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On October 25, 1946, Proceso applied for a fishpond permit over 30 hectare parcel of public land
located in Sitio Central, Davao. The same was denied by the Division of Fisheries because it was needed
for firewood production as certified by the Bureau of Forestry. The rejection covered 49 hectares vis-a-
viz the 30 hectares applied for. Proceso occupied an area w/c extended beyond the boundary of the one
he applied for and introduced improvements thereon between Oct. 25, 1946 and Nov. 9, 1948.
On Sep. 23, 1948, Barza filed for a fishpond application covering an area of approx. 14.85 hectares at
Sitio Bundas, Davao,a portion which overlapped the area originally applied for by Proceso.
On Feb. 8, 1949, Proceso once again filed, this time with the Bureau of Fisheries, another application,
but for 49 hectares and in Sitio Bundas not Central.
It is shown in the record of the BOFish that the 14.85 hectares applied for by Barza had been released by
the BOForrestry as available for fishpond purposes while the 49 hectares applied for by Proceso was not.
Also, said area, including the portion applied for by Barza had been greatly improved by Proceso.
From this an administrative case arose with the Director of Fisheries thereafter ruling in favor of Barza,
subject however to the reimbursement of the amounts of improvements in the area to Proceso. Barza
did not comply with the decision while Proceso continued his possession/occupation of the property.
Whether the priority rule in applications for permits as applicable to Proceso
Whether the Barzas may seek enforcement of the decision of the DoFisheries notwithstanding their
refusal to reimburse the Bautistas
No. Until timber or forest lands are released as disposable or alienable, neither the Bureau of Lands
nor the Bureau of Fisheries has authority to dispose of these lands for xxx fishpond leases and other
modes of utilization. Thus, even if Bautista were ahead of Barza by two years in terms of
occupation, possession and introduction of substantial improvements, he was not placed in a better
position than Barza. The priority rule under Fisheries Administrative Order No. 14 applies only to
public lands already released by the Bureau of Fisheries. Until such lands had been properly
declared available for fishpond purposes, any application is ineffective because there is no
disposable land to speak of.
Yes. Although Bautista was in possession of the area for quite a number of years, he ceased to
become a bona fide possessor upon receipt of the decision of the Director of Fisheries granting due
course to Barza's fishpond application.
Maneclang filed before the CFI a complaint for quieting of title over a certain fishpond located within
the 41 parcels of land belonging to them situated in Barrio Salomague, Pangasinan and also the
annulment of Resolutions no. 38 (ordering an ocular inspection of the Cagayan Creek) and 95
(authorizing public bidding for the lease of all municipal ferries and fisheries, including the fishpond in
consideration) of the Municipal Council of Bugallon Pangasinan.
The trial court dismissed the same upon the finding that the body of water traversing the properties is a
creek constituting a tributary of the Agno River. On the other hand, the assailed resolutions were held to
be valid.
Meanwhile, petitioners manifested that for lack of interest on the part of respondent Alfredo Maza, the
awardee in the public bidding of the fishpond, the parties desire to amicably settle the case by
submitting to the Court a Compromise Agreement praying that judgment be rendered recognizing the
ownership of petitioners over the land and the body of water found within their titled properties since it
is now clear that after the National Irrigation Administration [NIA] had built the dike around the land, no
water gets in or out of the land.
Whether Compromise Agreement is valid
No. The stipulations contained in the Compromise Agreement partake of the nature of an adjudication
of ownership in favor of herein petitioners of the fishpond in dispute, which, as clearly found by the
lower and appellate courts, was originally a creek forming a tributary of the Agno River. Considering that
as held in the case of Mercado vs. Municipal President of Macabebe, a creek, defined as a recess or arm
extending from a river and participating in the ebb and flow of the sea, is a property belonging to the
public domain which is not susceptible to private appropriation and acquisitive prescription, and as a
public water, it cannot be registered under the Torrens System in the name of any individual; and
considering further that neither the mere construction of irrigation dikes by the National Irrigation
Administration which prevented the water from flowing in and out of the subject fishpond, nor its
conversion into a fishpond, altered or changed the nature of the creek as a property of the public
domain, the Court finds the Compromise Agreement null and void and of no legal effect, the same
being contrary to law and public policy.


This case is an appeal from the judgment of the CFI of Manila in cadastral proceeding No. 373
adjudicating the title and decreeing the registration of lots Nos. 36, 39 and 40, in favor of Consuelo,
Consorcia, Elvira and Tomas, surnamed Cabangis, in equal parts, and dismissing the claims presented by
the Government of the Philippine Islands and the City of Manila.
Lots no. 36, 39, and 40 of Cadastral proceeding no. 373, were formerly part of a large parcel of land
belonging to the predecessor of Cabangis et al.
From the year 1896, said land began to wear away, due to the action of the waves of Manila Bay, until
the year 1901 when the said lots became completely submerged in water in ordinary tides, and
remained in such a state until 1912 when the Government undertook the dredging of Vitas Estuary in
order to facilitate navigation, depositing all the sand and silt taken from the bed of the estuary on the
low lands which were completely covered with water, surrounding that belonging to the Philippine
Manufacturing Company, thereby slowly and gradually forming the reclaimed lots, the subject matter of
this case.
The claimants-appellees contend that inasmuch as the said lots once formed a part of a large parcel of
land belonging to their predecessors, whom they succeeded, and their immediate predecessor in
interest, Tomas Cabangis, having taken possession thereof as soon as they were reclaimed, giving his
permission to some fishermen to dry their fishing nets and deposit their bancas thereon, said lots belong
to them.
The lots under discussion having been reclaimed from the seas as a result of certain work done by the
Government, to whom do they belong?
It belongs to the Government. Article 5 of the Law of Waters provide: xxx Lands reclaimed from the sea
in consequence of works constructed by the State xxx shall become the property of the party
constructing such works, unless otherwise provided by the terms of the grant of authority.
The fact that from 1912 some fishermen had been drying their fishing nets and depositing their bancas
on lots 36, 39 and 40, by permission of Tomas Cabangis, does not confer on the latter or his successors
the ownership of said lots, because, as they were converted into public land, no private person could
acquire title thereto except in the form and manner established by the law.
In conclusion the court held that the lots in question having disappeared on account of the gradual
erosion due to the ebb and flow of the tide, and having remained in such a state until they were
reclaimed from the sea by the filling in done by the Government, they are public land.
Modesto Castillo applied for the registration of two parcels of land, lots 1 and 2, located in Banadero,
Tanuan, Batangas. An OCT was issued to him by the RD on Feb 7, 1952.
After the death of Modesto, Amanda et al. executed a deed of partition and assumption of mortgage in
favor of Florencio Castillo. So the OCT was cancelled and in lieu thereof TCTs were issued to various
The RP filed a case with the lower court for the annulment of the certificates of title issued to
defendants Amanda Lat Vda. de Castillo, et al., as heirs/successors of Modesto Castillo, and for the
reversion of the lands covered thereby to the State, because said lands had always formed part of the
Taal Lake, washed and inundated by the waters thereof, and being of public ownership, it could not be
the subject of registration as private property. Amanda et al. alleged in their answer that the
Government's action was already barred by the decision of the registration court; that the action has
prescribed; and that the government was estopped from questioning the ownership and possession of
The trial court decided in favor of the government but on appeal, the CA reversed.
Whether the lots in question are part of the public domain
Yes. The properties in question were shorelands of Taal Lake as established by the cadastral survey of
1923. Hence ownership over the same could not have passed on to the respondents.
It must be remembered, however, that lakeshore land or lands adjacent to the lake, like the lands in
question must be differentiated from foreshore land or that part of the land adjacent to the sea which is
alternately covered and left dry by the ordinary flow of the tides.
Such distinction draws importance from the fact that accretions on the bank of a lake, like Laguna de
Bay, belong to the owners of the estate to which they have been added while accretion on a sea bank
still belongs to the public domain, and is not available for private ownership until formally declared by
the government to be no longer needed for public use.
But said distinction will not help private respondents because there is no accretion shown to exist in
the case at bar. On the contrary, it was established that the occupants of the lots who were engaged in
duck raising filled up the area with shells and sand to make it habitable.
The defense of long possession is likewise not available in this case because, as already ruled by this
Court, mere possession of land does not by itself automatically divest the land of its public character.

The Zobel family of Spain owned a vast track of marshland in the municipality of Macabebe, Pampanga,
called Hacienda San Esteban which was administered by Ayala y Cia. To facilitate the gathering of tuba
and also to enable easy access through the nipa palms deep in the hacienda, canals were dug leading
towards the interior of the hacienda. By gradual process of erosion, these canals acquired the
characteristics and dimensions of rivers. Ayala y Cia sold a portion of the Hacienda to Roman Santos who
transformed the swamp into a fishpond. He closed and built dikes across Sapang Malauling Maragul,
Quinorang Silab, Pepangbunan, Bulacus, Nigui and Nasi. The closing of the dikes drew complaints from
the residents of the surrounding communities who claimed that the said closure caused floods during
the rainy season, and deprived them of their means of transportation and fishing grounds. They
demanded the reopening of the same.
Mayor Lazaro Yambao, accompanied by policemen and several residents opened the dikes at Sapang
Malauling Maragul, Quinorang Silab, and Nigui. In view of this, Santos filed a case w/ the CFI w/c
enjoined the Mayor and others from demolishing the dikes across the canals.
Subsequently, the Secretary of Commerce and Communications entered into a contract with Roman
Santos whereby the former recognized the private ownership of Sapang Malauling Maragul, Quiorang
Silab, Pepangebunan, Bulacus, Nigui and Nasi and the latter turned over for public use two artificial
canals and bound himself to maintain them in navigable state. The Provincial Board of Pampanga and
the municipal councils of Macabebe and Masantol objected to the contract.
Issue: Do the streams belong to the public domain or to the owner of Hacienda?
The streams are of private ownership; hence, it belongs to the owner of the Hacienda. A private person
may take possession of a watercourse if he constructed the same w/in his property. As stated in the
Panopio Report, as well as those presented for the first time before it, the streams in question were
artificially made, hence of private ownership. Under Articles 71 and 72 of the Spanish Law of Waters,
(71) The water-beds of all creeks belong to the owners of the estates or lands over which they flow; (72)
The water-beds on public land, of creeks through which spring waters run, are a part of the public
Therefore, the channels of the streams in question, which may be classified creeks, belong to the
owners of Hacienda San Esteban. Under Article 339, canals constructed by the State and devoted to
public use are of public ownership. Conversely, canals constructed by private persons within private
lands and devoted exclusively for private use must be of private ownership. However, Sapang Cansusu,
being a natural stream and a continuation of the Cansusu River, admittedly a public stream, belongs to
the public domain. Its closure therefore by the predecessors of Roman Santos was illegal. All the other
streams, being artificial and devoted exclusively for the use of the hacienda owner and his personnel,
are declared of private ownership. Hence, the dams across them should not he ordered demolished as
public nuisances.
There are two properties here, both of which are fishponds, located in Lubao, Pampanga; the one in
dispute is parcel no. 2. Said properties originally belonged to Paulino Montemayor, who secured a
titulo real over it way back in 1883. With his death, the property passed to his successors Maria nad
Donato who in turn, sold it to Potenciano Garcia. Initially, Garcia was prevented by the Mun. Pres. of
Lubao, Pedro Beltran, to restore the dikes constructed on the property but was able to do so after
procuring the issuance of a permanent preliminary injunction from the CFI. Thereafter, he was able to
register the lands in his name despite opposition from the Atty. G and the Director of Forestry. The
parcels were subsequently bought by Emilio Cruz de Dios and thereafter, the ownership of the
properties changed hands until eventually they were acquired by the Spouses.
To avoid any further dispute, the sps. referred the matter of their ownership to the Committeee on
Rivers and Streams which submitted a report to the effect that Parcel No. 2 of transfer certificate of title
No. 15856 was not a public river but a private fishpond owned by the herein spouses. 4 years later, the
Sec. of PWC ordered another investigation of said parcel, directing the spouses to remove the dikes on
the strength of R.A. 2056 (An Act To Prohibit, Remove and/or Demolish the Construction of Dams. Dikes,
Or Any Other Walls In Public Navigable Waters, Or Waterways and In Communal Fishing Grounds, To
Regulate Works in Such Waters or Waterways And In Communal Fishing Grounds, And To Provide
Penalties For Its Violation, And For Other Purposes.)
Because of this, the present case was filed. Lower court ruled in their favor, but the CA reversed.
Issue: WoN Lot No. 2 is considered a public stream
Lot No. 2 is a public stream. Under Article 339 of the old Civil Code: Property of public ownership is -
That destined to the public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports, and bridges constructed by
the State, and banks shores, roadsteads, and that of a similar character. Hence, the above-mentioned
properties are parts of the public domain intended for public use, are outside the commerce of men
and, therefore, not subject to private appropriation.
It is, therefore, clear that the authorities cited by the sps. as to the conclusiveness and incontestability of
a Torrens certificate of title do not apply here. The Land Registration Court has no jurisdiction over non-
registerable properties, such as public navigable rivers which are parts of the public domain, and cannot
validly adjudge the registration of title in favor of a private applicant. Hence, the judgment of the Court
of First Instance of Pampanga as regards the Lot No. 2 in the name of petitioners-appellants may be
attacked at any time, either directly or collaterally, by the State which is not bound by any prescriptive
period provided for by the Statute of Limitations. The right of reversion or reconveyance to the State of
the public properties fraudulently registered and which are not capable of private appropriation or
private acquisition does not prescribe.

Hilaria and her husband occupied a parcel of land of about 93 square meters in an area that forms part
of the public plaza known as Soledad by virtue of a contract of lease they entered into with the
Municipality of Cavite.
The case arose when the Municipality demanded the defendants to vacate the premises of the leased
land within 60 days after said demand. The defendants opposed this arguing that: the land did not form
or was not an integral part of Plaza Soledad, the lease they secured from the municipality was not void
and ultra vires, and that if they refuse to vacate said land it was because they had acquired the right of
possession thereof. Moreover, should they be ordered to vacate, they would suffer damages and
therefore should be indemnified in the amount of PHP3000 plus the costs of suit.
Issue: WoN the contract of lease entered into by the defendants with the municipality is valid
No, the lease was not valid. Under section 3 of the Act No. 1039 the Philippine Commission granted to
the municipality of Cavite all the land included in the tract called Plaza Soledad. The intention of the Act
was that the said plaza and other places therein enumerated should be kept open for public transit;
therefore there can be no doubt that the defendant has no right to continue to occupy the land of the
municipality leased by her, for it is an integral portion of Plaza Soledad, which is for public use and is
reserved for the common benefit.
According to Article 344 of the Civil Code: "Property for public use in provinces and in towns comprises
the provincial and town roads, the squares, streets, fountains, and public waters, the promenades, and
public works of general service supported by said towns or provinces." The said Plaza Soledad being a
promenade for public use, the municipal council of Cavite could not in 1907 withdraw or exclude from
public use a portion thereof in order to lease it for the sole benefit of the defendant Hilaria Rojas. In
leasing a portion of said plaza or public place to the defendant for private use the plaintiff municipality
exceeded its authority in the exercise of its powers by executing a contract over a thing of which it could
not dispose, nor is it empowered so to do. The Civil Code prescribes that everything which is not outside
the commerce of man may be the object of a contract, and plazas and streets are outside of this
commerce, as was decided by the supreme court of Spain in its decision of February 12, 195, which says:
"Communal things that cannot be sold because they are by their very nature outside of commerce are
those for public use, such as the plazas, streets, common lands, rivers, fountains, etc." Therefore, it must
be concluded that the contract of lease is null and void and of no force or effect, because it is contrary
to the law and the thing leased cannot be the object of a contract. On this ground, the defendant must
restore and deliver possession of the land to the municipality, which in its turn must restore to the said
defendant all the sums it may have received from her in the nature of rentals just as soon as she
restores the land improperly leased. For the same reasons, because said contract is null and void in its
origin, it can produce no effect and consequently the defendant is not entitled to claim that the plaintiff
municipality indemnity her for the damages she may suffer by the removal of her house from the said
MIAA operates the NAIA complex in Paranaque. On 1997, the Office of the Gov. Corp Counsel issued an
opinion which posited that the LGC of 1991 withdrew the exemption from real estate tax granted to
Thus MIAA paid some of the real estate tax already due to the City of Paranaque. However, it was not
able to pay all the RET due, so the City issued notices of levy and warrants of levy on the Airports and
Buildings. The Mayor even threatened to sell at public auction the Airport lands and buildings should
MIAA fail to pay the RET delinquency.
MIAA was able to get a TRO from the court but received it 3 hours after the conclusion of the public
Whether the Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA are exempt from RET
If so exempt, Whether the RET assessments issued and all proceedings taken pursuant to such
assessments are void
Yes. First, MIAA is not a government-owned or controlled corporation but an instrumentality of the
National Government and thus exempt from local taxation. Second, the real properties of MIAA are
owned by the Republic of the Philippines and thus exempt from real estate tax.
GOCCs agency organized as a stock (capital stock is divided into shares and x x x authorized to
distribute to the holders of such shares dividends) or non-stock corp. (one where no part of its income is
distributable as dividends to its members, trustees or officers.).
MIAA is not a stock corp. because it has no capital stock divided into shares, and no stockholders or
voting shares. MIAA is not a non-stock corp. because it has no members. MIAA is a government
instrumentality vested with corporate powers to perform efficiently its governmental functions. Gov.
Instrumentalities are among those enumerated in the LGC that is exempt from tax and levy.
Airport Lands and Buildings are property of the Public Dominion. In Art. 420 ports includes airports
and seaports.
Airport Lands and Buildings are outside the commerce of man hence they are not subject to levy,
encumbrance or disposition through public or private sale.
Real property owned by the state is NOT taxable. The only exception is when MIAA leases its real
property to a taxable person, in which case the specific real property leased becomes subject to real
estate tax.
Yes. Hence the public auction sale was also void.