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CASE DIGESTS IN NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL

LAW

Apex Mining Co. Inc., v. Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corp. G.R. No.
152613 and 152628
Benguet Corp. v. DENR G.R. No. 163101
Carpio v. Sulu Resources G.R. No. 148267
Celestial Nickel Mining v. MacroAsia Corp. G.R. No. 169080
DESAMA v. Gozun G.R. No. 157882
Lepanto v. WMC Resources Int’l G.R. No. 162331
Loney v. People G.R. No. 152644
Marcopper Mining v. Bumulo G.R. No. 139548
Olympic Mines v. Platinum Group Metals G.R. No. 178188
PICOP Resources v. Base Metal Mineral G.R. No. 163509
Pyro-Copper Mining Corp. v. Mines Adjudication Board G.R. No. 179674
Santa Rosa Mining Co. v. Minister of Natural Resources G.R. No. L-49109
Southeast Mindanao and Mining Corp. v. Balite Portal G.R. No. 135190
Ungay Malobago Mines, Inc. v. IAC G.R. No. L-69997
La Bugal-B'Laan Tribal Assn v. Ramos G.R. No. 127882

Submitted to: Atty. Cleo Sabado - Andrada, CPA, LLM

Submitted by: Kathleen Allysa V. Salvador

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Apex Mining Co. Inc., v. Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corp. G.R. No.
152613 and 152628

Facts: There are 3 consolidated cases involved in this resolution. The Southeast
Mindanao Gold Mining Corporation, SEM for brevity, filed a motion for
reconsideration assailing the decision of the Supreme Court dated June 23, 2006.
The Assailed Decision held that the assignment of Exploration Permit (EP) 133 in
favor of SEM violated one of the conditions stipulated in the permit, particularly
that the same shall be for the exclusive use and benefit of Marcopper Mining
Corporation, MMC, or its duly authorized agents. Since SEM did not claim or
submit evidence that it was a designated agent of MMC, the latter cannot be
considered as an agent of the former that can use EP 133 and benefit from it. It
also ruled that the transfer of EP 133 violated Presidential Decree No. 463.
Presidential Decree 463 is the law which deals with the old form of mining
utilization, exploration and development that include lease, concession and the
grant of license. P.D. 463 requires that the assignment of a mining right be made
with the prior approval of the Secretary of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources (DENR). Moreover, the Assailed Decision pointed out that EP
133 expired by non-renewal since it was not renewed before or after its expiration.
The Assailed Decision likewise upheld the validity of Proclamation No. 297 absent
any question against its validity. In relation to the assailed decision and R.A. 7942,
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. With this things being said, the executive department may now
award the operations to qualified entities which may include APEX and BALITE.

APEX and Balite on their part prayed that the Mines and Geosciences Bureau be
required by the court to issue the appropriate exploration permit for the said
parties.

The petitioner SEM forwarded the following contentions.

First, it had vested rights over the property in dispute which he further explained
that it cannot be taken away from it despite the expiration of any contract. Second,
it did not violate Presidential Decree 463 because it was not applicable to the
present case and the terms and conditions under the permit were as well not
violated. Lastly, Proclamation no. 297 is invalid.

Issues:
1. Whether or not SEM has vested rights that are irrevocable over the land
in dispute

2. Whether or not Presidential Decree No. 463 was violated

3. Whether or not conditions under the permit were violated

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Ruling:
1. This Court ruled that SEM did not acquire any irrevocable right over the
property in dispute. The contention of the petitioner that the mining rights
of MMC were the ones acquired and not the exploration rights is
untenable. The case of McDaniel used by the petitioner is not applicable
to the case. In that case, the petitioner was granted mining rights and
ownership over the areas subject of their operation. During that time, the
applicable law was the Philippine Bill of 1902, where a mining claim
locator, soon after locating the mine, enjoyed possessory rights with
respect to such mining claim with or without a patent therefor. McDaniel
perfected the mining claim during the existence and enforcement of
Philippine Bill of 1902, thus the Court ruled that mining claim perfected
under said law, is “property in the highest sense of that term, which may
be sold and conveyed, and will pass by descent, and is not therefore
subject to the disposal of the Government.” Nor these rights be taken
away by some laws subsequently enacted. The mining application was
just applied for by the MMC in 1984 thus, SEM cannot validly use the
case of McDaniel because it is impossible for them to have perfected the
mining claim under Philippine Bill of 1902.

2. SEM violated PD 463. Section 97 of the law provides that a mining lease
contract or any interest therein shall not be transferred, assigned, or
subleased without the prior approval of the Secretary. MMC transferred
the mining rights under EP 133 without the imprimatur of the Secretary
of the DENR. The Court is in the opinion that if a lease holder has
already demonstrated to the government his capacity and qualifications to
further develop and utilize the minerals within the contract area, is
prohibited from transferring his mining rights (rights to explore, develop
and utilize), with more reason will this proscription apply with extra
force to a mere exploration permit holder who is yet to exhibit his
qualifications in conducting mining operations, in this case, MMC.
Additionally, EP 133 was never renewed before after expiration, thus
there were no exploration rights have been vested to SEM, assuming that
the transfer was valid.

3. The terms and conditions under EP 133 were violated. Paragraph 6 of EP


133 provides that “this permit shall be for the exclusive use and benefit
of the permittee or his duly authorized agents and shall be used for
mineral exploration purposes only and for no other purpose”. There were
no evidence presented by SEM that indeed it was a duly authorized agent
of MMC, thus the condition under Paragraph 6 of the permit was deemed
violated.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court holds:

a. The Manifestation and Urgent Motion dated 25 January 2007 of Southeast


Mindanao Gold Mining Corporation is DENIED.

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b. The State, through the Executive Department, should it so desire, may now
award mining operations in the disputed area to any qualified entities it may
determine. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau may process exploration
permits pending before it, taking into consideration the applicable mining
laws, rules and regulations relative thereto

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Benguet Corp. v. DENR G.R. No. 163101

Facts: J.G Realty, the owner of 4 mining claims entered into a Royalty Agreement
with Option to Purchase (RAWOP) with Benguet and a supplemental agreement.
The RAWOP contains that Benguet will perfect the rights with the mining claim
within 24 months and cause examination of said mining claims. Later Benguet
informed J.G Realty of its intention to develop the mining claim however, J.G
Realty informed Benguet that it is terminating the RAWOP allegedly for Benguet’s
failure to perform its obligation to develop within 2 years and violating the contract
by allowing high graders to operate on the claim and non-payment of royalties.
Benguet on the other hand alleged that J.G Realty should have submitted the
disagreement to arbitration rather than unilaterally terminating the RAWOP. J.G
Realty later filed a Petition for Declaration of Nullity/Cancellation of the RAWOP
with the Legaspi City POA. POA decided that the RAWOP and its Supplemental
Agreement is cancelled and without effect Benguet filed Notice of appeal with
MAB. MAB ruled that the contractual provision on arbitration merely provides for
an additional forum or venue and does not divest the POA of the jurisdiction to
hear the case.

Issue: Whether or not POA should have referred the case to voluntary arbitration,
we find that, indeed, POA has no jurisdiction over the dispute which is governed
by RA 876, the arbitration law.

Held: 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.

Benguet is already estopped from questioning the POA’s jurisdiction. As it were,


when J.G. Realty filed DENR Case No. 2000-01, Benguet filed its answer and
participated in the proceedings before the POA, Region V. Secondly, when the
adverse March 19, 2001 POA Decision was rendered, it filed an appeal with the
MAB in Mines Administrative Case No. R-M-2000-01 and again participated in
the MAB proceedings. When the adverse December 2, 2002 MAB Decision was
promulgated, it filed a motion for reconsideration with the MAB. When the
adverse March 17, 2004 MAB Resolution was issued, Benguet filed a petition with
this Court pursuant to Sec. 79 of RA 7942impliedly recognizing MAB’s
jurisdiction. In this factual milieu, the Court rules that the jurisdiction of POA and
that of MAB can no longer be questioned by Benguet at this late hour. What
Benguet should have done was to immediately challenge the POA’s jurisdiction by
a special civil action for certiorari when POA ruled that it has jurisdiction over the
dispute. To redo the proceedings fully participated in by the parties after the lapse
of seven years from date of institution of the original action with the POA would
be anathema to the speedy and efficient administration of justice.

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Carpio v. Sulu Resources G.R. No. 148267

Facts: This case originated from a petition filed by respondent [Sulu Resources
Development Corporation] for Mines Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) No.
MPSA-IV-131, covering certain areas in Antipolo, Rizal. Petitioner [Armando C.
Carpio] filed an opposition/adverse claim thereto, alleging, inter alia, that his
landholdings in Cupang and Antipolo, Rizal will be covered by respondent’s claim,
thus he enjoys a preferential right to explore and extract the quarry resources on his
properties.

After due proceedings were held, the Panel of Arbitrators of the Mines and Geo-
Sciences Bureau of the DENR rendered a Resolution upholding petitioner’s
opposition/adverse claim. Respondent appealed the foregoing Resolution to the
Mines Adjudication Board. 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. 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. An appeal was filed with the CA but same was denied.

Issue: 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.

Held: The petition is meritorious.

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.

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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 3 of Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95 and Section 3 of Rule 43
explicitly expanded the list of such issues.

According to Section 3 of Rule 43, “[a]n appeal under this Rule may be taken to
the Court of Appeals within the period and in the manner herein provided whether
the appeal involves questions of fact, of law, or mixed questions of fact and law.”
Hence, appeals from quasi-judicial agencies even only on questions of law may be
brought to the CA.

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

Consistent with these rulings and legal bases, we therefore hold that Section 79 of
RA 7942 is likewise to be understood as having been modified by Circular No. 1-
91, BP Blg. 129 as amended by RA 7902, Revised Administrative Circular 1-95,
and Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. 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.

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Celestial Nickel Mining v. MacroAsia Corp. G.R. No. 169080

Facts: 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
Point.

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 Special 12th Division affirmed
the MAB Resolution which upheld the exclusive authority of the DENR Secretary

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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 agreements.

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

Held: 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.

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DESAMA v. Gozun G.R. No. 157882

Facts: A petition for mandamus and prohibition assailing the constitutionality of


the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, together with the IRR issued by the DENR
Administrative Order No. 96-40, s. 1996(DAO 96-40) and of the Financial and
Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) entered into on20 June 1994 by the
Republic of the Philippines and Arimco Mining Corporation (AMC), a corporation
established under the laws of Australia and owned by its nationals. After several
unsuccessful actions to cancel the FTAA agreement with the government, the
petitioners finally submitted a petition to the court. In their memorandum
petitioners pose whether or not Republic Act No. 7942 and the CAMC FTAA are
void because they allow the unjust and unlawful taking of property without
payment of just compensation , in violation of Section 9, Article III of the
Constitution issues, among others issues.

Issue: Whether there has been an actual controversy or issue with respect to the
unlawful and unjust taking of property without payment of just compensation.

Ruling: Public respondents are of the view that petitioners eminent domain claim
is not ripe for adjudication as they fail to allege that CAMC has actually taken their
properties nor do they allege that their property rights have been endangered or are
in danger on account of CAMC’s FTAA. In effect, public respondents insist that
the issue of eminent domain is not a justiciable controversy which this Court can
take cognizance of. A question is considered ripe for adjudication when the act
being challenged has had a direct adverse effect on the individual challenging it.
However, the court cannot await the adverse consequences of the law in order to
consider the controversy actual and ripe for judicial intervention.

Actual eviction of the land owners and occupants need not happen for this Court to
intervene. By the mere enactment of the questioned law or the approval of the
challenged act, the dispute is said to have ripened into a judicial controversy even
without any other overt act. Indeed, even a singular violation of the Constitution
and/or the law is enough to awaken judicial duty. Nevertheless, the petition was
still dismissed due to the baseless contention of the issues submitted. The FTAA
was in full compliance with the necessary requirements of the law and
Constitution. The allegation of the lack of payment of just compensation was
dismissed since the court has had authority in eminent domain cases to make sure
the proper amount was established regardless of the fact that there would be an
intervention from an executive department or legislature to make any initial
determination of the amount.

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Lepanto v. WMC Resources Int’l G.R. No. 162331

Fact: Philippine Government and WMC Philippines, the local wholly-owned


subsidiary of WMC Resources International Pty. Ltd. (WMC Resources) executed
a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement, denominated as the Columbio
FTAA No. 02-95-XI (Columbio FTAA) for the purpose of large scale exploration,
development, and commercial exploration of possible mineral resources in an
initial contract area of 99,387 hectares located in the provinces of South Cotabato,
Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, and North Cotabato in accordance with Executive
Order No. 279 and Department Administrative Order No. 63, Series of 1991.The
Columbio FTAA is covered in part by 156 mining claims held under various
Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) by Southcot Mining
Corporation, Tampakan Mining Corporation, and Sagittarius Mines, Inc.
(collectively called the Tampakan Companies), in accordance with the Tampakan
Option Agreement entered into by WMC Philippines and the Tampakan
Companies on 25 April 1991,as amended by Amendatory Agreement dated 15 July
1994, for purposes of exploration of the mining claims in Tampakan, South
Cotabato. The Option Agreement, among other things, provides for the grant of the
right of first refusal to the Tampakan Companies in case WMC Philippines desires
to dispose of its rights and interests in the mining claims covering the area subject
of the agreement.

WMC Resources subsequently divested itself of its rights and interests in the
Columbio FTAA,and on 12 July 2000 executed a Sale and Purchase Agreement
with petitioner Lepanto over its entire shareholdings in WMC Philippines, subject
to the exercise of the Tampakan Companies’ exercise of their right of first refusal
to purchase the subject shares. On 28 August 2000, petitioner sought the approval
of the 12 July 2000 Agreement from the DENR 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.

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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.

Issue: Whether the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, particularly Section 40


thereof requiring the approval of the President of the assignment or transfer of
financial or technical assistance agreements should have a retroactive
application to the Columbio FTAA.

Ruling: NO. Applying the above-cited law retroactively would contradict the
established legal doctrine that statutes are to be construed as having only a
prospective operation unless the contrary is expressly stated or necessarily implied
from the language used in the law.

In the case at bar, there is an absence of either an express declaration or an


implication in the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 that the provisions of said law
shall be made to apply retroactively, therefore, any section of said law must be
made to apply only prospectively, in view of the rule that a statute ought not to
receive a construction making it act retroactively, unless the words used are so
clear, strong, and imperative that no other meaning can be annexed to them, or
unless the intention of the legislature cannot be otherwise satisfied.

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Loney v. People G.R. No. 152644

Facts: Petitioners John Eric Loney, Steven Paul Reid, and Pedro B. Hernandez are
the President and Chief Executive Officer, Senior Manager, and Resident Manager
for Mining Operations, respectively, of Marcopper Mining Corporation, a
corporation engaged in mining in the province of Marinduque.

The tailings from the operations of marcopper were stored in a pit. The pit had a
tunnel drainage leading to the Boa and Makalupnit rivers. The tunnel’s end was
plugged. On March 24, 1994, tailings gushed out of the tunnel. After a few days
millions of tons of tailings had been discharged into the Boac and Makalupnit
rivers.

The Department of justice separately charged the petitioners with violation of PD.
1067 Water Code of the Philippines, PD. 984 the National Pollution Control
Decree of 1976, R.A. 7942 Philippine Mining Act and Article 365 of the Revised
Penal Code for reckless Imprudence resulting to damage of property.

Petitioners move to quash the information on the grounds that the information were
duplicitous as the Department of Justice charged more than one offense for a single
act, petitioners John Eric Loney and Steven Reid were not yet officers when the
incident happened, and the information contain allegations which constitute legal
excuse or justification.

The MTC quashed the information for violation of PD 1067 and PD 984 but
maintained the information for violation of RA 7942 and Article 365 of the RPC.

The petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the RTC assailing the maintaining
of the information for violation of RA 7942 and PD1067 which was raffled to
branch 94 and ruled that the information for violations of PD 984and PD 1067
must reinstated.

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.

Ruling: The petition is of no merit. There is no Duplicity of charges in the case.


The filing of several charges is proper because in each of the laws violated, there is
one essential element not requires of the others.

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Marcopper Mining v. Bumulo G.R. No. 139548

Facts: Marcopper Mining Corporation registered its mining claims in Pao, Kasibu,
NuevaVizcaya with the DENR from February 2, 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 September1988, 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 with the Bureau of Forest Development, DENR, on the alleged
ground that a portion of the area covered by the mining claims was within the
Magat River Forest Reservation under Proc. 573 of June26, 1969 and with DAR on
account of alleged coverage of the other portion within the Nueva Vizcaya-Quirino
Civil Reservation under Proc. 1498 of 11 September 1975.

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


Prospecting Permit Application on the ground that the Memorandum 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. 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
motion.

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

Held: 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

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recommendation of the RTD for Mines. Records would show that as early as
May 31, 1989 Bumolo group of PD 463 claims which Marcopper has eventually
surrounded by filing its own PAO 1-30 group of claims was confirmed by the
Forest Engineering Section of the region
to be outside proclaimed watershed areas, wilderness, national parks and existing
government reforestation projects

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

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Olympic Mines v. Platinum Group Metals G.R. No. 178188

Facts: In 1971 and 1980, Olympic was granted “Mining Lease Contracts” by the
Secretary of the DENR covering mining areas located in the municipalities of
Narra and Espanola, Palawan. On July 18, 2003, Olympic entered into an
Operating Agreement with Platinum, by virtue of which Platinum was given the
exclusive right to control, possess, manage/operate, and conduct mining
operations, and to market or dispose mining products on the Toronto Nickel Mine
in the Municipality of Narra. In return, Platinum would pay Olympic a royalty fee
of 2½% of the gross revenues.

Olympic and Platinum applied for, and were subsequently granted the necessary
government permits and environmental compliance certificates. On April 24, 2006,
Olympic sent a letter to Platinum, informing the latter of the immediate termination
of the Operating Agreement on account of Platinum’s gross violations of its terms,
and directing Platinum to immediately surrender possession of the subject mining
areas under the Operating Agreement. Olympic instituted an action for the issuance
of an injunctive writ before the RTC of Puerto Princesa against Platinum. In its
prayer, Olympic sought to enjoin Platinum from conducting mining operations on
the subject mining areas, and also to recover possession thereof. The RTC
dismissed Olympic’s complaint. Olympic then filed two cases with the Provincial
Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) for the revocationof the SSMPs of Platinum, on
the ground of Olympic’s termination of the Operating Agreement because of the
alleged gross violations thereof by Platinum. This was dismissed and POA for the
cancellation of the Operating Agreement and the revocation of the SSMPs of
Platinum.

This case was subsequently withdrawn by .While these two administrative cases
were pending, Olympic transferred its applications for mineral agreements,
including its rights under the Operating Agreement, to Citinickel via a Deed of ,
without the knowledge or consent of Platinum. This assignment was thereafter
approved by the Regional Director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
After the assignment, Citinickel filed Civil Case No. 06-0185 before the RTC of
Parañaque, on June 21, 2006, seeking to invalidate the Operating Agreement based
on Platinum’s alleged violation of its terms. This action was also dismissed by the
trial court, citing forum shopping and improper venue as among the grounds for
dismissal. Citinickel did not bother to appeal this dismissal, opting instead to find
other remedies. Citinickel thereafter filed three administrative cases: PMRB Case
No. 002-06, DENR Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Case No. 8253,
and POA Case No. 2006-02-B.Civil Case No. 4199 involved a complaint for
quieting of title, damages, breach of contract, and specific performance filed by
Platinum against Olympic before the RTC of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Branch
95on June 14, 2006.

Olympic sought the dismissal of Platinum’s Civil Case No. 4199 through a motion
to dismiss where Olympic alleged that the trial court was without jurisdiction to
rule on the issues raised in the case. Olympic contended that the case involved a

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mining dispute requiring the technical expertise of the POA; accordingly,


jurisdiction should be with the PO.

Issue: Which body has the authority to hear and decide the dispute between
Olympic/Citinickel and Platinum, as parties to the operating agreement.

Ruling: Settled is the rule that jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter is
determined by the allegations of the complaint. It is thus obvious that the
complaint falls within the ambit of the RTC’s original jurisdiction, to the exclusion
of all other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies.

Although Section 77 (d) of the Mining Act has transferred to the POA jurisdiction
over disputes pending before the Bureau of Mines and the DENR, Section 77 (b)
did not adopt the wording of Section 7, paragraphs (a) and (c) of PD No. 1281 so
as to include all other forms of contracts – public or private – involving mining
rights; Section 77 (b) in relation to Section 3 (ab) of the Mining Act did not include
a general catch-all phrase to cover other agreements involving mining rights
similar to those in Section 7, paragraphs (a) and (c) of PD No. 1281. Instead, the
Mining Act, through the above-quoted Sections 3(ab) and 26, has limited the
jurisdiction of the POA, as successor of the adjudicatory functions of the Bureau of
Mines, to mineral agreements between the government and the private contractor.
Otherwise stated, while disputes between parties to any mining contract (including
operating agreements) may previously fall within the Bureau of Mines’ jurisdiction
under Section 7 (a) or (c) of PD No. 1281, it can no longer be so placed now within
the authority of the POA to settle under Section 77 (b) of the Mining Law because
its jurisdiction has been limited to the resolution of disputes involving public
mineral agreements.

The controlling factor in determining venue for cases is the primary objective for
which said cases are filed. Platinum’s primary objective in filing the complaint is
to protect its interest in the subject mining areas, although it joined its claims of
breach of contract, damages, and specific performance in the case. In any event,
the Rules of Court allow joinder of causes of action in the RTC, provided one of
the causes of action (in this case, the cause of action for quieting of title or interest
in real property located in Palawan) falls within the jurisdiction of said court and
venue lies therein. In fine, there is absolutely no reason to disturb the CA’s
findings that venue was properly laid in the Palawan court.

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PICOP Resources v. Base Metal Mineral G.R. No. 163509, December 6, 2006.

Facts: PICOP Resources, Inc. (PICOP) assails the Decision of the Court of
Appeals dated November 28, 2003 and its Resolution dated May 5, 2004, which
respectively denied its petition for review and motion for reconsideration.

In 1987, the CMMCI, a mining corporation, entered into a Mines Operating


Agreement with Banahaw Mining and Development Corporation where they
agreed that Banahaw will act as Mine Operator for the exploration, development,
and eventual commercial operation of CMMCI’s 18 mining claims located in
Agusan del Sur. Banahaw Mining filed applications for Mining Lease Contracts
over the mining claims with the Bureau of Mines. Thereafter, Mines Temporary
Permit was issued authorizing it to extract and dispose of precious minerals found
within its mining claims. The permits were renewed, the last being on June 28,
1991. A portion of Banahaw Mining’s mining claims was located in petitioner
PICOP’s logging concession in Agusan del Sur, Banahaw Mining and petitioner
PICOP entered into a Memorandum of Agreement where petitioner PICOP
allowed Banahaw Mining an access/right of way to its mining claims.

Banahaw Mining converted its mining claims to applications for Mineral


Production Sharing Agreements. While the same were pending, Banahaw Mining
decided to sell/assign its rights and interests over 37 mining claims in favor of
Base Metals Mineral Resources Corporation. The transfer included mining claims
held by Banahaw Mining in its own right as claim owner, as well as those covered
by its mining operating agreement with CMMCI.

Later on, Base Metals amended Banahaw Mining’s pending MPSA applications
with the Bureau of Mines to substitute itself as applicant.

Petitioner then filed with the MGB, opposition to Base Metals’ application on the
grounds that:
1. It is an impairment of the constitutional mandate against impairment of
obligation in a contract;
2. Approval of the application will defeat the rights of the oppositor. The Panel
of Arbitrator set aside the application for MPSA by the Base Metals.

Moreover, the petitioner alleged that its concession areas are closed to mining
operations as these are within the Agusan-Surigao-Davao forest reserve established
under Proclamation No. 369 of then Gov. Gen. Dwight Davis. The area is allegedly
also part of permanent forest established under Republic Act No. 3092 (RA 3092),
and overlaps the wilderness area where mining applications are expressly
prohibited under RA 7586. Hence, the area is closed to mining operations under
Sec. 19 (f) of RA 7942.

Petitioner further alleged that there is a presidential warranty in its favor to the
exclusive possession and enjoyment of the land in dispute.

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The MAB however reinstated the MPSA of Base Metals. The Court of Appeals
upheld the decision of the MAB. Hence, this petition.

Issues:
1. Whether or not a forest reserve is closed to mining operation

2. Whether or not allowing the mining operation in petitioner concessions is


tantamount to violation of the constitutional mandate against non-
impairment of obligations in contracts

Ruling:
1. No. forest reserves are not closed to mining operations. Under PD 705,
the multiple uses of forest lands shall be oriented to the development and
progress requirements of the country, the advancement of science and
technology, and the public welfare. Also, 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. The provisions of Section 19 of RA 7942 forwarded
by the petitioner regarding areas closed to mining applications which
includes xxx (f) Old growth or virgin forests, proclaimed watershed
forest reserves, wilderness areas xxx, cannot be sustained by this Court
because There is no evidence in this case that the area covered by Base
Metals’ MPSA has been proclaimed as watershed forest reserves.
Additionally, 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 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. Lastly, even, 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.

2. No. The act of allowing the respondents to operate mining activities in


within petitioner’s concession thus not amount to the impairment of
obligations in contracts as provided under the constitution. While it is
true that PICOP was issued a Presidential Warranty dated September 25,
1968, it was not considered as a contract by this Court based on existing
jurisprudence. The Presidential Warranty revealed that it simply
reassures PICOP of the government’s commitment to uphold the terms
and conditions of its timber license and guarantees PICOP’s 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

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mineral resources, occurring within the concession. We held in the case


of Oposa v. Factoran that a timber license is not a contract within the
purview of the non-impairment clause. In the case of Tan vs. Director of
Forestry, it was also settled that 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.

“IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is DENIED. The


Decision of the Court of Appeals November 28, 2003 is AFFIRMED. No
pronouncement as to costs.”

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Pyro-Copper Mining Corp. v. Mines Adjudication Board G.R. No. 179674

Facts: Petitioner is a corporation duly organized and existing under Philippine


laws engaged in the business of mining. On March 31, 2000, petitioner’s
Application for Mineral Production Sharing Agreement for the exploration,
development and commercial utilization of certain pyrite ore and other mineral
deposits in a 4,360.71-hectare land in Dasol, Pangasinan, was approved and MPSA
No. 153-2000-1 was issued in its favor. Private respondent is also a corporation
organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines and engaged in the
business of mining. On September 12, 2003, private respondent filed an
Application for Exploration Permit with MGB covering the same properties
covered by and during the subsistence of APSA-SF-000089 and MPSA No. 153-
2000-1 of petitioner. In turn, petitioner filed a Verified Protest/Opposition to the
Application for Exploration Permit of the private respondent. It was allegedly filed
with the Panel of Arbitrators on August 30, 2005 and was received by the latter on
September 5, 2005. However, prior to the filing of the opposition, the Secretary of
DENR cancelled the Application for Exploration Permit by the petitioner and
issued an exploration permit to private respondent on September 1, 2005. The
Panel of Arbitrators dismissed the opposition of petitioner for (1) it being filed out
of time, (2) the opposition as to the exploration permit to the private respondents
was rendered moot and academic, (3) the Panel of Arbitrators had no authority to
cancel, deny or revoke the EP of private respondent, and (4) petitioner failed to
include a certification against forum shopping. Petitioner elevated by appeal to the
MAB but it dismissed the same. Petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a
Petition for Review, the same was dismissed. Petitioner filed a Motion for
Reconsideration before the CA but it was denied due to the failure of respondent to
include a certification of the authority of Atty. Acsays to sign the verification and
certification against forum shopping. The petitioner posits that the submission of
the Minute of the meeting is enough to confer the authority of Atty. Acsay to sign
the Verification and Certification.

Issues:
1. Whether or not the petitioner complied with the requirement for the
Verification and Certification that must be contained in the petition.

2. Whether or not the Panel of Arbitrators has the authority to cancel, deny or
revoke exploration permits issued by the Director.

Ruling:
1. No. The requirement for the inclusion of Verification and Certification was
not complied with by the petitioner. The Rules of Court, according to the
by—laws of the Panel of Arbitrators regarding the filing of adverse claims,
shall be suppletory in character which therefor requires the inclusion of the
Verification and Certification. The verification and certification requirement
was not complied with by the petitioner because it was not submitted during
the filing of their petition. Additionally, even if such requirement was
included, the person who signed/undertake the verification did not have the

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authority to do so. The petitioner presented the minutes of the meeting


however the authority given by the Board of Directors to Atty. Acsay was
only for the “extension of time to file petition for review”. The Supreme
Court ruled that the statement granting the authority to Atty. Acsay was
limited only to the Motion for the Extension of time and thus, cannot be
interpreted as to apply to the subsequent motions to be filed by the
petitioner.

2. None. The Panel of Arbitrators has no power to cancel, deny or revoke the
existing EP issued to private respondent. Section 77 of Republic Act No.
7942 establishes the jurisdiction of the Panel of Arbitrators. It provides that
the panel shall have exclusive and original jurisdiction to hear and decide on
Disputes involving rights to mining areas; disputes involving mineral
agreements or permits; x x x . In the case of Celestial Nickel Mining
Exploration Corporation v. Macroasia Corporation, et al., this Court ruled
that the kind of disputes that fall under Section 77(a) of the Mining Act to
any adverse claim, protest, or opposition to an application for a mineral
agreement and has nothing to do with the cancellation of existing mineral
agreements.

“WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for Review on


Certiorari of petitioner Pyro Copper Mining Corporation is hereby DENIED. The
Resolutions dated 23 February 2007 and 6 September 2007 of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. SP No. 97663 are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner.”

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Santa Rosa Mining Co. v. Minister of Natural Resources, G.R. No. L-49109

Facts: Petitioner Santa Rosa Mining Company, Inc. is a mining corporation duly
organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines. It alleges that it is the
holder of 50 valid mining claims situated in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte,
acquired under the provisions of the Act of the U.S. Congress dated 1 July 1902
(Philippine Bill of 1902).

On 14 October 1977, Presidential Decree No. 1214 was issued, requiring holders
of subsisting and valid patentable mining claims located under the provisions of
the Philippine Bill of 1902 to file a mining lease application within one year from
the approval of the Decree. Petitioner accordingly filed a mining lease application,
but "under protest", on 13 October 1978, with a reservation annotated on the back
of its application that it is not waiving its rights over its mining claims until the
validity of Presidential Decree No. 1214 shall have been passed upon by this
Court.

On 10 October 1978, or three days before filing the disputed mining lease
application, petitioner filed this special civil action for certiorari and prohibition,
alleging that it has no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary
course of law to protect its rights (except by said petition). Petitioner assails
Presidential Decree No. 1214 as unconstitutional in that it amounts to a deprivation
of property without due process of law.

Issue: Whether or not PD 1214 is unconstitutional

Held: No. It is a valid exercise of the sovereign power of the State, as owner, over
lands of the public domain, of which petitioner's mining claims still form a part,
and over the patrimony of the nation, of which mineral deposits are a valuable
asset. It may be underscored, in this connection, that the Decree does not cover all
mining claims located under the Phil. Bill of 1902, but only those claims over
which their locators had failed to obtain a patent. And even then, such locators
may still avail of the renewable 25 lease prescribed by Pres. Dec. No. 463, the
Mineral Development Resources Decree of 1974.

Mere location does not mean absolute ownership over the affected land or the
mining claim. It merely segregates the located land or area from the public domain
by barring other would-be locators from locating the same and appropriating for
themselves the minerals found therein. To rule otherwise would imply that
location is all that is needed to acquire and maintain rights over a located mining
claim. This, we cannot approve or sanction because it is contrary to the intention
of the lawmaker that the locator should faithfully and consistently comply with the
requirements for annual work and improvements in the located mining claim.

Presidential Decree No. 1214 is in accord with Sec. 8, Art. XIV of the 1973
Constitution which states:

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"All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other
mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, wildlife, and other natural
resources of the Philippines belong to the State. With the exception of agricultural,
industrial or commercial, residential and resettlement lands of the public domain,
natural resources shall not be alienated, and no license, concession, or lease for the
exploration, development, exploitation, or utilization of any of the natural
resources shall be granted for a period exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for
not more than twenty-five years, except as to water rights for irrigation, water
supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, in
which cases, beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant".

The same constitutional mandate is found in Sec. 2, Art. XII of the 1987
Constitution, which declares:

"All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other
mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife,
flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the
exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated.
The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under
the full control and supervision of the State. x xx

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Southeast Mindanao and Mining Corp. v. Balite Portal G.R. No. 135190

Facts: The instant case involves a rich tract of mineral land situated in the Agusan-
Davao-Surigao Forest Reserve known as the “Diwalwal Gold Rush Area.” the land
has been embroiled in controversy (DIWALWAL Conflict) since the mid-80’s due
to the scramble over gold deposits found within its bowels.

On June 24, 1997, the DENR Secretary issued Memorandum Order No. 97-03
which provided, among others, that:

“The DENR shall study thoroughly and exhaustively the option of direct state
utilization of the mineral resources in the Diwalwal Gold-Rush Area. Such study
shall include, but shall not be limited to, studying and weighing the feasibility of
entering into management agreements or operating agreements, or both, with the
appropriate government instrumentalities or private entities, or both, in carrying
out the declared policy of rationalizing the mining operations in the Diwalwal Gold
Rush Area; such agreements shall include provisions for profit-sharing between the
state and the said parties, including profit-sharing arrangements with small-scale
miners, as well as the payment of royalties to indigenous cultural communities,
among others. The Undersecretary for Field Operations, as well as the
Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs and Attached Agencies, and the
Director of the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau are hereby ordered to undertake
such studies.” x xx

On July 16, 1997, petitioner filed a special civil action for certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus before the Court of Appeals. It prayed for the nullification of
Memorandum Order No. 97-03.On March 19, 1998, the Court of Appeals,
dismissed the petition. It ruled that the DENR Secretary did not abuse his
discretion in issuing Memorandum Order No. 97-03 since the same was merely a
directive to conduct studies on the various options available to the government for
solving the Diwalwal conflict.

The assailed memorandum did not conclusively adopt “direct state utilization” as
official government policy on the matter, but was simply a manifestation of the
DENR’s intent to consider it as one of its options, after determining its feasibility
through studies. MO 97-03 was only the initial step in the ladder of administrative
process and did not, as yet, fix any obligation, legal relationship or right. Petitioner
filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied for lack of merit. Hence this
petition.

Issue: Whether or not CA erred when it concluded that the assailed memorandum
order did not adopt the “direct state utilization scheme” in resolving the Diwalwal
Conflict.

Ruling: No since the challenged MO 97-03 did not conclusively adopt “direct state
utilization” as a policy in resolving the Diwalwal dispute. The terms of the
memorandum clearly indicate that what was directed there under was merely a

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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.

Additionally, there can be no valid opposition raised against a mere study of an


alternative which the State, through the DENR, is authorized to undertake in the
first place. Worth noting is Article XII, Section 2, of the 1987 Constitution, which
specifically provides: SEC. 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals,
coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries,
forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned
by the State. With the exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources
shall not be alienated. The exploration, development, and utilization of natural
resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. The State
may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into co-production, joint
venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or
associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens.
Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable
for not more than twenty-five years, and under such terms and conditions as may
be provided by law. In cases of water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries,
or industrial uses other than the development of water power, beneficial use may
be the measure and limit of the grant. Petitioner’s imputation of bad faith on the
part of the DENR Secretary when the latter issued MO 97-03 is not well-taken.
Hence petition denied.

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Ungay Malobago Mines, Inc. v. IAC G.R. No. L-69997

Facts: On July 20, 1962, the President of the Philippines granted mining patents on
mineral claims located at Ungay Malobago, Rapu-Rapu, Albay to herein
petitioners and other private individuals. Way back on October 30, 1959, John
Canson, Jr. and Carlos Stilianopulos assigned their rights to their mining claims in
favor of the petitioner. The assignment of rights was recorded in the Office of the
Mining Recorder of Albay on December 2, 1959.The aforestated mining patents,
after their issuance on July 20, 1962, were all recorded in the Office of the Mining
Recorder of Albay on August 28, 1962 and transcribed on September 4, 1962 in
the Registration Book of the Registry of Deeds of Albay. Consequently, the
Register of Deeds of Albay issued the respective original certificates of titles
pursuant to Section 122 of Act No. 496 in the names of John Canson, Jr., Carlos
Stilianopulos, and the petitioner. Subsequently, or from 1968 to 1974, tree patents
were granted by the respondent Director of Lands and the corresponding original
certificates of titles were issued by the Register of Deeds to private respondents.
All of the above patents covered portions of the lots covered by the patents
belonging to the petitioner.

The petitioner filed a complaint for annulment and cancellation of patents against
the private respondents and prayed that all the free patent titles issued in their favor
for properties over which original certificates of title had already been issued in its
favor be declared null and void. The trial court rendered a decision dismissing the
complaint. The CA affirmed the decision of the trial court.

Issues:
1. Whether or not the lands in question belong to the public domain;

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

Held:
1. No. A mere mention in the Torrens title that the provisions of the Philippine
Bill of 1902 were followed is not sufficient. The Philippine Bill provides
the procedures for the perfection of mining claims but not the dates when
such procedures were undertaken by any prospector or claimant. The same
procedures would have to be followed even after the Jones Law of 1916 and
the Constitution of 1935 were promulgated, but subject to the restrictions of
the fundamental law. The petitioner has failed to state if and when new
procedures, different from the 1902 procedures, were provided by law to
give a little substance to its case. The petitioner is completely and strangely
silent about these vital aspects of its petition.

Petitioner has not established by clear and convincing evidence that the
locations of its mining claims were perfected prior to November 15, 1935
when the Government of Commonwealth was inaugurated. In fact neither

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the original complaint nor the amended one alleged the perfection of
petitioner's mining rights prior to November 15, 1935.

Article XIII, Section 1 of the 1935 Constitution provides:

"All agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public domain, waters,
minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential
energy, and other natural resources of the Philippines belong to the State,
and their disposition, exploitation, development, or utilization shall be
limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations or associations at
least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens,
subject to any existing right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the
inauguration of the Government established under this Constitution. Natural
resources, with the exception of public agricultural land, shall not be
alienated and no license, concession, or lease for the exploitation,
development, or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be granted
for a period exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for another twenty-five
years, except as to water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or
industrial uses other than the development of water power, in which cases
beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant." (Emphasis
supplied)

Therefore, applying the aforequoted provision to the case at bar, we


conclude that the issuance of the lode patents on mineral claims by the
President of the Philippines in 1962 in favor of the petitioner granted to it
only the right to extract or utilize the minerals which may be found on or
under the surface of the land. On the other hand, the issuance of the free
patents by the respondent Director of Lands in 1979 in favor of the private
respondents granted to them the ownership and the right to use the land for
agricultural purposes but excluding the ownership of, and the right to extract
or utilize, the minerals which may be found on or under the surface.

There is no basis in the records for the petitioner's stand that it acquired the
right to the mineral lands prior to the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution,
thus, making such acquisition outside its purview and scope.

In the case at bar, although the original certificates of titles of the petitioner
were issued prior to the titles of the private respondents, the former cannot
prevail over the latter for the provisions of the Constitution which governed
at the time of their issuance prohibited the alienation of mineral lands of the
public domain.

Moreover, patents and land grants are construed favorably in favor of the
Government, and most strongly against the grantee. Any doubt as to the
intention or extent of the grant, or the intention of the Government, is to be
resolved in its favor.

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2. No. The appellate court did not likewise err in concluding that the petitioner
has no personality to institute the action below for annulment and
cancellation of patents. The mineral lands over which it has a right to
extract minerals remained part of the inalienable lands of the public domain
and thus, only the Solicitor General or the person acting in his stead can
bring an action for reversion.

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CASE DIGESTS IN NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL
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La Bugal-B'Laan Tribal Assn v. Ramos G.R. No. 127882

Facts: RA 7942 (The Philippine Mining Act) took effect on April 9, 1995. Before
the effectivity of RA 7942, or on March 30, 1995, the President signed a Financial
and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with WMCP, a corporation
organized under Philippine laws, covering close to 100, 000 hectares of land in
South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur and North Cotabato. On August
15, 1995, the Environment Secretary Victor Ramos issued DENR Administrative
Order 95-23, which was later repealed by DENR Administrative Order 96-40,
adopted on December 20, 1996. Petitioners prayed that RA 7942, its implementing
rules, and the FTAA between the government and WMCP be declared
unconstitutional on ground that they allow fully foreign owned corporations like
WMCP to exploit, explore and develop Philippine mineral resources in
contravention of Article XII Section 2 paragraphs 2 and 4 of the Charter.

In January 2001, MMC – a publicly listed Australian mining and exploration


company – sold its whole stake in WMCP to Sagittarius Mines, 60% of which is
owned by Filipinos while 40% of which is owned by Indophil Resources, an
Australian company. DENR approved the transfer and registration of the FTAA in
Sagittarius’ name but Lepanto Consolidated assailed the same. The latter case is
still pending before the Court of Appeals.

EO 279, issued by former President Aquino on July 25, 1987, authorizes the
DENR to accept, consider and evaluate proposals from foreign owned corporations
or foreign investors for contracts or agreements involving either technical or
financial assistance for large scale exploration, development and utilization of
minerals which upon appropriate recommendation of the (DENR) Secretary, the
president may execute with foreign proponent. WMCP likewise contended that the
annulment of the FTAA would violate a treaty between the Philippines and
Australia which provides for the protection of Australian investments.

Issues:
1. Whether or not the Philippine Mining Act is unconstitutional for allowing
fully foreign-owned corporations to exploit Philippine mineral resources

2. Whether or not the FTAA between the government and WMCP is a “service
contract” that permits fully foreign owned companies to exploit Philippine
mineral resources.

Held: RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 is unconstitutional for


permitting fully foreign owned corporations to exploit Philippine natural resources.
Article XII Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution states that “exploration and
development and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and
supervision of the State.” Conspicuously absent in Section 2 is the provision in the
1935 and 1973 Constitutions authorizing the State to grant licenses, concessions, or
leases for the exploration, exploitation, development or utilization of natural
resources. Such omission, the utilization of inalienable lands of public domain

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through license, concession or lease is no longer allowed under the 1987


Constitution. Under the concession system, the concessionaire makes a direct
equity investment for the purpose of exploiting a particular natural resource within
a given area. The concession amounts to complete control by the concessionaire
over the country’s natural resource, for it is given exclusive and plenary rights to
exploit a particular resource at the point of extraction. The 1987 Constitution,
moreover, has deleted the phrase “management or other forms of assistance” in the
1973 Charter. The present Constitution now allows only “technical and financial
assistance.” The management or operation of mining activities by foreign
contractors, the primary feature of service contracts was precisely the evil the
drafters of the 1987 Constitution sought to avoid. The constitutional provision
allowing the President to enter into FTAAs is an exception to the rule that
participation in the nation’s natural resources is reserved exclusively to Filipinos.
Accordingly such provision must be construed strictly against their enjoyment by
non-Filipinos. Therefore RA 7942 is invalid insofar as said act authorizes service
contracts. Although the statute employs the phrase “financial and technical
agreements” in accordance with the 1987 Constitution, its pertinent provisions
actually treat these agreements as service contracts that grant beneficial ownership
to foreign contractors contrary to the fundamental law. The underlying assumption
in the provisions of the law is that the foreign contractor manages the mineral
resources just like the foreign contractor in a service contract. By allowing foreign
contractors to manage or operate all the aspects of the mining operation, RA 7942
has in effect conveyed beneficial ownership over the nation’s mineral resources to
these contractors, leaving the State with nothing but bare title thereto. The same
provisions, whether by design or inadvertence, permit a circumvention of the
constitutionally ordained 60-40% capitalization requirement for corporations or
associations engaged in the exploitation, development and utilization of Philippine
natural resources. When parts of a statute are so mutually dependent and
connected as conditions, considerations, inducements or compensations for each
other as to warrant a belief that the legislature intended them as a whole, then if
some parts are unconstitutional, all provisions that are thus dependent, conditional
or connected must fall with them. Under Article XII Section 2 of the 1987 Charter,
foreign owned corporations are limited only to merely technical or financial
assistance to the State for large scale exploration, development and utilization of
minerals, petroleum and other mineral oils.

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