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Land Titles and Deeds IPRA Law vis a vis Regalian
Cruz, a noted constitutionalist, assailed the validity of
the RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act on
the ground that the law amount to an unlawful
deprivation of the States ownership over lands of the
public domain as well as minerals and other natural
resources therein, in violation of the regalian doctrine
embodied in Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution.
The IPRA law basically enumerates the rights of the
indigenous peoples over ancestral domains which may
include natural resources. Cruz et al contend that, by
providing for an all-encompassing definition of
ancestral domains and ancestral lands which might
even include private lands found within said areas,
Sections 3(a) and 3(b) of said law violate the rights of
private landowners.
ISSUE: Whether or not the IPRA law is unconstitutional.
HELD: The SC deliberated upon the matter. After
deliberation they voted and reached a 7-7 vote. They
deliberated again and the same result transpired. Since
there was no majority vote, Cruzs petition was
dismissed and the IPRA law was sustained. Hence,
ancestral domains may include public domain
somehow against the regalian doctrine.


Ownership; by acquisitive prescription.
Assuming that the subject land may be acquired by
prescription, we cannot accept petitioners claim of
acquisition by prescription. Petitioners admitted that
they had occupied the property by tolerance of the
owner thereof. Having made this admission, they
cannot claim that they have acquired the property by
prescription unless they can prove acts of repudiation.
It is settled that possession, in order to ripen into
ownership, must be in the concept of an owner, public,
peaceful and uninterrupted. Possession not in the
concept of owner, such as the one claimed by
petitioners, cannot ripen into ownership by acquisitive
prescription, unless the juridical relation is first
expressly repudiated and such repudiation has been
communicated to the other party. Acts of possessory
character executed due to license or by mere tolerance
of the owner are inadequate for purposes of acquisitive
prescription. Possession by tolerance is not adverse
and such possessory acts, no matter how long
performed, do not start the running of the period of
In the instant case, petitioners made no effort to allege
much less prove any act of repudiation sufficient for
the reckoning of the acquisitive prescription. At most,
we can find on record the sale by petitioners Delfin and
Agustin of parts of the property to petitioners Maynard

and Jose; but the same was done only in 1998, shortly
before respondent filed a case against them. Hence,
the 30-year period necessary for the operation of
acquisitve prescription had yet to be attained. Delfin
Lamsis, et al. vs. Margarita Semon Dong-e; G.R. No.
173021, October 20, 2010.


Public Land Act; alienable and disposable land.
Public Land Act requires that the applicant for
registration must prove (a) that the land is alienable
public land; and (b) that the open, continuous,
exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of
the land must have been either since time immemorial
or for the period prescribed in the Public Land Act.
Certifications of the DENR are not sufficient to prove
the foregoing. DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No.
20, 18 dated 30 May 1988, delineated the functions
and authorities of the offices within the DENR. Under
DAO No. 20, series of 1988, the CENRO issues
certificates of land classification status for areas below
50 hectares. Further, it is not enough for the PENRO or
CENRO to certify that a land is alienable and
disposable. The applicant for land registration must
prove that the DENR Secretary had approved the land
classification and released the land of the public
domain as alienable and disposable, and that the land
subject of the application for registration falls within
the approved area per verification through survey by
the PENRO or CENRO. In addition, the applicant for land
registration must present a copy of the original
classification approved by the DENR Secretary and
certified as a true copy by the legal custodian of the
official records. These facts must be established to
prove that the land is alienable and disposable.
Respondent failed to do so because the certifications
presented by respondent do not, by themselves, prove
that the land is alienable and disposable. The CENRO is
not the official repository or legal custodian of the
issuances of the DENR Secretary declaring public lands
as alienable and disposable. The CENRO should have
attached an official publication of the DENR Secretarys
issuance declaring the land alienable and disposable.
Republic of the Philippines v. Lucia Gomez, G.R. No.
189021, February 22, 2012.


Parties; action for reversion of public land can be
instituted only by State.
In her Comment, private respondent asserts that
petitioners have no personality to question the validity
of the sales patent and the original certificate of title
issued in her name. She maintains that only the
government, through the [Office of the Solicitor
General], may file an action for reversion on the
ground of fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. As to the
second issue, private respondent claims that
petitioners annulment suit has prescribed pursuant to
Section of Presidential Decree No. 1529. At the outset,


we must point out that petitioners complaint
questioning the validity of the sales patent and the
original certificate of title over Lot No. 47 is, in reality,
a reversion suit. The objective of an action for
reversion of public land is the cancellation of the
certificate of title and the resulting reversion of the
land covered by the title to the State. This is why an
action for reversion is oftentimes designated as an
annulment suit or a cancellation suit.
Coming now to the first issue, Section 101 of the Public
Land Act clearly states:
SEC. 101. All actions for the reversion to the
Government of lands of the public domain or
improvements thereon shall be instituted by the
Solicitor General or the officer acting in his stead, in
the proper courts, in the name of the Republic of the
Even assuming that private respondent indeed
acquired title to Lot No. 47 in bad faith, only the State
can institute reversion proceedings, pursuant to
Section 101 of the Public Land Act and our ruling
in Alvarico v. Sola. Private persons may not bring an
action for reversion or any action which would have the
effect of canceling a land patent and the corresponding
certificate of title issued on the basis of the patent,
such that the land covered thereby will again form part
of the public domain. Only the OSG or the officer
acting in his stead may do so. Since the title originated
from a grant by the government, its cancellation is a
the grantor and
Similarly, in Urquiaga v. CA, this Court held that there
is no need to pass upon any allegation of actual fraud
in the acquisition of a title based on a sales patent.
Private persons have no right or interest over land
considered public at the time the sales application was
filed. They have no personality to question the validity
of the title. We further stated that granting, for the
sake of argument, that fraud was committed in
obtaining the title, it is the State, in a reversion case,
which is the proper party to file the necessary action.
In this case, it is clear that Lot No. 47 was public land
when Andrada filed the sales patent application. Any
subsequent action questioning the validity of the award
of sales patent on the ground of fraud, deceit, or
misrepresentation should thus be initiated by the
State. The State has not done so and thus, we have to
uphold the validity and regularity of the sales patent as
well as the corresponding original certificate of title
issued based on the patent. Vicente Cawis, etc., et al.
vs. Hon. Antonio Cerilles, et al., G.R. No. 170207, April
19, 2010.


confirmation of incomplete or imperfect titles;

There must be an express declaration by the State

that the public dominion property is no longer intended
for public service or the development of the national
wealth or that the property has been converted into
patrimonial. Without such express declaration, the
property, even if classified as alienable or disposable,
remains property of the public dominion, pursuant to
Article 420(2), and thus incapable of acquisition by
prescription. It is only when such alienable and
disposable lands are expressly declared by the State to
be no longer intended for public service or for the
development of the national wealth that the period of
acquisitive prescription can begin to run. Such
declaration shall be in the form of a law duly enacted
by Congress or a Presidential Proclamation in cases
where the President is duly authorized by law.
For one to invoke the provisions of Section 14(2) and
set up acquisitive prescription against the State, it is
primordial that the status of the property as
patrimonial be first established. Furthermore, the
period of possession preceding the classification of the
property as patrimonial cannot be considered in
determining the completion of the prescriptive period.
Adverse, continuous, open, public possession in the
concept of an owner is a conclusion of law and the
burden to prove it by clear, positive and convincing
evidence is on the applicant. A claim of ownership will
not proper on the basis of tax declarations if
unaccompanied by proof of actual possession.
The counting of the thirty (30)-year prescriptive period
for purposes of acquiring ownership of a public land
under Section 14(2) can only start from the issuance of
DARCO Conversion Order. Before the property was
declared patrimonial by virtue of such conversion
order, it cannot be acquired by prescription. Jean Tan,
et al. vs. Republic of the Philippines; G.R. No. 193443,
April 16, 2012.

Heirs of Malabanan v. Republic

Applicants under 14(1) of PD 1529 in relation to
sec 48(b) of CA 141 acquire ownership of, and
registrable title to, such lands based on the length and
quality of their possession. It is sufficient that the land
be declared alienable and disposable at the time of the
filing for the application for judicial confirmation of
imperfect title and the land need not be alienable and
disposable during the entire period of possession.
Under 14(2) of PD 1529, applicants acquire
ownership of the lands through prescription in the Civil
Code. However, the applicants may only acquire
patrimonial lands of the public domain, which only
become such after they have been declared alienable
and disposable and there must also be an express
government manifestation that the property is already
patrimonial or no longer retained for public service or
the development of national wealth under Article 422
of the Civil Code. Only when the land has become
patrimonial property can the prescriptive period for the


acquisition of property of the public dominion begin to