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SANTOS vs.

MORENO
ROMAN R. SANTOS, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
HON. FLORENCIO MORENO, as Secretary of Public Works and Communications, and JULIAN C. CARGULO,
respondents-appellants.
G.R. No. L-15829. December 4, 1967.
Bengzon, J.P., J.
TOPIC: Streams which formerly were man-made canals are of private ownership.
FACTS: Between 1860 and 1924, Ayala y Cia managed and administered Hacienda San Esteban wherein they
built artificial canals to facilitate the gathering of nipa sap or tuba and guarding the hacienda. These canals
gradually acquired the characteristics and dimensions of rivers.
In 1925 or 26, Ayala y Cia sold a portion of the Hacienda to Roman Santos who transformed the land into
fishponds, and in so doing, closed and built dikes across the artificial rivers. The closing of the man-made canals in
the hacienda drew complaints from the residents of the surrounding communities. The residents claimed that it
caused flooding during the rainy season and deprived them of their means of transportation and fishing grounds.
Following a congressional inquiry, the enactment of RA 2056, and a subsequent investigation into the streams
of Hacienda San Esteban, then Secretary of Public Works and Communications, Florencio Moreno, rendered decisions
ordering the opening and restoration of the channel of the streams in question. Roman Santos filed a petition with the
CFI for injunction against the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, which petition was granted. The
Secretary, however, issued and served the decisions despite the existence of the preliminary injunction. Santos moved
to cite in contempt Secretary Florencio Moreno and Undersecretary M.D. Bautista and Julian Cargullo for issuing
and serving said decisions.
CASE: The trial court declared all streams under litigation private and the writ of preliminary injunction
permanent. The instant case is an appeal to the SC from the order issued in connection with Roman Santos motion
for contempt and from the decision of the lower court on the merits of the case.
ISSUE: WON the streams involved in this case belong to the public domain or to the owner of Hacienda San
Esteban according to law and the evidence submitted to the Department of Public Works and Communications
RESOLUTION: The streams, being artificial and devoted exclusively for the use of the hacienda owner and his
personnel, are declared of private ownership.
ARGUMENTS & HOLDING
On the issue of whether, under pertinent laws, the streams in question are public or private, the SC quoted Articles
339, 407 and 408 of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 as well as Art. 71 and 72 of the Spanish Law of Waters of August
3, 1866.
Said provisions provide that canals constructed by private persons within private lands and devoted

exclusively for private use must be of private ownership. With the exception of Sapang Cansusu, being a
natural stream and a continuation of the Cansusu River, all the streams in question were shown by evidence to be

artificial and devoted exclusively for the use of the hacienda owner and his personnel, and thus are declared of private
ownership.
STREAMS WHICH FORMERLY WERE MAN-MADE CANALS ARE OF PRIVATE OWNERSHIP. The evidence
adduced in the administrative proceedings show that the streams involved in this case, except one, were originally
man-made canals constructed by the former owners of Hacienda San Esteban and that said streams were not held
open for public use. Under Art. 339 of the old Civil Code, 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. Hence, the dams across them should not be ordered demolished as
public nuisances.
DAMMING OF NATURAL STREAM WHICH IS PART OR A RIVER ILLEGAL. 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.
The decision appealed from is affirmed, except as to Sapang Cansusu.

HILARIO vs. CITY OF MANILA


JOSE V. HILARIO, JR., plaintiff-appellant
vs.

THE CITY OF MANILA, defendant-appellee, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS, CITY ENGINEER OF


MANILA, FERNANDO BUSUEGO and EUGENIO SESE
G.R. No. L-19570 (1967)
Bengzon, J.
TOPIC. Ownership; Riverbanks: 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; xxx (Art. 420, par. 1, Civil Code,
emphasis supplied)
FACTS. Plaintiff Hilario inherited a parcel of land from his father. The said land is bounded on the western
side by the San Mateo River. In 1937, an extraordinary flood occurred inundating parts of the estate. As a result, the
river changed its course and meandered into the Hilario estate. In 1945, the US Army opened a sand and gravel plant
nearby and subsequently extended its operations to a strip of land between the new and the old riverbed sites. This
strip used to be part of the Hilario estate before the river changed its course. The US Army eventually turned over the
plant to defendants who took over its operations. Claiming ownership of this strip of land, plaintiff sued for damages
for the unauthorized use of sand and gravel in the area.
ISSUE. Whether plaintiff Hilario can claim ownership of the land
RESOLUTION. NO. Riverbanks are of public ownership.
ARGUMENTS & HOLDING
DEFENDANTS argued: The strip of land is now part of the riverbanks. By law, riverbanks are of public
ownership.
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PLAINTIFF claimed: Not all riverbanks are of public ownership. First, Art. 372 of the Old Civil Code speaks
only of new beds and NOT of new banks. Second, Art. 73 of the Law of Waters does not apply since the said provision
applies only to natural beds. Certainly, the river is NOT in its natural bed since it just meandered to current course.
Lastly, assuming that all riverbeds are of public ownership, Art. 73, which provides for ownership of riverbanks, will
never have any application.
THE COURT held unanimously: Ownership; Riverbanks. The Civil Code is clear. All rivers and all riverbanks
are of public ownership. There is no qualification as to whether the river or the riverbank is new.
Riverbanks; Definition. River consists of water, a bed and banks. This is a compound idea. For a river to exist, all
three parts must be present. However, to dispel all doubts, the Civil Code expressly stated that banks are of public
ownership.
Natural Riverbed; Definition. Natural is not synonymous to original. Contrary to plaintiffs arguments, even if a river
should leave its original bed, as long as it is due to the force of nature, the new course is still within the scope of the
said definition provided in the Law of Waters.
Private Ownership; Riverbanks; When Allowed. The Law of Waters of 1866 affirmed the public ownership of rivers.
Nowhere in the law does it allow private ownership of rivers. However, what it did was to recognize privately-owned
riverbanks pursuant to the Siete Partidas, and to encumber these to provide easement for public use.
Decision and orders appealed from are set aside and Defendants City of Manila and the Director of Public Works and
his agents and employees are absolved from liability. Property declared not part of the public domain and confirmed as
part of plaintiff's private property.

MARTINEZ vs. CA
ROMEO MARTINEZ and LEONOR SUAREZ, spouses, petitioners-appellants
vs.
HON.COURT OF APPEALS, SECRETARY and UNDERSECRETARY OF PUBLIC WORKS &
COMMUNICATIONS, respondents-appellees
G.R. No. L-31271 April 29, 1974
Esguerra, J.
TOPIC. Properties of Public Dominion
FACTS. Martinez and Suarez are registered owners of two parcels of land located in Lubao, Pampanga covered
by transfer certificate 15856 of the register of deeds. Both parcels of land are fishponds. The property involved in the
instant case is the second parcel.
Background:
The property was originally owned by Paulino Montemayor who secured a titulo real in 1883 which
was passed to his successors-in- interest, Maria and Donata Montemayor. They subsequently sold
the property to Potenciano Garcia. Garcia was prevented by Pedro Beltran, municipal president,
from restoring dikes constructed on the property. Garcia filed a civil case with the CFI against
Beltran to restrain Beltran in his official capacity from molesting Garcias property. Garcia also filed
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for a writ of preliminary injunction against Beltran. The CFI declared the injunction permanent and
on appeal, was affirmed by the Supreme Court. The dikes around the property remained closed.
Garcia applied for the registration of the property in his name and CFI-Pampanga, as land
registration court, granted the registration over and against the opposition of the Attorney-General
and Director of Forestry. The property was subsequently sold to Emilio Cruz and thereafter,
ownership was passed until they were bought Martinez and Suarez by virtue of a transfer certificate.
To avoid any untoward incident, Martinez and Suarez agreed to refer the matter to the Committee on Rivers and
Streams which appointed a sub-committee to investigate the case and to conduct an ocular inspection. The subcommittee found Parcel 2 was not a public river but a private fishpond. The municipal officers of Lubao, headed by
Mayor Mariano Zagad, refused to recognize the decision and so Martinez and Suarez instituted a civil case before
CFI-Pampanga against Zagad praying that Zagad be enjoined from molesting them in their possession of their
property and in construction of dikes. Writ of preliminary injunction against Zagad was granted. Zagad elevated the
injunction suit to the SC but was dismissed.
While the civil case was still pending, Honorable Florencio Moreno, Secretary of Public Works and Communications,
ordered another investigation on the property and directed Martinez and Suarez to remove the dikes they had
constructed on the strength of authority vested in him by RA 2056 entitled 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. If Martinez fails to take down the dikes within
30 days, the dikes will be demolished.
ISSUE. WON fishponds are public dominion and cannot be subject to a contract of sale.
RESOLUTION. Yes.
ARGUMENTS & HOLDING
MARTINEZ argued: The collateral attack on his title should not be tolerated because the indefeasibility of the
Torrens title and the previous ruling in favor of Garcia constitutes a bar to the present action under res judicata.
SC held: Property of public ownership are parts of the public domain intended for public use and are outside the
commerce of men and therefore, not subject to private appropriation. Jurisprudence provides that, a simple
possession of a certificate of title under the Torrens system does not necessary make the possessor a true owner of all
the property and that the incontestable and indefeasible character of a Torrens certificate of title does not operate
when the land covered thereby is not capable of registration. Hence, the defense of indefeasibility of the title of the
petitioners cannot be applied in this case.
The decision of the CFI can therefore be attacked collaterally any time by the State, for it 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. It is clear from the evidence submitted to the CFI (did not enumerate what evidence) proves that
the creek in lot is actually a river that is part of the public domain and that the lot itself is bounded practically on all
sides by rivers. Lot 2 is a branch of the main river that has been covered with water since time immemorial and
therefore part of the public domain. The lot being a part of public domain is NOT capable of private appropriation or
acquisition by prescription.
Judgment of CA is hereby affirmed.
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MUN. OF CAVITE v. ROJAS


THE MUNICIPALITY OF CAVITE, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
HILARIA ROJAS and her husband TIUNG SIUKO, alias SIWA, defendants-appellees
G.R. No. 9069 March 31, 1915
Torres, J.
TOPIC: Properties of Public Dominion Leases on properties classified as part of the public domain are null
and void as they are outside the commerce of man, and the thing leased (land belonging to public domain) cannot be
the object of the a contract
FACTS: The defendants, by virtue of a lease secured from the municipality of Cavite, occupied a parcel of land
in the area that forms part of the public plaza (Plaza Soledad) belonging to the municipality for payment of a fee.
Plaintiff municipality demanded that defendants vacate said land within 60 days, but defendants Rojas and Siuko
failed to do so.
The provincial fiscal filed a complaint alleging that the lease secured from the municipality is null and void, for the
said land is part of public domain and the municipal council of Cavite had no power to withdraw it from public use
and to lease it to a private party for its own use.
ISSUE: Whether or not the land belonged to public domain making the lease null and void.
RESOLUTION: Land formed and integral portion of Plaza Soledad, which is for public use and reserved for the
common benefit. The lease is null and void, and defendants are ordered to vacate. Municipality must return the rent
collected.
ARGUMENTS & HOLDING
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.
Article 1271, prescribes that everything which is not outside the commerce of man may be the object of a contract. The
supreme court of Spain in its decision 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.
Leases of Properties by Municipalities. A municipal council cannot sell or lease communal or public property, such as
plazas, streets, common lands, rivers, bridges, etc., because they are outside the commerce of man; and if it has done
so by leasing part of a plazas the lease is null and void, for it is contrary to the law, and the thing leased cannot be the
object of a contract. (Civil Code, arts. 344, 1271.)
Part of Plaza Soledad, being a promenade for public use, could not be leased for the sole benefit of the defendants, as
the municipal council had no authority to exclude it from public benefit.
Judgment appealed from reversed, and the land occupied by Hilaria Rojas declared as part of the public plaza called
Soledad, and lease of said parcel of land null and void. Rojas ordered to vacate and release the land within thirty
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days. No ground for the indemnity sought in the nature of damages, but municipality must restore to Rojas the rentals
collected.

INSULAR GOVERNMENT vs. ALDECOA

THE INSULAR GOVERNMENT, plaintiff appellee


vs.
ALDECOA AND COMPANY, defendant-appellant.
G.R. No. 6098, August 12, 1911
Torres, J.
TOPIC: Properties of Public Dominion
FACTS: Aldecoa & Co., operating a mercantile co-partnership company, has been occupying on two adjoining
parcels of land which during the extraordinary high tides is usually covered by sea water that would extend to the
other side of the said avenue at the ordinary low tides, and constructed on the land a wharf, located along the
railroad, and built warehouses of light material for the storage of coal since 1889. The Attorney-General, on April 20,
1907 filed a written complaint stating that the company has no title or right whatever to two adjoining parcels of land,
which belong to the domain of the Government of the United States and were placed under the administration and
control of the Government of these Islands.
ISSUE: Whether the parcels of land are public domain for purposes of public utility.
RESOLUTION: Yes. The land in question is of the public domain and belongs to the State, inasmuch as it is
partly shore land and in part, was such formerly, and now is land formed by the action of the sea.
ARGUMENTS & HOLDING
Aldecoa & Co: It had full and absolute dominion over the lands on account of their having begun to occupy it through
a verbal permit from the then politico-military governor of Surigao.
SC: No. The politico-military governor of Surigao had no authority or power to grant the possession or ownership of
the said two parcels of land therefore could not have authorized their occupancy under a title of ownership
Aldecoa & Co: The lands become an adjacent part of the shores through the accretions occasioned by the action of the
sea, when they are no longer covered by such waters, or are not necessary for the purposes of public utility, for the
establishment of special industries, or for the coast-guard service, hence, may be declared to be their property as
owner of the estates adjacent thereto.
SC: No. Aldecoa has not proven that it obtained for itself, such declaration of ownership, and competent permission or
authorization obtained from the Insular Government.
PUBLIC LANDS; SEASHORE LANDS; LAW OF WATERS. All lands thrown up by the sea and formed upon the
shore by the action of the water, together with the adjacent shore, belong to the national domain and are for public
uses, in accordance with the provisions of the Law of Waters of August 3, 1866 the sole law which governs in these
Islands, after laws 3 and 4, title 28, partida 3, in relation with the provisions of the Civil Code.
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Judgment appealed from fully affirmed.

VILLARICO v. COURT OF APPEALS


SPOUSES TEOFILO C. VILLARICO and MAXIMA A. FAUSTINO, petitioners
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and MARCOS CAMARGO,
respondents
G.R. No. 105912, 309 SCRA 193 (1999), Jun. 28, 1999
Purisima, J. affirming CA-G.R. CV No. 22608
TOPIC. Forest land is public domain; inalienable to private parties
FACTS. On May 31, 1977, an application for confirmation of title was filed by petitioners over a parcel of land
situated in Meycauayan, Bulacan. The application was opposed by Marcos Camargo who claimed to be the real owner
thereof. The government also interposed an opposition, averring that the land in question is part of the public
domain. The trial court of origin dismissed the case. According to the trial court, the petitioners had not presented
any Certification from the Bureau of Forestry attesting to the fact that the subject property is no longer within the
unclassified region of Meycauayan, Bulacan. The Court of Appeals affirmed said dismissal. Hence, this petition.
Spouses Teofilo and Maxima Villarico (SV) filed confirmation of land title over 1,834 sq.m. land in Bulacan at CFI
(May 1977). Marcos Camargo (private respondent) claims to be the real owner. Government interposed opposition.
CFI dismissed case (May 1989), stating that title is void since it covers property of public domain. Appealed to CA. CA
affirmed CFI (June 1992). Thus: current petition for certiorari.
ISSUE. Whether said land forms part of the public domain
RESOLUTION. Land in question is part of public domain. Affirmed.
ARGUMENTS & HOLDING
SV claimed: SV are the absolute owners of subject property, having bought the same; that they have been in
actual, open, adverse and continuous possession thereof for more than 30 years, that they are not aware of any
mortgage or encumbrance thereon nor of any person having an estate or interest therein, and that the land involved is
not within the forest zone or government reservation.
Government argued through the Director of Forestry (DOF): The land in question is part of the public domain,
within the unclassified area in Meycauayan, Bulacan per LC Map No. 637 (1927) of the Bureau of Forest Management
and consequently, not available for private appropriation.
THE COURT held: Area in question is unclassified forest zone incapable of private appropriation. There has
been no showing that a declassification has been made by the DOF declaring the land in question as disposable or
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alienable.
LAND TITLES AND DEEDS; PUBLIC LAND ACT; FOREST LAND; POSSESSION THEREOF, NO
MATTER HOW LONG, DOES NOTRIPEN INTO REGISTRABLE TITLE. Forest lands cannot be owned by private
persons. Possession thereof, no matter how long, does not ripen into a registerable title. The adverse possession,
which may be the basis of a grant of title or confirmation of an imperfect title, refers only to alienable or disposable
portions of the public domain.
Petition denied.

MIAA vs. CA
MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY, petitioner
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, CITY OF PARAAQUE, CITY MAYOR OF PARAAQUE, SANGGUNIANG
PANGLUNGSOD NG PARAAQUE, CITY ASSESSOR OF PARAAQUE, and CITY TREASURER OF
PARAAQUE, respondents

April 02, 2009 G.R. No. 163072


Carpio, J.
TOPIC: Real properties owned by the Republic of the Philippines are exempt from real estate tax.
FACTS: Petitioner Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) operates and administers the Ninoy
Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Complex under Executive Order No. 903 (EO 903),3 otherwise known as the
Revised Charter of the Manila International Airport Authority, issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The
NAIA Complex is located along the border between Pasay City and Paraaque City. MIAA received Final Notices of
Real Property Tax Delinquency from the City of Pasay for the taxable years 1992 to 2001. The Court of Appeals
upheld the power of the City of Pasay to impose and collect realty taxes on the NAIA Pasay properties. MIAA filed a
motion for reconsideration, which the Court of Appeals denied.
ISSUE: WON the NAIA Pasay properties of MIAA are exempt from real property tax.
RULING: Yes. NAIA Properties are exempt from real property tax.
ARGUMENTS & HOLDING
The Supreme Court held that the Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA are properties devoted to public use and thus
are properties of public dominion. Properties of public dominion are owned by the State or the Republic.
8

Article 420 of the Civil Code provides:


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.
The term ports x x x constructed by the State includes airports and seaports. The Airport Lands and Buildings of
MIAA are intended for public use, and at the very least intended for public service. Whether intended for public use
or public service, the Airport Lands and Buildings are properties of public dominion. As properties of public
dominion, the Airport Lands and Buildings are owned by the Republic and thus exempt from real estate tax under
Section 234(a) of the Local Government Code.
Petition granted. CA decision set aside. Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA declared EXEMPT from the real estate
tax imposed by Paraaque. All real estate tax assessments, including final notices of real estate tax delinquencies,
issued by Paraaque on the Airport Lands and Buildings MIAA, except for the portions that MIAA has leased to
private parties, VOID. The assailed auction sale, and all its effects, of the Airport Lands and Buildings MIAA declared
VOID.

APEX MINING vs. SOUTHEAST MINDANAO GOLD MINING CORP.


APEX MINING CO., INC., petitioner
vs.
SOUTHEAST MINDANAO GOLD MINING CORP., THE MINES ADJUDICATION BOARD, PROVINCIAL
MINING REGULATORY BOARD (PMRB-DAVAO), MONKAYO INTEGRATED SMALL SCALE MINERS

ASSOCIATION, INC., ROSENDO VILLAFLOR, BALITE COMMUNAL PORTAL MINING COOPERATIVE,


DAVAO UNITED MINERS COOPERATIVE, ANTONIO DACUDAO, PUTING-BATO GOLD MINERS

COOPERATIVE, ROMEO ALTAMERA, THELMA CATAPANG, LUIS GALANG, RENATO BASMILLO,


FRANCISCO YOBIDO, EDUARDO GLORIA, EDWIN ASION, MACARIO HERNANDEZ, REYNALDO

CARUBIO, ROBERTO BUNIALES, RUDY ESPORTONO, ROMEO CASTILLO, JOSE REA, GIL GANADO,
PRIMITIVA LICAYAN, LETICIA ALQUEZA AND JOEL BRILLANTES MANAGEMENT MINING
CORPORATION, respondents

G.R. Nos. 152613 & 152628, G.R. No. 152619-20 November 20, 2009
Chico-Nazario, J.

TOPIC. Lands of public domain and mineral deposits owned by the State
FACTS. Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corporation (SEM) assails SC Decision dated June 23, 2006, which
held that the assignment of Exploration Permit 133 (EP 133) in favor of SEM violated one of the conditions stipulated
in the permit (that the same be for the exclusive use and benefit of Marcopper Mining Corp. (MMC) or its agents).
ASSAILED DECISION says that Proclamation No. 297, which declares the disputed area (Diwalwal Gold Rush Area)
as mineral reservation, and Sec. 5 of RA 7942 (Mining Act of 1995), which states that mining operations in mineral
reservations may be undertaken directly by the State or via a contractor, overtake the issue of priority right over
Diwalwal between Apex and SEM. It is now within the prerogative of the Exec. Dept. to undertake directly the mining
operations of Diwalwal or award operations to private entities.
ISSUE. WON SEM acquired a vested right over the disputed area, which constitutes a property right
protected by the Constitution. WON Proclamation No. 297 and RA 7942 outweigh the claims of the parties
RESOLUTION. All motions denied. Neither MMC nor SEM has any right over Diwalwal. Mining operations
in the Diwalwal Mineral Reservation are now, therefore, within the full control of the State through the Executive
Branch.
ARGUMENTS AND HOLDING
PETITIONER: insists that a mining right is a vested property right that not even the government can take
away.
SC: No. Without the imprimatur of the State, any mining aspirant does not have any definitive right over the
mineral land because, unlike a private landholding, mineral land is owned by the State, and the same cannot be
alienated to any private person as explicitly stated in Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.
The right acquired by SEM through the EP was limited to exploration. Furthermore, the assignment was done in
violation of a condition stipulated in the permit and was therefore effected in contravention of the governing mining
law at the time and the permit expired on July 6, 1994. Hence, SEM has no right over the area.
Even assuming arguendo that SEM obtained such rights attached in the EP, said rights cannot be considered as
property rights protected by the Constitution. An exploration permit is nothing more than a mere right accorded to its
holder to be given priority in the government's consideration in the granting of the right to develop and utilize the
minerals over the area. An exploration permit is merely inchoate, in that the holder still has to comply with the terms
and conditions embodied in the permit (PD No. 463).
More importantly, assuming arguendo that SEM has a valid exploration permit, it cannot assert any mining right
over the disputed area, since the State has taken over the mining operations therein, pursuant to Proclamation No.
297. The exercise of such power through Proclamation No. 297 is in accord with jura regalia (Regalian doctrine),
where the State exercises its sovereign power as owner of lands of the public domain and the mineral deposits found
within.
SANCHEZ v. MUNICIPALITY OF ASINGAN
EDUARDO SANCHEZ, GREGORIO NUEZ, SULPICIO BANAAG, LINO BASA, petitioners-appellants
vs.
MUNICIPALITY OF ASINGAN, Province of Pangasinan, respondent-appellee
10

G.R. No. L-17635 March 30, 1963


Esguerra, J.
TOPIC. Properties of Public Dominion (Art. 420); Properties for Public Use (Art. 424)
FACTS. Petitioners own temporary stores built on a triangular piece of land owned by the Municipality of
Asingan (MA). Petitioners were asked to vacate by the new administration of the said municipality, since the land will
be used for public purposes, the petitioners filed a petition for prohibition to prevent the municipality from evicting
them, or alternatively, to receive reimbursement for their rent.
ISSUE. WON petitioners are entitled to the return of rentals paid for public land.
RESOLUTION. NO. Petitioners are not entitled to the return of rentals paid for public land.
ARGUMENTS & HOLDING
PETITIONERS argued: The land belongs to the Province of Panganisan and therefore MA has no right to order their
ejectment. Petitioners have the right to be reimbursed in case they should be ejected, as ruled in the case of Rojas vs.
Municipality of Cavite, 30 Phil. 607 (R v. C), where this Court, after declaring null and void the lease of a public plaza
belonging to the said municipality and ordering the lessee to vacate the same, ordered the municipality reimburse the
rentals collected.
THE COURT held: Ownership of the land by MA is a factual conclusion of the court a quo that is no longer open to
review in the present appeal. The land in R v. C was clearly devoted for public use, and therefore outside the
commerce of man, and could not have been the object of a valid contract (void). In contrast, the land in the instant
case is not of public dominion, but patrimonial in character, since it is not included in categories of municipal
properties for public use, as enumerated in Art. 424 of the Civil Code. The implied lease agreement is not void, though
it is terminable at the municipalitys option. Petitioners would be unduly enriched if they were to be reimbursed, since
they occupied and derived benefit from the land.
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS; LEASE OF PATRIMONIAL PROPERTY; REIMBURSEMENT OF RENTS. The
implied agreement of lease of land not included in any of the categories of municipal properties for public use, is not
null and void, although terminable upon notice. That being so, there is no ground on which reimbursement of the
rents may be ordered.
LEASE OF LAND DEVOTED TO PUBLIC USE; RIGHT OF LESSEE TO REIMBURSEMENT OF RENTS; CASE
ATBAR. Even granting that the land in question is for public use and therefore the appellee municipality could not
legally lease it to private parties, there is no justification for the stand maintained by appellants that after having
occupied said land and derived benefits therefrom they should still be entitled to recover what they have said paid as
a condition for their ejectment. That would be to enrich them unduly to the prejudice of the municipality.
Judgment appealed from is affirmed.

11

CEBU OXYGEN AND ACETYLYNE CO INC. vs. BERCILLES


CEBU OXYGEN & ACETYLENE CO., INC., petitioner
vs.
HON. PASCUAL A. BERCILLES, Presiding Judge, Branch XV, 14th Judicial District, and JOSE L.
ESPELETA, Assistant Provincial Fiscal, Province of Cebu, representing the Solicitor General's Office and
the Bureau of Lands, respondents
G.R. No. L-40474. August 29, 1975
Concepcion, Jr., J.
TOPIC. PATRIMONIAL PROPERTY. Under Article 422 of the Civil Code, property of public dominion, when
no longer intended for public service, shall form part of the patrimonial property of the State.
FACTS. Petitioner applied for registration of title over a portion of M. Gorces Street in Cebu City. Said portion
was declared an abandoned road by the City Council of Cebu the same not being included in the Cebu Development
Plan, and later, by authority of the City Council, was sold by the Acting Mayor to petitioner who was the highest
bidder at a public bidding. The trial court dismissed petitioner's application on motion of the Assistant Provincial
Fiscal on the ground that the property sought to be registered being a public road intended of public use is considered
part of the public domain and therefore outside the commerce of men. On petition for review, the Supreme Court set
aside the trial court's order the directed the latter to proceed with the hearing of petition's application for registration
of title.
Subject property: a parcel of land in M. Borces Street, Mabolo, Cebu City
City Council of Cebu enacted the ff:
September 23, 1968 (Resolution No. 2193): Declared the terminal portion of M. Borces Street, Mabolo, Cebu
City, as an abandoned road, the same not being included in the City Development Plan
December 19, 1968 (Resolution No. 2755): Authorized the Acting City Mayor to sell the land through a public
bidding which was won by Cebu Oxygen
March 3, 1969: A Deed of Absolute Sale was issued by the City Mayor in favor of Cebu Oxygen
Petitioner filed an application with CFI Cebu to have its title to the land registered but was DISMISSED. Hence, the
instant petition for review of the order of CFI Cebu dismissing application for registration of title
ISSUE. WON the City of Cebu has the power to declare the road as abandoned making said road a
patrimonial property which may be the object of a common contract.
RESOLUTION. PETITION GRANTED. Respondent court is ordered to proceed with the hearing of the
petitioner's application for registration of title.

12

ARGUMENTS & HOLDING


RESPONDENT, ASSISTANT PROVINCIAL FISCAL OF CEBU argued: the property sought to be registered being a
public road intended for public use is considered part of the public domain and therefore outside the commerce of
man. Thus, cannot be subject to registration by any private individual.
THE COURT held: Yes. The City of Cebu is empowered to close a city road or street by virtue of the unequivocal
provisions in the Revised City Charter of Cebu which states that "Property thus withdrawn from public servitude
may be used or conveyed for any purpose for which other real property belonging to the City may be lawfully used or
conveyed." Since the subject property was withdrawn from public use, it follows that such withdrawn portion becomes
patrimonial property which can be the object of an ordinary contract. (Art. 422, NCC).
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS; STREETS; POWER OF MUNICIPAL COUNCIL TO WITHDRAW PORTION OF
STREET FROM PUBLIC USE. Where a portion of the city street is withdrawn from public use by the city council,
which under the city charter is empowered to close any city road, street or alley, boulevard, avenue, park or square,
the property thus withdraw from public servitude become patrimonial property and be used or conveyed for any
purpose for which any real property belonging to the city may be lawfully used or conveyed.
PROPERTY; PROPERTY OF PUBLIC DOMAIN MAY BE CONVERTED INTO PATRIMONIAL PROPERTY. Under
Article 422 of the Civil Code, "property of public dominion, when no longer intended for public service, shall form part
of the patrimonial property of the State.
Petitioners application for registration of title ordered for hearing. Decision assailed set aside. Withdrawal of the
property in question from public use and its subsequent sale to the petitioner is valid.

CHAVEZ vs. NHA


FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner
vs.
NATIONAL HOUSING, AUTHORITY, R-II BUILDERS, INC., R-II HOLDINGS, INC., HARBOUR CENTRE
PORTTERMINAL, INC., and MR. REGHIS ROMERO II, respondents
G.R. No.16452
Velasco, J.
TOPIC. There must be a law or presidential proclamation officially classifying these reclaimed lands as
alienable or disposable and open to disposition or concession.
FACTS. Petitioner Francisco Chavez in his capacity as taxpayer seeks to declare null and void the Joint
Venture Agreement (JVA) between the NHA and R-II Builders Inc (RBI) for being unconstitutional and invalid, and
to enjoin respondents particularly respondent NHA from implementing and/or enforcing the said project and
other agreements related thereto. On March 1, 1988, then President Corazon C. Aquino issued Memorandum Order
No. 161 (MO 161) approving and directing the implementation of the Comprehensive and Integrated Metropolitan
Manila Waste Management Plan. Specifically, respondent NHA was ordered to conduct feasibility studies and
develop low-cost housing projects at the dumpsite and absorb scavengers in NHA resettlement/low-cost housing
projects.
Pursuant to MO 161-A, NHA prepared the feasibility studies which resulted in the formulation of the Smokey
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Mountain Development Plan and Reclamation of the Area Across R-10 or the Smokey Mountain Development and
Reclamation Project (SMDRP). SMDRP aimed to convert the Smokey Mountain dumpsite into a habitable housing
project, inclusive of the reclamation of the area across R-10, adjacent to the Smokey Mountain as the enabling
component of the project. Once finalized, the Plan was submitted to President Aquino for her approval.
On January 17, 1992, President Aquino proclaimed MO 415, approving and directing the implementation of the
SMDRP through a private sector joint venture. Said MO stipulated that the land area covered by the Smokey
Mountain dumpsite is conveyed to the NHA as well as the area to be reclaimed across R-10. In the same MO 415,
President Aquino created an Executive Committee (EXECOM) to oversee the implementation of the Plan and an
inter-agency technical committee (TECHCOM) was created composed of the technical representatives of the
EXECOM. Based on the evaluation of the pre-qualification documents, the EXECOM declared the New San Jose
Builders, Inc. and RBI as top two contractors. Thereafter, TECHCOM submitted its recommendation to the EXECOM
to approve the RBI proposal which garnered the highest score.
On October 7, 1992, President Ramos authorized NHA to enter into a JVA with RBI. Afterwards, President Ramos
issued Proclamation No. 465 increasing the proposed area for reclamation across R-10 from 40 hectares to 79
hectares. On September 1, 1994, pursuant to Proclamation No. 39, the DENR issued Special Patent No. 3591
conveying in favor of NHA an area of 211,975 square meters covering the Smokey Mountain Dumpsite. The land
reclamation was completed in August 1996. Sometime later in 1996, pursuant likewise to Proclamation No. 39, the
DENR issued Special Patent No. 3598 conveying in favor of NHA an additional 390,000 square meter area. After some
time, the JVA was terminated. RBI demanded the payment of just compensation for all accomplishments and costs
incurred in developing the SMDRP plus a reasonable rate of return. In a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) executed
by NHA and RBI, both parties agreed to terminate the JVA and other subsequent agreements, which stipulated,
among others, that unpaid balance may be paid in cash, bonds or through the conveyance of properties or any
combination thereof.
ISSUES:
1. WON RBI can acquire reclaimed foreshore and submerged land areas because they are allegedly
inalienable lands of the public domain.
2. WON RBI can acquire reclaimed lands when there was no declaration that said lands are no
longer needed for public use.
3. WON RBI, being a private corporation, is barred from the Constitution to acquire lands of the
public domain.
ARGUMENTS & HOLDING
1. YES. The reclaimed lands across R-10 were classified alienable and disposable lands of public domain of the State.
First, there were three presidential proclamations classifying the reclaimed lands across R-10 as alienable or
disposable hence open to disposition or concession. These were MO 415 issued by President Aquino, Proclamation No.
39 and Proclamation No. 465 both issued by President Ramos. Secondly, Special Patents Nos. 3591, 3592, and 3598
issued by the DENR classified the reclaimed areas as alienable and disposable.
Admittedly, it cannot be said that MO 415, Proclamations Nos. 39 and 465 are explicit declarations that the lands to
be reclaimed are classified as alienable and disposable. We find however that such conclusion is derived and implicit
from the authority given to the NHA to transfer the reclaimed lands to qualified beneficiaries. In line with the ruling
in Chavez v. PEA, the court held that MO 415 and Proclamations Nos. 39 and 465 cumulatively and jointly taken
together with Special Patent Nos. 3591, 3592, and 3598 more than satisfy the requirement in PEA that [t]here must
be a law or presidential proclamation officially classifying these reclaimed lands as alienable or disposable and open
to disposition or concession.
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2. YES. Even if it is conceded that there was no explicit declaration that the lands are no longer needed for public use
or public service, there was however an implicit executive declaration that the reclaimed areas R-10 are not necessary
anymore for public use or public service. President Aquino through MO 415 conveyed the same to the NHA partly for
housing project and related commercial/industrial development intended for disposition to and enjoyment of certain
beneficiaries and not the public in general and partly as enabling component to finance the project. Also, President
Ramos, in issuing Proclamation No. 39, declared, though indirectly, that the reclaimed lands of the Smokey Mountain
project are no longer required for public use or service. In addition, President Ramos issued Proclamation No. 465
increasing the area to be reclaimed from forty (40) hectares to seventy-nine (79) hectares, elucidating that said lands
are undoubtedly set aside for the beneficiaries of SMDRP and not the public. MO 415 and Proclamations Nos. 39 and
465 are declarations that proclaimed the non-use of the reclaimed areas for public use or service as the SMDRP
cannot be successfully implemented without the withdrawal of said lands from public use or service.
3. YES. When Proclamations Nos. 39 and 465 were issued, inalienable lands covered by said proclamations were
converted to alienable and disposable lands of public domain. When the titles to the reclaimed lands were transferred
to the NHA, said alienable and disposable lands of public domain were automatically classified as lands of the private
domain or patrimonial properties of the State because the NHA is an agency NOT tasked to dispose of alienable or
disposable lands of public domain. The only way it can transfer the reclaimed land in conjunction with its projects and
to attain its goals is when it is automatically converted to patrimonial properties of the State. Being patrimonial or
private properties of the State, then it has the power to sell the same to any qualified personunder the Constitution,
Filipino citizens as private corporations, 60% of which is owned by Filipino citizens like RBI.
Petition partially granted, and prayer for a writ of prohibition is DENIED for lack of merit. The prayer for a writ of
mandamus is GRANTED. NHA is ordered to allow access to petitioner to all public documents and official records
relative to the SMDRP including, but not limited to, the March 19, 1993 JVA between the NHA and RBI and
subsequent agreements related to the JVA, the revisions over the original plan, and the additional works incurred on
and the transactions made with respect to the Project.

CHAVEZ vs. PEA-AMARI


FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner
vs.
PUBLIC ESTATES AUTHORITY and AMARI COASTAL BAY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,
respondents
G.R. No. 133250. November 11, 2003
15

Carpio, J.
TOPIC: Reclaimed lands are no longer foreshore or submerged lands and thus may qualify as alienable
agricultural lands.
FACTS: The Supreme Court denied with finality respondents' motions for reconsideration seeking to
legitimize a government contract that conveyed to Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation without public
bidding 157.84 hectares of reclaimed public lands along Roxas Boulevard in Metro Manila, ruling that any sale of
submerged or foreshore lands is void being contrary to the Constitution. Submerged lands, like the waters (sea or bay)
above them, are property of the public dominion, absolutely inalienable and outside the commerce of man under Sec.
2, Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution.
The ruling of the Court in the Ponce cases cannot serve as an authority for a private corporation like Amari to acquire
submerged lands or reclaimed submerged lands within Manila Bay under an amended joint venture. In said Ponce
cases, the Cebu City ordinance merely granted Essel, Inc. an "irrevocable option" to purchase foreshore lands after
the reclamation. The option to purchase referred to reclaimed lands, and not to foreshore lands which are inalienable.
Reclaimed lands are no longer foreshore or submerged lands, and thus may qualify as alienable agricultural lands of
the public domain provided the requirements of public land laws are met.
In the instant case, public respondent Public Estates Authority (PEA) immediately transferred its rights and
ownership over the subject area, 78% of which is still submerged, to the joint venture which is 70% owned by Amari.
These still submerged lands are inalienable and outside the commerce of man. The Supreme Court also ruled that
under the Government Auditing Code, government land should not be sold without public bidding; and that under the
present Constitution, a private corporation like Amari is prohibited from acquiring alienable lands of the public
domain
Case: In 1973, the Comissioner on Public Highways entered into a contract to reclaim areas of Manila Bay with the
Construction and Development Corportion of the Philippines (CDCP).
PEA (Public Estates Authority) was created by President Marcos under P.D. 1084, tasked with developing and leasing
reclaimed lands. These lands were transferred to the care of PEA under P.D. 1085 as part of the Manila Cavite Road
and Reclamation Project (MCRRP). CDCP and PEA entered into an agreement that all future projects under the
MCRRP would be funded and owned by PEA.
By 1988, President Aquino issued Special Patent No. 3517 transferring lands to PEA. It was followed by the transfer
of three Titles (7309, 7311 and 7312) by the Register of Deeds of Paranaque to PEA covering the three reclaimed
islands known as the FREEDOM ISLANDS.
Subsquently, PEA entered into a joint venture agreement (JVA) with AMARI, a Thai-Philippine corporation to
develop the Freedom Islands. Along with another 250 hectares, PEA and AMARI entered the JVA which would later
transfer said lands to AMARI. This caused a stir especially when Sen. Maceda assailed the agreement, claiming that
such lands were part of public domain (famously known as the mother of all scams).
Petitioner Frank J. Chavez filed case as a taxpayer praying for mandamus, a writ of preliminary injunction and a
TRO against the sale of reclaimed lands by PEA to AMARI and from implementing the JVA. Following these events,
under President Estradas admin, PEA and AMARI entered into an Amended JVA and Mr. Chaves claim that the
contract is null and void.
ISSUES:
1. WON the transfer to AMARI lands reclaimed or to be reclaimed as part of the stipulations in the
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(Amended) JVA between AMARI and PEA violate Sec. 3 Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution
2. WON the court is the proper forum for raising the issue of whether the amended joint venture agreement is
grossly disadvantageous to the government.
ARGUMENTS & HOLDING
On the issue of Amended JVA as violating the constitution:
1. The 157.84 hectares of reclaimed lands comprising the Freedom Islands, now covered by certificates of title in the
name of PEA, are alienable lands of the public domain. PEA may lease these lands to private corporations but may
not sell or transfer ownership of these lands to private corporations. PEA may only sell these lands to Philippine
citizens, subject to the ownership limitations in the 1987 Constitution and existing laws.
2. The 592.15 hectares of submerged areas of Manila Bay remain inalienable natural resources of the public domain
until classified as alienable or disposable lands open to disposition and declared no longer needed for public service.
The government can make such classification and declaration only after PEA has reclaimed these submerged areas.
Only then can these lands qualify as agricultural lands of the public domain, which are the only natural resources the
government can alienate. In their present state, the 592.15 hectares of submerged areas are inalienable and outside
the commerce of man.
3. Since the Amended JVA seeks to transfer to AMARI, a private corporation, ownership of 77.34 hectares110 of the
Freedom Islands, such transfer is void for being contrary to Section 3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which
prohibits private corporations from acquiring any kind of alienable land of the public domain.
4. Since the Amended JVA also seeks to transfer to AMARI ownership of 290.156 hectares111 of still submerged areas
of Manila Bay, such transfer is void for being contrary to Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which
prohibits the alienation of natural resources other than agricultural lands of the public domain.
PEA may reclaim these submerged areas. Thereafter, the government can classify the reclaimed lands as alienable or
disposable, and further declare them no longer needed for public service. Still, the transfer of such reclaimed
alienable lands of the public domain to AMARI will be void in view of Section 3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution
which prohibits private corporations from acquiring any kind of alienable land of the public domain.
REGALIAN DOCTRINE; SUBMERGED LANDS ARE PROPERTY OF THE STATE AND ARE INALIENABLE.
Submerged lands are owned by the State and are inalienable. [Pursuant to] Article XII of the 1987 Constitution:
Submerged lands, like the waters (sea or bay) above them, are part of the State's inalienable natural resources.
Submerged lands are property of public dominion, absolutely inalienable and outside' the commerce of man. This is
also true with respect to foreshore lands. Any sale of submerged or foreshore lands is void being contrary to the
Constitution.
RECLAIMED LANDS ARE NO LONGER FORESHORE OR SUBMERGED LANDS AND THUS MAY QUALIFY AS
ALIENABLE AGRICULTURAL LANDS; COURT RULING IN PONCE CASES NOT APPLICABLE TO CASE
ATBAR. This is why [in the Ponce Cases], the Cebu City ordinance merely granted Essel, Inc. an "irrevocable option"
to purchase the foreshore lands after the reclamation and did not actually sell to Essel, Inc. the still to be reclaimed
foreshore lands. Clearly, in the Ponce Cases the option to purchase referred to reclaimed lands, and not to foreshore
lands which are inalienable. Reclaimed lands are no longer foreshore or submerged lands, and thus may qualify as
alienable agricultural lands of the public domain provided the requirements of public land laws are met. In the
instant case, the bulk of the lands subject of the Amended JVA are still submerged lands even to this very day, and
therefore inalienable and outside the commerce of man. Of the 750 hectares subject of the Amended JVA, 592.15
17

hectares or 78% of the total area are still submerged, permanently under the waters of Manila Bay. Under
the Amended JVA, the PEA conveyed to Amari the submerged lands even before their actual reclamation, although
the documentation of the deed of transfer and issuance of the certificates of title would be made only after actual
reclamation.
PRIVATE CORPORATIONS ARE BARRED FROM ACQUIRING ALIENABLE LANDS OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN;
CASE ATBAR. Finally, the Ponce Cases were decided under the 1935 Constitution which allowed private corporations
to acquire alienable lands of the public domain. However, the 1973 Constitution prohibited private corporations from
acquiring alienable lands of the public domain, and the 1987 Constitution reiterated this prohibition. Obviously, the
Ponce Cases cannot serve as authority for a private corporation to acquire alienable public lands, much less
submerged lands, since under the present Constitution a private corporation like Amari is barred from acquiring
alienable lands of the public domain.

DACANAY vs. ASSISTIO


FRANCISCO U. DACANAY, petitioner
vs.
MAYOR MACARIO ASISTIO, JR., CITY ENGR. LUCIANO SARNE, JR. of Kalookan City, Metro Manila,
MILA PASTRANA AND/OR RODOLFO TEOFE, STALLHOLDERS AND REPRESENTING COSTALLHOLDERS, respondents
G.R. No. 93654 May 6, 1992
Grio-Aquino, J.
TOPIC: Public property, being outside the commerce of man, may not be bargained away through contract.
FACTS: This is a petition for mandamus to the non-action of the city government of Caloocan in accordance
with the decision of the RTC to evict the occupants of a flea market located in the streets of Caloocan.
January 5, 1979 Metropolitan Manila Commission enacted an ordinance allowing the use of streets for the purpose
of flea markets subject to several conditions.
1987 Mayor Martinez caused the demolition of the flea markets and the stall-owners filed a case against such action.
RTC dismissed the case on the ground that the streets in questions (Heros del '96, Gozon and Gonzales) are of public
dominion, hence outside the commerce of man.
After the decision came out, there was a change in the city administration and current mayor (Asistio) did not pursue
the action of the previous mayor and left the flea markets in the streets as is. Dacanay, being a resident of Heroes del
'96 filed a petition for mandamus to remove the stalls in their street.
ISSUE: WON public streets be leased or licensed to market stallholders by virtue of a city ordinance or
resolution of Metropolitan Manila Commission.
RESOLUTION: NO. A public street is property for public use hence outside the commerce of man. Being
outside the commerce of man, it may not be the subject of lease or other contract. The vested right of the public to use
city streets for the purpose they were intended to serve such as for traveling. Any executive order or city resolution
cannot change the nature of the public street because it is going to be contrary to the general law
18

ARGUMENTS & HOLDING


PROPERTY; PUBLIC PROPERTY; BEING OUTSIDE THE COMMERCE OF MAN, MAY NOT BE BARGAINED
AWAY THROUGH CONTRACT. There is no doubt that the disputed areas from which the private respondents'
market stalls are sought to be evicted are public streets, as found by the trial court in Civil Case No. C-12921. A
public street is property for public use hence outside the commerce of man (Arts. 420, 424, Civil Code). Being outside
the commerce of man, it may not be the subject of lease or other contract (Villanueva, et al. vs. Castaeda and
Macalino, 15 SCRA 142, citing the Municipality of Cavite vs. Rojas, 30 SCRA 602; Espiritu vs. Municipal Council of
Pozorrubio, 102 Phil. 869; and Muyot vs. De la Fuente, 48 O.G. 4860). As the stallholders pay fees to the City
Government for the right to occupy portions of the public street, the City Government, contrary to law, has been
leasing portions of the streets to them. Such leases or licenses are null and void for being contrary to law. The right of
the public to use the city streets may not be bargained away through contract. The interests of a few should not
prevail over the good of the greater number in the community whose health, peace, safety, good order and general
welfare, the respondent city officials are under legal obligation to protect.
VESTED RIGHT OF THE PUBLIC TO USE THEREOF, CAN NOT BE INFRINGED THROUGH LOCAL
EXECUTIVE'S ORDER. The Executive Order issued by Acting Mayor Robles authorizing the use of Heroes del '96
Street as a vending area for stallholders who were granted licenses by the city government contravenes the general
law that reserves city streets and roads for public use. Mayor Robles' Executive Order may not infringe upon the
vested right of the public to use city streets for the purpose they were intended to serve: i.e., as arteries of travel for
vehicles and pedestrians. As early as 1989, the public respondents had started to look for feasible alternative sites for
flea markets. They have had more than ample time to relocate the street vendors.
Heroes del '96, V. Gozon, and Gonzales Streets are declared public streets for public use, and respondents City Mayor
and City Engineer of Caloocan City or their successors in office are ordered to remove or demolish, or cause to be
removed or demolished, the market stalls occupying said city streets with utmost dispatch within thirty (30) days.
RP vs. IAC and RAMA
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (Bureau of Forest Development), petitioner
vs.

INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT(First Civil Cases Division) and HILARIO P. RAMA, respondents
G.R. 69138 (1992)
Gutierrez, Sr., J.
TOPIC. Forest lands cannot be subjected to registration. Any title issued thereto is void ab initio, and
reimbursement for necessary expenses with right of retention only given to buyers in good faith. (Public land Act
(Commonwealth Act 41).
FACTS. Hilario Rama filed a complaint of recovery of possession of 2 parcels of land against Anselmo
Logronio, the OIC of the Bohol Registration project who bulldozed, occupied and planted trees on said parcels of land.
Rama previously applied and was issued an original torrens title in his name for the said lots despite of the lots being
forest lands and are therefore inalienable. CFI Bohol declared null and void the Certificate of Titles and Rama was
ordered to vacate the same upon being reimbursed for 9,000 as necessary expenses with rights of retention over the
first lot and none for the second lot. RA appealed insofar as it was ordered to reimburse Rama. CA modified judgment
by adding that Rama be given retention rights over the second lot.
ISSUE. WON it is proper for the courts to award necessary expenses with right of retention over the 2 parcels
19

of land in favor of Rama on the ground of being a possessor in good faith.


RESOLUTION. NO. Rama is in bad faith. Reimbursements and rights of retention deleted.
ARGUMENTS & HOLDING
CA held: Rama is entitled to payment of necessary expenses citing Dizon v. Rodriguez (1965).
RAMA argued: The parcels of land are titled under his name making RP guilty of estoppel for having caused the
issuance of said titles.
THE COURT held: State cannot be put in estoppel by the mistakes or errors of its officials or agents. The titles are
void ab initio and cannot ripen into private ownership. Good faith entitles the possessors to necessary expenses with
right of retention until reimbursement. (Dizon Case) Good faith is negated if claimant actively pursued the titling of
the land. Unlike the Dizon case where the occupants were protected by the principle that an innocent buyer of a
registered land may rely on the torrens title of the seller, Rama was the one who applied for a patent title showing
recognition on his part that said lots are of public domain. It was through his representations that the lots were titled
in his name; thus, negating good faith on Ramas part.
PUBLIC LAND ACT; FOREST LAND; CAN NOT BE SUBJECT TO REGISTRATION. Considering that the subject
parcel of land is forest land, the patent and original certificate of title covering the subject parcel issued to Rama did
not confer any validity to his possession or claim of ownership. The titles issued thereto are void ab initio.
Petition GRANTED. IAC (now CA) decision to pay private respondent Hilario P. Rama the necessary expenses incurred
by him, with right of retention over the two (2) parcels of land adjudged as forest lands until reimbursed of the
necessary expenses, set aside. CFI Bohol (now RTC Bohol) decision is MODIFIED in that the portion of the decision
which ordered petitioner Republic to pay private respondent Hilario P. Rama necessary expenses with right of retention
in parcel number one described in the complaint is DELETED. In all other respects, the questioned decision and
resolution are AFFIRMED.

20