SC rejects bid to nullify reclaimed land sale to MBDC

Supreme Court 080119 - SC rejects bid to nullify reclaimed land sale to MBDCPHILSTAR

THE SUPREME COURT (SC) has dismissed a petition seeking to nullify the sale of land to Manila Bay Development Corp. (MBDC) in 1988 for P472 million.

The petition for prohibition and mandamus was filed last year by SAGIP Party-list Rep. Rodante D. Marcoleta, covering land in Parañaque City sold by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to MBDC.

The 410,467 square-meter site located along Roxas Boulevard, Seaside End is otherwise known as Central Business Park II. Over time, the land was divided into 15 titles: eight belonging to MBDC, three to government-owned corporation Light Railway Transit Authority (LRTA) and four now with PRA.

Mr. Marcoleta wanted the government to recover the properties under MBDC and LRTA, claiming the land sold is “inalienable land of public domain.”

In an eight-page Notice of Resolution dated Dec. 10 released recently, the court said Mr. Marcoleta has no standing to seek the nullification of the land sale.

“Assuming that the sale of the subject land is indeed void for the reasons mentioned by petitioner, the appropriate suit to bring is for the reversion of such land back to the mass of public domain,” the notice read.

“Such suit, however, can only be filed by the State — the original owner of such land — through the Office of the Solicitor General,” it said.

The high court also said that the subject land is “not an inalienable land of the public domain outside the commerce of man.”

“The subject land, it must be pointed out, is land completely reclaimed pursuant to the MCRRP (Manila-Cavite Coastal Road and Reclamation Project) and which has been titled in the name of PRA by special patents issued by then President Corazon C. Aquino under the aegis of PD No. 1085,” according to the resolution.

The court also rejected the petitioner’s claim that the sale transaction between PRA and MBDC is void without a valid contract, in the absence of a technical description of the land sold.

The court ruled that the absence of technical description in the Deed of Sale does not mean that the transaction does not refer to an object certain. It also said that the parties use adequate descriptions such as designating the land “Central Business Park II.”

It ruled it cannot outright cancel the and titles held by MBDC and LRTA.

“Even assuming the fact that the sale of the subject land to the MBDC may be regarded as prima facie unconstitutional, the latter must still be afforded an opportunity to present evidence in defense of its title in an appropriate proceeding,” the court said.

“It must be stressed that MBDC has held title over the subject land, uninterruptedly and without incident, for over three decades until the present action,” it added. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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