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San Sebastian College-Recoletos College of Law

Environmental Law
Cases
Case Digests

Sharla Louisse A. Castillo


Schedule: NEL, Friday, 5 to 7 PM
Submitted to: Atty. Caguiat

CASE DIGEST IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CASES

Sharla Louisse A. Castillo

Oposa v Factoran 224 SCRA 792


Facts: A taxpayers class suit was initiated by the Philippine Ecological Network, Inc.
(PENI) together with the minors Juan Antonio Oposa et al and their parents. All
were duly represented. They claimed that as taxpayers they have the right to the
full benefit, use and enjoyment of the natural resources of the countrys rainforests.
They prayed that a judgment be rendered ordering Secretary Fulgencio Factoran,
Jr, his agents, representatives, and other persons acting in his behalf to cancel all
existing timber license agreements in the country and cease and desist from
receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber license
agreements, Factoran being the secretary of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources (DENR).
Issue: Whether or not petitioners have a cause of action?
Held: Yes, petitioners have a cause of action. The case at bar is of common interest
to all Filipinos. The right to a balanced and healthy ecology carries with it the
correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment. The said right implies
the judicious management of the countrys forests. This right is also the mandate of
the government through DENR. A denial or violation of that right by the other who
has the correlative duty or obligation to respect or protect the same gives rise to a
cause of action. All licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive action.

Merida vs People of the Philippines 554 SCRA 366


Facts: The government hailed Petitioner before the
Regional Trial Court of
Romblon, Romblon, Branch 81 (trial court) with violation of Section 68 of PD 705,
as amended, for "cut[ting], gather[ing], collect[ing] and remov[ing]" a lone narra
tree inside a private land in Mayod, Ipil, Magdiwang, Romblon (Mayod Property)
over which private complainant Oscar M. Tansiongco (Tansiongco) claims
ownership.
The RTC handed judgment rapidly. In its Decision dated 24 November 2000, the
trial court found petitioner guilty as charged, sentenced him to fourteen (14) years,
eight (8) months and one (1) day to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal and
ordered the seized lumber forfeited in Tansiongco's favor.[12] The trial court
dismissed petitioner's defense of denial in view of his repeated extrajudicial
admissions that he cut the narra tree in the Mayod Property with Calix's permission.
With this finding and petitioner's lack of DENR permit to cut the tree, the trial court
held petitioner liable for violation of Section 68 of PD 705, as amended.
Issue: W/N sec 28 of PD 705 prohibiting the cutting gathering and collecting of
timber and other forest products apply to petitioner
Held:
Petitioner is liable for cutting timber in private property without permit. Section 68,
as amended, one of the 12 acts[25] penalized under PD 705, provides:
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SECTION 68. Cutting, Gathering and/or Collecting Timber, or Other


Forest Products Without License. Any person who shall cut, gather,
collect, remove timber or other forest products from any forest land,
ortimber from alienable or disposable public land, or from private land,
without any authority, or possess timber or other forest products
without the legal documents as required under existing forest laws and
regulations, shall be punished with the penalties imposed under
Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code: Provided, That in the
case of partnerships, associations, or corporations, the officers who
ordered the cutting, gathering, collection or possession shall be liable,
and if such officers are aliens, they shall, in addition to the penalty, be
deported without further proceedings on the part of the Commission
on Immigration and Deportation.
The court shall further order the confiscation in favor of the government of the
timber or any forest products cut, gathered, collected, removed, or possessed as
well as the machinery, equipment, implements and tools illegally used in the area
where the timber or forest products are found. (Emphasis supplied)
Section 68 penalizes three categories of acts: (1) the cutting, gathering, collecting,
or removing of timber or other forest products from any forest land without any
authority; (2) the cutting, gathering, collecting, or removing of timber from
alienable or disposable public land, or from private land without any authority;[26]
and (3) the possession of timber or other forest products without the legal
documents
Momongan vs Judge Omipon 242 SCRA 332
Facts: Police officers of the Municipality of Hinunangan, Southern Leyte
apprehended Dionisio Golpe while he was driving his truck loaded with illegally cut
lumber. The truck and logs were impounded. A complaint was filed against Basilio
Cabig, the alleged owner of the logs. After conducting the preliminary investigation,
respondent Judge Rafael B. Omipon found that a prima facie case exists against Mr.
Cabig but he ordered the release of the truck inasmuch as the owner/driver, Mr.
Golpe, was not charged in the complaint.
Regional Director Augustus L. Momongan of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources filed the instant complaint against respondent Judge alleging
that respondent Judge has no authority to order the release of the truck despite the
non-inclusion of Mr. Golpe in the complaint. The truck should have been turned
over to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of San Juan,
Southern Leyte for appropriate disposition as the same falls under the
administrative jurisdiction of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Office.
Issue: did the Judge commit a reversible error when he ordered the release of the
truck?

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Held: We find respondent Judge's order to release the truck owned and driven by
Mr. Dionisio Golpe legally justifiable, hence, he is not subject to any disciplinary
sanction.
Complainant is correct in pointing out that the DENR Secretary or his duly
authorized representative has the power to confiscate any illegally obtained or
gathered forest products and all conveyances used in the commission of the offense
and to dispose of the same in accordance with pertinent laws. However, as
complainant himself likewise pointed out, this power is in relation to the
administrative jurisdiction of the DENR, which is entirely different from the criminal
jurisdiction of the court that ordered the release of the truck as presided by
respondent Judge.
In addition, according to Article 45 of the RPC, Forfeiture of the proceeds of the
crime and the instrument or tools with which it was committed cannot be done if
the same be the property of a third person not liable for the offense. Since the
truck here is the property of a third party not charged in the criminal complaint, the
order of its release here is henceforth justifiable.
Provident Tree Farms Inc. vs Batario 231 SCRA 463
Facts: In the extrant case, PTFI seeks to set aside the 8 February 1990 order of
respondent court and prays for the continuation of the hearing in Civil Case No. 8948836. PTFI claims that what was brought before the trial court was a civil case for
injunction, i.e., "restraining the entry of safety matches into the country . . . for the
purpose of securing compliance with Sec. 36 (l) of the Forestry Code and for
damages, "to seek redress of its right which has been clearly violated by the
importation of safety matches . . . . (which) is a denial to the petitioner of the
protection and incentive granted it by Section 36 (l) of the Forestry Code . . . ."
Naturally, PTFI asserts the inapplicability of the procedures outlined in R.A. No.
1125 relative to incidents before the Court of Tax Appeals because the instant
action is not a protest case where the aggrieved party is not an importer. It then
argues that since it could not avail of the remedies afforded by the Tariff and
Customs Code, resort to the courts is warranted, citing Commissioner of Customs v.
Alikpala.
Petitioner asserts his complaint on a statutory privilege or incentive granted under
Sec. 36, par. (l), of the Revised Forestry Code. The only subject of this incentive is
a ban against importation of wood, wood products or wood-derivated products
which is to be enforced by the Bureau of Customs since it has, under the Tariff and
Customs Code, the exclusive original jurisdiction over seizure and forfeiture cases
and, in fact, it is the duty of the Collector of Customs to exercise jurisdiction over
prohibited importations.
The enforcement of the importation ban under Sec. 36, par. (l), of the Revised
Forestry Code is within the exclusive realm of the Bureau of Customs, and direct
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recourse of petitioner to the Regional Trial Court to compel the Commissioner of


Customs to enforce the ban is devoid of any legal basis.
Now it follows that to allow the regular court to direct the Commissioner to impound
the imported matches, as petitioner insisted, is clearly an interference with the
exclusive jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs over seizure and forfeiture cases.
An order of a judge to impound, seize or forfeit must inevitably be based on his
determination and declaration of the invalidity of the importation, hence, an
usurpation of the prerogative and an encroachment on the jurisdiction of the
Bureau of Customs. In other words, the reliefs directed against the Bureau of
Customs as well as the prayer for injunction against importation of matches by
private respondent AJIC may not be granted without the court arrogating upon
itself the exclusive jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs.
Issue: W/N the BOC holds jurisdiction in the matter of wood product importation
Held: Petitioners position is inconceivable. The claim of petitioner that no
procedure is outlined for the enforcement of the import ban under the Tariff and
Customs Code, if true, does not at all diminish the jurisdiction of the Bureau of
Customs over the subject matter. The enforcement of statutory rights is not
foreclosed by the absence of a statutory procedure. The Commissioner of Customs
has the power to "promulgate all rules and regulations necessary to enforce the
provisions of this (Tariff and Customs) Code . . . subject to the approval of the
Secretary of Finance."
Moreover, it has been held that ". . . . (w)here the statute does not require any
particular method of procedure to be followed by an administrative agency, the
agency may adopt any reasonable method to carry out its functions."
But over and above the foregoing, PTFI's correspondence with the Bureau of
Customs contesting the legality of match importations may already take the nature
of an administrative proceeding the pendency of which would preclude the court
from interfering with it under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction
Aquino vs People of the Philippines 594 SCRA 50
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.
Sabado T. Batcagan, Executive Director of the DENR, issued a permit allowing the
cutting of 14 trees. Petitioner Aquino a forest ranger from Community Environment
and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) thereafter supervised together with several
sawyers the cutting of trees near the Teachers camp. However the number of trees
they cut exceeded those trees allowed under the permit issued by the DENR,
petitioner together with the several sawyers were apprehended they were charged
with a criminal complaint in violation of Section 68 of Presidential
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Decree No. 705. The sawyers were acquitted due to reasonable doubt but
petitioner was sentenced as guilty hence he filed this appeal.
Issue: Is petitioner
Decree No. 705?

Aquinio

guilty

of

violating

Section

68

of

Presidential

Held: No, There are two distinct and separate offenses punished under Section 68
of PD 705, to wit 1. Cutting, gathering, collecting timber and other forest products
from any forest land 2. Possession of timber or any forest products without legal
documents.
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.
Lagua vs Cusi 160 SCRA 463
Facts : In a vigorous complaint, the petitioners, alleged, among others:
In Paragraph 5(a):
a) On 1 January 1976, Atty. Ernesto Nombrado, legal counsel for
defendants, issued a memorandum to the Chief Security Guard of
Defendant East coast directing the latter to prevent the passage of
Plaintiff Laguas' hauling trucks loaded with logs for the Japanese
vessel (there were no other trucks hauling logs at that time) on the
national highway loading towards where the vessel was berthed. In
compliance with this directive, the security force of Defendant
Eastcoast closed the road to the use by plaintiffs trucks and other
equipments and effectively prevented their passage thereof while the
vehicles and trucks
The private respondents filed a motion to dismiss on two grounds, namely: (1) lack
of jurisdiction, and (2) lack of cause of action.
The private respondents extended that as the acts complained of by the petitioners
arose out of the legitimate exercise of respondent Eastcoast Development
Enterprises, Inc., rights as a timber licensee, more particularly in the use of its
logging roads, therefore, the resolution of this question is properly and legally
within the Bureau of Forest Development, citing as authority Presidential Decree
(P.D.) No. 705. The private respondents also argued that petitioner Daylinda
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Laguas has no capacity to sue as her name was not registered as an "agent" or
"dealer" of logs in the Bureau of Forestry.
Issue: Whether or not the petition for mandamus may be entertained by the trial
court.
Held: Yes. The petition for mandamus will be treated as a petition for certiorari in
the interest of justice.
The petitioners maintain that since their action is for damages, the regular courts
have jurisdiction over the same. According to them, the respondent court had no
basis for holding that the Bureau of Forestry Development must first determine that
the closure of a logging road is illegal before an action for damages can be
instituted.
P.D. No. 705 upon which the respondent court based its order does not vest any
power in the Bureau of Forest Development to determine whether or not the
closure of a logging road is legal or illegal and to make such determination a prerequisite before an action for damages may be maintained.
Moreover, the complaint instituted by the petitioners is clearly for damages based
on the alleged illegal closure of the logging road. Whether or not such closure was
illegal is a matter to be established on the part of the petitioners and a matter to be
disproved by the private respondents. This should appropriately be threshed out in
a judicial proceeding. It is beyond the power and authority of the Bureau of Forest
Development to determine the unlawful closure of a passage way, much less award
or deny the payment of damages based on such closure. Not every activity inside a
forest area is subject to the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Forest Development.
Anent the legal capacity to sue of the petitioners, spouses Laguas, we affirm the
trial court's ruling that since they were mere agents of petitioners Achanzar and
Donga and were suing in their own behalf, they did not have the capacity to sue for
damages. They are not the real parties in interest. However, the complaint can still
be maintained. It cannot be dismissed because the real parties in interest, Achanzar
and Donga were also plaintiffs. Thus, the trial court should have ordered only the
dropping of the names of the spouses Laguas pursuant to Section 11, Rule 3 of the
Revised Rules of Court but not the dismissal of the complaint.
Mustang Lumber vs Court of Appeals 257 SCRA 430
Facts: The authorities got wind of a suspicious stockpile of narra flitches, shorts,
and slabs that were seen inside the lumberyard of the petitioner in Valenzuela,
Metro Manila. Readily, the said organized a team of foresters and policemen and
sent it to conduct surveillance at the said lumberyard.
During the sting operation, the team members saw coming out from the
lumberyard the petitioner's truck, with Plate No. CCK-322, loaded with lauan and
almaciga lumber of assorted sizes and dimensions. Since the driver could not
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produce the required invoices and transport documents, the team seized the truck
together with its cargo and impounded them at the DENR compound at Visayas
Avenue, Quezon City. The team was not able to gain entry into the premises
because of the refusal of the owner.
On 23 April 1990, Secretary Factoran issued an order suspending immediately the
petitioner's lumber-dealer's permit No. NRD-4-092590-0469 and directing the
petitioner to explain in writing within fifteen days why its lumber-dealer's permit
should not be cancelled.
On the same date, counsel for the petitioner sent another letter to Robles informing
the latter that the petitioner had already secured the required documents and was
ready to submit them. None, however, was submitted.[
In resolving the said case, the trial court held that the warrantless search and
seizure on 1 April 1990 of the petitioner's truck, which was moving out from the
petitioner's lumberyard in Valenzuela, Metro Manila, loaded with large volumes of
lumber without covering document showing the legitimacy of its source or origin did
not offend the constitutional mandate that search and seizure must be supported
by a valid warrant. The situation fell under one of the settled and accepted
exceptions where warrantless search and seizure is justified, viz., a search of a
moving vehicle
The trial court, however, set aside Secretary Factoran's order of 3 May 1990
ordering the confiscation of the seized articles in favor of the Government for the
reason that since the articles were seized pursuant to the search warrant issued by
Executive Judge Osorio they should have been returned to him in compliance with
the directive in the warrant.
On 7 July 1991, accused Ri Chuy Po filed in the CRIMINAL CASE a Motion to Quash
and/or to Suspend Proceedings based on the following grounds:
(a) the
information does not charge an offense, for possession of lumber, as opposed to
timber, is not penalized in Section 68 of P.D. No. 705, as amended, and even
granting arguendo that lumber falls within the purview of the said section, the same
may not be used in evidence against him for they were taken by virtue of an illegal
seizure; and (b) Civil Case No. 90-53648 of Branch 35 of the RTC of Manila, the
FIRST CIVIL CASE, then pending before the Court of Appeals, which involves the
legality of the seizure, raises a prejudicial question
Issue: Whether the complaint charges an offense
Held: No. The petitioner proposed to quash the information in Criminal Case No.
324-V-91 on the ground that it does not charge an offense. Respondent Judge
granted the motion reasoning that the subject matter of the information in the
CRIMINAL CASE is LUMBER, which is neither "timber" nor "other forest product"
under Section 68 of P.D. No. 705, as amended, and hence, possession thereof
without the required legal documents is not prohibited and penalized under the said
section.
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Under paragraph (a), Section 3, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, an information may
be quashed on the ground that the facts alleged therein do not constitute an
offense. It has been said that "the test for the correctness of this ground is the
sufficiency of the averments in the information, that is, whether the facts alleged, if
hypothetically admitted, constitute the elements of the offense, and matters aliunde
will not be considered." Anent the sufficiency of the information, Section 6, Rule
110 of the Rules of Court requires, inter alia, that the information state the acts or
omissions complained of as constituting the offense.
Tan vs People of the Philippines 290 SCRA 117
Facts: On October 26, 1989, about 6:30 p.m., in the town proper of Cajidiocan,
Sibuyan Island, Romblon, Forest Guards Joseph Panadero and Eduardo Rabino
intercepted a dump truck loaded with narra and white lauan lumber. The truck was
driven by Petitioner Fred Moreno, an employee of A & E Construction. Again, about
8:00 p.m. on October 30, 1989, this time in Barangay Cambajao, Forest Guards
Panadero and Rabino apprehended another dump truck with Plate No. DEK-646
loaded with tanguile lumber. Said truck was driven by Crispin Cabudol, also an
employee of A & E Construction. Both motor vehicles, as well as the construction
firm, were owned by Petitioner Alejandro Tan. In both instances, no documents
showing legal possession of the lumber were, upon demand, presented to the forest
guards;
thus,
the
pieces
of
lumber
were
confiscated.
Tan and Moreno, together with Ismael Ramilo, caretaker and timekeeper of A & E
Construction, were charged by First Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Felix R. Rocero
with violation of Section 68,[6] PD No. 705, as amended by EO No. 277. The
accused were all convicted for failure to comply with the Forestry Reform Code. The
CA found no cogent reason for the reversal or modification of the decision.
Issues:
1. Whether or not Section 68 of EO 277 is unconstitutional.
2. Whether or not "lumber" is to be construed as "timber" and/or forest product
within the contemplation of PD 705.
Held: Section 68 deals with penalizing the "cutting, gathering and/or collecting
timber or other forest products without license." One of the essential requisites for
a successful judicial inquiry into the constitutionality of a law is the existence of an
actual case or controversy involving a conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial
determination. As Respondent Court of Appeals correctly pointed out, petitioners
were not charged with the [unlawful] possession of firewood, bark, honey,
beeswax, and even grass, shrub, the associated water or fish; thus, the inclusion
of any of these enumerated items in EO 277 is absolutely of no concern to
petitioners. They are not asserting a legal right for which they are entitled to a
judicial determination at this time. Besides, they did not present any convincing
evidence of a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution that would justify
the nullification of said provision.

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A statute is always presumed to be constitutional, and one who attacks it on the


ground
of
unconstitutionality
must
convincingly
prove
its
invalidity.
In Mustang Lumber Inc v. CA, Supreme Court held that lumber is included in the
term timber. Lumber is a processed log or processed forest raw material. Clearly,
the Code uses the term lumber in its ordinary or common usage. In the 1993
copyright edition of Websters Third New International Dictionary, lumber is
defined, inter alia, as timber or logs after being prepared for the market. Simply
put, lumber is a processed log or timber. To exclude possession of "lumber" from
the acts penalized in Section 68 would emasculate the law itself.
Taopa vs People of the Philippines 571 SCRA 610
Facts: The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of Virac,
Catanduanes seized a truck loaded with illegally-cut lumber (113 pieces of lumber
of Philippine Mahogany Groupand Apitong species without any authority and/or
legal documents as required under existing forest laws and regulations, prejudicial
to the public interest.) and arrested its driver, Placido Cuison. The lumber was
covered with bundles of abaca fiber to prevent detection.
On investigation, Cuison pointed to petitioner Amado Taopa and a certain Rufino
Ogalesco as the owners of the seized lumber. In this petition Taopa seeks his acquittal
from the charges against him. He alleges that the prosecution failed to prove that
he was one of the owners of the seized lumber as he was not in the truck when the
lumber was seized.
Issue: Whether or not Taopa is guilty of violating Section 68 of PD No. 705, as
amended?
Held: Both the RTC and the CA gave scant consideration to Taopa's alibi because
Cuison's testimony proved Taopa's active participation in the transport of the seized
lumber. In particular, the RTC and the CA found that the truck was loaded with the
cargo in front of Taopa's house and that Taopa and Ogalesco were accompanying
the truck driven by Cuison up to where the truck and lumber were seized. These
facts proved Taopa's (and Ogalesco's) exercise of dominion and control over the
lumber loaded in the truck. The acts of Taopa (and of his co-accused Ogalesco)
constituted possession of timber or other forest products without the required legal
documents.
Moreover, the fact that Taopa and Ogalesco ran away at the mere sight of the
police was likewise largely indicative of guilt. We are thus convinced that Taopa and
Ogalesco were owners of the seized lumber.

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Pallada v Court of Appeals 385 PHIL 195


Facts: Valencia Corps warehouse manned by its GM Pallada was raided by the
DENR on the strength of a warrant issued by RTC Malaybalay Bukidnon. and a large
stockpile of lumber of varying sizes cut by a chain saw was found therein.
During the trial, the defense presented this document, to establish that Valencia
Golden Harvest Corporation's possession of the seized lumber was legal: Exh. 6 Certificate of Timber Origin dated December 15, 1991, for 56 pieces of flitches
equivalent to 12.23 cubic meters, transported from Bombaran, Lanao del Sur of the
Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
Petitioner contends that the term "timber" includes lumber and, therefore, the
Certificates of Timber Origin and their attachments should have been considered in
establishing the legality of the company's possession of the lumber. In support of
his contention, petitioner invokes our ruling in Mustang Lumber, Inc. v. Court of
Appeals
Issue: whether or not petitioners contention should be given credence
Held: The contention has no merit. The statement in Mustang Lumber that lumber
is merely processed timber and, therefore, the word "timber" embraces lumber,
was made to fortify the lower courts ruling that the phrase illegal possession of
timber embraces
illegal possession of lumber since to exclude it would
emasculate the law itself.
On the other hand, the question in this case is whether separate certificates of
origin should be issued for lumber and timber. Indeed, different certificates of origin
are required for timber, lumber and non-timber forest products.
Dagudag vs Judge Paderanga 555 SCRA 217
Facts : Illegal forest products were possessed by NMC Container Lines, Inc. were
seized by the DENR. The items were found to be lacking the required legal
documents and were consequently abandoned by the unknown owner.
Later a certain Roger C. Edma filed a writ of replevin for the release of said
confiscated products. Respondent Judge issued the writ despite the fact that an
administrative case was already pending before the DENR.
Issue: Whether or not Judge Paderanga is liable for gross ignorance of the law and
for conduct unbecoming a judge.
Held: Yes. Judge Paderanga should have dismissed the replevin suit outright for
three reasons. First, under the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies,
courts cannot take cognizance of cases pending before administrative agencies. In

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the instant case, Edma did not resort to, or avail of, any administrative remedy. He
went straight to court and filed a complaint for replevin and damages.
Second, under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, courts cannot take cognizance of
cases pending before administrative agencies of special competence.
Third, the forest products are already in custodia legis and thus cannot be the
subject of replevin.
Factoran vs Court of Appeals 320 SCRA 530
Facts: On August 9, 1988, two (2) police officers of the Marikina Police Station,
Sub-Station III, intercepted a six-wheeler truck, with Plate No. NJT-881, carrying
4,000 board feet of narra lumber as it was cruising along the Marcos Highway.
They apprehended the truck driver, private respondent Jesus Sy, and brought the
truck and its cargo to the Personnel Investigation Committee/Special Actions and
Investigation Division (PIC/SAID) of the DENR Office in Quezon City. There,
petitioner Atty. Vicente Robles of the PIC/SAID investigated them, and discovered
the following discrepancies in the documentation of the narra lumber which are in
violation of Bureau of Forestry Development (BFD) Circular No. 10. The said BFD
Circular requires possession or transportation of lumber to be supported by the
following documents: (1) Certificate of Lumber Origin (CLO) which shall be issued
only by the District Forester, or in his absence, the Assistant District Forester; (2)
Sales Invoice; (3) Delivery Receipt; and (4) Tally Sheets.
Such omission is punishable under Sec. 68 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 705
otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code.[5] Thus, petitioner Atty. Robles
issued a temporary seizure order and seizure receipt for the narra lumber and the
six-wheeler truck.
On March 30, 1989, the Court of Appeals granted petitioners temporary relief in the
form of a temporary restraining order (TRO).
On September 11, 1989, the Court of Appeals converted the TRO into a writ of
preliminary injunction upon filing by petitioners of a bond in the amount of
P180,000.00.
Issue: W/N the court injuction on the DENR lies, considering that exhaustion of
administrative remedies were not followed
Held: No. All actions and decisions of the Director are subject to review, motu
propio or upon appeal of any person aggrieved thereby, by the Department Head
whose decision shall be final and executory after the lapse of thirty (30) days from
receipt by the aggrieved party of said decision unless appealed to the President x
x x. The decision of the Department Head may not be reviewed by the courts
except through a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition.

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The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is basic. Courts, for reasons


of law, comity and convenience, should not entertain suits unless the available
administrative remedies have first been resorted to and the proper authorities have
been given an appropriate opportunity to act and correct their alleged errors, if any,
committed in the administrative forum.
Mamanteo vs Deputy Sherriff Magumun 311 SCRA 259
Facts: The forest employes of DENR CAR tasked wit the enforcement of forestry law
intercepted a San Miguel Corp Van with narra fitches wrapped in nylon sack. The
driver of the van could not produce ant legal permit authorizing him to transport
the narra lumber. The vehicle and its load of narra fitches were confiscated. A
criminal complaint against the driver was filed for violation of Sec. 78 of PD 705(2)
as amended and implemented by DENR Admin order 59. after due notice and
opportunity to be hear, an order of forfeiture of the vehicle and its load was issued
by the DENR Regional pursuant to its quasi-judicial authority.
Thereafter SMC, the owner of the vehicle filed a case for recovery of personal
property and damages with the application for writ of replevin with the RTC of
Tugegarao. Such court issued a warrant of seizure of personal property which was
enforced by respondent herein deputy sheriff despite the refusal of DENR
employees and officials on the ground that it had already been forfeited in favor of
the government and was now in custodial legis.
Issue: Whether or not the deputy sheriff committed grave misconduct in taking
hold of the property which is already in custodia legis confiscated by other
government agency.
Held: A sheriffs prerogative does not give him the liberty to determine who among
the parties is entitled to the possession of the attached property; much less does he
have any discretion to decide which agency has primary jurisdiction and authority
over the matter at hand. When a writ is placed in the hands of a sheriff, it is his
duty, in the absence of any instructions to the contrary, to proceed with reasonable
celerity and promptness to execute it according to its mandate.
However, the prompt implementation of a warrant of seizure is called for only in
instances where there is no question regarding the right of the plaintiff to the
property.
In this case, the prudent recourse then for respondent was to desist from executing
the warrant and convey the information to his judge and to the plaintiff.
Paat vs Court of Appeals 266 SCRA 167
Facts: The controversy started when the truck of private respondent Victoria de
Guzman while on its way to Bulacan from San Jose, Baggao, Cagayan, was seized
by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources personnel in Aritao,
Nueva Vizcaya because the driver could not produce the required documents for the
forest products found concealed in the truck. The truck was confistcated.
Pending resolution however of the appeal, a suit for replevin, docketed was filed by
the private respondents against petitioner Layugan and Executive Director
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Baggayan. The Court issued a writ ordering the return of the truck to private
respondents. Petitioner Layugan and Executive Director Baggayan filed a motion to
dismiss with the trial court contending that private respondents had no cause of
action for their failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
Invoking the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, petitioners aver
that the trial court could not legally entertain the suit for replevin because the truck
was under administrative seizure proceedings pursuant to Section 68-A of P.D. 705,
as amended by E.O. 277.
Private respondents resisted to avoid the operation of this principle asserting that
the instant case falls within the exception of the doctrine upon the justification that
(1) due process was violated because they were not given the chance to be heard,
and (2) the seizure and forfeiture was unlawful on the grounds: (a) that the
Secretary of DENR and his representatives have no authority to confiscate and
forfeit conveyances utilized in transporting illegal forest products, and (b) that the
truck as admitted by petitioners was not used in the commission of the crime.
ISSUE: W/N Replevin lies in a case where the Doctrine of Administrative Exhaustion
was not followed
HELD: No. A crime was committed and the tools of the crime are under custodia
legis. With the introduction of Executive Order No. 277 amending Section 68 of P.D.
705, the act of cutting, gathering, collecting, removing, or possessing forest
products without authority constitutes a distinct offense independent now from the
crime of theft under Articles 309
From the foregoing disquisition, it is clear that a suit for replevin cannot be
sustained against the petitioners for the subject truck taken and retained by them
for administrative forfeiture proceedings in pursuant to Section 68-A of the P. D.
705, as amended. Dismissal of the replevin suit for lack of cause of action in view of
the private respondents failure to exhaust administrative remedies should have
been the proper course of action by the lower court instead of assuming jurisdiction
over the case and consequently issuing the writ ordering the return of the truck.
Exhaustion of the remedies in the administrative forum, being a condition
precedent prior to ones recourse to the courts and more importantly, being an
element of private respondents right of action, is too significant to be waylaid by
the lower court.
Alvarez vs PICOP 508 SCRA 498
Facts: PICOP filed with the DENR an application to have its Timber License
Agreement (TLA) No. 43converted into an IFMA.PICOP filed before the (RTC) City a
Petition for Mandamus against then DENR Sec Alvarez for unlawfully refusing
and/or neglecting to sign and execute the IFMA contract of PICOP even as thelatter
has complied with all the legal requirements for the automatic conversion of TLA
No. 43, asamended, into an IFMA.The cause of action of PICOP Resources, Inc.
(PICOP) in its Petition for Mandamus with the trialcourt is clear: the government is
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bound by contract, a 1969 Document signed by then President Ferdinand Marcos,


to enter into an Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) with PICOP.
Issue: Whether the 1969 document is a contract recognized under the nonimpairment clause by which the government may be bound (for the issuance of the
IFMA)
Held: NO. A timber license is not a contract within the purview of the nonimpairment clause is edifying.
Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause, which reads:
"SEC. 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed." cannot be
invoked.The Presidential Warranty cannot, in any manner, be construed as a
contractual undertaking assuringPICOP of exclusive possession and enjoyment of its
concession areas. Such an interpretation wouldresult in the complete abdication by
the State in favor of PICOP of the sovereign power to control and supervise the
exploration, development and utilization of the natural resources in the area.

ALvarez vs PICOP 606 SCRA 444


Facts: PICOPs predecessor, Bislig Bay Lumber Co., Inc. (BBLCI) was granted
Timber License Agreement (TLA) No. 43.
TLA No. 43, as amended, expired on 26 April 1977. It was renewed on 7 October
1977 for another 25 years to "terminate on April 25, 2002.
On 25 November 2002, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No.
297,
"EXCLUDING A CERTAIN AREA FROM THE OPERATION OF
PROCLAMATION NO. 369 DATED FEBRUARY 27, 1931, AND
DECLARING THE SAME AS MINERAL RESERVATION AND AS
ENVIRONMENTALLY CRITICAL AREA."
The excluded area consists of 8,100 hectares, more or less, which formed part of
PICOPs expired TLA No. 43, subject of its application for IFMA conversion.
On 21 January 2003, PICOP filed a Petition for the Declaration of Nullity of the
aforesaid presidential proclamation as well as its implementing DENR Administrative
Order.
In said NULLITY CASE, the RTC issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
enjoining respondents therein from implementing the questioned issuances. The
DENR Secretary and her co-respondents in said case filed on 6 February 2003 an
Omnibus Motion (1) To Dissolve the Temporary Restraining Order dated 3 February
2003; and (2) To Dismiss
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Issue: Whether or not the presidential warranty was a contract


Held: No. PICOPs ground for the issuance of a writ of mandamus is the supposed
contract entered into by the government in the form of a Presidential Warranty,
dated 29 July 1969 issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos to PICOP. The
DENR Secretary refutes this claim, and alleges that the RTC and the Court of
Appeals erred in declaring the Presidential Warranty a valid and subsisting contract
under the Constitutions Non-Impairment Clause.
The SC disagrees. Such licenses concerning the harvesting of timber in the
countrys forests cannot be considered contracts that would bind the Government
regardless of changes in policy and the demands of public interest and welfare.
Matuguina Integrated Wood Products Inc. v Court of Appeals 263 SCRA 490
Facts: On June 28, 1973 the acting director of Bureau of Forest Development issued
Provisional Timber License no. 30, converting an area of 5400 hectares to Milagros
Matuguina who was conducting a business under the name of Matuguina Lumber
Enterprises (MLE). a portion, 1900 hectares of the area was located within the
territorial boundary of Governor Generoso of Mati Davao Oriental land adjoined the
Timber concession of Davencor .
Milagros became the majority stockholder of MIWPI. MLE and MIWP executed a
deed of transfer, transferring all the rights, interests, ownership, and participation
in Provisional Timber License no. 30 to the latter firm.
Davencor, through its General Manager, filed a complaint fir MLEs illegal
encroachment in their forest concessionaire.
Issue: Whether or not the MIWP, Inc., the transferee of MLE, is liable for the latters
illegal logging within the licensed concessionaire area of DAVENCOR.
Held: According to section 61 of P.D. no. 705, the transferee shall assume all the
obligations of the transferor. However, the word obligations shall be construed in its
common and ordinary usage. It shall not be construed to mean those obligations
and liabilities incurred by the transferor as a result of transgressions of law, as
these are the personal obligations of the transferor. It means that the MIWP, the
transferee, is not liable for the transferors illegal encroachment into another
forests concessionaire.

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DY vs Court of Appeals 304 SCRA 331


Facts: On the evening of 1998, two trucks with Plate Nos. KAK-542 and KBL-214
and loaded with lumber approached the checkpoint. Both were flagged down by the
operatives affiliated with the government.
Forester Resurreccion Maxilom of the DENR issued atemporary seizure order and a
seizure receipt for the two vehicles andtheir cargo consisting of several pieces of
lumber . On October 20, 1993, more than two months after the lumber had been
forfeited, petitioner,claiming to be the owner of the lumber, filed a suit for replevin
in theRegional Trial Court for its recovery. The nextday, October 21, 1993, the trial
court issued a preliminary writ of replevin.
Issue: W/N appeal is with merit
Held: The appeal is without merit. The rule is that a party must exhaust all
administrative remedies before he can resort to the courts. In a long line of cases,
we have consistently held that before a party may be allowed to seek the
intervention of the court, it is a pre-condition that he should haveavailed himself of
all the means afforded by the administrative processes. Hence, if a remedy within
the administrative machinery can still be resorted to by giving the administrative
officer concerned every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his
jurisdiction then such remedy should be exhausted first before a court's judicial
power can be sought.
The premature invocation of a court's intervention is fatal to one's cause of action.
Accordingly, absent any finding of waiver or estoppel, the case is susceptible of
dismissal for lack of cause of action
PICOP Resources vs Base Metal 510 SCRA 400
Facts: Central Mindanao Mining and Development Corporation entered into a Mines
Operating Agreement
with Banahaw Mining and Development Corporation.
Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, Banahaw Mining filed applications for
Mining Lease Contracts over the mining claims with the Bureau of Mines. On April
29, 1988, Banahaw Mining was issued a Mines Temporary Permit authorizing it to
extract and dispose of precious minerals found within its mining claims
Since a portion of Banahaw Mining's mining claims was located in petitioner PICOP's
logging concession in Agusan del Sur, Banahaw Mining and petitioner PICOP
entered into a Memorandum of Agreement, whereby, in mutual recognition of each
other's right to the area concerned, petitioner PICOP allowed Banahaw Mining an
access/right of way to its mining claims
Banahaw Mining thereafter converted its mining claims to applications for Mineral
Production Sharing Agreements.

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While the MPSA were pending, Banahaw Mining, on December 18, 1996, decided to
sell/assign its rights and interests over thirty-seven mining claims in favor of
private respondent Base Metals Mineral Resources Corporation (Base Metals for
brevity). The transfer included mining claims held by Banahaw Mining in its own
right as claim owner, as well as those covered by its mining operating agreement
with CMMCI.
Upon being informed of the development, CMMCI, as claim owner, immediately
approved the assignment made by Banahaw Mining in favor of private respondent
Base Metals, thereby recognizing private respondent Base Metals as the new
operator of its claims
On November 18, 1997, petitioner PICOP filed with the Mines Geo-Sciences Bureau
(MGB), Caraga Regional Office No. XIII an Adverse Claim and/or Opposition to
private respondent Base Metals' application on the following grounds:
I. THE APPROVAL OF THE APPLICATION AND ISSUANCE OF THE MPSA OF BASE
METALS WILL VIOLATE THE CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE AGAINST IMPAIRMENT OF
OBLIGATION IN A CONTRACT
The Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the MAB, ruling that the Presidential
Warranty of September 25, 1968 issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos
merely confirmed the timber license granted to PICOP and warranted the latter's
peaceful and adequate possession and enjoyment of its concession areas. It was
only given upon the request of the Board of Investments to establish the
boundaries of PICOP's timber license agreement. The Presidential Warranty did not
convert PICOP's timber license into a contract because it did not create any
obligation on the part of the government in favor of PICOP. Thus, the nonimpairment clause finds no application.
Neither did the Presidential Warranty grant PICOP the exclusive possession,
occupation and exploration of the concession areas covered. If that were so, the
government would have effectively surrendered its police power to control and
supervise the exploration, development and utilization of the country's natural
resources.
ISSUE: W/N the impairment of contracts apply?
Held: No. The guaranty is merely a collateral inducement.
An examination of the Presidential Warranty at once reveals that it simply reassures
PICOP of the government's commitment to uphold the terms and conditions of its
timber license and guarantees PICOP's peaceful and adequate possession and
enjoyment of the areas which are the basic sources of raw materials for its wood
processing complex. The warranty covers only the right to cut, collect, and remove
timber in its concession area, and does not extend to the utilization of other
resources, such as mineral resources, occurring within the concession.

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The Presidential Warranty cannot, in any manner, be construed as a contractual


undertaking assuring PICOP of exclusive possession and enjoyment of its
concession areas. Such an interpretation would result in the complete abdication by
the State in favor of PICOP of the sovereign power to control and supervise the
exploration, development and utilization of the natural resources in the area.
Asaphil vs Tuason 488 SCRA 126
Facts: On March 24, 1975, respondent Vicente Tuason, Jr. entered into a Contract
for Sale and Purchase of Perlite Ore with Induplex wherein Induplex agreed to buy
all the perlite ore that may be found and mined in Tuasons mining claim located in
Taysa, Daraga, Albay. In exchange, Induplex will assist Tuason in securing and
perfecting his right over the mining claim.
Thereafter, Tuason executed an Agreement to Operate Mining Claims in favor of
petitioner Asaphil Construction and Development Corporation. Later, Tuason filed
with the Bureau of Mines, DENR a complaint against Asaphil and Induplex for
declaration of nullity of the said Contracts. Tuason alleged in his complaint that the
stockholders of Induplex formed and organized Ibalon Mineral Resources, an entity
whose purpose is to mine any and all kinds of minerals, that this is in violation of
the condition imposed by the Board of on Induplex in its Joint Venture Agreement
with Grefco, Inc, prohibiting Induplex from mining perlite ore, through an operating
agreement or any other method; that Induplex acquired the majority stocks of
Asaphil and that 95% of Ibalons shares were also transferred to Virgilio R. Romero,
who is a stockholder of Induplex, Asaphil and Ibalon. Tuason claimed that said acts
adversely affected, not only his interest as claimowner, but the governments
interest as well.
Asaphil filed its Answer, praying for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground
that the DENR has no jurisdiction over the case. Induplex filed a Motion to Dismiss
the complaint, also on ground of lack of jurisdiction. Induplex contended that to fall
within the jurisdiction of the DENR, the controversy should involve a mining
property and the contending parties must be claimholders and/or mining operators;
and that the dispute in this case involves mineral product and not a mining
property, and the protagonists are claimholders (Tuason) and a buyer (Induplex).
DENR affirmed, but the Mines Adjucation Board reversed, stating that the complaint
is for the cancellation and revocation of the Agreement to Operate Mining Claims,
which is within the jurisdiction of the DENR under Section 7 of PD 1281. The MAB
also found that the acquisition by Induplex of the majority stocks of Asaphil, and
Induplexs assumption of the mining operation violated the BOI prohibition.
Issue: Whether or not the DENR has jurisdiction over Tuasons complaint for the
annulment of the Contract for Sale and Purchase of Perlite Ore between Tuason and
Induplex, and the Agreement to Operate Mining Claims between Tuason and
Asaphil; and second, WON the MAB erred in invalidating the Agreement to Operate
Mining Claims.

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Held: Yes. In several cases on mining disputes, the Court recognized a distinction
between (1) the primary powers granted by pertinent provisions of law to the then
Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources (and the bureau directors) of an
executive or administrative nature, such as granting of license, permits, lease and
contracts, or approving, rejecting, reinstating or canceling applications, or deciding
conflicting applications, and (2) controversies or disagreements of civil or
contractual nature between litigants which are questions of a judicial nature that
may be adjudicated only by the courts of justice.The allegations in Tuasons
complaint do not make out a case for a mining dispute or controversy within the
jurisdiction of the DENR. While the Agreement to Operate Mining Claims is a
mining contract, the ground upon which the contract is sought to be annulled is not
due to Asaphils refusal to abide by the terms and conditions of the agreement, but
due to Induplexs alleged violation of the condition imposed by the BOI in its Joint
Venture Agreement with Grefco, Inc.. Also, Tuason sought the nullity of the
Contract for Sale and Purchase of Perlite Ore, based on the same alleged violation.
Obviously, this raises a judicial question, which is proper for determination by the
regular courts.
The DENR is not called upon to exercise its technical knowledge or expertise over
any mining operations or dispute; rather, it is being asked to determine the validity
of the agreements based on circumstances beyond the respective rights of the
parties under the two contracts. Thus, the DENR Regional Executive Director was
correct in dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction over Tuasons complaint;
consequently, the MAB committed an error in taking cognizance of the appeal, and
in ruling upon the validity of the contracts.
Dipidio Earth-Savers Multi-Purpose Association vs Gozun 485 SCRA 586
Facts: After the EDSA Revolution, Cory swiftly rolled out EO 279 w/c empowered
DENR to stipulate with foreign companies when it comes to either technical or
financial large scale exploration or mining.
Nine years later, Ramos signed into law RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act. In
1994, Ramos already signed an FTAA with Arimco Mining Co, an Australian
company. The FTAA authorized AMC (later CAMC) to explore 37,000 ha of land in
Quirino and N. Vizcaya including Brgy Didipio. After the passage of the law, DENR
rolled out its implementing RRs. Didipio petitioned to have the law and the RR to be
annulled as it is unconstitutional and it constitutes unlawful taking of property.
In seeking to nullify Rep. Act No. 7942 and its implementing rules DAO 96-40 as
unconstitutional, petitioners set their sight on Section 76 of Rep. Act No. 7942 and
Section 107 of DAO 96-40 which they claim allow the unlawful and unjust taking
of private property for private purpose in contradiction with Section 9, Article III of
the 1987 Constitution mandating that private property shall not be taken except for
public use and the corresponding payment of just compensation. They assert that
public respondent DENR, through the Mining Act and its Implementing Rules and
Regulations, cannot, on its own, permit entry into a private property and allow
taking of land without payment of just compensation.
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Despite petitioners assertion, public respondents argue that Section 76 is not a


taking provision but a valid exercise of the police power and by virtue of which, the
state may prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, education,
good order, safety and general welfare of the people. This government regulation
involves the adjustment of rights for the public good and that this adjustment
curtails some potential for the use or economic exploitation of private property.
Public respondents concluded that to require compensation in all such
circumstances would compel the government to regulate by purchase.
Issue: Whether or not RA 7942 and the DENR RRs are valid.
HELD: The SC that the RRs are indeed valid. The SC noted the requisites of eminent
domain. They are;
(107)

the expropriator must enter a private property;

(2)

the entry must be for more than a momentary period.

(3)

the entry must be under warrant or color of legal authority;

(4)

the property must be devoted to public use or otherwise informally


appropriated or injuriously affected;

(5)

the utilization of the property for public use must be in such a way as
to oust the owner and deprive him of beneficial enjoyment of the
property.

In the case at bar, Didipio failed to show that the law is invalid. There is taking
involved but it is not w/o just compensation. Sec 76 of RA 7942 provides for just
compensation as well as section 107 of the DENR RR. To wit,
Section 76. xxx Provided, that any damage to the property of the surface owner,
occupant, or concessionaire as a consequence of such operations shall be properly
compensated as may be provided for in the implementing rules and regulations.
Section 107. Compensation of the Surface Owner and Occupant- Any damage done
to the property of the surface owners, occupant, or concessionaire thereof as a
consequence of the mining operations or as a result of the construction or
installation of the infrastructure mentioned in 104 above shall be properly and
justly compensated.
Further, mining is a public policy and the government can invoke eminent domain
to exercise entry, acquisition and use of private lands.
Republic vs Rosemoor 426 SCRA 517

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Facts: Petitioner Rosemoor Mining and Development Corporation (spearheaded by


four individuals) after having been granted permission to prospect for marble
deposits in the mountains of Biak-na-Bato, San Miguel, Bulacan, succeeded in
discovering marble deposits of high quality and in commercial quantities in Mount
Mabio which forms part of the Biak-na-Bato mountain range.
Rosemor thereafter applied with the Bureau of Mines, now Mines and Geosciences
Bureau, for the issuance of the corresponding license to exploit said marble
deposits.
Within that same year, License No. 33 was issued by the Bureau of Mines in favor
of the herein petitioners. It is largely unfortunate that thereafter, Respondent
Ernesto Maceda cancelled the petitioners license stating that their license had
illegally been issued, because it violated Section 69 of PD 463; and that there was
no more public interest served by the continued existence or renewal of the license.
The latter reason was confirmed by the language of Proclamation No. 84. According
to this law, public interest would be served by reverting the parcel of land that was
excluded by Proclamation No. 2204 to the former status of that land as part of the
Biak-na-Bato national park.
Issue: whether or not Presidential Proclamation No. 84 is valid.
Held: Yes. Proclamation No. 84 is not a bill of attainder; that is, a legislative act
which inflicts punishment without judicial trial." Its declaration that QLP No. 33 is a
patent nullity is certainly not a declaration of guilt. Neither is the cancellation of the
license a punishment within the purview of the constitutional proscription against
bills of attainder.
There is no merit in the argument that the proclamation is an ex post facto law. It
is settled that an ex post facto law is limited in its scope only to matters criminal in
nature. Proclamation 84, which merely restored the area excluded from the Biakna-Bato national park by canceling respondents license, is clearly not penal in
character.
Also at the time President Aquino issued Proclamation No. 84 on March 9, 1987,
she was still validly exercising legislative powers under the Provisional Constitution
of 1986. Section 1 of Article II of Proclamation No. 3, which promulgated the
Provisional Constitution, granted her legislative power until a legislature is elected
and convened under a new Constitution. The grant of such power is also explicitly
recognized and provided for in Section 6 of Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution.

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La Bugal-BLaan vs Ramos 421 SCRA 148


Facts: In 1987, Pres. Aquino issued EO 279 whereby she authorized DENR to
accept, consider and evaluate proposals from foreign-ownedcorporations or foreign
investors for contracts or agreements involving either technical or financial
assistancefor large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of minerals,
which, upon appropriate recommendationof the Secretary, the President may
execute with the foreign proponent.
In entering into such proposals, the President shall consider the real contributions
to the economic growth and general welfare of the country that will be realized, as
well as the development and use of local scientific and technical resources that will
be promoted by the proposed contract or agreement. Until Congress shall
determine otherwise, large-scalemining, for purpose of this Section, shall mean
those proposals for contracts or agreements for mineralr esources exploration,
development, and utilization involving a committed capital investment in a single
miningunit project of at least Fifty Million Dollars in United States Currency (US
$50,000,000. 00)
The timeline illustrates:
March 1995 RA 7942 signed into law
March 1995 Government entered FTAA with WMCP 99,387 hectares of land in
South Cotabato, SultanKudarat, Davao del Sur and North Cotabato .
April 1995 30 days after publication on 10 March 1995, RA 7942 took effect
December 1996 DENR Secretary Victor Ramos issued DAO 96-40
January 1997 counsels for petitioner sent letter to Ramos demanding DENR to
stop implementing RA7942 and DAO 96-40. No response, thus this petition for
Mandamus and Prohibition with prayer of TRO and preliminary injunction(denied)
claiming that petitioner Ramos acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in
implementing the assailed Constitutionality of RA 7942 of DENR Administrative
Order 96-40 and of the Financial and TechnicalAssistance Agreement entered into
on 30 March 1995 between the Republic of the Philippines and WMC(Philippines) ,
Inc..
January 2001 Manifestation of respondents that WMCP is no longer foreign-owned
as WMC has sold100% of its equity to Filipino company Sagittarius Mines, Inc.
which is 60% owned by Filipinos or Filipino-owned corporations. WMCP is renamed
as Tampakan Mineral Resources Corporation. 18 December 2001 DENR approved
the transfer and registration of FTAA to Sagittarius from WMCP. Supreme Court said
that this manifestation and transfer does not render the issue moot since the
question of validity of the FTAA will affect even that held by Sagittarius.

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Issues:
1. Whether or not Petitioners have standing.
2. Whether or Not EO 279 is an invalid law having been issued two days before
President Aquinos legislative powers expired with the convening of Regular
Congress and having thus took effect after which.
3. Whether or Not
RA 7942 and DAO 96-40 are unconstitutional and
consequently the FTAA entered pursuant to aboves tated laws is invalid
Held:
Preliminary Issue:
Petitioners have standing since they are residents of the land covered by the FTAA.
Sincethe petition if for mandamus and prohibition and the issue is of
constitutionality of a statute, the Supreme is no longer concerned whether or not
petitioners are real parties of interest to the contract/agreement.
EO 279 is valid and whether or not the laws effectivity date lies beyond the
expiration of the Presidents legislative power is irrelevant since it was still enacted
when the president held such power. It does not runcounter to EO 200 requiring
laws to have 15 days after publication requirement before its effectivity since
EO200 also provides unless it is otherwise provided, EO 279 having stated its own
effectivity as shall take effectimmediately. In addition, the 15-day postpublication requirement was for the information of the public anddoes not in any
way affect the date of enactment and is not a ground for invalidation. EO 279
nonetheless waspublished on the Official Gazette on 3 August 1987.
The 1987 Constitution provides The President may enter into agreements with
foreign-owned corporations involving either technical or financial assistance for
large-scale exploration, development, or utilization of minerals, petroleum, and
other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions providedby law,
based on real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the
country. In suchagreements, the State shall promote the development and use of
local scientific and technical resources
Some interesting notes:
1) State may directly undertake such activities
(2) State may enter into co-production, joint-venture or production-sharing
agreements with Filipino citizens or qualified corporations (60% Filipino owned
(3) Congress may allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino
citizens
(4) For the large-scale exploration, development, or utilization of minerals,
petroleum, and other mineral oils,the President may enter into agreements with
foreign-owned corporation for technical or financial assistance. The framers of this
Constitution expressly omitted the phrase service contracts that was provided for
in the1973 Constitution which allowed foreign companies to manage and operate
mining activities and replaced itwith technical or financial assistance only. RA
7942, DAO 96-40, and the FTAA between the government and WMCP allows for the
management andoperation of the foreign-owned corporation for the large-scale
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exploration, development, or utilization of minerals, petroleum, and other mineral


oils.
Although counsel for respondents claim that technical is a very broad term that
may cover the management and operation of such activities, it is still clear from
the deliberation of the Constitutional Commission that they intended to limit the
utilization of the natural resources for the sole enjoyment of the Filipinos.
Ultimate decision.
Petition Granted. Certain provisions of RA 7942 are declared null and void. So are
all provisions of Departmentof Environment and Natural Resources Administrative
Order 96-40, s. 1996 which are not in conformity withthis Decision, and the
Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement between the Government of the
Republicof the Philippines and WMC Philippines, Inc.
La Bugal-BLaan vs Ramos 445 SCRA 1
Facts: The extant case involves a Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus before the
Court
which challenges the constitutionality of (1) Republic Act 7942 (The
Philippine Mining Act of 1995); (2) its Implementing Rules and Regulations (DENR
Administrative Order [DAO] 96-40); and (3) the Financial and Technical Assistance
Agreement (FTAA) dated 30 March 1995, executed by the government with
Western Mining Corporation (Philippines), Inc. (WMCP).
Before February, the Court released its Decision, granting the Petition and declaring
the unconstitutionality of certain provisions of RA 7942, DAO 96-40, as well as of
the entire FTAA executed between the government and WMCP, mainly on the
finding that FTAAs are service contracts prohibited by the 1987 Constitution.
The Decision struck down the subject FTAA for being similar to service
contracts,which, though permitted under the 1973 Constitution, were subsequently
denounced for being antithetical to the principle of sovereignty over our natural
resources, because they allowed foreign control over the exploitation of our natural
resources, to the prejudice of the Filipino nation.
The landmark decision drew strength from several legal scholars and authors who
had criticized service contracts for, inter alia, vesting in the foreign contractor
exclusive management and control of the enterprise, including operation of the field
in the event petroleum was discovered; control of production, expansion and
development; nearly unfettered control over the disposition and sale of the
products discovered/extracted; effective ownership of the natural resource at the
point of extraction; and beneficial ownership of our economic resources.
According to the Decision, the 1987 Constitution (Section 2 of Article XII)
effectively banned such service contracts. Subsequently, Ramos several
government officials filed a motion for reconsideration.
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Issue: Whether or not the Court has a role in the exercise of the power of control
over the EDU of our natural resources?
Held: Most certainly not. The Chief Executive is the official constitutionally
mandated to enter into agreements with foreign owned corporations. On the
other hand, Congress may review the action of the President once it is notified of
every contract entered into in accordance with this [constitutional] provision within
thirty days from its execution. In contrast to this express mandate of the President
and Congress in the exploration, development and utilization (EDU) of natural
resources, Article XII of the Constitution is silent on the role of the judiciary.
However, should the President and/or Congress gravely abuse their discretion in
this regard, the courts may -- in a proper case -- exercise their residual duty under
Article VIII. Clearly then, the judiciary should not inordinately interfere in the
exercise of this presidential power of control over the EDU of our natural resources.
Under the doctrine of separation of powers and due respect for co-equal and
coordinate branches of government, the Court must restrain itself from intruding
into policy matters and must allow the President and Congress maximum discretion
in using the resources of our country and in securing the assistance of foreign
groups to eradicate the grinding poverty of our people and answer their cry for
viable employment opportunities in the country. The judiciary is loath to interfere
with the due exercise by coequal branches of government of their official functions.
As aptly spelled out seven decades ago by Justice George Malcolm, Just as the
Supreme Court, as the guardian of constitutional rights, should not sanction
usurpations by any other department of government, so should it as strictly confine
its own sphere of influence to the powers expressly or by implication conferred on it
by the Organic Act. Let the development of the mining industry be the
responsibility of the political branches of government. And let not the Court
interfere inordinately and unnecessarily. The Constitution of the Philippines is the
supreme law of the land. It is the repository of all the aspirations and hopes of all
the people.
Lepanto vs WMC 507 SCRA 315
Facts: Lepanto Consolidated and Tampakan Companies dispute ownership of shares
of stock at WMCP, Tampakan Companies bought such shares of stock through their
right of first refusal under an agreement denominated as tampakan option
agreement. Lepanto, getting wind of the Sale and Purchase Agreement between
WMC and Tampakan Companies, wrote, by letter to the DENR Secretary about the
invalidity of said agreement and reiterated its request for the approval of its
acquisition of the disputed shares. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of
the DENR accordingly informed the Tampakan Companies of Lepantos position on
the matter and required the submission of a comment thereto. WMCP and WMC by
letters to the MGB, proffered their side. Several other letters or position papers
were filed by the parties with the MGB of the DENR. In addition thereafter, Lepanto
filed before the Makati RTC a complaint against herein respondents WMC, WMCP,

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for specific performance, annulment of contracts, contractual interference and


injunction (Civil Case No. 01-087).
Issue: Is Lepanto guilty of forum shopping?
Held: Yes, Lepanto is guilty of forum shopping. The power of the MGB to rule on the
validity of the questioned agreements of sale, which was raised by petitioner before
the DENR, is inextricably linked to the very nature of such agreements over which
the MGB has jurisdiction under the law. Unavoidably, there is identity of reliefs that
petitioner seeks from both the MGB and the RTC.
Forum shopping exists when both actions involve the same transactions, same
essential facts and circumstances and raise identical causes of actions, subject
matter, and issues. Such elements are evidently present in both the proceedings
before the MGB and before the trial court.
Benguet Corp vs DENR 545 SCRA 196
Facts: On June 1, 1987, Benguet and J.G. Realty entered into a Royalty Agreement
with Option to Purchase (RAWOP), wherein J.G. Realty was acknowledged as the
owner of four mining claims respectively named as Bonito-I, Bonito-II, Bonito-III,
and Bonito-IV, with a total area of 288.8656 hectares, situated in Barangay
Luklukam, Sitio Bagong Bayan, Municipality of Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte.
Thus, on August 9, 1989, the Executive Vice-President of Benguet, Antonio N.
Tachuling, issued a letter informing J.G. Realty of its intention to develop the
mining claims. However, on February 9, 1999, J.G. Realty, through its President,
Johnny L. Tan, then sent a letter to the President of Benguet informing the latter
that it was terminating the RAWOP on the following grounds:
a. The fact that your company has failed to perform the obligations set forth in the
RAWOP, i.e., to undertake development works within 2 years from the execution of
the Agreement; b. Violation of the Contract by allowing high graders to operate on
our claim. c. No stipulation was provided with respect to the term limit of the
RAWOP. d. Non-payment of the royalties thereon as provided in the RAWOP.
On June 7, 2000, J.G. Realty filed a Petition for Declaration of Nullity/Cancellation
of the RAWOP with the Legaspi City Panel of Arbitrators (POA), Region V, docketed
as DENR Case No. 2000-01 and entitled J.G. Realty v. Benguet.
DECISION OF LOWER COURTS: *POA: declared the RAWOP cancelled: affirmed
POA.
Issues:
1. Should the controversy have first been submitted to arbitration before the
POA took cognizance of the case?
2. Was the cancellation of the RAWOP supported by evidence?; and

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3. Did the cancellation of the RAWOP amount to unjust enrichment of J.G.


Realty at the expense of Benguet?
Held: On correctness of appeal: Petitioner having failed to properly appeal to the
CA under Rule 43, the decision of the MAB has become final and executory. On this
ground alone, the instant petition must be denied.
(1) Yes, the case should have first been brought to voluntary arbitration before the
POA.
Secs. 11.01 and 11.02 of the RAWOP pertinently provide:
11.01 Arbitration
Any disputes, differences or disagreements between BENGUET and the OWNER with
reference to anything whatsoever pertaining to this Agreement that cannot be
amicably settled by them shall not be cause of any action of any kind whatsoever in
any court or administrative agency but shall, upon notice of one party to the other,
be referred to a Board of Arbitrators consisting of three (3) members, one to be
selected by BENGUET, another to be selected by the OWNER and the third to be
selected by the aforementioned two arbitrators so appointed.
11.02 Court Action
No action shall be instituted in court as to any matter in dispute as hereinabove
stated, except to enforce the decision of the majority of the Arbitrators
A contractual stipulation that requires prior resort to voluntary arbitration before
the parties can go directly to court is not illegal and is in fact promoted by the
State.
To reiterate, availment of voluntary arbitration before resort is made to the courts
or quasi-judicial agencies of the government is a valid contractual stipulation that
must be adhered to by the parties.
In other words, in the event a case that should properly be the subject of voluntary
arbitration is erroneously filed with the courts or quasi-judicial agencies, on motion
of the defendant, the court or quasi-judicial agency shall determine whether such
contractual provision for arbitration is sufficient and effective. If in affirmative, the
court or quasi-judicial agency shall then order the enforcement of said provision.
In sum, on the issue of whether POA should have referred the case to voluntary
arbitration, we find that, indeed, POA has no jurisdiction over the dispute which is
governed by RA 876, the arbitration law.
HOWEVER, ESTOPPEL APPLIES. the Court rules that the jurisdiction of POA and that
of MAB can no longer be questioned by Benguet at this late hour. What Benguet
should have done was to immediately challenge the POA's jurisdiction by a special
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civil action for certiorari when POA ruled that it has jurisdiction over the dispute. To
redo the proceedings fully participated in by the parties after the lapse of seven
years from date of institution of the original action with the POA would be
anathema to the speedy and efficient administration of justice.
(2) The cancellation of the RAWOP was supported by evidence.
(3) There is no unjust enrichment in the instant case. There is no unjust enrichment
when the person who will benefit has a valid claim to such benefit.
The principle of unjust enrichment under Article 22 requires two conditions: (1)
that a person is benefited without a valid basis or justification, and (2) that such
benefit is derived at another's expense or damage.
Clearly, there is no unjust enrichment in the instant case as the cancellation of the
RAWOP, which left Benguet without any legal right to participate in further
developing the mining claims, was brought about by its violation of the RAWOP.
Hence, Benguet has no one to blame but itself for its predicament.
Metro Iloilo Water District vs Court of Appeals 454 SCRA 249
Facts: Petitioner is a water district organized under the provisions of Presidential
Decree No. 198. It was granted by the Local Water Utilities Administration
Conditional Certificate of Conformance No. 71. Its service areas encompass the
entire territorial areas of Iloilo City etc.
Sometime between April and May of 1993, petitioner filed nine (9) individual yet
identical petitions for injunction with prayer for preliminary injunction and / or
temporary restraining order against herein private respondents the pertinent
portions of which read:

4. That pursuant to the provisions of section 31 (a) of P.D. 198, as


amended, the petitioner as a Water District was authorized to adopt
laws and regulations governing the drilling, maintenance and operation
of wells within its boundaries for purposes other than single family
domestic use on overlying land, with then provision that any well
operated in violation of such regulations shall be deemed an
interference with the waters of the district;

Private respondents invoked the lack of jurisdiction of the trial court, contending
that the cases were within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the National
Water Resources Council (Water Council) under Presidential Decree No. 1067,
otherwise known as the Water Code of the Philippines (Water Code). In addition,

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private respondents Emma Nava and Rebecca Berlin denied having extracted or
withdrawn water from the ground, much less sold the same
Additionally, he alleged the petitioners rules and regulations were not published in
the Official Gazette and hence petitioner had no cause of action. Meanwhile, private
respondent Gerry Luzuriaga claimed that he was not the real party in interest, but
Shoemart, Inc. which has the control and possession of the property where the
alleged withdrawal of ground water was taking place.
The trial court dismissed the petitions, ruling that the controversy was within the
original jurisdiction of the Water Council, involving, as it did, the appropriation,
exploitation, and utilization of water, and factual issues which were within the
Water Councils competence. In addition, the trial court held that petitioner failed to
exhaust administrative remedies under the doctrine of primary administrative
jurisdiction.
MR denied shortly thereafter.
Issue: Whether or not the trial court may entertain the positions
Held: Petitioner anchors its claim on Section 31 (now 32) of PD 198, as amended,
which reads:
Sec. 32. Protection of waters and Facilities of District. A district shall
have the right to :
(a)
Commence, maintain, intervene in, defend and compromise
actions or proceedings to prevent interference with or deterioration of
water quality or the natural flow of any surface, stream or ground
water supply which may be used or useful for any purpose of the
district or be a common benefit to the lands or its inhabitants. The
ground water within a district is necessary to the performance of the
districts powers and such districts hereby authorized to adopt rules
and regulations subject to the approval of the National Water
Resources Council governing the drilling, maintenance and operation of
wells within its boundaries for purposes other than a singled family
domestic use on overlying land. Any well operated on violation of such
regulations shall be deemed in interference with the waters of the
district.

(c) Prohibit any person, firm or corporation from vending, selling, or


otherwise disposing of water for public purposes within the service
area of the district where district facilities are available to provide such
service, or fix terms and conditions by permit for such sale or
disposition of water.
By virtue of the above provisions, petitioner states that as a water
district, it has the right to prevent interference with the water of the
district; and to enforce such right, it is given remedies of commencing,
maintaining, or intervening in, defending or entering into appropriate
actions or proceedings.
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In asserting the jurisdiction of the regular courts over its petitions and
the propriety of its filing of the petitions before the trial court,
petitioner invokes the ruling of the Court inAmistoso v. Ong,[28] as
reiterated in Santos v. Court of Appeals,[29] that where the issue
involved is not the settlement of a water rights dispute, but the
enjoyment of a right to water use for which a permit was already
granted, the regular court has jurisdiction and not the Water Council.
A judicial question is raised when the determination of the questions involves the
exercise of a judicial function, i.e., the question involves the determination of what
the law is and what the legal rights of the parties are with respect to the matter in
controversy. As opposed to a moot question or one properly decided by the
executive or legislative branch, a judicial question is properly addressed to the
courts.
The instant case certainly calls for the application and interpretation of pertinent
laws and jurisprudence in order to determine whether private respondents actions
violate petitioners rights as a water district and justify an injunction. This issue
does not so much provide occasion to invoke the special knowledge and expertise
of the Water Council as it necessitates judicial intervention. While initially it may
appear that there is a dimension to the petitions which pertains to the sphere of the
Water Council, i.e., the appropriation of water which the Water Code defines as the
acquisition of rights over the use of waters or the taking or diverting of waters
from a natural source in the manner and for any purpose allowed by law, in reality
the matter is at most merely collateral to the main thrust of the petitions.
The petitions having raised a judicial question, it follows that the doctrine of
exhaustion of administrative remedies, on the basis of which the petitions were
dismissed by the trial court and the Court of Appeals, does not even come to play.
The petition is remanded to the trial court.
Amistoso vs Ong 130 SCRA 228
Facts: On 1981 petitioner as plaintiff, filed before the then Court of First Instance of
Camarines Sur, a complaint for Recognition of Basement with Preliminary
Injunction and Damages. The complaint alleged, that plaintiff (now petitioner) and
defendant Epifania Neri, (one of the herein private respondents) are the owners of
adjoining parcels of agricultural land ; that an irrigation canal traverses the land of
defendant Neri through which irrigation water from the Silmod River passes and
flows to the land of the petitioner for the latter's beneficial use and that respondent
Neri, owner of the land on which said irrigatrion canal exists and Senecio Ong, the
cultivator of the said property, despite repeated demands refused to recognize the
rights and title of the petitioner to the beneficial use of the water passing through
the aforesaid irrigation canal and to have petitioner's rights and/or claims
annotated on the Certificate of Title of respondent Neri . . . . Hence, the filing of
the said complaint.

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In their Answer, private respondents denied the existence of any right on the part
of the petitioner to the use of the canal mentioned in the complaint nor any
contract, much less any deed or encumbrance on their property and assert that
they have not performed any act prejudicial to the petitioner that will warrant the
filing of the complaint against them. By way of affirmative and special defenses,
private respondents alleged that petitioner's complaint states no cause of action
and that the Court has no jurisdiction over the same.
Failing to obtain a favorable reconsideration of the Order of dismissal, petitioner
now comes before SC through the instant petition contending:
That the case at bar is not to settle any water dispute between the parties but a
complaint which calls purely for a determination of the right of the plaintiff to have
an established right amounting to an easement annotated on the certificate of title
of the defendant, hence the question is judicial which may be taken cognizance of
by the respondent court;
Acting on private respondent's motion, respondent Judge dismissed petitioner's
complaint for lack of jurisdiction in an Order dated January 14, 1981. The pertinent
portion of that Order reads as follows:
... The basis of the motion to dismiss are the provisions of Presidential Decree No.
424 and the Water Code known as Presidential Decree No. 1067. In opposing the
motion to dismiss, plaintiff contends that the present action does not involve water
dispute and that since the present action was filed before the court prior to the
effectivity of the Presidential Decree No. 424, it is the old law on the matter that
should be applied. These contentions of the plaintiff are without merit.
Failing to obtain a favorable reconsideration of the Order of dismissal, petitioner
now comes before SC through the instant petition contending:
(1)
That the case at bar is not to settle any water dispute between the parties
but a complaint which calls purely for a determination of the right of the plaintiff to
have an established right amounting to an easement annotated on the certificate of
title of the defendant, hence the question is judicial which may be taken cognizance
of by the respondent court;
Issue: Whether or not the Court had jurisdiction.
Held:Private respondents' insistence that what is involved in the instant case is the
right to use, exploit and convey water is controverted by the "STIPULATION OF
FACTS" entered into between them and the petitioner in the court below which was
approved in an Order dated February 20, 1975, the pertinent portion of which reads
as follows:
From the foregoing stipulations, private respondents admit that petitioner, then
plaintiff, has an approved Water Rights Grant issued by the Department of Public
Works, Transportation and Communications. Private respondents, however, contend
that the said grant does not pertain to the beneficial use of irrigation water from
Silmod River. The records, however, do not show any other irrigation water going
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to petitioner's property passing thru respondents' lot aside from that coming from
the Silmod River. Respondents' controversion of petitioner's right to irrigation water
specifically from Silmod River is undoubtedly a lame denial.
The grant contradicts the erroneous findings of the respondent Judge, and
incontrovertibly entitles petitioner to the beneficial use of water from Silmod River.
That right is now a vested one and may no longer be litigated as to bring
petitioner's case within the jurisdiction of the National Water Resources Council. To
resurrect that issue right to the use of invistigation water from Silmod River
will be violative of the rule on res judicata which also applies with equal vigor and
effect to quasi judicial decisions.

Loney vs People 482 SCRA 194


Facts: Foreigners John Eric Loney, Steven Paul Reid and Pedro B. Hernandez are
the Pres.and CEO, Senior Manager, and Resident Manager for Mining Operations,
respectively, of Marcopper Mining Corp., had been storing tailings (mine waste)
from its operations in a pit in Mt. Tapian, Marinduque. On March 24, 1994, tailings
gushed out of or near the tunnels end. In a few days, Mt. Tapianpit had discharged
millions of tons of tailings in to the Boac and Makalupnit rivers.
Sometime August 1996, the DOJ separately charged petitioners in the MTC of
Boac,Marinduque with violation National Pollution Decree of 1976 and Art. 365 of
the RPC for Reckless Imprudence Resulting to Damage to Property.In the
Consolidated Order of MTC, granting partial reconsideration to its Joint
Orderquashing the information for violation of PD 1067 and PD 984.
The MTC maintained the Informations for violation of RA 7942 and Art. 365 of the
RPC. Petitioners subsequently filed a petition for certiorari with the RTC assailing
that the portion of the Consolidated Order maintaining the Informations for
violation of RA 7942.
Petitioners then filed for certiorari with the Court of Appeals alleging that Br. 94
acted withgrave abuse of discretion because 1.the Informations for violation of PD
1067, PD 984, RA7942 and the Art. 365 of the RPC proceeded from are based on a
single act or incident of polluting the rivers thru dumping of mine tailings, and the
charge for violation of Art 365 of the RPC absorbs the other charges since the
element of lack of necessary or adequate protection, negligence, recklessness and
imprudence is common among them, 2. The duplicitous nature of the Informations
contravenes the ruling in People v. Relova. The Court of Appeals affirmed lower
court ruling.
Issues:
1. Whether or not all the charges filed against petitioners except one should be
quashed for duplicity of charges and only the charge for Reckless Imprudence
Resulting in Damage to Property should stand

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2. Whether or not Br. 94s ruling, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, contravenes
People v. Relova.
Held: The redundancy of charges simply means a single complaint or information
charges more than one offense, as Sec. 13 of Rule 110 of the 1985 Rules of
Criminal Procedure. As early as the start of the last century, the court ruled that a
single act or incident might offend against two or more entirely distinct and
unrelated provisions of law thus justifying the prosecution of the accused for more
than one offense and the only limit is the Constitutional prohibition that no person
shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishing for the same offense.
In People vs.Doriquez, the court held that two or more offenses arising form the
same act are not the same. And so, double jeopardy is not an issue because not all
its elements are present.
On petitioners claim that the charges for violation of Art. 365 of the RPC absorbs
the charges for violation of PD 1067, PD 984 and RA 7942, suffice it to say that a
mala in sefelony (such as Reckless Imprudence Resulting to Damage in Property)
cannot absorb malaprohibita crimes (such as those violating PD 1067, PD 984 and
RA 7942).
What makes the former felony is criminal intent (dolo) or negligence (culpa) and
what makes the latter crimes are the special laws enacting them.Petitioners
reiterate their contention in that their prosecution contravenes ruling inPeople vs.
Relova.

MMDA vs. Concerned Residents of Manila Bay 574 SCRA 661


Facts: This case started when, on January 29, 1999, respondents Concerned
Residents of Manila Bay filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in
Imus, Cavite against several government agencies, among them the petitioners, for
the cleanup, rehabilitation, and protection of the Manila Bay. Raffled to Branch 20
and docketed as Civil Case No. 1851-99 of the RTC, the complaint alleged that the
water quality of the Manila Bay had fallen way below the allowable standards set by
law, specifically Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1152 or the Philippine Environment
Code.
Petitioners, before the CA, were one in arguing in the main that the pertinent
provisions of the Environment Code (PD 1152) relate only to the cleaning of specific
pollution incidents and do not cover cleaning in general. And apart from raising
concerns about the lack of funds appropriated for cleaning purposes, petitioners
also asserted that the cleaning of the Manila Bayis not a ministerial act which can
be compelled by mandamus.

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Issues:
1. Whether or not Sections 17 and 20 of PD under the headings, Upgrading of
Water Quality and Clean-up Operations, envisage a cleanup in general or are they
limited only to the cleanup of specific pollution incidents.
2. Can petitioners be compelled by mandamus to clean up and rehabilitate the
Manila Bay?

Held:
1. For one thing, said Sec. 17 does not in any way state that the government
agencies concerned ought to confine themselves to the containment, removal, and
cleaning operations when a specific pollution incident occurs. On the contrary, Sec.
17 requires them to act even in the absence of a specific pollution incident, as long
as water quality has deteriorated to a degree where its state will adversely affect
its best usage. This section, to stress, commands concerned government agencies,
when appropriate, to take such measures as may be necessary to meet the
prescribed water quality standards. In fine, the underlying duty to upgrade the
quality of water is not conditional on the occurrence of any pollution incident.
For another, a perusal of Sec. 20 of the Environment Code, as couched, indicates
that it is properly applicable to a specific situation in which the pollution is caused
by polluters who fail to clean up the mess they left behind. In such instance, the
concerned government agencies shall undertake the cleanup work for the polluters
account. Petitioners assertion, that they have to perform cleanup operations in the
Manila Bay only when there is a water pollution incident and the erring polluters do
not undertake the containment, removal, and cleanup operations, is quite off mark.
As earlier discussed, the complementary Sec. 17 of the Environment Code comes
into play and the specific duties of the agencies to clean up come in even if there
are no pollution incidents staring at them. Petitioners, thus, cannot plausibly invoke
and hide behind Sec. 20 of PD 1152 or Sec. 16 of RA 9275 on the pretext that their
cleanup mandate depends on the happening of a specific pollution incident. In this
regard, what the CA said with respect to the impasse over Secs. 17 and 20 of PD
1152 is at once valid as it is practical. The appellate court wrote: PD 1152 aims to
introduce a comprehensive program of environmental protection and management.
This is better served by making Secs. 17 & 20 of general application rather than
limiting them to specific pollution incidents.

2. Generally, the writ of mandamus lies to require the execution of a ministerial


duty.[8] A ministerial duty is one that requires neither the exercise of official
discretion nor judgment.[9] It connotes an act in which nothing is left to the
discretion of the person executing it. It is a simple, definite duty arising under
conditions admitted or proved to exist and imposed by law.[10] Mandamus is
available to compel action, when refused, on matters involving discretion, but not
to direct the exercise of judgment or discretion one way or the other.
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Public Hearing Committee of the LLDA vs. SM Prime Holdings Inc.


G.R No. 170599
Facts: The instant petition arose from an inspection conducted on February 4, 2002
by the Pollution Control Division of the LLDA of the wastewater collected from
herein respondent's SM City Manila branch. The results of the laboratory tests
showed that the sample collected from the said facility failed to conform with the
effluent standards for inland water imposed in accordance with law.
On March 12, 2002, the LLDA informed SM City Manila of its violation, directing the
same to perform corrective measures to abate or control the pollution caused by
the said company and ordering the latter to pay a penalty of "One Thousand Pesos
(P1,000.00) per day of discharging pollutive wastewater to be computed from 4
February 2002, the date of inspection, until full cessation of discharging pollutive
wastewater."
Issues:
1. Whether or not the court of appeals erred in finding that the petition cannot be
dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, by way of exception to the
general rule.

2. Whether or not the court of appeals erred when it took cognizance of the petition
of sm prime.

Held:
1. Under the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, before a party is
allowed to seek the intervention of the court, he or she should have availed himself
or herself of all the means of administrative processes afforded him or her.15
Hence, if resort to a remedy within the administrative machinery can still be made
by giving the administrative officer concerned every opportunity to decide on a
matter that comes within his or her jurisdiction, then such remedy should be
exhausted first before the courts judicial power can be sought.16 The premature
invocation of the intervention of the court is fatal to ones cause of action.17 The
doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is based on practical and legal
reasons.18 The availment of administrative remedy entails lesser expenses and
provides for a speedier disposition of controversies. Furthermore, the courts of
justice, for reasons of comity and convenience, will shy away from a dispute until
the system of administrative redress has been completed and complied with, so as
to give the administrative agency concerned every opportunity to correct its error
and dispose of the case.19 While the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative
remedies is subject to several exceptions, the Court finds that the instant case does
not fall under any of them.

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It is true that one of the exceptions to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative


remedies is when the issues raised are purely legal. However, the Court is not
persuaded by respondent's contention that the special civil action for certiorari it
filed with the CA involved only purely legal questions and did not raise factual
issues. A perusal of the petition for certiorari filed by respondent readily shows that
factual matters were raised, to wit: (a) whether respondent has immediately
implemented remedial measures to correct the pH level of the effluent discharges
of SM City Manila; and (b) whether the third party monitoring report submitted by
respondent proves that it has complied with the effluent standards for inland water
set by the LLDA. Respondent insists that what has been raised in the petition filed
with the CA was whether the LLDA committed grave abuse of discretion in
disregarding the evidence it presented and in proceeding to impose a penalty
despite remedial measures undertaken by the latter. Logic dictates, however, that a
determination of whether or not the LLDA indeed committed grave abuse of
discretion in imposing fine on respondent would necessarily and inevitably touch on
the factual issue of whether or not respondent in fact complied with the effluent
standards set under the law. Since the matters raised by respondent involve factual
issues, the questioned Orders of the LLDA should have been brought first before
the DENR which has administrative supervision of the LLDA pursuant to E.O. No.
149.
2. The Court does not agree with petitioners' contention that the CA does not have
jurisdiction to entertain the petition for certiorari filed by respondent questioning
the subject Orders of the LLDA. Petitioners argue that Section 1,22 Rule 43 of the
Rules of Court enumerate the quasi-judicial agencies whose decisions or orders are
directly appealable to the CA and that the LLDA is not among these agencies.
Petitioners should have noted, however, that Rule 43 refers to appeals from
judgments or orders of quasi- judicial agencies in the exercise of their quasi-judicial
functions. On the other hand, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court specifically governs
special civil actions for certiorari, Section 4 of which provides that if the petition
involves acts or omissions of a quasi-judicial agency, and unless otherwise provided
by law or the rules, the petition shall be filed in and cognizable only by the CA.
Thus, it is clear that jurisdiction over acts or omissions of the LLDA belong to the
CA.

Pacific Steam Laundry Inc., vs LLDA 608 SCRA 442


Facts: Petitioner Pacific Steam Laundry, Inc. (petitioner) is a company engaged in
the business of laundry services. On 6 June 2001, the Environmental Management
Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) endorsed
to respondent Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) the inspection report on
the complaint of black smoke emission from petitioners plant located at 114
Roosevelt Avenue, Quezon City.[3] On 22 June 2001, LLDA conducted an
investigation and found that untreated wastewater generated from petitioners
laundry washing activities was discharged directly to the San Francisco Del Monte
River. Furthermore, the Investigation Report[4] stated that petitioners plant was
operating without LLDA clearance, AC/PO-ESI, and Discharge Permit from LLDA. On
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5 September 2001, the Environmental Quality Management Division of LLDA


conducted wastewater sampling of petitioners effluent.[5] The result of the
laboratory analysis showed non-compliance with effluent standards particularly
Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Oil/Grease
Concentration and Color Units.
Petitioner submitted its application for LLDA Clearance and Discharge Permit and
informed LLDA that it would undertake the necessary measures to abate the water
pollution.[8] On 1 March 2002, a compliance monitoring was conducted and the
result of the laboratory analysis[9] still showed non-compliance with effluent
standards in terms of TSS, BOD, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), and Oil/Grease
Concentration. It was reported that petitioners wastewater treatment facility was
under construction. Subsequently, another wastewater sampling was conducted on
25 April 2002 but the results[10] still failed to conform with the effluent standards
in terms of Oil/Grease Concentration.

Issues:
1. Does the respondent LLDA have the implied power to impose fines as set forth in
PD 984?
2. Does the grant of implied power to LLDA to impose penalties violate the rule on
non-delegation of legislative powers?

Held:
1. Presidential Decree No. 984 (PD 984)[19] created and established the NPCC
under the Office of the President. EO 192, which reorganized the DENR, created the
Pollution Adjudication Board under the Office of the DENR Secretary which assumed
the powers and functions of the NPCC with respect to adjudication of pollution
cases.
On the other hand, LLDA is a special agency created under Republic Act No. 4850
(RA 4850)[20] to manage and develop the Laguna Lake region, comprising of the
provinces of Rizal and Laguna and the cities of San Pablo, Manila, Pasay, Quezon
and Caloocan. RA 4850, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 813 (PD 813),[21]
mandates LLDA to carry out the development of the Laguna Lake region, with due
regard and adequate provisions for environmental management and control,
preservation of the quality of human life and ecological systems, and the
prevention of undue ecological disturbances, deterioration and pollution.
Under Executive Order No. 927 (EO 927),[23] LLDA is granted additional powers
and functions to effectively perform its role and to enlarge its prerogatives of
monitoring, licensing and enforcement.

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A comparison of the powers and functions of the Pollution Adjudication Board and
the LLDA reveals substantial similarity. Both the Pollution Adjudication Board and
the LLDA are empowered, among others, to: (1) make, alter or modify orders
requiring the discontinuance of pollution; (2) issue, renew, or deny permits for the
prevention and abatement of pollution, for the discharge of sewage, industrial
waste, or for the installation or operation of sewage works and industrial disposal
system; and (3) exercise such powers and perform such other functions necessary
to carry out their duties and responsibilities. The difference is that while Section 19
of EO 192 vested the Pollution Adjudication Board with the specific power to
adjudicate pollution cases in general,[24] the scope of authority of LLDA to
adjudicate pollution cases is limited to the Laguna Lake region as defined by RA
4850, as amended.
In this case, the DENRs Environmental Management Bureau endorsed to LLDA the
pollution complaint against petitioner. Under Section 16 of EO 192, the
Environmental Management Bureau assumed the powers and functions of the NPCC
except with respect to adjudication of pollution cases.
The Environmental Management Bureau also serves as the Secretariat of the
Pollution Adjudication Board, and its Director is one of the members of the Pollution
Adjudication Board. Clearly, by endorsing to LLDA the pollution complaint against
petitioner, the Environmental Management Bureau deferred to LLDAs jurisdiction
over the pollution complaint against petitioner.
2. Contrary to petitioners contention, LLDAs power to impose fines is not
unrestricted. In this case, LLDA investigated the pollution complaint against
petitioner and conducted wastewater sampling of petitioners effluent. It was only
after the investigation result showing petitioners failure to meet the established
water and effluent quality standards that LLDA imposed a fine against petitioner.
LLDA then imposed upon petitioner a penalty ofP1,000 per day of discharging
pollutive wastewater. The P1,000 penalty per day is in accordance with the amount
of penalty prescribed under PD 984
Alexandria Condo vs LLDA 599 SCRA 452
Facts: On 2 September 1987, the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission
issued a Development Permit to Phil Realty to develop Cluster A of the project. In
the Development Permit, PhilRealty was required to submit its condominium plans
to the Building Official of Pasig City. A building permit was issued
Shortly after Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) advised TACC that its
wastewater did not meet government effluent standards provided in Sections 68
and 69 of the 1978 National Pollution Control Commission Rules and Regulations
(NPCC) as amended by Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR)
Administrative Order No. 34. LLDA informed TACC that it must put up its own
Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) for its effluent discharge to meet government
standards.
In a Notice of Violation dated 6 May 1999, LLDA directed TACC to submit corrective
measures to abate or control its water effluents discharged into the Laguna de Bay.
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LLDA likewise imposed upon TACC a daily fine of P1,000 from 26 March 1999 until
full cessation of pollutive wastewater discharge.
TACC filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals with a prayer for the
issuance of a temporary restraining order.
The Court of Appeals sustained LLDAs contention that the petition for certiorari was
prematurely filed. The Court of Appeals ruled that the proper remedy should have
been to resort to an administrative remedy before the DENR Secretary prior to
judicial action.

Issue: Whether the Court of Appeals erred in disregarding TACCs exhaustive


efforts in complying with the governments standards on effluent discharge;
Held: The Court of Appeals ruled that due to the transfer of LLDA to the DENR
under Executive Order No. 149[10] (EO 149), TACC should have first resorted to an
administrative remedy before the DENR Secretary prior to filing a petition for
certiorari before the Court of Appeals.
The doctrine of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies requires that resort be
first made with the administrative authorities in the resolution of a controversy
falling under their jurisdiction before the controversy may be elevated to a court of
justice for review. A premature invocation of a courts intervention renders the
complaint without cause of action and dismissible.
EO 149 transferred LLDA from the Office of the President to the DENR for policy
and program coordination and/or administrative supervision
x x x.[13] Under
EO 149, DENR only has administrative power over LLDA. Administrative power is
concerned with the work of applying policies and enforcing orders as determined by
proper governmental organs.[14]
However, Executive Order No. 192 (EO 192), which reorganized the DENR,
mandates the DENR to promulgate rules and regulations for the control of water,
air and land pollution and to promulgate ambient and effluent standards for water
and air quality including the allowable levels of other pollutants and radiations. EO
192 created the Pollution Adjudication Board under the Office of the DENR
Secretary which assumed the powers and functions of the NPCC with respect to the
adjudication of pollution cases, including NPCCs function to serve as arbitrator for
the determination of reparation, or restitution of the damages and losses resulting
from pollution. Hence, TACC has an administrative recourse before the DENR
Secretary which it should have first pursued before filing a petition for certiorari
before the Court of Appeals.

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LLDA vs Court of Appeals


Facts: Congress enacted RA 4850 creating the "Laguna Lake Development
Authority." This agency was supposed to accelerate the development and balanced
growth of the Laguna Lake. To effectively perform the role of the Authority under
RA 4850, the Chief Executive issued EO 927further defined and enlarged the
functions and powers of the Authority and named and enumerated the towns, cities
and provinces encompassed by the term "Laguna de Bay Region". Also, pertinent to
the i ssues in this case are the following provisions of EO 927 which include in
particular the sharing of fees:
Sec 2: xxx the Authority shall have exclusive jurisdiction to issue permit for the use
of all surface water for any projects or activities in or affecting thesaid region
including navigation, construction, and operation of fish pens, fish enclosures, fish
corrals and the like.
SEC. 3. Collection of Fees. The Authority is hereby empowered to collect fees for
the use of the lake water and its tributaries for all beneficial purposes including but
not limited to fisheries, recreation, municipal, industrial, agricultural, navigation,
irrigation, and waste disposal purpose; Provided, that therates of the fees to be
collected, and the sharing with other government agencies and political
subdivisions, if necessary, shall be subject to the approval of the President of the
Philippines upon recommendation of the Authority's Board, except fish pen fee,
which will be shared in the following manner: 20percent of the fee shall go to the
lakeshore local governments, 5 percent shall go to the Project Development Fund
which shall be administered by aCouncil and the remaining 75 percent shall
constitute the share of LLDA.
Then came Republic Act No. 7160. The municipalities in the Laguna Lake Region
interpreted the provisions of this law to mean that the newly passed law gave
municipal governments the exclusive jurisdiction to issue fishing privileges within
their municipal waters because R.A. 7160 provides:
"Sec. 149. Fishery Rentals; Fees and Charges (a) Municipalities shall have the
exclusive authority to grant fishery privileges in the municipal waters andimpose
rental fees or charges therefor in accordance with the provisions of this Section.
Municipal governments thereupon assumed the authority to issue fishing privileges
and fish pen permits. Big fish pen operators took advantage of the occasion to
establish fish pens and fishcages to the consternation of the Authority. Unregulated
fish pens and fishcages occupied almost one-third the entirelake water surface
area, increasing the occupation drastically from 7,000 ha in 1990 to almost 21,000
hain 1995. The Mayor's permit to construct fishpens and fishcages were all
undertaken in violation of the policies adopted by the Authority on fishpen zoning
and the Laguna Lake carrying capacity. In view of the foregoing circumstances, the
Authority served notice to the general public that:
1. All fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures in the Laguna de Bay
Region, which were not registered or to which no application forregistration and/or

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permit has been filed with Laguna Lake Development Authority as of March 31,
1993 are hereby declared outrightly as illegal.
One month, thereafter, the Authority sent notices to the concerned owners of the
illegally constructed fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures advising
them to dismantle the irrespective structures within 10 days from receipt thereof,
otherwise, demolition shall be effected. The fishpen owners filed injunction cases
against the LLDA. The LLDA filed motions to dismiss thecases against it on
jurisdictional grounds. The motions to dismiss were denied. Meanwhile, TRO/writs
of preliminary mandatory injunction were issued enjoining the LLDA from
demolishing the fishpens andsimilar structures in question. Hence, the present
petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction. The CA dismissed the LLDAs
consolidated petitions.
It ruled that (A) LLDA is not among those quasi-judicial agencies of government
appealable only to the Court of Appeals; (B) the LLDA charter does vest LLDA with
quasi-judicial functions insofar as fishpens are concerned; (C) the provisions of the
LLDA charter insofar asfishing privileges in Laguna de Bay are concerned had been
repealed by the Local Government Code of 1991; (D) in view of the aforesaid
repeal, the power to grant permits devolved to respective localgovernment units
concerned.
Issue: Which agency of the Government - the LLDA or the towns and municipalities
comprising the region- should exercise jurisdiction over the Laguna Lake and its
environs insofar as the issuance of permits for fishery privileges is concerned?
Held: LLDA. Section 4 (k) of RA 4850, the provisions of PD 813, and Section 2 of
EO 927, specifically provide that the LLDA shall have exclusive jurisdiction to issue
permits for the use or all surface water for any projectsor activities in or affecting
the said region, including navigation, construction, and operation of fishpens, fish
enclosures, fish corrals and the like.
On the other hand, RA 7160 has granted to the municipalities theexclusive
authority to grant fishery privileges in municipal waters. The Sangguniang Bayan
may grant f ishery privileges to erect fish corrals, oyster, mussels or other aquatic
beds or bangus fry area within adefinite zone of the municipal waters.
The provisions of RA7160 do not necessarily repeal the laws creating the LLDA and
granting the latter water rights authority over Laguna de Bay and the lake region.
The Local Government Code of 1991 does not contain any express provision which
categoricallyexpressly repeal the charter of the Authority.
It has to be conceded that there was no intent on the part of the legislature to
repeal Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendments. The repeal of laws should be
made clear and expressed.It has to be conceded that the charter of the LLDA
constitutes a special law. RA 7160 is a general law.

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Tano vs Socrates
Facts:On December 15, 1992, the Sangguniang Panlungsod ng Puerto Princesa City
enacted Ordinance No. 15-92 which took effect on January 1, 1993 entitled: AN
ORDINANCE BANNING THE SHIPMENT OF ALL LIVE FISH AND LOBSTER OUTSIDE
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY FROM JANUARY 1, 1993 TO JANUARY 1, 1998 AND
PROVIDING EXEMPTIONS, PENALTIES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES THEREOF
To implement said city ordinance, then Acting City Mayor Amado L. Lucero issued
Office Order No. 23, Series of 1993 dated January 22, 1993 which reads as follows:
In the interest of public service and for purposes of City Ordinance No. PD426-1474, otherwise known as AN ORDINANCE REQUIRING ANY PERSON ENGAGED OR
INTENDING TO ENGAGE IN ANY BUSINESS, TRADE, OCCUPATION, CALLING OR
PROFESSION OR HAVING IN HIS POSSESSION ANY OF THE ARTICLES FOR WHICH
A PERMIT IS REQUIRED TO BE HAD, TO OBTAIN FIRST A MAYORS PERMIT and
City Ordinance No. 15-92, AN ORDINANCE BANNING THE SHIPMENT OF ALL LIVE
FISH AND LOBSTER OUTSIDE PUERTO PRINCESA CITY FROM JANUARY 1, 1993 TO
JANUARY 1, 1998, you are hereby authorized and directed to check or conduct
necessary inspections on cargoes containing live fish and lobster being shipped out
from the Puerto Princesa Airport, Puerto Princesa Wharf or at any port within the
jurisdiction of the City to any point of destinations [sic] either via aircraft or
seacraft.
The purpose of the inspection is to ascertain whether the shipper possessed the
required Mayors Permit issued by this Office and the shipment is covered by
invoice or clearance issued by the local office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic
Resources and as to compliance with all other existing rules and regulations on the
matter.
In their comment public respondents Governor Socrates and Members of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan defended the validity of Ordinance No.2,
Series of 1993, as a valid exercise of the Provincial Governments power under the
general welfare clause They claimed that in the exercise of such powers, the
Province of Palawan had the right and responsibilty to insure that the remaining
coral reefs, where fish dwells [sic], within its territory remain healthy for the future
generation. The Ordinance, they further asserted, covered only live marine coral
dwelling aquatic organisms which were enumerated in the ordinance.
Aforementioned respondents likewise maintained that there was no violation of due
process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution. As to the former, public
hearings were conducted before the enactment of the Ordinance which,
undoubtedly, had a lawful purpose and employed reasonable means; while as to
the latter, a substantial distinction existed between a fisherman who catches live
fish with the intention of selling it live, and a fisherman who catches live fish with
no intention at all of selling it live, i.e., the former uses sodium cyanide while the
latter does not. Further, the Ordinance applied equally to all those belonging to
one class.

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On 1993, petitioners filed an Urgent Plea for the Immediate Issuance of a


Temporary Restraining Order claiming that despite the pendency of this case,
Branch 50 of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan was bent on proceeding with
Criminal Case No. 11223 against petitioners Danilo Tano, Alfredo Tano, Eulogio
Tremocha, Romualdo Tano, Baldomero Tano, Andres Lemihan and Angel de Mesa
for violation of Ordinance No. 2 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan.
Issue: Whether or not the TRO is proper
Held: Notwithstanding the foregoing procedural obstacles against the first set of
petitioners, the SC opted to resolve this case on its merits considering that the
lifetime of the challenged Ordinances is about to end. Ordinance No. 15-92 of the
City of Puerto Princesa is effective only up to 1 January 1998, while Ordinance No.
2 of the Province of Palawan, enacted on 19 February 1993, is effective for only five
(5) years. Besides, these Ordinances were undoubtedly enacted in the exercise of
powers under the new LGC relative to the protection and preservation of the
environment and are thus novel and of paramount importance. No further delay
then may be allowed in the resolution of the issues raised.
It is of course settled that laws (including ordinances enacted by local government
units) enjoy the presumption of constitutionality.
After a scrunity of the challenged
Ordinances and the provisions
of the
Constitution petitioners claim to have been violated, the SC found petitioners
contentions baseless and so hold that the former do not suffer from any infirmity,
both under the Constitution and applicable laws.
There is absolutely no showing that any of the petitioners qualifies as a subsistence
or marginal fisherman. In their petition, petitioner Airline Shippers Association of
Palawan is described as a private association composed of Marine Merchants;
petitioners Robert Lim and Virginia Lim, as merchants; while the rest of the
petitioners claim to be fishermen, without any qualification, however, as to their
status.
Since the Constitution does not specifically provide a definition of the terms
subsistence or marginal fishermen, they should be construed in their general
and ordinary sense. A marginal fisherman is an individual engaged in fishing whose
margin of return or reward in his harvest of fish as measured by existing price
levels is barely sufficient to yield a profit or cover the cost of gathering the fish,
while a subsistence fisherman is one whose catch yields but the irreducible
minimum for his livelihood. Nothing in the record supports a finding that any
petitioner falls within these definitions.

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People of the Philippines vs Vergara 270 SCRA 624


Facts: Vergara was charged, together with his three co-accused, namely Ernesto T.
Cuesta, Jr., Pedro G. Dagao and Bernardo P. Cuesta, on 25 September 1992, in an
information that read:
"The undersigned Provincial Prosecutor of Leyte accuses Ernesto T. Cuesta, Jr.,
Pedro G. Dagao, Renerio P. Vergara and Bernardo P. Cuesta of the crime of
Violation of Section 33, Presidential Decree No. 704, as amended by Presidential
Decree No. 1058, committed as follows:
"That on or about the 4th day of July, 1992, in the Municipal waters of Palo,
Province of Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above-named accused, without any authority of law, conspiring and
confederating together and mutually helping one another, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and criminally catch, take and gather fish belonging to the
anchovies species known locally as 'bolinao', with the use of explosives contained in
a bottle and called in the vernacular as 'badil', which bottled explosives after being
ignited and hurled to the sea, produced explosion and caused the death of the said
fish which were hit or affected by such explosion.
Issues:
1. Whether or not the lower court committed grave abuse of authority when it
completely ignored the testimony of Emilio Linde.
2. Whether or not the lower court committed grave abuse of authority when it gave
much weight to biased witnesses whose testimonies were glaringly inconsistent.

Held:
1. Emilio Linde sought to corroborate the claim of appellant that it was another
unidentified group of fishermen who threw the bottle of explosives at a school of
"bolinao" fish. It was obvious, however, said the trial court, that the statement of
this defense witness was incredulous since he apparently had not at all been on
board the fishing boat in the company of the accused at the time of the incident.
Even the rather lengthy counter-affidavit of the four accused completely missed to
mention Linde. The court a quo went on to observe that the demeanor of the
accused at the witness stand and the substance of his testimony failed to elicit
belief.
Trial courts are tasked to initially rule on the credibility of witnesses for both the
prosecution and the defense. Appellate courts seldom would subordinate, with their
own, the findings of trial courts which concededly have good vantage points in
assessing the credibility of those who take the witness stand. Nevertheless, it is not
all too uncommon for this Court, in particular, to peruse through the transcript of
proceedings in order to satisfy itself that the records of a case do support the
conclusions of trial courts.
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2. Nestor Aldas, an Agricultural Technologist and Fish Examiner working with the
Department of Agriculture, Palo, Leyte, who examined the fish samples taken from
the accused, testified that he was with the team patrolling, on 04 July 1992, the
waters of San Pedro Bay, Baras, Palo, Leyte, when he, like the other members of
his team, witnessed the use of explosives by the accused. Fish samples from the
catch showed ruptured capillaries, ruptured and blooded abdominal portion, and
crushed internal organs indicating that explosives were indeed used.
The Court is convinced that the trial court has acted correctly in finding accusedappellant guilty of the offense charged.

Hizon vs CA 265 SCRA 517


Facts: Accused crew members and fishermen of F/B Robinson owned by First
Fishermen Fishing Industries, Inc., caught fish with use of obnoxious or poisonous
substance (sodium cyanide), of more or less one (1) ton of assorted live fishes
which were illegally caught thru the use of obnoxious/poisonous substance (sodium
cyanide).
Petitioners were arraigned and they pled not guilty to the charge. As defense, they
claimed that they are legitimate fishermen of the First Fishermen Industries, Inc., a
domestic corporation licensed to engage in fishing. They alleged that they catch
fish by the hook and line method and that they had used this method for one
month and a half in the waters of Cuyo Island.
In July 9, 1993, the trial court found the thirty one petitioners guilty.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court. Hence, this
petition
Issue: Whether or not the conviction was proper
Held: Not Guilty. Petitioners were charged with illegal fishing penalized under
sections 33 and 38 of P.D. 704 which provide as follows:
Sec. 33. Illegal fishing, illegal possession of explosives intended for illegal fishing;
dealing in illegally caught fish or fishery/aquatic products. -- It shall be unlawful for
any person to catch, take or gather or cause to be caught, taken or gathered fish or
fishery/aquatic products in Philippine waters with the use of explosives, obnoxious
or poisonous substance, or by the use of electricity as defined in paragraphs (l),
(m) and (d), respectively, of section 3 hereof: Provided, That mere possession of
such explosives with intent to use the same for illegal fishing as herein defined shall
be punishable as hereinafter provided: Provided, That the Secretary may, upon
recommendation of the Director and subject to such safeguards and conditions he
deems necessary, allow for research, educational or scientific purposes only, the
use of explosives, obnoxious or poisonous substance or electricity to catch, take or
gather fish or fishery/aquatic products in the specified area: Provided, further, That
the use of chemicals to eradicate predators in fishponds in accordance with
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accepted scientific fishery practices without causing deleterious effects in


neighboring waters shall not be construed as the use of obnoxious or poisonous
substance within the meaning of this section: Provided, finally, That the use of
mechanical bombs for killing whales, crocodiles, sharks or other large dangerous
fishes, may be allowed, subject to the approval of the Secretary.
The prosecution failed to explain the contradictory findings on the fish samples and
this omission raises a reasonable doubt that the one ton of fishes in the cage were
caught with the use of sodium cyanide.
Apparently, the members of the PNP Maritime Command and the Task Force Bantay
Dagat were the ones engaged in an illegal fishing expedition.
This method of fishing needs approximately two hundred (200) fishermen to
execute. What the apprehending officers instead discovered were twenty eight (28)
fishermen in their discovered were twenty eight (28) fishermen in their sampans
fishing by hook and line. The authorities found nothing on the boat that would
have indicated any form of illegal fishing. All the documents of the boat and the
fishermen were in order. It was only after the fish specimens were tested, albeit
under suspicious circumstances, that petitioners were charged with illegal fishing
with the use of poisonous substances.

Province of Rizal vs Executive Secretary 477 SCRA 436


Facts: Garbage was on the rise. At the height of the garbage crisis plaguing Metro
Manila and its environs, parts of the Marikina Watershed Reservation were set aside
by the Office of the President, through Proclamation No. 635 dated 28 August
1995, for use as a sanitary landfill and similar waste disposal applications. In fact,
this site, extending to more or less 18 hectares, had already been in operation
since 19 February 1990 for the solid wastes of Quezon City, Marikina, San Juan,
Mandaluyong, Pateros, Pasig, and Taguig.
A petition filed by the Province of Rizal, the municipality of San Mateo, and various
concerned citizens for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 41330, denying, for lack of cause of action, the petition for
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with application for a temporary restraining
order/writ of preliminary injunction assailing the legality and constitutionality of
Proclamation No. 635.
A case to the CA for the closure of the landfill stalled.
Issue: Whether or not the landfill is contrary to law
Held: SC held that the San Mateo Landfill will remain permanently closed. Although
the petitioners may be deemed to have waived or abandoned the issues raised in
their previous pleadings but not included in the memorandum,certain events we
shall relate below have inclined us to address some of the more pertinent issues

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raised in the petition for the guidance of the herein respondents, and pursuant to
our symbolic function to educate the bench and bar.
The law and the facts indicate that a mere MOA does not guarantee the dumpsites
permanent closure.
The rally and barricade staged by the people of Antipolo on 28 January 1999, with
the full support of all the mayors of Rizal Province caused the MMDA to agree that it
would abandon the dumpsite after six months. In return, the municipal mayors
allowed the use of the dumpsite until 20 July 1999.
Were it not for the TRO, then President Estradas instructions would have been
lawfully carried out, for as we observed in Oposa v. Factoran, the freedom of
contract is not absolute.

Baguio City vs Masweng 578 SCRA 88


Facts: Respondents Joseph Jude Carantes, Rose Carantes and the heirs of
Maximino Carantes are in possession of a 30,368-square meter parcel of land . On
June 20, 1997, they obtained Certificate of Ancestral Land. On the strength of said
CALC, respondents secured a building permit from the Building Official of Baguio
City, Teodoro G. Barrozo. Before long, they fenced the premises and began
constructing a residential building thereon.
Soon, respondents received a letterdated February 9, 1999 from Digna D. Torres,
the Zone Administrator of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), informing
them that the house they built had overlapped PEZAs territorial boundary. Torres
advised respondents to demolish the same within sixty (60) days from notice.
Otherwise, PEZA would undertake its demolition at respondents expense.
Without answering PEZAs letter, respondents filed a petition for injunction, with
prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and writ of
preliminary injunction before the RTC of Baguio City. By Order dated April 8, 1999,
the RTC of Baguio City issued a TRO, which enjoined PEZA to cease and desist from
threatening respondents with the demolition of their house before respondents
prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction can be heard. On September 19, 2001,
the RTC likewise issued an Order, which directed the parties to maintain the status
quo pending resolution of the case
The trial court ruled that respondents are entitled to possess, occupy and cultivate
the subject lots on the basis of their CALC. On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC
ruling. In the assailed Decision dated October 26, 2007, the appellate court echoed
the trial courts declaration that the subject lots have been set aside from the lands
of the public domain.
Issue: Whether the Petitioner or the City Engineer has the power to issue permits
Held: SC ruled in the negative. Respondents being holders of a mere CALC, their
right to possess the subject land is limited to occupation in relation to cultivation.
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CASE DIGEST IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CASES

Sharla Louisse A. Castillo

Unlike No. 1,[26] Par. 1, Section 1, Article VII of the same DENR DAO, which
expressly allows ancestral domain claimants to reside peacefully within the domain,
nothing in Section 2 grants ancestral land claimants a similar right, much less the
right to build permanent structures on ancestral lands an act of ownership that
pertains to one (1) who has a recognized right by virtue of a Certificate of Ancestral
Land Title.
On this score alone, respondents action for injunction must fail. Even if
respondents had established ownership of the land, they cannot simply put up
fences or build structures thereon without complying with applicable laws, rules and
regulations

Province of North Cotabato vs GRP Peace Panel 568 SCRA 402


Facts: The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MILF,
through the Chairpersons of their respective peace negotiating panels, were
scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD)
Aspect of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.
Consummation of the MOA-AD between the GRP and the MILF did not take place,
however, for upon motion of petitioners, specifically those who filed their cases
before the scheduled signing of the MOA-AD, this Court issued a Temporary
Restraining Order enjoining the GRP from signing the same.
Mid 2008, the Province of North Cotabato and Vice-Governor Emmanuel Piol filed a
petition, docketed as G.R. No. 183591, for Mandamus and Prohibition with Prayer
for the Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order.
Invoking the right to information on matters of public concern, petitioners seek to
compel respondents to disclose and furnish them the complete and official copies of
the MOA-AD including its attachments, and to prohibit the slated signing of the
MOA-AD, pending the disclosure of the contents of the MOA-AD and the holding of a
public consultation thereon. Supplementarily, petitioners pray that the MOA-AD be
declared unconstitutional.
Issues:
1. Whether the constitutionality and the legality of the MOA is ripe for adjudication;
2. Whether by signing the MOA, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines
would be binding
Held: The power of judicial review is limited to actual cases or controversies. Courts
decline to issue advisory opinions or to resolve hypothetical or feigned problems, or
mere academic questions. The limitation of the power of judicial review to actual
cases and controversies defines the role assigned to the judiciary in a tripartite
allocation of power, to assure that the courts will not intrude into areas committed
to the other branches of government.
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CASE DIGEST IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CASES

Sharla Louisse A. Castillo

As the petitions involve constitutional issues which are of paramount public interest
or of transcendental importance, the Court grants the petitioners, petitioners-inintervention and intervening respondents the requisite locus standi in keeping with
the liberal stance adopted in David v. Macapagal-Arroyo.
That the subject of the information sought in the present cases is a matter of public
concern faces no serious challenge. In fact, respondents admit that the MOA-AD is
indeed of public concern. In previous cases, the Court found that the regularity of
real estate transactions entered in the Register of Deeds, the need for adequate
notice to the public of the various laws, the civil service eligibility of a public
employee, the proper management of GSIS funds allegedly used to grant loans to
public officials, the recovery of the Marcoses' alleged ill-gotten wealth, and the
identity of party-list nominees, among others, are matters of public concern.
Undoubtedly, the MOA-AD subject of the present cases is of public concern,
involving as it does the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the State, which
directly affects the lives of the public at large.
In sum, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process committed grave abuse of
discretion when he failed to carry out the pertinent consultation process, as
mandated by E.O. No. 3, Republic Act No. 7160, and Republic Act No. 8371. The
furtive process by which the MOA-AD was designed and crafted runs contrary to
and in excess of the legal authority, and amounts to a whimsical, capricious,
oppressive, arbitrary and despotic exercise thereof. It illustrates a gross evasion of
positive duty and a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined.
The MOA-AD cannot be reconciled with the present Constitution and laws. Not only
its specific provisions but the very concept underlying them, namely, the
associative relationship envisioned between the GRP and the BJE, are
unconstitutional, for the concept presupposes that the associated entity is a state
and implies that the same is on its way to independence.
The Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain Aspect of the GRP-MILF
Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 is declared contrary to law and the
Constitution.

Bangus Fry Fisherfolk vs Lanzanas 405 SCRA 530


Facts: On 30 June 1997, Department of Environment and NaturalResources
(DENR), issued an Environmental Clearance in favor of respondent National
Power Corporation (NAPOCOR). The Sangguniang Bayan of Puerto Galera has
declared MinoloCove, a mangrove area and breeding ground for bangus fry,an ecotourist zone. Petitioners, claiming to be fisher folks from Minolo, San Isidro,Puerto
Galera, sought reconsideration of the ECC issuance.Director Principe, however,
denied petitioners plea on 15 July1997. On 21 July 1997, petitioners filed a
complaint with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 7, for the cancellation of
the ECC and for the issuance of a writ of injunction to stop the construction of the
mooring facility.

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CASE DIGEST IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CASES

Sharla Louisse A. Castillo

On 28 August 1997, before filing their answers, respondents moved to dismiss the
complaint. These respondents claimed that petitioners failed to exhaust
administrative remedies, rendering the complaint without cause of action. They also
asserted that the Manila RTC has no jurisdiction to enjoin theconstruction of the
mooring facility in Oriental Mindoro, which lies outside the Manila RTCs territorial
jurisdiction.
Issue: Whether or not the writ of preliminary injunction is proper

Held: The jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts to issue injunctive writs is limited to
acts committed or about to be committed within their judicial region. Moreover,
Presidential Decree No. 1818 (PD No.1818) prohibited courts from issuing
injunctive writs against government infrastructure projects like the mooring facility
in the present case. Republic Act No. 8975 (RA No. 8975), which took effect on
26 November 2000, superseded PD No. 1818 and delineates more clearly the
coverage of the prohibition, reserves the power to issue such writs exclusively with
this Court, and provides penalties for its violation.

Section 1. No court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue


any
restraining order, preliminary injunction, or preliminary mandatory injunction in any
case, dispute, or controversy involving gan infrastructure project, or a mining,
fishery, forest or other natural resource development project of the government,
or any public utility operated by the government, including among others public
utilities for the transport of the goods or commodities, stevedoring and arrastre
contracts, to prohibit any person or persons, entity or governmental official from
proceeding with, or continuing the execution or implementation of any such project,
or the operation of such public utility, or pursuing any lawful activity necessary for
such execution, implementation or operation.
Obviously, neither the Manila RTC nor the Oriental Mindoro RTC canissue an
injunctive writ to stop the construction of the mooring facility. Only this Court can
do so under PD No. 1818 and later under RA No. 8975. Thus, the question of
whether the Manila RTC has jurisdiction over the complaint considering that its
injunctive writ is not enforceable in Oriental Mindoro is academic.

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