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G.R. No.

L-46145 November 26, 1986


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINE !BURE"U OF L"N#$, petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF "PPE"L, HEIR OF #O%INGO P. B"LO&, re're(e)*e+ b, RIC"R#O B"LO&,
ET "L.,respondents.
Pelaez, Jalondoni, Adriano and Associates for respondents.

P"R", J.:p
This case originally emanated from a decision of the then Court of First Instance of Zambales in LRC Case
No. !", LRC Record No. N!#$%&&, denying respondents' application for registration. From said order of
denial the applicants, heirs of (omingo )aloy, represented by Ricardo *. )aloy, +herein private
respondents, interposed on appeal to the Court of -ppeals .hich .as doc/eted as C-!0.R. No. &#"%$!R.
The appellate court, thru its Fifth (ivision .ith the 1on. 2ustice 3agno 0atmaitan as ponente, rendered a
decision dated February %, $44 reversing the decision appealed from and thus approving the application
for registration. 5ppositors +petitioners herein, 6led their 3otion for Reconsideration alleging among other
things that applicants' possessory information title can no longer be invo/ed and that they .ere not able to
prove a registerable title over the land. 7aid 3otion for Reconsideration .as denied, hence this petition for
revie. on certiorari.
-pplicants' claim is anchored on their possessory information title +89hibit F .hich had been translated in
89hibit F!, coupled .ith their continuous, adverse and public possession over the land in :uestion. -n
e9amination of the possessory information title sho.s that the description and the area of the land stated
therein substantially coincides .ith the land applied for and that said possessory information title had been
regularly issued having been ac:uired by applicants' predecessor, (omingo )aloy, under the provisions of
the 7panish 3ortgage La.. -pplicants presented their ta9 declaration on said lands on -pril ;, $<&.
The (irector of Lands opposed the registration alleging that this land had become public land thru the
operation of -ct <#4 of the *hilippine Commission. 5n November #<, $"# pursuant to the e9ecutive order
of the *resident of the =.7., the area .as declared .ithin the =.7. Naval Reservation. =nder -ct <#4 as
amended by -ct %;, a period .as 69ed .ithin .hich persons a>ected thereby could 6le their application,
+that is .ithin < months from 2uly ;, $"&, other.ise ?the said lands or interest therein .ill be conclusively
ad@udged to be public lands and all claims on the part of private individuals for such lands or interests
therein not to presented .ill be forever barred.? *etitioner argues that since (omingo )aloy failed to 6le
his claim .ithin the prescribed period, the land had become irrevocably public and could not be the sub@ect
of a valid registration for private o.nership.
Considering the foregoing facts respondents Court of -ppeals ruled as follo.sA
... perhaps, the conse:uence .as that upon failure of (omingo )aloy to have 6led his
application .ithin that period the land had become irrevocably publicB but perhaps also, for
the reason that .arning .as from the Cler/ of the Court of Land Registration, named 2.R.
Cilson and there has not been presented a formal order or decision of the said Court of Land
Registration so declaring the land public because of that failure, it can .ith plausibility be
said that after all, there .as no @udicial declaration to that e>ect, it is true that the =.7. Navy
did occupy it apparently for some time, as a recreation area, as this Court understands from
the communication of the (epartment of Foreign ->airs to the =.7. 8mbassy e9hibited in the
record, but the very tenor of the communication apparently see/s to @ustify the title of herein
applicants, in other .ords, .hat this Court has ta/en from the occupation by the =.7. Navy is
that during the interim, the title of applicants .as in a state of suspended animation so to
spea/ but it had not died eitherB and the fact being that this land .as really originally private
from and after the issuance and inscription of the possessory information 89h. F during the
7panish times, it .ould be most diDcult to sustain position of (irector of Lands that it .as
land of no private o.nerB open to public disposition, and over .hich he has controlB and
since immediately after =.7. Navy had abandoned the area, applicant came in and asserted
title once again, only to be troubled by 6rst Crispiniano )lanco .ho ho.ever in due time,
:uitclaimed in favor of applicants, and then by private oppositors no., apparently originally
tenants of )lanco, but that entry of private oppositors sought to be given color of o.nership
.hen they sought to and did 6le ta9 declaration in $<&, should not pre@udice the original
rights of applicants thru their possessory information secured regularly so long ago, the
conclusion must have to be that after all, applicants had succeeded in bringing themselves
.ithin the provisions of 7ec. $ of -ct E$<, the land should be registered in their favorB
IN FI8C C18R85F, this Court is constrained to reverse, as it no. reverses, @udgment
appealed from the application is approved, and once this decision shall have become 6nal, if
ever it .ould be, let decree issue in favor of applicants .ith the personal circumstances
outlined in the application, costs against private oppositors.
*etitioner no. comes to =s .ith the follo.ingA
-77I0N38NT 5F 8RR5R7A
. Respondent court erred in holding that to bar private respondents from asserting any right
under their possessory information title there is need for a court order to that e>ect.
#. Respondent court erred in not holding that private respondents' rights by virtue of their
possessory information title .as lost by prescription.
%. Respondent court erred in concluding that applicants have registerable title.
- cursory reading of 7ec. %, -ct <#4 reveals that several steps are to be follo.ed before any a>ected land
can ?be conclusively adjudged to be public land.? 7ec. %, -ct <#4 reads as follo.sA
78C. %. Immediately upon receipt of the notice from the civil 0overnor in the preceeding
section mentioned it shall be the duty of the @udge of the Court of Land Registration to issue
a notice, stating that the lands .ithin the limits aforesaid have been reserved for military
purposes, and announced and declared to be military reservations, and that claims for all
private lands, buildings, and interests therein, .ithin the limits aforesaid, must be presented
for registration under the Land Registration -ct .ithin si9 calendar months from the date of
issuing the notice, and that all lands, buildings, and interests therein .ithin the limits
aforesaid not so presented .ithin the time therein limited .ill be conclusively ad@udged to be
public lands and all claims on the part of private individuals for such lands, buildings, or an
interest therein not so presented .ill be forever barred. The cler/ of the Court of Land
Registration shall immediately upon the issuing of such notice by the @udge cause the same
to be published once a .ee/ for three successive .ee/s in t.o ne.spapers, one of .hich
ne.spapers shall be in the 8nglish Language, and one in the 7panish language in the city or
province .here the land lies, if there be no such 7panish or 8nglish ne.spapers having a
general circulation in the city or province .herein the land lies, then it shall be a suDcient
compliance .ith this section if the notice be published as herein provided, in a daily
ne.spaper in the 7panish language and one in the 8nglish language, in the City of 3anila,
having a general circulation. The cler/ shall also cause a duly attested copy of the notice in
the 7panish language to be posted in conspicuous place at each angle formed by the lines of
the limits of the land reserved. The cler/ shall also issue and cause to be personally served
the notice in the 7panish language upon every person living upon or in visible possession of
any part of the military reservation. If the person in possession is the head of the family
living upon the hand, it shall be suDcient to serve the notice upon him, and if he is absent it
shall be suDcient to leave a copy at his usual place of residence. The cler/ shall certify the
manner in .hich the notices have been published, posted, and served, and his certi6cate
shall be conclusive proof of such publication, posting, and service, but the court shall have
the po.er to cause such further notice to be given as in its opinion may be necessary.
Clearly under said provisions, private land could be deemed to have become public land only by virtue of a
@udicial declaration after due notice and hearing. It runs contrary therefore to the contention of petitioners
that failure to present claims set forth under 7ec. # of -ct <#4 made the land ipso facto public .ithout any
deed of @udicial pronouncement. *etitioner in ma/ing such declaration relied on 7ec. E of -ct <#4 alone.
)ut in construing a statute the entire provisions of the la. must be considered in order to establish the
correct interpretation as intended by the la.!ma/ing body. -ct <#4 by its terms is not self!e9ecutory and
re:uires implementation by the Court of Land Registration. -ct <#4, to the e9tent that it creates a
forfeiture, is a penal statute in derogation of private rights, so it must be strictly construed so as to
safeguard private respondents' rights. 7igni6cantly, petitioner does not even allege the e9istence of any
@udgment of the Land Registration court .ith respect to the land in :uestion. Cithout a @udgment or order
declaring the land to be public, its private character and the possessory information title over it must be
respected. 7ince no such order has been rendered by the Land Registration Court it necessarily follo.s that
it never became public land thru the operation of -ct <#4. To assume other.ise is to deprive private
respondents of their property .ithout due process of la.. In fact it can be presumed that the notice
re:uired by la. to be given by publication and by personal service did not include the name of (omingo
)aloy and the sub@ect land, and hence he and his lane .ere never brought .ithin the operation of -ct <#4
as amended. The procedure laid do.n in 7ec. % is a re:uirement of due process. ?(ue process re:uires that
the statutes .hich under it is attempted to deprive a citiGen of private property .ithout or against his
consent must, as in e9propriation cases, be strictly complied .ith, because such statutes are in derogation
of general rights.? +-rriete vs. (irector of *ublic Cor/s, &; *hil. &"4, &";, &,.
Ce also 6nd .ith favor private respondents' vie.s that court @udgments are not to be presumed. It .ould
be absurd to spea/ of a @udgment by presumption. If it could be contended that such a @udgment may be
presumed, it could e:ually be contended that applicants' predecessor (omingo )aloy presumably
seasonably 6led a claim, in accordance .ith the legal presumption that a person ta/es ordinary care of his
concerns, and that a @udgment in his favor .as rendered.
The 6nding of respondent court that during the interim of &4 years from November #<, $"# to (ecember
4, $&$ +.hen the =.7. Navy possessed the area, the possessory rights of )aloy or heirs .ere merely
suspended and not lost by prescription, is supported by 89hibit ?=,? a communication or letter No. ";!
<%, dated 2une #E, $<%, .hich contains an oDcial statement of the position of the Republic of the
*hilippines .ith regard to the status of the land in :uestion. 7aid letter recogniGes the fact that (omingo
)aloy andHor his heirs have been in continuous possession of said land since ;$E as attested by an
?Informacion *ossessoria? Title, .hich .as granted by the 7panish 0overnment. 1ence, the disputed
property is private land and this possession .as interrupted only by the occupation of the land by the =.7.
Navy in $E& for recreational purposes. The =.7. Navy eventually abandoned the premises. The heirs of
the late (omingo *. )aloy, are no. in actual possession, and this has been so since the abandonment by
the =.7. Navy. - ne. recreation area is no. being used by the =.7. Navy personnel and this place is remote
from the land in :uestion.
Clearly, the occupancy of the =.7. Navy .as not in the concept of o.ner. It parta/es of the character of a
commodatum. It cannot therefore militate against the title of (omingo )aloy and his successors!in!
interest. 5ne's o.nership of a thing may be lost by prescription by reason of another's possession if such
possession be under claim of o.nership, not .here the possession is only intended to be transient, as in
the case of the =.7. Navy's occupation of the land concerned, in .hich case the o.ner is not divested of
his title, although it cannot be e9ercised in the meantime.
C18R8F5R8, premises considered, 6nding no merit in the petition the appealed decision is hereby
-FFIR38(.
75 5R(8R8(.