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Case digest HEIRS OF JOSE AMUNATEGUI vs. DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY G.R. No. L-27873. November 29, 1983 public domain, public forest land, Revised Administrative Code OCTOBER 6, 2017 FACTS: These are two petitions for review on certiorari questioning the decision of the CA which declared the disputed property as forest land, not subject to titling in favor of private persons. These petitions have their genesis in an application for confirmation of imperfect title and its registration filed with th
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  Case digest HEIRS OF JOSE AMUNATEGUI vs. DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY G.R. No. L-27873. November 29, 1983 public domain, public forest land, Revised Administrative Code OCTOBER 6, 2017 FACTS:  These are two petitions for review on certiorari questioning the decision of the CA which declared the disputed property as forest land, not subject to titling in favor of private persons. These petitions have their genesis in an application for confirmation of imperfect title and its registration filed with the Court of First Instance of Capiz. The parcel of land sought to be registered is known as Lot No. 885 of the Cadastral Survey of Pilar, Capiz, and has an area of 645,703 square meters. Petitioners Roque Borre and Melquiades Borre, filed the application for registration. In due time, the heirs of Jose Amunategui filed an opposition to the application of Roque and Melquiades Borre. At the same time, they prayed that the title to a portion of Lot No. 885 of Pilar Cadastre containing 527,747 square meters be confirmed and registered in the names of said Heirs of Jose Amunategui. The Director of Forestry, through the Prov. Fiscal of Capiz, also filed an opposition to the application for registration of title claiming that the land was mangrove swamp which was still classified as forest land and part of the public domain. Another oppositor, Emeterio Bereber filed his opposition insofar as a portion of Lot No. 885 containing 117,956 square meters was concerned. Applicant-petitioner Roque Borre sold whatever rights and interests he may have on Lot No. 885 to Angel Alpasan. The latter also filed an opposition, claiming that he is entitled to have said lot registered in his name. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Capiz adjudicated 117,956 square meters to Emeterio Bereber and the rest of the land containing 527,747 square meters was adjudicated in the proportion of 5/6 share to Angel Alpasan and 1/6 share to Melquiades Borre. A petition for review on certiorari was filed by the Heirs of Jose Amunategui contending that the disputed lot had been in the possession of private persons for over 30 years and therefore in accordance with Republic Act No. 1942, said lot could still be the subject of registration and confirmation of title in the name of a private person in accordance with Act No. 496 known as the Land Registration Act. Another petition for review on certiorari was filed by Roque Borre and Encarnacion Delfin, contending that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing their complaint against the Heirs of Jose Amunategui. The Borre complaint was for the annulment of the deed of absolute sale of Lot No. 885 executed by them in favor of the Heirs of Amunategui. The complaint was dismissed on the basis of the CA’s decision that the disputed lot is part of the public domain. The petitioners also question the  jurisdiction of the CA in passing upon the relative rights of the parties over the disputed lot when its final decision after all is to declare said lot a part of the public domain classified as forest land. The Heirs of Jose Amunategui maintain that Lot No. 885 cannot be classified as forest land because it is not thickly forested but is a “mangrove swamp”.      ISSUE:  Whether or not Lot No. 885 is public forest land, not capable of registration in the names of the private applicants. RULING: 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 a reas 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 actuall y 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. Possession of forest lands, no matter how long, cannot ripen into private ownership. It bears emphasizing that a positive act of Government is needed to declassify land which is classified as forest and to convert it into alienable or disposable land for agricultural or other purposes. The fact that no trees enumerated in Section 1821 of the Revised Administrative Code are found in Lot No. 885 does not divest such land of its being classified as forest land, much less as land of the public domain. The appellate court found that in 1912, the land must have been a virgin forest as stated by Emeterio Bereber’s witness Deogracias Gavacao, and that as late as 1926, it must have been a thickly forested area as testified by Jaime Bertolde. The opposition of the Director of Forestry was strengthened by the appellate court’s finding that timber licenses had to be issued to certain licensees and even Jose Amunategui himself took the trouble to ask for a license to cut timber within the area. It was only sometime in 1950 that the property was converted into fishpond but only after a previous warning from the District Forester that the same could not be done because it was classified as “public forest.”  The court affirmed the finding that property Lot No. 885 is part of the public domain, classified as public forest land. Petitions were DISMISSED. JUN 24 Land Bank of the Philippines v. Director of Lands, G.R. No. 150824 (February 4, 2008) Case Digest Characteristics of Property of Public Dominion Facts: On September 26, 1969, an srcinal certificate of title was issue in favor of Bugayong, which emanated  from a sales patent issued in Bugayong's name on September 22, 1969. The srcinal certificate of title was cancelled and was replaced by 4 transfer certificate of titles, all in the name of Bugayong. Bugayong then sold all 4 lots to different people. One of the lots was sold to the spouses Du. Afterwards, Du divided the land into 2 lots. One of the lots was sold to Lourdes Farms, Inc., who then mortgaged the property to Land Bank of the Philippines. The validity of the srcinal certificate of title was then question by some residents of the land who filed a formal petition before the Bureau of Lands. Issues: Whether or not the srcinal certificate of title issued on September 26, 1969 is valid. Whether or no the mortgage agreement of Lourdes Farms, Inc. and Land Bank of the Philippines is valid. Held: The Bureau of Lands found out that at the time the sales patent was issued to Bugayong, the land was still classified as a forest zone; it was declared as alienable and disposable land only on March 25, 1981. Forest lands cannot be owned by private persons and is not registrable under the land registration law. Thus, the srcinal certificate of title is invalid as the it was issued when the land was still classified as a forest zone. The subject land, being a public domain, cannot be encumbered, attached, or be the subject to levy and sold at public auction to satisfy a judgment. Hence, the mortgage agreement is invalid. LAND BANK OF THE G.R. No. 150824   PHILIPPINES,  Petitioner,   Present: YNARES-SANTIAGO,  J.,   Chairperson,   - versus -  AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, CORONA, *  NACHURA, and REYES,  JJ . REPUBLIC OF THE   PHILIPPINES, represented Promulgated: by the Director of Lands,    Respondent. February 4, 2008 x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x D E C I S I O N   REYES, R.T.,  J  .:  FOREST lands are outside the commerce of man and unsusceptible of private appropriation in any form. [1]  It is well settled that a certificate of title is void when it covers property of public domain classified as forest, timber or mineral lands. Any title issued covering non-disposable lots even in the hands of an alleged innocent purchaser for value shall be cancelled. [2]  The rule must stand no matter how harsh it may seem. Dura lex sed lex  . [3]    Ang batas ay maaaring mahigpit subalit ito ang mananaig.  Before Us is a petition for review on certiorari   under Rule 45 filed by petitioner Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) appealing the: (1) Decision [4]  of the Court of Appeals (CA), dated August 23, 2001, in CA-G.R. CV No. 64121 entitled Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Director of Lands v.  Angelito Bugayong, et al. ; and (2) Resolution [5]  of the same Court, dated November 12, 2001, denying LBPs motion for reconsideration. The CA affirmed the Decision [6]  of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), dated July 9, 1996, declaring null and void Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-2823, as well as other titles srcinating from it, on the ground that at the time it was issued, the land covered was still within the forest zone. [7]   The Facts  OCT No. P-2823 was issued on September 26, 1969 in favor of one Angelito C. Bugayong. Said mother title emanated from Sales Patent No. 4576 issued in Bugayongs name on September 22, 1969. [8]  It covered a parcel of land located in Bocana, Kabacan, Davao City, with an area of 41,276 square
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