by Fatima Villarin Cero
The 1987 Constitution reserves ownership of Philippine lands to Filipinos, whether individuals or a juridical entities, such as corporations. In fact, Section 7, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution is clear in that generally, private lands shall be transferred only to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of public domain.
The determination of who can own land in the Philippines appears to be more straightforward for individuals as it simply requires that they be classified as citizens of the Philippines falling under the definition of the Constitution on citizenship.
The challenge might be more apparent when it comes to determining whether a juridical person, like a corporation, is considered a Philippine corporation qualified to own land in the Philippines. Section 22 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 is instructive in that only corporations of which at least 60 percent of the capital stock belongs wholly to citizens of the Philippines are qualified to own a land within the limits provided by the law.