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Republic vs.

Metro Index Realty & Dev t Corp


Facts:
1. Respondent filed w/ the RTC of Cavite an application for judicial confir
mation of title over 3 parcels of land located at Brgy. Mataas na Lupa, Indang C
avite
a. During the hearing it presented 2 witnesses
i. Dimayuga Project Documentation Officer who testified that respondent bou
ght the property from Herminia, Melinda & Hernando Sicap & that it was declared
for taxation in the respondents name in 2006 &&& the property is alienable & dis
posable land evidenced by the certification issued by DENR
ii. Herminia testified that she & her siblings inherited the land from their
parents who had been in possession of the land since 1956 as shown by the tax d
ec & at the time they inherited the property, they had been religiously paying t
axes thereon & planted coconut, banana, santol, palay & corn
2. RTC granted the application w/ CA affirmed ruling that the number of tre
es found in the land is not the determination of ownership of the land (even onl
y few trees are there, does not mean that they did NOT own the land) & construct
ive possession
3. SC reversed the CA decision for failure to comply w/ the requirements of
sec 14, PD 1529 (1st & 2nd par)
Issue:
W/N respondent had proven that he is entitled to the benefits of PD 1529 on conf
irmation of imperfect titles?

Held: NO!
1. Although respondents might be in open & continuous possession of the lan
d, still it is part of the public dominion
a. Public lands become only patrimonial not only w/ a declaration that thes
e are alienable & disposable lands but there must be an express govt manifestati
on that the property is already patrimonial or no longer retained for public ser
vice or the devt of the national wealth &&& only so will prescription run agains
t it
2. The classification of the land to be public or alienable should have 1st
been addressed to but was regrettably neglected
3. Public Land Act requires more than constructive possession & casual cult
ivation ---- a mere casual cultivation of portions of the land by the claimant
does not constitute possession under a claim of ownership
a. In this case lot 1 = 2k coconuts = 119 hectares
b. Lot 2 = 1k coconuts = 19 hectares
c. Reality = 1 hectare = 114 coconuts w/c means that only 25 hectares out o
f 138 hectares being applied for was in fact cleared, cultivated & planted w/ co
conut w/c need not be tendered or watched
d. This only showed that casual or occasional cultivation of portions of th
e land in question. In short, possession is not exclusive nor notorious, much le
ss continuous, so as to give rise to a presumptive grant from the govt