You are on page 1of 3

Tan vs.

Director of Forestry (2009) Facts: The Bureau of Forestry issued notice advertising for public bidding a certain tract of public forest land situated in Olangapo, Zambales. One of the bidders is petitioner Tan who was later then awarded such lot. On April 22, 1963, Ordinary Timber License No. 20-'64, in the name of Wenceslao Vinzons Tan, was signed by then Acting Director of Forestry Estanislao R. Bernal without the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. On January 6, 1964, the license was released by the Office of the Director of Forestry. It was not signed by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources as required by Order No. 60. And because of this, that Timber license was declared void ab initio and directed to stop the logging operations of Wenceslao Vinzons Tan. Petitioner averred that the respondents-appellees unlawfully, illegally whimsically, capriciously and arbitrarily acted without or in excess of their jurisdiction, and/or with grave abuse of discretion by revoking a valid and existing timber license without just cause, by denying petitioner-appellant of the equal protection of the laws, by depriving him of his constitutional right to property without due process of law, and in effect, by impairing the obligation of contracts. Issue: Whether or not the timber license was valid or not. Held: No. Court fully concur with the findings of the trial court that petitioner- appellant's timber license was signed and released without authority by then Acting Director Estanislao R. Bernal of Forestry, and is therefore void ab initio. In the first place, in general memorandum order No. 46 dated May 30, 1963, the Director of Forestry was authorized to grant a new ordinary timber license only where the area covered thereby was not more than 3,000 hectares; the tract of public forest awarded to the petitioner contained 6,420. In the second place, at the time it was released to the petitioner, the Acting Director of Forestry had no more authority to grant any license. However, granting that the timber license was valid, still respondents-appellees can validly revoke his timber license. As pointed out, the rules and regulations included in the ordinary timber license states: "The terms and conditions of this license are subject to change at the discretion of the Director of Forestry, and that this license may be made to expire at an earlier date, when public interests so require". A timber license is an instrument by which the State regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. A timber license is not a contract within the purview of the due process clause; it is only a license or privilege, which can be validly withdrawn whenever dictated by public interest or public welfare as in this case.

People vs. Que (1996) Facts: The accused, being the owner of an Isuzu Ten Wheeler Truck bearing Plate No. PAD548, with intent of gain, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in possession, control and custody 258 pieces of various sizes of Forest Products Chainsawn lumber (Species of Tanguile) without any license or authority to do so from the proper authorities causing damage and prejudice to the government. Thus violating Section 68 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) 705. However, accused-appellant denied the charge against him. He claimed that he acquired the 258 pieces of tanguile lumber from a legal source. During the trial, he presented the private land timber permits (PLTP) issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Issue: Whether or not the accused is guilty of violating Section 68, PD705 for possessing timber or other forest products without the legal documents as required under existing forest laws and regulations.

Held: Yes, accused was guilty. Accused-appellant’s possession of the subject lumber without any documentation clearly constitutes an offense under Section 68 of P.D. 705. There are two (2) distinct and separate offenses punished under Section 68 of P.D. 705, to wit: (1) Cutting, gathering, collecting and removing timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable or disposable public land, or from private land without any authority; and (2) Possession of timber or other forest products without the legal documents required under existing forest laws and regulations. In the first offense, one can raise as a defense the legality of the acts of cutting, gathering, collecting or removing timber or other forest products by presenting the authorization issued by the DENR. In the second offense, however, it is immaterial whether the cutting, gathering, collecting and removal of the forest products is legal or not. Mere possession of forest products without the proper documents consummates the crime. Whether or not the lumber comes from a legal source is immaterial because E.O. 277 considers the mere possession of timber or other forest products without the proper legal documents as malum prohibitum.

Aquino vs. People Facts: On behalf of Teachers' Camp, Sergio Guzman filed with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) an application to cut down 14 dead Benguet pine trees within the Teachers' Camp in Baguio City were to be used for the repairs of Teachers' Camp. Preissuance of the permit, a team composed of members from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and Michael Cuteng (Cuteng), a forest ranger of the Forest Section of the Office of the City Architect and Parks Superintendent of Baguio City, conducted an inspection of the trees to be cut. The Executive Director of the DENR, issued a permit allowing the cutting of 14 trees under terms and conditions. However, an information for violation of Section 68 of Presidential Decree No. 705 was filed against petitioner, Cuteng, Nacatab, Masing, and Santiago conspiring, confederating and mutually aiding one another, and without any authority, license or permit, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously cut trees at Teachers Camp, Baguio City, without the legal documents as required under existing forest laws and regulations, particularly the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Circular No. 05, Series of 1989, in violation of the aforecited law. Petitioner thus averred that he was sent to supervise the cutting of trees at Teachers' Camp. He allegedly informed his superior, Paul Apilis, that he was not aware of the trees covered by the permit. However, he still supervised the cutting of trees without procuring a copy of the vicinity map used in the inspection of the trees to be cut. He claimed that he could not prevent the overcutting of trees because he was just alone while Cuteng and Santiago were accompanied by three other men. Issue: Whether or not petitioner is guilty of violation of Section 68 of PD 705. Held: No. Petitioner cannot be liable under the last paragraph of Section 68 of PD 705 as he is not an officer of a partnership, association, or corporation who ordered the cutting, gathering, or collection, or is in possession of the pine trees. There are two distinct and separate offenses punished under Section 68 of PD 705, to wit: (1) Cutting, gathering, collecting and removing timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable or disposable public land, or from private land without any authority; and (2) Possession of timber or other forest products without the legal documents required under existing forest laws and regulations. The provision clearly punishes anyone who shall cut, gather, collect or remove timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable or disposable public land, or from private land, without any authority. In this case, petitioner was charged by CENRO to supervise the implementation of the permit. He was not the one who cut, gathered, collected or removed the pine trees within the contemplation of Section 68 of PD 705. He was not in possession of the cut trees because the lumber was used by Teachers' Camp for repairs. Petitioner could not likewise be convicted of conspiracy to commit the offense because all his co-accused were acquitted of the charges against them.