Digest Civ Rev Property (1)

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    HEIRS OF MARIO MALABANAN vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES GR No. 179987 April 29, 2009 en banc Facts: 1.   On February 20, 1998, Mario Malabanan filed an application for srcinal registration of title covering a parcel of land in Silang, Cavite which he purchased from Eduardo Velazco and that he and his predecessors in interest had been in open, notorious, exclusive and continuous possession of the said land for more than 30 years. 2.   Velazco, the vendor, alleges that this land was srcinally owned by his great-grandfather which passed down to his four sons. By 1966, one of the sons became the administrator of the properties which the son of the latter succeeded his parents. One of the properties therein was the one sold by the Velazco. 1.   They also presented an evidence on the classification of land to be alienable and disposable by the DENR on March 15, 1982. 3.   The RTC ruled in favor with them, but the CA reversed citing the case of Republic v Hebierto. Issue: Whether or not the registration of the property should be allowed Held: No. Given the length discussions of questions of law, we would need to dissect them. The case settles down the correct interpretation of Sec. 14 (1) and (2) of PD 1529 along with CA 141 1.   It should be noted here first that CA 141, particularly Section 48 (b) vests the right to ownership to those who satisfy its prerequisites, while PD 1529 Sec 14 (1) recognizes such rights. One did not repeal the other. 2.   It is also recognized that the change of the term “ alienable and disposable ”  from “ agricultural ”  by PD 1073 did limit the lands to be registered, as we may take a look at Sec. 9 of CA 141. The Court holds that the correct interpretation for Section 14 (1) is  Naguit , not Herbierto, the latter being only an orbiter dicta to a case where the MTC did not acquire jurisdiction to settle the srcinal registration. Thus: 1.   The requirement of bona fide ownership since June 12, 1945 is satisfied when at the time of the application, the land is already classified as alienable and disposable.  Ad proximum   antecedents    fiat relation nisi   impediatur sentencia.  2.   A contrary ruling with result to absurdity rendering the presumption of the right nugatory and the provision inoperative, aggravated by the fact that at the time the Philippine is still not an independent state. 3.   The correct interpretation then is that if the State, at the time the application is made, has not yet deemed it proper to release the property for alienation or disposition, the presumption is that the government is still reserving the right to utilize the property; hence, the need to preserve its ownership in the State irrespective of the length of adverse possession even if in good faith. If the reverse is true, then there is already an intention on the part of the State to abdicate its exclusive prerogative over the property. The Court rules that the interpretation for Sec 14 (2) requires a mix of interpretation of Art. 1113, Art. 1137, and Art. 420-422 of the New Civil Code. 1.   It is well settled, per Art. 1113, that only objects within the commerce of men and the patrimonial property of the State can be subject to acquisitive or extraordinary acquisitive prescription. 2.   It is also clear that in Arts. 420-422, the property of public dominion when no longer in use, is converted into patrimonial property, if and only if, as held in Ignacio vs. Director of Lands or Laurel vs. Garcia, there is a positive act of the executive or legislative declaring lands to be such. 3.   Hence, combining both rulings, it is clear that only when there is a positive act, regardless if the land was classified as alienable and disposable, that the land sought to be registered, can be acquired through prescription. Applying to the case at bar: 1.   Sec. 14 (1) is unsatisfied as the earliest tax declarations presented was 1948. No other substantive evidence was presented. 2.   Sec. 14 (2) is also unsatisfied as the subject property was declared as alienable or disposable in 1982, there is no competent evidence that is no longer intended for public use service or for the    development of the national evidence, conformably with Article 422 of the Civil Code. The classification of the subject property as alienable and disposable land of the public domain does not change its status as property of the public dominion under Article 420(2) of the Civil Code. Thus, it is insusceptible to acquisition by prescription. Petition Denied. Laurel v. Garcia (G.R. No. 92013) Ojeda v. Executive Secretary (G.R. No. 92047) ROPPONGI PROPERTY FACTS: These two (2) petitions for prohibition seek to enjoin respondents from proceeding with the bidding for the sale of the 3,179 square meters of land at 306 Roppongi, 5-Chrome Minato-ku Tokyo, Japan. The latter case also, prays for a writ of mandamus to fully disclose to the public the basis of their decision to push through with the sale of the Roppongi property. The Roppongi case is one of the four properties in Japan acquired by the Philippine government under the Reparation Agreement entered into with Japan. The other three (3) properties include Nampeidai Property  (present site of the Philippine Embassy Chancery), Kobe Commercial Property  (commercial lot being used as a warehouse and parking lot for consulate staff) and Kobe Residential Property  (resident lot which is now vacant). The Reparations Agreement provides that reparations valued at $550M would be payable in twenty (20) years in accordance with annual schedules of procurements to be fixed by the Philippine and Japanese governments. The procurements are to be divided into government sector and those for private parties in projects, the latter shall be made available only to Filipino citizens or to 100% Filipino-owned entities in national development projects. The Roppongi property was acquired under the heading “Government   Sector”  for the Chancery of the Philippine Embassy until the latter was transferred to Nampeida due to the need for major repairs. However, the Roppongi property has remained underdeveloped since that time. Although there was a proposal to lease the property with the provision to have buildings built at the expense of the lessee, the same was not acted favorably upon by the government. Instead, President Aquino issued EO No. 296 entitling non-Filipino citizens or entities to avail of separations’  capital goods and services in the event of sale, lease or dispositions. Thereafter, amidst the oppositions by various sectors, the Executive branch of the government pushed for the sale of reparation properties, starting with the Roppongi lot. The property has twice been set for bidding at a minimum floor price of $225M. The first was a failure, while the second has been postponed and later restrained by the SC. Amongst the arguments of the respondents is that the subject property is not governed by our Civil Code, but rather by the laws of Japan where the property is located. They relied upon the rule of lex situs  which is used in determining the applicable law regarding the acquisition, transfer and devolution of the title to a property. ISSUES: 1.   Can the Roppongi property and others of its kind be alienated by the Philippine Government? NO. There can be no doubt that the property is of public dominion and the respondents have failed to show that it has become patrimonial. The property is correctly classified under Art 420 of the Civil Code as property belonging to the State and intended for some public service. The fact that it has not been used for actual Embassy service does not automatically convert it to patrimonial property. Such conversion happens only if property is withdrawn from public use, through an abandonment of the intention to use the Roppongi property for public service and to make it patrimonial property. Abandonment must be a certain and positive act based on correct legal premises. The EO does not declare that the properties lost their public character, merely intending the properties to be made available to foreigners and not to Filipinos alone, in case of sale, lease or other disposition. Furthermore,    it is based on the wrong premise that the Japan properties can be sold to end-users, when in fact it cannot. Neither does the CARP Law re-classify the properties into patrimonial properties, merely stating that sources of funds for its implementation be sourced from proceeds of the disposition of the Government in foreign countries, but not that the Roppongi property be withdrawn from being classified as a property of public dominion. CONFLICT OF LAW Furthermore, the respondents’  argument that the Japanese law and not our Civil Code shall apply is incorrect. There is no conflict of law in this situation . A conflict of law arises only when: a.   There is a dispute over the title or ownership of an immovable , such that the capacity to take and transfer immovables, the formalities of conveyance, the essential validity and effect of the transfer, or the interpretation and effect of a conveyance, are to be determined. b.   A foreign law on land ownership and its conveyance is asserted to conflict with a domestic law on the same matters.  Hence, the need to determine which law should apply. Both elements does not  exist in the case. The issues are not concerned with the validity of ownership or title. There is no question that the property belongs to the Philippines. The issue is the authority of the government officials to validly dispose of property belonging to the state and the validity of the procedures adopted to effect the sale, which should be governed by Philippine law The rule of lex situs  does not apply. 2.   Does the Chief Executive, her officers and agents, have the authority and jurisdiction, to sell the Roppongi property? NO. A law or a formal declaration to withdraw the Roppongi property from public domain to make it alienable and a need for legislative authority  to allow the sale of the property is needed. None has been enacted for this purpose. 3.   W/N EO No. 296 is constitutional? The SC did not anymore pass upon its constitutionality. Ancheta vs. Guersey-Dalaygon, GR No. 139868 June 8, 2006 Facts: 2 American citizens have resided in the Philippines. They have an adopted daughter. The wife died and left a will where she left her entire estate to her husband. 2 years after the wife's death, the husband married a Candelaria. 4 years after, Richard died and left a will where he left his entire estate to Candelaria except for some of his shares in a company which he left to his adopted daughter. Audrey ’ s will was admitted to probate in CFI Rizal. Inventory was taken on their conjugal properties. Ancheta, as the administrator, filed for a partition of the first wife's estate. The will was also admitted in a court in her native land (Maryland). Issue: Whether or not the properties in issue should be governed by the law where the property is situated Ruling: Yes, properties in issue should be governed by the law where the property is situated. However, since the first wife is a foreign national, the intrinsic validity of her will is governed by her national law. The national law of the person who made the will shall regulate whose succession is in consideration whatever the nature of the property and regardless of the country where the property maybe found (Art 16 CC). The first wife's properties may be found in the Philipppines, however the successional rights over those properties are governed by the national law of the testator. City Government of Quezon vs. Judge Ericta GR No. L-34915 June 24, 1983 Facts: An ordinance was promulgated in Quezon city which approved the the regulation ofestablishment of private cemeteries in the said city. According to the ordinance, 6% of the total area of the private memorial park shall be set aside for charity burial of deceased persons who are paupers and have    been residents of QC. Himlayang Pilipino, a private memorial park, contends that the taking or confiscation of property restricts the use of property such that it cannot be used for any reasonable purpose and deprives the owner of all beneficial use of his property. It also contends that the taking is not a valid exercise of police power, since the properties taken in the exercise of police power are destroyed and not for the benefit of the public. Issue: Whether or not the ordinance made by Quezon City is a valid taking of private property Ruling: No, the ordinance made by Quezon City is not a valid way of taking private property. The ordinace is actually a taking without compensation of a certain area from a private cemetery to benefit paupers who are charges of the municipal corporation. Instead of building or maintaing a public cemeteries. State's exercise of the power of expropriation requires payment of just compensation. Passing the ordinance without benefiting the owner of the property with just compensation or due process, would amount to unjust taking of a real property. Since the property that is needed to be taken will be used for the public's benefit, then the power of the state to expropriate will come forward and not the police power of the state. GERMAN MANAGEMENT & SERVICES, INC. V COURT OF APPEALS FACTS: Spouses Jose are residents of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA are owners of the land situated in sitio Inarawan, San Isidro, Antipolo, Rizal (the land  being disputed in the case at bar.) The spouses Jose executed a special power of attorney authorizing  petitioner German Management Services to develop their property. They have already acquired the proper  permits to do so but they discovered that the land was occupied by the respondent with 20 other farmers (members of the Concerned of Farmer  ’ s Association.) These farmers have occupied the land for the last twelve to fifteen years prior to the issuance of the permits and they already have their crops all over the property. In short, they are in actual possession of the land. Petitioners tried to forcibly drive the farmers away and; demolish and bulldoze their crops and property. The respondents filed in CFI because they were deprived of their property without due process of law by trespassing, demolishing and bulldozing their crops and property situated in the land. CFI and RTC denied it but CA reversed the decision. Petitioners tried to appeal the decision in CA but were denied thus this appeal ISSUE: Whether or not private respondents are entitled to file a forcible entry case against petitioner? RULING: YES, they are entitled to file a forcible entry case! Since  private respondents were in actual possession of the  property at the time they were forcibly ejected by  petitioner, private respondents have a right to commence an action for forcible entry regardless of the legality or illegality of possession. Private respondents, as actual possessors, can commence a forcible entry case against petitioner  because ownership is not in issue. Forcible entry is merely a quieting process and never determines the actual title to an estate. Title is not involved, only actual  possession. It is undisputed that private respondents were in possession of the property and not the  petitioners nor the spouses Jose. Although the  petitioners have a valid claim over ownership this does not in any way justify their act of ― forcible entry. ‖  It must be stated that regardless of the actual condition of the title to the property the party in peaceable quiet  possession shall not be turned out by a strong hand, violence or terror. Thus, a party who can prove prior  possession can recover such possession even against the owner himself.Whatever may be the character of his  possession, if he has in his favor priority in time, he has the security that entitles him to remain on the property until he is lawfully ejected by a person having a better right by accion publiciana or accion reivindicatoria. The doctrine of self help, which the petitioners were using to  justify their actions, are not applicable in the case  because it can only be exercised at the time of actual or threatened dispossession which is absent in the case at  bar (in fact they are the ones who are threatening to remove the respondents with the use of force.) Article 536 basically tells us that the owner or a person who has a better right over the land must resort to judicial means to recover the property from another person who  possesses the land. When possession has already been lost, the owner must resort to judicial process for the recovery of property. As clearly stated in Article 536- ― In no case may  possession be acquired through force or intimidation as long as there is a possessor who objects thereto. He who  believes that he has an action or right to deprive another of the holding of a thing must invoke the aid of the competent court, if holder should refuse to deliver the thing. ‖  
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