You are on page 1of 20

La Bugal-B’laan Tribal Association, Inc.

Vs Ramos Natural Resources and

Environmental Laws
G.R. 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).
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
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 business.


GR # L-49109; December 1, 1987

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 of application within one (1) year from the approval of
the Decree. To protect its rights, petitioner Santa Rosa Mining Company files a
special civil action for certiorari and prohibition confronting the said Decree as
unconstitutional in that it amounts to a deprivation of property without due
process of law. Subsequently, three (3) days after, petitioner filed a mining lease
application, but “under protest”, with a reservation that it is not waiving its rights
over its mining claims until the validity of the Decree shall have been passed upon
by the Court.

The respondents allege that petitioner has no standing to file the instant petition
and question the Decree as it failed to fully exhaust administrative remedies.

Whether or not Presidential Decree No. 1214 is constitutional.

Yes, Presidential Decree No. 1214 is constitutional, even assuming arguendo that
petitioners was not bound to exhaust administrative remedies for its mining
claims to be valid in the outset. It is a valid exercise of the sovereign power of the
State, as owner, over the lands of the public domain, of which petitioner’s mining
claims still form a part. Moreover, Presidential Decree No. 1214 is in accord with
Sec. 8, Art XIV of the 1937 Constitution.


et al.
G.R. No. 135190; April 3, 2002

On March 10, 1988, Marcopper Mining Corporation (Marcopper) was
grantedExploration Permit No. 133 (EP No. 133) over 4,491 hectares of land,
which included the Diwalwal area. On June

27, 2991, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 7076, or the People's Small-Scale
Mining Act. The law established a People's Small-Scale Mining Program to
beimplemented by the Secretary of the DENR and created the Provincial Mining
Regulatory Board (PMRB) under the DENR Secretary's direct supervision and

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.

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 and thereafter, several MAC cases were filed.
On March 3, 1995, Republic Act No. 7942, the Philippine Mining Act, was enacted.
Pursuant to this statute, the 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 June 24, 1997, the DENR Secretary issued Memorandum Order No. 97-03
which provided that the DENR shall study thoroughly and exhaustively the option
of diret state utilization of the mineral resources in the Diwalwal Gold-Rush Area.

On July 16, 1997, petitioner filed a special civil action for certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus before the Court of Appeals against PMRB-Davao, the DENR
Secretary and Balite Communal Portal Mining Cooperative (BCPMC). It prayed for
the nullification of the above-quoted Memorandum Order No. 97-03 on the
ground that the "direct state utilization" espoused therein would effectively
impair its vested rights under EP No. 133; and that the memorandum order
arbitrarily imposed the unwarranted condition that certain studies be conducted
before mining and environmental laws are enforced by the DENR.

Whether or not the "direct state utilization scheme" espoused in MO 97-03
divested petitioner of its vested right to the gold rush area under its EP No. 133.

No. MO 97-03 did not conclusively adopt "direct state utilization" as a policy in
resolving the Diwalwal dispute. The terms of the memorandum clearly indicate
that what was directed hereunder was merely a study of this option and nothing
else. Contrary to petitioner's 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. As to the alleged "vested rights"
claimed by petitioner, it is well to note that the same is invariably based on EP No.
133, whose validity is still being disputed in the Consolidated Mines cases. A
reading of the appealed MAB decision reveals that the continued efficacy of EP
No. 133 is one of the issues raised in said cases, with respondents therein
asserting that Marcopper cannot legally assign the permit which purportedly had
expired. In other words, whether or not petitioner actually has a vested right over
Diwalwal under EP No. 133 is still an indefinite and unsettled matter. And until a
positive pronouncement is made by the appellate court in the Consolidated Mines
cases, EP No. 133 cannot be deemed as a source of any conclusive rights that can
be impaired by the issuance of MO 97-03. It must likewise be pointed out that
under no circumstances may petitioner's rights under EP No. 133 be regarded as
total and absolute. As correctly held by the Court of Appeals EP No.133 merely
evidences a privilege granted by the State, which may be amended, modified or
rescinded when the national interest so requires. This is necessarily so since the
exploration, development and utilization of the country's natural mineral
resources are matters impressed with great public interest. Like timber permits,
mining exploration permits do not vest in the grantee any permanent or
irrevocable right within the purview of the non-impairment of contract and due
process clauses of the Constitution, since the State, under its all-encompassing
police power, may alter, modify or amend the same, in accordance with the
demands of the general welfare. Additionally, there can be no valid opposition
raised against a mere study of an alternative which the State, through the DENR, is
authorized to undertake in the first place. Worth noting is Article XII, Section 2, of
the 1987 Constitution and Section 4, Chapter II of the Philippine Mining Act of
1995. Thus, the State may pursue the constitutional policy of full control and
supervision of the exploration, development and utilization of the country's
natural mineral resources, by either directly undertaking the same or by entering
into agreements with qualified entities. The DENR Secretary acted within his
authority when he ordered a study of the first option, which may be undertaken
consistently in accordance with the constitutional policy enunciated above.
Obviously, the State may not be precluded from considering a direct takeover of
the mines, if it is the only plausible remedy in sight to the gnawing complexities
generated by the gold rush.

G.R. No. L-69997 September 30, 1987UNGAY MALOBAGO MINES, INC. vs. HON.

Before us is a petition which seeks to set aside the decision of the then
Intermediate Appellate Court affirming the dismissal of the petitioner's action for
annulment and cancellation of free patents granted to the private respondents on
the ground that the petitioner has no personality to file an action for reversion,
the lands involved being public In character.

On July 20, 1962, the President of the Philippines granted 8 mining patents in
mineral claims located at Ungay, Malobago, Albay. Back in 1959, 2 of the
patentees assigned their rights to the mining claims in favor of petitioner. 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 petitioner. Subsequently, or from 1968 to 1974, the 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 to the
names of the same appellee. All the 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 land of the
public domain, the action for reversion should be instituted by the Solicitor
General in the name of the Republic of the Philippines and that, therefore, the
petitioner lacks personality to institute the annulment proceedings. The petitioner
appealed to the then Intermediate Appellate Court.

On April 5, 1984, the appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial court. It
ruled that the titles issued to the petitioner cover mineral lands which belong to
the public domain and that these cannot be the subject of private ownership.
According to the Court, under Section 101 of the Public Land Law, only the
Solicitor General or the officer acting in his stead has the authority to institute an
action on behalf of the Republic for the cancellation of the respondents' titles and
for reversion of their homesteads to the Government.

A) Whether or not the appellate court committed an error of law when it ruled
that the lands in question belong to the public domain;

B) Whether or not the appellate court erred in discussing the complaint on the
ground that the petitioner had no personality to institute the same.

A. With regard to the first issue, the petitioner maintains that since its mining
claims were perfected prior to November 15, 1935, the date when the 1935
Constitution took effect, the applicable law is the Philippine Bill of 1902 and that
under this Act, a valid location of a mining claim segregates the area from the
public domain. The Solicitor-General, on the other hand, argues that the
petitioner's mining patents covered by Torrens Titles were granted only in 1962 by
the President of the Philippines, by authority of the Constitution of the
Philippines. Under the then Constitution, except for public agricultural lands,
natural resources which includes all mineral lands, shall not be alienated. (Art. XIII,
Section 1, 1935 Constitution)Therefore, what the mining patents issued in 1962
conveyed to petitioner was only the ownership of, and the right to extract and
utilize, the minerals within the area covered by the petitioner's Torrens Titles but
not the ownership of the land where the minerals are found.
John Eric Loney, Steven Paul Reid and Pedro Hernandez vs People of the
G.R. No. 152644, February 10, 2006

Loney, Reid and Hernandez are the President, CEO and Senior Manager and
Resident Manager for Mining Operation of Marcopper in Marinduque. Marcopper
built concrete plug at the tunnels discharging tons of tailing into Boac and
Makalupnit rivers.

DOJ then filed separate charges against the petitioners in MTC Marinduque for
violation of Art. 19 of PD 1067 or the Water code of the Philippines, Section 8 of
PD 984 or the National Pollution Control Decree, Section 108 of RA 7942 or the
Philippine Mining Act of 2005 and Art. 365 of the RPC for reckless imprudence
resulting in damage to property.

Petitioners moved to quash the information saying that the (1) information was
duplicitous for it charges more than one offense for a single act, (2) that Loney
and Reid were not yet officers when this incident took place and (3) that the
informations contain allegations which constitute legal excuse or justification.

MTC: partially granted the quashing of the informations for violation of PD 1067
and PD 984 but maintained violation of RA 7942 and RPC. MTC then issued a
consolidated order in so far as the offense against RPC. With such, petitioners filed
a petition for certiorari with RTC-Marinduque assailing the Consolidated Order.

RTC: granted appeal but denied the petition for certiorari. Consolidated Order was
affirmed and ordered the reinstatement of the informations pertaining to the
violation of PD 1967 and PD 984. Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the
CA alleging grave abuse of discretion reiterating the defense that the informations
were made out from a single act.

CA: affirmed RTC

ISSUE: 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.

No duplicity. Duplicity of charges means a single complaint or information charges
more than on offense. The filing of several charges is proper. A single act or
incident might offend two or more entirely distinct and unrelated provisions of
law thus justifying the prosecution for more than one offense. The only limit is
double jeopardy.


G.R. No. 163509; December 6, 2006

In 1987, the Central Mindanao Mining and Development Corporation entered into
a Mines Operating Agreement with Banahaw Mining and Development
Corporationwhereby the latter agreed to act as Mine Operator for the exploration,
development, and eventualcommercial operation of CMMCI's 18 mining claims
located in Agusan del Sur. Pursuant to theterms of the Agreement, Banahaw
Mining filed applications for Mining Lease Contracts over themining claims with
the Bureau of Mines. On April 29, 1988, Banahaw Mining was issued a
MinesTemporary Permit authorizing it to extract and dispose of precious minerals
found within its miningclaims. Since a portion of Banahaw Mining's mining
claims was located in petitioner PICOP'slogging concession in Agusan del Sur,
Banahaw Mining and petitioner PICOP entered into a MOAwhereby petitioner
PICOP allowed Banahaw Mining an access 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 37 mining claims in favor of private
respondent Base Metals Mineral Resources Corporation. The transfer
included 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 Mining's pendingMPSA applications
with the Bureau of Mines to substitute itself as applicant and to
submit additional documents in support of the application. Area clearances
from the DENR Regional Director and Superintendent of the Agusan
Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary were submitted, as required. On November
18, 1997, petitioner PICOP filed with the Mines Geo-Sciences
Bureau(MGB), an Opposition to private respondent Base Metals' application
because it violate the non-impairment clause and will be prejudicial to herein
petitioner. The Panel Arbitrator initially ruled for petitioner, but upon appeal to
the Mines Adjudication Board, judgment was in favor of respondent, CA affirmed
stating that the Presidential Warranty of September 25, 1968 issued by then
President Ferdinand E. Marcos merely confirmed the timber license granted to
PICOP and warranted the latter's peaceful and adequate possession and
enjoyment of its concession areas. It was only given upon the request of the
Board of Investments to establish the boundaries of PICOP's timber license
agreement. The Presidential Warranty did not convert PICOP's timber
license into a contract because it did not create any obligation on the part of
the government in favor of PICOP. Thus, the non-impairment clause finds no

Whether or not the concession area of petitioner is closed to mining activities.

Negative. Timber license agreement is not a contract, but a mere privilege. We
should state at this juncture that the policy of multiple land use is enshrined in
our laws towards the end that the country's natural resources may be rationally
explored, developed, utilized and conserved. In like manner, RA 7942, recognizing
the equiponderance between mining and timber rights, gives a mining contractor
the right to enter a timber concession and cut timber therein provided that the
surface owner or concessionaire shall be properly compensated for any damage
done to the property as a consequence of mining operations. 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, such does not necessarily preclude mining
activities in the area. Sec. 15(b) of DAO96-40 provides that government
reservations may be opened for mining applications upon prior written clearance
by the government agency having jurisdiction over such reservation. Sec. 6 of
RA7942 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. DENR Memorandum Order No. 03-98,
which provides the guidelines in the issuance of area status and clearance or
consent for mining applications pursuant to RA 7942, provides that timber
or forest lands, military and other government reservations, forest
reservations, forest reserves other than critical watershed forest reserves, and
existing DENR Project Areas within timber or forest lands, reservations
and reserves, among others, are open to mining applications subject to area
status and clearance. Lastly, 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


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

MARCOPPER MINING CORPORATION registered its mining claims in Pao, Kasibu,
and Nueva Vizcaya with the DENR from February 02, 1982 to October 12, 1982.
Private respondents Alberto G. Bumolo and others registered their mining claims
in the same area from 28 July 1981 to 22 September 1988, which claims were
subsequently converted into Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA). On
March 12, 1982 petitioner entered into Option Agreements over the mining.
Under the Agreements, petitioner was granted the exclusive and irrevocable right
to explore the mining claims for three (3) years with provision for extension.

On December 23, 1982 and March 26, 1987 petitioner filed Prospecting Permit
Applications (PPA) with the Bureau of Forest Development, DENR, on the alleged
ground that a portion of the area covered by the mining claims was within the
Magat River Forest Reservation under Proc. 573 of June 26, 1969 and with DAR on
account of alleged coverage of the other portion within the Nueva Vizcaya-Quirino
Civil Reservation under Proc. 1498 of 11 September 1975.

On 15 July 1991 Executive Director Leonardo A. Paat rejected petitioner’s

Prospecting Permit Application (PPA) on the ground that the Memorandum of July
08, 1991 endorsed by the Regional Technical Director for Mines revealed that the
area covered was outside government reservation; that the prospect claim was in
conflict with existing claims; and, that the area had been extensively explored in
the early 1980's. Petitioner moved for reconsideration. Regional Executive
Director Samuel Paragas recommended to the DENR Secretary that petitioner's
request for reconsideration be denied; that the existing rights of mining claim
holders be respected; and, that the prior legal rights of MPSA/Financial and
Technical Assistance Agreement applicants over subject area be recognized. As
regards petitioner's PPA filed with the DAR, it appeared that it was issued a
clearance to prospect for six (6) months from December 11, 1995. On August 15,
1997 petitioner appealed to public respondent Mines Adjudication Board (MAB).
Petitioner maintained that subject area was within the Magat River Forest
Reservation. On June 11, 1998 the rejection of the PPA was affirmed whereas the
mining claims of respondents Alberto G. Bumolo et al. that had been converted
into a MPSA, subject to compliance with R.A. 7942 and DAO No. 96-40, were given
due course.

Petitioner moved for reconsideration. Respondent MAB denied petitioner’s


Whether respondent MAB erred in finding that the area subject of the PPA was
outside the Magat River Forest Reservation.

Respondent MAB correctly upheld the ratiocination of Regional Executive Director
Paragas in denying petitioner's PPA.

The disapproval of Marcopper’s PPA moreover, did not emanate from a single
recommendation of the RTD for Mines. Records would show that as early as May
31, 1989, the Bumolo group of PD 463 claims which Marcopper has eventually
surrounded by filing its own PAO 1-30 group of claims x xxx was confirmed by the
Forest Engineering Section of the region to be outside proclaimed watershed
areas, wilderness, national parks and existing government reforestation projects.
In other words, the circumstance that the area covered by petitioner's PPA is
outside the Magat River Forest Reservation has been adequately established by
the following evidence: (a) confirmation 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
endorsement of the maps to the office of the Regional Executive Director.
Petitioner contests the exclusion of the area subject of its PPA within the Magat
River Forest Reservation based merely on the alleged "typographical error
committed by somebody in the Engineering Section of the DENR." Aside from the
fact that the allegation does not have anything to support it, the aforementioned
documents which the Regional Executive Directors relied upon in denying the PPA
had already settled the issue. Furthermore, respondent MAB even fortified the
bases for the rejection of petitioner's PPA. As plotted by the Lands Management
Sector of DENR Region 2 contained in the sketch plan of 11 November 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.


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

A petition filed by respondent for Mines Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA)
No. MPSA-IV-131, covering certain areas in Antipolo, Rizal. Petitioner filed an
opposition/adverse claim thereto, alleging that his landholdings in Cupang and
Antipolo, Rizal will be covered by respondent’s claim, thus he enjoys a preferential
right to explore and extract the quarry resources on his properties. The Panel of
Arbitrators of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the DENR rendered a
Resolution upholding petitioner’s opposition/adverse claim. Respondent
appealed. Meanwhile, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss appeal on the ground
of respondent’s failure to comply with the requirements of the New Mining Act’s
Implementing Rules and Regulations. On June 20, 1997, the Mines Adjudication
Board rendered the assailed Order dismissing petitioner’s opposition/adverse
claim. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of said Order which was
denied by the Board. A petition for review on certiorari under Rule 43, seeking a
reversal of the MAB Decision was filed. Citing Section 79 of Chapter XIII of the
Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942), the CA ruled that it did not have
jurisdiction to review the Decision of the Mines Adjudication Board (MAB). The
adjudication of conflicting mining claims is completely administrative in nature.
Under Section 79 of RA 7942, “the findings of fact by the MAB as well as its
decision or order shall be final and executory.” Hence this petition.

Whether or not appeals from the Decision or Final Orders of the Mines
Adjudication Board should be made directly to the Supreme Court as contended
by the respondent and the Court of Appeals, or such appeals be first made to the
Court of Appeals as contended by herein petitioner.

The petition is meritorious. We clarify. Factual controversies are usually involved
in administrative actions; and the CA is prepared to handle such issues because,
unlike this Court, it is mandated to rule on questions of fact. In Metro
Construction, we observed that not only did the CA have appellate jurisdiction
over CIAC decisions and orders, but the review of such decisions included
questions of fact and law. At the very least when factual findings of the MAB are
challenged or alleged to have been made in grave abuse of discretion as in the
present case, the CA may review them, consistent with the constitutional duty of
the judiciary.

To summarize, there are sufficient legal footings authorizing a review of the MAB
Decision under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. First, Section 30 of Article VI of the
1987 Constitution mandates that “[n]o law shall be passed increasing the
appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in this Constitution
without its advice and consent.” On the other hand, Section 79 of RA No. 7942
provides that decisions of the MAB may be reviewed by this Court on a “petition
for review by certiorari.” This provision is obviously an expansion of the Court’s
appellate jurisdiction, an expansion to which this Court has not consented.
Indiscriminate enactment of legislation enlarging the appellate jurisdiction of this
Court would unnecessarily burden it.

Second, when the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its rule-making power,
transfers to the CA pending cases involving a review of a quasi- judicial body’s
decisions, such transfer relates only to procedure; hence, it does not impair the
substantive and vested rights of the parties. The aggrieved party’s right to appeal
is preserved; what is changed is only the procedure by which the appeal is to be
made or decided. The parties still have a remedy and a competent tribunal to
grant this remedy.

Third, the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure included Rule 43 to provide a uniform
rule on appeals from quasi-judicial agencies. Under the rule, appeals from their
judgments and final orders are now required to be brought to the CA on a verified
petition for review. A quasi-judicial agency or body has been defined as an organ
of government, other than a court or legislature, which affects the rights of
private parties through either adjudication or rule-making. MAB falls under this
definition; hence, it is no different from the other quasi-judicial bodies
enumerated under Rule 43. Besides, the introductory words in Section 1 of
Circular No. 1-91 -- “among these agencies are” -- indicate that the enumeration is
not exclusive or conclusive and acknowledge the existence of other quasi-judicial
agencies which, though not expressly listed, should be deemed included therein.
Fourth, the Court realizes that under Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 129 as amended by
RA No. 7902, factual controversies are usually involved in decisions of quasi-
judicial bodies; and the CA, which is likewise tasked to resolve questions of fact,
has more elbow room to resolve them. By including questions of fact among the
issues that may be raised in an appeal from quasi-judicial agencies to the CA,
Section of Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95 and Section 3 of Rule 43
explicitly expanded the list of such issues. According to Section 3 of Rule 43, “[a]n
appeal under this Rule may be taken to the Court of Appeals within the period
and in the manner herein provided whether the appeal involves questions of fact,
of law, or mixed questions of fact and law.” Hence, appeals from quasi-judicial
agencies even only on questions of law may be brought to the CA.

Fifth, the judicial policy of observing the hierarchy of courts dictates that direct
resort from administrative agencies to this Court will not be entertained, unless
the redress desired cannot be obtained from the appropriate lower tribunals, or
unless exceptional and compelling circumstances justify availment of a remedy
falling within and calling for the exercise of our primary jurisdiction.
In brief, appeals from decisions of the MAB shall be taken to the CA through
petitions for review in accordance with the provisions of Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules
of Court.


G.R. No. 169080

The Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Infanta Mineral and
Industrial Corporation (Infanta) entered into a Mining Lease Contract V-1050.
Infanta’s corporate name was then changed to Cobertson Holdings Corporation
and subsequently to its present name, Macroasia Corporation.

After sometime, Celestial filed a Petition to cancel the subject mining lease
contracts and other mining claims of Macroasia including those covered by Mining
Lease Contract No. V-1050, before the Panel of Arbitrators (POA) of the Mines and
Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB) of the DENR.

Blue Ridge, in an earlier letter-petition, also wrote the Director of Mines to seek
cancellation of mining lease contracts and other mining rights of Macroasia and
another entity, Lebach Mining Corporation (Lebach), in mining areas in Brooke’s
Celestial is the assignee of 144 mining claims covering such areas contiguous to
Infanta’s (now Macroasia) mining lode claims. Celestial also holds an MPSA with
the government which covers 2,835 hectares located at Ipilan/Maasin, Brooke’s
Point, Palawan and two pending applications covering another 4,040 hectares in
Barangay Mainit also in Brooke’s Point.

Celestial sought the cancellation of Macroasia’s lease contracts. Macroasia refuted

the grounds for cancellation invoked by Celestial.

Based on the records of the Bureau of Mines and findings of the field
investigations, the POA granted the petition of Celestial to cancel the Mining Lease
Contracts of Macroasia; and found the claims of the others indubitably
meritorious. It gave Celestial the preferential right to Macroasia’s mining areas. It
upheld Blue Ridge’s petition, but only as against the Mining Lease Contract areas
of Lebach, and the said leased areas were declared automatically abandoned. It
gave Blue Ridge priority right to the aforesaid Lebach’s areas/mining claims. Blue
Ridge and Macroasia appealed before the MAB. Lebach did not file any notice of
appeal with the required memorandum of appeal; thus, with respect to Lebach,
the above resolution became final and executory. The MAB made a decision
upholding the Decision of the POA to cancel the Mining Lode/Lease Contracts of
Macroasia. However, the MAB, subsequently issued a resolution vacating its
previous decision, holding that neither the POA nor the MAB had the power to
revoke a mineral agreement duly entered into by the DENR Secretary. The MAB
further held that the power to cancel or revoke a mineral agreement was
exclusively lodged with the DENR Secretary. Celestial and Blue Ridge made an
appeal. The CA Special12th Division affirmed the MAB Resolution which upheld
the exclusive authority of the DENR Secretary to approve, cancel, and revoke
mineral agreements. The CA also denied Celestial’s Motion for Reconsideration.
While the CA Special 10th Division granted Blue Ridge’s petition; reversed and set
aside the Resolutions of the MAB; and treated the cancellation of a mining lease
agreement as a mining dispute within the exclusive jurisdiction of the POA under
Sec. 77 of RA 7942, explaining that the power to resolve mining disputes, which is
the greater power, necessarily includes the lesser power to cancel mining

Whether or not it is only the Secretary of the DENR who has the jurisdiction to
cancel mining contracts and privileges?

YES. It is only the Secretary of the DENR who has jurisdiction to cancel mining
contracts and privileges. After a scrutiny of the provisions of PD 463, EO 211, EO
279, RA 7942 and its implementing rules and regulations, executive issuances, and
case law, we rule that the DENR Secretary, not the POA, has the jurisdiction to
cancel existing mineral lease contracts or mineral agreements based on the
following reasons: 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. 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.

The DENR Secretary’s power to cancel mining rights or agreements through the
MGB can be inferred from Sec. 230, Chapter XXIV of DENR AO 96-40 on
cancellation, revocation, and termination of a permit/mineral agreement/FTAA.


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 itial 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 Secretary. In the interim, on 10
January 2001, contending that the 12 July Agreement between petitioner and
WMC Philippines had expired due to failure to meet the necessary preconditions
for its validity, WMC Resources and the Tampakan Companies executed another
Sale and Purchase Agreement, where Sagittarius Mines, Inc. was designated
assignee and corporate vehicle which would acquire 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. Petitioner assails the validity of the 18 December 2001
Order of the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
(DENR) approving the application for and the consequent registration of FTAA No.
02-95-XI from WMC Philippines to Sagittarius Mines, Inc. on the ground that: 1) it
violates the constitutional right of Lepanto to due process; 2) it preempts the
resolution of very crucial legal issues pending with the regular courts; and 3) it
blatantly violates Section 40 of the Mining Act. In a Decision dated 23 July 2002,
the Office of the President dismissed the petition

WHETHER OR NOT the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, particularly Section 40
thereof requiring the approval of the President of the assignment or transfer of
financial or technical assistance agreements should have a retroactive application
to the Columbio FTAA.

NO. Applying the above-cited law retroactively would contradict the established
legal doctrine that statutes are to be construed as having only a prospective
operation unless the contrary is expressly stated or necessarily implied from the
language used in the law. In the case at bar, there is an absence of either an
express declaration or an implication in the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 that the
provisions of said law shall be made to apply retroactively, therefore, any section
of said law must be made to apply only prospectively, in view of the rule that a
statute ought not to receive a construction making it act retroactively, unless the
words used are so clear, strong, and imperative that no other meaning can be
annexed to them, or unless the intention of the legislature cannot be otherwise

G.R. Nos. 152613 & 152628

APEX MINING CO., INC. vs. Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corp. (SEM), et. al
G.R. No. 152619-20


gold mining corp.
G.R. No. 152870-71

DIRECTOR HORACIO RAMOS (Member) vs. southeast Mindanao gold Mining

A motion for reconsideration was filed by SEM. The Assailed Decision held that the
assignment of Exploration Permit (EP) 133 in favor of SEM violated one of the
conditions stipulated in the permit. It also ruled that the transfer of EP 133
violated Presidential Decree No. 463, which requires that the assignment of a
mining right be made with the prior approval of the Secretary of the Department
of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Moreover, the Assailed Decision
pointed out that EP 133 expired by non-renewal since it was not renewed before
or after its expiration. It likewise upheld the validity of Proclamation No. 297
absent any question against its validity. In view of this, and considering that under
Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7942, otherwise known as the “Mining Act of 1995,”
mining operations in mineral reservations may be undertaken directly by the State
or through a contractor, the Court deemed the issue of ownership of priority right
over the contested Diwalwal 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.

Apex, for its part, filed a Motion for Clarification of the Assailed Decision, praying
that the Court elucidate on the Decision’s pronouncement that “mining
operations, are now, therefore within the full control of the State through the
executive branch.” Moreover, Apex asks this Court to order the Mines and
Geosciences Board (MGB) to accept its application for an exploration permit.
Balite echoes the same concern as that of Apex on the actual takeover by the
State of the mining industry in the disputed area to the exclusion of the private
sector. In addition, Balite prays for 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. In the Resolution, the Court En Banc
resolved to accept the instant cases.

1. Whether the transfer or assignment of Exploration Permit (EP) 133 by MMC to
SEM was validly made without violating any of the terms and conditions set forth
in Presidential Decree No. 463 and EP 133 itself.
2. Whether Southeast Mindanao Mining Corp. acquired a vested right over the
disputed area, which constitutes a property right protected by the Constitution.

3. Whether the assailed Decision dated 23 June 2006 of the Third Division in this
case is contrary to and overturns the earlier Decision of this Court in Apex v.
Garcia (G.R. No. 92605, 16 July 1991, 199 SCRA 278).

4. Whether the issuance of Proclamation No. 297 declaring the disputed area as
mineral reservation outweighs the claims of SEM, Apex Mining Co. Inc. and Balite
Communal Portal Mining Cooperative over the Diwalwal Gold Rush Area.

5. Whether the issue of the legality/constitutionality of Proclamation No. 297 was

belatedly raised.

1. The assailed Decision did not overturn the 16 July 1991 Decision in Apex Mining
Co., Inc. v. Garcia. The former was decided on facts and issues that were not
attendant in the latter, such as the expiration of EP 133, the violation of the
condition embodied in EP 133 prohibiting its assignment, and the unauthorized
and invalid assignment of EP 133 by MMC to SEM, since this assignment was
effected without the approval of the Secretary of DENR;

2. SEM did not acquire vested right over the disputed area because it’s supposed
right was extinguished by the expiration of its exploration permit and by its
violation of the condition prohibiting the assignment of EP 133 by MMC to SEM. In
addition, even assuming that SEM has a valid exploration permit, such is a mere
license that can be withdrawn by the State. In fact, the same has been withdrawn
by the issuance of Proclamation No. 297, which places the disputed area under
the full control of the State through the Executive Department;
3. The approval requirement under Section 97 of Presidential Decree No. 463
applies to the assignment of EP 133 by MMC to SEM, since the exploration permit
is an interest in a mining lease contract;

4. The issue of the constitutionality and the legality of Proclamation No. 297 was
raised belatedly, as SEM questions the same for the first time in its Motion for
Reconsideration. Even if the issue were to be entertained, the said proclamation is
found to be in harmony with the Constitution and other existing statutes;

5. The motion for reconsideration of Camilo Banad, et al. cannot be passed upon
because they are not parties to the instant cases;

6. The prayers of Apex and Balite asking the Court to direct the MGB to accept
their applications for exploration permits cannot be granted, since it is the
Executive Department that has the prerogative to accept such applications, if ever
it decides to award the mining operations in the disputed area to a private entity.


G.R. No. 163101

Benguet and J.G. Realty entered into a Royalty Agreement with Option to
Purchase (RAWOP), wherein J.G. Realty was acknowledged as the owner of four
mining claims with a total area of 288.8656 hectares. The parties also executed a
Supplemental Agreement.The mining claims were covered by Mineral Production
Sharing Agreement (MPSA) Application No. APSA-V-0009 jointly filed by J.G. Realty
as claim-owner and Benguet as operator.

After some time, the Executive Vice-President of Benguet, Antonio N. Tachuling,

issued a letter informing J.G. Realty of its intention to develop the mining claims.
However, J.G. Realty, through its President, Johnny L. Tan, then sent a letter to the
President of Benguet informing the latter that it was terminating the RAWOP. The
latter alleged that petitioner violated some of the provisions of the RAWOP,
specifically on non-payment of royalties and non-fulfillment of obligations
stipulated therein.

J.G. Realty filed a Petition for Declaration of Nullity/Cancellation of the RAWOP.

POA issued a Decision, cancelling the RAWOP and its Supplemental Agreement.
BENGUET was subsequently excluded from the joint MPSA Application over the
mineral claims. Subsequent MR was denied. Said decision was upheld by DENR-
Hence this instant petition.

Whether or not the filing of the petition with the Supreme Court is proper.

NO. The instant petition can be denied outright as Benguet resorted to an
improper Remedy.

The last paragraph of Section 79 of Republic Act No. (RA) 7942 or the “Philippine
Mining Act of 1995” states, “A petition for review by certiorari and question of law
may be filed by the aggrieved party with the Supreme Court within thirty (30)
days from receipt of the order or decision of the [MAB].”

The Revised Rules of Civil Procedure included Rule 43 to provide a uniform rule on
appeals from quasi-judicial agencies. Under the rule, appeals from their
judgments and final orders are now required to be brought to the CA on a verified
petition for review. A quasi-judicial agency or body has been defined as an organ
of government, other than a court or legislature, which affects the rights of
private parties through either adjudication or rule-making. MAB falls under this
definition; hence, it is no different from the other quasi-judicial bodies
enumerated under Rule 43. Besides, the introductory words in Section 1 of
Circular No. 1-91 ––“among these agencies are”–– indicate that the enumeration
is not exclusive or conclusive and acknowledge the existence of other quasi-
judicial agencies which, though not expressly listed, should be deemed included

The judicial policy of observing the hierarchy of courts dictates that direct resort
from administrative agencies to this Court will not be entertained, unless the
redress desired cannot be obtained from the appropriate lower tribunals, or
unless exceptional and compelling circumstances justify availment of a remedy
falling within and calling for the exercise of our primary jurisdiction.

Thus Benguet should have filed the appeal with the CA.
Petitioner having failed to properly appeal to the CA under Rule 43, the decision
of the MAB has become final and executory. On this ground alone, the instant
petition must be denied.


G.R. No. 179674; July 28, 2009