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10. Isabelo Montano vs. The Insular Gov.

2) Whether the land used as fishery is

(1909) included in the term "agricultural public
Petitioner Montano filed in the Court of Land
Registration for the registration of his land
in Libis, Caloocan which was used as a
fishery. Such registration was applied under
Sec. 54 (6) of Act 926 which covers the Held:
confirmation of "agricultural public lands"
subject to private appropriation by occupation 1) Act No. 1654 would not be affected since it
and possession of 10 years. is still part of public land

The petition was opposed by two entities. The The Supreme Court defined the difference
first was by Obras Pias de la Sagrada Mitra between Public Lands and Government Lands, as
who contended that he was the absolute owner cited in Mapa vs. Insular Government.
of all dry land on the eastern boundary of the
fishery. The second was by the Solicitor- Public lands and Public domain are equivalent
General (SG) on behalf of the Director of terms which includes all lands of the
Lands. The SG contended that the land in government which are subject to private
question belonged to the US Government, who at appropriation.
that period has authority over lands under the
Insular Government of the Philippines. On the other hand, Government lands include
all lands part of the Public Lands, and all
The registration court ruled in favor of other lands reserved for public use.
Montano and dismissed the two oppositions,
citing Mapa vs. Insular where lands used for "Public lands" is held to be equivalent to
fisheries could be registered as private "public domain," and dos not by any means
property on the strength of ten years' include all lands of Government ownership, but
occupation, under paragraph 6 of section 54 of only so much of said lands as are thrown open
Act No. 926. It was ruled as agricultural to private appropriation and settlement by
since it was neither forest nor mineral lands. homestead and other like general laws.
Accordingly, "government land" and "public
The SG appealed the decision, contending domain" are not synonymous items; the first
whether the definition of "agricultural lands" includes not only the second, but also other
as used in Act No. 926 includes all government lands of the Government already reserved or
property not forest or mineral in character. devoted to public use or subject to private
(The SC chose to define public lands since right. In other words, the Government owns
agricultural land remains to be defined as real estate which is part of the "public
such not forest nor mineral lands) lands" and other real estate which is not part
There is confusion because Sec. 55 of Act 926
used the term Government lands in stating 2) The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of
that all those not listed in Sec. 54 cannot the registration court, citing the Spanish Law
claim title to such lands. of Waters which allowed private ownership to
swamps and marshes and other ponds not
He explained that such definition would put directly connected to the sea. This was valid
into question the validity of Act No. 1654, a due to the laws retained by the US government
foreshore law regulating the control and after the Treaty of Paris in order to avoid
disposal of foreshore lands filled-up by soil conflict with vested interests, in conformity
within Government lands. with the pre-existing local law during the
Spanish occupation.
This is because under US laws pertaining to
public domain, lands under the ebb and flow 11. SUSANA MENGUITO, EMELITA MENGUITO-
of the tide of navigable waters are not the MANALILI, HELEN MARTA MENGUITO-LUNA, RENATO
and GENEROSO MENGUITO vs. Republic (2000)
Therefore, in the absence of specific US
Congressional legislation, it is impossible FACTS:
for individuals to acquire title under the ten On November 1987, the heirs of spouses Cirilo
years provision of Act No. 926 or unless in and Juana Menguito, successors-in-interests
conformity with the pre-existing local law of and herein petitioners, filed for the
the Archipelago. registration of 11 parcels of land in Ususan,
The Republic filed its objection saying that
1) Whether the term "public land" in Act, 926 the registration should be denied and be
includes all government property not forest or declared as part of the public domain,
mineral in character contending that the evidence the petitioners
used to prove ownership and possession was
The Republic contended that the extrajudicial FACTS:
settlement executed by Cirilo donating the Petitioner Mesina contends that he is the
lands to his heirs "Kasulatan ng Pagkakaloob", owner in fee simple of a land with
was self-serving and were in fact mere improvements situated in San Antonio, Nueva
photocopies which was dated on 1989. Ecija in actual possession since 1914.

It added that the surveyor-geodetic engineers In 1953, Respondent Sonza was awarded a
notation was insufficient to prove the land homestead patent over the same land by the
was classified as alienable and disposable. Director of Lands and a certificate of title
Also, the tax declarations they presented did
not date back to June 12, 1945 but only up to In 1958, Mesina filed before the Nueva Ecija
1968 when they received the property from CFI praying for the cancellation of the
their parents. registration of land awarded to Sonza. He also
prayed that his own registration be given due
The RTC granted the registration of the course since it was still pending in the same
petitioners so the Republic appealed to the court.
CA. The CA ruled in favor of Republic, saying
that the petitioners failed to give convincing Respondents filed a motion to dismiss the case
proof that the land in question had been on the ground that it was already barred by
classified as alienable or disposable and that the statute of limitations and the title
petitioners or their predecessors-in-interest already became indefeasible and
had been in possession of it since June 12, incontrovertible. The CFI granted to dismiss
1945. the action hence this case.

Issue: Mesina contends that the Director of Lands did

Whether the petitioners showed not exercise due care in the registration
incontrovertible evidence that the land was A knowing that Sonza did not comply with the
and D requirements of CA 141 and that he had no
jurisdiction to award the land since it was
Held: already a private property.
The petitioners failed to prove their claim.
The land is presumed inalienable unless such He also asserts that the title of respondent
incontrovertible evidence is shown by the was procured through fraud, deception and
applicant. misrepresentation since Sonza allegedly knew
that the land belongs to Mesina.
The petitioners failed to prove the legal
requirements of CA 141, as clarified by PD ISSUE:
107310 that (1) the land applied for was Whether the dismissal due to the statute of
alienable and disposable; and (2) the limitations was correct
applicants and their predecessors-in-interest
had occupied and possessed the land openly, HELD:
continuously, exclusively, and adversely The dismissal was not correct. The Supreme
since June 12, 1945. Court said that the 1-year period for
impugning decrees of registration cannot be
"Petitioners cite a surveyor-geodetic applied since the property involved is
engineers notation indicating that the survey allegedly private in nature and has ceased to
was inside alienable and disposable land. A be part of the public domain by operation of
mere surveyor has no authority to reclassify law, citing Susi vs. Razon.
lands of the public domain. By relying solely
on the said surveyors assertion, petitioners The decision was set aside and remanded to the
have not sufficiently proven that the land in CFI for further proceedings.
question has been declared alienable."
If by legal fiction, as stated in the Susi
"Petitioners presented evidence that they had case, plaintiff is deemed to have acquired the
been paying real estate taxes since 1974. lot by a grant of the State, it follows that
Their predecessors-in-interest, they claimed, the same had ceased to be part of the public
have also been paying taxes on the land for domain and had become private property and,
several years before them, and Cirilo Menguito therefore, is beyond the control of the
had declared the land for tax purposes in Director of Lands. Consequently, the homestead
1943. patent and the original certificate of title
covering said lot issued by the Director of
However, they did not present any documents or Lands in favor of the defendants can be said
any other satisfactory proof to substantiate to be null and void, for having been issued
this claim. General statements, which are mere through fraud, deceit and misrepresentation.
conclusions of law and not proofs of
possession, are unavailing and cannot

12. Ignacio Mesina vs. Eulalia De Sonza (1960)

13. Valentin Suzi vs. Angela Razon; Director
of Lands (1925)

In 1899, petitioner Suzi bought a parcel of
land for P12 evidenced by a deed of sale. He
used the land to plant and sell bacawan
which was used for firewood. He claimed that
he and the previous owners had been in open,
continuous, adverse and public, without any
interruption, except during the revolution.

In 1913, respondent Razon filed to recover

possession of the land in CFI Pampanga against
Suzi but was denied. She then filed for the
purchase with the Director of Lands, which was
granted despite the opposition of Suzi hence
this case.

Whether the sale of the Director of Lands to
Razon was valid

The sale was not valid since the land was
already under private ownership by operation
of law in compliance to Sec. 45(b) of Act No.
926 and therefore, no longer part of the
public domain.

So that when Angela Razon applied for the

grant in her favor, Valentin Susi had already
acquired, by operation of law, not only a
right to a grant, but a grant of the
Government, for it is not necessary that
certificate of title should be issued in order
that said grant may be sanctioned by the
courts, an application therefore is
sufficient, under the provisions of section 47
of Act No. 2874.

Consequently, in selling the land in question

to Angela Razon, the Director of Lands
disposed of a land over which he had no longer
any title or control, and the sale thus made
was void and of no effect, and Angela Razon
did not thereby acquire any right.