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C. Citizenship Requirement

1. Individuals

a. LIMITED TO FILIPINO CITIZENS

GENERAL RULE: Only Filipino citizens may acquire private or public agricultural lands. (Section 7, Article XII, Ibid.)

EXCEPTIONS:

1) Save in cases of hereditary succession (Section 7, Article XII, Ibid.);  AND

2) Natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship may be a transferee of private lands, subject to limitations provided by law. (Section 8, Article XII, Ibid.)

The capacity to acquire private land is made dependent upon the capacity to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. Private land may be transferred or conveyed only to individuals or entities “qualified to acquire lands of the public domain.” (Hulst v. PR Builders, Inc., G.R. No. 156364, 03 September 2007)

The 1987 Constitution reserved the right to participate in the disposition, exploitation, development and utilization of lands of the public domain for Filipino citizens or corporations at least 60 percent of the capital of which is owned by Filipinos. Aliens, whether individuals or corporations, have been disqualified from acquiring public lands; hence, they have also been disqualified from acquiring private lands. (Ibid.)

1) Aliens who subsequently are naturalized

If land is invalidly transferred to an alien who subsequently becomes a Filipino citizen or transfers it to a Filipino, the flaw in the original transaction is considered cured and the title of the transferee is rendered valid. (Borromeo v. Descallar, G.R. No. 159310, 24 February 2009)

b. OWNERSHIP OR ACQUISITION

1) In General

Citizens of the Philippines may acquire not more than twelve hectares (12 ha.) thereof by purchase, homestead, or grant. (Section 3, Article XII, 1987 Constitution)

2) Specific limitations

a) Natural-born Filipino citizen who last Phlippine citizenship

Any natural born citizen who has lost his Philippine citizenship and who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract under Philippine laws may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum area of five thousand (5,000) square meters in the case of urban land or three (3) hectares in the case of rural land to be used by him for business or other purposes. (Section 10, R.A. 7042, as amended by R.A. 8179)

NB: If he/she susbsequently re-acquires Philippine citizenship, then the limitation in the immediately preceding paragraph will no longer apply; instead, it will be the constitutional limitation that will be applicable.

b) Married couples

In the case of married couples, one of them may avail of the privilege herein granted: Provided, That if both shall avail of the same, the total area acquired shall not exceed the maximum herein fixed. (Ibid.)

c) Transferred already owns urban or rural land

In the case the transferee already owns urban or rural land for business or other purposes, he shall still be entitled to be a transferee of additional urban or rural land for business or other purposes which when added to those already owned by him shall not exceed the maximum areas herein authorized. (Paragraph 2, Section 10, Ibid.)

A transferee under this Act may acquire not more than two (2) lots which should be situated in different municipalities or cities anywhere in the Philippines: Provided, That the total land area thereof shall not exceed five thousand (5,000) square meters in the case of urban land or three (3) hectares in the case of rural land for use by him for business or other purposes. A transferee who has already acquired urban land shall be disqualified from acquiring rural land and vice versa. (Paragraph 3, Section 10, Ibid.)

3) Application for land registration

The application for land registration shall contain a description of the land and shall state the citizenship and civil status of the applicant, whether single or married, and, if married, the name of the wife or husband, and, if the marriage has been legally dissolved, when and how the marriage relation terminated. It shall also state the full names and addresses of all occupants of the land and those of the adjoining owners, if known, and, if not known, it shall state the extent of the search made to find them. (Section 15, P.D. 1529)

4) Subsequent registration in voluntary dealings

Every deed or other voluntary instrument presented for registration shall contain or have endorsed upon it the full name, nationality, residence and postal address of the grantee or other person acquiring or claiming an interest under such instrument, and every deed shall also state whether the grantee is married or unmarried, and if married, the name in full of the husband or wife. Any change in the residence or postal address of such person shall be endorsed by the Register of Deeds on the original copy of the corresponding certificate of title, upon receiving a sworn statement of such change. All names and addresses shall also be entered on all certificates. (Section 55, P.D. 1529)

Notices and processes issued in relation to registered land in pursuance of this Decree may be served upon any person in interest by mailing the same to the addresses given, and shall be binding, whether such person resides within or without the Philippines, but the court may, in its discretion, require further or other notice to be given in any case, if in its opinion the interest of justice so requires. (Paragarph 2, Section 55, P.D. 1529)

c. LEASE

Citizens of the Philippines may lease not more than five hundred hectares (500 ha.). (Section 3, Article XII, 1987 Constitution)

NB: There is no law prohibiting aliens from leasing lands. Thus, what is not prohibited is allowed. The law on lease would apply.

d. FOREIGNERS ALLOWED TO BUY CONDOMINIUM UNIT

Any transfer or conveyance of a unit or an apartment, office or store or other space therein, shall include the transfer or conveyance of the undivided interests in the common areas or, in a proper case, the membership or shareholdings in the condominium corporation: Provided, however, That where the common areas in the condominium project are owned by the owners of separate units as co-owners thereof, no condominium unit therein shall be conveyed or transferred to persons other than Filipino citizens, or corporations at least sixty percent of the capital stock of which belong to Filipino citizens, except in cases of hereditary succession. Where the common areas in a condominium project are held by a corporation, no transfer or conveyance of a unit shall be valid if the concomitant transfer of the appurtenant membership or stockholding in the corporation will cause the alien interest in such corporation to exceed the limits imposed by existing laws. (Section 5, R.A. 4726)

The law provides that no condominium unit can be sold without at the same time selling the corresponding amount of rights, shares or other interests in the condominium management body, the Condominium Corporation; and no one can buy shares in a Condominium Corporation without at the same time buying a condominium unit. It expressly allows foreigners to acquire condominium units and shares in condominium corporations up to not more than 40% of the total and outstanding capital stock of a Filipino-owned or controlled corporation. Under this set up, the ownership of the land is legally separated from the unit itself. The land is owned by a Condominium Corporation and the unit owner is simply a member in this Condominium Corporation. As long as 60% of the members of this Condominium Corporation are Filipino, the remaining members can be foreigners. (Hulst v. PR Builders, Inc., supra.)

2. Corporations

a. OWNERSHIP OR ACQUISITION

No private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. (Section 7, Article XII, 1987 Constitution)

Every deed or other voluntary instrument presented for registration shall, if the grantee is a corporation or association, contain a recital to show that such corporation or association is legally qualified to acquire private lands. Any change in the residence or postal address of such person shall be endorsed by the Register of Deeds on the original copy of the corresponding certificate of title, upon receiving a sworn statement of such change. All names and addresses shall also be entered on all certificates. (Section 55, P.D. 1529)

1) Filipino Corporations

2) Corporation sole

a) Concept

A corporation sole is organized and composed of a single individual, the head of any religious society or church, for the administration of the temporalities of such society or church. (The Roman Catholic Apostolic Administrator of Davao, Inc. v. The Land Registration Commission, En Banc,G.R. No. L-8451, 20 December 1957)

a) 60% Filipino ownership, not applicable

The requirement of at least 60 per cent of Filipino capital was never intended to apply to corporations sole. (Ibid.)

The Roman Catholic Apostolic Church in the Philippines has no nationality and that the framers of the Constitution, as will be hereunder explained, did not have in mind the religious corporations sole when they provided that 60 per centum of the capital thereof be owned by Filipino citizens. (Ibid.)

b. LEASE

Private corporations or associations may not hold such alienable lands of the public domain except by lease, for a period not exceeding twenty-five (25) years, renewable for not more than twenty-five (25) years, and not to exceed one thousand hectares in area. (Section 3, Article XII, 1987 Constitution)

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