Land near the sea that is submerged in water because of rainfall is not considered foreshore land, hence it can be registered.


Benedicto del Rio purchased from Ms. Pili a lot with size of 17,311 sqm in Laguna, about 20 meters from the shore of Laguna de Bay. He registered the property and declared it for tax purposes since 1918 . Actual tax payments began 1948. The man died and his son Santos acquired part of the land after partition amongst the heirs. He filed for registration but the same was opposed by the Director of Lands and Private Oppositors.

Director OF Lands alleged that a portion of the land stays submerged in water for 4 to 5 months, therefore it forms part of public domain.

Two Private oppositors also blocked registration because they wanted the land for themselves (they built duckhouses with the toleration of Santos, but violated the terms of agreement by also building residences).


Whether or not the land can be registered


The Law of waters govern. According to such law, the natural bed of lakes, ponds or pools pertains to that covered by waters at their highest ordinary time of the year for most of the year. The Laguna Bay is a lake and the part around it covered with water up to 5 months a year results not from tidal action but from thunderstorms. The law defines foreshore land as that area between high and low water alternately revealed and hidden by the tide. Hence, the disputed land is not foreshore. It is registrable. The Director of Lands argues from the wrong premises. And as to the private oppositors who entered into possession based on mere PERMISSION and as ungrateful tenants WHO DID NOT EVEN PAY RENT REGULARLY, their petition had been denied. Such possession cannot ripen into ownership. Only possession acquired and enjoyed in the concept of owners can serve as the basis for title acquired via prescription.