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THIRD DIVISION Subsequently, Du spouses' TCT No. T-45587 was was issued.

y, Du spouses' TCT No. T-45587 was was issued. The subdivision of the forestal zone at the time of the grant of the said patent."
[G.R. No. 150824. February 4, 2008.] cancelled and was replaced by TCT No. T-57348 lot covered by OCT P-2823 into 4 33 It explained:
LAND BANK OF THE registered in the name of Lourdes Farms, Inc. subject of lots covered by TCT Nos. T-32768, Forest lands or forest reserves,
PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. this case. 13 Lourdes Farms, Inc. mortgaged this 32769, 32756 and 32771 did not are incapable of private
REPUBLIC OF THE property to petitioner LBP on April 14, 1980. 14 cure the defect. . . . . 24 appropriation and possession
PHILIPPINES, represented by The validity of OCT No. P-2823, as well as its derivative The RTC explained that titles issued to private parties by thereof, however long, cannot
the Director of Lands, TCTs, remained undisturbed until some residents of the the Bureau of Lands are void ab initio if the land covered convert them into private
respondent. land it covered, particularly those along Bolton Diversion by it is a forest land. 25 It went further by stating that if properties. This is premised on
DECISION Road, filed a formal petition before the Bureau of Lands the mother title is void, all titles arising from the mother the Regalian Doctrine enshrined
REYES, R.T., J p: on July 15, 1981. 15 title are also void. 26 It thus ruled in favor of the not only in the 1935 and 1973
FOREST lands are outside the commerce of man and Investigation and ocular inspection were conducted by Republic with a fallo reading: Constitutions but also in the 1987
unsusceptible of private appropriation in any form. 1 the Bureau of Lands to check the legitimacy of OCT No. IN VIEW WHEREOF, judgment is Constitution. Our Supreme Court
It is well settled that a certificate of title is void when it P-2823. They found out that: (1) at the time Sales Patent hereby rendered declaring has upheld this rule consistently
covers property of public domain classified as forest, No. 4576 was issued to Bugayong, the land it covered Original Certificate of Title No. P- even in earlier cases. It has also
timber or mineral lands. Any title issued covering non- was still within the forest zone, classified under Project 2823 issued in the name of been held that whatever
disposable lots even in the hands of an alleged innocent No. 1, LC-47 dated August 6, 1923; it was released as defendant Angelito Bugayong null possession of the land prior to the
purchaser for value shall be cancelled. 2 The rule must alienable and disposable land only on March 25, 1981, and void. The following Transfer date of release of forested land as
stand no matter how harsh it may seem. Dura lex sed pursuant to BFD Administrative Order No. 4-1585 and to Certificate of Titles which were alienable and disposable cannot
lex. 3 Ang batas ay maaaring mahigpit subalit ito the provisions of Section 13, Presidential Decree (P.D.) originally part of the lot covered be credited to the 30-year
ang mananaig. No. 705; 16 (2) the land was marshy and covered by sea by O.C.T. No. P-2823 are likewise requirement (now, since June 12,
Before Us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule water during high tide; and (3) Bugayong was never in declared void: 1945) under Section 48(b) of the
45 filed by petitioner Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) actual possession of the land. 17 1.A. TCT No. 57348 in the name of Public Land Act. It is only from
appealing the: (1) Decision 4 of the Court of Appeals In view of the foregoing findings, the Bureau of Lands defendant Lourdes Farms that date that the period of
(CA), dated August 23, 2001, in CA-G.R. CV No. 64121 resolved that the sales patent in favor of Bugayong was mortgaged to defendant Land occupancy for purposes of
entitled "Republic of the Philippines, represented by the improperly and illegally issued and that the Director of Bank. confirmation of imperfect or
Director of Lands v. Angelito Bugayong, et al."; and (2) Lands had no jurisdiction to dispose of the subject land. B. TCT No. 84749 in the name of defendants incomplete title may be counted.
Resolution 5 of the same Court, dated November 12, 18 Johnny and Catherine Du mortgaged to Since the subject land was
2001, denying LBP's motion for reconsideration. Upon recommendation of the Bureau of Lands, the defendant Development Bank of the declared as alienable and
The CA affirmed the Decision 6 of the Regional Trial Republic of the Philippines represented by the Director of Philippines. disposable only on March 25,
Court (RTC), dated July 9, 1996, declaring null and void Lands, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), C. TCT No. 37386 in the name of defendants 1981, appellants and their
Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-2823, as well as instituted a complaint 19 before the RTC in Davao, spouses Pahamotang mortgaged to defendant predecessors-in-interest could not
other titles originating from it, on the ground that at the Branch 15, for the cancellation of title/patent and Lourdes Du mortgaged with defendant Allied claim any vested right thereon
time it was issued, the land covered was still within the reversion of the land covered by OCT No. P-2823 into the Bank. prior to its release from public
forest zone. 7 mass of public domain. The complaint, as amended, 20 E. * TCT Nos. 68154 and 32768 in the names forest zone.
The Facts was filed against Bugayong and other present owners of defendants/spouses Maglana Santamaria. The inclusion of forest land in a title,
OCT No. P-2823 was issued on September 26, 1969 in and mortgagees of the land, such as Lourdes Farms, Inc. 2. All private defendants shall give to the "whether title be issued during the Spanish
favor of one Angelito C. Bugayong. Said mother title and the latter's mortgagee, petitioner LBP. Davao City Register of Deeds their titles, who regime or under the Torrens system,
emanated from Sales Patent No. 4576 issued in In its answer with cross-claim, 21 LBP claimed that it is a shall cancel the Transfer Certificate of Titles nullifies the title." It is, of course, a well-
Bugayong's name on September 22, 1969. 8 It covered a mortgagee in good faith and for value. It prayed that mentioned in paragraph number one. recognized principle that the Director of
parcel of land located in Bocana, Kabacan, Davao City, should TCT No. T-57348 of Lourdes Farms, Inc. be 3. Lot No. 4159, Plan SI (VIII-1) 328-D covered Lands (now Land Management Bureau) is
with an area of 41,276 square meters. It was originally annulled by the court, Lourdes Farms, Inc. should be by O.C.T. P-2823 is hereby REVERTED to the bereft of any jurisdiction over public forest
identified and surveyed as Lot No. 4159 under Plan SI- ordered to pay its outstanding obligations to LBP or to mass of public domain. or any lands not capable of registration. It is
(VIII-1), 328-D. Marshy and under water during high tide, provide a new collateral security. 22 SO ORDERED. 27 (Underscoring the Bureau of Forestry that has jurisdiction
it used to be a portion of a dry river bed near the mouth RTC Judgment supplied) and authority over the demarcation,
of Davao River. 9 Eventually, the RTC rendered its judgment 23 on July 9, Disagreeing with the RTC judgment, LBP appealed to the protection, management, reproduction,
The land was initially subdivided into four lots, viz.: Lot 1996 determining that: CA on October 31, 1996. It asserted in its appellant's occupancy and use of all public forests and
Nos. 4159-A, 4159-B, 4159-C and 4159-D under . . . The mistakes and the flaws in brief 28 that it validly acquired mortgage interest or lien forest reservations and over the granting of
Subdivision Plan (LRC) Psd-139511 approved by the the granting of the title were over the subject property because it was an innocent licenses for the taking of products
Commissioner of Land Registration on April 23, 1971. 10 made by the Bureau of Lands mortgagee for value and in good faith. 29 It also therefrom. And where the land applied for is
Consequently, OCT No. P-2823 was cancelled and new personnel more particularly the emphasized that it is a government financial institution. part of the public forest, the land
Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs) replaced it, all in the Director of Lands who is the CA Disposition registration court acquires no jurisdiction
name of Bugayong. Officer charged with the following In a Decision 30 dated August 23, 2001, the CA ruled over the land, which is not yet alienable and
Bugayong sold all of the four lots to different persons. the provisions of the Public Land against the appellants, 31 disposing thus: disposable.
Lot No. 4159-A, which was then under TCT No. T-32769, Law. . . . . WHEREFORE, premises
was sold to spouses Lourdes and Candido Du. It is clear that the mother Title, considered, the present appeals Thus, notwithstanding the issuance of a sales
Accordingly, said TCT was cancelled and replaced by TCT OCT-P-2823 in the name of are hereby DISMISSED and the patent over the subject parcel of land, the
No. T-42166 in the name of spouses Du. 11 defendant Bugayong was issued Decision of the trial court in Civil State may still take action to have the same
Afterwards, the spouses Du further caused the at a time when the area was not Case No. 17516 is hereby land reverted to the mass of public domain
subdivision of the land covered by their TCT No. T-42166 yet released by the Bureau of AFFIRMED. 32 and the certificate of title covering said forest
into two (2) lots. They sold one of said lots to spouses Forestry to the Bureau of Lands. The CA confirmed that the "evidence for the plaintiff land declared null and void for having been
Felix and Guadalupe Dayola, who were issued TCT No. T- The area covered by OCT No. clearly established that the land covered by OCT No. P- improperly and illegally issued. Titles issued
45586. The other remaining lot, registered under TCT No. P.2823 was not yet declared by 2823 issued pursuant to a sales patent granted to over non-alienable public lands have been
T-45587, was retained by and registered in the names of the Bureau of Lands alienable and defendant Angelito C. Bugayong was still within the held as void ab initio. The defense of
spouses Du. 12 disposable when the said OCT indefeasibility of title issued pursuant to such
patent does not lie against the State. Public September 26, 1969, the land it covered was still within his concomitant capacity to Sometime in 1981, upon the petition of the
land fraudulently included in patents or the forest zone. It was declared as alienable and alienate or encumber the same, it residents of the land, the Bureau of Lands
certificates of title may be recovered or disposable only on March 25, 1981. 40 must be considered that, in the conducted an investigation into the sales
reverted to the State in accordance with Despite these established facts, LBP argues that its first place, petitioner did not patent issued in favor of Angelito C. Bugayong
Section 101 of the Public Land Act. In such alleged interest as mortgagee of the subject land possess such capacity to and found the sales patent to have been
cases, prescription does not lie against the covered by TCT No. T-57348 must be respected. It avers encumber the land at the time for illegally issued because (1) the land was
State. Likewise, the government is not that TCT No. T-57348 is a Torrens title which has no the stark reason that it had been released as alienable and disposable only on
estopped by such fraudulent or wrongful written indications of defect or vice affecting the classified as a forest land and March 25, 1981; previous to that, the land was
issuance of a patent over public forest land ownership of Lourdes Farms, Inc. Hence, it posits that it remained a part of the within the forest zone; (2) the land is covered
inasmuch as the principle of estoppel does was not and could not have been required to explore or patrimonial property of the State. by sea water during high tide; and (3) the
not operate against the Government for the go beyond what the title indicates or to search for Assuming, without admitting, that patentee, Angelito C. Bugayong, had never
acts of its agents. . . . . 34 (Citations omitted) defects not indicated in it. the mortgagees cannot been in actual possession of the land.
aEcDTC LBP cites cases where the Court ruled that a party is not subsequently question the fact of Based on this investigation, the government
With respect to LBP's contention 35 that it was a required to explore further than what the Torrens title ownership of petitioner after instituted the present suit in 1987 for
mortgagee in good faith and for value, the CA declared, upon its face indicates in quest of any hidden defect of having dealt with him in that cancellation of title/patent and reversion of the
citing Republic v. Reyes 36 that: "mortgagees of non- an inchoate right that may subsequently defeat his right capacity, still, petitioner was parcel of land against Angelito C. Bugayong,
disposable lands where titles thereto were erroneously to it; and that a bank is not required before accepting a never vested with the proprietary the Rogacion spouses, and the PNB, among
issued acquire no protection under the land registration mortgage to make an investigation of the title of the power to encumber the property. others. On July 6, 1996, the trial court
law. Appellants-mortgagees' proper recourse therefore is property being given as security. LBP submits that its In fact, even if the mortgagees rendered a decision declaring OCT No. P-2823
to pursue their claims against their respective right as a mortgagee is binding against the whole world continued to acknowledge and all titles derived therefrom null and void
mortgagors and debtors." 37 and may not be disregarded. 41 petitioner as the owner of the and ordering reversion of the subject property
When LBP's motion for reconsideration was denied, it It further argues that review or reopening of registration disputed land, in the eyes of the to the mass of the public domain. On appeal,
resorted to the petition at bar. is proscribed, as the title has become incontrovertible law, the latter can never be the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's
Issues pursuant to Section 32 of P.D. No. 1529; and that its presumed to be owner. decision. Hence, this petition.
LBP seeks the reversal of the CA mortgage rights and interest over the subject land is As correctly pointed out by the OSG, mortgagees of non- First. Petitioner contends that it had a right to
disposition on the following grounds protected by the constitutional guarantee of non- disposable lands, titles to which were erroneously rely on TCT No. T-37786 showing the
A. impairment of contracts. 42 issued, acquire no protection under the Land mortgagors Reynaldo Rogacion and Corazon
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT The contention that LBP has an interest over the subject Registration Law. 45 Pahamotang's ownership of the property.
FINDING THAT THE PETITIONER LAND BANK OF land as a mortgagee has no merit. The mortgagor, Even assuming that LBP was able to obtain its own TCT
THE PHILIPPINES' MORTGAGE RIGHT AND Lourdes Farms, Inc. from which LBP supposedly obtained over the property by means of its mortgage contract The contention is without merit. It is well
INTEREST AS AN INNOCENT PURCHASER its alleged interest has never been the owner of the with Lourdes Farms, Inc., the title must also be cancelled settled that a certificate of title is void when it
(MORTGAGEE) FOR VALUE AND IN GOOD FAITH mortgaged land. Acquisition of the subject land by as it was derived from OCT No. P-2823 which was not covers property of public domain classified as
OVER THE SUBJECT LAND COVERED BY TCT Lourdes Farms, Inc. is legally impossible as the land was validly issued to Bugayong. Forest lands cannot be forest or timber or mineral lands. Any title
NO. T-57348 IS VALID AND SUBSISTING IN released as alienable and disposable only on March 25, owned by private persons. It is not registerable whether issued covering non-disposable lots even in
ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW AND EXISTING 1981. Even at present, no one could have possessed the the title is a Spanish title or a Torrens title. 46 It is well the hands of an alleged innocent purchaser for
JURISPRUDENCE IN OUR COUNTRY. same under a claim of ownership for the period of thirty settled that a certificate of title is void when it covers value shall be cancelled (Republic v. Reyes,
B. (30) years required under Section 48 (b) of property of public domain classified as forest or timber 155 SCRA 313 (1987)).
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended. 43 Hence, LBP or mineral land. Any title issued covering non-disposable (Republic v. Court of Appeals, 148 SCRA 480
FINDING PETITIONER LAND BANK OF THE acquired no rights over the land. lots even in the hands of an alleged innocent purchaser (1987)). In this case, petitioner does not
PHILIPPINES' MORTGAGE RIGHT AND INTEREST Under Article 2085 of the Civil Code, it is essential that for value shall be cancelled. 47 dispute that its predecessor-in-interest,
OVER THE SUBJECT LAND AS VALID AND the mortgagor be the absolute owner of the thing Moreover, the Court has already addressed the same Angelito C. Bugayong, had the subject
SUBSISTING UNDER THE CONSTITUTIONAL mortgaged, to wit: issue in its Resolution of November 14, 2001 on the property registered in his name when it was
GUARANTEE OF NON-IMPAIRMENT OF ARTICLE 2085. The following petition filed by the Philippine National Bank (PNB) in forest land. Indeed, even if the subject
OBLIGATION OF CONTRACTS. requisites are essential to the G.R. No. 149568 entitled "Philippine National Bank v. property had been eventually segregated from
C. contracts of pledge and Republic of the Philippines represented by the Director the forest zone, neither petitioner nor its
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT mortgage: of Lands," which also appealed the subject CA decision. predecessors-in-interest could have possessed
AWARDING TO PETITIONER LAND BANK OF THE (1) That they be constituted to PNB, like LBP, is also a mortgagee of another derivative the same under claim of ownership for the
PHILIPPINES THE RELIEF PRAYED FOR UNDER secure the fulfillment of a TCT of the same OCT No. 2823. Said resolution reads: requisite period of thirty (30) years because it
ITS CROSS-CLAIM AGAINST CO-DEFENDANT principal obligation; On September 22, 1969, Angelito C. Bugayong was released as alienable and disposable only
LOURDES FARMS, INC., THAT IS, ORDERING (2) That the pledgor or mortgagor was issued a sales patent covering a 41,276 on March 25, 1981.
SAID CO-DEFENDANT LOURDES FARMS, INC. be the absolute owner of the square meter parcel of land in Bocana, Barrio Second. Petitioner's contention that
TO PAY ITS OUTSTANDING OBLIGATION TO THE thing pledged or mortgaged; Kabacan, Davao City by the Bureau of Lands. respondent's action for reversion is barred by
LAND BANK COVERED BY THE SUPPOSED NULL (3) That the persons constituting On the basis of the sales patent, the Register prescription for having been filed nearly two
AND VOID TCT NO. T-57348, OR TO PROVIDE A the pledge or mortgage have the of Deeds of Davao City issued OCT No. P-2823 decades after the issuance of Bugayong's
SUBSTITUTE COLLATERAL IN LIEU OF SAID TCT free disposal of their property, to Bugayong. Bugayong later subdivided the sales patent is likewise without merit.
NO. T-57348. 38 (Underscoring supplied) and in the absence thereof, that land into four lots, one of which (Lot No. 4159- Prescription does not lie against the State for
Our Ruling they be legally authorized for the B covered by TCT No. T-32770) was sold by reversion of property which is part of the
LBP has no valid and subsisting purpose. (Emphasis ours) him to the spouses Reynaldo Rogacion and public forest or of a forest reservation
mortgagee's interest over the Since Lourdes Farms, Inc. is not the owner of the land, it Corazon Pahamotang. After obtaining TCT No. registered in favor of any party. Public land
land covered by TCT No. does not have the capacity to mortgage it to LBP. In de T-37786 in their names, the spouses registered under the Land Registration Act
T-57348. la Cruz v. Court of Appeals, 44 the Court declared: mortgaged the lot to the Philippine National may be recovered by the State at any time
It has been established and admitted by LBP that: (1) the While it is true that the Bank (PNB). As they defaulted in the payment (Republic v. Court of Appeals, 258 SCRA 223
subject land mortgaged to it by Lourdes Farms, Inc. is mortgagees, having entered into of their loan, the PNB foreclosed the property (1996)). 48
covered by TCT No. T-57348; and (2) the said TCT is a contract with petitioner as and purchased it at the foreclosure sale as the Contrary to the argument of LBP, since the title is void, it
derived from OCT No. P-2823 issued to Bugayong. 39 mortgagor, are estopped from highest bidder. Eventually, the PNB could not have become incontrovertible. Even
It was further ascertained by the courts below that at the questioning the latter's ownership consolidated its title. prescription may not be used as a defense against the
time OCT No. P-2823 was issued to Bugayong on of the mortgaged property and
Republic. On this aspect, the Court in Reyes v. Court of up; rivers and lakes which they supply are the people. It is that inherent and plenary power of the As held in de Liano v. Court of Appeals, 61 appellant has
Appeals, 49 citing Republic v. Court of Appeals, 50 held: emptied of their contents. The fish disappear. State which enables it to prohibit all things hurtful to the to specify in what aspect of the law or the facts the trial
Petitioners' contention that the government is Denuded areas become dust bowls. As comfort, safety and welfare of society. 53 It extends to court erred. The conclusion, therefore, is that appellant
now estopped from questioning the validity of waterfalls cease to function, so will all the great public needs and is described as the most must carefully formulate his assignment of errors. Its
OCT No. 727 issued to them, considering that hydroelectric plants. With the rains, the fertile pervasive, the least limitable and the most demanding of importance cannot be underestimated, as Section 8,
it took the government 45 years to assail the topsoil is washed away; geological erosion the three inherent powers of the State, far outpacing Rule 51 of the Rules of Court will attest:
same, is erroneous. We have ruled in a host of results. With erosion come the dreaded floods taxation and eminent domain. 54 It is a ubiquitous and Questions that may be decided. No error
cases that prescription does not run against that wreak havoc and destruction to property often unwelcome intrusion. Even so, as long as the which does not affect the jurisdiction over the
the government. In point is the case of crops, livestock, houses and highways activity or the property has some relevance to the public subject matter or the validity of the judgment
Republic v. Court of Appeals, wherein we not to mention precious human lives. Indeed, welfare, its regulation under the police power is not only appealed from or the proceedings therein will
declared: the foregoing observations should be written proper but necessary. 55 be considered unless stated in the assignment
And in so far as the timeliness of the action of down in a lumberman's decalogue. Preservation of our forest lands could of errors, or closely related to or dependent on
the Government is concerned, it is basic that Because of the importance of forests to the entail intrusion upon contractual rights as in this an assigned error and properly argued in the
prescription does not run against the nation, the State's police power has been case but it is justified by the Latin maxims Salus brief, save as the court may pass upon plain
State. . . . The case law has also been: wielded to regulate the use and occupancy of populi est suprema lex and Sic utere tuo ut alienum errors and clerical errors.
When the government is the real party in forest and forest reserves. non laedas, which call for the subordination of
interest, and is proceeding mainly to assert its To be sure, the validity of the exercise of police individual interests to the benefit of the greater Apparently, the cross-claim was taken for granted not
own rights and recover its own property, there power in the name of the general welfare number. 56 only by the RTC but also by LBP. The cross-claim was not
can be no defense on the ground of laches or cannot be seriously attacked. Our government While We sympathize with petitioner, We nonetheless included as a subject or issue in the pre-trial order and
limitation . . . . had definite instructions from the cannot, in this instance, yield to compassion and equity. instead of asking that the same be heard, LBP filed a
Public land fraudulently included in patents or Constitution's preamble to "promote the The rule must stand no matter how harsh it may seem. motion 62 to submit the main case for resolution. The
certificates of title may be recovered or general welfare." Jurisprudence has time and 57 main case was thus resolved by the RTC without
reverted to the State in accordance with again upheld the police power over individual We cannot resolve the cross- touching on the merits of the cross-claim.
Section 101 of the Public Land Act. rights, because of the general welfare. Five claim for lack of factual basis. On the other hand, while the CA did not make a
Prescription does not lie against the State in decades ago, Mr. Justice Malcolm made it clear The cross-claim must be categorical ruling on LBP's cross-claim, it pointed out
such cases for the Statute of Limitations does that the "right of the individual is necessarily remanded to the RTC for that: (1) as found by the RTC, there is a mortgage
not run against the State. The right of subject to reasonable restraint by general law further proceedings. contract between LBP and Lourdes Farms, Inc., with LBP
reversion or reconveyance to the State is not for the common good" and that the "liberty of LBP filed a cross-claim against Lourdes Farms, Inc. before as mortgagee and Lourdes Farms, Inc. as mortgagor; and
barred by prescription. (Emphasis ours) the citizen may be restrained in the interest of the RTC. 58 The cross-claim is for the payment of cross- (2) LBP's proper recourse is to pursue its claim against
There is no impairment of public health, or of the public order and safety, defendant Lourdes Farms, Inc.'s alleged obligation to LBP Lourdes Farms, Inc. 63
contract but a valid exercise or otherwise within the proper scope of the or its submission of a substitute collateral security in lieu The CA thus impliedly ruled that LBP's cross-claim should
of police power of the State. police power." Mr. Justice Laurel, about twenty of the property covered by TCT No. T-57348. not be included in this case. Instead of making a ruling
The constitutional guarantee of non-impairment of years later, affirmed the precept when he However, the records do not show that Lourdes Farms, on the same, it recommended that LBP pursue its claim
contracts may not likewise be used by LBP to validate its declared that "the state in order to promote Inc. was required by the RTC to file an answer to the against Lourdes Farms, Inc.
interest over the land as mortgagee. The State's the general welfare may interfere with cross-claim. Likewise, Lourdes Farms, Inc. was not All told, although the relationship between LBP and
restraint upon the right to have an interest or ownership personal liberty, with property, and with notified of the proceedings before the CA. It was not also Lourdes Farms, Inc. as mortgagee and mortgagor was
over forest lands does not violate the constitutional business and occupations" and that "[p]ersons made a party to this petition. established, the cross-claim of LBP against Lourdes
guarantee of non-impairment of contracts. Said restraint and property may be subjected to all kinds of LPB now contends that the CA erred in not granting its Farms, Inc. was left unresolved.
is a valid exercise of the police power of the State. As restraints and burdens, in order to secure the cross-claim against Lourdes Farms, Inc. We are thus The Court is not in a position to resolve the cross-claim
explained by the Court in Director of Forestry v. Muoz: general comfort, health, and prosperity of the confronted with the question: Should We now order based on the records. In order for the cross-claim to be
51 state." Recently, we quoted from leading Lourdes Farms, Inc. to comply with the demand of LBP? equitably decided, the Court, not being a trier of facts, is
The view this Court takes of the American case, which pronounced that We rule in the negative. It may be true that Lourdes constrained to remand the case to the RTC for further
cases at bar is but in adherence "neither property rights nor contract rights are Farms, Inc. still has an obligation to LBP but We cannot proceedings. Remand of the case for further proceedings
to public policy that should be absolute; for government cannot exist if the make a ruling regarding the same for lack of factual is proper due to absence of a definitive factual
followed with respect to forest citizen may at will use his property to the basis. There is no evidence-taking on the cross-claim. No determination regarding the cross-claim. 64
lands. Many have written much, detriment of his fellows, or exercise his evidence was adduced before the RTC or the CA WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision of the Court of
and many more have spoken, and freedom of contract to work them harm," and regarding it. No factual finding or ruling was made by the Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that
quite often, about the pressing that, therefore, "[e]qually fundamental with RTC or the CA about it. the cross-claim of petitioner Land Bank of the Philippines
need for forest preservation the private right is that of the public to It bears stressing that in a petition for review on against Lourdes Farms, Inc. is REMANDED to the
conservation, protection, development and regulate it in the common interest." (Emphasis certiorari, the scope of this Court's judicial review of Regional Trial Court, Branch 15, Davao City, for further
reforestation. Not without justification. For, ours and citations omitted) decisions of the CA is generally confined only to errors of proceedings.
forests constitute a vital segment of any In Edu v. Ericta, 52 the Court defined police power as the law. Questions of fact are not entertained. 59 SO ORDERED.
country's natural resources. It is of common authority of the state to enact legislation that may Moreover, the failure to make a ruling on the cross-claim ||| (LBP v. Republic, G.R. No. 150824, [February 4, 2008],
knowledge by now that absence of the interfere with personal liberty or property in order to by the RTC was not assigned as an error in LBP's 567 PHIL 427-448)
necessary green cover on our lands produces promote the general welfare. It is the power to prescribe appellant's brief 60 before the CA. Hence, the CA cannot
a number of adverse or ill effects of serious regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, be faulted for not making a ruling on it.
proportions. Without the trees, watersheds dry education, good order or safety, and general welfare of