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Environmental Law, Merida vs. CA (2008), G.R. No. 158182

Environmental Law case summary: Sesinando Merida vs Court of Appeals (2008), G.R. No. 158182, 12 June 2008 Ponente: Justice Antonio T. Carpio.
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  Case SummarySesinando Merida vs. Court of Appeals and Oscar M. Tansiongco,G.R. No. 1!1! , #une 1 , $$!.%onente&  Justice Antonio T. Carpio 'acts&  On 23 December 1998, Oscar Tansiongco learned that esinando !erida had cut a narra tree inhis propert in !a od, #rg . $pil, !agdi%ang, &omblon. 'e reported it to $pil(s punong baranga )lorencio &o o, %ho summoned them to a baranga meeting. !erida admitted during the meeting thathe cut the *elled narra tree %ith permission o* one +icar Cali, %hom he claimed to ha-e bought that propert under a pactoderetro sale *rom Tansiongco in October 198/. 'e also sho%ed Cali(s %rittenauthori0ation. Tansiongco reported later the incident on to D& *orester Thelmo . 'ernande0 inJanuar 1999. pon con*rontation b 'ernande0, !erida reiterated his claim during the earlier  baranga meeting. 'e then ordered !erida not to con-ert the *elled tree trun4 into lumber.On 25 Januar 1999, 'ernande0 %as in*ormed b Tansiongco that !erida did not *ollo% his order.There*ore, he %ent to the !a od propert along %ith other D& emplo ees and en*orcemento**icers. The sa% the *elled narra tree there con-erted into si smaller pieces o* lumber. The subse6uentl sei0ed the said lumber and deposited those *or sa*e4eeping %ith &o o. Tansiongco *iled in &omblon(s 7ro-incial 7rosecutor(s O**ice a complaint charging !erida -iolation o* ection 58 o* the &e-ised )orestr Code 7D /:;.$n the preliminar in-estigation, !erida submitted a countera**ida-it reiterating his claim that he cutthe narra tree %ith Cali<s permission. During the trial ho%e-er, he de*ended himsel* b sa ing that hehad no part in cutting and con-erting the tree into lumber.On 2= o-ember 2, esinando !erida %as *ound guilt b &TC &omblon, &omblon, #ranch 81, o* -iolating section 58 o* the &e-ised )orestr Code. $t sentenced him to 1= ears, 8 months and 1 da to2 ears o* reclusion temporal. $t also ordered the sei0ed lumber be *or*eited in Tansiongco<s *a-or.On appeal at the Court o* Appeals CA;, !erida reiterated his de*ense during the &TC trial. On 28 June22, the CA a**irmed the trial court<s ruling o* con-icting him *or -iolating ection 58 o* the &e-ised)orestr Code 7D /:, amended b .O. 2//; but it ordered that the sei0ed lumber be con*iscated inthe go-ernment<s *a-or. o, he sought that the CA decision be reconsidered. 'o%e-er, his motion *or reconsideration %as denied because it %as *iled late. (ssues& 1; >hether !erida is liable *or -iolating section 58 o* the &e-ised )orestr Code? )egal %rovisions& Section 68 of the Revised Forestry Code (PD 705): “Cutting, Gathering and/or Collecting Timber, or Other Forest Products Without License. — An !erson ho shallcut, gather, collect, remo#e timber or other $orest !roducts $rom an $orest land, or timber $rom alienable or dis!osable !ublic land, or $rom !ri#ate land, ithout an authorit, or !ossess timber or other $orest !roducts  ithout the legal documents as re%uired under e&isting $orest la s and regulations, shall be !unished ith the!enalties im!osed under Articles '() and '*( o$ the +e#ised Penal Code Pro#ided, That in the case o$ !artnershi!s, associations, or cor!orations, the o$$icers ho ordered the cutting, gathering, collection or !ossession shall be liable, and i$ such o$$icers are aliens, the shall, in addition to the !enalt, be de!orted ithout $urther !roceedings on the !art o$ the Commission on -mmigration and e!ortation.The court shall $urther order the con$iscation in $a#or o$ the go#ernment o$ the timber or an $orest !roducts cut,gathered, collected, remo#ed, or !ossessed as ell as the machiner, e%ui!ment, im!lements and tools illegallused in the area here the timber or $orest !roducts are $ound.  Articles 30 ! 3 0 of the Revised Pen#l Code:  Art. '(). Penalties. — An !erson guilt o$ the$t shall be !unished b*. The !enalt o$ !rision maor in its minimum and medium !eriods, i$ the #alue o$ the thing stolen is more than*0,((( !esos but does not e&ceed 00,((( !esos1 but i$ the #alue o$ the thing stolen e&ceeds the latter amount,the !enalt shall be the ma&imum !eriod o$ the one !rescribed in this !aragra!h, and one ear $or eachadditional ten thousand !esos, but the total o$ the !enalt hich ma be im!osed shall not e&ceed t ent ears.-n such cases, and in connection ith the accessor !enalties hich ma be im!osed and $or the !ur!ose o$ theother !ro#isions o$ this Code, the !enalt shall be termed !risi2n maor or reclusi2n tem!oral, as the case mabe.0. The !enalt o$ !rision correccional in its medium and ma&imum !eriods, i$ the #alue o$ the thing stolen is morethan 3,((( !esos but does not e&ceed *0,((( !esos.'. The !enalt o$ !rision correccional in its minimum and medium !eriods, i$ the #alue o$ the !ro!ert stolen ismore than 0(( !esos but does not e&ceed 3,((( !esos.4. Arresto maor in its medium !eriod to !rision correccional in its minimum !eriod, i$ the #alue o$ the !ro!ertstolen is o#er 5( !esos but does not e&ceed 0(( !esos.5. Arresto maor to its $ull e&tent, i$ such #alue is o#er 5 !esos but does not e&ceed 5( !esos.3. Arresto maor in its minimum and medium !eriods, i$ such #alue does not e&ceed 5 !esos.6. Arresto menor or a $ine not e&ceeding 0(( !esos, i$ the the$t is committed under the circumstancesenumerated in !aragra!h ' o$ the ne&t !receding article and the #alue o$ the thing stolen does not e&ceed 5!esos. -$ such #alue e&ceeds said amount, the !ro#isions o$ an o$ the $i#e !receding subdi#isions shall be madea!!licable.7. Arresto menor in its minimum !eriod or a $ine not e&ceeding 5( !esos, hen the #alue o$ the thing stolen isnot o#er 5 !esos, and the o$$ender shall ha#e acted under the im!ulse o$ hunger, !o#ert, or the di$$icult o$ earning a li#elihood $or the su!!ort o$ himsel$ or his $amil. Art. '*(. 8uali$ied the$t. — The crime o$ %uali$ied the$t shall be !unished b the !enalties ne&t higher b t odegrees than those res!ecti#el s!eci$ied in the ne&t !receding article. *eld and ruling&  The upreme Court denied !erida(s petition and a**irmed the decision o* the Courto* Appeals. $t ruled that undoubtedl , the narra tree that he cut %ithout authorit and subse6uentl con-erted to lumber, %as @timber@ *it @*or building or *or carpentr or oiner @. Thus, his acts *all under the pro-isions o* section 58 o* the &e-ised )orestr Code, regardless %hether the tree came *rom pri-ate lands, alienable or disposable public lands.


Jul 23, 2017
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