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Vda. De Nazareno v.

Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 98045, June 26, 1996, 257 SCRA 589
Romeo, J.

FACTS: The subject of this controversy is a parcel of land formed as a


result of sawdust dumped into the dried-up Balacanas Creek and along the
banks of the Cagayan river. Private respondents Salasalan and Rabaya
leased the subject lots on which their houses stood from Antonio Nazareno,
petitioners predessor-in-interest. Private respondents allegedly stopped
paying rentals. As a result, Nazareno and petitioners filed a case for
ejectment with the MTC of Cagayan de Oro City. The MTC rendered a
decision against private respondents which was affirmed by the RTC. After
several petitions for annulmentof judgment by private respondents which
were all dismissed, the decision of the lower court was finally enforced with
the private respondents being ejected from portions of the subject lots they
occupied. Before Nazareno died, he caused the approval by the Bureau of
lands of the survey plan with a view to perfecting his title over the accretion
area being claimed by him. The said petition was protested by private
respondents. After conducting a survey of the subject land, land
investigator Avelino labis recommended that the survey plan be cancelled
and that private respondents be directed to file appropriate public land
application covering their respective portions. Nazareno filed a motion for
reconsideration with the Undersecretary of the Department of Natural
Resources and OIC of the Bureau of lands Ignacio who denied the Motion.
Respondent Director of lands Abelardo Palad ordered Nazareno to vacate
the portions adjudicated to private respondents and remove whatever
improvements they have introduced; he also ordered that private
respondents be placed in possession thereof. A petitioner filed a case for
annulment of the previous decisions with the RTC but was dismissed. The
CA affirmed the RTC decision contending that the approved of the survey
plan belongs exclusively to the Director of lands and the same shall be
conclusive when approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural
Resources.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners can claim ownership of the subject land
by virtue of Art 457 of the Civil Code.

HELD: No, accretion as a mode of acquiring property under Art 457 of the
NCC requires the concurrence of the requisites mentioned in the Article.
These are called rules on alluvion, which if present in a case, give to the
owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers or streams any accretion
gradually received from the effects of the current of waters. The word
current indicates the participation of the body of water in the flow of
waters due to high and low tide. Petitioners, however, admit that the
accretion was formed by the dumping of boulders, soil and other filling
materials on portions of the Balacanas creek and the Cagayan River. The
Bureau of lands classified the subject land as an accretion area which was
formed by deposits of sawdust. Petitioners submission not having met the
first and second requirements of the rules of alluvion, they cannot claim the
rights of a riparian owner. The subject being public land is under the
jurisdiction of the Bureau of lands, respondent Palad is authorized to
exercise executive control over any form of concession, disposition and
management of the lands of public dominion.