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Sibayan, Elyza R.

JD 2

October 2016
Case Digests

1. APEX MINING CO., INC GR Nos 152613 & 152628

This resolves the motion for reconsideration dated 12 July 2006, filed
by Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corporation (SEM), of this Courts
Decision dated 23 June 2006). 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, i.e., that the same shall be for the
exclusive use and benefit of Marcopper Mining Corporation (MMC) or its duly
authorized agents.
Since SEM did not claim or submit evidence that it was a designated
agent of MMC, the latter cannot be considered as an agent of the former that
can use EP 133 and benefit from it. 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 133 expired by non-renewal since it
was not renewed before or after its expiration.
The Assailed Decision 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 Gold
Rush 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.
SEM also filed a Motion for Referral of Case to the Court En Banc and
for Oral Arguments dated 22 August 2006.
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.
In its Manifestation and Motion dated 28 July 2006, 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 this Court 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.
1) Whether MMC or SEM Have Vested Rights over the Diwalwal Gold Rush
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2) Whether PD 463 is applicable in this case

3) Whether the 23 June 2006 Decision reversed the 16 July 1991 Decision of
the Court en banc entitled, Apex Mining Co., Inc. v. Garcia.
1) MMC or SEM Did Not Have Vested Rights over the Diwalwal Gold Rush Area
In the instant cases, SEM does not aver or prove that its mining rights
had been perfected and completed when the Philippine Bill of 1902 was still
the operative law. Surely, it is impossible for SEM to successfully assert that
it acquired mining rights over the disputed area in accordance with the same
bill, since it was only in 1984 that MMC, SEMs predecessor-in-interest, filed
its declaration of locations and its prospecting permit application in
compliance with Presidential Decree No. 463. It was on 1 July 1985 and 10
March 1986 that a Prospecting Permit and EP 133, respectively, were issued
to MMC. Considering these facts, there is no possibility that MMC or SEM
could have acquired a perfected mining claim under the auspices of the
Philippine Bill of 1902. Whatever mining rights MMC had that it invalidly
transferred to SEM cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be considered
mining rights as contemplated under the Philippine Bill of 1902 and
immortalized in McDaniel and Gold Creek Mining.
SEM likens EP 133 with a building permit. SEM likewise equates its
supposed rights attached to the exploration permit with the rights that a
private property land owner has to said landholding. This analogy has no
basis in law. As earlier discussed, under the 1935, 1973 and 1987
Constitutions, national wealth, such as mineral resources, are owned by the
State and not by their discoverer. The discoverer or locator can only develop
and utilize said minerals for his own benefit if he has complied with all the
requirements set forth by applicable laws and if the State has conferred on
him such right through permits, concessions or agreements. In other words,
without the imprimatur of the State, any mining aspirant does not have any
definitive right over the mineral land because, unlike a private landholding,
mineral land is owned by the State, and the same cannot be alienated to any
private person as explicitly stated in Section 2, Article XIV of the 1987
It is evident that what MMC had over the disputed area during the
assignment was an exploration permit. Clearly, the right that SEM acquired
was limited to exploration, only because MMC was a mere holder of an
exploration permit. As previously explained, SEM did not acquire the rights
inherent in the permit, as the assignment by MMC to SEM was done in
violation of the condition stipulated in the permit, and the assignment was
effected without the approval of the proper authority in contravention of the
provision of the mining law governing at that time. In addition, the permit
expired on 6 July 1994. It is, therefore, quite clear that SEM has no right over
the area.
An exploration permit does not automatically ripen into a right to
extract and utilize the minerals; much less does it develop into a vested
right. The holder of an exploration permit only has the right to conduct
exploration works on the area awarded. Presidential Decree No. 463 defined
exploration as the examination and investigation of lands supposed to
contain valuable minerals, by drilling, trenching, shaft sinking, tunnelling,
test pitting and other means, for the purpose of probing the presence of
mineral deposits and the extent thereof. Exploration does not include
development and exploitation of the minerals found. Development is defined
by the same statute as the steps necessarily taken to reach an ore body or
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mineral deposit so that it can be mined, whereas exploitation is defined as

the extraction and utilization of mineral deposits. An exploration permit is
nothing more than a mere right accorded to its holder to be given priority in
the governments consideration in the granting of the right to develop and
utilize the minerals over the area. An exploration permit is merely inchoate,
in that the holder still has to comply with the terms and conditions embodied
in the permit.
2) The Assignment of EP No. 133 by MMC in Favor of SEM Violated Section 97
of Presidential Decree No. 463 and the Terms and Conditions Set Forth in the
It is instructive to note that under Section 13 of Presidential Decree No.
463, the prospecting and exploration of minerals in government reservations,
such as forest reservations, are prohibited, except with the permission of the
government agency concerned. It is the government agency concerned that
has the prerogative to conduct prospecting, exploration and exploitation of
such reserved lands. It is only in instances wherein said government agency,
in this case the Bureau of Mines, cannot undertake said mining operations
that qualified persons may be allowed by the government to undertake such
operations. PNOC-EDC v. Veneracion, Jr. outlines the five requirements for
acquiring mining rights in reserved lands under Presidential Decree No. 463:
(1) a prospecting permit from the agency that has jurisdiction over the land;
(2) an exploration permit from the Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences
(BMGS); (3) if the exploration reveals the presence of commercial deposit,
application to BMGS by the permit holder for the exclusion of the area from
the reservation; (4) a grant by the President of the application to exclude the
area from the reservation; and (5) a mining agreement (lease, license or
concession) approved by the DENR Secretary.
Here, MMC met the first and second requirements and obtained an
exploration permit over the disputed forest reserved land. Although MMC still
has to prove to the government that it is qualified to develop and utilize the
subject mineral land, as it has yet to go through the remaining process
before it can secure a lease agreement, nonetheless, it is bound to follow
Section 97 of Presidential Decree No. 463. The logic is not hard to discern. If
a lease holder, who has already demonstrated to the government his
capacity and qualifications to further develop and utilize the minerals within
the contract area, is prohibited from transferring his mining rights (rights to
explore, develop and utilize), with more reason will this proscription apply
with extra force to a mere exploration permit holder who is yet to exhibit his
qualifications in conducting mining operations. The rationale for the approval
requirement under Section 97 of Presidential Decree No. 463 is not hard to
see. Exploration permits are strictly granted to entities or individuals
possessing the resources and capability to undertake mining operations.
Mining industry is a major support of the national economy and the
continuous and intensified exploration, development and wise utilization of
mining resources is vital for national development. For this reason,
Presidential Decree No. 463 makes it imperative that in awarding mining
operations, only persons possessing the financial resources and technical
skill for modern exploratory and development techniques are encouraged to
undertake the exploration, development and utilization of the countrys
natural resources.
3) The Assailed Decision Resolved Facts and Issues That Transpired after the
Promulgation of Apex Mining Co., Inc. v. Garcia
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The assailed Decision DID NOT overturn the 16 July 1991 Decision in
Apex Mining Co., Inc. v. Garcia. It must be pointed out that what Apex Mining
Co., Inc. v. Garcia resolved was the issue of which, between Apex and MMC,
availed itself of the proper procedure in acquiring the right to prospect and to
explore in the Agusan-Davao-Surigao Forest Reserve. Apex registered its
Declarations of Location (DOL) with the then BMGS, while MMC was granted
a permit to prospect by the Bureau of Forest Development (BFD) and was
subsequently granted an exploration permit by the BMGS. Taking into
consideration Presidential Decree No. 463, which provides that mining rights
within forest reservation can be acquired by initially applying for a permit to
prospect with the BFD and subsequently for a permit to explore with the
BMGS, the Court therein ruled that MMC availed itself of the proper
procedure to validly operate within the forest reserve or reservation.
While it is true that Apex Mining Co., Inc. v. Garcia settled the issue of
which between Apex and MMC was legally entitled to explore in the disputed
area, such rights, though, were extinguished by subsequent events that
transpired after the decision was promulgated.
On June 1, 1987, Benguet and J.G. Realty entered into a RAWOP,
wherein J.G. Realty was acknowledged as the owner of four mining claims
respectively named as Bonito-I, Bonito-II, Bonito-III, and Bonito-IV, with a
total area of 288.8656 hectares, situated in Camarines Norte. The parties
also executed a Supplemental Agreement dated June 1, 1987. The mining
claims were covered by MPSA Application No. APSA-V-0009 jointly filed by
J.G. Realty as claim owner and Benguet as operator.
In the RAWOP, Benguet obligated itself to perfect the rights to the
mining claims and/or otherwise acquire the mining rights to the mineral
claims. Within 24 months from the execution of the RAWOP, Benguet should
also cause the examination of the mining claims for the purpose of
determining whether or not they are worth developing with reasonable
probability of profitable production. Benguet undertook also to furnish J.G.
Realty with a report on the examination, within a reasonable time after the
completion of the examination. Moreover, also within the examination
period, Benguet shall conduct all necessary exploration in accordance with a
prepared exploration program. If it chooses to do so and before the
expiration of the examination period, Benguet may undertake to develop the
mining claims upon written notice to J.G. Realty. Benguet must then place the
mining claims into commercial productive stage within 24 months from the
written notice. It is also provided in the RAWOP that if the mining claims were
placed in commercial production by Benguet, J.G. Realty should be entitled to
a royalty of five percent (5%) of net realizable value, and to royalty for any
production done by Benguet whether during the examination or development
Thus, on August 9, 1989, the Executive Vice-President of Benguet issued a
letter informing J.G. Realty of its intention to develop the mining claims.
However, on February 9, 1999, J.G. Realty then sent a letter to the President
of Benguet informing the latter that it was terminating the RAWOP.
In response, Benguets Manager for Legal Services, Reynaldo P.
Mendoza, wrote J.G. Realty a letter dated March 8, 1999, therein alleging that
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Benguet complied with its obligations under the RAWOP, and that the
commercial operation was hampered by the non-issuance of a Mines
Temporary Permit by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) which must
be considered as force majeure, entitling Benguet to an extension of time to
prosecute such permit. Benguet further claimed that the high graders
mentioned by J.G. Realty was already operating prior to Benguet's taking
over of the premises, and that J.G. Realty had the obligation of ejecting such
small scale miners. Benguet also alleged that the nature of the mining
business made it difficult to specify a time limit for the RAWOP. Benguet then
argued that the royalties due to J.G. Realty were in fact in its office and ready
to be picked up at any time. It appeared that, previously, the practice by J.G.
Realty was to pick-up checks from Benguet representing such royalties.
However, starting August 1994, J.G. Realty allegedly refused to collect such
checks from Benguet. Thus, Benguet posited that there was no valid ground
for the termination of the RAWOP. It also reminded J.G. Realty that it should
submit the disagreement to arbitration rather than unilaterally terminating
the RAWOP.
(1) Should the controversy have first been submitted to arbitration before
the POA took cognizance of the case?
(2) Was the cancellation of the RAWOP supported by evidence?
(3) Did the cancellation of the RAWOP amount to unjust enrichment of J.G.
Realty at the expense of Benguet?
1) The case should have first been brought to voluntary arbitration before
the POA.
In RA 9285 or the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004, the
Congress reiterated the efficacy of arbitration as an alternative mode of
dispute resolution by stating in Sec. 32 thereof that domestic arbitration shall
still be governed by RA 876. Clearly, a contractual stipulation that requires
prior resort to voluntary arbitration before the parties can go directly to court
is not illegal and is in fact promoted by the State. Thus, petitioner correctly
cites several cases whereby arbitration clauses have been upheld by this
Moreover, the contention that RA 7942 prevails over RA 876
presupposes a conflict between the two laws. Such is not the case here. To
reiterate, availment of voluntary arbitration before resort is made to the
courts or quasi-judicial agencies of the government is a valid contractual
stipulation that must be adhered to by the parties.
2) The cancellation of the RAWOP was supported by evidence.
The cancellation of the RAWOP by the POA was based on two grounds: (1)
Benguets failure to pay J.G. Realtys royalties for the mining claims; and (2)
Benguets failure to seriously pursue MPSA Application No. APSA-V-0009 over
the mining claims.
3) There is no unjust enrichment in the instant case
Clearly, there is no unjust enrichment in the instant case as the
cancellation of the RAWOP, which left Benguet without any legal right to
participate in further developing the mining claims, was brought about by its
violation of the RAWOP. Hence, Benguet has no one to blame but itself for its

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This case originated from a petition filed by respondent [Sulu
Resources Development Corporation] for Mines Production Sharing
Agreement (MPSA) covering certain areas in Antipolo Rizal. Petitioner
[Armando C. Carpio] filed an opposition/adverse claim thereto, alleging, inter
alia, 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.
After due proceedings were held, the Panel of Arbitrators of the Mines
and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the DENR rendered a Resolution dated
September 26, 1996, upholding petitioners opposition/adverse claim.
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, as held in
Pearson v. Intermediate Appellate Court. Under RA 7942, the settlement of
disputes involving rights to mining areas, mineral agreements, and surface
owners, occupants and claimholders/concessionaires shall pertain exclusively
to a Panel of Arbitrators in the regional office of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources, whose decisions are appealable to the
Mines Adjudication Board. 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.
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.
We hold that respondents reliance on Pearson is misplaced. The
claimant therein sued in the then Court of First Instance (CFI) to prevent the
execution of a Decision rendered by the panel of investigators of the Bureau
of Mines and the Office of the President. Despite a Motion to Dismiss filed by
the mining companies, the CFI ordered the creation of a committee to
determine the correct tie-point of their claims. So, the mining companies
went to the then Intermediate Appellate Court (IAC) via a Petition for
Certiorari under Rule 65. The claimants averred that the appellate court had
no jurisdiction.
In the case at bar, petitioner went to the CA through a Petition for
Review on Certiorari under Rule 43, seeking a reversal of the MAB Decision.
Given the difference in the reason for and the mode of appeal, it is obvious
that Pearson is not applicable here.
Still, we can draw one lesson. Far from dismissing the case on the
ground of lack of jurisdiction, Pearson expressly held that the CA had
jurisdiction over the petition for certiorari, because Section 9 of BP Blg. 129
(The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980), now incorporated in Section 4,
Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, vested the then IAC with original
jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari and prohibition, among other auxiliary
writs. However, even though the Supreme Court has concurrent jurisdiction
with the CA and the Regional Trial Courts to issue a writ of mandamus,
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prohibition or certiorari, litigants are well advised against taking a direct

recourse to this Court without initially seeking proper relief from the lower
courts, in accordance with the hierarchy of courts.
In Pearson, what was under review was the ruling of the CFI to take
cognizance of the case which had been earlier decided by the MAB, not the
MAB Decision itself which was promulgated by the CA under Rule 43. The
present petitioner seeks a review of the latter.
Pearson held that the nature of the primary powers granted by law to
the then secretary of agriculture and natural resources as well as to the
director of mines were executive or administrative, such as granting of
license, permits, lease and contracts[;] or approving, rejecting, reinstating or
cancelling applications[;] or deciding conflicting applications. These powers
should be distinguished from litigants disagreements or controversies that
are civil or contractual in nature, which may be adjudicated only by the
courts of justice. The findings of fact of the MAB, which exercises appellate
jurisdiction over decisions or orders of the panel of arbitrators, are conclusive
and binding on the parties; its decisions or orders on these are final and
executory. But petitions for certiorari may be filed with the appropriate
courts. In short, the Court held that the appellate jurisdiction of the IAC (now
the CA) in Pearson fell under Rule 65 -- not 43 -- because what was being
impugned was grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CFI.
Pearson, however, should be understood in the light of other equally
relevant jurisprudence. In Fabian v. Desierto, the Court clarified that appeals
from judgments and final orders of quasi-judicial agencies are now required
to be brought to the CA, under the requirements and conditions set forth in
Rule 43. This Rule was adopted precisely to provide a uniform rule of
appellate procedure from quasi-judicial agencies.
Section 27 of RA 6770 which is similarly worded as Section 79 of the
Philippine Mining Act, was struck down by Fabian as unconstitutional,
because it had broadened the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court,
without its consent, in violation of Section 30 of Article VI of the Constitution.
In short, Section 27 of RA 6770 which provides that all administrative
decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme
Court was unconstitutional.
In another case, held invalid in the light of Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of
Court was Section 3 of Executive Order No. 561, which had declared that
decisions of the Commission on Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP) were
appealable exclusively to the Supreme Court. There is no convincing reason
why appeals from the COSLAP should be treated differently from those
arising from other quasi-judicial bodies, the decisions of which are directly
appealable to the CA under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules.
Finally, Metro Construction, Inc. v. Chat ham Properties, Inc. held that
Section 19 of Executive Order No. 1008 -- which had deemed arbitral awards
of the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC) to be appealable
to the Supreme Court on questions of law -- was modified by Circular No. 191, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 as amended by RA 7902, Revised
Administrative Circular 1-95, and Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. Reiterating
Fabian, the Court ruled that appeals were procedural and remedial in nature;
hence, constitutionally subject to this Courts rule-making power.

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In the present case, it is claimed that a petition for review is improper

because petitioners challenge is purely factual, bearing only on the MAB
ruling that there was no overlap or conflict between the litigants claims.
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
On September 24, 1973, the then Secretary of Agriculture and Natural
Resources and Infanta Mineral and Industrial Corporation (Infanta) entered
into a Mining Lease Contract (V-1050) for a term of 25 years up to September
23, 1998 for mining lode claims covering an area of 216 hectares at Brookes
Point, Palawan. Infantas corporate name was changed to Cobertson Holdings
Corporation on January 26, 1994 and subsequently to its present name,
Macroasia Corporation, on November 6, 1995.
Sometime in 1997, 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. V-1050, before the Panel of Arbitrators
(POA) of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB) of the DENR. The petition
was docketed as DENR Case No. 97-01.
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. The petition was eventually docketed as DENR Case
No. 97-02.
Celestial is the assignee of 144 mining claims covering such areas
contiguous to Infantas (now Macroasia) mining lode claims. Said area was
involved in protracted administrative disputes with Infanta (now Macroasia),
Lecar & Sons, Inc., and Palawan Nickel Mining Corporation. 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 Point.
Celestial sought the cancellation of Macroasias lease contracts on the
following grounds: (1) the nonpayment of Macroasia of required occupational
fees and municipal taxes; (2) the non-filing of Macroasia of Affidavits of
Annual Work Obligations; (3) the failure of Macroasia to provide
improvements on subject mining claims; (4) the concentration of Macroasia
on logging; (5) the encroachment, mining, and extraction by Macroasia of
nickel ore from Celestials property; (6) the ability of Celestial to subject the
mining areas to commercial production; and (7) the willingness of Celestial to
pay fees and back taxes of Macroasia.
In the later part of the proceedings, Macroasia intervened in the case
and submitted its position paper refuting the grounds for cancellation
invoked by Celestial.
The POA granted the petition of Celestial to cancel the following Mining
Lease Contracts of Macroasia: LLC-V-941, LLC-V-1050, LLC-V-1060, LLC-V1061, LLC-V-1073, MLC-MRD-52, and MLC-MRC-53; and found the claims of
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the others indubitably meritorious. It gave Celestial the preferential right to

Macroasias mining areas.
The MAB affirmed the POA findings that Macroasia abandoned its
mining claims. The MAB found that Macroasia did not comply with its work
obligations from 1986 to 1991. It based its conclusion on the field
verifications conducted by the MGB, Region IV and validated by the Special
Team tasked by the MAB. However, contrary to the findings of the POA, the
MAB found that it was Blue Ridge that had prior and preferential rights over
the mining claims of Macroasia, and not Celestial.
The CA 12th Division affirmed the November 26, 2004 MAB Resolution
which declared Macroasias seven mining lease contracts as subsisting;
rejected Blue Ridges claim for preferential right over said mining claims; and
upheld the exclusive authority of the DENR Secretary to approve, cancel, and
revoke mineral agreements. On May 18, 2006, the CA Special 10th Division
in CA-G.R. SP No. 90828 granted Blue Ridges petition; reversed and set aside
the November 26, 2004 and July 12, 2005 Resolutions of the MAB; and
reinstated the October 24, 2000 Decision in MAB Case Nos. 056-97 and 05797.
ISSUE: 1) Whether the PAO has authority and jurisdiction to cancel existing
mineral agreements under RA 7942 in relation to PD 463 and pertinent rules
and regulations.
2) Whether Macroasia is stopped.
1) 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 based on the
following reasons:
1. 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 agreements.
2. RA 7942 confers to the DENR Secretary specific authority over mineral
3. Under RA 7942, the power of control and supervision of the DENR
Secretary over the MGB to cancel or recommend cancellation of mineral
rights clearly demonstrates the authority of the DENR Secretary to cancel or
approve the cancellation of mineral agreements.
4. The DENR Secretarys power to cancel mining rights or agreements
through the MGB can be inferred from Sec. 230, Chapter XXIV of DENR AO
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96-40 on cancellation, revocation, and termination of a permit/mineral

5. Celestial and Blue Ridge are not unaware of the stipulations in the Mining
Lease Contract Nos. V-1050 and MRD-52, the cancellation of which they
sought from the POA. It is clear from said lease contracts that the parties are
the Republic of the Philippines represented by the Secretary of Agriculture
and Natural Resources (now DENR Secretary) as lessor, and Infanta
(Macroasia) as lessee.
2) Macroasia not estopped from raising the issue of jurisdiction on appeal
We rule that the principle of estoppel does not apply. Indeed, Macroasia
was not the one that initiated the instant case before the POA, and thus was
not the one that invoked the jurisdiction of the POA. Hence, on appeal,
Macroasia is not precluded from raising the issue of jurisdiction as it may be
invoked even on appeal.
GR No. 162331
On 22 March 1995, the Philippine Government and WMC Philippines,
the local wholly-owned subsidiary of WMC Resources International Pty. Ltd.
(WMC Resources) executed a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement,
denominated as the Columbio FTAA No. 02-95-XI (Columbio FTAA) for the
purpose of large scale exploration, development, and commercial exploration
of possible mineral resources in an initial 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 purchase the subject shares. On 28 August 2000,
petitioner sought the approval of the 12 July 2000 Agreement from the DENR
In an Agreement dated 6 October 2000, however, the Tampakan
Companies sought to exercise its right of first refusal. Thus, in a letter dated
13 October 2000, petitioner assailed the Tampakan Companies exercise of its
right of first refusal, alleging that the Tampakan Companies failed to match
the terms and conditions set forth in the 12 July 2000 Agreement.

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Thereafter, petitioner filed a case for Injunction, Specific Performance,

Annulment of Contracts and Contractual Interference with the Regional Trial
Court of Makati, Branch 135, against WMC Resources, WMC Philippines, and
the Tampakan Companies. WMC Philippines and the Tampakan Companies
moved for the dismissal of said case. Said Motion to Dismiss having been
denied, WMC Philippines challenged the order dismissing the Motion on
appeal before the Court of Appeals which subsequently ordered the dismissal
of the case on the ground of forum shopping.
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 the shareholdings 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. The Office of the President
dismissed the petition.
ISSUE: Whether the propriety of the application to the Columbio FTAA of
Republic Act No. 7942 or 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.
Article 4 of the Civil Code provides that: Laws shall not have a
retroactive effect unless therein otherwise provided. According to this
provision of law, in order that a law may have retroactive effect it is
necessary that an express provision to this effect be made in the law,
otherwise nothing should be understood which is not embodied in the law.
Furthermore, it must be borne in mind that a law is a rule established to
guide our actions without no binding effect until it is enacted, wherefore, it
has no application to past times but only to future time, and that is why it is
said that the law looks to the future only and has no retroactive effect unless
the legislator may have formally given that effect to some legal provisions.
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
Page 11 of 48

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.
Petitioners John Eric Loney, Steven Paul Reid, and Pedro B. Hernandez
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
Marcopper had been storing tailings 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 Article 91(B), sub-paragraphs 5 and 6 of Presidential Decree No.
1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines (PD 1067), Section 8 of
Presidential Decree No. 984 or the National Pollution Control Decree of 1976
(PD 984), Section 108 of Republic Act No. 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of
1995 (RA 7942), and Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property.
In its Resolution of 20 March 1998, Branch 94 granted public
respondents appeal but denied petitioners petition. Branch 94 set aside the
Consolidated Order in so far as it quashed the Informations for violation of PD
1067 and PD 984 and ordered those charges reinstated.
In its Decision of 5 November 2001, the Court of Appeals affirmed
Branch 94s ruling.
ISSUE: (1) Whether all the charges filed against petitioners except one should
be quashed for duplicity of charges and only the charge for Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property should stand; and
(2) Whether Branch 94s ruling, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals,
contravenes People v. Relova.
RULING: Petition has no merit.
1) The contention has no merit. As early as the start of the last century, this
Court had ruled that a single act or incident might offend against two or
more entirely distinct and unrelated provisions of law thus justifying the
prosecution of the accused for more than one offense.[24] The only limit to
this rule is the Constitutional prohibition that no person shall be twice put in
jeopardy of punishment for the same offense.
2) 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,
Page 12 of 48

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
Constitution. 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.
In 1987, the 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. On April 29, 1988, Banahaw Mining was issued a Mines
Temporary Permit authorizing it to extract and dispose of precious minerals
found within its mining claims. 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 Agreement, 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. In
1991, Banahaw Mining converted 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.
Page 13 of 48

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
Adverse Claim and/or Opposition to private respondent Base Metals
The Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the MAB, ruling that the
Presidential Warranty of September 25, 1968 issued by then President
Ferdinand E. Marcos merely confirmed the timber license granted to PICOP
and warranted the latters peaceful and adequate possession and enjoyment
of its concession areas. It was only given upon the request of the Board of
Investments to establish the boundaries of PICOPs timber license agreement.
The Presidential Warranty did not convert PICOPs timber license into a
contract because it did not create any obligation on the part of the
government in favor of PICOP. Thus, the non-impairment clause finds no
(1)Whether 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) Whether its Presidential Warranty is protected by the non-impairment
clause of the Constitution;
(3) Whether the petition raises new issues.
1) Firstly, assuming that the area covered by Base Metals MPSA is a
government reservation, defined as proclaimed reserved lands for specific
purposes other than mineral reservations,[21] such does not necessarily
preclude mining activities in the area. Sec. 15(b) of DAO 96-40 provides that
government reservations may be opened for mining applications upon prior
written clearance by the government agency having jurisdiction over such
Sec. 6 of RA 7942 also provides that mining operations in reserved
lands other than mineral reservations may be undertaken by the DENR,
subject to certain limitations. secondly, RA 7942 does not disallow mining
applications in all forest reserves but only those proclaimed as watershed
forest reserves. 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 AgusanDavao-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 Proclamation 369, 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-Davao-Surigao 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.

Page 14 of 48

Moreover, Sec. 18 RA 7942 allows mining even in timberland or

forestry subject to existing rights and reservations.
Thirdly, PICOP failed to present any evidence that the area covered by the
MPSA is a protected wilderness area designated as an initial component of
the NIPAS pursuant to a law, presidential decree, presidential proclamation or
executive order as required by RA 7586.
Although the above-cited area status and clearances, particularly those
pertaining to MPSA Nos. 012 and 013, state that portions thereof are within
the wilderness area of PICOP, there is no showing that this supposed
wilderness area has been proclaimed, designated or set aside as such,
pursuant to a law, presidential decree, presidential proclamation or executive
order. It should be emphasized that it is only when this area has been so
designated that Sec. 20 of RA 7586, which prohibits mineral locating within
protected areas, becomes operational.
From the foregoing, there is clearly no merit to PICOPs contention that
the area covered by Base Metals MPSA is, by law, closed to mining activities.
2) Finally, we 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. We agree with the OSGs position that it is
merely a collateral undertaking which cannot amplify PICOPs rights under its
timber license. Our definitive ruling in Oposa v. Factoran that a timber license
is not a contract within the purview of the non-impairment clause is edifying.
3) Our own perusal of the records of this case reveals that this is not entirely
It is true though that PICOP expounded on the applicability of RA 3092,
RA 7586, and RA 7942 for the first time in its motion for reconsideration of
the appellate courts Decision. It was only in its motion for reconsideration
that PICOP argued that the area covered by PTLA No. 47 and IFMA No. 35 are
permanent forest lands covered by RA 7586 which cannot be entered for
mining purposes, and shall remain indefinitely as such for forest uses and
cannot be excluded or diverted for other uses except after reclassification
through a law enacted by Congress.
Even so, we hold that that the so-called new issues raised by PICOP are
well within the issues framed by the parties in the proceedings a quo. Thus,
they are not, strictly speaking, being raised for the first time on appeal.
Besides, Base Metals and the OSG have been given ample opportunity, by
way of the pleadings filed with this Court, to respond to PICOPs arguments.
Page 15 of 48

MARCOPPER MINING CORPORATION registered its mining claims in Palo,
Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya with the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) from 2 February 1982 to 12 October 1982. Private
respondents Alberto G. Bumolo, Benito Cachili, Conchita Bumolo, Patricio
Dumlao, Jacinto Aliguyon, Alfonso Maddawat, Toledo Gillao, Jose Tigo and
Peter Cabiggat Bumolo and others, namely, Rosario Camma, Mariano
Maddela, Victor Guiaoan and Catalino Randa, 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
On 12 March 1982 petitioner entered into Option Agreements over the
mining claims with respondent Alberto G. Bumolo, for himself and as
attorney-in-fact of the other respondents on one hand; and with Rosario
Camma on the other, for herself and as attorney-in-fact of the rest. 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 23 December 1982 and 26 March 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 26 June
1969 and with the Department of Agrarian Reform (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 11 February 1991 and 12 March 1991 petitioner informed
respondent Alberto G. Bumolo and Rosario Camma that it was terminating
the Agreements since its conduct of a systematic exploration program
disclosed that the area was relatively weak and of limited tonnage which did
not justify further drilling for big tonnage of low grade gold exploration
On 15 July 1991 DENR Regional Executive Director Leonardo A. Paat
rejected petitioners Prospecting Permit Application (PPA) on the ground that
the Memorandum of 8 July 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.
ISSUE: Whether respondent MAB erred in finding that the area subject of the
PPA was outside the Magat River Forest Reservation.
RULING: Respondent MAB correctly upheld the ratiocination of Regional
Executive Director Paragas in denying petitioner's PPA.
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 as early as 31 May 1989 by the Forest
Engineering Section of Tuguegarao, Cagayan; (b) the 8 July 1991
Memorandum 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
Page 16 of 48

anything to support it, the aforementioned documents which the Regional

Executive Directors relied upon in denying the PPA had already settled the
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 1996 and 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.
Petitioner Santa Rosa Mining Company, Inc. (petitioner, for short) is a
mining corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the
Philippines. It alleges that it is the holder of fifty (50) valid mining claims
situated in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, acquired under the provisions
of the Act of the U.S. Congress dated 1 July 1902.
On 14 October 1977, Presidential Decree 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 (1) year from the approval of the Decree. Petitioner
accordingly filed a mining lease application, but "under protest," on 13
October 1978, 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.
On 10 October 1978, or three (3) 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 Court of First Instance of Camarines Norte (CFI, for short) in
land registration proceedings initiated by third persons, such as, a
September 1951 land title application by a certain Gervacio Liwanag, where
the Director of Mines opposed the grant of said application because herein
petitioner, according to him (Director of Mines), had already located and
perfected its mining claims over the area applied for. Petitioner also cites LRC
Case No. 240, filed 11 July 1960, by one Antonio Astudillo and decided in
1974 against said applicant, in which, petitioner's mining claims were
described as vested property outside the jurisdiction of the Director of Mines.
ISSUE: 1) Whether the issuance of mining permits declares an already vested
right that cannot be overturned by a presidential decree.
2) Whether PD 1214 is unconstitutional.
1) 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 possessory right,
more so, in this case, where petitioner's claims are still unpatented. They can
Page 17 of 48

be lost through abandonment or forfeiture or they may be revoked for valid

legal grounds. The statement in McDaniel v. Apacible that "There is no
pretense in the present case that the petitioner has not complied with all the
requirements of the law in making the location of the mineral claims in
question, or that the claims in question were ever abandoned or forfeited by
him," 9 confirms that a valid mining claim may still be lost through
abandonment or forfeiture.
The petitioner cannot successfully plead the ruling in Gold Creek
Mining Corp. v. Rodriguez, supra. In that case, what was in issue was Gold
Creek's right to a patent over its mining claim, after compliance with all legal
requirements for a patent. In the present case, no application for patent is in
issue, although as a holder of patentable mining claims petitioner could have
applied for one during all these years but inexplicably did not do so. In Gold
Creek, no finding of abandonment was ever made against the mining
claimant as to deprive it of the initial privilege given by virtue of its location;
on the other hand, such a finding has been made in petitioner's case
(although the finding among others is on appeal with the President).
2) 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.
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. Located at Mt. Diwata in the municipalities of Monkayo and Cateel in
Davao Del Norte, the land has been embroiled in controversy since the mid80s due to the scramble over gold deposits found within its bowels.
From 1985 to 1991, thousands of people flocked to Diwalwal to stake
their respective claims. Peace and order deteriorated rapidly, with hundreds
of people perishing in mine accidents, man-made or otherwise, brought
about by unregulated mining activities. The multifarious problems spawned
by the gold rush assumed gargantuan proportions, such that finding a winwin solution became a veritable needle in a haystack.
On March 10, 1988, Marcopper Mining Corporation (Marcopper) was granted
Exploration Permit No. 133 (EP No. 133) over 4,491 hectares of land, which
included the hotly-contested Diwalwal area. Marcoppers acquisition of mining
rights over Diwalwal under its EP No. 133 was subsequently challenged
before this Court. The Court found that Apex did not comply with the
procedural requisites for acquiring mining rights within forest reserves.

Page 18 of 48

Not long thereafter, Congress enacted on June 27, 1991 Republic Act
No. 7076, or the Peoples Small-Scale Mining Act. The law established a
Peoples Small-Scale Mining Program to be implemented by the Secretary of
the DENR and created the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) under
the DENR Secretarys direct supervision and control. The statute also
authorized the PMRB to declare and set aside small-scale mining areas
subject to review by the DENR Secretary and award mining contracts to
small-scale miners under certain conditions.
On December 21, 1991, DENR Secretary Fulgencio S. Factoran issued
Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 66, declaring 729 hectares of
the Diwalwal area as non-forest land open to small-scale mining. The
issuance was made pursuant to the powers vested in the DENR Secretary by
Proclamation No. 369, which established the Agusan-Davao-Surigao Forest
Subsequently, a petition for the cancellation of EP No. 133 and the
admission of a Mineral Production Sharing Arrangement (MPSA) proposal
over Diwalwal was filed before the DENR Regional Executive Director,
docketed as RED Mines Case No. 8-8-94 entitled, Rosendo Villaflor, et al. v.
Marcopper Mining Corporation.
On February 16, 1994, while the RED Mines case was pending,
Marcopper assigned its EP No. 133 to petitioner Southeast Mindanao Gold
Mining Corporation (SEM), which in turn applied for an integrated MPSA over
the land covered by the permit.
In due time, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. XI
in Davao City (MGB-XI) accepted and registered the integrated MPSA
application of petitioner.
In the meantime, on March 3, 1995, Republic Act No. 7942, the
Philippine Mining Act, was enacted. Pursuant to this statute, the aboveenumerated MAC cases were referred to a Regional Panel of Arbitrators (RPA)
tasked to resolve disputes involving conflicting mining rights. The RPA
subsequently took cognizance of the RED Mines case, which was
consolidated with the MAC cases.
On April 1, 1997, Provincial Mining Regulatory Board of Davao passed
Resolution No. 26, Series of 1997, authorizing the issuance of ore transport
permits (OTPs) to small-scale miners operating in the Diwalwal mines.
Thus, on May 30, 1997, petitioner filed a complaint for damages before
the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 61, against the DENR
Secretary and PMRB-Davao. SEM alleged that the illegal issuance of the OTPs
allowed the extraction and hauling of P60,000.00 worth of gold ore per
truckload from SEMs mining claim. The petitions were dismissed by both the
POA and the CA.
ISSUE:1) Whether the CA committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing
the complaint
2) Whether the validity of ore transport permit is vested in the POA.
1) We agree with the Court of Appeals ruling that 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
Page 19 of 48

was directed thereunder 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 small-scale miners or
to any party, for that matter, but simply instructed the DENR officials
concerned to undertake studies to determine its feasibility. Consequently, the
petition was premature. The said memorandum order did not impose any
obligation on the claimants or fix any legal relation whatsoever between and
among the parties to the dispute. At this stage, petitioner can show no more
than a mere apprehension that the State, through the DENR, would directly
take over the mines after studies point to its viability. But until the DENR
actually does so and petitioners fears turn into reality, no valid objection can
be entertained against MO 97-03 on grounds which are purely speculative
and anticipatory.
2) We see no need to rule on the matter of the OTPs, considering that the
grounds invoked by petitioner for invalidating the same are inextricably
linked to the issues raised in the Consolidated Mines cases.
On July 20, 1962, the President of the Philippines granted the following
mining patents on mineral claims located at Ungay Malobago, Rapu-Rapu
Way back on October 30, 1959, John Canson, Jr. and Carlos Stilianopulos
assigned their rights to their mining claims in favor of the petitioner. The
assignment of rights was recorded in the Office of the Mining Recorder of
Albay on December 2, 1959.
The aforestated mining patents, after their issuance on July 20, 1962, were
all recorded in the Office of the Mining Recorder of Albay on August 28, 1962
and transcribed on September 4, 1962 in the Registration Book of the
Registry of Deeds of Albay. Consequently, the Register of Deeds of Albay
issued the respective original certificates of titles pursuant to Section 122 of
Act No. 496 in the names of John Canson, Jr., Carlos Stilianopulos, and the
Subsequently, or from 1968 to 1974, the following free patents were granted
by the respondent Director of Lands and the corresponding original
certificates of titles were issued by the Register of Deeds of Albay.
All of the above patents covered portions of the lots covered by the patents
belonging to the petitioner.
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 alleging, 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
Page 20 of 48

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
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.
1) We rule for the private respondents.
The petitioner has been beguiling, less than candid, and inexplicably silent as
to material dates in the presentation of its case. Nowhere in the records of
this petition is there any mention of a date before November 15, 1935 as to
when essential acts regarding its mining claims were executed. It is silent as
to when the land was entered, measured, and plotted; when the legal posts
and notices were put up; when the claim was registered with the mining
recorder; whether or not the annual amount of labor or development, and
other requirements under the Philippine Bill of 1902 were followed. These
may have been complied with but not necessarily before 1935.
A mere mention in the Torrens title that the provisions of the Philippine Bill of
1902 were followed is not sufficient. The Philippine Bill provides the
procedures for the perfection of mining claims but not the dates when such
procedures were undertaken by any prospector or claimant. The same
procedures would have to be followed even after the Jones Law of 1916 and
the Constitution of 1935 were promulgated, but subject to the restrictions of
the fundamental law. The petitioner has failed to state if and when new
procedures, different from the 1902 procedures, were provided by law to give
a little substance to its case. The petitioner is completely and strangely silent
about these vital aspects of its petition.
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 fact neither the
original complaint nor the amended one alleged the perfection of petitioner's
mining rights prior to November 15, 1935. All that petitioner offers as
evidence of its claims were the original certificates of titles covering mining
patents which embodied a uniform "WHEREAS" clause stating that the
petitioner "has fully complied with all the conditions, requirements, and
provisions of the Act of the United States of Congress of July 1, 1902, as
amended, ..." 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.
Page 21 of 48

2) The appellate court did not likewise err in concluding that the petitioner
has no personality to institute the action below for annulment and
cancellation of patents. The mineral lands over which it has a right to extract
minerals remained part of the inalienable lands of the public domain and
thus, only the Solicitor General or the person acting in his stead can bring an
action for reversion.
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), identified as
APSA-SF-000089, with the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB) of the
DENR, Regional Office No. 1, San Fernando City in La Union, 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. On 12
September 2003, 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. 153-2000-1 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.
On 1 September 2005,[13] the MGB issued EP No. 05-001 to private
In an Order dated 14 September 2005, the Panel of Arbitrators
dismissed motu proprio the Verified Protest/Opposition of petitioner for the
following reasons: (1) the instant pleading was filed out of time; (2) in view of
the issuance of EP No. 05-001 to private respondent, the Verified
Protest/Opposition of petitioner to the Application for Exploration Permit of
private respondent was rendered moot and academic; (3) the Panel of
Arbitrators had no authority/jurisdiction to cancel, deny and/or revoke EP No.
05-001 of private respondent, the same being lodged with the MGB, the
issuing authority; and (4) petitioner failed to include a certification against
forum shopping.
Subsequently, in a Decision dated 28 December 2006 in MAB Case No.
0147-06, the MAB dismissed the appeal of petitioner.
ISSUES: 1) Whether the Verified Protest/Opposition of petitioner to the
Application for Exploration Permit of private respondent was filed out of time.
2) Whether the Verified Protest/Opposition of petitioner filed before the MAB
needs to be accompanied by a Certification against Forum Shopping.
3) Whether the issuance by the DENR Secretary of DMO No. 2005-03 on 1
February 2005 which cancelled MPSA No. 153-2000-1 of petitioner and the
issuance by MGB of EP No. 05-001 in favor of private respondent on 1
September 2005 rendered the Verified Protest/Opposition of petitioner moot
and academic.

Page 22 of 48

4) Whether the Panel of Arbitrators has jurisdiction to cancel, deny and/or

revoke EP No. 05-001 issued by MGB to private respondent.
RULING: The Court finds no merit in the present Petition.
1) Petitioner insists that it filed its Verified Protest/Opposition to the
Application for Exploration Permit of private respondent within the
reglementary period. Based on the records of MGB, the Notice of Application
for Exploration Permit of private respondent was actually posted from 14 July
2005 to 28 July 2005. Applying the 30-day reglementary period, the last date
on which to file any adverse claim, protest or opposition to the said
application was 27 August 2005, a Saturday. Since 29 August 2005, Monday,
was declared a national holiday, the next business day was 30 August 2005,
Tuesday. This very well explains why the Verified Protest/Opposition of
petitioner was filed on 30 August 2005. Petitioner further avows that it paid
the required legal fees through postal money order. The issuance of the
official receipt only after the filing, through registered mail, of its Verified
Protest/Opposition, does not erase the fact that the docket fees were paid to
and received by the government.
2) Petitioner filed a Verified Protest/Opposition before the Panel of Arbitrators
to oppose the Application for Exploration Permit filed by private respondent
with the MGB. The Verified Protest/Opposition of petitioner constitutes an
initiatory pleading before the Panel of Arbitrators, for which a certification
against forum shopping may be required. Truly, DAO No. 96-40 is bereft of
any provision requiring that a certification against forum shopping be
attached to the adverse claim/protest/opposition. However, Section 4, Rule 1
of the Rules on Pleading, Practice and Procedure before the Panel of
Arbitrators and the MAB allows the application of the pertinent provisions of
the Rules of Court by analogy or in a suppletory manner, in the interest of
expeditious justice and whenever practical and convenient.
3) It must be stressed that the cancellation of MPSA No. 153-2000-1 of
petitioner by the DENR Secretary in DMO No. 2005-03 is already the subject
of separate proceedings. The Court cannot touch upon it in the Petition at
4) It is clear from the ruling of the Court in Olympic Mines and Celestial
Nickel Mining that 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.
13. CHAVEZ v. NHA GR No. 164527
On March 1, 1988, then President Corazon C. Aquino issued
Memorandum Order No. (MO) 161approving and directing the
implementation of the Comprehensive and Integrated Metropolitan Manila
Waste Management Plan (the Plan). The Metro Manila Commission, in
coordination with various government agencies, was tasked as the lead
agency to implement the Plan as formulated by the Presidential Task Force
on Waste Management created by Memorandum Circular No. 39. A day after,
on March 2, 1988, MO 161-A was issued, containing the guidelines which
prescribed the functions and responsibilities of fifteen (15) various
government departments and offices tasked to implement the Plan, namely:
Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH), Department of Health
(DOH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),
Page 23 of 48

Department of Transportation and Communication, Department of Budget

and Management, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA),
Philippine Constabulary Integrated National Police, Philippine Information
Agency and the Local Government Unit (referring to the City of Manila),
Department of Social Welfare and Development, Presidential Commission for
Urban Poor, National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of Labor and
Employment, Department of Education, Culture and Sports (now Department
of Education), and Presidential Management Staff.
Specifically, respondent NHA was ordered to conduct feasibility studies and
develop low-cost housing projects at the dumpsite and absorb scavengers in
NHA resettlement/low-cost housing projects. On the other hand, the DENR
was tasked to review and evaluate proposed projects under the Plan with
regard to their environmental impact, conduct regular monitoring of
activities of the Plan to ensure compliance with environmental standards and
assist DOH in the conduct of the study on hospital waste management.
At the time MO 161-A was issued by President Aquino, Smokey Mountain was
a wasteland in Balut, Tondo, Manila, where numerous Filipinos resided in
subhuman conditions, collecting items that may have some monetary value
from the garbage. The Smokey Mountain dumpsite is bounded on the north
by the Estero Marala, on the south by the property of the National
Government, on the east by the property of B and I Realty Co., and on the
west by Radial Road 10 (R-10).
Pursuant to MO 161-A, NHA prepared the feasibility studies of the Smokey
Mountain low-cost housing project which resulted in the formulation of the
Smokey Mountain Development Plan and Reclamation of the Area Across R10 or the Smokey Mountain Development and Reclamation Project (SMDRP;
the Project). The Project aimed to convert the Smokey Mountain dumpsite
into a habitable housing project, inclusive of the reclamation of the area
across R-10, adjacent to the Smokey Mountain as the enabling component of
the project.
On July 9, 1990, the Build-Operate-and-Transfer (BOT) Law (Republic Act No.
[RA] 6957) was enacted. Its declared policy under Section 1 is [t]o recognize
the indispensable role of the private sector as the main engine for national
growth and development and provide the most appropriate favorable
incentives to mobilize private resources for the purpose. Sec. 3 authorized
and empowered all government infrastructure agencies, including
government-owned and controlled corporations and local government units
to enter into contract with any duly pre-qualified private contractor for the
financing, construction, operation and maintenance of any financially viable
infrastructure facilities through the build-operate-transfer or build and
transfer scheme.
On January 17, 1992, President Aquino proclaimed MO 415 approving and
directing the implementation of the SMDRP.
In conformity with Sec. 5 of MO 415, an inter-agency technical committee
(TECHCOM) was created composed of the technical representatives of the
EXECOM [t]o assist the NHA in the evaluation of the project proposals, assist
in the resolution of all issues and problems in the project to ensure that all
aspects of the development from squatter relocation, waste management,
reclamation, environmental protection, land and house construction meet

Page 24 of 48

governing regulation of the region and to facilitate the completion of the

Subsequently, the TECHCOM put out the Public Notice and Notice to PreQualify and Bid for the right to become NHAs joint venture partner in the
implementation of the SMDRP. The notices were published in newspapers of
general circulation on January 23 and 26 and February 1, 14, 16, and 23,
1992, respectively. Out of the thirteen (13) contractors who responded, only
five (5) contractors fully complied with the required pre-qualification
documents. Based on the evaluation of the pre-qualification documents, the
EXECOM declared the New San Jose Builders, Inc. and R-II Builders, Inc. (RBI)
as the top two contractors.
On October 7, 1992, President Ramos authorized NHA to enter into a Joint
Venture Agreement with RBI subject to final review and approval of the Joint
Venture Agreement by the Office of the President. The profit sharing shall be
based on the approved pre-feasibility report submitted to the EXECOM.
On August 28, 2001, NHA issued Resolution No. 4436 to pay for the various
necessary works/change orders to SMDRP, to effect the corresponding
enabling component consisting of the conveyance of the NHAs Vitas Property
and an additional 150-hectare reclamation area and to authorize the release
by NHA of PhP 480 million as advance to the project to make the Permanent
Housing habitable, subject to reimbursement from the proceeds of the
expanded enabling component.
On November 19, 2001, the Amended Supplemental Agreement (ASA) was
signed by the parties, and on February 28, 2002, the Housing and Urban
Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) submitted the agreement to the
OP for approval.
In the July 20, 2002 Cabinet Meeting, HUDCC was directed to submit the
works covered by the PhP 480 million [advance to the Project] and the ASA to
public bidding.
Consequently, the parties negotiated the terms of the termination of the JVA
and other subsequent agreements.
Meanwhile, respondent Harbour Centre Port Terminal, Inc. (HCPTI) entered
into an agreement with the asset pool for the development and operations of
a port in the Smokey Mountain Area which is a major component of SMDRP
to provide a source of livelihood and employment for Smokey Mountain
residents and spur economic growth. A Subscription Agreement was
executed between the Asset Pool and HCPTI whereby the asset pool
subscribed to 607 million common shares and 1,143 million preferred shares
of HCPTI. The HCPTI preferred shares had a premium and penalty interest of
7.5% per annum and a mandatory redemption feature. The asset pool paid
the subscription by conveying to HCPTI a 10-hectare land which it acquired
from the NHA being a portion of the reclaimed land of the SMDRP.
Corresponding certificates of titles were issued to HCPTI, namely: TCT Nos.
251355, 251356, 251357, and 251358.
Due to HCPTIs failure to obtain a license to handle foreign containerized
cargo from PPA, it suffered a net income loss of PhP 132,621,548 in 2002 and
a net loss of PhP 15,540,063 in 2003. The Project Governing Board of the
Asset Pool later conveyed by way of dacion en pago a number of HCPTI
shares to RBI in lieu of cash payment for the latters work in SMDRP.
Page 25 of 48

On August 5, 2004, former Solicitor General Francisco I. Chavez, filed the

instant petition which impleaded as respondents the NHA, RBI, R-II Holdings,
Inc. (RHI), HCPTI, and Mr. Reghis Romero II, raising constitutional issues.
The NHA reported that thirty-four (34) temporary housing structures and
twenty-one (21) permanent housing structures had been turned over by
respondent RBI. It claimed that 2,510 beneficiary-families belonging to the
poorest of the poor had been transferred to their permanent homes and
benefited from the Project.
1) Whether PEA is applicable
2) Whether respondents NHA and RBI have been granted the power and
authority to reclaim lands of the public domain as this power is vested
exclusively in PEA as claimed by petitioner
3) Whether respondents NHA and RBI were given the power and authority by
DENR to reclaim foreshore and submerged lands
4) Whether respondent RBI can acquire reclaimed foreshore and submerged
lands considered as inalienable and outside the commerce of man
5) Whether respondent RBI can acquire reclaimed lands when there was no
declaration that said lands are no longer needed for public use
6) Whether there is a law authorizing sale of reclaimed lands
1) The Court finds that PEA is not a binding precedent to the instant petition
because the facts in said case are substantially different from the facts and
circumstances in the case at bar, thus:
(1) The reclamation project in PEA was undertaken through a JVA entered into
between PEA and AMARI. The reclamation project in the instant NHA case
was undertaken by the NHA, a national government agency in consultation
with PEA and with the approval of two Philippine Presidents;
(2) In PEA, AMARI and PEA executed a JVA to develop the Freedom Islands
and reclaim submerged areas without public bidding on April 25, 1995. In the
instant NHA case, the NHA and RBI executed a JVA after RBI was declared the
winning bidder on August 31, 1992 as the JVA partner of the NHA in the
SMDRP after compliance with the requisite public bidding.
(3) In PEA, there was no law or presidential proclamation classifying the lands
to be reclaimed as alienable and disposal lands of public domain. In this RBI
case, MO 415 of former President Aquino and Proclamation No. 39 of then
President Ramos, coupled with Special Patents Nos. 3591, 3592, and 3598,
classified the reclaimed lands as alienable and disposable;
(4) In PEA, the Chavez petition was filed before the amended JVA was
executed by PEA and AMARI. In this NHA case, the JVA and subsequent
amendments were already substantially implemented. Subsequently, the
Project was terminated through a MOA signed on August 27, 2003. Almost
one year later on August 5, 2004, the Chavez petition was filed;
(5) In PEA, AMARI was considered to be in bad faith as it signed the amended
JVA after the Chavez petition was filed with the Court and after Senate
Committee Report No. 560 was issued finding that the subject lands are
inalienable lands of public domain. In the instant petition, RBI and other
Page 26 of 48

respondents are considered to have signed the agreements in good faith as

the Project was terminated even before the Chavez petition was filed;
(6) The PEA-AMARI JVA was executed as a result of direct negotiation
between the parties and not in accordance with the BOT Law. The NHA-RBI
JVA and subsequent amendments constitute a BOT contract governed by the
BOT Law; and
(7) In PEA, the lands to be reclaimed or already reclaimed were transferred to
PEA, a government entity tasked to dispose of public lands under Executive
Order No. (EO) 525. In the NHA case, the reclaimed lands were transferred to
NHA, a government entity NOT tasked to dispose of public land and therefore
said alienable lands were converted to patrimonial lands upon their transfer
to NHA.
Thus the PEA Decision cannot be considered an authority or precedent to the
instant case. The principle of stare decisis has no application to the different
factual setting of the instant case.
2) Petitioners contention has no merit.
EO 525 points 3 legal requisites for valid reclamation:
(1) approval by the President;
(2) favorable recommendation of PEA; and
(3) undertaken by any of the following:
a. by PEA
b. by any person or entity pursuant to a contract it executed with PEA
c. by the National Government agency or entity authorized under its charter
to reclaim lands subject to consultation with PEA
Without doubt, PEA under EO 525 was designated as the agency
primarily responsible for integrating, directing, and coordinating all
reclamation projects. Primarily means mainly, principally, mostly, generally.
Thus, not all reclamation projects fall under PEAs authority of supervision,
integration, and coordination. The very charter of PEA, PD 1084,[61] does not
mention that PEA has the exclusive and sole power and authority to reclaim
lands of public domain. EO 525 even reveals the exception to reclamation
projects by a national government agency or entity authorized by its charter
to reclaim land. One example is EO 405 which authorized the Philippine Ports
Authority (PPA) to reclaim and develop submerged areas for port related
purposes. Under its charter, PD 857, PPA has the power to reclaim, excavate,
enclose or raise any of the lands vested in it.
Thus, while PEA under PD 1084 has the power to reclaim land and
under EO 525 is primarily responsible for integrating, directing and
coordinating reclamation projects, such authority is NOT exclusive and such
power to reclaim may be granted or delegated to another government
agency or entity or may even be undertaken by the National Government
itself, PEA being only an agency and a part of the National Government.
Sec. 5 of PD 757 serves as proof that the NHA, as successor of the Tondo
Foreshore Development Authority (TFDA), has the power to reclaim.
3) Notwithstanding the need for DENR permission, we nevertheless find
petitioners position bereft of merit.
The DENR is deemed to have granted the authority to reclaim in the Smokey
Mountain Project for the following reasons:
Page 27 of 48

1. Sec. 17, Art. VII of the Constitution provides that the President shall have
control of all executive departments, bureaus and offices. The President is
assigned the task of seeing to it that all laws are faithfully executed. Control,
in administrative law, means the power of an officer to alter, modify, nullify
or set aside what a subordinate officer has done in the performance of his
duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.
2. Under Sec. 2 of MO 415, the DENR is one of the members of the EXECOM
chaired by the NCR-CORD to oversee the implementation of the Project. The
EXECOM was the one which recommended approval of the project plan and
the joint venture agreements. Clearly, the DENR retained its power of
supervision and control over the laws affected by the Project since it was
tasked to facilitate the titling of the Smokey Mountain and of the area to be
reclaimed, which shows that it had tacitly given its authority to the NHA to
undertake the reclamation.
3. Former DENR Secretary Angel C. Alcala issued Special Patents Nos. 3591
and 3592 while then Secretary Victor O. Ramos issued Special Patent No.
3598 that embraced the areas covered by the reclamation. These patents
conveyed the lands to be reclaimed to the NHA and granted to said agency
the administration and disposition of said lands for subdivision and
disposition to qualified beneficiaries and for development for mix land use
(commercial/industrial) to provide employment opportunities to on-site
families and additional areas for port related activities. Such grant of
authority to administer and dispose of lands of public domain under the
SMDRP is of course subject to the powers of the EXECOM of SMDRP, of which
the DENR is a member.
4. The issuance of ECCs by the DENR for SMDRP is but an exercise of its
power of supervision and control over the lands of public domain covered by
the Project.
Based on these reasons, it is clear that the DENR, through its acts and
issuances, has ratified and confirmed the reclamation of the subject lands for
the purposes laid down in Proclamations Nos. 39 and 465.
4) We are not convinced of petitioners postulation.
The reclaimed lands across R-10 were classified alienable and disposable
lands of public domain of the State for the following reasons, viz:
First, there were three (3) presidential proclamations classifying the
reclaimed lands across R-10 as alienable or disposable hence open to
disposition or concession, to wit:
(1) MO 415 issued by President Aquino, of which Sec. 4 states that [t]he land
covered by the Smokey Mountain Dumpsite is hereby conveyed to the
National Housing Authority as well as the area to be reclaimed across R-10.
The directive to transfer the lands once reclaimed to the NHA implicitly
carries with it the declaration that said lands are alienable and disposable.
Otherwise, the NHA cannot effectively use them in its housing and
resettlement project.
(2) Proclamation No. 39 issued by then President Ramos by which the
reclaimed lands were conveyed to NHA for subdivision and disposition to
qualified beneficiaries and for development into a mixed land use
Page 28 of 48

(commercial/industrial) to provide employment opportunities to on-site

families and additional areas for port-related activities. Said directive carries
with it the pronouncement that said lands have been transformed to
alienable and disposable lands. Otherwise, there is no legal way to convey it
to the beneficiaries.
(3) Proclamation No. 465 likewise issued by President Ramos enlarged the
reclaimed area to 79 hectares to be developed and disposed of in the
implementation of the SMDRP. The authority put into the hands of the NHA to
dispose of the reclaimed lands tacitly sustains the conversion to alienable
and disposable lands.
Secondly, Special Patents Nos. 3591, 3592, and 3598 issued by the DENR
anchored on Proclamations Nos. 39 and 465 issued by President Ramos,
without doubt, classified the reclaimed areas as alienable and disposable.
Admittedly, it cannot be said that MO 415, Proclamations Nos. 39 and 465
are explicit declarations that the lands to be reclaimed are classified as
alienable and disposable. We find however that such conclusion is derived
and implicit from the authority given to the NHA to transfer the reclaimed
lands to qualified beneficiaries.
The query is, when did the declaration take effect? It did so only after the
special patents covering the reclaimed areas were issued. It is only on such
date that the reclaimed lands became alienable and disposable lands of the
public domain.
5) Even if it is conceded that there was no explicit declaration that the lands
are no longer needed for public use or public service, there was however an
implicit executive declaration that the reclaimed areas R-10 are not
necessary anymore for public use or public service when President Aquino
through MO 415 conveyed the same to the NHA partly for housing project
and related commercial/industrial development intended for disposition to
and enjoyment of certain beneficiaries and not the public in general and
partly as enabling component to finance the project.
President Ramos, in issuing Proclamation No. 39, declared, though indirectly,
that the reclaimed lands of the Smokey Mountain project are no longer
required for public use or service.
6) PD 757 is clear that the NHA is empowered by law to transfer properties
acquired by it under the law to other parties. Letter (l) is emphatic that the
NHA can acquire property rights and interests and encumber or otherwise
dispose of them as it may deem appropriate. The transfer of the reclaimed
lands by the National Government to the NHA for housing, commercial, and
industrial purposes transformed them into patrimonial lands which are of
course owned by the State in its private or proprietary capacity. Perforce, the
NHA can sell the reclaimed lands to any Filipino citizen or qualified
14. GMMSWM v. JANCOM GR No. 163663
In 1994, Presidential Memorandum Order No. 202 was issued by then
President Fidel V. Ramos creating an Executive Committee to oversee and
develop waste-to-energy projects for the waste disposal sites in San Mateo,
Rizal and Carmona, Cavite under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme.

Page 29 of 48

Respondent Jancom International Development Projects Pty. Limited of

Australia (Jancom International) was one of the bidders for the San Mateo
Waste Disposal Site. It subsequently entered into a partnership with Asea
Brown Boveri under the firm name JANCOM Environmental Corporation
(JANCOM), its co-respondent.
On February 12, 1997, the above-said Executive Committee approved the
recommendation of the Pre-qualification, Bids and Awards Committee to
declare JANCOM as the sole complying bidder for the San Mateo Waste
Disposal Site.
On December 19, 1997, a Contract for the BOT Implementation of the Solid
Waste Management Project for the San Mateo, Rizal Waste Disposal Site4
(the contract) was entered into by the Republic of the Philippines,
represented by the Presidential Task Force on Solid Waste Management
through then Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary
Victor Ramos, then Cabinet Office for Regional Development-National Capital
Region Chairman Dionisio dela Serna, and then MMDA Chairman Prospero
Oreta on one hand, and JANCOM represented by its Chief Executive Officer
Jorge Mora Aisa and its Chairman Jay Alparslan, on the other.
On March 5, 1998, the contract was submitted for approval to President
Ramos who subsequently endorsed it to then incoming President Joseph E.
Owing to the clamor of the residents of Rizal, the Estrada administration
ordered the closure of the San Mateo landfill. Petitioner GMMSWMC
thereupon adopted a Resolution not to pursue the contract with JANCOM,
citing as reasons therefor the passage of Republic Act 8749, otherwise known
as the Clean Air Act of 1999, the non-availability of the San Mateo site, and
costly tipping fees.
The Board of Directors of Jancom International thereafter adopted on January
4, 2000 a Resolution authorizing Atty. Manuel Molina to act as legal counsel
for respondents and "determine and file such legal action as deemed
necessary before the Philippine courts in any manner he may deem
appropriate" against petitioners.
The Board of Directors of JANCOM also adopted a Resolution on February 7,
2000 granting Atty. Molina similar authorization to file legal action as may be
necessary to protect its interest with respect to the contract.
On March 14, 2000, respondents filed a petition for certiorari with the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City where it was docketed as Special Civil
Action No. 1955, to declare the GMMSWMC Resolution and the acts of the
MMDA calling for bids for and authorizing the forging of a new contract for
the Metro Manila waste management as illegal, unconstitutional and void
and to enjoin petitioners from implementing the Resolution and making
another award in lieu thereof. The RTC favoured respondents. The CA
dismissed their petition.

Page 30 of 48


1) The petition is impressed with merit in light of the following
Section 1, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides:
SECTION 1. Execution upon judgments or final orders. Execution shall issue
as a matter of right, on motion, upon a judgment or order that disposes of
the action or proceeding upon the expiration of the period to appeal
therefrom if no appeal has been duly perfected.
If the appeal has been duly perfected and finally resolved, the execution may
forthwith be applied for in the court of origin, on motion of the judgment
obligee, submitting therewith certified true copies of the judgment or
judgments or final order or orders sought to be enforced and of the entry
thereof, with notice to the adverse party.
The appellate court may, on motion in the same case, when the interest of
justice so requires, direct the court of origin to issue the writ of execution.
Once a judgment becomes final, it is basic that the prevailing party is
entitled as a matter of right to a writ of execution the issuance of which is
the trial courts ministerial duty, compellable by mandamus.
There are instances, however, when an error may be committed in the
course of execution proceedings prejudicial to the rights of a party. These
instances call for correction by a superior court, as where:
1) the writ of execution varies the judgment;
2) there has been a change in the situation of the parties making execution
inequitable or unjust;
3) execution is sought to be enforced against property exempt from
4) it appears that the controversy has never been submitted to the judgment
of the court;
5) the terms of the judgment are not clear enough and there remains room
for interpretation thereof; or
6) it appears that the writ of execution has been improvidently issued, or
that it is defective in substance, or is issued against the wrong party, or that
the judgment debt has been paid or otherwise satisfied, or the writ was
issued without authority.

Page 31 of 48

That a writ of execution must conform to the judgment which is to be

executed, substantially to every essential particular thereof, it is settled. It
may not thus vary the terms of the judgment it seeks to enforce, nor go
beyond its terms. Where the execution is not in harmony with the judgment
which gives it life and exceeds it, it has no validity.
15. HENARES v. LTFRB AND LTO GR No. 158290
Petitioners challenge this Court to issue a writ of mandamus
commanding respondents Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory
Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation and Communications
(DOTC) to require public utility vehicles (PUVs) to use compressed natural
gas (CNG) as alternative fuel.
Citing statistics from the Metro Manila Transportation and Traffic
Situation Study of 1996, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of
the National Capital Region, a study of the Asian Development Bank, the
Manila Observatory and the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) on the high growth and low turnover in vehicle ownership
in the Philippines, including diesel-powered vehicles, two-stroke engine
powered motorcycles and their concomitant emission of air pollutants,
petitioners attempt to present a compelling case for judicial action against
the bane of air pollution and related environmental hazards.
(1) Do petitioners have legal personality to bring this petition before us?
(2) Should mandamus issue against respondents to compel PUVs to use CNG
as alternative fuel?
(1) YES. There is no dispute that petitioners have standing to bring their case
before this Court. Moreover, as held previously, a party's standing before this
Court is a procedural technicality which may, in the exercise of the Court's
discretion, be set aside in view of the importance of the issue raised. We
brush aside this issue of technicality under the principle of the
transcendental importance to the public, especially so if these cases demand
that they be settled promptly.
(2) NO. plain, speedy and adequate remedy herein sought by petitioners, i.e.,
a writ of mandamus commanding the respondents to require PUVs to use
CNG, is unavailing. Mandamus is available only to compel the doing of an act
specifically enjoined by law as a duty. Here, there is no law that mandates
the respondents LTFRB and the DOTC to order owners of motor vehicles to
use CNG. Mandamus will not generally lie from one branch of government to
a coordinate branch, for the obvious reason that neither is inferior to the
It appears that more properly, the legislature should provide first the specific
statutory remedy to the complex environmental problems bared by herein
petitioners before any judicial recourse by mandamus is taken.
16. SALALIMA v. ECC AND SSS GR No. 146360
Page 32 of 48

17. SJS v. ATIENZA GR No. 156052

Petitioners Social Justice Society, Vladimir Alarique T. Cabigao and
Bonifacio S. Tumbokon, in an original petition for mandamus under Rule 65 of
the Rules of Court, sought to compel respondent Hon. Jose L. Atienza, Jr.,
then mayor of the City of Manila, to enforce Ordinance No. 8027. This
ordinance was enacted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Manila on
November 20, 2001, approved by respondent Mayor on November 28, 2001,
and became effective on December 28, 2001 after publication.
Ordinance No. 8027 reclassified the area described therein from
industrial to commercial and directed the owners and operators of
businesses disallowed under the reclassification to cease and desist from
operating their businesses within six months from the date of effectivity of
the ordinance. Among the businesses situated in the area are the so-called
Pandacan Terminals of the oil companies.
On June 26, 2002, the City of Manila and the Department of Energy
(DOE) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the oil
companies. They agreed that the scaling down of the Pandacan Terminals
[was] the most viable and practicable option. The Sangguniang Panlungsod
ratified the MOU in Resolution No. 97.[9] In the same resolution, the
Sanggunian declared that the MOU was effective only for a period of six
months starting July 25, 2002.
Thereafter, on January 30, 2003, the Sanggunian adopted Resolution
No. 13 extending the validity of Resolution No. 97 to April 30, 2003 and
authorizing the mayor of Manila to issue special business permits to the oil
After we rendered our decision on March 7, 2007, the oil companies
and DOE sought to intervene and filed motions for reconsideration in
intervention on March 12, 2007 and March 21, 2007 respectively. On April 11,
2007, we conducted the oral arguments in Baguio City to hear petitioners,
respondent and movants-intervenors oil companies and DOE.
The oil companies called our attention to the fact that on April 25,
2003, Chevron had filed a complaint against respondent and the City of
Manila in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 39, for the
annulment of Ordinance No. 8027 with application for writs of preliminary
prohibitory injunction and preliminary mandatory injunction. On the same
day, Shell filed a petition for prohibition and mandamus likewise assailing the
validity of Ordinance No. 8027 and with application for writs of preliminary
prohibitory injunction and preliminary mandatory injunction
Petron likewise filed its own petition in the RTC of Manila, Branch 42,
also attacking the validity of Ordinance No. 8027 with prayer for the issuance
of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order (TRO).
This was docketed as civil case no. 03-106379. In an order dated August 4,
2004, the RTC enjoined the parties to maintain the status quo.
Thereafter, in 2006, the city council of Manila enacted Ordinance No.
8119, also known as the Manila Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Zoning
Ordinance of 2006. This was approved by respondent on June 16, 2006.

Page 33 of 48

Aggrieved anew, Chevron and Shell filed a complaint in the RTC of

Manila, Branch 20, asking for the nullification of Ordinance No. 8119. This
was docketed as civil case no. 06-115334. Petron filed its own complaint on
the same causes of action in the RTC of Manila, Branch 41. This was
docketed as civil case no. 07-116700. The court issued a TRO in favor of
Petron, enjoining the City of Manila and respondent from enforcing Ordinance
No. 8119.
Meanwhile, in civil case no. 03-106379, the parties filed a joint motion
to withdraw complaint and counterclaim on February 20, 2007. In an order
dated April 23, 2007, the joint motion was granted and all the claims and
counterclaims of the parties were withdrawn
1. Whether respondent has the mandatory legal duty to enforce Ordinance
No. 8027 and order the removal of the Pandacan Terminals, and
2. Whether the June 26, 2002 MOU and the resolutions ratifying it can amend
or repeal Ordinance No. 8027
RULING: Petition is granted.
1. Rule 65, Section 316 of the Rules of Court- mandamus may be filed when
any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the
performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting
from an office, trust or station. The petitioner should have a well-defined,
clear and certain legal right to the performance of the act and it must be the
clear and imperative duty of respondent to do the act required to be done.
Mandamus will not issue to enforce a right, or to compel compliance with a
duty, which is questionable or over which a substantial doubt exists. Unless
the right to the relief sought is unclouded, mandamus will not issue. When a
mandamus proceeding concerns a public right and its object is to compel a
public duty, the people who are interested in the execution of the laws are
regarded as the real parties in interest and they need not show any specific
interest. Petitioners are citizens of manila and thus have a direct interest in
the ordinances.
On the other hand, the Local Government Code imposes upon
respondent the duty, as city mayor, to "enforce all laws and ordinances
relative to the governance of the city. "One of these is Ordinance No. 8027.
As the chief executive of the city, he has the duty to enforce Ordinance No.
8027 as long as it has not been repealed by the Sanggunian or annulled by
the courts. He has no other choice. It is his ministerial duty to do so.
These officers cannot refuse to perform their duty on the ground of an
alleged invalidity of the statute imposing the duty. The reason for this is
obvious. It might seriously hinder the transaction of public business if these
officers were to be permitted in all cases to question the constitutionality of
statutes and ordinances imposing duties upon them and which have not
judicially been declared unconstitutional. Officers of the government from
the highest to the lowest are creatures of the law and are bound to obey it.
2. Need not resolve this issue. Assuming that the terms of the MOU were
inconsistent with Ordinance No. 8027, the resolutions which ratified it and
made it binding on the City of Manila expressly gave it full force and effect
only until April 30, 2003.

Page 34 of 48


This case started when, on January 29, 1999, respondents Concerned
Residents of Manila Bay filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) in Imus, Cavite against several government agencies, among them the
petitioners, for the cleanup, rehabilitation, and protection of the Manila Bay.
Raffled to Branch 20 and docketed as Civil Case No. 1851-99 of the RTC, the
complaint alleged that the water quality of the Manila Bay had fallen way
below the allowable standards set by law, specifically Presidential Decree No.
(PD) 1152 or the Philippine Environment Code.
In their individual causes of action, respondents alleged that the
continued neglect of petitioners in abating the pollution of the Manila Bay
constitutes a violation of, among others:

Respondents constitutional right to life, health, and a balanced

The Environment Code (PD 1152);
The Pollution Control Law (PD 984);
The Water Code (PD 1067);
The Sanitation Code (PD 856);
The Illegal Disposal of Wastes Decree (PD 825);
The Marine Pollution Law (PD 979);
Executive Order No. 192;
The Toxic and Hazardous Wastes Law (Republic Act No. 6969);
Civil Code provisions on nuisance and human relations;
The Trust Doctrine and the Principle of Guardianship; and
International Law

Inter alia, respondents, as plaintiffs a quo, prayed that petitioners be ordered

to clean the Manila Bay and submit to the RTC a concerted concrete plan of
action for the purpose.
The trial of the case started off with a hearing at the Manila Yacht Club
followed by an ocular inspection of the Manila Bay. Renato T. Cruz, the Chief
of the Water Quality Management Section, Environmental Management
Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),
testifying for petitioners, stated that water samples collected from different
beaches around the Manila Bay showed that the amount of fecal coliform
content ranged from 50,000 to 80,000 most probable number (MPN)/ml when
what DENR Administrative Order No. 34-90 prescribed as a safe level for
bathing and other forms of contact recreational activities, or the SB level, is
one not exceeding 200 MPN/100 ml.
Rebecca de Vera, for Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System
(MWSS) and in behalf of other petitioners, testified about the MWSS efforts to
reduce pollution along the Manila Bay through the Manila Second Sewerage
Project. For its part, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) presented, as part of
its evidence, its memorandum circulars on the study being conducted on
ship-generated waste treatment and disposal, and its Linis Dagat (Clean the
Ocean) project for the cleaning of wastes accumulated or washed to shore.
The RTC ordered the petitioners to clean up Manila Bay. The CA
sustained the RTC ruling.
Page 35 of 48

1) Whether petitioners may be compelled by mandamus to clean up and

rehabilitate the Manila Bay
2) Whether Sections 17 and 20 of PD 1152 under the headings, Upgrading
of Water Quality and Clean-up Operations, envisage a cleanup in
general or are they limited only to the cleanup of specific pollution
1) The Cleaning or Rehabilitation of Manila Bay Can be Compelled by
Mandamus. Writ of Continuing Mandamus.
Generally, the writ of mandamus lies to require the execution of a
ministerial duty. A ministerial duty is one that requires neither the exercise of
official discretion nor judgment. It connotes an act in which nothing is left to
the discretion of the person executing it. It is a simple, definite duty arising
under conditions admitted or proved to exist and imposed by law. Mandamus
is available to compel action, when refused, on matters involving discretion,
but not to direct the exercise of judgment or discretion one way or the other.
First off, we wish to state that petitioners obligation to perform their
duties as defined by law, on one hand, and how they are to carry out such
duties, on the other, are two different concepts. While the implementation of
the MMDAs mandated tasks may entail a decision-making process, the
enforcement of the law or the very act of doing what the law exacts to be
done is ministerial in nature and may be compelled by mandamus.
The MMDA is duty-bound to comply with Sec. 41 of the Ecological Solid
Waste Management Act (RA 9003) which prescribes the minimum criteria for
the establishment of sanitary landfills and Sec. 42 which provides the
minimum operating requirements that each site operator shall maintain in
the operation of a sanitary landfill. Complementing Sec. 41 are Secs. 36 and
37 of RA 9003.
The DENR, under Executive Order No. (EO) 192, is the primary agency
responsible for the conservation, management, development, and proper use
of the countrys environment and natural resources. Sec. 19 of the Philippine
Clean Water Act of 2004 (RA 9275), on the other hand, designates the DENR
as the primary government agency responsible for its enforcement and
implementation, more particularly over all aspects of water quality
management. On water pollution, the DENR, under the Acts Sec. 19(k),
exercises jurisdiction over all aspects of water pollution, determine[s] its
location, magnitude, extent, severity, causes and effects and other pertinent
information on pollution, and [takes] measures, using available methods and
technologies, to prevent and abate such pollution.
The MWSS, under Sec. 3 of RA 6234,[18] is vested with jurisdiction,
supervision, and control over all waterworks and sewerage systems in the
territory comprising what is now the cities of Metro Manila and several towns
of the provinces of Rizal and Cavite, and charged with the duty:
(g) To construct, maintain, and operate such sanitary sewerages as
may be necessary for the proper sanitation and other uses of the cities and
towns comprising the System.
The LWUA under PD 198 has the power of supervision and control over
local water districts. It can prescribe the minimum standards and regulations
for the operations of these districts and shall monitor and evaluate local
Page 36 of 48

water standards. The LWUA can direct these districts to construct, operate,
and furnish facilities and services for the collection, treatment, and disposal
of sewerage, waste, and storm water. Additionally, under RA 9275, the LWUA,
as attached agency of the DPWH, is tasked with providing sewerage and
sanitation facilities, inclusive of the setting up of efficient and safe collection,
treatment, and sewage disposal system in the different parts of the country.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), pursuant to the Administrative
Code of 1987 (EO 292), is designated as the agency tasked to promulgate
and enforce all laws and issuances respecting the conservation and proper
utilization of agricultural and fishery resources. Furthermore, the DA, under
the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 (RA 8550), is, in coordination with local
government units (LGUs) and other concerned sectors, in charge of
establishing a monitoring, control, and surveillance system to ensure that
fisheries and aquatic resources in Philippine waters are judiciously utilized
and managed on a sustainable basis.
The DPWH, as the engineering and construction arm of the national
government, is tasked under EO 292 to provide integrated planning, design,
and construction services for, among others, flood control and water
resource development systems in accordance with national development
objectives and approved government plans and specifications.
The PCG, in accordance with Sec. 5(p) of PD 601, or the Revised Coast
Guard Law of 1974, and Sec. 6 of PD 979, or the Marine Pollution Decree of
1976, shall have the primary responsibility of enforcing laws, rules, and
regulations governing marine pollution within the territorial waters of the
When RA 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government
(DILG) Act of 1990 was signed into law on December 13, 1990, the PNP
Maritime Group was tasked to perform all police functions over the Philippine
territorial waters and rivers. Under Sec. 86, RA 6975, the police functions of
the PCG shall be taken over by the PNP when the latter acquires the
capability to perform such functions. Since the PNP Maritime Group has not
yet attained the capability to assume and perform the police functions of
PCG over marine pollution, the PCG and PNP Maritime Group shall coordinate
with regard to the enforcement of laws, rules, and regulations governing
marine pollution within the territorial waters of the Philippines. This was
made clear in Sec. 124, RA 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, in
which both the PCG and PNP Maritime Group were authorized to enforce said
law and other fishery laws, rules, and regulations.
In accordance with Sec. 2 of EO 513, the PPA is mandated to establish,
develop, regulate, manage and operate a rationalized national port system in
support of trade and national development.
The MMDA, as earlier indicated, is duty-bound to put up and maintain
adequate sanitary landfill and solid waste and liquid disposal system as well
as other alternative garbage disposal systems. It is primarily responsible for
the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of RA 9003, which
would necessary include its penal provisions, within its area of jurisdiction.
The Department of Health (DOH), under Article 76 of PD 1067 (the
Water Code), is tasked to promulgate rules and regulations for the
establishment of waste disposal areas that affect the source of a water
Page 37 of 48

supply or a reservoir for domestic or municipal use. And under Sec. 8 of RA

9275, the DOH, in coordination with the DENR, DPWH, and other concerned
agencies, shall formulate guidelines and standards for the collection,
treatment, and disposal of sewage and the establishment and operation of a
centralized sewage treatment system. In areas not considered as highly
urbanized cities, septage or a mix sewerage-septage management system
shall be employed.
The Department of Education (DepEd), under the Philippine
Environment Code (PD 1152), is mandated to integrate subjects on
environmental education in its school curricula at all levels.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is tasked under
Sec. 2, Title XVII of the Administrative Code of 1987 to ensure the efficient
and sound utilization of government funds and revenues so as to effectively
achieve the countrys development objectives.
2) Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code Include Cleaning in General.
For one thing, said Sec. 17 does not in any way state that the government
agencies concerned ought to confine themselves to the containment,
removal, and cleaning operations when a specific pollution incident occurs.
On the contrary, Sec. 17 requires them to act even in the absence of a
specific pollution incident, as long as water quality has deteriorated to a
degree where its state will adversely affect its best usage. This section, to
stress, commands concerned government agencies, when appropriate, to
take such measures as may be necessary to meet the prescribed water
quality standards. In fine, the underlying duty to upgrade the quality of water
is not conditional on the occurrence of any pollution incident.
For another, a perusal of Sec. 20 of the Environment Code, as couched,
indicates that it is properly applicable to a specific situation in which the
pollution is caused by polluters who fail to clean up the mess they left
behind. In such instance, the concerned government agencies shall
undertake the cleanup work for the polluters account. Petitioners assertion,
that they have to perform cleanup operations in the Manila Bay only when
there is a water pollution incident and the erring polluters do not undertake
the containment, removal, and cleanup operations, is quite off mark. As
earlier discussed, the complementary Sec. 17 of the Environment Code
comes into play and the specific duties of the agencies to clean up come in
even if there are no pollution incidents staring at them. Petitioners, thus,
cannot plausibly invoke and hide behind Sec. 20 of PD 1152 or Sec. 16 of RA
9275 on the pretext that their cleanup mandate depends on the happening
of a specific pollution incident. In this regard, what the CA said with respect
to the impasse over Secs. 17 and 20 of PD 1152 is at once valid as it is
practical. The appellate court wrote: PD 1152 aims to introduce a
comprehensive program of environmental protection and management. This
is better served by making Secs. 17 & 20 of general application rather than
limiting them to specific pollution incidents.
19. LLDA v. CA GR No. 110120
On March 8, 1991, the Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Our Lady of
Lourdes Parish, filed a letter-complaint with the Laguna Lake Development
Authority seeking to stop the operation of the 8.6-hectare open garbage
dumpsite in Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City due to its harmful
Page 38 of 48

effects on the health of the residents and the possibility of pollution of the
water content of the surrounding area.
On November 15, 1991, the LLDA conducted an on-site investigation,
monitoring and test sampling of the leachate that seeps from said dumpsite
to the nearby creek which is a tributary of the Marilao River. The LLDA Legal
and Technical personnel found that the City Government of Caloocan was
maintaining an open dumpsite at the Camarin area without first securing an
Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Environmental
Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources, as required under Presidential Decree No. 1586, and clearance
from LLDA as required under Republic Act No. 4850, as amended by
Presidential Decree No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983.
After a public hearing conducted on December 4, 1991, the LLDA,
acting on the complaint of Task Force Camarin Dumpsite, found that the
water collected from the leachate and the receiving streams could
considerably affect the quality, in turn, of the receiving waters since it
indicates the presence of bacteria, other than coliform, which may have
contaminated the sample during collection or handling. On December 5,
1991, the LLDA issued a Cease and Desist Order ordering the City
Government of Caloocan, Metropolitan Manila Authority, their contractors,
and other entities, to completely halt, stop and desist from dumping any
form or kind of garbage and other waste matter at the Camarin dumpsite.
The dumping operation was forthwith stopped by the City Government
of Caloocan. However, sometime in August 1992 the dumping operation was
resumed after a meeting held in July 1992 among the City Government of
Caloocan, the representatives of Task Force Camarin Dumpsite and LLDA at
the Office of Environmental Management Bureau Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes
failed to settle the problem.
After an investigation by its team of legal and technical personnel on
August 14, 1992, the LLDA issued another order reiterating the December 5,
1991, order and issued an Alias Cease and Desist Order enjoining the City
Government of Caloocan from continuing its dumping operations at the
Camarin area.
On September 25, 1992, the LLDA, with the assistance of the Philippine
National Police, enforced its Alias Cease and Desist Order by prohibiting the
entry of all garbage dump trucks into the Tala Estate, Camarin area being
utilized as a dumpsite.
Pending resolution of its motion for reconsideration earlier filed on
September 17, 1992 with the LLDA, the City Government of Caloocan filed
with the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City an action for the declaration of
nullity of the cease and desist order with prayer for the issuance of writ of
injunction, docketed as Civil Case No. C-15598. In its complaint, the City
Government of Caloocan sought to be declared as the sole authority
empowered to promote the health and safety and enhance the right of the
people in Caloocan City to a balanced ecology within its territorial
On September 25, 1992, the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court
of Caloocan City issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the LLDA

Page 39 of 48

from enforcing its cease and desist order. The LLDA motioned to dismiss the
case, but was denied. The LLDA petitioned for certiorari.
1. Whether the LLDA and its amendatory laws, have the authority to
entertain the complaint against the dumping of garbage in the open
dumpsite in Barangay Camarin authorized by the City Government of
2. Whether the LLDA have the power and authority to issue a "cease and
desist" order?
1. YES, LLDA has authority. It must be recognized in this regard that the
LLDA, as a specialized administrative agency, is specifically mandated
under Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory law s to carry out and
make effective the declared national policy of promoting and accelerating
the development and balanced growth of the Laguna Lake area and
the surrounding provinces of Rizal and Laguna and the cities of San
Pablo, Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Caloocan with due regard and adequate
provisions for environmental management and control, preservation of
the quality of human life and ecological systems, and the prevention of
undue ecological disturbances, deterioration and pollution. Under such a
broad grant and power and authority, the LLDA, by virtue of its special
charter, obviously has the responsibility to protect the inhabitants of the
Laguna Lake region from the deleterious effects of pollutants
emanating from the discharge of wastes from the surrounding areas.
2. YES, pursuant to EO 927 Section 4. While it is a fundamental rule that an
administrative agency has only such powers as are expressly granted to it
by law , it is likewise a settled rule that an administrative agency has also
such powers as are necessarily implied in the exercise of its ex press
powers. In the exercise, therefore, of its express powers under its
charter as a regulatory and quasi-judicial body with respect to pollution
cases in the Laguna Lake region, the authority of the LLDA to issue a
"cease and desist order" is, perforce, implied. NOTE: HOWEVER, writs of
mandamus and injunction are beyond the power of the LLDA to issue.
20. HIZON v. CA GR No. 119619
In September 1992, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime
Command of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan received reports of illegal fishing
operations in the coastal waters of the city. In response to these reports, the
city mayor organized Task Force Bantay Dagat to assist the police in the
detection and apprehension of violators of the laws on fishing.
On September 30, 1992 at about 2:00 in the afternoon, the Task Force
Bantay Dagat reported to the PNP Maritime Command that a boat and
several small crafts were fishing by muro ami within the shoreline of
Barangay San Rafael of Puerto Princesa. The police, headed by SPO3 Romulo
Enriquez, and members of the Task Force Bantay Dagat, headed by Benito
Marcelo, Jr., immediately proceeded to the area and found several men
fishing in motorized sampans and a big fishing boat identified as F/B
Robinson within the seven-kilometer shoreline of the city. They boarded the
F/B Robinson and inspected the boat with the acquiescence of the boat
captain, Silverio Gargar. In the course of their inspection, the police saw two
foreigners in the captains deck. SPO3 Enriquez examined their passports
Page 40 of 48

and found them to be mere photocopies. The police also discovered a large
aquarium full of live lapu-lapu and assorted fish weighing approximately one
ton at the bottom of the boat. They checked the license of the boat and its
fishermen and found them to be in order. Nonetheless, SPO3 Enriquez
brought the boat captain, the crew and the fishermen to Puerto Princesa for
further investigation.
At the city harbor, members of the Maritime Command were ordered
by SPO3 Enriquez to guard the F/B Robinson. The boat captain and the two
foreigners were again interrogated at the PNP Maritime Command office.
Thereafter, an Inspection/Apprehension Report was prepared and the boat,
its crew and fishermen were charged with the following violations:
1. Conducting fishing operations within Puerto Princesa coastal waters
without mayors permit;
2. Employing excess fishermen on board (Authorized--26; On board--36);
3. Two (2) Hongkong nationals on board without original passports.
The following day, October 1, 1992, SPO3 Enriquez directed the boat
captain to get random samples of fish from the fish cage of F/B Robinson for
laboratory examination. As instructed, the boat engineer, petitioner Ernesto
Andaya, delivered to the Maritime Office four (4) live lapu-lapu fish inside a
plastic shopping bag filled with water. SPO3 Enriquez received the fish and in
the presence of the boat engineer and captain, placed them inside a large
transparent plastic bag without water. He sealed the plastic with heat from a
The specimens were brought to the National Bureau of Investigation
(NBI) sub-office in the city for examination to determine the method of
catching the same for record or evidentiary purposes. They were received at
the NBI office at 8:00 in the evening of the same day. The receiving clerk,
Edna Capicio, noted that the fish were dead and she placed the plastic bag
with the fish inside the office freezer to preserve them. Two days later, on
October 3, 1992, the chief of the NBI sub-office, Onos Mangotara, certified
the specimens for laboratory examination at the NBI Head Office in Manila.
The fish samples were to be personally transported by Edna Capicio who was
then scheduled to leave for Manila for her board examination in Criminology.
[6] On October 4, 1992, Ms. Capicio, in the presence of her chief, took the
plastic with the specimens from the freezer and placed them inside two
shopping bags and sealed them with masking tape. She proceeded to her
ship where she placed the specimens in the ships freezer.
Capicio arrived in Manila the following day, October 5, 1992 and immediately
brought the specimens to the NBI Head Office. On October 7, 1992, NBI
Forensic Chemist Emilia Rosaldes conducted two tests on the fish samples
and found that they contained sodium cyanide.
1) Whether the fish specimen, who yielded a positive result to the test of the
presence of sodium cyanide, are admissible being illegally seized on the
occasion of warrantless search and arrest.
2) Whether the statutory presumption of guilt under Sec. 33 of PD 704
prevails over the constitutional presumption of innocence.

Page 41 of 48

1) On the first issue, the court sustained the warrantless arrest and therefore
the evidence obtained was admissible.
Our Constitution proscribes search and seizure and the arrest of
persons without a judicial warrant. As a general rule, any evidence obtained
without a judicial warrant is inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
The rule is, however, subject to certain exceptions. Some of these are: (1) a
search incident to a lawful of arrest; (2) seizure of evidence in plain view; (3)
search of a moving motor vehicle; and (4) search in violation of customs
Search and seizure without search warrant of vessels and aircrafts for
violations of customs laws have been the traditional exception to the
constitutional requirement of a search warrant. It is rooted on the recognition
that a vessel and an aircraft, like motor vehicles, can be quickly moved out
of the locality or jurisdiction in which the search warrant must be sought and
secured. Yielding to this reality, judicial authorities have not required a
search warrant of vessels and aircrafts before their search and seizure can be
constitutionally effected.
The same exception ought to apply to seizures of fishing vessels and boats
breaching our fishery laws. These vessels are normally powered by highspeed motors that enable them to elude arresting ships of the Philippine
Navy, the Coast Guard and other government authorities enforcing our
fishery laws.
We thus hold as valid the warrantless search on the F/B Robinson, a fishing
boat suspected of having engaged in illegal fishing. The fish and other
evidence seized in the course of the search were properly admitted by the
trial court. Moreover, petitioners failed to raise the issue during trial and
hence, waived
their right to question any irregularity that may have attended the said
search and seizure.
2) On the second issue. Petitioners contend that this presumption of guilt
under the Fisheries Decree violates the presumption of innocence
guaranteed by the Constitution. The validity of laws establishing
presumptions in criminal cases is a settled matter. It is generally conceded
that the legislature has the power to provide that proof of certain facts can
constitute prima facie evidence of the guilt of the accused and then shift the
burden of proof to the accused provided there is a rational connection
between the facts proved and the ultimate fact presumed. To avoid any
constitutional infirmity, the inference of one from proof of the other must not
be arbitrary and unreasonable. In fine, the presumption must be based on
facts and these facts must be part of the crime when committed.
The third paragraph of section 33 of P.D. 704 creates a presumption of
guilt based on facts proved and hence is not constitutionally impermissible. It
makes the discovery of obnoxious or poisonous substances, explosives, or
devices for electric fishing, or of fish caught or killed with the use of
obnoxious and poisonous substances, explosives or electricity in any fishing
boat or in the possession of a fisherman evidence that the owner and
operator of the fishing boat or the fisherman had used such substances in
catching fish. The ultimate fact presumed is that the owner and operator of
the boat or the fisherman were engaged in illegal fishing and this
presumption was made to arise from the discovery of the substances and the
contaminated fish in the possession of the fisherman in the fishing boat. The
fact presumed is a natural inference from the fact proved.
Page 42 of 48

The statutory presumption is merely prima facie. It cannot, under the

guise of regulating the presentation of evidence, operate to preclude the
accused from presenting his defense to rebut the main fact presumed. At no
instance can the accused be denied the right to rebut the presumption. thus:
The inference of guilt is one of fact and rests upon the common
experience of men. But the experience of men has taught them that an
apparently guilty possession may be explained so as to rebut such an
inference and an accused person may therefore put witnesses on the stand
or go on the witness stand himself to explain his possession, and any
reasonable explanation of his possession, inconsistent with his guilty
connection with the commission of the crime, will rebut the inference as to
his guilt which the prosecution seeks to have drawn from his guilty
possession of the stolen goods.
In the case at bar, the petitioner was able to overcome the
presumption when they requested another sampling of the fishes captured
for laboratory examination where the result yielded negative presence of
sodium cyanide . The prosecution was not able to explain the contradictory
findings of the laboratory examinations.
The petitioners were acquitted of the crime charged.
21. NAVARRO v. IAC GR No. 681166
On October 3, 1946, Sinforoso Pascual, now deceased, filed an
application for foreshore lease covering a tract of foreshore land in Sibocon,
Balanga, Bataan, having an area of approximately seventeen (17) hectares.
This application was denied on January 15, 1953. So was his motion for
Subsequently, petitioners' predecessor-in-interest, also now deceased,
Emiliano Navarro, filed a fishpond application with the Bureau of Fisheries
covering twenty five (25) hectares of foreshore land also in Sibocon, Balanga,
Bataan. Initially, such application was denied by the Director of Fisheries on
the ground that the property formed part of the public domain. Upon motion
for reconsideration, the Director of Fisheries, on May 27, 1988, gave due
course to his application but only to the extent of seven (7) hectares of the
property as may be certified by the Bureau of Forestry as suitable for
fishpond purposes.
The Municipal Council of Balanga, Bataan, had opposed Emiliano
Navarro's application. Aggrieved by the decision of the Director of Fisheries,
it appealed to the Secretary of Natural Resources who, however, affirmed the
grant. The then Executive Secretary, acting in behalf of the President of the
Philippines, similarly affirmed the grant.
On the other hand, sometime in the early part of 1960, Sinforoso
Pascual filed an application to register and confirm his title to a parcel of
land, situated in Sibocon, Balanga, Bataan, described in Plan Psu-175181 and
said to have an area of 146,611 square meters. Pascual claimed that this
land is an accretion to his property, situated in Barrio Puerto Rivas, Balanga,
Bataan, and covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 6830. It is bounded on
the eastern side by the Talisay River, on the western side by the Bulacan
River, and on the northern side by the Manila Bay. The Talisay River as well
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as the Bulacan River flow downstream and meet at the Manila Bay thereby
depositing sand and silt on Pascual's property resulting in an accretion
thereon. Sinforoso Pascual claimed the accretion as the riparian owner.
On March 25, 1960, the Director of Lands, represented by the Assistant
Solicitor General, filed an opposition thereto stating that neither Pascual nor
his predecessors-in-interest possessed sufficient title to the subject property,
the same being a portion of the public domain and, therefore, it belongs to
the Republic of the Philippines. The Director of Forestry, through the
Provincial Fiscal, similarly opposed Pascual's application for the same reason
as that advanced by the Director of Lands. Later on, however, the Director of
Lands withdrew his opposition. The Director of Forestry become the sole
On June 2, 1960, the court a quo issued an order of general default
excepting the Director of Lands and the Director of Forestry.
Upon motion of Emiliano Navarro, however, the order of general
default was lifted and, on February 13, 1961, Navarro thereupon filed an
opposition to Pascual's application. Navarro claimed that the land sought to
be registered has always been part of the public domain, it being a part of
the foreshore of Manila Bay; that he was a lessee and in possession of a part
of the subject property by virtue of a fishpond permit issued by the Bureau of
Fisheries and confirmed by the Office of the President; and that he had
already converted the area covered by the lease into a fishpond.
During the pendency of the land registration case, that is, on
November 6, 1960, Sinforoso Pascual filed a complaint for ejectment against
Emiliano Navarro, one Marcelo Lopez and their privies, alleged by Pascual to
have unlawfully claimed and possessed, through stealth, force and strategy,
a portion of the subject property covered by Plan Psu-175181. The
defendants in the case were alleged to have built a provisional dike thereon:
thus they have thereby deprived Pascual of the premises sought to be
registered. This, notwithstanding repeated demands for defendants to vacate
the property.
The case was decided adversely against Pascual. Thus, Pascual
appealed to the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Balanga,
Bataan, the appeal having been docketed as Civil Case No. 2873. Because of
the similarity of the parties and the subject matter, the appealed case for
ejectment was consolidated with the land registration case and was jointly
tried by the court a quo.
During the pendency of the trial of the consolidated cases, Emiliano
Navarro died on November 1, 1961 and was substituted by his heirs, the
herein petitioners.
Subsequently, on August 26, 1962, Pascual died and was substituted
by his heirs, the herein private respondents.
On November 10, 1975, the court a quo rendered judgment finding the
subject property to be foreshore land and, being a part of the public domain,
it cannot be the subject of land registration proceedings.
Pursuant to the aforecited decision, the respondent appellate court ordered
the issuance of the corresponding decree of registration in the name of
private respondents and the reversion to private respondents of the
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possession of the portion of the subject property included in Navarro's

fishpond permit.
On December 20, 1978, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration
of the aforecited decision. The Director of Forestry also moved for the
reconsideration of the same decision. Both motions were opposed by private
respondents on January 27, 1979.
On November 21, 1980, respondent appellate court promulgated a
resolution denying the motion for reconsideration filed by the Director of
On December 15, 1980, we granted the Solicitor General, acting as
counsel for the Director of Forestry, an extension of time within which to file
in this court, a petition for review of the decision dated November 29, 1978
of the respondent appellate court and of the aforecited resolution dated
November 21, 1980.
Thereafter, the Solicitor General, in behalf of the Director of Forestry,
filed a petition for review entitled, "The Director of Forestry vs. the Court of
Appeals."[10] We, however, denied the same in a minute resolution dated
July 20, 1981, such petition having been prematurely filed at a time when the
Court of Appeals was yet to resolve petitioners' pending motion to set aside
the resolution dated November 21, 1980.
On October 9, 1981, respondent appellate court denied petitioners'
motion for reconsideration of the decision dated November 29, 1978.
On October 17, 1981, respondent appellate court made an entry of
judgment stating that the decision dated November 29, 1978 had become
final and executory as against herein petitioners as oppositors in L.R.C. Case
No. N-84 and Civil Case No. 2873 of the Court of First Instance (now the
Regional Trial Court) of Balanga, Bataan.
On October 26, 1981, a second motion for reconsideration of the
decision dated November 29, 1978 was filed by petitioners' new counsel. On
March 26, 1982, respondent appellate court issued a resolution granting
petitioners' request for leave to file a second motion for reconsideration.
On July 13, 1984, after hearing, respondent appellate court denied
petitioners' second motion for reconsideration on the ground that the same
was filed out of time, citing Rule 52, Section 1 of the Rules of Court which
provides that a motion for reconsideration shall be made ex-parte and filed
within fifteen (15) days from the notice of the final order or judgment.
Whether or not the accretion taking place on property adjacent to the sea
can be registered under the Torrens system.
It cannot be registered. This is land of Public domain. Pascual claimed
ownership under Article 457 of the Civil Code saying that the disputed 14hectare land is an accretion caused by the joint action of the Talisay and
Bulacan Rivers Art 457: Accretion as a mode of acquiring property and
requires the concurrence of the following requisites: (1) that the
accumulation of soil or sediment be gradual and imperceptible; (2) that it be

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the result of the action of the waters of the river; and (3) that the land where
the accretion takes place is adjacent to the bank of the river.
Unfortunately, Pasucal and Heirs claim of ownership based on Art 457
is misplaced. If theres any land to be claimed, it should be land ADJACENT to
the rivers Talisay and Bulacan. The law is clear on this. Accretion of land
along the river bank may be registered. This is not the case of accretion of
land on the property adjacent to Manila Bay.
Furthermore, Manila Bay is a sea. Accretion on a sea bank is foreshore
land and the applicable law is not Art 457 but Art 4 of the Spanish Law of
Waters of 1866. This law, while old, holds that accretion along sea shore
cannot be registered as it remains public domain unless abandoned by
government for public use and declared as private property capable of
Article 4 of the Spanish Law of Waters of August 3, 1866 provides as follows:
Lands added to the shores by accretions and alluvial deposits caused by the
action of the sea, form part of the public domain. When they are no longer
washed by the waters of the sea and are not necessary for purposes of
public utility, or for the establishment of special industries, or for the coastguard service, the Government shall declare them to be the property of the
owners of the estates adjacent thereto and as increment thereof.
The IAC decision granting registration was reversed and set aside.
Registration cannot be allowed.
It would appear that at about 7:30 in the morning of 04 July 1992, a
team composed of deputized Fish Warden and President of the Leyte Fish
Warden Association Jesus P. Bindoy, Police Officers Casimiro Villas and
Diosdado Moron of the Palo PNP Station, Leyte, Fish Wardens Mario Castillote
and Estanislao Cabreros and Fish Examiner Nestor Aldas of the Department
of Agriculture were on board, "Bantay-Dagat," a pumpboat, on "preventive
patrol" along the municipal waters fronting barangays Baras and Candahug
of Palo, Leyte, when they chanced upon a blue-colored fishing boat at a
distance of approximately 200 meters away. The boat, 30 feet long, had on
board appellant Renerio Vergara and his three co-accused Bernardo Cuesta,
Pedro Dagao and Ernesto Cuesta, Jr., and was on parallel course toward the
general direction of Samar. Momentarily, the team saw appellant throw into
the sea a bottle known in the locality as "badil" containing ammonium nitrate
and having a blasting cap on top which, when ignited and thrown into the
water, could explode. The explosion would indiscriminately kill schools and
various species of fish within a certain radius. Approximately three seconds
after appellant had thrown the "badil" into the sea, the explosion occurred.
Vergara and Cuesta dove into the sea with their gear while Dagao and
Cuesta, Jr., stayed on board to tend to the air hose for the divers.
The team approached the fishing boat. SPO2 Casimiro Villas boarded
the fishing boat while Fish Warden Jesus Bindoy held on to one end of the
boat. Moments later, Vergara and Cuesta surfaced, each carrying a fishnet or
"sibot" filled with about a kilo of "bolinao" fish scooped from under the water.
Having been caught red-handed, the four accused were apprehended and
taken by the patrol team to the "Bantay-Dagat" station at Baras, and later to
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the police station in Palo, Leyte. The fishing boat and its paraphernalia, as
well as the two fishnets of "bolinao," were impounded. The accused,
however, refused to sign and acknowledge the corresponding receipts
On 10 February 1993, following the submission of the evidence, the trial
court rendered judgment convicting Vergara.
Whether the lower court erred in convicting accused-appellant of the crime
The Court is convinced that the trial court has acted correctly in finding
accused-appellant guilty of the offense charged.
Sections 33 and 38 of P.D. No. 704, as amended by P.D. No. 1058, read:
"Sec. 33. Illegal fishing; illegal possession of explosives intended for illegal
fishing; dealing in illegally caught fish or fishery/aquatic products. It shall be
unlawful for any person to catch, take or gather or cause to be caught, taken
or gathered fish or fishery/aquatic products in Philippine waters with the use
of explosives, obnoxious or poisonous substance, or by the use of electricity
as defined in paragraphs (1), (m) and (d), respectively, of section 3 hereof:
Provided, That mere possession of such explosives with intent to use the
same for illegal fishing as herein defined shall be punishable as hereinafter
provided: Provided, That the Secretary may, upon recommendation of the
Director and subject to such safeguards and conditions he deems necessary,
allow for research, educational or scientific purposes only, the use of
explosives, obnoxious or poisonous substance or electricity to catch, take or
gather fish or fishery/aquatic products in specified area: Provided, further,
That the use of chemicals to eradicate predators in fishponds in accordance
with accepted scientific fishery practices without causing deleterious effects
in neighboring waters shall not be construed as the use of obnoxious or
poisonous substance within the meaning of this section: Provided, finally,
That the use of mechanical bombs for killing whales, crocodiles, sharks or
other large dangerous fishes, may be allowed, subject to the approval of the
"Section 38. (1) By the penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12)
years to twenty-five (25) years in the case of mere possession of explosives
intended for illegal fishing; by imprisonment ranging from twenty (20) years
to life imprisonment, if the explosive is actually used: Provided, That if the
use of the explosive results in 1) physical injury to any person, the penalty
shall be imprisonment ranging from twenty-five (25) years to life
imprisonment, or 2) in the loss of human life, then the penalty shall be life
imprisonment to death."
23. La Bugal-Blaan Tribal Association et al. v. Victor Ramos et al. GR No.
127882, January 27, 2004
This petition for prohibition and mandamus challenges the
constitutionality of Republic Act No. 7942 (The Philippine Mining Act of 1995),
its implementing rules and regulations and the Financial and Technical
Assistance Agreement (FTAA) dated March 30, 1995 by the government with
Western Mining Corporation(Philippines) Inc. (WMCP).
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Accordingly, the FTAA violated the 1987 Constitution in that it is a

service contract and is antithetical to the principle of sovereignty over our
natural resources, because they allowed foreign control over the exploitation
of our natural resources, to the prejudice of the Filipino nation.
What is the proper interpretation of the phrase Agreements involving Either
Technical or Financial Assistance contained in paragraph 4, Section 2, Article
XII of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Philippine Mining Law,
its implementing rules and regulations insofar as they relate to financial
and technical agreements as well as the subject Financial and Technical
Assistance Agreement.
Full control is not anathematic to day-to-day management by the contractor,
provided that the State retains the power to direct overall strategy; and to
set aside, reverse or modify plans and actions of the contractor. The idea of
full control is similar to that which is exercised by the board of directors of a
private corporation, the performance of managerial, operational, financial,
marketing and other functions may be delegated to subordinate officers or
given to contractual entities, but the board retains full residual control of the

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