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Right To Information (Chavez vs PEA

Section 7, Article III of the Constitution explains the peoples right to information on
matters of public concern in this manner:

Sec. 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern


shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents, and
papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to
government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be
afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by
law. (Emphasis supplied)

The State policy of full transparency in all transactions involving public interest
reinforces the peoples right to information on matters of public concern. This State
policy is expressed in Section 28, Article II of the Constitution, thus:

Sec. 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts
and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions
involving public interest. (Emphasis supplied)

These twin provisions of the Constitution seek to promote transparency in policy-


making and in the operations of the government, as well as provide the people sufficient
information to exercise effectively other constitutional rights. These twin provisions are
essential to the exercise of freedom of expression. If the government does not disclose
its official acts, transactions and decisions to citizens, whatever citizens say, even if
expressed without any restraint, will be speculative and amount to nothing. These twin
provisions are also essential to hold public officials at all times x x x accountable to the
people,[29] for unless citizens have the proper information, they cannot hold public
officials accountable for anything. Armed with the right information, citizens can
participate in public discussions leading to the formulation of government policies and
their effective implementation. An informed citizenry is essential to the existence and
proper functioning of any democracy. As explained by the Court in Valmonte v.
Belmonte, Jr.[30]

An essential element of these freedoms is to keep open a continuing dialogue


or process of communication between the government and the people. It is in
the interest of the State that the channels for free political discussion be
maintained to the end that the government may perceive and be responsive to
the peoples will. Yet, this open dialogue can be effective only to the extent
that the citizenry is informed and thus able to formulate its will
intelligently. Only when the participants in the discussion are aware of the
issues and have access to information relating thereto can such bear fruit.
the commissioners of the 1986 Constitutional Commission understood that the right to
information contemplates inclusion of negotiations leading to the consummation of the
transaction. Certainly, a consummated contract is not a requirement for the exercise of the
right to information. Otherwise, the people can never exercise the right if no contract is
consummated, and if one is consummated, it may be too late for the public to expose its
defects.

the commissioners of the 1986 Constitutional Commission understood that the right
to information contemplates inclusion of negotiations leading to the
consummation of the transaction. Certainly, a consummated contract is not a
requirement for the exercise of the right to information. Otherwise, the people can never
exercise the right if no contract is consummated, and if one is consummated, it may be
too late for the public to expose its defects.
Requiring a consummated contract will keep the public in the dark until the contract,
which may be grossly disadvantageous to the government or even illegal, becomes
a fait accompli.This negates the State policy of full transparency on matters of public
concern, a situation which the framers of the Constitution could not have intended. Such
a requirement will prevent the citizenry from participating in the public discussion of
any proposed contract, effectively truncating a basic right enshrined in the Bill of
Rights. We can allow neither an emasculation of a constitutional right, nor a retreat by
the State of its avowed policy of full disclosure of all its transactions involving public
interest.
The right covers three categories of information which are matters of public
concern, namely: (1) official records; (2) documents and papers pertaining to official
acts, transactions and decisions; and (3) government research data used in formulating
policies. The first category refers to any document that is part of the public records in
the custody of government agencies or officials. The second category refers to
documents and papers recording, evidencing, establishing, confirming, supporting,
justifying or explaining official acts, transactions or decisions of government agencies or
officials. The third category refers to research data, whether raw, collated or processed,
owned by the government and used in formulating government policies.
The information that petitioner may access on the renegotiation of the JVA includes
evaluation reports, recommendations, legal and expert opinions, minutes of meetings,
terms of reference and other documents attached to such reports or minutes, all relating
to the JVA. However, the right to information does not compel PEA to prepare lists,
abstracts, summaries and the like relating to the renegotiation of the JVA.[34] The right
only affords access to records, documents and papers, which means the opportunity to
inspect and copy them. One who exercises the right must copy the records, documents
and papers at his expense. The exercise of the right is also subject to reasonable
regulations to protect the integrity of the public records and to minimize disruption to
government operations, like rules specifying when and how to conduct the inspection
and copying.[35]
The right to information, however, does not extend to matters recognized as
privileged information under the separation of powers.[36] The right does not also apply to
information on military and diplomatic secrets, information affecting national security,
and information on investigations of crimes by law enforcement agencies before the
prosecution of the accused, which courts have long recognized as confidential. [37] The
right may also be subject to other limitations that Congress may impose by law.
Laurel VS Garcia

We emphasize, however, that an abandonment of the intention to use the Roppongi property
for public service and to make it patrimonial property under Article 422 of the Civil Code must
be definiteAbandonment cannot be inferred from the non-use alone specially if the non-use
was attributable not to the government's own deliberate and indubitable will but to a lack of
financial support to repair and improve the property (See Heirs of Felino Santiago v. Lazaro,
166 SCRA 368 [1988]). Abandonment must be a certain and positive act based on correct
legal premises.

A mere transfer of the Philippine Embassy to Nampeidai in 1976 is not relinquishment of the
Roppongi property's original purpose. Even the failure by the government to repair the
building in Roppongi is not abandonment since as earlier stated, there simply was a shortage
of government funds. The recent Administrative Orders authorizing a study of the status and
conditions of government properties in Japan were merely directives for investigation but did
not in any way signify a clear intention to dispose of the properties.

It is exceedingly strange why our top government officials, of all people, should be the ones
to insist that in the sale of extremely valuable government property, Japanese law and not
Philippine law should prevail. The Japanese law - its coverage and effects, when enacted, and
exceptions to its provision — is not presented to the Court It is simply asserted that the lex
loci rei sitae or Japanese law should apply without stating what that law provides. It is a ed
on faith that Japanese law would allow the sale.

We see no reason why a conflict of law rule should apply when no conflict of law situation
exists. A conflict of law situation arises only when: (1) There is a dispute over the title or
ownership of an immovable, such that the capacity to take and transfer immovables, the
formalities of conveyance, the essential validity and effect of the transfer, or the
interpretation and effect of a conveyance, are to be determined (See Salonga, Private
International Law, 1981 ed., pp. 377-383); and (2) A foreign law on land ownership and its
conveyance is asserted to conflict with a domestic law on the same matters. Hence, the need
to determine which law should apply.

In the instant case, none of the above elements exists.

The issues are not concerned with validity of ownership or title. There is no question that the
property belongs to the Philippines. The issue is the authority of the respondent officials to
validly dispose of property belonging to the State. And the validity of the procedures adopted
to effect its sale. This is governed by Philippine Law. The rule of lex situs does not apply.

The assertion that the opinion of the Secretary of Justice sheds light on the relevance of
the lex situs rule is misplaced. The opinion does not tackle the alienability of the real
properties procured through reparations nor the existence in what body of the authority to
sell them. In discussing who are capable of acquiring the lots, the Secretary merely explains
that it is the foreign law which should determine who can acquire the properties so that the
constitutional limitation on acquisition of lands of the public domain to Filipino citizens and
entities wholly owned by Filipinos is inapplicable. We see no point in belaboring whether or
not this opinion is correct. Why should we discuss who can acquire the Roppongi lot when
there is no showing that it can be sold?
Merida vs People of the Philippines

1) Whether the trial court acquired jurisdiction over Criminal Case No. 2207 even though it was
based on a complaint filed by Tansiongco and not by a DENR forest officer; and

The Trial Court Acquired Jurisdiction Over


Criminal Case No. 2207

We sustain the OSG's claim that the trial court acquired jurisdiction over Criminal Case No. 2207.
The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure (Revised Rules) list the cases which must be initiated by a
complaint filed by specified individuals,18 non-compliance of which ousts the trial court of jurisdiction
from trying such cases.19 However, these cases concern only defamation and other crimes against
chastity20 and not to cases concerning Section 68 of PD 705, as amended. Further, Section 80 of PD
705 does not prohibit an interested person from filing a complaint before any qualified officer for
violation of Section 68 of PD 705, as amended. Section 80 of PD 705 provides in relevant parts:

SECTION 80. Arrest; Institution of criminal actions. - x x x x

Reports and complaints regarding the commission of any of the offenses defined in
this Chapter, not committed in the presence of any forest officer or employee, or any of the
deputized officers or officials, shall immediately be investigated by the forest
officer assigned in the area where the offense was allegedly committed, who shall
thereupon receive the evidence supporting the report or complaint.

If there is prima facie evidence to support the complaint or report, the investigating
forest officer shall file the necessary complaint with the appropriate official authorized
by law to conduct a preliminary investigation of criminal cases and file an information
in Court. (Emphasis supplied)

We held in People v. CFI of Quezon21 that the phrase "reports and complaints" in Section 80 refers
to "reports and complaints as might be brought to the forest officer assigned to the area by other
forest officers or employees of the Bureau of Forest Development or any of the deputized
officers or officials, for violations of forest laws not committed in their presence."22

Here, it was not "forest officers or employees of the Bureau of Forest Development or any of the
deputized officers or officials" who reported to Hernandez the tree-cutting in the Mayod Property but
Tansiongco, a private citizen who claims ownership over the Mayod Property. Thus, Hernandez
cannot be faulted for not conducting an investigation to determine "if there is prima facie evidence to
support the complaint or report."23 At any rate, Tansiongco was not precluded, either under Section
80 of PD 705 or the Revised Rules, from filing a complaint before the Provincial Prosecutor for
petitioner's alleged violation of Section 68 of PD 705, as amended. For its part, the trial court
correctly took cognizance of Criminal Case No. 2207 as the case falls within its exclusive original
jurisdiction.24
We do not find that when respondent Judge released the truck after he conducted the preliminary
investigation and satisfied himself that there was no reason to continue keeping the truck, he
violated Pres. Decree No. 705 and Adm. Order No. 59. The release of the truck did not render
nugatory the administrative authority of the DENR Secretary. The confiscation proceedings under
Adm. Order No. 596 is different from the confiscation under the Revised Penal Code, which is an
additional penalty imposed in the event of conviction. Despite the order of release, the truck can be
seized again either by filing a motion for reinvestigation and motion to include the truck owner/driver,
as co-accused, which complainant has done as manifested before the lower court or by enforcing
Adm. Order No. 59. Section 12 thereof categorically states that "[t]he confiscation of the conveyance
under these regulations shall be without prejudice to any criminal action which shall be filed against
the owner thereof or any person who used the conveyance in the commission of the offense."

Petitioner is of the opinion that under the circumstances, respondent Judge should have turned over
the truck to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of San Juan,
Southern Leyte for appropriate disposition. No doubt, this would have simplified matters and
prevented the present situation from occurring wherein one government official files a complaint
against another. Under Sec. 4 of Adm. Order No. 59, if the apprehension is not made by DENR field
offices, deputized military personnel and officials of other agencies apprehending illegal logs and
other forest products and their conveyances shall notify the nearest DENR field offices and turn over
said forest products and conveyances for proper action and disposition. A period of about two weeks
lapsed from the time the seizure was made before a complaint was filed. During this period, the
apprehending policemen had enough time to turn over the logs and the truck to the nearest DENR
field office for proper action and disposition since the duty to turn over the truck to the nearest DENR
field office rests on the officials apprehending the illegal logs. There being no mandatory duty on the
part of respondent Judge to turn over the truck, he should not be visited with disciplinary sanction
when he did not refer the same to the DENR field office in San Juan, Southern Leyte.

The Court takes this opportunity to enjoin the National Police, the DENR, the prosecutors, and the
members of the bench to coordinate with each other for a successful campaign against illegal
logging. It behooves all the concerned agencies to seriously strive for the attainment of the
constitutionally-declared policy to "protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and
healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature"7 in order to preserve our natural
resources for the benefit of the generations still to come.
Administrative Law
Arellano University School of Law
aiza ebina/2015
Provident Tree Farms, Inc. vs Court of Appeals
231 SCRA 463
Extent of Judicial or Quasi-Judicial Powers of Administrative Agencies
FACTS: Petitioner Provident Tree Farms is a Philippine corporation engaged in industrial tree
planting. It grows gubas trees in its plantations in Agusan and Mindoro which it supplies to a local
match manufacturer solely for production of matches. In consonance with the state policy to
encourage qualified persons to engage in industrial tree plantation, Sec.36, par. (1), of the Revised
Forestry Code confers on entities like PTFI a set of incentives among which is a qualified ban
against importation of wood and "wood-derivated" products. Private respondent A. J. International
Corporation imported four (4) containers of matches from Indonesia, which the Bureau of Customs,
and two (2) more containers of matches from Singapore. Upon request of PTFI, Secretary Fulgencio
S. Factoran, Jr., of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment issued a certification that
"there are enough available softwood supply in the Philippines for the match industry at reasonable
price." PTFI then filed with the Regional Court of Manila a complaint for injunction and damages with
prayer for a temporary restraining order against respondents Commissioner of Customs and AJIC to
enjoin the latter from importing matches and "wood-derivative" products, and the Collector of
Customs from allowing and releasing the importations. AJIC moved to dismiss the case
asserting that the enforcement of the import ban under Sec.36, par. (1), of the Revised Forestry
Code is within the exclusive realm of the Bureau of Customs, and direct recourse of petitioner to the
Regional Trial Court to compel the Commissioner of Customs to enforce the ban is devoid of any
legal basis.

ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction over the case

RULING: PTFI's correspondence with the Bureau of Customs contesting the legality of match
importations may already take the nature of an administrative proceeding the pendency of which
would preclude the court from interfering with it under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. Under the
sense-making and expeditious doctrine of primary jurisdiction the courts cannot or will not determine
a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of an administrative tribunal, where
the question demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special
knowledge, experience, and services of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and
intricate matters of fact, and a uniformity of ruling is essential to comply with the purposes of the
regulatory statute administered. In this era of clogged court dockets, the need for specialized
administrative boards or commissions with the special knowledge, experience and capability tohear
and determine promptly disputes on technical matters or essentially factual matters, subject to
judicial review in case of grave abuse of discretion, has become well nigh indispensable.
The court cannot compel an agency to do a particular act or to enjoin such act which is within its
prerogative, except when in the exercise of its authority it gravely abuses or exceeds its jurisdiction.
In the case at bench, we have no occasion to rule on the issue of grave abuse of discretion or
excess of jurisdiction as it is not before us.
RATIO: General policy to uphold exercise. The court cannot compel an agency to do a particular act
or to enjoin such act which is within its prerogative, except when in the exercise of its authority it
gravely abuses or exceeds its jurisdiction.
---
Section 68 of PD 705 provides:

Section 68. Cutting, Gathering and/or Collecting Timber or Other


Forest Products Without License.-Any person who shall cut, gather,
collect, remove timber or other forest products from any forest land, or
timber from alienable or disposable public land, or from private land,
without any authority, or possess timber or other forest products without
the legal documents as required under existing forest laws and
regulations, shall be punished with the penalties imposed under Articles
309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code: Provided, that in the case of
partnerships, associations, or corporations, the officers who ordered the
cutting, gathering, collection or possession shall be liable, and if such
officers are aliens, they shall, in addition to the penalty, be deported
without further proceedings on the part of the Commission on
Immigration and Deportation.

There are two distinct and separate offenses punished under Section 68 of PD 705,
to wit:

(1) Cutting, gathering, collecting and removing timber or other forest


products from any forest land, or timber from alienable or
disposable public land, or from private land without any
authority; and
(2) Possession of timber or other forest products without the legal
documents required under existing forest laws and regulations.[13]

The provision clearly punishes anyone who shall cut, gather, collect or
remove timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from
alienable or disposable public land, or from private land, without any authority. In
this case, petitioner was charged by CENRO to supervise the implementation of
the permit. He was not the one who cut, gathered, collected or removed the pine
trees within the contemplation of Section 68 of PD 705. He was not in possession
of the cut trees because the lumber was used by Teachers Camp for
repairs. Petitioner could not likewise be convicted of conspiracy to commit the
offense because all his co-accused were acquitted of the charges against them.
MONGE VS PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
Section 68 of P.D. No. 705, as amended by E.O. No. 277,
criminalizes two distinct and separate offenses, namely: (a) the cutting, gathering,
collecting and removing of timber or other forest products from
any forest land, or timber from alienable or disposable public land, or from private
land without any authority; and (b) the possession of timber or other forest
products without the legal documents required under existing laws and
regulations.[19] DENR Administrative Order No. 59
series of 1993 specifies the documents required for the transport of timber and
other forest products. Section 3 thereof materially requires that the transport of
lumber be accompanied by a certificate of lumber origin duly issued by the DENR-
CENRO. In the first offense, the legality of the acts of cutting, gathering, collecting
or removing timber or other forest products may be proven by the authorization
duly issued by the DENR. In the second offense, however, it is immaterial whether
or not the cutting, gathering, collecting and removal of forest products are legal
precisely because mere possession of forest products without the requisite
documents consummates the crime.[20]

It is thus clear that the fact of possession by petitioner and Potencio of the
subject mahogany lumber and their subsequent failure to produce the requisite
legal documents, taken together, has already given rise to criminal liability under
Section 68 of P.D. No. 705, particularly the second act punished thereunder. The
direct and affirmative testimony of Molina and Potencio as a state witness on the
circumstances surrounding the apprehension well establishes petitioners
liability. Petitioner cannot take refuge in his denial of ownership over
the pieces of lumber found in his possession nor in his claim that his help was
merely solicited by Potencio to provide the latter assistance in transporting the said
lumber. P.D. No. 705 is a special penal statute that punishes acts
essentially malum prohibitum. As such, in prosecutions
under its provisions, claims of good faith are by no means reliable as defenses
because the offense is complete and criminal liability attaches once the prohibited
acts are committed.[21] In other words, mere possession of timber or other forest
products without the proper legal documents, even absent malice or criminal intent,
is illegal.[22] It would therefore make no difference at all whether it was petitioner
himself or Potencio who owned the subject pieces of lumber.
PEOPLE OF THE PHIL VS QUE
On the first assignment of error, appellant argues that he cannot be
convicted for violation of Section 68 of P.D. 705 because E.O. 277 which
amended Section 68 to penalize the possession of timber or other forest
products without the proper legal documents did not indicate the particular
documents necessary to make the possession legal. Neither did the other
forest laws and regulations existing at the time of its enactment.
Appellants argument deserves scant consideration. Section 68 of P.D. 705
provides:
Sec. 68. Cutting, Gathering and/or Collecting Timber, or other Forest
Products Without License. Any person who shall cut, gather, collect, remove
timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable
or disposable public land, or from private land without any authority, or
possess timber or other forest products without the legal documents as
required under existing forest laws and regulations, shall be punished with the
penalties imposed under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal
Code: Provided, That in the case of partnerships, associations, or
corporations, the officers who ordered the cutting, gathering, collection or
possession shall be liable and if such officers are aliens, they shall, in addition
to the penalty, be deported without further proceedings on the part of the
Commission on Immigration and Deportation.
The Court shall further order the confiscation in favor of the government of
the timber or any forest products cut, gathered, collected, removed, or
possessed, as well as the machinery, equipment, implements and tools
illegally used in the area where the timber or forest products are
found. (emphasis supplied)
Appellant interprets the phrase existing forest laws and regulations to refer
to those laws and regulations which were already in effect at the time of the
enactment of E. O. 277. The suggested interpretation is strained and would
render the law inutile. Statutory construction should not kill but give life to the
law. The phrase should be construed to refer to laws and regulations existing
at the time of possession of timber or other forest products. DENR
Administrative Order No. 59 series of 1993 specifies the documents required
for the transport of timber and other forest products. Section 3 of the
Administrative Order provides:
Section 3. Documents Required.
Consistent with the policy stated above, the movement of logs, lumber, plywood,
veneer, non-timber forest products and wood-based or nonwood-based
products/commodities shall be covered with appropriate Certificates of Origin, issued
by authorized DENR officials, as specified in the succeeding sections.

Accused-appellants possession of the subject lumber without any


documentation clearly constitutes an offense under Section 68 of P.D. 705.
We also reject appellants argument that the law only penalizes possession
of illegal forest products and that the possessor cannot be held liable if he
proves that the cutting, gathering, collecting or removal of such forest
products is legal. There are two (2) distinct and separate offenses punished
under Section 68 of P.D. 705, to wit:
(1) Cutting, gathering, collecting and removing timber or other forest
products from any forest land, or timber from alienable or disposable
public land, or from private land without any authority; and
(2) Possession of timber or other forest products without the legal
documents required under existing forest laws and regulations.
In the first offense, one can raise as a defense the legality of the acts of
cutting, gathering, collecting or removing timber or other forest products by
presenting the authorization issued by the DENR. In the second offense,
however, it is immaterial whether the cutting, gathering, collecting and
removal of the forest products is legal or not. Mere possession of forest
products without the proper documents consummates the crime. Whether or
not the lumber comes from a legal source is immaterial because E.O. 277
considers the mere possession of timber or other forest products without the
proper legal documents as malum prohibitum.
DAGUDAG VS PADERANGA

Judge Paderanga should have dismissed the replevin suit outright for three reasons. First, under the
doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, courts cannot take cognizance of cases pending
before administrative agencies. In Factoran, Jr. v. Court of Appeals,20 the Court held that:

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


law, comity and convenience, should not entertain suits unless the available
administrative remedies have first been resorted to and the proper authorities have
been given an appropriate opportunity to act and correct their alleged errors, if any,
committed in the administrative forum. (Emphasis ours)

In Dy v. Court of Appeals,21 the Court held that a party must exhaust all administrative remedies
before he can resort to the courts. In Paat v. Court of Appeals,22 the Court held that:

This Court in a long line of cases has consistently held that before a party is allowed to
seek the intervention of the court, it is a pre-condition that he should have availed of
all the means of administrative processes afforded him. Hence, if a remedy within the
administrative machinery can still be resorted to by giving the administrative officer
concerned every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his jurisdiction then
such remedy should be exhausted first before court’s judicial power can be
sought. The premature invocation of court’s intervention is fatal to one’s cause of
action. Accordingly, absent any finding of waiver or estoppel the case is susceptible of
dismissal for lack of cause of action. (Emphasis ours)

In the instant case, Edma did not resort to, or avail of, any administrative remedy. He went straight to
court and filed a complaint for replevin and damages. Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 705, as
amended, states that (1) all actions and decisions of the Bureau of Forest Development Director are
subject to review by the DENR Secretary; (2) the decisions of the DENR Secretary are appealable to
the President; and (3) courts cannot review the decisions of the DENR Secretary except through a
special civil action for certiorari or prohibition. In Dy,23 the Court held that all actions seeking to
recover forest products in the custody of the DENR shall be directed to that agency — not the
courts. In Paat,24 the Court held that:

Dismissal of the replevin suit for lack of cause of action in view of the private
respondents’ failure to exhaust administrative remedies should have been the proper
course of action by the lower court instead of assuming jurisdiction over the case and
consequently issuing the writ [of replevin]. Exhaustion of the remedies in the
administrative forum, being a condition precedent prior to one’s recourse to the courts and
more importantly, being an element of private respondents’ right of action, is too significant
to be waylaid by the lower court.

xxxx

Moreover, the suit for replevin is never intended as a procedural tool to question the
orders of confiscation and forfeiture issued by the DENR in pursuance to the authority
given under P.D. 705, as amended. Section 8 of the said law is explicit that actions taken
by the

Director of the Bureau of Forest Development concerning the enforcement of the


provisions of the said law are subject to review by the Secretary of DENR and that
courts may not review the decisions of the Secretary except through a special civil
action for certiorari or prohibition. (Emphasis ours)

Second, under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, courts cannot take cognizance of cases pending
before administrative agencies of special competence. The DENR is the agency responsible for the
enforcement of forestry laws. The complaint for replevin itself stated that members of DENR’s Task
Force Sagip Kalikasan took over the forest products and brought them to the DENR Community
Environment and Natural Resources Office. This should have alerted Judge Paderanga that the
DENR had custody of the forest products, that administrative proceedings may have been
commenced, and that the replevin suit had to be dismissed outright. In Tabao v. Judge Lilagan25 — a
case with a similar set of facts as the instant case — the Court held that:

The complaint for replevin itself states that the shipment x x x [was] seized by the NBI for
verification of supporting documents. It also states that the NBI turned over the seized items
to the DENR "for official disposition and appropriate action." x x x To our mind, these
allegations [should] have been sufficient to alert respondent judge that the DENR has
custody of the seized items and that administrative proceedings may have already
been commenced concerning the shipment. Under the doctrine of primary
jurisdiction, courts cannot take cognizance of cases pending before administrative
agencies of special competence. x x x The prudent thing for respondent judge to have
done was to dismiss the replevin suit outright. (Emphasis ours)

In Paat,26 the Court held that:

[T]he enforcement of forestry laws, rules and regulations and the protection, development
and management of forest lands fall within the primary and special responsibilities of the
Department of Environment and

Natural Resources. By the very nature of its function, the DENR should be given a free
hand unperturbed by judicial intrusion to determine a controversy which is well within
its jurisdiction. The assumption by the trial court, therefore, of the replevin suit filed
by private respondents constitutes an unjustified encroachment into the domain of
the administrative agency’s prerogative. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not
warrant a court to arrogate unto itself the authority to resolve a controversy the
jurisdiction over which is initially lodged with an administrative body of special
competence. (Emphasis ours)

Third, the forest products are already in custodia legis and thus cannot be the subject of replevin.
There was a violation of the Revised Forestry Code and the DENR seized the forest products in
accordance with law. In Calub v. Court of Appeals,27 the Court held that properties lawfully seized by
the DENR cannot be the subject of replevin:

Since there was a violation of the Revised Forestry Code and the seizure was in
accordance with law, in our view the [properties seized] were validly deemed
in custodia legis. [They] could not be subject to an action for replevin. For it is property
lawfully taken by virtue of legal process and considered in the custody of the law, and not
otherwise. (Emphasis ours)

Judge Paderanga’s acts of taking cognizance of the replevin suit and of issuing the writ of replevin
constitute gross ignorance of the law. In Tabao,28 the Court held that:
Under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, courts cannot take cognizance of cases pending
before administrative of special competence. x x x [T]he plaintiff in the replevin suit
who [sought] to recover the shipment from the DENR had not exhausted the
administrative remedies available to him. The prudent thing for respondent judge to
have done was to dismiss the replevin suit outright.

Under Section 78-A of the Revised Forestry Code, the DENR secretary or his authorized
representatives may order the confiscation of forest products illegally cut, gathered,
removed, or possessed or abandoned.

xxxx

Respondent judge’s act of taking cognizance of the x x x replevin suit clearly


demonstrates ignorance of the law. x x x [J]udges are expected to keep abreast of all laws
and prevailing jurisprudence. Judges are duty bound to have more than just a cursory
acquaintance with laws and jurisprudence. Failure to follow basic legal commands
constitutes gross ignorance of the law from which no one may be excused, not even a
judge. (Emphasis ours)
MATUGUINA VS CA (PIERCING THE VEIL)
In Soriano vs. Court of Appeals, this Court stated in clear language, that-
It is the general rule that the protective mantle of a corporations separate and distinct
personality could only be pierced and liability attached directly to its officers and/or
members stockholders, when the same is used for fraudulent, unfair, or illegal
purpose. In the case at bar, there is no showing that the Association entered into the
transaction with the private respondent for the purpose of defrauding the latter of his
goods or the payment thereof. xxx. Therefore, the general rule on corporate liability,
not the exception, should be applied in resolving this case. (G.R. No. 49834, June 22,
1989)

In construing statutes, the terms used therein are generally to be given their ordinary meaning,
that is, such meaning which is ascribed to them when they are commonly used, to the end that
absurdity in the law must be avoided.[46] The term obligations as used in the final clause of the
second paragraph of Section 61 of P.D. 705 is construed to mean those obligations incurred by
the transferor in the ordinary course of business. It cannot be construed to mean those
obligations or liabilities incurred by the transferor as a result of transgressions of the law, as
these are personal obligations of the transferor, and could not have been included in the term
obligations absent any modifying provision to that effect.
DY VS CA (DOCTRINE OF EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES)
The rule is that a party must exhaust all administrative remedies before he can resort to the courts. In a
long line of cases, we have consistently held that before a party may be allowed to seek the intervention
of the court, it is a pre-condition that he should have availed himself of all the means afforded by the
administrative processes. Hence, if a remedy within the administrative machinery can still be resorted to
by giving the administrative officer concerned every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes
within his jurisdiction then such remedy should be exhausted first before a courts judicial power can be
sought. The premature invocation of a courts intervention is fatal to ones cause of action. Accordingly,
absent any finding of waiver or estoppel, the case is susceptible of dismissal for lack of cause of action.

In Paat v. Court of Appeals,[14] where, as in the case at bar, the trial court issued a writ of
replevin against the DENR, thus allowing the claimant to obtain possession of the conveyance
used in transporting undocumented forest products, this Court stated:
Dismissal of the replevin suit for lack of cause of action in view of the private respondents
failure to exhaust administrative remedies should have been the proper cause of action by the
lower court instead of assuming jurisdiction over the case and consequently issuing the writ
ordering the return of the truck. Exhaustion of the remedies in the administrative forum, being a
condition precedent prior to ones recourse to the courts and more importantly, being an element
of private respondents right of action, is too significant to be waylaid by the lower court.[15]
PICOP VS BASE METAL (PRESIDENTIAL WARRANTY NOT A
CONTRACT)
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[27] that a timber license is not a
contract within the purview of the non-impairment clause is edifying. We declared:

Needless to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by


executive action. It is not a contract, property or a property right
protected by the due process clause of the Constitution. In Tan vs.
Director of Forestry, this Court held:

x x x A timber license is an instrument by which the State


regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the
end that public welfare is promoted. A timber license is not a
contract within the purview of the due process clause; it is
only a license or a privilege, which can be validly withdrawn
whenever dictated by public interest or public welfare as in
this case.

A license is merely a permit or privilege to do what otherwise


would be unlawful, and is not a contract between the authority,
federal, state, or municipal, granting it and the person to whom it
is granted; neither is it a property or a property right, nor does it
create a vested right; nor is it taxation (C.J. 168). Thus, this Court
held that the granting of license does not create irrevocable rights,
neither is it property or property rights (People vs. Ong Tin, 54
O.G. 7576). x x x
We reiterated this pronouncement in Felipe Ysmael, Jr. & Co., Inc. vs.
Deputy Executive Secretary:

x x x Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the


principal instruments by which the State regulates the utilization
and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is
promoted. And it can hardly be gainsaid that they merely
evidence a privilege granted by the State to qualified entities,
and do not vest in the latter a permanent or irrevocable right
to the particular concession area and the forest products
therein. They may be validly amended, modified, replaced or
rescinded by the Chief Executive when national interests so
require. Thus, they are not deemed contracts within the purview
of the due process of law clause [See Sections 3(ee) and 20 of
Pres. Decree No. 705, as amended. Also, Tan v. Director of
Forestry, G.R. No. L-24548, October 27, 1983, 125 SCRA 302].

Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment


clause, which reads:

Sec. 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be


passed.

cannot be invoked.[28] [emphasis supplied]

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


contractual undertaking assuring PICOP of exclusive possession and enjoyment of
its concession areas.Such an interpretation would result in the complete abdication
by the State in favor of PICOP of the sovereign power to control and supervise the
exploration, development and utilization of the natural resources in the area.
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 reservation.

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. It provides:

Sec. 6. Other Reservations.Mining operations in reserved lands


other than mineral reservations may be undertaken by the Department,
subject to limitations as herein provided. In the event that the
Department cannot undertake such activities, they may be undertaken by
a qualified person in accordance with the rules and regulations
promulgated by the Secretary. The right to develop and utilize the
minerals found therein shall be awarded by the President under such
terms and conditions as recommended by the Director and approved by
the Secretary: Provided, That the party who undertook the exploration of
said reservations shall be given priority. The mineral land so awarded
shall be automatically excluded from the reservation during the term of
the agreement: Provided, further, That the right of the lessee of a valid
mining contract existing within the reservation at the time of its
establishment shall not be prejudiced or impaired.

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 Agusan-
Davao-Surigao Forest Reserve, such does not necessarily signify that the area is
absolutely closed to mining activities. Contrary to PICOPs obvious misreading of
our decision in Apex Mining Co., Inc. v. Garcia, supra, to the effect that mineral
agreements are not allowed in the forest reserve established under 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.

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


or forestty subject to existing rights and reservations. It provides:

Sec. 18. Areas Open to Mining Operations.Subject to any existing


rights or reservations and prior agreements of all parties, all mineral
resources in public or private lands, including timber or forestlands as
defined in existing laws, shall be open to mineral agreements or financial
or technical assistance agreement applications. Any conflict that may
arise under this provision shall be heard and resolved by the panel of
arbitrators.

Similarly, Sec. 47 of PD 705 permits mining operations in forest lands


which include the public forest, the permanent forest or forest reserves, and forest
reservations.[22]It states:

Sec. 47. Mining Operations.Mining operations in forest lands


shall be regulated and conducted with due regard to protection,
development and utilization of other surface resources. Location,
prospecting, exploration, utilization or exploitation of mineral resources
in forest reservations shall be governed by mining laws, rules and
regulations. No location, prospecting, exploration, utilization, or
exploitation of mineral resources inside forest concessions shall be
allowed unless proper notice has been served upon the licensees thereof
and the prior approval of the Director, secured.

Significantly, the above-quoted provision does not require that the consent of
existing licensees be obtained but that they be notified before mining activities
may be commenced inside forest concessions.
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.

To this end, area status clearances or land status certifications have been
issued to Base Metals relative to its mining right application, to wit:

II. MPSA No. 010

1. Portion colored green is the area covered by


the aforestated Timberland Project No. 31-E, Block A and Project
No. 59-C, Block A, L.C. Map No. 2466 certified as such on June
30, 1961; and
2. Shaded brown represent CADC claim.[23]

III. MPSA No. 011

1. The area applied covers the Timberland, portion of Project No.


31-E, Block-E, L.C. Map No. 2468 and Project No. 36-A Block
II, Alienable and Disposable Land, L.C. Map No. 1822, certified
as such on June 30, 1961 and January 1, 1955, respectively;
2. The green shade is the remaining portion of Timber Land Project;
3. The portion colored brown is an applied and CADC areas;
4. Red shade denotes alienable and disposable land.[24]

IV. MPSA No. 012

Respectfully returned herewith is the folder of Base Metals Mineral


Resources Corporation, applied under Mineral Production Sharing
Agreement (MPSA (XIII) 012), referred to this office per
memorandum dated August 5, 1997 for Land status certification and
the findings based on available references file this office, the site is
within the unclassified Public Forest of the LGU,
Rosario, Agusan del Sur. The shaded portion is the wilderness area of
PICOP Resources Incorporated (PRI), Timber License Agreement.[25]

V. MPSA No. 013


1. The area status shaded green falls within Timber Land, portion
of Project No. 31-E, Block-A, Project No. 59-C, Block-A, L.C.
Map No. 2468 certified as such on June 30, 1961;
2. Colored brown denotes a portion claimed as CADC areas;
3. Violet shade represent a part of reforestation project of PRI
concession; and
4. The yellow color is identical to unclassified Public Forest of said
LGU and the area inclosed in Red is the wilderness area of
PICOP Resources, Inc. (PRI), Timber License Agreement.[26]

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.

Sec. 5(a) of RA 7586 provides:


Sec. 5. Establishment and Extent of the System.The establishment
and operationalization of the System shall involve the following:

(a) All areas or islands in the Philippines proclaimed, designated or set


aside, pursuant to a law, presidential decree, presidential proclamation or
executive order as national park, game refuge, bird and wildlife
sanctuary, wilderness area, strict nature reserve, watershed, mangrove reserve,
fish sanctuary, natural and historical landmark, protected and managed
landscape/seascape as well as identified virgin forests before the effectivity of this
Act are hereby designated as initial components of the System. The initial
components of the System shall be governed by existing laws, rules and
regulations, not inconsistent with this Act.

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.
ASAPHIL VS TUAZON

The DENR is not called upon to exercise its technical knowledge or


expertise over any mining operations or dispute; rather, it is being asked to
determine the validity of the agreements based on circumstances beyond the
respective rights of the parties under the two contracts. In Gonzales v. Climax
Mining Ltd.,[20] the Court ruled that:

x x x whether the case involves void or voidable contracts is still a


judicial question. It may, in some instances, involve questions of fact
especially with regard to the determination of the circumstances of the
execution of the contracts. But the resolution of the validity
or voidness of the contracts remains a legal or judicial question as it
requires the exercise of judicial function. It requires the ascertainment
of what laws are applicable to the dispute, the interpretation and
application of those laws, and the rendering of a judgment based
thereon. Clearly, the dispute is not a mining conflict. It is essentially
judicial. The complaint was not merely for the determination of
rights under the mining contracts since the very validity of those
contracts is put in issue. (Emphasis supplied)
Taking in Eminent Domain Distinguished from Regulation in Police Power

The power of eminent domain is the inherent right of the state (and of those
entities to which the power has been lawfully delegated) to condemn private
property to public use upon payment of just compensation.[17] On the other hand,
police power is the power of the state to promote public welfare by restraining and
regulating the use of liberty and property.[18] Although both police power and the
power of eminent domain have the general welfare for their object, and recent
trends show a mingling[19] of the two with the latter being used as an implement of
the former, there are still traditional distinctions between the two.

Property condemned under police power is usually noxious or intended for a


noxious purpose; hence, no compensation shall be paid.[20] Likewise, in the
exercise of police power, property rights of private individuals are subjected to
restraints and burdens in order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity
of the state. Thus, an ordinance prohibiting theaters from selling tickets in excess
of their seating capacity (which would result in the diminution of profits of the
theater-owners) was upheld valid as this would promote the comfort, convenience
and safety of the customers.[21] In U.S. v. Toribio,[22] the court upheld the
provisions of Act No. 1147, a statute regulating the slaughter of carabao for the
purpose of conserving an adequate supply of draft animals, as a valid exercise of
police power, notwithstanding the property rights impairment that the ordinance
imposed on cattle owners. A zoning ordinance prohibiting the operation of a
lumber yard within certain areas was assailed as unconstitutional in that it was an
invasion of the property rights of the lumber yard owners in People v. de
Guzman.[23] The Court nonetheless ruled that the regulation was a valid exercise of
police power. A similar ruling was arrived at in Seng Kee S Co. v. Earnshaw and
Piatt[24] where an ordinance divided the City of Manila into industrial and
residential areas.

A thorough scrutiny of the extant jurisprudence leads to a cogent deduction


that where a property interest is merely restricted because the continued use thereof
would be injurious to public welfare, or where property is destroyed because its
continued existence would be injurious to public interest, there is no compensable
taking.[25] However, when a property interest is appropriated and applied to some
public purpose, there is compensable taking.[26]

According to noted constitutionalist, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, in the exercise


of its police power regulation, the state restricts the use of private property, but
none of the property interests in the bundle of rights which constitute ownership is
appropriated for use by or for the benefit of the public.[27] Use of the property by
the owner was limited, but no aspect of the property is used by or for the
public.[28] The deprivation of use can in fact be total and it will not constitute
compensable taking if nobody else acquires use of the property or any interest
therein.[29]

If, however, in the regulation of the use of the property, somebody else
acquires the use or interest thereof, such restriction constitutes compensable
taking. Thus, in City Government of Quezon City v. Ericta,[30] it was argued by the
local government that an ordinance requiring private cemeteries to reserve 6% of
their total areas for the burial of paupers was a valid exercise of the police power
under the general welfare clause. This court did not agree in the contention, ruling
that property taken under the police power is sought to be destroyed and not, as in
this case, to be devoted to a public use. It further declared that the ordinance in
question was actually a taking of private property without just compensation of a
certain area from a private cemetery to benefit paupers who are charges of the local
government. Being an exercise of eminent domain without provision for the
payment of just compensation, the same was rendered invalid as it violated the
principles governing eminent domain.

In People v. Fajardo,[31] the municipal mayor refused Fajardo permission to


build a house on his own land on the ground that the proposed structure would
destroy the view or beauty of the public plaza. The ordinance relied upon by the
mayor prohibited the construction of any building that would destroy the view of
the plaza from the highway.The court ruled that the municipal ordinance under the
guise of police power permanently divest owners of the beneficial use of their
property for the benefit of the public; hence, considered as a taking under the
power of eminent domain that could not be countenanced without payment of just
compensation to the affected owners. In this case, what the municipality wanted
was to impose an easement on the property in order to preserve the view or beauty
of the public plaza, which was a form of utilization of Fajardos property for public
benefit.[32]

While the power of eminent domain often results in the appropriation of title
to or possession of property, it need not always be the case. Taking may include
trespass without actual eviction of the owner, material impairment of the value of
the property or prevention of the ordinary uses for which the property was intended
such as the establishment of an easement.[33] In Ayala de Roxas v. City of
Manila,[34] it was held that the imposition of burden over a private property through
easement was considered taking; hence, payment of just compensation is
required. The Court declared:

And, considering that the easement intended to be established,


whatever may be the object thereof, is not merely a real right that will
encumber the property, but is one tending to prevent the exclusive use of
one portion of the same, by expropriating it for public use which, be it
what it may, can not be accomplished unless the owner of the property
condemned or seized be previously and duly indemnified, it is proper to
protect the appellant by means of the remedy employed in such cases, as
it is only adequate remedy when no other legal action can be resorted to,
against an intent which is nothing short of an arbitrary restriction
imposed by the city by virtue of the coercive power with which the same
is invested.

And in the case of National Power Corporation v. Gutierrez,[35] despite


the NPCs protestation that the owners were not totally deprived of the use of the
land and could still plant the same crops as long as they did not come into contact
with the wires, the Court nevertheless held that the easement of right-of-way was a
taking under the power of eminent domain. The Court said:

In the case at bar, the easement of right-of-way is definitely a


taking under the power of eminent domain. Considering the nature and
effect of the installation of 230 KV Mexico-Limaytransmission lines, the
limitation imposed by NPC against the use of the land for an indefinite
period deprives private respondents of its ordinary use.
A case exemplifying an instance of compensable taking which does not
entail transfer of title is Republic v. Philippine Long Distance Telephone
Co.[36] Here, the Bureau of Telecommunications, a government instrumentality,
had contracted with the PLDT for the interconnection between the Government
Telephone System and that of the PLDT, so that the former could make use of the
lines and facilities of the PLDT. In its desire to expand services to government
offices, the Bureau of Telecommunications demanded to expand its use of the
PLDT lines. Disagreement ensued on the terms of the contract for the use of the
PLDT facilities. The Court ruminated:

Normally, of course, the power of eminent domain results in the


taking or appropriation of title to, and possession of, the expropriated
property; but no cogent reason appears why said power may not be
availed of to impose only a burden upon the owner of the condemned
property, without loss of title and possession. It is unquestionable that
real property may, through expropriation, be subjected to an easement
right of way.[37]

In Republic v. Castellvi,[38] this Court had the occasion to spell out the
requisites of taking in eminent domain, to wit:

(1) the expropriator must enter a private property;

(2) the entry must be for more than a momentary period.

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

(4) the property must be devoted to public use or otherwise


informally appropriated or injuriously affected;

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

As shown by the foregoing jurisprudence, a regulation which substantially


deprives the owner of his proprietary rights and restricts the beneficial use and
enjoyment for public use amounts to compensable taking. In the case under
consideration, the entry referred to in Section 76 and the easement rights under
Section 75 of Rep. Act No. 7942 as well as the various rights to CAMC under its
FTAA are no different from the deprivation of proprietary rights in the cases
discussed which this Court considered as taking. Section 75 of the law in question
reads:

Easement Rights. - When mining areas are so situated that for


purposes of more convenient mining operations it is necessary to build,
construct or install on the mining areas or lands owned, occupied or
leased by other persons, such infrastructure as roads, railroads, mills,
waste dump sites, tailing ponds, warehouses, staging or storage areas and
port facilities, tramways, runways, airports, electric transmission,
telephone or telegraph lines, dams and their normal flood
and catchment areas, sites for water wells, ditches, canals, new river
beds, pipelines, flumes, cuts, shafts, tunnels, or mills, the contractor,
upon payment of just compensation, shall be entitled to enter and occupy
said mining areas or lands.

Section 76 provides:

Entry into private lands and concession areas Subject to prior


notification, holders of mining rights shall not be prevented from entry
into private lands and concession areas by surface owners, occupants, or
concessionaires when conducting mining operations therein.

The CAMC FTAA grants in favor of CAMC the right of possession of the
Exploration Contract Area, the full right of ingress and egress and the right to
occupy the same.It also bestows CAMC the right not to be prevented from entry
into private lands by surface owners or occupants thereof when prospecting,
exploring and exploiting minerals therein.

The entry referred to in Section 76 is not just a simple right-of-way which is


ordinarily allowed under the provisions of the Civil Code. Here, the holders of
mining rights enter private lands for purposes of conducting mining activities such
as exploration, extraction and processing of minerals. Mining right holders build
mine infrastructure, dig mine shafts and connecting tunnels, prepare tailing ponds,
storage areas and vehicle depots, install their machinery, equipment and sewer
systems. On top of this, under Section 75, easement rights are accorded to them
where they may build warehouses, port facilities, electric transmission, railroads
and other infrastructures necessary for mining operations. All these will definitely
oust the owners or occupants of the affected areas the beneficial ownership of their
lands. Without a doubt, taking occurs once mining operations commence.
REPUBLIC VS ROSEMOOR
This same ruling had been made earlier in Tan v. Director of
Forestry with regard to a timber license, a pronouncement that was
[26]

reiterated in Ysmael v. Deputy Executive Secretary, the pertinent portion of


[27]

which reads:

x x x. Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the principal instruments
by which the State regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the
end that public welfare is promoted. And it can hardly be gainsaid that they merely
evidence a privilege granted by the State to qualified entities, and do not vest in the
latter a permanent or irrevocable right to the particular concession area and the forest
products therein. They may be validly amended, modified, replaced or rescinded by
the Chief Executive when national interests so require. Thus, they are not deemed
contracts within the purview of the due process of law clause [See Sections 3(ee) and
20 of Pres. Decree No. 705, as amended. Also, Tan v. Director of Forestry, G.R. No.
L-24548, October 27, 1983, 125 SCRA 302]. (Italics supplied)
[28]

In line with the foregoing jurisprudence, respondents license may be


revoked or rescinded by executive action when the national interest so
requires, because it is not a contract, property or a property right protected by
the due process clause of the Constitution. Respondents themselves
[29]

acknowledge this condition of the grant under paragraph 7 of QLP No. 33,
which we quote:

7. This permit/license may be revoked or cancelled at any time by the Director of


Mines and Geo-Sciences when, in his opinion public interests so require or, upon
failure of the permittee/licensee to comply with the provisions of Presidential Decree
No. 463, as amended, and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, as well as
with the terms and conditions specified herein; Provided, That if a permit/license is
cancelled, or otherwise terminated, the permittee/licensee shall be liable for all unpaid
rentals and royalties due up to the time of the termination or cancellation of the
permit/license[.] (Italics supplied)
[30]

The determination of what is in the public interest is necessarily vested in


the State as owner of all mineral resources. That determination was based on
policy considerations formally enunciated in the letter dated September 15,
1986, issued by then Minister Maceda and, subsequently, by the President
through Proclamation No. 84. As to the exercise of prerogative by Maceda,
suffice it to say that while the cancellation or revocation of the license is
vested in the director of mines and geo-sciences, the latter is subject to the
formers control as the department head. We also stress the clear prerogative
of the Executive Department in the evaluation and the consequent
cancellation of licenses in the process of its formulation of policies with regard
to their utilization. Courts will not interfere with the exercise of that discretion
without any clear showing of grave abuse of discretion. [31]

Moreover, granting that respondents license is valid, it can still be validly


revoked by the State in the exercise of police power. The exercise of such
[32]

power through Proclamation No. 84 is clearly in accord with jura regalia, which
reserves to the State ownership of all natural resources. This Regalian [33]

doctrine is an exercise of its sovereign power as owner of lands of the public


domain and of the patrimony of the nation, the mineral deposits of which are a
valuable asset. [34]

Proclamation No. 84 cannot be stigmatized as a violation of the non-


impairment clause. As pointed out earlier, respondents license is not a
contract to which the protection accorded by the non-impairment clause may
extend. Even if the license were, it is settled that provisions of existing laws
[35]

and a reservation of police power are deemed read into it, because it
concerns a subject impressed with public welfare. As it is, the non-
[36]

impairment clause must yield to the police power of the state. [37]

We cannot sustain the argument that Proclamation No. 84 is a bill of


attainder; that is, a legislative act which inflicts punishment without judicial
trial. Its declaration that QLP No. 33 is a patent nullity is certainly not a
[38] [39]

declaration of guilt. Neither is the cancellation of the license a punishment


within the purview of the constitutional proscription against bills of attainder.
EXPOST FACTO LAW
Too, there is no merit in the argument that the proclamation is an ex post
facto law. There are six recognized instances when a law is considered as
such: 1) it criminalizes and punishes an action that was done before the
passing of the law and that was innocent when it was done; 2) it aggravates a
crime or makes it greater than it was when it was committed; 3) it changes the
punishment and inflicts one that is greater than that imposed by the law
annexed to the crime when it was committed; 4) it alters the legal rules of
evidence and authorizes conviction upon a less or different testimony than
that required by the law at the time of the commission of the offense; 5) it
assumes the regulation of civil rights and remedies only, but in effect
imposes a penalty or a deprivation of a right as a consequence of
something that was considered lawful when it was done; and 6) it deprives a
person accused of a crime of some lawful protection to which he or she
become entitled, such as the protection of a former conviction or an acquittal
or the proclamation of an amnesty. Proclamation No. 84 does not fall under
[40]

any of the enumerated categories; hence, it is not an ex post facto law.


It is settled that an ex post facto law is limited in its scope only to matters
criminal in nature. Proclamation 84, which merely restored the area excluded
[41]

from the Biak-na-Bato national park by canceling respondents license, is


clearly not penal in character.
METRO ILO ILO WATER DISTRICT VS CA (JURISDICTION)
The instant case certainly calls for the application and interpretation of
pertinent laws and jurisprudence in order to determine whether private
respondents actions violate petitioners rights as a water district and justify an
injunction. This issue does not so much provide occasion to invoke the special
knowledge and expertise of the Water Council as it necessitates judicial
intervention. While initially it may appear that there is a dimension to the
petitions which pertains to the sphere of the Water Council, i.e., the
appropriation of water which the Water Code defines as the acquisition of
rights over the use of waters or the taking or diverting of waters from a natural
source in the manner and for any purpose allowed by law, in reality the matter
is at most merely collateral to the main thrust of the petitions.
The petitions having raised a judicial question, it follows that the doctrine
of exhaustion of administrative remedies, on the basis of which the petitions
were dismissed by the trial court and the Court of Appeals, does not even
come to play.[36]
Notably too, private respondents themselves do not dispute petitioners
rights as a water district. The cases of Abe-Abe v. Manta[37] and Tanjay Water
District v. Gabaton[38] invoked by private respondents are thus inapplicable. In
Abe-Abe v. Manta, both petitioners and respondent had no established right
emanating from any grant by any governmental agency to the use,
appropriation and exploitation of water, while in Tanjay Water District v.
Gabaton, petitioner Tanjay sought to enjoin the Municipality of Pamplona and
its officials from interfering in the management of the Tanjay Waterworks
System.
On the other hand, in the analogous case of Amistoso v. Ong[39], petitioner
had an approved Water Rights Grant from the Department of Public Works,
Transportation and Communications. The trial court was not asked to grant
petitioner the right to use but to compel private respondents to recognize that
right. Thus, we declared that the trial courts jurisdiction must be upheld where
the issue involved is not the settlement of a water rights dispute, but the
enjoyment of a right to water use for which a permit was already granted.[40]
In like manner, the present petition calls for the issuance of an injunction
order to prevent private respondents from extracting and selling ground water
within petitioners service area in violation of the latters water permit. There is
no dispute regarding petitioners right to ground water within its service area. It
is petitioners enjoyment of its rights as a water district which it seeks to assert
against private respondents.