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[FORTUNATO ORTUA v. EULOGIO RODRIGUEZ](https://lawyerly.ph/juris/view/c1cd7?user=fbGU2WFpmaitMVEVGZ2lBVW5xZ2RVdz09)
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[ GR No. 43238, Nov 28, 1936 ]

FORTUNATO ORTUA v. EULOGIO RODRIGUEZ +

DECISION

63 Phil. 809

[ G. R. No. 43238, November 28, 1936 ]

FORTUNATO ORTUA, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. EULOGIO RODRIGUEZ, SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE, AND SIMEON RAMOS, DIRECTOR OF LANDS, DEFENDANTS AND APPELLANTS.

D E C I S I O N

ABAD SANTOS, J.:

This suit grew out of  an application for the purchase of a tract of public land filed by the plaintiff and appellee with the Bureau of Lands.  The case was submitted to the  court below  upon an agreed statement of facts, from which it appears that the sales application was approved and  given entry S. A. No. 4546 by the Bureau of  Lands in the same year in which  it was  filed, that is, 1920.   It appears also that after the filing of the application, the appellee took possession of  the  land  and introduced improvements thereon consisting  of a big  concrete warehouse, a house, and 180 coconut trees.  It further appears that eight years after the occupation of the land by the  appellee,  one Honesto Obias filed a protest stating, among other things, that the appellee had no right to purchase public land by reason of his being a citizen of the  Chinese Republic.  Acting upon that protest, the Director of Lands ordered the cancellation  of the appellee's sales application, and required him to pay the sum of P3,000 as rentals for the occupation of  the land.  This decision of the Director of Lands was appealed to the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who affirmed the same but reduced the amount required to be paid thereunder from P3,000 to P400, which latter amount was paid by the petitioner under protest.

Thereafter, the appellee instituted a mandamus proceeding in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur  for the purpose of compelling  the  Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce and the Director of Lands to give due course to his sales  application.  This action was  dismissed  on demurrer interposed by the respondents  therein, but  on appeal to this court the order of dismissal  was set  aside.1 This court held that the appellee herein was "a Philippine citizen and so  qualified under the Public Land Law  to purchase public agricultural lands."

Upon the pleadings and agreed statement of  facts filed by the parties  in this case, the main question raised  by this appeal is whether the appellee  was entitled to recover the sum of P400 paid by him under protest.  The court below decided the question in his favor, and ordered the Director of Lands to return said amount to the appellee.

In seeking a  reversal of the judgment below, the contention of the appellant is based on the theory that "the said sales application had never been approved nor had any entry number given thereto."   This theory, however, flies in the teeth of the facts agreed to by the parties and upon which the case was  submitted to the court below for decision. Paragraph II  of the agreed statement of facts  reads  as follows:  "That  the  sales application was approved and given entry number,  S. A. No. 4546 by the Bureau of Lands on the  same year."

It has been  held that where stipulations have been entered into between counsel, one of the parties will  not be allowed to withdraw  from the agreement thus made without the consent of the other, except by leave of court upon cause shown.  (Aurrecoechea vs. Bangs, 110 U. S., 217; 28 Law. ed., 125.)   We  believe that the rule  thus laid down should be followed in  this case not only because it is sound, but because it comes within the spirit of section 333  of the Code of Civil Procedure,   (Irlanda vs. Pitargue, 22 Phil., 383.)  Counsel for the appellants made no attempt whatever to obtain leave of the court below to withdraw from the stipulations entered into in this case, and we see nothing in the record that might have justified the granting of such leave.

The exaction of the amount of P400 having been made upon a ground which was  found to be erroneous by  this court, and the money having been paid under protest, the appellee is entitled to  recover the same.

The judgment  appealed from is affirmed  without pronouncement as to costs.1   So ordered.

Avanceña, C. J.,  Villa-Real, Imperial, Diaz, and Laurel, JJ., concur.



1 59 Phil., 440.
1 Resolution of December 18, 1936.

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