Civil Law

Republic vs. Estonillo G.R. No. 157306 November 25, 2005 Public Land Act



This case originated from an application for registration of a parcel of land known as Lot No. 4318 of the cadastral survey of Cagayan de Oro consisting [of] an area of 357,866 sq. meters, filed by [the] original [a]pplicant, Nazaria Bombeo with the defunct CFI of Misamis Oriental on July 22, 1954.  In her application, Bombeo claimed that said parcel of land was previously owned and possessed by a certain Rosendo Bacas since 1894 until it was sold to her by the heirs of Rosendo Bacas, represented by their attorney-in-fact and heir himself, Calistro Bacas by virtue of an Absolute Sale of Realty on June 14, 1954.

After due notice and publication of said application, only the Provincial Fiscal of Misamis Oriental, in behalf of the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the Director of [the] Bureau of Land[s] filed its opposition thereto, alleging that Lot 4318 is not a registrable land pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 265, which took effect on March 31, 1938, and which declared Lot 4318 reserved for the use of the Philippine Army.



Does the Public Land Act require a judicial order to create a military reservation?



To segregate portions of the public domain as reservations for the use of the Republic of the Philippines or any of its branches, like the Armed Forces of the Philippines, all that is needed is a presidential proclamation to that effect. A Court judgment is not necessary to make the proclamation effective or valid.

The Public Land Act requires applicants for confirmation of imperfect titles to prove (1) that the land is alienable public land; and (2) that their open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the property has taken place either since time immemorial or for the period prescribed by law.  When the legal conditions are complied with, the possessor of the land — by operation of law — acquires a right to a government grant, without necessitating the issuance of a certificate of title.

After a meticulous review of the Decisions of both the trial and the appellate courts, as well as of the evidence on record, the Court finds that respondents failed to satisfy the above legal requirements.


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