You are on page 1of 172

1 G.R. No. L-30299 August 17, 1972 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and/or THE SOLICITOR GENERAL petitioners, vs. WILLIAM H. QUASHA, respondent.

Office of the Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza for petitioner. Quasha, Asperilla Blanco, Zafra & Tayag for respondent.

REYES J. B. L., J.:p This case involves a judicial determination of the scope and duration of the rights acquired by American citizens and corporations controlled by them, under the Ordinance appended to the Constitution as of 18 September 1946, or the so-called Parity Amendment. The respondent, William H. Quasha, an American citizen, had acquired by purchase on 26 November 1954 a parcel of land with the permanent improvements thereon, situated at 22 Molave Place, in Forbes Park, Municipality of Makati, Province of Rizal, with an area of 2,616 sq. m. more or less, described in and covered by T. C. T. 36862. On 19 March 1968, he filed a petition in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, docketed as its Civil Case No. 10732, wherein he (Quasha) averred the acquisition of the real estate aforesaid; that the Republic of the Philippines, through its officials, claimed that upon expiration of the Parity Amendment on 3 July 1974, rights acquired by citizens of the United States of America shall cease and be of no further force and effect; that such claims necessarily affect the rights and interest of the plaintiff, and that continued uncertainty as to the status of plaintiff's property after 3 July 1974 reduces the value thereof, and precludes further improvements being introduced thereon, for which reason plaintiff Quasha sought a declaration of his rights under the Parity Amendment, said plaintiff contending that the ownership of properties during the effectivity of the Parity Amendment continues notwithstanding the termination and effectivity of the Amendment. The then Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo (and later on his successors in office, Felix V. Makasiar and Felix Q. Antonio) contended that the land acquired by plaintiff constituted private agricultural land and that the acquisition violated section 5, Article XIII, of the Constitution of the Philippines, which prohibits the transfer of private agricultural land to non-Filipinos, except by hereditary succession; and assuming, without conceding, that Quasha's acquisition was valid, any and all rights by him so acquired "will expire ipso facto and ipso jure at the end of the day on 3 July 1974, if he continued to hold the property until then, and will be subject to escheat or reversion proceedings" by the Republic. After hearing, the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Judge Pedro A. Revilla presiding) rendered a decision, dated 6 March 1969, in favor of plaintiff, with the following dispositive portion: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring that acquisition by the plaintiff on 26 November 1954 of, the private agricultural land described in and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 36862

2 in his name was valid, and that plaintiff has a right to continue in ownership of the said property even beyond July 3, 1974. Defendants appealed directly to this Court on questions of law, pleading that the court below erred: (1) In ruling that under the Parity Amendment American citizens and American owned and/or controlled business enterprises "are also qualified to acquire private agricultural lands" in the Philippines; and (2) In ruling that when the Parity Amendment ceases to be effective on 3 July 1974, "what must be considered to end should be the right to acquire land, and not the right to continue in ownership of land already acquired prior to that time." As a historical background, requisite to a proper understanding of the issues being litigated, it should be recalled that the Constitution as originally adopted, contained the following provisions: Article XIII — CONSERVATION AND UTILIZATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES Section 1. All Agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, and other natural resources of the Philippines belong to the State, and their disposition, exploitation, development, or utilization shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens subject to any existing right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the inauguration of the Government established under this Constitution. Natural resources, with the exception of public agricultural land, shall not be alienated, and no license, concession, or lease for the resources shall be granted for a period exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for another twentyfive years, except as to water right for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, in which cases beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant. Section 2. No private corporation or association may acquire, lease, or hold public agricultural lands in excess of one thousand and twenty-four hectares, nor may any individual acquire such lands by purchase in excess of one hundred and forty-four hectares, or by lease in excess of one thousand and twenty-four hectares, or by homestead in excess of twenty-four hectares. Lands adapted to grazing not exceeding two thousand hectares, may be leased to an individual, private corporation, or association. xxx xxx xxx Section 5. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines. Article XIV — GENERAL PROVISIONS

3 Section 8. No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or other entities organized under the laws of the Philippines, sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by citizens of the Philippines, nor shall such franchise, certificate, or authorization be exclusive in character or for a longer period than fifty years. No franchise or right shall be granted to any individual, firm, or corporation, except under the condition that it shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the Congress when the public interest so requires. The nationalistic spirit that pervaded these and other provisions of the Constitution are self-evident and require no further emphasis. From the Japanese occupation and the reconquest of the Archipelago, the Philippine nation emerged with its industries destroyed and its economy dislocated. It was described in this Court's opinion in Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Guerrero, et al., L-20942, 22 September 1967, 21 SCRA 181, 187, penned by Justice Enrique M. Fernando, in the following terms: It was fortunate that the Japanese Occupation ended when it did. Liberation was hailed by all, but the problems faced by the legitimate government were awesome in their immensity. The Philippine treasury was bankrupt and her economy prostrate. There were no dollar-earning export crops to speak of; commercial operations were paralyzed; and her industries were unable to produce with mills, factories and plants either destroyed or their machineries obsolete or dismantled. It was a desolate and tragic sight that greeted the victorious American and Filipino troops. Manila, particularly that portion south of the Pasig, lay in ruins, its public edifices and business buildings lying in a heap of rubble and numberless houses razed to the ground. It was in fact, next to Warsaw, the most devastated city in the expert opinion of the then General Eisenhower. There was thus a clear need of help from the United States. American aid was forthcoming but on terms proposed by her government and later on accepted by the Philippines. The foregoing description is confirmed by the 1945 Report of the Committee on Territories and Insular Affairs to the United States Congress: When the Philippines do become independent next July, they will start on the road to independence with a country whose commerce, trade and political institutions have been very, very seriously damaged. Years of rebuilding are necessary before the former physical conditions of the islands can be restored. Factories, homes, government and commercial buildings, roads, bridges, docks, harbors and the like are in need of complete reconstruction or widespread repairs. It will be quite some while before the Philippine can produce sufficient food with which to sustain themselves. The internal revenues of the country have been greatly diminished by war. Much of the assessable property basis has been destroyed. Foreign trade has vanished. Internal commerce is but a faction of what it used to be. Machinery, farming implements, ships, bus and truck lines, inter-island transportation and communications have been wrecked.

minerals. the proposed amendment was submitted to a plebiscite and was ratified in November of 1946. it was in the form of an Ordinance appended to the Philippine Constitution. and other natural resources of the Philippines.. except that (for the period prior to the amendment of the Constitution of the Philippines referred to in Paragraph 2 of this Article) the Philippines shall not be required to comply with such part of the foregoing provisions of this sentence as are in conflict with such Constitution. shall. all forces and sources of potential energy. The Philippine Congress.. petroleum. in 1946. by Commonwealth Act No. and other mineral oils. to enter into such executive agreement unless in the agreement the Government of the Philippines . and mineral lands of the public domain.. and utilization of all agricultural. all forces and sources of potential energy. directly or indirectly. Generally known as the Parity Amendment. timber. as is in conflict with such Constitution before such amendment. the following: ARTICLE VII 1.. and utilization of all agricultural. which should contain a provision that — The disposition. Said Act provided. development. authorizing the President of the United States to enter into an Executive Agreement with the President of the Philippines. directly or indirectly. The disposition. and other mineral oils. if open to any person. and the operation of public utilities shall. exploitation. Approved by the Congress in joint session. and the operation of public utilities. exploitation... Thus authorized. and other natural resources of the Philippines. inter alia. development. by United States citizens. 733. be open to citizens of the United States and to all forms of business enterprise owned or controlled. waters. if open to any person. will promptly take such steps as are necessary to secure the amendment of the Constitution of the Philippines so as to permit the taking effect as laws of the Philippines of such part of the provisions of section 1331 . and that: The President of the United States is not authorized . and mineral lands of the public domain. by United States citizens. petroleum. the Executive Agreement was signed on 4 July 1946. The Government of the Philippines will promptly take such steps as are necessary to secure the amendment of the constitution of the Philippines so as to permit the taking effect as laws of the Philippines of such part of the provisions of Paragraph 1 of this Article as is in conflict with such Constitution before such amendment. coal. known as the Philippine Trade Act.. authorized the President of the Philippines to enter into the Executive Agreement. coal. the United States 79th Congress enacted Public Law 3721.4 Shortly thereafter. timber. 2. mineral. be open to citizens of the United States and to all forms of business enterprise owned or controlled. and shortly thereafter the President of the Philippines recommended to the Philippine Congress the approval of a resolution proposing amendments to the Philippine Constitution pursuant to the Executive Agreement. reading as follows: . waters.

and other natural resources of the Philippines. Makati. nor Section 5 restricting the transfer or assignment of private agricultural lands to those qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain (which under the original Section 1 of Article XIII meant Filipinos exclusively). Article XIV. but in no case to extend beyond the third of July. and a new agreement was concluded on 6 September 1955 to take effect on 1 January 1956. save in cases of hereditary succession. A revision of the 1946 Executive Agreement was authorized by the Philippines by Republic Act 1355. reveals that it only establishes an express exception to two (2) provisions of our Constitution. has no direct application to the case at bar. petroleum. which is concededly classified private agricultural land. be open to citizens of the United States and to all forms of business enterprise owned or controlled. directly or indirectly. The revision was duly negotiated by representatives of the Philippines and the United States. and to operate public utilities. No other provision of our Constitution was referred to by the "Parity Amendment". This latter agreement. pursuant to the provisions of Commonwealth Act Numbered Seven hundred and thirty-three. nineteen hundred and seventy-four. since the purchase by herein respondent Quasha of the property in question was made in 1954. Rizal. and the operation of public utilities. These sections 2 and 5 . enacted in July 1955. and mineral lands of the public domain. and (b) Section 8. during the effectivity of the Executive Agreement entered into by the President of the Philippines with the President of the United States on the fourth of July. becoming known as the Laurel-Langley Agreement. and section eight. Article XIII. the disposition. minerals. re disposition. and other natural resources of the Philippines. of the foregoing Constitution.5 Notwithstanding the provision of section one. As originally drafted by the framers of the Constitution. development and utilization of agricultural. timber and mineral lands of the public domain and other natural resources of the Philippines.. and utilization of all agricultural. I Bearing in mind the legal provisions previously quoted and their background. Examination of the "Parity Amendment". waters. We turn to the first main issue posed in this appeal: whether under or by virtue of the so-called Parity Amendment to the Philippine Constitution respondent Quasha could validly acquire ownership of the private residential land in Forbes Park. development. by citizens of the United States in the same manner as to and under the same conditions imposed upon. regarding operation of public utilities. however. more than one year prior to the effectivity of the Laurel-Langley Agreement. Article Fourteen. the privilege to acquire and exploit agricultural lands of the public domain. Article Thirteen. to wit: (a) Section 1. were reserved to Filipinos and entities owned or controlled by them: but the "Parity Amendment" expressly extended the privilege to citizens of the United States of America and/or to business enterprises owned or controlled by them. coals. and other mineral oils. timber. exploitation. nor Section 2 of Article XIII limiting the maximum area of public agricultural lands that could be held by individuals or corporations or associations. citizens of the Philippines or corporations or associations owned or controlled by citizens of the Philippines. nineteen hundred and forty-six. exploitation. as ratified. shall. all forces and sources of potential energy. if OPEN to any person.

public (section 1) or private (section 5). did the voters understand that three sections of the Constitution were to be modified. and this Court has already so ruled in Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. By all canons of construction. and our public utilities. page 561): It should be emphatically stated that the provisions of our Constitution which limit to Filipinos the rights to develop the natural resources and to operate the public utilities of the Philippines is one of the bulwarks of our national integrity. Respondent Quasha argues that since the amendment permitted United States citizens or entities controlled by them to acquire agricultural lands of the public domain. exploitation development or utilization of agricultural lands. The basis for the strict interpretation was given by former President of the University of the Philippines. Nothing less would suffice but anything more is not justified. anything further would not be warranted. et al. 22 September 1967. Guerrero. such exceptions must be given strict interpretation. was clearly expressed by one of its advocates. If it was ever intended to create also an exception to section 5 of Article XIII. Sinco (Congressional Record. The "Parity Amendment" created exceptions to that Constitutional Policy and in consequence to the sovereignty of the Philippines. House of Representatives. our public lands. The Filipino people decided to include it in our Constitution in order that it may have the stability and permanency that its importance requires. in a house that no longer belongs to them. 21 SCRA 181. our sources of power and energy. as well as all other natural resources of the Philippines. L-20942. leaves no doubt that the policy of the Constitution was to reserve to Filipinos the disposition.6 were therefore left untouched and allowed to continue in operation as originally intended by the Constitution's framers. even without hereditary succession. 26.. why was mention therein made only of Section 1 of Article XIII and Section 8 of Article XIV and of no other? When the text of the Amendment was submitted for popular ratification. Senator Lorenzo Sumulong: . the material basis of the nation's existence. requires that all the rights and privileges thus granted to Americans and business enterprises owned and controlled by them be respected. Fernando: While good faith. then such citizens or entities became entitled to acquire private agricultural land in the Philippines. in the hands of aliens over whom the Philippine Government does not have complete control. as understood by its proponents in the Philippine Congress. It is written in our Constitution so that it may neither be the subject of barter nor be impaired in the give and take of politics. this argument of respondent Quasha rests not upon the text of the Constitutional Amendment but upon a mere inference therefrom. as originally drafted by its farmers. The true extent of the Parity Amendment. Clearly. the Filipinos may soon find themselves deprived of their patrimony and living as it were. No. Volume 1. Vicente G. no less than adherence to the categorical wording of the Ordinance. when only two sections were therein mentioned? A reading of Sections 1 and 4 of Article XIII. per Justice Enrique M. since said section 5 of Article XIII only negates the transfer or assignment of private agricultural land to individuals or entities not qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. Hon. With our natural resources.

they belong to our people. so that on the supposition that we give way to this amendment and on the further supposition that it is approved by our people. So that with respect to mineral or forest lands. and even after the expiration of 28 years their acquired rights cannot be divested from them. when it comes to exploitation of natural resources. is taken also verbatim from certain sections of the Constitution. That is why we call them rightly the patrimony of our race. such a concession is given only for a limited period. it is also for a limited period. provided in the first Portion of Section 19 the following: . and American enterprise. you will find out that the equality of rights granted under this amendment refers only to two subjects. no more than 1. it refers to the operation of public utilities. renewable for another 25. it will be limited to the amount of 1. mineral lands cannot be bought. as every member of the Congress knows. because by explicit provision of the Constitution they belong to the State. So that it is my humble belief that there is nothing to worry about insofar as our forest and mineral lands are concerned. There remains for us to consider the case of our public agricultural lands. and. it is significant to observe that the draft of the Philippine Trade Act submitted to the House of Representatives by Congressman Bell. and secondly. nor was any reference made to acquisition of private agricultural lands by non-Filipinos except by hereditary succession. If we read carefully the language of this amendment which is taken verbatim from the Provision of the Bell Act. and after the expiration of the original 25 years they will have to extend it. but the very same Constitution applying even to Filipinos. That is to say. and if we pass this amendment. provides that the sale of public agricultural lands to a corporation can never exceed one thousand and twenty-four hectares. should decide to invest its money in public agricultural lands. Even if the Americans should so desire. and I believe it can be extended provided that it does not exceed 28 years because this agreement is to be effected only as an ordinance and for the express period of 28 years. To be sure. Now. only public agricultural land may be acquired. On the American side. under our Constitution and under this amendment. let not the mistaken belief be entertained that all kinds of natural resources may be acquired by Americans because under our Constitution forest lands cannot be bought. coming to the operation of public utilities. And since this amendment is intended to endure only for 28 years. It can be extended only for 25 years. it must be pointed out here that. And under the Constitution. Now. which in turn. they belong to our Government.7 It is a misconception to believe that under this amendment Americans will be able to acquire all kinds of natural resources of this country. all they can do is to lease it for 25 years. Americans may buy our public agricultural lands. under our Constitution. if an American corporation. No views contrary to these were ever expressed in the Philippine Legislature during the discussion of the Proposed Amendment to our Constitution. Firstly. may be bought.024 hectares' (Emphasis supplied). they can have no further privilege than to ask for a lease of concession of forest lands and mineral lands because it is so commanded in the Constitution.024 hectares. for a period not exceeding 50 years. it refers to exploitation of natural resources. it is my humble opinion that when Americans try to operate public utilities they cannot take advantage of the maximum provided in the Constitution but only the 28 years which is expressly provided to be the life of this amendment. they may be bought.

and the operation of the public utilities. (Emphasis supplied) The import of paragraph (17) of the Ordinance was confirmed and reenforced by Section 127 of Commonwealth Act 141 (the Public Land Act of 1936) that prescribes: Sec. and other natural resources of the Philippines. so that the literal text of section 5 must be understood as permitting transfer or assignment of private agricultural lands to Americans even without hereditary succession. But as finally approved by the United States Congress. development and utilization of public lands.. It is then indubitable that the right of United States citizens and corporations to acquire and exploit private or public lands and other natural resources of the Philippines was intended to expire when the Commonwealth ended on 4 July 1946.. Such capacity of United States citizens could exist only during the American sovereignty over the Islands. Which explains the need of introducing the "Parity Amendment" of 1946. 1946. when the Philippines would become fully independent. During the existence and continuance of the Commonwealth. citizens of the United States were already qualified to acquire public agricultural lands. the intention was to secure parity for United States citizens. and other natural resources of the Philippines (V. development. thereof. once more reopened to United States citizens and business enterprises owned or controlled by them the lands of the public domain. whether from the Philippine or the American side. 127. residence. thus clearly evidencing once more that equal rights of citizens and corporations of the United States to acquire agricultural lands of the Philippines vanished with the advent of the Philippine Republic. or any extension thereof by statute or treaty. ratified in November. respectively. citizens and corporations of the United States shall enjoy the same rights granted to citizens and corporations of the Philippines under this Act. the natural resources of the Philippines. Notwithstanding any existing provision of the constitution and statutes of the Philippine Government. public and private agricultural lands and natural resources of the Philippines were or became exclusively reserved by our Constitution for Filipino citizens. For the Constitution of the Philippines was designed to operate even beyond the extinction of the United States sovereignty. citizens and corporations of the United States shall enjoy in the Philippine Islands during the period of the validity of this Act. and utilization of lands of the public domain. That and nothing else. This situation lasted until the "Parity Amendment". ante. only in two matters: (1) exploitation. . Respondent Quasha avers that as of 1935 when the Constitution was adopted.8 SEC. Thereafter. and (2) the operation of public utilities. the same rights as to property. That is apparent from the provision of the original Ordinance appended to the Constitution as originally approved and ratified. Section 17 of said Ordinance provided that: (17) Citizens and corporations of the United States shall enjoy in the Commonwealth of the Philippinesall the civil rights of the citizens and corporations. and before the Republic of the Philippines is established. Thus. and occupation as citizens of the Philippine Islands . page 5 of this opinion). exploitation. 19. the equality as to " property residence and occupation" provided in the bill was eliminated and Section 341 of the Trade Act limited such parity to the disposition.

however. The Philippines reserves the right to dispose of the public lands in small quantities on especially favorable terms exclusively to actual settlers or other users who are its own citizens. about which not a word is found in the Parity Amendment.. The United States also reserves the right to limit the extent to which aliens may own land in its outlying territories and possessions. The United States reserves the right to dispose of its public lands in small quantities on especially favorable terms exclusively to actual settlers or other users who are its own citizens or aliens who have declared their intention to become citizens.. but the Philippines will extend to American nationals who are residents of any of those outlying territories and possessions only the same rights. no such right to acquire or own private agricultural lands in the Philippines has existed since the independent Republic was established in 1946. but not the acquisition or exploitation of private agricultural lands. For as already shown. This provision does not affect the right of citizen of the United States to acquire or own private agricultural lands in the Philippines. must be understood as referring to rights of United States citizens to acquire or own private agricultural lands before the independence of the Philippines since the obvious purpose of the article was to establish rights of United States and Filipino citizens on a basis of reciprocity.9 exclusively. only through the medium of a corporation organized under the laws of the United States or one of the States hereof and likewise. with respect to. which are granted therein to citizens of the Philippines.Respondent Quasha's pretenses can find no support in Article VI of the Trade Agreement of 1955. establishing a sort of reciprocity rights between citizens of the Philippines and those of the United States. The rights provided for in this paragraph shall not. ownership of lands. in the case of citizens of the United States with respect to natural resources in the public domain in the Philippines only through the medium of a corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines and at least 60% of the capital stock of which is owned or controlled by citizens of the United States.. Each party reserves the right to limit the extent to which aliens may engage in fishing. known popularly as the Laurel-Langley Agreement. or citizens of the Philippines to acquire or own land in the United States which is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States . in the case of citizens of the Philippines with respect to natural resources in the United States which are subject to Federal control or regulations. The words used in Article VI to the effect that — . couched in the following terms: ARTICLE VI 2. does not affect the right of citizens of the United States to acquire or own private agricultural lands in the Philippines or citizens of the Philippines to acquire or own land in the United States which is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and not within the jurisdiction of any state and which is not within the public domain... or engage in enterprises which furnish communications services and air or water transport. This provision. be exercised by either party so as to derogate from the rights previously acquired by citizens or corporations or associations owned or controlled by citizens of the other party. The quoted expressions of the Laurel-Langley Agreement could not expand the rights of United States citizens as to public agricultural lands of the Philippines to . however. The rights provided for in Paragraph I may be exercised.

citizens of the Philippines or corporations or associations owned or controlled by citizens of the Philippines. "but in no case to extend beyond the. and section eight. 733. Article Fourteen. timber. by citizens of the United States in the same manner as to. It says: ARTICLE X 2. This limitation of time is in conformity with Article X. waters. and mineral lands of the public domain. None of the privileges conferred by the "Parity Amendment" are excepted from this resolutory period. . This Agreement shall have no effect after 3 July 1974. minerals. a right that ceased to exist since the independence of the Philippines by express prescription of our Constitution? We turn to the second issue involved in this appeal: On the assumption that respondent Quasha's purchase of the private agricultural land involved is valid and constitutional. pursuant to the provisions of Commonwealth Act Numbered Seven hundred and thirty-three. under the Amendment. It the President of the United States or the President of the Philippines determines and proclaims that the other Country has adopted or applied measures or practices which would operate to nullify or impair any right or obligation provided for in this Agreement. by itself enable United States citizens to acquire and exploit private agricultural lands. when the Parity Amendment and the Constitution authorize such United States citizens and business entities only to acquire and exploit agricultural lands of the public domain. It may be terminated by either the United States or the Philippines at any time. of the Philippine Trade Act of 1946. exploitation. then the Agreement may be terminated upon not less than six months' written notice. coals. but in no case to extend beyond the third of July. all forces and sources of potential energy. 1974". will or will not his rights expire on 3 July 1974? For the solution of this problem. and other mineral oils. Under it. We again turn to the "Parity Amendment". petroleum. as embodied in Commonwealth Act No. directly or indirectly. and other natural resources of the Philippines. and the operation of public utilities. Article Thirteen. are subject to one and the same resolutory term or period: they are to last "during the effectivity of the Executive Agreement entered into on 4 July 1946". during the effectivity of the Executive Agreement entered into by the President of the Philippines with the President of the United States on the fourth of July.10 private lands. Section 2. of the foregoing Constitution. nineteen hundred and fortysix. the disposition. (Emphasis supplied) It is easy to see that all exceptional rights conferred upon United States citizens and business entities owned or controlled by them. if open to any person. third of July. nineteen hundred and seventy-four. If the reopening of only public lands to Americans required a Constitutional Amendment. Notwithstanding the provision of section one. and under the same conditions imposed upon. shall. be open to citizens of the United states and to all forms of business enterprise owned or controlled. how could a mere Trade Agreement. development. and utilization of all agricultural. upon not less than five years' written notice. like the Laurel-Langley.

without other limitations than those established by law". under Article 891 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. respondent himself invokes Article 428 of the Civil Code to the effect that "the owner has the right to enjoy and dispose of a thing. There is nothing in the Civil Law of this country that is repugnant to the existence of ownership for a limited duration. in which event. 695). he can do anything that a genuine owner can do. and other natural resources of the Philippines.11 Respondent Quasha argues that the limitative period set in the "Parity Amendment" should be understood not to be applicable to the disposition. and that since any period or condition which produces the effect of loss or deprivation of valuable rights is in derogation of due process of law. The law. which forms part of the Constitution. and it is expected to do so. and the acquisition was subject to it." Strangely enough. thus the title of a "reservista" (ascendant inheriting from a descendant) in reserva troncal. development and utilization of lands of the public domain. the highest law of the land. If the Philippine government can not dispose of its alienable public agricultural lands beyond that date under the "Parity Amendment". 428. as modified by the Amendment. of agricultural lands of the public domain are in no case to extend beyond the third of July 1974. then. In truth. 25 Phil. Sablan. is one such owner. 661. The owner has the right to enjoy and dispose of a thing.. this argument ignores the provisions of the "Parity Amendment" prescribing that the disposition and exploitation. For the Philippine government to dispose of the public agricultural land for an indefinite time would necessarily be in violation of the Constitution. there must be "a law which expressly and indubitably limits and extinguishes the ownership of non-citizens over private agricultural lands situated in the Philippines validly acquired under the law existing at the time of acquisition.e. One such limitation is the period fixed on the "Parity Amendment". although under condition subsequent. i. and the operation of public utilities are open — . etc. or correlative acquisition. 46 Phil. holding title and dominion. under Article 428 of the Civil Code of Philippines — ART. This limitation already existed when Quasha in 1954 purchased the Forbes Park property. logically. only authorizes either of two things: (a) alienation or transfer of rights less than ownership or (b) a resoluble ownership that will be extinguished not later than the specified period. The owner has also a right of action against the holder and possessor of the thing in order to recover it. exploitation. making power has until that date full power to adopt the apposite measures. How then can he complain of deprivation of due process? That the legislature has not yet determined what is to be done with the property when the respondent's rights thereto terminate on 3 July 1974 is irrelevant to the issues in this case. since such lands can be acquired in full ownership. without other limitations than those established by law. of alienable agricultural lands of the public domain. until his death supervenes with "reservataries surviving". Ortega. Lunsod vs. One last point: under the "Parity Amendment" the disposition. the Constitution. relatives within the third degree (Edroso vs. 295.

all that is required is that they be controlled by United States citizens. and judgment is rendered declaring that. Makasiar and Antonio.. SOFRONIO ENOC. That Filipinos should be placed under the so-called Parity in a more disadvantageous position than United States citizens in the disposition. RAFAEL GAETOS. EFREN OKAY. JESUS EMPERADO. MERQUIADES EMBERADOR. Article XIII. NICASIO DE LEON. DIEGO ONGRIA. Teehankee. pyramiding. by citizens of the United States while under the Philippine Constitution (section 1. G. development and utilization of the public lands. VICENTE PATULOT. HERACLEO CHUA. TRINIDAD GARLET. DE DIANNA.. FRUCTUOSO CHUA. FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS. that the control by United States citizens may be direct or indirect (voting trusts. NICOLAS GARLET. Zaldivar. ARMANDO TANTE and ANSELMO . under the "Parity Amendment" to our Constitution. MAXIMO BALDOS. forests. Castro. the appealed decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal is hereby reversed and set aside. ANTONIO BALDOS. Fernando and Esguerra. LEODEGARDIO DIVINAGRACIA. GUILLERMO DAGOY. NICOLADA NAQUILA. FELICIANO ARIAS. 1982 LAUSAN AYOG. No. L-46729 November 19. EMILIO CADAYDAY. took no part.R. ROMERO BINGZON. JUANO RICO. JJ. they need not be owned by American citizens up to 60% of their capital. JULIANA VDA. oils and other natural resources of their own country is certainly rank injustice and inequity that warrants a most strict interpretation of the "Parity Amendment". SR. It is thus apparent that American business enterprises are more favored than Philippine organization during the period of parity in that. PORFERIO ENOC. directly or indirectly. ELPIDIO OKAY. C... and second. concur. VIDAL ALBANO. ERNESTO PANARES. Barredo. TORIBIO NAQUILA. JULIO AYOG. BERNARDINO ADORMEO. etc. DEMOCRITO DEVERO.) which indirect control is not allowed in the case of Philippine nationals. VICENTE ABAQUETA. JESUS ROSALITA. and section 8. IGNACIA RIBAO. natural resources and public utilities are open to citizens of the Philippines or to — corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens.12 to citizens of the United States and to all forms of business enterprises owned or controlled. Concepcion. DAMASO AYOG. ALFREDO DIVINAGRACIA. exploitation. ABDON DEIMOS.J.. BENITO AYOG. JJ. mines. in order that the dishonorable inferiority in which Filipinos find themselves at present in the land of their ancestors should not be prolonged more than is absolutely necessary.. ESTEBAN DIVINAGRACIA.. Makalintal. SEGUNDA AYOG. Article XIV) utilization of such lands. citizens of the United States and corporations and business enterprises owned or controlled by them can not acquire and own. SR. first. a control that is attained by ownership of only 51% aof the capital stock. private agricultural lands in the Philippines and that all other rights acquired by them under said amendment will expire on 3 July 1974. FORTUNATA GEONZON. save in cases of hereditary succession. NELLO DIVINAGRACIA.

Arcadio Lumantas . Arcadio Ayong 24. JR. The forty defendants were Identified as follows: 1. Filomeno Labantaban 7. Davao City with an area of about two hundred fifty hectares. Nicolas Garlic 3. AQUINO. 30. He found that some claimants were fictitious persons (p. ejecting some of the petitioners from the land purchased. Alfonso Ibales 5. Generoso Bangonan 25. they could not be regarded as bona fide occupants thereof. on the basis of its 1951 Sales Application No. CA). MINISTER OF NATURAL RESOURCES and DIRECTOR OF LANDS. Guianga (Baguio District). 1961 in the Court of First Instance of Davao. CA). No appeal was made from that decision. Lomayong Cabao 26. Rufo Garlic 4. INC. The Director characterized them as squatters. JUDGE VICENTE N. PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF DAVAO. petitioners. CUSI. Jose Catibring 27. Branch I. and BINAN DEVELOPMENT CO. for which a sales patent and Torrens title were issued in 1975. 3711. vs. V-6834 Cadastral Lot No.. respondents.13 VALMORES. and to the 1964 decision of the trial court. Rollo of L-43505. Inc. Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution (disqualifying a private corporation from purchasing public lands) to a 1953 sales award made by the Bureau of Lands. The Director of Lands in his decision of August 30. Okay vs. Court of First Instance of Davao. an ejectment suit (accion publiciana). the Director of Lands. awarded to Biñan Development Co. Eniego Garlic 2... Julio Ayog 23. after a bidding. 28.. 1953. Some occupants of the lot protested against the sale.: This case is about the application of section 11. Candido Abella 22. The Director found that the protestants (defendants in the 1961 ejectment suit. Julian Locacia 6. Okay vs. Vicente Abaqueta 21. the corporation filed against them on February 27. ** Because the alleged occupants refused to vacate the land. which decision was affirmed in 1975 by the Court of Appeals. Civil Case No. J. 281 located at Barrio Tamugan. therefore. intervenors. He issued a writ of execution but the protestants defied the writ and refused to vacate the land (p. some of whom are now petitioners herein) entered the land only after it was awarded to the corporation and. 1957 dismissed the protests and ordered the occupants to vacate the lot and remove their improvements. That legal question arises under the following facts: On January 21. Rollo of L-43505.

de Didal 30. Rollo). The Director of Lands in his memorandum dated June 29.3 hectares. Porfirio Enoc 35. On July 18. Toribio Naquila 10. Meliton Sante 19.14 8. Galina Edsa 33. Santos Militante 9. Ramon Samsa 16. Elpidio Okay 11. series of 1973. Teodolfo Chua 28. The trial court found that the protests of twenty of the abovenamed defendants were among those that were dismissed by the Director of Lands in his 1957 decision already mentioned. Anastacia Vda. Amil Sidaani 20. 5681 was issued to the corporation for that lot with a reduced area of 175. that the land in question was free from claims and conflicts and that the issuance of the patent was in conformity with the guidelines prescribed in Opinion No. P-5176 was issued to the patentee. noted that the applicant had acquired a nested right to its issuance (p. Silverio Divinagracia 32. Emilio Padayday 13. Rollo). It was only more than thirteen years later or on August 14. 1975 when Sales Patent No. The patent was registered. Rebecca Samsa 17.. 64. Guillermo Dagoy 29. an official of the Bureau of Lands submitted a final investigation report wherein it was stated that the corporation had complied with the cultivation and other requirements under the Public Land Law and had paid the purchase price of the land (p. Jr. Marcosa Vda. 1975. Alfeao Sante 18. 1974 for the Secretary of Natural Resources.. Benito Ente 36. recommending approval of the sales patent. of Secretary of Justice Vicente Abad Santos and was an exception to the prohibition in section 11. in approving the patent on August 14. Alfredo Divinagracia 31. Inc. de Rejoy 14. Rollo). pointed out that the purchaser corporation had complied with the said requirements long before the effectivity of the Constitution. Original Certificate of Title No. Article XIV of the Constitution (p. Secretary of Natural Resources Jose J. OnNovember 10. 248. 258. 259. 1961 the purchase price of ten thousand pesos was fully paid by Binan Development Co. Guillermo Omac 12. Pulong Gabao 39. German Flores 37. Ciriaco Fuentes 38. Cosme Villegas That ejectment suit delayed the issuance of the patent. . 1961. Leido. Lorenzo Rutsa 15. Jesus Emperado 34. Constancio Garlic 40.

Julio Ayog." The lower court suspended action on the motion for execution because of the manifestation of the defendants that they would file a petition for prohibition in this Court. 37142. Hence. 28.. 30. Inc. Porfirio Enoc. Arcadio Sarumines and Felix Tahantahan. Furthermore. L43505. meaning that they were not existing in 1953 when the sales award was made. to enforce contracts. That vested right has to be respected. The Court of Appeals affirmed that judgment on December 5. already mentioned. (p. 1977. the instant prohibition action was filed. The defendants. and enjoy the rights of property conferred by the existing law" (12 C. Inc. It is "the privilege to enjoy property legally vested.S.. The review of the decision was denied by this Court on May 17. Petitioners' prohibition action is barred by the doctrine of vested rights in constitutional law. Alfeo Sante. the corporation filed a motion for execution. Section 2. 1964 found that the plantings on the land could not be more than ten years old. No. Jose Catibring. there was a trial in the ejectment suit. They contended that the adoption of the Constitution. Jose Emperado. The trial court did not give credence to their testimonies. Elpidio Okay. namely. 1173). After the record was remanded to the trial court. It believed the report of an official of the Bureau of Lands that in 1953 the land was free from private claims and conflicts and it gave much weight to the decision of the Director of Lands dismissing the protests of the defendants against the sales award (p. was a supervening fact which rendered it legally impossible to execute the lower court's judgment. that "no private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed one thousand hectares in area. Toribio Naquila. Court of Appeals. Generoso Bangonan. We hold that the said constitutional prohibition has no retroactive application to the sales application of Biñan Development Co. Article XIII of the 1935 Constitution allows private corporations to purchase public agricultural lands not exceeding one thousand and twenty-four hectares. testified that they entered the disputed land long before 1951 and that they planted it to coconuts. vs.15 Before that patent was issued. Fifteen defendants (out of forty). because it had already acquired a vested right to the land applied for at the time the 1973 Constitution took effect. No.J. lt could not be abrogated by the new Constitution.J. Ramon Samsa. 6) or "some right or interest in property which has become fixed and established and is no longer . the trial court ordered the defendants to vacate the land and to restore the possession thereof to tile company. Arcadio Lomanto. 955. Rebecca Samsa. Some of the petitioners were not defendants in the ejectment case. 1973. the trial court during its ocular inspection of the land on November 8. On August 24.R. Record on Appeal). opposed the motion. Guillermo Bagoy. 1976 in Elpidio Okay vs. Record on Appeal). They invoked the constitutional prohibition. CA-G. Meliton Sante. which took effect on January 17. jackfruit and other fruit trees. 1975 in its decision in Binan Development Co. coffee. Sante. "A right is vested when the right to enjoyment has become the property of some particular person or persons as a present interest" (16 C. Note 46. some of whom are now petitioners herein.R.

except in a legitimate exercise of the police power" (16 C. They should have filed homestead or free patent applications. 20. The corporation's right to obtain a patent for that land is protected by law. there would seem to be no legal or equitable justification for refusing to issue or release the sales patent (p. 254. . In Opinion No. series of 1976. 919). It cannot be deprived of that right without due process (Director of Lands vs. 51 Phil. 502). Rollo). or by a change in the constitution of the State. It is a correct interpretation of section 11 of Article XIV. "A state may not impair vested rights by legislative enactment. The due process clause prohibits the annihilation of vested rights. CA. it is incontestable that prior to the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution the right of the corporation to purchase the land in question had become fixed and established and was no longer open to doubt or controversy. Blount 170 Fed. 15. In Opinion No. series of 1974. the term "vested right" expresses the concept of present fixed interest. citing Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines. 256. It has been observed that.S.J. Inc. he should be deemed to have acquired by purchase the particular tract of land and to him the area limitation in the new Constitution would not apply. As we cannot review the factual findings of the trial court and the Court of Appeals. 1177-78). vs. Rosenthal. 498. 140. Such a contemporaneous construction of the constitutional prohibition by a high executive official carries great weight and should be accorded much respect. we cannot entertain petitioners' contention that many of them by themselves and through their predecessors-in-interest have possessed portions of land even before the war. cited in Balboa vs. 185. generally.16 open to doubt or controversy" (Downs vs. Secretary Abad Santos held that where the cultivation requirements were fulfilled before the new Constitution took effect but the full payment of the price was completed after January 17. 123 Phil. had fully complied with all his obligations under the Public Land Act in order to entitle him to a sales patent. 1174. sensitive to inherent and irrefragable individual rights. the applicant was. entitled to a sales patent (p. 5. In the instant case. he held that as soon as the applicant had fulfilled the construction or cultivation requirements and has fully paid the purchase price. 192 Atl. 2nd 587). 1973. which in right reason and natural justice should be protected against arbitrary State action. Secretary of Justice Abad Santos in his 1973 opinion ruled that where the applicant. cannot deny (16 C. nevertheless. Farrales. or an innately just and imperative right which an enlightened free society. Its compliance with the requirements of the Public Land Law for the issuance of a patent had the effect of segregating the said land from the public domain.S. before the Constitution took effect. Note 71.J. by the enactment or by the subsequent repeal of a municipal ordinance. No. Rollo).

is the law of the land. to avoid agrarian unrest and to dispel the notion that the law grinds the faces of the poor. Keller & Co. under the protection of the general rules which . Inc. 126. A tiller of the soil is entitled to enjoy basic human rights. and immunities. the administrative authorities should find ways and means of accommodating some of the petitioners if they are landless and are really tillers of the soil who in the words of President Magsaysay deserve a little more food in their stomachs. as the architect of the French Revolution observed. To guarantee him that right is to discourage him from becoming a subversive or from rebelling against a social order where. Petitioners' counsel claims that Biñan Development Co. Those petitioners are not successors-in-interest of the defendants in the ejectment suit. we have no choice but to sustain its enforceability. Nor do they derive their right of possession from the said defendants. in the interest of social justice. a little more shelter over their heads and a little more clothing on their backs. Huge landholdings by corporations or private persons had owned social unrest. the law which. self-reliant and responsible citizen in our democratic society. 3711. Those petitioners occupy portions of the disputed land distinct and separate from the portions occupied by the said defendants. 520). property. that every citizen shall hold his life. Nevertheless. a law which hears before it condemns. would be violative of due process of law. vs Ellerman & Bucknall Steamship Co... Rollo).17 Our jurisdiction is limited to the resolution of the legal issue as to whether the 1973 Constitution is an obstacle to the implementation of the trial court's 1964 final and executory judgment ejecting the petitioners. The common man should be assisted in possessing and cultivating a piece of land for his sustenance. seeks to execute the judgment in Civil Case No. 38 Phil. to give him social security and to enable him to achieve a dignified existence and become an independent. "The meaning is. according to Daniel Webster in his argument in the Dartmouth College case. "it is an axiom of the law that no man shall be affected by proceedings to which he is a stranger" (Ed. the rich are choking with the superfluities of life but the famished multitude lack the barest necessities. 514.size farm" and to prevent a recurrence of cases like the instant case. liberty. On that issue. against some of the petitioners who were not defendants in that suit (p. A. which proceeds upon inquiry and renders judgment only after trial. the ejectment suit from which this prohibition case arose. one purpose of the constitutional prohibition against purchases of public agricultural lands by private corporations is to equitably diffuse land ownership or to encourage "owner-cultivatorship and the economic family. We hold that judgment cannot be enforced against the said petitioners who were not defendants in that litigation or who were not summoned and heard in that case. Indeed. The State should endeavor to help the poor who find it difficult to make both ends meet and who suffer privations in the universal struggle for existence. particularly freedom from want. Generally. To enforce the judgment against those who were not parties to the case and who occupy portions of the disputed land distinct and separate from the portions occupied by the defendants in the ejectment suit.

See Gatchalian vs. be declared in contempt of court for having disregarded the restraining order issued by this Court on August 29. L-41360. it should be noted that Emberador was not expressly named as a defendant in the ejectment suit. his remedy is not in a contempt proceeding but in some appropriate civil and criminal actions against the destroyer of the improvements. 25 Phil. In resume. 47 Phil.. Martinez of the Court of First Instance of Davao.141. enjoining specifically Judge Vicente N. Inc. The four tractor drivers destroyed the improvements thereon worth about five thousand pesos consisting of coffee. coconut and banana plants. Apparently. Emberador. as the value of the improvements on his land. agents or privies. Emberador was in the hospital at the time the alleged destruction of the improvements occurred. Garcia and the four drivers answered the motion. . 23. its officers. one of the petitioners herein. Arlegui. Judge Martinez found that the plowing was made at the instance of Garcia who told the barrio captain. 1977. a Bagobo. in consideration of P3.-During the pendency of this case. 75 SCRA 234 and Berses vs. 1979 asked that the four tractor drivers and Honesto Garcia. The disputed land was leased by Biñan Development Co. 2 and 3). Director of Lands. Emberador was not named specifically in the trial court's judgment as one of the occupants to be ejected. Rollo). 3711 (pp. plowed or bulldozed with their tractors a portion of the disputed land which was occupied by Melquiades Emberador. Inc. However. 138." (Cited in Lopez vs. L-35615 and Tang Tee vs. we find that there is no merit in the instant prohibition action. 473. 1979 or four months after the said incident. 46-47.. Rogelio Duterte and Sofronio Etac. We hold that no contempt was committed. The petitioners in their motion of January 11. the manager of Biñan Development Co. executed a quitclaim in favor of the Crown Fruits and Cannery Corporation (Exh. Ciriaco Tebayan. The temporary restraining order was not directed to Biñan Development Co. Villanueva. 1978. petitioner Lausan Ayog. to the canning corporation. For the redress of whatever wrong or delict was committed against Emberador by reason of the destruction of his improvements. 32. February 17. employees of the Crown Fruits and Cannery Corporation. The incident was assigned for hearing to Judge Antonio M. 1977. or at about four o'clock in the morning of December 12. Domingo Nevasca. The constitutional prohibition relied upon by the petitioners as a ground to stop the execution of the judgment in the ejectment suit has no retroactive application to that case and does not divest the trial court of jurisdiction to enforce that judgment.. that he (Garcia) could not wait anymore for the termination of this case.) Contempt incident. Inc. he is not included in the trial court's decision although he was joined as a co-petitioner in this prohibition case.500. Civil Case No. The record shows that on April 30.18 govern society. Arlegui. 1. Cusi and the provincial sheriff from enforcing the decision in the ejectment suit..

took no part. No costs. 3711 and over whom the lower court did not acquire jurisdiction. and over whom the lower court did not acquire jurisdiction. Teehankee.. Guerrero. Plana. Civil Case No. Abad Santos. SO ORDERED. The contempt proceeding is also dismissed. Rules of Court). Fernando. 49[b]. JJ. 3711.J.. However. We have previously held that the judgment in an ejectment case may be enforced not only against the defendants therein but also against the members of their family. Separate Opinions VASQUEZ. J. concur. Rule 39. The judgment in any case is binding and enforceable not only against the parties thereto but also against "their successors in interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action" (Sec..19 WHEREFORE. their relatives or privies who derive their right of possession from the defendants (Ariem vs. JJ.. Jr. concurs. J. Makasiar and De Castro. Jr. A further clarification of the dispositive portion is apparently needed to exclude from the effect of the judgment in the ejectment case only the petitioners who do not derive their right of possession from any of the defendants in the ejectment suit.. J. Relova and Gutierrez. C. Concepcion... Delos Angeles. Separate Opinions VASQUEZ.. 49 SCRA 343). concurring: I concur with the very ably written main opinion. Escolin. the petition is dismissed for lack of merit but with the clarification that the said judgment cannot be enforced against those petitioners herein who were not defendants in the ejectment case. Melencio-Herrera. concurring: . I wish to erase any possible erroneous impression that may be derived from the dispositive portion insofar as it declares that the judgment in the ejectment cage may not be enforced against the petitioners who were not defendants in Civil Case No.

D). G. Article XIV of the Constitution that "no private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed one thousand hectares in area". duly existing under Philippine laws. JUDGE CANDIDO P. They are not included in any military reservation. Manila Electric Company vs. concurs. The judgment in any case is binding and enforceable not only against the parties thereto but also against "their successors in interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action" (Sec. 1953 from Andres Perez in exchange for a lot with an area of 247 square meters owned by the said church (Exh. L-55289 June 29. C. filed with the Court of First Instance of Bulacan an application for the registration of the two lots. Plana. Teehankee. 49[b].350 were acquired by the Iglesia Ni Cristo on January 9. I wish to erase any possible erroneous impression that may be derived from the dispositive portion insofar as it declares that the judgment in the ejectment cage may not be enforced against the petitioners who were not defendants in Civil Case No. the Iglesia Ni Cristo. However. N). located at Barrio Dampol. 1977. of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. represented by the Director of Lands.. 1982 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Realty taxes had been paid therefor (Exh. A chapel exists on the said land. as a corporation sole. Bulacan.: Like L-49623. Rule 39. Judge Castro-Bartolome. No. Malolos Branch VII. The lots are planted to santol and mango trees and banana plants. Plaridel. A further clarification of the dispositive portion is apparently needed to exclude from the effect of the judgment in the ejectment case only the petitioners who do not derive their right of possession from any of the defendants in the ejectment suit.respondents-appellees. as Executive Minister. Makasiar and De Castro. They are inside an area which was certified as alienable or disposable by the Bureau of Forestry in 1927. Lots Nos. 49 SCRA 343). On September 13. It .J.R. 568 and 569. Delos Angeles. petitioner-appellant. MANALO. with an area of 313 square meters and an assessed value of P1. The land had been declared for realty tax purposes. vs. their relatives or privies who derive their right of possession from the defendants (Ariem vs. The said lots were already possessed by Perez in 1933. Rules of Court). We have previously held that the judgment in an ejectment case may be enforced not only against the defendants therein but also against the members of their family. a corporation sole. Fernando. this case involves the prohibition in section 11. JJ.20 I concur with the very ably written main opinion. J. and IGLESIA NI CRISTO.. AQUINO. VILLANUEVA. 3711 and over whom the lower court did not acquire jurisdiction. Melencio-Herrera. represented by ERAÑO G.

After hearing.) The Republic of the Philippines. to wit: xxx xxx xxx (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open.21 alleged that it and its predecessors-in-interest had possessed the land for more than thirty years. Razon and Director of Lands. Quezon City. continuous. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. the Republic of the Philippines appealed to this Court under Republic Act No. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. as a private corporation. exclusive. xxx xxx xxx SEC. because of the constitutional prohibition already mentioned and because the said church is not entitled to avail itself of the benefits of section 48(b) which applies only to Filipino citizens or natural persons. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. The following-described citizens of the Philippines. The appeal should be sustained. under the Land Register Act. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. E). Inc. through the Direct/r of Lands. 48 Phil. From that decision. vs. 58 and sec. 102 Phil. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. It invoked section 48(b) of the Public Land Law. See Register of Deeds vs. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefore. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. opposed the application on the grounds that applicant." (As amended by Republic Act No. 5440. 1945. is disqualified to hold alienable lands of the public domain. of Davao.—Judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles. As correctly contended by the Solicitor General. the Iglesia Ni Cristo. is disqualified to acquire or hold alienable lands of the public domain. exclusive and notorious possession of the land since June 12. as a corporation sole or a juridical person. 48. The contention in the comments of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (its lawyer did not file any brief) that the two lots are private lands. Ung Siu Si Temple. 1957. like the two lots in question. approved on June 22. in the name of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. that the land applied for is public land not susceptible of private appropriation and that the applicant and its predecessors-in-interest have not been in the open. 97 Phil. represented by Executive Minister Eraño G. 49 of the Public Land Law). A corporation sole (an "unhappy freak of English law") has no nationality (Roman Catholic Apostolic Adm. 424. as described in Plan Ap-04-001344 (Exh. Land Registration Commission. following the rule laid down in Susi vs. Manalo. with office at the corner of Central and Don Mariano Marcos Avenues. the trial court ordered the registration of the two lots. a corporation sole. 596. which provides: Chapter VIII. is not . 1942. continuous.

The lower court's judgment is reversed and set aside.R. 75 Phil. Jr. 644). Insular Government. An exception to the rule would be any land that should have been in the possession of an occupant and of his predecessors-ininterest since time immemorial. No. for such possession would justify the presumption that the land had never been part of the public domain or that it had been a private property even before the Spanish conquest. Concepcion. Relova and Gutierrez. is on leave. concur. J. dissenting: Justice Teehankee cites in his dissenting opinion the case of Herico vs. The application for registration of the Iglesia Ni Cristo is dismissed with costs against said applicant. by reason of possession and cultivation for such a length of time.. 1 the decision in which I am theponente. A land registration proceeding under section 48(b) "presupposes that the land is public" (Mindanao vs.. concurring: In the result for the same reasons I have already given in Manila Electric Co. L-49623. J. 41 Phil. a grant by the State to the occupant is . as in Cariño vs. ed. 71 Phil. 212 U. Judge Floreliana CastroBartolome. Plana. Director of Lands.. 449. took no part. Barredo. Jr. J.S. SO ORDERED. 935 and 7 Phil. They are still public lands. Perez.. What was considered private land in the Susi case was a parcel of land possessed by a Filipino citizen since time immemorial. J. either by purchase or by grant.22 correct. Dar. 594. Vasquez. vs. Escolin. Director of Lands. 53 L. " In Uy Un vs. 508. As held in Oh Cho vs. G. 132. JJ. belong to the public domain. Makasiar. 1967. it was noted that the right of an occupant of public agricultural land to obtain a confirmation of his title under section 48(b) of the Public Land Law is a "derecho dominical incoativo"and that before the issuance of the certificate of title the occupant is not in the juridical sense the true owner of the land since it still pertains to the State. 890. Separate Opinions ABAD SANTOS.. Guerrero. The lots sought to be registered in this case do not fall within that category. 20 SCRA 641. July 10. "all lands that were not acquired from the Government. Melencio-Herrera.. DE CASTRO. as reiterating a supposedly well-established doctrine that lands of the public domain which.. L-19535.

Only when the court adjudicates the land to the applicant for confirmation of title would the land become privately owned land. insofar as its disposition is concerned. as of this stage. if We consider the provision of Section 14. and the land thereby ceases to form part of the public domain. really mean is that the land referred to no longer forms part of the mass of public domain still disposable by the Director of Lands. except by lease. to convert the land into a truly private land. or an Idle exercise. To secure such judicial title. however. which certainly is much larger than that set for free patents. the cited section prohibits its acquisition by the Meralco or Iglesia which admittedly are "corporations or association" within the meaning of the . that the land referred to is still public land. however. as in the issuance of homestead and sales patents."2 I cannot subscribe to the view that the land as above described has become private land. not within the prohibition of the New Constitution against corporations from acquiring public lands which provides that "no private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed one thousand hectares. to the effect that such land has ceased to be public land.000 hectares in area. which is. Article XIV of the Constitution which appears to have been lost sight of. The difference is that in the latter case.4 Hence. resulting in the issuance of free patents. however. The Director of Lands has lost authority over the land. entirely pointless. also based on possession. 3 This is the only legal method by which full and absolute title to the land may be granted. The fact that its disposition is provided for in the aforecited Act which deals with "public land" gives rise to the very strong implication. referred to as administrative legalization. the land involved in undoubtedly public land. The possessor of a piece of public land would have the option to acquire title thereto through judicial confirmation or administrative legalization. only the courts can be resorted to. There is no limit to the area subject to judicial confirmation of incomplete or imperfect title. such as those cited by Justice Teehankee. no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals. It is because of the divestiture of authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of the land subject to judicial confirmation of incomplete and imperfect title that some statements are found in many cases. He would thus consider said land as no longer public land but "private" lands and therefore. by express provision of the Constitution. for in the same proceeding. His authority is limited to another form of disposition of public land. would not follow that the land covered by Section 48 of the Public Land Act has itself become private land. depending on the evidence. through the prescribed procedure known as judicial confirmation of incomplete or imperfect title. no corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain. It. corporations. but is segregated therefrom as to be no longer subject to the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose under the public land laws or statutes. even before title thereto. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain.23 presumed. said to be still "an incomplete or imperfect title." has been fully vested on the occupant. The discussion of the question of whether the land involved is still public or already private land is. which provides that "save in cases of hereditary succession. except possibly the limit fixed for a State grant under old Spanish laws and decrees. in which case. under the authority granted him by the public land statutes. What these statements. the area disposable to a citizenapplicant by the Director of Lands is limited to 24 hectares. if not a positive conclusion. even if the land involved in the present case is considered private land. " As previously stated. not to exceed 1. the court may declare it public land.

Dar (supra) which is my ponencia was cited in support of his position. the case of Herico vs. as a corporation sole. If its possession is not from the beginning but has commenced only upon the transfer to it by the prior possessor. which I believe. therefore. constitutionally enshrined. As admitted in the opinion of the Court. C. . Although it may further be observed that supposing a corporation has been in possession of a piece of public land from the very beginning. 1 where I had a brief concurrence and dissent. It is that basic consideration that leads me to conclude that the balancing process. This separate opinion should have had no need to be written because the majority opinion written by Justice Aquino is already well-reasoned out and supported by applicable authorities. then I would have no hesitancy in sustaining the conclusion that if the land be considered public. 4 Here the Iglesia ni Cristo. This separate opinion then is more to show and explain that whatever has been stated by me in the Dar case should be interpreted in the light of what I have said in his separate opinion. without discrimination or preference.. I join him in according the utmost respect and deference to this provision in the Constitution: "No private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed one thousand hectares in area. seeks the registration. may it apply for judicial confirmation of the land in question to acquire title to it as owner after possessing the land for the requisite length of time? The answer is believed obvious-it may not.J. the "enjoyment of religious profession and worship. [being] forever . allowed.. . equally requires that when two provisions in the Constitution may be relevant to a certain factual situation calls for the affirmance of the decision of respondent Judge allowing the registration.24 aforecited provision of the New Constitution.. I am constrained to dissent in the ably-written opinion of Justice Aquino. that is not the decisive consideration. which finds application in constitutional law adjudication. This observation should end all arguments on the issue of whether the land in question is public or private land. Land Registration. Judge Castro-Bartolome. 7 Hence this brief dissent. the decision of respondent Judge is equally entitled to affirmance on equal protection grounds. Even as against the fundamental objectives. 5 There is for me another obstacle to a partial concurrence. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union.. of social justice and protection to labor. a chapel is therein located. does not strengthen Justice Teehankee's position a bit. For me. it may not. 6As I view it. It is my view that the Bill of Rights provision on religious freedom which bans the enactment of any law prohibiting its free exercise. FERNANDO." 2 If the matter before us be viewed solely from the standpoint of respondent appellee Iglesia ni Cristo being a corporation sole. the claim of such free exercise and enjoyment was recognized in the leading case ofVictoriano v. its registration would have to be denied. . The area involved in the two parcels of land in question is 313 square meters." 3This is not the first time the Court has occasion to recognize the high estate that freedom of religion occupies in our hierarchy of values. may the corporation apply? The answer is just as obvious with more reason.. dissenting: It is with regret that unlike in the case of Meralco v. The right of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Administrator of Davao to register land purchased from a Filipino citizen was recognized in The Roman Catholic Apostolic Administrator of Davao v. I •as impelled to write it only because in the dissenting opinion of Justice Teehankee.

Plaridel. Rizal with an assessed value of P3. This dissent is based on the failure of the majority to adhere to established doctrine since the 1909 case of Cariñoand the 1925 case of Susi down to the 1980 case of Herico.350.. acquired by them by purchase or exchange from private persons publicly recognized as the private owners (who have been in the open. What Meralco and Iglesia have acquired from their predecessors-in-interest had already ceased to be of the public domain and had become private property at the time of the sale to them and therefore their applications for confirmation of title by virtue of their predecessors-in-interest' vested right and title may be duly granted. 1947 to the spouses Rafael Piguing and Minerva Inocencio who constructed a house thereon.270. This land was possessed by Olimpia Ramos before World War II which broke out in the Pacific in 1941. the law itself mandates that the possessor "shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title" and" by legal fiction [the land] has already ceased to be of the public domain and has become private property. 1953 from Andres Perez in exchange for a lot owned by the Iglesia with an area of 247 square meters. . C.25 TEEHANKEE." Accordingly. residential in character as distinguished from strictly agricultural land.J. Bulacan with a total area of 313 square meters and with an assessed value of P1. 1976 consists of two (2) small lots with a total area of 165 square meters located at Tanay. exclusive and unchallenged possession of alienable public land for the statutory period provided by law (30 years now under amendatory Rep. 1942 approved on June 22. infra. The land was acquired by the Iglesia on January 9. Act No. It is likewise established that it is not included in any military reservation and that since 1927 it had been certified as part of the alienable or disposable portion of the public domain. But because the Meralco had installed the "anchor guy" of its steel posts on the land. in the second case (both admittedly Filipino corporations qualified to hold and own private lands). a religious corporation sole. The land covered by the Meralco application of November 26. for judicial confirmation of their titles to small parcels of land. dissenting: Involved in these two cases are the applications of petitioner Meralco. The Land covered by the Iglesia application of September 3. 1976. The land was already possessed by Perez in 1933. It is residential in character as distinguished from strictly agricultural land.00. a nationalized domestic corporation. the Piguing spouses sold the land to the Meralco on August 13. Olimpia Ramos sold the land on July 3.00. Admittedly also it is not included in any military reservation and is inside an area which was certified since 1927 as part of the alienable or disposable portion of the public domain. in the first case and respondent Iglesia ni Cristo. continuous. that where a possessor has held the open. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the lands under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least thirty [30] years immediately preceding the filing of the applications). pursuant to the Public Land Act. 1977 likewise consists of two (2) small lots located in Barrio Dampol. 1957). The land had been declared for realty tax purposes since 1945 and realty taxes were regularly paid thereon. as amended. the prohibition of the 1973 Constitution and of the Public Land Act against private corporations holding lands of the public domain has no applicability in the present cases.

continuous. ipso jure. Act No. It had been duly declared for realty tax purposes in the name of the Iglesia and realty taxes were regularly paid thereon. is not qualified to apply for the registration of title over the public land. (b) of the Public Land Act (Commonwealth Act No. notorious and unchallenged possession thereof by the applicants' predecessors-in-interest who were qualified natural persons and entitled to registration by right of acquisitive prescription under the provisions of the Public Land Act. as amended by Rep.. 1957) that citizens of the Philippines who are natural persons who have occupied lands of the public domain but whose titles have not been perfected or completed may apply to the corresponding court of first instance for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of the certificate of title therefor under the Land Registration Act in cases where they "by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in the open. while the judgment in the Iglesia case should stand affirmed. public and adverse possession of the land . holding that it had been "satisfactorily established that applicant [Iglesia] and its predecessors-in-interest have been in open. exclusive. is the land ipso jure or by operation of law converted into private land upon completion of the 30th year of continuous and unchallenged occupation of the land such that thereafter as such private land. under a bona fide claim of ownership for more than thirty (30) years prior to the filing of the application" and is therefore entitled to the registration applied for under the Public Land Act. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. On the other hand. Razon and Director of Lands 1 and reaffirmed in a long line of cases down to the 1980 case of Herico vs." Respondent judge in the case accordingly granted the application for registration of the land in the name of the Iglesia.26 A chapel of the Iglesia stands on the said land. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure.. Respondent judge in the Meralco case sustained the Republic's opposition and dismissed the application. it may be duly transferred to and owned by private corporations or does such land. as amended. holding that under both the provisions of the new Constitution and the Public Land Act. 1942. or by operation of law. Meralco. being a corporation and not a natural person. and that accordingly the judgment in the Meralco case should be reversed and a new judgment entered granting Meralco's application. to be lands of the public domain upon completion of the statutory period of open. par. the Republic presented no evidence in support of its opposition but expressly "submitted the case for decision on the basis of the evidence submitted by the applicant. The principal issue at bar may thus be stated: It is expressly provided in section 48. Dar 2 that the lands in question ceased. as held by respondent judge in . I hold that both applications for registration should be granted by virtue of the prevailing principle as enunciated since the 1925 case of Susi vs." 3 In such cases. continuous. Both decisions are now with the Court for review. continuous. 141. approved on June 22. in the Iglesia case. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. exclusive. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain.

amending Act No. 1942 approved on June 22. the Court held that Susi. This is admitted in the main opinion of Mr. the period of open and unchallenged possession was reduced to "at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title. So that when Angela Razon applied for the grant in her favor. remain part of the public domain and does not become private land until after actual judicial confirmation proceedings and the formal court order for the issuance of the certificate of title? 1.. 2874. 1894 in Susi under the old law) by a private individual personally and through his predecessors confers an effective title on said possessor. Act No. whereas at present as provided for in the corresponding section 48. 1894. Justice Aquino's opinion 5 and quotes the reduced statutory period of open and unchallenged possession of "at leastthirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application. personally and through his predecessors. infra). continuously. The Court thus specifically held therein. in force since 1957. any supposed sale by the Director of Lands of the same land to another person was void and of no effect and Susi as the rightful possessor could recover the land as his private property from the supposed vendee who did not acquire any right thereto since it had ceased to be land of the public domain. of an agricultural land of the public domain.27 the Meralco case. wherein it is stated that "(I)n the Susi case. there is. such possession was required "from July 26. This issue has been squarely resolved by this Court since the 1925 case of Susi vs. par. Therefore. that: . 1894 gave rise to the conclusive presumption that the occupant had complied with all the conditions essential to a Government grant and was thus entitled to a certificate of title. with a right to a certificate of title to said land under the provisions of Chapter VIII of said Act. openly. equivalent to the period of acquisitive prescription. acquired the same by operation of law as a grant from the Government. for he has been in actual and physical possession. Valentin Susi hadalready acquired. that all the necessary requirements for a grant by the Government were complied with. Razon (and a long line of cases. this Court applied section 45 (b) of Act No." 4 The text of the corresponding section 48(b). 926. exclusively and publicly since July 26. 1957. as amended by Rep. as the rightful possessor of the public land for the statutory period. It is established doctrine as first held therein that an open. amending Act No. Commonwealth Act No. whereby the land ceases to be land of the public domain and becomes private property. by operation of law not only a right to a grant. moreover. Justice Aquino. Act 1942 referred to is reproduced verbatim in Mr. the presumption juris et de jure. "not only a right to a grant. for it is not necessary that certificate of title should be issued in order that said grant may . 2874. (b) of the later and subsisting Public Land Act. 926. as applied to the specific facts of the case. continuous. (At that time in 1925 in the Susi case. adverse and public possession of a land of the public domain for the period provided in the Public Land Act provision in force at the time (from July 26. ") Accordingly." and the land thereby "already ceased to be of the public domain and had become private property at least by presumption" as expressly provided in the Act. as amended by Rep. 2874 which corresponds to what is now section 48(b). It was held that the long possession of the land under a bona fide claim of ownership since July 26. 141. In favor of Valentin Susi. but a grant of the Government..established in paragraph (b) of section 45 of Act No. 1894" as then provided for in section 45 (b) of the old Public Land Act No.

under the provisions of section 47 of Act No. 2874 (reproduced as Section 50. 9 the Court quoted with favor the text of the above-quoted ruling of Susi. 141).. Valentin Susi had acquired the land in question by a grant of the State. Razon. the possession of which is in dispute. Director of Lands. 2874. 424. the plaintiffappellee cannot maintain an action to recover possession thereof. continuously." In Lacaste vs. The above-quoted ruling in Susi has been affirmed and reaffirmed by this Court in a long unbroken line of cases. of Valentin Susi. as above stated. as follows: In Mesina vs. 8 the Court stressed that by force of possession. 141). but a grant of the Government. 926 (carried over as Chapter VIII of Commonwealth Act No. Vda. at least by presumption. which apparently is predicated on the theory that a decree of registration can no longer be impugned on the ground of fraud one year after the issuance and entry of the decree. by operation of law. and publicly. et al. with a right to a certificate of title to said land under the provisions of Chapter VIII of Act No. we are of the opinion that the trial court erred in dismissing the case outright without giving plaintiff a chance to prove his claim. If. there is lacking only the judicial sanction of his title Valentin Susi has the right to bring an action to recover the possession thereof and hold it. there is a presumption juris et de jure that all necessary condition for a grant by the State have been complied with and he would have been by . for it is not necessary that a certificate of title be issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts — an application therefor being sufficient under the provisions of Section 47 of Act No. and the sale thus made was void and of no effect. an application therefor is sufficient. adverse and in the concept of an owner. the land in question became private property on the strength of the Susi doctrine. Commonwealth Act No. In Miguel us. 10 the Court again held that where possession has been continuous. 6 2. open. beyond the control of the Director of Lands. In Manarpaac us. had already become. it had already ceased to be of the public domain and had become private property. in selling the land in question to Angela Razon. uninterrupted.28 be sanctioned by the courts. 2874. amending Act No. Court of Appeals. de Sonza. 7 the Court held that "(I)n the case of Susi vs. Consequently. and its ratio decidendi thus: The Director of Lands contends that the land in question being of the public domain. and Angela Razon did not thereby acquire any right. the possessor is deemed to have already acquired by operation of law not only a right to a grant. If by a legal fiction. the Director of Lands disposed of a land over which he had no longer any title or control." and "(C)onsidering that this case was dismissed by the trial court merely on a motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff's action is already barred by the statute of limitations. it was observed that where all the necessary requirements for a grant by the Government are complied with through actual physical possession openly. 48 Phil. private property. which theory does not apply here because the property involved is allegedly private in nature and has ceased to be part of the public domain. Cabanatan. that land.

which took effect on June 22." 3. and has become absolute and indefeasible. the possessor is deemed to have acquired. 1942. The land. par. 141 which provides: . 1106 of the Civil Code provides that "By prescription one acquires ownership and other real rights through lapse of time in the manner and under the conditions laid down by law. 12 Meralco's predecessors-in-interest had therefore acquired by operation of the Public Land Act a Government grant to the property. a government grant without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. by himself and by his predecessors-in-interest. under the provisions of Republic Act No. . Secondly. ceases to be of the public domain. 424)." the applicant Meralco cannot be said to be barred as a corporation from filing the application for registration of the private property duly acquired by it. It should be noted that respondent judge's decision in the Meralco case expressly finds as established facts that the Meralco's predecessors-in.. 48 Phil. Thereafter. The very definition of prescription as a mode of acquiring ownership as set forth in Art. and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of. In fine. a right to a grant. the lack of which does not affect the legal sufficiency of the title as would be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the strength of said patent. the acquisitive prescription of alienable or disposable public lands provided for now in section 48. amending Section 48-b of Commonwealth Act No.29 force of lawentitled to the registration of his title to the land (citing Pamintuan vs. 1957. 8 Phil. As interpreted in several cases when the conditions as specified in the foregoing provision are complied with. the same can no longer be reopened to be declared null and void. Dar. 11 " the Court once more reiterated the Susi doctrine that "(A)nother obvious error of the respondent Court is in holding that after one year from the issuance of the Torrens Title. it is no longer disposable under the Public Land Act as by free patent. The application for confirmation is a mere formality. This is as provided in Republic Act No. 1976. Olimpia Ramos having possessed the same since the last world war in 1941 and then having sold the same on July 3. with the latter's proven occupation and cultivation for more than 30 years since 1914. 485 and Susi vs. 1942. since under the Court's settled doctrine. 4." The law does I not provide that one acquires ownership of a land by . Razon. Insular Government.. 1947 to the Piguing spouses who built a house thereon and continuously possessed the same until they sold the same in turn to the Meralco on August 13. which the respondent court held to be inapplicable to the petitioner's case. by operation of law. (b) of the Public Land Act takes place by operation of law and the public land is converted to and becomes private property upon as showing of open and unchallenged possession underbona fide claim of ownership by the applicants' predecessors-in-interest for the statutory period of thirty yearsimmediately preceding the filing of the application and "it is not necessary that a certificate of title should be issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the court" which right is expressly backed up by the conclusive presumption or presumption juris et de jure of the statute that the possessor has "performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant... therefore. In the latest 1980 case of Herico vs. as well as acquired ownership thereof by right of acquisitive prescription over the land which thereby became private property. title over the land has vested on petitioner as to segregate the land from the mass of public land.interest had possessed and occupied as owners the land in question for at least over 35 years.

30 prescriptiononly after his title thereto is judicially confirmed. To this same effect is the ruling in Cariño vs. Insular Government,13 wherein the U.S. Supreme Court speaking through Justice Holmes held that:

It is true that the language of articles 4 and 5 attributes title to those 'who may prove' possession for the necessary time and we do not overlook the argument that this means may prove in registration proceedings. It may be that an English conveyancer would have recommended an application under the foregoing decree, but certainly it was not calculated to convey to the mind of an Igorot chief the notion that ancient family possessions were in danger, if he had read every word of it. The words 'may prove' (acrediten), as well, or better, in view of the other provisions, might be taken to mean when called upon to do so in any litigation. There are indications that registration was expected from all, but none sufficient to show that, for want of it, ownership actually gained would be lost. The effect of the proof, wherever made, was not to confer title, but simply to establish it, as already conferred by the decree, if not by earlier law. To the same effect is the Court's ruling in Legarda and Prieto vs. Saleeby, 31 Phil. 590, that "an owner does not obtain title by virtue of certificate but rather obtains his certificate by virtue of the fact that he has a fee simple title." 5. Since the public land became private property upon completion of the 30th year of continuous, exclusive, and unchallenged possession of the applicant Meralco's predecessors-in-interest, particularly the Piguing spouses who sold the private land to the Meralco, there is no justification for denying the Meralco's application for registration of its duly acquired title to the land. Meralco's predecessors-ininterest had acquired ownership of the land by acquisitive prescription as provided by the Public Land Act and by the Civil Code. The land became private property and Meralco duly acquired it by right of purchase. To deny Meralco's application to register the property because it is not a natural person is unjustified because neither the new constitutional ban under the 1973 Constitution against private corporations owning lands of the public domain or the Public Land Act's limitation on the right of application for confirmation of imperfect title to lands of the public domain can be invoked any longer as the land had long ceased to be public land but had become private property. Meralco's application in effect seeks confirmation of the acquisition of ownership of the land which had become private property of its predecessors-in-interest, the Piguing spouses who thru their open and unchallenged possession of the land for over thirty years acquired title thereto by acquisitive prescription and by conclusive presumption of the Public Land Act itself. There is no legal nor constitutional obstacle to such title being transferred to the Meralco by right of purchase and traditio — for it is not claimed that there is any legal prohibition against the Piguing spouses transferring the ownership of the land to others (whether natural persons or corporations) such as the applicant Meralco, even before the formal issuance of the certificate of title to them. 6. To uphold respondent judge's denial of Meralco's application on the technicality that the Public Land Act allows only citizens of the Philippines who are natural persons to apply for confirmation of their title would be impractical and would just give rise to multiplicity of court actions. Assuming that there was a

31 technical error in not having filed the application for registration in the name of the Piguing spouses as the original owners and vendors, still it is conceded that there is no prohibition against their sale of the land to the applicant Meralco and neither is there any prohibition against the application being refiled with retroactive effect in the name of the original owners and vendors (as such natural persons) with the end result of their application being granted, because of their indisputable acquisition of ownership by operation of law and the conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor. It should not be necessary to go through all the rituals at the great cost of refiling of all such applications in their names and adding to the overcrowded court dockets when the Court can after all these years dispose of it here and now. (See Francisco vs. City of Davao 14 ) The ends of justice would best be served, therefore, by considering the applications for confirmation as amended to conform to the evidence, i.e. as filed in the names of the original persons who as natural persons are duly qualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title that they had acquired by conclusive presumption and mandate of the Public Land Act and who thereafter duly sold to the herein corporations (both admittedly Filipino corporations duly qualified to hold and own private lands) and granting the applications for confirmation of title to the private lands so acquired and sold or exchanged. 7. All that has been said here applies of course with equal force to the Iglesia case, save that as already stated at the beginning hereof, the Iglesia application was granted because the Republic presented no evidence in support of its opposition and respondent judge held in effect that the property had ceased to be land of the public domain and had become private property, the title to which could be duly issued in the name of the Iglesia as the transferee of its predecessors-in-interest. 8. It should bear emphasis that what are involved here are small parcels of land, of 165 square meters in the Meralco case used for installation of an "anchor guy" for its steel posts in connection with its tasks as a nationalized domestic corporation to furnish electrical service to the consumer public, and of 313 square meters in the Iglesia case used as the site of its church built thereon to minister to the religious needs of its members. In no way, may the letter, intent and spirit of the prohibition of the 1973 Constitution against corporations "holding alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed one thousand hectares in area" (which is beamed against the undue control and exploitation of our public lands and natural resources by corporations, Filipino and foreign-controlled) be deemed violated or disregarded by the granting of the applications at bar. The two corporations in truth and in fact do not hold the small parcels of land at bar for their own use or benefit but for the sole use and benefit of the public. 9. With reference to the separate concurring opinion of Mr. Justice De Castro wherein he would blunt the "supposedly (sic) well-established doctrine" (at page 1) from the 1909 case of Cariño and the 1925 case of Susidown to the 1980 case of Herico (supra, at pages 5 to 11) and support the contrary pronouncement in Mr. Justice Aquino's main opinion that "as between the State and the Meralco, the said land is still public land. It would cease to be public land only upon the issuance of the certificate of title to any Filipino citizen claiming it under section 48(b) [of the Public Land Act]" (at page 5), suffice it to cite his own pronouncement in Herico (reiterating the well-established and prevailing doctrine which

32 this Court has not overturned, as it cannot overturn the mandate of the statute that the unchallenged possessor for at least 30 years is "conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a government grant") wherein Mr. Justice De Castro categorically reiterated for the Court that "As interpreted in several cases .....the possessor is deemed to have acquired, by operation of law, a right to a grant, a government grant, without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. The land, therefore, ceases to be of the public domain, and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of. The application for confirmation is a mere formality, the lack of which does not affect the legal sufficiency of the title as would be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the strength of said patent. " It only remains to point out, in order to avoid misapprehension or confusion, that Mr. Justice De Castro's seemingly querulous statement that "the discussion of the question of whether the land involved is still public or already private land, is however, entirely pointless or an Idle exercise, if We consider the provision of Section 14, Article XIV of the Constitution which appears to have been lost sight of, which provides that 'save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the domain'" (at page 2) that "hence, even if the land involved in the present case is considered private land, the cited section prohibits its acquisition by the Meralco or Iglesia which admittedly are 'corporations' or associations within the meaning of the aforecited provision of the New Constitution. The observation should end all arguments on the issue of whether the land in question is public or private land" (idem) might mislead one to the wrong conclusion that corporations with 60% Filipino ownership may not own private lands when the express provisions of Art. XIV, section 9 15 and section 14 as quoted by himself as well as the counterpart provisions of the 1935 Constitution have always expressly permitted Filipinoowned corporations to own private lands, and the only change effected in the 1973 Constitution is section 11 which now prohibits even such Filipino corporations to own or hold lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed 1,000 hectares in area. ACCORDINGLY, I vote for reversal of respondent court's judgment in the Meralco case and for the entry of a new judgment granting Meralco's application and for affirmance of judgment in the second case granting the Iglesia application.

Separate Opinions ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring: In the result for the same reasons I have already given in Manila Electric Co. vs. Judge Floreliana CastroBartolome, G.R. No. L-49623. DE CASTRO, J., dissenting:

by reason of possession and cultivation for such a length of time. however. What these statements. such as those cited by Justice Teehankee. not within the prohibition of the New Constitution against corporations from acquiring public lands which provides that "no private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed one thousand hectares. no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals. corporations. The difference is that in the latter case. the land involved in undoubtedly public land. and the land thereby ceases to form part of the public domain. however. To secure such judicial title. really mean is that the land referred to no longer forms part of the mass of public domain still disposable by the Director of Lands. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. even before title thereto. It. only the courts can be resorted to. The possessor of a piece of public land would have the option to acquire title thereto through judicial confirmation or administrative legalization. The Director of Lands has lost authority over the land. " As previously stated. by express provision of the Constitution. also based on possession." has been fully vested on the occupant. as reiterating a supposedly well-established doctrine that lands of the public domain which. There is no limit to the area subject to judicial confirmation of incomplete or imperfect title. He would thus consider said land as no longer public land but "private" lands and therefore. which is. His authority is limited to another form of disposition of public land. It is because of the divestiture of authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of the land subject to judicial confirmation of incomplete and imperfect title that some statements are found in many cases."2 I cannot subscribe to the view that the land as above described has become private land. entirely pointless. 3 This is the only legal method by which full and absolute title to the land may be granted. as in the issuance of homestead and sales patents. depending on the evidence. however. Only when the court adjudicates the land to the applicant for confirmation of title would the land become privately owned land. for in the same proceeding. The discussion of the question of whether the land involved is still public or already private land is. the court may declare it public land. through the prescribed procedure known as judicial confirmation of incomplete or imperfect title. if We consider the provision of Section 14. as of this stage. if not a positive conclusion. which provides that "save in cases of hereditary succession. would not follow that the land covered by Section 48 of the Public Land Act has itself become private land. to the effect that such land has ceased to be public land. that the land referred to is still public land. except possibly the limit fixed for a State grant under old Spanish laws and decrees. but is segregated therefrom as to be no longer subject to the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose under the public land laws or statutes. resulting in the issuance of free patents. to convert the land into a truly private land. referred to as administrative legalization. in which case. the area disposable to a citizenapplicant by the Director of Lands is limited to 24 hectares. said to be still "an incomplete or imperfect title. under the authority granted him by the public land statutes. Article XIV of the Constitution which appears to have been lost sight of. Dar. insofar as its disposition is concerned. or an Idle exercise. The fact that its disposition is provided for in the aforecited Act which deals with "public land" gives rise to the very strong implication. a grant by the State to the occupant is presumed. 1 the decision in which I am theponente. which certainly is much larger than that set for free patents. no corporation or association may hold alienable lands .33 Justice Teehankee cites in his dissenting opinion the case of Herico vs.

C. 6As I view it. 4 Here the Iglesia ni Cristo. [being] forever . may it apply for judicial confirmation of the land in question to acquire title to it as owner after possessing the land for the requisite length of time? The answer is believed obvious-it may not.34 of the public domain.. The right of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Administrator of Davao to register land purchased from a Filipino citizen was recognized in The Roman Catholic Apostolic Administrator of Davao v. without discrimination or preference. therefore. even if the land involved in the present case is considered private land. This separate opinion should have had no need to be written because the majority opinion written by Justice Aquino is already well-reasoned out and supported by applicable authorities. The area involved in the two parcels of land in question is 313 square meters. seeks the registration. 5 There is for me another obstacle to a partial concurrence." 2 If the matter before us be viewed solely from the standpoint of respondent appellee Iglesia ni Cristo being a corporation sole. For me.. which finds application in constitutional law adjudication.J. Even as against the fundamental objectives.000 hectares in area. dissenting: It is with regret that unlike in the case of Meralco v. If its possession is not from the beginning but has commenced only upon the transfer to it by the prior possessor. except by lease. Although it may further be observed that supposing a corporation has been in possession of a piece of public land from the very beginning. the cited section prohibits its acquisition by the Meralco or Iglesia which admittedly are "corporations or association" within the meaning of the aforecited provision of the New Constitution. It is that basic consideration that leads me to conclude that the balancing process.. 1 where I had a brief concurrence and dissent. the claim of such free exercise and enjoyment was recognized in the leading case ofVictoriano v. allowed. constitutionally enshrined. I join him in according the utmost respect and deference to this provision in the Constitution: "No private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed one thousand hectares in area.. As admitted in the opinion of the Court. then I would have no hesitancy in sustaining the conclusion that if the land be considered public. the case of Herico vs." 3This is not the first time the Court has occasion to recognize the high estate that freedom of religion occupies in our hierarchy of values. Judge Castro-Bartolome. Land Registration. I am constrained to dissent in the ably-written opinion of Justice Aquino. of social justice and protection to labor. does not strengthen Justice Teehankee's position a bit. not to exceed 1. I was impelled to write it only because in the dissenting opinion of Justice Teehankee. that is not the decisive consideration. This observation should end all arguments on the issue of whether the land in question is public or private land. FERNANDO. as a corporation sole.. which I believe. . equally requires that when two provisions in the Constitution may be relevant to a certain factual situation calls for the affirmance of the decision of respondent Judge allowing the registration. This separate opinion then is more to show and explain that whatever has been stated by me in the Dar case should be interpreted in the light of what I have said in his separate opinion. the "enjoyment of religious profession and worship. . Dar (supra) which is my ponenciawas cited in support of his position. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union. It is my view that the Bill of Rights provision on religious freedom which bans the enactment of any law prohibiting its free exercise. its registration would have to be denied. the .4 Hence. may the corporation apply? The answer is just as obvious with more reason. a chapel is therein located. it may not.

Act No. in the second case (both admittedly Filipino corporations qualified to hold and own private lands). exclusive and unchallenged possession of alienable public land for the statutory period provided by law (30 years now under amendatory Rep. The land was already . the prohibition of the 1973 Constitution and of the Public Land Act against private corporations holding lands of the public domain has no applicability in the present cases. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the lands under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least thirty [30] years immediately preceding the filing of the applications).00." Accordingly. TEEHANKEE. pursuant to the Public Land Act. 1976. 1953 from Andres Perez in exchange for a lot owned by the Iglesia with an area of 247 square meters. The land covered by the Meralco application of November 26. a religious corporation sole.J.. This dissent is based on the failure of the majority to adhere to established doctrine since the 1909 case of Cariñoand the 1925 case of Susi down to the 1980 case of Herico. a nationalized domestic corporation. as amended. It is residential in character as distinguished from strictly agricultural land. Rizal with an assessed value of P3. for judicial confirmation of their titles to small parcels of land. It is likewise established that it is not included in any military reservation and that since 1927 it had been certified as part of the alienable or disposable portion of the public domain. Olimpia Ramos sold the land on July 3. continuous. The land had been declared for realty tax purposes since 1945 and realty taxes were regularly paid thereon. that where a possessor has held the open. 1947 to the spouses Rafael Piguing and Minerva Inocencio who constructed a house thereon.00. acquired by them by purchase or exchange from private persons publicly recognized as the private owners (who have been in the open.270. the Piguing spouses sold the land to the Meralco on August 13. in the first case and respondent Iglesia ni Cristo. infra. 1977 likewise consists of two (2) small lots located in Barrio Dampol. dissenting: Involved in these two cases are the applications of petitioner Meralco. 7 Hence this brief dissent. What Meralco and Iglesia have acquired from their predecessors-in-interest had already ceased to be of the public domain and had become private property at the time of the sale to them and therefore their applications for confirmation of title by virtue of their predecessors-in-interest' vested right and title may be duly granted. The land was acquired by the Iglesia on January 9. The Land covered by the Iglesia application of September 3. C.35 decision of respondent Judge is equally entitled to affirmance on equal protection grounds. Bulacan with a total area of 313 square meters and with an assessed value of P1. residential in character as distinguished from strictly agricultural land. the law itself mandates that the possessor "shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title" and" by legal fiction [the land] has already ceased to be of the public domain and has become private property. This land was possessed by Olimpia Ramos before World War II which broke out in the Pacific in 1941. But because the Meralco had installed the "anchor guy" of its steel posts on the land. 1957). Plaridel. 1976 consists of two (2) small lots with a total area of 165 square meters located at Tanay.350. 1942 approved on June 22.

Admittedly also it is not included in any military reservation and is inside an area which was certified since 1927 as part of the alienable or disposable portion of the public domain. while the judgment in the Iglesia case should stand affirmed. it may be . 141. exclusive. the Republic presented no evidence in support of its opposition but expressly "submitted the case for decision on the basis of the evidence submitted by the applicant. Meralco." 3 In such cases. par. being a corporation and not a natural person. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. approved on June 22. public and adverse possession of the land . (b) of the Public Land Act (Commonwealth Act No. Act No. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. in the Iglesia case. holding that it had been "satisfactorily established that applicant [Iglesia] and its predecessors-in-interest have been in open. A chapel of the Iglesia stands on the said land. I hold that both applications for registration should be granted by virtue of the prevailing principle as enunciated since the 1925 case of Susi vs. is not qualified to apply for the registration of title over the public land.36 possessed by Perez in 1933. as amended. notorious and unchallenged possession thereof by the applicants' predecessors-in-interest who were qualified natural persons and entitled to registration by right of acquisitive prescription under the provisions of the Public Land Act.. is the land ipso jure or by operation of law converted into private land upon completion of the 30th year of continuous and unchallenged occupation of the land such that thereafter as such private land. and that accordingly the judgment in the Meralco case should be reversed and a new judgment entered granting Meralco's application. continuous. exclusive. holding that under both the provisions of the new Constitution and the Public Land Act. Respondent judge in the Meralco case sustained the Republic's opposition and dismissed the application. as amended by Rep. continuous. Both decisions are now with the Court for review. 1942. continuous. It had been duly declared for realty tax purposes in the name of the Iglesia and realty taxes were regularly paid thereon. or by operation of law. On the other hand. Razon and Director of Lands 1 and reaffirmed in a long line of cases down to the 1980 case of Herico vs.. The principal issue at bar may thus be stated: It is expressly provided in section 48. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. 1957) that citizens of the Philippines who are natural persons who have occupied lands of the public domain but whose titles have not been perfected or completed may apply to the corresponding court of first instance for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of the certificate of title therefor under the Land Registration Act in cases where they "by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in the open." Respondent judge in the case accordingly granted the application for registration of the land in the name of the Iglesia. to be lands of the public domain upon completion of the statutory period of open. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. Dar 2 that the lands in question ceased. ipso jure. under a bona fide claim of ownership for more than thirty (30) years prior to the filing of the application" and is therefore entitled to the registration applied for under the Public Land Act.

Act No. the period of open and unchallenged possession was reduced to "at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title. 2874. Commonwealth Act No. 141. such possession was required "from July 26. this Court applied section 45 (b) of Act No. for he has been in actual and physical possession.. It is established doctrine as first held therein that an open. the presumption juris et de jure. amending Act No. It was held that the long possession of the land under a bona fide claim of ownership since July 26. personally and through his predecessors. as the rightful possessor of the public land for the statutory period.. Justice Aquino. This issue has been squarely resolved by this Court since the 1925 case of Susi vs. 1894" as then provided for in section 45 (b) of the old Public Land Act No. whereby the land ceases to be land of the public domain and becomes private property. in force since 1957. as amended by Rep. Act 1942 referred to is reproduced verbatim in Mr. as amended by Rep. Therefore. 1894 in Susi under the old law) by a private individual personally and through his predecessors confers an effective title on said possessor. any supposed sale by the Director of Lands of the same land to another person was void and of no effect and Susi as the rightful possessor could recover the land as his private property from the supposed vendee who did not acquire any right thereto since it had ceased to be land of the public domain. In favor of Valentin Susi. whereas at present as provided for in the corresponding section 48. 1942 approved on June 22.37 duly transferred to and owned by private corporations or does such land. openly. ") Accordingly. there is. equivalent to the period of acquisitive prescription. as held by respondent judge in the Meralco case. the Court held that Susi. Razon (and a long line of cases. "not only a right to a grant. 2874. infra)." and the land thereby "already ceased to be of the public domain and had become private property at least by presumption" as expressly provided in the Act. continuous. 2874 which corresponds to what is now section 48(b). (b) of the later and subsisting Public Land Act. adverse and public possession of a land of the public domain for the period provided in the Public Land Act provision in force at the time (from July 26. Justice Aquino's opinion 5 and quotes the reduced statutory period of open and unchallenged possession of "at leastthirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application. 1894. moreover. that: . of an agricultural land of the public domain. continuously. remain part of the public domain and does not become private land until after actual judicial confirmation proceedings and the formal court order for the issuance of the certificate of title? 1. 1894 gave rise to the conclusive presumption that the occupant had complied with all the conditions essential to a Government grant and was thus entitled to a certificate of title. The Court thus specifically held therein. 926. acquired the same by operation of law as a grant from the Government. par. with a right to a certificate of title to said land under the provisions of Chapter VIII of said Act. (At that time in 1925 in the Susi case. amending Act No. This is admitted in the main opinion of Mr. exclusively and publicly since July 26. by operation of law not only a right to a grant. but a grant of the . wherein it is stated that "(I)n the Susi case." 4 The text of the corresponding section 48(b).established in paragraph (b) of section 45 of Act No. 1957. So that when Angela Razon applied for the grant in her favor. Valentin Susi hadalready acquired. 926. that all the necessary requirements for a grant by the Government were complied with. as applied to the specific facts of the case.

48 Phil. The above-quoted ruling in Susi has been affirmed and reaffirmed by this Court in a long unbroken line of cases. it was observed that where all the necessary requirements for a grant by the Government are complied with through actual physical possession openly. there is a presumption juris et de jure that all necessary condition for a grant by the State have been complied with and he would have been by . and publicly. we are of the opinion that the trial court erred in dismissing the case outright without giving plaintiff a chance to prove his claim. at least by presumption. for it is not necessary that a certificate of title be issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts — an application therefor being sufficient under the provisions of Section 47 of Act No. as above stated. 2874. Vda. 141). by operation of law. the Director of Lands disposed of a land over which he had no longer any title or control. 10 the Court again held that where possession has been continuous. In Manarpaac us. 926 (carried over as Chapter VIII of Commonwealth Act No. which theory does not apply here because the property involved is allegedly private in nature and has ceased to be part of the public domain." In Lacaste vs. with a right to a certificate of title to said land under the provisions of Chapter VIII of Act No. Director of Lands. Razon. an application therefor is sufficient. If. continuously. of Valentin Susi. uninterrupted. the land in question became private property on the strength of the Susi doctrine. which apparently is predicated on the theory that a decree of registration can no longer be impugned on the ground of fraud one year after the issuance and entry of the decree. Commonwealth Act No. 424. 141). Consequently. in selling the land in question to Angela Razon. had already become.38 Government. 9 the Court quoted with favor the text of the above-quoted ruling of Susi. In Miguel us. open. there is lacking only the judicial sanction of his title Valentin Susi has the right to bring an action to recover the possession thereof and hold it. and the sale thus made was void and of no effect. beyond the control of the Director of Lands. adverse and in the concept of an owner. Valentin Susi had acquired the land in question by a grant of the State. 6 2. If by a legal fiction. for it is not necessary that certificate of title should be issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts. Cabanatan. that land. but a grant of the Government. et al. and Angela Razon did not thereby acquire any right. 2874. the possessor is deemed to have already acquired by operation of law not only a right to a grant. private property.. the plaintiffappellee cannot maintain an action to recover possession thereof. amending Act No. under the provisions of section 47 of Act No. de Sonza. 7 the Court held that "(I)n the case of Susi vs." and "(C)onsidering that this case was dismissed by the trial court merely on a motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff's action is already barred by the statute of limitations. as follows: In Mesina vs. it had already ceased to be of the public domain and had become private property. the possession of which is in dispute. and its ratio decidendi thus: The Director of Lands contends that the land in question being of the public domain. Court of Appeals. 2874 (reproduced as Section 50. 8 the Court stressed that by force of possession.

a government grant without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of." The law does I not provide that one acquires ownership of a land by . In the latest 1980 case of Herico vs. Dar. 11 " the Court once more reiterated the Susi doctrine that "(A)nother obvious error of the respondent Court is in holding that after one year from the issuance of the Torrens Title. 8 Phil. Thereafter. a right to a grant.. As interpreted in several cases when the conditions as specified in the foregoing provision are complied with. Olimpia Ramos having possessed the same since the last world war in 1941 and then having sold the same on July 3... 141 which provides: .interest had possessed and occupied as owners the land in question for at least over 35 years. the same can no longer be reopened to be declared null and void. This is as provided in Republic Act No. as well as acquired ownership thereof by right of acquisitive prescription over the land which thereby became private property. which the respondent court held to be inapplicable to the petitioner's case. par. amending Section 48-b of Commonwealth Act No. by operation of law. Secondly. The application for confirmation is a mere formality. with the latter's proven occupation and cultivation for more than 30 years since 1914. 1942. by himself and by his predecessors-in-interest. 12 Meralco's predecessors-in-interest had therefore acquired by operation of the Public Land Act a Government grant to the property. therefore. which took effect on June 22.. The land. Insular Government. 1947 to the Piguing spouses who built a house thereon and continuously possessed the same until they sold the same in turn to the Meralco on August 13. and has become absolute and indefeasible. (b) of the Public Land Act takes place by operation of law and the public land is converted to and becomes private property upon as showing of open and unchallenged possession underbona fide claim of ownership by the applicants' predecessors-in-interest for the statutory period of thirty yearsimmediately preceding the filing of the application and "it is not necessary that a certificate of title should be issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the court" which right is expressly backed up by the conclusive presumption or presumption juris et de jure of the statute that the possessor has "performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant. under the provisions of Republic Act No. Razon. it is no longer disposable under the Public Land Act as by free patent. since under the Court's settled doctrine. 1106 of the Civil Code provides that "By prescription one acquires ownership and other real rights through lapse of time in the manner and under the conditions laid down by law. 1942. ." 3. title over the land has vested on petitioner as to segregate the land from the mass of public land. 424). the acquisitive prescription of alienable or disposable public lands provided for now in section 48. It should be noted that respondent judge's decision in the Meralco case expressly finds as established facts that the Meralco's predecessors-in. 4. 48 Phil. 485 and Susi vs. 1976. The very definition of prescription as a mode of acquiring ownership as set forth in Art. 1957. ceases to be of the public domain. In fine. the possessor is deemed to have acquired. the lack of which does not affect the legal sufficiency of the title as would be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the strength of said patent.39 force of lawentitled to the registration of his title to the land (citing Pamintuan vs." the applicant Meralco cannot be said to be barred as a corporation from filing the application for registration of the private property duly acquired by it.

To uphold respondent judge's denial of Meralco's application on the technicality that the Public Land Act allows only citizens of the Philippines who are natural persons to apply for confirmation of their title would be impractical and would just give rise to multiplicity of court actions. The effect of the proof." 5. in view of the other provisions. that "an owner does not obtain title by virtue of certificate but rather obtains his certificate by virtue of the fact that he has a fee simple title. exclusive. The words 'may prove' (acrediten). even before the formal issuance of the certificate of title to them. There is no legal nor constitutional obstacle to such title being transferred to the Meralco by right of purchase and traditio — for it is not claimed that there is any legal prohibition against the Piguing spouses transferring the ownership of the land to others (whether natural persons or corporations) such as the applicant Meralco. Since the public land became private property upon completion of the 30th year of continuous. or better. particularly the Piguing spouses who sold the private land to the Meralco. There are indications that registration was expected from all. The land became private property and Meralco duly acquired it by right of purchase. Saleeby. Assuming that there was a technical error in not having filed the application for registration in the name of the Piguing spouses as the original owners and vendors. To deny Meralco's application to register the property because it is not a natural person is unjustified because neither the new constitutional ban under the 1973 Constitution against private corporations owning lands of the public domain or the Public Land Act's limitation on the right of application for confirmation of imperfect title to lands of the public domain can be invoked any longer as the land had long ceased to be public land but had become private property. the Piguing spouses who thru their open and unchallenged possession of the land for over thirty years acquired title thereto by acquisitive prescription and by conclusive presumption of the Public Land Act itself. if he had read every word of it. but certainly it was not calculated to convey to the mind of an Igorot chief the notion that ancient family possessions were in danger.S. Meralco's predecessors-ininterest had acquired ownership of the land by acquisitive prescription as provided by the Public Land Act and by the Civil Code. as well.13 wherein the U. might be taken to mean when called upon to do so in any litigation. Meralco's application in effect seeks confirmation of the acquisition of ownership of the land which had become private property of its predecessors-in-interest. 31 Phil. for want of it. still it is conceded that there is no prohibition against their sale of the . and unchallenged possession of the applicant Meralco's predecessors-in-interest. Insular Government. To this same effect is the ruling in Cariño vs. 590.40 prescriptiononly after his title thereto is judicially confirmed. Supreme Court speaking through Justice Holmes held that: It is true that the language of articles 4 and 5 attributes title to those 'who may prove' possession for the necessary time and we do not overlook the argument that this means may prove in registration proceedings. but none sufficient to show that. It may be that an English conveyancer would have recommended an application under the foregoing decree. if not by earlier law. ownership actually gained would be lost. was not to confer title. To the same effect is the Court's ruling in Legarda and Prieto vs. wherever made. but simply to establish it. there is no justification for denying the Meralco's application for registration of its duly acquired title to the land. as already conferred by the decree. 6.

the said land is still public land. The two corporations in truth and in fact do not hold the small parcels of land at bar for their own use or benefit but for the sole use and benefit of the public. and of 313 square meters in the Iglesia case used as the site of its church built thereon to minister to the religious needs of its members. suffice it to cite his own pronouncement in Herico (reiterating the well-established and prevailing doctrine which this Court has not overturned. In no way. It should bear emphasis that what are involved here are small parcels of land. save that as already stated at the beginning hereof. intent and spirit of the prohibition of the 1973 Constitution against corporations "holding alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed one thousand hectares in area" (which is beamed against the undue control and exploitation of our public lands and natural resources by corporations. the Iglesia application was granted because the Republic presented no evidence in support of its opposition and respondent judge held in effect that the property had ceased to be land of the public domain and had become private property. All that has been said here applies of course with equal force to the Iglesia case. as it cannot overturn the mandate of the statute that the unchallenged possessor for at least 30 years is "conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential . With reference to the separate concurring opinion of Mr. the title to which could be duly issued in the name of the Iglesia as the transferee of its predecessors-in-interest. 7. 9. It should not be necessary to go through all the rituals at the great cost of refiling of all such applications in their names and adding to the overcrowded court dockets when the Court can after all these years dispose of it here and now. Filipino and foreign-controlled) be deemed violated or disregarded by the granting of the applications at bar. City of Davao 14 ) The ends of justice would best be served. Justice De Castro wherein he would blunt the "supposedly (sic) well-established doctrine" (at page 1) from the 1909 case of Cariño and the 1925 case of Susidown to the 1980 case of Herico (supra. at pages 5 to 11) and support the contrary pronouncement in Mr. i. 8. of 165 square meters in the Meralco case used for installation of an "anchor guy" for its steel posts in connection with its tasks as a nationalized domestic corporation to furnish electrical service to the consumer public. therefore. as filed in the names of the original persons who as natural persons are duly qualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title that they had acquired by conclusive presumption and mandate of the Public Land Act and who thereafter duly sold to the herein corporations (both admittedly Filipino corporations duly qualified to hold and own private lands) and granting the applications for confirmation of title to the private lands so acquired and sold or exchanged. because of their indisputable acquisition of ownership by operation of law and the conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor. may the letter. It would cease to be public land only upon the issuance of the certificate of title to any Filipino citizen claiming it under section 48(b) [of the Public Land Act]" (at page 5). Justice Aquino's main opinion that "as between the State and the Meralco. by considering the applications for confirmation as amended to conform to the evidence. (See Francisco vs.e.41 land to the applicant Meralco and neither is there any prohibition against the application being refiled with retroactive effect in the name of the original owners and vendors (as such natural persons) with the end result of their application being granted.

. Nacion Law Office for private respondent. The observation should end all arguments on the issue of whether the land in question is public or private land" (idem) might mislead one to the wrong conclusion that corporations with 60% Filipino ownership may not own private lands when the express provisions of Art. vs. section 9 15 and section 14 as quoted by himself as well as the counterpart provisions of the 1935 Constitution have always expressly permitted Filipinoowned corporations to own private lands. no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals. " It only remains to point out. No.. NARVASA. and the only change effected in the 1973 Constitution is section 11 which now prohibits even such Filipino corporations to own or hold lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed 1. G. The land.000 hectares in area.. in order to avoid misapprehension or confusion.. the cited section prohibits its acquisition by the Meralco or Iglesia which admittedly are 'corporations' or associations within the meaning of the aforecited provision of the New Constitution.. without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. I vote for reversal of respondent court's judgment in the Meralco case and for the entry of a new judgment granting Meralco's application and for affirmance of judgment in the second case granting the Iglesia application. Justice De Castro categorically reiterated for the Court that "As interpreted in several cases . 73002 December 29. corporations. and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of. D.R. 1986 THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS. ETC.. XIV. entirely pointless or an Idle exercise. INC. which ordered registration . is however. ACCORDINGLY.42 to a government grant") wherein Mr. by operation of law. the lack of which does not affect the legal sufficiency of the title as would be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the strength of said patent. therefore. Justice De Castro's seemingly querulous statement that "the discussion of the question of whether the land involved is still public or already private land. respondents. Article XIV of the Constitution which appears to have been lost sight of. if We consider the provision of Section 14. ceases to be of the public domain. that Mr.: The Director of Lands has brought this appeal by certiorari from a judgment of the Intermediate Appellate Court affirming a decision of the Court of First Instance of Isabela. even if the land involved in the present case is considered private land. a government grant. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the domain'" (at page 2) that "hence. The application for confirmation is a mere formality. J.the possessor is deemed to have acquired. which provides that 'save in cases of hereditary succession. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ACME PLYWOOD & VENEER CO. petitioner. a right to a grant.

have negotiated for the donation of the townsite from Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. Exhibit 'M-l').. 1962. The registration proceedings were for confirmation of title under Section 48 of Commonwealth Act No. adverse and public from 1962 to the present and tacking the possession of the Infiels who were granted from whom the applicant bought said land on October 29. That the land subject of the Land Registration proceeding was ancestrally acquired by Acme Plywood & Veneer Co.. whether with the alienable or disposable public land or within the public domain. 7.. more or less. said improvements were seen by the Court during its ocular investigation of the land sought to be registered on September 18. as amended: and the appealed judgment sums up the findings of the trial court in said proceedings in this wise: 1. 9. Inc. 'N') on . 3872 granting absolute ownership to members of the non-Christian Tribes on land occupied by them or their ancestral lands. and this negotiation came to reality when the Board of Directors of the Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. That Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. represented by Mr. Isabela.. 2. Rodolfo Nazario can acquire real properties pursuant to the provisions of the Articles of Incorporation particularly on the provision of its secondary purposes (paragraph (9). Inc. That Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. 5... Inc.00) Pesos worth of improvements. from Mariano Infiel and Acer Infiel. Inc.. dates back before the Philippines was discovered by Magellan as the ancestors of the Infiels have possessed and occupied the land from generation to generation until the same came into the possession of Mariano Infiel and Acer Infiel. Inc....43 in favor of Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. Rodolfo Nazario is a corporation duly organized in accordance with the laws of the Republic of the Philippines and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 23. is continuous. has introduced more than Forty-Five Million (P45.. Inc. members of the Dumagat tribe.. That the constitution of the Republic of the Philippines of 1935 is applicable as the sale took place on October 29.. That applicant Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. 6. 1962. had donated a part of the land bought by the Company from the Infiels for the townsite of Maconacon Isabela (Exh.000. That the land sought to be registered is a private land pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. That the possession of the applicant Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. 4.. represented by Mr. That the possession of the Infiels over the land relinquished or sold to Acme Plywood & Veneer Co. Inc.000. both members of the Dumagat tribe and as such are cultural minorities. 141 (The Public Land Act). 1982. Inc. 1959. That the ownership and possession of the land sought to be registered by the applicant was duly recognized by the government when the Municipal Officials of Maconacon. 3. acquired by it from Mariano and Acer Infiel. of five parcels of land measuring 481. 1962. 390 square meters. hence the possession is already considered from time immemorial. 8. on October 29. Inc.

'N-l'). 1981. in view of the quoted findings of the trial court which were cited and affirmed by the Intermediate Appellate Court. possessed and occupied those lands since time immemorial. entitled to exercise the right granted in Section 48 of the Public Land Act to have their title judicially confirmed. as amended. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims. it was reversible error to decree registration in favor of Acme Section 48. he asserts that. are members of the national cultural minorities who had. or long after the 1973 Constitution had gone into effect. 48. from whom Acme purchased the lands in question on October 29. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. Nor is there any pretension that Acme. is disqualified to acquire and register ownership of said lands under any provisions of the 1973 Constitution other than Section 11 of its Article XIV already referred to. The following described citizens of the Philippines. 1979. by reason thereof. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. reads: SEC. it can no longer controvert before this Court-the fact that Mariano and Acer Infiel. Isabela (Exh. of Commonwealth Act No. or for more than the required 30-year period and were. 1962.44 November 15.000 hectares (a prohibition not found in the 1935 Constitution which was in force in 1962 when Acme purchased the lands in question from the Infiels). by themselves and through their progenitors. and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor. under the Land Registration Act. continuous. paragraphs (b) and (c). 141. (c) Members of the National Cultural minorities who by themselves or through their predecessors-ininterest have been in open. under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture. 1979. to wit: xxx xxx xxx (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. continuous. as the successor-in-interest of the Infiels. The Petition for Review does not dispute-indeed. The Director of Lands takes no issue with any of these findings except as to the applicability of the 1935 Constitution to the matter at hand. Concerning this. whether disposable or not. except by lease not to exceed 1. and since section 11 of its Article XIV prohibits private corporations or associations from holding alienable lands of the public domain. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. the registration proceedings have been commenced only on July 17. the question before this Court is whether or not the title that the Infiels had transferred to Acme in 1962 could be confirmed in favor of the latter in proceedings instituted by it in . the latter is the correctly applicable law. during their special session on November 22. and which donation was accepted by the Municipal Government of Maconacon. under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least 30 years shall be entitled to the rights granted in subsection (b) hereof. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. Given the foregoing.

20 SCRA 641. L-19535. the constitutional prohibition against their acquisition by private corporations or associations obviously does not apply. it may be observed that the constitutional prohibition makes no distinction between (on the one hand) alienable agricultural public lands as to which no occupant has an imperfect title and (on the other hand) alienable lands of the public domain as to which an occupant has on imperfect title subject to judicial confirmation. dismissed the application on the ground that Meralco. Castro-Bartolome. Because it is still public land and the Meralco. on the other hand. tracing the line of cases beginning with Carino in 1909 2thru Susi in 1925 3 down to Herico in 1980. the said land is still public land. Rizal from the Piguing spouses.. is disqualified to apply for its registration under section 48(b). attention has been invited to Manila Electric Company vs.000 hectares. Since section 11 of Article XIV does not distinguish. Meralco appealed. Olimpia Ramos. On December 1.45 1981 when the 1973 Constitution was already in effect. they were then already private lands. If. If they were then still part of the public domain. by their predecessor-in-interest. et al. The prohibition applies to alienable public lands as to which a Torrens title may be secured under section 48(b). we should not make any distinction or qualification. for confirmation of title to said lots. In that case. a domestic corporation more than 60% of the capital stock of which is Filipino-owned. That said dissent expressed what is the better — and. It would cease to be public land only upon the issuance of the certificate of title to any Filipino citizen claiming it under section 48(b). before them. the correct. it must be answered in the negative. had purchased in 1947 two lots in Tanay. The present Chief Justice entered a vigorous dissent. Makati Branch. Director of Lands. affirmed and reaffirmed the doctrine that open. The question turns upon a determination of the character of the lands at the time of institution of the registration proceedings in 1981. indeed. The court. Finally.. having in mind the prohibition therein against private corporations holding lands of the public domain except in lease not exceeding 1.. Manila Electric Company. In this regard. 1976. view-becomes evident from a consideration of some of the principal rulings cited therein. July 30. 1967. was not qualified to apply for registration under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act which allows only Filipino citizens or natural persons to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect titles to public land. 4 which developed. ceases to be public land and becomes private property. and a majority of this Court upheld the dismissal. . It was held that: . exclusive and undisputed possession of alienable public land for the period prescribed by law creates the legal fiction whereby the land. as a juridical person. The proceeding under section 48(b) 'presupposes that the land is public' (Mindanao vs. The lots had been possessed by the vendors and. since prior to the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941. Meralco applied to the Court of First Instance of Rizal. 1 where a similar set of facts prevailed. upon completion of the requisite period ipso jure and without the need of judicial or other sanction. Meralco's application cannot be given due course or has to be dismissed. assuming that the lots were public land. a juridical person. 644).

Dar. 6 Succeeding cases. 2874. wherever made.. title over the land has vested on petitioner so as to segregate the land from the mass of public land. If by a legal fiction. but a grant of the Government. under the provisions of Republic Act No. That ruling assumed a more doctrinal character because expressed in more categorical language. so to speak. and the sale thus made was void and of no effect. the presumption juris et de jure established in paragraph (b) of section 45 of Act No. that all the necessary requirements for a grant by the Government were complied with.. The effect of the proof.46 The main theme was given birth. by operation of law not only a right to a grant. Cabanatuan. personally and through his predecessors.. It may be that an English conveyancer would have recommended an application under the foregoing decree. in selling the land in question of Angela Razon. by himself and by his predecessors-in-interest. Consequently. with a right to a certificate of title to said land under the provisions of Chapter VIII of said Act. in Carino involving the Decree/Regulations of June 25. which the respondent Court held to be inapplicable to the petitioner's case. In favor of Valentin Susi. Court of Appeals 10 and Herico vs.. under the provisions of section 47 of Act No. Director of Lands. of which only some need be mentioned. 9 Miguel vs.. exclusively and publicly since July 26.. was not to confer title. there is. in view of the other provisions. amending Act No. but certainly it was not calculated to convey to the mind of an Igorot chief the notion that ancient family possessions were in danger. 1942. of an agricultural land of the public domain openly... Valentin Susi had already acquired. Thereafter. might be taken to mean when called upon to do so in any litigation. and Angela Razon did not thereby acquire any right. it is no longer disposable under the Public Land Act as by free patent. at least by presumption. of Valentin Susi. 7 Mesina vs. There are indications that registration was expected from all but none sufficient to show that. de Sonza. Secondly.. as already conferred by the decree. in particular. 1880 for adjustment of royal lands wrongfully occupied by private individuals in the Philippine Islands. with the latter's proven occupation and cultivation for more than 30 years since 1914. . if not by earlier law. . likeof Lacaste vs. ownership actually gained would be lost. an application therefore is sufficient. Vda.. 2874. beyond the control of the Director of Lands. Valentin Susi had acquired the land in question by a grant of the State. 1984. but simply to establish it. 8 Manarpac vs.. It was ruled that: It is true that the language of articles 4 and 5 5 attributes title to those 'who may prove' possession for the necessary time and we do not overlook the argument that this means may prove in registration proceedings. moreover. The words 'may prove' (acrediten) as well or better. appears to be squarely affirmative: 11 . it had already ceased to be of the public domain and had become private property. . for he has been in actual and physical possession. the Director of Lands disposed of a land over which he had no longer any title or control. So that when Angela Razon applied for the grant in her favor. by invoking and affirming the Susi doctrine have firmly rooted it in jurisprudence. Herico. if he had read every word of it. for it is not necessary that a certificate of title should be issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts. supra. in Susi: . 926. for want of it. continuously.

was not to confer title.. in analogous circumstances. and registration thereunder would not confer title. by operation of law. This Court has already held. hold or lease public agricultural lands in excess of 1. without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. The purely accidental circumstance that confirmation proceedings were brought under the aegis of the 1973 Constitution which forbids corporations from owning lands of the public domain cannot defeat a right already vested before that law came into effect. The only limitation then extant was that corporations could not acquire. ceases to be of the public domain and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands to dispose of.. there also being nothing in the 1935 Constitution that might be construed to prohibit corporations from purchasing or acquiring interests in public land to which the vendor had already acquired that type of so-called "incomplete" or "imperfect" title. for want of it. shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title . at the most limited to ascertaining whether the possession claimed is of the required character and length of time. wherever made. there being nothing in the 1935 Constitution then in force (or. As was so well put in Carino. but simply recognize a title already vested.. it must also be conceded that Acme had a perfect right to make such acquisition. despite immemorial possession of the Infiels and their ancestors. therefore. but simply to establish it.. ". until title in their favor was actually confirmed in appropriate proceedings under the Public Land Act. .. the possessor is deemed to have acquired. confirmation proceedings would. that the Constitution cannot impair vested rights.024 hectares. The effect of the proof. The application for confirmation is mere formality. a right to a grant. but only confirm such a conversion already affected by operation of law from the moment the required period of possession became complete. Even on the proposition that the land remained technically "public" land. for that matter. or invalidate transactions then perfectly valid and proper. 1962 when Acme acquired it from said owners." If it is accepted-as it must be-that the land was already private land to which the Infiels had a legally sufficient and transferable title on October 29. (T)here are indications that registration was expected from all. but none sufficient to show that.. as already conferred by the decree.. there can be no serious question of Acmes right to acquire the land at the time it did. in truth be little more than a formality. The proceedings would not originally convert the land from public to private land. when the conditions as specified in the foregoing provision are complied with. ownership actually gained would be lost. " No proof being admissible to overcome a conclusive presumption. 12 Nothing can more clearly demonstrate the logical inevitability of considering possession of public land which is of the character and duration prescribed by statute as the equivalent of an express grant from the State than the dictum of the statute itself 13 that the possessor(s) ".47 xxx xxx xxx As interpreted in several cases. a government grant. if not by earlier law. the lack of which does not affect the legal sufficiency of the title as would be evidenced by the patent and the Torrens title to be issued upon the strength of said patent. The land. in the 1973 Constitution which came into effect later) prohibiting corporations from acquiring and owning private lands.

xxx xxx xxx The due process clause prohibits the annihilation of vested rights. as amended) is converted to private property by the mere lapse or completion of said period.J. 123 Phil. Article XIII of the 1935 Constitution allows private corporations to purchase public agricultural lands not exceeding one thousand and twenty-four hectares. ipso jure. that the majority ruling in Meralco must be reconsidered and no longer deemed to be binding precedent. Its compliance with the requirements of the Public Land Law for the issuance of a patent had the effect of segregating the said land from the public domain. in the light of the foregoing. Following that rule and on the basis of the undisputed facts. is of the view. It cannot be deprived of that right without due process (Director of Lands vs. xxx xxx xxx In the instant case. The correct rule. is that alienable public land held by a possessor. Petitioner' prohibition action is barred by the doctrine of vested rights in constitutional law. as enunciated in the line of cases already referred to.. 1177-78). 'A state may not impair vested rights by legislative enactment. could have had title in themselves confirmed and registered. the Infiels. because it had already acquired a vested right to the land applied for at the time the 1973 Constitution took effect. therefore. under either the 1935 or the 1973 Constitution. Section 2.<äre||anº•1àw> 15 The fact. 919). openly. It could not be abrogated by the new Constitution. there being no doubt of Acme's entitlement to the land. The corporation's right to obtain a patent for the land is protected by law. by the enactment or by the subsequent repeal of a municipal ordinance. The Court. or by a change in the constitution of the State. CA.S. productive of a defect hardly more than procedural and in nowise affecting the substance and merits of the right of ownership sought to be confirmed in said proceedings. there being at the time no . it is incontestable that prior to the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution the right of the corporation to purchase the land in question had become fixed and established and was no longer open to doubt or controversy. that the confirmation proceedings were instituted by Acme in its own name must be regarded as simply another accidental circumstance. Acme thereby acquired a registrable title. That vested right has to be respected. Inc. continuously and exclusively for the prescribed statutory period (30 years under The Public Land Act. and so holds. personally or through his predecessors-in-interest. the land subject of this appeal was already private property at the time it was acquired from the Infiels by Acme. As it is unquestionable that in the light of the undisputed facts. except in a legitimate exercise of the police power'(16 C.48 We hold that the said constitutional prohibition 14 has no retroactive application to the sales application of Binan Development Co. only a rigid subservience to the letter of the law would deny the same benefit to their lawful successor-in-interest by valid conveyance which violates no constitutional mandate.

but only reaffirms and re-established. as filed in the names of the original persons who as natural persons are duly qualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title that they had acquired by conclusive presumption and mandate of the Public Land Act and who thereafter duly sold to the herein corporations (both admittedly Filipino corporations duly qualified to hold and own private lands) and granting the applications for confirmation of title to the private lands so acquired and sold or exchanged. in that context. be considered as essentially obiter. was only tangential limited to a brief paragraph in the main opinion. Reference to the 1973 Constitution and its Article XIV. the same is hereby affirmed. deeding the lands back to Acme. The objection that. in a real sense. decided no constitutional question. again. (See Francisco vs. City of Davao) The ends of justice would best be served.49 prohibition against said corporation's holding or owning private land. Assuming that there was a technical error not having filed the application for registration in the name of the Piguing spouses as the original owners and vendors. whereas the same result is more efficaciously and speedily obtained.e. To uphold respondent judge's denial of Meralco's application on the technicality that the Public Land Act allows only citizens of the Philippines who are natural persons to apply for confirmation of their title would be impractical and would just give rise to multiplicity of court actions. with no prejudice to anyone. without costs in this instance. as a juridical person. While this opinion seemingly reverses an earlier ruling of comparatively recent vintage. in short. Indeed. it breaks no precedent. Section 11. there being no reversible error in the appealed judgment of the Intermediate Appellate Court. by a liberal application of the rule on amendment to conform to the evidence suggested in the dissent in Meralco. by considering the applications for confirmation as amended to conform to the evidence. it is worth noting that the majority opinion. in Meralco rested chiefly on the proposition that the petitioner therein. a juridical person. doctrines the soundness of which has passed the test of searching examination and inquiry in many past cases. . It should not be necessary to go through all the rituals at the great cost of refiling of all such applications in their names and adding to the overcrowded court dockets when the Court can after all these years dispose of it here and now. as well as the concurring opinions of Chief Justice Fernando and Justice Abad Santos. still it is conceded that there is no prohibition against their sale of the land to the applicant Meralco and neither is there any prohibition against the application being refiled with retroactive effect in the name of the original owners and vendors (as such natural persons) with the end result of their application being granted. There is also nothing to prevent Acme from reconveying the lands to the Infiels and the latter from themselves applying for confirmation of title and. But this would be merely indulging in empty charades. Acme is not qualified to apply for judicial confirmation of title under section 48(b) of the Public Land Act is technical. finds its answer in the dissent in Meralco: 6. after issuance of the certificate/s of title in their names. and may. was disqualified from applying for confirmation of an imperfect title to public land under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. i. as it were. Meralco. rather than substantial and. WHEREFORE. because of their indisputable acquisition of ownership by operation of law and the conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor. therefore.

. whereby the land ceases to be land of the public domain and becomes private property. adverse and public possession of a land of the public domain for the period provided in the Public Land Act provision in force at the time (from July 26. . JR. " 6 . and. .J. such possessors "shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.. 1 which is herein upheld. Yap.. Separate Opinions GUTIERREZ. But since we are reverting to the old above-cited established doctrine and precedents and discarding the Meralco and Iglesia ni Cristo cases which departed therefrom in the recent past. " The Court thus held in Susi that under the presumption juris et de jure established in the Act. 1894 in Susi under the old law [this period was reduced to 'at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title' by amendment of Commonwealth Act No. that an open. of Valentin Susi. therefore. an application therefore is sufficient .. 141. beyond the control of the Director of Lands [and beyond his authority to sell to any other person]. Paras and Feliciano. . Fernan. and indeed the correct view.. concurring: I reiterate my concurrence in Meralco v." My dissent was anchored on the landmark 1909 case of Carino 2 through the 1925 case of Susi 3 and the long line of cases cited therein to the latest 1980 case of Herico 4 that "it is established doctrine. "expressed what is the better. the rightful possessor of the public land for the statutory period "already acquired. equivalent to the period of acquisitive prescription 5 ]) by a private individual personally and through his predecessors confers an effective title on said possessor. TEEHANKEE. by operation of law. J. C... . for it is not necessary that certificate of title should be issued an order that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts. Valentin Susi had acquired the land in question by a grant of the State. . concurring: I am honored by my brethren's judgment at bar that my dissenting opinion in the June. concur.. not only a right to a grant. If by a legal fiction. it had already ceased to be of the public domainand had become private property. I feel constrained to write this concurrence in amplification of my views and ratio decidendi. but a grant of the Government. Alampay. Feria..50 SO ORDERED.. dissent here. 1982 Meralco and Iglesia ni Cristo cases. Castro-Bartolome. at least by presumption. Cruz. JJ." I hereby reproduce the same by reference for brevity's sake. . continuous. Under the express text and mandate of the cited Act.

the lack of which does not affect the legal sufficiency of the title. but simply to establish it. as already conferred by the decree.") Such ipso jure conversion into private property of public lands publicly held under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership is the public policy of the Act and is so expressly stated therein. In fact. ownership actually gained would be lost.S. for want of it. The land ipso jure ceases to be of the public domain and becomes private property. or better. the land of the Infiels had beenipso jure converted into private land and they had a legally sufficient and transferable title conferred by the conclusive presumption of the Public Land Act (which needed only to be established in confirmation of title proceedings for formalization and issuance of the certificate of title) which they lawfully and validly transferred to respondent corporation. 1880. Supreme Court in the 1909 case of Carino (the Igorot chief who would have been deprived of ancestral family lands by the dismissal of his application for registration) which reversed the dismissal of the registration court (as affirmed by the Supreme Court) and adopted the liberal view that under the decree and regulations of June 25. By virtue of such conversion into private property. 1982 (when the Meralco decision was promulgated). Isabela to which it donated part of the land for the townsite created a vested right which could not be impaired by the prohibition adopted eleven years later. "the application for confirmation is a mere formality.024 hectares) unlike the later 1973 Constitution which imposed an absolute prohibition. respondent corporation's lawful purchase from them of the land in 1962 and P 45million investments redounding presumably to the welfare and progress of the community. if not by earlier law. was not to confer title. It should be noted that respondent corporation purchased the land from the Infiels on October 16. There are indications that registration was expected from all. But as sufficiently stressed. might be taken to mean when called upon to do so in any litigation. qualified corporations may lawfully acquire them and there is no "alteration or defeating" of the 1973 Constitution's prohibition against corporations holding or acquiring title to lands of the public domain. whenever made. as well. "The words 'may prove' (acrediten).51 The root of the doctrine goes back to the pronouncement of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes for the U. Even on the erroneous assumption that the land remained public land despite the Infiels' open possession thereof as owners from time immemorial." The Court's decision at bar now expressly overturns the Meralco and related cases subsequent thereto which failed to adhere to the aforecited established doctrine dating back to 1909 and was consistently applied up to June 29. We reaffirm the established doctrine that such acquisitive prescription of alienable public lands takes place ipso jure or by operation of law without the necessity of a prior issuance of a certificate of title. for the simple reason that no public lands are involved. the many amendments to the Act extending the period for the filing of such applications for judicial confirmation of imperfect and incomplete titles to alienable and disposable public lands expressly reiterate that it has always been the "policy of the State to hasten the settlement. in view of the other provisions. but none sufficient to show that. which may be lawfully sold to and acquired by qualified corporations such as respondent corporation. particularly the municipality of Maconacon. (As stressed in Herico supra. as claimed in the dissenting opinion. adjudication . 1962 under the aegis of the 1935 Constitution which contained no prohibition against corporations holding public lands (except a limit of 1. The effect of the proof.

now retired. as an insurmountable obstacle to the relief sought. i. to the exclusion of juridical persons such as corporations. a juridical person rather than the natural persons-transferors. the deadline for the filing of such application which would have originally expired first on December 31. 1968. the approach followed by us in Francisco v. 7 The cited Act's provision that only natural persons may apply thereunder for confirmation of title is in effect a technicality of procedure and not of substance. Fernando likewise dissented along the same line from the majority ruling therein and held: "I dissent insofar as the opinion of the Court would characterize such jurisdictional defect that the applicant was Meralco. Thus. then extended to December 31. further extended to December 31. then to December 31. therefore. by considering the applications for confirmation as amended to conform to the evidence. the constitutional provision that no private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain is inapplicable. My submittal in Meralco. I feel that the realistic solution would be to decide the matter as if the application under Section 48(b) were filed by the Piguing spouses." 9 Justice Vicente Abad Santos. 1976 and lastly extended to December 31. as filed in the names of the original persons who as natural persons are duly qualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title that they had acquired by conclusive presumption and mandate of the Public Land Act and who thereafter duly sold to the herein corporations (both admittedly Filipino corporations duly qualified to hold and own private lands) and granting the applications for confirmation of title to the private lands so acquired and sold or exchanged. tacking on their predecessors'-in-interest possession is that only natural persons.e. in effect dissented from the therein majority ruling on the question of substance. I would apply by analogy. They are already private lands because of acquisitive prescription by the predecessors of the petitioner and all that is needed is the confirmation of the title. 1941. By legal fiction and in the exercise of our equitable jurisdiction. But such procedural failure cannot and should not defeat the substance of the law. was resolved. That juridical persons or corporations cannot do so is obvious. 1987. instead of being deferred and possibly taken up in another case. is properly applicable: "The ends of justice would best be served. although they have lawfully transferred their title to the land. likewise. as stressed in . " 10 To my mind. physically and in reality possess public lands for the required statutory 30-year period. to recognize that such lands publicly and notoriously occupied and cultivated under bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership have ipso jure been converted into private property and grant the possessors the opportunity to establish and record such fact. while concurring in the procedural result. who I assume suffer from no such disability." 8 Indeed. can actually." i. 1938 was successively extended to December 31. and stated his opinion that "the lots which are sought to be registered have ceased to be lands of the public domain at the time they were acquired by the petitioner corporation. the Act confers on them a legally sufficient and transferable title. under the particular circumstances of this case. Accordingly.52 and quieting of titles to [such] unregistered lands. mutatis mutandis. although the facts could be distinguished. City of Davao. 1957. It is preferable to follow the letter of the law that they file the applications for confirmation of their title. then Chief Justice Enrique M.e. the reason why the Act limits the filing of such applications to natural citizens who may prove their undisputed and open possession of public lands for the required statutory thirty-year period. where the legal question raised. But when the natural persons have fulfilled the required statutory period of possession.

No private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed one thousand hectares in area. Republic vs. exclusive. Br. in part. (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open.. was done after the decision in the Meralco and Iglesia ni Cristo cases) just for the purpose of complying on paper with the technicality of having natural persons file the application for confirmation of title to the private land. statutory law and constitutional provision prevent a corporation from directly applying to the Courts for the issuance of Original Certificates of Title to lands of the public domain (Manila Electric Company vs. CFI of Nueva Ecija. Iglesia ni Cristo vs. to wit: (a) . The following described citizens of the Philippines. Judge. 114 SCRA 875. 119 SCRA 449. The law. It has to be conceded that. . under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. in part. Court of Appeals. provides: SEC.... provides: SEC. Castro-Bartolome. Villanueva. Republic vs. J. dissenting: Section 48 of the Public Land Act. 48. recognizes the validity of the transfer and sale of the private land to the corporation. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein.. continuous. Article XIV. .. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor. (c) . of the 1973 Constitution. and in accordance with the evidence.. It is my opinion that the literalism should be adhered to in this case. confirm their title to the private lands so converted by operation of law and lawfully transferred by them to the corporation. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. It should not be necessary to go in a round-about way and have the corporation reassign its rights to the private land to natural persons-(as I understand). under the Land Registration Act..53 the above-cited opinions. 114 SCRA 799.. literally. MELENCIO-HERRERA. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. that the lands are already private lands because ofacquisitive prescription by the corporation's predecessors and the realistic solution would be to consider the application for confirmation as filed by the natural persons-transferors. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed are the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. nor may any citizen hold such lands by lease in excess of five hundred hectares .. 1). 11. Section 11. Hon. after all..

" (Paragraphing supplied) The effect is that the majority opinion now nullifies the statutory provision that only citizens (natural persons) can apply for certificates of title under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. because of their indisputable acquisition of ownership by operation of law and the conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor. Section 11) which prohibits corporations from acquiring title to lands of the public domain. the courts start with the assumption that the legislature intended to enact an effective law. Assuming that there was a technical error in not having filed the application for registration in the name of the Piguing spouses as the original owners and vendors. still it is conceded that there is no prohibition against their sale of the land to the applicant Meralco and neither is there any prohibition against the application being refiled with retroactive effect in the name of the original owners and vendors (as such natural persons) with the end result of their application being granted. and afterwards transfer the title to ACME. 70 S Ct 352. The majority opinion. United States v. so as to give it efficient operation and . It has also been said that: In the construction of statutes. destroy or defeat the intention of the legislature" (New York State Dept. it is a general principle that the courts should. adopted the following excerpt from a dissent in Manila Electric Company vs. (b) After the INFIELS secure a certificate of title. "A construction adopted should not be such as to nullify. To uphold respondent judge's denial of Meralco's application on the technicality that the Public Land Act allows only citizens of the Philippines who are natural persons to apply for confirmation of their title would be impractical and would just give rise to multiplicity of court actions. 93 S Ct 2507. and the legislature is not to be presumed to have done a vain thing in the enactment of a statute. in effect. if reasonably possible to do so interpret the statute. of Social Services v. Alpers 338 US 680. or the provision being construed. 2nd. Castro-Bartolome (114 SCRA 799. Dublino [UST 37 L.54 The reasoning of the majority can be restated in simple terms as follows: (a) The INFIELS can successfully file an application for a certificate of title over the land involved in the case. 94 L Ed 457. cited in 73 Am Jur. (c) As ACME can eventually own the certificate of title.. 351). they can sell the land to ACME. It should not be necessary to go through all the rituals at the great cost of refiling of all such applications in their names and adding to the overcrowded court dockets when the Court can after all these years dispose of it here and now. p. thus avoiding the circuituous "literal" requirement that the INFIELS should first apply to the courts for the titles. 823 [1982]). Ed 2d 688. That interpretation or construction adopted by the majority cannot be justified. it should be allowed to directly apply to the Courts for the Certificate of Title. Hence. as well as the constitutional provision (Article XIV.

TEEHANKEE. C. or nugatory.. and words or phrases may be altered or supplied. explained away. One part of a statute may not be construed so as to render another part nugatory or of no effect. nullified." I hereby reproduce the same by reference for brevity's sake. "expressed what is the better. The proper course for the Court to take is to promote in the fullest manner the policy thus laid down and to avoid a construction which would alter or defeat that policy. equivalent to the period of acquisitive prescription 5 ]) by a private individual personally and through his predecessors confers an effective title on said possessor. Castro-Bartolome. destroyed. 114 SCRA 799 [1982] and related cases. (Pliakos vs. therefore. the meaning of a statute may be extended beyond the precise words used in the law.. adverse and public possession of a land of the public domain for the period provided in the Public Land Act provision in force at the time (from July 26. But since we are reverting to the old above-cited established doctrine and precedents and .. 1 which is herein upheld. 11 III 2d 456. emasculated.. Wherever the provision of a statute is general everything which is necessary to make such provision effectual is supplied by implication. and indeed the correct view. Hon. concurring: I am honored by my brethren's judgment at bar that my dissenting opinion in the June. be avoided. Illinois Liquor Control Com.. J. Moreover.J. 1894 in Susi under the old law [this period was reduced to 'at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title' by amendment of Commonwealth Act No. concurring: I reiterate my concurrence in Meralco v. if possible.. cited in 73 AM Jur. the former construction is preferred.. or as otherwise expressed. An interpretation should. Separate Opinions GUTIERREZ. . JR. . inoperative. Castro-Bartolome. 422-423) The statutory provision and the constitutional prohibition express a public policy. repealed. 141.. continuous.55 effect as a whole. meaningless. . under which the statute or provision being construed is defeated. and. that an open. one of which will give effect to the act. while the other will defeat it. If a statute is fairly susceptible of two constructions. I confirm my adherence to the ruling of this Court in Meralco vs. where this is necessary to prevent a law from becoming a nullity. In fine. 143 NE2d 47. notwithstanding the general rule against the enlargement of extension of a statute by construction. dissent here.. whereby the land ceases to be land of the public domain and becomes private property. 1982 Meralco and Iglesia ni Cristo cases." My dissent was anchored on the landmark 1909 case of Carino 2 through the 1925 case of Susi 3 and the long line of cases cited therein to the latest 1980 case of Herico 4 that "it is established doctrine. or rendered insignificant. 2d pp.

if not by earlier law. which may be lawfully sold to and acquired by qualified corporations such as respondent corporation. Supreme Court in the 1909 case of Carino (the Igorot chief who would have been deprived of ancestral family lands by the dismissal of his application for registration) which reversed the dismissal of the registration court (as affirmed by the Supreme Court) and adopted the liberal view that under the decree and regulations of June 25. as already conferred by the decree. 1880. but a grant of the Government. qualified corporations may lawfully acquire them and there is no "alteration or defeating" of the 1973 Constitution's prohibition against corporations holding or acquiring title to lands of the public domain. of Valentin Susi. at least by presumption. Under the express text and mandate of the cited Act. (As stressed in Herico supra. was not to confer title. for want of it. The effect of the proof. . whenever made.S. The land ipso jure ceases to be of the public domain and becomes private property. by operation of law. ownership actually gained would be lost.<äre||anº•1àw> We reaffirm the established doctrine that such acquisitive prescription of alienable public lands takes place ipso jure or by operation of law without the necessity of a prior issuance of a certificate of title. in view of the other provisions. as claimed in the dissenting opinion. If by a legal fiction. . . "The words 'may prove' (acrediten). " 6 The root of the doctrine goes back to the pronouncement of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes for the U. the lack of which does not affect the legal sufficiency of the title. for it is not necessary that certificate of title should be issued an order that said grant may be sanctioned by the courts. it had already ceased to be of the public domainand had become private property. or better. There are indications that registration was expected from all. such possessors "shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. "the application for confirmation is a mere formality. 1982 (when the Meralco decision was promulgated). but simply to establish it. not only a right to a grant. but none sufficient to show that. as well. By virtue of such conversion into private property. beyond the control of the Director of Lands [and beyond his authority to sell to any other person]. I feel constrained to write this concurrence in amplification of my views and ratio decidendi." The Court's decision at bar now expressly overturns the Meralco and related cases subsequent thereto which failed to adhere to the aforecited established doctrine dating back to 1909 and was consistently applied up to June 29. might be taken to mean when called upon to do so in any litigation. for the simple reason that no public lands are involved. the rightful possessor of the public land for the statutory period "already acquired.") Such ipso jure conversion into private property of public lands publicly held under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership is the public policy of the Act and is so expressly stated therein. an application therefore is sufficient . " The Court thus held in Susi that under the presumption juris et de jure established in the Act.56 discarding the Meralco and Iglesia ni Cristo cases which departed therefrom in the recent past. Valentin Susi had acquired the land in question by a grant of the State. .

under the particular circumstances of this case. then extended to December 31. Fernando likewise dissented along the same line from the majority ruling therein and held: "I dissent insofar as the opinion of the Court would characterize such jurisdictional defect that the applicant was Meralco. where the legal question raised. adjudication and quieting of titles to [such] unregistered lands. respondent corporation's lawful purchase from them of the land in 1962 and P 45million investments redounding presumably to the welfare and progress of the community. the land of the Infiels had beenipso jure converted into private land and they had a legally sufficient and transferable title conferred by the conclusive presumption of the Public Land Act (which needed only to be established in confirmation of title proceedings for formalization and issuance of the certificate of title) which they lawfully and validly transferred to respondent corporation.57 It should be noted that respondent corporation purchased the land from the Infiels on October 16. then to December 31. Thus. mutatis mutandis. 1962 under the aegis of the 1935 Constitution which contained no prohibition against corporations holding public lands (except a limit of 1. further extended to December 31. instead of being deferred and possibly taken up in another case. as an insurmountable obstacle to the relief sought. By legal fiction and in the exercise of our equitable jurisdiction. the deadline for the filing of such application which would have originally expired first on December 31. the approach followed by us in Francisco v." 8 Indeed." i. City of Davao. particularly the municipality of Maconacon. 1957. Isabela to which it donated part of the land for the townsite created a vested right which could not be impaired by the prohibition adopted eleven years later. 1987. although the facts could be distinguished. In fact. My submittal in Meralco. 1941. to recognize that such lands publicly and notoriously occupied and cultivated under bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership have ipso jure been converted into private property and grant the possessors the opportunity to establish and record such fact. is properly applicable: "The ends of justice would best be served. Even on the erroneous assumption that the land remained public land despite the Infiels' open possession thereof as owners from time immemorial. who I assume suffer from no such . was resolved. i. therefore. a juridical person rather than the natural persons-transferors. by considering the applications for confirmation as amended to conform to the evidence. as filed in the names of the original persons who as natural persons are duly qualified to apply for formal confirmation of the title that they had acquired by conclusive presumption and mandate of the Public Land Act and who thereafter duly sold to the herein corporations (both admittedly Filipino corporations duly qualified to hold and own private lands) and granting the applications for confirmation of title to the private lands so acquired and sold or exchanged.e. 1976 and lastly extended to December 31. I would apply by analogy. the many amendments to the Act extending the period for the filing of such applications for judicial confirmation of imperfect and incomplete titles to alienable and disposable public lands expressly reiterate that it has always been the "policy of the State to hasten the settlement. But as sufficiently stressed. 7 The cited Act's provision that only natural persons may apply thereunder for confirmation of title is in effect a technicality of procedure and not of substance. I feel that the realistic solution would be to decide the matter as if the application under Section 48(b) were filed by the Piguing spouses.e.024 hectares) unlike the later 1973 Constitution which imposed an absolute prohibition. then Chief Justice Enrique M. 1938 was successively extended to December 31. 1968.

. and in accordance with the evidence. J." 9 Justice Vicente Abad Santos. They are already private lands because of acquisitive prescription by the predecessors of the petitioner and all that is needed is the confirmation of the title. and stated his opinion that "the lots which are sought to be registered have ceased to be lands of the public domain at the time they were acquired by the petitioner corporation. the constitutional provision that no private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain is inapplicable. in part. can actually.. But when the natural persons have fulfilled the required statutory period of possession. That juridical persons or corporations cannot do so is obvious. The following described citizens of the Philippines. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. was done after the decision in the Meralco and Iglesia ni Cristo cases) just for the purpose of complying on paper with the technicality of having natural persons file the application for confirmation of title to the private land. the Act confers on them a legally sufficient and transferable title. It should not be necessary to go in a round-about way and have the corporation reassign its rights to the private land to natural persons-(as I understand). physically and in reality possess public lands for the required statutory 30-year period. to the exclusion of juridical persons such as corporations. in effect dissented from the therein majority ruling on the question of substance. as stressed in the above-cited opinions. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of . now retired. MELENCIO-HERRERA. provides: SEC. tacking on their predecessors'-in-interest possession is that only natural persons. likewise. confirm their title to the private lands so converted by operation of law and lawfully transferred by them to the corporation. recognizes the validity of the transfer and sale of the private land to the corporation. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. the reason why the Act limits the filing of such applications to natural citizens who may prove their undisputed and open possession of public lands for the required statutory thirty-year period.58 disability. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor. continuous. " 10 To my mind. while concurring in the procedural result. (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open. The law. 48. to wit: (a) .. dissenting: Section 48 of the Public Land Act. after all. under the Land Registration Act. It is preferable to follow the letter of the law that they file the applications for confirmation of their title. But such procedural failure cannot and should not defeat the substance of the law. although they have lawfully transferred their title to the land. exclusive. that the lands are already private lands because ofacquisitive prescription by the corporation's predecessors and the realistic solution would be to consider the application for confirmation as filed by the natural persons-transferors. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. Accordingly.

adopted the following excerpt from a dissent in Manila Electric Company vs. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed are the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.. The reasoning of the majority can be restated in simple terms as follows: (a) The INFIELS can successfully file an application for a certificate of title over the land involved in the case. Republic vs. Villanueva.. Court of Appeals. 1).59 the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. Judge. statutory law and constitutional provision prevent a corporation from directly applying to the Courts for the issuance of Original Certificates of Title to lands of the public domain (Manila Electric Company vs. and afterwards transfer the title to ACME. 114 SCRA 875. nor may any citizen hold such lands by lease in excess of five hundred hectares . 11. thus avoiding the circuituous "literal" requirement that the INFIELS should first apply to the courts for the titles... . still it is conceded that there is no prohibition against their sale of the land to the applicant Meralco and neither is there any prohibition against the application being refiled with retroactive effect in the name of the original owners and vendors (as such natural persons) with the end result of their application being granted. Castro-Bartolome (114 SCRA 799. It is my opinion that the literalism should be adhered to in this case. Iglesia ni Cristo vs. of the 1973 Constitution. The majority opinion. in effect. (c) As ACME can eventually own the certificate of title. because of their indisputable acquisition of ownership by operation of law and the conclusive presumption therein provided in their favor. CFI of Nueva Ecija. Republic vs. 114 SCRA 799. provides: SEC. No private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain except by lease not to exceed one thousand hectares in area. Castro-Bartolome... it should be allowed to directly apply to the Courts for the Certificate of Title. Section 11. Br. (c) . they can sell the land to ACME. literally. 119 SCRA 449. It has to be conceded that. 823 [1982]). Hon. in part. Assuming that there was a technical error in not having filed the application for registration in the name of the Piguing spouses as the original owners and vendors. (b) After the INFIELS secure a certificate of title. To uphold respondent judge's denial of Meralco's application on the technicality that the Public Land Act allows only citizens of the Philippines who are natural persons to apply for confirmation of their title would be impractical and would just give rise to multiplicity of court actions. ... Article XIV.

emasculated. "A construction adopted should not be such as to nullify. G. One part of a statute may not be construed so as to render another part nugatory or of no effect. or as otherwise expressed. while the other will defeat it. 1989 VICTORIA ONG DE OCSIO. 351).. (Pliakos vs. 143 NE2d 47. That interpretation or construction adopted by the majority cannot be justified. 2nd. An interpretation should. Castro-Bartolome.R. under which the statute or provision being construed is defeated. notwithstanding the general rule against the enlargement of extension of a statute by construction. and the legislature is not to be presumed to have done a vain thing in the enactment of a statute. and words or phrases may be altered or supplied. the meaning of a statute may be extended beyond the precise words used in the law. p. petitioner. inoperative. nullified. 70 S Ct 352. Wherever the provision of a statute is general everything which is necessary to make such provision effectual is supplied by implication. where this is necessary to prevent a law from becoming a nullity. The proper course for the Court to take is to promote in the fullest manner the policy thus laid down and to avoid a construction which would alter or defeat that policy. repealed. United States v. meaningless. 2d pp. L-44237 February 28. Dublino [UST 37 L. 94 L Ed 457. if reasonably possible to do so interpret the statute. explained away. Alpers 338 US 680. In fine. 422-423) The statutory provision and the constitutional prohibition express a public policy. the courts start with the assumption that the legislature intended to enact an effective law. I confirm my adherence to the ruling of this Court in Meralco vs. destroy or defeat the intention of the legislature" (New York State Dept. cited in 73 Am Jur. of Social Services v.60 It should not be necessary to go through all the rituals at the great cost of refiling of all such applications in their names and adding to the overcrowded court dockets when the Court can after all these years dispose of it here and now. 93 S Ct 2507. Illinois Liquor Control Com. or the provision being construed. 11 III 2d 456. or nugatory. vs. cited in 73 AM Jur. or rendered insignificant. It has also been said that: In the construction of statutes. one of which will give effect to the act. as well as the constitutional provision (Article XIV. so as to give it efficient operation and effect as a whole. if possible. 114 SCRA 799 [1982] and related cases. Moreover. If a statute is fairly susceptible of two constructions. Ed 2d 688. destroyed." (Emphasis supplied) The effect is that the majority opinion now nullifies the statutory provision that only citizens (natural persons) can apply for certificates of title under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. it is a general principle that the courts should. Section 11) which prohibits corporations from acquiring title to lands of the public domain. Hon. the former construction is preferred. . No. Hence. be avoided.

1273 was a road right of way granted to the City of Iligan..: From the adverse judgment of the Court of Appeals. she had been in possession of both lots for fifteen (15) years. 2 the petitioner has come to this Court on an appeal by certiorari to plead for reversal of (1) the factual determination that she had sold the lot in controversy to private respondent.M. of two (2) parcels of land with specific boundaries comprehended in the cadastral proceeding: Lot No. Padilla Law Office for private respondent. situated in the City of Iligan. 3 Victoria Ong de Ocsio (herein petitioner) seasonably presented an answer to the petition. Evidence was received on these conflicting assertions after which the Cadastral Court rendered judgment. and its possession and that of its predecessors was immemorial. the members of which are all Filipino citizens. it averred that it had bought the lots from Victoria Ong de Ocsio and had been in possession as owner thereof for over four years. Elpedio N. The controversy at bar arose in connection with cadastral proceedings initiated by the Director of Lands. She alleged that she was the owner. measuring 256 square meters. viz: 6 WHEREFORE. 1272 to the Religious of the Virgin Mary in virtue of a deed of sale dated April 12. and that as owner. The judgment contained the following dispositive portion. Leoncia Pacquing. 5 In its answer.O. 4 Title to the same parcels of land was however claimed by the Religious of the Virgin Mary. divided into 1. . No pronouncement is made as to costs.61 COURT OF APPEALS and the RELIGIOUS OF THE VIRGIN MARY. to the Religious of the Virgin Mary. and the doctrine lately laid down by this Court on the precise legal issue now raised by petitioner. represented by M.V. Iligan Cadastre. respondents. J. 1956 (Exhibit 1). 1272. and (2) the legal conclusion that neither the 1973 nor the 1987 Constitution disqualifies the corporation known as the Religious of the Virgin Mary. in behalf of the Republic. for the settlement and adjudication of title to a large tract of land measuring 261. measuring 21 square meters. In light of the time-honored rule that findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are generally final. The claim of Victoria Ong de Ocsio with respect to said cadastral lot is dismiss. and her predecessors-in-interest. but the building existing thereon is hereby declared to be the property of claimant Victoria Ong de Ocsio who is hereby ordered to remove Said building out of the premises within 90 days from date hereof. by purchase. from acquiring the land in question and registering it in its name. her appeal must fail. Cabasan for petitioner. declaring that the evidence satisfactorily established that Victoria Ong de Ocsio had in truth sold Lot No. 1 affirming in toto that of the Trial Court.5791 hectares. and Lot No. NARVASA. R. a duly registered domestic religious corporation. with main office in the City of Manila. and Lot 1273 a road lot.419 lots. the court renders judgment adjudicating Cadastral Lot 1272. for sixty (60) years.

. 1272 that was subject of the sale and had indeed been transferred to the latter. findings of fact of this sort. In the latter it was expressly held that the prohibitions in the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions against acquisition or registration of lands by or in behalf of private corporations do not apply to public lands already converted to private ownership by natural persons under the provisions of the Public Land Act. 8 none of which obtains here. In the present case. continuous and exclusive possession of alienable public land for at least thirty (30) years in accordance with the Public Land Act ipso jure converts the land to private property. Manila Electric Co. Both the cadastral Court and the Court of Appeals came to the conclusion. and Republic v. Citing Manila Electric Co. 7 subject only to a few specified exceptions. not Lot No.A. contained in a decision of the Court of Appeals are by long and uniformly observed rule conclusive on the parties and on the Supreme Court. that she had conveyed to the religious corporation but that it was indeed Lot No. Current doctrine. 114 SCRA 875 (1982). v. after analysing and weighing the testimonial and documentary evidence adduced by the parties.114 SCRA 799 (1982) and Republic v. in relation to Section 11. 1272. petitioner fares no better. the court held that the fact that the proceedings had been instituted by said purchaser in its own name and not in the name of the transferors was "xx simply xx (an) accidental circumstance. I. 153 SCRA 686 (September 11. that Virginia Ong de Ocsio's version of the facts was not true-that it was another property. Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution. by themselves and through their predecessors-in-interest. will this Court. 1987) where the same question of law was raised. entirely in order.62 Let the corresponding decree issue 30 days after this decision shall have become final. C. 156 SCRA 344 (October 30. . Virtually the same state of facts obtained in said case that now obtain here." The ruling was reaffirmed in two later cases. Director of Lands v. CastroBartolome. possessed and occupied it since time immemorial. is that open. said findings may not be reviewed on appeal. the Court of Appeals affirmed the cadastral court's decision in toto. WHEREFORE. In upholding its right to do so. Now. she asserts that as the private respondent is a religious corporation. it is disqualified to obtain judicial confirmation of an imperfect title under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act which grants that right only to natural persons. The cited rulings no longer control. Costs against the petitioner. and a juridical person who thereafter acquires the same may have title thereto confirmed in its name. Villanueva.. A private corporation had purchased the land originally of the public domain from parties who had. under the precedents referred to. 1272 for the period and under the conditions prescribed by law for acquisition of ownership of disposable public land prior to the sale of the property to the Religious of the Virgin Mary. So. confirmation of title thereto in the latter's name is. the judgment of the Court of Appeals subject of the petition for review on certiorari is AFFIRMED in toto.C. 146 SCRA 509 (1986). productive of a defect hardly more than procedural and in nowise affecting the substance and merits of the right of ownership sought to be confirmed. as well. too. 1987). As regards the issue of law raised by her. Virginia Ong de Ocsio and her predecessors-in-interest having possessed Lot No. It had thereafter instituted proceedings for confirmation of title under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act.A. first announced by the Court en banc in Director of Lands v. As aforestated.

The Insular Government opposed the granting of these petitions. were heard together for the reason that the latter petition claimed a small portion of land included in the parcel set out in the former petition. on the south. Griño-Aquino and Medialdea.. 1907 MATEO CARIÑO. 2869 March 25. in lines running 982 meters and 20 decimeters. and Calsi. No. H. Office of the Solicitor-General Araneta for appellee. Esteban Gonzales. on the 23d of February. Coudert Brothers for appellant.R. 15. with the lands of Sisco Cariño and Mayengmeng. 834. 1 are. THE INSULAR GOVERNMENT. and situated in the town of Baguio. Both petitions are dismissed and the property in question is adjudged to be public land. JJ. together with a house erected thereon and constructed of wood and roofed with rimo. 1904. ARELLANO. with the lands of Talaca. By order of the court the hearing of this petition. for the years 1897 and 1898.) The conclusions arrived at the set forth in definite terms in the decision of the court below are the following: . alleging that the whole parcel of land is public property of the Government and that the same was never acquired in any manner or through any title of egresionfrom the State. filed his petition in the Court of Land Registration praying that there be granted to him title to a parcel of land consisting of 40 hectares.: Mateo Cariño. petitioner-appellant. and of the Civil Government. in lines of 115 meters and 60 decimeters. the appellant herein. and that of Antonio Rebollo and Vicente Valpiedad filed under No. Gancayco. C. the court of Land Registration rendered its judgment in these terms: Therefore the court finds that Cariño and his predecessors have not possessed exclusively and adversely any part of the said property prior to the date on which Cariño constructed the house now there — that is to say. and 13 centares. respondent-appellee. p. and Cariño held possession for some years afterwards of but a part of the property to which he claims title. Province of Benguet. G. Phelps Whitmarsh. in lines running 991 meters and 50 decimeters with the land of Kuidno. 561.63 Cruz. No. concur. in lines running 1. (Bill of exceptions. and the hearing of documentary and oral proof. on the east.J. and bounded as follows: On the north. After trial. vs. and on the west.048 metes and 20 decimeters with the lands of Sepa Cariño.

this land. appears to be property belonging to Donaldson Sim. 1894. and which could not have been included in the possessory information mentioned. and." and belongs to the class called public lands. As has been shown during the trial of this case. according to such possessory information. Ortega and Minse. all of which is set forth as argument as to the possession in the judgment. and. 1901. according to the plan attached toexpediente No. which appears on the plan aforesaid to be the property of H. 2. it was necessary that the possession of the same pass from the State. and registered on the 11th day of the same month and year." a road appearing on the plan now presented and cutting the land. 4. . a parcel of land. being of common origin. as is indicated on the plan. a considerable extension of land remaining on the other side of the said road. that the land has been in an uninterrupted state of cultivation during a period of six years last past. 561. that in or about the year 1884 Cariño erected and utilized as a domicile a house on the property situated to the north of that property now in question. and which house is situated in the center of the property. as might be said. to wit. (Bill of exceptions. a place where the father and the grandfather of his wife. 3. and upon which is situated the house now actually occupied by the petitioner. that during the year 1893 Cariño sold said house to one Cristobal Ramos. moving to and living on the adjoining property.. such extension containing 40 hectares. in half. Therefore it is evident that this court can not decree the registration of all of the superficial extension of the land described in the petition and as appears on the plan filed herein. 561. 11 and 12. Phelps Whitmarsh.) 1. the land therein described contains an extension of only 28 hectares limited by "the country road to the barrio of Pias. in order to perfect the legitimate acquisition of such land by private persons. pp. . 1 are. In or about the years 1898 Cariño abandoned the property of Whitmarsh and located on the property described in the plan attached to expediente No. this being the last law or legal disposition of the former sovereignty applicable to the present subject-matter of common lands: First. The possessory information filed herein is not the title to property authorized in substitution for that of adjustment by the royal decree of February 13. of which mention is made in said possessory information. is "used for pasture and sowing.64 From the testimony given by Cariño as well as from that of several of the witnesses for the Government it is deduced. for the reason that the land referred to herein is not covered nor does it come within any one of the three conditions required by article 19 of the said royal decree. and 13 centares. having constructed a house thereon in which he now lives. inasmuch as the documentary evidence accompanying the petition is conclusive proof against the petitioners. nor is there any possessory information equivalent to title by composicion or under agreement. that is to say. who in turn sold the same to Donaldson Sim. and since which time he has undoubtedly occupied some portion of the property now claimed by him. presumptively belonged to the State during its sovereignty. or that the same has been possessed without interruption during a period of twelve years and has been in a state of cultivation up to the date of the . had lived . And there is no evidence or proof of title ofegresion of this land from the domain of the Spanish Government. property which. or running through its center from north to south. this documentary proof consists of a possessory information under date of March 7. the west side. Under the express provisions of law.

6. because the possessory information authorized by said royal decree or last legal disposition of the Spanish Government. one of which is Act No.3 which appears to be the law upon which the petition herein is founded. to the community. in such event. in accordance with common law. in connection with Act No. 7. nor is it necessary to refer to the testimony given by the two witnesses to the possessory information for the following reason: Second. his possession as attested in the possessory information herein could not. equivalent to that of adjustment with the Spanish Government and required and necessary at all times until the publication of said royal decree was limited in time to one year. 1902. In accordance with the preceding provisions." 5. if it be certain that he was the true possessor of the land in question. which classified and designated the royal alienable lands for the purpose of distinguishing them from those lands strictly public. notwithstanding the land had not been cultivated. After the expiration of this period of the right of the cultivators and persons in possession to obtain gratuitous title thereto lapses and the land together with full possession reverts to the state. is allowed to verify the possessory informations which are referred to in articles 19 and 20. the right that remained to Cariño. or. Aside from this right. go to show any right of ownership until after the expiration of twenty years from the expiration of twenty years from the verification and registry of the same in conformity with the provisions of article 393 of the Mortgage Law and other conditions prescribe by this law. in accordance with article 21.65 information and during the three years immediately preceding such information. as appears from the record of the trial of the case. 1894. or that such land had been possessed openly without interruption during a period of thirty or more years. in accordance with section 12 and 13 of the act of Congress of July 1. not to be extended. inasmuch as it could only be of force when pertaining to royaltransferable or alienable lands. as the case may be.2 herein mentioned by the petitioner. was the right of average in case the Government or State could have sold the same within the period of five years immediately following for example. which were thenceforth merely called public lands. and from forestry lands which could at no time pass to private ownership nor be acquired through time even after the said royal decree of February 13. as title or for the purpose of acquiring actual proprietary right. and the said possessors and cultivators or their assigns would simply have rights under universal or general title of average in the event that the land is sold within a period of five years immediately following the cancellation.1 and in conformity with other laws enacted under this act of Congress by the Philippine Commission prescribing rules for the execution thereof. if the denouncement of purchase had been carried out by Felipe Zafra or any other person. which is as follows: " A period of one year. The advent of the new sovereignty necessarily brought a new method of dealing with lands and particularly as to the classification and manner of transfer and acquisition of royal or common lands then appropriated. which condition and the determination thereof is reversed to the government. The right of possession in accordance with common law — that is to say. civil law — remains at all times subordinate to the Spanish administrative law. 648. The possessors not included under this chapter can only acquire by time the ownership and title to unappropriated or royal lands in accordance with common law. 627. . the alienation of which was reserved to the Government.

) Wherefore. By reason of the findings set forth it is clearly seen that the court below did not err: 1. if we take into consideration his petition. and ten days thereafter let the case be remanded to the court from whence it came for proper action.66 8. JJ. it was the property of the Government. it follows that the judgment denying the petition herein and now appealed from was strictly in accordance with the law invoked herein. So ordered. Section 6 of Act No. From all of which it follows that the precise extent has not been determined in the trial of this case on which judgment might be based in the event that the judgment and title be declared in favor of the petitioner. 1982 TESTATE ESTATE OF JOSE EUGENIO RAMIREZ. belongs to Vicente Valpiedad.) But said act admits such prescription for the purpose of obtaining title and ownership to lands "not exceeding more that sixteen hectares in extent. JORGE and ROBERTO RAMIREZ. donations or gifts of land that could only have been made efficacious as to the conveyance thereof with the assistance of these new laws. as well as by reason of his occupancy and use thereof from time immemorial. according to the testimony of Cariño. all of which is shown in different cases decided by the said Court of Land Registration. one part of same. reserves his vote. according to the possessory information.appellants. And we should not lose sight of the fact that.. in accordance with the provisions contained in Act No. Administratrix. oppositors. MARIA LUISA PALACIOS. petitionerappellee. After the expiration of twenty days from the notification of this decision let judgment be entered in accordance herewith. Willard. And of the 28 hectares of land as set out in the possessory information. ET AL." (Allegation 1. on the contrary. In finding that the land in question did not belong to the petitioner.R. "The petitioners claims title under the period of prescription of ten years established by that act. and Tracey. considering the intention of Congress in granting ownership and title to 16 hectares. 6 of said act.. Mapa. 190. oppositors. G. or an extension of 28 hectares. as a basis for obtaining the right of ownership. No. 9. J. the only thing that can be considered." (Sec.. MARCELLE D. Torres. but that. 2. (Allegation 21. L-27952 February 15. vs. concur. that Mateo Cariño and his children have already exceeded such amount in various acquirements of lands. . the judgment appealed from is affirmed with the costs of this instance against the appellant. Johnson. legatees. the extent of which is not determined. Mateo Cariño. 627 admits prescription. Therefore. DE RAMIREZ.) The land claimed by Cariño is 40 hectares in extent. VDA. In finding that Mateo Cariño and those from whom he claims his right had not possessed and claimed as owners the lands in question since time immemorial.

.......................... namely: his widow Marcelle Demoron de Ramirez................ 2..........00 Una sexta parte (1/6) proindiviso de dos parcelas de terreno situadas en Antipolo. the testator provided for substitutions. Branch X......976........................: The main issue in this appeal is the manner of partitioning the testate estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez among the principal beneficiaries. In due time she submitted an inventory of the estate as follows: INVENTARIO Una sexta parte (1/6) proindiviso de un te rreno.........34 Cuatrocientos noventa y uno (491) acciones de la 'Central Azucarera de la Carlota a P17...... with only his widow as compulsory heir... on July 27............. disuelta y en liquidacion a P0.. Manila...... His will was admitted to probate by the Court of First Instance of Manila..... 1964.....................15 por accion ....1..347... 1965..............................620... and his companion Wanda de Wrobleski...............67 ABAD SANTOS.. his two grandnephews Roberto and Jorge Ramirez...... died in Spain on December 11.....'... Maria Luisa Palacios was appointed administratrix of the estate...................... P500................. J....................... P512..... 658... The task is not trouble-free because the widow Marcelle is a French who lives in Paris.. con sus mejoras y edificaciones...97 MENOS: Deuda al Banco de las Islas Filipinas..... while the companion Wanda is an Austrian who lives in Spain........73 TOTAL. Jose Eugenio Ramirez.......000........ a Filipino national.....00 Diez mil ochocientos seize (10.......806) acciones de la 'Central Luzon Milling Co...........00 por accion ... situadoen la Escolta.................. Moreover..... Rizal............350..8... garan- ..90 Cuenta de Ahorros en el Philippine Trust Co.........

..—Y en cuanto a las dos terceras partes restantes.. D. en su defecto. a favor de D. de Palma de Mallorca. On June 23..." Furthermore. one third (1/3) of the free portion is charged with the widow's usufruct and the remaining two-thirds (2/3) with a usufruct in favor of Wanda.. a favor de la esposa del testador.. hijos de su sobrino D. b.... en atencion a que dicha propiedad fue creacion del querido padre del otorgante y por ser aquellos continuadores del apellido Ramirez. the other part or "free portion" shall go to Jorge and Roberto Ramirez "en nuda propriedad.. Son Rapina Avenida de los Reyes 13... ambas menores de edad. P 5.. En cuanto a una tercera parte.. violates Section 5.. sin intervencion alguna de los titulares fideicomisaarios. Wanda de Wrobleski. Jorge and Roberto opposed the project of partition on the grounds: (a) that the provisions for vulgar substitution in favor of Wanda de Wrobleski with respect to the widow's usufruct and in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horacio V. who is an alien.—Y en usufructo a saber: — a. calle del General Gallieni No.. Jose Ma. podran en cualquier memento vender a tercero los bienes objeto delegado. residentes en Manila. 1966. y. El precedente legado en nuda propiedad de la participacion indivisa de la finca Santa Cruz Building. con sustitucion vulgar reciprocal entre ambos.. Marcelle Ramirez. as provided in Article 863 of the Civil Code. lo ordena el testador a favor de los legatarios nombrados... San Luis Building. P507. Ramirez. Ramirez.. y encuanto a la mitad restante. de Son Rapina Palma de Mallorca.. Da. Juan Pablo Jankowski....... with respect to Wanda's usufruct are invalid because the first heirs Marcelle and Wanda) survived the testator.. las usufiructuarias nombradas conjuntamente con los nudo propietarios. Wanda de Nrobleski con sustitucion vulgar v fideicomisaria a saber:— En cuanto a la mitad de dichas dos terceras partes. B. No. A pesar de las sustituciones fideiconiisarias precedentemente ordinadas.. 1818.. con sustitucion vulgar u fideicomisaria a favor de Da.68 tizada con prenda de las acciones de La Carlota ..000. Article III of the Philippine Constitution. I. Malate.—En nuda propiedad. a favor de su sobrino.F. con sustitucion vulgar a favor de sus respectivos descendientes.. I. a favor de la nombrada Da. and that (d) the proposed partition of the testator's interest in the .976..00 VALOR LIQUIDO. Ramirez...F.. Seine Francia... Florida St....97 The testamentary dispositions are as follows: A. Jorge Ramirez. Manila.... One part shall go to the widow 'en pleno dominio" in satisfaction of her legitime. the administratrix submitted a project of partition as follows: the property of the deceased is to be divided into two parts... calle 'Alright... a D. domiciliada en IE PECO. Horace V. Ermita. (c) that the grant of a usufruct over real property in the Philippines in favor of Wanda Wrobleski.. Roberto y D. (b) that the provisions for fideicommissary substitutions are also invalid because the first heirs are not related to the second heirs or substitutes within the first degree.. 33.

shall comprise the three mentioned in the preceding paragraph. 2. she or he shall be entitled to one-half of the hereditary estate. or should be incapacitated to accept the inheritance.) It is the one-third usufruct over the free portion which the appellants question and justifiably so. Civil Code. "Although the Code enumerates four classes. par. The fideicommissary substitution is described in the Civil Code as follows: ART." And since Marcelle alone survived the deceased. 858. 857.69 Santa Cruz (Escolta) Building between the widow Marcelle and the appellants. encumbrance. The widow's legitime. or should not wish. brief or compendious. 863. without a statement of the cases to which it refers. 859 of the Civil Code which reads: ART. shall be valid and shall take effect. violates the testator's express win to give this property to them Nonetheless. 859. 1967. condition or substitution of any kind whatsoever. 185 [1973]. The appellant's do not question the legality of giving Marcelle one-half of the estate in full ownership. there are really only two principal classes of substitutions: the simple and the fideicommissary. and fideicommissary (Art. A fideicommissary substitution by virtue of which the fiduciary or first heir instituted is entrusted with the obligation to preserve and to transmit to a second heir the whole or part of inheritance. reciprocal.) According to Tolentino. unless the testator has otherwise provided. under Art. 2. she is entitled to one-half of his estate over which he could impose no burden. (Art. It may be useful to recall that "Substitution is the appoint. A simple substitution. And that there are several kinds of substitutions. 1." (111 Civil Code. To give Marcelle more than her legitime will run counter to the testator's intention for as stated above his dispositions even impaired her legitime and tended to favor Wanda. 904. It is this order which Jorge and Roberto have appealed to this Court. They admit that the testator's dispositions impaired his widow's legitime. provided such substitution does not go beyond one . namely: simple or common. The substitutions. the lower court approved the project of partition in its order dated May 3.judgment of another heir so that he may enter into the inheritance in default of the heir originally instituted. Civil Code. Civil Code. p. Indeed.) The simple or vulgar is that provided in Art. 900 of the Civil Code "If the only survivor is the widow or widower. The court a quo erred for Marcelle who is entitled to one-half of the estate "en pleno dominio" as her legitime and which is more than what she is given under the will is not entitled to have any additional share in the estate. The others are merely variations of these two. The testator may designate one or more persons to substitute the heir or heirs instituted in case such heir or heirs should die before him." (Art. It appears that the court a quo approved the usufruct in favor of Marcelle because the testament provides for a usufruct in her favor of one-third of the estate.

70 degree from the heir originally instituted, and provided further that the fiduciary or first heir and the second heir are living at time of the death of the testator. It will be noted that the testator provided for a vulgar substitution in respect of the legacies of Roberto and Jorge Ramirez, the appellants, thus: con sustitucion vulgar a favor de sus respectivos descendientes, y, en su defecto, con substitution vulgar reciprocal entre ambos. The appellants do not question the legality of the substitution so provided. The appellants question the sustitucion vulgar y fideicomisaria a favor de Da. Wanda de Wrobleski" in connection with the one-third usufruct over the estate given to the widow Marcelle However, this question has become moot because as We have ruled above, the widow is not entitled to any usufruct. The appellants also question the sustitucion vulgar y fideicomisaria in connection with Wanda's usufruct over two thirds of the estate in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace v. Ramirez. They allege that the substitution in its vulgar aspect as void because Wanda survived the testator or stated differently because she did not predecease the testator. But dying before the testator is not the only case for vulgar substitution for it also includes refusal or incapacity to accept the inheritance as provided in Art. 859 of the Civil Code, supra. Hence, the vulgar substitution is valid. As regards the substitution in its fideicommissary aspect, the appellants are correct in their claim that it is void for the following reasons: (a) The substitutes (Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace V. Ramirez) are not related to Wanda, the heir originally instituted. Art. 863 of the Civil Code validates a fideicommissary substitution "provided such substitution does not go beyond one degree from the heir originally instituted." What is meant by "one degree" from the first heir is explained by Tolentino as follows: Scaevola Maura, and Traviesas construe "degree" as designation, substitution, or transmission. The Supreme Court of Spain has decidedly adopted this construction. From this point of view, there can be only one tranmission or substitution, and the substitute need not be related to the first heir. Manresa, Morell and Sanchez Roman, however, construe the word "degree" as generation, and the present Code has obviously followed this interpretation. by providing that the substitution shall not go beyond one degree "from the heir originally instituted." The Code thus clearly indicates that the second heir must be related to and be one generation from the first heir. From this, it follows that the fideicommissary can only be either a child or a parent of the first heir. These are the only relatives who are one generation or degree from the fiduciary (Op. cit., pp. 193-194.) (b) There is no absolute duty imposed on Wanda to transmit the usufruct to the substitutes as required by Arts. 865 and 867 of the Civil Code. In fact, the appellee admits "that the testator contradicts the establishment of a fideicommissary substitution when he permits the properties subject of the usufruct to be sold upon mutual agreement of the usufructuaries and the naked owners." (Brief, p. 26.)

71 3. The usufruct of Wanda. The appellants claim that the usufruct over real properties of the estate in favor of Wanda is void because it violates the constitutional prohibition against the acquisition of lands by aliens. The 1935 Constitution which is controlling provides as follows: SEC. 5. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines. (Art. XIII.) The court a quo upheld the validity of the usufruct given to Wanda on the ground that the Constitution covers not only succession by operation of law but also testamentary succession. We are of the opinion that the Constitutional provision which enables aliens to acquire private lands does not extend to testamentary succession for otherwise the prohibition will be for naught and meaningless. Any alien would be able to circumvent the prohibition by paying money to a Philippine landowner in exchange for a devise of a piece of land. This opinion notwithstanding, We uphold the usufruct in favor of Wanda because a usufruct, albeit a real right, does not vest title to the land in the usufructuary and it is the vesting of title to land in favor of aliens which is proscribed by the Constitution. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez is hereby ordered distributed as follows: One-half (1/2) thereof to his widow as her legitime; One-half (1/2) thereof which is the free portion to Roberto and Jorge Ramirez in naked ownership and the usufruct to Wanda de Wrobleski with a simple substitution in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace V. Ramirez. The distribution herein ordered supersedes that of the court a quo. No special pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. L-1411. September 29, 1953.] DIONISIO RELLOSA, Petitioner, vs. GAW CHEE HUN, Respondent. DECISION BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:

72 This is a petition for review of a decision of the Court of Appeals holding that the sale in question is valid and, even if it were invalid, plaintiff cannot maintain the action under the principle of pari delicto. On February 2, 1944, Dionisio Rellosa sold to Gaw Chee Hun a parcel of land, together with the house erected thereon, situated in the City of Manila, Philippines, for the sum of P25,000. The vendor remained in possession of the property under a contract of lease entered into on the same date between the same parties. Alleging that the sale was executed subject to the condition that the vendee, being a Chinese citizen, would obtain the approval of the Japanese Military Administration in accordance with (seirei) No. 6 issued on April 2, 1943, by the Japanese authorities, and said approval has not been obtained, and that, even if said requirement were met, the sale would at all events be void under article XIII, section 5, of our Constitution, the vendor instituted the present action in the Court of First Instance of Manila seeking the annulment of the sale as well as the lease covering the land and the house above mentioned, and praying that, once the sale and the lease are declared null and void, the vendee be ordered to return to vendor the duplicate of the title covering the property, and be restrained from in any way dispossessing the latter of said property. Defendant answered the complaint setting up as special defense that the sale referred to in the complaint was absolute and unconditional and was in every respect valid and binding between the parties, it being not contrary to law, morals and public order, and that plaintiff is guilty of estoppel in that, by having executed a deed of lease over the property, he thereby recognized the title of defendant to that property. Issues having been joined, and the requisite evidence presented by both parties, the court declared both the sale and the lease valid and binding and dismissed the complaint. The court likewise ordered plaintiff to turn over the property to defendant and to pay a rental of P50 a month from August 1, 1945 until the property has been actually delivered. As this decision was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals, plaintiff sued out the present petition for review. One of the issues raised by petitioner refers to the validity of Seirei No. 6 issued on April 2, 1943 by the Japanese authorities which prohibits an alien from acquiring any private land not agricultural in nature during the occupation unless the necessary approval is obtained from the Director General of the Japanese Military Administration. Petitioner contends that the sale in question cannot have any validity under the above military directive in view of the failure of respondent to obtain the requisite approval and it was error for the Court of Appeals to declare said directive without any binding effect because the occupation government could not have issued it under article 43 of the Hague Regulations which command that laws that are municipal in character of an occupied territory should be respected and cannot be ignored unless prevented by military necessity. We do not believe it necessary to consider now the question relative to the validity of Seirei No. 6 of the Japanese Military Administration for the simple reason that in our opinion the law that should govern the particular transaction is not the above directive but the Constitution adopted by the then Republic of the Philippines on September 4, 1943, it appearing that the aforesaid transaction was executed on February 2, 1944. Said Constitution, in its article VIII, section 5, provides that "no private agricultural

461. "whenever public policy is considered as advanced by allowing either party to sue for relief against the transaction" (idem. they are now prevented from doing so if their purpose is to recover the lands that they have voluntarily parted with. The rule has sometimes been laid down as though it were equally universal. 210. As to whether the phrase "private agricultural land" employed in said Constitution includes residential lands. The sale in question having been entered into in violation of the Constitution. The law will not aid either party to an illegal agreement.. to set aside the sale in question. wherein we made the following pronouncement: "We can.' and 'In pari delicto potior est conditio defendentis. therefore. et al. or to recover the property agreed to be sold or delivered. (Idem. the next question to be determined is. 3. or the money agreed to be paid.. p. or the doctrine in the Krivenko Case. This is well known not only in this jurisdiction but also in the United States where common law prevails. no suit can be maintained for its specific performance. vs. including residential lands. or damages for its violation. from an illegal contract. But not all contracts which are illegal because opposed to public policy come under this limitation. 40 Phil. incidental and collateral motives of public policy require relief. pp.) .' (Bough and Bough vs. In the latter jurisdiction. 733). wherein this court held that "under the Constitution aliens may not acquire private or public agricultural lands. because of their guilty knowledge that what they were doing was in violation of the Constitution. 735-737. in equity or at law. p." (Pomeroy's Equity Jurisprudence. Uy Hoo." Examples of this class of contracts are usurious contracts. They cannot escape this conclusion because they are presumed to know the law." This matter has been once more submitted to the court for deliberation. marriage-brokerage contracts and gambling contracts. from their particular circumstances. 216. corporations. Vol. which provisions are similar to those contained in our present Constitution.) It is true that this doctrine is subject to one important limitation. as the one involved herein. say that even if the plaintiffs can still invoke the Constitution.' The rule is expressed in the maxims: 'Ex dolo malo non oritur actio. namely. there can be no doubt because said phrase has already been interpreted in the affirmative sense by this court in the recent case of Krivenko vs. This ruling fully disposes of the question touching on the validity of the sale of the property herein involved. the doctrine is stated thus: "The proposition is universal that no action arises. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines". 5th ed. Register of Deeds. 79 Phil. As this court well said: 'A party to an illegal contract cannot come into a court of law and ask to have his illegal objects carried out. it leaves the parties where it finds them. contracts in which the illegality itself consists in their opposition to public policy. 88 Phil. The cases in which this limitation may apply only "include the class of contracts which are intrinsically contrary to public policy. et al. but the ruling was reaffirmed. 103. and any other species of illegal contracts in which. no affirmative relief of any kind will be given to one against the other..)" The doctrine above adverted to is the one known as In Pari Delicto. 728. can petitioner have the sale declared null and void and recover the property considering the effect of the law governing rescission of contracts? Our answer must of necessity be in the negative following the doctrine laid down in the case of Trinidad Gonzaga de Cabauatan.73 land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals. that where the parties are in pari delicto. Cantiveros and Hanopol.

To adopt the contrary view would be merely to benefit petitioner and not to enhance public interest. 2nd ed. 382. which prohibits transfers of private agricultural lands to aliens.. D. Jur. The danger foreseen by counsel in the application of the doctrine above adverted to is more apparent than real. State." (Delany vs. They only differ in procedure. because in this case the remedy is lodged elsewhere. No. In the United States. And we say so because there are at present two ways by which this situation may be remedied. nor one where the illegality itself consists in its opposition to public policy. 1164. as almost everywhere else. whereas an action for reversion is expressly authorized by the Public Land Act (sections 122. no cogent reason is perceived why similar proceedings may not be instituted in this jurisdiction. 785). Jur.) "An escheat is nothing more or less than the reversion of property to the state. This doctrine. America escheats belong universally to the state or some corporation thereof as the ultimate proprietor of land within its Jurisdiction." (19 Am. If we go deeper in the analysis of our situation we would not fail to see that the best policy would be for Congress to approve a law laying down the policy and the procedure to be followed in connection with transactions affected by our doctrine in the Krivenko case.) "As applied to the right of the state to lands purchased by an alien. Nor may it be contended that to apply the doctrine of pari delicto would be tantamount to contravening the fundamental policy embodied in the constitutional prohibition in that it would allow an alien to remain in the illegal possession of the land. 290. the contract in question does not come under this exception because it is not intrinsically contrary to public policy.) ". 174 N. and 124 of Commonwealth Act No. pp.. quoted in footnote 6. and which underlies all titles in the Philippines.) . 630. An action for reversion is slightly different from escheat proceeding. 381." (19 Am. 2-3) has been enshrined in our Constitution (article XIII). Escheat proceedings may be instituted as a consequence of a violation of article XIII.' (30 C. R. which takes place when the title fails. . (See Ventura. 141). the doctrine which imputes to the sovereign or to the government the ownership of all lands and makes such sovereign or government the original source of private titles. is well recognized (42 Am.J. Jur. Jur. The doctrine regarding the course of all titles being the same here as in the United States. it would seem that if escheat lies against aliens holding lands in those states of the Union where common law prevails or where similar constitutional or statutory prohibitions exist. 16542...S. it would more properly be termed a 'forfeiture' at common law.. 42 N. 381. (1) action for reversion. Land Registration and Mortgages. G. and (2) escheat to the state. and rests on the principle of the ultimate ownership by the state of all property within its jurisdiction. We hope that this should be done without much delay.. 123.. we do not believe that public interest would suffer thereby if only our executive department would follow a more militant policy in the conservation of our natural resources as or dained by our Constitution. Garduo. 19 Am.. section 5 of our Constitution. but in its effects they are the same. And even if this legislation be not forthcoming in the near future. "Escheat is an incident or attribute of sovereignty. .W. to wit.74 In our opinion. which was expressly affirmed in Lawrence vs. It is illegal not because it is against public policy but because it is against the Constitution.

141 are pertinent: "SEC. 123. or because of some other disability to take or hold property imposed by law. otherwise.. corporation. or associations shall be obliged to alienate said lands or improvements to others so capacitated within the precise period of five years. such property shall revert to the Government. No land originally acquired in any manner under the provisions of this Act. No land originally acquired in any manner under the provisions of any previous Act. or partnerships who may acquire lands of the public domain under this Act or to corporations organized in the Philippines authorized therefor by their charters. corporations. such persons. patent. one hundred and twenty-two. We repeat. alienated. ordinance. corporations or associations who may acquire land of the public domain under this Act or to corporate bodies organized in the Philippines whose charters authorize them to do so: Provided. and cause the reversion of the property and its improvements to the State. however. or other contract made or executed in violation of any of the provisions of sections one hundred and eighteen. actually or presumptively. originally issued. royal order. one hundred and twenty. recognized or confirmed. actually or presumptively". shall be encumbered. and one hundred and twenty-three of this Act shall be unlawful and null and void from its execution and shall produce the effect of annulling and cancelling the grant. alienation. or lands of any other denomination that were actually or presumptively of the public domain or by royal grant or in any other form." (19 Am. and this is so for in the event of such annulment or cancellation no one else could legitimately claim the property except its original owner or grantor the state. shall be encumbered.75 "In modern law escheat denotes a falling of the estate into the general property of the state because the tenant is an alien or because he has died intestate without lawful heirs to take his estate by succession. alienated. or transferred." Note that the last quoted provision declared any prohibited conveyance not only unlawful but null and void ab initio. Provided. recognized of confirmed. one hundred and twenty-one. patent." "SEC. terrenos baldios y realenqos. except to persons. associations. nor any permanent improvement on such land." "SEC. Any acquisition. There are two ways now open to our government whereby it could implement the doctrine of this Court in the Krivenko case thereby putting in force and carrying to its logical conclusion the . or permit. 124. or any other provision of law formerly in force in the Philippines with regard to public lands. conveyance. royal decree. With regard to an action for reversion. More important yet. and of causing "the reversion of the property and its improvements to the State. 122. it expressly provides that such conveyances will produce "the effect of annulling and cancelling the grant. transfer. nor any permanent improvement on such land. Jur." The reversion would seem to be but a consequence of the annulment and cancellation of the original grant or title. the following sections of Commonwealth Act No. That this prohibition shall not be applicable to the conveyance or acquisition by reason of hereditary succession duly acknowledged and legalized by competent courts. further. That in the event of the ownership of the lands and improvements mentioned in this section and in the last preceding section being transferred by judicial decree to persons. corporations or associations not legally capacitated to acquire the same under the provisions of this Act. title. except to persons. title. or conveyed. or permit originally issued.

C. el vendedor. Cantiveros and Perez vs. No se probo que alguno de ellos o ambos. However I do not believe that the two ways suggested to solve the problem of alien-acquired lands are exclusive. Han cometido culpa el comprador. but plaintiff is barred from taking the present action under the principle of pari delicto.76 mandate of our Constitution. Paras. No hubo cusa torpe en el contrato. we see no justifiable reason for pursuing the extreme unusual remedy now vehemently urged by the amici curiae. or by approving an implementary law as above suggested. Separate Opinions BENGZON. No existe ley que castiga la venta de un inmueble a un extranjero. M. sabiendo que ." "Culpa es falta mas o menos grave. ninguno de ellos podra repetir lo que hubiera dado a virtud del contrato. en que se funda la defensa del demandado. PABLO. concur in theresult. we can enforce the fundamental policy of our Constitution regarding our natural resources without doing violence to the principle of pari delicto.J. J. concurring: I wish to say that I regard the precedents of Bough vs.a. concurs. o ambos a la vez? Creemos que no.. JJ. porque la venta de un terreno es la cosa mas ordinaria del mundo." (Diccionario de la Real Academia Espaola). we hold that the sale in question is null and void. Tuason and Montemayor. Herranz inapplicable because the parties therein were not equally at fault. By following either of these remedies.. In view of the foregoing.. dice asi: "Cuando la culpa est de parte de ambos contratantes. disidente: No estoy conforme eon la teoria de la mayoria de que el demandante no puede pedir la declaracion de nulidad de la venta de un terreno a un extranjero. El articulo 1306. del Codigo Civil Espaol. The decision appealed from is hereby affirmed without pronouncement as to costs. With these remedies open to us. J.. Labrador. Perhaps the innocent spouse of the seller and his creditors are not barred from raising the issue of invalidity. regla 1.. cometida a sabiendas y voluntariamente.

"donacion que tendria efecto en el caso de que tanto ellos como sus hijos fallecieran antes que Matilde Cantiveros. En la venta no medio engao.. continuo poseyendo sus bienes. Por eso este tribunal aplico en ambos el principio bien establecido de "Ex dolo malo non oritur actio. delito o falta." Los esposos Bough la indujeron a que les vendiese simuladamente por P10. Bueno es hacer constar que no se ha probado que alguna de las partes o ambas hayan obrado de mala fe. un contrato en que no concurren los . La mala fe no se presume: debe probarse. prima y protegida de Matilde. No es aplicable al caso presente el articulo 1306 del Codigo Civil. Ambas partes realizaron el convenio de venta con la mejor buena fe. sino que dejan a ambas alli donde las encuentran. fundandose la accion en la venta simulada. todo lo contrario. al paso que el demandante por ser espaol no podia aparecer como tal" cuando en realidad el demandante solo era dueo de las 10/58 partes del buque y el demandado. pide que sea declarada nula y que se ordene la devolucion de la cosa que cada parte habia recibido en virtud del contrato. los demandantes pedian el cumplimiento de unos contratos con causa torpe. ella firmo ante notario la escritura de venta ficticia (Exhibit A). nulos ab initio. Fil. Fil. este Tribunal confirmo el sobreseimiento de la demanda. Basilia Hanopol. En los dos asuntos citados.000. Despus de algun tiempo. estos son los hechos probados: Matilde Cantiveros era la mas rica residente de Carigara. ni existe pruebas de que. el demandante no pide el cumplimiento de la venta anticonstitucional.000 sus bienes inmuebles que valian mas de P30. causa torpe. no tienen existencia legal. la presuncion es que las partes obraron de buena fe." e "In pari delicto potior est conditio dependentis. aparecer como dueo. como natural de Filipinas. de las 48/58 partes del mismo. Fil. Fil. los segundos son anulables por haber sido obtenidos mediante violencia. en virtud del cual donaban a ella todos los bienes que aparecian en el Exhibit A. etc. y su esposo Gustavos Bough marearon a Matilde con la cantinela de "que Jos Vasquez estaba en el pueblo y podria impugnar el contrato de separacion de bienes conyugales. engao. unos contratos falsos. sabiendo las partes que estaba prohibida la venta. Los tratadistas clasifican los contratos en nulos y anulables: los primeros son nulos per se. simulados. podia. 7 Jur..) Pero en el caso presente. por razon de que el. 715). segun nuestras leyes. 715. la efectuaron sin embargo. delito o falta. dolo. los esposos Bough suscribieron otro documento (Exhibit 1). ella y su esposo Jose Vasquez firmaron un contrato de separacion conyugal.77 estaba prohibida la venta. Un contrato simulado.." Matilde. 221). Para convencer a Matilde de que no tenian el proposito de engaarla y privarla de sus bienes. No habian cometido falta alguna. 221).. la realizaron." (Perez contra Herranz y otros. 40 Jur. En el asunto de Perez contra Herranz y otros (7 Jur. los esposos Bough presentaron demanda contra Matilde." (Bough y otro contra Cantiveros y otro. A falta de prueba. En el asunto de Bough contra Cantiveros (40 Jur. Porque el Exhibit A es un documento ficticio y ha sido obtenido por medios fraudulentos. "los tribunales no ayudaran ni a una ni a otra parte para hacer cumplir un contrato ilegal. Leyte. o en otras palabras." "La ley no amparara a ninguna de las partes en un contrato ilicito. a pesar de la escritura de venta ficticia. pidiendo que se les restituyera en la posesion de dichos bienes. que no existen ante los ojos de la ley. les deja en la situacion en que se han colocado. el demandante pedia la posesion del vapor "Alfred". fundada la accion en un documento en que la propiedad del buque se hizo constar "a nombre tan solo del demandante.

501. el Tribunal Supremo de Espaa declaro: "Que el articulo 1806 del Codigo Civil es inaplicable cuando no se trata de un contrato real y efectivo. y en 30 de noviembre de 1909 el mismo Tribunal dijo: "Que no es dable confundir un contrato simulado con un contrato nulo o rescindible. en los que. nos fundamos en que si otros defectos de menor gravedad juridica tal vez son . de una parte. es obligado examinar las condiciones de su celebracion para resolver acerca de la precedencia da la nulidad o rescision." (95 Jurisprudencia Civil. aunque calebrado con causa torpe. supuesta su realidad y certeza.) "Los contratos con causa u objeto ilicitos dice Manresa. por su propia naturaleza. 1028). al contrario de lo que acontece respecto de los segundos. ." (116 Jurisprudencia Civil. dice que "La distincion entre dos grandes categorias de invalidez: la del acto nulo de pleno derecho o inexistente. la inexistencia del contrato. que en el se identifican el sentido usual y el juridico de esa palabra. toda vez que la simulacion significa indudablemente. 640. Asi sucedia cuando el acto no reunia las condiciones necesarias para su formacion (por ejemplo.)" (2 Castan. 641).) El derecho frances. 699). a tal extremo. dice Manresa en cuanto lo es y se demuestra destruyendo la apariencia del mismo. y la del acto anulable o rescindible. examen absolutamente improcedente por contradictorio cuando el contrato no ha existidc. Sanchez Roman dice que "La causa que no es licita es como si no existiera para el Derecho y degenera. Castan. Para afirmarlo asi. es el caso mas claro de inexistencia. En sentencia de 26 de junio de 1903. (2 Castan. 207). Los contratos celebrados en contravencion de una prohibicion legal se consideran tambien contratos inexistentes. produciendo el consiguiente resultado de viciar el consentimiento y anular el contrato. de otra. era nulo de pleno derecho ab initio. es perfectamente indiferente que el temor que indujo a los otorgantes a figurar el contrato fuese mas o menos fundado y mas o menos licito. procede ya del Derecho romano. por tanto. o sean las precedentes cual si no se hubiese intentado siquiera la celebracion de tales supuestos contratos. "El contrato Supuesto o falso. se deben reputar ante el derecho inexistentes. segun el mismo autor. ya que de la inexistencia no se pueden deducir mas consecuencias juridicas que las que necesariamente se derivan de esta misma inexistencia. distingue dos categorias de actos nulos con nulidad absoluta: (a) el acto inexistente (al que falta uno de los elementos esenciales para su formacion) y (b) el acto nulo de pleno derecho (que viola una prescripcion legal)." (4 Sanchez Roman. El acto inexistente no engendraba ningun efecto juridico. puesto que su nulidad e ineficacia no depende de vicio en el consentimiento sino de su real y efectiva inexistencia.78 requisitos que expresa el articulo 1261. hablando del origen de la distincion entre actos nulos y anulables. son considerados no existentes ante el Derecho. ." (8 Manresa. sino simulado: "Que dada tal simulacion. . en inexistente y no verdadera o falsa para el mismo. venta sin objeto) o cuando estaba prohibido por la ley (como la donacion entre esposos.

y puede pedirse su declaracion por el Ministerio publico. en el interes de la moral o de la ley. 715. creyendo que no estaba prohibida la donacion entre ellos. declaro nulas las escrituras de donacion "A" a "F". En dicha donacion no medio fraude. el Tribunal Supremo de Espaa dijo en su sentencia de 11 de abril de 1894: "Que todo contrato otorgado contra precepto expreso de una ley prohibitiva. cuando aparece manifiesta en el acto.. 503). no ha de quedar a la voluntad.a ed. 452). Que diremos de la venta de un inmueble a un extranjero. abandono o confirmacion de las partes que lo olvidaron infringiendo la ley. segun Castan. Sioca todos sus bienes consistentes en la mitad de los bienes gananciales. Fil. 45 Jur.) Y en tratando de contratos celebrados en contravencion de la ley." (75 Jurisprudencia Civil. Si los herederos de Uy Coque consiguieron la anulacion de las donaciones hechas por su madre porque la donacion entre conyuges es nula por que el vendedor (demandante en la presente causa) no puede pedir la rescision de la venta realizada contra la prohibicion constitucional? Por que es rescindible una donacion hecha en contravencion del Codigo Civil y no es rescindible la venta hecha contra la expresa prohibicion de la Constitucion? La nulidad absoluta. Es absurda la teoria de que el vendedor no puede pedir la rescision del contrato hecho en contravencion de la Constitucion para "restablecer la virtualidad de la prohibicion" constitucional o procurar que las cosas vuelvan a su estado normal anterior. no puede menos de ser eficaz desde el momento mismo de la celebracion del referido contrato. confirmando la decision del juzgado inferior. engao o causa torpe. infringida accion que. del que no puede exigir amparo lo ilicito. Marido y mujer por simple ignorancia de la ley efectuaron la donacion con la mejor buena fe (del modo como obraron el demandante y el demandado en la presente causa). El articulo 1334 del Codigo Civil espaol declara nulas las donaciones entre conyuges durante el matrimonio. Sioca. porque no afecta la nulidad de los contratos al interes publico. porque es contrato considerado inexistente ante el Derecho.79 irremediables." (8 Manresa." (El articulo 1047 del Codigo Civil argentino dispone que la nulidad absoluta puede y debe ser declarada por el Juez. engendra la accion necesaria para restablecer la virtualidad de la prohibicion. por toda persona que tenga interes en ella. como lo es en otras legislaciones. Los herederos de la finada consiguieron la declaracion judicial de invalidez de la donacion y recobraron los bienes donados por su madre. (Uy Coque contra Navas L. El interes publico debe prevalecer sobre el acuerdo de las partes. Geronima Uy Coque dono a su esposo Juan Navas L. delito o falta. Ademas el interes publico que determina la nulidad. "puede ser reclamada mediante accion o excepcion. teniendo este origen y alcance. No debe depender de la voluntad de las partes contratantes o de su abandono o ignorancia o buena fe la existencia de ese contrato anticonstitucional.. cosa que esta expresamente prohibida por la Constitucion? Es sencillamente un contrato inexistente bajo la ley y la Constitucion. Se declaro nula la donacion porque esta prohibida por la ley. y este Tribunal. Fallecida ella. principalmente en estos casos. no ha de tener mayor eficacia lo ilicito que puede suponer la oposicion mas abierta al derecho. aun sin peticion de parte. sus hijos reclamaron la anulacion de la donacion. segun Castan.) La inexistencia del contrato. 4. "es . la accion no es en nuestro Derecho publica o cuasipublica. violencia.

vs. en vez de juzgar de acuerdo con el Codigo Civil. a contratos inexistentes. para el codigo tal accion tiene que ser ejercitada a instancia de parte. Con mayor razon dicho articulo no puede oponerse con exito como defensa en una demanda en que se pide la declaracion de nulidad de la venta de un inmueble por ser contraria a la Constitucion y la devolucion de las cosas que las partes habian recibido. The doctrine invoked by the majority has no application where. (Vol. L-630 November 15. segun el Tribunal Supremo de Espaa.sean simples peones en su propia tierra. Codigo Civil." (3 Valverde. por un error judicial. The majority opinion holds the sale in question void but denies relief on the ground that the parties were in pari delicto. 299). 941. devolviendolo previamente. Uy Hoo et al. El comprador no puede acogerse a las disposiciones del articulo 1306 del Codigo Civil espaol que es inaplicable.R. 1947 . G. (Articulo 1303. pues aun cuando existen contratos que afectan al orden publico y social y en los cuales la nulidad deberia pedirse de oficio. la decision debe ser revocada. inspirandose en el elevado proposito de la Asemblea Constituyente de "conservar y acrecentar el patrimonio de la nacion" y evitar que. excluyendo sin embargo los contratos que reunen los requisitos expresados en el articulo 1261. es consentir que los extranjeros continuen acaparando bienes inmuebles en dao y perjuicio del pueblo. los filipinos al cabo de una generacion . la nulidad solo interesa a los contratantes. Pomeroy's Equity Jurisprudence. 5th ed. the same being forbidden by the Constitution..80 perpetua e insubsanable. as in the present case. En mi opinion. 644). the contract sought to be annulled is against public policy. 3. 103. J. see. la venta debe ser declarada nula y las cosas recibidas por las partes sean restituidas. dissenting:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary I dissent. 88 Phil. No. "Evidente es dice Valverde que nuestro codigo admite tal distincion de nulidad absoluta e inexistencia y nulidad relativa o anulabilidad. es frustrar el espiritu que informa la Constitucion.) The present case is to be distinguished from that of Trinidad Gonzaga de Cabautan et al..) REYES. no pudiendo ser objeto de confirmacion ni prescripcion.. a cambio de lo que habia pagado. Declarar que el vendedor no puede recobrar." (2 Castan. where the sale took place when the Constitution was not in force. no es cumplir con la Constitucion: es violar su espiritu y minar su principio fundamental de propia conservacion. Desatender la demanda del vendedor y dejar que el comprador continue gozando de la propiedad comprada a pesar de la prohibicion. mas para el legislador espaol.

from which Krivenko appealed to this Court. a confusion of ideas in this reasoning.: Alenxander A. In May. is now immaterial. the registration of which was interrupted by the war. Krivenko wins his case. Gibbs. We cannot.. MORAN. for instance. C. And we cannot avoid our judgment simply because we have to avoid a constitutional question. First Assistant Solicitor General Reyes and Solicitor Carreon for respondent-appellee. Marcelino Lontok appeared as amicus curies. the the result would be that petitioner-appellant Alexander A. The herein respondent-appellee was naturally one of the registers of deeds to obey the new circular. According to Rule 52. Our judgment cannot to be made to rest upon other grounds if we have to render any judgment at all. What is material and indeed . It is said that the decision of the case on the merits is unnecessary. granted. it is discretionary upon this Court to grant a withdrawal of appeal after the briefs have been presented. The motion for withdrawal stated no reason whatsoever. Kriventor alien. THE REGISTER OF DEEDS.J. CITY OF MANILA. If we grant the withdrawal. being an alien. not by a decision of this Court. The real point in issue is whether or not an alien under our Constitution may acquire residential land. Inc. It cannot be denied that the constitutional question is unavoidable if we choose to decide this case upon the merits. as against his own stand in this case which had been maintained by the trial court and firmly defended in this Court by the Solicitor General. At the time the motion for withdrawal was filed in this case. of the Rules of Court. petitioner-appellant. and the Solicitor General was agreeable to it. respondent and appellee. Whether the motion should be. in December of 1941. or should not be. Whether or not this is the reason why appellant seeks the withdrawal of his appeal and why the Solicitor General readily agrees to that withdrawal. not only had the briefs been prensented. he sought to accomplish said registration but was denied by the register of deeds of Manila on the ground that. there being a motion to withdraw the appeal which should have been granted outright. issued while this case was pending before this Court. is a question involving different considerations now to be stated. but by the decision or circular of the Department of Justice. 1945. There is no dispute as to these facts. we believe. bought a residential lot from the Magdalena Estate. and that court rendered judgment sustaining the refusal of the register of deeds. KRIVENKO. While the motion was pending in this Court. section 4. Gibbs. came the new circular of the Department of Justice. vs. but the case had already been voted and the majority decision was being prepared. instructing all register of deeds to accept for registration all transfers of residential lots to aliens. Krivenko then brought the case to the fourth branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila by means of a consulta.81 ALEXANDER A. Chuidian and Quasha of petitioner-appellant. issue. grant the motion withdrawing the appeal only because we wish to evade the constitutional. and reference is made to the ruling laid down by this Court in another case to the effect that a court should not pass upon a constitutional question if its judgment may be made to rest upon other grounds. There is. he cannot acquire land in this jurisdiction.

82 very important, is whether or not we should allow interference with the regular and complete exercise by this Court of its constitutional functions, and whether or not after having held long deliberations and after having reached a clear and positive conviction as to what the constitutional mandate is, we may still allow our conviction to be silenced, and the constitutional mandate to be ignored or misconceived, with all the harmful consequences that might be brought upon the national patromony. For it is but natural that the new circular be taken full advantage of by many, with the circumstance that perhaps the constitutional question may never come up again before this court, because both vendors and vendees will have no interest but to uphold the validity of their transactions, and very unlikely will the register of deeds venture to disobey the orders of their superior. Thus, the possibility for this court to voice its conviction in a future case may be remote, with the result that our indifference of today might signify a permanent offense to the Constitution. All thse circumstances were thoroughly considered and weighted by this Court for a number of days and the legal result of the last vote was a denial of the motion withdrawing the appeal. We are thus confronted, at this stage of the proceedings, with our duty, the constitutional question becomes unavoidable. We shall then proceed to decide that question. Article XIII, section 1, of the Constitutional is as follows: Article XIII. — Conservation and utilization of natural resources. SECTION 1. All agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public domain, water, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, and other natural resources of the Philippines belong to the State, and their disposition, exploitation, development, or utilization shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens, subject to any existing right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the inaguration of the Government established uunder this Constitution. Natural resources, with the exception of public agricultural land, shall not be alienated, and no licence, concession, or lease for the exploitation, development, or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for another twenty-five years, except as to water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water "power" in which cases beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant. The scope of this constitutional provision, according to its heading and its language, embraces all lands of any kind of the public domain, its purpose being to establish a permanent and fundamental policy for the conservation and utilization of all natural resources of the Nation. When, therefore, this provision, with reference to lands of the public domain, makes mention of only agricultural, timber and mineral lands, it means that all lands of the public domain are classified into said three groups, namely, agricultural, timber and mineral. And this classification finds corroboration in the circumstance that at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, that was the basic classification existing in the public laws and judicial decisions in the Philippines, and the term "public agricultural lands" under said classification had then acquired a technical meaning that was well-known to the members of the Constitutional Convention who were mostly members of the legal profession.

83 As early as 1908, in the case of Mapa vs. Insular Government (10 Phil., 175, 182), this Court said that the phrase "agricultural public lands" as defined in the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, which phrase is also to be found in several sections of the Public Land Act (No. 926), means "those public lands acquired from Spain which are neither mineral for timber lands." This definition has been followed in long line of decisions of this Court. (SeeMontano vs. Insular Government, 12 Phil., 593; Ibañez de Aldecoa vs. Insular Government, 13 Phil., 159; Ramosvs. Director of Lands, 39 Phil., 175; Jocson vs. Director of Forestry, 39 Phil., 560; Ankron vs. Government of the Philippines, 40 Phil., 10.) And with respect to residential lands, it has been held that since they are neither mineral nor timber lands, of necessity they must be classified as agricultural. In Ibañez de Aldecoa vs. Insular Government (13 Phil., 159, 163), this Court said: Hence, any parcel of land or building lot is susceptible of cultivation, and may be converted into a field, and planted with all kinds of vegetation; for this reason, where land is not mining or forestal in its nature, it must necessarily be included within the classification of agricultural land, not because it is actually used for the purposes of agriculture, but because it was originally agricultural and may again become so under other circumstances; besides, the Act of Congress contains only three classification, and makes no special provision with respect to building lots or urban lands that have ceased to be agricultural land. In other words, the Court ruled that in determining whether a parcel of land is agricultural, the test is not only whether it is actually agricultural, but also its susceptibility to cultivation for agricultural purposes. But whatever the test might be, the fact remains that at the time the Constitution was adopted, lands of the public domain were classified in our laws and jurisprudence into agricultural, mineral, and timber, and that the term "public agricultural lands" was construed as referring to those lands that were not timber or mineral, and as including residential lands. It may safely be presumed, therefore, that what the members of the Constitutional Convention had in mind when they drafted the Constitution was this well-known classification and its technical meaning then prevailing. Certain expressions which appear in Constitutions, . . . are obviously technical; and where such words have been in use prior to the adoption of a Constitution, it is presumed that its framers and the people who ratified it have used such expressions in accordance with their technical meaning. (11 Am. Jur., sec. 66, p. 683.) Also Calder vs. Bull, 3 Dall. [U.S.], 386; 1 Law. ed., 648; Bronson vs. Syverson, 88 Wash., 264; 152 P., 1039.) It is a fundamental rule that, in construing constitutions, terms employed therein shall be given the meaning which had been put upon them, and which they possessed, at the time of the framing and adoption of the instrument. If a word has acquired a fixed, technical meaning in legal and constitutional history, it will be presumed to have been employed in that sense in a written Constitution. (McKinney vs. Barker, 180 Ky., 526; 203 S.W., 303; L.R.A., 1918 E, 581.) Where words have been long used in a technical sense and have been judicially construed to have a certain meaning, and have been adopted by the legislature as having a certain meaning prior to a particular statute in which they are used, the rule of construction requires that the words used in such statute should be construed according to the sense in which they have been so previously used,

84 although the sense may vary from strict literal meaning of the words. (II Sutherland, Statutory Construction, p. 758.) Therefore, the phrase "public agricultural lands" appearing in section 1 of Article XIII of the Constitution must be construed as including residential lands, and this is in conformity with a legislative interpretation given after the adoption of the Constitution. Well known is the rule that "where the Legislature has revised a statute after a Constitution has been adopted, such a revision is to be regarded as a legislative construction that the statute so revised conforms to the Constitution." (59 C.J., 1102.) Soon after the Constitution was adopted, the National Assembly revised the Public Land Law and passed Commonwealth Act No. 141, and sections 58, 59 and 60 thereof permit the sale of residential lots to Filipino citizens or to associations or corporations controlled by such citizens, which is equivalent to a solemn declaration that residential lots are considered as agricultural lands, for, under the Constitution, only agricultural lands may be alienated. It is true that in section 9 of said Commonwealth Act No. 141, "alienable or disposable public lands" which are the same "public agriculture lands" under the Constitution, are classified into agricultural, residential, commercial, industrial and for other puposes. This simply means that the term "public agricultural lands" has both a broad and a particular meaning. Under its broad or general meaning, as used in the Constitution, it embraces all lands that are neither timber nor mineral. This broad meaning is particularized in section 9 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 which classifies "public agricultural lands" for purposes of alienation or disposition, into lands that are stricly agricultural or actually devoted to cultivation for agricultural puposes; lands that are residential; commercial; industrial; or lands for other purposes. The fact that these lands are made alienable or disposable under Commonwealth Act No. 141, in favor of Filipino citizens, is a conclusive indication of their character as public agricultural lands under said statute and under the Constitution. It must be observed, in this connection that prior to the Constitution, under section 24 of Public Land Act No. 2874, aliens could acquire public agricultural lands used for industrial or residential puposes, but after the Constitution and under section 23 of Commonwealth Act No. 141, the right of aliens to acquire such kind of lands is completely stricken out, undoubtedly in pursuance of the constitutional limitation. And, again, prior to the Constitution, under section 57 of Public Land Act No. 2874, land of the public domain suitable for residence or industrial purposes could be sold or leased to aliens, but after the Constitution and under section 60 of Commonwealth Act No. 141, such land may only be leased, but not sold, to aliens, and the lease granted shall only be valid while the land is used for the purposes referred to. The exclusion of sale in the new Act is undoubtedly in pursuance of the constitutional limitation, and this again is another legislative construction that the term "public agricultural land" includes land for residence purposes. Such legislative interpretation is also in harmony with the interpretation given by the Executive Department of the Government. Way back in 1939, Secretary of Justice Jose Abad Santos, in answer to a query as to "whether or not the phrase 'public agricultural lands' in section 1 of Article XII (now XIII) of the Constitution may be interpreted to include residential, commercial, and industrial lands for purposes of their disposition," rendered the following short, sharp and crystal-clear opinion:

.. The Supreme Court of the Philippines in the leading case of Mapa vs. held that the phrase 'agricultural public lands' means those public lands acquired from Spain which are neither timber nor mineral lands. it is the susceptibility of the land to cultivation for agricultural purposes by ordinary farming methods which determines whether it is agricultural or not (State vs. timber and mineral. Viewed from another angle. 129).25). Furthermore. 1902. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution of the Philippines. no private agricultural land will be transferred or assigned except to individuals. This opinion is important not alone because it comes from a Secratary of Justice who later became the Chief Justice of this Court. corporations. acquired a technical meaning in our public laws. (2 Aruego.W. or industrial lots forming part of the public domain must have to be included in one or more of these classes. This is the basic classification adopted since the enactment of the Act of Congress of July 1. In other words. 598.) And the opinion of the Quezon administration was reiterated by the Secretary of Justice under the Osmeña administration.. as said by the Director of Lands." and with respect to public agricultural lands. cannot be sold to him if he intends to use it as a site for his home. and it reads as follows: Sec. Framing of the Philippine Constitution. But this constitutional purpose conserving agricultural resources in the hands of Filipino citizens may easily be defeated by the Filipino citizens themselves who may alienate their agricultural lands in favor of aliens. 62 N. p. It is thus clear that the three great departments of the Government — judicial. . and it was firmly maintained in this Court by the Solicitor General of both administrations. no reason is seen why a piece of land. mineral and timber. Durant. the term 'agricultural public lands' and. 5.. and that agricultural lands include residential lots. Article XII (now XIII) of the Constitution classifies lands of the public domain in the Philippines into agricultural. Stewart. they must be classified as agricultural. therefore. It is partly to prevent this result that section 5 is included in Article XIII. of necessity. therefore. legislative and executive — have always maintained that lands of the public domain are classified into agricultural. "natural resources. with the exception of public agricultural land. Save in cases of hereditary succession. the character of the land is the test (Odell vs. 524. This definition has been followed by our Supreme Court in many subsequent case. shall not be aliented. 190 p. 10 Phil. known as the Philippine Bill. Lorch vs. which may be sold to a person if he is to devote it to agricultural. Residential commercial. it has been held that in determining whether lands are agricultural or not. but also because it was rendered by a member of the cabinet of the late President Quezon who actively participated in the drafting of the constitutional provision under consideration. Insular Government. Clearly. Missoula Brick and Tile Co.85 Section 1. Under section 1 of Article XIII of the Constitution. 175. their alienation is limited to Filipino citizens. . they are neither timber nor mineral. . 123 p. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines.

758. and. to the effect that residential lands of the public domain may be considered as agricultural lands. is that the former is public and the latter private. unless a different intention appears. the same technical meaning should be attached to "agricultural land under section 5. unqualified by the word "agricultural. Inasmuch as under section 1. the prohibition as to the alienable of public residential lots would become superflous if the same prohibition is not equally applied to private residential lots." And the subject matter of both sections is the same. Indeed. for the conservation of the national patrimony. section 5 had to be drafted in harmony with section 1 to which it is supplementary. It must be noticed that the persons against whom the prohibition is directed in section 5 are the very same persons who under section 1 are disqualified "to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines. p. particularly having in mind that the purpose of the constitutional provision is the conservation of the national patrimony. if not all. No reason whatsoever is given in the opinion for such a distinction. The wording of the first draft was amended for no other purpose than to clarify concepts and avoid uncertainties. the prohibition to transfer the same would be superfluous. 1941. timber and mineral lands can never be private. as indicated above. whereas residential lands of private ownership cannot be so considered." and lastly into "no private agricultural land" and from these changes it is argued that the word "agricultural" introduced in the second and final drafts was intended to limit the meaning of the word "land" to land actually used for agricultural purposes. Specially is this so where. as above indicated.) The only difference between "agricultural land" under section 5. after all. then Secretary of Justice. the non-transferability of "agricultural land" to aliens. and private residential lands are as much an integral part of the national patrimony as the residential lands of the public domain. and since under section 1. the words "no land of private . Undoubtedly. almost all. It would certainly be futile to prohibit the alienation of public agricultural lands to aliens if. Teofilo Sison. The lands are the same in both sections." may be mistaken to include timber and mineral lands. the words "no land of private ownership" were used and later changed into "no agricultural land of private ownership. what is important is the nature or class of the property regardless of whether it is owned by the State or by its citizens.86 This constitutional provision closes the only remaining avenue through which agricultural resources may leak into aliens' hands. Upon the other hand. by the Hon. namely. this kind of lands can never be private. Since "agricultural land" under section 1 includes residential lots. for time will come when. the residential lands of the public domain shall have become private residential lands. Statutory Construction. therefore. they may be freely so alienated upon their becoming private agricultural lands in the hands of Filipino citizens. The words "no land" of the first draft. be read together for they have the same purpose and the same subject matter. and no valid reason can be adduced for such a discriminatory view. It is a rule of statutory construction that "a word or phrase repeated in a statute will bear the same meaning throughout the statute. section 5 is intended to insure the policy of nationalization contained in section 1. Both sections must. The implication is not accurate." (II Sutherland. It is maintained that in the first draft of section 5. the prohibition as to private residential lands will eventually become more important. as above indicated. But such difference refers to ownership and not to the class of land. Reference is made to an opinion rendered on September 19. in view of the constant disposition of public lands in favor of private individuals. and the only lands that may become private are agricultural lands.

p. an alien may not even operate a small jitney for hire.. there were in the Public Land Act No." (2 Aruego.) Delegate Ledesma. industrial plants.) This is ratified by the members of the Constitutional Convention who are now members of this Court. and whole towns and cities. Framing of the Filipino Constitution. One of the fundamental principles underlying the provision of Article XIII of the Constitution and which was embodied in the report of the Committee on Nationalization and Preservation of Lands and other Natural Resources of the Constitutional Convention. Framing of the Philippine Constitution. if under Article XIV. I am afraid that the time will come when we shall be sorry for the time we were born. schools.87 ownership" of the first draft can have no other meaning than "private agricultural land. Justice Perfecto." (Solicitor General's Brief. golf courses. of the Constitution. and Mr. p 592. health and vacation resorts.) That this is obnoxious to the conservative spirit of the Constitution is beyond question. And. 2874 sections 120 and 121 which granted aliens the right to acquire private only by way of reciprocity. Lands and natural resources are immovables and as such can be compared to the vital organs of a person's body. This constitutional intent is made more patent and is strongly implemented by an act of the National Assembly passed soon after the Constitution was approved. . is "that lands. 141. namely. airfields. of the same tenor was the speech of Delegate Montilla who said: "With the complete nationalization of our lands and natural resources it is to be understood that our God-given birthright should be one hundred per cent in Filipino hands . Our independence will be just a mockery. forests. p. 595. If the term "private agricultural lands" is to be construed as not including residential lots or lands not strictly agricultural. factories. minerals.) Professor Aruego says that since the opening days of the Constitutional Convention one of its fixed and dominating objectives was the conservation and nationalization of the natural resources of the country." and that "they may validly buy and hold in their names lands of any area for building homes." (Emphasis ours. indeed. fisheries. therefore. Mr. the lack of possession of which may cause instant death or the shortening of life. said: "The exclusion of aliens from the privilege of acquiring public agricultural lands and of owning real estate is a necessary part of the Public Land Laws of the Philippines to keep pace with the idea of preserving the Philippines for the Filipinos." And thus the change in the final draft is merely one of words in order to make its subject matter more specific with a view to avoiding the possible confusion of ideas that could have arisen from the first draft. We are referring again to Commonwealth Act No. in a speech delivered in connection with the national policy on agricultural lands. Justice Briones. Mr. for what kind of independence are we going to have if a part of our country is not in our hands but in those of foreigners?" (Emphasis ours. Said section reads as follows: . and other natural resources constitute the exclusive heritage of the Filipino nation. 6. hatcheries. Justice Hontiveros.) And. markets. playgrounds. in appellant's words. . strictly agricultural. They should. Prior to the Constitution. the result would be that "aliens may freely acquire and possess not only residential lots and houses for themselves but entire subdivisions. Chairman of the Committee on Agricultural Development of the Constitutional Convention. If we do not completely antionalize these two of our most important belongings. and a host of other uses and purposes that are not. (2 Aruego. be preserved for those under the sovereign authority of that nation and for their posterity. section 8. it is certainly not hard to understand that neither is he allowed to own a pieace of land.

corporations or associations not legally capacitated to acquire the same under the provisions of this Act. or partnerships who may acquire lands of the public domain under this Act or to corporations organized in the Philippines authorized thereof by their charters. lease. royal decree. or associations shall be obliged to alienate said lands or improvements to others so capacitated within the precise period of five years." In other words. 121. such persons. lease. except to persons. corporations. 2874. to citizens of countries the laws of which grant to citizens of the Philippine Islands the same right to acquire. or conveyed. royal order. shall be encumbered. nor to lands and improvements acquired or held for industrial or residence purposes. ordinance. whether strictly agricultural. or partnerships who may acquire lands of the public domain under this Act. alienated. or associations who may acquire land of the public domain under this Act. corporations. the prohibition contained in these two provisions was. That this prohibition shall not be applicable to the conveyance or acquisition by reason of hereditary succession duly acknowledged and legalized by competent courts. that no private land could be transferred to aliens except "upon express authorization by the Philippine Legislature. nor any permanent improvement on such land. or any other provision of law formerly in force in the Philippine Islands with regard to public lands. as to their own citizens. hold. corporations. shall be encumbered. nor any permanent improvement on such land. under the penalty of such property reverting to the Government in the contrary case. alienated. or transferred. nor any permanent improvement on such land. associations. in effect. 122. there being practically no private land which had not been acquired by any of the means provided in said two sections. and. only in the manner and to the extent specified in such laws. SEC." (Public Land Act. encumber. No land originally acquired in any manner under the provisions of this Act. residential or otherwise. . to corporations organized in the Philippine Islands authorized therefor by their charters. and while the same are in force but not thereafter. Therefore. hold. or alienate land. sections 122 and 123 of which read as follows: SEC. shall be encumbered. That in the event of the ownership of the lands and improvements mentioned in this section and in the last preceding section being transferred by judicial decree to persons. Then came the Constitution and Commonwealth Act No.) It is to be observed that the pharase "no land" used in these section refers to all private lands.88 SEC. encumber. while used for such purposes:Provided. to corporate bodies organized in the Philippine Islands whose charters may authorize them to do so. to citizens of Philippine Islands the same right to acquire. and. except to persons. upon express authorization by the Philippine Legislature. upon express authorization by the Philippine Legislature. to citizens of the countries the laws of which grant to citizens of the Philippine Islands the same right to acquire. but not thereafter:Provided. terrenos baldios y realengos. No. or lands of any other denomination that were actually or presumptively of the public domain or by royal grant or in any other form. or transferred. and only in the manner and to the extent specified in such laws. encumber. or alienate land. further. dispose of. No land originally acquired in any manner under the provisions of the former Public Land Act or of any other Act. or permanent improvements thereon. 141 was passed. however. alienated. corporations. or any interest therein. and while the same are in force. except to persons. lease. dispose of. aliens were granted the right to acquire private land merely by way of reciprocity. associations. as to their own citizens. dispose of. or alienate land or pemanent improvements thereon or any interest therein. hold. No land originally acquired in any manner under the provisions of this Act. 120.

This legislative construction carries exceptional weight. corporations. for prominent members of the National Assembly who approved the new Act had been members of the Constitutional Convention. Had the Congress been of opinion that private residential lands may be sold to aliens under the Constitution. such property shall revert to the Government. shall be encumbered. nor any permanent improvement on such land. And. That this prohibition shall not be applicable to the conveyance or acquisition by reason of hereditary succession duly acknowledged and legalized by competent courts: Provided. But clearly it was the opinion of the Congress that such sale is forbidden by the Constitution and it was such opinion that . further. is to conform to the absolute policy contained in section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution which. royal order. That in the event of the ownership of the lands and improvements mentioned in this section and in the last preceding section being transferred by judicial decree to persons. the right to reciprocity granted to aliens is completely stricken out. however. 133 which allows mortgage of "private real property" of any kind in favor of aliens but with a qualification consisting of expressly prohibiting aliens to bid or take part in any sale of such real property as a consequence of the mortgage. It is said that the lot question does not come within the purview of sections 122 and 123 of Commonwealth Act No. the only difference being that in the new provisions. 2874. grants them no right of reciprocity. We are not.89 SEC. on June 14. or associations shall be obliged to alienate said lands or improvements to others so capacitated within the precise period of five years. such persons. We are deciding the instant case under section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution which is more comprehensive and more absolute in the sense that it prohibits the transfer to alien of any private agricultural land including residential land whatever its origin might have been. in prohibiting the alienation of private agricultural lands to aliens. no legislative measure would have been found necessary to authorize mortgage which would have been deemed also permissible under the Constitution. which have to refer to land that had been formerly of the public domain. 1947. This. otherwise. or conveyed. These two sections are almost literally the same as sections 120 and 121 of Act No. 123. otherwise their constitutionality may be doubtful. undoubtedly. finally. or any other provision of law formerly in force in the Philippines with regard to public lands terrenos baldios y realengos. No land originally acquired in any manner under the provisions of any previous Act. or by royal grant or in any other form. This prohibition makes no distinction between private lands that are strictly agricultural and private lands that are residental or commercial. there being no proof that the same had been acquired by one of the means provided in said provisions. diciding the instant case under the provisions of the Public Land Act. 141. which is again a clear implementation and a legislative interpretation of the constitutional prohibition. however. corporations or associations who may acquire land of the public domain under this Act or to corporate bodies organized in the Philippines whose charters authorize them to do so: Provided. except to persons. the Congress approved Republic Act No. or lands of any other denomination that were actually or presumptively of the public domain. alienated. royal decree. The prohibition embraces the sale of private lands of any kind in favor of aliens. ordinance. corporations or associations not legally capacitated to acquire the same under the provisions of this Act.

. we will not attempt to compromise it even in the name of amity or equity. when an alien. was submitted for our decision. (43 Off. admitted freely into the Philippines from owning sites where they may build their homes. they may be granted temporary rights such as a lease contract which is not forbidden by the Constitution. because in the crucial moment of our history . concurring: Today. 1946. allowing ourselves to act as tools in a conspiracy to sabotage the most important safeguard of the age-long patrimony of our people. Pablo. On July 3. without costs. saving our people from a looming catastrophe. we hold that under the Constitution aliens may not acquire private or public agricultural lands. Perfecto. we faltered. Feria. 1940. Perhaps the effect of our construction is to preclude aliens. The case was initiated in the Court of First Instance of Tayabas on January 17. We are happy to record that this Supreme Court turned an impending failure to a glorious success. applied for title and registration of a parcel of land located in the residential district of Guinayangan. with gratitude. We would have refused to share the responsibility of causing it by. Since their residence in the Philippines is temporary. JJ.. a citizen of China. We would have prefered heroic defeat to inglorious desertion. for justice. the case of Oh Cho vs. for racial survival. Director of Lands. the land which destiny of Providence has set aside to be the permanent abode of our race for unending generations. For all the foregoing..90 prompted the legislative measure intended to clarify that mortgage is not within the constitutional prohibition. with pride. The Director of Lands opposed the . could not bear the thought of the curse they may fling at us should the day arrive when our people will be foreigners in their fatherland. Oh Cho. and Briones. 866). Gaz. Filipino citizenship is not impossible to acquire. concur. and who expect to leave long and ramifying dendriform lines of descendants. that aliens are not completely excluded by the Constitution from the use of lands for residential purposes. J. when the vision of judicial statemanship demanded on us the resolution and boldness to affirm and withhold the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Separate Opinion PERFECTO. But if this is the solemn mandate of the Constitution. Hilado. which is the day set for the promulgation of this Court's decision might be remembered by future generations always with joy. judgment is affirmed. The failure of the highest tribunal of the land to do its duty in this case would have amounted to a national disaster. Rather than abandon the sacred folds of the banner of our convictions for truth. We are construing the Constitution as it is and not as we may desire it to be. Tayabas. Should they desire to remain here forever and share our fortunes and misfortunes. We who have children and grandchildren. wittingly or unwittingly. and. It is well to note at this juncture that in the present case we have no choice. accordingly. with a house thereon. including residential lands. however. We are satisfied.

1945. it was found that the case was among those which were destroyed in February. a majority resolved to ignore the question. The Director of Lands appealed. Santos — who. notwithstanding the fact that it was the main and only legal question upon which appellant Director of Lands relied in his appeal. under the Constitution. filed with this Court on January 14. notwithstanding our efforts to have the question. It has been out lot to be alone in expressing in unmistakable terms our opinion and decision on the main legal question raised by the appellant. but also in the briefs of the several amici curiae allowed by the Supreme Court to appear in the case. The case had to be reconstituted upon motion of the office of the Solicitor General. After the Supreme Court was recognized in the middle of 1945. 1939. according to his own voluntary admission is a citizen of the Chinese Republic. The case was for the second time submitted for decision on July 3. it took the Supreme Court many days to deliberate on the case." On August 15. Again. The same legal question raised by appellant is discussed. Magsalin rendered decision granting the application. As a matter of fact. 1940. pressing and far-reaching. to dispel definitely the uncertainty gnawing the conscience of the people. while Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. and Assistant Solicitor General Rafael Amparo. After the last submission. 1946. which is vital. suffered heroic martyrdom at the hands of the Japanese — addressed to the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce on July 15. But when the decision was promulgated on August 31.91 application. in which it was also prayed that. . supporting the same theory as the one advanced by the Director of Lands. the case has been submitted for final decision of the Supreme Court since July of 1941. after being reconstituted. In the brief filed by Solicitor General Roman Ozaeta. not only in the brief for the appellee. we deliberated on the constitutional question for several days. being a Chinese. 1946. It remained undecided when the Pacific War broke out in December. especially on the legal question as to whether an alien may. The brief was accompanied. six years ago. is not qualified to acquire public or private agricultural lands under the provisions of the Constitution. the majority shall make known their stand on the question. The constitutional question was by-passed by the majority because they were of opinion that it was not necessary to be decided. acquire private urban lands. Assurance was. given that in the next case in which the same constitutional question is raised. Judge P. afterwards Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and now Secretary of Justice. the legal one stated in the first assignment of error as follows: The lower court erred in declaring the registration of the land in question in favor of the applicant who. An overwhelming majority answered no. nevertheless. 1941. 1946. during the battle for the liberation of Manila. the case be submitted for final adjudication. The next case came when the present one submitted to us for decision on February 3. although both raised but one question. by the opinion of Secretary of Justice Jose A. decided once and for all. as Appendix A. and the question has been almost exhaustively argued in four printed briefs filed by the parties and the amici curiae. that is. 1947. one of the main grounds being that "the applicant. appellant made only two assignments of error.

. Mr. Justice Tuason voted to grant the motion for withdrawal. . on the occasion of the registration by the register of deeds of Manila of land purchases of two aliens. Mr. Justice Hontiveros. by providential design or simply by a happy stroke of luck or fate. 5-5. of Circular No. Justice Bengzon. Notwithstanding this. There were eight of us. But the final result was different. 1947. as must be expected. Justice Padilla and and Mr. for the evident purpose of preventing the rendering of the majority decision. The Solicitor General's office gave its conformity to the withdrawal of the appeal. Justice Briones was then absent. On July 10. After a two-day deliberation. 1947. 1947? Discussion immediately ensued as to whether the motion should be granted or denied. Seven votes were cast for granting the motion and only four were cast for its denial. Appellant chose to keep silent as to his reason for filing the motion. a heated public polemic flared up in one section of the press. as Mr. The majority was also overwhelming. ourselves. Justice Briones voted for the denial of the motion." And we proposed that the rule be complied with. Justice Feria. This surprising assent was given without expressing any ground at all. on all incidental matters. somehow. whether this Court should abstain from promulgating the decision in accordance with the result of the vote taken on February 24. The deadlock resulting from the tie should have the effect of denying the motion. which would settle once and for all the allimportant constitutional question as to whether aliens may acquire urban lots in the Philippines. Mr. appellant Krivenko filed a motion for withdrawal of his appeal. Those who voted to deny the motion were Mr. 1947. the petition or motion shall be denied. as if. our brethren resolved to give him the opportunity of casting his vote on the question. But then. in 6 votes for the denial against 5 for granting. Would the Supreme Court permit itself to be cheated of its decision voted since February 24. when all the members of the Court were already present. and culminating in the issuance on August 12. and his vote would have resulted. Mr. 1947. Justice Hilado and Mr. Justice Paras. Justice Pablo. and the denial be promulgated.92 On February 24. and the result was that the constitutional question was decided against petitioner. broadcast by radio. dated August 25. the same has failed to form a definite opinion. Only three Justices dissented. Mr. as provided by section 2 of Rule 56 to the effect that "where the Court in banc is equally divided in opinion . the case was submitted for final vote. Mr. 1945. after more than six years during which the question has been submitted for the decision of the highest tribunal of the land. that is. The vote thus resulted in a tie. 128 of the Secretary of Justice which reads as follows: TO ALL REGISTER OF DEEDS: Paragraph 5 of Circular No. although we insisted that it was unnecessary. followed by controversial speeches. the way the majority had voted must have leaked out. 14. more than two-thirds of the Supreme Court. a new vote was taken. While the decision was being drafted. is hereby amended so as to read as follows: . Days later. the Chief Justice.

1947: In Krivenko vs. so that he could avail himself of the right to appeal therefrom. may be entered in the primary entry book. Such classes of land are not deemed included within the purview of the prohibition contained in section 5. commercial. section 4. or any right. (Section 1. or title thereto. of the Secretary of Justice and with the practice consistently followed for nearly ten years since the Constitution took effect on November 15. the appellant filed a motion to withdraw his appeal with the conformity of the adverse party. industrial or other classes of urban lands. title or interest therein is transferred. Republic Act No. Instruments by which private real property is mortgaged in favor of any individual. 1945. who is not an enemy national." ROMAN OZAETA Secretary of Justice Paragraph 5 of Circular No. renewable for another five years. the registration of said deeds or other documents shall be denied — unless and/or until otherwise specifically directed by a final decision or order of a competent court — and the party in interest shall be advised of such denial.) "(b). 284. Article XIII of the Constitution against the acquisition or holding of "private agricultural land" by those who are not qualified to hold or acquire lands of the public domain. under the provisions of section 200 of the Revised Administrative Code. a case already submitted for decision. and Rule 58). The polemic found echo even in the Olympic serenity of a cloistered Supreme Court and the final result of long and tense deliberation which ensued is concisely recorded in the following resolution adopted on August 29. 1935. but. This is in conformity with Opinion No. assigned or encumbered to an alien. series of 1941. is transferred. the former as amended by the Commonwealth Act No. Register of Deeds. or an interest therein. After full discussion of the matter specially in relation to the Court's discretion (Rule 52.93 5"(a). or association for a period not exceeding five years. 14 dated August 25. City of Manila. Deeds or documents by which private residential. The denial of registration of shall be predicated upon the prohibition contained in section 5. Article XIII (formerly Article XII) of the Constitution of the Philippines. assigned or encumbered to an alien. 615. During the effectivity of the Executive Agreement entered into between the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the United States on July 4. in pursuance of the so-called Parity Amendment to the Constitution. and sections 122 and 123 of Commonwealth Act No. "(c). who is not enemy national. L-630. 141. corporation. . may be accepted for registration. 1946. may be registered. citizens of the United States and corporations or associations owned or controlled by such citizens are deemed to have the same rights as citizens of the Philippines and corporations or associations owned or controlled by such are deemed to have the same rights as citizens of the Philippines and corporations or associations owned or controlled by citizens of the Philippines in the acquisition of all classes of lands in the Philippines. 138. amended by the above is as follows: Deeds or other documents by which a real property. whether of private ownership or pertaining to the public domain. or a right.

The voting stood 7 for allowing the dismissal of the appeal and 4 against. He has voted once on the motion to withdraw the appeal. I deplore the inability of the majority to agree to my proposition that Mr. Section 2 of Rule 56 requires that all efforts be exerted to break a deadlock in the votes. Mr. Mr. with the same result. but in view of the latter's absence due to illness and petition for retirement. My opinion is that since there was no formal motion for reconsideration nor a previous notice that this matter would be taken up once more. Mr. for purposes of completeness of the narration of facts. Justice Paras states: Justice Hontiveros is aware of and conversant with the controversy. the petition should have been considered denied. I hold it to be fundamental and necessary that the votes of all the members be taken in cases like this. Now. Justice Hontiveros had every reason to believe that the matter was over as far as he was concerned. under Rule 56. As the voting thus stood. Justice Hontiveros. on a moment's notice. Justice Tuazon voted to grant. Justice Hilado. that opportunity should not have been denied on grounds of pure technicality never invoked before. Justice Padilla. on reconsideration. that when the petition to withdraw the appeal was submitted for resolution of this Court two days after this petition was filed. a fact of which no one is aware. Justice Perfecto stated. Justice Hontiveros be asked to sit and break the tie. and expressed the opinion that since then. Mr. Justice Pablo. Mr. Justice Bengzon.94 Mr. was absent. Justice Briones voted to deny it. .. Justice Hontiveros' vote would have changed its result unless he changed his mind. Justice Perfecto and Mr. Mr. Mr. Justice Paras. the Court by a vote of seven to three did not approve the proposition. about one month afterwards. Last month. and since Mr. Justice Paras proposed that Mr. Thereupon Mr. Therefore. He is still a member of the Court and. Mr. Above all. Justice Briones was absent and it was decided to wait for him. Said first vote took place many days before the one alluded to by Mr. the votes on the motion stood 7 to 4. if he was not to be given an opportunity to recast his vote. Justice Hontiveros be asked to participate in the resolution of the motion for withdrawal. A redeliberation was consequently had. on which occasion all the 11 justices were present. can be present at any session of the Court. according to the rules. the result was 5 to 5. Mr. Mr. in the absence of one member. without any previous notice the matter was brought up again and re-voted upon. Justice Perfecto and Mr. another changed his vote resulting in a tie. I counted that the proceeding was arbitrary and illegal. Mr. be counted in favor of the vote for the allowance of the motion to withdraw. section 2. Justice Feria. Mr. the motion to withdraw is considered denied. Before these dissents were filed. the same subject was deliberated upon and a new voting was had. who was ill but might have been able to attend if advised of the necessity of his presence. Justice Padilla and Mr. Justice Padilla states that in his opinion the tie could not have the effect of overruling the previous vote of seven against four in favor of the motion to withdraw. five justices voted to grant and five others voted to deny. this Justice's vote in the penultimate voting should. while the Chief Justice. Justice Briones expressed the intention to put in writing their dissents. Some time later. Justice Tuason states: The motion to withdraw the appeal was first voted upon with the result that 5 were granting and 5 for denial. Mr. Mr. when all the members were present.

undermining public morale and leading to evils of unpredictable extent. by overwhelming majority. First came the Spanish encomenderos and other gratuitous concessioners who were granted by the Spanish crown immense areas of land. the greatest navigator of all history. more than a year ago. and it must have known that in this case a great majority had voted in that sense on February 24. Dutch. thus giving us a hint that the latter. the opinion of the members of this Court had already been crystallized to the effect that under the Constitution. 1946. The long chain of land-grabbing invasions. for his daring enterprises.95 The resolution does not recite all the reasons why Mr. notwithstanding their sacred vow of poverty. aliens are forbidded from acquiring urban lands in the Philippines. had the effect of trying to take away from the Supreme Court the decision of an important constitutional question. 1947. and colonial imperialism recorded in the darkest and bloodiest pages of history from the bellicose enterprises of the Hittites in the plains of old Assyria. Justice Hontiveros did not participate in that last two votings and why it became unnecessary to wait for him any further to attend the sessions of the Court and to cast his vote on the question. had set foot at Limasawa and paid. already knows what the correct answer is. submitted to us in a pending litigation. The uncertainty in the public mind should be dispelled without further delay. French and German colonial empires. 128. This Supreme Tribunal. almost four centuries ago. depredations. The great question as to whether the land bequeathed to us by our forefathers should remain as one of the most cherished treasures of our people and transmitted by inheritance to unending generations of our race. wittingly or unwittingly. Since then. alleging that it became moot in view of the ruling made by the Secretary of Justice in circular No. Immediately came the friars and other religious corporations who. that is. it should have been known by the whole world that since July. and the formation of the Spanish. If the processes had in this case had been given the publicity suggested by us for all the official actuations of this Supreme Court. While the doubt among the people as to what is the correct answer to the question remains to be dissipated. The constitutional question involved in this case cannot be left undecided without jeopardizing public interest. and should not withhold and keep it for itself with the same zealousness with which the ancient families of the Eumolpides and Keryces were keeping the Eleusinian mysteries. the achievements of Cecil Rhodes. Appellant Krivenko moved for the reconsideration of the denial of his withdrawal of appeal. our people have continuously been engaged in an unrelentless struggle to defend the national patrimony against the aggressive onslaughts of foreigners bent on grabbing our lands. irrigated by the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates. conquests. We denied the motion for reconsideration. had many of its iron links forged in our soil since Magellan. felt their greed whetted by the . We did not want to entertain any obstruction to the promulgation of our decision. and the invasion of Egypt by the Hyksos. The oracle of Delphus must speak so that the people may know for their guidance what destiny has in store for them. is not a new one. there will be uneasiness. up to the conquests of Hernan Cortes and Pizarro. with his life at the hands of Lapulapu's men in the battle of Mactan. Portuguese.

and of the Christian virtues of obedience. The urgency of settling once and forever the constitutional question raised in this case cannot be overemphasized. Our land is the most important of our natural resources. To make more specific the mandate." That mandate is addressed to all departments and branches of our government. they were able to obtain by donation or by will the lands of many simple and credulous Catholics who. One of the fundamental purposes of the government established by our Constitution is. they should decide to renounce that age-long patrimony. in its very words. humility. without excluding this Supreme Court. after conversion to Catholicism. which. many under the guise of chaplaincies or other apparently religious purposes. Profiting from the lessons of history. Through the practice of confession and other means of moral intimidation. the wisdom of which cannot be disputed in a world divided into nations and nationalities. the foreign religious orders set aside all compunction to acquire by foul means many large estates. sonars. never to neglect the enforcement of its provisions whenever our action is called upon in a case. resignation. Taking advantage of the uncontrollable religious leadership. In the same way that scientists and technicians resorted to radar. and that was what was solemnly ratified in the plebiscite by our people. That was the overwhelming sentiment prevailing in the Constitutional Convention. finally drove our people into a national revolution not only against the Spanish sovereignty under which the social cancer had grown to unlimited proportions. on one side. who then were rankling by the sore spot of illegally Japanized Davao. any kind of land. If we should decide this question after many urban lots have been transferred to and . mostly based on the eternal tortures of hell. those guarantees might not be needed and our people may eliminate them. that was the overpowering desire of the great majority of the Delegates. the Delegates to our Constitutional Convention felt it their duty to insert in the fundamental law effective guarantees for conserving the national patrimony. by constitutional amendment. That land should be kept in the hands of our people until. as the ultimate guardians of the Constitution. under the moral leadership of the hero. thermistors and other long range detection devices to stave off far-away enemy attacks in war. and credulity of a people who.96 bountiful opportunities for easy and unscrupulous enrichment. renounced all their property in favor of religious orders and priests. it is our inescapable devoir. embraced with tacit faith all its tenets and practiced them with the loyalty and fidelity of persons still immune from the disappointments and bitterness caused by the vices of modern civilization. The case of the family of Rizal is just an index of the situation. said Delegates set the guarantees to ward off open inroads or devious incursions into the national patrimony as a means of insuring racial safety and survival. leaving in destitute their decendants and relatives. in order to conquer the eternal bliss of heaven. Thus big religious landed estates were formed. that was what the Committee on Style — the drafter of the final text — has written in the Constitution. that was the dominating thought that was intended to be expressed in the great document. in the Philippines. and under the system unbearable iniquities were committed. Article XIII has been inserted so as to avoid all doubt that all the natural resources of the country are reserved to Filipino citizens. that it "shall conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation. But in the meantime. like the one now before us. Save by hereditary succession — the only exception allowed by the Constitution — no foreigner may by any means acquire any land. When the ideal of one world should have been translated into reality.

But in the case of Georgia. to obey and defend the Constitution. the bribery of legislator. is the stock example. but not before the land companies had completed the deal and unloaded. no national disaster ensued." says Beveridge. are in charge of enforcing the prohibition as laid down and interpreted in the decision in this case. and are duty bound. Peck. all acquisitions made in contravention of the prohibitions since the fundamental law became effective are null and void per se and ab initio. The next legislature repealed the statute for fraud. Fletcher vs. He sued Peck. From pages 22 and 23 of the book of Charless P. Curtiss. Yet Marshall decided it. most of Alabama and Mississippi. As all public officials have sworn. just as Hamilton said it was. to speculators." John Quincy Adams so reports in his diary. We see from the above how millions of acres of land were stolen from the people of Georgia and due to legal technicalities the people were unable to recover the stolen property." That may be. The Court has always been able to overcome its judicial diffidence on state occasions. Marshall was nobody's fool. He told Cranch that the Court was reluctant to decide the case "as it appeared manifestly made up for the purpose of getting the Court's judgment. by their functions. Plainly it was a friendly suit. . the lands had fallen into American hands and although the scandal was of gigantic proportions. had bought fifteen thousand acres from John Peck of Boston. although there may not be any scandal at all. that the repeal of the grant was void under the Constitution as an impairment of the obligation of a contract. and he won. It involved a national scandal. We conclude that. New Hampshire. but it was the act of a stateman. under the circumstances. under the provisions of the Constitution. and increasingly soon afterwards. the catastrophe sought to be avoided by the Delegates to our Constitutional Convention will surely be in no remote offing. In our case if our lands should fall into foreign hands. entitled "Lions Under the Throne. and their title was in issue. Fletcher appealed. a situation may be created in which it will be hard to nullify the transfers and the nullification may create complications and problems highly distasteful to solve. aliens are not allowed to acquire the ownership of urban or residential lands in the Philippines and. A weaker man than John Marshall. should spare no efforts so that any and all violations which may have taken place should be corrected. in 1810. By that time. all those who. more and more people had bought. But could they not get a decision from the Supreme Court? Robert Fletcher of Anhirst. The 1795 legislature of Georgia sold its western lands. Perhaps it was the greatest real estate steal in our history. not of a judge. The Georgia case is an objective lesson upon which we can mirror ourselves. "is one of the finest proofs of his greatness. The purchase price was only half a million dollars. and he held the repeal void. and one less wise and courageous. as consequence. That was the first case in which the Court held a state statute void. Eleven million of the acres had been bought for eleven cents an acre by leading citizens of Boston. How could they clear their title? Alexander Hamilton gave an opinion. "The fact that Marshall rendered an opinion.97 registered in the name of alien purchasers. would have dismissed the appeal. Jr." we quote the following: It is of interest that it seems to have happened chiefly in important cases.

Inc. I ultimately voted to grant the motion after the matter was finally deliberated and voted upon. section 4. I believe that we should avert and avoid any tendency in this direction with respect to this Court. . The resolution to deny was adopted in the exercise of the court's discretion under Rule 52. where the court in banc is equally divided in opinion. Krivenko. But the votes of the ten Justices participating were evenly divided. of the Secretary of Justice. being null and void ab initio. 296). the people may see in such an attitude an abandonment by this Court of a bounden duty. of the Constitution". dated August 12. and under Rule 52." As a necessary consequence. was issued in good faith.98 We decide. J. Article XIII.J. I think that under the circumstances it is well for all concerned that the Court should go ahead and decide the constitutional question presented. indulging. and that the lower court acted correctly in rendering the appealed decision. such a motion "shall be denied. The very doctrine that the three coordinate. commercial. therefore. to decide a question of such a momentous transcedence. industrial or other classes of urban lands "are not deemed included within the purview of the prohibition contained in section 5. for any lowering of the respect and diminution of that confidence will in the same measure take away from the very usefulness of the respective department to the people. by virtue of which it has discretion to deny the withdrawal of the appeal even though both appellant and appellee agree upon the withdrawal. But at the same time. 14.. Under the principle that where the necessary number have concurred in an opinion or resolution. I am one of those who presume that Circular No. when appellee's brief has been filed. which was already amended. that declaration in sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph 5 of Circular No. gives rise to the serious danger that should this Court refrain from deciding said question and giving its own interpretation of the constitutional mandate. Pursuant to Rule 56. by an officer of another department. all possible intendments in favor of another department.. concurring: Upon appellant's motion to withdraw his appeal herein with the conformity of the Solicitor General in behalf of appellee. the decision or determination rendered is the decision or determination of the court (2 C. the resolution denying the motion to withdraw the appeal was the resolution of the court. 128. made at a time when the self-same question was pending decision of this Court. section 4. at that time.S. with Rule 56. in view of an opinion. appellant Alexander A. in relation. For this reason. Of course. makes it at once the right and duty of each to defend and uphold its own peculiar powers and authority. the court as to decide the case upon the merits. none of us — the other governmental departments included — would desire such a situation to ensue. section 2. peculiarly its own. This will naturally detract in no small degree from public respect and confidence towards the highest Court of land. section 2. could not acquire by purchase the urban or residential lot here in question. 1947. a consistent advocate and defender of the principle of separation of powers in a government like ours that I have always been. After all. that. to the effect that private residential. the sale made in his favor by the Magdalena Estate. not being a Filipino citizen. the motion was denied. co-equal and independent departments should be maintained supreme in their respective legitimate spheres. which we affirm. Public respect for and confidence in each department must be striven for and kept. HILADO. upon the above premises. given in advance of its own decision.

With these preliminary remarks and the statement of my concurrence in the opinion ably written by the Chief Justice. ha presentado un alegato igualmente . de la conservacion del patrimonio nacional — se ha hecho la pregunta de por que se ha demorado la promulgacion de la sentencia. for example. Me refiero a la mocion que el 10 de Julio persentaron los abogados del apelante pidiendo permiso para retirar su apelacion. Perfecto. por su parte. en que las cuestiones planteadas y discutidas no tenian la densidad constitucional y juridica de las que se discuten en el presente caso. sin embargo." (Opinion. namely. sino aun en el pasado.0 de Abril en que comenzaron las vacaciones judiciales. particularmente sobre ciertas fases extraordinarias de este asunto harto singular y extraordinario. alarmante. A simple vista.. tal es su acabada y compacta elaboracion. ni expresar ningun fundamento. que autorice y justifique una critica contra los metodos de trabajo de esta corte. Escribo. habiendose votado el asunto todavia desde case comienzos del año. Conforme se relata en la concurrencia del Magistrado Sr. pero bien considerados los hechos se vera que no ha habido demora en el presente caso.99 I have distinctively noticed that the decision of the majority is confined to the constitutional question here presented. confirmandose la sentencia apelada por una buena mayoria. "whether or not an alien under our Constitution may acquire residential land. mucho menos una demora desusada. bajo las circunstancias. a la cual no e puede añadir ni quitar nada. BRIONES. esta opinion separada nada mas que para unas observaciones. tambien escueta e inceremoniosamente. ownership or lease of a house or building thereon. Hay que tener en cuenta que desde el 24 de Febrero en que se voto finalmente el asunto hasta el 1. El curso seguido por el asunto ha sido normal. Pero lo mas sorpredente todavia es la conformidad dada por el Procurador General. or acquisition. maxime tratandose. antes de la guerra. a paralizar la pronta promulgacion de la sentencia. y cuando se reanudaron formalmente las sesiones de esta Corte en Julio se suscito un incidente de lo mas extraordinario — incidente que practicamente vino a impedir. como se trata. p. conforme: Estoy conforme en un todo con la ponencia. En realidad. sino que cuando se llamo a vista el asunto informaron verbalmente ante esta Corte argumentando vigorosa y extensamente sobre el caso. no habian transcurrido mas que 34 dias. no yan en esta Corte ahora. are not covered by the decision. 2) Leases of residential lands. la pregunta tiene justificacion. M. Los abogados del apelante no solo presentaron un alegato concienzudo de 34 paginas. I have signed said decision. El Procurador General. Lo sorpredente de esta mocion es que viene redactada escuetamente. Digo que es sorprendente la retirada de la apelacion porque pocos casos he visto que hayan sido arguidos con tanta energiaa. hubo mas lentitud en casos no tan dificiles ni tan complicados como el que nos ocupa. En algunos comentarios adelantados por cierta parte de la prensa — impaciencia que solo puede hallar explicacion en un nervioso y excesivo celo en la vigilancia de los intereses publicos. despues de laboriosas deliberaciones este asunto se puso finalmente a votacion el 24 de Febrero de este año. sin explicar el por que de la retirada. I. tanto interes y tanto celo por la parte apelante como este que nos ocupa.

titulo o interes en ellos. todos los angulos de la formidable cuestion constitutional objeto de este asunto.100 denso. 128 del Secretario de Justicia expedida el 12 de Agosto proximo pasado. que el meollo del asunto. no habia otra manera de decidirlo mas que aplicando la Constitucion. Esa circular se cita comprensivamente en la ponencia y su texto se copia integramente en la concurrencia del Magistrado Sr. hipoteca o cualquier otro gravamen . En breves terminos. algo asi como si de un cielo sereno. creian que la Constitucion prohibe a los extranjeros la adquisicion a titulo dominical de todo genero de propiedad inmueble. en que se discuten acabadamente. o cualquier derecho. dividiendose casi por igual los miembros de la Corte sobre si debia o no permitirse la retirada. la lis mota era eso — la interdiccion constitucional — . industriales u otras clases de terrenos urbanos. de que existia esa interdiccion constitucional contra la facultad adquisitiva de los extranjeros. ceden o gravan a un extranjero que no es nacional enemigo. en medio de la Corte: me refiero a la circular num. hasta el punto maximo de saturacion y agotamiento. el Secretario de Justicia. sin excluir los solares residenciales. como al parecer lo estaba. 32 dias despues de presentada la mocion de retirada de la apelacion. por medio de esta circular dejaba sin efecto la prohibicion contenida en lacircular num. cayera de pronto un bolido en medio de nosotros. de 31 paginas. que si una mayoria de esta Corte estaba convencida. comerciales e industriales. algunos Magistrados opinaban que la discrecion debia ejercitarse en favor de la retirada en virtud de la practica de evitar la aplicacion de la Constitucion a la solucion de un litigio siempre que se puede sentenciarlo de otra manera. es decir. 14 del mismo Departamento — la prohibicion que precisamente ataca el apelante Krivenko en el asunto que tenemos ante Nos — y authorizaba y ordenaba a todoslos Registradores de Titulos en Filipinas para que inscribiesen las escrituras o documentos de venta. (Entre los Magistrados que pensaban de esta manera se incluian algunos que en el fundo del asunto estaban a favor de la confirmacion de la sentencia apelada. abandono de un deber jurado. asi que me creo excusado de transcibirla in toto. sin nubes. Con la mocion de retirada de la apelacion se hubo de retardar necesariamente la promulgacion de la sentencia. comerciales. seccion 4. Sin embargo. 1945. Asi estaban las deliberaciones cuando ocurre otro incidente mucho mas extraordinario y sorprendente todavia que la retirada no explicada de la apelacion con la insolita conformidad del Procurador General. toda vez que los alegatos estaban sometidos desde hacia tiempo. entablando fuerte lid con los abogados del apelante. del Reglamento de los Tribunales teniamos absoluta discrecion para conceder o denegar la mocion. nuestro claro deber era apresurarnos a dar pleno y positivo cumplimiento a la Constitucion al presentarse la primera oportunidad. Tambien informo el Procurador General verbalmente ante esta Corte. Habia unanimidad en que bajo la regla 52. esto es. por tanto. pues trabajosas deliberaciones fueron necesarias para resolver la cuestion. la circular reforma el parrafo 5 de la circular num. y levanta la prohibicion o interdiccion sobre el registro e inscripcion en el registro de la propiedad de las "escrituras o documentos en virtud de los cuales terrenos privados residencias. obrar de otra manera seria desercion. se transfieren. el asunto estaba votado y no faltaba mas que la firma y promulgacion de la decision juntamente con las disidencias.) Pero otros Magistrados opinaban que en el estado tan avanzado en que se hallaba el asunto los dictados del interes publico y de la sana discrecion requerian imperiosamente que la cuestion se atacase y decidiese frontalmente." En otras palabras. Perfecto. 14 del mismo Departamento de Justicia de fecha 25 de Agosto.

delas manos de esta Corte.observada con la devocion y la escrupulosidad de un rito. Ni aun en los llamados dias del Imperio. tenian . la inhibicion era tradicionalmente absoluta. en los anales de la administracionde justicia en Filipinas en cerca de medio siglo que llevamosde existencia bajo un gobierno constitucional y sustancialmente republicano.1 Lo menos que se puede decir de esa accion del Departamentode Justicia atravesandose en el camino de los tribunalesmientras un asunto esta sub judice. comerciales oindustriales a extranjeros? Por eso no es extraño quelos abogados del apelante Krivenko. anticipandose a resolverlo por simismo y dando efectividad y vigor inmediatos a su resolucionmediante la correspondiente autorizacion a los Registradoresde Titulos. Era una tradicion firmamenteestablecida en las esfersas del Poder Ejecutivo — tradicioninviolada e inviolable — maxime en el Departamento de Justicia y en la Fiscalia General. 1947. en los tramites de un litigio. cuando la soberania americana era mas propensa a manejar el baston grueso y afirmar vigorosamente losfueros de su poder y autoridad. A la luz de esa circular queda perfectamente explicadala mocion de retirada de la apelacion consentida insolitamentepor el Procurador General. siempre que no se tratase de terrenos publicos o de "terrenos privados agricolas. es que ello no tieneprecedentes. al derogar la prohibicion decretada en elparrafo 5 de la circular num. 14 by expressly authorizing the registration of the sale of urban lands to aliens. He aqui las propias palabras de la mocion del apelante Krivenko: In view of Circular No. 14 — prohibicion que. siempre que los terrenos objeto de la escritura fuesen "residenciales. Dicho crudamente. which amends Circular No. en representaciondel gobierno.0 de Septiembre. comerciales e industriales. and in view of the fact that the Solicitor General has joined in the motion for withdrawal of the appeal. se vio jamas a un departamento de Justicia o a alguna de sus dependencias entrometerseen el ejercicio ordenado por los tribunales de sujurisdiccion y competencia. el inhibirse de expresar algunaopinion sobre un asunto ya sometido a los tribunales. dated August 12. loscuales. pidiendo la reconsideracion de nuestroauto denegando la retirada de la apelacion. no esuna mera imagen retorica. civil o criminal. bajo la carta organica y las leyes. en su mocion de 1. lacuestion sub judice sustrayendola de la jurisdiccion de lostribunales. 128 of the Department of Justice. el Departamento de Justiciavenia a arrebatar el asunto de nuestras manos." La comparacion de esa circular con un bolido caido subitamenteen medio de la Corte no es un simple tropo." es decir.propiamente planteado ante dichos tribunales. es precisamente el objeto del presente asunto — venia practicamente a escamotear la cuestion discutida.Y la razon era muy sencilla: hamas se queria estorbar nientorpecer la funcion de los tribunales de justicia. comoqueda dicho.Esa circular. 1947. For this reason the court no longer has jurisdiction to act on the case. dijeran porprimera vez como fundamento que la cuestion ya era simplemente academica ("question is now moot") en vista deesa circular y de la conformidad del Procurador Generalcon la retirada de la apelacion. refleja una verdadera realidad. que yo sepa.101 a favor de extranjeros. Fuera deestos casos. ¿ Para que esperar ladecision de la Corte Suprema que acaso podria ser adversa? ¿ No estaba ya esa circular bajo la cual podian registrarseahora la ventas de terrenos residenciales. there is no longer a controversy between the parties and the question is now moot. excepto cuando venian llamados a hacerlo.

contra el Registrador de Titulos ante laSala Cuarta del Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Manila. Cuando una determinada circular del Departamentoa los registradores es combatida o puesta en telade juicio ante los tribunales.Tampoco se niega la facultad que tiene dicho Departamentopara expedir circulares. que es de su propia hechura. Creo que el pueblo filipino tiene derecho a que eso mismo se haga bajo el gobierno de la Republica. Asi lo dispone terminantemente el articulo200 del Codigo Administrativo. shall enter an order prescribing the step to be taken or memorandum to be made. and in case of registered lands. entre ellas las varias oficinasde registro de la propiedad en Manila y en las provincias. Esto se hizo bajo la Ley Cooper.numerandose dicha demanda como consulta num. mortgage. 14 de 25 deAgosto. ora por fundamentosconstitucionales. Reference of doubtful matter to judge of fourth branch of Court of First Instance at Manila. ora por razones meramente legales.102 absolutoderecho a actuar con maximo desembarazo. Este denego la inscripcion solicitadaen virtud de la prohibicion contenida en la circular num. Krivenko trajo a esta Corte la apelacionque estamos . dando instrucciones. after notice to the parties and hearing. Pero la facultad llega solo hasta alli. comerciales oindustriales. upon consideration of the matter as shown by the record certified to him. Tal es lo que ha ocurrido en el presente caso. 1945. — When the register of deeds is in doubt with regard to the proper step to be taken or memorandum to be made in pursuance of any deed. libres de todaingerencia extraña. ella puede alzarse de la sentencia para ante laCorte Suprema. que es suyo. Krivenkopresento su escritura de compraventa al Registrador de laPropiedad de Manila. the question shall be referred to the judge of the fourth branch of the Court of First Instance of the Ninth Judicial District either on the certificate of the register of deeds stating the question upon which he is in doubt or upon the suggestion in writing of the party in interest. sino que eso compete en absoluto a los tribunalesde justicia. and thereupon said judge. 200. estose hizo bajo la Ley Jones. 1945.. asi sean terrenos residenciales. la ley organica del Commonwealth. Y cuando unaparte no estuviere conforme con la decision de la SalaCuarta. y esto se hizo bajo la Ley Tydings-McDuffie. ycuando esta Sala decidio el asunto confirmando la acciondel Registrador.vgr. ¡ No faltaba mas que los hombres de su propia raza le nieguen lo que no le negaron gobernantesde otra raza! No se niega la facultad de supervision que tiene el Departamento de Justicia sobre las oficinas y dependenciasque caen bajo su jurisdiccion. es de esta ultima naturaleza: en ella seinstruye y ordena a los registradores de titulos que noregistren ni inscriban ventas de propiedad inmueble aextranjeros.14. De hecho la circular num. Lo que hicieron susabogados entonces fue presentar una demanda el 23 de Noviembre. elasunto o disputa debe elevarse en forma de consulta a la Sala Cuarta del Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Manila. Segun este articulo. ¿ Que hizo Krivenko entonces? Elevo acaso el asuntoal Departamento de Justicia? No. or other instrument presented for registration or where any party in interest does not agree with the register of deeds with reference to any such matter.La ley no confiere ninguna facultad al Departamento deJusticia para enjuiciar y decidir el caso. ya de caracter puramente administrativo. 1289. a los registradores acerca de como deben desempenarsus funciones.ya de caracter semijudicial. fuerade esas fronteras el campo ya es pura y exclusivamentejudicial. ya no esel Departamento el que tiene que determinar o resolverla disputa. He aqui el texto integro del articulo 200 del Codigo Administrativo: SEC.

sino de un cliente demucha mayor monta y significacion — el pueblo filipino — . dudosa la facultad de esta Corte para imponeruna sancion por desacato de acuerdo con el Reglamento delos Tribunales. inclusive angustiosa enque esta Corte ha quedado colocada con motivo de esa intromision departamental. Se arguye con tenaz persitencia que debiamos de haberconcedido la mocion de retirada de la apelacion.son aplicables estas disposiciones cuando la intromisionprocede de un ramo del poder ejecutivo. Respecto de la primera razon serasuficiente decir que el Procurador General es libre de entraren cualquiera transaccion sobre un asunto en que interviene. . prefirio adoptar una actitud deelegante inhibicion.) Como se ve. 4 — An appeal may be withdrawn as of right at any time before the filing of appelle's brief. es — usandoun anglicismo-coigual y coordinado con el poder judicial. por dosrazones: (a) porque el Procurador General estaba conformecon dicha retirada. Tan elemental es esto que enla misma circular num. Tenemos en el Reglamento de losTribunales algunas disposiciones que proveen sancion pordesacato para ciertos actos de intromision en el ejercicio de lasfunciones judiciales. de "manos fuera" (hands-off). 14: . como el caso presente en que el Procurador General ha transigido no sobre un asunto suyopersonal o de un cliente particular. sino quees de interes publico.maxime si esa intromision se ha realizado so capa de unacto oficial? Cualquiera. En casos recientes en que estaban envueltos otros poderes.After that brief is filed the withdrawal may be allowed by the court in its discretion. SEC. exponiendose a chocar con otropoder del Estado. si bienhay que hacer constar que con la fuerte disidencia dealgunos Magistrados.segun se dice. . — unless and /or until otherwise specifically directed by a final decision or order of a competent court — and the party in interest shall be advised of such denial.que reza como sigue: Rule 52. portanto. nuestra discrecion es absoluta:no estacondicionada por la conformidad o disconformidad de una delas partes. porlo menos. ordenado:registrar su excepcion sin ambages ni eufemismos contrala intromision. . de soslayar toda cuestion constitucionalsiempre que se pueda. (b) para evitar la resolucion delpunto constitucional envuelto. en virtud de la practica. con toda firmezasu independencia. en la mecanica de los poderes del Estado. He aqui la fraseologia pertinente de dicha circularnum.2 Pero se preguntara naturalmente. La posicion de la Corte Suprema ante este caso claro ypositivo de intromision (interference) en sus funciones esde lo mas peculiar. (Las cursivas son nuestras. Y la incondicionalidad de esa discrecion es masabsoluta e imperativa alli donde el litigio versa sobre unamateria queno afecta solo a un interes privado.pero es evidente que su accion no ata no obliga aesta Corte en el ejercicio de la discrecion que le confierela regla. pues. puede imaginarse la situaciontremendamente embarazosa. esta Corte. seccion 4. y reafirmar con todo vigor. 52. .103 considerando. como sesabe. estimando dudosa suposicion constitucional. un caso de verdadera intromision en que siendo. entre ellos el opinante. . so that he could avail himself of the right to appeal therefrom.3 Tenemos. under the provisions of section 200 of the Revised Administrative Code. el cual. del Reglamento de los Tribunales. le queda el unico recurso decente. the registration of said deeds or other documents shall be denied. 14 se dice que la prohibicion quedadecretada hasta que los tribunales resuelvan lo contrario.

Gaz. ¿ Podemos soslayar elpunto constitucional discutido en el pleito que nos ocupa? ¿ Podemos decidirlo bajo otra ratio decidendi. opto porsoslayar el punot constitucional denegando el registro solicitadopor Oh Cho.desde luego no mayor prisa que en otros asuntos. La salvedad o cualificacion de la doctrinao practica que se invoca no dice: "hay qoe soslayar la cuestionconstitucional siempre que se pueda resolver de otramanera. Para decidir si al recurrido apelado. .Luego el segundo fundamento alegado paracubrir la evasiva tambien debe descartarse totalmente. Luego todos los caminosestan bloqueados para nosotros. 866). Nohay otra ley para el caso. 2874 sobre terrenos de dominio publico los extranjerosestan excluidos de dichos terrenos.en primer lugar. por cierto que el que lo planteaba en nombre delGobierno era el actual Secretario de Justicia que entoncesera Procurador General.. reservando dicha cuestion constitucional para otro caso. la unica disposicionlegal que se puede aplicar es el articulo XIII. con la disidencia de algunos Magistrados. llevaconsigo una salvedad o cualificacion y es que el litigio se pueda resolver de otra mañera. sino que seria unsub terfugio impropio. parte. acogiendonosa la ley No. sino que los casos se someten por orden de prelaciony prioridad de tiempo a medida que esten preparados paracaso debe decidirse por sus propios meritos y conforme ala ley pertinente. indebido. que se cita en unade las disidencias. 2874 o a cualquier otra ley? Indudablemente que no porque ningun Magistrado de esta Corte. puesto que puedenpresentarse otros de igual naturaleza en tiempo no remoto.. ilegal. vitalisima del patrimonio nacional que nuestro pueblo hacolocado bajo la salvaguardia de la Constitucion. invocado por el Registrador como defensa e inserto en el parrafo 5 de la circular num. Pero esta Corte. 14. Of. como se insinua. excesivo celo. en virtud desucondicion de extranjero? Indudablemente que no: la lis mota. dela Constitucion de Filipinas. menos el camino constitucional. consideran el terreno reclamado por Krivenko como terreno publico. o se que debiamospermitir la retirada dela apelacion para no tener queresolver la cuestion constitucional disputada. que el terrenosolicitado se considero como terreno publico. es la misma constitucionalidad de la compraventa de que se trata.le asiste o no razon para denegar la inscripcion solicitada por el recurrente y apelante. Es verdadque alli se planteo tambien la cuestion constitucional de quese trata. ¿ Podemos hacer la misma evasion en el presente caso. bastara decirque la practica. No. la unica. la salvedad es dentro del mismo caso. queno sea la constitucionalidad o inconstitucionalidad de laventa del inmueble al apelante Krivenko. esto es. muchomenos los disidentes. por fundamento de que bajo la LeyNo. 4345). es completamente diferente. Registrador de Titulos de la Ciudad de Manila. En el presente caso no ha habido ninguna prisa. es decir. 3 pag.14 como fundamento de la prohibicion o interdiccion contrael registro de las ventas de terreno a extranjeros. El caso de Oh Cho contra el Director de Terrenos43 Gac.104 ysiendo materia del litigio la propiedad del suelo. Respecto del segundo fundamento.Es evidente que esto tampoco arguye en favor de la evasiva. porque cuando se le somete el deber de iraveriguando en su Escribania si hay casos de igual naturaleza. en que los alegatos de ambas partesya estan sometidos y se halla ahora pendiente de decision. y lo pleantaba en un sentido absolumente concorde con la circular num. De otro modono seria un simple soslayo legal. prinsipio o doctrina que se invoca. Krivenko. seccion 5. Se insinua que no debiamos darnos prisa en resolver constitucionalmente el presente asunto.y en efecto se cita el caso de Rellosa contraGaw Chee Hun(49 Off.

la tuvimos cuandodespues de laboriosas deliberaciones quedo denegada lamocion de retirada de la mayoria haya cambiado de opinionsobre el fondo de la cuestion. nuestro deber ineludible. lo debiamos. La explicacion es sencilla: nuestra aquiescenciaa la reirada hubiera podico interpretarse entoncescomo que nuestra jurisdiccion.Toda evasiva seira neglignecia. pues Krivenko. sino que. corresponde la facultad exclusivade disponer de los asuntos judiciales. No es que la Corte Suprema. El principio de la supremacia judicial no esuna pretension ni mucho menos un ademan de inmodestiao arrogancia. rapido pronunciamento de nuestro veredicto sobre la formidablecuestion constitucional debatida. Con respecto a losasuntos de registro particularmente esa facultad exclusivano solo se infiere del principio de la supremacia judicial. habriaganado entonces su pleito no en virtud de una sentenciajudicial.si ha habido algo. despues de la expidicion esas razones quedaroncentuplicadas. Nohay tal cosa. Todo lo que necesitabamos era tener dentro de esta Corte una provee la interdiccion de que se trata. Ya repetidas veces seha dicho que el presente asunto se habia votado muchoantes de que se expidiese esa circular. Por el contrario. Es mas: seriaabandono de un deber jurado. al pais para la tranquilidad y conveniencia de todos — del pueblo filipino y de los extranjeros residentes o quetuvieren voluntad de residir o negociar en estas Islas. Es injustificada la insinuacion de que. al parecer. tan pronto como fuese posible? ¿ Habia alguna razon de interespublico para justificar una evasiva? Absolutamenteninguna. por lo menos. en realidad. ¿ Habia justificacion para demorar el pronto. desidia.se halla especificamente estutuida en el articulo 200del Codigo Administrativo transcrito arriba. como paraenrvar los efectos de la circular num. de centinela avanzado de la Constitucion. con esto. 14 al referir tales cuestiones a la determinacion oarbitrio judicial en casos de duda o litigio. Tantonacionales como extranjeros sabrian donde invertir sudinero. Asicada cual podria hacer su composicion de lugar.o de suplir una deficiencia en la Constitucion. Tampoco hay tal cosa. lentitud. la mayoria denego la retirada de la apelacion no tanto para resolver el asunto en su fondo o por sus meritos.105 Elcurso. sino que es una parte vital de nuestrasinstutuciones. como se insinua en una de las disidencias. nada hace falta ya para que se de lasenal de "luz verde" a la promulgacion de la sentencia. el ritmo de los tramites ha sido normal. Lo debiamos a nuestras conciencias. imperioso.Por tanto. !28 del Departamentode Justicia. pretenda tener"un monopolio de la virtud de sostener y poner en vigor.era formular y promulgar inmediatamente ese veredicto. y esto lo ha reconocido el mismo Departamento de Justicia en su circularnum. como ya se ha dicho en otra parte de esta concurrencia. una condicion peculiarisima de nuestro sistema de gobierno en que la judicatura. Este articuloconfiere jurisdiccion exclusiva a los tribunales de justiciapara decidir las cuestiones sobre registro. podriaorientarse sin zozobras ni miedo a la incertidumbre. como digo en otra parte deesta concurrencia. la tenemos ahora naturalmente. Tuvimosesa mayoria cunado se voto por primera vez este asuntoen Febrero de este año (8 contra 3). y la Corte Suprema naturalmente npha de permitir que se la pueda proferir el cargo de queha abandonado su puesto privilegiado de vigia. ha sido un poco de parsimonia. como uno de lostres poderes del Estado. Es mas: hubiera podidointerpretarse como ." o que segobierno. Lo que mascorrectamente podria decirse es que antes de la expedicion deesa desafortunada circular poderosas razones de interespublico aconsejaban que se denegase la retirada de la apelacion y se diese fin al asunto mediante una sentencia enel fondo. sino pasando por la puerta trasera abierta por esacircular. sobretodo. el apelante.

a tenor de la regla 56. la cual fue de nuevo denegada. pues. Por ultimo. quedaba naturalmente denegrada la mocion deretirada. II. Es todavia mas injustificada la insinuacion de que ladenegacion de la retirada de la apelacion equivale "a asumir queel solicitante-apelante y el Procurador General sehan confabulado con el Departamento de Justicia no solopara ingerirse en las funciones de esta Corte. En efecto. sino paraenajenar el patrimonio nacional a los extranjeros. La corte presume que todos han obradode buena fe. La rueda de la justicia en la Corte Supremajamas ha dejado de rodar por la ausencia de uno o dosmiembros. He aqui eltexto completo de la seccion: . a mi juicio. estimo que debe rectificarse la asercion de queel Magistrado Hontiveros fue excluido de la votacion queculmino en un emmpate y que determino el rechazamientode la retirada de la apelacion. sin consideracion a losmotivos de nadie. es decir. seccion2." Estoes inconcebible. se reduce a determinar einterpretar la palabra "agricola" (agricultural) usada enel articulo XIII. y otra sobre historia nacionalcontemporanea. es decir. El Magistrado Hontiverosno estaba presente en la sesion por estar enfermo.pero estaban presentes 10 Magistrados. Reglamento de los Tribunales. Todos los angulos y fases de la misma estanacabadamente tratados y discutidos en la ponencia. Hontiveros. en favor delveredicto de que la Contitucion excluye a los extrajerosde la propiedad de bienes raices en Filipinas. Hontiverosera uno de los 8 que habian votado en favor de la confirmacion de la sentencia apelada. No queda casi nada decir sobre el fondo de lacuestion.Pregunto otra vez: ¿donde esta la "arbitrariedad"? Queculpa tenia la Corte de que el Sr. De acuerdo conla regla 56.la misma en que ya se alegaba como ndamentoel hecho de que la cuestion era simplemente academica (moot question) por la conformidad del Procurador Generalcon la retirada y por la circular num. hacerconstar que sobre el fondo de la cuestion el Sr. se hace la votaciony resulta un empate. sin embargo. Hontiverosal someterse la mocion. aprovachando en este ultimo respectomis reminiscencias y mi experiencia como humilde miembroque fui de la Asamblea Constituyente que redacto y arobola Constitucion de Filipinas. Todos se conformaroncon que se efectuase la votacion. A la votacionprecedieron muy laboriosas y vivas deliberaciones. ¿Donde esta. Ningun Magistrado Ilamo la atencion de la Corte hacia la ausencia del Sr. 5 contra 5. mas queel numero necesario para formar quorum y para despacharlos asuntos. la "ilegalidad". Melimitare. Tampoco estaba presente el Sr. seccion 5. Hontiveros no pudieraestar presente por estar enfermo? ¿Iba a detenerse larueda de la justicia por eso? Conviene. siempre que hubiese quorum.Se ha denegado la retirada de la apelacion por razonespuramente juridicas y objectivas. !28 del Departamento de Justicia. es decir. de acuerdo con los dictados de su conciencia. por tanto.unas sobre hermeneutica legal. de la Constitucion. Hontiveros. Toda la cuestion. donde la"arbitrariedad"? Algunos dias despues se presento una mocion de reconsideracion. a hacer unas cuantas observaciones. Hontiveros. no obstante la ausencia del Sr.106 una abyecta rendicion en la pugna porsostener los fueros de cada ramocoigual y coordinado del gobierno. Ningun Magistrado pidio que se leesperase o llamase al Sr.

los cocablosalli empleados deben interpretarse en el sentido de quetienen un mismo significado. que se a los terrenos agricolaprivados o partuculares. Magistradosdisidentes. pertenecea tales ciudadanos. embebidaen nuestra jurisprudencia de cerca de medio siglo. En secciones se emplea literalmentela frase "public agricultural land." La segunda parte la componen las secciones 3 y 5: laseccion 3 perceptua que "the Congress may determine bylaw the size of private agricultural land which individuals.coporations. corporations. no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals. los disidentesdicen que no. En otras palabras. por lo menos. Es absurdo pensar o suponerque en el texto de una ley. lo admitenlos mismos abogados del apelante y los Sres. comerciales e industriales? Tal es lacuestion: la mayoria de esta Corte que si. que se aplica a la actual Constitucion deFilipinas una interpretacion clasica.107 SEC. o de corporaciones o asociacionesen que el 60 por ciento del cacital. Lapresuncion es que el legislador sigue y seatiene a las reglas literarias elementales. porque en ninguna parte de la Constitucion se datal definicion. sobre todo dentro del estrechomarco de un articulo. simetrico. excepto forestales yminerales. Y ¿por que lo admiten? Sera porque en laConstitucion se define la palabra "agricultural" aplicadaa terrenos publicos. Ahora bien: el articulo XIII consta de dos partes — laprimera. ¿Incluye la palabra "agricultural" aqui empleada los terrenosresidenciales. Es indudable que por razones sanas de hermenuetica legalel articulo XIII de que se trata debe interpretarse como untodo homogeneo. en el sentido de incluir solaresresidenciales. En ambas secciones se emplealiteralmente la frase "private agricultural land. subjectto rights existing prior to the enactment of such law"4 . a menos que la misma ley asi to diga expresamente. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines. pregunto: si la palabra "agricultural" empleadaen la primera parte del articulo XIII tiene talsignificado — y lo tiene porque la Constitucion no da otrodiferente — ¿por que esa misma palabra empleada en lasegunda parte. tradicional." No hay ninguna cuestion de que la frase "public agriculturalland" empleada en la primera parte comprende terrenosresidenciales. industriales yqualquier otra clase de terrenos. comerciales e industriales. or associations may acquire and hold. y la segunda.y la seccion 5 es la que queda transcrita mas arriba y esobjeto del presente litigio. unas cuantas lineas mas adelante. comerciales. Lo admiten porque en esta jurisdicciontenemos una serie consistente de sentencias de esta CorteSuprema en que es jurisprudencia firmamente establecidala doctrina de que la palabra "agricultural" usada en laLey del Congreso de los Estados Unidos de 1902 (LeyCooper) y en nuestras leyes de terrenos publicos comprendey abarca solares residenciales. 5. — Save in cases of hereditary succession.5 Es decir. Ahora bien. que trata de los terrenos agricolas de dominiopublico. comerciales e industriales? Indudablementeque no. no hade tener el mismo significado? . La primera parte se compone de las secciones 1 y 2que vinculanla propiedad de los terrenos publicos enel Estado y disponen que solo se pueden enajenar a favorde ciudadanos filipinos. un vocablo tenga dos o mas significadosdistintos.

que evitase caos y confusion en la mente delos abogados y del publico. En el Comite de Siete o dePonencia figuraban el actual Presidente de Filipinas Hon. No digo que aquella Asemblea estabacompuesta de sabios. que la palabra "agricultural". si fuese esta la intencion. y el ex-Decano del Colegio de Artes Liberalesde la Universidad de Filipinas. conlos prestigios de su reconocida cultura juridica y humanista. NorbertoRomualdez. Jose P.Manuel Roxas. Laurel. sino en virtud delvocablo "public" o "private". es decir. Filemon Sotto. Pensarde otra manera podria ser ofensivo.aplicada a terrenos privados. MiguelCuaderno. alli estaba tambien el Dr. laAsemblea opto por no definir la palabra "agricultural"aplicada a terreno poblico porque contaba para ello con ladefinicion clasica establecida en la jurisprudencia. Teniendo en cuenta la innegablecompetencia de los Delegados a la Asemblea Constituyentey de sus liders. el ex-Senador de Cebu Hon. Rafael Palma. conla manifiesta intencion dedejar enteramente la interpretacion de la palabra a la luzde una sola comun definicin — la establecida en la jurisprudenciadel asunto tipico de Mapa contra Gobierno Insular y otrossimilares (supra). lo hubiese hecho constar asi expresamente en elmismo texto de la Constitucion Si.Alli estaba el Presidente de la Universidad de FilipinasDr. Tuve el honor de partenecer a aquella Asemblea comouno de los Delegados por Cebu.108 ¿Da acaso la Constitucionuna definicion de la palabra "agricultural" cuandose refiere a terreno privado? ¿Donde esta esa definicion? ¿O es que se pretende que la diferenciacion opera no envirtud de la palabra "agricultural". diferenciadora. incluye tambien solaresresidenciales. Hon. pero indudablemente no era inferiora ninguna otra de su tipo en cualquiera otra partedel mundo.algunos versados y especialistas en derecho constitucional. Conrado Benitez. se incurriese en una comisionimperdonable: la omision de una definicion especifica. Recto. Tambien me cupo elhonor de partenecer al llamado Comite de Siete — elcomite encargado finalmente de redactar la ponencia dela Constitucion. e industriales. comerciales.el ex-Magistrado de la Corte Suprema Hon. ex-Senador y ex-Secretario de Gabinete. aplicada a terrenos privados. es logico inferir que tuvo la mismaintencion. podriaequivaler a decir que aquella Asemblea estaba compuestade miembros ignorantes. cuandola misma Asemblea tampoco definio la palabra con relaciona terreno privado. Menos se concibeque. el actual Secretario de Hacienda Hon. No se puede concebir como bajo la inspiracion y guiade estas personas pudiera redactarse el texto de un articuloenque un vocablo — el vocablo "agricultural" — tuviera dosacepciones diferentes: una. segun que se trate de terrenopublico o privado? Si la intencion de la Asemblea Constituyente fuera eldar a la palabra "agricultural" aplicada a terreno privadoun significado distinto de cuando se refiere a terreno publico. lo mas logico pensar es que alno definir la palabra "agricultural" y al no diferenciarsu aplicacion entre terrenos publicos y privados. considerado comouna de las primeras autoridades en derecho constitucionaly politico en nuestro pais. desconocederos de las reglas elementalesen la tecnica de redaccion legislativa. .y otra. Alli habia un plantel de buenos abogados. lider de la minoria en la primera Asemblea Filipina.el Hon. ex-miembro de la Comisionde FIlipinas. lo hicierondeliberamente. como se admite. insultante. esto es. aplicada a terrenos publicos. Vicente Singson Encarnacion. Claro M. alli estaba el propio Presidentede la Asemblea Constituyente Hon. aplicar la definicion de la jurisprudenciaa ambos tipos de terreno — el publico y el privado. esto es.

commercial or educational." Demode que. los abogados del apelante definen elvocablo de una manera distinta. ?Por queen un caso se entrega la definicion a la jurisprudencia. wages etc. Ni los diccionarios. o al habla popular?Aparte de que los miembros y dirigentes de la AsembleaConstituyente sabian muy bien que esto causaria unatremenda confusion. segunel concepto popular. 758. Padilla dice que "the termprivate agricultural land means lands privately owneddevoted to cultivation. todavia ofrecedudas a veces ¿como no el lexico vulgar. Otrodisidente el Magistrado Sr. Pero. . "of or pertaining to agricultural connected with." Tambien hacereferncia el mismo Magistrado al concepto popular. Stat. . agricultural implements. . De hecho esos terrenos son agricolas.comercio e industria se les aquiere colocar fuera dela prohibicion constitucional. el criterio nopuede ser mas elastico y convencional.da por definida la palabra "agricultural". ni mucho menosel lenguaje popular.con definiciones especificas y casuisticas. as the agricultural class. . . Si hubieramos de hacer depender la definicion de loque es un terreno agricola del concepto popular y de losdiccionarios.y por que en otro al diccionario. although that sense may vary from the strict literal meaning of the words. tillage. pero que se han convertido ensubdivisiones multiplicandose su valor en mil por cientosi no mas. con su infinitavariedad de matices e idiotismos? Ahora mismo ¿no estamos presenciando una confusionn. the rule of construction requires that the words used in such statute should be construed according to the sense in which they have been so previously used. Uno de los disidentesel Magistrado Sr. dando a entendar con su silencio queendosaba la definicion al diccionario o a la usanza popular. . The criterion is notmere susceptibility of conversion into a farm but its greater value when devoted to one or the other purpose." El Magistrado Sr Paras no da ninguna definicion. al parecer. concretas . sobre todo. lo que determina la calidaddel terreno es su valor relativo.una perplejidad? ¿Hay acaso uniformidad en la definicionde lo que es un terreno privado agricola? No. and have been adopted by the legislature as having a certain meaning prior to a particular statute in which they are used. say residential. "land spoken of as `agricultural' naturally refers to land not only susceptible of agricultural or cultivation but more valuable for such than for another purpose. comoque todavia se ven alli los pilapiles y ciertas partes estancultivadas. ofrecen apoyo seguro para una fiely autorizada interpretacion. p.109 A word or phrase repeated in a statute will bear the same meaning throughout the statute. . to the raising of agriculturalproducts. En verdad." (II Sutherland. o al comercio. Segun ellos. y denota cuanincierta y cuan confusa es la situacion a que da lugar latesis del apelante y de los que le sostienen. segun que se dedique alcultivo. o a residencia. or engaged in. o a la industria. Where words have been long used in a technical sense and have been judicially construed to have a certain meaning. asi sean los mejores y mas cientificamente elaborados ¿que normas claras. Tuason toma su definicion de la palabra "agricultural " del Diccionario Internacional de Webster que dice . segun esta definicion. Si el texto mismo de la ley. . Construction.) Pero acaso se diga que la Asemblea Constituyente hadejado sin definir la palabra "agricultural" referente aterreno particular.Los autores de esta definicion indudablemente tienen encuenta el hecho de que en las afueras de las ciudades existenterrenos immensos que desde tiempo inmemorial se handedicado a la agricultura. unless a different intention appears. cadacual lo define a su manera.La suposicion es igualmente insostenible. pero en virtud de su mayor valor para residencia.

ciudad o poblacion. a saber: . situado entre estos y el paseo del Malecon por el Sur y Este contiene muchas hectareas de extension y es de naturaleza agricola. Por que dentro de una ciudado poblacio puede haber y hay terrenos agricolas. Verbigracia. Contigua a la Luneta. Hay dentrode la ciudad de Manila. dispone que "el Congreso puedo determinarpor ley l. comercial e industrial? ¿Podria hacerseuna clasificacion que no fuese arbitraria? Indudablementeque no. Willard añade las siguietes observacionessumamente petinentes e ilustratives para una correctare solucion del asunto que nos ocupa.a eextension superficial del terrenoprivado agricola que los individous. en realidad. Willard. en su alegato presentado en este asunto. quiere decir) se pueden encontrar dentro de los limites de cualquier ciudad. Es mas logico pensar que el criterio que ellos tenian enla mente era el criterio establicido en la jurisprudencia sentada en el asunto clasico de Mapa contra Gobierno y otros asuntos concomitantes citados — criterio mas frime. "que ofrece menos inconvenientes". Otro serio inconveniente. y sobre todo.110 y definitivasde diferenciacion podrian establecerse? ¿Podrian trazarsefronteras inconfundibles entre lo que es agricola y lo quees residencial.no arbitrario? Tampoco. Fil. ya sean individuos.183). so pretexto de ser industriales? Resulta evidence de lo expueto que los redactores denuetra Constitucion no pudienron haber tenido la idea deque el articulo XIII fuera interpretado a la luz de ese criterio vago e indeterminado que llama el Sr. ¿Que terrenos son agricolas por naturaleza? l mismo Fiscal General. mas seguro. comercial e industrial todo lo que esta dentrode una urbe.la tendencia moderna es a situar las industrias fuera deas ciudades en vastas zonas rurales. Willard en el asunto clasico de Mapa contra Gobierno Insular. sujeto a los derechos existentes antes de la aprobacion de dicha ley. en la misma ciudad." Si seinterpretase que la frase "private agricultural land" noincluye terrenos . algunasde propiedad particular. articulo XIIIde. se industrialice aquellaformidable fuerza hidraulica bajo el llamado Plan Beyster ¿que normas segfuras se podrian establecer para poner envigor la prohibicion constitucional fuese burlada enajenandosetierras agricolas de propiedad privada a favorde extranjeros. El terreno que circuda los muros de la ciudad de Manila. menos expuesto a confusion y arbitrariedad. Y Luego el Sr. En este respectoes preciso tener en cuenta que un terreno industiralno tienee que ser necesariamente urbano. dice: 'La montaña mas pedregosa y el suelo mas pobre son susceptible de cultivo mediante la mano del hombre'" (Mapa contra Insular. Esta es por su naturaleza agricola. La seccion 3. se considera comoresidencial. que seria muy dificil aplicarlo enla practica. (supra.la Constitucion. 185). corporaciones o asociaciones pueden adquirir y poseer. anpredor de la famosa cascada de Maria Cristina en Lanao existen grandes extensiones de terreno agricola. Comodijo muy bien el Magistrado Sr. p. La dificultad es mayor tratanndose de diferenciar unterreno agricola de un terreno industrial. . hay una gran extension de terreno denominado Camp Wallace. parafraseando otra vez al Magistrado Sr.. El patron mas usual de diferenciacion es lanaturaleza urbana o rural del terreno. 10 Jur. "uno de los inconvenientes de la adopcion de este criterio es que es tanvago e indeterminado. cientifico. Cuando. una granja experimental. La Luneta misma podria en cualquier tiempo destinarse al cultivo. . ya sean corporacioneso asociaciones. Tales terrenos (agricolas. Willard. y en la parte densamente poblada de lamisma. Pero ¿resolveria esto la dificultad? Proporcionaria un patron exacto. destinada a sports.

de la Constitucion. al titulo dominical — en que el uno es del Estado y el otro es de un particular. Esto no es exagerar la importancia de la tecnica sino que es simplemente colocar las cosasensu verdadero lugar. a la luz de la jurisprudencia. Se admite por todo elmundo que la palabra tiene tal significacion en el articuloXIII. en la misma literatura el vulgo juega su papel. para de purar el alma de la toga. sino tambien residencialescomerciales e industriales.Uno no es mas menois agricola que el otro. seccion 5. por ser ello el metodo mas seguro para hallar la verdad judicial. comercialese industriales. limitandose el precepto a los propia o estrictamenteagricolas. nionguna pica en Flandes. comercial e industrial. Ahora bien. lahermeneutica legal. La deduccion es incorrecta y sin fundamento. En cambio ya hemosvisto que la palabra "agricultral" tiene una significaciontradicionalmente bien establecida en nuestra jurisprudenciay en nuestro vocabulario juridico: incluye no solo terrenoscultivados o susceptibles fe cultivo. por la sencilla razon de que la Constitucion no solo no define lo que es residencial comercial e industrial. Esto parece absurdo. en cuanto se refierea terreno publico.en realidad. no habria limite a las adquisicionesy posesiones en lo tocante a terrenos residenciales. diciendose solo "terreno privado" y quesolo mas trade se añadio la palabra calificativa agricola—"private agricultural land" De este se quiere inferir quela adicion de la palabra "agricultural" debio de ser poralgun motivo y este no podia ser mas que el de que sequiso excluir los terrenos residenciales comerciales e industriales. que dijo un gran abogado español?6 Asi que cuando decimos que el precepto constitucional en cuestion debe interpretatarse tecnicamente. no importa que ello repugne al concepto vulgar a simple vista.comerciales e industriles. sino que propugnamos una cosa harto elememntal por lo sabida. absolutamente ninguna. En realidad.111 residenciales. Si no fuera asi paraque los abogados? ¿Y para que las escuelas de dercho. cada vez mas rigidos.No se debe menospreciar la influencia del vulgo en algunascosas.y para que los exmenes.subjetiva — en que vulgarmente hablando pareceque los conceptos de "agricola" y "residencial" se repelen. comerciales e industriales. La unicadiferencia se refiere a la propiedad. La interpretacion de la ley es unafuncion de minoria — los abogados.entonces estas ultimas clases de yterreno quedarian excluidas de la facultad reguladora concedida por la Constitucion al Congreso mediante dicha seccion 3. digasi no la formacion popular del romancero. entire un terreno publico agricolo y uno sea a la calidad de agricola. despuesde todo. peroseria obligada consecuencia de la tesis sustentada por elapelante. ¿que diferencia hay. Pero es indudable que cietas cosas estan por encima del conceptovulgar — una de estae la interpretacion de la leyes. Se hace hincapie en el argumento de que el el procesode tamizacion del articulo XIII durante las deliberacionesde la Asamblea Constituyente y de los Comites de Ponnnnenciay de estilo al principio no figuraba el adjetivo "agricola"en la seccion 5. creo que la diferencia es mas bien psicologica. Pero esto np . Entoncesun individuo o una corporacion podrian ser dueños de todoslos terrenos de una ciudad. no ponemos. Por tanto no es necesario especular o devanarse lossesos tratando de inquirir por que en la tamizacion delprecepto se añadio el adjetivo 'agricultural" a las palabras"private land" en vez de dejarlas solas sin cualificacion.Algunos diran que fue por razon de simentria para hacer"pendant diran que fue por razon de simetria para hacer"pendant" con la frase "public agricultural land" puestamas arriba. No cabedecir que la adicion de la plabra "agricultural" en estecaso equivale a excuir los terrenos residenciales.

142. segun las majores autoridades sobre la materia. Y patrimonio nacional tenia. Where the proceedings clearly point out the purpose of the provision. the aid will be valuable and satisfactory.uebles y como tales pueden compararse con los organos vitales del cuerpo de una persona: la falta de posesion de los mismo puede caussar la muete instantannea o el abreviamiento de la vida (Diario de Sesiones Asamblea Constituyente.) ¿Que atmosfera prevalecia en la Asamblea sobre elproblema de la tierra en general sobre el problema capitalismo de los terrenos naturales? ¿Cual era la tendenciapredominante entre los Delegados? Y ¿como era tambienel giro de la opinion. inedita. Con la completa nacionnalization de nuestras tierras y recursos natural debe entenderse que nuetro patrimonio nacional debe estar vinculado 100 por 100 en manos filipinas. or the purpose sought to be accomplished by a particular provision. 2 0 pag. acusado. 592 Libro del Profesor Aruego). y se ha hechosiempre. en su authorizado tratado sobre Limitaciones Constitucionales (Constitutional Limitations) dice a este efectolo sigiuente: When the inquiry is directedto ascertaining the mischief designed to be remedied. es decir sin difenciar entre propiedad publica y privada. usando del privilegio de madia horaparlamentaria dijo en parte lo siguinte: . de la palbra "agricultural" empleada en dicho texto. Cero que una examen de los documentos y debatesde la Asamblea Constituyente para ver de inquirir la motivacion y finalidad del precepto constitucional que nos ocupapuede ayudar grandemente y arrojar no poca luz en lainterpretacion de la letra y espiritu de dicho precepto. III. Loimportante es saber que la añadidura. (1 Cooley on Constitutional Limitations [8th ed. significion de si es dedominio publico o privado.Este genero de inquisicion es perfectamente propio y permisible en hermeneutica constitucional. . conspicuo representante del agro. p. Por ejemplo el Delegado Montilla por Negros Occidental. . Tierras y recursos naturales son inm. Tanto dentro como fuera de la Asamblea Constituyente era evidente. but where the question is one of abstract meaning. Eso es todo. .]. it may be proper to examine the proceedings of the convention which framed the instrument. en la mente de todos un significadocategorio e indubitable. it will be difficult to derive from this source much reliable assistance in interpretation. el afan unanime y decidido de conservar el patrimonio nacional no solo para las presentes generaciones filipinas. lo demas creo que es puro bizantinis mo. sino tambien para la posteridad. profundo nacionalismo.112 tiene ninguna importancia. del sentimiento publico es decir comoera el pulso del pueblo mismo del cual la Asamblea despuesde todo no era mas que organo e interprete? Varios discursos sobre el particular se pronounciaronen la Asamblea Constituyente.anifestaciones que constanen el diario de serines has en el curso de los debateso en el proceso de la redaccion del proyecto constitucionalpor Delegados de palabra autorizadam bien por su significacion personal bein por el papel particula que desempeñaban en las treas constituyentes. tal como esta jurisdiccion. Muestras tipicas y representativas de este tono pecular y dominantes de la ideologiaconstituyente son ciertas m. El tono predomionante entodos ellos era un fuerte. Como se ve el Delegado Montilla habla de tierras sin adjetivacion. "Framing of the Constitution." tit. Cooley.

Nos debamos perfecta cuenta de nuetra posicion geografica.a infinita paciencia. sobretodo que estaba entonces en el apogeo de su delirio deengrandecimiento economico y militarista. Deben. los minerales los bosques y otros recursos naturalesconstituyen la herencia exclusiva de la nacion filipina. Japon-Japon. ¿Que cosa major para ello quebildar por los cuatro costrados el cuerpo dela mnacion delcual — parodiando al Delegado Montilla — la tierra y losresoursos naturales son como organos vitales cuya perdidapuede causar la muerte instantanea o el abreviamiento dela vida? Para aprociar el pulso de la nacion en aquel memontohistorico es preciso tener en cuenta las cirucmstancias. como espada rutilante de Samurrai. Libro de Aruego. (Libro de Aruego.in order to establish a government that shall enbody their ideals. el esmero de orfe breria con que se trabajo el preambulo de la Constitucion.) Es harto significtativo que en el informe del Colite de Nacionalizacion y Conservacion de Recursos Naturales de la Asamblea Constituyente la plabra tierra (land) se usa generricamente sin cualificacion de publica o privada. por errores incialesdel Gobierno.. donde.Se trataba. puesd asegurar firmemente las basesde nuestra nacionalidad. id. Sus mienbros que todavia viven recordaran l. Cada frase. supra. China. con . por Iloilo. 593. instituyendos alli una especie de Japon en miniatura. and secure to themslves and their posterity the blessings of independence under a regime of justice. promote the general welfare. and democracy. liberty.por tanto. supra.el pavoroso problema de Davao. pag. Estabamos escribiendouna Constitucion no solo para el Commonwealth. sino tambien para la republica que advendria despues de10 años. He aqui el preambulo: The Filipino people. cada concepto se sometio a un rigido proceso de seleccion y las gemas resultans es la labor benedictina una de las gemas redel patrimonio nacional. pag. 595. Dice el Comite: Que la tierra. El espiritu fuertemente nacionalista que saturaba la Asamblea Constituyente con respecto a la tierre y recursosnaturales es de facil explicacion.en busca de espacio vitales. ser conservados para aquellos que se halian bajo la autoridad soberana de esa nacion y para su posteridad. por ciento de una conciencia agudamenteatormentadora y alarmante.113 El Delgado Ledesma. Japon tenia el control de la tierra. Teniamos apantadoal mismo corazon. do ordain and promulgate this Constitution. Querianos.) La conservacion y fomento del patrimonio nacional fue una verdadera obsesion en la Asamblea Constituyente. imploring the aid of Divene Providence. Estabamos roodeadosde enormes mesas humanas — centenares de milliones — economica y biologicamente agresivas. conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation. avidad de desbordarsepor tadas partes.asi como tambien de nuestras limitaciones demograficas. otro conspicuo representante del agro presidente del comte de agricultura de la Asamblea que los extramnjeros no podian ser mismas palabras: La exclusion de los extranjeros del privilegio de adquirir terrenos publicos agricolas y de poder se dueños de propiedades inmuebles (real estate) es una parte necesaria de las leyes de terrenos publicos de Filipinas para mantener firme la idea de conservar Filipinaspara los filipos' (Diario de Sesiones. poir las areas del Pafico particularmente.

entre otras cosas la tierra. entragica rima con Manchuko.porque ello imposibilitaria toda accion legislativa en sentidocontrario para el caso de que el Congreso Ilegagealguna vez a pensar que semejante . Que de extraño habia. Como que Davaoya se llamaba popular y sarcasticamente Davaoko. and if the words are sufficiently flexible to admit of some other construction it is to be adopted to effectuate that intention. Construction. pues sabian muy bien que los finesque se trataban de conseguir y los peligros quie se trataban de evitar con la politica de nacionalizacion y conservacionrezaban tanto para una clase de terrenos como para otra. Era tan vigoroso el sentimiento nacionalista en la Asamblea Constituyente que. que en semejante atmosfera y tales circumstancias se aprobase un articulo rigidamentenacionalismta como es el Article XIII? La motivacion y finalidad.vincular el apatrimonio nacional. como una terrible maldicion el error de susgobernantes al permitir la enajenacion del suelo a extranjeros.. verbigracia. be so read as to conform to the spirit of the act.114 todaslas amenasas y peligros que ello implicaba para la integridadde nuestra existancia nacional. Como que ha habido necesidad deuna reforma constitucional — la llmada reforma sobre laparidad — para equipararlos a los filipinos. and the latter will. Tambien nos obsesionaban otras lecciones dolorosas dehistoria contemporanea. por lo menos. en manos de los filipinos. por lo menos. y no sobre el terreno en que estuviera instalada unaformidable industria o fabrica? Otro detalle significativo. era triple: (a)consetvar el patrimonio nacional para las presentes yfuturas generaciones filipinas. ¿Por que se iba a temer. Cuba y otraspaises del Mar Caribe y de la America Latina que todaviaexpiaban. agricola. No se concibe que los Delegados tuvieran la intercionde excluir del precepto los terrenos residenciales comercialese industrial. While the intention of the legislature must be ascertained from the words used to express it.) IV. (II Sutherland. sujeto a cultivo. — Se insinua que no debieramos declarar que laConstitucion excluye a loc extranjeros de la propiedadsobre terrenos residenciales e industriales. Texas. (b) vincular. pp. 722. if possible. the manifest reason and the obvious purpose of the law should not be sacrificed to a literal interpretation of such words. The mere literal construction of a section in a statute ought not to prevail if it is opposed to the intention of the legislature apparent by the statute. Con el commercio y la industria principalmente en manosno-filipinas. el dominio extranjero sobre un terreno estrictamente.la propiedad de la tierra y de los recursos naturales en manos filipinas como la mejor manera de mantener elequilibrio de un sistema economico dominado principalmente por extranjeros en virtud de su tecnica (know-how) superior y de su abudancia de capitales: (c) prefictos y complicaciones internacionales. The intent prevails over the letter. noobstante el natural sentimiento de gratitud que nos obligabaa favor de los americanos. Mejico. Stat. como ya se ha dicho. los Delegados a la Constituyente se haciancargo tambien de la vitalisima necesidad de. a estos no se les concedioningun privilegio en relacion con la tierra y demas recusosnaturales. pues. sino que se les coloco en el mismo plano que alos otros extranjeros. 721.

There can be no doubt. But may it be reasonably supposed that lands already of private ownership at the time of the approval of the Constitution. Lo mas que puede hecer el Congreso es proponer una reforma constitucional mediante los votosde tres cuartas (3/4) de sus miembros. contended that timber and mineral lands can never be private. Ni el Congreso. and although. belong to the State. por lo menos.. however. Se confirma la sentencia. J. e interpretarse en la forma como lo interpretamos en nuestra decision. quoted in the majority opinion. no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals. Seria una economia mal entendida. Solamenteel pueblo puede disponer del patrimonio nacional. . lands of the public domain are classified into agricultural. . timber. of the Constitution providing that "all agricultural. that public lands suitable or actually used for residential purposes. Si no se escatiman gastos para celebrar elctiones ordinarias periodicamente ¿como ha del pueblo en un asunto tan vital como es la disposicion del patrimonio nacional. corporations. after the approval of the . and reliance is placed on section 1." and limiting the alienation of natural resources only to public agricultural land. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines. pueden disponerde ese patrimonio." The important question that arises is whether private residential land is included in the terms "private agricultural land. It is. timber and mineral lands of the public domain . y el pueblo tienela ultima palabra que se expresara en una eleccion oplebiscito convocado al efecto.115 interdiccio debialevantarse. also.or mineral. Se dice que es majes y mas conveniente dejaresta cuestion en manos del Congreso para que haya maselasticidad en las soluciones de los diferentes problemassobre la tierra. This constitutional provision. far from stating that all timber and mineral lands existing at the time of its approval belong to the State. Article XIII. base de su mismaexistencia? para reformar la Constitucion. El argumento de que esto costaria dinero es insostenible. have the same classification? An affirmative answer will lead to the conclusion — which is at once absurd and anomalous — that private timber and mineral lands may be transferred or assigned to aliens by a mode other than hereditary succession. must of necessity come under any of the three classes. The contention is obviously untenable. PARAS. ni mucho menos los tribunales. Estaes una cuestion constitucional por excelencia. apoyado portres cuartas (3/4) del Congreso. Cometeriamos un grave error si esto hicieramos." There is no doubt that under section 1 of Article XIII of the Constitution. dissenting: Section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution provides that "save in cases of hereditary succession. En el entretanto el articulo XIII de la Constitucion debequedar tal como es. merely proclaims ownership by the Government of all such lands as are then of the public domain.

SEC. ed.S. 446. The Congress may determine by law the size of private agricultural land which individuals. (Oh Cho vs. or associations may acquire and hold.. upon payment of just compensation. 4. SEC. and the term "agricultural" appearing in section 5 was used as it is commonly understood. subbject to rights existing prior to the enactment of such law." It is easy to imagine that some of such lands may be timber or mineral. quite recently. corporations. that it could not be supposed that "every native who had not a paper title is a trespasser. there may be private timber and mineral lands. Save in cases of hereditary succession. private lands are not contemplated or controlled by the classification of public lands. In other words. upon payment of just compensation. and . corporations. if there are absolutely no private timber or mineral. Gaz. or industrial use. a law may be passed . It is noteworthy that the original draft referred merely to "private land.. and in not extending the prohibition of section 5 to timber and mineral lands. that lands in the possession of occupants and their predecessors in interest since time immemorial do not belong to the Government. as we have shown. commercial. However. no public timber or mineral land may be alienated. 43 Off. there would be neither sense nor justification in authorizing the Congress to determine the size of private agricultural land only. why did the framers of the Constitution bother about speaking of "private agricultural land" in sections 3 and 5 of Article XIII. 53 Law. In may opinion. Director of Lands. Under section 3. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines. the expropriation of lands to be subdivided into small lots and conveyed at cost to individuals. it does not follow that timber or mineral lands theretofore already of private ownership also became part of the public domain. no legislation can ever be enacted with a view to permitting limited areas of land for residential. The latter section clearly negatives the idea that private lands can only be agricultural. 866. We have held. If the Constitution prohibits the alienation to foreigners of private lands of and kind. If the exclusive classification of public lands contained in section 1 is held applicable to private lands. 5. the Congress may determine by law the size of private agricultural land which individuals. and merely of "lands" in section 4? SEC. namely." This certainty would have been comprehensive enough to included any kind of land. residential or urban lots are not embraced within the inhibition established in said provision. the expropriation of lands to be subdivided into small lots and conveyed at cost to individuals. should any danger arise from the absence of such constitutional prohibition. as denoting lands devoted to agricultural. corporations. if there are absolutely no private timber or mineral lands. for such possession justifies the presumption that said lands had been private properties even before the Spanish conquest. or associations may acquire and hold. The Congress may authorize. 594). and under section 4 it may authorize..116 Constitution. subject to rights existing prior to the enactmentof such law. 3. and said prohibition may readily affect any effort towards the attainment of rapid progress in Philippine economy. On the other hand. However. no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals. The insertion of the adjective "agricultural " is therefore significant.) This gives effect to the pronouncement in Cariño vs. Insular Government (212 U.

Hay tal engranaje en los dos mandatos que tiene dicho precepto. This of course tears apart the majority's contention that there cannot be any private timber or mineral land. SOTTO (F) Señor Presidente: "Que hay caballeros de laConvencion en el fondo de esta cuestion al parecer inocente yordinaria para que tanto revuelo haya metido tanto en la sesion de ayer como en la de hoy? Que hay de misterios en el fondo de este problem. or ownership by. thereby enabling the Government to adopt such elastic policy as may from time to time be necessary. Following the line of reasoning of the majority. uses "lands" without any qualification. a handy safeguard against undersirable effects of unrestricted alienation to. como siempre suelo hacer a todos los argumentos aqui en contra del precepto contenido en el draft y a favor ahora de la reconsideracion y siento decir lo siguiente. cuando el problema del latifundismo se haya presentado con caracterres tales que el beinestar. yo me limito a invitar la atencion de la Convencion al hecho de que el procepto no tome las medidas necesarias en tiempo oportuno. and not to urban properties. The majority argue that the original draft in which the more general terms "private land" was used. "lands" in section 4 necessarily implies that what may be expropriated is not only private agricultural land but also private timber and mineral lands. sera la ocasion de ver si procede o no expropiar terrenos o latifundios existentes ahorao existentes despues. a salvo . aliens of urban properties. borne in mind that no less than Honorable Filemon Sotto. The power of expropriation is. La primera parte autoriza a la legislatura para fijar el limite maximo de propiedad agricola que los ciudadanos particulares puede tener. was amended in the same that the adjective "agricultural" was inserted in order merely "to clarify concepts and avoid uncertainties" and because. todos son argumentos muy buenos a posteriori. en las zones rusticas es donde el latifundismo se extiende con facilidad. No se trata aqui ahora de propiedades urbanas. unhampered by any inconveniences or difficulties in amending the Constitution. explained that the same refers to agricultural land. Esta pues. para que politicos del volumen del caballero por Iloilo y del caballero por Batangas. and such explanation is somewhat confirmed by the statement of another member of the Convention (delegate Sevilla) to the effect that said section "is discriminatory and unjust with regard to the agriculturists. and it is logical to believe that the use was made knowingly in contradistinctions with the limited term "private agricultural land" in section 3 and 5." In answer. furthermore. Any doubt in the matter will be removed when it is. of course. "the prohibition to transfer the same. tomen con gran interes una macion para reconsiderar lo acordado ayer? Voy a ser frio. it may be stated that section 4 of Article XIII. y desde alli los pequeños propietariou precisamente para ahogarles y para intilizarles. Chairman of the Sponsorship Committee of the Constitutional Convention. referring to the right of expropriation. Parece que es meyor tratar estas cuestiones con calma y no apasionamiento. He prestado atencion. hay tral eslabon en una u otra parte que es imposible. Parece que es un punto que ha pasado desapercibido. sino de propiedades agricolas. would be superfluous. in supporting section 3 of the Article XIII. as under section 1." Sr. timber and mineral lands can never be private. Cuando la Asamble Nacional se haya reunido. que es dificil que quitaramos deslindes si nos limitasemos a considerar una sola parte. interes y orden publico lo requieran. señores. En el presente. as private residential lands. y es por la razon de que con mucha especialidad en las regiones agricolas. as well. Permitame la Convencion que lo discuta en globo las dos pates del articulo 9.117 to remedy the situation.

tan loca que inmediatemente disponga por ley que aquella porcion excedente del terreno que ha de recibir un hijo de su padre no podra poseerlo. la region menos explotada por nuetro pueblo. Es posible que ahora un numero determinado de hectereas sea excesivo. Caballeros de la Convencion. donde este el temor de que el hijo de tal no pueda recibir la herencia de cual? Por lo demas el ejemplo repetidas veces presentado ayer yhoy en cuanto al herdero y al causahabiente no es completamente exacto. Lomismo digo de la expropiacion.118 completamente la cuestion de las propiedades urbans. a la prudencia. Fijara el plazo. Cietos grandes soleres de nuestras ciudaes que con pretexto de tener cietos eficios.fijar los limites. no podra tenerlo o recibirlo el heredero. fijara la proporcion de acuedo con las circunstancias del tiempo entonces en que vivamos. entonces. se hablqa de que no podra revender las propieedades. si la AsambleaNacional estuviera convencida de que el gobierno no puede hecer una exporpiacion. Bien. una vez convencida la Asamblea Nacional de que existe un latifundismo y que este laitifundismo puede producir males e esta produciendo daños a la comunidad. No Vamos contra esas propiedades. es cuando entonces la Legislatura puede acordar la expropiacion de los latifundios. Creen los Caballeros. primero. Pero. superior o exedente a lo que fija la ley. Esa es una materia para la Asamblea Nacional. puedan dormir transquilos. la region que necesitamos si queremos vivir cuenta propia la region que es el mayor incentivo no para solo para los grandes capitalistas de fuera merece todos los ciudados del gobierno. Donde esta el mal que los opositores a este es un postulado que todos conocen. va a hecerlo? La Asamblea Nacional dictara una ley autorizando la expropiacion de tal a cual latifundio cuando este convencida. ni macho menos es malo autorizar a la Legislatura para dictar leyes de expropiacion. Voy a pasar ahora a la relacion que tiene la seggunda parte de la enmiendad con la primera. Es por esto porque el Comite precisamente no ha querido fijar desde ahora el numero de hectareas presamente no ha querido fijar desde ahora el numero de hectareas. Pues. Se habla de que el gobierno no tendra dinero. al patriotismo y a la justicia de la Asambela Nacional el fijar ese numero. no es malo autorizar. voy a admitir para los propositos del argumento que hoy no existen laifundios. caballeros opositores del precepto. Vamos a suponer que efectivamente un padre de familia posee un numero tal de hectareas de terreno. pues. creen los opositorees al precepto que la Legislatura. Una vez demostrado ante la Lehgislatura. La asamblea Nacional sabe que no puede dictar leyes o medidas imposibles de cumplir. la Asamblea Nacional va a ser tan imprudente. prefireindo dejar a la sabiduria. es posible que por desenvolvimientos economics del paius ese numero de hectareas puede ser elevado o reducido. Por una causa o por otra el pasado nos legardo ese lastre doloroso. Visto. y segundo. que en realidad no necesitan de tales extensos solares para su existencia ni para su mantenimineto. y si los opostores al precepto quieren mas vamos a convenir en que no existrian en el futuro. de que la existencia de ese latifundio es amenazante para el publico. desde este punto el asunto. cuando la asamblea Nacional este convencida de que el gobierno esta disposicion para disponer la expropiacion. . si la Legislatura. Pero la region agricola.

es que el pueblo. President. ha de venir precisamentepor causa de los grandes propietarios de terreno. cited in the majority opinion. President. . al ver queno es una Asamblea Constituyente comunista la que ha puestoesta disposicion." and of the statement of Delegate Montilla regarding "the complete nationalization of our lands and natural resources." because (1) the remarks of Delegate Ledesma expressly mentions "public agricultural lands" and the terms "real estate" must undoubtedly carry the same meaning as the preceding words "public agricultural lands". no ha de venir porque prohibamos los latifundiosmediante expropiacion forzosa. con la libertad. made by Delegate Ledesma to the effect that "the exclusion of aleins from the private of acquiring public agricultural lands and of owning real estate is a necessary part of the Public Land Laws. y por algo se ha dichoque en los comienzos de la vida himana debio haber sido fusilado. extend this provision also to those who are engaged in commerce and industries? Both elements amass wealth. private agricultural lands . pretendamos ligarla a los votos de los comulites de terreno. a aquel primero que puso un cerco a un pedazo de tierrareclamando ser suya a propiedad. Mr. Se ha mentado aquicon algun exito esta mañana — y digo con exito porque he oidoalgunos aplausos — se ha mentado la posibilidad de que los comunistas hagan unissue de esta disposicion que existe en el draft. podran los comunistas pedir los votos del electorado para ser elloslos que dicten las leyes fijando el limite del terreno y ordenen la expropriacion? ¡Que argumento mas bonito si tuviera base! Lo mas natural. y ha de venir. is discriminatory and unjust with regard to the agriculturists. if consistency is to be attributed to the framers of the Constitution.matado. o a esos condidatos no comunistas. In view of these reasons. que una cuetion de importancia tannacional como este. no ha de venir porque nosotros fijemos loslimites de terreno. sin embargo. (Speech of Delegate Sevilla.) Delegate Sotto was not interpellated. no. porque el mundo esta evolucionando y se va aconvencer de que la vida no es solamente para unos cuantos sinopara todos . . Mr. ¿Quien esta en disposicion de terminar mejor una obra aquel que trazado y puesto los primeros pilares. that this precept by limiting private individuals to holding and acquiring lands. otorgue sus votors a esta misma Asamblea Nacional. voy a dar fin a mi discurso agradeciendo a la Convencion. Why not.queramoslo o no. President. porque Dios no la dio. (Speech of Delegate Sotto. I do not want to speak further and I submit this amendment because many reasons have been given already yesterday and this morning. creo yo. President. Mr. Por estas razones. I see no reason for the discrimination against the agricultural. If the purpose of the Committee. is to distribute the wealth in such a manner that it will no breed discontent.119 Pero voy a molestaros por un minuto mas. on the observation that section 3 of Article XIII does not embrace private urban lands. o aquel que viene de gorra al final de la obra para decir: "Aqui estoy poner el tejado?" Es sensible. y sintiendo que mi tiempoesta para terminar. el electorado. la luz. There is of course every reason to believe that the sense in which the terms "private agricultural lands" were employed in section 3 must be the same as that in section 5. Mr. el aire. señor Presidente.) I would further add. much less contradicted. We should not be concluded by te remarks. under the .la tierra para vivir (Grandes Aplausosz).

" (Section 123. 2874 aliens could acquire public agricultural lands used for industrial or residential . sicne he was the Chairman of the Committee on Agricultural Development and his speech was made in connection with the national policy on agricultural lands.) The majority.. ordinance. 141 necessarily have to be public agricultural lands. royal order. The decision in the case of Mapa vs. 182. terrenos baldios realengos. or lands of any other denomination that were actually or presumptively of the public domain. I think. it dealt with "agricultural public lands" and. which prohibits the alienation to foreigners of "land originally acquired in any manner under the provisions of this Act. even if they become private. 175). sale or other disposition of the public lands other than timber or mineral lands. 141 seeks to carry out and implement the constitutional objective. invoke Commonwealth Act No." and after a carefully consideration of the question we are satisfied that the only definition which exists in said act is the definition adopted by the court below. secondly. first. Neither are we bound to give reater force to the view (apparently based on mere mental recollections) of the Justices who were members of the Constitutional Convention than tot he specific recorded manifestation of Delegate Sotto. Section 13 says that the Government shall "make rules and regulations for the lease.) They hold that the constitutional intent "is made more patent and is strongly implemented by said Act. (2) Delegate Ledesma must have in mind purely "agricultural" lands. 926 means those public lands accquired from Spain which are not timber or mineral lands. Hence." The majority have evidently overlooked the fact that the prohibition contained in said sections refer to lands originally acquired under said sections referto land originally acqured under said Act or otherlegal provisions lands. because.120 principle of "ejusdem generis". under section 24 of the Public Land Act No. cannot control the more specific clarification of Delegate Sotto that agricultural lands in section 3 do not include urban propeties. Insular Government (10 Phil.." To our minds that is the only definition that can be said to be given to agricultural lands. since they are the only kinds that are subject to alienation or disposition under the Constitution. in support of their construction. (Mapa vs. 141." — the definition held to be found in section 13 of the Act of Congress of July 1. The majority is also mistaken in arguing that "prior to the Constitution. that act No. that the phrase "agricultural land" as used in Act No. is surely not controlling. or any other provision of law formerly in force in the Philippines with regard to public lands. there is no pretense that the land bought by the appellant was originally acquired under said Act or other legal provisions contemplated therein. in that case it was expressly held that the phrase "agricultural land" as used in Act No. 1902. It is only in this sense. In the case before us. however. We hold that there is to found in the act of Congress a definition of the phrase "agricultural public lands. (3) the general nature of the explanations of both Delegate Ledesma and Delegate Montilla. In other words. The lands that may be acquired under Act No. which of course do not include lands not originally of the public domain. invoked by the majority. 10 Phil. 926 "means those public lands acquired from Spain which are not timber or mineral lands." (section 122) or "land originally acquired in any manner under the provisions of any previous Act. royal decree. said lands retained their original agricultural character and may not therefore be alienated to foreigners. Insular Government. enected after the approval of the Constitution.

" Section 1 of article XIII of the Constitution speaks of "public agricultural lands" and quite logically. Artcile XIII (formerly article XII of the Constitution of the Philippines. with our position. the prohibition in section 5. mineral and timber. 1941." and that "prior to the Constitution. quoted in the majority opinion." This is with reference to your first indorsement dated July 30. holding among others. supra. 1941. dated May 13. and therefore. the limited scope of said opinion is clearly pointed out in the following subsequent opinion of the Secretary of Justice dated September 25. under section 57 of the Public Land Act No. but after the Constitution and under section 60 of Commonwealth Act No. that the phrase "public agricultural land" in section 1. 1939. But it is not correct to consider said Act as a legislation on. amends or supersedeas a decision or order of the fourth branch of the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila rendered pursuant to section 200 of the Administrative Code which holds that a residential lot is not an agricultural land. Article XIII (formerly Article XII) of the Constitution of the Philippines does not apply. enacted after the approval of the Constitution. 1941. 28. must be classified as agricultural. such land may only be leased. commercial or industrial lotsforming part of the public domain . 130. the right of aliens to acquire such kind of lands is completely stricken out. Article XIII (formerly article XII) of the Constitution of the Philippines. to aliens. . the right of aliens to acquire residential land that was already of private ownership prior to the approval of the Constitution. but after the Constitution and under section 23 of Commonwealth Act No. dated July 15. but not sold. While the construction mistakenly invoked by the majority refers exclusively to lands of the public domain. . Let us particularize in somewhat chronological order. land of the public domain suitable for residence or industrial purposes could be sold or leased to aliens. There is no conflict between the two opinions. includes residential. Section 1. limited itself in affirming that "residential. which includes public residential or industrial land) to Filipino citizens. undoubtedly in pursuanceof the Constitutional limitation. or a limitation against. The sweeping assertion of the majority that "the three great departments of the Government — Judicial. We have already pointed out that the leading case of Mapa vs.2874. 1939. commercial or industrial lots for purposes of their disposition. Insular Government. of this Department quoted in its Circular No. and that agricultural lands include residential lots. speaks of public agricultural lands while section 5 of the same article treats of private agricultural lands. our view is that private residential lands are not embraced within the terms "private agricultural land" in section 5 of Article XIII. only held that agricultural public lands are those public landsacquired from Spain which are neither timber nor mineral lands." Indeed.121 purposes. The opinion of the Secretary of Justice dated July 15. and the lease granted shall only be valid while the land is used for the purpose referred to. Commonwealth Act No. forwarding the request of the Register of Deeds of Oriental Misamis for an opinion as to whether Opinion No. the opinion that residential lots are not agricultural lands is applicable. has to limit the alienation of its subject matter (public agricultural land. 141. 141. Legislative and Executive — have always maintained that lands of the public domain are classified into agricultural. expressly hoding that "in cases involving the prohibition in section 5 of Article XIII (formerly Article XII) regarding transfer or assignment of private agricultural lands to foreigners. 141. ." is rather misleading and not inconsistent. A holding.

Article XIII (formerly Article XII) of the Constitution of the Philippines. Very recently. passed after the approval of the Constitution limited its restriction against transfers in favor of alien to public agricultural lands or to lands originally acquired under said Act or other legal provisions formerly in force in the Philippines with regard to public lands. with the conformity of the appellee. Last but not least.122 therefore. I do not question or doubt the nationalistic spirit permeating the Constitution. had filed a motion for the withdrawal of the appeal and the same should . R.. unless authorized by the President of the Republic of the Philippines. the opinion that residential. as long as we have faith in our independence and in our power to supply any deficiency in the Constitution either by its amendment or by Congressional action. and exploitation. but it cannot have any persuasive force because it merely suspended the effect of the previous opinion of his Department pending judicial determination of the question. the Court of Appeals rendered a decision affirming that of the Court of First rendered a decision affirming that of the Court of First Instance of Tarlac in a case in which it was held that private residential lots are not included in the prohibition in section 5 of Article XIII. since the approval of the Constitution. 29. contrary to what the majority believe. Vol. the opinion that residential lots are not agricultural lands is applicable. except by legal succession of proper cases. Gaz. commercial or industrial lots forming part of the public domain are included within the phrase "public agricultural land" found in said section 1 of the Article XIII (formerly Article XII) governs. It will thus be seen that. There should really have been no occasion for writing this dissent. In cases involving the prohibition in section 5 of Article XIII (formerly Article XII) regarding transfer or assignment of private agricultural lands to foreigners. We need not express any unnecessary concern over the possibility that entire towns and cities may come to the hands of aliens.) It is true that the Secretary of Justice in 1945 appears to have rendered an opinion on the matter. the Secretary of Justice issued a circular adopting in effect the opinion of his Department rendered in1941. (CA-G. our Government has constantly adopted the view that private residential lands do not fall under the limitation contained in section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution. 141." (Off. that a residential lot is not private agricultural land within the meaning of that phrase as found in section 5 of Article XIII (formerly Article XII) does not conflict with an opinion that residential. Commonwealth Act No. but I will not permit myself to be blinded by any sentimental feeling or conjectural considerations to such a degree as to attribute to any of its provisions a construction not justified by or beyond what the plain written words purport to convey. In cases involving the prohibition in section 1 of Article XIII (formerly Article XII) regarding disposition in favor of. p. 1943.) During theJapanese occupation. commercial or industrial lots forming part of the public domain are included within the phrase "public agricultural land" found in section 1. development or utilization by foreigners of public agricultural lands. numerous transactions involving transfers of private residential lots to aliens had been allowed to be registered without any opposition on the part of the Government. and the then National Assembly passed an Act providing that "no natural or juridical person who is not a Filipino citizen shall acquire directly or indirectly any title to private lands (which are not agricultural lands) including buildings and other improvements thereon or leasehold rights on said lands. I. because the appellant. the Constitution of the then Republic of the Philippines contained an almost verbatim reproduction of said section 5 of Article XIII. 497.1944. February. No. On November 29.

seven voted to allow and four to deny. if the record also presents some other ground upon which the court may rest its judgment. In Co Chiong vs. or . this discretion should always be exercised in favor of a withdrawal where a constitutional question will thereby be avoided. if notified and requested. the only question raised was whether. was an "interference with the regular and complete exercise by this Court of its constitutional functions." In other words. and for the reversal of the vote of one Justice who originally was in favor of the withdrawal is found in the confession made in the majority opinion to the effect that the circular of the Department of Justice instructing all registers of deeds to accept for registration transfers of residential lots to aliens. previously voted for the granting of the motion. What is most regrettable is the implication that the Department of Justice.decided only a few days ago. If the circular in question is objectionable. Gaz. against my objection. It is very interesting to observe that Mr. section 2. that course will be adopted and the constitutional question will be left for consideration until a case arises in which a decision upon such question will be unavoidable. "the withdrawal may be allowed by the court in its discretion. ante). The real explanation for excluding Mr. Justice Tuason) that led to teh denial of the motion for withdrawal. If appellant's motion for withdrawal had been opposed by the appellee. Subsequently. Justice Hontiveros. Krivenko wins his case. notwithstanding the pendency in this Court of the case of Oh Cho vs. and the corollary right of the appellant to take advantage thereof." At any rate. wherin according to the appellant. we should recognize tha right of the Department of Justice to issue any circular it may deem legal and proper on any subject. a court will always avoid a constitutional question. In the present case. the same can be said of the opinion of the Secretary of Justice in 1945 in effect prohibiting the registration of transfers of private residential lots in favor of aliens. if possible. Justice Hontiveros was absent. 56. During the deliberation in which all the eleven members were present. the matter was again submitted to a vote.. This result was officially released and the motion denied under the technicality provided in Rule of Court No. we reiterated the well-settled rule that "a court should not pass upon a constitutional question and decide a law to be unconstitutional or invalid unless such question is raised by the the parties. without any previous notice and when Mr. In this connection. Dinglasan (p. not by a decision of this Court. and one Justice (who previously was in favor of the withdrawal) reversed his stand. In the absence of any injunction from this Court. let us describe the proceedings (called "arbitrary and illegal" by Mr. in view of section 4 of Rule 52 which provides that after the filing of appellee's brief. that course of action was not only possible but absolutely imperative. 122. The denial of course is another way of assuming that the petitioner-appellant and the Solicitor General had connived with the Department of Justice in a scheme not only to interfere with the functions of this Court but to dispose of the national patrimony in favor of aliens. Justice Hontiveros. there might be some reasons for its denial. cannot be as patriotic and able as this Court in defending the Constitution. 866).123 have been granted outright. who was still a member of the Court and could have attended the later deliberation." The zealousness thus shown in denying the motion for wuthdrawal is open to question. with the result that the votes were five to five." and that "if we grant the withdrawal. as a part of the Executive Department. the result is that petitionerappellant Alexander A. Director of Lands (43 Off. but by the decision or circular of the Department of Justice issued while this case was pending before this Court. and that when it is raised.

p. the Court of Appeals in another case (CA-G. In other words. the Constitution. I cannot agree to the suggestion that the way the incumbent Secretary of Justice has interpreted the fundamental law. invoking the constitutional inhibition." chose to evade the only issue raised by the appellant and squarely met by the appellee in the Oh Cho case which already required a decision on the constitutional question resolved in the case at bar against. Justice Padilla explains regarding any eagerness to solve the constitutional problem. It is not our mission to give advice to other person who might be interested to give advice to other persons who might be interested to know the validity or invalidity of their sales or purchases. I cannot accept the shallow excuse of the majority that the denial of the motion for withdrawal was promted by the fear that "our indifference of today might signify a permanent offense to the Constitution. It is not enough that briefs — as in this case — have been filed.) This Tribunal was not established. Gaw Chee Hun (49 Off. there is no obligation to hold forth on the issue. Gaz. because the registers of deeds under his command. It must be remembered that the other departments of the Government are not prevented from passing on constitutional question arising in the exercise of their official powers. Upon the other hand.. no case will ever arise before the court. failing to consider said opinion as an "interference. Indeed." and notwithstanding the fact that in said case the appealed decision was in favor of the alien applicant and that. or supplying any deficiency in. in which the parties have already presented. there will be those who will dispute their sales of residential lots in favor of aliens and invoke the constitutional prohibition. in view of the recent newspaper discussion which naturally reached the length and breadth of the country. with the obligation to seize any opportunity to correct what we may believe to be erroneous application of the constitutional mandate. No. as hereinbefore stated. it is desirable.. 101. dissenting: It is unnecessary to deliver at this time any opinion about the extent of the constitutional prohibition. the fallacy of the impliation is made glaring when Senator Franscisco lost no time in introducing a bill that would clarify the constitutional provision in question in the sense desired by the majority. I am sure that. (2) parties legally affected — like heirs or or creditors of the seller — may wish to avoid the conveyance to aliens. There is much to what Mr. will transfer on thier books all sales to aliens. but to annul the circular of the Department of Justice which is. not involved in this case. Both parties having agreed to writer finis to the litigation. the will of the parties litigant. the majority did not allow the withdrawal of the present appeal not so much as to dispose of it on the merits. BENGZON. 29) had renderd in 1943 a decision holding that private residential lots are not included in the prohibition in section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution. so to say. the majority should not worry about the remoteness of the opportunity that will enable this Court to pass upon this constitutional question. because we can take advance notice of the fact that in Rellosa vs. Then. needless to say.. with opposing litigants actively arguing their sides we shall be in a position to do full justice.R. That is the work of lawyers and juriscounsults. nor is it expected to play the role of an overseer to supervise the other Government departments. But even disregarding said case." because it carries the rather immodest implication that this Court has a monopoly of the virtue of upholding and enforcing. 4345). (Cooley.124 not "an alien can acquire a residential lot and register it in his name. It is easy to perceive several probabilities: (1) a new secretary may entertain opposite views. And yet this Court. 8th ed. in a truly contested case. perhaps . Constitutional Limitations. J.

This belief is founded on the reasons ably expounded by Mr. and no one questioned their validity in Court until nine years later in 1945. to make sure that in a motion for reconsideration. J. after the Japanese authorities had shown distaste for such transfers. PADILLA.. Those sales will be subject to the final decision we shall reach in a properly submitted litigation. commercial.7 (b) What consequences would a ruling adverse to aliens have upon our position and commitments in the United Nations Organization. Article XIII. Mr. and upon our treaty-making negotiations with other nations of the worlds. and vice-versa. may be remedied by legislation amplifying it. No matter. And yet sales to foreigners of residential lots have taken place since our Constitution was approved in 1935. industrial or urban lots. It is stated that sales to aliens of residential lots are currently being effected. We could also delve into several aspects necessarily involved. or in a re-hearing in case of tie. The Court should have. if erroneous. if erroneous or contrary to the poeple's desire. I am particularly moved by the consideration that a restricted interpretation of the prohibition. Under the treaties between the United States and Russia. might amount to begging the issue with the assumption that such transfers are obviously barred by the Organic Law. Justice Paras. However. dissenting: The question submitted for decision is whether a parcel of land of private ownership suitable or intended for residence may be alienated or sold to an alien. or whether it merely affected the rights of those who should become landowners after the approval of the Constitution. would need the cumbersome and highly expensive process of a constitutional amendment. ample time to discuss this all-important point. I am now ready to cast my vote. I submit. to wit: (a) Whether the prohibition in the Constitution operated to curtail the freedom to dispose of landowners at the time of its adoption. of the Constitution provides: . whereas a liberal and wide application. I am convinced that the organic law bans the sales of agricultural lands as they are popularly understood — not including residential. our attention shall be invited to points inadequately touched or improperly considered.125 essential. and (c) When in 1941 Krivenko acquired this land he was a Russian citizen. Justice Padilla and Mr. and for withholding of any ruling on the constitutional prohibition. Justice Tuason. To spell necessity out of the existence of such conveyances. Section 5. were Russian nationals allowed to acquire residential lots in places under the jurisdiction of the United States? If so. did our Constitution have the effect of modifying such treaty during the existence of the Commonwealth Government? The foregoing view and doubts induced me to vote for dismissal of the appeal as requested by the parties. and reflect upon the conflicting politico-economic philosophies of those who advocate national isolation against international cooperation.

or a real right upon such lands and improvements. only citizens of the Philippine Islands or of the United States and corporations or associations described in section 23 thereof. is not a safe guide or index of what the framers of the Constitution intended to mean by the term "private agricultural land. that belonged originally. shall be authorized to continue holding the same as if such persons. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution (8 February 1935). not used for industrial or residence purposes. or permanent improvements on such lands. hold agricultural public lands or land of any other denomination not used for industrial or residence purposes. Section 24of the Act provides: No person. corporation. Under this Act. however. The susceptibility of a residential lot of the public domain of being cultivated is not the real reason for the inclusion of such lot in the classification of public agricultural land. association or partnership other than those mentioned in the last preceding section may acquire or own agricultural public land or land of any other denomination or classification. or any real right on such land and improvement: Provided. or any permanent improvement thereon. 13 Phil. that is at the time or was originally. 2874). timber and mineral. the majority invokes the decision of this Court in Mapa vs. which would hardly be susceptible of cultivation (Ibañez de Aldecoa vs. that parcels of land of the public domain suitable for residence are included in the classification of public agricultural land. no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals. or partnerships which at the date upon which this Act shall take effect. 167-168). for there are lands. which was neither timber nor mineral. Act No. and citizens of countries the laws of which grant to citizens of the Philippine Islands the same right to acquire the public land as to their own citizens. and yet the same come under the classification of public agricultural land. Insular Government (10 Phil. the Public Land Act in force was Act No. which holds that urban lands of the public domain are included in the term "public agricultural land. such as foreshore lands. could not be disposed of or alienated unless classified as public agricultural land. In said Act.." But the opinion of the majority overlooks the fact that the inclusion by this Court of public lands suitable for residence in the term "public agricultural land" was due to the classification made by the Congress of the United States in the Act of 1 July 1902. having acquired the same under the laws and regulations in force at the date of such acquisition. really or presumptively. The only alienable or disposable lands of the public domain were those belonging to the first class. There was an exception." It is contrary to the rules of statutory construction to attach technical meaning to terms or phrases that have a common or ordinary meaning as understood by he average citizen. This was the general rule. 175). therefore. Hence a parcel of land of the public domain suitable for residence. to the public domain. 159. corporations. . really or presumptively. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines. lands of the public domain were classified into agricultural. commonly known as the Philippine Bill. could acquire by purchase agricultural land of the public domain (section 23. Insular Government. of the public domain. The fact. corporations.. That persons. In support of the opinion that lands of private ownership suitable for residence are included in the term "private agricultural land" and cannot be alienated or sold to aliens. associations.126 Save in cases of hereditary succession. 2874. The majority holds that a parcel of land of privateownership suitable or intended or used for residence is included in the term "private agricultural land" and comes within the prohibition of the Constitution.

(Emphasis supplied. together with timber. 2874 was in force for nearly sixteen years — from . associations or partnerships not included in section twenty-three of this Act. provides: Any tract of land comprised under this title may be leased or sold. or other productive purposes other than agricultural. or partnership disqualified from purchasing public land for agricultural purposes under the provisions of this Act. . or partnerships were qualified under the last preceding section. . The prohibition to alienate public agricultural lands to disqualified persons. (Emphasis supplied. that were neither timber nor mineral. 121. except by reason of hereditary succession." Even under the provisions of Act No. corporations or associations did not apply to "lands and improvements acquired or held for industrial or residence purposes. It adopted the policy of excluding aliens from acquiring agricultural lands of the public domain not "suitable for residential. terrenos baldios y realengos.127 corporations. except to persons. corporation. duly legalized and acknowledged by competent Courts. while used for such purposes: . nor any permanent improvement on such land. (Emphasis supplied. while used for such purposes. or other productive purposes. That this prohibition shall not be applicable to the conveyance or acquisition by reason of hereditary succession duly acknowledged and legalized by competent Courts. however. or association authorized to purchase or lease public lands for agricultural purposes. royal decree. 926. nor to lands and improvements acquired or held for industrial or residence purposes. pursuant to section 47 of the said Act.) Under and pursuant to the above quoted provisions of Act No. mineral and private agricultural lands. association. . The delegates to the Constituent Assembly were familiar with the provisions of the Public Land Act referred to. or associations who may acquire land of the public domain under this Act. held for industrial or residence purposes. . Provided. 2874. as the case may be. but the title or lease granted shall only be valid while such land issued for the purposes referred to. dealing with lands of the public domain suitable for residential. . . or lands of any other denomination that were actually or presumptively of the public domain. commercial. but they shall not encumber. may purchase or lease land included under this title suitable for industrial or residence purposes.) Section 121 of the Act provides: No land originally acquired in any manner under the provisions of the former Public Land Act or of any other Act. lots for townsites could be acquired by any person irrespective of citizenship. or any other provision of law formerly in force in the Philippine Islands with regard to public lands. 2874. the first Public Land Act. the Philippine Legislature did not deem it necessary to exclude aliens from acquiring and owning lands of the public domain suitable for industrial or residence purposes. Act No. That any person.) Section 57 of the Act. In spite of the nationalistic spirit that pervades all the provisions of Act No. convey. associations. .Provided further. industrial. Act No. royal order. or conveyed. . 2874). alienated. corporations. to any person. commercial. corporations. 57. shall be encumbered. corporation. lands of the public domain. or by royal grant or in any other form. ordinance. constitute the mainstay of the nation." which. industrial. or alienate the same to persons. could be acquired by aliens disqualified from acquiring by purchase or lease public agricultural lands (sections 24.

as above stated. lands of the public domain and improvements thereon acquired or held for industrial or residence purposes were not included in the prohibition found in section 121 of ActNo.. of the Constitution does not apply to lands of private ownership suitable or intended or used for residence.128 1919 to 1935. The term "private agricultural land" means privately owned lands devoted to cultivation. The repeal by sections 23. Act No. 141 is a clear indication and proof that section 5. aliens could acquire by purchase or lease lands of the public domain. that were neither timber nor mineral. and Commonwealth Act No. 449. The next question is whether the court below was justified under the in confirming the refusal of the Register of Deeds of Manila to record the sale of the private land for residence purposes to the appellant who is an alien. included among the excluded. the Jones Law. or a private land that had never been a part of the public domain (Carino vs. Gaz. there being nothing recorded in the journals of proceedings of the Constituent Assembly regarding the matter which. 926. and does not include urban lands of private ownership suitable for industrial or residence purposes. If the term "private agricultural land" comprehends lands of private ownership suitable or intended or used for residence. The prohibition to alienate such lands found in section 123 of Commonwealth Act No. 212 U. If it is the former. did not change the meaning of the term "private agricultural land. 2874. there is every reason for believing that the framers of the Constitution. of the Constitution to lands of private ownership suitable or intended or used for residence. Article XIII. did not have the intention of applying the prohibition contained in section 5. 141. From the land grants known as caballerias and peonias under the Laws of Indies down to those under the Royal Decrees of 25 June 1880 and 13 February 1894. held for industrial or residence purposes. Director of Lands. would have justified a departure from the policy then existing. section 123 of Commonwealth Act No. the Philippine Bill. Article XIII. 60. how can it be presumed that the framers of the Constitution intended to exclude such aliens from acquiring by purchase private lands suitable for industrial or residence purposes? If pursuant to the law in force at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. the prohibition of section 123 of Commonwealth Act No. 866). 141. 43 Off. If under the law in force at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. which providesthat — . Insular Government. the deed of sale of which is sought to be recorded by the appellant — whether it is one of those described in section 123 of Commonwealth Act No. 57. 2874.. because these lands could not and can never become private lands. 123 of Commonwealth Act No. 121 of Act No." as intended by the framers of the Constitution and understood by the people that adopted it. who were familiar with the law then in force. If it is the latter. There is nothing recorded in the journals of proceedings of the Constituent Assembly regarding the matter which would have justified a departure from the policy theretofore adopted. however. 2874. Act No. The use of the adjective "agricultural" has the effect of excluding all other private lands that are not agricultural. timber and mineral lands have always been excluded from alienation. 141 of the exception provided for in sections 24.S. Oh Cho vs. Timber and mineral ands are not. there was no need of implementing a self-executory prohibition found in the Constitution. 141 does not apply. There is no evidence to show the kind of land. to the raising of agricultural products. 141. the Constitution. as held by the majority.

terrenos baldios y realengos. The eagerness of this Court to express its opinion on the constitutional provision involved in this case. nevertheless they cannot be deprived of such power. following the rule laid down in the aforecited case. 122. or conveyed. I cannot help but comment on the action taken by the Court in considering the merits of the case. the final say on what is the correct interpretation of a constitutional provision must come from and be made by this Court in an appropriate action submitted to it for decision. notwithstanding of the withdrawal of the appeal. Of course. royal order.. The other coordinate branches of the government may interpret such provisions acting on matters coming within their jurisdiction. . alienated. 40 Phil. but in so doing. must also be declared unconstitutional. or lands of any other denomination that were actually or presumptively of the public domain. Co Chiong vs. the interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution is no exclusive of the courts. in the course of time. that eagerness becomes recklessness. Article VI. Courts of last resort do not express their opinion on a consitutional question except when it is the very lis mota (Yangco vs. of the Constitution. And although such interpretation is only persuasive and not binding upon the courts. If all the members of the Court were unanimous in the interpretation of the constitutional provision under scrutiny. This Court is only an interpreter of the instrument which embodies what its framers had in mind and especially what the people understood it to be when they adopted it. royal decree. corporations or associations who may acquire land of the public domain under this Act or to corporate bodies organized in the Philippines whose charters authorize them to do so: . is unusualf or a Court of last resort. 883). ordinance. The correct interpretation of a constitutional provision is that which gives effect to the intent of its framers and primarily to the understanding of such provision by the poeple that adopted it. for it violates section 3 of the Act of Congress of 29 August 1916. 36 Phil. is similar in nature to section 121 of Act No.an amendment to the Constitution — a . which is exactly the same as the one infringed upon by section 121 of Act No. except to persons. If discretion was to be exercised. The interpretation thus placed by the majority of the Court upon the constitutional provision referred to will be binding upon the other coordinate branches of the government. shall be encumbered. consented to by the appellee. Courts of last resort generally avoid passing upon constitutional questions if the case where such questions are raised may be decided on other grounds. commonly known as the Jones Law (Central Capizvs. 2874. ante). this Court did not exercise it wisely. Board of Public Utility Commissioners. 116. Before closing. Moreover. despite the withdrawal of the appeal by the appellants. or by royal grant or in any other form. but when some members of the Court do not agree to the interpretation placed upon such provision. Section 123 of Commonwealth Act No. or any other provision of law formerly in force in the Philippines with regard to public lands. it must avoid offending against the constitutional provision referred to above. 2874. that eagerness might be justified. nor any permanent improvement on such land. for it violates section 21 (1). p. This does not mean that a law may not be passed by Congress to prohibit alienation to foreigners of urban lands of private ownership. This Court held the last mentioned section unconstitutional. such opinion should turn out to be erroneous and against the welfare of the country. It seems as if it were afraid to be deprived by the other coordinate branches of the government of its prerogative to pass upon the constitutional question herein involved. 141.. Dinglasan. Ramirez.129 No land originally acquired in any manner under the provisions of any previous Act. . 120. If.

In view of the denial by this Court of the motion to dismiss the appeal.. foresight and patriotism. if the Court had granted the motion for the withdrawal of the appeal. ambiguity. Article XIII.130 costly process — would have to be proposed and adopted.. J. The end sought to be accomplished by the decision of this Court may be carried out by the enactment of a law. it is convenient to refresh our memory of the pertinent rule in the interpretation of constitutions as expounded in decisions of courts of last resort and by law authors. These are not of the exclusive possession of the members of this Court. p. If this is the solemn mandate of the Constitution. The sole and simple question at issue is. too. the judgment under review should be reversed. Save in cases of hereditary succession. or contradiction. The denial by this Court of the motion to withdraw the appeal to which the Solicitor General gave his conformity collides with the professed sorrow that the decision cannot be helped. 20. But." We wish deep in our heart that we were given the light to see as the majority do and could share their opinion. "the Constitution as we see it and not as we may wish it to be. it would not have to express its opinion upon the constitutional provision in question. as prayed for by the appellant and consented to by the appellee. of the Constitution reads: 5. "We are construing" it says. except in cases where the assumption would lead to absurdity. we perceive things the other way around. I am constrained to record my opinion. for the reasons hereinbefore set forth. It would let the other coordinate branches of the Government act according to their wisdom. As it is. They. TUASON. its amendment or repeal would not be as costly a process as a constitutional amendment. the decision by-passed what according to our humble understanding is the plain intent of the Constitution and groped out of its way in search of the ideal result. This intention is to be sought in the constitution itself. And if the law should turn out to be against the well-being of the people.) . corporations. dissenting: The decision concludes with the assertion that there is no choice. possess those qualities and virtues. It is a cardinal rule in the interpretation of constitutions that the instrument must be a construed so to give effect to the intention of the people who adopted it. As we see it. 2nd ed. Black on Interpretation of Laws. we cannot compromise it even in the name of equity. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines. no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals. Section 5. that. and the apparent meaning of the words employed is to be taken as expressing it. what is the meaning of the term "agricultural land" as used in this section? Before answering the question.

1. or enlarge it. Const.. obvious. as. 188. unless the context furnishes some ground to control. etc. for niceties of expression. and fitted for common understandings. (1 Story. "must be understood to have employed words in their natural sense. Questions as to the wisdom. communities are divided into residential. Constitutions are not designed for metaphysical or logical subtleties. wages. The courts are not at liberty to declare an act void because they deem it opposed to the spirit of the Constitution.. supposed to underline and pervade the instrument and to render it consonant to the genius of the institutions of the state. Nor can construction read into the provisions of a constitution some unexpressed general policy or spirit. by necessary implication. and to have intended what they have said. J. or justice of constitutional provisions afford no basis for construction where the intent to adopt such provisions is expressed in clear and unmistakable terms. or engaged in. inspite of the fiction tha all lands proceed from the sovereign." (Gibbons vs. tillage. commercial and industrial. lands in cities and towns intended or used for buildings or other kinds of structure are never understood to mean agricultural lands. ed. residential. Ogdon. That there are lands of private ownership will not be denied. The express mention of one thing excludes all others of the same kind.. and the people who adopted it. the Constitution. or for the exercise of philosophical acuteness or judicial research. 23). Webster's New international Dictionary defines this word as "of or pertaining to agriculture connected with. expediency.131 Every word employed in the constitution is to be expounded in its plain.J. and common sense. for elaborate shades of meaning. The people make them. qualify. sec. or industrial lands. that lands of private ownership are known as agricultural.) There is no obscurity or ambiguity in the section of the Constitution above quoted. nor does a literal interpretation of the words "agricultural land" lead to any un-the majority opinion.) Marshall . 702-703. And. It would be extremely out of the ordinary. and the same could not have been used in any sense other than that in which it is understood by the men in the street. is another truth which no one can successfully dispute." According to this definition and according to the popular conception of the word. They are either residential. for critical propriety. 451. the people adopt them. Ch. In all city plannings. the people must be supposed to read them with the help of common sense. (12 C. and cannot be presumed to admit in them any recondite meaningor any extraordinary gloss. In prohibiting the alienation of private agricultural land to aliens. commercial. Let us then ascertain the meaning of the word "agricultural" so that by process of elimination we can see what lands do not fall within the purview of the constitutional inhibition. the phrase has no technical meaning. authorizes the alienation of other kinds of private property. They are instruments of a practical nature founded on the common business of human life adapted to common wants. the agricultural class. 9 Wheat. 6 Law. not to say . designed for common use. commercial and industrial sections. agricultural implements. says: The framers of the Constitution.

or associations not qualified under the provisions of this Constitution to acquire or hold lands in the Philippine Islands. himself a member of the Constitutional Convention. Aruego.132 ridiculous. corporations. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands. corporations. is authority for the statement that the committee on nationalization and preservation of lands and other natural resources in its report recommended the incorporation into the Constitution of the following provision: SEC. 595-599. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines. the sub-committee of seven submitted to the Convention a revised draft of the articleo n General Provisions of the first draft." of the first draft of the Constitution." What are we to conclude from this modification? Its self-evident purpose was to confine the prohibition to agricultural lands. In Article XIII. Save in cases of hereditary succession. 16. but that the last mentioned sub-committee later amended that proposal by putting the word "agricultural" before the word "land. which revised draft had been prepared by the committee in consultation with President Quezon. But on January 22.) The last-quoted proposal became section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution in its final form with sligh alteration in the phraseology. to imagine that the Constitutional Convention considered a lot on the Escolta with its improvement as agricultural land. 4. the sub-committee of seven embodied the following provision which had been recommended in the reports of the committee on agricultural development. no land of private ownership shall be transferred or assigned by the owner thereof except to individuals. entitled "General Provisions. and the Government shall regulate the transfer or assignment of land now owned by persons. Dean Aruego. 1935. (2 The Framing of the Philippine Constitution. no agricultural land of private ownership shall be transferred or assigned by the owner thereof except to individuals. national defense. The revised draft as it touches private lands provides as follows: Save in cases of hereditary succession. industry. allowing the ownership by foreigners of private lands that do not partake of agricultural . Save in cases of hereditary succession. no land of private ownership shall be transferred or assigned by the owner thereof except to individuals. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippine Islands. of the public domain in the Philippine Islands. a reference to the history of the constitutional provision under consideration will dispel all doubts that urban lands were in the minds of the framers of the Constitution as properties that may be assigned to foreigners. It will thus be seen that two committees in their reports and the sub-committee of seven in its first draft of the Constitution all proposed to prescribe the transfer to non-Filipino citizens of any land of private ownership without regard to its nature or use. or corporations. and nationalization and preservation of lands and other natural resources: SEC. If extrinsic evidence is needed. corporations.

128. as originally proposed. There is absolutely no warrant or the statement that the Constitutional Convention. It is from this process of reasoning that the maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius stems. inform us that the object of a descriptive adjective is to specify a thing as distinct from another. or the people who adopted it. in our inadequate way. did not understand the force of language. used the termafter mature deliberation and reflection and after consultation with the President. 108. a familiar rule of interpretation often quoted. "We are not at liberty to presume that the framers of the Constitution. that the framers of a constitution "have expressed themselves in careful and measured terms. or by sound principles of construction. thereby eliminating any possibility that its implication was not comprehended. But the assumption is untenable." (Gibbons vs. leaving as little as possible to implication. and admitted as agreeable to natural reason. whose intention require no concealment." the insertion of the word "agricultural" before the word "land" produced the exact opposite of the result which the change was expected to accomplish — as witness the present sharp and bitter controversy which would not have arisen had they let well enough alone. the members of the Constitutional Assembly were familiar. men of ability and experience in different fields of endeavor. The elementary rules of speech with which men of average intelligence..) The Constitution will be scanned in vain for any reasonable indication that its authors made the change with intention that it should not operate according to the rules of grammar and the ordinary process of drawing logical inferences. the insertion of the word "agricultural" was not intended to change the scope of the provision. generally employ the words which most directly and aptly express the ideas they intend to convey. which was guided by wise men. The theory is against the presumption. and. If the purpose was "to clarify concepts and avoid uncertainties. The insertion of the word "agricultural" was studied and deliberated. According to the decision." (People vs. Ogden. corresponding with the immense importance of the powers delegated. Rathbone. must be understood to have employed words in their natural sense and to have intended what they have said. that could not have devised a better way of messing up and obscuring the meaning of the provision than what it did. 32 N. ante." (1 Cooley's Constitutional Limitations. by the text of the Constitution. without intending to give it its natural signification and connotation. It says that "the wording of the first draft was amended for no other purpose than to clarify concepts and avoid uncertainties. the average man's faculty of reasoning tells him that other lands may be acquired. based on human experience.Y. attempt to show that the conclusions in this Court's decision are erroneous either because the premises are wrong or because the conclusions do not follow the premises.) "As men. .S. above all.) When instead of prohibiting the acquisition of private land of any kind by foreigners. 8th ed. the prohibition was changed to private agricultural lands. and the people who adopted it.. the enlightened patriots who framed our constitution. To brush aside the introduction of the word "agricultural" into the final draft as "merely one of words" is utterly unsupported by evidence.133 character." If this was the intention of the Constitutional Assembly. 129. In the following paragraphs we shall.

it would be pointless to suppose that such properties are the ones which section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution wants to distinguish from private agricultural lands as lienable. will bring into relief the error of applying to private lands the classification of public lands. In the first place. Preservation of forest and mineral lands was and is a dominant preoccupation. we cannot classify private lands in the same manner as public lands for the very simple and manifest reason that only lands pertaining to one of the three groups of public lands — agricultural — can find their way into the hands of private persons. commercial or industrial than if he devotes it to the cultivation of crops is a matter that has to be decided according to the value of the property. The majority themselves will not admit that the Constitution which forbids the alienation or private agricultural lands allows the conveyance of private forests and mines. The classification of public lands was used for one purpose not contemplated in the classification of private lands. At the outset. or both? As the decision itself says these lands are not susceptible of private ownership. The Act of July 1. These are important parts of the country's natural resources. there is no factual or legal basis for this assumption.134 If then a foreigner may acquire private lands that are not agricultural. In the second place. 1902. commercial. Public lands are divided into three classes to the end that natural resources may be used without waste. commercial or industrial lands should be considered also agricultural lands. mineral and agricultural) and its technical meaning then prevailing. of the United States Congress designated what lands of the public domain might be alienated and what should be kept by the State. Subject to some exceptions and limitation. Whether a property is more suitable and profitable to the owners as residential. Natural resources are defined in Webster's Standard Dictionary as materials supplied or produced by nature. Forest lands and mineral lands are preserved by the State for itself and for posterity. what lands are they? Timber land or mineral land. . Little reflection on the background of this Court's decisions and the nature of the question presented in relation to the peculia rprovisions of the enactments which came up for construction. as lands of the public domain which are suitable for home building are considered agricultural land. its size. The United States Congress evinced very little if any concern with private lands. it should be distinctively made clear that it was this Court's previous decisions and not an Act of Congress which declared that public lands which were not forest or mineral were agricultural lands. the answer can only be residential. and other attending circumstances. industrial or other lands that are not agricultural. that there are here and there forest lands and mineral lands to which private persons have obtained patents or titles. Private non-agricultural land does not come within the category of natural resources. the Constitution intended that private residential. Classification of public lands was and is made for purposes of administration. for the purpose principally of segregating lands that may be sold from lands that should be conserved. agricultural lands may be disposed of by the Government. public lands are classified under special conditions and with a different object in view. Granting what is possible. The main burden of this Court's argument is that." As far as private lands are concerned. The Court says that "what the members of the Constitutional Convention had in mind when they drafted the Constitution was this well-known classification (timber.

On the other hand. is it mineral. Its meaning is that agricultural land is specified in section 5 of Article XIII to differentiate it from lands that are used or are more suitable for purposes other than agriculture. and disposition of the public wealth. forest or agricultural? We only ask. and if there were. nor agricultural. . This Court is not called to rule whether a private residential land is forest. exploitation. forced by nature of its duty to decide legal controversies.135 It should also be distinctively kept in mind that the Act of Congress of the United States above mentioned was an organic law and dealt with vast tracts of untouched public lands. we have to have different standards of comparison and have to look of the intent of this constitutional provision from a different angle and perspective. This Court. commercial or industrial lands should be brought under the class of agricultural lands. we do not acquire. there is no alternative but to take the term "agricultural land" in its natural and popular signification. Stripped of the special considerations which dictated the classification of public lands into three general groups. it was natural that the Congress employed "words in a comprehensive sense as expressive of general ideas rather than of finer shades of thought or of narrow distinctions. This Court is not now confronted with any problem for which there is no specific provision. is it agricultural? To ascertain whether it is within the inhibition of section 5 of Article XIII. Since there are no private timber nor mineral lands. It was enacted by a Congress whose members were not closely familiar with local conditions affecting lands. ruled that public lands that were fit for residential purposes. and since the object of section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution is radically at variance withthat of the laws covering public lands. and this Court merely filled that void. were to be regarded as agricultural lands. In other words. mineral. "The United States Congress was content with laying down a broad outline governing the administration. It merely said that for the purpose of judging their alienability. in regard to private lands. they could not be transferred to foreigners. section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution treats of private lands with a different aim. it imports a distinct connotation which involves no absurdity and no contradiction between different parts of the organic law. the Court's task is not to compare it with forests. Under the circumstances. The last question in turn resolves itself into what is understood by agricultural land. When it comes to determining the character of private non-agricultural lands. When a private non-agricultural land demands to know where it stands. leaving the details to be worked out by the local authorities and courts entrusted with the enforcement and interpretation of the law. there was an apparent void. often inevitable in a law or constitution. and with which the Congress had not bothered itself to mention separately or specifically. in the position where it found itself with reference to public lands. such as faced it when the question of determining the character of public residential land came up for decision. It should be noted that this Court did not say that agricultural lands and residential lands are the same or alike in their character and use. mines and agricultural lands. This Court is not. compelled by the limited field of its choice for a name to call public residential lands. residential. to see which of these bears the closest resembrance to the land in question. mineral or agricultural. public swamps and other public lands that were neither forest nor mineral. and thus regarded. It was a result of this broad classification that questions crept for a definition of the status of scattered small parcels of public lands that were neither forest. agricultural lands.

the rule is limited to the "well-understood meaning" "which the people must be supposed to have had in view in adopting them. They have thus stretched it. as philologists or critics.136 It would profit us to take notice of the admonition of two of the most revered writers on constitutional law. while the rule may be sound as one of presumption merely." In reality. have made that the standard by which to measure its use in every other part of the instrument. Justice Story has well observed. it is to be supposed that the same word is used in the same sense wherever it occurs in a constitution. having found in the Constitution a word used in some sense which falls in with their favorite theory of interpreting it." To give an example. that because a word is found in one connection in the Constitution with a definite sense. and crippled where they have sought only to adjust its proportions according to their own opinions? And he gives many instances where. ." (1 Cooley's Constitutional Limitations. because that is the sense fixed upon the words in legal and constitutional history where they have been employed for the protection of popular rights. this is not a departure from the general rule that the language used is to be taken in the sense it conveys to the popular mind. and extending it. This would be to suppose that the framers weighed only the force of single words. as Mr. They have thus distorted it to the most unnatural shapes. therefore the same is to be adopted in every other connection in which it occurs. how many are familiar with the decisions of this Court which hold that public swamps and public lands more appropriate for buildings and other structures than for agriculture are agricultural lands? The same can be truthfully said of members of the Constitutional Assembly. So that. it means a law technically known by that designation. If a technical import has been affixed to the term. "When the constitution speaks of an ex post facto law. "agricultural land" does not possess the quality of a technical term. Here again.) As to the proposition that the words "agricultural lands" have been given a technical meaning and that the Constitution has employed them in that sense. 8th ed. 135. the meaning of the phrase having become definite in the history of constitutional law. and even among lawyers and judges. for. 132-133. Men of ingenious and subtle minds.. in the National Constitution. and it must readily give way to a different intent appearing in the instrument. as it were. And yet nothing has been more common than to subject the Constitution to this narrow and mischievous criticism. great caution must be observed in applying an arbitrary rule. 8th ed. Even as applied to public lands. who seek for symmetry and harmony in language. however. Justice Story and Professor Cooley: "As a general thing. either logically or grammatically. it is very manifest the same word is employed in different meanings. as statesmen and practical reasoners. While in the construction of a constitution words must be given the technical meaning which they have acquired. and not whole clauses and objects. it can not be extended to private lands if we are not to be led to an absurdity and if we are avoid the charge that we are resorting to subtle and ingenious refinement to force from the Constitution a meaning which its framers never held." (1 Cooley's Constitutional Limitations.. its force is but slight. and being so familiar to the people that it is not necessary to employ language of a more popular character to designate it. when it seemed too short. on the bed of Procrustes. "for the technical sense in these cases is the sense popularly understood. it can only be accepted in reference to public lands.) Viewed from this angle. `It does not follow. lopping off its meaning when it seemed too large for their purposes.

or lands for other purposes. those sentiments were relaxed and not given full sway for reasons on which we need not speculate."alienable or disposable public lands" which are the same as "public agricultural lands" under the Constitution." When we say men must fight we do not mean all men. without exception. It is to be noted that Act No. 141." In underlying the word lands the Court wants to insinuate that all lands without exceptions are included. industrial and for other purposes. and the inexistence of such things as residential. The sentiments expressed in those speeches. This is specially true when the instrument is a constitution. If anything. 141 which classifies "public agricultural lands" for purposes of alienation or disposition. like the first drafts of section 5 of Article XIII. unequivocal and unqualified language. It is hyperbole. minerals. forests and other natural resources constitute the exclusive heritage of the Filipino Nation." If I am not mistaken in my understanding of the line of reasoning in the foregoing passage. Firm and resolute convictions are expressed in a document in strong. industrial. Speeches in support of a project can be a valuable criterion for judging the intention of a law or constitution only if no changes were afterward affected. always carefully drawn. and every one knows we don't. industrial or commercial lands. The fact that these lands are made alienable or disposable under Commonwealth Act No. This simply means that the term "public agricultural lands" has both a broad and a particular meaning. residential. If they were. my humble opinion is that there is no logical connection between the premise and the conclusion." It is an expression that "lies but does not deceive." The decision quotes from the Framing of the Constitution by Dean Aruego a sentence which says that one of the principles underlying the provision of Article XIII of the Constitution is "that lands. actually pulls down its case which it has built upon the foundation of parallel classification of public and private lands into forest. the change in section 5 of Article XIII wrought in the face of a strong advocacy for complete and absolute nationalization of all lands. it embraces all lands that are neither timber nor mineral. and calculated for permanent endurance. This broad meaning is particularized in section 9 of Commonwealth Act No. 141. into lands that are strictly agricultural or actually devoted to cultivation for agricultural purposes. This is nothing to be enthusiastic over. "a figure of speech in which the statement expresses more than the truth" but "is accepted as a legal form of expression. may have reflected the sentiments of the Convention in the first stages of the deliberation or down to its close. commercial. Under its broad or general meaning. is a conclusive indication of their character as public agricultural lands under said statute and under the Constitution. section 9. 141. so far from sustaining that Court's theory. offers itself as the best proof that to the framers of the Constitution the change was not "merely one of words" but represented something real and substantial. in favor of Filipino Citizen. 141. classifies . as used in the Constitution. are classified into agricultural.137 The speeches of delegates Montilla and Ledesma cannot serve as a means of interpretation. mineral and agricultural lands. The decision says: It is true that in section 9 of said Commonwealth Act No. What to me seems clearly to emerge from it is that Commonwealth Act No. commercial. lands that are residential. "the most solemn and deliberate of human writings.

The fact that the provisions regarding alienation of private lands happens to be included in Article XIII. If the construction placed by the law-officer of the government on a constitutional provision may properly be invoked. of foreign policy. Agricultural lands. residential. after all. supplies the best argument against the majority's interpretation of section 5 of Article XIII. that only lands which are not agricultural may be owned by persons other than FIlipino citizens. From the opinion of Secretary of Justice Jose A. if it is to be consistent. Act No. I think. which we precisely reject. that agricultural and residential lands are synonymous. The illustrious Secretary answered yes. industrial. whether public or private. it is a mute eloquent testimony that in the minds of the legislature. this Court. 141. as representing the true intent of the instrument. prevent private lands that have been acquired under any of the public land laws from falling into alien possession in fee simple. 141 should banish this fear. But residential. Without this law. royal order. But the classification of private lands was not directly or indirectly involved. These sections. be they public or private. which was correct. are natural resources. commercial. quoted and relied upon in the majority opinion." Sections122 and 123 of Act No. is still more incorrect both in theory and in practice — then this Court should have given heed to the motion for withdrawal of the present appeal. by the way. the majority can not derive any comfort unless we cling to the serious argument that as public lands go so go private lands. ordinace. The fear would not materialize under our theory. And these are lands of the public domain.138 disposable lands into agricultural. etc. as the majority say but which I doubt. the fear would be well-founded if we adopt the majority's theory. as we have seen. Prohibiting the acquisition by foreigners of any lands originally acquired in any manner under its provisions or under the provisions of any previous law. economics and politics. It is the opinion of the present Secretary of Justice that is to the point. This fact may have been one factor which prompted the elimination of private non-agricultural lands from the range of the prohibition. along with reasons. whose interpretation the majority correctly say should be . The Court fears that "this constitutional purpose of conserving agricultural resources in the hands of Filipino citizens may easily be defeated by the Filipino citizens themselves who may alienate their agricultural lands in favor of aliens. or any other law formerly enforced in the Philippines with regard to public lands. should adopt Secretary Ozaeta's view. which is entitled "Conservation and Utilization of Natural Resources. In that opinion the question propounded was whether a piece of public land which was more profitable as a homesite might not be sold and considered as agricultural. If the Solicitor General's attitude as interested counsel for the government in a judicial action is — as the decision also suggests but which. royal decree. are not natural resources either in the sense these words convey to the popular mind or as defined in the dictionary. and industrial lands." is no ground for treating public lands and private lands on the same footing. Santos in 1939." It reasons that "it would certainly be futile to prohibit the alienation of public agricultural lands to aliens if. which had been concurred in by the Solicitor General in line presumably with the opinion of the head of his department. etc. The inference should rather be the exact reverse. they may be freely so alienated upon their becoming private agricultural lands in the hands of Filipino citizens.. commercial.

The importance of using a jeepney for hire cannot be sneered at or minimized just as a vote for public office by a single foreign citizen can not be looked at with a shrug of the shoulder on the theory that it would not cause a ripple in the political complexion or scene of the nation. For if the Constitution already barred the alienation of lands of any kind in favor of aliens. The decision says that "if under Article XIV section 8. the alteration in the original draft of section 5 of Article XIII may have been prompted precisely by the thought that it is the better policy to leave to the political . airfields and a host of other uses and purposes that are not. markets. that the government finds need of subjecting them to some measure of control and the Constitution deems it necessary to limit their operation by Filipino citizens. in order to prevent aliens from conducting fisheries. the transfer of private non-agricultural lands to aliens does not prevent the Congress from passing legislation to regulate or prohibit such transfer.139 looked to as authoritative. fisheries. factories. markets. an alien may not even operate a small jeepney for hire. A foreigner is not barred from owning the costliest motor cars. Granting the possibility or probability of the consequences which this Court and the Solicitor General dread. in appellant's words. 141 would have been superfluous. The courts are not at liberty to disregard a provision that is clear and certain simply because its enforcement would work inconvenience or hardship or lead to what they believe pernicious results. Courts have nothing to do with inconvenience or consequences. if it wants." Arguments like this have no place where there is no ambiguity in the constitution or law. golf-courses." There is no similitude between owning a lot for a home or a factory or a store and operating a jeepney for hire. The fact that the Constitution has not prohibited. closely associated with its advancing civilization. The Congress could. of the Constitution. vacation resorts. it is the use of it for public service that is not allowed. supplying needs so fundamental for communal living and for the development of the country's economy. and the operation of a jeepney happens to be within this policy. cemeteries. golf — courses. as we contend. the Constitution did not carry such prohibition. to define the size of private lands a foreigner may possess in fee simple. The use of a jeepney for hire maybe insignificant in itself but it falls within a class of industry that performs a vital function in the country's economic life. If I may be permitted to guess. or to specify the uses for which lands may be dedicated. health and vacation resorts. This role is founded on sound principles of constitutional government and is so well known as to make citations of authorities presumptuous. go so far as to exclude foreigners from entering the country or settling here. hatcheries. we should not overlook the fact that there is the Congress standing guard to curtail or stop such excesses or abuses if and when the menace should show its head. This Court quotes with approval from the Solicitor General's brief this passage: "If the term `private agricultural lands' is to be construed as not including residential lots or lands of similar nature. for his private use or that of his friends and relatives. the result will be that aliens may freely acquire and possess not only residential lots and houses for themselves but entire subdivisions and whole towns and cities. the provisions of sections 122 and 123 of Commonwealth Act No. it is certainly not hard to understand that neither is he allowed to own a piece of land. steamships or airplanes in any number. industrial plants. strictly agricultural. schools. playgrounds. It is not the ownership of a jeepney that is forbidden. hatcheries. and that they may validly buy and hold in their names lands of any area for building homes. He can not use a jeepney for hire because the operation of public utilities is reserved to Filipino nationals.

This parcel. in the Senate. The Commonwealth Legislature did that with respect to lands that were originally public lands. 714. L-17587 September 12. representing the estate of JUSTINA SANTOS Y CANON FAUSTINO. active and influential member of the Constitutional Convention? G. LUI SHE in her own behalf and as administratrix of the intestate estate of Wong Heng. The sisters lived in one of the houses. Gibbs & Ozaeta for defendant-appellant.: Justina Santos y Canon Faustino and her sister Lorenzo were the owners in common of a piece of land in Manila. crippled and an invalid." May I add that Senator Francisco. On September 22. a Chinese. Wong had been a long-time lessee of a portion of the property. CASTRO. who is the author of one of the bills I have referred to. in the opinion of three legislatures. paying a monthly rental of P2. through Commonwealth Act No.582. at least two bills have been introduced proposing Congressional legislation in the same direction. All of which is an infallible sign that the Constitution does not carry such prohibition. she was left with no other relative to live with.30 square meters.) In truth.defendant-appellant. Justice Paras has pointed out. plaintiff-appellant. with an area of 2. changing and ever-changing conditions demand. Her otherwise dreary existence was brightened now and then by the visits of . Sison for plaintiff-appellant. as the changed. should be given serious consideration by the courts (if needed there were any doubt).R. 1967 PHILIPPINE BANKING CORPORATION. lived with his family in the restaurant. as Mr.140 departments of the Government the regulation or absolute prohibition of all land ownership by foreigners. deceased. an opinion which. deceased. the decision lays special emphasis on the fact that "many members of the National Assembly who approved the new Act (No. 141. and also because it may be presumed to represent the true intent of the instrument.620. and the Legislative Assembly during the Japanese occupation extended the prohibition to all private lands.J. No. blind. Nicanor S. is located on Rizal Avenue and opens into Florentino Torres street at the back and Katubusan street on one side. In it are two residential houses with entrance on Florentino Torres street and the Hen Wah Restaurant with entrance on Rizal Avenue. we entirely agree with the majority. 1957 Justina Santos became the owner of the entire property as her sister died with no other heir. Her only companions in the house were her 17 dogs and 8 maids.. being at the time 90 years old. 141) had been members of the Constitutional Convention. vs. In the present Congress. while Wong Heng. (12 C. Ozaeta. both as a matter of policy. J. Then already well advanced in years. was a leading.

" The court was asked to direct the Register of Deeds of Manila to cancel the registration of the contracts and to . lawyers' fees. masses.000 a month for the food of her dogs and the salaries of her maids. that this application for naturalization was withdrawn when it was discovered that he was not a resident of Rizal. Both contracts are written in Tagalog. however. Ten days later (November 25). funeral expenses. written in Tagalog. the monthly rental was P3.000. and another (Plff Exh. inequitable conduct. payable within ten years at a monthly installment of P1. and her household expenses.124 square meters. 1958 she filed a petition to adopt him and his children on the erroneous belief that adoption would confer on them Philippine citizenship. 285 & 279). salaries of maids and security guard. the charge not to exceed P1. one (Plff Exh. Wong himself was the trusted man to whom she delivered various amounts for safekeeping. 1957 a contract of lease (Plff Exh. 7) giving Wong the option to buy the leased premises for P120. On October 28. The option. 1958 she executed two other contracts. the contract was amended (Plff Exh.141 Wong's four children who had become the joy of her life. Wong also took care of the payment. she now directed her executor to secure the annulment of the contracts. "In grateful acknowledgment of the personal services of the lessee to her. including the portion on which the house of Justina Santos stood. 6) fixing the term of the option of 50 years. Claiming that the various contracts were made by her because of machinations and inducements practiced by him. out of the rental due from him. The option was conditioned on his obtaining Philippine citizenship. 1959) she appears to have a change of heart. 5) extending the term of the lease to 99 years. The lease was for 50 years. covering the portion then already leased to him and another portion fronting Florentino Torres street. undue influence and abuse of confidence and trust of and (by) taking advantage of the helplessness of the plaintiff and were made to circumvent the constitutional provision prohibiting aliens from acquiring lands in the Philippines and also of the Philippine Naturalization Laws. In two wills executed on August 24 and 29. at an additional monthly rental of P360. For his part Wong undertook to pay.120." Justina Santos executed on November 15. 17) of a later date (November 4.800 a month. but in a codicil (Plff Exh. On November 18. misrepresentation. On November 18 the present action was filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila. an amount not exceeding P1. although the lessee was given the right to withdraw at any time from the agreement. a petition for which was then pending in the Court of First Instance of Rizal. The error was discovered and the proceedings were abandoned. 4) so as to make it cover the entire property. she bade her legatees to respect the contracts she had entered into with Wong. The contract covered an area of 1. It appears. including rentals from her property at the corner of Ongpin and Salazar streets and the rentals which Wong himself paid as lessee of a part of the Rizal Avenue property. in her behalf. The complaint alleged that the contracts were obtained by Wong "through fraud. imposed on him the obligation to pay for the food of the dogs and the salaries of the maids in her household. 3) in favor of Wong. On December 21 she executed another contract (Plff Exh. 1959 (Def Exhs. of taxes.000.

Wong admitted that he enjoyed her trust and confidence as proof of which he volunteered the information that. Wong's admission of the receipt of P22. But he denied having taken advantage of her trust in order to secure the execution of the contracts in question. after which the lower court rendered judgment as follows: [A]ll the documents mentioned in the first cause of action. P10. He likewise disclaimed knowledge of the sum of P33. admitted receipt of P7. 1962 and Justina Santos on December 28. In his answer.000 and P3.000 in the bank and P3. Justina Santos maintained — now reiterated by the Philippine Banking Corporation — that the lease contract (Plff Exh. at the time.42 and P10.25 with legal interest from the date of the filing of the amended complaint.210. An accounting of the rentals from the Ongpin and Rizal Avenue properties was also demanded. the collection of various amounts allegedly delivered on different occasions was sought. P22. 1957).000 which he said she had delivered to him for safekeeping.000.724. and the moneys he has consigned since then shall be imputed to that.49 which he said she owed him for advances. the other defendant in this case. As counterclaim he sought the recovery of P9.000 (as admitted in his answer). 1957 on the allegation that the reasonable rental of the leased premises was P6. 6.344. both parties died. with the exception of the first which is the lease contract of 15 November 1957. are declared null and void. from 15 November 1959.27 (Nov. costs against Wong Heng. 1. the Security Bank & Trust Co. In his answer. because it included a portion which. Thus on June 9. From this judgment both parties appealed directly to this Court.000 was the cue for the filing of an amended complaint. These amounts and the dates of their delivery are P33. he is also ordered to pay the sum of P3. The case was heard. 1957). Wong Heng is condemned to pay unto plaintiff thru guardian of her property the sum of P55.000 in his possession. 4-7) because it lacks mutuality. . but contended that these amounts had been spent in accordance with the instructions of Justina Santos. another sum of P22. 1957).000 had been deposited in a joint account which he had with one of her maids.142 order Wong to pay Justina Santos the additional rent of P3.344.554. Wong Heng on October 21. Gochangco was appointed guardian of her person.120 a month from November 15.240 a month. was appointed guardian of the properties of Justina Santos. he expressed readiness to comply with any order that the court might make with respect to the sums of P22. in addition to the sum of P3. After the case was submitted for decision. while Ephraim G. 4. was in custodia legis.000 and P3. while Justina Santos was substituted by the Philippine Banking Corporation. 1964.00 for every month of his occupation as lessee under the document of lease herein sustained.42 (Dec.27. 3) should have been annulled along with the four other contracts (Plff Exhs. 1960. Wong insisted that the various contracts were freely and voluntarily entered into by the parties.120.724.000 (Dec. aside from the nullity of the contracts. Lui She. P7. In the meantime as a result of a petition for guardianship filed in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Wong was substituted by his wife.

because her consent was obtained through undue influence. like the rest of the contracts. this case would at most justify the fixing of a period5 but not the annulment of the contract. At any rate. Hence. As this Court explained in upholding the sale made by an heir of a property under judicial administration: . for where the contracting parties have agreed that such option shall exist.2 And so it was held in Melencio v. as can be readily seen." Here. in contrast. for as this Court said.1 We said in that case: Article 1256 [now art. This is of course untenable. can hardly be regarded as a violation of article 1256 [now art." We have had occasion to delineate the scope and application of article 1308 in the early case of Taylor v. fraud and misrepresentation. Nor is there merit in the claim that as the portion of the property formerly owned by the sister of Justina Santos was still in the process of settlement in the probate court at the time it was leased. conversely. she did so already as owner thereof. "If this defense were to be allowed. the cancellation of a contract in accordance with conditions agreed upon beforehand is fulfillment. In that case. the right of the lessee to continue the lease or to terminate it is so circumscribed by the term of the contract that it cannot be said that the continuance of the lease depends upon his will. its validity or compliance cannot be left to the will of one of them. Paragraph 5 of the lease contract states that "The lessee may at any time withdraw from this agreement. Justina Santos became the owner of the entire property upon the death of her sister Lorenzo on September 22. Uy Tieng Piao. the lease is invalid as to such portion. the owner would never be able to discontinue it. when she leased the property on November 15." It is claimed that this stipulation offends article 1308 of the Civil Code which provides that "the contract must bind both contracting parties.143 because the contract was obtained in violation of the fiduciary relations of the parties." The case of Singson Encarnacion v. does not make either the validity or the fulfillment of the contract dependent upon the will of the party to whom is conceded the privilege of cancellation. 1957 by force of article 777 of the Civil Code. Indeed. 1308] of the Civil Code in our opinion creates no impediment to the insertion in a contract for personal service of a resolutory condition permitting the cancellation of the contract by one of the parties. at any time before he erected any building on the land. although the owner should desire the lease to continue the lessees could effectively thwart his purpose if they should prefer to terminate the contract by the simple expedient of stopping payment of the rentals. the exercise of the option is as much in the fulfillment of the contract as any other act which may have been the subject of agreement. Dy Tiao Lay 3 that a "provision in a lease contract that the lessee. so long as defendants elected to continue the lease by continuing the payment of the rentals. 1308] of the Civil Code. even if no term had been fixed in the agreement. Such a stipulation. might rescind the lease. and because the lease contract. is absolutely simulated. Baldomar 4 cannot be cited in support of the claim of want of mutuality. the lessees argued that they could occupy the premises as long as they paid the rent. because of a difference in factual setting.

as far as consent is concerned. but to hold it as it was before. but after that. . Yumol who said that he prepared the lease contract on the basis of data given to him by Wong and that she told him that "whatever Mr. although admittedly close and confidential. which disqualifies "agents (from leasing) the property whose administration or sale may have been entrusted to them.144 That the land could not ordinarily be levied upon while in custodia legis does not mean that one of the heirs may not sell the right. xxx xxx xxx Q So. in relation to article 1941 of the Civil Code. did not amount to an agency so as to bring the case within the prohibition of the law. Q Agreed what? A Agreed with my objectives that it is really onerous and that I was really right.6 It is next contended that the lease contract was obtained by Wong in violation of his fiduciary relationship with Justina Santos. and she went with the contract just the same? A She agreed first . I don't really know if I have expressed my opinion. I was called again by her and she told me to follow the wishes of Mr. . The relationship of the parties. Tomas S. subject to the result of the pending administration. but I told her that we would rather not execute any contract anymore. The ordinary execution of property in custodia legis is prohibited in order to avoid interference with the possession by the court. on a verbal month to month contract of lease. the contents of this document before she signed it? A I explained to her each and every one of these conditions and I also told her these conditions were quite onerous for her. What this witness said was: Q Did you explain carefully to your client. Yumol cannot be read out of context in order to warrant a finding that Wong practically dictated the terms of the contract. Doña Justina."7 The testimony of Atty. Counsel for Justina Santos cites the testimony of Atty." But Wong was never an agent of Justina Santos. interest or participation which he has or might have in the lands under administration. Just the same. Wong Heng. contrary to article 1646. she did not follow your advice. Wong wants must be followed. in no wise stands in the way of such administration. you were satisfied that this document was perfectly proper? xxx xxx xxx . Q But. it is argued that Wong so completely dominated her life and affairs that the contracts express not her will but only his. But the sale made by an heir of his share in an inheritance.

because."15 . as I said before. related by the same witness. if I have to express my personal opinion. however. Natividad Luna. she told me — "Whatever Mr. but neither of them was presented as a witness. The truth is that even after giving his client time to think the matter over. 3). For while a witness claimed that the sisters were saved by other persons (the brothers Edilberto and Mariano Sta. I am the only one that can question the illegality. said "very emphatically" that she and her sister would have perished in the fire had it not been for Wong. according to her own witness."8 Wong might indeed have supplied the data which Atty. Instead of heeding the advice of the lawyer. testifying for her. and her maid. when I said "This is not proper. I am the owner.145 A Your Honor. who was constantly by her side. Alonzo. Wong Heng or Judge Torres and/or both. Yumol declared on cross examination: Considering her age. had saved her and her sister from a fire that destroyed their house during the liberation of Manila. the charge of undue influence in this case rests on a mere inference12 drawn from the fact that Justina Santos could not read (as she was blind) and did not understand the English language in which the contract is written. and the equally emphatic avowal of gratitude in the lease contract (Plff Exh. they used to tell me what the documents should contain. Hermenegilda Lao. Indeed. One incident. "Just follow Mr. he tried to persuade her to enter instead into a lease on a month-to-month basis. she ordered him. the lawyer could not make her change her mind. But. 3). It's all right. 4-7) — the consent of Justina Santos was given freely and voluntarily. When we had conferences. I would always ask the old woman about them and invariably the old woman used to tell me: "That's okay. Benjamin C. Ana)13 it was Justina Santos herself who. Nor is there merit in the claim that her consent to the lease contract." she said — "You just go ahead. but to say this is not to detract from the binding force of the contract." In particular reference to this contract of lease. said: [I]n nearly all documents. it is just natural when she said "This is what I want and this will be done.14 Hence the recital in the deed of conditional option (Plff Exh. She was."9 Recounting the incident. Alonzo. As it was with the lease contract (Plff Exh. as well as to the rest of the contracts in question. firm and unyielding. she is a wealthy woman. 7) that "[I]tong si Wong Heng ang siyang nagligtas sa aming dalawang magkapatid sa halos ay tiyak na kamatayan". so it was with the rest of the contracts (Plff Exhs. you prepare that. was given out of a mistaken sense of gratitude to Wong who. As Atty."10 Atty.11 Any of them could have testified on the undue influence that Wong supposedly wielded over Justina Santos. I would say she is not. and if there is any illegality. Wong wants must be followed. Wong Heng. Yumol further testified that she signed the lease contract in the presence of her close friend. but that inference has been overcome by her own evidence. Atty. This witness said that the original term fixed for the lease was 99 years but that as he doubted the validity of a lease to an alien for that length of time. Yumol embodied in the lease contract. For the contract was fully explained to Justina Santos by her own lawyer. ninety (90) years old at the time and her condition. it was either Mr. she was made to believe. This persuaded the lower court to uphold the validity of the lease contract against the claim that it was procured through undue influence. makes clear that she voluntarily consented to the lease contract. as I said.

the contracts show nothing that is necessarily illegal. and she told me to see to it that no one could disturb Wong Heng from those properties. being the adopted child of a Filipino citizen. Atty. So is an option giving an alien the right to buy real property on condition that he is granted Philippine citizenship. while dispelling doubt as to the intention of Justina Santos. and she considered Wong Heng as a son and his children her grandchildren. Instead. Neither did it believe his statement that he paid P1.146 But the lower court set aside all the contracts. 3-7) are valid.17 She was very emphatic in the care of the seventeen (17) dogs and of the maids who helped her much. Taken singly. Alonzo declared that he saw no money paid at the time of the execution of the documents. we thought of adoption. was to see to it that these properties be enjoyed. near or far.18 This is not to say. according to her revelation to me. suffice it to quote the testimony of her own witness and lawyer who prepared the contracts (Plff Exhs. by Wong Heng because Doña Justina told me that she did not have any relatives. Atty. Alonzo in reaching the conclusion that the contracts are void for want of consideration.000 as consideration for each of the contracts (namely. even to own them. they reveal an insidious pattern to subvert by indirection what the Constitution directly prohibits. at the same time gives the clue to what we view as a scheme to circumvent the Constitutional prohibition against the transfer of lands to aliens. but considered collectively. on the ground that they are contrary to the expressed wish of Justina Santos and that their considerations are fictitious. Alonzo: The ambition of the old woman. because she did not want him to. a lease to an alien for a reasonable period is valid. For the testimony just quoted. Register of Deeds:20 . but his negative testimony does not rule out the possibility that the considerations were paid at some other time as the contracts in fact recite. What is more. That is why we thought of the ninety-nine (99) years lease. believing that thru adoption Wong Heng might acquire Filipino citizenship. the extension of the lease to 99 years. the court relied on the testimony of Atty. that the contracts (Plff Exhs. especially her consolation in life was when she would hear the children reciting prayers in Tagalog. 4-7) in question.16 With respect to the lower court's finding that in all probability Justina Santos could not have intended to part with her property while she was alive nor even to lease it in its entirety as her house was built on it. "The illicit purpose then becomes the illegal causa"19 rendering the contracts void. and the fixing of the term of the option at 50 years). but that the amount was returned to him by her for safekeeping. 1957. To be sure. the consideration need not pass from one party to the other at the time a contract is executed because the promise of one is the consideration for the other. with the exception of the lease contract of November 15. Wong stated in his deposition that he did not pay P360 a month for the additional premises leased to him. As this Court said in Krivenko v. before her death. the option to buy the leased premises. however. but the trial court did not believe him.

" The Constitutional provision that "Save in cases of hereditary succession. tomorrow. article 1416 of the Civil Code provides. judgment is affirmed. If this can be done. We are construing the Constitution as it is and not as we may desire it to be. Filipino citizenship is not impossible to acquire. without costs. And yet this is just exactly what the parties in this case did within the space of one year. instead of setting the contracts aside and ordering the restoration of the land to the estate of the deceased Justina Santos. jus utendi. . then the Constitutional ban against alien landholding in the Philippines.21 this to last for 50 years. . As this Court said in Krivenko: It is well to note at this juncture that in the present case we have no choice. corporations. that because the parties are in pari delicto they will be left where they are.23 For another thing. and this is not only cogent but also important. as an exception to the rule on pari delicto. Since their residence in the Philippines is temporary. and so on. But if this is the solemn mandate of the Constitution. Should they desire to remain here forever and share our fortunes and misfortunes. if public policy is thereby enhanced. Gaw Chee Hun 26 and subsequent similar cases. as announced in Krivenko v. by virtue of which the Filipino owner cannot sell or otherwise dispose of his property.25 That policy would be defeated and its continued violation sanctioned if. the next day. but also an option to buy. we hold that under the Constitution aliens may not acquire private or public agricultural lands. Register of Deeds. this Court should apply the general rule of pari delicto. until ultimately all the rights of which ownership is made up are consolidated in an alien. the disposition. without relief. the original parties who were guilty of a violation of the fundamental charter have died and have since been substituted by their administrators to whom it would be unjust to impute their guilt. we will not attempt to compromise it even in the name of amity or equity . with the result that Justina Santos' ownership of her property was reduced to a hollow concept. It is just as if today the possession is transferred. and the prohibition by law is designed for the protection of the plaintiff. and. accordingly. he may. To the extent that our ruling in this case conflicts with that laid down inRellosa v. they may be granted temporary rights such as a lease contract which is not forbidden by the Constitution. a piece of land. For all the foregoing. the latter must be considered as pro tanto qualified. or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines"24 is an expression of public policy to conserve lands for the Filipinos.22 is indeed in grave peril. jus fruendi and jus abutendi) but also of the right to dispose of it ( jus disponendi) — rights the sum total of which make up ownership. then it becomes clear that the arrangement is a virtual transfer of ownership whereby the owner divests himself in stages not only of the right to enjoy the land ( jus possidendi. Perhaps the effect of our construction is to preclude aliens admitted freely into the Philippines from owning sites where they may build their homes. . . that "When the agreement is not illegal per se but is merely prohibited. including residential lands. For one thing. recover what he has paid or delivered. But if an alien is given not only a lease of. no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals.147 [A]liens are not completely excluded by the Constitution from the use of lands for residential purposes. however. the use. It does not follow from what has been said.

that was not what Doña Justina apparently understood for as the Court understands her statement to the Honorable Judge of the Juvenile Court . This account is contained in a notebook (Def. 1959 was P1. With respect to the first account.000. 247-278) drawn by him for this purpose amount to only P38.442.210. one pertaining to amount which she entrusted to him from time to time.49 in favor of Wong. And what of the various amounts which Wong received in trust from her? It appears that he kept two classes of accounts. added to the amount of P25. he offered to pay this amount if the court so directed him. 1959 (Def. as a matter of fact. there is a difference of P31. . nick-named Toning.210. . Against this account the household expenses and disbursements for the care of the 17 dogs and the salaries of the 8 maids of Justina Santos were charged.564. the reason why she preferred to stay in her home was because there she did not incur in any debts . or a total of P25. there should be a balance in her favor. the trouble is that they were made only by Francisco Wong and Antonia Matias. was P3. of which Wong was the lessee.000. funeral services and security guard services. his claim of liquidation and settlement of accounts must be rejected. .007. the Court will not adjudicate in favor of Wong Heng on his counterclaim. But it is claimed that the rental from both the Ongpin and Rizal Avenue properties was more than enough to pay for her monthly expenses and that. and another pertaining to rentals from the Ongpin property and from the Rizal Avenue property.000 in his possession. 14) .000. 246). . this being the case. The lower court did not allow either party to recover against the other.19 (receipts). on the contrary if the result of that was a deficit as alleged and sought to be there shown. while it is claimed that the expenses were much less than the rentals and there in fact should be a superavit. P10. but the checks (Def Exhs. we cannot understand why he still had P22.000 on December 6. which he himself was leasing. . P7.84 (expenditures) from P70. 13).27 on November 8. — which was the way she signed the loose sheets. Said the court: [T]he documents bear the earmarks of genuineness. . He made disbursements from this account to discharge Justina Santos' obligations for taxes. Exh. . . however. After subtracting P38. On these two grounds.564 which. leaves a balance of P56. 1957 (Plff Exh. .27 Besides. 1959. He claims.724. if he had really settled his accounts with her on August 26. . As to the second account. Exh. made in behalf of Justina Santos. 1957 (Plff Exh.50 was in fact payment to him of what in the liquidation was found to be due to him.84.000 in the bank and P3.442. of P9.49. 6) which shows a balance of P9. or a total of P70. attorneys' fees.19. 16). and there is no clear proof that Doña Justina had authorized these two to act for her in such liquidation.148 The claim for increased rentals and attorney's fees. the evidence shows that he received P33.3528 in favor of Justina Santos. In his answer.50 on August 26. on the other hand.120. this Court must .928.42 on December 1. and P18. therefore.007. 1957 (Plff Exh.928. the evidence shows that the monthly income from the Ongpin property until its sale in Rizal Avenue July. must be denied for lack of merit. that he settled his accounts and that the last amount of P18.354. and that from the Rizal Avenue property.

000 in his possession. The Register of Deeds of Manila. Reyes. Costs against the defendant-appellant. and the amounts consigned in court by Wong Heng shall be applied to the payment of rental from November 15.. 69. 1959 until the premises shall have been vacated by his heirs. Wong Heng (as substituted by the defendant-appellant Lui She) is ordered to pay the Philippine Banking Corporation the sum of P56. C. concurring: With the able and well-written opinion of Justice Castro. the Court faced with the choice of the two alternatives will choose the middle course which after all is permitted by the rules of proof. we think that the claim of Justina Santos totalling P37. to my mind. Aside from the reasons given by the court. I am in full agreement.1 this Court over strong dissents held that residential and commercial lots may be considered agricultural within the meaning of the constitutional provision prohibiting the transfer of any private agricultural land to individuals..35. J. J. for this reason. Concepcion. ACCORDINGLY.. . Sanchez and Angeles. Sec.210. as rentals due to her after deducting various expenses. the land subject-matter of the contracts is ordered returned to the estate of Justina Santos as represented by the Philippine Banking Corporation.B. should be rejected as the evidence is none too clear about the amounts spent by Wong for food29 masses30 and salaries of her maids. concur. Both parties on appeal reiterate their respective claims but we agree with the lower court that both claims should be denied. Dizon. 3-7) are annulled and set aside.564. with legal interest from the date of the filing of the amended complaint.31 His claim for P9. Rule 123 for in the ordinary course of things.. Separate Opinions FERNANDO.000 in the bank and P3.49 must likewise be rejected as his averment of liquidation is belied by his own admission that even as late as 1960 he still had P22. Bengzon.149 concede that daily expenses are not easy to compute. JJ.235. indiscriminately done.P. to alien landholding declared illegal under the Krivenko doctrine in some past decisions.. Makalintal. This concurring opinion has been written solely to express what I consider to be the unfortunate and deplorable consequences of applying the pari delicto concept. the contracts in question (Plff Exhs.J.L. It is to be remembered that in Krivenko v. J. Zaldivar. The exposition of the facts leaves nothing to be desired and the statement of the law is notable for its comprehensiveness and clarity. a person will live within his income so that the conclusion of the Court will be that there is neither deficit nor superavit and will let the matter rest here. as was.

The only remedy to prevent this continuing violation of the Constitution which the decision impliedly sanctions by allowing the alien vendees to retain the lots in question is either escheat or reversion. then the above view would be correct that both Filipino-vendor and alien-vendee could not be considered as innocent parties within the contemplation of the law. The doctrine as announced in the Rellosa case is that while the sale by a Filipino-vendor to an alien-vendee of a residential or a commercial lot is null and void as held in the Krivenko case.6 therein cited.150 corporations or associations not qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines save in cases of hereditary succession. Gaw Chee Hun. Chiao Peng5were decided. who had a two-paragraph concurring opinion disagreeing with the main opinion as to the force to be accorded to the two cases. After the Krivenko decision. the sales in question took place prior to the Krivenko decision. however. some Filipino vendors sought recovery of the lots in question on the ground that the sales were null and void. The necessary sixth vote for a decision was given by the then Justice Bengzon. the parties being in pari delicto. still the Filipino-vendor has no right to recover under a civil law doctrine. For evidently evasion implies at the very least knowledge of what is being evaded. Prior to that date there were many who were of the opinion that the phrase agricultural land should be construed strictly and not be made to cover residential and commercial lots. Thus: "By following either of these remedies. Both of them should be held equally guilty of evasion of the Constitution. That provision of the Constitution took effect on November 15. Rellosa v.4 Caoile v. Uy Isabelo. when on the 29th of said month. at a time when the assumption could be honestly entertained that there was no constitutional prohibition against the sale of commercial or residential lots by Filipino-vendor to alien-vendee."7 Were the parties really in pari delicto? Had the sale by and between Filipino-vendor and alienvendee occurred after the decision in the Krivenko case. 1935 when the Commonwealth Government was established. There were two dissenting opinions by former Justices Pablo and Alex Reyes.3 Talento v. Acting on that belief. No definite ruling was made by this Court until September of 1953. the most extensive discussion of the question is found in Rellosa v. we can enforce the fundamental policy of our Constitution regarding our natural resources without doing violence to the principle of pari delicto. The interpretation as set forth in the Krivenko decision was only handed down on November 15. Gaw Chee Hun. or by approving an implementary law as above suggested. 1947. the opinion being penned by retired Justice Bautista Angelo with the concurrence only of one Justice. The new Civil Code expressly provides: "Mistakes upon a doubtful or difficult question of law may be the basis of good faith. also retired.2 Bautista v."8 . several transactions were entered into transferring such lots to alien vendees by Filipino-vendors. Of the four decisions in September. Since. 1953. it would not be doing violence to reason to free them from the imputation of evading the Constitution. Former Chief Justice Paras as well as the former Justices Tuason and Montemayor concurred in the result. Justice Labrador. in the absence of a definite decision by the Supreme Court. Makiki.

individual and corporate. based on the broader principle that "both parties are presumed to know the law.9 As pointed out by former Chief Justice Hughes though in Chicot County Drainage District v. — with respect to particular relations. It is as if an act granting aliens the right to acquire residential and commercial lots were annulled by the Supreme Court as contrary to the provision of the Constitution prohibiting aliens from acquiring private agricultural land. The prohibition embraces the sale of private lands of any kind in favor of aliens. . neither being in a position to seek judicial redress. that such broad statements as to the effect of a determination of unconstitutionality must be taken with qualifications.151 According to the Rellosa opinion. The effect of subsequent ruling as to invalidity may have to be considered in various aspects. of prior determinations deemed to have finality and acted upon accordingly. wherein the words of the Constitution acquire meaning through Supreme Court adjudication. was and is how to divest the alien of such property rights on terms equitable to both parties. . is an operative fact and may have consequences which cannot justly be ignored." This statement that the sales entered into prior to the Krivenko decision were at that time already vitiated by a guilty knowledge of the parties may be too extreme a view. 133] makes no distinction between private lands that are strictly agricultural and private lands that are residential or commercial. demand examination. Act No. which could not have been anticipated. conferred no rights. there is no doubt that continued possession by alien-vendee of property acquired before its promulgation is violative of the Constitution. We are construing the Constitution as it is and not as we may . Questions of rights claimed to have become vested. Under the orthodox theory of constitutional law. . This prohibition [Rep. That question should be justly resolved in accordance with the mandates of the Constitution not by a wholesale condemnation of both parties for entering into a contract at a time when there was no ban as yet arising from the Krivenko decision. prior to such a determination. . the act having been found unconstitutional was not a law. which is again a clear implementation and a legislative interpretation of the constitutional prohibition. The question then as now.nèt Reference may be made by way of analogy to a decision adjudging a statute void. and particular conduct. Unfortunately. . under theRellosa case. explicit and unambigous language that: "We are deciding the instant case under section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution which is more comprehensive and more absolute in the sense that it prohibits the transfer to aliens of any private agricultural land including residential land whatever its origin might have been . The actual existence of a statute. it was assumed that the parties.1awphîl. It appears to ignore a postulate of a constitutional system. It is well to note at this juncture that in the present case we have no choice. would be left in the situation in which they were. being in pari delicto. afforded no protection. private and official." After the Krivenko decision. Baxter State Bank:10 "It is quite clear. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration. imposed no duty. both parties are equally guilty of evasion of the Constitution. however. . therefore. Would it not have been more in consonance with the Constitution. if instead the decision compelled the restitution of the property by the alien-vendee to the Filipino-vendor? Krivenko decision held in clear. of status. of public policy in the light of the nature both of the statute and of its previous application.

The Constitution frowns upon the title remaining in the alien-vendees. where he has filed the appropriate case or proceeding. After the Krivenko case had made clear that he had no right to sell nor an alien-vendee to purchase the property in question. a contract with an incapacitated person. Yet it is clear that an alien-vendee cannot consistently with the constitutional provision. we will not attempt to compromise it even in the name of amity or equity. That incapacity and that disqualification. who in good faith entered into. as it ought to be given. although originally concurred in by only one justice. the restoration to Filipino-vendor upon the payment of a price fixed by the court is the better remedy.152 desire it to be. the problem would not be still with us now. was made known to Filipino-vendor and to alien-vendee only upon the promulgation of the Krivenko decision on November 15. the lots remained in alien hands."11 Alien-vendee is therefore incapacitated or disqualified to acquire and hold real estate. however. There have been after almost twenty years no proceedings for escheat or reversion. the obvious solution would be for him to reacquire the same. therefore. Restoration of the property upon payment of price received by Filipino vendor or its reasonable equivalent as fixed by the court is the answer. But if this is the solemn mandate of the Constitution. its previous owner. from owning sites where they may build their homes. in consonance with the dictates of equity and justice. it is never too late — not even in constitutional adjudication. Any other construction would defeat the ends and purposes not only of this particular provision in question but the rest of the Constitution itself. being too firmly imbedded. transferring ownership of a piece of land after the Constitution went into full force and effect. Notwithstanding the solution of escheat or reversion offered. upon restitution of the purchase price of course. they are still at the moment of writing. later Chief Justice. Fortunately. when it is clearly included within the Constitutional prohibition. Perhaps the effect of our construction is to preclude aliens. continue owning and exercising acts of ownership over the real estate in question. By dismissing those suits. for the most part in alien hands. should. admitted freely into the Philippines. 1935. in the light of the ruling in the Krivenko case. . if it could be shown that in the utmost good faith. It may be said that it is too late at this stage to hope for such a solution. cannot be allowed to continue owning and exercising acts of ownership over said property. That way the Constitution would be given. respect and deference. 1947. Bengzon. The writer however sees a welcome sign in the adoption by the Court in this case of the concurring opinion of the then Justice. The Constitution bars alien-vendees from owning the property in question. To give the constitutional provision full force and effect. the Rellosa opinion. He thought he could transfer the property to an alien and did so. It ought to follow then. be restored to the possession and ownership thereof. if such a continuing violation of the fundamental law is to be put an end to. Had it been followed then. Alien-vendee should thus be made to restore the property with its fruits and rents to Filipino-vendor. Alien-vendee. as interpreted in theKrivenko decision. that the Filipino-vendor. That incapacity and that disqualification should date from the adoption of the Constitution on November 15. he transferred his title over the same to alien-vendee.

DINGLASAN. petitioners-appellants sold to Lee Liong. title to the land did not pass to said alien because the sale did not produce any juridical effect in his favor.. DINGLASAN. R. MARIANO A.. DINGLASAN. ATTY. RIZAL A. The cost was P6. DINGLASAN. Branch II. L-5996. ANTONIO D. Quisumbing for petitioners. Another contention of the petitioners-appellants is that the sale is null and void as it was made in violation of the provision contained in the Constitution (Article XIII. DINGLASAN.with prayer for the issuance of writ of preliminary injunction. 1 In that case. FRANCISCO A.00 and soon after the sale Lee Liong constructed thereon a concrete building which he used as a place for his lumber business and in part as residence for himself and family. 3389. 1968 and other related Orders in Civil Case No. section 5). JOSE A. JIMMY DINGLASAN. 1936. a parcel of land situated on the corner of Roxas Avenue and Pavia Street. 42-Q) In reply to the contention of appellants therein that as the sale to Lee Liong is prohibited by the Constitution.153 G. designated as lot 398 and covered by Original Certificate of Title No. one of the plaintiffs. No. DINGLASAN. . entitled Rafael Dinglasan. CARMEN A.: Petition for certiorari to annul the Orders of respondent court dated October 10. We found that: In the month of March. et al. who was at that time an assistant attorney in the Department of Justice. DINGLASAN. Capiz. vs. RAFAEL A. of Capiz. RAMON A. and JESSE DINGLASAN. et al. HON. this Court said: . LOURDES A.R.. CONCEPCION A. DINGLASAN.. The antecedent facts are as follows: On June 27. LORETO A. Rafael A. but the trial court and the Court of Appeals found that the sale was an absolute one. Lee Bun Ting. AMOSIN. as court-appointed Receiver.. et al. DINGLASAN. 1968 and November 10. Lee Bun Ting. Petitioners had contended that the sale was a conditional sale. L-30523 April 22. Dinglasan. but the Court of Appeals found that the purchaser was not aware of the constitutional prohibition while petitioners-appellants were because the negotiations for the sale were conducted with the knowledge and direct intervention of Judge Rafael Dinglasan. Dinglasan for respondents. DINGLASAN. 11th Judicial District.000. entitled Rafael A. 1956. predecessor in interest of respondents-appellees. (P. No. et al. ANTONIO. Norberto J Quisumbing and Humberto V. J. or one with the right of repurchase during the last years of a ten-year period. DINGLASAN. Capiz (now Roxas City). ALIGAEN Judge of the Court of First Instance. V-3064. 1977 LEE BUN TING and ANG CHIA petitioners. JOSE A. vs. respondents. and that the constitutional prohibition should be deemed self-executing in character in order to give effect to the constitutional mandate. vs. a Chinese citizen. this Court rendered judgment in G. MERCEDES A.

it leaves the parties where it finds them. or that he (vendor) has the right to recover the title of which he has divested himself by his act in ignoring the prohibition. 1936. leaving to the proper coordinate body the function of laying down the policy that should be followed in relation to conveyances in violation of the constitutional prohibition and in implementing said policy. The law will not aid either party to an illegal agreement.154 . 431-432) Noting the absence of policy governing lands sold to aliens in violation of the constitutional prohibition.. more than ten years had already elapsed from the time the cause of action accrued when the action was filed (1948). because of their guilty knowledge that what they were doing was in violation of the Constitution. C. We further said: We take this occasion to call the attention of the legislature to the absence of a law or policy on sales in violation of the Constitution. 432) Accordingly. Id. that is the prescription of the action. or the doctrine in the Krivenko case. otherwise known as the Public Land Law). not of returning the homestead sold to the original homesteader but of forfeiting the homestead and returning it to the public domain again subject to disposition in accordance with law.) The doctrine of in pari delicto bars petitioners-appellants from recovering the title to the property in question and renders unnecessary the consideration of the other arguments presented in appellants brief. It is not necessary for us to re-examine the doctrine laid down by us in the above cases.A. that of pan delicto We have applied this principle as a bar to the present action in a series of cases thus: xxx xxx xxx We can.. say that even if the plaintiffs can still invoke the Constitution.. We must add in justification of the adoption of the doctrine that the scope of our power and authority is to interpret the law merely. . (Section 124. it does not n necessarily follow therefrom that the title remained in the vendor. they are now prevented from doing so if their purpose is to recover the lands that they have voluntarily parted with. The situation of these prohibited conveyances is not different from that of homestead sold within five yearn from and after the issuance of the patent. to set aside the sale in question. therefore. There is one other cause why petitioner' remedy cannot be entertained. who had also violated the constitutional prohibition. (P. As the sale occurred in March. 141. (pp. the petition in the foregoing case was denied. this Court would have filled the void were we not aware of the fact that the matter falls beyond the scope of oar authority and properly belongs to a co-ordinate power.. As this Court well said: A party to an illegal contract cannot come into a court of law and ask to have his illegal objects carried out. In answer we state that granting the sale to be null and void and can not give title to the vendee.. for which situation the legislature has adopted the policy. In such contingency another principle of law sets in to bar to equally guilty vendor from recovering the title which he had voluntarily conveyed for a consideration. The rule is expressed in the maxims: Ex dolo malo non oritur actio and In pari delicto potior eat conditio defendentis . (Section 118. They cannot escape the law.

To fill the void. alleging that the decision in Philippine Banking Corporation vs. 2private respondents Rafael A. . Lee Bun Ting. that defendants be ordered to vacate the premises. dated September 23. as well as the costs of suit. Lui She. the previous cases themselves cannot thereby be reopened.". upon the contention that said decision warrants a reopening of the case and the return of the parcel of land involved to the plaintiffs. on the basis of the decision of this Court in Philippine Banking Corporation vs. No. the decision of this Court in Philippine Banking Corporation vs. neither ran the vendor recover what he sold.155 Twelve (12) years later. A motion to dismiss. Dinglasan. A reply to the opposition was filed by defendants by registered mall on October 16. promulgated on June 27. and that defendants be ordered to pay damages to the plaintiffs in the amount of P2. Said 1967 decision cannot be applied to the instant case where there had been already a final and conclusive determination some twelve years earlier. L5996 is attached to the motion to dismiss. et al. supra. supra.000.. vs. predecessor-in-interest of petitioners (defendants a quo). The doctrine may be changed for future cases but it cannot reach back into the past and overturn finally settled cases.4 However. vs. V-3064 before respondent court. While a doctrine laid down in previous cases may be overruled. which was promulgated in 1967. can not also recover the property for having violated the constitutional prohibition. 1956. In that case. et al. The vendee cannot own the property. Lui She. Private respondents (plaintiffs before the court a quo) reiterated their contention that the sale made to Lee Liong. 9) for the purchaser was an alien and prohibited to acquire residential lot while the vendors.00 from the plaintiffs as restitution of the purchase price. the Supreme Court pointed out that the coordinate body — Congress of the Philippines — can pass remedial legislation. see. et al. on October 10. 1968. was null and void for being violative of the Constitution. alleging that the decision in the case of "Rafael Dinglagan. was filed by defendants. et al. 1968. under the principle of pari delicto. to surrender possession thereof to plaintiffs and to receive the amount of P6. was advanced. Lee Bun Ting. Filipino citizens. Lui She.000. Said complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. 1968 for the recovery of the same parcel of land subject matter of the first-mentioned case. 3 In support of the change in jurisprudence asserted. with the averment that the decision in the prior case "cannot be pleaded in bar of the instant action because of new or additional facts or grounds of recovery and because of change of law or jurisprudence.000 a month from the time of the filing of the complaint until the property is returned to them. The court said: A copy of the decision rendered in the case of Rafael Dinglasan.petitioners on the ground of res judicata. R. filed a complaint on July 1. G. and prayed that plaintiffs be declared as the rightful and legal owners of the property in question. before the filing of the above reply. has definitely settled the issues between the parties. respondent court had issued an Order denying the motion to dismiss. "cannot affect the outcome of the instant case. 1968. An opposition thereto was filed by plaintiffs. the Supreme Court ruled that both parties violated the constitutional prohibition (Article XIII. et al.

. the Court finds the motion to dismiss unmeritrious and holds that the same be as it is hereby DENIED. . Lui She case had the effect of annulling and setting aside only the contracts subject matter thereof "and no other contracts. certainly not contracts outside the issues in said judgment as that in the instant case". was denied by respondent court on November 9. (b) Said conveyance ' as an absolute sale.. The concurring opinion of Justice Fernando is very enlightening and elucidating. and by virtue of said . which said improvements were destroyed during the Japanese entry into the municipality of Capiz in April 1942. the said Lee Liong being already deceased. 1967. Moreover. (d) In July 1947. 1968.. it was asserted that the Philippine Banking Corporation vs. not on or before. not subject to any right or repurchase . defendants as his legal heirs entered into an extrajudicial settlement of said property. 1968. (c) Upon the purchase of the said parcel of land by the deceased Lee Liong. dated December 5. PREMISES CONSIDERED.. alleging that their reply to plaintiffs' opposition to the motion to dismiss was not even considered by the court a quo because the Order was issued before said reply Could reach the court. the same improvements were rebuilt. Neither was there any proceeding after almost twenty years for escheat or reversion instituted by the Office of the Solicitor General after the Krivenko decision which prohibits the transfer to aliens of any private agricultural land including residential lands whatever its origin might have been.00. Lui She does there appear any statement which would have the effect of reopening and changing previously adjudicated rights of parties and finally settled cases" and that the principle enunciated in such case "should apply after. Which defendants complied with. Further. among others: (a) The sale of the parcel of land involved was made in 1935 before the promulgation of the Constitution. he and defendant Ang Chia constructed thereon a camarin for lumber business and later a two-storey five door accessoria with an assessed-valuation of P35. But the Supreme Court took a decisive step and in bold relief dispelled darkening clouds in the case of Philippine Banking Corporations vs. The Court wishes to refer to the concurring opinion of Justice Fernando as an additional authority supporting the herein order. and of ordering the return only of the lands involved in said case. .. contained the following allegations.156 But Congress failed to act. there being no creditors or other heirs. . promulgated September 12.000. 5 A motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Order was filed by defendants. thereafter. The motion for reconsideration was found to have not been well taken and. it was averred that "Nowhere in the majority opinion nor in the concurring opinion in said decision of Philippine Banking Corporation vs. Defendants' answer. September 12.. 1967". and not the land subject of the present action. Lui She. consequently. Defendants were given ten (10) days from receipt of the Order within which to file their answer to the complaint.

On May 17. It was. restraining respondent court from continuing with the scheduled trial of the case and respondent receiver from executing the order to take immediate possession of the property in litigation and/or otherwise discharging or performing his function as receiver. May 7. in case of adverse judgment. administer and dispose of the same in accordance with law and order of the court.157 extra-judicial settlement. 1969. Amosin. collect and hold in trust all income of the property in the form of monthly rentals of P2. Antonio D. 1969. A reply and answer to the counterclaim. 1968. with counterclaim for attorney's fees and expenses of litigation or. plaintiffs filed a petition for the appointment of a receiver "to receive. 1969. . on the premise that defendants have no other visible property which will answer for the payment of said rentals. this Court issued the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for. the value of which must likewise be considered before plaintiffs can be awarded possession of the land. defendants reiterated their defense of res judicata. prayed that the complaint be dismissed. 1968. approximately two-thirds of said property was adjudicated to defendant Ang Chia and Lee Bing Hoo as co-owners and the remaining one-third to defendant Lee Bun Ting (e) The deceased Lee Liong and defendants have been declaring and paying real estate taxes on the said property since 1935 and up to the present year. 1969. the appointed receiver took his oath. plus reimbursement of improvements thereon. respondent court issued an Order denying a motion filed by petitioners for simplification of the issues and for the striking out from the records of the declaration of Rafael Dinglasan under the Survivorship Disqualification Rule. L-3064 of respondent court on the ground of res judicata Petitioners further prayed for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain respondent court from proceeding with the scheduled hearings of the case. This petition was opposed by defendants. November 9. March 31. 1969. it issued an Order appointing respondent Atty. On June 16. On March 31. therefore. Petitioners herein pray that judgment be rendered annulling and setting aside respondent court's complained of Orders (rated October 10. xxx xxx xxx In addition to the foregoing. alleging that plaintiffs will not suffer any irreparable injury or grave damage if the petition for receivership is not granted.00. The matter of receivership was heard by respondent court and on May 17. and respondent receiver from executing the order to take immediate possession of the property in litigation. 1956. 1968. as receiver with instructions to take immediate possession of the property in litigation and to preserve.000. particularly as defendants are solvent and further considering that defendants have a building on the parcel of land. Hence. upon the posting of a bond in the amount of P500. 1969. Deputy Clerk of Court. dated December 14. A motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Order was denied on May 7. and ordering the dismissal of Civil Case no. 1969 and May 17.00". on the basis of the decision of the Supreme Court of June 27. During the pendency of the trial. was filed by plaintiffs. the instant petition. that plaintiffs be ordered to pay the reasonable equivalent of the value of the property at the time of the restoration. 1969.

. et al. vs. Said Civil case. when a right or fact has been jurisdically tried and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction. 49(b) and (c) of the Rules oil' Court.interest. Lee Bun Ting. as follows. there is Identity of parties but no Identity or cause of action. L-5996. conclusive between the parties and their successors in interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or special proceeding. 1975. R. including the parties and those in privity with them. Lee Bun Ting et al." constitutes a bar to Civil Case No. promulgated on July 15. between the same parties or their privies and concerning the same subject matter.' There is bar by prior judgment' when. The judgment in the first case constitutes an absolute bar to the subsequent action. or an opportunity for such trial has been given. between the first case where the judgment was rendered and the second case which is sought to be barred. the first judgment is . subject matter and cause of action. but as to any other admissible matter which might have been offered for that purpose and of all matters that could have been adjudged in that case. there is Identity of parties. "Rafael Dinglasan. between a pending action and one which has been finally and definitely settled. vs. (b) In other cases the judgment or order is. V-3064. 49(c) refers to 'Conclusiveness of judgment.. so long as is remains unreversed. V-3064 before the respondent court. should have been dismissed because it is a mere relitigation of the same issues previously adjudged with finality. It is final as to the claim or demand in controversy. or was actually and necessarily included therein or necessary thereto. . that only is deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment which appears upon its face to have been so adjudged. (c) In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors-in.158 The issue posed before Us is whether the questions which were decided in Rafael Dinglagan. litigating for the same title and in the same capacity. et al. We have consistently held that the doctrine of res judicata applies where.. subject matter and cause of action. Sec. et al. not only as to every matter which was offered and received to sustain or defeat the claim or demand. et al. But where between the first and second cases. supra. therefore. The concept of res judicata as a "bar by prior judgment" was explained in Comilang vs. that.. Court of Appeals. with respect to the matter directly adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto. 6 thus: The fundamental principle upon which the doctrine of res judicata rests is that parties ought not to be permitted to litigate the same issue more than once. Lui She. the judgment of the court. xxx xxx xxx This principle of res judicata is embodied in Rule 39. should be conclusive upon the parties and those in privity with them in law or estate. way back in 1956. Sec. supra. We resolve the issue in the negative. there is Identity of parties. 49(b) enunciates that concept of res judicata known as 'bar by prior judgment' while Sec. could still be relitigated in Civil Case No. in view of the subsequent decision of this Court in Philippine Banking Corporation vs. The decision of this Court in G. No.

398. whether the case should be civil or criminal in nature. Loreto A. even if erroneous it may no longer be disturbed or modified since it has become final long ago. Lourdes A. Dinglasan. Dinglasan." (G. namely. Dinglasan. Neither do We find Our ruling in the Philippine Banking Corporation case applicable to the case at bar. only as to those matters actually and directly controverted and determined and not as to matters merely involved therein. The parties to the two cases are substantially the same. and. No. Pinuila. located at Trece de Agosto Street. and may not now be disputed or relitigated by a reopening of the same questions in a subsequent litigation between the same parties and their privies the same subject matter. et al. Dinglasan and Jimmy Dinglasan (the differences being the inclusions of the minor Vicente Dinglasan in L-5996 and Jesse Dinglasan in the case before respondent court). It is undisputed that the first case was tried and decided by a court of compentent jurisdiction. in her capacity as Widow of the deceased Lee Liong (and Administratrix of his estate in L-5996). corner of Pavia St. Carmen A. there has been no change in the facts or in the conditions of the parties. 8 We explained this doctrine. R. Mercedes A. now Roxas Avenue. L-5996 has become the law of the case. vs. Dinglasan. We find that in the ultimate analysis. 76-78). as plaintiffs. Francisco A. R.. namely. More specifically. Dinglasan. whose decision was affirmed on appeal by this Tribunal. 398-A and 398-B respectively under Tax Declarations Nos. Law of the case' has been defined as the opinion delivered on a former appeal. Rizal A. Notwithstanding the mode of action taken by private respondents. covered by Original Certificate of Title No. in the municipality of Capiz. L-11374. The determination of the questions of fact and of law by this Court on June 27. 1956 in case No. Jr. Civil Case No. A comparison between the earlier case of "Rafael Dinglasan. Francisco Dinglasan and originally declared under Tax (Declaration) No. " The causes of action and the reliefs prayed for are identical — the annulment of the sale and the recovery of the subject parcel of land. that "parcel of land.. now Roxas City. Rafael A. et al.159 conclusive in the second case. considering the rule that posterior changes in the doctrine of this Court cannot retroactively be applied to nullify a prior final ruling in the same proceeding where the prior adjudication was had. L5996) and the case pending before respondent court 7 reveals that the requisites for the application of the doctrine of res judiciata are present... Ramon A.. 3389 of the Office of Register of Deeds of Capiz in the name of . Dinglasan. against defendants Lee Bun Ting and Ang Chia.. Dinglasan. Thus. rendered on the first appeal. Cadastral Lot No. Mariano A. A subsequent reinterpretation of the law may be applied to new cases bat certainly not to an old one finally and conclusively determined (People. No. inPeople vs. May 30. 55 O. Jose A. V-3064 is but an attempt to reopen the issues which were resolved in the previous case. but now declared as Cadastral Lots Nos. The subject matter of the two actions are the same. Manuel A. (pp. Concepcion A. Dinglasan. Contrary to the contentions of private respondents. 1958. Dinglasan. vs. it means that whatever is once irrevocably established the controlling legal rule of decision Between the . Lee Bun Ting. G. 7487 and 7490 in the City of Roxas in the names of Ang Chia Vda. 19284 also in his name in the municipality of Capiz. de Lee and Lee Bun Ting respectively . as follows: Suffice it to say that our ruling in Case L-13027. Olarte.G. constitutes the law of the case. Dinglasan. Dinglasan. 4228).

Tribunal. G.S. Chua Guan. Hernandez. so long as the facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the court. Acting Director of Prisons. 1958) In the foregoing decision. respectively). L-15548. February 24. G. July 18. February. 1957. June 29. promulgated way back in the year 1952. Our recent interpretation of the law may be applied to new cases. Once its judgment becomes final it is binding on all inferior courts.: The decision of this Court on that appeal by the government from the order of dismissal. the rule adopted by this Court (and by the Federal Supreme Court) is that judicial doctrines have only prospective operation and do not apply to cases previously decided (People vs. 1962). L-7252. Paterno. L-11374.J. 1956. Geronimo.R No. 31. As already stated. More categorical still is the pronouncement of this Court in Pomeroy vs. (5 C. Padilla vs. promulgated May 30. Inc. 884. this Court quoted and reiterated the rule in the following excerpts from People vs. (cited in Pinuila case. The same principle. People vs. Pinuila. 585. 93 Phil. the remedy of the party being to seek a rehearing. including Absalong Bignay in double jeopardy. Even so. However.160 same parties in the same case continues to 1)(. furthermore. L-11374. L-14284-85. L-8936.J. No. 1956. and L-8926. 90 Phil. 1277). being the court of last resort. is the final arbiter of all legal questions properly brought before it and that its decision in any given case constitutes the law of that particular case. 1960: It will be seen that the prisoner's stand assumes that doctrines and rulings of the Supreme Court operate retrospectively and that they can claim the benefit of decisions inPeople vs. R. October 30. As a general rule a decision on a prior appeal of the same case is held to be the law of the case whether that decision is right or wrong. 330). It may be erroneous. signed and concurred in by six justices as against three dissenters headed by the Chief Justice. supra). Dugonon (L-6025-26. Director of Prisons. 1955. holding that said appeal did not place the appellants. the majority opinion in that appeal isnow the law of the case. Crisostomo. Samahang Magsasaka. (also cited in Pinuila case) It is also aptly held in another case that: It need not be stated that the Supreme Court. vs. but certainly not to an old one finally and conclusively determined. promulgated four or more years after the prisoner applicants had been convicted by final j judgment and started serving sentence. and People vs.S. has been followed in civil cases: Fernando vs. it may not be disturbed and modified. the law of the case whether correct on general principles or not. has long become the latter of the curse. and hence beyond their power and authority to alter or modify Kabigting vs. (21 C. Pinuila. the immutability of the law of the case notwithstanding subsequent changes of judicial opinion. Oct. . judge by the law on double jeopardy as recently interpreted by this same. jam cit.

Defendants. concur.. On September 5. Castro.. Sagay. J. 1 rendered in CA-G. all require that stability be accorded the solemn and final judgments of the courts or tribunals of competent jurisdiction. vs. Jr. WHEREFORE. 9 Reasons of public policy.050. There can be no question that such reasons apply with greater force on final judgments of the highest Court of the land. VICTORIANO T. Epifania Sarsosa Vda. Vallar.J.appellees.. Fernando.150 square meters. No. VALLAR. DE BARSOBIA and PACITA W. vs.R. " declaring Victoriano T. sold the land in controversy to a Chinese. of the Court of Appeals. J. Misamis Oriental (now Camiguin province). Barredo. The lot in controversy is a one-half portion (on the northern side) of two adjoining parcels of coconut land located at Barrio Mancapagao. took no part. JJ. certiorari is granted. economy and judicial time and the interests of litigants. . with an area of 29. Cuenco (now the respondent) as the absolute owner of the coconut land in question. Cuenco. entitled "Victoriano T.161 It is thus clear that posterior changes in the doctrine of this Court can not retroactively be applied to nullify a prior final ruling in the same proceeding where the prior adjudication was had. 41318-R. concurs in the result. Ong King Po took actual possession and enjoyed the fruits thereof. respondent. C. V-3064. and respondent Judge is directed to issue an Order dismissing Civil Case No. as well as the peace and order of society. L-33048 April 16. No.00 (Exhibit "B"). who had sold it to the spouses Patricio Barsobia (now deceased) and Epifania Sarsosa. judicial orderliness. MELENCIO-HERRERA. petitioners. 1970. for the sum of P1. Camiguin. Epifania Sarsosa then a widow.R.: Sought to be reviewed herein is the judgment dated August 18. G. 2 The entire land was owned previously by a certain Leocadia Balisado. 1982 EPIFANIA SARSOSA VDA. more or less. CUENCO. the Orders complained of are hereby annulled and set aside. Plaintiff-appellant.. With costs against private respondents. 1936. Ong King Po. whether the case should be civil or criminal in nature. one of the petitioners herein. They are Filipino citizens. Aquino and Concepcion. de Barsobia and Pacita W.

respectively.000. Record. 2. Vallar as the lawful owner and possessor of the portion of land she bought from Emeteria Barsobia (pp. inexistent and void from the beginning. was inexistent and/or void ab initio.050.162 On August 5. Exhibits A and B. 1962. Epifania has been in possession ever since except for the portion sold to the other petitioner Pacita. the judgment appealed from is hereby reversed. Declaring the two Deeds of Sale. The trial Court rendered judgment: 1. respondent instituted before the Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental a Complaint for recovery of possession and ownership of the litigated land. (b) Ordering the defendants-appellees to restore the possession of said land to the plaintiff. we render judgment: (a) Declaring the plaintiff-appellant Victoriano T. Declaring defendant Pacita W. Vallar.) 3 On appeal.00 (Exhibit "A"). The case was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction since. as the laws then stood. On March 6. Ong King Po sold the litigated property to Victoriano T. the question of possession could not be properly determined without first settling that of ownership. 1961. a naturalized Filipino. the Court of Appeals reversed the aforementioned Decision and decreed instead that respondent was the owner of the litigated property. for the sum of P5. petitioners insisted that they were the owners and possessors of the litigated land. against Epifania and Pacita Vallar (hereinafter referred to simply as petitioners). and on July 26. (c) Dismissing the defendants' counterclaim. 57. Dismissing the complaint with costs against plaintiff (respondent herein). Cuenco (respondent herein). . In lieu thereof. On September 19. Epifania claimed that it was not her intention to sell the land to Ong King Po and that she signed the document of sale merely to evidence her indebtedness to the latter in the amount of P1. with the right of possession thereof. 1966.00. 1962. Respondent immediately took actual possession and harvested the fruits therefrom. Epifania "usurped" the controverted property. thus: xxx xxx xxx In view of all the foregoing considerations. Cuenco the absolute owner of the land in question. In their Answer below. sold a one-half (1/2) portion of the land in question to Pacita W. and 3. the other petitioner herein (Exhibit "2"). 1962. On December 27. Epifania (through her only daughter and child. a Chinese. 67. and that the deed of sale between them was only an evidence of Epifania's indebtedness to Ong King Po. that its sale to Ong King Po. Camiguin. respondent filed a Forcible Entry case against Epifania before the Municipal Court of Sagay. Emeteria Barsobia).

163 (d) Condemning the defendants to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P10,000.00 representing the latter's share from the sale of copra which he failed to receive since March, 1962 when he was deprived of his possession over the land, and which defendants illegally appropriated it to their own use and benefit, plus legal interest from the filing of the complaint until fully paid; plus P2,000.00 representing expenses and attorney's fees; (e) Sentencing the defendants to pay the costs. SO ORDERED. 4 Following the denial of their Motion for Reconsideration, petitioners filed the instant Petition for Review on certiorari with this Court on January 21, 1971. Petitioners claim that the Court of Appeals erred: I. ... when it reversed the judgment of the trial court declaring petitioner Pacita W. Vallar as the lawful possessor and owner of the portion of land she purchased from Emeteria Barsobia, not a party to this case, there being no evidence against her. II ... when it included petitioner Pacita W. Vallar to pay P10,000.00, with legal interest from the filing of the complaint, representing respondent's share in the harvest and to pay the costs, there being no evidence against her. III. ... when it condemned petitioners to pay P2,000.00 representing expenses and attorney's fees, there being no factual, legal and equitable justification. IV. ... in not applying the rule on pari delicto to the facts of the case or the doctrine enunciated ... in the case of Philippine Banking Corporation vs. Lui She, L-17587, September 12, 1967, to ... Petitioner Epifania Sarsosa Vda. de Barsobia. V. ... in denying, for lack of sufficient merits, petitioners' motion for rehearing or reconsideration of its decision. 5 As the facts stand, a parcel of coconut land was sold by its Filipino owner, petitioner Epifania, to a Chinese, Ong King Po, and by the latter to a naturalized Filipino, respondent herein. In the meantime, the Filipino owner had unilaterally repudiated the sale she had made to the Chinese and had resold the property to another Filipino. The basic issue is: Who is the rightful owner of the property? There should be no question that the sale of the land in question in 1936 by Epifania to Ong King Po was inexistent and void from the beginning (Art. 1409 [7], Civil Code) 6 because it was a contract executed against the mandatory provision of the 1935 Constitution, which is an expression of public policy to conserve lands for the Filipinos. Said provision reads: Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals, corporations, or associations, qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. 7

164 Had this been a suit between Epifania and Ong King Po, she could have been declared entitled to the litigated land on the basis, as claimed, of the ruling in Philippine Banking Corporation vs. Lui She, 8 reading: ... For another thing, and this is not only cogent but also important. Article 1416 of the Civil Code provides as an exception to the rule on pari delicto that when the agreement is not illegal per se but is merely prohibited, and the prohibition by the law is designed for the protection of the plaintiff, he may, if public policy is thereby enhanced, recover what he has sold or delivered. ... But the factual set-up has changed. The litigated property is now in the hands of a naturalized Filipino. It is no longer owned by a disqualified vendee. Respondent, as a naturalized citizen, was constitutionally qualified to own the subject property. There would be no more public policy to be served in allowing petitioner Epifania to recover the land as it is already in the hands of a qualified person. Applying by analogy the ruling of this Court in Vasquez vs. Giap and Li Seng Giap & Sons: 9 ... if the ban on aliens from acquiring not only agricultural but also urban lands, as construed by this Court in the Krivenko case, is to preserve the nation's lands for future generations of Filipinos, that aim or purpose would not be thwarted but achieved by making lawful the acquisition of real estate by aliens who became Filipino citizens by naturalization. While, strictly speaking, Ong King Po, private respondent's vendor, had no rights of ownership to transmit, it is likewise inescapable that petitioner Epifania had slept on her rights for 26 years from 1936 to 1962. By her long inaction or inexcusable neglect, she should be held barred from asserting her claim to the litigated property (Sotto vs. Teves, 86 SCRA 157 [1978]). Laches has been defined as the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. (Tijam, et al. vs. Sibonghanoy, et al., No. L21450, April 15, 1968, 23 SCRA 29, 35). (cited in Sotto vs. Teves, 86 SCRA 154 [1978]). Respondent, therefore, must be declared to be the rightful owner of the property. The award of actual damages in respondent's favor of P10,000.00, as well as of attorney's fees and expenses of litigation of P2,000.00, is justified. Respondent was deprived of the possession of his land and the enjoyment of its fruits from March, 1962. The Court of Appeals fixed respondent's share of the sale of copra at P10,000.00 for eight years at four (4) harvests a year. The accuracy of this finding has not been disputed. However, we find merit in the assigned error that petitioner, Pacita Vallar, should not be held also liable for actual damages to respondent. In the absence of contrary proof, she, too, must be considered as a vendee in good faith of petitioner Epifania.

165 The award of attorney's fees and litigation expenses in the sum of P2,000.00 in respondent's favor is in order considering that both petitioners compelled respondent to litigate for the protection of his interests. Moreover, the amount is reasonable. 10 WHEREFORE, except for that portion holding petitioner, Pacita W. Vallar, also liable for damages of P10,000.00, the appealed judgment is hereby affirmed. Costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED. Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Fernandez, Guerrero and Plana, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 74170 July 18, 1989 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, GUILLERMO GONZALVES,** respondents. Amando Fabio Jr. for private respondent.

NARVASA, J.: The chief question presented in the appeal at bar concerns the validity of a conveyance of residential land to an alien prior to his acquisition of Filipino citizenship by naturalization. The Trial Court's description of the factual background is largely undisputed. The case principally concerns Chua Kim @ Uy Teng Be, who became a naturalized Filipino citizen, taking his oath as such, on January 7,1977. 1 He was the adopted son of Gregorio Reyes Uy Un. The case involved three (3) parcels of land, which were among those included in Land Registration Cases Numbered 405 and 14817 of the Court of First Instance of Quezon Province: Lots Numbered 1 and 2, plan Psu-57676, 2 and Lot No. 549 of plan AP-7521-identical to Plan Psu-54565. 3 These were respectively adjudicated in said land registration cases to two persons, as follows: 1) Lots 1 and 2, Psu-57676, to the Spouses Benigno Mañosca and Julia Daguison (in Opposition No. 51 ); 4 and 2) Lot 549, AP-7521 (Psu-54565), to Gaspar Marquez, married to Marcela Masaganda (in opposition No. 155). 5 However, no decree of confirmation and registration was entered at the time.

better known now as Lots 1 and 2 of plan Psu-57676 in Opposition No. as his own exclusive properties. approving the same. and a resident of the Municipality of Buenavista. free from all liens and encumbrances. (certain specifically identified) parcels of land" and (b) of any other claim against the First Parties and Second Parties. 3696. of the ownership thereof to the Third Party. In the agreement.1970 (amended by Order dated July 31. both the latter. 51 and 155 are concerned. this Court finds that herein petitioner Chua Kim alias Uy Teng Be has duly established his registerable title over the properties in question in this land registration case in so far as Oppositions Nos. C-385. by means not contrary to law. 6 Lot 549. in turn waived "any claim of ownership or other right in or to the parcels of land. 1982 the following Order. 3697.549 of plan Ap-7521. a naturalized Filipino citizen. The three (3) parcels of land above mentioned." although he had not been impleaded as a party to the case. and hereby GRANTS his petition. were sold by the owners.) — respectively described as "First Parties" and "Second Parties"-but also Chua Kim @ Ting Be Uy.10 Chua Kim then filed a petition for issuance of decree of confirmation and registration in Land Registration Case No. let the corresponding certificate of titles be issued in the name of petitioner. Psu-57676. designated therein as "Third Party. 51 and 155 are concerned. No. to wit: WHEREFORE. and on the basis of the foregoing facts found to have been duly proven by the evidence. et al. Province of Quezon." said Chua Kim. premises considered. later became subject of a compromise agreement in a litigation in the Court of First Instance of Quezon Province. Chua Kim alias Uy Teng Be. docketed as Civil Case No.166 Lots 1 and 2. together with several others. 8 The compromise agreement was executed not only by the parties in the case (plaintiffs Domingo Reyes and Lourdes Abustan. took possession of the property. and his adopted son. let the corresponding decrees of confirmation and registration be entered and thereafter upon payment of the fees required by law. The compromise agreement was afterwards submitted to the Court 9 which rendered judgment on July 29. to herein petitioner Chua Kim alias Uy Teng Be. married to Amelia Tan. . and that they (the First and Second Parties) "will not oppose the transfer. Chua Kim @ Uy Teng. is hereby amended adjudicating the said properties. 14817) of the Court of First Instance of Quezon Province. which is Identical to plan Psu-54565 in Opposition No. in Buenavista. 1970). 1934. and the defendants. The decision rendered on January 14. the Mañosca Spouses. 1933 in so far as Opposition Nos. Upon this order becoming final. 3439 and 4382 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon. 51 and as Lot. 7 Subsequently. 11 After due proceedings. the Court of First Instance of Quezon 12 promulgated on January 14. 1934. 155. of legal age. was also sold by the Marquez Spouses to Gregorio Reyes Uy Un on December 27." in the name of Gregorio Reyes Uy Un. 405 (LRC Rec.. or the improvements thereon. Quezon covered by OCT Nos. in consideration of Chua Kim's renunciation (a) of "any right or claim of whatever nature in . Psu-54565. Gregorio Reyes Uy Un died. 30. Chua Kim's adoptive father. SO ORDERED. to Gregorio Reyes Uy Un on Dec. So Pick.

since neither document declares that the property in question was adjudicated to Chua Kim as his inheritance from his adoptive father. and his ownership was not at all affected either (1) by the principle subsequently enunciated in the 1935 Constitution that aliens were incapacitated to acquire lands in the country. 1977.1986. Quezon. by deeds executed in due form on December 27. however. 21 this. the Republic has come to this Court on appeal by certiorari.e. as the putative heir of his adoptive father. in a final attempt to prevent the adjudication of the property in question to Chua Kim. sustaining those of the Land Registration Court. i. in 1946. 19or (2) by his and his successor's omission to procure the registration of the property prior to the coming into effect of the Constitution. Rizal 15 is unavailing. reached after analysis and assessment of the evidence presented at a formal hearing by the parties. and his status as adopted son of Gregorio Reyes. Sec. XIV. i. SEC. ART. 17 Those facts thus found to exist.. That Court.. affirmed the Order "in all respects. impel rejection of the Republic's appeal. and the legal principles subsumed in them. said Gregorio Reyes. 14 It is also its contention that reliance on the decision and amendatory order in Civil Case No. C385 of the CFI at Calauag. at a time when he was disqualified to acquire ownership of land in the Philippines (ART XIII." in a decision promulgated on March 25. since that constitutional principle has no retrospective application. 14. the conveyances were made before the 1935 Constitution went into effect. hence. 1973 Constitution). at a time when there was no prohibition against acquisition of private agricultural lands by aliens.interest of the original adjudicates are inadequate for the purpose. furthermore. challenged the correctness of the Order and appealed it to the Court of Appeals. 5. that since the death of Gregorio Reyes Uy Un in San Narciso. through the Solicitor General. at the instance of the original parties thereto. 18Gregorio Reyes Uy Un therefore acquired good title to the lands thus purchased by him. Chua Kim's adopting parent. are by firmly entrenched rule binding on and may not be reviewed by this Court. The Republic's theory is that the conveyances to Chua Kim were made while he was still an alien. The Solicitor General argues that — 1) the deeds and instruments presented by Chua Kim to prove the conveyance to him of the lands in question by the successor-in. respectively. It is a fact that the lands in dispute were properly and formally adjudicated by a competent Court to the Spouses Gaspar and to the Spouses Marquez in fee simple. prior to his taking oath as a naturalized Philippine citizen on January 7. 16 The conclusions of fact of the Intermediate Appellate Court. and that the latter had afterwards conveyed said lands to Gregorio Reyes Uy Un. 1935 Constitution. Gregorio Reyes Uy Un. It was indeed Chua Kim's being in possession of the property in concept of owner. that compromise . 13 Still not satisfied. 1934 and December 30. As already mentioned.e. Plainly. 20 It is a fact. Quezon. that were the factors that caused his involvement in Civil Case No. and 2) Chua Kim has not proven his qualification to own private agricultural land at the time of the alleged acquisition of the property in question. 1934. his asserted titles are null and void. 22 and his participation in the Compromise Agreement later executed by all parties. without protest whatever from any person. C-385 of the CFI. Chua Kim @ Uy Teng Be had been in continuous possession of the lands in concept of owner.167 The Republic of the Philippines.

. hereby stipulate and agree that the facts involved in this litigation are as follows:. 1955 SOCORRO VASQUEZ. It is no longer owned by a disqualified vendee... the petition is DISMISSED. vs. is to preserve the nation's land for future generations of Filipinos. the ruling was as follows: . Giap and Li Seng Giap & Sons (96 Phil. in line with this Court's rulings relative to persons similarly situated. and the judgment of the Intermediate Appellate Court subject thereof AFFIRMED in toto. that aim or purpose would not be thwarted but achieved by making lawful the acquisition of real estate by aliens who became Filipino citizens by naturalization. Applying by analogy the ruling of this Court in Vasquez vs. JJ. described in the complaint. . 24 In Sarsosa Vda.R. Be this as it may. The litigated property is now in the hands of a naturalized Filipino. Lee. as construed by this Court in the Krivenko case.. The case was decided upon the following stipulation of facts: Plaintiff and defendants in the above-entitled case. LI SENG GIAPand LI SENG GIAP & SONS. if the ban on aliens from acquiring not only agricultural but also urban lands. Cuenco. concur. WHEREFORE. approved by judgment rendered on July 29. by their respective attorneys. 23implicity recognized Chua Kim's title to the lands in question. . Griño-Aquino and Medialdea. as a naturalized citizen. Sarte for appellant. J. 1970. defendants-appellees. Orendain and Guzman for appellees. PADILLA. Respondent.: This is an action to rescind the sale of a parcel of land together with the improvements erected thereon. No.168 agreement. G. was constitutionally qualified to own the subject property. the acquisition by Chua Kim of Philippine citizenship should foreclose any further debate regarding the title to the property in controversy. on the ground that the vendee was an alien and under the Constitution incapable to own and hold title to lands. Jose S. Cruz. L-3676 January 31.. de Barsobia v. 447 [1955]). for instance. SO ORDERED. plaintiff-appellant. 113 SCRA 547. Gancayco. There would be no more public policy to be served in allowing petitioner Epifania to recover the land as it is already in the hands of a qualified person. which was sold by the plaintiff to the defendant Li Seng Giap on 22 January 1940.

on the SW. That on January 22. the above-mentioned parcel. 2809.579. R-603 dated May 24. G. City of Manila. Inc. VI.. That defendant Li Seng Giap & Sons.. 192). Inc: Names Citizenship No. on the SE.00). 23. more particularly bounded and described as follows:. plaintiff sold and transferred to defendant Li Seng Giap. by Lot No. together with the improvements thereon. * * * containing an area of four hundred twenty-three square meters and forty-five square decimeters (423. by lot No.169 That plaintiff and defendant Li Seng Giap are. 1940. III.500. That the following are the names and respective citizenship and shareholdings of the present stockholders of Li Seng Giap & Sons. whose shareholdings then were owned by Chinese citizens. 22-B. . and duly authorized by its articles of incorporation to own.R.45) more or less..67 per cent of its stock being owned by Filipinos. by Calle Magdalena. Bounded on the NE. and on the NW. 21. That on August 21. 59684 of the Office of the Register of Deeds for the city of Manila on August 23. 1941. is now a Filipino corporation. defendant Li Seng Giap sold and transferred unto defendant Li Seng Giap & Sons. 515. Block No. Cadastral Record No. Philippines. situated in the District of Tondo. for the sum of P14. and were at all times mentioned herein. 96. is a corporation duly organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Philippines.L. Inc.500. 22-A of the subdivision plan Psd-15360. Inc. and duly registered under Transfer Certificate of Title No. A PARCEL OF LAND (Lot No. under Certificate of Naturalization No. 1940. 2809. a parcel of land together with a house of strong materials existing thereon. being a portion of Lot No. with principal office in the City of Manila. of Shares Per cent Total Amount. of legal age and residents of the City of Manila. That defendant Li Seng Giap was duly naturalized as a Filipino citizen on May 10. 2809 of the Cadastral survey of Manila. (Assessed Value — P15. IV. 1940. then Chinese citizen. II.O. by Lot No. 1946. 22. acquire or dispose of real properties. for the same sum of P14. Philippines. V. that defendant Li Seng Giap & Sons. 2809. Block No. Block No. Block No. the records of which were duly reconstituted under an order of this Honorable Court in Case No.

1948. under Certificate of Naturalization No. By: (Sgd. the majority of this Court has ruled that in Sales of real estate to aliens incapable of holding title thereto by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution 1 both the vendor and the vendee are deemed to have . Manila. 1946. VIII.67 P340.33 20. 4331. Gaz.. Manila. a Filipino citizen.33 20. R-604 dated May 24. ORENDAIN.00 Thomas J.00 Anthony P. 49 Off.00. under Certificate of Naturalization No.000. Gaz. She has appealed. September 7.33 20. under Certificate of Naturalization No.. 49 Off. Yu Chiao. Makiki.. Camarines Norte. Gaz. GUZMAN The Court rendered judgment dismissing the complaint with cost against the plaintiff. Uy 49 Off.000. In Caoile vs. X.000. 1946. 1936. the records of which were duly reconstituted under an order of this Honorable Court in Case No. 4345 and Mercado vs. Gaz. That Henry Lee was duly naturalized as a Filipino citizen on October 21. SARTE Counsel for the Plaintiff Room 213 Central Hotel. Lee Filipino 200 3. Lee Chinese 200 3. Lee was duly naturalized as a Filipino citizen on May 10.00 William Lee Filipino 200 3. 4321.00 120.33 20. Li Seng Giap. R-407 dated May 24.000. IX.000 100. That Julia M. 516. 5360.170 Li Seng Giap Filipino 3. Manila.. Bautista vs. 1949. XI.000.. 2 of the Court of First Instance of Daet.400 56. That William Lee was duly naturalized as a Filipino citizen on November 1.) JOSE S.000. 49 Off. Gaz. & GUZMAN Counsel for the Defendants 60 Novaliches St.00% P600. That Sofia Lee Teehankee is a Filipino citizen being married to Dr.33 20. LEE. VII.200 20. 49 Off.00 Julian M. Respectfully Submitted: (Sgd. Lee Filipino 200 3. That Thomas J. Philippines. 1941. Rafael Teehankee.33 20.00 Sofia Lee Teehankee Filipino 200 3.000.00 Tang Ho de Li Seng Giap Filipino 1.000. Talento vs. Lee and Charles Lee are both Filipinos by operation of law as they were both minors when their father. became a Filipino citizen on May 10. Go Bio. Rellosa vs. Gaw Chee. 4331. 1941.) LEONARDO M.000..00 Henry Lee Filipino 200 3. the records of which were duly reconstituted under an order of this Honorable Court in Case No. 352.00 6.

5 However. 4 It is very likely that the majority of this Court proceeded upon that theory when it applied the in pari delicto rule referred to above. como declara el art. comopuede suceder. is also the rule under the Civil Code. 6 The Rule in the United States that in a sale of real estate to an alien disqualified to hold title thereto. on nullity of contracts. ya quela nulidad es independiente de la lesion. y es licito al favorecido economicamente por el contrato pedir la nulidad basandose en causas a el no imputables.el contrato celebrado con un incapaz por quien ignora que lo es: eneste ejemplo es indudable que la persona capaz no podra pedir lanulidad fundado en la incapacidad de la otra. the vendor divests himself of the title to such real estate and is not permitted to sue for the annulment of his contract. and his subsequent naturalization as a Filipino citizen cannot retroact to the date of the conveyance to make it .300.3 The action is not of rescission because it is not postulated upon any of the grounds provided for in Article 1291 of the old Civil Code and because the action of rescission involves lesion or damage and seeks to repair it. In the United States the rule is that in a sale of real estate to an alien disqualified to hold title thereto the vendor divests himself of the title to such real estate and has no recourse against the vendee despite the latter's disability on account of alienage to hold title to such real estate and the vendee may hold it against the whole except as against the State.puede complicarse cuando coexisten dos defectos del contrato. (Supra. Sencilla la regla contenida en el parrafo segundo de este articulo. pero esta expresion puede conducir a ideas equivocadas. if the State does not commence such proceedings and in the meantime the alien becomes naturalized citizen the State is deemed to have waived its right to escheat the real property and the title of the alien thereto becomes lawful and valid as of the date of its conveyance or transfer to him. It is an action for annulment under Chapter VI. Book II. the contract of sale was null or void and may be annulled.". Algunos la expresan diciendo que solo puede intrenar aquella el perjudicado. * * *Article 1302 of the old Civil Code provides: * * *Persons sui juris cannot.2 From this ruling three Justices dissented. It is only the State that is entitled by proceedings in the nature of office found to have a forfeiture or escheat declared against the vendee who is incapable of holding title to the real estate sold and conveyed to him. derivandose a veces de un mismo hecho. however. verbigracia. Manresa's comment on this clause of article 1302 of the Civil Code is as follows:. pp. y en cambio no autoriza la ley el caso inverso. Appellant argues that if at the time of the conveyance of the real property the appellee was incapable of holding title to such real estate.— Es la segunda de las condiciones necesarias para el ejercicio de la accion. 1. * * *. based on a defect in the contract which invalidates it independently of such lesion or damages.709-709. Irresponsabilidad del defecto alegada.171 committed the constitutional violation and being thus in pari delicto the courts will not afford protection to either party. pero si alegar elerror o el dolo que padeciera si las circunstancias del sujetoeran de decisiva influencia en el contrato. avail themselves of the incapacity of those with whom they contracted.). Title II.

and not after. The judgment appealed from is affirmed.B. if the ban on aliens from acquiring not only agricultural but also urban lands.. concurring:. JJ. Montemayor. as construed by this Court in the Krivenko case. J.. I fully concur with the opinion of Justice Padilla.. Paras.. since he was naturalized in 1941.L. Jugo. the action to annul was filed. that aim or purpose would not be thwarted but achieved by making lawful the acquisition of real estate by aliens who became Filipino citizens by naturalization. Bengzon. must also be valid. being valid that of the domestic corporation to which the parcel of land has been transferred. had likewise become Filipino citizens before. is to preserve the nation's lands for future generations of Filipinos. C. The title to the parcel of land of the vendee. Pablo. Li Seng Giap & Sons..172 lawful and valid. the disability of the original vendee had been already removed. Reyes. . and Labrador.67 per cent of its capital stock being owned by Filipinos. Bautista Angelo. as an additional reason for the decision in the present case. who hold more than 60 per cent of its capital stock. However.J. A. 96. that when this action was instituted in 1948. without costs. a naturalized Filipino citizen. but wish to stress. Separate Opinions REYES.. and that the stockholders of the second transferee. concur. Inc. J.