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RULE 12 CUSTODY AND DISPOSITION OF SEIZED ITEMS, EQUIPMENT, PARAPHERNALIA,

CONVEYANCES AND INSTRUMENTS

AUGUSTUS L. MOMONGAN, Regional Director, Department of Environment and


Natural Resources, Region VIII, Tacloban City,
vs.
JUDGE RAFAEL B. OMIPON, 6th Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Hinunangan Silago,
Southern Leyte,

PONENTE: ROMERO, J.:

The confiscation proceedings under AO No. 59 is


different from the confiscation under the Revised penal code" which is an
additional penalty imposed in the event of conviction. despite the order of release "the
truck can be seized again either by filing a motion
for reinvestigation and motion to include the truck and the driver as co-accused which
complainant has done as manifested before the lower court or by enforcing AO No. 59.
Section thereof categorically states that the confiscation of the conveyance under these
regulations shall be without prejudice to any criminal action which shall be filed against
the owner thereof or any person who used the conveyance in the commission of
the offense.

FACTS

Police officers of the Municipality of Hinunangan, Southern Leyte apprehended Dionisio


Golpe while he was driving his truck loaded with illegally cut lumber. The truck and logs
were impounded.

A complaint was filed against Basilio Cabig, the alleged owner of the logs. After
conducting the preliminary investigation, respondent Judge Rafael B. Omipon found that
a prima facie case exists against Mr. Cabig but he ordered the release of the truck
inasmuch as the owner/driver, Mr. Golpe, was not charged in the complaint.

Regional Director Augustus L. Momongan of the DENR filed the instant complaint against
respondent Judge alleging that his order releasing the truck used in the transport of
illegally cut forest products violated Presidential Decree 705, as amended by Executive
Order No. 277, Section 68 and 68-A 1and Administrative Order No. 59, Series of 1990. He
claims that respondent Judge has no authority to order the release of the truck despite
the non-inclusion of Mr. Golpe in the complaint.

In his comment, respondent Judge explained that after conducting the preliminary
investigation, he found that Golpe, the owner of the truck, is principally engaged in the
hauling of sand and gravel and the delivery of hollow blocks. On his way home, he met
his friend Cabig who requested him to load sliced lumber and deliver the same at Brgy.
Lungsod-daan, Hinundayan to be used for the construction of a barangay high school
building. They were apprehended when the truck had a flat tire. Both the lumber and the
truck were ordered deposited at the police station of Hinunangan.

The Memorandum of the Office of the Court Administrator recommended that a formal
investigation be conducted. In the Resolution, the Court resolved to refer the case to
Acting Executive Judge Leandro T. Loyao, Jr, for investigation, report and
recommendation, within sixty (60) days from receipt of the records.
During the first two hearing dates, complainant was unable to attend but sent his
representatives, DENR lawyer Constantino Esber and legal assistant Romeo Gulong.
Respondent Judge appeared with his counsel. However, on the third hearing date,
respondent Judge failed to appear as he suffered a stroke and was hospitalized.

Thereafter, DENR counsel Esber manifested that their office has filed a motion for
reinvestigation and for the turnover of the jeep to the PNP and subsequently, to the
DENR.

ISSUE

Whether Judge Omipon has the authority to release said truck and thus be free from any
disciplinary action.

RULING

Yes, Judge Omipon has the authority to release the truck.

We find respondent Judge's order to release the truck owned and driven by Mr. Dionisio
Golpe legally justifiable, hence, he is not subject to any disciplinary sanction.

In this case, the truck, though used to transport the illegally cut lumber, cannot be
confiscated and forfeited in the event accused therein be convicted because the truck
owner/driver, Mr. Dionisio Golpe was not indicted. Hence, there was no justification for
respondent Judge not to release the truck

We do not find that when respondent Judge released the truck after he conducted the
preliminary investigation and satisfied himself that there was no reason to continue
keeping the truck, he violated Pres. Decree No. 705 and Adm. Order No. 59. The
confiscation proceedings under Adm. Order No. 59 6 is different from the confiscation
under the Revised Penal Code, which is an additional penalty imposed in the event of
conviction. Despite the order of release, the truck can be seized again either by filing a
motion for reinvestigation and motion to include the truck owner/driver, as co-accused,
which complainant has done as manifested before the lower court or by enforcing Adm.
Order No. 59. Section 12 thereof categorically states that "[t]he confiscation of the
conveyance under these regulations shall be without prejudice to any criminal action
which shall be filed against the owner thereof or any person who used the conveyance in
the commission of the offense." There being no mandatory duty on the part of
respondent Judge to turn over the truck, he should not be visited with disciplinary
sanction when he did not refer the same to the DENR field office in San Juan, Southern
Leyte.

SEA LION FISHING CORPORATION VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES


Facts

In response to fishermen's report of poaching off Mangsee Island in Balabac, Palawan, a


combined team of Philippine Marines, Coast Guard and barangay officials conducted search and
seizure operations therein. There they found F/V Sea Lion anchored three nautical miles
northwest of Mangsee Island. Beside it were five boats and a long fishing net already spread
over the water. The team boarded the vessel and apprehended her captain, a Filipino, and a
crew composed of three Filipinos and three Chinese. Also arrested were 17 Chinese fishermen
aboard F/V Sea Lion.

Various charges were thereafter filed as follows: (1) Violation of Section 97 [7] of Republic Act (RA)
No. 8550[8] against all those arrested, docketed as I.S. No. 2004-032; (2) Violation of Section
90[9]of the same law against the captain of F/V Sea Lion, the Chief Engineer, and the President of
the corporation which owned said vessel, docketed as I.S. No. 2004-061; and (3) Violation of
Section 27(a) and (f)[10] of RA 9147[11] and of Section 87[12] of RA 8550 against all those arrested
and the President of the corporation which owned the vessel, respectively docketed as I.S. Nos.
2004-68, 2004-69, and 2004-70.

Ruling of the Provincial Prosecutor

While the Provincial Prosecutor of Palawan dismissed I.S. Nos. 2004-61, 2004-68 and 2004-69, he
nevertheless found probable cause for the remaining charges [13] but only against the 17 Chinese
fishermen.[14] This was after it was found out that the crew of F/V Sea Lion did not assent to the
illegal acts of said 17 Chinese fishermen who were rescued by the crew of the F/V Sea Lion from
a distressed Chinese vessel. The prosecutor concluded that the crew, unarmed, outnumbered
and hampered by language barrier, acted only out of uncontrollable fear of imminent danger to
their lives and property which hindered them from asserting their authority over these Chinese
nationals. Accordingly, corresponding Informations against the 17 Chinese fishermen were filed
in court.

With the crew of F/V Sea Lion now exculpated, petitioner Sea Lion Fishing Corporation filed before
the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor an Urgent Motion for Release of Evidence [15] alleging that it
owns the vessel. Said Office thus issued a Resolution[16] dated August 25, 2004, viz:

Petitioner, however, failed to act in accordance with said Resolutions.

The Chinese nationals entered separate pleas of "not guilty" for both offenses. Later, however, in
Criminal Case No. 18965, they changed their pleas from "not guilty" to "guilty" for the lesser
offense of Violation of Section 88, sub-paragraph (3) of RA 8550. Hence, they were accordingly
declared guilty of said lesser offense in a Sentence by RTC/

On January 10, 2006, the CA promulgated its assailed Decision denying the petition.
Thus, petitioner filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari raising the sole issue of whether the
confiscation of F/V Sea Lion was valid.[33]

Petitioner contends that F/V Sea Lion should be released to it because it is the registered owner
of said vessel and her captain and crew members were not among those accused of and
convicted in Criminal Case Nos. 18965 and 19422. To buttress its contention, petitioner invokes
Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code

Such proceeds and instruments or tools shall be confiscated and forfeited in favor of the
Government, unless they be the property of a third person not liable for the offense,
but those articles which are not subject of lawful commerce shall be destroyed. (Emphasis
supplied.)

Petitioner also claims that it was denied its right to due process of law when it was not notified of
the judicial proceedings relative to the confiscation of the fishing vessel. It argues that such
notification was necessary considering that the provincial prosecutor was duly informed of its
claim of ownership of the F/V Sea Lion.

On the other hand, respondent People of the Philippines through the Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG) argues that since the 17 Chinese nationals were charged with violations of the
provisions of RA 8550, a special law, Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code does not apply. This is
in view of Article 10 of said Code which specifically declares that acts punishable by special laws
are not subject to the provisions of the Revised Penal Code. They are only supplementary to
such laws unless the latter should specifically provide the contrary. Hence, the forfeiture and
confiscation of the fishing vessel under RA 8550 are different from the forfeiture and confiscation
under the Revised Penal Code which are additional penalties imposed in the event of conviction.
And, since RA 8550 provides that the vessel used in connection with or in direct violation of the
provisions of RA 8550 shall be subjected to forfeiture in favor of the government without mention
of any distinction as to who owns the vessel, the forfeiture of F/V Sea Lion was proper.

Issue: W/N the confiscation of F/V Sea Lion was valid.

Ruling Yes.
We note, at the outset, that petitioner pursued an incorrect remedy when it sought recourse
before the CA. The filing of a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court before the
CA is limited only to the correction of errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion on the
part of the trial court.[34] "A special civil action for certiorari is an independent action, raising the
question of jurisdiction where the tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial
functions has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction." [35] The CA did not find either lack or error of
jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion

We also agree with the CA's observation that the trial court impliedly recognized petitioner's right
to intervene when it pronounced that petitioner failed to exercise its right to claim ownership of
the F/V Sea Lion. This being the case, petitioner should have filed an appeal instead of a petition
for certiorari before the CA. Under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, certiorari is unavailing when an
appeal is the plain, speedy, and adequate remedy

Petitioner's claim of ownership of F/V Sea Lion is not supported by any proof on record. The only
document on record that is relevant in this regard is a request for the release of the F/V Sea Lion
based on petitioner's alleged ownership filed with the Provincial Prosecutor. While the latter
authorized the release of said fishing vessel, this was conditioned upon petitioner's submission of
a proof of ownership and the filing of a bond, with which petitioner failed to comply. Even when
judicial proceedings commenced, nothing was heard from the petitioner. No motion for
intervention or any manifestation came from petitioner's end during the period of arraignment
up to the rendition of sentence. While petitioner later explained before the CA that its inaction
was brought about by its inability to put up the required bond due to financial difficulties, same is
still not a sufficient justification for it to deliberately not act at all.

Significantly, the lack of any factual basis for the third-party claim of ownership was not cured at
all when the petitioner filed its motion for reconsideration before the trial court. At that point,
evidence should have been adduced to support the petitioner's claim (so that a new trial or
reopening of the trial on the confiscation aspect should have been prayed for, rather than a mere
motion for reconsideration.) There is firstly the factual issue - to be proved by proper evidence in
order to be properly considered by the court - that the vessel is owned by a third party other
than the accused. Article 45 required too that proof be adduced that the third party is not liable
for the offense. After the admission by the accused through their guilty plea that the vessel had
been used in the commission of a crime, we believe and so hold that this additional Article 45
requirement cannot be simply inferred from the mere fact that the alleged owner is not charged
in the same case before the court.[43]

Accordingly, petitioner's recourse to a motion for reconsideration was not proper. Although it
attached a copy of an alleged Certificate of Registration, the same cannot be considered by the
trial court because it has not been formally offered, pursuant to Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules
of Court. As suggested by the CA, petitioner should have instead moved for a new trial or
reopening of the trial on the confiscation aspect, rather than a mere motion for reconsideration.
[44]

Significantly, the lack of any factual basis for the third-party claim of ownership was not cured at
all when the petitioner filed its motion for reconsideration before the trial court. At that point,
evidence should have been adduced to support the petitioner's claim (so that a new trial or
reopening of the trial on the confiscation aspect should have been prayed for, rather than a mere
motion for reconsideration.) There is firstly the factual issue - to be proved by proper evidence in
order to be properly considered by the court - that the vessel is owned by a third party other
than the accused. Article 45 required too that proof be adduced that the third party is not liable
for the offense. After the admission by the accused through their guilty plea that the vessel had
been used in the commission of a crime, we believe and so hold that this additional Article 45
requirement cannot be simply inferred from the mere fact that the alleged owner is not charged
in the same case before the court.

In fine, it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that F/V Sea Lion was used by the 17
Chinese fishermen in the commission of the crimes. On the other hand, petitioner presented no
evidence at all to support its claim of ownership of F/V Sea Lion. Therefore, the forfeiture of F/V
Sea Lion in favor of the government was proper.

SPECIAL PROSECUTOR ROMEO B. SENSON, complainant, vs. JUDGE HERIBERTO M. PANGILINAN,


MTCC, PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, respondent.
VITUG, J.:

FACTS:
The administrative complaint against Judge Heriberto M. Pangilinan relates to an order he has issued,
authorizing, prior to the arraignment of the accused and the pre-trial of a criminal case, the release of
seized evidence to movants who claim ownership thereof.
Several persons were apprehended for violation of Section 86 of Republic Act No. 8550, also known as The
Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 . The items seized from those arrested included (a) 1 unit fish net, (b) 36
units lights (300 watts), (c) 1 unit light (500 watts), (d) 1 unit buoy, (e) 7 containers, (f) 7 plastic container
boxes, (g) 4 styropore boxes, and (h) 10 boxes of fish. Three days later, Danilo Alayon and Norma Villarosa,
asserting to be the co-owners of the M/B King Fisher that was used in the illegal fishing activity, filed an
Urgent Motion for Custody of Fishing Net, alleging that the fish net which costs no less than P600,000.00
was left unattended at the beach exposed to the elements and movements of the sea which could cause
its early deterioration and ultimate loss. Respondent Judge, despite the vigorous objection of the public
prosecutor, granted the motion in his order.
The public prosecutor filed, on 24 March 2000, a motion for reconsideration. Instead of deciding the
pending motion, respondent Judge deferred its resolution until after the arraignment of the accused and
the pretrial of the case would have been had.[
Special Prosecutor Romeo B. Senson filed an administrative complaint against respondent Judge for Gross
Misconduct with Prayer for Preventive Suspension asseverating that the release of the evidence had
exposed said evidence to tampering and that the deferment of the resolution of the motion for
reconsideration virtually resulted in the undue archive of the case.
In his comment, respondent contended that Republic Act No. 8550, the law under which the accused were
charged with having transgressed, did not provide for the seizure of the fishing paraphernalia pending trial
and that the prosecution still could prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt even without
the evidence being presented since it had sufficient witnesses for the purpose.

Isse: WON the contention of the respondent was correct


Held: No.
The attempt at justification must fail.
As the Office of the Court Administrator has so correctly pointed out, while it can be argued that the
remedy is judicial in nature or that the case involves an error in judgment, Rule 127, Section 12, of the
Rules of Court (however), is much too elementary to be brushed aside (and that) x x x the existence of a
judicial remedy does not (necessarily) preclude resort to an administrative remedy. Nowhere in the statute
would it appear that the seizure of the items, alleged to have been used in the illegal fishing activity, is
proscribed by it. Evidently, the seizure of the fishing paraphernalia has been made as being an incident to
a lawful arrest. Rule 127, Section 12, of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 12. Search incident to lawful arrest.- A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous
weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search
warrant.
The seized items ordered released by respondent Judge have not yet been offered in evidence; hence, the
prosecution, not the court, could still be deemed to be in the legal custody and to have the responsibility
over such items. The pronouncement by the Court in Vlasons Enterprises Corporation vs. Court of Appeal is
instructive; viz:
x x x The outcome of the criminal action will dictate the disposition of the seized property. If found to be
contraband, i.e., articles the possession of which, without more, constitutes a crime and the repossession
of which would subject defendant to criminal penalties and frustrate the express policy against the
possession of such objects, they will not be returned, but shall be confiscated in favor of the State or
destroyed, as the case may be. If not contraband, the property shall be returned without undue delay to
the person who appears from the evidence to be the owner or rightful possessor.
While, verily, respondent Judge has committed a fundamental error, no proof, however, is extant or has
been proffered to also establish that he has acted with malice or in bad faith.

FACTORAN V. CA
FACTS:

On August 9, 1988 two police officers of Marikina Police Station, Sub-Station III, intercepted a six-wheeler
truck carrying 4,000 board feet of narra lumber as it was cruising along Marcos Highway. They
apprehended the truck driver, private respondent Jesus Sy, and brought the truck and its cargo to the
Personnel Investigation Committee/Special Actions and Investigation Division (PIC/SAID) of DENR Office in
Quezon City. There, petitioner Atty. Vicente Robles of the PIC/SAID investigated them, and discovered the
discrepancies in the documentation of the narra lumber.

What were declared in the documents were narra flitches, while the cargo of the truck consisted of narra
lumber. In the documents, the plate numbers of the truck supposed to carry the cargo bear the numbers
BAX-404, PEC-492 or NSN-267, while the plate of the truck apprehended is NVT-881. Considering that the
cargo is lumber, the transport should have been accompanied by a Certificate of Lumber Origin, scale
sheet of said lumber and not by a Certificate of Timber Origin. The Log Sale Purchase Agreement
presented is between DSM Golden Cup International as the Seller and Bonamy Enterprises as the
buyer/consignee and not with Lily Francisco Lumber Hardware.

These are in violation of Bureau of Forestry Development (BFD) Circular No. 10 which requires possession
or transportation of lumber to be supported by the following documents:

1 Certificate of Lumber Origin (CLO) which shall be issued only by the District Forester, or in his absence, the
Assistant District Forester;
2 Sales Invoice;
3 Delivery Receipt; and
4 Tally Sheets.

Such omission is punishable under Sec. 68 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 705 otherwise known as the
Revised Forestry Code. Thus, petitioner Atty. Robles issued a temporary seizure order and seizure receipt
for the narra lumber and the six-wheeler truck.

On January 20, 1989, petitioner Fulgencio S. Factoran, then Secretary of Environment and Natural
Resources issued an order for the confiscation of the narra lumber and the six-wheeler truck

Private respondents neither asked for reconsideration of nor appealed the said order to the Office of the
President. Consequently, the narra lumber and six-wheeler truck were forfeited in favor of the government
and were later on advertised to be sold at a public auction on March 20, 1989.

On March 17, 1989, private respondents filed a complaint with prayer for the issuance of the writs of
replevin and preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order for the recovery of the confiscated
items, and to enjoin the panned auction sale of the subject narra lumber, respectively.

On the same day, the trial court issued an order directing the parties to desist from proceeding with the
planned auction sale and setting the hearing for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction on March
27, 1989.

On March 20, 1989, private respondents filed and Ex-Parte motion for Release and Return of Goods and
Documents (Replevin) supported by an Affidavit for Issuance of Writ of Replevin and Preliminary Injunction
and a Replevin Bond in the amount of P180,000.00. The trial court granted the writ of replevin on the same
day and directed the petitioners "to deliver the xxx [n]arra lumber, original documents and truck with plate
no. NJT 881 to the custody of the plaintiffs and/or their representatives x x x".

On March 22, 1989, the trial court issued a writ of seizure. However, petitioners refused to comply
therewith. Sheriff David G. Brodett of Branch 80 of the RTC of Quezon City, reported that the petitioners
prevented him from removing the subject properties from the DENR compound and transferring them to
the Mobile Unit compound of the Quezon City Police Force. He then agreed to a constructive possession of
the properties. On that same day, petitioners filed a Manifestation stating their intention to file a
counterbond under Rule 60 of the Rules of Court to stay the execution of the writ of seizure and to post a
cash bond in the amount of P180,000.00. The trial court did not oblige the petitioners for they failed to
serve a copy of the Manifestation on the private respondents. Petitioners then made immediately the
required service and tendered the cash counterbond but it was refused, petitioners' Manifestation having
already been set for hearing on March 30, 1989.

On March 27, 1989, petitioners made another attempt to post a counterbond but was also denied for the
same reason.

On the same day, private respondents filed a motion to declare petitioners in contempt for disobeying the
writ of seizure. The trial court gave petitioners 24 hours to answer the motion. Hearing was scheduled on
March 30, 1989.

On March 29, 1989, petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and/or
Mandamus to annul the orders of the trial court dated March 20, 1989 and March 27, 1989.

On March 30, 1989, the Court of Appeals granted petitioners temporary relief in the form of a temporary
restraining order (TRO).

On September 11, 1989, the Court of Appeals converted the TRO into a writ of preliminary injunction upon
filing by petitioners of a bond in the amount of P180,000.00.

On March 30, 1990, the Court of Appeals lifted the writ of preliminary injunction and dismissed the petition.
It declared that the complaint for replevin filed by the private respondents complied with the requirements
of an affidavit and bond under Sec. 1 and 2 of Rule 60 of the Revised Rules of Court, issuance of the writ of
replevin was mandatory.

As for the contempt charges against the petitioners, the Court of Appeals believed that the same were
sufficiently based on a written charge by private respondents and the reports submitted by the Sheriff.

On April 25, 1990, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the foregoing decision but it was
subsequently denied by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution dated May 18, 1990.

Hence this petition.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the RTC was correct in the issuance of a writ of replevin and the Court of Appeals in
dismissing the petition and lifting the preliminary injunction.

RULING:

Pursuant to Sec. 8 of P.D. No. 705, all actions and decision of the Director are subject to review, motu
propio or upon appeal of any person aggrieved thereby, by the Department Head whose decision shall be
final and executory after the lapse of 30 days from the receipt by the aggrieved party of said decision
unless appealed to the President. The decision of the Department Head may not be reviewed by the courts
except through a special civil action for certiorari or prohibition.

It was observed by the Court that herein respondents never appealed the confiscation order of the
petitioner Secretary to the Office of the President.

The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is basic. Courts, for reasons of law, comity and
convenience, should not entertain suits unless the available administrative remedies have first been
resorted to and proper authorities have been given an appropriate opportunity to act and correct their
alleged errors, if any, committed in the administrative forum.

It was pointed out by the Court in Paat vs. Court of Appeals that the enforcement of forestry laws, rules
and regulations and the protection, development and management of forest land fall within the primary
and special responsibilities of the DENR. It held that assumption of the trial court of a replevin suit
constitutes an encroachment into the domain of the administrative agency's prerogative. The doctrine of
preliminary jurisdiction does not warrant a court to arrogate unto itself the authority to resolve a
controversy the jurisdiction over which is initially lodged with an administrative body of special
competence.

However, herein petitioners did not a motion to dismiss on the ground of non-exhaustion of administrative
remedies. Thus, it is deemed waived.

Nonetheless, the Court finds the petition impressed with merit.

First. A writ of replevin does not issue as a matter of course upon the applicant's filing of a bond and
affidavit, as the Court of Appeals has wrongly put it. The mere filing of an affidavit, sans allegations therein
that satisfy the requirements of Section 2 Rule 60 of the Revised Rules of Court, cannot justify the issuance
of a writ of replevin. Wrongful detention of the properties sought in an action for replevin must be
satisfactory established. If only mechanistic averment thereof is offered, the writ should not be issued.
In the case at bar, the taking of the subject property was within the administrative authority of the
Secretary as provided by Section 68-A of P.D. No. 705. Thus, it is not wrongful and does not warrant the
issuance of a writ of replevin prayed for by the private respondents.

Second. By virtue of the confiscation order by petitioner Secretary, the subject properties of private
respondents were held in custodia legis and hence, beyond the reach of replevin. Property lawfully taken
by virtue of legal process is deemed to be in custodia legis. So basic is this doctrine that it found inclusion
in the 1997 amendments introduced to the Rules of Civil Procedure.

Third. Petitioner Secretary's authority to confiscate forest products under SEction 68-A of P.D. No. 705 is
distinct and independent of the confiscation of forest products in a criminal action provided for in Section
68 of P.D. No. 705.

Fourth. SEction 80 of P.D. No. 705 which requires the delivery of the seized forest products within six (6)
hours from the time of the seizure to the appropriate official designated by law to conduct preliminary
investigations applies only to criminal prosecutions provided for in Section 68 and not to administrative
confiscation provided for in Section 68-A.

Fifth. Nothing in the records supports private respondents' allegation that their right to due process was
violated as no investigation was conducted prior to confiscation of their properties.

Finally. The writ or seizure and the writ of replevin was issued by the trial court in grave abuse of its
discretion. Thus, disobedience thereto cannot constitute indirect contempt of court which presupposes that
the court order thereby violated was valid and legal. Without a lawful order being issued, no contempt of
court could be committed.

The instant petition is granted. The decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 30, 1990 and its
Resolution dated May 18, 1990 were set aside. Respondent presiding judge of the RTC of Quezon City was
permanently enjoined from enforcing the Orders dated March 20, 1989 and March 22, 1989, or if said
orders had already been issued, said respondent judge was directed to render judgement of forfeiture of
replevin bond filed by private respondents. Finally, the said respondent judge is hereby permanently
enjoined from further acting on the Motion for Contempt filed by private respondents against petitioners.

Mamento vs Magumun (bellosillo)


Facts:

On 12 April 1996 forestry employees of the DENR, Cordillera Administrative Region, Tabuk, Kalinga, tasked
with the enforcement of forestry laws, intercepted a San Miguel Corporation van with Plate No. PJC-321
loaded with narra flitches wrapped in nylon sacks and covered with empty beer bottles and cartons.
Confronted by the forestry employees, Villamor Martinez, driver of the van, could not produce any legal
permit authorizing him to transport the narra lumber. Hence, after issuing seizure receipts, the vehicle and
its load of narra flitches were confiscated by the DENR forestry employees.
On 24 May 1996 a criminal complaint against driver Villamor Martinez was filed before the Provincial
Prosecutors Office of Tabuk, Kalinga, for violation of Sec. 78 of P.D. 705 as amended, and implemented by
DENR Administrative Order 59. On 24 July 1996, after due notice and opportunity to be heard, an order of
forfeiture of the vehicle and its load was issued by the DENR Regional Office pursuant to its quasi-judicial
authority to administratively order the confiscation and forfeiture of lumber possessed without permit
including its conveyance.
Thereafter, San Miguel Corporation, the owner of the vehicle, through its agent Aimardo V. Interior, filed a
case for recovery of personal property and damages with application for writ of replevin with the Regional
Trial Court, Br. 4, Tuguegarao, Cagayan, against herein complainants. The trial court issued a warrant of
seizure of personal property directing its sheriff to take hold of the van and its contents.
On 1 August 1996 Deputy Sheriff Manuel M. Magumun, escorted by Sheriff Jacinto Contapay of RTC-Br. 1,
Tabuk, Kalinga, and agents of the Philippine National Police, went to the office of the DENR in Tabuk,
Kalinga, to enforce the warrant issued by the trial court but the forestry employees and officials refused to
release the van on the ground that it had already been forfeited in favor of the government and was now in
custodia legis. Despite this explanation, on 7 August 1996, Deputy Sheriff Magumun accompanied this
time by Sheriff John Dongui-is Jr. of the Office of the Clerk of Court of Tabuk, Kalinga, and twenty (20) other
persons, took the van without permission of the employees and officials of the DENR. On 13 August 1996,
after the lapse of the five-day period prescribed by law for filing an opposition to the writ, the vehicle was
delivered to Aimardo V. Interior, agent of SMC.
In his comment, Deputy Sheriff Magumun explained that it was his ministerial duty to execute the warrant
in accordance with its mandate and his duties as sheriff under the Rules of Court and the Manual for Clerks
of Court.He conceded that he was informed by the forestry employees and officials of the forfeiture of the
vehicle subject of the warrant of seizure but he reasoned that it was not within his discretion to withhold
the implementation of the warrant.The execution of a warrant of seizure on a vehicle allegedly forfeited in
favor of the government was a question of law too technical for him to resolve[6] and faced with such a
dilemma he opted to follow the order of the court and execute the warrant in accordance with its mandate.
On 20 October 1997 the complaint was referred to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for
evaluation, report and recommendation. The OCA observed that Deputy Sheriff Magumun made a very
literal interpretation of Sec. 4, Rule 60, of the Rules of Court as amended. The OCA noted that while Rule
60 was silent on what should be done when the sheriff is informed by the defendant in the replevin that
the personal property to be seized has been forfeited in favor of the government and is already in custodia
legis, Deputy Sheriff Magumun should not have insisted on seizing the property subject of the warrant of
seizure. The appropriate action should have been for respondent to inform his judge of the situation by
way of partial Sheriffs Return and wait for instructions on the proper procedure to be observed.[9] For such
ignorance of proper procedure the OCA recommended that Sheriff Magumun be penalized in the amount of
P5,000.00 at the very least.

Issue:

Whether or not Deputy Sheriff Magumun should not have insisted on seizing the property subject of the
warrant of seizure?

Ruling:
Deputy Sheriff Magumun should not have insisted on seizing the property subject of the warrant of
seizure .Respondent was placed in a difficult situation where the vehicle subject of the warrant of seizure
had already been confiscated by another government agency and forfeited in favor of the government.
However, the novelty of his predicament did not call for him to use his discretion and justify his insistence
on taking the property subject of the warrant without waiting for instructions from his judge. A sheriffs
prerogative does not give him the liberty to determine who among the parties is entitled to the possession
of the attached property, much less does he have any discretion to decide which agency has primary
jurisdiction and authority over the matter at hand.

When a writ is placed in the hands of a sheriff, it is his duty, in the absence of any instructions to the
contrary, to proceed with reasonable celerity and promptness to execute it according to its
mandate.However, the prompt implementation of a warrant of seizure is called for only in instances where
there is no question regarding the right of the plaintiff to the property. Where the plaintiff has shown by his
own affidavit that he is entitled to the possession of the property; that the property is wrongfully detained
by the defendant; that the same has not been taken for tax assessment or seized under execution or
attachment, or if so seized, that it is exempt from such seizure,then the executing officer has no other
recourse but to execute the warrant or writ expeditiously.

In the instant case, Deputy Sheriff Magumun has been informed that the property had been impounded
due to violation of forestry laws and an order for its forfeiture had already been issued by the DENR.
Moreover, he was advised that the proper remedy for SMC, owner of the vehicle, was to appeal the order
of forfeiture to the Secretary of the DENR. The prudent recourse then for respondent was to desist from
executing the warrant and convey the information to his judge and to the plaintiff. Instead, Deputy Sheriff
Magumun carried out the implementation of the warrant of seizure with undue haste as evidenced by the
mere 6-day lapse from the time he first served the warrant of seizure on the DENR officials to the time of
his precipitate seizure of the van. A warrant could be returned within a period of not less than ten (10)
days nor more than sixty (60) days after its receipt by the executing officer.[15] Within this time frame,
Deputy Sheriff Magumun should have conferred with his judge and thereafter execute the warrant
judiciously and with more certainty.

True, sheriffs must comply with their mandated ministerial duty to implement writs promptly and
expeditiously, but equally true is the principle that sheriffs by the nature of their functions must at all
times conduct themselves with propriety and decorum and act above suspicion.[16] There must be no
room for anyone to conjecture that sheriffs and deputy sheriffs as officers of the court have conspired with
any of the parties to a case to obtain a favorable judgment or immediate execution. The sheriff is the front
line representative of the judiciary and by his act he may build or destroy the institution.
As observed by the OCA, the writ of replevin has been repeatedly used by unscrupulous plaintiffs to
retrieve their chattel earlier taken for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code, tax assessment, attachment
or execution. Officers of the court, from the presiding judge to the sheriff, are implored to be vigilant in
their execution of the law otherwise, as in this case, valid seizure and forfeiture proceedings could easily
be undermined by the simple devise of a writ of replevin. Hence, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, as agents of
the law, are called upon to discharge their duties with due care and utmost diligence because in serving
the courts writs and processes and implementing the orders of the court, they cannot afford to err without
affecting the integrity of their office and the efficient administration of justice.

WHEREFORE, respondent Deputy Sheriff Manuel M. Magumun is found guilty of grave misconduct and, as
recommended, is fined P5,000.00 for arbitrarily implementing the warrant of seizure of personal property
and for ignorance of the proper procedure in serving writs of replevin in cases where the personal property
to be recovered has already been seized and forfeited in favor of the government for violation of forestry
laws. Respondent is warned that a repetition of the same or similar act will merit a more severe sanction.

BASIANA MINING EXPLORATION CORPORATION VS DENR SECRETARY (rule 12)


PONENTE: REYES, J.,

FACTS:
Petitioner BMEC, headed by its President Basiana, applied on July 31, 1997 for a Mineral Production Sharing
Agreement (MPSA) with the DENR for the extraction of nickel and other minerals covering an area of 6,642
hectares in Tubay and Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, docketed as MPSA (XIII)-00014.6

Assignment of rights:
1. Pending approval of its application, BMEC, on April 29, 2000, assigned to Manila Mining Corporation
(Manila Mining) all its rights and interest in MPSA (XIII)-00014, with the latter acknowledging BMEC
as the real and true owner of said application.
2. Manila Mining, in turn, assigned on October 17, 2005, its rights and interest to SRMI.
3. On October 18, 2005, Basiana and SRMI executed a Memorandum of Agreement where SRMI
agreed, to undertake technical and geological tests, exploration and small-scale mining operations
of the site subject of MPSA (XIII)-00014. Necessary permits and certificates were then issued by the
DENR and the Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte to SRMI, San R Construction Corporation
(San R) and Galeo Equipment Corporation (Galeo).
4. Consequently, SRMI, using BMEC's application, applied for an MPSA for the extraction of nickel, iron
and cobalt on Tubay, Agusan del Norte. The application was docketed as APSA-000014-XIII.
DENR Secretary issued a cease and desist order against the mining operations due to excess in annual
production, maximum capitalization and labor cost to equipment utilization.

The Minerals Development Council, on December 7, 2006, also advised SRMI, San R and Galeo to
immediately stop all mining activities in Tubay, which were conducted under the pretext of small-scale
mining.

Basiana then filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court of Butuan City on May 15, 2007 for rescission
of contract, abuse of rights and damages against SRMI.

the Director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), on January 10, 2008, recommended the approval
of APSA-000014-XIII filed by SRMI.
Thus, BMEC and Basiana filed with the MGB Panel of Arbitrators (MGB-POA) a petition to deny and/or
disapprove and/or declare the nullity of the application for MPSA and/or cancellation, revocation and
termination of MPSA.

Pending resolution of the protest before the MGB-POA, the Republic of the Philippines, represented by the
DENR Secretary entered into MPSA No. 261-2008-XIII with SRMI for the development and commercial
utilization of nickel, cobalt, iron and other associated mineral deposits in Tubay, Agusan del Norte.
Petitioners filed a petition for review with the CA assailing the issuance of MPSA No. 261-2008-XIII on the
grounds that (1) "there was clear violation of due process and the entire proceedings was railroaded and
suited for the benefit of [SRMI]," and that (2) the approval of the application is a patent nullity and/or
absolutely without any factual and legal basis.

CAS FINDINGS:
1. the petition for review filed by the petitioners cannot be treated as a special civil action for
certiorari for lack of jurisdictional grounds.
2. The approval by the DENR Secretary of SRMFs application does not involve a quasi-judicial function
since both the petitioners and SRMI are still applicants and there was yet an adjudication of rights
between them.
3. The petition for review was premature due to the absence of any decision or resolution rendered by
a competent body exercising a quasi-judicial function and the petitioners should have exhausted all
administrative remedies available before it filed the petition for review.
4. Even if it were to treat the petition as a special civil action for certiorari, it failed to show any grave
abuse of discretion committed by the DENR Secretary when it entered into MPSA No. 261-2008-XIII.
Citing Celestial Nickel Mining Exploration Corporation v. Macroasia Corporation, the CA ruled that it
is the DENR Secretary that has jurisdiction to cancel existing mining agreements.
5. The petitioners to have committed forum shopping as the petition for review was filed despite the
pendency of the protest with the MGB-POA.

ISSUE:
WON the courts have the power to cancel MPSA

HELD:
NO. the power to approve and enter into agreements or contracts rests primarily with the DENR Secretary.
Perforce, the power to cancel an MPSA likewise lies with the DENR Secretary. Given that it is the DENR
Secretary that has the primary jurisdiction to approve and cancel mining agreements and contract, it is
with the DENR Secretary that the petitioners should have sought the cancellation of MPSA No. 261-2008-
XIII, and not with the courts. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction instructs that if a case is such that its
determination requires the expertise, specialized training and knowledge of an administrative body, relief
must first be obtained in an administrative proceeding before resort to the courts is had.

The DENR Secretary, no doubt, is under the control of the President; thus, his decision is subject to review
of the latter. Consequently, the petitioners should have appealed its case to the Office of the President
under A.O. No. 18, series of 1987, instead of directly seeking review by the court.

In the case of the DENR Secretary, its power to approve and enter into a MPSA is unmistakably
administrative in nature as it springs from the mandate of the DENR under the Revised Administrative
Code of 1987, which provides that "[t]he [DENR] shall x x x be in charge of carrying out the State's
constitutional mandate to control and supervise the exploration, development, utilization, and
conservation of the country's natural resources."

Contrary to the petitioners' position, the determination by the DENR Secretary as to (1) the propriety of the
MGB Director's recommendation of approval, and (2) the qualification of SRMI to undertake development
and its compliance with the law, does not involve the exercise of quasi-judicial power. Note that under
Section 41 of DENR Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 96-40, initial evaluation of an application for an MPSA is
made by the MGB Regional Office in the area covered by the application. Thereafter, the application will be
reviewed by the MGB Director for further evaluation. It is only after the MGB Director has evaluated the
application that the same will be forwarded to the DENR Secretary for final evaluation and approval. In
approving an MPSA, the DENR Secretary does not determine the legal rights and obligations of
adversarial parties, which are necessary in adjudication. In fact, it is only after an application
is approved that the right to undertake the project accrues on the applicant's part, and until
then, no rights or obligations can be enforced by or against any party. Neither does the DENR
Secretary resolve conflicting claims; rather, what is involved here is the determination whether a
certain applicant complied with the conditions required by the law, and is financially and technically
capable to undertake the contract, among others. Thus, in Republic of the Philippines v. Express
Telecommunication Co., Inc., the Court stated that the powers granted to the Secretary of Agriculture and
Commerce (natural resources) by law such as granting of licenses, permits, leases and contracts, or
approving, rejecting, reinstating, or canceling applications, are all executive and administrative in nature. It
even further ruled that purely administrative and discretionary functions may not be interfered with by the
courts.

VIRGINIA M. GUADINES vs. SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE


G.R. No. 164891 June 6, 2011
Ponente: VILLARAMA, JR., J.
FACTS:
Provincial Treasurer of Quezon directed the Municipal Treasurer to conduct a public bidding for the
materials to be used in the repair and construction of Navotas Bridge. As a result of the bidding, the
contract was awarded to V.M. Guadines Construction Supply.
Purchaser Order No. 2019 for construction materials was issued. The materials consisting of lumber were
stockpiled along the road about five meters away from the Navotas Bridge, and received by Azaula. Azaula
was then a Barangay Chairman

A team of DENR officials/forest rangers confiscated seventy-three (73) pieces of Macaasim which were
stockpiled alongside the Polillo-Burdeos road at Barangay Sibulan, approximately five meters away from
the Navotas Bridge.

These forest products were confiscated in favor of the government pending submission of certain required
documents. No person or entity was apprehended as owner/possessor of the lumber. Since Azaula
volunteered to take custody as a public official in the locality, the CENR decided to turn over the seized
lumber to him

the Sangguniang Bayan of Polillo resolved to formally request the DENR Regional Director to donate the
seized lumber so it can be used for the delayed repair and construction of the Navotas Bridge. The logs
remained stockpiled near the said bridge, apparently abandoned by its owner.

Later however, the Sanggunian passed a resolution requesting DPWH to send their personnel to work on
the repair and construction of the Navotas Bridge in the earliest possible time.

By February 5, 1993, the repair and construction of Navotas Bridge was finished. Disbursement Voucher
authorizing the Provincial Treasurer to pay V.M. Guadines was prepared. Petitioner received the payment
for the lumber and other materials she delivered for the repair and construction of Navotas Bridge.

In a Memorandum, CENR Polillo Station OIC Salvosa reported that despite warnings from forest rangers,
workers headed by Engr. Nierva of the PEO utilized the confiscated lumber in the construction of Navotas
Bridge. Salvosa further informed the CENRO that while Engr. Nierva claimed to be acting on official
instructions from the Provincial Governor, they were not furnished any copy of such directive or
instruction.

In a letter dated, CENRO dela Cruz asked Azaula to explain why he should not be charged with estafa and
malversation for disposing the confiscated lumber without legal authority or clearance from the
DENR Secretary.

CHARGED Azaula et al with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 (Criminal Case No. 20878) reads:

SANDIGANBAYAN rendered its decision convicting petitioner, Escara and Azaula of the crime charged

Petitioner and Azaula maintained that the lumber delivered by V.M. Guadines Construction Supply were not
the same lumber confiscated by the CENR.
Petitioner contends that what should have been filed against her was a case for violation of the Forestry
Code and not the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

RULING:

THE PETITION HAS NO MERIT

By accepting payment for delivery of lumber found to be without supporting documents as required by
law, petitioner caused undue injury or damage to the provincial government which had no obligation to
pay for confiscated lumber considered as government property. In fact, it is only the DENR Secretary
or his representative who can dispose of such confiscated lumber in accordance with forestry
laws and regulations, pursuant to Section 68-A of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 705 which
provides:

SEC. 68-A. Administrative Authority of the Department Head or His Duly Authorized Representative
to Order Confiscation. - In all cases of violations of this Code or other forest laws[,] rules and
regulations, the Department Head or his duly authorized representative, may order the confiscation
of any forest products illegally cut, gathered, removed, or possessed or abandoned, and all
conveyances used either by land, water[,] or air in the commission of the offense and to dispose of
the same in accordance with pertinent laws, regulations or policies on the matter."

Petitioners contention that she should have been instead prosecuted for illegal cutting, gathering and
possession of timber or other forest products under Section 68 of P.D. No. 705 ignores the fact that she
never came out to claim ownership of the seized lumber until her appearance before
the Sangguniang Bayan wherein she pleaded for consideration in the delayed bridge construction
project after the DENR confiscated the lumber she delivered. Except for her bare denial, petitioner failed to
refute the correctness of the statements she made as reflected in the official minutes of
the Sanggunian session held on December 14, 1992, duly certified by the Municipal Secretary and signed
by the Sanggunian Members present

These statements revealed that petitioner was fully aware of the confiscation of her lumber stockpiled
along the Polillo-Burdeos provincial road, after she had delivered the same.

Apart from petitioners own statements, the Sandiganbayans finding that it was petitioners
lumber which were later confiscated by CENR forest rangers and used in the bridge repair and
construction, was satisfactorily established by the prosecutions documentary and testimonial
evidence. As part of their official duties and following standard procedure, they prepared the Confiscation
Report and Seizure Receipt, and testified in court detailing the incident. Two other witnesses corroborated
their declaration that the confiscated lumber were actually used in the repair and construction of the
Navotas Bridge.

Lastly, COA Auditor Mendoza, who, along with the Municipal Engineer of Polillo, was tasked to investigate
the purchase of the materials used in the repair and construction of the Navotas Bridge after the
completion of the project, also confirmed that the lumber used bore the white paint marking "DENR" and
contained hatchet numbers when they inspected the same from under the new wooden bridge. He
prepared three reports explaining his findings. He then recommended to the Provincial Auditor that the
money paid to the supplier be refunded to the government and that administrative and criminal actions be
instituted against the supplier and the concerned public officials. Consequently, the COA disallowed the
payment of the amount of P70,924.00, deducting from the original amount of P83,228.00 the amount paid
for common materials such as kawad and nails. The lumber used in the new bridge consisted of 3,172
board feet while the volume of the confiscated lumber was around 4,000 board feet. 31

In support of her claim that the lumber she delivered were not those confiscated by the CENR personnel,
petitioner presented as witness PO2 Reny I. Marasigan of the PNP Polillo Station. Marasigan testified that
he issued a certification dated June 9, 2000 stating that the lumber confiscated near the Navotas Bridge in
1993 were deposited for safekeeping and are still intact at the back of their building. These rotting lumber
on the ground were photographed by petitioner. However, Marasigan failed to present proper documents
evidencing the official transfer of custody of the seized lumber by the CENRO to their headquarters. In fact,
Marasigan signed the Confiscation Report and Seizure Receipt as part of the apprehending team while it
was Azaula who signed as the "Receiving Officer." Moreover, prosecution witnesses Salvosa and his forest
rangers, as well as Abanica and Mendoza, all categorically declared that the lumber confiscated near the
Navotas Bridge were used in the repair and construction of the bridge.

As to petitioners contention that the subsequent confiscation of the lumber she delivered, even if true,
was no longer her concern because she had already fulfilled her contractual undertaking to provide the
lumber for the bridge repair and construction, the same is untenable.

Basic is the rule that provisions of existing laws and regulations are read into and form an integral part of
contracts, moreso in the case of government contracts. Verily, all contracts, including Government
contracts, are subject to the police power of the State. Being an inherent attribute of sovereignty, such
power is deemed incorporated into the laws of the land, which are part of all contracts, thereby qualifying
the obligations arising therefrom. Thus, it is an implied condition in the subject contract for the
procurement of materials needed in the repair and construction of the Navotas Bridge that
petitioner as private contractor would comply with pertinent forestry laws and regulations on
the cutting and gathering of the lumber she undertook to supply the provincial government.

Petitioners actual knowledge of the absence of supporting legal documents for the lumber she contracted
to deliver to the provincial government -- which resulted in its confiscation by the CENR personnel -- belies
her claim of good faith in receiving the payment for the said lumber.

DAGUDAG VS PADERANGA, A.M. NO. RTJ-06-2017, JUNE 19, 2008

Forest products, conveyances and effect`ts which were seized by DENR officials urusant to PD No. 705 are
considered in custodia legis and cannot be subject of an action for replevin

FACTS:
The Region VII Philippine National Police Regional Maritime Group (ONORMG) received information that MV
General Ricarte of NMC Container Lines, Inc. was shipping container vans containing illegal forest products
from Cagayan de Oro to Cebu. The shipments were falseley declared as cassaval meal and corn grains to
avoid inspection by the DENR. Upon inspection, the crew of MV General Ricarte failed to produce the
Certificate of Origin and other pertinent transport documents covering the forest products, as required by
DAO No. 07-94. After due notice, the illegal forest products were confiscated in favor of the government.
In a complaint dated March 16, 2005 and filed before Judge Paderanga, a certain Roger Edman (Edma)
prayed that a writ of replevin be issued ordering the defendants DENR, CENRO, Gen. Dagudag, and others
to deliver the forest products to him and that judgment be rendered ordering defendants to pay him moral
damages, attorney's fees, and litigation expenses. During the hearing for the writ of replevin, Judge
Paderanga showed manifest partiality in favor Edma. Judge Paderanga issued a writ of replevin ordering
Sheriff Reynaldo Salceda to take possession of the forest products.
Gen. Dagudag filed with the Office of the Court Administrator an affidavit-complaint charging Judge
Paderanga with gross ignorance of the law and conduct unbecoming of a judge.
ISSUE: WON the issuance of replevin is proper
RULING:
No, the issuance of the writ of replevin is improper.
Judge Paderanga should have dismissed the replevin suit outright for three reasons.
First, as cited in Factoran, Jr. v CA, under the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, courts
cannot take cognizance of cases pending before administrative agencies. Smiliarly in Dy v CA and Paat v
CA, the Supreme Court held that a party must exhaust all administrative remedies before he can resort to
the courts.
In the instant case, Edma did not resort to, or avail of, any administrative remedy. He went straight to
court and filed a complaint for replevin and damages. Section 8 of PD No. 705, as amended, states that (1)
all actions and decisions of the DENR Secretary are appealable to the President; and (3) the courts cannot
review the decisions of the DENR Secretary except through a special civil court for certiorari or prohibition.
In Dy, the Court held that all actions seeking to recover forest products in the custody of the DENR shall be
directed to that agency - not the courts.
Second, under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, courts cannot take cognizance of cases pending before
administrative agencies of special competence. The DENR is the agency responsible for the enforcement of
forestry laws. The complaint for replevin itself stated that members of DENR's Task Force Sagip Kalikasan
took over the forest products and brought them to the DENR Community Environment and Natural
Resources Office. This should have alerted Judge Paderanga that the DENR had custody of the forest
products.
Third, the forest products are already in custodia legis and thus cannot be the subject of replevin. There
was a violation of the Revised Forestry Code and the DENR seized the forest products in accorance with
law.