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G.R. No.

L-66807 January 26, 1989 appear for pre-trial; and (2) in holding that res judicata
is an obstacle to the suit.
DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner,
AL, respondents.  Whether or not the subject properties are foreshore
lands, therefore not registerable? (The Court
remanded the case to the court quo for determination)

 About October 11, 1951, defendants filed an
application for registration of their title over a
 WHEREFORE, this case is hereby REMANDED to
parcel of land situated at Linga, Pila, Laguna.
the trial court for further proceedings.
 The Republic opposed the application on the
stereo-typed ground that applicants and their
predecessors have not been in possession of the land
openly, continuously, publicly and adversely under RATIO:
a bona fide claim of ownership since July 26, 1894
and the land has not ceased to be a part of the public  There is no merit in claims that res judicata is an
domain. impediment to reversion of property. In Republic
 Defendants were declared owners of Lot 1 and the v. Court of Appeals, this Court stated:
remaining portion, or Lot 2, was declared public land.
Decree No. N-51479 was entered and Original o ... [a] certificate of title may be ordered
Certificate of Title No. 0- 40 1, was issued in the cancelled (Republic v Animas, et
names of defendants. al., . supra), and the cancellation may be
pursued through an ordinary action therefor.
 In August, 1966, A Civil Case was filed by This action cannot be barred by the prior
defendants to evict the barrio folk occupying judgment of the land registration court, since
portions of the land. On August 8, 1968, judgment the said court had no jurisdiction over the
was rendered in the eviction case ordering the subject matter.
defendants therein to return possession of the  In the case at bar, if the parcel registered in the
premises to herein defendants. names of the private respondents were foreshore
 The foregoing anterior proceedings triggered the land, the land registration court could not have
filing of the instant case. validly awarded title thereto. It would have been
o As prayed for in the complaint, a writ of without the authority to do so. The fact that the
preliminary injunction was issued enjoining Bureau of Lands had failed to appeal from the decree
the Provincial Sheriff of Laguna or his of registration could not have validated the court's
deputies from enforcing the writ of execution. decision, rendered without jurisdiction.
o Despite notice of the pre-trial, Atty. Alejandro
 Property, according to the Civil Code, is either of
A. Ponferada, Special Attorney, Bureau of
public dominion or of private ownership. Property is
Lands, representing plaintiff Republic, did not
appear. of public dominion if it is:
o On July 16, 1971, the court a quo dismissed o (1) ... intended for public use
the complaint. o (2) . . . belong[s] to the State, without being
for public use, and are intended for some
public service or for the development of the
 The Republic filed a motion for reconsideration, was
set for hearing, and finally denied by the court a national wealth.
quo, hence, this appeal.  All other property of the State, it is provided further,
 REPUBLIC’ CONTENTIONS: claims that the decree which is not of the character mentioned in ... article
and title insofar as the 1.42 hectare northwestern [4201, is patrimonial property, meaning to say,
portion on end of Lot 1, Psu-116971, Amd. 2, is property 'open to disposition by the Government, or
concerned, are void ab initio, for the following otherwise, property pertaining to the national domain,
reason(s) (pertinent to our topic): or public lands.
 Property of the public dominion, on the other
o That said l.42 hectare northwestern portion hand, refers to things held by the State by
or end of Lot l, Psu-116971, Amd. 2, like the regalian right. They are things res publicae in
adjoining Lot 2 of the same survey plan nature and hence, incapable of private
containing 2.8421 hectares, had since time appropriation.
immemorial, been foreshore land reached
 Thus, under the present Constitution, [w]ith the
and covered by the waters of the Laguna
de Bay exception of agricultural lands, all other natural
 In its petition, the Republic assails the decision resources shall not be alienated.' Specifically:
insofar as it sustained the lower court: (1) in  ART. 502. The following are of public dominion:
dismissing the petition for failure of the Republic to o (1) Rivers and their natural beds;
o (2) Continuous or intermittent waters of dominion, and land capable of registration as
springs and brooks running in their natural private property.
beds and the beds themselves;  A foreshore land, on the other hand, has been
o (3) Waters rising continuously or defined as follows:
intermittently on lands of public dominion; o . . . that part of (the land) which is between
o (4) Lakes and lagoons formed by Nature on high and low water and left dry by the flux
public lands, and their beds; and reflux of the tides... 29
o (5) Rain waters running through ravines or o The strip of land that lies between the high
sand beds, which are also of public and low water marks and that is alternatively
dominion; wet and dry according to the flow of the tide.
o (6) Subterranean waters on public lands; o If the submergence, however, of the land is
o (7) Waters found within the zone of operation due to precipitation, it does not become
of public works, even if constructed by a foreshore, despite its proximity to the waters.
contractor;  The case, then, has to be decided alongside these
o (8) Waters rising continuously or principles and regretfully, the Court cannot make
intermittently on lands belonging to private a ruling, in the first place, because it is not a trier
persons, to the State, to a province, or to a of facts, and in the second, it is in possession of
city or municipality from the moment they no evidence to assist it in arriving at a conclusive
leave such lands; disposition
o (9) The waste waters of fountains, sewers  We therefore remand the case to the court a quo
and public establishments. to determine whether or not the property subject
 So also is it ordained by the Spanish Law of of controversy is foreshore. We, consequently,
Waters of August 3, 1866: reverse both the Court of Appeals and the trial court
o Art. 44. Natural ponds and lakes existing and reinstate the Republic's complaint.
upon public lands and fed by public
waters, belong to the public domain.
o Lakes, ponds, and pools existing upon the
lands of private individuals, or the State or
provinces, belong to the respective owners
of such lands, and those situated upon lands
of communal use belong to their respective
 Assuming, therefore, for purposes of this petition, that
the lands subject of the Republic's reversion
efforts are foreshore in nature, the Republic has
legitimate reason to demand reconveyance. In
that case, res judicata or estoppel is no defense.
 Of course, whether or not the properties in
question are, indeed, foreshore lands is the core
of controversy.
 According to the trial court, the aforementioned
parcel of land is a portion of the public domain
belonging to the Republic of the Philippines, and
hence, available disposition and registration. As we
have pointed out, the Government holds
otherwise, and that as foreshore laud, it is not
 The question, so it follows, is one of fact: Is the
parcel foreshore or is it part and parcel of the
public domain?
 Laguna de Bay has long been recognized as a
lake .24Thus:
o Laguna de Bay is a body of water formed in
depressions of the earth; it contains fresh
water coming from rivers and brooks or
springs, and is connected with Manila Bay by
the Pasig River. According to the definition
just quoted, Laguna de Bay is a lake.
 XXXX Otherwise, where the rise in water level is due
to the extraordinary action of nature, rainfall for
instance, the portions inundated thereby are not
considered part of the bed or basin of the body of
water in question. It cannot therefore be said to be
foreshore land but land outside of the public