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F. Non-Registrable Properties


All lands not appearing to be clearly under private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. Also, public lands remain part of the inalienable land of the public domain unless the State is shown to have reclassified or alienated them to private persons. (Malabanan v. Republic, En Banc, G.R. No. 179987, 03 September 2013)

a) Lands of the public domain

The 1987 Constitution classifies public lands as:

1) Agricultural

2) Forest or timber

3) Mineral

4) National parks. (Ibid.)

Consequently, lands classified as forest or timber, mineral, or national parks are not susceptible of alienation or disposition unless they are reclassified as agricultural. (Ibid.)

The Land Registration Court has no jurisdiction over non-registrable properties, such as public navigable rivers which are parts of the public domain. (Republic v. Feliza, G.R. No. 182913, 20 November 2013)

b) Military reservation

The subject lands, being part of a military reservation, are inalienable and cannot be the subjects of land registration proceedings. (Ibid.)


The following are rules on the disposition of public land/s of the public domain:

GENERAL RULE: Pursuant to the Regalian Doctrine, all lands of the public domain belong to the State and are inalienable. Lands that are not clearly under private ownership are also presumed to belong to the State and, therefore, may not be alienated or disposed. (Malabanan v. Republic, En Banc, supra.)


1) Agricultural lands of the public domain are rendered alienable and disposable through any of the exclusive modes enumerated under Section 11 of the Public Land Act. If the mode is judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, the agricultural land subject of the application needs only to be classified as alienable and disposable as of the time of the application, provided the applicant’s possession and occupation of the land dated back to June 12, 1945, or earlier. (Ibid.)

Thereby, a conclusive presumption that the applicant has performed all the conditions essential to a government grant arises, and the applicant becomes the owner of the land by virtue of an imperfect or incomplete title. By legal fiction, the land has already ceased to be part of the public domain and has become private property. (Ibid.)

2) Lands of the public domain subsequently classified or declared as no longer intended for public use or for the development of national wealth are removed from the sphere of public dominion and are considered converted into patrimonial lands or lands of private ownership that may be alienated or disposed through any of the modes of acquiring ownership under the Civil Code. (Ibid.)

If the mode of acquisition is prescription, whether ordinary or extraordinary, proof that the land has been already converted to private ownership prior to the requisite acquisitive prescriptive period is a condition sine qua non in observance of the law (Article 1113, Civil Code) that property of the State not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription. (Ibid.)

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