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Macalinao, Romielyn P.

Subject: Constitutional Law 1


Topic: Doctrine of Non-suability
Title: TAN vs DIRECTOR OF FORESTRY
Reference: 152 SCRA 302

FACTS

Sometime in April 1961, the Bureau of Forestry issued notice


advertising for public bidding a certain tract of public forest land
situated in Olongapo, Zambales consisting of 6,420 hectares, within
the former U.S. Naval Reservation comprising 7,252 hectares of
timberland, which was turned over by the US Government to the
Philippine Government. Wenceslao Tan with nine others submitted
their application in due form.

The area was granted to the petitioner. On May 30, 1963,


Secretary Gozon of Agriculture and Natural Resources issued a general
memorandum order authorizing Dir. Of Forestry to grant new Ordinary
Timber Licenses subject to some conditions stated therein (not
exceeding 3000 hectares for new OTL and not exceeding 5000
hectares for extension)

Thereafter, Acting Secretary of Agriculture and Natural


Resources Feliciano promulgated on December 19, 1963 a
memorandum revoking the authority delegated to the Director of
Forestry to grant ordinary timber licenses. On the same date, OTL in
the name of Tan, was signed by then Acting Director of Forestry,
without the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural
Resources. On January 6, 1964, the license was released by the
Director of Forestry .
Ravago Commercial Company wrote a letter to the Secretary of
ANR praying that the OTL of Tan be revoked. On March 9, 1964, The
Secretary of ANR declared Tans OTL null and void. Petitioner-appellant
moved for a reconsideration of the order, but the Secretary of
Agriculture and Natural Resources denied the motion.

ISSUES

1. Whether or not petitioners timber license is valid?


2. Whether or not petitioner had exhausted administrative
remedies available?

RULINGS

1. No, it cant be deemed valid.

Petitioners timber license was signed and released without


authority and is therefore void ab initio. In the first place, in the
general memorandum dated May 30, 1963, the Director of Forestry
was authorized to grant a new ordinary timber license only where the
area covered thereby was not more than 3,000 hectares; the tract of
public forest awarded to the petitioner contained 6,420 hectares In the
second place, at the time it was released to the petitioner, the Acting
Director of Forestry had no more authority to grant any license.

In view thereof, the Director of Forestry had no longer any


authority to release the license on January 6, 1964, and said license is
therefore void ab initio. What is of greatest importance is the date of
the release or issuance. Before its release, no right is acquired by the
licensee.
Granting arguendo, that petitioner-appellant's timber license is
valid, still respondents-appellees can validly revoke his timber license.
"A license is merely a permit or privilege to do what otherwise would
be unlawful, and is not a contract between the authority, federal,
state, or municipal, granting it and the person to whom it is granted;
neither is it property or a property right, nor does it create a vested
right; nor is it taxation

The welfare of the people is the supreme law. Thus, no


franchise or right can be availed of to defeat the proper exercise of
police power.

2. No, he did not.

Petitioner did not exhaust administrative remedy in this case.


He did not appeal the order of the respondent Secretary of Agriculture
and Natural Resources to the President of the Philippines. Considering
that the President has the power to review on appeal the orders or
acts of the respondents, the failure of the petitioner-appellant to take
that appeal is failure on his part to exhaust his administrative
remedies.