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Rep Vs Tan Digest.docx




February 10, 2016.G.R. No. 199537.REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, vs. ANDREA TAN, Respondent FACTS: Tan applied for the original registration of title of Lot No. 4080, Cad. 545-D situated in Casili, Consolacion, Cebu. She alleged that she is the absolute owner in fee simple of the said 7,807 square-meter parcel of residential land she purchased from a certain Julian Gonzaga on September 17, 1992. Land registration court granted Tan’s application. The court confirmed her title over the subject lot and ordered its registration. The Republic appealed the case to the CA, arguing that Tan failed to prove that she is a Filipino citizen who has been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of the subject lot, in the concept of an owner, since June 12, 1945, or earlier, immediately preceding the filing of her application. The CA noted that before land of the public domain can be acquired by prescription, it must have been declared alienable and disposable agricultural land. The CA pointed to the certification issued by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) as evidence that the subject was classified as alienable and disposable on September 1, 1965, pursuant to Land Classification Project No. 28. The CA concluded that Tan had already acquired the subject lot by prescription. ISSUE: Whether or not the CENRO certification and tax declarations presented were insufficient to prove that the subject lot was no longer intended for public use. HELD: In Malabanan case, we already held en banc that a declaration that property of the public dominion is alienable and disposable does not ipso facto convert it into patrimonial property. While a prior declaration that the property has become alienable and disposable is sufficient in an application for judicial confirmation of title under Section 14(1) of the PRD, it does not suffice for the purpose of prescription under the Civil Code. Before prescription can even begin to run against the State, the following conditions must concur to convert the subject into patrimonial property: 1. The subject lot must have been classified as agricultural land in compliance with Sections 2 and 3 of Article XII of the Constitution; 2. The land must have been classified as alienable and disposable 3. There must be a declaration from a competent authority that the subject lot is no longer intended for public use, thereby converting it to patrimonial property. Only when these conditions are met can applicants begin their public and peaceful possession of the subject lot in the concept of an owner. In the present case, the third condition is absent. Even though it has been declared alienable and disposable, the property has not been withdrawn from public use or public service. Without this, prescription cannot begin to run because the property has not yet been converted into patrimonial property of the State. It remains outside the commerce of man and the respondent’s physical possession and occupation thereof do not produce any legal effect. In the eyes of the law, the respondent has never acquired legal possession of the property and her physical possession thereof, no matter how long, can never ripen into ownership.