The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) has won the case against two individuals claiming ownership over a 28-hectare land found within the military reservation. In its decision released last
January 19, the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 1 affirmed PMA’s right over the disputed land and declared the two claimants guilty of encroaching into the military reservation. The court’s decision came out two years after PMA sued the said individuals who claimed to be heirs of the late Gusec Dacdacan (Chacchakan).

The court cited the survey report of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) confirming that the contested land is part of the military reservation which was established through Proclamation No. 2405. The two claimants are in possession of a survey plan approved by the DENR in 1961. This, however, does not suffice to prove their ownership over the land, according to the court.

“The court finds that, while they [accused] are indeed claiming the disputed parcels of land, they unfortunately failed to establish that such possession was in the concept of an owner. Worse, records are bereft of any showing of the legality of their entry into the subject lands,” the 18-page
decision read. Also, the court pointed out that the claimants have no right over the land due to the pending status of their petition for a Certificate of Ancestral Land Title (CALT) with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

Furthermore, the court mentioned that the NCIP “has no policy directions yet” on processing CALTs in the City of Baguio. It also cited the supreme court decision in 2019 stating that the NCIP
does not have any legal power to reclassify lands that were previously included as part of the Baguio
Townsite Reservation as stipulated in Section 78 of Republic Act No. 8371 (Indigenous Peoples’
Rights Act of 1997).

The two individuals admitted that they, along with other land claimants, had repeatedly entered the property and introduced some improvements thereat despite being told by PMA authorities that the area is part of the military reservation. The court concluded that such acts are in violation of Presidential Decree No. 1227, s. 1977 (Punishing Unlawful Entry into any Military Base in the Philippines) and sentenced the two individuals to a ten-day imprisonment and a fine of P100.00 each.

On January 27, PMA real estate officer Maj. Julesther Cañada showed a survey plan of the 373- hectare military reservation that was approved in 1948. “Mas nauna itong approved survey plan ng PMA kesa itong approved survey plan ng heirs of Chacchakan,” Cañada stressed. He claimed that the survey plan for the heirs of Chacchakan was submitted to DENR Manila Office but was returned by the same office in the same year with remarks “for investigation.”

He also claimed that, in the amended survey plan for the heirs of Chacchakan, it was indicated that the property is “within the military reservation.” The PMA official said they will use the court’s ruling as a precedent in filing a case against any individual who will intrude into any portion of the land covered by Proclamation No. 2405.

Amianan Balita Ngayon