8 114 SCRA at pp. 823-824. 9 Idem, at pp. 809-810. 529 VOL. 146, DECEMBER 29, 1986 529 Director of Lands vs. Intermediate Appellate Court now retired, while concurring in the procedural result, likewise, in effect dissented from the therein majority ruling on the question of substance, and stated his opinion that "the lots which are sought to be registered have ceased to be lands of the public domain at the time they were acquired by the petitioner corporation. They are already private lands because of acquisitive prescription by the predecessors of the petitioner and all that is needed is the confirmation of the title. Accordingly, the constitutional provision that no private corporation or association may hold alienable lands of the public domain is inapplicable." 10 To my mind, the reason why the Act limits the filing of such applications to natural citizens who may prove their undisputed and open possession of public lands for the required statutory thirty-year period, tacking on their predecessors'-ininterest possession is that only natural persons, to the exclusion of juridical persons such as corporations, can actually, physically and in reality possess public lands for the required statutory 30-year period. That juridical persons or corporations cannot do so is obvious. But when the natural persons have fulfilled the required statutory period of
possession, the Act confers on them a legally sufficient and transferable title. It is preferable to follow the letter of the law that they file the applications for confirmation of their title, although they have lawfully transferred their title to the land. But such procedural failure cannot and should not defeat the substance of the law, as stressed in the above-cited opinions, that the lands are already private lands because of acquisitive prescription by the corporation's predecessors and the realistic solution would be to consider the application for confirmation as filed by the natural persons-transferors, and in accordance with the evidence, confirm their title to the private lands so converted by operation of law and lawfully transferred by them to the corporation, The law, after all, recognizes the validity of the transfer and sale of the private land to the corporation. It should not be necessary to go in a round-about way and have the corporation reassign its rights to the private land to natural persons—(as I understand), was done after the decision ________________ 10 Idem, at p. 810. 530 530 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Director of Lands vs. Intermediate Appellate Court in the Meralco and Iglesia ni Cristo cases) just for the purpose of complying on paper with the technicality of having natural persons file the application for confirmation of title to the private land. MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting: Section 48 of the Public Land Act, in part, provides: "SEC. 48. The following described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for
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