286 SCRA 230



Petitioner  contracted  a  loan  from  Villanueva’s  parents,  mortgaging  the subject parcel of land as security.  Years after, the parcel of land became the subject for an application for registration by the Ramos brothers.  They insisted that they had a better claim over the land than petitioner.  After trial, the case was dismissed as the land has not been reclassified for other purposes  and  remained  a  part  of  the  forest  reserve.    Consequently,  the brothers were able to secure reclassification of the land and the same was registered  in  their  name  as  owners,  and  they  later  sold  the  land  to
Villanueva.    Thereafter,  petitioner  came  to  know  of  the  registration  and filed a complaint, which was dismissed.  


Petitioner  possessed  and  occupied  the  land  after  it  had  been  declared  by the government as part of the forest reserve.  In fact, the land remained as  part  of  the  forest  reserve  until  such  time  it  was  reclassified  into alienable or disposable land at the behest of the Ramoses.  A positive act of the government is needed to declassify land which is classified as forest, and  to  convert  it  into  alienable  and  disposable  land  for  other  purposes.  Until  such  lands  have  been  properly  declared  to  be  available  for  other purposes,  there  is  no  disposable  land  to  speak  of.    Absent  the  fact  of reclassification  prior  to  the  possession  and  cultivation  in  good  faith  by petitioner,  the  property  occupied  by  him  remained  classified  as  forest  or timberland, which he could not have acquired by prescription.