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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No.

L-630 November 15, 1947

ALE AN!ER A. "R#$EN"O, petitioner-appellant, vs. T%E REG#STER O& !EE!S, C#T' O& MAN#LA, respondent and appellee. Gibbs, Gibbs, Chuidian and Quasha of petitioner-appellant. First Assistant Solicitor General Reyes and Solicitor Carreon for respondent-appellee. Marcelino Lontok appeared as a icus curies. MORAN, C.J.: Alenxander A. Kriventor alien, bou ht a residential lot fro! the Ma dalena Estate, "nc., in #ece!ber of $%&$, the re istration of 'hich 'as interrupted b( the 'ar. "n Ma(, $%&), he sou ht to acco!plish said re istration but 'as denied b( the re ister of deeds of Manila on the round that, bein an alien, he cannot ac*uire land in this +urisdiction. Kriven,o then brou ht the case to the fourth branch of the Court of -irst "nstance of Manila b( !eans of a consulta, and that court rendered +ud !ent sustainin the refusal of the re ister of deeds, fro! 'hich Kriven,o appealed to this Court. .here is no dispute as to these facts. .he real point in issue is 'hether or not an alien under our Constitution !a( ac*uire residential land. "t is said that the decision of the case on the !erits is unnecessar(, there bein a !otion to 'ithdra' the appeal 'hich should have been ranted outri ht, and reference is !ade to the rulin laid do'n b( this Court in another case to the effect that a court should not pass upon a constitutional *uestion if its +ud !ent !a( be !ade to rest upon other rounds. .here is, 'e believe, a confusion of ideas in this reasonin . "t cannot be denied that the constitutional *uestion is unavoidable if 'e choose to decide this case upon the !erits. /ur +ud !ent cannot to be !ade to rest upon other rounds if 'e have to render an( +ud !ent at all. And 'e cannot avoid our +ud !ent si!pl( because 'e have to avoid a constitutional *uestion. 0e cannot, for instance, rant the !otion 'ithdra'in the appeal onl( because 'e 'ish to evade the constitutional1 issue. 0hether the !otion should be, or should not be, ranted, is a *uestion involvin different considerations no' to be stated. Accordin to Rule )2, section &, of the Rules of Court, it is discretionar( upon this Court to rant a 'ithdra'al of appeal after the briefs have been presented. At the ti!e the !otion for 'ithdra'al 'as filed in this case, not onl( had the briefs been prensented, but the case had alread( been voted and the !a+orit( decision 'as bein prepared. .he !otion for 'ithdra'al stated no reason 'hatsoever, and the 3olicitor 4eneral 'as a reeable to it. 0hile the !otion 'as pendin in this Court, ca!e the ne' circular of the #epart!ent of 5ustice, instructin all re ister of deeds to accept for re istration all

transfers of residential lots to aliens. .he herein respondent-appellee 'as naturall( one of the re isters of deeds to obe( the ne' circular, as a ainst his o'n stand in this case 'hich had been !aintained b( the trial court and fir!l( defended in this Court b( the 3olicitor 4eneral. "f 'e rant the 'ithdra'al, the the result 'ould be that petitioner-appellant Alexander A. Kriven,o 'ins his case, not b( a decision of this Court, but b( the decision or circular of the #epart!ent of 5ustice, issued 'hile this case 'as pendin before this Court. 0hether or not this is the reason 'h( appellant see,s the 'ithdra'al of his appeal and 'h( the 3olicitor 4eneral readil( a rees to that 'ithdra'al, is no' i!!aterial. 0hat is !aterial and indeed ver( i!portant, is 'hether or not 'e should allo' interference 'ith the re ular and co!plete exercise b( this Court of its constitutional functions, and 'hether or not after havin held lon deliberations and after havin reached a clear and positive conviction as to 'hat the constitutional !andate is, 'e !a( still allo' our conviction to be silenced, and the constitutional !andate to be i nored or !isconceived, 'ith all the har!ful conse*uences that !i ht be brou ht upon the national patro!on(. -or it is but natural that the ne' circular be ta,en full advanta e of b( !an(, 'ith the circu!stance that perhaps the constitutional *uestion !a( never co!e up a ain before this court, because both vendors and vendees 'ill have no interest but to uphold the validit( of their transactions, and ver( unli,el( 'ill the re ister of deeds venture to disobe( the orders of their superior. .hus, the possibilit( for this court to voice its conviction in a future case !a( be re!ote, 'ith the result that our indifference of toda( !i ht si nif( a per!anent offense to the Constitution. All thse circu!stances 'ere thorou hl( considered and 'ei hted b( this Court for a nu!ber of da(s and the le al result of the last vote 'as a denial of the !otion 'ithdra'in the appeal. 0e are thus confronted, at this sta e of the proceedin s, 'ith our dut(, the constitutional *uestion beco!es unavoidable. 0e shall then proceed to decide that *uestion. Article 6""", section $, of the Constitutional is as follo's7 Article !""". 8 Conser#ation and utili$ation of natural resources. 3EC."/N $. All a ricultural, ti!ber, and !ineral lands of the public do!ain, 'ater, !inerals, coal, petroleu!, and other !ineral oils, all forces of potential ener (, and other natural resources of the Philippines belon to the 3tate, and their disposition, exploitation, develop!ent, or utili9ation shall be li!ited to citi9ens of the Philippines, or to corporations or associations at least sixt( per centu of the capital of 'hich is o'ned b( such citi9ens, sub+ect to an( existin ri ht, rant, lease, or concession at the ti!e of the ina uration of the 4overn!ent established uunder this Constitution. Natural resources, 'ith the exception of public a ricultural land, shall not be alienated, and no licence, concession, or lease for the exploitation, develop!ent, or utili9ation of an( of the natural resources shall be ranted for a period exceedin t'ent(-five (ears, rene'able for another t'ent(-five (ears, except as to 'ater ri hts for irri ation, 'ater suppl(, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the develop!ent of 'ater :po'er: in 'hich cases beneficial use !a( be the !easure and the li!it of the rant. .he scope of this constitutional provision, accordin to its headin and its lan ua e, e!braces all lands of an( ,ind of the public do!ain, its purpose bein to establish a per!anent and funda!ental polic( for the conservation and utili9ation of all natural resources of the Nation. 0hen, therefore, this provision, 'ith reference to lands of the public do!ain, !a,es !ention of onl( a ricultural, ti!ber and !ineral

lands, it !eans that all lands of the public do!ain are classified into said three roups, na!el(, a ricultural, ti!ber and !ineral. And this classification finds corroboration in the circu!stance that at the ti!e of the adoption of the Constitution, that 'as the basic classification existin in the public la's and +udicial decisions in the Philippines, and the ter! :public a ricultural lands: under said classification had then ac*uired a technical !eanin that 'as 'ell-,no'n to the !e!bers of the Constitutional Convention 'ho 'ere !ostl( !e!bers of the le al profession. As earl( as $%;<, in the case of Mapa #s. "nsular Go#ern ent =$; Phil., $>), $<2?, this Court said that the phrase :a ricultural public lands: as defined in the Act of Con ress of 5ul( $, $%;2, 'hich phrase is also to be found in several sections of the Public @and Act =No. %2A?, !eans :those public lands ac*uired fro! 3pain 'hich are neither !ineral for ti!ber lands.: .his definition has been follo'ed in lon line of decisions of this Court. = SeeMontano #s. "nsular 4overn!ent, $2 Phil., )%B1 "baCe9 de Aldecoa #s. "nsular 4overn!ent, $B Phil., $)%1 Ra!os#s. #irector of @ands, B% Phil., $>)1 5ocson #s. #irector of -orestr(, B% Phil., )A;1 An,ron #s. 4overn!ent of the Philippines, &; Phil., $;.? And 'ith respect to residential lands, it has been held that since the( are neither !ineral nor ti!ber lands, of necessit( the( !ust be classified as a ricultural. "n "baCe9 de Aldecoa #s. "nsular 4overn!ent =$B Phil., $)%, $AB?, this Court said7 Dence, an( parcel of land or buildin lot is susceptible of cultivation, and !a( be converted into a field, and planted 'ith all ,inds of ve etation1 for this reason, 'here land is not !inin or forestal in its nature, it !ust necessaril( be included 'ithin the classification of a ricultural land, not because it is actuall( used for the purposes of a riculture, but because it 'as ori inall( a ricultural and !a( a ain beco!e so under other circu!stances1 besides, the Act of Con ress contains onl( three classification, and !a,es no special provision 'ith respect to buildin lots or urban lands that have ceased to be a ricultural land. "n other 'ords, the Court ruled that in deter!inin 'hether a parcel of land is a ricultural, the test is not onl( 'hether it is actuall( a ricultural, but also its susceptibilit( to cultivation for a ricultural purposes. But 'hatever the test !i ht be, the fact re!ains that at the ti!e the Constitution 'as adopted, lands of the public do!ain 'ere classified in our la's and +urisprudence into a ricultural, !ineral, and ti!ber, and that the ter! :public a ricultural lands: 'as construed as referrin to those lands that 'ere not ti!ber or !ineral, and as includin residential lands. "t !a( safel( be presu!ed, therefore, that 'hat the !e!bers of the Constitutional Convention had in !ind 'hen the( drafted the Constitution 'as this 'ell-,no'n classification and its technical !eanin then prevailin . Certain expressions 'hich appear in Constitutions, . . . are obviousl( technical1 and 'here such 'ords have been in use prior to the adoption of a Constitution, it is presu!ed that its fra!ers and the people 'ho ratified it have used such expressions in accordance 'ith their technical !eanin . =$$ A!. 5ur., sec. AA, p. A<B.? Also Calder #s. Bull, B #all. EF.3.G, B<A1 $ @a'. ed., A&<1 Bronson #s. 3(verson, << 0ash., 2A&1 $)2 P., $;B%.? "t is a funda!ental rule that, in construin constitutions, ter!s e!plo(ed therein shall be iven the !eanin 'hich had been put upon the!, and 'hich the( possessed, at the ti!e of the fra!in and adoption of the instru!ent. "f a 'ord has ac*uired a fixed, technical !eanin in le al and constitutional histor(, it 'ill be presu!ed to have been e!plo(ed in that sense in a 'ritten Constitution. =McKinne( #s. Bar,er, $<; K(., )2A1 2;B 3.0., B;B1 @.R.A., $%$< E, )<$.?

0here 'ords have been lon used in a technical sense and have been +udiciall( construed to have a certain !eanin , and have been adopted b( the le islature as havin a certain !eanin prior to a particular statute in 'hich the( are used, the rule of construction re*uires that the 'ords used in such statute should be construed accordin to the sense in 'hich the( have been so previousl( used, althou h the sense !a( var( fro! strict literal !eanin of the 'ords. ="" 3utherland, 3tatutor( Construction, p. >)<.? .herefore, the phrase :public a ricultural lands: appearin in section $ of Article 6""" of the Constitution !ust be construed as includin residential lands, and this is in confor!it( 'ith a le islative interpretation iven after the adoption of the Constitution. 0ell ,no'n is the rule that :'here the @e islature has revised a statute after a Constitution has been adopted, such a revision is to be re arded as a le islative construction that the statute so revised confor!s to the Constitution.: =)% C.5., $$;2.? 3oon after the Constitution 'as adopted, the National Asse!bl( revised the Public @and @a' and passed Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, and sections )<, )% and A; thereof per!it the sale of residential lots to -ilipino citi9ens or to associations or corporations controlled b( such citi9ens, 'hich is e*uivalent to a sole!n declaration that residential lots are considered as a ricultural lands, for, under the Constitution, onl( a ricultural lands !a( be alienated. "t is true that in section % of said Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, :alienable or disposable public lands: 'hich are the sa!e :public a riculture lands: under the Constitution, are classified into a ricultural, residential, co!!ercial, industrial and for other puposes. .his si!pl( !eans that the ter! :public a ricultural lands: has both a broad and a particular !eanin . Fnder its broad or eneral !eanin , as used in the Constitution, it e!braces all lands that are neither ti!ber nor !ineral. .his broad !eanin is particulari9ed in section % of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$ 'hich classifies :public a ricultural lands: for purposes of alienation or disposition, into lands that are stricl( a ricultural or actuall( devoted to cultivation for a ricultural puposes1 lands that are residential1 co!!ercial1 industrial1 or lands for other purposes. .he fact that these lands are !ade alienable or disposable under Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, in favor of -ilipino citi9ens, is a conclusive indication of their character as public a ricultural lands under said statute and under the Constitution. "t !ust be observed, in this connection that prior to the Constitution, under section 2& of Public @and Act No. 2<>&, aliens could ac*uire public a ricultural lands used for industrial or residential puposes, but after the Constitution and under section 2B of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, the ri ht of aliens to ac*uire such ,ind of lands is co!pletel( stric,en out, undoubtedl( in pursuance of the constitutional li!itation. And, a ain, prior to the Constitution, under section )> of Public @and Act No. 2<>&, land of the public do!ain suitable for residence or industrial purposes could be sold or leased to aliens, but after the Constitution and under section A; of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, such land !a( onl( be leased, but not sold, to aliens, and the lease ranted shall onl( be valid 'hile the land is used for the purposes referred to. .he exclusion of sale in the ne' Act is undoubtedl( in pursuance of the constitutional li!itation, and this a ain is another le islative construction that the ter! :public a ricultural land: includes land for residence purposes. 3uch le islative interpretation is also in har!on( 'ith the interpretation iven b( the Executive #epart!ent of the 4overn!ent. 0a( bac, in $%B%, 3ecretar( of 5ustice 5ose Abad 3antos, in ans'er to a *uer( as to :'hether or not the phrase Hpublic a ricultural landsH in section $ of Article 6"" =no' 6"""? of the Constitution !a( be interpreted to include residential, co!!ercial, and industrial lands for purposes of their disposition,: rendered the follo'in short, sharp and cr(stal-clear opinion7

3ection $, Article 6"" =no' 6"""? of the Constitution classifies lands of the public do!ain in the Philippines into a ricultural, ti!ber and !ineral. .his is the basic classification adopted since the enact!ent of the Act of Con ress of 5ul( $, $%;2, ,no'n as the Philippine Bill. At the ti!e of the adoption of the Constitution of the Philippines, the ter! Ha ricultural public landsH and, therefore, ac*uired a technical !eanin in our public la's. .he 3upre!e Court of the Philippines in the leadin case of Mapa #s. "nsular Go#ern ent, $; Phil., $>), held that the phrase Ha ricultural public landsH !eans those public lands ac*uired fro! 3pain %hich are neither ti ber nor ineral lands. .his definition has been follo'ed b( our 3upre!e Court in !an( subse*uent case. . . . Residential co!!ercial, or industrial lots for!in part of the public do!ain !ust have to be included in one or !ore of these classes. Clearl(, the( are neither ti!ber nor !ineral, of necessit(, therefore, the( !ust be classified as a ricultural. Iie'ed fro! another an le, it has been held that in deter!inin 'hether lands are a ricultural or not, the character of the land is the test =/dell #s. #urant, A2 N.0., )2&1 @orch #s. Missoula Bric, and .ile Co., $2B p.2)?. "n other 'ords, it is the susceptibilit( of the land to cultivation for a ricultural purposes b( ordinar( far!in !ethods 'hich deter!ines 'hether it is a ricultural or not =3tate #s. 3te'art, $%; p. $2%?. -urther!ore, as said b( the #irector of @ands, no reason is seen 'h( a piece of land, 'hich !a( be sold to a person if he is to devote it to a ricultural, cannot be sold to hi! if he intends to use it as a site for his ho!e. .his opinion is i!portant not alone because it co!es fro! a 3ecratar( of 5ustice 'ho later beca!e the Chief 5ustice of this Court, but also because it 'as rendered b( a !e!ber of the cabinet of the late President Jue9on 'ho activel( participated in the draftin of the constitutional provision under consideration. =2 Arue o, -ra!in of the Philippine Constitution, p. )%<.? And the opinion of the Jue9on ad!inistration 'as reiterated b( the 3ecretar( of 5ustice under the /s!eCa ad!inistration, and it 'as fir!l( !aintained in this Court b( the 3olicitor 4eneral of both ad!inistrations. "t is thus clear that the three reat depart!ents of the 4overn!ent 8 +udicial, le islative and executive 8 have al'a(s !aintained that lands of the public do!ain are classified into a ricultural, !ineral and ti!ber, and that a ricultural lands include residential lots. Fnder section $ of Article 6""" of the Constitution, :natural resources, 'ith the exception of public a ricultural land, shall not be aliented,: and 'ith respect to public a ricultural lands, their alienation is li!ited to -ilipino citi9ens. But this constitutional purpose conservin a ricultural resources in the hands of -ilipino citi9ens !a( easil( be defeated b( the -ilipino citi9ens the!selves 'ho !a( alienate their a ricultural lands in favor of aliens. "t is partl( to prevent this result that section ) is included in Article 6""", and it reads as follo's7 3ec. ). 3ave in cases of hereditar( succession, no private a ricultural land 'ill be transferred or assi ned except to individuals, corporations, or associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public do!ain in the Philippines.

.his constitutional provision closes the onl( re!ainin avenue throu h 'hich a ricultural resources !a( lea, into aliensH hands. "t 'ould certainl( be futile to prohibit the alienation of public a ricultural lands to aliens if, after all, the( !a( be freel( so alienated upon their beco!in private a ricultural lands in the hands of -ilipino citi9ens. Fndoubtedl(, as above indicated, section ) is intended to insure the polic( of nationali9ation contained in section $. Both sections !ust, therefore, be read to ether for the( have the sa!e purpose and the sa!e sub+ect !atter. "t !ust be noticed that the persons a ainst 'ho! the prohibition is directed in section ) are the ver( sa!e persons 'ho under section $ are dis*ualified :to ac*uire or hold lands of the public do!ain in the Philippines.: And the sub+ect !atter of both sections is the sa!e, na!el(, the non-transferabilit( of :a ricultural land: to aliens. 3ince :a ricultural land: under section $ includes residential lots, the sa!e technical !eanin should be attached to :a ricultural land under section ). "t is a rule of statutor( construction that :a 'ord or phrase repeated in a statute 'ill bear the sa!e !eanin throu hout the statute, unless a different intention appears.: ="" 3utherland, 3tatutor( Construction, p. >)<.? .he onl( difference bet'een :a ricultural land: under section ), is that the for!er is public and the latter private. But such difference refers to o'nership and not to the class of land. .he lands are the sa!e in both sections, and, for the conservation of the national patri!on(, 'hat is i!portant is the nature or class of the propert( re ardless of 'hether it is o'ned b( the 3tate or b( its citi9ens. Reference is !ade to an opinion rendered on 3epte!ber $%, $%&$, b( the Don. .eofilo 3ison, then 3ecretar( of 5ustice, to the effect that residential lands of the public do!ain !a( be considered as a ricultural lands, 'hereas residential lands of private o'nership cannot be so considered. No reason 'hatsoever is iven in the opinion for such a distinction, and no valid reason can be adduced for such a discri!inator( vie', particularl( havin in !ind that the purpose of the constitutional provision is the conservation of the national patri!on(, and private residential lands are as !uch an inte ral part of the national patri!on( as the residential lands of the public do!ain. 3peciall( is this so 'here, as indicated above, the prohibition as to the alienable of public residential lots 'ould beco!e superflous if the sa!e prohibition is not e*uall( applied to private residential lots. "ndeed, the prohibition as to private residential lands 'ill eventuall( beco!e !ore i!portant, for ti!e 'ill co!e 'hen, in vie' of the constant disposition of public lands in favor of private individuals, al!ost all, if not all, the residential lands of the public do!ain shall have beco!e private residential lands. "t is !aintained that in the first draft of section ), the 'ords :no land of private o'nership: 'ere used and later chan ed into :no a ricultural land of private o'nership,: and lastl( into :no private a ricultural land: and fro! these chan es it is ar ued that the 'ord :a ricultural: introduced in the second and final drafts 'as intended to li!it the !eanin of the 'ord :land: to land actuall( used for a ricultural purposes. .he i!plication is not accurate. .he 'ordin of the first draft 'as a!ended for no other purpose than to clarif( concepts and avoid uncertainties. .he 'ords :no land: of the first draft, un*ualified b( the 'ord :a ricultural,: !a( be !ista,en to include ti!ber and !ineral lands, and since under section $, this ,ind of lands can never be private, the prohibition to transfer the sa!e 'ould be superfluous. Fpon the other hand, section ) had to be drafted in har!on( 'ith section $ to 'hich it is supple!entar(, as above indicated. "nas!uch as under section $, ti!ber and !ineral lands can never be private, and the onl( lands that !a( beco!e private are a ricultural lands, the 'ords :no land of private o'nership: of the first draft can have no other !eanin than :private a ricultural land.: And thus the chan e in the final draft is !erel( one of 'ords in order to !a,e its sub+ect !atter !ore specific 'ith a vie' to avoidin the possible confusion of ideas that could have arisen fro! the first draft.

"f the ter! :private a ricultural lands: is to be construed as not includin residential lots or lands not strictl( a ricultural, the result 'ould be that :aliens !a( freel( ac*uire and possess not onl( residential lots and houses for the!selves but entire subdivisions, and 'hole to'ns and cities,: and that :the( !a( validl( bu( and hold in their na!es lands of an( area for buildin ho!es, factories, industrial plants, fisheries, hatcheries, schools, health and vacation resorts, !ar,ets, olf courses, pla( rounds, airfields, and a host of other uses and purposes that are not, in appellantHs 'ords, strictl( a ricultural.: =3olicitor 4eneralHs Brief, p. A.? .hat this is obnoxious to the conservative spirit of the Constitution is be(ond *uestion. /ne of the funda!ental principles underl(in the provision of Article 6""" of the Constitution and 'hich 'as e!bodied in the report of the Co!!ittee on Nationali9ation and Preservation of @ands and other Natural Resources of the Constitutional Convention, is &that lands, !inerals, forests, and other natural resources constitute the exclusive herita e of the -ilipino nation. .he( should, therefore, be preserved for those under the soverei n authorit( of that nation and for their posterit(.: =2 Arue o, -ra!in of the -ilipino Constitution, p. )%).? #ele ate @edes!a, Chair!an of the Co!!ittee on A ricultural #evelop!ent of the Constitutional Convention, in a speech delivered in connection 'ith the national polic( on a ricultural lands, said7 :.he exclusion of aliens fro! the privile e of ac*uirin public a'ricultural lands and of o%nin' real estate is a necessary part of the Public @and @a's of the Philippines to ,eep pace 'ith the idea of preservin the Philippines for the -ilipinos.: =E!phasis ours.? And, of the sa!e tenor 'as the speech of #ele ate Montilla 'ho said7 &(ith the co plete nationali$ation of our lands and natural resources it is to be understood that our 4od- iven birthri ht should be one hundred per cent in -ilipino hands . . .. @ands and natural resources are i!!ovables and as such can be co!pared to the vital or ans of a personHs bod(, the lac, of possession of 'hich !a( cause instant death or the shortenin of life. "f 'e do not co!pletel( antionali9e these t'o of our !ost i!portant belon in s, " a! afraid that the ti!e 'ill co!e 'hen 'e shall be sorr( for the ti!e 'e 'ere born. /ur independence 'ill be +ust a !oc,er(, for 'hat ,ind of independence are 'e oin to have if a part of our countr( is not in our hands but in those of forei nersK: =E!phasis ours.? Professor Arue o sa(s that since the openin da(s of the Constitutional Convention one of its fixed and do!inatin ob+ectives 'as the conservation and nationali9ation of the natural resources of the countr(. =2 Arue o, -ra!in of the Philippine Constitution, p )%2.? .his is ratified b( the !e!bers of the Constitutional Convention 'ho are no' !e!bers of this Court, na!el(, Mr. 5ustice Perfecto, Mr. 5ustice Briones, and Mr. 5ustice Dontiveros. And, indeed, if under Article 6"I, section <, of the Constitution, an alien !a( not even operate a s!all +itne( for hire, it is certainl( not hard to understand that neither is he allo'ed to o'n a pieace of land. .his constitutional intent is !ade !ore patent and is stron l( i!ple!ented b( an act of the National Asse!bl( passed soon after the Constitution 'as approved. 0e are referrin a ain to Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$. Prior to the Constitution, there 'ere in the Public @and Act No. 2<>& sections $2; and $2$ 'hich ranted aliens the ri ht to ac*uire private onl( b( 'a( of reciprocit(. 3aid section reads as follo's7 3EC. $2;. No land ori inall( ac*uired in an( !anner under the provisions of this Act, nor an( per!anent i!prove!ent on such land, shall be encu!bered, alienated, or transferred, except to persons, corporations, associations, or partnerships 'ho !a( ac*uire lands of the public do!ain under this Act1 to corporations or ani9ed in the Philippine "slands authori9ed therefor b( their charters, and, upon express authori9ation b( the Philippine @e islature, to citi9ens of countries the la's of 'hich rant to citi9ens of the Philippine "slands the sa!e ri ht to ac*uire,

hold, lease, encu!ber, dispose of, or alienate land, or per!anent i!prove!ents thereon, or an( interest therein, as to their o'n citi9ens, onl( in the !anner and to the extent specified in such la's, and 'hile the sa!e are in force but not thereafter. 3EC. $2$. No land ori inall( ac*uired in an( !anner under the provisions of the for!er Public @and Act or of an( other Act, ordinance, ro(al order, ro(al decree, or an( other provision of la' for!erl( in force in the Philippine "slands 'ith re ard to public lands, terrenos baldios y realen'os, or lands of an( other deno!ination that 'ere actuall( or presu!ptivel( of the public do!ain or b( ro(al rant or in an( other for!, nor an( per!anent i!prove!ent on such land, shall be encu!bered, alienated, or conve(ed, except to persons, corporations, or associations 'ho !a( ac*uire land of the public do!ain under this Act1 to corporate bodies or ani9ed in the Philippine "slands 'hose charters !a( authori9e the! to do so, and, upon express authori9ation b( the Philippine @e islature, to citi9ens of the countries the la's of 'hich rant to citi9ens of the Philippine "slands the sa!e ri ht to ac*uire, hold, lease, encu!ber, dispose of, or alienate land or pe!anent i!prove!ents thereon or an( interest therein, as to their o'n citi9ens, and onl( in the !anner and to the extent specified in such la's, and 'hile the sa!e are in force, but not thereafter7)ro#ided, ho%e#er, .hat this prohibition shall not be applicable to the conve(ance or ac*uisition b( reason of hereditar( succession dul( ac,no'led ed and le ali9ed b( co!petent courts, nor to lands and i!prove!ents ac*uired or held for industrial or residence purposes, 'hile used for such purposes7 )ro#ided, further, .hat in the event of the o'nership of the lands and i!prove!ents !entioned in this section and in the last precedin section bein transferred b( +udicial decree to persons,corporations or associations not le all( capacitated to ac*uire the sa!e under the provisions of this Act, such persons, corporations, or associations shall be obli ed to alienate said lands or i!prove!ents to others so capacitated 'ithin the precise period of five (ears, under the penalt( of such propert( revertin to the 4overn!ent in the contrar( case.: =Public @and Act, No. 2<>&.? "t is to be observed that the pharase :no land: used in these section refers to all private lands, 'hether strictl( a ricultural, residential or other'ise, there bein practicall( no private land 'hich had not been ac*uired b( an( of the !eans provided in said t'o sections. .herefore, the prohibition contained in these t'o provisions 'as, in effect, that no private land could be transferred to aliens except :upon express authori9ation b( the Philippine @e islature, to citi9ens of Philippine "slands the sa!e ri ht to ac*uire, hold, lease, encu!ber, dispose of, or alienate land.: "n other 'ords, aliens 'ere ranted the ri ht to ac*uire private land !erel( b( 'a( of reciprocit(. .hen ca!e the Constitution and Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$ 'as passed, sections $22 and $2B of 'hich read as follo's7 3EC. $22. No land ori inall( ac*uired in an( !anner under the provisions of this Act, nor an( per!anent i!prove!ent on such land, shall be encu!bered, alienated, or transferred, except to persons, corporations, associations, or partnerships 'ho !a( ac*uire lands of the public do!ain under this Act or to corporations or ani9ed in the Philippines authori9ed thereof b( their charters. 3EC. $2B. No land ori inall( ac*uired in an( !anner under the provisions of an( previous Act, ordinance, ro(al order, ro(al decree, or an( other provision of la' for!erl( in force in the Philippines 'ith re ard to public lands terrenos baldios y realen'os, or lands of an( other deno!ination that 'ere actuall( or presu!ptivel( of the public do!ain, or b( ro(al rant or in an( other for!, nor an( per!anent i!prove!ent on such land, shall be encu!bered,

alienated, or conve(ed, except to persons, corporations or associations 'ho !a( ac*uire land of the public do!ain under this Act or to corporate bodies or ani9ed in the Philippines 'hose charters authori9e the! to do so7 )ro#ided, ho%e#er, .hat this prohibition shall not be applicable to the conve(ance or ac*uisition b( reason of hereditar( succession dul( ac,no'led ed and le ali9ed b( co!petent courts7 )ro#ided, further, .hat in the event of the o'nership of the lands and i!prove!ents !entioned in this section and in the last precedin section bein transferred b( +udicial decree to persons, corporations or associations not le all( capacitated to ac*uire the sa!e under the provisions of this Act, such persons, corporations, or associations shall be obli ed to alienate said lands or i!prove!ents to others so capacitated 'ithin the precise period of five (ears1 other'ise, such propert( shall revert to the 4overn!ent. .hese t'o sections are al!ost literall( the sa!e as sections $2; and $2$ of Act No. 2<>&, the onl( difference bein that in the ne' provisions, the ri ht to reciprocit( ranted to aliens is co!pletel( stric,en out. .his, undoubtedl(, is to confor! to the absolute polic( contained in section ) of Article 6""" of the Constitution 'hich, in prohibitin the alienation of private a ricultural lands to aliens, rants the! no ri ht of reciprocit(. .his le islative construction carries exceptional 'ei ht, for pro!inent !e!bers of the National Asse!bl( 'ho approved the ne' Act had been !e!bers of the Constitutional Convention. "t is said that the lot *uestion does not co!e 'ithin the purvie' of sections $22 and $2B of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, there bein no proof that the sa!e had been ac*uired b( one of the !eans provided in said provisions. 0e are not, ho'ever, dicidin the instant case under the provisions of the Public @and Act, 'hich have to refer to land that had been for!erl( of the public do!ain, other'ise their constitutionalit( !a( be doubtful. 0e are decidin the instant case under section ) of Article 6""" of the Constitution 'hich is !ore co!prehensive and !ore absolute in the sense that it prohibits the transfer to alien of an( private a ricultural land includin residential land 'hatever its ori in !i ht have been. And, finall(, on 5une $&, $%&>, the Con ress approved Republic Act No. $BB 'hich allo's !ort a e of :private real propert(: of an( ,ind in favor of aliens but 'ith a *ualification consistin of expressl( prohibitin aliens to bid or ta,e part in an( sale of such real propert( as a conse*uence of the !ort a e. .his prohibition !a,es no distinction bet'een private lands that are strictl( a ricultural and private lands that are residental or co!!ercial. .he prohibition e!braces the sale of private lands of an( ,ind in favor of aliens, 'hich is a ain a clear i!ple!entation and a le islative interpretation of the constitutional prohibition. Dad the Con ress been of opinion that private residential lands !a( be sold to aliens under the Constitution, no le islative !easure 'ould have been found necessar( to authori9e !ort a e 'hich 'ould have been dee!ed also per!issible under the Constitution. But clearl( it 'as the opinion of the Con ress that such sale is forbidden b( the Constitution and it 'as such opinion that pro!pted the le islative !easure intended to clarif( that !ort a e is not 'ithin the constitutional prohibition. "t is 'ell to note at this +uncture that in the present case 'e have no choice. 0e are construin the Constitution as it is and not as 'e !a( desire it to be. Perhaps the effect of our construction is to preclude aliens, ad!itted freel( into the Philippines fro! o'nin sites 'here the( !a( build their ho!es. But if this is the sole!n !andate of the Constitution, 'e 'ill not atte!pt to co!pro!ise it even in the na!e of a!it( or e*uit(. 0e are satisfied, ho'ever, that aliens are not co!pletel( excluded b(

the Constitution fro! the use of lands for residential purposes. 3ince their residence in the Philippines is te!porar(, the( !a( be ranted te!porar( ri hts such as a lease contract 'hich is not forbidden b( the Constitution. 3hould the( desire to re!ain here forever and share our fortunes and !isfortunes, -ilipino citi9enship is not i!possible to ac*uire. -or all the fore oin , 'e hold that under the Constitution aliens !a( not ac*uire private or public a ricultural lands, includin residential lands, and, accordin l(, +ud !ent is affir!ed, 'ithout costs. Feria, )ablo, )erfecto, *ilado, and +riones, ,,., concur.

Se()r)*e O(+,+o, PER&ECTO, J., concurrin 7 .oda(, 'hich is the da( set for the pro!ul ation of this CourtHs decision !i ht be re!e!bered b( future enerations al'a(s 'ith +o(, 'ith ratitude, 'ith pride. .he failure of the hi hest tribunal of the land to do its dut( in this case 'ould have a!ounted to a national disaster. 0e 'ould have refused to share the responsibilit( of causin it b(, 'ittin l( or un'ittin l(, allo'in ourselves to act as tools in a conspirac( to sabota e the !ost i!portant safe uard of the a e-lon patri!on( of our people, the land 'hich destin( of Providence has set aside to be the per!anent abode of our race for unendin enerations. 0e 'ho have children and randchildren, and 'ho expect to leave lon and ra!if(in dendrifor! lines of descendants, could not bear the thou ht of the curse the( !a( flin at us should the da( arrive 'hen our people 'ill be forei ners in their fatherland, because in the crucial !o!ent of our histor( , 'hen the vision of +udicial state!anship de!anded on us the resolution and boldness to affir! and 'ithhold the letter and spirit of the Constitution, 'e faltered. 0e 'ould have prefered heroic defeat to in lorious desertion. Rather than abandon the sacred folds of the banner of our convictions for truth, for +ustice, for racial survival. 0e are happ( to record that this 3upre!e Court turned an i!pendin failure to a lorious success, savin our people fro! a loo!in catastrophe. /n 5ul( B, $%&A, the case of -h Cho #s. .irector of Lands, =&B /ff. 4a9., <AA?, 'as sub!itted for our decision. .he case 'as initiated in the Court of -irst "nstance of .a(abas on 5anuar( $>, $%&;, 'hen an alien, /h Cho, a citi9en of China, applied for title and re istration of a parcel of land located in the residential district of 4uina(an an, .a(abas, 'ith a house thereon. .he #irector of @ands opposed the application, one of the !ain rounds bein that :the applicant, bein a Chinese, is not *ualified to ac*uire public or private a ricultural lands under the provisions of the Constitution.: /n Au ust $), $%&;, 5ud e P. Ma salin rendered decision rantin the application. .he #irector of @ands appealed. "n the brief filed b( 3olicitor 4eneral Ro!an /9aeta, after'ards Associate 5ustice of the 3upre!e Court and no' 3ecretar( of 5ustice, and Assistant 3olicitor 4eneral Rafael A!paro, appellant !ade onl( t'o assi n!ents of error, althou h both raised but one *uestion, the le al one stated in the first assi n!ent of error as follo's7

.he lo'er court erred in declarin the re istration of the land in *uestion in favor of the applicant 'ho, accordin to his o'n voluntar( ad!ission is a citi9en of the Chinese Republic. .he brief 'as acco!panied, as Appendix A, b( the opinion of 3ecretar( of 5ustice 5ose A. 3antos 8 'ho, 'hile Chief 5ustice of the 3upre!e Court, suffered heroic !art(rdo! at the hands of the 5apanese 8 addressed to the 3ecretar( of A riculture and Co!!erce on 5ul( $), $%B%, supportin the sa!e theor( as the one advanced b( the #irector of @ands. .he sa!e le al *uestion raised b( appellant is discussed, not onl( in the brief for the appellee, but also in the briefs of the several a ici curiae allo'ed b( the 3upre!e Court to appear in the case. As a !atter of fact, the case has been sub!itted for final decision of the 3upre!e Court since 5ul( of $%&$, that is, six (ears a o. "t re!ained undecided 'hen the Pacific 0ar bro,e out in #ece!ber, $%&$. After the 3upre!e Court 'as reco ni9ed in the !iddle of $%&), it 'as found that the case 'as a!on those 'hich 'ere destro(ed in -ebruar(, $%&), durin the battle for the liberation of Manila. .he case had to be reconstituted upon !otion of the office of the 3olicitor 4eneral, filed 'ith this Court on 5anuar( $&, $%&A, in 'hich it 'as also pra(ed that, after bein reconstituted, the case be sub!itted for final ad+udication. .he case 'as for the second ti!e sub!itted for decision on 5ul( B, $%&A. After the last sub!ission, it too, the 3upre!e Court !an( da(s to deliberate on the case, especiall( on the le al *uestion as to 'hether an alien !a(, under the Constitution, ac*uire private urban lands. An over'hel!in !a+orit( ans'ered no. But 'hen the decision 'as pro!ul ated on Au ust B$, $%&A, a !a+orit( resolved to i nore the *uestion, not'ithstandin our efforts to have the *uestion, 'hich is vital, pressin and far-reachin , decided once and for all, to dispel definitel( the uncertaint( na'in the conscience of the people. "t has been out lot to be alone in expressin in un!ista,able ter!s our opinion and decision on the !ain le al *uestion raised b( the appellant. .he constitutional *uestion 'as b(-passed b( the !a+orit( because the( 'ere of opinion that it 'as not necessar( to be decided, not'ithstandin the fact that it 'as the !ain and onl( le al *uestion upon 'hich appellant #irector of @ands relied in his appeal, and the *uestion has been al!ost exhaustivel( ar ued in four printed briefs filed b( the parties and the a ici curiae. Assurance 'as, nevertheless, iven that in the next case in 'hich the sa!e constitutional *uestion is raised, the !a+orit( shall !a,e ,no'n their stand on the *uestion. .he next case ca!e 'hen the present one sub!itted to us for decision on -ebruar( B, $%&>. A ain, 'e deliberated on the constitutional *uestion for several da(s. /n -ebruar( 2&, $%&>, the case 'as sub!itted for final vote, and the result 'as that the constitutional *uestion 'as decided a ainst petitioner. .he !a+orit( 'as also over'hel!in . .here 'ere ei ht of us, !ore than t'o-thirds of the 3upre!e Court. /nl( three 5ustices dissented. 0hile the decision 'as bein drafted, so!eho', the 'a( the !a+orit( had voted !ust have lea,ed out. /n 5ul( $;, $%&>, appellant Kriven,o filed a !otion for 'ithdra'al of his appeal, for the evident purpose of preventin the renderin of the !a+orit( decision, 'hich 'ould settle once and for all the alli!portant constitutional *uestion as to 'hether aliens !a( ac*uire urban lots in the Philippines. Appellant chose to ,eep silent as to his reason for filin the !otion. .he 3olicitor 4eneralHs office ave its confor!it( to the 'ithdra'al of the appeal. .his surprisin assent 'as iven 'ithout expressin an(

round at all. 0ould the 3upre!e Court per!it itself to be cheated of its decision voted since -ebruar( 2&, $%&>K #iscussion i!!ediatel( ensued as to 'hether the !otion should be ranted or denied, that is, 'hether this Court should abstain fro! pro!ul atin the decision in accordance 'ith the result of the vote ta,en on -ebruar( 2&, $%&>, as if, after !ore than six (ears durin 'hich the *uestion has been sub!itted for the decision of the hi hest tribunal of the land, the sa!e has failed to for! a definite opinion. After a t'o-da( deliberation, the Chief 5ustice, Mr. 5ustice Paras, Mr. 5ustice Dontiveros, Mr. 5ustice Padilla and and Mr. 5ustice .uason voted to rant the !otion for 'ithdra'al. .hose 'ho voted to den( the !otion 'ere Mr. 5ustice -eria, Mr. 5ustice Pablo, ourselves, Mr. 5ustice Dilado and Mr. 5ustice Ben 9on. .he vote thus resulted in a tie, )-). .he deadloc, resultin fro! the tie should have the effect of den(in the !otion, as provided b( section 2 of Rule )A to the effect that :'here the Court in banc is e*uall( divided in opinion . . . on all incidental !atters, the petition or !otion shall be denied.: And 'e proposed that the rule be co!plied 'ith, and the denial be pro!ul ated. Not'ithstandin this, as Mr. 5ustice Briones 'as then absent, our brethren resolved to ive hi! the opportunit( of castin his vote on the *uestion, althou h 'e insisted that it 'as unnecessar(. #a(s later, 'hen all the !e!bers of the Court 'ere alread( present, a ne' vote 'as ta,en. Mr. 5ustice Briones voted for the denial of the !otion, and his vote 'ould have resulted, as !ust be expected, in A votes for the denial a ainst ) for rantin . But the final result 'as different. 3even votes 'ere cast for rantin the !otion and onl( four 'ere cast for its denial. But then, b( providential desi n or si!pl( b( a happ( stro,e of luc, or fate, on the occasion of the re istration b( the re ister of deeds of Manila of land purchases of t'o aliens, a heated public pole!ic flared up in one section of the press, follo'ed b( controversial speeches, broadcast b( radio, and cul!inatin in the issuance on Au ust $2, $%&>, of Circular No. $2< of the 3ecretar( of 5ustice 'hich reads as follo's7 ./ A@@ RE4"3.ER /- #EE#37 Para raph ) of Circular No. $&, dated Au ust 2), $%&), is hereb( a!ended so as to read as follo's7 ):=a?. "nstru!ents b( 'hich private real propert( is !ort a ed in favor of an( individual, corporation, or association for a period not exceedin five (ears, rene'able for another five (ears, !a( be accepted for re istration. =3ection $, Republic Act No. $B<.? :=b?. #eeds or docu!ents b( 'hich private residential, co!!ercial, industrial or other classes of urban lands, or an( ri ht, title or interest therein is transferred, assi ned or encu!bered to an alien, 'ho is not an ene!( national, !a( be re istered. 3uch classes of land are not dee!ed included 'ithin the purvie' of the prohibition contained in section ), Article 6""" of the Constitution a ainst the ac*uisition or holdin of &pri#ate a'ricultural land& b( those 'ho are not *ualified to hold or ac*uire lands of the public do!ain. .his is in confor!it( 'ith /pinion No. 2<&, series of $%&$, of the 3ecretar( of 5ustice and 'ith the practice consistentl( follo'ed for nearl( ten (ears since the Constitution too, effect on Nove!ber $), $%B).

:=c?. #urin the effectivit( of the Executive A ree!ent entered into bet'een the Republic of the Philippines and the 4overn!ent of the Fnited 3tates on 5ul( &, $%&A, in pursuance of the so-called Parit( A!end!ent to the Constitution, citi9ens of the Fnited 3tates and corporations or associations o'ned or controlled b( such citi9ens are dee!ed to have the sa!e ri hts as citi9ens of the Philippines and corporations or associations o'ned or controlled b( such are dee!ed to have the sa!e ri hts as citi9ens of the Philippines and corporations or associations o'ned or controlled b( citi9ens of the Philippines in the ac*uisition of all classes of lands in the Philippines, 'hether of private o'nership or pertainin to the public do!ain.: R/MAN Secretary of ,ustice Para raph ) of Circular No. $& dated Au ust 2), $%&), a!ended b( the above is as follo's7 #eeds or other docu!ents b( 'hich a real propert(, or a ri ht, or title thereto, or an interest therein, is transferred, assi ned or encu!bered to an alien, 'ho is not ene!( national, !a( be entered in the pri!ar( entr( boo,1 but, the re istration of said deeds or other docu!ents shall be denied 8 unless andMor until other'ise specificall( directed b( a final decision or order of a co!petent court 8 and the part( in interest shall be advised of such denial, so that he could avail hi!self of the ri ht to appeal therefro!, under the provisions of section 2;; of the Revised Ad!inistrative Code. .he denial of re istration of shall be predicated upon the prohibition contained in section ), Article 6""" =for!erl( Article 6""? of the Constitution of the Philippines, and sections $22 and $2B of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, the for!er as a!ended b( the Co!!on'ealth Act No. A$). .he pole!ic found echo even in the /l(!pic serenit( of a cloistered 3upre!e Court and the final result of lon and tense deliberation 'hich ensued is concisel( recorded in the follo'in resolution adopted on Au ust 2%, $%&>7 "n Kriven,o #s. Re ister of #eeds, Cit( of Manila, @-AB;, a case alread( sub!itted for decision, the appellant filed a !otion to 'ithdra' his appeal 'ith the confor!it( of the adverse part(. After full discussion of the !atter speciall( in relation to the CourtHs discretion =Rule )2, section &, and Rule )<?, Mr. 5ustice Paras, Mr. 5ustice Dilado, Mr. 5ustice Ben 9on, Mr. 5ustice Padilla and Mr. 5ustice .ua9on voted to rant, 'hile the Chief 5ustice, Mr. 5ustice -eria, Mr,. 5ustice Pablo, Mr. 5ustice Perfecto and Mr. 5ustice Briones voted to den( it. A redeliberation 'as conse*uentl( had, 'ith the sa!e result. .hereupon Mr. 5ustice Paras proposed that Mr. 5ustice Dontiveros be as,ed to sit and brea, the tie1 but in vie' of the latterHs absence due to illness and petition for retire!ent, the Court b( a vote of seven to three did not approve the proposition. .herefore, under Rule )A, section 2, the !otion to 'ithdra' is considered denied. Mr. 5ustice Padilla states that in his opinion the tie could not have the effect of overrulin the previous vote of seven a ainst four in favor of the !otion to 'ithdra'. Mr. 5ustice Paras states7 5ustice Dontiveros is a'are of and conversant 'ith the controvers(. De has voted once on the !otion to 'ithdra' the appeal. De is still a !e!ber of the Court /LAE.A

and, on a !o!entHs notice, can be present at an( session of the Court. @ast !onth, 'hen all the !e!bers 'ere present, the votes on the !otion stood > to &. No', in the absence of one !e!ber, on reconsideration, another chan ed his vote resultin in a tie. 3ection 2 of Rule )A re*uires that all efforts be exerted to brea, a deadloc, in the votes. " deplore the inabilit( of the !a+orit( to a ree to !( proposition that Mr. 5ustice Dontiveros be as,ed to participate in the resolution of the !otion for 'ithdra'al. " hold it to be funda!ental and necessar( that the votes of all the !e!bers be ta,en in cases li,e this. Mr. 5ustice Perfecto stated, for purposes of co!pleteness of the narration of facts, that 'hen the petition to 'ithdra' the appeal 'as sub!itted for resolution of this Court t'o da(s after this petition 'as filed, five +ustices voted to rant and five others voted to den(, and expressed the opinion that since then, accordin to the rules, the petition should have been considered denied. 3aid first vote too, place !an( da(s before the one alluded to b( Mr. 5ustice Padilla. Mr. 5ustice .uason states7 .he !otion to 'ithdra' the appeal 'as first voted upon 'ith the result that ) 'ere rantin and ) for denial. Mr. 5ustice Briones 'as absent and it 'as decided to 'ait for hi!. 3o!e ti!e later, the sa!e sub+ect 'as deliberated upon and a ne' votin 'as had, on 'hich occasion all the $$ +ustices 'ere present. .he votin stood > for allo'in the dis!issal of the appeal and & a ainst. Mr. 5ustice Perfecto and Mr. 5ustice Briones expressed the intention to put in 'ritin their dissents. Before these dissents 'ere filed, about one !onth after'ards, 'ithout an( previous notice the !atter 'as brou ht up a ain and re-voted upon1 the result 'as ) to ). Mr. 5ustice Dontiveros, 'ho 'as ill but !i ht have been able to attend if advised of the necessit( of his presence, 'as absent. As the votin thus stood, Mr. 5ustice DontiverosH vote 'ould have chan ed its result unless he chan ed his !ind, a fact of 'hich no one is a'are. M( opinion is that since there 'as no for!al !otion for reconsideration nor a previous notice that this !atter 'ould be ta,en up once !ore, and since Mr. 5ustice Dontiveros had ever( reason to believe that the !atter 'as over as far as he 'as concerned, this 5usticeHs vote in the penulti!ate votin should, if he 'as not to be iven an opportunit( to recast his vote, be counted in favor of the vote for the allo'ance of the !otion to 'ithdra'. Above all, that opportunit( should not have been denied on rounds of pure technicalit( ne#er invo,ed before. " counted that the proceedin 'as arbitrar( and ille al. .he resolution does not recite all the reasons 'h( Mr. 5ustice Dontiveros did not participate in that last t'o votin s and 'h( it beca!e unnecessar( to 'ait for hi! an( further to attend the sessions of the Court and to cast his vote on the *uestion. Appellant Kriven,o !oved for the reconsideration of the denial of his 'ithdra'al of appeal, alle in that it beca!e !oot in vie' of the rulin !ade b( the 3ecretar( of 5ustice in circular No. $2<, thus ivin us a hint that the latter, 'ittin l( or un'ittin l(, had the effect of tr(in to ta,e a'a( fro! the 3upre!e Court the decision of an i!portant constitutional *uestion, sub!itted to us in a pendin liti ation. 0e denied the !otion for reconsideration. 0e did not 'ant to entertain an( obstruction to the pro!ul ation of our decision. "f the processes had in this case had been iven the publicit( su ested b( us for all the official actuations of this 3upre!e Court, it should have been ,no'n b( the 'hole 'orld that since 5ul(, $%&A, that is, !ore than a (ear a o, the opinion of the !e!bers of this Court had alread( been cr(stalli9ed to

the effect that under the Constitution, aliens are forbidded fro! ac*uirin urban lands in the Philippines, and it !ust have ,no'n that in this case a reat !a+orit( had voted in that sense on -ebruar( 2&, $%&>. .he constitutional *uestion involved in this case cannot be left undecided 'ithout +eopardi9in public interest. .he uncertaint( in the public !ind should be dispelled 'ithout further dela(. 0hile the doubt a!on the people as to 'hat is the correct ans'er to the *uestion re!ains to be dissipated, there 'ill be uneasiness, under!inin public !orale and leadin to evils of unpredictable extent. .his 3upre!e .ribunal, b( over'hel!in !a+orit(, alread( ,no's 'hat the correct ans'er is, and should not 'ithhold and ,eep it for itself 'ith the sa!e 9ealousness 'ith 'hich the ancient fa!ilies of the Eu!olpides and Ker(ces 'ere ,eepin the Eleusinian !(steries. .he oracle of #elphus !ust spea, so that the people !a( ,no' for their uidance 'hat destin( has in store for the!. .he reat *uestion as to 'hether the land be*ueathed to us b( our forefathers should re!ain as one of the !ost cherished treasures of our people and trans!itted b( inheritance to unendin enerations of our race, is not a ne' one. .he lon chain of land- rabbin invasions, con*uests, depredations, and colonial i!perialis! recorded in the dar,est and bloodiest pa es of histor( fro! the bellicose enterprises of the Dittites in the plains of old Ass(ria, irri ated b( the 'aters of the .i ris and Euphrates, and the invasion of E (pt b( the D(,sos, up to the con*uests of Dernan Cortes and Pi9arro, the achieve!ents of Cecil Rhodes, and the for!ation of the 3panish, Portu uese, #utch, -rench and 4er!an colonial e!pires, had !an( of its iron lin,s for ed in our soil since Ma ellan, the reatest navi ator of all histor(, had set foot at @i!asa'a and paid, for his darin enterprises, 'ith his life at the hands of @apulapuHs !en in the battle of Mactan. 3ince then, al!ost four centuries a o, our people have continuousl( been en a ed in an unrelentless stru le to defend the national patri!on( a ainst the a ressive onslau hts of forei ners bent on rabbin our lands. -irst ca!e the 3panish enco enderos and other ratuitous concessioners 'ho 'ere ranted b( the 3panish cro'n i!!ense areas of land. "!!ediatel( ca!e the friars and other reli ious corporations 'ho, not'ithstandin their sacred vo' of povert(, felt their reed 'hetted b( the bountiful opportunities for eas( and unscrupulous enrich!ent. .a,in advanta e of the uncontrollable reli ious leadership, on one side, and of the Christian virtues of obedience, resi nation, hu!ilit(, and credulit( of a people 'ho, after conversion to Catholicis!, e!braced 'ith tacit faith all its tenets and practiced the! 'ith the lo(alt( and fidelit( of persons still i!!une fro! the disappoint!ents and bitterness caused b( the vices of !odern civili9ation, the forei n reli ious orders set aside all co!punction to ac*uire b( foul !eans !an( lar e estates. .hrou h the practice of confession and other !eans of !oral inti!idation, !ostl( based on the eternal tortures of hell, the( 'ere able to obtain b( donation or b( 'ill the lands of !an( si!ple and credulous Catholics 'ho, in order to con*uer the eternal bliss of heaven, renounced all their propert( in favor of reli ious orders and priests, !an( under the uise of chaplaincies or other apparentl( reli ious purposes, leavin in destitute their decendants and relatives. .hus bi reli ious landed estates 'ere for!ed, and under the s(ste! unbearable ini*uities 'ere co!!itted. .he case of the fa!il( of Ri9al is +ust an index of the situation, 'hich, under the !oral leadership of the hero, finall( drove our people into a national revolution not onl( a ainst the 3panish soverei nt( under 'hich the social cancer had ro'n to unli!ited proportions. Profitin fro! the lessons of histor(, the #ele ates to our Constitutional Convention felt it their dut( to insert in the funda!ental la' effective uarantees for conservin the national patri!on(, the 'isdo! of 'hich cannot be disputed in a 'orld divided into nations and nationalities. "n the sa!e 'a( that scientists and technicians resorted to radar, sonars, ther!istors and other lon ran e detection devices

to stave off far-a'a( ene!( attac,s in 'ar, said #ele ates set the uarantees to 'ard off open inroads or devious incursions into the national patri!on( as a !eans of insurin racial safet( and survival. 0hen the ideal of one 'orld should have been translated into realit(, those uarantees !i ht not be needed and our people !a( eli!inate the!. But in the !eanti!e, it is our inescapable devoir, as the ulti!ate uardians of the Constitution, never to ne lect the enforce!ent of its provisions 'henever our action is called upon in a case, li,e the one no' before us. /ne of the funda!ental purposes of the overn!ent established b( our Constitution is, in its ver( 'ords, that it :shall conserve and develop the patri!on( of the nation.: .hat !andate is addressed to all depart!ents and branches of our overn!ent, 'ithout excludin this 3upre!e Court. .o !a,e !ore specific the !andate, Article 6""" has been inserted so as to avoid all doubt that all the natural resources of the countr( are reserved to -ilipino citi9ens. /ur land is the !ost i!portant of our natural resources. .hat land should be ,ept in the hands of our people until, b( constitutional a!end!ent, the( should decide to renounce that a e-lon patri!on(. 3ave b( hereditar( succession 8 the onl( exception allo'ed b( the Constitution 8 no forei ner !a( b( an( !eans ac*uire an( land, an( ,ind of land, in the Philippines. .hat 'as the over'hel!in senti!ent prevailin in the Constitutional Convention, that 'as the overpo'erin desire of the reat !a+orit( of the #ele ates, that 'as the do!inatin thou ht that 'as intended to be expressed in the reat docu!ent, that 'as 'hat the Co!!ittee on 3t(le 8 the drafter of the final text 8 has 'ritten in the Constitution, and that 'as 'hat 'as sole!nl( ratified in the plebiscite b( our people, 'ho then 'ere ran,lin b( the sore spot of ille all( 5apani9ed #avao. .he ur enc( of settlin once and forever the constitutional *uestion raised in this case cannot be overe!phasi9ed. "f 'e should decide this *uestion after !an( urban lots have been transferred to and re istered in the na!e of alien purchasers, a situation !a( be created in 'hich it 'ill be hard to nullif( the transfers and the nullification !a( create co!plications and proble!s hi hl( distasteful to solve. .he 4eor ia case is an ob+ective lesson upon 'hich 'e can !irror ourselves. -ro! pa es 22 and 2B of the boo, of Charless P. Curtiss, 5r. entitled :@ions Fnder the .hrone,: 'e *uote the follo'in 7 "t is of interest that it see!s to have happened chiefl( in i!portant cases. -letcher #s. Pec,, in $<$;, is the stoc, exa!ple. .hat 'as the first case in 'hich the Court held a state statute void. "t involved a national scandal. .he $>%) le islature of 4eor ia sold its 'estern lands, !ost of Alaba!a and Mississippi, to speculators. Perhaps it 'as the reatest real estate steal in our histor(. .he purchase price 'as onl( half a !illion dollars. .he next le islature repealed the statute for fraud, the briber( of le islator, but not before the land co!panies had co!pleted the deal and unloaded. B( that ti!e, and increasin l( soon after'ards, !ore and !ore people had bou ht, and their title 'as in issue. Eleven !illion of the acres had been bou ht for eleven cents an acre b( leadin citi9ens of Boston. Do' could the( clear their titleK Alexander Da!ilton ave an opinion, that the repeal of the rant 'as void under the Constitution as an i!pair!ent of the obli ation of a contract. But could the( not et a decision fro! the 3upre!e CourtK Robert -letcher of Anhirst, Ne' Da!pshire, had bou ht fifteen thousand acres fro! 5ohn Pec, of Boston. De sued Pec,, and he 'on. -letcher appealed. Plainl( it 'as a friendl( suit. Marshall 'as nobod(Hs fool. De told

Cranch that the Court 'as reluctant to decide the case :as it appeared !anifestl( !ade up for the purpose of ettin the CourtHs +ud !ent.: 5ohn Juinc( Ada!s so reports in his diar(. Net Marshall decided it, and he held the repeal void, +ust as Da!ilton said it 'as. :.he fact that Marshall rendered an opinion, under the circu!stances,: sa(s Beverid e, :is one of the finest proofs of his reatness. A 'ea,er !an than 5ohn Marshall, and one less 'ise and coura eous, 'ould have dis!issed the appeal.: .hat !a( be, but it 'as the act of a state!an, not of a +ud e. .he Court has al'a(s been able to overco!e its +udicial diffidence on state occasions. 0e see fro! the above ho' !illions of acres of land 'ere stolen fro! the people of 4eor ia and due to le al technicalities the people 'ere unable to recover the stolen propert(. But in the case of 4eor ia, the lands had fallen into A!erican hands and althou h the scandal 'as of i antic proportions, no national disaster ensued. "n our case if our lands should fall into forei n hands, althou h there !a( not be an( scandal at all, the catastrophe sou ht to be avoided b( the #ele ates to our Constitutional Convention 'ill surel( be in no re!ote offin . 0e conclude that, under the provisions of the Constitution, aliens are not allo'ed to ac*uire the o'nership of urban or residential lands in the Philippines and, as conse*uence, all ac*uisitions !ade in contravention of the prohibitions since the funda!ental la' beca!e effective are null and void per se and ab initio. As all public officials have s'orn, and are dut( bound, to obe( and defend the Constitution, all those 'ho, b( their functions, are in char e of enforcin the prohibition as laid do'n and interpreted in the decision in this case, should spare no efforts so that an( and all violations 'hich !a( have ta,en place should be corrected. 0e decide, therefore, that, upon the above pre!ises, appellant Alexander A. Kriven,o, not bein a -ilipino citi9en, could not ac*uire b( purchase the urban or residential lot here in *uestion, the sale !ade in his favor b( the Ma dalena Estate, "nc. bein null and void ab initio, and that the lo'er court acted correctl( in renderin the appealed decision, 'hich 'e affir!. %#LA!O, J., concurrin 7 Fpon appellantHs !otion to 'ithdra' his appeal herein 'ith the confor!it( of the 3olicitor 4eneral in behalf of appellee, indul in , at that ti!e, all possible intend!ents in favor of another depart!ent, " ulti!atel( voted to rant the !otion after the !atter 'as finall( deliberated and voted upon. But the votes of the ten 5ustices participatin 'ere evenl( divided, and under Rule )2, section &, in relation, 'ith Rule )A, section 2, the !otion 'as denied. .he resolution to den( 'as adopted in the exercise of the courtHs discretion under Rule )2, section &, b( virtue of 'hich it has discretion to den( the 'ithdra'al of the appeal even thou h both appellant and appellee a ree upon the 'ithdra'al, 'hen appelleeHs brief has been filed. Fnder the principle that 'here the necessar( nu!ber have concurred in an opinion or resolution, the decision or deter!ination rendered is the decision or deter!ination of the court =2 C.5.3., 2%A?, the resolution den(in the !otion to 'ithdra' the appeal 'as the resolution of the court. Pursuant to Rule )A, section 2, 'here the court in banc is e*uall( divided in opinion, such a !otion :shall be denied.: As a necessar( conse*uence, the court as to decide the case upon the !erits.

After all, a consistent advocate and defender of the principle of separation of po'ers in a overn!ent li,e ours that " have al'a(s been, " thin, that under the circu!stances it is 'ell for all concerned that the Court should o ahead and decide the constitutional *uestion presented. .he ver( doctrine that the three coordinate, co-e*ual and independent depart!ents should be !aintained supre!e in their respective le iti!ate spheres, !a,es it at once the ri ht and dut( of each to defend and uphold its o'n peculiar po'ers and authorit(. Public respect for and confidence in each depart!ent !ust be striven for and ,ept, for an( lo'erin of the respect and di!inution of that confidence 'ill in the sa!e !easure ta,e a'a( fro! the ver( usefulness of the respective depart!ent to the people. -or this reason, " believe that 'e should avert and avoid an( tendenc( in this direction 'ith respect to this Court. " a! one of those 'ho presu!e that Circular No. $2<, dated Au ust $2, $%&>, of the 3ecretar( of 5ustice, 'as issued in ood faith. But at the sa!e ti!e, that declaration in sub-para raph =b? of para raph ) of Circular No. $&, 'hich 'as alread( a!ended, to the effect that private residential, co!!ercial, industrial or other classes of urban lands :are not dee!ed included 'ithin the purvie' of the prohibition contained in section ), Article 6""", of the Constitution:, !ade at a ti!e 'hen the selfsa!e *uestion 'as pendin decision of this Court, ives rise to the serious dan er that should this Court refrain fro! decidin said *uestion and ivin its o'n interpretation of the constitutional !andate, the people !a( see in such an attitude an abandon!ent b( this Court of a bounden dut(, peculiarl( its o'n, to decide a *uestion of such a !o!entous transcedence, in vie' of an opinion, iven in advance of its o'n decision, b( an officer of another depart!ent. .his 'ill naturall( detract in no s!all de ree fro! public respect and confidence to'ards the hi hest Court of land. /f course, none of us 8 the other overn!ental depart!ents included 8 'ould desire such a situation to ensue. " have distinctivel( noticed that the decision of the !a+orit( is confined to the constitutional *uestion here presented, na!el(, :'hether or not an alien under our Constitution !a( ac*uire residential land.: =/pinion, p. 2? @eases of residential lands, or ac*uisition, o'nership or lease of a house or buildin thereon, for exa!ple, are not covered b( the decision. 0ith these preli!inar( re!ar,s and the state!ent of !( concurrence in the opinion abl( 'ritten b( the Chief 5ustice, " have si ned said decision. -R#ONES, M., confor!e7 Esto( confor!e en un todo con la ponencia, a la cual no e puede aCadir ni *uitar nada, tal es su acabada ( co!pacta elaboracion. Escribo, sin e!bar o, esta opinion separada nada !as *ue para unas observaciones, particular!ente sobre ciertas fases extraordinarias de este asunto harto sin ular ( extraordinario. ". Confor!e se relata en la concurrencia del Ma istrado 3r. Perfecto, despues de laboriosas deliberaciones este asunto se puso final!ente a votacion el 2& de -ebrero de este aCo, confir!andose la sentencia apelada por una buena !a(oria. En al unos co!entarios adelantados por cierta parte de la prensa 8 i!paciencia *ue solo puede hallar explicacion en un nervioso ( excesivo celo en la vi ilancia de los intereses publicos, !axi!e tratandose, co!o se trata, de la conservacion del patri!onio nacional 8 se ha hecho la pre unta de por *ue se ha de!orado la pro!ul acion de la sentencia, habiendose votado el asunto todavia desde case co!ien9os del aCo.

A si!ple vista, la pre unta tiene +ustificacion1 pero bien considerados los hechos se vera *ue no ha habido de!ora en el presente caso, !ucho !enos una de!ora desusada, alar!ante, *ue autorice ( +ustifi*ue una critica contra los !etodos de traba+o de esta corte. El curso se uido por el asunto ha sido nor!al, ba+o las circunstancias. En realidad, no (an en esta Corte ahora, sino aun en el pasado, antes de la uerra, hubo !as lentitud en casos no tan dificiles ni tan co!plicados co!o el *ue nos ocupa, en *ue las cuestiones planteadas ( discutidas no tenian la densidad constitucional ( +uridica de las *ue se discuten en el presente caso. Da( *ue tener en cuenta *ue desde el 2& de -ebrero en *ue se voto final!ente el asunto hasta el $.; de Abril en *ue co!en9aron las vacaciones +udiciales, no habian transcurrido !as *ue B& dias1 ( cuando se reanudaron for!al!ente las sesiones de esta Corte en 5ulio se suscito un incidente de lo !as extraordinario 8 incidente *ue practica!ente vino a i!pedir, a parali9ar la pronta pro!ul acion de la sentencia. Me refiero a la !ocion *ue el $; de 5ulio persentaron los abo ados del apelante pidiendo per!iso para retirar su apelacion. @o sorpredente de esta !ocion es *ue viene redactada escueta!ente, sin explicar el por *ue de la retirada, ni expresar nin un funda!ento. Pero lo !as sorpredente todavia es la confor!idad dada por el Procurador 4eneral, ta!bien escueta e incere!oniosa!ente. #i o *ue es sorprendente la retirada de la apelacion por*ue pocos casos he visto *ue ha(an sido ar uidos con tanta ener iaa, tanto interes ( tanto celo por la parte apelante co!o este *ue nos ocupa. @os abo ados del apelante no solo presentaron un ale ato concien9udo de B& pa inas, sino *ue cuando se lla!o a vista el asunto infor!aron verbal!ente ante esta Corte ar u!entando vi orosa ( extensa!ente sobre el caso. El Procurador 4eneral, por su parte, ha presentado un ale ato i ual!ente denso, de B$ pa inas, en *ue se discuten acabada!ente, hasta el punto !axi!o de saturacion ( a ota!iento, todos los an ulos de la for!idable cuestion constitutional ob+eto de este asunto. .a!bien infor!o el Procurador 4eneral verbal!ente ante esta Corte, entablando fuerte lid con los abo ados del apelante. Con la !ocion de retirada de la apelacion se hubo de retardar necesaria!ente la pro!ul acion de la sentencia, pues traba+osas deliberaciones fueron necesarias para resolver la cuestion, dividiendose casi por i ual los !ie!bros de la Corte sobre si debia o no per!itirse la retirada. Dabia unani!idad en *ue ba+o la re la )2, seccion &, del Re la!ento de los .ribunales tenia!os absoluta discrecion para conceder o dene ar la !ocion, toda ve9 *ue los ale atos estaban so!etidos desde hacia tie!po, el asunto estaba votado ( no faltaba !as *ue la fir!a ( pro!ul acion de la decision +unta!ente con las disidencias. 3in e!bar o, al unos Ma istrados opinaban *ue la discrecion debia e+ercitarse en favor de la retirada en virtud de la practica de evitar la aplicacion de la Constitucion a la solucion de un liti io sie!pre *ue se puede sentenciarlo de otra !anera. =Entre los Ma istrados *ue pensaban de esta !anera se incluian al unos *ue en el fundo del asunto estaban a favor de la confir!acion de la sentencia apelada, es decir, creian *ue la Constitucion prohibe a los extran+eros la ad*uisicion a titulo do!inical de todo enero de propiedad in!ueble, sin excluir los solares residenciales, co!erciales e industriales.? Pero otros Ma istrados opinaban *ue en el estado tan avan9ado en *ue se hallaba el asunto los dictados del interes publico ( de la sana discrecion re*uerian i!periosa!ente *ue la cuestion se atacase ( decidiese frontal!ente1 *ue si una !a(oria de esta Corte estaba convencida, co!o al parecer lo estaba, de *ue existia esa interdiccion constitucional contra la facultad ad*uisitiva de los extran+eros, nuestro claro deber era apresurarnos a dar pleno ( positivo cu!pli!iento a la Constitucion al presentarse la pri!era oportunidad1 *ue el !eollo del asunto, la lis ota era eso 8 la interdiccion constitucional 8 1 por tanto, no habia otra !anera de decidirlo !as *ue aplicando la Constitucion1 obrar de otra !anera seria desercion, abandono de un deber +urado.

Asi estaban las deliberaciones cuando ocurre otro incidente !ucho !as extraordinario ( sorprendente todavia *ue la retirada no explicada de la apelacion con la insolita confor!idad del Procurador 4eneral1 al o asi co!o si de un cielo sereno, sin nubes, ca(era de pronto un bolido en !edio de nosotros, en !edio de la Corte7 !e refiero a la circular nu!. $2< del 3ecretario de 5usticia expedida el $2 de A osto proxi!o pasado, esto es, B2 dias despues de presentada la !ocion de retirada de la apelacion. Esa circular se cita co!prensiva!ente en la ponencia ( su texto se copia inte ra!ente en la concurrencia del Ma istrado 3r. Perfecto1 asi *ue !e creo excusado de transcibirla in toto. En breves ter!inos, la circular refor!a el parrafo ) de la circular nu!. $& del !is!o #eparta!ento de 5usticia de fecha 2) de A osto, $%&), ( levanta la prohibicion o interdiccion sobre el re istro e inscripcion en el re istro de la propiedad de las :escrituras o docu!entos en virtud de los cuales terrenos privados residencias, co!erciales, industriales u otras clases de terrenos urbanos, o cual*uier derecho, titulo o interes en ellos, se transfieren, ceden o ravan a un extran+ero *ue no es nacional ene!i o.: En otras palabras, el 3ecretario de 5usticia, por !edio de esta circular de+aba sin efecto la prohibicion contenida en lacircular nu!. $& del !is!o #eparta!ento 8 la prohibicion *ue precisa!ente ataca el apelante Kriven,o en el asunto *ue tene!os ante Nos 8 ( authori9aba ( ordenaba a todoslos Re istradores de .itulos en -ilipinas para *ue inscribiesen las escrituras o docu!entos de venta, hipoteca o cual*uier otro rava!en a favor de extran+eros, sie!pre *ue no se tratase de terrenos publicos o de :terrenos privados a ricolas,: es decir, sie!pre *ue los terrenos ob+eto de la escritura fuesen :residenciales, co!erciales e industriales.: @a co!paracion de esa circular con un bolido caido subita!enteen !edio de la Corte no es un si!ple tropo, no esuna !era i!a en retorica1 refle+a una verdadera realidad.Esa circular, al dero ar la prohibicion decretada en elparrafo ) de la circular nu!. $& 8 prohibicion *ue, co!o*ueda dicho, es precisa!ente el ob+eto del presente asunto 8 venia practica!ente a esca!otear la cuestion discutida, lacuestion sub /udice sustra(endola de la +urisdiccion de lostribunales. #icho cruda!ente, el #eparta!ento de 5usticiavenia a arrebatar el asunto de nuestras !anos, delas !anos de esta Corte, anticipandose a resolverlo por si!is!o ( dando efectividad ( vi or in!ediatos a su resolucion!ediante la correspondiente autori9acion a los Re istradoresde .itulos. A la lu9 de esa circular *ueda perfecta!ente explicadala !ocion de retirada de la apelacion consentida insolita!entepor el Procurador 4eneral. O Para *ue esperar ladecision de la Corte 3upre!a *ue acaso podria ser adversaK O No estaba (a esa circular ba+o la cual podian re istrarseahora la ventas de terrenos residenciales, co!erciales oindustriales a extran+erosK Por eso no es extraCo *uelos abo ados del apelante Kriven,o, en su !ocion de $.; de 3eptie!bre, $%&>, pidiendo la reconsideracion de nuestroauto dene ando la retirada de la apelacion, di+eran porpri!era ve9 co!o funda!ento *ue la cuestion (a era si!ple!ente acade!ica = &0uestion is no% oot&? en vista deesa circular ( de la confor!idad del Procurador 4eneralcon la retirada de la apelacion. De a*ui las propias palabras de la !ocion del apelante Kriven,o7 "n vie' of Circular No. $2< of the #epart!ent of 5ustice, dated Au ust $2, $%&>, 'hich a!ends Circular No. $& b( expressl( authori9in the re istration of the sale of urban lands to aliens, and in vie' of the fact that the 3olicitor 4eneral has +oined in the !otion for 'ithdra'al of the appeal, there is no lon er a controvers( bet'een the parties and the *uestion is no' !oot. -or this reason the court no lon er has +urisdiction to act on the case.1 @o !enos *ue se puede decir de esa accion del #eparta!entode 5usticia atravesandose en el ca!ino de los tribunales!ientras un asunto esta sub /udice, es *ue ello no tieneprecedentes, *ue (o sepa, en

los anales de la ad!inistracionde +usticia en -ilipinas en cerca de !edio si lo *ue lleva!osde existencia ba+o un obierno constitucional ( sustancial!ente republicano. Ni aun en los lla!ados dias del "!perio, cuando la soberania a!ericana era !as propensa a !ane+ar el baston 'rueso ( afir!ar vi orosa!ente losfueros de su poder ( autoridad, se vio +a!as a un departa!ento de 5usticia o a al una de sus dependencias entro!eterseen el e+ercicio ordenado por los tribunales de su+urisdiccion ( co!petencia. Era una tradicion fir!a!enteestablecida en las esfersas del Poder E+ecutivo 8 tradicioninviolada e inviolable 8 !axi!e en el #eparta!ento de 5usticia ( en la -iscalia 4eneral, el inhibirse de expresar al unaopinion sobre un asunto (a so!etido a los tribunales, excepto cuando venian lla!ados a hacerlo, en representaciondel obierno, en los tra!ites de un liti io, civil o cri!inal,propia!ente planteado ante dichos tribunales. -uera deestos casos, la inhibicion era tradicional!ente absoluta,observada con la devocion ( la escrupulosidad de un rito.N la ra9on era !u( sencilla7 ha!as se *ueria estorbar nientorpecer la funcion de los tribunales de +usticia, loscuales, ba+o la carta or anica ( las le(es, tenian absolutoderecho a actuar con !axi!o dese!bara9o, libres de todain erencia extraCa. Esto se hi9o ba+o la @e( Cooper1 estose hi9o ba+o la @e( 5ones1 ( esto se hi9o ba+o la @e( .(din s-Mc#uffie, la le( or anica del Co!!on'ealth. Creo *ue el pueblo filipino tiene derecho a *ue eso !is!o se ha a ba+o el obierno de la Republica, *ue es su(o, *ue es de su propia hechura. P No faltaba !as *ue los ho!bres de su propia ra9a le nie uen lo *ue no le ne aron obernantesde otra ra9aQ No se nie a la facultad de supervision *ue tiene el #eparta!ento de 5usticia sobre las oficinas ( dependencias*ue caen ba+o su +urisdiccion, entre ellas las varias oficinasde re istro de la propiedad en Manila ( en las provincias..a!poco se nie a la facultad *ue tiene dicho #eparta!entopara expedir circulares, (a de caracter pura!ente ad!inistrativo,(a de caracter se!i+udicial, dando instrucciones,v r., a los re istradores acerca de co!o deben dese!penarsus funciones. #e hecho la circular nu!. $& de 2) deA osto, $%&), es de esta ulti!a naturale9a7 en ella seinstru(e ( ordena a los re istradores de titulos *ue nore istren ni inscriban ventas de propiedad in!ueble aextran+eros, asi sean terrenos residenciales, co!erciales oindustriales. Pero la facultad lle a solo hasta alli1 fuerade esas fronteras el ca!po (a es pura ( exclusiva!ente+udicial. Cuando una deter!inada circular del #eparta!entoa los re istradores es co!batida o puesta en telade +uicio ante los tribunales, ora por funda!entosconstitucionales, ora por ra9ones !era!ente le ales, (a no esel #eparta!ento el *ue tiene *ue deter!inar o resolverla disputa, sino *ue eso co!pete en absoluto a los tribunalesde +usticia. Asi lo dispone ter!inante!ente el articulo2;; del Codi o Ad!inistrativo. 3e un este articulo, elasunto o disputa debe elevarse en for!a de consulta a la 3ala Cuarta del 5u9 ado de Pri!era "nstancia de Manila.@a le( no confiere nin una facultad al #eparta!ento de5usticia para en+uiciar ( decidir el caso. N cuando unaparte no estuviere confor!e con la decision de la 3alaCuarta, ella puede al9arse de la sentencia para ante laCorte 3upre!a. De a*ui el texto inte ro del articulo 2;; del Codi o Ad!inistrativo7 3EC. 2;;. Reference of doubtful atter to /ud'e of fourth branch of Court of First "nstance at Manila. 8 0hen the re ister of deeds is in doubt 'ith re ard to the proper step to be ta,en or !e!orandu! to be !ade in pursuance of an( deed, !ort a e, or other instru!ent presented for re istration or 'here an( part( in interest does not a ree 'ith the re ister of deeds 'ith reference to an( such !atter, the *uestion shall be referred to the +ud e of the fourth branch of the Court of -irst "nstance of the Ninth 5udicial #istrict either on the certificate of the re ister of deeds statin the *uestion upon 'hich he is in doubt or upon the su estion in 'ritin of the part( in interest1 and thereupon said +ud e, upon consideration of the !atter as sho'n b( the record certified to hi!, and in case of re istered lands, after notice to the parties

and hearin , shall enter an order prescribin !ade.

the step to be ta,en or !e!orandu! to be

.al es lo *ue ha ocurrido en el presente caso. Kriven,opresento su escritura de co!praventa al Re istrador de laPropiedad de Manila. Este dene o la inscripcion solicitadaen virtud de la prohibicion contenida en la circular nu!.$&. O Jue hi9o Kriven,o entoncesK Elevo acaso el asuntoal #eparta!ento de 5usticiaK No. @o *ue hicieron susabo ados entonces fue presentar una de!anda el 2B de Novie!bre, $%&), contra el Re istrador de .itulos ante la3ala Cuarta del 5u9 ado de Pri!era "nstancia de Manila,nu!erandose dicha de!anda co!o consulta nu!. $2<%1 (cuando esta 3ala decidio el asunto confir!ando la acciondel Re istrador, Kriven,o tra+o a esta Corte la apelacion*ue esta!os considerando. .an ele!ental es esto *ue enla !is!a circular nu!. $& se dice *ue la prohibicion *uedadecretada hasta *ue los tribunales resuelvan lo contrario. De a*ui la fraseolo ia pertinente de dicha circularnu!. $&7 . . . the re istration of said deeds or other docu!ents shall be denied, 8 unless and Mor until other'ise specificall( directed b( a final decision or order of a co!petent court 8 and the part( in interest shall be advised of such denial, so that he could avail hi!self of the ri ht to appeal therefro!, under the provisions of section 2;; of the Revised Ad!inistrative Code. @a posicion de la Corte 3upre!a ante este caso claro (positivo de intro!ision = interference? en sus funciones esde lo !as peculiar. .ene!os en el Re la!ento de los.ribunales al unas disposiciones *ue proveen sancion pordesacato para ciertos actos de intro!ision en el e+ercicio de lasfunciones +udiciales.. Pero se pre untara natural!ente1son aplicables estas disposiciones cuando la intro!isionprocede de un ra!o del poder e+ecutivo, el cual, co!o sesabe, en la !ecanica de los poderes del Estado, es 8 usandoun an licis!o- coi'ual ( coordinado con el poder +udicial,!axi!e si esa intro!ision se ha reali9ado so capa de unacto oficialK Cual*uiera, pues, puede i!a inarse la situaciontre!enda!ente e!bara9osa, inclusive an ustiosa en*ue esta Corte ha *uedado colocada con !otivo de esa intro!ision departa!ental, exponiendose a chocar con otropoder del Estado. En casos recientes en *ue estaban envueltos otros poderes, esta Corte, esti!ando dudosa suposicion constitucional, prefirio adoptar una actitud deele ante inhibicion, de :!anos fuera: = hands-off?, si bienha( *ue hacer constar *ue con la fuerte disidencia deal unos Ma istrados, entre ellos el opinante.3 .ene!os, portanto, un caso de verdadera intro!ision en *ue siendo, porlo !enos, dudosa la facultad de esta Corte para i!poneruna sancion por desacato de acuerdo con el Re la!ento delos .ribunales, le *ueda el unico recurso decente, ordenado7re istrar su excepcion sin a!ba es ni eufe!is!os contrala intro!ision, ( reafir!ar con todo vi or, con toda fir!e9asu independencia. 3e ar u(e con tena9 persitencia *ue debia!os de haberconcedido la !ocion de retirada de la apelacion, por dosra9ones7 =a? por*ue el Procurador 4eneral estaba confor!econ dicha retirada1 =b? para evitar la resolucion delpunto constitucional envuelto, en virtud de la practica,se un se dice, de sosla(ar toda cuestion constitucionalsie!pre *ue se pueda. Respecto de la pri!era ra9on serasuficiente decir *ue el Procurador 4eneral es libre de entraren cual*uiera transaccion sobre un asunto en *ue interviene,pero es evidente *ue su accion no ata no obli a aesta Corte en el e+ercicio de la discrecion *ue le confierela re la, )2, seccion &, del Re la!ento de los .ribunales,*ue re9a co!o si ue7

Rule )2, 3EC. & 8 An appeal !a( be 'ithdra'n as of ri ht at an( ti!e before the filin of appelleHs brief.After that brief is filed the %ithdra%al ay be allo%ed by the court in its discretion. . . . =@as cursivas son nuestras.? Co!o se ve, nuestra discrecion es absoluta7no estacondicionada por la confor!idad o disconfor!idad de una delas partes. N la incondicionalidad de esa discrecion es !asabsoluta e i!perativa alli donde el liti io versa sobre una!ateria *ueno afecta solo a un interes privado, sino *uees de interes publico, co!o el caso presente en *ue el Procurador 4eneral ha transi ido no sobre un asunto su(opersonal o de un cliente particular, sino de un cliente de!ucha !a(or !onta ( si nificacion 8 el pueblo filipino 8 (siendo !ateria del liti io la propiedad del suelo, parte, vitalisi!a del patri!onio nacional *ue nuestro pueblo hacolocado ba+o la salva uardia de la Constitucion. Respecto del se undo funda!ento, o se *ue debia!osper!itir la retirada dela apelacion para no tener *ueresolver la cuestion constitucional disputada, bastara decir*ue la practica, prinsipio o doctrina *ue se invoca, llevaconsi o una salvedad o cualificacion ( es *ue el liti'io se pueda resol#er de otra a1era. O Pode!os sosla(ar elpunto constitucional discutido en el pleito *ue nos ocupaK O Pode!os decidirlo ba+o otra ratio decidendi, esto es, *ueno sea la constitucionalidad o inconstitucionalidad de laventa del in!ueble al apelante Kriven,o, en virtud desucondicion de extran+eroK "ndudable!ente *ue no7 la lis ota, la unica, es la !is!a constitucionalidad de la co!praventa de *ue se trata. Para decidir si al recurrido apelado, Re istrador de .itulos de la Ciudad de Manila,le asiste o no ra9on para dene ar la inscripcion solicitada por el recurrente ( apelante, Kriven,o, la unica disposicionle al *ue se puede aplicar es el articulo 6""", seccion ), dela Constitucion de -ilipinas, invocado por el Re istrador co!o defensa e inserto en el parrafo ) de la circular nu!.$& co!o funda!ento de la prohibicion o interdiccion contrael re istro de las ventas de terreno a extran+eros. Noha( otra le( para el caso. El caso de /h Cho contra el #irector de .errenos&B 4ac. /f., No. B pa . <AA?, *ue se cita en unade las disidencias, es co!pleta!ente diferente. Es verdad*ue alli se planteo ta!bien la cuestion constitucional de *uese trata, por cierto *ue el *ue lo planteaba en no!bre del4obierno era el actual 3ecretario de 5usticia *ue entoncesera Procurador 4eneral, ( lo pleantaba en un sentido absolu!ente concorde con la circular nu!. $&. Pero esta Corte, con la disidencia de al unos Ma istrados, opto porsosla(ar el punot constitucional dene ando el re istro solicitadopor /h Cho, por funda!ento de *ue ba+o la @e(No. 2<>& sobre terrenos de do!inio publico los extran+erosestan excluidos de dichos terrenos1 es decir, *ue el terrenosolicitado se considero co!o terreno publico. O Pode!os hacer la !is!a evasion en el presente caso, aco iendonosa la le( No. 2<>& o a cual*uier otra le(K "ndudable!ente *ue no por*ue nin un Ma istrado de esta Corte, !ucho!enos los disidentes, consideran el terreno recla!ado por Kriven,o co!o terreno publico. @ue o todos los ca!inosestan blo*ueados para nosotros, !enos el ca!ino constitucional.@ue o el se undo funda!ento ale ado paracubrir la evasiva ta!bien debe descartarse total!ente. 3e insinua *ue no debia!os darnos prisa en resolver constitucional ente el presente asunto, puesto *ue puedenpresentarse otros de i ual naturale9a en tie!po no re!oto,( en efecto se cita el caso de Rellosa contra4a' Chee Dun=&% /ff. 4a9., &B&)?, en *ue los ale atos de a!bas partes(a estan so!etidos ( se halla ahora pendiente de decision.Es evidente *ue esto ta!poco ar u(e en favor de la evasiva,en pri!er lu ar, por*ue cuando se le so!ete el deber de iraveri uando en su Escribania si ha( casos de i ual naturale9a, sino *ue los casos se so!eten por orden de prelacion( prioridad de tie!po a !edida *ue esten preparados paracaso debe decidirse por sus propios eritos ( confor!e

ala le( pertinente. @a salvedad o cualificacion de la doctrinao practica *ue se invoca no dice7 :ha( *oe sosla(ar la cuestionconstitucional sie!pre *ue se pueda resolver de otra!anera, reser#ando dicha cuestion constitucional para otro caso1 la salvedad es dentro del !is!o caso. #e otro !odono seria un si!ple soslayo le al, sino *ue seria unsub terfu'io i!propio, indebido, ile al. En el presente caso no ha habido nin una prisa, excesivo celo, co!o se insinua1desde lue o no !a(or prisa *ue en otros asuntos. Elcurso, el rit!o de los tra!ites ha sido nor!al1 en realidad,si ha habido al o, ha sido un poco de parsi!onia, lentitud. O Dabia +ustificacion para de!orar el pronto, rapido pronuncia!ento de nuestro veredicto sobre la for!idablecuestion constitucional debatida, por lo !enos, tan pronto co!o fuese posibleK O Dabia al una ra9on de interespublico para +ustificar una evasivaK Absoluta!entenin una. Por el contrario, nuestro deber ineludible, i!perioso,era for!ular ( pro!ul ar in!ediata!ente ese veredicto. @o debia!os a nuestras conciencias1 lo debia!os, sobretodo, al pais para la tran*uilidad ( conveniencia de todos 8 del pueblo filipino ( de los extran+eros residentes o *uetuvieren voluntad de residir o ne ociar en estas "slas. Asicada cual podria hacer su co!posicion de lu ar, podriaorientarse sin 9o9obras ni !iedo a la incertidu!bre. .antonacionales co!o extran+eros sabrian donde invertir sudinero. .odo lo *ue necesitaba!os era tener dentro de esta Corte una provee la interdiccion de *ue se trata. .uvi!osesa !a(oria cunado se voto por pri!era ve9 este asuntoen -ebrero de este aCo =< contra B?1 la tuvi!os cuandodespues de laboriosas deliberaciones *uedo dene ada la!ocion de retirada de la !a(oria ha(a ca!biado de opinionsobre el fondo de la cuestion1 la tene!os ahora natural!ente.Por tanto, nada hace falta (a para *ue se de lasenal de :lu9 verde: a la pro!ul acion de la sentencia..oda evasiva seira ne li necia, desidia. Es !as7 seriaabandono de un deber +urado, co!o di o en otra parte deesta concurrencia1 ( la Corte 3upre!a natural!ente npha de per!itir *ue se la pueda proferir el car o de *ueha abandonado su puesto privile iado de vi ia, de centinela avan9ado de la Constitucion. No es *ue la Corte 3upre!a, con esto, pretenda tener:un !onopolio de la virtud de sostener ( poner en vi or,o de suplir una deficiencia en la Constitucion,: o *ue se obierno, co!o se insinua en una de las disidencias. Noha( tal cosa. El principio de la supre!acia +udicial no esuna pretension ni !ucho !enos un ade!an de in!odestiao arro ancia, sino *ue es una parte vital de nuestrasinstutuciones, una condicion peculiarisi!a de nuestro siste!a de obierno en *ue la +udicatura, co!o uno de lostres poderes del Estado, corresponde la facultad exclusivade disponer de los asuntos +udiciales. Con respecto a losasuntos de re istro particular!ente esa facultad exclusivano solo se infiere del principio de la supre!acia +udicial, sino *ue, co!o (a se ha dicho en otra parte de esta concurrencia,se halla especifica!ente estutuida en el articulo 2;;del Codi o Ad!inistrativo transcrito arriba. Este articuloconfiere +urisdiccion exclusiva a los tribunales de +usticiapara decidir las cuestiones sobre re istro, ( esto lo ha reconocido el !is!o #eparta!ento de 5usticia en su circularnu!. $& al referir tales cuestiones a la deter!inacion oarbitrio +udicial en casos de duda o liti io. Es in+ustificada la insinuacion de *ue, al parecer, la !a(oria dene o la retirada de la apelacion no tanto para resolver el asunto en su fondo o por sus !eritos, co!o paraenrvar los efectos de la circular nu!. Q2< del #eparta!entode 5usticia, pues Kriven,o, el apelante, habria anado entonces su pleito no en virtud de una sentencia+udicial, sino pasando por la puerta trasera abierta por esacircular. .a!poco ha( tal cosa. Na repetidas veces seha dicho *ue el presente asunto se habia votado !uchoantes de *ue se expidiese esa circular. @o *ue !ascorrecta!ente podria decirse es *ue antes de la expedicion deesa desafortunada circular poderosas ra9ones de interespublico aconse+aban *ue se dene ase la retirada de la apelacion ( se diese fin al asunto !ediante una sentencia enel fondo, despues de la

expidicion esas ra9ones *uedaroncentuplicadas. @a explicacion es sencilla7 nuestra a*uiescenciaa la reirada hubiera podico interpretarse entoncesco!o *ue nuestra +urisdiccion. Es !as7 hubiera podidointerpretarse co!o una ab(ecta rendicion en la pu na porsostener los fueros de cada ra!ocoi'ual ( coordinado del obierno. Es todavia !as in+ustificada la insinuacion de *ue ladene acion de la retirada de la apelacion e*uivale :a asu!ir *ueel solicitante-apelante ( el Procurador 4eneral sehan confabulado con el #eparta!ento de 5usticia no solopara in erirse en las funciones de esta Corte, sino paraena+enar el patri!onio nacional a los extran+eros.: Estoes inconcebible. @a corte presu!e *ue todos han obradode buena fe, de acuerdo con los dictados de su conciencia.3e ha dene ado la retirada de la apelacion por ra9onespura!ente +uridicas ( ob+ectivas, sin consideracion a los!otivos de nadie. Por ulti!o, esti!o *ue debe rectificarse la asercion de *ueel Ma istrado Dontiveros fue excluido de la votacion *uecul!ino en un e!!pate ( *ue deter!ino el recha9a!ientode la retirada de la apelacion, a tenor de la re la )A, seccion2, Re la!ento de los .ribunales. El Ma istrado Dontiverosno estaba presente en la sesion por estar enfer!o1pero estaban presentes $; Ma istrados, es decir, !as *ueel nu!ero necesario para for!ar 0uoru ( para despacharlos asuntos. @a rueda de la +usticia en la Corte 3upre!a+a!as ha de+ado de rodar por la ausencia de uno o dos!ie!bros, sie!pre *ue hubiese 0uoru . A la votacionprecedieron !u( laboriosas ( vivas deliberaciones. Nin un Ma istrado "la!o la atencion de la Corte hacia la ausencia del 3r. Dontiveros. Nin un Ma istrado pidio *ue se leesperase o lla!ase al 3r. Dontiveros. .odos se confor!aroncon *ue se efectuase la votacion, no obstante la ausencia del 3r. Dontiveros. En efecto, se hace la votacion( resulta un e!pate, es decir, ) contra ). #e acuerdo conla re la )A, *uedaba natural!ente dene rada la !ocion deretirada. O#onde esta, pues, la :ile alidad:, donde la:arbitrariedad:K Al unos dias despues se presento una !ocion de reconsideracion,la !is!a en *ue (a se ale aba co!o nda!entoel hecho de *ue la cuestion era si!ple!ente acade!ica = oot 0uestion? por la confor!idad del Procurador 4eneralcon la retirada ( por la circular nu!. Q2< del #eparta!ento de 5usticia. .a!poco estaba presente el 3r. Dontiverosal so!eterse la !ocion, la cual fue de nuevo dene ada.Pre unto otra ve97 Odonde esta la :arbitrariedad:K Jueculpa tenia la Corte de *ue el 3r. Dontiveros no pudieraestar presente por estar enfer!oK O"ba a detenerse larueda de la +usticia por esoK Conviene, sin e!bar o, hacerconstar *ue sobre el fondo de la cuestion el 3r. Dontiverosera uno de los < *ue habian votado en favor de la confir!acion de la sentencia apelada, es decir, en favor delveredicto de *ue la Contitucion exclu(e a los extra+erosde la propiedad de bienes raices en -ilipinas. "". No *ueda casi nada decir sobre el fondo de lacuestion. .odos los an ulos ( fases de la !is!a estanacabada!ente tratados ( discutidos en la ponencia. Meli!itare, por tanto, a hacer unas cuantas observaciones,unas sobre her!eneutica le al, ( otra sobre historia nacionalconte!poranea, aprovachando en este ulti!o respecto!is re!iniscencias ( !i experiencia co!o hu!ilde !ie!bro*ue fui de la Asa!blea Constitu(ente *ue redacto ( arobola Constitucion de -ilipinas. .oda la cuestion, a !i +uicio, se reduce a deter!inar einterpretar la palabra :a ricola: = a'ricultural? usada enel articulo 6""", seccion ), de la Constitucion. De a*ui eltexto co!pleto de la seccion7

3EC. ). 8 3ave in cases of hereditar( succession, no private a ricultural land shall be transferred or assi ned except to individuals, corporations, or associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public do!ain in the Philippines. O"nclu(e la palabra :a ricultural: a*ui e!pleada los terrenosresidenciales, co!erciales e industrialesK .al es lacuestion7 la !a(oria de esta Corte *ue si1 los disidentesdicen *ue no. Es indudable *ue por ra9ones sanas de her!enuetica le alel articulo 6""" de *ue se trata debe interpretarse co!o untodo ho!o eneo, si!etrico. En otras palabras, los cocablosalli e!pleados deben interpretarse en el sentido de *uetienen un !is!o si nificado. Es absurdo pensar o suponer*ue en el texto de una le(, sobre todo dentro del estrecho!arco de un articulo, un vocablo ten a dos o !as si nificadosdistintos, a !enos *ue la !is!a le( asi to di a expresa!ente. @apresuncion es *ue el le islador si ue ( seatiene a las re las literarias ele!entales. Ahora bien7 el articulo 6""" consta de dos partes 8 lapri!era, *ue trata de los terrenos a ricolas de do!iniopublico, ( la se unda, *ue se a los terrenos a ricolaprivados o partuculares. @a pri!era parte se co!pone de las secciones $ ( 2*ue vinculanla propiedad de los terrenos publicos enel Estado ( disponen *ue solo se pueden ena+enar a favorde ciudadanos filipinos, o de corporaciones o asociacionesen *ue el A; por ciento del cacital, por lo !enos, pertenecea tales ciudadanos. En secciones se e!plea literal!entela frase :public a ricultural land.: @a se unda parte la co!ponen las secciones B ( )7 laseccion B perceptua *ue :the Con ress !a( deter!ine b(la' the si9e of private a ricultural land 'hich individuals,coporations, or associations !a( ac*uire and hold, sub+ectto ri hts existin prior to the enact!ent of such la': 4 1( la seccion ) es la *ue *ueda transcrita !as arriba ( esob+eto del presente liti io. En a!bas secciones se e!plealiteral!ente la frase :private a ricultural land.: No ha( nin una cuestion de *ue la frase :public a riculturalland: e!pleada en la pri!era parte co!prende terrenosresidenciales, co!erciales e industriales1 lo ad!itenlos !is!os abo ados del apelante ( los 3res. Ma istradosdisidentes. N Opor *ue lo ad!itenK 3era por*ue en laConstitucion se define la palabra :a ricultural: aplicadaa terrenos publicos, en el sentido de incluir solaresresidenciales, co!erciales e industrialesK "ndudable!ente*ue no, por*ue en nin una parte de la Constitucion se datal definicion. @o ad!iten por*ue en esta +urisdicciontene!os una serie consistente de sentencias de esta Corte3upre!a en *ue es +urisprudencia fir!a!ente establecidala doctrina de *ue la palabra :a ricultural: usada en la@e( del Con reso de los Estados Fnidos de $%;2 =@e(Cooper? ( en nuestras le(es de terrenos publicos co!prende( abarca solares residenciales, co!erciales, industriales (*ual*uier otra clase de terrenos, excepto forestales (!inerales. 5 Es decir, *ue se aplica a la actual Constitucion de-ilipinas una interpretacion clasica, tradicional, e!bebidaen nuestra +urisprudencia de cerca de !edio si lo. Ahora bien, pre unto7 si la palabra :a ricultural: e!pleadaen la pri!era parte del articulo 6""" tiene talsi nificado 8 ( lo tiene por*ue la Constitucion no da otrodiferente 8 Opor *ue esa !is!a palabra e!pleada en lase unda parte, unas cuantas lineas !as adelante, no hade tener el !is!o si nificadoK O#a acaso la Constitucionuna definicion de la palabra :a ricultural: cuandose refiere a terreno privadoK O#onde esta esa definicionK O/ es *ue se pretende *ue la diferenciacion opera no envirtud

de la palabra :a ricultural:, sino en virtud delvocablo :public: o :private:, se un *ue se trate de terrenopublico o privadoK 3i la intencion de la Ase!blea Constitu(ente fuera eldar a la palabra :a ricultural: aplicada a terreno privadoun si nificado distinto de cuando se refiere a terreno publico, lo hubiese hecho constar asi expresa!ente en el!is!o texto de la Constitucion 3i, co!o se ad!ite, laAse!blea opto por no definir la palabra :a ricultural:aplicada a terreno poblico por*ue contaba para ello con ladefinicion clasica establecida en la +urisprudencia, cuandola !is!a Ase!blea ta!poco definio la palabra con relaciona terreno privado, es lo ico inferir *ue tuvo la !is!aintencion, esto es, aplicar la definicion de la +urisprudenciaa a!bos tipos de terreno 8 el publico ( el privado. Pensarde otra !anera podria ser ofensivo, insultante1 podriae*uivaler a decir *ue a*uella Ase!blea estaba co!puestade !ie!bros i norantes, desconocederos de las re las ele!entalesen la tecnica de redaccion le islativa. .uve el honor de partenecer a a*uella Ase!blea co!ouno de los #ele ados por Cebu. .a!bien !e cupo elhonor de partenecer al lla!ado Co!ite de 3iete 8 elco!ite encar ado final!ente de redactar la ponencia dela Constitucion. No di o *ue a*uella Ase!blea estabaco!puesta de sabios, pero indudable!ente no era inferiora nin una otra de su tipo en cual*uiera otra partedel !undo. Alli habia un plantel de buenos abo ados,al unos versados ( especialistas en derecho constitucional.Alli estaba el Presidente de la Fniversidad de -ilipinas#r. Rafael Pal!a1 alli estaba el propio Presidentede la Ase!blea Constitu(ente Don. Claro M. Recto, conlos presti ios de su reconocida cultura +uridica ( hu!anista1 alli estaba ta!bien el #r. 5ose P. @aurel, considerado co!ouna de las pri!eras autoridades en derecho constitucional( politico en nuestro pais. En el Co!ite de 3iete o dePonencia fi uraban el actual Presidente de -ilipinas Don.Manuel Roxas1 el ex-3enador de Cebu Don. -ile!on 3otto1el Don. Iicente 3in son Encarnacion, lider de la !inoria en la pri!era Ase!blea -ilipina, ex!ie!bro de la Co!isionde -"lipinas, ex-3enador ( ex-3ecretario de 4abinete1el ex-Ma istrado de la Corte 3upre!a Don. NorbertoRo!ualde91 el actual 3ecretario de Dacienda Don. Mi uelCuaderno1 ( el ex-#ecano del Cole io de Artes @iberalesde la Fniversidad de -ilipinas, Don. Conrado Benite9. No se puede concebir co!o ba+o la inspiracion ( uiade estas personas pudiera redactarse el texto de un articuloen*ue un vocablo 8 el vocablo :a ricultural: 8 tuviera dosacepciones diferentes7 una, aplicada a terrenos publicos1( otra, aplicada a terrenos privados. Menos se concibe*ue, si fuese esta la intencion, se incurriese en una co!isioni!perdonable7 la o!ision de una definicion especifica, diferenciadora, *ue evitase caos ( confusion en la !ente delos abo ados ( del publico. .eniendo en cuenta la inne ableco!petencia de los #ele ados a la Ase!blea Constitu(ente( de sus liders, lo !as lo ico pensar es *ue alno definir la palabra :a ricultural: ( al no diferenciarsu aplicacion entre terrenos publicos ( privados, lo hicierondelibera!ente, esto es, conla !anifiesta intencion dede+ar entera!ente la interpretacion de la palabra a la lu9de una sola co!un definicin 8 la establecida en la +urisprudenciadel asunto tipico de Mapa contra 4obierno "nsular ( otrossi!ilares =supra?1 es decir, *ue la palabra :a ricultural:,aplicada a terrenos privados, inclu(e ta!bien solaresresidenciales, co!erciales, e industriales. A 'ord or phrase repeated in a statute 'ill bear the sa!e !eanin throu hout the statute, unless a different intention appears. . . . 0here 'ords have been lon used in a technical sense and have been +udiciall( construed to have a certain !eanin , and have been adopted b( the le islature as havin a certain !eanin prior to a particular statute in 'hich the( are used, the rule of construction re*uires that the 'ords used in such statute should be construed accordin to the sense in 'hich the( have been so previousl( used, althou h that

sense !a( var( fro! the strict literal !eanin of the 'ords.: ="" 3utherland, 3tat. Construction, p. >)<.? Pero acaso se di a *ue la Ase!blea Constitu(ente hade+ado sin definir la palabra :a ricultural: referente aterreno particular, dando a entendar con su silencio *ueendosaba la definicion al diccionario o a la usan9a popular.@a suposicion es i ual!ente insostenible. KPor *ueen un caso se entre a la definicion a la +urisprudencia,( por *ue en otro al diccionario, o al habla popularKAparte de *ue los !ie!bros ( diri entes de la Ase!bleaConstitu(ente sabian !u( bien *ue esto causaria unatre!enda confusion. Ni los diccionarios, ni !ucho !enosel len ua+e popular, ofrecen apo(o se uro para una fiel( autori9ada interpretacion. 3i el texto !is!o de la le(,con definiciones especificas ( casuisticas, todavia ofrecedudas a veces Oco!o no el lexico vul ar, con su infinitavariedad de !atices e idiotis!osK Ahora !is!o Ono esta!os presenciando una confusionn,una perple+idadK ODa( acaso unifor!idad en la definicionde lo *ue es un terreno privado a ricolaK No1 cadacual lo define a su !anera. Fno de los disidentesel Ma istrado 3r. .uason to!a su definicion de la palabra :a ricultural : del #iccionario "nternacional de 0ebster *ue dice . . . :of or pertainin to a ricultural connected 'ith, or en a ed in, tilla e1 as the a ricultural class1 a ricultural i!ple!ents, 'a es etc.: .a!bien hacereferncia el !is!o Ma istrado al concepto popular. /trodisidente el Ma istrado 3r. Padilla dice *ue :the ter!private a ricultural land !eans lands privatel( o'neddevoted to cultivation, to the raisin of a riculturalproducts.: El Ma istrado 3r Paras no da nin una definicion1da por definida la palabra :a ricultural:, al parecer, se unel concepto popular. Pero, sobre todo, los abo ados del apelante definen elvocablo de una !anera distinta. 3e un ellos, :land spo,en of as Ra riculturalH naturall( refers to land not onl( susceptible of a ricultural or cultivation but !ore valuable for such than for another purpose, sa( residential,co!!ercial or educational. . . . .he criterion is not!ere susceptibilit( of conversion into a far! but its reater #alue 'hen devoted to one or the other purpose.: #e!ode *ue, se un esta definicion, lo *ue deter!ina la calidaddel terreno es su #alor relati#o, se un *ue se dedi*ue alcultivo, o a residencia, o al co!ercio, o a la industria.@os autores de esta definicion indudable!ente tienen encuenta el hecho de *ue en las afueras de las ciudades existenterrenos i!!ensos *ue desde tie!po in!e!orial se handedicado a la a ricultura, pero *ue se han convertido ensubdivisiones !ultiplicandose su valor en !il por cientosi no !as. #e hecho esos terrenos son a ricolas1 co!o*ue todavia se ven alli los pilapiles ( ciertas partes estancultivadas1 pero en virtud de su ayor #alor para residencia,co!ercio e industria se les a*uiere colocar fuera dela prohibicion constitucional. En verdad, el criterio nopuede ser !as elastico ( convencional, ( denota cuanincierta ( cuan confusa es la situacion a *ue da lu ar latesis del apelante ( de los *ue le sostienen. 3i hubiera!os de hacer depender la definicion de lo*ue es un terreno a ricola del concepto popular ( de losdiccionarios, asi sean los !e+ores ( !as cientifica!ente elaborados O*ue nor!as claras, concretas ( definitivasde diferenciacion podrian establecerseK OPodrian tra9arsefronteras inconfundibles entre lo *ue es a ricola ( lo *uees residencial, co!ercial e industrialK OPodria hacerseuna clasificacion *ue no fuese arbitrariaK "ndudable!ente*ue no. El patron !as usual de diferenciacion es lanaturale9a urbana o rural del terreno1 se considera co!oresidencial, co!ercial e industrial todo lo *ue esta dentrode una urbe, ciudad o poblacion. Pero Oresolveria esto la dificultadK Proporcionaria un patron exacto, cientifico,no arbitrarioK .a!poco. Por *ue dentro de una ciudado poblacio puede haber ( ha( terrenos a ricolas. Co!odi+o !u( bien el Ma istrado 3r. 0illard en el

asunto clasico de Mapa contra 4obierno "nsular, :uno de los inconvenientes de la adopcion de este criterio es *ue es tanva o e indeter!inado, *ue seria !u( dificil aplicarlo enla practica. OJue terrenos son a ricolas por naturale9aK l !is!o -iscal 4eneral, en su ale ato presentado en este asunto, dice7 H@a !ontaCa !as pedre osa ( el suelo !as pobre son susceptible de cultivo !ediante la !ano del ho!breH: =Mapa contra "nsular, $; 5ur. -il.,$<B?. N @ue o el 3r. 0illard aCade las si uietes observacionessu!a!ente petinentes e ilustratives para una correctare solucion del asunto *ue nos ocupa, a saber7 . . . .ales terrenos =a ricolas, *uiere decir? se pueden encontrar dentro de los li!ites de cual*uier ciudad. Da( dentrode la ciudad de Manila, ( en la parte densa!ente poblada de la!is!a, una ran+a experi!ental. Esta es por su naturale9a a ricola. Conti ua a la @uneta, en la !is!a ciudad, ha( una ran extension de terreno deno!inado Ca!p 0allace, destinada a sports. El terreno *ue circuda los !uros de la ciudad de Manila, situado entre estos ( el paseo del Malecon por el 3ur ( Este contiene !uchas hectareas de extension ( es de naturale9a a ricola. La Luneta is a podria en cual0uier tie po destinarse al culti#o. @a dificultad es !a(or tratanndose de diferenciar unterreno a ricola de un terreno industrial. En este respectoes preciso tener en cuenta *ue un terreno industiralno tienee *ue ser necesaria!ente urbano1 en realidad,la tendencia !oderna es a situar las industrias fuera deas ciudades en vastas 9onas rurales. Ierbi racia1 anpredor de la fa!osa cascada de Maria Cristina en @anao existen randes extensiones de terreno a ricola, al unasde propiedad particular. Cuando, se industrialice a*uellafor!idable fuer9a hidraulica ba+o el lla!ado Plan Be(ster O*ue nor!as se furas se podrian establecer para poner envi or la prohibicion constitucional fuese burlada ena+enandosetierras a ricolas de propiedad privada a favorde extran+eros, (a sean individuos, (a sean corporacioneso asociaciones, so pretexto de ser industrialesK Resulta evidence de lo expueto *ue los redactores denuetra Constitucion no pudienron haber tenido la idea de*ue el articulo 6""" fuera interpretado a la lu9 de ese criterio #a'o e indeter inado *ue lla!a el 3r. 0illard. Es !as lo ico pensar *ue el criterio *ue ellos tenian enla !ente era el criterio establicido en la +urisprudencia sentada en el asunto clasico de Mapa contra 4obierno ( otros asuntos conco!itantes citados 8 criterio !as fri!e, !as se uro, !enos expuesto a confusion ( arbitrariedad, ( sobre todo, :*ue ofrece !enos inconvenientes:, parafraseando otra ve9 al Ma istrado 3r. 0illard, =supra, p. $<)?. /tro serio inconveniente, @a seccion B, articulo 6"""de1la Constitucion, dispone *ue :el Con reso puedo deter!inarpor le( l1a eextension superficial del terrenoprivado a ricola *ue los individous, corporaciones o asociaciones pueden ad*uirir ( poseer, su+eto a los derechos existentes antes de la aprobacion de dicha le(.: 3i seinterpretase *ue la frase :private a ricultural land: noinclu(e terrenos residenciales, co!erciales e industriales,entonces estas ulti!as clases de (terreno *uedarian excluidas de la facultad re uladora concedida por la Constitucion al Con reso !ediante dicha seccion B. Entoncesun individuo o una corporacion podrian ser dueCos de todoslos terrenos de una ciudad1 no habria li!ite a las ad*uisiciones( posesiones en lo tocante a terrenos residenciales,co!erciales e industriles. Esto parece absurdo, peroseria obli ada consecuencia de la tesis sustentada por elapelante.

3e hace hincapie en el ar u!ento de *ue el el procesode ta!i9acion del articulo 6""" durante las deliberacionesde la Asa!blea Constitu(ente ( de los Co!ites de Ponnnnencia( de estilo al principio no fi uraba el ad+etivo :a ricola:en la seccion ), diciendose solo :terreno privado: ( *uesolo !as trade se aCadio la palabra calificativa a ricola8: pri#ate a'ricultural land: #e este se *uiere inferir *uela adicion de la palabra :a ricultural: debio de ser poral un !otivo ( este no podia ser !as *ue el de *ue se*uiso excluir los terrenos residenciales co!erciales e industriales, li!itandose el precepto a los propia o estricta!entea ricolas. @a deduccion es incorrecta ( sin funda!ento. No cabedecir *ue la adicion de la plabra :a ricultural: en estecaso e*uivale a excuir los terrenos residenciales, co!ercialese industriales, por la sencilla ra9on de *ue la Constitucion no solo no define lo *ue es residencial co ercial e industrial, co!ercial e industrial. En ca!bio (a he!osvisto *ue la palabra :a ricultral: tiene una si nificaciontradicional!ente bien establecida en nuestra +urisprudencia( en nuestro vocabulario +uridico7 inclu(e no solo terrenoscultivados o susceptibles fe cultivo, sino ta!bien residencialesco!erciales e industriales. 3e ad!ite por todo el!undo *ue la palabra tiene tal si nificacion en el articulo6""", seccion ), de la Constitucion, en cuanto se refierea terreno publico. Ahora bien1 O*ue diferencia ha(, despuesde todo, entire un terreno publico a ricolo ( uno sea a la calidad de a ricola, absoluta!ente nin una.Fno no es !as !enois a ricola *ue el otro. @a unicadiferencia se refiere a la propiedad, al titulo do!inical 8 en *ue el uno es del Estado ( el otro es de un particular. En realidad, creo *ue la diferencia es !as bien psicolo ica,sub+etiva 8 en *ue vul ar!ente hablando parece*ue los conceptos de :a ricola: ( :residencial: se repelen.No se debe !enospreciar la influencia del vul o en al unascosas1 en la !is!a literatura el vul o +ue a su papel1 di asi no la for!acion popular del ro!ancero. Pero es indudable *ue cietas cosas estan por enci!a del conceptovul ar 8 una de estae la interpretacion de la le(es, laher!eneutica le al. Esto no es exa erar la i!portancia de la tecnica sino *ue es si!ple!ente colocar las cosasensu verdadero lu ar. @a interpretacion de la le( es unafuncion de !inoria 8 los abo ados. 3i no fuera asi para*ue los abo adosK ON para *ue las escuelas de dercho,( para *ue los ex!enes, cada ve9 !as ri idos, para de purar el al a de la to a, *ue di+o un ran abo ado espaColK 6 Asi *ue cuando deci!os *ue el precepto constitucional en cuestion debe interpretatarse tecnica!ente, a la lu9 de la +urisprudencia, por ser ello el !etodo !as se uro para hallar la #erdad /udicial, no i!porta *ue ello repu ne al concepto vul ar a si!ple vista, no pone!os,en realidad, nion una pica en -landes, sino *ue propu na!os una cosa harto ele!e!ntal por lo sabida. Por tanto no es necesario especular o devanarse lossesos tratando de in*uirir por *ue en la ta!i9acion delprecepto se aCadio el ad+etivo Ha ricultural: a las palabras:private land: en ve9 de de+arlas solas sin cualificacion.Al unos diran *ue fue por ra9on de si!entria para hacer:pendant diran *ue fue por ra9on de si!etria para hacer:pendant: con la frase :public a ricultural land: puesta!as arriba. Pero esto np tiene nin una i!portancia. @oi!portante es saber *ue la aCadidura, tal co!o esta +urisdiccion, de la palbra :a ricultural: e!pleada en dicho texto. Eso es todo1 lo de!as creo *ue es puro bi9antinis !o. """. Cero *ue una exa!en de los docu!entos ( debatesde la Asa!blea Constitu(ente para ver de in*uirir la !otivacion ( finalidad del precepto constitucional *ue nos ocupapuede a(udar rande!ente ( arro+ar no poca lu9 en lainterpretacion de la letra ( espiritu de dicho precepto.Este enero de in*uisicion es perfecta!ente propio ( per!isible en her!eneutica constitucional, ( se ha

hechosie!pre, se un las !a+ores autoridades sobre la !ateria. Coole(, en su authori9ado tratado sobre @i!itaciones Constitucionales =Constitutional Li itations? dice a este efectolo si iuente7 0hen the in*uir( is directedto ascertainin the ischief desi ned to be re!edied, or the purpose sou ht to be acco!plished b( a particular provision, it !a( be proper to exa!ine the proceedin s of the convention 'hich fra!ed the instru!ent. 0here the proceedin s clearl( point out the purpose of the provision, the aid 'ill be valuable and satisfactor(1 but 'here the *uestion is one of abstract !eanin , it 'ill be difficult to derive fro! this source !uch reliable assistance in interpretation. =$ Coole( on Constitutional @i!itations E<th ed.G, p. $&2.? OJue at!osfera prevalecia en la Asa!blea sobre elproble!a de la tierra en eneral sobre el proble!a capitalis!o de los terrenos naturalesK OCual era la tendenciapredo!inante entre los #ele adosK N Oco!o era ta!bienel iro de la opinion, del senti!iento publico es decir co!oera el pulso del pueblo !is!o del cual la Asa!blea despuesde todo no era !as *ue or ano e interpreteK Iarios discursos sobre el particular se pronounciaronen la Asa!blea Constitu(ente. El tono predo!ionante entodos ellos era un fuerte, profundo nacionalis!o. .anto dentro co!o fuera de la Asa!blea Constitu(ente era evidente, acusado, el afan unani!e ( decidido de conservar el patri!onio nacional no solo para las presentes eneraciones filipinas, sino ta!bien para la posteridad. N patri onio nacional tenia, en la !ente de todos un si nificadocate orio e indubitable1 si nificion de si es dedo!inio publico o privado. Muestras tipicas ( representativas de este tono pecular ( do!inantes de la ideolo iaconstitu(ente son ciertas !,anifestaciones *ue constanen el diario de serines has en el curso de los debateso en el proceso de la redaccion del pro(ecto constitucionalpor #ele ados de palabra autori9ada! bien por su si nificacion personal bein por el papel particula *ue dese!peCaban en las treas constitu(entes. Por e+e!plo el #ele ado Montilla por Ne ros /ccidental, conspicuo representante del a ro, usando del privile io de !adia horaparla!entaria di+o en parte lo si uinte7 . . . Con la co!pleta nacionnali9ation de nuestras tierras ( recursos natural debe entenderse *ue nuetro patri!onio nacional debe estar vinculado $;; por $;; en !anos filipinas. 2ierras ( recursos naturales son in!,uebles ( co!o tales pueden co!pararse con los or anos vitales del cuerpo de una persona7 la falta de posesion de los !is!o puede caussar la !uete instantannea o el abrevia!iento de la vida =#iario de 3esiones Asa!blea Constitu(ente, inedita, :-ra!in of the Constitution,: tit. 2 ; pa . )%2 @ibro del Profesor Arue o?. Co!o se ve el #ele ado Montilla habla de tierras sin ad+etivacion, es decir sin difenciar entre propiedad publica ( privada. El #el ado @edes!a, por "loilo, otro conspicuo representante del a ro presidente del co!te de a ricultura de la Asa!blea *ue los extra!n+eros no podian ser !is!as palabras7 @a exclusion de los extran+eros del privile io de ad*uirir terrenos publicos a ricolas ( de poder se dueCos de propiedades in!uebles =real estate? es una parte necesaria de las le(es de terrenos publicos de -ilipinas para !antener fir!e la idea de conservar -ilipinaspara los filiposH =#iario de 3esiones, id.1 @ibro de Arue o, supra, pa . )%B.?

Es harto si nifictativo *ue en el infor!e del Colite de Nacionali9acion ( Conservacion de Recursos Naturales de la Asa!blea Constitu(ente la plabra tierra =land? se usa enerrica!ente sin cualificacion de publica o privada. #ice el Co!ite7 Jue la tierra, los !inerales los bos*ues ( otros recursos naturalesconstitu(en la herencia exclusiva de la nacion filipina. #eben,por tanto, ser conservados para a*uellos *ue se halian ba+o la autoridad soberana de esa nacion ( para su posteridad. =@ibro de Arue o, supra, pa . )%).? @a conservacion ( fo!ento del patri!onio nacional fue una verdadera obsesion en la Asa!blea Constitu(ente. 3us !ienbros *ue todavia viven recordaran l1a infinita paciencia, el es!ero de orfe breria con *ue se traba+o el prea!bulo de la Constitucion. Cada frase, cada concepto se so!etio a un ri ido proceso de seleccion ( las e!as resultans es la labor benedictina una de las e!as redel patri!onio nacional. De a*ui el prea!bulo7 .he -ilipino people, i!plorin the aid of #ivene Providence,in order to establish a overn!ent that shall enbod( their ideals, conser#e and de#elop the patri ony of the nation , pro!ote the eneral 'elfare, and secure to the!slves and their posterit( the blessin s of independence under a re i!e of +ustice, libert(, and de!ocrac(, do ordain and pro!ul ate this Constitution. El espiritu fuerte!ente nacionalista *ue saturaba la Asa!blea Constitu(ente con respecto a la tierre ( recursosnaturales es de facil explicacion. Estaba!os escribiendouna Constitucion no solo para el Co!!on'ealth, sino ta!bien para la republica *ue advendria despues de$; aCos. Juerianos, puesd ase urar fir!e!ente las basesde nuestra nacionalidad. OJue cosa !a+or para ello *uebildar por los cuatro costrados el cuerpo dela !nacion delcual 8 parodiando al #ele ado Montilla 8 la tierra ( losresoursos naturales son co!o or anos vitales cu(a perdidapuede causar la !uerte instantanea o el abrevia!iento dela vidaK Para aprociar el pulso de la nacion en a*uel !e!ontohistorico es preciso tener en cuenta las ciruc!stancias.Nos deba!os perfecta cuenta de nuetra posicion eo rafica,asi co!o ta!bien de nuestras li!itaciones de!o raficas.3e trataba, por ciento de una conciencia a uda!enteator!entadora ( alar!ante. Estaba!os roodeadosde enor!es !esas hu!anas 8 centenares de !illiones 8 econo!ica ( biolo ica!ente a resivas, avidad de desbordarsepor tadas partes, poir las areas del Pafico particular!ente,en busca de espacio vitales. China, 5apon-5apon, sobretodo *ue estaba entonces en el apo eo de su delirio deen randeci!iento econo!ico ( !ilitarista. .enia!os apantadoal !is!o cora9on, co!o espada rutilante de 3a!urrai,el pavoroso proble!a de #avao, donde, por errores incialesdel 4obierno, 5apon tenia el control de la tierra, institu(endos alli una especie de 5apon en !iniatura, con todaslas a!enasas ( peli ros *ue ello i!plicaba para la inte ridadde nuestra existancia nacional. Co!o *ue #avao(a se lla!aba popular ( sarcastica!ente #avao,o, entra ica ri!a con Manchu,o. .a!bien nos obsesionaban otras lecciones dolorosas dehistoria conte!poranea. .exas, Me+ico, Cuba ( otraspaises del Mar Caribe ( de la A!erica @atina *ue todaviaexpiaban, co!o una terrible !aldicion el error de sus obernantes al per!itir la ena+enacion del suelo a extran+eros.

Con el co!!ercio ( la industria principal!ente en !anosno-filipinas, los #ele ados a la Constitu(ente se haciancar o ta!bien de la vitalisi!a necesidad de, por lo !enos,vincular el apatri!onio nacional, entre otras cosas la tierra, en !anos de los filipinos. Jue de extraCo habia, pues, *ue en se!e+ante at!osfera ( tales circu!stancias se aprobase un articulo ri ida!entenacionalis!ta co!o es el Article 6"""K @a !otivacion ( finalidad, co!o (a se ha dicho, era triple7 =a?consetvar el patri!onio nacional para las presentes (futuras eneraciones filipinas1 =b? vincular, por lo !enos,la propiedad de la tierra ( de los recursos naturales en !anos filipinas co!o la !e+or !anera de !antener ele*uilibrio de un siste!a econo!ico do!inado principal!ente por extran+eros en virtud de su tecnica =kno%-ho%? superior ( de su abudancia de capitales7 =c? prefictos ( co!plicaciones internacionales. No se concibe *ue los #ele ados tuvieran la intercionde excluir del precepto los terrenos residenciales co!ercialese industrial, pues sabian !u( bien *ue los fines*ue se trataban de conse uir ( los peli ros *uie se trataban de evitar con la politica de nacionali9acion ( conservacionre9aban tanto para una clase de terrenos co!o para otra. OPor *ue se iba a te!er, verbi racia, el do!inio extran+ero sobre un terreno estricta!ente, a ricola, su+eto a cultivo, ( no sobre el terreno en *ue estuviera instalada unafor!idable industria o fabricaK /tro detalle si nificativo. Era tan vi oroso el senti!iento nacionalista en la Asa!blea Constitu(ente *ue, noobstante el natural senti!iento de ratitud *ue nos obli abaa favor de los a!ericanos., a estos no se les concedionin un privile io en relacion con la tierra ( de!as recusosnaturales, sino *ue se les coloco en el !is!o plano *ue alos otros extran+eros. Co!o *ue ha habido necesidad deuna refor!a constitucional 8 la ll!ada refor!a sobre laparidad 8 para e*uipararlos a los filipinos. .he !ere literal construction of a section in a statute ou ht not to prevail if it is opposed to the intention of the le islature apparent b( the statute1 and if the 'ords are sufficientl( flexible to ad!it of so!e other construction it is to be adopted to effectuate that intention. 2he intent pre#ails o#er the letter, and the latter %ill, if possible, be so read as to confor to the spirit of the act. 0hile the intention of the le islature !ust be ascertained fro! the 'ords used to express it, the !anifest reason and the obvious purpose of the la' should not be sacrificed to a literal interpretation of such 'ords. ="" 3utherland, 3tat. Construction, pp. >2$, >22.? "I. 8 3e insinua *ue no debiera!os declarar *ue laConstitucion exclu(e a loc extran+eros de la propiedadsobre terrenos residenciales e industriales,por*ue ello i!posibilitaria toda accion le islativa en sentidocontrario para el caso de *ue el Con reso "le a eal una ve9 a pensar *ue se!e+ante interdiccio debialevantarse. 3e dice *ue es !a+es ( !as conveniente de+aresta cuestion en !anos del Con reso para *ue ha(a !aselasticidad en las soluciones de los diferentes proble!assobre la tierra. Co!eteria!os un rave error si esto hiciera!os. Estaes una cuestion constitucional por excelencia. 3ola!enteel pueblo puede disponer del patri!onio nacional. Ni el Con reso, ni !ucho !enos los tribunales, pueden disponerde ese patri!onio. @o !as *ue puede hecer el Con reso es proponer una refor!a constitucional !ediante los votosde tres cuartas =BM&? de sus !ie!bros1 ( el pueblo tienela ulti!a palabra *ue se expresara en una eleccion oplebiscito convocado al efecto.

El ar u!ento de *ue esto costaria dinero es insostenible. 3eria una econo!ia !al entendida. 3i no se escati!an astos para celebrar elctiones ordinarias periodica!ente Oco!o ha del pueblo en un asunto tan vital co!o es la disposicion del patri!onio nacional, base de su !is!aexistenciaK para refor!ar la Constitucion, apo(ado portres cuartas =BM&? del Con reso, por lo !enos. En el entretanto el articulo 6""" de la Constitucion debe*uedar tal co!o es, e interpretarse en la for!a co!o lo interpreta!os en nuestra decision. 3e confir!a la sentencia.

PARAS, J., dissentin 7 3ection ) of Article 6""" of the Constitution provides that :save in cases of hereditar( succession, no private a ricultural land shall be transferred or assi ned except to individuals, corporations, or associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public do!ain in the Philippines.: .he i!portant *uestion that arises is 'hether private residential land is included in the ter!s :private a ricultural land.: .here is no doubt that under section $ of Article 6""" of the Constitution, *uoted in the !a+orit( opinion, lands of the public do!ain are classified into a ricultural, ti!ber,or !ineral. .here can be no doubt, also, that public lands suitable or actuall( used for residential purposes, !ust of necessit( co!e under an( of the three classes. But !a( it be reasonabl( supposed that lands alread( of private o'nership at the ti!e of the approval of the Constitution, have the sa!e classificationK An affir!ative ans'er 'ill lead to the conclusion 8 'hich is at once absurd and ano!alous 8 that private ti!ber and !ineral lands !a( be transferred or assi ned to aliens b( a !ode other than hereditar( succession. "t is, ho'ever, contended that ti!ber and !ineral lands can never be private, and reliance is placed on section $, Article 6""", of the Constitution providin that :all a ricultural, ti!ber and !ineral lands of the public do!ain . . . belon to the 3tate,: and li!itin the alienation of natural resources onl( to public a ricultural land. .he contention is obviousl( untenable. .his constitutional provision, far fro! statin that all ti!ber and !ineral lands existin at the ti!e of its approval belon to the 3tate, !erel( proclai!s o'nership b( the 4overn!ent of all such lands as are then of the public do!ain1 and althou h, after the approval of the Constitution, no public ti!ber or !ineral land !a( be alienated, it does not follo' that ti!ber or !ineral lands theretofore alread( of private o'nership also beca!e part of the public do!ain. 0e have held, *uite recentl(, that lands in the possession of occupants and their predecessors in interest since ti!e i!!e!orial do not belon to the 4overn!ent, for such possession +ustifies the presu!ption that said lands had been private properties even before the 3panish con*uest. =/h Cho #s. #irector of @ands, &B /ff. 4a9., <AA.? .his ives effect to the pronounce!ent in Cari1o #s. "nsular Go#ern ent =2$2 F.3., &&A1 )B @a'. ed., )%&?, that it could not be supposed that :ever( native 'ho had not a paper title is a trespasser.: "t is eas( to i!a ine that so!e of such lands !a( be ti!ber or !ineral. Do'ever, if there are absolutel( no private ti!ber or !ineral. Do'ever, if there are absolutel( no private ti!ber or

!ineral lands, 'h( did the fra!ers of the Constitution bother about spea,in of :private a ricultural land: in sections B and ) of Article 6""", and !erel( of :lands: in section &K 3EC. B. .he Con ress !a( deter!ine b( la' the si9e of private a ricultural land 'hich individuals, corporations, or associations !a( ac*uire and hold, sub+ect to ri hts existin prior to the enact!entof such la'. 3EC. &. .he Con ress !a( authori9e, upon pa(!ent of +ust co!pensation, the expropriation of lands to be subdivided into s!all lots and conve(ed at cost to individuals. 3EC. ). 3ave in cases of hereditar( succession, no pri#ate a'ricultural land shall be transferred or assi ned except to individuals, corporations, or associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public do!ain in the Philippines. Fnder section B, the Con ress !a( deter!ine b( la' the si9e of private a ricultural land 'hich individuals, corporations, or associations !a( ac*uire and hold, subb+ect to ri hts existin prior to the enact!ent of such la', and under section & it !a( authori9e, upon pa(!ent of +ust co!pensation, the expropriation of lands to be subdivided into s!all lots and conve(ed at cost to individuals. .he latter section clearl( ne atives the idea that private lands can onl( be a ricultural. "f the exclusive classification of public lands contained in section $ is held applicable to private lands, and , as 'e have sho'n, there !a( be private ti!ber and !ineral lands, there 'ould be neither sense nor +ustification in authori9in the Con ress to deter!ine the si9e of private a ricultural land onl(, and in not extendin the prohibition of section ) to ti!ber and !ineral lands. "n !a( opinion, private lands are not conte!plated or controlled b( the classification of public lands, and the ter! :a ricultural: appearin in section ) 'as used as it is co!!onl( understood, na!el(, as denotin lands devoted to a ricultural. "n other 'ords, residential or urban lots are not e!braced 'ithin the inhibition established in said provision. "t is note'orth( that the ori inal draft referred !erel( to :private land.: .his certaint( 'ould have been co!prehensive enou h to included an( ,ind of land. .he insertion of the ad+ective :a ricultural : is therefore si nificant. "f the Constitution prohibits the alienation to forei ners of private lands of and ,ind, no le islation can ever be enacted 'ith a vie' to per!ittin li!ited areas of land for residential, co!!ercial, or industrial use, and said prohibition !a( readil( affect an( effort to'ards the attain!ent of rapid pro ress in Philippine econo!(. /n the other hand, should an( dan er arise fro! the absence of such constitutional prohibition, a la' !a( be passed to re!ed( the situation, thereb( enablin the 4overn!ent to adopt such elastic polic( as !a( fro! ti!e to ti!e be necessar(, unha!pered b( an( inconveniences or difficulties in a!endin the Constitution. .he po'er of expropriation is, further!ore, a hand( safe uard a ainst undersirable effects of unrestricted alienation to, or o'nership b(, aliens of urban properties. .he !a+orit( ar ue that the ori inal draft in 'hich the !ore eneral ter!s :private land: 'as used, 'as a!ended in the sa!e that the ad+ective :a ricultural: 'as inserted in order !erel( :to clarif( concepts and avoid uncertainties: and because, as under section $, ti!ber and !ineral lands can never be private, :the prohibition to transfer the sa!e, 'ould be superfluous.: "n ans'er, it !a( be stated that section & of Article 6""", referrin to the ri ht of expropriation, uses :lands: 'ithout an( *ualification, and it is lo ical to believe that the use 'as !ade ,no'in l( in contradistinctions 'ith the li!ited ter! :private a ricultural land: in section B and ). -ollo'in the line of reasonin of the !a+orit(, :lands: in section & necessaril( i!plies that 'hat !a( be expropriated is not onl( private a ricultural land but also private ti!ber and !ineral

lands, as 'ell, of course, as private residential lands. .his of course tears apart the !a+orit(Hs contention that there cannot be an( private ti!ber or !ineral land. An( doubt in the !atter 'ill be re!oved 'hen it is, borne in !ind that no less than Donorable -ile!on 3otto, Chair!an of the 3ponsorship Co!!ittee of the Constitutional Convention, in supportin section B of the Article 6""", explained that the sa!e refers to a ricultural land, and not to urban properties, and such explanation is so!e'hat confir!ed b( the state!ent of another !e!ber of the Convention =dele ate 3evilla? to the effect that said section :is discri!inator( and un+ust 'ith re ard to the a riculturists.: 3r. 3/../ =-? 3eCor Presidente7 :Jue ha( caballeros de laConvencion en el fondo de esta cuestion al parecer inocente (ordinaria para *ue tanto revuelo ha(a !etido tanto en la sesion de a(er co!o en la de ho(K Jue ha( de !isterios en el fondo de este proble!, para *ue politicos del volu!en del caballero por "loilo ( del caballero por Batan as, to!en con ran interes una !acion para reconsiderar lo acordado a(erK Io( a ser frio, seCores. Parece *ue es !e(or tratar estas cuestiones con cal!a ( no apasiona!iento. De prestado atencion, co!o sie!pre suelo hacer a todos los ar u!entos a*ui en contra del precepto contenido en el draft ( a favor ahora de la reconsideracion ( siento decir lo si uiente1 todos son ar u!entos !u( buenos a posteriori. Cuando la Asa!ble Nacional se ha(a reunido, sera la ocasion de ver si procede o no expropiar terrenos o latifundios existentes ahorao existentes despues. En el presente, (o !e li!ito a invitar la atencion de la Convencion al hecho de *ue el procepto no to!e las !edidas necesarias en tie!po oportuno, cuando el proble!a del latifundis!o se ha(a presentado con caracterres tales *ue el beinestar, interes ( orden publico lo re*uieran. Per!ita!e la Convencion *ue lo discuta en lobo las dos pates del articulo %. Da( tal en rana+e en los dos !andatos *ue tiene dicho precepto, ha( tral eslabon en una u otra parte *ue es i!posible, *ue es dificil *ue *uitara!os deslindes si nos li!itase!os a considerar una sola parte. La pri era parte autori$a a la le'islatura para fi/ar el li ite a3i o de propiedad a'ricola 0ue los ciudadanos particulares puede tener. )arece 0ue es un punto 0ue ha pasado desapercibido. 4o se trata a0ui ahora de propiedades urbanas, sino de propiedades a'ricolas, y es por la ra$on de 0ue con ucha especialidad en las re'iones a'ricolas, en las $ones rusticas es donde el latifundis o se e3tiende con facilidad, y desde alli los pe0ue1os propietariou precisa ente para aho'arles y para intili$arles. 5sta pues, a sal#o co pleta ente la cuestion de las propiedades urbans. Cietos 'randes soleres de nuestras ciudaes 0ue con prete3to de tener cietos eficios, 0ue en realidad no necesitan de tales e3tensos solares para su e3istencia ni para su anteni ineto, puedan dor ir trans0uilos. 4o 6a os contra esas propiedades. )or una causa o por otra el pasado nos le'ardo ese lastre doloroso. )ero la re'ion a'ricola, la re'ion enos e3plotada por nuetro pueblo, la re'ion 0ue necesita os si 0uere os #i#ir cuenta propia la re'ion 0ue es el ayor incenti#o no para solo para los 'randes capitalistas de fuera erece todos los ciudados del 'obierno. Io( a pasar ahora a la relacion *ue tiene la se unda parte de la en!iendad con la pri!era. Fna ve9 de!ostrado ante la @eh islatura, una ve9 convencida la Asa!blea Nacional de *ue existe un latifundis!o ( *ue este laitifundis!o puede producir !ales e esta produciendo daCos a la co!unidad, es cuando entonces la @e islatura puede acordar la expropiacion de los latifundios. #onde esta el !al *ue los opositores a este es un postulado *ue todos conocen. Bien, vo( a ad!itir para los propositos del ar u!ento *ue ho( no existen laifundios,

( si los opostores al precepto *uieren !as va!os a convenir en *ue no existrian en el futuro. Pues, entonces, donde este el te!or de *ue el hi+o de tal no pueda recibir la herencia de cualK Por lo de!as el e+e!plo repetidas veces presentado a(er (ho( en cuanto al herdero ( al causahabiente no es co!pleta!ente exacto. Ia!os a suponer *ue efectiva!ente un padre de fa!ilia posee un nu!ero tal de hectareas de terreno, superior o exedente a lo *ue fi+a la le(. Creen los Caballeros, creen los opositorees al precepto *ue la @e islatura, la Asa!blea Nacional va a ser tan i!prudente, tan loca *ue in!ediate!ente dispon a por le( *ue a*uella porcion excedente del terreno *ue ha de recibir un hi+o de su padre no podra poseerlo, no podra tenerlo o recibirlo el heredero. Esa es una !ateria para la Asa!blea Nacional. @a asa!blea Nacional sabe *ue no puede dictar le(es o !edidas i!posibles de cu!plir. -i+ara el pla9o, fi+ara la proporcion de acuedo con las circunstancias del tie!po entonces en *ue viva!os. Es posible *ue ahora un nu!ero deter!inado de hectereas sea excesivo1 es posible *ue por desenvolvi!ientos econo!ics del paius ese nu!ero de hectareas puede ser elevado o reducido. Es por esto por*ue el Co!ite precisa!ente no ha *uerido fi+ar desde ahora el nu!ero de hectareas presa!ente no ha *uerido fi+ar desde ahora el nu!ero de hectareas, prefireindo de+ar a la sabiduria, a la prudencia, al patriotis!o ( a la +usticia de la Asa!bela Nacional el fi+ar ese nu!ero. @o!is!o di o de la expropiacion. 3e habla de *ue el obierno no tendra dinero1 se habl*a de *ue no podra revender las propieedades. Pero, Caballeros de la Convencion, caballeros opositores del precepto1 si la @e islatura, si la Asa!bleaNacional estuviera convencida de *ue el obierno no puede hecer una exporpiacion, va a hecerloK @a Asa!blea Nacional dictara una le( autori9ando la expropiacion de tal a cual latifundio cuando este convencida, pri!ero, de *ue la existencia de ese latifundio es a!ena9ante para el publico1 ( se undo, cuando la asa!blea Nacional este convencida de *ue el obierno esta disposicion para disponer la expropiacion. Iisto, pues, desde este punto el asunto, no es !alo autori9ar,fi+ar los li!ites, ni !acho !enos es !alo autori9ar a la @e islatura para dictar le(es de expropiacion. Pero vo( a !olestaros por un !inuto !as. 3e ha !entado a*uicon al un exito esta !aCana 8 ( di o con exito por*ue he oidoal unos aplausos 8 se ha !entado la posibilidad de *ue los co!unistas ha an unissue de esta disposicion *ue existe en el draft1 podran los co!unistas pedir los votos del electorado para ser elloslos *ue dicten las le(es fi+ando el li!ite del terreno ( ordenen la expropriacionK PJue ar u!ento !as bonito si tuviera baseQ @o !as natural, creo (o, es *ue el pueblo, el electorado, al ver *ueno es una Asa!blea Constitu(ente co!unista la *ue ha puestoesta disposicion, otor ue sus votors a esta !is!a Asa!blea Nacional, o a esos condidatos no co!unistas. OJuien esta en disposicion de ter!inar !e+or una obra a*uel *ue tra9ado ( puesto los pri!eros pilares, o a*uel *ue viene de orra al final de la obra para decir7 :A*ui esto( poner el te+adoK: Es sensible, sin e!bar o, *ue una cuetion de i!portancia tannacional co!o este, pretenda!os li arla a los votos de los co!ulites de terreno1 no ha de venir por*ue nosotros fi+e!os losli!ites de terreno1 no ha de venir por*ue prohiba!os los latifundios!ediante expropiacion for9osa, no1 ha de venir precisa!entepor causa de los randes propietarios de

terreno, ( ha de venir,*uera!oslo o no, por*ue el !undo esta evolucionando ( se va aconvencer de *ue la vida no es sola!ente para unos cuantos sinopara todos , por*ue #ios no la dio, con la libertad, el aire, la lu9,la tierra para vivir =4randes Aplausos9?, ( por al o se ha dicho*ue en los co!ien9os de la vida hi!ana debio haber sido fusilado,!atado, a a*uel pri!ero *ue puso un cerco a un peda9o de tierrarecla!ando ser su(a a propiedad. Por estas ra9ones, seCor Presidente, ( sintiendo *ue !i tie!poesta para ter!inar, vo( a dar fin a !i discurso a radeciendo a la Convencion. =3peech of #ele ate 3otto.? " 'ould further add, Mr. President, that this precept b( li!itin private individuals to holdin and ac*uirin lands, private a ricultural lands . . . is discri!inator( and un+ust 'ith re ard to the a riculturists. 0h( not, Mr. President, extend this provision also to those 'ho are en a ed in co!!erce and industriesK Both ele!ents a!ass 'ealth. "f the purpose of the Co!!ittee, Mr. President, is to distribute the 'ealth in such a !anner that it 'ill no breed discontent, " see no reason for the discri!ination a ainst the a ricultural. "n vie' of these reasons, Mr. President, " do not 'ant to spea, further and " sub!it this a!end!ent because !an( reasons have been iven alread( (esterda( and this !ornin . =3peech of #ele ate 3evilla.? #ele ate 3otto 'as not interpellated, !uch less contradicted, on the observation that section B of Article 6""" does not e!brace private urban lands. .here is of course ever( reason to believe that the sense in 'hich the ter!s :private a ricultural lands: 'ere e!plo(ed in section B !ust be the sa!e as that in section ), if consistenc( is to be attributed to the fra!ers of the Constitution. 0e should not be concluded b( te re!ar,s, cited in the !a+orit( opinion, !ade b( #ele ate @edes!a to the effect that :the exclusion of aleins fro! the private of ac*uirin public a ricultural lands and of o'nin real estate is a necessar( part of the Public @and @a's,: and of the state!ent of #ele ate Montilla re ardin :the co!plete nationali9ation of our lands and natural resources,: because =$? the re!ar,s of #ele ate @edes!a expressl( !entions :public a ricultural lands: and the ter!s :real estate: !ust undoubtedl( carr( the sa!e !eanin as the precedin 'ords :public a ricultural lands:, under the principle of :e+usde! eneris:1 =2? #ele ate @edes!a !ust have in !ind purel( :a ricultural: lands, sicne he 'as the Chair!an of the Co!!ittee on A ricultural #evelop!ent and his speech 'as !ade in connection 'ith the national polic( on a ricultural lands1 =B? the eneral nature of the explanations of both #ele ate @edes!a and #ele ate Montilla, cannot control the !ore specific clarification of #ele ate 3otto that a ricultural lands in section B do not include urban propeties. Neither are 'e bound to ive reater force to the vie' =apparentl( based on !ere !ental recollections? of the 5ustices 'ho 'ere !e!bers of the Constitutional Convention than tot he specific recorded !anifestation of #ele ate 3otto. .he decision in the case of Mapa #s. "nsular Go#ern ent =$; Phil., $>)?, invo,ed b( the !a+orit(, is surel( not controllin , because, first, it dealt 'ith :a ricultural public lands: and, secondl(, in that case it 'as expressl( held that the phrase :a ricultural land: as used in Act No. %2A :!eans those public lands ac*uired fro! 3pain 'hich are not ti!ber or !ineral lands,: 8 the definition held to be found in section $B of the Act of Con ress of 5ul( $, $%;2. 0e hold that there is to found in the act of Con ress a definition of the phrase :a ricultural public lands,: and after a carefull( consideration of the *uestion 'e are satisfied that the onl(

definition 'hich exists in said act is the definition adopted b( the court belo'. 3ection $B sa(s that the 4overn!ent shall :!a,e rules and re ulations for the lease, sale or other disposition of the public lands other than ti!ber or !ineral lands.: .o our !inds that is the onl( definition that can be said to be iven to a ricultural lands. "n other 'ords, that the phrase :a ricultural land: as used in Act No. %2A !eans those public lands acc*uired fro! 3pain 'hich are not ti!ber or !ineral lands. =Mapa #s. "nsular 4overn!ent, $; Phil., $<2.? .he !a+orit(, in support of their construction, invo,e Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, enected after the approval of the Constitution, 'hich prohibits the alienation to forei ners of :land ori inall( ac*uired in an( !anner under the provisions of this Act,: =section $22? or :land ori inall( ac*uired in an( !anner under the provisions of an( previous Act, ordinance, ro(al order, ro(al decree, or an( other provision of la' for!erl( in force in the Philippines 'ith re ard to public lands, terrenos baldios realen'os, or lands of an( other deno!ination that 'ere actuall( or presu!ptivel( of the public do!ain.: =3ection $2B.? .he( hold that the constitutional intent :is !ade !ore patent and is stron l( i!ple!ented b( said Act.: .he !a+orit( have evidentl( overloo,ed the fact that the prohibition contained in said sections refer to lands ori inall( ac*uired under said sections referto land ori inall( ac*ured under said Act or otherle al provisions lands, 'hich of course do not include lands not ori inall( of the public do!ain. .he lands that !a( be ac*uired under Act No. $&$ necessaril( have to be public a ricultural lands, since the( are the onl( ,inds that are sub+ect to alienation or disposition under the Constitution. Dence, even if the( beco!e private, said lands retained their ori inal a ricultural character and !a( not therefore be alienated to forei ners. "t is onl( in this sense, " thin,, that act No. $&$ see,s to carr( out and i!ple!ent the constitutional ob+ective. "n the case before us, ho'ever, there is no pretense that the land bou ht b( the appellant 'as ori inall( ac*uired under said Act or other le al provisions conte!plated therein. .he !a+orit( is also !ista,en in ar uin that :prior to the Constitution, under section 2& of the Public @and Act No. 2<>& aliens could ac*uire public a ricultural lands used for industrial or residential purposes, but after the Constitution and under section 2B of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, the ri ht of aliens to ac*uire such ,ind of lands is co!pletel( stric,en out, undoubtedl( in pursuanceof the Constitutional li!itation,: and that :prior to the Constitution, under section )> of the Public @and Act No.2<>&, land of the public do!ain suitable for residence or industrial purposes could be sold or leased to aliens, but after the Constitution and under section A; of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, such land !a( onl( be leased, but not sold, to aliens, and the lease ranted shall onl( be valid 'hile the land is used for the purpose referred to.: 3ection $ of article 6""" of the Constitution spea,s of :public a ricultural lands: and *uite lo icall(, Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, enacted after the approval of the Constitution, has to li!it the alienation of its sub+ect !atter =public a ricultural land, 'hich includes public residential or industrial land? to -ilipino citi9ens. But it is not correct to consider said Act as a le islation on, or a li!itation a ainst, the ri ht of aliens to ac*uire residential land that 'as alread( of private o'nership prior to the approval of the Constitution. .he s'eepin assertion of the !a+orit( that :the three reat depart!ents of the 4overn!ent 8 5udicial, @e islative and Executive 8 have al'a(s !aintained that lands of the public do!ain are classified into a ricultural, !ineral and ti!ber, and that a ricultural lands include residential lots,: is rather !isleadin and not inconsistent, 'ith our position. 0hile the construction !ista,enl( invo,ed b( the !a+orit( refers exclusivel( to lands of the public do!ain, our vie' is that private residential lands are not e!braced 'ithin the ter!s :private a ricultural land: in section ) of Article 6""". @et us particulari9e in so!e'hat chronolo ical order. 0e have alread( pointed out that the leadin case

of Mapa #s. "nsular Go#ern ent, supra, onl( held that a ricultural public lands are those public landsac*uired fro! 3pain 'hich are neither ti!ber nor !ineral lands. .he opinion of the 3ecretar( of 5ustice dated 5ul( $), $%B%, *uoted in the !a+orit( opinion, li!ited itself in affir!in that :residential, co!!ercial or industrial lotsfor in' part of the public do ain . . . !ust be classified as a ricultural.: "ndeed, the li!ited scope of said opinion is clearl( pointed out in the follo'in subse*uent opinion of the 3ecretar( of 5ustice dated 3epte!ber 2), $%&$, expressl( hodin that :in cases involvin the prohibition in section ) of Article 6""" =for!erl( Article 6""? re ardin transfer or assi n!ent of pri#ate a'ricultural lands to forei ners, the opinion that residential lots are not a ricultural lands is applicable.: .his is 'ith reference to (our first indorse!ent dated 5ul( B;, $%&$, for'ardin the re*uest of the Re ister of #eeds of /riental Misa!is for an opinion as to 'hether /pinion No. $B;, dated 5ul( $), $%B%, of this #epart!ent *uoted in its Circular No. 2<, dated Ma( $B, $%&$, holdin a!on others, that the phrase :public a ricultural land: in section $, Article 6""" =for!erl( article 6""? of the Constitution of the Philippines, includes residential, co!!ercial or industrial lots for purposes of their disposition, a!ends or supersedeas a decision or order of the fourth branch of the Court of -irst "nstance of the Cit( of Manila rendered pursuant to section 2;; of the Ad!inistrative Code 'hich holds that a residential lot is not an a ricultural land, and therefore, the prohibition in section ), Article 6""" =for!erl( Article 6""? of the Constitution of the Philippines does not appl(. .here is no conflict bet'een the t'o opinions. 3ection $, Artcile 6""" =for!erl( article 6"" of the Constitution of the Philippines, spea,s of public a'ricultural lands 'hile section ) of the sa!e article treats of pri#ate a'ricultural lands. A holdin , therefore, that a residential lot is not private a ricultural land 'ithin the !eanin of that phrase as found in section ) of Article 6""" =for!erl( Article 6""? does not conflict 'ith an opinion that residential, co!!ercial or industrial lots for!in part of the public do!ain are included 'ithin the phrase :public a ricultural land: found in section $, Article 6""" =for!erl( Article 6""? of the Constitution of the Philippines. "n cases involvin the prohibition in section ) of Article 6""" =for!erl( Article 6""? re ardin transfer or assi n!ent of pri#ate a'ricultural lands to forei ners, the opinion that residential lots are not a ricultural lands is applicable. "n cases involvin the prohibition in section $ of Article 6""" =for!erl( Article 6""? re ardin disposition in favor of, and exploitation, develop!ent or utili9ation b( forei ners of public a'ricultural lands, the opinion that residential, co!!ercial or industrial lots for!in part of the public do!ain are included 'ithin the phrase :public a ricultural land: found in said section $ of the Article 6""" =for!erl( Article 6""? overns. Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, passed after the approval of the Constitution li!ited its restriction a ainst transfers in favor of alien to public a ricultural lands or to lands ori inall( ac*uired under said Act or other le al provisions for!erl( in force in the Philippines 'ith re ard to public lands. /n Nove!ber 2%, $%&B, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision affir!in that of the Court of -irst rendered a decision affir!in that of the Court of -irst "nstance of .arlac in a case in 'hich it 'as held that private residential lots are not included in the prohibition in section ) of Article 6""". =CA-4. R. No. 2%.? #urin the5apanese occupation, the Constitution of the then Republic of the Philippines contained an al!ost verbati! reproduction of said section ) of Article 6"""1 and the then National Asse!bl( passed an Act providin that :no natural or +uridical person 'ho is not a -ilipino citi9en shall ac*uire directl( or indirectl( an( title to private lands ='hich are not a ricultural lands? includin buildin s and other

i!prove!ents thereon or leasehold ri hts on said lands, except b( le al succession of proper cases, unless authori9ed b( the President of the Republic of the Philippines.: =/ff. 4a9., Iol. ", p. &%>, -ebruar(,$%&&.? "t is true that the 3ecretar( of 5ustice in $%&) appears to have rendered an opinion on the !atter, but it cannot have an( persuasive force because it !erel( suspended the effect of the previous opinion of his #epart!ent pendin +udicial deter!ination of the *uestion. Ier( recentl(, the 3ecretar( of 5ustice issued a circular adoptin in effect the opinion of his #epart!ent rendered in$%&$. @ast but not least, since the approval of the Constitution, nu!erous transactions involvin transfers of private residential lots to aliens had been allo'ed to be re istered 'ithout an( opposition on the part of the 4overn!ent. "t 'ill thus be seen that, contrar( to 'hat the !a+orit( believe, our 4overn!ent has constantl( adopted the vie' that private residential lands do not fall under the li!itation contained in section ) of Article 6""" of the Constitution. " do not *uestion or doubt the nationalistic spirit per!eatin the Constitution, but " 'ill not per!it !(self to be blinded b( an( senti!ental feelin or con+ectural considerations to such a de ree as to attribute to an( of its provisions a construction not +ustified b( or be(ond 'hat the plain 'ritten 'ords purport to conve(. 0e need not express an( unnecessar( concern over the possibilit( that entire to'ns and cities !a( co!e to the hands of aliens, as lon as 'e have faith in our independence and in our po'er to suppl( an( deficienc( in the Constitution either b( its a!end!ent or b( Con ressional action. .here should reall( have been no occasion for 'ritin this dissent, because the appellant, 'ith the confor!it( of the appellee, had filed a !otion for the 'ithdra'al of the appeal and the sa!e should have been ranted outri ht. "n Co Chion' #s. .in'lasan =p. $22, ante?,decided onl( a fe' da(s a o, 'e reiterated the 'ell-settled rule that :a court should not pass upon a constitutional *uestion and decide a la' to be unconstitutional or invalid unless such *uestion is raised b( the the parties, and that 'hen it is raised, if the record also presents so!e other round upon 'hich the court !a( rest its +ud !ent, that course 'ill be adopted and the constitutional *uestion 'ill be left for consideration until a case arises in 'hich a decision upon such *uestion 'ill be unavoidable.: "n other 'ords, a court 'ill al'a(s avoid a constitutional *uestion, if possible. "n the present case, that course of action 'as not onl( possible but absolutel( i!perative. "f appellantHs !otion for 'ithdra'al had been opposed b( the appellee, there !i ht be so!e reasons for its denial, in vie' of section & of Rule )2 'hich provides that after the filin of appelleeHs brief, :the 'ithdra'al !a( be allo'ed b( the court in its discretion.: At an( rate, this discretion should al'a(s be exercised in favor of a 'ithdra'al 'here a constitutional *uestion 'ill thereb( be avoided. "n this connection, let us describe the proceedin s =called :arbitrar( and ille al: b( Mr. 5ustice .uason? that led to teh denial of the !otion for 'ithdra'al. #urin the deliberation in 'hich all the eleven !e!bers 'ere present, seven voted to allo' and four to den(. 3ubse*uentl(, 'ithout an( previous notice and 'hen Mr. 5ustice Dontiveros 'as absent, the !atter 'as a ain sub!itted to a vote, and one 5ustice ='ho previousl( 'as in favor of the 'ithdra'al? reversed his stand, 'ith the result that the votes 'ere five to five. .his result 'as officiall( released and the !otion denied under the technicalit( provided in Rule of Court No. )A, section 2. "t is ver( interestin to observe that Mr. 5ustice Dontiveros, 'ho 'as still a !e!ber of the Court and could have attended the later deliberation, if notified and re*uested, previousl( voted for the rantin of the !otion. .he real explanation for excludin Mr. 5ustice Dontiveros, a ainst !( ob+ection, and for the reversal of the vote of one 5ustice 'ho ori inall( 'as in favor of the 'ithdra'al is found in the confession !ade in the !a+orit( opinion to the effect that the circular of the #epart!ent of 5ustice instructin all re isters of deeds to accept for re istration transfers of residential lots to aliens, 'as an :interference 'ith the re ular and co!plete exercise b(

this Court of its constitutional functions,: and that :if 'e rant the 'ithdra'al, the result is that petitioner-appellant Alexander A. Kriven,o 'ins his case, not b( a decision of this Court, but b( the decision or circular of the #epart!ent of 5ustice issued 'hile this case 'as pendin before this Court.: .he 9ealousness thus sho'n in den(in the !otion for 'uthdra'al is open to *uestion. .he denial of course is another 'a( of assu!in that the petitioner-appellant and the 3olicitor 4eneral had connived 'ith the #epart!ent of 5ustice in a sche!e not onl( to interfere 'ith the functions of this Court but to dispose of the national patri!on( in favor of aliens. "n the absence of an( in+unction fro! this Court, 'e should reco ni9e tha ri ht of the #epart!ent of 5ustice to issue an( circular it !a( dee! le al and proper on an( sub+ect, and the corollar( ri ht of the appellant to ta,e advanta e thereof. 0hat is !ost re rettable is the i!plication that the #epart!ent of 5ustice, as a part of the Executive #epart!ent, cannot be as patriotic and able as this Court in defendin the Constitution. "f the circular in *uestion is ob+ectionable, the sa!e can be said of the opinion of the 3ecretar( of 5ustice in $%&) in effect prohibitin the re istration of transfers of private residential lots in favor of aliens, not'ithstandin the pendenc( in this Court of the case of -h Cho #s. .irector of Lands =&B /ff. 4a9., <AA?, 'herin accordin to the appellant, the onl( *uestion raised 'as 'hether, or not :an alien can ac*uire a residential lot and re ister it in his na!e,: and not'ithstandin the fact that in said case the appealed decision 'as in favor of the alien applicant and that, as hereinbefore stated, the Court of Appeals in another case =CA-4.R. No. 2%? had renderd in $%&B a decision holdin that private residential lots are not included in the prohibition in section ) of Article 6""" of the Constitution. And (et this Court, failin to consider said opinion as an :interference,: chose to evade the onl( issue raised b( the appellant and s*uarel( !et b( the appellee in the /h Cho case 'hich alread( re*uired a decision on the constitutional *uestion resolved in the case at bar a ainst, so to sa(, the 'ill of the parties liti ant. "n other 'ords, the !a+orit( did not allo' the 'ithdra'al of the present appeal not so !uch as to dispose of it on the !erits, but to annul the circular of the #epart!ent of 5ustice 'hich is, needless to sa(, not involved in this case. " cannot accept the shallo' excuse of the !a+orit( that the denial of the !otion for 'ithdra'al 'as pro!ted b( the fear that :our indifference of toda( !i ht si nif( a per!anent offense to the Constitution,: because it carries the rather i!!odest i!plication that this Court has a !onopol( of the virtue of upholdin and enforcin , or suppl(in an( deficienc( in, the Constitution. "ndeed, the fallac( of the i!pliation is !ade larin 'hen 3enator -ranscisco lost no ti!e in introducin a bill that 'ould clarif( the constitutional provision in *uestion in the sense desired b( the !a+orit(. Fpon the other hand, the !a+orit( should not 'orr( about the re!oteness of the opportunit( that 'ill enable this Court to pass upon this constitutional *uestion, because 'e can ta,e advance notice of the fact that in Rellosa #s. 4a' Chee Dun =&% /ff. 4a9., &B&)?, in 'hich the parties have alread( presented. But even disre ardin said case, " a! sure that, in vie' of the recent ne'spaper discussion 'hich naturall( reached the len th and breadth of the countr(, there 'ill be those 'ho 'ill dispute their sales of residential lots in favor of aliens and invo,e the constitutional prohibition. -ENG/ON, J., dissentin 7 "t is unnecessar( to deliver at this ti!e an( opinion about the extent of the constitutional prohibition. Both parties havin a reed to 'riter finis to the liti ation, there is no obli ation to hold forth on the issue. "t is not our !ission to ive advice to other person 'ho !i ht be interested to ive advice to other persons 'ho !i ht be interested to ,no' the validit( or invalidit( of their sales or purchases. .hat is the 'or, of la'(ers and +uriscounsults.

.here is !uch to 'hat Mr. 5ustice Padilla explains re ardin an( ea erness to solve the constitutional proble!. "t !ust be re!e!bered that the other depart!ents of the 4overn!ent are not prevented fro! passin on constitutional *uestion arisin in the exercise of their official po'ers. =Coole(, Constitutional @i!itations, <th ed., p. $;$.? .his .ribunal 'as not established, nor is it expected to pla( the role of an overseer to supervise the other 4overn!ent depart!ents, 'ith the obli ation to sei9e an( opportunit( to correct 'hat 'e !a( believe to be erroneous application of the constitutional !andate. " cannot a ree to the su estion that the 'a( the incu!bent 3ecretar( of 5ustice has interpreted the funda!ental la', no case 'ill ever arise before the court, because the re isters of deeds under his co!!and, 'ill transfer on thier boo,s all sales to aliens. "t is eas( to perceive several probabilities7 =$? a ne' secretar( !a( entertain opposite vie's1 =2? parties le all( affected 8 li,e heirs or or creditors of the seller 8 !a( 'ish to avoid the conve(ance to aliens, invo,in the constitutional inhibition. .hen, in a trul( contested case, 'ith opposin liti ants activel( ar uin their sides 'e shall be in a position to do full +ustice. "t is not enou h that briefs 8 as in this case 8 have been filed1 it is desirable, perhaps essential, to !a,e sure that in a !otion for reconsideration, or in a re-hearin in case of tie, our attention shall be invited to points inade*uatel( touched or i!properl( considered. "t is stated that sales to aliens of residential lots are currentl( bein effected. No !atter. .hose sales 'ill be sub+ect to the final decision 'e shall reach in a properl( sub!itted liti ation. .o spell necessit( out of the existence of such conve(ances, !i ht a!ount to be in the issue 'ith the assu!ption that such transfers are obviousl( barred b( the /r anic @a'. And (et sales to forei ners of residential lots have ta,en place since our Constitution 'as approved in $%B), and no one *uestioned their validit( in Court until nine (ears later in $%&), after the 5apanese authorities had sho'n distaste for such transfers. .he Court should have, " sub!it, a!ple ti!e to discuss this all-i!portant point, and reflect upon the conflictin politico-econo!ic philosophies of those 'ho advocate national isolation a ainst international cooperation, and vice-versa. 0e could also delve into several aspects necessaril( involved, to 'it7 =a? 0hether the prohibition in the Constitution operated to curtail the freedo! to dispose of lando%ners at the ti e of its adoption7 or 'hether it !erel( affected the ri hts of those 'ho should beco!e lando'ners after the approval of the Constitution1> =b? 0hat conse*uences 'ould a rulin adverse to aliens have upon our position and co!!it!ents in the Fnited Nations /r ani9ation, and upon our treat(-!a,in ne otiations 'ith other nations of the 'orlds1 and =c? 0hen in $%&$ Kriven,o ac*uired this land he 'as a Russian citi9en. Fnder the treaties bet'een the Fnited 3tates and Russia, 'ere Russian nationals allo'ed to ac*uire residential lots in places under the +urisdiction of the Fnited 3tatesK "f so, did our Constitution have the effect of !odif(in such treat( durin the existence of the Co!!on'ealth 4overn!entK .he fore oin vie' and doubts induced !e to vote for dis!issal of the appeal as re*uested b( the parties, and for 'ithholdin of an( rulin on the constitutional prohibition. Do'ever, " a! no' read( to cast !( vote. " a! convinced that the or anic la' bans the sales of a ricultural lands as the( are popularl( understood 8 not includin residential, co!!ercial, industrial or urban lots. .his belief is founded on the reasons abl( expounded b( Mr. 5ustice Paras, Mr. 5ustice Padilla and Mr. 5ustice

.uason. " a! particularl( !oved b( the consideration that a restricted interpretation of the prohibition, if erroneous or contrar( to the poepleHs desire, !a( be re!edied b( le islation a!plif(in it1 'hereas a liberal and 'ide application, if erroneous, 'ould need the cu!berso!e and hi hl( expensive process of a constitutional a!end!ent. PA!#LLA, J., dissentin 7 .he *uestion sub!itted for decision is 'hether a parcel of land of private o'nership suitable or intended for residence !a( be alienated or sold to an alien. 3ection ), Article 6""", of the Constitution provides7 3ave in cases of hereditar( succession, no private a ricultural land shall be transferred or assi ned except to individuals, corporations, or associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public do!ain in the Philippines. .he !a+orit( holds that a parcel of land of privateo'nership suitable or intended or used for residence is included in the ter! :private a ricultural land: and co!es 'ithin the prohibition of the Constitution. "n support of the opinion that lands of private o'nership suitable for residence are included in the ter! :private a ricultural land: and cannot be alienated or sold to aliens, the !a+orit( invo,es the decision of this Court in Mapa #s. "nsular Go#ern ent =$; Phil., $>)?, 'hich holds that urban lands of the public do!ain are included in the ter! :public a ricultural land.: But the opinion of the !a+orit( overloo,s the fact that the inclusion b( this Court of public lands suitable for residence in the ter! :public a ricultural land: 'as due to the classification !ade b( the Con ress of the Fnited 3tates in the Act of $ 5ul( $%;2, co!!onl( ,no'n as the Philippine Bill. "n said Act, lands of the public do!ain 'ere classified into a ricultural, ti!ber and !ineral. .he onl( alienable or disposable lands of the public do!ain 'ere those belon in to the first class. Dence a parcel of land of the public do!ain suitable for residence, 'hich 'as neither ti!ber nor !ineral, could not be disposed of or alienated unless classified as public a ricultural land. .he susceptibilit( of a residential lot of the public do!ain of bein cultivated is not the real reason for the inclusion of such lot in the classification of public a ricultural land, for there are lands, such as foreshore lands, 'hich 'ould hardl( be susceptible of cultivation ="baCe9 de Aldecoa #s. "nsular 4overn!ent, $B Phil., $)%, $A>-$A<?, and (et the sa!e co!e under the classification of public a ricultural land. .he fact, therefore, that parcels of land of the public do!ain suitable for residence are included in the classification of public a ricultural land, is not a safe uide or index of 'hat the fra!ers of the Constitution intended to !ean b( the ter! :private a ricultural land.: "t is contrar( to the rules of statutor( construction to attach technical !eanin to ter!s or phrases that have a co!!on or ordinar( !eanin as understood b( he avera e citi9en. At the ti!e of the adoption of the Constitution =< -ebruar( $%B)?, the Public @and Act in force 'as Act No. 2<>&. Fnder this Act, onl( citi9ens of the Philippine "slands or of the Fnited 3tates and corporations or associations described in section 2B thereof, and citi9ens of countries the la's of 'hich rant to citi9ens of the Philippine "slands the sa!e ri ht to ac*uire the public land as to their o'n citi9ens, could ac*uire b( purchase a ricultural land of the public do!ain =section 2B, Act No. 2<>&?. .his 'as the eneral rule. .here 'as an exception. 3ection 2&of the Act provides7

No person, corporation, association or partnership other than those !entioned in the last precedin section !a( ac*uire or o'n a ricultural public land or land of an( other deno!ination or classification, not used for industrial or residence purposes , that is at the ti!e or 'as ori inall(, reall( or presu!ptivel(, of the public do!ain, or an( per!anent i!prove!ent thereon, or an( real ri ht on such land and i!prove!ent7 )ro#ided, ho%e#er, .hat persons, corporations, associations, or partnerships 'hich at the date upon 'hich this Act shall ta,e effect, hold a ricultural public lands or land of an( other deno!ination not used for industrial or residence purposes, that belon ed ori inall(, reall( or presu!ptivel(, to the public do!ain, or per!anent i!prove!ents on such lands, or a real ri ht upon such lands and i!prove!ents, havin ac*uired the sa!e under the la's and re ulations in force at the date of such ac*uisition, shall be authori9ed to continue holdin the sa!e as if such persons, corporations, associations, or partnerships 'ere *ualified under the last precedin section1 but the( shall not encu!ber, conve(, or alienate the sa!e to persons, corporations, associations or partnerships not included in section t'ent(-three of this Act, except b( reason of hereditar( succession, dul( le ali9ed and ac,no'led ed b( co!petent Courts. =E!phasis supplied.? 3ection )> of the Act, dealin 'ith lands of the public do!ain suitable for residential, co!!ercial, industrial, or other productive purposes other than a ricultural, provides7 An( tract of land co!prised under this title !a( be leased or sold, as the case !a( be, to an( person, corporation, or association authori9ed to purchase or lease public lands for a ricultural purposes. . . .)ro#ided further, .hat an( person, corporation, association, or partnership dis0ualified fro! purchasin public land for a ricultural purposes under the provisions of this Act, ay purchase or lease land included under this title suitable for industrial or residence purposes, but the title or lease ranted shall onl( be valid 'hile such land issued for the purposes referred to. =E!phasis supplied.? 3ection $2$ of the Act provides7 No land ori inall( ac*uired in an( !anner under the provisions of the for!er Public @and Act or of an( other Act, ordinance, ro(al order, ro(al decree, or an( other provision of la' for!erl( in force in the Philippine "slands 'ith re ard to public lands, terrenos baldios y realen'os, or lands of an( other deno!ination that 'ere actuall( or presu!ptivel( of the public do!ain, or b( ro(al rant or in an( other for!, nor an( per!anent i!prove!ent on such land, shall be encu!bered, alienated, or conve(ed, except to persons, corporations, or associations 'ho !a( ac*uire land of the public do!ain under this Act1 . . . )ro#ided, ho%e#er, .hat this prohibition shall not be applicable to the conve(ance or ac*uisition b( reason of hereditar( succession dul( ac,no'led ed and le ali9ed b( co!petent Courts, nor to lands and i!prove!ents ac*uired or held for industrial or residence purposes, 'hile used for such purposes7 . . . =E!phasis supplied.? Fnder and pursuant to the above *uoted provisions of Act No. 2<>&, lands of the public do!ain, that 'ere neither ti!ber nor !ineral, held for industrial or residence purposes, could be ac*uired b( aliens dis*ualified fro! ac*uirin b( purchase or lease public a ricultural lands =sections 2&, )>, $2$, Act No. 2<>&?. .he dele ates to the Constituent Asse!bl( 'ere fa!iliar 'ith the provisions of the Public @and Act referred to. .he prohibition to alienate public a ricultural lands to dis*ualified persons, corporations

or associations did not appl( to :lands and i!prove!ents ac*uired or held for industrial or residence purposes, 'hile used for such purposes.: Even under the provisions of Act No. %2A, the first Public @and Act, lots for to'nsites could be ac*uired b( an( person irrespective of citi9enship, pursuant to section &> of the said Act. "n spite of the nationalistic spirit that pervades all the provisions of Act No. 2<>&, the Philippine @e islature did not dee! it necessar( to exclude aliens fro! ac*uirin and o'nin lands of the public do!ain suitable for industrial or residence purposes. "t adopted the polic( of excludin aliens fro! ac*uirin a ricultural lands of the public do!ain not :suitable for residential, co!!ercial, industrial, or other productive purposes,: 'hich, to ether 'ith ti!ber, !ineral and private a ricultural lands, constitute the !ainsta( of the nation. Act No. 2<>& 'as in force for nearl( sixteen (ears 8 fro! $%$% to $%B). .here is nothin recorded in the +ournals of proceedin s of the Constituent Asse!bl( re ardin the !atter 'hich 'ould have +ustified a departure fro! the polic( theretofore adopted. "f under the la' in force at the ti!e of the adoption of the Constitution, aliens could ac*uire b( purchase or lease lands of the public do!ain, that 'ere neither ti!ber nor !ineral, held for industrial or residence purposes, ho' can it be presu!ed that the fra!ers of the Constitution intended to exclude such aliens fro! ac*uirin b( purchase private lands suitable for industrial or residence purposesK "f pursuant to the la' in force at the ti!e of the adoption of the Constitution, lands of the public do!ain and i!prove!ents thereon ac*uired or held for industrial or residence purposes 'ere not included in the prohibition found in section $2$ of ActNo. 2<>&, there is ever( reason for believin that the fra!ers of the Constitution, 'ho 'ere fa!iliar 'ith the la' then in force, did not have the intention of appl(in the prohibition contained in section ), Article 6""", of the Constitution to lands of private o'nership suitable or intended or used for residence, there bein nothin recorded in the +ournals of proceedin s of the Constituent Asse!bl( re ardin the !atter 'hich, as above stated, 'ould have +ustified a departure fro! the polic( then existin . "f the ter! :private a ricultural land: co!prehends lands of private o'nership suitable or intended or used for residence, as held b( the !a+orit(, there 'as no need of i!ple!entin a self-executor( prohibition found in the Constitution. .he prohibition to alienate such lands found in section $2B of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$ is a clear indication and proof that section ), Article 6""", of the Constitution does not appl( to lands of private o'nership suitable or intended or used for residence. .he ter! :private a ricultural land: !eans privatel( o'ned lands devoted to cultivation, to the raisin of a ricultural products, and does not include urban lands of private o'nership suitable for industrial or residence purposes. .he use of the ad+ective :a ricultural: has the effect of excludin all other private lands that are not a ricultural. .i!ber and !ineral ands are not, ho'ever, included a!on the excluded, because these lands could not and can never beco!e private lands. -ro! the land rants ,no'n as caballerias and peonias under the @a's of "ndies do'n to those under the Ro(al #ecrees of 2) 5une $<<; and $B -ebruar( $<%&, the Philippine Bill, Act No. %2A, the 5ones @a', Act No. 2<>&, the Constitution, and Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, ti!ber and !ineral lands have al'a(s been excluded fro! alienation. .he repeal b( sections 2B, A;, $2B of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$ of the exception provided for in sections 2&, )>, $2$ of Act No. 2<>&, did not chan e the !eanin of the ter! :private a ricultural land,: as intended b( the fra!ers of the Constitution and understood b( the people that adopted it. .he next *uestion is 'hether the court belo' 'as +ustified under the in confir!in the refusal of the Re ister of #eeds of Manila to record the sale of the private land for residence purposes to the appellant 'ho is an alien.

.here is no evidence to sho' the ,ind of land, the deed of sale of 'hich is sou ht to be recorded b( the appellant 8 'hether it is one of those described in section $2B of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$1 or a private land that had never been a part of the public do!ain =Carino #s. "nsular 4overn!ent, 2$2 F.3., &&%1 /h Cho #s. #irector of @ands, &B /ff. 4a9., <AA?. "f it is the latter, the prohibition of section $2B of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$ does not appl(. "f it is the for!er, section $2B of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, 'hich providesthat 8 No land ori inall( ac*uired in an( !anner under the provisions of an( previous Act, ordinance, ro(al order, ro(al decree, or an( other provision of la' for!erl( in force in the Philippines 'ith re ard to public lands,terrenos baldios y realen'os, or lands of an( other deno!ination that 'ere actuall( or presu!ptivel( of the public do!ain, or b( ro(al rant or in an( other for!, nor an( per!anent i!prove!ent on such land, shall be encu!bered, alienated, or conve(ed, except to persons, corporations or associations 'ho !a( ac*uire land of the public do!ain under this Act or to corporate bodies or ani9ed in the Philippines 'hose charters authori9e the! to do so7 . . . is si!ilar in nature to section $2$ of Act No. 2<>&. .his Court held the last !entioned section unconstitutional, for it violates section B of the Act of Con ress of 2% Au ust $%$A, co!!onl( ,no'n as the 5ones @a' =Central Capi9#s. Ra!ire9, &; Phil., <<B?. 3ection $2B of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, follo'in the rule laid do'n in the aforecited case, !ust also be declared unconstitutional, for it violates section 2$ =$?, Article I", of the Constitution, 'hich is exactl( the sa!e as the one infrin ed upon b( section $2$ of Act No. 2<>&. .his does not !ean that a la' !a( not be passed b( Con ress to prohibit alienation to forei ners of urban lands of private o'nership1 but in so doin , it !ust avoid offendin a ainst the constitutional provision referred to above. Before closin , " cannot help but co!!ent on the action ta,en b( the Court in considerin the !erits of the case, despite the 'ithdra'al of the appeal b( the appellants, consented to b( the appellee. "f discretion 'as to be exercised, this Court did not exercise it 'isel(. Courts of last resort enerall( avoid passin upon constitutional *uestions if the case 'here such *uestions are raised !a( be decided on other rounds. Courts of last resort do not express their opinion on a consitutional *uestion except 'hen it is the ver( lis ota =Nan co #s. Board of Public Ftilit( Co!!issioners, BA Phil., $$A, $2;1 Co Chion #s. #in lasan, p. $22, ante?. Moreover, the interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution is no exclusive of the courts. .he other coordinate branches of the overn!ent !a( interpret such provisions actin on !atters co!in 'ithin their +urisdiction. And althou h such interpretation is onl( persuasive and not bindin upon the courts, nevertheless the( cannot be deprived of such po'er. /f course, the final sa( on 'hat is the correct interpretation of a constitutional provision !ust co!e fro! and be !ade b( this Court in an appropriate action sub!itted to it for decision. .he correct interpretation of a constitutional provision is that 'hich ives effect to the intent of its fra!ers and pri!aril( to the understandin of such provision b( the poeple that adopted it. .his Court is onl( an interpreter of the instru!ent 'hich e!bodies 'hat its fra!ers had in !ind and especiall( 'hat the people understood it to be 'hen the( adopted it. .he ea erness of this Court to express its opinion on the constitutional provision involved in this case, not'ithstandin of the 'ithdra'al of the appeal, is unusualf or a Court of last resort. "t see!s as if it 'ere afraid to be deprived b( the other coordinate branches of the overn!ent of its prero ative to pass upon the constitutional *uestion herein involved. "f all the !e!bers of the Court 'ere unani!ous in the interpretation of the constitutional provision under scrutin(, that ea erness !i ht be +ustified, but 'hen so!e !e!bers of the Court do not a ree to the interpretation placed upon such provision, that ea erness beco!es rec,lessness. .he

interpretation thus placed b( the !a+orit( of the Court upon the constitutional provision referred to 'ill be bindin upon the other coordinate branches of the overn!ent. "f, in the course of ti!e, such opinion should turn out to be erroneous and a ainst the 'elfare of the countr(,an a!end!ent to the Constitution 8 a costl( process 8 'ould have to be proposed and adopted. But, if the Court had ranted the !otion for the 'ithdra'al of the appeal, it 'ould not have to express its opinion upon the constitutional provision in *uestion. "t 'ould let the other coordinate branches of the 4overn!ent act accordin to their 'isdo!, foresi ht and patriotis!. .he(, too, possess those *ualities and virtues. .hese are not of the exclusive possession of the !e!bers of this Court. .he end sou ht to be acco!plished b( the decision of this Court !a( be carried out b( the enact!ent of a la'. And if the la' should turn out to be a ainst the 'ell-bein of the people, its a!end!ent or repeal 'ould not be as costl( a process as a constitutional a!end!ent. "n vie' of the denial b( this Court of the !otion to dis!iss the appeal, as pra(ed for b( the appellant and consented to b( the appellee, " a! constrained to record !( opinion, that, for the reasons hereinbefore set forth, the +ud !ent under revie' should be reversed.

TUASON, J., dissentin 7 .he decision concludes 'ith the assertion that there is no choice. :0e are construin : it sa(s, :the Constitution as 'e see it and not as 'e !a( 'ish it to be. "f this is the sole!n !andate of the Constitution, 'e cannot co!pro!ise it even in the na!e of e*uit(.: 0e 'ish deep in our heart that 'e 'ere iven the li ht to see as the !a+orit( do and could share their opinion. As it is, 'e perceive thin s the other 'a( around. As 'e see it, the decision b(-passed 'hat accordin to our hu!ble understandin is the plain intent of the Constitution and roped out of its 'a( in search of the ideal result. .he denial b( this Court of the !otion to 'ithdra' the appeal to 'hich the 3olicitor 4eneral ave his confor!it( collides 'ith the professed sorro' that the decision cannot be helped. 3ection ), Article 6""", of the Constitution reads7 ). 3ave in cases of hereditar( succession, no private a ricultural land shall be transferred or assi ned except to individuals, corporations, or associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public do!ain in the Philippines. .he sole and si!ple *uestion at issue is, 'hat is the !eanin of the ter! :a ricultural land: as used in this sectionK Before ans'erin the *uestion, it is convenient to refresh our !e!or( of the pertinent rule in the interpretation of constitutions as expounded in decisions of courts of last resort and b( la' authors. "t is a cardinal rule in the interpretation of constitutions that the instru!ent !ust be a construed so to ive effect to the intention of the people 'ho adopted it. .his intention is to be sou ht in the constitution itself, and the apparent !eanin of the 'ords e!plo(ed is to be

ta,en as expressin it, except in cases 'here the assu!ption 'ould lead to absurdit(, a!bi uit(, or contradiction. Blac, on "nterpretation of @a's, 2nd ed., p. 2;.? Ever( 'ord e!plo(ed in the constitution is to be expounded in its plain, obvious, and co!!on sense, unless the context furnishes so!e round to control, *ualif(, or enlar e it. Constitutions are not desi ned for !etaph(sical or lo ical subtleties, for niceties of expression, for critical propriet(, for elaborate shades of !eanin , or for the exercise of philosophical acuteness or +udicial research. .he( are instru!ents of a practical nature founded on the co!!on business of hu!an life adapted to co!!on 'ants, desi ned for co!!on use, and fitted for co!!on understandin s. .he people !a,e the!, the people adopt the!, the people !ust be supposed to read the! 'ith the help of co!!on sense, and cannot be presu!ed to ad!it in the! an( recondite !eanin or an( extraordinar( loss. =$ 3tor(, Const. sec. &)$.? Marshall , Ch. 5., sa(s7 .he fra!ers of the Constitution, and the people 'ho adopted it, :!ust be understood to have e!plo(ed 'ords in their natural sense, and to have intended 'hat the( have said.: =4ibbons #s. / don, % 0heat, $, $<<1 A @a'. ed., 2B?. Juestions as to the 'isdo!, expedienc(, or +ustice of constitutional provisions afford no basis for construction 'here the intent to adopt such provisions is expressed in clear and un!ista,able ter!s. Nor can construction read into the provisions of a constitution so!e unexpressed eneral polic( or spirit, supposed to underline and pervade the instru!ent and to render it consonant to the enius of the institutions of the state. .he courts are not at libert( to declare an act void because the( dee! it opposed to the spirit of the Constitution. =$2 C.5., >;2->;B.? .here is no obscurit( or a!bi uit( in the section of the Constitution above *uoted, nor does a literal interpretation of the 'ords :a ricultural land: lead to an( un-the !a+orit( opinion, the phrase has no technical !eanin , and the sa!e could not have been used in an( sense other than that in 'hich it is understood b( the !en in the street. .hat there are lands of private o'nership 'ill not be denied, inspite of the fiction tha all lands proceed fro! the soverei n. And, that lands of private o'nership are ,no'n as a ricultural, residential, co!!ercial and industrial, is another truth 'hich no one can successfull( dispute. "n prohibitin the alienation of private a ricultural land to aliens, the Constitution, b( necessar( i!plication, authori9es the alienation of other ,inds of private propert(. .he express !ention of one thin excludes all others of the sa!e ,ind. @et us then ascertain the !eanin of the 'ord :a ricultural: so that b( process of eli!ination 'e can see 'hat lands do not fall 'ithin the purvie' of the constitutional inhibition. 0ebsterHs Ne' international #ictionar( defines this 'ord as :of or pertainin to a riculture connected 'ith, or en a ed in, tilla e1 as, the a ricultural class1 a ricultural i!ple!ents, 'a es, etc.: Accordin to this definition and accordin to the popular conception of the 'ord, lands in cities and to'ns intended or used for buildin s or other ,inds of structure are never understood to !ean a ricultural lands. .he( are either residential,

co!!ercial, or industrial lands. "n all cit( plannin s, co!!unities are divided into residential, co!!ercial and industrial sections. "t 'ould be extre!el( out of the ordinar(, not to sa( ridiculous, to i!a ine that the Constitutional Convention considered a lot on the Escolta 'ith its i!prove!ent as a ricultural land. "f extrinsic evidence is needed, a reference to the histor( of the constitutional provision under consideration 'ill dispel all doubts that urban lands 'ere in the !inds of the fra!ers of the Constitution as properties that !a( be assi ned to forei ners. #ean Arue o, hi!self a !e!ber of the Constitutional Convention, is authorit( for the state!ent that the co!!ittee on nationali9ation and preservation of lands and other natural resources in its report reco!!ended the incorporation into the Constitution of the follo'in provision7 3EC. &. 3ave in cases of hereditar( succession, no land of private o'nership shall be transferred or assi ned b( the o'ner thereof except to individuals, corporations, or associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public do!ain in the Philippine "slands1 and the 4overn!ent shall re ulate the transfer or assi n!ent of land no' o'ned b( persons, or corporations,or associations not *ualified under the provisions of this Constitution to ac*uire or hold lands in the Philippine "slands. "n Article 6""", entitled :4eneral Provisions,: of the first draft of the Constitution, the sub-co!!ittee of seven e!bodied the follo'in provision 'hich had been reco!!ended in the reports of the co!!ittee on a ricultural develop!ent, national defense, industr(, and nationali9ation and preservation of lands and other natural resources7 3EC. $A. 3ave in cases of hereditar( succession, no land of private o'nership shall be transferred or assi ned b( the o'ner thereof except to individuals, corporations, or associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands of the public do!ain in the Philippines. But on 5anuar( 22, $%B), the sub-co!!ittee of seven sub!itted to the Convention a revised draft of the articleo n 4eneral Provisions of the first draft, 'hich revised draft had been prepared b( the co!!ittee in consultation 'ith President Jue9on. .he revised draft as it touches private lands provides as follo's7 3ave in cases of hereditar( succession, no a ricultural land of private o'nership shall be transferred or assi ned b( the o'ner thereof except to individuals, corporations, or associations *ualified to ac*uire or hold lands, of the public do!ain in the Philippine "slands. =2 .he -ra!in of the Philippine Constitution, Arue o, )%)-)%%.? .he last-*uoted proposal beca!e section ) of Article 6""" of the Constitution in its final for! 'ith sli h alteration in the phraseolo (. "t 'ill thus be seen that t'o co!!ittees in their reports and the sub-co!!ittee of seven in its first draft of the Constitution all proposed to prescribe the transfer to non--ilipino citi9ens of an( land of private o'nership 'ithout re ard to its nature or use, but that the last !entioned sub-co!!ittee later a!ended

that proposal b( puttin the 'ord :a ricultural: before the 'ord :land.: 0hat are 'e to conclude fro! this !odificationK "ts self-evident purpose 'as to confine the prohibition to a ricultural lands, allo'in the o'nership b( forei ners of private lands that do not parta,e of a ricultural character. .he insertion of the 'ord :a ricultural: 'as studied and deliberated, thereb( eli!inatin an( possibilit( that its i!plication 'as not co!prehended. "n the follo'in para raphs 'e shall, in our inade*uate 'a(, atte!pt to sho' that the conclusions in this CourtHs decision are erroneous either because the pre!ises are 'ron or because the conclusions do not follo' the pre!ises. Accordin to the decision, the insertion of the 'ord :a ricultural: 'as not intended to chan e the scope of the provision. "t sa(s that :the 'ordin of the first draft 'as a!ended for no other purpose than to clarif( concepts and avoid uncertainties.: "f this 'as the intention of the Constitutional Asse!bl(, that could not have devised a better 'a( of !essin up and obscurin the !eanin of the provision than 'hat it did. "f the purpose 'as :to clarif( concepts and avoid uncertainties,: the insertion of the 'ord :a ricultural: before the 'ord :land: produced the exact opposite of the result 'hich the chan e 'as expected to acco!plish 8 as 'itness the present sharp and bitter controvers( 'hich 'ould not have arisen had the( let 'ell enou h alone. But the assu!ption is untenable. .o brush aside the introduction of the 'ord :a ricultural: into the final draft as :!erel( one of 'ords: is utterl( unsupported b( evidence, b( the text of the Constitution, or b( sound principles of construction. .here is absolutel( no 'arrant or the state!ent that the Constitutional Convention, 'hich 'as uided b( 'ise !en, !en of abilit( and experience in different fields of endeavor, used the ter!after !ature deliberation and reflection and after consultation 'ith the President, 'ithout intendin to ive it its natural si nification and connotation. :0e are not at libert( to presu!e that the fra!ers of the Constitution, or the people 'ho adopted it, did not understand the force of lan ua e.: =People #s. Rathbone, B2 N.N.3., $;<.? .he Constitution 'ill be scanned in vain for an( reasonable indication that its authors !ade the chan e 'ith intention that it should not operate accordin to the rules of ra!!ar and the ordinar( process of dra'in lo ical inferences. .he theor( is a ainst the presu!ption, based on hu!an experience, that the fra!ers of a constitution :have expressed the!selves in careful and !easured ter!s, correspondin 'ith the i!!ense i!portance of the po'ers dele ated, leavin as little as possible to i!plication.: =$ Coole(Hs Constitutional @i!itations, <th ed., $2<, $2%.? :As !en, 'hose intention re*uire no conceal!ent, enerall( e!plo( the 'ords 'hich !ost directl( and aptl( express the ideas the( intend to conve(, the enli htened patriots 'ho fra!ed our constitution, and the people 'ho adopted it, !ust be understood to have e!plo(ed 'ords in their natural sense and to have intended 'hat the( have said.: =4ibbons #s. / den, ante.? 0hen instead of prohibitin the ac*uisition of private land of an( ,ind b( forei ners, as ori inall( proposed, the prohibition 'as chan ed to private a ricultural lands, the avera e !anHs facult( of reasonin tells hi! that other lands !a( be ac*uired. .he ele!entar( rules of speech 'ith 'hich !en of avera e intelli ence, and, above all, the !e!bers of the Constitutional Asse!bl( 'ere fa!iliar, infor! us that the ob+ect of a descriptive ad+ective is to specif( a thin as distinct fro! another. "t is fro! this process of reasonin that the !axi! e3pressio unius est e3clusio alterius ste!s1 a fa!iliar rule of interpretation often *uoted, and ad!itted as a reeable to natural reason.

"f then a forei ner !a( ac*uire private lands that are not a ricultural, 'hat lands are the(K .i!ber land or !ineral land, or bothK As the decision itself sa(s these lands are not susceptible of private o'nership, the ans'er can onl( be residential, co!!ercial, industrial or other lands that are not a ricultural. 0hether a propert( is !ore suitable and profitable to the o'ners as residential, co!!ercial or industrial than if he devotes it to the cultivation of crops is a !atter that has to be decided accordin to the value of the propert(, its si9e, and other attendin circu!stances. .he !ain burden of this CourtHs ar u!ent is that, as lands of the public do!ain 'hich are suitable for ho!e buildin are considered a ricultural land, the Constitution intended that private residential, co!!ercial or industrial lands should be considered also a ricultural lands. .he Court sa(s that :'hat the !e!bers of the Constitutional Convention had in !ind 'hen the( drafted the Constitution 'as this 'ell-,no'n classification =ti!ber, !ineral and a ricultural? and its technical !eanin then prevailin .: As far as private lands are concerned, there is no factual or le al basis for this assu!ption. .he classification of public lands 'as used for one purpose not conte!plated in the classification of private lands. At the outset, it should be distinctivel( !ade clear that it 'as this CourtHs previous decisions and not an Act of Con ress 'hich declared that public lands 'hich 'ere not forest or !ineral 'ere a ricultural lands. @ittle reflection on the bac, round of this CourtHs decisions and the nature of the *uestion presented in relation to the peculia rprovisions of the enact!ents 'hich ca!e up for construction, 'ill brin into relief the error of appl(in to private lands the classification of public lands. "n the first place, 'e cannot classif( private lands in the sa!e !anner as public lands for the ver( si!ple and !anifest reason that onl( lands pertainin to one of the three roups of public lands 8 a ricultural 8 can find their 'a( into the hands of private persons. -orest lands and !ineral lands are preserved b( the 3tate for itself and for posterit(. 4rantin 'hat is possible, that there are here and there forest lands and !ineral lands to 'hich private persons have obtained patents or titles, it 'ould be pointless to suppose that such properties are the ones 'hich section ) of Article 6""" of the Constitution 'ants to distin uish fro! private a ricultural lands as lienable. .he !a+orit( the!selves 'ill not ad!it that the Constitution 'hich forbids the alienation or private a ricultural lands allo's the conve(ance of private forests and !ines. "n the second place, public lands are classified under special conditions and 'ith a different ob+ect in vie'. Classification of public lands 'as and is !ade for purposes of ad!inistration1 for the purpose principall( of se re atin lands that !a( be sold fro! lands that should be conserved. .he Act of 5ul( $, $%;2, of the Fnited 3tates Con ress desi nated 'hat lands of the public do!ain !i ht be alienated and 'hat should be ,ept b( the 3tate. Public lands are divided into three classes to the end that natural resources !a( be used 'ithout 'aste. 3ub+ect to so!e exceptions and li!itation, a ricultural lands !a( be disposed of b( the 4overn!ent. Preservation of forest and !ineral lands 'as and is a do!inant preoccupation. .hese are i!portant parts of the countr(Hs natural resources. Private nona ricultural land does not co!e 'ithin the cate or( of natural resources. Natural resources are defined in 0ebsterHs 3tandard #ictionar( as !aterials supplied or produced b( nature. .he Fnited 3tates Con ress evinced ver( little if an( concern 'ith private lands. "t should also be distinctivel( ,ept in !ind that the Act of Con ress of the Fnited 3tates above !entioned 'as an or anic la' and dealt 'ith vast tracts of untouched public lands. "t 'as enacted b( a Con ress 'hose !e!bers 'ere not closel( fa!iliar 'ith local conditions affectin lands. Fnder the

circu!stances, it 'as natural that the Con ress e!plo(ed :'ords in a co!prehensive sense as expressive of eneral ideas rather than of finer shades of thou ht or of narro' distinctions. :.he Fnited 3tates Con ress 'as content 'ith la(in do'n a broad outline overnin the ad!inistration, exploitation, and disposition of the public 'ealth, leavin the details to be 'or,ed out b( the local authorities and courts entrusted 'ith the enforce!ent and interpretation of the la'. "t 'as a result of this broad classification that *uestions crept for a definition of the status of scattered s!all parcels of public lands that 'ere neither forest, !ineral, nor a ricultural, and 'ith 'hich the Con ress had not bothered itself to !ention separatel( or specificall(. .his Court, forced b( nature of its dut( to decide le al controversies, ruled that public lands that 'ere fit for residential purposes, public s'a!ps and other public lands that 'ere neither forest nor !ineral, 'ere to be re arded as a ricultural lands. "n other 'ords, there 'as an apparent void, often inevitable in a la' or constitution, and this Court !erel( filled that void. "t should be noted that this Court did not sa( that a ricultural lands and residential lands are the sa!e or ali,e in their character and use. "t !erel( said that for the purpose of +ud in their alienabilit(, residential, co!!ercial or industrial lands should be brou ht under the class of a ricultural lands. /n the other hand, section ) of Article 6""" of the Constitution treats of private lands 'ith a different ai!. .his Court is not no' confronted 'ith an( proble! for 'hich there is no specific provision, such as faced it 'hen the *uestion of deter!inin the character of public residential land ca!e up for decision. .his Court is not called to rule 'hether a private residential land is forest, !ineral or a ricultural. .his Court is not, in re ard to private lands, in the position 'here it found itself 'ith reference to public lands, co!pelled b( the li!ited field of its choice for a na!e to call public residential lands, a ricultural lands. 0hen it co!es to deter!inin the character of private non-a ricultural lands, the CourtHs tas, is not to co!pare it 'ith forests, !ines and a ricultural lands, to see 'hich of these bears the closest rese!brance to the land in *uestion. 3ince there are no private ti!ber nor !ineral lands, and if there 'ere, the( could not be transferred to forei ners, and since the ob+ect of section ) of Article 6""" of the Constitution is radicall( at variance 'iththat of the la's coverin public lands, 'e have to have different standards of co!parison and have to loo, of the intent of this constitutional provision fro! a different an le and perspective. 0hen a private non-a ricultural land de!ands to ,no' 'here it stands, 'e do not ac*uire, is it !ineral, forest or a riculturalK 0e onl( as,, is it a riculturalK .o ascertain 'hether it is 'ithin the inhibition of section ) of Article 6""". .he last *uestion in turn resolves itself into 'hat is understood b( a ricultural land. 3tripped of the special considerations 'hich dictated the classification of public lands into three eneral roups, there is no alternative but to ta,e the ter! :a ricultural land: in its natural and popular si nification1 and thus re arded, it i!ports a distinct connotation 'hich involves no absurdit( and no contradiction bet'een different parts of the or anic la'. "ts !eanin is that a ricultural land is specified in section ) of Article 6""" to differentiate it fro! lands that are used or are !ore suitable for purposes other than a riculture. "t 'ould profit us to ta,e notice of the ad!onition of t'o of the !ost revered 'riters on constitutional la', 5ustice 3tor( and Professor Coole(7 :As a eneral thin , it is to be supposed that the sa!e 'ord is used in the sa!e sense 'herever it occurs in a constitution. Dere a ain, ho'ever, reat caution !ust be observed in appl(in an arbitrar( rule1 for, as Mr. 5ustice 3tor( has 'ell observed1 R"t does not follo', either lo icall( or ra!!aticall(,

that because a 'ord is found in one connection in the Constitution 'ith a definite sense, therefore the sa!e is to be adopted in ever( other connection in 'hich it occurs. .his 'ould be to suppose that the fra!ers 'ei hed onl( the force of sin le 'ords, as philolo ists or critics, and not 'hole clauses and ob+ects, as states!en and practical reasoners. And (et nothin has been !ore co!!on than to sub+ect the Constitution to this narro' and !ischievous criticis!. Men of in enious and subtle !inds, 'ho see, for s(!!etr( and har!on( in lan ua e, havin found in the Constitution a 'ord used in so!e sense 'hich falls in 'ith their favorite theor( of interpretin it, have !ade that the standard b( 'hich to !easure its use in ever( other part of the instru!ent. .he( have thus stretched it, as it 'ere, on the bed of Procrustes, loppin off its !eanin 'hen it see!ed too lar e for their purposes, and extendin it, 'hen it see!ed too short. .he( have thus distorted it to the !ost unnatural shapes, and crippled 'here the( have sou ht onl( to ad+ust its proportions accordin to their o'n opinionsK And he ives !an( instances 'here, in the National Constitution, it is ver( !anifest the sa!e 'ord is e!plo(ed in different !eanin s. 3o that, 'hile the rule !a( be sound as one of presu!ption !erel(, its force is but sli ht, and it !ust readil( ive 'a( to a different intent appearin in the instru!ent.: =$ Coole(Hs Constitutional @i!itations, <th ed., $B).? As to the proposition that the 'ords :a ricultural lands: have been iven a technical !eanin and that the Constitution has e!plo(ed the! in that sense, it can onl( be accepted in reference to public lands. "f a technical i!port has been affixed to the ter!, it can not be extended to private lands if 'e are not to be led to an absurdit( and if 'e are avoid the char e that 'e are resortin to subtle and in enious refine!ent to force fro! the Constitution a !eanin 'hich its fra!ers never held. 0hile in the construction of a constitution 'ords !ust be iven the technical !eanin 'hich the( have ac*uired, the rule is li!ited to the :'ell-understood !eanin : :'hich the people !ust be supposed to have had in vie' in adoptin the!.: .o ive an exa!ple. :0hen the constitution spea,s of an e3 post facto la', it !eans a la' technicall( ,no'n b( that desi nation1 the !eanin of the phrase havin beco!e definite in the histor( of constitutional la', and bein so fa iliar to the people that it is not necessary to e ploy lan'ua'e of a ore popular character to desi'nate it.: "n realit(, this is not a departure fro! the eneral rule that the lan ua e used is to be ta,en in the sense it conve(s to the popular !ind, :for the technical sense in these cases is the sense popularl( understood, because that is the sense fixed upon the 'ords in le al and constitutional histor( 'here the( have been e!plo(ed for the protection of popular ri hts.: =$ Coole(Hs Constitutional @i!itations, <th ed., $B2-$BB.? Iie'ed fro! this an le, :a ricultural land: does not possess the *ualit( of a technical ter!. Even as applied to public lands, and even a!on la'(ers and +ud es, ho' !an( are fa!iliar 'ith the decisions of this Court 'hich hold that public s'a!ps and public lands !ore appropriate for buildin s and other structures than for a riculture are a ricultural landsK .he sa!e can be truthfull( said of !e!bers of the Constitutional Asse!bl(. .he speeches of dele ates Montilla and @edes!a cannot serve as a !eans of interpretation. .he senti!ents expressed in those speeches, li,e the first drafts of section ) of Article 6""", !a( have reflected the senti!ents of the Convention in the first sta es of the deliberation or do'n to its close. "f the( 'ere, those senti!ents 'ere relaxed and not iven full s'a( for reasons on 'hich 'e need not speculate. 3peeches in support of a pro+ect can be a valuable criterion for +ud in the intention of a la' or constitution onl( if no chan es 'ere after'ard affected. "f an(thin , the chan e in section ) of Article 6""" 'rou ht in the face of a stron advocac( for co!plete and absolute nationali9ation of all lands, 'ithout exception, offers itself as the best proof that to the fra!ers of the Constitution the chan e 'as not :!erel( one of 'ords: but represented so!ethin real and substantial. -ir! and resolute convictions are expressed in a docu!ent in stron , une*uivocal and un*ualified lan ua e. .his is

speciall( true 'hen the instru!ent is a constitution, :the !ost sole!n and deliberate of hu!an 'ritin s, al'a(s carefull( dra'n, and calculated for per!anent endurance.: .he decision *uotes fro! the -ra!in of the Constitution b( #ean Arue o a sentence 'hich sa(s that one of the principles underl(in the provision of Article 6""" of the Constitution is :that lands, !inerals, forests and other natural resources constitute the exclusive herita e of the -ilipino Nation.: "n underl(in the 'ord lands the Court 'ants to insinuate that all lands 'ithout exceptions are included. .his is nothin to be enthusiastic over. "t is h(perbole, :a fi ure of speech in 'hich the state!ent expresses !ore than the truth: but :is accepted as a le al for! of expression.: "t is an expression that :lies but does not deceive.: 0hen 'e sa( !en !ust fi ht 'e do not !ean all !en, and ever( one ,no's 'e donHt. .he decision sa(s7 "t is true that in section % of said Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$,:alienable or disposable public lands: 'hich are the sa!e as :public a ricultural lands: under the Constitution, are classified into a ricultural, residential, co!!ercial, industrial and for other purposes. .his si!pl( !eans that the ter! :public a ricultural lands: has both a broad and a particular !eanin . Fnder its broad or eneral !eanin , as used in the Constitution, it e!braces all lands that are neither ti!ber nor !ineral. .his broad !eanin is particulari9ed in section % of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$ 'hich classifies :public a ricultural lands: for purposes of alienation or disposition, into lands that are strictl( a ricultural or actuall( devoted to cultivation for a ricultural purposes1 lands that are residential1 co!!ercial1 industrial1 or lands for other purposes. .he fact that these lands are !ade alienable or disposable under Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, in favor of -ilipino Citi9en, is a conclusive indication of their character as public a ricultural lands under said statute and under the Constitution.: "f " a! not !ista,en in !( understandin of the line of reasonin in the fore oin passa e, !( hu!ble opinion is that there is no lo ical connection bet'een the pre!ise and the conclusion. 0hat to !e see!s clearl( to e!er e fro! it is that Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, so far fro! sustainin that CourtHs theor(, actuall( pulls do'n its case 'hich it has built upon the foundation of parallel classification of public and private lands into forest, !ineral and a ricultural lands, and the inexistence of such thin s as residential, industrial or co!!ercial lands. "t is to be noted that Act No. $&$, section %, classifies disposable lands into a ricultural, industrial, residential, co!!ercial, etc. And these are lands of the public do!ain. .he fact that the provisions re ardin alienation of private lands happens to be included in Article 6""", 'hich is entitled :Conservation and Ftili9ation of Natural Resources,: is no round for treatin public lands and private lands on the sa!e footin . .he inference should rather be the exact reverse. A ricultural lands, 'hether public or private, are natural resources. But residential, co!!ercial, and industrial lands, as 'e have seen, are not natural resources either in the sense these 'ords conve( to the popular !ind or as defined in the dictionar(. .his fact !a( have been one factor 'hich pro!pted the eli!ination of private non-a ricultural lands fro! the ran e of the prohibition, alon 'ith reasons, of forei n polic(, econo!ics and politics.

-ro! the opinion of 3ecretar( of 5ustice 5ose A. 3antos in $%B%, the !a+orit( can not derive an( co!fort unless 'e clin to the serious ar u!ent that as public lands o so o private lands. "n that opinion the *uestion propounded 'as 'hether a piece of public land 'hich 'as !ore profitable as a ho!esite !i ht not be sold and considered as a ricultural. .he illustrious 3ecretar( ans'ered (es, 'hich 'as correct. But the classification of private lands 'as not directl( or indirectl( involved. "t is the opinion of the present 3ecretar( of 5ustice that is to the point. "f the construction placed b( the la'officer of the overn!ent on a constitutional provision !a( properl( be invo,ed, as the !a+orit( sa( but 'hich " doubt, as representin the true intent of the instru!ent, this Court, if it is to be consistent, should adopt 3ecretar( /9aetaHs vie'. "f the 3olicitor 4eneralHs attitude as interested counsel for the overn!ent in a +udicial action is 8 as the decision also su ests but 'hich, " thin,, is still !ore incorrect both in theor( and in practice 8 then this Court should have iven heed to the !otion for 'ithdra'al of the present appeal, 'hich had been concurred in b( the 3olicitor 4eneral in line presu!abl( 'ith the opinion of the head of his depart!ent. .he Court fears that :this constitutional purpose of conservin a ricultural resources in the hands of -ilipino citi9ens !a( easil( be defeated b( the -ilipino citi9ens the!selves 'ho !a( alienate their a ricultural lands in favor of aliens.: "t reasons that :it 'ould certainl( be futile to prohibit the alienation of public a ricultural lands to aliens if, after all, the( !a( be freel( so alienated upon their beco!in private a ricultural lands in the hands of -ilipino citi9ens.: 3ections$22 and $2B of Act No. $&$ should banish this fear. .hese sections, *uoted and relied upon in the !a+orit( opinion, prevent private lands that have been ac*uired under an( of the public land la's fro! fallin into alien possession in fee si!ple. 0ithout this la', the fear 'ould be 'ell-founded if 'e adopt the !a+orit(Hs theor(, 'hich 'e precisel( re+ect, that a ricultural and residential lands are s(non(!ous, be the( public or private. .he fear 'ould not !ateriali9e under our theor(, that onl( lands 'hich are not a ricultural !a( be o'ned b( persons other than -"lipino citi9ens. Act No. $&$, b( the 'a(, supplies the best ar u!ent a ainst the !a+orit(Hs interpretation of section ) of Article 6""". Prohibitin the ac*uisition b( forei ners of an( lands ori inall( ac*uired in an( !anner under its provisions or under the provisions of an( previous la', ordinace, ro(al order, ro(al decree, or an( other la' for!erl( enforced in the Philippines 'ith re ard to public lands, etc., it is a !ute elo*uent testi!on( that in the !inds of the le islature, 'hose interpretation the !a+orit( correctl( sa( should be loo,ed to as authoritative, the Constitution did not carr( such prohibition. -or if the Constitution alread( barred the alienation of lands of an( ,ind in favor of aliens, the provisions of sections $22 and $2B of Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$ 'ould have been superfluous. .he decision sa(s that :if under Article 6"I section <, of the Constitution, an alien !a( not even operate a s!all +eepne( for hire, it is certainl( not hard to understand that neither is he allo'ed to o'n a piece of land.: .here is no si!ilitude bet'een o'nin a lot for a ho!e or a factor( or a store and operatin a +eepne( for hire. "t is not the o'nership of a +eepne( that is forbidden1 it is the use of it for public service that is not allo'ed. A forei ner is not barred fro! o'nin the costliest !otor cars, stea!ships or airplanes in an( nu!ber, for his private use or that of his friends and relatives. De can not use a +eepne( for hire because the operation of public utilities is reserved to -ilipino nationals, and the operation of a +eepne( happens to be 'ithin this polic(. .he use of a +eepne( for hire !a(be insi nificant in itself but it falls 'ithin a class of industr( that perfor!s a vital function in the countr(Hs econo!ic life, closel( associated 'ith its advancin civili9ation, suppl(in needs so funda!ental for co!!unal livin and for the develop!ent of the countr(Hs econo!(, that the overn!ent finds need of sub+ectin the! to so!e !easure of control and the Constitution dee!s it necessar( to li!it their

operation b( -ilipino citi9ens. .he i!portance of usin a +eepne( for hire cannot be sneered at or !ini!i9ed +ust as a vote for public office b( a sin le forei n citi9en can not be loo,ed at 'ith a shru of the shoulder on the theor( that it 'ould not cause a ripple in the political co!plexion or scene of the nation. .his Court *uotes 'ith approval fro! the 3olicitor 4eneralHs brief this passa e7 :"f the ter! Rprivate a ricultural landsH is to be construed as not includin residential lots or lands of si!ilar nature, the result 'ill be that aliens !a( freel( ac*uire and possess not onl( residential lots and houses for the!selves but entire subdivisions and 'hole to'ns and cities, and that the( !a( validl( bu( and hold in their na!es lands of an( area for buildin ho!es, factories, industrial plants, fisheries, hatcheries, schools, health and vacation resorts, !ar,ets, olf 8 courses, pla( rounds, airfields and a host of other uses and purposes that are not, in appellantHs 'ords, strictl( a ricultural.: Ar u!ents li,e this have no place 'here there is no a!bi uit( in the constitution or la'. .he courts are not at libert( to disre ard a provision that is clear and certain si!pl( because its enforce!ent 'ould 'or, inconvenience or hardship or lead to 'hat the( believe pernicious results. Courts have nothin to do 'ith inconvenience or conse*uences. .his role is founded on sound principles of constitutional overn!ent and is so 'ell ,no'n as to !a,e citations of authorities presu!ptuous. 4rantin the possibilit( or probabilit( of the conse*uences 'hich this Court and the 3olicitor 4eneral dread, 'e should not overloo, the fact that there is the Con ress standin uard to curtail or stop such excesses or abuses if and 'hen the !enace should sho' its head. .he fact that the Constitution has not prohibited, as 'e contend, the transfer of private non-a ricultural lands to aliens does not prevent the Con ress fro! passin le islation to re ulate or prohibit such transfer, to define the si9e of private lands a forei ner !a( possess in fee si!ple, or to specif( the uses for 'hich lands !a( be dedicated, in order to prevent aliens fro! conductin fisheries, hatcheries, vacation resorts, !ar,ets, olf-courses, ce!eteries. .he Con ress could, if it 'ants, o so far as to exclude forei ners fro! enterin the countr( or settlin here. "f " !a( be per!itted to uess, the alteration in the ori inal draft of section ) of Article 6""" !a( have been pro!pted precisel( b( the thou ht that it is the better polic( to leave to the political depart!ents of the 4overn!ent the re ulation or absolute prohibition of all land o'nership b( forei ners, as the chan ed, chan in and ever-chan in conditions de!and. .he Co!!on'ealth @e islature did that 'ith respect to lands that 'ere ori inall( public lands, throu h Co!!on'ealth Act No. $&$, and the @e islative Asse!bl( durin the 5apanese occupation extended the prohibition to all private lands, as Mr. 5ustice Paras has pointed out. "n the present Con ress, at least t'o bills have been introduced proposin Con ressional le islation in the sa!e direction. All of 'hich is an infallible si n that the Constitution does not carr( such prohibition, in the opinion of three le islatures, an opinion 'hich, 'e entirel( a ree 'ith the !a+orit(, should be iven serious consideration b( the courts =if needed there 'ere an( doubt?, both as a !atter of polic(, and also because it !a( be presu!ed to represent the true intent of the instru!ent. =$2 C.5., >$&.? "n truth, the decision la(s special e!phasis on the fact that :!an( !e!bers of the National Asse!bl( 'ho approved the ne' Act =No. $&$? had been !e!bers of the Constitutional Convention.: Ma( " add that 3enator -rancisco, 'ho is the author of one of the bills " have referred to, in the 3enate, 'as a leadin , active and influential !e!ber of the Constitutional ConventionK