Republic of the Philippines v. Apostolita San Mateo
In a petition to register a land, both CENRO certification and approval thereof by the DENR Secretary are required to be presented as proofs that the land is alienable.
G.R. No. 203560, 10 November 2014
A petition to register a land was denied for failure to present both CENRO certification and approval thereof by the DENR Secretary. As held by the Supreme Court, “a CENRO certification that a certain property is alienable, without the corresponding proof that the DENR Secretary had approved such certification, is insufficient to support a petition for registration of land. Both certification and approval are required to be presented as proofs that the land is alienable. Otherwise, the petition must be denied.”
The cited case of Republic v. Vega, which granted a petition for registration despite the absence of a DENR Certification was pro hac vice. “It must be emphasized that the present ruling on substantial compliance applies pro hac vice. It does not in any way detract from our rulings in Republic v. T.A.N. Properties, Inc., and similar cases which impose a strict requirement to prove that the public land is alienable and disposable, especially in this case when the Decisions of the lower court and the Court of Appeals were rendered prior to these rulings. To establish that the land subject of the application is alienable and disposable public land, the general rule remains: all applications for original registration under the Property Registration Decree must include both (1) a CENRO or PENRO certification and (2) a certified true copy of the original classification made by the DENR Secretary.
The Republic case goes on to add: “As an exception, however, the courts – in their sound discretion and based solely on the evidence presented on record – may approve the application, pro hac vice, on the ground of substantial compliance showing that there has been a positive act of government to show the nature and character of the land and an absence of effective opposition from the government. This exception shall only apply to applications for registration currently pending before the trial court prior to this Decision and shall be inapplicable to all future applications.”