[NATRES] Cases Pt.15.docx - B THE LAW ON THE ENVIRONMENT III ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS FOR STUDY A LAWS PROTECTING THE LAND LAND RESOURCES 1 PD 705 REVISED

[NATRES] Cases Pt.15.docx - B THE LAW ON THE ENVIRONMENT...

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B. THE LAW ON THE ENVIRONMENT III: ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS FOR STUDY A. LAWS PROTECTING THE LAND & LAND RESOURCES 1. PD 705/ REVISED FORESTRY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES 1.3 POSSESSION OF LUMBER WITHOUT THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS G.R. No. 184098. November 25, 2008. * AMADO TAOPA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. Forestry Law; Evidence; Facts established proved Taopa’s (and Ogalesco’s) exercise of dominion and control over the lumber loaded in the truck; Court is convinced that Taopa and Ogalesco were owners of the seized lumber. —Both the RTC and the CA gave scant consideration to Taopa’s alibi because Cuison’s testimony proved Taopa’s active participation in the transport of the seized lumber. In particular, the RTC and the CA found that the truck was loaded with the cargo in front of Taopa’s house and that Taopa and Ogalesco were accompanying the truck driven by Cuison up to where the truck and lumber were seized. These facts proved Taopa’s (and Ogalesco’s) exercise of dominion and control over the lumber loaded in the truck. The acts of Taopa (and of his co-accused Ogalesco) constituted possession of timber or other forest products without the required legal documents. Moreover, the fact that Taopa and Ogalesco ran away at the mere sight of the police was likewise largely indicative of guilt. We are thus convinced that Taopa and Ogalesco were owners of the seized lumber. Same; Penalties; The law treats cutting, gathering, collecting and possessing timber or other forest products without license as an offense as grave as and equivalent to the felony of qualified theft. —Section 68 of PD 705, as amended, refers to Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for the penalties to be imposed on violators. Violation of Section 68 of PD 705, as amended, is punished as qualified theft. The law treats cutting, gathering, collecting and possessing timber or other forest products without license as an offense as grave as and equivalent to the felony of qualified theft. PETITION for review on certiorari of the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals. The facts are stated in the resolution of the Court. Marlin F. Velasco for petitioner. _______________ * FIRST DIVISION. 611 VOL. 571, NOVEMBER 25, 2008 611 Taopa vs. People The Solicitor General for respondent. R E S O L U T I O N CORONA, J. : On April 2, 1996, the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of Virac, Catanduanes seized a truck loaded with illegally-cut lumber and arrested its driver, Placido Cuison. The lumber was covered with bundles of abaca fiber to prevent detection. On investigation, Cuison pointed to petitioner Amado Taopa and a certain Rufino Ogalesco as the owners of the seized lumber. Taopa, Ogalesco and Cuison were thereafter charged with violating Section 68 of Presidential Decree (PD) No.
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