384 SCRA 152



President  Marcos  through  a  presidential  decree  created  PEA,  which  was tasked  with  the  development,  improvement,  and  acquisition,  lease,  and sale of all kinds of lands.  The then president also transferred to PEA the foreshore and offshore lands of Manila Bay under the Manila-Cavite Coastal
Road and Reclamation Project.   
Thereafter,  PEA  was  granted  patent  to  the  reclaimed  areas  of  land  and then, years later, PEA entered into a JVA with AMARI for the development of  the  Freedom  Islands.    These  two  entered  into  a  joint  venture  in  the absence of any public bidding.
Later,   a   privilege   speech   was   given   by   Senator   President   Maceda denouncing the JVA as the grandmother of all scams.  An investigation was conducted and it was concluded that the lands that PEA was conveying to AMARI  were  lands  of  the  public  domain;  the  certificates  of  title  over  the
Freedom Islands were void; and the JVA itself was illegal.  This prompted Ramos to form an investigatory committee on the legality of the JVA.
Petitioner  now  comes  and  contends  that  the  government  stands  to  lose billions  by  the  conveyance  or  sale  of  the  reclaimed  areas  to  AMARI.    He also asked for the full disclosure of the renegotiations happening between the parties.   


W/N  stipulations  in  the  amended  JVA  for  the  transfer  to  AMARI  of  the lands, reclaimed or to be reclaimed, violate the Constitution.


The ownership of lands reclaimed from foreshore and submerged areas is rooted in the Regalian doctrine, which holds that the State owns all lands and waters of the public domain.   
The 1987 Constitution recognizes the Regalian doctrine.  It declares that all natural  resources  are  owned  by  the  State  and  except  for  alienable agricultural  lands  of  the  public  domain,  natural  resources  cannot  be alienated.  
The Amended JVA covers a reclamation area of 750 hectares.  Only 157.84 hectares of the 750 hectare reclamation project have been reclaimed, and the rest of the area are still submerged areas forming part of Manila Bay.  Further,  it  is  provided  that  AMARI  will  reimburse  the  actual  costs  in reclaiming the areas of land and it will shoulder the other reclamation costs to be incurred.  
The foreshore and submerged areas of Manila Bay are part of the lands of the  public  domain,  waters  and  other  natural  resources  and  consequently owned by the State.  As such, foreshore and submerged areas shall not be alienable  unless  they  are  classified  as  agricultural  lands  of  the  public domain.  The mere reclamation of these areas by the PEA doesn’t convert these  inalienable  natural  resources  of  the  State  into  alienable  and disposable lands of the public domain.  There must be a law or presidential
proclamation  officially  classifying  these  reclaimed  lands  as  alienable  and disposable  if  the  law  has  reserved  them  for  some  public  or  quasi-public use.