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LAND TITLES AND DEEDS

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS
A.The Regalian Doctrine i. Paragraph 1, Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution:
All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries,
forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural
lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The exploration, development and utilization of natural resources shall be
under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may directly undertake such activities or it may enter into co-production,
joint venture orproduction-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose
capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than
twenty-five years, and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. In cases of water rights for irrigation, water
supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the
grant. Under the Regalian doctrine, all lands of the public domain belong to the State and lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly
within. Private ownership is presumed to belong to the State. Unless public land is shown to have been reclassified as alienable or
disposable, and subsequently alienated by the State, it remains part of the public domain. Occupation or possession thereof by a person
in the concept of owner, no matter how long cannot ripen in ownership
Anyone who applies for confirmation of imperfect title
has burden of proof to overcome the presumption
that the land sought to be registered forms part of
public domain (Regalian doctrine)
Regalian doctrine - All lands of the public domain belong to the State, which is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land.
All lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. All lands not otherwise
clearly appearing to be privately-owned are presumed to belong to the State.

1. Rural Bank of Anda vs Roman Catholic


The Facts
The lot in dispute, Cadastral Lot 736 (Lot 736), is located in the Poblacion of Binmaley, Pangasinan. Lot 736 has a total area of about
1,300 square meters and is part of Lot 3. Cadastral Lot 737 and Lot 739 also form part of Lot 3. Cadastral Lot 737 is known as
Imeldas Park, while on Lot 739 is a waiting shed for commuters. Lot 3 is bounded on the north by Lot 1 of Plan II-5201-A and on the
south by the national road. In front of Lot 736 is the building of Mary Help of Christians Seminary (seminary) which is on Lot 1.
Lot 1 of Plan II-5201-A, which adjoins Lot 3 on the north, is titled in the name of respondent Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lingayen
(respondent) under Transfer Certificate of Title No. 6375 (TCT 6375). An annotation on TCT 6375 states that the ownership of Lot 3
is being claimed by both respondent and the Municipality of Binmaley.
In 1958, the Rector of the seminary ordered the construction of the fence separating Lot 736 from the national road to prevent
the caretelas from parking because the smell of horse manure was already bothering the priests living in the seminary. [3] The concrete
fence enclosing Lot 736 has openings in the east, west, and center and has no gate. People can pass through Lot 736 at any time of the
day.[4]
On 22 December 1997, the Sangguniang Bayan of Binmaley, Pangasinan, passed and approved Resolution Nos. 104 [5] and 105.
[6]
Resolution No. 104 converted Lot 736 from an institutional lot to a commercial lot. Resolution No. 105 authorized the municipal
mayor to enter into a contract of lease for 25 years with the Rural Bank of Anda over a portion of Lot 736 with an area of 252 square
meters.[7]
In December 1997, Fr. Arenos, the director of the seminary, discovered that a sawali fence was being constructed enclosing a portion
of Lot 736. In January 1998, the Municipal Mayor of Binmaley, Rolando Domalanta (Mayor Domalanta), came to the seminary to
discuss the situation. Mayor Domalanta and Fr. Arenos agreed that the construction of the building for the Rural Bank of Anda should
be stopped.

On 24 March 1998, respondent requested Mayor Domalanta to remove the sawali fence and restore the concrete fence. On 20 May
1998, Mayor Domalanta informed respondent that the construction of the building of the Rural Bank of Anda would resume but that
he was willing to discuss with respondent to resolve the problem concerning Lot 736.
On 1 June 1998, respondent filed a complaint for Abatement of Illegal Constructions, Injunction and Damages with Writ of
Preliminary Injunction in the Regional Trial Court of Lingayen, Pangasinan. On 24 August 1998, the trial court ordered the issuance of
a writ of preliminary injunction.
On 4 January 2000, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff [Roman Catholic
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan]:
1.

2.

Making the writ of preliminary injunction permanent;

Ordering the defendants to cause to be restored the concrete wall with iron railings, to cause to be
removed the sawali fence, both at the expense of the defendants, jointly and severally, and

3.

Condemning the defendants to pay jointly and severally, to the plaintiff the amount of P25,000.00 as
litigation expenses, attorneys fees in the amount of P50,000.00 and the costs of this suit.
SO ORDERED.[8]

On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision with the modification that the awards of litigation expenses, attorneys fees, and
costs should be deleted. The Court of Appeals subsequently denied the motion for reconsideration of the Municipality of Binmaley and
the Rural Bank of Anda.

The Ruling of the Trial Court


The trial court found that Lot 736 is not covered by any Torrens title either in the name of respondent or in the name of
the Municipality of Binmaley. The trial court held that Lot 736 is public in nature. Since Lot 736 is property of public dominion, it is
outside the commerce of man. Thus, the Sangguniang Bayan of Binmaley, Pangasinan exceeded its authority when it adopted
Resolution Nos. 104 and 105 converting Lot 736 from an institutional lot to a commercial lot and authorizing the municipal mayor to
enter into a contract of lease for 25 years with the Rural Bank of Anda over a 252 square meter portion of Lot 736 .

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals


The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that Lot 736 is property of public dominion and is used by the public as a pathway.
Respondent and the Municipality of Binmaley are mere claimants with no sufficient evidence to prove their ownership of Lot 736. The
Court of Appeals held that property of public dominion is intended for the common welfare and cannot be the object of appropriation
either by the state or by private persons. Since Lot 736 is for public use, it is a property of public dominion and it is not susceptible of
private ownership. Thus, Resolution Nos. 104 and 105 are void for being enacted beyond the powers of the Sangguniang Bayan of
Binmaley. The contract of lease between the Municipality of Binmaley and the Rural Bank of Anda is therefore void.
The Court of Appeals also ruled that since neither the respondent nor the Municipality of Binmaley owns Lot 736, there is no basis for
the monetary awards granted by the trial court.

The Issue
The issue in this case is whether Resolution Nos. 104 and 105 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Binmaley are valid.
The Ruling of the Court

The petition has no merit.


Both respondent and the Municipality of Binmaley admit that they do not have title over Lot 736. The Assistant Chief of the
Aggregate Survey Section of the Land Management Services in Region I testified that no document of ownership for Lot 736 was ever
presented to their office.[9]
Respondent claims Lot 736 based on its alleged open, continuous, adverse, and uninterrupted possession of Lot 736. However, the
records reveal otherwise. Even the witnesses for respondent testified that Lot 736 was used by the people as pathway, parking space,
and playground.[10]
On the other hand, the Municipality of Binmaley alleged that it is the sole claimant of Lot 736 based on the Property Identification
Map, Tax Mapping Control Roll of the Municipality of Binmaley, and the Lot Data Computation in the name of the Municipality of
Binmaley. However, these documents merely show that the Municipality of Binmaley is a mere claimant of Lot 736. In fact, the chief
of Survey Division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, San Fernando City, La Union testified that the cadastral
survey[11] of Lot 736, which was surveyed for the Municipality of Binmaley in 1989, had not been approved. [12] The cadastral survey
was based on the Lot Data Computation[13] of Lot 736 which was likewise contracted by the Municipality of Binmaley in 1989.
The records show that Lot 736 is used as a pathway going to the school, the seminary, or the church, which are all located on lots
adjoined to Lot 736.[14] Lot 736 was also used for parking and playground. [15] In other words, Lot 736 was used by the public in
general.
Both respondent and the Municipality of Binmaley failed to prove their right over Lot 736. Since Lot 736 has never been acquired by
anyone through purchase or grant or any other mode of acquisition, Lot 736 remains part of the public domain and is owned by the
state. As held in Hong Hok v. David:[16]
There being no evidence whatever that the property in question was ever acquired by the applicants or their ancestors
either by composition title from the Spanish Government or by possessory information title or by any other means
for the acquisition of public lands, the property must be held to be public domain. For it is well settled that no public
land can be acquired by private persons without any grant, express or implied, from the government. It is
indispensable then that there be a showing of a title from the state or any other mode of acquisition recognized by
law. The most recent restatement of the doctrine, found in an opinion of Justice J.B.L. Reyes follows: The applicant,
having failed to establish his right or title over the northern portion of Lot No. 463 involved in the present
controversy, and there being no showing that the same has been acquired by any private person from the
Government, either by purchase or by grant, the property is and remains part of the public domain.

This is in accordance with the Regalian doctrine which holds that the state owns all lands and waters of the public domain. [17] Thus,
under Article XII, Section 2 of the Constitution: All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral
oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the
state.
Municipal corporations cannot appropriate to themselves public or government lands without prior grant from the government.
[18]
Since Lot 736 is owned by the state, the Sangguniang Bayan of Binmaley exceeded its authority in passing Resolution Nos. 104
and 105. Thus, Resolution Nos. 104 and 105 are void and consequently, the contract of lease between the Municipality of Binmaley
and the Rural Bank of Anda over a portion of Lot 736 is also void.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the Decision dated 15 October 2001 and the Resolution dated 23 August 2002
of the Court of Appeals.
SO ORDERED.

2. DENR VS YAP

G.R. No. 167707


October 8, 2008
FACTS: On November 10, 1978, then President Marcos issued Proc. No. 1801declaring Boracay Island, among other islands, caves
and peninsulas in the Philippines, as tourist zones and marine reserves under the administration of the Philippine Tourism Authority
(PTA). President Marcos later approved the issuance of PTA Circular 3-82 dated September 3, 1982, to implement Proclamation No.
1801.
Claiming that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No 3-82 precluded them from filing an application for judicial confirmation of
imperfect title or survey of land for titling purposes, respondents-claimants Mayor . Yap, Jr., and others filed a petition for
declaratory relief with the RTC in Kalibo, Aklan
In their petition, respondents-claimants alleged that Proc. No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 raised doubts on their right to secure
titles over their occupied lands. They declared that they themselves, or through their predecessors-in-interest, had been in open,
continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation in Boracay since June 12, 1945, or earlier since time immemorial.
They declared their lands for tax purposes and paid realty taxes on them. Respondents-claimants posited that Proclamation No. 1801
and its implementing Circular did not place Boracay beyond the commerce of man. Since the Island was classified as a tourist zone, it
was susceptible of private ownership. Under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, they had the right to have the lots registered in
their names through judicial confirmation of imperfect titles.
The Republic, through the OSG, opposed the petition for declaratory relief. The OSG countered that Boracay Island was
an unclassified land of the public domain. It formed part of the mass of lands classified as public forest, which was not available
for disposition pursuant to Section 3(a) of the Revised Forestry Code, as amended. The OSG maintained that respondents-claimants
reliance on PD No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 was misplaced. Their right to judicial confirmation of title was governed by
Public Land Act and Revised Forestry Code, as amended. Since Boracay Island had not been classified as alienable and disposable,
whatever possession they had cannot ripen into ownership.
On July 14, 1999, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondents-claimants, declaring that, PD 1810 and PTA Circular No. 3-82
Revised Forestry Code, as amended.
The OSG moved for reconsideration but its motion was denied. The Republic then appealed to the CA. On In 2004, the appellate court
affirmed in toto the RTC decision. Again, the OSG sought reconsideration but it was similarly denied. Hence, the present petition
under Rule 45.
On May 22, 2006, during the pendency the petition in the trial court, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No.
1064 classifying Boracay Island partly reserved forest land (protection purposes) and partly agricultural land (alienable and
disposable).
On August 10, 2006, petitioners-claimants Sacay,and other landowners in Boracay filed with this Court an original petition for
prohibition, mandamus, and nullification of Proclamation No. 1064. They allege that the Proclamation infringed on their prior vested
rights over portions of Boracay. They have been in continued possession of their respective lots in Boracay since time immemorial.
On November 21, 2006, this Court ordered the consolidation of the two petitions
ISSUE: the main issue is whether private claimants have a right to secure titles over their occupied portions in Boracay.

HELD: petitions DENIED. The CA decision is reversed.


Except for lands already covered by existing titles, Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain prior to Proclamation
No. 1064. Such unclassified lands are considered public forest under PD No. 705.

PD No. 705 issued by President Marcos categorized all unclassified lands of the public domain as public forest. Section 3(a) of PD
No. 705 defines a public forest as a mass of lands of the public domain which has not been the subject of the present system of
classification for the determination of which lands are needed for forest purpose and which are not. Applying PD No. 705, all
unclassified lands, including those in Boracay Island, are ipso factoconsidered public forests. PD No. 705, however, respects titles
already existing prior to its effectivity.
The 1935 Constitution classified lands of the public domain into agricultural, forest or timber, such classification modified by the 1973
Constitution. The 1987 Constitution reverted to the 1935 Constitution classification with one addition: national parks. Of
these, only agricultural lands may be alienated.Prior to Proclamation No. 1064 of May 22, 2006, Boracay Island had never been
expressly and administratively classified under any of these grand divisions. Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain.
A positive act declaring land as alienable and disposable is required. In keeping with the presumption of State ownership, the
Court has time and again emphasized that there must be a positive act of the government, such as a presidential proclamation or an
executive order; an administrative action; investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators; and a legislative act or a statute. The
applicant may also secure a certification from the government that the land claimed to have been possessed for the required number of
years is alienable and disposable. The burden of proof in overcoming such presumption is on the person applying for registration (or
claiming ownership), who must prove that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable.
In the case at bar, no such proclamation, executive order, administrative action, report, statute, or certification was presented to the
Court. The records are bereft of evidence showing that, prior to 2006, the portions of Boracay occupied by private claimants were
subject of a government proclamation that the land is alienable and disposable. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot
be assumed. They call for proof.
Proc. No. 1801 cannot be deemed the positive act needed to classify Boracay Island as alienable and disposable land. If President
Marcos intended to classify the island as alienable and disposable or forest, or both, he would have identified the specific limits of
each, as President Arroyo did in Proclamation No. 1064. This was not done in Proclamation No. 1801.
NOTES:
1. Private claimants reliance on Ankron and De Aldecoa is misplaced. Ankron and De Aldecoa were decided at a time when the
President of the Philippines had no power to classify lands of the public domain into mineral, timber, and agricultural. At that time,
the courts were free to make corresponding classifications in justiciable cases, or were vested with implicit power to do so, depending
upon the preponderance of the evidence. Act No. 2874, promulgated in 1919 and reproduced in Section 6 of Public Land Act, gave
the Executive Department, through the President, the exclusiveprerogative to classify or reclassify public lands into alienable or
disposable, mineral or forest. Since then, courts no longer had the authority, whether express or implied, to determine the classification
of lands of the public domain.
2. Each case must be decided upon the proof in that particular case, having regard for its present or future value for one or the
other purposes. We believe, however, considering the fact that it is a matter of public knowledge that a majority of the lands in the
Philippine Islands are agricultural lands that the courts have a right to presume, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that in each
case the lands are agricultural lands until the contrary is shown. Whatever the land involved in a particular land registration case
is forestry or mineral land must, therefore, be a matter of proof. Its superior value for one purpose or the other is a question
of fact to be settled by the proof in each particular case
Forests, in the context of both the Public Land Act and the Constitutionclassifying lands of the public domain into agricultural, forest
or timber, mineral lands, and national parks, do not necessarily refer to large tracts of wooded land or expanses covered by dense
growths of trees and underbrushes. The discussion in Heirs of Amunategui v. Director of Forestryis particularly instructive:
A forested area classified as forest land of the public domain does not lose such classification simply because loggers or settlers may
have stripped it of its forest cover. Parcels of land classified as forest land may actually be covered with grass or planted to crops
by kaingin cultivators or other farmers. Forest lands do not have to be on mountains or in out of the way places. Swampy areas
covered by mangrove trees, nipa palms, and other trees growing in brackish or sea water may also be classified as forest land. The
classification is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like.

Unless and until the land classified as forest is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that it may form part of the
disposable agricultural lands of the public domain, the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply.
There is a big difference between forest as defined in a dictionary and forest or timber land as a classification of lands of the
public domain as appearing in our statutes. One is descriptive of what appears on the land while the other is a legal status, a
classification for legal purposes. At any rate, the Court is tasked to determine the legal status of Boracay Island, and not look into its
physical layout. Hence, even if its forest cover has been replaced by beach resorts, restaurants and other commercial establishments, it
has not been automatically converted from public forest to alienable agricultural land.
3. All is not lost, however, for private claimants. While they may not be eligible to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title
under Section 48(b) of CA No. 141, as amended, this does not denote their automatic ouster from the residential, commercial, and
other areas they possess now classified as agricultural. Neither will this mean the loss of their substantial investments on their
occupied alienable lands. Lack of title does not necessarily mean lack of right to possess.
For one thing, those with lawful possession may claim good faith as builders of improvements. They can take steps to preserve or
protect their possession. For another, they may look into other modes of applying for original registration of title, such as by
homestead or sales patent, subject to the conditions imposed by law.
More realistically, Congress may enact a law to entitle private claimants to acquire title to their occupied lots or to exempt them from
certain requirements under the present land laws. There is one such bill now pending in the House of Representatives

3. Republic of the Philippines, petitioner vs Ludolfo V. Munoz, respondent


Facts:
On June 14, 1996, Munoz filed an application for registration of title of a parcel of residential land before the RTC of Albay.
Munoz alledgedly acquired the property through donation from her parents, and his parents and predecessors in interest have been in
possession of the property since time immemorial for more than 70 years. The residential lot originally owned and possessed by
Paulino Pulvinar and Geronimo Lozada, who subsequently both sold their share of unregistered land to the parents of Munoz.
The Republic of the Philippines through the OSG opposed the application, among his contentions were that muniments of title, tax
payments and receipts of applications do not constitute competent and sufficient evidence of bonafide acquisition.and that the parcel
applied for is part of the public domain and not subject to private appropriation.
The Regional Trial Court rendered decision in favour of Munoz, noting that the a report submitted by the Director of Lands, that as per
records of the Land Management Bureau in Manila the subject property is covered by Free Patent Application No. 10-2-664 of
Anastacia Vitero, mother of Munoz. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the RTC.
Issues:
Whether or not the failure to present the original tracing cloth plan is fatal omission which necessarily affected the trial courts
jurisdiction.
Whether or not in proving the alienable and disposable nature of the property there has to be a certification from the DENR and
Community Environment and Natural Resources Office.
Ruling:
As to the first issue, it bears stressing that the constructive seizure of land accomplished by posting of notices and processes
upon all persons mentioned in notices by means of publication and sending copies to said persons by registered mail in effect gives the
court jurisdiction over the lands sought to be registered. It is true that the best evidence to identify a piece of land for registration
purposes is the original tracing cloth plan from the Bureau of Lands, in this case however, the presentation of the original tracing cloth
plan may be dispensed with since the blue print copy of the survey plan approved by the Bureau of Lands and the technical
descriptions duly verified and approved by the Director of lands were presented and provide sufficient identification.
As to the second issue, the CA ruled that Munoz need not adduce documentary proofs for the property to be declared
alienable and disposable because of the fact that it had once been covered by Free Patent application in the name of the mother of

Munoz, which was unfortunately not acted upon by the proper authorities. This court however cannot sustain this argument. As well
settled in jurisprudence, it is indispensable that the person claiming title to public land should show a positive act of the government
such as presidential proclamation, executive order, administrative action, investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigations,
legislative act or a statue or certification from the government that the land applied for is alienable and disposable which the
respondent failed to secure. The court cannot approve the application for registration due to failure to prove that the land is alienable
and disposable.

4. Isagani Cruz vs Sec of DENR


FACTS: Cruz, a noted constitutionalist, assailed the validity of the RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act on the ground that
the law amount to an unlawful deprivation of the States ownership over lands of the public domain as well as minerals and other
natural resources therein, in violation of the regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution. The IPRA law
basically enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over ancestral domains which may include natural resources. Cruz et al
content that, by providing for an all-encompassing definition of ancestral domains and ancestral lands which might even include
private lands found within said areas, Sections 3(a) and 3(b) of said law violate the rights of private landowners.
ISSUE: Whether or not the IPRA law is unconstitutional.
HELD: The SC deliberated upon the matter. After deliberation they voted and reached a 7-7 vote. They deliberated again and the
same result transpired. Since there was no majority vote, Cruzs petition was dismissed and the IPRA law was sustained. Hence,
ancestral domains may include natural resources somehow against the regalian doctrine.
B. Section 4. ARTICLE XII: The Congress shall, as soon as possible, determine, by law, the specific limits of forest lands and national
parks, marking clearly their boundaries on the ground. Thereafter, such forest lands and national parks shall be conserved and may not
be increased nor diminished, except by law. The Congress shall provide for such period as it may determine, measures to prohibit
logging in endangered forests and watershed areas.

1. TIPTON VS ANDUEZA
On the 30th day of October, 1899, Vicente Aguirre y Flores, as administrator of the San Lazaro Hospital, leased to the defendant in
this case a tract of land belonging to the hospital. It was stipulated in the contract that the lease should run for a period of ten years
from the 1st day of January, 1899. Aguirre, the administrator, was duly authorized to execute such contracts, but his power was
general in terms and contained no provision specially authorizing him to make leases with respect to the hospital property for a period
of ten years or any other specific term.
The plaintiff, as the present administrator of the hospital property, claims that the contract made by his predecessor, Aguirre, was null
and void for want of power on his part to make such contract, basing his contention upon the provisions of article 1548 of the Civil
Code. That article reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The husband with respect to the property of his wife, the father and guardian with regard to that of his children or minor, and the
administrator of property without a special power giving him such authority, can not execute a lease for a period exceeding six
years."cralaw virtua1aw library
This provision plainly shows that Aguirre could not, as administrator, have validly executed a lease of the land in question for a period
of ten years in the absence of special authority to that effect. This, in our opinion, vitiated the contract. This defect, however, did not
affect the contract in its entirety, but only in so far as it exceeded the six-year limit fixed by law as the maximum period for which an
administrator can execute a lease without special power. The contract in question was perfectly valid in so far as it did not exceed that
limit, having been executed by the administrator, Aguirre, within the scope of the legal authority he had under his general power to
lease. That general power carried with it, under the article above quoted, the authority to lease the property for a period not exceeding
six years. There was no excess of authority and consequently no cause for nullification arising therefrom, as to the first six years of the
lease. As to the last four, the contract was, however, void, the administrator having acted beyond the scope of his powers.
The trial court construed article 1548 of the Civil Code as applying only to administrators of estates of deceased persons. This

construction is manifestly erroneous. The provisions of that article are general and apply as well to administrators of property of living
as of deceased persons.
It is contended, on the other hand, by the defendant, that article 1548 is not applicable to public lands such as the property in question,
nor to public officials as was Vicente Aguirre, the administrator of the San Lazaro Hospital.
As to the first contention, it is not stated in defendants brief in what sense the words "public lands" are used. It seems, however, that
the defendant refers to lands of the public domain. He testified at the trial that the lands of the San Lazaro Hospital belonged to the
Government of the United States. If such were the case his interpretation of these words would be erroneous. That property belongs to
the public domain which is destined to public use or which belongs exclusively to the State without being devoted to common use or
which is destined to some public service or to the development of the national resources and of mines until transferred to private
persons. (Art. 339 of the Civil Code.) The land in question does not pertain to any of these classes. The best proof of it is that the
defendant himself had been using it for his own personal and exclusive benefit. So that, assuming without deciding that the land in
question belonged to the Government of the United States, it would be nevertheless private property under the provisions of articles
340 and 345 of the Civil Code, and as such, unless provided for by special legislation, is subject to the provisions of those articles. The
defendant has not called our attention to any special law providing a method different from that contained in the Civil Code for the
leasing of the lands belonging to the San Lazaro Hospital, and we do not know of the existence of any such law.
As to public officials, the only reason given by defendant in support of his contention that article 1548 does not apply to them is that it
would be impossible for the Government to make a lease for a period, exceeding six years, because it has no legal capacity and must
necessarily transact all its business through the medium of officials. This contention can not be sustained. It is a manifest error to say
that the Government has no legal capacity or that if has no power to grant special authority to one of its officials for the leasing of
Government property for a period exceeding six years, if deemed advisable. This is so apparent that it certainly requires no argument.
It is claimed, however, that Government officials do not act by virtue of any special power but under the law creating their respective
offices, and that for this reason they are no affected by the provisions of article 1548, which refer to administrators whose acts may be
governed by the limitations of a power of attorney. We think that this is a mere question of words. Power, according to text writers,
means the authority granted by one person to another to do in his behalf the same thing which he would do himself in the premises.
This is the sense in which the word power is used in that article and it refers to the private individual who administers property
belonging to another as well as to the public official who administers patrimonial property or the private property belonging to the
State. Such property, whether owned by the State or by a private citizen, is covered by the provisions of the Civil Code. In either case
the administrator, in so far as he has the management of the property of another, is a mere agent whose acts must be governed by the
limitations of the power which his principal may have conferred upon him. In neither case can he exceed these limitations, but must
discharge his trust in accordance with his instructions. A public official is not, as such, exempt from the operation of this rule. He can
not assume that he has the power to lease to others the patrimonial property belonging to the State for such time as he may see fit, say,
for eighty or ninety years. He can not do so unless expressly authorized. Whether the administrator derives his powers from a
legislative enactment, as in the case of a public official, or from the terms of a public instrument where private parties only are
concerned, is immaterial. It is a mere question of form which does not affect the provision of the code above cited. What the law
requires in order that the administrator may lease the property for a period exceeding six years is special power giving him such
authority. The grant must be contained in a public document. (Art. 1280 of the Civil Code.) A public document may be either a public
instrument or a legislative enactment, for legislative acts are also public documents under our code.
Furthermore it is very doubtful whether Aguirre was in fact a public official as the administrator of the San Lazaro estate. This
question, however, was not raised in the court below, no evidence bearing on the subject having been introduced. We have merely
assumed that he was such for the sake of argument.
It is further contended by the defendant that the complaint does not state a cause of action. This is not true. A mere perusal of the
complaint will show the contrary. We hold that the facts therein set forth constitute a sufficient cause of action.
It is also contended that there is no allegation with respect to the interest of the plaintiff in this action. Without passing upon the
correctness of this allegation which refers to the legal capacity of the plaintiff, it may be said that as no question was raised as to this
point in the court below it can not be urged on appeal.
The court below expressly found that the Government had collected rent for four years and held that it had thereby ratified the

contract. This question was not discussed in the court below and, legally speaking, the court should not and could not have made any
such finding. We hold that this was error on the part of the trial court.
The judgment of the court below is hereby modified so as to declare that the lease in question was valid only for six years from the 1st
day of January, 1899, to the 31st of December, 1904, and void as to the last four years of the contract term that is to say, the effects
of its nullity should date from the 1st day of January, 1905. The defendant shall return the land in the form and manner provided for in
the lease together with the proceeds derived from its possession since the last-mentioned date. The plaintiff will return to the defendant
the rent received during the same period, provided the rent has in fact been paid to him, with legal interest thereon at the rate of 6 per
cent per annum. No costs will be allowed to either party in either instance. After the expiration of twenty days let judgment be entered
in accordance herewith and let the case be remanded to the court below for action in conformity herewith. So ordered.

2. TDC vs Manila
WALA KO MAHANAP