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Chavez v. PEA GR No. 133250 July 9, 2002 J.

Carpio In the hands of the government agency tasked and authorized to dispose of alienable or disposable lands of the public domain, these lands are still public, not private lands. Petitioner: Francsico I. Chavez Respondents: Public Estates Authority and Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation FACTS: - This is an original Petition for Mandamus with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and a TRO. Petition seeks to compel PEA to disclose all facts on PEAs then on-going renegotiations with Amari to reclaim portions of Manila Bay. Petition also seeks to enjoin PEA from signing a new agreement with AMARI involving such reclamation. - 1973. Commissioner of Public Highways entered into contract with CDCP to reclaim certain foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay. - 1977. Pres. Marcos created PEA through PD No. 1084. PEAs task is to reclaim land including foreshore and submerged areas, and to develop, improve, acquire, lease and sell any and all kinds of lands. Pres. Marcos also issued PD No. 1085 which transfers to PEA the lands reclaimed in the foreshore and offshore of the Manila Bay (under the MCCRRP). - 1981. Pres. Marcos issued memorandum which orders PEA to amend its contract with CDCP. It states that CDCP shall transfer the areas reclaimed by CDCP in the MCCRRP, in favor of PEA. - 1988. Special Patent was issued by Pres. Aquino, granting and transferring to PEA parcels of land reclaimed under the MCCRRP. She also transferred to PEA three reclaimed islands known as the Freedom Islands. - 1995. PEA entered into JVA (Joint Venture Agreement) with AMARI (private corporation) to develop Freedom Island. This was done without public bidding. Pres. Ramos approved the JVA through Exec. Sec. Ruben Torres. - 1996. Privilege speech was delivered by Sen. Pres. Maceda wherein he denounced the JVA as the grandmother of all scams. - Senate conducted investigations. Conclusions: a. The reclaimed lands which PEA wants to transfer to AMARI through JVA are lands of public domain. As such, PEA cant alienate these lands because the government has not classified them as alienable lands. b. Certificates of the title which covers the Freedom Islands are void. c. JVA is illegal. - 1997. Legal Task Force was created by Pres. Marcos. Its duty is to study on the legality of the JVA. - Frank J. Chavez filed case as a taxpayer praying for mandamus, a writ of preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order against the sale of reclaimed lands by PEA to AMARI and from implementing the JVA. - During the administration of President Estrada, PEA and AMARI entered into an Amended JVA. Chaves also claims that the contract is null and void. ISSUE: WON the transfer to AMARI of lands reclaimed or to be reclaimed as part of the stimpulations on the amended JVA between AMARI and PEA is unconstitutional on the ground that it violates Sec. 3, Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution.

HELD: The 157.84 hectares of reclaimed lands are alienable lands of the public domain. Thus, PEA may lease these lands to private corporation BUT is not allowed to sell or transfer ownership of these lands to private corporations. PEA may only sell such lands to Philippine citizens, subject to the ownership limitations in the constitution and other laws. PEA can hold title to private lands, as well as title to lands of the public domain. In order for PEA to sell its reclaimed foreshore and submerged alienable lands of the public domain, there must be legislative authority empowering PEA to sell these lands. HOWEVER, the Constitution bans private corporations from acquiring any kind of alienable land of the public domain. They may only hold such lands through lease. Since the Amended JVA seeks to transfer to AMARI, a private corporation, ownership of 77.34 hectares of the Freedom Islands, such transfer is void. Furthermore, the transfer to AMARI of ownership of 290.156 hectares of the still submerged areas of Manila Bay is also void on the ground that it is contrary to Sec. 2, Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution, prohibiting the alienation of natural resources other than agricultural lands of the public domain.