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NATRES DIGESTED CASES 1. Association of small landowners in the Philippines vs Secretary of Agrarian Reform gr 78742 NOTE: Case No.

1 is a consolidated petition of G.R. Nos. 78742, 79310, 79744 and 79777. FACTS: The petitioners in this case invoke the right of retention granted by P.D. No. 27 to owners of rice and corn lands not exceeding seven hectares as long as they are cultivating or intend to cultivate the same. Their respective lands do not exceed the statutory limit but are occupied by tenants who are actually cultivating such lands. The petitioners claim they cannot eject their tenants and so are unable to enjoy their right of retention because the Department of Agrarian Reform has so far not issued the implementing rules required under the above-quoted decree. They therefore ask the Court for a writ of mandamus to compel the respondent to issue the said rules. The public respondent argues that P.D. No. 27 has been amended by LOI 474 removing any right of retention from persons who own other agricultural lands of more than 7 hectares in aggregate area or lands used for residential, commercial, industrial or other purposes from which they derive adequate income for their family. The public respondent also stresses that the implementing rules, assuming this has not yet been done, involves the exercise of discretion which cannot be controlled through the writ of mandamus. This is especially true if this function is entrusted, as in this case, to a separate department of the government. In their Reply, the petitioners insist that the above-cited measures are not applicable to them because they do not own more than seven hectares of agricultural land. Moreover, assuming arguendo that the rules were intended to cover them also, the said measures are nevertheless not in force because they have not been published as required by law and the ruling of this Court in Tanada v. Tuvera. As for LOI 474, the same is ineffective for the additional reason that a mere letter of instruction could not have repealed the presidential decree. DISPOSITION: The Court wryly observes that during the past dictatorship, every presidential issuance, by whatever name it was called, had the force and effect of law because it came from President Marcos. Such are the ways of despots. Hence, it is futile to argue that LOI 474 could not have repealed P.D. No. 27 because the former was only a letter of

instruction. The important thing is that it was issued by President Marcos, whose word was law during that time. But for all their peremptoriness, these issuances from the President Marcos still had to comply with the requirement for publication as this Court held in Tanada v. Tuvera. Hence, unless published in the Official Gazette in accordance with Article 2 of the Civil Code, they could not have any force and effect if they were among those enactments successfully challenged in that case. LOI 474 was published, though, in the Official Gazette dated November 29, 1976. The contention of the public respondent that the writ of mandamus cannot issue to compel the performance of a discretionary act, especially by a specific department of the government is true as a general proposition but is subject to one important qualification. The rule is that mandamus will lie to compel the discharge of the discretionary duty itself but not to control the discretion to be exercised. In other words, mandamus can issue to require action only but not specific action. It does not appear that the appeal filed by the petitioners with the Office of the President has already been resolved. Obviously, the Court cannot resolve these issues. In any event, assuming that the petitioners have not yet exercised their retention rights, if any, under P.D. No. 27, the Court holds that they are entitled to the new retention rights provided for by R.A. No. 6657, which in fact are on the whole more liberal than those granted by the decree. This section declares: Retention Limits. Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no person may own or retain, directly or indirectly, any public or private agricultural land, the size of which shall vary according to factors governing a viable family-sized farm, such as commodity produced, terrain, infrastructure, and soil fertility as determined by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) created hereunder, but in no case shall retention by the landowner exceed five (5) hectares. Three (3) hectares may be awarded to each child of the landowner, subject to the following qualifications: (1) that he is at least fifteen (15) years of age; and (2) that he is actually tilling the land or directly managing the farm; Provided, that landowners whose lands have been covered by Presidential Decree No. 27 shall be allowed to keep the area originally retained by them thereunder, further, That original homestead grantees or direct compulsory heirs who still own the original homestead at the time of the approval of this Act shall retain the same areas as long as they continue to cultivate said homestead. WHEREFORE, the Court holds Landowners who were unable to exercise their rights of retention under P.D. No. 27 shall enjoy the retention rights granted by R.A. No. 6657 under the conditions therein prescribed.

2.

Oposa vs. Factoran gr 101083

FACTS: This petition assails all existing timber license agreements in the country and praying for the cease and desist orders from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements under the concepts of "inter-generational responsibility" and "inter-generational justice" to a balanced and healthful ecology. The petitioners, are all minors duly represented and joined by their respective parents against Honorable Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr., then Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). They alleged that the country's land area should be utilized on the basis of a ratio of fifty-four per cent (54%) for forest cover and forty-six per cent (46%) for agricultural, residential, industrial, commercial and other uses to avoid environmental tragedies. Opposing, the respondents prayed to dismiss the petition for the following reasons (1) the plaintiffs have no cause of action against him and (2) the issue raised by the plaintiffs is a political question which properly pertains to the legislative or executive branches of Government. On 18 July 1991, Regional Trial Court (RTC), National Capital Judicial Region issued an order granting the aforementioned motion to dismiss. 7 In the said order, not only was the defendant's claim that the complaint states no cause of action against him and that it raises a political question sustained, the respondent Judge further ruled that the granting of the relief prayed for would result in the impairment of contracts which is prohibited by the fundamental law of the land. ISSUES: 1) WON petitioners have the locus standi to represent themselves and the future generation. 2) WON the issuance of Timber License Agreements by the DENR to business firms, constitutional. HELD: The Court held that the petition is meritorious. It states that the case has a special and novel element, minors can assert that they represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned. Such a right, as hereinafter expounded, considers the "rhythm and harmony of nature" inscribed in the Constitution. Such a right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than selfpreservation and self-perpetuation aptly and fittingly stressed by the petitioners the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and constitutions. Without such forests, the ecological or environmental balance would be irreversibly disrupted. President Aquinos EO 192 even mandated the DENR as the primary govt agency responsible to ensure equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the natural resources for the welfare of the present and future generations of Filipinos.

On the issue of political question the Court emphasized that the political question doctrine is no longer, the insurmountable obstacle to the exercise of judicial power or the impenetrable shield that protects executive and legislative actions from judicial inquiry or review. The Constitution provides, that it is the duty of the courts to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. On the impairment of contract clause, Forestry Reform Code provides that when the national interest so requires, the President may amend, modify, replace or rescind any contract, concession, permit, licenses or any other form of privilege granted herein. Moreover since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause cannot be invoked. Hence, the Court ruled that the petition is GRANTED, and the challenged Order of respondent Judge dismissing Civil Case No. 90-777 is hereby set aside. The petitioners may therefore amend their complaint to implead as defendants the holders or grantees of the questioned timber license agreements. 3. MMDA vs concerned citizens of Manila Bay gr 171947

Facts: On January 29, 1999, respondents Concerned Residents of Manila Bay filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Imus, Cavite against several government agencies, for the cleanup, rehabilitation, and protection of the Manila Bay. The complaint alleged that the water quality of the Manila Bay had fallen way below the allowable standards set by law, specifically Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1152 or the Philippine Environment Code. In their individual causes of action, respondents alleged that the continued neglect of petitioners in abating the pollution of the Manila Bay constitutes a violation of, among others: o o o o o o o o o o o o Respondents constitutional right to life, health, and a balanced ecology; The Environment Code (PD 1152); The Pollution Control Law (PD 984); The Water Code (PD 1067); The Sanitation Code (PD 856); The Illegal Disposal of Wastes Decree (PD 825); The Marine Pollution Law (PD 979); Executive Order No. 192; The Toxic and Hazardous Wastes Law (Republic Act No. 6969); Civil Code provisions on nuisance and human relations; The Trust Doctrine and the Principle of Guardianship; and International Law

Inter alia, respondents, as plaintiffs a quo, prayed that petitioners be ordered to clean the Manila Bay and submit to the RTC a concerted concrete plan of action for the purpose. The CA denied petitioners appeal and affirmed the RTCs decision. Issue: Whether or not pertinent provisions of the Environment Code (PD 1152) relate only to the cleaning of specific pollution incidents and do not cover cleaning in general. Held: Supreme Court affirmed the decision of CA and RTC that Sections 17 and 20 of PD 1152 include cleaning in general. Sec. 17 provides that in case the water quality has deteriorated, th government agencies concerned shall act on it to bring back the standard quality water. On the other hand, Sec. 20 also mandates the government agencies concerned to take action in cleaning-up in case the polluters failed to do their part. Moreover, it is the inescapable duty of everyone to protect the water and prevent pollution, because of the tenable need of present and future generations as provided in Art. 2 Sec. 16 of the 1987 Constitution, that the State shall protect and advance the right to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. In the light of the ongoing environmental degradation, the Court wishes to emphasize the extreme necessity for all concerned executive departments and agencies to immediately act and discharge their respective official duties and obligations. Indeed, time is of the essence; hence, there is a need to set timetables for the performance and completion of the tasks, some of them as defined for them by law and the nature of their respective offices and mandates.

CHAPTER 2 4. Cruz vs Sec of environment and natural resources gr 135385 5. Dagdag vs Nepomuceno gr L-12691

Facts: Lot No. 3786 in Cabanatuan Cadaster, an alienable or disposable public land way back in 1916, covered by Sales Patent No. 257 was issued to Margarita Juanson. The same land was also issued by Lease No. 49 executed by the Bureau of Lands in favor of Andres de Vera. Juansons Sales Patent was inscribed by the Register of Deeds on July 11, 1927, and the Original Certificate of Title was issued to her. Later on, Juanson sold the land of Remegio Juanson Bautista (1928), who in turn sold it to Balarian Incorporated (1929). In May 1950, Simeon T. Dagdag bought it from Balarin, Inc. After every sale, the corresponding Transfer Certificate of Title was given out. On the other hand, the lease to de Vera was transferred to Vicente Nepomuceno. Dagdags title and those of his predecessors contained no annotation of such lease; neither he had any knowledge of it. The overlapping was recently discovered, and their successors in interest now litigate for possession and/or ownership. Nepomuceno refused to surrender the land even in the face of Dagdags patent and title.

Issue: Whether or not the patent and title in possession of Dagdag constitutes ownership Ruling: Yes, the patents when registered in the corresponding Register of Deeds are indispensible. We regard these as veritable Torrens Title subject to no encumbrance except those stated therein, plus those specified by the statutes, and lease is not one of them. In addition, when the lease was renewed in 1949, the portion in question was no longer public land subject to the disposition of the Director of Lands because it had already been granted to Margarita Juanson and had become private property. Furthermore, in Sec 122 of the Land Registration Law, the documents mentioned wherein lands are alienated, granted, or conveyed are documents transferring ownership, not documents of lease transferring ownership. The Torrens Title of Dagdag must prevail.

6. Chavez vs Public Estates Authority gr 133250 President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 1084 creating PEA. PD No. 1084 tasked PEA to reclaim land, including foreshore and submerged areas, and to develop, improve, acquire, x x x lease and sell any and all kinds of lands.[1] On the same date, then President Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 1085 transferring to PEA the lands reclaimed in the foreshore and offshore of the Manila Bay [2] under the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road and Reclamation Project (MCCRRP). then President Corazon C. Aquino issued Special Patent No. 3517, granting and transferring to PEA the parcels of land so reclaimed under the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road and Reclamation Project (MCCRRP) containing a total area of one million nine hundred fifteen thousand eight hundred ninety four (1,915,894) square meters. Subsequently, on April 9, 1988, the Register of Deeds of the Municipality of Paraaque issued Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 7309, 7311, and 7312, in the name of PEA, covering the three reclaimed islands known as the Freedom Islands located at the southern portion of the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road, Paraaque City. The Freedom Islands have a total land area of One Million Five Hundred Seventy Eight Thousand Four Hundred and Forty One (1,578,441) square meters or 157.841 hectares. PEA entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with AMARI, a private corporation. Which included in the JVA that PEA will transfer public land particularly Freedom Island and several portions of submerged areas in manila bay. These lands were transferred for their development. Issue: Whether or not the stipulations in the Amended JVA for the transfer to AMARI of lands, reclaimed or to be reclaimed, violate the Constitution RULING: Yes. Under the Public Land Act (CA 141, as amended), reclaimed lands are classified as alienable and disposable lands of the public domain Section 3 of the Constitution: Alienable lands of the public domain shall be limited to agricultural lands. Private corporations or associations may not hold such alienable lands of the public domain except by lease The 157.84 hectares of reclaimed lands comprising the Freedom Islands, now covered by certificates of title in the name of PEA, are alienable lands of the public domain. PEA may lease these lands to private corporations but may not sell or transfer ownership of these lands to private corporations. PEA may only sell these lands to Philippine citizens, subject to the ownership limitations in the 1987 Constitution and existing laws. Clearly, the Amended JVA violates glaringly Sections 2 and 3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. Under Article 1409 of the Civil Code, contracts whose object or purpose is contrary to law, or whose object is outside the commerce of men, are inexistent and void from the beginning. The Court must perform its duty to defend and uphold the Constitution, and therefore declares the Amended JVA null and void ab initio.

7.

Republic vs. Naguiat gr 134209

Facts: Celestina Naguiat alleges that she is the owner of parcels of land having acquired from Demetria Calderon, Josefina Moraga and Fausto Monje and their predecessors-ininterest who have been in possession thereof for more than thirty (30) years. Republic of the Philippines filed an opposition to the application on the ground that neither the applicant nor her predecessors-in interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the lands in question since 12 June 1945 or prior thereto. In a decision the trial court rendered judgment for Celestina Naguiat. The CA affirmed that of the trial court. Issue: Whether or not the respondents possession of the parcels of land in question ripen into private ownership and be registered as title. Held: Public forest lands or forest reserves, unless declassified and released by positive act of the Government so that they may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain, are not capable of private appropriation. Under Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution,which embodies the Regalian doctrine, all lands of the public domain belong to the State the source of any asserted right to ownership of land. All lands not appearing to be clearly of private dominion presumptively belong to the State. Accordingly, public lands not shown to have been reclassified or released as alienable agricultural land or alienated to a private person by the State remain part of the inalienable public domain. Under Section 6 of the Public Land Act, the prerogative of classifying or reclassifying lands of the public domain, i.e., from forest or mineral to agricultural and vice versa, belongs to the Executive Branch of the government and not the court. Needless to stress, the onus to overturn, by incontrovertible evidence, the presumption that the land subject of an application for registration is alienable or disposable rests with the applicant. Here, respondent never presented the required certification from the proper government agency or official proclamation reclassifying the land applied for as alienable and disposable. Matters of land classification or reclassification cannot be assumed. It calls for proof. Aside from tax receipts, respondent submitted in evidence the survey map and technical descriptions of the lands, which, needless to state, provided no information respecting the classification of the property. As the Court has held, however, these documents are not sufficient to overcome the presumption that the land sought to be registered forms part of the public domain.

The foregoing considered, the issue of whether or not respondent and her predecessorin-interest have been in open, exclusive and continuous possession of the parcels of land in question is now of little moment. For, unclassified land, as here, cannot be acquired by adverse occupation or possession; occupation thereof in the concept of owner, however long, cannot ripen into private ownership and be registered as title.