Lot in Boljoon belongs to State: High Court-A A +A
Thursday, September 27, 2012
THE Philippine Government has recovered a 6,505-square-meter property from a resident of Boljoon town, Cebu.
The Supreme Court (SC) granted the State’s petition declaring Lots 817 and 597 in Barangay Poblacion, Boljoon not part of alienable and disposable portions of the public domain.
The High Court denied the application for lot registration of Marlon Medida for his failure to prove that the above lots are alienable and disposable.
“The courts are then empowered, as we are duty-bound, to ensure that such ownership of the State is duly protected by the proper observance by parties of the rules and requirements on land registration,” the SC decision penned by Associate Justice Benvenido Reyes read.
Lot claimant Medida filed a petition for registration of Lot 817 (5,972 square meters) and Lot 597 (533 square meters) in October 2004.
Medida testified he bought the properties from one Eufemia Romero in February 1997.
Engr. Rafaela A. Belleza, chief of the Technical Services of the Land Management Services of Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7, testified the lots were declared alienable and disposable portions of the public domain.
Belleza based his testimony to the survey conducted by a geodetic engineer on the properties.
The trial court in Argao town later granted Medida’s request to register the two lots under his name in June 2006.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), however, filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals, arguing that the lower court erred in granting Medida’s petition for registration of lots. The OSG said the lots were not occupied for the period required by law.
The OSG also argued that Medida’s possession of the properties prior to 1987 and 1980 should not be credited as part of the period of possession required from him as an applicant for land registration.
But the appellate court dismissed the OSG’s appeal and affirmed the lower court’s ruling.
In its petition for review on certiorari, the OSG labeled as baseless the appellate court’s ruling that the lots are part of alienable and disposable portion of public domain.
The OSG said Medida failed to prove the properties are alienable and disposable.
In the decision, the High Court found the state’s petition meritorious.
Citing the Regalian Doctrine, the SC held that under the Constitution “all lands of the public domain belong to the State.”
The same doctrine also states that all lands not otherwise appearing within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 27, 2012.