[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2017 bar exam Civil Law Instructions; 2017 Labor Law Questions: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16; See also 2017 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]
In 1960, Rigor and Mike occupied two separate but adjacent tracts of land in Mindoro. Rigor’s tract was classified as timber land while Mike’s was classified as agricultural land. Each of them fenced and cultivated his own tract continuously for 30 years. In 1991, the Government declared the land occupied by Mike as alienable and disposable, and the one cultivated by Rigor as no longer intended for public use or public service.
Rigor and Mike now come to you today for legal advice in asserting their right of ownership of their respective lands based on their long possession and occupation since 1960.
(a) What are the legal consequences of the 1991 declarations of the Government respecting the lands? Explain your answer. (2%)
(b) Given that, according to Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act No. 141, in relation to Section 14(1) of Presidential Decree No. 1529, the open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain as basis for judicial confirmation of imperfect title must be from June 12, 1945, or earlier, may Mike nonetheless validly base his assertion of the right of ownership on prescription under the Civil Code? Explain your answer. (4%)
(c) Does Rigor have legal basis for his application for judicial confirmation of imperfect title based on prescription as defined by the Civil Code given that, like Mike, his open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation was not since June 12, 1945, or earlier, and his tract of land was timber land until the declaration in 1991? Explain your answer. (4%)