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[ GR No. L-5079, Jul 31, 1956 ]



99 Phil. 615

[ G.R. No. L-5079, July 31, 1956 ]




Appeal by  the defendants  from  a judgment holding that the title of the plaintiff  to the parcel  of land in litigation is valid and binding as against the whole world, and that as the defendants  have no right whatsoever to the parcel  of  land, they are ordered to vacate it, and to pay to  the plaintiff damages at the  rate of P40,000 a year from 25 March 1949  until possession  be  restored to it, and  costs.  The  receiver is, directed to restore to the plaintiff the possession  of the  parcel  of  land under receivership and to deliver the income or rentals received in any  form  during the  period of  receivership of the parcel of land after proper deductions.

The plaintiff,  a domestic  corporation, asserts ownership and title to a parcel of land described  in the  third paragraph  of  the complaint, as evidenced  by  transfer certificate  of  title No. 119  (37679)  issued  in its .name by  the  Registrar of Deeds  in and  for the  province of Rizal, which  comprises the  parcel  of land described in the fourth paragraph thereof, and the defendants having taken possession  of  the  smaller parcel  of land without any right so to do, the plaintiff brought  this  action to recover possession thereof,  and prayed that the defendants be  ordered to vacate it and  to desis from asserting any right to the parcel of land or any part thereof and to pay jointly and  severally to  the  plaintiff  the sum of 10,000  as damages; and that the buildings  constructed thereon  claimed by the defendants be demolished and removed at their  expense;  and for such further and  other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

In their fourth  amended  answer  the  defendants deny the allegations in paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 of the complaint and allege that the parcel of land  occupied  by them, of which they claim to be the  owners, contains  46 hectares more or less,  and has been  continuously and  uninterruptedly  in, their  possession and of  their predecessors-in-interest for a period of over 100 years under and by virtue of  a  titulo de information posesoria duly  issued by the Spanish Government;  that the  parcel of land belonging to them must have been included in the  transfer certificate of title of the plaintiff  erroneously, maliciously illegally, by false and fraudulent representations and without their knowledge  or of their  predeeessors-in-interest; that they learned for the first time that the parcel of  land had  been included in  the  tract of land registered in the name  of the plaintiff when this action was brought in March  1949 and in the following month when the plaintiff forcibly  entered upon  the parcel of land  by means of bulldozers  and other grading implements; that after the issuance of original certificate of title  No. 735 the parcel of land has not been conveyed or transferred to  innocent third persons; that upon  learning of the fact that their parcel of land had been  included  in  the tract  of  land registered  in the name of  the  plaintiff  they demanded from the  latter  the  cancellation  of transfer certificate title Nor  119  (37679) and asked  for the reconveyance of the parcel of  land but the plaintiff ignored their demand;  that  the  fraudulent and illegal  registration by the plaintiff of the parcel of land  belonging to  them in G.L.R.O.  Rec. No.  7681  has  caused   them  damage in the sum of  P6,900,000.  As affirmative defense  they allege  that  the plaintiff has no  legal capacity to  sue.   By way  of counterclaim  they ask for P10,000  as damages caused by  the filing of this unnecessary,  unjustified  and malicious complaint; P20,000 for the destruction of lands, trees, rice  paddies  and ridges  owned by the defendants; P10,000 for  the  annual loss of  crops due  to such  destruction; P6,900,000 for  the  value of the  land at  the rate  of P15  per square meter  in  the event that  a judgment  be rendered against them;  that  the  registration of title secured by the  plaintiff which includes  46  hectares  of land claimed by  them be  deemed a trust;  and that  the plaintiff be  required  to  reconvey the parcel of land.   Upon  the foregoing, they pray that the complaint be dismissed; that they be declared the absolute owners of 46 hectares of land described  in paragraph 4  of  the complaint, ordering  the plaintiff to execute a deed of reconveyance of the parcel  of  land in their favor, to pay them the sum of P40,000 or the sum of P6,900,000 for the value of the land, P10,000 for attorney's fees and double costs, and the Registrar of Deeds in and for the province of  Rizal to  cancel  transfer  certificate of title  No.  119 (37679) issued in the name of the plaintiff.

The  plaintiff's  reply  to the  defendant's counterclaim admits  that in April 1949 it bulldozed parts of the land involved  in the litigation the possession  of which had been restored to it  by its tenants and were not in possession  of the  defendants; that  the damages the  latter claim to have suffered, as alleged in paragraph 3 of their counterclaim,  cannot be  recovered because they  are  not entitled to the  crops of the  parcel of land in  litigation, the  same being owned by it (the plaintiff) ; and denies the rest of the allegations of the counterclaim.  By way of affirmative defense, it alleges  that  it  is an  innocent purchaser for value, it having bought in  1938 the tract of land in which the litigated parcel of  land  lies from the Heirs of D. Tuazon, Inc.; that an action for damages and reconveyance to the defendants of the parcel of land had long prescribed, the  tract of land having  been registered  in the name of its predecessors-in-interest on  8 July 1914, as evidenced  by  original  certificate of title No.  735 issued by the Registrar of Deeds  in and for the province of Rizal.

By agreement of  the parties,  the area of land in possession  of the defendants  is delimited in the plan marked Exhibit B by broken  lines in red ink.  There is no dispute as to the fact that the  parcel of land occupied and claimed by the defendants is comprised within the tract of  land as delimited  and described in transfer  certificate of title  No. 119  (37679)  issued  by  the  Registrar of Deeds in and for the province of Rizal (Exhibit C), and  that the  title  of plaintif's predecessors-in-interest to the  tract of  land within which the litigated parcel of land is comprised was confirmed by  the Land Registration  Court  and  the  decree was entered  on  8  July 1914, as evidenced by the issuance of  original certificate of title No. 735, pursuant to decree No. 17431  issued in G. L. R. 0. Rec. No. 7681.  Transfer certificate of title No. 119  (37679) is  a transfer from transfer certificate of title No. 35073 (Exhibit C).  Previous  certificates  were transfer certificates of title Nos. 34853  and 31997  (Exhibits J and I).

The preponderance of evidence shows  that Isaias  Santiago, who together with his brother and  sister claimed to have  inherited the parcel of  land  in litigation  from Inocencio Santiago and  the latter from  Baldomero  Santiago, worked  and cultivated part of the  parcel of  land in dispute from 1915 to 1918 as  tenant  of Augusto  Tuason.   From 1930  to  1932 Isaias  Santiago  together  with his children, the herein defendants,  worked part of the parcel of land as tenant of Trinidad  Icasiano  who had leased it from the Tuasons.  After  Isaias Santiago and his children ceased to be tenants of Icasiano,  Petronilo Paguia succeeded them as tenant.   Before Icasiano ceased to be a tenant of  the Tuasons,  Isaias Santiago and his children worked and cultivated another part of the parcel of land leased by Epifanio de la Cruz from the  Tuasons.  The part leased by Epifanio  de la  Cruz adjoined another part of  the parcel of land containing an  area of 20 hectares leased in 1934 by Ambrosio Pablo from the Bank of the Philippine  Islands,  then  administering the tract of land for the Tuasons.  Isaias Santiago was one of the six  tenants of Ambrosio Pablo from 1934  until the Japanese occupation when Isaias Santiago, encouraged and aided by  Gaudencio Bautista,  a  member  of  the  Ganap Party, claimed  the parcel of land as his and made  it so difficult for Gavino Pablo,  who  was managing the  part of the parcel of land leased  by  his  brother  Ambrosio, to stay in it and for that reason abandoned it.

The evidence for  the  appellants  imputes  to Demetrio Tuason,  Auguato  Tuason;  Mariano Tuason  and  Juan Tuason, four of the predecessors-in-interest of the plaintiff who had  applied and secured the registration of title to the tract of land delimited and  described in  Exhibit C, and who are  now dead, certain statements acknowledging that Isaias Santiago  was claiming ownership and was in possession of the parcel of land in litigation, and that being a bully (maton) of  violent temper, said Isaias Santiago made it  dangerous for anyone to go into, work and cultivate any part of the parcel of land under a lease contract from or permission of the Tuasons.  Such evidence, aside from being of the weakest character because it can no longer be contradicted or denied by the deceased,  is not  an acknowledgment of the title of  Isaias Santiago  to the parcel of land but only an admission of such claim of ownership which cannot, however, derogate  the  title of the registered owner.  Prescription and adverse possession of a registered land cannot divest the registered owner of his title there of. [1]  It cannot be believed or it is hard to believe that the registered owners of a parcel of land would  admit title of another to the same when they  knew that they had the title thereto.  The testimony of Vicente  del Rosario and Albina Santiago only shows  that the appellants' claim and that of  their predecessors-in-interest and their  possession of the parcel  of land were tolerated by the registered owner and its predecessors-in-interest.

The  appellants cannot successfully assail the decree of registration entered on 8 July 1914, because it was  the result of  proceedings in  rem (G.L.R.O.  Rec.  No.  7681) and the reopening  thereof  on the ground of fraud may only be had with one year  from  the date of the decree.[2]

The action  allowed to be brought by .section 55, Act No.  469, as amended by  Act No.  3322,  cannot be invoked and availed of  because fraud has not been proved. Section  32, Act No.  496,  provides: "The certificate  of the clerk that he has served the  notice as directed by the court, by publishing or mailing, shall  be filed in the case before the return day, and shall be conclusive  proof of such  service." The  testimony of Geronimo  Santiago to the effect that he  was not notified of the application for the registration of the parcel of land by the predecessors-in-interest  of the appellee  who had applied for  such registration cannot  prevail over the presumption of regularity of the proceedings in the land registration case,  not only because  the  return  of  the clerk  of court is  conclusive proof  of such  service  but also  because  the fact  that Geronimo  Santiago  was not notified of the  application for the registration of the parcel of land by the predecessors-in-interest of  the  appellee  who had applied  for such  registration does not  mean and imply that his father Isaias Santiago who was still living at the time  of the registration proceedings was not notified thereof.   In any  event, the  decree  "shall  be  conclusive  upon  and against all persons, including the Insular Government and all branches thereof, whether  mentioned by name in the application, notice, or citation, or included in the general description.  "To All  Whom It  May Concern."[1]

Geronimo Santiago and his aunt Albina Santiago  claim and testify that they had a titulo de informaddn posesoria which Isaias Santiago left, together with the land tax receipts evidencing payments by him of tax on the parcel of land from 1903 to 1939,  in the hands of Attorney Ananias Galimba  for the purpose of applying for registration  of the parcel of land  claimed by  them.   The documentary evidence  on payment of  taxes shows that Isaias Santiago paid  only for  1941,  1942, 1943,  1945 and  1946 for a parcel of land in Diliman, assessed  at P18,860,  Assessment No. 1288 (Exhibits 2-A, 2-B, 2-C, 2-D,  2-E,  2-F and 2-G).   The alleged receipts evidencing tax  payments on  the  parcel of  land which Geronimo Santiago claims were turned over by his father Isaias  to Attorney Ananias Galimba together  with the alleged titulo de information posesoria cannot be true,  because in the  declaration of real property for  assessment  purposes on  the same  parcel  of land which Isaias Santiago  claimed to be  his and for which  he paid land  taxes from 1941 to 1.946 except 1944, subscribed and  sworn to by him on  25 September 1940, the following appears: "Duplicate of  the land under tax No. 988 in the name of J. M. Tuason, Inc."   (Exhibits 3 and 4).   It appears also in Exhibit 3 that it is a new declaration.  So all the  testimony of Geronimo Santiago regarding  land tax receipts from  1903  to  1939 and the reason  given why his father Isaias  had  to  declare the parcel of  land for assessment purposes as new,  which, according  to him, was due to the transfer of the parcel of land from the province of Rizal to Quezon City, cannot be true.

The appellants  &lso claim  that they had  a titulo de information posesoria which,  together with the land tax receipts from 1903 to 1939, was turned over to Attorney Ananias Galimba for the  purpose of applying  for the registration of the parcel of land; that unfortunately Attorney  Ananias Galimba had to  abandon  his  house because he was hunted  by the Japanese on  account of his guerrilla activities and  the document and the land tax receipts were left in  the  house  which  was  burned and razed to the ground  sometime in February 1945.  The trial  court correctly found that the existence of the tituio de  information posesoria  has not been established  sufficiently and that even if such  possessory  information title  had been in  existence  it  did  not vest  title  of ownership  to  the parcel of land citing the  rule laid down in the  case of Modesto  vs.  Leyva,  6 Phil., 186.  The  wife of Attorney Ananias Galimba testified that the titulo de information posesoria was in the name of Inocencio Santiago, whereas Geronimo Santiago testified that  it was in the name of his  father Isaias Santiago.

During the pendency  of  this  case in this  Court, the appellants filed a motion for new trial" alleging that they had  discovered  among  the  dossiers  in  the "Legajo  de Terrenos de Varias Provincias"  a Composition col el Estado, a  true copy of which is marked as Annex C  and attached to the motion,  issued in favor of Inocencio Santiago, and  that aside from the  Composiddn  con el Estado, the Division of Archives  of the National Library found the  following documents:  one of the  "Tribunal Municipal de  Caloocan" dated 21  July  1894 where the boundaries and  area of the "Hacienda  de  Santa Mesa"' owned by the Tuasons  appear (Annex D) ; and another where a petition of the "Procurador de Camara de los del  numero  de la Real Audiencia,"  as  representative of the  "Procurador  del Colegio de  Nuestro Padre San Ignacio de Manila;" minutes or certificate  of  a survey and monumenting  made  in  1708 by  the Father Procurator, "Escribano Preceptor," chamber secretary of Capitan Lucas Manzano de Ochoa and attorney-in-fact  of  the Hacienda of Santa Mesa of Capitan Don Francisco Xavier Monilla and  other persons; and  the boundary limits of the Hacienda (estate) known as "Mesa de la Santa Misericordia," appear (Annex E).  In the  last document it appears that one of the boundaries of the Hacienda (estate) known as "Mesa de la Santa Misericordia" was a land known  as "Santiago"  (Annex E).

In the document dated 5 May 1848 marked Annex C and attached to the motion for new trial, the "Gobernadorcillo" and the  "Juez  de Sementeras" of the town of Caloocan and four other signers certified  that Inocencio  Santiago had prayed  for  a testimony  or  certificate  on  his  property located in Santolan containing an area of 16 quinones the boundary limits of which are: on the North, "sementera de  la Mesa de la  Santa Misericordia y otros;" on  the South, a street of the barrio; on the East,  Rio San Juan del Monte; and on the West, property  of  Antonio Tuason, which parcel of  land, according to him, he had inherited  more  than 25  years from that date  from  his deceased father Eligio  Santiago;  and that it appearing from the statements  made  by  the  owners of  adjoining lands and others  to the effect that  their lands were  not included  in that of Inocencio Santiago,  as  verified to be true by the "Juez de Sementeras," the "Gobernadorcillo" authorized  the  formation of the "testimonio?  or certificate by publishing it on the bulletin board of the municipal building and  in the barrios of the jurisdiction  for the information of all,  so  that upon that information they could  file their opposition,  if  they  had any, within six days  from that  date, after which those who had  not filed any  opposition prejudiced  (bound)  thereby. The  next paragraph of the  document  is a  "providencia" (order)  reciting  that  the  period  of  six days provided for in the  preceding  paragraph having expired without any person filing any opposition against the  application of  Inocencio Santiago, and all the requisites and formalities of the  law having been  complied  with, upon recommendation of the "Juez de  Sementeras," the "testimonio" or certificate was approved and Inocencio Santiago was declared absolute owner of the land applied for without prejudice  to  a better right of third  persons,  the "Gobernadorcillo"  signing at the  bottom thereof.  The document marked Annex D and attached to the motion for  new trial contains an order dated 1 June  1894  addressed to the 'Capitan  Municipal"  of the  town of  Caloocan requiring the mayor of the  town to forward to the  provincial  board a  detailed  statement  of  the  lands within the jurisdiction of Caloocan, their location, boundaries  and  area; the compliance therewith  on  27 July 1894 by the municipal mayor of  Caloocan; and the statement of the area and boundaries of the 'Hacienda de Santa Mesa" owned  by  the  Tuason.  The document marked Annex E and attached to the motion is an old document bearing  the seal of the years 1796 and  1797 where  it appears that a petition was filed by Nicolas Guerrero, who had sufficient  power of  attorney from Rev. Fr. Joaquin Sanchez, Procurator of the College pf  Our Father  Saint Ignatius, stating or alleging that  as the "Estancia" (estate) of Capitan Juan de Moron mentioned as adjoining land the one then in possession of the "Mesa de la Santa Misericordia," said Procurator together with the  "Escribano Preceptor,"  chamber  secretary  of Capitan  Lucas Manzano de Ochoa and attorney-in-fact of said  "Santa Mesa de Capitan  Don  Francisco  Xavier  Monilla"  and several  others went around the boundaries and staked monuments  between the "Estancia" (estate) of said Capitan Juan de Moron and the adjoining lands and reached a  boundary point  called "Sargento" between  said  "Estancia"  of Capitan Juan de Moron and that of the College of Our Father  Saint Ignatius, where a monument was placed, and from that point Southwest and North-northwest  they reached  a "paso" called "2  Calang," meaning broken stone (piedra partida) that led to a road going to the "Estancia" of Escobar,  also called  Balara,  owned by the said  College of Our Father Saint Ignatius; thence to a point adjoining a land called Santiago, and thence following a North-northwest direction to the river  called San Francisco del Monte, where there was a trail called  Maypajo, and was  the end of said "Estancia" of Capitan Juan de  Moron; and praying that  the  testimony of  said survey by monuments and boundaries be made  of  record. The next paragraph entitled "Auto" states "In the  city of Manila, on 30 March 1708, before the  President and 'Oidores' of the  'Audiencia' and Royal Chancellory of the Philippines,  who were  holding  public hearing from  their royal seats, the previous petition was filed and after hearing said officers  directed: Let the party of the 'Mesa  de la Santa Misericordia be  cited to  appear.  The Clerk of the Chamber."

The  documents just described  are not and do  not constitute a titulo de information posesoria, because  they are merely a  certification of possession of the  applicant Inocencio  Santiago  and although  the  certificate  states  that it declared Inocencio Santiago the owner of the land which was the subject matter thereof, it was still without prejudice  to a third party  or parties  having  or  holding  a better  right.  It was a  step to  be taken preparatory or leading to an application for the grant of a title  to lands of the public domain (baldios y realengos)  by the Spanish Government under the Royal and Government Decrees or laws then  in force.[1]   It cannot be  an information posesoria, because the proceedings  leading to the grant of title was authorized only by the Royal Decree of 13 February 1894, known  as the Maura  Law, superseding the provisions of the Royal Decree of 25  June  1880  which had  authorized  the issuance of Composition  con el Estado  titles by the "Direccion General de Administracion Civil" after compliance with the requirements of the  Royal Decree.1   Annex C of the motion for new trial incorrectly referred to and called  in the motion for new trial as a Composicion con el Estado title is not  yet a Composicion con  el Estado  title.   The Composicion con el Estado  title was that granted by the Spanish Government through  the "Bireceion  General de Administracion  Civil,"  pursuant to the  provisions of the Royal  Decree of 25 June 1880; that granted by the Chief of the Province by delegation  pursuant  to the provisions of Royal Decree of 31 August 1888; and that granted  also under the Royal Decree of 13 February 1894, because aside from the possessory information proceedings leading to the grant  of title  to the crown lands (baldios y  realengos), the grant by Composicion con el Estado proceedings was still permitted  under the provisions of the last royal decree.

There was also an informacidn posesoria proceedings  under the  provisions of  the Mortgage Law which  was  made effective and  in  force in the Philippines on 1 December 1889 for the purpose  of  allowing those who had  claim to lands  to have their possession recorded  in the  Registry of Deeds.[1]  But such recorded possessory  information proceedings did not ripen into ownership except under certain conditions, the most important of which was the expiration of 20  years after the entry or  record in the Registry of Deeds of the  possessory  information proceedings.   And under article 394 of the Mortgage Law, the entry or record of possession  in  the Registry of Deeds did  not prejudice the owners who held or had a better right  to the ownership of the property although his title had not been recorded, unless prescription had  confirmed  and secured the  claim recorded.

The document  marked  as Annex E and attached to the motion for new  trial is valueless,  because  while it contains  a  petition  to record a  survey  by  boundaries  and the staking of monuments around the "Estancia" of Capitan Juan de Moron in 1708 and an order of the President, the  "Oidores" of the "Audiencia"  and the Royal Chancellory of  the Philippines entered also in 1708, it bears seals of the  years 1796 and 1797.   The act which was to be certified  and made of record  took place  sometime in 1708, and yet the official paper used wast one for the years 1796 and 1797, or 88 years later.  This circumstance  renders the documnet unreliable.  It may have been done for some purpose but certainly it cannot be given any value. The Northnorthwest course followed by the survey party from the contact point between the  "Estancia" of Capitan Juan de Moron and the land known as  Santiago, and the fact that the survey party reached a river called  or known as San Francisco del Monte, indicate that the land referred to in Annex C was not the one now claimed by the Santiagos.  Moreover, laHd known or named "Santiago" does .. not necessarily mean that it was  the land  owned by Inocencio Santiago or  his predecessor-in-interest Eligio Santiago.   If it  was it would have  so stated.  For these reasons the motion for new trial, the resolution  of which was deferred until the case be  decided  on the  merits, is denied.

The only remaining point to be decided is the amount of damages..  The trial court allows  the plaintiff to recover P40,000 a  year for  damages from  25 March 1949 until possession of the parcel of land is  restored to the plaintiff. Damages that are allowable under article 1106 of the Civil Code include the actual losses (dano emergente) which, in this case, are the rentals of the residential part of the parcel of land and the share of the owner in the produce of the agricultural part of the parcel of land, which he failed  to collect or receive during the period the usurper was in possession of the parcel of land, and the profits which  the owner failed to realize (lucro cesante).   What the plaintiff could have  realized  by laying out  streets,  filing  up low lands,  subdividing the parcel of  land  and  other  incidental expenses, in order to make it suitable for residential purposes, is speculative.   To realize those profits would require  investment  of additional capital. It is, therefore, the actual  damages or loss  (danos emergente) that the plaintiff has suffered by reason of its failure to collect or receive  the rentals and fruits or produce of the parcel of land and the interest (buero cesante) on the amount of such rentals  and share in the agricultural products at the legal rate of  interest, to which it is entitled.  The trial  court arrived  at the amount  awarded as  damages by allowing 10 per cent annually on the estimated value of the parcel of land.  Although this process followed by the trial court in estimating  the amount of damages to be awarded is not necessarily unfounded  or incorrect,  yet  the  trial  court overlooked  the amount demanded  in the  prayer of the plaintiff's complaint which is only P10,000. And taking into consideration the fact that the evidence  on the amount of  recoverable damages is unsatisfactory,  to enable the court to make a fair award for damages,  and there  being no  petition by the appellee for  leave to amend the prayer of its complaint on the amount of damages  so as to  make it conform  to the evidence, we are of the opinion that the amount demanded in the prayer of the plaintiff's complaint should be awarded  for damages.   The  amount of income received or collected in any form by the receiver which will be  turned  over to the appellee after accounting must be deducted from the amount of the award for  damages.

With  the only modification that  the amount of damages to be awarded to the  appellee  be as above indicated,  together  with lawful  interest  from  the .date of  the  filing of the complaint, the rest of the judgment  appealed from is affirmed, with costs  against the  appellants.

Paras, C. J., Bengzon, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador,  Concepcion,  Reyes, J.  B. L., Endencia and Felix,  JJ., concur.

[1]Section 46, Act No. 496.
[2]Section 38, Act No. 496.
[1] Section 38, Act No. 496.
[1]  Under  the Laws of Indies, the  government officers authorized to make  land grants were  (1)  the  Governors  of the newly  discovered lands;  (2)  the Viceroys and Presidents with the advice of the chapters of cities and  villages; and  (3)  the  Pesidents and  Audencias,  if  they  were in charge of the Government,  by adjustment and sale at  public  auction. Land grants  made  by ministers, who were not authorized and  those made  by chapters of cities, were  invalid, unless confirmed by the King in  council and to be annulled by the protecting  fiscals, and in their absence by the fiscals of  the audencias (courts), to whom  the viceroys and presidents and  audencias were to lend  their  aid and assistance to carry out  such revocation.
 Lands were granted to subjects of the king of Spain,  including, of course, the  natives inhabiting the territories. 

The kinds of  lands granted were:  (1) caballerlas and peonias; and (2) lands and  waters found in places suitable for the establishment of towns.

Within  three  (3) months, the grantee was  required  to enter upon and take possession  of the land  and proceed to  improve  and cultivate it.

The period  of possession  required and conditions necessary  to be fulfilled by the  grantee to vest  title in him  were  four  (4) years continuous residence and cultivation.  No  period  of  time was provided for land and  water grants  in  places suitable for  the establishment of towns which were held subject to the King's will, because no title to land and water grants  in such places could vest in the grantee.

By the  16th  law, the  presidents and audencias were  authorized to grant public lands by adjustment  and sale.

By Royal Cedula of  1 November  1591, the power of the Governors and Chapters to make  land grants  was revoked  and vested in the Royal Officers; and by  Royal Order  of  16  February 1858, grant of lands, the value of which exceeded 200 pesos, was  to be made at public  auction.

The Royal  Cedula  of 24  November 1735,  provided that the possession of public lands by  private persons be confirmed by the King within a  certain period  of time  therein set,  and  failure to do so caused the reversion thereof to the Crown.

The Royal Cedula of 15 October 1754,  provided for the appointment by  Viceroys  and  Presidents  of  Royal  Audencias  of sub-delegate ministers who were authorized to adjust and see public  lands;  the  checking up  of titles  to  land  grants; the confirmation of unconfirmed titles by the Audencias of the districts and  other Ministers and Governors, and  the protection of  occupants of public lands who  had acquired them by prescription.

The foregoing  provisions of  Royal Cedula of 15 October 1754 applied  to  titles to lands granted  by adjustment  or  sale  from

[1]1 Article 390, 891, 392  and 393, Mortgage  Law.

1700 to the date of the Royal Cedula by  the  sub-delegates,  if they bore  royal  confirmation by Viceroys  and Presidents of the Audendas  of the respective  districts.  Those  who had applied for land grants from 1700 to 15 October  1754, but whose titles were unconfirmed, were  required  to secure confirmation  by  the, Audencias  of  the  districts  and other ministers  authorized to  confirm, and  upon examination  of the area,  appraisal of  the land and the title issued, and it  appearing that no collusion  or fraud had been committed  and  that payment of  the  corresponding purchase price and the fees  (media anata)  had been made,  said ministers were to issue the  royal confirmation  of the title  (pars. 5,  6 & 9). In distant provinces or those  separated by  sea from the Audencia,  the Governors, with the  advice  of the Royal Officers and the Advocate Lieutenant-General,  were authorized to confirm such titles.

The  next important Royal  Decree  on  land grants  was that of  25 June 1880, put into effect on 3  August 1880, and published in   the  "Gaceta  de  Manila"  No. 252  on  10 September  1880, approving  the  rules for  the adjustment of  public lands in the Philippines in possession  of  private persons.

[1] Article  15, Royal Decree of 25  June 1880.