De Gallego v. Land Authority

CARIDAD O. DE GALLEGO, petitioner-appellant,
LAND AUTHORITY (Formerly Land Tenure Administration), oppositor-appellee.

GR L-26848  (106 SCRA 598, 604-606)
Aug 17, 1981

The petitioner herein, who is the registered owner of a parcel of land situated in the Municipality of Parañaque , Rizal, which seeks the cancellation of conditions involving the conveyance of said land in question that was Government-acquired for residential purposes. The aformentioned conditions sought to be cancelled are as follows:

1.) That the parcel of land described in this certificate of title, shall not be sold, assigned, encumbered, mortgaged or transferred, within the period of five (5) years from the date hereof without first obtaining the written consent of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources;
2.) That except by hereditary succession, it shall not be conveyed, transferred to, assigned in favor of any person who is not landless and disqualified to acquire or own land in the Philippines;
3.) That violation of either of the next two preceding paragraph shall be sufficient ground for the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources or his duly authorized representative to take such action as may be necessary for the reversion of the land to the government. (Doc. No. 1858, page 57, Book XXVI, S. of 1954 of Notary Public of Manila, Andres Urrutia) Date of instrument – June 28, 1954. Date of the inscription – June 30, 1954 – 10:10 a.m.

The principal objective of distributing the same to the landless and thereby allowing more people to have their own homes, for which reason, Conditions Nos. 2 and 3 above were entered as encumbrances on the said certificate of title.

Petitioner insists that the primary intention of the restriction against transfers or conveyances of the property except to the landless and except by hereditary succession in order to insure that more people shall own residential homes, has been lost by the transformation of the property from residential to commercial since the landless who may want to establish their residential homes can no longer afford to pay the commercial price of this commercial property and thus said restriction should be eliminated to allow the aforementioned property to contribute to the economic development of the country. Petitioner, wife of former Ambassador Manuel Gallego, was not a landless individual, nor was she landless at the time when the said property was acquired by her, the fact being that the restriction refers only to voluntary conveyances and did not comprehend sales by public auction, as in the particular case, where the petitioner came to own the property as the highest bidder in a foreclosure sale by reason of a mortgage thereon.

Whether said conditions have lost its meaning when the subject parcel of land was originally a residential lot, where the property affected has become commercial.

NO. The conditions are found or provided in Section 17 and  18 of Land Registration Order No. R-3 under the subject “Rules and Regulations Governing the Acquisition and Disposition of Landed Estate,”approved November 15, 1951 by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. These sections provide as follows:


16. Prohibition to Alienate. – The applicant shall not sell, assign, encumber, mortgage or transfer, his rights under the agreement to sell or in the property subject thereof without first obtaining the written consent of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and this condition shall subsist until the lapse of five (5) years from the date of the execution of the final deed of sale in his favor and shall be annotated as an encumbrance on the certificate of title of the property that may be issued in his favor.

17. Conveyance of Lands, Covered by Final Deeds of Sale. – Except by hereditary succession, no lands acquired hereunder shall be transferred or assigned to any individual unless he be landless and not otherwise disqualified from acquiring and owning lands in the Philippines. This prohibition shall be made a condition in all deeds of sale and shall be annotated as encumbrance in the certificate of title.

18. Violation of the two preceding paragraphs: its effect. – Any sale, assignment, encumbrance, mortgage, or transfer made in violation of the provisions of the next two preceding paragraphs hereof is null and void, and shall be sufficient ground for the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources to cancel the deed of sale and to order the reversion of the land to the government and the forfeiture of whatever payments made on account thereof. In case, however, a deed of sale has already been issued, the violation of the said provisions shall be sufficient ground for the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources to take appropriate action in court with a view to obtaining the reversion of the land involved to the government. All lands reverted to the government shall be disposed of as vacant lot.

Said conditions, having been imposed pursuant to an Administrative Order which has the force and effect of the law, are therefore binding upon any person who acquires title to the same, it appearing that said Conditions are annotated as encumbrances on the back of the Certificate of Title of the land.

Moreover, said Conditions are not contrary to law, morals, customs, or public policy. In fact, these Conditions had been imposed in order to implement more effectively the main purpose of the constitutional provision which is to break up landed estates into reasonably small portions and to discourage the concentration of excessive landed wealth in an entity or a few individuals,(Republic vs. Baylosis, 96 Phil. 461).

Until and unless the law, or the Administrative Order which has the force and effect of law, is repealed, amended, or otherwise, altered or modified, the said encumbrances must remain, notwithstanding the contention of petitioner that a previous governor of the Land Authority had not opposed a similar petition for cancellation in Sotera Duavit Vda. de Bautista and Jaime Bautista, G.L.R.O. Record No. 7672 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch X, for a wrong act cannot be cured by the commission of another wrong. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones and their violation or non-observance shall not be excused by disuse, or customs or practice to the contrary. (Article 7, New Civil Code).

Neither can petitioner’s arguments that the lot in question contains improvements, a nightclub devoted to a purely commercial purpose, that the value of the land has become prohibitive to any landless who desires to establish his house thereon, that to allow the said Conditions to remain and to affect said parcel of land will only be a deterrent to the economic development and progress of the country and that in line with the country’s program of economic development, said Conditions should be eliminated, be sustained. The courts are not concerned with the wisdom, necessity or propriety of the law, for these are the particular province of the legislative. As this Court said in Morfe vs. Mutuc, L-20387, January 31, 1968, 22 SCRA 424, 450, speaking thru Justice (now Chief Justice) Fernando citing Angara vs. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139, “It is well to remember, that this Court, in the language of Justice Laurel, ‘does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation.’ “

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