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ATOK-BIG WEDGE MINING COMPANY, INC.

vs CA
G.R. No. 88883 January 18, 1991

FACTS:

Fredia Mineral claim in Tuding, Itogon, Benguet, was sold by A.I. Reynolds to
Big Wedge Mining Company on November 2, 1931. Since then petitioner Atok
has been in continuous and exclusive ownership and possession of said claim up to
the present .
On the other hand, private respondent Liwan Consi has a lot below the land of a
at the same place. He constructed a house thereon sometime in 1964, and he was
not prohibited from doing so.
After investigation by Atok’s security guard and a report to the police, on March
1, 1984, Atok filed a complaint for forcible entry and detainer against Liwan
Consi , which was dismissed. Petitioner ATOK appealed to RTC, which was
granted.
In a petition for review filed by Liwan Consi with the CA, the CA rendered its
decision dismissing the subject forcible entry action, and further rule in part that
both Consi and ATOK are of equal footing with regards to the subject lot,
holding possessory titles to the land. The petitioner through its long term
occupancy while respondent mining firm being the claim locator and applicant for
lease on the mineral claim.

ISSUE:
Whether or not an individual's long term occupation of land of the public domain
vests him with such rights over the same as to defeat the rights of the owner of
that claim.

HELD:
The perfection of the mining claim converted the property to mineral land and
under the laws then in force removed it from the public domain. By such act, the
locators acquired exclusive rights over the land, against even the government,
without need of any further act such as the purchase of the land or obtaining of a
patent over it. As the land had become the private property of the locators, they
had the right to transfer the same, as they did, to Benguet and Atok .
It is, therefore, evident that Benguet and Atok have exclusive rights to the
property in question by virtue of their respective mining claims which they
validly acquired. The land was not and could not have been transferred to the
private respondents by virtue of acquisitive prescription. Moreover, since the
subject lot is mineral land, private respondent's possession of the subject lot no
matter how long did not confer upon him possessory rights over the same.
Since 1931 up to the present, petitioner ATOK has been in continuous and
exclusive possession of the Fredia mineral claim while private respondent's
possession started only sometime in 1964. Clearly, ATOK has superior
possessory rights than private respondent, Liwan Consi, the former being "the
one longer in possession."

MARCOS B. COMILANG vs. HON. GENEROSO A. BUENDIAG.R. No. L-


24757 October 25, 1967F
acts:

Nicolas Comilang staked a mining claim over a parcel of land in Tuding,
Benguet,. In 1918, Macario Comilang and his relatives also settled on a portion of
the land with an area of about one(1) hectare, for residential and agricultural
purposes.
A claim over the said property was filed, but the court dismissed both claims of
ownership of petitioner and respondent declaring the area as a public land, but
recognized the possession of Marcos Comilang over 1½hectares which was later
on levied and sold at a public auction to spouses Jose Coloma and Eugenia
Rumbao

A certain Abdon Delenela and his co-heirs were awarded one-half in undivided
share in the mineral claim. Then, he redeemed and bought from the
Coloma spouses the claim to the 1-1/2 hectares of landacquired under the
certificate of sale. A writ of possession was issued in their favor.

In a petition for certiorari with PI filed in the RTC of Baguio, the wife of Marcos q
uestioned the power of municipal court to issue said writ of possession The court
rendered a decision in said case, holding that the writ of possession issued by the
respondent Municipal Judge was within his competence and jurisdiction. On
appeal,the decision became final.

Issue: W/N the sale of the mineral rights includes the surface ground of the land
in question
Held: No, the right to possess or own the surface ground is separate and distinct
from the mineral rights over the same land. And when the application for lode
patent to the mineral claim was prosecuted in the Bureau of Mines, the said
applicationcould not have legally included the
surface ground sold to another in the execution sale. Consequently, We have to
declare that the patent procured thereunder, at least with respect to the1-½
hectares sold in execution pertains only to the mineral right and does not include
the surfaceground of the land in question.

Apex Mining Co., Inc. v. Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corp. (2006)

Facts:The case involves the “Diwalwal Gold Rush Area” (Diwalwal), a rich tract
of mineral landlocated inside the Agusan-Davao-Surigao Forest Reserve in Davao
del Norte and Davao Oriental. Sincethe early 1980s, Diwalwal has been stormed
by conflicts brought about by numerous mining claims over it.On March
10, 1986, Marcopper Mining Corporation (MMC) was granted
an Exploration Permit(EP 133) by the Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences
(BMG). When it reached the SC in 1991, the Courtruled against Apex holding that
the area is a forest reserve and thus it should have applied for a permit to prospect
with the BFD. On February 16 1994,
MMC assigned all its rights to EP 133 to Southeast Mindanao GoldMining
Corporation (SEM).
During the pendency of the case, DENR AO No. 2002-18 was issued declaring
anemergency situation in the Diwalwal Gold Rush Area and ordering the
stoppage of all miningoperations therein.

Issues:1.

W/N EP 133 and its subsequent transfer to SEM is valid.

2. Whether SEM acquired a vested right over the disputed area, which
constitutes a property right protected by the Constitution.

Held/Ratio:

PD 463 requires approval of Secretary of DENR.


PD 463 (Mineral ResourcesDevelopment Decree), which is the governing law
when the assignment was executed,explicitly requires that the transfer or
assignment of mining rights, including the right toexplore a mining area, must be
with the prior approval of the Secretary of DENR. Such is not present in this case.

SEM did not acquire vested right over the disputed area because its supposed
right was extinguished by the expiration of its exploration permit and by its
violation of the condition prohibiting the assignment of EP 133 by MMC to
SEM. In addition, even assuming that SEM has a valid exploration permit,
such is a mere license that can be withdrawn by the State. In fact, the same
has been withdrawn by the issuance of Proclamation No. 297, which places
the disputed area under the full control of the State through the Executive
Department;
G.R. No. 135190. April 3, 2002

SOUTHEAST MINDANAO GOLD MINING CORPORATION, vs. BALITE PORTAL MINING


COOPERATIVE.

FACTS:

The instant case involves a rich tract of mineral land situated in the Agusan-Davao-Surigao
Forest Reserve known as the “Diwalwal Gold Rush Area.”
On March 10, 1988, Marcopper Mining Corporation (Marcopper) was granted
Exploration Permit No. 133 (EP No. 133) over 4,491 hectares of land, which included the hotly-
contested Diwalwal area. Not long thereafter, Congress enacted on June 27, 1991 Republic Act
No. 7076, or the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act. The law established a People’s Small-Scale
Mining Program to be implemented by the Secretary of the DENR. On June 24, 1997, the
DENR Secretary issued Memorandum Order No. 97-03 which directs the DENR to study
thoroughly and exhaustively the option of direct state utilization of the mineral resources in the
Diwalwal Gold-Rush Area.

Petitioner filed for the nullification of the above-quoted Memorandum Order No. 97-03
on the ground that the “direct state utilization” espoused therein would effectively impair its
vested rights under EP No. 133. This was dismissed by the CA. It ruled that the DENR
Secretary did not abuse his discretion in issuing Memorandum Order No. 97-03 since the same
was merely a directive to conduct studies on the various options available to the government for
solving the Diwalwal conflict.

ISSUE:

Whether the Court of Appeals erred when it concluded that the assailed memorandum
order did not adopt the “direct state utilization scheme” in resolving the Diwalwal dispute.

Held:

No, We agree with the Court of Appeals’ ruling that the challenged MO 97-03 did not
conclusively adopt “direct state utilization” as a policy in resolving the Diwalwal dispute. The
terms of the memorandum clearly indicate that what was directed thereunder was merely a
study of this option and nothing else. Contrary to petitioner’s contention, it did not grant any
management/operating or profit-sharing agreement to small-scale miners or to any party, for
that matter, but simply instructed the DENR officials concerned to undertake studies to
determine its feasibility.

G.R. No. L-17597 February 7, 1922

McDaniel vs Apacible

Facts:

On June 7, 1916, the petitioner entered upon and located, three petroleum
placer mineral claims on an unoccupied public land in the municipality of
San Narciso, Province of Tayabas, Philippine Islands, and continued to drill
the same;

On June 18, 1921, the respondent Juan Cuisia made application to the
respondent Galicano Apacible, as Secretary of Agriculture and Natural
Resources, over the same properties, which was granted under and by
virtue of the supposed authority of Act No. 2932,;

the petitioner protested in writing to the respondent Galicano Apacible


against the inclusion in the said lease of the said three mineral claims
located and held by him, but the same was denied.

Then, petitioner contends that said Act No. 2932, in so far as it purports to
declare open to lease, lands containing petroleum oil on which mineral
claims have been validly located and held, is void and unconstitutional, in
that it deprives the petitioner of his property without due process of law and
without compensation,

Issue: Whether or not Act 2932 is constitutional

Held: No, the owner of a perfected valid appropriation of public mineral


lands is entitled to the exclusive possession and enjoyment against every
one, including the Government itself. Where there is a valid and perfected
location of a mining claim, the area becomes segregated from the public
domain and the property of the locator.

Even though petitioner has not complied with the requirements set by law,
it was held that even without a patent, the possessory right of a qualified
locator after discovery of minerals upon the claim is a property right in the
fullest sense, unaffected by the fact that the paramount title to the land is in
the Government, and it is capable of transfer by conveyance, inheritance,
or devise.

The discovery of minerals in the ground by one who has a valid mineral
location perfects his claim and his location not only against third
person, but also against the Government.

Thus, petitioner had acquired a property right in said claims, and said Act
No. 2932, which deprives him of such right, without due process of law, is
unconstitutional and void.