Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1984 > February 1984 Decisions > G.R. No. L-61145 February 20, 1984 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. IGLESIA NI CRISTO, ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-61145. February 20, 1984.]

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (Director of Lands), Petitioner, v. IGLESIA NI CRISTO and JUDGE DOMINGO M. ANGELES, Branch I, Court of First Instance of Camarines Norte, Respondents.

The Solicitor General for Petitioner.

Joaquin Ortega and Cruz, Esguerra, Tafalla Perel & Associates for Respondents.


SYLLABUS


1. CIVIL LAW; LAND REGISTRATION; PUBLIC LAND LAW; IGLESIA NI CRISTO NOT ENTITLED TO APPLY FOR REGISTRATION OF LAND UNDER SECTION 48(b) THEREOF. — The trial court found, and it is a matter of judicial notice, that the Iglesia "is a duly registered corporation sole." As the application is for confirmation of an imperfect or incomplete title, that application is necessarily subject to the provisions of law only Filipino citizens are entitled to apply for registration of lands of the public domain. The Iglesia is not a Filipino citizen. The lands in question are still public lands until registered.

2. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; PATRIMONY OF THE NATION; IGLESIA NI CRISTO AS A CORPORATION CANNOT ACQUIRE ALIENABLE PUBLIC LAND. — Under Section 11 of Article XIV of the Constitution, the Iglesia ni Cristo is disqualified as a corporation to hold lands of the public domain except by lease. The Iglesia in its appellee’s brief has not shown that it is not covered by the said constitutional and statutory provisions. Its statement on page 2 of its brief that it "is not a religious corporation" when it filed its application is belied by the facts.

3. MERCANTILE LAW; CORPORATION LAW; IGLESIA NI CRISTO, REGISTERED AS A CORPORATION SOLE, NOT AS A TRUSTEE; NOT QUALIFIED TO REGISTER LAND AS TRUSTEE IN THE CASE AT BAR. — Iglesia ni Cristo contends that it is entitled to register the lands as a trustee. This contention is erroneous. The unarguable fact is that it is a corporation sole governed by section 109 et sequitur of the Corporation Code. It did not apply for registration as a trustee. As stated at the outset, the matter is subject to the governing principle of stare decisis et non quieta movere (follow past precedents and do not disturb what has been settled).


D E C I S I O N


AQUINO, J.:


This case is about the same issue which was resolved against the Iglesia ni Cristo and is, therefore, res judicata: that, as a corporation sole, (1) it is not entitled to register lands under section 48(b) of the Public Land Law, which refers only to Filipino citizens, and (2) that it is disqualified under section 11, Article XIV of the Constitution to hold alienable public lands except by lease. (Republic v. Villanueva, G.R. No. 55289, June 29, 1982, 114 SCRA 875; Republic v. Gonong, G.R. No. 56025, November 25, 1982, 118 SCRA 729; Republic v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 59447 and Republic v. Cendaña, G.R. No. 60188, December 27, 1982, 119 SCRA 449 and Republic v. Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, L-35273, July 25, 1983, 123 SCRA 516.)chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library

The Iglesia on November 6, 1976 filed an application for confirmation and registration of its title over two parcels of land located at Barrio Calabaca and the poblacion of Capalonga, Camarines Norte with areas of 300 and 599 square meters used as sites of its chapels.

The town lot was purchased by the Iglesia on May 30, 1955 from Josefina Diezmo who in turn purchased it from Esteban Arcea who had used the lot for residential purposes since 1920. The realty taxes had been paid up to the time Diezmo possessed the lot.

The Calabaca lot was purchased by the Iglesia on July 18, 1973 from Basilio Parale who inherited it from his father Simeon. It used to be coconut land. Simeon possessed the lot since 1920 and used it for residential purposes. He paid realty taxes on the land.

The Iglesia and its predecessors claimed to have actual, public, peaceful, continuous and uninterrupted possession of the two lots in the concept of an owner for more than thirty years preceding the filing of the application. No realty taxes were paid by the Iglesia because it is an exempt corporation.

The Director of Lands opposed the application. The trial court in its decision of April 30, 1982 granted it, confirmed the title of the applicant and ordered the lands registered "in the name of Iglesia ni Cristo, with its Executive Minister Eraño G. Manalo, as corporation sole, with office and postal address at corner Central and Don Mariano Marcos Avenues, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila."cralaw virtua1aw library

The Republic appealed under Republic Act No. 5440 in relation to Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The trial court found, and it is a matter of judicial notice, that the Iglesia "is a duly registered corporation sole" (Exhs. E and F). As the application is for confirmation of an imperfect or incomplete title, that application is necessarily subject to the following provisions of the Public Land Law, Commonwealth Act No. 141:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"SEC. 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 therefor, unless the Land Registration Act, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

(a) . . .

(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, for at least thirty years 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."cralaw virtua1aw library

(c) . . .

"Sec. 49. No person claiming title to lands of the public domain not in possession of the qualifications specified in the last preceding section may apply for the benefits of this chapter."cralaw virtua1aw library

The Iglesia is not a Filipino citizen, The lands in question are still public lands until registered (Heirs of Pelagio Zara v. Director of Lands, 127 Phil. 8). Moreover, under the aforecited section 11 of Article XIV, it is disqualified as a corporation to hold lands of the public domain except by lease. (Manila Electric Company v. Castro Bartolome, L-49623, June 29, 182, 114 SCRA 799; Director of Lands, v. Lood, L-32521, September 2, 1983, 124 SCRA 460).

The Iglesia in its appellee’s brief has not shown that it is not covered by the said constitutional and statutory provisions. Its statement on page 2 of its brief that it "is not a religious corporation" when it filed its application is belied by the facts.

It contends that it is entitled to register the lands as a trustee. This contention is erroneous. The unarguable fact is that it is a corporation sole governed by section 109 et sequitur of the Corporation Code. It did not apply for registration as a trustee.

As stated at the outset, the matter is subject to the governing principle of stare decisis et non quieta movere (follow past precedents and do not disturb what has been settled).

WHEREFORE, the trial court’s decision is reversed and set aside and the Iglesia’s application is dismissed with costs against it.

SO ORDERED.

Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, De Castro and Escolin, JJ., concur.

Makasiar (Chairman), J., I reiterate my dissent in the cited cases.




Back to Home | Back to Main


chanrobles.com



ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc.

ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc. : www.chanroblesprofessionalreview.com
ChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review : www.chanroblesbar.com
ChanRobles CPA Review Online

ChanRobles CPALE Review Online : www.chanroblescpareviewonline.com
ChanRobles Special Lecture Series

ChanRobles Special Lecture Series - Memory Man : www.chanroblesbar.com/memoryman





February-1984 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 1563 February 20, 1984 - EMMA C. BANAAG v. JOSE MA. G. SALINDONG

  • A.C. No. 1699 February 20, 1984 - TEODORICO F. LARA v. PEDRO M. BARRETTO

  • G.R. No. L-26145 February 20, 1984 - MANILA WINE MERCHANTS, INC. v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE

  • G.R. No. L-27178 February 20, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PRUDENCIO DAMIAR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-30786 February 20, 1984 - OLEGARIO B. CLARIN v. ALBERTO L. RULONA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-31938 February 20, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO SEGALES

  • G.R. No. L-33271 February 20, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO PALON

  • G.R. No. L-33638 February 20, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO LIBARDO

  • G.R. No. L-35040 February 20, 1984 - DIRECTOR OF LANDS v. LORETA S. CIANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-35521 February 20, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO JUELA

  • G.R. No. L-40297 February 20, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BARTOLOME POGOSA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-45344 February 20, 1984 - ARRASTRE SECURITY ASSOCIATION — TUPAS, ET AL. v. BLAS F. OPLE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-47531 February 20, 1984 - JOSE BANIQUED, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-48448 February 20, 1984 - CRESENCIO VELEZ, ET AL. v. CELSO AVELINO, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. L-49315 and 60966 February 20, 1984 - BERNARDA S. CANONIZADO v. REGINA G. ORDONEZ BENITEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-55006 February 20, 1984 - ROSENDO MENESES, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-55774 February 20, 1984 - SENTINEL INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. v. PORFIRIO M. BAUTISTA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-55869 February 20, 1984 - SALOME M. CASTILLO v. COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF BULACAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-56101 February 20, 1984 - CORAZON PEREZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-57078 February 20, 1984 - ADRIANO DELA CONCEPCION, ET AL. v. MINDANAO PORTLAND CEMENT CORPORATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-57483 February 20, 1984 - ZOSIMO J. PAREDES v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-58096 February 20, 1984 - SYLVIA LOPEZ ALEJANDRO v. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, ET AL

  • G.R. No. L-60346 February 20, 1984 - JOSE P. MERCADO, JR. v. EMPLOYEES’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-60642 February 20, 1964

    FLORA C. NERI v. EMPLOYEES’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-60930 February 20, 1984 - GREGORIO PALACOL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-61145 February 20, 1984 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. IGLESIA NI CRISTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-63122 February 20, 1984 - UNIVERSITY OF PANGASINAN FACULTY UNION v. UNIVERSITY OF PANGASINAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 63127-28 February 20, 1984 - ADELAIDA DANGAN v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-63921 February 20, 1984 - CUCUFATA A. SABINO v. EMPLOYEES’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-64079 February 20, 1984 - OCEANIC PHARMACAL EMPLOYEES UNION (FFW) v. BLAS F. OPLE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-65097 February 20, 1984 - GAVINO MANIKAD, ET AL. v. TANODBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-65428 February 20, 1984 - BAGUIO WATER DISTRICT v. CRESENCIANO B. TRAJANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-65747 February 20, 1984 - EDWARD L. FEREIRA v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 1934 February 24, 1984 - PEDRO AGGALUT v. MARIANO T. BAGASAO

  • A.C. No. 2339 February 24, 1984 - JOSE M. CASTILLO v. SABINO PADILLA, JR.

  • G.R. No. L-32859 February 24, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUDY PUEBLAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-34637 February 24, 1984 - POLICE COMMISSION v. GUARDSON R. LOOD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-34768 February 24, 1984 - JAMES STOKES, ET AL. v. MALAYAN INSURANCE CO., INC.

  • G.R. No. L-36809 February 24, 1984 - LEODEGARIO PAYO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-58468 February 24, 1984 - PHIL. SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMIN., ET AL. v. LACANDOLA S. LEANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-66202 February 24, 1984 - NOLI ESLABON v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-40318-20 February 28, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MODESTO MESIAS, JR., ET AL.

  • SBC-585 February 29, 1984 - EMILIA E. ANDRES v. STANLEY R. CABRERA

  • G.R. No. L-30256 February 29, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AURELIO ONAROSA

  • G.R. No. L-39563 February 29, 1984 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO D. PAMINTUAN

  • G.R. No. L-52807 February 29, 1984 - JOSE ARAÑAS, ET AL. v. EDUARDO C. TUTAAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-59592 February 29, 1984 - BLESILO BUAN, ET AL. v. FERNANDO S. ALCANTARA, ET AL.