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G.R. No. 180882, February 27, 2013 - THE BAGUIO REGREENING MOVEMENT, INC., REPRESENTED BY ATTY. ERDOLFO V. BALAJADIA; CITY ENVIRONMENT AND PARKS MANAGEMENT OFFICE, REPRESENTED BY ITS OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, CORDELIA C. LACSAMANA; AND THE BUSOL FOREST RESERVATION TASK FORCE, REPRESENTED BY ITS TEAM LEADER, VICTOR DICTAG, Petitioners, v. ATTY. BRAIN MASWENG, IN HIS CAPACITY AS REGIONAL HEARING OFFICER, NCIP-CAR; ELIZABETH MAT-AN, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF RAFAEL; JUDITH MARANES, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF MOLINTAS; HELEN LUBOS, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF KALOMIS; MAGDALENA GUMANGAN QUE, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF GUMANGAN; SPOUSES ALEXANDER AMPAGUEY AND LUCIA AMPAGUEY; AND SPOUSES CARMEN PANAYO AND MELANIO PANAYO, Respondents.

G.R. No. 180882, February 27, 2013 - THE BAGUIO REGREENING MOVEMENT, INC., REPRESENTED BY ATTY. ERDOLFO V. BALAJADIA; CITY ENVIRONMENT AND PARKS MANAGEMENT OFFICE, REPRESENTED BY ITS OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, CORDELIA C. LACSAMANA; AND THE BUSOL FOREST RESERVATION TASK FORCE, REPRESENTED BY ITS TEAM LEADER, VICTOR DICTAG, Petitioners, v. ATTY. BRAIN MASWENG, IN HIS CAPACITY AS REGIONAL HEARING OFFICER, NCIP-CAR; ELIZABETH MAT-AN, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF RAFAEL; JUDITH MARANES, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF MOLINTAS; HELEN LUBOS, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF KALOMIS; MAGDALENA GUMANGAN QUE, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF GUMANGAN; SPOUSES ALEXANDER AMPAGUEY AND LUCIA AMPAGUEY; AND SPOUSES CARMEN PANAYO AND MELANIO PANAYO, Respondents.

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 180882, February 27, 2013]

THE BAGUIO REGREENING MOVEMENT, INC., REPRESENTED BY ATTY. ERDOLFO V. BALAJADIA; CITY ENVIRONMENT AND PARKS MANAGEMENT OFFICE, REPRESENTED BY ITS OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, CORDELIA C. LACSAMANA; AND THE BUSOL FOREST RESERVATION TASK FORCE, REPRESENTED BY ITS TEAM LEADER, VICTOR DICTAG, Petitioners, v. ATTY. BRAIN MASWENG, IN HIS CAPACITY AS REGIONAL HEARING OFFICER, NCIP-CAR; ELIZABETH MAT-AN, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF RAFAEL; JUDITH MARANES, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF MOLINTAS; HELEN LUBOS, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF KALOMIS; MAGDALENA GUMANGAN QUE, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF GUMANGAN; SPOUSES ALEXANDER AMPAGUEY AND LUCIA AMPAGUEY; AND SPOUSES CARMEN PANAYO AND MELANIO PANAYO, Respondents.

D E C I S I O N

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rule on Civil Procedure assailing the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals dated April 30, 2007 in CA-G.R. SP No. 78570 insofar as it affirmed the issuances of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Hearing Officer Brain Masweng, and the Resolution of the same court dated December 11, 2007 denying petitioners’ Motion for Partial Reconsideration.

Herein private respondents Elizabeth Mat-an, Judith Maranes, Helen Lubos, Magdalena Gumangan Que, spouses Alexander and Lucia Ampaguey, and spouses Melanio and Carmen Panayo, claiming that their parents inherited from their ancestors several parcels of land in what is now known as the Busol Watershed Reservation, filed before the NCIP a Petition for Injunction, with an application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), and thereafter a Writ of Preliminary Injunction seeking to enjoin the Baguio District Engineer’s Office, the Office of the City Architect and Parks Superintendent, and petitioners The Baguio Regreening Movement, Inc. and the Busol Task Force from fencing the Busol Watershed Reservation.

In their Petition before the NCIP, private respondents claim that they are members of the Ibaloi and Kankanaey tribes of Baguio City.  Their ancestors’ ownership of the properties now known as the Busol Watershed Reservation was allegedly expressly recognized in Proclamation No. 15 issued by Governor General Leonard Wood.  As owners of said properties, their ancestors paid the realty taxes thereon.  The fencing project of petitioners would allegedly impede their access to and from their residences, farmlands and water sources, and dispossess them of their yard where tribal rituals and ceremonies are usually held.

On October 21, 2002, NCIP Regional Hearing Officer Brain S. Masweng issued a TRO, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, finding the petition in order and that grave injustice may result should the acts complained of be not immediately restrained, a Temporary Restraining Order is hereby issued pursuant to Section 69 (d) of R.A. 8371, ordering the respondents namely, the Baguio District Engineer’s Office, represented by Engineer Nestor M. Nicolas, the Project Contractor, Mr. Pel-ey, the Baguio Regreening Movement Inc., represented by Atty. Erdolfo V. Balajadia, the Busol Task Force, represented by its Team Leader, Moises G. Anipew, the Baguio City Architect and Parks Superintendent Office, represented by Arch. Ignacio Estipona, and all persons acting for and their behalf (sic) of the respondents[,] their agents and/or persons whomever acting for and their behalf (sic), to refrain, stop, cease and desist from fencing and/or constructing fences around and between the areas and premises of petitioners, ancestral land claims, specifically identified in Proclamation No. 15 as Lot “A” with an area of 143,190 square meters, included within the boundary lines, Lot “B” 77,855 square meters, included within the boundary lines, Lot “C” 121,115 square meters, included within the boundary lines, Lot “D” 33,839 square meters, included within the boundary lines, Lot “E” 87,903 square meters, included within the boundary lines, Lot “F” 39,487 square meters, included within the boundary lines, Lot “G” 11,620 square meters, included within the boundary lines, Lot “H” 17,453 square meters, included within the boundary lines, Lot “J” 40,000 square meters, included within the boundary lines, all described and embraced under Proclamation No. 15, the land embraced and described under the approved plan No. 12064 of the then Director of Lands, containing an area of 186, square meters surveyed for Gumangan, the land covered by LRC PSD 52910, containing an area of 77,849 square meters as surveyed for Emily Kalomis, that land covered by survey plan 11935 Amd, containing an area of 263153 square meters as surveyed for Molintas, and that land covered by AP-7489, containing an area of 155084 as surveyed for the heirs of Rafael.

This Restraining Order shall be effective for a period of twenty (20) days from receipt hereof.

Meantime, the respondents are further ordered to show cause on November 5, 2002 (Tuesday) at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon, why petitioners’ prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction should not be granted.2

On November 6, 2002, Atty. Masweng denied petitioners’ motion to dissolve the TRO, explaining that a TRO may be issued motu proprio where the matter is of extreme urgency and the applicant will suffer grave injustice and irreparable injury.  He further stated that petitioners failed to comply with the procedure laid down in Section 6, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court.

On November 12, 2002, Atty. Masweng issued an Order, the dispositive portion of which states:

WHEREFORE, a writ of preliminary injunction is hereby issued against the respondents, their agents, or persons acting for and in their behalves (sic), ordering them to refrain, cease and desist from implementing their fencing project during the pendancy (sic) of the above-entitled case in any portion of petitioners’ ancestral land claims within the Busol Watershed Reservation.  The lands being identified under Proclamation No. 15 as lot[s] ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘E’, ‘F’, ‘G’, ‘H’, and ‘J’, including the lands covered by Petitioners’ approved survey plans as follows: that land identified and plotted under Survey Plan No. B.L. FILE No. II-11836, September, 1916 surveyed for Gumangan; that land covered by PSD-52910, May, 1921, surveyed for Emily Kalomis; that land covered by survey plan II-11935 Amd, 1916, surveyed for Molintas; and that land covered by Survey Plan No. AP 7489, March 1916, surveyed for the heirs of Rafael.

The writ of preliminary injunction shall be effective and shall be enforced only upon petitioners’ compliance with the required injunctive bond of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) each in compliance with Section 3, R.A. 8975.3

Atty. Masweng ruled that the NCIP has jurisdiction over all claims and disputes involving rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and, in the exercise of its jurisdiction, may issue injunctive writs.  According to Atty. Masweng, the allegations in the verified petition show that private respondents invoked the provisions of Republic Act No. 8371, otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), when they sought to enjoin petitioners from fencing their ancestral lands within the Busol Watershed Reservation.  Petitioners’ fencing project violated Section 58 of the IPRA, which requires the prior written consent of the affected ICCs/IPs.  The NCIP therefore has authority to hear the petition filed by private respondents and to issue the injunctive writ.  As regards petitioners’ contention that the issuance of the TRO violated Presidential Decree No. 1818, Atty. Masweng applied the Decision of this Court in Malaga v. Penachos, Jr.,4 and held that:

[R]espondent’s project of fencing the Busol Watershed is not in the exercise of administrative discretion involving a very technical matter. This is so since the implementation of the fencing project would traverse along lands occupied by people who claim that they have a legal right over their lands.  The fence would actually cut across, divide, or segregate lands occupied by people.  The effect of it would fence in and fence out property claims.  In this case, petitioners invoke their constitutional rights to be protected against deprivation of property without due process of law and of taking private property without just compensation.  Such situations involve pure question of law.5

As regards the invocation of res judicata by petitioners, Atty. Masweng held that they failed to present copies of the Decisions supposedly rendered by the Regional Trial Court and the Supreme Court.

On November 29, 2002, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the above Order.  On June 20, 2003, Atty. Masweng denied said Motion on the ground that the same was filed out of time.

Petitioners filed before the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari, alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of Atty. Masweng in issuing the TRO and the writ of preliminary injunction.

On April 30, 2007, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision dismissing petitioners’ Petition for Certiorari.  The dispositive portion of the Decision is as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is DISMISSED and the assailed orders of public respondent AFFIRMED. Nevertheless, private respondents are hereby enjoined from (i) introducing constructions at the Busol Watershed and Forest Reservation and (ii) engaging in activities that degrade the resources therein until viable measures or programs for the maintenance, preservation and development of said reservation are adopted pursuant to Sec. 58 of Rep. Act No. 8371.6

The Court of Appeals ruled that since the petition before the NCIP involves the protection of private respondents’ rights to their ancestral domains in accordance with Section 7(b), (c) and (g)7 of the IPRA, the NCIP clearly has jurisdiction over the dispute pursuant to Section 66.  The Court of Appeals also upheld the conclusion of Atty. Masweng that the NCIP can issue injunctive writs as a principal relief against acts adversely affecting or infringing on the rights of ICCs or IPs, because “(t)o rule otherwise would render NCIP inutile in preventing acts committed in violation of the IPRA.”8

As regards petitioners’ allegations that government reservations such as the subject Busol Watershed cannot be the subject of ancestral domain claims, the Court of Appeals pointed out that Section 589 of the IPRA in fact mandates the full participation of ICCs/IPs in the maintenance, management, and development of ancestral domains or portions thereof that are necessary for critical watersheds.  The IPRA, thus, gives the ICCs/IPs responsibility to maintain, develop, protect, and conserve such areas with the full and effective assistance of government agencies.10

Despite ruling in favor of private respondents, the Court of Appeals nevertheless found merit in petitioners’ own application for injunction and observed that certain activities by private respondents without regard for environmental considerations could result in irreparable damage to the watershed and the ecosystem.  Thus, the Court of Appeals enjoined private respondents from introducing constructions at the Busol Watershed and from engaging in activities that degrade its resources, until viable measures or programs for the maintenance, preservation and development of said reservation are adopted pursuant to the aforementioned Section 58 of the IPRA.

Hence, the present Petition for Review wherein petitioners assert the following grounds:

1.  THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY AND PATENTLY ERRED IN SUSTAINING THE NCIP’S ISSUANCE OF A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION DESPITE CLEAR AND PATENT VIOLATION OF P.D. 1818, SUPREME COURT CIRCULAR NO. 68-94 AND SUPREME COURT ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR NO. 11-2000;

2. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY AND PATENTLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE ACT OF THE NCIP IN ISSUING A 20-DAYS TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER EX PARTE SANS THE MANDATORY NOTICE AND HEARING FOR THE ISSUANCE THEREOF;

3. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY AND PATENTLY ERRED IN SUSTAINING THE NCIP’S ISSUANCE OF A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION DESPITE ABSOLUTE ABSENCE OF CLEAR, UNMISTAKABLE AND POSIT[I]VE LEGAL RIGHTS ON THE PART OF THE APPLICANTS;

4.  THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY AND PATENTLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE NCIP HEARING OFFICER HAS JURISDICTION OVER A CASE OF INJUNCTION INVOLVING A GOVERNMENT INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT;

5.  THE COURT OF APPEALS PATENTLY AND GRAVELY ERRED IN BRUSHING ASIDE SECTION 78, A SPECIAL PROVISION OF REPUBLIC ACT 8371 WHICH EXCLUDES THE CITY OF BAGUIO FROM THE COVERAGE OF ANCESTRAL LAND CLAIMS APPLICATIONS;

6.  THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY AND PATENTLY ERRED IN UPHOLDING RULE XIII OF THE IMPLEMENTING RULES OF REPUBLIC ACT 8371, EVEN IF THE PROVISIONS OF SAID RULE XIII CLEARLY OVERSTEPPED AND EXCEEDED SECTION 78 OF R.A. 8371.11

TRO and Preliminary Injunction against
Government Infrastructure Projects 


The governing law as regards the prohibition to issue restraining orders and injunctions against government infrastructure projects is Republic Act No. 8975,12 which modified Presidential Decree No. 1818, the law cited by the parties, upon its effectivity on November 26, 2000.13  Section 9 of Republic Act No. 8975 provides:

Section 9. Repealing Clause. — All laws, decrees, including Presidential Decree Nos. 605, 1818 and Republic Act No. 7160, as amended, orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.

Thus, in GV Diversified International, Incorporated v. Court of Appeals,14 we ruled that Presidential Decree No. 1818 have been effectively superseded by Republic Act No. 8975.  The prohibition is thus now delineated in Section 3 of said latter law, which provides:

Section 3. Prohibition on the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Orders, Preliminary Injunctions and Preliminary Mandatory Injunctions. –  No court, except the Supreme Court, shall issue any temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against the government, or any of its subdivisions, officials or any person or entity, whether public or private, acting under the government’s direction, to restrain, prohibit or compel the following acts:

(a) Acquisition, clearance and development of the right-of-way and/or site or location of any national government project;

(b) Bidding or awarding of contract/project of the national government as defined under Section 2 hereof;

(c) Commencement, prosecution, execution, implementation, operation of any such contract or project;

(d) Termination or rescission of any such contract/project; and

(e) The undertaking or authorization of any other lawful activity necessary for such contract/project.

This prohibition shall apply to all cases, disputes or controversies instituted by a private party, including but not limited to cases filed by bidders or those claiming to have rights through such bidders involving such contract/project.  This prohibition shall not apply when the matter is of extreme urgency involving a constitutional issue, such that unless a temporary restraining order is issued, grave injustice and irreparable injury will arise.  The applicant shall file a bond, in an amount to be fixed by the court, which bond shall accrue in favor of the government if the court should finally decide that the applicant was not entitled to the relief sought.

If after due hearing the court finds that the award of the contract is null and void, the court may, if appropriate under the circumstances, award the contract to the qualified and winning bidder or order a rebidding of the same, without prejudice to any liability that the guilty party may incur under the existing laws. (Emphasis supplied.)

Should a judge violate the preceding section, Republic Act No. 8975 provides the following penalty:

Section 6.  Penal Sanction. — In addition to any civil and criminal liabilities he or she may incur under existing laws, any judge who shall issue a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction in violation of Section 3 hereof, shall suffer the penalty of suspension of at least sixty (60) days without pay. (Emphasis added.)

It is clear from the foregoing provisions that the prohibition covers only judges, and does not apply to the NCIP or its hearing officers.  In this respect, Republic Act No. 8975 conforms to the coverage of Presidential Decree No. 60515 and Presidential Decree No. 1818,16 both of which enjoin only the courts.  Accordingly, we cannot nullify the assailed Orders on the ground of violation of said laws.

The Court’s Previous Decision in
G.R. No. 180206 


On February 4, 2009, this Court promulgated its Decision in G.R. No. 180206, a suit which involved several of the parties in the case at bar.  In G.R. No. 180206, the City Mayor of Baguio City issued three Demolition Orders with respect to allegedly illegal structures constructed by private respondents therein on a portion of the Busol Forest Reservation.  Private respondents filed a Petition for Injunction with the NCIP.  Atty. Masweng issued two temporary restraining orders directing the City Government of Baguio to refrain from enforcing said Demolition Orders and subsequently granted private respondents’ application for a preliminary injunction.  The Court of Appeals, acting on petitioners’ Petition for Certiorari, affirmed the temporary restraining orders and the writ of preliminary injunction.

This Court then upheld the jurisdiction of the NCIP on the basis of the allegations in private respondents’ Petition for Injunction.  It was similarly claimed in said Petition for Injunction that private respondents were descendants of Molintas and Gumangan whose claims over the portions of the Busol Watershed Reservation had been recognized by Proclamation No. 15.  This Court thus ruled in G.R. No. 180206 that the nature of the action clearly qualify it as a dispute or controversy over ancestral lands/domains of the ICCs/IPs.17  On the basis of Section 69(d)18 of the IPRA and Section 82, Rule XV19 of NCIP Administrative Circular No. 1-03, the NCIP may issue temporary restraining orders and writs of injunction without any prohibition against the issuance of the writ when the main action is for injunction.20

On petitioners’ argument that the City of Baguio is exempt from the provisions of the IPRA and, consequently, the jurisdiction of the NCIP, this Court ruled in G.R. No. 180206 that said exemption cannot ipso facto be deduced from Section 7821 of the IPRA because the law concedes the validity of prior land rights recognized or acquired through any process before its effectivity.22

Lastly, however, this Court ruled that although the NCIP has the authority to issue temporary restraining orders and writs of injunction, it was not convinced that private respondents were entitled to the relief granted by the Commission.23  Proclamation No. 15 does not appear to be a definitive recognition of private respondents’ ancestral land claim, as it merely identifies the Molintas and Gumangan families as claimants of a portion of the Busol Forest Reservation, but does not acknowledge vested rights over the same.24  Since it is required before the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction that claimants show the existence of a right to be protected, this Court, in G.R. No. 180206, ultimately granted the petition of the City Government of Baguio and set aside the writ of preliminary injunction issued therein.

In the case at bar, petitioners and private respondents present the very same arguments and counter-arguments with respect to the writ of injunction against the fencing of the Busol Watershed Reservation.  The same legal issues are thus being litigated in G.R. No. 180206 and in the case at bar, except that different writs of injunction are being assailed.  In both cases, petitioners claim (1) that Atty. Masweng is prohibited from issuing temporary restraining orders and writs of preliminary injunction against government infrastructure projects; (2) that Baguio City is beyond the ambit of the IPRA; and (3) that private respondents have not shown a clear right to be protected.  Private respondents, on the other hand, presented the same allegations in their Petition for Injunction, particularly the alleged recognition made under Proclamation No. 15 in favor of their ancestors.  While res judicata does not apply on account of the different subject matters of the case at bar and G.R. No. 180206 (they assail different writs of injunction, albeit issued by the same hearing officer), we are constrained by the principle of stare decisis to grant the instant petition.  The Court explained the principle of stare decisis25 in Ting v. Velez-Ting26:

The principle of stare decisis enjoins adherence by lower courts to doctrinal rules established by this Court in its final decisions. It is based on the principle that once a question of law has been examined and decided, it should be deemed settled and closed to further argument. Basically, it is a bar to any attempt to relitigate the same issues, necessary for two simple reasons: economy and stability. In our jurisdiction, the principle is entrenched in Article 8 of the Civil Code. (Citations omitted.)

We have also previously held that “[u]nder the doctrine of stare decisis, once a court has laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases where the facts are substantially the same.”27

However, even though the principal action in the case at bar is denominated as a petition for injunction, the relief prayed for and granted by the NCIP partakes of the nature of a preliminary injunction in the sense that its effectivity would cease the moment the NCIP issues its decision in an appropriate action.  The conclusions of this Court in both the case at bar and that in G.R. No. 180206 as regards private respondents’ ancestral land claim should therefore be considered provisional, as they are based merely on the allegations in the complaint or petition and not on evidence adduced in a full-blown proceeding on the merits by the proper tribunal.  Private respondents are therefore not barred from proving their alleged ancestral domain claim in the appropriate proceeding, despite the denial of the temporary injunctive relief prayed for.

WHEREFORE, the present Petition for Review on Certiorari is hereby GRANTED.  The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 78570 dated April 30, 2007 and December 11, 2007, respectively, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Bersamin, Villarama, Jr., and Reyes, JJ., concur.

Endnotes:


1Rollo, pp. 48-63; penned by Associate Justice Edgardo P. Cruz with Associate Justices Fernanda Lampas Peralta and Normandie B. Pizarro, concurring.

2 Id. at 93.

3 CA rollo, pp. 38-39.

4 G.R. No. 86695, September 3, 1992, 213 SCRA 516.

5 CA rollo, p. 35.

6Rollo, p. 62.

7 Section 7. Rights to Ancestral Domains. – The rights of ownership and possession of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains shall be recognized and protected.  Such rights shall include:
x x x x

b) Right to Develop Lands and Natural Resources. – Subject to Section 56 hereof, right to develop, control and use lands and territories traditionally occupied, owned, or used; to manage and conserve natural resources within the territories and uphold the responsibilities for future generations; to benefit and share the profits from allocation and utilization of the natural resources found therein; the right to negotiate the terms and conditions for the exploration of natural resources in the areas for the purpose of ensuring ecological, environmental protection and the conservation measures, pursuant to national and customary laws; the right to an informed and intelligent participation in the formulation and implementation of any project, government or private, that will affect or impact upon the ancestral domains and to receive just and fair compensation for any damages which they may sustain as a result of the project; and the right to effective measures by the government to prevent any interference with, alienation and encroachment upon these rights;

c) Right to Stay in the Territories. – The right to stay in the territory and not to be removed therefrom.  No ICCs/IPs will be relocated without their free and prior informed consent, nor through any means other than eminent domain.  Where relocation is considered necessary as an exceptional measure, such relocation shall take place only with the free and prior informed consent of the ICCs/IPs concerned and whenever possible, they shall be guaranteed the right to return to their ancestral domains, as soon as the grounds for relocation cease to exist.  When such return is not possible, as determined by agreement or through appropriate procedures, ICCs/IPs shall be provided in all possible cases with lands of quality and legal status at least equal to that of the land previously occupied by them, suitable to provide for their present needs and future development.  Persons thus relocated shall likewise be fully compensated for any resulting loss or injury;

x x x x

g)  Right to Claim Parts of Reservations. - The right to claim parts of the ancestral domains which have been reserved for various purposes, except those reserved and intended for common and public welfare and service[.]
8Rollo, p. 59.

9 Section 58. Environmental Considerations. - Ancestral domains or portions thereof, which are found to be necessary for critical watersheds, mangroves, wildlife sanctuaries, wilderness, protected areas, forest cover, or reforestation as determined by appropriate agencies with the full participation of the ICCs/IPs concerned shall be maintained, managed and developed for such purposes.  The ICCs/IPs concerned shall be given the responsibility to maintain, develop, protect and conserve such areas with the full and effective assistance of government agencies.  Should the ICCs/IPs decide to transfer the responsibility over the areas, said decision must be made in writing.  The consent of the ICCs/IPs should be arrived at in accordance with its customary laws without prejudice to the basic requirements of existing laws on free and prior informed consent: Provided, That the transfer shall be temporary and will ultimately revert to the ICCs/IPs in accordance with a program for technology transfer: Provided, further, That no ICCs/IPs shall be displaced or relocated for the  purpose enumerated under this section without the written consent of the specific persons authorized to give consent.

10Rollo, p. 61.

11 Id. at 20-21.

12 AN ACT TO ENSURE THE EXPEDITIOUS IMPLEMENTATION AND COMPLETION OF GOVERNMENT INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS BY PROHIBITING LOWER COURTS FROM ISSUING TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS, PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIONS OR PRELIMINARY MANDATORY INJUNCTIONS, PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

13 Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8975 provides that the Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.  Republic Act No. 8975 was published in Malaya and the Manila Bulletin on November 11, 2000.

14 532 Phil. 296, 302 (2006).

15 Section 1.  No court of the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction in any case involving or growing out of the issuance, approval or disapproval, revocation or suspension of, or any action whatsoever by the proper administrative official or body on concessions, licences, permits, patents, or public grants of any kind in connection with the disposition, exploitation, utilization, exploration and/or development of the natural resources of the Philippines.

16 Section 1.  No court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order, preliminary injunction, or preliminary mandatory injunction in any case, dispute, or controversy involving an infrastructure project, or a mining, fishery, forest or other natural resource development projects of the government, or any public utility operated by the government, including among others public utilities for the transport of the goods or commodities, stevedoring and arrastre contracts, to prohibit any person or persons, entity or governmental official from proceeding with, or continuing the execution or implementation of any such project, or the operation of such public utility, or pursuing any lawful activity necessary for such execution, implementation or operation.

17City Government of Baguio City v. Masweng, G.R. No. 180206, February 4, 2009, 578 SCRA 88, 96.

18 Section 69. Quasi-Judicial Powers of the NCIP. – The NCIP shall have the power and authority:
x x x x

d) To enjoin any or all acts involving or arising from any case pending before it which, if not restrained forthwith, may cause grave or irreparable damage to any of the parties to the case or seriously affect social or economic activity.
19 Section 82.  Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order. – A writ of preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order may be granted by the Commission pursuant to the provisions of Sections 59 and 69 of R.A. 8371 when it is established, on the basis of sworn allegations in a petition, that the acts complained of involving or arising from any case, if not restrained forthwith, may cause grave or irreparable damage or injury to any of the parties, or seriously affect social or economic activity.  This power may also be exercised by RHOs in cases pending before them in order to preserve the rights of the parties.

20City Government of Baguio City v. Masweng, supra note 17 at 97-98.

21 Section 78. Special Provision. – The City of Baguio shall remain to be governed by its Charter and all lands proclaimed as part of its townsite reservation shall remain as such until otherwise reclassified by appropriate legislation: Provided, That prior land rights and titles recognized and/or acquired through any judicial, administrative or other processes before the effectivity of this Act shall remain valid: Provided, further, That this provision shall not apply to any territory which becomes part of the City of Baguio after the effectivity of this Act.

22City Government of Baguio City v. Masweng, supra note 17 at 98-99.

23 Id. at 100.

24 Id. at 99-100.

25Stare decisis et non quieta movere (Stand by the decision and disturb not what is settled).

26 G.R. No. 166562, March 31, 2009, 582 SCRA 694, 704-705.

27Tala Realty Services Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 130088, April 7, 2009, 584 SCRA 63, 79.
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