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September 11, 2015


GR NO. 115634, April 27, 2000
Quisumbing, J.:
The Forest Protection and Law Enforcement Team of the
Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of
the DENR apprehended two vehicles on January 28, 1992.
Constancio Abuganda and Pio Gabon were the drivers of the
vehicles and they failed to present proper documents and licenses.
The apprehending team seized and impounded the vehicles and its
load of lumber at the DENR-PENR Office in Catbalogan. The drivers
refused to accept the seizure receipts which was issued to them.
Thus, Felipe Calub, PENR Officer, filed a criminal complaint againt
Abuganda for violation of Sec. 68 (78) of Presidential Decree No.
705, as amended by Executive Order No. 277, otherwise known as
the Revised Forestry Code.
The impounded vehicles were forcibly taken by the drivers
from the custody of the DENR. On February 11, 1992, one of the
two vehicles was again apprehended by a team of the DENR-CENR
Catbalogan and Philippine Army Elements. It was again loaded with
forest products. Calub then filed a criminal complaint for violation
of Sec. 68 (78) of Presidential Decree No. 705, as amended by
Executive Order No. 277, otherwise known as the Revised Forestry
Manuela Babalcon, the vehicle owner, and Abuganda, the
driver, filed a complaint for the recovery of possession of the two
impounded vehicles with an application for replevin against the
petitioners. CA ruled in favor of the private respondents. Petitioners
then filed with the SC.
1. Whether the private respondents violated Sec. 68 (78) of
Presidential Decree No. 705, as amended by Executive

Order No. 277, otherwise known as the Revised Forestry

2. Whether the DENR-seized motor vehicle, with plate number
FCN 143, is in custodia legis.

In the first issue, yes, the private respondents violated Sec. 68
(78) of Presidential Decree No. 705, as amended by Executive Order
No. 277, otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code.
This provision makes mere possession of timber or other forest
products without the accompanying legal documents unlawful and
punishable with the penalties imposed for the crime of theft, as
prescribed in Articles 309-310 of the Revised Penal Code. In the
present case, the subject vehicles were loaded with forest products
at the time of the seizure. But admittedly no permit evidencing
authority to possess and transport said load of forest products was
duly presented. These products, in turn, were deemed illegally
sourced. Thus there was a prima facie violation of Section 68 [78] of
the Revised Forestry Code, although as found by the trial court, the
persons responsible for said violation were not the ones charged by
the public prosecutor.
In the second issue, yes, the DENR-seized motor vehicle, with
plate number FCN 143, is in custodia legis.
Upon apprehension of the illegally-cut timber while being
transported without pertinent documents that could evidence title
to or right to possession of said timber, a warrantless seizure of the
involved vehicles and their load was allowed under Section 78 and
89 of the Revised Forestry Code.
Since there was a violation of the Revised Forestry Code and
the seizure was in accordance with law, in our view the subject
vehicles were validly deemed in custodia legis. It could not be
subject to an action for replevin. For it is property lawfully taken by
virtue of legal process and considered in the custody of the law, and
not otherwise.
GR NO, 108619, July 31, 1997

Romero, J.:
An information for violation of Section 68 of P.D. No. 705, as
amended by Executive Order No. 277, was filed by the City
Prosecutor of Puerto Princesa City against petitioner Epifanio
Lalican,[1]Ruben Benitez, Allan Pulgar and Jose Roblo before the
Regional Trial Court of that city.
Petitioner Lalican filed a motion to quash the information on
the ground that the facts charged did not constitute an
offense. Contending that Sec. 68 of P.D. No. 705 refers to "timber
and other forest products" and not to "lumber," and asserting that
"timber" becomes "lumber" only after it is sawed into beams, planks
or boards, petitioner alleged that said decree "does not apply to
'lumber.'" He added that the law is "vague and standardless" as it
does not specify the authority or the legal documents required by
existing forest laws and regulations.
Whether the charge of illegal possession of "lumber" is
excluded from the crime of illegal possession of "timber" as defined
in Sec. 68 of Presidential Decree No. 705 (The Forestry Reform Code
of the Philippines), as amended.
No, the charge of illegal possession of "lumber" is not excluded
from the crime of illegal possession of "timber" as defined in Sec. 68
of Presidential Decree No. 705 (The Forestry Reform Code of the
In the recent case of Mustang Lumber, Inc. v. Court of
Appeals,[9] this Court, thru Justice Hilario Davide, held:








either timber or lumber. While the former is included in forest

products as defined in paragraph (q) of Section 3, the latter is found
in paragraph (aa) of the same section in the definition of 'Processing
plant,' which reads:

(aa) Processing plant is any mechanical set-up, machine or

combination of machine used for the processing of logs and other
forest raw materials into lumber, veneer, plywood, wallboard,
blockboard, paper board, pulp, paper or other finished wood

This simply means that 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




Dictionary, lumber


defined, inter alia, as 'timber or logs after being prepared for the
market.' Simply put, lumber is a processed log or timber.

Be that as it may, the legislative intent to include possession of

lumber in Sec. 68 is clearly gleaned from the expressed reasons for
enacting the law

To exclude possession of "lumber" from the acts penalized in

Sec. 68 would certainly emasculate the law itself. A law should not
be so construed as to allow the doing of an act which is prohibited
by law, nor so interpreted as to afford an opportunity to defeat
compliance with its terms, create an inconsistency, or contravene
the plain words of the law. After all, the phrase "forest products" is
broad enough to encompass lumbers which, to reiterate, is
manufactured timber.


GR NO. 131270, March 17, 2000
Mendoza, J.:

Sometime in the latter part of 1992, the Department of

Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office in Bukidnon
received reports that illegally cut lumber was being delivered to the
warehouse of the Valencia Golden Harvest Corporation in Valencia,
Bukidnon. The company is engaged in rice milling and trading.
DENR officers, assisted by elements of the Philippine National
Police, raided the company's warehouse in Poblacion, Valencia on
the strength of a warrant issued by the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 8, Malaybalay, Bukidnon and found a large stockpile of
lumber of varying sizes cut by a chain saw. As proof that the
company had acquired the lumber by purchase, petitioner produced
two receipts issued by R.L. Rivero Lumberyard of Maramag,
Bukidnon, dated March 6 and 17, 1992. The DENR officers did not,
however, give credit to the receipts considering that R. L. Rivero
Lumberyard's permit to operate had long been suspended. What is
more, the pieces of lumber were cut by chain saw and thus could
not have come from a licensed sawmill operator. The seizure
order[4] was served on petitioner Perfecto Pallada as general manager
of the company, but he refused to acknowledge it.

On February 23, 1993, petitioner, as general manager,

together with Noel Sy, as assistant operations manager, and
Francisco Tankiko, as president of the Valencia Golden Harvest
Corporation, and Isaias Valdehueza, were charged with violation of
68 of P.D .No. 705, as amended.
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.


Whether separate certificates of origin should be issued for

lumber and timber.
Yes, separate certificates of origin should be issued for lumber
and timber.
The statement in Mustang Lumber that lumber is merely
processed timber and, therefore, the word "timber" embraces
lumber, was made in answer to the lower court's ruling in that case
that the phrase "possess timber or other forest products" in 68 of
P.D. No. 705 means that only those who possess timber and forest
products without the documents required by law are criminally
liable, while those who possess lumber are not liable. 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. As already noted, the opening paragraph of BFD
Circular No. 10-83 expressly states that the issuance of a separate
certificate of origin for lumber is required in order to "pinpoint
accountability and responsibility for shipment of lumber . . . and to
have uniformity in documenting the origin thereof."
Even assuming that a Certificate of Timber Origin could serve
as a substitute for Certificate of Lumber Origin, the trial court and
the Court of Appeals were justified in convicting petitioner,
considering the numerous irregularities and defects found in the
documents presented by the latter.
These irregularities and discrepancies make the documents in
which they are found not only questionable but invalid and, thus,
justified the trial court in giving no credence to the same.
What render these documents without legal effect are the
patent irregularities found on their faces. That petitioner may not
have any responsibility for such irregularity is immaterial. In any
case, as the corporate officer in charge of the purchase of the
lumber, petitioner should have noticed such obvious irregularities,
and he should have taken steps to have them corrected. He cannot

now feign ignorance and assert that, as far as he is concerned, the

documents are regular and complete.
GR NO. 136142, October 24, 2000
De Leon, Jr, J.:
Pastor Telen and his co-accused, Alfonso Dator and Benito
Genol, were charged with the crime of violation of Section 68 [2] of
Presidential Decree No. 705, otherwise known as the Revised
Forestry Code.
The defense denied any liability for the crime charged in the
Information. Pastor Telen, a utility worker at the Integrated
Provincial Health Office, Southern Leyte for nineteen (19) years,
testified that he needed lumber to be used in renovating the house
of his grandparents in Barangay Abgao, Maasin, Southern Leyte
where he maintained residence. Knowing that it was prohibited by
law to cut trees without appropriate permit from the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Telen sought the
assistance of a certain Lando dela Pena who was an employee at the
CENRO, Maasin, Southern Leyte. Dela Pena accompanied Telen to
the office of a certain Boy Leonor, who was the Officer in Charge of
CENRO in Maasin, Southern Leyte. Leonor did not approve of the
plan of Telen to cut teak or hard lumber from his (Telen) mothers
track of land in Tabunan, San Jose, Maasin, Southern
Leyte. However, Leonor allegedly allowed Telen to cut the aging Dita
trees only. According to Telen, Leonor assured him that a written
permit was not anymore necessary before he could cut the Dita
trees, which are considered soft lumber, from the private land of his
mother, provided the same would be used exclusively for the
renovation of his house and that he shall plant trees as replacement
thereof, which he did by planting Gemelina seedlings.
On September 15, 1993, Telen requested his cousin, Vicente
Sabalo, to hire for him a cargo truck in order to haul the sawn
lumber from the land of his mother in Tabunan, San Jose, Maasin,
Southern Leyte. His cousin obliged after Telen assured him that he
had already secured verbal permission from Boy Leonor, Officer in

Charge of CENRO in Maasin, Southern Leyte, before cutting the

said lumber.
Telen learned from his daughter that the sawn lumbers were
confiscated by the police in Barangay Soro-soro, Maasin, Southern
Whether Pastor Telen violated Sec. 68 (78) of the Revised
Forestry Code, P.D. 705, as amended.
Yes, Pastor Telen violated Sec. 68 (78) of the Revised Forestry
Code, P.D. 705.
The fact of possession by the appellant of the subject fifty-one
(51) pieces of assorted Antipolo and Dita lumber, as well as his
subsequent failure to produce the legal documents as required
under existing forest laws and regulations constitute criminal
liability for violation of Presidential Decree No. 705, otherwise
known as the Revised Forestry Code. Section 68 of the code
provides: 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,
or timber 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.
The mere allegation of the appellant regarding the verbal
permission given by Boy Leonor, Officer in Charge of DENR-CENRO,
Maasin, Southern Leyte, is not sufficient to overturn the
established fact that he had no legal documents to support valid
possession of the confiscated pieces of lumber. It does not appear
from the record of this case that appellant exerted any effort during
the trial to avail of the testimony of Boy Leonor to corroborate his
allegation. Absent such corroborative evidence, the trial court did
not commit an error in disregarding the bare testimony of the
appellant on this point which is, at best, self-serving.


CALO et al.,
G.R. No. 161798, October 20, 2004
Tinga, J.:
PICOP owns and operates a multi-billion peso pulp and paper
manufacturing facility in Bislig City, Agusan del Norte. It holds
government-issued Pulpwood and Timber License Agreement and
Integrated Forest Management Agreement which gave PICOP the
exclusive right to co-manage and develop with the State almost
130,000 hectares of forest land within the Agusan-Davao-Surigao
Forest Reserve.
DENR rendered three Memoranda by virtue of which PICOP was
designated a DENR depository and custodian for apprehended
forest products and conveyances within its concession. In the
course of the enforcement of the Memoranda, PICOP apprehended
within its concession and tree plantation area, violators who loaded
the illegally cut trees in trucks and other forms of conveyance, such
as carabaos, for transport out of the plantation area. These illegally
cut forest products and conveyances were kept in PICOPs
impounding area.
On June 18, 2001, Private Respondents Casia and others, by
way of a class suit, of the members of the UNITED FARMERS
ASSOCIATION OF BISLIG filed a complaint for damages and
injunction with prayer for issuance of writ of preliminary mandatory
injunction before the RTC against the DENR. Casia and others were
the people apprehended transporting without any permit several
hundred meters of falcata logs allegedly grown in PICOPs
On September 21, 2001, the RTC rendered its Decision in favor
of Casia and others.
Petitioner contends that Casias intrusion was in violation of
petitioners PTLA No. 47 and IFMA No. 35. These license agreements
gave petitioner the exclusive right to co-manage and develop forest
lands, and recognized petitioner as owner of the trees and other
products in the concession area. In filing this petition, petitioner is
merely defending its subsisting proprietary interest pursuant to
these license agreements.

Whether the PICOP has the obligation to keep custody of the
apprehended forest products, tools and conveyances.

No, the PICOP has no obligation to keep custody of the
apprehended forest products, tools and conveyances.
PICOP cannot claim the right to retain custody of the
apprehended logs and conveyances by virtue of its being designated
a depository of the DENR pursuant to the assailed Memoranda. As
such depository, petitioner merely holds the confiscated products
and conveyances in custody for the DENR while the administrative
or criminal proceedings regarding said products are pending.
It is clear that PICOP has no material interest to protect in the
confiscated forest products and conveyances. It has no subsisting
proprietary interest, as borne out by its licensing agreements,
which need to be protected by annulling the writ of injunction
issued by the trial court. As observed by the Court of Appeals, any
interest PICOP has in the confiscated properties is dependent on
the outcome of the proceedings before the CENRO-Bislig and the
Office of the Government Prosecution-Surigao del Sur. The issue of
ownership and possession of the confiscated products still has to be
determined in those proceedings. Petitioner had not refuted this.

G.R. No. 79538

October 18, 1990

Petitioner entered into a timber license agreement designated
as TLA No. 87 with the Department of Agriculture and Natural
Resources, represented by then Secretary Feliciano, wherein it was
issued an exclusive license to cut, collect and remove timber except
prohibited species within a specified portion of public forest land
located in the municipality of Maddela, province of Nueva Vizcaya.
On August 18, 1983, the Director of the Bureau of Forest
Development, Director Cortes, issued a memorandum order
stopping all logging operations in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino
provinces, and cancelling the logging concession. After the
cancellation, petitioner sent a letter to President Marcos which
sought reconsideration of the Bureaus directive. Barely one year
after the cancellation, 26,000 hectares of the area formerly covered
by the TLA was re awarded to Twin Peaks Development while the
other half was to be logged by Filipinas Loggers Inc., Petitioner
moved for the reconsideration of the order but it was denied. Felipe
Ysmael sought reconsideration to the Office of the President,
however, it was likewise denied.

Whether the petitioner has the right to seek the nullification
of the Bureaus orders cancelling his timber license agreement
and the granting of TLA to Twin Peaks.

No, the petitioner has no right to seek the nullification of the
Bureaus orders cancelling his timber license agreement and the
granting of TLA to Twin Peaks.
Felipe Ysmael Jr. and Co. Inc., failde to make out a case
showing grave abuse of discretion on the part of public
respondents, thus the Court finds no basis to issue a writ of
certiorari and to grant any of the affirmative reliefs sought.
Public respondents herein, upon whose shoulders rests the
task of implementing the policy to develop and conserve the

country's natural resources, have indicated an ongoing department

evaluation of all timber license agreements entered into, and
permits or licenses issued, under the previous dispensation. In fact,
both the executive and legislative departments of the incumbent
administration are presently taking stock of its environmental
policies with regard to the utilization of timber lands and developing
an agenda for future programs for their conservation and
Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the
principal instruments by which the State regulates the utilization
and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is
promoted. The grant of licenses or permits to exploit the country's
timber resources, if done in contravention of the procedure outlined
in the law, or as a result of fraud and undue influence exerted on
department officials, is indicative of an arbitrary and whimsical
exercise of the State's power to regulate the use and exploitation of
forest resources. The alleged practice of bestowing "special favors" to
preferred individuals, regardless of merit, would be an abuse of this
power. And this Court will not be a party to a flagrant mockery of
the avowed public policy of conservation enshrined in the 1987
Constitution. Therefore, should the appropriate case be brought
showing a clear grave abuse of discretion on the part of officials in
the DENR and related bureaus with respect to the implementation
of this public policy, the Court win not hesitate to step in and wield
its authority, when invoked, in the exercise of judicial powers under
the Constitution

G.R. No. 152160


January 13, 2004


Virgilio Bon and Alejandro Jeniebre, Jr. were charged for
violating Section 68 of PD 705. Teresita Dangalan-Mendoza owns a
titled agricultural land located in Sorsogon, administered by Virgilio
Bon. Receiving information that trees inside the land were being
stolen, cut and sawed into lumber, she sent her brother Manuel
Dangalan to investigate the report. Dangalan sought the help of

Barangay Captain Labayane, and investigated Teresita complaint of

Illegal Cutting of Trees. Together with Lascano, Dangalan, Bon and
others repaired to the land of Teresita and the group discovered 6
stumps of trees; 4 Narra trees, one cuyao-yao tree and one am[u]gis
tree. Bon admitted ordering the cutting and sawing of the trees into
lumber. Bon contended that he was the tenant of the land of
Teresita and he developed the land. He alleged that it was Teresita
herself who ordered the cutting of the trees.
The RTC found Bon and Jeniebre guilty of the crime charged which
the CA sustained.

Whether Bon and Jeniebre were guilty for violation of Section
68 of PD 705.

Yes, Bon and Jeniebre were guilty for violation of Section 68 of
PD 705.
Punishable under Sec. 68 of PD 705 are the following acts: (1)
cutting, gathering, collecting or removing timber or other forest
products from the places therein mentioned without any authority;
and (b) possessing timber or other forest products without the legal
documents. Bon was charged with the first offense. Bons guilt was
proven even though the conviction was based on circumstantial
evidence. In the RTC, he admitted, before the presence of a
barangay tanod, that he ordered the cutting and sawing of the
disputed trees.
A review of the records also shows that the fact of the alleged
cutting, gathering and manufacture of lumber from the trees was
proven by the prosecution through the the photographs of tree
stumps, the investigation report of an officer of the CENRO that no
permit was secured for the cutting of the trees, and the CENROs
computation of the value of the timber generated from the felled
trees. This fact, together with the circumstantial evidence,
indubitably points to no other conclusion than that petitioner was
guilty as charged.


AM NO. RTJ-03-1786, August 28, 2003
Carpio, J.:
Complainant alleged that on 9 September 1999, Community
Environment and Natural Resources Officer Michael F. dela
Cruz (CENRO dela Cruz) of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources, Region IX, applied for a search warrant with
respondent judge. CENRO dela Cruz claimed that complainant was
in possession of forest products of dubious origin in violation of
Section 68 of Presidential Decree No. 705 (PD 705), as amended. On
the same day, respondent judge issued Search Warrant No. 364
ordering the seizure of several pieces of mangrove lumber from
complainants fishpond in Bulawan, Payao, Zamboanga del Sur. On
the strength of the warrant, CENRO dela Cruz, assisted by law







of pagatpat lumber (mangrove specie) with an estimated value

of P183,790.

Complainant pointed out that this was the fifth time that
respondent judge issued, under questionable procedure, search
warrants against him for violation of PD 705. Complainant recalled
that on 10 November 1998, respondent judge issued four search
warrants against him (Search Warrant Nos. 281 to 284), authorizing
the seizure from his compound of pagatpat lumber worth more
than P1.5 million. Complainant alleged that the records of the four
warrants did not also contain any transcript of the required
examination of witnesses. Complainant therefore moved to quash
the four warrants. Respondent judge, however, denied the motion
on the ground that he had in fact conducted such examination but
the record of the deposition was misfiled in another case folder
through inadvertence.

Whether the respondent judge is liable for gross ignorance of
the law.
Yes, the respondent judge is liable for gross ignorance of the law.
Section 5, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
The judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine
in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and
under oath, the complainant and the witnesses he may produce on
facts personally known to them and attach to the record their
sworn statements, together with the affidavits submitted.







unreasonable searches and seizures found in Section 2, Article III of

the Constitution which states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of
whatever nature and for whatever purpose shall be inviolable, and
no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon
probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to
be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Respondent judge explained that in issuing Search Warrant

No. 364, he complied with the rule that he must personally examine
in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and
under oath, the complainant and the witnesses. Respondent judge

stated, however, that the certified copies of the records obtained by

complainant did not include the transcript of his examination
because the clerical staff in his office who prepared the certified
copies inadvertently failed to do so.
The respondent judge, who had earlier professed ignorance of
the rule in question, failed either to examine any witness before
issuing Search Warrant No. 364 or to reduce the examination in
writing. His omission renders him liable for gross ignorance of the
law. When the law is so elementary, such as the provisions of the
Constitution and the Rules of Court on search warrant issuance,
not to know it or to act as if one does not know it, constitutes gross
ignorance of the law.


G.R. No. 101083 July 30, 1993


This case is a class suit brought by 44 children, through their

parents, claiming that they bring the case in the name of their
generation as well as those generations yet unborn. Aiming to stop
deforestation, it was filed against the Secretary of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources, seeking to have him cancel all
the timber license agreements (TLAs) in the country and to cease
and desist from accepting and approving more timber license
agreements. The children invoked their right to a balanced and
healthful ecology and to protection by the State in its capacity
as parens patriae. The petitioners claimed that the DENR
Secretary's refusal to cancel the TLAs and to stop issuing them was
contrary to the highest law of humankind which is the natural law
and violative of plaintiffs' right to self-preservation and

perpetuation. The case was dismissed in the lower court, invoking

the law on non-impairment of contracts, so it was brought to the
Supreme Court on certiorari.
Whether the children have the legal standing to file the case.
Yes, the children have the legal standing to file the case.
The Supreme Court in granting the petition ruled that the
children had the legal standing to file the case based on the concept
of intergenerational responsibility. Their right to a healthy
environment carried with it an obligation to preserve that
environment for the succeeding generations. In this, the Court
recognized legal standing to sue on behalf of future generations.
Also, the Court said, the law on non-impairment of contracts must
give way to the exercise of the police power of the state in the
interest of public welfare.


G.R. No. L-46772 February 13, 1992
Medialdea, J.:
Arrozal and Flores were charged with the crime of qualified
theft of logs under Section 68 of Presidential Decree No. 705. They,
together with twenty (20) other John Does whose identities are still
unknown, entered the privately-owned land of Felicitacion Pujalte,
titled in the name of her deceased father, Macario Prudente on the
28th, 29th and 30th days of July 1976, at Barangay Mahabang
Lalim, General Nakar, Quezon. Once inside, they illegally cut,
gather, take, steal and carry away therefrom, without the consent of
the said owner and without any authority under a license
agreement, lease license or permit, sixty logs of different species,

consisting of about 541.48 cubic meters, with total value of

P50,205.52. Arrozal is the administrator of the Infanta Logging
On March 23, 1977, the named accused filed a motion to
quash the information on two (2) grounds, to wit: (1) that the facts
charged do not constitute an offense; and, (2) that the information
does not conform substantially to the prescribed form.
On April 13, 1977, the trial court dismissed the information
on the grounds invoked. The reconsideration sought was denied on
August 9, 1977.
(1) Whether the information charged an offense
(2) Whether the trial court had jurisdiction over the case
1. Yes. The failure of the information to allege that the logs taken
were owned by the state is not fatal. It should be noted that
the logs subject of the complaint were taken not from a public
forest but from private woodland registered in the name of
complainant's deceased father, Macario Prudente. The fact
that only the state can grant a license agreement, license or
lease does not make the state the owner of all the logs and
timber products produced in the Philippines including those
produced in private woodlands.
While it is only the state which can grant a license or
authority to cut, gather, collect or remove forest products it
does not follow that all forest products belong to the state. In
the just cited case, private ownership of forest products grown
in private lands is retained under the principle in civil law that
ownership of the land includes everything found on its
Ownership is not an essential element of the offense as
defined in Section 60 of P.D. No. 705. Thus, the failure of the
information to allege the true owner of the forest products is

not material; it was sufficient that it alleged that the taking

was without any authority or license from the government.
2. Yes. The trial court erred in dismissing the case on the ground
of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter because the
information was filed not pursuant to the complaint of any
forest officer as prescribed in Section 80 of P.D. 705.
The circumstances in the instant case do not fall under any
of the situations covered by Section 80 of P.D. 705. The alleged
offense was committed not in the presence of a forest officer and
neither was the alleged commission reported to any forest officer.
The offense was committed in a private land and the complaint
was brought by a private offended party to the fiscal.
Likewise, the Solicitor General was correct in insisting that
P.D. 705 did not repeal Section 1687 of the Administrative Code
giving authority to the fiscal to conduct investigation into the
matter of any crime or misdemeanor and have the necessary
information or complaint prepared or made against persons
charged with the commission of the crime.
G.R. No. 120365 December 17, 1996
Puno, J.:
Two weeks before March 8, 1994, SPO1 Dexter Corpuz, a
member of the Provincial Task Force on Illegal Logging, received an
information that a ten-wheeler truck loaded with illegally cut
lumber will pass through Ilocos Norte. Acting on said information,
members of the Provincial Task Force went on patrol several times
within the vicinity of General Segundo Avenue in Laoag City.
On March 8, 1994, SPO1 Corpuz, together with SPO1 Zaldy
Asuncion and SPO1 Elmer Patoc went on patrol around the area. At
about 1:00 in the morning, they posted themselves at the corner of
General Segundo Avenue and Rizal Street. Thirty minutes later, they
saw a ten-wheeler truck with plate number PAD-548 pass by. They
followed the truck and apprehended it at the Marcos Bridge.

There were three persons on board the truck: driver Wilfredo

Cacao, accused-appellant Wilson Que, and an unnamed person.
The driver identified accused- appellant as the owner of the truck
and the cargo.
SPO1 Corpuz checked the cargo and found that it contained
coconut slabs. When interviewed, accused-appellant told SPO1
Corpuz that there were sawn lumber inserted in between the
coconut slabs. He asked accused-appellant for the cargo's
supporting documents, specifically: (1) certificate of lumber origin,
(2) certificate of transport agreement, (3) auxiliary invoice, (4)
receipt from the DENR, and (5) certification from the forest ranger
regarding the origin of the coconut slabs. Accused-appellant failed
to present any of these documents. All he could show was a
certification from the Community Environment and Natural
Resources Office (CENRO), Sanchez Mira, Cagayan that he legally
acquired the coconut slabs. The certification was issued to facilitate
transport of the slabs from Sanchez Mira, Cagayan to San Vicente,
Urdaneta, Pangasinan.
SPO1 Corpuz brought accused-appellant to the office of the
Provincial Task Force at the provincial capitol. When the CENRO
personnel inventoried and scaled the seized forest products, they
counted two hundred fifty eight (258) pieces of tanguile lumber with
a total volume of 3,729.3 board feet (8.79 cubic meters) and total
assessed value of P93,232.50.
On June 23, 1994, accused-appellant was charged before the
Regional Trial Court of Laoag with violation of Section 68 of P.D.
705 as amended by E.O. 277. Accused-appellant denied the charge
against him. He claimed that he acquired the 258 pieces of tanguile
lumber from a legal source. During the trial, he presented the
private land timber permits (PLTP) issued by the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to Enrica Cayosa and
Elpidio Sabal. The PLTP authorizes its holder to cut, gather and
dispose timber from the forest area covered by the permit. He
alleged that the tanguile lumber came from the forest area covered
by the PLTP's of Cayosa and Sabal and that they were given to him
by Cayosa and Sabal as payment for his hauling services.
The trial court found accused-appellant guilty and sentenced
him to reclusion perpetua. It also ordered the confiscation of the

seized lumber and the ten-wheeler truck owned by accusedappellant.

Whether it was an error for the Court to convict accused under
Section 68, PD 705 as amended by EO 277

No. Accused-appellant's possession of the subject lumber
without any documentation clearly constitutes an offense under
Section 68 of P.D. 705.
DENR Administrative Order No. 59 series of 1993 specifies the
documents required for the transport of timber and other forest
products. There shall be Certificates of Origin issued by authorized
DENR officials. The transport of lumber shall be accompanied by a
his duly authorized representative which has jurisdiction over the
processing plant producing the said lumber or the lumber firm
authorized to deal in such commodities. In order to be valid, the
CLO must be supported by the company tally sheet or delivery
receipt, and in case of sale, a lumber sales invoice.
When apprehended on March 8, 1994, accused-appellant
failed to present any certificate of origin of the 258 pieces of
tanguile lumber.
ROLDAN, JR. vs. HON. MADRONA, et al.
G.R. No. 152989.September 4, 2002
Manuel Jorge Roldan, Jr. is the owner of 60,000 square meters
of land which he bought from a certain Ildefonso O. Maglasang. On
August 9, 2001, he applied for a Private Land Timber Permit (PLTP)
from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for
him to cut some trees for a proposed road and poultry farm in his

property. He also paid all the fees required by the various

government agencies. While waiting for the permit to be issued, he
was allegedly informed by some employees from the DENR that he
could proceed with the cutting of trees even though his application
was still awaiting approval. Consequently, he proceeded with the
cutting of trees and bulldozing of the roadway.
About three weeks later, representatives of the Community
Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources and personnel
from the Intelligence Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines
(ISAFP) of Tacloban City raided petitioner's place, allegedly without
a search warrant. An inventory of the cut trees was conducted. The
barangay kagawad since there was allegedly no search warrant at
that time.
About two days later, the CENRO representatives came back
with members of the media and ISAFP charging illegal logging but
they failed to get the logs, again for alleged lack of search warrant.
The CENRO group and ISAFP returned, this time armed with a
search warrant and proceeded to confiscate 872 pieces of sawn
lumber/flitches (8,506 board feet) and three felled timber logs with
a total market value of P235,454.68 at P27.00 per board foot.
A complaint for violation of Section 68 of PD 705 as amended
was filed against herein petitioner by CENRO before the City
Prosecutor of Ormoc City. Thereafter, the City Prosecutor issued a
resolution finding probable cause to convict him. A motion for
reconsideration proved futile for, as it turned out, the information
had already been filed in court. Jurisdiction over the case was
transferred to the regional trial court, also a public respondent in
this case.
A warrant for the arrest of petitioner was then issued by the
court a quo. In view thereof, herein petitioner filed with the trial
court a motion for judicial determination of probable cause and the
recall of his warrant of arrest. After hearing the said motion, public
respondent Judge Fortunito L. Madrona denied the motion but
reduced the recommended bail of petitioner.

(1) Whether the owner of a private land may be criminally liable

under Section 68 of PD 705 for cutting trees within his own
(2) Whether the owner of the private property may be
administratively liable under Sec. 14 of DENR Administrative Order
No. 2000-21 despite the fact that he did not transport the logs out
of his property and just used them for his own agricultural
purposes therein
1. Yes. It must be stressed that petitioner is not being charged for
qualified theft but for violation of Section 68, PD 705 hence his
ownership of the land is of no moment. The said law does not
even distinguish whether or not the person who commits the
punishable acts under the aforementioned law is the owner of the
property, for what is material in determining the culpability of a
person is whether or not the person or entity involved or charged
with its violation possesses the required permit, license or
authorization from DENR at the time he or it cuts, gathers or
collects timber or other forest products.
Under Section 68, PD 705 as amended by E.O. 277, it is clear
that the violators of the said law are not declared as being guilty
of qualified theft. Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code
were referred to only for the purpose of determining the
imposable penalties and not to define acts which constitute
qualified theft.
2. Yes. The rule is clear. Section 14 of Administrative Order No.
2000-21, the "Revised Guidelines in the Issuance of Private Land
Timber Permit/Special Private Land Timber Permit," provides:
SEC. 14. Penal Provisions. - Any log/timber or finishedwood products covered by these regulations which are
transported without the prescribed documents shall be
considered illegal and, therefore, subject to confiscation in favor
of the government and shall be disposed in accordance with laws,
rules and regulations governing the matter.

The order considers the mere act of transporting any wood

product or timber without the prescribed documents as an offense
which is subject to the penalties provided for by law.
G.R. No. 167707, October 8, 2008
G.R. No. 173775, October 8, 2008
Reyes, R.T., J.:
The then President Marcos issued Proc. No. 1801 on
November 10, 1978 declaring Boracay Island, among other islands,
caves and peninsulas in the Philippines, as tourist zones and
marine reserves under the administration of the Philippine
Tourism Authority (PTA). President Marcos later approved the
issuance of PTA Circular 3-82 dated September 3, 1982, to
implement Proclamation No. 1801.
Claiming that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No 382 precluded them from filing an application for judicial
confirmation of imperfect title or survey of land for titling purposes,
respondents-claimants Mayor . Yap, Jr., and others filed a petition
for declaratory relief with the RTC in Kalibo, Aklan.
In their petition, respondents-claimants alleged that Proc. No.
1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 raised doubts on their right to
secure titles over their occupied lands. They declared that they,
themselves, or through their predecessors-in-interest, had been in
open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and
occupation in Boracay since June 12, 1945, or earlier since time
immemorial. They declared their lands for tax purposes and paid

realty taxes on them. Respondents-claimants posited that

Proclamation No. 1801 and its implementing Circular did not place
Boracay beyond the commerce of man. Since the Island was
classified as a tourist zone, it was susceptible of private ownership.
Under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, they had the right to
have the lots registered in their names through judicial
confirmation of imperfect titles.
The Republic, through the OSG, opposed the petition for
declaratory relief. The OSG countered that Boracay Island was
an unclassified land of the public domain. It formed part of the
mass of lands classified as public forest, which was not available
for disposition pursuant to Section 3(a) of the Revised Forestry
Code, as amended. The OSG maintained that respondentsclaimants reliance on PD No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 was
misplaced. Their right to judicial confirmation of title was governed
by Public Land Act and Revised Forestry Code, as amended. Since
Boracay Island had not been classified as alienable and disposable,
whatever possession they had cannot ripen into ownership.
On July 14, 1999, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of
respondents-claimants, declaring that, PD 1810 and PTA Circular
No. 3-82 Revised Forestry Code, as amended.
The OSG moved for reconsideration but its motion was
denied. The Republic then appealed to the CA. On In 2004, the
appellate court affirmed in toto the RTC decision. Again, the OSG
sought reconsideration but it was similarly denied. Hence, the
present petition under Rule 45.
On May 22, 2006, during the pendency the petition in the trial
court, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No.
1064 classifying Boracay Island partly reserved forest land
(protection purposes) and partly agricultural land (alienable and
On August 10, 2006, petitioners-claimants Sacay,and other
landowners in Boracay filed with this Court an original petition for
prohibition, mandamus, and nullification of Proclamation No.
1064. They allege that the Proclamation infringed on their prior
vested rights over portions of Boracay. They have been in

continued possession of their respective lots in Boracay since time

Whether the present occupants of Boracay Island has the
right to secure titles over their occupied lands.
No. Except for lands already covered by existing titles, Boracay
was an unclassified land of the public domain prior to Proclamation
No. 1064. Such unclassified lands are considered public forest
under PD No. 705.
PD No. 705 issued by President Marcos categorized all
unclassified lands of the public domain as public forest. Section
3(a) of PD No. 705 defines a public forest as a mass of lands of the
public domain which has not been the subject of the present system
of classification for the determination of which lands are needed for
forest purpose and which are not. Applying PD No. 705, all
unclassified lands, including those in Boracay Island, are ipso
facto considered public forests. PD No. 705, however, respects titles
already existing prior to its effectivity.
The 1935 Constitution classified lands of the public domain
into agricultural, forest or timber, such classification modified by
the 1973 Constitution. The 1987 Constitution reverted to the 1935
Constitution classification with one addition: national parks. Of
these, only agricultural
alienated. Prior
Proclamation No. 1064 of May 22, 2006, Boracay Island
had never been expressly and administratively classified under any
of these grand divisions. Boracay was an unclassified land of the
public domain.
A positive act declaring land as alienable and disposable is
required. In keeping with the presumption of State ownership, the
Court has time and again emphasized that there must be a positive
act of the government, such as a presidential proclamation or an
executive order; an administrative action; investigation reports of
Bureau of Lands investigators; and a legislative act or a statute. The
applicant may also secure a certification from the government that

the land claimed to have been possessed for the required number of
years is alienable and disposable. The burden of proof in
overcoming such presumption is on the person applying for
registration (or claiming ownership), who must prove that the land
subject of the application is alienable or disposable.
In the case at bar, no such proclamation, executive order,
administrative action, report, statute, or certification was presented
to the Court. The records are bereft of evidence showing that, prior
to 2006, the portions of Boracay occupied by private claimants were
subject of a government proclamation that the land is alienable and
disposable. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot
be assumed. They call for proof.
Proc. No. 1801 cannot be deemed the positive act needed to
classify Boracay Island as alienable and disposable land. If
President Marcos intended to classify the island as alienable and
disposable or forest, or both, he would have identified the specific
limits of each, as President Arroyo did in Proclamation No. 1064.
This was not done in Proclamation No. 1801.