Monday, May 24, 2010

LA BUGAL-B'LAAN vs DENR
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.

LA BUGAL-B'LAAN vs DENR
Dec. 1, 2004

Facts: On January 27, 2004, the Court en banc promulgated its Decision granting the Petition and declaring the unconstitutionality of certain provisions of RA 7942, DAO 96-40, as well as of the entire FTAA executed between the government and WMCP, mainly on the finding that FTAAs are service contracts prohibited by the 1987 Constitution.

The Decision struck down the subject FTAA for being similar to service contracts, which, though permitted under the 1973 Constitution, were subsequently denounced for being antithetical to the principle of sovereignty over our natural resources, because they allowed foreign control over the exploitation of our natural resources, to the prejudice of the Filipino nation.

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. Full control is not anathematic to day-to-day management by the contractor, provided that the State retains the power to direct overall strategy; and to set aside, reverse or modify plans and actions of the contractor. The idea of full control is similar to that which is exercised by the board of directors of a private corporation: the performance of managerial, operational, financial, marketing and other functions may be delegated to subordinate officers or given to contractual entities, but the board retains full residual control of the business.

REPUBLIC vs ESTONILO
GR 157306, Nov. 25, 2005

Facts: Petitioner, in her application, claimed that a parcel of land known as Lot No. 4318 was previously owned and possessed by a certain Rosendo Bacas since 1894 until it was sold to her by the heirs of Rosendo Bacas, represented by their attorney-in-fact and heir himself, Calistro Bacas by virtue of an Absolute Sale of Realty on June 14, 1954. After due notice and publication of said application, the Provincial Fiscal of Misamis Oriental, in behalf of the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the Director of the Bureau of Lands filed its opposition alleging that Lot 4318 cannot be registered pursuant to PP No. 265, which declared Lot 4318 reserved for the use of the Philippine Army.

Issue: Does the public Land Act require a judicial order to create a military reservation?

Ruling: The Public Land Act does not require a judicial order to create a military reservation. The provision requiring the reservation to be subject to private rights means that persons claiming rights over the reserved land are not precluded from proving their claims. It is contended further that respondents were afforded due process when their application for registration of title to Lot 4318 was heard by the lower courts.

Chavez vs PEA
GR 133250, July 9, 2002

Facts: The petition seeks to compel the Public Estates Authority (PEA) to disclose all facts on PEA's then on-going renegotiations with Amari Coastal Bay and Development Corporation (AMARI) to reclaim certain foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay and to construct Phases I and II of the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road. CDCP obligated itself to carry out all the works in consideration of fifty percent of the total reclaimed land. . The petition further seeks to enjoin PEA from signing a new agreement with AMARI involving such reclamation.

Issue: 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?

Ruling: Under CA No. 141, known as the Public Land Act, authorized the lease, but not the sale, of reclaimed lands of the government to corporations and individuals. Since the Amended JVA also seeks to transfer to AMARI ownership of still submerged areas of Manila Bay, such transfer is void for being contrary to Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits the alienation of natural resources other than agricultural lands of the public domain. PEA may reclaim these submerged areas. The transfer of such reclaimed alienable lands of the public domain to AMARI will be void in view of Section 3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits private corporations from acquiring any kind of alienable land of the public domain.

The Amended JVA violates Sections 2 and 3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution and is therefore declared null and void ab initio.

Chavez vs PEA
G.R. No. 133250, November 11, 2003

Facts: Petitioner asked to legitimize a government contract that conveyed to a private entity 157.84 hectares of reclaimed public lands along Roxas Boulevard in Metro Manila. However, published reports place the market price of land near that area at a price higher than negotiated price. The private entity somehow managed to deceive the government to sell the reclaimed lands without public bidding in patent violation of the Government Auditing Code. The Senate Committees established the clear, indisputable and unalterable fact that the sale of the public lands is grossly and unconscionably undervalued based on official documents submitted by the proper government agencies during the Senate investigation.

Issue: 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?
Ruling: 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, 78% of the total area is 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. To allow vast areas of reclaimed lands of the public domain to be transferred to PEA as private lands is in violation of Sec. 2 Article XII of the constitution.
Sec. of DENR vs YAP
GR 167707, Oct. 8, 2008

Facts: On May 22, 2006, during the pendency of G.R. No. 167707, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1064 classifying Boracay Island into four hundred (400) hectares of reserved forest land (protection purposes) and six hundred twenty-eight and 96/100 (628.96) hectares of agricultural land (alienable and disposable). The Proclamation likewise provided for a fifteen-meter buffer zone on each side of the centerline of roads and trails, reserved for right-of-way and which shall form part of the area reserved for forest land protection purposes.

Issue: IS PP No. 1065 classifying Boracay Island into 400 hectares of reserved forest land and 628 hectares of agricultural land (alienable and disposable), valid and constitutional?

Ruling: Yes. Sections 6 and 7 of CA No. 141 provide that it is only the President, upon the recommendation of the proper department head, who has the authority to classify the lands of the public domain into alienable or disposable, timber and mineral lands.

In issuing Proclamation No. 1064, PGMA merely exercised the authority granted to her to classify lands of the public domain, presumably subject to existing vested rights. Classification of public lands is the exclusive prerogative of the Executive Department, through the Office of the President. Courts have no authority to do so. Absent such classification, the land remains unclassified until released and rendered open to disposition

Matthews vs Taylor
GR 164584, June 22, 2009

Facts: On June 30, 1988, respondent Benjamin A. Taylor (Benjamin), a British subject, married Joselyn C. Taylor (Joselyn), a 17-year old Filipina. On June 9, 1989, Joselyn bought from Diosa M. Martin a 1,294 square-meter lot (Boracay property. The sale was allegedly financed by Benjamin.

However, Benjamin and Joselyn had a falling out, and Joselyn ran away with Kim Philippsen. On June 8, 1992, Joselyn executed a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) in favor of Benjamin, authorizing the latter to maintain, sell, lease, and sub-lease and otherwise enter into contract with third parties with respect to their Boracay property.

On July 20, 1992, Joselyn entered into an Agreement of Lease (Agreement) involving the Boracay property for a period of 25 years. Claiming that the Agreement was null and void since it was enteredwithout his (Benjamin’s) consent, he instituted an action for Declaration of Nullity of Agreement of Lease with Damages against Joselyn and the petitioner.

Issue: Can an alien husband nullify a lease contract entered into by his Filipina wife over a land bought during their marriage?

Ruling: Benjamin has no right to nullify the Agreement of Lease between Joselyn and petitioner. Benjamin, being an alien, is absolutely prohibited from acquiring private and public lands in the Philippines. Considering that Joselyn appeared to be the designated “vendee” in the Deed of Sale of said property, she acquired sole ownership thereto. This is true even if Benjamin’s claim that he provided the funds for such acquisition is sustained. By entering into such contract knowing that it was illegal, no implied trust was created in his favor; no reimbursement for his expenses can be allowed; and no declaration can be made that the subject property was part of the conjugal/community property of the spouses.

David vs. Arroyo
GR 171396, May 3 2006

Facts: PGMA issued PP1017 declaring a state of national emergency. The basis is that over the past months, the elements of opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme left and extreme right the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine state which are now in tactical alliance and have engaged with a conspiracy to bring down the government.

Issue: In times of national emergency, may the President exercise powers under Section 17, Article XII without congressional authority?

Ruling: The Court rules that under Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution, the President, in the absence of legislation, cannot take over privately-owned public utility and private business affected with public interest. In times of emergency, our Constitution reasonably demands that we repose a certain amount of faith in the basic integrity and wisdom of the Chief Executive but, at the same time, it obliges him to operate within carefully prescribed procedural limitations.

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