[G.R. No. 33598. September 8, 1931. ]
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, applicant, v. FAUSTINO ABAD ET AL., claimants. THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS AND BRUNO PACHO, Appellants.
Alejo Mabanag and Pedro C. Quinto, for appellant Pacho.
Attorney-General Jaranilla, for appellant Director of Lands.
Juan T. Lucero, for fifteen claimants.
1. PUBLIC LAND; OCCUPANT RIGHT; DURATION OF OCCUPANCY. — Under subsection (b) of section 45 of Act No. 2874, in order to entitle a claimant to receive a certificate of title to land, by virtue of occupancy only, he must prove continuous occupation (with recognized exceptions) in himself and his predecessors in interest, over a period running from July 26, 1894, and concluding on the date when Act No. 2874 became effective.
2. ID.; ID.; CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. — Where an occupant of public land who had held possession for the ten-year period specified in subsection 6 of section 54 of act No. 926 failed to apply for a certificate of title while said Act was in force, but waited until the provision mentioned was superseded by subsection (b) of section 45 of Act No. 2874, it was held that such occupant must prove continuous possession under the later Act.
The right given by the first Act was not a vested right but was of an inchoate nature dependent upon the making of an application for registration, or the claiming of the property in a registration proceeding. The later statute is not subject to criticism as depriving an occupant of property without due process of law, where such occupant could prove continuous possession under the earlier Act but not under the later.
D E C I S I O N
In cadastral expediente No. 11, of the Province of La Union, G. L. R. O. Record No. 279, the lot No. 2476, consisting of 179 hectares, 66 ares and 14 hectares, was claimed in its entirety by Bruno Pacho, while various portions thereof were severally claimed by Leon Valdez and fifteen other individuals, the latter being applicants for homesteads as to the portions respectively claimed by them. The Director of Lands, on behalf of the Government, also claimed the entire lot as public land, subject to the applications for homestead presented by the fifteen homestead claimants. Upon hearing the cause the the trial judge disallowed the claims of Leon Valdez, Ambrosio Gacagayan, Vicente Marzo 1.