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G.R. Nos. 152613 & 152628 APEX MINING CO., INC., vs. Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corp.

,(SEM) et. al G.R. No. 152619-20 BALITE COMMUNAL PORTAL MINING COOPERATIVE vs. southeast mindanao gold mining corp. G.R. No. 152870-71 THE MINES ADJUDICATION BOARD AND ITS MEMBERS, THE HON. VICTOR O. RAMOS (Chairman), UNDERSECRETARY VIRGILIO MARCELO (Member) and DIRECTOR HORACIO RAMOS (Member) vs. southeast mindanao gold mining corporation

FACTS: A motion for reconsideration was filed by SEM. The Assailed Decision held that the assignment of Exploration Permit (EP) 133 in favor of SEM violated one of the conditions stipulated in the permit. It also ruled that the transfer of EP 133 violated Presidential Decree No. 463, which requires that the assignment of a mining right be made with the prior approval of the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Moreover, the Assailed Decision pointed out that EP 133 expired by non-renewal since it was not renewed before or after its expiration. It likewise upheld the validity of Proclamation No. 297 absent any question against its validity. In view of this, and considering that under Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7942, otherwise known as the Mining Act of 1995, mining operations in mineral reservations may be undertaken directly by the State or through a contractor, the Court deemed the issue of ownership of priority right over the contested Diwalwal Gold Rush Area as having been overtaken by the said proclamation. Thus, it was held in the Assailed Decision that it is now within the prerogative of the Executive Department to undertake directly the mining operations of the disputed area or to award the operations to private entities including petitioners Apex and Balite, subject to applicable laws, rules and regulations, and provided that these private entities are qualified. Apex, for its part, filed a Motion for Clarification of the Assailed Decision, praying that the Court elucidate on the Decisions pronouncement that mining operations, are now, therefore within the full control of the State through the executive branch. Moreover, Apex asks this Court to order the Mines and Geosciences Board (MGB) to accept its application for an exploration permit. Balite echoes the same concern as that of Apex on the actual takeover by the State of the mining industry in the disputed area to the exclusion of the private sector. In addition, Balite prays for this Court to direct MGB to accept its application for an exploration permit. Camilo Banad, et al., likewise filed a motion for reconsideration and prayed that the disputed area be awarded to them. In the Resolution, the Court En Banc resolved to accept the instant cases. ISSUES: 1. Whether the transfer or assignment of Exploration Permit (EP) 133 by MMC to SEM was validly made without violating any of the terms and conditions set forth in Presidential Decree No. 463 and EP 133 itself.

2.

Whether Southeast Mindanao Mining Corp. acquired a vested right over the disputed area, which constitutes a property right protected by the Constitution. Whether the assailed Decision dated 23 June 2006 of the Third Division in this case is contrary to and overturns the earlier Decision of this Court in Apex v. Garcia (G.R. No. 92605, 16 July 1991, 199 SCRA 278). Whether the issuance of Proclamation No. 297 declaring the disputed area as mineral reservation outweighs the claims of SEM, Apex Mining Co. Inc. and Balite Communal Portal Mining Cooperative over the Diwalwal Gold Rush Area. Whether the issue of the legality/constitutionality of Proclamation No. 297 was belatedly raised.

3.

4.

5.

HELD: 1. The assailed Decision did not overturn the 16 July 1991 Decision in Apex Mining Co., Inc. v. Garcia. The former was decided on facts and issues that were not attendant in the latter, such as the expiration of EP 133, the violation of the condition embodied in EP 133 prohibiting its assignment, and the unauthorized and invalid assignment of EP 133 by MMC to SEM, since this assignment was effected without the approval of the Secretary of DENR; 2. SEM did not acquire vested right over the disputed area because its supposed right was extinguished by the expiration of its exploration permit and by its violation of the condition prohibiting the assignment of EP 133 by MMC to SEM. In addition, even assuming that SEM has a valid exploration permit, such is a mere license that can be withdrawn by the State. In fact, the same has been withdrawn by the issuance of Proclamation No. 297, which places the disputed area under the full control of the State through the Executive Department;

3. The approval requirement under Section 97 of Presidential Decree No. 463 applies to the assignment of EP 133 by MMC to SEM, since the exploration permit is an interest in a mining lease contract; 4. The issue of the constitutionality and the legality of Proclamation No. 297 was raised belatedly, as SEM questions the same for the first time in its Motion for Reconsideration. Even if the issue were to be entertained, the said proclamation is found to be in harmony with the Constitution and other existing statutes; 5. The motion for reconsideration of Camilo Banad, et al. cannot be passed upon because they are not parties to the instant cases; 6. The prayers of Apex and Balite asking the Court to direct the MGB to accept their applications for exploration permits cannot be granted, since it is the Executive Department that has the prerogative to accept such applications, if ever it decides to award the mining operations in the disputed area to a private entity;

G.R. No. 163101 BENGUET CORPORATION vs. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES-MINES ADJUDICATION BOARD and J.G. REALTY AND MINING CORPORATION FACTS: Benguet and J.G. Realty entered into a Royalty Agreement with Option to Purchase (RAWOP) , wherein J.G. Realty was acknowledged as the owner of four mining claims with a total area of 288.8656 hectares. The parties also executed a Supplemental Agreement. The mining claims were covered by Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) Application No. APSA-V-0009 jointly filed by J.G. Realty as claim-owner and Benguet as operator. After some time, the Executive Vice-President of Benguet, Antonio N. Tachuling, issued a letter informing J.G. Realty of its intention to develop the mining claims. However, J.G. Realty, through its President, Johnny L. Tan, then sent a letter to the President of Benguet informing the latter that it was terminating the RAWOP. The latter alleged that petitioner violated some of the provisions of the RAWOP, specifically on non-payment of royalties and non-fulfillment of obligations stipulated therein. J.G. Realty filed a Petition for Declaration of Nullity/Cancellation of the RAWOP. POA issued a Decision, cancelling the RAWOP and its Supplemental Agreement. BENGUET was subsequently excluded from the joint MPSA Application over the mineral claims. Subsequent MR was denied. Said decision was upheld by DENR-MAB. Hence this instant petition. ISSUE: Whether or no the filing of the petition with the Supreme Court is proper. HELD: NO. the instant petition can be denied outright as Benguet resorted to an improper Remedy. The last paragraph of Section 79 of Republic Act No. (RA) 7942 or the P hilippine Mining Act of 1995 states, A petition for review by certiorari and question of law may be filed by the aggrieved party with the Supreme Court within thirty (30) days from receipt of the order or decision of the [MAB]. The Revised Rules of Civil Procedure included Rule 43 to provide a uniform rule on appeals from quasi-judicial agencies. Under the rule, appeals from their judgments and final orders are now required to be brought to the CA on a verified petition for review. A quasi-judicial agency or body has been defined as an organ of government, other than a court or legislature, which affects the rights of private parties through either adjudication or rule-making. MAB falls under this definition; hence, it is no different from the other quasi-judicial bodies enumerated under Rule 43. Besides, the introductory

words in Section 1 of Circular No. 1-91among these agencies areindicate 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. The judicial policy of observing the hierarchy of courts dictates that direct resort from administrative agencies to this Court will not be entertained, unless the redress desired cannot be obtained from the appropriate lower tribunals, or unless exceptional and compelling circumstances justify availment of a remedy falling within and calling for the exercise of our primary jurisdiction. Thus Benguet should have filed the appeal with the CA. Petitioner having failed to properly appeal to the CA under Rule 43, the decision of the MAB has become final and executory. On this ground alone, the instant petition must be denied.

[G.R. No. 148267. August 8, 2002] ARMANDO C. CARPIO, petitioner, vs. SULU RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondent. FACTS: A petition filed by respondent for Mines Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) No. MPSA-IV-131, covering certain areas in Antipolo, Rizal. Petitioner filed an opposition/adverse claim thereto, alleging that his landholdings in Cupang and Antipolo, Rizal will be covered by respondents claim, thus he enjoys a preferential right to explore and extract the quarry resources on his properties. The Panel of Arbitrators of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the DENR rendered a Resolution upholding petitioners opposition/adverse claim. Respondent appealed. Meanwhile, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss appeal on the ground of respondents failure to comply with the requirements of the New Mining Acts Implementing Rules and Regulations. On June 20, 1997, the Mines Adjudication Board rendered the assailed Order dismissing petitioners opposition/adverse claim. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of said Order which was denied by the Board. A petition for review on certiorari under Rule 43, seeking a reversal of the MAB Decision was filed. Citing Section 79 of Chapter XIII of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942), the CA ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to review the Decision of the Mines Adjudication Board (MAB). The adjudication of conflicting mining claims is completely administrative in nature.Under Section 79 of RA 7942, the findings of fact by the MAB as well as its decision or order shall be final and executory. Hence this petition. 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. We clarify. Factual controversies are usually involved in administrative actions; and the CA is prepared to handle such issues because, unlike this Court, it is mandated to rule on questions of fact.i 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.ii 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 iii 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 Courts 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.iv 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 bodys decisions, such transfer relates only to procedure; hence, it does not impair the substantive and vested rights of the parties. The aggrieved partys right to appeal is preserved; what is changed is only the procedure by which the appeal is to be made or decided.v 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.vi 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. vii 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.viii 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.ix Fourth, the Court realizes that under Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 129x as amended by RA No. 7902,xi 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 factxii 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.xiii 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. WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED.

G.R. No. 169080 CELESTIAL NICKEL MINING EXPLORATION CORPORATION, vs. MACROASIA CORPORATION(formerly INFANTA MINERAL AND INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION), BLUE RIDGE MINERAL CORPORATION, and LEBACH MINING CORPORATION, FACTS: The Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Infanta Mineral and Industrial Corporation (Infanta) entered into a Mining Lease Contract V-1050. Infantas 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 Brookes Point. Celestial is the assignee of 144 mining claims covering such areas contiguous to Infantas (now Macroasia) mining lode claims. Celestial also holds an MPSA with the government which covers 2,835 hectares located at Ipilan/Maasin, Brookes Point, Palawan and two pending applications covering another 4,040 hectares in Barangay Mainit also in Brookes Point. Celestial sought the cancellation of Macroasias lease contracts. 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 Macroasias mining areas.1 It upheld Blue Ridges 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 Lebachs areas/mining claims. Blue Ridge and Macroasia appealed before the MAB. Lebach did not file any notice of appeal with the required memorandum of appeal; thus, with respect to Lebach, the above resolution became final and executory.

The MAB made a decision upholding the Decision of the POA to cancel the Mining Lode/Lease Contracts of Macroasia. However, the MAB, subsequently issued a resolution vacating its previous decision, holding that neither the POA nor the MAB had the power to revoke a mineral agreement duly entered into by the DENR Secretary. The MAB further held that the power to cancel or revoke a mineral agreement was exclusively lodged with the DENR Secretary. Celestial and Blue Ridge made an appeal. The CA Special12th Division affirmed the MAB Resolution which upheld the exclusive authority of the DENR Secretary to approve, cancel, and revoke mineral agreements. The CA also denied Celestials Motion for Reconsideration. While the CA Special 10th Division granted Blue Ridges 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 Secretarys 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.

G.R. No. 157882 March 30, 2006 Didipio Earth-Savers' Multi-Purpose Association, Inc. (DESAMA) Et al. vs. Elisea gozun, et al. 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 theunjust 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.

HELD: 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 CAMCs 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.

G.R. No 127882 January 27, 2004 La Bugal-B'Laan Tribal Assn vs. Ramos FACTS: On July 25, 1987, then President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order (E.O.) No. 2796 authorizing the DENR Secretary 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 Secretary, the President may execute with the foreign proponent. On March 3, 1995, then President Fidel V. Ramos approved R.A. No. 7942 to "govern the exploration, development, utilization and processing of all mineral resources." R.A. No. 7942 defines the modes of mineral agreements for mining operations, outlines the procedure for their filing and approval, assignment/transfer and withdrawal, and fixes their terms. Similar provisions govern financial or technical assistance agreements. On April 9, 1995, 30 days following its publication on March 10, 1995 in Malaya and Manila Times, two newspapers of general circulation, R.A. No. 7942 took effect. Shortly before the effectivity of R.A. No. 7942, however, or on March 30, 1995, the President entered into an FTAA with WMCP covering 99,387 hectares of land in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur and North Cotabato. On August 15, 1995, then DENR Secretary Victor O. Ramos issued DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 95-23, s. 1995, otherwise known as the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 7942. This was later repealed by DAO No. 96-40, s. 1996 which was adopted on December 20, 1996. On January 10, 1997, counsels for petitioners sent a letter to the DENR Secretary demanding that the DENR stop the implementation of R.A. No. 7942 and DAO No. 96-40, giving the DENR fifteen days from receipt to act thereon. The DENR, however, has yet to respond or act on petitioners' letter. Petitioners claim that the DENR Secretary acted without or in excess of jurisdiction. They pray that the Court issue an order: (a) Permanently enjoining respondents from acting on any application for Financial or Technical Assistance Agreements; (b) Declaring the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 or Republic Act No. 7942 as unconstitutional and null and void; (c) Declaring the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Philippine Mining Act contained in DENR Administrative Order No. 96-40 and all other similar administrative issuances as unconstitutional and null and void; and (d) Cancelling the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement issued to Western Mining Philippines, Inc. as unconstitutional, illegal and null and void.

ISSUE: Whether or not Republic Act No. 7942 is unconstitutional. HELD: The Court finds the following provisions of R.A. No. 7942 to be violative of Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution and hereby declares unconstitutional and void: (1) The proviso in Section 3 (aq), which defines "qualified person," to wit: Provided, That a legally organized foreign-owned corporation shall be deemed a qualified person for purposes of granting an exploration permit, financial or technical assistance agreement or mineral processing permit. (2) Section 23, which specifies the rights and obligations of an exploration permittee, insofar as said section applies to a financial or technical assistance agreement, (3) Section 33, which prescribes the eligibility of a contractor in a financial or technical assistance agreement; (4) Section 35, which enumerates the terms and conditions for every financial or technical assistance agreement; (5) Section 39, which allows the contractor in a financial and technical assistance agreement to convert the same into a mineral production-sharing agreement; (6) Section 56, which authorizes the issuance of a mineral processing permit to a contractor in a financial and technical assistance agreement; The following provisions of the same Act are likewise void as they are dependent on the foregoing provisions and cannot stand on their own:

(1) Section 3 (g), which defines the term "contractor," insofar as it applies to a financial or technical assistance agreement. Section 34, which prescribes the maximum contract area in a financial or technical assistance agreements; Section 36, which allows negotiations for financial or technical assistance agreements; Section 37, which prescribes the procedure for filing and evaluation of financial or technical assistance agreement proposals; Section 38, which limits the term of financial or technical assistance agreements;

Section 40, which allows the assignment or transfer of financial or technical assistance agreements; Section 41, which allows the withdrawal of the contractor in an FTAA; The second and third paragraphs of Section 81, which provide for the Government's share in a financial and technical assistance agreement; and Section 90, which provides for incentives to contractors in FTAAs insofar as it applies to said contractors; When the parts of the 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, and that if all could not be carried into effect, the legislature would not pass the residue independently, then, if some parts are unconstitutional, all the provisions which are thus dependent, conditional, or connected, must fall with them.

LEPANTO CONSOLIDATED MINING CO.,vs. WMC RESOURCES INTL. PTY. LTD., WMC PHILIPPINES, INC. and SAGITTARIUS MINES, INC.,

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

G.R. No. 152644 JOHN ERIC LONEY,STEVEN PAUL REID and PEDRO B. HERNANDEZ, Vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,

FACTS: Petitioners are the President and Chief Executive Officer, Senior Manager, and Resident Manager for Mining Operations, respectively, of Marcopper Mining Corporation (Marcopper), a corporation engaged in mining in the province of Marinduque. Marcopper had been storing tailings2 from its operations in a pit in Mt. Tapian, Marinduque. At the base of the pit ran a drainage tunnel leading to the Boac and Makalupnit rivers. It appears that Marcopper had placed a concrete plug at the tunnels end. On 24 March 1994, tailings gushed out of or near the tunnels end. In a few days, the Mt. Tapian pit had discharged millions of tons of tailings into the Boac and Makalupnit rivers. In August 1996, the Department of Justice separately charged petitioners in the Municipal Trial Court of Boac, Marinduque (MTC) with violation of Presidential Decree No. 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines (PD 1067), the National Pollution Control Decree of 1976 (PD 984), the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942), and Article 365 of the RPC for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property. Petitioners moved to quash the Informations. The MTC is convinced that as far as the three (3) aforesaid laws are concerned, only the Information for violation of Philippine Mining Act (RA 7942) should be maintained and the Information for violation of Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code should also be maintained and heard in a full blown trial because the common accusation therein is reckless imprudence resulting to [sic] damage to property. It is the damage to property which the law punishes not the negligent act of polluting the water system. The prosecution for the [v]iolation of Philippine Mining Act is not a bar to the prosecution for reckless imprudence resulting to [sic] damage to property.3 Petitioners subsequently filed a petition for certiorari with the Regional Trial Court. For its part, public respondent filed an ordinary appeal with the same court assailing that portion of the Consolidated Order quashing the Informations for violation of PD 1067 and PD 984. RTC granted public respondents appeal but denied petitioners petition. Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the CA alleging that RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion and contends that they should only be prosecuted for violation of Article 365 of the RPC.4

Court of Appeals affirmed RTCs ruling. The appellate court held: The doctrine laid down in the Relova case does not squarely apply to the case at Bench since the Informations filed against the petitioners are for violation of four separate and distinct laws which are national in character. This Court finds that there is not even the slightest indicia of evidence that would give rise to any suspicion that public respondent acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in reversing the Municipal Trial Courts quashal of the Informations against the petitioners for violation of P.D. 1067 and P.D. 984. This Court equally finds no error in th e trial courts denial of the petitioners motion to quash R.A. 7942 and Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code.5 Petitioners sought reconsideration but the Court of Appeals denied their motion.

ISSUE: (1) WON CA erred in finding that (2) Whether RTSs ruling, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, contravenes People v. Relova.

HELD: The Filing of Several Charges is Proper

1. The contention has no merit. In R.A. 7942 (Philippine Mining Act), the additional fact that must be established is the willful violation and gross neglect on the part of the accused to abide by the terms and conditions of the Environmental Compliance Certificate, particularly that the Marcopper should ensure the containment of run-off and silt materials from reaching the Mogpog and Boac Rivers. If there was no violation or neglect, and that the accused satisfactorily proved [sic] that Marcopper had done everything to ensure containment of the run-off and silt materials, they will not be liable. It does not follow, however, that they cannot be prosecuted under the Water Code, Anti-Pollution Law and the Revised Penal Code because violation of the Environmental Compliance Certificate is not an essential element of these laws. People v. Relova not in Point

Petitioners reiterate their contention in the Court of Appeals that their prosecution contravenes this Courts ruling in People v. Relova. In particular, petitioners cite the Courts statement in Relova that the law seeks to prevent harassment of the accused by multiple prosecutions for offenses which though different from one another are nonetheless each constituted by a common set or overlapping sets of technical elements. This contention is also without merit The issue in Relova is whether the act of the Batangas Acting City Fiscal in charging one Manuel Opulencia (Opulencia) with theft of electric power under the RPC, after the latter had been acquitted of violating a City Ordinance penalizing the unauthorized installation of electrical wiring, violated Opulencias right against double jeopardy. We held that it did, not because the offenses punished by those two laws were the same but because the act giving rise to the charges was punished by an ordinance and a national statute, thus falling within the proscription against multiple prosecutions for the same act under the second sentence in Section 22, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, now Section 21, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. We held: The petitioner concludes that: The unauthorized installation punished by the ordinance [of Batangas City] is not the same as theft of electricity [under the Revised Penal Code]; that the second offense is not an attempt to commit the first or a frustration thereof and that the second offense is not necessarily included in the offense charged in the first information. The above argument[ ] made by the petitioner [is] of course correct. This is clear both from the express terms of the constitutional provision involved which reads as follows: No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act. x x x and from our case law on this point. The basic difficulty with the petitioners position is that it must be examined, not under the terms of the first sentence of Article IV (22) of the 1973 Constitution, but rather under the second sentence of the same section. The first sentence of Article IV (22) sets forth the general rule: the constitutional protection against double jeopardy is not available where the second prosecution is for an offense that is different from the offense charged in the first or prior prosecution, although both the first and second offenses may be based upon the same act or set of acts. The second sentence of Article IV (22) embodies an exception to the general proposition: the constitutional protection, against double jeopardy is available although the prior offense charged under an ordinance be different from the offense charged subsequently under a national statute such as the Revised Penal Code, provided that both offenses spring from the same act or set of acts. x x x6 (Italicization in the original; boldfacing supplied)
.

Thus, Relova is no authority for petitioners claim against multiple prosecutions based on a single act not only because the question of double jeopardy is not at issue here, but also because, as theCourt of Appeals held, petitioners are being prosecuted for an act or incident punished by four national statutes and not by an ordinance and a national statute. In short, petitioners, if ever, fall under the first sentence of Section 21, Article III which prohibits multiple prosecution for the same offense, and not, as in Relova, for offenses arising from the same incident.

G.R. No. 139548. December 22, 2000 MARCOPPER MINING CORPORATION vs. ALBERTO G. BUMOLO et al.,

FACTS: MARCOPPER MINING CORPORATION registered its mining claims in Pao, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya with the DENR from February 02,1982 to October 12, 1982. Private respondents Alberto G. Bumolo and others registered their mining claims in the same area from 28 July 1981 to 22 September 1988, which claims were subsequently converted into Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA). On March 12, 1982 petitioner entered into Option Agreements over the mining. Under the Agreements, petitioner was granted the exclusive and irrevocable right to explore the mining claims for three (3) years with provision for extension. On December 23, 1982 and March 26, 1987 petitioner filed Prospecting Permit Applications (PPA) with the Bureau of Forest Development, DENR, on the alleged ground that a portion of the area covered by the mining claims was within the Magat River Forest Reservation under Proc. 573 of June 26, 1969 and with DAR on account of alleged coverage of the other portion within the Nueva VizcayaQuirino Civil Reservation under Proc. 1498 of 11 September 1975. On 15 July 1991 Executive Director Leonardo A. Paat rejected petitioners Prospecting Permit Application (PPA) on the ground that the Memorandum of July 08, 1991 endorsed by the Regional Technical Director for Mines revealed that the area covered was outside government reservation; that the prospect claim was in conflict with existing claims; and, that the area had been extensively explored in the early 1980's. Petitioner moved for reconsideration. Regional Executive Director Samuel Paragas recommended to the DENR Secretary that petitioner's request for reconsideration be denied; that the existing rights of mining claim holders be respected; and, that the prior legal rights of MPSA/Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement applicants over subject area be recognized. As regards petitioner's PPA filed with the DAR, it appeared that it was issued a clearance to prospect for six (6) months from December 11, 1995.

On August 15, 1997 petitioner appealed to public respondent Mines Adjudication Board (MAB). Petitioner maintained that subject area was within the Magat River Forest Reservation. On June 11, 1998 the rejection of the PPA was affirmed whereas the mining claims of respondents Alberto G. Bumolo et al. that had been converted into a MPSA, subject to compliance with R.A. 7942 and DAO No. 96-40, were given due course. Petitioner moved for reconsideration. Respondent MAB denied petitioners 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 Marcoppers PPA moreover, did not emanate from a single recommendation of the RTD for Mines. Records would show that as early as May 31, 1989 x x x the Bumolo group of PD 463 claims which Marcopper has eventually surrounded by filing its own PAO 1-30 group of claims x x x x was confirmed by the Forest Engineering Section of the region to be outside proclaimed watershed areas, wilderness, national parks and existing government reforestation projects x x x x In other words, the circumstance that the area covered by petitioner's PPA is outside the Magat River Forest Reservation has been adequately established by the following evidence: (a) confirmation as early as 31 May 1989 by the Forest Engineering Section of Tuguegarao, Cagayan; (b) the 8 July 1991 Memorandum Report of Regional Technical Director Punsal Jr.; and, (c) plotting provided by the National Mapping and Resources Information Authority per its 2 June 1995 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 1996 and as shown in the Land Use map of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of Dupax, Nueva Vizcaya, the area covered under the PPA is indeed outside any government reservation.

G.R. No. 98332 January 16, 1995 Miners Association of the Philippines v. Factoran

FACTS: Executive Order Nos. 211 and 279 were issued by the then Pres. Aquino. EO No. 211 prescribes the interim procedures in the processing and approval of applications for the exploration, development and utilization of minerals pursuant to Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. EO No. 279 authorizes the DENR Secretary to negotiate and conclude joint-venture, co-production, or productionsharing agreements for the exploration, development, and utilization of mineral resources. The issuance and the impeding implementation by the DENR of Administrative Order Nos. 57 which declares that all existing mining leases or agreements which were granted after the effectivity of the 1987 Constitutionshall be converted into production-sharing agreements within one (1) year from the effectivity of these guidelines. and Administrative Order No. 82 which provides that a failure to submit Letter of Intent and Mineral Production-Sharing Agreement within 2 years from the effectivity of the Department Administrative Order No. 57 shall cause the abandonment of the mining, quarry, and sand and gravel claims, after their respective effectivity dates compelled the Miners Association of the Philippines, Inc., an organization composed of mining prospectors and claim owners and claim holders, to file the instant petition assailing their validity and constitutionality before this Court. ISSUE: Are the two Department Administrative Orders valid

HELD: Yes. Petitioner's insistence on the application of Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended, as the governing law on the acceptance and approval of declarations of location and all other kinds of applications for the exploration, development, and utilization of mineral resources pursuant to Executive Order No. 211, is erroneous. Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended, pertains to the old system of exploration, development and utilization of natural resources through "license, concession or lease" which, however, has been disallowed by Article XII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution. By virtue of the said constitutional mandate and its implementing law, Executive Order No. 279 which superseded Executive Order No. 211, the provisions dealing on "license, concession or lease" of mineral resources under Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended, and other existing mining laws are deemed repealed and, therefore, ceased to operate as the governing law. In other words, in all other areas of administration and management of mineral lands, the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 463, as

amended, and other existing mining laws, still govern. Section 7 of Executive Order No. 279 provides, thus: Sec. 7. All provisions of Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended, other existing mining laws, and their implementing rules and regulations, or parts thereof, which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Executive Order, shall continue in force and effect. Well -settled is the rule, however, that regardless of the reservation clause, mining leases or agreements granted by the State, such as those granted pursuant to Executive Order No. 211 referred to this petition, are subject to alterations through a reasonable exercise of the police power of the State. Accordingly, the State, in the exercise of its police power in this regard, may not be precluded by the constitutional restriction on non-impairment of contract from altering, modifying and amending the mining leases or agreements granted under Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended, pursuant to Executive Order No. 211. Police Power, being co-extensive with the necessities of the case and the demands of public interest; extends to all the vital public needs. The passage of Executive Order No. 279 which superseded Executive Order No. 211 provided legal basis for the DENR Secretary to carry into effect the mandate of Article XII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution.

OLYMPIC MINES AND DEVELOPMENT CORP., PLATINUM GROUP METALS CORPORATION, Respondent. CITINICKEL MINES AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,Petitioner, - versus HON. JUDGE BIENVENIDO C. BLANCAFLOR, in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan, Branch 95, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, and PLATINUM GROUP METAL CORPORATION, Respondents PLATINUM GROUP METALS CORPORATION, Petitioner, - versus CITINICKEL MINES AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, acting for its own interest and on behalf of OLYMPIC MINES AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondent. PLATINUM GROUP METALS CORPORATION, Petitioner, - versus COURT OF APPEALS and POLLY C. DY, Respondents

FACTS: In 1971 and 1980, Olympic was granted Mining Lease Contracts by the Secretary o f 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 2% 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 Platinums 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 Olympics complaint. Olympic then filed two cases with the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) for the revocation of the SSMPs of Platinum, on the ground of Olympics 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 Paraaque, on June 21, 2006, seeking to invalidate the Operating Agreement based on Platinums 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 95 on June 14, 2006. Olympic sought the dismissal of Platinums 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 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.

HELD: 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 RTCs 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. Platinums 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 CAs findings that venue was properly laid in the Palawan court.

G.R. No. 163509 PICOP RESOURCES, INC., vs. BASE METALS MINERAL RESOURCES CORPORATION and THE MINES ADJUDICATION BOARD

FACTS:

Central Mindanao Mining and Development Corporation (CMMCI for brevity) entered into a Mines Operating Agreement (Agreement for brevity) with Banahaw Mining and Development Corporation (Banahaw Mining for brevity) whereby the latter agreed to act as Mine Operator for the exploration, development, and eventual commercial operation of CMMCIs eighteen (18) mining claims located in Agusan del Sur. Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, Banahaw Mining filed applications for Mining Lease Contracts over the mining claims with the Bureau of Mines. So that Banahaw Mining was issued a Mines Temporary Permit authorizing it to extract and dispose of precious minerals found within its mining claims. Upon its expiration, the temporary permit was subsequently renewed thrice by the Bureau of Mines, the last being on June 28, 1991. Since a portion of Banahaw Minings mining claims was located in petitioner PICOPs logging concession in Agusan del Sur, Banahaw Mining and petitioner PICOP entered into a Memorandum of Agreement, whereby, in mutual recognition of each others right to the area concerned, petitioner PICOP allowed Banahaw Mining an access/right of way to its mining claims. Banahaw Mining converted its mining claims to applications for Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA for brevity). While the MPSA were pending, Banahaw Mining, on December 18, 1996, decided to sell/assign its rights and interests over thirty-seven (37) mining claims in favor of private respondent Base Metals Mineral Resources Corporation (Base Metals for brevity). The transfer included mining claims held by Banahaw Mining in its own right as claim owner, as well as those covered by its mining operating agreement with CMMCI. Upon being informed of the development, CMMCI, as claim owner, immediately approved the assignment made by Banahaw Mining in favor of private respondent Base Metals, thereby recognizing private respondent Base Metals as the new operator of its claims.

On March 10, 1997, private respondent Base Metals amended Banahaw Minings pending MPSA applications with the Bureau of Mines to substitute itself as applicant and to submit additional documents in support of the application. Area clearances from the DENR Regional Director and Superintendent of the Agusan Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary were submitted, as required. On October 7, 1997, private respondent Base Metals amended MPSA applications were published in accordance with the requirements of the Mining Act of 1995. On November 18, 1997, petitioner PICOP filed with the Mines Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB), Caraga Regional Office No. XIII an Adverse Claim and/or Opposition to private respondent Base Metals application. After the submission of their respective position paper, the Panel Arbitrator issued an Order disapproving private respondent Base Metals MPSA on the reasons that adverse claim was filed on time, that the granting of the MPSA application on area subject of an IFMA or PTLA which is covered by a Presidential Warranty, the panel believes it cannot, unless the grantee consents thereto, without the grantees consent, the area is considered closed to mining location (sec. 19) (b) (No. 2), DAO No. 9640) and that the mining location in forest or timberland is allowed only if such forest or timberland is not leased by the government to a qualified person or entity and if it is leased the consent of the lessor is necessary, in addition to the area clearance to be issued by the agency concerned before it is subjected to mining operation. Plantation is considered closed to mining locations because it is off tangent to mining. Both are extremes. They can not exist at the same time. The other must necessarily stop before the other operate. Private respondent Base Metals filed a Notice of Appeal with public respondent MAB, the latter rendered the assailed decision setting aside the Panel Arbitrators order. The Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the MAB. Hence this petition. PICOP presents the following issues: (1) the 2,756 hectares subject of Base Metals MPSA are closed to mining operations except upon PICOPs written consent pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations and by virtue of the Presidential Warranty; (2) its Presidential Warranty is protected by the nonimpairment clause of the Constitution; and (3) it does not raise new issues in its petition. PICOP asserts that its concession areas are closed to mining operations as these are within the AgusanSurigao-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. ISSUE: Whether or not the area covered by Base Metals MPSA is, by law, closed to mining activities Whether or not the Presidential Warranty is a contract protected by the non-impairment clause of the 1987 Constitution.

HELD: Anent the first issue, the Court ruled that the area covered by Base Metals MPSA is, by law, not closed to mining activities. 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. 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 With regard to the second issue, the Court do not subscribe to PICOPs argument that the Presidential Warranty dated September 25, 1968 is a contract protected by the non-impairment clause of the 1987 Constitution. An examination of the Presidential Warranty at once reveals that it simply reassures PICOP of the governments commitment to uphold the terms and conditions of its timber license and guarantees PICOPs peaceful and adequate possession and enjoyment of the areas which are the basic sources of raw materials for its wood processing complex. The warranty covers only the right to cut, collect, and remove timber in its concession area, and does not extend to the utilization of other resources, such as mineral resources, occurring within the concession. The Presidential Warranty cannot be considered a contract distinct from PTLA No. 47 and IFMA No. 35. It is merely a collateral undertaking which cannot amplify PICOPs rights under its timber license. Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause cannot be invoked.

PYRO COPPER MINING CORPORATION vs. MINES ADJUDICATION BOARD-DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, ET AL, FACTS: Petitioner is a corporation duly organized and existing under Philippine laws engaged in the business of mining. On 31 March 2000, petitioners Application for Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA), 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. 1532000-1 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. Private respondent filed an Application for Exploration Permit with MGB covering the same properties covered by and during the subsistence of APSA-SF-000089 and MPSA No. 153-2000-1 of petitioner. In turn, petitioner filed a Verified Protest/Opposition to the Application for Exploration Permit of the private respondent. It was allegedly filed with the Panel of Arbitrators on 30 August 2005 and was received by the latter on 5 September 2005. Prior, however, to petitioners filing of its Verified Protest/Opposition to the private respondents Application for Exploration Permit, petitioners MPSA No. 153-2000-1 was cancelled, a Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied. The MGB issued EP No. 05-001 to private respondent. Panel of Arbitrators dismissed motu proprio the Verified Protest/Opposition of petitioner. Petitioner elevated by appeal to the MAB which was also dismissed. The case was elevated to the Court of appeals but judgment was rendered against the petitioner. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether the Panel of Arbitrators has jurisdiction to cancel, deny and/or revoke EP No. 05-001 issued by MGB to private respondent.

HELD: NO. The Panel of Arbitrators has no jurisdiction to cancel, deny and/or revoke EP No. 05-001 issued by MGB to private respondent Section 77 of Republic Act No. 7942 establishes the jurisdiction of the Panel of Arbitrators, thus: Sec. 77. Panel of Arbitrators. x x x. Within thirty (30) working days, after the submission of the case by the parties for decision, the panel shall have exclusive and original jurisdiction to hear and decide on the following: 1. Disputes involving rights to mining areas; 2. Disputes involving mineral agreements or permits; 3. Disputes involving surface owners, occupants and claimholders/concessionaires; and 4. Disputes pending before the Bureau and the Department at the date of the effectivity of this Act. The Panel of Arbitrators only has jurisdiction over adverse claims, conflicts, and oppositions relating to applications for the grant of mineral rights, but not over cancellation of mineral rights already granted and existing. As to who has jurisdiction to cancel an existing exploration permit, Section 28 of DAO NO. 96-40 explicitly provides: Section 28. Cancellation of an Exploration Permit. The Director/concerned Regional Director may cancel the Exploration Permit for failure of the Permittee to comply with any of the requirements and for violation(s) of the terms and conditions under which the Permit is issued. For renewed Exploration Permits, the Secretary upon the recommendation of the Director shall cause the cancellation of the same. According to Section 5 of DAO No. 96-40, Director means the Director of the MGB Central Office, while Regional Director means the Regional Director of any MGB Regional Office. As the authority to issue an Exploration Permit is vested in the MGB, then the same necessarily includes the corollary power to revoke, withdraw or cancel the same. Indisputably, the authority to deny, revoke, or cancel EP No. 05-001 of private respondent is already lodged with the MGB, and not with the Panel of Arbitrators.

[G.R. No. L-49109. December 1, 1987] SANTA ROSA MINING COMPANY, INC., vs. HON. MINISTER OF NATURAL RESOURCES JOSE J. LEIDO, JR. AND DIRECTOR OF MINES JUANITO C. FERNANDEZ FACTS: Petitioner is a mining corporation, it alleges that it is the holder of fifty valid mining claims situated in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, acquired under the Philippine Bill of 1902. P.D. 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", 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. 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. Petitioner avers that its fifty (50) mining claims had already been declared as its own private and exclusive property in final judgments rendered by the CFI Camarines Norte In answer, the respondents allege that petitioner has no standing to file the instant petition as it failed to fully exhaust administrative remedies We agree with respondents' contention that it is premature for the Court to now make a finding on the matter of whether petitioner had abandoned its mining claims. Until petitioner's appeal shall have been decided by the Office of the President, where it is pending, petitioner's attempt to seek judicial recognition of the continuing validity of its mining claims, cannot be entertained by the Court. The decisions of the CFI of Camarines Norte, relied upon by petitioner, do not foreclose a proceeding, such as DNR Case No. 4140, to determine whether petitioner's unpatented mining claims have remained valid and subsisting. Respondents further contend that, even assuming arguendo that petitioner's mining claims were valid at the outset, if they are deemed abandoned and cancelled due to non-compliance with the legal requirements for maintaining a perfected mining claim, under the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902, petitioner has no valid and subsisting claim which could be lost through the implementation of Presidential Decree no. 1214, thus giving it no standing to question the Decree. Petitioner, on the other hand, would rebut respondents' argument by declaring that it already had a vested right over its mining claims even before Presidential Decree No. 1214. The Court is not impressed that this is so.

The cases cited by petitioner, true enough, recognize the right of a locator of a mining claim as a property right. This right, however is not absolute. It is merely a possesory right, more so, in this case, where petitioner's claims are still unpatented. They can be lost through abandonment or forfeiture or they may be revoked for valid legal grounds.

ISSUE: Whether or not Presidential Decree No. 1214 is constitutional. HELD: YES. Even assuming arguendo that petitioner was not bound to exhaust administrative remedies on the question of whether or not its mining claims are still subsisting before challenging the constitutionality of said Decree. 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 twenty-five year (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: "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. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.

[G.R. No. 135190. April 3, 2002] SOUTHEAST MINDANAO GOLD MINING CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. BALITE PORTAL MINING COOPERATIVE and others similarly situated; and THE HONORABLE ANTONIO CERILLES, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), PROVINCIAL MINING REGULATORY BOARD OF DAVAO (PMRB-Davao), respondents. 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-80s 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 x x 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 DENRs 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:

WON CA erred when it concluded that the assailed memorandum order did not adopt the direct state utilization scheme in resolving the Diwalwal Conflict. HELD: 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 thereunder was merely a study of this option and nothing else. Contrary to petitioners contention, it did not grant any management/operating or profit-sharing agreement to small-scale miners or to any party, for that matter, but simply instructed the DENR officials concerned to undertake studies to determine its feasibility. 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 twentyfive 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. (Underscoring ours) Likewise, Section 4, Chapter II of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 states: SEC. 4. Ownership of Mineral Resources. - Mineral Resources are owned by the State and the exploration, development, utilization, and processing thereof shall be under its full control and supervision. The State may directly undertake such activities or it may enter into mineral agreements with contractors. (Underscoring ours) Thus, the State may pursue the constitutional policy of full control and supervision of the exploration, development and utilization of the countrys natural mineral resources, by either directly undertaking the same or by entering into agreements with qualified entities. The DENR Secretary acted within his authority when he ordered a study of the first option, which may be undertaken consistently in accordance with the constitutional policy enunciated above. Obviously, the State may not be precluded from considering a direct takeover of the mines, if it is the only plausible remedy in sight to the gnawing complexities generated by the gold rush. As implied earlier, the State need be guided only by the demands of public interest in settling for this option, as well as its material and logistic feasibility. In this regard, petitioners 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.