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G.R. No. 149145 March 31, 2006

FACTS: The petitioner and respondent were both claiming as the lawful owner and
possessor of Cadastral Lot No. 138 which was divided into three parts: 138-A, B and
C. The court a quo rendered its decision declaring the petitioner as the lawful owner
and possessor of Lot 138-B and the Municipality of Buruanga as the lawful owner and
possessor of Lots 138-A and 138-C. The CA affirmed the ownership of the petitioner
over Lot 138-B but reversed the court a quos’ ruling relative to the ownership of Lots
138-A and 138-C declaring the said lots as property of public dominion, hence, not
owned by either of the parties.

ISSUE: Whether or not the C.A. grievously erred in finding that lots 138-A and 138-C
are properties of the public (domain) and not susceptible to private ownership by the

RULING: The appellate court correctly declared that Lots 138-A and 138-C comprise
the public plaza and are property of public dominion; hence, may not be the object of
appropriation either by the petitioner or respondent municipality. The free and
continuous use by the public of Lots 138-A and 138-C incontrovertibly establishes that
they are property for public use. Property for public use of provinces and towns are
governed by the same principles as property of public dominion of the same character.
The ownership of such property cannot be the object of appropriation, either by the
State or by private persons.