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Jun 10, 2008

G.R. No. 48321, August 31, 1946

  • GR: All lands are acquired from the Government, either by purchase or by grant.
  • EXCEPTION: Lands under private ownership since time immemorial.
  • Application for decree of registration is a condition precedent to acquisition of title. Non-compliance gives rise to mere possessory right.
  • An alien cannot acquire title to lands of the public domain by prescription.


Oh Cho, a Chinese citizen, purchased from the Lagdameos a parcel of land in Tayabas, which they openly, continuously and adversely possessed since 1880. On January 17, 1940, Oh Cho applied for registration of this land. The Solicitor General opposed on the ground that Oh Cho lacked title to said land and also because he was an alien.


  • Whether or not Oh Cho had title
  • Whether or not Oh Cho is entitled to a decree of registration


Oh Cho failed to show that he has title to the lot, which may be confirmed under the Land Registration Act.

All lands that were not acquired from the Government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the public domain. An exception to the rule would be any land that should have been in the possession of an occupant and of his predecessors in interest since time immemorial, for such possession would justify the presumption that the land had never been part of the public domain or that it had been a private property even before the Spanish conquest.

The applicant does not come under the exception, for the earliest possession of the lot by his first predecessor in interest began in 1880.

Under the Public Land Act, Oh Cho is not entitled to a decree of registration of the lot, because he is an alien disqualified from acquiring lands of the public domain.

Oh Cho's predecessors in interest would have been entitled toa decree of registration had they applied for the same. The application for the registration of the land was a condition precedent, which was not complied with by the Lagmeos. Hence, the most they had was mere possessory right, not title. This possessory right was what was transferred to Oh Cho, but since the latter is an alien, the possessory right could never ripen to ownership by prescription. As an alien, Oh Cho is disqualified from acquiring title over public land by prescription.


Dolf said...

This saves my day though this is not the full text.

its hard to find the full text of this case in the net as this is a very old case


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