Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cruz vs DENR, G.R. No. 135385, December 6, 2000

Isagani Cruz v. Dept. of Energy and Natural Resources,
G.R. No. 135385, December 6, 2000

FACTS: Cruz, a noted constitutionalist, assailed the validity of the RA 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act on the ground that the law amount to an unlawful deprivation of the State’s ownership over lands of the public domain as well as minerals and other natural resources therein, in violation of the regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution. The IPRA law basically enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over ancestral domains which may include natural resources. Cruz et al content that, by providing for an all-encompassing definition of “ancestral domains” and “ancestral lands” which might even include private lands found within said areas, Sections 3(a) and 3(b) of said law violate the rights of private landowners.

ISSUE: Whether or not the IPRA law is unconstitutional.

HELD: The SC deliberated upon the matter. After deliberation they voted and reached a 7-7 vote. They deliberated again and the same result transpired. Since there was no majority vote, Cruz’s petition was dismissed and the IPRA law was sustained. Hence, ancestral domains may include natural resources – somehow against the regalian doctrine.

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