Friday, October 15, 2010

Piadeco's position is that such amendment contravenes said Section 1829, which does not specify the titles that are registrable thereunder; and that it is diametrically opposed to the Opinion of the Attorney General of October 15, 1919, which ruled that a royal title "issued in September, 1896, and inscribed in the Registry of Property within a year after its issuance is valid, and therefore its owner is entitled to the benefits" of Section 1829 aforesaid. Also cited are the Opinion of the Secretary of the Interior of November 7, 1916, stating that registration under Section 1829 is not subject to change and revocation unless title is established in a different person by judicial declaration; the Opinion of the Director of Forestry of January 8, 1925, which recognized as registrable, titles "such an informacion posesoria ..., composicion con el estado and purchase under the Spanish sovereignty" amongst others; and the Opinion of the Collector of Internal Revenue of February 6, 1926, declaring imperfect titles within the purview of Section 45(a) of Act 2874, as also registrable.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

True it is that the law, Section 1829, does not describe with particularity titles that may be registered with the Bureau of Forestry. Concededly, too, administrative authorities in the past considered as registrable, titles issued during the Spanish regime. In fact, as late as 1962, Forestry Administrative Order 12-1 was still in force, authorizing registration of such Spanish titles. But when Forestry Administrative Order 12-2 came into effect on January 1, 1963, that order should be deemed to have repealed all such previous administrative determinations.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

There should be no question now that Forestry Administrative Order 12-2 has the force and effect of law. It was promulgated pursuant to law. Section 1817, Revised Administrative Code, empowers the Bureau of Forestry, with the approval of the department head, to issue regulations "deemed expedient or necessary to secure the protection and conservation of the public forests in such manner as to insure a continued supply of valuable timber and other forest products for the future, and regulating the use and occupancy of the forests and forest reserves, to the same end." Forestry Administrative Order 12-2 was recommended by the Director of Forestry, and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It is no less a valid law. It is an administrative regulation germane to the objects and purposes of the law. A rule shaped out by jurisprudence is that when Congress authorized the promulgation of administrative rules and regulations to implement a given legislation, "[a]ll that is required is that the regulation should be germane to the objects and purposes of the law; that the regulation be not in contradiction with it, but conform to the standards that the law prescribes."8 In Geukeko vs. Araneta, 102 Phil. 706, 712, we pronounced that the necessity for vesting administrative authorities with power to make rules and regulations for various and varying details of management has been recognized and upheld by the courts.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

And we are certainly totally unprepared to jettison Forestry Administrative Order 12-2 as illegal and unreasonable.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Spanish titles are quite dissimilar to administrative and judicial titles under the present system. Although evidences of ownership, these Spanish titles may be lost thru prescription. They are, therefore, neither indefeasible nor imprescriptible. The law in this jurisdiction, both under the present sovereignty and the previous Spanish regime is that ordinary prescription of ten years may take place against a title recorded in the Registry of Property "in virtue of another title also recorded,"9 and extra-ordinary prescription of thirty years will run, even "without need of title or of good faith."10 For possession for along period fixed by law, the "unquestionable foundation of the prescription of ownership ... weakens and destroys the force and value of the best possible title to the thing possessed by one who is not the owner thereof."11 The exception, of course, is the Torrens title, expressly recognized to be indefeasible and impresciptible.12 chanrobles virtual law library

And more. If a Spanish title covering forest land is found to be invalid, that land is public forest land, is part of the public domain, and cannot be appropriated.13 Before private interests have intervened, the government may decide for itself what portions of the public domain shall be set aside and reserved as forest land.14 Possession of forest lands, however long, cannot ripen into private ownership.15 chanrobles virtual law library

In this case, it is undisputed that Picadeco's title which it sought to register was issued by the Spanish sovereignty - Titulo de Propiedad No. 4136, dated April 25 or 29, 1894. It is unmistakably not one of those enumerated in Section 7 aforesaid. It should not have been allowed registration in the first place. Obviously, registration thereof can never be renewed.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

2. Piadeco is nonetheless insistent in its plea that it can still cut, gather, and remove timber from its alleged private woodland, upon payment of forest charges and surcharges.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The purposes of registration, as succinctly stated in Section 6, Forestry Administrative Order 12-1 dated July 1, 1941, are:

6. Objects of registration - (a) to exempt the owners of private woodlands from the payment of forest products gathered therefrom for commercial or industrial purposes.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

(b) To regulate the transportation of forest products gathered or collected therefrom and to avoid fraud which may be committed in connection with utilization of such forest products with respect to their origin.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

(c) To determine the legality of private claims for the protection of the interest of the owners as well as of the Government, and to exclude all land claimed under valid titles from the mass of the public forest in order to facilitate the protection, administration, and supervision of the latter.

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