Property in Relation to the Person to Whom it Belongs

Property and Lease

Property and Lease

Republic vs. CA and Josefina Morato, 281 SCRA 639

The grantees’ title of ownership of patented land to be perfected should comply with the requirements of the law one of which is to keep the property for herself and her family within the prescribed period of five (5) years. If the requirements are not complied with, the State may take action for reversion of the land to the public domain.

When the seawater moves toward the estate of an owner, the invaded property becomes foreshore land and becomes part of the public domain. Citing the case of Government vs. Cabangis, the land under the Torrens system which becomes part of the foreshore land reverts to the public domain and the title is annulled.

Laurel vs. Garcia, 187 SCRA 797 , July 25, 199

Civil Law; Property; Roppongi property is of public dominion.—There can be no doubt that it is of public dominion unless it is convincingly shown that the property has become patrimonial. This, the respondents have failed to do.

As property of public dominion, the Roppongi lot is outside the commerce of man and can not be alienated.—As property of public dominion, the Roppongi lot is outside the commerce of man. It cannot be alienated. Its ownership is a special collective ownership for general use and enjoyment, an application to the satisfaction of collective needs, and resides in the social group. The purpose is not to serve the State as a juridical person, but the citizens; it is intended for the common and public welfare and cannot be the object of appropriation.

Roppongi property correctly classified under paragraph 2 of Article 420 of the Civil Code as property belonging to the State and intended for some public service.—The Roppongi property is correctly classified under paragraph 2 of Article 420 of the Civil Code as property belonging to the State and intended for some public service.

A property continues to be part of the public domain, not available for private appropriation or ownership until there is a formal declaration on the part of the government to withdraw it from being such.—The fact that the Roppongi site has not been used for a long time for actual Embassy service does not automatically convert it to patrimonial property. Any such conversion happens only if the property is withdrawn from public use (Cebu Oxygen and Acetylene Co. v. Bercilles, 66 SCRA 481 [1975]). A property continues to be part of the public domain, not available for private appropriation or ownership “until there is a formal declaration on the part of the government to withdraw it from being such.

An abandonment of the intention to use the Roppongi property for public service and to make it patrimonial property under Article 422 of the Civil Code must be definite.—The respondents enumerate various pronouncements by concerned public officials insinuating a change of intention. We emphasize, however, that an abandonment of the intention to use the Roppongi property for public service and to make it patrimonial property under Article 422 of the Civil Code must be definite. Abandonment cannot be inferred from the non-use alone specially if the non-use was attributable not to the government’s own deliberate and indubitable will but to a lack of financial support to repair and improve the property (See Heirs of Felino Santiago v. Lazaro, 166 SCRA 368 [1988]. Abandonment must be a certain and positive act based on correct legal premises.

A mere transfer of the Philippine Embassy to Nampeidai in 1976 is not relinquishment of the Roppongi property’s original purpose.—A mere transfer of the Philippine Embassy to Nampeidai in 1976 is not relinquishment of the Roppongi property’s original purpose. Even the failure by the government to repair the building in Roppongi is not abandonment since as earlier stated, there simply was a shortage of government funds. The recent Administrative Orders authorizing a study of the status and conditions of government properties in Japan were merely directives for investigation but did not in any way signify a clear intention to dispose of the properties.

Republic Act No. 6657 (the CARP Law) does not authorize the Executive Department to sell the Roppongi property.—Section 63 (c) of Rep. Act No. 6657 (the CARP Law) which provides as one of the sources of funds for its implementation, the proceeds of the disposition of the properties of the Government in foreign countries, did not withdraw the Roppongi property from being classified as one of public dominion when it mentions Philippine properties abroad. Section 63 (c) refers to properties which are alienable and not to those reserved for public use or service. Rep. Act No. 6657, therefore, does not authorize the Executive Department to sell the Roppongi property. It merely enumerates possible sources of future funding to augment (as and when needed) the Agrarian Reform Fund created under Executive Order No. 299. Obviously any property outside of the commerce of man cannot be tapped as a source of funds.

Administrative Law; Political Law; President can not convey valuable real property of the government on his or her own sole will; Conveyance must be authorized and approved by a law enacted by Congress.—It is not for the President to convey valuable real property of the government on his or her own sole will. Any such conveyance must be authorized and approved by a law enacted by the Congress. It requires executive and legislative concurrence.

Resolution No. 55 of the Senate dated June 8, 1989 asking for the deferment of the sale of the Roppongi property does not withdraw the property from public domain much less authorize its sale.—Resolution No. 55 of the Senate dated June 8, 1989, asking for the deferment of the sale of the Roppongi property does not withdraw the property from public domain much less authorize its sale. It is a mere resolution; it is not a formal declaration abandoning the public character of the Roppongi property. In fact, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is conducting hearings on Senate Resolution No. 734 which raises serious policy considerations and calls for a fact-finding investigation of the circumstances behind the decision to sell the Philippine government properties in Japan. [Laurel vs. Garcia, 187 SCRA 797(1990)]

Rabuco vs. Villegas

Doctrine: When a property is owned by a political subdivision in its public and governmental capacity, the Congress has absolute control as distinguished from patrimonial property owned by it in its private or proprietary capacity of which it could not be deprived without due process and without just compensation.

Facts: In the early morning of April 19, 1970, a large fire of undetermined origin gutted the Malate area including the lot on which petitioners had built their homes and dwellings. Respondents city officials then took over the lot and kept petitioners from reconstructing or repairing their burned dwellings. At petitioners’ instance, the Court issued on June 17, 1970 a temporary restraining order enjoining respondents city officials “from performing any act constituting an interference in or disturbance of herein petitioners’ possession of Lot No. 21-B, Block No. 610, of the Cadastral Survey of the City of Manila” as safeguarded them under the Court’s subsisting preliminary injunction of August 17, 1965 pursuant to RA 3120.

Issue: Whether RA 3120 is unconstitutional as it infringes the right to due process.

Held: No. The Court herein upholds the constitutionality of Republic Act 3120 on the strength of the established doctrine that the subdivision of communal land of the State (although titled in the name of the municipal corporation) and conveyance of the resulting subdivision lots by sale on installment basis to bona fide occupants by Congressional authorization and disposition does not constitute infringements of the due process clause or the eminent domain provisions of the Constitution but operates simply as a manifestation of the legislature’s right of control and power to deal with State property.

Caveat: Anyone who claims this digest as his own without proper authority shall be held liable under the law of Karma.

Digest by: 2S, San Beda Law 2010-2011

Republic vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 209 SCRA 90 (1992)

Certificate of Title – It is also referred to as a Torrens title and it is evidence of ownership of the subject land. It is that instrument issued by the Registrar of Deeds of the place where the land is located, declaring the owner in fee simple of certain real property described therein, free from all liens and encumbrances, except as such as may be expressly reserved or noted therein. [Noblejas, Registration of Land Titles and Deeds, p. 208] It may either be an original certificate of title, a duplicate certificate of title, a transfer certificate of title or a reconstituted title. A certificate of title is the best proof of ownership of a piece of land. It accumulates in one document a precise and correct statement of the exact status of the fee held by its owner. [Halili vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 257 SCRA 174] In an ejectment suit, it does not matter if the title is questionable. [Dizon vs. Court of Appeals, 264 SCRA 391] However, a certificate is not conclusive evidence of title if it is shown that the same land had already been registered and an earlier certificate for the same is in existence. [Heirs of Luis J. Gonzaga vs. Court of Appeals, 261 SCRA 237] Moreover, void ab initio land titles issued cannot ripen into private ownership. [Republic vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 209 SCRA 90]

The rule that “all persons dealing with property covered by Torrens Certificate of title are not required to go beyond what appears on the face of the title”36 [Vda. de Medina v. Cruz, 161 SCRA 36, 44 [1988].] applies herein with full vigor. In the absence of anything to excite suspicion, the buyer is not obligated to look beyond the certificate to investigate the titles of the seller appearing on the face of the certificate.37 [Republic v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 209 SCRA 90, 101-102 [1992].]

Civil Law; Estoppel; The well-entrenched principle is that the State cannot be put in estoppel by the mistakes or errors of its officials or agents.—In the present case, the parcel of land titled in the name of Hilario P. Rama is covered by an original torrens title issued in Rama’s name on May 4, 1967. Earlier, he applied for the issuance of title based on a patent which was given on January 13, 1967. The fact that he applied for a patent title shows a recognition on his part that the parcel is part of the public domain. True, government officials caused the issuance of the patent title and the original torrens title covering the land in Rama’s name, However, the well-entrenched principle is that the State cannot be put in estoppel by the mistakes or errors of its officials or agents.

Land Titles; Considering that the subject parcel of land is forest land, the patent and original certificate of title covering the subject parcel issued to Rama did not confer any validity to his possession or claim of ownership.—Considering that the subject parcel of land is forestland, the patent and original certificate of title covering the subject parcel issued to Rama did not confer any validity to his possession or claim of ownership.

The void ab initio titles issued cannot ripen into private ownership.—The titles are void ab initio. (Heirs of Amunategui v. Republic vs. Intermediate Appellate Court Director of Forestry, 126 SCRA 69 11983]; Republic v. Animas, 56 SCRA 499 [1974]) The titles issued cannot ripen into private ownership. (Director of Forestry v. Muñoz, 23 SCRA 1183 [1968]; Heirs of Amunategui v. Director of Forestry, supra; Vallarta v. Intermediate Appellate Court, supra) In effect, Rama’s possession of the parcel from the beginning was fraudulent and illegal. He was merely a squatter on the parcel. Under these circumstances, we cannot see any reason why Rama should be considered a possessor in good faith as defined in Article 526 of the Civil Code.

In the absence of anything to excite suspicion, the buyer is not obliged to look beyond the certificate to investigate the title of the sellers appearing on the face of the certificate.—In the Dizon case, however, the occupants of the parcels of land which were adjudged as part of the seashore or foreshore area and part of the public domain bought the land from Alfonso and Jacobo Zobel relying on the original certificate of title covering the parcels. This intervening event constitutes the difference between the Dizon case and the present case. Dizon, et al. buyers of the foreshore lands were protected by the principle that an innocent buyer of a registered land may rely on the torrens title of the seller. In the absence of anything to excite suspicion, the buyer is not obligated to look beyond the certificate to investigate the title of the sellers appearing on the face of the certificate.

PROVINCE OF ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE VS. CITY OF ZAMBOANGA

GR# L-24440 March 28, 1968 (Constitutional Law – Just Compensation, Patrimonial Property)

FACTS:  After the incorporation of the Municipality of Zamboanga as a chartered city, petitioner province contends that facilities belonging to the latter and located within the City of Zamboanga will be acquired and paid for by the said city.

However, respondent city avers that pursuant to RA No. 3039 providing for the transfer free of charge of all buildings, properties and assets belonging to the former province of Zamboanga and located within the City of Zamboanga to the said City.

ISSUE: Whether or not facilities which the province shall abandon will be acquired by the city upon just compensation.

HELD: Yes, If the property is owned by the municipality in its public and governmental capacity, the property is public and can be transferred free of charge. But if the property is owned in its private or proprietary capacity, then it is patrimonial and can be expropriated upon payment of just compensation.

Levy D. Macasiano vs. Honorable Roberto C. Diokno – G.R. No. 97764 August 10, 1992

Doctrine: Properties of the local government which are devoted to public service are deemed public and are under the absolute control of Congress. Hence, local governments have no authority whatsoever to control or regulate the use of public properties unless specific authority is vested upon them by Congress.

Facts: On June 13, 1990, the respondent municipality passed Ordinance No. 86, Series of 1990 which authorized the closure of J. Gabriel, G.G. Cruz, Bayanihan, Lt. Garcia Extension and Opena Streets located at Baclaran, Parañaque, Metro Manila and the establishment of a flea market thereon, pursuant to MMC Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1979, authorizing and regulating the use of certain city and/or municipal streets, roads and open spaces within Metropolitan Manila as sites for flea market and/or vending areas, under certain terms and conditions..

On June 20, 1990, the municipal council of Parañaque issued a resolution authorizing Parañaque Mayor Walfrido N. Ferrer to enter into contract with any service cooperative for the establishment, operation, maintenance and management of flea markets and/or vending areas.

On August 8, 1990, respondent municipality and respondent Palanyag, a service cooperative, entered into an agreement whereby the latter shall operate, maintain and manage the flea market in the aforementioned streets with the obligation to remit dues to the treasury of the municipal government of Parañaque. Consequently, market stalls were put up by respondent Palanyag on the said streets.

On September 13, 1990, petitioner Brig. Gen. Macasiano, PNP Superintendent of the Metropolitan Traffic Command, ordered the destruction and confiscation of stalls along G.G. Cruz and J. Gabriel St. in Baclaran. These stalls were later returned to respondent Palanyag.

Issue: Whether or not an ordinance or resolution issued by the municipal council of Parañaque authorizing the lease and use of public streets or thoroughfares as sites for flea markets is valid.

Held: No. The ordinance or resolution authorizing the lease and use of public streets or thoroughfares as sites for a flea market is invalid. Property for public use, in the provinces, cities and municipalities, consists of the provincial roads, city streets, the squares, fountains, public waters, promenades, and public works for public service paid for by said provinces, cities or municipalities. All other property possessed by any of them is patrimonial and shall be governed by this Code, without prejudice to the provisions of special laws.

Based on the foregoing, J. Gabriel G.G. Cruz, Bayanihan, Lt. Garcia Extension and Opena streets are local roads used for public service and are therefore considered public properties of respondent municipality. Properties of the local government which are devoted to public service are deemed public and are under the absolute control of Congress. Hence, local governments have no authority whatsoever to control or regulate the use of public properties unless specific authority is vested upon them by Congress.
Even assuming, in gratia argumenti, that respondent municipality has the authority to pass the disputed ordinance, the same cannot be validly implemented because it cannot be considered approved by the Metropolitan Manila Authority due to non-compliance by respondent municipality of the conditions imposed by the former for the approval of the ordinance.

Further, it is of public notice that the streets along Baclaran area are congested with people, houses and traffic brought about by the proliferation of vendors occupying the streets. To license and allow the establishment of a flea market along J. Gabriel, G.G. Cruz, Bayanihan, Lt. Garcia Extension and Opena streets in Baclaran would not help in solving the problem of congestion. Verily, the powers of a local government unit are not absolute. They are subject to limitations laid down by toe Constitution and the laws such as our Civil Code. Moreover, the exercise of such powers should be subservient to paramount considerations of health and well-being of the members of the community. Every local government unit has the sworn obligation to enact measures that will enhance the public health, safety and convenience, maintain peace and order, and promote the general prosperity of the inhabitants of the local units. Based on this objective, the local government should refrain from acting towards that which might prejudice or adversely affect the general welfare.

Digest by: 2S, San Beda Law 2010-2011

Republic vs. Court of Appeals, 299 SCRA 199 , November 25, 1998

Reclamations; Republic Act 1899; Foreshore Lands; Statutory Construction; Words and Phrases; The Court of Appeals unduly stretched and broadened the meaning of “foreshore lands,” beyond the intendment of the law, and against the recognized legal connotation of “foreshore lands.”—To begin with, erroneous and unsustainable is the opinion of respondent court that under RA 1899, the term “foreshore lands” includes submerged areas. As can be gleaned from its disquisition and rationalization aforequoted, the respondent court unduly stretched and broadened the meaning of “foreshore lands,” beyond the intendment of the law, and against the recognized legal connotation of “foreshore lands.”

Administrative Law; When the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no reason for interpretation or construction, but only for application; Opinions of the Secretary of Justice are unavailing to supplant or rectify any mistake or omission in the law.—Well entrenched, to the point of being elementary, is the rule that when the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no reason for interpretation or construction, but only for application. So also, resort to extrinsic aids, like the records of the constitutional convention, is unwarranted, the language of the law being plain and unambiguous. Then, too, opinions of the Secretary of Justice are unavailing to supplant or rectify any mistake or omission in the law.

Words and Phrases; “Foreshore Lands,” Explained.—To repeat, the term “foreshore lands” refers to: “The strip of land that lies between the high and low water marks and that is alternately wet and dry according to the flow of the tide.” (Words and Phrases, “Foreshore”) “A strip of land margining a body of water (as a lake or stream); the part of a seashore between the low-water line usually at the seaward margin of a low-tide terrace and the upper limit of wave wash at high tide usually marked by a beach scarp or berm.” (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary)

Statutory Construction; That Congress did not include submerged areas could only signify the exclusion of submerged areas from the term “foreshore lands.”—The duty of the court is to interpret the enabling Act, RA 1899. In so doing, we cannot broaden its meaning, much less widen the coverage thereof. If the intention of Congress were to include submerged areas, it should have provided expressly. That Congress did not so provide could only signify the exclusion of submerged areas from the term “foreshore lands.”

The term “foreshore” refers to “that part of the land adjacent to the sea which is alternately covered and left dry by the ordinary flow of the tides.”—All things viewed in proper perspective, we reiterate what was said in Ponce v. Gomez (L-21870) and Ponce v. City of Cebu (L-22669) that the term “foreshore” refers to “that part of the land adjacent to the sea which is alternately covered and left dry by the ordinary flow of the tides.” As opined by this Court in said cases: “WHEREAS, six (6) members of the Court (Justices Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, Barrera, Dizon and Jose P. Bengzon) opine that said city ordinance and contracts are ultra vires and hence, null and void, insofar as the remaining 60% of the area aforementioned, because the term ‘foreshore lands’ as used in Republic Act No. 1899 should be understood in the sense attached thereto by common parlance.” (italics ours)

Municipal Corporations; Local Government Units; Pasay City Ordinance No. 121, as amended by Ordinance No. 158, and the Agreement executed pursuant thereto, are outside the intendment and scope of Republic Act 1899, and therefore ultra vires and null and void.—It bears stressing that the subject matter of Pasay City Ordinance No. 121, as amended by Ordinance No. 158, and the Agreement under attack, have been found to be outside the intendment and scope of RA 1899, and therefore ultra vires and null and void.

Land Titles; Actions; Lis Pendens; A notice of lis pendens is necessary when the action is for recovery of possession or ownership of a parcel of land.—Under the aforecited provision of law in point, a notice of lis pendens is necessary when the action is for recovery of possession or ownership of a parcel of land. In the present litigation, RREC and Pasay City, as defendants in the main case, did not counterclaim for the turnover to Pasay City of the titled lots aforementioned.

Torrens Titles; A torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked—the issue of validity of a torrens title, whether fraudulently issued or not, may be posed only in an action brought to impugn or annul it.—What is more, a torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked. The issue of validity of a torrens title, whether fraudulently issued or not, may be posed only in an action brought to impugn or annul it. (Halili vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 257 SCRA 174; Cimafranca vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 147 SCRA 611.) Unmistakable, and cannot be ignored, is the germane provision of Section 48 of P.D. 1529, that a certificate of title can never be the subject of a collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified, or cancelled except in a direct proceeding instituted in accordance with law.

Equity; Reclamations; No one, not even the government, shall unjustly enrich oneself/itself at the expense of another; It appearing that something compensable was accomplished by them, Pasay City and Republic Real Estate Corporation should be paid for the said actual work done and dredge-fill poured in.—Although Pasay City and RREC did not succeed in their undertaking to reclaim any area within subject reclamation project, it appearing that something compensable was accomplished by them, following the applicable provision of law and hearkening to the dictates of equity, that no one, not even the government, shall unjustly enrich oneself/itself at the expense of another, we believe; and so hold, that Pasay City and RREC should be paid for the said actual work done and dredge-fill poured in, worth P10,926,071.29, as verified by the former Ministry of Public Highways, and as claimed by RREC itself in its aforequoted letter dated June 25, 1981. Supreme Court; National Patrimony; Cultural Heritage; It is fervently hoped that long after the end of our sojourn in this valley of tears, the court, for its herein historic disposition, will be exalted by the future generations of Filipinos, for the preservation of the national patrimony and promotion of our cultural heritage.—It is fervently hoped that long after the end of our sojourn in this valley of tears, the court, for its herein historic disposition, will be exalted by the future generations of Filipinos, for the preservation of the national patrimony and promotion of our cultural heritage. As writer Channing rightly puts it: “Whatever expands the affections, or enlarges the sphere of our sympathies—Whatever makes us feel our relation to the universe and all that it inherits in time and in eternity, and to the great and beneficent cause of all, must unquestionably refine our nature, and elevate us in the scale of being.”

Source: Civil Code, Volume II – Paras + Various online blogs (credit linkback) + Scribd

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