Alienable, disposable lands

The following rules are relative to the disposition of public land or lands of the public domain, namely:

[1] As a general rule and pursuant to the Regalian Doctrine, all lands of the public domain belong to the State and are inalienable. Lands that are not clearly under private ownership are also presumed to belong to the State and, therefore, may not be alienated or disposed; but

[2] The following are excepted from the general rule, to wit:

[a] Agricultural lands of the public domain are rendered alienable and disposable through any of the exclusive modes enumerated under Section 11 of the Public Land Act;
(i) If the mode is judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, the agricultural land subject of the application needs only to be classified as alienable and disposable as of the time of the application, provided the applicant’s possession and occupation of the land dated back to June 12, 1945, or earlier;
(ii) Thereby, a conclusive presumption that the applicant has performed all the conditions essential to a government grant arises, and the applicant becomes the owner of the land by virtue of an imperfect or incomplete title. By legal fiction, the land has already ceased to be part of the public domain and has become private property; AND

[b] Lands of the public domain subsequently classified or declared as no longer intended for public use or for the development of national wealth are removed from the sphere of public dominion and are considered converted into patrimonial lands or lands of private ownership that may be alienated or disposed through any of the modes of acquiring ownership under the Civil Code. If the mode of acquisition is prescription, whether ordinary or extraordinary, proof that the land has been already converted to private ownership prior to the requisite acquisitive prescriptive period is a condition sine qua non in observance of the law (Article 1113, Civil Code) that property of the State not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription. (Heirs of Mario Malabanan vs. Republic of the Philippines, 2013)

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