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In Uy Un vs. Perez, 71 Phil.

508, it was noted that the right of an occupant of public agricultural land
to obtain a confirmation of his title under section 48(b) of the Public Land Law is a 'derecho
dominical incoativo' and that before the issuance of the certificate of title the occupant is not in the
juridical sense the true owner of the land since it still pertains to the State.

As to the right of private Filipino Corporation to apply

In the famous case of Manila Electric Co. vs. Floreliana Castro- Bartolome (114 SCRA
799), the Supreme Court categorically ruled that private Filipino corporations, although
100% owned cannot apply for original registration because of the provisions of the 1973
Constitution, which is similarly provided under the 1987 Constitution. Under Section 3,
Article XII, it is provided that:

x x x Until the certificate of title is issued, a piece of land, over which an imperfect title is
sought to be confirmed, remains public land. x x x (Italics supplied).

GR No. L-46935 April 18, 1941



D. Claro M. Recto in representation of the appellant.

D. Potenciano A. Magtibay in representation of the respondents.


The appellant asks in his request for certiorari to review and revoke the
decision issued by the Court of Appeal declaring null the sale made by the
Sheriff on September 21, 1934 of the land in dispute, declaring valid sale of
improvements Existing in the same and ordering that such improvements be
sold to satisfy the amount that the appellant paid as auction price amounting
to P379.85, without costs. Chan rob lesvi rtua lawlib rary chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

The appellant initiated the case in the Court of First Instance of Tayabas to
recover from the appellants the ownership and possession of an agricultural
land of 10 hectares, located in the municipality of Guinayangan, Province of
Tayabas, as well as the improvements that exist In the same one consisting
of 333 pieces of first-class and 200 non-fructiferous coconuts. Chan rob lesvi rtualaw lib rary chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

The relevant facts in the case are exposed by the Court of Appeals in these

Martin Villaplana was a possessor of a land, as owner, from the time of the
Spanish Government, having declared it for the purpose of assessing the
year 1902, and having introduced in the improvements consisting of coconut
trees, the oldest of which has 60 year old. On May 27, 1916, Martin
Villaplana sold the land to his son Vicente Villaplana, married to the
defendant Mamerta Perez. On December 7, 1922 Vicente Villaplana
requested it as "Free Patent." Vicente Villaplana having contracted a debt of
P291.05 of Gregorio Reyes Uy Un on February 13, 1931, and having been
sued for the payment of said amount and sentenced to pay it on May 5,
1933, the corresponding order of execution was issued, Which was
completed on September 21, 1934, and sold to the demadante (Exhibit
A). The 20 of April of 1935 was when it was sent to Vicente Villaplana and
title gratiuito. On December 13, 1934, the possession of the land was given
to Gregorio Reyes Uy Un by virtue of an order of the Guinayangan Peace
Court, Tayabas, but in July 1935 the defendants, who are the wife and
children of Vicente Villaplana, Having been released from it on September 10
of the same year by virtue of a preliminary prohibition issued in this case.

The Court of Appeal, after reviewing the evidence presented at the first
instance, stated that the land was public and that it was part of the public
lands of the State that could be made available through a gratuitous
conscription. In its first statement of error, the appellant maintains that such
a conclusion is erroneous and inconsistent with the facts established by the
Court of Appeals itself. He argues that the Court of Appeal declared that
Martin Villaplana owned the land as owner since 1902, declaring it in the
property with his own property and having cultivated it by sowing in the
coconut trees that are now more than 60 years old and that his Son Vicente
Villaplana and his wife owned it in the same concept, the land ceased to be
public land and became private and, therefore, the provisions of Law No.
2874, known by Land Law Publicos. Chan roblesv irtualawl ibra ry c hanrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

According to subsection ( b ) of article 45 of Law No. 2874, in force on the

dates in which the possession of the respondents and their originator and
the issuance of the gratuitous title took place, those who, by themselves or
through Their quasantes, would have been in open, contiguous, exclusive
and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public
domain, intending in good faith to acquire property, except against the
Government, since July twenty-eighth, eighteen hundred and ninety-four,
are entitled To the confirmation of their rights and to the issuance of a
certificate of titling in accordance with the Law of the Registry of Property,
and have in their favor the presumption juris et de jure of having fulfilled all
the necessary conditions for the concession of the Government and Shall be
entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of said Law. In
accordance with said legal provision, the defendants and their offender had
an inactive Sunday law on the ground, To request and obtain confirmation of
said right and to be issued the certificate of title in accordance with the Law
of the Registry of Property; Also had in their favor the presumption that they
had fulfilled all the conditions necessary for the granting of the title; But
until the title was issued they did not have the juridical concept of being the
real owners of the land or that stopped belonging to the public lands of the
State susceptible of alienation. That this was the legal condition of the land
until the government issued the free title, is confirmed by Article 54 of the
same law that provides that from now on it will not be possible to acquire
title, legal right or right by reason of equity on land Of the public domain by
prescription or by possession or occupation as owner, or by agreement or by
virtue of any law in force prior to the American occupation, except as
expressly provided by the laws dictated after such occupation of the
Philippine Islands by the U.S. The fact that Vicente Villaplana requested
December 7, 1922 titled gratiuito of the land is another fact that shows that
in his feeling he had not acquired a perfect title of it and that it remained
public land of the State. We conclude, therefore, that the Court of Appeals
did not err in declaring that the land was public and subject to the provisions
of Law No. 2874. chanrob lesvi rtua lawlib rary chan robles v irt ual law l ibra ry

In the second error, it is claimed that the Court of Appeal should have
declared that the land at issue could not be granted by a free title and that
this title, issued on April 20, 1935, is null and void and may affect Rights
that the appellant had acquired on the spot.Having declared that the land
remained public on the date the title was issued, it is obvious that it was
subject to the provisions of the Law of Public Land and, consequently, the
gratuitous title that was issued in favor of Vicente Villaplana is legal and
valid.Chan roble svi rtualawl ib rary chan robles v irt ual law l ibra ry

To support his theory that the land had become private property, that
Vicente Villaplana and his deceased Martin Villaplana were the exclusive
owners of the same and that he succeeded in the title of the first when
acquiring it in public auction, the appellant quotes the settled by This Court
in the affairs of Cario v. Insular Government of the Philippines Islands, 212
US, 449, 53 Law. Ed., 594, 597; 41 Phil., 935, 940-941; Roman Catholic
Archbishop of Manila vs. The Director of Lands , 27 Phil., 246, 248; And Susi
vs. Razon and the Director of Lands , 48, Phil., 424, where it was declared
that the agricultural land that has been owned under the conditions
prescribed by the Public Land Law has ceased to be public land to become
oprified land, and The one who has possessed it has the presumption juris et
de jure of having obtained concession from the Government and that it has
the right to register it in its name according to the Law of the Registry of
Property.The issues cited are, however, distinguished from the present in
that in this one who owned the land and from which their rights derive the
resident is the same that recognized the condition of the land to be public
property of the State and not only recognized that Continued to be public
land, but requested that a free title be issued in accordance with the Public
Land Law. Chan roblesv irt ualawli bra ry cha nro bles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

In the last error, the appellant maintains that the Court of Appeals must
have confirmed the decision of the Court of First Instance that declared valid
the sale by public auction of the land made by the Sheriff in his favor. Since
the land was public property of the State when the Sheriff sold the public on
September 21, 1934, and Vicente Villaplana did not own it, it is obvious that
the former did not acquire the domain of the land that did not have it yet
The executed Vicente Villaplana and, consequently, the sale was null and of
no legal effect. The sale, in addition, can not be declared valid under the
precept of article116 of Law No. 2874, as amended by article 23 of Law No.
3517, which prohibits encumbrance and alienation, except to the
Government and institutions Official, of the land acquired by title gratiuito
from the date of the approval of the application and during the five years
following the issuance of the title or concession. Chan roble svirtualawl ibra ry c han robles vi rt ual law li bra ry

If the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals is upheld, the petition

of certiorari is denied, with the costs to the appellant. That is how it is
commanded. C hanro blesvi rt ualawlib ra ry cha nrob les vi rtual law lib rary

Avancea, Pres., Diaz, Laurel, and Horrilleno. MM., Are satisfied.