Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 115634 April 27, 2000 FELIPE CALUB and RICARDO VALENCIA, DEPARTMENT of ENVIRONMENT and NATURAL RESOURCES (DENR), CATBALOGAN, SAMAR, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, MANUELA T. BABALCON, and CONSTANCIO ABUGANDA, respondents. QUISUMBING, J.: For review is the decision 1 dated May 27, 1994, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 29191, denying the petition filed by herein petitioners for certiorari , prohibition and mandamus , in order to annul the Order dated May 27, 1992, by the Regional Trial Court of Catbalogan, Samar. Said Order had denied petitioners' (a) Motion to Dismiss the replevin case filed by herein private respondents, as well as (b) petitioners Motion for Reconsideration of the Order of said trial court dated April 24, 1992, granting an application for a Writ of replevin. 2 The pertinent facts of the case, borne by the records, are as follows: On January 28, 1992, the Forest Protection and Law Enforcement Team of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the DENR apprehended two (2) motor vehicles, described as follows: 1. Motor Vehicle with Plate No. HAK-733 loaded with one thousand and twenty six (1,026) board feet of illegally sourced lumber valued at P8,544.75, being driven by one Pio Gabon and owned by [a certain] Jose Vargas. 2. Motor Vehicle with Plate No. FCN-143 loaded with one thousand two hundred twenty four and ninety seven (1,224.97) board feet of illegally-sourced lumber valued at P9,187.27, being driven by one Constancio Abuganda and owned by [a certain] Manuela Babalcon. . . . 3 Constancio Abuganda and Pio Gabon, the drivers of the vehicles, failed to present proper documents and/or licenses. Thus, the apprehending team seized and impounded the vehicles and its load of lumber at the DENR-PENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Provincial Environment and Natural Resources) Office in Catbalogan. 4 Seizure receipts were issued but the drivers refused to accept the receipts. 5 Felipe Calub, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, then filed before the Provincial Prosecutor's Office in Samar, a criminal complaint against Abuganda, in Criminal Case No. 3795, for violation of Section 68 , Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive Order 277, otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code. 6 On January 31, 1992, the impounded vehicles were forcibly taken by Gabon and Abuganda from the custody of the DENR, prompting DENR Officer Calub this time to file a criminal complaint for grave coercion against Gabon and Abuganda. The complaint was, however, dismissed by the Public Prosecutor. 7 On February 11, 1992, one of the two vehicles, with plate number FCN 143, was again apprehended by a composite team of DENR-CENR in Catbalogan and Philippine Army elements of the 802nd Infantry Brigade at Barangay Buray, Paranas, Samar. It was again loaded with forest products with an equivalent volume of 1,005.47 board feet, valued at P10,054.70. Calub duly filed a criminal
complaint against Constancio Abuganda, a certain Abegonia, and several John Does, in Criminal Case No. 3625, for violation of Section 68 , Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive
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