On June 12, 1919, the Assistant Director of Lands filed in the Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros a petition praying that the titles with respect to a tract of land containing ... about 23,443,355 square meters, divided into lots and situated in the municipality of Hog, Occidental Negros, be settled and adjudicated in accordance with the provisions of Act No. 2259, otherwise known as the Cadastral Act. After due... hearing, the lower court, in a decision dated August 15, 1925, declared lot No. 712, comprising about 1,322 square meters, public land because no one appeared to claim it. On January 25, 1934, a motion was filed in the same court by the herein... appellants, Roman de Arruza and Mario Luzuriaga, through their attorney, praying that the aforesaid decision of the lower court be set aside in so far as lot No. 712 was concerned, that a new trial be granted and that they be allowed to present their... claim under the provisions of Act No. 4043. On February 2, 1934, the provincial fiscal of Occidental Negros, on behalf of the government, filed an opposition to the appellants' motion contending that the Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros had no... jurisdiction to reopen the case with respect to lot No. 712 because the motion was not filed within the time limit prescribed by Act No. 4043. On April 20, 1934, the judge of the said court denied the motion of the appellants
whether the ten-year period mentioned in Act No. 4043 should be counted from the date the decision was rendered or from... the date judicial proceedings were instituted in a cadastral case
In determining the intention of the lawmaker, we are permitted to look to prior laws on the same subject and to investigate the antecedents or the legislative history of the statute involved
Act No. 4043 was not the only Act passed by the Philippine Legislature to enable persons whose lands had been declared public lands by virtue of the operation of the cadastral system to recover said lands after complying with certain prescribed... conditions.
A cursory scrutiny of these four Acts will show that while the titles of Acts Nos. 4043 and 4195 refer to "parcels of land that have... been declared public land, by virtue of judicial decisions rendered etc.", those of the earlier Acts Nos. 3059 and 3672 fail to make any such allusion.
The title of Act No. 4043 ... is as follows:
"An Act to authorize the filing in the proper court, under certain conditions, of certain claims of title to parcels of land that have been declared public land, by virtue of judicial decisions rendered within the fifteen years next preceding the ... approval of this Act."
Upon the other hand, the bodies of all the four Acts just mentioned speak in clear and, unmistakable terms of parcels of land that "have been, or are about to be, declared land of public domain, by virtue of... judicial proceedings instituted etc,"
Act No. 4043 was originally House Bill No. 949 (First Session, Ninth Philippine Legislature). The said bill as presented referred in both its title and... body solely to the rendition of judicial decisions. The first paragraph of the explanatory note prepared by the authors of the bill reads:
"The attached bill is practically the same as Act No. 3672 approved by the Eighth Legislature with the exception that it authorizes the filing of claims to lots that have been declared public land by virtue of judicial decisions rendered... during the last ten years
The fact that in all the four Acts so far passed by the Philippine Legislature on the subject there has been a repeated and consistent reference to the institution of judicial proceedings has the starting point in the computation of the period of ten years... therein laid down is... significant
It shows beyond question the desire of the Legislature to adhere to the one and only method of computation consistently followed by it since the beginning.