REGALIAN DOCTRINE OF PROPERTY OWNERSHIP – is a legal principle that holds that all natural wealth – agricultural, forest, timber and mineral lands of the Public Domain and all other natural resources belong to the State. Thus, even if a private person owns the property where minerals are discovered, his ownership does not give him the right to extract or utilize said minerals without permission from the State to which such minerals belong.
“Regalian” comes from the root word “regal” – meaning royal or royalty. It is explained in the adage that: “Everything in the country without a registered owner is owned by the State.” It is closely related to the Latin term “Res Nullius” which got its roots from the term “res” meaning things and “nullius” which means without an owner. “Res Nullius” therefore means things without an owner. Examples: fish in the ocean, wild animals, plants in the wild forests, etc.
Since everything must have an owner, if there are no private claimants or owners, then that particular property is presumed to be owned by the State. Likewise, when a person dies without any heir, then the State succeeds to the estate of the deceased.
SOCIAL CONCEPT OF PROPERTY OWNERSHIP (Obligation of the Owner). Pertinent provisions related to this concept are:
1. The State shall promote social justice to ensure the dignity, welfare and security of all the people. Towards this end, the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use, enjoyment, and disposition of private property, and equitably diffuse property ownership and profits.
2. The rights of the individual impose upon him the correlative duty to exercise them responsibly and with due regard for the rights of others.