Thursday, March 8, 2012

Carino v Insular Government G.R. No. 2869 (1907)

J. Arellano

Mateo Cariño, on  February 23 , 1904, filed his petition in the Court of Land Registration for a title to a parcel of land consisting of 40 hectares, 1 are, and 13 centares in the town of Baguio, Province of Benguet. This was heard with a petition for a title for a portion of the land.
The Insular Government opposed the granting of these petitions, because they alleged that the whole parcel of land is public property of the Government and that the same was never acquired in any manner or through any title of egresion from the State.
According to Carino, in 1884, he erected and utilized as a domicile a house on the property situated to the north of that property now in question. They said that during the year 1893 Cariño sold said house to one Cristobal Ramos, who in turn sold the same to Donaldson Sim. Carino abandoned the house and lived on the land in question.
The court of land registration ruled against their favor. They also ruled that the land was "used for pasture and sowing," and belongs to the class called public land.

Issue: Is Carino the rightful possessor of the land?

Held: No, petition denied.

Under the express provisions of law, a parcel of land being of common origin, presumptively belonged to the State during its sovereignty, and, in order to perfect the legitimate acquisition of such land by private persons, it was necessary that the possession of the same pass from the State.
There was no proof of title of egresion of this land from the domain of the Spanish Government.
The possessory information was not the one authorized in substitution for the one in adjustment of the royal decree of February 13, 1894. This was due to:
1. the land has been in an uninterrupted state of cultivation during a period of six years last past; or that the same has been possessed without interruption during a period of twelve years and has been in a state of cultivation up to the date of the information and during the three years immediately preceding such information; or that such land had been possessed openly without interruption during a period of thirty or more years, notwithstanding the land had not been cultivated
Or such land had been possessed openly without interruption during a period of thirty or more years, notwithstanding the land had not been cultivated
2. Under Spanish law, there was a period of one year allowable to verify the possessory information. After the expiration of this period of the right of the cultivators and persons in possession to obtain gratuitous title thereto lapses and the land together with full possession reverts to the state, or, as the case may be, to the community, and the said possessors and cultivators or their assigns would simply have rights under universal or general title of average in the event that the land is sold within a period of five years immediately following the cancellation. The possessors not included under this chapter can only acquire by time the ownership and title to unappropriated or royal lands in accordance with common law.
In accordance with the preceding provisions, the right that remained to Cariño, if it be certain that he was the true possessor of the land in question, was the right of average in case the Government or State could have sold the same within the period of five years immediately following for example, if the denouncement of purchase had been carried out by Felipe Zafra or any other person, from the record of the case
The right of possession in accordance with civil law remained at all times subordinate to the Spanish administrative law, inasmuch as it could only be of force when pertaining to royal transferable or alienable lands even until after February 13, 1894.
3. The advent of American sovereignty necessarily brought a new method of dealing with lands and particularly as to the classification and manner of transfer and acquisition of royal or common lands then appropriated, which were thenceforth merely called public lands, the alienation of which was reserved to the Government, in accordance with the Organic Act of 1902 and other laws like Act No. 648, herein mentioned by the petitioner.
Section 6 of Act No. 627 admits prescription, as a basis for obtaining the right of ownership. "The petitioners claim the title under the period of prescription of ten years established by that act, as well as by reason of his occupancy and use from time immemorial. But said act admits such prescription for the purpose of obtaining title and ownership to lands not exceeding more that 16 hectares in extent." Under Sec. 6 of said act. The land claimed by Cariño is 40 hectares in extent, if we take into consideration his petition, or an extension of 28 hectares, therefore it follows that the judgment denying the petition herein and now appealed from was strictly in accordance with the law invoked.
 And of the 28 hectares of land as set out in the possessory information, one part of same, according to the testimony of Cariño, belongs to Vicente Valpiedad, the extent of which is not determined. From all of which it follows that the precise extent has not been determined in the trial of this case on which judgment might be based in the event that the judgment and title be declared in favor of the petitioner, Mateo Cariño. And we should not lose sight of the fact that, considering the intention of Congress in granting ownership and title to 16 hectares, that Mateo Cariño and his children have already exceeded such amount in various acquirements of lands, all of which is shown in different cases decided by the said Court of Land Registration.

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