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Municipality of Catbalogan v. Dir. of Lands owner.

owner. It has no need to avail itself of prescription, for it has a title identical with that
. enjoyed by the church to the land occupied for the purposes of worship and that
 The municipal president of the pueblo of Catbalogan, Province of Samar, filed, in held by a newly created pueblo for the lawful occupation of the territory where it is
the name of the municipality, an application with the Court of Land Registration at present established.
seeking to register a parcel of land.
 The Attorney-General, in representation of the Director of Lands, opposed alleging  RIGHT OF MUNICIPALITIES TO ACQUIRE PROPERTY.—If a municipality, as a
that the land in question belonged to the United States and was under the control juridical person susceptible of rights and duties, can acquire all kinds of property
of the Government of the Philippine Islands. such as that termed propios and patrimoniales, it undoubtedly merits the
 Catbalogan won. AG appealed. designation of owner with respect to the property which may have been awarded to
 ISSUE RAISED: Whether the lot occupied by the court-house of the municipality of it as its own.
Catbalogan, of the Island and Province of Samar, belongs to the said municipality or
is state land under the control of the Insular Govt.  LAWS NOT APPLICABLE.—In the matter of property exclusively belonging to a
municipality, law 8, title 3, book 6, of the Recompilation of the Laws of the Indies,
HELD. and the later provisions relative to the lands intended for commons, as also the
 ESTABLISHMENT OF PUEBLOS AND MUNICIPALITIES UNDER SPANISH LAW.— doctrine established in the decision of The City of Manila vs. The Insular
For the organization of new pueblos in these Islands, especially in ancient times Government (10 Phil. Rep., 327) are not applicable thereto.
subsequent to the occupation of the Archipelago by the Spaniards, it devolved upon
the chief administrative authority of the province, in representation of the  INDEPENDENT OWNERSHIP BY MUNICIPALITIES.—The exercise on the part of a
Governor-General and in conformity with the provisions of the Laws of the Indies, municipality of the right of ownership in land vested with the character of common
royal cedulas, and ordinances on good government subsequently promulgated, to (propio) or patrimonial land is very distinct from the administrative proceedings or
designate the territory wherein they were to be established and extended, the acts executed by it, and from the contracts made by the same, inasmuch as, in the
metes and bounds of such territory, and, before proceeding to effect the exercise of the right of ownership in the property of the exclusive ownership of the
apportionment of lots and lands among its new settlers, a site in the center thereof municipality, this entity has an independent personality of its own and does not act
for the location of the public square of the pueblo, and the places where the church as a mere agent of the Central Government; wherefore the decision rendered in
and the public buildings, among them the casa real or municipal court-house, were Aguado vs. The City of Manila (9 Phil. Rep., 513) is not applicable thereto.
to be erected. It was also his duty to lay out the streets and roads which were to
intersect the new town, and to designate the lands which were to belong exclusively
to the municipality, and others that should have the character of common lands
(terreno comunal), exido, and pasture lands for the grazing of stock.

 PROPERTY ACQUIRED BY MUNICIPALITIES; OWNERSHIP.—In accordance with


the legal provisions above-mentioned, the inhabitants of the new town were
obliged to construct the municipal building on the land previously designated by the
chief authority of the province, which was awarded to it as its own, and to assist in
building the church, no less indispensable than the municipal courthouse, and later
the school. It must be understood-that these lands were awarded to the church as
its own for the purposes of worship; and to the municipality for the municipal
building and the school, as real property of the common and exclusive ownership of
the pueblo before the establishment of the municipality, and to the latter upon its
organization, for such organization imposed the necessity of the appropriation of
lots suitable for the erection thereon of the church and the court-house, in
accordance with the provisions prescribed in those remote times by the Laws of the
Indies.
 PRESCRIPTION UNNECESSARY WHEN THE GRANT is MADE.—Under the
supposition that, on the establishment of the pueblo, the necessary land whereon
to erect the municipal courthouse and the church to be used for the purposes of
worship had to be awarded to the community thereof or to the municipality, it
follows that the land thus awarded is the municipality’s own land and is held by it as