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(CMU vs Republic;
Republic vs. Reman Enterprises, Inc.)
REGALIAN DOCTRINE - To prove that a land is alienable, the
existence of a positive act of the
- Under the Regalian doctrine, all lands government, such as presidential
of the public domain belong to the proclamation or an executive order;
State, and that the State is the source an administrative action;
of any asserted right to ownership of investigation reports of Bureau of
land and charged with the Lands investigators; and a legislative
conservation of such patrimony. act or statute declaring the land as
- Also, the doctrine states that all lands alienable and disposable must be
not otherwise appearing to be established. (Republic vs. Cortez)
CLEARLY within private ownership - Hence, a public land remains part of
are presumed to belong to the State. the inalienable public domain unless
- Consequently, the person applying it is shown to have been reclassified
for registration has the burden of and alienated by the State to a
proof to overcome the presumption private person.
of ownership of lands of the public
University v. Republic)
- The Regalian doctrine is reflected in Registration is not a mode of acquiring
Art. XOO, Sec. 2 of the Constitution: ownership
- “Sec. 2. All lands of the public - Registration is not a mode of
domain, waters, minerals, coal, acquiring ownership but is
petroleum, and other mineral oils, all merely a procedure to establish
forces od potential energy, fisheries, evidence of title over realty – a
forests or timber, wildlife, flora and system of registration of titles to
fauna, and other natural resources lands.
are owned by the State. With the
exception of agricultural lands, and Registration is a proceeding in rem
all other natural resources shall not - Judicial proceedings for the
be alienated.” registration of lands shall be in rem
and based on generally accepted
Presumption of State ownership must principles underlying the Torrens
be overcome by a positive act of system. (Sec. 2, PD 1529) Jurisdiction
government in rem is acquired by the constructive
- To overcome the presumption of seizure of the land through
State ownership, the applicant must publication, service of notice and
establish through inconvertible posting. (Sec. 23, PD 1529)
evidence that the land sought to be
registered is alienable and disposable Purpose: to quiet title to land
based on a positive act of the

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
- The purpose of registration is to quiet
title to land; to put a stop forever to Facts:
any question as to the legality of the - Bantigue Corp. filed with the RTC an
title, except claims which are noted application for registration over Lot
in the certificate; to decree land titles 8060 with an assessed value of
that shall be final, irrevocable, and P14,920. However, the RTC motu
undisputable; and to relieve the land proprio remanded the case to the
of the burden of known as well as MTC since the assessed value of the
unknown claims. land is only P14,920. After hearing,
the MTC granted the application. The
But the Torrens system DOES NOT FURNISH Republic appealed arguing that the
A SHIELD for fraud, nor permit one to enrich MTC did not acquire jurisdiction since
himself at the expense of others. (Rodriguez the selling price of the property per
v. Lim; Manlapat v. CA) deed of sale attached to the
application is P160,000.
Did the MTC acquire jurisdiction over the
Regional trial courts have plenary case?
jurisdiction over land registration cases and
all petitions after original registration. (Sec. Ruling:
2, PD No. 1529) Yes. The value of the land is determined,
- However, FIRST LEVEL COURTS may not from the selling price, but from the
be assigned by the SC to hear and tax declaration which, in this case, stated
determine cadastral or land that the assessed value of the land is only
registration cases: P14,920, or below the jurisdictional
a.) Where there is opposition, or amount of P100,000 pertaining to first
b.) Over contested lots, the value of level courts. (Republic v. Bantigue)
which does not exceed P
100,000. (Sec. 34, BP Blg. 129; Is there need for a formal
Tepublic v. Bantigue) assignment/delegation by the SC before
- Appeal is taken to the Court of 1st level courts may exercise
Appeals jurisdiction? Bantigue stresses:
- “The delegated jurisdiction of the
The value of the property is ascertained in MTC over cadastral land and
three ways: registration cases is indeed set forth
- First, by the affidavit of the claimant; in the Judiciary Reorganization Act, x
- Second, by agreement of the x x”
respective claimants, if there are - “(T)he MTC has delegated
more than one; or jurisdiction in cadastral and land
- Third, from the corresponding tax registration cases in two instances:
declaration of the real property. (sec. first, where there is no controversy
34, BP 129) or opposition; or, second, over

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
contested lots, the value of which - Proceedings for land registration are
does not exceed P100,000.” in rem, whereas proceedings of
- Clearly the law itself, Section 34 of BP acquisition of homestead patent are
Blg. 129, already provides the specific not. A homestead patent, therefore,
instances when first level courts may does not finally dispose of the public
exercise their delegated jurisdiction. or private character of the land as far
as courts acting upon proceedings in
Facts: rem are concerned.
- In 1959, Leonor De los Santos filed an
application for registration with the
opposed. Notices were given and the GENERAL JURISIDCTION (AS REGULAR RTC)
case as set for hearing on May 27, AND LIMITED JURSIDICTION (AS
1960. On Sept. 18, 1961, the court REGISTRATION COURT) NOW ELIMINATED
issued an order dismissing the
application on the basis of a report Sec. 2, PD 1529 has eliminated the
from the LRC that a “homestead distinction between the court’s general
patent was issued (to Julio Delgado) jurisdiction and limited jurisdiction.
by the Director of Lands during the
pendency of the registration - Thus, a regional trial court has the
proceedings.” authority for original registration but
also on all petitions filed after original
Issue: registration of title. The amendment
- Was the court divested of its aims to avoid multiplicity of suits and
jurisdiction by a subsequent simplify registration proceedings.
administrative act consisting in the - The court can now hear and decide
issuance by the Director of Lands of a not only non-controversial cases but
homestead patent covering the same even contentious issues which
land subject of the registration case? before were beyond its competence.
(Lozada vs. Bracewell)
- No. In her application for As stressed in Lozada vs. Bracewell:
registration, De los Santos alleged,
among other matters, that she is the - “With the passage of Sec. 2. PD 1529,
owner in fee simple of the land. Since the distinction between the general
the existence of non-existence of jurisdiction vested in the RTC and the
applicant’s registrable title is decisive limited jurisdiction conferred upon
pf the validity or nullity of the its cadastral court was eliminated.
homestead patent, the court’s RTC’s now have the power to hear
jurisdiction could not have been and determine all questions, even
divested by the homestead patent’s contentious and substantial ones,
issuance. arising from applications for original

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
registration of titles to lands and - There shall be at least one Register of
petitions filed after such Deeds for each province and city.
registration.” (Sec. 7, PD 1529)
- Every instrument affecting registered
LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY (LRA) land shall, if registered in the Office
of the Register of Deeds, be
Functions of the LRA constructive notice to all persons.
- Issues decrees of registration (Sec. 52, PD 1529; (Aznar Brothers vs.
- Resolves cases elevated en consulta Aying)
- Exercises supervision and control - But this rule does not apply if the
over all clerks of court in relation to property is not registered under the
land registration Torrens System. (Abrigo vs. De Vera)
- Implements orders or decisions of
registration courts Rule on priority
- Verifies and approves subdivisions
and consolidation survey plans - Registration in the public registry is
- Extends assistance to the DAR in the notice to the whole world.
implementation of the land reform (Guaranteed Homes vs. Valdez) thus,
program; between two buyers if the same land,
- Extends assistance to registration priority is given to:
courts in ordinate and cadastral - The registrant in good faith;
registration cases; and - Then, the first possessor in good
- Acts a central repository of records faith; and
relative to original registration, - Finally, the buyer who in good faith
including subdivision and presents the oldest title. (Art. 1544,
consolidation plans of titled lands. CC)

LRA: issuance of decree ministerial DUTY OF REGISTER OF DEEDS TO REGISTER

- It is ministerial only in the sense that
the LRA acts under the orders of the There shall be at least one Register of Deeds
court and the decree must be in for each province and city. (Sec. 7, 1529)
conformity with the decision of the
court. (Gomez vs. Court of Appeals) - Registration means the entry of
- Bu the duty ceases to be ministerial instruments or deeds in boor or
where the issuance of decree would public registry.
result in double titling of lands. - Registration of instruments affecting
(Angeles vs. Sec. of Justice) registered land must be done in the
proper registry to affect the land and
OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF DEEDS bind thirds persons. (Aznar Brother
vs. Aying)
Register of Deeds; constructive notice

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
General functions of the Register of Deeds Duty of RD to register instruments affecting
registered land is ministerial
- “It shall be the duty of the Register of
Deeds to immediately register an - Whether the document is invalid,
instrument presented for frivolous or intended to harass, is not
registration dealing with real or the duty of a Register of Deeds to
personal property which complies decide, but a court of competent
with all the requisites for jurisdiction, and that it is his concern
registration. He shall see to it that to see whether the documents
said instrument bears the proper sought to be registered conform with
documentary science stamps and the formal and legal requirements
that the same are properly canceled. for such documents. (Campugan vs.
If the instruments is nor registrable, Tolentino)
he shall forthwith deny the
registration thereof and inform the Registration must first be allowed and the
presentor of such denial in writing, validity or effect thereof litigated
stating the ground or reason thereof, afterwards.
and advising him of his right to
appeal by consulta in accordance - But if the RD is in doubts as to the
with Sec. 117 of this Decree.” action taken, or where the interested
party does not agree with the action
The aforementioned duty of the Register of taken by him, the RD shall certify the
Deeds is ministerial in nature. question to the LRA via consulta for
resolution. (Sec. 117, PD 1529;
- A purely ministerial act or duty is one Soriano vs. Fernandez)
that an officer or tribunal performs in
a given state of facts, in a prescribed INSTANCES WHERE RD MAY HOLD
manner, in obedience to the REGISTRATION
mandate of a legal authority, without
regard to or the exercise of his own Where several copies of the title (as in co-
judgment upon the propriety or ownership) but only one is presented.
impropriety of the act done. - Every copy if the duplicate original
- If the law imposes a duty upon a must contain identical entries of the
public officer and gives him the right transactions, particularly voluntary
to decide how or when the duty shall ones, otherwise the whole Torrens
be performed, such duty is system would cease to be reliable.
discretionary, not ministerial. The - The integrity of the Torrens system
duty is ministerial only when its may be adversely affected if an
discharge requires neither the encumbrance, or outright
exercise of official discretion not the conveyance, is annotated on only
exercise of judgment. one copy and not on the others.

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
Where the property is presumed conjugal Just like the rule in absolute community of
but the document bears the signature of property, if the husband, without
only one spouse. knowledge and consent of the wife, sells
- Under Art. 160 of the CC, all property conjugal property, such sale is void.
if the marriage is presumed to belong - However, if the sale was with
to the conjugal partnership, unless it knowledge but without the approval
be proved that it pertains exclusively of the wife, thereby resulting in a
to the husband or to the wife. disagreement , such sale is annullable
- Proof of acquisition during the at the instance of the wife who is
marriage is an essential condition for given 5 years from the date of the
the operation of the presumption in contract to institute the case. (Ravine
favor of the conjugal partnership. vs. Villa Abrille)
(Dela Pena vs. Avila)
- But where there is no showing as to Where there is a pending case involving the
when the property was acquired, the character of the land or validity of the
fact, for instance, that the title is in conveyance
the name of “Celia A. Santos, married - In such case, registration may well
to Mario Santos” means that the await the outcome of the case;
property belongs exclusively to the meantime the rights if the interested
wife, Celia. parties could be protected by the
- Proof of acquisition during the filing of a notice of lis pendens.
marriage is a condition sine qua non (Balbin vs. Register of Deeds)
for the operation of the presumption
in favor of the conjugal partnership. Where required certificates or documents
(Ibid) are not submitted, such as—
- Under the Family Code, the sale of a - DAR clearance, copy of latest tax
conjugal property requires the declaration, certificate of payment of
consent of both the husband and the documentary stamp tax and capital
wife. The absence of the consent of gains tax, BIR certificate authorizing
one renders the sale null and void. registration (CAR), tax clearance
- A void contract cannot be ratified. certificate of real estate taxes,
(Guiang vs. CA. Note: SC affirmed the certificate of payment of transfer tax,
decision of CA composed of JJ. secretary’s certificate and articles of
Jaguros, Adefuin and Agcaoili) incorporation (in case of a
- Without the consent of his wife, corporation), HLURB registration
Marcelino constituted a real estate papers and license to sell (in case of
mortgage on the subject property, subdivision project), TIN, etc.
which formed part of their conjugal
(Homeowners Savings & Loan Bank NOTICE TO THE WHOLE WORLD
vs. Dailo)
Sec. 52 if PD. No. 1529 provides:

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
SECTION 52. Constructive notice upon - Accordingly, all public lands not
registration. – Every conveyance, mortgage, shown to have been reclassified or
lease, lien, attachment, order, judgment, released as alienable agricultural
instrument or entry affecting registered land land or alienated to a private person
shall, if registered, filed or entered in the by the State remain part of the
Office of the Register of Deeds for the alienable public domain.
province or city where the land to which it - To prove that the land subject of an
relates lies, be constructive notice to all application for registration is
persons from the time of such registering, alienable, the applicant must
filing, or entering. establish the existence of a positive
act of the government such as
The act if registration shall be the operative presidential proclamation or an
act to convey or affect the land insofar as executive order, an administrative
third persons are concerned action, investigation reports of
- Thus, in case of the conflict between Bureau of Lands investigators, and a
a vendee and an attaching creditor, legislative act or a stature. (Gozo vs.
an attaching creditor who registers Phil. Union Mission Corp.)
the order of attachment and the sale
of the property to him as the highest Who may classify lands
bidder acquires a valid title to the - The President, through a presidential
property as against a vendee who proclamation or executive order, can
had previously bought the same classify or reclassify land to be
property from the same owner but included or excluded from the public
who failed to register his deed of domain.
sale. (Ching vs. Enrile) - The DENR Secretary is likewise
empowered by law to approve a land
PRIMARY CLASSIFICATION OF LANDS OF classification and declare such land
THE PUBLIC DOMAIN as alienable and disposable. (Fortuna
vs. Republic)
The 1987 Constitution classifies lands pf the - Congress may also classify lands
public domain into: through legislative act. (Republic vs.
- Agricultural lands, Cortez)
- Forest or timberlands - Since 1919, courts were no longer
- Mineral lands, and free to determine the classification of
- National parks. lands. (DENR Sec.. Yap)

Alienable lands of the public domain shall be Prior rights of individuals must be respected
limited to agricultural lands. - But while the government has the
prerogative to classify lands of the
All lands not appearing to be clearly within public domain, the primary right of a
private ownership are presumed to belong private individual who possessed and
to the State. cultivated the land in good faith

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
much prior to such classification For purpose of administration and
must be recognized and should not disposition, A and D lands may be
be prejudiced by after-events which further classified according to the use or
could not have been anticipated. purpose to which they may be devoted:
(Saad Agro Industries, Inc. vs. - Agricultural;
Republic) - Residential, commercial, industrial,
- The Government, in the first instance or for similar purposes
may, by reservation, decide for itself - Educational, charitable, or other
what portions of public land shall be similar purposes; and
considered forestry land, unless - Reservations for townsites and for
private interests have intervened public and quasi-public uses. (Sec. 9,
before such reservation is made. CA No. 141)
(Republic vs. Court of Appeals and
Marcelo) Per the Public Land Act, alienable and
disposable public lands suitable for
Alienable and disposable (A and D) lands of agricultural purposes can be disposed of
the State fall into two categories, to wit: only as follows:
a. Patrimonial lands of the State, or 1. For homestead settlement;
those classified as lands of private 2. By sale;
ownership under Art. 425 of the Civil 3. By lease; and
Code, without limitation; and 4. By confirmation of imperfect or
b. Lands of the public domain, or the incomplete titles:
public lands as provided by the a.) By judicial legalization
Constitution, but with the limitation b.) By administrative legalization
that the lands must only be (free patent).
Consequently, lands classified as forest
or timber, mineral, or national parks are Lands for public use or public service
not susceptible of alienation or - Those intended for public use, such
disposition unless they are reclassified as as roads, canals, rivers, torrents,
agricultural. (Malabanan vs Republic) ports and bridges, etc.;
- Those which, without being for public
SECONDARY CLASSIFICATION OF use, are intended for some public
AGRICULTURAL LANDS service or for the development of the
national wealth. (Art. 420, CC)
CA No. 141, or the Public Land Act, was These properties are outside the commerce
amended by PD No. 1073, is the existing of men and therefore not subject to private
general law governing the classification appropriation. (Martinez vs. Court of
and disposition of lands of the public Appeals)
domain, other than timber and mineral

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
Rivers, waters: Congress or by proclamation of the
- Rivers and their natural beds, lakes, President, or otherwise positively
all categories of surface waters, declared to have been converted to
atmospheric or subterranean ground patrimonial property. (NOVA vs.
waters, and seawater all belong to Republic)
the State. (Art. V, PD 1067)
- Water found, or rain water falling, on Watershed are generally outside the
private lands also belong to the State. commerce of man.
(Art. VI, id.) - The Constitution expressly mandates
the conservation and proper
Reservations for public and semi-public utilization of natural resources,
purposes which includes the country’s
- The President may designate by watershed. (Sta. Rosa Realty
proclamation any tract of land of the Development Corporation vs. Court
public domain for the use of the of Appeals)
Republic or its branches, e.g., public
or semi-public uses like highways, Mangrove swamps
hyrdroelectric sites, railroads, - Mangrove swamps form part of the
irrigation systems, etc. which shall be public forests and, therefore, not
inalienable. (Sec. 83, CA No. 141) subject to disposition until and unless
- Reserved lands are withdrawn from they are first released as forest lands
sale or settlement and are and classified as alienable
inalienable and not subject to agricultural land.
occupation, entry, sale, lease or - The Fisheries Code make is unlawful
other disposition (Sec. 88, ibid; CMU for any person to covert mangroves
vs. Republic), until otherwise into fishponds or for any other
provided by law or proclamation. purposes.
(Republic, rep. by Mindanao Medical
Center vs. CA) School site reservations
- Land reserved for a school site under
Reservations for public or quasi-public uses: Sec. 83, CA No. 141, shall not be
(1) are non-alienable and non-disposable subject to occupation, entry, sale,
(Sec. 88 in relation to Sec. 8, C. No. 141), and lease, or other disposition until again
(2) remain public domain lands until they declared alienable by proclamation
are actually disposed of in favor of private of the President. (Central Mindanao
persons. University vs. Republic)
- In other words, lands of the public - It remains to be property of the
domain classified as reservations public dominion until withdrawn
remain to be property of the public from the public or quasi-public use
dominion until withdrawn from the for which they have been reserved,
public or quasi-public use for which by act of Congress or by
they have been reserved, by act of proclamation of the President, or

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
otherwise positively declared to have devoted for a purpose other than as
been converted to patrimonial a military camp.
property. (NOVA vs. republic) - Moreover, the 1987 Constitution
forbids private corporations from
Forests: acquiring any kind of alienable land
- Forest is a large tract of land covered of the public domain, except through
with a natural growth of tress and lease for a limited period. (Republic
underbrush. v. Southside, 502 SCRA 587)
- The classification is descriptive of
what the land actually looks like.  Reservations for public/national
(DENR Sec. vs. Yap) parks
- Unless and until the land classified as • Land reserved for park
forest is released as A and D, the purposes is not registrable.
rules of confirmation of title do not (Palomo v. Court of Appeals
apply. (Amunategui vs. Director of GR No. 95608, Jan. 21, 1997)
Forestry) • Where a certificate of title
covers a portion of land
Mineral lands: within the area reserved for
- Mineral land means any area where park purposes, the title
mineral resources are found. should be annuled with
- Mineral lands and resources are respect to that portion.
owned by the State and their (Palomo v. CA, 266 SCRA 392)
exploration, development and • For instance, the Tiwi
utilization is subject to the full Hot Spring National
control and supervisions of the State. Park cannot be
(Republic vs. CA and Dela Rosa) disposed of under the
- Possession of mineral land, no Public Land Act or
matter how long, does not confer Property Registration
possessory rights. (Atok Big Wedge Decree.
vs. CA)

Military or naval reservation:  Foreshore lands:

- Land inside a military (or naval) – A foreshore land is that “strip
reservation, like the Fort Bonifacio of land that lies between the
Military Reservation, cannot be the high and low water marks and
object of registration unless it had that is alternately wet and dry
been withdrawn from the according to the flow of the
reservation and declared as A and D tide,“ or "that part of the land
land. adjacent to the sea which is
- It remains part of a military alternately covered and left
reservation even if incidentally it is dry by the ordinary flow of
the tides.” Foreshore lands

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
are inalienable unless reclaimed from the sea can
declared to be A and D these submerged areas be
portions of the public classified as agricultural
domain. (Republic v. RREC, lands.
299 SCRA 199) – Once reclaimed the
– Land invaded by the sea is government may then
foreshore land and becomes officially classify these lands
part of the public domain. as A and D, and declare these
(Republic v. CA and Morato, lands no longer needed for
281 SCRA 639) public service. Only then can
these lands be considered as
A and D lands and within the
• Puno, J., concurring opinion in commerce of men. (Chavez v.
Republic v. RREC: PEA, 384 SCRA 152)
– “The CCP is a ‘non-municipal  Lakes:
public corporation’ – Lakes are neither agricultural
established for the primary nor disposable lands of the
purpose of propagating arts public domain; hence, free
and culture in the Philippines. patents and certificates of
It was created to awaken the title covering portions of the
consciousness of the Filipino lake are a nullity.
people to their artistic and – But areas beyond its natural
cultural heritage, and bed, or the ground covered
encourage them to assist in by the waters at their highest
its preservation, promotion, ordinary depth during the dry
enhancement and season, may be registered.
development. The CCP (Republic v. CA and De Rio,
Complex was established as a 131 SCRA 532)
worthy venue for Filipino
artists to express their art and  Protected areas:
for the people to appreciate • RA No. 7586 provides for the
art and the Filipino culture. establishment and
But more than its peso and management of a national
centavo significance, the integrated protected areas
Decision and Amended system referred to as the
Decision, unless reversed, will “National Integrated
deal arts and culture a Protected Areas System Act
debilitating blow.” of 1992.”
• Protected areas are
 Reclaimed lands: necessary to maintain
– Submerged areas form part of essential ecological processes
the public domain; only when and life-support systems, to

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
preserve genetic diversity, to continuous, exclusive
ensure sustainable use of and notorious
resources found therein. possession and
• A protected area, like the occupation (OCENCO)
Bataan Natural Park, is of the land, under a
inalienable. bona fide claim of

• Who may apply? • Tersely put, under Section 14 (1) of

• Under Sec. 14(1) PD 1529, the property in question is
– “Those who by themselves or alienable and disposable land of the
their predecessors-in-interest public domain; the applicant by
have been in open, himself or through his predecessors-
continuous, exclusive and in-interest have been in open,
notorious possession and continuous, exclusive and notorious
occupation of alienable and possession and occupation thereto;
disposable lands of the public and such possession is under a bona
domain under a bona fide fide claim of ownership since June
claim of ownership since June 12, 1945, or earlier. (Republic v. Alba,
12, 1945, or earlier.” GR No. 169710, Aug. 19, 2015).
• Requisites • In Republic v. Alconaba (G.R.
• The applicant must be No. 155012, April 14, 2004), it
a Filipino citizen. was explained that the intent
• The land must be an behind the law's use of the
agricultural land, terms possession and
already classified as occupation is to emphasize
alienable and the need for actual and not
disposable (A and D) just constructive or fictional
land at the time of the possession
filing of the • Campos v. Republic, GR No. 184371,
application March 5, 2014, stresses:
(Malabanan v. CA, GR • “We emphasize that since the
No. 179987, April 29, effectivity of P.D. No. 1073 13
2009, Sept. 3, 2013; on January 25, 1977, it must
Mercado v. Valley be shown that possession and
Mountain Mines, GR occupation of the land sought
No. 141019, Nov. 23, to be registered by the
2011) applicant himself or through
• Applicant must have his predecessors-in-interest,
been in open, started on June 12, 1945 or

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
earlier, which totally (Bienvenido v. Gabriel, GR
conforms to the requirement No. 175763, April 11, 2012)
under Section 14 (1) of P.D.
No 1529. A mere showing of
possession and occupation • Under Sec. 14(2)
for thirty (30) years or more is – “Those who have acquired
no longer sufficient.” ownership of private lands by
• Rationale for the rule that the land prescription under the
need be classified as A and D already provisions of existing laws”
at the time the application is filed: • Rule on prescription:
• “If the State, at the time the – Ordinary prescription – 10
application is made, has not years in good faith
yet deemed it proper to – Extraordinary prescription –
release the property for 30 years
alienation or disposition, the – But land must be patrimonial
presumption is that the property for prescription to
government is still reserving apply. (Malabanan v.
the right to utilize the Republic, supra)
property; hence, the need to • Lands of the public domain shall
preserve its ownership in the form part of the patrimonial
State irrespective of the property of the State when there is
length of adverse possession a declaration that:
even in good faith.” – These lands are alienable or
disposable, and
• Possession is - – Are no longer intended for
– Open when it is patent, public use or public service.
visible, apparent, notorious – Only when such lands have
and not clandestine; become patrimonial can the
– Continuous when prescriptive period for the
uninterrupted, unbroken and acquisition of the property
not intermittent or begin to run. (Malabanan v.
occasional; CA, supra; Republic v.
– Exclusive when the adverse Espinosa, GR No. 171514, July
possessor can show exclusive 18, 2012)
dominion over the land and
an appropriation of it to his • The Court in Republic v. Sese, GR No.
own use and benefit; and 185092, June 4, 2014, explicated:
– Notorious when it is so – “The applicant must be able
conspicuous that it is to show that the State, in
generally known and talked addition to the said
of by the public or the people classification, expressly
in the neighborhood. declared through either a law

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
enacted by Congress or a classified as alienable and
proclamation issued by the disposable at the time the
President that the subject application is filed.
land is no longer retained for • Under Sec. 14(2), there must
public service or the be proof that the land had
development of the national already been converted to
wealth or that the property patrimonial property (no
has been converted into longer intended for public
patrimonial. Consequently, service or the development of
without an express the national wealth) at the
declaration by the State, the start of possession. (Republic
land remains to be a property v. Zuburban Realty, GR No.
of public dominion and, 164408, March 24, 2014)
hence, not susceptible to • Under Sec. 14(3)
acquisition by virtue of • “Those who have acquired
prescription.” ownership of private lands or
abandoned river beds by right
• Concept of possession for purposes of accession or accretion
of prescription under the existing laws.”
• Possession must be that of • Ownership of abandoned river beds
owner, and it must be public, by right of accession:
peaceful and uninterrupted. • Under Article 461 of the Civil
Acts of a possessory character Code, river beds which are
by virtue of a license or mere abandoned through the
tolerance are not sufficient. natural change in the course
• The present possessor may of the waters ipso facto
complete the period for belong to the owners whose
prescription by tacking his lands are occupied by the
possession to that of his new course in proportion to
grantor or predecessor-in- the area lost. However, the
interest. owners of the adjoining lands
• It is presumed that the shall have the right to acquire
present possessor who was the same by paying the value
also the possessor at a thereof. The reason is that
previous time has continued they are in the best position
to be in possession during the to utilize the old river bed
intervening time. which is adjacent to their
• Distinction between Sec. 14(1) and property.
Sec. 14(2): • The owners of the affected lands
• Under Sec. 14(1), there must may not compel the government to
be proof showing that the restore the river to its former bed,
land had already been nor can they restrain the

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
government from taking steps to accretion which they
revert the river or stream to its gradually receive from the
former courts. effects of the current of the
• But the owners may waters. Justification:
themselves undertake the • To offset the owner’s
reversion of the river to its loss for possible
original course, but upon a erosion of his land due
permit issued by the to the current of the
government. (Art. 58, PD river;
1067, Water Code) • To compensate him
• The ownership of the for his burdens arising
abandoned river bed is from the subjection of
transferred ipso facto to the his land to
owners whose lands are encumbrances or
occupied by the new course legal easements; and
of the river “to compensate • Owner is in the best
for the loss of the land position to cultivate it.
occupied by the new bed.” (Cortex v. City of
• Requisites for the application of Art. Manila, 10 Phil. 567)
461: • The owner must register the
• The change must be sudden accretion under the Torrens system,
in order that the old river may otherwise the alluvial property may
be identified; be subject to acquisition through
• The change of the course prescription by third persons.
must be more or less (Grande v. Court of Appeals, 5 SCRA
permanent, and not 524)
temporary overflooding of • The increment does not
another’s land. automatically become registered
• The change of the river must land just because the lot which
be a natural one, i.e., caused receives such accretion is covered by
by natural forces (and not by a Torrens title. It must be placed
artificial means) under the operation of the Torrens
• There must be a definite system. (Cureg v. IAC, 177 SCRA 313)
abandonment by the
government; • Requisites for the application Art.
• The river must continue to 457:
exist, i.e., it must not • That the deposit be gradual
completely disappear. and imperceptible;
• Ownership by right of accretion • That it be made through the
• Under Art. 457, CC, to the effects of the current of the
owners of land adjoining the water; and
banks of rivers belong the

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
• That the land where accretion - In Republic, rep. by the Mindanao
takes place is adjacent to the Medical Center v. Court of Appeals
banks of rivers. (GR No. L-40912, Sept. 30, 1976), the
In the absence of evidence that the change SC held that Proclamation No. 350
in the course of the river was sudden or that legally effected a land grant for
it occurred through avulsion, the medical purposes to the Mindanao
presumption is that the change was gradual Medical Center validly sufficient for
and caused by accretion and erosion initial registration under the Land
Registration Act.
Alluvial formation along the seashore is
part of the public domain and, therefore, What and where to file
not open to acquisition by adverse - The application for land registration
possession. shall be filed with the RTC of the
“Art. 4. Lands added to the shore by province or city where the land is
accretion and alluvial deposits caused by the situated. The applicant shall file
action of the sea, form part of the public together with the application all
domain. When they are no longer washed by original muniments of titles or copies
the waters of the sea, and are not necessary thereof and a survey plan of the land
for purposes of public utility, or for the approved by the Lands Management
establishment of special industries, or for Bureau. (Sec. 17, PD 1529)
the coast-guard service, the Government - An application may include two or
may declare them to be the property of the more parcels of land belonging to the
owners of the estate adjacent thereto and as applicant/s provided they are
an increment thereof.” (Spanish Law of situated within the same province or
Waters) city. (Sec. 18, ibid.)

• Until a formal declaration by the Amendments

government, through the executive - Amendments to the application
or legislature, that the alluvial including joinder, substitution, or
formation is no longer needed for discontinuance as to parties may be
coast guard service, for public use or allowed by the court at any stage of
for special industries, the same the proceedings upon just and
continues to be part of the public reasonable terms.
domain not available for private - Amendments which shall consist in a
appropriation of ownership. substantial change in the boundaries
• The land is not subject to ordinary or an increase in area of the land
prescription as it is outside the applied for or which involve the
sphere of commerce. inclusion of an additional land shall
Under Sec. 14(4) be subject to the same requirements
- “Those who have acquired of publication and notice as in an
ownership of land in any other original application. (Sec. 19, ibid.)
manner provided for by law.”

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
REGUSTRATION March 18, 2015)

Dealings with land pending original

- After the filing of the application and PUBLIC LAND ACT (CA 141)
before the issuance of the decree of
registration, the land may still be the Who may apply
subject of dealings in whole or in - “Those who by themselves or
part, in which case the interested through their predecessors in
party shall present to the court the interest have been in open,
pertinent instruments together with continuous, exclusive, and notorious
a subdivision plan approved by the possession and occupation of
Director of Lands in case of transfer alienable and disposable lands of the
of portions thereof, and the court, public domain, under a bona fide
after notice to the parties, shall order claim of acquisition of ownership,
such land registered subject to the since June 12, 1945, except when
conveyance or encumbrance created prevented by war or force majeure.
by said instruments, or order that the These shall be conclusively presumed
decree of registration be issued in to have performed all the conditions
the name of the person to whom the essential to a Government grant and
property has been conveyed by said shall be entitled to a certificate of
instruments. (Sec. 22, ibid.) title under the provisions of this
Sec. 22 of PD 1529 allows the disposition of chapter.” (Sec. 48[b], CA 141)
lands subject matter of a registration No material differences between Sec. 14(1)
proceeding and the subsequent registration of PD No. 1529 and Sec. 48(b) of CA No. 141
thereof in the name of the person to whom - While the Public Land Act (PLA) refers
the land was conveyed. to “agricultural lands of the public
- The buyer of the property may be a domain” and the Property
total stranger to the case and it is not Registration Decree (PRD) refers to
even required for him to substitute “alienable and disposable lands of
the original applicant in order that the public domain,” the subject lands
the decree of registration may be are of the same type since under the
issued in his name. Constitution, alienable lands of the
- The only requirements are: (1) that public domain shall be limited to
the instrument be presented to the agricultural lands.
court by the interested party
together with a motion that the same Sec. 14(1), PD 1529
be considered in relation with the - “Those who by themselves or
application; and (2) that prior notice through their predecessors-in-
be given to the parties to the case. interest have been in open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
possession and occupation of municipality/city. (Sec. 3,
alienable and disposable lands of the RAQ 10023)
public domain under a bona fide
claim of ownership since June 12,
1945, or earlier.” • The CENRO is mandated to process
the application within one hundred
Sec. 48(b), CA 141 and twenty (120) days to include
- “Those who by themselves or compliance with the required notices
through their predecessors in and other legal requirements, and
interest have been in the open, forward his recommendation to the
continuous, exclusive, and notorious Provincial Environment and Natural
possession and occupation of Resources Office (PENRO), who shall
agricultural lands of the public have five (5) days to approve or
domain, under a bona fide claim of disapprove the patent. In case of
acquisition or ownership, except as approval, patent shall be issued; in
against the Government, since June case of conflicting claims among
12, 1945.” different claimants, the parties may
seek the proper judicial remedies.
RA No. 10023, dated March 9, 2010, (Sec. 6, ibid.)
authorizes issuance of a free patent title to • The restrictions regarding
residential lands subject to the following encumbrances, conveyances,
(maximum) area limitations: transfers or dispositions imposed in
– (1) Highly urbanized Sections 118, 119, 121, 122 and 123
cities, 200 square meters of Chapter XIII, Title VI of
– (2) Other cities, 500 Commonwealth Act No. 141, as
square meters amended, shall not apply to patents
– (3) Municipalities (first issued under this Act. (Sec. 5, RA
and 10023)
second class), 750 square
meters Developments in the law as to
– (4) All other possession
municipalities, 1,000 square • The first PLA, or Act 926,
meters required a possession and
– Land must be within a occupation for a period of ten
residential zone, covered by a (10) years prior to the
survey plan approved by the effectivity of Act No. 2874 on
DENR, and actually July 26, 1904 or on July 26,
possessed and occupied by 1894.
the applicant for at least ten • The 10-years possession was
(10) years as shown by the adopted in the PLA until it
affidavits of residents of the was amended by RA 1942 on
June 22, 1957 which required

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
possession for thirty (30) The capacity to acquire private land is made
years. dependent upon the capacity to acquire or
• But with the effectivity of PD hold lands of the public domain.
1073 on May 9, 1977, – Private land may be
possession and occupation transferred or conveyed only
should now commence on to individuals or entities
June 12, 1945. (Rep. v. East "qualified to acquire lands of
Silverlane, GR No. 186961, the public domain." The 1987
Feb. 20, 2012; Rep. v. Constitution reserved the
Espinosa, GR No. 171514, July right to participate in the
18, 2012) disposition, exploitation,
development and utilization
But PD 1073 cannot impair vested rights of lands of the public domain
• Vested rights acquired under for Filipino citizens or
Sec. 48(b) of the PLA (as corporations at least 60
amended by RA 1942) must percent of the capital of
be respected. which is owned by Filipinos.
• Thus, an applicant who, prior Aliens, whether individuals or
to the effectivity of PD 1973 corporations, have been
on May 9, 1977 (not Jan. 25, disqualified from acquiring
1977), has been in OCENPO, public lands; hence, they
for at least 30 years, or at have also been disqualified
least since May 8, 1947, as from acquiring private lands.
required under RA 1942, may
apply for judicial On the basis of their capacity “to acquire or
confirmation of imperfect or holds lands of the public domain,” the
incomplete title under. following may acquire private lands:
(Fortuna v. v. Republic, GR • Filipino citizens
No. 173423, March 5, 2014) • Filipino corporations and
• The Court however clarified associations, 60% of whose
in La Tondena, Inc. v. Republic capital are owned by Filipinos
that only applications for • Aliens by hereditary
registration filed prior to succession
1977 may invoke RA No. • A natural born citizen who
1942. (GR No. 194617, Aug. 5, has lost his citizenship may be
2015) transferee of private lands
subject to area limitations
REQUIREMENT • Aliens are disqualified from
acquiring public and private
lands. (Hulst v. PR Builders,
Inc., GR No. 156364, Sept. 3,

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
2007; Krivenko v. RD, 79 Phil. lands, subject to limitations
461) provided by law. (Sec. 8, Ibid)
The capacity to own land is determined at Area limitations
the time of its acquisition and not • For business or other
registration. purposes (RA 7042 as
• Example: Pedro, a Filipino, amended by RA 8179)
bought land with an area of 5 • Urban land – 5,000
has. from Jose who at the square meters
time of the sale had already • Rural land – 3
complied with the hectares.
requirements for • For residence
registration. Pedro later purposes (BP 185)
became a naturalized • Urban land –
Canadian citizen. 1,000 square
• Pedro’s subsequent meters
acquisition of Canadian • Rural land – 1
citizenship will not impair his hectare
vested right to the land which
he could have validly Private corporations not qualified
registered when he was yet a - “Private corporations or associations
Filipino citizen. He is also may not hold (such) alienable lands
qualified under the terms of of the public domain except by lease,
Sec. 8, Art. XII, Constitution. for a period not exceeding 25 years,
(Republic v. CA and Lapiña, renewable for not more than 25
235 SCRA 567) years, and not to exceed 1,000
Constitutional provisions hectares in area.” (Sec. 3, Art. XII,
• Save in cases of hereditary Constitution)
succession, no private lands Reason: to encourage economic family-sized
shall be transferred or farms by transferring ownership of only a
conveyed except to limited area of alienable lands of the public
individuals, corporations, ort domain to a qualified individual. Available
associations qualified to lands are decreasing due to increasing
acquire or hold lands of the population.
public domain. (Sec. 7, Art.
XII) But the rule does not apply where at the
• Notwithstanding the time the corporation acquired the land, the
provisions of Section 7 of this same was already private land as when it
Article, a natural-born citizen was possessed by its predecessor in the
of the Philippines who has manner and for such length of time as to
lost his Philippine citizenship entitle the latter to registration.
may be a transferee of private - If the predecessors-in-interest of the
corporation have been in possession

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
of the land in question since June 12, and defend the Constitution of the
1945, or earlier, then it may rightfully Republic of the Philippines and obey
apply for confirmation of title to the the laws and legal orders
land. That vested right has to be promulgated by the duly constituted
respected. (Republic v. Intermediate authorities of the Philippines, and I
Appellate Court and ACME, 146 SCRA hereby declare that I recognize and
509) accept the supreme authority of the
Philippines and will maintain true
Corporation sole faith and allegiance thereto; and that
• A corporation sole is vested I impose this obligation upon myself
with the right to hold real voluntarily without mental
estate and personal property. reservation or purpose of evasion."
(Roman Catholic Apostolic v.
LRC, 102 Phil. 596) But natural-born citizens of the Philippines
• It is created not only to who, after the effectivity of the Act,
administer the temporalities become citizens of a foreign country shall
of the church or religious “retain” their Philippine citizenship upon
society where the taking the aforesaid oath
administrator (bishop or • Those who retain or re-
archbishop) belongs but also acquire Philippine citizenship
to hold and transmit the same under the Act shall enjoy full
to his successor in office. civil and political rights and be
• Upon the death of the subject to all attendant
administrator, church liabilities and responsibilities
properties pass, by operation under existing laws of the
of law, not to his heirs but to Philippines. (Sec. 5)
his successor in office. Is a former Filipino who became a citizen of
a foreign country, and who buys property
CITIZENSHIP RETENTION AND RE- after having “re-acquired” his Philippine
ACQUISITION ACT (RA. NO. 9225) citizenship, bound by the area limitations
under the law?
Retention of Philippine citizenship • Facts:
- Under Sec. 3 of the Act, natural-born • Pedro, a natural born Filipino,
citizens of the Philippines who have became a Canadian citizen
lost their Philippine citizenship by before the effectivity of RA
reason of their naturalization as 9225 on August 29, 2003. On
citizens of a foreign country are April 12, 2007, he filed a
deemed to have “re-acquired” Miscellaneous Sales
Philippine citizenship upon taking the Application (MSA) over the
oath of allegiance: subject land with the CENRO,
- "I _________________, solemnly representing himself as a
swear (or affirm) that I will support Filipino citizen when he was

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
in fact already a Canadian the land in the hands of Filipino citizens.
citizen. Pedro re-acquired his (Phil. Banking Corp. v. Lui She, 21 SCRA 52;
Filipino citizenship under RA Borromeo v. Descallar, 580 SCA 175; United
9225 only on Oct. 11, 2007. Church v. Sebastian, 159 SCRA 446)
He was therefore charged Note: In Rellosa v. Gaw Chee Hun, 93 Phil.
with falsification of public 827, the Filipino vendor was in pari delicto
documents. He defense is with the alien vendee, hence, recovery was
that since he is deemed to not allowed.
have “re-acquired” his
Philippine citizenship under Other illustrative cases on acquisition by
said law, he could not be held aliens
criminally liable for - Where the land was now in the hands
falsification. of a naturalized Filipino, there is no
Issue: Is Pedro’s defense valid? more public policy to be served by
Ruling: allowing recovery. (Barsobia v.
- No. The law distinguishes between Cuenco , 199 Phil. 26),
those natural-born Filipinos who - Where land is sold to a Chinese who
became foreign citizens before and later sold it to a Filipino, the sale can
after the effectivity of RA 9225 in no longer be impugned. (Herrera v.
2003. For those who were Guan, 1 SCRA 406).
naturalized in a foreign country - Chuck, an American, and Cory, a
before 2003, they shall be deemed to Filipino, acquired land which was
have “re-acquired” their Philippine registered in the latter’s name. Cory
citizenship (which was deemed lost sold the land to Mario without
pursuant to CA 63). But for those who Chuck’s consent. Valid? Yes. Chuck
became foreign citizens after RA never acquired any right to the land,
9225 took effect, they shall “retain” he being an alien. (Cheesman v. IAC,
Philippine citizenship if they took the 193 SCRA 93)
oath of allegiance under the new law. - Ting Ho, a Chinese citizen, acquired a
Here, Pedro filed his MSA on April 12, parcel of land, with the
2007, or before he re-acquired his improvements thereon. Upon his
Philippine citizenship. (David v. death, his heirs claimed the
Agbay, GR No. 199113, March 18, properties as part of the estate of
2015) their deceased father. The Court,
however, excluded the land and
Q. Can a Filipino vendor recover land sold to improvements from the estate of
an alien? Ting Ho, being an alien, because he
A. Yes. When an agreement is not illegal per never became the owner thereof.
se but is merely prohibited and the (Ting Ho. v. Teng Gui, GR No. 130115,
prohibition is designed for the protection of July 16, 2008)
the plaintiff, he may recover the land, the - Petitioner, an Australian, was
public policy being to preserve and maintain married to Teresita Santos; while

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
respondent, a Filipina, was married filed suit to annul the lease contract.
to Klaus Muller. Petitioner and Is a lease agreement of a parcel of
respondent met and cohabited in a land entered into by a Filipino wife
common-law relationship, during (Jocelyn) without the consent of her
which petitioner acquired real British husband (Benjamin) valid?
properties; but since he was an - The Court held that Benjamin, being
alien, respondent's name appeared an alien, has no right to nullify the
as the vendee in the deeds of sale. agreement. No implied trust was
When their relationship turned sour, created in his favor; nor can
petitioner filed an action for the reimbursement for his expenses be
recovery of the real properties from allowed. (Matthews v. Taylor, GR No.
respondent. 164584, June22, 2009)
- The Court denied his petition
because he was an alien, adding that May the RD validly refuse to register a deed
being a party to an illegal contract, he of donation of a residential land executed
could not come to court and ask to by a Filipino in favor of an unregistered
have his illegal objective carried out. organization, the “Ung Sui Si Temple,”
(Frenzel v. Catito, 453 Phil. 885) operating through three trustees all of
- Elena, a Filipino, and Helmut, a Chinese nationality?
German, were married in Germany. - Yes. The SC, in Register of Deeds v.
During their marriage, Helmut Ung Sui Si temple, GR No. L-6776,
purchased a parcel of land in May 21, 1995, held that Sec. 5, Title
Antipolo City which was registered in XIII of the 1935 Constitution (now
Elena’s name. They eventually Sec. 8, Art. XII, 1987 Constitution)
separated, prompting Helmut to file that, “save in cases of hereditary
a petition for separation of property. succession, no private agricultural
Specifically, Helmut prayed for land shall be transferred except to
reimbursement of the money he individuals, corporations or
paid for the acquisition of the associations qualified to acquire or
property. hold lands of the public domain,” the
- The Court ruled that Helmut being an Constitution makes no exception to
alien, he was prohibited from owning religious groups.
land in the Philippines. (Muller v.
Muller, G.R. No. 149615, August 29, EVIDENCE OF OWNERSHIP
- In 1988, Benjamin married Joselyn, The application for original registration
17-year-old Filipina. During their must be accompanied by:
marriage, Joselyn bought a lot for (1) CENRO or PENRO Certification
P129,000. The sale was financed by that land is A and D; and
Benjamin. Meantime, Jocelyn leased (2) Copy of the original classification
the property to Matthew without approved by the DENR Secretary and
Benjamin’s consent; hence, the latter certified as a true copy by the legal custodian

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
thereof. (Republic v. Bantigue, GR No. classification map and the particular
162322, March 14, 2012; Republic v. Dela issuance or order which was used as basis
Paz, GR No. 171631, Nov. 5, 2010; Republic for such classification.”
v. T.A.N, 555 SCRA 477)
Note: In Gaerlan v. Republic, GR No. 192717, DENR level of authority on land
March 12, 2014, the Court held that the classification
CENRO/PENRO certification is not sufficient - Secretary: Land classification and
evidence of the facts stated therein). release of lands of the public domain
as alienable and disposable (A and D)
In Republic v. Aboitiz, GR No. 174626, Oct. - Secretary: Sub-classification of forest
23, 2013, the Court emphasized: lands according to use
- “Strangely, the Court cannot find any - PENRO: Issuance of certificate
evidence to show the subject land's whether timber land or A and D –
alienable and disposable character, above 50.0 has.
except for a CENRO certification - CENRO: Issuance of certificate
submitted by Aboitiz. x x x In Republic whether timber land or A and D –
v. Hanover Worldwide Trading below 50.0 has.
Corporation, the Court declared that
the CENRO is not the official Identity of the land
repository or legal custodian of the - Land must be surveyed to establish
issuances of the DENR Secretary its identity, location and area. Only
declaring the alienability and the LMB Director may approve
disposability of public lands. Thus, survey plans for original registration
the CENRO Certification should be purposes. (PD 239, July 9, 1973)
accompanied by an official - There is now no need to present the
publication of the DENR Secretary's tracing cloth plan of the land. A
issuance declaring the land alienable certified blue print or white print
and disposable.” copy of the plan suffices for
registration purposes. (Director of
Policy clarification by DENR Memorandum Lands v. CA and Iglesia ni Cristo, 158
No. 564, dated Nov. 15, 2012 SCRA 586)
- The DENR clarified that “the issuance
of the certification and the certified Rule in determining area in case of
copy of the approved LC Map to conflict
prove that the area applied for is - What defines a piece of titled
indeed classified as A and D is within property is not the numerical data
the competence and jurisdiction of indicated as the area of the land, but
the CENRO.” the boundaries or "metes and
Note: A separate administrative order was bounds" of the property specified in
issued “delegating to the CENRO the its technical description as enclosing
authority to issue the certification and the it and showing its limits. (Rep. v. CA
certified true copy of the approved land

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
and Santos, GR No. 116111, Jan. 21, - for coconuts trees, to begin bearing
1969, 301 SCRA 366). fruit. (Republic v. CA and Chavez, 167
- What defines a piece of land is not SCRA 150)
the area, calculated with more or less
certainty mentioned in the Rule of preference in case of conflict of
description, but the boundaries possession
therein laid down, as enclosing the - The present possessor shall be
land and indicating its limits. preferred;
(Balantakbo v. CA, GR No. 108515, - If there two possessors, the one
Oct. 16, 1995) longer in possession;
- If the dates of the possession are the
Possession and occupation same, the one who presents a title;
- Possession must be under a claim of and
ownership. - If both possessors have titles, the
- Acts of a possessory character by one court shall determine the rightful
who holds the property by mere possessor and owner of the land.
tolerance of the owner is not in the (Art. 538, CC)
concept of owner, and do not start Mere possession will not defeat the title of a
the period of prescription. holder of registered land. (Eduarte v. CA, 253
- Actual possession consists of acts of SCRA 391)
dominion of such a nature as a party
would naturally exercise over his Tax declarations and tax receipts
own property - Tax declarations and tax receipts are
- Occupation delimits the all- not conclusive evidence of
encompassing effect of constructive ownership but they are a good indicia
possession. of possession in the concept of
owner. (Llanes v. Republic, 572 SCA
Overt acts of possession may consist in: 258) A tax declaration merely prove
- Introducing valuable improvements payment of taxes.
on the land like fruit-bearing trees; - But when coupled with actual
- Fencing the area possession, payment of taxes is
- Constructing a residential house evidence of great weight and can be
thereon; and the basis of a claim of ownership
- Declaring the land for taxation through prescription. (Republic v.
purposes. Alconaba, 427 SCRA 611)
- In a practical and scientific way of - Taxes must be paid annually.
planting, a one-hectare land can be
planted to 144 coconut trees. Spanish titles no longer efficacious as proof
- It takes only 10 years for mango trees of ownership
, and 5 years - Pursuant to PD No. 892, dated Feb.
16, 1976, Spanish titles may no

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
longer be used as evidence of land domain for public or quasi-public
ownership use.
- The proliferation of dubious Spanish
titles have raised conflicting claims of The application for original registration
ownership and tended to destabilize must be accompanied by:
the Torrens system of registration. (1) CENRO or PENRO Certification
- Case study: Intestate Estate of Don that land is A and D; and
Mariano San Pedro y Esteban v. Court (2) Copy of the original classification
of Appeals, 265 SCRA 733. approved by the DENR Secretary and
certified as a true copy by the legal custodian
HEARING thereof. (Republic v. Bantigue, GR No.
162322, March 14, 2012; Republic v. Dela
Hearing Paz, GR No. 171631, Nov. 5, 2010; Republic
- The court shall decide the case within v. T.A.N, 555 SCRA 477)
90 days from its submission.
- The court may refer the case or part Policy clarification by DENR Memorandum
thereof to a referee who shall submit No. 564, dated Nov. 15, 2012
his report to the court within 15 days - The issuance of the certification and
after its termination. the certified copy of the approved LC
- Applications for registration shall be Map to prove that the area applied
heard by the regional trial court or, in for is indeed classified as A and D is
proper cases, by the first level courts. “within the competence and
- The applicant must show, by “well- jurisdiction of the CENRO.”
nigh incontro- vertible proof,” and - A separate administrative order has
even in the absence of opposition, been issued “delegating to the
that he is the absolute owner of the CENRO the authority to issue the
land. certification and the certified true
copy of the approved land
EVIDENCE OF OWNERSHIP classification map and the particular
issuance or order which was used as
Proof that land is A and D basis for such classification.”
- Certification of the BFD that land has
been released as A and D DENR level of authority on land
- LC Map showing that the land is classification
within the A and D portion of the o Secretary: Land classification
public domain and release of lands of the
- Executive proclamation withdrawing public domain as alienable
a specific portion from a reservation and disposable (A and D)
and declaring same open for o Secretary: Sub-classification
disposition. of forest lands according to
- Legislative or executive proclamation use
reserving a portion of the public

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
o PENRO: Issuance of or the DENR — to act as
certificate whether timber commissioner.
land or A and D – above 50.0 - Survey is the process by which a
has. parcel of land is measured and its
o CENRO: Issuance of boundaries and contents
certificate whether timber ascertained; also a map, plat or
land or A and D – below 50.0 statement of the result of such
has. survey, with the courses and
distances and the quantity of the
Identity of the land land.
- Land must be surveyed to establish - A case of overlapping of boundaries
its identity, location and area. Only or encroachment depends on a
the LMB Director may approve reliable, if not accurate, verification
survey plans for original registration survey. (Pabaus v. Yutiamco, GR No.
purposes. (PD 239, July 9, 1973) 164356, July 27, 2011)
- There is now no need to present the
tracing cloth plan of the land. A Possession and occupation
certified blue print or white print - Possession must be under a claim of
copy of the plan suffices for ownership.
registration purposes. (Director of - Acts of a possessory character by one
Lands v. CA and Iglesia ni Cristo, 158 who holds the property by mere
SCRA 586) tolerance of the owner is not in the
concept of owner, and do not start
What defines a piece of titled property is the period of prescription.
not the numerical data indicated as the area - Actual possession consists of acts of
of the land, but the boundaries or "metes dominion of such a nature as a party
and bounds" of the property specified in its would naturally exercise over his
technical description as enclosing it and own property
showing its limits. (Rep. v. CA and Santos, GR - Occupation delimits the all-
No. 116111, Jan. 21, 1969, 301 SCRA 366). encompassing effect of constructive
- What defines a piece of land is not possession.
the area, calculated with more or less
certainty mentioned in the Rule of preference in case of conflict of
description, but the boundaries possession
therein laid down, as enclosing the - The present possessor shall be
land and indicating its limits. preferred;
(Balantakbo v. CA, GR No. 108515, - If there two possessors, the one
Oct. 16, 1995) longer in possession;
- In overlapping of titles disputes, it - If the dates of the possession are the
has always been the practice for the same, the one who presents a title;
court to appoint a surveyor from the and
government land agencies — the LRA

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
- If both possessors have titles, the - 7) when the findings are contrary to
court shall determine the rightful the trial court; (8) when the findings
possessor and owner of the land. are conclusions without citation of
(Art. 538, CC) specific evidence on which they are
Mere possession will not defeat the title of a based; (9) when the facts set forth in
holder of registered land. (Eduarte v. CA, 253 the petition as well as in the
SCRA 391) petitioner’s main and reply briefs are
not disputed by the respondent; (10)
Overt acts of possession may consist in: when the findings of fact are
- Introducing valuable improvements premised on the supposed absence
on the land like fruit-bearing trees; of evidence and contradicted by
- Fencing the area the evidence on record; and (11)
- Constructing a residential house when the CA manifestly overlooked
thereon; and certain relevant facts not disputed by
- Declaring the land for taxation the parties, which if properly
purposes. considered, would justify a different
In a practical and scientific way of planting, a conclusion. (Tyson’s Super Concrete
one-hectare land can be planted to 144 v. CA, 461 SCRA 69)
coconut trees.
Tax declarations and tax receipts
It takes only 10 years for mango trees , and 5 - Tax declarations and tax receipts are
years for coconuts trees, to begin bearing not conclusive evidence of
fruit. Republic v. CA and Chavez, 167 SCRA ownership but they are a good indicia
150) of possession in the concept of
owner. (Llanes v. Republic, 572 SCA
Supreme Court is not a trier of facts; 258) A tax declaration merely prove
exceptions: payment of taxes.
- (1) when the findings are grounded - When coupled with actual
entirely on speculation, surmises or possession, payment of taxes is
conjectures; (2) when the inference evidence of great weight and can be
made is manifestly mistaken, absurd the basis of a claim of ownership
or impossible; (3) when there is grave through prescription. (Republic v.
abuse of discretion; (4) when the Alconaba, 427 SCRA 611)
judgment is based on a - Taxes must be paid annually.
misapprehension of facts; (5) when
the findings of facts are conflicting; Spanish titles no longer efficacious as proof
(6) when in making its findings the CA of ownership
went beyond the issues of the case, - Pursuant to PD No. 892, dated Feb.
or its findings are contrary to the 16, 1976, Spanish titles may no
admissions of both the appellant and longer be used as evidence of land
the appellee; ownership

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
- The proliferation of dubious Spanish thing.(Muñoz v. Yabut, GR No.
titles have raised conflicting claims of 142676, June 6, 2011)
ownership and tended to destabilize
the Torrens system of registration. Motion for execution of judgment not
- Case study: Intestate Estate of Don required
Mariano San Pedro y Esteban v. Court - Upon finality of judgment in land
of Appeals, 265 SCRA 733. registration cases, the winning party
does not file a motion for execution
JUDGMENT as in ordinary civil actions. Instead,
he files a petition with the land
The judgment confirms the title of the registration court for the issuance of
applicant or the oppositor. Partial judgment an order directing the Land
is proper where a subdivision plan is Registration Authority to issue a
submitted. (Sec. 28) decree of registration, a copy of
- Judgment becomes final after 15 which is then sent to the Register of
days from receipt of notice of the Deeds for inscription in the
judgment. registration book, and issuance of
- Court retains jurisdiction until after the original certificate of title.
the entry of the final decree of - The LRA merely issues an order for
registration. (Gomez v CA, 168 SCRA the issuance of a decree of
503) registration and the corresponding
- Principle of res judicata is applicable certificate of title in the name of such
to registration proceedings. (Aring v. applicant. (Top Management
Original, a6 SCRA 1021) Programs Corp. v. Fajardo, GR
No.150462, June 15, 2011)
A judgment in rem is binding upon the
whole world, such as a judgment in a land Execution pending appeal not required
registration case or probate of a will; and a - Execution pending appeal is not
judgment in personam is binding upon the applicable in a land registration
parties and their successors-in-interest but proceeding and the certificate of title
not upon strangers. thereby issued is null and void.
- A judgment directing a party to - A Torrens title issued on the basis of
deliver possession of a property to a judgment that is not final is a
another is in personam. nullity, as it is violative of the explicit
- An action for declaration of nullity of provisions of the Land Registration
title and recovery of ownership of Act which requires that a decree shall
real property, or re-conveyance, is a be issued only after the decision
real action but it is an action in adjudicating the title becomes final
personam, for it only binds the and executory, and it is on the basis
parties impleaded although it of said decree that the Register of
concerns the right to a tangible Deeds concerned issues the

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
corresponding certificate of title. real property, or reconveyance, is a
(Top Management v. Fajardo, supra) real action but it is an action in
personam, for it binds a particular
No period within which decree may be individual only although it concerns
issued the right to a tangible thing. (Muñoz
- The fact that no decree has as yet v. Yabut, GR No. 142676, June 6,
been issued cannot divest the 2011)
applicant of his title to and DECREE OF REGISTRATION
ownership of the land in question.
There is nothing in the law that limits • The decree of registration shall bind
the period within which the court the land and quiet title thereto,
may issue a decree. The reason is that subject to exceptions or liens as may
the judgment is merely declaratory in be provided by law. (Sec. 31, PD No.
character and does not need to be 1529)
enforced against the adverse party. • It shall be conclusive against
(Del Rosario v. Limcaoco, GR No. all persons, including the
177392, Nov. 26, 2012) government and its branches.
- From another perspective, the (Ibid.)
judgment does not have to be • Land becomes registered land
executed by motion or enforced by only upon the transcription of
action within the purview of Rule 39 the decree in the book of the
of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Register of Deeds, and not on
(Republic v. Nillas, GR No. 159595, the date of the issuance of
Jan. 23, 2007) the decree. (Manotok v. CLT
Kinds of judgment GR No. 123346, March 31, 2009
- (1) A judgment in rem is binding upon • Title is deemed issued upon
the whole world, such as a judgment transcription of the decree.
in a land registration case or probate (Manotok Realty v. CLT, 540 SCRA
of a will; (2) a judgment in personam 304)
is binding upon the parties and their • A registration court has no
successors-in-interest but not upon jurisdiction to decree again land
strangers, and (3) a judgment already decreed in a prior case.
directing a party to deliver (Laburada v. LRA, 287 SCRA 333)
possession of a property to another • An application for registration of a
is in personam; it is binding only titled land constitutes a collateral
against the parties and their attack on the existing title. (SM Prime
successors-in-interest by title Holdings v. Madayag, 578 SCRA 552)
subsequent to the commencement
of the action. Maysilo Estate Case – “Land of Caveat
- An action for declaration of nullity of Emptor”
title and recovery of ownership of

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
- Issue: When is a certificate of title 148225, March 3, 2010; Panganiban
deemed registered – the date of the v. Dayrit, 464 SCRA 370)
issuance of the decree of registration - A person dealing with registered land
(April 19, 1917), or the date the need not go beyond, but only has to
decree was transcribed in the Office rely on, the title of his predecessor.
of the RD (May 3, 1917)? (Guaranteed Homes v. Valdez, 577
- Held: The original certificate of title is SCRA 441)
issued on the date the decree of - A certificate of title issued pursuant
registration is transcribed since what to adminis- trative proceedings is as
stands as the certificate is the indefeasible as any title issued
transcript of the decree of through judicial proceedings
registration made by the RD in the provided the land is a disposable
registry. (Manotok v. CLT Realty, 540 public land, and becomes
SCRA 304) incontrovertible one year after the
issuance of the patent. (Republic v.
CERTIFICATE OF TITLE Carle, 105 Phil. 1227)
- A certificate of title based on an
Issuance of decree and cetificate of title emancipation patent under PD No.
- Within 15 days from entry of the 27 also enjoys the same protection as
judgment, the court shall direct the a certificate issued judicially or
LRA Administrator to issue the administratively. (Lonoy v. Sec. of
decree of registration and prepare Agrarian Reform, GR No. 175049,
the original and duplicate certificate Nov. 27, 2008)
of title based thereon. The original
certificate of title, signed by him, STATUTORY LANDS AFFECTING TITLE
shall be a true copy of the decree,
and shall be sent, together with the Every registered owner receiving a
owner’s duplicate, to the Register of certificate of title in pursuance of a decree
Deeds of the city or province where of registration, and every subsequent
the land lies. (Sec. 39, PD 1529) purchaser of registered land taking a
- A certificate of title may be an certificate of title for value and in good
original certificate of title, which faith, shall hold the same free from all
constitutes a true copy of the decree encumbrances except those noted in said
of registration, or a transfer certificate and any of the following
certificate of title, issued subsequent encumbrances which may be subsisting,
to original registration. namely:
- The title serves as evidence of an • First. Liens, claims or rights
indefeasible and incontrovertible arising or existing under the
title one year after the issuance of laws and Constitution which
the decree of registration by the LRA. are not by law required to
(Del Prado v. Caballero, GR No. appear of record in the
Registry of Deeds in order to

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
be valid against subsequent nothing to assert their right of
purchasers or encumbrancers ownership and were barred from
of record. recovering possession of the
• Second. Unpaid real estate property.
taxes levied and assessed - In Agne v. Director of Lands (181
within two years immediately SCRA 7090), the registered owner’s
preceding the acquisition of right to recover possession was lost
any right over the land by an by inaction for almost 30 years.
innocent purchaser for value. - In Golloy v. CA (173 SCRA 26), while
• Third. Any public highway or the lot was registered in the name of
private way established or respondent, petitioners acquired
recognized by law title thereto by possession for 50
• Fourth. Any disposition of the years.
property or limitation on the
use thereof by virtue of, or REGISTERED LAND NOT SUBJECT TO
pursuant to, Presidential COLLATERAL ATTACK
Decree No. 27 or any other
law or regulations on agrarian A certificate of title cannot be altered,
reform. modified or cancelled except in a direct
proceeding filed with the RTC (Sec. 48, PD
REGISTERED LAND NOT SUBJECT TO 1529; Manotok v. Barque, 582 SCRA 583)
PRESCRIPTION - Direct attack: when the object of the
action is to annul or set aside the
“No title to registered land in derogation of judgment, or enjoin its enforcement.
the title of the registered owner shall be - Collateral attack: in an action to
acquired by prescription or adverse obtain a different relief, an attack on
possession.” (Sec. 47, PD 1529) the judgment is nevertheless made
- Title to land once registered, is as an incident thereto.
imprescriptible. It may not be lost by - A direct attack on title is proper in a
adverse, open and notorious counterclaim (Leyson v. Bontuyan,
possession. 452 SCRA 94).
- The right to recover possession of
registered property is equally Collateral attack, illustrative cases
imprescriptible since possession is a o Director of Lands v. Gan Tan
mere consequence of ownership. (89 Phil. 184) - where the
(Repulic v. Mendoza, GR No. 185091, decision of the lower court
Aug. 8, 2010) denying reconstitution
because petitioner is
But a registered owner may be barred from allegedly an alien was
recovering possession by virtue of laches. reversed, the Supreme Court
- In Panganiban v. Gamponia (100 Phil. holding that the issue is a
277), petitioners, for 45 years, did collateral attack on the title

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law
and should be raised only a - No voluntary instrument shall be
direct action. registered by the Register of Deeds,
o Oño v. Lim (614 SCRA 514) – unless the owner's duplicate
where it was held that there certificate is presented with such
is no collateral attack when instrument, x x x.
respondent asserted that the - The production of the owner's
title in the name of duplicate certificate, whenever any
petitioner’s predecessor had voluntary instrument is presented for
become inoperative due to registration, shall be conclusive
the prior conveyance of the authority from the registered owner
land in favor of respondent’s to the Register of Deeds to enter a
mother. new certificate x x x . (Sec. 53, ibid.)



An owner of registered land may convey,

mortgage, lease, or otherwise deal with the
same in accordance with laws.
- He may use such forms of deeds,
mortgages, leases or other voluntary
instruments as are sufficient in law.
But no deed, mortgage, lease, or
other voluntary instrument, except a
will x x x shall take effect as a
conveyance or bind the land, but
shall operate only as a contract
between the parties and as evidence
of authority to the Register of Deeds
to make registration.
- The act of registration shall be the
operative act to convey or affect the
land insofar as third persons are
concerned. (Sec. 51 PD 1529)

Every conveyance, mortgage, lease,

lien, attachment, x x x shall, if registered
in the office of the Register of Deeds, be
constructive notice to all persons from
the time of such registering, filing or
entering. (Sec, 52, ibid.)

Theresiana Llenos
University of Santo Tomas
Faculty of Civil Law