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48. G.R. Nos.

L-66075-76 July 5, 1990 WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby made:

EULOGIO AGUSTIN, HEIRS OF BALDOMERO LANGCAY, ARTURO BALISI & JUAN In Civil Case No. 343-T, commanding Eulogio Agustin, Gregorio Tuliao, Jacinto Buquel
LANGCAY, petitioners, and Octavio Bancud, or anybody acting as their representative[s] or agents to vacate Lot
vs. No. 3351 of Solana Cadastre together with its accretion consisting of portions of Lots 9463,
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, MARIA MELAD, TIMOTEO MELAD, PABLO BINAYUG & 9462 and 9461 of Tuguegarao Cadastre and for these defendants to restore ownership in
GERONIMA UBINA, respondents. favor of Maria Melad and Timoteo Melad who are the only interested heirs of Macario
Melad.
GRIO-AQUINO, J.:
In Civil Case No. 344-T, commanding defendants Justo Adduru, Andres Pastor, Teofilo
The Cagayan River separates the towns of Solana on the west and Tuguegarao on the east in the province Tagacay, Vicente Camilan, Nicanor Mora, Baldomero Cagurangan, Domingo Quilang,
of Cagayan. According to the unrebutted testimony of Romeo Rigor, Geodetic Engineer of the Bureau of Cesar Cabalza, Elias Macababbad, Titong Macababbad, Arturo Balisi, Jose Allabun,
Lands, in 1919 the lands east of the river were covered by the Tuguegarao Cadastre. In 1925, Original Eulogio Agustin, Banong Aquino, Junior Cambri and Juan Langoay, or any of their agents
Certificate of Title No. 5472 was issued for land east of the Cagayan River owned by defendant-petitioner or representatives to vacate the Lots 3349, 7876, 7877, 7878, 7879, 7875, 7881, 7882,
Eulogio Agustin (Exh. 2-Agustin). 7883, 7884, 7885, 7891 and 7892, together with its accretion and to restore possession to
plaintiffs Pablo Binayug and Geronima Ubina. Without pronouncement as to damages
which were not properly proven and to costs.
As the years went by, the Cagayan River moved gradually eastward, depositing silt on the western bank. The
shifting of the river and the siltation continued until 1968.
SO ORDERED. (As amended by the order dated August 15, 1975.) (pp. 24-25, Rollo.)
In 1950, all lands west of the river were included in the Solana Cadastre. Among these occupying lands
covered by the Solana Cadastre were plaintiffs-private respondents, namely, Pablo Binayug, who has been Only defendant-petitioner Eulogio Agustin appealed in Civil Case No. 343-T, while in Civil Case No. 344-T,
in possession of Lots 3349, 7876, 7877, 7878, 7879, 7875, 7881, 7882, 7883, 7884, 7885, 7891 and 7892, only defendants-petitioners Eulogio Agustin, Baldomero Cagurangan (substituted by his heir), Arturo Balisi
and Maria Melad, who owns Lot 3351 (Exh. 3-Binayug; Exh. B-Melad). Pablo Binayug began his possession and Juan Langcay appealed. But upon motion of plaintiffs-private respondents, the trial court ordered the
in 1947. An area of eight (8) hectares was planted to tobacco and corn while 12 hectares were overgrown execution pending appeal of the judgment in Civil Case No. 344-T against Cagurangan, Balisi and Langcay
with talahib (Exh. C-1 Binayug.) Binayug's Homestead Application No. W-79055 over this land was approved on the ground that their appeal was dilatory as they had not presented evidence at the trial (Order dated
in 1959 (Exh. B-Binayug). Binayug's possession was recognized in the decision in Civil Case No. 101 (Exh. August 15, 1975).
F-Binayug). On the other hand, as a result of Civil Case No. 343-T, Macario Melad, the predecessor-in-
interest of Maria Melad and Timoteo Melad, was issued Original Certificate of Title No. P-5026 for Lot 3351 On November 29, 1983, the Intermediate Appellate Court rendered a decision affirming in toto the judgment
of Cad. 293 on June 1, 1956. of the trial court, with costs against the defendants-appellants.

Through the years, the Cagayan River eroded lands of the Tuguegarao Cadastre on its eastern bank among In their petition for review of that decision, the petitioners allege that the Court of Appeals erred:
which was defendant-petitioner Eulogio Agustin's Lot 8457 (Exh. E-Melad), depositing the alluvium as
accretion on the land possessed by Pablo Binayug on the western bank. 1. in declaring that the land in question had become part of private respondents' estate as
a result of accretion;
However, in 1968, after a big flood, the Cagayan River changed its course, returned to its 1919 bed, and, in
the process, cut across the lands of Maria Melad, Timoteo Melad, and the spouses Pablo Binayug and 2. in declaring that the accretion to private respondents' estate which used to pertain to
Geronima Ubina whose lands were transferred on the eastern, or Tuguegarao, side of the river. To cultivate petitioners' estate cannot preclude the private respondents from being the owners thereof;
those lots they had to cross the river. and

In April, 1969, while the private respondents and their tenants were planting corn on their lots located on the 3. in declaring that the ownership of private respondents over the accretion is not affected
eastern side of the Cagayan River, the petitioners, accompanied by the mayor and some policemen of by the sudden and abrupt change in the course of the Cagayan River when it reverted to
Tuguegarao, claimed the same lands as their own and drove away the private respondents from the its old bed
premises.
The petition is unmeritorious and must be denied.
On April 21, 1970, private respondents Maria Melad and Timoteo Melad filed a complaint (Civil Case No.
343-T) to recover Lot No. 3351 with an area of 5 hectares and its 6.6-hectare accretion. On April 24, 1970,
private respondent Pablo Binayug filed a separate complaint (Civil Case No. 344-T) to recover his lots and The finding of the Court of Appeals that there had been accretions to the lots of the private respondents who
their accretions. did not lose the ownership of such accretions even after they were separated from the principal lots by the
sudden change of course of the river, is a finding of fact which is conclusive on this Court. That finding is
supported by Art. 457 of the New Civil Code which provides:
On June 16, 1975, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
1
Art. 457. To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion which In the case at bar, the sudden change of course of the Cagayan River as a result of a strong typhoon
they gradually receive from the effects of the current of the waters. (366) in 1968 caused a portion of the lands of the private respondents to be "separated from the estate
by the current." The private respondents have retained the ownership of the portion that was
Accretion benefits a riparian owner when the following requisites are present: (1) that the deposit be gradual transferred by avulsion to the other side of the river.
and imperceptible; (2) that it resulted from the effects of the current of the water; and (3) that the land where
accretion takes place is adjacent to the bank of a river (Republic vs. CA, 132 SCRA 514). WHEREFORE, the petition is denied for lack of merit. The decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court, now
Court of Appeals, is hereby affirmed. Costs against the petitioners.
All these requisites of accretion are present in this case for, as the trial court found:
SO ORDERED.
. . . Cagayan River did move year by year from 1919 to 1968 or for a period of 49 years.
Within this period, the alluvium (sic) deposited on the other side has become greater in Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Gancayco and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
area than the original lands of the plaintiffs in both cases. Still the addition in every year is
imperceptible in nature, one could not discern it but can be measured after the lapse of a
certain time. The testimonial evidence in these cases that said Cagayan River moved
eastward year by year is overwhelming as against the denial of defendant Eulogio Agustin
alone. Cesar Caronan, one time mayor of Solana, Cagayan, said so. Arturo Taguian said
so. Timoteo Melad said so. Francisco Ubina said so. Geodetic Engineer Rigor impliedly
said so when he testified that when Solana Cadastre was executed in 1950 it overlapped
portions of Tuguegarao Cadastre executed in 1919. This could not have happened if that
part of Tuguegarao Cadastre was not eroded by the overflow of the Cagayan River. These
testimonies cannot be destroyed by the denials of Vicente Cauilan, Marcelo Agustin and
Eulogio Agustin alone . . . . (p. 27, Rollo.)

The appellate court confirmed that the accretion on the western bank of the Cagayan River had been going
on from 1919 up to 1968 or for a period of 49 years. It was gradual and imperceptible. Only when Lot No.
3351, with an original area of 5 hectares described in the free patent that was issued to Macario Melad in
June 1956, was resurveyed in 1968 did it become known that 6.6 hectares had been added to it. Lot No.
3351, covered by a homestead patent issued in June, 1950 to Pablo Binayug, grew from its original area of
18 hectares, by an additional 50 hectares through alluvium as the Cagayan River gradually moved to the
east. These accretions belong to riparian owners upon whose lands the alluvial deposits were made (Roxas
vs. Tuason, 9 Phil. 408; Director of Lands vs. Rizal, 87 Phil. 806). The reason for this principle is because, if
lands bordering on streams are exposed to floods and other damage due to the destructive force of the
waters, and if by virtue of law they are subject to encumbrances and various kinds of easements, it is only
just that such risks or dangers as may prejudice the owners thereof should in some way be compensated by
the right of accretion (Cortes vs. City of Manila, 10 Phil. 567).itc-asl

The private respondents' ownership of the accretion to their lands was not lost upon the sudden and abrupt
change of the course of the Cagayan River in 1968 or 1969 when it reverted to its old 1919 bed, and separated
or transferred said accretions to the other side (or eastern bank) of the river. Articles 459 and 463 of the New
Civil Code apply to this situation.

Art. 459. Whenever the current of a river, creek or torrent segregates from an estate on its
bank a known portion of land and transfers it to another estate, the owner of the land to
which the segregated portion belonged retains the ownership of it, provided that he
removes the same within two years.

Art. 463. Whenever the current of a river divides itself into branches, leaving a piece of
land or part thereof isolated, the owner of the land retains his ownership. He also retains it
if a portion of land is separated from the estate by the current. (Emphasis supplied).

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49. G.R. No. L-43346 March 20, 1991 Private respondents Rosendo, Amparo and Florencia, all surnamed del Rosario (Del Rosarios), lodged a
complaint with the Court of First Instance of Manila praying, among others, that they be declared the rightful
MARIO C. RONQUILLO, petitioner owners of the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub. Petitioner Mario Ronquillo (Ronquillo) filed a motion to
vs. dismiss the complaint on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the case since the dried-up
THE COURT OF APPEALS, DIRECTOR OF LANDS, DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, portion of Estero Calubcub is public land and, thus, subject to the disposition of the Director of Lands. The
ROSENDO DEL ROSARIO, AMPARO DEL ROSARIO and FLORENCIA DEL ROSARIO, respondents.* Del Rosarios opposed the motion arguing that since they are claiming title to the dried-up portion of Estero
Calubcub as riparian owners, the trial court has jurisdiction. The resolution of the motion to dismiss was
deferred until after trial on the merits.
Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala & Cruz for petitioner.
Before trial, the parties submitted the following stipulation of facts:
REGALADO, J.:
1. That the plaintiffs are the registered owners of Lot 34, Block 9, Sulucan Subdivision covered by
This petition seeks the review of the decision1 rendered by respondent Court of Appeals on September 25, Transfer Certificate of Title No. 34797;
1975 in CA-G.R. No. 32479-R, entitled "Rosendo del Rosario, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, versus Mario
Ronquillo, Defendant-Appellant," affirming in toto the judgment of the trial court, and its amendatory
resolution2 dated January 28, 1976 the dispositive portion of which reads: 2. That said property of the plaintiffs abuts and is adjacent to the dried-up river bed of Estero
Calubcub Sampaloc, Manila;
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of this Court dated September 25, 1975 is hereby
amended in the sense that the first part of the appealed decision is set aside, except the last portion 3. That defendant Mario Ronquillo has no property around the premises in question and is only
"declaring the plaintiffs to be the rightful owners of the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub which is claiming the dried-up portion of the old Estero Calubcub, whereon before October 23, 1961, the
abutting plaintiffs' property," which we affirm, without pronouncement as to costs. larger portion of his house was constructed;

SO ORDERED. 4. That before October 23, 1961, a portion of defendant's house stands (sic) on the above-
mentioned lot belonging to the plaintiffs;
The following facts are culled from the decision of the Court of Appeals:
5. That the plaintiffs and defendant have both filed with the Bureau of Lands miscellaneous sales
application for the purchase of the abandoned river bed known as Estero Calubcub and their sales
It appears that plaintiff Rosendo del Rosario was a registered owner of a parcel of land known as applications, dated August 5, 1958 and October 13, 1959, respectively, are still pending action
Lot 34, Block 9, Sulucan Subdivision, situated at Sampaloc, Manila and covered by Transfer before the Bureau of Lands;
Certificate of Title No. 34797 of the Registry of Deeds of Manila (Exhibit "A"). The other plaintiffs
Florencia and Amparo del Rosario were daughters of said Rosendo del Rosario. Adjoining said lot
is a dried-up portion of the old Estero Calubcub occupied by the defendant since 1945 which is the 6. That the parties hereby reserve their right to prove such facts as are necessary to support their
subject matter of the present action. case but not covered by this stipulation of facts.4

Plaintiffs claim that long before the year 1930, when T.C.T. No. 34797 over Lot No. 34 was issued On December 26, 1962, the trial court rendered judgment the decretal portion of which provides:
in the name of Rosendo del Rosario, the latter had been in possession of said lot including the
adjoining dried-up portion of the old Estero Calubcub having bought the same from Arsenio Arzaga. WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendant to deliver to the plaintiffs the
Sometime in 1935, said titled lot was occupied by Isabel Roldan with the tolerance and consent of portion of the land covered by Transfer Certificate of title No. 34797 which is occupied by him and
the plaintiff on condition that the former will make improvements on the adjoining dried-up portion of to pay for the use and occupation of said portion of land at the rate of P 5.00 a month from the date
the Estero Calubcub. In the early part of 1945 defendant occupied the eastern portion of said titled of the filing of the complaint until such time as he surrenders the same to the plaintiffs and declaring
lot as well as the dried-up portion of the old Estero Calubcub which abuts plaintiffs' titled lot. After a plaintiffs to be the owners of the dried-up portion of estero Calubcub which is abutting plaintiffs'
relocation survey of the land in question sometime in 1960, plaintiffs learned that defendant was property.
occupying a portion of their land and thus demanded defendant to vacate said land when the latter
refused to pay the reasonable rent for its occupancy. However, despite said demand defendant With costs to the defendant.
refused to vacate.
SO ORDERED.5
Defendant on the other hand claims that sometime before 1945 he was living with his sister who
was then residing or renting plaintiffs' titled lot. In 1945 he built his house on the disputed dried-up
portion of the Estero Calubcub with a small portion thereof on the titled lot of plaintiffs. Later in 1961, On appeal, respondent court, in affirming the aforequoted decision of the trial court, declared that since Estero
said house was destroyed by a fire which prompted him to rebuild the same. However, this time it Calubcub had already dried-up way back in 1930 due to the natural change in the course of the waters, under
was built only on the called up portion of the old Estero Calubcub without touching any part of Article 370 of the old Civil Code which it considers applicable to the present case, the abandoned river bed
plaintiffs titled land. He further claims that said dried-up portion is a land of public domain.3 belongs to the Del Rosarios as riparian owners. Consequently, respondent court opines, the dried-up river
3
bed is private land and does not form part of the land of the public domain. It stated further that "(e)ven In a letter dated June 29, 197912 Florencia del Rosario manifested to this Court that Rosendo, Amparo and
assuming for the sake of argument that said estero did not change its course but merely dried up or Casiano del Rosario have all died, and that she is the only one still alive among the private respondents in
disappeared, said dried-up estero would still belong to the riparian owner," citing its ruling in the case this case.
of Pinzon vs. Rama.6
In a resolution dated January 20, 1988,13 the Court required petitioner Ronquillo to implead one Benjamin
Upon motion of Ronquillo, respondent court modified its decision by setting aside the first portion of the trial Diaz pursuant to the former's manifestation14 that the land adjacent to the dried up river bed has already been
court's decision ordering Ronquillo to surrender to the Del Rosarios that portion of land covered by Transfer sold to the latter, and the Solicitor General was also required to inquire into the status of the investigation
Certificate of Title No. 34797 occupied by the former, based on the former's representation that he had being conducted by the Bureau of Lands. In compliance therewith, the Solicitor General presented a letter
already vacated the same prior to the commencement of this case. However, respondent court upheld its from the Director of Lands to the effect that neither of the parties involved in the present case has filed any
declaration that the Del Rosarios are the rightful owners of the dried-up river bed. Hence, this petition. public land application.15

On May 17, 1976, this Court issued a resolution 7 requiring the Solicitor General to comment on the petition On April 3, 1989, petitioner filed an Amended Petition for Certiorari,16 this time impleading the Development
in behalf of the Director of Lands as an indispensable party in representation of the Republic of the Bank of the Philippines (DBP) which subsequently bought the property adjacent to the dried-up river bed from
Philippines, and who, not having been impleaded, was subsequently considered impleaded as such in our Benjamin Diaz. In its resolution dated January 10, 1990, 17 the Court ordered that DBP be impleaded as a
resolution of September 10, 1976.8In his Motion to Admit Comment,9 the Solicitor General manifested that party respondent.
pursuant to a request made by this office with the Bureau of Lands to conduct an investigation, the Chief of
the Legal Division of the Bureau sent a communication informing him that the records of his office "do not In a Comment18 filed on May 9, 1990, DBP averred that "[c]onsidering the fact that the petitioner in this case
show that Mario Ronquillo, Rosendo del Rosario, Amparo del Rosario or Florencia del Rosario has filed any claims/asserts no right over the property sold to Diaz/DBP by the del Rosarios; and considering, on the
public land application covering parcels of land situated at Estero Calubcub Manila as verified by our Records contrary, that Diaz and DBP claims/asserts (sic) no right (direct or indirect) over the property being claimed
Division. by Ronquillo (the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub), it follows, therefore, that the petitioner Ronquillo has
no cause of action against Diaz or DBP. A fortiori from the viewpoint of the classical definition of a cause of
The position taken by the Director of Lands in his Comment 10 filed on September 3, 1978, which was action, there is no legal justification to implead DBP as one of the respondents in this petition." DBP thereafter
reiterated in the Reply dated May 4, 1989 and again in the Comment dated August 17, 1989, explicates: prayed that it be dropped in the case as party respondent.

5. We do not see our way clear to subscribe to the ruling of the Honorable Court of Appeals on this On September 13, 1990, respondent DBP filed a Manifestation/Compliance19 stating that DBP's interest over
point for Article 370 of the Old Civil Code, insofar as ownership of abandoned river beds by the Transfer Certificate of Title No. 139215 issued in its name (formerly Transfer Certificate of Title No. 34797 of
owners of riparian lands are concerned, speaks only of a situation where such river beds were the Del Rosarios and Transfer Certificate of Title No. 135170 of Benjamin Diaz) has been transferred to
abandoned because of a natural change in the course of the waters. Conversely, we submit that if Spouses Victoriano and Pacita A. Tolentino pursuant to a Deed of Sale dated September 11, 1990.
the abandonment was for some cause other than the natural change in the course of the waters,
Article 370 is not applicable and the abandoned bed does not lose its character as a property of Petitioner Ronquillo avers that respondent Court of Appeals committed an error of law and gross abuse of
public dominion not susceptible to private ownership in accordance with Article 502 (No. 1) of the discretion, acted arbitrarily and denied petitioner due process of law (a) when it declared private respondents
New Civil Code. In the present case, the drying up of the bed, as contended by the petitioner, is Del Rosarios the rightful owners of the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub by unduly relying upon decisional
clearly caused by human activity and undeniably not because of the natural change of the course law in the case of Pinzon vs. Rama, ante, which case was decided entirely on a set of facts different from
of the waters (Emphasis in the original text). that obtaining in this case; and (b) when it ignored the undisputed facts in the present case and declared the
dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub as a private property.
In his Comment11 dated August 17, 1989, the Director of Lands further adds:
The main issue posed for resolution in this petition is whether the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub being
8. Petitioner herein and the private respondents, the del Rosarios, claim to have pending sales claimed by herein petitioner was caused by a natural change in the course of the waters; and, corollary
application(s) over the portion of the dried up Estero Calubcub, as stated in pages 4-5, of the thereto, is the issue of the applicability of Article 370 of the old Civil Code.
Amended Petition.
Respondent court, in affirming the findings of the trial court that there was a natural change in the course of
9. However, as stated in the Reply dated May 4, 1989 of the Director of Lands, all sales Estero Calubcub declared that:
application(s) have been rejected by that office because of the objection interposed by the Manila
City Engineer's Office that they need the dried portion of the estero for drainage purposes. The defendant claims that Article 370 of the old Civil Code is not applicable to the instant case
because said Estero Calubcub did not actually change its course but simply dried up, hence, the
10. Furthermore, petitioner and private respondents, the del Rosarios having filed said sales land in dispute is a land of public domain and subject to the disposition of the Director of Land(s).
application(s) are now estopped from claiming title to the Estero Calubcub (by possession for The contention of defendant is without merit. As mentioned earlier, said estero as shown by the
petitioner and by accretion for respondents del Rosarios) because for (sic) they have acknowledged relocation plan (Exhibit "D") did not disappear but merely changed its course by a more
that they do not own the land and that the same is a public land under the administration of the southeasternly (sic) direction. As such, "the abandoned river bed belongs to the plaintiffs-appellees
Bureau of Lands (Director of Lands vs. Santiago, 160 SCRA 186, 194). and said land is private and not public in nature. Hence, further, it is not subject to a Homestead

4
Application by the appellant." (Fabian vs. Paculan CA-G.R. Nos. 21062-63-64-R, Jan. 25 1962). The law is clear and unambiguous. It leaves no room for interpretation.1wphi1 Article 370 applies only if
Even assuming for the sake of argument that said estero did not change its course but merely dried there is a natural change in the course of the waters. The rules on alluvion do not apply to man-made or
up or disappeared, said dried-up estero would still belong to the riparian owner as held by this Court artificial accretions23 nor to accretions to lands that adjoin canals or esteros or artificial drainage
in the case of Pinzon vs. Rama (CA-G.R. No. 8389, Jan. 8, 1943; 2 O.G. 307).20 systems.24 Considering our earlier finding that the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub was actually caused
by the active intervention of man, it follows that Article 370 does not apply to the case at bar and, hence, the
Elementary is the rule that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in cases brought to it from the Court of Del Rosarios cannot be entitled thereto supposedly as riparian owners.
Appeals in a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is limited to the review of errors of law,
and that said appellate court's finding of fact is conclusive upon this Court. However, there are certain The dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub should thus be considered as forming part of the land of the public
exceptions, such as (1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or domain which cannot be subject to acquisition by private ownership. That such is the case is made more
conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly absurd, mistaken or impossible; (3) when there is evident in the letter, dated April 28, 1989, of the Chief, Legal Division of the Bureau of Lands 25 as reported in
grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts; (4) when the judgment is premised on a the Reply of respondent Director of Lands stating that "the alleged application filed by Ronquillo no longer
misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; and (6) when the Court of Appeals in exists in its records as it must have already been disposed of as a rejected application for the reason that
making its findings went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both other applications "covering Estero Calubcub Sampaloc, Manila for areas other than that contested in the
appellant and instant case, were all rejected by our office because of the objection interposed by the City Engineer's office
appellee.21 that they need the same land for drainage purposes". Consequently, since the land is to be used for drainage
purposes the same cannot be the subject of a miscellaneous sales application.
A careful perusal of the evidence presented by both parties in the case at bar will reveal that the change in
the course of Estero Calubcub was caused, not by natural forces, but due to the dumping of garbage therein Lastly, the fact that petitioner and herein private respondents filed their sales applications with the Bureau of
by the people of the surrounding neighborhood. Under the circumstances, a review of the findings of fact of Lands covering the subject dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub cannot but be deemed as outright admissions
respondent court thus becomes imperative. by them that the same is public land. They are now estopped from claiming otherwise.

Private respondent Florencia del Rosario, in her testimony, made a categorical statement which in effect WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from, the remaining effective portion of which declares private
admitted that Estero Calubcub changed its course because of the garbage dumped therein, by the inhabitants respondents Del Rosarios as riparian owners of the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub is hereby
of the locality, thus: REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

Q When more or less what (sic) the estero fully dried up? SO ORDERED.

A By 1960 it is (sic) already dried up except for a little rain that accumulates on the lot when it rains. Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

Q How or why did the Estero Calubcub dried (sic) up?

A It has been the dumping place of the whole neighborhood. There is no street, they dumped all the
garbage there. It is the dumping place of the whole community, sir.22

In addition, the relocation plan (Exhibit "D") which also formed the basis of respondent court's ruling, merely
reflects the change in the course of Estero Calubcub but it is not clear therefrom as to what actually brought
about such change. There is nothing in the testimony of lone witness Florencia del Rosario nor in said
relocation plan which would indicate that the change in the course of the estero was due to the ebb and flow
of the waters. On the contrary, the aforequoted testimony of the witness belies such fact, while the relocation
plan is absolutely silent on the matter. The inescapable conclusion is that the dried-up portion of Estero
Calubcub was occasioned, not by a natural change in the course of the waters, but through the active
intervention of man.

The foregoing facts and circumstances remove the instant case from the applicability of Article 370 of the old
Civil Code which provides:

Art. 370. The beds of rivers, which are abandoned because of a natural change in the course of the
waters, belong to the owners of the riparian lands throughout the respective length of each. If the
abandoned bed divided tenements belonging to different owners the new dividing line shall be
equidistant from one and the other.
5
50. G.R. No. 77294 December 12, 1988 The facts admitted by the parties during the pre-trial show that the piece of real property which used to be
Lot No. 7340 of the Cadastral Survey of Pototan was located in barangay Guibuanogan Pototan, Iloilo; that
ANGELICA VIAJAR and CELSO VIAJAR, plaintiffs-appellants, it consisted of 20,089 square meters; that at the time of the cadastral survey in 1926, Lot No. 7511 and Lot
vs. No. 7340 were separated by the Suague River; that the area of 11,819 square meters of what was Lot No.
COURT OF APPEALS, LEONOR P. LADRIDO, LOURDES LADRIDO IGNACIO, EUGENIO P. LADRIDO 7340 has been in the possession of the defendants; that the area of 14,036 square meters, which was
and L P. LADRIDO, defendants-appellees. formerly the river bed of the Suague River per cadastral survey of 1926, has also been in the possession of
the defendants; and that the plaintiffs have never been in actual physical possession of Lot No. 7340.

After trial on the merits, a second amended complaint which included damages was admitted.
MEDIALDEA, J.:
The plaintiffs raised the following issues to be resolved:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals dated December 29, 1986, in
CA-G.R. CV No. 69942 entitled, "ANGELICA VIAJAR, et. al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, versus LEONOR 1. Whether the change in the course of the Suague River was sudden
LADRIDO, et. al., Defendants-Appellees," affirming the decision of the Court of First Instance (now Regional as claimed by the plaintiffs or gradual as contended by the defendants;
Trial Court) of Iloilo dated December 10, 1981.
2. Assuming arguendo it was gradual, whether or not the plaintiffs are
The antecedent facts in the instant case are as follows: The spouses Ricardo Y. Ladrido and Leonor P. still entitled to Lot "B' appearing in Exhibit "4" and to one-half () of Lot
Ladrido were the owners of Lot No. 7511 of the Cadastral Survey of Pototan situated in barangay Cawayan, "A," also indicated in Exhibit "4;" and
Pototan, Iloilo. This lot contained an area of 154,267 square meters and was registered in the names of the
spouses under Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-21940 of the Register of Deeds of Iloilo. 3. Damages (pp. 12-13, Rollo).

Spouses Rosendo H. Te and Ana Te were also the registered owners of a parcel of land described in their On December 10, 1981, the trial court rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
title as Lot No. 7340 of the Cadastral Survey of Pototan.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the defendants and against the
On September 6, 1973, Rosendo H. Te, with the conformity of Ana Te, sold this lot to Angelica F. Viajar and plaintiffs:
Celso F. Viajar for P5,000. A Torrens title was later issued in the names of Angelica F. Viajar and Celso F.
Viajar. 1. Dismissing the complaint of plaintiffs Angelica F. Viajar and Celso F.
Viajar with costs against them;
Later, Angelica F. Viajar had Lot No. 7340 relocated and found out that the property was in the possession
of Ricardo Y. Ladrido. Consequently, she demanded its return but Ladrido refused. 2. Declaring defendants Leonor P. Ladrido, Lourdes Ladrido-Ignacio,
Eugenio P. Ladrido and Manuel P. Ladrido as owner of the parcel of land
On February 15, 1974, Angelica F. Viajar and Celso F. Viajar instituted a civil action for recovery of indicated as Lots A and B in the sketch plan (Exhs. 'C' as well as '4,' '4-
possession and damages against Ricardo Y. Ladrido. This case was docketed as Civil Case No. 9660 of the B' and '4-C') situated in barangays Cawayan and Guibuanogan Pototan,
Court of First Instance of Iloilo. Summoned to plead, defendant Ladrido filed his answer with a counterclaim. Iloilo, and containing an area of 25,855 square meters, more or less; and
Plaintiffs filed their reply to the answer.
3. Pronouncing that as owners of the land described in the preceding
Subsequently, the complaint was amended to implead Rosendo H. Te as another defendant. Plaintiffs sought paragraph, the defendants are entitled to the possession thereof.
the annulment of the deed of sale and the restitution of the purchase price with interest in the event the
possession of defendant Ladrido is sustained. Defendant Te filed his answer to the amended complaint and Defendants' claim for moral damages and attorney's fees are dismissed.
he counter claimed for damages. Plaintiffs answered the counterclaim.
SO ORDERED (p. 36, Rollo).
During the pendency of the case, plaintiff Celso F. Viajar sold his rights over Lot No. 7340 to his mother and
co-plaintiff, Angelica F. Viajar. For this reason, plaintiff Angelica F. Viajar now appears to be the sole
registered owner of this lot. Not satisfied with the decision, the plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeals and assigned the following
errors:
On May 25, 1978, defendant Ladrido died. He was substituted in the civil action by his wife, Leonor P. Ladrido,
and children, namely: Lourdes Ladrido-Ignacio, Eugenio P. Ladrido and Manuel P. Ladrido, as parties I.
defendants.

6
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT PLAINTIFFS ARE ENTITLED TO The quondam river bed had been filled by accretion through the years. The land is already
LOT B APPEARING IN EXHIBIT "4" AND TO ONE-HALF () OF LOT A IN THE SAID plain and there is no indication on the ground of any abandoned river bed. The river bed is
EXHIBIT "4." definitely no longer discernible now.

II What used to be the old river bed (Lot A) is in level with Lot No. 7511. So are the two other
areas to the East. (Lots B and C) Lots A, B and C are still being cultivated.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT AWARDING DAMAGES TO PLAINTIFFS (p.
42, Rollo). Under the law, accretion which the banks or rivers may gradually receive from the effects
of the current of the waters becomes the property of the owners of the lands adjoining the
As earlier stated, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the court a quo. Plaintiffs (the petitioners banks. (Art. 366, Old Civil Code; Art. 457, New Civil Code which took effect on August 30,
herein) now come to Us claiming that the Court of Appeals palpably erred in affirming the decision of the trial 1950 [Lara v. Del Rosario, 94 Phil. 778]. Therefore, the accretion to Lot No. 7511 which
court on the ground that the change in the course of the Suague River was gradual and not sudden. consists of Lots A and B (see Exhs. 'C' and '4') belongs to the defendants (pp. 34-35,
Record on Appeal).
In the decision appealed from, the Court of Appeals held:
We find no cogent reason to disturb the foregoing finding and conclusion of the lower court.
This appeal is not impressed with merit.
The second assignment of error is a mere offshoot of the first assignment of error and does
not warrant further discussion (pp. 4244, Rollo).
Article 457 of the New Civil Code provides that:
The petition is without merit.
Art. 457. To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the
accretion which they gradually receive from the effects of the current of
the waters. The petitioners contend that the first issue raised during the trial of the case on the merits in the Court of First
Instance, that is, "whether the change in the course of the Suague River was sudden as claimed by the
plaintiffs or gradual as contended by the defendants," was abandoned and never raised by them in their
The presumption is that the change in the course of the river was gradual and caused by appeal to the Court of Appeals. Hence, the Court of Appeals, in holding that the appeal is without merit,
accretion and erosion (Martinez Canas vs. Tuason, 5 Phil. 668; Payatas Estate because of the change of the Suague River was gradual and not sudden, disposed of the appeal on an issue
Improvement Co. vs. Tuason, 53 Phil. 55; C.H. Hodges vs. Garcia, 109 Phil. 133). In the that was never raised and, accordingly, its decision is void. In support of its contention, petitioners cite the
case at bar, the lower court correctly found that the evidence introduced by the plaintiff to following authorities:
show that the change in the course of the Suague River was sudden or that it occurred
through avulsion is not clear and convincing.
It is a well-known principle in procedure that courts of justice have no jurisdiction or power
to decide a question not in issue (Lim Toco vs. Go Fay, 80 Phil. 166).
Contrariwise, the lower court found that:
A judgment going outside the issues and purporting to adjudicate something upon which
... the defendants have sufficiently established that for many years after 1926 a gradual the parties were not heard, is not merely irregular, but extra-judicial and invalid ( Salvante
accretion on the eastern side of Lot No. 7511 took place by action of the current of the vs. Cruz, 88 Phil. 236-244; Lazo vs. Republic Surety & Insurance Co., Inc., 31 SCRA 329,
Suague River so that in 1979 an alluvial deposit of 29,912 square meters (2.9912 334).
hectares), more or less, had been added to Lot No. 7511. (Exhs. '1' as well as Exhs. 'C'
and '4'). Apropos it should be observed that the accretion consisted of Lot A with an area
of 14,036 square meters; Lot B, 11,819 square meters; and Lot C, 4,057 square meters. The pivotal issue in the petitioners' appeal was whether the change in the course of the Suague River was
(Exhs. '4-B,' '4-C' and '4-D'). Only Lot C is not involved in this litigation. (See Pre-trial gradual or sudden because the trial court below resolved the same in its decision thus subjecting the same
Order, supra) to review by respondent appellate court. By simply abandoning this issue, the petitioners cannot hope that
the affirmance of the decision wherein this issue was resolved makes the decision of the Court of Appeals
void. In effect, the petitioners are expounding a new procedural theory that to render a questioned decision
The established facts indicate that the eastern boundary of Lot No. 7511 was the Suague void, all that has to be done is to simply abandon on appeal the pivotal issue as resolved by the lower court
River based on the cadastral plan. For a period of more than 40 years (before 1940 to and when its decision is affirmed on appeal, attack the decision of the appellate court as void on the principle
1980) the Suague River overflowed its banks yearly and the property of the defendant that a court of justice has no jurisdiction or power to decide the question not in issue. This is not correct. Even
gradually received deposits of soil from the effects of the current of the river. The the authorities cited by the petitioners, more specifically the Salvante and Lazo cases, supra, do not support
consequent increase in the area of Lot No. 7511 due to alluvion or accretion was their contention. They were heard in the trial court and they cannot complain that the proceeding below was
possessed by the defendants whose tenants plowed and planted the same with coin and irregular and hence, invalid.
tobacco.

7
The trial court found that the change in the course of the Suague River was gradual and this finding was incidents to land bordering on running streams and the provisions of the Civil Code in that
affirmed by the respondent Court of Appeals. We do not find any valid reason to disturb this finding of fact. respect are not affected by the Registration Act.

Article 457 of the New Civil Code (reproduced from Article 366 of the Old), the law applied by the courts a We find no valid reason to review and abandon the aforecited rulings.
quoprovides:
As the private respondents are the owners of the premises in question, no damages are recoverable from
Art. 457. To the owners of the lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion them.
which they gradually receive from the effects of the current of the waters.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit without pronouncement as to costs.
Petitioners contend that this article must be read together with Sections 45 an 46 of Act No. 496 which
provides: SO ORDERED.

SEC. 45. 1 The obtaining of a decree of registration and the entry of a certificate of title Cruz, Gancayco and Grino-Aquino, JJ., concur.
shall be regarded as an agreement running with the land, and binding upon the applicant
and all successors in title that the land shall be and always remain registered land, and
subject to the provisions of this Act and all Acts amendatory thereof. Narvasa, J., is on leave.

SEC. 46. 2 No title to registered land in derogation to that of the registered owner shall be
acquired by prescription or adverse possession.

As a result, petitioners contend, Article 457 of the New Civil Code must be construed to limit the accretion
mentioned therein as accretion of unregistered land to the riparian owner, and should not extend to registered
land. Thus, the lot in question having remained the registered land of the petitioners, then the private
respondents cannot acquire title there in derogation to that of the petitioners, by accretion, for that will defeat
the indefeasibility of a Torrens Title.

The rule that registration under the Torrens System does not protect the riparian owner against the diminution
of the area of his registered land through gradual changes in the course of an adjoining stream is well settled.
In Payatas Estate Improvement Co. vs. Tuason, 53 Phil. 55, We ruled:

The controversy in the present cases seems to be due to the erroneous conception that
Art. 366 of the Civil Code does not apply to Torrens registered land. That article provides
that "any accretions which the banks of rivers may gradually receive from the effects of the
current belong to the owners of the estates bordering thereon." Accretions of that character
are natural incidents to land bordering on running streams and are not affected by the
registration laws. It follows that registration does not protect the riparian owner against
diminution of the area of his land through gradual changes in the course of the adjoining
stream.

In C.N. Hodges vs. Garcia, 109 Phil. 133, We also ruled:

It clearly appearing that the land in question has become part of defendant's estate as a
result of accretion, it follows that said land now belongs to him. The fact that the accretion
to his land used to pertain to plaintiffs estate, which is covered by a Torrens Certificate of
Title, cannot preclude him (defendant) from being the owner thereof. Registration does not
protect the riparian owner against the diminution of the area of his land through gradual
changes in the course of the adjoining stream. Accretions which the banks of rivers may
gradually receive from the effect of the current become the property of the owners of the
banks (Art. 366 of the Old Civil Code; Art. 457 of the New). Such accretions are natural

8
51. G.R. No. 92161 March 18, 1991 the land belonging to respondent Manalo. For about eight (8) months of the year when the level of water at
the point where the Cagayan River forks is at its ordinary depth, river water does not flow into the eastern
SIMPLICIO BINALAY, PONCIANO GANNABAN, NICANOR MACUTAY, DOMINGO ROSALES, branch. While this condition persists, the eastern bed is dry and is susceptible to cultivation.
GREGORIO ARGONZA, EUSTAQUIO BAUA, FLORENTINO ROSALES, TEODORO MABBORANG,
PATRICIO MABBORANG and FULGENCIO MORA, petitioners Considering that water flowed through the eastern branch of the Cagayan River when the cadastral survey
vs. was conducted, the elongated strip of land formed by the western and the eastern branches of the Cagayan
GUILLERMO MANALO and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. River looked very much like an island. This strip of land was surveyed on 12 December 1969. 4

Josefin De Alban Law Office for Petitioners. It was found to have a total area of 22.7209 hectares and was designated as Lot 821 and Lot 822. The area
of Lot 822 is 10.8122 hectares while Lot 821 has an area of 11.9087 hectares. Lot 821 is located directly
FELICIANO, J.: opposite Lot 307 and is separated from the latter only by the eastern branch of the Cagayan River during the
rainy season and, during the dry season, by the exposed, dry river bed, being a portion of the land bought
from Faustina Taccad. Respondent Manalo claims that Lot 821 also belongs to him by way of accretion to
The late Judge Taccad originally owned a parcel of land situated in Tumauini, Isabela having an estimated the submerged portion of the property to which it is adjacent.
area of twenty (20) hectares. The western portion of this land bordering on the Cagayan River has an
elevation lower than that of the eastern portion which borders on the national road. Through the years, the
western portion would periodically go under the waters of the Cagayan River as those waters swelled with Petitioners who are in possession of Lot 821, upon the other hand, insist that they own Lot 821. They occupy
the coming of the rains. The submerged portion, however, would re-appear during the dry season from the outer edges of Lot 821 along the river banks, i.e., the fertile portions on which they plant tobacco and
January to August. It would remain under water for the rest of the year, that is, from September to December other agricultural products. They also cultivate the western strip of the unsurveyed portion during
during the rainy season. summer.5 This situation compelled respondent Manalo to file a case for forcible entry against petitioners on
20 May 1969. The case was dismissed by the Municipal Court of Tumauini, Isabela for failure of both parties
to appear. On 15 December 1972, respondent Manalo again filed a case for forcible entry against petitioners.
The ownership of the landholding eventually moved from one person to another. On 9 May 1959, respondent The latter case was similarly dismissed for lack of jurisdiction by the Municipal Court of Tumauini, Isabela.
Guillermo Manalo acquired 8.65 hectares thereof from Faustina Taccad, daughter of Judge Juan Taccad.
The land sold was described in the Deed of Absolute Sale 1 as follows:
On 24 July 1974, respondent Manalo filed a complaints 6 before the then Court of First Instance of Isabela,
Branch 3 for quieting of title, possession and damages against petitioners. He alleged ownership of the two
. . . a parcel of agricultural land in Balug, Tumauini, Isabela, containing an area of 8.6500 hectares, (2) parcels of land he bought separately from Faustina Taccad and Gregorio Taguba for which reason he
more or less; bounded on the North by Francisco Forto on the East by National Road; on South by prayed that judgment be entered ordering petitioners to vacate the western strip of the unsurveyed portion.
Julian Tumolva and on the West by Cagayan River; declared for taxation under Tax Declaration No. Respondent Manalo likewise prayed that judgment be entered declaring him as owner of Lot 821 on which
12681 in the name of Faustina Taccad, and assessed at P 750.00. . . . he had laid his claim during the survey.

Later in 1964, respondent Manalo purchased another 1.80 hectares from Gregorio Taguba who had earlier Petitioners filed their answer denying the material allegations of the complaint. The case was then set for trial
acquired the same from Judge Juan Taccad. The second purchase brought the total acquisition of respondent for failure of the parties to reach an amicable agreement or to enter into a stipulation of facts. 7 On 10
Manalo to 10.45 hectares. The second piece of property was more particularly described as follows: November 1982, the trial court rendered a decision with the following dispositive portion:

. . . a piece of agricultural land consisting of tobacco land, and containing an area of 18,000 square WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing premises, the Court renders judgment against the
meters, more or less, bounded on the North by Balug Creek; on the South, by Faustina Taccad (now defendants and in favor of the plaintiff and orders:
Guillermo R. Manalo); on the East, by a Provincial Road; and on the West, by Cagayan River
assessed at P 440.00, as tax Declaration No. 3152. . . .2
1. That plaintiff, Guillermo Manalo, is declared the lawful owner of the land in question, Lot No. 821,
Pls-964 of Tumauini Cadastre, and which is more particularly described in paragraph 2-b of the
During the cadastral survey conducted at Balug, Tumauini, Isabela on 21 October 1969, the two (2) parcels Complaint;
of land belonging to respondent Manalo were surveyed and consolidated into one lot, designated as Lot No.
307, Pls-964. Lot 307 which contains 4.6489 hectares includes: (a) the whole of the 1.80 hectares acquired
from Gregorio Taguba; and (b) 2.8489 hectares out of the 8.65 hectares purchased from Faustina Taccad. 2. That the defendants are hereby ordered to vacate the premises of the land in question, Lot No.
As the survey was conducted on a rainy month, a portion of the land bought from Faustina Taccad then under 821, Pls-964 of Tumauini Cadastre, and which is more particularly described in paragraph 2-b of
water was left unsurveyed and was not included in Lot 307. the Complaint;

The Sketch Plan3 submitted during the trial of this case and which was identified by respondent Manalo shows 3. That the defendants are being restrained from entering the premises of the land in question, Lot
that the Cagayan River running from south to north, forks at a certain point to form two (2) branchesthe No. 821, Pls-964 of Tumauini Cadastre, and which is more particularly described in paragraph 2-b
western and the eastern branchesand then unites at the other end, further north, to form a narrow strip of of the Complaint; and
land. The eastern branch of the river cuts through the land of respondent Manalo and is inundated with water
only during the rainy season. The bed of the eastern branch is the submerged or the unsurveyed portion of 4. That there is no pronouncement as to attorney's fees and costs.
9
SO ORDERED.8 uncommon, transcends the general rule, order and measure, and goes beyond that which is the
ordinary depth. If according to the definition given by Article 74 of the Law of Waters quoted above,
Petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals which, however, affirmed the decision of the trial court. They the natural bed or basin of the lakes is the ground covered by their waters when at their highest
filed a motion for reconsideration, without success. ordinary depth, the natural bed or basin of Laguna de Bay is the ground covered by its waters when
at their highest depth during the dry season, that is up to the northeastern boundary of the two
parcels of land in question.
While petitioners insist that Lot 821 is part of an island surrounded by the two (2) branches of the Cagayan
River, the Court of Appeals found otherwise. The Court of Appeals concurred with the finding of the trial court
that Lot 821 cannot be considered separate and distinct from Lot 307 since the eastern branch of the Cagayan We find the foregoing ruling to be analogous to the case at bar. The highest ordinary level of the waters of
River substantially dries up for the most part of the year such that when this happens, Lot 821 becomes the Cagayan River is that attained during the dry season which is confined only on the west side of Lot [821]
physically (i.e., by land) connected with the dried up bed owned by respondent Manalo. Both courts below in and Lot [822]. This is the natural Cagayan river itself. The small residual of water between Lot [821] and 307
effect rejected the assertion of petitioners that the depression on the earth's surface which separates Lot 307 is part of the small stream already in existence when the whole of the late Judge Juan Taccad's property was
and Lot 821 is, during part of the year, the bed of the eastern branch of the Cagayan River. still susceptible to cultivation and uneroded.13

It is a familiar rule that the findings of facts of the trial court are entitled to great respect, and that they carry The Court is unable to agree with the Court of Appeals that Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Colegio
even more weight when affirmed by the Court of Appeals. 9 This is in recognition of the peculiar advantage de San Jose 14 is applicable to the present case. That case involved Laguna de Bay; since Laguna de Bay is
on the part of the trial court of being able to observe first-hand the deportment of the witnesses while testifying. a lake, the Court applied the legal provisions governing the ownership and use of lakes and their beds and
Jurisprudence is likewise settled that the Court of Appeals is the final arbiter of questions of fact. 10 But shores, in order to determine the character and ownership of the disputed property. Specifically, the Court
whether a conclusion drawn from such findings of facts is correct, is a question of law cognizable by this applied the definition of the natural bed or basin of lakes found in Article 74 of the Law of Waters of 3 August
Court.11 1866. Upon the other hand, what is involved in the instant case is the eastern bed of the Cagayan River.

In the instant case, the conclusion reached by both courts below apparently collides with their findings that We believe and so hold that Article 70 of the Law of Waters of 3 August 1866 is the law applicable to the
periodically at the onset of and during the rainy season, river water flows through the eastern bed of the case at bar:
Cagayan River. The trial court held:
Art. 70. The natural bed or channel of a creek or river is the ground covered by its waters during the
The Court believes that the land in controversy is of the nature and character of alluvion (Accretion), highest floods. (Emphasis supplied)
for it appears that during the dry season, the body of water separating the same land in controversy
(Lot No. 821, Pls-964) and the two (2) parcels of land which the plaintiff purchased from Gregorio We note that Article 70 defines the natural bed or channel of a creek or river as the ground covered by its
Taguba and Justina Taccad Cayaba becomes a marshy land and is only six (6) inches deep and waters during the highest floods. The highest floods in the eastern branch of the Cagayan River occur with
twelve (12) meters in width at its widest in the northern tip (Exhs. "W", "W-l", "W-2", "W-3" and "W- the annual coming of the rains as the river waters in their onward course cover the entire depressed portion.
4"), It has been held by our Supreme Court that "the owner of the riparian land which receives the Though the eastern bed substantially dries up for the most part of the year (i.e., from January to August), we
gradual deposits of alluvion, does not have to make an express act of possession. The law does not cannot ignore the periodical swelling of the waters ( i.e., from September to December) causing the eastern
require it, and the deposit created by the current of the water becomes manifest" (Roxas vs. Tuazon, bed to be covered with flowing river waters.
6 Phil. 408).12
The conclusion of this Court that the depressed portion is a river bed rests upon evidence of
The Court of Appeals adhered substantially to the conclusion reached by the trial court, thus: record.1wphi1 Firstly, respondent Manalo admitted in open court that the entire area he bought from
Gregorio Taguba was included in Lot 307.15 If the 1.80 hectares purchased from Gregorio Taguba was
As found by the trial court, the disputed property is not an island in the strict sense of the word since included in Lot 307, then the Cagayan River referred to as the western boundary in the Deed of Sale
the eastern portion of the said property claimed by appellants to be part of the Cagayan River dries transferring the land from Gregorio Taguba to respondent Manalo as well as the Deed of Sale signed by
up during summer. Admittedly, it is the action of the heavy rains which comes during rainy season Faustina Taccad, must refer to the dried up bed (during the dry months) or the eastern branch of the river
especially from September to November which increases the water level of the Cagayan river. As (during the rainy months). In the Sketch Plan attached to the records of the case, Lot 307 is separated from
the river becomes swollen due to heavy rains, the lower portion of the said strip of land located at the western branch of the Cagayan River by a large tract of land which includes not only Lot 821 but also
its southernmost point would be inundated with water. This is where the water of the Cagayan river what this Court characterizes as the eastern branch of the Cagayan River.
gains its entry. Consequently, if the water level is high the whole strip of land would be under water.
Secondly, the pictures identified by respondent Manalo during his direct examination depict the depressed
In Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Colegio de San Jose, it was held that portion as a river bed. The pictures, marked as Exhibits "W" to "W-4", were taken in July 1973 or at a time
when the eastern bed becomes visible.16 Thus, Exhibit "W-2" which according to respondent Manalo was
taken facing the east and Exhibit "W-3" which was taken facing the west both show that the visible, dried up
According to the foregoing definition of the words "ordinary" and "extra-ordinary," the highest depth portion has a markedly lower elevation than Lot 307 and Lot 821. It has dike-like slopes on both sides
of the waters of Laguna de Bay during the dry season is the ordinary one, and the highest depth connecting it to Lot 307 and Lot 821 that are vertical upward and very prominent. This topographic feature is
they attain during the extra-ordinary one (sic); inasmuch as the former is the one which is regular, compatible with the fact that a huge volume of water passes through the eastern bed regularly during the
common, natural, which occurs always or most of the time during the year, while the latter is rainy season. In addition, petitioner Ponciano Gannaban testified that one had to go down what he called a
10
"cliff" from the surveyed portion of the land of respondent Manalo to the depressed portion. The cliff, as destructive force of the waters. That loss is compensated by, inter alia, the right of accretion acknowledged
related by petitioner Gannaban, has a height of eight (8) meters. 17 by Article 457 of the Civil Code.21 It so happened that instead of increasing the size of Lot 307, the eastern
branch of the Cagayan River had carved a channel on it.
The records do not show when the Cagayan River began to carve its eastern channel on the surface of the
earth. However, Exhibit "E"18 for the prosecution which was the Declaration of Real Property standing in the We turn next to the issue of accretion. After examining the records of the case, the Court considers that there
name of Faustina Taccad indicates that the eastern bed already existed even before the sale to respondent was no evidence to prove that Lot 821 is an increment to Lot 307 and the bed of the eastern branch of the
Manalo. The words "old bed" enclosed in parenthesesperhaps written to make legitimate the claim of river. Accretion as a mode of acquiring property under Article 457 of the Civil Code requires the concurrence
private ownership over the submerged portionis an implied admission of the existence of the river bed. In of three (3) requisites: (a) that the deposition of soil or sediment be gradual and imperceptible; (b) that it be
the Declaration of Real Property made by respondent Manalo, the depressed portion assumed the name Rio the result of the action of the waters of the river (or sea); and (c) that the land where accretion takes place is
Muerte de Cagayan. Indeed, the steep dike-like slopes on either side of the eastern bed could have been adjacent to the banks of rivers (or the sea coast).22 The Court notes that the parcels of land bought by
formed only after a prolonged period of time. respondent Manalo border on the eastern branch of the Cagayan River. Any accretion formed by this eastern
branch which respondent Manalo may claim must be deposited on or attached to Lot 307. As it is, the claimed
Now, then, pursuant to Article 420 of the Civil Code, respondent Manalo did not acquire private ownership of accretion (Lot 821) lies on the bank of the river not adjacent to Lot 307 but directly opposite Lot 307 across
the bed of the eastern branch of the river even if it was included in the deeds of absolute sale executed by the river.
Gregorio Taguba and Faustina Taccad in his favor. These vendors could not have validly sold land that
constituted property of public dominion. Article 420 of the Civil Code states: Assuming (arguendo only) that the Cagayan River referred to in the Deeds of Sale transferring ownership of
the land to respondent Manalo is the western branch, the decision of the Court of Appeals and of the trial
The following things are property of public dominion: court are bare of factual findings to the effect that the land purchased by respondent Manalo received alluvium
from the action of the aver in a slow and gradual manner. On the contrary, the decision of the lower court
made mention of several floods that caused the land to reappear making it susceptible to cultivation. A sudden
(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridges and forceful action like that of flooding is hardly the alluvial process contemplated under Article 457 of the
constructed by the State, banks, shores, roadsteads, and others of similar character; Civil Code. It is the slow and hardly perceptible accumulation of soil deposits that the law grants to the riparian
owner.
(2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended for some public
service or for the development of the national wealth. (Emphasis supplied) Besides, it is important to note that Lot 821 has an area of 11.91 hectares. Lot 821 is the northern portion of
the strip of land having a total area of 22.72 hectares. We find it difficult to suppose that such a sizable area
Although Article 420 speaks only of rivers and banks, "rivers" is a composite term which includes: (1) the as Lot 821 resulted from slow accretion to another lot of almost equal size. The total landholding purchased
running waters, (2) the bed, and (3) the banks. 19 Manresa, in commenting upon Article 339 of the Spanish by respondent Manalo is 10.45 hectares (8.65 hectares from Faustina Taccad and 1.80 hectares from
Civil Code of 1889 from which Article 420 of the Philippine Civil Code was taken, stressed the public Gregorio Taguba in 1959 and 1964, respectively), in fact even smaller than Lot 821 which he claims by way
ownership of river beds: of accretion. The cadastral survey showing that Lot 821 has an area of 11.91 hectares was conducted in
1969. If respondent Manalo's contention were accepted, it would mean that in a span of only ten (10) years,
La naturaleza especial de los rios, en punto a su disfrute general, hace que sea necesario he had more than doubled his landholding by what the Court of Appeals and the trial court considered as
considerar en su relacion de dominio algo mas que sus aguas corrientes. En efecto en todo rio es accretion. As already noted, there are steep vertical dike-like slopes separating the depressed portion or river
preciso distinguir 1. esta agua corriente; 2. el alveo o cauce, y 3. las riberas. Ahora bien: son estas bed and Lot 821 and Lot 307. This topography of the land, among other things, precludes a reasonable
dos ultimas cosas siempre de dominio publico, como las aguas? conclusion that Lot 821 is an increment to the depressed portion by reason of the slow and constant action
of the waters of either the western or the eastern branches of the Cagayan River.

Realmente no puede imaginarse un rio sin alveo y sin ribera; de suerte que al decir el Codigo civil
que los rios son de dominio publico, parece que debe ir implicito el dominio publico de aquellos tres We turn finally to the issue of ownership of Lot 821. Respondent Manalo's claim over Lot 821 rests on
elementos que integran el rio. Por otra parte, en cuanto a los alveos o cauces tenemos la accretion coupled with alleged prior possession. He alleged that the parcels of land he bought separately
declaracion del art. 407, num 1, donde dice: son de dominion publico . . . los rios y sus cauces from Gregorio Taguba and Faustina Taccad were formerly owned by Judge Juan Taccad who was in
naturales; declaracion que concuerda con lo que dispone el art. 34 de la ley de [Aguas], segun el possession thereof through his (Judge Taccad's) tenants. When ownership was transferred to him,
cual, son de dominion publico: 1. los alveos o cauces de los arroyos que no se hallen comprendidos respondent Manalo took over the cultivation of the property and had it declared for taxation purposes in his
en el art. 33, y 2. los alveos o cauces naturales de los rios en la extension que cubran sus aguas name. When petitioners forcibly entered into his property, he twice instituted the appropriate action before
en las mayores crecidas ordinarias.20 (Emphasis supplied) the Municipal Trial Court of Tumauini, Isabela. Against respondent Manalo's allegation of prior possession,
petitioners presented tax declarations standing in their respective names. They claimed lawful, peaceful and
adverse possession of Lot 821 since 1955.
The claim of ownership of respondent Manalo over the submerged portion is bereft of basis even if it were
alleged and proved that the Cagayan River first began to encroach on his property after the purchase from
Gregorio Taguba and Faustina Taccad. Article 462 of the Civil Code would then apply divesting, by operation If respondent Manalo had proved prior possession, it was limited physically to Lot 307 and the depressed
of law, respondent Manalo of private ownership over the new river bed. The intrusion of the eastern branch portion or the eastern river bed. The testimony of Dominga Malana who was a tenant for Justina Taccad did
of the Cagayan River into his landholding obviously prejudiced respondent Manalo but this is a common not indicate that she was also cultivating Lot 821. In fact, the complaints for forcible entry lodged before the
occurrence since estates bordering on rivers are exposed to floods and other evils produced by the Municipal Trial Court of Tumauini, Isabela pertained only to Lot 307 and the depressed portion or river

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bed and not to Lot 821. In the same manner, the tax declarations presented by petitioners conflict with those 52. G.R. No. 95907 April 8, 1992
of respondent Manalo. Under Article 477 of the Civil Code, the plaintiff in an action for quieting of title must
at least have equitable title to or interest in the real property which is the subject matter of the action. The JOSE REYNANTE, petitioner,
evidence of record on this point is less than satisfactory and the Court feels compelled to refrain from vs.
determining the ownership and possession of Lot 821, adjudging neither petitioners nor respondent Manalo THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, THE HON. VALENTIN CRUZ, as Presiding Judge, Regional
as owner(s) thereof. Trial Court of Bulacan, Branch VIII, and the HEIRS OF LEONCIO CARLOS and DOLORES A.
CARLOS, and HEIRS OF GORGONIO CARLOS and CONCEPCION CARLOS, respondents.
WHEREFORE, the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR CV No. 04892 are hereby
SET ASIDE. Respondent Manalo is hereby declared the owner of Lot 307. The regularly submerged portion
or the eastern bed of the Cagayan River is hereby DECLARED to be property of public dominion. The
ownership of Lot 821 shall be determined in an appropriate action that may be instituted by the interested
parties inter se. No pronouncement as to costs. PARAS, J.:

SO ORDERED. This is a petition for review on certiorari which seeks the reversal of: a) decision 1 of the Court of Appeals
dated February 28, 1990 in CA-G.R. No. 1917 entitled "JOSE REYNANTE versus HON. VALENTIN CRUZ,
Judge, RTC of Malolos, Bulacan, and HEIRS OF LEONCIO AND DOLORES CARLOS, et al.", affirming the
Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Bidin and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur. decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court
of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 8, Third Judicial Region which reversed the decision 3 of the Municipal Trial
Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, Branch 1, Third Judicial Region in Civil Case No. 1526 entitled "HEIRS OF
LEONCIO CARLOS & DOLORES A. CARLOS and HEIRS OF GORGONIO A. CARLOS & CONCEPCION
CARLOS versus JOSE REYNANTE: and b) the resolution denying the motion for reconsideration.

The facts as culled from the records of the case are as follows:

More than 50 years ago, petitioner Jose Reynante was taken as tenant by the late Don Cosme Carlos, owner
and father-in-law of herein private respondents, over a fishpond located at Barrio Liputan, Meycauayan,
Bulacan with an area of 188.711 square meters, more or less and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
25618, Land Registry of Bulacan.

During the tenancy, petitioner Jose Reynante constructed a nipa hut where he and his family lived and took
care of the nipa palms (sasahan) he had planted on lots 1 and 2 covering an area of 5,096 square meters
and 6,011 square meters respectively. These lots are located between the fishpond covered by TCT No.
25618 and the Liputan (formerly Meycauayan) River. Petitioner harvested and sold said nipa palms without
interference and prohibition from anybody. Neither did the late Don Cosme Carlos question his right to plant
the nipa palms near the fishpond or to harvest and appropriate them as his own.

After the death of Don Cosme Carlos, his heirs (private respondents' predecessors-in-interest) entered into
a written agreement denominated as "SINUMPAANG SALAYSAY NG PAGSASAULI NG KARAPATAN"
dated November 29, 1984 with petitioner Jose Reynante whereby the latter for and in consideration of the
sum of P200,000.00 turned over the fishpond he was tenanting to the heirs of Don Cosme Carlos and
surrendered all his rights therein as caretaker or "bantay-kasama at tagapamahala" (Rollo, p. 77).

Pursuant to the said written agreement, petitioner surrendered the fishpond and the two huts located therein
to private respondents. Private respondents thereafter leased the said fishpond to one Carlos de la Cruz.
Petitioner continued to live in the nipa hut constructed by him on lots 1 and 2 and to take care of the nipa
palms he had planted therein.

On February 17, 1988, private respondents formally demanded that the petitioner vacate said portion since
according to them petitioner had already been indemnified for the surrender of his rights as a tenant. Despite
receipt thereof, petitioner refused and failed to relinquish possession of lots 1 and 2.

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Hence, on April 22, 1988, private respondents filed a complaint for forcible entry with preliminary mandatory prove prior physical possession, he has no right of action for forcible entry and detainer even if he should be
injunction against petitioner alleging that the latter by means of strategy and stealth, took over the physical, the owner of the property (Lizo v. Carandang, 73 Phil. 469 [1942]).
actual and material possession of lots 1 and 2 by residing in one of the kubos or huts bordering the Liputan
River and cutting off and/or disposing of the sasa or nipa palms adjacent thereto. Hence, the Court of Appeals could not legally restore private respondents' possession over lots 1 and 2
simply because petitioner has clearly proven that he had prior possession over lots 1 and 2.
On January 10, 1989, the trial court rendered its decision dismissing the complaint and finding that petitioner
had been in prior possession of lots 1 and 2. The evidence on record shows that petitioner was in possession of the questioned lots for more than 50
years. It is undisputed that he was the caretaker of the fishpond owned by the late Don Cosme Carlos for
Private respondents appealed to the Regional Trial Court and on August 8, 1989 it rendered its decision, the more than 50 years and that he constructed a nipa hut adjacent to the fishpond and planted nipa palms
dispositive portion of which reads as follows: therein. This fact is bolstered by the "SINUMPAANG SALAYSAY" executed by Epifanio Lucero (Records, p.
66), Apolonio D. Morte (Records, p. 101) and Carling Dumalay (Records, p. 103), all of whom are
WHEREFORE, this Court renders judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and against defendant disinterested parties with no motive to falsify that can be attributed to them, except their desire to tell the truth.
and hereby reverses the decision of the Court a quo. Accordingly, the defendant is ordered
to restore possession of that piece of land particularly described and defined as Lots 1 & 2 Moreover, an ocular inspection was conducted by the trial court dated December 2, 1988 which was attended
of the land survey conducted by Geodetic Engineer Restituto Buan on March 2, 1983, by the parties and their respective counsels and the court observed the following:
together with the sasa or nipa palms planted thereon. No pronouncement as to attorney's
fees. Each party shall bear their respective costs of the suit. The Court viewed the location and the distance of the constructed nipa hut and the subject
"sasahan" which appears exists (sic) long ago, planted and stands (sic) adjacent to the
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 55; Decision, p. 4). fishpond and the dikes which serves (sic) as passage way of water river of lot 1 and lot 2.
During the course of the hearing, both counsel observed muniment of title embedded on
From said decision, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for review (Rollo, p. 30; Annex "A"). the ground which is located at the inner side of the "pilapil" separating the fishpond from
On February 28, 1990, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as the subject "sasa" plant with a height of 20 to 25 feet from water level and during the ocular
follows: inspection it was judicially observed that the controversial premises is beyond the titled
property of the plaintiffs but situated along the Liputan, Meycauayan River it being a part
of the public domain. (Rollo, p. 51; Decision, p. 12).
WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo, being consistent with law and
jurisprudence, is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. The instant petition seeking to issue a
restraining order is hereby denied. On the other hand, private respondents based their claim of possession over lots 1 and 2 simply on the written
agreement signed by petitioner whereby the latter surrendered his rights over the fishpond.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 30; Decision, p. 3).
Evidently, the trial court did not err when it ruled that:
On November 5, 1990, the Court of Appeals denied the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner (Rollo,
p. 35; Annex "B"). An examination of the document signed by the defendant (Exhibit "B"), shows that what
was surrendered to the plaintiffs was the fishpond and not the "sasahan" or the land on
which he constructed his hut where he now lives. That is a completely different agreement
Hence, this petition. in which a tenant would return a farm or a fishpond to his landlord in return for the amount
that the landlord would pay to him as a disturbance compensation. There is nothing that
In its resolution dated May 6, 1991, the Second Division of this court gave due course to the petition and indicates that the tenant was giving other matters not mentioned in a document like Exhibit
required both parties to file their respective memoranda (Rollo, p. 93). "B". Moreover, when the plaintiffs leased the fishpond to Mr. Carlos de La Cruz there was
no mention that the lease included the hut constructed by the defendant and the nipa palms
The main issues to be resolved in this case are: a) who between the petitioner and private respondents has planted by him (Exhibit "1"), a circumstance that gives the impression that the nipa hut and
prior physical possession of lots 1 and 2; and b) whether or not the disputed lots belong to private respondents the nipa palms were not included in the lease to Mr. de la Cruz, which may not belong to
as a result of accretion. the plaintiffs. (Rollo, p. 49; Decision, p. 9).

An action for forcible entry is merely a quieting process and actual title to the property is never determined. With regard to the second issue, it must be noted that the disputed lots involved in this case are not included
A party who can prove prior possession can recover such possession even against the owner himself. in Transfer Certificate of Title No. 25618 as per verification made by the Forest Management Bureau,
Whatever may be the character of his prior possession, if he has in his favor priority in time, he has the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. That tract of land situated at Barrio Liputan,
security that entitles him to remain on the property until he is lawfully ejected by a person having a better right Meycauayan, Bulacan containing an area of 1.1107 hectares as described in the plan prepared and surveyed
by accion publiciana or accion reivindicatoria (German Management & Services, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, by Geodetic Engineer Restituto Buan for Jose Reynante falls within Alienable and Disposable Land (for
G.R. No. 76216, September 14, 1989, 177 SCRA 495, 498, 499). On the other hand, if a plaintiff cannot fishpond development) under Project No. 15 per B.F.L.C. Map No. 3122 dated May 8, 1987 (Rollo, p. 31;
Decision, p. 2).

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The respondent Court of Appeals ruled that lots 1 and 2 were created by alluvial formation and hence the
property of private respondents pursuant to Article 457 of the New Civil Code, to wit:

Art. 457. To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion which
they gradually receive from the effects of the current of the waters.

Accretion benefits a riparian owner when the following requisites are present: (1) that the deposit be gradual
and imperceptible; (2) that it resulted from the effects of the current of the water; and (c) that the land where
accretion takes place is adjacent to the bank of a river (Republic v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-61647,
October 12, 1984, 132 SCRA 514, cited in Agustin v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. Nos. 66075-76, July
5, 1990, 187 SCRA 218).

Granting without conceding that lots 1 and 2 were created by alluvial formation and while it is true that
accretions which the banks of rivers may gradually receive from the effect of the current become the property
of the owner of the banks, such accretion to registered land does not preclude acquisition of the additional
area by another person through prescription.

This Court ruled in the case of Ignacio Grande, et al. v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. L-17652, June
30, 1962, 115 Phil. 521 that:

An accretion does not automatically become registered land just because the lot which
receives such accretion is covered by a Torrens Title. Ownership of a piece of land is one
thing; registration under the Torrens system of that ownership is another. Ownership over
the accretion received by the land adjoining a river is governed by the Civil Code.
Imprescriptibility of registered land is provided in the registration law. Registration under
the Land Registration and Cadastral Act does not vest or give title to the land, but merely
confirms and, thereafter, protects the title already possessed by the owner, making it
imprescriptible by occupation of third parties. But to obtain this protection, the land must
be placed under the operation of the registration laws, wherein certain judicial procedures
have beenprovided.

Assuming private respondents had acquired the alluvial deposit (the lot in question), by accretion, still their
failure to register said accretion for a period of fifty (50) years subjected said accretion to acquisition through
prescription by third persons.

It is undisputed that petitioner has been in possession of the subject lots for more than fifty (50) years and
unless private respondents can show a better title over the subject lots, petitioner's possession over the
property must be respected.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals dated February 28, 1990 is
REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the decision of the Municipal Trial Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, Branch
I, is hereby REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.

Melencio-Herrera, Padilla, Regalado and Nocon, JJ., concur.

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