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Limbona vs.

Mangelin (170 SCRA 786)

Posted on June 30, 2013 by winnieclaire

.R. No. 80391, 28 February 1989
Facts: Petitioner was appointed member of the Sanguniang Pampook, Regional Autonomous Government and was later elected Speaker of the Regional Legislative Assembly. Congressman Datu invited
petitioner in his capacity as Speaker of the Assembly for consulations and dialogues on the recent and present political developments and other issues affecting Regions IX and XII hopefully resulting to chart the
autonomous governments of the two regions as envisioned and may prod the President to constitute immediately the Regional Consultative Commission as mandated by the Commission.
Consistent with the said invitation, Petitioner addressed all Assemblymen that there shall be no session in November as our presence in the house committee hearing of Congress take (sic) precedence over any
pending business in batasang pampook .
In defiance of Petitioners advice, After declaring the presence of a quorum, the Speaker Pro-Tempore was authorized to preside in the session. On Motion to declare the seat of the Speaker vacant, all
Assemblymen in attendance voted in the affirmative.
Issue: Is the expulsion valid? Are the so-called autonomous governments of Mindanao, as they are now constituted, subject to the jurisdiction of the national courts? In other words, what is the extent of selfgovernment given to the two autonomous governments of Region IX and XII?
Held: Firstly, We therefore order reinstatement, with the caution that should the past acts of the petitioner indeed warrant his removal, the Assembly is enjoined, should it still be so minded, to commence proper
proceedings therefor in line with the most elementary requirements of due process. And while it is within the discretion of the members of the Sanggunian to punish their erring colleagues, their acts are
nonetheless subject to the moderating band of this Court in the event that such discretion is exercised with grave abuse.
the Decree PD 168 established internal autonomy in the two regions [w]ithin the framework of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines and its Constitution, with
legislative and executive machinery to exercise the powers and responsibilities specified therein
Now, autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of power. There is decentralization of administration when the central government delegates administrative powers to
political subdivisions in order to broaden the base of government power and in the process to make local governments more responsive and accountable, and ensure their fullest development
as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of national development and social progress. At the same time, it relieves the central government of the burden of
managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate on national concerns. The President exercises general supervision over them, but only to ensure that local affairs are administered according to law. He has
no control over their acts in the sense that he can substitute their judgments with his own.
Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power in the favor of local governments units declare to be autonomous . In that case, the autonomous government
is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from central authorities. According to a constitutional author, decentralization of power amounts to self-immolation,
since in that event, the autonomous government becomes accountable not to the central authorities but to its constituency.
An autonomous government that enjoys autonomy of the latter category [CONST. (1987), art. X, sec. 15.] is subject alone to the decree of the organic act creating it and accepted principles on the effects and
limits of autonomy. On the other hand, an autonomous government of the former class is, as we noted, under the supervision of the national government acting through the President (and the Department of
Local Government). If the Sangguniang Pampook (of Region XII), then, is autonomous in the latter sense, its acts are, debatably beyond the domain of this Court in perhaps the same way that the internal acts,
say, of the Congress of the Philippines are beyond our jurisdiction. But if it is autonomous in the former category only, it comes unarguably under our jurisdiction. An examination of the very Presidential Decree
creating the autonomous governments of Mindanao persuades us that they were never meant to exercise autonomy in the second sense, that is, in which the central government commits an act of self-immolation.
Presidential Decree No. 1618, in the first place, mandates that [t]he President shall have the power of general supervision and control over Autonomous Regions. In the second place, the Sangguniang
Pampook, their legislative arm, is made to discharge chiefly administrative services
Hence, we assume jurisdiction.

Oposa vs. Factoran Case Digest (G.R. No. 101083, July 30, 1993)
The plaintiffs in this case are all minors duly represented and joined by their parents. The first complaint was filed as a taxpayer's class suit at the Branch 66 (Makati, Metro Manila), of the
Regional Trial Court, National capital Judicial Region against defendant (respondent) Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Reasources (DENR). Plaintiffs alleged that they
are entitled to the full benefit, use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure that is the country's virgin tropical forests. They further asseverate that they represent their generation as well
as generations yet unborn and asserted that continued deforestation have caused a distortion and disturbance of the ecological balance and have resulted in a host of environmental tragedies.

Plaintiffs prayed that judgement be rendered ordering the respondent, his agents, representatives and other persons acting in his behalf to cancel all existing Timber License Agreement (TLA)
in the country and to cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new TLAs.

Defendant, on the other hand, filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that the complaint had no cause of action against him and that it raises a political question.

The RTC Judge sustained the motion to dismiss, further ruling that granting of the relief prayed for would result in the impairment of contracts which is prohibited by the Constitution.

Plaintiffs (petitioners) thus filed the instant special civil action for certiorari and asked the court to rescind and set aside the dismissal order on the ground that the respondent RTC Judge
gravely abused his discretion in dismissing the action.


(1) Whether or not the plaintiffs have a cause of action.

(2) Whether or not the complaint raises a political issue.
(3) Whether or not the original prayer of the plaintiffs result in the impairment of contracts.


First Issue: Cause of Action.

Respondents aver that the petitioners failed to allege in their complaint a specific legal right violated by the respondent Secretary for which any relief is provided by law. The Court did not agree
with this. The complaint focuses on one fundamental legal right -- the right to a balanced and healthful ecology which is incorporated in Section 16 Article II of the Constitution. The said right
carries with it the duty to refrain from impairing the environment and implies, among many other things, the judicious management and conservation of the country's forests. Section 4 of E.O.
192 expressly mandates the DENR to be the primary government agency responsible for the governing and supervising the exploration, utilization, development and conservation of the
country's natural resources. The policy declaration of E.O. 192 is also substantially re-stated in Title XIV Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987. Both E.O. 192 and Administrative Code of
1987 have set the objectives which will serve as the bases for policy formation, and have defined the powers and functions of the DENR. Thus, right of the petitioners (and all those they
represent) to a balanced and healthful ecology is as clear as DENR's duty to protect and advance the said right.

A denial or violation of that right by the other who has the correlative duty or obligation to respect or protect or respect the same gives rise to a cause of action. Petitioners maintain that the
granting of the TLA, which they claim was done with grave abuse of discretion, violated their right to a balance and healthful ecology. Hence, the full protection thereof requires that no further
TLAs should be renewed or granted.

After careful examination of the petitioners' complaint, the Court finds it to be adequate enough to show, prima facie, the claimed violation of their rights.

Second Issue: Political Issue.

Second paragraph, Section 1 of Article VIII of the constitution provides for the expanded jurisdiction vested upon the Supreme Court. It allows the Court to rule upon even on the wisdom of the
decision of the Executive and Legislature and to declare their acts as invalid for lack or excess of jurisdiction because it is tainted with grave abuse of discretion.

Third Issue: Violation of the non-impairment clause.

The Court held that the Timber License Agreement is an instrument by which the state regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. It is
not a contract within the purview of the due process clause thus, the non-impairment clause cannot be invoked. It can be validly withdraw whenever dictated by public interest or public welfare
as in this case. The granting of license does not create irrevocable rights, neither is it property or property rights.

Moreover, the constitutional guaranty of non-impairment of obligations of contract is limit by the exercise by the police power of the State, in the interest of public health, safety, moral and
general welfare. In short, the non-impairment clause must yield to the police power of the State.

The instant petition, being impressed with merit, is hereby GRANTED and the RTC decision is SET ASIDE.

Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. vs Secretary of Agrarian Reform

175 SCRA 343 Political Law Constitutional Law Bill of Rights Equal Protection Valid Classification
Eminent Domain Just Compensation
These are four consolidated cases questioning the constitutionality of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Act (R.A. No. 6657 and related laws i.e., Agrarian Land
Reform Code or R.A. No. 3844).
Brief background: Article XIII of the Constitution on Social Justice and Human Rights includes a call for the adoption by the State of an agrarian reform program.
The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or
collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof. RA 3844 was enacted in 1963. P.D. No. 27 was
promulgated in 1972 to provide for the compulsory acquisition of private lands for distribution among tenant-farmers and to specify maximum retention limits for
landowners. In 1987, President Corazon Aquino issued E.O. No. 228, declaring full land ownership in favor of the beneficiaries of PD 27 and providing for the

valuation of still unvalued lands covered by the decree as well as the manner of their payment. In 1987, P.P. No. 131, instituting a comprehensive agrarian reform
program (CARP) was enacted; later, E.O. No. 229, providing the mechanics for its (PP131s) implementation, was also enacted. Afterwhich is the enactment of
R.A. No. 6657, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in 1988. This law, while considerably changing the earlier mentioned enactments, nevertheless gives them
suppletory effect insofar as they are not inconsistent with its provisions.
[Two of the consolidated cases are discussed below]
G.R. No. 78742: (Association of Small Landowners vs Secretary)
The Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. sought exception from the land distribution scheme provided for in R.A. 6657. The Association is
comprised of landowners of ricelands and cornlands whose landholdings do not exceed 7 hectares. They invoke that since their landholdings are less than 7
hectares, they should not be forced to distribute their land to their tenants under R.A. 6657 for they themselves have shown willingness to till their own land. In
short, they want to be exempted from agrarian reform program because they claim to belong to a different class.
G.R. No. 79777: (Manaay vs Juico)
Nicolas Manaay questioned the validity of the agrarian reform laws (PD 27, EO 228, and 229) on the ground that these laws already valuated their lands for the
agrarian reform program and that the specific amount must be determined by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Manaay averred that this violated the
principle in eminent domain which provides that only courts can determine just compensation. This, for Manaay, also violated due process for under the
constitution, no property shall be taken for public use without just compensation.
Manaay also questioned the provision which states that landowners may be paid for their land in bonds and not necessarily in cash. Manaay averred that just
compensation has always been in the form of money and not in bonds.
1. Whether or not there was a violation of the equal protection clause.
2. Whether or not there is a violation of due process.
3. Whether or not just compensation, under the agrarian reform program, must be in terms of cash.
1. No. The Association had not shown any proof that they belong to a different class exempt from the agrarian reform program. Under the law, classification has
been defined as the grouping of persons or things similar to each other in certain particulars and different from each other in these same particulars. To be valid, it
must conform to the following requirements:
(1) it must be based on substantial distinctions;
(2) it must be germane to the purposes of the law;
(3) it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and
(4) it must apply equally to all the members of the class.
Equal protection simply means that all persons or things similarly situated must be treated alike both as to the rights conferred and the liabilities imposed. The
Association have not shown that they belong to a different class and entitled to a different treatment. The argument that not only landowners but also owners of
other properties must be made to share the burden of implementing land reform must be rejected. There is a substantial distinction between these two classes of
owners that is clearly visible except to those who will not see. There is no need to elaborate on this matter. In any event, the Congress is allowed a wide leeway in
providing for a valid classification. Its decision is accorded recognition and respect by the courts of justice except only where its discretion is abused to the
detriment of the Bill of Rights. In the contrary, it appears that Congress is right in classifying small landowners as part of the agrarian reform program.
2. No. It is true that the determination of just compensation is a power lodged in the courts. However, there is no law which prohibits administrative bodies like the
DAR from determining just compensation. In fact, just compensation can be that amount agreed upon by the landowner and the government even without
judicial intervention so long as both parties agree. The DAR can determine just compensation through appraisers and if the landowner agrees, then judicial
intervention is not needed. What is contemplated by law however is that, the just compensation determined by an administrative body is merely preliminary. If the
landowner does not agree with the finding of just compensation by an administrative body, then it can go to court and the determination of the latter shall be the
final determination. This is even so provided by RA 6657:

Section 16 (f): Any party who disagrees with the decision may bring the matter to the court of proper jurisdiction for final determination of just compensation.
3. No. Money as [sole] payment for just compensation is merely a concept in traditional exercise of eminent domain. The agrarian reform program is a
revolutionary exercise of eminent domain. The program will require billions of pesos in funds if all compensation have to be made in cash if everything is in cash,
then the government will not have sufficient money hence, bonds, and other securities, i.e., shares of stocks, may be used for just compensation.

Cruz vs Secretary of DENR

Natural Resources and Environmental Law; Constitutional Law; IPRA; Regalian

GR. No. 135385, Dec. 6, 2000

Petitioners Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa filed a suit for prohibition and mandamus
as citizens and taxpayers, assailing the constitutionality of certain provisions of
Republic Act No. 8371, otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of
1997 (IPRA) and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR). The petitioners assail
certain provisions of the IPRA and its IRR on the ground that these amount to an
unlawful deprivation of the States ownership over lands of the public domain as
well as minerals and other natural resources therein, in violation of the regalian
doctrine embodied in section 2, Article XII of the Constitution.

Do the provisions of IPRA contravene the Constitution?

No, the provisions of IPRA do not contravene the Constitution. Examining the IPRA,
there is nothing in the law that grants to the ICCs/IPs ownership over the natural
resources within their ancestral domain. Ownership over the natural resources in
the ancestral domains remains with the State and the rights granted by the IPRA to
the ICCs/IPs over the natural resources in their ancestral domains merely gives
them, as owners and occupants of the land on which the resources are found, the
right to the small scale utilization of these resources, and at the same time, a
priority in their large scale development and exploitation.

Additionally, ancestral lands and ancestral domains are not part of the lands of the
public domain. They are private lands and belong to the ICCs/IPs by native title,
which is a concept of private land title that existed irrespective of any royal grant
from the State. However, the right of ownership and possession by the ICCs/IPs of
their ancestral domains is a limited form of ownership and does not include the right
to alienate the same.

Jan. 21, 2004
Facts: 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.
Petitioners filed the present petition for prohibition and mandamus, with a prayer for a temporary restraining order alleging that at the time of the filing of the petition, 100
FTAA applications had already been filed, covering an area of 8.4 million hectares, 64 of which applications are by fully foreign-owned corporations covering a total of 5.8
million hectares, and at least one by a fully foreign-owned mining company over offshore areas.
Issue: Are foreign-owned corporations in the large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of petroleum, minerals and mineral oils limited to technical or financial
assistance only?
Ruling: Only technical assistance or financial assistance agreements may be entered into, and only for large-scale activities. These are contract forms which recognize and assert
our sovereignty and ownership over natural resources since the foreign entity is just a pure contractor and not a beneficial owner of our economic resources. The proposal
recognizes the need for capital and technology to develop our natural resources without sacrificing our sovereignty and control over such resources by the safeguard of a special
law which requires two-thirds vote of all the members of the Legislature.
It is true that the word technical encompasses a broad number of possible services. However, the law follows the maxim casus omisus pro omisso habendus est which means
a person, object or thing omitted from an enumeration must be held to have been omitted intentionally.

CHAVEZ vs PEA, (G.R. No. 133250, November 11, 2003)

This petition asked the Court to legitimize a government contract that conveyed to a private entity 157.84 hectares of reclaimed public lands along Roxas Boulevard in Metro
Manila at the negotiated price of P1,200 per square meter. However, published reports place the market price of land near that area at that time at a high of P90,000 per square
meter. The difference in price is a staggering P140.16 billion, equivalent to the budget of the entire Judiciary for seventeen years and more than three times the Marcos Swiss
deposits that this Court forfeited in favor of the government.
Public Estates Authority (PEA), under the JVA, obligated itself to convey title and possession over the Property, consisting of approximately One Million Five Hundred Seventy
Eight Thousand Four Hundred Forty One (1,578,441) Square Meters for a total consideration of One Billion Eight Hundred Ninety Four Million One Hundred Twenty Nine
Thousand Two Hundred (P1,894,129,200.00) Pesos, or a price of One Thousand Two Hundred (P1,200.00) Pesos per square meter.
Whether or not stipulations in the Amended JVA for the transfer to AMARI of lands, reclaimed or to be reclaimed on portions of Manila Bay, violate the Constitution?
Submerged lands, like the waters (sea or bay) above them, are part of the States inalienable natural resources. Submerged lands are property of public dominion, absolutely
inalienable and outside the commerce of man. This is also true with respect to foreshore lands. Any sale of submerged or foreshore lands is void being contrary to the
Constitution as it violates Section 2, Article XII. In the instant case, the bulk of the lands subject of the Amended JVA are still submerged lands even to this very day, and
therefore inalienable and outside the commerce of man. Of the 750 hectares subject of the Amended JVA, 592.15 hectares or 78% of the total area are still submerged,
permanently under the waters of Manila Bay. Under the Amended JVA, the PEA conveyed to Amari the submerged lands even before their actual reclamation, although the
documentation of the deed of transfer and issuance of the certificates of title would be made only after actual reclamation. This Resolution does not prejudice any innocent third
party purchaser of the reclaimed lands covered by the Amended JVA. Neither the PEA nor Amari has sold any portion of the reclaimed lands to third parties. Title to the
reclaimed lands remains with the PEA. As held in the 9 July 2002 Decision, the Amended JVA "violates glaringly Sections 2 and 3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution."