Cruz vs. NCIP.pdf - G.R No 135385 December 6 2000 ISAGANI CRUZ and CESAR EUROPA petitioners vs SECRETARY OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES SECRETARY

Cruz vs. NCIP.pdf - G.R No 135385 December 6 2000 ISAGANI...

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Unformatted text preview: G.R. No. 135385 December 6, 2000 ISAGANI CRUZ and CESAR EUROPA, petitioners, vs. SECRETARY OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT and CHAIRMAN and COMMISSIONERS OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, respondents. HON. JUAN M .FLAVIER, HON. PONCIANO BENNAGEN, BAYANI ASCARRAGA, EDTAMI MANSAYANGAN, BASILIO WANDAG, EVELYN DUNUAN, YAOM TUGAS, ALFREMO CARPIANO, LIBERATO A. GABIN, MATERNIDAD M. COLAS, NARCISA M. DALUPINES, BAI KIRAM-CONNIE SATURNO, BAE MLOMO-BEATRIZ T. ABASALA, DATU BALITUNGTUNGANTONIO D. LUMANDONG, DATU MANTUMUKAW TEOFISTO SABASALES, DATU EDUAARDO BANDA, DATU JOEL UNAD, DATU RAMON BAYAAN, TIMUAY JOSE ANOY, TIMUAY MACARIO D. SALACAO, TIMUAY EDWIN B. ENDING, DATU SAHAMPONG MALANAW VI, DATU BEN PENDAO CABIGON, BAI NANAPNAY-LIZA SAWAY, BAY INAY DAYA-MELINDA S. REYMUNDO, BAI TINANGHAGA HELINITA T. PANGAN, DATU MAKAPUKAW ADOLINO L. SAWAY, DATU MAUDAYAW-CRISPEN SAWAY, VICKY MAKAY, LOURDES D. AMOS, GILBERT P. HOGGANG, TERESA GASPAR, MANUEL S. ONALAN, MIA GRACE L. GIRON, ROSEMARIE G. PE, BENITO CARINO, JOSEPH JUDE CARANTES, LYNETTE CARANTES-VIVAL, LANGLEY SEGUNDO, SATUR S. BUGNAY, CARLING DOMULOT, ANDRES MENDIOGRIN, LEOPOLDO ABUGAN, VIRGILIO CAYETANO, CONCHITA G. DESCAGA, LEVY ESTEVES, ODETTE G. ESTEVEZ, RODOLFO C. AGUILAR, MAURO VALONES, PEPE H. ATONG, OFELIA T. DAVI, PERFECTO B. GUINOSAO, WALTER N. TIMOL, MANUEL T. SELEN, OSCAR DALUNHAY, RICO O. SULATAN, RAFFY MALINDA, ALFREDO ABILLANOS, JESSIE ANDILAB, MIRLANDO H. MANGKULINTAS, SAMIE SATURNO, ROMEO A. LINDAHAY, ROEL S. MANSANG-CAGAN, PAQUITO S. LIESES, FILIPE G. SAWAY, HERMINIA S. SAWAY, JULIUS S. SAWAY, LEONARDA SAWAY, JIMMY UGYUB, SALVADOR TIONGSON, VENANCIO APANG, MADION MALID, SUKIM MALID, NENENG MALID, MANGKATADONG AUGUSTO DIANO, JOSEPHINE M. ALBESO, MORENO MALID, MARIO MANGCAL, FELAY DIAMILING, SALOME P. SARZA, FELIPE P. BAGON, SAMMY SALNUNGAN, ANTONIO D. EMBA, NORMA MAPANSAGONOS, ROMEO SALIGA, SR., JERSON P. GERADA, RENATO T. BAGON, JR., SARING MASALONG, SOLEDAD M. GERARDA, ELIZABETH L. MENDI, MORANTE S. TIWAN, DANILO M. MALUDAO, MINORS MARICEL MALID, represented by her father CORNELIO MALID, MARCELINO M. LADRA, represented by her father MONICO D. LADRA, JENNYLYN MALID, represented by her father TONY MALID, ARIEL M. EVANGELISTA, represented by her mother LINAY BALBUENA, EDWARD M. EMUY, SR., SUSAN BOLANIO, OND, PULA BATO B'LAAN TRIBAL FARMER'S ASSOCIATION, INTER-PEOPLE'S EXCHANGE, INC. and GREEN FORUM-WESTERN VISAYAS, intervenors. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, intervenor. IKALAHAN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE and HARIBON FOUNDATION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES, INC., intervenor. RESOLUTION PER CURIAM: Petitioners Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa brought this suit for prohibition and mandamus as citizens and taxpayers, assailing the constitutionality of certain provisions of Republic Act No. 8371 (R.A. 8371), otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (Implementing Rules). In its resolution of September 29, 1998, the Court required respondents to comment.1 In compliance, respondents Chairperson and Commissioners of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the government agency created under the IPRA to implement its provisions, filed on October 13, 1998 their Comment to the Petition, in which they defend the constitutionality of the IPRA and pray that the petition be dismissed for lack of merit. On October 19, 1998, respondents Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) filed through the Solicitor General a consolidated Comment. The Solicitor General is of the view that the IPRA is partly unconstitutional on the ground that it grants ownership over natural resources to indigenous peoples and prays that the petition be granted in part. On November 10, 1998, a group of intervenors, composed of Sen. Juan Flavier, one of the authors of the IPRA, Mr. Ponciano Bennagen, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, and the leaders and members of 112 groups of indigenous peoples (Flavier, et. al), filed their Motion for Leave to Intervene. They join the NCIP in defending the constitutionality of IPRA and praying for the dismissal of the petition. On March 22, 1999, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) likewise filed a Motion to Intervene and/or to Appear as Amicus Curiae. The CHR asserts that IPRA is an expression of the principle of parens patriae and that the State has the responsibility to protect and guarantee the rights of those who are at a serious disadvantage like indigenous peoples. For this reason it prays that the petition be dismissed. On March 23, 1999, another group, composed of the Ikalahan Indigenous People and the Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, Inc. (Haribon, et al.), filed a motion to Intervene with attached Comment-in-Intervention. They agree with the NCIP and Flavier, et al. that IPRA is consistent with the Constitution and pray that the petition for prohibition and mandamus be dismissed. The motions for intervention of the aforesaid groups and organizations were granted. Oral arguments were heard on April 13, 1999. Thereafter, the parties and intervenors filed their respective memoranda in which they reiterate the arguments adduced in their earlier pleadings and during the hearing. Petitioners assail the constitutionality of the following provisions of the IPRA and its Implementing Rules on the ground that they amount to an unlawful deprivation of the State’s 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: "(1) Section 3(a) which defines the extent and coverage of ancestral domains, and Section 3(b) which, in turn, defines ancestral lands; "(2) Section 5, in relation to section 3(a), which provides that ancestral domains including inalienable public lands, bodies of water, mineral and other resources found within ancestral domains are private but community property of the indigenous peoples; "(3) Section 6 in relation to section 3(a) and 3(b) which defines the composition of ancestral domains and ancestral lands; "(4) Section 7 which recognizes and enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over the ancestral domains; (5) Section 8 which recognizes and enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over the ancestral lands; "(6) Section 57 which provides for priority rights of the indigenous peoples in the harvesting, extraction, development or exploration of minerals and other natural resources within the areas claimed to be their ancestral domains, and the right to enter into agreements with nonindigenous peoples for the development and utilization of natural resources therein for a period not exceeding 25 years, renewable for not more than 25 years; and "(7) Section 58 which gives the indigenous peoples the responsibility to maintain, develop, protect and conserve the ancestral domains and portions thereof which are found to be necessary for critical watersheds, mangroves, wildlife sanctuaries, wilderness, protected areas, forest cover or reforestation."2 Petitioners also content that, by providing for an all-encompassing definition of "ancestral domains" and "ancestral lands" which might even include private lands found within said areas, Sections 3(a) and 3(b) violate the rights of private landowners.3 In addition, petitioners question the provisions of the IPRA defining the powers and jurisdiction of the NCIP and making customary law applicable to the settlement of disputes involving ancestral domains and ancestral lands on the ground that these provisions violate the due process clause of the Constitution.4 These provisions are: "(1) sections 51 to 53 and 59 which detail the process of delineation and recognition of ancestral domains and which vest on the NCIP the sole authority to delineate ancestral domains and ancestral lands; "(2) Section 52[i] which provides that upon certification by the NCIP that a particular area is an ancestral domain and upon notification to the following officials, namely, the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Secretary of Interior and Local Governments, Secretary of Justice and Commissioner of the National Development Corporation, the jurisdiction of said officials over said area terminates; "(3) Section 63 which provides the customary law, traditions and practices of indigenous peoples shall be applied first with respect to property rights, claims of ownership, hereditary succession and settlement of land disputes, and that any doubt or ambiguity in the interpretation thereof shall be resolved in favor of the indigenous peoples; "(4) Section 65 which states that customary laws and practices shall be used to resolve disputes involving indigenous peoples; and "(5) Section 66 which vests on the NCIP the jurisdiction over all claims and disputes involving rights of the indigenous peoples."5 Finally, petitioners assail the validity of Rule VII, Part II, Section 1 of the NCIP Administrative Order No. 1, series of 1998, which provides that "the administrative relationship of the NCIP to the Office of the President is characterized as a lateral but autonomous relationship for purposes of policy and program coordination." They contend that said Rule infringes upon the President’s power of control over executive departments under Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution.6 Petitioners pray for the following: "(1) A declaration that Sections 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 52[I], 57, 58, 59, 63, 65 and 66 and other related provisions of R.A. 8371 are unconstitutional and invalid; "(2) The issuance of a writ of prohibition directing the Chairperson and Commissioners of the NCIP to cease and desist from implementing the assailed provisions of R.A. 8371 and its Implementing Rules; "(3) The issuance of a writ of prohibition directing the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to cease and desist from implementing Department of Environment and Natural Resources Circular No. 2, series of 1998; "(4) The issuance of a writ of prohibition directing the Secretary of Budget and Management to cease and desist from disbursing public funds for the implementation of the assailed provisions of R.A. 8371; and "(5) The issuance of a writ of mandamus commanding the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources to comply with his duty of carrying out the State’s constitutional mandate to control and supervise the exploration, development, utilization and conservation of Philippine natural resources."7 After due deliberation on the petition, the members of the Court voted as follows: Seven (7) voted to dismiss the petition. Justice Kapunan filed an opinion, which the Chief Justice and Justices Bellosillo, Quisumbing, and Santiago join, sustaining the validity of the challenged provisions of R.A. 8371. Justice Puno also filed a separate opinion sustaining all challenged provisions of the law with the exception of Section 1, Part II, Rule III of NCIP Administrative Order No. 1, series of 1998, the Rules and Regulations Implementing the IPRA, and Section 57 of the IPRA which he contends should be interpreted as dealing with the large-scale exploitation of natural resources and should be read in conjunction with Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. On the other hand, Justice Mendoza voted to dismiss the petition solely on the ground that it does not raise a justiciable controversy and petitioners do not have standing to question the constitutionality of R.A. 8371. Seven (7) other members of the Court voted to grant the petition. Justice Panganiban filed a separate opinion expressing the view that Sections 3 (a)(b), 5, 6, 7 (a)(b), 8, and related provisions of R.A. 8371 are unconstitutional. He reserves judgment on the constitutionality of Sections 58, 59, 65, and 66 of the law, which he believes must await the filing of specific cases by those whose rights may have been violated by the IPRA. Justice Vitug also filed a separate opinion expressing the view that Sections 3(a), 7, and 57 of R.A. 8371 are unconstitutional. Justices Melo, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and De Leon join in the separate opinions of Justices Panganiban and Vitug. As the votes were equally divided (7 to 7) and the necessary majority was not obtained, the case was redeliberated upon. However, after redeliberation, the voting remained the same. Accordingly, pursuant to Rule 56, Section 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the petition is DISMISSED. Attached hereto and made integral parts thereof are the separate opinions of Justices Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, and Panganiban. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur. Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza and Panganiban JJ., see separate opinion Footnotes 1 Rollo, p. 114. 2 Petition, Rollo, pp. 16-23. 3 Id. at 23-25. Section 1, Article III of the Constitution states: "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws." 4 5 Rollo, pp. 25-27. 6 Id. at 27-28. 7 Transcript of Stenographic Notes of the hearing held on April 13, 1999, pp. 5-6. The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation SEPARATE OPINION PUNO, J.: PRECIS A classic essay on the utility of history was written in 1874 by Friedrich Nietzsche entitled "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life." Expounding on Nietzsche's essay, Judge Richard Posner1 wrote:2 "Law is the most historically oriented, or if you like the most backward-looking, the most 'pastdependent,' of the professions. It venerates tradition, precedent, pedigree, ritual, custom, ancient practices, ancient texts, archaic terminology, maturity, wisdom, seniority, gerontocracy, and interpretation conceived of as a method of recovering history. It is suspicious of innovation, discontinuities, 'paradigm shifts,' and the energy and brashness of youth. These ingrained attitudes are obstacles to anyone who wants to re-orient law in a more pragmatic direction. But, by the same token, pragmatic jurisprudence must come to terms with history." When Congress enacted the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), it introduced radical concepts into the Philippine legal system which appear to collide with settled constitutional and jural precepts on state ownership of land and other natural resources. The sense and subtleties of this law cannot be appreciated without considering its distinct sociology and the labyrinths of its history. This Opinion attempts to interpret IPRA by discovering its soul shrouded by the mist of our history. After all, the IPRA was enacted by Congress not only to fulfill the constitutional mandate of protecting the indigenous cultural communities' right to their ancestral land but more importantly, to correct a grave historical injustice to our indigenous people. This Opinion discusses the following: I. The Development of the Regalian Doctrine in the Philippine Legal System. A. The Laws of the Indies B. Valenton v. Murciano C. The Public Land Acts and the Torrens System D. The Philippine Constitutions II. The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). A. Indigenous Peoples 1. Indigenous Peoples: Their History 2. Their Concept of Land III. The IPRA is a Novel Piece of Legislation. A. Legislative History IV. The Provisions of the IPRA Do Not Contravene the Constitution. A. Ancestral domains and ancestral lands are the private property of indigenous peoples and do not constitute part of the land of the public domain. 1. The right to ancestral domains and ancestral lands: how acquired 2. The concept of native title (a) Cariño v. Insular Government (b) Indian Title to land (c) Why the Cariño doctrine is unique 3. The option of securing a torrens title to the ancestral land B. The right of ownership and possession by the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains is a limited form of ownership and does not include the right to alienate the same. 1. The indigenous concept of ownership and customary law C. Sections 7 (a), 7 (b) and 57 of the IPRA do not violate the Regalian Doctrine enshrined in Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. 1. The rights of ICCs/IPs over their ancestral domains and lands 2. The right of ICCs/IPs to develop lands and natural resources within the ancestral domains does not deprive the State of ownership over the natural resources, control and supervision in their development and exploitation. (a) Section 1, Part II, Rule III of the Implementing Rules goes beyond the parameters of Section 7(a) of the law on ownership of ancestral domains and is ultra vires. (b) The small-scale utilization of natural resources in Section 7 (b) of the IPRA is allowed under Paragraph 3, Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Consitution. (c) The large-scale utilization of natural resources in Section 57 of the IPRA may be harmonized with Paragraphs 1 and 4, Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. V. The IPRA is a Recognition of Our Active Participation in the International Indigenous Movement. DISCUSSION I. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE REGALIAN DOCTRINE IN THE PHILIPPINE LEGAL SYSTEM. A. The Laws of the Indies The capacity of the State to own or acquire property is the state's power of dominium.3 This was the foundation for the early Spanish decrees embracing the feudal theory of jura regalia. The "Regalian Doctrine" or jura regalia is a Western legal concept that was first introduced by the Spaniards into the country through the Laws of the Indies and the Royal Cedulas. The Laws of the Indies, i.e., more specifically, Law 14, Title 12, Book 4 of the Novisima Recopilacion de Leyes de las Indias, set the policy of the Spanish Crown with respect to the Philippine Islands in the following manner: "We, having acquired full sovereignty over the Indies, and all lands, territories, and possessions not heretofore ceded away by our royal predecessors, or by us, or in our name, still pertaining to the royal crown and patrimony, it is our will that all lands which are held without proper and true deeds of grant be restored to us as they belong to us, in order that after reserving before all what to us or to our viceroys, audiencias, and governors may seem necessary for public squares, ways, pastures, and commons in those places which are peopled, taking into consideration not only their present condition, but also their future and their probable increase, and after distributing to the natives what may be necessary for tillage and pasturage, confirming them in what they now have and giving them more if necessary, all the rest of said lands may remain free and unencumbered for us to dispose of as we may wish. We therefore order and command that all viceroys and presidents of pretorial courts designate at such time as shall to them seem most expedient, a suitable period within which all possessors of tracts, farms, plantations, and estates shall exhibit to them and to the court officers appointed by them for this purpose, their title deeds thereto. And those who are in possession by virtue of proper deeds and receipts, or by virtue of just prescriptive right shall be protected, and all the rest shall be restored to us to be disposed of at our will."4 The Philippines passed to Spain by virtue of "discovery" and conquest. Consequently, all lands became the exclusive patrimony and dominion of the Spanish Crown. The Spanish Government took charge of distributing the lands by issuing royal grants and concessions to Spaniards, both military and civilian.5 Private land titles could only be acquired from the government either by purchase or by the various modes of land grant from the Crown.6 The Laws of the Indies were followed by the Ley Hipotecaria, or the Mortgage Law of 1893.7 The Spanish Mortga...
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