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HON. HEHERSON T. ALVAREZ v. PICOP RESOURCES, INC.G.R. No.

162243, December 3, 2009


Chico-Nazario, J.:
Doctrine:
A timber license is not a contract within the purview of the non-impairment clause.
Facts:
PICOP filed with the DENR an application to have its Timber License Agreement (TLA) No. 43converted into an IFMA.PICOP filed before the
(RTC) City a Petition for Mandamus
against then DENR Sec Alvarez for unlawfully refusing and/or neglecting to sign and execute the IFMA contract of PICOP even as the latter has
complied with all the legal requirements for the automatic conversion of TLA No. 43, as a me nde d, into an IFMA. The cause of action of
PICOP Resources, Inc. (PICOP) in its Petition for Mandamus with the trial court is clear: the government is bound by contract, a 1969 Document
signed by then President Ferdinand Marcos, to enter into an Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) with PICOP.
Issue:
Whether the 1969 Document is a contract recognized under the non-impairment clause by which the government may be bound (for the issuance
of the IFMA)
Held:
NO. Our definitive ruling in Oposa v. Factoran that a timber license is not a contract within the purview of the non-impairment clause is edifying.
We declared:
Needless to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive action. It is not a contract, property or a property right protected by
the due pr oce ss cla use of the Constitution.
Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause, which reads: "SEC. 10. No law impairing the obliga tion of c ontracts
shall be pa ssed." cannot be invoke d. The Preside ntia l Warra nt y cannot, in an y ma nner, be c onstr ued a s a c ontractual
under ta king a ssuring PICOP of exclusive possession and enjoyment of its concession areas. Such an interpretation would result in the
c omple te abdica tion by the Sta te in favor of PICO P of the sover eign power to c ontr ol and supe r vise the explora tion,
de velopment and utiliza tion of the natura l resource s in the area.
Amodia vda de Melencion vs. Court of Appeals (534 SCRA 62) Registration Under Art. 1544 of the New Civil Code; Registration of Sale
of Titled Land Under Act 3344
The registration under Art. 1544 of the New Civil Code refers to registration under the torrens system which considers the act of registration as
the operative act that gives validity to the transfer or creates a lien upon the land.
If a parcel of land is registered under the Land Registration Act and has a torrens certificate of title and is sold and the sale is registered not under
Land Registration Act but under Act 3344, such sale is not considered registered as the term is used under Article 1544 of the New Civil Code.
The loss of a certificate of title of a titled land does not convert the land into unregistered land.
REPUBLIC VS. HEIRS OF FRANCISCA DIGNOS-SORONO
G.R. No. 171571, March 24, 2008
FACTS: 2 were adjudicated by the then Court of First Instance of Cebu in favor of the following in four equal shares:
a) Francisca Dignos, married to Blas Sorono
share in the two lots;
b) Tito Dignos share in the two lots;
c) predecessors-in-interest of the respondents
share in the two lots;
and
d) predecessors-in-interest of the respondents
share in the two lots
It appears that the two lots were not partitioned by the adjudicatees.
It appears further that the heirs of Tito Dignos, who was awarded share in the two lots, sold the entire two lots to the then Civil Aeronautics
Administration (CAA) via a public instrument entitled Extrajudicial Settlement and Sale without the knowledge of respondents whose
predecessors-in-interest were the adjudicatees of the rest of the portion of the two lots.
In 1996, CAAs successor-in-interest, the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), erected a security fence one of the lot and
relocated a number of families, who had built their dwellings within the airport perimeter, to a portion of said lot to enhance airport security.
MCIAA later caused the issuance in its name of a Tax Declarations of the 2 lots.
Respondents soon asked the agents of MCIAA to cease giving third persons permission to occupy the lots but the same was ignored.
Respondents thereupon filed a Complaint for Quieting of Title, Legal Redemption with Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction against
MCIAA before the RTC of Lapu-lapu City. Respondents further alleged that neither they nor their predecessors-in-interests sold, alienated or
disposed of their shares in the lots of which they have been in continuous peaceful possession. Respondents furthermore alleged that neither
petitioner nor its predecessor-in-interest had given them any written notice of its acquisition of the share of Tito Dignos.
The Republic, represented by the MCIAA in its Answer with Counterclaim, maintained that from the time the lots were sold to its predecessor-ininterest CAA, it has been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession thereof; through acquisitive prescription, it had acquired valid
title to the lots since it was a purchaser in good faith and for value; and assuming arguendo that it did not have just title, it had, by possession for

over 30 years, acquired ownership thereof by extraordinary prescription. At all events, petitioner contended that respondents action was barred by
estoppel and laches.
The trial court found for respondents. The CA affirmed the trial courts decision. Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari
ISSUE:
1. WON the sale of the entire 2 lots by the heirs of Tito binding to the respondents
2. WON estoppel and laches should work against respondents
HELD: the petition is denied
1. NO. Article 493 of the Civil Code provides:
Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or
mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the effect of the alienation of the
mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the
co-ownership.
Apropos is the following pertinent portion of this Courts decision in Bailon-Casilao v. CA:
As early as 1923, this Court has ruled that even if a co-owner sells the whole property as his, the sale will affect only his own share but not those
of the other co-owners who did not consent to thesale.This is because under the aforementioned codal provision, the sale or other disposition
affects only his undivided share and the transferee gets only what would correspond to his grantor in the partition of the thing owned in common.
From the foregoing, it may be deduced that since a co-owner is entitled to sell his undivided share, a sale of the entire property by one co-owner
without the consent of the other co-owners is NOT null and void. However, only the rights of the co-owner-seller are transferred, thereby making
the buyer a co-owner of the property.
Petitioners predecessor-in-interest CAA thus acquired only the rights pertaining to the sellers-heirs of Tito Dignos, which is only undivided
share of the two lots.
2. NO. Registered lands cannot be the subject of acquisitive prescription. Petitioners insistence that it acquired the property through acquisitive
prescription, if not ordinary, then extraordinary, does not lie. It bears emphasis at this juncture that in the Extrajudicial Settlement and Sale forged
by CAA and Tito Dignos heirs the following material portions thereof validate the claim of respondents that the two lots were registered: x x x x
That since the OCT of Title of the above-mentioned property/ies has/have been lost and/or destroyed and the VENDEE hereby binds itself to
reconstitute said title/s at its own expense and that the HEIRS-VENDORS, their heirs, successors and assigns bind themselves to help in the
reconstitution of title so that the said lot/s may be registered in the name of the VENDEE in accordance with law x x x x
NOTES:
As for petitioners argument that the redemption price should be of the prevailing market value, not of the actual purchase price, since, so it
claims, (1) the respondents received just compensation for the property at the time it was purchased by the Government; and, (2) the property, due
to improvements introduced by petitioner in its vicinity, is now worth several hundreds of millions of pesos, the law is not on its side.
Thus, Article 1088 of the Civil Code provides:
Should any of the heirs sell his hereditary rights to a stranger before the partition, any or all of the co-heirs may be subrogated to the rights of the
purchaser by reimbursing him for the price of the sale, provided they do so within the period of one month from the time they were notified in
writing of the sale by the vendor. The Court may take judicial notice of the increase in value of the lots.
As mentioned earlier, however, the heirs of Tito Dignos did not notify respondents about the sale. At any rate, since the Extrajudicial Settlement
and Sale stipulates, thus:
That the HEIRS-VENDORS, their heirs, assigns and successors, undertake and agree to warrant and defend the possession and ownership of the
property/ies herein sold against any and all just claims of all persons whomsoever and should the VENDEE be disturbed in its possession, to
prosecute and defend the same in the Courts of Justice.
Petitioner is not without any remedy. This decision is, therefore, without prejudice to petitioners right to seek redress against the vendors-heirs of
Tito Dignos and their successors-in-interest.
REPUBLIC VS. CA AND NAGUIT
G. R. No.144057January 17, 2005Tinga, J.
FACTS:
Corazon Naguit filed a petition for registration of title which seeks judicial confirmation of her imperfect title over a parcel of land in Nabas,
Aklan. It was alleged that Naguit and her predecessors-in-interest have occupied the land openly and in the concept of owner without any
objection from any private person or even the government until she filed her application for registration. The MCTC rendered a decision
confirming the title in the name of Naguit upon failure of Rustico Angeles to appear during trial after filing his formal opposition to the petition.
The Solicitor General, representing the Republic of the Philippines, filed a motion for reconsideration on the grounds that the property which is in
open, continuous and exclusive possession must first be alienable. Naguit could not have maintained a bonafide claim of ownership since the

subject land was declared as alienable and disposable only on October 15, 1980. The alienable and disposable character of the land should have
already been established since June 12, 1945 or earlier.
ISSUE:
Whether or not it is necessary under Section 14 (1) of the Property Registration Decree that the subject land be first classified as alienable and disposable before the
applicants possession under a
bona fide claim of ownership could even start.
RULING:
Section 14 (1) merely requires that the property sought to be registered asalready alienable and disposable at the time the application for
registration of title is filed.
There are three requirements for registration of title, (1) that the subject property is alienable and disposable; (2) that the applicants and their
predecessor-in-interest have been in open, continuous, and exclusive possession and occupation, and; (3) that the possession is under a bona fide
claim of ownership since June 12, 1945.There must be a positive act of the government through a statute or proclamation stating the intention
of the State to abdicate its exclusive prerogative over the property, thus, declaring the land as alienable and disposable. However, if there has been
none, it is presumed that the government is still reserving the right to utilize the property and the possession of the land no matter how long would
not ripen into ownership through acquisitive prescription. To follow the Solicitor Generals argument in the construction of Section 14 (1)would
render the paragraph 1 of the said provision inoperative for it would mean that all lands of public domain which were not declared as alienable
and disposable before June 12, 1945 would not be susceptible to original registration, no matter the length of unchallenged possession by the
occupant. In effect, it precludes the government from enforcing the said provision as it decides to reclassify lands as alienable anddisposable.The
land in question was found to be cocal in nature, it having been planted with coconut trees now over fifty years old. The inherent nature of the
land but confirms its certification in 1980 as alienable, hence agricultural. There is no impediment to the application of Section 14 (1) of the
Property Registration Decree. Naguit had the right to apply for registration owing to the continuous possession by her and her predecessors-ininterest of the land since 1945.
Business Organization Corporation Law Corporations are not Filipino Citizens Registration of Public Lands
In 1978, Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) purchased a parcel of land from one Carmen Racimo in Ilocos Norte. In 1979, INC sought to register said land
under its name pursuant to Section 48 (b) of the Public Land Law. The Director of Lands opposed the application as it averred that the said parcel
of land is part of the alienable public land; that INC cannot register said land because it is not a Filipino citizen. INC argues that it is a private
land because Racimo, its predecessor-in-interest has been in possession thereof for more than 30 years; that the Constitutional prohibition does
not apply to INC, a corporation sole (solely incorporated by one man, Erao Manalo, a Filipino citizen), hence it can acquire said property.
ISSUE: Whether or not INC can register said parcel of land under its name.
HELD: No.
The disputed land has never lost its public character. Racimo, though occupying said land for more than 30 years, never applied for confirmation
of incomplete or imperfect title over said land. Under the law, all lands that were not acquired from the Government either by purchase or by
grant, belong to the public domain. As exception to the rule would be any land that should have been in the possession of an occupant and of his
predecessors-in-interest since time immemorial, for such possession would 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 Spanish conquest.
Section 48 (b) of the Public Land Law allows the registration of alienable public lands but only by Filipino citizens. INC is not a Filipino citizen.
There is no basis on the contention that as a corporation sole, INC is not prohibited from holding said land. The benefit only applies to Filipino
citizens not to a corporation sole which has citizenship.
NOTE: 60% rule: Corporations and Partnerships of which at least 60% of their capital belong to Filipinos may acquire real property.
HEIRS OF MARIO MALABANAN, (Represented by Sally A. Malabanan), Petitioners, vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Respondent.
G.R. No. 179987 April 29, 2009
The petition, while unremarkable as to the facts, was accepted by the Court en banc in order to provide definitive clarity to the applicability and
scope of original registration proceedings under Sections 14(1) and 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree
(PD No. 1529)
FACTS:
On 20 February 1998, Mario Malabanan filed an application for land registration covering a parcel of land identified as Lot9864-A, Cad-452-D,
Silang Cadastre, situated in Silang Cavite, and consisting of 71,324 square meters.
Malabanan claimed that he had purchased the property from Eduardo Velazco, and that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in open,
notorious, and continuous adverse and peaceful possession of the land for more than thirty (30) years.
Malabanan and Aristedes Velazco, testified at the hearing. Velazco testified that the property was originally belonged to a 22 hectare property
owned by his great-grandfather, Lino Velazco. Lino had four sonsthe fourth being Aristedess grandfather.
Upon Linos death, his four sons inherited the property and divided it among themselves. But by 1966, Estebans wife, Magdalena, had become
the administrator of all the properties inherited by the Velazco sons from their father, Lino. After the death of Esteban and Magdalena, their son
Virgilio succeeded them in administering the properties, including Lot 9864-A, which originally belonged to his uncle, Eduardo Velazco. It was
this property that was sold by Eduardo Velazco to Malabanan.
The Republic of the Philippines likewise did not present any evidence to controvert the application.

Malabanan presented evidence during trial a Certification dated 11 June 2001, issued by the CENRO-DENR, which stated that the subject
property was verified to be within the Alienable or Disposable land per Land Classification Map No. 3013 established under Project No. 20-A
and approved as such under FAO 4-1656 on March 15, 1982.
On 3 December 2002, the RTC rendered judgment in favor of Malabanan
The Republic appealed to the Court of Appeals, arguing that Malabanan
o had failed to prove that the property belonged to the alienable and disposable land of the public domain, and
o that the RTC had erred in finding that he had been in possession of the property in the manner and for the length of time required by law for
confirmation of imperfect title.

CA rendered a Decision reversing the RTC and dismissing the application of Malabanan.

CA held that under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree (PD No. 1529) any period of possession prior to the
classification of the lots as alienable and disposable was inconsequential and should be excluded from the computation of the
period of possession.

CA noted that since the CENRO-DENR certification had verified that the property was declared alienable and disposable only on
March 15, 1982, the Velazcos possession prior to that date could not be factored in the computation of the period of possession.
(Interpretation of CA of Section 14(1) was based on the Courts ruling in Republic v. Herbieto)

Malabanan died while the case was pending with the CA; it was his heirs who appealed the decision of the appellate court
Petitioners rely on our ruling in Republic v. Naguit (handed down just 4 months prior to Herbieto) - with respect to agricultural lands, any
possession prior to the declaration of the alienable property as disposable may be counted in reckoning the period of possession to perfect
title under the Public Land Act and the Property Registration Decree.
With respect to Section 14(1), petitioners reiterate that the analysis of the Court in Naguit is the correct interpretation of the provision.
The OSG remains insistent that for Section 14(1) to apply, the land should have been classified as alienable and disposable as of 12 June
1945.
With respect to Section 14(2), petitioners submit that open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of an alienable land of the public
domain for more than 30 years ipso jure converts the land into private property, thus placing it under the coverage of Section 14(2).
o According to them, it would not matter whether the land sought to be registered was previously classified as agricultural land of the public
domain so long as, at the time of the application, the property had already been converted into private property through prescription.
The OSG notes that under Article 1113 of the Civil Code, the acquisitive prescription of properties of the State refers to patrimonial property,
while Section 14(2) speaks of private lands.
The OSG further submits that, assuming that the 30-year prescriptive period can run against public lands, said period should be reckoned from
the time the public land was declared alienable and disposable.
DISCUSSION:
Commonwealth Act No. 141 (Public Land Act) governed the classification and disposition of lands of the public domain. The President is
authorized, from time to time, to classify the lands of the public domain into alienable and disposable, timber, or mineral lands. Alienable and
disposable lands of the public domain are further classified according to their uses into (a) agricultural; (b) residential, commercial, industrial, or
for similar productive purposes; (c) educational, charitable, or other similar purposes; or (d) reservations for town sites and for public and quasipublic uses.
Section 11 of the Public Land Act acknowledges that
public lands suitable for agricultural purposes may be disposed of
(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in
by confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles through
interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious
judicial legalization.
possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of
the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of
Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as amended by P.D. No.
ownership, since June 12, 1945, or earlier, immediately
1073, supplies the details and unmistakably grants that right,
preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title
subject to the requisites stated therein:
except when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be
conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions
Sec. 48. The following described citizens of the Philippines,
essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate
occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such
of title under the provisions of this chapter.
land or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected
Two significant amendments were introduced by P.D. No. 1073.
or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of the
First, the term agricultural lands was changed to alienable and
province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims
disposable lands of the public domain.
and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the Land
Registration Act, to wit:
o The OSG submits that this amendment restricted the scope of the
xxx
lands that may be registered.

o Under Section 9 of the Public Land Act, agricultural lands are


a mere subset of lands of the public domain alienable or open to
disposition. Evidently, alienable and disposable lands of the
public domain are a larger class than only agricultural
lands.
Second, the length of the requisite possession was changed from
possession for thirty (30) years immediately preceding the filing
of the application to possession since June 12, 1945 or earlier.
It bears further observation that Section 48(b) of Com. Act No, 141
is virtually the same as Section 14(1) of the Property Registration
Decree.
SECTION 14. Who may apply. The following persons may file
in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration
of title to land, whether personally or through their duly authorized
representatives:
(1) those who by themselves or through their predecessors-ininterest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the
public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12,
1945, or earlier.
Notwithstanding the passage of the Property Registration Decree
and the inclusion of Section 14(1) therein, the Public Land Act has
remained in effect.
Both laws commonly refer to persons or their predecessors-ininterest who have been in open, continuous, exclusive and
notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable
lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership
since June 12, 1945, or earlier.
The opening clauses of Section 48 of the Public Land Act and
Section 14 of the Property Registration Decree warrant
comparison:
Sec. 48 [of the Public Land Act]. The following described citizens
of the Philippines, occupying lands of the public domain or
claiming to own any such land or an interest therein, but whose
titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply to the
Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for
confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title
therefor, under the Land Registration Act, to wit:
xxx
Sec. 14 [of the Property Registration Decree]. Who may apply.
The following persons may file in the proper Court of First
Instance an application for registration of title to land, whether
personally or through their duly authorized representatives:
It is indeed the Public Land Act that primarily establishes the
substantive ownership of the possessor who has been in
possession of the property since 12 June 1945.
Section 14(a) of the Property Registration Decree recognizes
the substantive right granted under Section 48(b) of the Public
Land Act, as well provides the corresponding original registration
procedure for the judicial confirmation of an imperfect or
incomplete title.
There is another limitation to the right granted under Section 48(b).
Section 47 of the Public Land Act (amended by Rep. Act No. 9176
in 2002) limits the period within which one may exercise the right
to seek registration under Section 48.
Section 47. The persons specified in the next following section are
hereby granted time, not to extend beyond December 31, 2020
within which to avail of the benefits of this Chapter: Provided,
That this period shall apply only where the area applied for does
not exceed twelve (12) hectares: Provided, further, That the several
periods of time designated by the President in accordance with
Section Forty-Five of this Act shall apply also to the lands
comprised in the provisions of this Chapter, but this Section shall

not be construed as prohibiting any said persons from acting under


this Chapter at any time prior to the period fixed by the President.
The substantive right granted under Section 48(b) may be availed
of only until 31 December 2020.
The OSG has adopted the position that for one to acquire the right
to seek registration of an alienable and disposable land of the
public domain, it is not enough that the applicant and his/her
predecessors-in-interest be in possession under a bona fide claim
of ownership since 12 June 1945; the alienable and disposable
character of the property must have been declared also as of 12
June 1945.
Following the OSGs approach, all lands certified as alienable and
disposable after 12 June 1945 cannot be registered either under
Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree or Section 48(b)
of the Public Land Act as amended.
Discussed in Naguit. adopting the OSGs view, that all lands of
the public domain which were not declared alienable or disposable
before June 12, 1945 would not be susceptible to original
registration, no matter the length of unchallenged possession by
the occupant. Such interpretation renders paragraph (1) of Section
14 virtually inoperative and even precludes the government from
giving it effect even as it decides to reclassify public agricultural
lands as alienable and disposable. The unreasonableness of the
situation would even be aggravated considering that before June
12, 1945, the Philippines was not yet even considered an
independent state.
[T]he more reasonable interpretation of Section 14(1) is that it
merely requires the property sought to be registered as already
alienable and disposable at the time the application for
registration of title is filed.
Petitioners make the salient observation that the contradictory
passages from Herbieto are obiter dicta since the land registration
proceedings therein is void ab initio in the first place due to lack of
the requisite publication of the notice of initial hearing.
The application therein was ultimately granted, citing Section
14(2).
The evidence submitted by petitioners therein did not establish
any mode of possession on their part prior to 1948, thereby
precluding the application of Section 14(1). It is not even apparent
from the decision whether petitioners therein had claimed
entitlement to original registration following Section 14(1), their
position being that they had been in exclusive possession under a
bona fide claim of ownership for over fifty (50) years, but not
before 12 June 1945.
The Court in Naguit offered the following discussion concerning
Section 14(2)
Prescription is one of the modes of acquiring ownership under the
Civil Code. There is a consistent jurisprudential rule that properties
classified as alienable public land may be converted into private
property by reason of open, continuous and exclusive possession
of at least thirty (30) years.[[31]] With such conversion, such
property may now fall within the contemplation of private lands
under Section 14(2), and thus susceptible to registration by those
who have acquired ownership through prescription. Thus, even if
possession of the alienable public land commenced on a date later
than June 12, 1945, and such possession being been open,
continuous and exclusive, then the possessor may have the right to
register the land by virtue of Section 14(2) of the Property
Registration Decree.
The obiter in Naguit cited the Civil Code provisions on
prescription as the possible basis for application for original
registration under Section 14(2). Specifically, it is Article 1113
which provides legal foundation for the application. It reads:

All things which are within the commerce of men are susceptible
of prescription, unless otherwise provided. Property of the State
or any of its subdivisions not patrimonial in character shall not
be the object of prescription.
It is clear under the Civil Code that where lands of the public
domain are patrimonial in character, they are susceptible to
acquisitive prescription. On the other hand, among the public
domain lands that are not susceptible to acquisitive
prescription are timber lands and mineral lands. The
Constitution itself proscribes private ownership of timber or
mineral lands
Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as amended by Rep. Act
No. 1942, did not refer to or call into application the Civil Code
provisions on prescription. It merely set forth a requisite thirtyyear possession period immediately preceding the application for
confirmation of title, without any qualification as to whether the
property should be declared alienable at the beginning of, and
continue as such, throughout the entire thirty-(30) years.
The critical qualification under Article 1113 of the Civil Code is
thus: [p]roperty of the State or any of its subdivisions not
patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription.
The identification what consists of patrimonial property is
provided by Articles 420 and 421
Art. 420. The following things are property of public dominion:
(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers,
torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State, banks, shores,
roadsteads, and others of similar character;
(2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use,
and are intended for some public service or for the development of
the national wealth.
Art. 421. All other property of the State, which is not of the
character stated in the preceding article, is patrimonial property
It is clear that property of public dominion, which generally
includes property belonging to the State, cannot be the object
of prescription
Lands of the public domain, whether declared alienable and
disposable or not, are property of public dominion and thus
insusceptible to acquisition by prescription.
Article 422 of the Civil Code states that [p]roperty of public
dominion, when no longer intended for public use or for public
service, shall form part of the patrimonial property of the State.
Accordingly, there must be an express declaration by the State
that the public dominion property is no longer intended for
public service or the development of the national wealth or that
the property has been converted into patrimonial.
Should public domain lands become patrimonial because they are
declared as such in a duly enacted law or duly promulgated
proclamation that they are no longer intended for public service or
for the development of the national wealth, would the period of
possession prior to the conversion of such public dominion into
patrimonial be reckoned in counting the prescriptive period in
favor of the possessors? - We rule in the negative.
As the application for registration under Section 14(2) falls wholly
within the framework of prescription under the Civil Code, there is
no way that possession during the time that the land was still
classified as public dominion property can be counted to meet the
requisites of acquisitive prescription and justify registration.
Section 14(1) mandates registration on the basis of possession,
while Section 14(2) entitles registration on the basis of
prescription. Registration under Section 14(1) is extended
under the aegis of the Property Registration Decree and the
Public Land Act while registration under Section 14(2) is made
available both by the Property Registration Decree and the
Civil Code.

Registration under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act as


amended by Rep. Act No. 1472 is based on thirty years of
possession alone without regard to the Civil Code, while the
registration under Section 14(2) of the Property Registration
Decree is founded on extraordinary prescription under the
Civil Code.
Whether under ordinary prescription or extraordinary prescription,
the period of possession preceding the classification of public
dominion lands as patrimonial cannot be counted for the purpose
of computing prescription. But after the property has been become
patrimonial, the period of prescription begins to run in favor of the
possessor.
Once the possessor automatically becomes the owner of the
converted patrimonial property, the ideal next step is the
registration of the property under the Torrens system. It should be
remembered that registration of property is not a mode of
acquisition of ownership, but merely a mode of confirmation of
ownership.
SYNTHESIS OF DOCTRINES APPLIED:
(1) In connection with Section 14(1) of the Property Registration
Decree, Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act recognizes and
confirms that those who by themselves or through their
predecessors in interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive,
and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and
disposable lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of
acquisition of ownership, since June 12, 1945 have acquired
ownership of, and registrable title to, such lands based on the
length and quality of their possession.
(a) Since Section 48(b) merely requires possession since 12 June
1945 and does not require that the lands should have been
alienable and disposable during the entire period of possession,
the possessor is entitled to secure judicial confirmation of his title
thereto as soon as it is declared alienable and disposable, subject to
the timeframe imposed by Section 47 of the Public Land Act.[51]
(b) The right to register granted under Section 48(b) of the Public
Land Act is further confirmed by Section 14(1) of the Property
Registration Decree.
(2) In complying with Section 14(2) of the Property Registration
Decree, consider that under the Civil Code, prescription is
recognized as a mode of acquiring ownership of patrimonial
property. However, public domain lands become only patrimonial
property not only with a declaration that these are alienable or
disposable. There must also be an express government
manifestation that the property is already patrimonial or no longer
retained for public service or the development of national wealth,
under Article 422 of the Civil Code. And only when the property
has become patrimonial can the prescriptive period for the
acquisition of property of the public dominion begin to run.
(a) Patrimonial property is private property of the government. The
person acquires ownership of patrimonial property by prescription
under the Civil Code is entitled to secure registration thereof under
Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree.
(b) There are two kinds of prescription by which patrimonial
property may be acquired, one ordinary and other extraordinary.
Under ordinary acquisitive prescription, a person acquires
ownership of a patrimonial property through possession for at least
ten (10) years, in good faith and with just title. Under extraordinary
acquisitive prescription, a persons uninterrupted adverse
possession of patrimonial property for at least thirty (30) years,
regardless of good faith or just title, ripens into ownership.
APPLICATION OF DOCTRINES:
Evidence of petitioners is insufficient to establish that Malabanan
has acquired ownership over the subject property under Section
48(b) of the Public Land Act. There is no substantive evidence to
establish that Malabanan or petitioners as his predecessors-ininterest have been in possession of the property since 12 June
1945 or earlier.

Neither can petitioners properly invoke Section 14(2) as basis for


registration. While the subject property was declared as alienable
or disposable in 1982, there is no competent evidence that is no
longer intended for public use service or for the development of
the national evidence, conformably with Article 422 of the Civil
Code. The classification of the subject property as alienable and
disposable land of the public domain does not change its status as

property of the public dominion under Article 420(2) of the Civil


Code. Thus, it is insusceptible to acquisition by prescription.
The Petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals
dated 23 February 2007 and Resolution dated 2 October 2007 are
AFFIRMED.