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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila


SECOND DIVISION


CELESTIAL NICKEL MINING G.R. No. 169080
EXPLORATION CORPORATION,
Petitioner,
Present:
!ersus
"UISUM#IN$, J., Chairperson,
C%RPIO MOR%&ES,
MACROASIA CORPORATION TIN$%,
(formerly INANTA MINERAL AN! VE&%SCO, 'R(, an)
IN!"STRIAL CORPORATION#, C*ICON%+%RIO,, JJ.
$L"E RI!GE MINERAL
CORPORATION, %&' LE$AC(
MINING CORPORATION,
Respon)ents(

- -

$L"E RI!GE MINERAL G.R. No. 1)*9+6
CORPORATION,
Petitioner,

!ersus


(ON. ANGELO RE,ES -& .-/
0%1%0-2y %/ SECRETAR, of
2.e !EPARTMENT O
EN3IRONMENT AN! NAT"RAL Pro.ul/ate):
RESO"RCES, (ON. G"ILLERMO
ESTA$ILLO -& .-/ 0%1%0-2y %/
REGIONAL !IRECTOR of 2.e Dece.ber 01, 2334
MINES AN! GEOSCIENCES
$"REA", REGION I34$ of 2.e
!EPARTMENT O EN3IRONMENT
AN! NAT"RAL RESO"RCES, %&'
MACROASIA CORPORATION
(formerly INANTA MINERAL AN!
IN!"STRIAL CORPORATION#,
Respon)ents(

- -

CELESTIAL NICKEL MINING G.R. No. 1)6**6
EXPLORATION CORPORATION,
Petitioner,

!ersus


$L"E RI!GE MINERAL
CORPORATION %&' MACROASIA
CORPORATION (formerly INANTA
MINERAL AN! IN!"STRIAL
CORPORATION#,
Respon)ents(
- -

MACROASIA CORPORATION G.R. No. 1)6+19
(formerly INANTA MINERAL AN!
IN!"STRIAL CORPORATION#,
Petitioner,

!ersus


$L"E RI!GE MINERAL
CORPORATION %&' CELESTIAL
NICKEL MINING EXPLORATION
CORPORATION,
Respon)ents(
--

! E C I S I O N

3ELASCO, 5R., J.6

T.e C%/e

#efore us are four 567 petitions( The first is a Petition for Re!ie8 on
Certiorari
90:
un)er Rule 6; )oc<ete) as G.R. No. 169080, 8herein petitioner
Celestial Nic<el Minin/ E-ploration Corporation 5Celestial7 see<s to set asi)e the
%pril 0;, 233; Decision
92:
of the Court of %ppeals 5C%7 in C%$(R( SP No( =41>0(
The C% affir.e) the No!e.ber 2?, 2336 Resolution of the Mines %)@u)ication
#oar) 5M%#7 in M%# Case Nos( 3;?14 an) 3;414 5DENR Case Nos( 1430 an)
14327, uphol)in/ the authoritA of the Depart.ent of En!iron.ent an) Natural
Resources 5DENR7 SecretarA to /rant an) cancel .ineral a/ree.ents( %lso
assaile) is the %u/ust >, 233; Resolution
9>:
of the C% )enAin/ the Motion for
Reconsi)eration of the assaile) Decision(

The secon) is a Petition for Certiorari
96:
un)er Rule ?; )oc<ete) as G.R. No.
1)*9+6, 8herein petitioner #lue Ri)/e Mineral Corporation 5#lue Ri)/e7 see<s to
annul an) set asi)e the action of then SecretarA Michael T( Defensor, in his
capacitA as DENR SecretarA, appro!in/ an) si/nin/ t8o Mineral Pro)uction
Sharin/ %/ree.ents 5MPS%s7 in fa!or of Macroasia Corporation 5Macroasia7
)eno.inate) as MPS% Nos( 223233;IV# an) 220233;IV#(

%n) the thir) an) fourth are petitions for re!ie8 on certiorari
9;:
un)er Rule
6; )oc<ete) as G.R. No. 1)6**6 an) G.R. No. 1)6+19, 8herein petitioners
Celestial an) Macroasia, respecti!elA, see< to set asi)e the MaA 0=, 233?
Decision
9?:
of the C% in C%$(R( SP No( 13=2=( The C% re!erse) an) set asi)e
the No!e.ber 2?, 2336 an) 'ulA 02, 233; Resolutions of the M%#, an) reinstate)
the October 26, 2333 Decision in M%# Case Nos( 3;?14 an) 3;414, /rantin/
#lue Ri)/e the prior an) preferential ri/ht to file its application o!er the .inin/
clai.s of Macroasia( These petitions li<e8ise see< to set asi)e the 'anuarA 01,
2334 Resolution
94:
of the C% )enAin/ petitionersB .otions for reconsi)eration of
the assaile) Decision(

Throu/h our 'ulA ;, 233? Resolution,
9=:
8e consoli)ate) the first t8o cases(
Chile in our subseDuent %pril 2>, 2334
91:
an) 'ulA 00, 2334
903:
Resolutions, 8e
consoli)ate) the four cases as theA arose fro. the sa.e facts(

The un)ispute) facts as foun) bA the C% in C%$(R( SP No( =41>0 are as
follo8s:

On Septe.ber 26, 014>, the then SecretarA of %/riculture an) Natural
Resources an) Infanta Mineral an) In)ustrial Corporation 5Infanta7 entere) into a
Minin/ &ease Contract 5V03;37 for a ter. of 2; Aears up to Septe.ber 2>,
011= for .inin/ lo)e clai.s co!erin/ an area of 20? hectares at Sitio &inao, Ipilan,
#roo<eBs Point, Pala8an( The .inin/ clai.s of Infanta co!ere) bA lo)eElease
contracts 8ere as follo8s:

Contract No( %rea Date of Issuance
&&CV160 0= hectares 'anuarA 04, 0142
&CV03;3 20? hectares Septe.ber 26, 014>
&&CV03?3 0? hectares October >3, 014>
&&CV03?0 066 hectares October >3, 014>
&&CV034> 066 hectares %pril 0=, 014>
M&CMRD;2 >3? hectares %pril 2?, 014=
M&CMRC;> 42 hectares %pril 2?, 014=

InfantaBs corporate na.e 8as chan/e) to Cobertson *ol)in/s Corporation
on 'anuarA 2?, 0116 an) subseDuentlA to its present na.e, Macroasia Corporation,
onNo!e.ber ?, 011;(

So.eti.e in 0114, Celestial file) a Petition to Cancel the sub@ect .inin/
lease contracts an) other .inin/ clai.s of Macroasia inclu)in/ those co!ere) bA
Minin/ &ease Contract No( V03;3, before the Panel of %rbitrators 5PO%7 of the
Mines an) $eoSciences #ureau 5M$#7 of the DENR( The petition 8as )oc<ete)
as DENR Case No( 1430(

#lue Ri)/e, in an earlier letterpetition, also 8rote the Director of Mines to
see< cancellation of .inin/ lease contracts an) other .inin/ ri/hts of Macroasia
an) another entitA, &ebach Minin/ Corporation 5&ebach7, in .inin/ areas in
#roo<eBs Point( The petition 8as e!entuallA )oc<ete) as DENR Case No( 1432(

Celestial is the assi/nee of 066 .inin/ clai.s co!erin/ such areas
conti/uous to InfantaBs 5no8 Macroasia7 .inin/ lo)e clai.s( Sai) area 8as
in!ol!e) in protracte) a).inistrati!e )isputes 8ith Infanta 5no8 Macroasia7, &ecar
F Sons, Inc(, an) Pala8an Nic<el Minin/ Corporation( Celestial also hol)s an
MPS% 8ith the /o!ern.ent 8hich co!ers 2,=>; hectares locate) at IpilanEMaasin,
#roo<eBs Point, Pala8an an) t8o pen)in/ applications co!erin/ another 6,363
hectares in #aran/aA Mainit also in #roo<eBs Point(

Celestial sou/ht the cancellation of MacroasiaBs lease contracts on the
follo8in/ /roun)s: 507 the nonpaA.ent of Macroasia of reDuire) occupational fees
an) .unicipal ta-esG 527 the nonfilin/ of Macroasia of %ffi)a!its of %nnual Cor<
Obli/ationsG 5>7 the failure of Macroasia to pro!i)e i.pro!e.ents on sub@ect
.inin/ clai.sG 567 the concentration of Macroasia on lo//in/G 5;7 the
encroach.ent, .inin/, an) e-traction bA Macroasia of nic<el ore fro. CelestialBs
propertAG 5?7 the abilitA of Celestial to sub@ect the .inin/ areas to co..ercial
pro)uctionG an) 547 the 8illin/ness of Celestial to paA fees an) bac< ta-es of
Macroasia(


In the later part of the procee)in/s, Macroasia inter!ene) in the case an)
sub.itte) its position paper refutin/ the /roun)s for cancellation in!o<e) bA
Celestial(
900:



T.e R7l-&8 of 2.e P%&el of Ar9-2r%2or/ -&
!ENR C%/e No/. 9)401 %&' 9)40*

#ase) on the recor)s of the #ureau of Mines an) fin)in/s of the fiel)
in!esti/ations, the PO% foun) that Macroasia an) &ebach not onlA auto.aticallA
aban)one) their areasE.inin/ clai.s but li<e8ise ha) lost all their ri/hts to the
.inin/ clai.s( The PO% /rante) the petition of Celestial to cancel the follo8in/
Minin/ &ease Contracts of Macroasia: &&CV160, &&CV03;3, &&CV03?3,
&&CV03?0, &&CV034>, M&CMRD;2, an) M&CMRC;>G an) foun) the
clai.s of the others in)ubitablA .eritorious( It /a!e Celestial the preferential ri/ht
to MacroasiaBs .inin/ areas(
902:
It uphel) #lue Ri)/eBs petition re/ar)in/ DENR
Case No( 1432, but onlA as a/ainst the Minin/ &ease Contract areas of &ebach
5&&CV00;>, &&CV00;6, an) &&CV00;;7, an) the sai) lease) areas 8ere
)eclare) auto.aticallA aban)one)( It /a!e #lue Ri)/e prioritA ri/ht to the
aforesai) &ebachBs areasE.inin/ clai.s(
90>:

#lue Ri)/e an) Macroasia appeale) before the M%#, an) the cases 8ere
)oc<ete) as M%# Case Nos( 3;?14 an) 3;414, respecti!elA(

&ebach )i) not file anA notice of appeal 8ith the reDuire) .e.oran)u. of
appealG thus, 8ith respect to &ebach, the abo!e resolution beca.e final an)
e-ecutorA(


T.e R7l-&8/ of 2.e M-&e/ A':7'-0%2-o& $o%r' -&
MA$ C%/e No/. 0;649) %&' 0;)49) (!ENR C%/e No/. 9)401 %&' 9)40*#


The M%# resol!e) the issues of ti.eliness an) perfection of MacroasiaBs
appealG MacroasiaBs aban)on.ent of its .inin/ clai.sG an) the preferential ri/ht
o!er the aban)one) .inin/ clai.s of Macroasia(

Confor.ablA 8ith Section ;0 of Consoli)ate) Mines %).inistrati!e Or)er
5CM%O7
906:
i.ple.entin/ Presi)ential Decree No( 5PD7 6?>
90;:
an) our rulin/
in Medrana v. Office of the President 5OP7,
90?:
the M%# affir.e) the PO% fin)in/s
that Macroasia aban)one) its .inin/ clai.s( The M%# foun) that Macroasia )i)
not co.plA 8ith its 8or< obli/ations fro. 01=? to 0110( It base) its conclusion on
the fiel) !erifications con)ucte) bA the M$#, Re/ion IV an) !ali)ate) bA the
Special Tea. tas<e) bA the M%#(
904:
*o8e!er, contrarA to the fin)in/s of the PO%,
the M%# foun) that it 8as #lue Ri)/e that ha) prior an) preferential ri/hts o!er
the .inin/ clai.s of Macroasia, an) not Celestial(

Thus, on October 26, 2333, the M%# pro.ul/ate) its Decision uphol)in/
the Decision of the PO% to cancel the Minin/ &o)eE&ease Contracts of MacroasiaG
)eclarin/ aban)one) the sub@ect .inin/ clai.sG an) openin/ the .inin/ area 8ith
prior an) preferential ri/hts to #lue Ri)/e for .inin/ applications, sub@ect to strict
co.pliance 8ith the proce)ure an) reDuire.ents pro!i)e) bA la8( In case #lue
Ri)/e )efaults, Celestial coul) e-ercise the secon)arA prioritA an) preferential
ri/hts, an) subseDuentlA, in case Celestial also )efaults, other Dualifie) applicants
coul) file(
90=:
#oth Celestial an) Macroasia .o!e) for reconsi)eration(
901:
Celestial
asserte) that it ha) better ri/hts than #lue Ri)/e o!er the .inin/ clai.s of
Macroasia as it ha) correctlA file) its petition, an) file) its MPS% application after
MacroasiaBs lease contract e-pire) on 'anuarA 04, 0114 an) after the PO%Bs
resolution 8as issue) on Septe.ber 0, 0114( Moreo!er, it ar/ue) that prioritA 8as
not an issue 8hen the conteste) area ha) not Aet been )eclare)
aban)one)( Thus, #lue Ri)/eBs MPS% application file) on 'une 04, 011? ha) no
effect an) shoul) not be consi)ere) superior since MacroasiaBs lease contracts
8ere still !ali) an) subsistin/ an) coul) not ha!e been cancele) bA MacroasiaBs
.ere failure to perfor. annual 8or< obli/ations an) paA correspon)in/
roAaltiesEta-es to the /o!ern.ent(

Macroasia, in its Motion for Reconsi)eration, reiterate) that it )i) not
aban)on its .inin/ clai.s, an) e!en if .inin/ 8as not liste) a.on/ its purposes in
its a.en)e) %rticles of Incorporation, its .inin/ acti!ities 8ere acts that 8ere
onlA ultra vires but 8ere ratifie) as a secon)arA purpose bA its stoc<hol)ers in
subseDuent a.en).ents of its %rticles of Incorporation(

#efore the M%# coul) resol!e the .otions for reconsi)eration, on March
0?, 2330, Macroasia file) its Supple.ental Motion for
Reconsi)eration
923:
Duestionin/ the @uris)iction of the PO% in cancelin/ .inin/
lease contracts an) .inin/ clai.s( Macroasia a!erre) that the po8er an) authoritA
to /rant, cancel, an) re!o<e .ineral a/ree.ents is e-clusi!elA lo)/e) 8ith the
DENR SecretarA( Macroasia further pointe) out that in arro/atin/ upon itself such
po8er, the PO% 8hi.sicallA an) capriciouslA )iscar)e) the proce)ure on
confer.ent of .inin/ ri/hts lai) )o8n in Republic %ct No( 5R%7 4162, The
Philippine Mining Act of 1995, an) DENR %).inistrati!e Or)er No( 5%O7 1?63,
920:
an) perfunctorilA an) i.properlA a8ar)e) its .inin/ ri/hts to #lue Ri)/e an)
Celestial(

SubseDuentlA, on No!e.ber 2?, 2336, the M%# issue) a
Resolution
922:
!acatin/ its October 26, 2333 Decision, hol)in/ that neither the PO%
nor the M%# ha) the po8er to re!o<e a .ineral a/ree.ent )ulA entere) into bA the
DENR SecretarA, ratiocinatin/ that there 8as no pro!ision /i!in/ the PO% an)
M%# the concurrent po8er to .ana/e or )e!elop .ineral resources( The M%#
further hel) that the po8er to cancel or re!o<e a .ineral a/ree.ent 8as
e-clusi!elA lo)/e) 8ith the DENR SecretarAG that a petition for cancellation is not
a .inin/ )ispute un)er the e-clusi!e @uris)iction of the PO% pursuant to Sec( 44 of
R% 4162G an) that the PO% coul) onlA a)@u)icate clai.s or contests )urin/ the
MPS% application an) not 8hen the clai.s an) leases 8ere alrea)A /rante) an)
subsistin/(

Moreo!er, the M%# hel) that there 8as no aban)on.ent bA Macroasia
because the DENR SecretarA ha) not )eci)e) to release Macroasia fro. its
obli/ations( The SecretarA .aA choose not to release a contractor fro. its
obli/ations on /roun)s of public interest( Thus, throu/h its sai) resolution, the
M%# ren)ere) its )isposition, as follo8s:

C*EREHORE, pre.ises consi)ere), the assaile) Decision of October 26,
2333 is herebA V%C%TED( The se!en 547 .inin/ lease contracts of Macroasia
Corporation 5for.erlA Infanta Mineral F In)ustrial Corporation7 are DEC&%RED
SU#SISTIN$ prior to their e-pirations 8ithout pre@u)ice to anA Decision or
Or)er that the SecretarA .aA ren)er on the sa.e( NO PREHERENTI%& RI$*T
o!er the sa.e .inin/ clai.s is accor)e) to #lue Ri)/e Mineral Corporation or
Celestial Nic<el Minin/ E-ploration Corporation also 8ithout pre@u)ice to the
)eter.ination bA the SecretarA o!er the .atter at the proper ti.e(
92>:


%fter the issuance of the M%# Resolution, Celestial an) #lue Ri)/e 8ent
throu/h )i!er/ent paths in their Duest to protect their in)i!i)ual interests(

On 'anuarA 03, 233;, Celestial assaile) the No!e.ber 2?, 2336 M%#
Resolution before the C% in a petition for re!ie8
926:
un)er Rule 6> of the Rules of
Court( The petition entitle) Celestial Nickel Mining !ploration Corporation v.
Macroasia Corporation" et al. 8as )oc<ete) as C%$(R( SP No( =41>0(

On the other han), #lue Ri)/e first file) a Motion for
Reconsi)eration
92;:
8hich 8as )enie)(
92?:
On %u/ust 2?, 233;, #lue Ri)/e
Duestione) the M%#Bs No!e.ber 2?, 2336 an) 'ulA 02, 233; Resolutions before
the C% in a petition for re!ie8
924:
entitle) #lue $idge Mineral Corporation v.
Mines Ad%udication #oard" et al. )oc<ete) as C%$(R( SP No( 13=2=(

C%$(R( SP No( =41>0 file) bA Celestial 8as hear) bA the 02th Di!ision of
the C%G 8hile #lue Ri)/eBs C%$(R( SP No( 13=2= 8as hear) bA the Special 03th
Di!ision( IronicallA, the t8o )i!isions ren)ere) t8o 527 )ia.etricallA opposin/
)ecisions(

T.e R7l-&8 of 2.e Co7r2 of A11e%l/ T<elf2. !-=-/-o&


On %pril 0;, 233;, in C%$(R( SP No( =41>0, the C% 02th Di!ision
affir.e) the No!e.ber 2?, 2336 M%# Resolution 8hich )eclare) MacroasiaBs
se!en .inin/ lease contracts as subsistin/G re@ecte) #lue Ri)/eBs clai. for
preferential ri/ht o!er sai) .inin/ clai.sG an) uphel) the e-clusi!e authoritA of
the DENR SecretarA to appro!e, cancel, an) re!o<e .ineral a/ree.ents( The C%
also )enie) CelestialBs Motion for Reconsi)eration
92=:
of the assaile) %u/ust >,
233; Resolution(
921:

*ence, Celestial file) its Petition for Re!ie8 on Certiorari
9>3:
)oc<ete)
as G.R. No. 169080, before this Court(

T.e R7l-&8 of 2.e Co7r2 of A11e%l/ S1e0-%l Te&2. !-=-/-o&


On MaA 0=, 233?, the C% Special 03th Di!ision in C%$(R( SP No( 13=2=
/rante) #lue Ri)/eBs petitionG re!erse) an) set asi)e the No!e.ber 2?, 2336 an)
'ulA 02, 233; Resolutions of the M%#G an) reinstate) the October 26, 2333
Decision in M%# Case Nos( 3;?14 an) 3;414( The Special Tenth Di!ision
cancele) MacroasiaBs lease contractsG /rante) #lue Ri)/e prior an) preferential
ri/htsG an) treate) the cancellation of a .inin/ lease a/ree.ent as a .inin/ )ispute
8ithin the e-clusi!e @uris)iction of the PO% un)er Sec( 44 of R% 4162, e-plainin/
that the po8er to resol!e .inin/ )isputes, 8hich is the /reater po8er, necessarilA
inclu)es the lesser po8er to cancel .inin/ a/ree.ents(

On HebruarA 23, 233?, Celestial file) a Most Ur/ent Motion for Issuance of
a Te.porarA Restrainin/ Or)erEPreli.inarA ProhibitorA In@unctionEMan)atorA
In@unction
9>0:
to )efer an) preclu)e the issuance of MPS% to Macroasia bA the
M$# an) the DENR SecretarA( Ce )enie) this .otion in our HebruarA 22,
233? Resolution(
9>2:

Upon inDuirA 8ith the DENR, #lue Ri)/e )isco!ere) that so.eti.e in
Dece.ber 233; t8o MPS%s, )ulA appro!e) an) si/ne) bA the DENR SecretarA,
ha) been issue) in fa!or of Macroasia( Thus, 8e ha!e the instant Petition for
Certiorari
9>>:
file) bA #lue Ri)/e )oc<ete) as G.R. No. 1)*9+6 un)er Rule
?;, see<in/ to in!ali)ate the t8o MPS%s issue) to Macroasia(

In the .eanti.e, on 'une 4, 233?, Celestial file) its Motion for Partial
Reconsi)eration
9>6:
of the MaA 0=, 233? C% Decision in C%$(R( SP No( 13=2=,
8hile Macroasia file) its .otion for reconsi)eration of the sa.e C% )ecision on
'ulA 4, 233?( The .otions 8ere )enie) in the assaile) 'anuarA 01, 2334 C%
Resolution( *ence, on March =, 2334, Celestial file) the thir) petition
9>;:
)oc<ete)
as G.R. No. 1)6**6, assailin/ the C%Bs MaA 0=, 233? Decision an) 'anuarA 01,
2334 Resolution, insofar as these /rante) #lue Ri)/eBs prior an) preferential
ri/hts( Chile on March 1, 2334, Macroasia file) the fourth petition
9>?:
)oc<ete)
as G.R. No. 1)6+19, also assailin/ the C%Bs MaA 0=, 233? Decision an) 'anuarA
01, 2334 Resolution(

T.e I//7e/

In G.R. No. 169080, petitioner Celestial raises the follo8in/ issues for our
consi)eration:

507 Chether or not Macroasia, for reasons of public policA is estoppe)
fro. assailin/ the alle/e) lac< of @uris)iction of the Panel of %rbitrators
an) the Mines %)@u)ication #oar) onlA after recei!in/ an a)!erse @u)/.ent
therefro.I 9sic:

527 Chether or not it is onlA the SecretarA of the DENR 8ho has the
@uris)iction to cancel .inin/ contracts an) pri!ile/esI 9sic:

5>7 Chether or not a petition for the cancellation of a .inin/ lease contract
or pri!ile/e is a .inin/ )ispute 8ithin the .eanin/ of the la8I 9sic:

567 Chether or not InfantaBs 5Macroasia7 .inin/ lease contract areas 8ere
)ee.e) aban)one) 8arrantin/ the cancellation of the lease contracts an)
the openin/ of the areas to other Dualifie) applicantsI 9sic:
5;7 Chether or not MacroasiaEInfanta ha) lost its ri/ht to participate in
this case after it faile) to seasonablA file its appeal an) after its lease
contracts ha) been )eclare) aban)one) an) e-pire) 8ithout ha!in/ been
rene8e) bA the /o!ern.entI 9sic:

5?7 Chether or not Celestial has the preferential ri/ht to applA for the 2> DE
&%R% clai.s 8hich 8ere inclu)e) in InfantaBs 5Macroasia7 e-pire) lease
contract 5&&CV1607 an) the other areas )eclare) as lapse) or aban)one)
bA M$#Re/ion 6 an) the Panel of %rbitratorsI
9>4:
9sic:


In G.R. No. 1)*9+6, petitioner #lue Ri)/e raises the follo8in/ /roun)s for
the allo8ance of the petition:

I

%t the outset, the instant petition .ust be /i!en )ue course an) ta<en co/niJance
of bA the *onorable Court consi)erin/ that e-ceptional an) co.pellin/
circu.stances @ustifA the a!ail.ent of the instant petition an) the call for the
e-ercise of the *onorable CourtBs pri.arA @uris)iction(

%( The e-ploration, )e!elop.ent an) utiliJation of
.inerals, petroleu. an) other .ineral oils are i.bue) 8ith
public interest( The action of then SecretarA Defensor, .aintaine)
an) continue) bA public respon)ent SecretarA ReAes, 8as tainte) 8ith
/ra!e abuse of )iscretion, has farreachin/ conseDuences because of the
.a/nitu)e of the effect create) therebA(

#( The issues in the instant petition ha!e alrea)A been put to fore bA
Celestial 8ith the Hirst Di!ision of the *onorable Court, an) hence, this
circu.stance @ustifies the co/niJance bA the *onorable Court of the instant
petition(

II

It 8as /ra!e abuse of )iscretion a.ountin/ to lac< an)Eor e-cess of @uris)iction
for then SecretarA Defensor to ha!e issue) the sub@ect MPS%s in fa!or of pri!ate
respon)ent Macroasia, consi)erin/ that:

%( Nonco.pliance of the .an)atorA reDuire.ents bA pri!ate respon)ent
Macroasia prior to appro!al of the sub@ect MPS%s shoul) ha!e preclu)e)
then SecretarA Defensor fro. appro!in/ sub@ect MPS%s(

#( Petitioner #lue Ri)/e has the prior an) preferential ri/ht to file its
.inin/ application o!er the .inin/ clai.s co!ere) bA the sub@ect MPS%s,
pursuant to the &ecision )ate) 26 October 2333 of the #oar) an) as
affir.e) bA the &ecision )ate) 0= MaA 233? of the Court of %ppeals in
C%$(R( SP No( 13=2=(
9>=:
In G.R. No. 1)6**6, petitioner Celestial ascribes the follo8in/ errors to the
C% for our consi)eration:

507 That in reinstatin/ an) a)optin/ as its o8n the Decision of the Mine
%)@u)ication #oar) affir.in/ the aban)on.ent an) cancellation of the .inin/
areasEclai.s of Macroasia 5Infanta7 but a8ar)in/ the prior or preferential ri/hts
to #lue Ri)/e, the *on( Court of %ppeals ha) )eci)e) a Duestion of substance in a
8aA not in accor) 8ith the &a8 5R% 41627 or 8ith the applicable )ecisions of the
Supre.e CourtG in other 8or)s, errors of la8 ha) been co..itte) bA the *on(
Court of %ppeals in /rantin/ preferential ri/hts to #lue Ri)/eG

527 That the *on( Court of %ppeals has so far )eparte) fro. the accepte) an)
usual course of @u)icial procee)in/s or so far sanctione) such )eparture bA the
Mines %)@u)ication #oar) in its Decision of MaA 0=, 233? an) Resolution
of 'anuarA 01, 2334 because:

5%7 The fin)in/s of fact of the *on( Court of %ppeals are
contra)ictorA or inconsistent 8ith the fin)in/s of the Panel of %rbitratorsG

5#7 There is /ra!e abuse of )iscretion on the part of the *on(
Court of %ppeals in its appreciation of the facts, the e!i)ence an) the la8
therebA lea)in/ it to .a<e the erroneous conclusion that #lue Ri)/e, not
Celestial, is entitle) to the %8ar) of priorEpreferential ri/hts o!er the
.inin/ areas )eclare) as aban)one) bA MacroasiaG

5C7 There is li<e8ise, a /ra!e abuse of )iscretion on the part of the
*on( Court of %ppeals in that the sai) Court )i) not e!en consi)er so.e
of the issues raise) bA CelestialG

5D7 That the fin)in/s of the *on( Court of %ppeals are .ere
conclusions not supporte) bA substantial e!i)ence an) 8ithout citation of
the specific e!i)ence upon 8hich theA are base)G theA 8ere arri!e) at
arbitrarilA or in )isre/ar) of contra)iction of the e!i)ence on recor) an)
fin)in/s of the Panel of %rbitrators in the Resolution of Septe.ber 0,
0114G

5E7 That the fin)in/s of the *on( Court of %ppeals are pre.ise)
on the absence of e!i)ence but such fin)in/s are contra)icte) bA the
e!i)ence on recor) an) are !iolati!e of the pro!isions of R% 4162 an) its
I.ple.entin/ Rules an) Re/ulations(
9>1:


In G.R. No. 1)6+19, petitioner Macroasia raises the follo8in/ /roun)s for
the allo8ance of the petition:
I(

The Court of %ppeals 5Special Tenth Di!ision7 shoul) ha!e )is.isse) the Petition
of #lue Ri)/e outri/ht since the issues, facts an) .atters in!ol!e) in the sai)
Petition are i)entical to those 8hich ha) alrea)A been painsta<in/lA passe) upon,
re!ie8e) an) resol!e) bA the Court of %ppealBs T8elfth Di!ision in C%$(R( SP
No( =41>0

II(

The Court of %ppeals 5Special Tenth Di!ision7 /ra!elA erre) in )enAin/
MacroasiaBs Motion to Inhibit %ssociate 'ustice Ros.ari Caran)an/ fro. hearin/
an) )eci)in/ the Petition

III(

There 8ere no factual nor le/al bases for the Court of %ppeals to rule that
Macroasia ha) 8ai!e) its ri/ht to Duestion the @uris)iction of the Mines
%)@u)ication #oar)

IV(

Republic %ct No( 4162 contains pro!isions 8hich uneDui!ocallA in)icate that
onlA the SecretarA of the Depart.ent of En!iron.ent an) Natural Resources has
the po8er an) authoritA to cancel .inin/ lease a/ree.ents

V(

The Court of %ppeals 5Special Tenth Di!ision7 /ra!elA erre) in perfunctorilA
transferrin/ MacroasiaBs .inin/ lease a/ree.ents to #lue Ri)/e 8ithout
obser!in/ the reDuire) proce)ure nor pro!i)in/ anA basis therefor
963:


T.e Co7r2>/ R7l-&8

The petitions un)er $(R( Nos( 0?13=3, 0421>?, an) 04?22? are bereft of
.erit, 8hile the petition un)er $(R( No( 04?>01 is .eritorious(

The pith of the contro!ersA, upon 8hich the other issues are hin/e) is, 8ho
has authoritA an) @uris)iction to cancel e-istin/ .ineral a/ree.ents un)er R%
4162 in relation to PD 6?> an) pertinent rules an) re/ulations(


G.R. No/. 169080, 1)6**6 %&' 1)6+19

Ce 8ill @ointlA tac<le $(R( Nos( 0?13=3, 04?2??, an) 04?>01 as the issues
an) ar/u.ents of these three are ine-tricablA intert8ine)(

Core I//7e6 57r-/'-02-o& o=er C%&0ell%2-o& of M-&er%l A8reeme&2/

Petitioner Celestial .aintains that 8hile the @uris)iction to appro!e .inin/
lease contracts or .ineral a/ree.ents is conferre) on the DENR SecretarA, Sec(
445a7 of R% 4162 bA i.plication /rante) to the PO% an) M%# the authoritA to
cancel e-istin/ .inin/ lease contracts or .ineral a/ree.ents(

On the other han), respon)ent Macroasia stron/lA asserts that it is the
DENR SecretarA 8ho has the e-clusi!e an) pri.arA @uris)iction to /rant an)
cancel e-istin/ .inin/ lease contractsG thus, the PO% an) M%# ha!e no
@uris)iction to cancel .uch less to /rant anA preferential ri/hts to other .inin/
fir.s(

#efore 8e resol!e this core issue of @uris)iction o!er cancellation of .inin/
lease contracts, 8e first nee) to loo< bac< at pre!ious .inin/ la8s pertinent to this
issue(

Un)er PD 6?>, The Mineral $esources &evelop'ent &ecree of 19(), 8hich
too< effect on MaA 04, 0146, applications for lease of .inin/ clai.s 8ere reDuire)
to be file) 8ith the Director of the #ureau of Mines, 8ithin t8o 527 )aAs fro. the
)ate of their recor)in/(
960:
Sec( 63 of PD 6?> pro!i)e) that if no a)!erse clai. 8as
file) 8ithin 50;7 )aAs after the first )ate of publication, it 8as conclusi!elA
presu.e) that no a)!erse clai. e-iste) an) thereafter no ob@ection fro. thir)
parties to the /rant of the lease coul) be hear), e-cept protests pen)in/ at the ti.e
of publication( The SecretarA 8oul) then appro!e an) issue the correspon)in/
.inin/ lease contract( In case of anA protest or a)!erse clai. relatin/ to anA
.inin/ clai. an) lease application, Secs( 6= an) ;3 of PD 6?> prescribe) the
proce)ure( Un)er Sec( 6=, the protest shoul) be file) 8ith the #ureau of
Mines( Un)er Sec( ;3, anA partA not satisfie) 8ith the )ecision or or)er of the
Director coul), 8ithin fi!e 5;7 )aAs fro. receipt of the )ecision or or)er, appeal to
the SecretarA( The )ecisions of the SecretarA 8ere li<e8ise appealable 8ithin fi!e
5;7 )aAs fro. receipts bA the affecte) partA to the Presi)ent of
the Philippines 8hose )ecision shall be final an) e-ecutorA( PD 6?> 8as, ho8e!er,
silent as to 8ho 8as authoriJe) to cancel the .ineral a/ree.ents(

On 'ulA 03, 01=4, Presi)ent CoraJon C( %Duino issue) E-ecuti!e Or)er No(
5EO7 200( Un)er Sec( 2 of EO 200, the processin/, e!aluation, an) appro!al of all
.inin/ applications, )eclarations of locations, operatin/ a/ree.ents, an) ser!ice
contracts 8ere /o!erne) bA PD 6?>, as a.en)e)( EO 200 li<e8ise )i) not contain
anA pro!ision on the authoritA to cancel operatin/ a/ree.ents an) ser!ice
contracts(

On 'ulA 2;, 01=4, EO 241 8as issue) bA Presi)ent %Duino( It authoriJe) the
DENR SecretarA to ne/otiate an) enter into, for an) in behalf of the $o!ern.ent,
@oint !enture, copro)uction, or pro)uctionsharin/ a/ree.ents for the e-ploration,
)e!elop.ent, an) utiliJation of .ineral resources 8ith anA Hilipino citiJen,
corporation, or association, at least ?3K of 8hose capital 8as o8ne) bA Hilipino
citiJens(
962:
The contract or a/ree.ent 8as sub@ect to the appro!al of the Presi)ent(
96>:
Cith respect to contracts of forei/no8ne) corporations or forei/n in!estors
in!ol!in/ either technical or financial assistance for lar/escale e-ploration,
)e!elop.ent, an) utiliJation of .inerals, the DENR SecretarA coul) reco..en)
appro!al of sai) contracts to the Presi)ent(
966:
EO 241 pro!i)e) that PD 6?> an) its
i.ple.entin/ rules an) re/ulations, 8hich 8ere not inconsistent 8ith EO 241,
continue) in force an) effect(
96;:
%/ain, EO 241 8as silent on the authoritA to
cancel .ineral a/ree.ents(

R% 4162, The Philippine Mining Act of 1995 enacte) on March >, 011;,
repeale) the pro!isions of PD 6?> inconsistent 8ith R% 4162( Unli<e PD 6?>,
8here the application 8as file) 8ith the #ureau of Mines Director, the applications
for .ineral a/ree.ents are no8 reDuire) to be file) 8ith the Re/ional Director as
pro!i)e) bA Sec( 21 of R% 4162( The proper filin/ /a!e the proponent the prior
ri/ht to be appro!e) bA the SecretarA an) thereafter to be sub.itte) to the
Presi)ent( The Presi)ent shall pro!i)e a list to Con/ress of e!erA appro!e) .ineral
a/ree.ent 8ithin >3 )aAs fro. its appro!al bA the SecretarA( %/ain, R% 4162 is
silent on 8ho has authoritA to cancel the a/ree.ent(

Co.pare) to PD 6?> 8here )isputes 8ere )eci)e) bA the #ureau of Mines
Director 8hose )ecisions 8ere appealable to the DENR SecretarA an) then to the
Presi)ent, R% 4162 no8 pro!i)es for the creation of Duasi@u)icial bo)ies 5PO%
an) M%#7 that 8oul) ha!e @uris)iction o!er conflicts arisin/ fro. the applications
an) .ineral a/ree.ents( Secs( 44, 4=, an) 41 laA )o8n the proce)ure, thus:

SEC( 44. Panel of Ar*itrators(LLThere shall be a panel of arbitrators in the
re/ional office of the Depart.ent co.pose) of three 5>7 .e.bers, t8o 527 of
8ho. .ust be .e.bers of the Philippine #ar in /oo) stan)in/ an) one 90:
license) .inin/ en/ineer or a professional in a relate) fiel), an) )ulA )esi/nate)
bA the SecretarA as reco..en)e) bA the Mines an) $eosciences #ureau
Director( Those )esi/nate) as .e.bers of the panel shall ser!e as such in
a))ition to their 8or< in the Depart.ent 8ithout recei!in/ anA a))itional
co.pensation( %s .uch as practicable, sai) .e.bers shall co.e fro. the
)ifferent bureaus of the Depart.ent in the re/ion( The presi)in/ officer thereof
shall be selecte) bA the )ra8in/ of lots( *is tenure as presi)in/ officer shall be
on a AearlA basis( The .e.bers of the panel shall perfor. their )uties an)
obli/ations in hearin/ an) )eci)in/ cases until their )esi/nation is 8ith)ra8n or
re!o<e) bA the SecretarA( Cithin thirtA 5>37 8or<in/ )aAs, after the sub.ission
of the case bA the parties for )ecision, the panel shall ha!e e-clusi!e an) ori/inal
@uris)iction to hear an) )eci)e on the follo8in/:

5a7 !-/172e/ -&=ol=-&8 r-8.2/ 2o m-&-&8 %re%/G

5b7 !-/172e/ -&=ol=-&8 m-&er%l %8reeme&2/ or 1erm-2/G

5c7 Disputes in!ol!in/ surface o8ners, occupants
an) clai.hol)ersEconcessionairesG an)

5)7 Disputes pen)in/ before the #ureau an) the Depart.ent at the )ate of the
effecti!itA of this %ct(

SEC( 4=. Appellate Jurisdiction(MThe )ecision or or)er of the panel of
arbitrators .aA be appeale) bA the partA not satisfie) thereto to the Mines
%)@u)ication #oar) 8ithin fifteen 50;7 )aAs fro. receipt thereof 8hich .ust
)eci)e the case 8ithin thirtA 5>37 )aAs fro. sub.ission thereof for )ecision(

SEC( 41. Mines Ad%udication #oard.+The Mines %)@u)ication #oar) shall be
co.pose) of three 5>7 .e.bers( The SecretarA shall be the chair.an 8ith the
Director of the Mines an) $eosciences #ureau an) the Un)ersecretarA for
Operations of the Depart.ent as .e.bers thereof(

- - - -

% petition for re!ie8 bA certiorari an) Duestion of la8 .aA be file) bA the
a//rie!e) partA 8ith the Supre.e Court 8ithin thirtA 5>37 )aAs fro. receipt of
the or)er or )ecision of the #oar)(


R% 4162 is also silent as to 8ho is e.po8ere) to cancel e-istin/ lease
contracts an) .ineral a/ree.ents(

Mean8hile, in ,outheast Mindanao -old Mining Corp. v. MA#, 8e
e-plaine) that the )ecision of the M%# can first be appeale), !ia a petition for
re!ie8, to the C% before ele!atin/ the case to this Court(
96?:

%fter a scrutinA of the pro!isions of PD 6?>, EO 200, EO 241, R% 4162 an)
its i.ple.entin/ rules an) re/ulations, e-ecuti!e issuances, an) case la8, 8e rule
that the DENR SecretarA, not the PO%, has the @uris)iction to cancel e-istin/
.ineral lease contracts or .ineral a/ree.ents base) on the follo8in/ reasons:

0( The po8er of the DENR SecretarA to cancel .ineral a/ree.ents
e.anates fro. his a).inistrati!e authoritA, super!ision, .ana/e.ent, an) control
o!er .ineral resources un)er Chapter I, Title NIV of #oo< IV of the Re!ise)
%).inistrati!e Co)e of 01=4, !iJ:

Chapter 0M$eneral Pro!isions

Section 0( &eclaration of Polic.(M507 The State shall ensure, for the
benefit of the Hilipino people, the full e-ploration an) )e!elop.ent as 8ell as the
@u)icious )isposition, 72-l-?%2-o&, m%&%8eme&2, re&e<%l %&' 0o&/er=%2-o& of
2.e 0o7&2ry>/ forest, m-&er%l, lan), 8aters, fisheries, 8il)life, offshore areas an)
other natural resources - - -

Sec( 2( Mandate(M507 T.e !e1%r2me&2 of E&=-ro&me&2 %&' N%27r%l
Re/o7r0e/ /.%ll 9e 1r-m%r-ly re/1o&/-9le for 2.e -m1leme&2%2-o& of 2.e
fore8o-&8 1ol-0y( 527 I2 /.%ll, /79:e02 2o l%< %&' .-8.er %72.or-2y, 9e -&
0.%r8e of 0%rry-&8 o72 2.e S2%2e>/ 0o&/2-272-o&%l m%&'%2e 2o 0o&2rol %&'
/71er=-/e 2.e e@1lor%2-o&, 'e=elo1me&2, 72-l-?%2-o&, %&' 0o&/er=%2-o& of 2.e
0o7&2ry>/ &%27r%l re/o7r0e/.

- - - -

Sec( 6( Po/ers and 0unctions(MThe Depart.ent shall:

- - - -

527 orm7l%2e, -m1leme&2 %&' /71er=-/e 2.e -m1leme&2%2-o& of
2.e 8o=er&me&2>/ 1ol-0-e/, 1l%&/, %&' 1ro8r%m/ 1er2%-&-&8 2o 2.e
m%&%8eme&2, 0o&/er=%2-o&, 'e=elo1me&2, 7/e %&' re1le&-/.me&2 of 2.e
0o7&2ry>/ &%27r%l re/o7r0e/G

- - - -

567 E@er0-/e /71er=-/-o& %&' 0o&2rol o=er forest lan)s, alienable an)
)isposable public lan)s, m-&er%l re/o7r0e/ - - -

- - - -

5027 Re87l%2e 2.e 'e=elo1me&2, '-/1o/-2-o&, e@2r%02-o&, e@1lor%2-o&
%&' 7/e of 2.e 0o7&2ry>/ fore/2, l%&', <%2er %&' m-&er%l re/o7r0e/G

50>7 A//7me re/1o&/-9-l-2y for the assess.ent, )e!elop.ent,
protection, l-0e&/-&8 %&' re87l%2-o& as pro!i)e) for bA la8, 8here applicable, of
%ll e&er8y %&' &%27r%l re/o7r0e/G there87l%2-o& %&' mo&-2or-&8 of /er=-0e
0o&2r%02or/, l-0e&/ee/, le//ee/, %&' 1erm-2 for 2.e e@2r%02-o&, e@1lor%2-o&,
'e=elo1me&2 %&' 7/e of &%27r%l re/o7r0e/ 1ro'702/G - - -

- - - -

50;7 E@er0-/e e@0l7/-=e :7r-/'-02-o& o& 2.e m%&%8eme&2 %&'
'-/1o/-2-o& of %ll l%&'/ of 2.e 179l-0 'om%-& - - -

Chapter 2MThe Depart.ent Proper

- - - -

Sec( =( The ,ecretar.(MThe SecretarA shall:

- - - -

5>7 Prom7l8%2e r7le/, re87l%2-o&/ %&' o2.er -//7%&0e/ &e0e//%ry -&
0%rry-&8 o72 2.e !e1%r2me&2>/ m%&'%2e, o9:e02-=e/, 1ol-0-e/, 1l%&/, 1ro8r%m/
%&' 1ro:e02/(

567 E@er0-/e /71er=-/-o& %&' 0o&2rol o=er %ll f7&02-o&/ %&'
%02-=-2-e/ of 2.e !e1%r2me&2G

5;7 Dele/ate authoritA for the perfor.ance of anA a).inistrati!e or
substanti!e function to subor)inate officials of the Depart.ent - - - 5E.phasis
supplie)(7



It is the DENR, throu/h the SecretarA, that .ana/es, super!ises, an)
re/ulates the use an) )e!elop.ent of all .ineral resources of the countrA( It has
e-clusi!e @uris)iction o!er the .ana/e.ent of all lan)s of public )o.ain, 8hich
co!ers .ineral resources an) )eposits fro. sai) lan)s( It has the po8er to o!ersee,
super!ise, an) police our natural resources 8hich inclu)e .ineral
resources( Deri!e) fro. the broa) an) e-plicit po8ers of the DENR an) its
SecretarA un)er the %).inistrati!e Co)e of 01=4 is the po8er to appro!e .ineral
a/ree.ents an) necessarilA to cancel or cause to cancel sai) a/ree.ents(

2( R% 4162 confers to the DENR SecretarA specific authoritA o!er
.ineral resources(


Secs( = an) 21 of R% 4162 pertinentlA pro!i)e:


SEC( =. Authorit. of the &epart'ent.LLThe Depart.ent shall be the
pri.arA /o!ern.ent a/encA responsible for the conser!ation, .ana/e.ent,
)e!elop.ent, an) proper use of the States .ineral resources inclu)in/ those in
reser!ations, 8atershe) areas, an) lan)s of the public )o.ain( T.e Se0re2%ry
/.%ll .%=e 2.e %72.or-2y 2o e&2er -&2o m-&er%l %8reeme&2/ o& 9e.%lf of 2.e
Go=er&me&2 71o& 2.e re0omme&'%2-o& of 2.e !-re02or, pro.ul/ate such rules
an) re/ulations as .aA be necessarA to i.ple.ent the intent an) pro!isions of this
%ct(

SEC( 21( 0iling and approval of Mineral Agree'ents(LL- - -(

The filin/ of a proposal for a .ineral a/ree.ent shall /i!e the proponent
the prior ri/ht to areas co!ere) bA the sa.e( T.e 1ro1o/e' m-&er%l %8reeme&2
<-ll 9e %11ro=e' 9y 2.e Se0re2%ry an) copies thereof shall be sub.itte) to the
Presi)ent( Thereafter, the Presi)ent shall pro!i)e a list to Con/ress of e!erA
appro!e) .ineral a/ree.ent 8ithin thirtA 5>37 )aAs fro. its appro!al bA the
SecretarA( 5E.phasis supplie)(7



Sec( 21 is a carrA o!er of Sec( 63 of PD 6?> 8hich /rante) @uris)iction to the
DENR SecretarA to appro!e .inin/ lease contracts on behalf of the /o!ern.ent,
thus:

SEC( 63( 1ssuance of Mining 2ease Contract(LLIf no a)!erse clai. is
file) 8ithin fifteen 50;7 )aAs after the first )ate of publication, it shall be
conclusi!elA presu.e) that no such a)!erse clai. e-ists an) thereafter no
ob@ection fro. thir) parties to the /rant of the lease shall be hear), e-cept protest
pen)in/ at the ti.e of publication, an) the Se0re2%ry /.%ll %11ro=e %&' -//7e
2.e 0orre/1o&'-&8 m-&-&8 le%/e - - -(


To enforce PD 6?>, the CM%O containin/ the rules an) re/ulations
i.ple.entin/ PD 6?> 8as issue)( Sec( 66 of the CM%O pro!i)es:

SEC( 66( Procedure for Cancellation(LL#efore anA .inin/ lease contract is
cancelle) for anA cause enu.erate) in Section 6> abo!e, the .inin/ lessee shall
first be notifie) in 8ritin/ of such cause or causes, an) shall be /i!en an
opportunitA to be hear), an) to sho8 cause 8hA the lease shall not be cancelle)(

If, upon in!esti/ation, the Se0re2%ry /.%ll f-&' 2.e le//ee 2o 9e -&
'ef%7l2, 2.e former m%y <%r& 2.e le//ee, /7/1e&' .-/ o1er%2-o&/ or 0%&0el 2.e
le%/e 0o&2r%02 5e.phasis supplie)7(
Sec( 6 of EO 241 pro!i)e) that the pro!isions of PD 6?> an) its
i.ple.entin/ rules an) re/ulations, not inconsistent 8ith the e-ecuti!e or)er,
continue in force an) effect(

Chen R% 4162 too< effect on March >, 011;, there 8as no pro!ision on
8ho coul) cancel .ineral a/ree.ents( *o8e!er, since the aforeDuote) Sec( 66 of
the CM%O i.ple.entin/ PD 6?> 8as not repeale) bA R% 4162 an) DENR %O
1?63, not bein/ contrarA to anA of the pro!isions in the., then it follo8s that Sec(
66 ser!es as basis for the DENR SecretarABs authoritA to cancel .ineral
a/ree.ents(

Since the DENR SecretarA ha) the po8er to appro!e an) cancel .ineral
a/ree.ents un)er PD 6?>, an) the po8er to cancel the. un)er the CM%O
i.ple.entin/ PD 6?>, EO 200, an) EO 241, then there 8as no recall of the po8er
of the DENR SecretarA un)er R% 4162( *istoricallA, the DENR SecretarA has the
e-press po8er to appro!e .ineral a/ree.ents or contracts an) the i.plie) po8er
to cancel sai) a/ree.ents(

It is a 8ellestablishe) principle that in the interpretation of an a.bi/uous
pro!ision of la8, the historA of the enact.ent of the la8 .aA be use) as an
e-trinsic ai) to )eter.ine the i.port of the le/al pro!ision or the la8(
964:
*istorA of
the enact.ent of the statute constitutes prior la8s on the sa.e sub@ect .atter(
&e/islati!e historA necessitates re!ie8 of Othe ori/in, antece)ents an) )eri!ationP
of the la8 in Duestion to )isco!er the le/islati!e purpose or intent(
96=:
It can be
assu.e) Othat the ne8 le/islation has been enacte) as continuation of the e-istin/
le/islati!e policA or as a ne8 effort to perpetuate it or further a)!ance it(P
961:

Ce rule, therefore, that base) on the /rant of i.plie) po8er to ter.inate
.inin/ or .ineral contracts un)er pre!ious la8s or e-ecuti!e issuances li<e PD
6?>, EO 200, an) EO 241, R% 4162 shoul) be construe) as a continuation of the
le/islati!e intent to authoriJe the DENR SecretarA to cancel .ineral a/ree.ents on
account of !iolations of the ter.s an) con)itions thereof(

>( Un)er R% 4162, the po8er of control an) super!ision of the DENR
SecretarA o!er the M$# to cancel or reco..en) cancellation of .ineral ri/hts
clearlA )e.onstrates the authoritA of the DENR SecretarA to cancel or appro!e the
cancellation of .ineral a/ree.ents(

Un)er Sec( 1 of R% 4162, the M$# 8as /i!en the po8er of )irect
super!ision of .ineral lan)s an) resources, thus:


Sec( 1( Authorit. of the #ureau(MThe #ureau shall ha!e '-re02 0.%r8e -&
2.e %'m-&-/2r%2-o& %&' '-/1o/-2-o& of m-&er%l l%&'/ %&' m-&er%l re/o7r0e/
%&' /.%ll 7&'er2%Ae 8eolo8-0%l, m-&-&8, me2%ll7r8-0%l, 0.em-0%l, %&' o2.er
re/e%r0.e/ %/ <ell %/ 8eolo8-0%l %&' m-&er%l e@1lor%2-o& /7r=ey/. T.e
!-re02or /.%ll re0omme&' 2o 2.e Se0re2%ry 2.e 8r%&2-&8 of m-&er%l
%8reeme&2/ 2o '7ly B7%l-f-e' 1er/o&/ %&' /.%ll mo&-2or 2.e 0om1l-%&0e 9y
2.e 0o&2r%02or of 2.e 2erm/ %&' 0o&'-2-o&/ of 2.e m-&er%l %8reeme&2/( The
#ureau .aA confiscate suretA, perfor.ance an) /uarantA bon)s poste) throu/h an
or)er to be pro.ul/ate) bA the Director( The Director .aA )eputiJe, 8hen
necessarA, anA .e.ber or unit of the Philippine National Police, baran/aA, )ulA
re/istere) non/o!ern.ental or/aniJation 5N$O7 or anA Dualifie) person to police
all .inin/ acti!ities( 5E.phasis supplie)(7


CorollarA to the po8er of the M$# Director to reco..en) appro!al of
.ineral a/ree.ents is his po8er to cancel or reco..en) cancellation of .inin/
ri/hts co!ere) bA sai) a/ree.ents un)er Sec( 4 of DENR %O 1?63, containin/ the
re!ise) I.ple.entin/ Rules an) Re/ulations of R% 4162( Sec( 4 rea)s:



Sec( 4( Or/aniJation an) %uthoritA of the #ureau(

- - - -

The #ureau shall ha!e the follo8in/ authoritA, a.on/ others:

a( To ha!e )irect char/e in the a).inistration an) )isposition of
.ineral lan) an) .ineral resourcesG

- - - -

)( To reco..en) to the SecretarA the /rantin/ of .ineral a/ree.ents
or to en)orse to the SecretarA for action bA the Presi)ent the /rant of HT%%s
9Hinancial an) Technical %ssistance %/ree.ents:, in fa!or of Dualifie) persons
an) to .onitor co.pliance bA the Contractor 8ith the ter.s an) con)itions of the
.ineral a/ree.ents an) HT%%s(

e( To 0%&0el or 2o re0omme&' 0%&0ell%2-o& %f2er '7e 1ro0e//,
m-&-&8 r-8.2/, .inin/ applications an) .inin/ clai.s for nonco.pliance 8ith
pertinent la8s, rules an) re/ulations(



It is e-plicit fro. the fore/oin/ pro!ision that the DENR SecretarA has the
authoritA to cancel .ineral a/ree.ents base) on the reco..en)ation of the M$#
Director( %s a .atter of fact, the po8er to cancel .inin/ ri/hts can e!en be
)ele/ate) bA the DENR SecretarA to the M$# Director( ClearlA, it is the
SecretarA, not the PO%, that has authoritA an) @uris)iction o!er cancellation of
e-istin/ .inin/ contracts or .ineral a/ree.ents(

6( The DENR SecretarABs po8er to cancel .inin/ ri/hts or a/ree.ents
throu/h the M$# can be inferre) fro. Sec( 2>3, Chapter NNIV of DENR %O 1?
63 on cancellation, re!ocation, an) ter.ination of a per.itE.ineral
a/ree.entEHT%%( Sec( 2>3 pro!i)es:

Section 2>3( $roun)s

The follo8in/ /roun)s for cancellation re!ocation an) ter.ination of a
Minin/ Per.it Mineral %/ree.entEHT%%(

a( Violation of anA of the ter.s an) con)itions of the Per.its or %/ree.entsG

b( NonpaA.ent of ta-es an) fees )ue the /o!ern.ent for t8o 527 consecuti!e
AearsG an)

c( Halsehoo) or o.ission of facts in the application for e-ploration 9or Minin/:
Per.it Mineral %/ree.entEHT%% or other per.its 8hich .aA later, chan/e or
affect substantiallA the facts set forth in sai) state.ents(


Thou/h Sec( 2>3 is silent as to 8ho can or)er the cancellation, re!ocation,
an) ter.ination of a per.itE.ineral a/ree.entEHT%%, it has to be correlate) 8ith
the po8er of the M$# un)er Sec( 4 of %O 1?63 Oto cancel or to reco..en)
cancellation, after )ue process, .inin/ ri/hts, .inin/ applications an) .inin/
clai.s for nonco.pliance 8ith pertinent la8s, rules an) re/ulations(P %s the
M$# is un)er the super!ision of the DENR SecretarA, then the lo/ical conclusion
is that it is the DENR SecretarA 8ho can cancel the .ineral a/ree.ents an) not the
PO% nor the M%#(

;( Celestial an) #lue Ri)/e are not una8are of the stipulations in the
Minin/ &ease Contract Nos( V03;3 an) MRD;2,
9;3:
the cancellation of 8hich
theA sou/ht fro. the PO%( It is clear fro. sai) lease contracts that the parties are
the Republic of the Philippines represente) bA the SecretarA of %/riculture an)
Natural Resources 5no8 DENR SecretarA7 as lessor, an) Infanta 5Macroasia7 as
lessee( Para/raph 0= of sai) lease contracts pro!i)es:


Chene!er the &ESSEE fails to co.plA 8ith anA pro!ision of 9PD 6?>,
an): Co..on8ealth %cts Nos( 0>4, 6?? an) 643, 9both as a.en)e),: an)Eor the
rules an) re/ulations pro.ul/ate) thereun)er, or anA of the co!enants therein, 2.e
LESSOR m%y 'e0l%re 2.-/ le%/e 0%&0elle' an), after ha!in/ /i!en thirtA 5>37
)aAsB notice in 8ritin/ to the &ESSEE, .aA enter an) ta<e possession of the sai)
pre.ises, an) sai) lessee shall be liable for all unpai) rentals, roAalties an) ta-es
)ue the $o!ern.ent on the lease up to the ti.e of the forfeiture or cancellation, in
8hich e!ent, the &ESSEE herebA co!enants an) a/rees to /i!e up the possession
of the propertA lease)( 5E.phasis supplie)(7



Thus, the /o!ern.ent represente) bA the then SecretarA of %/riculture an)
Natural Resources 5no8 the DENR SecretarA7 has the po8er to cancel the lease
contracts for !iolations of e-istin/ la8s, rules an) re/ulations an) the ter.s an)
con)itions of the contracts( Celestial an) #lue Ri)/e are no8 estoppe) fro.
challen/in/ the po8er an) authoritA of the DENR SecretarA to cancel .ineral
a/ree.ents(

*o8e!er, Celestial an) #lue Ri)/e insist that the po8er to cancel .ineral
a/ree.ents is also lo)/e) 8ith the PO% un)er the e-plicit pro!isions of Sec( 44 of
R% 4162(

This postulation is incorrect(

Sec( 44 of R% 4162 laAs )o8n the @uris)iction of PO%, to 8it:


Cithin thirtA 5>37 )aAs, after the sub.ission of the case bA the parties for the
)ecision, the panel shall ha!e e-clusi!e an) ori/inal @uris)iction to hear an)
)eci)e the follo8in/:

5a7 Disputes in!ol!in/ ri/hts to .inin/ areas

5b7 Disputes in!ol!in/ .ineral a/ree.ents or per.its



The phrase O)isputes in!ol!in/ ri/hts to .inin/ areasP refers to anA a)!erse
clai., protest, or opposition to an application for .ineral a/ree.ent( The PO%
therefore has the @uris)iction to resol!e anA a)!erse clai., protest, or opposition to
a pen)in/ application for a .ineral a/ree.ent file) 8ith the concerne) Re/ional
Office of the M$#( This is clear fro. Secs( >= an) 60 of DENR %O 1?63, 8hich
pro!i)e:


Sec( >=(

- - - -

Cithin thirtA 5>37 calen)ar )aAs fro. the last )ate of
publicationEpostin/Era)io announce.ents, the authoriJe) officer5s7 of the
concerne) office5s7 shall issue a certification5s7 that the publicationEpostin/Era)io
announce.ent ha!e been co.plie) 8ith( A&y %'=er/e 0l%-m, 1ro2e/2 or
o11o/-2-o& /.%ll 9e f-le' '-re02ly, <-2.-& 2.-r2y (+0# 0%le&'%r '%y/ from 2.e
l%/2 '%2e of 179l-0%2-o&C1o/2-&8Cr%'-o %&&o7&0eme&2, <-2. 2.e 0o&0er&e'
Re8-o&%l Off-0e or 2.ro78. %&y 0o&0er&e' PENRO or CENRO for f-l-&8 -&
2.e 0o&0er&e' Re8-o&%l Off-0e for 17r1o/e/ of -2/ re/ol72-o& 9y 2.e P%&el of
Ar9-2r%2or/ 17r/7%&2 2o 2.e 1ro=-/-o&/ of 2.-/ A02 %&' 2.e/e -m1leme&2-&8
r7le/ %&' re87l%2-o&/. "1o& f-&%l re/ol72-o& of %&y %'=er/e 0l%-m, 1ro2e/2 or
o11o/-2-o&, 2.e P%&el of Ar9-2r%2or/ /.%ll l-Ae<-/e -//7e % 0er2-f-0%2-o& 2o 2.%2
effe02 <-2.-& f-=e (;# <orA-&8 '%y/ from 2.e '%2e of f-&%l-2y of re/ol72-o&
2.ereof. D.ere 2.ere -/ &o %'=er/e 0l%-m, 1ro2e/2 or o11o/-2-o&, 2.e P%&el of
Ar9-2r%2or/ /.%ll l-Ae<-/e -//7e % Cer2-f-0%2-o& 2o 2.%2 effe02 <-2.-& f-=e
<orA-&8 '%y/ 2.erefrom(

- - - -

No M-&er%l A8reeme&2 /.%ll 9e %11ro=e' 7&le// 2.e reB7-reme&2/
7&'er 2.-/ Se02-o& %re f7lly 0om1l-e' <-2. %&' %&y %'=er/e
0l%-mC1ro2e/2Co11o/-2-o& -/ f-&%lly re/ol=e' 9y 2.e P%&el of Ar9-2r%2or/(

Sec( 60(

- - - -

D-2.-& f-f2ee& (1;# <orA-&8 '%y/ from 2.e re0e-12 of 2.e Cer2-f-0%2-o&
-//7e' 9y 2.e P%&el of Ar9-2r%2or/ %/ 1ro=-'e' -& Se02-o& +8 .ereof, 2.e
0o&0er&e' Re8-o&%l !-re02or /.%ll -&-2-%lly e=%l7%2e 2.e M-&er%l A8reeme&2
%11l-0%2-o&/ -& %re%/ o72/-'e M-&er%l re/er=%2-o&/. (eCS.e /.%ll 2.ere%f2er
e&'or/e .-/C.er f-&'-&8/ 2o 2.e $7re%7 for f7r2.er e=%l7%2-o& 9y 2.e !-re02or
<-2.-& f-f2ee& (1;# <orA-&8 '%y/ from re0e-12 of for<%r'e'
'o07me&2/. T.ere%f2er, 2.e !-re02or /.%ll e&'or/e 2.e /%me 2o 2.e /e0re2%ry
for 0o&/-'er%2-o&C%11ro=%l <-2.-& f-f2ee& <orA-&8 '%y/ from re0e-12 of /70.
e&'or/eme&2.

In case of Mineral %/ree.ent applications in areas 8ith Mineral
Reser!ations, <-2.-& f-f2ee& (1;# <orA-&8 '%y/ from re0e-12 of 2.e
Cer2-f-0%2-o& -//7e' 9y 2.e P%&el of Ar9-2r%2or/ %/ 1ro=-'e' for -& Se02-o& +8
.ereof, 2.e /%me /.%ll 9e e=%l7%2e' %&' e&'or/e' 9y 2.e !-re02or 2o 2.e
Se0re2%ry for 0o&/-'er%2-o&C%11ro=%l <-2.-& f-f2ee& '%y/ from re0e-12 of /70.
e&'or/eme&2. 5E.phasis supplie)(7



It has been .a)e clear fro. the aforecite) pro!isions that the O)isputes
in!ol!in/ ri/hts to .inin/ areasP un)er Sec( 445a7 specificallA refer onlA to those
)isputes relati!e to the %11l-0%2-o&/ for a .ineral a/ree.ent or confer.ent of
.inin/ ri/hts(
The @uris)iction of the PO% o!er a)!erse clai.s, protest, or oppositions to a
.inin/ ri/ht application is further eluci)ate) bA Secs( 201 an) 6> of DENR %O
1;1>?, 8hich rea):


Sec( 201. 0iling of Adverse Clai's3Conflicts3Oppositions(M
Not8ithstan)in/ the pro!isions of Sections 2=, 6> an) ;4 abo!e, %&y %'=er/e
0l%-m, 1ro2e/2 or o11o/-2-o& /1e0-f-e' -& /%-' /e02-o&/ m%y %l/o 9e f-le'
'-re02ly <-2. 2.e P%&el of Ar9-2r%2or/ 8ithin the concerne) perio)s for filin/
such clai., protest or opposition as specifie) in sai) Sections(

Sec( 6>( Pu*lication3Posting of Mineral Agree'ent Application(M

- - - -

The Re/ional Director or concerne) Re/ional Director shall also cause the
postin/ of the application on the bulletin boar)s of the #ureau, concerne)
Re/ional office5s7 an) in the concerne) pro!ince5s7 an) .unicipalitA5ies7, copA
furnishe) the baran/aAs 8here the propose) contract area is locate) once a 8ee<
for t8o 527 consecuti!e 8ee<s in a lan/ua/e /enerallA un)erstoo) in the
localitA( %fter fortAfi!e 56;7 )aAs fro. the last )ate of publicationEpostin/ has
been .a)e an) no a)!erse clai., protest or opposition 8as file) 8ithin the sai)
fortAfi!e 56;7 )aAs, the concerne) offices shall issue a certification that
publicationEpostin/ has been .a)e an) that no a)!erse clai., protest or
opposition of 8hate!er nature has been file)( O& 2.e o2.er .%&', -f 2.ere 9e
%&y %'=er/e 0l%-m, 1ro2e/2 or o11o/-2-o&, 2.e /%me /.%ll 9e f-le' <-2.-& for2y4
f-=e (E;# '%y/ from 2.e l%/2 '%2e of 179l-0%2-o&C1o/2-&8, <-2. 2.e Re8-o&%l
Off-0e/ 0o&0er&e', or 2.ro78. 2.e !e1%r2me&2>/ Comm7&-2y E&=-ro&me&2
%&' N%27r%l Re/o7r0e/ Off-0er/ (CENRO# or Pro=-&0-%l E&=-ro&me&2 %&'
N%27r%l Re/o7r0e/ Off-0er/ (PENRO#, 2o 9e f-le' %2 2.e Re8-o&%l Off-0e for
re/ol72-o& of 2.e P%&el of Ar9-2r%2or/( *o8e!er pre!iouslA publishe) !ali) an)
subsistin/ .inin/ clai.s are e-e.pte) fro. poste)Epostin/ reDuire) un)er this
Section(

No m-&er%l %8reeme&2 /.%ll 9e %11ro=e' 7&le// 2.e reB7-reme&2/
7&'er 2.-/ /e02-o& %re f7lly 0om1l-e' <-2. %&' %&y o11o/-2-o&C%'=er/e 0l%-m
-/ 'e%l2 <-2. -& <r-2-&8 9y 2.e !-re02or %&' re/ol=e' 9y 2.e P%&el of
Ar9-2r%2or/( 5E.phasis supplie)(7


These pro!isions lea) us to conclu)e that the po8er of the PO% to resol!e
anA a)!erse clai., opposition, or protest relati!e to .inin/ ri/hts un)er Sec( 445a7
of R% 4162 is confine) onlA to a)!erse clai.s, conflicts an) oppositions relatin/
to %11l-0%2-o&/ for the /rant of .ineral ri/hts( PO%Bs @uris)iction is confine) onlA
to resolutions of such a)!erse clai.s, conflicts an) oppositions an) it has no
authoritA to appro!e or re@ect sai) applications( Such po8er is !este) in the DENR
SecretarA upon reco..en)ation of the M$# Director( ClearlA, PO%Bs @uris)iction
o!er O)isputes in!ol!in/ ri/hts to .inin/ areasP has nothin/ to )o 8ith the
cancellation of e-istin/ .ineral a/ree.ents(

On the other han), Celestial an) #lue Ri)/e conten) that PO% has
@uris)iction o!er their petitions for the cancellation of MacroasiaBs lease
a/ree.ents ban<in/ on PO%Bs @uris)iction o!er O)isputes in!ol!in/ .ineral
a/ree.ents or per.itsP un)er Sec( 44 5b7 of R% 4162(

Such position is bereft of .erit(

%s earlier )iscusse), the DENR SecretarA, bA !irtue of his po8ers as
a).inistrati!e hea) of his )epart.ent in char/e of the .ana/e.ent an)
super!ision of the natural resources of the countrA un)er the 01=4 %).inistrati!e
Co)e, R% 4162, an) other la8s, rules, an) re/ulations, can cancel a .ineral
a/ree.ent for !iolation of its ter.s, e!en 8ithout a petition or reDuest file) for its
cancellation, pro!i)e) there is co.pliance 8ith )ue process( Since the cancellation
of the .ineral a/ree.ent is appro!e) bA the DENR SecretarA, then the recourse of
the contractor is to ele!ate the .atter to the OP pursuant to %O 0=, Series of 01=4
but not 8ith the PO%(

Matche) 8ith the le/al pro!isions e.po8erin/ the DENR SecretarA to
cancel a .ineral a/ree.ent is Sec( 44 5b7 of R% 4162 8hich /rants PO%
@uris)iction o!er )isputes in!ol!in/ .ineral a/ree.ents(

% )ispute is )efine) as Oa conflict or contro!ersAG a conflict of clai.s or
ri/htsG an assertion of a ri/ht, clai. or )e.an) on one si)eG .et bA contrarA clai.s
or alle/ations on the other(P
9;0:
It is sAnonA.ous to a cause of action 8hich is Oan
act or o.ission bA 8hich a partA !iolates a ri/ht of another(P
9;2:

% petition or co.plaint ori/inatin/ fro. a )ispute can be file) or initiate)
onlA bA a real partAininterest( The rules of court )efine a real partAininterest as
Othe partA 8ho stan)s to be benefite) or in@ure) bA the @u)/.ent in the suit or the
partA entitle) to the a!ails of the suit(P
9;>:
E!erA action, therefore, can onlA be
prosecute) in the na.e of the real partAininterest(
9;6:
It has been e-plaine) that Oa
real partAininterest plaintiff is one 8ho has a le/al ri/ht, 8hile a real partAin
interest)efen)ant is one 8ho has a correlati!e le/al obli/ation 8hose act or
o.ission !iolates the le/al ri/ht of the for.er(P
9;;:

On the other han), interest O.eans .aterial interest, an interest in issue an)
to be affecte) bA the )ecree, as )istin/uishe) fro. .ere interest in the Duestion
in!ol!e), or a .ere inci)ental interest(P It is settle) in this @uris)iction that Oone
ha!in/ no ri/ht or interest to protect cannot in!o<e the @uris)iction of the court as a
partAplaintiff in an action(P
9;?:
Real interest is )efine) as Oa present substantial
interest, as )istin/uishe) fro. a .ere e-pectancA, or a future, contin/ent,
subor)inate or conseDuential interest(P
9;4:

Hro. the fore/oin/, a petition for the cancellation of an e-istin/ .ineral
a/ree.ent co!erin/ an area applie) for bA an applicant base) on the alle/e)
!iolation of anA of the ter.s thereof, is not a O)isputeP in!ol!in/ a .ineral
a/ree.ent un)er Sec( 44 5b7 of R% 4162( It )oes not pertain to a !iolation bA a
partA of the ri/ht of another( The applicant is not a real partAininterest as he )oes
not ha!e a .aterial or substantial interest in the .ineral a/ree.ent but onlA a
prospecti!e or e-pectant ri/ht or interest in the .inin/ area( *e has no le/al ri/ht
to such .inin/ clai. an) hence no )ispute can arise bet8een the applicant an) the
parties to the .ineral a/ree.ent( The court rules therefore that a petition for
cancellation of a .ineral a/ree.ent anchore) on the breach thereof e!en if file) bA
an applicant to a .inin/ clai., li<e Celestial an) #lue Ri)/e, falls 8ithin the
@uris)iction of the DENR SecretarA an) not PO%( Such petition is e-clu)e) fro.
the co!era/e of the PO%Bs @uris)iction o!er )isputes in!ol!in/ .ineral a/ree.ents
un)er Sec( 44 5b7 of R% 4162(


M%0ro%/-% &o2 e/2o11e' from r%-/-&8 2.e -//7e of :7r-/'-02-o& o& %11e%l


On the relate) issue of estoppel, petitioner Celestial ar/ues that Macroasia is
estoppe) fro. raisin/ an) Duestionin/ the issue of the @uris)iction of the PO% an)
M%# o!er the petition for cancellation of its .inin/ lease contracts, 8hen
Macroasia raise) it onlA in its Supple.ental Motion for Reconsi)eration(

Ce rule that the principle of estoppel )oes not applA(

In)ee), Macroasia 8as not the one that initiate) the instant case before the
PO%, an) thus 8as not the one that in!o<e) the @uris)iction of the PO%( *ence,
on appeal, Macroasia is not preclu)e) fro. raisin/ the issue of @uris)iction as it
.aA be in!o<e) e!en on appeal(
9;=:
%s a .atter of fact, a partA can raise the issue
of @uris)iction at anA sta/e of the procee)in/s(

Petitioner CelestialBs reliance on 4illela v. -o5un
9;1:
to support the
contention that the PO% has @uris)iction to hear an) )eci)e a petition to cancel
e-istin/ .inin/ lease contracts, is .isplace)( In sai) case, 8e )is.isse) the
petition on the /roun) of none-haustion of a).inistrati!e re.e)ies an)
)isre/ar)e) @u)icial hierarchA as no co.pellin/ reason 8as sho8n to 8arrant
other8ise( Chile 8e pointe) out the authoritA of the PO%, there 8as no
cate/orical pronounce.ent on the @uris)ictional issue(

No =%l-' 1ro&o7&0eme&2 of %9%&'o&me&2 '7e 2o l%0A of :7r-/'-02-o&
o=er 1e2-2-o& 2o 0%&0el


%s 8e are not a trier of facts, 8e nee) not .a<e anA fin)in/ on the !arious
in!esti/ations )one bA the M$# an) M%# on the issue of MacroasiaBs non
co.pliance 8ith its 8or< obli/ations an) nonpaA.ent of ta-es an) fees( VerilA,
the la8 )oes not i.pose auto.atic cancellation of an e-istin/ .inin/ lease
contract, as it is a Duestion of fact 8hich .ust be )eter.ine) bA the M$# 8hich
can reco..en) the cancellation of the .ineral or lease a/ree.ents to the DENR
SecretarA( #e that as it .aA, since the PO% an) M%# ha!e no @uris)iction o!er
the petition for cancellation of e-istin/ .inin/ lease contracts of Macroasia, theA
coul) not ha!e .a)e anA bin)in/ pronounce.ent that Macroasia ha) in)ee)
aban)one) the sub@ect .inin/ clai.s( #esi)es, it is the DENR SecretarA 8ho has
the authoritA to cancel MacroasiaBs e-istin/ .inin/ lease contracts 8hether on
/roun)s of aban)on.ent or anA !ali) /roun)s for cancellation(


!e0-/-o& -& CA4G.R. SP No. 908*8 &o2 -& %00or' <-2. 2.e l%<


Cith our resolution of the issue on the lac< of @uris)iction of the PO% an)
the M%# o!er petitions to cancel e-istin/ .inin/ lease contracts or .ineral
a/ree.ents, it is thus clear that the MaA 0=, 233? Decision in C%$(R( SP No(
13=2= .ust be nullifie) for bein/ not in accor) 8ith the la8 an) the %pril 0;, 233;
Decision in C%$(R( SP No( =41>0 .ust be uphel)(

Not8ithstan)in/ the nullification of the MaA 0=, 233? Decision of the
Special Tenth Di!ision in C%$(R( SP No( 13=2=, the ren)ition of t8o conflictin/
)ecisions of the t8o C% Di!isions o!er the sa.e challen/e) resolutions of the
M%# shoul) be a!oi)e) in the future as this is anathe.a to stabilitA of @u)icial
)ecisions an) or)erlA a).inistration of @ustice(

The chronolo/A of e!ents re!eals the follo8in/:

0( 'anuarA 03, 233; L petitioner Celestial file) its petition )oc<ete) as
C%$(R( SP No( =41>0 8ith the C%(

2( %pril 0;, 233; L the C% throu/h its T8elfth Di!ision ren)ere) its
Decision in C%$(R( SP No( =41>0 affir.in/ the No!e.ber 2?, 2336 M%#
Resolution(

>( 'ulA 02, 233; L respon)ent #lue Ri)/e file) its petition )oc<ete) as
C%$(R( SP No( 13=2= 8ith the C%( It is clear that the #lue Ri)/e petition 8as
file) 8ith the C% three .onths after the )ecision in C%$(R( SP No( =41>0 8as
pro.ul/ate)(

6( MaA 0=, 233? L the C% throu/h its Special Tenth Di!ision ren)ere)
its Decision settin/ asi)e the No!e.ber 2?, 2336 an) 'ulA 02, 233; Resolutions of
the M%# an) reinstatin/ the October 26, 2333 M%# Decision(

Hro. these facts, the C% Special Tenth Di!ision shoul) ha!e or)ere) the
consoli)ation of the petition in C%$(R( SP No( 13=2= bA C%$(R( SP No( =41>0
pursuant to the Internal Rules of the C%, the latter ha!in/ the earlier )oc<et
nu.ber( *a) it )one so, then the occurrence of the conflictin/ )ecisions coul)
ha!e been pre!ente)( The C% Special Tenth Di!ision shoul) ha!e abi)e) bA our
rulin/ in Nacura. v. N2$C, 8here 8e hel), OConseDuentlA, a )i!ision cannot an)
shoul) not re!ie8 a case alrea)A passe) upon bA another Di!ision of this Court( It
is onlA proper, to allo8 the case to ta<e its rest after ha!in/ attaine) finalitA(P
9?3:

The C% shoul) ta<e the appropriate steps, inclu)in/ the a)option or
a.en).ent of the rules, to see to it that cases or petitions arisin/ fro. the sa.e
Duestione) )ecision, or)er, or resolution are consoli)ate) to steer clear of contrarA
or opposin/ )ecisions of the )ifferent C% Di!isions an) ensure that inci)ents of
si.ilar nature 8ill not be replicate)(

G.R. No. 1)*9+6

No /.o<-&8 2.%2 2.e !ENR Se0re2%ry 8r%=ely %97/e' .-/ '-/0re2-o&


No8, /oin/ to the substance of the petition in $(R( No( 0421>?( % scrutinA
of the recor)s sho8s that the DENR SecretarA )i) not /ra!elA abuse his )iscretion
in appro!in/ an) si/nin/ MPS% Nos( 223233;IV# an) 220233;IV# in fa!or
of Macroasia(

Petitioner #lue Ri)/e anchors its ri/hts on the MaA 0=, 233? Decision in
C%$(R( SP No( 13=2=, 8hich 8e ha!e unfortunatelA struc< )o8n( #lue Ri)/eBs
ar/u.ent in assailin/ the appro!al an) issuance of the sub@ect MPS%s that it has
been accor)e) preferential ri/ht bA the C% has no le/ to stan) on(

The October 26, 2333 M%# Decision, nullifie) bA the
subseDuent No!e.ber 2?, 2336 Resolution, is uneDui!ocal that #lue Ri)/e 8as
/rante) onlA Oprior an) preferential ri/hts 2o ILE its .inin/ application o!er the
sa.e .inin/ clai.s(P
9?0:
Chat 8as accor)e) #lue Ri)/e 8as onlA the ri/ht to file
the .inin/ application but 8ith no assurance that the application 8ill be
reco..en)e) for appro!al bA the M$# an) finallA appro!e) bA the DENR
SecretarA(

Moreo!er, a preferential ri/ht 8oul) at .ost be an inchoate ri/ht to be /i!en
prioritA in the /rant of a .inin/ a/ree.ent( It has not Aet been transfor.e) into a
le/al an) !este) ri/ht unless appro!e) bA the M$# or DENR SecretarA( E!en if
#lue Ri)/e has a preferential ri/ht o!er the sub@ect .inin/ clai.s, it is still 8ithin
the co.petence an) )iscretion of the DENR SecretarA to /rant .ineral a/ree.ents
to 8ho.e!er he )ee.s best to pursue the .inin/ clai.s o!er an) abo!e the
preferential status /i!en to #lue Ri)/e( #esi)es, bein/ si.plA a preferential ri/ht,
it is ineffecti!e to )issol!e the pree-istin/ or subsistin/ .inin/ lease contracts of
Macroasia(

T.e !ENR Se0re2%ry .%/ f7ll '-/0re2-o& -& 2.e 8r%&2 of m-&er%l
%8reeme&2/

#lue Ri)/e also ar/ues that the SecretarA /ra!elA abuse) his )iscretion in
appro!in/ the sub@ect MPS%s 8ithout Macroasia co.plAin/ 8ith the .an)atorA
reDuire.ents for .ineral a/ree.ent applications un)er Sec( >; of DENR %O 1?
63( Petitioner specificallA cite) Sec( >? of DENR %O 1?63 to the effect that Ono
Mineral %/ree.ent shall be appro!e) unless the reDuire.ents un)er this section
are fullA co.plie) 8ith an) anA a)!erse clai.EprotestEopposition thereto is finallA
resol!e) bA the Panel of %rbitrators(P Moreo!er, #lue Ri)/e conten)s that the
MPS%s 8ere appro!e) e!en prior to the issuance of the Co.pliance
Certificate
9?2:
bA the National Co..ission on In)i/enous Peoples un)er the OP,
8hich is a reDuisite precon)ition for the issuance of an MPS%(



Ce are not persua)e)(

#lue Ri)/e cites Sec( >= 5not Sec( >?7 of DENR %O 1?63 as basis for
clai.in/ that then DENR SecretarA Defensor co..itte) /ra!e abuse of )iscretion
in /rantin/ MPS% Nos( 223233;IV# an) 220233;IV# to
Macroasia( PetitionerBs postulation cannot be entertaine) for the reason that the
issuance of the .inin/ a/ree.ents 8as not raise) before the M$# Director an)
DENR SecretarA, nor 8as it a.plA presente) before the C%( There is e!en a
counterchar/e that #lue Ri)/e has not co.plie) 8ith the le/al reDuire.ents for a
.inin/ application( The rule is establishe) that Duestions raise) for the first ti.e
on appeal before this Court are not proper an) ha!e to be re@ecte)( Hurther.ore,
the resolution of these factual issues 8oul) rele/ate the Court to a trier of
facts( The #lue Ri)/e plea is hin)ere) bA the factual issue bar rule 8here factual
Duestions are proscribe) un)er Rule ?;( &astlA, there 8as no e-haustion of
a).inistrati!e re.e)ies before the M$# an) DENR( Thus, #lue Ri)/eBs petition
.ust fail(

Pr-m%ry :7r-/'-02-o& of 2.e !ENR Se0re2%ry -& 'e2erm-&-&8 <.e2.er 2o
8r%&2 or &o2 % m-&er%l %8reeme&2


VerilA, R% 4162, si.ilar to PD 6?>, confers e-clusi!e an) pri.arA
@uris)iction on the DENR SecretarA to appro!e .ineral a/ree.ents, 8hich is
purelA an a).inistrati!e function 8ithin the scope of his po8ers an) authoritA( In
e-ercisin/ such e-clusi!e pri.arA @uris)iction, the DENR SecretarA, throu/h the
M$#, has the best co.petence to )eter.ine to 8ho. .ineral a/ree.ents are
/rante)( Settle) is the rule that the courts 8ill )efer to the )ecisions of the
a).inistrati!e offices an) a/encies bA reason of their e-pertise an) e-perience in
the .atters assi/ne) to the. pursuant to the )octrine of pri.arA
@uris)iction( %).inistrati!e )ecisions on .atter 8ithin the @uris)iction of
a).inistrati!e bo)ies are to be respecte) an) can onlA be set asi)e on proof of
/ra!e abuse of )iscretion, frau), or error of la8(
9?>:
Unless it is sho8n that the then
DENR SecretarA has acte) in a 8anton, 8hi.sical, or oppressi!e .anner, /i!in/
un)ue a)!anta/e to a partA or for an ille/al consi)eration an) si.ilar reasons, this
Court cannot loo< into or re!ie8 the 8is)o. of the e-ercise of such
)iscretion( #lue Ri)/e faile) in this re/ar)(

Delineation of po8ers an) functions is accor)e) the three branches of
/o!ern.ent for the s.ooth functionin/ of the )ifferent /o!ern.ental ser!ices( Ce
8ill not )isturb nor interfere in the e-ercise of purelA a).inistrati!e functions of
the e-ecuti!e branch absent a clear sho8in/ of /ra!e abuse of )iscretion(

D-2.o72 % re/2r%-&-&8 or'er or -&:7&02-o&, l-2-8%2-o& <-ll &o2 'e2er 2.e
!ENR from e@er0-/-&8 -2/ f7&02-o&/


Chile it is true that the sub@ect .inin/ clai.s are un)er liti/ation, this )oes
not preclu)e the DENR an) its SecretarA fro. carrAin/ out their functions an)
)uties 8ithout a restrainin/ or)er or an in@uncti!e 8rit( Other8ise, public interest
an) public ser!ice 8oul) un)ulA suffer bA .ere liti/ation of particular issues
8here /o!ern.ent interests 8oul) be un)ulA affecte)( In the instant case, it .ust
be borne in .in) that the /o!ern.ent has a sta<e in the sub@ect .inin/
clai.s( %lso, Macroasia ha) !arious !ali) e-istin/ .inin/ lease contracts o!er the
sub@ect .inin/ lo)e clai.s issue) bA the DENR( Thus, Macroasia has an
a)!anta/e o!er #lue Ri)/e an) Celestial insofar as the a).inistrati!e aspect of
pursuin/ the .ineral a/ree.ents is concerne)(


D(EREORE, the petitions un)er G.R. No/. 169080,
1)*9+6, an) 1)6**9 are !ISMISSE! for lac< of .erit, 8hile the petition
un)er G.R. No. 1)6+19 is herebAGRANTE!( The assaile) %pril 0;,
233; Decision an) %u/ust >, 233; Resolution of the C% in C%$(R( SP No( =41>0
are herebA AIRME! IN TOTO. %n) the MaA 0=, 233? Decision an) 'anuarA
01, 2334 Resolution of the C% in C%$(R( SP No( 13=2= are
herebA RE3ERSE! an) SET ASI!E( In !ie8 of the fore/oin/ consi)erations,
8e fin) no /ra!e abuse of )iscretion on the part of the then DENR SecretarA in the
appro!al an) issuance of MPS% Nos( 223233;IV# an) 220233;IV#( Costs
a/ainst Celestial Nic<el Minin/ E-ploration Corporation an) #lue Ri)/e Mineral
Corporation(

SO OR!ERE!.


PRES$ITERO 5. 3ELASCO, 5R.
%ssociate 'ustice






















CE CONCUR:



LEONAR!O A. F"IS"M$ING
%ssociate 'ustice
Chairperson




CONC(ITA CARPIO MORALES !ANTE O. TINGA
%ssociate 'ustice %ssociate 'ustice



MINITA 3. C(ICO4NAGARIO
%ssociate 'ustice



A T T E S T A T I O N


I attest that the conclusions in the abo!e Decision ha) been reache) in
consultation before the case 8as assi/ne) to the 8riter of the opinion of the
CourtBs Di!ision(


LEONAR!O A. F"IS"M$ING
%ssociate 'ustice
Chairperson


C E R T I I C A T I O N


Pursuant to Section 0>, %rticle VIII of the Constitution, an) the Di!ision
ChairpersonBs %ttestation, I certifA that the conclusions in the abo!e Decision ha)
been reache) in consultation before the case 8as assi/ne) to the 8riter of the
opinion of the CourtBs Di!ision(



RE,NATO S. P"NO
Chief 'ustice
, Per October 26, 2334 raffle(
90:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 0?13=37, pp( 1=4(

92:
I)( at =103=( Penne) bA %ssociate 'ustice Martin S( Villara.a 5Chairperson7 an) concurre) in bA
%ssociate 'ustices Re/ala)o E( Maa.bon/ an) &ucenito N( Ta/le(
9>:
I)( at 003022(
96:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 0421>?7, pp( >;>(
9;:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 04?22?7, pp( 1=;, an) rollo 5$(R( No( 04?>017, pp( 0644(

9?:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 04?22?7, pp( =403=, an) rollo 5$(R( No( 04?>017, pp( 41033( Penne) bA %ssociate
'ustice Ros.ari D( Caran)an/ an) concurre) in bA %ssociate 'ustices %n)res #( ReAes, 'r( 5Chairperson7
an) %urora Santia/o&a/.an(
94:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 04?22?7, pp( 00300?, an) rollo 5$(R( No( 04?>017, pp( 03203=(
9=:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 0421>?7, p( 433(
91:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 04?22?7, p( 0=>;(
903:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 04?>017, pp( 02430240(
900:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 0?13=37, pp( =110(
902:
I)( at 23=224(
90>:
I)(
906:
%ppro!e) on MaA 04, 014;(
90;:
OPro!i)in/ for a Mo)erniJe) SAste. of %).inistration an) Disposition of Mineral &an)s an) to
Pro.ote an) Encoura/e the De!elop.ent an) E-ploitation Thereof,P appro!e) an) beca.e effecti!e on MaA 04,
0146(
90?:
$(R( No( =;136, %u/ust 20, 0113, 0== SCR% =0=(
904:
,ee Septe.ber 0;, 0111 Me.oran)u. fro. Tas< Horce Tea. &ea)er Rolan)o PeQa to the Chair.an of
M%#, rollo 5$(R( No( 0?13=37, p( 616, on the Report bA Tas< Horce Create) to In!esti/ate the %rea Sub@ect of
M%# Case Nos( 3;?14 an) 3;414 at #roo<eBs Point, Pala8an, i)( at 61;;3>, pursuant to MaA 04, 0111 Special
Or)er No( 11;20, i)( at 61>(
90=:
I)( at 221263(
901:
I)( at 2602;=, CelestialBs No!e.ber 0?, 2333 Motion for Reconsi)erationG an) i)( at 2;1244,
MacroasiaBs No!e.ber 0>, 2333 Motion for Reconsi)eration(
923:
I)( at 24=21?(
920:
Re!ise) I.ple.entin/ Rules an) Re/ulations of R% 4162, other8ise <no8n as the Philippine Mining
Act of 1995, vice DENR %O 1;2>, series of 011;(
922:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 0?13=37, pp( 214>3=(
92>:
I)( at >34>3=(
926:
I)( at >31>40(
92;:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 0421>?7, pp( 6>4664(
92?:
I)( at 66=6;;(
924:
I)( at 6;?;01(
92=:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 0?13=37, pp( >4263>(
921:
Supra note >(
9>3:
Supra note 0(
9>0:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 0?13=37, pp( 023>020;(
9>2:
I)( at 0224(
9>>:
Supra note 6(
9>6:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 04?22?7, pp( 0?=404>4(
9>;:
Supra note ;(
9>?:
Supra note ;(

9>4:
Supra note 0, at 2320(
9>=:
Supra note 6, at 2=21(

9>1:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 04?22?7, pp( >2>>(
963:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 04?>017, p( 0;(

960:
PD 6?>, Sec( >6(

962:
EO 241, Sec( 0(

96>:
EO 241, Sec( >(

966:
EO 241, Sec( 6(

96;:
EO 241, Sec( 4(

96?:
$(R( No( 0>264;, Septe.ber 00, 2333, Secon) Di!ision Resolution(

964:
Co''issioner of Custo's v. sso ,tandard astern" 1nc., No( &2=>21, %u/ust 4, 014;, ?? SCR% 00>,
001(

96=:
&('( $onJa/a, ST%TUTES %ND T*EIR CONSTRUCTION 0;1 501;=7(

961:
Cra8for), ST%TUTORR CONSTRUCTION >46>4; 501637(
9;3:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 0?13=37, pp( 06;0;>(

9;0:
*( #lac<, #&%CSBS &%C DICTION%RR 642 5?th e)(, 01137(

9;2:
RU&ES OH COURT, Rule 2, Sec( 2(

9;>:
RU&ES OH COURT, Rule >, Sec( 2(

9;6:
I)(

9;;:
1*onilla v. Province of Ce*u, $(R( No( 146?>, 'une 2?, 0112, 203 SCR% ;2?(

9;?:
$alla v. $alla, $(R( No( 4=?6?, 'ulA 2>, 0110, 011 SCR% 61;(

9;4:
1*onilla v. Province of Ce*u, supra(
9;=:
,ee &uero v. Court of Appeals, $(R( No( 0>02=2, 'anuarA 6, 2332, >4> SCR% 00(
9;1:
$(R( No( 0;=312, %pril 6, 233;, Resolution of the Secon) Di!ision(
9?3:
$(R( Nos( 00612624, March 0=, 0114, 243 SCR% 1, 0=(
9?0:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 0?13=37, p( 263(
9?2:
$ollo 5$(R( No( 0421>?7, pp( =413(

9?>:
#ernardo v. Court of Appeals, $(R( No( 0262?0, MaA 24, 2336, 621 SCR% 2=;, >33(