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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
February-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 99039 February 3, 1997 - FORD PHIL., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100748 February 3, 1997 - JOSE BARITUA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108547 February 3, 1997 - FELICIDAD VDA. DE CABRERA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112761-65 February 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PORFERIO M. PEPITO

  • G.R. No. 114183 February 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS BORJA

  • G.R. No. 119310 February 3, 1997 - JULIETA V. ESGUERRA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119935 February 3, 1997 - UNITED SOUTH DOCKHANDLERS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122156 February 3, 1997 - MANILA PRINCE HOTEL v. GSIS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123332 February 3, 1997 - AUGUSTO GATMAYTAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118915 February 4, 1997 - CAPITOL MEDICAL CENTER-ACE-UFSW v. BIENVENIDO LAGUESMA, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1110 February 6, 1997 - MELENCIO S. SY v. CARMELITA S. MONGCUPA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1203 February 6, 1997 - ERNESTO A. REYES v. NORBERTO R. ANOSA

  • G.R. No. 110668 February 6, 1997 ccc zz

    SMITH, BELL & CO., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111682 February 6, 1997 - ZENAIDA REYES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117982 February 6, 1997 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118843 February 6, 1997 - ERIKS PTE. LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118950-54 February 6, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LUCRECIA GABRES

  • G.R. No. 119322 February 6, 1997 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 98252 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENE JANUARIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110391 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOLORES DE LEON

  • G.R. No. 112191 February 7, 1997 - FORTUNE MOTORS (PHILS.) CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112714-15 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO SAGARAL

  • G.R. No. 117472 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEO ECHEGARAY

  • G.R. No. 119657 February 7, 1997 - UNIMASTERS CONGLOMERATION, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 119772-73 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NIGEL RICHARD GATWARD

  • G.R. No. 125249 February 7, 1997 - JIMMY S. DE CASTRO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1161 February 10, 1997 - JESUS N. BANDONG v. BELLA R. CHING

  • G.R. No. 108894 February 10, 1997 - TECNOGAS PHIL. MFG. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109887 February 10, 1997 - CECILIA CARLOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117702 February 10, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRISPIN YPARRAGUIRRE

  • G.R. No. 124553 February 10, 1997 - ROSARIO R. TUASON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-95-1070 February 12, 1997 - MARIA APIAG, ET AL. v. ESMERALDO G. CANTERO

  • Adm. Matter No. P-87-100 February 12, 1997 - FELISA ELIC VDA. DE ABELLERA v. NEMESIO N. DALISAY

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1231 February 12, 1997 - ISAIAS P. DICDICAN v. RUSSO FERNAN, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 68166 February 12, 1997 - HEIRS OF EMILIANO NAVARRO v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104666 February 12, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BIENVENIDO OMBROG

  • G.R. No. 115129 February 12, 1997 - IGNACIO BARZAGA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116511 February 12, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. COLOMA TABAG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118025 February 12, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REBECCO SATOR

  • G.R. No. 120769 February 12, 1997 - STANLEY J. FORTICH v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125531 February 12, 1997 - JOVAN LAND v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126013 February 12, 1997 - HEINZRICH THEIS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107554 February 13, 1997 - CEBU INT’L. FINANCE CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112968 February 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARSENIO LETIGIO

  • G.R. No. 114144 February 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO ABAD

  • G.R. Nos. 114711 & 115889 February 13, 1997 - GARMENTS and TEXTILE EXPORT BOARD v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122728 February 13, 1997 - CASIANO A. ANGCHANGCO v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-217 February 17, 1997 - MANUEL F. CONCEPCION v. JESUS V. AGANA, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ 97-1369 February 17, 1997 - OCTAVIO DEL CALLAR v. IGNACIO L. SALVADOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 103501-03 & 103507 February 17, 1997 - LUIS A. TABUENA v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119247 February 17, 1997 - CESAR SULIT v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119536 February 17, 1997 - GLORIA S. DELA CRUZ v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121017 February 17, 1997 - OLIVIA B. CAMANAG v. JESUS F. GUERRERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122165 February 17, 1997 - ALA MODE GARMENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123823 February 17, 1997 - MODESTO G. ESPAÑO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 96249 February 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALIPIO QUIAMCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114396 February 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM ROBERT BURTON

  • G.R. No. 118140 February 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE PIANDIONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121084 February 19, 1997 - TOYOTA MOTOR PHILS. CORP. v. TOYOTA MOTOR PHILS. CORP. LABOR UNION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107916 February 20, 1997 - PERCIVAL MODAY, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112288 February 20, 1997 - DELSAN TRANSPORT LINES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1034 February 21, 1997 - LEWELYN S. ESTRELLER v. SOFRONIO MANATAD, JR.

  • G.R. No. 73399 February 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAMON ABEDES

  • G.R. No. 117394 February 21, 1997 - HINATUAN MINING CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. SDC-97-2-P February 24, 1997 - SOPHIA ALAWI v. ASHARY M. ALAUYA

  • G.R. No. 110427 February 24, 1997 - CARMEN CAÑIZA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-94-1195 February 26, 1997 - ROMEO NAZARENO, ET AL. v. ENRIQUE M. ALMARIO

  • G.R. No. 94237 February 26, 1997 - BUILDING CARE CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105294 February 26, 1997 - PACITA DAVID-CHAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107671 February 26, 1997 - REMMAN ENTERPRISES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109849 February 26, 1997 - MAXIMINO FUENTES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110098 February 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BUENAFE AZUGUE

  • G.R. No. 111538 February 26, 1997 - PARAÑAQUE KINGS ENTERPRISES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116033 February 26, 1997 - ALFREDO L. AZARCON v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123404 February 26, 1997 - AURELIO SUMALPONG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1368 February 27, 1997 - ERNESTO RIEGO, ET AL. v. EMILIO LEACHON, JR.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 68166   February 12, 1997 - HEIRS OF EMILIANO NAVARRO v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 68166. February 12, 1997.]

    HEIRS OF EMILIANO NAVARRO, Petitioner, v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT AND HEIRS OF SINFOROSO PASCUAL, Respondents.

    Yolanda Quisumbing - Javellana & Associates for Petitioner.

    Joracio R. Viola, Sr. for Private Respondents.


    SYLLABUS


    1. CIVIL LAW; PROPERTY; ACCRETION AS A MODE OF ACQUIRING PROPERTY; REQUISITES; LEGAL CONSEQUENCES. — Accretion as a mode of acquiring property under Article 457 of the Civil Code, requires the concurrence of the following requisites: (1) that the accumulation of soil or sediment be gradual and imperceptible; (2) that it be the result of the action of the waters of the river: and (3) that the land where the accretion takes place is adjacent to the bank of the river. Accretion is the process whereby the soil is deposited, while alluvium is the soil deposited on the estate fronting the river bank; the owner of such estate is called the riparian owner. Riparian owners are, strictly speaking, distinct from littoral owners, the latter being owners of lands bordering the shore of the sea or lake or other tidal waters. The alluvium, by mandate of Article 457 of the Civil Code, is automatically owned by the riparian owner from the moment the soil deposit can be seen but is not automatically registered property, hence, subject to acquisition through prescription by third persons.

    2. ID.; ID.; ID.; THIRD REQUISITE NOT PRESENT IN CASE AT BAR. — There is no dispute as to the location of: (a) the disputed land; (b) petitioners’ own tract of land: (c) the Manila Bay; and, (d) the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers. Petitioners’ own land lies between the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers; in front of their land on the northern side lies now the disputed land where before 1948, there lay the Manila Bay. If the accretion were to be attributed to the action of either or both of the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers, the alluvium should have been deposited on either or both of the eastern and western boundaries of petitioners’ own tract of land, not on the northern portion thereof which is adjacent to the Manila Bay. Clearly lacking, thus, is the third requisite of accretion, which is, that the alluvium is deposited on the portion of claimant’s land which is adjacent to the river bank.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; THE DISPUTED LAND IS AN ACCRETION NOT ON A RIVER BANK BUT ON A SEA BANK; THE APPLICABLE LAW IS NOT ARTICLE 457 OF THE CIVIL CODE BUT ARTICLE 4 OF THE SPANISH LAW OF WATERS OF 1866. — There is no dispute as to the fact that petitioners’ own tract of land adjoins the Manila Bay. Manila Bay is obviously not a river, and jurisprudence is already settled as to what kind of body of water the Manila Bay is. It is to be remembered that we held in Ignacio v. Director of Lands and Valeriano (108 Phil. 336, 338 [1960]) that: "Appellant next contends that . . . Manila Bay cannot be considered as a sea. We find said contention untenable. A bay is part of the sea, being a mere indentation of the same: ‘Bay, — An opening into the land where the water is shut in on all sides except at the entrance; an inlet of the sea; an arm of the sea, distinct from a river, a bending or curbing of the shore of the sea or of a lake,’ 7 C.J. 1013-1014." The disputed land, thus, is an accretion not on a river bank but on a sea bank, or on what used to be the foreshore of Manila Bay which adjoined petitioners’ own tract of land on the northern side. As such, the applicable law is not Article 457 of the Civil Code but Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866.

    4. ID.; ID.; ID.; THE DISPUTED PROPERTY IS AN ACCRETION ON A SEA BANK, MANILA BAY BEING AN INLET OR AN ARM OF THE SEA; AS SUCH, THE DISPUTED PROPERTY IS UNDER ARTICLE 4 OF THE SPANISH LAW OF WATERS OF 1866, PART OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. — The instant controversy brings a situation calling for the application of Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, the disputed land being an accretion on the foreshore of Manila Bay which is, for all legal purposes, considered a sea. Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of August 3, 1866 provides as follows: "Lands added to the shores by accretions and alluvial deposits caused by the action of the sea, form part of the public domain. When they are no longer washed by the waters of the sea and are not necessary for purposes of public utility, or for the establishment of special industries, or for the coast-guard service, the Government shall declare them to be the property of the owners of the estates adjacent thereto and as increment thereof." In the light of the aforecited vintage but still valid law, unequivocal is the public nature of the disputed land in this controversy, the same being an accretion on a sea bank which, for all legal purposes, the foreshore of Manila Bay is. As part of the public domain, the herein disputed land is intended for public uses, and "so long as the land in litigation belongs to the national domain and is reserved for public uses, it is not capable of being appropriated by any private person, except through express authorization granted in due form by a competent authority." Only the executive and possibly the legislative departments have the right and the power to make the declaration that the lands so gained by action of the sea is no longer necessary for purposes of public utility or for the cause of establishment of special industries or for coast guard services. Petitioners utterly fail to show that either the executive or legislative department has already declared the disputed land 1966, to be the property of petitioners as owners of the estates adjacent thereto.


    D E C I S I O N


    HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:


    Unique is the legal question visited upon the claim of an applicant in a Land Registration case by oppositors thereto, the Government and a Government lessee, involving as it does ownership of land formed by alluvium.

    The applicant owns the property immediately adjoining the land sought to be registered. His registered property is bounded on the east by the Talisay River, on the west by the Bulacan River, and on the north by the Manila Bay. The Talisay River and the Bulacan River flow down towards the Manila Bay and act as boundaries of the applicant’s registered land on the east and on the west.

    The land sought to be registered was formed at the northern tip of the applicant’s land. Applicant’s registered property is bounded on the north by the Manila Bay.

    The issue: May the land sought to be registered be deemed an accretion in the sense that it naturally accrues in favor of the riparian owner or should the land be considered as foreshore land?

    Before us is a petition for review of: (1) the decision 1 and (2) two subsequent resolutions 2 of the Intermediate Appellate Court 3 (now the Court of Appeals) in Land Registration Case No. N-84, 4 the application over which was filed by private respondents’ predecessor-in-interest, Sinforoso Pascual, now deceased, before the Court of First Instance 5 (now the Regional Trial Court) of Balanga, Bataan.

    There is no dispute as to the following facts:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    On October 3, 1946, Sinforoso Pascual, now deceased, filed an application for foreshore lease covering a tract of foreshore land in Sibocon, Balanga, Bataan, having an area of approximately seventeen (17) hectares. This application was denied on January 15, 1953. So was his motion for reconsideration.

    Subsequently, petitioners’ predecessor-in-interest, also now deceased, Emiliano Navarro, filed a fishpond application with the Bureau of Fisheries covering twenty five (25) hectares of foreshore land also in Sibocon, Balanga, Bataan. Initially, such application was denied by the Director of Fisheries on the ground that the property formed part of the public domain. Upon motion for reconsideration, the Director of Fisheries, on May 27, 1988, gave due course to his application but only to the extent of seven (7) hectares of the property as may be certified by the Bureau of Forestry as suitable for fishpond purposes.

    The Municipal Council of Balanga, Bataan, had opposed Emiliano Navarro’s application. Aggrieved by the decision of the Director of Fisheries, it appealed to the Secretary of Natural Resources who, however, affirmed the grant. The then Executive Secretary, acting in behalf of the President of the Philippines, similarly affirmed the grant.

    On the other hand, sometime in the early part of 1960, Sinforoso Pascual filed an application to register and confirm his title to a parcel of land, situated in Sibocon, Balanga, Bataan, described in Plan Psu-175181 and said to have an area of 146,611 square meters. Pascual claimed that this land is an accretion to his property, situated in Barrio Puerto Rivas, Balanga, Bataan, and covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 6830. It is bounded on the eastern side by the Talisay River, on the western side by the Bulacan River, and on the northern side by the Manila Bay. The Talisay River as well as the Bulacan River flow downstream and meet at the Manila Bay thereby depositing sand and silt on Pascual’s property resulting in an accretion thereon. Sinforoso Pascual claimed the accretion as the riparian owner.

    On March 25, 1960, the Director of Lands, represented by the Assistant Solicitor General, filed an opposition thereto stating that neither Pascual nor his predecessors-in-interest possessed sufficient title to the subject property, the same being a portion of the public domain and, therefore, it belongs to the Republic of the Philippines. The Director of Forestry, through the Provincial Fiscal, similarly opposed Pascual’s application for the same reason as that advanced by the Director of Lands. Later on, however, the Director of Lands withdrew his opposition. The Director of Forestry become the sole oppositor.

    On June 2, 1960, the court a quo issued an order of general default excepting the Director of Lands and the Director of Forestry.chanrobles

    Upon motion of Emiliano Navarro, however, the order of general default was lifted and, on February 13, 1961, Navarro thereupon filed an opposition to Pascual’s application. Navarro claimed that the land sought to be registered has always been part of the public domain, it being a part of the foreshore of Manila Bay; that he was a lessee and in possession of a part of the subject property by virtue of a fishpond permit issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and confirmed by the Office of the President; and that he had already converted the area covered by the lease into a fishpond.

    During the pendency of the land registration case, that is, on November 6, 1960, Sinforoso Pascual filed a complaint for ejectment against Emiliano Navarro, one Marcelo Lopez and their privies, alleged by Pascual to have unlawfully claimed and possessed, through stealth, force and strategy, a portion of the subject property covered by Plan Psu-175181. The defendants in the case were alleged to have built a provisional dike thereon: thus they have thereby deprived Pascual of the premises sought to be registered. This, notwithstanding repeated demands for defendants to vacate the property.

    The case was decided adversely against Pascual. Thus, Pascual appealed to the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Balanga, Bataan, the appeal having been docketed as Civil Case No. 2873. Because of the similarity of the parties and the subject matter, the appealed case for ejectment was consolidated with the land registration case and was jointly tried by the court a quo.

    During the pendency of the trial of the consolidated cases, Emiliano Navarro died on November 1, 1961 and was substituted by his heirs, the herein petitioners.

    Subsequently, on August 26, 1962, Pascual died and was substituted by his heirs, the herein private respondents.

    On November 10, 1975, the court a quo rendered judgment finding the subject property to be foreshore land and, being a part of the public domain, it cannot be the subject of land registration proceedings.

    The decision’s dispositive portion reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (1) Dismissing plaintiff [private respondent] Sinforoso Pascual’s complaint for ejectment in Civil Case No. 2873;

    (2) Denying the application of Sinforoso Pascual for land registration over the land in question; and

    (3) Directing said Sinforoso Pascual, through his heirs, as plaintiff in Civil Case No. 2873 and as applicant in Land Registration Case No. N-84 to pay costs in both instances." 6

    The heirs of Pascual appealed and, before the respondent appellate court, assigned the following errors:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "1. The lower court erred in not finding the land in question as an accretion by the action of the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers to the land admittedly owned by applicants-appellants [private respondents].

    2. The lower court erred in holding that the land in question is foreshore land.

    3.. The lower court erred in not ordering the registration of the and is controversy in favor of applicants-appellants [private respondents].

    4. The lower court erred in not finding that the applicants-appellants [private respondents] are entitled to eject the oppositor-appellee [petitioners]." 7

    On appeal, the respondent court reversed the findings of the court a quo and granted the petition for registration of the subject property but excluding therefrom fifty (50) meters from corner 2 towards corner 1; and fifty meters (50) meters from corner 5 towards corner 6 of the Psu-175181.

    The respondent appellate court explained the reversal in this wise:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "The paramount issue to be resolved in this appeal as set forth by the parties in their respective briefs is — whether or not the land sought to be registered is accretion or foreshore land, or, whether or not said land was formed by the action of the two rivers of Talisay and Bulacan or by the action of the Manila Bay. If formed by the action of the Talisay and Bulacan rivers, the subject land is accretion but if formed by the action of the Manila Bay then it is foreshore land.

    x       x       x


    It is undisputed that applicants-appellants [private respondents] owned the land immediately adjoining the land sought to be registered. Their property which is covered by OCT No. 6830 is bounded on the east by the Talisay River, on the west by the Bulacan River, and on the north by the Manila Bay. The Talisay and Bulacan rivers come from inland flowing downstream towards the Manila Bay. In other words, between the Talisay River and the Bulacan River is the property of applicants with both rivers acting as the boundary to said land and the flow of both rivers meeting and emptying into the Manila Bay. The subject land was formed at the tip or apex of appellants’ [private respondents’] land adding thereto the land now sought to be registered.

    This makes this case quite unique because while it is undisputed that the subject land is immediately attached to appellants’ [private respondents’] land and forms the tip thereof, at the same time, said land immediately faces the Manila Bay which is part of the sea. We can understand therefore the confusion this case might have caused the lower court, faced as it was with the uneasy problem of deciding whether or not the subject land was formed by the action of the two rivers or by the action of the sea. Since the subject land is found at the shore of the Manila Bay facing appellants’ [private respondents’] land, it would be quite easy to conclude that it is foreshore and therefore part of the patrimonial property of the State as the lower court did in fact rule . . . .

    x       x       x


    It is however undisputed that [private respondents’] land lies between these two rivers and it is precisely appellants’ [private respondents’] land which acts as a barricade preventing these two rivers to meet. Thus, since the flow of the two is downwards to the Manila Bay the sediments of sand and silt are deposited at their mouths.

    It is, therefore, difficult to see how the Manila Bay could have been the cause of the deposit thereat for in the natural course of things, the waves of the sea eat the land on the shore, as they suge [sic] inland. It would not therefore add anything to the land but instead subtract from it due to the action of the waves and the wind. It is then more logical to believe that the two rivers flowing towards the bay emptied their cargo of sand, silt and clay at their mouths, thus causing [private respondents’] land to accumulate therein

    However, our distinguished colleage [sic], Mr. Justice Serrano, do [sic] not seem to accept this theory and stated that the subject land arose only when . . . Pascual planted ‘palapat’ and ‘bakawan’ trees thereat to serve as a boundary or strainer. But we do not see how this act of planting trees by Pascual would explain how the land mass came into being. Much less will it prove that the same came from the sea. Following Mr. Justice Serrano’s argument that it were the few trees that acted as strainers or blocks, then the land that grew would have stopped at the place where the said trees were planted. But this is not so because the land mass went far beyond the boundary, or where the trees were planted.

    On the other hand, the picture-exhibits of [private respondents’] clearly show that the land that accumulated beyond the so-called boundary, as well as the entire area being applied for is dry land, above sea level, and bearing innumerable trees . . . . The existence of vegetation on the land could only confirm that the soil thereat came from inland rather than from the sea, for what could the sea bring to the shore but sand, pebbles, stones, rocks and corrals? On the other hand, the two rivers would be bringing soil on their downward flow which they brought along from the eroded mountains, the lands along their path, and dumped them all on the northern portion of appellants’ [private respondents’] land.

    In view of the foregoing, we have to deviate from the lower court’s finding. While it is true that the subject land is found at the shore of the Manila Bay fronting appellants’ [private respondents’] land, said land is not foreshore but an accretion from the action of the Talisay and Bulacan rivers. In fact, this is exactly what the Bureau of Lands found out, as shown in the following report of the Acting Provincial Officer, Jesus M. Orozco, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    ‘Upon ocular inspection of the land subject of this registration made on June 11, 1960, it was found out that the said land is . . . sandwitched [sic] by two big rivers . . . These two rivers bring down considerable amount of soil and sediments during floods every year thus raising the soil of the land adjoining the private property of the applicant [private respondents’]. About four-fifth [sic] of the area applied for is now dry land whereon are planted palapat trees thickly growing thereon. It is the natural action of these two rivers that has caused the formation of said land . . . subject of this registration case. It has been formed, therefore, by accretion. And having been formed by accretion, the said land may be considered the private property of the riparian owner who is the applicant [private respondents’] . . . .

    In view of the above, the opposition hereto filed by the government should be withdrawn, except for the portion recommended by the land investigator in his report dated May 2, 1960, to be excluded and considered foreshore. . . .’

    Because of this report, no less than the Solicitor General representing the Bureau of Lands withdrew his opposition dated March 25, 1960, and limited ‘the same to the northern portion of the land applied for, compromising a strip 50 meters wide along the Manila Bay, which should be declared public land as part of the foreshore’ . . . . 8

    Pursuant to the aforecited decision, the respondent appellate court ordered the issuance of the corresponding decree of registration in the name of private respondents and the reversion to private respondents of the possession of the portion of the subject property included in Navarro’s fishpond permit.

    On December 20, 1978, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforecited decision. The Director of Forestry also moved for the reconsideration of the same decision. Both motions were opposed by private respondents on January 27, 1979.

    On November 21, 1980, respondent appellate court promulgated a resolution denying the motion for reconsideration filed by the Director of Forestry. It, however, modified its decision, to read, viz:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "(3). Ordering private oppositors Heirs of Emiliano Navarro to vacate that portion included in their fishpond permit covered by Plan Psu-175181 and hand over possession of said portion to applicants-appellants, if the said portion is not within the strip of land fifty (50) meters wide along Manila Bay on the northern portion of the land subject of the registration proceedings and which area is more particularly referred to as fifty (50) meters from corner 2 towards corner 1; and fifty (50) meters from corner 5 towards corner 6 of Plan Psu-175181 . . ." 9

    On December 15, 1980, we granted the Solicitor General, acting as counsel for the Director of Forestry, an extension of time within which to file in this court, a petition for review of the decision dated November 29, 1978 of the respondent appellate court and of the aforecited resolution dated November 21, 1980.

    Thereafter, the Solicitor General, in behalf of the Director of Forestry, filed a petition for review entitled, "The Director of Forestry v. the Court of Appeals." 10 We, however, denied the same in a minute resolution dated July 20, 1981, such petition having been prematurely filed at a time when the Court of Appeals was yet to resolve petitioners’ pending motion to set aside the resolution dated November 21, 1980.

    On October 9, 1981, respondent appellate court denied petitioners’ motion for reconsideration of the decision dated November 29, 1978.

    On October 17, 1981, respondent appellate court made an entry of judgment stating that the decision dated November 29, 1978 had become final and executory as against herein petitioners as oppositors in L.R.C. Case No. N-84 and Civil Case No. 2873 of the Court of First Instance (now the Regional Trial Court) of Balanga, Bataan.

    On October 26, 1981, a second motion for reconsideration of the decision dated November 29, 1978 was filed by petitioners’ new counsel.

    On March 26, 1982, respondent appellate court issued a resolution granting petitioners’ request for leave to file a second motion for reconsideration.

    On July 13, 1984, after hearing, respondent appellate court denied petitioners’ second motion for reconsideration on the ground that the same was filed out of time, citing Rule 52, Section 1 of the Rules of Court which provides that a motion for reconsideration shall be made ex-parte and filed within fifteen (15) days from the notice of the final order or judgment.

    Hence this petition where the respondent appellate court is imputed to have palpably erred in appreciating the facts of the case and to have gravely misapplied statutory and case law relating to accretion, specifically, Article 457 of the Civil Code.

    We find no merit in the petition.

    The disputed property was brought forth by both the withdrawal of the waters of Manila Bay and the accretion formed on the exposed foreshore land by the action of the sea which brought soil and sand sediments in turn trapped by the palapat and bakawan trees planted thereon by petitioner Sulpicio Pascual in 1948.

    Anchoring their claim of ownership on Article 457 of the Civil Code, petitioners vigorously argue that the disputed 14-hectare land is an accretion caused by the joint action of the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers which run their course on the eastern and western boundaries, respectively, of petitioners’ own tract of land.

    Accretion as a mode of acquiring property under said Article 457, requires the concurrence of the following requisites: (1) that the accumulation of soil or sediment be gradual and imperceptible; (2) that it be the result of the action of the waters of the river; and (3) that the land where the accretion takes place is adjacent to the bank of the river. 11 Accretion is the process whereby the soil is deposited, while alluvium is the soil deposited on the estate fronting the river bank 12; the owner of such estate is called the riparian owner. Riparian owners are, strictly speaking, distinct from littoral owners, the latter being owners of lands bordering the shore of the sea or lake or other tidal waters. 13 The alluvium, by mandate of Article 457 of the Civil Code, is automatically owned by the riparian owner from the moment the soil deposit can be seen 14 but is not automatically registered property, hence, subject to acquisition through prescription by third persons. 15

    Petitioners’ claim of ownership over the disputed property under the principle of accretion, is misplaced.

    First, the title of petitioners’ own tract of land reveals its northeastern boundary to be Manila Bay. Petitioners’ land, therefore, used to adjoin, border or front the Manila Bay and not any of the two rivers whose torrential action, petitioners insist, is to account for the accretion on their land. In fact, one of the petitioners, Sulpicio Pascual, testified in open court that the waves of Manila Bay used to hit the disputed land being part of the bay’s foreshore but, after he had planted palapat and bakawan trees thereon in 1948, the land began to rise. 16

    Moreover, there is no dispute as to the location of: (a) the disputed land; (b) petitioners’ own tract of land; (c) the Manila Bay; and, (d) the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers. Petitioners’ own land lies between the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers; in front of their land on the northern side lies now the disputed land where before 1948, there lay the Manila Bay. If the accretion were to be attributed to the action of either or both of the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers, the alluvium should have been deposited on either or both of the eastern and western boundaries of petitioners’ own tract of land, not on the northern portion thereof which is adjacent to the Manila Bay. Clearly lacking, thus, is the third requisite of accretion, which is, that the alluvium is deposited on the portion of claimant’s land which is adjacent to the river bank.

    Second, there is no dispute as to the fact that petitioners’ own tract of land adjoins the Manila Bay. Manila Bay is obviously not a river, and jurisprudence is already settled as to what kind of body of water the Manila Bay is. It is to be remembered that we held that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Appellant next contends that . . . Manila Bay cannot be considered as a sea. We find said contention untenable. A bay is part of the sea, being a mere indentation of the same:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    ‘Bay. — An opening into the land where the water is shut in on all sides except at the entrance; an inlet of the sea; an arm of the sea, distinct from a river, a bending or curbing of the shore of the sea or of a lake.’ 7 C.J. 1013-1014." 17

    The disputed land, thus, is an accretion not on a river bank but on a sea bank, or on what used to be the foreshore of Manila Bay which adjoined petitioners’ own tract of land on the northern side. As such, the applicable law is not Article 457 of the Civil Code but Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866.

    The process by which the disputed land was formed, is not difficult to discern from the facts of the case. As the trial court correctly observed:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "A perusal of the survey plan . . . of the land subject matter of these cases shows that on the eastern side, the property is bounded by Talisay River, on the western side by Bulacan River, on the southern side by Lot 1436 and on the northern side by Manila Bay. It is not correct to state that the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers meet a certain portion because the two rivers both flow towards Manila Bay. The Talisay River is straight while the Bulacan River is a little bit meandering and there is no portion where the two rivers meet before they end up at Manila Bay. The land which is adjacent to the property belonging to Pascual cannot be considered an accretion caused by the action of the two rivers].

    Applicant Pascual . . . has not presented proofs to convince the Court that the land he has applied for registration is the result of the settling down on his registered land of soil, earth or other deposits so as to be rightfully be considered as an accretion [caused by the action of the two rivers]. Said Art. 457 finds no applicability where the accretion must have been caused by action of the bay." 18

    The conclusion formed by the trial court on the basis of the foregoing observation is that the disputed land is part of the foreshore of Manila Bay and therefore, part of the public domain. The respondent appellate court, however, perceived the fact that petitioners’ own land lies between the Talisay and Bulacan Rivers, to be basis to conclude that the disputed land must be an accretion formed by the action of the two rivers because petitioners’ own land acted as a barricade preventing the two rivers to meet and that the current of the two rivers carried sediments of sand and silt downwards to the Manila Bay which accumulated somehow to a 14-hectare land. These conclusions, however, are fatally incongruous in the light of the one undisputed critical fact: the accretion was deposited, not on either the eastern or western portion of petitioners’ land where a river each runs, but on the northern portion of petitioners’ land which adjoins the Manila Bay. Worse, such conclusions are further eroded of their practical logic and consonance with natural experience in the light of Sulpicio Pascual’s admission as to having planted palapat and bakawan trees on the northern boundary of their own land. In amplification of this, plainly more reasonable and valid are Justice Mariano Serrano’s observations in his dissenting opinion when he stated that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "As appellants’ (titled) land . . . acts as a barricade that prevents the two rivers to meet, and considering the wide expanse of the boundary between said land and the Manila Bay, measuring some 593.00 meters . . . it is believed rather farfetched for the land in question to have been formed through ‘sediments of sand and salt [sic] . . . deposited at their [rivers’] mouths.’ Moreover, if ‘since the flow of the two rivers is downwards to the Manila Bay the sediments of sand and silt are deposited at their mouths,’ why then would the alleged cargo of sand, silt and clay accumulate at the northern portion of appellants’ titled land facing Manila Bay instead of merely at the mouths and banks of these two rivers? That being the case, the accretion formed at said portion of appellants’ titled [land] was not caused by the current of the two rivers but by the action of the sea (Manila Bay) into which the rivers empty.

    The conclusion . . . is not supported by any reference to the evidence which, on the contrary, shows that the disputed land was formed by the action of the sea. Thus, no less than Sulpicio Pascual, one of the heirs of the original applicant, testified on cross-examination that the land in dispute was part of the shore and it was only in 1948 that he noticed that the land was beginning to get higher after he had planted trees thereon in 1948. . . .chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    . . . it is established that before 1948 sea water from the Manila Bay at high tide could reach as far as the dike of appellants’ fishpond within their titled property, which dike now separates this titled property from the land in question. Even in 1948 when appellants had already planted palapat and bakawan trees in the land involved, inasmuch as these trees were yet small, the waves of the sea could still reach the dike. This must be so because in . . . the survey plan of the titled property approved in 1918, said titled land was bounded on the north by Manila Bay. So Manila Bay was adjacent to it on the north. It was only after the planting of the aforesaid trees in 1948 that the land in question began to rise or to get higher in elevation.

    The trees planted by appellants in 1948 became a sort of strainer of the sea water and at the same time a kind of block to the strained sediments from being carried back to the sea by the very waves that brought them to the former shore at the end of the dike, which must have caused the shoreline to recede and dry up eventually raising the former shore leading to the formation of the land in question." 19

    In other words, the combined and interactive effect of the planting of palapat and bakawan trees, the withdrawal of the waters of Manila Bay eventually resulting in the drying up of its former foreshore, and the regular torrential action of the waters of Manila Bay, is the formation of the disputed land on the northern boundary of petitioners’ own tract of land.

    The disputed property is an accretion on a sea bank, Manila Bay being an inlet or an arm of the sea; as such, the disputed property is, under Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, part of the public domain

    At the outset, there is a need to distinguish between Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay.

    While we held in the case of Ignacio v. Director of Lands and Valeriano 20 that Manila Bay is considered a sea for purposes of determining which law on accretion is to be applied in multifarious situations, we have ruled differently insofar as accretions on lands adjoining the Laguna de Bay are concerned.

    In the cases of Government of the P.I. v. Colegio de San Jose 21 , Republic v. Court of Appeals 22 , Republic v. Alagad 23 , and Meneses v. Court of Appeals 24 , we categorically ruled that Laguna de Bay is a lake the accretion on which, by the mandate of Article 84 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, belongs to the owner of the land contiguous thereto.

    The instant controversy, however, brings a situation calling for the application of Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, the disputed land being an accretion on the foreshore of Manila Bay which is, for all legal purposes, considered a sea.

    Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of August 3, 1866 provides as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Lands added to the shores by accretions and alluvial deposits caused by the action of the sea, form part of the public domain. When they are no longer washed by the waters of the sea and are not necessary for purposes of public utility, or for the establishment of special industries, or for the coast-guard service, the Government shall declare them to be the property of the owners of the estates adjacent thereto and as increment thereof."cralaw virtua1aw library

    In the light of the aforecited vintage but still valid law, unequivocal is the public nature of the disputed land in this controversy, the same being an accretion on a sea bank which, for all legal purposes, the foreshore of Manila Bay is. As part of the public domain, the herein disputed land is intended for public uses, and "so long as the land in litigation belongs to the national domain and is reserved for public uses, it is not capable of being appropriated by any private person, except through express authorization granted in due form by a competent authority." 25 Only the executive and possibly the legislative departments have the right and the power to make the declaration that the lands so gained by action of the sea is no longer necessary for purposes of public utility or for the cause of establishment of special industries or for coast guard services. 26 Petitioners utterly fail to show that either the executive or legislative department has already declared the disputed land as qualified, under Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, to be the property of petitioners as owners of the estates adjacent thereto.

    WHEREFORE, the instant Petition for Review is hereby DENIED and DISMISSED.

    Costs against petitioners.

    SO ORDERED.

    Padilla, Bellosillo and Kapunan, JJ., concur.

    Vitug, J., concurs: The amendatory provisions of the Water Code (P.D. 1067) did not affect Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866.

    Endnotes:



    1. In CA G.R. No. 59044-K dated November 29, 1978, penned by Associate Justice Porfirio V. Sison and concurred in by Associate Justices Nestor B. Alampay, Jorge R. Coquia, and Rafael C. Climaco, with Associate Justice Mariano Serrano, dissenting; Rollo, pp. 39-54.

    2. Resolution (on the First Motion for Reconsideration) dated November 21, 1980, penned by Associate Justice Porfirio V. Sison and concurred in by Associate Justices B.S. de la Fuente, Nestor B. Alampay, Jorge R. Coquia, and Elias B. Asuncion; Rollo, pp. 68-69; and Resolution (on the Second Motion for Reconsideration) dated March 28, 1982, penned by Associate Justice Porfirio V. Sison and concurred in by Associate Justices B.S. de la Fuente, Nestor B. Alampay, Elias B. Asuncion, and Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., Rollo, pp. 90-91.

    3. Fourth Civil Cases Division.

    4. L.R.C. Case No. 18607.

    5. Branch 1.

    6. Decision in CA G.R. No. 59044 dated November 29, 1978, pp. 2-3; Rollo, pp. 40-41.

    7. Id., p. 3; Rollo, p. 41.

    8. Id., pp. 3-6; Rollo, pp. 41-44.

    9. Resolution in CA-G.R. No. 59044-R dated November 21, 1980, p. 1; Rollo, p. 68.

    10. Docketed as G.R. No. 55584.

    11. Desamparado Vda. de Nazareno and Leticia Nazareno Tapia v. Court of Appeals, Et Al., G.R. No. 98045, June 26, 1996; Meneses v. Court of Appeals, 246 SCRA 374 [1995]: Reynante v. Court of Appeals, 207 SCRA 794, 799 [1992]; Binalay v. Manalo, 195 SCRA 374, 385 [1991].

    12. Paras, Edgardo, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. 3, 1984 Edition, p. 211.

    13. Santulan v. The Executive Secretary, 80 SCRA 548, 556 [1977].

    14. Paras, supra, at p. 212, citing Cortez v. City of Manila, 10 Phil. 567; Roxas v. Tuason, 9 Phil. 408; 3 Manresa 236.

    15. Id., at p. 216, citing Grande, Et. Al. v. Court of Appeals, L-17652, June 30, 1962.

    16. The pertinent portion of Sulpicio Pascual’s testimony is as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Q: Is that portion contiguous to Manila Bay?

    A: Near but not contiguous.

    Q: During the high tide is that portion reached by water?

    A: Before 1948.

    Q: Before you introduced palapat and bakawan in that area?

    A: Yes, sir.

    Q: It was only after you have planted palapat and bakawan . . . when

    the sea water no longer reaches that area?

    A: I only planted few trees in 1948 to serve as boundary and as

    marker. . . .

    Q: Was it only in 1948 that you observed that portion was becoming

    higher?

    A: At the beginning of 1948 I noticed that land was getting higher."cralaw virtua1aw library

    (TSN, June 11, 1969, pp. 9-11).

    17. Ignacio v. Director of Lands and Valeriano, 108 Phil. 336, 338 [1960].

    18. Petition pp. 6-7; Rollo, pp. 122-123.

    19. Dissenting Opinion of Associate Justice Mariano Serrano; Rollo, pp. 48-51.

    20. 108 Phil 335 [1960].

    21. 53 Phil. 423 [1929].

    22. 31 SCRA 532 [1984].

    23. 169 SCRA 455 [1989].

    24. 246 SCRA 162 [1995].

    25. Insular Government v. Aldecoa & Co., 19 Phil. 505, 517 [1911].

    26. Joven y Monteverde, Et. Al. v. The Director of Lands, 93 Phil. 134, 136-137 [1953].

    G.R. No. 68166   February 12, 1997 - HEIRS OF EMILIANO NAVARRO v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.


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