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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
 

   
December-2008 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 6713 - ZENAIDA B. GONZALES v. ATTY. NARCISO PADIERNOS

  • A.C. No. 6882 - MARISA B. WILLIAMS, ET AL. v. ATTY. RODRIGO ICAO

  • A.M. No. 05-12-372-MTCC - RE: JUDGE HECTOR B. BARILLO, ETC. v. CLERK OF COURT CARMEL A. CUIZON, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 05-2002 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 01-1245-P - SANTIAGO B. BURGOS v. VICKY A. BAES, ETC.

  • A.M. No. 06-3-196-RTC and A.M. No. 06-7-416-RTC - LETTER OF JUDGE JOSEFINA D. FARRALES, ACTING PRESIDING JUDGE, RTC, BR. 72, OLONGAPO CITY RE: 30 CASES AND 84 MOTIONS SUBMITTED FOR DECISION

  • A.M. OCA No. CA-02-16-P Formerly OCA IPI No. 00-27-CA-P - ANNA LIZA REYES-TAYAG v. ABELARDO TAYAG, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. CA-08-23-P Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 05-79-CA-P - JANETTE P. GABATIN v. MARILOU M. QUIRINO

  • A.M. No. MTJ-92-687 - ENGR. EDGARDO C. GARCIA v. JUDGE MELJOHN DE LA PEÑA

  • A.M. No. P-04-1793 - RAUL ZAMUDIO v. EFREN AURO

  • A.M. No. P-04-180 Formerly OCA-I.P.I. No. 03-1714-P and A.M. NO. P-02-1653 Formerly A.M. No. 02-9-237-MCTC - TERESITA RETAZO v. LORNA A. VERDON, ETC.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2152 Formerly OCA IPI No. 04-1944-P - EMILY G. CRUZ v. PABLO F. FERNANDO

  • A.M. No. P-06-2207 - MA. LOURDES V. AREOLA, ET AL. v. OSCAR P. PATAG

  • A.M. No. P-06-2237 - PAG-ASA G. BELTRAN v. ROMEO MONTEROSO

  • A.M. No. P-08-2587 Formerly OCA IPI No. 99-678-P - DOMINGA C. MENOR v. TEODORA P. GUILLERMO, ETC.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1762 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 02-1422-RTJ - SERGIO & GRACELDA N. ANDRES v. JUDGE JOSE S. MAJADUCON, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1952 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE NORMA C. PERELLO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-07-2092 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 07-2685-RTJ - EVA LUCIA Z. GEROY v. HON. DAN R. CALDERON

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1911 Formerly A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 02-9-540-RTC and A.M. NO. RTJ-05-1913 Formerly A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 02-1548-RTJ - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE RODRIGO B. LORENZO, ETC.

  • G.R. No. 124795 - FORFOM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL RAILWAYS

  • G.R. No. 136197 - NATIVIDAD BAUTISTA-BORJA v. ILUMINADA BAUTISTA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141309 - LIWAYWAY VINZONS-CHATO v. FORTUNE TOBACCO CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 143365 - GENEROSO SALIGUMBA, ET AL. v. MONICA PALANOG

  • G.R. No. 144492 - LUWALHATI R. ANTONINO v. HON. OMBUDSMAN ANIANO A. DESIERTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 145941 - THE MANILA BANKING CORPORATION v. SPS. ALFREDO AND CELESTINA RABINA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152150 - SPS. REYNALDO O. PADUA, ETC., ET AL. v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154108 and G.R. NO. 157505 - FIRST UNITED CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION v. MENANDRO G. VALDEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 155454 - EDUARDO COLMENARES, ET AL. v. HEIRS OF ROSARIO VDA DE GONZALES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 156040 - DIGITAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS PHILIPPINES, INC. v. CITY GOVT OF BATANGAS ETC. ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 156382 - MCDONALD'S KATIPUNAN BRANCH, ETC. v. MA. DULCE ALBA

  • G.R. No. 157784 - RICHARD B. LOPEZ, ETC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 158621 - ROYAL CARGO CORPORATION v. DFS SPORTS UNLIMITED, INC.

  • G.R. No. 159132 - FE CAYAO-LASAM v. SPOUSES CLARO & EDITHA RAMOLETE

  • G.R. No. 159589 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HEIRS OF JUAN FABIO ETC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 160031 - SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY v. HON. JOSE D. LINA ETC. ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 161844 - RAFAEL M. CONCEPCION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 162311 - LEVI STRAUSS (PHILS.), INC. v. TONY LIM

  • G.R. No. 162333 - BIENVENIDO C. TEOCO, ET AL. v. METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY

  • G.R. NOS. 162335 & 162605 - SEVERINO M. MANOTOK IV, ET AL. v. HEIRS OF HOMER L. BARQUE, ETC.

  • G.R. No. 162335 / G.R. No. 162605 - G.R. No. 162335 and G.R. No. 162605 - YNARES-SANTIAGO - DISSENTING OPINION

  • G.R. No. 162335 / G.R. No. 162605 - G.R. No. 162335 and G.R. No. 162605 - CARPIO - SEPARATE CONCURRING OPINION

  • G.R. No. 162335 / G.R. No. 162605 - G.R. No. 162335 and G.R. No. 162605 - CORONA - SEPARATE OPINION

  • G.R. No. 162729 - SOLEDAD LEONOR PENA SUATENGCO, ET AL. v. CARMENCITA O. REYES

  • G.R. No. 163156 and G.R. NO. 166845 - NEGROS NAVIGATION CO., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 163898 - ROBERTO BARBASA v. HON. ARTEMIO G. TUQUERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164026 - SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. GMA NETWORK, INC.

  • G.R. No. 164344 - KENJI OKADA v. SECURITY PACIFIC ASSURANCE CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 164521 - ALLANDALE SPORTSLINE, INC., ET AL. v. THE GOOD DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 164820 - VICTORY LINER, INC. v. PABLO RACE

  • G.R. No. 167011 - SPS. CARLOS S. ROMUALDEZ, ETC. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167181 - SPS. CARLOS MUNSALUD AND WINNIE MUNSALUD v. NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY

  • G.R. No. 167449 - BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBB (PHIL.), INC. v. RICHARD NIXON A BABAN

  • G.R. No. 168173 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. F01 FELIPE DELA CRUZ Y REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168537 - DAMIAN AKLAN, ET AL. v. SAN MIGUEL CORP, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168695 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARIBEL LAGMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168906 - PERLA S. ESGUERRA v. JUDGE FATIMA GONZALES-ASDALA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 169013 - DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, ETC. v. GODOFREDO G. CUANAN

  • G.R. No. 169095 - HEUNGHWA INDUSTRY CO., LTD. v. DJ BUILDERS CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 169498 - OSCAR DE LOS SANTOS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 170116 - ATTY. CAROLINA R. RAMOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 170282 - ALEXANDER AND JEAN J. BACUNGAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 170338 and G.R. NO. 179275 - VIRGILIO O. GARCILLANO v. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEES ON PUBLIC INFORMATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 171321 - MARY ANN DEHEZA-INAMARGA v. CELENIA C. ALANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 171654 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDWIN GAYETA Y ROBLO ALIAS "FREDDIE"

  • G.R. No. 171678 - ROSA J. SALES, ET AL. v. WILLIAM BARRO

  • G.R. No. 171812 - REMIA F. BONCALON v. OMBUDSMAN (VISAYAS), ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 171947-48 - METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. RESIDENTS OF MANILA BAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172041 - GATEWAY ELECTRONICS CORPORATION, ET AL. v. ASIANBANK CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 172192 - CHINA BANKING CORPORATION v. ASB HOLDINGS, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172295 - LILIA P. LABADAN v. FOREST HILLS ACADEMY/NAOMI CABALUNA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172457 - CJH DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172776 - COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION v. ATTY. FELINA S. DASIG

  • G.R. No. 172848 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE VICTORINO K. CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172849 - MR. TERESO TAN, ET AL. v. MANUEL "GUY" LINK, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172874 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARIO CASTRO

  • G.R. No. 172973 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARCELINO ABARE

  • G.R. No. 173052 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROGELIO PELAGIO Y BERMUDO

  • G.R. No. 173473 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BETH TEMPORADA

  • G.R. No. 173473 - G.R. No. 173473 - AZCUNA - SEPARATE DISSENTING OPINION

  • G.R. No. 173473 - G.R. No. 173473 - VELASCO, JR. - DISSENTING OPINION

  • G.R. No. 173473 - G.R. No. 173473 - CORONA - SEPARATE OPINION

  • G.R. No. 173804 - ELPIDIO BONDAD, JR. Y BURAC v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. NOS. 173935-38 - ERLINDA K. ILUSORIO v. MA. ERLINDA I. BILDNER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 174103 - DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WEST NEGROS COLLEGE, INC.

  • G.R. No. 174109 - RURAL BANK OF THE SEVEN LAKES (S.P.C.), INC. v. BELEN A. DAN

  • G.R. No. 174136 - PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. NASIPIT INTEGRATED ARRASTRE AND STEVEDORING SERVICES, INC.

  • G.R. No. 174195 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CATALINO MINGMING Y DISCALSO

  • G.R. No. 174371 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WARREN DELA CRUZ Y FRANCISCO

  • G.R. No. 174988 - BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS v. SPS. HOMOBONO AND LUZDELDIA T. ARAMPI

  • G.R. No. 175339 - PREMIERE DEVELOPMENT BANK v. ALFREDO C. FLORES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 175527 - HON. GABRIEL LUIS QUISUMBING, ET AL. v. HON. GWENDOLYN F. GARCIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 175554 - EDSEL LIGA v. ALLEGRO RESOURCES CORP.

  • G.R. No. 175929 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMMEL DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 176141 - GERTRUDES NABUA, ET AL. v. DOUGLAS LU YM

  • G.R. No. 176219 - RENTOKIL (INITIAL) PHILIPPINES, INC. AND/OR RONAN GREANY, ET AL. v. LEILANI D. SANCHEZ

  • G.R. No. 176263 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MICHAEL MURO

  • G.R. No. 176609 - FERNANDO ESTABAS MAHAWAN ALIAS PADO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 176970 - ROGELIO Z. BAGABUYO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

  • G.R. No. 176981 - EDGAR GERASTA Y LAPUS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 177188 - EL GRECO SHIP MANNING AND MANAGEMENT CORPORATION v. COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS

  • G.R. No. 177656 - LINDA UY LIM v. HELEN O. TONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 177742 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSELITO A. LOPIT

  • G.R. No. 177797 - SPOUSES PEDRO TAN AND NENA ACERO TAN v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 177931 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. DEANG MARKETING CORP, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 177944 - JUDITH P. ORTEGA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 178198 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EVELYN BOHOL y TALAOGAN, ETC.

  • G.R. No. 178233 and G.R. NO. 180510 - JOSEPH A. GANDOL v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 178306 - FRANCISCO R. NUNGA, JR., ET AL. v. FRANCISCO N. NUNGA, III

  • G.R. No. 178511 - MA. BELEN FLORDELIZA C. ANG-ABAYA, ET AL. v. EDUARDO G. ANG

  • G.R. No. 179127 - IN-N-OUT BURGER, INC. v. SEHWANI, INC. AND/OR BENITA'S FRITES, INC.

  • G.R. No. 179174 - REYNALDO MADRIGALEJOS v. GEMINILOU TRUCKING SERVICE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179695 and G.R. No. 182369 - MIKE A. FERMIN v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179813 - DATU PAX PAKUNG S. MANGUDADATU v. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179878 - NEGROS ORIENTAL PLANTERS ASSOCIATION, INC. (NOPA) v. HON. PRESIDING JUDGE OF RTC-NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, BRANCH 52, BACOLOD CITY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179895 - FERDINAND S. TOPACIO v. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN GREGORY SANTOS ONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179898 - MAUNLAD HOMES, INC., ET AL. v. UNION BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179922 - JUAN DE DIOS CARLOS v. FELICIDAD SANDOVAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 180051 - NARDO M. VELASCO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 180146 - P02 RUEL C. MONTOYA v. POLICE DIRECTOR REYNALDO P. VARILLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 180501 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROGER MENDOZA Y DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 180730 - CARLOS GONZALES v. HON. JUDGE MERCEDES POSADA LACAP, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 180926 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LOURDES V ALENCIANO Y DACUBA

  • G.R. No. 180986 - NORBERTO ALTRES, ET AL. v. CAMILO G. EMPLEO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 181492 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SAMUEL OBMIRANIS y ORETA

  • G.R. No. 181644 - HERMILINA N. ABAINZA v. ERNESTO ARELLANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 181818 - EDGAR PERPETUO FERMIN E. HIPOL v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION-FIFTH DIVISION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 182248 - EQUITABLE PCI BANKING CORPORATION, ET AL. v. RCBC CAPITAL CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 182865 - ROMULO F. PECSON v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 182924 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE PEREZ Y DALEGDEG

  • G.R. No. 183087 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. IGNACIO ISANG Y LAGAY

  • G.R. No. 183456 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. REGINO TORMIS

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    G.R. No. 177797 - SPOUSES PEDRO TAN AND NENA ACERO TAN v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

      G.R. No. 177797 - SPOUSES PEDRO TAN AND NENA ACERO TAN v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. NO. 177797 : December 4, 2008]

    SPS. PEDRO TAN and NENA ACERO TAN, Petitioner, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N

    CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

    This case is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure seeking to reverse and set aside the Decision1 dated 28 February 2006 and Resolution2 dated 12 April 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 71534. In its assailed Decision, the appellate court reversed and set aside the Decision3 dated 9 May 2001 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Misamis Oriental, 10th Judicial Region, Branch 39, Cagayan de Oro City, in LRC Case No. N-2000-055, and ordered herein petitioners, spouses Pedro and Nena Tan (spouses Tan), to return the parcel of land known as Lot 1794, Ap-10-002707, Pls-923, with an area of 215,698 square meters, located in Calingagan, Villanueva, Misamis Oriental (subject property) to herein respondent, Republic of the Philippines (Republic). In its assailed Resolution, the appellate court denied the spouses Tan's Motion for Reconsideration.

    The factual milieu of this case is as follows:

    The spouses Tan were natural-born Filipino citizens, who became Australian citizens on 9 February 1984.4 They seek to have the subject property registered in their names.

    The subject property was declared alienable and disposable on 31 December 1925, as established by a Certification5 dated 14 August 2000 issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), Cagayan de Oro City.

    Prior to the spouses Tan, the subject property was in the possession of Lucio and Juanito Neri and their respective spouses. Lucio and Juanito Neri had declared the subject property for taxation purposes in their names under Tax Declarations No. 8035 (1952),6 No. 15247 and No. 1523 (1955).8

    The spouses Tan acquired the subject property from Lucio and Juanito Neri and their spouses by virtue of a duly notarized Deed of Sale of Unregistered Real Estate Property9 dated 26 June 1970. The spouses Tan took immediate possession of the subject property on which they planted rubber, gemelina, and other fruit-bearing trees. They declared the subject property for taxation purposes in their names, as evidenced by Tax Declarations No. 501210 (1971); No. 11155,11 No. 10599,12 No. 1059813 (1974); No. 1170414 (1976); No. 0122415 (1980); No. 0631616 (1983); and No. 94300017 (2000); and paid realty taxes thereon.

    However, a certain Patermateo Casiño (Casiño) claimed a portion of the subject property, prompting the spouses Tan to file a Complaint for Quieting of Title against him before the RTC of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 24, where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 88-204. On 29 August 1989, the RTC rendered a Decision18 in Civil Case No. 88-204 favoring the spouses Tan and declaring their title to the subject property thus "quieted." Casiño appealed the said RTC Decision to the Court of Appeals where it was docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 26225. In a Resolution19 dated 15 November 1990, the appellate court dismissed CA-G.R. CV No. 26225 for lack of interest to prosecute. Casiño elevated his case to this Court via a Petition for Review on Certiorari, docketed as UDK-10332. In a Resolution20 dated 13 March 1991 in UDK-10332, the Court denied Casiño's Petition for being insufficient in form and substance. The said Resolution became final and executory on 3 June 1991.21

    Refusing to give up, Casiño filed an Application for Free Patent on the subject property before the Bureau of Lands.22 On 8 December 1999, Casiño's application was ordered cancelled23 by Officer Ruth G. Sabijon of DENR-CENRO, Cagayan de Oro City, upon the request of herein petitioner Pedro Tan, the declared owner of the subject property pursuant to the 29 August 1989 Decision of the RTC in Civil Case No. 88-204. Similarly, survey plan Csd-10-002779 prepared in the name of Casiño was also ordered cancelled24 by the Office of the Regional Executive Director, DENR, Region X, Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City.

    In 2000, the spouses Tan filed their Application for Registration of Title25 to the subject property before the RTC of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 39, where it was docketed as LRC Case No. N-2000-055. The application of the spouses Tan invoked the provisions of Act No. 49626 and/or Section 48 of Commonwealth Act No. 141,27 as amended. In compliance with the request28 of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) dated 29 August 2000, the spouses Tan filed on 5 October 2000 an Amended Application for Registration of Title29 to the subject property.

    The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) entered its appearance in LRC Case No. N-2000-055 on behalf of the Republic, but failed to submit a written opposition to the application of the spouses Tan.

    When no opposition to the application of the spouses Tan was filed by the time of the initial hearing of LRC Case No. N-2000-055, the RTC issued on 23 April 2001 an order of general default, except as against the Republic. Thereafter, the spouses Tan were allowed to present their evidence ex-parte.

    After the establishment of the jurisdictional facts, the RTC heard the testimony of John B. Acero (Acero), nephew and lone witness of the spouses Tan. Acero recounted the facts already presented above and affirmed that the spouses Tan's possession of the subject property had been open, public, adverse and continuous.30

    After Acero's testimony, the spouses Tan already made a formal offer of evidence, which was admitted by the court a quo.31

    On 9 May 2001, the RTC rendered a Decision in LRC Case No. N-2000-055 granting the application of the spouses Tan, the dispositive portion of which reads:

    WHEREFORE, [Spouses Tan] having conclusively established to the satisfaction of this Court their ownership of the [subject property], Lot 1794, Pls-923, situated in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, should be as it is hereby adjudicated to the [Spouses Tan] with address at #166 Capistrano Street, Cagayan de Oro City.

    Once this judgment becomes final, let the Order for the issuance of decree and corresponding Certificate of Title issue in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 1529, as amended.32

    In its appeal of the afore-mentioned RTC Decision to the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 71534, the Republic made the following assignment of errors:

    I. The trial court erred in ruling that [herein petitioners Spouses Tan] and their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous and notorious possession of subject property for the period required by law.

    II. The trial court erred in granting the application for land registration despite the fact that there is a disparity between the area as stated in [the Spouses Tan's] application and the tax declarations of Juanito Neri, Lucio Neri, and [herein petitioner Pedro Tan].

    III. The trial court erred in granting the application for land registration despite the fact that [the Spouses Tan] failed to present the original tracing cloth plan.

    IV. The trial court erred in relying on the Decision dated [29 August 1989] by the RTC-Branch 24, Cagayan de Oro City which declared [the Spouses Tan's] "title" on the subject [property] "quieted."

    V. The trial court erred in not finding that [the Spouses Tan] failed to overcome the presumption that all lands form part of the public domain.33

    On 28 February 2006, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 71534 granting the appeal of the Republic, and reversing and setting aside the 9 May 2001 Decision of the RTC on the ground that the spouses Tan failed to comply with Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act No. 141, otherwise known as the Public Land Act, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1073, which requires possession of the subject property to start on or prior to 12 June 1945.34 Hence, the appellate court ordered the spouses Tan to return the subject property to the Republic.

    The spouses Tan filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the foregoing Decision of the Court of Appeals. To refute the finding of the appellate court that they and their predecessors-in-interest did not possess the subject property by 12 June 1945 or earlier, the spouses Tan attached to their Motion a copy of Tax Declaration No. 4627 covering the subject property issued in 1948 in the name of their predecessor-in-interest, Lucio Neri. They called attention to the statement in Tax Declaration No. 4627 that it cancelled Tax Declaration No. 2948. Unfortunately, no copy of Tax Declaration No. 2948 was available even in the Office of the Archive of the Province of Misamis Oriental. The spouses Tan asserted that judicial notice may be taken of the fact that land assessment is revised by the government every four years; and since Tax Declaration No. 4627 was issued in the year 1948, it can be presupposed that Tax Declaration No. 2948 was issued in the year 1944.

    The Court of Appeals denied the Motion for Reconsideration of the spouses Tan in a Resolution dated 12 April 2007.

    The spouses Tan now come before this Court raising the sole issue of whether or not [the Spouses Tan] have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the subject [property], under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership, since [12 June 1945], or earlier, immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title.35

    The Court rules in the negative and, thus, finds the present Petition devoid of merit.

    To recall, the spouses Tan filed before the RTC their Application for Registration of Title to the subject property in the year 2000 generally invoking the provisions of Act No. 496 and/or Section 48 of Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended.

    The Public Land Act,36 as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1073,37 governs lands of the public domain, except timber and mineral lands, friar lands, and privately owned lands which reverted to the State.38 It explicitly enumerates the means by which public lands may be disposed of, to wit:

    (1) For homestead settlement;

    (2) By sale;

    (3) By lease; andcralawlibrary

    (4) By confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles;

    (a) By judicial legalization.

    (b) By administrative legalization (free patent).39

    Each mode of disposition is appropriately covered by separate chapters of the Public Land Act because there are specific requirements and application procedure for every mode.40 Since the spouses Tan filed their application before the RTC, then it can be reasonably inferred that they are seeking the judicial confirmation or legalization of their imperfect or incomplete title over the subject property.

    Judicial confirmation or legalization of imperfect or incomplete title to land, not exceeding 144 hectares, may be availed of by persons identified under Section 48 of the Public Land Act, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1073,41 which reads '

    Section 48. The following-described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title thereafter, under the Land Registration Act, to wit:

    (a) [Repealed by Presidential Decree No. 1073].

    (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in - interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, since June 12, 1945, or earlier, immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title, except when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.

    (c) Members of the national cultural minorities who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture whether disposable or not, under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945 shall be entitled to the rights granted in subsection (b) hereof. (Emphasis supplied.)

    Not being members of any national cultural minorities, spouses Tan may only be entitled to judicial confirmation or legalization of their imperfect or incomplete title under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as amended.

    The Court notes that Presidential Decree No. 1073, amending the Public Land Act, clarified Section 48, paragraph "b" thereof, by specifically declaring that it applied only to alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. Thus, based on the said provision of Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, the two requisites which the applicants must comply with for the grant of their Application for Registration of Title are: (1) the land applied for is alienable and disposable; and (2) the applicants and their predecessors-in-interest have occupied and possessed the land openly, continuously, exclusively, and adversely since 12 June 1945.42

    To prove that the land subject of an application for registration is alienable, an applicant must conclusively establish the existence of a positive act of the government such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order or administrative action, investigation reports of the Bureau of Lands investigator or a legislative act or statute. Until then, the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply.43

    In the case at bar, the spouses Tan presented a Certification from the DENR-CENRO, Cagayan de Oro City, dated 14 August 2000, to prove the alienability and disposability of the subject property. The said Certification stated that the subject property became alienable and disposable on 31 December 1925. A certification from the DENR that a lot is alienable and disposable is sufficient to establish the true nature and character of the property and enjoys a presumption of regularity in the absence of contradictory evidence.44 Considering that no evidence was presented to disprove the contents of the aforesaid DENR-CENRO Certification, this Court is duty-bound to uphold the same.

    Nonetheless, even when the spouses Tan were able to sufficiently prove that the subject property is part of the alienable and disposable lands of the public domain as early as 31 December 1925, they still failed to satisfactorily establish compliance with the second requisite for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title, i.e., open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the subject property since 12 June 1945 or earlier.

    Through the years, Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act has been amended several times. Republic v. Doldol45 provides a summary of these amendments:

    The original Section 48(b) of C.A. No. 141 provided for possession and occupation of lands of the public domain since July 26, 1894. This was superseded by R.A. No. 1942, which provided for a simple thirty-year prescriptive period of occupation by an applicant for judicial confirmation of imperfect title. The same, however, has already been amended by Presidential Decree 1073, approved on January 25, 1977. As amended, Section 48(b) now reads:

    (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in - interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership, since June 12, 1945 or earlier, immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by wars or force majeure. Those shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.

    Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as amended by PD No. 1073, presently requires, for judicial confirmation of an imperfect or incomplete title, the possession and occupation of the piece of land by the applicants, by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest, since 12 June 1945 or earlier. This provision is in total conformity with Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree heretofore cited. (Emphasis ours.)

    As the law now stands, a mere showing of possession for thirty years or more is not sufficient. It must be shown, too, that possession and occupation had started on 12 June 1945 or earlier.46

    It is worth mentioning that in this case, even the spouses Tan do not dispute that the true reckoning period for judicial confirmation of an imperfect or incomplete title is on or before 12 June 1945. They also admit that based on the previous evidence on record, their possession and occupation of the subject property fall short of the period prescribed by law. The earliest evidence of possession and occupation of the subject property can be traced back to a tax declaration issued in the name of their predecessors-in-interest only in 1952. However, the spouses Tan are now asking the kind indulgence of this Court to take into account Tax Declaration No. 4627 issued in 1948, which they had attached to their Motion for Reconsideration before the Court of Appeals but which the appellate court refused to consider. Just as they had argued before the Court of Appeals, the spouses Tan point out that Tax Declaration No. 4627 was not newly issued but cancelled Tax Declaration No. 2948; and should the Court take judicial notice of the fact that tax assessments are revised every four years, then Tax Declaration No. 2948 covering the subject property was issued as early as 1944.

    Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court explicitly provides:

    SEC. 34. Offer of evidence. - The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified.

    On the basis thereof, it is clear that evidence should have been presented during trial before the RTC; evidence not formally offered should not be considered. In this case, it bears stressing that Tax Declaration No. 4627 was only submitted by the Spouses Tan together with their Motion for Reconsideration of the 28 February 2006 Decision of the Court of Appeals. The reason given by the Spouses Tan why they belatedly procured such evidence was because at the time of trial the only evidence available at hand was the 1952 tax declaration. More so, they also believed in good faith that they had met the 30-year period required by law. They failed to realize that under Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, a mere showing of possession for thirty years or more is not sufficient because what the law requires is possession and occupation on or before 12 June 1945. This Court, however, finds the reason given by the spouses Tan unsatisfactory. The spouses Tan filed their application for registration of title to the subject property under the provisions of Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended. It is incumbent upon them as applicants to carefully know the requirements of the said law.

    Thus, following the rule enunciated in Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, this Court cannot take into consideration Tax Declaration No. 4627 as it was only submitted by the Spouses Tan when they filed their Motion for Reconsideration of the 28 February 2006 Decision of the appellate court.

    And even if this Court, in the interest of substantial justice, fairness and equity, admits and take into consideration Tax Declaration No. 4627, issued in 1948, it would still be insufficient to establish open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the subject property by the Spouses Tan and their predecessors-in-interest since 12 June 1945 or earlier.

    Tax Declaration No. 4627 was only issued in 1948, three years after 12 June 1945, the cut-off date under the law for acquiring imperfect or incomplete title to public land. For the Court to conclude from the face of Tax Declaration No. 4627 alone that the subject property had been declared for tax purposes before 12 June 1945 would already be too much of a stretch and would require it to rely on mere presuppositions and conjectures. The Court cannot simply take judicial notice that the government revises tax assessments every four years. Section 129 of the Revised Rules of Evidence provides particular rules on which matters are subject to judicial notice and when it is mandatory47 or discretionary48 upon the courts or when a hearing is necessary.49 It is unclear under which context this Court must take judicial notice of the supposed four-year revision of tax assessments on real properties. Moreover, the power to impose realty taxes, pursuant to which the assessment of real property is made, has long been devolved to the local government units (LGU) having jurisdiction over the said property. Hence, the rules pertaining to the same may vary from one LGU to another; and regular revision of the tax assessments of real property every four years may not be true for all LGUs, as the spouses Tan would have this Court believe. Given the foregoing, Tax Declaration No. 4627 is far from the clear, positive, and convincing evidence required50 to establish open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the subject property by the Spouses Tan and their predecessors-in-interest since 12 June 1945 or earlier.

    In addition, tax declarations and receipts are not conclusive evidence of ownership. At most, they constitute mere prima facie proofs of ownership of the property for which taxes have been paid. In the absence of actual, public and adverse possession, the declaration of the land for tax purposes does not prove ownership.51 They may be good supporting or collaborating evidence together with other acts of possession and ownership; but by themselves, tax declarations are inadequate to establish possession of the property in the nature and for the period required by statute for acquiring imperfect or incomplete title to the land.

    As a final observation, the spouses Tan purchased the subject property and came into possession of the same only in 1970. To justify their application for registration of title, they had to tack their possession of the subject property to that of their predecessors-in-interest. While the spouses Tan undoubtedly possessed and occupied the subject property openly, continuously, exclusively and notoriously, by immediately introducing improvements on the said property, in addition to declaring the same and paying realty tax thereon; in contrast, there was a dearth of evidence that their predecessors-in-interest possessed and occupied the subject property in the same manner. The possession and occupation of the subject property by the predecessors-in-interest of the spouses Tan were evidenced only by the tax declarations in the names of the former, the earliest of which, Tax Declaration No. 4627, having been issued only in 1948. No other evidence was presented by the spouses Tan to show specific acts of ownership exercised by their predecessors-in-interest over the subject property which may date back to 12 June 1945 or earlier.

    For failure of the Spouses Tan to satisfy the requirements prescribed by Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as amended, this Court has no other option but to deny their application for judicial confirmation and registration of their title to the subject property. Much as this Court wants to conform to the State's policy of encouraging and promoting the distribution of alienable public lands to spur economic growth and remain true to the ideal of social justice, our hands are tied by the law's stringent safeguards against registering imperfect titles.52

    The Court emphasizes, however, that our ruling herein is without prejudice to the spouses Tan availing themselves of the other modes for acquiring title to alienable and disposable lands of the public domain for which they may be qualified under the law.

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision dated 28 February 2006 and Resolution dated 12 April 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 71534 are hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.

    SO ORDERED.

    Endnotes:


    * Justice Antonio T. Carpio was designated to sit as additional member replacing Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura per Raffle dated 10 November 2008.

    1 Penned by Associate Justice Normandie B. Pizarro with Associate Justices Edgardo A. Camello and Ricardo R. Rosario, concurring; rollo, pp. 24-38.

    2 Penned by Associate Justice Edgardo A. Camello with Associate Justices Mario V. Lopez and Michael P. Elbinias, concurring; rollo, pp. 39-40.

    3 Penned by Judge Downey C. Valdevilla; records, pp. 57-60.

    4 The Spouses Tan categorically stated in their Application for Registration of Title to the subject property that they became Australian citizens on 9 February 1984; records, p. 3.

    5 Records, p. 80.

    6 Id. at 84.

    7 Id. at 85.

    8 Id. at 86.

    9 Id. at 13-14.

    10 Id. at 88.

    11 Id. at 89.

    12 Id. at 90.

    13 Id. at 91.

    14 Id. at 92.

    15 Id. at 93.

    16 Id. at 94.

    17 Id. at 95.

    18 Penned by Presiding Judge Leonardo N. Demecillo; records, pp. 15-21.

    19 Penned by Associate Justice Jose C. Campos, Jr. with Associate Justices Oscar M. Herrera and Abelardo M. Dayrit, concurring; records, p. 22.

    20 Records, p. 23.

    21 As evidenced by an Entry of Judgment; records, p. 24.

    22 Records, p. 108.

    23 Id. at 110.

    24 Id. at 109.

    25 Id. at 3-7.

    26 Also known as Land Registration Act.

    27 Also known as Public Land Act.

    28 The LRA, through its Administrator, Alfredor R. Enriquez, requested the spouses Tan to amend their application and submit the following: 1) the names and complete address of the owners of four adjoining lots; 2) the certified true copy of the technical description of Lot 1794 by the branch clerk of court; and 3) the replacement of the postal money order in the amount of P1,012.50, which had become stale; records, p. 36.

    29 Records, pp. 48-52.

    30 Id. at 13-14.

    31 Id. at 15-18.

    32 CA rollo, pp. 59-60.

    33 Id. at 31-33.

    34 Id. at 36-37.

    35 Rollo, p. 84.

    36 Approved on 7 November 1936.

    37 Approved on 25 January 1977.

    38 Section 2.

    39 Section 11.

    40 Republic v. Herbieto, G.R. No. 156117, 26 May 2005, 459 SCRA 183, 200.

    41 Id. at 201.

    42 Menguito v. Republic, 401 Phil. 274, 285 (2000).

    43 Republic v. Candy Maker, Inc., G.R. No. 163766, 22 June 2006, 492 SCRA 272, 292.

    44 Republic v. Consunji, G.R. No. 158897, 13 September 2007, 533 SCRA 269, 286.

    45 356 Phil. 671, 676-677 (1998).

    46 Republic v. San Lorenzo Development Corporation, G.R. No. 170724, 29 January 2007, 513 SCRA 294, 303-304.

    47 SECTION 1. Judicial notice, when mandatory. - A court shall take judicial notice, without the introduction of evidence, of the existence and territorial extent of states, their political history, forms of government and symbols of nationality, the law of nations, the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals, the political constitution and history of the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative, executive and judicial departments of the Philippines, the laws of nature, the measure of time, and the geographical divisions.

    48 SEC. 2. Judicial notice, when discretionary. - A court may take judicial notice of matters which are of public knowledge, or are capable of unquestionable demonstration, or ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions.

    49 SEC. 3. Judicial notice, when hearing necessary. - During the trial, the court, on its own initiative, or on request of a party, may announce its intention to take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon.

    After the trial, and before judgment or on appeal, the proper court, on its own initiative or on request of a party, may take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon if such matter is decisive of a material issue in the case.

    50 See Republic v. Enciso, G.R. No. 160145, 11 November 2005, 474 SCRA 700, 713.

    51 Seriña v. Caballero, G.R. No. 127382, 17 August 2004, 436 SCRA 593, 604.

    52 Republic v. Bibonia, G.R. No. 157466, 21 June 2007, 525 SCRA 268, 277.

    G.R. No. 177797 - SPOUSES PEDRO TAN AND NENA ACERO TAN v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES


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