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G.R. Nos.

152613 & 152628

APEX MINING CO., INC., vs. Southeast Mindanao Gold
Mining Corp.,(SEM) et. Al
G.R. No. 152619-20
southeast mindanao goldmining corp.
G.R. No. 152870-71
RAMOS (Member) vs. southeast mindanao gold mining
A motion for reconsideration was filed by SEM. The Assailed
Decision held that the assignment of Exploration Permit (EP) 133
in favor of SEM violated one of the conditions stipulated in the
permit. It also ruled that the transfer of EP 133 violated
Presidential Decree No. 463, which requires that the assignment
of a mining right be made with the prior approval of the Secretary
of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Moreover, the Assailed Decision pointed out that EP 133expired
by non-renewal since it was not renewed before or after its
expiration. It likewise upheld the validity of Proclamation No. 297
absent any question against its validity. In view of this, and
considering that under Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7942,
otherwise known as the Mining Act of 1995, mining operations
in mineral reservations may be undertaken directly by the State
or through a contractor, the Court deemed the issue of ownership
of priority right over the contested Diwalwal GoldRush Area as
having been overtaken by the said proclamation. Thus, it was held
in the Assailed Decision that it is now within the prerogative of the
Executive Department to undertake directly the mining operations
of the disputed area or to award the operations to private entities
including petitioners Apex and Balite, subject to applicable laws,
rules and regulations, and provided that these private entities are
qualified. Apex, for its part, filed a Motion for Clarification of the
Assailed Decision, praying that the
Court elucidate on the Decisions pronouncement that mining
operations, are now, therefore within the full control of the State
through the executive branch. Moreover, Apex asks this Court to
order the
Mines and Geosciences Board (MGB) to accept its application for
an exploration permit. Balite echoes the same concern as that of
Apex on the actual takeover by the State of the mining industry in
the disputed area to the exclusion of the private sector. In
addition, Balite prays for thisCourt to direct MGB to accept its
application for an exploration permit. Camilo Banad, et al.,

likewise filed a motion for reconsideration and prayed that the

disputed area be awarded to them. In the Resolution, the Court En
Banc resolved to accept the instant cases.
1. Whether the transfer or assignment of Exploration Permit (EP)
133 by MMC to SEM wasvalidly made without violating any of the
terms and conditions set forth in Presidential Decree No. 463 and
EP 133 itself.
2. Whether Southeast Mindanao Mining Corp. acquired a vested
right over the disputed area, which constitutes a property right
protected by the Constitution.
3.Whether the assailed Decision dated 23 June 2006 of the Third
Division in this case is contraryto and overturns the earlier
Decision of this Court in Apex v. Garcia (G.R. No. 92605, 16
July1991, 199 SCRA 278).
4. Whether the issuance of Proclamation No. 297 declaring the
disputed area as mineral reservation outweighs the claims of
SEM, Apex Mining Co. Inc. and Balite Communal PortalMining
Cooperative over the Diwalwal Gold Rush Area.
5. Whether the issue of the legality/constitutionality of
Proclamation No. 297 was belatedly raised.
1. The assailed Decision did not overturn the 16 July 1991
Decision in Apex Mining Co., Inc. v. Garcia. The former was
decided on facts and issues that were not attendant in the latter,
such as the expiration of EP 133, the violation of the condition
embodied in EP 133 prohibiting its assignment, and the
unauthorized and invalid assignment of EP 133 by MMC to SEM,
since this assignment was effected without the approval of the
Secretary of DENR;
2. SEM did not acquire vested right over the disputed area
because its supposed right was extinguished by the expiration of
its exploration permit and by its violation of the condition
prohibiting the assignment of EP 133 by MMC to SEM. In addition,
even assuming that SEM has a valid exploration permit, such is a
mere license that can be withdrawn by the State. In fact, the
same has been withdrawn by the issuance of Proclamation No.
297, which places the disputed area under the full control of the
State through the Executive Department;
3. The approval requirement under Section 97 of Presidential
Decree No. 463 applies to the assignment of EP 133 by MMC to
SEM, since the exploration permit is an interest in a mining lease
4. The issue of the constitutionality and the legality of
Proclamation No. 297 was raised belatedly ,as SEM questions the
same for the first time in its Motion for Reconsideration. Even if

the issue were to be entertained, the said proclamation is found

to be in harmony with the Constitution and other existing
5. The motion for reconsideration of Camilo Banad, et al. cannot
be passed upon because they are not parties to the instant
The prayers of Apex and Balite asking the Court to direct the MGB
to accept their applications for exploration permits cannot be
granted, since it is the Executive Department that has the
prerogative to accept such applications, if ever it decides to
award the mining operations in the disputed area to a private

G.R. No. 163101

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 with a total
area of 288.8656hectares. The parties also executed a
Supplemental Agreement.
The mining claims were covered by Mineral Production Sharing
Agreement (MPSA) Application No. APSA-V-0009 jointly filed by
J.G. Realty as claim-owner and Benguet as operator .After some
time, 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, 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.
The latter alleged that petitioner violated some of the provisions
of the RAWOP, specifically on non-payment of royalties and nonfulfillment of obligations stipulated therein. J.G. Realty filed a
Petition for Declaration of Nullity/Cancellation of the RAWOP. POA
issued a Decision, cancelling the RAWOP and its Supplemental
Agreement. BENGUET was subsequently excluded from the joint
MPSA Application over the mineral claims. Subsequent MR was
denied. Said decision was upheld by DENR-MAB. Hence this
instant petition.

Whether or not the filing of the petition with the Supreme Court is
NO. The instant petition can be denied outright as Benguet
resorted to an improper Remedy. The last paragraph of
Section 79 of Republic Act No. (RA) 7942 or the Philippine
Mining Act of 1995 states, A petition for review by
certiorari and question of law may be filed by the aggrieved
party with the Supreme Court within thirty (30) days from
receipt of the order or decision of the[MAB].
The Revised Rules of Civil Procedure included Rule 43 to provide a
uniform rule on appeals from quasi-judicial agencies. Under the
rule, appeals from their judgments and final orders are now
required to be brought to the CA on a verified petition for review.
A quasi-judicial agency or body has been defined as an organ of
government, other than a court or legislature, which affects the
rights of private parties through either adjudication or rulemaking. MAB falls under this definition; hence, it isno different
from the other quasi-judicial bodies enumerated under Rule 43.
Besides, the introductory words in Section 1 of Circular No. 1-91
among these agencies are indicate that the enumeration is
not exclusive or conclusive and acknowledge the existence of
other quasi-judicial agencies which, though not expressly listed,
should be deemed included therein.
The judicial policy of observing the hierarchy of courts dictates
that direct resort from administrative agencies to this Court will
not be entertained, unless the redress desired cannot be obtained
from the appropriate lower tribunals, or unless exceptional and
compelling circumstances justify availment of a remedy falling
within and calling for the exercise of our primary jurisdiction. Thus
Benguet should have filed the appeal with the CA .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.

[G.R. No. 148267. August 8, 2002]

petitioner, vs.

A petition filed by respondent for Mines Production Sharing

Agreement (MPSA) No.MPSA-IV-131, covering certain areas in
Antipolo, Rizal. Petitioner filed an opposition/adverse claim
thereto, alleging that his landholdings in Cupang and Antipolo,
Rizal will be covered by respondents claim, thus he enjoys a
preferential right to explore and extract the quarry resources on
his properties. The Panel of Arbitrators of the Mines and GeoSciences Bureau of the DENR rendered a Resolution upholding
petitioners opposition/adverse claim. Respondent appealed.
Meanwhile, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss appeal on the
ground of respondents failure to comply with the requirements of
the New Mining Acts Implementing Rules and Regulations. On
June 20, 1997, the Mines Adjudication Board rendered the
assailed Order dismissing petitioners opposition/adverse claim.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of said Order which
was denied by the Board. A petition for review on certiorari under
Rule 43, seeking a reversal of the MAB Decision was filed. Citing
Section 79 of Chapter XIII of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA
7942), the CA ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to review the
Decision of the Mines Adjudication Board (MAB). The adjudication
of conflicting mining claims is completely administrative in nature.
Under Section 79 of RA 7942, the findings of fact by the MAB as
well as its decision or order shall be final and executory. Hence
this petition.
Whether or not appeals from the Decision or Final Orders of the
Mines Adjudication Board should be made directly to the Supreme
Court as contended by the respondent and the Court of Appeals,
or such appeals be first made to the Court of Appeals as
contended by herein petitioner.
The petition is meritorious. We clarify. Factual controversies are
usually involved in administrative actions; and the CA is prepared
to handle such issues because, unlike this Court, it is mandated to
rule on questions of fact.
In Metro Construction we observed that not only did the CA have
appellate jurisdiction over CIA Cdecisions and orders, but the
review of such decisions included questions of fact and law. At the
very least when factual findings of the MAB are challenged or
alleged to have been made in grave abuse of discretion as in the
present case, the CA may review them, consistent with the
constitutional duty of the judiciary. To summarize, there are
sufficient legal footings authorizing a review of the MAB Decision
under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court.
First, Section 30 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution mandates
that [n]o law shall be passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction
of the Supreme Court as provided in this Constitution without its
advice and consent. On the other hand, Section 79 of RA No.

7942 provides that decisions of the MAB may be reviewed by this

Court on a petition for review by certiorari. This provision Is
obviously an expansion of the Courts appellate jurisdiction, an
expansion to which this Court has not consented. Indiscriminate
enactment of legislation enlarging the appellate jurisdiction of this
Court would unnecessarily burden it.
Second, when the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its rulemaking power, transfers to the CA pending cases involving a
review of a quasi- judicial bodys decisions, such transfer relates
only to procedure; hence, it does not impair the substantive and
vested rights of the parties. The aggrieved partys right to appeal
is preserved; what is changed is only the procedure by which the
appeal is to be made or decided. The parties still have a remedy
and a competent tribunal to grant this remedy.
Third, the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure included Rule 43 to
provide a uniform rule on appeals from quasi-judicial agencies.
Under the rule, appeals from their judgments and final orders are
now required to be brought to the CA on a verified petition for
review. A quasi-judicial agency or body has been defined as an
organ of government, other than a court or legislature, which
affects the rights of private parties through either adjudication or
rule-making. MAB falls under this definition; hence, it isno
different from the other quasi-judicial bodies enumerated under
Rule 43. Besides, the introductory words in Section 1 of Circular
No. 1-91 --among these agencies are-- indicate that the
enumeration is not exclusive or conclusive and acknowledge the
existence of other quasi-judicial agencies which, though not
expressly listed, should be deemed included therein.
Fourth, the Court realizes that under Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg.
129 as amended by RA No. 7902, factual controversies are usually
involved in decisions of quasi-judicial bodies; and the CA, which is
likewise tasked to resolve questions of fact, has more elbow room
to resolve them. By including questions of fact among the issues
that may be raised in an appeal from quasi-judicial agencies to
the CA, Section 3 of Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95 and
Section 3 of Rule 43 explicitly expanded the list of such issues.
According to Section 3 of Rule 43, [a]n appeal under this Rule
may be taken to the Court of Appeals within the period and in the
manner herein provided whether the appeal involves questions of
fact, of law, or mixed questions of fact and law. Hence, appeals
from quasi-judicial agencies even only on questions of law may be
brought to the CA.
Fifth, the judicial policy of observing the hierarchy of courts
dictates that direct resort from administrative agencies to this
Court will not be entertained, unless the redress desired cannot
be obtained from the appropriate lower tribunals, or unless
exceptional and compelling circumstances justify availment of a
remedy falling within and calling for the exercise of our primary

jurisdiction. In brief, appeals from decisions of the MAB shall be

taken to the CA through petitions for review in accordance with
the provisions of Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Court. WHEREFORE,
the Petition is GRANTED.

G.R. No. 169080

The Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Infanta Mineral and
IndustrialCorporation (Infanta) entered into a Mining Lease Contract V-1050.
Infantas corporate name was then changed to Cobertson Holdings Corporation and
subsequently to its present name, Macroasia Corporation.After sometime, Celestial
filed a Petition to Cancel the subject mining lease contracts and other mining
claims of Macroasia including those covered by Mining Lease Contract No. V1050, before thePanel of Arbitrators (POA) of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau
(MGB) of the DENR. Blue Ridge, in an earlier letter-petition, also wrote the
Director of Mines to seek cancellation of mining lease contracts and other mining
rights of Macroasia and another entity, Lebach Mining Corporation (Lebach), in
mining areas in Brookes Point.Celestial is the assignee of 144 mining claims
covering such areas contiguous to Infantas (now Macroasia) mining lode
claims. Celestial also holds an MPSA with the government which covers 2,835
hectares located at Ipilan/Maasin, Brookes Point, Palawan and two pending
applications covering another 4,040 hectares in Barangay Mainit also in Brookes
Celestial sought the cancellation of Macroasias lease contracts. Macroasia refuted
the grounds for cancellation invoked by Celestial.Based on the records of the
Bureau of Mines and findings of the field investigations, the POAgranted the
petition of Celestial to cancel the Mining Lease Contracts of Macroasia; and found
the claims of the others indubitably meritorious. It gave Celestial the
preferential right to Macroasias mining areas.
It upheld Blue Ridges petition, but only as against the Mining Lease Contract
of Lebach,
automatically abandoned. It gave Blue Ridge priority right to the aforesaid
Lebachs areas/mining claims. Blue Ridge and Macroasia appealed before the
MAB. Lebach did not file any notice of appeal with the required memorandum of
appeal; thus, with respect to Lebach, the above resolution became final and

The MAB made a decision upholding the Decision of the POA to cancel the
Mining Lode/Lease Contracts of Macroasia. However, the MAB, subsequently
issued a resolution vacating its previous decision, holding that neither the POA nor
the MAB had the power to revoke a mineral agreement duly entered into by the
DENR Secretary. The MAB further held that the power to cancel or revoke a
mineral agreement was exclusively lodged with the DENR Secretary. Celestial and
Blue Ridge made an appeal. The CA Special 12th Division affirmed the
MAB Resolution which upheld the exclusive authority of the DENR Secretary to
approve, cancel, and revoke mineral agreements. The CA also denied Celestials
Motion for Reconsideration. While the CA Special 10th Division granted Blue
Ridges petition; reversed and set aside the Resolutions of the MAB; and treated
the cancellation of a mining lease agreement as a mining dispute within the
exclusive jurisdiction of the POA under Sec. 77 of RA 7942, explaining that the
power to resolve mining disputes, which is the greater power, necessarily includes
the lesser power to cancel mining agreements.
Whether or not it is only the Secretary of the DENR who has the jurisdiction to
cancel mining contracts and privileges?
YES. It is only the Secretary of the DENR who has jurisdiction to cancel mining
contracts and privileges. After a scrutiny of the provisions of PD 463, EO 211, EO
279, RA 7942 and its implementing rules and regulations, executive issuances, and
case law, we rule that the DENR Secretary, not the POA, has
the jurisdiction to cancel existing mineral lease contracts or mineral agreements ba
sed on the followingreasons:The power of the DENR Secretary to cancel mineral
agreements emanates from his administrative authority, supervision, management,
and control over mineral resources under Chapter I, Title XIV of Book IV of the
Revised Administrative Code of 1987.It is the DENR, through the Secretary, that
manages, supervises, and regulates the use and development of all mineral
resources of the country. It has exclusive jurisdiction over the management of all
lands of public domain, which covers mineral resources and deposits from said
lands. It has the power to oversee, supervise, and police our natural resources
which include mineral resources. Derived from the broad and explicit powers of
the DENR and its Secretary under the Administrative Code of 1987 is the power to
approve mineral agreements and necessarily to cancel or cause to cancel said

G.R. No. 157882 March 30, 2006

Didipio Earth-Savers' Multi-Purpose Association, Inc.
(DESAMA) Et al. vs.Elisea gozun, et al.

A petition for mandamus and prohibition assailing the

constitutionality of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995,together with
the IRR issued by the DENR Administrative Order No. 96-40, s.
1996(DAO 96-40) and of the Financial and Technical Assistance
Agreement (FTAA) entered into on20 June 1994 by the Republic of
the Philippines and Arimco Mining Corporation (AMC), a
corporation established under the laws of Australia and owned by
its nationals. After several unsuccessful actions to cancel the FTAA
agreement with the government, the petitioners finally submitted
a petition to the court. In their memorandum petitioners pose
whether or not Republic Act No. 7942 and the CAMC FTAA are void
because they allow the unjust and unlawful taking of property
without payment of just compensation , in violation of Section 9,
Article III of the Constitution issues, among others issues.
Whether there has been an actual controversy or issue with
respect to the unlawful and unjust taking of property without
payment of just compensation.
Public respondents are of the view that petitioners eminent
domain claim is not ripe for adjudication as they fail to allege that
CAMC has actually taken their properties nor do they allege that
their property rights have been endangered or are in danger on
account of CAMCs FTAA. In effect, public respondents insist that
the issue of eminent domain is not a justiciable controversy which
this Court can take cognizance of. A question is considered ripe
for adjudication when the act being challenged has had a direct
adverse effect on the individual challenging it. However, the court
cannot await the adverse consequences of the law in order to
consider the controversy actual and ripe for judicial intervention.
Actual eviction of the land owners and occupants need not
happen for this Court to intervene. By the mere enactment of the
questioned law or the approval of the challenged act, the dispute
is said to have ripened into a judicial controversy even without
any other overt act. Indeed, even a singular violation of the
Constitution and/or the law is enough to awaken judicial duty.
Nevertheless, the petition was still dismissed due to the baseless
contention of the issues submitted. The FTAA was in full
compliance with the necessary requirements of the law and

Constitution. The allegation of the lack of payment of just

compensation was dismissed since the court has had authority in
eminent domain cases to make sure the proper amount was
established regardless of the fact that there would be an
intervention from an executive department or legislature to make
any initial determination of the amount.


Philippine Government and WMC Philippines, the local whollyowned subsidiary of WMCResources International Pty. Ltd. (WMC
AssistanceAgreement, denominated as the Columbio FTAA No. 0295-XI (Columbio FTAA) for the purpose of large scale exploration,
development, and commercial exploration of possible mineral
resources in aninitial contract area of 99,387 hectares located in
the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat,Davao del Sur,
and North Cotabato in accordance with Executive Order No. 279
and Department Administrative Order No. 63, Series of 1991.The
Columbio FTAA is covered in part by 156 mining claims held under
various Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) by
Southcot Mining Corporation, Tampakan Mining Corporation, and
Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (collectively called the Tampakan
Companies), in accordance with the Tampakan Option Agreement
entered into by WMC Philippines and the Tampakan Companies on
25 April 1991,as amended by Amendatory Agreement dated 15
July 1994, for purposes of exploration of the mining claims
in Tampakan, South Cotabato. The Option Agreement, among
other things, provides for the grant of the right of first refusal to
the Tampakan Companies in case WMC Philippines desires to
dispose of its rights and interests in the mining claims covering
the area subject of the agreement.
WMC Resources subsequently divested itself of its rights and
interests in the Columbio FTAA, and on 12 July 2000 executed a
Sale and Purchase Agreement with petitioner Lepanto over its
entire shareholdings in WMC Philippines, subject to the exercise of
the Tampakan Companies exercise of their right of first refusal to
shares. On
petitioner sought the approval of the 12 July 2000 Agreement
from the DENR Secretary. In the interim, on 10 January 2001,

contending that the 12 July Agreement between petitioner and

WMC Philippines had expired due to failure to meet the necessary
preconditions for its validity, WMC Resources and the Tampakan
Companies executed another Sale and Purchase Agreement,
where Sagittarius Mines, Inc. was designated assignee and
corporate vehicle which would acquire theshareholdings and
undertake the Columbio FTAA activities. On 15 January 2001,
Sagittarius Mines,Inc. increased its authorized capitalization
to P250 million. Subsequently, WMC Resources and Sagittarius
Mines, Inc. executed a Deed of Absolute Sale of Shares of Stocks
on 23 January 2001.
After due consideration and evaluation of the financial and
technical qualifications of Sagittarius Mines, Inc., the DENR
Secretary approved the transfer of the Columbio FTAA from WMC
Philippines to Sagittarius Mines, Inc. in the assailed
Order. According to said Order, pursuant to Section 66
of Department Administrative Order No. 96-40, as amended,
Sagittarius Mines, Inc. meets the qualification requirements as
Contractor-Transferee of FTAA No. 02-95-XI, and that the
application for transfer of said FTAA went thru the procedure and
other requirements set forth under the law.
Aggrieved by the transfer of the Columbio FTAA in favor of
Sagittarius Mines, Inc., petitioner filed a Petition for Review of the
Order of the DENR Secretary with the Office of the President.
Petitioner assails the validity of the 18 December 2001 Order of
the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) approving the application for and the
consequent registration of FTAA No. 02-95-XI from WMC
Philippines to Sagittarius Mines, Inc.on the ground that:1) it
violates the constitutional right of Lepanto to due process; 2) it
preempts the resolution of very crucial legal issues pending with
the regular courts; and 3) it blatantly violates Section 40 of the
Mining Act.
In a Decision dated 23 July 2002, the Office of the President
dismissed the petition.
Whether the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, particularly Section 40
thereof requiring the approval of the President of the assignment
or transfer of financial or technical assistance agreements should
have a retroactive application to the Columbio FTAA.
NO. Applying the above-cited law retroactively would contradict
the established legal doctrine that statutes are to be construed as

having only a prospective operation unless the contrary is

expressly stated or necessarily implied from the language used in
the law.
In the case at bar, there is an absence of either an express
declaration or an implication in the Philippine Mining Act of 1995
that the provisions of said law shall be made to apply
retroactively, therefore, any section of said law must be made to
apply only prospectively, in view of the rule that a statute ought
not to receive a construction making it act retroactively, unless
the words used are so clear, strong, and imperative that no other
meaning can be annexed to them, or unless the intention of the
legislature cannot be otherwise satisfied.
G.R. No. 152644
Petitioners are the President and Chief Executive Officer, Senior
Manager, and Resident Manager for Mining Operations,
respectively, of Marcopper Mining Corporation (Marcopper), a
corporation engaged in mining in the province of Marinduque.
Marcopper had been storing tailings 2 from its operations in a pit
in Mt. Tapian, Marinduque. At the base of the pit ran a drainage
tunnel leading to the Boac and Makalupnit rivers. It appears that
Marcopper had placed a concrete plug at the tunnels end. On 24
March 1994, tailings gushed out of or near the tunnels end. In a
few days, the Mt. Tapian pit had discharged millions of tons of
tailings into the Boac and Makalupnit rivers.
In August 1996, the Department of Justice separately charged
petitioners in the Municipal Trial Court of Boac, Marinduque
(MTC) with violation of Presidential Decree No. 1067 or the
Water Code of the Philippines (PD 1067), the National Pollution
Control Decree of 1976 (PD 984), the Philippine Mining A ct of
1995 (RA 7942), and Article 365 of the RPC for Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property.
Petitioners moved to quash the Informations. The MTC is
convinced that as far as the three (3) aforesaid laws are
concerned, only the Information for violation of Philippine Mining
Act (RA 7942) should be maintained and the Information for
violation of Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code should also be
maintained and heard in a full blown trial because the common

accusation therein is reckless imprudence resulting to [sic]

damage to property. It is the damage to property which the law
punishes not the negligent act of polluting the water system. The
prosecution for the [v]iolation of Philippine Mining Act is not a bar
to the prosecution for reckless imprudence resulting to [sic]
damage to property.
Petitioners subsequently filed a petition for certiorari with the
Regional Trial Court. For its part, public respondent filed an
ordinary appeal with the same court assailing that portion of the
Consolidated Order quashing the Informations for violation of PD
1067 and PD 984.
RTC granted public respondents appeal but denied petitioners
Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the CA alleging that
RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion and contends that they
should only be prosecuted for violation of Article 365 of the RPC.
Court of Appeals affirmed RTCs ruling. The appellate court held:
The doctrine laid down in the Relova case does not squarely
apply to the case at Bench since the Informations filed against the
petitioners are for violation of four separate and distinct
lawswhich are national in character. This Court finds that there is
not even the slightest indicia of evidence that would give rise to
any suspicion that public respondent acted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in reversing
the Municipal Trial Courts quashal of the Informations against the
petitioners for violation of P.D. 1067 and P.D. 984. This Court
equally finds no error in the trial courts denial of the petitioners
motion to quash R.A. 7942 and Article 365 of the Revised Penal
Petitioners sought reconsideration but the Court of Appeals
denied their motion.
Whether CA erred in finding that
Whether RTSs ruling, as affirmed by the Court of
Appeals, contravenes People v. Relova
The Filing of Several Charges is Proper 1. The contention has no
merit. In R.A. 7942 (Philippine Mining Act), the additional fact that
must be established is the willful violation and gross neglect on
the part of the accused to abide by the terms and conditions of
the Environmental Compliance Certificate, particularly that the
Marcopper should ensure the containment of run-off and silt

materials from reaching the Mogpog and Boac Rivers. If there was
no violation or neglect, and that the accused satisfactorily proved
[sic] that Marcopper had done everything to ensure containment
of the run-off and silt materials, they will not be liable. It does not
follow, however, that they cannot be prosecuted under the Water
Code, Anti-Pollution Law and the Revised Penal Code because
violation of the Environmental Compliance Certificate is not an
essential element of these laws. People v. Relova not in Point.
Petitioners reiterate their contention in the Court of Appeals that
their prosecution contravenes this Courts ruling in People v.
Relova. In particular, petitioners cite the Courts statement in
Relova that the law seeks to prevent harassment of the accused
by multiple prosecutions for offenses which though different from
one another are nonetheless each constituted by a common set
or overlapping sets of technical elements.
This contention is also without merit. The issue in Relova is
whether the act of the Batangas Acting City Fiscal in charging one
Manuel Opulencia (Opulencia) with theft of electric power under
the RPC, after the latter had been acquitted of violating a City
Ordinance penalizing the unauthorized installation of electrical
wiring, violated Opulencias right against double jeopardy. We
held that it did, not because the offenses punished by those two
laws were the same but because the act giving rise to the charges
was punished by an ordinance and a national statute, thus falling
within the proscription against multiple prosecutions for the same
act under the second sentence in Section 22, Article IV of the
1973 Constitution, now Section 21, Article III of the 1987
We held: The petitioner concludes that: The unauthorized
installation punished by the ordinance [of Batangas City] is not
the same as theft of electricity [under the Revised Penal Code];
that the second offense is not an attempt to commit the first or a
frustration thereof and that the second offense is not necessarily
included in the offense charged in the first information.
The above argument made by the petitioner [is] of course correct.
This is clear both from the express terms of the constitutional
provision involved which reads as follows:
No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the
same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance,
conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to
another prosecution for the same act. x x x and from our case
law on this point. The basic difficulty with the petitioners position
is that it must be examined, not under the terms of the first
sentence of Article IV (22) of the1973 Constitution, but rather
under the second sentence of the same section. The first

sentence of Article IV (22) sets forth the general rule: the

constitutional protection against double jeopardy is not available
where the second prosecution is for an offense that is different
from the offense charged in the first or prior prosecution, although
both the first and second offenses may be based upon the same
act or set of acts. The second sentence of Article IV (22) embodies
an exception to the general proposition: the constitutional
protection, against double jeopardy is available although the prior
offense charged under an ordinance be different from the offense
charged subsequently under a national statute such as the
Revised Penal Code, provided that both offenses spring from the
same act or set of acts.
Thus, Relova is no authority for petitioners claim against multiple
prosecutions based on a single act not only because the question
of double jeopardy is not at issue here, but also because, as the
Court of Appeals held, petitioners are being prosecuted for an act
or incident punished by four national statutes and not by an
ordinance and a national statute. In short, petitioners, if ever, fall
under the first sentence of Section 21, Article III which prohibits
multiple prosecution for the
same offense, and not, as in Relova , for offenses arising from the
same incident.

G.R. No. 139548. December 22, 2000

MARCOPPER MINING CORPORATION registered its mining claims in
Pao, Kasibu, NuevaVizcaya with the DENR from February 02, 1982
to October 12, 1982. Private respondents Alberto G.Bumolo and
others registered their mining claims in the same area from 28
July 1981 to 22 September 1988, which claims were subsequently
converted into Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA).
On March 12, 1982 petitioner entered into Option Agreements
over the mining. Under the Agreements, petitioner was granted
the exclusive and irrevocable right to explore the mining claims
for three (3) years with provision for extension.
On December 23, 1982 and March 26, 1987 petitioner filed
Prospecting Permit Applications (PPA) with the Bureau of Forest
Development, DENR, on the alleged ground that a portion of the
area covered by the mining claims was within the Magat River

Forest Reservation under Proc. 573 of June26, 1969 and with DAR
on account of alleged coverage of the other portion within the
Nueva Vizcaya Quirino Civil Reservation under Proc. 1498 of 11
September 1975.
On 15 July 1991 Executive Director Leonardo A. Paat rejected
petitioners Prospecting Permit Application (PPA) on the ground
that the Memorandum of July 08, 1991 endorsed by the Regional
Technical Director for Mines revealed that the area covered was
outside government reservation; that the prospect claim was in
conflict with existing claims; and, that the area had been
extensively explored in the early 1980's.
Petitioner moved for reconsideration. Regional Executive Director
Samuel Paragas recommended to the DENR Secretary that
petitioner's request for reconsideration be denied; that the
existing rights of mining claim holders be respected; and, that the
prior legal rights of MPSA/Financial and Technical Assistance
Agreement applicants over subject area be recognized. As regards
petitioner's PPA filed with the DAR, it appeared that it was issued
a clearance to prospect for six (6) months from December 11,
On August 15, 1997 petitioner appealed to public respondent
Mines Adjudication Board (MAB).Petitioner maintained that subject
area was within the Magat River Forest Reservation. On June
11,1998 the rejection of the PPA was affirmed whereas the mining
claims of respondents Alberto G.Bumolo et al. that had been
converted into a MPSA, subject to compliance with R.A. 7942
andDAO No. 96-40, were given due course. Petitioner moved for
reconsideration. Respondent MAB denied petitioners motion .
Whether respondent MAB erred in finding that the area subject of
the PPA was outside theMagat River Forest Reservation.
Respondent MAB correctly upheld the ratiocination of Regional
Executive Director Paragas indenying petitioner's PPA.
The disapproval of Marcoppers PPA moreover, did not emanate
from a single
recommendation of the RTD for Mines. Records would show that
as early as May 31, 1989 x x xthe Bumolo group of PD 463 claims
which Marcopper has eventually surrounded by filing its own PAO
1-30 group of claims x x x x was confirmed by the Forest
Engineering Section of the region to be outside proclaimed
watershed areas, wilderness, national parks and existing
government reforestation projects x x x x

In other words, the circumstance that the area covered by

petitioner's PPA is outside the Magat River Forest Reservation has
been adequately established by the following evidence: (a)
confirmation asearly as 31 May 1989 by the Forest Engineering
Section of Tuguegarao, Cagayan; (b) the 8 July 1991Memorandum
Report of Regional Technical Director Punsal Jr.; and, (c) plotting
provided by the National Mapping and Resources Information
Authority per its 2 June 1995 indorsement of the maps to the
office of the Regional Executive Director. Petitioner contests the
exclusion of the area subject of its PPA within the Magat River
Forest Reservation based merely on the alleged "typographical
error committed by somebody in the Engineering Section of the
DENR." Aside from the fact that the allegation does not have
anything to support it, the aforementioned documents which the
Regional Executive Directors relied upon in denying the PPA had
already settled the issue. Furthermore, respondent MAB even
fortified the bases for the rejection of petitioner's PPA. As plotted
by the Lands Management Sector of DENR Region 2 contained in
the sketch plan of 11 November 1996and as shown in the Land
Use map of the Community Environment and Natural Resources
Office of Dupax, Nueva Vizcaya, the area covered under the PPA is
indeed outside any government reservation.


- versus HON. JUDGE BIENVENIDO C. BLANCAFLOR, in his capacity
as the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
Palawan, Branch 95, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, and
acting for its own interest andon behalf of OLYMPIC MINES
Petitioner,- versus COURT OF APPEALS and POLLY C. DY,

In 1971 and 1980, Olympic was granted Mining Lease Contracts

by the Secretary of the DENR covering mining areas located in the
municipalities of Narra and Espanola, Palawan. On July 18, 2003,
Olympic entered into an Operating Agreement with Platinum, by
virtue of which Platinum was given the exclusive right to control,
possess, manage/operate, and conduct mining operations, and to
market or dispose mining products on the Toronto Nickel Mine in
the Municipality of Narra. In return, Platinum would pay Olympic
a royalty fee of 2% of the gross revenues.
Olympic and Platinum applied for, and were subsequently granted
the necessary government permits and environmental compliance
certificates. On April 24, 2006, Olympic sent a letter to Platinum,
informing the latter of the immediate termination of the Operating
Agreement on account of Platinums gross violations of its terms,
and directing Platinum to immediately surrender possession of the
subject mining areas under the Operating Agreement. Olympic
instituted an action for the issuance of an injunctive writ before
the RTC of Puerto Princesa against Platinum. In its prayer, Olympic
sought to enjoin Platinum from conducting mining operations on
the subject mining areas, and also to recover possession thereof.
The RTC dismissed Olympics complaint.Olympic then filed two
cases with the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) for the
of the SSMPs of Platinum, on the ground of Olympics termination
of the Operating Agreement because of the alleged gross
violations thereof by Platinum. This was dismissed and POA for
the cancellation of the Operating Agreement and the revocation
of the SSMPs of Platinum.
This case was subsequently withdrawn by .While these two
administrative cases were pending, Olympic transferred its
applications for mineral agreements, including its rights under the
Operating Agreement, to Citinickel via a Deed of , without the
knowledge or consent of Platinum. This assignment was
thereafter approved by the Regional Director of the Mines and
Geosciences Bureau ( MGB).After the assignment, Citinickel filed
Civil Case No. 06-0185 before the RTC of Paraaque, on June 21,
2006, seeking to invalidate the Operating Agreement based on
Platinums alleged violation of its terms. This action was also
dismissed by the trial court, citing forum shopping and improper
venue as amongthe grounds for dismissal. Citinickel did not
bother to appeal this dismissal, opting instead to find other
remedies. Citinickel thereafter filed three administrative cases:
PMRB Case No. 002-06, DENR Environmental Management Bureau
( EMB) Case No. 8253, and POA Case No. 2006-02-B.Civil Case No.
4199 involved a complaint for quieting of title, damages, breach

of contract, and specific performance filed by Platinum against

Olympic before the RTC of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Branch 95on
June 14, 2006.
Olympic sought the dismissal of Platinums Civil Case No. 4199
through a motion to dismiss where Olympic alleged that the trial
court was without jurisdiction to rule on the issues raised in the
case. Olympic contended that the case involved a mining dispute
requiring the technical expertise of the POA; accordingly,
jurisdiction should be with the PO
Which body has the authority to hear and decide the dispute
between Olympic/Citinickel and Platinum, as parties to the
operating agreement.
Settled is the rule that jurisdiction of the court over the subject
matter is determined by the allegations of the complaint. It is thus
obvious that the complaint falls within the ambit of the RTCs
original jurisdiction, to the exclusion of all other judicial or quasijudicial bodies.
Although Section 77 (d) of the Mining Act has transferred to the
POA jurisdiction over disputes pending before the Bureau of Mines
and the DENR, Section 77 (b) did not adopt the wording of Section
7, paragraphs (a) and (c) of PD No. 1281 so as to include all other
forms of contracts public or private involving mining rights;
Section 77 (b) in relation to Section 3 (ab) of the Mining Act did
not include a general catch-all phrase to cover other agreements
involving mining rights similar to those in Section 7, paragraphs
(a) and (c) of PD No. 1281. Instead, the Mining Act, through the
above-quoted Sections 3(ab) and 26, has limited the jurisdiction
of the POA, as successor of the adjudicatory functions of the
Bureau of Mines, to mineral agreements between the government
and the private contractor. Otherwise stated, while disputes
between parties to any mining contract (including operating
agreements) may previously fall within the Bureau of Mines
jurisdiction under Section 7 (a) or (c) of PD No. 1281, it can no
longer be so placed now within the authority of the POA to settle
under Section 77 (b) of the Mining Law because its jurisdiction has
been limited to the resolution of disputes involving public mineral
The controlling factor in determining venue for cases is the
primary objective for which said cases are filed. Platinums
primary objective in filing the complaint is to protect its interest in
the subject mining areas, although it joined its claims of breach of

contract, damages, and specific performance in the case. In any

event, the Rules of Court allow joinder of causes of action in the
RTC, provided one of the causes of action (in this case, the cause
of action for quieting of title or interest in real property located in
Palawan) falls within the jurisdiction of said court and venue lies
therein. In fine, there is absolutely no reason to disturb the CAs
findings that venue was properly laid in the Palawan court.

G.R. No. 163509

Central Mindanao Mining and Development Corporation (CMMCI
for brevity) entered into a Mines Operating Agreement
(Agreement for brevity) with Banahaw Mining and Development
Corporation(Banahaw Mining for brevity) whereby the latter
agreed to act as Mine Operator for the exploration, development,
and eventual commercial operation of CMMCIs eighteen (18)
mining claims located in Agusan del Sur. Pursuant to the terms of
the Agreement, Banahaw Mining filed applications for Mining
Lease Contracts over the mining claims with the Bureau of Mines.
So that Banahaw Mining was issued a MinesTemporary Permit
authorizing it to extract and dispose of precious minerals found
within its miningclaims. Upon its expiration, the temporary permit
was subsequently renewed thrice by the Bureau of Mines, the last
being on June 28, 1991.
Since a portion of Banahaw Minings mining claims was located in
petitioner PICOPs logging concession in Agusan del Sur, Banahaw
Mining and petitioner PICOP entered into a Memorandum of
ent, whereby, in mutual recognition of each others right to the
area concerned, petitioner
PICOP allowed Banahaw Mining an access/right of way to its
mining claims. Banahaw Miningconverted its mining claims to
applications for Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA for
brevity).While the MPSA were pending, Banahaw Mining, on
December 18, 1996, decided to sell/assign its rights and interests
over thirty-seven (37) 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 March 10, 1997, private respondent Base Metals amended
Banahaw Minings pending MPSA applications with the Bureau of
Mines to substitute itself as applicant and to submit additional
documents in support of the application. Area clearances from the
DENR Regional Director and Superintendent of the Agusan Marsh
and Wildlife Sanctuary were submitted, as required.
On October 7, 1997, private respondent Base Metals amended
MPSA applications were published in accordance with the
requirements of the Mining Act of 1995.On November 18, 1997,
petitioner PICOP filed with the Mines Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB),
Caraga Regional Office No. XIII an Ad verse Claim and/or
Opposition to private respondent Base Metals application. After
the submission of their respective position paper, the Panel
Arbitrator issued an Order disapproving private respondent Base
Metals MPSA on the reasons that adverse claim was filed on time,
that the granting of the MPSA application on area subject of an
IFMA or PTLA which is covered by a Presidential Warranty, the
panel believes it cannot, unless the grantee consents thereto,
without the grantees consent, the area is considered closed to
mining location (sec. 19) (b) (No. 2), DAO No. 96-40) and that the
mining location in forest or timberland is allowed only if such
forest or timberland is not leased by the government to a
qualified person or entity and if it is leased the consent of the
lessor is necessary, in addition to the area clearance to be issued
by the agency concerned before it is subjected to mining
operation. Plantation is considered closed to mining locations
because it is off tangent to mining. Both are extremes. They
cannot exist at the same time. The other must necessarily stop
before the other operate. Private respondent Base Metals filed a
Notice of Appeal with public respondent MAB, the latter rendered
the assailed decision setting aside the Panel Arbitrators order.
The Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the MAB.Hence this
PICOP presents the following issues: (1) the 2,756 hectares
subject of Base Metals MPSA are closed to mining operations
except upon PICOPs written consent pursuant to existing laws,
rules and regulations and by virtue of the Presidential Warranty;
(2) its Presidential Warranty is protected by the non-impairment
clause of the Constitution; and (3) it does not raise new issues in
its petition.

PICOP asserts that its concession areas are closed to mining

operations as these are within the Agusan-Surigao-Davao forest
reserve established under Proclamation No. 369 of then Gov. Gen.
Dwight Davis.The area is allegedly also part of permanent forest
established under Republic Act No. 3092 (RA 3092),and overlaps
the wilderness area where mining applications are expressly
prohibited under RA 7586.Hence, the area is closed to mining
operations under Sec. 19(f) of RA 7942.
Whether or not the area covered by Base Metals MPSA is, by law,
closed to mining activities
Whether or not the Presidential Warranty is a contract protected
by the non-impairment clause of the 1987 Constitution.
Anent the first issue, the Court ruled that the area covered by
Base Metals MPSA is, by law, not closed to mining activities.
There is no evidence in this case that the area covered by Base
Metals MPSA has been proclaimed as watershed forest reserves.
Even granting that the area covered by the MPSA is part of the
Agusan-Davao-Surigao Forest Reserve, such does not necessarily
signify that the area is absolutely closed to mining activities.
Contrary to PICOPs obvious misreading of our decision in Apex
Mining Co., Inc. v. Garcia, supra, to the effect that mineral
agreements are not allowed in the forest reserve established
under Proclamation369, the Court in that case actually ruled that
pursuant to PD 463 as amended by PD 1385, one can acquire
mining rights within forest reserves, such as the Agusan-DavaoSurigao Forest Reserve, by initially applying for a permit to
prospect with the Bureau of Forest and Development and
subsequently for a permit to explore with the Bureau of Mines and
Geosciences. Moreover, Sec. 18 RA 7942 allows mining even in
timberland or forestry subject to existing rights and reservations.
Similarly, Sec. 47 of PD 705 permits mining operations in forest
lands which include the public forest, the permanent forest or
forest reserves, and forest reservations.
With regard to the second issue, the Court do not subscribe to
PICOPs argument that the Presidential Warranty dated
September 25, 1968 is a contract protected by the nonimpairment clause of the 1987 Constitution. An examination of
the Presidential Warranty at once reveals that it simply reassures
PICOP of the governments commitment to uphold the terms and
conditions of its timber license and guarantees PICOPs 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. The Presidential Warranty cannot be
considered a contract distinct from PTLA No. 47 and IFMA
No. 35. It is merely a collateral undertaking which cannot amplify
PICOPs rights under its timber license. Since timber licenses are
not contracts, the non-impairment clause cannot be invoked.


Petitioner is a corporation duly organized and existing under
Philippine laws engaged in the business of mining. On 31 March
2000, petitioners Application for Mineral Production Sharing
Agreement (MPSA), for the exploration, development and
commercial utilization of certain pyrite ore and other mineral
deposits in a 4,360.71-hectare land in Dasol, Pangasinan, was
approved and MPSA No. 153-2000-1 was issued in its favor.
Private respondent is also a corporation organized and existing
under the laws of the Philippines and engaged in the business of
mining. Private respondent filed an Application for Exploration
Permit with MGB covering the same properties covered by and
during the subsistence of APSA-SF-000089 and MPSA No. 1532000-1 of petitioner. In turn, petitioner filed a Verified
Protest/Opposition to the Application for Exploration Permit of the
private respondent. It was allegedly filed with the Panel of
Arbitrators on 30 August 2005 and was received by the latter on 5
September 2005. Prior, however, to petitioners filing of its
Verified Protest/Opposition to the private respondents Application
for Exploration Permit, petitioners MPSA No. 153 -2000-1 was
cancelled, a Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied. The
MGB issued EP No. 05-001 to private respondent. Panel of
Arbitrators dismissed motu proprio the Verified Protest/Opposition
of petitioner. Petitioner elevated by appeal to the MAB which was
also dismissed.

The case was elevated to the Court of appeals but judgment was
rendered against the petitioner. Hence, this petition.
Whether the Panel of Arbitrators has jurisdiction to cancel, deny
and/or revoke EP No. 05-001issued by MGB to private respondent.

NO. The Panel of Arbitrators has no jurisdiction to cancel, deny
and/or revoke EP No. 05-001issued by MGB to private respondent
Section 77 of Republic Act No. 7942 establishes the jurisdiction of
the Panel of Arbitrators, thus: Sec. 77. Panel of Arbitrators. x x x.
Within thirty (30) working days, after the submission of the case
by the parties for decision, the panel shall have exclusive and
original jurisdiction to hear and decide on the following:1.
Disputes involving rights to mining areas; 2. Disputes involving
mineral agreements or permits; 3. Disputes involving surface
owners, occupants and claimholders/concessionaires; and 4.
Disputes pending before the Bureau and the Department at the
date of the effectivity of this Act.
The Panel of Arbitrators only has jurisdiction over adverse claims,
conflicts, and oppositions relating to applications for the grant of
mineral rights, but not over cancellation of mineral rights already
granted and existing. As to who has jurisdiction to cancel an
existing exploration permit, Section 28 of DAO NO. 96-40explicitly
Section 28. Cancellation of an Exploration Permit . The
Director/concerned Regional Director may cancel the Exploration
Permit for failure of the Permittee to comply with any of the
requirements and for violation(s) of the terms and conditions
under which the Permit is issued. For renewed Exploration
Permits, the Secretary upon the recommendation of the Director
shall cause the cancellation of the same. According to Section 5 of
DAO No. 96- 40, Director means the Director of the MGB Central
Office, while Regional Director means the Regional Director of
any MGB Regional Office. As the authority to issue an Exploration
Permit is vested in the MGB, then the same necessarily includes
the corollary power to revoke, withdraw or cancel the same.
Indisputably, the authority to deny, revoke, or cancel EP No. 05-

001 of private respondent is already lodged with the MGB, and

not with the Panel of Arbitrators.

[G.R. No. L-49109. December 1, 1987]

Petitioner is a mining corporation, it alleges that it is the holder of
fifty valid mining claims situated in Jose Panganiban, Camarines
Norte, acquired under the Philippine Bill of 1902.P.D. No. 1214 was
issued, requiring holders of subsisting and valid patentable mining
claims located under the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902
to file a mining lease application within one year from the
approval of the Decree. Petitioner accordingly filed a mining lease
application, but "under protest", with a reservation annotated on
the back of its application that it is not waiving its rights over its
mining claims until the validity of Presidential Decree No. 1214
shall have been passed upon by this Court.
Three days before filing the disputed mining lease application,
petitioner filed this special civil action for
certiorari and
prohibition, alleging that it has no other plain, speedy and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law to protect its
rights (except by said petition). Petitioner assails Presidential
Decree No. 1214 as unconstitutional in that it amounts to a
deprivation of property without due process of law. Petitioner
avers that its fifty (50) mining claims had already been declared
as its own private and exclusive property in final judgments
rendered by the CFI Camarines Norte.
In answer, the respondents allege that petitioner has no standing
to file the instant petition as it failed to fully exhaust
administrative remedies. We agree with respondents contention
that it is premature for the Court to now make a finding on the
matter of whether petitioner had abandoned its mining claims.
Until petitioner's appeal shall have been decided by the Office of
the President, where it is pending, petitioner's attempt to seek
judicial recognition of the continuing validity of its mining claims,
cannot be entertained by the Court. The decisions of the CFI of
Camarines Norte, relied upon by petitioner, do not foreclose a
proceeding, such as DNR Case No. 4140, to determine whether
petitioner's unpatented mining claims have remained valid and
subsisting. Respondents further contend that, even assuming

arguendo that petitioner's mining claims were valid at the outset,

if they are deemed abandoned and cancelled due to noncompliance with the legal requirements for maintaining a
perfected mining claim, under the provisions of the Philippine Bill
of 1902, petitioner has no valid and subsisting claim which could
be lost through the implementation of Presidential Decree no.
1214, thus giving it no standing to question the Decree.
Petitioner, on the other hand, would rebut respondents' argument
by declaring that it already had a vested right over its mining
claims even before Presidential Decree No. 1214. The Court is not
impressed that this is so.
The cases cited by petitioner, true enough, recognize the right of
a locator of a mining claim as a property right. This right, however
is not absolute. It is merely a possesory right, more so, in this
case, where petitioner's claims are still unpatented. They can be
lost through abandonment or forfeiture or they may be revoked
for valid legal grounds.
Whether or not Presidential Decree No. 1214 is constitutional.
YES. Even assuming arguendo that petitioner was not bound to
exhaust administrative remedies on the question of whether or
not its mining claims are still subsisting before challenging the
constitutionality of said Decree. It is a valid exercise of the
sovereign power of the State, as owner, over lands of the public
domain, of which petitioner's mining claims still form a part, and
over the patrimony of the nation, of which mineral deposits are a
valuable asset. It may be underscored, in this connection, that the
Decree does not cover all mining claims located under the Phil.
Bill of 1902, but only those claims over which their locators had
failed to obtain a patent. And even then, such locators may still
avail of the renewable twenty-five year (25) lease prescribed by
Pres. Dec. No. 463, the Mineral Development Resources Decree of
1974.Mere location does not mean absolute ownership over the
affected land or the mining claim. It merely segregates the
located land or area from the public domain by barring other
would-be locators from locating the same and appropriating for
themselves the minerals found therein. To rule otherwise would
imply that location is all that is needed to acquire and maintain
rights over a located mining claim. This, we cannot approve or
sanction because it is contrary to the intention of the lawmaker
that the locator should faithfully and consistently comply with the
requirements for annual work and improvements in the located
mining claim. Presidential Decree No. 1214 is in accord with Sec.
8, Art. XIV of the 1973 Constitution which states:"All lands of the

public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other

mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, wildlife, and
other natural resources of the Philippines belong to the State.
With the exception of agricultural, industrial or commercial,
residential and resettlement lands of the public domain, natural
resources shall not be alienated, and no license, concession, or
lease for the exploration, development, exploitation, or utilization
of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period
exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twentyfive years, except as to water rights for irrigation, water supply,
fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water
power, in which cases, beneficial use may be the measure and
the limit of the grant".
The same constitutional mandate is found in Sec. 2, Art. XII of the
1987 Constitution, which declares:"All lands of the public domain,
waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all
forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife,
flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the
State. With the exception of agricultural lands, all other natural
resources shall not be alienated. The exploration, development,
and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control
and supervision of the State. Thus, the petition is hereby

[G.R. No. 135190. April 3, 2002]

others similarly situated; and THE HONORABLEANTONIO
CERILLES, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department
of Environment andNatural Resources (DENR), PROVINCIAL
The instant case involves a rich tract of mineral land situated in
the Agusan-Davao-Surigao Forest Reserve known as the
Diwalwal Gold Rush Area. the land has been embroiled in
controversy (DIWALWAL Conflict) since the mid- 80s due to the
scramble over gold deposits found within its bowels.
On June 24, 1997, the DENR Secretary issued Memorandum Order
No. 97-03 which provided, among others, that:
The DENR shall study thoroughly and exhaustively the option of
direct state utilization of the mineral resources in the Diwalwal
Gold-Rush Area. Such study shall include, but shall not be limited

to, studying and weighing the feasibility of entering into

management agreements or operating agreements, or both, with
the appropriate government instrumentalities or private entities,
or both, in carrying out the declared policy of rationalizing the
mining operations in the Diwalwal Gold Rush Area; such
agreements shall include provisions for profit-sharing between the
state and the said parties, including profit-sharing arrangements
with small-scale miners, as well as the payment of royalties to
Undersecretary for Field Operations, as well as the Undersecretary
for Legal and Legislative Affairs and Attached Agencies, and the
Director of the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau are hereby
ordered to undertake such studies. x x x
On July 16, 1997, petitioner filed a special civil action for
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus before the Court of Appeals.
It prayed for the nullification of Memorandum Order No. 97-03.On
March 19, 1998, the Court of Appeals, dismissed the petition. It
ruled that the DENR Secretary did not abuse his discretion in
issuing Memorandum Order No. 97-03 since the same was merely
a directive to conduct studies on the various options available to
the government for solving the Diwalwal conflict.
The assailed memorandum did not conclusively adopt direct
state utilization as official government policy on the matter, but
was simply a manifestation of the DENRs intent to consider it as
one of its options, after determining its feasibility through studies.
MO 97-03 was only the initial step in the ladder of administrative
process and did not, as yet, fix any obligation, legal relationship
or right. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which was
denied for lack of merit. Hence this petition.
WON CA erred when it concluded that the assailed memorandum
order did not adopt the direct state utilization scheme in
resolving the Diwalwal Conflict.
No since the challenged MO 97-03 did not conclusively adopt
direct state utilization as a policy in resolving the Diwalwal
dispute. The terms of the memorandum clearly indicate that what
was directed there under was merely a study of this option and
nothing else. Contrary to petitioners contention, it did not grant
any management/operating or profit-sharing agreement to smallscale miners or to any party, for that matter, but simply
instructed the DENR officials concerned to undertake studies to
determine its feasibility.

Additionally, there can be no valid opposition raised against a

mere study of an alternative which the State, through the DENR,
is authorized to undertake in the first place. Worth noting is
Article XII,Section 2, of the 1987 Constitution , which specifically
provides: SEC. 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals,
coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential
energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and
other natural resources are owned by the State. With the
exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall
not be alienated. The exploration, development, and utilization of
natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of
the State. The State may directly undertake such activities, or it
may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing
agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations
at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such
citizens. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding
twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twenty-five years,
and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law.
In cases of water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or
industrial uses other than the development of water power,
beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant.
(Underscoring ours)Likewise, Section 4, Chapter II of the
Philippine Mining Act of 1995 states:
SEC. 4. Ownership of Mineral Resources. - Mineral Resources are
owned by the State and the exploration, development, utilization,
and processing thereof shall be under its full control and
supervision. The State may directly undertake such activities or it
may enter into mineral agreements with contractors.
(Underscoring ours)Thus, the State may pursue the constitutional
policy of full control and supervision of the exploration,
development and utilization of the countrys natural mineral
resources, by either directly undertaking the same or by entering
into agreements with qualified entities. The DENR Secretary acted
within his authority when he ordered a study of the first option,
which may be undertaken consistently in accordance with the
constitutional policy enunciated above. Obviously, the State may
not be precluded from considering a direct takeover of the mines,
if it is the only plausible remedy in sight to the gnawing
complexities generated by the gold rush. As implied earlier, the
State need be guided only by the demands of public interest in
settling for this option, as well as its material and logistic
In this regard, petitioners imputation of bad faith on the part of
the DENR Secretary when the latter issued MO 97-03 is not welltaken. Hence petition denied.


G.R. NO.L-69997

September 30, 1987

FACTS: The petitioner filed a complaint for annulment and cancellation of

patents against the private respondents and prayed that all the free patent
titles issued in their favor for properties over which original certificates of
title had already been issued in its favor be declared null and void. The
Director of Lands, who was impleaded as a formal defendant, filed his
answer alledging, among others, that the petitioner has no personality to
institute the cancellation proceedings inasmuch as the government is the
grantor and not the petitioner, and it should be the grantor who should
institute the cancellation proceedings.
On January 25, 1980, the trial court rendered a decision dismissing the
complaint. It ruled that since the disputed properties form part of disposable
land of the public domain, the action for reversion should be instituted by
the Solicitor General in the name of the Republic of the Philippines and
that, therefore, the petitioner lacks personality to institute the annulment
proceedings. The petitioner appealed to the then Intermediate Appellate
Court. On April 5, 1984, the appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial
court. It ruled that the titles issued to the petitioner cover mineral lands
which belong to the public domain and that these cannot be the subject of
private ownership. According to the Court, under Section 101 of the Public
Land Law, only the Solicitor General or the officer acting in his stead has
the authority to institute an action on behalf of the Republic for the
cancellation of the respondents' titles and for reversion of their homesteads
to the Government.
ISSUE: 1. Whether or not the appellate court committed an error of law
when it ruled that the lands in question belong to the public domain
2. Whether or not the appellate court erred in discussing the complaint on
the ground that the petitioner had no personality to institute the same
HELD: The first issue, the petitioner maintains that since its mining claims
were perfected prior to November 15, 1935, the date when the 1935
Constitution took effect, the applicable law is the Philippine Bill of 1902 and
that under this Act, a valid location of a mining claim segregates the area
from the public domain. (Gold Creek Mining Corporation v. Rodriguez, 66

Phil. 259). The Solicitor-General, on the other hand, argues that the
petitioner's mining patents covered by Torrens Titles were granted only in
1962 by the President of the Philippines, by authority of the Constitution of
the Philippines. Under the then Constitution, except for public agricultural
lands, natural resources which includes all mineral lands, shall not be
alienated. (Art. XIII, Section 1, 1935 Constitution) Therefore, what the
mining patents issued in 1962 conveyed to petitioner was only the
ownership of, and the right to extract and utilize, the minerals within the
area covered by the petitioner's Torrens Titles but not the ownership of the
land where the minerals are found.
Petitioner has not established by clear and convincing evidence that the
locations of its mining claims were perfected prior to November 15,1935
when the Government of Commonwealth was inaugurated. In the absence
of proof that the petitioner's claims were perfected prior to the 1935
Constitution, the provision of the latter with regard to inalienable lands of
the public domain will apply. Further, although the original certificates of
titles of the petitioner were issued prior to the titles of the private
respondents, the former cannot prevail over the latter for the provisions of
the Constitution which governed at the time of their issuance prohibited the
alienation of mineral lands of the public domain.
Wherefore, the petition is dismissed for lack of merit. The decision of the
Intermediate Appellate Court is affirmed.

G.R. No 127882 January 27, 2004

La Bugal-B'Laan Tribal Assn vs. Ramos
On July 25, 1987, then President Corazon C. Aquino issued
Executive Order (E.O.) No. 2796authorizing the DENR Secretary to
accept, consider and evaluate proposals from foreign-owned
corporations or foreign investors for contracts or agreements
involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale
exploration, development, and utilization of minerals, which, upon
appropriate recommendation of the Secretary, the President may
execute with the foreign proponent.
On March 3, 1995, then President Fidel V. Ramos approved R.A.
No. 7942 to "govern the exploration, development, utilization and
processing of all mineral resources." R.A. No. 7942 defines the
modes of mineral agreements for mining operations, outlines the
procedure for their filing and approval, assignment/transfer and

withdrawal, and fixes their terms. Similar provisions govern

financial or technical assistance agreements.
On April 9, 1995, 30 days following its publication on March 10,
1995 in Malaya and Manila Times, two newspapers of general
circulation, R.A. No. 7942 took effect. Shortly before the effectivity
of R.A. No. 7942, however, or on March 30, 1995, the President
entered into an FTAA with WMCP covering 99,387 hectares of land
in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur and North
On August 15, 1995, then DENR Secretary Victor O. Ramos issued
DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 95-23, s. 1995, otherwise
known as the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No.
7942. This was later repealed by DAO No. 96-40, s. 1996 which
was adopted on December 20,1996.
On January 10, 1997, counsels for petitioners sent a letter to the
DENR Secretary demanding that the DENR stop the
implementation of R.A. No. 7942 and DAO No. 96-40, giving the
DENR fifteen days from receipt to act thereon. The DENR,
however, has yet to respond or act on petitioners' letter.
Petitioners claim that the DENR Secretary acted without or in
excess of jurisdiction. They pray that the Court issue an order:(a)
Permanently enjoining respondents from acting on any application
for Financial or Technical Assistance Agreements;(b) Declaring the
Philippine Mining Act of 1995 or Republic Act No. 7942 as
unconstitutional and null and void;(c) Declaring the Implementing
Rules and Regulations of the Philippine Mining Act contained in
DENR Administrative Order No. 96-40 and all other similar
administrative issuances as unconstitutional and null and void;
and(d) Cancelling the Financial and Technical Assistance
Agreement issued to Western Mining Philippines, Inc. as
unconstitutional, illegal and null and void.
Whether or not Republic Act No. 7942 is unconstitutional.
The Court finds the following provisions of R.A. No. 7942 to be
violative of Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution and hereby
declares unconstitutional and void:
(1) The proviso in Section 3 (aq), which defines "qualified person,"
to wit: Provided, That a legally organized foreign-owned
corporation shall be deemed a qualified person for purposes of
granting an exploration permit, financial or technical assistance
agreement or mineral processing permit;

(2) Section 23, which specifies the rights and obligations of an

exploration permittee, insofar as said section applies to a financial
or technical assistance agreement;
(3) Section 33, which prescribe the eligibility of a contractor in a
financial or technical assistance agreement;
(4) Section 35, which enumerate the terms and conditions for
every financial or technical assistance agreement;
(5) Section 39, which allow the contractor in a financial and
technical assistance agreement to convert the same into a
mineral production-sharing agreement;
(6) Section 56, which authorize the issuance of a mineral
processing permit to a contractor in a financial and technical
assistance agreement;
The following provisions of the same Act are likewise void as they
are dependent on the foregoing provisions and cannot stand on
their own:
(1) Section 3 (g), which defines the term "contractor," insofar as it
applies to a financial or technical assistance agreement. Section
34, which prescribes the maximum contract area in a financial or
technical assistance agreements; Section 36, which allows
negotiations for financial or technical assistance agreements;
Section 37, which prescribes the procedure for filing and
evaluation of financial or technical assistance agreement
proposals; Section 38, which limits the term of financial or
technical assistance agreements; Section 40, which allows the
assignment or transfer of financial or technical assistance
agreements; Section 41, which allows the withdrawal of the
contractor in an FTAA; The second and third paragraphs of Section
81, which provide for the Government's share in a financial and
technical assistance agreement; and Section 90, which provides
for incentives to contractors in FTAAs insofar as it applies to said
contractors; When the parts of the statute are so mutually
dependent and connected as conditions, considerations,
inducements, or compensations for each other, as to warrant a
belief that the legislature intended them as a whole, and that if all
could not be carried into effect, the legislature would not pass the
residue independently, then, if some parts are unconstitutional,
all the provisions which are thus dependent, conditional, or
connected, must fall with them.