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G.R. No. L-44649 April 15, 1988

DONGA, petitioners,
HONORA%LE &ICENTE N. CU$I, 'R., i" (i) *!p!*i+, !) Pr-)i#i". '/#.- o0 +(- Co/r+ o0 1ir)+
I")+!"*- o0 D!2!o Ci+,, %r!"*( I, CON$TANCIO MAGLANA !"# +(- EA$TCOA$T
Wilfred D. Asis for petitioner.
Carlos A. Carbonilla for respondents.

This petition for mandamus originated from a complaint for damages which was instituted ! the
petitioners against the private respondents for closing a logging road without authorit!.
In their complaint, the petitioners, alleged, among others"
In #aragraph $%a&"
a& On ' (anuar! ')*+, ,tt!. -rnesto Nomrado, legal counsel for defendants, issued
a memorandum to the .hief Securit! /uard of Defendant -astcoast directing the
latter to prevent the passage of #laintiff 0aguas1 hauling truc2s loaded with logs for
the (apanese vessel %there were no other truc2s hauling logs at that time& on the
national highwa! loading towards where the vessel was erthed. In compliance with
this directive, the securit! force of Defendant -astcoast closed the road to the use !
plaintiffs truc2s and other e3uipments and effectivel! prevented their passage thereof
while the vehicles and truc2s of other people were curiousl! not distured and were
allowed passess on the same road. It resulted that the loading of logs on the 45S
67!ofu2u 4aru6 was discontinued. , 8ero8ed cop! of this Nomrado memorandum,
the original of which is however in the possession of defendants, is hereto attached
as ,nne8 6.6 and made an integral part hereof.
In #aragraph $%&"
& 9pon representations made to Indalecio 0. ,spiras, ,cting Station Officer:in:
.harge, ;<D 0ama=on <orest Station, and in response to plaintiff 0aguas1
complaint, a letter dated > (anuar! ')*+ was addressed ! ,spiras to the Resident
4anager of Defendant -astcoast with instructions to open and allow #laintiff 0aguas1
truc2s and machineries to pass that road closed to them %ut not to others& !
Defendant -astcoast. , 8ero8ed cop! of this letter is hereto attached as ,nne8 6D6
and made a part hereof. ,ccordingl!, Sagrado .onstantino, Resident 4anager of
Defendant -astcoast, issued an order to their .hief Securit! /uard for the latter to
compl! with the ,spiras letter. These events, however, too2 the whole da! of >
(anuar! ')*+ so that notwithstanding the lifting of the road closure no hauling of logs
could e made ! #laintiff 0aguas on that da!.
In #aragraph $%c&"
c& ?hen #laintiffs 0aguas were alread! resuming the hauling operations of their logs
towards the (apanese Vessel on @ (anuar! ')*+, again that same road, onl! the da!
efore ordered ! the ;<D to e opened for use and passage ! plaintiffs, was
closed to them ! Defendant -astcoast1s securit! men upon a radio message order
of Defendant 4aglana. -ven the vessel 45S 67!ofu2u 4aruwas6 ordered !
Defendant 4aglana to untie her anchor contrar! to e8isting laws, rules and
regulations of the ;ureau of .ustoms and the #hilippine .oastguard. , 8ero8ed cop!
of the 4aglana message, the original of which is in the possession of the defendants,
is hereto attached as ,nne8 6-6 and made an integral part hereof.
,nd in paragraph $%d&"
d& /iven no recourse in the face of the latant and illegal closure of the road in
defiance of ;<D orders to the contrar! ! the Defendant -astcoast through the order
of Defendant 4aglana, #laintiff 0aguas had to depart postpaste to 4ati, Davao
Oriental, from ;aganga where the shipment and the road closure were made, to
see2 the assistance of the #. thereat. Thus on $ (anuar! ')*+, #rovincial
.ommander ,lfonso 0umeao issued a directive to the #. Detachment .ommander
at ;aganga to lift the illegal chec2point made ! defendants. , 8ero8ed cop! of this
directive is hereto attached as ,nne8 6<6 and made a part hereof. %Rollo, pp. $*:$A&
The private respondents filed a motion to dismiss on two grounds, namel!" %'& lac2 of =urisdiction,
and %>& lac2 of cause of action.
The private respondents e8tended that as the acts complained of ! the petitioners arose out of the
legitimate e8ercise of respondent -astcoast Development -nterprises, Inc., rights as a timer
licensee, more particularl! in the use of its logging roads, therefore, the resolution of this 3uestion is
properl! and legall! within the ;ureau of <orest Development, citing as authorit! #residential Decree
%#.D.& No. *B$. The private respondents also argued that petitioner Da!linda 0aguas has no capacit!
to sue as her name was not registered as an 6agent6 or 6dealer6 of logs in the ;ureau of <orestr!.
On ,ugust @, ')*+, the trial court issued the 3uestioned order dismissing the petitioners1 complaint
on the asis of the aovementioned grounds. It ruled"
The .ourt agrees with the defendants that under the law, the ;ureau of <orest
Development has the e8clusive power to regulate the use of logging road and to
determine whether their use is in violation of laws. Since the damages claimed to
have een sustained ! the plaintiffs arose from the alleged illegal closure of a
logging road C in the language of the defendants on page @ of their motion to
dismiss. The simple fact is there was an illegal closure of the national highwa!
affecting the private rights of the plaintiffs who sustained damages and losses as a
conse3uence thereof C the 3uestion whether or not the road was illegall! closed
must first e determined ! the ;ureau of <orest Development. If the said ;ureau
finds that the road was legall! closed, an action for damages ma! e filed in .ourt.
Otherwise, no civil action would prosper, for there would e no tortious act. %Rollo,
pp. $A:+)&.
888 888 888
,fter the logging road was closed for the first time, more so after the second time, !
the defendant -astcoast Development -nterprises, Inc., the plaintiffs should have
as2ed the ;ureau of <orest Development to determine the legalit! or illegalit! of the
closure since the! wanted to file, as the! did file, an action for damages ased on the
alleged illegal closure. The fact that the letter of (anuar! >, ')*+, directed defendant
-astcoast Development -nterprises, Inc. to open the road does not necessaril!
mean that the ;ureau of <orest Development had found that the closure was illegal.
There must e a positive finding that the closure was illegal. ... %Rollo, p. +B&
888 888 888
,s an attorne!:in:fact, Da!linda ,. 0agua is not entitled to, and cannot cannot claim,
damages in her personal capacit!. <or she could not have sustained damages as a
result of the alleged illegal closure of the road in her personal capacit! while acting in
her representative capacit!. So if she and her husand sustained damages, it must
have een ecause their legal rights were violated ! a tortious act committed ! the
defendants other than the alleged illegal closure of the road. ;ut as stated elsewhere
in this order, even the plaintiffs admit that the damages the! claimed to have
sustained arose from the alleged illegal closure of the logging road. ,ssuming,
however, that another tortious act violated the legal rights of the 0aguas, still the!
could not =oint ,chanDar and Donga in this complaint for there would e mis=oinder of
parties. %Rollo, pp. +':+>&
Hence, this petition for mandamus which we will treat as a petition for certiorari in the interest of
The petitioners maintain that since their action is for damages, the regular courts have =urisdiction
over the same. ,ccording to them, the respondent court had no asis for holding that the ;ureau of
<orestr! Development must first determine that the closure of a logging road is illegal efore an
action for damages can e instituted.
?e agree.
#.D. No. *B$ upon which the respondent court ased its order does not vest an! power in the
;ureau of <orest Development to determine whether or not the closure of a logging road is legal or
illegal and to ma2e such determination a pre:re3uisite efore an action for damages ma! e
maintained. 4oreover, the complaint instituted ! the petitioners is clearl! for damages ased on the
alleged illegal closure of the logging road. ?hether or not such closure was illegal is a matter to e
estalished on the part of the petitioners and a matter to e disproved ! the private respondents.
This should appropriatel! e threshed out in a =udicial proceeding. It is e!ond the power and
authorit! of the ;ureau of <orest Development to determine the unlawful closure of a passage wa!,
much less award or den! the pa!ment of damages ased on such closure. Not ever! activit! inside
a forest area is su=ect to the =urisdiction of the ;ureau of <orest Development. ,s we have held
in Ateneo de Manila University v. Court of appeals %'E$ S.R, 'BB, ''B&"
The issue in this court was whether or not the private respondents can recover
damages as a result of the of their son from the petitioner universit!. This is a purel!
legal 3uestion and nothing of an a administrative nature is to or can e done
%/onDales v. Hechanova, ) S.R, >@BF Tapales v. 9niversit! of the #hilippines, *
S.R, $@@F 0imoico v. ;oard of ,dministrators. %#(,& '@@ S.R, E@F 4alaanan v.
Ramonte, '>) S.R, @$)&. The case was rought pursuant to the law on damages
provided in the .ivil .ode. The =urisdiction to tr! the case elongs to the civil courts.
The private respondents, in their memorandum filed with the respondent court, alleged that the logs
of petitioner ,chanDar were cut down and removed outside of the area granted to the latter under his
#rivate Timer 0icense No. > and therefore inside the concession area of respondent compan!1s
Timer 0icense ,greement. This, apparentl!, was the reason wh! the respondent compan! denied
to the petitioners the use of the logging road. If we hold the respondents to their contention that the
;ureau of <orest Development has the power and authorit! not onl! to regulate the use or loc2ade
of logging roads ut also to e8clusivel! determine the legalit! of a closure of such roads, wh! then
did the! ta2e it upon themselves to initiall! close the disputed logging road efore ta2ing up the
matter with the ;ureau and wh! did the! close it again notwithstanding the ;ureau1s order to open it
after the petitioners had dul! informed the said ;ureau of the closureG To use the ;ureau1s authorit!
which the respondents ignored to now defeat the court1s =urisdiction would e totall! unacceptale.
?e, therefore, find that the trial court committed grave ause of discretion in dismissing the
complaint on the ground of lac2 of =urisdiction over the su=ect matter.
,nent the legal capacit! to sue of the petitioners, spouses 0aguas, we affirm the trial court1s ruling
that since the! were mere agents of petitioners ,chanDar and Donga and were suing in their own
ehalf, the! did not have the capacit! to sue for damages. The! are not the real parties in interest.
However, the complaint can still e maintained. It cannot e dismissed ecause the real parties in
interest, ,chanDar and Donga were also plaintiffs. Thus, the trial court should have ordered onl! the
dropping of the names of the spouses 0aguas pursuant to Section '', Rule @ of the Revised Rules
of .ourt ut not the dismissal of the complaint.
?H-R-<OR-, in view of the foregoing, the petition is here! /R,NT-D. The 3uestioned order of
the respondent court is S-T ,SID- and this case is ordered remanded to the court of origin for trial
on the merits
Fernan, (Chairman), Feliciano, idin and Cortes, !!., concur.