Political Law

Cebu Oxygen & Acetylene Co., Inc. vs Judge Pascual Bercilles

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G.R. No. L-40474 – 66 SCRA 481 – Political Law – Municipal Corporations – Patrimonial Property – Discretionary Power

Civil Law – Law on Property – Patrimonial Property – Alienable and Disposable Property

In 1968, a terminal portion of a street in Cebu was excluded in the city’s development plan hence the council declared it as abandoned and was subsequently opened for public bidding. Cebu Oxygen & Acetylene Co., Inc. was the highest bidder at P10,800.00. Cebu Oxygen applied for the land’s registration before CFI Cebu but the provincial fiscal opposed it. The court later, through Judge Pascual Bercilles, ruled that the road is part of the public domain hence beyond the commerce of man.

ISSUE: Whether or not Cebu Oxygen can validly own said land.

HELD: Yes. Under Cebu’s Charter (RA 3857), the city council “may close any city road, street or alley, boulevard, avenue, park or square. Property thus withdrawn from public servitude may be used or conveyed for any purpose for which other real property belonging to the City may be lawfully used or conveyed.” Since that portion of the city street subject of Cebu Oxygen’s application for registration of title was withdrawn from public use, it follows that such withdrawn portion becomes patrimonial property which can be the object of an ordinary contract.

Article 422 of the Civil Code expressly provides that “Property of public dominion, when no longer intended for public use or for public service, shall form part of the patrimonial property of the State.”

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