G.R. No. L-61647. October 12, 1984

Benjamin Tancinco, Azucena Tancinco Reyes, Maria Tancinco Imperial and Mario C. Tancinco are registered owners of a parcel of land situated at Barrio Ubihan, Meycauayan, Bulacan bordering on the Meycauayan and Bocaue rivers.

On June 24, 1973, the Tancincos filed an application for the registration of 3 lots adjacent to their fishpond property (Psu-131892: Lot 1, 33,937 sqm.; Lot 2, 5,453 sq.m.; Lot 3, 1985 sq. m.)

On April 5, 1974, Assistant Provincial Fiscal Amando C. Vicente, in representation of the Bureau of Lands filed a written opposition to the application for registration.

On March 6, 1975, the Tancincos filed a partial withdrawal of the application for registration with respect to Lot 3 of Plan Psu-131892 in line with the recommendation of the Commissioner appointed by the Court.

On March 7, 1975, Lot 3 was ordered withdrawn from the application and trial proceeded only with respect to Lots 1 and 2 covered by Plan Psu-131892. On June 26,1976, the lower court rendered a decision granting the application on the finding that the lands in question are accretions to the Tancincos’ fishponds covered by TCT 89709.

Whether or not accretion took place which can be acquired by the adjacent land owner.

No accretion to speak of as the transfer of dikes is man-made and artificial. Private respondents simply transferred their dikes further down the river bed of the Meycauayan Rivers, and thus, if there is any accretion to speak of, it is man-made and artificial and not the result of the gradual and imperceptible sedimentation by the waters of the river.

Article 457 of the New Civil Code provides that “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.”

Article 457 requires the concurrence of three requisites before an accretion covered by this particular provision is said to have taken place. They are:

(1) that the deposit be gradual and imperceptible;
(2) that it be made through the effects of the current of the water; and
(3) that the land where accretion takes place is adjacent to the banks of rivers.

The requirement that the deposit should be due to the effect of the current of the river is indispensable. This excludes from Art. 457 of the New Civil Code all deposits caused by human intervention. Alluvion must be the exclusive work of nature. In the instant case, there is no evidence whatsoever to prove that the addition to the said property was made gradually through the effects of the current of the Meycauayan and Bocaue rivers. However, there is evidence that the alleged alluvial deposits were artificial and man-made and not the exclusive result of the current of the Meycauayan and Bocaue rivers. The alleged alluvial deposits came into being not because of the sole effect of the current of the rivers but as a result of the transfer of the dike towards the river and encroaching upon it.

The reason behind the law giving the riparian owner the right to any land or alluvion deposited by a river is to compensate him for the danger of loss that he suffers because of the location of his land. If estates bordering on rivers are exposed to floods and other evils produced by the destructive force of the waters and if by virtue of lawful provisions, said estates are subject to incumbrances and various kinds of easements, it is proper that the risk or danger which may prejudice the owners thereof should be compensated by the right of accretion. (Cortes v. City of Manila, 10 Phil. 567).

In the present case, the riparian owner does not acquire the additions to his land caused by special works expressly intended or designed to bring about accretion. When the private respondents transferred their dikes towards the river bed, the dikes were meant for reclamation purposes and not to protect their property from the destructive force of the waters of the river.

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