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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. L-43346 March 20, 1991


MARIO C. RONQUILLO, petitioner
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, DIRECTOR OF LANDS, DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE
PHILIPPINES, ROSENDO DEL ROSARIO, AMPARO DEL ROSARIO and FLORENCIA DEL
ROSARIO, respondents.*
Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala & Cruz for petitioner.

REGALADO, J.:p
This petition seeks the review of the decision 1 rendered by respondent Court of Appeals on September
25, 1975 in CA-G.R. No. 32479-R, entitled "Rosendo del Rosario, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, versus Mario
Ronquillo, Defendant-Appellant," affirming in toto the judgment of the trial court, and its amendatory
resolution 2 dated January 28, 1976 the dispositive portion of which reads:

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of this Court dated September 25,
1975 is hereby amended in the sense that the first part of the appealed decision is
set aside, except the last portion "declaring the plaintiffs to be the rightful owners of
the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub which is abutting plaintiffs' property," which
we affirm, without pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
The following facts are culled from the decision of the Court of Appeals:
It appears that plaintiff Rosendo del Rosario was a registered owner of a parcel of
land known as Lot 34, Block 9, Sulucan Subdivision, situated at Sampaloc, Manila
and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 34797 of the Registry of Deeds of
Manila (Exhibit "A"). The other plaintiffs Florencia and Amparo del Rosario were
daughters of said Rosendo del Rosario. Adjoining said lot is a dried-up portion of the
old Estero Calubcub occupied by the defendant since 1945 which is the subject
matter of the present action.
Plaintiffs claim that long before the year 1930, when T.C.T. No. 34797 over Lot No.
34 was issued in the name of Rosendo del Rosario, the latter had been in
possession of said lot including the adjoining dried-up portion of the old Estero
Calubcub having bought the same from Arsenio Arzaga. Sometime in 1935, said
titled lot was occupied by Isabel Roldan with the tolerance and consent of the plaintiff
on condition that the former will make improvements on the adjoining dried-up

portion of the Estero Calubcub. In the early part of 1945 defendant occupied the
eastern portion of said titled lot as well as the dried-up portion of the old Estero
Calubcub which abuts plaintiffs' titled lot. After a relocation survey of the land in
question sometime in 1960, plaintiffs learned that defendant was occupying a portion
of their land and thus demanded defendant to vacate said land when the latter
refused to pay the reasonable rent for its occupancy. However, despite said demand
defendant refused to vacate.
Defendant on the other hand claims that sometime before 1945 he was living with his
sister who was then residing or renting plaintiffs' titled lot. In 1945 he built his house
on the disputed dried-up portion of the Estero Calubcub with a small portion thereof
on the titled lot of plaintiffs. Later in 1961, said house was destroyed by a fire which
prompted him to rebuild the same. However, this time it was built only on the called
up portion of the old Estero Calubcub without touching any part of plaintiffs titled
land. He further claims that said dried-up portion is a land of public domain. 3
Private respondents Rosendo, Amparo and Florencia, all surnamed del Rosario (Del Rosarios),
lodged a complaint with the Court of First Instance of Manila praying, among others, that they be
declared the rightful owners of the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub. Petitioner Mario Ronquillo
(Ronquillo) filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the trial court had no
jurisdiction over the case since the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub is public land and, thus,
subject to the disposition of the Director of Lands. The Del Rosarios opposed the motion arguing that
since they are claiming title to the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub as riparian owners, the trial
court has jurisdiction. The resolution of the motion to dismiss was deferred until after trial on the
merits.
Before trial, the parties submitted the following stipulation of facts:
1. That the plaintiffs are the registered owners of Lot 34, Block 9, Sulucan
Subdivision covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 34797;
2. That said property of the plaintiffs abuts and is adjacent to the dried-up river bed of
Estero Calubcub Sampaloc, Manila;
3. That defendant Mario Ronquillo has no property around the premises in question
and is only claiming the dried-up portion of the old Estero Calubcub, whereon before
October 23, 1961, the larger portion of his house was constructed;
4. That before October 23, 1961, a portion of defendant's house stands (sic) on the
above-mentioned lot belonging to the plaintiffs;
5. That the plaintiffs and defendant have both filed with the Bureau of Lands
miscellaneous sales application for the purchase of the abandoned river bed known
as Estero Calubcub and their sales applications, dated August 5, 1958 and October
13, 1959, respectively, are still pending action before the Bureau of Lands;
6. That the parties hereby reserve their right to prove such facts as are necessary to
support their case but not covered by this stipulation of facts. 4
On December 26, 1962, the trial court rendered judgment the decretal portion of which provides:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendant to deliver to the


plaintiffs the portion of the land covered by Transfer Certificate of title No. 34797
which is occupied by him and to pay for the use and occupation of said portion of
land at the rate of P 5.00 a month from the date of the filing of the complaint until
such time as he surrenders the same to the plaintiffs and declaring plaintiffs to be the
owners of the dried-up portion of estero Calubcub which is abutting plaintiffs'
property.
With costs to the defendant.
SO ORDERED. 5
On appeal, respondent court, in affirming the aforequoted decision of the trial court, declared that
since Estero Calubcub had already dried-up way back in 1930 due to the natural change in the
course of the waters, under Article 370 of the old Civil Code which it considers applicable to the
present case, the abandoned river bed belongs to the Del Rosarios as riparian owners.
Consequently, respondent court opines, the dried-up river bed is private land and does not form part
of the land of the public domain. It stated further that "(e)ven assuming for the sake of argument that
said estero did not change its course but merely dried up or disappeared, said dried-up estero would
still belong to the riparian owner," citing its ruling in the case of Pinzon vs. Rama. 6
Upon motion of Ronquillo, respondent court modified its decision by setting aside the first portion of
the trial court's decision ordering Ronquillo to surrender to the Del Rosarios that portion of land
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 34797 occupied by the former, based on the former's
representation that he had already vacated the same prior to the commencement of this case.
However, respondent court upheld its declaration that the Del Rosarios are the rightful owners of the
dried-up river bed. Hence, this petition.
On May 17, 1976, this Court issued a resolution 7 requiring the Solicitor General to comment on the
petition in behalf of the Director of Lands as an indispensable party in representation of the Republic of
the Philippines, and who, not having been impleaded, was subsequently considered impleaded as such in
our resolution of September 10, 1976. 8 In his Motion to Admit Comment, 9 the Solicitor General
manifested that pursuant to a request made by this office with the Bureau of Lands to conduct an
investigation, the Chief of the Legal Division of the Bureau sent a communication informing him that the
records of his office "do not show that Mario Ronquillo, Rosendo del Rosario, Amparo del Rosario or
Florencia del Rosario has filed any public land application covering parcels of land situated at Estero
Calubcub Manila as verified by our Records Division.

The position taken by the Director of Lands in his Comment 10 filed on September 3, 1978, which was
reiterated in the Reply dated May 4, 1989 and again in the Comment dated August 17, 1989, explicates:

5. We do not see our way clear to subscribe to the ruling of the Honorable Court of
Appeals on this point for Article 370 of the Old Civil Code, insofar as ownership of
abandoned river beds by the owners of riparian lands are concerned, speaks only of
a situation where such river beds were abandoned because of a natural change in
the course of the waters. Conversely, we submit that if the abandonment was for
some cause other than the natural change in the course of the waters, Article 370 is
not applicable and the abandoned bed does not lose its character as a property of
public dominion not susceptible to private ownership in accordance with Article 502
(No. 1) of the New Civil Code. In the present case, the drying up of the bed, as
contended by the petitioner, is clearly caused by human activity and undeniably not

because of the natural change of the course of the waters (Emphasis in the original
text).
In his Comment 11 dated August 17, 1989, the Director of Lands further adds:
8. Petitioner herein and the private respondents, the del Rosarios, claim to have
pending sales application(s) over the portion of the dried up Estero Calubcub, as
stated in pages 4-5, of the Amended Petition.
9. However, as stated in the Reply dated May 4, 1989 of the Director of Lands, all
sales application(s) have been rejected by that office because of the objection
interposed by the Manila City Engineer's Office that they need the dried portion of the
estero for drainage purposes.
10. Furthermore, petitioner and private respondents, the del Rosarios having filed
said sales application(s) are now estopped from claiming title to the Estero Calubcub
(by possession for petitioner and by accretion for respondents del Rosarios) because
for (sic) they have acknowledged that they do not own the land and that the same is
a public land under the administration of the Bureau of Lands (Director of Lands vs.
Santiago, 160 SCRA 186, 194).
In a letter dated June 29, 1979 12 Florencia del Rosario manifested to this Court that Rosendo, Amparo
and Casiano del Rosario have all died, and that she is the only one still alive among the private
respondents in this case.

In a resolution dated January 20, 1988, 13 the Court required petitioner Ronquillo to implead one
Benjamin Diaz pursuant to the former's
manifestation 14 that the land adjacent to the dried up river bed has already been sold to the latter, and
the Solicitor General was also required to inquire into the status of the investigation being conducted by
the Bureau of Lands. In compliance therewith, the Solicitor General presented a letter from the Director of
Lands to the effect that neither of the parties involved in the present case has filed any public land
application. 15

On April 3, 1989, petitioner filed an Amended Petition for Certiorari, 16 this time impleading the
Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) which subsequently bought the property adjacent to the
dried-up river bed from Benjamin Diaz. In its resolution dated January 10, 1990, 17 the Court ordered that
DBP be impleaded as a party respondent.

In a Comment 18 filed on May 9, 1990, DBP averred that "[c]onsidering the fact that the petitioner in this
case claims/asserts no right over the property sold to Diaz/DBP by the del Rosarios; and considering, on
the contrary, that Diaz and DBP claims/asserts (sic) no right (direct or indirect) over the property being
claimed by Ronquillo (the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub), it follows, therefore, that the petitioner
Ronquillo has no cause of action against Diaz or DBP. A fortiorifrom the viewpoint of the classical
definition of a cause of action, there is no legal justification to implead DBP as one of the respondents in
this petition." DBP thereafter prayed that it be dropped in the case as party respondent.

On September 13, 1990, respondent DBP filed a Manifestation/Compliance 19 stating that DBP's
interest over Transfer Certificate of Title No. 139215 issued in its name (formerly Transfer Certificate of
Title No. 34797 of the Del Rosarios and Transfer Certificate of Title No. 135170 of Benjamin Diaz) has
been transferred to Spouses Victoriano and Pacita A. Tolentino pursuant to a Deed of Sale dated
September 11, 1990.

Petitioner Ronquillo avers that respondent Court of Appeals committed an error of law and gross
abuse of discretion, acted arbitrarily and denied petitioner due process of law (a) when it declared
private respondents Del Rosarios the rightful owners of the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub by
unduly relying upon decisional law in the case of Pinzon vs. Rama, ante, which case was decided
entirely on a set of facts different from that obtaining in this case; and (b) when it ignored the
undisputed facts in the present case and declared the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub as a
private property.
The main issue posed for resolution in this petition is whether the dried-up portion of Estero
Calubcub being claimed by herein petitioner was caused by a natural change in the course of the
waters; and, corollary thereto, is the issue of the applicability of Article 370 of the old Civil Code.
Respondent court, in affirming the findings of the trial court that there was a natural change in the
course of Estero Calubcub declared that:
The defendant claims that Article 370 of the old Civil Code is not applicable to the
instant case because said Estero Calubcub did not actually change its course but
simply dried up, hence, the land in dispute is a land of public domain and subject to
the disposition of the Director of Land(s). The contention of defendant is without
merit. As mentioned earlier, said estero as shown by the relocation plan (Exhibit "D")
did not disappear but merely changed its course by a more southeasternly (sic)
direction. As such, "the abandoned river bed belongs to the plaintiffs-appellees and
said land is private and not public in nature. Hence, further, it is not subject to a
Homestead Application by the appellant." (Fabian vs. Paculan CA-G.R. Nos. 2106263-64-R, Jan. 25 1962). Even assuming for the sake of argument that said estero did
not change its course but merely dried up or disappeared, said dried-up estero would
still belong to the riparian owner as held by this Court in the case of Pinzon vs.
Rama (CA-G.R. No. 8389, Jan. 8, 1943; 2 O.G. 307). 20
Elementary is the rule that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in cases brought to it from the Court
of Appeals in a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is limited to the review of
errors of law, and that said appellate court's finding of fact is conclusive upon this Court. However,
there are certain exceptions, such as (1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly absurd, mistaken or
impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts; (4) when the
judgment is premised on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting;
and (6) when the Court of Appeals in making its findings went beyond the issues of the case and the
same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and
appellee. 21
A careful perusal of the evidence presented by both parties in the case at bar will reveal that the
change in the course of Estero Calubcub was caused, not by natural forces, but due to the dumping
of garbage therein by the people of the surrounding neighborhood. Under the circumstances, a
review of the findings of fact of respondent court thus becomes imperative.
Private respondent Florencia del Rosario, in her testimony, made a categorical statement which in
effect admitted that Estero Calubcub changed its course because of the garbage dumped therein, by
the inhabitants of the locality, thus:
Q When more or less what (sic) the estero fully dried up?

A By 1960 it is (sic) already dried up except for a little rain that accumulates on the
lot when it rains.
Q How or why did the Estero Calubcub dried (sic) up?
A It has been the dumping place of the whole neighborhood. There is no street, they
dumped all the garbage there. It is the dumping place of the whole community, sir. 22
In addition, the relocation plan (Exhibit "D") which also formed the basis of respondent court's ruling,
merely reflects the change in the course of Estero Calubcub but it is not clear therefrom as to what
actually brought about such change. There is nothing in the testimony of lone witness Florencia del
Rosario nor in said relocation plan which would indicate that the change in the course of the estero
was due to the ebb and flow of the waters. On the contrary, the aforequoted testimony of the witness
belies such fact, while the relocation plan is absolutely silent on the matter. The inescapable
conclusion is that the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub was occasioned, not by a natural change
in the course of the waters, but through the active intervention of man.
The foregoing facts and circumstances remove the instant case from the applicability of Article 370
of the old Civil Code which provides:
Art. 370. The beds of rivers, which are abandoned because of a natural change in
the course of the waters, belong to the owners of the riparian lands throughout the
respective length of each. If the abandoned bed divided tenements belonging to
different owners the new dividing line shall be equidistant from one and the other.
The law is clear and unambiguous. It leaves no room for interpretation. Article 370 applies only if
there is a natural change in the course of the waters. The rules on alluvion do not apply to manmade or artificial accretions 23 nor to accretions to lands that adjoin canals or esteros or artificial
drainage systems. 24 Considering our earlier finding that the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub was
actually caused by the active intervention of man, it follows that Article 370 does not apply to the case at
bar and, hence, the Del Rosarios cannot be entitled thereto supposedly as riparian owners.

The dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub should thus be considered as forming part of the land of the
public domain which cannot be subject to acquisition by private ownership. That such is the case is
made more evident in the letter, dated April 28, 1989, of the Chief, Legal Division of the Bureau of
Lands 25 as reported in the Reply of respondent Director of Lands stating that "the alleged application
filed by Ronquillo no longer exists in its records as it must have already been disposed of as a rejected
application for the reason that other applications "covering Estero Calubcub Sampaloc, Manila for areas
other than that contested in the instant case, were all rejected by our office because of the objection
interposed by the City Engineer's office that they need the same land for drainage purposes".
Consequently, since the land is to be used for drainage purposes the same cannot be the subject of a
miscellaneous sales application.

Lastly, the fact that petitioner and herein private respondents filed their sales applications with the
Bureau of Lands covering the subject dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub cannot but be deemed as
outright admissions by them that the same is public land. They are now estopped from claiming
otherwise.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from, the remaining effective portion of which declares private
respondents Del Rosarios as riparian owners of the dried-up portion of Estero Calubcub is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 77294 December 12, 1988
ANGELICA VIAJAR and CELSO VIAJAR, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, LEONOR P. LADRIDO, LOURDES LADRIDO IGNACIO, EUGENIO P.
LADRIDO and L P. LADRIDO, defendants-appellees.
Ramon A. Gonzales for petitioner.
Miraflores Law Offices for respondents.
MEDIALDEA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals dated December 29,
1986, in CA-G.R. CV No. 69942 entitled, "ANGELICA VIAJAR, et. al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, versus
LEONOR LADRIDO, et. al., Defendants-Appellees," affirming the decision of the Court of First
Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Iloilo dated December 10, 1981.
The antecedent facts in the instant case are as follows: The spouses Ricardo Y. Ladrido and Leonor
P. Ladrido were the owners of Lot No. 7511 of the Cadastral Survey of Pototan situated in barangay
Cawayan, Pototan, Iloilo. This lot contained an area of 154,267 square meters and was registered in
the names of the spouses under Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-21940 of the Register of Deeds of
Iloilo.
Spouses Rosendo H. Te and Ana Te were also the registered owners of a parcel of land described
in their title as Lot No. 7340 of the Cadastral Survey of Pototan.
On September 6, 1973, Rosendo H. Te, with the conformity of Ana Te, sold this lot to Angelica F.
Viajar and Celso F. Viajar for P5,000. A Torrens title was later issued in the names of Angelica F.
Viajar and Celso F. Viajar.
Later, Angelica F. Viajar had Lot No. 7340 relocated and found out that the property was in the
possession of Ricardo Y. Ladrido. Consequently, she demanded its return but Ladrido refused.
On February 15, 1974, Angelica F. Viajar and Celso F. Viajar instituted a civil action for recovery of
possession and damages against Ricardo Y. Ladrido. This case was docketed as Civil Case No.
9660 of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo. Summoned to plead, defendant Ladrido filed his answer
with a counterclaim. Plaintiffs filed their reply to the answer.
Subsequently, the complaint was amended to implead Rosendo H. Te as another defendant.
Plaintiffs sought the annulment of the deed of sale and the restitution of the purchase price with
interest in the event the possession of defendant Ladrido is sustained. Defendant Te filed his answer
to the amended complaint and he counter claimed for damages. Plaintiffs answered the
counterclaim.

During the pendency of the case, plaintiff Celso F. Viajar sold his rights over Lot No. 7340 to his
mother and co-plaintiff, Angelica F. Viajar. For this reason, plaintiff Angelica F. Viajar now appears to
be the sole registered owner of this lot.
On May 25, 1978, defendant Ladrido died. He was substituted in the civil action by his wife, Leonor
P. Ladrido, and children, namely: Lourdes Ladrido-Ignacio, Eugenio P. Ladrido and Manuel P.
Ladrido, as parties defendants.
The facts admitted by the parties during the pre-trial show that the piece of real property which used
to be Lot No. 7340 of the Cadastral Survey of Pototan was located in barangay Guibuanogan
Pototan, Iloilo; that it consisted of 20,089 square meters; that at the time of the cadastral survey in
1926, Lot No. 7511 and Lot No. 7340 were separated by the Suague River; that the area of 11,819
square meters of what was Lot No. 7340 has been in the possession of the defendants; that the area
of 14,036 square meters, which was formerly the river bed of the Suague River per cadastral survey
of 1926, has also been in the possession of the defendants; and that the plaintiffs have never been
in actual physical possession of Lot No. 7340.
After trial on the merits, a second amended complaint which included damages was admitted.
The plaintiffs raised the following issues to be resolved:
1. Whether the change in the course of the Suague River was sudden
as claimed by the plaintiffs or gradual as contended by the
defendants;
2. Assuming arguendo it was gradual, whether or not the plaintiffs are
still entitled to Lot "B' appearing in Exhibit "4" and to one-half () of
Lot "A," also indicated in Exhibit "4;" and
3. Damages (pp. 12-13, Rollo).
On December 10, 1981, the trial court rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the defendants and against
the plaintiffs:
1. Dismissing the complaint of plaintiffs Angelica F. Viajar and Celso
F. Viajar with costs against them;
2. Declaring defendants Leonor P. Ladrido, Lourdes Ladrido-Ignacio,
Eugenio P. Ladrido and Manuel P. Ladrido as owner of the parcel of
land indicated as Lots A and B in the sketch plan (Exhs. 'C' as well as
'4,' '4-B' and '4-C') situated in barangays Cawayan and Guibuanogan
Pototan, Iloilo, and containing an area of 25,855 square meters, more
or less; and
3. Pronouncing that as owners of the land described in the preceding
paragraph, the defendants are entitled to the possession thereof.
Defendants' claim for moral damages and attorney's fees are dismissed.

SO ORDERED (p. 36, Rollo).


Not satisfied with the decision, the plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeals and assigned the
following errors:
I.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT PLAINTIFFS ARE
ENTITLED TO LOT B APPEARING IN EXHIBIT "4" AND TO ONE-HALF () OF
LOT A IN THE SAID EXHIBIT "4."
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT AWARDING DAMAGES TO PLAINTIFFS (p.
42, Rollo).
As earlier stated, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the court a quo. Plaintiffs (the
petitioners herein) now come to Us claiming that the Court of Appeals palpably erred in affirming the
decision of the trial court on the ground that the change in the course of the Suague River was
gradual and not sudden.
In the decision appealed from, the Court of Appeals held:
This appeal is not impressed with merit.
Article 457 of the New Civil Code provides that:
Art. 457. To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong
the accretion which they gradually receive from the effects of the
current of the waters.
The presumption is that the change in the course of the river was gradual and
caused by accretion and erosion (Martinez Canas vs. Tuason, 5 Phil. 668; Payatas
Estate Improvement Co. vs. Tuason, 53 Phil. 55; C.H. Hodges vs. Garcia, 109 Phil.
133). In the case at bar, the lower court correctly found that the evidence introduced
by the plaintiff to show that the change in the course of the Suague River was
sudden or that it occurred through avulsion is not clear and convincing.
Contrariwise, the lower court found that:
... the defendants have sufficiently established that for many years after 1926 a
gradual accretion on the eastern side of Lot No. 7511 took place by action of the
current of the Suague River so that in 1979 an alluvial deposit of 29,912 square
meters (2.9912 hectares), more or less, had been added to Lot No. 7511. (Exhs. '1'
as well as Exhs. 'C' and '4'). Apropos it should be observed that the accretion
consisted of Lot A with an area of 14,036 square meters; Lot B, 11,819 square
meters; and Lot C, 4,057 square meters. (Exhs. '4-B,' '4-C' and '4-D'). Only Lot C is
not involved in this litigation. (See Pre-trial Order, supra)
The established facts indicate that the eastern boundary of Lot No. 7511 was the
Suague River based on the cadastral plan. For a period of more than 40 years

(before 1940 to 1980) the Suague River overflowed its banks yearly and the property
of the defendant gradually received deposits of soil from the effects of the current of
the river. The consequent increase in the area of Lot No. 7511 due to alluvion or
accretion was possessed by the defendants whose tenants plowed and planted the
same with coin and tobacco.
The quondam river bed had been filled by accretion through the years. The land is
already plain and there is no indication on the ground of any abandoned river bed.
The river bed is definitely no longer discernible now.
What used to be the old river bed (Lot A) is in level with Lot No. 7511. So are the two
other areas to the East. (Lots B and C) Lots A, B and C are still being cultivated.
Under the law, accretion which the banks or rivers may gradually receive from the
effects of the current of the waters becomes the property of the owners of the lands
adjoining the banks. (Art. 366, Old Civil Code; Art. 457, New Civil Code which took
effect on August 30, 1950 [Lara v. Del Rosario, 94 Phil. 778]. Therefore, the
accretion to Lot No. 7511 which consists of Lots A and B (see Exhs. 'C' and '4')
belongs to the defendants (pp. 34-35, Record on Appeal).
We find no cogent reason to disturb the foregoing finding and conclusion of the lower
court.
The second assignment of error is a mere offshoot of the first assignment of error
and does not warrant further discussion (pp. 4244, Rollo).
The petition is without merit.
The petitioners contend that the first issue raised during the trial of the case on the merits in the
Court of First Instance, that is, "whether the change in the course of the Suague River was sudden
as claimed by the plaintiffs or gradual as contended by the defendants," was abandoned and never
raised by them in their appeal to the Court of Appeals. Hence, the Court of Appeals, in holding that
the appeal is without merit, because of the change of the Suague River was gradual and not sudden,
disposed of the appeal on an issue that was never raised and, accordingly, its decision is void. In
support of its contention, petitioners cite the following authorities:
It is a well-known principle in procedure that courts of justice have no jurisdiction or
power to decide a question not in issue (Lim Toco vs. Go Fay, 80 Phil. 166).
A judgment going outside the issues and purporting to adjudicate something upon
which the parties were not heard, is not merely irregular, but extra-judicial and invalid
( Salvante vs. Cruz, 88 Phil. 236-244; Lazo vs. Republic Surety & Insurance Co.,
Inc., 31 SCRA 329, 334).
The pivotal issue in the petitioners' appeal was whether the change in the course of the Suague
River was gradual or sudden because the trial court below resolved the same in its decision thus
subjecting the same to review by respondent appellate court. By simply abandoning this issue, the
petitioners cannot hope that the affirmance of the decision wherein this issue was resolved makes
the decision of the Court of Appeals void. In effect, the petitioners are expounding a new procedural
theory that to render a questioned decision void, all that has to be done is to simply abandon on
appeal the pivotal issue as resolved by the lower court and when its decision is affirmed on appeal,
attack the decision of the appellate court as void on the principle that a court of justice has no

jurisdiction or power to decide the question not in issue. This is not correct. Even the authorities cited
by the petitioners, more specifically the Salvante and Lazo cases, supra, do not support their
contention. They were heard in the trial court and they cannot complain that the proceeding below
was irregular and hence, invalid.
The trial court found that the change in the course of the Suague River was gradual and this finding
was affirmed by the respondent Court of Appeals. We do not find any valid reason to disturb this
finding of fact.
Article 457 of the New Civil Code (reproduced from Article 366 of the Old), the law applied by the
courts a quoprovides:
Art. 457. To the owners of the lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the
accretion which they gradually receive from the effects of the current of the waters.
Petitioners contend that this article must be read together with Sections 45 an 46 of Act No. 496
which provides:
SEC. 45. 1 The obtaining of a decree of registration and the entry of a certificate of title
shall be regarded as an agreement running with the land, and binding upon the applicant
and all successors in title that the land shall be and always remain registered land, and
subject to the provisions of this Act and all Acts amendatory thereof.

SEC. 46. 2 No title to registered land in derogation to that of the registered owner shall be
acquired by prescription or adverse possession.

As a result, petitioners contend, Article 457 of the New Civil Code must be construed to limit the
accretion mentioned therein as accretion of unregistered land to the riparian owner, and should not
extend to registered land. Thus, the lot in question having remained the registered land of the
petitioners, then the private respondents cannot acquire title there in derogation to that of the
petitioners, by accretion, for that will defeat the indefeasibility of a Torrens Title.
The rule that registration under the Torrens System does not protect the riparian owner against the
diminution of the area of his registered land through gradual changes in the course of an adjoining
stream is well settled. InPayatas Estate Improvement Co. vs. Tuason, 53 Phil. 55, We ruled:
The controversy in the present cases seems to be due to the erroneous conception
that Art. 366 of the Civil Code does not apply to Torrens registered land. That article
provides that "any accretions which the banks of rivers may gradually receive from
the effects of the current belong to the owners of the estates bordering thereon."
Accretions of that character are natural incidents to land bordering on running
streams and are not affected by the registration laws. It follows that registration does
not protect the riparian owner against diminution of the area of his land through
gradual changes in the course of the adjoining stream.
In C.N. Hodges vs. Garcia, 109 Phil. 133, We also ruled:
It clearly appearing that the land in question has become part of defendant's estate
as a result of accretion, it follows that said land now belongs to him. The fact that the
accretion to his land used to pertain to plaintiffs estate, which is covered by a Torrens
Certificate of Title, cannot preclude him (defendant) from being the owner thereof.
Registration does not protect the riparian owner against the diminution of the area of

his land through gradual changes in the course of the adjoining stream. Accretions
which the banks of rivers may gradually receive from the effect of the current become
the property of the owners of the banks (Art. 366 of the Old Civil Code; Art. 457 of
the New). Such accretions are natural incidents to land bordering on running streams
and the provisions of the Civil Code in that respect are not affected by the
Registration Act.
We find no valid reason to review and abandon the aforecited rulings.
As the private respondents are the owners of the premises in question, no damages are recoverable
from them.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit without pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Cruz, Gancayco and Grino-Aquino, JJ., concur.
Narvasa, J., is on leave.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 92161 March 18, 1991


SIMPLICIO BINALAY, PONCIANO GANNABAN, NICANOR MACUTAY, DOMINGO ROSALES,
GREGORIO ARGONZA, EUSTAQUIO BAUA, FLORENTINO ROSALES, TEODORO
MABBORANG, PATRICIO MABBORANG and FULGENCIO MORA, petitioners
vs.
GUILLERMO MANALO and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Josefin De Alban Law Office for Petitioners.

FELICIANO, J.:p
The late Judge Taccad originally owned a parcel of land situated in Tumauini, Isabela having an
estimated area of twenty (20) hectares. The western portion of this land bordering on the Cagayan
River has an elevation lower than that of the eastern portion which borders on the national road.
Through the years, the western portion would periodically go under the waters of the Cagayan River
as those waters swelled with the coming of the rains. The submerged portion, however, would reappear during the dry season from January to August. It would remain under water for the rest of the
year, that is, from September to December during the rainy season.
The ownership of the landholding eventually moved from one person to another. On 9 May 1959,
respondent Guillermo Manalo acquired 8.65 hectares thereof from Faustina Taccad, daughter of
Judge Juan Taccad. The land sold was described in the Deed of Absolute Sale 1 as follows:
. . . a parcel of agricultural land in Balug, Tumauini, Isabela, containing an area of
8.6500 hectares, more or less; bounded on the North by Francisco Forto on the East
by National Road; on South by Julian Tumolva and on the West by Cagayan River;
declared for taxation under Tax Declaration No. 12681 in the name of Faustina
Taccad, and assessed at P 750.00. . . .
Later in 1964, respondent Manalo purchased another 1.80 hectares from Gregorio Taguba who had
earlier acquired the same from Judge Juan Taccad. The second purchase brought the total
acquisition of respondent Manalo to 10.45 hectares. The second piece of property was more
particularly described as follows:
. . . a piece of agricultural land consisting of tobacco land, and containing an area of
18,000 square meters, more or less, bounded on the North by Balug Creek; on the
South, by Faustina Taccad (now Guillermo R. Manalo); on the East, by a Provincial
Road; and on the West, by Cagayan River assessed at P 440.00, as tax Declaration
No. 3152. . . . 2

During the cadastral survey conducted at Balug, Tumauini, Isabela on 21 October 1969, the two (2)
parcels of land belonging to respondent Manalo were surveyed and consolidated into one lot,
designated as Lot No. 307, Pls-964. Lot 307 which contains 4.6489 hectares includes: (a) the whole
of the 1.80 hectares acquired from Gregorio Taguba; and (b) 2.8489 hectares out of the 8.65
hectares purchased from Faustina Taccad. As the survey was conducted on a rainy month, a portion
of the land bought from Faustina Taccad then under water was left unsurveyed and was not included
in Lot 307.
The Sketch Plan 3 submitted during the trial of this case and which was identified by respondent Manalo
shows that the Cagayan River running from south to north, forks at a certain point to form two (2)
branchesthe western and the eastern branchesand then unites at the other end, further north, to form
a narrow strip of land. The eastern branch of the river cuts through the land of respondent Manalo and is
inundated with water only during the rainy season. The bed of the eastern branch is the submerged or the
unsurveyed portion of the land belonging to respondent Manalo. For about eight (8) months of the year
when the level of water at the point where the Cagayan River forks is at its ordinary depth, river water
does not flow into the eastern branch. While this condition persists, the eastern bed is dry and is
susceptible to cultivation.

Considering that water flowed through the eastern branch of the Cagayan River when the cadastral
survey was conducted, the elongated strip of land formed by the western and the eastern branches
of the Cagayan River looked very much like an island. This strip of land was surveyed on 12
December 1969. 4 It was found to have a total area of 22.7209 hectares and was designated as Lot 821
and Lot 822. The area of Lot 822 is 10.8122 hectares while Lot 821 has an area of 11.9087 hectares. Lot
821 is located directly opposite Lot 307 and is separated from the latter only by the eastern branch of the
Cagayan River during the rainy season and, during the dry season, by the exposed, dry river bed, being a
portion of the land bought from Faustina Taccad. Respondent Manalo claims that Lot 821 also belongs to
him by way of accretion to the submerged portion of the property to which it is adjacent.

Petitioners who are in possession of Lot 821, upon the other hand, insist that they own Lot 821.
They occupy the outer edges of Lot 821 along the river banks, i.e., the fertile portions on which they
plant tobacco and other agricultural products. They also cultivate the western strip of the unsurveyed
portion during summer. 5 This situation compelled respondent Manalo to file a case for forcible entry
against petitioners on 20 May 1969. The case was dismissed by the Municipal Court of Tumauini, Isabela
for failure of both parties to appear. On 15 December 1972, respondent Manalo again filed a case for
forcible entry against petitioners. The latter case was similarly dismissed for lack of jurisdiction by the
Municipal Court of Tumauini, Isabela.

On 24 July 1974, respondent Manalo filed a complaints 6 before the then Court of First Instance of
Isabela, Branch 3 for quieting of title, possession and damages against petitioners. He alleged ownership
of the two (2) parcels of land he bought separately from Faustina Taccad and Gregorio Taguba for which
reason he prayed that judgment be entered ordering petitioners to vacate the western strip of the
unsurveyed portion. Respondent Manalo likewise prayed that judgment be entered declaring him as
owner of Lot 821 on which he had laid his claim during the survey.

Petitioners filed their answer denying the material allegations of the complaint. The case was then
set for trial for failure of the parties to reach an amicable agreement or to enter into a stipulation of
facts. 7 On 10 November 1982, the trial court rendered a decision with the following dispositive portion:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing premises, the Court renders judgment
against the defendants and in favor of the plaintiff and orders:

1. That plaintiff, Guillermo Manalo, is declared the lawful owner of the land in
question, Lot No. 821, Pls-964 of Tumauini Cadastre, and which is more particularly
described in paragraph 2-b of the Complaint;
2. That the defendants are hereby ordered to vacate the premises of the land in
question, Lot No. 821, Pls-964 of Tumauini Cadastre, and which is more particularly
described in paragraph 2-b of the Complaint;
3. That the defendants are being restrained from entering the premises of the land in
question, Lot No. 821, Pls-964 of Tumauini Cadastre, and which is more particularly
described in paragraph 2-b of the Complaint; and
4. That there is no pronouncement as to attorney's fees and costs.
SO ORDERED. 8
Petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals which, however, affirmed the decision of the trial court.
They filed a motion for reconsideration, without success.
While petitioners insist that Lot 821 is part of an island surrounded by the two (2) branches of the
Cagayan River, the Court of Appeals found otherwise. The Court of Appeals concurred with the
finding of the trial court that Lot 821 cannot be considered separate and distinct from Lot 307 since
the eastern branch of the Cagayan River substantially dries up for the most part of the year such that
when this happens, Lot 821 becomes physically (i.e., by land) connected with the dried up bed
owned by respondent Manalo. Both courts below in effect rejected the assertion of petitioners that
the depression on the earth's surface which separates Lot 307 and Lot 821 is, during part of the
year, the bed of the eastern branch of the Cagayan River.
It is a familiar rule that the findings of facts of the trial court are entitled to great respect, and that
they carry even more weight when affirmed by the Court of Appeals. 9 This is in recognition of the
peculiar advantage on the part of the trial court of being able to observe first-hand the deportment of the
witnesses while testifying. Jurisprudence is likewise settled that the Court of Appeals is the final arbiter of
questions of fact. 10 But whether a conclusion drawn from such findings of facts is correct, is a question of
law cognizable by this Court. 11

In the instant case, the conclusion reached by both courts below apparently collides with their
findings that periodically at the onset of and during the rainy season, river water flows through the
eastern bed of the Cagayan River. The trial court held:
The Court believes that the land in controversy is of the nature and character of
alluvion (Accretion), for it appears that during the dry season, the body of water
separating the same land in controversy (Lot No. 821, Pls-964) and the two (2)
parcels of land which the plaintiff purchased from Gregorio Taguba and Justina
Taccad Cayaba becomes a marshy land and is only six (6) inches deep and twelve
(12) meters in width at its widest in the northern tip (Exhs. "W", "W-l", "W-2", "W-3"
and "W-4"), It has been held by our Supreme Court that "the owner of the riparian
land which receives the gradual deposits of alluvion, does not have to make an
express act of possession. The law does not require it, and the deposit created by
the current of the water becomes manifest" (Roxas vs. Tuazon, 6 Phil. 408). 12
The Court of Appeals adhered substantially to the conclusion reached by the trial court, thus:

As found by the trial court, the disputed property is not an island in the strict sense of
the word since the eastern portion of the said property claimed by appellants to be
part of the Cagayan River dries up during summer. Admittedly, it is the action of the
heavy rains which comes during rainy season especially from September to
November which increases the water level of the Cagayan river. As the river
becomes swollen due to heavy rains, the lower portion of the said strip of land
located at its southernmost point would be inundated with water. This is where the
water of the Cagayan river gains its entry. Consequently, if the water level is high the
whole strip of land would be under water.
In Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Colegio de San Jose, it was held that
According to the foregoing definition of the words "ordinary" and
"extra-ordinary," the highest depth of the waters of Laguna de Bay
during the dry season is the ordinary one, and the highest depth they
attain during the extra-ordinary one (sic); inasmuch as the former is
the one which is regular, common, natural, which occurs always or
most of the time during the year, while the latter is uncommon,
transcends the general rule, order and measure, and goes beyond
that which is the ordinary depth. If according to the definition given by
Article 74 of the Law of Waters quoted above, the natural bed or
basin of the lakes is the ground covered by their waters when at their
highest ordinary depth, the natural bed or basin of Laguna de Bay is
the ground covered by its waters when at their highest depth during
the dry season, that is up to the northeastern boundary of the two
parcels of land in question.
We find the foregoing ruling to be analogous to the case at bar. The highest ordinary
level of the waters of the Cagayan River is that attained during the dry season which
is confined only on the west side of Lot [821] and Lot [822]. This is the natural
Cagayan river itself. The small residual of water between Lot [821] and 307 is part of
the small stream already in existence when the whole of the late Judge Juan
Taccad's property was still susceptible to cultivation and uneroded. 13
The Court is unable to agree with the Court of Appeals that Government of the Philippine Islands
vs. Colegio de San Jose 14 is applicable to the present case. That case involved Laguna de Bay; since
Laguna de Bay is a lake, the Court applied the legal provisions governing the ownership and use of lakes
and their beds and shores, in order to determine the character and ownership of the disputed property.
Specifically, the Court applied the definition of the natural bed or basin of lakes found in Article 74 of the
Law of Waters of 3 August 1866. Upon the other hand, what is involved in the instant case is the eastern
bed of the Cagayan River.

We believe and so hold that Article 70 of the Law of Waters of 3 August 1866 is the law applicable to
the case at bar:
Art. 70. The natural bed or channel of a creek or river is the ground covered by its
waters during the highest floods. (Emphasis supplied)
We note that Article 70 defines the natural bed or channel of a creek or river as the ground
covered by its waters during the highest floods. The highest floods in the eastern branch of
the Cagayan River occur with the annual coming of the rains as the river waters in their
onward course cover the entire depressed portion. Though the eastern bed substantially

dries up for the most part of the year (i.e., from January to August), we cannot ignore the
periodical swelling of the waters ( i.e., from September to December) causing the eastern
bed to be covered with flowing river waters.
The conclusion of this Court that the depressed portion is a river bed rests upon evidence of record.
Firstly, respondent Manalo admitted in open court that the entire area he bought from Gregorio
Taguba was included in Lot 307. 15 If the 1.80 hectares purchased from Gregorio Taguba was included
in Lot 307, then the Cagayan River referred to as the western boundary in the Deed of Sale transferring
the land from Gregorio Taguba to respondent Manalo as well as the Deed of Sale signed by Faustina
Taccad, must refer to the dried up bed (during the dry months) or the eastern branch of the river (during
the rainy months). In the Sketch Plan attached to the records of the case, Lot 307 is separated from the
western branch of the Cagayan River by a large tract of land which includes not only Lot 821 but also
what this Court characterizes as the eastern branch of the Cagayan River.

Secondly, the pictures identified by respondent Manalo during his direct examination depict the
depressed portion as a river bed. The pictures, marked as Exhibits "W" to "W-4", were taken in July
1973 or at a time when the eastern bed becomes visible. 16 Thus, Exhibit "W-2" which according to
respondent Manalo was taken facing the east and Exhibit "W-3" which was taken facing the west both
show that the visible, dried up portion has a markedly lower elevation than Lot 307 and Lot 821. It has
dike-like slopes on both sides connecting it to Lot 307 and Lot 821 that are vertical upward and very
prominent. This topographic feature is compatible with the fact that a huge volume of water passes
through the eastern bed regularly during the rainy season. In addition, petitioner Ponciano Gannaban
testified that one had to go down what he called a "cliff" from the surveyed portion of the land of
respondent Manalo to the depressed portion. The cliff, as related by petitioner Gannaban, has a height of
eight (8) meters. 17

The records do not show when the Cagayan River began to carve its eastern channel on the surface
of the earth. However, Exhibit "E" 18 for the prosecution which was the Declaration of Real Property
standing in the name of Faustina Taccad indicates that the eastern bed already existed even before the
sale to respondent Manalo. The words "old bed" enclosed in parenthesesperhaps written to make
legitimate the claim of private ownership over the submerged portionis an implied admission of the
existence of the river bed. In the Declaration of Real Property made by respondent Manalo, the
depressed portion assumed the name Rio Muerte de Cagayan. Indeed, the steep dike-like slopes on
either side of the eastern bed could have been formed only after a prolonged period of time.

Now, then, pursuant to Article 420 of the Civil Code, respondent Manalo did not acquire private
ownership of the bed of the eastern branch of the river even if it was included in the deeds of
absolute sale executed by Gregorio Taguba and Faustina Taccad in his favor. These vendors could
not have validly sold land that constituted property of public dominion. Article 420 of the Civil Code
states:
The following things are property of public dominion:
(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and
bridges constructed by the State, banks, shores, roadsteads, and others of similar
character;
(2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended
for some public service or for the development of the national wealth. (Emphasis
supplied)
Although Article 420 speaks only of rivers and banks, "rivers" is a composite term which includes: (1)
the running waters, (2) the bed, and (3) the banks. 19 Manresa, in commenting upon Article 339 of the

Spanish Civil Code of 1889 from which Article 420 of the Philippine Civil Code was taken, stressed the
public ownership of river beds:

La naturaleza especial de los rios, en punto a su disfrute general, hace que sea
necesario considerar en su relacion de dominio algo mas que sus aguas corrientes.
En efecto en todo rio es preciso distinguir 1. esta agua corriente; 2. el alveo o cauce,
y 3. las riberas. Ahora bien: son estas dos ultimas cosas siempre de dominio publico,
como las aguas?
Realmente no puede imaginarse un rio sin alveo y sin ribera; de suerte que al decir
el Codigo civil que los rios son de dominio publico, parece que debe ir implicito el
dominio publico de aquellos tres elementos que integran el rio. Por otra parte, en
cuanto a los alveos o cauces tenemos la declaracion del art. 407, num 1, donde
dice: son de dominion publico . . . los rios y sus cauces naturales; declaracion que
concuerda con lo que dispone el art. 34 de la ley de [Aguas], segun el cual, son de
dominion publico: 1. los alveos o cauces de los arroyos que no se hallen
comprendidos en el art. 33, y 2. los alveos o cauces naturales de los rios en la
extension que cubran sus aguas en las mayores crecidas ordinarias. 20 (Emphasis
supplied)

The claim of ownership of respondent Manalo over the submerged portion is bereft of basis even if it
were alleged and proved that the Cagayan River first began to encroach on his property after the
purchase from Gregorio Taguba and Faustina Taccad. Article 462 of the Civil Code would then apply
divesting, by operation of law, respondent Manalo of private ownership over the new river bed. The
intrusion of the eastern branch of the Cagayan River into his landholding obviously prejudiced
respondent Manalo but this is a common occurrence since estates bordering on rivers are exposed
to floods and other evils produced by the destructive force of the waters. That loss is compensated
by, inter alia, the right of accretion acknowledged by Article 457 of the Civil Code. 21 It so happened
that instead of increasing the size of Lot 307, the eastern branch of the Cagayan River had carved a
channel on it.

We turn next to the issue of accretion. After examining the records of the case, the Court considers
that there was no evidence to prove that Lot 821 is an increment to Lot 307 and the bed of the
eastern branch of the river. Accretion as a mode of acquiring property under Article 457 of the Civil
Code requires the concurrence of three (3) requisites: (a) that the deposition of soil or sediment be
gradual and imperceptible; (b) that it be the result of the action of the waters of the river (or sea); and
(c) that the land where accretion takes place is adjacent to the banks of rivers (or the sea
coast). 22 The Court notes that the parcels of land bought by respondent Manalo border on the eastern
branch of the Cagayan River. Any accretion formed by this eastern branch which respondent Manalo may
claim must be deposited on or attached to Lot 307. As it is, the claimed accretion (Lot 821) lies on the
bank of the river not adjacent to Lot 307 but directly opposite Lot 307 across the river.

Assuming (arguendo only) that the Cagayan River referred to in the Deeds of Sale transferring
ownership of the land to respondent Manalo is the western branch, the decision of the Court of
Appeals and of the trial court are bare of factual findings to the effect that the land purchased by
respondent Manalo received alluvium from the action of the aver in a slow and gradual manner. On
the contrary, the decision of the lower court made mention of several floods that caused the land to
reappear making it susceptible to cultivation. A sudden and forceful action like that of flooding is
hardly the alluvial process contemplated under Article 457 of the Civil Code. It is the slow and hardly
perceptible accumulation of soil deposits that the law grants to the riparian owner.
Besides, it is important to note that Lot 821 has an area of 11.91 hectares. Lot 821 is the northern
portion of the strip of land having a total area of 22.72 hectares. We find it difficult to suppose that

such a sizable area as Lot 821 resulted from slow accretion to another lot of almost equal size. The
total landholding purchased by respondent Manalo is 10.45 hectares (8.65 hectares from Faustina
Taccad and 1.80 hectares from Gregorio Taguba in 1959 and 1964, respectively), in fact even
smaller than Lot 821 which he claims by way of accretion. The cadastral survey showing that Lot
821 has an area of 11.91 hectares was conducted in 1969. If respondent Manalo's contention were
accepted, it would mean that in a span of only ten (10) years, he had more than doubled his
landholding by what the Court of Appeals and the trial court considered as accretion. As already
noted, there are steep vertical dike-like slopes separating the depressed portion or river bed and Lot
821 and Lot 307. This topography of the land, among other things, precludes a reasonable
conclusion that Lot 821 is an increment to the depressed portion by reason of the slow and constant
action of the waters of either the western or the eastern branches of the Cagayan River.
We turn finally to the issue of ownership of Lot 821. Respondent Manalo's claim over Lot 821 rests
on accretion coupled with alleged prior possession. He alleged that the parcels of land he bought
separately from Gregorio Taguba and Faustina Taccad were formerly owned by Judge Juan Taccad
who was in possession thereof through his (Judge Taccad's) tenants. When ownership was
transferred to him, respondent Manalo took over the cultivation of the property and had it declared
for taxation purposes in his name. When petitioners forcibly entered into his property, he twice
instituted the appropriate action before the Municipal Trial Court of Tumauini, Isabela. Against
respondent Manalo's allegation of prior possession, petitioners presented tax declarations standing
in their respective names. They claimed lawful, peaceful and adverse possession of Lot 821 since
1955.
If respondent Manalo had proved prior possession, it was limited physically to Lot 307 and the
depressed portion or the eastern river bed. The testimony of Dominga Malana who was a tenant for
Justina Taccad did not indicate that she was also cultivating Lot 821. In fact, the complaints for
forcible entry lodged before the Municipal Trial Court of Tumauini, Isabela pertained only to Lot 307
and the depressed portion or river bed and not to Lot 821. In the same manner, the tax declarations
presented by petitioners conflict with those of respondent Manalo. Under Article 477 of the Civil
Code, the plaintiff in an action for quieting of title must at least have equitable title to or interest in the
real property which is the subject matter of the action. The evidence of record on this point is less
than satisfactory and the Court feels compelled to refrain from determining the ownership and
possession of Lot 821, adjudging neither petitioners nor respondent Manalo as owner(s) thereof.
WHEREFORE, the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR CV No. 04892 are
hereby SET ASIDE. Respondent Manalo is hereby declared the owner of Lot 307. The regularly
submerged portion or the eastern bed of the Cagayan River is hereby DECLARED to be property of
public dominion. The ownership of Lot 821 shall be determined in an appropriate action that may be
instituted by the interested parties inter se. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Bidin and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 95907 April 8, 1992


JOSE REYNANTE, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, THE HON. VALENTIN CRUZ, as Presiding Judge,
Regional Trial Court of Bulacan, Branch VIII, and the HEIRS OF LEONCIO CARLOS and
DOLORES A. CARLOS, and HEIRS OF GORGONIO CARLOS and CONCEPCION
CARLOS, respondents.

PARAS, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari which seeks the reversal of: a) decision 1 of the Court of
Appeals dated February 28, 1990 in CA-G.R. No. 1917 entitled "JOSE REYNANTE versus HON.
VALENTIN CRUZ, Judge, RTC of Malolos, Bulacan, and HEIRS OF LEONCIO AND DOLORES
CARLOS, et al.", affirming the decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court
of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 8, Third Judicial Region which reversed the decision 3 of the Municipal Trial
Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, Branch 1, Third Judicial Region in Civil Case No. 1526 entitled "HEIRS
OF LEONCIO CARLOS & DOLORES A. CARLOS and HEIRS OF GORGONIO A. CARLOS &
CONCEPCION CARLOS versus JOSE REYNANTE: and b) the resolution denying the motion for
reconsideration.

The facts as culled from the records of the case are as follows:
More than 50 years ago, petitioner Jose Reynante was taken as tenant by the late Don Cosme
Carlos, owner and father-in-law of herein private respondents, over a fishpond located at Barrio
Liputan, Meycauayan, Bulacan with an area of 188.711 square meters, more or less and covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 25618, Land Registry of Bulacan.
During the tenancy, petitioner Jose Reynante constructed a nipa hut where he and his family lived
and took care of the nipa palms (sasahan) he had planted on lots 1 and 2 covering an area of 5,096
square meters and 6,011 square meters respectively. These lots are located between the fishpond
covered by TCT No. 25618 and the Liputan (formerly Meycauayan) River. Petitioner harvested and
sold said nipa palms without interference and prohibition from anybody. Neither did the late Don
Cosme Carlos question his right to plant the nipa palms near the fishpond or to harvest and
appropriate them as his own.
After the death of Don Cosme Carlos, his heirs (private respondents' predecessors-in-interest)
entered into a written agreement denominated as "SINUMPAANG SALAYSAY NG PAGSASAULI
NG KARAPATAN" dated November 29, 1984 with petitioner Jose Reynante whereby the latter for
and in consideration of the sum of P200,000.00 turned over the fishpond he was tenanting to the
heirs of Don Cosme Carlos and surrendered all his rights therein as caretaker or "bantay-kasama at
tagapamahala" (Rollo, p. 77).

Pursuant to the said written agreement, petitioner surrendered the fishpond and the two huts located
therein to private respondents. Private respondents thereafter leased the said fishpond to one Carlos
de la Cruz. Petitioner continued to live in the nipa hut constructed by him on lots 1 and 2 and to take
care of the nipa palms he had planted therein.
On February 17, 1988, private respondents formally demanded that the petitioner vacate said
portion since according to them petitioner had already been indemnified for the surrender of his
rights as a tenant. Despite receipt thereof, petitioner refused and failed to relinquish possession of
lots 1 and 2.
Hence, on April 22, 1988, private respondents filed a complaint for forcible entry with preliminary
mandatory injunction against petitioner alleging that the latter by means of strategy and stealth, took
over the physical, actual and material possession of lots 1 and 2 by residing in one of the kubos or
huts bordering the Liputan River and cutting off and/or disposing of the sasa or nipa palms adjacent
thereto.
On January 10, 1989, the trial court rendered its decision dismissing the complaint and finding that
petitioner had been in prior possession of lots 1
and 2.
Private respondents appealed to the Regional Trial Court and on August 8, 1989 it rendered its
decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, this Court renders judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and against
defendant and hereby reverses the decision of the Court a quo. Accordingly, the
defendant is ordered to restore possession of that piece of land particularly described
and defined as Lots 1 & 2 of the land survey conducted by Geodetic Engineer
Restituto Buan on March 2, 1983, together with the sasa or nipa palms planted
thereon. No pronouncement as to attorney's fees. Each party shall bear their
respective costs of the suit.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 55; Decision, p. 4).
From said decision, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for review (Rollo, p. 30;
Annex "A"). On February 28, 1990, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision, the dispositive portion
of which reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo, being consistent with law and
jurisprudence, is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. The instant petition seeking to issue a
restraining order is hereby denied.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 30; Decision, p. 3).
On November 5, 1990, the Court of Appeals denied the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner
(Rollo, p. 35; Annex "B").
Hence, this petition.
In its resolution dated May 6, 1991, the Second Division of this court gave due course to the petition
and required both parties to file their respective memoranda (Rollo, p. 93).

The main issues to be resolved in this case are: a) who between the petitioner and private
respondents has prior physical possession of lots 1 and 2; and b) whether or not the disputed lots
belong to private respondents as a result of accretion.
An action for forcible entry is merely a quieting process and actual title to the property is never
determined. A party who can prove prior possession can recover such possession even against the
owner himself. Whatever may be the character of his prior possession, if he has in his favor priority
in time, he has the security that entitles him to remain on the property until he is lawfully ejected by a
person having a better right by accion publiciana oraccion reivindicatoria (German Management &
Services, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 76216, September 14, 1989, 177 SCRA 495, 498, 499).
On the other hand, if a plaintiff cannot prove prior physical possession, he has no right of action for
forcible entry and detainer even if he should be the owner of the property (Lizo v. Carandang, 73
Phil. 469 [1942]).
Hence, the Court of Appeals could not legally restore private respondents' possession over lots 1
and 2 simply because petitioner has clearly proven that he had prior possession over lots 1 and 2.
The evidence on record shows that petitioner was in possession of the questioned lots for more than
50 years. It is undisputed that he was the caretaker of the fishpond owned by the late Don Cosme
Carlos for more than 50 years and that he constructed a nipa hut adjacent to the fishpond and
planted nipa palms therein. This fact is bolstered by the "SINUMPAANG SALAYSAY" executed by
Epifanio Lucero (Records, p. 66), Apolonio D. Morte (Records, p. 101) and Carling Dumalay
(Records, p. 103), all of whom are disinterested parties with no motive to falsify that can be
attributed to them, except their desire to tell the truth.
Moreover, an ocular inspection was conducted by the trial court dated December 2, 1988 which was
attended by the parties and their respective counsels and the court observed the following:
The Court viewed the location and the distance of the constructed nipa hut and the
subject "sasahan" which appears exists (sic) long ago, planted and stands (sic)
adjacent to the fishpond and the dikes which serves (sic) as passage way of water
river of lot 1 and lot 2. During the course of the hearing, both counsel observed
muniment of title embedded on the ground which is located at the inner side of the
"pilapil" separating the fishpond from the subject "sasa" plant with a height of 20 to
25 feet from water level and during the ocular inspection it was judicially observed
that the controversial premises is beyond the titled property of the plaintiffs but
situated along the Liputan, Meycauayan River it being a part of the public domain.
(Rollo, p. 51; Decision, p. 12).
On the other hand, private respondents based their claim of possession over lots 1 and 2 simply on
the written agreement signed by petitioner whereby the latter surrendered his rights over the
fishpond.
Evidently, the trial court did not err when it ruled that:
An examination of the document signed by the defendant (Exhibit "B"), shows that
what was surrendered to the plaintiffs was the fishpond and not the "sasahan" or the
land on which he constructed his hut where he now lives. That is a completely
different agreement in which a tenant would return a farm or a fishpond to his
landlord in return for the amount that the landlord would pay to him as a disturbance
compensation. There is nothing that indicates that the tenant was giving other
matters not mentioned in a document like Exhibit "B". Moreover, when the plaintiffs

leased the fishpond to Mr. Carlos de La Cruz there was no mention that the lease
included the hut constructed by the defendant and the nipa palms planted by him
(Exhibit "1"), a circumstance that gives the impression that the nipa hut and the nipa
palms were not included in the lease to Mr. de la Cruz, which may not belong to the
plaintiffs. (Rollo, p. 49; Decision, p. 9).
With regard to the second issue, it must be noted that the disputed lots involved in this case
are not included in Transfer Certificate of Title No. 25618 as per verification made by the Forest
Management Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources. That tract of land situated
at Barrio Liputan, Meycauayan, Bulacan containing an area of 1.1107 hectares as described in the
plan prepared and surveyed by Geodetic Engineer Restituto Buan for Jose Reynante falls within
Alienable and Disposable Land (for fishpond development) under Project No. 15 per B.F.L.C. Map
No. 3122 dated May 8, 1987 (Rollo, p. 31; Decision, p. 2).
The respondent Court of Appeals ruled that lots 1 and 2 were created by alluvial formation and
hence the property of private respondents pursuant to Article 457 of the New Civil Code, to wit:
Art. 457. To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion
which they gradually receive from the effects of the current of the waters.
Accretion benefits a riparian owner when the following requisites are present: (1) that the deposit be
gradual and imperceptible; (2) that it resulted from the effects of the current of the water; and (c) that
the land where accretion takes place is adjacent to the bank of a river (Republic v. Court of Appeals,
G.R. No. L-61647, October 12, 1984, 132 SCRA 514, cited in Agustin v. Intermediate Appellate
Court, G.R. Nos. 66075-76, July 5, 1990, 187 SCRA 218).
Granting without conceding that lots 1 and 2 were created by alluvial formation and while it is true
that accretions which the banks of rivers may gradually receive from the effect of the current become
the property of the owner of the banks, such accretion to registered land does not preclude
acquisition of the additional area by another person through prescription.
This Court ruled in the case of Ignacio Grande, et al. v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. L17652, June 30, 1962, 115 Phil. 521 that:
An accretion does not automatically become registered land just because the lot
which receives such accretion is covered by a Torrens Title. Ownership of a piece of
land is one thing; registration under the Torrens system of that ownership is another.
Ownership over the accretion received by the land adjoining a river is governed by
the Civil Code. Imprescriptibility of registered land is provided in the registration law.
Registration under the Land Registration and Cadastral Act does not vest or give title
to the land, but merely confirms and, thereafter, protects the title already possessed
by the owner, making it imprescriptible by occupation of third parties. But to obtain
this protection, the land must be placed under the operation of the registration laws,
wherein certain judicial procedures have beenprovided.
Assuming private respondents had acquired the alluvial deposit (the lot in question), by accretion,
still their failure to register said accretion for a period of fifty (50) years subjected said accretion to
acquisition through prescription by third persons.
It is undisputed that petitioner has been in possession of the subject lots for more than fifty (50)
years and unless private respondents can show a better title over the subject lots, petitioner's
possession over the property must be respected.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals dated February 28,
1990 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the decision of the Municipal Trial Court of Meycauayan,
Bulacan, Branch I, is hereby REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Padilla, Regalado and Nocon, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 95748 November 21, 1996


ANASTACIA VDA. DE AVILES, ET AL., petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and CAMILO AVILES, respondents.

PANGANIBAN, J.:
Is the special civil action of Quieting of Title under Rule 64 the proper remedy for settling a boundary
dispute? Did the respondent Court 1 commit a reversible error when it did not declare the respective
rights of the parties over the disputed property in said action?

These are the key issues raised in this petition to review on certiorari the Decision 2 of the respondent
Court promulgated on September 28, 1990 in CA-G.R. CV No. 18155, which affirmed the decision dated
December 29, 1987 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 38, 3 Lingayen, Pangasinan, dismissing a
complaint for quieting of title.

The Facts
In an action for quieting of title commenced before the aforementioned trial court, the following facts,
"stripped of unnecessary verbiage", were established by the respondent Court: 4
PLAINTIFFS aver that they are the actual possessors of a parcel of land situated in
Malawa, Lingayen, Pangasinan, more particularly described as fishpond, cogonal,
unirrigated rice and residential land, bounded on the N by Camilo Aviles; on the E by
Malawa River, on the S by Anastacio Aviles and on the W by Juana and Apolonio
Joaquin, with an area of 18,900 square meters and declared under Tax Declaration
No. 31446. This property is the share of their father, Eduardo Aviles and brother of
the defendant, in the estate of their deceased parents, Ireneo Aviles and Anastacia
Salazar.
SINCE 1957, Eduardo Aviles was in actual possession of the afore-described
property. In fact, the latter mortgaged the same with the Rural Bank and Philippine
National Bank branch in Lingayen. When the property was inspected by a bank
representative, Eduardo Aviles, in the presence of the boundary owners, namely,
defendant Camilo Aviles, Anastacio Aviles and Juana and Apolonio Joaquin(,)
pointed to the inspector the existing earthen dikes as the boundary limits of the
property and nobody objected. When the real estate mortgage was foreclosed, the
property was sold at public auction but this was redeemed by plaintiffs' mother and
the land was subsequently transferred and declared in her name.

ON March 23, 1983, defendant Camilo Aviles asserted a color of title over the
northern portion of the property with an area of approximately 1,200 square meters
by constructing a bamboo fence (thereon) and moving the earthen dikes, thereby
molesting and disturbing the peaceful possession of the plaintiffs over said portion.
UPON the other hand, defendant Camilo Aviles admitted the agreement of partition
(Exh. "1") executed by him and his brothers, Anastacio and Eduardo. In accordance
therewith, the total area of the property of their parents which they divided is 46,795
square meters and the area alloted (sic) to Eduardo Aviles is 16,111 square meters
more or less, to Anastacio Aviles is 16,214 square meters more or less, while the
area alloted to defendant Camilo Aviles is 14,470 square meters more or less. The
respective area(s) alloted to them was agreed and measured before the execution of
the agreement but he was not present when the measurement was made. Defendant
agreed to have a smaller area because his brother Eduardo asked him that he
wanted a bigger share because he has several children to support. The portion in
litigation however is part of the share given to him in the agreement of partition. At
present, he is only occupying an area of 12,686 square meters which is smaller than
his actual share of 14,470 square meters. Tax Declarations Nos. 23575, 481 and 379
covering his property from 1958 (Exhs. "7", "8" and "9") show that the area of his
property is 14,470 square meters. The riceland portion of his land is 13,290 square
meters, the fishpond portion is 500 square meters and the residential portion is 680
square meters, or a total of 14,470 square meters. That the topography of his land is
not the same, hence, the height of his pilapils are likewise not the same.
In its decision dated December 29, 1987, the trial court disposed of the case thus: 5
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
1. Ordering the parties to employ the services of a Land Surveyor of the Bureau of
Lands, Region I, San Fernando, La Union, to relocate and determine the extent and
the boundary limit of the land of the defendant on its southern side in order that the
fourteen thousand four hundred seventy (14,470) square meters which is the actual
area given to the defendant be determined;
2. Ordering the complaint dismissed for lack of basis and merits;
3. Ordering the plaintiffs to pay the defendant the sum of two thousand (P2,000.00)
pesos as attorney's fees and to further pay the costs of the proceedings;
4. All other claims are denied for lack of basis.
Dissatisfied with the trial court's decision, petitioners appealed to the respondent appellate Court. In
its now-assailed Decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed in part the decision of the trial court,
reasoning that a special civil action for quieting of title is not the proper remedy for settling a
boundary dispute, and that petitioners should have instituted an ejectment suit instead. The
dispositive portion of the impugned Decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision dated December 29, 1987
dismissing the complaint is hereby AFFIRMED but without necessarily agreeing with
the ration d'etre (sic) proferred by the Court a quo. The portion thereof ordering the
parties to employ the service of a land surveyor to relocate and determine the extent
and boundary limit of the land of the defendant on its southern portion in order that

the fourteen thousand four hundred seventy (14,470) square meters which is the
actual area given to the defendant be determined is hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. Costs against plaintiffs-appellants.
The Issues
Disagreeing with the respondent Court, petitioners now raise the following issues: 6
a. Whether or not the Hon. Court of Appeals is correct when it opined that the . . .
complaint for quieting of title instituted by the petitioners against private respondent
before the court a quo is not the proper remedy but rather, it should be a case for
eejectment (sic).
b. Whether or not the Hon. Court of Appeals is correct in rendering a decision, now
subject of the instant petition, without fully determining the respective rights of the
herein parties.
Petitioners deem to be "without basis" the respondent Court's holding that quieting of title is not the
proper remedy in the case a quo. They assert that private respondent is occupying the disputed lot
because he claimed it to be part of his share in the partitioned property of his parents, whereas
petitioners are claiming the said lot as part and parcel of the land allotted to Eduardo Aviles,
petitioners' predecessor-in-interest. They contend that they have been occupying the aforesaid land
as heirs of Eduardo Aviles in "open, actual, continuous, peaceful, public and adversed (sic)
(possession) against the whole world." Further, they argue that, if indeed the disputed lot belonged
to private respondent, why then did it take him "almost 26 long years from June 27, 1957 or until
March 27, 1983" to assert his ownership; why did he not "assert his ownership" over the property
when Eduardo Aviles was still alive; and why did he not take any "action" when the mortgage over
the disputed property was foreclosed? 7
Private respondent corrects the petitioners' claim in regard to the date when he had the bamboo
fence constructed. He alleges that the petitioners maliciously concocted the story that private
respondent had purportedly encroached some 1,200 meters on their property when, in fact, "he was
merely repairing the old bamboo fence existing where it had always been since 1957." 8
The Court's Ruling
First Issue: Quieting of Title Not Proper Remedy
For Settling Boundary Dispute
We agree with respondent Court. The facts presented unmistakably constitute a clear case of
boundary dispute, which is not cognizable in a special civil action to quiet title.
Quieting of title is a common law remedy for the removal of any cloud upon or doubt or uncertainty
with respect to title to real property. 9
The Civil Code authorizes the said remedy in the following language:
Art. 476. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein, by
reason of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which is
apparently valid or effective but is, in truth and in fact, invalid, ineffective, voidable, or

unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title, an action may be brought to


remove such cloud or to quiet the title.
An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from being cast upon a title to real
property or any interest therein.
In fine, to avail of the remedy of quieting of title, a plaintiff must show that there is an instrument,
record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which constitutes or casts a cloud, doubt, question or
shadow upon the owner's title to or interest in real property. Thus, petitioners have wholly
misapprehended the import of the foregoing rule by claiming that respondent Court erred in holding
that there was "no . . . evidence of any muniment of title, proceeding, written contract, . . .", and that
there were, as a matter of fact, two such contracts, viz., (i) the Agreement of Partition executed by
private respondent and his brothers (including the petitioners' father and predecessor-in-interest), in
which their respective shares in the inherited property were agreed upon, and (ii) the Deed of Sale
evidencing the redemption by petitioner Anastacia Vda. de Aviles of the subject property in a
foreclosure sale. However, these documents in no way constitute a cloud or cast a doubt upon the
title of petitioners. Rather, the uncertainty arises from the parties' failure to situate and fix the
boundary between their respective properties.
As correctly held by the respondent Court, "(i)n fact, both plaintiffs and defendant admitted the
existence of the agreement of partition dated June 8, 1957 and in accordance therewith, a fixed area
was allotted (sic) to them and that the only controversy is whether these lands were properly
measured. There is no adverse claim by the defendant "which is apparently valid, but is, in truth and
in fact, invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable" and which constitutes a cloud thereon.
Corollarily, and equally as clear, the construction of the bamboo fence enclosing the disputed
property and the moving of earthen dikes are not the "clouds" or "doubts" which can be removed in
an action for quieting of title.
An action to quiet title or to remove cloud may not be brought for the purpose of settling a boundary
dispute. The precedent on this matter cited by the respondent Court in its Decision is herewith
reproduced in full: 10
In Ashurst v. McKenzie (1890) 92 Ala. 484, 9 So. 262, where the complainants'
predecessor in title and the defendant had, during their occupancy, destroyed and
obliterated the boundary line between their adjoining tracts of land, and there was
now a dispute as to its location, it was held that a bill did not lie to remove a cloud on
the complainants' title. The court said: "There is no allegation or evidence of any
muniment of title, proceeding, written contract, or paper showing any color of title in
the defendant, which could cast a shadow on the title of complainants to any part of
the land; there is no overlapping of description in the muniments held by either. The
land of complainants and defendant join. The line which separates them is in dispute
and is to be determined by evidence aliunde. Each admits that the other has title up
to his line wherever it may be, and the title papers of neither fix its precise
location. So that there is no paper the existence of which clouds the title of either
party, and nothing could be delivered up and canceled under the decree of the court
undertaking to remove a cloud.
Another similarly instructive precedent reported in the same reference is also quoted below:
In Kilgannon v. Jenkinson (1883) 51 Mich. 240, 16 N.W. 390, the court, dismissing a
bill to quiet title, said: "The fundamental dispute is about the correct position of the

line between lots 3 and 7. The case is not one where a complainant in possession of
a specific piece of land, and a defendant out of possession, but claiming some right
or title, are contending as to which one has the better right to that same parcel; but it
is a case where the titles are not opposed, and the basis and existence of all right
and claim depend simply upon where the original line runs. When that is once
settled, there can remain no semblance of claim or cloud to be passed on, and the
issue on that particular question is one regularly triable at law. . . 11
Second Issue: Should Partie's Rights Have Been Declared?
Petitioners also chide the respondent Court (and the trial court) for not declaring the respective rights
of the parties with respect to the land in question, arguing that "when one is disturbed in any form in
his rights of property over an immovable by the unfounded claims of others, he has the right to ask
from the competent courts: . . . that their respective rights be determined . . . ". As support for their
thesis, petitioners cite the ancient case of Bautista vs.
Exconde. 12
Rule 64 of the Rules of Court, dealing with actions for declaratory relief, specifies in Section 1
thereof the grounds, conditions precedent or requisites for bringing such petitions. 13 This Court has
previously held that

Under this rule, only a person who is interested "under a deed, will, contract or other
written instrument, and whose rights are affected by a statute or ordinance, may
bring an action to determine any question of construction or validity arising under the
instrument or statute and for a declaration of his rights or duties thereunder." This
means that the subject matter must refer to a deed, will, contract or other written
instrument, or to a statute or ordinance, to warrant declaratory relief. Any other
matter not mentioned therein is deemed excluded. This is under the principle
ofexpressio unius est exclussio alterius. 14
Inasmuch as the enumeration of the causes, grounds or conditions precedent in the first paragraph
of said Sec. 1 is exclusive, by parity of rea-soning, it follows that similar remedies provided for in the
second paragraph of the same section would also be marked with the same exclusivity as to bar any
other cause possibly clouding one's title as a ground for such petitions. Thus, even
assuming arguendo that the action to quiet title had been brought under Rule 64, the same would
still not have prospered, the subject matter thereof not referring to "a deed, will, contract or other
written instrument, or to a statute or ordinance," but to a boundary dispute, and therefore not
warranting the grant of declaratory relief.
From another perspective, we hold that the trial court (and likewise the respondent Court) cannot, in
an action for quieting of title, order the determination of the boundaries of the claimed property, as
that would be tantamount to awarding to one or some of the parties the disputed property in an
action where the sole issue is limited to whether the instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or
proceeding involved constitutes a cloud upon the petitioners' interest or title in and to said property.
Such determination of boundaries is appropriate in adversarial proceedings where possession or
ownership may properly be considered and where evidence aliunde, other than the "instrument,
record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding" itself, may be introduced. An action for forcible entry,
whenever warranted by the period prescribed in Rule 70, or for recovery of possession de facto, also
within the prescribed period, may be availed of by the petitioners, in which proceeding the boundary
dispute may be fully threshed out.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, the instant petition is hereby DENIED and
the Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo and Francisco, JJ., concur.