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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 7922. August 27, 1915. ]

THE MUNICIPALITY OF LAOAG, Petitioner-Appellant, v. THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS ET AL., objectors-appellees.

Provincial Fiscal of Ilocos Norte Valdez for Appellant.

Attorney-General Villamor for the Director of Lands.

No appearance for the other appellees.

SYLLABUS


1. REGISTRATION OF LAND; INSUFFICIENT PROOF OF TITLE. — Held: Under the facts stated in the opinion, that the municipality was not entitled to have the land in question registered.


D E C I S I O N


JOHNSON, J.:


On the 31st day of August, 1908, the plaintiff presented a petition in the Court of Land Registration for the purpose of obtaining the registration, under the torrens system, of three parcels of land, particularly described in paragraph 1 of the complaint. The registration of said parcels of land was opposed by the said defendants and appellees.

The plaintiff alleges that it had acquired said property by reason of its immemorial occupation of the same.

After hearing the evidence, the Honorable James A. Ostrand, auxiliary judge of the Court of Land Registration, in a carefully prepared opinion, reached the conclusion that the plaintiff was not entitled to have said parcels of land registered in its name. The dispositive part of said decision is as follows: "It has not been proved that the lands above mentioned were granted to the municipality, as patrimonial property, by the state, nor has it been shown that they were used for municipal purposes, properly speaking. Giving to the decision of the Supreme Court of these Islands in the case of the Municipality of Tacloban v. The Director of Lands (18 Phil. Rep., 201) the logical interpretation it requires, this court can pursue no other course than to sustain the adverse claim of the Director of Lands and deny the petition. (See also Valenton v. Murciano, 3 Phil. Rep., 537.) The petition in this ease is therefore denied. So ordered."cralaw virtua1aw library

From that decision the plaintiff appealed to this court. The appeal presents a question of fact only.

After an examination of the record brought to this court, we are convinced that the facts stated in the decision of the lower court are in accordance with a preponderance of the proof adduced during the trial of the cause. The facts in the present case are very analogous to the facts in the case of the Municipality of Tacloban v. The Director of Lands (18 Phil. Rep., 201). In that case this court said: "The mere fact that the municipality of Tacloban continued to charge and collect rents from the persons who built houses upon and occupied portions of the same land is not proof that said municipality was the proprietor, for, as it had erected thereon no building intended for the service of the pueblo — a circumstance which, had it existed, would have led to the presumption that, in obtaining permission to erect the building, it also obtained a grant, if only an implied one, of the land, from the Government in the name of the state in order that the said municipality may be deemed to be the owner of the land in question, it must prove that an express grant of the said land, as one of the properties that form a part of its patrimony, was made to it by the Government."cralaw virtua1aw library

(Municipality of Luzuriaga v. The Director of Lands, 24 Phil. Rep., 193, 201.)

After a careful examination of the evidence brought to this court, we are of the opinion and so hold that the proof adduced by the petitioner (the municipality) is not sufficient to justify the conclusion that it is the owner in fee simple of the land in question and therefore is not entitled to have the same registered under the torrens system. The judgment of the lower court is therefore hereby affirmed, with costs. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Carson, Trent and Araullo, JJ., concur.

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