force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed are the conditions
essential to a ?overnment grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions
of this chapter.
.c/ ...
Article AI#, ,ection &&, of the &(=' Constitution, in part, provides0
,3C. &&. .... -o private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain
e4cept by lease not to e4ceed one thousand hectares in area7 nor may any citi2en hold such
lands by lease in e4cess of five hundred hectares ....
It has to be conceded that, literally, statutory la and constitutional provision prevent a corporation from
directly applying to the Courts for the issuance of :riginal Certificates of Title to lands of the public
domain .+anila 3lectric Company vs. Castro9>artolome, &&$ ,C1A =((7 1epublic vs. #illanueva, &&$
,C1A %=67 1epublic vs. Court of Appeals, &&( ,C1A $$(7 Iglesia ni Cristo vs. Fon. @udge, CFI of -ueva
3cija, >r. &/. It is my opinion that the literalism should be adhered to in this case.
The reasoning of the majority can be restated in simple terms as follos0
.a/ The I-FI3L, can successfully file an application for a certificate of title over the land involved in the
case.
.b/ After the I-FI3L, secure a certificate of title, they can sell the land to AC+3.
.c/ As AC+3 can eventually on the certificate of title, it should be alloed to directly apply to the Courts
for the Certificate of Title, thus avoiding the circuituous GliteralG re*uirement that the I-FI3L, should first
apply to the courts for the titles, and afterards transfer the title to AC+3.
The majority opinion, in effect, adopted the folloing e4cerpt from a dissent in Manila Electric Company
vs. Castro-Bartolome .&&$ ,C1A =((, %5' H&(%5I/.
To uphold respondent judge8s denial of +eralco8s application on the technicality that the !ublic
Land Act allos only citi2ens of the !hilippines ho are natural persons to apply for confirmation
of their title ould be impractical and ould just give rise to multiplicity of court actions. Assuming
that there as a technical error in not having filed the application for registration in the name of
the !iguing spouses as the original oners and vendors,
still it is conceded that there is no pro#i%ition against their sale of the land to the applicant
+eralco
and neither is there any prohibition against the application being refiled ith retroactive effect in
the name of the original oners and vendors .as such natural persons/ ith the end result of their
application being granted, because of their indisputable ac*uisition of onership by operation of
la and the conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor.
It should not be necessary to go through all the rituals at the great cost of refiling of all such applications
in their names and adding to the overcroded court doc<ets hen the Court can after all these years
dispose of it here and no.G .3mphasis supplied/
The effect is that the majority opinion no nullifies the statutory provision that only citi2ens .natural
persons/ can apply for certificates of title under ,ection $%.b/ of the !ublic Land Act, as ell as the
constitutional provision .Article AI#, ,ection &&/ hich prohibits corporations from ac*uiring title to lands
of the public domain. That interpretation or construction adopted by the majority cannot be justified. GA
construction adopted should not be such as to nullify, destroy or defeat the intention of the legislatureG
.-e Kor< ,tate Dept. of ,ocial ,ervices v. Dublino HJ,T '= L. 3d 5d ;%%, (' , Ct 56)=7 Jnited ,tates v.
Alpers ''% J, ;%), ($ L 3d $6=, =) , Ct '657 cited in =' Am @ur. 5nd., p. '6&/.
It has also been said that0
In the construction of statutes, the courts start ith the assumption that the legislature intended to
enact an effective la, and the legislature is not to be presumed to have done a vain thing in the
enactment of a statute. Fence, it is a general principle that the courts should, if reasonably
possible to do so interpret the statute, or the provision being construed, so as to give it efficient
operation and effect as a hole. An interpretation should, if possible, be avoided, under hich the
statute or provision being construed is defeated, or as otherise e4pressed, nullified, destroyed,
emasculated, repealed, e4plained aay, or rendered insignificant, meaningless, inoperative, or
nugatory. If a statute is fairly susceptible of to constructions, one of hich ill give effect to the
act, hile the other ill defeat it, the former construction is preferred. :ne part of a statute may
not be construed so as to render another part nugatory or of no effect. +oreover, notithstanding
the general rule against the enlargement of e4tension of a statute by construction, the meaning of
a statute may be e4tended beyond the precise ords used in the la, and ords or phrases may
be altered or supplied, here this is necessary to prevent a la from becoming a nullity.
Cherever the provision of a statute is general everything hich is necessary to ma<e such
provision effectual is supplied by implication. .!lia<os vs. Illinois Li*uor Control Com. && III 5d
$6;, &$' -35d $=7 cited in =' A+ @ur. 5d pp. $559$5'/
The statutory provision and the constitutional prohibition e4press a public policy. The proper course for
the Court to ta<e is to promote in the fullest manner the policy thus laid don and to avoid a construction
hich ould alter or defeat that policy.
In fine, I confirm my adherence to the ruling of this Court in Meralco vs. on. Castro-Bartolome, &&$
,C1A =(( H&(%5I and related cases.
G.R. No. L3*9623 14$e 29, 1982
ANILA ELECTRIC CO!AN&, petitioner9appellant,
vs.
1"DGE FLORENLIANA CASTRO35ARTOLOE o6 -7e Co4r- o6 F.r/- I$/-#$ce o6 R.8#9, #:#-.
5r#$c7 ;), #$% RE!"5LIC OF THE !HILI!!INES,
respondent9appellees.
A<"INO, J.:p
This case involves the prohibition in section &&, Article AI# of the Constitution that Gno private coporation
or associaiton may hold alienable lands of the public domain e4cept by lease not to e4ceed on ethousand
hectares in areaG. = That prohibition is not found in the &('6 Constitution.
The +anila 3lectric Company, a domestic corporation organi2ed under !hilippine las, more than si4ty
percent of hose capital stoc< is oned by Filipino citi2ens, in its application filed on December &, &(=; in
the +a<ati branch of the Court of First Instance of 1i2al, prayed for the confirmation of its title to to lots
ith a total area of one hundred si4ty9five s*uare meters, located at Tanay, 1i2al ith an assessed value
of !',5=) .L1C Case -o. -9($%6, L1C -o. -96)%)&/.
The 1epublic of the !hilippines opposed theh application on the grounds that the applicant, as a private
corporation,is dis*ualified to hold alienable public lands and that the applicant and its prredecessors9in9
interest have not been in the open, continuous, e4clusive and notorious possession and occupation of the
land for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application .pp. ;69;;, :ollo/.
After the trial had commenced, the !rovince of ri2al and the +unicipality of Tanay filed a joint opposition
to the application on the ground that one of the lots, Lot -o. &&;6 of the Tanay cadastre, ould be
needed for the idening and improvement of @ose Abad ,antos and 3.Luirino ,treetsin the ton of
Tanay.
The land as possessed by :limpia ramos before the !acific ar hich bro<e out in &($&. :n @uly ',
&($=, 1amos sold the land to the spouses 1afael !iguing and +Inerva Inocencio .34h. M/. The !iguing
sapouses constructed a house therereon. >ecause the +eralco had installed the Ganchor guyG of its steel
post on the land, the !iguing spouses sold the lot to the +eralco on August &', &(=;.
The said land as included in the&(;% cadastral survey made in Tanacy by the >ureau of Lands, !lan
A!9)$9)))()5 .34h. F and F/ and as divided into to lots, Lots -os. &&;$ and &&;6, so as to segregate
Lot -o. &&;6 hich ould be used to iden the to street serving as the land8s eastern and southern
boundaries.
The land as declared for realty ta4 purposes since &($6 and ta4es had been paid thereon up to &(==. It
is residential in character as distinguished from a strictly agricultural land. It is not included in any military
reservation. ,ince &(5=, it has formed part of the alienable portion of the public domain.
After trial, the lore court rendered a decision dismissing the application because in its opinion the
+eralco is not *ualified to apply for the registration of the said land since under section $%.b/ of the !ublic
Land La only Filipino citi2ens or natural persons can apply for judicial confirmationof their imperfect titles
to public land. The +eralco is a juridical person. The trial court assumed that the land hich it see<s to
register is pu%lic land.
From that decision, the +eralco appealed to this Court under 1epublic Act -o. 6$$).
In contends that the said land, after having been possessed in the concept of oner by :limpia 1amos
and the !iguing spouses for more than thirty years, had become private land in the hands of the latter,
and, therefore, the constitutional prohibition, banning a private corporation from ac*uiring alienable public
land, is not applicable to the said land.
The +eralco further contends that it has invo<e section $%.b/ of the !ublic Land La, not for itself, but for
the !iguing spouses ho, as Filipino citi2ens, could secure a judicial confirmation of their imperfect title to
the land.
In reply to these contentions, the ,olicitor ?eneral counters that the said land is not private land because
the +eralco and its predecessors9in9interest have no composition title from the ,panish government nor
possessory information title or any other means for the ac*uisition of public lands such as grants or
patents .1epublic vs. Court of Appeals and De @esus, L9$)(&5, ,eptember '), &(=;, =' ,C1A &$;, &6=7
Director of Lands vs. 1eyes, L95=6($, -ovember 5%, &(=6, and Alinsunurin vs. Director of Lands, L9
5%&$$, -ovember 5%, &(=67 ;% ,C1A &==7 &(67 Lee Fong Fo< vs. David, L9')'%(, December 5=, &(=5,
$% ,C1A '=5, '=%9(7 Director of Lands vs. Court of Appeals and 1aymundo, L95(6=6, April '), &(=&, '%
,C1A ;'$, ;'(7 !adilla vs. 1eyes and Director of Lands, ;) !hil. (;=, (;(7 Feirs of Datu !endatun vs.
Director of Lands, 6( !hil. ;)), ;)'/.
The !ublic Land La provides0
CFA!T31 #III. D @udicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles.
444 444 444
,3C. $%. The folloing described citi)ens of t#e 7#ilippines, occupying lands of the
public domain or claiming to on any such lands or an interest therein, but hose titles
have not been perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of the
province here the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a
certificate of title therefor, under the Land 1egistration Act, to it0
444 444 444
.b/ Those ho by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in
open, continuous, e4clusive, and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural
lands of the public domain, under a %ona fide claim of ac*uisition of onership, for at
least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title
e4cept hen prevented by ar or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed
to have performed all the conditions essential to a ?overnment grant and shall be entitled
to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. .As amended by 1epublic Act
-o. &($5, approved on @une 55, &(6=./
444 444 444
,3C. $(. -o person claiming title to lands of the public domain not in possession of the
*ualifications specified in the last preceding section may apply for the benefits of this
chapter.
Ce hold that, as beteen the ,tate and the +eralco, the said land is still public land. It ould cease to be
public land only upon the issuance of the certificate of title to any Filipino citi2en claiming it under section
$%.b/. >ecause it is still public land and the +eralco, as a juridical person, is dis*ualified to apply for its
registration under section $%.b/, +eralco8s application cannot be given due course or has to be
dismissed.
This conclusion is supported by the rule announced in :h Cho vs. Director of Lands, =6 !hil. %(), %(5,
hich rule is a compendious or *uintessential precis of a pervasive principle of public land la and land
registration la, that;all lands t#at were not ac$uired from t#e 'overnment, eit#er %y purc#ase or %y
&rant, %elon& to t#e pu%lic domain. An e4ception to the rule ould be any land that should have been in
the possession of an occupant and of his predecessors9in9interest since time immemorial, for such
possession ould justify the presumption that the land had never been part of the public domain or that it
had been a private property even before the ,panish con*uest.G .CariNo vs. Insular ?overnment, 5&5 J.
,. $$(, 6' L. ed. 6($, $& !hil. ('6 and = !hil. &'5/.
The +eralco relies on the ruling in ,usi vs. 1a2on and Director of Lands, $% !hil. $5$, that Gan open,
continuous, adverse and public possession of a land of the public domain from time immemorial by a
private individual personally and through his predecessors confers an effective title on said possessor,
hereby the land ceases to be publicG and becomes private property.
That ruling is based on the Cari<o case hich is about the possession of land by an Igorot and his
ancestors since time immemorial or even before the ,panish con*uest. The land involved in
the Susi case as possessed before &%%) or since a period of time Gbeyond the reach of memoryG. That
is not the situation in this case. The +eralco does not pretend that the !iguing spouses and their
predecessor had been in possession of the land since time immemorial.
In the Susi case, this Court applied section $6.b/ of Act -o. 5%=$ hich corresponds to hat is no
section $%.b/. It as held that the long possession of the land under a %ona fide claim of onership since
@uly 5;, &%($ gave rise to the conclusive presumption that the occupant had complied ith all the
conditions essential to a ?overnment grant and as thus entitled to a certificate of title.
:n the other hand, in Jy Jn vs. !ere2, =& !hil. 6)%, 6&)9&&, it as held that hile occupants of public
land, ho have applied for the confirmation of their title, Gteian asimismo a su favor la presuncion !uris et
de !ure de *ue habian cumplido con todas las condiciones necesarias para la concesion del titulo7 pero
hasta *ue el titulo se e4pida no tenian el concepto !uridico de ser los verdaderos due<os del terreno in
este de!o de pertenecer a los terrenos pu%lico del Estado suscepti%les de ena!enacion.G
That means that until the certificate of title is issued, a pice of land, over hich an imperfect title is sought
to be confirmed, remains public land. For that reason in the =y =n case, it as held that if that land as
attached by a judgment creditor of the applicant, hile his application for confirmation of his imperfect title
as pending in the >ureau of Lands, the levy and e4ecution sald of the land ere void.
For that same reason, lands over hich an imperfect title is sought to be confirmed are governed by the
!ublic Land La. ,uch lands ould not be covered by the !ublic Land La if they ere already private
lands. The occupants8 right to the said lands is characteri2ed in the Jy Jn case, not as onership in fee
simple, but asderec#o dominical incoativo.
The +eralco in its concluding argument contends that if the !iguing spouses could as< for the
confirmation of their imperfect title to the said lands, then hy should the +eralco, as their transferee, be
denied the same right to register the said land in its name, there being no legal prohibition for the !iguing
spouses from selling the land to the +eralcoO This Court is disposing of that same contention in the :h
Cho case said0
The benefits provided in the !ublic Land Act .meaning the confirmation of an imperfect
title under section $%HbI/ for applicant8s immediate predecessors9in9interest are or
constitute a grant or concession by the ,tate7 and before they could ac*uire any right
under such benefits, the applicant8s immediate predecessors9in9interest should comply
ith the condition precedent for the grant of such benefits.
The condition precedent is to apply for the registration of the land of hich they had been
in possession at least since @uly 5;, &%($. This the applicant8s immediate predecessors9
in9interest .meaning the !iguing spouses in the instant case/ failed to do.
+#ey did not #ave any vested ri&#t in t#e lot amountin& to title w#ic# was transmissi%le to
t#e applicant. The only right, if it may thus be called, is their possession of the lot hich,
tac<ed to that of their predecessors9in9interest, may be availed of by a *ualified person to
apply for its registration but not by a person as the applicant ho is dis*ualified. .=6 !hil.
%(), %('./
Finally, it may be observed that the constitutional prohibition ma<es no distinction beteen .on one hand/
alienable agricultural public lands as to hich no occupant has an imperfect title and .on the other hand/
alienable lands of the public domain as to hich an occupant has an imperfect title subject to judicial
confirmation.
,ince section && of Article AI# does not distinguish, e should not ma<e any distinction or *ualification.
The prohibition applies to alienable public lands as to hich a Torrens title may be secured under section
$%.b/. The proceeding under section $%.b/ Gpresupposes that the land is publicG .+indanao vs. Director of
Lands, L9&(6'6, @uly '), &(;=, 5) ,C1A ;$&, ;$$/.
The loer court7s judgment dismissing +eralco8s application is affirmed. Costs against the petitioner9
appellant.
,: :1D313D.
Barredo, Ma,asiar, 'uerrero, Melencio-errera, 7lana, Escolin, (as$ue), :elova and 'utierre), 8r., 88.,
concur.
Concepcion, 8r., 8., is on leave.
Se,#r#-e O,.$.o$/
A5AD SANTOS, 1.> co$c4rr.$?>
I concur in the result. I am of the opinion that the lots hich are sought to be registered have ceased to be
lands of the public domain at the time they ere ac*uired by the petitioner corporation. They are already
private lands because of ac*uisitive prescription by the predecessors of the petitioner and all that is
needed is the confirmation of the title. Accordingly, the constitutional provision that no private corporation
or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain is inapplicable. Foever, the petitioner is
relying on ,ec. $% of the !ublic Land Act for the confirmation of its title and +r. @ustice A*uino is correct
in holding that said provision cannot be availed by juridical entities.
FERNANDO, C.J., concurring and dissenting0
I concur in the ruling of the Court that +eralco Gas a juridical personG is dis*ualified to apply for its
registration under ,ection $%.b/.. 1 I dissent insofar as the opinion of the Court ould characteri2e such
jurisdictional defect, under the particular circumstances of this case, as an insurmountable obstacle to the
relief sought. I ould apply by analogy, although the facts could be distinguished, the approach folloed
by us in Francisco v. City of Davao,
2
here the legal *uestion raised, instead of being deferred and
possibly ta<en up in another case, as resolved. >y legal fiction
3
and in the e4ercise of our e*uitable
jurisdiction, I feel that the realistic solutionould be to decide the matter as if the application under
,ection $%.b/ ere filed by the !iguing spouses, ho I assume suffer from no such disability.
DE CASTRO, J., dissenting0
@ustice Teehan<ee cites in his dissenting opinion the case of herico vs. Dar,
1
the decision in hich I am
the ponente, as reiterating a supposedly ell9established doctrine that lands of the public domain hich,
by reason of possession and cultivation for such a length of time, a grant by the ,tate to the occupant is
presumed, and the land thereby ceases to form part of the public domain, but is segregated therefrom as
to be no longer subject to the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose under the public lands las or
statutes. Fe ould thus consider said land as no longer public land but GprivateG lands and therefore, not
ithin the prohibition of the -e Constitution against corporations from ac*uiring public lands hich
provides that Gno private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain e4cept
by lease not to e4ceed one thousand hectares.G
2
I cannot subscribe to the vie that the land as above described has become private land, even before title
thereto, hich is, as of this stage, said to be still Gan incomplete or imperfect title,G has been fully vested
on the occupant, through the prescribed procedure <non as judicial confirmation of incomplete or
imperfect title.
3
This is the only legal method by hich full and absolute title to the land may be granted, to
convert the land into a truly private land. To secure such judicial title, only the courts can be resorted to.
The Director of Lands has lost authority over the land, insofar as its disposition is concerned. Fis authority
is limited to another form of disposition of public land, referred to as administrative legali2ation, resulting
in the issuance of free patents, also based on possession, in hich case, as in the issuance of
homestead and sales patents, the land involved is undoubtedly public land. The possessor of a piece of
public land ould have the option to ac*uire title thereto through judicial confirmation or administrative
legali2ation. The difference is that in the latter case, the area disposable to a citi2en9applicant by the
Director of Lands is limited to 5$ hectares. There is no limit to the area subject to judicial confirmation of
incomplete or imperfect title, e4cept possibly the limit fi4ed for a ,tate grant under old ,panish las and
decrees, hich certainly is much larger than that set for free patents.
It is because of the divestiture of authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of the land subject to judicial
confirmation of incomplete and imperfect title that some statements are found in many cases, such as
those cited by @ustice Teehan<ee, to the effect that such land has ceased to be a public land. Chat these
statements, hoever, really mean is that the land referred to no longer forms part of the mass of public
domain still disposable by the Director of Lands, under the authority granted him by the public land
statutes. It, hoever, ould not follo that the land covered by ,ection $% of the !ublic Land Act has itself
become private land. The fact that its disposition is provided for in the aforecited Act hich deals ith
Gpublic landG gives rise to the very strong implication, if not a positive conclusion, that the land referred to
is still pu%lic land. :nly hen the court adjudicates the land to the applicant for confirmation of title ould
the land become privately oned land, for in the same proceeding, the court may declare it public land,
depending on the evidence.
The discussion of the *uestion of hether the land involved is still public or already private land is,
hoever, entirely pointless, or an idle e4ercise, if Ce consider the provision of ,ection &$, Article AI# of
the Constitution hich appears to have been lost sight of, hich provides that 8save in cases of hereditary
succession, no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed e4cept to individuals, corporations, or
associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public domain.G As previously stated, by e4press
provisions of the Constitution, no corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain
e4cept by lease, not to e4ceed, &,))) hectares in area.
*
Fence, even if the land involved in the present
case is considered private land, the cited section prohibits its ac*uisition by the +eralco or Iglesia hich
admittedly are Gcorporations or associationG ithin the meaning of the aforecited provision of the -e
Constitution. This observation should end all arguments on the issue of hether the land in *uestion is
public or private land. Although it may further be observed that supposing a corporation has been in
possession of a piece of public land from the very beginning, may it apply for judicial confirmation of the
land in *uestion to ac*uire title to its oner after possessing the land for the re*uisite length of timeO The
anser is believed obvious D it may not. If its possession is not from the beginning but has commenced
only upon the transfer to it by the prior possessor, may the corporation applyO The anser is just as
obvious D ith more reason, it may not.
This separate opinion should have had no need to be ritten because the majority opinion ritten by
@ustice A*uino is already ell9reasoned out and supported by applicable authorities. I as impelled to
rite it only because in the dissenting opinion of @ustice Teehan<ee, the case of erico vs. Dar .supra/
hich is my ponenciaas cited in support of his position. This separate opinion then is more to sho and
e4plain that hatever has been stated by me in the Dar case should be interpreted in the light of hat I
have said in this separate opinion, hich I believe, does not strengthen @ustice Teehan<ee8s position a
bit.
TEEHAN2EE, J., dissenting0
Involved in these to cases are the applications of petitioner +eralco, a nationali2ed domestic
corporation, in the first case and respondent Iglesia in Cristo, a religious corporation sole, in the second
case .both admittedly Filipino corporations *ualified to hold and on private lands/, for judicial
confirmation of their titles to small parcels of land, residential in character as distinguished from strictly
agricultural land, ac*uired by them by purchase or e4change from private persons pu%licly reco&ni)ed as
t#e private owners .ho have been in the open, continuous, e4clusive and notorious possession and
occupation of the lands under a bona fide claim of onership for at least thirty H')I years immediately
preceding the filing of the applications/.
This dissent is based on the failure of the majority to adhere to established doctrine since the &()( case
of Cari<oand the &(56 case of Susi don to the &(%) case of erico, infra, pursuant to the !ublic Land
Act, as amended, that here a possessor has held the open, e4clusive and unchallenged possession of
alienable public land for the statutory period provided by la .') years no under amendatory 1ep. Act
-o. &($5 approved on @une 55, &(6=/, the la itself mandates that the possessor Gshall be conclusively
presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a ?overnment grant and shall be entitled to a
certificate of titleG and ;%y le&al fiction Hthe landI has already ceased to %e of t#e pu%lic domain and
has %ecome private property.G Accordingly, the prohibition of the &(=' Constitution and of the !ublic Land
Act against private corporation holding lands of the public domain has no applicability in the present
cases. Chat +eralco and Iglesia have ac*uired from their predecessors9in9interest had already ceased to
be of the public domain and had become private property at the time of the sale to them and therefore
their applicatins for confirmation of title by virtue of their predecessors9in9interest8 vested right and title
may be duly granted.
The land covered by the +eralco application of -ovember 5;, &(=; consists of to .&/ small lots ith a
total area of &;6 s*uare meters located at Tanay, 1i2al ith an assessed value of !',5=).)). This land
as possessed by :limpia 1amos before Corld Carr II hich bro<e out in the !acific in &($&. :limpia
1amos sold the land on @uly ', &($= to the spouses 1afael !iguing and +inerva Inocencio ho
constructed a house thereon. >ut because the +eralco had instealled the Ganchor guyG of its stell posts
on the land, the !iguing spouses sold the land to the +eralco on August &', &(=;. The land had
been declared for realty ta> purposes since 2?@A and realty ta4es ere regularly paid thereon. It is
residential in character as distinguished from strictly agricultural land. It is li<eise established that it is
not included in any military reservation and that since &(5= it had been certified as part of the alienable or
disposable portion of the public domain.
The land covered by the Iglesia application of ,eptember ', &(== li<eise consists of to .5/ small lots
located in >arrio Dampol, !laridel, >ulacan ith a total area of '&' s*uare meters and ith an assessed
value of !&,'6).)). The land as ac*uired by the Iglesia on @anuary (, &(6' from Andres !ere2 in
e4change for a lot oned by the Iglesia ith an area of 5$= s*uare meters. The land as already
possessed by !ere2 in &(''. Admittedly also it is not included in any military reservation and is inside an
area hich as certified since &(5= as part of the alienable or disposable portion of the public domain. A
chapel of the Iglesia stands on the said land. It had beenduly declared for realty ta> purposes in the name
of the Iglesia and realty ta4es ere re&ularly paid thereon.
1espondent judge in the +eralco case sustained the 1epublic8s opposition and dismissed the application,
holding that under both the provisions of the ne Constitution and the !ublic Land Act, +eralco, being a
corporation and not a natural person, is not *ualified to apply for the registration of title over the public
land.
:n the other hand, in the Iglesia case, the 1epublic presented no evidence in support of its opposition but
e4pressly Gsubmitted the case for decision on the basis of the evidence submitted by the applicant.G
1espondent judge in the case accordingly granted the application for registration of the land in the name
of the Iglesia, holding that it had been Gsatisfactorily established that applicant IIglesiaI and its
predecessors9in9interest have been in open, continuous, public and adverse possession of the land . . .
under a bona fide claim of onership for more than thirty .')/ years prior to the filing of the applicationG
and is therefore entitled to the registration applied for under the !ublic Land Act, as amended.
>oth decisions are no ith the Court for revie. I hold that both applications for registration should be
granted by virtue of the prevailing principle as enunciated since the &(56 case of Susi vs. :a)on and
Director of Lands
1
and reaffirmed in a long line of cases don to the &(%) case of erico vs. Dar
2
that
the lands in *uestion ceased, ipso !ure, or by operation of la, to be lands of the public domain upon
completion of the statutory period of open, continuous, e4clusive, notorious and unchallenged possession
thereof by the applicants8 predecessors9in9interest ho ere *ualified natural persons and entitled to
registration by right of ac*uisitive prescription under the provisions of the !ublic Land Act, and that
accordingly the judgment in the +eralco case should be reversed and a ne judgment entered granting
+eralco8s application, hile the judgment in the Iglesia case should stand affirmed.
The principal issue at bar may thus be stated0
It is e4pressly provided in section $%, par. .b/ of the !ublic Land Act .Commonealth Act -o. &$&, as
amended by 1ep. Act -o. &($5, approved on @une 55, &(6=/ that citi2ens of the !hilippines ho are
natural persons ho have occupied lands of the public domain but hose titles have not been perfected
or completed may apply to the corresponding court of first instance for confirmation of their claims and the
issuance of the certificate of title therefor under the Land 1egistration Act in cases here they Gby
themselves or t#rou&# t#eir predecessors-in-interest have been in the open, continuous, e4clusive, and
notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of
ac*uisition of onership, for at least t#irty years immediately precedin& t#e filin& of t#e application for
confirmation of title e4cept hen prevented by ar or force ma!eure. These shall be conclusively
presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a ?overnment grant and shall be entitled to a
certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.G
3
In such cases, is the land ipso jure or by operation
of la converted into private land upon completion of the ')th year of continuous and unchallenged
occupation of the land such that thereafter as such private land, it may be duly transferred to and oned
by private corporations or does such land, as held by respondent judge in the +eralco case, remain part
of the public domain and does not become private land until after actual judicial confirmation proceedings
and the formal court order for the issuance of the certificate of titleO
&. This issue has been s*uarely resolved by this Court since the &(56 case of Susi vs. :a)on .and a long
line of cases, infra/. It is established doctrine as first held therein that an open, continuous, adverse and
public possession of a land of the public domain for the period provided in the !ublic Land Act provision in
force at the time .from @uly 5;, &%($ in ,usi under the old la/ by a private individual personally and
through his predecessors confers an effective title on said possessor, hereby the land ceases to be land
of the public domain and becomes private property.
.At that time in &(56 in the Susi case, such possession as re*uired ;from 8uly BC, 2D?@; as then
provided for in section $6.b/ of the old !ublic Land Act -o. 5%=$, amending Act -o. (5;7 hereas at
present, as provided for in the corresponding section $%, par..b/ of the later and subsisting !ublic Land
Act, Commonealth Act -o. &$&, as amended by 1ep. Act -o. &($5 approved on 8une BB, 2?AE, in force
since &(6=, the period of open and unchallenged possession as reduced to Gat least t#irty years
immediately precedin& t#e filin& of t#e application for confirmation of title, e$uivalent to t#e period of
ac$uisitive prescription. This is admitted in the main opinion of +r. @ustice A*uino, herein it is stated that
G.I/n the Susi case, this Court applied section $6 .b/ of Act -o. 5%=$ hich corresponds to hat is now
section @DF%G. It as held that the long possession of the land under a bona fide claim of onership since
@uly 5;, &%($ gave rise to the conclusive presumption that the occupant had complied wit# all t#e
conditions essential to a ?overnment grant and as thus entitled to a certificate of title.G
*
The te4t of the
corresponding section $%.b/, as amended by 1ep. Act &($5 referred to is reproduced ver%atim in +r.
@ustice A*uino8s opinion
+
and *uotes the reduced statutory period of open and unchallenged possession
of Gat leastt#irty years immediately preceding the filing of the application.G/
Accordingly, the Court held that Susi, as the rightful possessor of the public land for the statutory period,
ac*uired the same %y operation of la as a grant from t#e 'overnment, ;not only a ri&#t to a &rant,G and
the land thereby Galready ceased to be of the public domain and had become private property at least by
presumptionG as e4pressly provided in the Act. Therefore, any supposed sale by the Director of Lands of
the same land to another person as void and of no effect and Susi as the rightful possessor could
recover the land as his private propertyfrom the supposed vendee ho did not ac*uire any right thereto
since it had ceased to be land of the public domain. The Court thus specifically held therein, as applied to
the specific facts of the case, that0
. . . In favor of #alentin ,usi, there is, moreover, the presumption !uris et de !ure, established in paragraph
.b/ of section $6 of Act -o. 5%=$, amending Act -o. (5;, that all t#e necessary re$uirements for a &rant
%y t#e 'overnment were complied wit# for he has been in actual and physical possession, personally and
through his predecessors, of an agricultural land of the public domain, openly continuously, e4clusively
and publicly since @uly 5;, &%($, ith a right to a certificate of title to said land under the provisions of
Chapter #III of said Act. ,o that hen Angela 1a2on applied for the grant in her favor, #alentin ,usi
had already ac$uired, %y operation of law, not only a ri&#t to a &rant, %ut a &rant of t#e 'overnment, for it
is not necessary t#at certificate of title s#ould %e issued in order t#at said &rant may %e sanctioned %y t#e
courts, an application t#erefor is sufficient, under the provisions of section $= of Act -o. 5%=$. 9f %y a
le&al function, #alentin ,usi had ac*uired the land in *uestion by a grant of the ,tate, it #ad already
ceased to %e of t#e pu%lic domain and #ad %ecome private property, at least %y presumption, of #alentin
,usi, %eyond t#e control of t#e Director of Lands. Conse*uently, in selling the land in *uestion to Angela
1a2on, the Director of Lands disposed of a land over hich he had no longer any title or control, and the
sa<e thus made as void and of no effect, and Angela 1a2on did not thereby ac*uire any right.G
6
5. The above9*uoted ruling in ,usi has been affirmed and reaffirmed by this Court in a long unbro<en line
of cases, as follos0
In Mesina vs. (da. de Son)a,
7
the Court held that G.I/n the case of Susi vs. :a)on, et al., $% !hil. $5$, it
as observed that here all the necessary re*uirements for a grant by the ?overnment are complied ith
through actual physical possession openly, continuously, and publicly, ith a right to a certificate of title to
said land under the provisions of Chapter #III of Act -o. 5%=$, amending Act -o. (5; .carried over as
Chapter #III of Commonealth Act -o. &$&/, the possessor is deemed to have already ac*uired %y
operation of law not only a right to a grant, but a grant of the ?overnment, for it is not necessary t#at a
certificate of title %e issued in order t#at said &rant may %e sanctioned %y t#e courts D an application
therefor being sufficient under the provisions of ,ection $= of Act -o. 5%=$ .reproduced as ,ection 6),
Commonealth Act -o. &$&/.G and G.C/onsidering that this case as dismissed by the trial court merely
on a motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff8s action is already barred by the statute of limitations,
hich apparently is predicated on the theory that a decree of registration can no longer be impugned on
the ground of fraud one year after the issuance and entry of the decree, hich theory does not apply
here %ecause t#e property involved is alle&edly private in natural and #as ceased to %e part of t#e pu%lic
domain, e are of the opinion that the trial court erred in dismissing the case outright ithout giving
plaintiff a chance to prove his claim.G
In Lacaste vs. Director of Lands,
8
the Court stressed that by force of possession, the land in *uestion
became private property on the strength of the Susi doctrine.
In Manarpaac vs. Ca%anatan,
9
the Court *uoted ith favor the te4t of the above9*uoted ruling of ,usi,
and itsratio decidendi thus0
The Director of Lands contends that the land in *uestion being of the public domain, the
plaintiff9appellee cannot maintain an action to recover possession thereof.
If, as above stated, that land, the possession of hich is in dispute, had already
become, operation of law, private property, there is lac,in& only t#e !udicial sanction of
#is title, #alentin ,usi has the right to bring an action to recover the possession thereof
and hold it.
In Mi&uel vs. Court of *ppeals,
10
the Court again held that here possession has been continuous,
uninterrupted, open, adverse and in the concept of an oner, there is a presumption !uris et de !ure that
all necessary conditions for a grant by the ,tate have been complied ith and he ould have been %y
force of lawentitled to the registration of his title to the land .citing 7amintuan vs. 9nsular 'overnment, %
!hil. $%6 and ,usi vs. 1a2on, $% !hil. $5$/.
In the latest &(%) case of erico vs. Dar,
11
the Court once more reiterated the ,usi doctrine that
G.A/nother obvious error of the respondent Court is in holding that after one year from the issuance of the
Torrens Title, the same can no longer be reopened to be declared and void, and has become absolute
and indefeasible. . . . ,econdly, under the provisions of 1epublic Act -o. &($5, hich the respondent
court held to be inapplicable to the petitioner8s case, wit# t#e latterHs proven occupation and cultivation for
more t#an IJ years since 2?2@, %y #imself and %y #is predecessors-in-interest, title over the land
has vested on petitioner as to se&re&ate t#e land from t#e mass of pu%lic land. Thereafter, it is no longer
disposable under the !ublic Land Act as by free patent. This is as provided in 1epublic Act -o. &($5,
hich too< effect on @une 55, &(6=, amending ,ection $%9b of Commonealth Act -o. &$& hich
provides0 . . . As interpreted in several cases hen the conditions as specified in the foregoing provision
are complied ith, the possessor is deemed to have ac$uired, %y operation of law, a ri&#t to a &rant, a
&overnment &rant, wit#out t#e necessity of a certificate of title %ein& issued. +#e land, t#erefore, ceases
to %e of t#e pu%lic domain, and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of. +#e
application for confirmation is a mere formality, t#e lac, of w#ic# does not affect t#e le&al sufficiency of
t#e title as ould be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the strength of said
patent.G
'. In fine, since under the Court8s settled doctrine, the ac$uisitive prescription of alienable or disposable
public lands provided for no in section $%, par. .b/ of the !ublic Land Act ta<es place %y operation of
law and the public land is converted to and becomes private property upon a shoing of open and
unchallenged possession under%ona fide claim of onership by the applicants8 predecessors9in9interest
for the statutory period of t#irty yearsimmediately preceding the filing of the application and Git is not
necessary that a certificate of title should be issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the
courtG hich right is e4pressly bac<ed up by the conclusive presumption or presumption !uris et de !ure of
the statute that the possessor has Gperformed all the conditions essential to a ?overnment grant,G the
applicant +eralco cannot be said to be barred as a corporation from filing the application for registration
of the private property duly ac*uired by it.
$. It should be noted that respondent judge8s decision in the +eralco case e>pressly finds as esta%lis#ed
facts that the +eralco8s predecessors9in9interest had possessed and occupied as oners the land in
*uestion for at least over '6 years7 :limpia 1amos having possessed the same since the last orld ar
in &($& and then having sold the same on @uly ', &($= to the !iguing spouses ho built a house thereon
and continuously possessed the same until they sold the same in turn to the +eralco on August &',
&(=;,
12
+eralco8s predecessors9in9interest had therefore ac*uired %y operation of t#e 7u%lic Land Act a
?overnment grant to the property, as ell as ac*uired onership thereof by right of ac$uisitive
prescription over the land hich thereby became private property. The very definition of prescription as a
mode of ac*uiring onership as set forth in Art. &&); of the Civil Code provides that G>y prescription one
ac*uires onership and other real rights through lapse of time in the manner and under the conditions
laid don by la.G The la does not provide that one ac*uires onership of a land by prescription only
after #is title t#ereto is !udicially confirmed. To this same effect is the ruling in Cari<o vs. 9nsular
'overnment
13
, herein the J.,. ,upreme Court spea<ing through @ustice Folmes held that
It is true that the language of Articles $ and 6 attributes title to those 8ho may prove8
possession for the necessary time and e do not overloo< the argument that this means
may prove in registration proceedings. It may be that an 3nglish conveyancer ould have
recommended an application under the foregoing decree, but certainly it as not
calculated to convey to the mind of an Igorot chief the notion that ancient family
possessions ere in danger, if he had read every ord of it. The ords;may
prove; .acrediten/, as ell, or better, in vie of the other provisions, might be ta,en to
mean w#en called upon to do so in any liti&ation. There are indications that registration
as e4pected from all, %ut none sufficient to s#ow t#at, for want of it, owners#ip actually
&ained would %e lost. +#e effect of t#e proof, henever made, as not to confer title,
but simply to esta%lis# it, as already conferred by the decree, if not by earlier la.
To the same effect is the Court8s ruling in Le&arda and 7rieto vs. Salee%y, '& !hil. 6(), that Gan oner
does not obtain title by virtue of certificate but rather obtains his certificate by virtue of the fact that he has
a fee simple title.G
6. ,ince the public land because private property upon completion of the ')th year of continuous,
e4clusive, and unchallenged possession of the applicant +eralco8s predecessors9in9interest, particularly
the !iguing spouses ho sold the private land to the +eralco, there is no justification for denying the
+eralco8s application for registration of its duly ac*uired title to the land. +eralco8s predecessors9in9
interest had ac*uired onership of the land by ac*uisitive prescription as provided by the !ublic Land Act
and by the Civil Code. The land became private property and +eralco duly ac*uired it by right of
purchase. To deny +eralco8s application to register the property because it is not a natural person is
unjustified because neither the ne constitutional ban under the &(=' Constitution against private
corporations oning lands of the public domain or the !ublic Land Act8s limitation on the right of
application for confirmation of imperfect title to lands of the public domain can be invo<ed any longer as
the land had long ceased to be public land but had become private property. +eralco8s application in
effect see<s confirmation of the ac*uisition of onership of the land hich had become private property of
its predecessors9in9interest, the !iguing spouses ho thru their open and unchallenged possession of the
land for over thirty years ac*uired title thereto by ac*uisitive prescription and by conclusive presumption
of the !ublic Land Act itself. There is no legal nor constitutional obstacle to such title being transferred to
the +eralco by right of purchase and traditio D for it is not claimed that there is any legal prohibition
against the !iguing spouses transferring the onership of the land to others .hether natural persons or
corporations/ such as the applicant +eralco, even before the formal issuance of the certificate of title to
them.
;. To uphold respondent judge8s denial of +eralco8s application on the technicality that the !ublic Land
Act allos only citi2ens of the !hilippines ho are natural persons to apply for confirmation of their title
ould be impractical and ould just give rise to multiplicity of court actions. Assuming that there as a
technical error in not having filed the application for registration in the name of the !iguing spouses as the
original oners and vendors, still it is conceded that there is no pro#i%ition against their sale of the land to
the applicant +eralco and neither is there any prohibition against the application being refiled ith
retroactive effect in the name of the original oners and vendors .as such natural persons/ ith the end
result of their application being granted, because of their indisputable ac*uisition of onership by
operation of la and the conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor. It should not be
necessary to go through all the rituals as the great cost of refiling of all such applications in their names
and adding to the overcroded court doc<ets hen the Court can after all these years dispose of it here
and no. .,ee Francisco vs. City of Davao
1*
/
The ends of justice ould best be served, therefore, by considering the applications for confirmation as
amended to conform to the evidence, i.e. as filed in the names of the original persons ho as natural
persons are duly *ualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title that they had ac*uired by conclusive
presumption and mandate of the !ublic Land Act and ho thereafter duly sold to the herein corporations
.both admittedly Filipino corporations duly *ualified to hold and on private lands/ and granting the
application for confirmation of title to the private lands so ac*uired and sold or e4changed.
=. All that has been said here applies of course ith e*ual force to the Iglesia case, save that as already
stated at the beginning hereof, the Iglesia application as granted because the 1epublic presented no
evidence in support of its opposition and respondent judge held in effect that the property had ceased to
be land of the public domain and had become private property, the title to hich could be duly issued in
the name of the Iglesia as the transferee of its predecessors9in9interest.
%. It should bear emphasis that hat are involved here are small parcels of land, of &;6 s*uare meters in
the +eralco case used for installation of an Ganchor guyG for its steel posts in connection ith its tas<s as
a nationali2ed domestic corporation to furnish electrical service to the consumer public, and of '&' s*uare
meters in the Iglesia case used as the site of its church built thereon to minister to the religious needs of
its members. In no ay, may the letter, intent and spirit of the prohibition of the &(=' Constitution against
corporations Gholding alienable lands of the public domain e4cept by lease not to e4ceed one thousand
hectares in areaG .hich is beamed against the undue control and e4ploitation of our public lands and
natural resources by corporations, Filipino and foreign9controlled/ be deemed violated or disregarded by
the granting of the applications at bar. The to corporations in truth and in fact do not hold the small
parcels of land at bar for their on use or benefit but for the sole use and benefit of the public.
(. Cith reference to the separate concurring opinion of +r. @ustice De Castro herein he ould blunt the
Gsupposedly .sic/ ell9established doctrineG .at page &/ from the &()( case of Cari<o and the &(56 case
of Susidon to the &(%) case of erico .supra, at pages 6 to &&/ and support the contrary
pronouncement in +r. @ustice A*uino8s main opinion that Gas beteen the ,tate and the +eralco, the said
land is still public land. It ould cease to be public land only upon the issuance of the certificate of title to
any Filipino citi2en claiming it under section $%.b/ Hof the !ublic Land ActIG .at page 6/, suffice it to cite his
on pronouncement in erico .reiterating the ell9established and prevailing doctrine hich this Court
has not overturned, as it cannot overturn the mandate of the statute that the unchallenged possessor for
at least ') years is Gconclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a
government grantG/ herein +r. @ustice De Castro categorically reiterated for the Court that GAs
interpretated in several cases . . . the possessor is deemed to have ac$uired, %y operation of law, a ri&#t
to a &rant, a &overnment &rant, wit#out t#e necessity of a certificate of title %ein& issued. +#e and,
t#erefore, ceases to %e of t#e pu%lic domain, and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose
of. +#e application for confirmation is a mere formality, t#e lac, of w#ic# does not affect t#e le&al
sufficiency of t#e title as ould be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the
strength of said patent.G
In only remains to point out, in order to avoid misapprehension or confusion, that +r. @ustice De Castro8s
seemingly *uerulous statement that Gthe discussion of the *uestion of hether the land involved is still
public oralready private land, is, hoever, entirely pointless or an idle e>ercise, if Ce consider the
provision of Section 2@, *rticle K9( of the Constitution hich appears to have been lost sight of, hich
provides that 8save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed
e4cept to individuals, corporations, or associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public domain8G
.at page 5/ that Ghence, even if the land involved in the present case is considered private land, the cited
section prohibits its ac*uisition by the +eralco or Iglesia hich admittedly are 8corporations or
associations8 ithin the meaning of the aforecited provisions of the -e Constitution. This observation
should end all arguments of the issue of hether the land in *uestion is public or private landG .idem/
might mislead one to the rong conclusion that corporations ith ;)B Filipino onership
may not on private lands hen the e4press provisions of Art. AI#, section (
1+
and section &$ as *uoted
by himself as ell as the counterpart provisions of the &('6 Constitution have alays e4pressly permitted
Filipino9oned corporations to on private lands, and the only change effected in the &(=' Constitution is
section && hich no prohibits even such Filipino corporations to on or hold lands of the pu%lic domain
e4cept by lease not to e4ceed &,))) hectares in area.
ACC:1DI-?LK, I vote for reversal of respondent court8s judgment in the +eralco case and for the entry
of a ne judgment granting +eralco8s application and for affirmance of judgment in the second case
granting the Iglesia application.


Se,#r#-e O,.$.o$/
A5AD SANTOS, 1.> co$c4rr.$?>
I concur in the result. I am of the opinion that the lots hich are sought to be registered have ceased to be
lands of the public domain at the time they ere ac*uired by the petitioner corporation. They are already
private lands because of ac*uisitive prescription by the predecessors of the petitioner and all that is
needed is the confirmation of the title. Accordingly, the constitutional provision that no private corporation
or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain is inapplicable. Foever, the petitioner is
relying on ,ec. $% of the !ublic Land Act for the confirmation of its title and +r. @ustice A*uino is correct
in holding that said provision cannot be availed by juridical entities.
FERNANDO, C.J., concurring and dissenting0
I concur in the ruling of the Court that +eralco Gas a juridical personG is dis*ualified to apply for its
registration under ,ection $%.b/.. 1 I dissent insofar as the opinion of the Court ould characteri2e such
jurisdictional defect, under the particular circumstances of this case, as an insurmountable obstacle to the
relief sought. I ould apply by analogy, although the facts could be distinguished, the approach folloed
by us in Francisco v. City of Davao,
2
here the legal *uestion raised, instead of being deferred and
possibly ta<en up in another case, as resolved. >y legal fiction
3
and in the e4ercise of our e*uitable
jurisdiction, I feel that the realistic solutionould be to decide the matter as if the application under
,ection $%.b/ ere filed by the !iguing spouses, ho I assume suffer from no such disability.
DE CASTRO, J., dissenting0
@ustice Teehan<ee cites in his dissenting opinion the case of herico vs. Dar,
1
the decision in hich I am
the ponente, as reiterating a supposedly ell9established doctrine that lands of the public domain hich,
by reason of possession and cultivation for such a length of time, a grant by the ,tate to the occupant is
presumed, and the land thereby ceases to form part of the public domain, but is segregated therefrom as
to be no longer subject to the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose under the public lands las or
statutes. Fe ould thus consider said land as no longer public land but GprivateG lands and therefore, not
ithin the prohibition of the -e Constitution against corporations from ac*uiring public lands hich
provides that Gno private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain e4cept
by lease not to e4ceed one thousand hectares.G
2
I cannot subscribe to the vie that the land as above described has become private land, even before title
thereto, hich is, as of this stage, said to be still Gan incomplete or imperfect title,G has been fully vested
on the occupant, through the prescribed procedure <non as judicial confirmation of incomplete or
imperfect title.
3
This is the only legal method by hich full and absolute title to the land may be granted, to
convert the land into a truly private land. To secure such judicial title, only the courts can be resorted to.
The Director of Lands has lost authority over the land, insofar as its disposition is concerned. Fis authority
is limited to another form of disposition of public land, referred to as administrative legali2ation, resulting
in the issuance of free patents, also based on possession, in hich case, as in the issuance of
homestead and sales patents, the land involved is undoubtedly public land. The possessor of a piece of
public land ould have the option to ac*uire title thereto through judicial confirmation or administrative
legali2ation. The difference is that in the latter case, the area disposable to a citi2en9applicant by the
Director of Lands is limited to 5$ hectares. There is no limit to the area subject to judicial confirmation of
incomplete or imperfect title, e4cept possibly the limit fi4ed for a ,tate grant under old ,panish las and
decrees, hich certainly is much larger than that set for free patents.
It is because of the divestiture of authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of the land subject to judicial
confirmation of incomplete and imperfect title that some statements are found in many cases, such as
those cited by @ustice Teehan<ee, to the effect that such land has ceased to be a public land. Chat these
statements, hoever, really mean is that the land referred to no longer forms part of the mass of public
domain still disposable by the Director of Lands, under the authority granted him by the public land
statutes. It, hoever, ould not follo that the land covered by ,ection $% of the !ublic Land Act has itself
become private land. The fact that its disposition is provided for in the aforecited Act hich deals ith
Gpublic landG gives rise to the very strong implication, if not a positive conclusion, that the land referred to
is still pu%lic land. :nly hen the court adjudicates the land to the applicant for confirmation of title ould
the land become privately oned land, for in the same proceeding, the court may declare it public land,
depending on the evidence.
The discussion of the *uestion of hether the land involved is still public or already private land is,
hoever, entirely pointless, or an idle e4ercise, if Ce consider the provision of ,ection &$, Article AI# of
the Constitution hich appears to have been lost sight of, hich provides that 8save in cases of hereditary
succession, no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed e4cept to individuals, corporations, or
associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public domain.G As previously stated, by e4press
provisions of the Constitution, no corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain
e4cept by lease, not to e4ceed, &,))) hectares in area.
*
Fence, even if the land involved in the present
case is considered private land, the cited section prohibits its ac*uisition by the +eralco or Iglesia hich
admittedly are Gcorporations or associationG ithin the meaning of the aforecited provision of the -e
Constitution. This observation should end all arguments on the issue of hether the land in *uestion is
public or private land. Although it may further be observed that supposing a corporation has been in
possession of a piece of public land from the very beginning, may it apply for judicial confirmation of the
land in *uestion to ac*uire title to its oner after possessing the land for the re*uisite length of timeO The
anser is believed obvious D it may not. If its possession is not from the beginning but has commenced
only upon the transfer to it by the prior possessor, may the corporation applyO The anser is just as
obvious D ith more reason, it may not.
This separate opinion should have had no need to be ritten because the majority opinion ritten by
@ustice A*uino is already ell9reasoned out and supported by applicable authorities. I as impelled to
rite it only because in the dissenting opinion of @ustice Teehan<ee, the case of erico vs. Dar .supra/
hich is my ponenciaas cited in support of his position. This separate opinion then is more to sho and
e4plain that hatever has been stated by me in the Dar case should be interpreted in the light of hat I
have said in this separate opinion, hich I believe, does not strengthen @ustice Teehan<ee8s position a
bit.
TEEHAN2EE, J., dissenting0
Involved in these to cases are the applications of petitioner +eralco, a nationali2ed domestic
corporation, in the first case and respondent Iglesia in Cristo, a religious corporation sole, in the second
case .both admittedly Filipino corporations *ualified to hold and on private lands/, for judicial
confirmation of their titles to small parcels of land, residential in character as distinguished from strictly
agricultural land, ac*uired by them by purchase or e4change from private persons pu%licly reco&ni)ed as
t#e private owners .ho have been in the open, continuous, e4clusive and notorious possession and
occupation of the lands under a bona fide claim of onership for at least thirty H')I years immediately
preceding the filing of the applications/.
This dissent is based on the failure of the majority to adhere to established doctrine since the &()( case
of Cari<oand the &(56 case of Susi don to the &(%) case of erico, infra, pursuant to the !ublic Land
Act, as amended, that here a possessor has held the open, e4clusive and unchallenged possession of
alienable public land for the statutory period provided by la .') years no under amendatory 1ep. Act
-o. &($5 approved on @une 55, &(6=/, the la itself mandates that the possessor Gshall be conclusively
presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a ?overnment grant and shall be entitled to a
certificate of titleG and ;%y le&al fiction Hthe landI has already ceased to %e of t#e pu%lic domain and
has %ecome private property.G Accordingly, the prohibition of the &(=' Constitution and of the !ublic Land
Act against private corporation holding lands of the public domain has no applicability in the present
cases. Chat +eralco and Iglesia have ac*uired from their predecessors9in9interest had already ceased to
be of the public domain and had become private property at the time of the sale to them and therefore
their applicatins for confirmation of title by virtue of their predecessors9in9interest8 vested right and title
may be duly granted.
The land covered by the +eralco application of -ovember 5;, &(=; consists of to .&/ small lots ith a
total area of &;6 s*uare meters located at Tanay, 1i2al ith an assessed value of !',5=).)). This land
as possessed by :limpia 1amos before Corld Carr II hich bro<e out in the !acific in &($&. :limpia
1amos sold the land on @uly ', &($= to the spouses 1afael !iguing and +inerva Inocencio ho
constructed a house thereon. >ut because the +eralco had instealled the Ganchor guyG of its stell posts
on the land, the !iguing spouses sold the land to the +eralco on August &', &(=;. The land had
been declared for realty ta> purposes since 2?@A and realty ta4es ere regularly paid thereon. It is
residential in character as distinguished from strictly agricultural land. It is li<eise established that it is
not included in any military reservation and that since &(5= it had been certified as part of the alienable or
disposable portion of the public domain.
The land covered by the Iglesia application of ,eptember ', &(== li<eise consists of to .5/ small lots
located in >arrio Dampol, !laridel, >ulacan ith a total area of '&' s*uare meters and ith an assessed
value of !&,'6).)). The land as ac*uired by the Iglesia on @anuary (, &(6' from Andres !ere2 in
e4change for a lot oned by the Iglesia ith an area of 5$= s*uare meters. The land as already
possessed by !ere2 in &(''. Admittedly also it is not included in any military reservation and is inside an
area hich as certified since &(5= as part of the alienable or disposable portion of the public domain. A
chapel of the Iglesia stands on the said land. It had beenduly declared for realty ta> purposes in the name
of the Iglesia and realty ta4es ere re&ularly paid thereon.
1espondent judge in the +eralco case sustained the 1epublic8s opposition and dismissed the application,
holding that under both the provisions of the ne Constitution and the !ublic Land Act, +eralco, being a
corporation and not a natural person, is not *ualified to apply for the registration of title over the public
land.
:n the other hand, in the Iglesia case, the 1epublic presented no evidence in support of its opposition but
e4pressly Gsubmitted the case for decision on the basis of the evidence submitted by the applicant.G
1espondent judge in the case accordingly granted the application for registration of the land in the name
of the Iglesia, holding that it had been Gsatisfactorily established that applicant IIglesiaI and its
predecessors9in9interest have been in open, continuous, public and adverse possession of the land . . .
under a bona fide claim of onership for more than thirty .')/ years prior to the filing of the applicationG
and is therefore entitled to the registration applied for under the !ublic Land Act, as amended.
>oth decisions are no ith the Court for revie. I hold that both applications for registration should be
granted by virtue of the prevailing principle as enunciated since the &(56 case of Susi vs. :a)on and
Director of Lands
1
and reaffirmed in a long line of cases don to the &(%) case of erico vs. Dar
2
that
the lands in *uestion ceased, ipso !ure, or by operation of la, to be lands of the public domain upon
completion of the statutory period of open, continuous, e4clusive, notorious and unchallenged possession
thereof by the applicants8 predecessors9in9interest ho ere *ualified natural persons and entitled to
registration by right of ac*uisitive prescription under the provisions of the !ublic Land Act, and that
accordingly the judgment in the +eralco case should be reversed and a ne judgment entered granting
+eralco8s application, hile the judgment in the Iglesia case should stand affirmed.
The principal issue at bar may thus be stated0
It is e4pressly provided in section $%, par. .b/ of the !ublic Land Act .Commonealth Act -o. &$&, as
amended by 1ep. Act -o. &($5, approved on @une 55, &(6=/ that citi2ens of the !hilippines ho are
natural persons ho have occupied lands of the public domain but hose titles have not been perfected
or completed may apply to the corresponding court of first instance for confirmation of their claims and the
issuance of the certificate of title therefor under the Land 1egistration Act in cases here they Gby
themselves or t#rou&# t#eir predecessors-in-interest have been in the open, continuous, e4clusive, and
notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of
ac*uisition of onership, for at least t#irty years immediately precedin& t#e filin& of t#e application for
confirmation of title e4cept hen prevented by ar or force ma!eure. These shall be conclusively
presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a ?overnment grant and shall be entitled to a
certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.G
3
In such cases, is the land ipso jure or by operation
of la converted into private land upon completion of the ')th year of continuous and unchallenged
occupation of the land such that thereafter as such private land, it may be duly transferred to and oned
by private corporations or does such land, as held by respondent judge in the +eralco case, remain part
of the public domain and does not become private land until after actual judicial confirmation proceedings
and the formal court order for the issuance of the certificate of titleO
&. This issue has been s*uarely resolved by this Court since the &(56 case of Susi vs. :a)on .and a long
line of cases, infra/. It is established doctrine as first held therein that an open, continuous, adverse and
public possession of a land of the public domain for the period provided in the !ublic Land Act provision in
force at the time .from @uly 5;, &%($ in ,usi under the old la/ by a private individual personally and
through his predecessors confers an effective title on said possessor, hereby the land ceases to be land
of the public domain and becomes private property.
.At that time in &(56 in the Susi case, such possession as re*uired ;from 8uly BC, 2D?@; as then
provided for in section $6.b/ of the old !ublic Land Act -o. 5%=$, amending Act -o. (5;7 hereas at
present, as provided for in the corresponding section $%, par..b/ of the later and subsisting !ublic Land
Act, Commonealth Act -o. &$&, as amended by 1ep. Act -o. &($5 approved on 8une BB, 2?AE, in force
since &(6=, the period of open and unchallenged possession as reduced to Gat least t#irty years
immediately precedin& t#e filin& of t#e application for confirmation of title, e$uivalent to t#e period of
ac$uisitive prescription. This is admitted in the main opinion of +r. @ustice A*uino, herein it is stated that
G.I/n the Susi case, this Court applied section $6 .b/ of Act -o. 5%=$ hich corresponds to hat is now
section @DF%G. It as held that the long possession of the land under a bona fide claim of onership since
@uly 5;, &%($ gave rise to the conclusive presumption that the occupant had complied wit# all t#e
conditions essential to a ?overnment grant and as thus entitled to a certificate of title.G
*
The te4t of the
corresponding section $%.b/, as amended by 1ep. Act &($5 referred to is reproduced ver%atim in +r.
@ustice A*uino8s opinion
+
and *uotes the reduced statutory period of open and unchallenged possession
of Gat leastt#irty years immediately preceding the filing of the application.G/
Accordingly, the Court held that Susi, as the rightful possessor of the public land for the statutory period,
ac*uired the same %y operation of la as a grant from t#e 'overnment, ;not only a ri&#t to a &rant,G and
the land thereby Galready ceased to be of the public domain and had become private property at least by
presumptionG as e4pressly provided in the Act. Therefore, any supposed sale by the Director of Lands of
the same land to another person as void and of no effect and Susi as the rightful possessor could
recover the land as his private propertyfrom the supposed vendee ho did not ac*uire any right thereto
since it had ceased to be land of the public domain. The Court thus specifically held therein, as applied to
the specific facts of the case, that0
. . . In favor of #alentin ,usi, there is, moreover, the presumption !uris et de !ure, established in paragraph
.b/ of section $6 of Act -o. 5%=$, amending Act -o. (5;, that all t#e necessary re$uirements for a &rant
%y t#e 'overnment were complied wit# for he has been in actual and physical possession, personally and
through his predecessors, of an agricultural land of the public domain, openly continuously, e4clusively
and publicly since @uly 5;, &%($, ith a right to a certificate of title to said land under the provisions of
Chapter #III of said Act. ,o that hen Angela 1a2on applied for the grant in her favor, #alentin ,usi
had already ac$uired, %y operation of law, not only a ri&#t to a &rant, %ut a &rant of t#e 'overnment, for it
is not necessary t#at certificate of title s#ould %e issued in order t#at said &rant may %e sanctioned %y t#e
courts, an application t#erefor is sufficient, under the provisions of section $= of Act -o. 5%=$. 9f %y a
le&al function, #alentin ,usi had ac*uired the land in *uestion by a grant of the ,tate, it #ad already
ceased to %e of t#e pu%lic domain and #ad %ecome private property, at least %y presumption, of #alentin
,usi, %eyond t#e control of t#e Director of Lands. Conse*uently, in selling the land in *uestion to Angela
1a2on, the Director of Lands disposed of a land over hich he had no longer any title or control, and the
sa<e thus made as void and of no effect, and Angela 1a2on did not thereby ac*uire any right.G
6
5. The above9*uoted ruling in ,usi has been affirmed and reaffirmed by this Court in a long unbro<en line
of cases, as follos0
In Mesina vs. (da. de Son)a,
7
the Court held that G.I/n the case of Susi vs. :a)on, et al., $% !hil. $5$, it
as observed that here all the necessary re*uirements for a grant by the ?overnment are complied ith
through actual physical possession openly, continuously, and publicly, ith a right to a certificate of title to
said land under the provisions of Chapter #III of Act -o. 5%=$, amending Act -o. (5; .carried over as
Chapter #III of Commonealth Act -o. &$&/, the possessor is deemed to have already ac*uired %y
operation of law not only a right to a grant, but a grant of the ?overnment, for it is not necessary t#at a
certificate of title %e issued in order t#at said &rant may %e sanctioned %y t#e courts D an application
therefor being sufficient under the provisions of ,ection $= of Act -o. 5%=$ .reproduced as ,ection 6),
Commonealth Act -o. &$&/.G and G.C/onsidering that this case as dismissed by the trial court merely
on a motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff8s action is already barred by the statute of limitations,
hich apparently is predicated on the theory that a decree of registration can no longer be impugned on
the ground of fraud one year after the issuance and entry of the decree, hich theory does not apply
here %ecause t#e property involved is alle&edly private in natural and #as ceased to %e part of t#e pu%lic
domain, e are of the opinion that the trial court erred in dismissing the case outright ithout giving
plaintiff a chance to prove his claim.G
In Lacaste vs. Director of Lands,
8
the Court stressed that by force of possession, the land in *uestion
became private property on the strength of the Susi doctrine.
In Manarpaac vs. Ca%anatan,
9
the Court *uoted ith favor the te4t of the above9*uoted ruling of ,usi,
and itsratio decidendi thus0
The Director of Lands contends that the land in *uestion being of the public domain, the
plaintiff9appellee cannot maintain an action to recover possession thereof.
If, as above stated, that land, the possession of hich is in dispute, had already
become, operation of law, private property, there is lac,in& only t#e !udicial sanction of
#is title, #alentin ,usi has the right to bring an action to recover the possession thereof
and hold it.
In Mi&uel vs. Court of *ppeals,
10
the Court again held that here possession has been continuous,
uninterrupted, open, adverse and in the concept of an oner, there is a presumption !uris et de !ure that
all necessary conditions for a grant by the ,tate have been complied ith and he ould have been %y
force of lawentitled to the registration of his title to the land .citing 7amintuan vs. 9nsular 'overnment, %
!hil. $%6 and ,usi vs. 1a2on, $% !hil. $5$/.
In the latest &(%) case of erico vs. Dar,
11
the Court once more reiterated the ,usi doctrine that
G.A/nother obvious error of the respondent Court is in holding that after one year from the issuance of the
Torrens Title, the same can no longer be reopened to be declared and void, and has become absolute
and indefeasible. . . . ,econdly, under the provisions of 1epublic Act -o. &($5, hich the respondent
court held to be inapplicable to the petitioner8s case, wit# t#e latterHs proven occupation and cultivation for
more t#an IJ years since 2?2@, %y #imself and %y #is predecessors-in-interest, title over the land
has vested on petitioner as to se&re&ate t#e land from t#e mass of pu%lic land. Thereafter, it is no longer
disposable under the !ublic Land Act as by free patent. This is as provided in 1epublic Act -o. &($5,
hich too< effect on @une 55, &(6=, amending ,ection $%9b of Commonealth Act -o. &$& hich
provides0 . . . As interpreted in several cases hen the conditions as specified in the foregoing provision
are complied ith, the possessor is deemed to have ac$uired, %y operation of law, a ri&#t to a &rant, a
&overnment &rant, wit#out t#e necessity of a certificate of title %ein& issued. +#e land, t#erefore, ceases
to %e of t#e pu%lic domain, and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of. +#e
application for confirmation is a mere formality, t#e lac, of w#ic# does not affect t#e le&al sufficiency of
t#e title as ould be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the strength of said
patent.G
'. In fine, since under the Court8s settled doctrine, the ac$uisitive prescription of alienable or disposable
public lands provided for no in section $%, par. .b/ of the !ublic Land Act ta<es place %y operation of
law and the public land is converted to and becomes private property upon a shoing of open and
unchallenged possession under%ona fide claim of onership by the applicants8 predecessors9in9interest
for the statutory period of t#irty yearsimmediately preceding the filing of the application and Git is not
necessary that a certificate of title should be issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the
courtG hich right is e4pressly bac<ed up by the conclusive presumption or presumption !uris et de !ure of
the statute that the possessor has Gperformed all the conditions essential to a ?overnment grant,G the
applicant +eralco cannot be said to be barred as a corporation from filing the application for registration
of the private property duly ac*uired by it.
$. It should be noted that respondent judge8s decision in the +eralco case e>pressly finds as esta%lis#ed
facts that the +eralco8s predecessors9in9interest had possessed and occupied as oners the land in
*uestion for at least over '6 years7 :limpia 1amos having possessed the same since the last orld ar
in &($& and then having sold the same on @uly ', &($= to the !iguing spouses ho built a house thereon
and continuously possessed the same until they sold the same in turn to the +eralco on August &',
&(=;,
12
+eralco8s predecessors9in9interest had therefore ac*uired %y operation of t#e 7u%lic Land Act a
?overnment grant to the property, as ell as ac*uired onership thereof by right of ac$uisitive
prescription over the land hich thereby became private property. The very definition of prescription as a
mode of ac*uiring onership as set forth in Art. &&); of the Civil Code provides that G>y prescription one
ac*uires onership and other real rights through lapse of time in the manner and under the conditions
laid don by la.G The la does not provide that one ac*uires onership of a land by prescription only
after #is title t#ereto is !udicially confirmed. To this same effect is the ruling in Cari<o vs. 9nsular
'overnment
13
, herein the J.,. ,upreme Court spea<ing through @ustice Folmes held that
It is true that the language of Articles $ and 6 attributes title to those 8ho may prove8
possession for the necessary time and e do not overloo< the argument that this means
may prove in registration proceedings. It may be that an 3nglish conveyancer ould have
recommended an application under the foregoing decree, but certainly it as not
calculated to convey to the mind of an Igorot chief the notion that ancient family
possessions ere in danger, if he had read every ord of it. The ords;may
prove; .acrediten/, as ell, or better, in vie of the other provisions, might be ta,en to
mean w#en called upon to do so in any liti&ation. There are indications that registration
as e4pected from all, %ut none sufficient to s#ow t#at, for want of it, owners#ip actually
&ained would %e lost. +#e effect of t#e proof, henever made, as not to confer title,
but simply to esta%lis# it, as already conferred by the decree, if not by earlier la.
To the same effect is the Court8s ruling in Le&arda and 7rieto vs. Salee%y, '& !hil. 6(), that Gan oner
does not obtain title by virtue of certificate but rather obtains his certificate by virtue of the fact that he has
a fee simple title.G
6. ,ince the public land because private property upon completion of the ')th year of continuous,
e4clusive, and unchallenged possession of the applicant +eralco8s predecessors9in9interest, particularly
the !iguing spouses ho sold the private land to the +eralco, there is no justification for denying the
+eralco8s application for registration of its duly ac*uired title to the land. +eralco8s predecessors9in9
interest had ac*uired onership of the land by ac*uisitive prescription as provided by the !ublic Land Act
and by the Civil Code. The land became private property and +eralco duly ac*uired it by right of
purchase. To deny +eralco8s application to register the property because it is not a natural person is
unjustified because neither the ne constitutional ban under the &(=' Constitution against private
corporations oning lands of the public domain or the !ublic Land Act8s limitation on the right of
application for confirmation of imperfect title to lands of the public domain can be invo<ed any longer as
the land had long ceased to be public land but had become private property. +eralco8s application in
effect see<s confirmation of the ac*uisition of onership of the land hich had become private property of
its predecessors9in9interest, the !iguing spouses ho thru their open and unchallenged possession of the
land for over thirty years ac*uired title thereto by ac*uisitive prescription and by conclusive presumption
of the !ublic Land Act itself. There is no legal nor constitutional obstacle to such title being transferred to
the +eralco by right of purchase and traditio D for it is not claimed that there is any legal prohibition
against the !iguing spouses transferring the onership of the land to others .hether natural persons or
corporations/ such as the applicant +eralco, even before the formal issuance of the certificate of title to
them.
;. To uphold respondent judge8s denial of +eralco8s application on the technicality that the !ublic Land
Act allos only citi2ens of the !hilippines ho are natural persons to apply for confirmation of their title
ould be impractical and ould just give rise to multiplicity of court actions. Assuming that there as a
technical error in not having filed the application for registration in the name of the !iguing spouses as the
original oners and vendors, still it is conceded that there is no pro#i%ition against their sale of the land to
the applicant +eralco and neither is there any prohibition against the application being refiled ith
retroactive effect in the name of the original oners and vendors .as such natural persons/ ith the end
result of their application being granted, because of their indisputable ac*uisition of onership by
operation of la and the conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor. It should not be
necessary to go through all the rituals as the great cost of refiling of all such applications in their names
and adding to the overcroded court doc<ets hen the Court can after all these years dispose of it here
and no. .,ee Francisco vs. City of Davao
1*
/
The ends of justice ould best be served, therefore, by considering the applications for confirmation as
amended to conform to the evidence, i.e. as filed in the names of the original persons ho as natural
persons are duly *ualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title that they had ac*uired by conclusive
presumption and mandate of the !ublic Land Act and ho thereafter duly sold to the herein corporations
.both admittedly Filipino corporations duly *ualified to hold and on private lands/ and granting the
application for confirmation of title to the private lands so ac*uired and sold or e4changed.
=. All that has been said here applies of course ith e*ual force to the Iglesia case, save that as already
stated at the beginning hereof, the Iglesia application as granted because the 1epublic presented no
evidence in support of its opposition and respondent judge held in effect that the property had ceased to
be land of the public domain and had become private property, the title to hich could be duly issued in
the name of the Iglesia as the transferee of its predecessors9in9interest.
%. It should bear emphasis that hat are involved here are small parcels of land, of &;6 s*uare meters in
the +eralco case used for installation of an Ganchor guyG for its steel posts in connection ith its tas<s as
a nationali2ed domestic corporation to furnish electrical service to the consumer public, and of '&' s*uare
meters in the Iglesia case used as the site of its church built thereon to minister to the religious needs of
its members. In no ay, may the letter, intent and spirit of the prohibition of the &(=' Constitution against
corporations Gholding alienable lands of the public domain e4cept by lease not to e4ceed one thousand
hectares in areaG .hich is beamed against the undue control and e4ploitation of our public lands and
natural resources by corporations, Filipino and foreign9controlled/ be deemed violated or disregarded by
the granting of the applications at bar. The to corporations in truth and in fact do not hold the small
parcels of land at bar for their on use or benefit but for the sole use and benefit of the public.
(. Cith reference to the separate concurring opinion of +r. @ustice De Castro herein he ould blunt the
Gsupposedly .sic/ ell9established doctrineG .at page &/ from the &()( case of Cari<o and the &(56 case
of Susidon to the &(%) case of erico .supra, at pages 6 to &&/ and support the contrary
pronouncement in +r. @ustice A*uino8s main opinion that Gas beteen the ,tate and the +eralco, the said
land is still public land. It ould cease to be public land only upon the issuance of the certificate of title to
any Filipino citi2en claiming it under section $%.b/ Hof the !ublic Land ActIG .at page 6/, suffice it to cite his
on pronouncement in erico .reiterating the ell9established and prevailing doctrine hich this Court
has not overturned, as it cannot overturn the mandate of the statute that the unchallenged possessor for
at least ') years is Gconclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a
government grantG/ herein +r. @ustice De Castro categorically reiterated for the Court that GAs
interpretated in several cases . . . the possessor is deemed to have ac$uired, %y operation of law, a ri&#t
to a &rant, a &overnment &rant, wit#out t#e necessity of a certificate of title %ein& issued. +#e and,
t#erefore, ceases to %e of t#e pu%lic domain, and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose
of. +#e application for confirmation is a mere formality, t#e lac, of w#ic# does not affect t#e le&al
sufficiency of t#e title as ould be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the
strength of said patent.G
In only remains to point out, in order to avoid misapprehension or confusion, that +r. @ustice De Castro8s
seemingly *uerulous statement that Gthe discussion of the *uestion of hether the land involved is still
public oralready private land, is, hoever, entirely pointless or an idle e>ercise, if Ce consider the
provision of Section 2@, *rticle K9( of the Constitution hich appears to have been lost sight of, hich
provides that 8save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed
e4cept to individuals, corporations, or associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public domain8G
.at page 5/ that Ghence, even if the land involved in the present case is considered private land, the cited
section prohibits its ac*uisition by the +eralco or Iglesia hich admittedly are 8corporations or
associations8 ithin the meaning of the aforecited provisions of the -e Constitution. This observation
should end all arguments of the issue of hether the land in *uestion is public or private landG .idem/
might mislead one to the rong conclusion that corporations ith ;)B Filipino onership
may not on private lands hen the e4press provisions of Art. AI#, section (
1+
and section &$ as *uoted
by himself as ell as the counterpart provisions of the &('6 Constitution have alays e4pressly permitted
Filipino9oned corporations to on private lands, and the only change effected in the &(=' Constitution is
section && hich no prohibits even such Filipino corporations to on or hold lands of the pu%lic domain
e4cept by lease not to e4ceed &,))) hectares in area.
ACC:1DI-?LK, I vote for reversal of respondent court8s judgment in the +eralco case and for the entry
of a ne judgment granting +eralco8s application and for affirmance of judgment in the second case
granting the Iglesia application.
G.R. No. L32*066 December 9, 192+
)ALENTIN S"SI, plaintiff9appellee,
vs.
ANGELA RA0ON #$% THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, %e6e$%#$-/. THE DIRECTOR OF
LANDS, appellant.
*ctin& *ttorney-'eneral :eyes for appellant.
Monico :. Mercado for appellee.
)ILLA3REAL, J.:
This action as commenced in the Court of First Instance of !ampanga by a complaint filed by #alentin
,usi against Angela 1a2on and the Director of Lands, praying for judgment0 .a/ Declaring plaintiff the sole
and absolute oner of the parcel of land described in the second paragraph of the complaint7 .b/
annulling the sale made by the Director of Lands in favor of Angela 1a2on, on the ground that the land is
a private property7 .c/ ordering the cancellation of the certificate of title issued to said Angela 1a2on7 and
.d/ sentencing the latter to pay plaintiff the sum of !6)) as damages, ith the costs.
For his anser to the complaint, the Director of Lands denied each and every allegation contained therein
and, as special defense, alleged that the land in *uestion as a property of the ?overnment of the Jnited
,tates under the administration and control of the !hilippine Islands before its sale to Angela 1a2on,
hich as made in accordance ith la.
After trial, hereat evidence as introduced by both parties, the Court of First Instance of !ampanga
rendered judgment declaring the plaintiff entitled to the possession of the land, annulling the sale made by
the Director of Lands in favor of Angela 1a2on, and ordering the cancellation of the certificate of title
issued to her, ith the costs against Angela 1a2on. From this judgment the Director of Lands too< this
appeal, assigning thereto the folloing errors, to it0 .&/ The holding that the judgment rendered in a prior
case beteen the plaintiff and defendant Angela 1a2on on the parcel of land in *uestion is controlling in
this action7 .5/ the holding that plaintiff is entitled to recover the possession of said parcel of land7 the
annulment of the sale made by the Director of Lands to Angela 1a2on7 and the ordering that the
certificate of title issued by the register of deeds of the !rovince of !ampanga to Angela 1a2on by virtue
of said sale be cancelled7 and .'/ the denial of the motion for ne trial filed by the Director of Lands.
The evidence shos that on December &%, &%%), -emesio !inlac sold the land in *uestion, then a fish
pond, tho Apolonio ?arcia and >asilio +endo2a for the sum of !&5, reserving the right to repurchase the
same .34hibit >/. After having been in possession thereof for about eight years, and the fish pond having
been destroyed, Apolonio ?arcia and >asilio +endo2a, on ,eptember 6, &%((, sold it to #alentin ,usi for
the sum of !&5, reserving the right to repurchase it .34hibit A/. >efore the e4ecution of the deed of sale,
#alentin ,usi had already paid its price and son GbacaanG on said land, availing himself of the fireood
gathered thereon, ith the proceeds of the sale of hich he had paid the price of the property. The
possession and occupation of the land in *uestion, first, by Apolonio ?arcia and >asilio +endo2a, and
then by #alentin ,usi has been open, continuous, adverse and public, ithout any interruption, e4cept
during the revolution, or disturbance, e4cept hen Angela 1a2on, on ,eptember &', &(&', commenced
an action in the Court of First Instance of !ampanga to recover the possession of said land .34hibit C/,
herein after considering the evidence introduced at the trial, the court rendered judgment in favor of
#alentin ,usi and against Angela 1a2on, dismissing the complaint .34hibit 3/. Faving failed in her
attempt to obtain possession of the land in *uestion through the court, Angela 1a2on applied to the
Director of Lands for the purchase thereof on August &6, &(&$ .34hibit C/. Faving learned of said
application, #alentin ,usi filed and opposition thereto on December ;, &(&6, asserting his possession of
the land for tenty9five years .34hibit !/. After ma<ing the proper administrative investigation, the Director
of Lands overruled the opposition of #alentin ,usi and sold the land to Angela 1a2on. >y virtue of said
grant the register of deeds of !ampanga, on August '&, &(5&, issued the proper certificate of title to
Angela 1a2on. Armed ith said document, Angela 1a2on re*uired #alentin ,usi to vacate the land in
*uestion, and as he refused to do so, she brought and action for forcible entry and detainer in the justice
of the peace court of ?uagua, !ampanga, hich as dismissed for lac< of jurisdiction, the case being
one of title to real property .34hibit F and +/. #alentin ,usi then brought this action.
Cith these facts in vie, e shall proceed to consider the *uestions raised by the appellant in his
assignments of error.lawp#i2.net
It clearly appears from the evidence that #alentin ,usi has been in possession of the land in *uestion
openly, continuously, adversely, and publicly, personally and through his predecessors, since the year
&%%), that is, for about forty9five years. Chile the judgment of the Court of First Instance of !ampanga
against Angela 1a2on in the forcible entry case does not affect the Director of Lands, yet it is controlling
as to Angela 1a2on and rebuts her claim that she had been in possession thereof. Chen on August &6,
&(&$, Angela 1a2on applied for the purchase of said land, #alentin ,usi had already been in possession
thereof personally and through his predecessors for thirty9four years. And if it is ta<en into account that
-emesio !inlac had already made said land a fish pond hen he sold it on December &%, &%%), it can
hardly be estimated hen he began to possess and occupy it, the period of time being so long that it is
beyond the reach of memory. These being the facts, the doctrine laid don by the ,upreme Court of the
Jnited ,tates in the case of CariNo vs. ?overnment of the !hilippine Islands .5&5 J. ,., $$(
&
/, is
applicable here. In favor of #alentin ,usi, there is, moreover, the presumption !uris et de !ure established
in paragraph .b/ of section $6 of Act -o. 5%=$, amending Act -o. (5;, that all the necessary re*uirements
for a grant by the ?overnment ere complied ith, for he has been in actual and physical possession,
personally and through his predecessors, of an agricultural land of the public domain openly,
continuously, e4clusively and publicly since @uly 5;, &%($, ith a right to a certificate of title to said land
under the provisions of Chapter #III of said Act. ,o that hen Angela 1a2on applied for the grant in her
favor, #alentin ,usi had already ac*uired, by operation of la, not only a right to a grant, but a grant of
the ?overnment, for it is not necessary that certificate of title should be issued in order that said grant
may be sanctioned by the courts, an application therefore is sufficient, under the provisions of section $=
of Act -o. 5%=$. If by a legal fiction, #alentin ,usi had ac*uired the land in *uestion by a grant of the
,tate, it had already ceased to be the public domain and had become private property, at least by
presumption, of #alentin ,usi, beyond the control of the Director of Lands. Conse*uently, in selling the
land in *uestion to Angela 1a2on, the Director of Lands disposed of a land over hich he had no longer
any title or control, and the sale thus made as void and of no effect, and Angela 1a2on did not thereby
ac*uire any right.
The Director of Lands contends that the land in *uestion being of the public domain, the plaintiff9appellee
cannot maintain an action to recover possession thereof.lawp#i2.net
If, as above stated, the land, the possession of hich is in dispute, had already become, by operation of
la, private property of the plaintiff, there lac<ing only the judicial sanction of his title, #alentin ,usi has
the right to bring an action to recover possession thereof and hold it.
For the foregoing, and no error having been found in the judgment appealed from, the same is hereby
affirmed in all its parts, ithout special pronouncement as to costs. ,o ordered.
*vance<a, C.8., Malcolm, Street, (illamor, Ostrand, 8o#ns, and :omualde), 88., concur.
8o#nson, 8., too, no part.
G.R. No. L317+97 Febr4#r@ 7, 1922
E. '. cDANIEL, petitioner,
vs.
Ho$or#b9e GALICANO A!ACI5LE, Secre-#r@ o6 A?r.c49-4re #$% N#-4r#9 Re/o4rce/ o6 -7e
!7.9.,,.$e I/9#$%/, #$%
1"AN C"ISIA, respondents.
:oss L Lawrence for petitioner.
*ctin& *ttorney-'eneral +uason for respondents.
1OHNSON, J.:
This is an original action commenced in the ,upreme Court for the rit of prohibition. Its purpose is to
prohibit the respondent Fonorable ?alicano Apacible, as ,ecretary of Agriculture and -atural 1esources,
from granting a lease of a parcel of petroleum land located in the municipality of ,an -arciso, of the
!rovince of Tayabas, !hilippine Islands, hich parcel of land is particularly described in paragraph ; of
the petition. To the petition the respondent ?alicano Apacible demurred. The respondent @uan Cuisia
neither demurred nor ansered.
The facts upon hich the petition is based are admitted and may be stated as follos0
&. That on or about the =th day of @une, &(&;, the petitioner entered upon and located, in
accordance ith the provisions of Act of Congress of @uly &, &()5, as ell as the provisions of Act
-o. ;5$ of the !hilippine Commission, three petroleum placer mineral claims, each of an area of
;$ hectares, on an unoccupied public land in the municipality of ,an -arciso, !rovince of
Tayabas, !hilippine Islands7
5. That on or about the &6th day of @uly, &(&;, the plaintiff recorded in the office of the mining
recorder in the municipality of Lucena, !rovince of Tayabas, !hilippine Islands, notices of location
of the aforesaid three placer claims under the names of G+aglihi -o. &,G G+aglihi -o. 5,G and
G+aglihi -o. '7G
'. That the plaintiff, at all times since the =th day of @une, &(&;, has remained in open and
continuous possession of said three mineral placer claims7
$. That plaintiff, in the year &(&= and in each year thereafter, performed not less than to
hundred pesos .!5))/ orth of labor on each of the said three mineral claims7
6. That in the year &(&% plaintiff drilled five ells on the said three mineral claims, and by means
of such ells in the said year .&(&%/ made discoveries of petroleum on each of the said three
claims7
;. That on or about the &%th day of @une, &(5&, the respondent @uan Cuisia made application to
the respondent ?alicano Apacible, as ,ecretary of Agriculture and -atural 1esources, under the
provisions of Act -o. 5('5 of the !hilippine Legislature, for a lease of a parcel of petroleum land
in the municipality of ,an -arciso, !rovince of Tayabas, !hilippine Islands, hich said parcel of
land included ithin its boundaries the three said mineral claims G+aglihi -o. &,G G+aglihi -o. 5,G
and G+aglihi -o. ',G hich said three mineral placer claims had therefore been located as above
indicated and held by the plaintiff as above described7
=. That upon the filing of the said application for lease, as described in the paragraph immediately
preceding, by the said @uan Cuisia, the petitioner herein protested in riting to the respondent
?alicano Apacible against the inclusion in the said lease of the said three mineral claims G+aglihi
-o. &,G G+aglihi -o. 5,G and G+aglihi -o. ',G located and held by him as above recited7
%. That the respondent ?alicano Apacible, as ,ecretary of Agriculture and -atural 1esources, did
on or about the (th day of +arch, &(5&, deny petitioner8s said protest7 and
(. That the plaintiff is informed and believed, and upon that information and belief averred, that
the respondent ?alicano Apacible, as ,ecretary of Agriculture and -atural 1esources, under and
by virtue of the supposed authority of Act -o. 5('5, is about to grant the application for the said
lease of the respondent @uan Cuisia, and to place him .@uan Cuisia/ in possession of the said
three mineral claims located and held by the petitioner.
Jpon the foregoing facts the petitioner contends that said Act -o. 5('5, in so far as it purports to declare
open to lease, lands containing petroleum oil on hich mineral claims have been validly located and #eld,
and upon w#ic# discoveries of petroleum oil have been made, is void and unconstitutional, in that
it deprives t#e petitioner of #is property wit#out due process of law and wit#out compensation, and that
the defendant ?alicano Apacible, as ,ecretary of Agriculture and -atural 1esources, is ithout
jurisdiction to lease to the respondent @uan Cuisia the folloing mineral claims G+aglihi -o. &,G G+aglihi
-o. 5,G and G+aglihi -o. ',G and prays that the rit of prohibition be issued out of this court, directing and
prohibiting the respondent ?alicano Apacible to desist from issuing the lease of the mineral placer claims
herein mentioned.
The respondent ?alicano Apacible, as ,ecretary of Agriculture and -atural 1esources, in support of his
demurrer, contends0 .a/ That the acts complained of are in conformity ith the authority given by Act -o.
5('57 .%/ that the petitioner has no vested right in the three mineral claims7 and .c/ that the demurrer puts
s*uarely in issue the constitutionality of Act -o. 5('5.
Act -o. 5('5 as approved on the '&st day of August, &(5). ,ection & provides that Gall pu%lic
lands containing petroleum or other mineral oils and gas, on hich no patent, at the date this Act ta<es
effect, has been issued, are #ere%y wit#drawn from sale and are declared to %e free and open to
e>ploration, location and lease,G etc. ,aid section further provides, Gthat parties having heretofore filed
claims for any lands containing said minerals, shall be given preference to lease their respective claims,
provided they file a petition to that effect ithin si4 months from the date of the approval of this Act.G
,ection 5 provides that Gall such lands .public lands/ may be leased by the ,ecretary of Agriculture and
-atural 1esources in the manner and subject to the rules prescribed by the Council of ,tate.G
It ill be noted from the provisions of said Act -o. 5('5 that Gall public lands containing petroleum, etc.,
on hich no patent, at the date this Act ta<es effect .August '&, &(5)/, has been issued, are #ere%y
wit#drawn from sale and are declared to %e free and open to e>ploration, location, and lease,G ith a
preference, hoever, in favor of those ho had therefore filed claims for such lands. It ill be further
noted, from the provisions of said Act, that Gall public lands containing petroleum, etc., are hereby
ithdran from sale and are declared to be free and open to e4ploration, location and lease,G ithout any
preference to any claim or right hich citi2ens of the !hilippine Islands or the Jnited ,tates had therefore
ac*uired in any public lands, and that the only right left to them is one of Gpreference,G and that even the
preference as limited for a period of si4 months from the '&st day of August, &(5).
The petitioner contends, that, having located and held, and having discovered petroleum oil upon the said
claims prior to the '&st day of August, &(5), he had ac$uired a property ri&#t in #is t#ree claims7 and that
said Act -o. 5('5 #ad deprived #im of t#at ri&#t wit#out due process of law, in contravention of paragraph
& of section ' of Act of Congress of August 5(, &(&;, and that said Act as therefore unconstitutional and
void. In support of the contention the petitioner cites many authorities.
+r. Lindlay, one of the highest authorities on +ining La, has discussed e4tensively the *uestion no
before us. .Lindlay on +ines, vol. I, sections '55, 6'(./
The general rule is that a perfected, valid appropriation of public mineral lands operates as
a wit#drawal of the tract from the body of the public domain, and so long as such appropriation remains
valid and subsisting, the land covered thereby is deemed private property. A mining claim perfected under
the la is property in the highest sense, hich may be sold and conveyed and ill pass by descent. It has
the effect of a grant .patent/ by the Jnited ,tates of the right of present and e4clusive possession of the
lands located. And even though the locator may obtain a patent to such lands, his patent adds but little to
his security. .&% 1uling Case La, p. &&65 and cases cited./
The oner of a perfected valid appropriation of public mineral lands is entitled to the e4clusive possession
and enjoyment against every one, including the ?overnment itself. Chere there is a valid and perfected
location of a mining claim, the area becomes segregated from the public domain and the property of the
locator.
It as said by the ,upreme Court of the ,tate of :regon, GThe ?overnment itself cannot abridge the
rights of the miner to a perfected valid location of public mineral land. The 'overnment may not destroy
t#e locatorHs ri&#t %y wit#drawin& t#e land from entry or placin& it in a state of reservation.G .>el< vs.
+eagher, &)$ J.,., 5=(7 ,ullivan vs. Iron ,ilver +ining Co., &$' J.,., $'&./
A valid and subsisting location of mineral land, made and <ept up in accordance ith the provisions of the
statutes of the Jnited ,tates, has the effect of a grant by the Jnited ,tates of the present and e4clusive
possession of the lands located, and this e4clusive right of possession and enjoyment continues during
the entire life of the location. There is no provision for, no suggestion of, a prior termination thereof.
.?illim vs. Donnellan, &&6 J.,., $67 Clipper +ining Co. vs. 3li +ining and Land Co., &($ J.,., 55)./
There is no pretense in t#e present case t#at t#e petitioner #as not complied wit# all t#e re$uirements of
t#e law in ma,in& t#e location of t#e mineral placer claims in $uestion, or t#at t#e claims in $uestion were
ever a%andoned or forfeited %y #im. The respondents may claim, hoever, that inasmuch as a patent has
not been issued to the petitioner, he has ac*uired no property right in said mineral claims. >ut the
,upreme Court of the Jnited ,tates, in the cases of Jnion :il Co. vs. ,mith .5$( J.,., ''=/, and ,t.
Louis +ining and +illing Co. vs. +ontana +ining Co. .&=& J.,., ;6)/, held that even ithout a patent, the
possessory right of a locator after discovery of minerals upon the claim is a property right in the fullest
sense, unaffected by the fact that the paramount title to the land is in the Jnited ,tates. There is no
conflict in the rulings of the Court upon that *uestion. Cith one voice they affirm that hen the right to a
patent e4ists, the full e*uitable title has passed to the purchaser or to the locator ith all the benefits,
immunities, and burdens of onership, and that no third party can ac*uire from the ?overnment any
interest as against him. .+anuel vs. Culff, &65 J.,., 6)$, and cases cited./
3ven ithout a patent, the possessory right of a *ualified locator after discovery of minerals upon the
claim is a property right in the fullest sense, unaffected by the fact that the paramount title to the land is in
the ?overnment, and it is capable of transfer by conveyance, inheritance, or devise. .Jnion :il Co. vs.
,mith, 5$( J.,., ''=7 Forbes vs. @arcey, ($ J.,., =;57 >el< vs. +eagher, &)$ J.,., 5=(7 Del +onte
+ining Co. vs. Last Chance +ining Co., &=& J.,., 667 3lver vs. Cood, 5)% J.,., 55;, 5'5./
Actual and continuous occupation of a valid mining location, based upon discovery, is not essential to the
preservation of the possessory right. The right is lost only by abandonment as by nonperformance of the
annual labor re*uired. .Jnion :il Co. vs. ,mith, 5$( J.,., ''=7 Farrell vs. Loc<hart, 5&) J.,., &$57
>radford vs. +orrison, 5&5 J.,., '%(./
The discovery of minerals in the ground by one ho has a valid mineral location perfects his claim and his
location not only against third person, %ut also a&ainst t#e 'overnment. A mining claim perfected under
the la is property in the highest sense of that term, hich may be sold and conveyed, and ill pass by
descent, and is not therefore subject to the disposal of the ?overnment. .>el< vs. +eagher, &)$ J.,.,
5=(, 5%'7 ,ullivan vs. Iron ,ilver +ining Co., &$' J.,., $'&7 Consolidated +utual :il Co. vs. Jnited
,tates, 5$6 Fed. 1ep., 65&7 #an -ess vs. 1ooney, &;) Cal., &'&, &';, &'=./
The moment the locator discovered a valuable mineral deposit on the lands located, and perfected his
location in accordance ith la, the poer of the Jnited ,tates ?overnment to deprive him of the
e4clusive right to the possession and enjoyment of the located claim as gone, the lands had become
mineral lands and they ere e4empted from lands that could be granted to any other person. The
reservations of public lands cannot be made so as to include prior mineral perfected locations7 and, of
course, if a valid mining location is made upon public lands afterard included in a reservation, such
inclusion or reservation does not affect the validity of the former location. >y such location and perfection,
the land located is segregated from the public domain even as against the ?overnment. .Jnion :il Co.
vs. ,mith, 5$( J.,., ''=7 #an -ess vs. 1ooney, &;) Cal., &'&7 5= Cyc., 6$;./
From all of the foregoing arguments and authorities e must conclude that, inasmuch as the petitioner
had located, held and perfected his location of the mineral lands in *uestion, and had actually discovered
petroleum oil therein, he had ac*uired a property right in said claims7 that said Act -o. 5('5, hich
deprives him of such right, ithout due process of la, is in conflict ith section ' of the @ones La, and
is therefore unconstitutional and void. Therefore the demurrer herein is hereby overruled, and it is hereby
ordered and decreed that, unless the respondents anser the petition herein ithin a period of five days
from notice hereof, that a final judgment be entered, granting the remedy prayed for in the petition. ,o
ordered.
*raullo, C.8., Street, Malcolm, *vance<a, (illamor, Ostrand, 8o#ns and :omualde), 88., concur.
+arch ;, &()=
G.R. No. 29*0
1OSE FIAN0A, ET AL., ,9#.$-.66/3#,,e99ee/,
A/.
1. F. REA)IS, %e6e$%#$-3#,,e99#$-.
Coudert Brot#ers for appellant.
Minney, Odlin L Laurence for appellees.
'ILLARD, J.:
The plaintiffs brought this action in the court belo to enjoin the defendant from interfering ith to gold
mines alleged to be the property of the plaintiffs. A temporary injunction as granted as prayed for in the
complaint7 the case as tried in the court belo and the injunction made perpetual. The defendant moved
for a ne a trial, hich as denied, and he has brought the case here by bill of e4ceptions. the court
belo found, among other things, substantially as follos0
+ore than fifty years prior to the commencement of this suit one Toctoc, an Igorot, and the grandfather of
@ose Fian2a, one of the plaintiffs, as in the sole and e4clusive possession of certain mineral lands
containing gold *uarts, situated in Antamoc, in the jurisdiction of Itogon, in the province of >enguet. These
lands, being the same in dispute in this case, ere of irregular boundaries and contained about &%',)))
s*uare meters, and ere situated on the slope of the mountain or hill called P Antamoc +ountain,P and
ere divided into to parts by a small arroyo called Antamoc, the mine on one side being <non as
QAntamocP and on the other as QAmpasit.P The to mines ere connected and formed one tract.
These lands or mines during the lifetime of Toctoc ere opened and developed mines and or<ed from
year to year after the style and manner of Igorot miners and their customs of mining7 the said Toctoc
claiming the onership of said mines, and his title and onership thereto ere generally <non and
recogni2ed by the people of the community and the vicinity,
Toctoc had no paper title to said mines under the ,panish ?overnment. -o title or concession as ever
granted to Toctoc or his heirs and successors, and the plaintiffs have no such paper title thereto.
:n the death of Toctoc his son, Domingue2, succeeded him in the possession and onership of said
mines, in all respects as his father had held and claimed them, and continued to so hold and claim and
or< them to the e4clusion of any and all others, and ithout dispute, interference, or interruption until the
date of his death, hich occurred about ten years prior to the commencement of this suit. Jpon the death
of Domingue2, the plaintiff, @ose Fian2a, and his coplaintiffs, as heirs at la of the said Toctoc and
Domingue2, came into the possession of said mines under li<e claims of title and onership, possessing,
or<ing, and claiming them as oners, to the e4clusion of any and all other claimants, and ithout
interference or adverse claims of any <ind, and continued to do so up to the date of the commencement
of this suit, e4cept as stated thereafter in said decision.
The court further found that as in the case of Toctoc and Domingue2, the onership of these heirs and
claimants to these mines as ell <non and understood among the natives and residents generally of
the province, including the ,panish officials, and generally recogni2ed and their possession respected.
For more than fifty years these mines ere held and or<ed in this Igorot family, and at the time of the
American occupation ere ell9<non, discovered, improved, and developed mines, and had produced
gold for many years, and ere still producing gold. During all the time covered by the disputes that have
arisen beteen the parties to this suit, some of the parties have been living upon and ne4t to the lands in
dispute, and holding possession thereof and or<ing the same for themselves and their coclaimants.
Three of the plaintiffs ere there living in possession of said mines prior to the arrival of the defendant
1eavis. They have continued since that time to so live upon and possess the same up to the date of the
commencement of the suit, and ithout interruption, save by the acts of the defendant 1eavis as therein
after stated in said decision.
The court further found that in the month of +arch, &()&, the defendant 1eavis entered upon the lands
embraced in and ne4t to the mines of the plaintiffs and upon the alleged information that said mines of the
plaintiffs had been located under the ,panish +ining La by one Fans Folman in the year &%(;, and that
the said lands and mines ere abandoned by the said Folman and ere vacant mineral and public lands,
proceeded to sta<e and locate three claims under the mining las in force in the Jnited ,tates, and
including the mines of the plaintiffs, hich claims ere named by the said 1eavis the Q:te<,P the QTe4as,P
and the QClayton.P Immediately after this act of 1eavis, the plaintiff, Fian2a, for himself and his coplaintiffs,
protested against the placing by 1eavis of the sta<es upon his mines, and made a formal protest to F. !.
Chitmarsh, then governor of >enguet. In +ay, &()5, the plaintiff, Fian2a, again made a formal protest to
Cilliam F. !ac<, then governor of the !rovince of >enguet, of the trespass and usurpation of 1eavis upon
the mines in *uestion. A hearing as had before the governor, in hich 1eavis too< part, and it as
agreed beteen the plaintiffs and 1eavis that 1eavis ould not interfere ith the actual possession of the
plaintiffs and their or<ing of the mines, and that the plaintiffs should not prevent 1eavis from coming
upon the land from time to time for the purpose of doing assessment or<, and that this should continue
until the *uestion in dispute beteen them could be submitted to the Court of First Instance for decision.
A fe days after this, and before @uly &, &()5, the plaintiffs caused the boundaries of their claims and
mines to be distinctly mar<ed by substantial posts and monuments. These posts ere placed by the
plaintiffs prior to the locations under hich the defendant 1eavis no claims. !rior to @uly &, &()5, Fian2a
placed upon a building standing upon the property in *uestion a ooden sign ith a printed notice
thereon stating that they ere his mines. A fe days thereafter 1eavis removed the sign and bro<e it up.
:n the &)th day of :ctober, &()5, 1eavis made and caused to be recorded in the office of the provincial
secretary of >enguet three several declarations for claims or mines named by him Q:te<,P QClayton,P and
QTe4as,P covering the same ground as his three previous attempts to locate under the Jnited ,tates
mining las.
1eavis having presented evidence to sho that #icente Carrera in the year &%(;, and Fans Folman in
the same year, denounced these mines in accordance ith the ,panish mining las, the court found that
neither of these alleged denouncements ere in fact made at any time, and that no denouncement,
location, or entry upon the lands in *uestion had ever been made by any person under the ,panish
mining las in force in these Islands.
The court further found that 1eavis entered upon the mines in the year &()& and sta<ed out his three
claims in the honest, though mista<en, belief that the same ere included in an abandoned and forfeited
,panish grant of FolmanRs, and that at the time of his entry thereon and the setting of his sta<es he had
no actual <noledge that the Igorots, ho ere then living upon the lands, claimed the onership of said
mines, but that ithin a fe days after this entry he received notice of the plaintiffsR claim of onership
and before he had e4pended any considerable amount of either time, labor, or money thereon. Chen he
made his locations and filed the declarations, under hich he no claims, he had full <noledge of the
claims of the onership of the plaintiffs and that the plaintiffs ere at that date, and for a long time prior
thereto, and before the passing and approval of the act of Congress of @uly &, &()5, had been in the
actual possession and or<ing of said mines.
Jp to the month of +ay, &()5, 1eavis as not in the actual and continuous possession of the lands
embraced in his attempted locations and his only possession as hen he entered thereon from time to
time to do assessment and development or<, and his possession for such purposes as maintained by
threats and intimidation and against the protest of the plaintiffs.
In the year &()& the plaintiffs too< from the said mines gold of the eight of $) silver pesos7 in the year
&()5, the eight of =) silver pesos7 and in the year &()', the eight of () silver pesos.
The above statement of facts found by the court belo is not complete, but it is sufficient, e thin<, for the
purposes of this decision.
The first defense to the action is, according to the brief of the appellant, that the land sued for is not
described in the complaint ith sufficient certainty or definiteness to support a judgment for the plaintiff.
During the trial in the court belo, the complaint as, by leave of the court and against the objection and
e4ception of the defendant, amended so that the first paragraph should read as follos0
5irst. 5or many years, t#e num%er of w#ic# is un,nown to your orators, t#ey and t#eir ancestors #ave
owned, possessed, and wor,ed two &old mines lyin& in t#e %arrio of *ntamoc, in t#e towns#ip of 9to&on,
7rovince of Ben&uet, t#e description of w#ic# mines appears in plaintiffNs E>#i%it C, w#ic# is #ere%y made
a part of t#is complaint, t#e %oundaries of w#ic# mines are mar,ed %y posts set in t#e &round, w#ic#
%oundaries are all well ,nown to all of your oratorsN nei&#%ors, said mines %ein& well developed, open
mines called O*ntamocP and O*mpasit.P
34hibit C hich is thus made a part of the complaint is a plan made by a surveyor. It gives the courses
and distances of the boundary lines, the boundaries by reference to natural objects, and the relation of
such objects by distances to lines of the survey. According to the brief of the defendant, the land
described in this plan is &,6$5 feet on one side, &,)=6 feet on the second side, %%= feet on another side,
and =$5 feet on the fourth side, and there can be no doubt that the tract of land described in this 34hibit C
can be accurately located upon the ground. There is, therefore, no doubt that the description contained in
the amended complaint is sufficient.
The real objection is that the court erred in alloing the amendment. In vie of the provisions of sections
&)( and &&) of the Code of Civil !rocedure relating to amendments, this objection can not be sustained.
The second defense, according to the appellantRs brief, is that the record does not disclose ho or in hat
ay the land claimed by plaintiffs conflicts ith defendants locations.
+ore or less evidence as offered to sho here the defendantRs claims ere. It is apparent that all or
nearly all of the defendantRs Q:te<P is outside of the land claimed by the plaintiffs. It is also proven that
some if not all of the other to locations are ithin the land claimed by the plaintiffs. Ce do not see ho it
is important to determine e4actly the location of the defendantRs claims. The location of the plaintiffsR land
is determined ith accuracy and the judgment of the court belo prohibits the defendant from interfering
ith that ell9defined and ell9ascertained tract of land, and there can be no trouble in enforcing that
judgment so far as the description of the property is concerned.
The third defense, according to the appellantRs brief, is that the plaintiffs have never possessed or mined
any particular tract of ground under claim of onership to the e4clusion of all others.
It ill be noticed that the court belo found to the contrary of hat is stated in this defense. Ce can not
reverse the judgment unless it appears that this and other findings of fact, made by the court belo, are
plainly and manifestly against the eight of the evidence. .De La 1ama vs. De La 1ama, 5)& J ,., ')'./
Ce are entirely satisfied that no such conclusion can be reached and e are also satisfied that the
evidence not only is not contrary to the findings, but that the latter are supported by the preponderance of
proof.
,o much stress is laid upon this point by the appellant that it seems necessary to consider in some detail
the evidence. The appellant upon this point claims, first, that there never ere any mines, as that ord is
properly understood, on the land in *uestion, but merely slight e4cavations hich ere abandoned
practically as soon as made, and, second, that plaintiffs have not, in any event, been in the continuous
possession of the mines.
Jpon the first *uestion, as to hether these ere real mines or not, it appears from the record that on the
'&st of @anuary, &()&, and before 1eavis ever appeared in Antamoc, Fian2a, one of the plaintiffs, made
ritten declarations Qrelatives a las dos partidas de +inas de :ro, *ue radican en Antamoc, de esta
jurisdiccion, las cuales venian disfrutando desde mas de veintedos aNos, habiendolas recibido como
herencia, de sus antepasados.P These declarations ere made for the purposes of ta4ation, and on the
&&th of February, &()&, he paid the ta4es on this and other property, as he did also in &()5 and &()'.
That these ere certain, definite, and ell9<non mines is proved by the evidence of the defendants
itnesses. #icente Carrera, ho said that he had denounced the mines, testified0 QI denounced the mines
hich are situated at the eastern part of the houses named Antamoc and I also denounced the mines
situated on the estern part of the houses hich ere called Ampasit.P
>>>Q Q Q Q Q Q >>>Q Q Q Q Q Q >>>
R. Q Q Q S#at wor,, if any, did you ever do on t#at &round after you denounced t#emT
*. Q Q Q Not#in&, %ecause t#ey were not ceded to us, wit# t#e e>ception of t#e road we made w#ic#
&oes to t#e mines. . . . Se #ad to %uild a road from t#e main trail to t#e mout# of t#e mine.
Fe testified also that he bought gold from Domingue2, and hen as<ed here Domingue2 got this gold he
said0
*. Q Q Q 9 donNt ,now, %ut 9 t#in, #e &ot it from *ntamoc, %ecause 9 ,now t#e nature of t#e fineness of
t#e &old from t#ese mines.
R. Q Q Q *nd t#en t#e people were already wor,in& t#ese mines you denouncedT
*. Q Q Q 6es. . . .
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#o, accordin& to pu%lic rumor was t#e owner of t#ose minesT
*. Q Q Q 7u%lic rumor amon& t#e 9&orots was t#at t#ey were t#e mines and property of Domin&ue).
1obiera, another itness for the defendant testified0
9 #ave seen t#e e>cavations from a distance. 5rom a distance 9 saw w#ere dirt #ad %een t#rown up out of
t#e e>cavations, %ut 9 never #ave %een up to t#e mines.
Francisco #alencio, another itness for the defendant, testified0
R. Q Q Q ow many times did you see 5ian)a and #is fat#er &o up to t#ese mines in *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 9 saw #is fat#er &oin& up t#ere often.
R. Q Q Q ow often did you see 5ian)a &oin& up to t#e minesT
*. Q Q Q Sometimes 9 saw #im in t#e mines at *ntamoc.
Fans Folman, another itness for the defendant, on hose adverse claim to this same property the
defendant relies to defeat the prescription alleged by the plaintiffs, shos the e4istence of ell9defined
mines. Fe testified0
*. Q Q Q Se denounced t#at mine and t#e papers w#ic# we made out were %urnt up in
t#ecomandancia durin& t#e Spanis# 'overnment. Se commenced t#e denouncement of t#at mine in
2D?C.
F. !. Chitmarsh, a itness for the defendant, testified0
*. Q Q Q 6es. +#e first trip 9 made up to t#e +rinidad 9 went over to *ntamoc. 9 went t#ere to &et
information a%out t#e mines and t#e country. 9 was a newspaper reporter t#en. . . .
R. Q Q Q Did you #ave any tal, wit# #im F5ian)aG in reference to mines in *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q *ll a%out t#e mines in t#e vicinity. e advised me to &o over to *ntamoc to loo, at t#em.
@. 3. Melly, a itness for the defendant, testified that he became ac*uainted ith the property no
claimed by 1eavis in @anuary, &()&, hen he first arrived in >enguet7 that having learned that Folman
had an interest therein he ent to +anila to see him in +arch or April of the same year Qith a vie to
purchasing his Antamoc holdings.P Folman then told him that he had a mine there.
1eavis <ne of FolmanRs claim, and before he did anything at all upon the property ent to see him and
as told by Folman that he, Folman, had a certain number of meters there and t#at anyone could tell #im
w#ere t#e property was. 1eavis made no further investigation, and a fe days thereafter, and in +arch,
&()&, made his first entry upon the land. The folloing *uestion as as<ed 1eavis by his counsel0
R. Q Q Q S#at induced you to locate upon land w#ic# #ad %een pointed out to you as olmanNs &rantT
*. Q Q Q Because 9 #ad learned previously t#at t#ere were no &rants in t#is part of t#e country, and
t#in,in& t#at Mr. olman #ad not complied wit# any of t#e laws and didnNt intend to, 9 t#ou&#t 9 would &o
into it and see w#at c#ance 9 #ad wit# it.
Commenting apparently upon this anser, the court belo in its decision said0
e went to *ntamoc to sta,e out land for #imself t#at #e %elieved was t#en claimed %y anot#er U in t#e
vernacular of t#e miner, to O!ump ans olmanNs claim.P e was not prospectin& for a mine and for
#idden mineralsV #e went to locate a mine already discovered and mineral uncovered and wor,ed for
more t#an a #alf a century. e found #onest *merican miners and prospectors already t#ere wit# claims
sta,ed all a%out t#e land t#at t#ey %elieved was claimed %y anot#er and for t#e protection of w#ic# t#e
opened, developed, and wor,ed mine t#e rumor of an owner was amply sufficient to protect it from
invasion and trespass.
1eavis as as<ed this *uestion0
R. Q Q Q ow lon& did you prospect at *ntamoc %efore you discovered a mineT
*. Q Q Q *%out #alf an #our or an #ourV 9 discovered t#at it was a mineral country.
Cilliam Mnouber, another itness for the defendant, testified that hile a soldier in the American Army at
>autista he became ac*uainted ith a ,paniard, Teodoro +iguel, ho had been in >enguet. Fe brought
+iguel to +anila and afterards too< him to >aguio and as at Antamoc on the (th of @anuary, &()). Fe
as as<ed this *uestion0
R. Q Q Q Did you ma,e any in$uires as to w#et#er or not t#ere were any minin& claims in *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir. +#at is mostly w#at 9 went t#ere for.
>>>Q Q Q Q Q Q >>>Q Q Q Q Q Q >>>
*. Q Q Q +#e Spaniard and 9 went down to 9to&on. Se loo,ed for t#e president or someone t#at ,new of
t#is mine or property, w#o it %elon&ed to, and w#o was supposed to own it. +#is man 5ian)a said #e
,new t#e property and ,new it %elon&ed to Mr. olman. . . . Of course we couldnNt do anyt#in&, so w#en 9
went %ac, to Manila 9 went to see Mr. olman a%out it and #e s#owed me maps and papers of t#e
different pieces of property.
Mnouber testified that he ent out to the property ith Fian2a, ho pointed out FolmanRs sta<es, and that
he then sa men digging upon the land included ithin the sta<es.
That this claim of FolmanRs is the same land no claimed by the plaintiffs is proved by the testimony of
Folman himself. 34hibit C having been shon him, he stated0
R. Q Q Q 9s t#is paper, plaintiffsN E>#i%it C, t#e plan of t#e &round you locatedT
*. Q Q Q 9t is.
R. Q Q Q ow do you ,now t#is is t#e same land you denouncedT
*. Q Q Q 9 went t#ere myself.
R. Q Q Q By w#at mar, do you reco&ni)e t#at as t#e same landT
*. Q Q Q 9t is t#e same upon w#ic# 9 placed sta,es.
R. Q Q Q Sere your sta,es placed in t#e same position as t#e sta,es indicated on t#is mapT
*. Q Q Q 6es.
Fian2a testified that he pointed out to the surveyor the boundaries indicated by the posts and designated
on the plan, and added that they ere the same boundaries hich ere shon to him by his father.
It is, thereafter, ell established by the evidence that FolmanRs claim related to ell9<non mines and that
these are the same mines hich are no claimed by the plaintiffs. -early every itness interested in
mining presented by the defense, upon arrival in >enguet ent at once to Antamoc and made in*uiries
about this precise mines, and Melly, 1eavis himself, and Mnouber sa Folman, apparently for the purpose
of ma<ing some contract ith him in reference thereto.
The defendant relies very much upon the testimony of certain American miners ho at the time of the trial
had been in the country about three years, and ho undertoo< to testify as to the mining customs of the
Igorots, saying that they mined one day in one place and that if they found no gold they mined
somehere else, and that they never made any claim to the e4clusive onership of any tract of land. All
of these itnesses had mining claims similar to that of 1eavis. The claim of Clyde adjoins that of 1eavis.
It is to be observed that in their testimony they made no reference to this particular tract of land. They did
not say that, as to this particular tract of land, there never had been any claim made by an Igorot to
e4clusive onership. >ut in no event could this general testimony overcome the positive testimony of the
plaintiffsR itnesses, many having been presented ho testified that the land as or<ed e4clusively by
Fian2a and his ancestors, and that other people ere <ept off.
Fian2aRs statement, *uoted by the appellant, to the effect that Qour custom is if e do not find gold in &
fathom or 5 fathoms, e ma<e another place until e do find somethingP is entirely consistent ith his
claim to the e4clusive onership of this property. The fact that he and his ancestors moved around and
dug holes in different places upon this property appears from the evidence. The itnesses testified that
on the property there ere a great many e4cavations.
The property in *uestion being certain ell9<non and ell9defined mines, the ne4t *uestion is, Did the
plaintiffs and their ancestors have the e4clusive possession and control of the sameO The testimony of
the plaintiffsR itnesses is positive and direct that Toctoc and Domingue2 or<ed these mines and that no
one else did, and that since the death of Domingue2, Fian2a has or<ed them in the same ay. The
defendant claims, hoever, that this possession had been interrupted. The first interruption relied upon,
apparently, is hat as done by #icente Carrera in &%(;, but it is apparent from the testimony of Carrera,
already *uoted, that hatever he might have done in relation to filing papers in the government office at
>aguio, he never did anything upon the land itself. The building of his trail, & meter ide, up to the mines
could in no sense be called an interruption of the possession of Fian2a and his associates. It as a mere
casual trespass.
-either did the claim of Folman interrupt this possession of the plaintiffs. Fe never obtained any
concession from the ?overnment. -one of the acts re*uired by the la, then in force, ere done by him
e4cept perhaps the presentation of one paper in the office at >aguio, and the payment of certain fees.
Jnder the said las, these acts could not in any ay interrupt the possession then held by Fian2a. If in
pursuance of this attempt he had actually entered upon the land and had ousted Fian2a and <ept the
possession himself, it might be claimed that there had been an interruption of the latterRs possession, but
his on evidence shos that nothing of that <ind as ever done. The only thing hich he did do as to
survey the land and place sta<es thereon. This act as not an interruption of the possession of Fian2a.
.>alpiedad vs. Insular ?overnment,
HH
&
II
B $ :ff. ?a2., '()./ @ust hat Folman did appears from his on
testimony. Fe said0
R. Q Q Q Did you %uy t#ese &old mines from t#e 9&orots or anyone elseT
*. Q Q Q NoV 9 only denounced t#em to t#e Spanis# 'overnment.
>>>Q Q Q Q Q Q >>>Q Q Q Q Q Q >>>
R. Q Q Q S#at is t#e reason you didnNt continue your denunciaT
*. Q Q Q 9 was afraid. 9 left t#at mine %ecause 9 am not a miner.
R. Q Q Q Sas it in 2D?D or 2D?? w#en you suit t#e mines t#enT
*. Q Q Q No, 9 didnNt wor, t#e mines. 9 didnNt care to. 9 only %ou&#t t#e &old.
R. Q Q Q Did you ever #ire any wor, done on t#ese minesT
*. Q Q Q NoV no one.
R. Q Q Q Did anyone pay for t#e wor, for youT
*. Q Q Q +#ey wor,ed for me. 9 didnNt pay for t#eir wor,, %ut t#e &old.
R. Q Q Q 9n w#at capacity did you ma,e contracts wit# t#e 9&orots to wor, t#ose minesT
*. Q Q Q 9 didnNt ma,e any contracts.
R. Q Q Q DidnNt 9 understand you to say t#at you made contracts wit# certain 9&orots to mine t#ere and
t#ey &ave you a certain part of t#e &old as owner of t#e mineT
*. Q Q Q No.
R. Q Q Q Did you #ave any contracts wit# 9&orots at allT
*. Q Q Q No.
R. Q Q Q 9 mean after you denounced t#e mines of *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6esV 9 told t#e 9&orots t#at were wor,in& t#ere t#at t#ey must &ive t#e &old to me and not sell
to any ot#er one. +#at was t#e contract.
It is very clear that these acts constituted no interruption of the possession of Fian2a. And so Fian2aRs
possession continued up to the time of 1eavis. 1eavis entered upon the land and sta<ed the claims in
+arch, &()&. Fian2a at once protested to ?overnor Chitmarsh. ?overnor Chitmarsh testified that Fian2a
Qcame and said that some American had ta<en up property hich he claimed and he anted me to thro
the American off. I told him, as far as I <ne, there as no la under hich he could do anything at that
time and I advised him to put the matter off until something more definite as provided. At that time I as
the governor under the Civil ?overnment and very little as done under the las.P
Chitmarsh having refused to do anything, hen ?overnor !ac< arrived, Fian2a, in &()5, made a ritten
protest to him. 1eavis as summoned before the governor, a hearing as had, and an agreement as
made as stated in the findings of the court.
:n the (th of +ay, &()5, Fian2aRs claim as ta<en by Cagner, ho testified that he found there old
sta<es, evidently those of FolmanRs, and Cagner then made out for Fian2a a ritten claim to the mines,
hich as filed in >aguio. Fian2a posted a notice on the property, hich 1eavis tore don and bro<e to
pieces. Chile 1eavis says in several places that none of the Igorots made any protest, yet having testified
that he did not <no the Igorot language, he as as<ed0
R. Q Q Q +#en, if you couldnNt understand #im, you didnNt ,now w#et#er #e ever protested to you a%out
t#e 9&orot mines w#ic# you claimT
*. Q Q Q 9 t#in, #e did. 6es.
That Fian2a and his associates ere in possession of the mines in &()&, &()5, and &()' is proved by the
fact that during those years they too< therefrom gold to the amount indicated in the findings of the court in
that respect. Ce have not been able to find any evidence to the effect that 1eavis too< any gold at all
from this property during those years. The or< that 1eavis did as evidently that hich he thought as
re*uired by the la. +ost of it appears from the evidence to have been done on the claim called Q:te<,P
hich is outside of the boundaries of the plaintiffsR claim. The fact that some of the Igorots or<ed for
1eavis is not important, because that or< might have been and probably as done upon the claim
Q:te<,P upon hich as situated 1eavisR house, and here, as said before, the principal part of his or<
as done.
A great many itnesses for the defendant testified that they had tal<ed ith Fian2a and that he did not
ma<e any claim to this land, and said that it as FolmanRs. 3vidence of these admissions is not sufficient
to sho that the findings of the court belo as to plaintiffsR onership is plainly and manifestly against the
eight of the evidence. Fian2a denied the ma<ing of such admissions. +ost of the itnesses did not
spea< or understand Igorot, and under such circumstances no great eight can be given to such alleged
admissions. For e4ample, 1eavis testified0
R. Q Q Q 9f you donNt ,now #is lan&ua&e and #e doesnNt ,now yours, #ow, t#en, could you understand
#imT
*. Q Q Q 9 %elieve t#at a man can understand a word or two. 9t would seem to me t#at #e could e>plain
it %y sayin& WvamooseN or somet#in& li,e t#at and 9 could understand it.
The essential findings of fact made by the court belo being sustained by the evidence, it remains to
consider hat, in vie of such facts, are the legal rights of the parties.
-either the plaintiffs nor the defendant ever ac*uired any title to this property by virtue of the provisions of
the ,panish la. It as, therefore, at the time the Islands ere ceded to the Jnited ,tates, public
property, and these lands are public lands to hich the provisions of the act of Congress of @uly &, &()5,
are applicable. .'5 J. ,. ,tat. L., ;(&./ ,ection $6 of that act is as follos0
SEC. @A. +#at w#ere suc# person or association, t#ey and t#eir &rantors #ave #eld and wor,ed t#eir
claims for a period e$ual to t#e time prescri%ed %y t#e statute of limitations of t#e 7#ilippine 9slands,
evidence of suc# possession and wor,in& of t#e claims for suc# period s#all %e sufficient to esta%lis# a
ri&#t to a patent t#ereto under t#is act, in t#e a%sence of any adverse claimV %ut not#in& in t#is act s#all
%e deemed to impair any lien w#ic# may #ave attac#ed in any way w#atever prior to t#e issuance of a
patent.
This is the provision of la upon hich the court belo decided the case in favor of the plaintiffs. This
vie of that court must, in our opinion, be sustained. The statute of limitations of the !hilippine Islands in
force on @uly &, &()5, as ten years. According to the evidence and the findings, the plaintiffs had held
and or<ed these claims for more than that length of time prior to the &st of @uly, &()5. They had for more
than forty years prior to that date been in the possession thereof. That possession had been open,
notorious, continuous, and under a claim of onership.
That possession has not been interrupted. It is certain that neither Carrera nor Folman nor 1eavis ever
dispossessed the plaintiffs. They remained in possession and or<ed these mines during all the years
&()&, &()5, and &()' hile 1eavis as in Antamoc. Chatever he did upon the land as done hile the
plaintiffs still remained in the actual possession thereof. As before stated, the court found that 1eavisRs
only possession as hen he entered on the land from time to time to do assessment and development
or<, and his possession for such purposes as maintained by threats and intimidation, and against the
protests of the plaintiffs.
It is claimed by the appellant that the plaintiffs are not entitled to the benefit of this section $6 because
they made no location of the property ten years before the passing of the act. Ce do not understand that
such a location is re*uired by the terms of that section. In the case of Bel, vs. Mea&#er .&)$ J. ,., 5=(/
the court said, at page 5%=0
=nder t#e provisions of t#e :evised Statutes relied on, Bel, could not &et a patent for t#e claim #e
attempted to locate unless #e secured w#at is #ere made t#e e$uivalent of a valid location %y actually
#oldin& and wor,in& for t#e re$uisite time.
Chether the act of Congress of @uly &, &()5, too< effect in these Islands at the time it as signed by the
!resident .?ardner vs. The Collector, ; Call., $((/ or hen it as promulgated, it is not necessary to
determine, for in either case the rights of the plaintiffs ere fi4ed by that act before 1eavis, in :ctober,
&()5, too< any proceedings thereunder. Chen the act too< effect the plaintiffs became entitled to a patent
thereto from the ?overnment.
It is suggested by the defendant that section $6 does not apply because it relates to cases in hich there
is no adverse claim, and that in the present case there e4ist the adverse claim of 1eavis. It is evident that
if a person is otherise entitled to a tract of land in accordance ith the provisions of said section $6, his
right can not be ta<en aay by the mere fact that some other person ma<es a claim adverse to his. If
such ere the construction to be placed upon the section, its object might be entirely defeated, for in
every case adverse claims, entirely unfounded, could be presented for that purpose only. It is plain that
that provision in section $6 indicates merely that the proceedings for the delivery of the patent shall be
delayed until the validity of the adverse claim is determined in the courts of justice. Chen locations are
regularly made under the act and adverse claims are filed thereto, section '( provides that all
proceedings Qshall be stayed until the controversy shall have been settled or decided by a court of
competent jurisdiction or the adverse claim aived.P The provisions of section '( undoubtedly are in this
respect applicable to such adverse claim as is mentioned in section $6.
It appears from the evidence and the findings of the court that some time in the spring of &()& four or five
American miners living in >enguet undertoo< to establish the QAntamoc mining district,P and to appoint a
mining recorder. Cith this mining recorder 1eavis filed certain locations on a part of the property in
*uestion. These steps ere ta<en and these proceedings ere had in accordance ith hat the
organi2ers of this district thought to be the las in force in the Jnited ,tates in regard to mines. These
las ere not in force in the !hilippine Islands at that time and the proceedings of the persons ho thus
organi2ed the QAntamoc mining districtP ere entirely null and avoid.
The locations made by 1eavis in accordance ith the act of Congress of @uly &, &()5, ere not made
until :ctober of that year. They ere made after the rights of the plaintiffs had become vested in
accordance ith the provisions of said section $6, and therefore such locations can not prejudice the
plaintiffs. The court belo held that even these locations ere invalid, in accordance ith the said act. It is
not necessary, hoever, to determine this *uestion.
The judgment of the court belo is affirmed, ith the costs of this instance against the appellant. ,o
ordered.
*rellano, C.8., +orres and Mapa, 88., concur.
Se,#r#-e O,.$.o$/
1OHNSON, J., dissenting0
This as an action begun in the Court of First Instance of the !rovince of >enguet by the plaintiffs for the
purpose of enjoining, restricting, and inhibiting the defendant from entering upon to certain gold mines
lying and being in the barrio of Antamoc, in the tonship of Itogon, !rovince of >enguet7 no certain
description of said mines could %e &iven at the time of the commencement of the action according to the
complaint of the plaintiffs.
Jpon the filing of the complaint the court granted a temporary injunction to prevent the defendant from
entering upon this indefinite, unlocated, indescribable tract or parcel of land. >y computation it as found
that this indefinite, unlocated parallelogram contained about =),))) s*uare meters. After the beginning of
the trial of said cause, the plaintiff caused a survey of the alleged mines to be made by one >alpiedad7
the result of said survey is represented in 34hibit C, presented in evidence by the plaintiffs, hich
represents the parallelogram or mines to be in the folloing form0
.insert map from original file here/
This e4hibit or survey, shoing the limits of said land in *uestion, as not completed or offered in
evidence until after practically all of the itnesses for the plaintiffs had been e4amined. After the
admission of the said e4hibit, the plaintiffs as<ed that they be alloed to amend their pleadings to conform
to said e4hibit, hich re*uest as granted.
The court in its decision found that Qthe land included in the said 34hibit C as the land in dispute, as of
irregular boundaries, contained about &%',))) s*uare meters, as situated on the slope of a mountain
called SAntamoc +ountain,R and under the statute of limitations, act of Congress of @uly &, &()5, that
the 'overnment of t#e 7#ilippine 9slands #olds t#e title in trust for t#e plaintiffs,P thereby holding that the
title to this indefinite, irregular tract of land, somehere on the mountain, poorly described, as being held
by the ?overnment of the !hilippine Islands for the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs alleged, in their petition, that Qthey, their fathers, and his father and his grandfather had
or<ed said mines for many years.P
Ce have, therefore, the folloing conditions0
F2G +#at t#e plaintiffs, t#eir fat#ers and &randfat#ers #ad %een in possession of land for many years, t#e
e>act num%er %ein& un,nown, of a parcel of lands or mines, w#ic# at t#e %e&innin& of t#e action could
not %e definitely descri%ed.
FBG +#at in t#e attempt to descri%e it, it was desi&nated as a parallelo&ram containin& a%out EJ,JJJ
s$uare meters.
FIG +#at t#e lower court at t#e %e&innin& of t#e action en!oined t#e defendant from enterin& upon t#e tract
of land not located nor descri%ed, and admittedly a tract w#ic# could not %e definitely located nor
descri%ed.
F@G +#at t#e lower court, at t#e conclusion of t#e trial, made suc# temporary in!unction perpetual after it
#ad %een clearly proved t#at t#e land reffered to in t#e first in!unction was not t#e same land w#ic# t#e
plaintiff claimed in said E>#i%it C.
FAG +#at t#e plaintiffs, at t#e %e&innin& of t#e action, were not t#e owners of t#e said tract of land, %ut t#at
t#e same %elon&ed to t#e 'overnment of t#e 7#ilippine 9slands and was %ein& #eld in trust %y said
'overnment for t#e plaintiffs.
FCG +#at t#ey were una%le to definitely locate t#e lines of said mines until after t#e %e&innin& of t#e trial of
said cause, and w#en it was definitely descri%ed it was not a parallelo&ram, and contained nearly t#ree
times as muc# area as t#at descri%ed in t#e petition of t#e plaintiffs. 9t would seem %ut reasona%le to
%elieve t#at if t#e plaintiffs, t#eir fat#ers and &randfat#ers #ad %een in t#e possession of a definite, well-
,nown tract or parcel of land for so many years, to t#e e>clusion of all ot#er persons w#omsoever, its
limits mi&#t in some way #ave %een definitely descri%ed, or at least it mi&#t #ave %een descri%ed in a way
to #ave included more t#an one-t#ird of a tract of land w#ic# Ot#ey, t#eir fat#ers and &randfat#ersP #ad
occupied for many years to t#e e>clusion of all ot#er persons.
Ce assert in the beginning that these facts engender suspicion of the e4clusive right of the plaintiffs to
any ell9defined tract of land. Ce are also of the opinion that until it is proved .a/ t#at t#e plaintiffs #ave
an a%solute and e>clusive ri&#t to a particular tract of land7 and .%/ t#at said tract of land #as well-defined
metes and %ounds, the court had no right or authority to issue an injunction prohibiting or restraining the
defendant from entering thereon. The court had no authority to issue an injunction to prevent the
defendant from entering upon any parcel of land until that parcel of land as ell9defined by metes and
bounds, for otherise the defendant ould be unable to <no hen, or ho, or in hat manner he ould
be violating such injunction.
It ill be noted that upon the filing of the petition of the plaintiffs herein, hen the petition upon its face
alleged that no particular description of t#e mines in $uestion could %e &iven, the court enjoined the
defendant from entering thereon. 3ntering upon hat landsO Lands somehere in the !rovince of
>enguet T somehere on the mountain called Antamoc. This temporary injunction, at the conclusion of
the trial, as made perpetual.
After the decision as rendered, the defendant, through his attorneys, made a motion for a ne trial,
basing the same upon the folloing reasons0
2. +#at t#e findin&s of fact were openly and manifestly a&ainst t#e wei&#t of t#e evidence.
B. +#at t#e evidence was insufficient to !ustify t#e decision.
I. +#at t#e decision and !ud&ment of t#e court were a&ainst t#e law.
This motion for a ne trial as denied.
This motion being based e4pressly upon the provisions of paragraph ' of section $(= of the Code of
!rocedure in Civil Actions, e are justified in e4amining the evidence for the purpose of ascertaining
hether or not the conclusions of the loer court ere justified by such evidence. Ce, therefore, purpose
to e4amine the evidence adduced during the trial of said cause upon each of the respective *uestions of
fact presented, and allo the record to spea< for itself.
:ur first proposition is, that neither the plaintiffs nor their predecessors occupied any definite piece or
parcel of land or mines in the !rovince of >enguet or elsehere for any period, to the e4clusion of all
other persons7 that the plaintiffs and their predecessors ere Igorots7 that they lived in tribes much as the
American Indians did7 that they never asserted their rights to any ell9defined parcel of land nor occupied
any ell9defined parcel of land to the e4clusion of other persons, either strangers or members of the
particular tribe. Jpon this proposition e refer to the record for the anser.
The petition alleges that the said mines are in the barrio of Antamoc. Chat is AntamocO
+adarang .Igorot/ said .1ec., p. &%/ 0 QThe hole mountain is <non as Antamoc.P
>isguey .Igorot and one of the plaintiffs/, in anser to the *uestion, QChat is AntamocOP said .1ec., p. 5&/
0
It is a barrio, and is a place called Antamoc.
:n page 55, the same itness, in reply to the *uestion, QAre the %arrios of +ecop, *mpasit,
and*ntamoc situated in the mountain called AntamocOP said, QKes, sir.P
3migdio :ctaviano said .1ec., p. 5=/ 0 QFe <ne the place called Antamoc.P
+ateo CariNo .Igorot/ said .1ec., p. 5=/ 0 QThat Antamoc as a mountain and that there are places called
Ampasit, Antamoc, -iug, and Loacan.P
From the foregoing testimony of the itnesses, all of hom resided in the vicinity of the land in *uestion, it
appears clearly that Antamoc as a mountain7 therefore any description of a parcel of land described
simply as being in Antamoc ould certainly be too indefinite and uncertain upon hich to grant an
injunction to prevent trespass upon such undefined parcel of land.
Cith the reference to the e>act location of said mines in said mountain, e have the folloing proof in the
record0
@ose Fian2a .Igorot and one of the plaintiffs/, in anser to the *uestion, QChere ere those minesOP said
.1ec., p.5/, QThey ere in Antamoc and Ampasit.P
The same itness further said .1ec., p. =/ that QCagner .?overnors !ac<Rs cler</ put in the sta<es here
his .Fian2aRs/ claims ere.P
Cith reference to the specific and e4act location of the land in *uestion, the said Cagner .1ec., p.;6/
testified as follos0
R. Q Q Q S#o indicated to you t#e place w#ere t#e posts you #ave referred to, s#ould %e putT
*. Q Q Q 5ian)a.
R. Q Q Q Did #e name t#ese posts to you as t#e %oundary or %oundaries of #is claim or claimsT
*. Q Q Q 9f 9 remem%er correctly it was t#e %oundaries of #is claim a sin&le claim. 9 as,ed #im w#en #e
first started out if t#at was #is %oundary and #e told me Wyes.N Now, w#et#er #e was includin& any one
claim or claims 9 can not say.
R. Q Q Q +o t#e %est of your recollection were t#ese dimensions t#e correct ones as s#own %y 5ian)aT
*. Q Q Q *ppro>imately, yes.
Cagner further stated that the claims pointed out to him by Fian2a, and as sta<ed out by him, ere
appro4imately &6,))) feet by ;)) feet. .1ec., p. ;6./
As to the posts on the claim placed by Cagner, he .Cagner/ made the folloing statement .1ec., p. ;$/ 0
5rom t#e post No. 2 or B, 9 donNt remem%er w#ic#, we proceeded to t#e post on t#e nort# center part of
t#e claim, t#ence to t#e post on t#e nort#eastern corner, and t#ence to t#e post on t#e sout#ern corner.
Cagner further says .1ec., p.;=/, in anser to the *uestion as to the particular posts he .Cagner/ placed
upon said claims0
R. Q Q Q +#ere were four posts t#ere t#enT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
As to this Cagner survey, therefore, from the record the folloing facts appear0
+#e said survey was made on t#e ?t# of May, 2?JBV it was of t#e mines as claimed %y 5ian)aV said claim
was mar,ed %y four posts and t#e claim was appro>imately 2A,JJJ feet %y CJJ feet.
It further appears from the testimony of Cagner that he changed his plans after the survey as made
.1ec., p.;%/, hich plan, it ill be noted, as not made a part of the record.
+adarong .Igorot/, in spea<ing of the specific location of the mines in *uestion, said .1ec., p. &;/, QThat
Domingue2 .father of one of the plaintiffs/ had mines in Itogon and in Antamoc7P and .1ec., p. &%/ QThat
the hole mountain as considered mineral land.P
>isguey .Igorot and one of the plaintiffs/ said .1ec., p. 5)/, referring to the e4act location of the mines in
*uestion, QThat his father, Toto, oned mines in Antamoc,P ithout any further or definite description.
!icarte .Igorot/ said .1ec., p. 56/ QThat he <ne by reference that Domingue2 claimed to be the oner of
some mines called Antamoc and Ampasit.P
It ill be noted that this is merely hearsay.
3migdio :ctaviano said .1ec., p. 5=/ that QFe <ne the place called Antamoc and that there ere mines
there7 and that .1ec., p. 5%/ he had heard from a man called Caballes that Domingue2 claimed said
mines7 and that .1ec., p. 5(/ he did not <no anything as to their e4tent.P
@uan CariNo .Igorot/ in reply to the *uestion .1ec., p. '$/, QDo you <no hether these mines ere the
private property of Domingue2 or hether he only held them for the peopleOP ansered, Q 9 only #eard that
Domingue2 as the oner of these mines and I never heard that he had any associates in the mines ith
him.P Fearsay again.
The same itness further said that the holes ere in the mountain called Antamoc and that Domingue2
had holes in three places in the mountain called Antamoc.
Chap9Day, >albadines, +iampis, Loren2o, !asio, Tongapel, Tongay, Cateb, and >itabio, all Igorots,
testified .1ec., pp. $), $', $6, 6), 65, 6', 66, 6;, and 6=/ that QDomingue2 had mines in Antamoc,P
ithout giving any further description.
Amey .Igorot/, one of the plaintiffs, said .1ec., p.$=/ Qthat her father, Toto, had mines in Antamoc.P ithout
any further description.
It ill be noted that none of these itnesses, e4cept Cagner, .and he simply placed the sta<es according
to the direction of Fian2a, one of the plaintiffs/, in any ay attempted to more definitely descri%e t#e lands
in $uestion t#an to say t#at t#ey were in t#e mountain of *ntamoc. It is contented that even CagnerRs
description does not definitely locate any land. Fe does not state that said tract as on one side or the
other of said mountain. Fis description has neither starting point nor end.
Fian2a, one of the plaintiffs, ith reference to the definite location of the mines in *uestion, testified as
follos .1ec., p.=/0
R. Q Q Q Did Mr. Sa&ner measure t#e claimT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did #e put in t#e sta,esT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV #e placed t#ose pine sta,es or posts.
R. Q Q Q Did you &o wit# Mr. Sa&nerT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did you s#ow #im w#ere your claims areT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q *nd #e put t#e sta,es in as you s#owed us t#is mornin& #ere and mar,ed t#e placeT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
It ill be remembered that Cagner placed four sta<es only.
>earing in mind that the measurements, made by Cagner, being made on the (th of +ay, &()5, and that
said posts included a parcel or tract of land in the form of a parallologram, &6,))) by ;)) feet somehere
in a mountain, ithout beginning or end7 that the preliminary injunction as granted by the court on the
&%th day of @anuary, &()$, to prevent the plaintiff from entering upon this un<non tract of land, a
description of hich could not at that time be made, and that the >alpiedad survey .34hibit C/ as made
February &), &()$, e *uote the testimony of the said >alpiedad for the purpose of ascertaining hether
or not the and claimed by Fian2a at the time that Cagner made a survey of the same as the same land
hich he .Fian2a/ claimed about to years later, at the time the said >alpiedad made his survey.
The itness, >alpiedad, testified, as follos .1ec., p. ='/0
R. Q Q Q ave you made a plan s#owin& t#e measurements and %oundaries of t#e mines claimed %y
8ose 5ian)a, in t#e %arrio of *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6esV 9 made a s,etc# plan, e>cept 9 #ave not run out t#e %oundary lines, t#ey %ein& direct lines
from post to post.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you ma,e t#is measurementT
*. Q Q Q Durin& t#e mont# of 5e%ruary. . . . 9t was on t#e 2Jt# of 5e%ruary, 2?J@.
R. Q Q Q 9 present you a plan mar,ed OplaintiffNs E>#i%it C,P and as, you if it is t#e plan you #ave
referred toT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#o s#owed you t#e lands and measurements and corners to ma,e t#is measurement and
planT
*. Q Q Q 8ose 5ian)a.
R. Q Q Q ow many posts did you find t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 5ourteen posts in addition to some posts t#at were inside and outside U posts of Mr. :eavis
w#ic# do not appear in t#e plan.
+#e CO=:+ Fp. E@G"
R. Q Q Q ow many of t#ese posts did you find on t#e %oundary lineT
*. Q Q Q 5ourteen posts.
R. Q Q Q ow many of t#ese posts were mar,ed in any wayT
*. Q Q Q Some of t#e posts t#at 9 saw were mar,ed wit# t#e name of 8ose 5ian)a.
R. Q Q Q ow many #ad #is nameT
*. Q Q Q 9 ,now t#ere was one.
R. Q Q Q ow did t#e lines pass t#rou&# t#e posts U did you run a line from one post to anot#erT
* Q Q Q 6es, sirV t#e line ran e>actly from one corner post to t#e ot#er, to t#e interim posts made solely
for a line.
R. Q Q Q ow many of t#ese posts F:ec., p. DIG w#ic# refer to did you place t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 9 did not place a sin&le post.
R. Q Q Q +#ey were already t#ere w#en you &ot t#ere, were t#eyT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV accordin& to w#at 5ian)a said t#ey #ad %een t#ere a lon& time U for some time.
It ill be noted that prior to the Cagner survey .+ay (, &()5/, according to the testimony of Fian2a, no
attempt #ad ever %een made %y #im or %y #is predecessors in any way to definitely mar,ed out t#e mines
w#ic# t#e plaintiffs claim. It must be remembered also that Cagner placed four posts including a parcel of
land in the form of a parallelogram.
>alpiedad, at the time of his survey .February &), &()$/ found fourteen posts, and the form of the parcel
of land included in his survey is seen by reference to 34hibit C, hich is not a parallelogram. Fe found
fourteen posts instead of four. >y reference to the testimony of Fian2a and >alpiedad it ill be seen that
these to itnesses attempted to ma<e it appear that the survey, made by the latter, as simply a
measurement from post to post set by Cagner. The testimony can not be believed for the reasons0
FaG +#at Sa&ner placed %ut four posts and BalpiedadNs measurement included fourteen postsV and
F%G +#at in said E>#i%it C, presented %y t#e plaintiff, it will %e noticed in t#e lower ri&#t #and corner of t#e
same t#at one of t#e posts placed %y Sa&ner was wit#in and not on t#e lines of t#e %oundaries of t#e
land surveyed %y Balpiedad. +#is latter fact alone would seem to %e proof positive t#at t#e landw#ic#
5ian)a, one of t#e plaintiffs, claimed in May, 2?JB, was not t#e same land claimed %y #im in 5e%ruary,
2?J@.
The fact is further demonstrated by the appearance of the fourteen posts represented in 34hibit C, and
the one post in the loer right hand corner of said 34hibit C, that beteen the months of +ay, &()5, and
February, &()$, the plaintiffs had made up their minds to include a different and larger portion of the said
mountain of Antamoc.
It is apparent also from this same testimony that in the interim the four posts placed by Cagner had been
increased in number by some interest party so as to include nearly three times the original claim, as ell
as to change the configuration of the land claimed by the plaintiffs.
:ne can not read the record in this case ithout reaching the conclusion that Fian2a is in fact the only
one of the plaintiffs ho has any interest in the land in *uestion, or ithout reaching the conclusion that
he is a sort of a chief of that particular tribe of Igorots. From his testimony he is put in theposition of
claimin& in May, 2?JB, ithout any opposition or interference from anyone, a particular tract of land in the
form of a parallelogram, and in February, &()$, to years later, of claimin& anot#er and lar&er portion of
land in a different form. Is this testimony and this claim conformable to the claim of the plaintiffs that they,
their fathers and grandfathers had been in possession of a distinct, ell9defined parcel or tract of land
anyhere, to the e4clusion of all other personsO
The claim by the plaintiff Fian2a, and by >alpiedad that the posts mar<ing the perimeter of the lands in
34hibit C mar<ed by the boundaries of the land originally claimed by Fian2a, is in direct conflict ith the
testimony of Cagner.
Cith reference to these posts e have the testimony also a 1eavis, the defendant, ho had lived in the
vicinity of Antamoc from the month of February, &()&. Fe said .1ec., p. ()/ in anser to a *uestion ith
reference to the time hen the fourteen posts ere placed upon the land represented by 34hibit C0
+#ey represent sta,es set in t#e &round after t#e in!unction was served on me in t#is case.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#o put t#em t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 5ian)a told me t#at #e put t#em t#ere.
R. Q Q Q +#is was after t#e in!unction was served upon youT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Sas t#ere any survey made on t#at landT 9f so, w#enT
*. Q Q Q * s#ort time after t#e posts were put t#ere 5ian)a came t#ere wit# a 5ilipino surveyor and #ad
#im to &o round t#ese posts. 9t is t#e same surveyor w#o made t#e plat on t#e paper.
R. Q Q Q Sere t#ese t#e sta,es referred to %y a witnesses as t#e fourteen sta,es pointed out to you %y
Sa&ner, Lawrence, and 5ian)aV were t#ose sta,es t#ere %efore t#e in!unction was issuedT
*. Q Q Q Not t#at 9 saw.
R. Q Q Q S#ere you around t#e land so as to see t#em if t#ey #ad %een t#ereT
* Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q So w#en Sa&ner placed t#ese posts t#ere in 2J-B, did you see t#em up to t#ree days a&o
w#en t#ey went to t#emT
*. Q Q Q +#ey were not t#ere.
R. Q Q Q Did you see any sta,es t#at Sa&ner testified to as #avin& %een placed t#ere %y #im on t#e ?t#
of May, 2?JBT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV w#en we went over t#ere 9 saw t#em, a%out t#ree days a&o.
R. Q Q Q ow many did #e s#ow you t#at #e #ad placed t#ereT
*. Q Q Q e s#owed me t#an #e was positive of #avin& placed t#ere.
This testimony, together ith that of Fian2a, >alpiedad, and Cagner, seems to ma<e it clear beyond
peradventure of doubt that the land claimed in 34hibit C is not the land hich Fian2a pointed out to
Cagner as his land in the month of +ay, &()5.
9t will %e remem%ered that all of the itnesses of the plaintiffs ho attempted in any ay to designate a
particular tract of land &ave t#eir testimony %efore t#e Balpiedad survey was offered in evidence, and
none of them made a more definite or special description of the land in *uestion than to say that the said
land as in the mountain of Antamoc. The only testimony, therefore, hich attempts in any ay to
describe the particular land in *uestion is that of Fian2a, >alpiedad, and Cagner, and it must be
remembered that Cagner and >alpiedad each received hatever information they had concerning the
identity of the land in *uestion from Fian2a himself.
1eferring again to the testimony of Fian2a and to the fourteen posts as mar<ing the perimeter of the land
in *uestion, he testified .1ec., p. %$/ that such boundaries are the same as the land hich his father
oned. This same itness also stated .1ec., p. =/ that the four posts place by Cagner on the (th of +ay,
&()5, mar<ed the perimeter of his claim.
-either ill it be forgotten that according to the finding of the court >alpiedad survey included nearly three
times the area hich the Cagner plan included. The Cagner plan as a parallelogram7 the >alpiedad
plan is octagonal in form, four of hose dimensions are &,6$5, &,)=6, %,%%=, and =$5 feet, one side being
ithout any dimension hatsoever. +#ese surveys represented entirely different tracts of land, %ot#
sworn to %y t#e plaintiff 5ian)a as representin& #is mines. Chich of these contradictory statements must
the court acceptO
Chen it appeared during the trial of the said cause that the tract of land mar<ed by Cagner and that
surveyed by >alpiedad ere different tracts of land, the attorney for the defendant attempted to ascertain
hich of the to tracts the plaintiff Fian2a actually claimed and to that end as<ed the folloing *uestion0
R. Q Q Q S#at mines do you claimT +#at w#ic# you claim %y t#is suit FSa&nerNs planG or t#at w#ic# was
measured %y BalpiedadTP *pparently, in view of t#e conflict %etween t#e lands pointed out %y 5ian)a to
Sa&ner and t#e lands pointed out to Balpiedad, a perfectly proper $uestion, and one w#ic#, #ad t#e
plaintiff %een permitted to answer, mi&#t #ave made clear t#is conflict. owever, t#e attorney for t#e
plaintiff o%!ected to t#e $uestion and t#e court refused to allow 5ian)a to answer t#e same.
The trial court and the majority opinion in this court for some reason have accepted the >alpiedad plan as
representing the mines claimed by the plaintiffs. The fact is to be clearly borne in mind that allof plaintiffsR
itnesses, ith the e4ception of Fian2a, w#o pretended to testify as to the mine claimed by Domingue2
and Fian2a, testified before the >alpiedad plan as presented. Aside from the fact that their declarations
refer to mines in Antamoc, such declaration could not, under any theory of the case, serve to identify t#e
tract descri%ed in t#e Balpiedad survey.
As to Fian2a himself he pretended to identify the land claimed by his father ith the >alpiedad survey. Ce
have already noted that there is a hopeless conflict in his statements, as he identifies in one place the
Cagner plan and in another place the >alpiedad plan as being the land claimed. And, moreover, in vie
of the testimony of Cagner and 1eavis, e are of the opinion that Fian2adeli%erately per!ured
#imself .1ec., p. %6/ in testifying that the posts appearing on the >alpiedad plan ere placed there by
Cagner. e admitted to :eavis t#at #e #ad placed t#e posts t#ere #imself.
Ce feel justified in the conclusion, therefore, that the only testimony in the hole record identifying the
lands claimed by the plaintiffs ith the land decreed by the court is the folloing *uestion and anser,
as<ed of Fian2a .1ec., p. %$/0
R. Q Q Q S#ere t#e %oundaries t#at you s#owed Balpiedad t#e same t#at were t#e %oundaries of t#e
land w#en your fat#er owned itT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV t#e %oundaries were t#e same t#at my fat#er s#owed me.
If it is true that the father of Fian2a had shon the boundaries of the >alpiedad plan to him and these
ere the real boundaries of his claim, hy did not he, Fian2a, point out these same boundaries to Cagner
in +ay, &()5, nearly to years prior to the >alpiedad surveyO
It results, therefore, that the decision is rendered in favor of the plaintiffs upon the testimony of one
itness, hose declarations are conflicting and ho has deliberately perjured himself.
It is contended further that even accepting 34hibit C as representing the lands in *uestion, even then
the demarcation of t#e tract of land is not sufficient upon w#ic# to issue an in!unction to prevent trespass.
There is nothing in the description of the lands mar<ed in 34hibit C by hich even a surveyor might go
upon that part of the orld and locate it e4actly, so as to be able to say all comers0 This is the particular
tract of land of the defendant and all others are enjoined from entering thereon.
It is contended that 34hibit C does not constitute a sufficient description to locate this property. The plan
itself is not accompanied by a technical description of any <ind7 the only description appears in the
testimony of >alpiedad .1ec., p. =$9=%/. The vital point in any plan is the starting point. the only evidence
of record shoing the starting point of this plan is as follos .1ec., =$/0
R. Q Q Q S#ere did you commence t#e measurementsT
*. Q Q Q Se followed t#e *mpasit road and started from t#e post we found near t#e road, wit#in a
distance of ten meters of t#e side of t#e road towards t#e summit of t#e mountain.
R. Q Q Q Can you descri%e more specifically t#e point of departureT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Sell, descri%e it, t#en.
*. Q Q Q +#is post is #eld in place %y stones piled a%out its %ase, and if it #as not %een removed t#ere
is anot#er lon&er post, w#ic# 5ian)a placed t#ere so t#at it would %e seen from a distance.
-o surveyor, much less a layman, could locate ith certainty the starting point from this description.
It appears further that the notes from hich the plan .34hibit C/ as made and testimony given ere not
the original notes. The folloing appears of record .1ec., p. %)/0
R. Q Q Q S#y did you destroy t#e date w#ic# you made in t#is particular case w#en it was your custom
to ,eep all data wit#in your trun,T
*. Q Q Q Because t#ey were not e>act and %esides t#ey were all transferred to t#is paper and t#erefore
9 tore t#em up.
From this it e4pressly appears by the testimony of >alpiedad, that the notes hich he made on the ground
at the time of the survey Qwere not e>actP and that these .ine4act notes/ ere all transferred to this paper.
Ce must conclude, then, that even 34hibit C, according to the testimony of >alpiedad himself .1ec., p.
%$/, is not a correct plan. >oth the trial court and the majority opinion of this court found that the tract
oned by Fian2a is of irregular boundaries and contains about &%',))) s*uare meters. There is not a
scintilla of evidence in the record giving even appro4imately the ares of 34hibit C.
Ce are of the opinion that the foregoing e4cerpts from the record clearly sho that the plaintiffs failed to
prove that they occupied for any period any ell9defined, ascertainable tract of land in the mountain of
Antamoc, to the e4clusion of all other persons. The testimony of all of the itnesses for the plaintiffs,
e4cept Fian2a himself, refer to the land in *uestion simply as t#e mines of *ntamoc. ,everal itnesses
testified that Antamoc as a mountain and that the hole mountain as <nos as Antamoc and that all
the land in said mountain as mineral land.
It being clearly established, therefore, that Antamoc is a mountain and is mineral land, a declaration that
Domingue2 or Fian2a claimed mines in Antamoc, no more identifies the location of such mines ith the
particular mines no claimed by the plaintiffs than ould a declaration, that Q@ohn DocP claimed mines in
the mountains of China or in the gold fields of Colorado, authori2e said Q@ohn DoeP to claim title to a
particular mine ithin such district, or to receive the aid of the strong arm of the la to prevent all comers
from entering upon any particular s*uare foot of said land. There might be some reason for so holding if
the particular tract of land claimed constituted the only mines in Antamoc7 it appears, hoever, that the
hole mountain of Antamoc is mineral bearing, and that there are many mines there. 3vidence that the
plaintiffs claim mines Qin AntamocP is absolutely no proof of onership of any particular tract ithin the
limits of said mountain. 9f t#e plaintiffs can claim t#e lands descri%ed in E>#i%it C today, to t#e e>clusion
of all ot#er persons w#omsoever, t#en t#ey can, under t#e same proof, contest t#e ri&#t of any ot#er
mine now open or #ereafter to %e opened in said mountain.
It appears from the testimony that Clyde and other American miners also located claims in Antamoc7
some of them adjoining the alleged lands in dispute, hile many itnesses testified that there are Igorot
e4cavations over the hole of Antamoc mountain. It is believed that if the plaintiff Fian2a can claim this
particular tract of land in *uestion that he can then successfully contest the right of any locater of a mine
in the mountain of Antamoc, for the reason that the testimony of all of the itnesses as that Fian2a had
mines in Antamoc, ith no further or more definite description.
The majority opinion .p. &$/, in referring that the testimony of the American minders as to the mining
customs of the Igorots, says0
9n no event could t#is &eneral testimony overcome t#e positive testimony of plaintiffNs witnesses, man
#avin& %een presented w#o testified t#at t#e land was wor,ed e>clusively %y 5ian)a and #is ancestors
and t#at ot#er people were ,ept off.
Ce have e4amined the record in vain to find even a shred of evidence supporting this statement. There is
not a scintilla of evidence in the record, hich e have found, to s#ow that Fian2a and his
predecessors ever ,ept any%ody off of this alleged tract of land or of any other in the mountain of
Antamoc. Aside from the fact that these itnesses did not identify and land claimed in this suit, they did
not state that Domingue2 claimed the e4clusive right to the land in Antamoc, or t#at #e ,ept ot#er people
off . They made their statements no stronger than that hether such mines ere in one part or another
part of said mountain. The only evidence in the hole record hich purports to identify the land claimed
by the plaintiffs and their predecessors ith that surveyed by Cagner and >alpiedad is the testimony of
one itness, Fian2a, an interested part, and it has been shon that he perjured himself.
Jpon the *uestion of the e4clusive occupation by the plaintiffs of any particular tract of land, it is
confidently asserted t#at t#e plaintiff, 5ian)a, never attempted to e>clude anyone from t#e use and
occupation of any portion not only of t#e small tract of land #ere in $uestion %ut of any part of said
mountain of *ntamoc. Ce ill allo the record to support this statement0
:eavis testified"
R. Q Q Q ow lon& #ave you lived in *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q Since 5e%ruary, 2?J2.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you arrive in t#e 7#ilippine 9slandsT
*. Q Q Q 9n 2?JJV 9 %elieve in Decem%er.
R. Q Q Q S#at e>perience #ave you #ad as a prospectorT
*. Q Q Q Now a%out ten year or a little more.
R. Q Q Q 9n w#at part of t#e =nited States did you prospectT
*. Q Q Q 9n New Me>ico principally, *ri)ona, Colorado, and alon& t#e :io 'rande :iver in +e>as.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you arrive in t#is 7rovince of Ben&uetT
*. Q Q Q 9 %elieve on t#e 2st of Decem%er 2?JJ U t#at is, in Ba&uio.
R. Q Q Q Did you &o to *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R Q Q Q Did you do any prospectin&T
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#ereT
*. Q Q Q 9 commenced and went to Bataan cree, and 9 prospected t#e country all a%out.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you arrive at *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 5e%ruary, 2?J2.
R. Q Q Q S#at, if anyt#in&, did you do t#ere in reference to prospectin&T
*. Q Q Q 9 went over t#e country, %ro,e up roc,s, and loo,ed up in t#e &ulc#es.
R. Q Q Q S#ereT
*. Q Q Q *ll over t#e *ntamoc Mountain and in t#e river and all a%out.
R. Q Q Q Did you ma,e any locationT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#ereT
*. Q Q Q 9n *ntamoc.
R. Q Q Q S#at if anyt#in&, did you do after locatin& claims at *ntamoc.
*. Q Q Q 9 located ot#er claims, put up sta,es, made out location papers, &ot t#em recorded %y t#e
recorder, Clyde, w#o lived in *ntamoc.
R. Q Q Q ow was #e made recorderT
*. Q Q Q By election of t#e miners.
R. Q Q Q S#ereT
*. Q Q Q 9n *ntamoc U w#at t#ey called t#e *ntamoc district.
R. Q Q Q Now, Mr. :avies, w#at claims were located %y you in Marc#, 2?J2V w#at w#ere t#e names of
t#e locationsT
*. Q Q Q *ri)ona, +e>as, Me>ico, New Me>ico, Otec, and *pe>.
R. Q Q Q State to t#e court !ust w#at you did w#en you went to *ntamoc in t#e early part of 2?J2.
*. Q Q Q Se went to *ntamoc and found &round w#ic# to my !ud&ment was mineralV 9 put up my
sta,esV as 9 said %efore, 9 #ad t#em put in record and proceeded to do my assessment wor, as we would
#ave done in t#e =nited States accordin& to our rules.
R. Q Q Q Sas t#ere anyone a%out t#e place w#en you locatedT
*. 6es, sirV 9&orots and some *mericans on t#e river.
R. Q Q Q Did you ma,e any in!ury in re&ard to t#e land around t#ereT
*. 9 learned w#en we went to t#e cree, t#at it was all located on t#e west side of t#e cree, and down to
t#e %an, on t#e sout# side of t#e river and t#e prospectors all %elieve t#at t#e ot#er side of t#e river was
t#e &round and land owned %y Mr. olman.
R. Q Q Q S#at in$uiries, if any, did you ma,e of t#e natives t#at were t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 9 made no in$uiries of any of t#em, %ecause 9 could not spea, t#e lan&ua&e, %ut t#ey told me
voluntarily t#at mountain %elon&ed to Mr. olman.
R. Q Q Q :eferrin& to w#at mountainT
*. *ntamoc Mountain.
R. Q Q Q ave you %een in possession of t#e &round located %y you in Marc#, 2?J2, since t#at timeT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q ave your performed wor, t#ereon since t#at time continuallyT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q State w#et#er or not you employed natives to assist in t#e developmentT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q ow manyT
*. Q Q Q *ll of t#e natives t#at were livin& around me at t#e time.
R. Q Q Q Sas t#ere any o%!ection made %y any one to your possession and developin& t#ese claimsT
*. Q Q Q None at all.
R. Q Q Q S#en was t#e first o%!ection, if any, made to your possessin& and developin& t#ese claimsT
*. Q Q Q +#e firs o%!ection comin& directly to me was w#en 9 &ot a paper from 'overnor 7ac, to come
into Ba&uio in 2?JB.
R. Q Q Q *t any time prior to t#at date did t#e plaintiff 5ian)a or any of t#e ot#er plaintiffs in any manner
o%!ect to you possession of said claims or to your development of t#emT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did t#e plaintiff, 5ian)a, or any of t#e ot#er plaintiffs ever inform you or &ive you any
information t#at t#ey claimed any part of t#e claims w#ic# you #ad located and were in possession ofT
*. Q Q Q +#ey did not.
R. Q Q Q S#at sta,es, if any, were upon t#e claims, w#en you located t#emT
*. Q Q Q 9 found one small sta,e wit# O. olman, re&istered 2D?C,P written in %lue pencil on it.
R. Q Q Q Did you find any ot#er sta,esT
*. Q Q Q 9 did not. +#e 9&orot w#o s#owed me t#at one too, me over to s#ow me t#e ot#ers and w#en
we &ot to w#ere #e said t#ey were, t#ey were &one. e said t#at t#e fire #ad %urned t#em up.
R. Q Q Q Did you ma,e a sufficient investi&ation of t#at &round to %e a%le to state as to w#et#er t#ere
were any ot#er posts on t#at &round located %y youT
*. Q Q Q 9 #ave %een over t#e &round more t#orou&#ly t#an and 9&orot in all #is lives and 9 never say
any sta,es.
R. Q Q Q +#ese sta,es were placed t#ere %y olmanT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV from w#at t#e 9&orot s#owed me it would indicate t#at t#e post 9 #ad come to was t#e
sout#west corner post of olmanNs claim.
Cilliam Mnauber, upon the *uestion of the claim of Fian2a to any particular tract of land in Antamoc, says0
R. Q Q Q S#at is your occupationT
*. Q Q Q En&ineer.
R. Q Q Q Did you follow your occupation as a land en&ineerT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV %ut in Colorado 9 was minnin& most of t#e time.
R. Q Q Q ow many years e>perience #ave you #ad in minnin&T
*. Q Q Q 5ive years.
R. Q Q Q S#ere you ever in Ben&uet 7rovince %eforeT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#enT
*. Q Q Q 8anuary, 5e%ruary, and Marc#, 2?JJ.
R. Q Q Q 5or w#at purposeT
*. Q Q Q Minin& and prospectin&.
R. Q Q Q Do ,now t#e minin& district of *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#ere you t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#en.
*. Q Q Q On t#e ?t# day of 8anuary, 2?JJ, at t#e *ntamoc minin& claims.
R. Q Q Q Did you do any prospectin&T
*. Q Q Q Not to amount to anyt#in&V 9 was !ust loo,in& aroundV t#at was all.
R. Q Q Q Did you ma,e any in$uiries as to w#et#er or not t#ere were any minin& claims in *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q ow did you ma,e t#e in$uiriesT
*. Q Q Q 5rom t#e president of 9to&on.
R. Q Q Q Do you remem%er t#e president %y nameT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now #im %y si&#tT
*. Q Q Q 9f 9 s#ould see #im.
R. Q Q Q 9 will &et you to loo, at 8ose 5ian)a and &et you to state if #e was t#e president of 9to&onT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV #e is t#e manV #e was supposed to %e t#e presidentV #e went wit# us to t#e minin&
property.
R. Q Q Q S#o was wit# you at t#e time you were at *ntamoc in$uirin& for claimsT
*. Q Q Q 9t was a Spaniard %y t#e name of +eodoro Mi&uel. e #ad lived around in t#is country for nine
years.
R. Q Q Q S#at was said and done t#ere Xreferrin& to t#e time w#en 5ian)a went wit# t#e witness to t#e
minin& propertyYT
*. Q Q Q +#e Spaniards and 9 went to 9to&onV we loo,ed for t#e president or some one w#o ,new a%out
t#is minin& propertyV w#o it %elon&ed to, and w#o was supposed to own it. +#is man 5ian)a said #e ,new
t#e property and ,new it %elon&ed to Mr. olman. 9 as,ed #im w#ere it was and if #e would &o wit# usV so
we went up t#ere wit# 5ian)aV 9 as,ed 5ian)a to s#ow us Mr. olmanNs sta,es or linesV t#en #e saidV 'o
over t#ere furt#er,N and #e pointed over t#e ravine and we went across t#e river and up to t#e top of t#e
#ill w#ere t#e slide was and from up t#ere %e s#owed us t#e sta,e and pointed to ot#er different points
down t#e riverV one was up near t#e river and anot#er off a ways from t#e ravine w#ic# runs up t#e slide,
as #e pointed nort# of nort#east to t#e different sta,es t#ereV t#en 9 as,ed #im if Mr. olman was
supposed to own all t#is property as a minin& claim and #e said yeasV it was all Mr. olmanNs property.N
R. Q Q Q Do you remem%er t#e date of t#at conversationT
*. Q Q Q On t#e ?t# of 8anuary, 2?JJ.
R. Q Q Q +#is property was at *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV from t#e top of t#e #ill a%ove t#e slide.
R. Q Q Q Did 5ian)a in t#at conversation ma,e an claim to t#at property to youT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did #e ma,e any claim to you of any minin& claimsT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did t#e 9&orot 5ian)a tell you t#at #e #ad minin& property in t#at part of *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#at was t#e reason for &oin& up t#ere, t#enT
*. Q Q Q +o s#ow us t#e property t#at %elon&ed to olman.
R. Q Q Q Did you pay #im anyt#in& for &oin& up t#ereT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
Antonio 1obiera testifying ith reference to the onership of the mines in Antamoc, said .p. &&'/0
R. Q Q Q S#ere do you liveT
*. Q Q Q La +rinidad. X+#is is a town located a few miles from Ba&uio in t#e 7rovince of Ben&uet.Y
R. Q Q Q ow lon& #ave you lived in +rinidadT
*. Q Q Q Since 2D?J.
R. Q Q Q S#at is your nationalityT
*. Q Q Q Spanis#.
R. Q Q Q *re you ac$uainted wit# t#e *ntamoc minin& districtT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV 9 #ave %een t#ere several times Fp. 22AG.
R. Q Q Q Durin& any of your trips to t#e *ntamoc mines or durin& your residence in Ben&uet 7rovince,
did you ever #ear of 5ian)a ownin& any mines or claimin& to own any minesT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q State if you ,now w#at was t#e &eneral understandin& amon& t#e in#a%itants of Ben&uet
7rovince as to t#e owners#ip of t#e mines at *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 9 never #eard any rumors a%out t#e owners#ip of t#ose mines.
R. Q Q Q State w#et#er or not it was &enerally understood in t#is province t#at any persons was free to
&o to t#ese mines and o%tain &old from t#em upon #is own account.
*. Q Q Q 9 did not #ear t#at t#e mines were wor,ed %y anyone in particular, %ut w#at 9 do ,now is t#at
everyone went t#ere and wor,ed and &ot &old t#at is, everyone w#o wanted to.
Continuing upon the same *uestion, Francisco #elancio testified as follos0
+#at #e was EC years old and #ad lived in t#e 7rovince of Ben&uet since 2DDJV t#at #e was secretary of
t#e province.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now 5ian)aT
*. Q Q Q 6es, 9 ,now #im.
R. Q Q Q Did you ever lived in *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#en were you livin& in *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q Since 2D?@.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#et#er t#ere are many mines in *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV t#ere are.
R. Q Q Q Did you ever #ear or ,now of 5ian)a claimin& to %e t#e owner of any mines at *ntamoc durin&
Spanis# timesT
*. Q Q Q 9 never #eard.
R. Q Q Q S#o wor,ed in t#ose mines durin& Spanis# timesT
*. Q Q Q +#e 9&orots w#o lived t#ere and any ot#er 9&orots w#o wanted to wor, t#ere.
R. Q Q Q Could any 9&orot w#o wanted to wor, t#ere in t#ose mines to ta,e out &old for #is own use do
soT
*. Q Q Q Some 9&orots from +u%lay and May%ayan also &o t#ere to &et &oldV 9 t#in, t#ey come %ecause
9 never #eard t#at anyone pro#i%ited t#em from doin& so.
R. Q Q Q Durin& Spanis# times did any one person claim to own t#ese minesT
*. Q Q Q 9 never o%served any one person pro#i%itin& it.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now Mr. ans olmanT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did #e ma,e any claim to any mines in *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 9 #ave %een told so %y #imV yes, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#en.
*. Q Q Q Before t#e arrival of t#e *mericans.
R. Q Q Q State w#et#er or not any papers were prepared %y you for Mr. olman relatin& to any minin&
claims %efore t#e *mericans arrived #ere.
*. Q Q Q Some papers Mr. olman wanted me to &ive 5ian)a for si&nature.
R. Q Q Q Did you si&n any papers for Mr. olmanT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Sere t#ese papers ta,en to 5ian)a for #is si&natureT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV Mr. olman too, t#ese papers #imself to &et 5ian)aNs si&nature.
R. Q Q Q Did you see t#is papers after #e #ad ta,en t#em to 5ian)aNs si&natureT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#at t#ose papers were a%outT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q State if you ,now w#at t#e said papers related to.
*. Q Q Q 9t related to mines.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#at mines it related toT
*. Q Q Q +#e *ntamoc mines.
R. Q Q Q Did you %uy any &old in *ntamoc w#en you were livin& t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#et#er t#e mines in *ntamoc #ad any particular owners durin& Spanis# times
or notT
*. Q Q Q 9 never #eard of any owners of t#ose mines.
R. Q Q Q Did you ever #ear of 5ian)a %ein& t#e owner of or claimin& to %e t#e owner of t#ose mines
durin& Spanis# timesT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did you ever #ear of 5ian)aNs fat#er, Domin&ue), claimin& to %e t#e owner of t#ese mines
durin& Spanis# timesT
*. Q Q Q No, sirV no one t#at 9 ,now of.
R. Q Q Q Did you %uy &old of t#e *ntamoc minesT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV 9 %ou&#t &old.
R. Q Q Q 5rom w#om did you %uy &oldT
*. Q Q Q 9 can not fi> t#e names of t#e 9&orots w#o sold me &oldV if any 9&orot wanted to pa me A or 2J
cents in &old. 9 e>c#an&ed salt and clot#in& wit# t#em for t#eir &old.
R. Q Q Q Did t#ey &et t#at &old from t#e mines of *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q Some 9&orots &et it from t#at mine and sometimes t#ey &ot it from t#e rivers.
R. Q Q Q Did you %uy any &old from t#e fat#er of 5ian)aT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did you %uy any &old from 5ian)aT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#at office #ave you #eld since 2D?@ under t#e 'overnmentT
*. Q Q Q 9 was secretary in *toc in 2D?@, N?A, and N?C.
R. Q Q Q S#ere you ever secretary of Ba&uioT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#enT
*. Q Q Q 9n 2D?D.
Folman testified upon this *uestion as follos0
R. Q Q Q ow lon& did you lived in t#e 7#ilippine 9slandsT
*. Q Q Q +en years.
R. Q Q Q Did you ever live in Ben&uet 7rovinceT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you &o to Ben&uet 7rovinceT
*. Q Q Q 9n 2D?A.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now t#e *ntamoc minin& district in t#is provinceT
*. Q Q Q Se denounced t#at mineV t#e papers w#ic# we made out were %urned up in
t#ecomandancia durin& t#e Spanis# &overnmentV we commenced t#e document of t#at mine in 2D?C.
R. Q Q Q S#at property did you denounce and #ow muc# of it and w#ere in *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q One #undred and twenty s$uare meters is w#at we denounced.
R. Q Q Q S#at part of *ntamoc Mountain did your claim coverT
*. Q Q Q On t#e side of t#e mountain, on t#e steep slope w#ere t#ere many #oles.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#ere t#e %arrio of *ntamoc isT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#ere t#e %arrio of *mpasit isT
*. Q Q Q 6es sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now t#e place on t#e side of t#e #ill called t#e slideT
*. Q Q Q 6es sir.
R. Q Q Q Did your claim include t#e w#ole of t#at slideT
*. Q Q Q 6es sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now t#e plaintiff 5ian)aT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q ow lon& you #ave ,nown #imT
*. Q Q Q 9t #as %een ten years.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#et#er or not #e ,new t#at you #ad commenced denunciation proceedin&s in
re&ard to t#at mine at *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6es sirV %ecause #e #imself si&ned t#e papers sayin& it was mine.
R. Q Q Q S#en did #e si&ned t#e papersT
*. Q Q Q 9 donNt remem%er w#at date it was, %ecause my fat#er #as ta,en t#e papers away wit# #imV
t#e witness w#o was !ust on t#e stand also si&ned t#e same #ere in t#e old tri%unal in t#e room
correspondin& to t#is one.
R. Q Q Q Did 5ian)a pretend to %e t#e owner of t#ose mines at t#e timeT
*. Q Q Q No, sirV #e never did say t#atV w#oever li,ed could &old from t#at mineV anyone could &et &old
from t#at mineV w#en 9 arrived t#ere #e did not complainV #e only said t#ey were mine FolmanNsG. 6ou
may &o to 9to&on and to *ntamoc and everyone everyw#ere will tell you t#at t#ey are mine.
R. Q Q Q 9 #and you plaintiffs E>#i%it C. w#ic# purports to %e plan of t#e mine claimed in t#is suit %y
5ian)a at *ntamoc, w#ic# purports include t#e place referred to %y you as t#e slide. State to w#at e>tent
your denunciation too, t#is in.
*. Q Q Q *ll a%ove t#e river Xplacin& #is #and on t#e mapY. +#e sta,es are t#ere yet if #ave not %een
torn down. +#e same people t#ere at *ntamoc put t#em t#ere.
R. Q Q Q Did you put up any sta,es of any ,indT
*. Q Q Q Se c#an&ed t#ese sta,es in 2D?DV 9 went t#ere t#ree times.V 9 went t#ere in 2?JBV we #ave
measured t#ese mines t#ree times and we too, erman, t#e en&ineer, wit# usV it is possi%le #e #as t#e
plan wit# #im.
R. Q Q Q Did 9&orots &enerally ,now t#at you #ad denounced mines at *ntomocT
*. Q Q Q 9 s#ould say so %ecause t#ey t#emselves say so.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#en t#e en&ineer erman measured your claimedT
*. Q Q Q 9 donNt remem%er t#e year, %ut it was a lon& time a&o.
R. Q Q Q S#o #elped you to lay off t#ese minesT
*. Q Q Q erman.
R. Q Q Q ow many e>cavations did you find in t#e mine w#en you went t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 9 t#in, five or si> #oles.
R. Q Q Q S#en you were t#ere t#e first time, was it, t#at 5ian)a si&ned t#e papers statin& t#at you were
t#e owner of t#e mines individuallyT
*. Q Q Q No sir afterwards.
R. Q Q Q ow lon& after was it t#at 5ian)a si&ned t#ese papersT
*. Q Q Q 9n 2D?E.
R. Q Q Q Did any ot#er 9&orot si&n t#at paper or a similar paper %esidesT
*. Q Q Q +wo c#iefs U ric# men.
R. Q Q Q S#o else si&ned t#e documentsT
*. Q Q Q 8ose Cari<o, * coupV 9 dont remem%er t#e ot#ers.
R. Q Q Q 9s t#is paper, plaintiffsN E>#i%it C, t#e plan of t#e &round you locatedT
*. Q Q Q 9t is.
R. Q Q Q ow do you ,now it is t#e same land t#at you denouncedT
*. Q Q Q 9 went t#ere myself.
R. Q Q Q By w#at mar, do you reco&ni)e t#at as t#e same landT
*. Q Q Q 9t is t#e same on w#ic# 9 placed sta,es.
R. Q Q Q Sere your sta,es placed in t#e same places as t#e sta,es indicated on t#is mapT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you remem%er Mr. :eavis &oin& to you %efore #e made a location in t#e *ntamoc property
and as,in& you w#et#er or not you #ad claims on t#at propertyT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV 9 remem%er.
R. Q Q Q S#at did you tell #imT
*. Q Q Q +a,e care, w#et#er you want to wor, or not, 9f you li,e to wor,, you wor,V 9 dont care a%out t#e
mines.
R. Q Q Q Did you put t#e sta,es on t#e *ntamoc Mountain yourself or did an official do t#is for youT
*. Q Q Q No, sirV 9 myself wit# t#e 9&orots of *ntamoc.
F. Clay Clyde, in testifying as to the e4clusive use by the plaintiff of the land in *uestion, said0
R. Q Q Q S#en did you first &o to t#e *ntamoc minin& districtT
*. Q Q Q 8uly, 2?JJ.
R. Q Q Q 5or w#at purposeT
*. Q Q Q +o prospect.
R. Q Q Q Did you prospect &enerally over t#e *ntamoc districtT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV 9 loo,ed around $uite a %it. +#e 9&orots told me t#at 9 %elon&ed to Mr. olman, so 9
loo,ed around and as t#ey #ad all t#e land 9 came %ac, to my campV and afterwards in Decem%er of t#e
same year 9 went t#ere to loo, it over a&ain and 9 made some locations in 8anuary, 2?J2.
R. Q Q Q Xandin& witness paper mar,ed for identification ;8.;Y *ssumin& t#is to %e an appro>imately
accurate dia&ram of t#e *ntamoc minin& district, state w#et#er or not you saw a post wit# a cowNs #ead
on it near t#e !unction of t#e trails leadin& to 'amoc, 9to&on, and Ba&uio.
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV 9 saw t#at sta,e t#ere.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you first see t#atT
*. Q Q Q +#e first time 9 went t#ere in 8uly, 2?JJ.
R. Q Q Q State w#et#er or not you saw any ot#er mar, in t#e way of a tree wit# some stones in t#e
%ranc#es of it.
*. Q Q Q +#e 9&orots s#owed me t#at mar, in Decem%er, 2?JJV it was a tree on t#e side of t#e #ill,
per#aps a little sout# of east from my #ouse. 9 mar,ed my #ouse wit# t#e letter OC.P
R. Q Q Q S#at did t#e 9&orot say t#ey presentedT
*. Q Q Q e said it represented t#e limits of olmanNs claim and pointed off in t#e direction eastward
toward anot#er sta,e, so 9 never interfered upon t#at &round.
R. Q Q Q *t t#e time t#e 9&orot pointed out t#ese mar,s to you, #e stated t#at t#ey were olmanNs
claims. Did you %elieve it %elon&ed to olmanT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q 9s t#at t#e reason you didnNt locate claims t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#ere t#e claims of t#e defendant :eavis were locatedT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q State w#et#er or not t#e claims claimed %y t#e defendant :eavis were wit#in t#e %oundaries
of t#e &round descri%ed to you %y t#e 9&orot as %ein& t#e claim of olmanT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you first ,now t#e plaintiff 5ian)a claimed any minin& laws came out.
*. Q Q Q *%out t#e latter part of 8une or 8uly, 2?JB, !ust %efore t#e minin& property in t#e vicinityT
R. Q Q Q Sere you in t#e nei&#%or#ood of t#ese mines prior to t#at timeT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did you #ear any 9&orot or any person say or intimate t#at 5ian)a #ad any claims t#ereT
*. Q Q Q NoV 9 never #eard of anyone.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#et#er or not t#e defendant :eavies #as %een in possession of t#e minin&
claim sta,ed out %y #im, as testified to %y you, in Marc#, 2?J2T
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q as #e wor,ed t#ese mines since t#enT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Does #e live on any of t#emT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
7erry 9ams testified upon t#e same $uestion as follows"
R. Q Q Q S#en did you first visit t#e district U w#en t#e *mericans attempted to or&ani)e w#at is ,nown
as t#e *ntamoc minin& districtT
*. Q Q Q +#e latter part of Decem%er, 2?JJ.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#ere t#e defendant :eavis #as located claims t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did you prospect over t#at countryT
*. Q Q Q 9 went over t#e country %ut 9 did not prospect it.
R. Q Q Q S#y notT
*. Q Q Q +#e secretary of t#e %arrio t#ere, w#en we went over t#e first time, told me t#at t#e property
t#ere %elon&ed to Mr. olman, so 9 didnNt waste any time prospectin& t#ere.
R. Q Q Q Did you ma,e any attempt to find out w#at property olman claimed t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV 9 as,ed t#e secretary to s#ow me t#e e>tent of olmanNs claim and #e sent an 9&orot
wit# me to s#ow me t#e sta,es w#ic# olman #ad placed up t#ere.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#at t#e &round was pointed out to you as %ein& claimed %y olman at t#e
timeT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV 9 remem%er very distinctly t#at &round.
R. Q Q Q 7oint out to t#e court t#e &round t#at was pointed out to you as %ein& olmanNs claim, wit#
reference to t#e claim as now #eld and claimed %y t#e defendant :eavis.
*. Q Q Q Sell, Mr. :eaviesNs claim would %e inside t#e lines t#at t#ey claimed %elon&ed to Mr. olman
at t#e time.
R. Q Q Q +#e w#ole of #is claim %e insideT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV all of #is claim would %e inside t#e lines.
R. Q Q Q Did you see any wor, done t#ere sout# of t#e river, near t#e !unction of t#e trails t#at run to
'amoc, 9to&on, and Ba&uioT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#at ,ind of a post did you see t#ereT
*. Q Q Q +#e post was E or D feet #i&#, wit# a cowNs #ead fi>ed onto it.
R. Q Q Q Sas t#ere any ot#er si&n seen %y youT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV a tree nort# of t#ere, or a little west of nort#, and loc,ed up in t#e %ranc#es of t#e tree
were some stones, and t#ey told me it was t#e ot#er corner of Mr. olmanNs &round.
R. Q Q Q S#o called your attention to t#ese pointsT
*. Q Q Q +#e 9&orot w#o #ad s#owed to me Mr. olmanNs claim.
R. Q Q Q Did #e indicate any ot#er pointT
*. Q Q Q e s#owed me t#ere sta,es and t#en pointed to w#ere t#e ot#er corner was.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#en Mr. :eavis located t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#enT
*. Q Q Q 9 t#in, #e located #is first claim t#ere in Marc#, 2?J2T
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#et#er or not #e sta,ed t#at out in 2?J2T
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q ow do you ,nowT
*. Q Q Q 9 saw #is sta,es t#ere.
R. Q Q Q Did any 9&orot, durin& t#e time you were t#ere, ever claim any minin& propertyT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you first learn t#at 5ian)a claimed any minin& property in t#at districtT
*. Q Q Q 9 dont remem%er t#e e>act dateV it was $uite a lon& time after 9 #ad %een livin& at *ntamoc U
a%out a year after U %efore 9 ,new #e ever claimed any minin& land t#ere.
R. Q Q Q Sas Mr. :eavis in possession of minin& claims t#ere many mont#s %efore you #eard of
5ian)a claimin& any interest in t#at propertyT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Durin& t#e time did you see any 9&orots wor,in& for Mr. :eavisT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q ow lon& did you wor, for #im FMr. :eavisGT
*. Q Q Q *%out two wee,s.
R. Q Q Q S#at ,ind of wor, were you doin& for Mr. :eavisT
*. Q Q Q Drivin& tunnels.
R. Q Q Q S#ereT
*. Q Q Q On #is claim in *ntamoc.
R. Q Q Q Can you state w#et#er or not t#at t#e wor, was done on t#e same property w#ic# #e now
claimsT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did anyone o%!ect to you U did Mr. :eavis or any of #is ot#er employees U wor,in& on said
claimT
*. Q Q Q No, sir.
R. Q Q Q 6ou were wor,in& durin& t#e daytimeT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#ere you livin& at t#at timeT
*. Q Q Q 9n *ntamoc.
R. Q Q Q S#ere was Mr. :eavis livin& at t#at timeT
*. Q Q Q On #is claim in t#e same #ouse #e is livin& in now.
Fred ,teuber testified upon the same *uestion as follos0
R. Q Q Q ave you %een down to t#e *ntamoc districtT
*. Q Q Q 9 came t#ere in Octo%er, 2?J2.
R. Q Q Q S#at did you do t#ere in 2?J2T
*. Q Q Q 9 was wor,in& for Mr. :eavis in t#e mine U at t#e &old mines.
R. Q Q Q S#ere was Mr. :eavis minin& at t#e timeT
*. Q Q Q *ntamoc.
R. Q Q Q ow lon& did you wor, for #imT
*. Q Q Q *%out t#ree mont#s.
R. Q Q Q S#ere t#ere any ot#er persons wor,in& for #im w#ile you were wor,in& for #imT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV 9&orots.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now t#e claims #e is now claimin&T
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q 9s t#at t#e same &round t#at you were wor,in& in 2?J2T
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Durin& t#e time you were wor,in& for Mr. :eavis did anyone o%!ect to #is wor,in& t#ose
claimsT
*. Q Q Q No, sirV not to my ,nowled&e.
R. Q Q Q Durin& t#at time did you #ear any 9&orot claimin& any part of t#ose mines or claimsT
*. Q Q Q 5rom w#at 9 understood from t#e 9&orots t#ere, t#ey said t#at Mr. :eavis was foolis# to wor,
t#ose mines as t#ey %elon&ed to olmanV 9 did not ,now olman at t#e timeV 9 did not #ear t#em say t#at
t#ey %elon&ed to any 9&orots t#ere.
-elson !eterson, testifying upon the same *uestion, said0
R. Q Q Q *re you ac$uainted wit# t#e district ,nown as t#e *ntamoc minin& districtT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you &o t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 9n t#e year 2?J2, in 5e%ruary.
R. Q Q Q S#at were you doin& t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 7rospectin&V locatin& claims.
R. Q Q Q S#ile you were prospectin& t#ere was any mention made of any property interests t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV 9 understood t#at olman #ad some property interests t#ere.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#et#er Mr. :eavis #as any minin& claims at t#e present timeT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q State w#ere t#e property is w#ic# was pointed out to you as olmanNs property, wit# reference
to t#e claims owned %y :eavis.
*. Q Q Q 9t covers practically t#e same property.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#ere :eavis livesT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Does #e live on any part of t#e claims #e stac,ed out in t#e early part of 2?J2T
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
F. !. Chitmarsh testified upon the same *uestion as follos0
R. Q Q Q S#at official position, if any, did you ever occupy in t#e 7rovince of Ben&uetT
*. Q Q Q 5irst &overnor under *merican occupation.
R. Q Q Q Sere you Ben&uet 7rovince %efore you were appointed &overnorT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV nearly a year %efore.
R. Q Q Q State as near as you can w#en you first came to Ba&uioT
*. Q Q Q +#e later part of Decem%er, 2D??, or t#e %e&innin& of 8anuary, 2?JJ.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now t#e district ,nown as t#e *ntamoc minin& districtT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did you ever &o t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV 9 went t#ere to &et information a%out t#e mines of t#e country.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now t#e plaintiff 5ian)aT
*. 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q State w#et#er or not you saw #im w#en you first came to t#is province.
*. Q Q Q 9 stayed wit# #im in *ntamoc w#en 9 first went t#ere.
R. Q Q Q S#at position did #e occupy at t#at timeT
*. Q Q Q 9 understood #e was president.
R. Q Q Q Did you ever tal, wit# #im in reference to t#e mines in *ntamoc
*. Q Q Q *ll a%out t#e mines in t#e vicinityV #e advised me to &o to *ntamoc to loo, at t#em.
R. Q Q Q S#at did #e say in reference to t#e *ntamoc minesT
*. Q Q Q e said t#at olman owned t#e place w#ere t#ey were.
R. Q Q Q Did 5ian)a at t#at time tell you t#at #e owned any part of t#at mineT
*. Q Q Q No. sir.
R. Q Q Q Did you &o to #im for t#e purpose of o%tainin& information re&ardin& t#ese miensT
*. Q Q Q 9 as,ed #im a%out t#em t#e time 9 came %ac, to 9to&onV 9 went t#ere first and t#en came %ac,
and stayed wit# 5ian)a and t#en #e told me t#at olman #ad denounced some claims t#ere.
R. Q Q Q Did you #ear any ot#er person say t#at olman #ad #eld minin& property t#ere or #ad
denounced some claimsT
*. Q Q Q is fat#er wrote me a%out it and some 9&orot w#om 9 met in *ntamoc pointed out t#e #ill of
*ntamoc as %elon&in& to olman, and olman told me so #imself.
R. Q Q Q Did t#ey point out t#at #ill on your first trip t#ereT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now t#e defendant :eavisT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you remem%er w#en #e first came to Ba&uioT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV in t#e fall of 2?JJ.
R. Q Q Q ave you any personal ,nowled&e of #is locatin& any mines at *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#en t#ey were locatedT
*. Q Q Q 9n t#e %e&innin& of 2?J2.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you first learn of 5ian)a ma,in& claim to mines in *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q S#en #e came to t#e tri%unal and spo,e of it.
R. Q Q Q S#en was t#atT
*. Q Q Q *s 9 remem%er some time a%out 8une or 8uly, 2?J2, 9 s#ould say U w#ile 9 was &overnor.
R. Q Q Q *fter you #ad seen t#e sta,es pointed out to you %y Mr. :eavis as #is claimT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
@. 3. Melly testified upon the same *uestion as follos0
R. Q Q Q S#at is your occupationT
*. Q Q Q Minin&.
R. Q Q Q ow lon& #ave you resided at BuaT
*. Q Q Q +#ree years.
R. Q Q Q ave you %een en&a&ed in t#e occupation of minin& durin& all t#at timeT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you first enter t#e 7rovince of Ben&uetT
*. Q Q Q *%out 8anuary, 2?J2.
R. Q Q Q 5or w#at purpose did you &o t#ere at t#at timeT
*. Q Q Q +o mine.
R. Q Q Q *nd to w#at particular parts of t#e province did you &oT
*. Q Q Q 7retty muc# all over t#e province.
R. Q Q Q *re you familiar wit# t#e district ,nown as *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did you visit t#at district on t#at trip in 8anuary, 2?J2T
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did you %ecome familiar wit# t#e minin& conditions at *ntamoc at t#at timeT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. *re you familiar wit# t#e property t#at is now claimed %y 8. 5. :eavis under t#e minin& location sta,ed
%y #imT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Did you %ecome familiar wit# t#e property in 8anuary, 2?J2T
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Sill you state w#at was t#e condition of t#at property w#en you first %ecame familiar wit# it T
*. Q Q Q S#en 9 first %ecame familiar wit# it t#ere were some natives wor,in& t#ere w#o were, as 9 was
told, wor,in& for olmanV t#at is, t#e &old t#ey recovered was to %e turned over to olman and t#ey were
to receive so muc# per ounce for every ounce t#ey recovered.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now Mr. olmanT
*. Q Q Q 9 ,now #is fat#er.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you %ecome ac$uainted wit# #is fat#erT
*. Q Q Q 9n Marc# or *pril, 2?J2.
R. Q Q Q 9n relation to w#at matter did you %ecome ac$uainted wit# #imT
*. Q Q Q 9 went to see Mr. olman wit# a view to purc#asin& #is *ntamoc #oldin&s.
R. Q Q Q S#at, if anyt#in&, transpired at t#at conference wit# olmanT
*. Q Q Q 9 as,ed #im wit# referrence to #is #oldin&s in t#e *ntamoc district, and #e told me t#at #e #ad
a mine t#ere t#at #is %rot#er #ad %een loo,in& after for #im U no, not #is %rot#er, #is son rat#er. 9 as,ed
#im if t#e property was for sale and #e said t#at it wasV w#en 9 as,ed #im w#at t#e price was 9 donNt
remem%er now !ust w#at fi&ure #e did place on it, %ut it was out of t#e $uestion and 9 told #im 9 couldnNt
consider it. Some time later #e sent for me and &ave me a more reasona%le price. 9 $uestion #im t#en in
re&ard to t#e titleV #e told me t#at #e #ad secured #is first papers on t#e mines and would #ave #ad t#e
final papers #ad it not %een for t#e Spanis#-*merican war. e also s#owed me t#e report made %y Mr.
erman, t#e 'erman minin& en&ineer, w#o was in Manila at t#at time. 9n t#is report erman advised
olman to raise Z2JJ,JJJ &old for prospectin& purposes on t#e *ntamoc mines. 9 learned t#at t#e
property #ad %een resta,ed %y t#e *mericans, after t#at, so 9 dropped it and #ad not#in& more to do wit#
it.
R. Q Q Q *re you familiar wit# t#e location of t#e lands concernin& w#ic# you ne&otiated wit# Mr.
olmanT Do you ,now w#at mines t#ey were t#at #e was offerin& youT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now w#at t#ey areT Do you ,now !ust w#ere t#ey lieT t#at is w#at 9 mean %y %ein&
familiar wit# t#eir location.
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#ere do t#ey lie wit# reference to t#e minin& lands w#ic# are claimed %y Mr. :eavisT
*. Q Q Q 7ractically t#e same &round.
R. Q Q Q So far as you ,now, t#en, Mr. olman was t#e undisputed owner of t#e mines in $uestionT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV so far as 9 learned in t#e district.
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now 8ose 5ian)aT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q ow lon& #ave you ,nown #imT
*. Q Q Q +#ree years,
R. Q Q Q Did you meet #im durin& your trip in 8anuary, 2?J2T
*. Q Q Q No, sir. 9 did not.
R. Q Q Q S#en did you first meet #imT
*. Q Q Q 9 may #ave met #im later on in 8anuary, 2?J2- noV 9 met #im in Novem%er, 2?JB.
R. Q Q Q +#en 5ian)a was not in possession of t#e *ntamoc mines in 8anuary, 2?J2T
*. Q Q Q Not t#at 9 ever #eard ofV 9 never ,new anyt#in& of it.
R. Q Q Q S#en you met 8ose 5ian)a, %etween t#at time and t#e present time, #ave you discussed
minin& matters in t#e province of Ben&uet wit# #imT
*. Q Q Q Not anyt#in& furt#er t#an t#at Mr. 5ian)a, w#en 'overnor 7ac, sent #is private secretary to
locate t#is claim of :eavis, t#ey came to my place. +#ey went down and located t#e &round, sta,ed it out,
and returned to Ba&uio to t#e recorderNs office to #ave it recorded. 5ian)a, on #is way #ome, came %y my
place and stopped and offered me t#e claim t#at #e #ad !ust located U or did not offer it to meV #e told me
it was for sale for ZBA,JJJ.
R. Q Q Q Sas t#at t#e first time t#at you ,new of 5ian)a #avin& a claim on any mine at *ntamocT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q S#en was t#is, wit# reference to t#e location of :eavisNs claimT Sas it %efore or afterT
*. Q Q Q 9 s#ould !ud&e it was a year or suc# a matter after.
R Q Q Q 6ou are positive it was after and %eforeT
* Q Q Q 9 am very positive
R. Q Q Q ad you ,nown 5ian)a previous to t#is timeT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q ad ever claimed to %e t#e owner of t#ese *ntamoc mines to t#is timeT
*. Q Q Q Never.
It is confidently contended that a careful reading of the testimony of the itnesses *uoted above ill
justify the folloing propositions0
5irst. +#at t#e plaintiff 5ian)a prior to t#e commencement of t#is action did not claim or pretended to
claim t#e e>clusive ri&#t to occupy any particular tract or parcel of land in t#e mountain of *ntamoc.
Second. +#at #e made no effort to prevent t#e wor,in& and occupation %y alone mine in said mountain.
+#ird. +#at olman too, possession of a well-defined tract of land in said mountain, coverin& t#e present
claims of t#e defendant, in t#e year 2D?C, wit#out any o%!ection or protest from t#e plaintiff 5ian)a or any
of t#e ot#er coplaintiffs.
5ourt#. +#at t#e defendant, :eavis, found t#e lands or claims now in $uestion unoccupied %y anyone in
t#e early part of t#e year 2?J2, and t#at #e too, possession of t#e same peacea%ly, wit#out protest or
o%!ection from t#e plaintiffs or any one of t#em.
5ift#. +#at neit#er t#e plaintiff 5ian)a nor any of t#e ot#er plaintiffs attempted to occupy t#e particular tract
or parcel of land in $uestion or any ot#er tract of parcel of land in t#e mountain of *ntamoc for minin&
purposes, or for any ot#er purposes, to t#e e>clusion of all ot#er persons.
The defendant did not dispossess the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs ere not in possession of the particular tract
or parcel of land at the time the defendant too< possession. The loer court, upon this *uestion, made the
folloing finding of fact .bill of e4ception, p. ''/0 QThe court finds that the defendant, @ohn F. 1eavis,
entered upon the mines oned and claimed by the plaintiffs in the year &()&, and sta<ed out his three
claims therefrom, under t#e #onest %elief t#at t#e &ame was included in an a%andoned, forfeited Spanis#
&rant of one ans olman, and t#at at t#at time of #is first entry t#ereon, and t#e settin& of #is sta,es #e
#ad no actual ,nowled&e t#at t#e 9&orots, w#o were t#en livin& upon t#e lands, claimed t#e owners#ip of
said mines.P
The loer court ma<es the further finding of fact in reference to the entry of the defendant upon the lands
in *uestion .bill of e4ceptions, p. 5$/0 QIn the month of +arch, &()&, the defendant entered upon t#e
lands embraced in and ne4t to the mines of the said plaintiff, upon t#e information t#at said mines of t#e
plaintiffs, #ad %een located under t#e Spanis# Minin& Law %y one ans olman, in t#e year 2D?C, and
t#at t#is mine and mines were a%andoned %y said ans olman, and t#at t#ey were vacant mineral and
minin& lands, proceeded to sta,e and located t#ese claims under t#e minin& laws in force in t#e =nited
States.P
The loer court ma<es the statement that the plaintiff immediately protested to the defendant against his
occupation of said mines. It is confidentially asserted that there is not a sin&le word of proof in t#e record
to support t#is findin& of fact. The defendant states in his testimony that the plaintiff never made a protest
to him personally in reference to his occupancy of the said mines. The plaintiff, Fian2a, states in more
than one instance that he protested to other7 he does not state that he made a protest to the defendant.
The loer court in its decision .bill of e4ceptions, p. 56/ attempts to ma<e it appear that in +ay, &()5, the
defendant, by an agreement entered into before the governor of the !rovince of >enguet, recogni2ed the
rights of the plaintiff to the possession of said lands. The attorney for the plaintiffs, hoever, in this court
ma<es no such contention. Fe says0 Q+#e a&reement of May, 2?JB, did not, and was not intended to ,
affect t#e ri&#ts of eit#er party.P A reading of the agreement entered into beteen the parties hereto
before said governor fully justifies the statement of the attorney for the plaintiffs.
-otithstanding the conclusions of the loer court, that the plaintiff had occupied the particular tract of
land to the e4clusion of all others for so many years, it finds .bill of e4ceptions, p. ';/ Qthat the plaintiffs in
this case, during the entire time of the occupancy of these Islands by ,pain and up to the date of the
transfer of sovereignty to the Jnited ,tates .April &&, &%((/, did not &ain, nor could t#ey &ain under t#e
laws t#en in force, and ri&#t, title, or interest to the mines in *uestion nor the minerals therein by virtue of
their possession, and the or<ing of the same. The doctrine of prescription as against the Cron of ,pain
never applied to the mineral lands of the !hilippine Islands.P
It is clear, therefore, that any right of the plaintiff herein must have its origin in legislation had subse*uent
to the American occupation. The plaintiff had done nothing at any time up to the time of the conclusion of
this action in the court belo to comply ith the act of Congress of @uly &, &()5, hich act as e4tended
to the !hilippine Islands on August &$, &()5, hile upon the other hand, the defendant, honestly and in
good faith, too< peacea%le possession of t#e lands w#ic# #e claims, and attempted and did comply wit#
t#e rules and re&ulations applica%le to mineral lands in t#e =nited States, and immediately upon t#e
promul&ation of t#e act of Con&ress too, all of t#e steps re$uired in said act to locate and record #is
claims.
It is insisted that one ho claims mineral land under the act of Congress in force in these Islands must
define the site of the ground ith such certainty as may be necessary to prevent mista<e on the part of
the ?overnment and on the part of citi2ens ho may be as<ing a li<e benefit. This re*uirement placed
upon all persons claiming mineral lands is but a reasonable and necessary re*uirement in order to justify
administer the la, and therefore a description of the location of mineral lands hich
is indefinite and uncertain, for the purposes of holding a particular tract of land, is void.
.Fa4on vs.>ernard, $ Fed. 1ep., =)5,/
The loer court in its decision .bill of e4ceptions, p. &(/ admitted that the description of the lands in
*uestion as so indefinite and uncertain t#at t#e court could not determine t#e e>act nature of t#e conflict
of lines and %oundaries. If the court, hile it had the itnesses in its presence, could not be determine the
Qe4act nature of the conflict of lines and boundariesP of the lands in dispute, ho can it justify its perpetual
injunction hich it granted against the defendant to prevent him from entering upon and landsO The court
further says, in discussing the *uestion of the title to the lands .bill of e4ceptions, p. '$00 and definite in all
respects,, save one7 that one e>ceptions relates to t#e e>act %oundary lines of t#e opposin& claimants in
reference to t#e t#eir relations wit# eac# ot#er.P It is submitted, therefore, that the evidence produced
during the trial in said cause as not sufficient to sho that the plaintiff had occupied a definite, ell9
defined tract of land to the e4clusion of all others.
The plaintiff as not entitled to the benefit of the e4traordinary, e*uitable remedy of the injunction until he
had proved that he as the oner of, or entitled to the possession, of, a ell defined tract of land or mine,
mar<ed certain lines and limits. Fe must first sho that he had a right of the possession of the said tract,
not only against the ?overnment of the !hilippine Islands but as ell against the defendant
.?illim vs. Donnellan, &&6, J.,., $6./
It is admitted that the defendant, some time after the promulgation of the act of Congress in these Islands,
attempted to comply ith the re*uirements thereof, in locating and recording his claims and that the
plaintiffs did nothing toard complying ith the said la. It is also admitted that the plaintiffs, at the time of
the transfer of ,panish sovereignty over the !hilippine Islands to the Jnited ,tates, had no right, title, nor
interest in the lands in *uestion. >earing these facts in mind, it is contended t#at t#e mere na,ed
possession of a minin& claim upon pu%lic land is not sufficient to #old suc# claim as a&ainst su%se$uent
location, made in t#e pursuance of t#e law, and ,ept alive %y a compliance t#erewit#.
In the present case the plaintiffs attempted to stand upon t#e %are possession, wit#out a location or
record a&ainst t#e defendant, w#o #ad a location and record. Jnder such circumstances there is no
presumption of title in favor of the party in possession7 but, if there as, #e w#o s#ows a valid location as
a&ainst na,ed possession #as t#e %etter ri&#t. .-oyes vs. >lac<, $ +ontana, 6'$, 5 !ac. 1ep., =;(7
Fop<ins vs. -oyes, 5 !ac. 1ep., 5%)7 Le Landle vs. +cDonald, &' !ac. 1ep., '$(./
The case of Bel, vs. Mea&#er .&)$ J.,., 5=(/ is cited by the majority opinion to support the doctrine laid
don in its decision. A careful reading of that decision supports rather the contention of the defendant.
The court in that case said0 QJnder the provisions of the 1evised ,tatus relied on, >el< could get a patent
for the claim attempted to locate unless he secured hat is here made the e*uivalent of a valid location
by actually holding and or<ing for the re*uisite time. If he actually held possession and or<ed the claim
long enough and ,ept all ot#ers out his right to a patent ould be complete. Fe had no grant of any right
of possession. Fis ultimate right to a patent depended entirely on his <eeping himself in and all others out,
and if he as not actually in, he as in la, out.P In the same case the court continues0 QA peaceful
adverse entry, coupled ith a right to hold the possession, hich as thereby ac*uired, operated as an
ouster hich bro<e the continuity of his .>el<Rs/ holding and deprived him of that title #e mi&#t #ave &ot if
he had <ept for the re*uisite length of time. e #ad made no suc# location as prevented t#e lands from
%ein&, in law, vacant. Ot#ers #ad t#e ri&#t to enter for t#e purpose of ta,in& t#em up if it could %e done
peacea%ly and wit#out force.P
The folloing facts are admitted in the present case0 First, that the plaintiffs up to the time of the trial of
said cause in the loer court, even though the la had been in force in these Islands for nearly to years,
had made no attempt to definitely located or record their claims7 second, that the defendant entered upon
the lands he claims peacea%ly and wit#out opposition7 third, that the defendant continued in possession of
said land until the injunction as granted by the loer court7 fourth, that immediately upon being informed
of the re*uirements under the said act of Congress he complied thereith7 fifth, that about eighteen
months prior to the date of the said act of Congress the defendant had located the mines in *uestion and
performed the or< upon them as re*uired by the statutes of the Jnited ,tates.
:ur ne4t proposition is, that it as not the custom of the Igorots, a mountain tribe occupying the hills of
the !rovince of >enguet, to occupy any parcel or tract of land, either of mining or for farming purposes, to
the e4clusion of other members of the same tribe. The majority opinion says that the plaintiff had or<ed
the particular mines in *uestion for fifty years or more. +#ere is no %etter proof of t#e fact t#at t#is
statement is false t#an t#e fact t#at no e>cavations were found upon t#e said land at t#e time t#e
defendant went t#ere, w#ic# a #alf a do)en men mi&#t not #ave made in one dayNs operation.
As to the custom of the Igorots to move from one place to plane and not to abide permanently in or
occupy any particular place, e desire to record the anser. Fian2a himself .record, p.$/ states0 QThe
e4cavations ere not the same7 there ere many different classes of e4cavations T some of & fathom
depth and some 5 fathoms deep. :ur custom is if e do not find gold in & fathom or 5 fathoms, e or<
another place until e do find some.P
+ateo CariNo .Igorot/ .record, p. $)/ said that the Igorots moved the holes to find the veins.
1eavis .record, p. '$/ stated that the character of the mining done by the Igorots as hat is called in the
Jnited ,tates Qgophering.P
Clyde .record, p. &$=/ said0 QThe custom among the Igorots as to dig little holes and follo up little
stringers here they could see a little free gold, and then they ould put roc<s on roc<s and grind them
out and sell it for hat they could go for it. They never located an claims to property. They ould go into
the ground and or< as long as any gold and as there and then another Igorot ould come along and
find a little gold and he ould continue and an of them that came along ould or< at any place they
anted to7 they never claimed onership for any length of time7 they ould or< in one place and may be
for one ee<7 they ould or< in one place a ee< and the ne4t place they might be or<ing ould be a
mile from there in another entirely different place.P
Iams .record, p. &6%/ said as to the custom of the Igorots0 QAs near as I could find out the Igorot miners
mine herever they can find any gold, regardless of any claims7 they never claim any mining property.
From hat I have seen there they hunt for rich stringers7 hen they find one they follo it and or< it out
li<e e call QgopheringP in the Jnited ,tates.P
Fred ,tenber .record, p. &;6/ said0 QThere ere some small holes all over the country.P
Melly said .record, pp. ;, =, and %/, in ansering to the *uestion. QChat ould you say concerning the
custom of the Igorots ith reference to the ascertain of e4clusive property right over mining claimsOP
Igorots go to mining, as a rule, every year, after the rainy season, and maybe a certain Igorot ill mine on
one river this year and the ne4t year he ill be off on some other stream or on some other *uart2 lode,
just the same7 he ill find a small little stringer, as e call them, here you can see some free gold. Fe
ill or< that out until he gets tired of it and then he ill go to some other place and another one7 maybe
some other Igorot ill come along and go into the one that he has left and or< that a hile in that ay
and then run over the hole country and or< in a little hole here and a little hole there, and they or< it
until they are tired of it and then go to some place else.
R. Q Q Q S#ile an 9&orot is wor,in& #is discovery of a poc,et, or strin&er as you term, it, for #ow &reat a
distance does #e e>clude ot#er 9&orots from wor,in&T
*. Q Q Q Sell, very often #e allows several of t#em to &o in wit# #im and #e &ives t#em an e$ual
interest in w#at t#ey recoverV #e will allow several of #is friends to &o in and #elp #im to wor, and &ive
t#em all e$ual interest in w#at t#ey recover.
R. Q Q Q 9n t#e same poc,etT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV #e donNt e>clude t#en at allV #e !ust claims t#e little #ole #e is in, B %y @, !ust %i&
enou&# to crawl in.
R. Q Q Q *nd w#en you spea, of admittin& ot#er persons on e$ual s#ares wit# #im, you mean admit
t#em to t#e same little #ole in w#ic# #e is wor,in&T
*. Q Q Q 6es, sirV t#e same place.
R. Q Q Q Now, for #ow lon& does #e claim owners#ip of t#at particular #ole or poc,etT
*. Q Q Q Sell, it depends a &ood deal on #ow far t#is little strea, of pay, as t#ey call it, will e>tendV
may%e t#ey will wor, a mont# and may%e a wee,.
R. Q Q Q +#en 9 understand you to say #e claims it only durin& suc# time as #e is wor,in& itT
*. Q Q Q 6es, sir.
R. Q Q Q e does not e>ercise any claim of owners#ip over it after #e #as ceased wor,T
*. Q Q Q No. sir.
R. Q Q Q ave you ,nown 8ose 5ian)a to #ave conducted any minin& operations upon t#ese *ntomoc
minesT
*. Q Q Q No, sirV 9 #ave not any more t#an t#e natives w#o recover &old any place in t#e districtV t#at
are supposed to ta,e it to 5ian)a.
R. Q Q Q +a,e it #im for w#at purposeT
*. Q Q Q +o pay t#eir inde%tedness or to sell it to #im for w#atever #e #ad a mind to pay for it. 9 #ave
%een told %y some of t#e oldest 9&orots in t#at district t#at 5ian)a at one time used to pay a medio peso
for w#at was considered an ounce of &old.
R. Q Q Q By virtue of w#at did t#is arran&ement e>istT
*. Q Q Q *s near as 9 can learn #e is t#e #i&# c#ief of t#e %arrio For tri%eG and t#ey all loo,ed up to #im
as suc#.
R. Q Q Q Did it e>ist %ecause of any owners#ip or claim of owners#ip on t#e part of 5ian)a of t#ese or
any particular minesT
*. Q Q Q Not to my ,nowled&e.
1obiera, a ,paniard ho had lived in the !rovince of >enguet for ten or telve years, testified as to this
custom as follos0
R. Q Q Q Do you ,now t#at custom t#at was in vo&ue in Spanis# times wit# referrence to minin& in
*ntamoc minin& districtT
*. Q Q Q +#e custom t#at t#ey #ad for wor,in& t#ose mines was t#at any 9&orot w#o wanted to went
t#ere and wor,ed and t#en sold t#e &old, %ut 9 never #eard or ,new of anyone claimin& to %e t#e owner of
t#e mines.
R. Q Q Q State to t#e court #ow you learned t#at custom.
*. Q Q Q 9 learned it %y &oin& over it sellin& &oodsV 9 saw t#at all t#e 9&orots sold me &old and t#at it was
t#e custom of everyone w#o wanted to &o t#ere and &et out &old from t#ose mines.
Francisco #alencio, ho had lived in the !rovince of >enguet for many years and had been an official
there under the ,panish ?overnment, testified as to the custom of the Igorots as follos0
R. Q Q Q S#o wor,ed in t#ose mines durin& Spanis# timesT
*. Q Q Q +#e 9&orots w#o lived t#ere and any ot#er 9&orots w#o wanted to wor, t#ere.
R. Q Q Q Could any 9&orots w#o wanted to wor, t#ere in t#ose mines, to ta,e out &old for #is own use,
do soT
*. Q Q Q Some 9&orots from +u%lay and May%ayan also &o t#ere to &et &old. 9 t#in, t#ey could %ecause
9 never #eard t#at anyone pro#i%ited t#em from so doin&.
R. Q Q Q Durin& Spanis# times t#ey did any person claim to own t#ese minesT
*. Q Q Q 9 never o%served any one person pro#i%itin& any ot#er person from wor,in& t#ere.
The foregoing e4cerpts from the record from the testimony of men ho had been in the district, ho had
studied the conditioned there, and became ac*uainted ith the customs of the Igorots certainly justify the
conclusions t#at t#e 9&orots never occupied a mine anyw#ere to t#e e>clusion of all of any ot#er persons.
The majority opinion .p. &$/ attempts to discredit the testimony of these itnesses, particularly the
American miners, by the folloing statement0 QAll these itnesses had mining claims similar to that of
1eavis.P
-otithstanding this attempt to discredit these itnesses, hose testimony as not attac<ed during the
trial of said cause, it ill be observed that this custom is corroborated by Fian2a himself, by @uan CariNo,
+ateo CariNo, 1obiera and Francisco #alencio, ho ere not American miners and ho have no reason
to misstate the facts by reason of personal interest.
The majority opinion, in an effort evidently to reflect upon the registry and honest purpose of the
defendant, 1eavis, in ta<ing up this particular land, refers to the miners.P This imputation as to the
honesty of the defendant is not justified by the record. It is confidently believed that one can not read the
testimony of the defendant himself ithout reaching the conclusion that he is stating the truth.
It is admitted .p. &% of the majority opinion/ that the plaintiff never ac*uired any title to the property in
*uestion by virtue of the provisions of the ,panish la, and that said property as, at the time of the
!hilippine Islands ere ceded to the Jnited ,tates, public property and that these lands are public lands
to hich the provisions of the act of Congress of @uly &, &()5, are applicable7 the right of the plaintiff,
therefore, if he has any7 is not of prescription only. ,ection $6 of said act of Congress provides that here
such person or association, they and their grantors, have held and or<ed their claims for a period e$ual
to t#e time prescri%ed %y t#e statute of limitations in t#e 7#ilippine 9slands, evidence of such possession
and or<ing of the claims for such period shall be sufficient to establish the right to a patent thereto under
this act, in t#e a%sence of any adverse claim. This provision of the act of Congress ma<es applicable to
mining claims the statute of prescription in force in the !hilippine Islands at that time.
The statute of prescription in force in the !hilippine Islands on the &st of @uly, &()5, are sections '%, $),
and $&, of the Code of !rocedure in Civil Actions, <non as Act -o. &() of the !hilippine Commission. It
is very *uestionable the hether the plaintiff is entitled to the benefit of the period of prescription provided
for in these sections. ,aid section '% e4pressly provides that Qthis chapter shall not apply to actions #as
already commenced or to cases w#erein t#e ri&#t of action #as already accrued, but the statute in force
hen the action or right of action accrued shall be applicable to such cases.P
,ection $) provides that the period of prescription as to real property shall be ten years, or, in other
ords, that an action for the recovery of title to or possession of real property or a case thereunder can
only be brought ithin ten years after the cause of such action accrues. The plaintiff claim that he and his
ancestors have been in possession of such land for fifty or more years. If that be true, had not the cause
of action in favor of the plaintiff Qalready accruedP before the date of the act of Congress or the hen said
act of the !hilippine Commission ent into foreO If, then, the cause of action had actually Qalready
accrued prior to the date of these respective acts, the *uestion is, Does said provisions of the act of the
Commission apply to the plaintiff or must he rely upon the prescriptive rights given them, e4isting in the
!hilippine Islands prior to that dateO Ce ma<e no finding upon the anser to this *uestion for the reason
that e believe that even granting that the provisions of said act of the !hilippine Commission are
applicable to the claims of the plaintiff here, has not shon his right to the possession of said land under
said act of the !hilippine Commission.
,aid section $) provides that Qten yearsP actual adverse possession by any person claiming to be the
oner for that time of any land, uninterruptedly continued for ten years by occupancy . . . shall vest in that
actual occupant or possessor of such land, a full and complete title7P but order to constitute such title by
prescription or adverse possession, the possession by the claimant . . . must have beenactual, open,
pu%lic, continuos, under a claim of titles e4clusive of any other right and adverse to all other claimants.P
Ce contend that the testimony adduced in this case and *uoted above clearly demonstrated that the
plaintiff had not been in the actual, open, public, continuos possession, under a claim of title adverse to all
other claimants not only not for ten years, %ut for no period at all. Ce call attention to the testimony
*uoted above relating to the actual possession of said property in support of this statement.
The majority opinion treats the provisions of this prescriptive la as though an actual dispossession of the
property as necessary to interrupt the running of the statute in their favor. The provisions of the la
provide, hoever, in addition to the fact that the possession must have been actual, that it shall have
been open and pu%lic, e>clusive of any ot#er ri&#t and adverse to all ot#er claimants w#atsoever. +#e
actual and continuos possession of t#e plaintiff was interrupted certainly %y olman si4 or eight years
before the commencement of the action of the plaintiff7 and %y t#e defendant more than to years before
the commencement of his action7 if not also %y 5rancisco (alencio ten or telve years before the
beginning of the action by the plaintiff.
:ne of the conditions of prescriptive title under section $& is that the claim to title must be a public. A
large majority of the itnesses both for the plaintiffs and the defendant testified that they understood and
believed the mines in *uestion, at the time 1eavis too< possession of the same, belonged to
Folman. +#e trial court even found t#at :eavis located #is claims %elievin& t#e land %elon&ed to olman.
This belief as so strong in the minds of some of the itnesses ho ere attempting to locate mines in
the !rovince of >enguet .Mnouber, 1eavis, and Melly/ that they visited Folman and negotiated ith him
for the purchase of said mines. Chy did they do thisO >ecause it as a matter of public rumor and public
<noledge in Antamoc and vicinity that the mines at that time belonged to Folman and not to Fian2a. +#e
record also discloses t#at 5ian)a #imself told some of t#e *merican miners, w#o went into said province,
t#at said mines %elon&ed to olman.
Ce respectively submit as a proposition of la, even admitting that the plaintiffs had actual possession of
a ell9defined, described parcel of land in the mountain of Antamoc, that suc# actual possession #ad
%een interrupted on at least t#ree different occasions prior to t#e commencement of t#eir action and that
such interruption of the actual possession, though it as unlaful, had the effect of stopping the running
of the statute of prescription in favor of the plaintiffs. 9f t#e possessor of land permits #is possession to %e
interrupted, alt#ou&# unlawfully, his possession can not be called continuos for the purpose of applying
the provisions of said section $&.
The majority opinion .p. &&/ *uotes the folloing from the opinion of the trial court0
e F:eavisG went to *ntamoc to sta,e out land for mines t#at t#e %elieved was claimed %y anot#er U in
t#e vernacular of t#e miner, to !ump ans olmanNs claim. e was not prospectin& for a mine and for
#idden mineralsV #e went to locate a mine already discovered and mineral uncovered and wor,ed for
more t#an #alf a century. e found #onest *merican prospectors already t#ere wit# claims stated at all
a%out t#e land t#at t#ey %elieved was claimed %y anot#er, for t#e protection of w#ic# opened, developed,
and wor,ed mine t#e rumor of an owner was amply sufficient to protect it from invasion and trespass.
This statement has the effect0
F2G +o convict :eavis of %ad fait# and to #old #im up to t#e scorn of #onest men %y sayin& t#at #e
O!umpedP a claim w#ic# #ad t#erefore %een respected %y all #onest *merican minersV and
FBG +o s#ow t#at w#at #e did was to locate an open, developed mine.
The statements in the above *uotation are absolutely false and do an injustice to an honest American
miner and should be corrected. It appears from the record that 1eavis, after being told by the Igorots that
this mine belonged to Folman, ent to Folman to see him about such claims. This act of the defendant
demonstrates that he acted in absolute good faith.
The statement in the majority opinion to the effect that the onership of these claimants .plaintiffs/ to
these mines as ell <non and understood generally among the natives and residents of the !rovince
of >enguet, including the Spanis# officials, is absolutely unsupported by a scintilla of evidence in the
record. There is not a ord of evidence in the record that the Spanis# officials ever recogni2ed or
understood that Fian2a or his ancestors ere the owners of any mines hatsoever.
It is alleged that the plaintiff Fian2a claimed the possession of the particular parcel of land in *uestion by a
statement made on the '&st of @anuary, &()&, for the purposes of ta4ation before the secretary of the
pueblo, hich s#ows that he as then in possession of said land. This statement is found in 34hibit A of
the plaintiffs. An e4amination of this statement of the plaintiffs neither shos that he as in possession of
said land nor the location of the same. Fis statement there is just as indefinite and uncertain, relating to
the specific tract of land, as his statement made before the court during the trial of said cause.
The record fully shos that the defendant, 1eavis, early in the year &()&, too< possession ithout protest
of the land hich he claims and hich is definitely described in the record, under the custom and in
conformity ith the las of the Jnited ,tates relating to mines, recorded his claims, performed or< upon
said mines, and continued in possession of the same up to and including the time hen he received
notice of the provisions of the act of Congress of @uly &, &()57 that immediately upon receiving notice of
the provisions of said act he complied ith the conditions thereof ith reference to ma<ing affidavits and
filing a record of his claims and sta<ing the same out T mar<ing them out9so that any person traveling in
that part of the mountain might become aare of the e4act location of his claims. The plaintiffs, even at
the time of the commencement of their action .&()$/, had ta<en not steps to comply ith the said act of
Congress. The record shos that until the time the injunction as granted in this case by the loer court
the defendant had performed or< upon his respective claims in conformity ith the provisions of said act
of Congress7 that he had done everything re*uired of him by the la7 that the plaintiffs had done nothing
to comply ith the provisions of the said act of Congress. It is not denied that the defendant had complied
ith the provisions of the said act of Congress.
Ce agree ith the majority opinion that this court can not reverse the decision of the loer court until it
appears that the finding made by the trial court is Q plainly and manifestly a&ainst t#e wei&#t of evidence.P
Ce agree ith this doctrine, but firmly submit that there is nothing in the record, beyond the declaration of
Fian2a himself, hich shos that the plaintiffs ever occupied the particular tract of ground no
claimed, w#ile t#ere is a%solutely no evidence of any c#aracter to sho that they occupiedany land to t#e
e>clusion of all ot#er persons. +#e evidence is all to t#e contrary.
The court finds that the plaintiffs and their ancestors have been or<ing these mines for generations.
Fian2a, have been or<ing these miens for generations. Fian2a, himself, testified that if they did not find
gold in & or 5 fathoms they made another place until they did find something.
The loer court attempted to defeat the claim of the defendant by the statement that the defendant had
not complied ith the act of Congress providing for the location and operation of mineral claims ithin the
!hilippine Islands. It is asserted that the evidence adduced during the trial of the cause does not support
this finding of fact, but, even granting that the defendant did not comply ith every detail of the act of
Congress ith e4actness, it as not in the mouth of the plaintiff to raise this objection, for the reason that
he had made no attempt to comply ith the la himself. Furthermore, section 5( of the said act provides
that Qfailure on the part of a locator of mineral claims to comply ith any of the foregoing provisions of said
section shall not be deemed to invalidate such location if upon the facts it shall appear that such locater
has actually discovered mineral in place upon such location, and that there has been, upon his part,
a %ona fide attempt to comply ith the provisions of this act, and if the no9observance of the formalities
hereinbefore referred to is not of a character calculated to mislead other persons desiring to locate claims
in the vicinity,P
:ne can not read the record of hat the defendant did in his attempt to locate and record his claim
ithout reaching the conclusion that there has been, upon his part, a %ona fide attempt to comply ith the
provision of the act, and that , if there as a failure, hich is not admitted, such failure is not Qof a
character calculated to mislead other persons desiring to locate claims in the vicinity.P
From all the foregoing statement of facts, and from through e4amination of the evidence adduced at the
trial of said cause, e reach the folloing conclusions0
First. That the lands claimed by the plaintiffs are not described in their complaint ith sufficient certainty
or definiteness to support a judgment in their favor, nor to justify the court in granting an injunction to
prevent the defendant from entering upon the lands hich they claim.
,econd. that the evidence adduced at the trial of the cause does not disclose ho or in hat manner the
lands claimed by the plaintiffs conflict ith the lands occupied by the defendant.
Third. That the evidence adduced does not sho that the plaintiffs or any one of them have ever
possessed or mined any particular tract of land under claim of onership to t#e e>clusion of all ot#ers.
Fourth. That the possession of the plaintiffs has not been actual, open, public, continuous, uninterrupted,
under claim of title e4clusive of any other right, and adverse to all other claims.
Fifth. That the evidence does not disclose that the possession off the plaintiffs, if any e4clusive
possession at all proved, is that possession, nor does it constitute that e4clusive holding and or<ing
contemplated by section $6 of the !hilippine >ill or by the statutes of prescription in force in the !hilippine
Islands.
,i4th. That the evidence does not disclose that possession of the mines claimed by the plaintiffs as
continuous and e4clusive of all other persons, and that such possession had been uninterrupted, ithout
interference or adverse claim of any <ind.
,eventh. That the evidence does not disclose that the plaintiffs made any protest against the occupation
of said land to the defendant, to Folman, or to #alencio.
3ighth. that the evidence does not disclose that the plaintiffs ever made any attempt, prior to the
commencement of this action in this court belo, to definitely mar< the boundaries of the land included in
34hibit C.
-inth. that there is not a scintilla of evidence in the record hich shos that the said lands are held in
trust by the ?overnment of the !hilippine Islands for the plaintiffs.
The judgment of the loer court should be reversed.
TRACE&, J., dissenting0
,ince the riting of the to principal opinion in this case, and since the signing of the prevailing opinion
by a majority of the court, but before it as filed or the decision as entered thereon, the !hilippine
Commission in Act -o. &6(; apparently did aay ith the rule in the De la :ama case and made it our
duty to revie the evidence and retry the *uestions of facts, even here the judgment of the Court of First
Instance is not plainly and manifestly against the eight of the evidence.
1ead ane, ithout regard to the findings of the trial judge, e4cept in so far as they are founded upon his
vie of the itnesses, I do not thin< that all the testimony before us establishes such a holding and
or<ing of any property identified ith that described in the complaint, as constitutes a possession thereof
under section $6 of the act of Congress of @uly &, &()5, entitling the plaintiff to a patent thereon. The
plaintiff occupying the property claimed by him, immediately prior to the commencement to the action, had
in his poer to describe in detail the condition of the or<ings on the land and narrate his on acts in
relation thereto. Jpon him rested the burden of proof on this important point, so hotly contested at the
trial, and on him, rather than on his adversary, should fall the conse*uences of the lac< of decisive and
satisfactory evidence in relation to it.
For this reason only I feel constrained to dissent from the opinion of the majority.
December &', &(5'
?.1. -o. L95)%=6
)ICENTE A5AOAG, ET AL., applicants9appellants,
vs.
THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, ET AL., opponents9appellees.
+urner and :#e%er& for appellants.
*ttorney-'eneral (illa-:eal for t#e Director of Lands.
, J.>
From the record it appears that in the year &%%$ a number of Q>agosP or Igorots or non9Christians,
numbering at that time about thirty, ere invited by the gobernadorcillo and principalia of the then ton of
Alava, no the municipality of ,ison, of the !rovince of !angasinan, and a tract of land hich in the
present complaint is alleged to have a superficial area of == hectares, $) ares, and 6) centiares, in order
that they might cultivate the same and increase the population of the said municipality7 that said Q>agosP
entered upon said land, too< possession of it and have continued to live upon the same and have
cultivated it since that date7 that the appellants herein are some of the original thirty ho entered upon the
land, and the others are their legitimate descendants.
:n or about the 5%th day of February, &(&(, said appellants presented a petition in the Court of First
Instance of the !rovince of !angasinan to have said parcel of land registered under the Torrens system.
Accompanying said petition there as an official plan prepared by the >ureau of Lands presented .34hibit
A/. #arious oppositions ere presented to the registration of said parcel of land. Finally a judgment by
default as entered and the cause as set don for trial. During the trial, for reasons hich it is
unnecessary to state here, it as discovered that it as necessary to present a ne plan and a ne
technical description of the land, and the petitioners ere ordered to present an amended plan of the
land.
In compliance ith that order of the court, a ne plan as presented .34hibit A9&/ and finally the cause
as set don for hearing and a number of itnesses ere presented by the petitioners to prove their right
to have said parcel of land, as described in the amended petition and plan, registered under the Torrens
system in their names. Immediately after the close of the presentation of proof by the petitioners, the
oppositors presented a motion to dismiss the petition upon the ground that the petitioners had not
presented proof sufficient to sho that they are entitled to the registration of the land in *uestion, hich
motion, after e4tensive argument pro and con, as granted, and the petition as dismissed ithout any
pronouncement as to costs. From that decision the petitioners, after having presented a motion for a ne
trial and an e4ception duly presented to the overruling of said motion, appealed.
In addition to the facts above stated, the record shos that at the time of the delivery of said parcel of
land to the petitioners, it as unoccupied and unimproved public land7 that since their entry upon the
possession of the land in the year &%%$, they and their ancestors have been in the open, continuous,
e4clusive, and notorious possession and occupation of the same, believing in good faith that they ere
the oners7 that the petitioners had cleared, improved, and cultivated the land and have constructed and
maintained their homes thereon, e4ercising every re*uisite act of onership, for a period of more than
thirty9nine years, in open, continuous, e4clusive, and notorious possession and occupation, ithout any
interruption hatsoever7 that the land in *uestion as never partitioned among the petitioners because it
as the custom of the >agos, Igorots, or non9Christians to occupy and possess their land in common7
that the petitioners believed, and had a right to believe, from the fact that the land as given by the
gobernadorcillo and principalia of the municipality, that they thereby became the oners, to the e4clusion
of all others, and are no justified in their petition to have the said land registered under the Torrens
system in their names, as the oners in fee simple, pro indiviso.
-o suggestion is made that the gobernadorcillo and the principalia of the ton of Alava, no municipality
of ,ison, ere not authori2ed in &%%$, as representatives of the then e4isting ?overnment, to give and to
deliver the land in *uestion to the petitioners and their ancestors for the purposes for hich the land as
so given. -either as it denied that the land in *uestion is agricultural land. -o pretension is made that
the land in *uestion might not be registered under the Torrens system had the petitioners invo<ed the
benefits of the public land la. -o contention is made on the part of the petitioners that they ere ever
given a paper title to the land. Their contention is simply that they ere given the land7 that they accepted
the same7 that they lived upon the land, and cultivated it, and improved it, and occupied it to the e4clusion
of all others for a period of about thirty9nine years, and that therefore they are entitled to have the same
registration under the Torrens system7 that they have occupied and cultivated the same for a period
sufficient to give them title and to have the same registered under the Torrens system.
The present case is not altogether unli<e the case of CariNo vs. Insular ?overnment .= !hil., &'5/, hich
as decided by this court in &();, ent to the ,upreme court of the Jnited ,tates and as there decided
in &()( .5&5 J.,. $$( &/. In the course of that decision, +r. @ustice Folmes, spea<ing for the court, said0
QThe ac*uisition of the !hilippines as not for the purpose of ac*uiring the lands occupied by the
inhabitants, and under the :rganic Act of @uly &, &()5, providing that property rights are to be
administered for the benefit of the inhabitants, one ho actually oned land for many years cannot be
deprived of it for failure to comply ith certain ceremonies prescribed either by the acts of the !hilippine
Commission or by the ,panish la. Ce hesitate to suppose that it as intended to declare every native,
ho had not a paper title, a trespasser and to set the claims of all the ilder tribes afloat. Chatever the
la upon these points may be, every presumption is and ought to be against the government in the case
li<e the present.P +r. @ustice Folmes adds0 QIf there is doubt or ambiguity in the ,panish la, e ought to
give the applicant the benefit of the doubt.P
If e ere to loo< into the 1oyal Decrees of ,pain, as the attorney for the appellants has done, e ill
find that ,pain did not assume to convert all the native inhabitants of the !hilippines into trespassers of
the land hich they occupy, or even into tenants at ill. .>oo< $, Title &5, La &$ of the 1ecopilacion de
Leyes de las Indias./ In the 1oyal Cedula of :ctober &6, &=6$, e find the folloing0 QChere such
possessors shall not be able to produce title deeds, it shall be sufficient if they shall sho that ancient
possession as a valid title by prescription.P Ce may add that every presumption of onership under the
public land las of the !hilippine Islands is in favor of one actually occupying the land for many years,
and against the ?overnment hich see<s to deprive him of it, for failure to comply ith provisions of
subse*uently enacted registration land act.
In vie of the doctrine announced by the ,upreme Court of the Jnited ,tates in the case of CariNo vs.
Insular ?overnment, e are forced to the conclusion that the loer court committed the errors complained
of by the appellants in dismissing the petition. As as said by this court in the case of 1odrigue2 vs.
Director of Lands .'& !hil., 5=5, 5=(/0 Q. . . only under e4ceptional circumstances should an application for
registry in the court of land registration be dismissed over the objection of the applicant, and ithout
giving him an opportunity by the grant of ne trial, or otherise . . . to submit additional evidence in
support of his claim of title, hen there are strong or reasonable grounds to believe that he is the oner of
all or any part of the land described in his application. This is specially true hen the only ground for the
dismissal of the application is the lac< of formal or perhaps even substantial proof as to the chain to title
upon hich applicant relies, etc.P
Cithout a further detailed discussion of the assignments of error of the appellants, e are of the opinion,
and so decide that the judgment entered in the court belo, dismissing the petition of the applicants,
should be reversed and the record remanded to the court a $uo, ith permission on the part of the
petitioners to ma<e such amendment to their petition as they may deem ise and necessary and to
present such additional evidence as they may desire7 and that the oppositors be permitted to present
hatever evidence they may have in opposition, ith the understanding that the evidence hich has
heretofore been adduced shall stand as a part of the evidence of the main trial. And ithout any findings
as to costs, it is so ordered.
,treet, +alcolm, AvanceNa, #illamor, :strand, @ohns and 1omualde2, @@., concur.
G.R. No. 2869 #rc7 2+, 1907
ATEO CARICO, petitioner9appellant,
vs.
THE INS"LAR GO)ERNENT, respondent9appellee.
Coudert Brot#ers for appellant.
Office of t#e Solicitor-'eneral *raneta for appellee.
ARELLANO, C.J.:
+ateo CariNo, the appellant herein, on the 5'd of February, &()$, filed his petition in the Court of Land
1egistration praying that there be granted to him title to a parcel of land consisting of $) hectares, & are,
and &' centares, and situated in the ton of >aguio, !rovince of >enguet, together ith a house erected
thereon and constructed of ood and roofed ith rimo, and bounded as follos0 :n the north, in lines
running &,)$% metes and 5) decimeters ith the lands of ,epa CariNo, F. !helps Chitmarsh, and Calsi7
on the east, in lines running ((& meters and 6) decimeters ith the land of Muidno, 3steban ?on2ales,
and of the Civil ?overnment7 on the south, in lines of &&6 meters and ;) decimeters, ith the lands of
Talaca7 and on the est, in lines running (%5 meters and 5) decimeters, ith the lands of ,isco CariNo
and +ayengmeng.
>y order of the court the hearing of this petition, -o. 6;&, and that of Antonio 1ebollo and #icente
#alpiedad filed under -o. %'$, ere heard together for the reason that the latter petition claimed a small
portion of land included in the parcel set out in the former petition.
The Insular ?overnment opposed the granting of these petitions, alleging that the hole parcel of land is
public property of the ?overnment and that the same as never ac*uired in any manner or through any
title of e&resionfrom the ,tate.
After trial, and the hearing of documentary and oral proof, the court of Land 1egistration rendered its
judgment in these terms0
Therefore the court finds that CariNo and his predecessors have not possessed e4clusively and
adversely any part of the said property prior to the date on hich CariNo constructed the house
no there D that is to say, for the years &%(= and &%(%, and CariNo held possession for some
years afterards of but a part of the property to hich he claims title. >oth petitions are dismissed
and the property in *uestion is adjudged to be public land. .>ill of e4ceptions, p. &6./
The conclusions arrived at the set forth in definite terms in the decision of the court belo are the
folloing0
From the testimony given by CariNo as ell as from that of several of the itnesses for the
?overnment it is deduced, that in or about the year &%%$ CariNo erected and utili2ed as a
domicile a house on the property situated to the north of that property no in *uestion, property
hich, according to the plan attached toe>pediente -o. 6;&, appears to be property belonging to
Donaldson ,im7 that during the year &%(' CariNo sold said house to one Cristobal 1amos, ho in
turn sold the same to Donaldson ,im, moving to and living on the adjoining property, hich
appears on the plan aforesaid to be the property of F. !helps Chitmarsh, a place here the
father and the grandfather of his ife, that is to say, :rtega and +inse, had lived . . ..
In or about the years &%(% CariNo abandoned the property of Chitmarsh and located on the
property described in the plan attached to e>pediente -o. 6;&, having constructed a house
thereon in hich he no lives, and hich house is situated in the center of the property, as is
indicated on the plan7 and since hich time he has undoubtedly occupied some portion of the
property no claimed by him. .>ill of e4ceptions, pp. && and &5./
&. Therefore it is evident that this court can not decree the registration of all of the superficial e4tension of
the land described in the petition and as appears on the plan filed herein, such e4tension containing $)
hectares, & are, and &' centares, inasmuch as the documentary evidence accompanying the petition is
conclusive proof against the petitioners7 this documentary proof consists of a possessory information
under date of +arch =, &()&, and registered on the &&th day of the same month and year7 and, according
to such possessory information, the land therein described contains an e4tension of only 5% hectares
limited by Gthe country road to the barrio of !ias,G a road appearing on the plan no presented and cutting
the land, as might be said, in half, or running through its center from north to south, a considerable
e4tension of land remaining on the other side of the said road, the est side, and hich could not have
been included in the possessory information mentioned.
5. As has been shon during the trial of this case, this land, of hich mention is made in said possessory
information, and upon hich is situated the house no actually occupied by the petitioner, all of hich is
set forth as argument as to the possession in the judgment, is Gused for pasture and soing,G and belongs
to the class called public lands.
'. Jnder the e4press provisions of la, a parcel of land, being of common origin, presumptively belonged
to the ,tate during its sovereignty, and, in order to perfect the legitimate ac*uisition of such land by
private persons, it as necessary that the possession of the same pass from the ,tate. And there is no
evidence or proof of title ofe&resion of this land from the domain of the ,panish ?overnment, nor is there
any possessory information e*uivalent to title by composicion or under agreement. $, The possessory
information filed herein is not the title to property authori2ed in substitution for that of adjustment by the
royal decree of February &', &%($, this being the last la or legal disposition of the former sovereignty
applicable to the present subject9matter of common lands0 First, for the reason that the land referred to
herein is not covered nor does it come ithin any one of the three conditions re*uired by article &( of the
said royal decree, to it, that the land has been in an uninterrupted state of cultivation during a period of
si4 years last past7 or that the same has been possessed ithout interruption during a period of telve
years and has been in a state of cultivation up to the date of the information and during the three years
immediately preceding such information7 or that such land had been possessed openly ithout
interruption during a period of thirty or more years, notithstanding the land had not been cultivated7 nor
is it necessary to refer to the testimony given by the to itnesses to the possessory information for the
folloing reason0 ,econd, because the possessory information authori2ed by said royal decree or last
legal disposition of the ,panish ?overnment, as title or for the purpose of ac*uiring actual proprietary
right, e*uivalent to that of adjustment ith the ,panish ?overnment and re*uired and necessary at all
times until the publication of said royal decree as limited in time to one year, in accordance ith article
5&, hich is as follos0 G A period of one year, not to be e4tended, is alloed to verify the possessory
informations hich are referred to in articles &( and 5). After the e4piration of this period of the right of
the cultivators and persons in possession to obtain gratuitous title thereto lapses and the land together
ith full possession reverts to the state, or, as the case may be, to the community, and the said
possessors and cultivators or their assigns ould simply have rights under universal or general title of
average in the event that the land is sold ithin a period of five years immediately folloing the
cancellation. The possessors not included under this chapter can only ac*uire by time the onership and
title to unappropriated or royal lands in accordance ith common la.G
6. In accordance ith the preceding provisions, the right that remained to CariNo, if it be certain that he
as the true possessor of the land in *uestion, as the right of average in case the ?overnment or ,tate
could have sold the same ithin the period of five years immediately folloing for e4ample, if the
denouncement of purchase had been carried out by Felipe Uafra or any other person, as appears from
the record of the trial of the case. Aside from this right, in such event, his possession as attested in the
possessory information herein could not, in accordance ith common la, go to sho any right of
onership until after the e4piration of tenty years from the e4piration of tenty years from the verification
and registry of the same in conformity ith the provisions of article '(' of the +ortgage La and other
conditions prescribe by this la.
;. The right of possession in accordance ith common la D that is to say, civil la D remains at all
times subordinate to the ,panish administrative la, inasmuch as it could only be of force hen
pertaining to royaltransfera%le or aliena%le lands, hich condition and the determination thereof is
reversed to the government, hich classified and designated the royal alienable lands for the purpose of
distinguishing them from those lands strictly public, and from forestry lands hich could at no time pass to
private onership nor be ac*uired through time even after the said royal decree of February &', &%($.
=. The advent of the ne sovereignty necessarily brought a ne method of dealing ith lands and
particularly as to the classification and manner of transfer and ac*uisition of royal or common lands then
appropriated, hich ere thenceforth merely called public lands, the alienation of hich as reserved to
the ?overnment, in accordance ith section &5 and &' of the act of Congress of @uly &, &()5,
&
and in
conformity ith other las enacted under this act of Congress by the !hilippine Commission prescribing
rules for the e4ecution thereof, one of hich is Act -o. ;$%,
5
herein mentioned by the petitioner, in
connection ith Act -o. ;5=,
'
hich appears to be the la upon hich the petition herein is founded.
%. ,ection ; of Act -o. ;5= admits prescription, in accordance ith the provisions contained in Act -o.
&(), as a basis for obtaining the right of onership. GThe petitioners claims title under the period of
prescription of ten years established by that act, as ell as by reason of his occupancy and use thereof
from time immemorial.G .Allegation &./ >ut said act admits such prescription for the purpose of obtaining
title and onership to lands Gnot e4ceeding more that si>teen hectares in e4tent.G .,ec. ; of said act./ The
land claimed by CariNo is $) hectares in e4tent, if e ta<e into consideration his petition, or an e4tension
of 5% hectares, according to the possessory information, the only thing that can be considered. Therefore,
it follos that the judgment denying the petition herein and no appealed from as strictly in accordance
ith the la invo<ed herein.
(. And of the 5% hectares of land as set out in the possessory information, one part of same, according to
the testimony of CariNo, belongs to #icente #alpiedad, the e4tent of hich is not determined. From all of
hich it follos that the precise e4tent has not been determined in the trial of this case on hich judgment
might be based in the event that the judgment and title be declared in favor of the petitioner, +ateo
CariNo. And e should not lose sight of the fact that, considering the intention of Congress in granting
onership and title to &; hectares, that +ateo CariNo and his children have already e4ceeded such
amount in various ac*uirements of lands, all of hich is shon in different cases decided by the said
Court of Land 1egistration, donations or gifts of land that could only have been made efficacious as to the
conveyance thereof ith the assistance of these ne las.
>y reason of the findings set forth it is clearly seen that the court belo did not err0
&. In finding that +ateo CariNo and those from hom he claims his right had not possessed and
claimed as oners the lands in *uestion since time immemorial7
5. In finding that the land in *uestion did not belong to the petitioner, but that, on the contrary, it
as the property of the ?overnment. .Allegation 5&./
Cherefore, the judgment appealed from is affirmed ith the costs of this instance against the appellant.
After the e4piration of tenty days from the notification of this decision let judgment be entered in
accordance hereith, and ten days thereafter let the case be remanded to the court from hence it came
for proper action. ,o ordered.
+orres, Mapa, Sillard, and +racey, 88., concur.
8o#nson, 8., reserves his vote.
G.R. No. L368+33 #@ 23, 1986
DIRECTOR OF LANDS #$% DIRECTOR OF FOREST DE)ELO!ENT, petitioners,
vs.
ARIANO F"NTILAR, AGDALENA F"NTILAR, HEIRS OF FELI!E ROCETE #$% INTEREDIATE
A!!ELLATE CO"RT DT7.r% C.A.9 C#/e/ D.A./.o$E, respondents.

G"TIERRE0, 1R., J.:
This is a petition to revie the decision of the respondent court hich affirmed the adjudication by the
land registration court of a parcel of land in +ulanay, Lue2on in favor of the private respondents.
In &(=5, +ariano Funtilar, +agdalena Funtilar, and the Feirs of Felipe 1ocete applied for the registration
of a parcel of land described in !,J95&6==(, ith an area of 55;,==' s*uare meters.
Jnrebutted testimonial evidence established that the land as part of the property originally belonging to
one Candida Fernande2 hose onership and possession began sometime during her lifetime and
e4tended until &('; hen she died. .Tsn., August ;, &(=;, Testimony of Florencio +ar*ue2, 34hibit GJG/.
The present applicants are the grandchildren of Candida Fernande2. In &(';, after the death of Candida
Fernande2, her real property as declared in the name of the GFeirs of Candida Fernande2 under Ta4
Declaration -o. (;55, ith an area of thirty .')/ hectares.
,ubse*uently, sometime in &($) or &($&, the parcel of land as forfeited in favor of the government for
failure to pay real estate ta4es. Foever, the same as redeemed in &($5 by #italiano Aguirre, one of
the three children of Candida Fernande2, ho as then the administrator of the property. A final deed of
sale .34hibit G-G/ as e4ecuted by the !rovincial Treasurer of Tayabas in &($$ in favor of #italiano
Aguirre. It had been agreed among the heirs that the property ould first be held by #italiano in trust for
the others until such time that partition among them as effected. The evidence shos #italiano8s public
and continuous possession.
The heirs of Candida Fernande2 later partitioned the property among themselves. The particular lot no
disputed in this petition as adjudicated in favor of the applicants9respondents. ,hortly after the partition,
in &($%, the ne oners declared their share for ta4ation purposes. Ta4 Declaration (& for that year
indicated the land as &5 hectares. This declaration as folloed by another one, Ta4 Declaration -o.
5)5&, in &(6%.
In &(;6, the private respondents caused a survey of their property to be made. The property as found to
actually contain an area of 55.;==' hectares. This corrected area as reflected in subse*uent ta4
declarations. The last one submitted in evidence is dated &(=$.
An ocular inspection conducted by the trial court found more than one hundred .&))/ coconut trees ith
ages over thirty .')/ years old, out of a total of more or less one thousand four hundred .&,$))/ coconut
trees on the land.
The Director of Lands and Director of Forest Development filed an opposition alleging that neither
applicants nor their predecessor9in9interest possessed sufficient title to the land, not having ac*uired the
same under any of the recogni2ed ,panish titles under the 1oyal Decree of February &', &%($7 that
neither applicants, nor their predecessors have been in open, continuous, e4clusive and notorious
possession and occupation of the land for at least thirty .')/ years immediately preceding the filing of the
application7 and that the land is a portion of the public domain belonging to the 1epublic of the
!hilippines.
Donaciano !umarada, ith three others also filed an opposition alleging that they have registrable title on
account of their possession since time immemorial.
1afael +. +orales filed a separate opposition, alleging that there as no actual survey of the land applied
for7 and that he is entitled to registration on account of his occupation and that of his predecessor.
The spouses Dominador Lacson and 3speran2a Lacson li<eise filed their opposition ith respect to Gthe
portion of land embraced by points 55 to 5$ to 56 to 5; to 5= and by a straight line dran beteen point
5= to point 5' of !lan !su95&6==(G in anser to hich the applicants9respondents agreed to relin*uish or
*uitclaim hatever right, title, and interest they might have over the above specified portion in favor of
oppositors Lacson. In vie thereof, the oppositor spouses ithdre their opposition in the land
registration case.
:n -ovember 5;, &(%5, the trial court rendered its decision adjudicating the land to applicants as follos0
CF313F:13, and in vie of the foregoing, the applicants, namely +A1IA-:
FJ-TILA1, +A?DAL3-A FJ-TILA1 and the F3I1, :F F3LI!3 1:C3T3 are hereby
declared oners proindiviso of the parcel of land described according to !lan !su9
5&6==(, ith an area of 55.;==' s*uare meters, subject to the claim of oppositors
Dominador Lacson and 3speran2a Lacson as per agreement ith the applicants and
hen the decision becomes final and e4ecutory, let a final decree be issued for the
issuance of title as provided by Act $(;.
The ?overnment alone, represented by the Director of Lands and Director of Forest
Development, filed its appeal ith the respondent Intermediate Appellate Court. The
decision no under revie dated August 5$, &(%$ states0
444 444 444
According to the government oppositors, the land in *uestion as certified as alienable
and disposable only on ,eptember ', &(6', They, therefore, conclude that herein
applicants could not have been in possession of said land for more than ') years. There
is no evidence presented by the government, hoever, that said land in *uestion as
part of the forest 2one. For that matter, during the hearing, the Director of Forestry and
the Director of Lands manifested in riting that they have no evidence in support of their
opposition. They have not presented plans or s<etches to sho that the land in *uestion
is part of the communal forest.
Jnder the foregoing circumstances, Ce do not find any merit in the appeal of the
?overnment. It has been ruled on this issue that the Director of Forestry has the burden
of proving that a piece of land belongs to the forest 2one .1amos vs. Director of Lands,
'( !hil. &=67 de #illa vs. Director of Lands, CA9?.1. -o. 6%$=91, @une &', &(65/.
... It has been ruled that the inclusion of portions of said lands ithin the reservations
declared by the Director of Forestry in &(5% cannot affect the vested rights of applicants
and her predecessors ho have been continuously occupying and profiting from the land
since time immemorial .An<ron vs. ?overnment of the !hil., $) !hil. &67 Llana vs.
Director of Forestry, CA9?.1. -o. $%%=91, ,ept. 5', &(6)/. Applicants have established
by preponderance of evidence that they and their predecessors9in9interest have been in
open, continuous, adverse and public possession of the land in *uestion for over ')
years introducing improvements thereon.
As e have stated in previous decisions, the registration of public lands for private titles
after satisfying the re*uirements of open, adverse and public possession ill be more
beneficial to the country as it ill promote development of Idle lands.
CF313F:13, finding no reversible error thereof, decision appealed from is hereby
AFFI1+3D.
Fence, this petition
The petitioners contend that in affirming the decision of the loer court, the Intermediate Appellate Court
committed the folloing errors0
I
&. I- -:T FI-DI-? TFAT TF3 Id3-TITK :F TF3 LA-D ,:J?FT T: >3
13?I,T313D FA, -:T >33- 3,TA>LI,F3D.
5. I- -:T F:LDI-? TFAT A!!LICA-T,. 13,!:-D3-T, FA#3 -:T +3T TF3
13LJI13+3-T, :F !:,,3,,I:- F:1 AT L3A,T TFI1TK .')/ K3A1,
I++3DIAT3LK !13C3DI-? TF3 FILI-? :F TF3I1 A!!LICATI:- I- &(=5 A, T:
3-TITL3 TF3+ T: 13?I,T1ATI:-.
'. I- -:T D3CLA1I-? A!!LICA-T, 13,!:-D3-T, A13 -:T 3-TITL3D T:
13?I,T1ATI:-.
$. I- -:T FI-DI-? TFAT A!!LICA-T, 13,!:-D3-T, FA#3 FAIL3D T:
:#31TF1:C TF3 !13,J+!TI:- TFAT TF3 LA-D I, !J>LIC LA-D
The petitioners have come to us for a revie on *uestions of fact property ithin the province of the trial
courts to resolve. .,antos vs.Aran2anso &&; ,C1A &/. This case furnishes occasion for us to reiterate the
general principle that only legal *uestions, not factual issues, ,hould be raised in the ,upreme Court
.+agpantay vs. Court of Appeals, &&; ,C1A 5';/ and that findings of fact of the Intermediate Appellate
Court should not be disturbed absent any shoing of grave error or abuse of discretion. ,ince the factual
findings of the respondent court are fully substantiated by evidence on record . 1egalano vs. -orthest
Finance Corporation, &&= ,C1A $6/, e decide not to disturb them.
The first issue raised refers to identity.
!etitioners allege that the identity of the land sought to be registered has not been established. Ce
sustain the contrary finding. ,urvey !lan !su95&6==( of the property, shoing its boundaries and total
area, clearly Identifies and delineates the e4tent of the land. The petitioners cite the insufficiency of such
a survey to identify the land. The petitioners overloo< the fact that no survey ould at all be possible
here the Identity of the land is not first properly established. +ore importantly, ithout such
Identification, no opposition, even its on, to the application for registration could be interposed.
3ncroachment on or adverse possession of property could not be justly claimed.
The petitioners cite differences in the description of the land boundaries, as ell as in the land area stated
in the ta4 declarations submitted in evidence by applicants9respondents. They allege that these do not
refer to one and the same property.
A careful e4amination of the record shos a misinterpretation of the evidence as to the Identification of
the land. Ta4 Declaration -os. (& and 5)5& in &($% describe a telve9hectare property bounded as
follos0 G-9+ocboc >roo<7 39Campacat +t. 7 ,93milio Aguirre7 C9+ocboc >roo< and >riccio +orales. Ta4
Declaration -os. '=6= and 5;;5 in &(;$ and &(=$ spea< of a 55.;=='9hectare land boundedG -9+ariano
Funtilar, et al.7 G39Feirs of Donaciano !umarada7 ,93milio Aguirre7 C93milio Aguirre and >agopaye
Cree<.G Foever, the applicants9respondents have satisfactorily e4plained the discrepancy. Ta4
Declaration -os. (& and 5)5& folloed in ta4 payments from &($% to &(6% and beyond ere made prior
to the survey of the property in &(;6. Ta4 Declaration -os. '=6= and 5;;5 ere made subse*uent
thereto and, hence, account for the difference in area stated. ,uch differences are not uncommon as
early ta4 declarations are, more often than not, based on appro4imation or estimation rather than on
computation. +ore so, if the land as in this case as merely inherited from a predecessor and as still
held in common. Differences in boundaries described in re*uired municipal forms may also occur ith
changes in boundary oners, changes of names of certain places, a certain natural boundary being
<non by more than one name or by plain error. -either as it uncommon then to designate the nearest,
most visible natural landmar<s such as mountains, cree<s, rivers, etc. to describe the location or situation
of the boundaries of properties in the absence of <noledge of technical methods of measuring or
determining boundaries ith accuracy, especially here as in this case, the same ere made merely by
humble farm people. Certain discrepancies, if logically e4plained later, do not ma<e doubtful, the
Identification of the property as made, understood and accepted by the parties to the case.
It is respondents8 contention that the land in *uestion as originally oned by Candida Fernande27
forfeited in favor of the government for non9payment of ta4es7 subse*uently repurchased by #italiano
Aguirre in a ta4 delin*uency sale and finally adjudicated in favor of applicants in &($%. !etitioners,
hoever, allege that the relationship of the land sold at auction ith the land subject of registration has
not been established, since the final deed of sale in favor of Aguirre and the survey plan !su95&6==( refer
to to different parcels of land.
The difference in boundary descriptions has already been e4plained. Anent the disparity in land area, it
must be noted that the property mentioned in the final deed of sale issued by the provincial treasurer at
the delin*uency auction sale as the property originally oned by Candida Fernande2. The parcel of land
sought to be registered and Identified by ,urvey !lan !su95&6==( is a part of that property. The surveyed
land resulted from the partition of Candida8s property among her heirs. Adjudicated in favor of herein
respondents as 55.;==' hectares thereof, the rest having gone to 3milio Aguirre, a son of Candida
hose property bounds the parcel of land in dispute on the south. ,uch fact is revealed by the testimony
of +ariano Funtilar on direct e4amination, to it0
444 444 444
L. Kour counsel has presented a certain 34hibit &, hich is a certification
from the +unicipal Treasurer of +ulanay. It clearly states that a certain
parcel of land is declared in the name of the heirs of Candida Fernande2,
the administrator of hich is !etronila Aguirre hich clearly shos that
the ta4 declaration as only made in the name of the heirs Candida
Fernande2, but in her name, is that rightO
A. Kes, sir.
444 444 444
L. Do e understand also that you are trying to register only the portion
that you personally, your brother and sister are occupyingO
A. Kes, sir and e are applying for that.
L. In other ords, it is clear that this land supposedly originally oned by
Candida Fernande2 is a bigger portion, is that correct, a bigger parcelO
A. Kes, sir.
L. And only a portion of the land is allotted to your brothers and sistersO
A. Kes, sir.
.Tsn9+arch &', &(=6, Land 1eg. Case -o. &(59?, p. =/
444 444 444
And on cross9e4amination
ATTK. LAJ13L0
L. Could you li<e to enlighten this Court that you and your brother and
sister ho are children of Antonia 1esales received this property, this
entire property ere the only ones ho received this entire propertyO
A. That as the property pointed to uses our on, sir.
L. I am as<ing you hether this entire property as given9 as inherited
by the children of Antonia 1osales onlyO
A. That is a big parcel but it is only a portion hich as given to us hich
e are causing for registration, sir.
444 444 444
.Tsn9+arch $, &(=;, Land 1eg. -o. &(59?, p. =/
ATTK. LAJ13L0
L. Chen you said portions ere adjudicated to the heirs in order to avoid
conflict in the repurchase do I get from you +r. Funtilar, that the property
repurchased that this property you are claiming in your application is only
a portion of the property repurchased from the ?overnmentO
A. Kes, sir.
.Tsn9April 5=, &(=;, Land 1eg. Case -o. &(5&9?, p. &%/
The petitioners contend that the private respondents have failed to establish possession for at least thirty
years to entitle them to confirmation of imperfect title and registration under the la. The petitioners also
fault the respondents reliance on the &($$ ta4 delin*uency sale, forgetting that possession must still be
proved.
Ce are satisfied from the evidence that long before her death in &(';, Candida Fernande2 already
possessed the disputed property. This possession must be tac<ed to the possession of her heirs, through
administrator #italiano Aguirre, and later to the possession of the private respondents themselves, ho
are Candida8s grandchildren.
The fact of possession is bolstered by the forfeiture in &($) of the land in favor of the government. It
ould be rather absurd under the circumstances of this case to rule that the government ould order the
forfeiture of property for non9payment of real estate ta4es if the property is forest land. It is also
reasonable to rule that the heirs of Candida Fernande2 redeemed the property because they anted to
<eep the land of the deceased in the possession of their family, thus continuing prior possession. From
&('; and earlier up to &(=5 is more than the re*uired period. As a matter of fact, the applicants8
itnesses testified to their personal <noledge of more than 6) years possession.
+ore important is the petitioners8 allegation that the property sought to be registered as unclassified
public forest until ,eptember &6, &(6' hen L C !roject -o. &;9), L C +ap -o. &;'$ declared it alienable
and disposable.
It as rather seeping for the appellate court to rule that after an applicant files his application for
registration, the burden shifts totally to the government to prove that the land forms part of the
unclassified forest 2one. The ruling in eirs of *munate&ui vs. Director of 5orestry .&5; ,C1A ;(/
governs applications for confirmation of imperfect title. The applicant shoulders the burden of overcoming
the presumption that the land sought to be registered forms part of the public domain.
The private respondents tried their best to present the necessary evidence. A certification issued by then
District Forester Fernando 1oy on ,eptember 5=, &(=5 reads0
4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
... said parcel of land falls ithin the Alienable and Disposable LC !roject -o. &;9D,
LC+ap -o. &;'$ certifiedG .not classified/ Gon ,eptember &6, &(6', by the Director of
Forestry. In vie thereof, this office interposes no objection in behalf of the Director of
Forestry for the registration andEor confirmation of title on the property mentioned therein
ithout prejudice to such action, the Director of Lands and other government entities may
deem proper to ta<e on the premises.
to hich, the then District Land :fficer of the >ureau of Lands, Land District -o. I#95 in Lucena City, in a
communication dated +arch &;, &(=' responded0
&. the parcel of land subject of this registration as originally claimed by 3milio Aguirre
and A. Fernande2 and the herein applicants have ac*uired the rights and interest therein
thru predecessors9in9interest7 and
5. that said parcel of land has not been disposed of, reserved, leased, applied for or
granted as homestead or otherise be alienated by the government.
In vie of the above findings, and basing from the report of the investigation submitted
thereon by a representative of this office, and considering that this Agency has no
evidence to support the opposition of the ?overnment, it is further informed that this
office interposes no opposition in the confirmation of the rights to and interest on the
parcel of land particularly described under !lan !su95&6==( in favor of the herein
applicants.
The 1egalian doctrine hich forms the basis of our land las and, in fact, all las governing natural
resources is a revered and long standing principle. It must, hoever, be applied together ith the
constitutional provisions on social justice and land reform and must be interpreted in a ay as to avoid
manifest unfairness and injustice.
3very application for a concession of public land has to be vieed in the light of its peculiar
circumstances. A strict application of the Feirs of *munate&ui us. Director of 5orestry FsupraG ruling is
arranted henever a portion of the public domain is in danger of ruthless e4ploitation, fraudulent titling,
or other *uestionable practices. >ut hen an application appears to enhance the very reasons behind the
enactment of Act $(;, as amended, or the Land 1egistration Act, and Commonealth Act &$&, as
amended, or the !ublic Land Act, then their provisions should not be made to stand in the ay of their
on implementation.
The land sought to be registered as declared alienable and disposable '' years ago. It is not forest
land. It has been possessed and cultivated by the applicants and their predecessors for at least three
generations. The attempts of humble people to have disposable lands they have been tilling for
generations titled in their names should not only be vieed ith an understanding attitude but should, as
a matter of policy, be encouraged. Ce see no strong reason to reverse the findings of the trial court and
the appellate court.
CF313F:13, the petition is hereby DI,+I,,3D for lac< of merit. The decision of the respondent
appellate court is AFFI1+3D.
,: :1D313D
G.R. No. 101083 149@ 30, 1993
1"AN ANTONIO, ANNA ROSARIO #$% 1OSE ALFONSO, #99 /4r$#me% O!OSA, m.$or/, #$%
re,re/e$-e% b@ -7e.r ,#re$-/ ANTONIO #$% RI0ALINA O!OSA, RO5ERTA NICOLE SADI"A, m.$or,
re,re/e$-e% b@ 7er ,#re$-/ CAL)IN #$% RO5ERTA SADI"A, CARLO, AANDA SAL"D #$%
!ATRISHA, #99 /4r$#me% FLORES, m.$or/ #$% re,re/e$-e% b@ -7e.r ,#re$-/ ENRICO #$% NIDA
FLORES, GIANINA DITA R. FORT"N, m.$or, re,re/e$-e% b@ 7er ,#re$-/ SIGRID #$% DOLORES
FORT"N, GEORGE II #$% A. CONCE!CION, #99 /4r$#me% ISA, m.$or/ #$% re,re/e$-e% b@ -7e.r
,#re$-/ GEORGE #$% &RA ISA, 5EN1AIN ALAN ). !ESIGAN, m.$or, re,re/e$-e% b@ 7./
,#re$-/ ANTONIO #$% ALICE !ESIGAN, 1O)IE ARIE ALFARO, m.$or, re,re/e$-e% b@ 7er
,#re$-/ 1OSE #$% ARIA )IOLETA ALFARO, ARIA CONCE!CION T. CASTRO, m.$or,
re,re/e$-e% b@ 7er ,#re$-/ FREDENIL #$% 1ANE CASTRO, 1OHANNA DESA!ARADO,
m.$or, re,re/e$-e% b@ 7er ,#re$-/ 1OSE #$% ANGELA DESA!RADO, CARLO 1OA<"IN T.
NAR)ASA, m.$or, re,re/e$-e% b@ 7./ ,#re$-/ GREGORIO II #$% CRISTINE CHARIT& NAR)ASA,
A. ARGARITA, 1ES"S IGNACIO, A. ANGELA #$% ARIE GA5RIELLE, #99 /4r$#me% SAEN0,
m.$or/, re,re/e$-e% b@ -7e.r ,#re$-/ RO5ERTO #$% A"RORA SAEN0, 2RISTINE, AR& ELLEN,
A&, GOLDA ARTHE #$% DA)ID IAN, #99 /4r$#me% 2ING, m.$or/, re,re/e$-e% b@ -7e.r ,#re$-/
ARIO #$% HA&DEE 2ING, DA)ID, FRANCISCO #$% THERESE )ICTORIA, #99 /4r$#me% ENDRIGA,
m.$or/, re,re/e$-e% b@ -7e.r ,#re$-/ 5ALTA0AR #$% TERESITA ENDRIGA, 1OSE A. #$%
REGINA A., #99 /4r$#me% A5A&A, m.$or/, re,re/e$-e% b@ -7e.r ,#re$-/ ANTONIO #$% ARICA
A5A&A, ARILIN, ARIO, 1R. #$% ARIETTE, #99 /4r$#me% CARDAA, m.$or/, re,re/e$-e% b@
-7e.r ,#re$-/ ARIO #$% LINA CARDAA, CLARISSA, ANN ARIE, NAGEL, #$% IEE L&N, #99
/4r$#me% O!OSA, m.$or/ #$% re,re/e$-e% b@ -7e.r ,#re$-/ RICARDO #$% ARISSA O!OSA,
!HILI! 1OSE!H, STE!HEN 1OHN #$% ISAIAH 1AES, #99 /4r$#me% <"I!IT, m.$or/, re,re/e$-e%
b@ -7e.r ,#re$-/ 1OSE A; #$% )ILI <"I!IT, 5"GHA' CIELO, CRISANTO, ANNA, DANIEL #$%
FRANCISCO, #99 /4r$#me% 5I5AL, m.$or/, re,re/e$-e% b@ -7e.r ,#re$-/ FRANCISCO, 1R. #$%
ILAGROS 5I5AL, #$% THE !HILI!!INE ECOLOGICAL NET'OR2, INC., petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORA5LE F"LGENCIO S. FACTORAN, 1R., .$ 7./ c#,#c.-@ #/ -7e Secre-#r@ o6 -7e
De,#r-me$- o6 E$A.ro$me$- #$% N#-4r#9 Re/o4rce/, #$% THE HONORA5LE ERI5ERTO ".
ROSARIO, !re/.%.$? 14%?e o6 -7e RTC, #:#-., 5r#$c7 66, respondents.
Oposa Law Office for petitioners.
+#e Solicitor 'eneral for respondents.
DA)IDE, 1R., J.:
In a broader sense, this petition bears upon the right of Filipinos to a balanced and healthful ecology
hich the petitioners dramatically associate ith the tin concepts of Ginter9generational responsibilityG
and Ginter9generational justice.G ,pecifically, it touches on the issue of hether the said petitioners have a
cause of action to Gprevent the misappropriation or impairmentG of !hilippine rainforests and Garrest the
unabated hemorrhage of the country8s vital life support systems and continued rape of +other 3arth.G
The controversy has its genesis in Civil Case -o. ()9== hich as filed before >ranch ;; .+a<ati, +etro
+anila/ of the 1egional Trial Court .1TC/, -ational Capital @udicial 1egion. The principal plaintiffs therein,
no the principal petitioners, are all minors duly represented and joined by their respective parents.
Impleaded as an additional plaintiff is the !hilippine 3cological -etor<, Inc. .!3-I/, a domestic, non9
stoc< and non9profit corporation organi2ed for the purpose of, inter alia, engaging in concerted action
geared for the protection of our environment and natural resources. The original defendant as the
Fonorable Fulgencio ,. Factoran, @r., then ,ecretary of the Department of 3nvironment and -atural
1esources .D3-1/. Fis substitution in this petition by the ne ,ecretary, the Fonorable Angel C. Alcala,
as subse*uently ordered upon proper motion by the petitioners.
1
The complaint
2
as instituted as a
ta4payers8 class suit
3
and alleges that the plaintiffs Gare all citi2ens of the 1epublic of the !hilippines,
ta4payers, and entitled to the full benefit, use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure that is the
country8s virgin tropical forests.G The same as filed for themselves and others ho are e*ually
concerned about the preservation of said resource but are Gso numerous that it is impracticable to bring
them all before the Court.G The minors further asseverate that they Grepresent their generation as ell as
generations yet unborn.G
*
Conse*uently, it is prayed for that judgment be rendered0
. . . ordering defendant, his agents, representatives and other persons acting in his behalf
to D
.&/ Cancel all e4isting timber license agreements in the country7
.5/ Cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, reneing or approving ne
timber license agreements.
and granting the plaintiffs G. . . such other reliefs just and e*uitable under the premises.G
+
The complaint starts off ith the general averments that the !hilippine archipelago of =,&)) islands has a
land area of thirty million .'),))),)))/ hectares and is endoed ith rich, lush and verdant rainforests in
hich varied, rare and uni*ue species of flora and fauna may be found7 these rainforests contain a
genetic, biological and chemical pool hich is irreplaceable7 they are also the habitat of indigenous
!hilippine cultures hich have e4isted, endured and flourished since time immemorial7 scientific evidence
reveals that in order to maintain a balanced and healthful ecology, the country8s land area should be
utili2ed on the basis of a ratio of fifty9four per cent .6$B/ for forest cover and forty9si4 per cent .$;B/ for
agricultural, residential, industrial, commercial and other uses7 the distortion and disturbance of this
balance as a conse*uence of deforestation have resulted in a host of environmental tragedies, such as
.a/ ater shortages resulting from drying up of the ater table, otherise <non as the Ga*uifer,G as ell
as of rivers, broo<s and streams, .b/ salini2ation of the ater table as a result of the intrusion therein of
salt ater, incontrovertible e4amples of hich may be found in the island of Cebu and the +unicipality of
>acoor, Cavite, .c/ massive erosion and the conse*uential loss of soil fertility and agricultural productivity,
ith the volume of soil eroded estimated at one billion .&,))),))),)))/ cubic meters per annum D
appro4imately the si2e of the entire island of Catanduanes, .d/ the endangering and e4tinction of the
country8s uni*ue, rare and varied flora and fauna, .e/ the disturbance and dislocation of cultural
communities, including the disappearance of the Filipino8s indigenous cultures, .f/ the siltation of rivers
and seabeds and conse*uential destruction of corals and other a*uatic life leading to a critical reduction
in marine resource productivity, .g/ recurrent spells of drought as is presently e4perienced by the entire
country, .h/ increasing velocity of typhoon inds hich result from the absence of indbrea<ers, .i/ the
floodings of lolands and agricultural plains arising from the absence of the absorbent mechanism of
forests, .j/ the siltation and shortening of the lifespan of multi9billion peso dams constructed and operated
for the purpose of supplying ater for domestic uses, irrigation and the generation of electric poer, and
.</ the reduction of the earth8s capacity to process carbon dio4ide gases hich has led to perple4ing and
catastrophic climatic changes such as the phenomenon of global arming, otherise <non as the
Ggreenhouse effect.G
!laintiffs further assert that the adverse and detrimental conse*uences of continued and deforestation are
so capable of un*uestionable demonstration that the same may be submitted as a matter of judicial
notice. This notithstanding, they e4pressed their intention to present e4pert itnesses as ell as
documentary, photographic and film evidence in the course of the trial.
As their cause of action, they specifically allege that0
C*=SE O5 *C+9ON
=. !laintiffs replead by reference the foregoing allegations.
%. Tenty9five .56/ years ago, the !hilippines had some si4teen .&;/ million hectares of
rainforests constituting roughly 6'B of the country8s land mass.
(. ,atellite images ta<en in &(%= reveal that there remained no more than &.5 million
hectares of said rainforests or four per cent .$.)B/ of the country8s land area.
&). +ore recent surveys reveal that a mere %6),))) hectares of virgin old9groth
rainforests are left, barely 5.%B of the entire land mass of the !hilippine archipelago and
about '.) million hectares of immature and uneconomical secondary groth forests.
&&. !ublic records reveal that the defendant8s, predecessors have granted timber license
agreements .8TLA8s8/ to various corporations to cut the aggregate area of '.%( million
hectares for commercial logging purposes.
A copy of the TLA holders and the corresponding areas covered is hereto attached as
Anne4 GAG.
&5. At the present rate of deforestation, i.e. about 5)),))) hectares per annum or 56
hectares per hour D nighttime, ,aturdays, ,undays and holidays included D the
!hilippines ill be bereft of forest resources after the end of this ensuing decade, if not
earlier.
&'. The adverse effects, disastrous conse*uences, serious injury and irreparable
damage of this continued trend of deforestation to the plaintiff minor8s generation and to
generations yet unborn are evident and incontrovertible. As a matter of fact, the
environmental damages enumerated in paragraph ; hereof are already being felt,
e4perienced and suffered by the generation of plaintiff adults.
&$. The continued alloance by defendant of TLA holders to cut and deforest the
remaining forest stands ill or< great damage and irreparable injury to plaintiffs D
especially plaintiff minors and their successors D ho may never see, use, benefit from
and enjoy this rare and uni*ue natural resource treasure.
This act of defendant constitutes a misappropriation andEor impairment of the natural
resource property he holds in trust for the benefit of plaintiff minors and succeeding
generations.
&6. !laintiffs have a clear and constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology and
are entitled to protection by the ,tate in its capacity as the parens patriae.
&;. !laintiff have e4hausted all administrative remedies ith the defendant8s office. :n
+arch 5, &((), plaintiffs served upon defendant a final demand to cancel all logging
permits in the country.
A copy of the plaintiffs8 letter dated +arch &, &(() is hereto attached as Anne4 G>G.
&=. Defendant, hoever, fails and refuses to cancel the e4isting TLA8s to the continuing
serious damage and e4treme prejudice of plaintiffs.
&%. The continued failure and refusal by defendant to cancel the TLA8s is an act violative
of the rights of plaintiffs, especially plaintiff minors ho may be left ith a country that is
desertified .sic/, bare, barren and devoid of the onderful flora, fauna and indigenous
cultures hich the !hilippines had been abundantly blessed ith.
&(. Defendant8s refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA8s is manifestly contrary to the
public policy enunciated in the !hilippine 3nvironmental !olicy hich, in pertinent part,
states that it is the policy of the ,tate D
.a/ to create, develop, maintain and improve conditions under hich man and nature can
thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony ith each other7
.b/ to fulfill the social, economic and other re*uirements of present and future generations
of Filipinos and7
.c/ to ensure the attainment of an environmental *uality that is conductive to a life of
dignity and ell9being. .!.D. &&6&, ; @une &(==/
5). Furthermore, defendant8s continued refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA8s is
contradictory to the Constitutional policy of the ,tate to D
a. effect Ga more e*uitable distribution of opportunities, income and ealthG and Gma<e
full and efficient use of natural resources .sic/.G .,ection &, Article AII of the Constitution/7
b. Gprotect the nation8s marine ealth.G .,ection 5, i%id/7
c. Gconserve and promote the nation8s cultural heritage and resources .sic/G .,ection &$,
Article AI#,id./7
d. Gprotect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in
accord ith the rhythm and harmony of nature.G .,ection &;, Article II, id./
5&. Finally, defendant8s act is contrary to the highest la of human<ind D the natural la
D and violative of plaintiffs8 right to self9preservation and perpetuation.
55. There is no other plain, speedy and ade*uate remedy in la other than the instant
action to arrest the unabated hemorrhage of the country8s vital life support systems and
continued rape of +other 3arth.
6
:n 55 @une &((), the original defendant, ,ecretary Factoran, @r., filed a +otion to Dismiss the complaint
based on to .5/ grounds, namely0 .&/ the plaintiffs have no cause of action against him and .5/ the issue
raised by the plaintiffs is a political *uestion hich properly pertains to the legislative or e4ecutive
branches of ?overnment. In their &5 @uly &(() :pposition to the +otion, the petitioners maintain that .&/
the complaint shos a clear and unmista<able cause of action, .5/ the motion is dilatory and .'/ the action
presents a justiciable *uestion as it involves the defendant8s abuse of discretion.
:n &% @uly &((&, respondent @udge issued an order granting the aforementioned motion to dismiss.
7
In
the said order, not only as the defendant8s claim D that the complaint states no cause of action against
him and that it raises a political *uestion D sustained, the respondent @udge further ruled that the
granting of the relief prayed for ould result in the impairment of contracts hich is prohibited by the
fundamental la of the land.
!laintiffs thus filed the instant special civil action for certiorari under 1ule ;6 of the 1evised 1ules of Court
and as< this Court to rescind and set aside the dismissal order on the ground that the respondent @udge
gravely abused his discretion in dismissing the action. Again, the parents of the plaintiffs9minors not only
represent their children, but have also joined the latter in this case.
8
:n &$ +ay &((5, Ce resolved to give due course to the petition and re*uired the parties to submit their
respective +emoranda after the :ffice of the ,olicitor ?eneral .:,?/ filed a Comment in behalf of the
respondents and the petitioners filed a reply thereto.
!etitioners contend that the complaint clearly and unmista<ably states a cause of action as it contains
sufficient allegations concerning their right to a sound environment based on Articles &(, 5) and 5& of the
Civil Code .Fuman 1elations/, ,ection $ of 34ecutive :rder .3.:./ -o. &(5 creating the D3-1, ,ection '
of !residential Decree .!.D./ -o. &&6& .!hilippine 3nvironmental !olicy/, ,ection &;, Article II of the &(%=
Constitution recogni2ing the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology, the concept of
generational genocide in Criminal La and the concept of man8s inalienable right to self9preservation and
self9perpetuation embodied in natural la. !etitioners li<eise rely on the respondent8s correlative
obligation per ,ection $ of 3.:. -o. &(5, to safeguard the people8s right to a healthful environment.
It is further claimed that the issue of the respondent ,ecretary8s alleged grave abuse of discretion in
granting Timber License Agreements .TLAs/ to cover more areas for logging than hat is available
involves a judicial *uestion.
Anent the invocation by the respondent @udge of the Constitution8s non9impairment clause, petitioners
maintain that the same does not apply in this case because TLAs are not contracts. They li<eise submit
that even if TLAs may be considered protected by the said clause, it is ell settled that they may still be
revo<ed by the ,tate hen the public interest so re*uires.
:n the other hand, the respondents aver that the petitioners failed to allege in their complaint a specific
legal right violated by the respondent ,ecretary for hich any relief is provided by la. They see nothing
in the complaint but vague and nebulous allegations concerning an Genvironmental rightG hich
supposedly entitles the petitioners to the Gprotection by the state in its capacity as parens patriae.G ,uch
allegations, according to them, do not reveal a valid cause of action. They then reiterate the theory that
the *uestion of hether logging should be permitted in the country is a political *uestion hich should be
properly addressed to the e4ecutive or legislative branches of ?overnment. They therefore assert that the
petitioners8 resources is not to file an action to court, but to lobby before Congress for the passage of a bill
that ould ban logging totally.
As to the matter of the cancellation of the TLAs, respondents submit that the same cannot be done by the
,tate ithout due process of la. :nce issued, a TLA remains effective for a certain period of time D
usually for tenty9five .56/ years. During its effectivity, the same can neither be revised nor cancelled
unless the holder has been found, after due notice and hearing, to have violated the terms of the
agreement or other forestry las and regulations. !etitioners8 proposition to have all the TLAs
indiscriminately cancelled ithout the re*uisite hearing ould be violative of the re*uirements of due
process.
>efore going any further, Ce must first focus on some procedural matters. !etitioners instituted Civil
Case -o. ()9=== as a class suit. The original defendant and the present respondents did not ta<e issue
ith this matter. -evertheless, Ce hereby rule that the said civil case is indeed a class suit. The subject
matter of the complaint is of common and general interest not just to several, but to all citi2ens of the
!hilippines. Conse*uently, since the parties are so numerous, it, becomes impracticable, if not totally
impossible, to bring all of them before the court. Ce li<eise declare that the plaintiffs therein are
numerous and representative enough to ensure the full protection of all concerned interests. Fence, all
the re*uisites for the filing of a valid class suit under ,ection &5, 1ule ' of the 1evised 1ules of Court are
present both in the said civil case and in the instant petition, the latter being but an incident to the former.
This case, hoever, has a special and novel element. !etitioners minors assert that they represent their
generation as ell as generations yet unborn. Ce find no difficulty in ruling that they can, for themselves,
for others of their generation and for the succeeding generations, file a class suit. Their personality to sue
in behalf of the succeeding generations can only be based on the concept of intergenerational
responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned. ,uch a right, as
hereinafter e4pounded, considers
the Grhythm and harmony of nature.G -ature means the created orld in its entirety.
9
,uch rhythm and
harmony indispensably include, inter alia, the judicious disposition, utili2ation, management, reneal and
conservation of the country8s forest, mineral, land, aters, fisheries, ildlife, off9shore areas and other
natural resources to the end that their e4ploration, development and utili2ation be e*uitably accessible to
the present as ell as future generations.
10
-eedless to say, every generation has a responsibility to the
ne4t to preserve that rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology. !ut
a little differently, the minors8 assertion of their right to a sound environment constitutes, at the same time,
the performance of their obligation to ensure the protection of that right for the generations to come.
The locus standi of the petitioners having thus been addressed, Ce shall no proceed to the merits of the
petition.
After a careful perusal of the complaint in *uestion and a meticulous consideration and evaluation of the
issues raised and arguments adduced by the parties, Ce do not hesitate to find for the petitioners and
rule against the respondent @udge8s challenged order for having been issued ith grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lac< of jurisdiction. The pertinent portions of the said order reads as follos0
444 444 444
After a careful and circumspect evaluation of the Complaint, the Court cannot help but
agree ith the defendant. For although e believe that plaintiffs have but the noblest of
all intentions, it .sic/ fell short of alleging, ith sufficient definiteness, a specific legal right
they are see<ing to enforce and protect, or a specific legal rong they are see<ing to
prevent and redress .,ec. &, 1ule 5, 11C/. Furthermore, the Court notes that the
Complaint is replete ith vague assumptions and vague conclusions based on unverified
data. In fine, plaintiffs fail to state a cause of action in its Complaint against the herein
defendant.
Furthermore, the Court firmly believes that the matter before it, being impressed ith
political color and involving a matter of public policy, may not be ta<en cogni2ance of by
this Court ithout doing violence to the sacred principle of G,eparation of !oersG of the
three .'/ co9e*ual branches of the ?overnment.
The Court is li<eise of the impression that it cannot, no matter ho e stretch our
jurisdiction, grant the reliefs prayed for by the plaintiffs, i.e., to cancel all e4isting timber
license agreements in the country and to cease and desist from receiving, accepting,
processing, reneing or approving ne timber license agreements. For to do otherise
ould amount to Gimpairment of contractsG abhored .sic/ by the fundamental la.
11
Ce do not agree ith the trial court8s conclusions that the plaintiffs failed to allege ith sufficient
definiteness a specific legal right involved or a specific legal rong committed, and that the complaint is
replete ith vague assumptions and conclusions based on unverified data. A reading of the complaint
itself belies these conclusions.
The complaint focuses on one specific fundamental legal right D the right to a balanced and healthful
ecology hich, for the first time in our nation8s constitutional history, is solemnly incorporated in the
fundamental la. ,ection &;, Article II of the &(%= Constitution e4plicitly provides0
,ec. &;. The ,tate shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and
healthful ecology in accord ith the rhythm and harmony of nature.
This right unites ith the right to health hich is provided for in the preceding section of
the same article0
,ec. &6. The ,tate shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill
health consciousness among them.
Chile the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found under the Declaration of !rinciples and
,tate !olicies and not under the >ill of 1ights, it does not follo that it is less important than any of the
civil and political rights enumerated in the latter. ,uch a right belongs to a different category of rights
altogether for it concerns nothing less than self9preservation and self9perpetuation D aptly and fittingly
stressed by the petitioners D the advancement of hich may even be said to predate all governments
and constitutions. As a matter of fact, these basic rights need not even be ritten in the Constitution for
they are assumed to e4ist from the inception of human<ind. If they are no e4plicitly mentioned in the
fundamental charter, it is because of the ell9founded fear of its framers that unless the rights to a
balanced and healthful ecology and to health are mandated as state policies by the Constitution itself,
thereby highlighting their continuing importance and imposing upon the state a solemn obligation to
preserve the first and protect and advance the second, the day ould not be too far hen all else ould
be lost not only for the present generation, but also for those to come D generations hich stand to
inherit nothing but parched earth incapable of sustaining life.
The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries ith it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing
the environment. During the debates on this right in one of the plenary sessions of the &(%; Constitutional
Commission, the folloing e4change transpired beteen Commissioner Cilfrido #illacorta and
Commissioner Adolfo A2cuna ho sponsored the section in *uestion0
+1. #ILLAC:1TA0
Does this section mandate the ,tate to provide sanctions against all
forms of pollution D air, ater and noise pollutionO
+1. AUCJ-A0
Kes, +adam !resident. The right to healthful .sic/ environment
necessarily carries ith it the correlative duty of not impairing the same
and, therefore, sanctions may be provided for impairment of
environmental balance.
12
The said right implies, among many other things, the judicious management and conservation of the
country8s forests.
Cithout such forests, the ecological or environmental balance ould be irreversiby disrupted.
Conformably ith the enunciated right to a balanced and healthful ecology and the right to health, as ell
as the other related provisions of the Constitution concerning the conservation, development and
utili2ation of the country8s natural resources,
13
then !resident Cora2on C. A*uino promulgated on &)
@une &(%= 3.:. -o. &(5,
1*
,ection $ of hich e4pressly mandates that the Department of 3nvironment
and -atural 1esources Gshall be the primary government agency responsible for the conservation,
management, development and proper use of the country8s environment and natural resources,
specifically forest and gra2ing lands, mineral, resources, including those in reservation and atershed
areas, and lands of the public domain, as ell as the licensing and regulation of all natural resources as
may be provided for by la in order to ensure e*uitable sharing of the benefits derived therefrom for the
elfare of the present and future generations of Filipinos.G ,ection ' thereof ma<es the folloing
statement of policy0
,ec. '. Declaration of 7olicy. D It is hereby declared the policy of the ,tate to ensure the
sustainable use, development, management, reneal, and conservation of the country8s
forest, mineral, land, off9shore areas and other natural resources, including the protection
and enhancement of the *uality of the environment, and e*uitable access of the different
segments of the population to the development and the use of the country8s natural
resources, not only for the present generation but for future generations as ell. It is also
the policy of the state to recogni2e and apply a true value system including social and
environmental cost implications relative to their utili2ation, development and conservation
of our natural resources.
This policy declaration is substantially re9stated it Title AI#, >oo< I# of the Administrative Code of
&(%=,
1+
specifically in ,ection & thereof hich reads0
,ec. &. Declaration of 7olicy. D .&/ The ,tate shall ensure, for the benefit of the Filipino
people, the full e4ploration and development as ell as the judicious disposition,
utili2ation, management, reneal and conservation of the country8s forest, mineral, land,
aters, fisheries, ildlife, off9shore areas and other natural resources, consistent ith the
necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance and protecting and enhancing the
*uality of the environment and the objective of ma<ing the e4ploration, development and
utili2ation of such natural resources e*uitably accessible to the different segments of the
present as ell as future generations.
.5/ The ,tate shall li<eise recogni2e and apply a true value system that ta<es into
account social and environmental cost implications relative to the utili2ation, development
and conservation of our natural resources.
The above provision stresses Gthe necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance and protecting
and enhancing the *uality of the environment.G ,ection 5 of the same Title, on the other hand, specifically
spea<s of the mandate of the D3-17 hoever, it ma<es particular reference to the fact of the agency8s
being subject to la and higher authority. ,aid section provides0
,ec. 5. Mandate. D .&/ The Department of 3nvironment and -atural 1esources shall be
primarily responsible for the implementation of the foregoing policy.
.5/ It shall, subject to la and higher authority, be in charge of carrying out the ,tate8s
constitutional mandate to control and supervise the e4ploration, development, utili2ation,
and conservation of the country8s natural resources.
>oth 3.:. -:. &(5 and the Administrative Code of &(%= have set the objectives hich ill serve as the
bases for policy formulation, and have defined the poers and functions of the D3-1.
It may, hoever, be recalled that even before the ratification of the &(%= Constitution, specific statutes
already paid special attention to the Genvironmental rightG of the present and future generations. :n ;
@une &(==, !.D. -o. &&6& .!hilippine 3nvironmental !olicy/ and !.D. -o. &&65 .!hilippine 3nvironment
Code/ ere issued. The former Gdeclared a continuing policy of the ,tate .a/ to create, develop, maintain
and improve conditions under hich man and nature can thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony ith
each other, .b/ to fulfill the social, economic and other re*uirements of present and future generations of
Filipinos, and .c/ to insure the attainment of an environmental *uality that is conducive to a life of dignity
and ell9being.G
16
As its goal, it spea<s of the Gresponsibilities of each generation as trustee and guardian
of the environment for succeeding generations.G
17
The latter statute, on the other hand, gave flesh to the
said policy.
Thus, the right of the petitioners .and all those they represent/ to a balanced and healthful ecology is as
clear as the D3-18s duty D under its mandate and by virtue of its poers and functions under 3.:. -o.
&(5 and the Administrative Code of &(%= D to protect and advance the said right.
A denial or violation of that right by the other ho has the corelative duty or obligation to respect or
protect the same gives rise to a cause of action. !etitioners maintain that the granting of the TLAs, hich
they claim as done ith grave abuse of discretion, violated their right to a balanced and healthful
ecology7 hence, the full protection thereof re*uires that no further TLAs should be reneed or granted.
A cause of action is defined as0
. . . an act or omission of one party in violation of the legal right or rights of the other7 and
its essential elements are legal right of the plaintiff, correlative obligation of the
defendant, and act or omission of the defendant in violation of said legal right.
18
It is settled in this jurisdiction that in a motion to dismiss based on the ground that the complaint fails to
state a cause of action,
19
the *uestion submitted to the court for resolution involves the sufficiency of the
facts alleged in the complaint itself. -o other matter should be considered7 furthermore, the truth of falsity
of the said allegations is beside the point for the truth thereof is deemed hypothetically admitted. The only
issue to be resolved in such a case is0 admitting such alleged facts to be true, may the court render a
valid judgment in accordance ith the prayer in the complaintO
20
In Militante vs. Edrosolano,
21
this Court
laid don the rule that the judiciary should Ge4ercise the utmost care and circumspection in passing upon
a motion to dismiss on the ground of the absence thereof Hcause of actionI lest, by its failure to manifest a
correct appreciation of the facts alleged and deemed hypothetically admitted, hat the la grants or
recogni2es is effectively nullified. If that happens, there is a blot on the legal order. The la itself stands in
disrepute.G
After careful e4amination of the petitioners8 complaint, Ce find the statements under the introductory
affirmative allegations, as ell as the specific averments under the sub9heading CAJ,3 :F ACTI:-, to
be ade*uate enough to sho, prima facie, the claimed violation of their rights. :n the basis thereof, they
may thus be granted, holly or partly, the reliefs prayed for. It bears stressing, hoever, that insofar as
the cancellation of the TLAs is concerned, there is the need to implead, as party defendants, the grantees
thereof for they are indispensable parties.
The foregoing considered, Civil Case -o. ()9=== be said to raise a political *uestion. !olicy formulation or
determination by the e4ecutive or legislative branches of ?overnment is not s*uarely put in issue. Chat is
principally involved is the enforcement of a right vis-a-vis policies already formulated and e4pressed in
legislation. It must, nonetheless, be emphasi2ed that the political *uestion doctrine is no longer, the
insurmountable obstacle to the e4ercise of judicial poer or the impenetrable shield that protects
e4ecutive and legislative actions from judicial in*uiry or revie. The second paragraph of section &, Article
#III of the Constitution states that0
@udicial poer includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights hich are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine hether
or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac< or e4cess of
jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the ?overnment.
Commenting on this provision in his boo<, 7#ilippine 7olitical Law,
22
+r. @ustice Isagani A. Cru2, a
distinguished member of this Court, says0
The first part of the authority represents the traditional concept of judicial poer, involving
the settlement of conflicting rights as conferred as la. The second part of the authority
represents a broadening of judicial poer to enable the courts of justice to revie hat
as before forbidden territory, to it, the discretion of the political departments of the
government.
As orded, the ne provision vests in the judiciary, and particularly the ,upreme Court,
the poer to rule upon even the isdom of the decisions of the e4ecutive and the
legislature and to declare their acts invalid for lac< or e4cess of jurisdiction because
tainted ith grave abuse of discretion. The catch, of course, is the meaning of Ggrave
abuse of discretion,G hich is a very elastic phrase that can e4pand or contract according
to the disposition of the judiciary.
In Da)a vs. Sin&son,
23
+r. @ustice Cru2, no spea<ing for this Court, noted0
In the case no before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable and
decisive. The reason is that, even if e ere to assume that the issue presented before
us as political in nature, e ould still not be precluded from revolving it under the
e4panded jurisdiction conferred upon us that no covers, in proper cases, even the
political *uestion. Article #II, ,ection &, of the Constitution clearly provides0 . . .
The last ground invo<ed by the trial court in dismissing the complaint is the non9impairment of contracts
clause found in the Constitution. The court a $uo declared that0
The Court is li<eise of the impression that it cannot, no matter ho e stretch our
jurisdiction, grant the reliefs prayed for by the plaintiffs, i.e., to cancel all e4isting timber
license agreements in the country and to cease and desist from receiving, accepting,
processing, reneing or approving ne timber license agreements. For to do otherise
ould amount to Gimpairment of contractsG abhored .sic/ by the fundamental la.
2*
Ce are not persuaded at all7 on the contrary, Ce are ama2ed, if not shoc<ed, by such a seeping
pronouncement. In the first place, the respondent ,ecretary did not, for obvious reasons, even invo<e in
his motion to dismiss the non9impairment clause. If he had done so, he ould have acted ith utmost
infidelity to the ?overnment by providing undue and unarranted benefits and advantages to the timber
license holders because he ould have forever bound the ?overnment to strictly respect the said licenses
according to their terms and conditions regardless of changes in policy and the demands of public interest
and elfare. Fe as aare that as correctly pointed out by the petitioners, into every timber license must
be read ,ection 5) of the Forestry 1eform Code .!.D. -o. =)6/ hich provides0
. . . 7rovided, That hen the national interest so re*uires, the !resident may amend,
modify, replace or rescind any contract, concession, permit, licenses or any other form of
privilege granted herein . . .
-eedless to say, all licenses may thus be revo<ed or rescinded by e4ecutive action. It is not a
contract, property or a property right protested by the due process clause of the Constitution.
In +an vs. Director of 5orestry,
2+
this Court held0
. . . A timber license is an instrument by hich the ,tate regulates the utili2ation and
disposition of forest resources to the end that public elfare is promoted. A timber license
is not a contract ithin the purvie of the due process clause7 it is only a license or
privilege, hich can be validly ithdran henever dictated by public interest or public
elfare as in this case.
A license is merely a permit or privilege to do hat otherise ould be unlaful, and is
not a contract beteen the authority, federal, state, or municipal, granting it and the
person to hom it is granted7 neither is it property or a property right, nor does it create a
vested right7 nor is it ta4ation .'= C.@. &;%/. Thus, this Court held that the granting of
license does not create irrevocable rights, neither is it property or property rights .!eople
vs. :ng Tin, 6$ :.?. =6=;/.
Ce reiterated this pronouncement in 5elipe 6smael, 8r. L Co., 9nc. vs. Deputy E>ecutive Secretary0
26
. . . Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the principal instruments by
hich the ,tate regulates the utili2ation and disposition of forest resources to the end that
public elfare is promoted. And it can hardly be gainsaid that they merely evidence a
privilege granted by the ,tate to *ualified entities, and do not vest in the latter a
permanent or irrevocable right to the particular concession area and the forest products
therein. They may be validly amended, modified, replaced or rescinded by the Chief
34ecutive hen national interests so re*uire. Thus, they are not deemed contracts ithin
the purvie of the due process of la clause HSee ,ections '.ee/ and 5) of !res. Decree
-o. =)6, as amended. *lso, Tan v. Director of Forestry, ?.1. -o. L95$6$%, :ctober 5=,
&(%', &56 ,C1A ')5I.
,ince timber licenses are not contracts, the non9impairment clause, hich reads0
,ec. &). -o la impairing, the obligation of contracts shall be passed.
27
cannot be invo<ed.
In the second place, even if it is to be assumed that the same are contracts, the instant case does not
involve a la or even an e4ecutive issuance declaring the cancellation or modification of e4isting timber
licenses. Fence, the non9impairment clause cannot as yet be invo<ed. -evertheless, granting further that
a la has actually been passed mandating cancellations or modifications, the same cannot still be
stigmati2ed as a violation of the non9impairment clause. This is because by its very nature and purpose,
such as la could have only been passed in the e4ercise of the police poer of the state for the purpose
of advancing the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology, promoting their health and
enhancing the general elfare. In *%e vs. 5oster S#eeler
Corp.
28
this Court stated0
The freedom of contract, under our system of government, is not meant to be absolute.
The same is understood to be subject to reasonable legislative regulation aimed at the
promotion of public health, moral, safety and elfare. In other ords, the constitutional
guaranty of non9impairment of obligations of contract is limited by the e4ercise of the
police poer of the ,tate, in the interest of public health, safety, moral and general
elfare.
The reason for this is emphatically set forth in Ne%ia vs. New 6or,,
29
*uoted in 7#ilippine *merican Life
9nsurance Co. vs. *uditor 'eneral,
30
to it0
Jnder our form of government the use of property and the ma<ing of contracts are
normally matters of private and not of public concern. The general rule is that both shall
be free of governmental interference. >ut neither property rights nor contract rights are
absolute7 for government cannot e4ist if the citi2en may at ill use his property to the
detriment of his fellos, or e4ercise his freedom of contract to or< them harm. 3*ually
fundamental ith the private right is that of the public to regulate it in the common
interest.
In short, the non9impairment clause must yield to the police poer of the state.
31
Finally, it is difficult to imagine, as the trial court did, ho the non9impairment clause could apply ith
respect to the prayer to enjoin the respondent ,ecretary from receiving, accepting, processing, reneing
or approving ne timber licenses for, save in cases of renewal, no contract ould have as of yet e4isted
in the other instances. +oreover, ith respect to reneal, the holder is not entitled to it as a matter of
right.
CF313F:13, being impressed ith merit, the instant !etition is hereby ?1A-T3D, and the challenged
:rder of respondent @udge of &% @uly &((& dismissing Civil Case -o. ()9=== is hereby set aside. The
petitioners may therefore amend their complaint to implead as defendants the holders or grantees of the
*uestioned timber license agreements.
-o pronouncement as to costs.
,: :1D313D.
Cru), 7adilla, Bidin, 'ri<o-*$uino, :e&alado, :omero, Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo and Ruiason, 88., concur.
Narvasa, C.8., 7uno and (itu&, 88., too, no part.
Se,#r#-e O,.$.o$/
FELICIANO, J., concurring
I join in the result reached by my distinguished brother in the Court, Davide, @r., 8., in this case hich, to
my mind, is one of the most important cases decided by this Court in the last fe years. The seminal
principles laid don in this decision are li<ely to influence profoundly the direction and course of the
protection and management of the environment, hich of course embraces the utili2ation of all the natural
resources in the territorial base of our polity. I have therefore sought to clarify, basically to myself, hat
the Court appears to be saying.
The Court e4plicitly states that petitioners have the locus standi necessary to sustain the bringing and,
maintenance of this suit .Decision, pp. &&9&5/. Locus standi is not a function of petitioners8 claim that their
suit is properly regarded as a class suit. I understand locus standi to refer to the legal interest hich a
plaintiff must have in the subject matter of the suit. >ecause of the very broadness of the concept of
GclassG here involved D membership in this GclassG appears to embrace everyone living in the country
hether no or in the
future D it appears to me that everyone ho may be e4pected to benefit from the course of action
petitioners see< to re*uire public respondents to ta<e, is vested ith the necessary locus standi. The
Court may be seen therefore to be recogni2ing a %eneficiariesH ri&#t of action in the field of environmental
protection, as against both the public administrative agency directly concerned and the private persons or
entities operating in the field or sector of activity involved. Chether such beneficiaries8 right of action may
be found under any and all circumstances, or hether some failure to act, in the first instance, on the part
of the governmental agency concerned must be shon .Gprior e4haustion of administrative remediesG/, is
not discussed in the decision and presumably is left for future determination in an appropriate case.
The Court has also declared that the complaint has alleged and focused upon Gone specific fundamental
legal right D the right to a balanced and healthful ecologyG .Decision, p. &$/. There is no *uestion that
Gthe right to a balanced and healthful ecologyG is GfundamentalG and that, accordingly, it has been
Gconstitutionali2ed.G >ut although it is fundamental in character, I suggest, ith very great respect, that it
cannot be characteri2ed as Gspecific,G ithout doing e4cessive violence to language. It is in fact very
difficult to fashion language more comprehensive in scope and generali2ed in character than a right to Ga
balanced and healthful ecology.G The list of particular claims hich can be subsumed under this rubic
appears to be entirely open9ended0 prevention and control of emission of to4ic fumes and smo<e from
factories and motor vehicles7 of discharge of oil, chemical effluents, garbage and ra seage into rivers,
inland and coastal aters by vessels, oil rigs, factories, mines and hole communities7 of dumping of
organic and inorganic astes on open land, streets and thoroughfares7 failure to rehabilitate land after
strip9mining or open9pit mining7 ,ain&in or slash9and9burn farming7 destruction of fisheries, coral reefs and
other living sea resources through the use of dynamite or cyanide and other chemicals7 contamination of
ground ater resources7 loss of certain species of fauna and flora7 and so on. The other statements
pointed out by the Court0 ,ection ', 34ecutive :rder -o. &(5 dated &) @une &(%=7 ,ection &, Title AI#,
>oo< I# of the &(%= Administrative Code7 and !.D. -o. &&6&, dated ; @une &(== D all appear to be
formulations of policy, as general and abstract as the constitutional statements of basic policy in Article II,
,ection &; .Gthe right D to a balanced and healthful ecologyG/ and &6 .Gthe right to healthG/.
!.D. -o. &&65, also dated ; @une &(==, entitled GThe !hilippine 3nvironment Code,G is, upon the other
hand, a compendious collection of more Gspecific environment management policiesG and Genvironment
*uality standardsG .fourth GChereasG clause, !reamble/ relating to an e4tremely ide range of topics0
.a/ air *uality management7
.b/ ater *uality management7
.c/ land use management7
.d/ natural resources management and conservation embracing0
.i/ fisheries and a*uatic resources7
.ii/ ild life7
.iii/ forestry and soil conservation7
.iv/ flood control and natural calamities7
.v/ energy development7
.vi/ conservation and utili2ation of surface and ground ater
.vii/ mineral resources
To .5/ points are orth ma<ing in this connection. Firstly, neither petitioners nor the Court has identified
the particular provision or provisions .if any/ of the !hilippine 3nvironment Code hich give rise to a
specific legal right hich petitioners are see<ing to enforce. ,econdly, the !hilippine 3nvironment Code
identifies ith notable care the particular government agency charged ith the formulation and
implementation of guidelines and programs dealing ith each of the headings and sub9headings
mentioned above. The !hilippine 3nvironment Code does not, in other ords, appear to contemplate
action on the part of private persons ho are beneficiaries of implementation of that Code.
As a matter of logic, by finding petitioners8 cause of action as anchored on a legal right comprised in the
constitutional statements above noted, the Court is in effect saying that ,ection &6 .and ,ection &;/ of
Article II of the Constitution are self9e4ecuting and judicially enforceable even in their present form. The
implications of this doctrine ill have to be e4plored in future cases7 those implications are too large and
far9reaching in nature even to be hinted at here.
+y suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, sho a more specific legal right D a
right cast in language of a significantly loer order of generality than Article II .&6/ of the Constitution D
that is or may be violated by the actions, or failures to act, imputed to the public respondent by petitioners
so that the trial court can validly render judgment granting all or part of the relief prayed for. To my mind,
the Court should be understood as simply saying that such a more specific legal right or rights may ell
e4ist in our corpus of la, considering the general policy principles found in the Constitution and the
e4istence of the !hilippine 3nvironment Code, and that the trial court should have given petitioners an
effective opportunity so to demonstrate, instead of aborting the proceedings on a motion to dismiss.
It seems to me important that the legal right hich is an essential component of a cause of action be a
specific, operable legal right, rather than a constitutional or statutory policy, for at least to .5/ reasons.
:ne is that unless the legal right claimed to have been violated or disregarded is given specification in
operational terms, defendants may ell be unable to defend themselves intelligently and effectively7 in
other ords, there are due process dimensions to this matter.
The second is a broader9gauge consideration D here a specific violation of la or applicable regulation
is not alleged or proved, petitioners can be e4pected to fall bac< on the e4panded conception of judicial
poer in the second paragraph of ,ection & of Article #III of the Constitution hich reads0
,ection &. . . .
@udicial poer includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights hich are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine hether
or not there has been a&rave a%use of discretion amounting to lac< or e4cess of
jurisdiction on t#e part of any %ranc# or instrumentality of t#e 'overnment. .3mphasis
supplied/
Chen substantive standards as general as Gthe right to a balanced and healthy ecologyG and Gthe
right to healthG are combined ith remedial standards as broad ranging as Ga grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lac< or e4cess of jurisdiction,G the result ill be, it is respectfully
submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy ma<ing. At
least in respect of the vast area of environmental protection and management, our courts have no
claim to special technical competence and e4perience and professional *ualification. Chere no
specific, operable norms and standards are shon to e4ist, then the policy ma<ing departments
D the legislative and e4ecutive departments D must be given a real and effective opportunity to
fashion and promulgate those norms and standards, and to implement them before the courts
should intervene.
+y learned brother Davide, @r., 8., rightly insists that the timber companies, hose concession
agreements or TLA8s petitioners demand public respondents should cancel, must be impleaded in the
proceedings belo. It might be as<ed that, if petitioners8 entitlement to the relief demanded
is not dependent upon proof of breach by the timber companies of one or more of the specific terms and
conditions of their concession agreements .and this, petitioners implicitly assume/, hat ill those
companies litigate aboutO The anser I suggest is that they may see< to dispute the e4istence of the
specific legal right petitioners should allege, as ell as the reality of the claimed factual ne4us beteen
petitioners8 specific legal rights and the claimed rongful acts or failures to act of public respondent
administrative agency. They may also controvert the appropriateness of the remedy or remedies
demanded by petitioners, under all the circumstances hich e4ist.
I vote to grant the !etition for Certiorari because the protection of the environment, including the forest
cover of our territory, is of e4treme importance for the country. The doctrines set out in the Court8s
decision issued today should, hoever, be subjected to closer e4amination.


F Se,#r#-e O,.$.o$/
FELICIANO, J., concurring
I join in the result reached by my distinguished brother in the Court, Davide, @r., 8., in this case hich, to
my mind, is one of the most important cases decided by this Court in the last fe years. The seminal
principles laid don in this decision are li<ely to influence profoundly the direction and course of the
protection and management of the environment, hich of course embraces the utili2ation of all the natural
resources in the territorial base of our polity. I have therefore sought to clarify, basically to myself, hat
the Court appears to be saying.
The Court e4plicitly states that petitioners have the locus standi necessary to sustain the bringing and,
maintenance of this suit .Decision, pp. &&9&5/. Locus standi is not a function of petitioners8 claim that their
suit is properly regarded as a class suit. I understand locus standi to refer to the legal interest hich a
plaintiff must have in the subject matter of the suit. >ecause of the very broadness of the concept of
GclassG here involved D membership in this GclassG appears to embrace everyone living in the country
hether no or in the
future D it appears to me that everyone ho may be e4pected to benefit from the course of action
petitioners see< to re*uire public respondents to ta<e, is vested ith the necessary locus standi. The
Court may be seen therefore to be recogni2ing a %eneficiariesH ri&#t of action in the field of environmental
protection, as against both the public administrative agency directly concerned and the private persons or
entities operating in the field or sector of activity involved. Chether such beneficiaries8 right of action may
be found under any and all circumstances, or hether some failure to act, in the first instance, on the part
of the governmental agency concerned must be shon .Gprior e4haustion of administrative remediesG/, is
not discussed in the decision and presumably is left for future determination in an appropriate case.
The Court has also declared that the complaint has alleged and focused upon Gone specific fundamental
legal right D the right to a balanced and healthful ecologyG .Decision, p. &$/. There is no *uestion that
Gthe right to a balanced and healthful ecologyG is GfundamentalG and that, accordingly, it has been
Gconstitutionali2ed.G >ut although it is fundamental in character, I suggest, ith very great respect, that it
cannot be characteri2ed as Gspecific,G ithout doing e4cessive violence to language. It is in fact very
difficult to fashion language more comprehensive in scope and generali2ed in character than a right to Ga
balanced and healthful ecology.G The list of particular claims hich can be subsumed under this rubic
appears to be entirely open9ended0 prevention and control of emission of to4ic fumes and smo<e from
factories and motor vehicles7 of discharge of oil, chemical effluents, garbage and ra seage into rivers,
inland and coastal aters by vessels, oil rigs, factories, mines and hole communities7 of dumping of
organic and inorganic astes on open land, streets and thoroughfares7 failure to rehabilitate land after
strip9mining or open9pit mining7 ,ain&in or slash9and9burn farming7 destruction of fisheries, coral reefs and
other living sea resources through the use of dynamite or cyanide and other chemicals7 contamination of
ground ater resources7 loss of certain species of fauna and flora7 and so on. The other statements
pointed out by the Court0 ,ection ', 34ecutive :rder -o. &(5 dated &) @une &(%=7 ,ection &, Title AI#,
>oo< I# of the &(%= Administrative Code7 and !.D. -o. &&6&, dated ; @une &(== D all appear to be
formulations of policy, as general and abstract as the constitutional statements of basic policy in Article II,
,ection &; .Gthe right D to a balanced and healthful ecologyG/ and &6 .Gthe right to healthG/.
!.D. -o. &&65, also dated ; @une &(==, entitled GThe !hilippine 3nvironment Code,G is, upon the other
hand, a compendious collection of more Gspecific environment management policiesG and Genvironment
*uality standardsG .fourth GChereasG clause, !reamble/ relating to an e4tremely ide range of topics0
.a/ air *uality management7
.b/ ater *uality management7
.c/ land use management7
.d/ natural resources management and conservation embracing0
.i/ fisheries and a*uatic resources7
.ii/ ild life7
.iii/ forestry and soil conservation7
.iv/ flood control and natural calamities7
.v/ energy development7
.vi/ conservation and utili2ation of surface and ground ater
.vii/ mineral resources
To .5/ points are orth ma<ing in this connection. Firstly, neither petitioners nor the Court has identified
the particular provision or provisions .if any/ of the !hilippine 3nvironment Code hich give rise to a
specific legal right hich petitioners are see<ing to enforce. ,econdly, the !hilippine 3nvironment Code
identifies ith notable care the particular government agency charged ith the formulation and
implementation of guidelines and programs dealing ith each of the headings and sub9headings
mentioned above. The !hilippine 3nvironment Code does not, in other ords, appear to contemplate
action on the part of private persons ho are beneficiaries of implementation of that Code.
As a matter of logic, by finding petitioners8 cause of action as anchored on a legal right comprised in the
constitutional statements above noted, the Court is in effect saying that ,ection &6 .and ,ection &;/ of
Article II of the Constitution are self9e4ecuting and judicially enforceable even in their present form. The
implications of this doctrine ill have to be e4plored in future cases7 those implications are too large and
far9reaching in nature even to be hinted at here.
+y suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, sho a more specific legal right D a
right cast in language of a significantly loer order of generality than Article II .&6/ of the Constitution D
that is or may be violated by the actions, or failures to act, imputed to the public respondent by petitioners
so that the trial court can validly render judgment granting all or part of the relief prayed for. To my mind,
the Court should be understood as simply saying that such a more specific legal right or rights may ell
e4ist in our corpus of la, considering the general policy principles found in the Constitution and the
e4istence of the !hilippine 3nvironment Code, and that the trial court should have given petitioners an
effective opportunity so to demonstrate, instead of aborting the proceedings on a motion to dismiss.
It seems to me important that the legal right hich is an essential component of a cause of action be a
specific, operable legal right, rather than a constitutional or statutory policy, for at least to .5/ reasons.
:ne is that unless the legal right claimed to have been violated or disregarded is given specification in
operational terms, defendants may ell be unable to defend themselves intelligently and effectively7 in
other ords, there are due process dimensions to this matter.
The second is a broader9gauge consideration D here a specific violation of la or applicable regulation
is not alleged or proved, petitioners can be e4pected to fall bac< on the e4panded conception of judicial
poer in the second paragraph of ,ection & of Article #III of the Constitution hich reads0
,ection &. . . .
@udicial poer includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights hich are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine hether
or not there has been a&rave a%use of discretion amounting to lac< or e4cess of
jurisdiction on t#e part of any %ranc# or instrumentality of t#e 'overnment. .3mphasis
supplied/
Chen substantive standards as general as Gthe right to a balanced and healthy ecologyG and Gthe
right to healthG are combined ith remedial standards as broad ranging as Ga grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lac< or e4cess of jurisdiction,G the result ill be, it is respectfully
submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy ma<ing. At
least in respect of the vast area of environmental protection and management, our courts have no
claim to special technical competence and e4perience and professional *ualification. Chere no
specific, operable norms and standards are shon to e4ist, then the policy ma<ing departments
D the legislative and e4ecutive departments D must be given a real and effective opportunity to
fashion and promulgate those norms and standards, and to implement them before the courts
should intervene.
+y learned brother Davide, @r., 8., rightly insists that the timber companies, hose concession
agreements or TLA8s petitioners demand public respondents should cancel, must be impleaded in the
proceedings belo. It might be as<ed that, if petitioners8 entitlement to the relief demanded
is not dependent upon proof of breach by the timber companies of one or more of the specific terms and
conditions of their concession agreements .and this, petitioners implicitly assume/, hat ill those
companies litigate aboutO The anser I suggest is that they may see< to dispute the e4istence of the
specific legal right petitioners should allege, as ell as the reality of the claimed factual ne4us beteen
petitioners8 specific legal rights and the claimed rongful acts or failures to act of public respondent
administrative agency. They may also controvert the appropriateness of the remedy or remedies
demanded by petitioners, under all the circumstances hich e4ist.
I vote to grant the !etition for Certiorari because the protection of the environment, including the forest
cover of our territory, is of e4treme importance for the country. The doctrines set out in the Court8s
decision issued today should, hoever, be subjected to closer e4amination.

G.R. No. 98332 1#$4#r@ 16, 199+
INERS ASSOCIATION OF THE !HILI!!INES, INC., petitioner,
vs.
HON. F"LGENCIO S. FACTORAN, 1R., Secre-#r@ o6 E$A.ro$me$- #$% N#-4r#9 Re/o4rce/, #$%
1OEL D. "&CO, D.rec-or o6 .$e/ #$% Geo/c.e$ce/ 54re#4, respondents.

ROERO, J.:
The instant petition see<s a ruling from this Court on the validity of to Administrative :rders issued by
the ,ecretary of the Department of 3nvironment and -atural 1esources to carry out the provisions of
certain 34ecutive :rders promulgated by the !resident in the laful e4ercise of legislative poers.
Ferein controversy as precipitated by the change introduced by Article AII, ,ection 5 of the &(%=
Constitution on the system of e4ploration, development and utili2ation of the country8s natural resources.
-o longer is the utili2ation of inalienable lands of public domain through Glicense, concession or leaseG
under the &('6 and &(=' Constitutions
1
alloed under the &(%= Constitution.
The adoption of the concept of !ura re&alia
2
that all natural resources are oned by the ,tate embodied in
the &('6, &(=' and &(%= Constitutions, as ell as the recognition of the importance of the country8s
natural resources, not only for national economic development, but also for its security and national
defense,
3
ushered in the adoption of the constitutional policy of Gfull control and supervision by the ,tateG
in the e4ploration, development and utili2ation of the country8s natural resources. The options open to the
,tate are through direct underta<ing or by entering into co9production, joint venture7 or production9sharing
agreements, or by entering into agreement ith foreign9oned corporations for large9scale e4ploration,
development and utili2ation.
Article AII, ,ection 5 of the &(%= Constitution provides0
,ec. 5. All lands of the public domain, aters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other
mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, ildlife, flora and
fauna, and other natural resources are oned by the ,tate. Cith the e4ception of
agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. +#e e>ploration,
development, and utili)ation of natural resources s#all %e under t#e full control and
supervision of t#e State. +#e State may directly underta,e suc# activities, or it may enter
into co-production, !oint venture, or product-s#arin& a&reements wit# 5ilipino citi)ens, or
corporations or associations at least si>ty per centum of w#ose capital is owned %y suc#
citi)ens. Suc# a&reements may %e for a period not e>ceedin& twenty-five years,
renewa%le for not more t#an twenty-five years, and under suc# terms and conditions as
may %e provided %y law. In cases of ater rights for irrigation, ater supply, fisheries, or
industrial uses other than the development of ater poer, beneficial use may be the
measure and limit of the grant.
444 444 444
+#e 7resident may enter into a&reements wit# forei&n-owned corporations involvin&
eit#er tec#nical or financial assistance for lar&e-scale e>ploration, development, and
utili)ation of minerals, petroleum, and ot#er mineral oils accordin& to t#e &eneral terms
and conditions provided %y law, %ased on real contri%utions to t#e economic &rowt# and
&eneral welfare of t#e country. 9n suc# a&reements, t#e State s#all promote t#e
development and use of local scientific and tec#nical resources.
The !resident shall notify the Congress of every contract entered into in accordance ith
this provision, ithin thirty days from its e4ecution. .3mphasis supplied/
!ursuant to the mandate of the above9*uoted provision, legislative acts
*
ere successively issued by the
!resident in the e4ercise of her legislative
poer.
+
To implement said legislative acts, the ,ecretary of the Department of 3nvironment and -atural
1esources .D3-1/ in turn promulgated Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5, the validity and
constitutionality of hich are being challenged in this petition.
:n @uly &), &(%=, !resident Cora2on C. A*uino, in the e4ercise of her then legislative poers under
Article II, ,ection & of the !rovisional Constitution and Article AIII, ,ection ; of the &(%= Constitution,
promulgated 34ecutive :rder -o. 5&& prescribing the interim procedures in the processing and approval
of applications for the e4ploration, development and utili2ation of minerals pursuant to the &(%=
Constitution in order to ensure the continuity of mining operations and activities and to hasten the
development of mineral resources. The pertinent provisions read as follos0
,ec. &. 34isting mining permits, licenses, leases and other mining grants issued by the
Department of 3nvironment and -atural 1esources and >ureau of +ines and ?eo9
,ciences, including e4isting operating agreements and mining service contracts, shall
continue and remain in full force and effect, subject to the same terms and conditions as
originally granted andEor approved.
,ec. 5. Applications for the e4ploration, development and utili2ation of mineral resources,
including reneal applications for approval of operating agreements and mining service
contracts, shall be accepted and processed and may be approved7 concomitantly thereto,
declarations of locations and all other <inds of mining applications shall be accepted and
registered by the >ureau of +ines and ?eo9,ciences.
,ec. '. The processing, evaluation and approval of all mining applications, declarations
of locations, operating agreements and service contracts as provided for in ,ection 5
above, shall be governed by !residential Decree -o. $;', as amended, other e4isting
mining las and their implementing rules and regulations0 7rovided, #owever, that the
privileges granted, as ell as the terms and conditions thereof shall be subject to any and
all modifications or alterations hich Congress may adopt pursuant to ,ection 5, Article
AII of the &(%= Constitution.
:n @uly 56, &(%=, !resident A*uino li<eise promulgated 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( authori2ing the D3-1
,ecretary to negotiate and conclude joint venture, co9production, or production9sharing agreements for
the e4ploration, development and utili2ation of mineral resources, and prescribing the guidelines for such
agreements and those agreements involving technical or financial assistance by foreign9oned
corporations for large9scale e4ploration, development, and utili2ation of minerals. The pertinent provisions
relevant to this petition are as follos0
,ec. &. The ,ecretary of the Department of 3nvironment and -atural 1esources
.hereinafter referred to as Gthe ,ecretaryG/ is hereby authori2ed to negotiate and enter
into, for and in behalf of the ?overnment, joint venture, co9production, or production9
sharing agreements for the e4ploration, development, and utili2ation of mineral resources
ith any Filipino citi2ens, or corporation or association at least si4ty percent .;)B/ of
hose capital is oned by Filipino citi2ens. ,uch joint venture, co9production, or
production9sharing agreements may be for a period not e4ceeding tenty9five years,
reneable for not more than tenty9five years, and shall include the minimum terms and
conditions prescribed in ,ection 5 hereof. In the e4ecution of a joint venture, co9
production or production agreements, the contracting parties, including the ?overnment,
may consolidate to or more contiguous or geologically D related mining claims or
leases and consider them as one contract area for purposes of determining the subject of
the joint venture, co9production, or production9sharing agreement.
444 444 444
,ec. ;. The ,ecretary shall promulgate such supplementary rules and regulations as may
be necessary to effectively implement the provisions of this 34ecutive :rder.
,ec. =. All provisions of !residential Decree -o. $;', as amended, other e4isting mining
las, and their implementing rules and regulations, or parts thereof, hich are not
inconsistent ith the provisions of this 34ecutive :rder, shall continue in force and effect.
!ursuant to ,ection ; of 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=(, the D3-1 ,ecretary issued on @une 5', &(%( D3-1
Administrative :rder -o. 6=, series of &(%(, captioned G?uidelines of +ineral !roduction ,haring
Agreement under 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=(.G
6
Jnder the transitory provision of said D3-1 Administrative
:rder -o. 6=, embodied in its Article (, all e4isting mining leases or agreements hich ere granted after
the effectivity of the &(%= Constitution pursuant to 34ecutive :rder -o. 5&&, e4cept small scale mining
leases and those pertaining to sand and gravel and *uarry resources covering an area of tenty .5)/
hectares or less, shall be converted into production9sharing agreements ithin one .&/ year from the
effectivity of these guidelines.
:n -ovember 5), &(%), the ,ecretary of the D3-1 Administrative :rder -o. %5, series of &((), laying
don the G!rocedural ?uidelines on the Aard of +ineral !roduction ,haring Agreement .+!,A/ through
-egotiation.G
7
,ection ' of the aforementioned D3-1 Administrative :rder -o. %5 enumerates the persons or entities
re*uired to submit Letter of Intent .L:Is/ and +ineral !roduction ,haring Agreement .+!,As/ ithin to
.5/ years from the effectivity of D3-1 Administrative :rder -o. 6= or until @uly &=, &((&. Failure to do so
ithin the prescribed period shall cause the abandonment of mining, *uarry and sand and gravel claims.
,ection ' of D3-1 Administrative :rder -o. %5 provides0
,ec. '. ,ubmission of Letter of Intent .L:Is/ and +!,As/. The folloing shall submit their
L:Is and +!,As ithin to .5/ years from the effectivity of D3-1 A.:. 6= or until @uly
&=, &((&.
i. Declaration of Location .D:L/ holders, mining lease applicants, e4ploration permitees,
*uarry applicants and other mining applicants hose miningE*uarry applications have not
been perfected prior to the effectivity of D3-1 Administrative :rder -o. 6=.
ii. All holders of D:L ac*uired after the effectivity of D3-1 A.:. -o. 6=.
iii. Folders of mining leases or similar agreements hich ere granted after .the/
effectivity of &(%= Constitution.
Failure to submit letters of intent and +!,A applicationsEproposals ithin the prescribed
period shall cause the abandonment of mining, *uarry and sand and gravel claims.
The issuance and the impeding implementation by the D3-1 of Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5
after their respective effectivity dates compelled the +iners Association of the !hilippines, Inc.
8
to file the
instant petition assailing their validity and constitutionality before this Court.
In this petition for certiorari, petitioner +iners Association of the !hilippines, Inc. mainly contends that
respondent ,ecretary of D3-1 issued both Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5 in e4cess of his rule9
ma<ing poer under ,ection ; of 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=(. :n the assumption that the *uestioned
administrative orders do not conform ith 34ecutive :rder -os. 5&& and 5=(, petitioner contends that
both orders violate the
non9impairment of contract provision under Article III, ,ection &) of the &(%= Constitution on the ground
that Administrative :rder -o. 6= unduly pre9terminates e4isting mining agreements and automatically
converts them into production9sharing agreements ithin one .&/ year from its effectivity date. :n the
other hand, Administrative :rder -o. %5 declares that failure to submit Letters of Intent and +ineral
!roduction9,haring Agreements ithin to .5/ years from the date of effectivity of said guideline or on
@uly &=, &((& shall cause the abandonment of their mining, *uarry and sand gravel permits.
:n @uly 5, &((&, the Court, acting on petitioner8s urgent e>-parte petition for issuance of a restraining
orderEpreliminary injunction, issued a Temporary 1estraining :rder, upon posting of a !6)),))).)) bond,
enjoining the enforcement and implementation of D3-1 Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5, as
amended, ,eries of &(%( and &((), respectively.
9
:n -ovember &', &((&, Continental +arble Corporation,
10
thru its !resident, Felipe A. David, sought to
intervene
11
in this case alleging that because of the temporary order issued by the Court , the D3-1,
1egional :ffice -o. ' in ,an Fernando, !ampanga refused to rene its +ines Temporary !ermit after it
e4pired on @uly '&, &((&. Claiming that its rights and interests are prejudicially affected by the
implementation of D3-1 Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5, it joined petitioner herein in see<ing to
annul Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5 and prayed that the D3-1, 1egional :ffice -o. ' be ordered
to issue a +ines Temporary !ermit in its favor to enable it to operate during the pendency of the suit.
!ublic respondents ere ac*uired to comment on the Continental +arble Corporation8s petition for
intervention in the resolution of -ovember 5%, &((&.
12
-o to the main petition. If its argued that Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5 have the effect of
repealing or abrogating e4isting mining las
13
hich are not inconsistent ith the provisions of 34ecutive
:rder -o. 5=(. Invo<ing ,ection = of said 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=(,
1*
petitioner maintains that
respondent D3-1 ,ecretary cannot provide guidelines such as Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5
hich are inconsistent ith the provisions of 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( because both 34ecutive :rder -os.
5&& and 5=( merely reiterated the acceptance and registration of declarations of location and all other
<inds of mining applications by the >ureau of +ines and ?eo9,ciences under the provisions of
!residential Decree -o. $;', as amended, until Congress opts to modify or alter the same.
In other ords, petitioner ould have us rule that D3-1 Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5 issued by
the D3-1 ,ecretary in the e4ercise of his rule9ma<ing poer are tainted ith invalidity inasmuch as both
contravene or subvert the provisions of 34ecutive :rder -os. 5&& and 5=( or embrace matters not
covered, nor intended to be covered, by the aforesaid las.
Ce disagree.
Ce reiterate the principle that the poer of administrative officials to promulgate rules and regulations in
the implementation of a statute is necessarily limited only to carrying into effect hat is provided in the
legislative enactment. The principle as enunciated as early as &()% in the case of =nited States v.
Barrias.
1+
The scope of the e4ercise of such rule9ma<ing poer as clearly e4pressed in the case
of =nited States v. +upasi Molina,
16
decided in &(&$, thus0 G:f course, the regulations adopted under
legislative authority by a particular department must be in harmony ith the provisions of the la, and for
the sole purpose of carrying into effect its general provisions. >y such regulations, of course, the la itself
can not be e4tended. ,o long, hoever, as the regulations relate solely to carrying into effect its general
provisions. >y such regulations, of course, the la itself can not be e4tended. ,o long, hoever, as the
regulations relate solely to carrying into effect the provision of the la, they are valid.G
1ecently, the case of 7eople v. Maceren
17
gave a brief delienation of the scope of said poer of
administrative officials0
Administrative regulations adopted under legislative authority by a particular department
must be in harmony ith the provisions of the la, and should be for the sole purpose of
carrying into effect its general provision. >y such regulations, of course, the la itself
cannot be e4tended .J.,. v. Tupasi +olina, supra/. An administrative agency cannot
amend an act of Congress .,antos vs. 3sten2o, &)( !hil. $&(, $557 Teo4on vs. +embers
of the >oard of Administrators, L956;&(, @une '), &(=), '' ,C1A 6%67 +anuel vs.
?eneral Auditing :ffice, L95%(65, December 5(, &(=&, $5 ,C1A ;;)7 Deluao v. Casteel,
L95&();, August 5(, &(;(, 5( ,C1A '6)/.
The rule9ma<ing poer must be confined to details for regulating the mode or proceeding
to carry into effect the la as it has been enacted. The poer cannot be e4tended to
amending or e4panding the statutory re*uirements or to embrace matters not covered by
the statute. 1ules that subvert the statute cannot be sanctioned .Jniversity of ,anto
Tomas v. >oard of Ta4 Appeals, (' !hil. '=;, '%5, citing &5 C.@. %$69$;. As to invalid
regulations, see Collector of Internal 1evenue v. #illaflor, ;( !hil. '&(7 Cise " Co. v.
+eer, =% !hil. ;66, ;=;7 Del +ar v. !hil. #eterans Administration, L95=5((, @une 5=,
&(=', 6& ,C1A '$), '$(/.
444 444 444
. . . The rule or regulation should be ithin the scope of the statutory authority granted by
the legislature to the administrative agency .Davis, Administrative La, p. &($, &(=, cited
in #ictorias +illing Co., Inc. v. ,ocial ,ecurity Commission, &&$ !hil. 666, 66%/.
In case of discrepancy beteen the basic la and a rule or regulation issued to
implement said la, the basic prevails because said rule or regulations cannot go beyond
the terms and provisions of the basic la .!eople v. Lim, &)% !hil. &)(&/.
Considering that administrative rules dra life from the statute hich they see< to implement, it is obvious
that the spring cannot rise higher than its source. Ce no e4amine petitioner8s argument that D3-1
Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5 contravene 34ecutive :rder -os. 5&& and 5=( as both operate to
repeal or abrogate !residential Decree -o. $;', as amended, and other mining las allegedly
ac<noledged as the principal la under 34ecutive :rder -os. 5&& and 5=(.
!etitioner8s insistence on the application of !residential Decree -o. $;', as amended, as the governing
la on the acceptance and approval of declarations of location and all other <inds of applications for the
e4ploration, development, and utili2ation of mineral resources pursuant to 34ecutive :rder -o. 5&&, is
erroneous. !residential Decree -o. $;', as amended, pertains to the old system of e4ploration,
development and utili2ation of natural resources through Glicense, concession or leaseG hich, hoever,
has been disalloed by Article AII, ,ection 5 of the &(%= Constitution. >y virtue of the said constitutional
mandate and its implementing la, 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( hich superseded 34ecutive :rder -o. 5&&,
the provisions dealing on Glicense, concession or leaseG of mineral resources under !residential Decree
-o. $;', as amended, and other e4isting mining las are deemed repealed and, therefore, ceased to
operate as the governing la. In other ords, in all other areas of administration and management of
mineral lands, the provisions of !residential Decree -o. $;', as amended, and other e4isting mining
las, still govern. ,ection = of 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( provides, thus0
,ec. =. All provisions of !residential Decree -o. $;', as amended, other e4isting mining
las, and their implementing rules and regulations, or parts thereof, hich are not
inconsistent ith the provisions of this 34ecutive :rder, shall continue in force and effect.
,pecifically, the provisions of !residential Decree -o. $;', as amended, on lease of mining claims under
Chapter #III, *uarry permits on privately9oned lands of *uarry license on public lands under Chapter AIII
and other related provisions on lease, license and permits are not only inconsistent ith the raison
dHetre for hich 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( as passed, but contravene the e4press mandate of Article AII,
,ection 5 of the &(%= Constitution. It force and effectivity is thus foreclosed.
Jpon the effectivity of the &(%= Constitution on February 5, &(%=,
18
the ,tate assumed a more dynamic
role in the e4ploration, development and utili2ation of the natural resources of the country. Article AII,
,ection 5 of the said Charter e4plicitly ordains that the e4ploration, development and utili2ation of natural
resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the ,tate. Consonant thereith, the
e4ploration, development and utili2ation of natural resources may be underta<en by means of direct act of
the ,tate, or it may opt to enter into co9production, joint venture, or production9sharing agreements, or it
may enter into agreements ith foreign9oned corporations involving either technical or financial
assistance for large9scale e4ploration, development, and utili2ation of minerals, petroleum, and other
mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by la, based on real contributions to
the economic groth and general elfare of the country.
?iven these considerations, there is no clear shoing that respondent D3-1 ,ecretary has transcended
the bounds demarcated by 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( for the e4ercise of his rule9ma<ing poer tantamount
to a grave abuse of discretion. ,ection ; of 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( specifically authori2es said official to
promulgate such supplementary rules and regulations as may be necessary to effectively implement the
provisions thereof. +oreover, the subject sought to be governed and regulated by the *uestioned orders
is germane to the objects and purposes of 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( specifically issued to carry out the
mandate of Article AII, ,ection 5 of the &(%= Constitution.
!etitioner li<eise maintains that Administrative :rder -o. 6=, in relation to Administrative :rder -o. %5,
impairs vested rights as to violate the non9impairment of contract doctrine guaranteed under Article III,
,ection &) of the &(%= Constitution because Article ( of Administrative :rder -o. 6= unduly pre9
terminates and automatically converts mining leases and other mining agreements into production9
sharing agreements ithin one .&/ year from effectivity of said guideline, hile ,ection ' of Administrative
:rder -o. %5, declares that failure to submit Letters of Intent .L:Is/ and +!,As ithin to .5/ years from
the effectivity of Administrative :rder -o. 6= or until @uly &=, &((& shall cause the abandonment of
mining, *uarry, and sand gravel permits.
In ,upport of the above contention, it is argued by petitioner that 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( does not
contemplate automatic conversion of mining lease agreements into mining production9sharing agreement
as provided under Article (, Administrative :rder -o. 6= andEor the conse*uent abandonment of mining
claims for failure to submit L:Is and +!,As under ,ection ', Administrative :rder -o. %5 because
,ection & of said 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( empoers the D3-1 ,ecretary to negotiate and enter into
voluntary agreements hich must set forth the minimum terms and conditions provided under ,ection 5
thereof. +oreover, petitioner contends that the poer to regulate and enter into mining agreements does
not include the poer to preterminate e4isting mining lease agreements.
To begin ith, e dispel the impression created by petitioner8s argument that the *uestioned
administrative orders unduly preterminate e4isting mining leases in general. A distinction hich spells a
real difference must be dran. Article AII, ,ection 5 of the &(%= Constitution does not apply retroactively
to Glicense, concession or leaseG granted by the government under the &(=' Constitution or before the
effectivity of the &(%= Constitution on February 5, &(%=. The intent to apply prospectively said
constitutional provision as stressed during the deliberations in the Constitutional Commission,
19
thus0
+1. DA#ID30 Jnder the proposal, I notice that e4cept for the
HinalienableI lands of the public domain, all other natural resources
cannot be alienated and in respect to HalienableI lands of the public
domain, private corporations ith the re*uired onership by Filipino
citi2ens can only lease the same. -ecessarily, insofar as other natural
resources are concerned, it ould only be the ,tate hich can e4ploit,
develop, e4plore and utili2e the same. Foever, the ,tate may enter into
a joint venture, co9production or production9sharing. Is that not correctO
+1. #ILL3?A,0 Kes.
+1. DA#ID30 Conse*uently, henceforth upon, the approval of this
Constitution, no timber or forest concession, permits or authori2ation can
be e4clusively granted to any citi2en of the !hilippines nor to any
corporation *ualified to ac*uire lands of the public domainO
+1. #ILL3?A,0 Could Commissioner +onsod li<e to comment on thatO
I thin< his anser is Gyes.G
+1. DA#ID30 ,o, hat ill happen no license or concessions earlier
granted by the !hilippine government to private corporations or to
Filipino citi2ensO Could they be deemed repealedO
+1. #ILL3?A,0 This is not applied retroactively. They ill be respected.
+1. DA#ID30 In effect, they ill be deemed repealedO
+1. #ILL3?A,0 -o. .3mphasis supplied/
During the transition period or after the effectivity of the &(%= Constitution on February 5, &(%= until the
first Congress under said Constitution as convened on @uly 5=, &(%=, to .5/ successive las,
34ecutive :rder -os. 5&& and 5=(, ere promulgated to govern the processing and approval of
applications for the e4ploration, development and utili2ation of minerals. To carry out the purposes of said
las, the *uestioned Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5, no being assailed, ere issued by the D3-1
,ecretary.
Article ( of Administrative :rder -o. 6= provides0
A1TICL3 (
T1A-,IT:1K !1:#I,I:-
(.&. All e4isting mining leases or agreements hich ere granted after the effectivity of
the &(%= Constitution pursuant to 34ecutive :rder -o. 5&&, e4cept small scale mining
leases and those pertaining to sand and gravel and *uarry resources covering an area of
tenty .5)/ hectares or less shall be subject to these guidelines. All such leases or
agreements shall be converted into production sharing agreement ithin one .&/ year
from the effectivity of these guidelines. Foever, any minimum firm hich has
established mining rights under !residential Decree $;' or other las may avail of the
provisions of 3: 5=( by folloing the procedures set don in this document.
It is clear from the aforestated provision that Administrative :rder -o. 6= applies only to all e4isting
mining leases or agreements hich ere granted after the effectivity of the &(%= Constitution pursuant to
34ecutive :rder -o. 5&&. It bears mention that under the te4t of 34ecutive :rder -o. 5&&, there is a
reservation clause hich provides that the privileges as ell as the terms and conditions of all e4isting
mining leases or agreements granted after the effectivity of the &(%= Constitution pursuant to 34ecutive
:rder -o. 5&&, shall be subject to any and all modifications or alterations hich Congress may adopt
pursuant to Article AII, ,ection 5 of the &(%= Constitution. Fence, the strictures of the
non9impairment of contract clause under Article III, ,ection &) of the &(%= Constitution
20
do not apply to
the aforesaid leases or agreements granted after the effectivity of the &(%= Constitution, pursuant to
34ecutive :rder -o. 5&&. They can be amended, modified or altered by a statute passed by Congress to
achieve the purposes of Article AII, ,ection 5 of the &(%= Constitution.
Clearly, 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( issued on @uly 56, &(%= by !resident Cora2on C. A*uino in the e4ercise
of her legislative poer has the force and effect of a statute or la passed by Congress. As such, it validly
modified or altered the privileges granted, as ell as the terms and conditions of mining leases and
agreements under 34ecutive :rder -o. 5&& after the effectivity of the &(%= Constitution by authori2ing the
D3-1 ,ecretary to negotiate and conclude joint venture, co9production, or production9sharing
agreements for the e4ploration, development and utili2ation of mineral resources and prescribing the
guidelines for such agreements and those agreements involving technical or financial assistance by
foreign9oned corporations for large9scale e4ploration, development, and utili2ation of minerals.
Cell 9settled is the rule, hoever, that regardless of the reservation clause, mining leases or agreements
granted by the ,tate, such as those granted pursuant to 34ecutive :rder -o. 5&& referred to this petition,
are subject to alterations through a reasonable e4ercise of the police poer of the ,tate. In the &(6) case
of On&sia,o v. 'am%oa,
21
here the constitutionality of 1epublic Act -o. '$ changing the 6)96)
sharecropping system in e4isting agricultural tenancy contracts to 669$6 in favor of tenants as
challenged, the Court, upholding the constitutionality of the la, emphasi2ed the superiority of the police
poer of the ,tate over the sanctity of this contract0
The prohibition contained in constitutional provisions against0 impairing the obligation of contracts is not
an absolute one and it is not to be read ith literal e4actness li<e a mathematical formula. ,uch
provisions are restricted to contracts hich respect property, or some object or value, and confer rights
hich may be asserted in a court of justice, and have no application to statute relating to public subjects
ithin the domain of the general legislative poers of the ,tate, and involving the public rights and public
elfare of the entire community affected by it. They do not prevent a proper e4ercise by the ,tate of its
police poers. >y enacting regulations reasonably necessary to secure the health, safety, morals,
comfort, or general elfare of the community, even the contracts may thereby be affected7 for such matter
can not be placed by contract beyond the poer of the ,tate shall regulates and control them.
22
In :amas v. C*: and :amos
23
here the constitutionality of ,ection &$ of 1epublic Act -o. &&((
authori2ing the tenants to charge from share to leasehold tenancy as challenged on the ground that it
impairs the obligation of contracts, the Court ruled that obligations of contracts must yield to a proper
e4ercise of the police poer hen such poer is e4ercised to preserve the security of the ,tate and the
means adopted are reasonably adapted to the accomplishment of that end and are, therefore, not
arbitrary or oppressive.
The economic policy on the e4ploration, development and utili2ation of the country8s natural resources
under Article AII, ,ection 5 of the &(%= Constitution could not be any clearer. As enunciated in Article AII,
,ection & of the &(%= Constitution, the e4ploration, development and utili2ation of natural resources under
the ne system mandated in ,ection 5, is geared toards a more e*uitable distribution of opportunities,
income, and ealth7 a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for
the benefit of the people7 and an e4panding productivity as the <ey to raising the *uality of life for all,
especially the underprivileged.
The e4ploration, development and utili2ation of the country8s natural resources are matters vital to the
public interest and the general elfare of the people. The recognition of the importance of the country8s
natural resources as e4pressed as early as the &(%$ Constitutional Convention. In connection thereith,
the &(%; J.!. Constitution !roject observed0 GThe &(%$ Constitutional Convention recogni2ed the
importance of our natural resources not only for its security and national defense. :ur natural resources
hich constitute the e4clusive heritage of the Filipino nation, should be preserved for those under the
sovereign authority of that nation and for their prosperity. This ill ensure the country8s survival as a
viable and sovereign republic.G
Accordingly, the ,tate, in the e4ercise of its police poer in this regard, may not be precluded by the
constitutional restriction on non9impairment of contract from altering, modifying and amending the mining
leases or agreements granted under !residential Decree -o. $;', as amended, pursuant to 34ecutive
:rder -o. 5&&. !olice !oer, being co9e4tensive ith the necessities of the case and the demands of
public interest7 e4tends to all the vital public needs. The passage of 34ecutive :rder -o. 5=( hich
superseded 34ecutive :rder -o. 5&& provided legal basis for the D3-1 ,ecretary to carry into effect the
mandate of Article AII, ,ection 5 of the &(%= Constitution.
-ohere in Administrative :rder -o. 6= is there any provision hich ould lead us to conclude that the
*uestioned order authori2es the automatic conversion of mining leases and agreements granted after the
effectivity of the &(%= Constitution, pursuant to 34ecutive :rder -o. 5&&, to production9sharing
agreements. The provision in Article ( of Administrative :rder -o. 6= that Gall such leases or agreements
shall be converted into production sharing agreements ithin one .&/ year from the effectivity of these
guidelinesG could not possibility contemplate a unilateral declaration on the part of the ?overnment that all
e4isting mining leases and agreements are automatically converted into
production9sharing agreements. :n the contrary, the use of the term Gproduction9sharing agreementG if
they are so minded. -egotiation negates compulsion or automatic conversion as suggested by petitioner
in the instant petition. A mineral production9sharing agreement .+!,A/ re*uires a meeting of the minds of
the parties after negotiations arrived at in good faith and in accordance ith the procedure laid don in
the subse*uent Administrative :rder -o. %5.
Ce, therefore, rule that the *uestioned administrative orders are reasonably directed to the
accomplishment of the purposes of the la under hich they ere issued and ere intended to secure
the paramount interest of the public, their economic groth and elfare. The validity and constitutionality
of Administrative :rder -os. 6= and %5 must be sustained, and their force and effect upheld.
Ce no, proceed to the petition9in9intervention. Jnder ,ection 5, 1ule &5 of the 1evised 1ules of Court,
an intervention in a case is proper hen the intervenor has a Glegal interest in the matter in litigation, or in
the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or hen he is so situated as to be
adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an
officer thereof. GContinental +arble Corporation has not sufficiently shon that it falls under any of the
categories mentioned above. The refusal of the D3-1, 1egional :ffice -o. ', ,an Fernando, !ampanga
to rene its +ines Temporary !ermit does not justify such an intervention by Continental +arble
Corporation for the purpose of obtaining a directive from this Court for the issuance of said permit.
Chether or not Continental +arble matter best addressed to the appropriate government body but
certainly, not through this Court. Intervention is hereby D3-I3D.
CF313F:13, the petition is DI,+I,,3D for lac< of merit. The Temporary 1estraining :rder issued on
@uly 5, &((& is hereby LIFT3D.
,: :1D313D.
Narvasa, C.8., 5eliciano, 7adilla, Bidin, :e&alado, Davide, 8r., Bellosillo, Melo, Ruiason, 7uno, (itu&,
Mapunan and Mendo)a, 88., concur.
G.R. No. L3+0*6* 1#$4#r@ 29, 1990
S"N5EA CON)ENIENCE FOODS INC., CORAL 5EACH DE)ELO!ENT COR!., #$% -7e
REGISTER OF DEEDS OF 5ATAAN, petitioners,
vs.
HON. CO"RT OF A!!EALS #$% THE RE!"5LIC OF THE !HILI!!INES, respondents.
5iloteo +. Ban)on for petitioners.
SARIENTO, J.:
In this petition for revie on certiorari, Convenience Foods Corporation .hereafter simply ,J->3A+/ and
Coral >each Development Corporation .hereafter simply C:1AL >3ACF/ bring to our attention the
decision rendered by the Court of Appeals in G1epublic of the !hilippines v. Fon. !edro T. ,antiago, et
al.,G disposing as follos0

CF313F:13, the rit prayed for is granted. The order of the respondent judge dated :ctober =, &(==,
dismissing Civil Case -o. $);5 is set aside, and respondent judge is ordered to re*uire private
respondents to file their anser to the complaint in said Civil Case -o. $);5 and thereafter to proceed
ith the trial of the case on the merits and to render judgment thereon.8
The folloing facts stated by the respondent Court in its decision and restated by the petitioners in their
petition are accurate0
.a/ :n April 5(, &(;', the Director of Lands caused the issuance of a ,ales !atent in favor of defendant
,unbeam Convenience Foods, Inc., over the parcels of land both situated in +ariveles, >ataan and more
particularly described and bounded as follos0
Lot &9,gs95$)( .area ',&&',;(6 s*. m /
Lot 59,gs95$)( area &,$)&,%66 s*. m
.b/ :n +ay ', &(;', the aforesaid ,ales !atent as registered ith the defendant 1egister of Deeds of
>ataan ho in turn issued :riginal Certificate of Title -o. ,p95$ in favor of defendant ,unbeam
Convenience Foods, Inc., for the to parcels of land above9described7
.c/ ,ubse*uently, :riginal Certificate of Title -o. ,p95$ as cancelled and in lieu thereof, Transfer
Certificate of Title -o. T9&5$5& as issued over Lot &, ,gs95$)(, hile Transfer Certificate of Title -o.
&5$55 as issued over Lot 5, ,gs95$)(, both in favor of defendant Coral >each Development
Corporation I
.d/ :n +ay &&, &(=;, the ,olicitor ?eneral in the name of the 1epublic of the !hilippines instituted before
the Court of First Instance of >ataan, an action for reversion doc<eted as Civil Case -o. $);5.
2
,J->3A+ and C:1AL >3ACF filed a +otion to Dismiss on the folloing grounds0
&. The 1epublic of the !hilippines should have e4hausted all administrative remedies before filing the
case in court7
5. The title issued to ,J->3A+ and C:1AL >3ACF had become indefeasible and imprescriptible7
'. The action for reversion as defective, having been initiated by the ,olicitor ?eneral and not by the
Director of Lands.
3
The then Court of First Instance of >ataan dismissed the complaint in the :rder of
:ctober =, &(==,
*
adopting mainly the theory that since the titles sought to be cancelled emanated from
the administrative act of the >ureau of Lands Director, the latter, not the courts, had jurisdiction over the
disposition of the land.
The ,olicitor ?eneral received the copy of the :rder on :ctober &&, &(== and filed a -otice of Appeal
dated :ctober 56, &(== .
+
The ,olicitor ?eneral then moved for an e4tension of thirty days ithin hich
to file the 1ecord on Appeal and to pay the doc<et fee in order to perfect the appeal. This as to be
folloed by another motion for e4tension filed by the ,olicitor ?eneral, resulting in the Court of Appeals
granting the petitioner another e4tension of fifteen days from December &), &(==. Finally before this
period of e4tension lapsed, instead of an appeal, a petition for certiorari ith the respondent Court of
Appeals as filed.
According to the ,olicitor ?eneral, the Court of First Instance committed grave abuse of discretion in
dismissing the complaint and in
a. -ot finding that since the loer court acted in a +otion to Dismiss, the correctness of its decision must
be decided in the assumed truth and accuracy of the allegations of the complaint. The complaint alleges
that the lands in *uestion are forest lands7 hence, inalienable.
b. Finding that Lots I and 5 are alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under the jurisdiction
of the Director of Lands despite clear and positive evidence to the contrary.
c. Concluding that the complaint for reversion is defective as it as not initiated by the Director of Lands.
d. Finding that the complaint for reversion states no cause of action for alleged failure of petitioner to
e4haust administrative remedies.
6
The Court of Appeals gave due course to the petition for certiorari, set aside the :rder of Dismissal
rendered by the Court of First Instance in Civil Case -o. $);5, and ordered the presiding judge Fon.
!edro T. ,antiago to receive the ansers of the private respondents ,J->3A+ and C:1AL >3ACF in
the action for reversion.
Fence ,unbeam and Coral >each filed this petition for revie.
A revie is not a matter of right but of sound judicial discretion, and is granted only hen there are special
and important reasons therefore. The folloing, hile neither controlling nor fully measuring the Court8s
discretion, enumerates the premises for granting a revie0
.a/ Chen the Court of Appeals has decided a *uestion of substance, not theretofore determined by the
,upreme Court or has decided it in a ay probably not in accord ith la or the applicable decisions of
the ,upreme Court7 and
.b/ Chen the Court of Appeals has so far departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial
proceedings or so far sanctioned such departure by a loer court as to call for supervision .
7
Ce agree ith the Court of Appeals8 granting of the petition filed by the 1epublic of the !hilippines
charging the then Court of First Instance ith grave abuse of discretion. The filing of the +otion to
Dismiss the complaint for reversion by ,J->3A+ and C:1AL >3ACF on the ground of lac< of cause of
action, necessarily carried ith it the admission, for purposes of the motion, of the truth of all material
facts pleaded in the complaint instituted by the 1epublic.
An important factual issue raised in the complaint as the classification of the lands as forest lands. This
material allegation stated in the 1epublic8s complaint8 as never denied specifically
9
by the defendants
.petitioners herein/ ,J->3A+ and C:1AL >3ACF.
If it is true that the lands are forest lands, then all these proceedings become moot and academic. Land
remains unclassified land until it is released therefrom and rendered open to disposition.
10
:ur adherence to the 1egalian doctrine subjects all agricultural, timber, and mineral lands to the dominion
of the ,tate.
11
Thus, before any land may be declassified from the forest group and converted into
alienable or disposable land for agricultural or other purposes, there must be a positive act from the
government. 3ven rules on the confirmation of imperfect titles do not apply unless and until the land
classified as forest land is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that it may form part of the
disposable agricultural lands of the public domain.
12
The mere fact that a title as issued by the Director of Lands does not confer any validity on such title if
the property covered by the title or patent is part of the public forest.
13
The only ay to resolve this *uestion of fact as to the classification of the land is by remanding the case
to the loer court for a full9 dress trial on the issues involved.
?enerally, the rules of procedure must be observed so that the efficient administration of justice is
ensured. Foever, the rules of procedure should be vieed as mere tools designed to facilitate the
attainment of justice.
1*
They must lead to the proper and just determination of litigation, ithout tying the
hands of the la or ma<ing it indifferent to realities.
Certiorari is one such remedy. Considered e4traordinary, it is made available only hen there is no
appeal, nor any plain, speedy or ade*uate remedy in the ordinary course of the la.
1+
The long line of
decisions denying the petition for certiorari, either before appeal as availed of or specially in instances
here the appeal period has lapsed, far outnumbers the instances hen certiorari as given due course.
The fe significant e4ceptions ere0 hen public elfare and the advancement of public policy dictate7 or
hen the broader interests of justice so re*uire, or hen the rits issued are null,
16
or hen the
*uestioned order amounts to an oppressive e4ercise of judicial authority.
17
Ce find nothing disagreeable ith the action of the Court of Appeals to give due course to the petition
considering that the issue affected a matter of public concern hich is the disposition of the lands of our
matrimony -o less than the Constitution protects its policy.
Ce therefore find no compelling reason to disturb the findings of the appellate court, in the absence of a
clear shoing that the Court of Appeals has decided a *uestion of substance in a manner inconsistent
ith jurisprudence, or that the respondent Court has departed from the accepted and usual course of
judicial proceedings. In sum, no reversible error has been committed by the respondent court.
18
CF313F:13, the petition is D3-I3D and the decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed. Costs against
the petitioners.
,: :1D313D.
G.R. No. 130118. 149@ 9, 1998
RE!"5LIC OF THE !HILI!!INES, petitioner, vs. CO"RT OF A!!EALS, HON. !EDRO . S"NGA,
1R., #$% TETRO ENTER!RISES, INC., respondents.
D E C I S I O N
ENDO0A, J.>
This is a petition for revie on certiorari of the decision
H&I
of the Court of Appeals in CA9?.1. ,! -o.
$'65$. The facts are as follos0
:n February &), &((5, private respondent Tetro 3nterprises, Inc. filed a complaint, denominated Qfor
recovery of possession and damages,P against petitioner, the 1epublic of the !hilippines, represented by
the 1egional Director of 1egion III of the Department of !ublic Cor<s and Fighays .D!CF/. The
complaint as assigned to >ranch $& of the 1egional Trial Court .1TC/ of ,an Fernando, !ampanga,
presided over by respondent @udge !edro +. ,unga, @r.
H5I
Tetro 3nterprises alleged that it as the oner
of a piece of land, consisting of &5,;$' s*uare meters, in ,an Fernando, !ampanga, registered in its
name under Transfer Certificate of Title -o. 5%'5)6917 that the land had a Qprobable valueP
of!565,6;(.))7 that sometime in &(=$, petitioner, ithout having ac*uired the property through
e4propriation or negotiated sale, constructed a road thereon7 and that, despite demands by private
respondent, petitioner refused to return the land ta<en and to pay the rent for the use of the same since
&(=$. !rivate respondent, therefore, prayed that petitioner be ordered to return the land to it in its
Qoriginal stateP and to close the road constructed thereon7 and to pay actual damages in the amount
of !&)),))).)), rentals for the use of the land at !5)).)) a month, in the total amount of !$),%)).)), and
attorneyRs fees.
!etitioner filed an anser
H'I
in due time, alleging that private respondent had no cause of action
because it had not e4hausted administrative remedies before filing its complaint and that the case as
actually a suit against the ,tate ithout its consent. !etitioner alleged that it constructed part of the
:longapo9?apan 1oad on the subject property ith the <noledge and consent of private respondent
hich in fact entered into negotiations regarding the price of the land7 that petitioner as illing to pay
the fair mar<et value of the property at the time of ta<ing, plus interest, but, instead of accepting its offer,
private respondent filed the present complaint7 and that the return of the land to private respondent as
no longer feasible.
Jpon agreement of the parties, the trial court issued an order, dated -ovember 56, &(($,
H$I
creating
a board of commissioners Qto determine the actual value of the property subject of this case hich shall
be a basis for an amicable settlement by the parties or the decision to be rendered by this Court, as the
case may be.P The board as composed of 3ller #. ?arcia, a real estate bro<er, representing private
respondent Tetro 3nterprises, Abraham ,ison, !rovincial Assessor of !ampanga, representing petitioner,
and @uan !. Limpin, @r., cler< of court of the 1TC, as chairman.
:n December %, &((6, the board rendered a report
H6I
recommending that the price of the subject
property be fi4ed beteen !$,))).)) and!;,))).)) per s*uare meter as Qthe just and reasonable priceP
to be paid to private respondent. The board found that hile the lot as, at the time of ta<ing, devoted to
sugarcane, it had become highly commercial since the construction of the :longapo9?apan 1oad
resulting in the opening of residential subdivisions and the construction of commercial buildings.
>ased on the report of the board, the 1TC rendered a decision
H;I
on ,eptember 5, &((; fi4ing the
price of the land at !;,))).)) per s*uare meter or the total amount of !=6,%6%,))).)) for &5,;$' s*uare
meters. The 1TC noted that a lot ithin the vicinity of the land in *uestion had been sold at !&),))).))
per s*uare meter and that, as !rovincial Assessor Abraham ,ison said, the government stood to benefit
from the ac*uisition of the property because it as Qof great use.P
A copy of the decision as received by petitionerRs counsel, the :ffice of the ,olicitor ?eneral, on
,eptember (, &((;.
:n ,eptember &=, &((;, the :,? moved for a reconsideration, contending that the 1TC erred in
fi4ing the compensation for the ta<ing of the land on the basis of its current mar<et value of !;,))).)) per
s*uare meter hen the basis should be its price at the time of ta<ing by the government in &(=$. -o
proof of service of a copy of the motion as, hoever, attached to the motion as re*uired by 1ule &6, V;.
H=I
In its order
H%I
dated :ctober ', &((;, the 1TC denied petitionerRs motion, finding it to be ithout merit
and, in addition, to be a Qmere scrap of paperP for having been filed in violation of 1ule &6, V; of the 1ules
of Court. A copy of the order as received by the :,? on December ;, &((;.
+eanhile, on December ', &((;, private respondent Tetro 3nterprises moved for the e4ecution of
the decision in its favor. In its order dated December 5', &((;, the 1TC granted the motion. :n
December &', &((;, petitioner filed a notice of appeal, but the notice as denied by the court on @anuary
=, &((= on the ground that its decision of ,eptember 5, &((; had become final and e4ecutory.
!etitioner filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals to set aside the orders of :ctober ',
&((;, December 5', &((;, and @anuary =, &((= of the 1TC. Its petition as, hoever, dismissed by the
Court of Appeals in its decision of @une (, &((=. In its resolution dated August ;, &((=,
H(I
the appellate
court denied reconsideration of its decision.
The Court of Appeals agreed ith the 1TC that because of petitionerRs failure to attach proof of
service of its motion for reconsideration, the motion as nothing but a mere scrap of paper hich did not
toll the period of appeal, ith the result that the trial courtRs decision became final. Conse*uently, the trial
court correctly denied petitionerRs notice of appeal. !etitioner submitted to the Court of Appeals a registry
return card shoing that private respondentRs counsel had received a copy of its motion for
reconsideration on ,eptember 5$, &((;, but the Court of Appeals considered this to be of Qlittle momentP
for the reason that the proof of service should have been presented to the 1TC and not to the appellate
court for the first time. Concluding, the Court of Appeals held0
HIIn a very real sense, petitionerRs present predicament is of its on ma<ing. Consider0 counsel for the
petitioner did not a/ append the registry return receipt and the affidavit of service, if one has been
prepared, to petitionerRs motion for reconsideration7 b/ at any time apprise the loer court of the sending,
if this be the case, of a copy of the motion for reconsideration to Atty. Cru29Ducut7 c/ appear at the
hearing on the date he set for the consideration of the motion for reconsideration7 d/ oppose, despite
notice, private respondentRs motion for e4ecution7 and e/ see< reconsideration of the order disapproving
petitionerRs notice of appeal, <noing pretty ell that a special civil action for certiorari is available only
hen there is no other plain, speedy and ade*uate remedy in the ordinary course of la. !etitioner thus
cannot lay blame on respondent judgeRs doorstep for the ay the latter disposed of the incidents obtaining
in this case.
Fence, this petition. !etitioner contends that D
TF3 C:J1T :F A!!3AL, C:++ITT3D ?1A#3 311:1 CF3- IT 1I?IDLK A-D ,T1ICTLK
A!!LI3D TF3 1JL3, :F !1:C3DJ13 A?AI-,T F313I- !3TITI:-31 CFICF, IF -:T
C:113CT3D, C:JLD 13,JLT I- A +I,CA11IA?3 :F @J,TIC3 T: TF3 ?13AT A-D
I113!A1A>L3 DA+A?3 T: TF3 ?:#31-+3-T.
!etitioner argues that it had substantially complied ith the re*uirement of notice to the adverse
party as shon by the registry return card hich it submitted to the Court of Appeals. This card shos
that a copy of petitionerRs motion for reconsideration as sent by registered mail to private respondentRs
counsel, Atty. Uenaida ?. Cru29Ducut, on ,eptember &%, &((;.
!etitioner further contends that it has a meritorious defense because the value of the land ta<en
should be based not on its current mar<et value but on its value at the time of ta<ing by the government in
&(=$. !etitioner, therefore, prays that the decision of the Court of Appeals be set aside and the case be
remanded to the 1TC for determination of the amount of just compensation due private respondent Qin
accordance ith la and settled jurisprudence.P
:n the other hand, private respondent argues that the decision of the Court of Appeals, holding
petitionerRs motion for reconsideration to be a mere scrap of paper because it contained no proof of
service on the adverse party, is in accordance ith the rulings of this Court. Anent petitionerRs contention
that the compensation for the ta<ing of the property should be based on its value at the time of ta<ing in
&(=$ and not on its current mar<et value, private respondent argues that the basis of compensation is not
the issue in this case. At any rate, it is contended that the cases invo<ed by petitioner do not apply since
this case is not one for e4propriation but one for recovery of possession and for damages. +oreover,
private respondent argues that the government is estopped from *uestioning the trial courtRs valuation
because it is based on the recommendation of the board of commissioners in hich petitioner as
represented.
The petition is ell ta<en.
There is no *uestion that petitionerRs motion see<ing reconsideration of the decision of the 1TC did
not have attached to it proof that a copy thereof had been served on the adverse party as re*uired by
1ule &6, V; of the 1ules of Court. In fact, it appears that, at the time the motion as filed, no copy of the
same had been served on private respondent because petitioner actually sent it to private respondentRs
counsel, Atty. Uenaida ?. Cru29Ducut, only on ,eptember &%, &((;,
H&)I
i.e, the day after the motion had
been filed.
-onetheless, considering the *uestion raised in the appeal of the government and the amount
involved in this case, e thin< the Court of Appeals should have considered the subse*uent service of the
motion for reconsideration to be a substantial compliance ith the re*uirement in 1ule &6, V;. In
De :apisura v. Nicolas,
H&&I
the movant also failed to attach to his motion for reconsideration proof of
service of a copy thereof to the other party. -onetheless, this Court held the failure not fatal as the
adverse party had actually received a copy of the motion and as in fact present in court hen the motion
as heard. It as held that the demands of substantial justice ere satisfied by the actual receipt of said
motion under those conditions.
In 7eople v. Leviste,
H&5I
this Court held it as grave abuse of discretion for the trial court to deny the
motion for postponement of the private prosecutor even though no copy of the motion had been served
on the accused, in vie of the fact that the prosecution as not available on the date of the trial. -o
substantial right of the accused as impaired. :n the other hand, it as important that the case be
decided on the merits rather than dismissed on a technicality. The accused should reali2e that
postponements are part and parcel of our legal system, it as held.
In *)a!ar v. Court of *ppeals,
H&'I
the defendant filed a motion to dismiss ithout notice of hearing to
the plaintiff as re*uired by 1ule &6, V$. As a result, the period for filing his anser e4pired and he as
declared in default. @udgment by default as subse*uently rendered against him. The Intermediate
Appellate Court set aside the decision after finding that defendantRs reasons for his failure to set his
motion for hearing as not Qutterly ithout plausibility.P This circumstance, together ith the fact that
defendant had meritorious defenses hich, if true, could defeat the plaintiffRs claim, in the judgment of the
IAC, justified setting aside the decision of the trial court. :n appeal, the Court sustained the ruling of the
Intermediate Appellate Court.
In this case, Atty. Cru29Ducut actually received a copy of the motion on ,eptember 5$, &((;, days
before the :ctober 5, &((; hearing. It is contended, hoever, that Atty. Cru29Ducut ceased to be private
respondentRs counsel on ,eptember &%, &((; and service of petitionerRs motion should have been made
on Atty. 1estituto +. David, its other counsel.
This allegation is not true. The records sho that at the time she received a copy of the motion for
reconsideration on ,eptember 5$, &((;, Atty. Cru29Ducut as still private respondentRs counsel of
record. ,he ithdre as counsel only on ,eptember '), &((;.
H&$I
There as thus effective service of the
motion for reconsideration on private respondent.
Indeed, as much as possible, cases should be determined on the merits, after full opportunity to all
parties for ventilation of their causes and defenses, rather than on technicality or some procedural
imperfections. In that ay, the ends of justice ould be better served. In :epu%lic v. Court of *ppeals,
H&6I
the ,olicitor ?eneral filed the record on appeal si4 days late. This Court suspended the rules on
perfection of appeal as its application ould result in the loss to the ,tate of close to ')) hectares of
prime sugar land hich a private individual had apparently succeeded in registering in his name through
fraudulent misrepresentation and machination.
This is not to tolerate carelessness or negligence on the part of government layers. >ut one thing
is ta<ing disciplinary action against them. Another is protecting vital government interests hich should
not be jeopardi2ed through the neglect of those appearing for it hen this can be done ithout adverse
results to the private parties. These considerations lead us to conclude that the trial court should have
e4ercised its discretion in this case in favor of the government. The amount involved D !=6,%6%,))).))
D plus the prima facie merit of the governmentRs appeal that, in accordance ith the rulings
H&;I
of this
Court, the value of the property should be based on its price at the time of ta<ing of the property in &(=$
and not on its current mar<et price, should have given the 1TC pause and, ithout necessarily
reconsidering its ruling that the measure of compensation should be the current mar<et value, should
have caused it to give due course to the appeal. This case presents an aspect of the problem of
compensation absent from the decided cases, namely, the presence of an agreement of the parties to
have Qthe actual value of the propertyP determined by a board, on hich the government as
represented, to be used by the court in fi4ing the compensation for the land ta<en. This consideration
may not necessarily arrant a different ruling but it does suggest a necessity0 that of having the merits of
petitionerRs appeal decided by the appellate court.
'HEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is 13#31,3D and the 1egional Trial Court of
,an Fernando, !ampanga .>ranch $&/ is :1D313D to give due course to petitionerRs appeal from the
decision in Civil Case -o. (&(=.
SO ORDERED.
:e&alado, FC#airmanG, 7uno, and Martine), 88., concur.
Melo, 8., no part. Did not participate in previous actions.
G.R. No. L31*213 A4?4/- 23, 1919
1. H. AN2RON, petitioner9appellee,
vs.
THE GO)ERNENT OF THE !HILI!!INE ISLANDS, objector9appellant.
*ssistant *ttorney-'eneral Lacson for appellant.
7. 8. Moore for appellee.
1OHNSON, J.>
This action as commenced in the Court of First Instance of the !rovince of Davao, Department of
+indanao and ,ulu. Its purpose as to have registered, under the Torrens system, a certain piece or
parcel of land situated, bounded and particularly described in the plan and technical description attached
to the complaint and made a part thereof.
The only opposition hich as presented as on the part of the Director of Lands.
The oppositor HobjectorI alleged that the land in *uestion as the property of the ?overnment of the
Jnited ,tates under the control and administration of the ?overnment of the !hilippine Islands.
During the trial of the cause to itnesses only ere presented by the petitioner. -o proof hatever as
offered by the oppositor. After hearing and considering the evidence, the Fonorable Francisco ,oriano,
judge, reached the folloing conclusions of fact0
&. That the land sought to be registered consists of one parcel of land as mar<ed and indicated on the
plan and technical description presented7
5. That all of said land, ith the e4ception of a small part at the north, the e4act description and e4tension
of hich does not appear, has been cultivated and planted for more than forty9four years prior to the date
of this decision7
'. That said land as formerly occupied, cultivated and planted by +oros, +ansacas and others, under a
claim of onership, and that they lived thereon and had their houses thereon, and that portion of the land
hich as not planted or cultivated as used as pasture land hereon they pastured their carabaos,
cattle, and horses7
$. That all of said +oros and +ansacas sold, transferred and conveyed all their right, title and interest in
said land to the applicant, @. F. An<ron, some eleven years past, at hich time all of the said former
oners moved o n to adjoining lands here they no reside7
6. That the possession under claim of onership of the applicant and his predecessors in interest as
shon to have been open, notorious, actual, public and continuous for more than forty9four years past,
and that their claim as e4clusive of any other right adverse to all other claims7
;. That the applicant no has some one hundred fifty .&6)/ hills of hemp, some eight thousand .%,)))/
cocoanut trees, a delling house, various laborers8 *uarters, store9building, large camarin .storehouse of
ood, a galvani2ed iron and other buildings and improvements on said land.
Jpon the foregoing facts the loer court ordered and decreed that said parcel of land be registered in the
name of the said applicant, @. F. An<ron, subject, hoever, to the right of the ?overnment of the
!hilippine Islands to open a road thereon in the manner and conditions mentioned in said decision. The
conditions mentioned ith reference to the opening of the road, as found in said decision, are that the
applicant give his consent, hich he has already done, to the opening of said road hich should be fifteen
.&6/ meters ide and should follo appro4imately the line of the road as it no e4ists subject to the
subse*uent survey to be made by the engineer of the province of Davao.
From that decree the Director of Lands appealed to this court.
The appellant argues, first, that the applicant did not sufficiently identify the land in *uestion. In reply to
that argument, the record shos that a detained and technical description of the land as made a part of
the record. The evidence shos that the boundaries of the land in *uestion ere mar<ed by monuments
built of cement. Theoppositor neither presented the *uestion of the failure of proper identification of the
land in the loer court nor presented any proof hatever to sho that said cement monuments did not
e4ist.
The appellant, in his second assignment of error, contends that the appellant failed to prove his
possession and occupation in accordance ith the provisions of paragraph ; of section 6$ of Act -o. (5;.
The important prere*uisites for registration of land imposed by said section 6$, paragraph ;, are .a/ that
the land shall bea&ricultural pu%lic land as defined by the Act of Congress of @uly &, &()57 .b/ that the
petitioner, by himself or his predecessors in interest, shall have been in the open, continuous, e4clusive
and notorious possession and occupation of the same under a bona fide claim of onership for a period
of ten years ne4t preceding the ta<ing effect of said Act.
In the present case the applicant proved, and there as no effort to dispute said proof, that the land in
*uestion as agricultural land and that he and his predecessors in interest had occupied the same as
oners in good faith for a period of more than forty years prior to the commencement of the present
action. -o *uestion is raised nor discussed by the appellant ith reference to the right of the +oros to
ac*uire the absolute onership and dominion of the land hich they have occupied openly, notoriously,
peacefully and adversely for a long period of years. .CariNo vs. Insular ?overnment, = !hil. 1ep., &'5
H5&5 J. ,., $$(I./
Accepting the undisputed proof, e are of the opinion that said paragraph ; of section 6$ of Act -o. (5;
has been fully complied ith and that the petitioner, so far as the second assignment of error is
concerned, is entitled to have his land registered under the Torrens system.
Jnder the third assignment of error the appellant contends that portions of said land cannot be registered
in accordance ith the e4isting Land 1egistration La for the reason that they are manglares. That
*uestion is not discussed in the present brief. The appellant, hoever., refers the court to his discussion
of that *uestion in the case of 8ocson vs. Director of 5orestry .'( !hil. 1ep., 6;)/. >y reference to the
argument in the brief in the case, it is found that the appellant relied upon the provisions of section ' of
Act -o. &&$% in relation ith section &%5) of Act -o. 5=&& .second Administrative Code/. ,ection ' of Act
-o. &&$% provides that Gthe public forests shall include all unreserved lands covered ith trees of
hatever age.G ,aid section &%5) .Act -o. 5=&&/ provides that Gfor the purpose of this chapter 8public
forest8 includes, e4cept as otherise specially indicated, all unreserved public land, including nipa and
mangrove samps, and all forest reserves of hatever character.G
In the case of Mapa vs. 9nsular 'overnment .&) !hil. 1ep., &=6/, hich decision has been follos in
numerous other decision, the phrase Gagricultural public landsG as defined by Act of Congress of @uly &,
&()5, as held to mean Gthose public lands ac*uired from ,pain hich are neither mineral nor timber
landsG .forestry lands/.
!aragraph ; of section 6$ of Act -o. (5; only permits the registration, under the conditions therein
mentioned, of Gpublic agricultural lands.G It must follo, therefore, that the moment that it appears that the
land is not agricultural, the petition for registration must be denied. If the evidence shos that it is public
forestry land or public mineral land, the petition for registration must be denied. +any definitions have
been given for Gagricultural,G Gforestry,G and GmineralG lands. These definitions are valuable so far as they
establish general rules. In this relation e thin< the e4ecutive department of the ?overnment, through the
>ureau of Forestry, may, and should, in vie especially of the provisions of section $, %, and 5) of Act -o.
&&$%, define hat shall be considered forestry lands, to the end that the people of the !hilippine Islands
shall be guaranteed in Gthe future a continued supply of valuable timber and other forest products.G .,ec.
%, Act -o. &&$%./ If the >ureau of Forestry should accurately and definitely define hat lands are forestry,
occupants in the future ould be greatly assisted in their proof and the courts ould be greatly aided in
determining the *uestion hether the particular land is forestry or other class of lands.
In the case of 8ocson vs. Director of 5orestry .supra/, the Attorney9?eneral admitted in effect that hether
the particular land in *uestion belongs to one class or another is a $uestion of fact. The mere fact that a
tract of land has trees upon it or has mineral ithin it is not of itself sufficient to declare that one is forestry
land and the other, mineral land. There must be some proof of the e4tent and present or future value of
the forestry and of the minerals. Chile, as e have just said, many definitions have been given for
Gagriculture,G Gforestry,G and GmineralG lands, and that in each case it is a *uestion of fact, e thin< it is
safe to say that in order to be forestry or mineral land the proof must s#ow t#at it is more valua%le for t#e
forestry or t#e mineral hich it contains than it is for agricultural purposes. .,ec. =, Act -o. &&$%./ 9t is not
sufficient to s#ow t#at t#ere e>ists some trees upon t#e land or t#at it %ears some mineral. Land may be
classified as forestry or mineral today, and, by reason of the e4haustion of the timber or mineral, be
classified as agricultural land tomorro. And vice9versa, by reason of the rapid groth of timber or the
discovery of valuable minerals, lands classified as agricultural today may be differently classified
tomorro. 3ach case must be decided upon the proof in that particular case, having regard for its present
or future value for one or the other purposes. Ce believe, hoever, considering the fact that it is a matter
of public <noledge that a majority of the lands in the !hilippine Islands are agricultural lands, that the
courts have a right to presume, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that in each case the lands are
agricultural lands until the contrary is shon. Chatever the land involved in a particular land registration
case is forestry or mineral land must, therefore, be a matter of proof. Its superior value for one purpose or
the other is a *uestion of fact to be settled by the proof in each particular case. The fact that the land is
a man&lar Hmangrove sampI is not sufficient for the courts to decide hether it is agricultural, forestry, or
mineral land. It may perchance belong to one or the other of said classes of land. The ?overnment, in the
first instance, under the provisions of Act -o. &&$%, may, by reservation, decide for itself hat portions of
public land shall be considered forestry land, unless private interests have intervened before such
reservation is made. In the latter case, hether the land is agricultural, forestry, or mineral, is a *uestion
of proof. Jntil private interests have intervened, the ?overnment, by virtue of the terms of said Act .-o.
&&$%/, may decide for itself hat portions of the Gpublic domainG shall be set aside and reserved as
forestry or mineral land. .1amos vs. Director of Lands .'( !hil. 1ep., &=67 @ocson vs. Director of
Forestry, supra./
In vie of the foregoing e are of the opinion, and so order and decree, that the judgment of the loer
court should be and is hereby affirmed, ith the condition that before the final certificate is issued, an
accurate survey be made of the lands to be occupied by the road above mentioned and that a plan of the
same be attached to the original plan upon hich the petition herein is based. It is so ordered, ith costs.
*rellano, C.8., +orres, *raullo, Street, Malcolm and Moir, 88., concur.
:ctober '&, &(;=
?.1. -o. L95''))
ANDRES ANAR!AAC, ET AL., plaintiffs9appellants,
vs.
ROSALINO CA5ANATAN, THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS #$% THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF ILOCOS
NORTE, .$ 7./ c#,#c.-@ #/ /4c7, defendants9appellees.
erman 7. Coloma for plaintiffs-appellants.
arold M. ernando for defendant-appellee :osalino Ca%anatan.
, J.>
:n appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Ilocos -orte dismissing the complaint, ithout
costs.
:n December =, &(;), the plaintiffs, numbering 5$ in all, surnamed +anarpaac, filed this action against
1osalino Cabanatan, the Director of Lands and the 1egister of Deeds of Laoag, Ilocos -orte, on a
complaint hich as amended on December 55, &(;), alleges that the plaintiffs have been, since time
immemorial, in actual possession as oners of to parcels of land, the first ith an area of %,=$5 s*. m.
and assessed at !&;).)) under ta4 declaration -o. )'$5);, in the name of 1ogaciano +anarpaac, the
second, ith an area of &55&& s*. m. and assessed at !'().)) under ta4 declaration -o. )')%=;, both
parcels are situated at Barrio &6, >atac, Ilocos -orte, specifically described in paragraph Q5W of the
complaint7 that such possession has been public, uninterrupted and in the concept of oner7 that they
have their houses built on the land7 that in the year &(6;, the defendant 1osalino Cabanatan filed an
application for free patent of a parcel of agricultural public land situated at Barrio ,uyo, >atac, Ilocos
-orte, ith an area of 5=,=%% s*. m., and said defendant Qta<ing advantage of the ignorance and lac< of
education of the plaintiffs, ilfully, fraudulently, maliciously, and surreptitiously ithout previous notice to
the plaintiffs hatsoever, included the above described parcels of landP .par. Q5W of the complaint/ in his
application for free patent7 that on -ovember =, &(6(, a free patent as issued in the name of 1osalino
Cabanatan by the Director of Lands, and on December ', &(6(, certificate of title -o. #9&)6)'& as
issued in the name of 1osalino Cabanatan by the register of deeds7 that said certificate of title hich
included the land of the plaintiffs, is null and void, because the patent as obtained thru Qfraudulent
misrepresentationP7 and that the proceedings leading to the investigation and survey of the land ere
ithout notice and ithout compliance ith the re*uirements of the la. !laintiffs, therefore, prayed that
the free patent and the certificate of title be declared null and void, and the same should be cancelled7 Q$.
That in case the title issued may not be annulled, that the defendant 1osalino Cabanatan be ordered to
reconvey unto the plaintiffs their lands unlafully and fraudulently included in said titleP7 that the defendant
be ordered to pay attorneyRs fees in the amount of !&,))).))7 and Q;. That the plaintiffs pray for such
further relief and remedy as may be deemed just and e*uitable in the premises.P
The defendants filed separate anser.
In his anser dated February %, &(;&, 1osalino Cabanatan denied the material allegations in the
complaint, and, as special defense alleged0 .a/ that the issuance of the free patent and certificate of title in
his name ere regular and after compliance ith the re*uirements of the la7 .b/ that the plaintiffs never
protested ith the Director of Lands against the defendantRs application for free patent7 they did not
appeal from the decision of the Director of Lands aarding the land to said defendants7 and the plaintiffs
have failed to e4haust the administrative remedies re*uired by la, and, therefore, the decision of the
Director of Lands has become final7 .c/ that the original complaint as for nullity of title, hoever, the
amended complaint is for 13C:-#3KA-C3 hich is legally impermissible, for it changed the cause of
action, and hence, the amended complaint should have been dismissed, and the plaintiffs re*uired to file
a ne complaint.
In its anser dated @anuary ;, &(;&, the Director of Lands alleged that the issuance of the free patent
as regular and after compliance ith the re*uirements of the la7 that Q5. . . . he admits the allegation in
paragraph ; of the complaint to the effect that one year from the issuance of patent has not yet elapseP7
and that the plaintiffs never filed any protest ith the >ureau of Lands against the application for free
patent filed by 1osendo Cabanatan.
The 1egister of Deeds in his anser dated @anuary &&, &(;&, alleged that the issuance of the certificate
of title in the name of 1osalino Cabanatan as in pursuance of a decree of patent presented to its office
and that he merely acted in compliance of the la.
:n ,eptember 55, &(;5, 1osalino Cabanatan filed a motion to dismiss on the folloing ground0 QThat
even assuming that plaintiffs have a right over the land in suit, their action has already prescribed and that
the court, therefore, has no jurisdictionP, predicating the contention of the rulings that QChen any public
lands are alienated, the same shall be brought forthith under the operation of ,ection 55 of the Land
1egistration Act and shall become registered land . . . and a certificate of title shall be issued as in other
cases of registered land .Dialing ,umail, et al. v. CFI of Cotabato, L9%5%=, April 5), &(66/, and the one
year period under ,ection '% of Act $(; should, in the case of public land grants .patent/, be counted
from the issuance of the patent by the ?overnment under the !ublic Land Act .-elayan v. -elayan, L9
&$6&%. August 5(, &(;)/.
The plaintiffs opposed the motion to dismiss.
:n ,eptember 5', &(;', the court issued an order dismissing the complaint holding that the free patent
having been issued on -ovember ', &(6(, and the first complaint as filed on December =, &(;), the
action for revie of the decree as, therefore, filed more than one year after the issuance of the patent.
From this order, the plaintiffs appealed directly to this Court.
From the averment of facts in the complaint, it clearly appears that the plaintiffs have been, since time
immemorial in possession as oners of the disputed land, have declared the land for ta4 purposes in the
names of to of them and have built their houses on the land, but that through fraud and irregularity,
defendant 1osalino Cabanatan succeeded in securing for himself, the certificate of title in *uestion. The
foregoing recital of facts in the complaint are sufficient averment of onership. !ossession since time
immemorial, carries the presumption that the land had never been part of the public domain, or, that it had
been a private property even before the ,panish con*uest. And so, e said in one case 9
. . . All lands that ere not ac*uired from the ?overnment, either by purchase or grant, belong to the
public domain. An e4ception to the rule ould be any land that should have been in the possession of an
occupant and of his predecessors in interest since time immemorial. F:1 ,JCF !:,,3,,I:- C:JLD
@J,TIFK TF3 !13,J+!TI:- TFAT TF3 LA-D FA#3 -3#31 >33- !A1T :F TF3 !J>LIC
D:+AI- :1 TFAT IT FAD >33- A !1I#AT3 !1:!31TK 3#3- >3F:13 TF3 ,!A-I,F
C:-LJ3,T. .:h Cho v. Director of Lands, =6 !hil. %(), citing CariNo v. Insular ?overnment, 5&5 J.,.
$$(, 6' L. 3d. '($./
Chether this presumption should hold as a fact or not, is a *uestion appropriately determinable only after
the parties have adduced, or at least, are given the opportunity to adduce, their respective evidence.
The ruling in ,usi v. 1a2on and Director of Lands, $% !hil. $&$ Hre9affirmed in +esin v. !ineda, L9&$=55,
+ay 56, &(;)I sustained on all fours the validity of plaintiffsR theory, thus 9
In favor of #alentin ,usi, there is, moreover, the presumption juris et de !ure established in paragraph .b/
of section $6 of Act -o. 5%=$, amending Act -o. (5;, that all the necessary re*uirements for a grant by
the ?overnment ere complied ith, for he has been in actual and physical possession, personally and
through his predecessors, of an agricultural land of the public domain openly, continuously, e4clusively
and publicly since @uly 5;, &%($, ith a right to a certificate of title to said land under the provisions of
Chapter #III of said Act. ,o that hen Angela 1a2on applied for the grant in her favor, #alentin ,usi had
already ac*uired by operation of la, not only a right to a grant, but a grant of the ?overnment, for it is not
necessary that certificate of title should be issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the
courts. If by legal fiction, #alentin ,usi had ac*uired the land in *uestion by a grant of the state, it had
already ceased to be of the public domain and had become private property, at least by presumption, of
#alentin ,usi, beyond the control of the Director of Lands. Conse*uently, in selling the land in *uestion to
Angela 1a2on, the Director of Lands disposed of a land over hich he had no longer any title or control
and the sale thus made as void and of no effect, and Angela 1a2on did not thereby ac*uire any right.
The Director of Lands contends that the land in *uestion being of the public domain, the plaintiff9appellee
cannot maintain an action to recover possession thereof.
If, as above stated, that land, the possession of hich is in dispute, had already become, by operation of
la, private property, there is lac<ing only the judicial sanction of his title, #alentin ,usi has the right to
bring an action to recover the possession thereof and hold it.
In the case at bar, predicated upon the allegations in the complaint, together ith the admission of
defendant Cabanatan in his anser T that the amended complaint is an action for reconveyance, hich
are deemed admitted on a motion to dismiss, there can hardly be any debate that the complaint states a
sufficient cause of action for recovery of possession of the land for, settled is the rule that the remedy of
the landoner hose property has been rongfully or erroneously registered in anotherRs name is, after
one year from the date of the decree, not to set aside the decree, but respecting the decree as
incontrovertible and no longer open to revie, to bring an ordinary action in the ordinary court of justice
for conveyance or, if the property has passed into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value, for
damages. .Casilan v. 3spartero, (6 !hil. =((/.
CF313F:13, the order of dismissal appealed from is hereby set aside, and the case is ordered
remanded to the loer court for further proceedings. Costs in this appeal against the defendant 1osalino
Cabanatan.
Concepcion, C.@., 1eyes, @.>.L., Di2on, +a<alintal, >eng2on, @.!., Ualdivar, ,anche2, Castro and
Fernando @@., concur.
,eptember 5%, &('%
?.1. -o. $6%6(
GOLD CREE2 INING COR!ORATION, petitioner,
vs.
E"LOGIO RODRIG"E0, Secre-#r@ o6 A?r.c49-4re #$% Commerce, #$% <"IRICO A5ADILLA,
D.rec-or o6 -7e 54re#4 o6 .$e/, respondents.
Claro M. :ecto and DeSitt, 7er,ins L 7once Enrile for petitioner.
Solicitor-'eneral +uason and :amon Dio,no for respondents.
Ab#% S#$-o/ D1o/eE, J.>
This petition see<s to compel the respondents, as ,ecretary of Agriculture and Commerce and as
Director of the >ureau of +ines, respectively, to approve petitionerRs application for patent for a certain
mining claim and prepare the necessary papers in relation thereto, and to forard and submit said papers
for the signature of the !resident of the !hilippines.
The petition alleges that petitioner ons the -ob Fraction mineral claim, situated in the %arrio of ?omo<,
municipality of Itogon, sub9province of >enguet, +ountain !rovince, and located on public lands by C. L.
:RDod in accordance ith the provisions of the Act of congress of @uly &, &()5, as amended by the Act
of Congress of February ;, &()6, and of Act -o. ;5$ of the !hilippine Commission, relative to the location
of mining claims7 that said claim as located on @anuary &, &(5(, and the original declaration of location
registered in the office of the mining recorder of >enguet, +ountain !rovince, on @anuary =, &(5(7 that
from +arch &; to &=, &('$, an amended location on the premises as made, for hich an amended
declaration of location as registered in the office of the mining recorder on April ', &('$7 that petitioner
by itself and its predecessors in interest, has been in continuous and e4clusive possession of said claim
from the date of location thereof0 that prior to August (, &('', petitioner filed in the office of the Director of
Lands an application for an order of patent survey of said claim, hich survey as duly authori2ed by the
,ecretary of Agriculture and Commerce and performed by a mineral land surveyor in the former divisions
of mines, >ureau of ,cience, from August (, &('', to April '), &('$, at the e4pense of petitioner7 that the
return of the surveyor, the plat and field notes of the claim and certificate that more than !&,;)) orth of
labor and improvements had been e4pended on said claim, ere approved by the Director of the >ureau
of ,cience7 that prior to -ovember &6, &('6, petitioner filed ith the mining recorder an application for
patent, together ith a certificate shoing that more than !&,;)), orth of labor andEor improvements had
been e4pended by the petitioner upon said claim, and ith the plat and field notes above mentioned7
having previously posted a copy of such plat, together ith notice of said application for patent in a
conspicuous place upon said claim7 and filed a copy of such plat and of such notice in the office of said
mining recorder, as ell as an affidavit of to persons that such notice had been duly posted7 that prior to
-ovember &6, &('6, the notice of petitionerRs application for patent as forarded by the mining recorder
to the division of mines, so that the latter could order the publication of said notice as made once a ee<
for a period of si4ty days in the Q!hilippines Ferald,P Q3l Debate,P and the :fficial ?a2ette, commencing
February &', &(';7 that the sum of !&&'.6( as tendered to respondents, as payment for the purchase
price of said claim, the area of hich is $.6$'$ hectares7 and that petitioner has re*uested the
respondents, as ,ecretary of Agriculture and Commerce and as director of the >ureau of +ines,
respectively, to approve its application for patent, and to prepare the necessary papers relative to the
issuance thereof and to submit such papers for the signatures of the !resident of the !hilippines, but the
respondents have failed and refused, and still fail and refuse, to do so.
!etitioner claims that it is entitled, as a matter of right, to the patent applied for, having complied ith all
the re*uisites of the la for the issuance of such patent.
1espondents, in their anser, admit some allegations of the petition and deny others, and, by ay of
special defense, allege that Qpetitioner as not and is not entitled as a matter of right to a patent to the
S-ob FractionR claim because the Constitution provides that Snatural resources, ith the e4ception of
public agriculture land, shall not be alienatedR7 and that the respondents are, not only under no obligation
to approve petitionerRs application for a patent to said claim and to prepare the necessary papers in
relation thereto, but, also, in duty bound to proven the issuance of said patent and the preparation of the
aforesaid papers, because they have sorn to support and defend the Constitution.P
This is one of several cases no pending in this court hich call for an interpretation, a determination of
the meaning and scope, of section & of Article AII of the Constitution, ith reference to mining claims. The
cases have been instituted as test cases, ith a vie to determining the status, under the Constitution
and the +ining Act .Commonealth Act -o. &'=/, of the holders of unpatented mining claims hich ere
located under the provisions of the Act of Congress of @uly &, &()5, as amended.
In vie of the importance of the matter, e deem it conducive to the public interest to meet s*uarely the
fundamental *uestion presented, disregarding for that purpose certain discrepancies found in the
pleadings filed in this case. This is in accord ith the vie e4pressed by the ,olicitor9?eneral in his
memorandum here he says that Qthe statements of facts in both briefs of the petitioners may be
accepted for the purpose of the legal issues raised. Ce deny some of the allegations in the petitions and
allege ne ones in our ansers, but these discrepancies are not of such a nature or importance as
should necessitate introduction of evidence before the cases are submitted for decision. From our vie of
the cases, these may be submitted on the facts averred in the complaints, leaving out the difference
beteen the allegations in the pleadings to be adjusted or ironed out by the parties later, hich, e are
confident, can be accomplished ithout much difficulty.P
,ection & of Article AII of the Constitution reads as follos0
,3CTI:- &. All agriculture, timber, and mineral lands of the public domain, aters, minerals, coal,
petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, and other natural resources of the
!hilippines belong to the ,tate, and their disposition, e4ploitation, development, or utili2ation shall be
limited to citi2ens of the !hilippines, or to corporations or associations at least si4ty per centum of the
capital of hich is oned by such citi2ens, subject to any e4isting right, grant, lease, or concession at the
time of the inauguration of the ?overnment established under this Constitution. -atural resources, ith
the e4ception of public agriculture land, shall not be alienated, and no license, concession, or lease for
the e4ploitation, development, or utili2ation of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period
e4ceeding tenty9five years, reneable for another tenty9five years, e4cept as to ater rights for
irrigation, ater supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of ater poer, in hich
cases beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant.
The fundamental principle of constitutional construction is to give effect to the intent of the framers of the
organic la and of the people adopting it. The intention to hich force is to be given is that hich is
embodied and e4pressed in the constitutional provisions prohibits the alienation of natural resources, ith
the e4ception of public agriculture land. It seems li<eise clear that the term Qnatural resources,P as used
therein, includes mineral lands of the public domain, but not mineral lands hich at the time the provision
too< effect no longer formed part of the public domain. The reason for this conclusion is found in the
terms of the provisions itself. It first declares that all agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public
domain, etc., and other natural resources of the !hilippines, belong to the ,tate. It then provides that
Qtheir disposition, e4ploitation, development, or utili2ation shall be limited to citi2ens of the !hilippines, or
to corporations or associations at least si4ty per centum of the capital of hich is oned by such citi2ens,
subject to any e4isting right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the inauguration of the ?overnment
established under this Constitution.P -e4t comes the prohibition against the alienation of natural
resources. This prohibition is directed against the alienation of such natural resources as ere declared to
be the property of the ,tate. And as only Qagricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public domainP
ere declared property of the ,tate, it is fair to conclude that mineral lands hich at the time the
constitutional provision too< effect no longer formed part of the public domain, do not come ithin the
prohibition.
This brings us to the in*uiry of hether the mining claim involved in the present proceeding formed part of
the public domain on -ovember &6, &('6, hen the provisions of Article AII of the Constitution became
effective in accordance ith section ; of Article A# thereof. In deciding this point, it should be borne in
mind that a constitutional provisions must be presumed to have been framed and adopted in the light and
understanding of prior and e4isting las and ith reference to them. QCourts are bound to presume that
the people adopting a constitution are familiar ith the previous and e4isting las upon the subjects to
hich its provisions relate, and upon hich they e4press their judgment and opinion in its adoption.P
.>arry vs. Trua4, &' -. D., &'&7 (( -. C., =;(7 ;6 L. 1. A., =;5./
It is not disputed that the location of the mining claim under consideration as perfected prior to
-ovember &6, &('6, hen the ?overnment of the Commonealth as inaugurated7 and according to the
las e4isting at that time, as construed and applied by this court in +cDaniel vs. Apacible and Cuisia .$5
!hil. =$(/, a valid location of a mining claim segregated the area from the public domain. ,aid the court in
that case0 QThe moment the locator discovered a valuable mineral deposit on the lands located, and
perfected his location in accordance ith la, the poer of the Jnited ,tates ?overnment to deprive him
of the e4clusive right to the possession and enjoyment of the located claim as gone, the lands had
become mineral lands and they ere e4empted from lands that could be granted to any other person. The
reservations of public lands cannot be made so as to include prior mineral perfected locations7 and, of
course, if a valid mining location is made upon public lands afterard included in a reservation, such
inclusion or reservation does not effect the validity of the former location. >y such location and perfection,
the land located is segregated from the public domain even as against the ?overnment . .Jnion :il Co.
vs. ,mith, 5$( J. ,., ''=7 #an -ess vs. 1ooney, &;) Cal., &'&7 5= Cyc., 6$;./P
The legal effect of a valid location of a mining claim is not only to segregate the area from the public
domain, but to grant to the locator the beneficial onership of the claim and the right to a patent therefor
upon compliance ith the terms and conditions prescribed by la. QChere there is a valid location of a
mining claim, the area becomes segregated from the public domain and the property of the locator.P .,t.
Louis +ining " +illing Co. vs. +ontana +ining Co., &=& J. ,., ;6), ;667 $' La. ed., '5), '55./ QChen a
location of a mining claim is perfected it has the effect of a grant by the Jnited ,tates of the right of
present and e4clusive possession, ith the right to the e4clusive enjoyment of all the surface ground as
ell as of all the minerals ithin the lines of the claim, e4cept as limited by the e4tralateral rights of
adjoining locators7 and this is the locatorRs right before as ell as after the issuance of the patent. Chile a
lode locator ac*uires a vested property right by virtue of his location made in compliance ith the mining
las, the fee remains in the government until patent issues.P .&% 1. C. L., &&65./ In -oyes vs. +antle .&5=
J. ,., '$%, '6&7 '5 La. ed., &;%, &=)/, the court said0
There is no pretense in this case that the original locators did not comply ith all the re*uirements of the
la in ma<ing the location of the !ay ,trea< Lode +ining claim, or that the claim as ever abandoned or
forfeited. They ere the discoverers of the claim. They mar<ed its boundaries by sta<es, so that they
could be readily traced. They posted the re*uired notice, hich as duly recorded in compliance ith the
regulations of the district. They had thus done all that as necessary under the la for the ac*uisition of
an e4clusive right to the possession and enjoyment of the ground. The claim as thenceforth their
property. They needed only a patent of the Jnited ,tates to render their title perfect, and that they could
obtain at any time upon proof of hat they had done in locating the claim, and of subse*uent
e4penditures to specified amount in developing it. Jntil the patent issued the government held the title in
trust for the locators or their vendees. The ground itself as not afterards open to sale.
In a recent case decided by the ,upreme Court of the Jnited ,tates, it as said0
The rule established by innumerable decisions of this court, and of state and loer Federal courts, that
hen the location of a mining claim is perfected under the la, it has the effect of a grant by the Jnited
,tates of the right of present and e4clusive possession. The claim is property in the fullest sense of that
term7 and may be sold, transferred, mortgaged, and inherited ithout infringing any right or title of the
Jnited ,tates. The right of the oner is ta4able by the state7 and is Qreal property,P subject to the lien of a
judgment recovered against the oner in a state or territorial court. .>el< vs. -eagher, &)$ J. ,., 5=(,
5%'7 5; L. ed., ='=, ='=7 & +or. 1ep., 6&)7 +anuel vs. Culff, &65 J. ,., 6)6, 6&), 6&&7 '% L. ed., 6'59
6'$7 &$. ,up. Ct. 1ep., ;6&7 &% +or. +in. 1ep., %67 3lder vs. Cood, 5)% J. ,., 55;, H'&=I 5'57 65 L. ed.,
$;$, $;;7 5% ,up. Ct. 1ep., 5;'7 >radford vs. +orrison, 5&5 J. ,., '%(7 6' L. ed., 6;$7 5( ,up. Ct. 1ep.,
'$(./ The oner is not re*uired to purchased the claim or secure patent from the Jnited states7 but so
long as he complies ith the provisions of the mining las, his possessory right, for all practical purposes
of onership, is as good as though secured by patent. .Cilbur vs. Jnited ,tates e4 rel. Mrushnic, 5%) J.
,., ');7 =$ La. ed., $$6./
The ,olicitor9?eneral admits in his memorandum that the decision in the +cDaniel case in determinative
of the fundamental *uestion involved in the instant case. >ut he maintains Qthat this decision is based on
a misapprehension of the authorities on hich the court relied,P and that it Qis not ell founded and should
be abandoned.P Ce do not deem it necessary to belabor this point. Chether ell founded or not, the
decision in that case as the la hen section & Article AII of the Constitution became effective7 and
even if e ere disposed to overrule that decision no, our action could not affect rights already fi4ed
under it.
:ur conclusion is that, as the mining claim under consideration no longer formed part of the public
domain hen the provisions of Article AII of the Constitution became effective, it does not come ithin the
prohibition against the alienation of natural resources7 and the petitioner has the right to a patent therefor
upon compliance ith the terms and conditions prescribed by la.
It remains to consider hether mandamus is the proper remedy in this case. In Cilbur vs. Jnited ,tates
e4 rel. Mrushnic, supra, the ,upreme Court of the Jnited ,tates held that Qmandamus ill lie to compel
the secretary of the Interior to dispose of an application for a patent for a mining claim on its merits, here
his refusal to do so is based on his misinterpretation of a statute.P In the course of its decision the court
said0 QChile the decision of this court e4hibit a reluctance to direct a rit of mandamus against an
e4ecutive officer, they recogni2e the duty to do so by settled principles of la in some cases. .Lane vs.
Foglund, 5$$ J. ,., &=$, &%&7 ;& L. ed., &);;, &);(7 '= ,up. Ct. 1ep., 6657 and case cited./ In 1oberts
vs. Jnited ,tates .&=; J. ,., 55&, 5'&7 $$ L. ed., $$', $$=7 5) ,up. Ct. 1ep., '=;/, referred to and *uoted
in the Foglund case, this court said0
Q3very statute to some e4tent re*uires constructions by the public officer hose duties may be defined
therein. ,uch officer must read the la, and he must therefore, in a certain sense, construe it, in order to
form a judgment from its languages hat duty he is directed by the statute to perform. >ut that does not
necessarily and in all cases ma<e the duty of the officer anything other than a purely ministerial one. If the
la direct him to perform an act in regard to hich no discretion is committed to him, and hich, upon the
facts e4isting, he is bound to perform, then that act is ministerial, although depending upon a statute
hich re*uires, in some degree a construction of its language by the officer. Jnless this be so, the value
of this rit is very greatly impaired. 3very e4ecutive officer hose duty is plainly devolved upon him by a
statute might refuse to perform it, and hen his refusal is brought before the court he might successfully
plead that the performance of the duty involved the construction of a statute by him, and therefore it as
not ministerial, and the court could on that account be poerless to give relief. ,uch a limitation of the
poers of the court, e thin<, ould be most unfortunate, as it ould relieve from judicial supervision all
e4ecutive officers in the performance of their duties henever they should plead that the duty re*uired of
them arose upon the construction of a statute, no matter ho plain its language, nor ho plainly they
violated their duty in refusing to perform the act re*uired.P
In the instant case, e are not justified, upon the state of the pleadings, to grant the relief sought by the
petitioner. Considering, hoever, that the refusal of the respondents to act on the application for a patent
on its merits as due to their misinterpretation of certain constitutional and statutory provisions, folloing
the precedent established by the ,upreme Court of the Jnited ,tates in Cilbur vs. Jnited ,tates e4 rel.
Mrushnic, supra, a rit of mandamus should issue directing the respondents to dispose of the application
for patent on its merits, unaffected by the prohibition against the alienation of natural resources contained
in section & of Article AII of the constitution and in Commonealth Act -o. &'=. ,o ordered.
AvanceNa, C.@., #illa91eal, Imperial and Dia2, @@., concur.
,eparate :pinions
LAJ13L, @., concurring0
This is a case, as I understand it, of a mining claim hose location as duly perfected under a la of the
Congress of the Jnited ,tates prior to the inauguration of our Commonealth. This la of the Congress is
the Act of @uly &, &()5, the first Congressional legislation that gave us a cherished bill of rights.
I e4press the opinion that a perfected location of a mining is an Qe4isting rightP ithin the purvie of
section &, Article AII, of our Constitution. It is a substantial property right and permits the locator to ta<e all
the necessary steps leading to the issuance of a patent. It is not contingent or e4pectant because nor
contingency or e4pectation is neither property nor property right. It is a legal right in the sense that it is
recogni2ed by la and ac<noledged by the Constitution. And recognition implies protection. I must,
therefore, reject the suggestion that by the interposition of the Constitution such a right had been iped
out or frittered and no to be referred to.
The saving clause in the section involved of the Constitution as originally embodied in the report
submitted by the Committee on -ationali2ation and !reservation of Lands and :ther -atural 1esources
to the Constitutional Convention on ,eptember &=, &('$. It as later inserted in the first draft of the
Constitution as section &' of Article AIII thereof, and finally incorporated as e find it no. ,light have
been the changes undergone by the proviso from the time it came out of committee until it as finally
adopted. Chen first submitted and as inserted in the first draft of the Constitution it reads0 Qsubject to any
right, grant, lease, or concession e4isting in respect thereto on the date of the adoption of the
Constitution.P As finally adopted, the proviso reads0 Qsubject to any e4isting right, grant, lease, or
concession at the time of the inauguration of the ?overnment established under this constitution.P This
recognition is not mere graciousness but springs from the just character of the government established.
The framers of the Constitution ere not obscured by the rhetoric of democracy or sayed to hostility by
an intense spirit of nationalism. They ell <ne that conservation of our natural resources did not mean
destruction or annihilation of ac*uired property rights. Cithal, they erected a government neither episodic
nor stationary but ell9nigh conservative in the protection of property rights. This notithstanding
nationalistic and socialist traits discoverable upon even a sudden dip into a variety of the provisions
embodied in the instrument.
>ut hile I regard the recognition and protection of the right here invo<ed inevitable, I feel constrained to
ithhold my assent to the invocation of the case of +cDaniel vs. Apacible and Cuisia .H&(55I, $5 !hil.
=$(/, insofar as citation thereof may imply un*ualified acceptance of or adherence to the broad rule that
here there is a valid and perfected location of a mining claim, the area covered is not only thereby
segregated from the body of the public domain but becomes the private property of the locator. +y
opinion is that hile the locator, under the circumstances, secures the beneficial onership or the
dominium utile, the government retains the bare onership or the dominium directum, until the locatorRs
claim ripens into full onership upon full compliance ith all the re*uirements of the la for the issuance
of a patent.
I, therefore, concur in the result.
C:-C3!CI:-, @., dissenting0
Cith regret, I have to dissent from the opinion of my learned colleagues in this very important case no
under advisement. Ce are concerned ith the correct construction of a constitutional prohibition in a
matter directly related to the conservation of a great portion of our national ealth0 the mines.
>ecause of the refusal of the respondents, the ,ecretary of Agriculture and Commerce and the Director of
the >ureau of +ines, to approve the application of the petitioner, ?old Cree< +ining Company, for the
issuance in its favor of the patent for or title to a mining claim, and to prepare the papers necessary for
the issuance of said patent and submit them for the signature of the !resident of the !hilippines, the
petitioner see<s to obtain from this court a rit of mandamus to compel the respondents to do hat they
refused to do. Instead of granting or dismissing the petition, the majority orders the respondents to act on
the application, hich, T they rule, T is not affected by the prohibition against the alienation of natural
resources contained in section & of Article AII of the Constitution and in Commonealth Act -o. &'=.
This is the first point on hich I disagree ith the majority, for the reason that, as alleged in the petition,
the respondents refused to approved the petitionerRs application and, on the other hand, that the ,olicitor9
?eneral pointed out in his memorandum that the statement of facts contained in the briefs of the
petitioner may be accepted for the purpose of deciding the legal *uestions raised7 and although there are
some discrepancies beteen the allegations of the parties, they are not of such nature or moment as
ould re*uire the introduction of evidence before the case is submitted for decision. In my opinion, this
court should no dispose of the petition for mandamus on its merits, granting or dismissing the same,
instead of ordering the respondents to act on the petitionerRs application, it being a fact that said
respondents had already acted by denying said application.
-o, considering the petition on its merits, should e order the respondents to approve the petitionerRs
application for patent, or should e, on the contrary, deny the remedy prayed forO In other ords, should
e hold that the petitioner is entitled to the patent applied for, or on the contrary, that it has ac*uired such
rightO
,ection & of Article AII of the Constitution provides as follos0
All agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public domain, aters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and
other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, and other natural resources of the !hilippines belong to
the ,tate, and their disposition, e4ploitation, development, or utili2ation shall be limited to citi2ens of the
!hilippines, or to corporations or associations at least si4ty per centum of the capital of hich is oned by
such citi2ens, subject to any e4isting right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the inauguration of
the ?overnment established under this constitution. -atural resources, ith the e4ception of public
agricultural land, shall not be alienated, and no license, concession, or lease for the e4ploitation,
development, or utili2ation of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period e4ceeding tenty9
five yeas reneable for another tenty9five years, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development
of ater poer, in hich cases beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant.
The majority maintains that the foregoing constitutional provision prohibits the alienation of natural
resources and that the term Qnatural resourcesP includes mineral lands of the public domain, but not the
mineral lands hich at the time the provisions became effective no longer formed part of the public
domain. The majority further states that the claim in *uestion, having been located prior to the
inauguration of the Commonealth, has ceased to be land of the public domain and, therefore, does not
fall ithin the prohibition contained in the foregoing section hich e4pressly provides that the natural
resources shall not be alienated.
It is true that the mining claim in *uestion as located prior to the inauguration of the Commonealth on
-ovember &6, &('6. It may be conceded that a location, once made and perfected, operates to segregate
the land from the public domain, but this in no ise means that the ?overnment parts ith the absolute
onership over the mining claim by the mere fact of its location. Location should only be understood as
segregating the land located from the public domain in the sense that it is no longer open to location or
susceptible of appropriation by another, hile the locator has not lost his right to or abandoned the mining
claim. To give a broader meaning and greater effect to the location of a mining claim is to contend T
against the e4press provisions of sections ';, '= and '( of the Act of Congress of @uly &, &()5, as
amended by section ( of another Act of Congress of February ;, &()6, T that location is all that is
necessary to ac*uire absolute onership over a location of a claim to the issuance of the patent for or title
to the land, is a far cry. Location, ithout more, confers only the right of possession. Thus section '; of
the Act of Congress of February ;, &()6 refers to the Qmanner of recording, and amount of or<
necessary to hold possession of a mining claim.P ,ection '( of the same Act also spea<s of the right of
possession of the claim, and the right to the issuance of a patent only arises after the e4ecution of certain
or<s and acts prescribed by la, such as the labor or improvements made each year .sec. ';/7 the full
description and identification of the land by means of plat and field notes .sec. '=/7 the notice and
publication of the application for a patent by the locator, etc., etc. .sec. '=/.
The same majority states0 QThe legal effect of a valid location of a mining claim is not only to segregate
the area from the public domain, but to grant to the locator the beneficial onership of the claim and the
right to a patent therefor upon compliance ith the terms and conditions prescribed by the la.P
.emphasis mine./
Cell, then0 the Act of Congress does not fi4 any period ithin hich the conditions prescribed ought to be
complied ith. It does specify the time for recording a claim in the registry, but it does not determine the
period ithin hich to ma<e the necessary annual labor or improvements thereon. The la re*uires
universal publication and notice of the application for a patent for a determine number of days, but it fails
to fi4 the date hen said notice may be made and published. The la re*uires that, if there be any claim
adverse to the application for a patent, the corresponding action should be instituted in the proper court to
determine ho is entitled to the patent7 but no period is fi4ed ithin hich the litigation should be decided.
The la finally re*uires the payment of a certain sum for every hectare of land covered by the mining
claim before the patent is issued7 but it does not prescribed the period ithin hich to pay said sum,
hich is the price for the alienation of the land by the ?overnment in favor of the applicant for the title or
patent.
I no as<0 Cithin hat time must the conditions prescribed by the la be complied ith in order that the
locator may become entitled to the patentO I gather from the majority opinion that, as long as the location
of the mining claim as perfected before the inauguration of the ne ?overnment of the !hilippines on
-ovember &6, &('6, the other conditions may be complied ith even after said date in order that the
locator may ac*uire a right to the patent. I dissent on this fundamental point from the majority opinion. I
maintain that in prohibiting the alienation of natural resources, save any e4isting right, the Constitution
does not refer to the right of location or to the inherent right of possession, or to any inchoate or
contingent right hich are only a means to bring about another right7 as this right cannot be ac*uired until
after compliance ith all the conditions prescribed by la, it is evident that the prescribed conditions
should be complied ith before the inauguration of the Commonealth.
Cas the petitioner entitled to the issuance of the patent for the mining claim in *uestion before the
inauguration of the Commonealth on -ovember &6, &('6O I hold that he as not, because on said date,
according to the very allegations of the petition for mandamus, the publication in the nespapers of the
application for a patent for a period of ;) days as prescribed by la had not been made, as said
publication as only commenced on February &', &(';. -either as the payment of !56 per hectare
made before the inaugurations of the ne ?overnment, that is, the ?overnment had not been paid the
price for the alienation of the mineral land hen Article AII of the Constitution ent into effect. !etitionerRs
right, therefore, to the patent had not matured before -ovember &6, &('6, herefore, he falls s*uarely
ithin the constitutional prohibition.
A similar thing has been provided for by Act -o. (5;, passed in :ctober &()', and Act -o. 5%=$, passed
in -ovember, &(&(, in relation to public lands. ,ection 6$, paragraph ;, of the first Act, and section $6,
paragraph .b/, of the second, provide that those ho have been in possession of agricultural lands of the
public domain since @uly 5;, &%($, may ac*uire a perfect title of onership7 and it is necessarily inferred
that those ho commenced their possession of such lands after @uly 5;, &%($ have no right to obtain title,
notithstanding the fact that their possession may have been for &), 5) or ') years. This is e4actly hat
the Constitution has provided0 to fi4 a time for determining those ho have become entitled to the patent
for a mining claim.
Although the provisions of the Act of Congress of &()6 are very clear and there is no better aid to
construction than the la itself, I nevertheless cite the folloing authorities hich support my points of
vie in this opinion.
The locator of a mining claim under the Jnited states las, prior to the actual payment of the purchase9
money and the issuance to him of the receipt therefor by the Land Department, possesses a mere
privilege to purchase the property, and a constableRs sale of the mine before payment only passes that
privilege. . . . .Familton vs. ,outhern -ev. ?. " ,. +in. Co., '' Fed., 6;5./
. . . >ut he is not the oner of the land until he pays for it, and obtains the Jnited ,tates patent. It is a part
of a public domain. In the meantime the defendant is occupying it under a mere license from the
government, hich may be revo<ed at any time by the repeal of the act giving it. . . . Fis licensce under
the statute to occupy and to or< it as mining ground is sufficient for that purpose until ithdran by
congress, ithout purchasing it. . . . .J. ,. vs. -elson, Fed. Cas. -o. &6, %;$./ .3mphasis mine./
A prospector on the public mineral domain may protect himself in the possession of his pedis
possessionis hile he is searching for mineral. Fis possession so held is good as a possessory title
against all the orld, e4cept the government of the Jnited ,tates. . . . .Crossman vs. !endery, % Fed.,
;('./
A possessory title, hile it may not be divested by any one e4cept the Jnited ,tates, may be avoided by
the default of its oner, either by abandonment or by forfeiture for non9compliance ith local regulations
or ith the statutory re*uirements as to annual labor. . . . .& The La of +ines and +ining in the Jnited
,tates, >arringer " Adams, '&%, '&(./
!rior to the issuance of a patent the locator cannot be said to on the fee simple title. The fee resides in
the general government, hose tribunals, specially charged ith the ultimate conveyance of the title, must
pass upon the *ualifications of the locator and his compliance ith the la. Ket, as beteen the locator
and everyone else save the paramount proprietor the estate ac*uired by a perfected mining location
possesses all the attributes of a title in fee, and so long as the re*uirements of the la ith reference to
continued development are satisfied, the character of the tenure remains that of a fee. As beteen the
locator and the government, the former is the oner of the beneficial estate, and the latter holds the fee in
trust, to be conveyed to such beneficial oner upon his application in that behalf and in compliance ith
the terms prescribed by the paramount proprietor. .Lindley on +ines, 'd. ed., sec. 6'(, p. &5))./
.3mphasis mine./
I therefore vote for the denial of the petition.