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REPUBLIC VS.

CA AND NAGUIT

FACTS:
Corazon Naguit filed a petition for registration of title which seeks judicial confirmation of her imperfect title over a
parcel of land in Nabas, Aklan. It was alleged that Naguit and her predecessors-in-interest have occupied the land openly
and in the concept of owner without any objection from any private person or even the government until she filed her
application for registration. The MCTC rendered a decision confirming the title in the name of Naguit upon failure of Rustico
Angeles to appear during trial after filing his formal opposition to the petition.

The Solicitor General, representing the Republic of the Philippines, filed a motion for reconsideration on the grounds
that the property which is in open, continuous and exclusive possession must first be alienable. Naguit could not have
maintained a bona fide claim of ownership since the subject land was declared as alienable and disposable only on October
15, 1980. The alienable and disposable character of the land should have already been established since June 12, 1945 or
earlier.

ISSUE:
Whether or not it is necessary under Section 14 (1) of the Property Registration Decree that the subject land be first
classified as alienable and disposable before the applicants possession under a bona fide claim of ownership could
even start.

RULING:
Section 14 (1) merely requires that the property sought to be registered as already alienable and disposable at the
time the application for registration of title is filed.

There are three requirements for registration of title, (1) that the subject property is alienable and disposable; (2) that
the applicants and their predecessor-in-interest have been in open, continuous, and exclusive possession and occupation,
and; (3) that the possession is under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945.

There must be a positive act of the government through a statute or proclamation stating the intention of the State to
abdicate its exclusive prerogative over the property, thus, declaring the land as alienable and disposable. However, if there
has been none, it is presumed that the government is still reserving the right to utilize the property and the possession of the
land no matter how long would not ripen into ownership through acquisitive prescription.

To follow the Solicitor Generals argument in the construction of Section 14 (1) would render the paragraph 1 of the
said provision inoperative for it would mean that all lands of public domain which were not declared as alienable and
disposable before June 12, 1945 would not be susceptible to original registration, no matter the length of unchallenged
possession by the occupant. In effect, it precludes the government from enforcing the said provision as it decides to
reclassify lands as alienable and disposable.

The land in question was found to be cocal in nature, it having been planted with coconut trees now over fifty years
old. The inherent nature of the land but confirms its certification in 1980 as alienable, hence agricultural. There is no
impediment to the application of Section 14 (1) of the Property Registration Decree. Naguit had the right to apply for
registration owing to the continuous possession by her and her predecessors-in-interest of the land since 1945.