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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by the DIRECTOR, LANDS MANAGEMENT BUREAU vs. FELIX S. IMPERIAL JR.

, FELIZA SREPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by t he DIRECTOR, LANDS MANAGEMENT BUREAU vs. FELIX S. IMPERIAL JR., FELIZA S. IMPERI AL, ELIAS S. IMPERIAL, MIRIAM S. IMPERIAL, LOLITA ALCAZAR, SALVADOR ALCAZAR, EAN CRA CORPORATION, and the REGISTER OF DEEDS of LEGASPI CITY G.R. No. 130906 February 11, 1999 FACTS: On September 12, 1917, the late Elias Imperial was issued Original Certif icate of Title (OCT) 408 (500) pursuant to Decree No. 55173 of then Court of Fir st Instance of Albay. OCT No. 55173 was subdivided and further subdivided result ing in the issuance of several titles, which are now the subjects of herein peti tion in the name of private respondents. Petitioner Republic of the Philippines filed a case with the trial court to judicially declare the Transfer Certificat es of Title (TCT) issued to herein private respondents null and void on the grou nd that the subject land, on which the OCT was based, has the features of a fore shore land based on an investigation conducted by the DENR, Region V, Legazpi Ci ty. Respondents, on the other hand contend that Director of Lands found Jose Bar itua's land covered by TCT No.18655, which stemmed from OCT 408(500), to be "def initely outside of the foreshore area." Within the time for pleading, private respondents EANCRA Corporation, Lolita Alc azar and Salvador Alcazar filed their answer with cross-claim, while the rest, n amely, Felix S. Imperial, Feliza S. Imperial, Elias S. Imperial and Miriam S. Imperial filed a motion to dismiss. They contended that the adjudication by the cadastral court is binding against the whole world including the Republic since the cadastral proceedings are in rem and the government itself through the Dire ctor of Lands instituted the proceedings and was a direct and active participant therein. Petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed an obj ection to the motion to dismiss. After hearing the motion to dismiss, the trial court dismissed the complaint on the ground that the judgment rendered by the c adastral court in G.R. Cad. Rec. No. 88 and the Courts resolution in the petitio n to quiet title, G.R. 85770, both decreed that the parcel of land covered by OC T No. 408 (500) was not foreshore. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration for lack of merit and for failure to file the appellants brief within the extended period gr anted to petitioner. Hence, the present petition. ISSUE: Whether or not the petition should be granted. HELD: Yes. At the core of the controversy is whether the parcels of land in question are fo reshore lands. Foreshore land is a part of the alienable land of the public doma in and may be disposed of only by lease and not otherwise. It was defined as "th at part (of the land) which is between high and low water and left dry by the fl ux and reflux of the tides." It is also known as "a strip of land that lies betw een the high and low water marks and, is alternatively wet and dry according to the flow of the tide." The classification of public lands is a function of the executive branch of gove rnment, specifically the director of lands (now the director of the Lands Manage ment Bureau). The decision of the director of lands when approved by the Secreta ry of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as to questions of fact is conclusive upon the court. The principle behin d this ruling is that the subject has been exhaustively weighed and discussed an d must therefore be given credit. This doctrine finds no application, however, w hen the decision of the director of lands is revoked by, or in conflict with tha

t of, the DENR Secretary. There is allegedly a conflict between the findings of the Director of Lands and the DENR, Region V, in the present case. Respondents contend that the Director o f Lands found Jose Baritua's land covered by TCT No.18655, which stemmed from OC T 408(500), to be "definitely outside of the foreshore area." Petitioner, on th e other hand, claims that subsequent investigation of the DENR, Region V, Legazp i City, disclosed that the land covered by OCT No. 408 (500) from whence the tit les were derived "has the features of a foreshore land." The contradictory view s of the Director of Lands and the DENR, Region V, Legazpi City, on the true nat ure of the land, which contradiction was neither discussed nor resolved by the R TC, cannot be the premise of any conclusive classification of the land involved. The need, therefore, to determine once and for all whether the lands subject of petitioner's reversion efforts are foreshore lands constitutes good and sufficie nt cause for relaxing procedural rules and granting the third and fourth motions for extension to file appellant's brief. Petitioner's appeal presents an except ional circumstance impressed with public interest and must then be given due cou rse. Petitioner Republic assailed the dismissal of its appeal on purely technical gr ounds. Petitioner also alleged that it has raised meritorious grounds which, if not allowed to be laid down before the proper Court, will result to the prejudi ce of, and irreparable injury to, public interest, as the Government would lose its opportunity to recover what it believes to be non-registerable lands of the public domain. The Supreme Court granted the petition. The Court ruled that the question of wh at constitutes good and sufficient cause that will merit suspension of the rules is discretionary upon the court. It has the power to relax or suspend the rule s or to except a case from their operation when compelling reasons so warrants o r when the purpose of justice requires it. In the case at bar, the need to dete rmine once and for all whether the lands subject of petitioners reversion effort s are foreshore lands constitutes good and sufficient cause for relaxing the pro cedural rules and granting the third and fourth motions for extensions to file a ppellants brief. Petitioner Republics appeal presented an exceptional circumsta nce impressed with public interest which in the Courts discretion must be given due course. SYLLABUS REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; APPEALS; THE NEED TO DETERMINE ONCE AND FOR ALL W HETHER THE LANDS SUBJECT OF PETITIONERS REVERSION EFFORTS ARE FORESHORE LANDS CO NSTITUTE GOOD AND SUFFICIENT CAUSE FOR RELAXING PROCEDURAL RULES AND GRANTING TH E THIRD AND FOURTH MOTIONS FOR EXTENSION TO FILE APPELLANTS BRIEF; CASE AT BAR; AN EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCE IMPRESSED WITH PUBLIC INTEREST. The rules of court g overning practice and procedure were formulated in order to promote just, speedy , and inexpensive disposition of every action or proceeding without sacrificing substantial justice and equity considerations. The filing of appellants brief i n appeals is not a jurisdictional requirement. Nevertheless, an appeal may be d ismissed by the Court of Appeals on its own motion or on that of the appellee up on failure of the appellant to serve and file the required number of copies of t he brief within the time provided. If the appeal brief cannot be filed on time, extension of time may be allowed provided (1) there is good and sufficient caus e, and (2) the motion for extension is filed before the expiration of the time s ought to be extended. The courts liberality on extensions notwithstanding, lawy ers should never presume that their motions for extension would be granted as a matter of course or for the length of time sought; their concession lies in the sound discretion of the Court exercised in accordance with the attendant circums tances. What constitutes good and sufficient cause that will merit suspension o

f the rules is discretionary upon the court. The court has the power to relax o r suspend the rules or to except a case from their operation when compelling rea sons so warrant or when the purpose of justice requires it. Among the reasons w hich the court allowed in suspending application of the rules on filing an appea l brief were the following: (1) the cause for the delay was not entirely attribu table to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of the r ules; (2) there was no objection from the State, and the brief was filed within the period requested; (3) no material injury was suffered by the appellee by rea son of the delay in filing the brief; (4) the fake lawyer failed to file the bri ef; (5) appellant was represented by counsel de oficio, (6) petitioners original counsel died; and (7) the preparation of the consolidated brief involved a comp arative study of many exhibits. At the core of the controversy is whether the p arcels of land in question are foreshore lands. Foreshore land is a part of the alienable land of the public domain and may be disposed of only by lease and no t otherwise. It was defined as that part (of the land) which is between high an d low water and left dry by the flux and reflux of the tides. It is also known as a strip of land that lies between the high and low water marks and is alterna tively wet and dry according to the flow of the tide. The classification of publ ic lands is a function of the executive branch of government, specifically the d irector of lands (now the director of the Lands Management Bureau). The decisio n of the director of lands when approved by the Secretary of the Department of E nvironment and Natural Resources (DENR) as to questions of fact is conclusive up on the court. The principle behind this ruling is that the subject has been exh austively weighed and discussed and must therefore be given credit. This doctri ne finds no application, however, when the decision of the director of lands is revoked by, or in conflict with that of, the DENR Secretary. There is allegedly a conflict between the findings of the Director of Lands and the DENR, Region V , in the present case. Respondents contend that the Director of Lands found Jos e Barituas land covered by TCT No. 18655, which stemmed from OCT 408 (500), to b e definitely outside of the foreshore area. Petitioner, on the other hand, claim s that subsequent investigation of the DENR, Region V, Legazpi City, disclosed t hat the land covered by OCT No. 408 (500) from whence the titles were derived ha s the features of a foreshore land. The contradictory views of the Director of L ands and the DENR, Region V, Legazpi City, on the true nature of the land, which contradiction was neither discussed nor resolved by the RTC, cannot be the prem ise of any conclusive classification of the land involved. The need, therefore, to determine once and for all whether the lands subject of petitioners reversio n efforts are foreshore lands constitutes good and sufficient cause for relaxing procedural rules and granting the third and fourth motions for extension to fil e appellants brief. Petitioners appeal presents an exceptional circumstance imp ressed with public interest and must then be given due course. . IMPERIAL, ELIAS S. IMPERIAL, MIRIAM S. IMPERIAL, LOLITA ALCAZAR, SALVADOR ALCA ZAR, EANCRA CORPORATION, and the REGISTER OF DEEDS of LEGASPI CITY G.R. No. 130906 February 11, 1999 FACTS: On September 12, 1917, the late Elias Imperial was issued Original Certif icate of Title (OCT) 408 (500) pursuant to Decree No. 55173 of then Court of Fir st Instance of Albay. OCT No. 55173 was subdivided and further subdivided result ing in the issuance of several titles, which are now the subjects of herein peti tion in the name of private respondents. Petitioner Republic of the Philippines filed a case with the trial court to judicially declare the Transfer Certificat es of Title (TCT) issued to herein private respondents null and void on the grou nd that the subject land is foreshore land. Within the time for pleading, priva te respondents EANCRA Corporation, Lolita Alcazar and Salvador Alcazar filed the ir answer with cross-claim, while the rest, namely, Felix S. Imperial, Feliza S . Imperial, Elias S. Imperial and Miriam S. Imperial filed a motion to dismiss. They contended that the adjudication by the cadastral court is binding against the whole world including the Republic since the cadastral proceedings are in r em and the government itself through the Director of Lands instituted the procee

dings and was a direct and active participant therein. Petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed an objection to the motion to dismiss. A fter hearing the motion to dismiss, the trial court dismissed the complaint on t he ground that the judgment rendered by the cadastral court in G.R. Cad. Rec. No . 88 and the Courts resolution in the petition to quiet title, G.R. 85770, both decreed that the parcel of land covered by OCT No. 408 (500) was not foreshore. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court denied petiti oners motion for reconsideration for lack of merit and for failure to file the a ppellants brief within the extended period granted to petitioner. Hence, the pr esent petition. Petitioner Republic assailed the dismissal of its appeal on pur ely technical grounds. Petitioner also alleged that it has raised meritorious g rounds which, if not allowed to be laid down before the proper Court, will resul t to the prejudice of, and irreparable injury to, public interest, as the Govern ment would lose its opportunity to recover what it believes to be non-registerab le lands of the public domain. The Supreme Court granted the petition. The Court ruled that the question of wh at constitutes good and sufficient cause that will merit suspension of the rules is discretionary upon the court. It has the power to relax or suspend the rule s or to except a case from their operation when compelling reasons so warrants o r when the purpose of justice requires it. In the case at bar, the need to dete rmine once and for all whether the lands subject of petitioners reversion effort s are foreshore lands constitutes good and sufficient cause for relaxing the pro cedural rules and granting the third and fourth motions for extensions to file a ppellants brief. Petitioner Republics appeal presented an exceptional circumsta nce impressed with public interest which in the Courts discretion must be given due course. At the core of the controversy is whether the parcels of land in question are fo reshore lands. Foreshore land is a part of the alienable land of the public doma in and may be disposed of only by lease and not otherwise. It was defined as "th at part (of the land) which is between high and low water and left dry by the fl ux and reflux of the tides." 19 It is also known as "a strip of land that lies b etween the high and low water marks and, is alternatively wet and dry according to the flow of the tide." 20 The classification of public lands is a function of the executive branch of gove rnment, specifically the director of lands (now the director of the Lands Manage ment Bureau). The decision of the director of lands when approved by the Secreta ry of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 21 as to questions of fact is conclusive upon the court. The principle be hind this ruling is that the subject has been exhaustively weighed and discussed and must therefore be given credit. This doctrine finds no application, however , when the decision of the director of lands is revoked by, or in conflict with that of, the DENR Secretary. 22 SYLLABUS REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; APPEALS; THE NEED TO DETERMINE ONCE AND FOR ALL W HETHER THE LANDS SUBJECT OF PETITIONERS REVERSION EFFORTS ARE FORESHORE LANDS CO NSTITUTE GOOD AND SUFFICIENT CAUSE FOR RELAXING PROCEDURAL RULES AND GRANTING TH E THIRD AND FOURTH MOTIONS FOR EXTENSION TO FILE APPELLANTS BRIEF; CASE AT BAR; AN EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCE IMPRESSED WITH PUBLIC INTEREST. The rules of court g overning practice and procedure were formulated in order to promote just, speedy , and inexpensive disposition of every action or proceeding without sacrificing substantial justice and equity considerations. The filing of appellants brief i n appeals is not a jurisdictional requirement. Nevertheless, an appeal may be d ismissed by the Court of Appeals on its own motion or on that of the appellee up on failure of the appellant to serve and file the required number of copies of t he brief within the time provided. If the appeal brief cannot be filed on time,

extension of time may be allowed provided (1) there is good and sufficient caus e, and (2) the motion for extension is filed before the expiration of the time s ought to be extended. The courts liberality on extensions notwithstanding, lawy ers should never presume that their motions for extension would be granted as a matter of course or for the length of time sought; their concession lies in the sound discretion of the Court exercised in accordance with the attendant circums tances. What constitutes good and sufficient cause that will merit suspension o f the rules is discretionary upon the court. The court has the power to relax o r suspend the rules or to except a case from their operation when compelling rea sons so warrant or when the purpose of justice requires it. Among the reasons w hich the court allowed in suspending application of the rules on filing an appea l brief were the following: (1) the cause for the delay was not entirely attribu table to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of the r ules; (2) there was no objection from the State, and the brief was filed within the period requested; (3) no material injury was suffered by the appellee by rea son of the delay in filing the brief; (4) the fake lawyer failed to file the bri ef; (5) appellant was represented by counsel de oficio, (6) petitioners original counsel died; and (7) the preparation of the consolidated brief involved a comp arative study of many exhibits. At the core of the controversy is whether the p arcels of land in question are foreshore lands. Foreshore land is a part of the alienable land of the public domain and may be disposed of only by lease and no t otherwise. It was defined as that part (of the land) which is between high an d low water and left dry by the flux and reflux of the tides. It is also known as a strip of land that lies between the high and low water marks and is alterna tively wet and dry according to the flow of the tide. The classification of publ ic lands is a function of the executive branch of government, specifically the d irector of lands (now the director of the Lands Management Bureau). The decisio n of the director of lands when approved by the Secretary of the Department of E nvironment and Natural Resources (DENR) as to questions of fact is conclusive up on the court. The principle behind this ruling is that the subject has been exh austively weighed and discussed and must therefore be given credit. This doctri ne finds no application, however, when the decision of the director of lands is revoked by, or in conflict with that of, the DENR Secretary. There is allegedly a conflict between the findings of the Director of Lands and the DENR, Region V , in the present case. Respondents contend that the Director of Lands found Jos e Barituas land covered by TCT No. 18655, which stemmed from OCT 408 (500), to b e definitely outside of the foreshore area. Petitioner, on the other hand, claim s that subsequent investigation of the DENR, Region V, Legazpi City, disclosed t hat the land covered by OCT No. 408 (500) from whence the titles were derived ha s the features of a foreshore land. The contradictory views of the Director of L ands and the DENR, Region V, Legazpi City, on the true nature of the land, which contradiction was neither discussed nor resolved by the RTC, cannot be the prem ise of any conclusive classification of the land involved. The need, therefore, to determine once and for all whether the lands subject of petitioners reversio n efforts are foreshore lands constitutes good and sufficient cause for relaxing procedural rules and granting the third and fourth motions for extension to fil e appellants brief. Petitioners appeal presents an exceptional circumstance imp ressed with public interest and must then be given due course.