LTD: Public Domain
GR No. 171726
Vicente Yu Chang and Soleda Yu Chang VS Republic of the Philippines
February 23, 2011
Petitioner’s father L. Yu Chang executed an Agreement to Exchange Real Property with the Mayor of Pili, Camarines Sur, Justo Casuncad. Office of Solicitor General (OSG) filed an opposition, saying that the land is legally classified as Public Domain, forest land.
Section 48 (b) of the Public Land Act as amended by PD 1073 provised that: The following described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein, but whose title have not been perfected or completed, may apply to Regional Trial Court of the province or city where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a Certificate of title thereof, under the Property Registration Decree.
In order that petitioner’s application for registration of title my be granted, they must first establish the following:
1. That the subject land forms part of the disposable and alienable lands of the Public Domain
2. That they have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the same under a bona fide claim of ownership, since June 12, 1945.
Jose Amunategui vs Director of Forestry provides that: A forested area classified as forest land of the public domain does not lose such classification simply because loggers or settlers may have stripped it of its forest cover.
The classification of land is descriptive of its legal nature or status and does not have to be descriptive of what the land actually looks like.